Bleach Fan Fiction ❯ Fighting Nemu ( Chapter 29 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Tite Kubo owns Bleach. I just borrowed the characters. I did create Atonomatsuri (the bird) and Piecrust (the jerk).
“You might want to mention about the, er `suggestions’ in this document while you’re talking to them,” he suggested quickly before Yachiru left.
“Yes Ken-chan. I was going to tell them anyway. Captain Fun gave me some dried fruit when I told her about the bugs. They’re not as good as lollies, but the dried pears were very sweet. I liked them.” Her voice was still cheerful. “I forgot. Lolly sent this to you, I was given it with the papers but I was told to give it to you in private and you have to use the whole amount,” she handed over a packet of powder, her face grave as she waved vaguely and left.
Taking the packet, which he saw was clearly labelled `Sleeping Powder’, he opened the bottle and poured the drug into the rum. “Only problem is it will look like someone’s opened it,” he realised. “I forgot about that.”
“Give it to me. I’ll wrap it, use a little kido and make it look untouched,” Ayasegawa offered. “Sign this card,” he instructed.
Signing the card “Kenpachi Zaraki” he wondered if it looked too fake. He didn’t normally sign cards, nor did he give gifts. It was out of character. He asked the two men, but they just shrugged and began to discuss where Madarame should be found by Kurotsuchi.
“Will Nemu allow her father to act anyway he wishes? Does she have any influence over the creep?” Madarame asked. Zaraki realised it was a question he would like to hear answered.
“No. He ignores her when she says anything, unless it will be of some use. Nemu told me that he sees her as expendable and he will kill her when she ceases to be of any use to him. After he was defeated by the Quincy and she was badly hurt, he almost let her die, but changed his mind when he realised he would have to make a replacement and he was slightly concerned about the reaction of the Captain General. I feel sorry for the girl. Can I go now, Captain? I think I know where I can find her,” Ayasegawa said, his usual attitude deserting him. He was being serious and for some reason this almost made Zaraki feel another one of those new disquieting emotions.
“Yeah, but don’t be long. I want you back here. When this is over I’ll let you have those days off in the human world. You might want to take your new friend,” was the sly suggestion.
Instead of rejecting the suggestion, his 5th seat seemed to consider the idea. “That might be a good idea, but her father might not let her go.”
“He might not have anything to say about the matter after tomorrow,” Madarame said, smirking. “If Captain Yamamoto is unhappy with him, he might get demoted. That would be good.”
“That won’t happen. Who could take his place? We’re already down 3 Captains and two assistant captains if you count Hinamori. We can’t afford to lose anyone else and we all know it,” Zaraki said soberly. Even though he had hoped that Kurotsuchi would suffer the consequences, he knew there was a limit to what would be possible repercussions. The old man had still not replaced the traitors.
Ayasegawa picked up the doll, placed it in a bag and bowing slightly to his Captain, left.
Silence descended on the room as Zaraki considered what he should do. There was still so much planning but he could not be seen consulting with Retsu or Soi, much as he would like to.
Something was annoying him. There was something he had overlooked and it was important. Thinking things through carefully, he grasped what he was missing and sprang to his feet. “We’ve got to stop him. If Nemu has the doll, then it will make it easy for Kurotsuchi to work out where the dolls came from. Come on Madarame. Get off your backside and come with me.”
“It took you long enough,” Atonomatsuri said a thrill of glee in her voice. “I would have told you Kenny but that would have made it easy for you and I’d hate to do that. You almost gave the game away, you silly Shinigami.”
Zaraki shrugged, trying to ignore the words and running fast. “Hell, which direction Madarame?”
The third seat closed his eyes and pointed in the opposite direction. “I think he’s that way.”
Cursing, he turned and ran as fast as he could; knowing that if he wasn’t in time all the planning was for nothing. All that thinking would have gone to waste, except the freaking vulture probably enjoyed it all. He began to firmly believe that she wanted him to fail, due to some perverse grudge.
His companion seemed to be struggling to keep up. “What’s your problem?” his captain demanded not wishing to slow down.
“I slipped that bottle of rum into a pocket and it’s banging into my leg. I don’t know why I did it, stupid impulse,” he panted. He was sweating and his colour was bad. The injury was obviously hurting him.
Looking ahead Zaraki saw Ayasegawa approaching Nemu who was standing outside a shop. She looked up and a smile crossed her face.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen her smile before,” he told the man who was trying to keep pace with him.
