Title: Dysfunctional Camaraderie

Pairing: HichixIchi

Rating: T


Summary: HichiIchi. Ch. 10: Hichigo gets put in his place and discovers that Hollows and Kidos don't mix. HichiIchi

Word Count: 4'825 words

A/N: Okay, I've sorta finished the last few chapters of this (I say sorta because I've written out the basics of the next chapter so now Ive gotta edit and writ out the epilogue), so I've broken my promise BUT they will be done before the year is out. For now, enjoy this peace offering of the finalie starting.



"Law of Juvenile Omnipotence: Always send a boy to do a man's job. He'll get it done in half the time and twice the angst."

--- The Forty Six Laws of Anime, Darrin Bright & Ryan Shellito 666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666666


Kon sighed in relief, slamming Ichigo's bedroom door shut and practically collapsing upon the bed with a throaty groan. The redhead he was supposed to be acting as was too depressing, too...too Ichigo! The gikongan groaned into the bed's quilt again, dreading the time when the substitute Shinigami would return for his living body and stuff him in the lion plushie - and right into Yuzu's evil hands.

Kon shuddered, a small whimper slipping past his lips. No matter what everyone said, Yuzu was far more evil then that Aizen Shinigami. He'd rather face down Ichigo's crazy Hollow a hundred...no, a thousand times before willingly playing teacup parties with inanimate dolls, dressed in the most humiliating outfits ever!

He's a guy! The mane should be enough to indicate that!!!

Bolstered by his anger, the gikongan leapt from his despondent sprawl on the bed and perched on the windowsill of the open window.

"That's it! I'm gonna go tell that idiot Ichigo to never stick me in that plushie again! Even if...that Hollow is there!" In his mind's eye, a skit of him standing up brave in a superhero pose flashed past. "Yeah!" With a war cry, the gikongan jumped from the window's ledge driven by determination.

Of course, this lasted for all four seconds when from the corner of his eye, a brief glimpse of movement, hostile movement, made him try to back pedal in mid air - which only succeeded in making him look like a moron rather than accomplishing aerial movement. The multiple black blurs breezed past, a voice shouting that he 'wasn't the one'.

Kon landed neatly on the ground, amber eyes blinking rapidly as the blurs vanished in the direction of that crazy clog wearing merchant's place. A feeling of dread gnawed at his stomach and the gikongan dithered between trying to beat the blurs to crazy clog guy's place to warn Ichigo (because everything that looked like a threat flocked to the teen, the damn redhead was like a danger magnet) or to go back into the Kurosaki Clinic and wait it out. After all, Ichigo was in Shinigami form, right? And he had his friends and that crazy Hollow out! Plus, he owed nothing to Ichigo!

His determination on telling Ichigo off was forgotten, the gikongan meekly turned back into the house. He was sure that he could avoid the family for a while...


"There we go! Cured!"

Ichigo cringed at Hanataro's proud exclamation, cautiously flexing stiff muscles. "I still feel stiff though." He muttered, groaning when a twinge of pain jolted through his joints. "Ow."

"Well..." The meek Shinigami's victorious grin faltered slightly. "I couldn't get rid of the poison immediately, so the medicine is a catalyst for increasing the reaction speed..." Fidgeting slightly, he continued. "So basically, it's being flushed out of your system at a faster speed. You'll feel stiff for a day or two, and then you'll be back to your normal strength in no time!"

Ichigo sighed. It was better then being bedridden he supposed. "Thanks Hanataro, I really appreciate it."

Hanataro's cheeks reddened in a pleased blush. "A-ah! Don't mention it! I was just doing my job!"

Hichigo, who had been sulking in the corner for the past hour, rolled his eyes. "Ugh. So wha' now?" He muttered, obviously irked by the fact that his King was no longer helpless to his merciless hands.

Ichigo turned his head stiffly to his inner Hollow, brows furrowing. "What do you mean?"

