Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, nor any of the Call of Duty games. If I did happen to own either, I would probably be put on some sort of register for harassment and/or indecent misconduct to fictional characters. Not that it wouldn't be totally worth it...
Warnings: This story will contain violence, blood, warfare and yaoi. Basically all the good stuff.
.:Armed and Expendable:.
"This is for the record. History is written by the victor. History is filled with liars. If he lives, and we die, his truth becomes written - and ours is lost."
Captain John Price, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
Day 4 – 15:08:23
Cpt. Grimmjow 'Pantera' Jaegerjaques
Task Force 615
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
It was hot and humid, the early afternoon air oppressive, the sun stifling. It was the perfect conditions for kicking back and chilling out, a cold beer in one hand and a smouldering cigar in the other, not for trundling down the still active Rio streets in a rusty old 4x4 with a busted radio and no air conditioning.
Fucking luxuries were always so damn hard to come by.
Decked out in a grey thermal with a protective kevlar undershirt, blue military issue combat trousers, heavy black combat boots and a pair of padded fingerless military gloves, it was fair to say that Captain Jaegerjaques was sweltering. Fuck uniforms, man! It's not like his choice of clothing was going to stop a speeding bullet and save his miserable hide. Well, his standard issue kevlar vest might… But that was besides the point! Christ, it was too damn hot to even think straight.
Pushing all inconsequential thoughts aside, sharp cerulean eyes kept an eagle watch on the dusty scrapheap for a van directly in front of their own vehicle, a cold sense of foreboding churning in his gut and putting him dangerously on edge. A swift glance over his left shoulder confirmed that his brother-in-arms, Sergeant Nnoitra Gilga, felt much the same if the death grip on his ACR was any indication. Their driver, a dark skinned Australian Task Force member, seemed to have a permanent tick in his jaw, but whether that was due to the ominous aura permeating the air or the fact that he had been ordered to transport the blue-haired Captain and his subordinate around without being privy to the details of their mission Grimmjow couldn't be sure.
Heh. The perks of being a grunt-bitch, he mused.
Reaching up to wipe the sweat beading on his brow with the back of his hand, the restless Captain grimaced at the feeling of dirt and grime coalescing and spoke into his comms. "Zero, the plates are a match."
There was a hiss of static in his ear before an echoic, indiscernible accent came through in response. "Copy. Any sign'a Ichimaru's associate?"
Shaking his head out of pure habit, Grimmjow replied, "Negative. We've stopped twice already, but there's been no sign of the slippery bastard." Noticing the van pulling up on the curb outside a nondescript hotel, Grimmjow furrowed his brows and sat up a little straighter in his seat. "Wait, we're stopping again. Standby."
Their driver rolled to a stop a discreet distance behind the tail just as two armed militia stepped out of the van, approaching a third figure walking from the lobby of the hotel. Grimmjow felt his lip curl at the sight of the scrawny fuck, recognising him instantly as their target – damn thug looked no older than sixteen, for crying out loud!
"Got a positive ID on Vega," Grimmjow growled into the comms, his trigger finger developing a sudden and quite violent itch. Knowing that he had to keep his cool lest he do something incredibly stupid, he turned his attention back to the militia. "Whoever these guys are, they're not happy to see our man…"
It all happened so fast, Grimmjow barely had the time to be surprised. Within the blink of an eye, their mark whipped out a semi-automatic Desert Eagle stuffed down the back of his khakis and killed both militia at point-blank range.
"Christ – Zero, we got a situation here!" Grimmjow relayed into the mic, watching with mounting dread as the target wasted yet another gunman who tried to bolt from the back of the van before turning his sights on the four by four. "Shit, get down! Get down!"
Nnoitra cursed and dropped himself flat across the backseat, whilst Grimmjow did his best to hunker his bulky, 6'2" frame behind the dash just as the first bullet tore through the windshield with a shattering crack. Ducking his head and protecting his face, he counted four additional shots penetrating the body and interior of the car before the barrage finally ceased. The resulting shower of glass raining down on his head and shoulders he was expecting, the splashing of wet warmth against his cheek and the continuous blare of the car horn, however, he was not.
Sparing a brief glance at the now deceased driver slumped lifelessly over the steering wheel, sporting a brand new orifice smack-bang in the centre of his forehead, Grimmjow dutifully ignored the blood and brain matter decorating the dash and barrelled from the car.
It was strange; comical even, how warfare could so drastically change a man from a humble, half-blooded Scot into a hardened killing machine that didn't so much as flinch when literally spattered with death.
Keh, comical indeed.
"He's getting away, Pan!" Nnoitra barked, the man's lanky frame already several paces ahead. "C'mon, let's go!"
Scrambling to catch up, Grimmjow could feel his previous dread morphing into a heady rush of adrenaline and practically snarled into the comms, "Zero, our driver's dead! We're on foot! Meet us at the hotel Rio and cut him off if ya can!"
"Roger. Am on my way."
