A/N: Man, do I get the award for procrastination or not? sorry guys, but tough time. Yes, I know a year is inexcusable, and most of you probably already dropped this story because of this damn author -_- gomen. This is what happens in transitioning to college. End of life as we know it. phew. Now on to the story.
Chapter 12: Four birds with one stone…
They say that life is precious and needs to be cherished, that it shouldn't be thrown away so easily or thought lowly of.
One certain flame of life was about to be extinguished tonight, though...
"You," Grimjow muttered," are fucking dead."
The blue-haired man could barely keep his anger under control, his eyes practically throwing daggers at the albino across from him. Both of them were shackled by the wrists, clearly uncomfortable and peevish.
'Shirou was going to die tonight,' Grimmjow had vowed the moment he found himself and the rest of the occupants of Shirou's apartment being taken to Seireitei Prison. He had never been incarcerated before, never even thought about the ridiculous notion of him going to jail, no, Grimmjow prided himself on his ability to evade the police.
However, Shirou had to mess it all up. Grimmjow frowned. No wonder Szayel wanted the group as far away from him as much as possible.
At first Grimmjow thought it was just Szayel being paranoid and sissy, but now that he experienced first hand what Shirou could drag them into, he conceded to the idea of listening to the pink-haired man more often.
He glanced at Ulquiorra. The man was probably in an even worse mood. After all, he was the best of the bests in his line of work, especially when it came to keeping them out of the police radar. On closer inspection, Grimmjow could have sworn he saw waves of wrath radiating off the back of Ulquiorra. The man was obviously close to losing his cool, and nobody liked it when he finally snap, which was seldom, but very, very destructive.
Grimmjow grimaced. To make matter worse, when he turned back around to say something to Ichigo, he saw the damn bane of his existent snuggling close to the oblivious teen. With a growl, he barked at Shirou to keep his hands to himself, making the officer next to him jump at his ferocity.
"Get the fuck over here so I can kick you white ass!" Grimmjow made a move to lunge even though his arms were bound behind his back. It made Shirou cackle and sent the blue-haired man into a fit of rage. "I'm not even joking with you, freak!"
"You'll do well to stop calling me that."
Shirou glared at Grimmjow's audacity to refer to him by the hated label. It was strange that he always feel irritated with the "nickname." He was never above name callings, so he wasn't bother by scathing remarks, but somehow, "freak" always seemed to get under his skin. "And I told ya before, and I'll tell ya again and again: you don't have a chance of beating me, kitty."
A snort was sent his way. "Even in your dreams I will, bastard."
Shirou laughed at the comment. "You pathetic stray."
The two poor officers that were supposed to guard them couldn't even try to keep them down. The instant they attempted to even touch either one of the arguing duo they were met with a glare that could probably send them into a violent coma. They didn't try again since the first time and had been sitting quietly at their respective seats next to the door, moping about their jobs.
Ichigo sighed at the scene. For the most part, he wasn't even paying attention to the argument. The only thoughts going through his head was how he was going to explain to his family about being send to jail. Groaning, Ichigo continued to watch his feet, anxious about everything. He had his future to think of, too, his school life, friends, love life...all that going down the drain because of what?
Ichigo raised his head to sneak a glance at the three criminals in the van.
'Ulquiorra looked really homicidal right now…' was the first thing that came to mind.
And as if the man could hear him, he looked up. The moment Ulquiorra's dark eyes turned to his, Ichigo wisely moved his own somewhere less harmful.
His gaze settled on Grimmjow, and something in his heart clenched. Ichigo immediately swallowed and looked down again at his shoes, wondering what the hell that was all about.
Ichigo blushed, and then, finding his face heat up, quickly shook his head to get rid of any signs of the crimson shade.
That guy was all to blame. So why was he not feeling any regret for meeting him?
"Hey, Ichi, tell him that I'm not doing anythin' to ya!"
Ichigo started at a sudden nudge, blinking. "Huh?"
Shirou rolled his eyes and leaned his head on the teen's shoulder, pouting and whining like a kid who wasn't getting what he wanted. "Grimmjow's saying I'm molestin' ya and he's calling me offensive names. I don't like tha'"
"Oh—FUCK. YOU. Why are you such a brat?" A shout from Grimmjow only made Shirou stick out a tongue at him and push even closer to Ichigo.
