melredcap: Cute chibi sketch of me by Asuka (Default)
[personal profile] melredcap
Fight or Foreplay part 6: Make It Look Good

Continuing the completely and totally INSANE Bleach silly fic, by Mel and Christy. Now with actual plot!
(Kenpachi + Ichigo + Grimmjow, Ulquiorra + Orihime, AU, OOC, language, moderately crackfic)



“I want you to kidnap Inoue Orihime and bring her here.”

“Certainly, Aizen-sama,” Ulquiorra responded after a long, slow blink. “Do you have any particular requirements as to timing or method?”

Aizen waved one hand lazily, smiling. “Within the next couple of days, and with as little fuss as possible. I would greatly prefer it if you could make it appear as if she has left of her own free will, although--” His smile widened, faintly taunting. “--I realise that may be difficult.”

Ulquiorra blinked again, thinking fast. Aimed at Grimmjow or Szayel, that would make them determined to prove they could do whatever ‘difficult’ task he suggested, part of his mind mused as the rest worked quickly through the problem of how to come up with an escape plan that would work within two days. Aimed at myself or Starrk… we see it for what it is. Manipulation. He doesn’t understand us as well as he thinks he does.

The thought was calming.

“It should be easy enough, given her personality,” he said flatly. “A simple threat to someone else will probably produce complete cooperation. The only difficulty will be catching her when she is out of energy sensing range of any Shinigami in the area.”

Grimmjow was practically vibrating in his seat, but Ulquiorra didn’t dare kick him or give any other signal to restrain himself; anything obvious enough for the panther Arrancar to work out what he meant would be as bad as standing on the table and yelling at the top of his lungs. Gin turned towards him and grinned slyly. “Y’look pretty keyed up there, Grimmjow. Sure you’re okay?”

“We’re actually gonna get to do something?!” Grimmjow asked, grinning. His eyes were a little wide, but there were enough teeth showing to convince anyone of his enthusiasm. “Damn straight I’m okay! It’s about time!”

“You and Starrk can be a distraction, if you like,” Ulquiorra suggested in a bored voice, and saw his grin widen before turning to Harribel. “Harribel, your Fraccion would be very useful for identifying the right moment to confront Inoue. If Aizen-sama has no objection--” He glanced towards the head of the table, got a nod of assent, and continued. “--we could discuss tactics after the meeting.”

“Why her Fraccion?” Szayel asked suspiciously. Ulquiorra didn’t even bother to glance at him.

“Unlike yours, they understand the concept of ‘stealth’.”

- - - - -

After the meeting broke up, Aizen dismissing them all to their appointed tasks, Harribel joined Ulquiorra, Grimmjow, and Starrk in an apparently-casual stroll to a quiet corner outside Las Noches’ walls.

“How long can your Fraccion operate in Karakura without being detected by patrolling Shinigami?” Ulquiorra began, glancing around.

Harribel shrugged, watching him carefully. “Barring bad luck? Indefinitely. Kurosaki and his friends put out enough uncontrolled energy that nobody can reliably track anyone who’s being careful. So long as they don’t keep opening Gargantas to come back here – which they won’t – and they don’t start eating random passers-by – which they won’t – they should go undetected unless somebody literally walks into them.”

“I thought so. I haven’t had much opportunity to observe them, but what I have seen led me to believe that they have at least a minimum of common sense… unlike others. Grimmjow?”

Grimmjow snarled and jumped, pouncing behind the rock Ulquiorra had indicated with one finger, and there was a frantic squealing sound as Lumina and Verona scuttled away. “Piss off!” he roared after them, half-charging a Cero and then letting it dissipate with a discontented growl as they disappeared into a ravine. “Go tell Szayel to find someone else to stalk!”

“He doesn’t seem to have bugged us otherwise,” Starrk remarked, sitting down with a sigh and leaning back, eyes closed. “Maybe he hoped that’d make us think he’d given up, and not look around enough to find his Fraccion?”

“Maybe he took me seriously when I told him I’d kill him,” Ulquiorra said, and turned back to Harribel. “We intend to leave and join the Shinigami against Aizen,” he said bluntly. “Will you come with us?”

Grimmjow squawked. “What– you– fuck, Ulquiorra, aren’t you supposed to be the subtle one?!” Even Starrk opened one eye to look at him, appearing mildly surprised.

“There is nothing to be gained by delay at this point. Well?”

Harribel was eyeing Ulquiorra with obvious interest. “You wouldn’t be asking if you weren’t sure of the answer. What makes you so certain I’m on your side?”

“Nelliel.”

Harribel stiffened, and Starrk opened both eyes. “What’s she got to do with this? She vanished–”

“Nnoitra ambushed her with Szayel’s help,” Ulquiorra told him, eyes still locked on Harribel’s. “He didn’t manage to kill her, but she was… significantly reduced in power. Harribel has been–”

“We’re friends,” she bit out, voice low.

