Chapter 36: Incarceration

A throaty groan escaped swollen lips and Ichigo took a shaky breath.

The world swam around him as he attempted to move, letting his body adjust to just being conscious. He felt exhausted, groggy and he couldn't really focus, but he did recognize that he was lying on a floor, but not much else.

The sour stench and taste of vomit was his second sensation, followed by a throbbing pain in his head. He was lying on his side and when he tried to push himself up, Ichigo barely got his elbow under him. He paused to let the world settle before pushing up any further. After panting through the nausea and vertigo for a few moments, he blinked furiously; his blurry vision improving with every passing second.

The room he was in slowly took on solidity, and he was not surprised to see large manacles around his hands that were attached to a chain, which in turn were bolted to the floor. Looking around, the gray walls gave him no answer as to where he was. But as he saw muted light come in through the five bars that formed a door, enough to see an empty corridor outside, Ichigo was starting to realize where he was.

Inhaling sharply, it all came thundering back to him and Ichigo blinked out of his half-aware daze. He remembered the wave of nausea, the way his throat had clogged and how he couldn't breathe. But most of all, he remembered the sharp pinch in the back of his neck, the injection filling his veins and burning him up inside.

Ichigo went tense as his muscles recalled the fear that had gripped him as the tranquilizing shot took him over, consciousness flooding out as the bed he had struggled on had risen up to meet him. Then darkness, black and cold. And now here.

"No," he muttered, "no, no, no No NO!" Ichigo threw himself at the narrow entrance of the dim little cell, the chain stretching to its full length. He pulled and shouted, fear rolling up inside him like a dark tide.

Ichigo's cries echoed out along the corridors of the shinigami prison, ignored and unanswered.

Stepping back, the chain slackened and rattled against the concrete floor. Ichigo's breath was quick in his throat and his eyes darted back and forth in his eye-sockets.

He scanned the walls and floor, every inch for a way to escape. The room was a small perfect square with no windows. He could move from corner to corner, but not go near the bars; those were just out of his reach.

The only thing decorating the cell was an old mattress with a brown blanket that looked like it had been washed too many times and the brown spots wouldn't go away. The chain was broad and thick and the manacles icy cold against his numb skin.

Grabbing the steel, Ichigo took a deep breath and tugged at the chain. It didn't yield the least and Ichigo could feel Kidõ vibrate through his fingers. Magic he didn't understand. He let go of it as if it burned him, his expression grim.

Turning around, his eyes focused at the steel bars that glowed an uncomfortable gold. Black and blue spirit-energy vented from his pores and the strong scream that left Ichigo quickly faded as he saw every ounce of his energy evaporate into the spirit reducing stonewalls. They sucked it up like a dry sponge in water.

A deep breath; and then another. Without realising it he was hyperventilating, the tide of fear drowning him as his brain struggled to comprehend that there was no way out.

He was rapidly getting dizzy and his stomach was threatening to void itself again and all he could muster was to sit down and slide and pull himself away from the bars until his back was against one of the walls. Fighting down the woozy panic he held his bound hands against his pulled up knees .

Each breath came out as a wheezing cough. He gritted his teeth and tried to stifle his breathing in an attempt to relax, the tendons in his neck clearly visible. He knew he wouldn't get anywhere when panicked.

Eventually his breathing eased out and he stopped shaking. Doing his best to think rationally Ichigo figured that after he had collapsed in the room with Unohana and his father, someone must have given him an injection with a heavier sleeping agent, changed his clothes and imprisoned him in the cell. Why hadn't he been killed? Because of his father?

Thinking of his parent, Ichigo wondered where Isshin was. No where near he knew, because he was pretty sure Isshin wouldn't let his son get caged in a cell. Was he just outside, raging? He hoped he was. Right?

Shifting uncomfortably, Ichigo rubbed his right eye the best he could despite his useless left hand getting in the way. He sniffled quietly and realized that he was freezing. In a spasmodic motion he did his best to move his arm around his body. It didn't really work and he ended up crawling over to the filthy madras and grabbing the blanket. With a grim expression he laid it over his legs and leaned against the wall, not wanting to lie down so he couldn't see if any shadows of people appeared on the floor outside his cell.

