CHAPTER 1: DARKNESS DESCENDS
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach...
I promised my little sis, Farin, a vampire GrimmIchi story and I'm here to deliver. I hope this provides a little calm and enjoyment in the middle of your RL storm. Love you.
FURTHER WARNINGS: This contains a form of Stockholm Syndrome, but no rape. I know a few of you out there turn your noses up at the idea of Ichigo falling for his captor (or vice versa), but in this case, I think it fits. It won't happen right away, and most times the story will be quite dark, but in the end, it will still be a romance. Again, there will be no rape, but there will be a lot of brutality. That being said...
Karakura Human Colony
He used to be a normal kid: in high school, participating in the karate and baseball clubs, going on dates, making out and having sex with cute girls: he used to have it all. Or so he'd thought. But as a teenager, there wasn't much more to the world, so, of course, he'd think that way. So blindly naïve. So oblivious to the real world – or rather the underworld. The true nature of things. Had he known then, what he knew now, he would have been able to prepare. He wouldn't be separated from his little sisters, and he sure as hell wouldn't be an orphan. But he was getting ahead of himself. This thing deserved a proper explanation.
Karakura High School
Keigo barreled down the hall in his direction wearing an insanely wide grin. Ichigo rolled his eyes and sidestepped the out-flung arms of his loud best friend. It was their daily routine. He'd show up in the mornings and Keigo would try to knock him over with his exuberant affection. When he'd first met the shorter brunet, he'd admit, he'd been on the verge of kicking his ass up and down the halls. Now, it didn't bother him so much.
"Knock it off, Keigo," he muttered.
Brown eyes sparkling with mock disappointment, Keigo climbed from the floor, petulant pout tipping the corners of his lips into a downward arc. "You never let me love you, Ichigo!" he cried in dismay.
Ichigo held back a grin as he continued down the hall to their homeroom. Keigo was an idiot, but he was a loyal one, if nothing else. Keigo gripped his elbow and danced along beside him, eyes closed with glee. Sometimes Ichigo thought his friend was gay and had a thing for him with the way he always seemed to cling and make iffy remarks. He'd exclaim loudly in front of a hall full of students how much he loved Ichigo's candy corn-orange hair, or how manly Ichigo looked that day. Normally, he'd roll his eyes and pry the boy off him, but when Keigo was especially annoying, he'd give the boy a stern glare that meant business. The brunet teen would back off then. But then there were the times Keigo would fall all over himself trying to get the female species' attention. It was all too confusing. Maybe Keigo swung both ways.
"I'm not obligated to," Ichigo grunted before sliding the door to their homeroom open.
They trooped inside, Keigo still trying to hang from him like a tree monkey. Ichigo nudged the boy away and took his usual seat at the back of the class, nearest the windows, before plopping behind the desk. He tossed his notebook onto the pale wooden surface and propped his chin in his palm. He really hated class these days. The teacher was boring as shit and the other students were annoying at best. Not endearingly like Keigo; more assholish and snarky...like Ishida. Ichigo glanced over a couple rows at his dark-haired classmate and shook his head, amused. The haughty genius always wore his arrogance like a cloak, but there were times that even he could be ruffled. And they almost always involved their busty, apricot-haired classmate, Orihime Inoue. She was extremely pretty, extremely blessed in the boob department, and extremely naïve and innocent. She didn't seem to notice the way the boys in the class ogled her like a big, juicy steak, never mind the lewd comments that were hardly ever disguised.
At one point, Ichigo'd thought the girl had had a thing for him. She'd always greeted him with a huge, cheerful grin and an excited wave, chirpy voice hailing, "Good morning, Kurosaki-kun!" He'd thought she was adorable, but that was about it. She was a sweet girl, but he'd only ever looked at her like a sister. Sure, she had jugs suited for pinup posters and dirty magazines, but her personality made her too pure. Something he had no intentions of tarnishing with his rampant teenage boy hormones. Then, he'd realized that she was just being friendly whenever she greeted him, or offered her help with math (which he was absolutely terrible at). She didn't have a boyfriend, but it didn't appear that she wanted one, either.
