Ichigo and Grimmjow were led to exectution area, both handcuffed, with reiatsu drainers tied tightly around their necks
Ichigo and Grimmjow were led to execution area, both handcuffed, with reiatsu drainers tied tightly around their necks. The captains and vice captains lined the pathway, all with grim looks on their faces. Rukia and Renji both refused to meet Ichigo's eyes, Ukitake flicked his eyes away, not wanting to meet their gazes. Finding that no one did, Ichigo and Grimmjow glanced at each other, knowing they would be killed soon, but that at least, they died together.
It was a bit unfair, really. Together, Ichigo and Grimmjow had defeated Aizen, killing him. But, when Aizen had mentioned that Ichigo and Grimmjow were lovers, had been since before the War, and had been through the war, the Gotei 13 had been shocked. They had expected a denial from their hero, the saviour of the War. Ichigo hadn't given them one. He'd simply nodded, saying, "Yes, I am Grimmjow's lover."
They were both put down for execution straight away. Both had struggled against it, arguing their cases. Both had met no support from anyone. Every single person they'd turned to for support turned them away. Disgust and revulsion were the only things they'd found. Even Ichigo's father, even Urahara, had been disgusted.
Finding no support from anyone, finding no chance of fighting their way out, both Ichigo and Grimmjow gave up. They had accepted death with a full embrace, had accepted that they would die with each other, and simply gave up. Their past determination, past strength, their past refusal to accept death when it came knocking, it all flew away. They had not fought when summoned for, had given up arguing their case, and had simply shrugged when told today was their execution date.
The handcuffs were taken away. Both reached for each other's hand, grasped it, and Ichigo squeezed his lover's hand. Grimmjow smiled weakly at him, and Ichigo grimaced in reply.
They were led to the pit and forced in. Since Ichigo had destroyed the last method of execution, Soul Society had found another. Put simply, it was like the one before that. Criminals would be forced into a pit, and, with their reiatsu drained already, forced to fight a Menos Grande. Of course, with the criminal as weak as a human, there was no chance for him or her to fight back.
The criminal would be mauled to death within a few minutes. Their last sound would be a scream, or screams, of pain as the Menos Grande ripped through their skin, or as it lifted the victim with a claw and ate them. It was painful, it was deadly, it was the equivalent of torture. It was perfect, or so said Yamamoto, for a criminal who deserved the death penalty. No one bothered arguing.
Of course, by then, the criminal would be used to pain. Many were tortured to reveal the secrets of what they had done. If, as in the case of Rukia, it was already blatantly obvious, then there was no torture. If, as in the case of Rukia, they were a member of one of the noble families, there was no torture.
Neither Ichigo nor Grimmjow had either of these parts to fall back on. Their 'treachery' was shrouded in mystery – when had they started? Did they decide not to kill each other? Did they plan a future together? What was it? The questions were endless. Then, neither were nobles, nor did they plan on becoming one.
Therefore, they were tortured. Ichigo had stated they would tell everything without force, but no one listened. Both were haunted by the screams of the other as they were being tormented. Neither wanted to live through that again. This was one reason why they accepted their deaths calmly.
There were stairs that led into the pit. They were forced down these stairs, zanpuktous prodding their backs. Grimmjow led the way down the one-man width stairs, Ichigo following carefully. The Gotei 13 surrounded the pit, staring down as the Shinigami and his Espada lover made it onto the floor, looking around as they walked into the middle. Ichigo instinctively pressed closer to Grimmjow, who wrapped an arm around Ichigo, grinning down amusedly.
Ichigo prodded Grimmjow's stomach, telling him to be quiet and to wipe that smirk off his face. Grimmjow merely rolled his eyes, and tightened his gold around Ichigo's waist. Ichigo then walked to the side, and sank against it, leaning back tiredly. He traced a finger along a scar that ran along the side of Grimmjow's wrist. Grimmjow sighed and leant back, smiling as Ichigo, sighing tiredly, rested his head on the Espada's shoulder.
Above them, Yamamoto snored disgustedly, loudly enough for the two in the pit to hear. He rolled his eyes, and stepped away, ordering the Menos Grande to be released. The Shinigami around him tensed, watching as a gate was lifted by Jidanbo. A huge Menos Grande stumbled into the pit, roaring angrily. As with any other Menos Grande, this one had been starved.
It stopped roaring suddenly, and sniffed the area. Grimmjow and Ichigo stood, tense, watching it detect their smell. The Menos Grande plodded to them, grinning sadistically. Ichigo glanced at Grimmjow, and then leant up, and kissed him softly on the cheek. Grimmjow glanced down, surprised (what was Ichigo thinking, now? With a Menos Grande about to eat them?) but then smiled, and drew Ichigo into his arms. Both of them had become far more affectionate during their prison time, neither yelled nor punched each other. Grimmjow was less violent than he usually was, he had realised that any time spent with Ichigo now was precious, not to be wasted by arguing with him.
