Three weeks ago…
…three weeks ago…
Three weeks ago, he was no more than an innocent boy who was teetering on the threshold of pubescent excursions. Sexual intercourse, making out, foreplay, and other activities pertaining to carnal pleasures, to name a few, were among these so-called excursions. As of now, he remains innocent in said field, a fact that's currently raising bloody havoc in his head, in his blood, in his flesh, in his soul. Three weeks ago, his lips were about to reach the height of their existence upon coming into contact with Grimmjow Jaggerjack's. Three weeks ago, his palm was to experience being in a holy territory upon brushing against the Espada's crotch, accidentally on purpose. Three weeks ago, his eyes had almost unraveled the most wondrous spectacle he would ever have dreamt of beholding; Grimmjow in so complete an absence of clothing. Three weeks ago, his life was facing a complete transformation.
Three weeks ago, Renji Abarai ruined his life, entirely.
What happened exactly three weeks ago was this:
"I give up." Grimmjow said after freezing his motion altogether in mid-air.
Kurosaki Ichigo, in so far as his knowledge of Grimmjow's conducts was concerned, had never in his life heard anything as nearly unsettling as this.
"Isn't this what you want? I defeated you, but in the end you couldn't accept it. However, before we knew it, Noitora butted in and beat the crap outta my ass while you lay there unconscious. And then Zaraki arrived, kicked the hell outta his ass while I had myself healed. I had you healed, out of some sick impulse, and you still couldn't accept I defeated you. So now that we're both fucking healed, we're doing a goddamn rematch, and guess what? You say, 'I give up'. Are you suffering from some severe brain damage too badly or are you just being a plain moron?"
The Espada merely cracked a smirk, thereby pulling a perfect demonstration of fearless malignity.
"What's so goddamn funny? Are we gonna do this or not?" Ichigo said, his guard reaching breaking point. For all he knew, there wasn't anything in sight that might get any sane someone smirking like a devil.
"And how, may I ask, did I turn out to be the laughing stock here—"
"—you're cute when you're upset, Shinigami—"
"—and so are you—"
Well, bloody fuck. Holy shit. Blazing hell. Friggin' crap. And all four combined.
Grimmjow must have acquired some serious lapse in his mental faculties, for he was now staring at Ichigo blankly. In fact, it was the first time he looked at the shinigami with anything resembling something besides derision.
"What did ja just say?"
Ichigo was at a total loss. How could he have been so stupid, was the question he asked himself. And why not when it was most likely the most despicable, unthinkably careless thing, he thought, that could ever escape a teenager's mouth?
"Forget that shit, and let's do this." Ichigo proposed shakily, his Zanpakotou pointing to no definite direction, like his wits at the moment.
Likewise, Grimmjow's Zanpakotou dangled idly at his side, almost completely unattended. He drew closer to his opponent to reach a hitting distance…a casual distance…whispering distance…kissing distance? At the very same moment, or the next, he liberated his hand from his weapon, so that when it produced a blunt sound indicative of its abandonment to the mercy of Hueco Mundo's sands he grabbed Ichigo by the head and pulled it to his closer than what could've been comfortable for them both.
"You're right; let's do this."
Ichigo, in coherence with what was being vulgarly offered to him, received every kiss without second thoughts. But soon everything developed into some unsightly vulgarity. Grimmjow was devouring him, sucking the air in his throat and all speech with it. They didn't know how they wound up tangled, half-naked, and panting under the blatant sky any more than they could remember how they were born. It was wrong, everything was wrong from top to bottom, yet here they were, guiltless of what they were doing and unheeding of what was to come afterwards. And so Ichigo stared at his companion, with whom moments before he was crossing swords, and thought him beautiful. As a matter of obvious fact, Grimmjow Jaggerjack was purely made of things wonderful and beautiful. It was fair to desire him, but it wasn't fair to own him. For who could be worthy enough to take possession of such beauty? He continued to allow this thought to run its course, all the while laying there in an unsteady presence of a dream. And each of them were more confused than the other.
But more confused than anything that bore a name was Renji Abarai.
Hours before, his heart was girded with perfect gladness. Aizen and his army of Arrancars were all gone, reduced to ashes which later on mingled with the lifeless wind. Or so Renji thought. Whatever the case was, all hearts went ablaze, as Soul Society reigned victorious.
The 6th Division Lieutenant volunteered to scout the ruins of Hueco Mundo, in search of survivors. What he found instead was a shock. He stood there, utterly stupefied, irretrievably horrified, and mortally shocked. On the whole, he was gravely offended. But, on top of things, it appeared he had come to the end of all he knew.
