"I still can't believe Aizen managed to catch that thing." Grimmjow was trying to sound unimpressed, but in truth, he was in awe of the accomplishment. Ulquiorra stood beside him, watching the horrifying hollow struggling with his bonds. They were a strange black metal and like nothing Grimmjow had seen before.
"It was a fascinating struggle to watch." Ulquiorra allowed, gazing at the hollow consideringly. "He was powerful in life, and it seems his power has only increased in death." Grimmjow grimaced at that, looking away.
He'd enjoyed fighting Ichigo. It had sometimes even gotten him hard, thinking about how they would fight the next time and how he'd beat the tough shinigami to shit with his bare hands. How he'd enjoyed it! He'd never expected the damn shi… no, the damn human would be so fragile and just up and die on him.
And it had just been so completely random. Grimmjow had finally gotten the whole story out of Ulquiorra, and it unsettled him. Ichigo's body, with that stupid mod soul inside, had gone to the mall. Someone had planted a pipe bomb at the mall to kill their old boss. Mod soul happened to stop in the wrong store. End of story, so sad, game over. It made Grimmjow feel a little sick. Not that Kurosaki was dead, but that it just… happened. Humans didn't have any hierro, no way to protect themselves. They could be walking down the street and oh look! It's OVER! He wondered how they could stand it. Grimmjow thought that it would have driven him insane.
A deafening scream shook the building and Grimmjow winced before plugging one of his ears. It wouldn't help much, but Ichigo's hollow seemed hell bent on destroying everyone's sanity. With his body dead and Ichigo despairing for his friends and family, he'd lost himself to his hollow right away. Or maybe it had been because he was basically a living Vizard. Maybe having a hollow inside had made him more vulnerable. Either way, he'd come to Hueco Mundo and proceeded to completely fuck things up. Grimmjow hadn't encountered the marauding spirit himself, but Ichigo had started out with Vasto Lorde powers and seemed to need to feed on very powerful hollows. That would change a bit when Aizen cracked his mask, thankfully, but until Aizen had caught him he'd mostly been feeding on the arrancar. The Numeros were utterly terrified and Nnoitra was dead. Grimmjow wouldn't miss him a bit, but the fact that the other Espada had been devoured by this thing was frightening.
"I only hope he gets his mind back when Aizen cracks the mask." Grimmjow muttered. He wasn't sure Kurosaki would. All the other arrancar had been sane before the mask was cracked. Would this shock him back to reality or would he still be completely nuts? If he was irredeemably insane, Grimmjow was willing to bet Aizen would use the Hogyoku to just obliterate him. He scowled at the thought. He wanted to fight the damned kid again! "And I'll win this time." He growled.
"No, you won't." Ulquiorra said with assurance and Grimmjow glared at him. "He would kill you. His power will have to be evaluated, but when his mask is broken he will likely take his place as the zero Espada."
"Yammy's got that spot." Grimmjow growled, but it sounded weak even to him. Yammy was ten until he released, then he was zero. So maybe they could just share the zero designation. If not, there would be a shuffle, but it was hardly the first time. "You really think he will be that powerful?" He couldn't help but be skeptical. Ulquiorra just looked at him and Grimmjow finally shrugged irritably. "Fine, fine. We'll have to see if he keeps his sanity first. How long is Aizen going to drag this out?"
"He is readying the Hogyoku. He wants Ichigo's mask to be shattered precisely the right way." Ulquiorra said before looking down. All the Espada were watching, perched high above the holding pen. Ichigo had been too dangerous to drag inside, so it would be done in the open air, where everyone could see. The lower ranking arrancar were notably absent, probably cowering under the beds.
"What, to make him prettier?" Grimmjow snorted then stiffened as he felt the power begin to build. "Oh shit, there it is." Aizen wasn't even making any speeches and shit. That unmitigated bastard Tosen was standing beside him, along with Gin. Grimmjow narrowed his eyes as he looked at Tosen. He wanted to kill that shinigami, slowly, for taking his arm.
Another reason why I couldn't take Kurosaki now. He thought to himself moodily, looking at the monster in the pit. If he couldn't take the human version, what made him think he could take this thing? Fucking depressing. He hated being relegated to Luppi's fraccion.
