The Garganta closed behind the lone figure and he descended unnoticed from the night sky. He winced when his feet touched solid ground and grasped his left arm. The wound was still fairly fresh and any movement hurt it. If he were a reasonable man, he would hide somewhere and rest. But he was not a reasonable man.
He was Grimmjow Jaggerjaques, and he was out for blood.
It didn't matter what kind of shape he was in, he had to find Ichigo Kurosaki, he had to face him once more and if he couldn't defeat him then he was nothing, and he had nothing.
He'd missed the battle that had taken place in this world, but he knew Aizen was gone. Good riddance had been his first thought, but now he just felt lost, and this was the only thing left to make him keep moving forward.
However, he was about to feel much more lost and confused.
He found Ichigo, though it had not been as easy as he'd thought. The boy had absolutely no spiritual pressure. Must be because he was in his body, he thought. But when he did spot him in the secluded alley, he found the boy fighting for his life with some man. Why doesn't he just transform and kill him? He thought. Oh well, he would just wait until he dispatched with this one and then he would have Ichigo all to himself.
Except things were not going down at all as he expected. Ichigo was hurt, it looked like he'd taken a blow to the back of his head, probably a surprise attack. And he had sustained other injuries, his movements were slow. The man had him pinned on the ground, he was over top of him.
"What kind of tactic is that?" Grimmjow said aloud but then he saw the man reaching for Ichigo's belt while the other hand had the teen pinned by the throat.
A shot of cold ran through Grimmjow as he finally recognized the man's motives. The man had the belt undone now and a terrible, desperate noise issued out of Ichigo's lips.
"HEY!" Grimmjow yelled, but neither human reacted. He found himself flashing forward without even thinking. A rage had engulfed his whole being as he rushed into the man. He knocked him clean off Ichigo and stood over his sputtering form. The man on the ground stared up confused, scared. His arms shook and blood trailed down them where he's skidded against the gravel. But when he saw no one, he sat up and stared at Ichigo, guessing it must have been some burst of adrenaline from his victim.
"You'll pay for that, boy." He made to stand but a hard force struck his chest and flattened him again. The pressure slid slowly from his ribs to his neck and panic consumed him. He thrashed wildly.
Grimmjow slowly applied the pressure to the man's throat with the sole of his sandal, wishing the human could see his face before he killed him. This was really too good a death for him. He should slice him to pieces slowly with Pantera, but he didn't really have the energy in his condition. This would have to be enough.
He could feel the boy's eyes on him, or at least looking through him since for some reason he still didn't seem able to see him. Ichigo had opened his mouth to say something but never found the words. Grimmjow let the man writhe a few seconds longer before stomping down completely. It was over.
He stood back from the body, chest heaving like he'd just fought a battle and he realized he had gotten uncontrollably angry. It wasn't like it was an unusual feeling for him but in this particular instance it was strange, because he wasn't angry on his own behalf...
Slowly he turned to the boy on the ground. Ichigo was still gathering himself and trying to stand. He was ghostly pale and trembling from head to toe. His fingers struggled to push his leather belt back through the loops. Grimmjow could only watch, unable to understand his own feelings in this situation. What was he supposed to do now?
He was brought out of his thoughts when he heard a painful wretch and the boy was on his side vomiting violently. It only lasted a couple of minutes but Ichigo didn't move much after it stopped. He just rolled to the other side and covered his face with his hands.
"Yo, Kurosaki." Grimmjow said, just in case, but the boy clearly couldn't see or hear him. "Well, if you can't see me then I guess that's it, you must have lost your powers, no good fighting you in this state."
He made to leave but then stopped. He looked to the body and the absolute seclusion and darkness of the alley. Ichigo was still on the ground. Anyone or anything could attack him right now.
"I suppose there's always a chance you'll get your powers back, and it would be a shame if you died between now and then." He said to himself, trying not to think he had any other motivations.
Ichigo moved behind him. He got to his feet and staggered on trembling legs to the body.
"Who's here?" he asked out loud. "I didn't think Soul Reapers could kill humans."
Grimmjow shifted uncomfortably. Ichigo spun, hearing the gravel move. He stared right through Grimmjow. "Is it you Renji?"
Ichigo was squinting as if he might actually be able to see past the filter of life and death but to no avail.
"Please..." he whispered to the air, his voice on the verge of breaking. "Don't...don't say anything..." He stepped closer and stumbled and without thinking Grimmjow reached out to steady him. Ichigo jumped in alarm at the touch but seemed even more confused when it moved away so quickly.
He had been able to somewhat feel Rukia or Renji if they got close enough but this was neither of them.