"If Ichi's bother by it then he'll complain," Shirou interrupted with a grin, "I ain't gonna take shit from ya, O~mighty Grimmjow Jaegarjaques the big, bad pussycat."
Ichigo tried to be a mediator and all, he truly did, but he didn't make much of an effort to assuage something that was a lost cause. What started off as simple scathing remarks might as well escalate into an all out brawl if the two had the area to start one.
How he wanted the trip to jail would quickly end…
His wish was granted half an hour later, accompanied with noisy gripes and near-accidents—that was obviously caused by Grimmjow and Shirou—all the way until they reached Seireitei.
The van stopped moving with barely a screech against the pavement, the engine still rumbling softly as the driving officer got out of the vehicle. Ichigo heard him acknowledging a superior with a loud "Sir!" before explaining the details to him.
Inside the van, the two disturbances had finally quiet down to an extent. Ulquiorra had shifted in his seat and was now concentrating on something. Something that also appeared to have caught Grimmjow's and Shirou's attention.
Ichigo watched the two frown at each other, but somehow the situation didn't seem like before. They were in an agreement of some sort, as if they settled on a common interest. Ichigo couldn't place what it was, but the pair seemed to have a reaction to the conversation between the officers outside. Rather, they looked as if they were focusing on a certain voice, like they recognized it.
"Shirou." Ulquiorra, for the first time since they were stuffed into the small van, spoke up, his face as expressionless as ever; however there was a tinge of somberness to his tone. "If he is the one who will be monitoring us, you know what that would mean."
Shirou seriously nodded, surprising Ichigo with the change of mood. "I'm not surprised," he replied. "Kuchiki was pissed as hell about the last jail-break, so he's all in for gettin' me and the other prisoners back in Seireitei." He grimaced. "Me, especially."
"No-friggin-duh! You're the cause of that break after all," Grimmjow scoffed. "I don't know why you just have to pull us into it, though. That's the worse, bringing us down with you."
Shirou mirthlessly smiled. "Yeah, sorry about tha'." He shrugged. "I was kinda already really close to being captured, so I figured why not."
"You bastard. Is that why you kidnapped Ichigo? To get to us?" Grimmjow snarled.
"Don't flatter yourself," Shirou replied with a wave of his hand, dismissing the claim without much thought. "I didn't even know the kid was with you until he told me."
Grimmjow narrowed his eyes at that. "Then why—?"
"Why not?" Shirou flippantly responded. "I like Ichi."
Ichigo blushed at the declaration, and turned to see Shirou grinning at him. The mortification made Ichigo miss Grimmjow's widened eyes and tensed form.
The blue-haired man was upset about Shirou's comment. He didn't know if he meant it or not, but the fact was that he beat him to saying it out loud. Grimmjow sneaked a glance at Ichigo and frowned at the way Ichigo's face turn red.
He would never admit it to Ulquiorra or anyone in his inconsiderate "team" lest he wanted eternal teasing from them about him growing soft or something close to that, but Grimmjow found that he liked spending time with Ichigo. It hadn't been more than a week and he was already reduced to a love-struck fool, anxious and worried about Ichigo when he wasn't with him. Although it turned out that Grimmjow had every reason to be when the teen turned up with his worse nemesis.
Grimmjow mentally scoffed. Ichigo was really a magnet for trouble…
He blinked as a sudden thought passed through his mind. He smiled.
Ichigo was his magnet for trouble though…
At the very least, he wanted him to be.
Before Grimmjow could say anything, Ichigo started to question about the officers outside with honest curiosity. The teen was tired of being the only one ignorant of the situation, and he figured it was high time to get some answers.
"So, who's Kuchiki?" Ichigo raised an eyebrow at the name. It was familiar, but he wasn't sure where he heard it before today.
Grimmjow pushed all thoughts about the teen to the very back of his mind before clicking his tongue at the simple question. He leaned back against the wall. "Kuchiki Byakuya," said Grimmjow, "is one of the captains of the Gotei 13."
Nodding, Grimmjow continued. "The 13 Court Guards of Seireitei. They're pretty much the people who run the place, a bunch of laws-abiding, stick-up-the-ass kind. There're 13 divisions and each division has a symbol to represent them. Only the captains and the lieutenants have them on their uniforms, though. That's basically the gist of it."