Then Hogyoku suddenly blazed to life and Grimmjow had to cover his eyes with his remaining hand. The light was stronger than he'd ever seen before, and it bit into him painfully as the creature below screamed. The scream rose higher and higher, until Grimmjow felt like his eardrums were being ripped out. Then it abruptly died and he lowered his hand, blinking.
"Holy shit." He muttered as he looked at the result. The brand new arrancar was completely naked, still standing up, his pale body covered in sweat. Long orange hair streamed out behind him, and the remains of his hollow shell made a pretty kind of armor on his shoulders and upper chest. Grimmjow had to admit that it was damned attractive. The kid's hollow hole was in the same spot as his own, abdomen level.
"Hnnn." There was a groan from the monster… no, arrancar below them. Everyone waited breathlessly to see what would happen next. "What?" There was a rippling sigh through the watching Espada. Only Ulquiorra seemed unaffected. "Who?" Ichigo raised his head and Grimmjow drew a breath as he saw the kid had bright red marks beside his eyes, similar to the green ones on his face.
"Do you know who you are?" Aizen walked in front of the boy, looking at Ichigo consideringly. The new arrancar blinked several times, tilting his head to one side.
"I am Ichigo." He said and Grimmjow tensed. If Ichigo remembered everything, Aizen would probably – "Who are you?" He asked, his tone so innocent and childlike that the blue haired Espada relaxed. It seemed the new arrancar remembered his name, but that was it.
"I am Aizen, and I am the ruler here." Aizen said and Ichigo seemed to accept that immediately. "You are now one of my Espada. We will have to evaluate your power to decide where to place you."
"Yes Aizen-sama." Ichigo said obediently as Aizen paused. Grimmjow blinked a bit at the ready deference. He hadn't expected that from Kurosaki, but maybe he was in a bit of shock. Grimmjow could still remember what it had felt like to get his mask broken. It had been worth it, but painful as hell.
"But you have no fraccion. Grimmjow." Grimmjow tensed as he saw Aizen look up and motion him down. Taking a breath, he leapt down and landed easily in the sand. He had a bad feeling he knew where this was going, but there wasn't a damned thing he could do to stop it. "You will be the first of Ichigo's fraccion. Luppi has graciously agreed to donate you to our new comrade." Grimmjow froze in outrage and glanced up to see Luppi smirking at him. It was bad enough to be in Luppi's fraccion, but this…! "Before you speak, reflect on the fact that you will be serving a more powerful Espada. In many ways, your ranking will increase considerably." Grimmjow forced down a hot retort. Any rank below ten was meaningless, and Aizen was just playing with him. "Now, unchain him and see to his needs. Until he adds more to his fraccion, you will be responsible for his care." Vicious words bubbling in his throat, Grimmjow began undoing the chains, tugging on them with unnecessary force. Ichigo just jerked in the chains and Grimmjow glanced at him, seeing how dazed his expression was. Shock from getting his mask smashed, no doubt about it. Snorting, Grimmjow released the final chain and watched the fledgling arrancar faceplant into the sand. "Grimmjow." Aizen's voice was gently warning and he took a deep breath, kneeling beside Ichigo.
"I can't carry him with just one arm." He growled. It would be pretty damn difficult, at least. "Hey, Ichigo, can you walk a little? Help me out here." The arrancar stirred and began to pull himself up, to Grimmjow's relief.
"I'm fine." Ichigo said and Grimmjow scowled. He didn't sound fine at all, he sounded faint and shocky. About what you'd expect from a brand new arrancar.
"Lean on me." He said through gritted teeth, putting an arm around Ichigo's shoulders. The kid leaned on him and went with him obediently. "You're getting Nnoitra's old rooms, since you ate him." Sort of a spoils of war thing. Grimmjow wondered if they'd just give Ichigo his rank too, but probably not. He was more powerful than that bastard, obviously.
"I did? I don't remember that. I hope he wasn't a friend of yours." Ichigo said and Grimmjow barked a laugh. A friend? Nnoitra?