As Grimmjow rounded the corner he couldn't stop the vicious sneer painting his lips at the few civilian bodies scattered about. Obviously in his desperation to escape, their mark saw fit to empty a few rounds into innocent bystanders in order to create a panicked chaos. It was a good tactic, no doubt, with terrorised civvies stumbling into Grimmjow and his men left and right, but what Vega failed to take into account was that The Six-One-Five was no ordinary military unit. No obstacle was too great it couldn't be overpowered, no mountain too high it couldn't be obliterated – and with the Task Force's current objective weighing heavily on his shoulders (his heart), nothing short of a M1 Abrams was going to stop Grimmjow from attaining their goal.
Shouldering his way through the frankly piss-poor attempt at mass hysteria, the Captain kept his eyes firmly locked on the target bolting down the road some twenty yards ahead. A hefty hunk of muscle and brawn running down the opposite side of the street, preceded marginally by a much slighter figure with a hidden visage and unnaturally pale skin, caught the corner of Grimmjow's eye and his lips quirked into a razor sharp smirk. With Zero and Mad Dog hot on Vega's heels, there was no chance in hell the jammy bastard was going to slip through their fingers.
"He ran into the alley!" Mad Dog huffed out in a laboured American accent, the energetic dash proving quite the feat for his hulking frame.
Sliding across the bonnet of an abandoned car, Grimmjow darted across the deserted road to join his comrades, Zero rounding the corner to the alleyway first, followed swiftly by Nnoitra, with himself and Mad Dog bringing up their six.
"Non lethal takedowns only, lads!" Grimmjow ordered sternly. He was not going to lose this lead. "It's vital we take him alive!"
Zero may have initially taken the lead, but Sgt. Gilga didn't attain the callsign 'Mantis' for nothing, his exceptionally long legs effortlessly propelling him forward to take point around the next narrow corridor of the alley.
"I've got the cockroach in my sights," he declared in a husky Russian drawl.
"Affirmative, Mantis," Grimmjow replied, still lagging too far behind to see what was going on. "Take the shot, but aim for the leg. We need him down, not out."
"Da." A thunderous boom ricocheted off of the walls as Nnoitra fired, Grimmjow rounding the corner just in time to catch Vega crumbling to the ground with a scream of pain. "Tch…" Nnoitra sneered, slinging his rifle over his shoulder. "How anticlimactic, no?"
Grimmjow snorted, clapping his brother on the shoulder. "Don't sweat it, Nnoi. Ya'll have your massacre soon enough. I promise."
A short ten minutes and mild struggle later saw Grimmjow and Zero in a derelict warehouse, their captive, one Ggio Vega, bound and gagged to a chair haphazardly bolted to the floor. Zero, being a not-so-closeted sadist, was making a grand show of rubbing two jumper cables attached to an old car battery together, the resulting electrically charged hiss of high voltage juice and searing shower of sparks causing their mark to squirm rather beautifully in his seat.
With a malignant smirk, Grimmjow turned his attention to Nnoitra whom was waiting patiently for his next orders, the Captain silently proud of the bloodthirsty gleam to the Russian's dark eyes as he took in the sight of their helpless victim.
"This interrogation might take some time, Mantis. Take Mad Dog and regroup with the Demon and the others." Sensing Zero was eager to kick off the festivities when he induced another sizzling thrum of the cables, Grimmjow rolled his eyes and reached for the rolling shutter above his head. "Scout the area for any tangos we may have alerted. We don't need any unnecessary interruptions. Remember, this is for Vixen."
Nnoitra smirked. "Da. For Vixen."
The last thing the gangly Russian seen before the shutter concealed the Task Force Captain and Lieutenant was Zero's maniac, molten gaze and Grimmjow's predatory, toothy grin.
18 months prior…
5 years after the death of Russian ultranationalist and terrorist Barragan Louisenbairn
Lieutenant General Kensei Muguruma heaved a long-winded sigh. These days it seemed like the banes of his existence were a dime a fucking dozen, heavily outweighing the joys which were a few too far between. It seemed with each passing year the cons gained an extra mile on the pros and he had to wonder where the fuck his youth went. He really was getting too old for this shit…
"Good news first, sir?"
Ah, speaking of banes…
Resting his cheek on his fist, General Muguruma raked his gaze over the lazy lump of bones sitting across from him. Captain Coyote Starrk, callsign Papa Wolf, was undeniably one of the finest damn soldiers the silver haired superior had ever had the good fortune of working with; a former Lieutenant in the 22nd SAS Regiment, a British special forces soldier, and now senior field commander of the newly formed elite unit Task Force 615, the man was truly an unsung hero. However, looking at him now lackadaisically reclined in the genuine leather chair opposite, mud caked boots propped up on his expensive cherry wood desk with no apparent care in the world (or respect for authority), it was oftentimes hard to remember why he held the slovenly man in such high regards.
"How many times have I told you not to put any single one of your body parts on my desk? Unless you particularly want to lick it clean, I suggest you get your goddamn feet off of my property."
"Maa, but surely my drool would be so much worse than a little dirt?" Starrk countered easily, making it quite apparent that he hadn't the slightest intention of relinquishing his comfortable position. Kensei simply cut his losses with a huff and scrubbed a hand down his face in defeat. "So, the good news is; the world's in great shape. We finally rid the world of one tyrant, and another pops up in his place like a daisy in the dust."
