~As always, I only own the plot. I don't own the series or characters so don't sue me.
Chapter Six - Back to Normal?
Amber eyes slowly fluttered open, spotting bright blue gazing mischievously back at him. Eyes falling shut, the orangette began to fall back into slumber, for just a moment. When his sleep addled mind finally placed those shockingly bright blue eyes, his own snapped back open.
"Morning Shinigami," Grimmjow grinned ferally.
A loud, rather unmanly, scream echoed off the vast walls of Las Noches. Ichigo leapt from the bed, taking the sheet with him as he barely managed to scurry away from the apparently excited Espada, narrowly dodging a cero in the process. What the hell was going on? Why was he sleeping next to the deranged arrancar bent on destroying everything in sight? As he rounded the corridor, he could hear the blunet's insane laughter echoing after him.
"Oh god I missed this!" he bellowed, giving chase to the seemingly recovered powerful shinigami. At first he thought he was still dreaming when he spotted that slender face just a short while ago, but when those narrow amber orbs had opened, clouded with sleep, the blunet could no longer resist. "Come on shinigami! Stop running and fight me!" Grimmjow shouted, blasting another cero, causing the orangette to trip.
Ichigo scrambled to his feet, eyes widening as the sheet began to slide off revealing more smooth tanned skin than he would have liked. "I'm naked!?" he screeched, pulling the sheet up. "Why the hell am I naked!?" This just didn't make any sense at all. So not only had he apparently been sharing a bed with that bastard, he had also done so naked. They didn't... Did they?
His face turned bright red as the teen burst through the large doors leading to the meeting hall. He was quickly becoming cornered and they both knew it. The fear of possible dying, naked mind you, was enough to snap Ichigo out of his stupor. Scowling, his gaze quickly swept over the hall, looking for a weapon of some sort. Immense relief washed over the shinigami as he spotted Tensa Zangetsu on the large table. Not wasting any more time, he dove for it, turning just in time to block Pantera from burying itself deep in his chest.
"Not bad," Grimmjow smiled ear to ear, his unusually sharp canines saying hello. "Here I was worried you had gone rusty being a kid the past few days."
"Kid?" he blinked in confusion momentarily, before pushing those thoughts, and the blunet aside.
Swords continued to clash for a few moments, before Ichigo felt himself growing more and more tired. His vision began to blur and he was panting heavily. Grimmjow thought that maybe it was far too soon for a fight with the shinigami, but couldn't stop himself at this point even if he wanted to. Charging in, he prepared to do some heavy damage with an up close cero, one that would be difficult to block even for the powerful teen. The blunet could stop his smile from widening as Ichigo pulled back, preparing to unleash his trademark Getsuga Tenshou. However, things would not go as planned. Just as the mixture of shinigami and hollow energy began to pool into the katana, there was a quick puff of smoke, the metal clanging against the cold tiled floor loudly as Ichigo reverted back to a toddler.
Cyan orbs widened, unable to stop his attack as a head of orange poked out from the sheet, looking bewildered. Just as the cero released from his hand and barreled straight toward the brat, a wall of reishi seemingly blocked it, the cero fizzing out with an audible pop. Grimmjow looked off to the side as his feet connected loudly with the floor.
"Were my orders not clear enough Grimmjow?" the brunet questioned, his lips forming a tight line.
Said Espada swallowed hard. "He turned back. I swear!"
Aizen sighed, moving over to the toddler tangled in the sheet. "Perhaps you were hallucinating. I understand your desire to finish your fight with Kurosaki, however, you must control that urge. You might accidentally kill him before we can fully use him."
Grimmjow groaned heavily at this. He had more self-restraint than everyone gave him credit for. Okay, so maybe that chair had caught him on a bad day last week. If it hadn't caused him to trip, he wouldn't have been forced to cero the damn thing.
The former captain sighed as he collected the child before handing him over to his Sexta. "Don't withdraw your zanpakutou on him again or I'll have Ulquiorra babysit you as well."
A single blue eyebrow twitched at this threat. He really hated that raven haired bastard and he'd be damned if Aizen would put him through that kind of torture. He'd readily hand himself over to the shinigami before that happened. With a huff, he gazed down at the orangette he held awkwardly. He was still clothed in the white uniform Ichimaru had shoved him into the previous day. Maybe he had imagined the whole thing...
His anger and frustration with the tiny shinigami returned tenfold as a tiny finger poked his uncovered cheek roughly as he giggled. With a huff, Grimmjow tucked the brat under his arm and headed back toward his new lavish quarters.
