Hahaaaa~~!! That's right, everyone who knows me, it's a SzayelOC fic! Am I insane? Probably. But there isn't nearly enough Szayel love out there, so I decided to make some. And don't worry; I'll try to keep Szayel as in character as possible.
I must warn you, though... Well... You know those 'character death' stories? Well... this is a 'character life' story; where I keep a character that gets killed in the story-line alive because... well, yes. I'm that selfish.
Also, I would like to thank Halibel Lecter, another author on this site, for her help in proofreading this. Go read her stories! Thanks, Hal~!
Anyway, this is the first chapter of Muscle Memory; enjoy!
Bleach is owned by Tite Kubo, meaning it does not belong to me. I am in no way, shape, and/or form claiming to be the owner/creator of these concepts, though I do claim any characters not apart of the original Bleach storyline (such as Aporro[in character, not name]) mine. As such, I would appreciate fellow authors and readers to give credit where credit is due and not steal any of my characters and/or concepts. Thank you, and have a pleasant day.
My first impression? Wow.
This was amazing… -ly comfortable.
I knew something was wrong, because my last memory was of me falling asleep in my bed, and my bed was nowhere this comfortable, but I couldn't help but want to continue sleeping just a bit longer… Wherever I was was just that comfortable.
First off, it was warm. Not that kind of uncomfortable warm that leaves your skin kinda prickly with sweat, or that barely-warm warm that is just teasing the line between warm and cold, but good warm. Perfectly balanced warm. The kind of warm that your muddled mind is sure it feels just mere moments before you go to sleep.
Second, it was soft… or something that felt very close to soft. And it was everywhere; I could twist this way or that and it would still be there, as 'soft' and warm as it had been before I moved.
Third, I felt so light… And there was no pain… Usually, when I slept on my back, I woke up stiff. But this time…
The more I woke up, though, the more I realized something was wrong. No matter how comfortable I was, I couldn't ignore the fact that I wasn't laying down… In fact, if I didn't know any better, I'd say I was sitting straight up.
There was something else wrong, too… The air I was breathing felt thick. For some reason it wasn't uncomfortable, but it was too damned thick…
Thinking it was my nose, I opened my mouth and tried to inhale, only to choke on something. Something thick. Something decidedly uncomfortable. I bit down on it, choking again when I met solid resistance. Solid, plastic resistance. I had a tube shoved down my throat.
I had to force my eyes, which felt heavy as lead, open, only to find I was surrounded by some thick, pink liquid.
Yeah. This definitely wasn't my room.
Panic flooded my mind and I started to thrash, becoming more and more desperate when I saw IV lines and catheters running into various parts of my arms and legs. I ripped them out, ignoring the thin trails of blood that leaked from my skin and the various colored fluids that began to flow into the pink.
Outside the pink, a red light began to flash and a shadow passed. Free of the lines, I reached up and grabbed onto the tube going down my throat, tugging. I regretted my decision when the tube stuck fast and a burning, tugging pain erupted around my mouth, a gag reflex starting deep in my stomach and working up my throat.
Digging at the white medical tape around my mouth that held the tube in place, I ripped it off and jerked the tube out of my mouth just as I retched. Shaking my head and clamping my mouth shut, I swam up, not expecting to slam into a solid wall.
I flipped around and swam back down, towards a bright light shining up and illuminating the pink liquid. Again, solid resistance, and hot solid resistance at that; probably from the light.
Pushing off from the bottom, I swam out straight with my hands outstretched, pressing close to the glass barrier when I came to it. I tried to squint my eyes and peer out into the darkness beyond my enclosure, but there was only darkness, punctuated by the flashing red light.
This wasn't good; I was trapped and running out of air.
Just as I had flipped around and began to swim back to the tube that had been shoved down my throat, which was still pumping out bubbles of air before sucking in some pink, then pumping it out again with more like mechanical ventilation, the pink liquid around me shuddered and the space above me lightened.
I looked up, blinking and balking at the white-clad hand reaching down towards me. It only took me a second to react after balking, at which point my next action was to reach out and take the hand, which clamped down on my wrist.
My lungs, which were seriously burning at this point, gulped in air greedily when the hand jerked me up and out of the pink, and I leaned heavily over the thick glass edge of my enclosure and coughed, arms splayed out along the outside of the glass.
"Idiot." Someone grumbled nearby, "You're the first fool to actually pull out the endotracheal tube… I will give you, though, that you did have enough sense to turn back to it when you couldn't find a way out."
Were I not busy hacking and coughing, I woulda slugged the jerk.
"Wh-where…?" Was that me? That voice was too… raspy. But the pink liquid I had just been swimming around in did come out of my mouth as it was said, so I guess…
"My laboratory. Now, I suppose I'll have to take you out and hook you back up…" He trailed off, muttering to himself and sighing.
I didn't have the energy to fight off the thin hands that grabbed my arms and pulled, lifting me out of the pink stuff and dropping me onto the ground, which hurt like hell because it was grate. I could only watch as the same white glove-clad hands that had pulled me out began to remove the last few catheters that I hadn't gotten, leaving them draped over the side of the glass.
