Days of Las Noches
Chap. 3: The Zombie Apocalypse
A/N: I got a review from BiblioMatsuri after months of no comments on this story, and it inspired me to write another chapter. Thanks, Matsuri!
And thanks so much to everyone who has reviewed this story. It's a bit of a new direction for me, and your support really matters.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.
(Originally posted 11/10/2012.)
Orihime stared open-mouthed at the normally placid Starrk as he moved forward, menace in his eyes, his reiatsu beginning to rise. Ulquiorra was unfazed.
"Why would I bother to waste my time on that trashy program?" he inquired in his usual monotone.
Orihime essayed a nervous smile as she mentally prepared to raise her shield. "Starrk-san, are you sure it was Ulquiorra who wrote on your page? Remember, there's been a lot of hacking on that site lately." She braced herself to withstand his spiritual pressure.
Ulquiorra had dropped Orihime's hand and put his hands in his pockets, appearing unconcerned about the threat. But Orihime noticed out of the corner of her eye that he had advanced in such a way as to protect her if an attack came.
Starrk hesitated, the rage in his face subsiding slightly. He looked at Orihime. "I shouldn't even mention in front of an innocent woman the horrible, disgusting things you said about Lily on my page."
"Starrk," said Ulquiorra patiently. "I have never used that piece of trash you call EspadaBook. Logically, it is impossible for me to have said anything about Lilynette in that venue."
The suffocating pressure in the corridor began to diminish slightly. The tall Espada's pale blue-gray eyes searched Ulquiorra's face. Then slowly, he let out a long sigh. "Of course," he said. "It must have been Ichimaru again." Abruptly, he reined in his spiritual pressure. Orihime noted that his skill at doing so had increased dramatically since Aizen had been giving him one-on-one tutoring. "I'm sorry," he said, and then began to walk away.
Ulquiorra resumed his steady forward pace and Orihime hastened to catch up, glancing at his face. It was unperturbed by a threat of death, as usual.
"What do you think Ichimaru-san wrote on his page?" she asked.
"Orihime, do not look at it. He said it was not appropriate for your eyes." Instantly, Orihime's curiosity fired up further.
"It must have been pretty bad. Starrk looked wide-awake," she commented.
"Ichimaru is simply bored by the lack of conflict, as we all are," he stated.
She slipped her hand back into his. "Is peace truly that boring for you?"
"We are all warriors. Aizen-sama created us for a single purpose. Ichimaru was trained for a hundred years for that same purpose."
A concerned expression appeared on Orihime's face as she considered this. Of course. It was only logical.
"We need to do something about that," she said decidedly.
A faint note of apprehension appeared on Ulquiorra's normally expressionless face.
"So!" Orihime said enthusiastically as she looked at the Espada sitting around the conference table with varying degrees of annoyance or boredom on their faces. Both Aizen and Gin were conspicuously absent, but Tousen was there to record the proceedings.
It had taken a few weeks before Orihime had managed to wear down first Ulquiorra, and then Aizen himself, convincing them to go along with her idea. She was still resolutely not looking at EspadaBook, but one of the lower Arrancar had informed her that once again Gin had hacked her page, changing her new title to "Her Almighty Highness Orihime Inoue, supreme dictator of Hueco Mundo."
She had decided to ignore the twinges of concern and go ahead with her plan anyway.
She gave a very bright smile to the assembled group of dangerous, powerful creatures, suppressing an inner tremble with a glance at Ulquiorra's impassive face. It was amazing how just being near him gave her confidence. And this was all for their own good, she reminded herself. "I know that a lot of you have been bored lately," she began, "with the result that there have been flare-ups and small violations of the peace treaty."
Grimmjow snorted. As she turned to him, the blue-haired Espada bared his teeth in a manic grin. "If I had anything to say about it, they would be large violations."
"Yeah," complained Nnoitra, "this peace treaty is the stupidest thing ever. We're here to fight." He pounded his fist on the table. "Hey! Who's up for a night of killing humans and seeing if we can get that blasted shinigami Kurosaki out for a real battle?"
There was a murmur of agreement around the table. Orihime stood up abruptly. Time to nip this in the bud. "No!" she said forcefully. "The peace treaty was put in place by Aizen-sama! Are you going to disobey his direct orders?" She glared at Nnoitra.
The lanky Espada shot a glance at Tousen, who was operating the recording equipment, and subsided.
"Good!" Orihime chirped, looking around the conference table one more time to make sure there was no more overt opposition. "Now then. Listen! We have a solution to your boredom! We are all going to have fun!" she announced dramatically.