At the moment, her joyful disposition was pointed at the glasses-sporting, dark-haired Uryuu Ishida, who wore his deep blush like makeup. Ichigo grinned slyly. It'd always been a favorite pastime of his to mess with Ishida whenever the guy floundered around Inoue. Took the unbearable know-it-all down a notch or two. He lowered his hand and opened his mouth to say something really witty and rude, when the classroom door banged open. Frowning, he glanced up...and promptly sighed.
"Your exalted ruler has arrived! Now bow before me!"
Ichigo shook his head in amusement. The class clown had officially made his flagrant appearance. Renji Abarai sauntered into the classroom with an air of narcissism so refined, it had to have taken years to perfect. Garishly red hair was pulled into a ponytail and wrapped with a white bandana, and the school's uniform hung from his muscular frame like a discarded jacket. It was wrinkled all to hell and his tie looked like it'd been knotted by a three year old. Ichigo chuckled as he watched the boy make his way over to the seat next to him.
"Renji," he returned coolly. "Loud as ever, I see."
"I was born loud, Ich and I sure as hell ain't 'bout ta stop now."
"I wish you would," a disgruntled female alto sounded from in front of the red head. "Your voice makes my ears bleed."
Ichigo grinned, prepared to enjoy the show. The dark-haired tomboy, Tatsuki Arisawa, never did get along with Renji, and their arguments usually reached epic levels before the teacher arrived to shut them up. Looked like today would be no different.
"Arisawa," Renji drawled, russet eyes twinkling with devilment. "I toldja plenty a'times already: if ya wanna fuck me...all ya gotta do is ask."
"You wish, asshole!" Tatsuki hissed, turning in her seat to face Renji.
"Not really, but if yer offerin'...well, I don' see why not. I'm a guy; I'll fuck a cushion if it looks good enough."
Ichigo choked on a snort as he tried to hide his laughter. Renji was a fool. Tatsuki must've agreed because once Renji made that ridiculous declaration, she gave him a wolfish grin. "Speaks volumes of your intelligence, Abarai. Or better yet, the lack thereof."
"Whatever, woman. I ain't got time ta argue witchu. Jus' lemme know when yer ready fer me ta lay down the pipe."
"Such a jerk," she grumbled with a brief shake of her head before turning forward again.
"You're fuckin' stupid," Ichigo said, still chuckling. "What makes ya think she wants to fuck you?"
Renji leaned across the aisle and lowered his voice as if he were giving up top-secret information. "It's all in the eyes, Ichigo. Renji knows these things."
He couldn't help it. He fell into a fit of laughter at his red-haired friend. As crass as Renji was, he was certainly good for a few chuckles, which had earned him the title of class clown to begin with.
"One day, these girls are gonna get together and kick your ass."
The red head scoffed and sat back, folding his arms over a broad chest. "You mean kiss my ass."
"Eww!" Keigo piped up from in front of Ichigo, brown eyes disgusted. "Who'd wanna kiss that hairy monstrosity?"
Renji gave the brunet a cursory glance before focusing on him fully as if he'd just realized something. "Wait. Keigo, you been eyein' my ass?"
Keigo flushed scarlet as he sputtered, "Y-you know I didn't mean it like that, Abarai!" Then he recovered with a sneaky grin. "Besides, you always parade around in the showers after gym like you're some type of kami on high. There's no way anyone could miss it."
Instead of being offended, Renji just smiled. "I am a kami, Keigo. Never doubt it, Princess."
"Hey!" Keigo screeched, fully prepared to rant, but the classroom door slid open again.
Instead of the teacher they'd all been expecting, a hulking, brown-skinned teenager ducked through the doorway, wavy brown hair swaying with the movement. He paused before making his way over to Ichigo's side of the room, where he eased into the seat in front of Keigo. Once he settled, he glanced over his shoulder with a warm grin aimed at Ichigo that Ichigo gladly returned. Sado Yasutora – or as Ichigo liked to call him, Chado – had to be the biggest second year student in Karakura High. He had muscles for years and exuded a natural intimidation, but once one got to know him, was the gentlest creature in existence, right along with bunnies and lambs. However, if you pissed him off, he got pretty scary. Ichigo was no wimp or pussy, but he was definitely grateful he'd landed on the guy's good side.