“What’s she got to smile about?” his adjunct wheezed in reply. “You stay here, Captain. Stand in the shadows or something. If she sees you she might know there’s something wrong.”
Standing close to the building he watched as, walking fast, Madarame reached Ayasegawa as he was about to hand over the box. As he watched he noticed that Madarame seemed to whisper something to him. His friend looked at him and began to walk slowly down the street after nodding farewell to Nemu. Madarame used the excuse to extract the bottle from his pocket and exchanged a few words with Nemu. As Ayasegawa drew close, Zaraki pulled him into the shadows as he noticed the shop door open and Kurotsuchi emerge.
“I think we might not need to do this tonight,” Zaraki muttered seeing the immediate reaction of the Clown Captain.
Raising his voice the man was shrieking at his assistant captain. “I ask you to wait outside to carry the bags and when I emerge I find you talking to one of the scum of the Seireitei. Yet again you disappoint me.” He stopped and looked at the 3rd seat, a sickly smile crossing his features. “He’s injured. Even you should be able to kill him in that condition. Fight him Nemu.”
His daughter looked at him, stunned. “I have no reason to fight him. He only said `hello’.”
“You dare to argue with me? I am your Captain and I demand you fight him and kill him. I am sick of the 11th Division and their dolt of a Captain,” was the near hysterical response.
“But Mayuri…” Nemu started in appeal.
“I don’t want to hear anything from you except the sound of you drawing your zanpaku-to and battling this piece of filth. I will not dirty my hands on such as him,” the man now had hold of his daughter’s shoulder and was shaking her.
Noticing Ayasegawa stiffening in outrage, Zaraki muttered, “It might be an idea to send a messenger to get the old man. I can’t be seen to interfere and neither can you. I’m sure Madarame can take her, but he’s still recovering and he probably won’t want to hurt your friend.”
“He’ll go in hard; a fight is a fight. I won’t be long,” Ayasegawa said before quickly going to fulfil Zaraki’s instructions.
“A fight? You want me to fight your daughter? Why?” Madarame’s hand rested on the hilt of the zanpaku-to while the other hand held the bottle of rum. To Zaraki’s eyes he seemed relaxed and the smile on his face indicated he was looking forward to combat with one or both of them.
“I thought 11th Division didn’t need a reason to fight,” mocked the 12th Division Captain. “Are you scared of fighting a scrawny woman? Are all the people in your Division cowards, like you?”
Ignoring the man, Madarame turned to Nemu. “Let’s fight over this bottle of rum. If I win I keep it, if you win you keep it.”
“No. I keep it either way. It’s the price you pay for talking to my daughter,” Kurotsuchi said taking the package from Madarame. He, ripped off the wrapping and then examined the bottle, read the card and then placed it in one of the bags he was carrying. “Your captain gave it to you and you’re carrying it around so it obviously means something to you. A good brand. I will enjoy it this evening as I toast your death and the demise of your captain.”
Madarame stretched, wrenching his neck and shifting his shoulders and he bent his back. “Okay, I’m all warmed up. Ready, assistant captain?” With a look of glee he drew his zanpaku-to. “Let’s fight.”
Nemu looked at him uncertainly. “I do not wish to fight you.”
The crack of Kurotsuchi’s hand hitting his assistant captain’s face was very loud. The mark stood out on her cheek and she stood there, lowering her head in shame.
“I’d prefer to fight you, Captain,” Madarame said, his anger showing at the attack. “She doesn’t want to fight.”
“I don’t fight vermin. Now fight him, you stupid girl. A fight to the death for the honour of your father: for 12th Division. Show this fool what one of my creations is capable of doing. I will prove my genius,” screeched the painted man.
Madarame, his good humour restored by the last comment, chuckled. “The last time I heard something like that was in the human world and I found it funny then. Some Science Fiction show, with a weird looking guy screaming about the supremacy of his creations. What were they called? Kelads? Sontaseth? Dacramen? Darlings?”
“What are you speaking of?” Nemu looked interested. “What is a Science Fiction show?”
“It’s a form of entertainment,” Madarame seemed quite happy to talk to the girl and Zaraki wondered if he had been a little too quick to summon Captain Yamamoto.
Kurotsuchi slapped Nemu again and she fell against the side of the building. “This is not the venue for idle conversation. Fight him, or die.”
“Don’t worry about it, assistant captain. We’ll fight,” was the assurance provided to the girl who was looking dazed. Zaraki noticed that Madarame’s shoulders had tensed. He was holding back from attacking the 12th Division Captain and the effort showed.
