I could almost feel her hot breath on the back of my neck. "What's Aizen's plan for creating the Oken Key, Espada?"

"Like Hell I would tell you!"

"Fine, be a hard ass. I'll just force it out of ya."

"Try me," I scowled. A sharp pain on the back of my neck, and everything went...

Damn...it...

...Black...

~~~***~~~

3 DAYS EARLIER...

Grimmjow

I stormed down the hall, Halibel at my side. We were supposed to team up with Stark in the Meeting room so Aizen could brief us and send us on a mission.

How...Painful...In a way. It was supposed to be just Stark and me--LIKE HADES THAT WOULD EVER HAPPEN! So, I requested that someone come along with us. Aizen told me to chose any of the Espada--anyone.

OK, this was how it went: Yammy the oaf--NO. Arroniero the shrunken heads in a jar on a body--NO THANKS. Szayel Aporro Granz the freak-of-nature scientist--I'LL PASS. Zommari the self-absorbed pumpkin king (he kinda looked like that in his release)--HE WAS PROBABLY TOO BUSY WITH HIMSELF. Nnoitra AKA: Sporky--NEVER. Ulquiorra the Emo Lord--HELL NO! Barragan the King of the Self Obssessed Dead--YEAH RIGHT!

I chose Halibel the Fish Bait because she was rather...normal in a sense.

So here I was now, standing at the door of the Meeting Hall with Halibel giving off her radiant glow of "Why-the-hell-did-I-agree-to-this?"

"We're here, Aizen-sama!" I announced just a little bit under unentusiastically.

"You may come in," He boomed back from inside and as if on cue the large doors swung open with a loud cccrrreeeeeaaaakkkk.

"You should consider oiling the hinges," I suggested as we stalked into the dark room. Aizen was at attention next to Stark, who--unlike Aizen--seemed rather bored. "I'll take note of that," Aizen replied.

"Halibel..." Stark greeted flatly.

"Stark..." she replied in the same evened-out tone.

My eyes flicked back and forth at them. Rivalry perhaps? At least I wouldn't have to be the one to yell at him for nothing.

Aizen grinned gamely, "Now then, here's the mission objectives. I want you three to head deep into the heart of Karakura Town. I found where the Vizards are stationed I want you to get rid of them."

"PSH! I could've handled this by myself!" I pounded on my chest with one fist. Aizen's grin only widened, "Grimmjow, don't underestimate them. You remember what happened last time..."

I wanted to tell him that I wasn't weak and that this mission would be no problem, but I would rather prove it to him.

Aizen tapped the air; a garganta ripped open, revealing an abyss of swirling greyness. "Get going, they should come to you when they sense your heavy Reiatsu." he commanded.

Instinctively I stepped in, followed by Stark and then Halibel. The portal slammed shut.

~~~***~~~

Hiyori

I felt the heavy reiatsu so sudeenly I nearly tripped as I walked over to Shinji. He shot up, throwing on his coat. "He's here..."

I arched an eyebrow at him. "What...?"

"The Espada. There's three of them. I recognize one's energy, but I don't remember the other's."

"I'm coming!" Kensei jumped up, his lead followed by Mashiro and then Love.

Shinji's jaw tightened. "I don't want to get into a fight, I just want to know why they're here--Especially now of all times."

"Maybe we should all go?" I suggested unsurely. Shinji wagged his head, "No. Hiyori, you're coming with me. The rest of you stay put unless you can't keep your cool any longer."

"Not fare!" Mashiro whined, "Why can't we come?!"

"Because I know what we're dealing with," Shinji headed for the door and I jogged after him, my stomach churning. Why was he bringing me along?

~~~***~~~

Grimmjow

We exited into the afternoon sky. The sun was melting butter on the horizon, shading the sky with orange; reds; yellows. There was even a streak of indigo here and there.

The pretty scenery nearly made me gag. "Let's hurry up, kill these Shinigami, and get home. Its hard to breathe in the real world."

Halibel folded her arms back against her chest, her green eyes scanning the buildings beneath us. Stark sighed heavily; his eyes fluttered closed.

They snapped open a few moments later and he jabbed his finger to two dots int he distance. "I sense two with heavy spirit energy. Nothing for me to worry about, though."

"For you," Halibel retorded. Stark rolled his eyes skywards. "Nor you. But I can't say the same for Grimmjow--"

I was already speeding off, drawing my Zanpakuto and preparing to attack. I knew the Reiatsu, I knew who it was.

"Grimmjow," Stark called, "What the hell?!"

I ignored him.

There was only one word running through my mind. And my actions from this point on where bent around it.

Resolve.