Author's Note: Yep, this is my first Bleach fanfic; and oh my god it's Grimmjow x Neliel! I would never bother writing a story about a pairing I don't find to be substantial, and despite those two characters not having interacted a lot in the manga, I suspect there's still a lot to be disclosed in the future. To get on with it, I plead all you readers to go easy on me for the first couple of chapters *-*
Disclaimer is on. I do not own Bleach or the poems written by Tite Kubo.
Chapter is T rated, for a bit potty language and extremely violent themes.
Summary: The events ensuing after Neliel is knocked unconscious by Nnoitra. A mental journey to once again recover her lost memories and awaken her true identity. The former Tres Espada encounters a series of tragedy as she walks the lifeless desert, until a certain fallen arrancar attracts her attention.
Chapter 1, Former Tres Espada
Doe hazel eyes looked around inquisitively within the darkness of her world, "Why ith Nel..?"
The very depths of long-stagnant oblivion had been suddenly stirred by a dim gleam of consciousness. To finally break free of the shackles of the broken mask, the girl had to bathe in a past dyed in memories of crimson. Thousands of shredded corpses, relentless murder and unforgiving sins lying under crescent moon blades. There was no fear in her little heart, only a child's natural curiosity to examine what the red liquid dripping on her cheeks could be. There was no need to know that the word was called 'blood', for the unstained purity of an innocent child who had never committed sin would be her shield against the gruesome atrocity that was about to follow.
A guiding light was pouring from far above, prompting her to reach it and find the answers. The mental tide was rising, besetting memories had started playing one after the other in a fluxed veil around her, the bright dawn banishing away the demons of her amnesia. Each ray illumined a dark corner, and each corner unveiled a bittersweet remembrance that respectively made its way to surface. The long suffered migraine began to latch on each side of her temples, the unnerving pain aggravating as she couldn't come around to conceive all those nostalgic memories of a woman's shadow. To whom that shadow belonged to, even if its silhouette looked very familiar, Nel Tu didn't know. She was merely following her instincts to climb up and reach that female shadow to seek the truth. The surface was so close she could faintly descry the origin of the light, yet the unyielding pain refused to allow her escape, still fighting to drown her back to the bottom of nothingness.
"Where d'ya think you're going ya little shit?" It was not just about a headache anymore, for it felt like someone was literally whipping her with such anger and sheer hatred that soon brought Nel to the edge of despair. Which memory of all could be causing her such pain, and why? Who hated her with such fervour to desire her condemned to an eternal prison? There was a man's shadow down below, now chuckling more and more smugly with each lashing on Nel's feeble body. "Come down here ya little bitch! I'll crack that damn skull of yours over and over again! HAHAHA!" The brave little girl had tried to do her best, but his monstrosity was just too much for a child to endure. Desperation had begun seeping in the form of tears, growing convinced to the idea that she was going to remain subjugated to that man's leash.
"Nel..Nel can't..." The little girl's fingers and toes curled defensively from the pain, the air in her lungs breathed out in desperate whimpers. "Pleath! Help Nel..! Stretching her little hand forward, the girl screamed loudly before bursting into a river of tears, the wails of unbearable pain leaving in packs each time the merciless lashes scraped her skin. The callous shadow of a man wouldn't cease abusing her, laughing with fixation upon Nel struggling to crawl forward in hope of finding someone to save her.
The few green rags protecting her delicate little body were being torn to pieces each time the shadow attacked, denuding her to savor the dread creeping on her vulnerable childhood. The girl was just murmuring under her breath at this point. Deprived of any strength left inside her, Nel squirmed between her knees. Each ruthless lashing was leaving behind venom-like stings on the carve of her wounds. Nel did not even have the power to keep crying anymore, only sniffing in despair before the bitter tears found the entrance to her mouth, "Pleath..Nel doethn't want..to thtay here..anymore.." A wistful tear was shed, causing the light to intensify upon the sound of the tear dripping. The lunatic laugh and sadistic attacks had been vanquished.
The woman's shadow Nel had been trying to reach started to descend from the surface, putting Nel's wide shimmering eyes in a state of awe. She wasn't a mere shadow anymore. Long green locks, full chest, nostalgic honey eyes, and a sweet smile. "She's a beautiful lady.." Nel thought shyly, dejecting eyes timidly because someone so beautiful was looking at someone as ugly as her. Nel continued peeping the angel with tears still wavering on the sides of her lids, a meek complaint in her wet hazel eyes. The little girl wanted to wobble in her predicament, but the woman offered her hand.
"Come. Don't be afraid." The woman's voice was velvet soft, smiling compassionately to the meek little lamb in front of her. "You've spent too much time sleeping in the darkness."
