Hey guys, thank you for the reviews on this. 9 people is enough for me haha. Stick around after the story for a note on what happens. Also beware of corniness.
"Grimmjow get up."
The espada turned, startled, taking in the figure behind him. An analytical serious stare ran over the Shinigami who'd let him hours earlier. After a moment of silence passed between them, Grimmjow's expression did not immediately darken or become enraged as it usually would. Now he actually looked quite peaceful. Maybe, Ichigo thought, it was because it was night. That somehow the Panther's mood was dependent on the fiery sun to fill his rage.
"Why are you here, Shinigami?" The arrancar murmured his back to the boy.
Ichigo's mouth tightened into a thin line and before throwing his gaze to his left, "…Dunno."
Grimmjow examined this.
"Fine." He said turning back around.
Ichigo blinked, unsure of how to respond to an un-violent Grimmjow. The teen couldn't help but feel a bit annoyed at himself and kicked some sand in embarrassment. He slowly made his way to where Grimmjow was resting on the sand, and sat about an arm's length away.
This caught the Arrancar's attention, but eventually he turned back to the great soundless moon he seemed to have been entranced by. Ichigo looked it over as well. It was magnificent. A huge, glowing silver traveler making its way across the sky. The stars its only road map, and the sands its journey's destination.
"…You seem well acquainted." The teen smirked whimsically.
The Arrancar blinked and glanced at the teen again. The image of Ichigo sitting so close to him, smiling, bathed in pure moonlight…no sword in sight… it was strange. Like a dream. At least, this is what he assumed dreams to be like, absurd and impossible… considering he'd never had one before.
"…Mh." He grunted before falling silent again.
Ichigo shifted his weight to stare at the sand he was now miliking with his hand, "…You're very angry with me aren't you…?" he announced.
Ichigo tiredly sought him with his eyes, "…I respect you a lot you know that right?"
Although Ichigo couldn't see it, Grimmjow's brows furrowed in his ritualistic contemplation. The teen was beginning to realize Grimmjow was a lot quieter than he thought. Someone who really didn't like talking about himself or anything unless he brought it up. Ichigo could respect that.
The Shinigami continued to wait for the Espada to look at him, "Does the dessert feel strange now that it's empty?"
"…It's never empty Ichigo. It never will be… Don't you feel all the hollows?" This time the Arrancar did look at him. And when he did Ichigo felt his leg jerk but kept the rest of his body perfectly still. He'd never seen Grimmjow look like that before. His eyes were gentle, serene. They had not lost their intense blue, or intimidating aura, but there was something about the way the moon hit them... Grimmjow looked calm, magnificent.
Something about that scared Ichigo more than any hateful maniacal expression Grimmjow'd ever made.
Ichigo gave a few flustered blinks before picking at more sand, "…I… guess I didn't before you mentioned it…"
After a moment Grimmjow resigned himself to answer.
"… It feels…" The arrancar thought for a moment before whispering, "freeing, honestly…"
"I'm glad." Ichigo said with a truthful nod.
The atmosphere between the two seemed to be growing more and more dangerous by the second. Every word they said seemed to hit the other in an odd way. Like archers hitting blind marks they weren't even aiming for. Something about that seemed dangerous.
"...You're the one who did it, didn't you?" Grimmjow inquired in a ghost of a voice. It was tinted with a tone resentment.
"…Yeah." Ichigo reluctantly answered, feeling the mood.
As a voiceless void passed between them the cry of a hollow sounded in the distance. Ichigo responded as he always did and grabbed his sword ready for a fight, but Grimmjow didn't even acknowledge it. He only continued to stare at the moon while a gust of wind lapped at his hair. The hollow was miles and miles away, baying at the moon just as Grimmjow was in his own way. It wasn't a roar of anger or attack, just of the familiar empty howl that Ichigo never understood.
"…Why did you stay, Ichigo?" Grimmjow whispered in his deep baritone voice that sent a chill down Ichigo's spine.
"…Well-" he began before getting cut off.
"If you say me, I'm going to pummel you."
"That'd be silly Grimmjow. Not everything I do revolves around you."
Grimmjow turned and caught a glimpse of the teen smiling. He remembered saying that earlier... The teal-haired espada sighed and closed his eyes to again face the moon's glow.
