CHAPTER 1: DESTRUCTION OF ELORIA
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach...
Heh, heh! So this has been careening around in my head a little after the plot of Underneath It All came to me. I guess I may as well accept that Grimm/Ichi has me stuck.
I suppose I should take this time to alert you to the fact that I am a very strange person with a very active imagination. Also, I've been reading the Sookie Stackhouse series and I must admit, Charlaine Harris's idea of fairies intrigues me. So much so, that that is where the idea for this story stemmed from. With my weird little twists and turns added in, of course.
WARNING! This is probably crack at its finest! LoL. The characters will be completely OOC! So, if you're deciding to read this, be prepared, and don't flame or complain over something you've already been warned of.
Ok, proceed at your own risk! O_o
The crystal palace stood tall and proud not far in the distance, shining magnificently in the afternoon sun as fluffy white clouds rolled lazily by. The grass and leaves on the trees were a vivid green, the lake nearby was as blue as the sky, and the smell lingering in the air was sweet from all of the blooming cherry blossoms.
Grimmjow loved the spring. It was probably his favorite season of them all. He lay sprawled on his back spread-eagled under the giant willow tree, a few feet from the pond his mother had named "Serenity", enjoying the warm breeze passing through the ancient tree's drooping branches.
It was hard to believe that this day was sure to be such an unpleasant one. If only he could turn the hands of time backwards, preventing this day from ever occurring, that would be ideal. Sighing deeply, he ran his long fingers through the thick grass he was resting on and wished things could be different. That he could be different.
"There you are! Father was getting worried," an energetic female voice chirped.
"Yes, I'm sure he was," Grimmjow replied dryly.
"Oh, Brother, don't be that way! Father only wants what's best for you!"
"Father knows nothing of what's best for me! If he did, he wouldn't be forcing me into something I absolutely don't want!" he retorted hotly. He was sick of everyone saying the same thing.
"Little Sister, was there something you wanted? Or did you come just to annoy me?"
Grimmjow's younger sister sucked her teeth and plopped onto the ground beside him. She immediately began staring off into the distance, disappearing into her own little world. He couldn't believe how time had flown. Neliel was no longer the bouncy five-year old he remembered, but a young woman of seventeen.
Grimmjow used the silent moment to absorb his little sister's appearance. She was tall for her age, curvaceous, with wide gray eyes and long sea-green hair. She wore a long, silk powder-blue gown and the silver armband that proudly displayed their family's crest.
"I love your hair, Brother," Nel whispered as she passed a small hand through his long, blue locks. Grimmjow sighed. This was a conversation they'd had many a time.
"I wish I had Mother's blue hair instead of Father's sickly green," she pouted. He chuckled softly, completely agreeing with her, but for entirely different reasons.
"We can't help how we were born," he said quietly as he twirled a lock of her hair around his finger. "Besides, the green doesn't look sickly on you. It looks lovely."
Neliel beamed at him and leaned forward to smother him in a tight embrace, planting kisses all over his face. Grimmjow flailed his arms and tried to pry the over-exuberant girl from himself. Finally, she giggled and sat back on her heels, then looked around with a puzzled expression.
"Brother, where is your shadow?" Grimmjow cracked a grin, waiting for the inevitable explosion.
"It's called 'best friend', stupid!" Nnoitra sneered, as he dropped to the ground from a nearby tree and stalked towards them.
"Nooooo, best friends don't creep in the distance the way you do," Neliel retorted.
"I'm only givin' the prince his space, which you would know nothin' about!"
Grimmjow's smile widened as Neliel leaped to her feet, and the two faced off, glaring daggers at each other. Shaking his head, he stood, brushing the dirt from his ash-gray pants, and stepped between his sister and best friend.
"Do you absolutely have to argue everytime you're near each other?" he asked exasperatedly, then strode away towards the palace, his long blue hair swishing behind him. They could be children on their own time.
"Aizen, sir, today is the prince's twenty-first birthday," Ulquiorra reported. "The king is holding a banquet to formally introduce the prince to his fiance."
"Wonderful. Are the troops ready, Ulquiorra?"
"Yes, sir. They await your orders in the courtyard."
"Have them move out at sunset. Leave only the prince alive," Aizen commanded.
Ulquiorra bowed and quickly strode from the throne room. Aizen snapped the fingers of his right hand, and a silver-haired man slowly approached him, his head hanging, arms and ankles shackled. His hair was disheveled, and his clothes dirty and hanging from his thin frame.
"Will you behave, Gin?" Aizen asked softly. Gin nodded slowly as if contemplating his answer. "Have we forgotten our manners, Gin?"
"No, sir. I will behave, Aizen, sir."
Aizen smiled, then gestured with the index and middle fingers of his left hand, for a brown-skinned man wearing a white bandana across his eyes. He was rumored to be blind, but Aizen knew better. His long, black hair was kept loose and flowing over his broad shoulders. The man stepped towards Gin, making the silver-haired man flinch.