On any given day, barging into two scantily-clad dudes who, as chance would have it, were exchanging huge amounts of saliva and were groping for every private area of each one's body was a sight relatively acceptable to him. It was acceptable because he himself had more than once been involved into such indiscreet activities with—
"WHAT THE FUCK, ICHIGO?!"
Ichigo swiveled his head to the voice's direction, only to meet eyes with the last person he would want to see at the moment. This meeting, if anything, was a momentous space in time that should be marked by the most illustrious depictions of a person utterly cornered and caught in the act of something... heinous. Renji Abarai, for starters, was famous for being a loudmouth, that much was true, but the embarrassment presently at hand was so insanely unnerving that Ichigo could hardly think of what would come about if news went abroad. As things stood, gigantic beads of sweat pooled in various regions of Ichigo's skin. And so his life was over, it rest-assuredly was.
"Who's this punk?" Grimmjow Jaggerjack asked his partner casually. Why, he might have been asking the goddamn time!
Ichigo did not answer immediately, for reasons such as that his wits were collapsing by the hundreds.
"I'm Renji Abarai, Vice Captain of the 6th Division of the Gotei 13. I am here to eradicate the remnants of Las Noches, that means you, and collect what remains of our forces, that means you, Ichigo." Renji answered as he balanced his wits in due proportion.
"Is that so? We're kinda still busy, so if you don't mind scramming—"
"What's the meaning of this, Ichigo?" Renji turned to Ichigo without attending to Grimmjow's answer. He stared at his comrade, looking indignantly betrayed, in a ruthless intensity which was very near wrath.
Ichigo collected his wardrobe and, one by one, put them on, all in a very casual manner. Ready to answer what was required of him to, he promptly turned around.
"You know what it means." The teen answered coldly, though well below reservedly. Truth be told, he wanted to explain everything to his best friend, but the process, it seemed, was too laborious even to imagine. Coming up with prudential reasons was clearly an impossibility, because what was there to raise as an excuse to his mindless execution of his temporal pleasures? Just what? Besides, what it looked like was exactly what it was.
"Unfortunately, I don't. What exactly are you doing with him?" Renji asked, his voice raised by nearly two octaves.
Ichigo deduced that this was a question he needed to answer, gravely, and he was gonna do it if it were going to be his last living act. "We were doing what you and your captain usually do in your free-time." He finished, sounding convincingly conversational.
Clearly, a retort such as that would not have assisted any discussion on any given day. As a result, Renji's face had gone completely stoked up way too high with heat and anger. "You leave my captain out of this. He's my captain, for crying out loud, not my nemesis! Unlike you, you flirting son of a gun—"
"—Well, that's completely the point! He's your goddamn captain! You shouldn't be sleeping with him at all cost! You call yourself a lieutenant, you whore—"
"—and that's coming from someone who's caught red-handed fondling an Espada's chest! Jesus Christ, Ichigo! —"
"You bitches are noisy." Grimmjow's voice pummeled through the verbal onslaught.
"What was that, Espada? I can take you on here and now—"
"Jesus Christ, Renji, will you goddamn cut it off? Can we just talk this out?" Ichigo said.
"Talk this out? This?! It's that simple, isn't it? You think old man Yamamoto's gonna let it slide just like that and you can live happily ever fucking after holding hands with your Arrancar here—"
"I'll await my sentence." Grimmjow said, almost calmly. Surprising as it sounds, he was exercising patience.
Both Shinigami cast him identical bewildered glares.
"And what would be your strategy for danger if the Council sent you to the gallows? Choke to death or die of suffocation?" Ichigo demanded with irritation.
"Ichigo, this bastard ain't worth it. Let him die if he chooses to. See, it doesn't even look like he gives a goddamn hoot—"
"I didn't say I wouldn't care if you Shinigami bastards hanged me. Jeez, you're as dense as a goddamn cow. What are they gonna execute me for? I didn't join Aizen's army; he took me in by force. I never did anything he asked me to do. That shit when I went after Strawberry here was all part of leisure. I hated him, Aizen, hated everyone in this goddamn shithole, not that I ever liked anyone until now…" Grimmjow trailed off and looked away, his cheeks reddened by some unknown force. Upon closer look, his expression resembled, to a remarkable extent, embarrassment.
Renji sighed as if the Espada's message accounted for something that hinted further complications to the baffling situation. Without knowing what course of actions to choose next, he somehow realized that his duty, that was to deliver justice, had been thoroughly delayed, if not entirely suspended, by what he was currently dealing with, all because of some orange-haired guy's delinquency and obstinacy.
"Old Yamamoto is made of pure justice. I am arresting you, Grimmjow Jaggerjack, ranked 6th among the Espada. I'm sure he will spare you, though not without punishment. Do not resist; it will only aggravate everything. While I do desire my friend's happiness the fact remains that I am irrevocably pledged to my duties. I'm sorry, but you're gonna have to come with me."