As he sat there, waiting for hours for something to happen and doing is best not to think about his current situation, something got his attention. It was a smell other than the sweet smell of Soul Society that made his mind reel. It was some sort of strange mix between that and something foul, something rotten. It was the strangest mix between the two. A vizard.

Ichigo tried to get as close to the golden bars as he could, stretching the chain as far as it would go. He peered out and heard footsteps approach. One pair was marching steadily while the other dragged its feet as if limping. Ichigo waited, anticipation rising in his chest. Who was it?

Two shadows appeared on the floor in front of his cell and as they danced nearer, Ichigo's eyes strained in expectation as two people walked past rather briskly. Not believing what he had seen, Ichigo tried to get a better look, but he couldn't, the two already gone from sight. However, it seemed like the prisoner was placed in the cell next to him. That couldn't have been Shinji Hirako, could it?

From what Ichigo had managed to see, the other vizard had been bound, manacles around the arms and leg irons around his ankles with a chain linking them together. Ichigo could hear the guard push his prisoner inside the cell and probably tie him to the floor just like himself. The prisoner didn't seem to be struggling against it, which made Ichigo wonder if it really was the leader of vizard-group he had once known. There should have been a fight… right?

After a few minutes the guard left the way he had come and disappeared, not even glancing at Ichigo. Tugging at the chain, Ichigo called out.

"Hey!" Ichigo shouted, surprised at how low his voice was. Clearing his throat he tried again. "HEY!"

His voice carried further this time but it didn't seem like anyone had heard him, either that or he had been completely ignored. He screamed again, trying to get as close to the bars as he could. Eventually his screams where just that, shouts that he hoped would make someone come, wondering what the hell was going on.

Falling silent again at the sounds of something from the other cell, Ichigo swallowed uneasily, listening. But all sounds were gone as fast as they had been there, no indication that anyone was there at all. Nothing, aside from the smell.

"Shinji?" Ichigo called out, his voice failing him once more and he had to yell again so his voice would carry.

At first, Ichigo didn't think he would get any response and was about to shout again, but the rustling of chains indicated someone moving in the other cell. The sound was dampened by the walls, but it was there.

At first there was only a pained groan, then there was a strange raspy sound. "Hello? Who's there?"

That didn't sound like Shinji. But then again Ichigo hadn't heard the vizard's voice in a long time.

"Shinji?! Is that you?" there was a moment of silence and Ichigo didn't know what to expect.

"Who are you?"

"It's Ichigo!" he didn't stop to wonder why it took so long for his former friend to answer the simple question. Again there was a long delay.

"Kurosaki Ichigo?"

"Yes! You helped us with the inner hollow problem, remember?"


Ichigo bit his lip. No? What did he mean; no!? Couldn't he remember? Wasn't it Shinji? It had to be.

"What's going on Shinji?" Ichigo tried, "How long have you been here?"

Not getting a response, Ichigo wondered if Shinji had either fallen asleep or fainted. "Shinji! Are you there!?"

"Yes! Yes… I'm here… Always here… Been here a long time." It sounded like he was ranting now, not really addressing Ichigo. "Many moons. How long? I don't know, don't remember. Twelve… fifteen moons? Must have missed some, I don't see them very often… What does that make it, Ichigo? A year or more?"

Shit. A whole year? No wonder he seemed so strange. Maybe if he talked a bit more it would jog his memory. Shifting where he sat, Ichigo tried to sit in a better way that didn't make his shoulder want to dislocate.

"Are you the only one here?" Ichigo asked, doing his best to pry out answers from the former leader.

"Only one…? No there are many people here… Many scientists!"

"Are there any other vizard here?" Ichigo clarified.

"Vizard? No, haven't seen any of them in a long time."

"What have they done to you, Shinji? The scientists?" He was getting desperate for answers, he needed to know what to expect. Or at least what might happened to him since it had happened to Shinji too. He was pretty sure he would fall for the same fate now that he was here.

"Bad things," suddenly Ichigo recognized Shinji's voice, "I'm not sure if you want to know, since you're here too."

"We have to know, we have to know what we are up against, what's going to happen!"

"Trust me, you don't want to know Ichigo, if you thought you had it bad before, you're in for a big surprise."

