It had taken what felt like millennia for the sword to pierce his skin, cutting easily through his hierro, and even longer for him to feel it slipping between his ribs. He felt it pass through a lung, barely missing his heart, over the span of a hundred years. By the time his knees hit the sand, followed closely by his own sword, he was pleading silently for the pain to stop, to just let him die. It was a blessed relief to just surrender to the darkness and let go…
… Or at least it would be, if it would hurry up and get to that already. Whatever deity watched over Hollows obviously hadn't had enough laughs at his expense, and oblivion hovered just out of reach, and, through blurry eyes and ridiculously heightened senses, he watched at several sets of feet drew closer. Sandals and tabi… Soul Reapers? One pair stopped in front of his face, brushing aside bloodstained white sand, and he could pick up fragments of a conversation.
"… still alive…"
"… Kurotsuchi-taicho's orders…"
"… bring his sword…?"
And just as he felt the slow sting of what was probably a hypodermic needle in his arm, blackness overwhelmed him, leading to a colourful string of mental curses, mainly about the sexual preferences of its mother, until his thoughts trailed off into nothing.
Szayel-Aporro's eyes blinked open slowly. He was surrounded by distorted colours, mostly green or with a greenish tint. Whatever that mad scientist (he was well aware of the irony, thank you) had infected him with had obviously left his system, as he could see the bubbles drifting past his face in real time.
He took a closer look at the strange pattern of colours around him. Definitely green, much less blurry than before, with a curved piece of glass between him and what appeared to be, on closer inspection, a meticulously neat laboratory. There was an array of computers and monitors lined up along the opposite wall, with several scrubbed metal tables lined up in the centre of the room. There was blood on one of them. Someone had been busy recently, and obviously forgotten to clean up after themselves. Szayel-Aporro shook his head slowly. Disgraceful.
And then his brain kicked in, and his eyes shot wide open. Blood. Laboratory. Green liquid. His breath caught in his throat. Oh, fuck no. He did not.
Hen shut his eyes and took a few deep breaths, feeling the cool metal of some sort of breathing apparatus against his skin as he fought back that momentary panic. For all he knew, he could be back at Hueco Mundo, and it had just gone through some renovations recently. No need to worry, stay cool… He opened his eyes again, calmed, and returned to surveying the room. There were no windows, and the entire lab was lit with bright fluorescent lights. There was a door at the far end, shut tight. Rows of bookshelves lined the other two walls, packed with stacks folders and a handful of specimen jars, all sorts of interestingly disgusting things floating therein. And there on one of the shelves was Fornicarás, its pink sheath standing out against the stark white of everything else, along with some fragments of familiar looking broken bone. Szayel-Aporro lifted a hand lethargically and placed it on the inside curve of the glass in front of him. It was only an inch or so thick, a cero would easily break it.
The door at the other end of the room opened, and a small figure in a white lab coat slipped inside, shutting the door behind her. Szayel dropped his hand back to his side. It was Kurotsuchi's assistant, or daughter, or whatever she was. Nana? Nami? He couldn't recall what her name had been. Oh well, it wasn't important. He watched her surreptitiously from under his lashes as she fetched cleaning equipment and scrubbed down the bloody table before vanishing through the door again.
"Well, this is inconvenient…" he growled, pressing his hand against the glass again and focusing on concentrating his energy for a cero.
He tried again, a bemused look on his face.
He balled his hand into a fist and smashed it as hard as he could against the glass.
This was starting to get frustrating.
"Dear me. Having fun, are we?"
And there he was, the mad clown himself, Kurotsuchi Mayuri, with a large grin on his black and white face that exposed all his yellow teeth. Szayel lashed out at the glass again, hoping for a crack, a splinter, any sign that it was having even the slightest effect, anything that would allow him to break out and tear the man in front of him to little bloody shreds… Nothing. Again.
"That won't work. We tested that glass against Kenpachi-taicho himself and it didn't show so much as a scratch. A guinea pig like yourself hasn't got a chance of breaking it."
Szayel-Aporro gritted his teeth, his hand falling again to his side, bruised. He didn't know this 'Kenpachi', and he really didn't like the way the other man was talking to him. "Let me out of here and I could try breaking you, if you like."
"My, my. So full of energy today. I think I liked you better unconscious." Mayuri turned away and started gathering equipment from its places around the laboratory. Szayel watched him silently. Scalpels, gloves, scissors and the like were lined up on one of the tables, then the painted scientist turned to leer up at him.
"You never screamed, though. Unfortunate."
Szayel blinked, his still fuzzy thoughts trying to catch on. "What are you talking about…"
Mayuri's grin widened as he pressed a sequence of buttons on the console beside the glass tube. After he was finished, he offhandedly pointed to the bone pieces lying beside Fornicarás. "Your mask and sword, I assume." Next he pointed out a specimen jar containing what looked like samples of pale skin peeled off something. "And I was eager to start studying that interesting skin of yours, it really is fascinating…"
Szayel-Aporro's eyes widened in shock. "No."
He clenched his fists, lashing out madly at the glass walls surrounding him. "No, no, no!"
Even as whatever drug Mayuri had injected into the tube set to work, making his limbs heavy and his vision blur, Szayel-Aporro Granz, former Octava Espada of Hueco Mundo, let out a primal, drawn-out scream that echoed around the laboratory. Kurotsuchi Mayuri simply smiled wider.
"There we go. That's what was missing."
Kurotsuchi Nemu had just finished washing the blood out of the towels from the laboratory when she heard the scream. Hanataro Yamada, also cleaning bandages and other things from the Fourth division's hospital wing, dropped the armful of linen he was holding with a startled squeak. Nemu picked them up and handed them back, giving the visibly shaken boy a small smile.
"Don't worry, Yamada-san. It's just Mayuri-sama's latest test subject."
As much as I love Szayel-Aporro and his sick, twisted style (and pretty pink hair and Resurrección), he really did deserve what happened to him. Poor Nemu. This kinda came about after watching the end of the fight between Mayuri and Szayel – why would Mayuri waste such a perfect test subject? The guy was immobilised, injured and completely at his mercy, and he was an Espada. Plus there's not enough Szayel and Mayuri fic out there. For shame.