Hichigo scowled, tossing his head agitatedly and ignoring the flare of pain that action brought. Maybe he should've accepted the antidote...no! He was a Hollow, and Hollows didn't need antidotes from little mousey Shinigami!

"Ya forgotten already, King? I'm a Hollow. I'm prob'ly gonna pop up on those Soul Pagers eventually (if I haven' already) an' have all sort o' freaks comin' after me..." His mind flicked briefly to Zaraki. "An' I don't wanna hide like some fuckin' coward either."

"Well, you'll probably have to, Hollow." Ishida quipped, adjusting his glasses as the albino turned to scowl at him. "Unless you can hide out in Heuco Mundo..."

"Like hell!" Hichigo snapped. "Where King goes, I go. End o' story. 'Sides," His voice dropped to a sulky mumble. "I dunno if this is permanent."

"It should be." Urahara chirped at last, pausing his scrutinizing of the antidote Hanataro had concocted. "This arrangement gives you both a lot of freedom...though it would be wise not to separate too far from each other. At the moment the connection between you two is still raw, too far apart and it could hurt when that connection snaps from the strain." The blond shopkeeper blinked. "Oh, and you'll die a horrible, gruesome death too."

Ichigo sighed. Again. "Oh great. And here I thought I had a chance to get rid of him." He muttered irritably. "So, how far is 'too far'?"

"Oooh..." Urahara closed his eyes thoughtfully. "At the moment? I'm not sure. It'll increase over time, though."

Ichigo's frown degraded into a scowl. "So I can't keep him here, either."

"Ahem!" Hichigo coughed pointedly. "I ain't a fuckin' dog tha' ya can pass around, King! An' ya need me t' make sure ya won't trip over an' impale yerself on Zangetsu. Yer clumsy an' stupid like tha'." He snickered when the redhead snarled at him, narrowing inverted eyes mischievously. "An' ya need me t' fight yer battles for ya, anyway, since yer such a pansy ass-"

"Shut it, Hollow!" Ichigo snapped. "Before I ram my foot up your ass in a minute!"

Hichigo honestly couldn't resist. "Are ya sure ya don' wanna stick somethin' else up my ass, Ich-i-go?" He purred suggestively, giving a sultry wink as well. "'Cause I'm all fer tha' if ya let me do th' same."

Ichigo choked on his rage; face turning a brilliant crimson as Urahara coughed suspiciously behind his fan. "Yes, well, that aside." The shopkeeper hummed in a strained voice. "He'll just have to stick by you until the whole process is complete, and by then we're not sure what'll happen."

"I'll tell you what'll happen." Ichigo snarled in an ominous tone. "What'll happen is that he'd be castrated by the end of this!"

Hichigo could've made more homosexual jokes (because really, his King was just far too amusing being all flustered), but the insane glint in amber eyes made him pause. Pushing his King too far would not be good for the fate of his balls, and he might need them later on. "Geeze, take a joke, King." He scoffed, but noticeably scooted a few inches away from the irate teen. "I was only kiddin'."

Ichigo huffed, twisting away and crossing his arms stiffly, cheeks still a vivid crimson. "It's not funny, Hollow." He snapped.

"Tch. Prude." Hichigo huffed, copying his King's position and glaring at Zangetsu propped up against the wall, mentally blaming the solemn Zanpaktou for the whole situation. 'He's th' one who told us t' make th' truce...'

Rukia, who had been watching the scene unfold with no little amusement, pushed an idea forth. "We can let Kon act as Ichigo for a little while longer, right? I mean, how long will it take for the connection to strengthen?"

Urahara turned away from the sulking pair with a grin. "Between a month and two years."

"I'm not letting Kon act like me for a month, let alone two fucking years!" Ichigo growled, images of his reputation shattering before his very eyes from a tough, honour roll student to a perverted goofball flashing through his mind. He almost curled up in a dark corner somewhere at the injustice of it all. "I guess I'll just have to suffer with him and stuff him in the closet when anyone is near."

Hichigo twitched, an odd look passing over his face. "Th' closet?" He drawled with distaste.