"Hey, Ichigo," Chado greeted quietly, voice rumbling like distant thunder.
"Hey, Chado," he returned.
A beat passed before Renji barked, "What am I, invisible?"
Chado just smirked in amusement before greeting the boisterous red head as well. "Renji."
"Tch. I swear, I think you an' Ich are gettin' it on on the low," Renji muttered.
"Sado! Say it isn't so!" Keigo cried.
Ichigo reached forward and smacked the idiot across the back of his head. "Don't be stupid, dumbass! I like girls, remember?"
Keigo slowly regrouped, clutching the back of his head. With a heaved sigh, he said, "Yes, unfortunately."
Renji glanced over at the brunet, highly amused. "Ya sure yer not inta guys, Keigo? First ya admit ta gawkin' at my ass, now yer sighing like a love-sick female over Ichigo. I don' know, man. Sounds kinda fishy ta me."
"I'm joking!" Keigo snapped. "Everyone knows my heart truly belongs to-"
"Good morning, Kurosaki-kun!" Inoue sang.
"Hey, Inoue," Ichigo absently replied, still glaring at Renji for his earlier comment.
"Speaking of my queen! How does your morning fare, my love?" Keigo nearly shouted as he vaulted out of his seat and made his way in front of Inoue, where he promptly tripped over his feet and fell face first.
He climbed to his knees as Inoue giggled innocently and patted his brown hair. "Keigo-kun, are you OK?"
Keigo swooned and dramatically placed his hands over his heart. "She actually asked me a question!"
Renji'd apparently had enough of the theatrics because he kicked Keigo's shoulder, sending the boy flying backwards. "Get off the floor, you retard!"
Ichigo glanced back and forth between his friends and grinned. No, he didn't like class much, but he did enjoy being with the other teens. Definitely kept him on his toes.
They'd gone to the roof for lunch like usual, then made the grudging return to class. His friends were back to bickering amongst themselves, when the classroom door slowly slid open, admitting their somber-faced teacher. Dark frames hung off the man's beaky nose, and graying black hair performed a not-so-graceful arc across his balding head, using only four strands at the most. It was interesting.
Renji opened his mouth to antagonize the man (which was one of his favorite hobbies during class), when he abruptly snapped it shut, seeming to realize at the same time as Ichigo that something was terribly wrong with their sensei. The man's normally fiery black eyes were liquid-like, glassy. His lips trembled, as did his hands, and were pressed into a very thin line. Something was up. Either someone was in deep shit, or there was a crisis involving the school.
Renji tried speaking this time. "Oi, Sensei. Ya don' look too good."
The man jumped like he'd been caught daydreaming before focusing on Renji. It took him a minute, but he finally adjusted his glasses and cleared his throat. "I-I've been told by the head of the school to dismiss you. It appears a state of emergency has been declared."
Ichigo exchanged confused glances with his friends before turning back to the teacher and speaking up. "For the school?"
"No, Kurosaki-kun. All of Japan, it seems." That got the whole class mumbling to themselves, but the teacher continued. "Go home, now. A-and please be careful."
After their sensei dropped that bomb on them, he left the room. Again, Ichigo exchanged glances with his friends, not really understanding the situation. What did they need to be careful of? What kind of emergency had been declared? What the fuck was going on? He rose, more than aware that he wouldn't get the answers he sought in that classroom. The rest of the students followed suit, some concerned and muttering to one another, while others took things a lot less seriously. Like Renji, for instance.
"Vacation time? Hell, yes! I can live with that!"
Ichigo frowned, not really sure this was a cause for celebration. National emergencies didn't really constitute lounging around, doing nothing. It usually meant war, or something equally bad. He wouldn't admit it aloud and he certainly didn't let it show on his face, but he was a little afraid. And then he thought of his family. His father, his sisters. Were they on their way home too? The teacher's ominous warning for them to be careful kept ringing through his mind, quickening his motions. He gathered his notebook and made tracks to the classroom door, attention far from the red head calling his name.
