Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. It remains the property of Kubo Tite.
Note: Many thanks to my beta angstymcgoth.
Summary: Ichigo is taken prisoner to Hueco Mundo. He is bored. He plays cards. Grimmjow is intrigued. Things degenerate from there.
"No no NO you idiot! It's the queen! The QUEEN!"
A murderous scowl. "WHICH ONE'S THE QUEEN, ASSHOLE?"
"THE WOMAN! THE WOMAN WITH THE 'Q' IN THE CORNER! IT'S NOT THAT HARD!"
"YOU TRYING TO SAY SOMETHIN'?"
"WHAT IF I AM?"
"THEN BRING IT ON YOU STUPID PRICK!"
Thus, his twice-daily battle with Grimmjow commenced.
It had all started at the beginning.
Fate, Ichigo reflected wearily, did not like him.
It was enough that he had been kidnapped - KIDNAPPED – but it had been from under the very noses of his allies, too! When he got back to Soul Society he would never let them forget it. Incompetent assholes. No wonder Aizen had managed to pull the wool over their eyes for a hundred-odd years: Ichigo was surprised that Soul Society hadn't self-destructed centuries ago because of its ineptitude.
It happened after he was fighting Grimmjow for the second time. Shinji had appeared out of fucking nowhere, then that white emo-looking arrancar from the first time had fucking appeared out of nowhere, and the next thing Ichigo knew was that he had been taken as a prisoner.
He had protested the whole way there, of course, had even asked nicely, but all they'd done was knock him out and when he woke up he was wearing something white and sleeveless and clingy instead of his usual shinigami robe, and that was when he KNEW something was wrong.
Then followed lectures and the binding of his spiritual powers and the sealing of his sword into something less powerful.
Lots of fighting.
Aizen staring at him like the creepy asshole he was from behind a cup of frankly disgusting tea.
Oh god, Grimmjow.
Ichigo cringed just thinking about it. Those days had been some of the most trying in his life.
And considering what type of life he had had so far, those were words he did not say lightly.
At first Aizen had been intrigued by the boy. Then fascinated. Kurosaki Ichigo was truly unique, and in a world where abnormality was not, in fact, abnormal, that was saying something indeed.
And he noticed Grimmjow's reaction to the boy's presence, more than that of the other arrancar – how Grimmjow's scowl became darker when he was ignored by Ichigo, how his cocky arrogance seemed to inflate when he was the boy's object of attention, how he always seemed to shout louder, punch harder, be more…Grimmjow…when Ichigo around.
Hmm, thought Aizen, Interesting.
One week and half a dozen decimated buildings later, Aizen was no longer so interested.
"You two," he said, his spiritual power crushing them down to their knees, "will stop fighting."
Ichigo could feel his bones creaking. He looked at Grimmjow, saw the feral hatred for Aizen in those blue eyes. Their gazes locked. And in that one moment of loathing towards a common enemy, they were united.
And that bored Ichigo.
There was nothing to do. Grimmjow had had his powers limited too, as a punishment, so they really couldn't fight. The other arrancar avoided them both. Aizen and Tousen and Gin were always busy. Ichigo had nothing to do.
So one day he sighed and flopped down onto the sand. He took out a pack of cards he had found lying around somewhere. He started shuffling them aimlessly.
Grimmjow was there too. He opened his mouth to fire an insult but instead stared at Ichigo's hands as the cards whizzed at lightning speed between them, eyes following the rapid movements. Ichigo noticed the arrancar's rapt attention as he shuffled and reshuffled, and smiled a little to himself. Hmm.
"Hey," Grimmjow said. "What's that?"
"Cards. I'm bored. Wanna play?"
"Why the fuck would I do that?"
He shrugged. "Fine. If you're too scared-"
Grimmjow scowled. "BRING IT."
And that was how it began.
DAY ONE: SNAP
"No, you idiot! It's not the suit, IT'S THE NUMBER! THE NUMBER!"
"WHY THE FUCK DOES IT MATTER ALL I GOTTA DO IS SMACK YOUR HAND!"
"YOU DON'T SMACK MY HAND, YOU SMACK THE FUCKING CARDS!"
"NO!" Ichigo bellowed. "I REFUSE TO PLAY ANYMORE!"
"What?" Grimmjow was too shocked to be angry. "Why!"
"This game sucks with two people," Ichigo grumbled. "And it always gets so violent!"
Grimmjow pressed his lips together. Looked around. Saw Nnoitra.
"Oi," he said. "Nnoitra. Come over here and help me beat this pussy into the ground."
Nnoitra looked at what they were doing and frowned. "The fuck is that?"
"Cards," said Grimmjow. "'S fun."
Nnoitra considered it. He had nothing else to do.
"Fine," he said.
-Five minutes later-
"YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE, I WON THAT ROUND!" Grimmjow roared.
Nnoitra reared up in outrage. "FUCK THAT! MY HAND IS UNDER YOURS!"
"HALF YOUR FUCKING FINGERNAIL IS UNDER MY HAND, YOU MEAN!"
"Guys," Ichigo said. "I won."
"YOU'RE A FUCKING CHEAT!"
"YOU WANNA PROVE IT, CATBOY!"
"I'LL FUCKING SMASH YOUR FACE IN THE GROUND, BUG-BUTT!"
"GUYS," Ichigo said. "I WON. Game over. OK?"
They stared at him. They looked down. They removed their hands from the pile of cards.
Ichigo retracted a shaking hand. He flexed his fingers. Something cracked, and he made a slightly choked noise.
"I think," he said, "we need to play something else."
DAY TWO: OLD MAID
"FOR FUCK'S SAKE I TOLD YOU TO PUT DOWN THE PAIRS!"
Ichigo had never seen someone as angry as Grimmjow was now. "WHY THE FUCK SHOULD I DO WHAT YOU SAY?"
"It's the whole point of the game!"
"Fuck this!" Grimmjow snarled. "I want snap!"
Ichigo shuddered at the thought. "NO. JUST NO. NEVER AGAIN."
DAY FOUR: GO FISH
"Grimmjow, do you have any threes?"
"DO YOU HAVE ANY THREES?"
Grimmjow handed them over grudgingly.
Ichigo sniffed and looked at Nnoitra. "Got any sevens?"
He narrowed his eyes.
She looked at her cards. Even though she kept her composure Ichigo could tell she was annoyed.
He smiled. He loved being good at things.
DAY SEVEN: UNO
"Starrk, you got a two. You need to take two cards from the deck."
The man yawned. "Do I have to?"
"If you want to keep playing, yes," Ichigo said sternly.
"I hate this game," Grimmjow complained. "I want snap."
"NO SNAP!" Ichigo said, eyes slightly wild. "NEVER AGAIN!"
Yammy frowned. "Snap?"
Ichigo looked at Yammy's gigantic hands, paled, and said quickly, "Yammy. Unless you've got another eight, you miss a turn."
DAY FOURTEEN: BLACKJACK
Ichigo surveyed the circle of curious and impatient faces that met him as soon as he walked out his room.
"Blackjack," Grimmjow said. "What's Blackjack?"
Ichigo closed his eyes. "Oh hell no."
"They're all very, uh, docile," Tousen said, "No fighting, no bickering, nothing. I haven't even heard anything from Grimmjow for weeks. I'm a little worried, Aizen-sama."
"Aizen-sama? Are you there?"
Aizen inhaled. Exhaled. Narrowed his eyes. Looked at Ichigo.
"How much is an ace worth, again?" he asked.