The meeting hall was stuffy, filled with numerous voices bickering back and forth. Various states of injury existed in all the captains present, except for the three that went to Hueco Mundo. They had sustained absolutely no injuries... Well Kenpachi had, but that man was a brick wall and it would take more than some lousy Espada to force him into bed rest.
"I knew it!" the second division captain shouted. "We should have killed that brat when he first came to Soul Society!"
"Oi," Kenpachi snapped. "Don'tcha think that's a bit harsh? Kid's incredibly strong. It would've been a waste to destroy such raw talent."
"Ah, but he's caused us a lot more trouble than benefit in the long run," a disgruntled Hitsugaya added. It wasn't that he wanted Ichigo killed or anything, but he wasn't really too much of an asset to them anymore.
"Come on, cut the kid some slack," Kyouraku chimed in. "I'd like to see you juggle being a shinigami daikou and a 15 year old boy at the same time."
His partner in crime, Ukitake, chuckled lightly at this. "I do find it odd that Kurosaki-san seemed to miss out on the final battle. Perhaps-"
A loud thump echoed in the hall, effectively silencing the shinigami captains. "Where is Kurosaki Ichigo?" Yamamoto bellowed his features stoic as ever.
"I did not see him as I was healing the others," Unohana replied.
"Kuchiki-taichou?" the old man's eyes shifted ever so slightly to the right side of the room where the soft spoken captain stood.
"After locating Abarai-fukutaichou, we were able to successfully rescue the human, Inoue Orihime," he paused, as his eyes slid shut for a moment before opening again. "However, we could not locate Kurosaki Ichigo."
Silence fell over the room. This was unexpected. Usually the fiery orange haired teen was never too far from the battle at hand. Unohana was specifically sent to Hueco Mundo with the others to heal him so that he could lend his incredible strength to the captains in the final battle. Add to the fact that even though Aizen was winning, painfully so, he seemed to retreat before accomplishing his goal. The brunet had obviously known the town they fought in was a mere copy; a fake. Even so, he still fled with most of his Espada still intact while the shinigami were left in shambles.
"Something is amiss," the head captain muttered softly.
"He must still be in Hueco Mundo," a new voice blurted out. All eyes turned to the open doors to see the auburn high school girl standing there. "I was the last one to see Kurosaki-kun!" she shouted as guards snatched her and began to drag her out.
Yamamoto's attention was completely devoted to her at this point, wanting to hear what valuable information she had. "Speak," he demanded, the guards releasing her in turn.
"Kurosaki-kun was fighting against Grimmjow, err, an Espada in his released form." The girl took a deep stilling breath. It was quite intimidating to be talking in front of all those powerful shinigami captains. "Kurosaki-kun took a hit and flew across the sand. However, when the smoke cleared he was gone. Only his clothes were left behind. The Espada seemed panicked afterward and fled, carrying something in his arms."
"That is most unusual indeed," Yamamoto replied. "I fear the attack on Karakura may have just been a ruse in order to obtain the shinigami daikou." His eyes closing in thought briefly. "It seems it is our turn to do the rescuing for once." His gaze shifted back over to the sixth vision captain. "Kuchiki-taichou. I will give you a week to gather shinigami willing to storm Las Noches in order to further investigate the whereabouts of Kurosaki Ichigo. Zaraki-taichou will join you as well." His cane slammed loudly against the floor, signaling the end of their brief meeting.
Grimmjow stared in surprise after hearing the little brat sneeze. He'd never admit it out loud, let alone to himself, but it actually sounded incredibly cute. He couldn't resist the smile that formed as he watched the toddler wipe his nose on his long sleeve. "Oi," he called out, successfully garnering the kid's attention. "What do you wanna do?"
Ever so cutely, a small hand rose up to Ichigo's face, a single finger resting against his chin as his large doe-like eyes gazed at the ceiling in thought. After a moment, a bright smile broke out on his face. "Hide!"
The blunet blinked a bit confused at this statement. "What's the point in that?" Huffing, Ichigo hopped from the large sofa and moved over to the ridiculous sized bed. Climbing up, he crawled over to the Espada and covered his eyes with his small hands. "The hell do you think you're doing brat?" he growled.
"Count!" the orangette ordered.
"Err... Okay." Well this was new. Might as well just go with it to kill some time. "How high?"
Removing his hands, the boy smiled brightly again, which caused Grimmjow's heart to skip a beat. No it didn't. He swore it didn't. Besides, he didn't have a heart. Being hollow and all meant no heart.
That would take an hour at least! "I ain't countin' to a million brat." There was a pause as that chubby face visibly fell in disappointment. "How bout 10, yeah?"
