A Distinct Lack of Bullrushes by Weaver
Disclaimer: BtVS isn't mine, Bleach isn't mine, Halloween World isn't mine.North-West Nevada, 4th March 2002
In a largely neglected corner of what was once Nevada and was now starting to be known as the Sin States, a tearing, crackling sound filled the air. The sound stopped as the cause paused for a moment, revealing it to be a short, slender young man with flyaway yellow-blond hair under a skull-like helmet and gray ‘bandit-mask’ facial markings. His species was glaringly obvious, especially to the inhabitants of the nightmare that the world had become after October 31st 1997, but oddly he wasn’t clad in the usual white garb of his kind. The blue uniform he wore in its stead identified him as a member of one of the numerous mercenary outfits that had formed after the Event, one which had felt the need for a visual proclamation of their rejection of their kind’s creator and those who still followed him. If nothing else it cut down on the number of pointless fights with overenthusiastic shinigami who refused to listen.
The individual who’d once gone by the name Cyrus Guthrie and was now known, by those outside his de facto family anyway, as Arfoz Kuri, scanned the surrounding land. The escort mission his group had been hired for was proving to be surprisingly uneventful. Apart from a handful of low class Hollows and a pair of unidentified monsters – all of which were easily dealt with- they hadn’t encountered any trouble. In fact things were so dead that when they’d sensed something strange some distance from the caravan they were guarding, their leader had decided it was safe enough to risk sending someone to check it out. Arfoz was one of the group’s best when it came to sonido and he’d often acted as a scout over the last four and a half year, so he’d been the logical choice for the task. Unfortunately shortly after he’d left, whatever it was that they’d sensed had disappeared, leaving him with only the vaguest ideas as to where to look. All around him was wasteland, the already barren landscape having been further ravaged by the fire showers. Sighing, he was about to give up and go back to the others when he heard a distant cry. With a crackle of sonido, he ran towards it.
In a gully about half a mile from his previous location, he found another one of the unidentified horrors that they’d encountered earlier chowing down on the corpse of a man. The creature was wounded and another of its kind lay dead nearby, so whoever he was he’d put up a good fight before he died. The thing that had killed him was so intent on its meal that it didn’t even notice the blond until he’d separated its head from the rest of it.
Head and body hit the ground with separate, but more or less equally meaty-sounding thumps. Arfoz regarded the mangled body of the man with a grimace, but still with far more indifference then he would’ve done four years ago, before walking towards the source of the noise. Lying on the ground, miraculously overlooked by the predators, was a baby in a green romper suit, wrapped in a blanket and, unsurprisingly, screaming its lungs out. Wincing at the noise, Cyrus scooped it up, reigning in his reiatsu so as not to hurt it.
“Hey now, what are you making all that noise for? You’ll attract all kinds of nasties if you keep it up.”
Cradling the infant, which he’d decided was probably a boy judging by the green romper, somewhat awkwardly, he wondered what him and the man were doing out in the middle of nowhere. Everyone knew that you took your life into your own hands every time you left the relative safety of a colony, to do so on foot and with an infant was an act of insanity of mind-boggling proportions. Glancing back at the body, he shook his head. There was definitely more then there seemed to the situation, but now wasn’t the time to work out what, even for an Arrancar, albeit one largely ruled by the original personality, the wastes were a dangerous place.
Meanwhile, whether it was because he found the Arrancar’s presence comforting or because he was just all cried out, the baby had quieted down and was now gazing up as his saviour curiously. Said saviour adjusted his hold on the bundle in his arms so that it was more secure. His ‘family’ included five humans, family members of some of the Arrancar who’d chosen to stay with them, and he’d had to help carry them while making a super-sonic run for it numerous times, so he knew that it was safe as long as he was careful and didn’t drop him. He’d take him back to the caravan and when they got to their destination they could sort out who the kid belonged to or leave him with the authorities. Another thought occurred to him, thanks to a couple of Valentine events, a few members of his family had become parents; the newest additions were about the same age as the baby he was holding. One more wouldn’t make much difference; if he didn’t have any family then maybe they could keep him. He shook his head at the idea; Lugo probably wouldn’t go for it.
“Okay little guy, here we go.”
The sound of sonido filled the air.
A/N: No prizes for guessing who the kid is. I saw one of my old challenges and got inspired. *shrug*