Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or the NY Yankees...
I think I've been here before, I think I've run into you
I know the things that you do
'Cuz this is deja vu
This is deja vu
This is deja vu
There was something strange about this whole situation; he just kept having that nagging sensation of deja vu. Every time he left the stadium, he saw him, always seated by one of the many benches lining the outside of the magnificent structure, always sipping nonchalantly from a bottle of water. It was like a specific dream stuck on repeat, teasing him and stoking the flames of his curiosity.
Grimmjow hiked his navy blue duffel bag higher on his right shoulder, passing the shorter orange-haired man and shooting him a cursory glance from the corner of his eye. The guy never paid him any mind, but Grimmjow thought it was a bit disconcerting that he was always there whenever he decided to leave and head out for the bus that would take him to whatever hotel the team was occupying for the night. Grimmjow tugged his navy blue fitted cap down low over his brow, trying to cover his eyes and wild, bright blue hair, hoping – as usual – that no fans spotted him before he could make it to his destination.
And then, something weird happened.
The orange-haired man spoke.
"Yo! Ya dropped somethin'!" he called, making Grimmjow glance uncertainly over his shoulder.
Their eyes locked as the shorter man jogged up to him and stooped to retrieve a leather, navy blue and white glove from the concrete ground of the stadium's exterior. Grimmjow felt his breath hitch as he studied the other man more critically than he normally would anyone else. The man rose to his full height, which was probably around 5'9", and handed Grimmjow the glove without a care in the world.
Didn't this guy know who he was?
Grimmjow clutched the glove and nodded absently as he took in the straight, but upturned nose, the tanned skin, the brown freckles dusting high cheeks, the obnoxiously bright, orange hair and the pecan-brown eyes that seemed to shimmer in the moonlight casting over them. The guy nodded back and ran a hand through that spiky, unruly hair before turning on his heel and heading back to the bench he'd been frequenting.
Grimmjow had to resist the urge to drop his jaw in astonishment. He'd never been treated that indifferently before and it parked him like a car. He hadn't been prepared to be brushed to the side as if he weren't the captain of one of the most popular baseball teams in America. He hadn't been prepared to be treated like a regular human being and it threw him off track as he watched the orange-haired man walk back to his bench and nab his bottle of water, throwing it back to chug the rest of its contents.
Grimmjow shook his head and turned away from the baffling man, immersing himself in his thoughts. He was used to being hit on by everything that moved and breathed oxygen, men and women alike, but this man had treated him like he wasn't a famous baseball player. Like his name didn't ring bells. It was appalling and almost insulting.
He dragged himself down the ramp and towards the huge bus parked at the curb. Grimmjow was sure this bus was no different than any of the rest that boasted obscene amounts of luxury and ridiculous amounts of ass-kissery. He grinned, excited to be pampered after his life of hard living, eating cream of wheat for breakfast, lunch AND dinner and drinking glasses of sugar water for nearly twelve years of his life. Once he'd reached high school, things had changed for the better. The baseball coach had discovered his love of the sport and nurtured him into a monster.
Grimmjow had been known as a hard worker for the endurance of his career and through all four years of high school and all four years of University, he'd been a first baseman. Finally, in college, a professional recruiter had offered him a contract with the New York Yankees and he'd snatched it without hesitation. An opportunity like that was once in a lifetime and he wasn't about to turn down one of the most prestigious baseball teams in America.
He'd joined the team as the first baseman and third batter up, using the number "6" and during his first season, he'd quickly been labeled as a slugger with excellent reflexes. His contract was for eight years at the price of 180 million dollars. He had a nice house in Fort Lee, New Jersey, but he lived alone, his teammates often teasing him about his single status.
He didn't care, though. He wasn't in a rush to change things, since most people only viewed him as a paycheck to begin with and to top it all off, he was gay. That was a tricky situation in itself in the spotlight and he wasn't willing to bring drama his way just yet.
Grimmjow boarded the black coach bus, solemnly passing the manager and head coach, who was seated at the very front, already dozing off, chin touching his chest and neck wobbling like a toddler. Grimmjow took a seat at the very back, ignoring his teammates in favor of his iPod. He stuck a pair of electric blue buds in his ears and reclined against the gray, plush seats, his eyes focused out the window and trained on an orange-haired male that intrigued him to no end.