"Hey!" The redhead whirled upon his inner Hollow. "It worked with Rukia so it can work with you!"

"Yeah, bu' she's a midget!" Hichigo cried, flailing a white clad arm in the direction of the scowling female Shinigami. "I'm twice th' size she is, so I wouldn' fit in yer fuckin' cupboard!" The albino seemed close to throwing a temper tantrum, and actually stomped his foot childishly. "Nuh uh! I ain't doin' it!"

"Why not?" Ichigo's eyes narrowed, a smirk lifting his scowl. Could this be the chance for retribution for all the shit that crazy albino put him through at last? "You have claustrophobia or something?"

Hichigo scoffed loudly. "No! I jus' don' wanna go in yer smelly cupboard."

"You do have claustrophobia!" Ichigo crowed, happy that he finally had blackmail on the aggravating albino. His inner Hollow squawked angrily, but he ploughed on. "Who'd thought that a big bad Hollow like you would be scared of small spaces? Or is it the dark? What a baby."

"Shut up! I don' have claustrophobia ya...ya multi-coloured skittle!"

"What's that supposed to mean!?"

"Exactly as it sounds, King! Despite yer prudish nature yer a fuckin' fruitloop!"

"You're the one thinking of gay sex positions!"

"An' I'm a part o' ya, so what does tha' tell ya, bitch!?"

"That doesn't count! You're a sick, twisted individual and there's no way you're anything like me!"

Urahara seemed quite content in watching the two battle verbally, grinning like a loon as Rukia grimaced lightly. "Oh dear lord...they're like a married couple."

Ishida shuddered as Hanataro cowered.

"I'll make ya taste the fuckin' rainbow in a minute, manwhore!"

"If anyone's the whore, it's you!"

"A whore, eh? Well I'll bet ya would know 'bout tha' since ya-"

"Enough!" Ishida barked, not really wanting the albino Hollow to continue that sentence. "As amusing as watching you two squabble like children is, it's getting us nowhere." The Quincy adjusted his glasses again, ignoring the smouldering glares sent his way. "You'll just have to stay here until we figure out a way to hide the Hollow."

"Like Hell I'm staying here." Ichigo snarled. "I'm going home to sleep in my own bed, kick Kon outta my body and forget that all this ever happened!"

"Not necessarily in tha' order." Hichigo muttered under his breath.

"Quiet, you!" Ichigo barked.

Bloodshed was inevitable.


"Y'know," The hollow's echoing voice broke the silence of the dark street. Ichigo, who walked beside his counterpart, growled in annoyance. Couldn't Hichigo shut up for once? "Yer still walkin' a lil' stiff, King. Don' tell me tha' yer still sick?"

"As I remember correctly, you were sick too." The hollow flicked a pale hand at his replica, as if brushing away the comment.

"Me? Hollows never ge' sick!" Ichigo snorted in disbelief. "Wha'!? Ya don' believe me?" The redhead let out a weak laugh.

"Hell no. You were just as messed up as I was, so stop denying it." The hollow simply huffed at his comrade and kept on walking down the deserted street.

"I'm no' denyin' nothin'!" Ichigo smirked widely, which slightly unnerved the hollow. "Whaddya smirkin' 'bout, King?" He asked suspiciously.

"So you agree that you were sick?" Ichigo prompted slyly. Hichigo growled back at him.

"I though' I jus' told ya! I'm no' denyin' noth-" His black eyes widened with realization as Ichigo's grin widened further. "Argh! Curse ya Japanese language an' yer double negatives!" He shook his fist weakly at the sky, causing Ichigo to burst into laughter.

"It's no' funny!" Ichigo continued to laugh quietly, amused by his counterpart's distress. "Stop laughin', bitch!" But Ichigo didn't listen and continued to chuckle under his breath, the redhead's amber eyes glittering with suppressed mirth.

"Tch. Fine." Hichigo harrumphed, throwing his arms up violently before crossing them, poutily sulking as the two continued down the network of alleyways that would eventually lead to the Kurosaki Clinic.

