A/N: Hey, Hayley here.
I'm starting on my second BLEACH story considering my collection story, Unattached, is a never-ending thing. I'm sure fans for that story won't mind waiting a while longer for me to update (because God knows it takes me forever to just start the first paragraph).
This story isn't really something that will grow into an epic plot, but it will hold importance to me. This is a kind of prep for me, to help me see if I can actually hold the responsibility of a multi-story chapter. Why? Well, in my mind I've already started planning a story that's basically consuming all my time and creativity. I'm too scared to start it though, due to the fact that I think I'll totally butcher it. If I can prove to myself that I can write a story with many chapters, and not completely destroy my own mental planning, I will write that story. But more explaining on that matter will be for another time.
On a last note – which actually relates to what I just said – if I do butcher this I will may ditch this story and save myself from self-humiliation. You reviewers are normally too soft on us! If you see something completely moronic or just badly written, please tell me. It's better than me not knowing at all. That being said, I'll only disown this story as a last resort, considering it will contain the Espada, which means Ulquiorra will be present. NOTE: I am a totally insane Ulquiorra fangirl. In fact, I hope Aizen wins just so the Espada can thrive – but I know it'll never happen.
And with that last bit of my overly-long author's note being finished, I bid you good luck in reading. I also bid myself good luck, except in writing. I think I may need it...
It's All Part of the Experience
The Most Lethal Combination
If you were to ask any person in the Soul Society (or even anyone in his – rather new – home of Hueco Mundo) if there was a word to describe Ichimaru Gin, the most likely responses would be 'crafty' or even 'manipulating'. Sure, other people would beg to differ – maybe someone like Hitsugaya Toushiro, who would define the man as 'bastard' and 'the-guy-who's-ass-I'm-gunna-freeze-next-time-I-see-him', even if that last one doesn't qualify as a word – but it would still be, in general, along the same lines as 'crafty' and 'manipulating'.
Ichimaru Gin wouldn't even deny it either. He knew it was all truth.
Though he found those accusations correct, he also found them a bit misleading. Had anyone ever stopped to think of why he was that way? Gin sighed, a bit dejectedly, mind you, as he lazily trotted through the bland halls of Las Noches. Hadn't anyones mother ever told them to not judge a book by its cover?
Surprisingly enough, there were reasons why the fox-faced man acted the devious way he did. It was also the reason why he decided to become a shinigami, why he followed Aizen to become a supreme leader of an up-and-coming new world, and why he had been the first person to ever 'know' the voluptuous Matsumoto Rangiku.
Ichimaru Gin was curious and bored. A lethal combination for this particular man.
A fun combination, but still lethal.
Especially to those around him.
Gin's trademarked evil grin fell slightly as he stopped walking around the complicated maze called Las Noches and stared up at the unnecessarily high ceiling. On that note, many odd questions flew through his head.
Why was this place so big for such a little amount of people? Gin looked at the white-wash walls. Why did Aizen insist on that 'no decorating' policy? Couldn't he add something fun to do into the walls, like a television or death trap? Why was there nothing to do in this place? Could he go out and do something?
Could anyone go out and do something, for that matter?
As clearly stated earlier, Ichimaru Gin was bored and curious. A lethal combination, especially for those around him. No truer words were ever written.
Especially, since this bored and curious man decided it would be fun to test out the newest theory he had that consisted of the human dimension, the Espada, and most importantly, a lot fun.
Only for Ichimaru Gin, though.
Aizen Sousuke, dark overlord of the fearful area he called Las Noches, drank his tea (with no sugar or milk, of course, because a dark overload just can not be seen drinking something sweetened) quietly as he watched his creations, the Espada, stare back at him expectantly. He hadn't the slightest clue when all ten of them had filed into the room, nor did he care. He always showed up after them, as it was typical dark overlord etiquette to show up fashionably late. The only thing he was to do now was serve his minions tea and watch the wheels in their heads turn, trying to decipher what the hell was going on at the moment. Or, to be more precise, what the hell was going to happen.