What the hell was going on?
"Dad!" he yelled as soon as he stepped into his home. "Yuzu! Karin!"
He didn't get a response and it made his blood run cold. On his way home from school, the streets had been eerily deserted; not even cars dared to travel the roads. Ichigo was desperate to know what the hell was going on, but he needed to make sure his family was safe first. He dropped his backpack by the door before stomping through the empty living room, pulse booming in his ears like a cannon. Hadn't they made it home yet? If so, why weren't they answering? He turned into the kitchen and paused in the doorway. No one in sight. Icy fear began traveling up and down his spine and pooling in his gut. God, he hoped nothing had happened to them. His teacher's words haunted him and inevitably made him think the worst of the widely unknown situation. As he turned to head up the stairs and continue his search there, the front door banged open, a frantic-eyed Isshin darting inside.
"Ichigo!" he yelled. "Ichigo, my son!"
Ichigo moved back into the living room, a little kiss of relief brushing over his heart. "Dad!"
Isshin's eyes landed on him a second before the man rushed him and threw his arms around him. Things had to be dire for his usually idiotic old man to react in this manner. He allowed himself to be enfolded in the elder Kurosaki's embrace for a while...until his curiosity got the best of him.
"Dad, what the hell is going on? And where're the girls?" he asked.
Isshin stepped back and studied him, dark eyes still a bit wild and panicked, and big hands slowly tracing paths up and down Ichigo's arms. "My son," he started, voice cracking. "I'm so glad you're alright."
Oh, he was sure of it, now. They were at war, or they were going to die. Either one was pretty fucking bad.
"Dad," he said again. "Where are the girls?" He figured that was the more important question at the moment. He could find out what was going on after they got a hold of his sisters.
Before Isshin could respond, the front door closed and drew Ichigo's attention. He glanced around his father and exhaled harshly: Yuzu and Karin stood near the door, expressions frightened. Well, Yuzu's was. Karin's was more along the lines of scared and trying to hide it. The fear that had been crawling up his throat gradually subsided until he was able to speak again.
"You have any idea what's going on?" he asked.
Isshin scrubbed a hand over the dark stubble on his jaws before running it through his equally dark hair. "I only know what they've shown on the news. I don't know if it's real or an act, but it's very frightening."
"What...is...it?" Ichigo slowly enunciated. Maybe his old man would see just how anxious he was and take it easy on the suspense. That was something he could do without at the moment.
Isshin turned and gave the girls an uncharacteristically nervous look before facing Ichigo again. "I-I don't think the girls should-"
"If you even think about keepin' us in the dark, Goat Chin, you'll be sorry," Karin's gruff voice cut in.
When Ichigo focused on the dark-haired twin, he wasn't very surprised to see sullen resentment shining in her ebony eyes. Isshin had a habit of treating them like little kids, and even though Ichigo knew it was done out of love and concern, the girls (mostly Karin) didn't seem to realize that. Meaning, there was no way in hell Karin was going to sit back and be excluded from the knitting circle this time around. Yuzu, however, didn't seem like she wanted to know what was causing them all to be so frightened.
Ichigo watched the battle war across his old man's face and honestly felt bad for him. He knew how strongly Isshin wanted to protect all of them, even if it meant withholding valuable information. It had to be killing the man being forced into such a weighty decision. Finally, the smoke cleared and Isshin gave a weary sigh before turning to the TV. He plopped onto the couch, grabbed the remote and turned it on. The screen came to life displaying the Japanese prime minister in an office, the surrounding drapes and curtains pulled tight, blocking any form of sunlight, while several men and women flanked him on all sides. Yellow, artificial light beamed from the ceiling and illuminated the prime minister's pasty face that was covered with sweat, jowls quivering. Just as Ichigo started to ask what the hell that was all about, Isshin raised the volume and the prime minister started speaking, albeit more than a little scared.