Before a subtle flare of reiatsu tingled on the edges of the Hollow's senses and alerted him to someone else's presence.

Abruptly stopping and allowing his King to walk ahead of him, Hichigo frowned and half turned to peer at the deserted alleyway behind them. The flare vanished, and the mild suspicion the Hollow felt exploded into full blown paranoia.

"Hey." Ichigo's voice sounded muted against the heavy pound of adrenaline thrumming in Hichigo's ears. "What's the hold up? Drop something?"

Hichigo didn't answer immediately, squinting inverted eyes before snorting and tossing his head in agitation, turning back to his bemused King. "I dunno. Prob'ly bein'-"

The flare returned, a burst of hostile intention triggering alarm bells in the Hollow's head and causing him to whirl round, pale hand reaching behind him reflexively for a weapon that wasn't there just as a black blur smashed into his chest with all the force of a speeding bullet train.

Ichigo yelped and sidestepped in time to avoid being ploughed over by the Hollow, watching the pale form impact onto the hard ground and rolled backwards unsteadily to his feet. "What the…?" The Shinigami's head snapped round to their mysterious assailant, expecting a monstrous Hollow, and did a double take.

It was not a Hollow who stood there, but rather a female Shinigami. Ichigo cursed under his breath and shifted into an offensive stance, hand flying to the handle of Zangetsu as his mind whirred into action. 'A Shinigami!?' His amber eyes flicked over her. 'No! Not yet! How could the Soul Society have found out about us so soon?! Did someone tell them!?'

The woman remained motionless, blank eyes holding the cautious glare of the redheaded Shinigami. Something niggled in the back of Ichigo's head, something about her poking viciously at his overactive instincts. She seemed delicate, eyes blank and her form exuding submissiveness. She seemed almost fragile.

Except the whole punching Hichigo fifteen feet down the alleyway kind of ruined the 'fragile' look.

Reminded of Hichigo, the Shinigami stole a quick peek over his shoulder to see how he was and smirked at the albino swearing up a storm and scrambling up on his feet. "Never get sick, huh?" He snorted in a mix of teasing and relief, eyes turning back to the woman.


Ichigo deduced that the Hollow was fine.

"Kurosaki Ichigo." The mystery woman finally spoke, interrupting Hichigo's ranting. "I, Nemu Kurotsuchi, 12th Squad Fukutaicho, have come to apprehend you." Her face was plain, betraying nothing. It sent a shiver of unease down Ichigo's spine.

"Twelfth?" Hichigo grumbled somewhere behind Ichigo, the sound of footsteps padding lazily towards the Shinigami not breaking the rapidly building tension. "Ain't tha' th' squad in charge o' research an' development?"

"That is correct, Hollow."

"Tch. Fuck." Hichigo was directly beside his King now, scowling irritably at the stoic woman. "Tha' fuckin' hurt, bitch."

"You are a hindrance. You needed to be removed."

"Gimme Zangetsu, King." The Hollow ordered Ichigo brusquely, glowering with smouldering gold eyes at the female Fukutaichou and brandishing his middle finger at her. Nemu's expression did not even twitch.

Ichigo stared at his Hollow for a long moment before suddenly kicking him in the shin. With a yelp, Hichigo bounced away, leg jerking up to instinctively clutch at the injured area with pale hands. "Wha' th' fuck, King!?"

"Don't just shoulder in and think I'm defenceless!" Ichigo snapped, swinging his Zanpakuto out and jabbing the Hollow in the side. A glare was his response. "I can take care of myself!"

"Yeeeeeah…" Hichigo drawled, stomping his foot down and smirking arrogantly at his King. "'Coz ya did sooo well when tha' albino weirdo kick yer ass."

"S-Shut up!"

"Excuse me." Nemu regained the squabbling two's attention, blank eyes blinking slowly as their combined glares made the hairs on the back of her neck prickle warningly. "I have to interrupt this. Kurosaki Ichigo, please come quietly or I will have to use force to subdue you."