Aizen closed his eyes and set down his tea. He exhaled contently as he listened to the complete silence his monsters where giving him. The man basked in it for a few moments, certain that it wasn't going to last. Aizen Sousuke was sure he was no idiot. I, on the other hand, think we should hold him to that self-judgment.
Opening his dull brown eyes, Aizen looked down the long, white table at the ten Espada. He noticed how some of them were no longer staring at him, but the plain, off-white sheets of paper placed in front of a bit more than half of the number of the people seated. Szayel; Grimmjow; Noitra; Ulquiorra; Halibel; Stark. All of the said Espada had a piece of paper in front of them. Some of them glared at it with hate, some looked at it curiously, some just ignored it and looked to Aizen.
"My Espada," Aizen spoke formally. Any set (or, in Noitra's case, half-set) of eyes that was not looking at him was now. "I suppose that it is time to begin our meeting. Szayel," Aizen looked towards the pink haired man. "Status report?"
"Reports have been fine since those intruders were killed off," Szayel said calmly. "Not even a small disturbance has been recorded, Aizen-sama."
Aizen smirked. "Excellent," he muttered to himself. He couldn't have picked a better time to plan something like this. "Espada," he called again. "I have recently been informed that there is a flaw in the planning to take over all realms. Specifically the human realm." If there was any movement from the Espada before the comment, it had stopped at the sound of this. Each individual Espada looked at Aizen-sama differently, but the general expression was one that could only be described as expectancy for their leader to explain himself. Some of the Espada (the more observant ones) off-handedly noted to themselves that Ichimaru-sama's grin turned from casual to just plain plotting. Tousen-sama's expression remained the same, though, as if he had heard the unexpected words come from the man almost daily.
Aizen was pleased to see the expressions on all ten faces – it just proved that he kept his plan, as well as everything else, in tip-top shape. "Some of you may have realized now, but we know nothing about the human realm itself. The fact that we know of humans and the functioning of them is surprisingly not enough. What we need is a way to get inside the lives of humans." Grimmjow quirked an eyebrow at the foreshadowed statement.
"Aizen-sama," Halibel spoke up from the back. "Sorry for my ignorance, but I do not see why we... need to know about humans if we are only going to take them over."
Aizen nodded his head once at the question.
"Excellent question, Halibel." Aizen admired. Halibel was always one of the more sensible of his creations. Picking up his tea cup, the man took an elegant sip and thought the question over. He, too, had debated the question in his own head once before coming to a conclusion. "It seems that we have all over-looked the fact that even though we will eventually be taking over all the humans of the earth, we still need to find ways to accommodate their needs."
Noitra snorted from his place, two seats down. "That's stupid." Beside him, Aizen felt Tousen tense up at the insult. "Why do we need to 'accommodate' them and shit, if we can just tell them what to do and how to act."
"Noitra," Aizen childed. "If we do not accommodate the human needs properly, the humans will die. If they die, what would we possibly order around?"
To Aizen's right, Grimmjow laughed at Noitra. "Yea, moron. Anyone could see that." Noitra responded by narrowing his eye, knowing that he would get killed if he broke out into a brawl with the Sixth Espada right now.
For the most part, Aizen ignored the silent threats the two Espada were sending each other. "Some of you may have noticed that you have papers in front of you," That was a lie; he knew that all of them knew this fact, but sometimes Aizen just loved bullshitting people and enjoyed thinking of others as below himself. "I would like you to please turn over those papers now."
Aizen watched with amusement as the selected read the paper with confusion. Stark scratched his head and leaned back in his chair, holding the paper up in front of his face. "I don't get it," he whined. "I mean, it just has a bunch of rules and instructions."
"Aizen-sama wishes for us to go the the human realm and survey the lifestyle of the average human." Ulquiorra spoke up, not missing a beat as he scanned over his own paper.
Half of the Arrancar looked up from their papers. Whether they didn't get a paper, or they did, the looked at Aizen disbelievingly.
