Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach, I don't own these characters, and I don't own my home (because my parents do).
Here's Ch.4 guys. I didn't get that many reviews for the last chapter, which made me kind of sad (though I guess not a whole bunch happened in the last chapter) but I think you'll enjoy this one.
Quid Quo Pro
Ch.4 The Meeting
Since sitting didn't help at all, he rose to his feet. His hands were shoved deeply in his pockets, and he then he couldn't seem to stop fidgeting.
Being nervous was a clear understatement.
Ichigo glanced at his watch shakily. "It's 2:59 p.m." He mumbled.
In just one minute, something he didn't want to happen or even thing about was about to occur. In just one minute, the questions and dilemmas he'd been experiencing would come to an end, creating more questions and dilemmas. In just one minute, he would be entering a dangerous world, and his life could possibly end if one thing went wrong.
Ichigo shoved the last thought out of his head. He didn't know how he'd acted so calmly when he'd been held at gun point, and he knew it wasn't from being brave.
"I guess I'm just a really weird guy." Ichigo whispered to himself.
He stared at his watch as the seconds went by, and time seemed to want to pass slowly for him. There was no sun in the sky that day, but sweat still poured down his face.
At exactly 3 o'clock, a black car turned down the road. Ichigo hoped and prayed it would keep going, and not be who was thinking it was. It was wishful thinking of course since the black car slowed down and stopped directly in front of him.
The back door opened, revealing Kuchiki Rukia on, wearing regular clothes instead of the school uniform from earlier that day.
"You sure you want to do this?" Rukia asked before Ichigo took a step towards the car.
No, Ichigo did not want to go, but he'd got himself into the mess, and he supposed if he wanted to live as she'd put it, and her warning had sounded far more than serious, that he better take his chances.
"Yah." He replied, and stepped into the vehicle. Ichigo sat down on the soft leather seats, and Rukia moved towards the other passenger side. The driver and the passenger in the front row both had on the same black jackets, but Ichigo didn't recognize them as the two men from last Friday. All Ichigo could see of their appearances were their hair colors, which both were dark brown. The driver's hair was longer though, reaching his neck, while the passenger had short brown spiky hair.
"So where are we going?" Ichigo asked.
"To meet with the leader, remember?" Rukia replied back, rolling her eyes.
Ichigo sighed. "Ok, I know that, but where exactly are we meeting him?"
Rukia turned to look out the window as she spoke. "You'll find out soon enough, so just keep your pants on until then, ok?"
"Well in the meantime, can I ask you those questions I was wondering about, like how you tie into everything?" Ichigo asked, hoping he could at least know that much.
"No, I can't tell you any of that until you meet the leader." Rukia paused and looked away from the window and back to Ichigo. "I'm not sure how long this will take, so I hope you've told your parents in advance that you might be out late."
Ichigo nodded his head. "It's all taken care of." He replied. Ichigo told Urahara that he was going to study with a friend, and depending on how they took in the material, it would rather take a long time, or a couple of hours. Urahara didn't care, but Tessai gave him a suspicious look.
The rest of the ride was silent, and in no time did Ichigo realize that they were traveling to Tokyo, although he assumed they'd be headed in that direction. Ichigo focused his attention on the two men in the front, and noticed how aware of their surroundings they seemed. It made sense he supposed, and the silence began to turn awkward. Ichigo was sitting in a car full of people he didn't know, and what's worse was that they were gang members, people who did very illegal and dangerous things. They killed people.
Had Rukia ever killed anyone?
That definitely was not a question to start off with.
In no time were they in Tokyo, and Ichigo felt confusion when they stopped at a secluded street just a little ways off from where the subway and main streets had been.
"I need you to follow me, understand?" Rukia asked with a very serious tone.
"Be careful Rukia-san." The passenger said as Rukia opened the door. She gave the man a smile, and both Ichigo and Rukia climbed out of the vehicle. Before they began to move, Rukia stared at her surroundings, averting her eyes from left to right in a constant motion. After repeating the process three times, Rukia began walking forward.
"Come on, let's go." Rukia called out. Ichigo wordlessly followed behind her, trying figure out just where they were going. They walked all the way from the smaller street to the main street, where people were hustling and bustling to get to their designations.
