AN/ So. I have read the entired series, and have watched up to the end of the third season (which is not even near this point) So I know while I mainly followed points in the begining of the last chapter...this takes a different turn. As in Kenpachi shows up alot sooner, and Yumichika and Ikkaku with him. But the fight with Nnoitra will not change too much. Kenny will still hand him his ass, don't worry.
I do not have a word program currently, so am editing the file I had thankfully updated weeks ago on here...but that means no spell check. I know I have several spelling mistakes, please bear with me. I will repost this chapter when I can get chance to spell check it somehow.
Ten minutes had passed, and she could feel Nnoitra's reiatsu closing in. The three of them were healed for the most part now. Grimmjow and Ichigo completely, and Aoiko about 2/3rds. But Orihime was too exhausted to finish, she almost passed out before she could release the barrier. Aoiko caught the orange haired woman as the golden barrier faded and the fairies returned to their sealed form, and held her gently. She was still sore, she felt as if she had gone several bouts against her brother non-stop. Her muscles felt damaged still, but all her bones were knit, her organs healed completely. She could function, she could fight. She looked down at the woman with amazement. She'd healed Ichigo and Grimmjow completely (granted Grimmy had only been a little hurt, and Ichi half healed already, but still) and herself too….what power and will Orihime had!
Grimmjow and Ichigo were on their feet, both looking down at Orihime with varying degrees of admiration in their eyes. Orihime stirred, and opened her hazel eyes, looking bewildered.
"You passed out." Aoiko informed her with a smile. "You pushed yourself over the limit…but you're amazing." She assured the girl when Orihime began to babble in alarm. Ichigo knelt and helped the orangette to her wobbly feet. Grimmy similarly helped her to her own, and she winced when her hips gave a painful twinge. Obviously they needed more healing…but that would have to wait. She found herself staring out across the endless expanse of the desert, turned her head to see Grimmjow staring down at her with a worried expression. She gave him a small reassuring smile although it did not seem to help. She turned from him to walk over to the two orange-haired humans, reaching a hand out for Orihime.
Her back was suddenly splattered with warm blood as Grimmjow was sliced open by a crescent shaped blade attached to a chain…he flew back a hundred feet, she stumbled a half step towards him in shock, her breath caught in her throat.
A bored voice hissed in annoyance. "That was meant for you…"
She whirled, eyes wide in a panic. It was Nnoitra, standing with his oversized scythe-like weapon over his shoulder, his other hand on his hip, his visible eye sneering. She froze, panic stalling the motions of her muscles, making it hard to breath. She felt as if she were incased in ice, frozen and numb.
"Grimmjow!" The sound of both Orihime and Ichigo calling the name of her brother pulled her out of the panicked trance. She snarled at the tall (at least 7 feet tall) almost emaciated man. He was so thin that it appeared as if a stiff breeze could snap him. But he was all whipcord and muscle, and meaner then a Hollow had any right to be. His visible eye was a vivid purple, and his teeth were bared in a perpetual grin that sent shivers down her spine and made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. She hated him. At the moment, she hated him even more then she hated Kaname. Even more then Aizen.
Her lips curled back and she lunged forward, intending to attack him with her bare hands. Her hips buckled and she stumbled, Ichigo flew past her, attacking savagely with his zanpaktou. Her eyes widened in disbelief. She was shocked by the fury Nnoitra's back-handed attack on her brother had fueled within the boy. Sure they had agreed to be comrades, or at the least, allies. But did that rate such anger on his behalf? Amazing, this boy was so passionate, so passionate she forgot her hate of Nnoitra for a moment. And in that moment as she sat midway between her brother's crumpled form and the bloody battle between Ichigo and Nnoitra, Tesla came and stole Orihime away. She lurched to her feet, her eyes filmed with red. He stood on the other side of Nnoitra and Ichigo from her, his sword to Orihime's slim throat. How dare he. Her breath hissed out between clenched teeth.