"Now, now, he won't bite," Aizen stated soothingly.
Gin stood as still as death while the dark-haired man released his shackles. He rubbed his wrists in relief of the lifted pressure as he glanced at Aizen, who only sent a warm smile his way.
"That's all Tousen, thank you."
"Yes, Aizen, sir," Tousen stated as he too left the throne room.
"Come here, Gin." Once the thin man approached him, Aizen reached out, and gripping Gin's waist, drew him down into his lap. "There, that's better, yes?"
Gin rarely spoke if he could help it, and Aizen admired his stubbornness; besides, talking wasn't really required for what he wanted from the silver-haired man. He began placing small kisses across Gin's jaw, reveling in the way he tensed and stilled.
"Do loosen up, Gin. I won't harm you unless you fight me," he murmured against the younger man's neck.
Aizen cracked a grin. After tonight, he would no longer have any use for Gin, as he had every intention of gaining a much better pet. The blue-haired fairy prince would look lovely beside him in Las Noches, and he couldn't wait.
"Mother, this is wrong!" Grimmjow stated fiercely, as he crossed his arms defiantly. "I won't fuckin' do it!"
"Grimmjow, your language is repulsive. I understand why you're angry, but you were born with certain duties and obligations," Minere Jaegerjaques explained quietly, her gray eyes shining intensely.
"It's not fair. I don't want to marry a woman I'll only have just met this day. As a matter of fact, I don't even li-"
"Bite your tongue!" his mother hissed urgently, stepping closer to him. "You dare, with your father in the next room?"
"I'm sorry, Mother. It's true though, and that makes this whole stupid shit wrong," he whispered vehemently.
Minere held her arms open, and he instantly stepped into them, sighing as he did so. Grimmjow's mother was the only one aware of his sexual distaste towards women, and that he preferred the same gender. She never judged him or made him feel dirty or dispicable. He breathed in the scent of roses emanating from her long blue hair, and slowly relaxed his tense muscles.
"Grimmjow, you must be strong. You need to marry in order to continue the royal blood line, and your father will see it done."
At that moment, his father entered the room, dramatically throwing open the door and striding towards them. His shoulder-length sea-green hair skimmed his broad shoulders, while his piercing blue eyes locked onto Grimmjow, making him feel like he was being seen right through.
"Ahh, my son! Are you well on this day?" he asked, entirely too loudly. Grimmjow's ears were still ringing.
"Yes, Father, are you?"
"Of course! After all, my only son is being introduced to his future bride!"
Grimmjow resisted the urge to scowl, and instead only nodded. It really wouldn't make sense to argue with the stubborn buffoon.
"Come, come! The guests have already begun arriving!" King Roderic continued to bellow.
Grimmjow glanced at his mother and shook his head, Minere smiling and shrugging delicately. They moved into the huge dining hall that was already filled to capacity with what looked to be the entire fairy population. Suddenly, cool fingers wrapped around Grimmjow's forearm, and he glimpsed over to see Neliel smiling up at him. He returned the gesture, and followed his parents to the raised platform at the end of the long hall.
As his family passed, all the attendants bowed and became silent, young girls pointing at Grimmjow and giggling, while the young males ogled Neliel. He strangled the urge to bare his teeth at them. She was still his little sister, and even though she annoyed the hell out of him, he was still overly protective of her.
Eventually, the family made its way to the platform, and was seated at the formal dining table. Grimmjow was counting down, entire body being consumed with a sick foreboding sensation.
His sharp ears picked up a strange grinding noise outside of the palace, right before the west wall of the dining hall collapsed. Every fairy surged to its feet, glaring at the destroyed wall. Grimmjow drew his sword, and snarled. Something wasn't right. There was an eerie silence before hell turned over, and everything became pandemonium.
All of a sudden, a loud wailing war cry erupted from the gaping hole in the wall, and what seemed like hundreds of men bearing swords and bows and arrows, flooded the dining hall. Before Grimmjow could react, there was a sickening, wet thud from beside him, and he turned to see his father clutching his throat, as blood spurted and poured from a wound created by an arrow. Eyes wild, he grabbed Neliel and spun away from the table, leading her to a large door that led to the private gardens of the palace.
"Get out of here, Neliel! Go! I've gotta help Mother, and I can't do that worrying about you too!" he yelled frantically.
Suddenly, large hands gripped Neliel's shoulders from behind, making Grimmjow point his sword and growl.
"You wanna die?"
"Shutup, dumbass! Go help your mother!" Nnoitra snapped, stepping out of the shadows.
