Warning/Disclaimer - (this is a Bleach fanfic w/ many un-labeled spoilers throughout!)
This story is not really my own. I’m just playin’ with someone else’s toys.
It’s based on Tite Kubo’s Bleach, and many/most? of the events described herein come directly from Bleach manga or the manga-derived anime. I don’t think there’s anything from the anime filler arcs.
PS: I realize this may make a lot more sense to someone who's familiar with the Bleach storyline.
But I'm curious as to how it works for someone who doesn't know the story.
FYI - Newbies: click on Chapter links below,
wait for Spoiler "show" buttons to come up, click on those to see the story....
--- 2013 --- 4/19: Added Section 17 3/17: Added Section 16 (yes, a year to the day >.< ) --- 2012 --- 3/17: Added sections 10-15; Reorganized thread. 3/15: Added 8th & 9th sections.
Reorganized thread so first post isn't so hard to edit... 2/6: Added 6th & 7th sections. plus did some revising. Not really liking the organization. *sighs* --- 2011 ---
Autumn: started writing... Thank goodness Tite Kubo already wrote the story so I can just have fun filling in some blanks.
PS: for Bleach fans, is it too much summary? I guess this is more of a "novelisation" than new material using the characters in new stories. On the other hand, there is some new stuff also. W/E! Why I wrote this & why there are probably some mistakes –
I’ve always been fascinated by the character of Urahara Kisuke, and wondered about his motivation, especially after Aizen told his version of Urahara and the Hougyoku. The scene where Urahara apologizes to Ichigo & friends took my breath away and made me want to know more about how he got to that point. So, this is an attempt to see the Bleach storyline through Kisuke’s eyes, mostly within the limits of canon, from the first available information on him up through that apology scene. I'm incorporating info from flashback episodes after that scene, but the action will stop there. ^_^
I'm up to the end of the Fake Karakura Town arc, so please forgive any errors based on information after that point. (In the manga, I haven’t even gotten past Kenny yet!) I’d welcome kind corrections on canon material up to that point in the anime (no spoilers beyond that pleeeeze), as well as any questions you might have for me.
To clarify, the names in the story are opposite what they would be in Japanese, placing family names last instead, so it’s Kisuke Urahara. Spelling “zanpak’to” with an apostrophe instead of "zanpakuto" helps me remember how to pronounce it, so that’s how I write it.
Also, I haven’t gotten to some parts of the story yet, and some I’m still working on. So I’ll add more as it comes.
*** If anyone could give me a *precise* translation of Kiskuke’s Japanese apology after the Soul Society Arc in the anime, I would greatly appreciate it.
EDIT - MOVED PART 1 OF STORY HERE
to make 1st post easier to edit - sorry if inconvenience...
Hat & Clogs - continued...
* Disclaimer: this is a Bleach fanfic *
****** 1. A Routine Morning
A muffled, wooden clicking filled the small dining area, as busy chopsticks chased stray bits of rice and vegetable around nearly empty bowls. Sitting cross-legged on a large, straw mat, four silent figures finished off the first meal of the day. Even seated, the difference in their heights was noticeable, for the diminutive boy and girl were dwarfed by a well-muscled man in narrow eyeglasses and another tall man, whose loose clothing and striped hat hid much about his appearance.
The man in the hat kept his head lowered over the meal, a thick fringe of ash-blond hair shadowing downcast eyes. He did not look up, even when a soft shuffling of feet, accompanied by murmured words of polite excuse, alerted him that his companions were leaving the low table.
As the sad-eyed, petite brunette knelt to clear her place, she paused briefly, seeming almost to bow before the unseeing blond. The other man, black hair tightly cornrowed along his skull, rose from the table and bent from the waist in a formal, if brief, gesture of respect before turning away. Even the smallest, boyish male, his short hair upswept in a crimson blaze over a resentful, scowling face, ducked his head slightly in the seated man's direction as he edged restlessly out of the room.
Then they were gone, off to begin the day's work. Soon, the shutters on the ground-floor windows would be cracked open slightly to let in a few pale shafts of morning light. Inventory would be double-checked until one's eyes were crossed from boredom; nonexistent dust would be whisked away with an unquestioning adherence to routine. The two younger employees would sweep in front of the shop, keeping an eye out for trouble – while ostensibly making the business more welcoming to approaching customers.