“–visiting her,” Ulquiorra finished. “By Aizen’s reasoning, Nelliel was beaten – never mind the method – and therefore she is obsolete. Discarded. Nnoitra and Szayel are still useful to him, so he will support them.”

“They never would have beaten her in a fair fight.”

“Aizen doesn’t believe in fair fights.”

“No.” She laughed bitterly, the sound slightly muffled by her high collar. “He doesn’t. Even when he doesn’t need to fight dirty, he’ll do it by choice. Szayel and Nnoitra are just his style.”

Ulquiorra nodded. “Nor does he value loyalty, except when it’s directed towards him. The moment we are no longer useful to him, or he sees an advantage to be gained by sacrificing us, he will do so without a second thought. As you saw with Nelliel, he won’t punish anyone for harming one of his followers, or avenge them, no matter what they’ve done for him in the past. You’re intelligent enough to see that, and personally invested in Nelliel’s fate… which is why I think you would like to be on our side. Will you come with us?”

Harribel crossed her arms, almost hugging herself. “…On one condition.”

“Name it.”

“Nel – Nelliel – comes too.”

“Agreed.”

She let out a long breath, almost a sigh. “I hope you’ve got a plan.”

* * * * *

There was a faint sound further down the corridor, fabric brushing against the wall, a foot scuffing slightly against the floor, and Tousen spun to face that direction, one hand on his sword hilt. “Who’s there?!”

“Tousen-sama. Aizen-sama. Good evening.”

“Ah, Ulquiorra,” Aizen said affably, one hand lightly touching Tousen’s shoulder, signaling him to relax. “Were you looking for me?”

“Yes.” A pale form stepped forwards out of the shadows, green eyes bright in his expressionless face. “We’re about to leave for the living world; I thought I’d check to see if you had any further orders before we go.”

“You’re collecting Inoue?”

Ulquiorra nodded, and Aizen smiled.

“Excellent. No, no further orders; just report directly to me once you have her. I’ve got a job for her to do.” His smile thinned, turning cruel. “I might need you to help me convince her to accept it, though.”

The Espada shrugged one shoulder slightly and vanished without another word, fading back into the shadows as if he’d never been there. Aizen looked after him for a moment, drumming his fingers on his swordhilt, then nodded to himself.

“If he’s fetching Inoue now, I’ll wait until later to ‘adjust’ Wonderweiss,” he said thoughtfully to Tousen, turning back the way they had come. “If I modify him after she’s removed the flaw from the Hougyoku, he’ll be able to contain Yamamoto’s sword for longer.”

Tousen frowned. “You don’t need him to last long.”

“No, but it’ll be nice to have a little extra time just in case…” Their voices faded as they turned a corner, echoes garbling them into unintelligibility, and the glowing panels in the ceiling dimmed.

Somewhere in the darkness, a lock clicked.

* * * * *

Ichigo stood on a roof staring out over Karakura and frowned, absent-mindedly rubbing one hand through his spiky orange hair.

It’s only been three days since the last time Grimmjow and the others came over for a match. Nothing else has happened, and I’m pretty sure they would have done something to warn us if Aizen was about to attack… I mean, if they could. I’m sure they’d be able to manage something. Okay, not Grimmjow, if he had to evade surveillance or whatever he’d be kind of at a loss, but Starrk and Sadface – uh, Ulquiorra – seem pretty smart, and I mean, they sent Lilynette with a note once, they’d manage to pull something off…

…if they tried. His frown deepened. We’re… kinda friends now? Maybe? They would try to warn us, right?

“Hey Ichigo,” Grimmjow said right behind him, and he spun around with a grin on his face and relief in his heart just in time to get a low-powered Cero in the face.

* * * * *

“So it’s not on tonight either?”

Rukia shook her head, looking up at Renji from her position seated on the parapet of a bridge, feet swinging over the long drop to the water below. “No, Ichigo says he’s not interested if half the schedule is off.”

“In other words, if he can’t play with Grimmjow he doesn’t want to play with Kenpachi,” Renji said dryly, squatting on his heels next to her. “Damn. Zaraki-taichou’s going to be pissed when I tell him.”

“So tell one of his seated officers and let them pass the word. Or tell Yachiru.”

“Heck no, if I tell her she’ll be pissed!”

Rukia snorted, drawing up one knee to rest her arms on. “Coward.”

“Sensible,” Renji retorted, rolling his eyes.

They fell silent for a few minutes, watching the water below, before Renji sighed. “Think they’re ever going to come back?”

“One way or another, definitely,” Rukia said darkly, and he groaned.

“You know what I meant! For the matches, not for– for–”

“I know what you meant. How should I know?” She paused, biting at her lip, and sighed. “I hope so. I think they will, if they can, but…”

“Yeah. If.” Renji scowled, shoving his sunglasses further up onto his forehead. “Wonder how long it’ll be before we find out.”