"Japan has been introduced to a higher regime, a race worthy of praise and servitude. We are l-lucky to be apart of history. W-with this new order, we will be freed from the prison of our own arrogance. We will know that we are no longer supreme beings; we will acknowledge their strength. By nightfall, the proof of their power w-will be revealed."
The guy sounded like he was reading a cue card. Ichigo gave his father an incredulous look, but Isshin wasn't aware of it. His eyes were glued to the TV, brow pulled into a ferocious scowl. Shaking his head, Ichigo came around the side of the couch and took a seat next to his old man. None of what he'd seen made sense. In fact, it all seemed like a hoax. How the hell had a few men and women taken over the prime minister's office? Where were his guards? Where were the police? The army? Hell, every armed force in Japan should have been knocking down the door to that office and storming the shit out of it.
"I don't get it," he said slowly. "Doesn't this all seem a little – oh, I don't know – unreal?"
"It does," Isshin mumbled, lacing his fingers together under his chin. "But that isn't the issue. What bothers me are the men patrolling the streets in dark vans and cars. They look...unnatural."
"Wait, I didn't see anyone patrolling the streets when I was on my way home. And what do you mean by unnatural?"
He was starting to get nervous and a tiny bit afraid again. This cryptic way of talking didn't suit his old man. Neither did the fear that was written all over his face. There was something totally wrong with this whole fucked up situation.
"Ichigo, my son," he said softly. "I saw them. They came into the hospital and held the director at gun-point with weapons long as my arms, ordering him to clear everywhere except the ICU. It was madness. My co-worker, Dr. Suzuki, made a fuss about leaving his patients...and they killed him. Without hesitation."
Ichigo was stunned into silence. That couldn't be true. It couldn't be. There was no way something like that could have occurred without the police being involved. An entire hospital held under siege, a man killed in cold blood, yet, no sign of law enforcement? Impossible.
"Dad, don't you think the police would've-"
"They were the police, Ichigo. They wore their uniforms and everything. Whoever's behind this, they have complete control of our government, which is what frightens me the most."
Blatant admission. Definitely not what he'd been expecting from his seemingly fearless father. Isshin Kurosaki never showed an ounce of trepidation towards anything – except maybe the idea of Yuzu and Karin dating, or Ichigo dropping out of school. Other than that, the older man was always carefree, to the point of idiocy sometimes. It was what Ichigo was used to, what made his old man endearing. This serious side of the old man, this obvious fright: it bothered Ichigo.
"S-so...what do we do now?" he asked carefully.
By then, Yuzu and Karin had edged to the couch on the other side of Isshin and were waiting for his answer just as anxiously as Ichigo. He hated seeing his little sisters look the way they did in that instant. Yes, he was accustomed to Karin's surly disposition, but he could honestly say he'd never seen the dark-haired twin legitimately scared. And Yuzu. She fiddled with a lock of her straw-brown hair as she kept her eyes on the floor, but there was no mistaking the slight shaking of her small body. Ichigo gritted his teeth and clenched his hands into fists. This was absurd.
"We don't do anything. Not until we know exactly what's going on," Isshin answered.
Ichigo wanted to shout how that just wasn't good enough for him, but that would be counterproductive and scare his sisters in the process. He didn't need that. As a matter of fact, until they were sure what they were dealing with, they'd go on living as normally as possible. No reason to make a big deal out of a mystery. With more resolve than he really felt, Ichigo took a deep breath and climbed to his feet. He rubbed sweaty palms along his thighs, then turned to face his distraught family.
"Who's up for dinner?"
Isshin gave him a hesitant smile, dark eyes glittering with thanks before they all made their way into the kitchen. As they shuffled around and prepared a quick meal, Ichigo relaxed. Even though his father had witnessed a man's cold-blooded murder and his sisters were clearly terrified, Ichigo felt like there was hope for them.
He'd been foolishly optimistic.
