~As always, I only own the plot. I don't own the series or characters so don't sue me.
Chapter Three - Caught and Separated
Aizen sat in the large meeting room sipping away at his warm cup of tea. His plan to use Karakura to create the King's Key had majorly backfired. Even after defeating the shinigami present, the hougyoku seemed to remain dormant. The small crystal stopped glowing and radiating energy moments before he departed for the human world. He thought nothing of it at first, but when it didn't respond to his desires, he began to worry. Although they were victorious in the fight, Aizen was forced to retreat until the hougyoku decided to become active again.
The brunet man merely glanced toward the door way as a tremor shook the large white fortress, pulling him from his thoughts. A small frown tugged at his lips. It had to be Grimmjow. That espada was almost always destroying something, much to his displeasure. Aizen swore he did it just to grate on his last nerve. Needless to say it worked. The man schooled his face as he felt the mesh of energies moving toward the meeting hall.
The large doors swung open to reveal Ulquiorra forcing Grimmjow into the room, his arms held tightly behind his back. The Cuarto forcibly shoved the blunet's head onto the table, holding him firmly in place. Grimmjow struggled and demanded to be released. Aizen fought the overwhelming urge to sigh at this. The two were like children, constantly at each other's throat.
"What has this brute destroyed today?" the ex-captain questioned.
"Nothing Aizen-sama," Ulquiorra responded.
The brunet was unable to prevent the raise of his eyebrow in response. "If he has not destroyed anything, why did you bring him here?"
"He has betrayed you." Brown eyes demanded further explanation to which the Espada happily gave. "Grimmjow has been harboring the enemy in his room, apparently trying to heal him."
"This is a grave betrayal indeed," Aizen said as he placed his chin on his steepeled fingers. "How shall I deal with you my dear Sexta?"
"Maa maa," echoed from the hall as the silver haired shinigami approached the open doorway. "Perhaps you should see what he's been keeping first before you decide."
Cyan eyes widened as he spotted the large bump hiding in Gin's top. Grimmjow growled darkly as he watched the ever smiling man move closer to their infallible leader. "Get the fuck off me!" The blunette was rewarded with his head being slammed roughly against the table, dazing him momentarily.
Gin stopped and stared at Grimmjow, his usual smile faltering momentarily. Why was he being so possessive over the boy? Perhaps there was more going on than he had first assumed. His gaze was brought back to Aizen as the small child poked his head out from his baggy top. Gin's smile widened upon seeing the surprise flash across the shinigami's face.
"He was so cute," he said as he pulled the orange haired child from his clothing. "I couldn't say no." Gin then placed the barely clothed child on the table.
"Did Szayel experiment on Kurosaki?" the ex-captain questioned.
"Szayel was killed by a shinigami captain," Ulquiorra answered.
So much for getting him to help change the brat back, Grimmjow mentally sighed.
Aizen reached out to touch the child, only to have the small boy scowl at him and scoot away. Brown eyes connected with emerald green, silently ordering Ulquiorra to release Grimmjow. The Cuarto reluctantly did so. As Grimmjow stood to his full height, he glared at the Espada standing off to his side before turning his glare to Aizen. The brunet stood, with the intent to further inspect the child, but Ichigo wouldn't have any of that. Standing on the table, the toddler turned his large amber eyes to Grimmjow and rushed toward him.
"Kitty!" he cried out, a hint of fear in his voice. Cyan eyes softened as Grimmjow moved to collect the child and return to his room, however, Gin stepped in and snagged Ichigo first. Ichigo struggled against the firm hold of the silver haired shinigami. "Kitty!" he cried out again.
Grimmjow's eyes narrowed on Gin as he growled, "Let him go."
"This is an interesting development," Aizen smiled slightly as he moved toward Gin.
Ichigo's squirming increased the closer the brunet got and Grimmjow's growling continued to grow in volume. The orangette stilled as Aizen reached out to touch his cheek, his large chocolate brown eyes wide with fear. The moment his skin made contact with the child's, Grimmjow was leaping at the brunet, prepared to rip his throat out. Before he could reach their so-called leader, Ulquiorra attacked and pinned him to the floor with relative ease.