Ichigo didn't know how the Arrancar would respond to the joke. He did not let the apprehension cross his face, but secretly Ichigo wondered if he'd just killed the non-threatening mood.
As the teen turned to face him again, the moon cast a shadow on one side of the teen's features. Somehow, the way his brown eyes glistened even from the depths of the shadows were haunting.
"…" The Espada seemed to trail off after saying his name. He couldn't quite put to words, the indescribable things he was thinking at that moment. Maybe that's why they were indescribable. Because you shouldn't have to explain them. This is how Grimmjow felt about almost everything he thought.
"It's ok." Ichigo said, purposefully speaking more with his eyes than his mouth, "I'm happy I stayed too."
Grimmjow said nothing but gave a familiar contemplative thoughtful stare.
"I want you to come home with me."
Grimmjow's expression suddenly shifted and became flabbergasted as he muttered, "What?"
"You don't need to live here anymore. It's not hard to see that you hate this place."
The Arrancar's gazed traveled deeply between the brown eyes to his left. Ichigo was a bit on edge to hear if the man would say something, but again it was just another long pause.
"...No..." he finally said slowly facing away from the teen with a hard to read expression.
"It's not a sign of defeat, Grimmjow."
"…Then what is it?" He commanded feeling a bit crestfallen.
Ichigo regressed, thinking to himself,
"…Friendship…" he announced.
After hearing no arguments he continued, "I just moved into a new place. An apartment. I don't have a room-mate… I just got this radio gig... I'm already really good… It would be fine if you came along. Soul Society won't fuck with you either."
"How can you be so sure?"
"I just won't let them. Simple."
"Ha…" Grimmjow laughed and trailed off as if he didn't believe in Ichigo's childish promises.
"Plus if you get rid of some hollows on the side, it'll probablly earn you brownie points~." Ichigo influenced the last few words for playful emphasis.
"Hm." The Arrancar grunted again.
Ichigo kept smiling and didn't feel he needed to press the matter any further. In his mind he could hear that one song about 'Over the Rainbows' or some nonsense. He didn't know why it popped in their at that exact moment, but a single strumming ukulele played prophetically in that desert none the less. Perhaps it was the gentle breeze that carried Grimmjow's hair to a melodic tempo. Maybe it was the moon filling his mind with dreams while he was still awake. Maybe it was the fact that this. Just being able to sit an arm's length apart and watch the moon without trying to kill each other? This was a huge step.
The airy echoing voice of Israel Kamakawiwo'ole whispering over the delicate sands of Hueco Mundo, seemed to fit the place tonight. There was a calm in the land of hollows. None Ichigo had ever felt before.
The blue-haired man heard a soft whispering to his left. He turned slightly towards it to hear it better. The teen was part singing part humming quietly to himself, so faintly you could barely hear it. He tapped his fingers on his elbow, as he mumbled the song.
"Somewhere, over the rainbow….
hmmhmm hmmm hmmm hmmm...
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Once in a lullaby… hmm hmmm mmm...
Oh, Somewhere ...hmm hmm rainbow…
Blue birds fly…
And the dreams that you dreamed of
Dreams really do come true ooh… ooooh
hmm hmmm I'll wish upon a star
hmm hmm where the clouds are far behind… me ee ee eeh
Where trouble melts like lemon drops
High above the chimney tops that's where… you'll fi iii nd me
Oh, Somewhere hmm hmm hm hmmm hmm... bluebirds fly..."
Grimmjow became mesmerized. He'd never heard something like that before. That words could float like clouds, and have a movement of their own. Grimmjow could almost see it in the air. He watched the teen's lips move like he was casting a spell. Was it magic? Was it Ichigo? He'd never heard someone's voice make noises like that before. Grimmjow didn't know about half of the things the teen was even speaking of, but there seemed to be feelings that fit in places where words escaped him. It was something intended to be happy… but it came out so sad… It actually confused him a great deal. Reminding him of the way he thought. That sometimes things so obscure could make so much sense if seen the right way.
"Ichigo…what was that?"