There was the faintest warning flicker of reiatsu, a flutter of air, and Starrk and Lilynette flashed into view on either side of them.

“Yo,” Lilynette said calmly, raising her sword over Rukia’s head.

“Duck,” Starrk suggested, swinging his down at Renji.

* * * * *

Ulquiorra hesitated for a bare fraction of a second, then lifted one hand and knocked quietly on the door. There was a squeak and pattering footsteps from within, a series of clicks and rattles, and then the door was flung open by a beaming Inoue Orihime.

“Tatsuki-chan! You’re early! I was just– oh! Cifer-kun?”

“May we come in?”

“Certainly!” she said without hesitation, then blinked as the ‘we’ registered. “Is Jaegerjaques-kun with you–?”

“No. This is Tier Harribel,” Ulquiorra said, stepping inside. Harribel followed, closing the door behind her and leaning against it, arms folded.

“I’m Inoue Orihime. Pleased to meet you,” Orihime said cheerfully, dipping into a curtsey.

“…Likewise,” Harribel said after a moment, eyebrows rising.

“I’m so glad you’re okay!” the human girl went on happily, turning back to Ulquiorra. “Everyone’s been worried, even Zaraki-san. Well, he won’t say it, you know how he is, but he’s been grumbling the way he does when he’s trying to act mad but he’s really worried. Is everything all right now?”

“…No. We…” He faltered, unable to continue for a moment. Why? I planned this, I know what to do– “…I… need to kidnap you.” He’d intended to say more, explain, blunt words to hammer home the need for her to obey, but the words seemed to rise up and choke him.

“All right.”

Harribel sputtered with badly-suppressed laughter as Orihime straightened up, chin lifting, expression determined. “Really?! You’re just going to go along with this?!”

“If Cifer-kun says that’s what he needs to do,” Orihime said simply. “Do I have time to pack?”

“No,” he managed, and she nodded, moving quickly to the low table and grabbing a notepad sitting there.

“Okay. Just a second… ” She wrote quickly, then dropped the pen and joined Harribel by the door, tugging on a pair of sneakers and picking up her shoulder bag. “Done! Where are we going?”

“…Not far.”

* * * * *

“What the hell–?!”

Picking himself up out of the wreckage of the wall the Cero had blown him into and through, Ichigo looked up just in time to flip out of the way as Grimmjow barreled at him fist-first, grinning maniacally. The Arrancar smacked down in the rubble hard enough to rattle windows for blocks around, springing back without a pause and tackling Ichigo, one hand wrapped around his wrist preventing him from drawing Zangetsu, the other smacking into his face and driving him head-first into the next wall.

“Fuck– Grimmjow! What the fuck do you think– OW!”

“Make it look good,” Grimmjow said in his ear, grin fixed and eyes too wide and wild. “I ain’t trying to kill you, honest, but we gotta make this look good!”

Ichigo planted one foot in Grimmjow’s stomach and kicked, flipping the Arrancar over his head and – accidentally, but luckily – into a small park, deserted at this hour of night. Right. Something’s up, we’re probably being watched, and everything’s got to look right… heh. His eyes narrowed, and he started to grin himself as he plunged after his opponent, Zangetsu out and ready. Well, it’s not like we haven’t had practice lately at fighting seriously without actually killing each other!

He struck, Grimmjow dodged, Ichigo ducked the counterattack, and they were back to sparring as if they’d never stopped, as if he’d never had to wonder if his opponent – his friend – was ever coming back.

* * * * *

“Just hit me as hard as you can, and I’ll pull my shots,” Starrk suggested, and Renji’s hair seemed to bristle as he scowled.

“Are you calling me weak?!”

Starrk shrugged. “I’m saying that this has to look good, and I don’t think you can pull your shots without it showing.”

Renji froze, eyes widening. “Look good?”

Starrk flickered again, reappearing right behind him. “We’re being watched,” he murmured, before kicking Renji across the river and into the trees below; he watched the Shinigami’s flight intently, relaxing slightly when it became apparent he’d landed unhurt. “Lilynette! Can you handle yours?”

An undignified snort was his only response, and he smiled as he leapt after his opponent.

“You think you can handle me?” Rukia asked in an even voice, and Lilynette rolled her eyes.

“Well duh.”

“Sode no Shirayuki,” Rukia said calmly, spinning her sword in front of her. “Dance.”

Freezing-cold air blasted out around her, and Lilynette jumped backwards, yelping and slapping frost off her legs.

“How about you just hit me as hard as you can, and I’ll pull my shots?” Rukia suggested, and Lilynette scowled.

Date: 2014-04-21 02:56 pm (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
*spends a little while shrieking with laughter*

Okay, I love how Ulquiorra is totally, totally, /not/ the subtle one once he gets going. And how freaking adorable Ichigo is when he gets all sentimental (and of /course/ he says it with swords, good grief they deserve each other so very much).

But my favorite moment in the whole thing is unquestionably Rukia. *hearts all over her*

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