Ichigo didn't know what to say to that. But not caring for an answer, Shinji went on. It seemed as if his mind had come back from wherever it had gone before.

"I was captured when I was out getting groceries for the gang. Can you imagine? Twenty fucking shinigami suddenly rush in and drop down from the roof and came jumping through the bread shelves." Shinji chuckled as if it was funny, "I had no chance in the world. I barely managed to unsheathe my sword before it was knocked out of my hand."

"I didn't stay to pick up Sakande," continued Shinji, "I ran. I ran and jumped over shelves, shoved humans out of the way to escape. Or so I thought. I should have stayed inside, I know that now. How stupid I was… stupid, stupid, stupid…"

Shinji didn't say anything more, but Ichigo didn't need to hear more to understand that Shinji must have been faced with an army of shinigami outside the store and been captured somehow.

"I think the others are dead," Shinji went on. "Probably attacked by the same men as I was and killed instead of captured. Since they probably weren't stupid enough to drop their sword," Shinji's voice was stiff, unemotional. He had probably grieved for a year and coming to the conclusions it didn't make them any less dead.

Ichigo remained quiet, not wanting to hinder Shinji from saying what he wanted.

"Why are you here Ichigo?" Shinji asked instead. "To be honest, I thought the shinigami would make sure to kill you first?"

Not sure how to feel about that statement, Ichigo figured Shinji was buying time until he had to say what had happened to him in here. Not wanting to press the other Vizard for answers, Ichigo figured he might as well tell.

"The shinigami attacked us as well. But we managed to escape. We were on the run from shinigami for a year. I only managed to survive because of the help of my inner hollow. We escaped to Hueco Mundo where Aizen and the arrancar took us in."

"Aizen…?" Shinji asked, as if he had forgotten. "Oh, that guy… Ha! The reason I'm here!" he sounded as if he had looking for the name for months. He probably had. Ichigo wondered what the shinigami had done to him to loose so much of himself. "Yes… that was what the shinigami here told me… that they would keep me here until the war was over to make sure I didn't side with the enemy! What bullshit…" Shinji rant died in a painful and sharp inhale.

"But then you actually did that! I can't believe it!" Shinji went on with a shaky breath; starting to sound odd again and Ichigo didn't know what to say. "At least someone was smart enough to do that!"

"We don't know if we were that smart to do such a thing," Ichigo said, interrupting Shinji. "Neither Aizen or the arrancar wanted us. They were suspicious. We were shinigami in their eyes after all. But eventually they came around…" Ichigo swallowed again. He didn't like talking about the last part of his own story.

"Then we got infected with some… shit… and we were sent back to our father. My father took us back in, but when he couldn't cure us, he took us here. He hoped someone could help us. They seemed to want to help at first, but then the shinigami got sick too and they threw us in here…"

"I doubt they will cure you here, Ichigo," Shinji said seriously, "because what they do here is far from helping."

"What do they do to you?" asked Ichigo. He had to know, no matter how horrible it was. There was a long pause again and Ichigo wondered if he had to repeat his question.

"They take my life slowly. As slow as they as they see fit," Shinji started, his voice stiff. Ichigo recognised the tone, he'd used it a lot himself lately when he had to talk about dreaded things he didn't even want to think about.

"I think they slowly take the organs I don't need to survive," Shinji said. "I mean, I have less of them now, I can see the scars from the operations, feel the holes from where something used to be and I'm not dead yet."

Ichigo's eyes widened at that, and he swallowed uneasily without saying anything.

"But what's a big problem is that, they won't let me die," suddenly, what little edge and familiarity Shinji's voice had gained before was gone. "I am sure they just want to see me suffer or see how I react to pain. Maybe it's what they get their kicks from."

Ichigo didn't know what to say. Would he succumb to the lowest level of all and wish he was dead too? Was he himself just another type of hollow the shinigami wanted samples on?

However he didn't get to wonder for long, the presence of another shinigami approaching. Ichigo could hear Shinij making some sort of strangled noise. Was it fear of what was to come?

A dark shadow played across the hallway outside his cell and Ichigo swallowed uneasily, his mouth and throat a dry desert. It was a different shinigami than the one that had come with Shinji, the glow more intense and the invigorating smell even stronger. Ichigo's eyes rolled into his skull and unconsciously he bared his teeth.

