Title: Playing With The Devil, chapter 1
Author: Ansela Jonla
Rating: PG-13 for this chapter, NC-17 overall
Warnings: language, abuse
Summary: Mayuri's decision to experiment on a Vizard sets in motion a chain of events that will once again rock the Gotei Thirteen.
Word Count: 1656
Notes: I don't like writing Mayuri. It's hard for me to do it without bashing him. Hopefully I managed to avoid doing that in this fic. Beta'd by agenttrojie.
"Nemu! Nemu! Come here, you worthless whore, and hurry up about it!" Mayuri yelled, slamming his fist down onto his desk.
"Yes, Mayuri-sama," came the reply. A few seconds later Nemu came running into the file-filled office. Mayuri promptly backhanded her across the face, sending her crashing to the floor.
"Is there something malfunctioning with your hearing, Nemu? I shouldn't have had to call your name twice."
"I'm sorry, Mayuri-sama. I was retrieving a preliminary report from Tenth Seat Koschei, and was listening to-"
"Excuses, excuses. Next time you answer me immediately, no matter what else you're doing. What did I call you for?" Mayuri shuffled through the files on his desk, pulling out a thick folder with notes sticking out at all angles from it. "Ah, yes. This. It seems that Kurosaki Ichigo is a Vizard, Nemu. You know what that means, you pathetic cretin?"
"He is a Shinigami who has illegally obtained the powers of a Hollow. The existence of such hybrids, the antithesis to the Arrancar, is known to Soul Society but no specimen has ever been studied in-depth." Nemu recited, as if from memory. "Your orders, Mayuri-sama?"
"Go down to the living world and capture Kurosaki Ichigo. Make sure not to leave any possible way that it could be traced back to me. Do not let your worthless self be seen, especially by that Quincy or the woman who was with him that time. Understood, Nemu?"
"Capture Kurosaki Ichigo without anyone realising that you are responsible," Nemu repeated in a monotone voice. "May I have the use of my zanpakutou for this mission?"
"No, you stupid girl. If you use a zanpakutou then everyone who can sense reiatsu will know you're there. For that reason I will not be removing your limit before you go either." Mayuri cocked his head and regarded Nemu coldly. "Maybe I should take you apart, in case there is something wrong with your brain, you mindless buffoon."
"I apologise, Mayuri-sama. I was simply thinking of the target's strength in relation to my own."
"Nemu, you will avoid a head on conflict with Kurosaki Ichigo, or any of his friends. You would lose, even with your zanpakutou," Mayuri scoffed. "Why I created such a weak underling I have no idea, but you have your uses." Mayuri glanced up from the file he was studying. "Why are you still here? Go! You may take whatever you think you'll need from lab sixteen."
"Yes, Mayuri-sama." Nemu bowed and left the room. She would return with Kurosaki Ichigo, that he was certain, or she wouldn't return at all. She knew better than to fail him at least.
"What do you mean you lost Ichigo?" Hiyori yelled, glaring across the table at Urahara. Shinji's hand descended on her head, pinning her down so she couldn't lunge at Urahara before the former Captain could explain himself. "How could you lose that dickhead? It's not like he can hide that monstrous reiatsu of his."
"His reiatsu vanished two nights ago. I simply assumed that he'd returned to you to complete his training." Urahara sighed and looked at the two Vizard from under the brim of his hat. "I didn't think anything of it until your call this morning, Shinji?"
"And? You wouldn't have called us here if you didn't have some idea what was happening, Kisuke?" Shinji frowned, draining his tea in a single cup. "How bad is it?"
"It took me a while, but I found a trace of reiatsu at Ichigo's home, one that didn't belong to anyone who would have a reason to be in there. Cross-referencing it with the data I have available to me, I identified who it belonged to: Kurotsuchi Nemu, Twelfth Division's Lieutenant."
"Kurotsuchi? What relation is this guy to that creep you took out the Maggot's Nest?"
"Biologically and officially, she's his daughter. In actual fact, she's an artificial soul permanently bonded to a gigai created from Mayuri's genetic material."
"You mean that Kurosaki Ichigo has been kidnapped by your successor then? Someone who was put into the Maggot's Nest because of his unethical treatment of captured Quincy?" Shinji asked.
Urahara nodded, causing Hiyori to explode into a torrent of curses. She slipped from under Shinji's lax grip and lunged across the table, grabbing Urahara by the collar of his haori and dragging him down to her level. "Why are you being so calm about this, dickhead? You know what that bastard is capable of!"