Grimmjow couldn't figure out what it was about the man that tickled his interest bone, but he was kind of determined to find out. Not to mention, he'd had around three or four dreams about an orange-haired and brown-eyed guy before actually seeing him, so every time he did see him, he had the unmistakable feeling of deja vu. Grimmjow growled under his breath as he stared at the man, who was standing from the bench he'd been seated on and heading for the stadium entrance. He had on a pair of navy blue sweats and a navy blue, long-sleeved t-shirt, with the Yankee logo situated in the left corner of it. A navy blue fitted cap had been tugged over his bright locks, the white NY Yankee logo standing out starkly as he strode through the tall doors and into the depths of the stadium, beyond Grimmjow's vision. Grimmjow grunted, but continued to watch the stadium, hoping the orange-haired man would reappear.
"Grimmjow, you got some gum?" a tall, red-haired male asked, leaning over the seat in front of Grimmjow.
He scowled, not willing to root through his duffel bag, where he'd stored his peppermint flavored, sugar-free gum. Instead, he glanced back out the window, hoping his fellow teammate would get the picture.
Unfortunately, he didn't.
Grimmjow curled his upper lip back and pinned the red head with a death glare. "Why dontcha get yer own, Renji?"
Renji Abarai sucked his teeth and arched a brow. "Fuck's yer problem? Gimme some gum, Grimmjow. Stop fuckin' playin'."
Grimmjow stared at Renji blankly, a vein throbbing at his temple as he tried to rein in his anger. "I ain't playin'," he growled, glaring at the bat catcher.
Renji chuckled and held out a large hand. "C'mon, Grimmy. Give up the goods."
Grimmjow shook his head, but dug into his duffel bag for the pack of gum he'd stashed there earlier, retrieved a stick and tossed it over the seat at the red head. Renji sucked his teeth and dropped down into his seat, mumbling under his breath about evil teammates.
Grimmjow just laughed. Renji was annoying as hell, but also one of the funniest men he'd ever met. He had been labeled the team clown, his antics legendary and he was one hell of a bat catcher, ruling the area behind the home plate like a tyrant. He usually kept his long, bright red hair back in a braid that reached his waist and he was known for his tattoos almost as much as he was known for being an idiot.
Grimmjow gave his attention back to the window and was surprised to see the orange-haired man from his dreams and more recently his reality, leaving the stadium, a navy blue duffel bag slung over his left shoulder. He was scowling underneath the cap he wore and his stride was confident, bordering on cocky, very nearly a swagger if Grimmjow looked closely.
Who the hell was that guy?
Grimmjow shook his head as he watched the guy travel down the ramp and cross the blocked off street towards the subway entrance. He didn't like being this confused over someone he didn't even know, but he had a feeling something big was about to happen.
Something he would be completely unprepared for.
Ichigo made his way down the stairs of the subway, the cement damp from kami knows what, the air reeking of oil, piss, cigarette and marijuana smoke and the eerie echoing of his footsteps sending the usual chills down his spine. He hustled down another flight of stairs, clutching his Metro card and hoping that he hadn't missed the D train. Skipping the last two stairs, he landed on the lower level and breathed a deep sigh of relief – hindsight telling him that that wasn't such a good idea – when he realized the train hadn't arrived yet.
He'd made it in time.
JUST in time actually, he thought as the loud shrieking and rumbling of an approaching train echoed throughout the lower level. He hadn't even had a chance to grab a seat on one of the ancient, wooden benches before the train was rocketing into sight. Ichigo ambled over to the platform edge, waited until the silver car came to a complete stop and the doors slid open. Thankfully, because of the late hour, there weren't many riders, which left him the option of sitting alone and not having to stress over carrying on a pointless conversation with a complete stranger.
Ever since he'd moved to New Jersey from Japan, it had taken a lot of adjusting to become somewhat accustomed to the American way of life. From the hustle and bustle of New York, to the subdued, but almost as busy nature of Teaneck, New Jersey, it all had his head reeling. Americans did things so differently. They ate differently, they talked differently, they treated one another differently and their personalities were incredibly alien to him as well.
