Blue Crescent Moon
Chapter 1: The Refugee
Grimmjow was a hollow…and a powerful one at that. That being said…he wondered how he could be a hollow, and yet hold his brethren in such low regard. Of course, the bulk of the hollows were low level trash that couldn't even speak…lanky and bulky twists and turns of smelly flesh and bone. They could barely think, let alone conform to a code of honor. He cringed to think that they were in any way connected to him.
The gathering of dark emotion held within a dying soul and carried into Hueco Mundo to form its heartless body. They were heartless, but that did not mean that they did not get cut and feel pain…that they did not bleed and desire life. In fact, the higher the level of the hollow, the more developed the consciousness…the more depth there was to the emotions that drove them.
But even those more powerful than he didn't seem to have that something inside that he did. He wondered if somehow, when he became a hollow, he hadn't lost his heart in it's entirety. But he must have. If he hadn't, then what was this hole in him…and why was there such power in his anger? He stood above the entrance to his cave and wondered.
He wondered too at why he was still here. He had thought himself killed when Kurosaki Ichigo had brought him down…and indeed, he should have died. He had a very vague memory of the girl's eyes…of just a touch as Ichigo led her past him…a whisper of forgiveness…and then, for a time, there was darkness. He woke in his cave…and, some time after, learned of Aizen Sousuke's capture. It didn't hurt him at all to know his former lord was gone and he had no compunction to try to free him. He had been a fool to believe in the shinigami. He had been given hope to tease him into cooperating…but then he had been used…used not to gain something better, as he thought, but as someone Ichigo trod on on his way to glory. He didn't hate Ichigo for beating him. Each had given his best and the youth had been stronger. It wasn't worth it to hate Ichigo for that.
But he couldn't get past the fact that he should have died…
He sat in the sand outside his cave, looking back at the darkened fortress…emptied now of leadership and left to decay. He wondered who was left to lead. He didn't, for a moment, consider fighting for it himself. Although now the strongest of the Arrancar left in the ruins of Aizen's plans, he had no wish to spend the rest of his life trying to stay on top. It simply wasn't worth it.
His thoughts were interrupted by a disturbance in reiatsu levels around the fortress. He sighed softly, recognizing the feel of shinigami power. They must have come again to search the fortress…but what they needed, he had no idea. With Aizen gone, it was especially dangerous in the world of the hollows. There was no order…and there wouldn't be until someone stepped forward to lead. Grimmjow resolved to remain apart from it all. None of it had anything to do with him anyway. He looked back at the fortress and watched as zanpakutou releases cracked and lit the night. Yes, it was even dark inside the fortress, now that Aizen's false light had followed him into the hell he deserved.
Grimmjow yawned and lifted himself, slipping inside the cave and dropping into his bed. Everything went quiet and eventually, even the distant sounds of battle faded away. When he woke in the early morning, all was quiet again. He ate a quiet breakfast, then, for reasons he couldn't quite fathom, turned towards Las Noches.
He was there in a short time, standing in the deserted courtyard and gazing at the devastated entry doors. So the shinigamis had come for something in the fortress…or maybe someone. Aizen had left some prisoners in the detention levels. He thought, perhaps, it might have been a rescue mission. Looking at the number of both shinigami and hollow bodies lying around, he wagered it was ridiculous for them to have come.
He passed through the courtyard and into the fortress, stepping over the bodies that littered the entry and stairs, that lined the hallways. He thought he could smell fire…and he felt the distant pulses of lives fading slowly away. He stopped at the throne room door and looked in at Aizen's white throne, now sprinkled with blood and deeply cracked…and the table that the Espada had shared for meetings, now broken and half burned. He sighed softly and turned out of the room, feeling heavy and dull. If he'd had a heart, he knew that it would be heavy. It had all been a lie. Aizen had only used them to propel himself forward.
He left the throne room and found his way to the kitchens. Much had been plundered, but there were still some good things left to eat. After sating himself, he felt better, as though the fog of unhappiness he'd felt over being so used by Aizen Sousuke was beginning to lift.
He moved on past the kitchens, living areas and training rooms, then down a large flight of stairs and into the colder detention levels. As he arrived there, he heard laughter, rustling and the sounds of someone in pain. Several voices were rising up, loud and mocking, urging someone to 'break him,' 'fuck him into the ground,' and 'make him bleed.'
"Fucking morons," he hissed.
Not that he liked the shinigamis. He didn't. But despite being a hollow…Grimmjow had a sense of right and wrong. To inflict pain in an interrogation or to achieve something important was one thing, and even to swiftly kill an opponent was fine, but to take one already fallen and to subject him to needless torment…
"Damn you…just kill the poor bastard and have done with it…"
From the sound of the shinigami's voice, it sounded as though death wasn't too far off. He started to turn away, but heard another voice.
