CHAPTER 12

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach...

Onwards...

XOXOXO

Ichigo's thoughts were confusing as hell. Grimmjow glared over at the other man from the corner of one eye. What was so hard about making the first move in this case? He was just waiting for Ichigo to do something; Grimmjow was anxious to find out if all that defiance was good for more than just pissing him off.

Fuck him...so bad...

Grimmjow grinned like a fiend. Well, that was a start. Now, if only Ichigo would act on his thoughts, they could get this show on the road. Grimmjow continued to watch Ichigo from his peripheral, smirking as Ichigo's thoughts filtered into his head.

Felt big...wonder...tastes good?

He almost rolled over and got things started himself when he heard that. If Ichigo was wondering about how his dick tasted, then that was surely good news. What the hell was the orange-haired brat waiting for? Was Grimmjow really going to have to get the boat rocking first? Again?

But...if...big...will...fit?

He'd make it fit if it didn't. Grimmjow stared hard at the side of Ichigo's face, struggling with that bastard called "control." It was getting harder by the second, and he wasn't talking about his dick this time. Ichigo was pussy-footing around, and it was quickly beginning to bore Grimmjow. Everyone around him knew bad things happened when he got bored.

Horny...

Grimmjow pursed his lips and looked away. This was getting out of hand. He was a nanosecond away from rolling over on top of Ichigo and just going back to his previous aggression. He really didn't want that, though. As strange as it seemed, Grimmjow wanted Ichigo to move first because he needed to feel that the guy wasn't just messing around with him. He hadn't expected the spitfire to lose his balls in the process.

Screw this...

Before Grimmjow could even react, Ichigo was moving. The smaller man turned onto his side, face determined and set in stone. His arm had reached over, fingertips brushing Grimmjow's collar, when a shrill alarm started blaring. The light in the room blinked off and was replaced with a flashing red one that Grimmjow hadn't even noticed in the corner on the ceiling.

"What the fuck now?" he growled as he glared at the light.

Ichigo jumped hard enough to shake the bed before his wide, frightened eyes went to the red light. Grimmjow, however, was internally seething. He wanted to seek out the source of the commotion and put it twenty feet under – fuck six. He sat up and threw his legs over the side of the bed, brow wrinkled with agitated frustration. This crap just had to happen right when Ichigo was finally getting over his case of nerves. Grimmjow stalked to the door, back and shoulders fraught with tension, but before he could open it himself, it was thrown open with so much force, it banged against the wall and cracked off its hinges.

He couldn't even react. In the next instant, he found himself against the opposite wall, head and back screaming in protest and eyes rolling with dizziness. He was unable to find his bearings, and it left him reeling with anger. He hated being caught so off guard that he couldn't defend himself.

"Mah, mah! A two fer one deal. Wouldja looka there."

Grimmjow tensed at the unfamiliar voice. He didn't know who had entered the room, but the way the man spoke lifted the hairs all over Grimmjow's body. He heard some shuffling before a warm presence made itself known right in front of him. That made him shake his head to clear the cobwebs from his vision before he focused on the body standing over him. Luckily, his eyes traveled the length of a pair of long legs, a naked, firm ass, a sleek torso, and a strong neck before coming to a pause on a head full of bright orange hair. Ichigo's arms were spread apart, blocking Grimmjow from the man on the other side of the room.

Grimmjow chortled.

Perhaps that was why he was always labeled as crazy – because he could find humor in the most sober of situations. But this was absolutely hilarious to him. Ichigo was stark naked, defending Grimmjow's honor, when the man should've been defending his own.

Ichigo turned his head to the right a scant few inches, allowing himself a glimpse at Grimmjow while he also kept an eye on the strange man.

"What the hell are you laughing at?"

Grimmjow chuckled again and reached up with his left hand. He slowly let his rough palm caress the flawless butt directly in front of him.

"You sure got a nice ass, ya know?"

Ichigo's neck and ears were flooded with red. "Now's not the time for that, you fucking pervert!"

That kind of offended Grimmjow.

"Oh, so I'm the pervert? Even though you were wonderin' what my dick tastes like a second ago?"

Ichigo turned and faced the man standing patiently in the doorway. Eyes wide and expression horribly mortified, he calmly stated, "If you're here to take him, feel free to do so. Please."

