CHAPTER 1: HERO
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or Hero...
I need a hero to save me now
I need a hero (save me now)
I need a hero to save my life
A hero will save me (just in time)
He couldn't breathe. He had a stitch in his right side and his lungs were on fire. Fuck, how long had he been running? He ran through the campus grounds, stumbling over gnarled patches of grass and awkward slants of cement. Normally, he wouldn't run, but there were too many of them this time.
"Haah...haah...haah!" His breaths were becoming shorter and shorter.
This was bad. At this rate, they would catch him and...god, his stomach clenched at the thought. A sudden burst of adrenaline spurred him onwards faster. Just when he was rounding the last building of the campus, he ran into what felt like a solid wall and fell back on his ass.
"Ahh, fuck!" he yelped as he grabbed his nose. His eyes started watering as he looked up to see what the fuck he'd run into.
Oh god, no. Shit! His heart started racing as he eyed the man in front of him. If he was here, then that meant...
"Well, well, if it ain't the pretty little strawberry? What ya doin' 'round here so late, princess?"
"Fuck you!" Ichigo snapped, his eyes wild as he climbed to his feet and started backing away from the advancing man.
Not even six steps later, he ran into someone standing behind him. Freezing mid-step, he clenched his teeth and tried to tamp down the terror pulling him under like a riptide. Jumping to his left, he almost ran into a short, petite black-haired girl resting a menacing-looking aluminum bat on her right shoulder.
Ichigo swallowed the huge lump in his throat as he looked to his right to see that he was well and truly surrounded and probably going to die tonight. Tears welled up in his eyes as the four main antagonists closed in on him from all sides while the other followers stayed behind. What the fuck! This wasn't fair!
Suddenly, the red-haired man that had initially spoken, lunged forward and grasped Ichigo by his hair roughly, yanking his head back and essentially keeping him still unless he wanted his hair ripped out by the roots.
"Now, what on earth made you think you could get away from us, hmm?" the man breathed into Ichigo's ear.
"Renji, don't forget my turn this time, ne?" the short black-haired girl whined.
"Yeah, ok, Rukia. 'Sides, there's enough for all of us."
"W-why are you doin' this?" Ichigo asked through clenched teeth. God, this prick was gonna pull his hair straight from his head. "I didn't do anything to any of you."
"Yeah, well, we don' fuckin' like queers like you," a bald man shouted from the right.
"That's it? Because I'm gay? That's pathetic! There are more people that are gay besides me, but I'm the only one getting fucked up! I'm not ashamed of what I am so what will this prove?" Ichigo cried angrily. It was always the same fuckin' thing!
All of a sudden, Ichigo was brought to his knees with a swift swing of the aluminum bat to his stomach by the black-haired girl named Rukia. Gasping and coughing desperately, his eyes watering, he collapsed all the way to the ground clutching his throbbing gut.
"What the fuck, Rukia?" Renji questioned.
"Quit your yapping and let's get on with the ass-kicking!" She snapped.
"I agree with Rukia, Renji. Besides, campus security will be here soon," a blond man said from behind.
"Tch, fine!" Renji snarled as he brought his foot up and smashed it into Ichigo's face, making his head spin.
Tears made themselves at home on his cheeks and under his chin as Ichigo saw stars. He was going to die and all because of his sexual preference. He couldn't help that he liked men instead of women, but he certainly hadn't expected for these creeps to find him in university to continue their merciless torture.
Ichigo covered his head against the blows raining down on him as he felt blood sliding from his mouth and nose and somewhere above his left eye. God, they were really trying to kill him! Still covering his head with his quickly numbing left arm, he tried to crawl away with his right, only to have his fingers stepped on. Ichigo felt his middle and ring fingers break before he howled and screamed desperately.
"HELLLLP! SOMEBODY FUCKIN' HELP MEEEE!"
"I think you should let that kid go," a deep voice called out calmly.
Ichigo wanted to shout for joy when the onslaught of blows ceased as his tormentors turned to the source of that commanding voice. He knew better though. Any noise coming from him would only make them continue the ruthless beating and he certainly hadn't been raised as a fool.
Trying to see who his savior was, he squinted his right eye, as his left had swollen shut. What he saw made him gasp quietly. Could that be? But why would the most popular student in Karakura University be assisting him, the queer, whose reputation preceded him from Karakura High School?
Ichigo held absolutely still as the group surrounding him considered the man before them. Renji grinned and shifted his weight.
"What the fuck makes ya think we're gonna listen to you, hmm?" he asked with no small amount of amusement.
"'Cause you don't want me to shoot your fuckin' dick off," his savior responded. Ichigo's eyes widened. Was this guy for real?
"AHAHAHAHAHAHA! You're a funny fuck ain't ya?" the bald man cried out. Ichigo watched as his savior spit to his right before reaching behind his back with his left hand and brought forth a gleaming, chrome, rubber-gripped Desert Eagle .50.