Not that the arrival of customers was very likely, reflected the man remaining at the table, as his chopsticks reluctantly nudged a gluey mass of rice forward to the lip of the bowl resting in his palm. Visitors were rare to the little store. Their days had become painfully predictable, but he was still unsure what to do about that – if indeed he should do anything at all.
Finally swallowing the cold rice glob, the man gloomily regarded the limp, stringy beans (surely, they had once been green?) which now drooped from the chopsticks. Personally, he would not have chosen leftovers for breakfast. The menu and cooking, however, were responsibilities best left to another of the silent forms who shared his table, just as they shared the maintenance of the household and the shop. His own responsibility - no, his mind shied uneasily from the word, even in his thoughts - his own self-assigned task, he amended, lay outside the kitchen. His courteous manner and uncanny ability to read people's unspoken thoughts and desires made him the best choice to staff the front counter, serving whatever customers did manage to make their way into the business.
The shopkeeper resigned himself to ingesting the remains of the previous night's meal. He would be lucky to make any sales at all today; only those with specific, foreseeable needs would be likely to visit. In fact, he could probably count the number of potential patrons on one hand. His thoughts lingered idly over the possible individuals whom he might encounter. Who was guarding this small city now?
His sources had told him that a member of the high-ranking Kuchiki family was scheduled for a shift soon. If it were the eldest brother, he mused, they would certainly never cross paths. He had, however, heard rumors of an adopted, younger sister.... His eyes narrowed, and his chopsticks tapped a light staccato dance along the edge of the sculpted bamboo dish. Perhaps she would bring some of her new-found family's wealth into the shop?
Unlikely! he chastised himself impatiently, and swiftly rose, the now-empty bowl clasped in his slender fingers. Moving to the wash basin, he reminded himself that any member of that noble family would undoubtedly arrive well-prepared, with the highest quality of supplies. They surely would have no interest in the scavenged, sometimes-smuggled goods he had to offer.
Nor would they contaminate their feet with the corrupted dust of his shop floor, he thought with unaccustomed bitterness. Ah, well. A wry half-smile twisted his mobile lips as he attempted to recover his usual, philosophical outlook. Best be prepared with a cheerful welcome, just in case.
As he reached toward the soapy water to immerse his wooden dish and utensils, a gruff voice interrupted his train of thought.
"Excuse me, Urahara-dono! Please do not bother yourself with the washing-up!" The muscular, bespectacled man, who had sat beside him at the table, now rushed over to the wash basin. His fierce eyebrows and old-fashioned, handlebar mustache twitched in suppressed agitation, and one large hand was already diving into the tepid water for the dishcloth. "Excuse me sir!" the man repeated, insistently but respectfully. "Please allow me to attend to my kitchen responsibilities!"
Kisuke Urahara paused, tilting his stubble-dusted chin up slightly to gaze into the taller man's unreadable face. “Still using the formal address, after all these years?” He laughed softly, almost wistfully. "As you wish, Tessai-san." He handed over the dishes, acknowledging both the other man's claim upon the kitchen, as well as his own admittedly inferior abilities in that realm. Inclining his head politely, he yielded his place, the hat again shading his eyes from view.
Yes, it was better not to assume too much responsibility. He knew the danger of overstepping his limits, of taking on more than he could handle. Even kitchen duties.... Better to follow the little habits they had established over the past near-century of exile. Better to avoid calling attention to oneself even by the most trivial of changes.
Who knew what spies might still be watching, alert for any sign they had let down their guard? One never knew what deviation from routine might renew the interest of an old enemy, who might then decide to revive their... mutual... disagreement.
Thanks Dany... I would have taken a lot longer to post without your encouragement!
I did some late night editing before finally posting, & created some dumb mistakes in the process. Fixed them later. Hope I don't find more!
As I re-read, I also notice my tendency to overly-long sentences that go on and on and never seem to end, no matter how much you might want them to, so much so that you might lose your train of thought, forgetting what the point of the original sentence was in the first place, and possibly even giving up reading altogether... if you know what I mean, LOL.
Hat & Clogs - continued...
* Disclaimer: this is a Bleach fanfic *
****** 2. Worries
A tremor shuddered through the shopkeeper’s habitually relaxed figure as he walked slowly down the hallway. The recollection of his still-unsolved dilemma troubled him deeply.