Grimmjow yawned and cracked his back. "Anyway, Kuchiki's apparently one of those big-shots around that's been rounding up infamous criminals or some shit. I would say he's not a bother or anything but…"
Ulquiorra finished Grimmjow's words. His green eyes darkened slightly and he turned to completely face Ichigo. "If we were one of his priorities, I would have a hard time to ensure all of our safety. Grimmjow and I might make it on our own, but if we were with Stark, Szayel, and Nnoitra, too, the percentage of us evading Kuchiki unscathed is very low."
"We weren't quite Kuchiki's concern before," Ulquiorra continued, directing his gaze to Shirou. "But then you come around."
"Hey, hey, hey…if you haven't barge into my apartment to get revenge or whatever you wanted, you wouldn't be in this mess, and I would have taken Ichi and run." Shirou said in defense. He moved to raise his hands up in front of his chest to emphasize the point, but he forgot that the shackles were in the way. Shirou tsked at the impediment.
"And how would that have worked successfully, may I ask?" Ulquiorra tipped an eyebrow up with skepticism.
Shirou smirked proudly. "I had an escape route prepare and all, but when I factored you guys into it, I would have gotten caught if I try. See, you guys would get in the way." He shot a glance at Grimmjow and smirked at the man. "You would have been too loud and too uncooperative."
"Stop blaming other people and admit that you couldn't figure anything out, you shameless liar," Grimmjow exclaimed with a tired drawl. The argument during the ride had taken most of his anger and energy out, which was actually a good thing in a way. He didn't need to put up with Shirou and raise a commotion so close to Seireitei. It wouldn't bode well for him.
And now that fucker was tattling to Ichigo again. It pissed him off.
"Ichi~Look how that bastard is undermining me!" Shirou pouted and tilted his head towards the orange-haired teen, much to the latter's discomfort. "We wouldn't be like this if we were alone, ya know. Those bastards ruined everything."
Grimmjow groaned. "Oh, shut up."
Shirou winked at the irritated man. "You're just jealous cus you're not the one cuddling Ichi."
Suddenly the door was opened and the evening light came pouring into the back of the van. The four occupants turned their heads towards the officers outside, spotting three of the black uniforms and badges of high ranking authorities almost immediately.
One of the three was a white-haired man in his mid-forties, with a kind, smiling face that didn't seem to fit the descriptions of Grimmjow's strict and laws-abiding captains of the Gotei 13. However, on closer inspection, Ichigo could see a crest on his chest that was in a shape a flower, a Lily perhaps.
The second one was a redhead with tattooed eyebrows, and similarly, he had a crest on his right armband, but a different one, a flower that was also the same as the stoic-looking officer's he was standing next to.
It was a lone, black Camelia that the calm man bore, the man who was observing the four inside the van with a cool gaze.
Someone who reminded Ichigo a lot of Ulquiorra…
"Abarai, escort the criminals to their cells. The sixth division will be conducting the interrogation for all four of them."
The red-head gave a nod to the man. "Yes, sir. Kuchiki-taichou."
At the name, Ichigo's eyes widened and turned their complete attention towards the black-haired man. This was the Kuchiki Byakuya that made even Ulquiorra uncertain about his evasion skills. Ichigo believed from the start that he was this kind of man, a calm and collected individual, poised with sangfroid and pride. However, he never expected the aura brimming with pure authority, leaving no room for arguments or insubordination from his officers. It was nearly suffocating.
Ichigo heard Grimmjow scoff at the officer that was trying to guide him out of the van. The blue-haired man twisted out of his grip with a scowl and walked out with Ulquiorra behind him. They didn't have much choice in the matter. At the very least they would go down with dignity.
"Umm…Kuchiki-taichou," the redhead—Abarai—spoke up uncertainly, almost as if confused. "I know we don't know much about that criminal you were chasing, but…"
Somehow, Ichigo knew where this was heading, and it wasn't a direction that he was entirely sure he wanted to go down. He turned to Shirou and found him winking back at him with the same idea in mind, as Abarai finished his little report.
"Does he have a twin?"
And as Ichigo turned away from the albino face of someone he would consider as a companion in the halls of Seireitei, he saw Kuchiki Byakuya directing his gaze right at him, cold, gray eyes immediately settling on his own troubled ones.
Man, was he screwed…
A/N: Please don't expect this story to be updated quick now that this chapter actually did. Again, college is pretty full of stuff to do, school and social wise. But I will try to keep this story up as much as I can if people are still interested. Peace.