The the golden barred door was opened and the shinigami entered cell. Without thinking Ichigo got to his unstable feet and did his best to keep his eyes on the male in front of him. At least he thought it was a man, it was hard to distinguish form the bright light and when the shinigami drew his sword, Ichigo moved away automatically. The growl in his throat escalated and Ichigo couldn't keep his eyes away from the weapon that burned like fire.

The prison guard made sure he had his katana pointed at Ichigo as he released the chain from the floor. Holding it in a firm grip, with a good length of it wrapped around his lower arm, he backed out of the cell, pulling Ichigo with him.

As soon as the hollow-boy was out of the cell, he kicked out and tried to pull free. He flared with his energy, roared and tried to tear away. He spun round, trying to tug the chain out from the shinigami's grip without any success.

Compensating with his own spirit-energy, the jailer pushed all of it over Ichigo before it too was evaporated into the walls. But Ichigo's energy was stronger and with a cry the orange haired boy lunged forward. With a quick flash-step the shinigami dodged, but just barely, having to slam himself into the wall to get out of the way.

Falling forward as his target moved out of the way, Ichigo stumbled as the chain around his hands didn't yield and Ichigo slammed into the wall face first with a pained groan. The dizzy-spells from before returned rapidly and Ichigo hissed again when the burning katana cut into the skin of his throat before he could move away.

Without much delay, the prison guard moved his free arm back, removing an easily accessible Tazer from a small pouch that hung from his belt.

Ichigo let out a strangled cry when the electric-shock short-circuited his nervous system.

He staggered forward, trying to move away, but the shinigami remained close. The Tazer delivered another fifty-thousand-volt kiss.

Ichigo embraced the filth on the floor. He rolled onto his back, his gaunt body twitching and his head rolled side to side, and he made noises that suggested he might be in danger of swallowing his tongue. Gawking at the shinigami and moving his mouth as if trying to speak, or just scream in pain, all that Ichigo managed to do was a thin squeal, a mere threat of sound, as if his esophagus had constricted.

Not sure how long the effects of the shock would last, hoping for at least a minute or two, the shinigami sheathed his weapon and put away the Taser. Warily and without a word, he grabbed the boy by the ankles and dragged him away. The spirit-energy from the shinigami's hands scorched Ichigo's skin and unable to kick out, Ichigo could only squirm and moan in protest.

After a few turns along long corridors, a white, heavy-looking door appeared. The jailer let go of Ichigo and unlocked the door with an unheard chant of Kidõ. The dark walls that engulfed the prison cells transformed into blinding, clinical white.

This time Ichigo was lifted up, the hands of the shinigami burning him as his upper body was heaved over the larger man's shoulders.

Eventually they stopped outside an seemingly unremarkable door. When it opened, Ichigo fought through his paralysis and started kicking as soon as he could glimpse the room he had been taken to. The boy didn't have much strength but he caught the shinigami off-guard and was dropped to the floor. As soon as he had slammed to the floor painfully, Ichigo tried to get to his feet and run.

But the cuffs binding his hands wanted differently and in a forceful thug of the chain his arms were pulled out in front of him and several white coated men grabbed at Ichigo's arms and body. With great struggle Ichigo tried to get out of the grip he was in, but his body wasn't responding well to his commands as the effect of the Tazer-blow still lingered.

He was lowered onto a cold steel table, the katana from before suddenly back at his throat. It cut at the strained tendons on Ichigo's neck and Ichigo did his best to keep away from the sword.

The pain that attacked him all at once was hard to fight against, the cruel hands grabbing at his thin legs, holding them down against the table before his ankles and his wrists were forced into tight straps to keep them down. It was the same with his thighs and upper chest. Struggling against them was useless Ichigo knew, the Kidõ in them making them almost impossible to break. But he couldn't stop; he had to get out, especially when the 12th Division Captain Mayuri Kurotsuchi towered above him.

"Hey! What's going on!?" demanded Ichigo.

Despite his screaming, the painted man turned around, pretending not to have heard the boy. He walked forward, where in front of him his group of scientists waited for their orders.