"Heal him. We'll save him for later."
Grimmjow waited until the flare of healing reiatsu had faded and the voices had gone quiet, then moved forward into the rows of cells. Most held disgustingly desecrated bodies and some were empty…but one held a pulsing reiatsu that suggested someone of some actual power. It was power sealed away or, he sensed, these weaklings would never have had their way with him.
They had healed him enough so that he would hurt, but not die…and then left him conscious…surrounded in darkness and death…one hell of a nightmare come true, to Grimmjow's way of thinking. He considered killing the man, but as he moved into the room, the captive's head turned and soft gray eyes reflected a thin shaft of moonlight.
He knew immediately why the bastards had kept him alive…
Even beaten and bloodied, bruised and tormented, he could tell the man was both beautiful and powerful. There was strength of spirit left in his eyes…a will that hadn't been shattered. The poor son of a bitch wanted to live…thought he actually had a chance. Grimmjow shook his head in disbelief. He could see that this man was as strong as he was…or maybe stronger. He was hurting, but there was something in the calm, dark eyes that suggested that pain was something he was accustomed to. And it was, perhaps that that made Grimmjow move closer.
He met the beautiful eyes, the cold gaze and hardened expression. He knew already that this enemy was different. He only waited to learn what form that difference would take. He was distracted for a moment by voices in the distance.
"We're bringing 'The Beast' down to finish him…after we have our fun with him one more time. There's no way we'll hold him for long. He will break the seal soon…shame, too…really soft skin and smells good…"
They might, he thought, be weaklings, but they weren't completely stupid. To hold this man for any length of time would not be accomplished by these. It would take power on the level of Grimmjow's. The hollow sighed and glared into the shinigami's eyes.
"Do you want me to kill you before they get here? I will be faster and more merciful than the one they're bringing."
The man blinked and considered his offer for a moment.
"I would much prefer to live," he stated softly.
Grimmjow couldn't stifle a sudden laugh.
"Shinigami, you are fucked coming and going," he said, shaking his head, "You're going to die, one way or another."
"Ah…so you will absolve me of pain, but will not loose me and allow me to at least have an opportunity to earn my freedom?"
"What the fuck do you want?" Grimmjow chuckled, "I'm a hollow! You're a shinigami. We're natural enemies. Why should I save you?"
"I'm not saying that you should. I'm asking if you will."
He felt a sudden twinge of liking for the shinigami. He knew it was stupid…but he could always change his mind and kill the fucker if he got troublesome…
"So if I do that, what will you do for me?"
It was a fair question, all things considered…
"Did you have something in mind?" the man asked, his eyes curious.
"No, not really," Grimmjow admitted, "but seeing as how you're about to become lunch for the beast, I'll just have to think of something later."
He snapped the kido that held the shinigami down and helped him to his feet. He checked the binding on his hands and led him out of the cell. He heard footsteps in the corridor and turned the shingami down another passage, then slowly worked the two of them back to the courtyard. He heard a ruckus building up behind them as the others realized that their captive was gone.
"I'm going to have to carry you," he said shortly and lifted the surprisingly light body over a shoulder.
He heard no sound of disapproval and when he glanced at his captive's face, his eyes were focused on the fortress…and Grimmjow could feel that he was shaking. He pretended not to notice and moved on through the darkness to his cave. He entered the main room, but moved to the very back and placed his hand on the rock wall. The stone glowed blue and opened the way into a hidden chamber. It had been his refuge when he was younger and had too many strong enemies…and now it sheltered this shinigami. He thought again about what he had done and glanced at the man, who was standing in the dark chamber and waiting quietly. Grimmjow lit a kido lamp, then motioned for the man to sit on the bed. He went over the shinigami's body slowly, from head to toe, healing any injuries he could find. It made him sick inside to see the damage done to such a beautiful body.
"Tell me something, shinigami," he said quietly, "How in the hell were you still able to walk? They beat the living shit out of you and then some!"
The dark eyes locked on his thoughtfully for a moment, then looked away. Grimmjow slipped a hand beneath his chin and locked eyes with him again.
"Damn! Even after the shit they did to you, you still look too damned pretty for your own good," he muttered.
He helped the shinigami to his feet again and led him to a fall of water at the back of the chamber that he used a cero to warm. He looked into the dark eyes warningly.
"Don't think of attacking me or trying to run. This chamber can only be opened by me, so you will be powerless and trapped if you knock me out or kill me. Understand?"
The shingami nodded. Grimmjow released the bindings on his hands and left the chamber to allow him to bathe. He sat in the outer cave, wondering what in the hell he was thinking, keeping a shinigami as a pet, but couldn't quite think of himself as wholly stupid for doing so. It was nice to have intelligent company…and not all shinigamis were bad. Not all of them were like Aizen. He yawned and leaned back against the wall, looking out of the cave. In moments, he was asleep.