"Fuck no! No one could stand him. Good riddance. Just don't eat anyone else and you should be fine." He assured Ichigo, who nodded solemnly, blinking eyes that were shaded a bit with red now. Grimmjow wondered if this new attitude was because he'd lost his memories, or just the shock of the breaking mask. Ichigo sure did seem pliant. "Now, let me show you how everything works." Ichigo might remember how faucets and shit worked, since he'd been human once, but he might not too. Grimmjow showed him everything and got him into a generic uniform before speaking again. "Now, I'm your fraccion." He managed to say it without puking and felt rather proud of himself. "So I'll be staying next door, where Nnoitra's old fraccion used to stay." Nnoitra had only had one fraccion, Tesra, and he was dead too. After his master had died he'd sworn vengeance and gone out to find the hollow that killed him. And he had. Oh, he had. "You got any questions?" If he did, Grimmjow wished he could tell Ichigo where to stuff them. But he was the kid's fraccion now. Ichigo could punish him and there wasn't a damned thing he could do to defend himself.
"What happened to your arm?" Ichigo asked and Grimmjow froze for a moment, looking into his face. There was a childlike directness in that question, but it still pissed him off. He had to struggle a moment not to snap at the kid.
"It got cut off as a punishment for disobeying orders." He finally said, grating out the words. Then he blinked as Ichigo touched his hand.
"Sorry." The arrancar said simply and Grimmjow stared at him. Compassion was in short supply in Hueco Mundo. "Could you get me some food? I'm hungry."
"Sure." That was a pretty normal request. "I'll have to make it." He cautioned the boy, who just nodded. "I'm a shitty cook." He decided he'd better spell it out so Ichigo wouldn't get his hopes up. "And the crap Aizen gives us ain't much good either." The condensed spiritual energy he fed to his minions had the flavor and consistency of tofu. Ichigo frowned at him and Grimmjow had to resist the urge to flinch as his eyes sparkled with red.
"Just get me something before I eat someone." Ichigo said impatiently and Grimmjow high-tailed it out of the room. The only person close at hand was him, and Ichigo had eaten Nnoitra. He'd have no trouble devouring a maimed former Espada. It took him a little while to get the food together and he was sweating by the time he got back to the room. Grimmjow cursed himself for the scent of his own fear, but he couldn't help it. Fortunately, Ichigo was waiting patiently, his eyes fixed on the window and his expression remote. He smiled as he saw the food and dug in readily, then paused.
"You really are a terrible cook." He said, but there was amusement in his voice. Grimmjow felt the fear turn into irritation.
"I'm a warrior, not a damned domestic." He snapped, meeting those reddish brown eyes directly. Ichigo smiled, eating another spoonful of the food.
"If you say so." Grimmjow grit his teeth at the amusement in Ichigo's voice. He longed to take the fledgling Espada outside and beat his face in, and the fact that it would probably be his face getting beat only made his mood worse. "It's not badly made, actually, it's just bland. Do you have any spices?"
"I don't know how to use that shit. Last time I tried, Luppi asked if I was trying to kill him." Grimmjow said grumpily. He wished he had been trying to kill the little bastard, but it had just been too much chilli pepper.
"Remind me and I'll show you what spices go together sometime." Ichigo said easily and Grimmjow suppressed a snarl. "I can't remember when I learned, but I think I know how to cook."
"Oh yeah? Why don't you do the cooking then?" Grimmjow snapped and immediately regretted it as Ichigo's eyes glittered with red. He could feel the slap of the teen's irritation and had to fight not to cringe as that overpowering reiatsu filled the air. Ulquiorra was right, the little prick was going to be the new zero Espada. Then the moment passed as Ichigo smiled faintly, playing with his spoon.
"I seem to be lacking a kitchen." He said lightly and Grimmjow glanced around before cursing himself as an idiot. Of course Ichigo's quarters didn't have a kitchen, they'd belonged to Nnoitra. Nnoitra cooking? What a joke.
"There's an adjoining door between your quarters and mine." Grimmjow said reluctantly. When he'd been the sexta Espada that had been useful to give him quick access to his fraccion. As one of Luppi's fraccion, he'd found it was a pain in the ass for the exact same reason. "Try not to violate my privacy too much." He growled and Ichigo laughed.
"I'll knock, how's that?" Ichigo finished his food, pushing away the bowl. "But cooking lessons can wait. I'm feeling better, show me around this place." Grimmjow sighed to himself as he settled into the role of reluctant tour guide.