But before she could even began to run to Orihime's defense, the sequence of events suddenly replayed in her mind, and her eyes widened. She whirled and ran clumsily to her brother's side. She threw herself down beside him, so aghast she could not even cry. Her brother should have been her first priority; she should not have neglected him for a moment. She checked him over frantically, and eventually came to the conclusion that he was alive, though badly injured. She was so relieved that she began to cry.
"Gri-ri-mmjow…" She sobbed, stroking her brother's hair. He did not respond. But he seemed stable for the moment, despite the gapping wound from his lower chest to the base of his neck. His pulse was steady and his breathing even albeit shallow at any rate. Luckily Arrancar were difficult to kill. She licked her lips nervously and turned her head to scan the area around her.
She watched the pitched battle between Ichigo and Nnoitra…Ichi-kun was not doing so good. She saw where Tesla was holding Orihime captive. She saw in the distance, coming from the opposite direction…some indeterminate persons with fairly strong reiatsu…and they were not Arrancar. She could only assume that they were Shinigami.
Crap, if it's not one thing it's another...She thought darkly to herself, her jaw tightening. She glanced down at her brother, at Pantera in her sheathe. She stared at the Zanpakuto for a long moment. It was not a piece of her soul, so if she were to wield her, Pantera would only be a blade. But…she was Grimmjow's kin, and was beloved by him. So it may be that although Resurrección would be impossible, Pantera may deign to help her, especially while the girl was defending her barer.
Aoiko stood with Pantera in her hand and watched the Shinigami approach, shifting to the side as she did so to place herself between the potential danger and her prone bother, ignoring the warning twinge in her hips.
The man in the lead was huge. Not as big as Yammy, but more intimidating despite that. His sharp teeth were bared in a savage grin, and he wore an eye-patch over his right eye. He somewhat resembled Nnoitra at first glance, but was several inches shorter and far more muscular. He was twice the width of Nnoitra in fact, if not three. But not fat; she doubted if there was an ounce of fat on that man. He had a bestial aura and she judged him to be about 6'8" tall, and he probably weighed twice as much as Nnoitra did. His hair was long and black, but spiked in the strangest fashion and she could hear the faint chiming of bells. His uniform was open at the chest, revealing a very large scar as well as his very well muscled chest. His white haori was ragged; it had certainly seen better days.
There was a small girl she hadn't noticed at first on his shoulder, her hair a shock of pink, her eyes red. She was adorable. Then there were the two men flanking what was obviously (considering the haori) their captain. One was about 5'8", the second only half a head shorter.
The first was bald (although it suited him, she thought), with red marks at the outside corners of his dark eyes, similar to the teal-green markings beneath her brother's eyes and her own. He looked stern, but the lines around his mouth had her thinking he smiled often…or, grinned maniacally she corrected when she saw such an expression shift on his face. He was masculine, but not overly so. His body was toned and muscular.
The other man had beautiful black-purple chin length hair and dark purple eyes. He had some odd accessories however, two red feathers on his right eyebrow, and two yellow from the corner of that eye. And an orange wrap around his throat attached to an orange arm-warmer on his right forearm. He was more feminine then masculine, but not overly so. All in all she found all these men to be attractive (if not completely diverse) examples of their kind.
But now was most certainly not the time for such thoughts. She took in this all in an instant, the same amount of time it took for her to place herself between them and Grimmjow. She saw that they had been sizing her up even while she had been doing the same. They had not increased their speed, but kept coming at a constant lope. She did not relax the hold on her brother's sword an iota. She ignored the pain radiating from her extremities, and narrowed her eyes as she contemplated the danger they posed.
But then she heard Nel cry out, and her attention was diverted. She gaped; Ichi-kun was being beaten quite soundly by Nnoitra. And now Nnoitra was breaking his arm! For fun! She could see his expression of cruel amusement from here! Anger seethed within her breast. Before she could react, Neliel suddenly screamed in child-like fury and rage, was engluffed in a cloud of smoke and sand and…became an adult. She was beautiful. And she was fast!
