Spilt Milk and Curious Cats
Spoilers – Post series Buffy, Post Soul Society arc Bleach
Disclaimer – I don’t own BtVS or Bleach
Pairing – Grimmjow/Xander
=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=Chapter 1 – Spilt Milk and Curious Cats=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=
“What a wonderful selection. Should I choose strawberry milk, something I haven’t even thought about drinking since Jesse declared it a girly-kiddie drink in third grade or should I do the stupidly-daring manly thing and drink a caffeine filled coffee-in-a-can type beverage right before trying to sleep?” Xander muttered to himself as he dug around in his pocket for loose change to feed the vending machine across the street from his motel room. “I miss normal food. Everything here has strange flavors. Shrimp flavored rice puffs… gross. What happened to classic American fake cheese flavoring? And good ol’ toxic Yellow #5?”
He was pulling his strawberry milk out of the machine when a wave of intense reiatsu swept the area, making the hair on the back of his neck tingle while his skin prickled and tightened, instinctively attempting to pull in on itself. He could feel a powerful group of arrancar nearby. He stood still and silent, straining his senses to feel out what direction the energy was coming from. This was the closest thing to a lead since he’d arrived in Karakura Town. He may not be able to do anything to fight them himself, but hopefully the local Shinigami representative would arrive and he could pump them for information… assuming they survived.
He knew there would be a Shinigami stationed somewhere nearby. There had to be, with the sheer amount of spiritual power that was casually being tossed around lately. It had started about two months ago and was giving Willow and the other spiritually sensitive members of the council stress headaches, even from half the world away. There were meetings upon heated discussions upon arguments upon squabbling like children, and finally it had been decided that something big, if not exactly pre-apocalyptic was going on in Japan, specifically in an innocuous little nowhere city called Karakura Town.
Xander had immediately volunteered to be the one dispatched to check out the situation. Despite her physical prowess, Buffy was about as spiritually sensitive as a rock, he argued, and Willow was, more than likely, going to start hemorrhaging from some sensitive places if she got any closer to the source of the disturbances. One Scooby was too oblivious, one Scooby was too in-tune, the Xander Scooby was just right. He had the ability to sense and see ghosts, courtesy of Caleb’s thumb, may it and the rest of him burn in one of the nastier hells for eternity, but wasn’t receptive enough that he was likely to be overwhelmed.
Reluctantly, and with many promises of swift vengeance should he get himself into any dangerous situations without calling for backup, his friends had tearily seen him onto a red eye flight and sent him off to the land of the rising sun. He’d been relieved for the reprieve from their constant mothering. A guy gets himself a small case of death and his friends never let him leave the house without a scarf, stake and several charms for safety again. He knew it was partially his fault for not opening up to them more. He’d been dead for over a year and a half before Willow had located his soul in an afterlife for restless spirits. He hesitated to call it a Hell dimension. Sure it wasn’t a nice place, but he hadn’t been brutally tortured Angel-style like the girls seemed to think he had been. He was ever the protector of the ones he loved though, and he allowed them to believe whatever they wanted. He would kill himself again, painfully and with a rusty spork, before revealing to his dearest friends that he might have preferred to stay dead, had they found a way to give him the choice.
After Buffy’s rather un-triumphant return to the mortal coil and the tragedy that was Tara’s death, Willow had sworn to every deity she knew, and a few he was pretty sure she’d picked up from fantasy novels, that she would only ever revive someone who was incontrovertibly (her word, not his) and clearly suffering in whatever afterlife they’d landed themselves in. Anyone who was RIP-ing or blissing out in nirvana she would leave alone, no matter how much she was grieving and emotionally lost without them. It was ironic that he had been so upset with Buffy over hiding her post-resurrection angst and here he was doing nearly the same thing. He wasn’t lying to his friends, they really had pulled him out of a dimension full of dark spirits, blood and violence, but he had been… happy there- or reasonably content anyways. He was pretty sure his years on the Hellmouth had skewed his perception of what constituted happiness. It wasn’t like he was rocking the serious post traumatic stress that Buffy had, being back in the living world wasn’t painful or anything, it just wasn’t really where he felt like he should be. It wasn’t home anymore.
So, he supposed his friends were reasonably justified in their wigging when he had developed a sort of fascination for all things death and dead. Not the vamp kind of dead, but the ghosts, death omens and spiritual residues that created hauntings. He jumped on every chance to research and investigate any case relating to spirits. In their eyes, he was probably getting downright morbidly obsessed in his fixation, which explained the reluctance to send him so far out of their reach and into an unknown situation, despite his enthusiasm for the assignment.
