Breaking away.

He pulled his knees up even more, the water that streamed into the cave almost touching his feet now. It had been raining for days and Gin guessed that if it kept on like this he wouldn't be able to keep his one pair of clothes dry much longer. Next to him, in the corner of the small alcove, was a bag which had been filled with carrots once. It was almost empty now, tomorrow he would eat the last one. Then there would be nothing but hunger.

He was shivering, hugging himself to keep his chest just a little warmer. The fabric of his clothes was torn and filthy, his own blood having stained it in the last fight. Arrancars, Aizen... some of the other beings he had created... they were all destroyed. Tousen was in prison, a slim chance at mercy. It had been him who had prevented the destruction of Unohana's hospital that Aizen had planned a few days before they had all lined up for battle.

When all had been lost, Gin had managed to disappear, Ukitake already bringing his soul slayer down at him, Kuchiki's swords approaching fast. A mark of one of Soi Fong's attack had been on his left arm just before he had teleported himself to this section of Rukongai, outside of the city.

There was no doubt that they were all looking for him, he had seen the bloodlust in Hitsugaya's eyes not long before the final fight, the rare fire in Ukitake's when he had been about to strike him. He was the last living reminder of the pure evil of which Aizen had brought upon Soul Society, while Tousen could at least be seen as someone who had seen the light on time.

Pushing all of his spirit power behind inner walls was straining, now even more so because he was weakened. Letting it slip one time, just once, would mean that half the captains would be here in mere seconds. Perhaps if he could get a little further away, past the forests and mountains, to the no man's land where shinigami hardly ventured, he would have a chance. But he feared their patrols. Down this little pair of rocks was a village and shinigami roamed everywhere, looking for him. In time they would ease up on it, not quite forgetting about him, but busy dealing with new threats and problems. Gin doubted though that this would happen before he fainted of hunger.

This made him think about her. Rangiku. In the past couple of days he had thought about her quite a lot actually. In that final fight, fought in the 31st and 33th district of Northern Rukongai, he had felt her spirit power, but not seen her. She had been engaged in battle with someone else, probably her captain had deemed it wiser not to have her be confronted with him. Now that they had lost, going along with Aizen could be concluded to have been the wrong decision, meaning she had been right not to join him. When he had first gone with Aizen, he had waited for her, secretly, somewhere deep in himself in the cold, black heaven that they had fled to. Now he was glad she had never come. She would be dead now, or sitting next to Tousen, bounded and awaiting her sentence.

They had used this cave once, to shelter from a rain about as heavy as this one. It had been not long before they joined the academy and not long after they had first started touching each other in that special way. As she had sat here, huddled up not much unlike he was now, he had put his arm around her to keep her from getting cold. They had kissed for what had seemed like hours.

She had been so pretty then, so soft, her hair so smooth in his fingers. Her sighs had made him want to kiss her deeper, get ever closer to her. Somehow she had ended on his lap, legs to either side of his waist. They had both been surprised by how good this had felt. He had been hard then as he often was when he was with her. She had noticed, not commented on it like she had the first time it had happened. For a while he had managed to restrain himself, not wanting to shock her by thrusting against her warm body, but it had been too overwhelming. The first time he began to rub against her, she had sighed, but not pulled back, instead kissing him again.

With the moment it turned better and he had closed his eyes then, burying his face in her shoulders. She had been surprised at that, had to have been as it was usually he that supported her. Her fingers had moved over his back, soothing him as he came closer and spilled himself.

It was embarassing that he had soaked his pants like that, but the moment he came he had not thought of that, had just felt pure pleasure, already wanting more.

How he wanted her to be with him now, feeling her warmth again, those soothing fingers as she brought him some relief. The last time he had had her was so long ago and all that he had known since then was the hollowness of making himself come with his own hand.

But he couldn't blame her. He had betrayed her, not the other was around. Maybe, one of these days, she would remember this cave and send Hitsugaya and a few of his fellow captains over to take a little peek inside. They would find a torn up fox, not being much up to fight even their shikais. If it was Rangiku that would tell them about that, it might be just as well that they would get him. Silly as it once might have seemed, all he had left now was the memory of her affection.