"We have had a slight out break in the hospital," Mayuri began, talking over Ichigo's screams, "this hollow had apparently been taken in for some sort for treatment of a disease."

Ichigo ceased his struggles and shouts, growing quiet to hear what the scientist had to say. "But it wasn't contained and it showed to be very contagious. The nurses that had taken care of it got infected by the same disease and are now quarantined in the outskirts of Soul Society to not infect any more people. We are to examine the hollow for a treatment."

Ichigo's jaw set at what he heard. So Unohana had taken him here, hethought and reminded himself never to trust anyone again.

Unable to hold back, Ichigo screamed, barred his teeth and hissed when Mayuri turned around and looked at him. The scream quickly escalated into a hideous roar. But most of the scientists seemed un-fazed by the boy's uproar. Some backed off, afraid of Ichigo, but most of them paid it no mind, used to dealing with hollows.

Snarling, Ichigo pulled at the restrains and his spirit-energy blasted out of him. The energy tore out of him, hard enough for rocks to start to fall from the roof and equipment in the room started to creak, ready to break from the pressure.

Many of the men in the room crumbled under the force, but the captain stood tall. Reaching for an item that lay on one of the working benches, Mayuri pushed a big red button on the small white device.

The screams from Ichigo stopped abruptly, the sound stuck in his throat, his eyes wide as his pupils contracted with pain as the collar around his neck was activated. Pain seared through his body and he cramped and twitched. It was like a thousand knives stabbed him at once and fear crept into his gut.

The memory of what Isshin had told him flooded his mind. It was an interrogation tool from long ago, used at several trails as punishment. It was Soul Societies invention to interrogate prisoners. Aizen had just stolen one from the place Ichigo was in now.

As he lay cramping with his eyes rolling into his skull, the pain in every part of his body abruptly stopped. Ichigo gasped for breath, dragged it harshly into his open chest, trying to make the agony stop.

Fear rolled over again like a tsunami, violent and harsh. The shinigami could activate the collar. It was something that hadn't crossed his mind. They could activate it at will. What the hell could he do now!?

It didn't really want to sink in, despite his burning throat, rasping chest and the gradually growing smile that spread across Mayuri's face, as if it were a wound being carved by a slow-moving and invisible knife.

Barring his teeth, Ichigo hissed fiercely at the man, the instincts in Ichigo's veins burning. But his threatening sounds were short-lived; the smile on the scientists face turning into a sneer and the tip of a syringe was forced into the crook of Ichigo's human arm.

It didn't take very long time before Ichigo felt groggy and his reflexes became sluggish. The anger he felt was washed over by fear as the instincts within dulled along with him. Ichigo knew the drug that paralyzed him; it was the same drug that Unohana's nurses had used on him. Of course Mayuri had it as well.

As in a daze he watched the scientist walk closer again, two of the men grabbing at Ichigo's right arm and pushed sceptically at his shoulder, the spikes there making Ichigo lie half on the side and his shoulder bend awkwardly. Ichigo tried to bite, but his head was pushed away and the scientist fingered at the protrusions and the hard bone-skin around it. With a low murmur among them, one of the scientists walked off and returned with a syringe.

The needle sank deep into the front of Ichigo's shoulder where the skin was still human. Rapidly the bone-skin near it started to soften and it folded more easily.

Despite almost being unable to move, Ichigo barred his teeth below the mask and hissed the best he could. But that didn't stop one of the scientists from grabbing a Kidõ-enhanced bone-saw and bone-rasps.

Ichigo's eyes widened at the sight of it and despite the drug still moving steadily through his body Ichigo thrashed in his restraints. He pulled and heaved with his hollow-fied arm, tried to kick with his legs and bite with his mouth, hoping the fangs on his mask would snap off a few fingers. Despite his efforts, there wasn't much strength in his weak limbs and Ichigo could only cry out when his head was forced back and strapped hard against the table he lay upon.

Putting on a pair of medical gloves and a mouth protection, the saw was brought down by the un-named scientist and carefully, yet firmly, he started sawing off the spikes on Ichigo's shoulder.

It didn't hurt, but it was extremely uncomfortable. The rasp's cold steel bumped into his neck from time to time and the sound it made when eating through his bone-skin was amplified as it bounced against the steel Ichigo lay upon. It was loud, making his only functioning ear go numb.