"Yer kiddin'," Noitra complained. "Why in the hell should we do that?"
"We already went over that." Zommari's deep voice sighed at the obvious lack of attention span the Fifth Espada had.
"But... but we have to live with those nasty little humans in there waste and everything?" Grimmjow complained. Ulquiorra shot him a look that seemingly said 'Wow, you are as stupid as you look.'
"The span of this mission will be a year, maybe more depending on the information collected." Aizen said, interrupting the tense silence. Grimmjow groaned exaggeratedly and rolled his head back, obviously annoyed. This seemed to signal the rest of the Espada to begin complaining about the news.
Aizen waited dully the ten talked – or yelled – among themselves. A loud bang was suddenly heard from the end of the table. Every head turned to see Yammi, clearly fed up, with his palms flat on the table. "Who came up with this idea?" He growled, which roughly translated to 'Why the hell wasn't I chosen to go?'
Yammi, who was never one for tack, promptly started gasping for air as he felt Aizen's reiatsu force him to shut up and pay for his outburst. Aizen merely sipped on his tea as the giant withered onto the ground in pain. Inwardly, Aizen left out a content sigh. Maybe that would shut the troll up for good.
Yammi groaned in pain from his place on the floor. Aizen felt his anger starting to gather, as well as an intense migraine.
"Actually," Aizen pursed his lips. "It was Gin's idea." Remember when we said we'd hold Aizen to that comment of him thinking he was not an idiot? After hearing that, all the Espada felt something click into place and realized that this, in fact, had nothing to do with humans but rather their superiors amusement. If Aizen couldn't even see through his own subordinates alternative motives, than they really questioned why they followed the guy.
Again, Yammi groaned which made the Espada remember why. Sharply, Aizen stood from his throne and leaned over the table, supporting himself on his palms. Everyone looked at the frustrated leader, who was by now grinding his teeth. "Espada," he barked. "You have been given a mission to complete. You will follow it and get it right. The other half are staying her for other purposes, but you will go and you will report back when you are ordered back. Dismissed."
Aizen turned on his heel abruptly and stormed up the stairs to the large, white double-doors at the top of the stairs with Tousen and an unbelievably happy Gin right behind him. The Espada watched in silence as their superiors disappeared out of sight.
Sighing irritatedly, Stark slumped himself further into his seat. "What the hell just happened?" he groaned. All of the Espada selected for the mission looked around at each other, annoyed. Even Halibel and Ulquiorra looked peeved at the current situation.
Aaroniero, the multiple personality-disorder bastard, started to laugh shrilly. "I believe," the deep-voiced head began. "That you were just disowned by Aizen, all because of Yammi."
Grimmjow suddenly stood up and walked to the furthest end of the table, where Yammi was crumpled on the ground and still dealing with the sudden spike of Aizen's reiatsu, and gave a furiously kick to the Tenth Espada before storming out himself. Halibel sighed at the typical reaction.
Grimmjow kicked in the door to the six Espada's new 'living arrangement'. It was by that point that the other realized that the Sixth Espada loved kicking things.
Dust flew into the air as the wooden door fell onto the dirty hardwood floors with a hollow clunk. Begrudgingly, Ulquiorra took a step into the run-down house when no one else bothered to make a move in and started to survey the quality of the house. It wasn't good. The atrocious pink paint was chipped, the floors creaked and Grimmjow had to restrain himself from chasing after a mouse that scuttled by. Disgusted with the state of their new house, the others began to come in as well.
"He really couldn't have shelled out for something else, could he?" Noitra grumbled. Halibel crossed her arms across her chest.
"If you would have bothered to notice, this place is completely isolated. No one will even know we're living here." she explained, realizing that it probably would have been better for them to be placed among people so there would be a reason for her comrades to contain themselves. The four men in the room looked at her, almost as if asking her what to do next, but then they all heard Stark's voice echo down the run-down stairwell.
"You guys might wanna come pick rooms now." he called. Everyone started to walk up the broken stairs. Behind them, everyone heard a loud creaking and cracking sound which was followed by a deafening crash. Four pairs of eyes turned to look down at Noitra, who cursed loudly.
