Ichigo stabbed the dead earth with his sword, using the weapon as an armrest as he stared slyly at the possessed young lady before him. "Why are we fighting?" he asked. "Think about it. Really think. I'm no-body. I'm helping Yohko because it's convenient. Our paths crossed. But I'm not a demon hunter. I'm a Death God. I hunt Hollows, evil spirits."
Chi let our a low growl of impatience. "Get to your point, boy."
Ichigo's half moon grin grew, "with pleasure. Your enemy is Yohko, not me. And right now, your enemy is occupied with a Hollow of her friend."
"Yes. What about it?"
"Well," Ichigo began with a brief exhale of exasperation. "if Yohko were my enemy, I'd take her down when her back is turned. Attack while she's distracted."
Chi stole a glance at Yohko and the Hollow who swiped at the hunter and slashed her dress.
"As for me," The Death God continued. "I'd be out of your hair."
Chi's dead eyes stared hatefully at the boy, "How do I know you won't attack me?"
"You don't," he confessed. "It's a chance you have to take. But haven't you always wanted to just shut that stupid valley-girl voice up? Admit it."
"Heh," Chi's lips quirked into a lopsided, toothy smirk of the devil. She turned, running at Yohko, sword held up high with two hands.
"What," Yohko ducked under another cruel claw, looking at the direction of a growing keen, she raised her sword just soon enough to avoid being beheaded. "CHI?!"
Yohko leaned to the side as the Hollow lashed at her again, and she grabbed it's wrist as it passed her by. Using the momentum, she used the Hollow's own fist to deflect Chi's following swing.
"Typical Yohko," mocked Chi, pausing in her attacks to goad the hunter. "always thinking about boys."
"What do you mean," Yohko asked, once again deflecting a swipe from the hollow, while keeping her eyes on Chi for the most part.
"I mean you couldn't focus on shit if there was a cock in the room, you silly girl."
"It's the demons making you say that," Yohko said, her battle stance slacking and her eyes growing a little shiny with hurt.
"puh, I've always wanted to tell you that, I was just too nice to say so before."
"I mean, really. I'd call you a slut but you've never been with a guy. Sixteen and still a virgin. Is it because you're a freeze? Or because no-one wants you?" Chi punctuated the scathing question with a cruel laugh.
The Hollow's hiss cut through the taunting laughter as it once again lunged at it's prey. Yohko twisted to meet it and her blade clashed yet again against claws. She back-flipped, landing near Chi and leveled the girl to the ground with a leg sweep. "STOP IT!"
Chi shot her own legs out and hit Yohko in the lower stomach, causing her to double over. Chi followed it up with an upward fist to the jaw. Yohko, disoriented, spun on her feet, the world around her a blur, clouded by tears she didn't even notice she was shedding.
Her head jerked back as Chi grabbed Yohko's pigtails and pulled, causing Yohko's feet to give way. Yohko's rear and back hit the rocky dirt hard and she yelped. The Hollow let our a growl that sounded suspiciously like a laugh, as it plunged it's spear-like claws.
The chill of cold moving air brushed against Yohko's face as a blade flashed it's arch before her face. A spray of blood spattered the girl as the claw was severed from the arm.
Ichigo kicked the Hollow in the face hard, causing a hairline crack in the cow-like skull mask. Yohko scrambled away from the fight and and rose to her feet, turning to meet Chi. Once again she felt the warmth and strength of Ichigo's back against her own svelte one.
Chi smirked, flicking her wrist and holding her sword outright. Yohko did not look away.
"I knew your boyfriend couldn't be trusted to hang back," Chi chortled.
"Stop calling him that!" Yohko blanched.
"I'm sure your two would make such cute kids."
"Shut her up, will ya?" Ichigo barked, before pushing himself at the Hollow.
"Yeah Yohko," She kept teasing. "Shut me up."
Yohko let out a roar of frustration as she launched at Chi, the clang of steel against steel once again ringing loudly in her ears.
"Why are you doing this, Chi?!" the hunter screamed in desperation to reach her friends sense of being.
"Chi's not in right now."
Another roar from Yohko, and once again she tried to trap her possessed friend with a talisman.
Once again it was avoided by Chi, with a spin, until a strong, heated pain peirced her belly. Chi was silent and still, only to break that effect moments later with a choak, blood spilling over her lower lip and dripping off her chin. Yohko was stunned, shivvering and holding the handle of her blade in a death-grip. Her wide eyes were fixated on the spot where her sword disappeared into Chi, buried into her flesh and letting a blossom of blood leech into her cloths.
"Ch-..." Yohko couldn't finish speaking the name.
Yet again, and for what Yohko feared would be the last time, Chi smiled. This time it was not the twisted smile of a possessed girl, but the bright, familiar smile of her best friend.
"CHI!" Yohko finally released her sword, which was still embedded into her friend, and rushed to Chi, throwing her arms around her schoolmate's shoulders. "No. Chi..."
"I knew... You were a good hunter. The best there is."
"NO," Yohko insisted frantically. "No, Chi! Chi, we'll heal you- I'll use the ri-...Chi?"
Chikako Ogawa, Number 1 Devil Hunter Manager, fell limp and lifeless in her best friend's embrace.
Yohko's knees bruised as they hit the earth, The weight of Chi's body, the severity of the situation and exhaustion of the fights finally catching up to Yohko and making her collapse. She was barely aware of Ichigo's shadow casting over her.
"...Azusa?" Yohko asked wearily.
"Don't worry," Ichigo answered. "I took care of it. Her soul is free and in the Soul Society."
"Oh," She replied dumbly. Slowly, she lifted her head like it was a dead weight, her brown eyes clouded and dull as she looked up at Ichigo.
"I didn't even get to say goodbye."