“To the death,” pressured Kurotsuchi. The look of glee on his face was unpleasant.
“Whatever,” Madarame said dryly. It was evident that he didn’t take the fight seriously.
Nemu finally drew her zanpaku-to and stood uncertainly for a few seconds. Then she stood straight and took a fighting stance, her knees braced and her upper body bent slightly forward.
“I knew she could fight,” he heard from his left. Ayasegawa had returned and was watching intently. “I sent the message and I think our assistant captain will be here soon. Who would have expected to witness two real fights in one day involving assistant captains?”
“The Clown wants them to fight to the death,” Zaraki told him and the comment was met with a barrage of whispered swearing.
“Just when I think he can’t sink any further in my estimation, he manages to do so,” Ayasegawa finally hissed once he had rid himself of some of the more intricate insults.
“Son of a disease ridden scampi afflicted with rabies, vertigo and carpal tunnel syndrome is not the best insult I’ve ever heard,” Zaraki said as an aside while wondering what half the things were.
“You try and think of something original,” his 5th seat sniped back.
“What’s a scampi anyway?” Zaraki was curious. “And carpal tunnel syndrome? Is that where someone puts a tunnel through you, or what?”
“What you doing Ken-chan. Are they fighting yet? They’re just looking at each other. Did I miss anything, anything at all?” Yachiru seemed slightly happier and quickly climbed onto Zaraki’s shoulder.
“Our `friend’ has possession of the rum, and Nemu has agreed to fight Madarame. I don’t know what they’re waiting for,” trying to keep his voice down so as not to draw attention, Zaraki explained the situation to the girl.
“Another fight? I’ve seen enough fighting. Can’t we go home so you can polish me,” were the words resounding through his mind. “The Clown Captain has the rum; you don’t need to hang around, Kenny. Captain Yamamoto will arrive, Jack will have his Jill, and All will be well.”
“Hey, Sewage. I’m not interested in what you have to say. I’ve never seen the girl fight and I’m not missing out on the chance.” Zaraki had finally decided on a nickname for the bird. He’d been playing with the idea for a while. Aton seemed too cool for the bird; Mat might work but then the last part of the name, Suri. In an idle moment he played with the word and felt that Sewage best described how he felt about the vulture.
He blocked out the indignant retort, watching intently as finally there seemed to be some action.
Madarame bent his knees, holding his zanpaku-to between his hands, thrusting it toward his opponent. Nemu simple nodded as she waited for him to draw his blade.
A beat after he drew the blade she moved. Her leap over his head surprised all of them and before Madarame could turn around to confront her, she looped her foot around his legs and brought him crashing to the ground. As he hit the ground he quickly rolled out of the way of her blade and jumped to his feet almost in one move. The circled each other, each more wary than they had previously been.
“Fight the scum, Nemu. Stop shuffling around like that, this is not a dance. You could have had him if you’d moved faster,” her father scolded impatiently. He was watching closely, his hand idly on the blade of his zanpaku-to.
“I don’t trust Clowny,” Yachiru whispered to her Captain. “He looks like he would stab Baldy in the back, if he had a chance.”
Her observation seemed correct. The glassy eyes of the Captain seemed to be observing Madarame for the opportunity. Zaraki felt the hair on his arms rise as he realised he could do nothing to help his friend.
Nemu shot a glance at her father, her demeanour quite different now she was fighting. “Do it and I’ll explain everything to the Captain-General,” she said, her eyes were ferocious and Zaraki heard both Ayasegawa and Yachiru draw in their breath.
The shock also registered on Captain Kurotsuchi’s face for a moment, before he rearranged his features to his normal disdainful expression. “We will talk about this later,” he hissed, the displeasure in the change in attitude obvious in his voice. “Fight, girl, or the punishment will be more severe.”
Madarame attacked, slicing the air to her left with his scabbard, while stabbing forward with his blade, catching Nemu on the arm, the zanpaku-to slicing through the material into the flesh below. Blood dripped from the cut to the ground, but Nemu retained her concentration on her opponent.
“You fool! You should have expected that,” the Captain reprimanded his daughter shrilly.
“Excuse me, Captain, but if you don’t shut up, I’ll ignore Nemu and come after you. You’re voice is getting on my nerves and makes it hard to concentrate,” Madarame looked coolly at the 12 Division Captain. It was evident that he held no fear of the man and was probably hoping for the excuse to assault him.
“How dare you address me in that manner? I will tell your Capt…..” He stopped as both Madarame and Nemu laughed softly.