All the spikes fell off and were stored away in tight plastics bags for some unknown use. Unwillingly Ichigo couldn't help but to feel some sort of odd gratitude at what they had done, his will unable to stop his brain from appreciating the fact that with the spikes removed, he looked a little bit more human. It was odd, the mix of appreciation and extremely strong hate fusing together.

Now laying down properly on the examination table, the bonds holding Ichigo down were tightened even further. In a try to hiss again, Ichigo managed to drool on his chin, the drug he had been given seeming to be tenfold stronger than the one Unohana had used.

It made the edges blur and the world slow down. He twitched with his fingers and moaned lowly. Blinking, Ichigo looked around the room, not knowing what to focus on except the dots that swarmed his vision. He tried to blink them away without success.

But from what Ichigo could still tell the shinigami took samples from the fungus that grew out of his ear. When he tried to focus on the moving hands, it only resulted in an intense headache. When he felt odd pushing sensations in his ear, Ichigo clamped his eyes shut, knowing that they were cutting at the disease. But it wasn't until they moved downward that Ichigo realised that it had spread all the way down to his shoulder.

The murmurs from the scientist gave Ichigo no further idea of what was really going on and the longer he lay there, the harder the drug in his system numbed him. His eyelids were hard to keep open and Ichigo wondered if he had been given a strong sedative as well. Blinking, Ichigo looked away, unable to comprehend his surroundings any longer.

He tried to search the limited area he could see for weakness and he followed the cracks that had formed in the roof from his out burst. Maybe a well-aimed Bala would break it. But would a broken roof lead to escape? How high was the building? How far was he underground? He didn't know. Maybe Shinji knew. That was doubtful. But it wouldn't hurt to ask.

The prickling feeling around Ichigo's ear and neck stopped and most of the scientists passed Ichigo's line of vision and walk off to the left where Ichigo couldn't see. Two of them were holding two steel trays with clamps lying in them. Were they holding samples of the disease?

The scientists murmured amongst each other, seeming to discuss something with their Captain.

After a while they turned towards him again and Ichigo barred his teeth underneath the mask. Without a word they approached and Ichigo suppressed the urge to scream again when the strap over his head was removed. The manacles were put back over one of his wrists before the straps there where removed and quickly fastened both in the cold steel before Ichigo could manage to control himself enough to resist.

He moaned uncontrollably and sagged together in the sitting positing he was in and his head spun. He tried to get up, to get out the room, but it only resulted with him falling off the metal table he was seated on and landing in a heap on the floor.

"Take him back to his cell, we're done for now."

From the corner of his eyes, Ichigo could see the jailer enter again. Getting up on unstable feet Ichigo did his best to stand up without stooping and not look like the pathetic little boy he was. He straightened the little clothes he wore to cover himself better.

However the shinigami paid him no mind, hardly even looking at Ichigo when he pushed him forward with one finger, apparently not wanting to touch him more than necessary. Turning to face the man, Ichigo scowled at him and refused to move. Not taking it kindly, the shinigami drew his sword, having the tip of it pressed against Ichigo throat again before Ichigo could move out of the way. Knowing that the actions were a threat to kill him, Ichigo became placating.

"All right. Okay. We're cool," Ichigo slurred. Another nudge in the back motioned him to move forward and Ichigo complied, doing his best to get his body to do as he wished. He dragged his feet and had to support himself against the walls at times before he was forcefully shoved forward again.

They didn't walk for very long before a massive door appeared at the end of one of the many corridors. Behind it the tight, dark corridors loomed. The floor was a smooth grey stone, the walls a rough concrete. It was hard for Ichigo to keep moving, the urge just to lie down on the floor and sleep was overwhelming.

When the glowing bars to Ichigo's cell approached steadily, Ichigo stopped. He earned another shove, but Ichigo only bent forward, his upper body folding but legs remaining stiff. It earned him a hit in the back of the knees and a smack of the katana's hilt between his shoulder blades, and he fell.

Without much hesitation the collar of Ichigo's simple white scrubs was grabbed and forcefully yanked upwards, dragging Ichigo along the ground until he was inside the cell and halfway up the dirty madras. The chains that connect to the manacles around his arms was once more attached to the floor before Ichigo had even managed to sit up.