Grimmjow cracked up as the pain at the back of his head and lower back started to subside. Although he was laughing, it didn't mean that he didn't have a sharp eye trained on the tall, extremely slender man near the door. The man's hair was silver and his grin was mile-wide, without a tooth in sight. Who the hell was this creep, and what the fuck did he want?

The guy cackled, obviously amused. "An' here I thought'cha kids were friends! So, I got some good news, an' I got some bad news. Which deliv'ry ya want first?"

Grimmjow eased to his feet, trying not to put his hand on his back for support, while he studied the silver-haired wraith. There was definitely something fishy about him. Grimmjow tuned into his senses and bit back a snarl at the lack of reception. However, he couldn't immediately jump to conclusions. The dudes on Urahara's team had had their thoughts blocked too.

"Good news for five hundred, Alex," Grimmjow drawled and put his right hand in his pocket.

The man beamed that creepy grin again as he stuffed both hands into the pockets of his black cargo pants.

"Well, tha's easy! Good news is, I can't kill either a'ya!"

"And the bad news?" Ichigo asked, voice tentative.

The man's eyes that had previously been slitted shut, slid apart and revealed crimson irises.

"Bad news is, I'm leavin' here wit' at least one a'ya."

Grimmjow stepped from behind Ichigo and lifted his hand a second too late. The silver-haired man's hands shot forward, palms facing outward, and the next thing Grimmjow felt was a searing, stinging pain in his shoulders. The breath was knocked from his lungs as he was pinned to the wall. He glanced over at each shoulder to see what was keeping him in place so painfully and nearly gasped at the sight of sharp, gleaming metal protruding from both.

Where the hell did these come from?

He focused on the silver-haired man again, and everything fell into place when he saw a set of knife-shaped projectiles aimed for Ichigo.

What the...is...real?

Grimmjow wanted to scream at the idiot to just get the fuck out of the way – never mind if it was real or not. Thankfully, Ichigo dodged the metal as he rolled into a crouch near the bed. His brown eyes were wild and feral, and his hair was mussed, but he looked like a warrior. The man in the doorway grinned as he edged closer to where Ichigo was crouched.

"Ya seem s'prised, Fire-Brains."

Ichigo snorted and smirked. "Can you blame me? I mean, I don't know you from a hole in the wall, and here you are trying to aim knives at me. By the way, where the fuck are those things coming from anyway? If you don't mind me asking, of course."

Grimmjow chuckled through the pain in his shoulders at Ichigo's sarcasm. The kid's mouth would surely be his demise. The silver-haired man glanced in Grimmjow's direction, but that was a big mistake. Ichigo pounced from his position next to the bed the instant he realized he was no longer in the spotlight. He pinned the thinner man to the floor, studiously avoiding the guy's hands. Good job, Grimmjow thought. As Ichigo and the man wrestled around on the floor, Grimmjow carefully brought his trembling hands up and removed the metal from his shoulders. The sharp pieces were yanked free, but remained floating in the air in front of him. Right where he wanted them, actually. He took another look at Ichigo and the silver-haired man and gave a grin so big, he actually wouldn't blame a person for calling him crazy.

Just this once...

Ichigo was sitting on the man's chest, hands gripping the man's wrists to keep them immobile against the floor. Brown eyes were narrowed with a rarely seen malice and full lips were pulled into a harsh snarl. Grimmjow had had quite enough of seeing such an ugly side to Ichigo, so he maneuvered the floating makeshift knives over to the two scuffling men.

"Move, Ichigo," he said.

He didn't even raise his voice, but his tone had Ichigo looking at him over his shoulder and snatching his hands away from the man underneath him. As soon as Ichigo's hands were cleared, Grimmjow brought one of his own hands down as if he was mashing a button. The metal pierced the silver-haired man's wrists, drawing a delicious-sounding hiss and pain-filled groan.

Grimmjow ambled over and calmly squatted beside the man, not surprised to see the guy glaring at him through crimson slits. Ichigo was beside the man, frowning down at him, orange brows knitted.

"Ya might wanna put some clothes on there, Ichigo," Grimmjow commented offhandedly.

He ignored Ichigo's cute blush in favor of watching the range of emotions playing across their captive's face. The man went from pissed, to calm, to indifferent, and now he seemed like he was amused, if that smile etching across his lips was any indication.

"Where'd you come from?" Grimmjow went on. "I never saw you before."

The man's grin just widened until it was stretched over the entire lower half of his face. Grimmjow didn't like that; it felt like the guy was making fun of him or something. He sneered at the silver-haired man and raised his hand. But before he could bring it down and end the asshole's miserable little life, his wrist was gripped and held firm. Grimmjow glared over his shoulder at Ichigo.