It could not last much longer, this stalemate between himself and the one who had so subtly engineered his exile. The decades that had elapsed since their last confrontation could only have allowed his opponent to grow stronger. Presumably, that traitor still had the authorities fooled, and had undoubtedly grown in power and influence.
Under the circumstances, Urahara felt that he had done his best to maintain his own readiness. The grueling exercise regimen he quietly maintained in the subterranean training grounds below the shop would have surprised his housemates as well as his former friends, accustomed as they were to his lack of discipline. Occasionally, he had even emerged from their safehouse to quickly destroy a dangerously ravenous Hollow spirit. Still, no amount of technique practice could match the experience of actual combat, or the testing of one’s skills against equally matched sparring partners.
Despite his outward calm, therefore, Urahara was becoming increasingly desperate. His nightmares (which in the beginning had so often shattered his sleep, and had over time lost their power over him) were now returning with renewed intensity. The answer he sought still eluded him, and the consequences of failure were unthinkable. If their enemy should decide to track him down before a solution was found-! If that twisted villain should lay hands on the item which was the object of his depraved ambitions-!
Urahara suppressed another shiver, as he made his way to the front of the shop area. The shop was conveniently located on the opposite end of the building from the kitchen and dining space, accessible via a short hallway. He settled his deceptively lean frame upon a tall stool beside the counter, folded his arms across his chest, and stretched out his legs, allowing a pair of old-fashioned clogs to clatter from his feet to the floor.
He willed his body to relax, then let his awareness drift outwards, through the first floor and upwards into the second level. They had divided the large space on the upper floor into one multipurpose room and five sleeping quarters: one for each of them, plus another for the occasional guest in need of hospitality. Below the shop was concealed what they affectionately called the “basement,” and Urahara’s senses flowed there next, past the small laboratory near the ladder, and throughout the huge area beyond.
All was normal. Nothing out of the ordinary today. In the room on the other side of the shop wall, his long-time colleague Tessai sloshed a wet rag against kitchen surfaces. Muted, high-pitched voices came from outside the shop, as Ururu and Jinta, the two younger employees, argued over some triviality as they swept. Those two were oblivious, he knew, to the menace that waited patiently to invade their existence.
They had joined him here, not believing - or not caring about - the terrible accusations of which he and Tessai had been convicted, choosing instead to share his desolate exile in the land of the living. At times, he thought he glimpsed questions behind their eyes; less frequently, he debated with himself how much to reveal of the truth. Surely they deserved to know! Technically, they were simply his business subordinates ... but Kisuke Urahara understood that their devotion to him matched that of any disciple to his master. Their fates now appeared to be entwined with his own.
Yet, he had never reassured them that their trust was well-placed. Nor had he ever warned them of the danger which his very presence posed to them. He had even tried to shield Tessai from the worst of his suspicions, although the powerful man had proven to be a staunch ally, ever since that night when the two of them had broken the laws of their world and become criminals together.
In the end, he had always concluded that his friends’ ignorance was their greatest protection. Perhaps, when the evil inevitably descended, it would focus not on them, but on him, on Urahara himself, as indeed it should.
****** 3. Ambitions
His mind drifted back. The sunlight crept through a gap in the shutters and warmed his resting feet.
He had been naive... eager... curious... determined. When he had first graduated from the academy and taken his place among the Soul Reapers, he’d been focused on destroying the killer Hollow spirits, and on guiding lost souls from the Living World to the relative safety of Soul Society. Despite his easygoing manner, he had managed to excel in his duties in the Second Division, under the leadership of their captain. Despite his current worries, a smile lifted the corners of his lips now as he thought of his former captain, who had also been his childhood companion and intimate friend, Lady Yoruichi of the noble Shihouin clan. As time passed, Urahara had earned more responsibility and pursued greater spiritual power, always grateful that his abilities allowed him to protect the weak and to support other members in his squad.
The shopkeeper shut his eyes against the memories of the past, recalling fallen comrades who had lacked his depth of power. How he had longed to help his fellow Soul Reapers increase their own abilities, so they would be in less danger from their enemies! Ever the idealist back then, he had also hoped to gradually improve the way Soul Society functioned, repairing the flaws that weakened their rigidly hierarchical system. He’d made so many plans, imagined so many different changes. His chaotic living quarters, cluttered with ongoing experiments, had testified convincingly to his passion for finding new, better ways of doing things, and to his general disregard for order and structure.
