Hey! Long time no see. It's been almost two years since I updated? Haha. I'm really sorry about the wait; I completely got out of Bleach and got into things like Homestuck and The Wanted and various video games. But, I caught up with Bleach, and it inspired me to plug onward!

So here we are, folks! Chapter 8! I hope some of you still follow this story, lol.


The car ride was past uncomfortable. After being shoved in the backseat by some not-so-gentle hands of tux guy, he sidled close to Shiro. He was breathing audibly from his nose, not that he noticed, but attention was eventually drawn upon him as a familiar hand fell on his forearm. Instinctually, he stiffened, but his eyes trailed up to its owner, and Ichigo felt a fraction better. The confusion and concern clouding his eyes made his brows furrow; he had so many questions, but he was fairly certain that his school nurse could not exactly reveal much, not in this situation anyway. Shiro gave him a small smile, one that made him frown in return.

The elder's mouth twisted into a matching grimace. "I know what yer thinkin'."

He could not help an incredulous laugh. "Is it that obvious?" Ichigo punctuated the question sarcastically, a sort of defense mechanism since his nerves were deciding to go haywire. His blunt nails itched against the soft material of his gym shorts, his gaze searching Shiro's face.

"Sure." Shiro replied simply, turning his golden eyes forward to where two dark-haired men sat in front part of the car. His expression seemed to grow more sinister, lips twitching at the edge of snarl. "Why didn' I let ya go back inside the school?" He asked, as if that was what Ichigo had in mind.

Ichigo blinked at the nurse. "Uh, no, not exactly." Curious yellow orbs turned to him on that remark, and the teenager smiled nervously. He had more been wondering just who were their captors, where they were going, if Shiro was actually who he said he was. Had they not been interrupted, perhaps he would have been told the truth. Either way, he was going to be shown the answers soon enough, he guessed. "Besides, I wouldn't have left you here with batshit dudes hijacking you. Karakura High needs their nurse."

The paler laughed, short but still obviously amused. "That's nice t' know." Shiro muttered in reply, looking up again to the driver and passenger before them. He cleared his throat to speak up to them, but the boss man seemed to know what he was going to say because he interrupted him with a flick of his hand before hardly a noise emitted from his throat.

"Down this street is the determiner of your fate, Mr. Shiro." He stated, gesturing as he glanced back at the short-haired duo from the corner of his eye. "Elimination is something of a talent for you, no? Consider this your graduation exam." The man pauses to make a considering, thoughtful sound, rubbing the line of his jaw. The pose seemed genuine, but he was most apparently stalling for effect, something that made the orange-haired boy's teeth grit in annoyance. "Although, your girlfriend will have to stay put; we'll consider that collateral in case you fail to finish the job."

Ichigo balled his hands into fists; he was close to flailing to the driver's side and making them crash at this rate. He looked to Shiro. Surely this man that he had trusted so easily would not let this happen. Really though, the highschooler truly did not know what was happening; maybe there was nothing else to do but be held hostage. He watched as the nurse crossed his arms over his chest, watched as his face contorted into something cold, eyes glinting with a long-borne hatred for the speaker amongst them.

"Aizen, I'm th' only one who can do this job o' yours, so ya better treat me right, asshole." Shiro replied to the dubbed, Aizen, leaning back against the leather of the car.

Ichigo would have to keep a mental tally of how many times Shiro could hand someone's ass to them on a pretty silver platter, something that made him swell with an impending chuckle, but that would die shortly; the situation was enough to stifle his humor. His mind started to wander, however, would he even make it home in time for dinner? Screw dinner… would he make it home at all? His ochre eyes shifted warily as the car made its way up the street. One could never be so sure in the presence of crazy bastards whether he was going to make it home or not, something he had learned easily by having a certain bully pushing him around all the time. Grimmjow aside, it seemed there was definitely something larger happening to him, to Shiro. Some rustling snapped him from his thoughts, watching with renewed interest as the elder shrugged out of his white coat, a clean, light blue dress shirt underneath. In a different setting, he might have commented about how the color complimented the nurse. Maybe if he just laid his head back and closed his eyes he would only think of their playful banter, the inside of Shiro's apartment, their walk in the park, their kiss-

"Ya gonna be alrigh', kid?"

He must have been a little too dramatic with his head crank backwards. "Yeah, super." Ichigo replied, running a hand through his bright-colored hair in something like a combination of exasperation and anticipation; his emotions were efficiently muddled, at any rate, distorted enough for him to have only just now realized that they had stopped moving forward seconds ago. He takes a deep, shuddering breath, looking at Shiro who caught his gaze without effort. Despite the calm in the albino's eyes, Ichigo could not share that feeling; instead, he could feel his heartbeat knock in his head, an insistent pounding in his head that grew louder as he realized that whatever it was Shiro had to do for this man, he had to do it regardless.

"Show time, Mr. Shiro." Aizen interrupted their moment, smirking from his perch in the front seat.