“Yeah, tell my Captain. I’m sure he’ll care,” the mocking note in Madarame’s voice made Zaraki smile.
“You laughed at me. Now I want to see both of you die. Fight, or I will blast you into oblivion where to be you stand,” the quirky man said as he waved his hands in what he obviously assumed a threatening manner.
Nemu paled slightly. “He is quite capable of doing it,” she told Madarame. “I think we better do as he says.”
Once again they circled each other, watching for an opening. Swiftly Nemu leapt again and seeing the move Madarame also jumped. They twisted through the air, their blades meeting, sparks being struck from the blades at the force of the impact. The collision forced them both to stumble as they landed, but they both quickly recovered and turned to face each other again.
“My respect for you grows,” Madarame commented, nodding to Nemu.
“As mine does for you,” she replied and then dodged to his left cutting into his side with a quick pass.
Madarame seemed to expect the move and a gash appeared in her left side as his zanpaku-to found its mark. Both wounds were slight, but the blood still dripped from the gashes.
Pausing for a second, Madarame quickly pushed the scabbard at Nemu, who deflected it quickly and then bent back speedily to dodge the accompanying cut from his zanpakuto. Her agility saved her from the force of the blow, but a new slash appeared in her uniform, the blade slicing through the material but not reaching the skin. As he drew back his blade for another blow she somersaulted backwards, out of his reach. This time she did not pause, but ran toward him, holding her blade to one side and as she neared him, she transferred the blade to her other hand and fell on her knees, trying to spear him through the gut with her zanpaku-to. The move was fast and cunning.
Seconds before she reached him, Madarame commanded “Hozukimaru, extend” and the increased length of his zanpaku-to intercepted the intended blow. He grinned at Nemu who was still kneeling in front of him and then kicked her hard in the chest, knocking her to the ground, but only for an instant. She rolled to the side, away from his thrust and jumped to her feet.
They gauged each other for a few seconds and then both ran toward the other, blades sweeping through the air and they both tried to cut and dodge the other at the same time. Both failed to dodge. As steel met flesh, the blood blossomed to the surface of their shoulders, the cut deep enough to disable the arm.
“Same damn arm that got hurt before! I gotta switch hands now. Just as well I trained with both,” grumbled Madarame.
“I suppose you’re going to tell me you’re really left handed,” Nemu, gasped as she also switched her zanpaku-to to her other hand.
“Nah. I’m ambidextrous. Just like to pretend I favour one arm to confuse people,” Madarame admitted. “And I’ve got to change the thing back to its unreleased form. Fighting with one arm makes it hard to use the reach.”
The change was the matter of a moment and their blades met again and they fought furiously, dodging, wheeling out of the way when the other came too close. Madarame feinted, stealing behind and sliced off the end of her ponytail before she turned and forced him back with rapid flashes of her sword.
He gave ground and then began to redouble his strokes. They locked blades and stared at each other. Madarame was grinning widely. “You give good fight,” he told Nemu.
She nodded in response and jumped back only to spin forward, again trying to spit him on her zanpaku-to. As he dodged he swept at her, cutting her leg as her blade twisted and sank into his arm which was flopping uselessly. The ground on which they fought was now stained with the blood that was flowing from their wounds. They back away from each other as a few seconds passed as they seemed to estimate their next move.
This time Nemu rushed him, but she miscalculated and found the point of Madarame’s sword lodged in her chest as hers gouged his side, cutting deeply. They stood for seconds, each seemingly unable to believe they were seriously wounded or they had breached the other’s guard so easily.
“Stop. This is a fight without honour or reason,” Captain Yamamoto ordered, finally arriving with a small entourage. His assistant captain immediately stepped between the combatants and a seated officer relieved both Madarame and Nemu of their zanpaku-to’s. The fight was over.
Zaraki breathed a sigh of relief. He had begun to wonder if he would need to promote Ayasegawa to 3rd seat due to Madarame’s death.
“No. It was for the honour of 12th Division. I provided the reason.” Kurotsuchi protested.
At this point Nemu slumped to the ground, the blood from her wounds pooling underneath her. A party of 4th Division arrived in time to see the fall and they quickly surrounded her and bore her off to their Division.
“I did not give you permission to leave, Nemu,” her father protested. “I am shamed by how weak you are. Do you hear me? You’ve shamed me, again.”
Captain Yamamoto leant on his stick and looked at his 12th Division Captain. “Take the 11th Division 3rd seat to 4th Division. He is too stubborn to collapse, but his injuries require attention,” he abruptly told his adjuncts. He then waited until only he and Kurotsuchi remained.