The couple hugged each other, and then turned around, noting the disgusted look on the Menos Grande's appearance.
"Traitor," spat the Menos Grande to the Espada. Grimmjow shrugged, instead drawing Ichigo closer. Ichigo rolled his eyes at the Menos Grande.
"You gonna eat us or what?" he asked. The Menos Grande rolled his eyes.
"Pfft. So pathetic. You wanna die in each other's arms, taking solace in that you're gonna die with each other. So. God. Damned. Pathetic," snapped the Menos Grande. "Well, I'm gonna tell you what I'm gonna do to ya."
"Sure you are," said Ichigo. "Once you get started of course."
"Get to it, bastard," added Grimmjow. Ichigo chuckled, and wrapped his arm tightly around Grimmjow's waist.
"Shut up," roared the Menos Grande. Ichigo and Grimmjow took a step back instinctively, tightening their holds around each other as they found themselves against the wall.
"I'm gonna kill one of ya slowly, painfully, in front o' the other, and then, when tha' one's hal' dead, I'm gonna kill the other one slowly. Then, I'll kill the two o' ya. But not before you suffer," the Menos Grande said, grinning.
Ichigo and Grimmjow glanced at each other, wondering whether someone, e.g. Urahara, had created a Menos Grande that could kill, and torture, especially for them. Probably.
The Menos Grande leapt at them suddenly. Ichigo and Grimmjow, as one, leapt to the side, rolling as they fell, to break the fall. They landed on their sides, Grimmjow's arms wrapped protectively around Ichigo.
"Come on," muttered Ichigo. "We're gonna have to break up if we wanna keep from dying soon."
"Breaking up?" asked Grimmjow, looking saddened. "You don' wanna see me no more, Ichi?"
Ichigo scowled at his lover, but then leant up and kissed the Espada.
"Shut up, bastard," he muttered. He then turned his attention to the Menos Grande, scowling.
"Stay still!" yelled the Menos Grande, lunging again. Grimmjow, whose reiatsu was the highest of the couple (not that it meant much) leapt over the Menos Grande, while Ichigo sprinted to the side, and met Grimmjow, in the middle of the pit.
"There's no way in hell we're gonna be able to beat the hollow," said Ichigo.
"Thanks for stating the perfectly obvious," replied Grimmjow.
"Sock it, Grimmy."
"Sorry," said Grimmjow. There would've been a time when he'd flatly refused to apologise to anyone, but things changed when you were on death row for loving one of your enemies.
"Don't worry," said Ichigo, watching the Menos Grande stumble from the hit it'd received from the wall.
"There's just no way I'm gonna see ya be tortured, again, 'Berry," said Grimmjow, in explanation for his moodiness.
"Noting the 'again' and the 'Berry' here," replied Ichigo, glaring at his lover for the use of the wretched nickname. Grimmjow merely chuckled.
"STOP BEING LITTLE FCKING LOVE DOVES AND LET ME MURDER YOU," screamed the Menos Grande, launching itself at Ichigo, but Grimmjow tackled Ichigo to the ground, taking the Shinigami out of harm's way.
The Espada neglected to take himself out of harm's way, and for his trouble, got a large cut across his shoulder blades.
Ichigo swore, and inspected the cut. "Damn it, I'm so sorry, Grimmy, what the hell, you didn't have to do that," the Shinigami continued to rant, until Grimmjow silenced him with a swift kiss.
"Shut up, Ichi, before I shut you up for a while, and it's not ya fault," said Grimmjow, smiling at Ichigo, who smiled weakly in return.
Above them, Yamamoto looked ready to vomit. He was furious at everything in that pit, Ichigo and Grimmjow for having an affair despite their supposed animosity, and that Menos Grande for not killing them quickly enough, though that torture sounded good.
Hitsugaya caught the eye of Byakuya and they both nodded at each other, and then at Renji. They had been staunch supporters of punishment for the two, but had been shocked at the execution. Among their divisions, and the fellow captains, they had found agreement – Yamamoto had gone senile, and that the Shinigami and the Espada did not deserve an execution.
None of them had spoke out, though. They planned, instead, to take a leaf out of Ichigo's book, the one titled, "How to rescue your best mate/ally from execution". While they had missed many of the steps, it was all going to plan.
They watched silently as Ichigo fussed over Grimmjow's cut, which as Unohana muttered, was clearly not severe. They watched silently as Ichigo dragged Grimmjow away from the Menos Grande, and as he bandaged the wound with some torn of strips from his clothing, and heard Grimmjow mutter, "we're gonna be dead soon, why bother?"