Ichigo could understand loathing this guy; he was an insufferable prick. However, he looked past Shiro and out the tinted window. They were parked across the street from a large, two-story house. It looked abandoned. Typical, Ichigo thought with a soft snort. Crazy shit like this would not have happened in any other setting. He was going to ask a question, something to confirm his suspicions, something to ease his worries, something to quell the dread. The words never quite reach his lips though; he had nothing to say at that moment. Instead, he took it upon himself to gnaw on his lower lip, wishing this was all just a big joke, and the pair of them could go home now, forget about all this mess. He heard Shiro sigh, watched him pull something from behind his back. His eyes went wide, blinking as cold metal was placed in his hands, the elder's gun, a compact, powerful little thing.

"Don't le' these guys pull any bullshit on ya, Ichi. I'll be back 'fore ya know it." On that note, Shiro gave the boy a tight squeeze on his shoulder before sliding across the backseat of the SUV and just as smoothly easing himself out the door.

The teenager was not sure how he felt at that moment, groping for Shiro's long, nurse's coat and fisting up a handful. He would wait for him, not that he had much other choice. He had fifty speculations of the situation, at least. Though, his thoughts would not stay in one piece for him to properly dissect any of them. The pounding his heart was almost as infuriating as the slow tick of the clock, a faster pace being the only difference. Whether he liked it or not, there was more to Shiro than first seen, that much was most apparent to him. Shiro had protected him from Grimmjow, but he was not there now. He could not be there if things headed for the worst, could not be there to save the day. Ichigo would have to fend for himself for a while, however long that while might be. Depending on what kind of job Aizen had commissioned the nurse for, hours would pass before there would be any sign of Shiro.

One hour, give or take, to be exact, passed. Ichigo was in the backseat with his leg bouncing nervously, nearly clawing at Shiro's coat in his state of waiting. The dark-haired Aizen had tried making conversation here and there, and the boy had not responded until his nerves had peaked and he unleashed a string of hell upon the man, angry curses and shouting had made him start to shake. His adrenaline was tipping over the edge. He would keep waiting though, even as he watched the shadows changing outside, time ticking; he would not dare even watch the clock. Ichigo's resolve was remarkable until he heard it; muffled inside the car, but it still made him drop the pistol onto the floorboard, snapping his neck in the direction of the abandoned house so hard it hurt: an ear-splitting crack of a gun.

That was the last straw. "I'm sick of this shit." Ichigo snarled, without thinking, plundering out the side door and streaking across the road, across the overgrown lawn. The sun was hot on his back as he closed in on the front door. A part of his mind was relieved to know he was not being stopped; no one would stop him from busting the operation now. He was not going to let Shiro get hurt for some douchebag like Aizen. If the nurse was going to protect him from Grimmjow, then it was time he returned the favor.

Despite his thoughts, he paused at the door, hand taking up the chipped, golden knob in his clammy palm. A roaring beat in his ears, he twisted the knob roughly to the right, using his foot to fling the door forward and send it crashing against the wall with an echoing bang. His chest heaved visibly, eyes dancing about the decrepit staircase, the decaying wallpaper, the dreadful wooden floors that moaned beneath his feet as he much more cautiously stepped past the door's threshold. There was an eerie sort of quiet: no struggle, no shouting, absolute silence. Ichigo swallowed hard, creeping forward with an icy chill trickling down his spine. He could only hope that Shiro was excellent at dodging bullets or that he was excellent at hitting the mark; one could not tell from just sound who shot the gun.

He peered into the living room that was complete with an old antenna-bearing TV, a sofa whose white fluff was pluming from it like a grade school science experiment and a coffee table whose glass center was shattered everywhere. Ichigo did not stay long enough to investigate; alternatively, he made his way to the foot of the stairwell, gazing up to the hallway above to whose rooms he could not see. Gathering himself slowly, he gripped the handrail and pulled himself forward, every step making a god-awful creak, every step making him flinch. Once at the top, he rested, briefly, trying to calm down but finding it impossible; he had to find out if Shiro was okay before he could even think calming thoughts. Down the hall, he trekked, ever so carefully. Thankfully, when his shoe slid on a wet spot, he had been creeping so attentively, he had not slipped. However, the liquid that could have tripped him was awfully dark and crimson against the dusty wooden floor.

"Ichigo!" The voice made him jump violently, and his heart nearly tore from his ribcage.

He whipped around, a rush of emotions making his eyes sting with something he did not want to admit was happening when he recognized the pale figure before him; his shirt was no longer tucked in and was no longer clean anymore, deep red splattered across his left sleeve, the collar and further down on his pants. Ichigo felt a little sick at the realization that was not Shiro's blood on him, but at the same time he was strangely relieved. He wanted to run over to him, ask him if he was okay, but his feet would not move, and his mouth felt much too dry to speak.