Although it was kind of funny, really. The Numeros treated them both with fearful deference, which was rather nice. No one disrespected Luppi but no one was scared of him, either, not like they were scared of Ichigo. Ichigo seemed to find the terror amusing. Before long, though, Grimmjow found himself introducing the new arrancar to all the other Espada. From the looks of it, he was going to get along well with Starrk and Lilynette. The rest were still up in the air, but Grimmjow had a feeling that Ichigo was not going to be Yammy's favourite person. The current zero Espada was already sizing up the newcomer.
"Ichigo." Ulquiorra again. Grimmjow stood to the side, completely ignored by the two Espada. "You will be tested to determine your strength tomorrow. Grimmjow, make certain he arrives outside the main citadel at eight AM tomorrow." Grimmjow nodded, tucking his remaining hand into the pocket of his hakama.
"A fight?" Ichigo sounded delighted at the prospect and Grimmjow found he wasn't at all surprised. Even as a human, the kid had liked fighting. As an arrancar, he would adore it. "Who will I be fighting against?"
"Yammy, the current zero Espada in his released form." Ulquiorra said and Ichigo nodded, the red flecks in his eyes sparkling and swirling with his bloodlust.
"I can't wait." Ichigo smiled dreamily. "It will be a challenge." Grimmjow glanced at him, a little surprised. Yammy didn't seem all that powerful unless you knew what was behind his sealed form. But maybe Ichigo had been able to sense it. Ulquiorra said nothing and walked away. "Grimmjow? What do we do here for fun?"
"Oh, all kinds of things." Grimmjow said with a small shrug. "We practice, we play games, some people sleep, some people fuck, all kinds of things." Ichigo gave him a speculative look and Grimmjow glared back, regretting the last one on his list. He'd never had to endure it, since Luppi was most emphatically not into him, but he knew some Espada demanded sexual favors from their fraccion. If that was what Ichigo wanted, he'd have to beat the shit out of him to get it, because Grimmjow was not submitting tamely.
"What sort of games?" Ichigo asked and Grimmjow blinked, wondering if he'd completely misread that glance. Maybe it was his own filthy mind and worry about being a fraccion at work. Shaking himself back to reality, he gave Ichigo a quick rundown of the various games going on. There was a bridge tournament, with actual rules and a rotation, but Ichigo wasn't the least bit interested in that. "Chess? I like chess. Do you play it, Grimmjow?"
"Fuck no. I play poker." He said immediately and Ichigo looked interested.
"That could be fun. I've never played it before, can you show me the rules?" Ichigo asked innocently and Grimmjow nodded shortly.
"If we can find anyone else to play." It didn't take long to corral Starrk and Lilynette into playing, although Lily was dubious at best. Pretty soon Grimmjow realized he'd been hoodwinked. "Never played before, my ass!" He snarled at Ichigo, who had the high stack and a shit eating grin.
"Well, I thought I hadn't. Maybe I was wrong." Ichigo and Starrk both laid down their cards. "Darn." Ichigo forked over a good bit of his stack as Grimmjow glared at his own stack. He was below Lilynette, who was laughing at him. Starrk yawned widely as Ichigo glanced out a window. "It's getting late. Should we call the game?" The game could go on forever if they didn't. Starrk nodded, pushing the chips away. They weren't playing for real money, since they didn't have any, just for fun.
"Thought you'd never ask. And you need to be well rested for tomorrow; Yammy is not going to go easy on you." Starrk warned and Ichigo shrugged.
"I won't go easy on him, either. See you guys later!" Ichigo started putting away the chips and Grimmjow watched for a moment before reluctantly helping. Really, Ichigo should have ordered him to do it. Luppi wouldn't have hesitated a moment. Starrk yawned again before leaving with Lilynette for their rooms. Ichigo settled into his room, and Grimmjow went to bed, cursing the fate that had made him the kid's fraccion.
It seemed like it might be a bit better than Luppi, but that didn't make up for the humiliation.
"For fuck's sake, what is he doing?" Grimmjow watched in disbelief as Ichigo literally ran rings around a frustrated and outraged Yammy. "Is that his released form?" He hadn't saw Ichigo take it, since Yammy had just thrown up a huge cloud of dust, but what else could it be? Ichigo looked like that monster hollow again, except that he had no mask on his face, just the two horns. His skin was dead white, though, and his eyes were black and red. He moved like a dangerous dream and Grimmjow was stunned as he realized the little bastard was playing!