The bed was warm and his covers contained the comfort only freshly laundered linens afforded, but Ichigo couldn't get to sleep at all. He'd been trying for the past two hours and so far, all he'd succeeded in doing was mussing the sheets and kicking away the blanket. He tossed and turned like it was a sport; it was frustrating as hell. He wanted to sleep. Hell, he wanted to sleep so hard, it'd look like he was in a coma. Didn't seem like that was going to happen, though. He turned onto his side and lay there, eyes open and staring into the dark of his bedroom. The moon spilled in through his window and cast shadows near his desk and closet, but he wasn't afraid. He was agitated more than anything.
They still had no clue what was happening out there, since the same segment they'd seen on TV earlier merely kept repeating itself. No progress, no news. Nothing. They were stuck in limbo, trying to figure out if things would die down. Maybe it was all a hoax like Ichigo'd thought before, someone being an asshole and riling up the country just to get a few laughs. But then again, that didn't explain what his father had seen at the hospital. Ichigo still couldn't wrap his mind around that one. How had a man been ruthlessly killed in a room full of witnesses and nothing had been done about it? And if his old man was correct, the guy had been killed by their very own law enforcement. He huffed and turned onto his back, throwing his arms behind his head. This was crazy. There was no way something like that could've happened without repercussions.
There were those thoughts of course, and then there were the others, whispering at the back of his mind, demanding he pay heed to them. What if his country really was being taken over by an unknown force? What if this was only the tip of the iceberg? And more importantly, what was supposed to happen at nightfall?
It was already well into the evening hours and so far, there'd been no signs of disruption. The neighborhood was quiet, everyone probably indoors, worrying about the same thing he currently worried about. Nevertheless, aside from the panic gripping the nation, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Ichigo scoffed and frowned at the ceiling. This had to be a bad joke. A very well thought out, scary as hell joke. One he didn't find funny in the slightest. But he was curious. Who the hell could lead such a circus? Who had so much power, they could overrun the TV stations, schools and hospitals? That was the truly baffling part. Shit, I should at least try and get some rest, he thought, so he turned onto his side and closed his eyes.
And then all hell broke loose.
Wailing sirens made him shoot into a sitting position, eyes darting around his room wildly. What the fuck was that? He scooted over to the window and peered through the parted curtains, heart hammering in his chest, definitely afraid of what he would find, of what was making that awful fucking sound. And for good reason. When he focused on the moonlit streets, his heart seemed to shudder to a stop before restarting with a painful squeeze. Black vans and cars with flashing red and blue lights affixed to the roofs filled the blacktop below. Not only that, but men wearing police uniforms scurried about like roaches, breaking down the doors of the sleeping houses on the block. That made Ichigo's mouth hang open in shock.
What the fuck?
A harsh boom had his head whipping towards his bedroom door. That'd come from downstairs. Horror tried to glue him to the bed, but concern for his old man and sisters made his body jerk into motion. He stumbled off the mattress, but before he could make it to the door, it was forcefully thrown open, banging against the wall. He stood rooted to the floor in the middle of his room, staring at the dark form filling the doorway. He'd barely had time to react to the crash downstairs, so how the fuck had this person made it to his room before he could even leave it? He frowned and swallowed harshly a few times, hands clenching into fists at his sides. What should he do? Just as he'd formed a decision in his head, he heard Yuzu scream and his father shout. His body automatically plowed forward, panic gripping him by the nuts. He couldn't breathe and even though he wanted to yell, it wouldn't move past his throat.
He didn't make it three steps.
The figure in the doorway moved with unnatural speed, making Ichigo pull up short as he stopped and stared in astonishment and fear. Now that he could see the figure, it scared the shit out of him. Pale skin, blazing golden eyes and shaggy dark-blue hair was the first thing he noticed. Then the man smiled, and Ichigo felt like releasing his bowels. He'd seen movies and read books about this, but never had he thought he'd see teeth that fucking sharp live and in color and outside of an animal's mouth. The sight of fangs paralyzed him and widened his eyes until he thought they'd fall right out of his head.
"What...what the fuck are you?" he croaked, surprised he was able to talk at all.
The man's smile spread, making chills run down Ichigo's spine. "I, my sweet little morsel, am what goes bump in the night," he whispered.
It was the last thing Ichigo saw before darkness threw its thick veil over him.