Smile widening, Aizen moved to his pinned Sexta. "It seems you have grown attached to this shinigami in the time that he has been in your care." The blunet continued to growl darkly. "Perhaps we can use the child to our advantage. Gin," he turned to face his most trusted companion. "I will place the boy in your care. Find him some clothing that will... cover him." The shinigami's gaze returned to Grimmjow. "Ulquiorra, see to it that Grimmjow is returned to his quarters."
Much to both Espada's displeasure, Ulquiorra was forced to share his room with Grimmjow seeing as how the Sexta s was currently being repaired. The raven haired espada currently sat on his couch, eyes darting back and forth lazily across the page of the book he currently held. It wasn't all that interesting, but it did help distract his attention from the grumbling blunet lying on his couch.
"I'm not attached to the brat," Grimmjow grumbled.
"Of course not," came Ulquiorra's rather sarcastic reply.
The Sexta growled deeply as his cyan eyes narrowed on the raven haired arrancar. "I wasn't talking to you."
A tired sigh escaped his slightly parted lips as he returned his full focus back to his book. However it was short lived as the blunet continued to mumble to himself.
"Just wanted to finish my fight. I hate being interrupted."
Ulquiorra sighed again and fought the urge to roll his eyes. "If you feel nothing for the shinigami, why didn't you just kill him?"
"He's just a kid!" Grimmjow snapped as he bolted upright to glare darkly into emerald orbs.
"You seem to forget he was technically a child before." At this, the Sexta's eyebrow rose in slight confusion. "You know nothing of humans do you?" Grimmjow just grunted before standing and moving toward the door. Setting his book aside, the Cuarto stood, but made no move toward the other espada. "What are you doing?"
"None of your business," he shot back. Before the blunet could open the door, he found himself thrown to the floor, a foot pressed firmly against his chest.
"Aizen ordered me to babysit you," the raven haired arrancar replied. "What you intend to do is my business." Grimmjow propped himself up on his elbows the second Ulquiorra removed his foot. However, the blunet suddenly found the Espada's sword lightly touching the dip in his neck, the cold steel pricking his flesh. "I hope you're not thinking of going to collect the shinigami. He is no longer under your care."
Cyan eyes narrowed on the espada as a growl issued from his throat. No one would stop him from doing as he pleased. Unfortunately, he knew he could not beat the Cuarto in a fight. That just meant he would have to think of a way to gain the upper hand. Grimmjow really hated thinking.
Gin ran a shaky hand through his silver locks. Ichigo was much easier to deal with when he was a teenager. But this... This toddler was more than a handful. Gin had bathed him, winding up more soapy and wet than the tiny shinigami. He had attempted to feed him which ended in a messy disaster and another bath. He had even tried to play with the child, but Ichigo just wouldn't have it. Currently, he was attempted to put the arrancar uniform on him, but was struggling to catch the blur of orange in order to cloth him.
The former captain was beyond surprised to find a uniform lying about that was small enough for him. The hakama was small and would no doubt look incredibly adorable on the child, that is if he could catch the naked boy long enough to force them on. Somehow during all the chasing, Ichigo had figured out how to shunpo which was making his current predicament that much more difficult. As the fuzzy head of orange blurred past him, Gin leapt into action, literally. He managed to pin the toddler down and quickly forced him into the white hakama with a black waist sash. The moment it was tied however, Ichigo darted off once more.
A weary sigh escaped the former captain as he moved to collect the top of the outfit from the small table in his quarters. The top was a mostly white long sleeves turtle neck like top. The black trim adorned the bust line as well as the hem around the bottom, the sleeves, and the top of the turtle neck. It would definitely suit the boy. That is, if he could catch him again to stuff him into it. Turning around, the silver haired shinigami noticed that the room was awfully quiet and still considering there was a rambunctious toddler within its walls.