As he concentrated he could feel maybe half a dozen separate hollow spirits in the overwhelming mass of reiatsu. Whatever signal they had been waiting for must have been sent, because the team huddle broke apart as five power signals shot into the city leaving a much stronger sixth in the sky watching over everything. One of the arrancar was coming straight for him. No, it quickly passed him by and continued to another point several blocks away. Xander abandoned his drink and ran towards that distinctive stinging reiatsu individual to Arrancar that seemed to lash out at the very air. He was gone down an alley at the end of the street before the milk even started to empty out of the overturned bottle.
Xander leapt slightly less than gracefully over garden walls and narrowly dodged telephone poles as he raced towards his destination. As he ran, his focus was more on the power swirling around him than on his feet or route. There were a surprising number of Shinigami forces responding to the Arrancar threat. Something important must be happening in Soul Society for them to have such overwhelming representation in the living world. Had they known the Arrancar would attack tonight?
He was little more than a street away when the ambient temperature of the air around him suddenly dropped, drawing his attention back to the world outside his head. Xander shivered slightly as his breath started puffing in white clouds from his mouth. He arrived on the scene to see a young looking, black haired Shinigami woman fighting a football-helmeted arrancar with a creepy smile, while another Shinigami wrestled on the ground with an identical woman in a school uniform. –Gigai-
he remembered. The Shinigami needed false bodies to wear when they entered the living world, or they would be unable to interact with the humans.
As he watched from the shadows of yet another garden wall, Seriously what was it with the Japanese and walls, what happened to having a nice picket fence?-
the young woman spun her pure white Zanpakuto, trailing a long arc of white ribbon gracefully.
“Whirl, Sode no Shirayuki. First dance, White Moon.” The Arrancar didn’t even have time to react as she fell into the final stance of her attack behind him, sword arm held out to the side as the ribbon fluttered around her, following the path of the near instant swing of her sword that had gone so quickly it was invisible.
“Wha…” Ice sprung from the pavement in a large circle around her and crackled at the Arrancar’s feet, climbing his legs at an astonishing speed. “What… the hell is going on here? You?”
He jumped as high as he could and hung there in the sky, shaking off the ice and glaring down at the Shinigami woman. “Damn it. You little bitch of a Shinigami. Let’s see how you fare when I’m up here. You won’t be able to do much now with a sword that just freezes the land.”
“DIE!” He tore off the bandages covering the left side of his helmet, charging a cero from the eye socket underneath, but the woman didn’t react.
“What a shame.” She watched as the ice continued climbing, reaching off into the vast eternity of the night sky as it froze solid in one long column of ice, trapping the Arrancar mid cero. “Sode no Shirayuki is not a sword that only freezes the land. Everything within its circle of influence, be it heaven or earth, will fall under its icy grasp.”
As she spoke the column fractured and the ice shattered and dissolved, taking the defeated Arrancar with it. With an elegant and well practiced flourish of her wrist the Shinigami woman sheathed her sword and returned to her companion, who was being held down in a painful looking arm-lock by her gigai.
“Ow, ow, ow… OUCH!” The redheaded teen struggled with the gigai in futility as she held him down.
“Oh hush, pyon! If you weren’t so stubborn I wouldn’t have to use force, pyon!” His only reward for his efforts was a tightened grip and an audible grinding in his wrist, elbow and shoulder as the bones creaked under her assault.
“Shut up with that ‘Pyon, pyon’! It’s really starting to get on my nerves. Let go of me you moron.”
“What are you two doing?”
At the woman’s oblivious comment, Xander couldn’t take it anymore and burst out laughing, stepping out of the shadows dramatically in an entrance that would have made Angel and Spike jealous and making all three go silent and stare at him suspiciously. Xander started clapping, applauding the girl’s impressively decisive win. “That was very entertaining. Action, adventure and comedy all in one show.”
“Who are you, pyon?”
“You can see us?”
“How long have you been watching us?”
The questions were asked simultaneously and he held up a hand in a gesture of peaceful surrender as he answered. “I’m Xander. Yes, I can see you- and I only saw the bit after she introduced her Zanpakuto.”
“Why are you here?” As the Shinigami woman approached him he noticed just how short she really was, it didn’t lessen her intimidation factor at all, but it made her kinda cute. In the same way Buffy was cute, from a distance… and only while she was in a good mood.
“Ah, ah.” He waggled a finger at her disapprovingly. “It’s rude not to introduce yourself before you start making demands of people.”
