For: mysocalledhell in the chat_exchange
Prompt: watching clouds float overhead (wanted introspection)
Word Count: 1026
Rating: PG-13 for language
Warnings: spoilers for Hueco Mundo arc
Summary: Grimmjow has a moment of contemplation while lying on the sands of Hueco Mundo
Disclaimers: I don't own Bleach. It's all fictional, really.
And uhm... sorry mysocalledhell... I couldn't figure out any other way to get Grimmjow to lie down to watch clouds... *laughter* And, uhm... yes, this is why I couldn't ask you to beta this. It's unbeta'ed and all the mistakes are my own.
Grimmjow lay on the sands of Hueco Mundo, after the shock of Nnoitra's attack from behind. He'd been barely able to stand up; only the adrenaline of trying his hardest to get killed by Ichigo had gotten him up. And to his astonishment, Ichigo had not only spared him, but Ichigo had blocked Nnoitra's killing blow.
"I can't believe what I'm seeing, Grimmjow!! Huh?! You actually lost.... and now you're letting your enemy protect you!" Nnoitra screeched.
Grimmjow couldn't answer.
He had no words for what was happening. How it was happening. He was supposed to be dead, devoured, and eaten, taken into his enemy's soul body and used, not... protected. Something twisted inside him at the very thought. He was supposed to be the king. He was supposed to be the one that won, not some condescending, human boy.
He wasn't sure why he'd had the girl heal both of them, at first. The argument that they could then both fight on the same level had sounded appealing; but that first action of saving and stealing the girl still confused him, baffled him. There was something that gnawed at him.
He lay there on the sand and listened to the fighting: Nnoitra against first Ichigo, then the damaged Nel, and then that Captain with the eye-patch. When the eye-patch came off, Grimmjow's broken, bleeding, useless body had ached, yearned to go fight HIM, too, to get a delicious, ravening bite of that strength, that power. He tried to raise his body, felt the parting of muscle and bone all down his left side, from shoulder down through his lung to his waist.
What fucking stupid way to go.
He coughed blood, but took a breath anyway, and started, as a matter of habit, pulling soul particles from the earth around him. No one had eaten a bite out of his soul. He could still change, still evolve. But he wasn't sure why he should. He should have died here and now.
Impossibly white clouds floated above in an impossibly blue sky, the same blue as his own hair, his own eyes. He remembered when there was no such sky, no such sun, nothing but sand and stone and hunger.
Grimmjow had killed then with no thought. He hadn't had many thoughts back then, just the pure ferocity of purpose and cunning to catch, kill, and feed. The blood, fear, and pain that came with the power, thoughts, and knowledge of each of the Hollows he'd devoured were all a part of the savor, a part of the thrill and heat of stretching his soul, his power against others. He'd loved his soul body then, the flowing, bounding power of coiled muscles, of the sharpness of claw and fang against the softness of those that feared and died.
The hot hard crunch of shell under his powerful jaws as he'd scooped that little Hollow from under the log was sweet and salt. Then those others had interrupted his meal.
"Be our king," Shaolong Koufang asked.
Lured by the promise, by the novelty of having others that would talk with him, hunt with him, accompany him across the hot sands, he'd agreed. As a pack they'd terrorized everything around them. They'd eaten thousands of Hollows together.
And then that day when Shaolong had stated, as matter-of-fact as the day he'd asked for a King, "Eat us. We are not evolving anymore. You are. You should eat us."
Their sacrifice made him what he was, their resignation to what they'd become and could go no further with was the springboard for his ability to fight. He had partaken of their powers, their memories, their soul bodies; but hadn't destroyed them. They became his companions and his Fracción. They followed his orders, his needs. It was a different thing having their power in his hands, but allowing them to go their own way to do, by their own will, what it was he wanted. That kind of power was novel to him, enticing in a way he hadn't known before.
They'd all been captured together, bound by Aizen-sama. Tied to the terrible power of the Hougyoku, Grimmjow had changed again. Two legs instead of four, thoughts and feelings he hadn't had before all now came to him, still under-girded by that need to feed, kill or else be killed, to fight with all he had and more than he knew he had. The old lessons were never lost and never more necessary than in the midst of Aizen's pitting each of the Espada against all the others.
Grimmjow had played the dominance games the way he did everything, loud and up front. Intimidation was better than being intimidated. And even with the higher numbered Espada he'd never backed down.
He had lost his Fracción, his rank, and his arm, all that one night, because he saw no point to backing down. He'd hated changing again, but he had. He'd snuck behind Ulquiorra's back to steal that chick from her prison, and had planned for what to do when that little shit found out.
He'd gone into the fight with Ichigo fully intending to win, consequences be damned.
And here were consequences Grimmjow never expected, never even thought could happen. This boy, stronger than him, who had won over him, was protecting him. Protecting him as Ichigo had protected Nel, protected that girl chick from the living world, as if Grimmjow were a part of his own pack.
Grimmjow still hated the boy. Hated that condescending attitude, that feeling that he was somehow better than the Espada; but the boy had proven he was better. Grimmjow had simply been better than the others, and Shaolong, Il Forte, Di Roy, and the others had acknowledged him their king.
Grimmjow watched the clouds floating serenely by, oblivious to his pain, to the efforts being applied down here on the ground. They were as high above him as the sky.
Grimmjow hadn't killed the weaker adjuchas. He'd wanted them with him.
Maybe... maybe... Grimmjow's eyes closed on the thought.
No. Better to simply be Ichigo's enemy, to fight that incredible power, that solid will. Perhaps next time, he'd get to eat or, finally, be eaten.