Ichigo settled against the window of a double seat close to the car's doors. The metal contraption rocked perilously side to side like a small tugboat caught in a hurricane as it careened along the tracks. Bright blue lights appeared in intervals in the darkened tunnels of the subway, reminding him of the tall captain of the baseball team he would soon be joining.
Ichigo had been silently offered a contract by the New York Yankees' recruiter while he'd still been in Karakura, Japan, playing for his University. His position as center fielder had apparently caught the man's attention and since the Yankees' center fielder's contract was up soon, Ichigo had been approached. He grinned in remembrance. He had enjoyed telling his old man and younger sisters the news; they had always been big fans of the sport and supported him like rabid yaoi fan-girls.
As soon as he'd accepted the offer, the recruiter had informed him of the fact that the team was unaware of his recruitment. They only knew that the center fielder was going to be traded since his contract was nearly over and the manager of the team was dissatisfied with the man's performance. Ichigo hadn't given a shit. He had a chance to play the game he loved for a living (a very good one might he add) for a very popular team in America, where the sport had been born as an official national pastime.
He'd made the move to America under the agreement that until everything had been taken care of – paperwork for the contract (including the paperwork dealing with his citizenship) and the official trade of the current center fielder – Ichigo would reside on the sidelines as a regular person, having no more status than an everyday spectator.
And that was where the present day found him.
He went to every one of the Yankees' games and used public transportation to get around, rather than the gray, 2011 Lexus he'd been offered by the recruiter. If he needed to have a low profile, then turning down the luxurious automobile had been the smarter option. Not that it hadn't nearly killed him to do so.
Ichigo was also infinitely grateful that he'd studied English in University and in high school, making him overly fluent in the language. Of course, he had a slight accent, but he was able to communicate with others without sounding like the cliché Japanese tourist. After years of watching American movies and shows, watching baseball in English on the internet, he'd even picked up the slang that some used.
Ichigo sighed as the train pulled to a jerky stop, his body leaning forward involuntarily. He had two more stops to go before he reached the bus station that would lead him to his home in New Jersey. That had been one thing he'd needed to accept from the generous recruiter: a place to stay. Being a broke college student back in Japan hadn't been promising, so the recruiter, a pink-haired man named Szayel Aporro Grantz, had given him sort of an allowance that included rent and money for food and other necessities.
It was very convenient and Ichigo was grateful, as well as a bit conceited. To think one of the most admired teams of baseball in America was going to such lengths to acquire him as a player, stroked the hell out of his ego and lent an extra spring to his step. When he thought about the offer in his contract, his chest tightened and his stomach lurched with joy. Eight years for 115 million dollars. Ichigo couldn't even begin to fathom what he would do with all that money, aside from bringing his old man and little sisters to America. That was a given. That and helping his old man start a new clinic and whatnot. Other than that, though, Ichigo had no clue.
The train slid to a stop again and Ichigo glanced up, taking note of the location before letting his attention wander again. His thoughts went back to the blue-haired Yankees' captain. He was tall, maybe 6'2", 6'3" and he was built like an architectural masterpiece, stacked with muscles and graced with cat-like reflexes, speed and the strength of Hercules. Ichigo grinned as he remembered the affronted look he'd received when he'd retrieved the man's fallen batting glove. He knew the man was used to being worshiped and slobbered over and truthfully, it had taken a lot of force and effort on his part not to engage in such activity.
But the reward had been great.
The man, Grimmjow Jaegerjaques, also captain and number "6" on the team, had stared at him as if Ichigo had just grown another limb from the top of his head. Seeing the man caught so off guard had been delightful and intriguing, those normally devilish and laughing atmospheric blue eyes wide with unbridled shock underneath the bill of his fitted cap. Ichigo had found himself fighting the urge to laugh out loud and further insult the man's ego as he turned and left the man staring at his back.