Grimmjow breathed a sigh of relief and nodded, before running back towards the large dining table at which his family had been seated. The gruesome sight beyond the table, showed most of the fairies lying about, either dead or dying. Minere was huddled over his father's steadily disintegrating body, tears pouring from her haunted gray eyes. She was only a few feet away, when an arrow was embedded into her chest. Grimmjow screamed, reaching his arms out, but was snatched away by an extremely thin, silver-haired man.
He fought desperately, twisting and thrashing, but his arms were held down by the surprisingly strong man. Then his eyes landed on the pointed ears of his captor, and he calmed his struggles.
"Your Highness, allow me to help you! There is nothing that can be done for everyone else! Please!" the man cried.
"My mother!" Grimmjow yelled. "Help her!"
"I can't. She's already gone, Your Highness!"
Turning back, Grimmjow realized with horror that his dear mother was slowly becoming dust as well. He squeezed his eyes shut against the onslaught of tears threatening to spill from his eyes.
His parents. His people. Why had this happened?
"Please, Your Highness, you must leave this place! Our race's fate depends on you and your sister!"
Grimmjow didn't care. He probably shouldn't trust this man, but nothing mattered. It certainly didn't matter if he lived or died, since he had no intention to be with a woman, and men didn't bear children with other men. Fairy or otherwise. Grimmjow was in a state of shock from witnessing the deaths of his parents, and the reality of it all had yet to really sink in.
The silver-haired man led him into the private gardens, where Nnoitra waited with Neliel in the shadows. Neliel stepped forward anxiously when she spotted Grimmjow, tears tracking down her face.
"Brother, where is Mother?" she whimpered, and he grimaced as pain washed over him, leaving him unable to meet her eyes. Mother's eyes.
Neliel's soft sobs echoed through the silent gardens at his nonreply. Grimmjow had been right there! A few more feet and he could've saved her! His chest clenched and his heart ached. So unfair!
"Please stand over here, Your Highness," the silver-haired man said softly.
"Who are you?" Nnoitra demanded.
"I am Gin. Gin Ichimaru, son of Touran Ichimaru."
"The fuckin' sorceror?" Nnoitra continued.
"Yes, but please hurry! They're coming!" the man named Gin urged.
"Who is 'they'?" Neliel inquired through her tears. "And why did they do this?"
Gin held up a thin hand and snapped his fingers. All of a sudden, a black rip formed in the air beside him. It appeared to be a hole of nothingness. Grimmjow's eyes widened as he stepped closer to Gin, and studied the void.
"What is this?" he demanded.
"L-La Garganta?" Nnoitra breathed. "I thought those were a myth!"
"They are not. Step forward. You all must go," Gin ordered.
"What. The. Fuck. Is. This?" Grimmjow reiterated.
"La Garganta are portals to another world, supposedly," Nnoitra explained.
"Not supposedly. They are. Now hurry!"
Nnoitra pushed Neliel forward gently. It was the nicest Grimmjow had ever seen him behave towards his little sister.
"Why must we leave our home? Everything we know is here!" Neliel argued defiantly.
"There is a very dangerous man trying to destroy the fairy race. He has a vast army and he's extremely powerful. You must not let him succeed in extinguishing our people!" Gin cried adamantly. "Please, Princess!"
Neliel swallowed, then nodded as she stepped forward to the void. Grimmjow and Nnoitra followed right behind her, and just as Neliel disappeared into the darkness, an arrow sunk into Grimmjow's right shoulder. He cried out in pain, and Nnoitra caught him before he could fall.
"Take this! Find the person on this paper once you get to the other world! He can help you! Now go! And save the prince!" Gin commanded, as he stuffed a scrap of paper into Nnoitra's pocket.
Grimmjow clung to Nnoitra's shoulder, pain making his vision fuzzy. All he remembered was stepping into the void, and a stifling blackness overwhelming him.
"Eh? What are ya talkin' about, I take the trash out all the time!" Shinji argued.
"Bullshit, Shin! I have to force you to do it! Nevermind the dishes!" Ichigo scolded.
Ichigo couldn't believe the sloppiness of his best friend and roommate. They had been living together for a little over three months, and Ichigo was already losing his mind. Both students at the local university, they roomed together to share the rent, therefore making it easier to live off campus. The campus dorms were like prison cells, and Ichigo had absolutely refused to stay in one.
"Ichi, you're exaggerating! Anyway, what's for dinner?" Shinji asked, as he unlocked the door to the modest apartment, and the two stepped inside.
Ichigo's response died in his throat, when he flicked the light on, Shinji squeaking with fright beside him. In the middle of the living room floor, lay a bleeding blue-haired male, with a crying green-haired girl hovering over him. Standing in front of the both of them, was an extremely tall man with a black cloth tied over his left eye. He had shoulder-length black hair, and was pointing a menacing looking sword at Shinji and Ichigo.
Then he said something that Ichigo completely didn't understand, so he chanced a look at Shinji. He was equally clueless.
"Ichi...what the eff?"
"I have no fuckin' idea," he breathed.