"Or a virus in the mire," Kensei scoffed, leaning back in chair and steepling his fingers. "So, who're we looking at through the crosshairs now?"
"His name is Sosuke Aizen," Starrk muttered with no lack of malcontent. "He was one of Barragan's former Lieutenants, and is the mastermind behind the attacks against Europe. He's one sick son of a bitch, sir, with twice the support of Barragan and about ten times the crazy."
Kensei pursed his lips, his fingers interlocking beneath his chin. "Just another day at the office…"
"Mm. Gin Ichimaru," Starrk continued, stifling a yawn behind his hand in spite of the rather grim circumstances. "Aizen's right hand man and currently the most powerful SOB in the South of America. Intel's keeping a close eye on him."
With little else to do, Kensei gave a solemn nod. "And the bad news…?"
"We've got the new guy joining us today," Starrk replied with a lopsided grin and something of a cheeky gleam to his eyes, the combination instantly raising Kensei's stress levels.
"Yes, I remember you putting the request in for his transfer some months ago. Assured me that he would be 'worth the headache'." Which it really hadn't been thus far considering Starrk had left him with all of the reassignment paperwork to do… "So, Captain; who is this boy?"
"One unafraid to put his nuts in the meat grinder for Queen and Country, sir. His name's Vixen."
General Muguruma frowned, and Papa Wolf chuckled.
Sgt. Ichigo 'Vixen' Kurosaki
Task Force 615
SAS Training Grounds
"Position five, go go!"
Ichigo rushed out the makeshift door of area four of the mock-up enemy base, the issued MP5 poised and ready as he sprinted toward the crudely marked position five, the vibrant scarlet spray paint marking each section with large, circled numbers and a copious (unnecessary) amount of directional arrows.
As he entered area five, minding to step over the slight lip to the entrance after the embarrassing stumble into position three, he had but a heartbeat to gather himself before the next two sheet metal targets depicting somewhat stereotypical terrorists popped up. Gunning them down as accurately as his adrenaline saturated system would allow, he hadn't long to wait before the next instructions were hollered out over the PA system in the old aircraft hanger-turned-training-room.
"Move your ass, Kurosaki! Six, go! Toss a flashbang through the door!"
Pulling the non-lethal explosive device from his belt, Ichigo pulled the pin and pitched it through the opening before diving for cover off to the side of the doorway. Knowing firsthand just how disorientating and unpleasant the effects of a stun grenade could be, the young Sergeant had little desire to feel it's effects ever again – let alone by his own damn hand.
Stealing a precious moment after detonation to regroup, Ichigo swung around into the room, competently dispatching the two targets lurking in wait for him.
"Final position, FNG! Move move move!" came the final command, Ichigo wasting no time in barrelling through the final door and racing toward the giant red circle painted on the concrete flooring with the word FINISH scrawled above it.
Unable to stop the momentum, Ichigo skid right past the mark, dropping down to one knee as the dizzying rush took him to all new highs. Man, he hadn't felt this buzzed in years! And all from a simple CQB test, no less.
"Twenty-one point two seconds. Not bad, Sergeant." Ichigo glanced up at the man who'd been supervising him from the observation deck, his voice considerably more pleasant to listen to when not barking out orders like some rabid hellhound. "I've seen better – much better, but a good job nonetheless."
Taking the hand offered down to him, Ichigo allowed himself to be hauled back onto his feet and accepted the brotherly slug to the arm with a tentative smile. "Thanks, man."
He certainly hadn't known Second Lieutenant Shūhei 'Reaper' Hisagi for long; two, maybe three hours tops since he arrived on base earlier that afternoon, but he knew without a shadow of a doubt that he liked the man. In spite of appearances, which included cold, steely grey eyes, spiked raven hair and a gnarly, three stroke scar marring the right side of his face from hairline to chin (Shūhei didn't mention it, so Ichigo didn't ask), the man was surprisingly cordial.
With the more prominent members of The Six-One-Five currently off base on what Shūhei had described as "glorified custodian detail up North", the roguish looking Lieutenant had taken Ichigo under his wing; showing him around the barracks and mess hall, introduced him to some of the lesser members of the Task Force and managerial staff, before deciding to put the adequately dubbed "Fucking New Guy" through his paces with a few drills, some weapons training and a stint in the Close Quarters Battle arena. He claimed he wanted to see exactly what kind of mettle the newbie was made of, though Ichigo was willing to bet that his higher in command had perhaps noticed that he wasn't quite as cool and collected on the inside as he appeared to be on the outside. What better way to burn off excess tension and budding anxiety than with a rigorous workout?
Ichigo knew how inanely ridiculous it must seem. Honestly, getting nervous about the prospect of meeting his new team? That kind of bollox was reserved for rookies. He'd been in the military for seven years, for fuck's sake! Meeting new faces, acquiring new COs and moving from base to base wasn't exactly new to him anymore. Hell, with his particular skill set and expertise he'd not only raced through the ranks faster than most, but also been reassigned more than any other two men he knew combined. As silly as it sounded, he was hoping that this might be the last, that he might find something of a permanent family with The Six-One-Five, the "Best handpicked group of warriors on the planet" as General Muguruma told it.