"Go righ' ahead." Hichigo snorted, jerking his thumb at the redheaded Shinigami. "I bet he'd like bein' 'subdued'."

"Will you stop with the gay jokes!?"

Hichigo giggled maniacally. "I never implied ya were gay wit' tha' one, an' tha' was incriminatin' in itself."

"I do not understand." Nemu questioned, confused by her target's behaviour.

"Ignore him." Ichigo snarled, whirling upon the female Shinigami and brandishing Zangetsu viciously. "I'm not going anywhere with you. Take him instead."

"Can ya feel th' love?" Hichigo drawled to the sky, lips curled into a teasing grin.

"He is not my target." The female Shinigami responded before leaping into motion, her form nothing more than a flicker of black as she almost instantaneously appeared inside of the redhead's guard, arm pulled back and fingers squeezed together. Ichigo was only able to bark out the beginning of a curse before Nemu shot her hand forward and struck him in the abdomen, the ends of her fingers sinking deep into his flesh.

Ichigo spluttered in shock, a choked wheeze slipping past his lips as he sagged over the hand now buried deep in his stomach. He stared up in surprise at those eerily blank eyes and snarled in determination, blood dribbling from the corner of his mouth. "D-Damn you…!"

"Oooh." The Hollow's bubbly voice could only be described as angrily amused, a pale hand latching around Nemu's wrist and squeezing tight enough for the bones to crunch together ominously. "Tha' looks painful, yer Highness." Ichigo's eyes slid slowly to meet narrowed gold. "Don' think yer uterus will be good fer use after this."

"…Fuck…you…" Ichigo spat, jerking away from the intrusion buried in his stomach and stumbling back, palm pressed against the gaping hole to try to stave off the bleeding. "Fucking…fucking retard."

A sickening crack was the response given as Nemu's wrist snapped under the pressure of Hichigo's grip, followed by a near maniacal giggle. "Retard, possibly." He cooed, releasing the now broken wrist and allowing the female Shingami to retreat a few steps, the woman's expression not betraying the pain she must have been feeling. "Doesn' change th' fact I can now use Zangetsu."

Ichigo snarled again as his inner Hollow deftly snatched his Zanpakuto from his loose grip and twirled it experimentally, the white bandage twisting and curving like a decorative banner. "Got me by surprise…" He mumbled to himself, glaring at the shit eating grin on the albino's face.

"Sooo…Ms. Bitch." Hichigo giggled gleefully, inverted eyes zeroing in on the female Shinigami. The gold irises were intense, practically glowing against the black sclera, and pupils dilated as the primal lust for battle purred through the Hollow's body. "As punishment fer harmin' King o' th' Pansies, ya get…death! Ain't tha' wonderful!?"

Nemu silently stared back, unable to hold back the feeling like she was being cornered despite the wideness of the alleyway. She rotated her broken wrist and decided that it was not debilitating. This was only a simple Hollow after all, and Kurotsuchi-taichou's order must be carried out successfully.

"Hmmm…" Hichigo licked his lips. "Shall we start?"


Rukia lifted her head up suddenly as a shockwave of reiatsu coursed through her. "Ichigo!" She cried out suddenly. Leaping to her feet, she whriled upon the others who were already scrambling up. "Everyone! Ichigo's in danger!"

Urahara sighed, shaking his head. "That poor boy…always attracting so much attention…" But his grey eyes were serious. "But from Kurotsuchi…"

Rukia froze, horror dawning in her eyes. "No…" She whispered before dashing towards the exit of Urahara Shoten, leaving the unusually solemn looking blond behind. She couldn't allow that creep of a captain get his hands on Ichigo! The things he'd…the rumours she heard of that…that man! She pumped her legs harder and practically flew out of the shop down the street.

She had barely made it a block, before she found her way barred by at least a dozen Shinigami. Screeching to a halt, she glared at the men who blocked her way, drawing her Zanpakuto with a intimidating snarl.