They watche silently as a sign was passed down the rows of Shinigami. They watched silently, but not the slow execution in the pits. Instead, the Shinigami watched Renji, the mastermind of the plan. Renji eyed the pit below him, and then looked up.
Yamamoto had not noticed a thing. He was too heavily concentrated on the execution below, and at his own disgust at the two lovers in the pit. He did not notice the signal passed silently, nor the nodding, muttering, the preparation of zanpuktous, the slow increase of reiatsu, or even some discreet releases of shikai.
Ichigo and Grimmjow were watching the Menos Grande warily. They had hidden themselves in a corner and were now, basically, waiting to die. There seemed no way they would survive, Ichigo had gotten a wound in his stomach, and could barely move. He was sitting in Grimmjow's lap, the Espada leaning against the wall, not putting any pressure on his back, particularly his shoulder blades.
"BAN KAI!" yelled many voices, over a dozen. In amazement, the couple looked up. Three Shinigami were jumping into the pit. One, Renji, took care of the Menos Grande, while the other two, Isane and Hanatrou, lifted them to the top, where Orihime, Unohana and some fourth division Shinigami checked them over, and healed the wounds they'd received.
Every other person who'd yelled Ban Kai, and the ones who had gone for Shikai were pointing their zanpuktous at Yamamoto, who looked stunned.
This meant that nearly every Shinigami who had gone to the utmost level of power they could were pointing their zanpuktous at Yamamoto.
The ones who hadn't fell into two categories. There were the ones checking over Ichigo, or were Renji (who'd easily defeated the Menos Grande, had flown back up, taken the reiatsu drainers off Ichigo and Grimmjow, handed them back their zanpuktous, told them they would be needed, and had now joined the crowd glaring defiantly at Yamamoto) or were part of the crowd supporting Yamamoto. Those ones were being handled (e.g. fought and defeated) by some eleventh division members.
"What?! What is the meaning of this?" snapped Yamamoto.
"We decided," said Renji, stepping forwards, "that there was no believable reason why you should execute Ichigo ... or Grimmjow." He found it hard to say not to execute Grimmjow, but he said it.
"What?" spluttered Yamamoto. Ichigo and Grimmjow stared at each other, and then at Renji, small smiles slowly appearing over their faces.
"There was, is, and shall never be a reason to execute two people who killed our worst enemy," said Hitsugaya, taking over. "Kurosaki's private life was, is and never shall be part of our concerns. Whether or not he chooses to love an Espada, who risked his own life to love Kurosaki and then turn on Aizen, is not part of our concerns. Bear in mind that Kurosaki, because of what he is – a Vizard – had every opportunity to join the Espada, and chose not to."
"Kurosaki and Grimmjow," said Byakuya, "risked their lives to help us. Kurosaki, because he did not choose to become a Shinigami in the first place and would have been perfectly entitled to refuse to joining us, Grimmjow because, had his betrayal of the Espada become apparent before he publicly helped Kurosaki defeat Aizen, he would have been executed. As it was, I suspect that it was Grimmjow feeding us information about the hollow movements, am I correct?" he directed his question at Grimmjow, who nodded weakly.
Neither Ichigo nor Grimmjow had ever believed that they would have this much support. During the entire ordeal, being arrested at Heucu MUndo, their imprisonment at the second division barracks, through their torture at the hands of both the second division and then twelfth division, and the trial, they had never encountered this much support. In truth, both were wondering when they'd had this much support.
"While we agree, that yes, they should be punished," said Renji, glancing at the couple, whose gazes dropped, "we think you more than adequately punished them when you had them tortured."
"I think not!" yelled Yamamoto. "You," he pointed at Renji, "why are you, a lowly vice captain," all the vice captains growled, "arguing with me! You," he pointed at Hitsiugaya, "a child prodigy? Supporting such a ridiculous notion? You are no child prodigy, an idiot! You," he pointed at Byakuya, "I expected better from you, Kuchiki. I should have you, the masterminds of this plan I expect, executed."
"Then," said Rukia, stepping forwards, "you shall have to execute the while of the Shinigami Women's Association, because we helped create the plan. Then, there were the sixth, tenth and thirteenth divisions, most of whom helped carry it out, send messages and recruit followers. Then, there would be people like Kyouraku-taicho, Nanao, and Kira, who helped modify the plan. I'm sorry, soutaicho, but there are far too many people for even you to execute without severely undermining the strength of the Gotei 13." Her speech shocked Yamamoto who had never expected such insolence. As a result, his reiatsu flared wildly, and Rukia was knocked out.
"Rukia!" cried Ichigo, Grimmjow (who'd always respected her for her care towards Ichigo) and Byakuya at the same time. Ichigo and Grimmjow was forced to sit down – they'd risen – by a fourth division healer. Byakuya lifted her tenderly, and handed her to Unohana, who took her back to the make shift healing area.