"Why'd ya do that?"

Ichigo rolled his eyes and let his wrist go. "Maybe we can get some answers from him before you go killing him. Ever think of that?"

"Yeah, but he ain't talkin'."

"So, what? Urahara might have something that can get him to talk or something. You never know."

"I don' give a shit. This guy's a creep, an' I don' like the way he's smilin' at me."

Ichigo sucked his teeth and nudged Grimmjow aside as he squatted beside the silver-haired man as well.

"Ain't that the pot calling the kettle black, idiot? You're always giving people strange grins."

Grimmjow leered at the orange-haired brat. He knew exactly what Ichigo was talking about. Fortunately, he didn't give everyone those grins. They were one-of-a-kind and made especially for Ichigo.

"Nah, that's just for you, cutie."

Ichigo glared at him, but it did nothing to hide his flushed cheeks and ears. Grimmjow had a mind to finish what they'd started a little while ago, but figured that wouldn't be such a good idea with ole Silver in the room. Especially not with the way he'd been chucking knives at them. Besides, there was no way in Hell that Ichigo would go for it.

He watched as Ichigo turned back to the silver-haired man and asked his name. The man blinked before his eyes turned into joyous little arcs. Grimmjow gritted his teeth and balled his hands into fists. This guy was so asking to die.

"Look, asshole," Ichigo started, voice quiet and serious. "You came here and tried to hit me with your knives. I think the least you can do is tell me your fucking name."

Nothing.

Grimmjow growled under his breath as one of his hands started lifting on its own. Ichigo reached over without even looking at him and wrapped long fingers around his wrist before lowering the hand.

Well, poo.

"You're such a five-year old," Ichigo muttered. "I guess we just gotta wait for Urahara."

Grimmjow shrugged and pouted. That wasn't what he'd had in mind at all. He wanted to turn Silver's head into a smushed grape. That was a lot more fun than waiting for that silly blond to come and take care of everything. Grimmjow slowly took in the room again, his eyes pausing on the flashing and whirling red light in the corner. It was precisely that moment that he started wondering why no one had come crashing into their room to see what was going on. Where the hell was that kooky blond? Where was the rest of his crew? Hell, where the hell were Grimmjow's friends? Grimmjow started to climb to his feet, but was distracted by Silver's soft laughter.

"What the fuck's so funny?"

Of course, Silver didn't say a word, but the way he grinned and continued to chuckle grated on Grimmjow's nearly nonexistent nerves.

"Fuck this shit; I'm gonna kill him," he growled.

Ichigo opened his mouth to protest, but before any words could be released, his head snapped back like he'd just been shot in the forehead. He hit the floor on his back and convulsed, entire body seizing and shuddering uncontrollably. His mouth was wide open and the noise... Ichigo sounded like he was being tortured, desperate scream after desperate scream being wrenched from his writhing body. Grimmjow didn't know what to do, how to react. All he could do was watch and feel utterly helpless as Ichigo's body twisted like a worm on a hook.

What looked like bright blue and white wires of electricity seemed to spring from Ichigo's middle and wrap around his entire body. A light almost as bright as a search-light began to emit from Ichigo's mouth. Grimmjow leaped to his feet and tried to make his way over to the orange-haired man, but after two steps, his body jerked like he'd just taken a tackle from behind. His muscles seized up, and the next thing he knew, he was convulsing on the floor right along with Ichigo. Pain blossomed all over, starting with his back (which seemed to be the impact site) and traveling to his limbs and head. He felt like he was being torn apart. Slowly. Meticulously.

It was sheer agony.

As the pain escalated with each convulsion, Grimmjow only remembered screaming at the top of his voice before all he saw was black.

XOXOXO

He saw a dark figure crouched over Grimmjow. The blue-haired lunatic's face was tight and drawn with pain as he screamed and wriggled along the floor. The silver-haired man who had previously attacked them was on his feet, standing over Ichigo and looking down at him with that creepy grin of his.

What the fuck is going on?