And then he’d been promoted. His unexpectedly sudden – some would have said overly hasty – advancement to Division Captain had promised the fulfillment of all his dreams. He’d wasted no time before founding a Research Department, where he could pursue the ambitions he’d been forming subconsciously. Suddenly, the entire Twelfth Division seemed to be bustling around in pristine, white laboratory coats. They had found pride in their new purpose, and – truth be told – pride had filled his own heart as well. He, Kisuke Urahara, would pave the way to Soul Society’s glowing future!
Looking back now, Urahara wondered if his focus on technological progress had given the traitor ideas for his own, sick attempts to alter the abilities of Soul Reapers. Could his own division’s flurry of activity have provided cover for the other vile “experiments,” performed on innocent, unsuspecting, and unconsenting victims? Had the spotlight on his cherished research department blinded others to the enemy’s dark purpose?
His brow furrowed as he tried to recall those days, and his hands gripped so tightly around his folded arms that fingernails dug into the skin. It was impossible, from this distance of space and time, to answer that question, he told himself. Yet his face burned at the remembrance of how blind he had been.
All unaware of impending disaster, he had risen to the challenge of increasing the Soul Reapers’ powers. He tested the boundaries of previous research, ignoring certain inconvenient ethical questions, in pursuit of an achievement which had so long eluded their kind. Eventually, incredibly, the ambitious young scientist had succeeded. He discovered the precise combination of essentials required, and then he combined them perfectly, in an exacting, detail-ridden process that had taxed his skills to their limit. The end result was a crystal-like catalyst that would allow them to finally exceed the limits that had always restricted their powers. In flushed triumph, he had named it the Hougyoku.
Only then, after the exhilarating rush of success had faded, had Urahara belatedly realized the unspeakable danger into which he had put them all.
Hat & Clogs - continued...
* Disclaimer: this is a Bleach fanfic *
****** 4. Consequences
Such disturbing memories from the past woke the former Soul Reaper to his physical discomfort in the present. Tiny, half-moon cuts from his fingernails stung his upper arms. Tension coiled in his chest, a heavy steel spring twisted to its snapping point. Adrenaline, with no convenient physical release, surged through the cells in his body like flames up a candlewick.
He slowly unclenched his fingers, and blew a noisy puff of air through the ragged curtain of hair veiling his eyes. The vibrating energy pulsing through his nerves dissipated slightly, but it was still pitched too high. It would overload his body if he wasn’t careful. He shifted on the stool and leaned across the counter towards the window, looking for a distraction. Opening the shutter slightly, he gazed out at the sunlit, dusty, cul-de-sac where his shop was located. He was unable, however, to focus on the dead-end street, and his mind’s eye turned again to the past.
He had hit a dead end himself, back then, when he had tried to undo his error and destroy his deadly creation. It must never be put to use, he knew, and he’d stretched his abilities even further than he'd thought possible in order to get rid of it. Somehow, the thing refused to be obliterated, and he had finally resorted to putting it under lock and key. He had told no-one, not even his former captain and childhood confidante, of the dangerous crystal.
At long last, his attention could shift outward. He had looked around at the world outside his lab, only to be overtaken by a tidal wave of cascading events.
“Have you heard about the disappearances?...”
“... in the town, people vanishing...”
“A dozen members of Squad Nine went out this morning to check on an incident...”
“...haven’t been heard from since...”
Suddenly caught up in a blur of hasty orders, rushed conversations, and an emergency strategy meeting, Urahara had a nagging sense of familiarity. He felt, uneasily, that he should be able to identify a pattern here... to recognize what was happening. Without the luxury of time, he had to act blindly, without his usual analysis and preparation. He’d also needed to act alone, having been expressly forbidden to take part in the rescue mission.
Cloaking his spiritual emissions to avoid detection, he had crept out in the dead of night – only to get caught in the act. It had been Tessai Tsukabishi, a powerful and influential leader in his own right, who’d found him. Urahara, dreading the possibility of having to fight his friend and colleague in order to pass, had welcomed Tessai’s admission that he, too, was deeply concerned. Together, they had chosen to defy the laws of Soul Society, deliberately risking the wrath of the authorities, all in hopes of assisting the other captains and lieutenants whom they believed to be in grave danger.
