Utter chaos surrounded them and Kaien wasn't sure he liked it any more than he liked the usual chaos. New faces were barging through the cage alleys, shouting and bellowing. Guards ran, Masters stumbled, and at least three people were tackled into the cages. There were a few Guards who tossed their weapons, held up their hands, and knelt before even being commanded to.

Before long, Kaien found himself watching as Ichigo's blue haired owner shoved the head Master in line before striding for their cages with a huge smile that spoke of complete relief.

"I see you ditched the contacts," he snickered as a woman with light green hair and a mark over the span of her cheeks unlocked Ichigo's cage.

"Grimm!" Ichigo called before bounding into the man's arms for a hug.

"We did it," Grimm whispered as he held Ichigo close. The green haired woman chuckled at the two as she unlocked Kaien's cage.

"You two are a hoot," she said with a grin. "Though, you'll both be giving me gray hairs after all this."

"Sorry Nel," Ichigo said as he slipped into Kaien's cage to kneel before him. The action brought back strange memories of Kaien's training. It was oddly comforting though, knowing Ichigo was there.

"Ichi," he whispered.

"Meet Grimmjow," Ichigo said, waving his hand at the blue haired man. "He's my owner and an FBI agent."

Kaien blinked. Well, no shit. The number of people with FBI branded on the backs of their jackets had given that one away rather quickly.

"He and his team are gonna get you home," Ichigo whispered.

Kaien stared. "What about you then?" He couldn't ignore the uneasy looks of the two agents standing at the door of the cage.

"I'll probably visit my family," Ichigo shrugged. Kaien couldn't manage to ignore the pained look that crossed Grimmjow's face at the statement. A tearing sound could almost be heard from him too. Kaien sympathized. Ichigo was too important to him to simply let him disappear, kind owner or family aside.

Another round of chaos set his mind whirling with his thoughts as he was pulled from the cage and was told he' was safe. He was filed in with the other slaves to be looked over by paramedics, everyone asking everyone what was going on. Rehabilitation was mentioned. Safety was stated. Chances at freedom were insinuated. His eyes were fixed on Ichigo who was being fussed over by a dark skinned woman with purple hair, crying that her favorite nephew looked awful but the black hair dye was a neat look.

It went for hours. He didn't even really notice he was in the hospital until he was being tucked in by a rather frantic looking nurse with orange hair. The doctor with him had short dark hair and a slight beard around a kind smile. Questions were asked on his pain, history in the ring, any injuries he could think of. He asked for Ichigo, a tugging in his chest making him worry.

The worry only grew when the doctor gave him a sad expression.

"He's being checked over right now," the doctor, Isshin the tag informed him, said. "Seems one of the fighters got a good hit in and there's a bit of internal bleeding."

"Where is he?!"

"Don't panic," Isshin said, holding him to the bed with a strange show of strength. "Can I tell you a secret?"

"Don't care. Where's Ichigo? I have to be with him. We're all we've got!"

"I know you think that but you need to listen to understand why you shouldn't panic," Isshin said.

"Spit it out then."

"Ichigo is my son."


"He's my second son and as worried as I am, I know the people taking care of him are the best and I know that the man who found him would move heaven and hell to keep him safe," Isshin stated calmly. "So, I can't panic. It won't do anyone any good."

"But...He's all I've got," Kaien whimpered. "He's the only one who'll understand."

"No, he's not. You weren't alone in that place and it's sadly not the only one running," Isshin continued. "Also, Aizen is very good at his job and will be speaking to everyone who was involved."

"I want to see him," Kaien ground out. If being sad and pathetic wouldn't get him his way, he'd be violent. He'd gotten good at violent.

"When he's awake and after you speak with your family," Isshin retorted. "No sooner."


"No. Sooner."

"How's your side?" Grimmjow asked as Ichigo's eyes fluttered open.

"Feels like someone cut a hole in me and sucked out my liver."

"Internal bleeding," Grimmjow explained, his eyes worried but there was a hint of pride hiding there. "You probably made it worse by leaping to hug me."

"Hope those stupid contacts burn in hell then."

"Same here, Kid."

A moment of silence passed between them as Ichigo laced his fingers between Grimmjow's. He liked the anchoring feeling of Grimmjow's hands in his. He wasn't unaware that it seemed to calm Grimmjow as well.

"So," Grimmjow mumbled. "You've kinda been cleared to stay with your Dad and siblings if you want to. I'm sure they miss you and all. Shiro's had to be dragged out by Shuuhei every couple of days. Isshin's checked in with the girls who were downright overjoyed to know you were okay."

"I'm the loosest definition of okay, you realize," Ichigo snickered, frowning when his side protested.

"Noted but..." Grimmjow trialed off.

"It wouldn't help," Ichigo mumbled. "I'd be scared of disappointing them with my twitchy tendencies."

"Well, that's...that sucks."

"Even though you gave me Proofs, you don't want the vagabond in your house either Grimm?"

"I...god damn you're evil!" Grimmjow laughed. "I'd love to have you stay with me. Just...I'd prefer you not think of yourself as a Slave."

"Shuuhei wears Proofs."

"No he doesn't."

"He hides them but he wears them."

Grimmjow sighed as Ichigo smiled. The point was clear, even though it was a bit painful to note.

"Only if Isshin's completely okay with it," Grimmjow warned. "And my bosses. Ugh...right handful your are."

"Only way I know how to be."

Kaien was quiet as he sat with Ichigo a few weeks after his first talk with Isshin. The room was warm, filled with get well flowers and cards. Ichigo wasn't eating hospital food either, a woman called Hallibel had left him with a meal from an Italian place before Kaien had come in. The room reeked of garlic and tomatoes but it was a welcoming smell.

He couldn't get himself to speak though as Ichigo continued to tuck into his food. They'd talked a bit about plans, Kaien being shocked when Ichigo got mad at him for claiming to be a Slave.

"You're not a Slave. Nor am I. We just have shit luck."

He'd tried to argue only to be shot down over and over by Ichigo's cool stare and pointed remarks on how they hadn't asked for this, they had families, they had friends. Comments on how they were better than what those men had labeled them as, turned them into.

They'd remained in silence since Kaien's voice froze up on him. Ichigo ate his fill and flipped through the channels of the TV until Hallibel returned to collect the trash and check up on him.

"Can you tell Kaien to give up on me?" Ichigo asked the woman.

"Why should I do that?" she asked, sounding mildly horrified despite the monotone voice.

"He doesn't want to live without me around, thinking I'm all he's got when I'm not. Plus, Grimm's gonna have his hands full enough with me around."

"Oh, right! The old man upstairs said you could hang out at the bullpen didn't he?"

"Otou-san said I could stay too as long as I visit on occasion," Ichigo claimed with a smile. "I think he wants to adopt Grimm into the family."

"Lord save us all," Hallibel chuckled. She only gave Kaien a look before she left. Not that it was needed. The message was clear.

Ichigo didn't need him.

"Hey Kaien," Ichigo called as Kaien opened the door. "I expect you to visit when we're all better. Grimm's father is apparently the mad cook."


"Want to remain friends," Ichigo stated, his eyes on the TV. "Which is what we are. Right?"

"Right," Kaien smiled.

"Go home. Rest. Recover. We're all going to be in contact after this mess is over with."


"Because I know people in the FBI, Kaien, and all of them care." Ichigo smiled at him then. "No one's going to let this happen to us or anyone like us again. And we're all going to be supports for each other."

"You just know this do you?"


"Your owner's really okay with that?"

"Grimmjow's alright with anything that keeps us both sane."

Isshin was right then, Kaien thought as he smiled at his friend and mentor. There really was no point in panicking.