Thankfully, Shiro seemed to gather the shock fairly quickly, stepping over to him and taking him up in an embrace. Ichigo still felt frozen, but gradually he relaxed in the elder's arms, making a sighing noise. And eventually, his indignation returned, just a trickle, one that made him push Shiro away like he was trying to save some pride. He would not let his fear be portrayed so easily, at least, if Shiro could not already see it plainly. "I was fucking sitting in that car for an hour and a half! What the hell kind of job sends you into an abandoned shithole," the carrot top stopped to gesture erratically to the albino, "where you get covered in blood?"

The nurse growled a little, impatiently taking up Ichigo's hands and squeezing. "I'll explain everythin' later, Ichi." He replied, a rather unsatisfying thing for the other. Shiro seemed to immediately notice the impatient twitch Ichigo had but wasted no time in tugging him back down the stairs. "I promise I'll tell ya everythin', okay? I jus' need t' get the fuck outta here."

At that moment, the highschooler felt a twinge of sympathy for Shiro, his brown eyes softening on the bloody man, only now noting where red touched his alabaster skin. He sort of spaced out as they ran across the front yard together, wide strides taking them both back to the black SUV. Ichigo ducked in first, nearly cracking his head from not paying attention. Everything felt strangely muffled as he tried to sift through the events that had passed as he stare down at the abandoned gun between his shoes with no intent, just thought. There was some growling words passed from Shiro to the smoother, cocky voice of Aizen, nothing more than a simple confirmation before the SUV started on its course. As they drove, he thought he felt Shiro close to him, close enough for comforting, but registering the elder was proving difficult.

In a mixed perception of time, Ichigo realized they had stopped once more. He lifted his head, staring out the window; they were in the school parking lot which was largely empty now, students and faculty having dispersed from the premises. Shiro kindly guided him from Aizen's kidnapping vehicle, immediately pushing him behind him as the driver's side window rolled down. Aizen, on the opposite side in the passenger seat, was smiling at the two.

"It has been a pleasure working with you." He spoke, dark eyes moving on the orange-haired teenager shortly afterward. "As it was meeting you, Mr. Kurosaki." With that, the window was drawn up, and the SUV made a screech as it lurched forward and sped off toward the exit.

Ichigo did not respond but rather felt a cold nervousness settle in his stomach. How had Aizen known his name? He shook his head, moving away from the albino momentarily and rubbing his forehead tiredly. So much had happened that he did not know what questions to ask any longer. He meandered over to Shiro's sleek car, cynically thinking of how nice it was of his boss to leave them so close to his vehicle.

"Ichi," he was addressed quietly, a hand wrapping around his upper arm, "are ya okay?" Shiro's golden eyes were staring straight at him, the lines in his brow deep with concern.

He managed the ghost of smile. "Uh, not sure about that yet." Ichigo responded, holding his head up and looking out at the street where the occasional cars passed. Finally, he turned to Shiro, immediately noting their close proximity, but the contact was not exactly unwanted. He felt safer when the pale-haired nurse was so close. Technically, their escapade had only cost them the rest of school hours and then some; his family would not be terrible worried unless it was dark. He had time to spare, time he wanted to take advantage of to find out who Shiro really was, what Aizen was doing fucking around with his life. Staring at the elder, coated in a sheen of splattered blood, he realized he had truly become involved in something far beyond what he had expected, far from the trivial beatings of Grimmjow and his mixed feelings for Shiro. "We should go." Ichigo said.

It seemed to be all that Shiro needed. He released the boy, rounding his car to the driver's side and clicking the button to release the lock. Ichigo opened the door and climbed inside, feeling a sense of privacy even if it was just a car. As Shiro turned the key, the vehicle purred to life, and Ichigo inhaled deeply, glad to smell the nurse's familiar, sweet scent. In the time that they had entered the car, Shiro had acquired a handkerchief of sorts and was wiping some of the blood from his neck and face, where it stained his forearm as he stared himself down in the overhead mirror. The first question of the evening popped in his mind: "Are you hurt?"

Shiro paused, appearing to consider this as he slowly turned his attention on the carrot top. A small grin split across his lips, his eyes tired but still sparking with the faintest amusement. "Now, what kind'a nurse would I be if I was th' one gettin' hurt all th' time?" He questioned back smartly before resuming his grooming. "Ya seem more'n capable of doin' that fer me."

Ichigo allowed a soft laugh, weak as it was. "You're fucking nuts." He remarked exasperatedly, letting his skull hit the headrest with a plunking sound as he closed his eyes. He stayed there for a few moments, considering how his heart rate had considerably slowed as Shiro switched gears and began to accelerate them onward. Eventually, he peeked at the elder as they turned onto the main road.

"You have a lot to tell me, Shiro." Ichigo said softly, noticing a few smudges of crimson the nurse had neglected to clean.

"I know." He replied, grip tightening on the steering wheel noticeably as he took a couple seconds to look at the orange-haired boy. "But I think yer worth tellin'."


A/N: Pretty CRAZY now. Haha.

I hope not too crazy.. we'll have to find out just what Shiro has to tell Ichi next chapter. I also hope my writing style hasn't changed terribly? I grew up a little, at the very least.

Reviews and favorites are always appreciated!