Yammy was in his released form too, and becoming steadily angrier with the pesky mite that was constantly hurting him and refusing to be stomped out. His anger was increasing his power, of course, but Ichigo didn't seem to care. His unique combination of hollow and shinigami power hadn't wavered a bit since the battle had begun, in fact it had increased considerably.
Finally Yammy landed a good blow, pounding Ichigo into the sand… or so it seemed. There was a pause and Grimmjow's eyes widened as he saw Ichigo holding back Yammy's fist with his two hands. A cero began building between the horns and Yammy yanked his hand away, taking Ichigo with it. The new arrancar laughed wickedly as Yammy tried frantically to get him off before he could release the cero. But Ichigo kept evading his grip.
"Enough." Ulquiorra suddenly sonido'd behind Ichigo, gripping his shoulder. The younger Espada aborted his cero, letting go of Yammy's hand and dropping to the ground. "I have evaluated your power, and Aizen agrees. You are the new zero Espada. Yammy, you will be moved to one." Yammy muttered a few swear words but didn't protest it. "Ichigo, go to Aizen to receive your marking." Ichigo nodded and Grimmjow hesitated before following. He wanted to see where Aizen would put the mark.
It was one of the more interesting markings he'd seen. Aizen had Ichigo kneel in front of him, and moved all that sleek orange hair out of the way so he could put the zero mark on the back of the young arrancar's neck. As Ichigo stood, Aizen looked him over for a moment.
"See about getting some tailored uniforms. That one does not quite fit." He said and Ichigo nodded obediently. "Grimmjow will show you where to go."
"Yes Aizen-sama." Ichigo said and Grimmjow resisted the urge to curl his lip. It wasn't all the shock then, Ichigo was being… polite. He found it almost disgusting. If he'd had that level of power, he wouldn't have been so damned polite. Ichigo walked away with a bounce in his step and Grimmjow was a bit taken aback by his broad smile. "Grimmjow! Show me where I go for tailoring, I want to get that over with so I can practice some more."
"Yeah, sure." Grimmjow muttered, feeling bitter. The kid was so powerful it was outrageous, and he was just a broken ex-Espada. It pissed him off, and he'd be seeing goddamn Kurosaki every day. Talk about rubbing it in his face. Ichigo glanced at him.
"Something the matter?" He asked but Grimmjow shook his head. "Hm." Ichigo shrugged and Grimmjow was just glad he wasn't pressing the matter. He didn't want to explain his thoughts to the kid. It was Aizen's fault anyway, although he'd still like to punch Ichigo's lights out. "I'm going to ask for a uniform like yours." Ichigo suddenly said and Grimmjow almost stumbled.
"Eh what? Why?" He was a bit surprised. He hadn't pegged Kurosaki for the show his chest type. Ichigo flashed him a quick grin.
"So we can be a matching set! Red and blue." Ichigo's voice had an almost purring note and Grimmjow's eyes narrowed. Was the kid hitting on him? What the fuck was up with that?
"Whatever. Let's just get this done with so you can train." He growled and ignored it as Ichigo eyed him with amusement. The last thing he wanted was the brat hitting on him. Not because he wasn't attractive, but because as a fraccion, Grimmjow couldn't really say no.
And that was an intolerable blow to his pride.
"Grimmjow, I need you." Grimmjow groaned as he glanced out the window. It was very early in the morning, but Ichigo was a damned early riser. He hated people like that. "Grimmjow!"
"Coming, coming." He muttered as he climbed out of bed. He was a little surprised by the summons. He'd been with Ichigo almost three days, and so far Ichigo had just slipped into his room, made himself breakfast and let his fraccion sleep in. It was pretty considerate, actually, not that Grimmjow would give him any credit for it. "What the hell is it?" One plus side to all this was that Ichigo didn't seem to give a crap about his swearing. Luppi had been trying to reform him, without any luck.