"Who is it?" He asked, his voice cracking, unable to handle any more stress at the moment, but he wanted to know, he needed to know who had seen this, who had saved him.
"Please, just tell me, write your name in the dirt or something, anything..."
Grimmjow couldn't take this anymore. He didn't know what he was supposed to do, he wanted to leave but he couldn't until Ichigo was out of danger so in frustration he grabbed the boy's arm and Sodinoed to the only place he could think to go.
He let go a little too early and Ichigo spun uncontrolled across the yard of Urahara Shoten. The boy stopped just short of the steps and shook his head in confusion at what had just happened.
"There you go kid."
Grimmjow's mind flashed back to the desert, when he was on his back and Nnoitra leaned in for the kill. Ichigo had stopped the blade, had saved his life.
"Now we're even."
He turned to leave but found himself at the wrong end of Urahara Kisuke's cane.
"Well, well, isn't this unexpected." The cane shot forward,struck him square in the forehead and the arrancar was instantly out, falling flat on the ground. Ichigo was still trying to make the world stop spinning but moved to Kisuke's side.
"Kisuke, tell me, who is it?"
Ichigo stepped out of the shower in the back of Urahara's. The heat had worked through his sore body and he felt a lot calmer now. He dried off and changed and walked back to the room Kisuke had offered him for the night. He sighed in the doorway, he felt utterly exhausted, and yet he'd fought so many battles in the past...still this was different.
Someone lay their hand on his shoulder and he nearly jumped out of his skin. He whipped around to see Urahara who was already retracting his hand and uttering an apology.
"No, I'm sorry..." Ichigo said, trying to hide the trembling of his voice.
"I just wanted to check on you."
They stood in silence for a moment before Ichigo asked the question. "What did you do with him?"
"For now, I have him secure. He could have vital information about the state of Hueco Mundo."
"Ichigo, he's not your problem."
"But why was he there? Why did he...intervene?"
"I don't know but I'll find out. You get some rest now and we'll talk again in the morning."
Ichigo could feel the shopkeeper watching him for a few moments as he settled in, then the door was gently shut and he closed his eyes, trying to block out the events of the night.
Kisuke knelt next to the prostrate arrancar. He checked that the binding spell was complete and then woke him up.
"What the Hell?" Grimmjow scowled when he found himself unable to move.
"A precaution." Kisuke said simply and his eyes locked on the shop keeper.
"Let me go."
"I have questions."
"I don't care."
"What happened tonight?"
Grimmjow just stared back at him.
"What are you doing in the world of the living?" Urahara rephrased.
"None of your–" Urahara didn't strike, not yet, but suddenly that cane was against his throat.
"Really Grimmjow, what's the point? Why be defiant for no reason? You risk nothing in answering simple questions."
Grimmjow glared at him the whole time. Kisuke lifted the cane anyway and waited.
Grimmjow sighed and rolled his eyes but relented. "Fine. I wanted to finish my fight with Ichigo."
"Then why didn't you fight him?"
"Are you kidding? I don't know what happened to him but he ain't worth fighting in that state."
"Then what did you see when you found him?"
Grimmjow swallowed and his eyes drifted away from Urahara's. This was as good a confirmation as anything for Kisuke but he needed to hear it.
"I..." How was he supposed to explain this? It was awkward, it was disturbing, and then Ichigo had pleaded for him not to say anything. Still, one look at those eyes beneath the hat told him the other already knew.
"No." Grimmjow cut him off. "It didn't got that far."
"Because you stopped him."
"I just reacted."
"And you killed him."
"Yeah, so, one less stinking human, who cares?"
"And then you brought Ichigo here."
This was met with silence.
"Why?" He pressed.
Grimmjow tried to shrug but couldn't. He growled in frustration.
"If you want to go free, you'll answer my questions."
"Grimmjow, its simple, just tell me why you brought him back here."
"I don't know, he was all pathetic and I was gonna just leave but then I thought maybe he's just lost his powers temporarily and if something happened to him now I would never get to finish my fight with him. Clearly I shoulda just left him there."
"No Grimmjow. I thank you."
Grimmjow just snorted depressively. This did not seem like thanks and he had not done it for the kid, he'd done it for himself. Because really, with the rest of the Espada and Aizen gone, Ichigo was all he had left. So he had better get his powers back.
Hey, so this story is a bit different than my other ones, a bit darker, but it suited my mood of late so I pursured it and now I quite like it. As the title suggests, it will delve into Grimmjow's character deeply, some hints as to why he may act they way he does. But I've also gotten quite deep into Urahara and Ichigo's psyches as well. It is set post war, when Ichigo has no powers and Aizen is locked away in Soul Society. I hope you enjoyed the first chapter and stay tuned for more soon.