When I was picked up, I still didn't have any energy, and all I could do was let my head flop back and stare at the ceiling as I was carried down a flight of stairs, the man's shoes signaling that he was stepping off of the grate, which clanked and echoed loudly, onto solid flooring, which echoed softly as his heels clicked on it. Man, this room must be massive to echo like that…
"Who…?" Still the rasp, which I was now sure was my voice.
"Hmm?" The muscles in his arms shifted slightly as he acknowledged me, "You? Have you forgotten who you are?"
"…Not that it really matters to a specimen such as yourself, but my name is Szayel Aporro Grantz."
I snorted. Heh, and I thought my parents were vindictive.
"Do you have something to say about my name?" He asked frostily, setting me down on a table that was nearly as cold as his tone.
I shook my head, thinking. Really, I should have been in full panic-mode right now. After all, I'd woken up in a place I didn't know, floating around in a giant glass container full of pink liquid and shoved full of catheters, not to mention the 'endotracheal' tube, and I had no clue who this guy was… And damn it was cold!! Shit, I must be naked…
Sure, I was drained of all energy and unable to move, but I should have put up some form of resistance, and even in my state I knew that. Oddly enough, though, it didn't bug me nearly as much as it should have.
Apparently, 'Szayel' was thinking the same thing. He took out a pen-sized flashlight and clicked it on, shining it in my eyes while pressing two fingers to my neck at the same time.
"…Shock." He put the flashlight back into his pocket and rolled his eyes, "How pathetic."
I just stared at him. In his short quest to diagnose me, he had gotten close to my face, and I, as a result, had gotten a better look at him.
Szayel blinked, looking down at me, "Excuse me?"
"Pink." I rasped again, blinking, "Your hair… is pink… and what shade of yellow is that?"
"Amber." He answered flatly, twitching, "Are you done yet?"
"…You don't dye your hair, do you? It doesn't look nearly as fried as it should be if you've done it recently…"
I heard Szayel sigh and mutter "Apparently you aren't", though at least I think it was that… things were really fuzzy.
"And since you haven't done it recently, then if you do dye it I'd at least see some roots… But you don't have roots. Well, do you have roots, but not the kind of roots that come from hair growing in the natural color and showing through the dyed hair… Hell, even your eyebrows are pink."
"You're just going to keep going, aren't you?"
I didn't. There wasn't anything else to say… Except; "Specimen?"
Amber eyes blinked, slightly shocked at the sudden change of topic, "Pardon?"
"You said I was… a specimen?" I frowned, coughing and clearing my rasp slightly, "What did you…"
Szayel quirked a brow, "A bit slow, aren't you? I meant exactly what I said."
I glared at him, "Prick…" Part of me was still trying to understand what he meant by 'specimen'.
"If I weren't supposed to keep you alive…" Szayel hissed through clenched teeth.
"I'm cold. Gimme some clothes."
"…Demanding little thing, aren't you?"
"Little? You can't be much taller than me… Actually, that should make it all the easier for you to get me some clothes."
"What makes you think I'll be getting you anything?" Szayel quirked a brow.
I stared at him flatly, "I can be real annoying if I want to."
"And I can be very malicious if the situation calls for it."
"…Who told you to keep me alive?" I could have snickered at how thrown off he looked at the abrupt change of subject. It was really easy to do that to him, it seemed… "And when was I close to dying?"
"About a week ago." Szayel sighed, moving on with his examination and lifting my hand with both of his, bending my wrist and watching it closely, as if testing the joint, "It took quite a bit of work to pull you back together, but most of it was salvaging what was left of your brain."
Energy suddenly peaking a bit, I sat up and stared at him, "What is that supposed to mean?!"
He smirked wickedly, "Ah, yes, you probably don't remember, do you? Well—"
"Master Szayel Aporro! Master Szayel Aporro!!"
Szayel twitched. If I didn't know any better, I'd say he didn't like being interrupted…
Couldn't blame him, though. The little fat things that had cut him off looked rather… annoying.
"What is it Lumina? Verona?" Szayel sighed, turning and regarding the fat, bouncing things with a visible level of disdain.
"Lord Aizen said to bring the human as soon as it woke up!!"
Szayel blinked, "Ah… yes, he did, didn't he? Please, go inform him that she has, indeed, awoken. I'll get her ready…" Once the fat things had bounced away, he glanced back at me, "Looks like you'll be getting dressed after all…"
I was still reeling from the 'you've been out for a week' and the 'oh, yeah, your brain got fucked up' comments, not to mention the brief flood of energy I had suddenly slipped away, and all I could do was shift my hand under my head as I crashed back down onto the table.
I swear you can hear that guy roll his eyes, "Put this on."
I looked down at the article of clothing he threw at me, frowning, "I'm not wearing that."
"Oh?" He's really good at asking a question and sounding completely uninterested with the answer. Prick. "And why not?"
"It laces up the back, asshole."
"…Was that last part an insult or your problem with the gown lacing up in the back?"