All amusement aside, Ichigo had been a little wigged out when he'd first lain eyes on the tall ball-player and that had been while he'd still been in Japan. He remembered having strange dreams of a man with blue hair and blue eyes, but never thought anything of it, until he'd seen Grimmjow on TV during one of the Yankees' baseball games. He'd been a rookie at the time and just starting his career with the popular team, but his appearance had certainly floored Ichigo. He hadn't known what to make of the situation and, truthfully, he still didn't. Things had only grown worse once he'd moved to America and had seen the taller man in person.
The feeling was unsettling and rather disturbing.
The train pulled to a stop and Ichigo rose from the hard seat, exiting through the automatic doors. He stepped onto the platform and hurried to the stairs after shooting a glance at the black G-shock watch on his left wrist. His bus would arrive at the station in two minutes and he still had to reach the other side of the building. Ichigo hugged his duffel bag closer to him as he sprinted up the stairs and through the deserted building, his footsteps slapping rapidly against the beige marbled floor.
He careened around a corner and hurled himself up the narrow escalator, made to fit one person, width-wise, at a time. He didn't wait for the slow, motorized stairs to carry him to the top, instead taking them three at a time. As soon as he reached the top, he spotted the black and white bus idling at the curb and picked up his pace, hoping that the driver would see him in the side mirror.
Luckily, the bus didn't move and he was able to reach it without being left behind to wait for the midnight run. He reached into his sweats pocket and retrieved his monthly bus pass, showing it to the driver before he took a seat all the way at the back of the large vehicle. He rested his feet on the hump that housed the big wheels of the bus and leaned against the chilly window, his breath fogging up the plexiglass. As the grumbling bus hissed away from the curb, Ichigo sighed and closed his eyes.
He really couldn't wait to start playing for his new team.
Four Months Later
Grimmjow shifted his feet and leaned back in the metal foldout chair he'd set in front of his space in the locker room. Coach Urahara was standing at the front of the room near the dry erase white board, wearing a ridiculous grin considering they'd just lost the first game in the set of three against the Baltimore Orioles. Grimmjow unbuttoned his dirty jersey, revealing the navy blue, long-sleeved shirt he wore underneath it and then chucked his navy blue fitted cap to the side, angry about his team's loss.
Renji straddled a metal foldout chair backwards and turned his cap to the back, glaring angrily at Urahara as he did so. "There's gotta be a reason yer keepin' us here after we jus' lost, right?" he asked sarcastically, making Gin Ichimaru, the second baseman, snicker softly from in front of his locker space. He leaned against the wall, his thin arms crossed over his wiry chest and eyes slitted shut.
Urahara nodded, his mysterious grin spreading up to his sideburns. Grimmjow scowled at the man's happy expression, his gut churning restlessly. He hated when their coach got like this. It either meant someone was in serious fucking trouble, or they'd actually done something exceptionally good, like won the World Series again. Since they'd just lost a game, someone had to be in deep shit.
"As you all know, Di Roy was traded to Boston and-"
"BOOOO!" Renji interrupted, his cinnamon-colored eyes shining and angry.
"Good riddance," Nnoitra Jiruga grunted from his spot, draped over the bench in front of his locker space. His long body was stretched out on the wooden slab, his endless legs bent at the knees, feet resting on the carpeted floor and arm over his face. He was still fully dressed, but his cap was left on the floor near his feet. His long, jet-black hair spilled over the bench, but still managed to cover his left eye that was already obscured by a white bandana. No one knew why he wore the bandana and no one had been in a hurry to ask about it. The man played great baseball and that was all that mattered. Nnoitra was the short stop, which was funny because he was almost seven feet tall. "We don' need that little fucker," he continued, never even bothering to remove his arm.
"Hear, hear," Starrk Coyote, the third baseman agreed lazily from the floor by his locker space. His shoes were off, as well as his hat and jersey, his long-sleeved, navy blue undershirt and pinstriped uniform pants the only items remaining. Starrk had sleepy gray eyes that drove women insane with lust, a voice that was deeper than the ocean and wavy, sable-brown hair that belonged in a shampoo commercial.