When Rukia began moving again, Ichigo had to pick up his pace. For such a short girl, she really knew how to move quickly.
"Why are we walking so fast?" Ichigo asked.
"Because we need to catch a subway." Rukia replied quickly.
He became more and more curious about where they were going. Would he get to see where Rukia's gang lived? Where the main headquarters were located? He knew asking questions would be pointless since Rukia seemed to be a pretty stubborn person, so Ichigo figured he should just do what she says, even if she did sound crazy.
Sure enough, Ichigo and Rukia descended down the dirty stairway that would take them to the subway. He'd only been on the subway several times in his life, and everyone had been quite uneventful. Weird people always took the subway, staring at him like he was a piece of meat, and probably checking to see if he had a nice wallet stuffed with money.
As soon as the subways came into view, a subway pulled up, and people began walking aboard. "Is this the one we need to get on?" Ichigo asked. Rukia shook her head.
"No, it should be the next one. I was worried we would be late, but it seems it's not the case." Rukia replied.
People were staring at Ichigo and Rukia as they passed. At first, Ichigo assumed it was his hair color, which happened quite often, but he noticed their eyes were looking down and away from him.
They were staring at Rukia.
He took a glance at her, wondering why people would be so curious about her, and found out why. Rukia had a bright blue dress on, complete with flowers and polka dots. Everyone surrounding them had nothing but suits or rags on, so he supposed her dress stood out from what everyone else was wearing.
A new subway had already pulled up, and Rukia snapped her head up from whoever she had been texting.
"That's the one we need to get on, come on." Rukia said to him. Ichigo once again silently followed behind her with his hands shoved in his pockets, his sights set on the doors to the subway.
The question of where they were going was really eating at him. Only a few people got onto the subway, and Rukia and Ichigo took seats towards the back.
"We're almost there." Rukia whispered as she glanced at her watch. Ichigo did the same, and was surprised to find that it was already 4 o'clock.
The only other people on the subway were of course, extremely weird. One woman was mumbling to herself, and another man was staring at the light with a stoned expression. There was no doubt in Ichigo's mind that the man was stoned. The subway stopped once again, and Ichigo stood to get up. A tap on his arm turned his attention to Rukia, who was still sitting down.
"We don't get off at this stop." Rukia told him. Ichigo slowly sat back down next to Rukia. He turned his head to the entrance of the subway when he heard to men laughing.
They stumbled onto the train, both wearing black jackets. One had a green mohawk while the other man had bleach blonde hair. Both of them appeared to be a little older than Ichigo, and extremely drunk.
"Haha, I can't believe that!" The guy with the mohawk cried. They continued to move on the bus, and stopped when they glanced at Rukia.
"Well, look at what we have here!" The other guy shouted with a wide grin. Rukia glanced at them, and rolled her eyes.
The man with the green mohawk placed his hand on one of the nearby poles and spun around so that he was closer to Rukia.
"You wanna come have some fun with us?" He asked her. Ichigo was already beginning to stand up. He hated guys like them, drunk or not.
"No thank you." Rukia replied calmly, closing her eyes with annoyance.
Ichigo hadn't even noticed that the other guy was on his side. "Aw come on! Ditch this bozo here and come with us! We'll show you a great time." The blonde man replied enthusiastically.
The other man's hand was already grabbing Rukia's arm. "Come on, I know this great little place." The man replied more seriously. Ichigo stood from his seat, but the blonde man on Ichigo's side grabbed his arm as well, yanking him back.
Rukia was shoved against the wall, and Ichigo jerked his arm out of the blonde guy's grip to get to her.
"Let go of her!" Ichigo called angrily. The blonde guy came behind him again, and was grabbing his arms to stop him from moving.
The other man pulled Rukia off the wall and held her closer to her body. Rukia looked extremely calm throughout the whole ordeal.
"And what are you going to do about it?" He asked, leaning his head into Rukia as he finished his sentence.
Rukia's elbow suddenly came up high, despite just being held down and elbowed the man square in the stomach. He quickly released his hold on her, clutching his stomach with pain.
"Hey!" The blonde guy called out. Ichigo took advantage of the moment, and punched the guy in the face. He stumbled back, holding onto his nose in pain.
"You broke my nose!" He called out.