Nel immediately raised her hand to accept hers, stuttering in need to ask a question, "C-Can Miss really take Nel out of the dark?" A smile full of hope walked on the tortured child's lips when the woman nodded with kindness. Nel's instincts were telling her that this trustworthy person could pull her out of the agony at last. Her eyes were still clouded from the torment, but that did not stop her from noticing the woman's cute pink birthmark under her eyes, exactly like hers. "You look a lot like Nel Miss!" The little girl clapped her hands, happy to meet someone so nice in this gloomy place,
The proud Tres Espada kept the smile as she held Nel's hand tight. "Let's leave this forsaken place, Neliel" They were ascending to the light at last.
If I were given wings
I would fly for your sake
Even if all of the earth
Were to drown into water.
If I were given a blade
I would fight for your sake
Even if all of the skies
Were to pierce through you with light.
~Neliel Tu's poem by Kubo Tite
Gasping before the set breath Neliel's eyes flew open as she awakened in an emotional chaos. "Just..a dream?"
Her vision was still being deluded with erratic blurs, leading Neliel to squint her eyes shut in an attempt to banish the images of a dream that was still vivid in her mind. Only once her eyes settled on the grains of sand gliding across the white desert, Neliel realized she was really awake. Sealing hazel eyes in a disposition to let out a sigh that never came, she retracted the initial thought of it being just some nightmarish dream. The fact she had returned to her adult form meant there was no way it could have just been phantoms of her subconscious. Her recollections had finished up right after Nnoitra had hacked her like trash, but there was more after that; Something that had taken place for brief seconds before losing her consciousness again. The picture was quite hazy, but not the least hard to illustrate once she put light focus on it.
Submitted on his knees, arms savagely mutilated and blood gushing out of his chest in streams. The Quinto Espada had locked eyes with her for one last time, until he was prostrate on the ground. The dim memory was more than enough to bring the chill on her skin and for the first time the desert sand felt cold under her naked feet. Βringing her forearms in a lap under her chest, Neliel rubbed her upper arms in hope that the friction would bestow her some warmth on the parts of her body the few green rags couldn't protect. Her feet slowly scuffed the sand as she brought knees up to her chest, juddering like an injured deer when none of the methods seemed to work. The brutality of war had been once more imprinted in Neliel's heart.
Slipping a slender arm from her lap to get support on the flat boulder behind her, the former tercera espada lifted the burdens of her past and was able to stand on her feet again. A nostalgic facade soon decorated her features, musing across the broad landscape of the Hueco Mundo desert, dropping her eyelashes in a mild fashion when not even a trace of spiritual pressure seemed to exist in the vicinity. Only the blood's copper in the air would invade her nostrils and erase her last hopes for possible survivors. The shinigami messengers from Soul Society had intruded in an instant, slaughtered all of the arrancar and espada, then departed to their base.
An imminent concern about her two fraccion unsettled her emotions when Neliel flew disquieting thoughts, but deep in her heart there was a positive feeling telling her they were still alive. Pesche and Dondochakka might be acting like jokers, but they were far more level-headed than they appeared to be. They should have sensed their master's awakened nostalgic reiatsu by now, so they should already be on their way to reunite with her.
Allaying her primary concern Neliel traced her glance further across the white sea. And then, he was there. "Nnoitra.."
The girl's eyes softened upon a nonexistent spiritual pulse from the arrancar's body. There was not as much disorder in her emotions as she thought to be though. After all, she had already witnessed the worst part just seconds before his fall. However, there was indeed a brief hesitation before her feet had detached from the sand; The natural hesitation in sight of an old comrade's body lying down on the battlefield. An unfulfilling regret began to swell up inside the former tercera, the sad bottom line being all those years under Aizen's command she had never managed to see eye to eye with the quinto. And yet, during the fleeting moment of his fall, their eyes were finally able to truly meet one another's for the first time.
Certain memories had began to animate while she walked for his body, their missions assigned by Aizen occupying the biggest portion of those flashbacks. Enwrapped in said thoughts that made seconds fly without noticing, Neliel had very soon found herself before the quinto. One more distracted step and she'd have accidentally dipped her feet into the pool of his blood, something that would possibly stain her for a lifetime. Hazel eyes settled with a silent stare upon his twitchless expression, studying him in a manner that she needed to confirm the obvious. The sea-green haired girl didn't know where the sudden urge to sigh was originating from. Perhaps it was because she was finally reassured that her friends would be safe from this man's menacing clutches, or maybe it was a late regret that all her efforts to save him from his own aspect of death had failed.