"Hm?" Ichigo hadn't even recognized the fact that he'd been mumbling the song to himself aloud as he stared around at spots on the dessert. He thought it had remained only in his mind. He looked at Grimmjow and said, "Oh I'm sorry, was I bothering you? I've heard it a lot lately. Constantly being requested on late nights. I got used to hearing it so often, guess it just pops into mind now. I didn't realize I was even doing it. " He laughed.
"Singing." Ichigo continued simply still smiling.
"…What is singing?"
The teen's expression gingerly sobered, "…Grimmjow… you've heard of music right?"
"…Wow that… makes me really sad." Ichigo said trying to laugh off probably the most depressing thing he'd ever heard someone say. He pitied Grimmjow a lot, then.
"…" Grimmjow made an angrier expression feeling as if he were being made a fool of.
"Music… it's...christ how do I even describe this?... Well... it's sound. Put together to make something the means something. Sometimes people miss the mark, and make a pile of shit, and sometimes they make masterpieces. Music is really different, versatile. It's always changing. A song is a bunch of lyrics put together and sung by a person... I think that's why I like workin' at the radio station...makes me see the industry without having to sell my soul just yet... I have a love affair with music haha but I just can't seem to commit yet…"
Ichigo could see he was losing the man.
"Uh...I'll show you, ok?...But to think that you've never heard music… Christ, I just got so depressed..." The teen was smiling as he said all this, making eccentric hand motions and using a passionate tone in his voice that made it sound like he'd been talking about something monumental like air. His eyes looked very kind as he stared at Grimmjow. Something about it perturbed the teal-haired man. After a long while of Grimmjow digesting the information, he slid a nonchalant hand across his mouth and commanded gruffly,
"Do it again."
"Did I tell you to ask me a question?" the man cut him off with a familiar dominant edge, "No."
Ichigo laughed getting a rise from the king, "Sure. I can teach you one too …I mean if you want."
"…Mh." Grimmjow grunted an intrigued noise.
Ichigo felt the corners of his mouth perk up in a smile. His gaze traveled over the other man. The Espada held his head high even though he was still covered with dried blood and bruises. Something about that though, just seemed to feed into his image of grandeur. Only Grimmjow, he thought, could make looking injured look so noble.
Just then, a tiny burr worked its way into his heart. Although Grimmjow held no sword, although his large hands were not tensed into fist… Ichigo was very aware of the ever present tension that could collapse around this peace at any moment. That it would only take one offset word, one misstep on that icy sheet to bring them tumbling right back into the turbulent, inescapable waters of battle. And once beneath the ice again, would that be it? Would he really… have to fight him to the death?... What would he do?... He felt as though he were already trapped. Pounding his fist against the frozen sky demanding safe ground to tred. The teen sighed and pushed the thoughts away knowing he'd probably just make his luck worse... Like being forced to wear cleets next time.
As Ichigo's throat hummed with the sweet sounds he'd sung moments before, he never took his eyes off the moon. Too afraid to look to his right. Too afraid to even move now. But he bayed remorselessly. His brows furrowed replicating the pain the song and his internal discomfort was causing him. His mouth translating his insides as it always could. Nobody knew Ichigo could sing, nor of his deep passion for music, but honestly he didn't want to flash it around. He thought it was something like a hobby to enjoy alone. Never before had he really been able to sing in front of another person. Right now, it was the easiest thing he'd ever done. As if he were talking in a language only he would ever truly understand. Ichigo put what he couldn't say into his voice. Into the melancholy heartfelt musings that were "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". It was sadder, somehow. It was richer. It was hypnotic.
Ichigo liked this. He liked sitting here with Grimmjow on a cool night, staring up at a moon- and out of all the crazy things- singing. There were no battles to fight, or wars to wage. There was peace finally. A survivor's peace. Perhaps, Ichigo hoped, digging his hands into the freezing sand below…that it was also a time for forgiveness…
Thank you for reading everyone. I hope it was alright. So what I wanted to say was about the music. While I was writing this, my Ipod was on shuffle, and suddely that fateful song came on over the speakers and I couldn't tell you how uncanny it was. It was really a perfect moment. There's just something about that song that's haunting, aching... Yet gentle. It... really spoke to me. Can you just imagine it? Can you? Because I did. Also I've always have a huge passion for music, so excuse me for incorporating that. Couldn't help it.
Like before, if you want another chapter review and tell me. :)