Zaraki wanted to hear what was being said but knew if he got any closer his reiatsu would give him away.
“Captain; until now I have not interfered with the way you run your Division or treat your assistant captain. You have been allowed a great amount of leeway in your dealings and research, but recent incidents are making me question that decision. Free will is such a difficult thing to permit and then enforce. How can I allow you freedom when you enslave those subordinate to you?” He moved closer to Kurotsuchi and looked at him fiercely. “We are at war. Not within the Seireitei but with those who chose to leave it and join the Hollows. Fermenting discord between Shinigami I will not allow. We have to put aside petty feuds and think of the greater good,” he held up his hand as Kurotsuchi began to protest. “Your campaign against Captain Zaraki will stop immediately. We need him, the Gotei 13 need him. All our remaining Captains are required to face the coming threat, including you, and your actions only serve to weaken us. I had planned to summon you to my office to talk of this, but you have forced my hand. Go back to your Division and remain there until further notice. You shame the Gotei 13.”
Again Kurotsuchi opened his mouth but the Captain-General flicked his hand at him as if shooing him away. A look of incredulous astonishment that had been growing on the man’s face was now tinged with fear and he bowed swiftly, spun around and began to walk swiftly. After a few steps he broke into a run, his packages swinging unregarded from his hands.
Captain Yamamoto said quietly, “Captain Zaraki, if I hear gossip about this I will know who was indiscreet. I did not wish to rebuke the man in front of an audience, but you have been his target. Turnabout is fair play.”
Zaraki gulped at the adage, but wisely chose to say nothing. Captain Yamamoto nodded and left.
“I think we better go and visit Baldy. He did good. It was unfair that Clowny made him fight when he was wounded,” Yachiru said, indignant about the fight.
“He knew we were here,” Ayasegawa said with wonder in his voice. “Captain Yamamoto knew we were here. That’s not the best thing to happen.”
“And he used an adage,” crowed Atonomatsuri.
“And you didn’t, for a change,” Zaraki told her.
“You haven’t given me a chance. Revenge is a dish best served cold. I’ve been saving that one. I told you, adages are part of life and important, just like I’m important.” The bird sounded smug and the complacency irked Zaraki.
“Revenge is not food and you’re not important, or only to me if you help me. I don’t think anyone else would consider you as even slightly interesting,” Zaraki said, not really considering the words he imparted to the vulture.
“At last you acknowledge that I’m important to you! For that I will tell you something important. There is more than one truth.” The bird gabbled the information and then his mind went quiet.
“Atonomatsuri, what do you mean?” The last sentence grabbed Zaraki’s attention. More than one truth? What was the bird implying this time?
The only answer was silence.
Walking toward 4th Division; Yachiru perched in her accustomed position on his back. To quell the disturbing thoughts that were beginning to rise in his mind he asked Ayasegawa, “Did you finish those anonymous notes?”
“Not quite. I keep getting interrupted and I’ve only drafted the note. You’ll have to check it,” was the unwilling response.
“Me? Check. Oh, hell I supposed I have to. I want them sent tomorrow somehow. This spying stuff has to stop. What’s happening with the re-decoration, anyway? Will it be finished tomorrow?” Zaraki seemed to be remembering everything that required attention. It was all the fault of thinking too much.
“I think we might wish to reconsider if we want to go through with your plan, tonight. The Captain-General knew we were there. He might suspect…”
“No he won’t Pretty Boy. Even if Clowny protests, Long Eyebrows warned him today. And Captain Fun is really angry about the bugs. Ooh. What will she do if there is a camera in her bedroom? Do you think Clowny will be filleted or minced?” Yachiru rolled her eyes and then a grave and unhappy look crossed her face. “I want my room checked, now!”
Zaraki realised what she was thinking and his hands clenched. Until now it had seemed slightly funny. “I’ll check as soon as we see how Madarame is,” he assured his assistant captain through gritted teeth. “Payback will happen and I might even kill the guy myself.”
Another joke title. Why take it seriously?
I hope I wasn’t too subtle with my reference to Doctor Who. Out of Davros and Kurotsuchi, I think I prefer Davros. He was originally trying to save his race…….at least that was his story.
Thank you to Cartoon-pen who helped me with the fight scene. As usual, you’ve been a great help.
29 chapters! I almost feel like saying welcome to my novel because it is beginning to reach that length. Thank you to the people who have supported me with positive comments so far.