"I know it's stupid, but I need help." Ichigo sounded very frustrated and he was sitting in front of a mirror holding a huge brush. "I can't get the knots out of my hair." Grimmjow clenched his jaw to hold back a torrent of abuse. Brush his hair? For fuck's sake! "I have a comb and a brush, can you please help?"
"Yeah, fine." Grimmjow picked up the combo and began to roughly run it through Ichigo's hair. Almost immediately, he hit a nest of tangles.
"Ow, careful!" Ichigo squirmed, grimacing. "My hierro doesn't seem to do anything for my hair." He said plaintively and Grimmjow rolled his eyes, but started being more careful. Ichigo worked with the brush on the other side.
"How'd it get this bad?" Grimmjow was a bit astonished by how many burrs and snarls there were in that long orange hair. It looked fine from a distance, but up close it was a complete rat's nest. Ichigo grimaced.
"It's so damn thick, it seems to snarl up on anything. The problem started after my fight with Yammy, I just couldn't seem to get all the tangles out." Ichigo looked at himself in the mirror. "Maybe I should just cut it all off." He said but strangely, Grimmjow found he wasn't enthusiastic about the idea. The hair felt really nice, under his fingers, and it sure did look dramatic.
"Why not try braiding it?" He suggested, capturing Ichigo's attention. "A big braid would keep it from snarling like this." It would be a lot less effort for them both, too.
"That's a great idea! …Can you show me how?" Ichigo asked and Grimmjow sighed to himself before nodding. "Great. But this is going to take a while." Grimmjow grit his teeth again. He was sure Ichigo was right about that, and spending his morning untangling someone else's hair was one of his new least favourite things. It took about a half-hour, but they finally got the mess of orange hair tamed. Then he began to braid it. "Ow, careful!" Ichigo squirmed a little as he pulled too hard and Grimmjow slowed down, making sure the kid knew how to do it for himself. When he reached the end, he tied off the tip with a little leather cord. "That does look better, doesn't it?" Ichigo looked at himself in the mirror and Grimmjow stood back, studying him.
"Looks good." He allowed, although it was an understatement. The braid did wonders for Ichigo, accenting his strong face in just the right way. He didn't look remotely like a girl, he looked like a young warrior ready and eager to kill. The braid added just the right barbaric touch. Obeying an impulse, he dropped the braid over Ichigo's shoulder, letting the zero marking show. "Now ya look scary." The combination of the braid, Ichigo's looks and the zero marking would make most Numeros quiver in terror.
"Thanks." Ichigo said gratefully before standing, letting the braid stay on his shoulder. "Why don't I make us both breakfast while you go back to sleep?" He offered and Grimmjow blinked. That was unusual, to say the least, but he wasn't about to refuse.
"Yeah, sure." He quickly went back to his bed, and ignored the faint sounds as Ichigo puttered around in his kitchen. He hadn't tried Ichigo's breakfasts before, just grabbed a bit of cold tofu stuff and ate it without tasting it before joining his Espada. This could be interesting.
It was interesting. Grimmjow was a bit stunned at how adding a crapload of spices, as well as eggs and bacon, made the tofu like soul putty taste pretty damn good.
"See? Spices. This has, mm, paprika, fresh garlic, a bit of turmeric, salt and pepper. Also some cinnamon because I like cinnamon, but that part doesn't make sense." Ichigo explained cheerfully as he ate. "Garlic is my favorite, everything is better with garlic. Except dessert." He cautioned and Grimmjow sniggered.
"Yeah, I coulda figured that one out myself." They ate in silence for a while before Grimmjow asked. "So what are we doing today?" Ichigo hadn't had any missions yet, probably because Aizen was letting him settle in a bit. Ichigo looked up at him with a grin.
"We're going to spar!" He said happily and Grimmjow just looked at him blankly. Was the kid insane? "Szayel has made me something interesting, first we need to go pick it up."
"Woah, wait, Szayel? You do know he's fucking insane, right?" Grimmjow said quickly, feeling his insides clench. Szayel was twisted and brilliant. Ichigo just nodded.
"He's also kind of fun. I think I like him." Ichigo said, licking off his spoon, and Grimmjow had to suppress the urge to throw his spoon at the Espada's head. The kid was crazy. Like Szayel? Would he have liked Nnoitra too, if he hadn't eaten him? "He wanted to 'examine' me." Grimmjow froze at that.