Ichigo and Grimmjow gazed at each other for the longest time. Then, without hesitation, without reluctance, the teen spoke,
"Renji, you are only to give censored accounts of what you've just learned here. You will say nothing of it to anyone else unless under circumstances where you're faced with a matter of life and death options, do you hear me?"
"Yeah, fine, but shut up about Captain Kuchiki already."
That was the end of the bizarre episode. Within that space of time, Renji Abarai had unknowingly ruined Kurosaki Ichigo's chances of losing his accursed virginity, of which he so direly wanted to be rid, thus, dismantling his life.
Present day at the Judicial Court…
"Grimmjow Jaggerjack, you are hereby presented to the Body of Justice which upon a unanimous vote of its members came up with your sentence. You are to be carted off to the 12th Division's Main Laboratory, and there the officials are to wipe out your memories that date back from whence you first became a hollow up to the present. After which, you are free to live by your preference, but within the jurisdictions of Soul Society. This is not a choice given to you; this is an announcement, all for your awareness."
Ichigo's astonishment was beyond any known bounds, perhaps never to be quenched. Not taking into account the generosity hereby exercised by the commander, he was instantly shocked half to death by the sentence. On the other hand, the reactions it harnessed from the other onlookers, the captains, the vice captains, and a few seated officers, are in no way above ominous whispers of disagreement. It was a light punishment, for crying out loud!
"There, Ichigo, it's better than you hoped! This calls for a celebration!" Renji whispers to his friend's ear.
Ichigo, in response, grabs the lieutenant by the ear and pulls him into an empty chamber. "This is bad!" he lashes out, panicking in what possibly is, or at least it appears like it, the end of the world.
"Dafuq are ya saying? They're not even gonna give your boy-toy the slightest of spanking."
"Don't you understand?! He's off to forget his Espada life, himself, me—us! We—aargh—we are something, like, truly!" Ichigo, so swallowed up by some merciless anxiety, can very much be a candidate among the cadavers in the morgue of the 12th Division Quarters.
"Yeah, but—listen, mate, I know it's bad, but it could have been worse."
The teen would not take comfort from the meek consolation given to him, even granted it's the only one available source of reassurance. He speeds off, knocking down a few fellow shinigami along the way, to the 12th Division's Main Laboratory.
He arrives in time to witness the preparation for the dreaded procedure. At the sight of it his knees start to prattle. Grimmjow looks completely fine. He is seated upon a forgettable chair, with his arms resting on the armrests and his legs motionlessly perched on the seat. Yeah, he's fine, if only he isn't on his way to losing his damned memories. And then their eyes meet. The Espada nods at him, in what seemed like a final surrender.
Only four pairs of captains and vice-captains have come to watch; Unohana and Kotetsu, Byakuya and Renji, Hitsugaya and Matsumoto, and Ukitake and the other Kotetsu. Kurotsuchi and his robot lieutenant are arranging the chamber.
Some sort of a machine is suspended on a wire above Grimmjow, and as it lowers down to perform what it's intended to,
"Er, uhm, can we, like, say a few things to him, like, how painless this procedure is and…" Ichigo hears himself say, to which Byakuya stared at him in mild disapproval.
"Go on, then." Nemu says.
"Uhm," Ichigo starts, "Grimmy—Grimmjow, you'll be alright—"
"You're so fucking obvious." Renji mutters under his breath.
"—and, that's about it, hahaha." Ichigo finishes with a misplaced chuckle, ignoring Renji's side comment.
But, as he is being an imbecile, every captain is eyeing him suspiciously, as though scrutinizing an alien object.
The device is lowered even more. As such, Ichigo speaks again, for what he alone knows,
"Uhm, shouldn't we shave his head first? It looks like it's gonna be like Cilia Electrica and—"
The device freezes.
"No, there's no need for that." Kurotsuchi says, apparently annoyed by the interruption.
The device resumes its descent, but then again...
"Er, shouldn't we allow him to say a few words before he parts company with his dear memories?" Ichigo suggests sheepishly.
The device slows to a halt. Unohana nods in agreement, out of sympathy, but Byakuya has this calculating glance propelled toward the teen.
Kurotsuchi sighs before calling to Grimmjow, "Prisoner, is there anything you want to impart before we knock you up for amnesia?"
"I guess there is, but what use is there to say it anyway?"
"Well, then, let us resume."
The device sinks in even deeper.
"Wait! I er, can we—" Ichigo is unable to phrase the remaining of his appeal, while at the same time the device pulls to a pleasant stop.
