Summary: Soul Society's closer to godhood than it thinks.
Disclaimer: Bleach, its characters and its settings don't belong to me. Neither does the Greek pantheon, though I'm pretty sure they've moved into the public domain by now.
Notes: Written in response to Chira's prompt: Bleach characters discover they are, in fact, reincarnations of Greek gods.
Gods And Demons
The drawing pad landed on Renji's desk, spinning paperwork out of the way. Renji knocked over an ink-well.
"They ever teach you nobles to knock?"
"Look at this!" shrilled Rukia.
"Might wanna consider the fact you just wiped out three squads' residential papers -- "
"You might want to consider not wasting my time," said Rukia icily. "Look. At. This."
He looked at Rukia.
He looked at the picture again.
"Wait, I know this one. Human game, right? You draw a picture, I guess what the hell is going on in your crazy head -- "
"Doesn't he look familiar? Don't you recognise him?"
"Rukia." He waited until he'd got her attention. "This is a rabbit in a skirt."
Rukia snatched the drawing pad back. "It's Ichigo, you idiot!"
"... you drew a picture of Ichigo in a skirt."
"You -- " Rukia looked briefly exasperated at the fact that the world still refused to follow the rules set out in her head. She drew out a chair and sat down.
"Renji," she said. "It's Herakles. He's Herakles. Ichigo is."
"... oh," said Renji. "Oh fucking fuck."
"So we're right. About the girl."
"Orihime? I'm not sure, but ... yes. Probably."
"Hebe," said Renji, more to himself than to Rukia. "Who else?"
"I don't know, I just -- "
"Are you telling Zeus?"
He knew the answer by the sudden unreadability of her face.
"The General has his own ways of acquiring information," she said carefully.
"He'll kill you. If he finds out you knew, and didn't say."
"Captain Yamamoto -- "
"Was a nicer guy than Zeus," said Renji. "Doesn't really come out to play much anymore. Whoever's at home in his head likes thunderbolts better than fire these days, they tell me."
"Wouldn't you save me, then, Honoured Vice-Captain?" she said. "That's your area, isn't it? War."
Renji felt the unquiet god stir in the back of his mind. He bared his teeth.
"Ares can fuck off," he said. "I go by my own name. And you can fight your own battles, can't you?" Said the name deliberately, letting the sibilant hiss: "Artemis."
Rukia didn't kick him, amazingly. She looked away. Then she got up, turned to the door.
"If that's who I have to be," she said: the words to protect him hung unspoken in the air. "Then I'll be her."
He couldn't see her face, but the voice that next spoke wasn't hers: deeper, older, moonlight and the wild in its shifting tones.
"I have been many people in my time," said the goddess.
"Promising," said Renji, voice and hands steady. "You killed anybody who saw you naked."
"I never lay with you," said Artemis. She left the scent of the hunt behind her, and he must still be himself, because the hound in him wanted nothing more than to run baying at her feet --
Aphrodite's hotter, said Ares. "Lay off, will you," said Renji, "she's a friend."
Yumichika was still chafing over not being Adonis.
"And that unspeakably vulgar tattoo of his," he said. "Really."
"What the fuck's a Titan, anyway?" said Ikkaku. "Though it was some kind of boat. That Asano kid had a, what'd he call it? A video."
"Boats," sniffed Yumichika. "Does the 11th division look like boats to them?"
There was a brief silence, interrupted only by Zaraki's whooping and the distant roar of important bits of geography becoming unstuck. Yumichika filed his nails.
"'Least Captain's enjoying it," said Ikkaku. "... wanna go kill another couple of mountains?"
"All right," said Yumichika. "Why not."
"Don't you have a maenad or two to attend to. Sir."
"How could any maenad compare to my lovely, lovely Athena-chan?"