He didn't want to be sold off to the highest bidder like some gun wielding whore anymore; he wanted stability, a band of men he could call his brothers, a place where he could finally settle down and call home sweet home.
Question was; would he find it here?
A sudden merry trill broke Ichigo from his reverie, his ochre eyes sliding over to Shūhei as he pulled a ringing mobile from the pocket of his fatigues.
"Reaper," the Lieutenant answered, listening intently to the voice on the other end. Ichigo wondered if the man was aware that he subconsciously straightened his posture, almost as if the one on the phone was standing right in from of him. Probably not. "Back already, sir? How was the assignment? Hmm. Yes. Sounds absolutely riveting, sir," Shūhei droned, the eye roll obviously implied in his tone. When he suddenly directed his focus toward Ichigo, the younger soldier had to suppress a flinch. "Yes, sir. He arrived earlier this afternoon. Mm. Yes, sir. The General, Papa Wolf and myself. Heh… Vixen." This time Ichigo really did wince. "I guess you'll find out for yourself soon enough. Roger that. We'll be there in ten, sir."
Hanging up, the Lieutenant pocketed his phone and turned fully to the noticeably anxious FNG, a wicked grin carving across his lips.
"Well, that's our cue newbie," he stated, slapping Ichigo on the back and directing him toward the jeep buggy waiting for them just outside the hanger. Grin ripping wider, he hopped into the driver's seat and waved Ichigo to join him. "Come on, Kurosaki. It's time to meet the lads."
With a stiff nod Ichigo clambered into the vehicle, his heart palpitating out of rhythm and palms lightly perspiring. For some bizarre reason, he just couldn't shift the feeling that he was being lead straight into the dragon's lair…
At the same time…
"Playing with the Big Boys"
Cpt. Grimmjow 'Pantera' Jaegerjaques
Task Force 615
Grimmjow ended the call with a grunt, tossing the brick reminiscent mobile on the table in front of him. After a bullshit mission, followed by a lengthy debrief on just how bullshit the bullshit mission was, the Captain and the rest of his team were winding down in the barrack's rec room. Kicking his feet up onto the table, ankles crossed, Grimmjow laced his fingers behind his head and swept his eyes around the room.
Chameleon and Mad Dog were at the far end of the room playing a round of darts; the ever stoic Demon was reclined on the threadbare couch reading a rather beefy novel; Bones and Guru were at the beaten up pool table, both sitting up on the green felt surface conversing rather than actually indulging in the game; Hellcat was minding her own business at the next table, leafing through some godawful (and presumably quite dated) gossip magazine; and Zero was at the window to his left, resting on the sill with one leg propped up against the pane and the other dangling over the ledge, carving god only knows what into the wooden sill with his serrated bowie knife. Coupled with the ever present skull mask covering the entire lower half of his face, it was a wonder the man didn't attain the codename 'Fucking Psycho'.
Shaking his head, Grimmjow ran a hand through his short, tussled mohawk and sighed. After that complete and utter waste of their morning, he was tired, irritable and downright pissed off. What did the fucking management take them for? A fucking dumping ground for all the bollox jobs that the other units would step over their dead grandmothers just to avoid? The Six-One-Five was a special operations force composed of elite soldiers pulled from every fucking corner of the globe, created specifically for the apprehension and/or elimination of the world's most ruthless terrorists. Now, did that sound like a crew of men you assigned to clean up after another regiment's clusterfuck? Did they look like fucking babysitters?
No, he didn't think so.
"So, the FNG is on his way, da?" Nnoitra asked from across the table, the dark haired Russian meticulously disassembling and cleaning his rifle. Grimmjow merely grunted in affirmation. "What do we know about the guy?"
"Nothing much," Grimmjow shrugged. "Other than the fact that I've been told he's 'the shit' at what he does – whatever the hell that might be – I know dick all about the kid."
"Curious…" Nnoitra commented, switching out gun parts in favour of a cigarette. "Callsign?"
At this Grimmjow had to smirk. "Vixen."
Nnoitra quirked an inquisitive brow, lit cigarette dangling from his lips as he started to reassemble his weapon. "Sounds… interesting."
Before Grimmjow could reply, the door to the rec room creaked open and Second Lieutenant Hiasgi strolled in, bringing with him a sobering gust of chilly afternoon air…
…and the FNG.
If Ichigo had been somewhat nervous before, then he was outright sweating buckets right about now as he stepped foot into the decent sized recreation room and nine pairs of scrutinising eyes immediately turned in his direction, any and all chatter dying off until it mutated into a stale and uncomfortable silence.
Resisting the compelling urge to simply turn tail and run, Ichigo swallowed thickly and put as much swagger in his step as his waning confidence would allow. Stopping up beside Shūhei, he kept his head held high and his face intentionally neutral all whilst fastidiously refraining from making eye contact with any one member in the room.
"Alright lads – and lady," Shūhei addressed those assembled, clamping a friendly hand down on Ichigo's shoulder. "This here's the newbie, Sergeant Ichigo Kurosaki, otherwise known as Vixen. Ichigo, meet Task Force 615."