They had failed. At least, they had failed to prevent their friends from being attacked, and they had failed to apprehend the soft-spoken, charming deceiver who was apparently behind everything. In the end, they had barely been able to save the lives of their colleagues. Tessai had been forced to use illegal magic techniques, and Urahara had even resorted to drawing on the frighteningly unpredictable power of the Hougyoku. Yet, despite their desperate efforts throughout the night, the experiment which had violated their friends’ spiritual identities had left the victims irreversibly transformed.
Even having confronted the perpetrator of this desecration, the young scientist's naïveté had left him unprepared for the final betrayal. Accused of the very crimes he’d tried to prevent, he was unprepared to defend himself or Tessai. It was only with the help of his loyal friend Yoruichi, from whom he had cowardly concealed the truth, that he had fled the worst of his sentence. She'd been furious at his lack of faith in her, but had restricted her response at the time to a brief scolding. Urahara, however, soon came to the sorrowful realization that things could never again be the same between them.
After some adjustment, he had managed to survive in exile here in the Living World, abilities intact, beneath the notice of the authorities back home. In helping him, both his friends had forfeited their own careers, friends, families and home, and he would forever be in their debt. The victims whom he and Tessai had managed to “rescue” had been cut off from Soul Society, still bound to the horrific powers which had awakened in them, despite his unfulfilled vow to find a cure. And still, to this day, Tessai insisted on tacking “-dono” onto Urahara’s name – as if the shopkeeper deserved any kind of honor or respect!
His gray eyes hardened, as he fought off the shame of his remembered mistakes and his inability to repay what he owed. All the more incentive to permanently and quickly hide the powerful catalyst from discovery - for, of course, he had spirited the dangerous invention away with him, far from the greedy ambitions which would have misused it.
Time was slipping away, and the enemy could strike at any moment. He must take action - do something! But no solution presented itself to his fevered brain, and the warm haze of morning sharpened towards noon, as it had for the past hundred years. In a silent agony of indecision, Kisuke Urahara slouched over the deserted shop counter, looking for all the world as if he were indulging in a lazy nap.
****** 5. Developments
Some time later, the shopkeeper was roused abruptly from his meditative doze. Had his stomach growled? Could it be lunchtime already? he wondered, and then he froze. A slight, unfamiliar murmur teased at the shopkeeper’s awareness. Not his stomach, he decided. Goosebumps shivered across his lithe forearms, and his coarse, straw-colored hair stood out from his scalp despite the weight of his hat. What was that sensation? Too faint to be the presence of another soul reaper, too clean to be that of a starving Hollow spirit, it hinted at more power than should exist in this sleepy, small city. Oh Lords of Earth and Sky! Let it not be his worst fears realized ...
Urahara lunged to his feet, his warrior’s body instinctively assuming the slight crouch of a battle-ready stance. His right hand seized his ever-present cane, grasping it in a way more suited to holding a sword than a walking-stick. Senses instantly stabbing out in all directions, he noted the distant presence of the recently-arrived Kuchiki girl. The dull hunger of a Hollow spirit pulsed briefly, probably pursuing a lost soul. Then the feeling dissipated. Apparently, the young Soul Reaper had cleansed the monster, doing her job with typical Kuchiki efficiency. Beyond those unique energy signatures, however, something new was humming in the background. He tilted his head as if to listen, trying to zero in on its source.
A quick step sounded in the door to the shop area, and then Tessai stood beside him, posture ramrod straight, looking just as serious and dignified in his humble, white apron as he ever had in the magnificent robes of his former station. “You sense it too,” the man observed.
“Hmm,” responded the former captain, preoccupied with his effort to pinpoint the disturbance.
“Could it be ... him?”
Tessai's question was posed cautiously, lips barely moving under the stylized mustache. Urahara flicked a sideways glance up at the other man then, startled but gratified that their first reactions had been identical. He had been unsure to what extent Tessai had remained wary of their mutual enemy.
After that night which had devastated so many lives, the two of them had never discussed the events that had led them to flee their world. In the years since, Tessai had worked alongside him as they had attempted one experiment after another, doggedly trying to reverse the damage that had been done to their friends. They had analyzed their failures and debated which approaches might be effective in the future.