Grimmjow and Ichigo's attempt to help Rukia surprised everyone, though not themselves. Many had felt that, because Ichigo loved an Espada, he had deserted Soul Society. That, thought many, was the reason why he should be punished – after all, loving an Espada had meant that Ichigo, supposedly, did not care for his Shinigami friends, therefore he should be punished for loving an Espada. Grimmjow should be punished because firstly, he was one of the enemy, and had thought to seduce a Shinigami, and secondly, because he was the supposed reason why Ichigo had deserted the Shinigami.
Their clear display of worry and care towards the Shingami destroyed that idea.
"I take back what I said," said Renji.
"You now realise that Kurosaki and Grimmjow should be executed?" asked Yamamoto. "I knew you'd realise what was right, Abarai."
"What a hypocrite," muttered Ichigo to Grimmjow.
"No," said Renji. He looked around, saw everyone's faces, and smiled. "I think I speak for everyone, when I say that neither Ichigo nor Grimmjow should be punished at all. If they both care for their Shinigami friends, then why should they be punished? Why should they be executed when they are loyal to us? Why should they be punished when they risked their lives for us? Who bloody cares who either of them love, when they are loyal to us?" his voice had risen as he spoke.
There was a huge cheer of agreement to the statements, posed as questions. Yamamoto looked stunned, and his face cleared to that of disgust.
"You are all idiotic traitors," he spat, before turning on his heel and stalking away.
Renji rolled his eyes at Yamamoto's retreating back, before turning around. He was met with congratulations for his speech, including a smile from Byakuya (his mouth had dropped open at that, before he grinned at his taicho). Finally, Renji reached his destination, that of where Ichgio and Grimmjow sat, next the each other, Grimmjow's arm draped lazily around Ichigo.
"Hey, Ichi," said Renji uneasily. He knew that he had hurt Ichigo and Grimmjow by his apparent betrayal of them, and now had no idea of how to approach them. He knew, however, that he should speak to them.
"I'm guessing," said Ichigo, who was equally uneasy, Grimmjow could feel it in the tense shoulders, "that you were the mastermind of the entire rebellion slash rescue."
"Two things," said Grimmjow, who was aware of the uneasy, slightly suspicious looks from the onlookers. "First, could ya have warned us o' that, so we didn' look like friggin' idiots with our mouths open?" Everyone chuckled at that. "And second, ya should apologise to Ichi here," everyone was uneasy, "'cause ya stole his idea o' how to rescue people from execution, which is, to fight everyone responsible and yell at them to go away and get a life." Everyone laughed.
"Well," Rukia said, from where she sat, "I did say Renji, that you were basically stealing Ichigo's idea."
"Oh yeah?" asked Renji. "Tell me, then, how else would ya have done it?" Rukia shrugged. "Hmph. Precisely my point."
"No idea what your point was," remarked Ichigo. "What are you going to do with Yama-jii?"
"Call him Yama," said Renji disgustedly, "he doesn't deserve an honorific."
"I believe," said Ichigo, "that if you translate Yama-jii, it comes out as Old Man Yama, which is not that respectful."
"Adding an honorific implies that you honour that person, which is what should not happen with Yama-baka."
"You just added an honorific to Yama's name, hypocrite!" exclaimed Ichigo.
"As much as I'd love this argument to continue," said Grimmjow dryly, interrupting before Renji could say something, "you didn't answer Ichi-berry's question."
"I said not to call me that!" snapped Ichigo, glaring at Grimmjow.
"What? Ichi, or Berry?"
"Ichi? Or Berry?"
"How can I know not to call you that name if I don't know what name to call you in the first place?"
"Argh!" exclaimed Ichigo, throwing his arms up in the air in exasperation. "You are so goddamned annoying, Grimm-bluey!"
"Don't call me that!"
"What?" asked Ichigo smiling far too innocently, "Grimm? Or Bluey?"
"Grimm? Or Bluey?" repeated Ichigo, smirking.
"How can I –"
"As amusing as it is to watch you two argue," interrupted Byakuya (some would swear he was smiling), "the answer to your original question is that we haven't fully planned it out, but we were hoping you would help."
"Huh?" they said in unsion.
"Already speaking in unision!" exclaimed Shunsui. "Just how much time have you spent together?!"
"We spent plenty of time together before and during the Winter War," began Ichigo.
"And plenty of time in prison."
"Anyway," said Ichigo, "what's this about helping?"
"Interested in fighting Yama?" asked Renji. Ichigo and Grimmjow grinned.
A/N: snickers Disclaimer: own nothing save plot line. anyhows, must write fight scene. waves oh, reviewers get brownies. people who go to my other bleach story and help with my task in chap 3 get cookies
Edit: put in AN, and fixed a couple of typos. rolls eyes typos. hate them.