His attention went back to the figure hovering over Grimmjow. Its hand came back and plunged down over the blue-haired man's chest, driving a four-inch needle between Grimmjow's ribs. Ichigo tried to scream, but he couldn't move. His muscles wouldn't respond, so all he could manage was watching as everything fell apart around him. Grimmjow's back arched into the air, mouth opened in a silent scream. Just as Ichigo thought the situation could get no worse, a bright, white light seemed to switch on in the middle of Grimmjow's chest. It started at the size of a walnut and expanded until it was the size of a grapefruit. The figure leaned away from Grimmjow's body as it withdrew the syringe and reached for a high-tech, glass jar. Instead of a regular lid, the jar was capped with a complicated device that seemed to keep the insides of the container vacuum-sealed.

The figure released the lid and pulled it off of the jar before holding it over Grimmjow's mouth. Ichigo watched in horror as the light inside of Grimmjow traveled through his chest, up his esophagus, out of his mouth and into the waiting jar. The light bounced around the glass like a small, rubber ball before the figure hurriedly stuck the lid back on the container. As the figure placed the jar in a dark duffel bag that lay on the floor beside it, Grimmjow's body collapsed and went absolutely still. Again, Ichigo tried to scream, tried to move, but nothing happened. And then, the silver-haired man stooped over him, still wearing that infernal grin. The man's head tilted to the side as he held out a black device that spit electricity from two metal teeth at its tip. Ichigo watched with dread as the crackling machine came closer and closer.

"Lights out, Fire-Brains," the man crooned and pressed the stun gun to Ichigo's neck.

Ichigo gasped, choked and coughed as his eyes flew open. The fact that he couldn't immediately focus his eyesight only compounded the surging feeling of terror. He flailed his arms, absently registering his body rolling off of a gurney. He stumbled along until his back was pressed against something hard and unyielding. Had to be a wall. He busied himself getting rid of the tube stuck down his throat and the tubes and needles protruding from his torso and arms.

Not this again, he thought in a panic. Please, not again.

When his vision finally decided to stop swimming, it landed on the swaying face of Urahara – not Dr. Grantz. Ichigo let his shoulders sag with relief, but his eyes remained in action, sweeping the large room for a hint of blue hair. When he didn't see it, he turned back to Urahara and concentrated on getting his wind back. He noticed the members of Urahara's team and also Grimmjow's little friends standing around what appeared to be an operating room. They were watching him the way a scientist watched a specimen in a jar. Ichigo took stock of his body in the process, grateful to find only a few bruises. It didn't seem like anything else was wrong. He wasn't in excruciating pain, and he didn't feel any broken bones – he might just be OK. Once he'd calmed down from the initial shock of what had to have been a dream, he set his eyes on Urahara again.

"What the fuck happened?" he asked.

Urahara, for once, wasn't the calm, cool and collected go-to man he'd formerly presented. He stood with his arms folded across his chest, face pulled into a confused scowl. When Ichigo asked his question, Urahara glanced over his shoulder at Starrk, who was standing the closest to him. The two men exchanged uncertain looks before Urahara faced Ichigo again. However, by then, Ichigo was on pins and needles, unsure of what to do or think.

"Hey!" he snapped, fear making him lash out. "Tell me something!"

Urahara lifted his hands in a calming gesture. "Calm down, Kurosaki-kun. I'm just finding it hard to explain at the moment."

"Well, try harder, dammit! And where's Grimmjow?"

Something made of metal clattered to the floor in the background, drawing Ichigo's attention. Shinji had a hand up, holding an aggressive Shirosaki back from lurching forward in Ichigo's direction. Shirosaki's face was twisted with rage as he glared bullets at Ichigo, and Shinji's expression was no better.

"Yeah, tha's what we wanna know! Las' time we saw 'im, he was in the middle a'gettin' in yer pants!" the albino hollered across the room.

Ichigo frowned back. "What the fuck are you talking about? Me and Grimmjow were attacked!"

"Says who, eh?!" Shirosaki continued. "Nobody heard nothin'!"

"That's bullshit! The fucking alarm went off and everything!"

"An' guess what we found when it went off? A twisted lil carrot-head sittin' on the side a'the bed, but no Six in sight!"

Ichigo started to argue back, when he spotted the look on Urahara's face. He was studying Ichigo like every word Shirosaki was saying was the absolute truth. Ichigo's mouth snapped shut as he looked at all the occupants of the room. Now that he took the time to actually look, he realized that every person in the room was giving him a harsh, accusatory glare. Everyone except Urahara, of course. He just looked confused.

"I didn't do anything to Grimmjow," Ichigo tried.

No dice. Shirosaki snorted, Shinji scoffed and Starrk's eyebrow went up. The rest of the room just continued to watch Ichigo with disdain.