Grimmjow nodded his head in agreement, inwardly wondering why Urahara was bringing up such a sensitive topic. Di Roy had been their center fielder for three years and had recently become uncooperative, demanding a trade. No one thought he would go to Boston, though. Boston was their enemy; their rivalry was legendary and resolute. The blow had been swift and deadly, Di Roy uncaring and giddy to have delivered such a painful jab to the team's ego. It wouldn't have been as bad if Di Roy hadn't actually been extremely good at his position. He was even a decent batter. Now, he was gone, taking his talents to their arch rivals. It was grossly unjust.
"What the hell ya bringin' that up for?" Renji shouted, his lips settling into a childish pout.
Urahara maintained his grin, but waved a hand impassively. "Surely you didn't think I was unprepared for such an instance, Abarai?" he asked, gaining the entire team's undivided attention.
Nnoitra uncovered his face and slowly sat up on his bench, Renji's tattooed eyebrows shot into his hairline, Gin uncrossed his arms and opened his slanted eyes, revealing crystal blue irises, Starrk rose to his feet and arched a brow, Ulquiorra Schiffer (who had been his normally silent self), the right fielder, straightened his back and sharpened his jade-green eyes, Shinji Hirako, the left fielder, tilted his head to the side, his blond hair swaying as he did so and the starting pitcher, Shuuhei Hisagi, pushed away from the wall he'd been leaning against, his dark eyes suddenly shimmering with life.
Urahara remained silent as he let his question hang in the air. "What the fuck, Urahara! I wanna know taday!" Shinji snapped, his golden-brown eyes irritated and narrowed.
"Yeah, what he said!" Renji chimed in loudly.
Grimmjow chuckled, but was eagerly awaiting Urahara's next statement. Did he already have someone in mind to replace Di Roy? He hadn't heard of any recent drafts or recruitment. At that moment, the recruiter/assistant coach entered the room, wearing a navy blue, long-sleeved dress shirt with a silver tie and navy slacks. His pink hair covered the right side of his brow and silver, rectangular framed glasses were perched on his straight nose. His mustard-colored eyes were alive with excitement as he peered behind him into the hall and held up an elegant hand before closing the door on whoever was on the other side.
Szayel Aporro Grantz pranced into the room and stood beside Urahara as he perused the team members slowly. The suspense had gone far beyond normal levels and was stifling the players, at least that's how Grimmjow felt as he watched the two men at the front of the room. What were they playing at? Did they know how on edge they were setting everyone?
Urahara finally cleared his throat and gave the floor to his assistant coach. "I think Szayel can answer your questions better than I can at the moment," he stated.
A smug expression descended over the pink-haired man's face as he grinned. "Yes, I'm well aware of the situation and rest assured we've already remedied it."
Grimmjow stood and placed his hands on his hips, aggravated with the way the bush was being beaten around. "Ya mind getting' ta the point tanight?" he groused.
"Yeah! What he said!" Renji shouted again, this time more forcefully as he too rose from his seat.
Szayel smirked and shook his head exasperatedly as he went back to the door and held it open. "Fine, fine," he said. "Come on in, Ichigo."
Grimmjow frowned. Ichigo? Who the hell was-
Before the thought could finish forming in his head, the orange-haired man from his dreams and more recently from in front of the stadium, waltzed into the locker room, head held high, bright hair concealed somewhat under a navy blue fitted cap. He wore navy blue sweats and a navy blue tee with the team logo in the left upper corner, but when he turned to shake the coach's hand, the name and number on the back was unfamiliar.
Was he...the new replacement?
Grimmjow studied the shorter man, who, upon closer inspection, was muscular, although slim and sleek and his arms were cut like stone statues. He turned away from the coach and faced the rest of the team, velvety brown eyes dancing with amusement as they locked with Grimmjow's astonished blue. His full lips were turned up ever so slightly in the corners as Szayel introduced him to everyone.
"Yankees, meet the new center fielder, Ichigo Kurosaki."
~No, this isn't the tragedy I told you about on deviantArt; this is something that just happened. I started writing last night and this story was born.
I know a lot of technical rules have been changed to fit the story, but I hope you like it so far. Feedback would be lovely! Thanks for reading! XD