"What is the meaning of this?! Move!" She roared. One of the Shinigami stepped forward, smirking.

"I'm afraid we can't do that. We've been ordered here by our Captain, and we won't leave until our mission is complete." He stated formally. Without warning, the man drew his sword and ran forward at Rukia, with his men following close behind. Their swords met in a shower of sparks, the more diminutive Shinigami forcing the multiple blades back with almost inhuman strength. Rukia was not going to let these upstarts keep her from helping Ichigo!

"Why are you doing this!?" She snarled, beating her attackers back and gaining some ground between them. "It's Kurotsuchi-taichou, isn't it!? What does he want with Ichigo!?"

"That's not your place to know." The ringleader snickered, smirking as he raised his blade. "Because soon the mission would be complete!" The group of Shinigami laughed at the cryptic sentence, not noticing the female Shinigami becoming more and more enraged.

With a hiss of fury, Rukia leaped backwards and raised her sword in front of her. Power swelled up within her and pulsed around her as she cried out;

"Dance, Sode no Shirayuki!"


"Oooow! Ow! Bitch!"

Ichigo snorted weakly at his Hollow's undignified sprawl on the alleyway floor, but eyed the Fukutaichou with caution. Despite gaining sadistic pleasure at seeing that annoying Hollow finally get put in his place, he also realised the severity of the situation that Hichigo's loss would mean his immediate kidnapping and possible death (he was pretty sure being transported to another realm was too far for this new 'connection' to handle).

Hichigo grumbled as he climbed to his feet, clenching his fingers around Zangetsu's handle. "Yer no' playin' yer role righ'!" He roared childishly. Seeing the Fukutaichou remain silent, expression blank, the Hollow's temper boiled over and with a feral snarl Hichigo charged forwards, a howl tearing from his throat.

Nemu leapt up into the air, somersaulting over the furious Hollow, and spinning quickly around to strike him in the back with her foot. Hichigo cried out as he was knocked forward, and the grip on his sword loosened. With a crash, he hit the pavement and his blade was thrown from his grasp.

Growling in blind rage, and barely noticing the loss of his weapon, Hichigo spun around on the ground, kicking off with his feet and flying toward the vice captain with blind fury. He stretched out a black-nailed hand, and attempted to rake his claws down her face. But Nemu was quick, and blocked the blow with her forearm. Hichigo tried again and again, but each in vain. The poison had weakened his body, and his strength and speed had greatly diminished, leaving him vulnerable to such an attack. Unless a miracle transpired, the situation looked grim indeed. "You bitch! I'll kill ya!" Hichigo screamed at the cloaked Shinigami, who was matching his movements blow for blow. Every strike he made, she would simply counterattack, blocking his hits, or diverting them, and then striking back out with her own hand. He was getting weaker, he could feel it. This couldn't go on much longer.

Nemu leapt away from her pale opponent, dodging out of the way as he made another swipe at her with his clawed hand. Still in the air, the vice captain put her hands together in the customary position for an offensive attack, a Kido.

"Hado thirty-one, Shot of Red Fire!" She cried out, unwavering voice still not betraying even the slightest hint of emotion. The centre of her hand glowed red hot, and with sound of gunshot, a blast of crimson fire exploded from her open palm. The burning sphere shot toward the weakened hollow, and hit him square in the chest, sending him crashing to the ground with an earsplitting scream of pain.

Alarmed, Ichigo tried to squint through the dust blown up from the explosion and straightened up from his hunched position. "Hollow!?" He called out, only able to feel anger and pain from their mental connection. "Hey!"

Nemu landed back onto the ground gracefully, glancing quickly at the smoking crater that had formed not ten feet away, before turning away and marched towards Ichigo, blank eyes focused on the redheaded Shinigami. Ichigo growled, grimacing at the surge of pain lancing through his abdomen as he tried to take a step towards his fallen blade. "Fuck…" He hissed.