He slept a bit, never too long, the uncomfortable position forcing him to wake again and move his muscles. But it was not this that took him out of sleep this time. His muscles tensed up, there

was definitely someone moving outside, heading for the cave. Whoever it was, spirit power was being hidden. A bad sign. His hand reached out for Shinsou, fingers tightening around it as the person came closer.

It was then that he felt something familiar. He concentrated, wanting to be sure. And then he was. He stood up, leaving Shinsou on the floor and stepped in view.

She was only a few paces away from him. Lips parting, but no words leaving her mouth as her eyes fixed on him, taking in his sorry state. Her hair was completely soaked, water dripping down her face. At this moment he didn't care anymore whether others lay in waiting down the rocks. He made a movement in his direction as she began to do the same.

The last few yards she began to run for him and he caught her in his arms, her hair sweeping forward with the sudden impact. He heard her panting as her hands grabbed the fabric of his clothes. Even though she was completely soaked, he only felt the warmth of her body as he held her, closer than he ever had before.

"You..." she started, voice breaking. "You... stupid..."

He held her tighter then, not wanting her to move away. She had probably been allowed to be the one to go to him and discuss terms of surrender. If so, then this would be the last time he would be able to be near her.

But she was breaking away then, and he reluctantly let her go. He stood passively as her eyes took him in, her hand coming up to touch his chin. Now the rain had soaked him almost as bad as her, making him look even more like something that had crawled out of a sewer.

He smiled at her, wanting her to think that he was okay with what was going to happen, even if he was not. It only resulted in her scowling.

"You fucking idiot."

It was clear to him then that she was angry not because of what he had done to her, but what he had done to herself. It made him feel guilty for turning her life upside down as he had. Maybe it was for the best that he would disappear from it soon, letting her get some rest and happiness.

"You can get them now," he said, still smiling. "It's okay."

Her eyes widened. "What? Who...?"

It was then that he noticed that she was not wearing her vice-captain badge anymore. Was this because she had been elevated to be a captain? But then why was she surprised when he implied she wasn't alone?

He opened his eyes, smile gone. "Why have you come?"

Now she looked down, tension in her posture. "They are concentrating on searching West Rukongai now, it's best to flee now. Tomorrow the eleventh, second and third squad will be here."

"You came here to help me?"

She ignored his question. "I brought some food."

"Not carrots, right?" he asked.

She gave him a look, opening the small bag that had fallen to the floor the moment before they had embraced.

Gin sighed, then turned serious. "If they find out you helped me, they'll..."

"They'll find out soon anyway," she said, looking up again. "Because I am coming with you."

Strange how this made him feel this so warm suddenly, like the rain didn't exist. "I don't want..."

Again she interrupted him. "This is not your decision to make, Ichimaru. Last time you left you became a danger to Soul Society, but you don't seem too threatening now. You don't even have Shinsou anymore, I can take you out any time I want."

"He's in the cave," he said smugly.

Her lips tightened. "That's not the point. Last time you might have gotten away, but this time you won't have anyone beaming you up. I will personally make sure you will never be a nuisance to Soul Society anymore."

"You made a deal like that?" he said, surprised, not believing they would go for that if they could so easily round him up once they had his location.

She shook her head. "My captain knows... at least I think he does. That's all I need."

But Gin knew that leaving would hurt her. "You'll be an outcast the rest of your life, Rangiku. You'll have nothing but me... think about it."

Now she smiled at him, faintly, finally. "It wouldn't be the first time."

He frowned, even though she had a point. "But..."

"Since when do you whine this much?" she said sharply. "Get Shinsou now. We have to go or do you want to chatter here until Soi Fong stabs you in your arm once more?"

And for once he did as she told, going back into the cave and taking his weapon. He could hit her now, leave her unconscious and get her squad. She would get no more than a reprimand for coming here by herself and maybe even be out of a holding cell in time for his execution.

But if he did that, she would lose him again... and he knew with the way she looked at him that would break her more than the loss of everything she had there. When he was next to her again, he took her hand.

"Lead the way."

The end


This fic was inspired by beautiful fanart that was put up in someone's imageshack. If anyone wants to see it let me know, I am not sure if it's okay to put links like that on ffnet :).