It was a hard shove that awoke Keigo Asano from his deep slumber. More like a kick, actually.
"Wake up, dammit!" He heard a rough voice bark, and opened his eyes to see Abarai staring down at him, his foot hovering and poised for another alarm clock kick. Rukia was already awake, yawning a bit and stretching. Keigo mumbled something in tiredness, sitting up. He rubbed his eyes with the sleeves of Ichigo's trench coat, looking up at Renji.
"Ow, the hell was that for? You could've told me to wake up without the kicking." He grumbled, and heard Renji scoff loudly. "We don't do it that way when you're a lazy ass. Get up, we're moving on. The police do random alley sweeps, and we don't want to get caught up tryin' to explain why we're sleeping in one." Renji ended the small one-way conversation, walking over and beginning to speak with Rukia. Keigo himself sat up further, yawning before looking over and seeing Ichigo with his back against the wall, his eyes closed. His scarf was around his face, as usual, and Keigo half-wondered why Renji didn't go kick Ichigo awake.
"Favoritism, probably." He muttered to himself, crawling over and reaching out to touch Ichigo's shoulder. "Hey Ichi-" He began, almost touching before a hand caught his by the wrist. Ichigo's brown eyes were open and focused on him in an intensity that filled Keigo with an instant of pure, focused terror. Soon enough, Ichigo threw back his hand and stood, walking past Keigo and over to the watching Renji and Rukia.
"Just because someone's eyes are closed doesn't mean they're asleep." Ichigo spoke dully, not looking back to Keigo. Asano vaguely noticed he himself was shaking slightly, as he watched the three speak briefly and then stare at him.
"Ready or not?" Ichigo asked him with the slightest hints of impatience in his normally dull, emotionless voice. Something had definitely changed about Ichigo Kurosaki, something huge. Keigo shot up, nearly losing his balance but regaining it quickly. The three experienced teens either sighed, rolled their eyes or did nothing at all aside from turn around as they began walking, and Keigo stumbled after them.
The three moved in silence for a long time, Renji, Rukia, and Ichigo not needing words to know what each other agreed or disagreed upon. They moved collectively, the early morning sun shining in their eyes and illuminating the four teens moving around through the alleys, into the busy streets of Karakura City.
People bustled about, shoving past them as they walked with the flow of human traffic down the street. Keigo had trouble keeping up with them and how quickly they were able to move through all the people. He did keep up though, followed them as they kept moving, towards no particular target it seemed. They just weaved through heavily crowded streets and places, stopped for brief rests in parks or libraries, before beginning to move again in their aimless wandering. Keigo was exhausted by it. The three others didn't even seem to be tired.
"Damn you guys, you never stop moving! Where the hell are we going, anyway?" He asked them as they sat in a back alley alone. A quick allowance for Keigo, they had decided upon. Immediately, all three of Keigo's companions reached into their pockets and pulled out wallets that weren't theirs, beginning to dig through them for money. It must have been comical to see Keigo's aghast expression at seeing Ichigo pull out five wallets from one of his large trench coat pockets, three from the other. The other two could only hold two wallets each, and they all pulled out money and tossed it in the center of their circle, like a pot.
"I got a ten and a five." Renji tossed the money in, throwing the wallets against the wall. "A twenty, three ones and a nickel." Rukia spoke, throwing her money in and tossing the wallets in against where Renji's had landed. They all waited with bated breath for Ichigo's total, and he tossed the five wallets at once against the wall into the pile, while dropping a ten in there. That was it, just a ten.
"Wh-what the fuck?!" Renji exclaimed, groaning at the low count in money. "Eight wallets and all you get is a ten?! It's all those taxes by that fucking asshole Mayor! God, this isn't even enough to last us a week." He sighed at the end, and Keigo blinked, looking between the three.
"That's forty-eight dollars, right? We can live off it, can't we?" He asked them, and caught three simultaneous glares.