"Fuck. You. And get me something else to wear or your 'Lord Aizen' might get peeved at our lateness. Preferably something that won't show my backside while I walk."
"I think I liked you better when you were anesthetized." Szayel sneered, walking out and returning a moment later, jerking the medical gown away and dumping a larger, heavier pile of clothes on me, "You weren't as voluble then."
"As?" I muttered, unable to use as much energy talking as I would have liked because I was redirecting most of it to sitting up and pulling on the clothes he had dropped on me.
"You talk in your sleep. Who is…" I looked up when he trailed off. He seemed to have changed his mind about asking the question, because he had turned away and was looking down at a clipboard.
I turned back to my task at hand, namely pulling up and trying to figure out how to tie this damned hakama… Honestly, who wears these anymore!? And who wears them this short?! It was then it hit me.
I glanced at Szayel, "Why am I wearing your clothes?"
"You refused to wear the only other garments I have available. And my lab is not a storehouse for clothes. I don't have the time to argue with you, so if you don't want to wear the surgical gown, then your only other option is a set of my clothes."
After staring at the back of his head for a moment, I pulled on the gloves, followed by the jacket. "Where am I?" My thumbs slipped through the holes in the sleeves of the jacket. "And what happened to me? Is this a hospital?"
"…" Szayel sighed and turned to me, his face blank. "Everything will be explained soon enough."
As I was quick to learn, Szayel doesn't lie. And, sometimes, I wish he did.
"HOLY SHIT!!" I jumped as soon as the doors closed behind us. I wasn't looking at the throne or the weird man sitting on top of it. No, I was staring at the tall dude with the long hair and the huge, spoon-shaped hood. I pointed, eyes wide, "It's you!! You're the… the…" I frowned, my memory failing me.
Oh, I knew him, alright. I just didn't remember were… or why. I knew I should, and I knew the reason was monumentally important to my life, but… I just didn't remember…
He, though, did. Tall, dark and spoony sneered, "The bitch actually survived? Fuck, you're hard to kill…"
"Hey, screw you, fucknut!!" I glared at him, flipping him the bird, "You ever come at me with that weed whacker again and I'll shove it pole first up your ass!" Now I remembered… a bit. The bastard came at me with a giant thresher.
"This is the girl, Nnoitra?" A calm, mildly amused voice made my need to scream at spoon-head die. I looked up on the throne, wincing at the piercing brown eyes and smile that waited to greet me. "This is the girl who saw you without trouble?"
"Yeah…" Spoony answered, still glaring at me, "That's her… bitch saw me right off the bat. No doubt in her mind."
"I see…" Throne man continued to stare at me, and I couldn't help but stare back, "Szayel? What are the results?"
"Beyond dramatically heightened spiritual awareness, nothing." I jumped, having forgotten that Szayel was still standing right beside me. "Slightly abnormal immune system, somewhat poor eyesight…" When I glared at him, he smirked slightly, "Above average development in the muscles of the thighs and forelegs as far as human specs go, severely lacking in upper body musculature development—"
"You want my bra size, too, jackass?" I growled at him.
His glasses flashed, but I swear he glanced at me as he said, his smirk growing a bit more, "Thirty-six inches. Over bust."
I gapped at him, and several people began laughing. When I swiped at him, Szayel just took a step back. When I kicked at him, though, I nailed him good. Right on his inner thigh.
"Perverted pink bastard!!"
Szayel stumbled a few steps to the side, then straightened and walked back, barely managing to conceal a limp, and resumed his position, coughing slightly and pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
"Yes, as I was saying, above average development in the muscles of the thighs and forelegs…"
"But that's all? No interesting reports beyond 'dramatically heightened spiritual awareness' and a few leg muscles?"
I glanced at throne man, who wasn't looking at me anymore. I'd lost his interest. And something told me that that wasn't good.
"…No, Lord Aizen. Nothing."
Throne man looked back at me, blinking. He wasn't smiling anymore. Oh, yeah. I was screwed.
"Well, then I see no reason to continue to allow her to live. Nnoitra? Would you like to pick up where you left off?"
I balked as tall, dark and spoony grinned, turning and walking towards me. I opened my mouth to protest, but nothing came out, so I closed it again. Whoa, whoa, kill me?! Just who the hell did this bastard think he—
My mind drew a blank as that crescent blade rose again, and my body reacted in a way that felt familiar, but I couldn't remember why for anything. A lost memory… something only my body remembered….
And something my body reacted to.
As the blade swung down, my legs acted and moved me back and out of the arc. The blade crashed to the ground, splitting the material of the right tabi and sandal Szayel had provided me with, right between my first and second toes.
The metal was cool against my skin… but no tissue had been torn. He'd missed.
Nnoitra saw this and smirked, "You're movin' the same as last time… You dodged me three times then. I wonder how many you'll make it this TIME!!" At the last word, he raised the blade again and swung.
My body reacted, again, and I tensed, waiting to—
"Hold, Nnoitra." When the attack stopped halfway and the wielder turned back to throne man, Aizen was looking at Szayel, "I believe Szayel has something to say…"