She took this chance to turn (her attention focused on the four still approaching) and picked up her brother. She sonido'd to the nearby outcropping of rock and lay him at the base. She looked around desperately; saw Ichi-kun. Before she could react, Neliel had taken the injured Ichigo in her arms and brought her to where Aoiko crouched by her brother. She assured him not to worry about her, and paused to smile at Aoiko's shocked face. She then stood and a flare of wind lifted the tattered remains of what had once been a dress of sorts down to her little feet, now barely adequet covering for a frame every bit as voluptous as Orihime's. Covering her back was a tattoo of the number 3...she was the former 3rd Espada before Halibel! That shocked her even more, but also gave her confidence in facing Nnoitra, who was after all only the 5th Espada. Ichigo gasped in comprehension of the number upon Nel's back as she took off to give Nnoitra a well deserved thrasing.
Aoiko was worried about Orihime now. She turned to looked at the Shinigami. They were too close for her to risk leaving her brother and Ichigo unprotected. Tesla would not kill Orihime for the time being. She turned to check Ichigo's vitals, kneeling down beside him although she still held Pantera in her hand at her side. She was distracted by the damage Nnoitra had caused that by this time the Shinigami had shown up, she'd nearly forgotten them, and their sudden appearance startled her so badly she leapt to her feet, immediately collapsing when her hips buckled painfully and her legs refused to hold her. She fell straight to the ground, landing on her ass, as if her legs had gone boneless. She landed with a thump that sent up a cloud of sand around her, her legs sprawled on either side of body. A strangled gasp was the only sound of pain she allowed herself. She tried to stand up, but she could not even get a twitch out of her maltreated hips.
"Aoiko-san!" Ichigo gasped as he stared up at her, he'd just found the breath to speak after the shock of Neliel's true form had worn off. "Your hips…you're making the damage worse." He looked worried, she looked back at him, stopped trying to get up. "My dad's a doctor you know…" He added and she lifted an eyebrow before her attention was completely taken by the Shinigami now in front of her.
"What's this, woman?" It was the biggest man in the group, the one with the girl on his shoulder, he had a deep voice. She turned to look at him, her muscles tensing in preparation for action despite Ichigo's plea. Ichigo pushed himself partially up at the sound of his voice.
"Kenpachi! Yachiru, Ikkaku and Yumichika!" He seemed surprised, he must not have seen them coming. But Aoiko would have thought he'd had sensed them…
The captain, Kenpachi, had been holding a very long and jagged sword over his shoulder (the one without the girl) and now he swung it down, bringing it down centimeters from her nose. She did not even flinch, she had seen his arm tense and had suspected he'd do something, she was only glad he'd not cut her head off. She stared straight into his eyes and didn't move an inch. He seemed somewhat impressed that she did not flinch, or maybe that was annoyance that caused his eye to narrow in contemplation. She was obviously not much of a threat at the moment.
"Kenpachi!" Ichigo gasped, he was starting to look angry and he pushed himself up into a sitting position although one arm hung limply. "Don't hurt her!" He demanded with narrowed eyes. Kenpachi turned his head to look at the orange haired boy with confusion, his sword never wavering.
"Why not? She's an Arrancar right?" He grunted.
"Yes. And my friend." Ichigo informed him firmly, his eyes fierce. "She's protected Orihime the entire time she's been here. And she has already been hurt enough for one day. Far too much." He continued with a snarl. "Besides which, she and her brother have defected to our side." He added with a small grin. She sighed. He did not need to go on like that…she was fine.
"Ichi-kun… I hardly need…" She trailed off as her hips gave a twinge of pain and sighed again. "When you finish…" She trailed off again. She looked across the expanse at the fight with Neliel and Nnoitra and she felt anger once again ignite underneath her skin, nearly burning her up. Neliel had released her resurrection. She saw red. "Damn…" She snarled, her head snapping around to assess Ichigo's condition and that of her brother. Not good, her eyes were drawn to Orihime. Orihime looked shocked. And she was too far away for her powers to do any good. DAMN Tesla.
She was completely ignoring the sword in her face, ignoring the fact that Ichigo was explaining to Kenpachi in gruesome detail the state she had been in when he'd first seen her. She'd smack him for that later. It annoyed her; it was not his business to be sharing. She did not want it known how weak she was. He was explaining this to the man to convince him that her and Grimmjow's defection was sincere, she knew that, it still pissed her off.