"No, we fucking can't. Do you know how much it costs a week to feed three people? It costs eighty bucks to make sure we get enough of the stuff we need to keep our energy up enough to run from the Angels. Four people would be around a hundred and five, probably. Not counting when I need tampons and shit." Rukia hissed, setting her face back in her hands in exasperation as Renji made a distinct face at the mention of female things that he didn't exactly find great interest in. Keigo counted that up, looking in abstract horror at the small amount of money they had.
"That means we can't even feed ourselves today and tomorrow!" He exclaimed, and they all glared at him in that 'We fucking know you retard' kind of way. He looked away sheepishly, and they all returned to their introspection as Rukia scooped up the money and hid it in her bra. Keigo spotted the glint of something silvery in the wallet pile; he crawled over and picked it up, showing it to them in glee.
"A credit card! We can use this to…to…" He trailed off, seeing them all roll their eyes, mutter something or…not react at all.
"We're pickpockets, not identity thieves. You think we want to put people in our position?" Ichigo stated scaldingly, and Keigo dropped the credit card back in the pile. He was defeated. They were always more knowledgeable than him, always faster and smarter and well versed in this world much beyond what he could ever hope to achieve. For now, anyway. Out of the four, Keigo was the fresh-faced, naive kid. They all looked at the setting sun, beginning to get up and move around again. Ichigo used a lighter to light up some flammable newspapers from a dumpster and threw the wallets and credit cards inside, watching them melt. When they were an acrid-smelling pile of goop, he turned and walked with Renji and Rukia out of the alleyway, moving up ahead of them. Keigo tripped over himself to follow them, before Ichigo turned a corner and someone crashed into him, causing him to stagger back. They muttered an apology and Ichigo did the same, until he noticed that the woman he'd crashed into was staring at his face. The scarf had fallen off in the jarring crash, and his Stigmata was shown to the world.
"An Anointed!!" She shouted, and got the attention of people nearby who hit speed-dial on their phones, calling the Anointed Retrieval Squad to the presence of Anointed. It was required by law to report any Anointed spotted, and most people hated them anyway so they would've done it without that stupid ass law. Ichigo shoved past the woman, calling back to Rukia, Renji and Keigo with a 'Run like a bitch!!' as they began moving. And they did indeed run like bitches. Keigo barely kept up at all with the three who were used to running for their lives at random intervals of time with barely any rest; he was new, and he sure as shit wasn't. They ran down alleys, jumped across dumpsters to throw off pursuers, climbed up fire escapes and ran across roofs, all sorts of insane acrobatic shit that Keigo just couldn't keep up with. They were still running when he slowed down, unable to continue and just dropped on a random roof, sucking in huge, pained breaths. The other three slowed down, reluctantly coming back and waiting for him. They were all panting, though not quite as heavily as Keigo and not nearly as loud. They had escaped through those exhausting maneuvers, and were now taking a much-needed break for Keigo's sake. The four moved down to an alley when they gained their breath, to be more comfortable as the sun went down and the night fell.
"Shit!" Renji swore loudly, slapping an empty aluminum can and instantly recoiling, holding his hand to his chest. The razor sharp edge of the can's top had cut his hand, and Rukia smacked him in the shoulder while admonishing him for being an idiot. "Renji, are you retarded?? We can't have you getting a goddamn infection!" Rukia hissed, and Renji glared at the wall as she wrapped up the bleeding wound for him. "Shut up, I'm fine." He spoke lowly, and she gave a hard jerk to the bit of spare bandages she was currently winding round his hand. He hissed, gritted his teeth at it and she worked in silence. Angry silence. And in that angry silence, they could hear a wet cough down the dark dead end alley, heavy breathing. Renji and Ichigo looked at one another before standing, Rukia hanging back with Keigo. The brunette himself looked at them and then down the alley worriedly, frowning quite heavily. "We don't even know what's down there! Come on guys, we can just turn around and go right now." He urged, but was ignored as Ichigo and Renji continued cautiously down the alleyway. They were swallowed by the dark shadows, and silence reined on for a moment before Rukia and Keigo heard a "Holy shit!" from Renji, some swearing, the sound of someone hitting something and then shuffling. Slowly did Ichigo and Renji return to view, but with a third person being assisted in walking between them, an arm over each shoulder. He was bald, was what Keigo first noticed. Second was that he was bloody, cut up quite heavily and his loose white shirt was splotched with blood. Third was that he looked really pissed off. Ichigo and Renji dropped him near the dumpster, and Rukia started fingering the bandages she had left.