Shinji captured the smaller Vizard by her hair as she brought her head back to headbutt Urahara in the face, and dragged her back to their side of the table. Ignoring her glare, which could have killed weaker Hollows at that point, he sighed. "You already have a plan, don't you? Do I need to remind you that we were barred from entering Soul Society the same way you were?"
"I've respected that restriction for as long as I have simply because I've had no need to return there," Urahara said, his voice low and deadly. "Mayuri is about to find out why he could never have legitimately replaced me, why Sousuke feared me so much that he had to frame me to get me out of his way."
"If this involves infiltrating or destroying Twelfth Division, I'm in." Hiyori grinned, an unholy look of glee on her face as she imagined the chaos she could cause. "I know that place better than you do, due to being there before you, dickhead."
"That's fine by me. This can only work if it's a stealth mission though. Anything else will have you facing far too much resistance from the Gotei Thirteen. Shinji, you might want to choose someone to accompany Hiyori to Soul Society. I'll have a way around the banishment ready in two days." Urahara stood up, Benihime in hand as he smirked confidently at the two Vizard. "Mayuri, and anyone who supports him, won't know what hit them soon enough."
Kensei bit back a curse as Hiyori signalled a halt, not wanting to linger in Seireitei for too long. Even with Kisuke's concealing cloaks there was still the possibility of being found, and Kensei didn't want to even think about what would happen if the drugs still in Kurosaki's system wore off before they got him to a safe place.
"Dickheads must have changed the patrol patterns. There's someone on the gate now," Hiyori hissed, peering over the ridge of the roof. Kensei risked setting Kurosaki down long enough to crawl up next to her and assess the situation for himself.
Ten Shinigami stood around the gate, all armed with zanpakutou and seemingly alert for any danger. If it wasn't for the general lack of alarm, Kensei would assume that their retrieval of Kurosaki had been noticed and these guards set to intercept them as they escaped. No, this was just an unfortunately timed patrol, and an unluckily alert one at that. Whichever officer was in charge of them obviously knew how to keep his, or her, men focused on their jobs.
"Stay with Kurosaki, Hiyori. I'll handle this." Kensei didn't wait for his partner's consent, instead slipping over the top of the roof and onto the dark street below. Ten Shinigami, all of them seemingly unseated, wouldn't take very long to defeat, but Hiyori's way of handling things was too loud and likely to draw attention to their presence. Better that he be the one to handle these guards.
It took Kensei only a few seconds to leave the Shinigami lying on the floor, unconscious and bloodied but alive. Hiyori was next to him even before the last one hit the ground, Kurosaki draped awkwardly over her shoulder, stick-thin limbs dangling limply and brushing against the ground. Kensei moved to take him from her, when a gasp made him stop in his tracks and squint into the darkness under the gate.
"What... Kurosaki-kun?" A young-looking Shinigami, one that looked vaguely familiar to Kensei, stepped out of the shadows, hand on the hilt of his zanpakutou. "State your business, ryoka, and while you're at it you can explain how Kurosaki-kun came to be in your custody and that state."
"We don't have time for this, baldie. Let us through and we won't smash you," Hiyori snapped. The Shinigami scowled at the two Vizard, pushing his hair back from his face with a delicate flick of his wrist, before taking a ready stance.
"I think you need an eye-test, nee-chan, if you think I'm the bald one," the Shinigami stated. Despite speaking to Hiyori it was Kensei he watched, side-stepping away from Hiyori and Kurosaki. Kensei matched him, hoping that the Shinigami was doing so to keep the other two out of the fight that he was looking for.
"We're helping Kurosaki, rescuing him," Kensei said. The Shinigami nodded, purple eyes narrowing in understanding as he glanced back at Kurosaki and the needles and tubes that still stuck out from all over the young Vizard's body. "Though you still won't let us pass without a fight, will you?"
"I wouldn't be able to look Zaraki-taichou and Ikkaku in the eye if I just allowed you to leave." The Shinigami held his zanpakutou across his chest, parallel to the ground, a wicked smile on his face. "Sake, Fuji Kujaku."
Kensei sighed. That level of reiatsu usage, an impressive amount for someone who he could have sworn stated his rank as Fifth that time in the Fake Karakura, would have patrols down on them in minutes. He didn't have time to mess around, and he signalled Hiyori to take Kurosaki through the gate and to the rendezvous point alone. He would have to finish this quickly and catch up to them. Drawing his own zanpakutou, which he'd sealed for stealth purposes at the start of the mission, he smirked at the Shinigami.
"I'm sorry, but I can't allow you to stand in my way. Futtobase, Tachikaze."