Ichigo didn't quite know where to look first; at the heavily tattooed beanpole of a man currently nursing a gleaming assault rifle; at the scrawny bespectacled guy with – no shitting – pink hair; at the big breasted blonde whose cocoa skin tone and smokin' hot body positively screamed porn star; or how's about the skull-faced soldier with piercing golden eyes wielding a mean looking tactical knife? The possibilities were endless, and each one more menacing than the last.
The decision was eventually made for him, however, as a broad shouldered man sitting with his back to the door suddenly stood up and turned to face him. Ichigo's first (and crudely impulse) impression was a jumbled mass of adjectives all summarising to the same basic principle of; "holy mother of Christ he's hot", which was instantaneously followed up with; "he's going to rip me to shreds and enjoy every damn second of it". With sharp cerulean eyes set into a ruggedly handsome face complete with high cheekbones and chiselled jaw, a gloriously sculpted and war hardened body, and a shock of baby blue hair fashioned into a rumpled mohawk and shaven at the sides, this guy was all man.
Such a pity therefore that he didn't look all too enthralled to see Ichigo…
"Sergeant, this is Captain Grimmjow Jaegerjaques, callsign Pantera and your new CO," Shūhei informed him with a nod in the blunette's direction. "Go easy on him, sir. It's his first day stationed in the UK."
"Che, right," Grimmjow scoffed, crossing bulging biceps and thick forearms across his chest as that piercing gaze ran Ichigo up and down. "What the hell kind'a name is Vixen, anyway? I don't need no pansy-assed mamma's boy dragging down the rest of my team."
Ichigo scowled, falling back on his default emotion of fiery cantankerousness. "It wasn't my original choice. The name was chosen for me," he growled in response, adding a decidedly derisive "sir" as an afterthought.
Grimmjow curled his lip at the surly attitude of the FNG. Forget the kid's sunshiny tresses and devastating good looks, that sharp edge to the brat's tongue would land him in hot water and fast around here.
"Hit a sore spot, Sergeant?" Grimmjow rumbled, blatantly dropping the boy's rank to assert his own authority and clearly mark his dominance. "What's the matter? Your balls not drop far enough yet to stand on your own two feet and pick your own damn name?"
Deliberately ignoring the small audience they'd gathered, Ichigo firmly stood his ground, determined not to let the Captain's larger stature intimidate him.
"It wasn't like that," he began, his fists clenching at his sides. How many times was he going to have to tell the same goddamn story? "I was to be assigned the codename Fox because of my hair colour – astoundingly original, I know – but Overlord said it was no good. Reckoned it would cause too many complications with phonetic Foxtrot over comms. I suggested Kitsune as my new callsign, to which one of my ex-comrades suggested that Vixen would be better suiting." Ichigo could see that Grimmjow was itching to comment on that, something incredibly derogative no doubt, so he quickly ushered on before he had the chance. "Although Kitsune was officially accepted by the higher ups, I was constantly referred to as Vixen by the rest of the regiment. Eventually, to stop any further confusion over 'who the hell is Kitsune?', I adopted the callsign Vixen and have been known as such ever since. Sir."
"Wow. Your ex-buddy sounds like a total douche," Shūhei mused with a good natured chuckle.
"That's putting it mildly," Ichigo agreed tersely.
"Well Vixen," Grimmjow said, his mild Scottish brogue sneering over the name, "like it or not we're all stuck in this together. Keep your smartass comments to yourself and check your attitude at the door and we'll get along just swimmingly. As for the rest of these fuckers," he swept his arm out to include everyone else in the room, "I don't much care if ya's want to skip around holding each others hands or tear each other's throats out with your teeth – just do your fucking jobs and never let your personal shit interfere with the mission. If I so much as hear about a fucking hangnail caused by a sodding lovers tiff, I will personally serve up your ass on a silver platter. Oorah?"
"Oorah," Ichigo echoed along with several others. Grimmjow gave a pleased nod.
"Alright, fan-fucking-tastic. C'mere, noob. Allow me to introduce you to the rest of our highly dysfunctional little family."
Ichigo took a tentative step forward only to be physically manhandled the rest of the way when the Captain fisted a hand in his shirt and gave a hearty yank. Stumbling awkwardly into Grimmjow's side, Ichigo was overwhelmed with the man's natural musk; a potent mix of sun soaked skin, dewy earth and virile man.
Overlooking the undignified blunder, Grimmjow slung an arm across his new subordinate's shoulders and squeezed, leaving his other hand free to point out each of the members under his command in turn.
"Right, here we go. Pinky and Perky over there," he mentioned, pointing over toward where the pink haired man with glasses and an imposing dark skinned male sat on a pool table that had seen better days, "that's Szayel 'Bones' Granz, our General Surgeon and resident screwball. He's as raving mad as he is German. The grizzly lookin' bear beside him is Private First Class Zommari 'Guru' Leroux, originally from France and a bit of a spiritualist."
"More like a fuckin' quack," was the cackled barb from the man in the skull mask, earning the guy a dark glare from Zommari and a not so patient eye roll from the Captain.
"The path to enlightenment is often hard for the simpleminded to comprehend," Zommari commented haughtily, his hands pressed together in a way Ichigo had never before encountered.
