dedication: to les.
notes: so. this pairing. has sat in the back of my head for a long time / in the background of pretty much all the BLEACH I've written. so. i'm giving it a chance to be awesome. BAM.
title: byakkoya station
summary: Let's get high and make out on the train. — Grimmjow/Hallibel
It was late.
By the time she got out of school, the sun was setting. The sky was ablaze in vivid primary colours, blurring and mixing along the edges to set the whole world on fire.
Tia Hallibel tipped her head back and stared at the concrete awning above her. It would do to cut the rain, but on days like this—days when the sun flared heat and burned everything it touched—she wished she could see the sky.
The train rattled on the tracks behind her, echoing hollowly up through the tunnel as it raced back underground. Privately, Hallibel was happy that the train that took her home was mostly above ground. She'd always liked being able to look out the window and see sky. It was open and Hallibel had always had the impression that above-ground trains had a sense of freedom attached to them that the subways didn't.
Or maybe she was just afraid of the dark.
Hallibel ran her fingers through her hair, lifting choppy blonde hair away from her neck. The breeze from the rushing trains was cool on her nape.
She signed in relief as the train pulled into the station.
Silver doors slid open, and Hallibel stepped in. It was almost empty (again, she thanked the gods that she lived in a relatively unpopulated area). She took a seat next to the window, facing westwards towards where the sun still set.
It wasn't often that one got this sort of view,
Hallibel sat in the dying sunlight, with her dusky skin kissed golden and her golden hair kissed glowing.
She waited for the train conductor to close the doors and take her home. Her watch said a minute and twelve seconds to leaving time—and the trains were always on time. If she was lucky, supper would still be warm when she got home. It was unlikely becauser her older sister had a boyfriend, but it was a weekday…
"Please clear the doors, came a mechanical voice from the speakers. "We will be leaving the station shortly."
Hallibel smiled to herself. She folded her hands in her lap.
"Wait! Hold the damn door!"
Her head shot up and she blinked dazedly out the window.
There was a boy with blue hair on the platform, running.
But the doors were already closing.
Hallibel made a split-second decision. Bag forgotten, she jumped for the DOOR button and hit it harsh and fast.
The doors stopped closing long enough for the boy to slip through the crack. Breathing heavily, he bent over his hands on his knees.
Hallibel stared down at him. She tucked stray strands of blonde hair behind her ear, and then reached down to help him up.
"Are you alright?" she asked.
"Don' touch me. M'fine," he growled.
Hallibel jerked back, insulted. "Pardon me?"
He looked up at her. Hallibel caught sight of electric blue eyes and what would likely have been an infections grin had it not been pulled down in a sneer.
"I said don' touch me. What, don'cha listen?"
Hallibel took another step back, even more offended. She stared down at him, calm-eyed. Calm was good. Calm was good.
"Fine," she said in a voice the controlled temperature of absolute zero. "Next time, I won't hold the door."
And with that, she went back to her heat and her bag and proceeded to ignore him entirely. He could rot, for all she cared.
Hallibel knew better than anyone that ignoring someone was the best possible revenge—she was best friends with Neliel Tu Oderschvank. She'd seen how little active annoyance helped.
When someone was rude, they wanted a reaction.
From Tia Hallibel, they would get none.
Hallibel slipped headphones in as the train ground into motion. Soft violin seeped into her soul and calmed her from the inside out. For the rest of the ride, Hallibel stayed this way; eyes trained on the sky flying by outside as they raced past buildings and power lines silhouetted by the setting sun.
Hallibel picked up her bag. One more stop, and then she would walk three blocks, seven flights of stairs, a hallway, and she would be home. She stood at the train's door, one close-cut-nails hand latched firmly to the bar right there.
"Hey," said a low voice. A hand caught the strap of her book bag. Hallibel's eyes followed the hand to an arm in school uniform up to the boy's face.
"Thanks," he said.
Hallibel coloured a little, high in her cheeks. She was extraordinarily thankful for her dark skin right then.
"No problem," she replied, soft.
And then door dinged and Hallibel stepped off the train into the evening air.
/ / /
The next morning, everything was exactly the way it should have been. Nel was chattering happily at her side about something or other. Hallibel listened with a smile on her face. Nel was a good friend.
"—so then I screamed and tired to, like, brain him with the wrench or something, but Grimmjow grabbed me and didn't let me. It wasn't fair. I'd totally be doing the world a service, I mean—!"
If a little talkative.
Hallibel raised an eyebrow. "Grimmjow? That's a new one."
Nel shrugged one shoulder, careless. "He's the jerk's best friend or something. He and Ichi get along, I guess?"
She paused as a wicked grin broke out across her face. "He's hot, too. Like, he is smoking."
"Ew, Nel, be realistic. You find Nnoitra attractive. It's safe to say your taste in men is skewed."
Nel turned scarlet.
Hallibel ran for it.
"I DO NOT THINK HE'S ATTRACTIVE."
Hallibel giggled and disappeared into the crowd of people waiting to get into the classroom.
It was so easy to wind Nel up.
"GET BACK HERE, TIA HALLIBEL, AND FACE MY WRATH!"
/ / /
She got out of club earlier than usual, that day. Hallibel sat on a bench with her head bent over a book, humming softly to a half-forgotten melody.
The sound of footsteps.
Hallibel looked up, and blinked at the boy with the blue hair from the day before.
Neither said anything.
The boy nodded at her once; a sharp jerk of his chin up and down. He didn't look at her again.
Hallibel's lips quirked up the littlest bit.
She went back to her book.
/ / /
The lunch table was rowdy.
"Tiaaaaa!" Rangiku screamed Hallibel's first name and launched herself. Hallibel only barely managed to plant her feet properly to catch the excitable girl around the waist so that they both didn't topple over.