Feeling like he should have fought better, Ichigo pulled together. At first he did nothing, the feeling of failure getting the better off him. But eventually he called out for Shinji, hoping he'd still be in the other cell, but he got no response.

With a pang of emotion Ichigo marvelled at the fact that he truly was alonenow and slowly he realized that he would probably be used in painful experiments just like Shinji seemed to have been...

With a sharp intake of air, Ichigo tried to pull his arms out of the manacles, wanting nothing more than to escape before the real terrors that were to come started. Inhaling sharply and raising one of his legs and placing his foot between his hands onto the steel, Ichigo yanked with a harsh tug.

The scream echoed through the hallways, loud and sharp as Ichigo almost broke his own hands. Spirit-energy vented out of him unthinkingly for a second as pain seared through him, the end of the sharp steel cutting into his skin like a knife. There was a loud snapping sound too and at the sight of his dislocated thumb Ichigo grit his teeth. Breathing quickly through his nostrils, Ichigo wanted nothing else but to wriggle the now broken hand out of the restraints, but he couldn't move it, the shinigami poison from so long ago still paralyzing it.

Cursing and gritting his teeth even harder, Ichigo could both sense and smell men approach rapidly at his outburst. The two figures hastily opened the cage and without any warning the jailer used his Tazer and hit Ichigo in the side of his ribcage. It was not set on as high voltage as the first time but it was still having considerable effect on immobilising him.

Without any chanting, the other man, a scientist from the looks of his clothes, moved his hands in symbols. Panic gripped Ichigo and hastily he tried to get up and move away, yet he didn't even manage to get to his feet before Kidõ ensnared him.

While the six cane prison kept him firm in place, a second white clad man appeared. He was holding something in his hands, and it wasn't something Ichigo liked. It was a broad leather belt with large straps on the front. It was clear what their use was; to restrain movements of the hands.

Thrashing and venting out his spiritual pressure the best he could, Ichigo put up a fair fight and it took the men over half an hour and a high voltage of electricity to finally secure Ichigo's monster arm inside the restraining-belt that they had already managed secured around his hip. The belt in turn was fastened to the floor with a chain just like the manacles had been.

Once Ichigo was satisfactorily restrained to both the jailer and the two scientists, they left the cell before the Kidõ around Ichigo was released. When they were all out of sight it evaporated into the air and with a thud and a pained groan he landed face first.

Spending for what at least felt like an hour tying to get out of the new restraints, coiling and twisting, his elbows and face scraped against the hard ground as he turned like an impaled snake. Eventually he just lay on the ground screaming, not really sure how to cope with the infuriating anger that was growing into an inferno inside of him. Curses flared from behind his white hollow mask and slamming his face against the ground was a too temporary relief from reality. But eventually the inner fires subsided somewhat and set into a hot smoulder that would probably never stop burning.

Having come somewhat to his senses, he inhaled a strained breath and did his best to move his restrained hand enough to push himself to lie on the side. With a grunt he heaved himself up with his legs to get into a sitting position.

Letting out a deep breath, his body still shaking from the painful effects of the Tazer blows, Ichigo moved his shoulder slightly that was starting to throb, where the spikes had been removed. Swallowing uneasily and leaning back against the wall, it took Ichigo a long time to calm down and once he had, he didn't really know what to do.

The belt that held him was fastened at the back, so he couldn't see the three buckles keeping it together. Two buckles at each wrist-strap held his hands tightly against his hip. Even if Ichigo knew that he wasn't flexible enough, he still tried to bend forward and bite at the leather. It didn't work and he ended up falling over again.

Banging the back of his head against the sekki-sekki rock, Ichigo closed his eyes and tried to slow his breath. But it wasn't easy when knowing that now his means to escape had plummeted even closer to zero. Looking around at the grey walls Ichigo wanted to scream again but he kept it in, knowing that if he didn't he would probably be gagged and have the hole in his chest covered so he couldn't breathe properly. The thought of it made him uneasy and he crawled over to the mattress, buried his face in it and unwillingly fell asleep with his system full of drugs and chemicals.

End of Chapter