"What is it this time, Kurosaki? Do you want to request for a change of clothes for a grander setting?"
It's Byakuya—and sarcasm. Well, he is capable of humor, after all.
Silence ensues. At length, Ichigo answers,
"Uhm, I was just thinking; shouldn't we make him comfortable—like, make him lie down or something—"
"—If you find it so difficult to witness this boring demonstration, you can leave the chamber now, which, I think, would be a wise thing to do. You're becoming an irritation, what with your constant intervening." The noble recites, shutting everyone up; almost everyone, that is.
"Well, Byakuya, if I'm too irritating for you, why don't you scram?"
A collective gasp from the vice-captains cuts down their heated discussion, which, obviously, is on its way to a shouting match, a one-way shouting match, that is; there's no way Byakuya's gonna lose his cool anyway.
"Permit me to inquire, but what is with your exhausted attempts to prevent this Espada from losing his memories? Is there a specific time, somewhere in his lifetime, that you so much treasure? If so, you can submit an official declaration of your appeals to Captain Yamamoto—"
"Will you cut it with your noble speech—"
"You will not speak to my captain like that, Ichigo!" Renji bursts forth with considerable indignation.
"Your captain, huh? Isn't he like your boyfr—" Ichigo's voice dissolves upon catching Renji's horrified, wordless exhibition of disapproval.
But Byakuya has tolerated so much idiocy already, so he speaks in a voice expressive of some infinitely great authority, "Captain Kurotsuchi, may we proceed, I mean, recommence?"
Ichigo's fears have grown more primal but less discernible. It's over. In a matter of minutes he will be nothing more than a figure of forgotten history in his beloved's life. He is spared…at least in body, he thinks. Still, there's no profit from this mental self-consolation. Perhaps happiness isn't my destiny.
"This is absolution; it's what's right." Captain Unohana says to no one in particular to which Ukitake nods in reverent agreement and Hitsugaya sighs.
The device touches the Espada's head at last—
"Stop!"Ichigo lashes out.
The device stops again for the millionth time.
Hitugaya covers his face with his palm and mutters something that sounds very much like "I'm so out of here." before shaking his head. Unohana and Ukitake, on the other hand, are gaping at the teen in disbelief.
Byakuya has clearly had enough,
"For the last time, what do you want, Kurosaki?"
"Justice? If justice were served adequately, he'd be six feet under by now."
Hitsugaya Toushiro exits the room, realizing that staying there would do him as much good as snapping his Zanpakotou in half; Matsumoto follows suit before winking at Ichigo.
"I don't believe that. He's not a fiend like all of you here are thinking—"
"Enough. This is already as comical as it can possibly get, and," Byakuya shakes his head before continuing, evidently compelled to say something he so refuses to say, "Captain Kurotsuchi, please release that criminal from that stupid capsule. I'll take care of him."
The other captains, Ichigo, Grimmjow, and the vice-captains stand there in aghast, looking as though they were trapped into some dreadful turn of reality.
Before they know it, Byakuya grabs Grimmjow Jaggerjack by the arm, but the Espada shows no warnings of defiance. And then like someone utterly fed-up, the 6th Division Captain hurls the Arrancar at Ichigo with restrained force, as if disappointingly returning a stolen unwanted possession.
"There. I will write a letter to the commander and request a reevaluation of the Council's decision, and you," He strides closer to Ichigo with some sort of predatory aura, and he continues "from hereon, will stop being a whiny, stupid, incorrigible, insufferable, unbearable brat."
Ichigo is staring at him in vacant idleness. What a wonderful world he is in, he tells himself despite the fact that moments ago he had as much as all the water in the world weighing on his mind. He swallows the lump in his throat and blinks twice, to find Renji smiling at him to acknowledge his triumphant plight.
"Er…that's it? Are you sure, Byakuya—taichou?" Ichigo asks, with much reluctance in the pronunciation of the last word.
Byakuya wheels around and commences his exit. Upon reaching the door, he speaks, "You're such a persistent waste of my time. If it would stop you from being my most convenient source of discomfort, I would give you all the goddamn Espada in the world even if I had to fucking raise each and every one of them from the dead." With that, he has gone.
Ichigo is standing there, utterly transfixed.
"Did he just say, 'goddamn' and 'fucking'?" he asks Renji.
"He got that from me." Renji admits. "Gotta go with taichou; I don't wanna keep him waiting." He winks meaningfully at both Ichigo and Grimmjow before disappearing after his captain-boyfriend.
Outside the building,
"Sometimes, I just have to ask, how moronic can you get?" Grimmjow asks Ichigo.
"I dunno. Perhaps as moronic as what's required of me to keep you by my side forever."