"Fuck!" He snarled, pulling on his leg, which was stuck halfway up the stairs. "God damn... sunnuva bitch... gigai!" The others rolled their eyes.
"It's not a gigai," Szayel said in a matter-of-fact tone. "My invention is much more complex than those mediocre bodies." The pink-hair man walked over to the struggling Noitra and smacked him on the head harshly, causing his fake body to dislodge from the stair and tumble down and break half of the other stairs along with it. The rotting wood sprayed everywhere and the others brought up their arms to protect their faces.
Noitra swore loudly as he landed with a thud on the ground. "You fucking fag!" He screamed at Szayel who smirked back at him. "I'm gunna kill you!" Jumping up onto one of the surviving stairs with ease, Noitra reached both hands out to strangle the Eighth Espada. Being wise, Szayel ran up the rest of the stairs and onto the second floor. Grimmjow, Ulquiorra, and Halibel watched in boredom, obviously expecting this to happen. Grimmjow admitted to himself that even though they had only been here for under five minutes, they had already destroyed parts of the house which was rather pathetic.
The others headed back up the stairs in the direction Szayel and Noitra did but were rather confused to see Noitra laying on the ground with Stark standing above him with his arm held out from his body. The only semi-logical conclusion the three could come up with was that Stark had somehow managed to close-line Noitra, but even then that was a bit sketch considering the immense height difference between the two. Szayel stood at the end of the hallway and pushed his glasses up his nose.
"Stark was right – you all better try and claim your rooms now. There are only five for the six of us."
Hearing this, Stark went into the room he had already claimed while all chaos broke out in the hallway. Szayel pulled open the closest door and threw himself in, while Noitra (who had made a miraculous recovery), Halibel and Grimmjow mimicked the movement, leaving Ulquiorra alone in the hallway.
Grimmjow smirked as he slammed the door to his new room, happy that the bastard finally didn't get something he wanted. Grimmjow turned to look at his new room – only to find that he had just claimed the bathroom and not an actual room.
"Fuck," Grimmjow panicked and threw himself back out. He looked down the hallway to see Ulquiorra headed towards the last room at the end of the hallway. Grimmjow ran towards the door and tried to shove the Fourth Espada out of the way. Ulquiorra didn't budge and reached his hand out to open the door. Grimmjow elbowed him in the stomach.
"No way, you fuckin' emo bitch." Grimmjow growled and reached for the door himself. "You're not getting this room."
Ulquiorra stared at him impassively. "You already claimed the bathroom." he glared, a cloud of impending doom gathering around his head. Ulquiorra used his other unnaturally pale hand grabbed onto Grimmjow's shirt and easily flung him back into the wall behind them. Opening the door, Ulquiorra stood in the doorway and looked back at the seething man. "Nice try."
Grimmjow let out a frustrated yell. "Now where the hell am I gunna stay?!"
The door beside him opened and Szayel poked his head out of his room. "Not our problem," he sighed. "We weren't the ones who picked out the house."
"Well who was?!"
Noitra also opened his door and leaned against the frame, laughing at Grimmjow. "Ya know, he probably thought about this already. Maybe you're supposed to curl up in front of the fireplace like a cat?" he smirked. Grimmjow in turn gave him the finger.
"I'm not a fucking cat," he snarled menacingly. Pulling himself off the ground, the blue haired man proceeded to storm down the hall to go see if there was any food in the fridge to full the stupid faux-bodies.
"You think he forgot you completely destroyed the stairs?" Halibel spoke up, having come out of her room to see all the commotion.
Seconds later a manly scream was heard, followed by several thuds as one of the mighty Espada's, feared by shinigami everywhere, had fallen down a set of stairs.
A/N: Yes... questions, anyone? Leave a review if you have any, as well as if you have any in-general comments. Also, don't be afraid to point out any mistakes or to tell me you didn't like it. I really don't mind – remember, this is almost like a test story.