"You didn't let him, did you?" He asked and Ichigo shrugged.
"I had to let him a bit, for him to make me something. But I didn't let him do a, um, full body examination. I told him he has to buy me dinner first." Ichigo added with a grin and Grimmjow tried to figure that out for a moment before giving up. Was this some kind of weird carryover from his shinigami days? Was it customary for mad scientists to buy their test subjects dinner? He couldn't imagine the point. "Come on, we need to go down to his lab."
"You're fucking insane." Grimmjow muttered but didn't resist as the nutty new arrancar dragged him out of the room by his empty sleeve. He stayed behind Ichigo as he entered Szayel's lair. If he was relegated to a fraccion, he might as well get the most out of it and let his Espada take the heat.
"Ah, it's you again." Szayel said with a very pleasant smile. Grimmjow stayed silent as Ichigo returned the smile, then had to hold back puke as Szayel stepped up and ran a hand down Ichigo's back, pausing a moment to stroke the zero. He was fucking flirting! What did a full body examination involve, anyway? "I have what you needed. Quite an unusual challenge! Now, where's my payment?" He asked and Ichigo smiled dreamily before giving the scientist a full, intimate kiss. Grimmjow's mouth fell open as he watched the display. He'd never imagined Kurosaki could be so… so wanton. Was this from his change to a hollow or was he really into the scientific type? Szayel let go of the zero Espada and handed over a strange jacket that had only one arm. "There you are. It might be a bit difficult to put on, but your fraccion should be able to help." Grimmjow bristled as the bastard gave him a shit eating grin. He wanted to kick Szayel's ass so bad right now!
"Thank you so much." Ichigo stepped back and walked towards the door, Grimmjow following like a pissed off shadow. But the zero Espada paused before he left. "Oh, Szayel?" He waited until the scientist looked at him to give him the evillest grin Grimmjow had ever seen. "Thanks for the parasites you gave me with that kiss. I've already eaten them, they were a pretty good meal. You'll have to think of something better than that, though." Szayel's golden eyes went wide as Ichigo left the lab and Grimmjow heard him quickly typing at his computer, then a very loud curse. Ichigo laughed wickedly, his hair bouncing behind him as he walked towards the practice ground.
"Shit." Grimmjow muttered to himself as he watched the braid in front of him. Had Ichigo really gotten the drop on Szayel? It sounded like he had. When had the kid gotten so smart? He couldn't… well, actually, he hadn't known Ichigo that well, come to think of it. He'd been pretty clever in combat so maybe he was smart too. "So what is this thing you've got there?" It looked weird as hell. Ichigo glanced back as they stepped out into the hot sands.
"It's a jacket. Help me put it on." He said. Mystified, Grimmjow started helping. There were buckles inside and he blinked as he realized the thing was designed to hold one of Ichigo's arms immobilized, tucked up behind his back. It also lowered his power level considerably. Ichigo shrugged his shoulders, testing it. "Not too uncomfortable. Okay, now we're on equal footing. Ready to rumble?" Grimmjow grit his teeth as he realized what Ichigo had done. He was deliberately handicapping himself so he could fight his fraccion on even footing.
"You condescending bastard! You think I need your pity, dipshit?" He snarled and then stopped as Ichigo laughed and levelled his sword at him. It was a wild, carefree laugh that spoke of mayhem.
"Pity? You don't understand me at all if you think I pity you, Grimmjow. I remember you." Ichigo's brown red eyes had a feral quality and Grimmjow felt a shiver down his spine as he met that calm, aggressive gaze. "I remember the grin on your face when you beat the shit out of me. That's all I have of you, but I remember that grin and I want to see it again. But you wouldn't grin if I just started kicking the shit out of you, now would you? So fight me like this and show me the fire that made you the Sexta Espada!" Ichigo launched himself through the air, sword leading the way, and Grimmjow had to block him. After a moment of fear at the still immense power of the other arrancar, he felt the joy rising back up. The pleasure that combat had always given him.
"That's what you want, eh?" Blue eyes met cinnamon and held. "Fine! I'll kick your ass, Kurosaki!" He grinned as their swords clashed again and again and Ichigo took on a familiar, intense look. That was the kid he knew and hated!
This could actually be really fun.