"Who are you?" Ichigo asked, and the man laughed dryly. "Nobody. Nobody at all." He told them, smirking a bit. Keigo was staring, and instantly caught a hot glare. "The fuck you lookin' at." The nameless bald man spat, and Asano waved his hands in a surrendering type motion. "Nothing, nothing! Sorry." He muttered the last part, before going silent. "What happened to you?" Rukia asked him this time, and the man scowled. "None of your fucking business." Ichigo and Renji sighed at his uncooperativeness, before Ichigo felt his scarf slipping down again. The bald man watched as he went to fix it and stopped, staring wide-eyed at his left cheek. "You. You're an Anointed." He stated, sounding a bit dumbfounded. Kurosaki pulled up his scarf, glaring off at the wall. "Yeah. What about it?" He said almost defensively, and to everyone's surprise, the bald man laughed. "Ha! Never thought I'd see the day. You guys are hard to come by anymore." He sighed, leaning his head down a bit to stare at the ground with a tinge of regret in his voice. Pulling the fabric of his ripped shirt, looked to have been cut by some sort of blade, a large Y was emblazoned on his chest above his left nipple.
"Another one." Rukia stated quietly, and the man nodded. She herself pulled off her glove, showing him the K on her hand and he nodded. Keigo took the hint and showed the man his own Stigmata, the M on his wrist. Ichigo made sure his O was covered up well. Renji just watched. "Well damn, we've got ourselves a freak show, eh?" The bald man laughed, letting his shirt fall back into place in the loose, shredded way. Everyone was quiet, not really knowing how to respond to that. Renji finally spoke up in the end though, looking at the unnamed man. "So, you're Anointed. Got a name?" He asked again for a name, and the man smirked. "Ikkaku Madarame. Yours?" Ikkaku asked them, and they all gave their own names.
"Rukia Kuchiki." "Renji Abarai." "Keigo Asano." "Ichigo Kurosaki." They all spoke in turn, before Rukia tossed the roll of bandages at Ikkaku. He caught them, as she yawned and turned away. "We're not gonna ask you how you got those, but we're not gonna let you bleed out either. Wrap yourself up, we're camping here for the night." She took control, giving orders as if voted the leader. Ichigo, Keigo and Renji just kind of shrugged, trusting her judgment. Madarame blinked at the order, before beginning to unroll them and wind them around what he could reach. They weren't deep cuts, just long and clean. The bald man looked forlorn as he did, and not even Keigo dared ask him why. They all settled in, Keigo marveling at how the newcomer didn't even ask them why they were helping him. He did notice, however, that the man wasn't trusting them and was in fact watching them as they got ready to sleep. And he noticed that Ichigo was staring right at Ikkaku, who was now staring back. The tension was thick in the air, before Ichigo tossed his coat at the bald man's head.
"Cold out tonight." Ichigo more or less answered the unspoken question, as Ikkaku tched and threw it back. "I don't need it." He stated, before having it thrown at him again. "Yeah, you do. All that blood on you is gonna cool down and you're gonna be cold as hell tonight. Now shut the hell up and take it." The orange haired teen spoke coldly, and Ikkaku scoffed and set the coat aside on the ground. He moved to sit on it, and Ichigo didn't say a word.
Keigo Asano watched them all wind down, for the first time in his life realizing how damn hungry he was. None of the others had said a word though, and he wouldn't either. They must be feeling the same thing.