One crystal blue eye peeked open in surprise. Ichigo was just standing there, staring at him, his head cocked to the side slightly in what appeared to be confusion. Not one to waste such a perfect opportunity, Gin hurriedly pulled the top over the unruly child. Ichigo huffed as his head managed to pop free from the confining fabric. Doe like amber eyes continued to stare questioning at the shinigami as he helped the toddler put his arms into the top.
"There," Gin said as he adjusted the top to sit properly on the boy. "Now don't you just look handsomely adorable." Gin frowned slightly as Ichigo continued to stare at him. No... He seemed to be looking past him.
Just then a deep chuckle resounded behind him, startling him slightly. "Gin, you would make the perfect mother."
Huffing, the silver haired shinigami stood to his full height and faced his guest. "That just means the world to me coming from you Aizen," he replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm.
Aizen merely chuckled and took a few steps closer to Ichigo in order to better examine the child. "The clothes suit him."
Silence fell over the room. Although it was odd for the child to be standing still and quiet at that, Gin chalked it up to Aizen's presence. Something about the man commanded order. Obviously it was strong enough for Ichigo to pick up on if he was being so obedient. Taking a few more steps toward the child, the brunet smiled as the trademark scowl replaced the look of wonder on the toddler's face.
"I can't help but wonder if he has retained his memories," the ex-captain thought aloud.
"There's no way to really tell," Gin replied. "If we could somehow change him back..."
The brunet cupped his chin in thought. "That could be a problem. Without knowing how he wound up like this, fixing it will be that much more difficult."
Much to Gin's dismay, the door opened suddenly, revealing a rather tired looking Starrk. Before the espada could utter a word, orange and white blurred past him, the empty hall behind him suddenly echoing with squeals and laughter. Unphased by the commotion, he bowed slightly to Aizen before speaking.
"The shinigami that were here and in the human world seem to have returned to Soul Society."
"Thank you Starrk," the brunet replied, dismissing the espada before turning his attention back to his silver haired companion. "Gin?"
The former captain sighed, his shoulders sagging slightly as he exited the room and headed down the hall in order to bring the child back.
Berry missed Kitty. He liked to play with Kitty more than the creepy smiling man. Kitty would play back whereas creepy smiling man would just sigh and go about doing what he was doing. So the second the door had opened, Berry had rushed out to his freedom. He would stop every time he came across a door and push it open in hopes of finding his blue haired friend. After turning down yet another white hallway, the little Berry was ready to call it quits. However, when he turned back around, he realized that all the halls looked the same.
Poor Berry was lost.
His footsteps slowly came to a step as a soft sniffling began to echo in the vast halls. Not only was his search for Kitty fruitless, but now he was lost and scared of who could possibly find him. "Kitty," he sobbed softly. "Berry miss Kitty!"
Just as the tears began to spill over, his sobbing turned vocal. Hands balled up covering his eyes, the small child sank to his knees. He stayed there crying for quite some time before his cries of anguish turned back to soft sobs and sniffles.
"Whadda we have here?" a deep voice rasped behind him.
Ichigo's sobbing stopped instantly, his hands lowering slowly away from his face as he turned his wide amber eyes to the freakishly tall newcomer. The raven haired man's smile was wide and disturbing. One good eye leered down at the child, his disturbing smile seemingly widening even more as he adjusted the large crescent shaped weapon on his shoulder.
"Well," the arrancar cooed. "Yer that shinigami Grimm was fightin' ain'tcha?" The man leaned forward getting a better look at the orangette. "Yer a bit smaller than I remember."
"Kitty ain't here," Nnoitra sneered, his gripped tightening on his weapon. "An' yer still the enemy." Shifting it off his shoulder, he pulled it back before swinging it at the frightened toddler, his cackle resounding in the vast halls of Las Noches.
(A/N: I am so sorry for the super long delay in releasing this chapter. I could give you all a million reasons as to why I haven't updated, but I'm certain you're just happy that I updated. I am working on the ending to Love Call so don't worry about that.)
Thank you all so much for all the reviews/follows/faves! They mean the world to me and I love you all! =)