"Shut up Ichigo." She snarled offhandedly, not looking at the man, still staring at Nnoitra and Neliel. She breathed heavily, her blood heating with battle-lust. She saw that Ichigo had noticed Neliel's predicament then, he suddenly looked panicked. She ignored the Shinigami still pointing his blade at her. She'd filed him in her mind as 'dangerous, but not a threat currently'. He'd not killed her yet.
"Calm down Ichigo. I'll protect her." She informed the orangette, he looked at her with disbelief, even while trying to struggle to his own feet. She heard Kenpachi scoff above her, and she turned her head to fix him with a glower burning with blood-lust. "I will fight him even if my hips refuse to hold me." She growled.
"He'll kill you." Ichigo told her bluntly. He was such an ass. He sounded like Grimmy on a bad day.
"That is a price a warrior must be prepared to pay." She answered, calm now and her eyes went back to where Nnoitra and Neliel were still fighting. "Neliel does not have much longer, and then Nnoitra will be here." She said his name with such loathing that the blade in front of her face actually shifted away from her slightly though she did not glance up to see the Shingamis' expressions. She was calming her breathing now, readying herself to leap to her feet. She knew Neliel would fall back in a moment…
She saw Nel fall in a puff of smoke…she'd become a child again!
"Neliel!" She gasped; her eyes so wide the whites were visible all around her electric blue pupils. She dropped Pantera to the sand beside her left leg without a thought and leapt to her feet depsite the sickening crack she felt more then heard in her left hip, she began to run as quickly as she could toward Neliel's fallen form, then sonindo'ing, diving over her to protect her from Nnoitra's vicious attacks, taking the force of his stomp into her own ribs. She curled protectively over the child, ignoring the pain even while Nel wailed in pain and fright.
She vaguely heard the sneering arrogance of Nnoitra taunting and insulting her and Neliel. And then the pain stopped, she looked up, Ichigo was there! She looked up in shock. He had blocked Nnoitra's stomp with his Zanpaktou, when had he gotten there? She stared in shock for a nanosecond and then sprang to her feet (ignoring the newly broken ribs on her right side), Nel cradled against her breasts and she sonido'd back to the Shinigami whom seemed to be Ichigo's friends. Nel was clinging to her and crying.
"I so sowwy!" The child wailed. "It's all Nel's fault!" Aoiko knelt down beside her still unconscious brother, kissed her forehead.
"It's alright, love. I'm fine." She soothed, giving the girl a smile. Nel looked up at her with her huge pale hazel eyes. "I am fine." She repeated. The girl was so relieved she threw her chubby little arms around her neck and almost choked her in her exuberance. Aoiko gently pulled the girl off and sat her beside Grimmjow.
"Wait there." She told the girl. She stood up carefully; saw the Shinigami staring at her. She stared back for a heartbeat and then turned her back to them as she picked up her brother's Zanpaktou. She stared out across the battlefield. She focused on Telsa and Orihime. She tapped her toe against the ground several times and counted to five in her head. She tilted her head to the side and shifted her weight, frowned. She stuck Pantera through the bands of her hakama and brought her hands up to shoulder level. She started to gather as much reiatsu as she could, as quickly as she could, until she had gathered so much that the glow was visible to everyone. She heard sounds of surprise, ignored them. Poured more reiatsu until the skin on her hands began to burn with the intensity.
Then she slammed her hands down onto her hips and poured all the reiatsu into her hip joints, forcing them to heal. Her lips curled back in a snarl of pain, but she made no sound. Once the power had transferred she pulled Pantera out of the makeshift sheathe, glanced at her and felt the acceptance beneath her fingers.
She turned her attention to Tesla, he was watching Nnoitra very intently, ignoring everything else around him. Perfect. With the sound of an enraged cougar ripping from her throat, she took off towards him.
AN/ I hope you all like this chapter. :3 Please Read and Review! 3