Eyes of molten gold narrowed, and Ichigo was willing to bet the masked individual was sneering. "The path can bend over an' take it like the little bitch it is."
"Jesus, here we go again…" Szayel groaned, pinching the bridge of his nose in anticipation of the migraine he knew was imminent.
"Knock it on the head you two," Shūhei berated, a frown marring his lips. "This isn't fucking junior high. We're supposed to be setting an example here."
Zommari, taking the high and moral ground, conceded without further incident, leaving Zero to grin and chalk up his submission as a personal victory.
"Moving swiftly on," Grimmjow droned, almost like he was used to this calibre of bickering between his men. "Down the back there is Sergeant Yammy 'Mad Dog' Llargo. Unsurprisingly, there ain't a sinner alive that can take him on in close quarters. Doesn't matter if you're armed or not; the guy'll eat ya alive. The bad news is he's got a temper as wild and unpredictable as his American appetite, so let's be a good boy and watch them pretty lips, ne?" Ichigo didn't know whether to be offended as to the insinuation that he was naturally going to piss the colossal brute off, or embarrassed that his commanding officer had just referred to his lips as pretty. In the end he settled for an equal measure of both. "Next to him is Corporal Aaroniero 'Chameleon' Arruruerie, the finest damn stealth agent we have. If you need to be in and out without a trace, then Chameleon's your man. His ability to blend and deceive is so first-class, we sometimes wonder if he doesn't have other faces hidden behind the one that we see."
The Corporal seemed to take the compliment in his stride, twirling a dart between his fingers whilst Yammy snorted and smacked him upside the head with a big, beefy hand, physically reminding the younger that they had a game to finish.
"Is this going to take much longer?" a silky and distinctly feminine voice suddenly asked, drawing the attention of both Grimmjow and Ichigo to the knockout blonde. "Just because I'm contractually obligated to spend practically 24/7 with you morons does not mean I want to smell like y'all as well. I would quite like to shower some time in this century, thank you very much."
"Ah, Tia. Thanks for volunteering," Grimmjow grinned, brazenly ignoring her question. "This feisty little mare is Sergeant Tia 'Hellcat' Halibel; our Puerto Rican Princess."
"I've told you not to call me that," Tia hissed like a feral cat, her harlequin green eyes slitting in anger.
Ichigo would have shied away from the venomous tone, if not for the solid barrier around his shoulders stopping him short. Ichigo had served with many women over the years, each and every one as skilled and competent as any man – but never before had he met one with such bite before. It was like talking to 'one of the guys'. You know, if said 'guys' had an hourglass figure and killer rack.
It was at times like these that Ichigo cursed his sexuality…
"Halibel here not only provides the eye-candy we lonely soldiers so desperately require," Grimmjow went on, Ichigo silently admiring the man's stones to provoke the woman further, "she's also our pilot. Her bird is a state of the art MH-53 Pave Low dubbed 'Baby Doll', and together they'll see you out of a tight spot if ever you need it." Tilting his head down to covertly 'whisper' in Ichigo's ear, the Captain flashed a wolfish smirk. "Don't let those sloping curves and epic mammaries beguile you, soldier. Hellcat may be beautiful to look at, but it's the teeth ya got'a watch out for."
"Especially the ones in her vagina," Nnoitra pitched in with a wicked grin, earning a few chuckles around the room.
For the most part, Tia looked unfazed by the comment, leaving Ichigo to deduce that the only female member in the Task Force was constantly having her authority (not to mention gender) undermined by the predominantly male environment.
"We'll see how hard you laugh when I ram that gun so far up your ass you start hacking up bullets, fuck-tard."
Then again, it seemed like she could hold her own just fine.
Nnoitra merely barked out a laugh. "Ooh, kinky…"
"Next," Grimmjow stressed, effectively snuffing out the argument before it could begin and directing Ichigo's attention toward a man that somehow managed to make sprawling out on the couch look dignified. Perhaps it was the thick hardback book he had yet to glance away from that did the trick? Not wishing to disturb the stoic figure any more than necessary, Ichigo discreetly gave the man a cursory inspection. Dark raven hair, black varnished fingernails and bright emerald eyes all accentuated aristocratic British features whilst simultaneously making the petite man's skin look deathly pale. "Second Lieutenant Ulquiorra Cifer, codename Demon, former 22nd SAS regiment and infiltration expert. Trust me, if you know Demon's there then it's already too late. Doesn't talk much, as I'm sure you can tell. Just leave him be and he'll always have your back."
Ichigo couldn't quite repress the shiver that racked his spine when that cold, calculating emerald gaze shifted in his direction before seemingly dismissing him as inconsequential and returning to his book. Ichigo scrunched up his nose, trying (and failing) not to take offence before realising that Grimmjow had carried on without him.
"–crazy bastard right here is Sergeant Nnoitra Gilga, callsign Mantis. I'm sure you can spark two brain cells together to figure out why."
As Ichigo raked his ochre gaze over the individual in question, who was easily six-six and more limb than man, he couldn't help his scoff of, "Yeah. No shit, sir."
