The Panther King's Prey

BY : Zarakiswolf
Category: Bleach > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 89
Disclaimer: Tite Kubo owns all original Bleach content and characters. I own my OC's. This story is written purely for enjoyment. I do not receive any sort of payment for writing it.

"Nakkita, what the hell are you doing!"

I glance down from my floating platform, taking me higher away from the Seireitei. "I'm following my captain to find justice. I'm sorry. Please, don't hate me, Kira." I say, smiling at my blond friend.

"I don't hate you but I need to know why!?" he yells.

"For Haru."

That stops him. Haru, my little brother, had been sentenced to the Maggot's Nest six years ago for something that hadn't been his fault. He'd found documents of a captain proving that the captain was guilty of illegal experiments in Hollowfication. He'd never told me which captain and, most people had said those experiments had stopped when Kisuke Urahara had been banished from Soul Society. Haru had brought the evidence to central 46, where that captain had been waiting and alleged that Haru had fabricated the documents, seeking to gain control of the captain's seat.

"Nakkita, I hope you know what the hell you're doin', kid. I won't save your sorry ass this time, since you hurt Yachiru."

At this, my heart hurts. I look down at my adopted family, my little pink haired sister riding on Captain Zaraki's shoulder, looking sad. "I'm sorry, Ken-chan. Maybe someday I'll be able to make you proud of me. Yachiru, take care of my brother, ok? Don't let him go sulking for too long."

"I don't sulk, you brat!" Kenny yells, though I can see him smiling a little. Yachiru waves at me sadly.

"Bye, Kita! Remember who you are and come back. Kenny will miss you. Bring sweets back!" she chirps.

As the darkness of the garganta closes around us, I fight back the tears. I will miss Kenpachi and Yachiru, the only two who'd ever treated me decently in a family sense. Kira...I'll miss him too. He was a good friend. I know I won't be returning though. I'm now a traitor in the eyes of the Soul Reapers.

"I'm surprised ya followed us, Kita. It's not like we asked ya to." Gin chuckles.

"She is a pure soul who seeks justice, just like me. She is a good addition to our plans." Tosen says softly, reaching to touch my shoulder. "I am pleased you came along, Nakkita."

"Thank you, Captain. I will do my best not to disappoint you. I believe you three will be able to change things for the better. For everyone." I say.

"Then you're welcome to come, of course." Aizen says softly. I don't really trust him but I'm giving him the benefit of a doubt. I don't know him that well.

As we run along the bridge the captains are making, I let my mind wander to happier days with Yachiru. And Kenny. I suppose I'll have to face him sooner or later.

****Memory****

I sit crying in my room of the squad 9 barracks, the letter in my hand of the denial for an appeal of my brother's sentence weighing heavily on my heart. I know he didn't do what he's accused of. He's never aspired for a captain's seat. He, like me, is much happier as a common soldier. Why had Captain Fon not defended him? It makes no sense.

"Whatchya cryin' for, lady? It's a nice day out. You should be out picking flowers or something." a little voice chirps before a flash of pink invades my vision. A little girl....oh no.

"Lieutenant Kusajishi!" I gasp, backing away from her. I'd never met her before, only heard the horror stories of her antics.

"Call me Yachiru. So, why are you crying?" she asks curiously.

"My brother...he got in trouble and now he's in the Maggot's Nest." I sigh before I begin sobbing again. Her little hands rub my shoulders gently as she makes calming noises at me. She finally takes my hand and manages to lead me out of my room. I'm crying to hard so I don't notice where we're going until too late as she throws me on someone large and very muscly.

"The hell, Yachiru!?" he growls.

"Kenny, she's sad. Make her smile or I'll cry!"

"I don't know shit about makin' women smile, brat. Who the hell is she anyway? And why the hell did you interrupt my nap!?"

I try to back away from the man buy his arms hold me in a vise-like grip. "Please, let me go, Captain Zaraki. I'm not sure why your lieutenant felt the need to kidnap me but I don't want to be any-"

"Ah, shut it, cry baby. I ain't gunna hurt you. The hell is the water works for anyway?" he grumbles at me, sitting me up in his lap and looking into my eyes. "Hey, your eyes are funny. Never seen someone with two different colors."

"Oh, bite me! Everyone always picks on me for them. Not like I asked to have creepy eyes!" I yell angrily as the tears start again.

"Kenny! You made her cry again! Fix it!" Yachiru yells.