“My apologies, I am Rukia Kuchiki, 5th seat of the 13th Division of Soul Society’s Gotei 13.” She didn’t look very embarrassed or apologetic, introducing herself mechanically.
“I’m Ichigo Kurosaki, living Shinigami representative for Karakura Town.” A living Shinigami? Interesting. Xander made a mental note to ask what the full story behind that one was.
“I’m Chappy, proud Gikongan of Lady Rukia Kuchiki, 5th seat of the 13th Division of Soul Society’s Gotei 13, wielder of one of the most beautiful ice and snow type Zanpakuto in Soul Society, the pure white Sode no Shirayuki.”
“She just introduced herself, you idiot. She doesn’t need you repeating her and bragging about her sword, you stupid fangirl.” Ichigo yelled as he wriggled under the gigai, making her strengthen her grip again with a crunching noise. He writhed some more, this time in pain rather than any intent to escape. “Argh! My arm, my arm, you’re breaking it! Get off me, you little freak!”
“Your arm is making funny noises, pyon!” Chappy seemed totally oblivious to the suffering she was causing, and Rukia didn’t look like she was thinking of stepping in anytime soon.
“O—kay? Whatever. I’m not here to fight anyone. I’m just here investigating the strong spiritual waves you’ve been putting out. Soul Society’s usually pretty good at masking its activities, so you can imagine the concern you’ve caused when huge waves of Reiatsu so big they can be felt in Europe started flowing out of here. It’s freaking people out. Sensitives all over the world are wondering what you’ve been up to.”
“Not that it’s any of your business, human, but we’re at war. It would be to your benefit to stay out of it.” Rukia responded briskly. Xander could swear that she was restraining the urge to sniff disdainfully and stick her nose in the air. She must be from one of Seireitei’s noble families, or at least have been born in Soul Society if she had such a bad opinion of humans. But if that were true why was she hanging out with a human Shinigami? Maybe she was just cold to strangers; he’d seen enough defensively aloof people in his life to recognize the signs.
Then the full weight of her words hit him, and stopped his psychoanalyst musings short. “War? With who? The hollows don’t have enough organization to form any type of united front.”
Her response was interrupted when a crushingly powerful reiatsu descended on them and a mocking voice that sounded achingly familiar to Xander, spoke from the sky. “Oi! What the hell? You killed Dei Roy and just decided to stand around? You’ll regret not escaping when you had the chance. Now, I get to kill you all. I am the Sexta Espada, Grimmjow. Remember that as you die on my sword, Shinigamis.”
An Arrancar with electric blue hair and eyes glared down on them from twenty feet up with a wild look in his eyes and a cruel smirk as he introduced himself. His short jacket was swept wide open, snapping against the waves of power he exuded, bearing his chest and the large hollow hole bored straight through his abs. His mask fragment took the shape of a section of jaw on his cheek, adorned with sharp looking fangs. There was no way those could ever be confused with human teeth; they were built for cruelty and violence, just like the rest of him.
Rukia and Ichigo were shocked into immobility with his sheer power. The other arrancar had been strong, but this power was incredible. Was this the full strength of the Espada? How could even Soul Society’s captains hope to stand against a collected force of ten Espada? It was too early for Aizen to be moving; they were supposed to have more time. It was too soon, they weren’t ready. But even with an eternity of preparation… A sense of despair descended on the Shinigami. How were they going to survive this war? How could they hope to win?
Grimmjow had his hands buried casually in his pockets and grinned almost charmingly at them, a vindictively knowing look in his eyes as he took in their reactions. He casually allowed himself to float down to the street, alighting gently and obviously reveling in his awe inspiring entrance.
Xander was also frozen, but he was transfixed with the sight and strength of the man in front of him for his own reasons, separate from the Shinigami’s concerns. The sheer power was enough to make the blood in his veins feel like thick sludge, inching along slowly as a heavy weight settled in his chest and gut, making normal breathing near impossible, but what really got to him was the emotional shock. The Arrancar’s reiatsu was exponentially larger, tearing at his hair and clothes, but still felt like the same soothing brush against his skin he’d experienced before. The teal hair and strong facial features were physically very different from the adjuchas-class panther menos he had known, but those eyes and that voice… not to mention the attitude, they were exactly the same. If it weren’t already obvious, his grandiose introduction would have confirmed it.
“Grimmjow…” The name escaped him breathlessly like a prayer.
“You’ve heard of me then? Hah, what an honor. You, I’ll kill cleanly, human.” Childish arrogance colored the Arrancar’s words. He hadn’t changed at all. He was still exactly the same smug overbearing asshole he’d always been, and Xander couldn’t have been happier to see him. Even with the death threats- they were just a part of the Grimmjow experience after all.