Despair was one of the great seven sins, and the only way to escape such a fate would come at a great cost. Nnoitra had atoned for his sins by living his last breath as he always desired, a death that Neliel would always disapprove of in the past with rational arguments, claiming his lust for blood to be a mere artificial high. Maybe she was wrong.. Life was devoid from his violet eyes, yet there still was a faint smile residing on his lips; A smile evincing that what one had always yearned in their life had been finally fulfilled. After several years of bearing to be spared by his superiors and receiving their pitiful half-hearted eyeing, Nnoitra had finally met someone who acknowledged him as a true warrior and bestowed him the so desired deathblow. Her former comrade had died content, so there was no reason to feel pity or disgust for his past deeds anymore. Neliel's conscience would hardly feel lighter after knowing that of course, but the time had come. The natural decay was upon his body, gradually searing his flesh and clothings to ashes.
"This is goodbye.." The rather sorrowful moment created a pang in her golden eyes, watching as his smile was the last to dissipate into the wind, "Nnoitra."
Bidding the last farewell to her comrade, Neliel's eyes glided further to his fraccion Tesla, only to immediately avert with her back in sight of a raw bisection. Strange though, Neliel thought a moment later, allowing her hand to slide down from her mouth. From the spare second she could cast her eyes on Tesla's corpse, Neliel descried a tear shed on his eye. Death had different tastes, sweet or bitter. Once Nnoitra's body had disappeared, the decay had passed onto Tesla. Only one purpose the young man had in his life, and that was to serve and protect his master at any cost. Even after death, he still couldn't allow himself to be relieved of his duties until his master decided to move on. And Neliel had to move on as well, to long her golden eyes far into the horizon and embrace what could be unfolded to her.
Few minutes later and still waiting for her fraccion to arrive, Neliel's senses were agitated in a bat of the lid, an unsettled look in her eyes. There was a very faint spiritual pulse just nearby, which became detectable only once she had started using her pesquisa to try and track her fraccion. Without giving it a second thought the girl hastened to aid that spiritual presence, slowing down when the pulse started growing weaker, and in the end died as well. Keeping her footing in a guarded pace, Neliel spotted another lake of blood. It was the pantera, the hot headed espada who had challenged Ichigo in a catastrophic deathmatch. Walking close to him to evaluate, the immense scent of copper had found entrance to Neliel's senses again. Her feet halted before his body, her eyes set upon disheveled blue hair, peaceful shut eyes, and the unnatural absence of a frown on his expression. The lividity of death had yet to creep on his skin, which immediately soared one remorse.
"If only..a moment sooner.."
The tres chanted it a few times, her hands raging to fists over the time she rendered herself responsible for not making it fast enough to prevent another casualty. He had fought a good match, holding his blade with a creed that was extinct nowadays. For that mettle Nnoitra had rent him in an instant. He was another one of Nnoitra's countless victims, someone who stood up to his height and was taken down for doing so. Holding her hands in a prayer for a moment of silence, Neliel wished for his soul to find its way along with the rest of his fallen comrades. Awakening her eyes again, the tres espada turned around to leave. An eerie breeze blew by, swaying the green locks in a wild wavy fashion, making Neliel to wish that the wind could take away all of her memories and let her spirit drift along with it.
Three bodies so far, and only god knew how many were yet to be discovered. Lifting her heel to depart from the bloody battlefield, Neliel's step was stolen by a barely audible gasp. Her hazel eyes held a bewildered reflection as she turned over her shoulder, widening her glance even more when the presumed dead espada's eyes were staring stagnantly on the static sky of the dome. Oh god, his spiritual pulse was actually there, but it was so weak that it almost appeared to be good as dead. The breeze that had just passed by must have awakened him somehow. Neliel felt her stomach leaping to her mouth when the pantera's pupils rolled down on her. She forced down the lump in her throat, processing hundreds of scenarios of how to handle the situation as efficiently as possible. Still lingering on deciding how to proceed properly, the short tempered espada tried to lift his neck, like trying to tell something to her. Neliel's knees scooped the sand as she glided to stop him from doing anything stupid.
"Don't strain yourself." Her eyes admonished him as a slender hand crept behind his rigid neck to help him rest back on the sand pillow, "Any careless movement might prove fatal in your condition."
Saying that, Neliel navigated her eyes on his battered chest's wounds. There were no damaged muscles or tendons, visibly at least, only deep flesh wounds that had caused a massive hemorrhage. The deep slashes received by Ichigo had closed up more or less, leaving a pile of gore behind them. The only wound that seemed to worry Neliel was the one with the crescent imprint on it. It was still fresh, and without any reiatsu deposits to speed up the healing process, it was very possible that he could die from blood loss. The sexta espada was very close to the verge of death, able to tell by the very weary color of his sapphire eyes, almost pale. His throat tilted as he failed to speak on the first attempt, completely dry. Perceiving his intention, Neliel quickly bent over him, bringing her ear to point blank range from his parched lips to grasp the faint words. Parting his lips to breathe the words, Neliel gasped in disbelief,
I hope you had fun reading, because that's the end of Chapter 1. Since I enjoyed writing this chapter I think I'll soon start writing the next one. Feel free to leave a review, it's always helpful. Till next time!