"Damn, girls are a problem. I wasn't makin' fun of your eyes, you idiot. Will you quit cryin' already!"

I sniffle and rub my eyes on my sleeve before taking a deep breath. "Can I go now?"

"Not until you tell me what the hell you're cryin' over."

I sigh and launch into the story of my brother. To my surprise, Captain Zaraki listens intently to the entire thing before nodding. "Well, guess you got a reason to cry. Still not sure why Yachiru brought you to me but she knows I hate seein' girls cry." he says. He stares intently at me for a moment before he sighs. "If it makes you happy, I'll be your brother temporarily until you can figure out a way to get your brother out. Deal? I won't do sappy brother things but I'll try to keep you safe anyway and make sure you're strong enough to deal with shit that comes at you. Alright?"

"I...uhm..."

"Say yes or I'll squash you for wastin' my nap time." he growls.

"Yes! Fine!" I squeak.

His grin is frightening. "Good. Can you fight?"

"Not to your standards but I can defend myself well enough."

"Not good enough. Let's go. To the training grounds."

When I hesitate, he lifts me under an arm and carries me off. This will be the first of many painful but useful lessons from my strange new "family".

****Present****

"Ya seem distracted, Kita." Gin chuckles. "Regrettin' comin' along already?"

"Hmm? No. Not at all. Just a little sad that I made Yachiru sad. That's all. I don't like making people sad." I shrug.

"So that's where you'd run off to on your breaks, hmm? Had I known that, I would have stopped you. That demon is not a good influence on anyone." Tosen sighs.

"Sorry, Captain. Captain Zaraki and Yachiu became rather like family after my brother was thrown into the Nest unjustly. I can see why you call him a demon though. He fights like one. He does have a kinder side though, when you least expect it." I smile softly.

"Who is your brother?" Aizen asks curiously.

"Haru Nakamoto."

"I see. I've never heard of him. What was his supposed crime?"

"He found some sort of paperwork on a captain supposedly proving he was doing illegal Hollowfication experiments. It wasn't Kisuke Urahara. I don't know what captain though, he never would say. He claimed me knowing would put a death sentance over my head. Anyway, he was accused by that same captain of trying to force a takeover of that captain's seat by planting evidence. My brother would never do such a thing."

"You're sure he never stated what captain?" Tosen asks sharply.

"No. Not at all. He refused to tell me."

"Unfortunate. Perhaps his knowledge would have helped us." Aizen says softly. "I'm sorry you lost your brother to such an injustice. We plan to stop it from happening again."

"I have faith you can, elsewise I wouldn't have followed you three." I smile brightly.

For some reason, the smile Aizen gives me in return doesn't seem to comfort me. I wonder why that is...

**************

"Does everyone have their tea? Then let's begin. Ulquiorra, could you show us what you saw in the world of the living?" Aizen asks softly of the black haired Espada with the vibrant green eyes.

"Of course, Lord Aizen." the Espada replies, removing his eye and crushing it. We see what he and Yammy saw during their information gathering. I notice a brown haired girl with healing powers...Orihime. The girl Kenny helped during the Ryoka invasion! And Ichigo getting beaten again thoroughly. I watch sadly. The boy is trying so hard. The "show" ends after mere moments.

"The girl has strange powers of healing. Nakkita, did you happen to meet her before our departure from the Soul Society?" Aizen asks me.

"Yes. Her name is Orihime Inoue. She's a bit of an air head but her powers of healing are far advanced to the kaido of even Captain Unohana." I answer swiftly. "She completed the healing of Captain Zaraki, something none of squad 4 was able to accomplish so quickly."

"I see. Do you think she would remember you?"

"Possibly. I didn't speak to her, really. I was too busy trying to help stop the bleeding when Arimaki brought her back to the barracks." I frown, my thoughts going back to that day.

"Kita, are ya still with us? Ya seem a little lost there." Gin says in my ear. I blink and glance up, noticing everyone staring at me.

"I'm sorry, Lord Aizen. What did you say?" I ask, blushing.

"I asked if you would be able to accompany a party and bring Orihime here for me to use to help with our plans?" Aizen says, sounding mildly irritated.

"I think that could be possible." I nod resolutely.

"Very well. Ulquiorra, I will leave you in charge of that. Nakkita will go with you and whoever else you need to distract Ichigo Kurosaki and his friends. We know they've sent a party from the Seireitei as well so take a few strong ones. I expect results within the week, my friends."