"Urahara, you gotta believe me. I swear, I didn't."

Urahara seemed to ponder what Ichigo was saying before he finally sighed and rubbed his jaw with his right hand.

"I had a feeling you would say that. Can you tell me what happened, Kurosaki-kun? I need to know everything you remember."

Ichigo didn't hesitate. He ignored his mortification as he explained the situation to Urahara. He told the blond about how he and Grimmjow had been in the middle of some extra-curricular activities, when the door had been thrown open, and they'd been attacked by a silver-haired man. The man had been able to shoot knives from his palms and had managed to catch Grimmjow off guard. Somehow, though, they'd turned the tables and trapped the guy on the floor. Grimmjow had been in favor of killing the guy, but before he could, the guy had started laughing, and Ichigo had felt a pain that exceeded what he'd felt in the hands of Dr. Grantz. He'd blacked out after that.

"That's it?"

Ichigo remembered the dream he'd just had, but he wasn't sure whether it had been real or not. Should he tell Urahara about it?

"Kurosaki-kun, I need to know everything," Urahara continued as if he'd read Ichigo's mind.

Fine.

"I, uh... I had a dream before I woke up just now. I don't know if it was real or what. I can't tell."

"What happened?"

"Oh, c'mon, Blondie! He's jus' gonna lie his ass off!" Shirosaki shouted.

"Fuc-" Ichigo started.

"Enough, Shirosaki-kun," Urahara interrupted. His face was serious as a church sermon as he stared at Ichigo. "I need to hear this."

Ichigo rolled his eyes at the albino who was intent on blaming Ichigo for Grimmjow's apparent disappearance. He cleared his throat and went back to what he'd just seen in his mind.

"I was on the floor, on my back. I couldn't move, and I couldn't talk. I saw Grimmjow. He was a few feet away from me, and there was a person standing over him. I don't know if it was a guy or a girl – I think it might've been a guy. But they were crouching over him while he was having some type of seizure or something. Then, the person stabbed him with a needle. Right between his ribs."

Ichigo paused and licked his lips to hide the sudden disquieting sensation racing through him. After a moment or two, he went on.

"After that, Grimmjow kind of screamed, but no sound came out. His mouth was just open. And that's when I saw a light in his chest."

Everyone in the room remained skeptical, but Urahara's face showed open shock. His face had gone slack, and his lips were parted.

"Whoever it was that stabbed Grimmjow with that needle, they took the light that was in him. It came out of his mouth, and they put it in a crazy-looking jar."

"This is bad," Urahara mumbled as he crossed his arms over his chest again. He started pacing the space between himself and Ichigo, dark eyes stormy and concerned. "If what you're telling me is true, Kurosaki-kun, then we only have forty-eight hours to find and help Grimmjow-kun."

"What do you mean?" Ichigo asked, beginning to worry himself.

Urahara stopped pacing and pinned Ichigo in place with his gaze. "When we checked in on you and Grimmjow-kun, Grimmjow-kun was gone, and you were seated on the side of your bed, Kurosaki-kun. When I spoke to you, you gave me a blank look before standing and screaming and tearing apart the room. After that, you passed out on the floor. No one dared approach you until you weren't moving."

"I don't remember any of that."

"Ah, and that's the problem. As I mentioned, if what you're telling me is true, then we were attacked by my old partner himself. He's the only one of his minions with the ability to cast illusions. The silver-haired one you described is his special weapon, Gin Ichimaru. Gin is crafty and ruthless, and he won't hesitate to kill you, even after he's been ordered not to, which I'm almost certain was the case."

Ichigo rubbed the bridge of his nose and massaged his eyes. This was too much. He remembered Urahara talking about his former partner, Sosuke Aizen, but Ichigo hadn't been aware that the man had an ability of his own. So, the guy had power in two different facets.

That sucked.

"So, wait! Why does that only give us two days to help Grimmjow?" he asked.

Urahara took a deep breath and sighed it out. "That light you saw was Grimmjow-kun's ability. Since he's the only one who was born with his ability, without it, he'll die."

The following silence seemed to puncture the room. No one said a word for at least two minutes.

Then, Shirosaki stepped forward and gave Urahara a stern stare. "We're gonna get 'im back, right?"

Shinji and the green-eyed guy stepped forward as well, the former wearing a determined expression, while the latter displayed his displeasure with a cold, distant look. Urahara nodded.

"You can bet on it."