Grinning, Grimmjow flexed his arm around the FNG's neck. "Our Nnoi is a special breed of warrior. An ex-Spetsnaz operative who served in the Loyalist Army back home before a mutual associate suggested his talents might be put to better use here in The Six-One-Five."
Ex-Spetsnaz? Ichigo mulled, brows cocked in genuine fascination. That was an elite Special Ops group in the Russian military. Impressive. It would certainly explain the extensive tapestry of tattoos covering the entire width and breadth of the man's arms – probably his hands and chest too if Ichigo were to hazard a guess. He was about to wonder how the appropriately dubbed Mantis got away with having hair that length when the Russian suddenly carded a hand through it, revealing that the whole underside was shaven, the multitude of elastic bands hugging his wrist most likely used to sweep it up into a ponytail to better clear his vision when out in the field.
"Again, don't let appearances fool you, noob. Mantis may not be much to look at–"
"Oi!" Nnoitra growled in annoyance, spitting out a few choice words in his mother tongue that escaped Ichigo's limited knowledge of the language.
"–but he's one tough sonuvabitch. With a personality as rough and unpleasant as his grating accent, he's the last guy you want putting you on his shit list."
Ichigo inclined his head to show that he was in fact listening, though his attention had already been ensnared elsewhere; namely by an exotic molten gaze swimming in a fathomless sea of obsidian that had been boring holes into the side of his head more or less since he'd stepped foot through the door.
Noticing where the FNG's focus had wandered, Grimmjow couldn't hold back the knee-jerk reaction to pull the boy closer to his side. "Hn, I see you've already caught Zero's keen interest…"
Ichigo knew that he was staring, something his mother had always taught him not to do, but he honestly couldn't help himself. Zero… Ichigo shuddered. He didn't even know the man, and yet he could tell already just how fitting the moniker was. It was unnerving to Ichigo, someone who prided himself on being able to read others with a certain degree of finesse, that he could only see half of the man's face, everything from the bridge of his nose right down to the collar of his shirt covered by that morbid mask with its skeletal grin. Ichigo could only speculate as to what he was trying to hide. Battle scars? Horrid disfigurements?
Or was it something much deeper than aesthetics…?
"With no known first or last name, no traceable birth certificate, dental records, distinguishable accent or fucking school report card to speak of, Zero's personnel files have more black lines than censored porn; he's a fucking ghost," Grimmjow informed him with a troubled frown, clearly apprehensive that he knew so little about one of his own team. "For the purposes of transcript and official documentation he's known as Lieutenant Sierra Zulu, which is basically a fancy way of saying Subject Zero. Hence the callsign. All you need to know is that he is lethal with any given rifle at any given range… and that he's your new XO."
Ichigo balked at that. His new executive officer? The very notion filled him with something not entirely pleasant, and as he finally tore his gaze away from those darkly seductive golden orbs he couldn't help but feel like that sinister mask was laughing at him.
Christ on a bicycle. What a bloody fine first day this was turning out to be. Perhaps he was a tad bit rash in hoping that this gang of high-class reprobates was going to become his new family…
Before he could further dwell on the fact that there was no conceivable way to dig himself out of the hellhole the likes of which Task Force 615 was turning out to be – short of dishonourable discharge for popping one or more of its members square in the mouth – the door suddenly opened behind him and a welcomed face entered the room.
"Ah excellent, you're all here," Captain Starrk commented with a clap of his hands and a fond smile in Ichigo's direction. "I trust all the introductions have been made and we're all functioning as one big, happy family?"
Oh god, there was that word again; family. Karma was such a bitch.
"Aye," Grimmjow confirmed, finally dropping his arm from around Ichigo to approach the only man he'd ever looked up to. "Don't know about the 'family' part, but we're all still in one piece if that's what you're asking. For now, at least."
"That's good enough for me," Starrk replied with a noncommittal shrug. "But enough pleasure; on to business."
This immediately perked Grimmjow and the rest of the team's attention. "We got a new assignment? Already?"
Nnoitra gave a deliberately obnoxious scoff. "The General never heard of downtime?"
"Maa, downtime is a luxury, Mantis. You should know by now that such privileges aren't included in The Six-One-Five's budget." Nnoitra rolled his eyes, muttering under his breath in Russian as he set about dismantling his ACR for the third time. Starrk wanted to cocked a brow but wisely chose not to comment. "Not to worry boys, this wonderful news pertains only to the Captain and our esteemed FNG."
Grimmjow and Ichigo managed to scowl in perfect synchronicity, a most amusing sight to all who witnessed the spectacle, though it was Grimmjow alone who spoke out.
"What're we looking at? And why do I get saddled with the fucking noob solo?"
"Hey, I'm right here, asshole!" Ichigo snarled, mentally pitching a fit when the blunette gave him a pointed glare and he was forced to bite out a scathing, "Sir."
Starrk chuckled, thoroughly entertained, though instantly wished he hadn't when that cutting cerulean gaze snapped to him next.
"It's nothing too taxing," he assured whilst idly thumbing his goatee. "An ACS module from a downed satellite has fallen into enemy territory. Obviously we need you to infiltrate and retrieve it before they crack it and make use of the intelligence."