Tessai had even cleaned up the aftereffects of several embarrassingly destructive blasts which Urahara had let loose in the heat of frustration. Those times, the big man had refused to let the shopkeeper assist in picking up after himself. Instead, he had insisted that Urahara needed rest - thereby adding to the humiliation heaped on the defeated scientist’s shoulders. After several decades of ineffectual research, he’d been no closer to restoring the integrity of the victims’ souls than he was to destroying the Hougyoku. Even in the depths of their desperation, however, neither man had ever suggested using the invention again.
They had never mentioned their unjust convictions, nor the shockingly severe punishments that awaited them still, should they dare venture out of exile. Even their dramatic rescue, accomplished in the nick of time with gracefully efficient violence, was only referred to obliquely and in jest, and then only by the woman who had saved them, as in, “Don’t expect me to take pity on your sorry ass again, Kisuke, you hear me?” And the name of their betrayer had never, ever passed their lips.
And then Urahara had been paid a visit, by the default leader of the group which had been forced to undergo the grisly transformations. The experiments were over, he’d said. There was no point in the scientist continuing to beat himself up over something that quite obviously was impossible.
When Urahara had protested, had tried to outline the options that still remained, the man had changed tactics, taking advantage of the researcher’s guilty conscience. The Vaizard, as they had taken to calling themselves, were through with being manipulated and experimented on. They had suffered enough, and had at least gained control over the dark appetites of their unwanted powers. Further research would only keep them emotionally unstable between cycles of hope and despair. It was time for them all to move on. Confronted with that line of reasoning, Urahara had fallen silent. It would be wrong to pressure them to continue against their wishes, in the faint hope that his own burden of guilt could be lessened.
Once their collaborative research ceased, he and Tessai had simply banished from their interactions even the slightest reference to the incidents of the past. Since Tessai was the only other person, besides the Vaizard themselves, to have witnessed that night’s catastrophe and to have seen with his own eyes the identity of the traitors, Urahara was left to obsess alone over what, if anything, he could have or should have done differently. He continued to research the Vaizard’s problem privately, now with a speculative and theoretical approach instead of the practical, hands-on method they had shared previously. Since Tessai had given no sign that the issue still occupied his attention, Urahara had never broached the subject.
Thus, Tessai’s simple question carried far more weight than would normally be expected from four monosyllabic words. Kisuke took his time with the answer, giving it the thought it deserved, while he stepped back into his clogs.
“Could it be ...?” he repeated slowly. “I can’t be sure, but ...” He reached out again to explore the unfamiliar sensation threading through their surroundings. “This seems ... too open, somehow. I can’t trace it yet, but it doesn’t seem to be concealed. There’s a lack of intent, which seems inconsistent with anything that ... ah ... he ... would project.” Urahara paused, hearing himself falter. He took a steadying breath and continued. “I would expect something more definite and deceptive, like a sense of purity, or innocent ignorance, or even helpfulness, from that ... snake.” Urahara’s voice sharpened perceptibly as the last word left his tongue.
Tessai’s eyebrows lowered until they disappeared behind his eyeglasses. “Or else,” he said, in what could only be called a snarl, “he would attack outright. In that case, our only warning would be a tsunami of arrogant malice, which he wouldn’t even bother to rein in.”
“Hah!” The short bark of laughter from Urahara’s throat masked an exhalation of relief. What a difference it made, to know that he was not the only one bearing the burden of what might happen. He pushed his hat back and rubbed the cooling sweat from his brow, suddenly feeling better than he had in years. “Well, we should know soon enough,” he mused. “Perhaps I’ll go for a walk later and investigate.”
Tessai seemed about to respond, but suddenly stiffened, inhaled sharply through his nose, and whirled to dash back down the hallway. Urahara’s eyebrows shot up in surprise, then his eyes narrowed slightly. That smell .... He sniffed tentatively, and then a slow smile warmed his features. He hadn’t encountered that particular odor since the last time he’d tried to cook, about eight or nine decades ago. He grinned outright and turned to follow his friend into the kitchen, anticipating considerable entertainment therein.
So, Urahara thought, that’s what it took for Chef Tessai to burn the rice.
What's life without Laughter? Just laugh "You must prove more patient than a caterpillar, more willing to survive than a cockroach, and more stubborn than a leech - or you will definitely fail" ~ Legendary Moonlight Sculptor