The other man began recovering from the elbow to his stomach, and began standing up. Rukia was quick though, and gave him a firm kick to his most weakest point. Ichigo had to wince as the man fell slowly to the ground, a shocked expression on his face.
At that exact moment, the subway stopped once again. "Come on Kaji, let's go!" The blonde man cried, pulling his friend up from the ground. They were off the subway in no time.
Rukia calmly took her seat again, acting like nothing happened. Ichigo stared at her in disbelief and slowly sat down next to her.
"You really kicked his a —"
"I deal with creeps like that all the time. They're everywhere in downtown Tokyo." Rukia replied with her eyes closed. "I'm quite surprised you punched that guy as hard as you did."
Ichigo smirked. "Not everyone in Karakura is nice you know. There's always someone looking for a fight for the dumbest of reasons, and someone like me just can't help but get pulled into it all."
Rukia opened her eyes and looked at him.
"Well with your hair color, it's easy to see why." Rukia replied with a smile. Ichigo rolled his eyes. "Is it natural?"
Ichigo blinked at her. Not many people asked him such a question. "Yah, its natural. I don't know exactly who I got the color from, but I was born with it." Ichigo replied.
"We'll be getting off at the next stop." Rukia told him. Ichigo was relieved. Hopefully there wouldn't be any drunks like Ichigo had just witnessed getting onto the train as he left. It seemed Rukia's sun dress was just too much for certain men to handle.
He'd been surprised to see Rukia sticking up for herself the way she had. It wasn't that she looked to be in no way a push over, despite her small size, but she knocked the guy out so effortlessly, and with calm composure. The questions continued to come, and his curiosity was really getting the better of him.
Finally, the subway stopped, and the doors opened. As they walked towards the doors, Ichigo found the surrounding areas to be empty. Instead of finding an exit area, with lots of people, Ichigo found a dark wall, much like the surrounding subway areas.
"Um, Kuchiki-san, where are we going?" Ichigo asked.
"Like I've been saying this whole time, just follow me." Rukia replied. Finding a sidewalk in the darkness, Ichigo walked behind her, hands shoved in his pockets like before.
After several minutes of walking down the long sidewalk, Rukia began looking around frantically.
"Where are they?" She asked out loud. Ichigo just kept his mouth closed since he had no idea what he was talking about.
"We're right here!" A voice replied. Ichigo looked up to see two dark figures approaching them. Once they were close enough, Ichigo recognized them.
"Ikkaku! Renji! You're late!" Rukia shouted. The bald guy, Ikkaku, shrugged his shoulders with a smile.
"Well sorry your highness, but we're running a little behind." Ikkaku replied.
"Come on, the boss is waiting." The man with red hair, Renji as Rukia had called him, replied.
Ichigo followed behind silently, because he found he couldn't speak. The moment of truth he'd been waiting for was just around the corner, and he only hoped he could survive for the night.
"Did you guys get here ok?" Renji asked.
"We ran into some punks on the subway, but we took care of them." Rukia replied.
"Wait, we? You mean he helped you too?" Ikkaku asked. Ichigo assumed he was referring to him.
"Yah, Kurosaki-san was a big help. He's got a pretty firm punch to my surprise." Rukia replied with a smirk.
"You sure you aren't in a gang already? I mean, the way you acted last Friday, so calm and everything when being held at gunpoint, and then you punched a guy on the subway? That's pretty good for someone who grew up in Karakura." Ikkaku said with a grin.
"He's had his share of fights." Rukia replied. Ichigo was glad she was speaking for him, because he didn't really feel like saying anything at the moment.
All four of them came into contact with a door.
"This is it Kurosaki-san, are you ready?" Rukia asked. All eyes were on him.
Ichigo nodded slowly, and Renji turned around, knocking on the door three times. It took a minute for the door to open, and after Renji and Rukia entered into the room, Ichigo followed behind, with Ikkaku behind him.
There were about five other people in the room, all staring directly at Ichigo.
He felt his body become stiff at the intenseness of their stares, and it also didn't help that they looked pissed off.
"The boss will be here any second." One of the men demanded. Rukia nodded and scooted Ichigo away from the door.
So was this where gang lived at? In the middle of a subway? Or was this just simply the place where Ichigo was meeting their leader? He looked towards the seven people that were still staring at him.