He woke sometime later and turned back towards the chamber, then realized that he hadn't closed the door all of the way. A dark shiver went through him as he studied the empty inner chamber for a moment and considered how easily the shinigami could have slit his throat. He shook his head and tried not to think on that particular bit of stupidity. Stepping outside and looking around briefly, he was somewhat amazed at how well the man had covered his tracks…so thoroughly that Grimmjow couldn't sense them. He shook his head and sighed.
"It's better this way," he said softly, "Wouldn't have known what to do with him anyway."
He turned back into the cave and passed into the inner chamber, then closed it behind him. He moved towards the shower and disrobed, then slipped in under the little waterfall, and slowly washed away the day's tension. It wasn't until he had exited the shower and dried off and was slipping back into his clothes that he realized that the bed across the room was not empty. He crossed the room and looked down at the shinigami questioningly.
"What the fuck are you still doing here?" he asked, trying not to sound as shocked as he was, "You could have walked out of here and gone free. What's in your head, Shinigami?"
The man sat up and Grimmjow felt a soft jolt in his stomach. He had put on one of Grimmjow's own yukatas, his own clothes being torn and stained with dirt, blood and semen. The sky blue fabric covered the soft, pale flesh of his body, but was revealing enough to make Grimmjow have to try not to stare. His hair was long, thick and coal black, raining down his back and falling delicately over one eye in the front. One look was enough to tell him not to let the shinigami outside for a moment. Nothing that beautiful would last five minutes in Hueco Mundo now…
"You going to answer me?" he asked, almost growling.
"I cannot return to Soul Society. I have not completed my mission," the man said simply.
"Your mission?" mused Grimmjow, "Shinigami, you just got captured, beaten and fucked by a horde of hollows! Who gives a rat's ass about your mission? Fuck the mission! You should have left."
"I cannot," the man went on, "Even if my mission had been completed, I cannot get back unless a garganta is opened for me."
"Look…I kinda like you. Don't have a clue why, but there's something about you I like. Just…I'll open a garganta and you can go home. You do want to go home, right? Don't you have a family?"
The man nodded.
"It is my family, my sister in particular, that is the reason for my mission."
"If your sister is here, then she's already dead…or at least, you'd best hope she is!"
"No…she is not here. My sister came here with Kurosaki Ichigo and some other of her friends…and while they were here, she was somehow given a slow poison. The others were all poisoned as well, and none of our healers can cure them. We know they were infected here…we don't know how. We have put them in a state of cryogenic suspension, but unless we find a cure, they will not survive."
"Huh," huffed Grimmjow, "I think I remember her. You do know that I attacked her, right? Half killed her?"
"I am aware…but I am also aware that you were under Aizen's direction at the time."
"And you'll let it slide because you're desperate?"
"I will not leave this place without a cure. I must save her!" the shinigami insisted.
"You're crazy," mused Grimmjow, "You're throwing your life away. You're not even going to save her. You're just going to die too!"
The calm, gray eyes locked on his.
"You could have joined the others and tormented me," he said softly, "but not only did you not do that, you freed me and healed me. You are a hollow, but you have a sense of justice…a code of honor. You can help me."
"I'm not going to help you kill yourself," said the Espada gruffly, "You want to die, set one foot outside without me! You will be recaptured and you will be killed this time! End of story!"
"You can protect me…and I will serve you…only help me to save my sister and I will owe you my life."
"I don't fucking want your life! And I don't need complications! You have no idea what you are asking me to do!"
"I am asking you to help me save my sister. I am trading my freedom to you so that you will help me!"
Grimmjow let out a frustrated breath and went silent.
"I have never done right by my sister…but I cannot fail her now. It would destroy me anyway. I could not live with myself if I failed her. I have to do this…I have to…"
Grimmjow studied the man's eyes and gazed for several long minutes at him. Finally, he gave a long sigh.
"I'm fucking crazy for listening to you, but I'll tell you what…I'll take you up on serving me…just while you and I search for that cure…and I will help you. I won't make you stay once the cure is found…but while you are here, you belong to me…understand?"
The shinigami lowered his eyes and nodded.
"I am ready to serve you," he said quietly.
"Well," said Grimmjow, sitting down on the bed, "not as part of your service, but because it is part of protecting you, I have to mark you as mine. Otherwise, others will try to hurt you or take you away. They are wary of my power…so if you bear my marking, then they will back off. They'll know that if they touch you…they will die."
"And how is one 'marked?'" the shinigami asked softly.
"It's a sort of ritual marking," explained the Espada, "While taking you sexually, I place a reiatsu marker on your body. The hollows will sense it when they approach you and they will know you are mine. Most of them won't fuck with you…especially once I restore your powers."