"So, I'm only gonna tell ya one more time before I start poppin' holes in you fuckers. Let. The. Kid. Go."
"Shit! He's really got a fuckin' gun! I'm outta here," Ichigo heard several other voices agree with the first.
"Fine! We'll just get him next time! You won't always be there!" Renji snarled before giving Ichigo one last kick to his side, before shoving off with his cronies.
Ichigo was still lying on his side, when the face he'd admired from a distance for so many years, was suddenly hovering over him, sapphire-blue eyes shining with intensity.
"Christ, why'd they do this to you, kid?" the man's deep voice washed over him like a soothing balm. Ichigo parted his swollen and split lips to allow two words before he fell unconscious.
Goddamn professor! The man just had to damn near bury him with homework, making him have to stay later than he usually did at the campus library. Thankfully, he was in his last year, so he wouldn't have to put up with this annoying shit for much longer.
As he left the building and headed across the dark campus grounds, he reached his hand behind his back to check for his weapon. Satisfying himself when his fingers brushed over the cool metal stashed under his loose and untucked black button-up, he reached into the pocket of his gray slacks for his pack of smokes. Shaking one free and sticking it between his lips, he fished a lighter from the same pocket, lit up then inhaled and exhaled deeply. That's the stuff.
He found an empty bench across from the science building of the university and hunkered down to enjoy his cigarette before heading to his car for the ride home. Shifting the backpack slung over his right shoulder, he pushed his hand through his bright blue locks and sighed heavily.
Damn, he still had Cirucci to deal with once he made it back to his apartment. He just knew she was going to insist on coming over, but she was really an idiot if she thought he was unaware of her "extra-curricular activities". Like he didn't know she was fucking Ilfort every which way but right. He chortled to himself as he inhaled the last of the cigarette before flicking away the butt, uncaring of his littering.
Suddenly, a blur of orange and blue shot across the grass and rounded the science building. He frowned as he scratched the back of his head. What the fuck was that? Curiosity would probably be the death of him one of these days, but he did have Pantera so he should be fine.
He slowly rose to his feet but paused when he saw the large amount of people gathering around the side of the building. Some were smirking, some were scowling, others were expressionless. What the hell was going on? He edged around the corner to see four people surrounding a familiar-looking orange-haired kid. Where had he seen him before?
The kid looked terrified as the people closed in on him. Then he frowned when he saw one of the four people-a red-haired freak with crazy tattoos-lunge at the kid and grab him by the hair. Some words were exchanged before out of nowhere, the girl with an aluminum bat tried to tenderize the poor kid's insides. He watched in disgust as the four began beating the kid mercilessly. Yeah, enough was enough.
He stalked forward confidently and for some reason his gut clenched at the sheer desperation heard in the kid's cry for help. He had no idea why those bastards were trying to kill the kid, but it wasn't going to happen on his time. He was no wuss that only relied on a gun either, he could actually fight pretty well, but he'd soon gotten tired of being accosted all the time about his looks or being smart, or just plain idiots trying to intimidate him by number. So, dusting off his father's old weapon, he taught himself to be a pretty accurate shot. Now, Pantera came in handy pretty often.
"I think you should let that kid go," he called out, cutting through the sickening sound of flesh being pounded.
At least that made them stop. They regarded him with obvious amusement, but he wasn't intimidated. Not in the least. One of the idiots asked him a question that almost made him laugh out loud.
"'Cause you don't want me to shoot your fuckin' dick off," he responded.
Some bald fuck started braying like a damn hyena, completely offending his ears. Tired of the bullshit, he spat angrily, trying to rid his mouth of the bitter taste of disgust, as he reached around and under his shirt to grasp Pantera's rubber handle before freeing her from the waist of his slacks and pointing her in the general direction of the group of assholes.
"So, I'm only gonna tell ya one more time before I start poppin' holes in you fuckers. Let. The. Kid. Go."
There was some more speaking from the freak with the tattoos before his objective was achieved-they moved on. He waited until they were gone before he went to check on the kid to see if he was still alive.
He approached the kid slowly, anger tearing through him at what he was seeing. Holy fuckin' god. He tucked Pantera away before he crouched over the orange-haired youth and shook his head in equal measures of disbelief and outrage. One bleary brown eye glanced up at him, shining with thanks.
"Christ, why'd they do this to you, kid?" he asked. He was totally unprepared for the answer he was given. The kid opened his split and swollen lips slightly and whispered.
He watched helplessly as the kid's eye rolled back and he lost consciousness. Oh fuck! He had to get this kid to a hospital or something. The kid was pretty small for his age; he only looked to be 5'9" or something and couldn't be more than 160 lbs. Compared to his 6'3" height and 200 lbs., that was nothing. Not to mention, he worked out regularly and was able to bench press 300 lbs. easily.
He effortlessly hefted the youth into his arms, careful not to jostle him too much before taking off at a brisk walk towards the student parking lot and his car. Please don't die, kid!