At the miscellaneous groans from the group, she added, "This plan has been approved by Aizen-sama. So you're all going to participate, and you're all going to have fun!" She placed a mock glare upon her face as she eyed them all. "You're all going to have fun if I have to beat it into you!"
There was no response other than a few resigned sighs. Starrk had already fallen asleep, and he let out a slightly louder snore.
"Wait till you hear what I have to say!" she said, her voice rising with excitement. "You're going to love it." She paused for dramatic effect, but nobody seemed to notice. Grimmjow had pulled out a knife and was sharpening his claws. Szayel was typing busily on his iPad. Aaroniero's two heads were bubbling away peacefully in their container.
"We're going to play… Humans versus Zombies!" she announced, looking around brightly as though waiting for everyone to burst into cheers.
There was a baffled silence around the table. Starrk's snores increased in volume. "What the hell is that?" Zommari muttered in an undertone, but nobody paid any attention to him.
"Did you hear what I said?" she repeated. "I said, we're going to play this really cool fighting game played by college students in the real world, called Humans versus Zombies. Haven't you heard about it?"
Grimmjow scowled. "Of course not, dumbass. Why would we care about some stupid human game?"
"Because it's a way for everybody to fight without hurting each other!" exclaimed Orihime. "Humans are like you. Some buried, uncivilized part of us likes fighting and going to war. But nobody really likes the effects of war. So we invent games and sports that simulate war but without all the killing."
Nnoitra muttered, "Where's the fun if there's no killing?"
"What are 'zombies'?" asked Harribel.
The Espada all looked at Orihime. Her mouth dropped open. "You guys don't know about zombies? Haven't you been preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse? It's been in all the news lately! Don't you know about December 21, 2012?" She shook her head in amazement. "I've got tons of canned food stored, plus a cache of weapons and barricades to set up a defensive compound, and…"
They looked at her blankly. "Uh, okay. I guess you wouldn't know about that." She recovered. "Well, zombies are soulless monsters. They look like humans, but distorted," she explained. "All they want to do is eat humans, and the only way you can kill them is by shooting their head."
They were now all looking at her with sardonic expressions on their faces, and she blushed. "No!" she cried, waving her hands in front of her face. "They're not Hollows. I mean, it's a different set of legends, and—" She stopped. "Never mind! It doesn't really matter for the game. Just think of them as two teams of players." She gestured to Ulquiorra, who lifted a wicker basket onto the table with a long-suffering expression on his face. "Here is your equipment. You all get a paintball gun and a bandanna. If you get shot, you turn into a zombie and have to wear a bandanna."
Grimmjow snorted loudly, but he took the paintball gun and began examining it.
"What kind of pointless toy is this?" loudly complained Nnoitra. "It doesn't even maim or injure!"
Orihime frowned at him. "Just be glad we've changed the rules so we're not using Nerf foam pellets as they do in the real world so no one gets hurt. There are still some safety considerations to follow when using paintball guns-"
Grimmjow rolled his eyes. "Great. A bunch of stone killers playing with Nerf guns. That would go over well."
Around the table, the Espada were all looking curiously at this new type of weapon. Harribel took hers and cautiously cocked it, then sighted down the barrel. Then Grimmjow lifted his, pointed it at Nnoitra, and fired. A fluorescent green splotch appeared on Nnoitra's white uniform.
"Why you little bastard—" sneered Nnoitra, who in no time at all had figured out how to operate his weapon. Soon a matching stain had appeared on Grimmjow's uniform.
In the resulting chaos, Orihime had to shout to be overheard above the din. "No, no! You don't get to start now. The game begins tomorrow," but nobody heard her.
Then Ulquiorra stood up and raised his spiritual pressure. There was abrupt silence in the room as Grimmjow and Nnoitra gasped and stopped their antics. "Aizen-sama has approved this game," he stated into the sudden silence. "Therefore you all will participate, and you all will follow the rules."
"Eheheh," Orihime laughed a little nervously as no one spoke. "One of you will be designated in secret as the 'original zombie.'" The group all looked at each other. "So watch out for each other tomorrow morning."
"So what else is new?" Grimmjow yawned.
A/N: Next time: Orihime teaches Ulquiorra the best strategy for the game. But will he find it in himself to turn her into a zombie? Oh, and the extent of Gin's hacking has not yet been fully uncovered. (Plus, I haven't yet decided who will be the original zombie. Any suggestions?)
Do you want me to continue this story? Please let me know, yes or no. Thanks!