"The ritual only works if it is a willing exchange. I agree to protect you and you agree to be mine. The marker will fade when I release you."
He waited several minutes, watching the play of mixed emotions in the shinigami's expressive eyes. His body betrayed little, Grimmjow realized, but his eyes gave everything away.
"You having second thoughts?" he asked, noticing a slight tension in the pale hands.
"No," said the man quietly, "You may proceed."
Grimmjow nodded briefly, his heart racing at the thought of what he was about to do. He wondered if he was being incredibly stupid…taking this shinigami as his own like that…but Hueco Mundo had become a damned lonely place…and even if it was only for awhile, the shinigami's body looked deliciously warm and soft…comforting in the midst of such cold deadness.
He lit candles around the bed and then sat down next to the man.
"What is your name?" he asked.
"I am no one here…so I will ask you to name me."
"You're kidding, right?" laughed Grimmjow, but the shinigami's face looked completely serious.
He leaned forward and took hold of the soft yukata, pulling the shinigami closer and taking the light, sweet lips. He expected that after the treatment he had gotten at the hands of the other hollows, that he might be resistant, but he remained light and pliable in Grimmjow's arms as he lowered him onto his back and opened the yukata, revealing in full, that slender, lovely body that was about to be made his.
He rested his body on top of the other and sent his reiatsu humming all through his body and radiating outward. He curled it in a blue swirl around the two of them, cutting them off from everything outside the circle. He took his time working his way from head to toe, touching the shinigami's body and placing his reiatsu, using small flares of his power to lock it into place beneath the shinigami's skin. And when he had completed the exchange, Grimmjow couldn't help but notice that the lovely body was trembling softly, that there was a light flush on his white skin, that his eyes had gone hazy, and that he was beautifully erect. He pressed his body down hard against the other and moved his hips, making the shinigami tighten his hands on the hollow's strong shoulders and catch his breath. Slowly, Grimmjow lowered a hand to the man's wrists and released the seal on his powers. Their eyes met.
"Last chance, Shinigami," the Espada said, touching his face to make his eyes clear, "Once I take you, the markers settle. Once I take you, you belong to me…until I let you go. Are you sure you want to do this?"
The dark eyes closed for a moment, then opened again, and the shinigami nodded.
"Okay," whispered the Espada, "I guess you know what you're doing."
He started to turn the man onto his stomach, but saw a sudden flare of apprehension in the dark eyes.
"Sorry…" he said, "I thought maybe you wouldn't want it to be that…intimate."
The shingami only blinked slowly and looked back at him quietly. He laid his body down on top of the shinigami again and nudged his thighs apart, then carefully prepared him, watching the pretty dark eyes for signs of pain. The pain, he realized, was mostly emotional. The other hollows had been brutal with him. Grimmjow would have understood if he'd started screaming at the idea of another hollow taking him, but this shinigami, he found, was different from anyone he had ever met. He held himself still, even when Grimmjow knew it must have hurt him some. He met the Espada's eyes without fear or aggression. He was only calm, quiet and distant…as if he had given himself over and accepted it for what it was. And as he sank into that wonderfully soft flesh, Grimmjow felt something stir inside. It almost made him stop, but it felt too good to look into that calm expression, to watch it slowly change as the intensity of their coupling grew. Their reiatsu flared around them as their bodies arched into each other…as the reiatsu markers he had placed flared and settled. Grimmjow closed his eyes and lowered his head, sucking at the white skin of the shinigami's throat. He was trying to be gentle, but his hunger for pleasure raged. The shinigami let out a shivering moan of abandon and his body shuddered beneath the Espada's, sending Grimmjow into a powerful orgasm. He met the shinigami's dark eyes with something between warmth and wariness, then pleasure. He kissed the solemn, sweet lips again and let his body rest there on top of his new servant. He felt a twinge of guilt at the hint of pain that was in the shinigami's eyes, but he consoled himself with the knowledge that the man wouldn't have left, even if he'd personally opened a garganta for him. This was a willing exchange…a fair deal for both. He wasn't doing anything wrong by claiming his willing servant sexually.
As he drifted towards sleep, Grimmjow wondered when 'doing the right thing' had become important to him…
"What do I call you?" the shinigami asked softly, tearing him away from his thoughts.
"You call me Grimmjow," he answered, rubbing his lips against the other's and enjoying the soft, flowery scent around him, "and what shall I call you?"
"That is your decision," said the man.
"Then I guess it's just Shinigami…at least until something else comes to me…"
He pulled the shinigami onto his chest and watched as he drifted off to sleep. He had to admit that his current situation beat the hell out of being alone. But something deep inside made him wonder if he hadn't set himself up for a really big fall.