The first was a girl with short choppy bangs, and two long braids descending down her back. The second was a short guy with white hair, and bright blue eyes, his glare possibly the worst from the group. The third person was a tall woman with long wavy hair, her outfit much more…revealing than the rest. The fourth person was tall and skinny with silver hair. He had one of the scariest smiles Ichigo had ever seen. The fifth person was a quiet looking woman with a long braid dark braid down the front of body.
"The boss is here." The same man as before called out. Ichigo glanced towards the door as the knob began to turn, and he knew his body was going to go rigid.
"Just stay calm." Rukia replied. Ichigo nodded at her words, but they didn't help all the much.
The door opened revealing a man who was extremely tall, with the craziest spikes Ichigo had ever seen, bells at the end of each spike. The man had an eye patch on one eye, and his eyes quickly met Ichigo's.
Was he the leader? He looked creepy enough, but was that him really him?
The tall man moved out of the way, and next, two women entered into the doorway. One had short silver hair, while the other…looked identical to Rukia, only she looked older.
She must have been Rukia's sister, because even her hair style was similar to Rukia's.
And last but not least, a fourth person entered the room, coldly, and the moment Ichigo saw him, he knew exactly who the man was just by his appearance alone.
Ichigo had never seen such cold eyes, and they frightened him a little, intimidated him. The man had black hair, with several streaks of hair covering his face. Unlike just about everyone else, he had a black business suit on instead of the black leather jacket and pants.
His eyes scanned the room dangerously, until they met Ichigo's.
Ikkaku came behind the man and closed the door, locking it securely. The boss walked across the room, his eyes glued to Ichigo's the entire time. Everyone person at the front of the room parted a path down the middle so that their leader could stand.
"Kurosaki Ichigo I presume." The man muttered coldly, with no emotion whatsoever. Ichigo could only nod his head. It seemed he just couldn't mutter up the courage to speak, though he had a lot to be afraid of, especially since just about every person in the room had a katana hanging from their waist.
"You have caused me great problems Kurosaki." The leader explained. "And there is only one solution I find that is suitable for you to do."
Ichigo waited for the guy to speak.
"The only answer I see fit is that you work for this gang for a little while, until Aizen forgets of your existence." Byakuya replied.
So, Ichigo would have to work for them?
"Nii-sama, is there no other way?" Rukia asked from next to him.
Did she just call him…Nii-sama?
Byakuya finally averted his hard eyes away from Ichigo's to Rukia's, and he found the ability to breathe again.
"No, there is no other way Rukia. Perhaps if you had been more careful, this entire problem would never have occurred." Byakuya snapped back at her.
It wasn't Rukia's fault that anything happened. If Ichigo weren't so frozen to his spot, he might have stood up for Rukia.
"Here's the deal Kurosaki," Byakuya began, pausing to fix his glare back on Ichigo. "You work for me for a month, and when everything is cleared up, you can walk away, and never glance back at what you saw, and you who met, understand?"
"And what if I don't?" Ichigo asked, surprised his voice sounded so clearly. He hadn't meant the question to be rude or smart-mouthed, but apparently it was really offending, because everyone in the room stared at him with shocked expressions.
Byakuya stared at him for a long time before speaking again. "If you refuse the deal, then there is a high chance you will be killed."
That was all Ichigo really needed to know.
"Alright then, I accept." Ichigo replied. Byakuya closed his eyes for a brief second, and moved towards the doorway, the three people that had entered with him before, and the five people that had stared at him in the beginning following behind. Ikkaku opened the door, and Byakuya paused before exiting.
"Rukia, you know what to do." He replied emotionlessly before closing the door.
Ichigo stared at the doorway for a second, feeling dazed about everything he'd just seen.
"Any questions?" Rukia asked.
"Yah, to start off, why the hell didn't you tell me your brother was the leader to this gang?"
A/N: This has definitely been my favorite chapter so far. We got to meet Byakuya, and Ichigo had a little drama with Rukia already (yay!) Next chapter will be Ichigo learning more about what the gang does, and what role he will play in it!
PLEASE REVIEW! Pretty please? With sugar on top? Come on, I'll make you some brownies (I just had some on Saturday and they were delicious!)