"And the FNG?" Grimmjow inquired, disregarding the indignant hiss of the feisty little hellcat beside him.
Starrk concealed a knowing grin behind his fist. "Sergeant Kurosaki may have served in the military for several years now, but he is new to the dynamics of the Task Force. I want you to show him the ropes as it were; demonstrate how we operate as an elite unit. Oorah?"
Grimmjow bore his teeth and crossed his arms, casting his gaze off to the side like a petulant child told he would get no supper. "Oorah," he grumbled.
"Wonderful," Starrk yawned, already anticipating his next long overdue siesta as he about-turned. "Wheels up at 0200, gentlemen. I suggest you get yourselves sorted out."
"Wait, sir!" Ichigo called before he could disappear, Starrk pausing midstride and turning to glance over his shoulder. "Um… you never did mention where this assignment would be taking place?"
"Didn't I?" the elder Captain inquired in a tone that implied he was all too aware of the fact. "How silly of me. It's a Russian airbase in the mountains of Kazakhstan. Have fun, boys!"
With that the man was gone, the door swinging closed with a rueful click.
"Son of a bitch!" Grimmjow roared, cerulean pools blazing. Nnoitra and Zero outright guffawed at his unfortunate predicament, whereas the others merely snickered. Even Ichigo found himself cracking a mirthful grin, to which the incensed Captain immediately directed the brunt his anger. "I don't know what you're laughing at, mate. In case you've forgotten, you're the other half of this two-man fuck-fest. Best wrap up warm and get your beauty sleep, Vixen, 'cause you're gonna need it." Grimmjow then turned his ire to the rest of the vastly amused Task Force. "As for the rest'a you lazy excuses for soldiers, get the fuck out and do something productive before I put ya all on latrine duty for the rest of the sodding month!"
That being said, the livid blunette stormed out of the room, the door slamming against the frame with enough force to rattle the pane. Ichigo noticed that in spite of the Captain's threat – one with which he had no doubt the sadistic CO would gladly follow through – the rest of the men and Tia simply went back to what they were doing before they were ever interrupted. Although Ichigo wasn't one to readily disobey orders from his superiors, he was starting to get a feel for the group mentality around here. It wasn't so much that they were being malicious, or even disrespectful, but more that they had all developed a close-knit rapport in which they were able to distinguish the difference between 'Grimmjow the proud and confident Captain', and 'Grimmjow the Snarling Beast' who was full of nothing but hot air.
A hard slap to his back broke Ichigo out of his inner musings, not to mention had him pitching forward an unbalanced step or two. Glancing over shoulder, his half-hearted scowl slowly melted away upon finding Shūhei grinning down on him.
"Welcome to the 615, Ichigo. We may not be conventional, and the pay sure is shite… but damn if it don't feel like home."
Home… Ichigo thought with a crooked smile and some very conflicted emotions. Yeah. Why not?
"We fight not so that the world will remember us, but so that there will be a world to remember."
Captain John Price.
A/N: Yes, I've been gone for a while. A long while as it so happens. Sorry, guys. (Belle! I still heart your socks!)
As y'all might be aware, writing is a serious passion of mine, that I try to indulge in whenever I find the time - but my other love will always be gaming. Hence this little gem. I went and replayed the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, and totes fell in love with all the guys again - especially one John "Soap" MacTavish. What an absolute hunk.
So yeah, I went and created mayhem with all our favourite Bleach boys; their looks, nationalities, accents... Grimmjow is Scottish, whuuuut? Unconventional, I know, and if it particularly bothers anyone then feel free to picture them any way ya please. I, for one, think that Grimmjow in the role as Soap is just... just... puuurrrrrr~ For those who want a better picture of what Grimmyums would look like here, simply look up John "Soap" MacTavish in Google images. Delicious.
Also, I realise there might be a lot of military jargon scattered throughout. Sorry if it was at all confusing. I tried to explain as I was going along, but feel free to tell me if I missed anything down the road.
Okay, so... there won't be much plot to this. For example, all that stuff with Barragan, Aizen etc you needn't pay much attention to - I absolutely cannot write a simple, straightforward story (believe me, I've tried!) and so bits and pieces of a thicker plot leaked out... But this will only concentrate on Grimmjow and Ichigo's developing relationship, finishing up at the beginning. So yeah, all other avenues of plot will remain undeveloped; they are merely there to beef up the integrity of the story. Sound good? Yeah? Okay.
All of the Bleach characters have characteristics/bios based off of the Call of Duty boys - brownie points to all who can guess who is who! Except Grimmjow, smarty pants... That's cheating.
I hope this won't be long. I don't want it to be long. I really didn't plan it to be long. I don't think I have the stamina for this to be like any of my other oneshot-turned-whenwillthiseverend?! So I'm gonna be optimistic and say this will be over in three parts... But I guess we'll see, ne?
Again, so sorry for goin' MIA. I'm always around if ever any of ya need me, but sometimes I just don't have the time/passion/will/energy to write. Other stuff goes on, and it gets put on the back burner unfortunately, but I promise I'll always come back~ Probably...
Please do enjoy if ya feel so inclined, my sweets.