Ichigo nodded happily and hopped from the bed. Grimmjow started to count as he watched the brat look around the room curiously. When he turned and noticed the blunet was watching him intently, he scowled. "No cheating!"
Cyan orbs blinked in surprise. Well that had been highly unexpected. How was he cheating? He told him to count after he... Oh! Maybe he was supposed to cover his eyes? Bringing large sun-kissed hand up, he covered his eyes, peeking through his fingers to make certain this was what he was supposed to do. He was not expecting the pillow to collide with his face.
"No cheating!" Ichigo cried again.
"Okay okay," Grimmjow smiled. No, he smirked. He did not smile for that brat. Internally growling, he started counting over again. "Okay now what?" he questioned the kid when he reached ten. When there was no reply, he uncovered his eyes and looked around curiously. "Now what brat?" Still silence. His eyes spotted a tiny little foot sticking out, just slightly from behind the couch. Using sonido, because he really wanted to scare the kid, a ferally grinning Grimmjow appeared suddenly behind the orangette. Bending over, he grabbed the brat by the back of his top, hoisting him up and relishing in the startled squeak that emitted from his pale pouty lips.
"Found me!" Ichigo squealed happily.
"Yeah, and? Why were you hiding?" This brat, although amusing, confused the hell out of him more often than not.
"Game," the youth replied. "I hide. You count."
Oh it was a game huh. Well, Grimmjow was never one to back down from a challenge. Setting the child down, he moved back to his spot on the comfortable bed and continued with his role of hunting. After a couple rounds, the Espada stopped moving from the bed as it was starting to get boring. "In the closet," he said suddenly. This was followed by another exclamation from the toddler before he emerged. After more counting, the blunet sighed as he shifted to hang over the edge of the bed, peering under the furniture. "This is getting boring," he deadpanned.
Ichigo huffed as he crawled out from under the bed. "No fun," he grumbled.
"Oh yeah, I'm just some huge stick in the mud," Grimmjow retorted. "If ya really don't like fun, hang with Ulquiorra. That guy does nothing but read." The blunet rolled onto his back, his head dangling over the edge of the bed, messy blue locks becoming messier by default. Suddenly, without warning, soft small lips press lightly against his own. Blue eyes impossibly wide, Grimmjow bolts upright on the bed, turning his bright red face to glare at the child. "What the hell!?"
"Berry loves kitty!" he shouted happily, smiling ear to ear.
Blush darkening, Grimmjow leapt from the bed and rush out of the room, hand covering his inflamed cheeks. That... That brat just had to go and do something so embarrassing like that. What the hell was he thinking!? Not paying attention to where he was storming off to, the Espada bumped into the last person he wanted to see.
"Your face is red," Ulquiorra deadpanned, stating the obvious.
Grimmjow's cheeks seemed to darken at this, the kiss still lingering in his mind. "Shut the fuck up!"
The cuarto sighed. "Where is your charge?"
Another sigh. "Kurosaki Ichigo. Where is he?"
"Back in my room."
"Are you certain?"
Grimmjow growled, his anger quickly making his flushed cheeks return to normal. What the hell was this guy's issue? Of course the brat was in the room right where he left him. He even shut the... Oh god. Turning on his heels quickly, he sped back to the large bedroom, cursing under his breath at the partially open doorway. When he peeked inside, he wasn't the least bit surprised to see that the toddler was nowhere in sight. Shoulders sagging, Grimmjow sighed heavily.
"Dammit," he grumbled. This child was going to be the death of his sanity... Well, the sanity he had anyway.
A pale hand rested on his shoulder, green eyes almost gloating at him. He hated when that bastard was right and he always seemed to be right. "Shall we go look for him?"
With another heavy sigh, Grimmjow relented and the search for the berry brat was on once again.
A/N: Oh god I finally updated this! I'm super sorry for taking so long. My laptop was actually fixed about a month ago, but I was so busy with con prep work and cosplay, I just couldn't find the time to update. ;^; BUT'S OKAY! BECAUSE I TOTALLY JUST DID! Also, forgive the shouta... I have a thing for it, but I know it's not everyone's cup of tea... I don't like the hardcore stuff, just the cute fluffy adorbs stuff... Okay, so I have ONE HichiIchi shouta doujin, but that doesn't count because Hichi turns back to normal half way through the smut... ANYWAYS... Enjoy the update. I'm going to bust my bum to get back into a regular update, but don't count on it. I'm not exactly consistent. ;^;
Please note: There will be no fic updates between the time of May 26th - June 3rd. I will be staffing a convention that weekend and will be too busy to work on any updates. I will continue to post this reminder in all updated fics until the aforementioned time.
Thank you to all the reviews/favorites/follows. They mean a lot to me! : )