“Xander, you know him?” Ichigo questioned.
“Xander?” He was immediately pierced with those icy blue eyes as they bore into him searchingly. The arrancar dropped his guard in surprise and Ichigo immediately pressed his luck and tried to take advantage of the opening. He swung at Grimmjow’s unprotected side but his Zanpakuto was casually deflected with nothing but the back of the Espada’s hand. He ignored the attacking Shinigami representative, sending him careening down the street and through a brick wall with a flick of his wrist. Grimmjow’s attention was focused fully on Xander, eyes never leaving his face.
“Um, Hey. It’s been a while. Congrats on the promotion.” He stumbled awkwardly through the greeting, feeling his face argue with itself over whether to flush or go pale and settle on some awkward combination. After getting raised from the dead and ‘rescued’ from Hueco Mundo, he had never really planned on ever seeing Grimmjow again. He had hoped and dreamed and wished, but never really thought it would happen. Now that it had, he had gone into total mental lockdown and didn’t know how to react. His thought process was stuck, repeating that name over and over in an endless litany. -grimmjowgrimmjowgrimmjow… HE’S HERE!-
With a quick sonido step Grimmjow vanished and reappeared inches from Xander’s face. He’s taller than me-
The human noted idly as those endlessly blue eyes shone with disbelief and examined him closely. The former cat leaned in close to Xander’s vulnerable throat and inhaled deeply. The brunette could feel the cold bone teeth of the mask fragment brush against his cheek, making him shiver. He was suddenly very aware of the fact that he was human again, and no match for Grimmjow. Hell, he was a natural food group for Grimmjow now, not that he hadn’t been when he was a spirit, what with the cannibalistic nature of hollows, but at least then he could have protected himself. Xander’s wide eyes met Ichigo’s incredulous ones over the spiked teal hair as the teen climbed out of the rubble.
“It is you.” He heard murmured in his ear. Grimmjow took one last long breath of his scent and stepped back, meeting his eyes once more, this time with joy instead of shock or doubt. It softened his scowl and smoothed the furrowed brow making the arrancar seem younger and far more innocent than he really was.
“You’re alive? Ha-ha! You’re alive!” Grimmjow grabbed Xander by the waist and tugged him up off of his feet, smashing their chests together (and knocking the breath out of the brunette) as he spun the human around, laughing happily, if a little maniacally. It was a scene straight out of a romantic comedy, assuming anyone ever wrote one about psychotic, sadistic fiends. “Wait… You’re alive!?”
Grimmjow’s face fell into horrified confusion as he realized that the Xander he held in his arms was in human form, without any visible mask fragment. Xander opened his mouth to say something straight from his brain, his brain-mouth filter had seriously disengaged by this point, but before he could spit out something incredibly inane and clichéd--
“What a touching reunion, Pyon!” The gigai spoke up from behind them, ruining the moment. She was crying heavily and dabbing at her eyes with a tissue. Rukia and Ichigo stood next to her, obviously totally baffled about exactly what was going on. Both had their Zanpakuto in hand, but seemed to have forgotten about them as they drooped out of guard position, leaving the Shinigami woefully unprepared for attack. They practically radiated confusion.
Grimmjow growled at their audience. “‘Tch, I don’t have time for this. I’ll kill you later, Shinigamis.”
He casually slung Xander over his shoulder, ignoring the outraged squawk, and took off, flaring his reiatsu in a retreat signal to his Fraccion. As he stepped into his garganta, he turned around and called back at Ichigo. “Make sure you don’t forget my name, and pray that you never hear it again. Grimmjow Jeagerjaques. The next time you hear that name will be your last, Shinigamis. Till then don’t let anyone else get you.”
“Grimmjow, you asshole! Put me down! I’m not letting you kidnap me like this!” Xander kicked and thrashed ineffectually at the Sixth as the garganta closed.
“’Che. I’d like to see you stop me.”
Rukia and Ichigo exchanged an astonished look as the garganta snapped shut behind the Arrancar and his hostage as Chappy sniffled and mumbled some nonsense about emotional scenes.
Yes, I’m starting ANOTHER new fic. I’m not abandoning anything; my muse just has severe ADD. This one probably won’t turn out to be as epically huge as most of my stuff wants to be. FFN (Lightning_Skies), Twisting the Hellmouth (LightningSkies)
Author has given no other permissions.
3,529 Words - 6 Pages - 01/10/