Leap of Faith


Aizen was dead.

For some reason the knowledge of that fact brought Ichigo less satisfaction than he expected, but the truth was Aizen was finally dead.

So were many others.

They had managed to avoid most of the human casualties, moving Karakura to a temporary location had been a good idea; however that had not spared countless lives, Shinigami and Arrancar alike.

He looked around at the ruins that were the replica of his town, debris and lifeless corpses liberally strewn on the streets, blood and dust covering the ground everywhere he looked. Somehow his entire vision was red and white, as if looking through a bloody mist.

Ichigo heard someone calling him in the distance, his voice faint and far away distorted by the white noise filling his head. He turned to look and saw Grimmjow shouting at him, way closer than he expected judging by how distant his voice sounded.

Ichigo shook his head, blinking rapidly. There was something wrong with his senses. He'd probably received a harder blow to the head than he thought.

"What's wrong with you, Kurosaki?" Grimmjow was saying, his brows rushing together in something like concern. But that was wrong; Grimmjow couldn't be worried about him.

He probably had a bad concussion.

With a great effort, Ichigo managed to stand, looking around and seeing small pockets of enemies still fighting, the news of Aizen's demise obviously not having reached most of them. But the war was over, without the head the body was just moving in autopilot until it finally fell as well.

"Get away from here, Grimmjow," he heard himself saying, the strange feeling of detachment making it sound as if the words were coming from someone else.

Grimmjow's strange expression turned into a scowl. "What the fuck are you talking about, Shinigami?"

He gestured at their surroundings trying to find the words to express the idea he wasn't even sure he was having. It was frustrating and he needed some time to clear his head before he could form a coherent thought.

He didn't have it.

Ichigo tried again. "Get the fuck away, now!" he shouted, his hands trying to encompass everything around them. "Go! Now!"

Grimmjow was on him in a second, grabbing the front of his clothes and pulling him against his body. "What's your problem, Shinigami? Don't need me now you've won?

Ichigo shook his head, glaring. "Not won, not yet," he grated through clenched teeth.

Grimmjow narrowed his eyes, looking at Azien's corpse on the ground. "He's dead, Kurosaki. Tousen and Gin too. You've won."

"No," Ichigo took a deep breath, pointing at the groups still engaged in the battle. "They won't stop until every single hollow is dead." And that was the truth, what he had been trying to say in his confused state. Grimmjow needed to leave before some Taichou forgot he had been by Ichigo's side all that time and disposed of him. "Get Nell and whoever else the fuck you want and fuck off from here. Open a Garganta and leave. Now!" He gave him a push.

Grimmjow dug his heels, stubborn to the end. "I'll beat them."

"No! Leave!" Grimmjow had no chance against the remaining Taichous, not in his state after fighting Gin. He was lucky to have survived that one; another would surely finish him off.

Grimmjow looked like he wanted to protest, he looked around taking stock of the situation. The reality of the mess he was in probably clashing against his willingness to kill everyone there. With a scowl he turned to Ichigo and pressed their lips together, the taste of blood and grime and desperation filling their mouths.

"Goodbye Ichigo," he said before disappearing.

"Goodbye Grimmjow," Ichigo said to the empty space he had occupied the previous second, not letting his exhausted body fall to the ground until he saw a Garganta opening and several figures going through it.

With a relieved sigh he closed his eyes and let darkness claim him.