But then Nemu vanished from his sight and he felt a hand clamp on his shoulder from behind. He stiffened, breath catching in his throat and his fingers reflexively digging into the wound in his stomach.

"You are apprehended." The dead voice stated before the fingers squeezed and Ichigo felt his limbs become weak, his consciousness suddenly slipping away from his desperate grasp.

"N-no!" He tore away from Nemu's grip – or tried to. His legs buckled and the last thing he saw before he fell into unconsciousness and hit the floor was Hichigo's motionless body collapsed in the smoking crater Nemu's Kido had left behind.


A black butterfly fluttered across the battlefield, and the attacking Shinigami immediately stopped their actions and retreated back from the furious, panting Kuchiki, the two eyeing each other furiously.

"That was the signal." The ringleader spoke, smirking at Rukia through the blood spattered across his face from a marring slash inflicted upon his left eye. "Our Fukutaichou completed her mission." Then the group vanished.

After glaring at the empty space, Rukia released an aggravated shout and clenched the hilt of her Zanpakuto in anger. "Ichigo…" She snarled and bolted towards the location where she should've felt her friend's reiatsu.



Hichigo felt sick.

Pushing himself weakly onto one arm, his other hand raised to the matted crimson mess on the side of his head, rivulets of blood leaking between shaking, pale fingers. Confusion swirled round his shattered mind, mismatched pupils stinging from the light streaming through the grey clouds above.

"Wha...what...happened?" The Hollow groaned, shifting into a sitting position despite the fact that he really wanted to lie down and fall asleep again. He felt dizzy, weak, and ready to throw up any second. He pulled his hand back, struggling to focus on the dark crimson blood staining his palm. Indeed, what happened?

He teetered forwards, but he caught himself at the last second, cradling his head once more in a bloodstained hand. He wanted to sleep, but something whispered in his head, loud and aggravating, that falling asleep with a head injury was a bad idea. He glanced up, groaning again when he couldn't make heads or tails of where he was.

It was like someone had crammed a jigsaw puzzle of conflicting images in his brain, unable to sort them in an understandable pattern. He closed his eyes, trying to keep the bile from rising in his throat as he swayed again, fighting off the seductive purr of unconsciousness. He tried to think beyond the pounding headache, the confusion, the nausea to remember what happened!

"'Ey...King..." He mumbled, slurred and almost incomprehensible. He frowned when he received no answer, unfocused golden eyes cracking open and cautiously glancing round his surroundings. From the swirling, disjointed images he could sort out, he was completely alone. His brain tried to kick into high gear then, only increasing the pain and confusion to epic proportions.

Then, something which Hichigo would be embarrassed about until the day he died, he panicked.

"King!" Bolting upright, he stumbled; hand darting out to balance himself against something (a wall...?) as breathing suddenly became hard, eyes wide and panicked.

"King!" Something was constricting his lungs, the light headedness increasing as the surroundings blurred to a mere grey and red smudge in his eyes. "Where- where is King!?"

It wasn't right. He always knew where King was! Always!!! Where was he!? Where!?!?

Stumbling forwards, his breaths were mere, quick gasps. The thought of King suddenly gone made his stomach roil even more, panic consumed his mind of any rational thought and the only thought running though his head was; 'find King, find king, find King,' as some broken mantra.


He couldn't recognize the shout, but he growled drunkenly, sagging against the support as the pain made him squeeze his eyes shut. There was a muttered curse, near or far away, he couldn't tell and a hand gripping his arm. He couldn't shrug it off as he bristled at the touch, he couldn't tell if he was standing or lying down, upright or sideways. But none of that mattered. He could be on Mars for all he knew. He needed to find King.

Dizzy. The shouts or whispers were droning, white noise in his ears. But it was that moment when he realized where King was, and the recognition did nothing for his panicked mind. Instead, it just increased it to the point where it felt like his brain short circuited from the pressure and blanked out.

What happened was something Ishida would hold over his head for years to come: Hichigo fainted from horror.



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