"Rangiku, you gotta stop doing that," Hallibel told her, no-nonsense.
And then she was gone in flash to go harass the poor little boy-genius she'd tried (and failed) to take under her wing. Hallibel couldn't remember the boy's name—from what she knew of him, he was the same age as Nel's other best friend's younger siblings.
Hallibel scanned the table for said other best friend. Ichigo was arguing with Rukia (that was nothing new), Szayel was being creepy in his creepy corner (that was nothing new, either), Ulquiorra was looking mournful whilst being squished to death and Nel—
She would have smacked her head against a wall if there had been one in close range.
Nel was being held off the ground and was kicking violently at her captor. Nnoitra was standing two feet in front of her, arms crossed and smirking. Hallibel couldn't quite see who was holding Nel off the ground, given that his face was obscured by the truly massive quantity of sea-green hair that belonged to her best friend.
Hallibel sighed, and made her way over.
She would have to take Nel off whoever it was' hands, and thank him for stopping her reckless best friend from committing Nnoitra-cide.
(No, not homicide. Nel had long ago demanded that it be called Nnoitra-cide, as she refused to consider him human. Hallibel had complied if only to keep Nel from exploding.)
"Nel—Nel, it's me! Calm down!"
A scream of frustration was her reply.
Hallibel looked over at Nnoitra. He was still smirking. She sighed, a great expelling of breath from somewhere deep in her chest, and said "Nnoitra, go away."
"Later, princess," he told the mass of seething hair that was Nel. "Tia. Oi, Grimmjow, let th' bitch go. She'll be fine. C'mon."
The person—boy, Hallibel surmised—holding Nel aloft set her down. He emerged from the confines of Nel's hair looking only a little bit harassed and mostly in one piece. Hallibel didn't look at him right away. She was too busy restraining Nel from launching herself at Nnoitra and hurting someone.
A minute or so later (when Hallibel was finally sure that Nel wouldn't do something drastic), she looked up to thank whoever it was.
Blue hair. Blue hair and blue eyes.
It was the boy from the train.
Hallibel stared, wide-eyed. Her words were momentarily forgotten, and it was only a fresh surge of struggle from Nel that shook her from her stupor.
"Um. Thank you," Hallibel said. "For. Um. Keeping Nel from—"
"Killin' Nnoitra? Don' worry. She wouldn' really hurt him."
Nel's hair seethed.
The boy—Grimmjow?—barked a laugh. "Well, maybe not. See you around."
He meandered off with his hands stuck in his pockets. Hallibel stared at him for a minute from beneath blonde bangs for a very long moment.
And then she shook herself out of it, and tended to the still-Nnoitra-cidal girl at her side.
/ / /
Hallibel started to see him everywhere.
This is getting weird, she mused to herself.
Grimmjow seemed to like popping out of nowhere. In some ways, it was funny—she couldn't look anywhere without him randomly crashing into the picture anymore. In others, it was just really, really disturbing.
Maybe it's just sad, Hallibel thought, sardonic.
Because it kind of was.
But there wasn't much she could do about it.
/ / /
She was late, she was late, she was late, late, late! She was so late, and she was going to miss the train home and then she'd have to wait a full half hour before the next one came and then Yoruichi was going to yell because that was what Yoruichi did.
Hallibel could see the train. The doors were open.
The ding that signalled the closing rang loud in her ears, and Hallibel panicked.
"Wait! I need to—!"
The doors held just long enough for Hallibel to tumble through them, a mess of blonde hair and rumpled clothing. She landed on the floor, caught trying to fix her hair and her skirt and not flash the whole world.
Someone reached down, and helped her up.
Hallibel found herself staring bemusedly at Grimmjow.
"There," he said. "We're even now."
Hallibel dusted her skirt off, set her shirt to rights, and shot him a glance. "I guess we are."
He grinned at her and motioned towards an empty seat. "Wanna sit?"
Hallibel brushed her hair out of her eyes and smiled. "I'd like that."
/ / /
It became something of a routine.
Every day after school, they took the train home together.
Sometimes Grimmjow made Hallibel mad. Sometimes he sad and did rude things. Sometimes she understood Nel's more violent urges.
But most of the time, they just talked about nothing, the way most friends are wont to do.
Hallibel liked it.
She liked that it didn't have to extend to the rest of school—they were both still cool and polite in the presence of other people, and they both still stuck to their respective friends.
Of course, those respective friends crossed paths every so often.
But mostly, they didn't interact during school hours.
Their friendship was built on the rocking of a train car, silver sliding doors, and the end of the day.
It was good.
Hallibel liked it.
Sometimes, she thought she might have liked it a little bit too much.
/ / /
"Nel and Nnoitra have been at each other's throats as long as anyone can remember."
Hallibel was suddenly remembering why she'd sworn not to try to explain Nnoitra and Neliel's relationship to anyone ever again.
"That's fuckin' weird."
"I know," Hallibel said with a shrug. "It's just a thing they do. Half the time they're all over each other, and the other half of the time, it's like that can't stand that the other person's breathing."
He shook his head, and Hallibel didn't know if he was amused or just annoyed. The emotional response was the same, she'd found. He was interesting. He was frank and he laughed very loudly and he had a no-holds-barred outlook on life.
It was refreshing and shocking.
"Who knows. Maybe one day they'll figure it out," he said. He slung a careless arm over her shoulders. A pause, and then:
"Is this okay?"
Hallibel dipped her head and smiled into his shoulder.
"Yeah. It's okay."
notes2: BAM. look, i wrote something happy!
notes3: the music for this piece was Nigero Mono by Hirasawa Susumu, from the Paprika OST.
notes4: please do not favourite without leaving a review. :)