"As you wish, Lord Aizen." Ulquiorra says, giving me a stern look. He's never liked me. I can't say the feeling isn't mutual.

"Alright, everyone. We shall meet again next week. Have a pleasant day. Ulquiorra, please stay. Everyone else is dismissed."

I wait to take my leave until the other Espada's exit. Once they're gone, I head out of the room and down the lonely corridors to my own room. I'm not even paying attention to my surroundings until I'm slammed against the wall, my body pinned by another. "Well now, if it isn't the purple haired tag-along. My, aren't you pretty." Nnoitora hisses in my ear, his long, thin fingers brushing my hair away from my cheek. "You're too pathetic, you know. Too weak to compete with your soul reaper friends. So why did they bring you, hmm? Was it for your good looks...or for something else?" His hand travels down my throat to my chest. I feel my heart beating quickly.

"Please stop."

"Why should I?" he hisses. "I'm awful tired of seeing you around not doing anything useful. The only thing a female is good for is mating. They aren't good for fighting."

My heart is pounding in my chest, panic flooding my veins. His hand travels even lower, stopping just above my hakama. "Stop! Now!" I yell, trying to push away from him.

"Never." he hisses.

"Hey, bug eyed creep, leave the girl alone. She'd never be able to satisfy you, as pathetic as she is. I've heard Mila Rose has a thing for you." I hear the voice of Grimmjow behind us.

"Are you trying to claim her for yourself, pussy cat? You can have her after I'm done with her. Sloppy seconds is all you deserve." Nnoitora growls, turning from me. I take this chance to run for it, managing to make it to my room without being caught. I lock myself in the adjoining bathroom. This isn't the first time Nnoitorra has accosted me, however, it's the first time he's made his intentions for me clear. I'm not strong enough to fight him. Why would Grimmjow step in though? He's never looked at me, nor spoken to me.

****Grimmjow POV****

I watch the violet haired woman as she trains with her zanpakuto. I've been watching her since she came here last month. She's a handful but something about the incident with Nnoitora has me wondering what the hell happened. There's never been any time that she's been unwatched. Aizen's orders...wait, there was one time that it was Nnoitora's turn to guard her. What the hell is so special about her? And why is the spoon headed freak so interested? Sure, she's pretty but why in the hell pursue her when there's other females like Loli and Menoli to fuck with?

"Grimmjow, I will require you and your fraccion to create a distraction while I speak to the girl." Ulquiorra says flatly as he comes to stand beside me.

"Fine. However, I get to fight that damn substitute soul reaper. And Nakkita comes with my group."

"You are in no position to make that request. However, I do not think she will be of any use to me directly so I will agree to it."

"Good."

"I do not trust the girl so do not let her out of your sight."

"Yeah yeah, like the kitten can do anything. She's pathetic."

"Pathetic but cunning. We will go tomorrow. Make sure your pet knows it."

"Pet? She's not my damn pet."

"Then why request her to come with you?"

I shake my head, unable to answer. I really don't know why I want her to come with me and my boys.

****Nakkita POV****

"You're comin' with my group tomorrow to distract that girl's friends. Got it?"

I scream and fall on my ass as Grimmjow speaks to me through the shower door. "What the hell!? How did you get in here! I'm naked!"

"Yeah, and? You're off limits, according to that blind bastard. All the Espada know that." he snorts.

I manage to get to my feet and, without thinking, open the shower door. "What did you just say?"

"Tosen says you're off limits. He made that order this morning after he overheard me and Nnoitora fighting over you."

"But...why were you fighting over me? You don't seem to like me and I'm not exactly pretty."

"I just didn't want to see that fucking bug hurt you, alright? It's not like I care but hearing Aizen get angry because you're too weak to defend yourself would be a pain."

"I don't think Aizen really cares about me. I'm not sure why he even keeps me around. It's not like I'm useful or anything."

His azure eyes study me for a moment before he turns away. "You're gunna slip and fall. Turn the damn water off."

I do as he's asked before wrapping a towel around myself in a hurry and throwing another one on the floor to step on. "Grimmjow...I think they're going to kill me. Probably soon. I know you don't care but I don't have anyone else to talk to."

He turns back to me. "Why do you think that?"

"I've overheard them talking about me being a mistake to bring along...Szayelaporro wants to experiment with me and Tosen is arguing against it but I think Aizen is going to agree soon."

"Experiment how?"

"Breeding with an Espada to see if he can create something new."

"Sounds like something that freak would do. Arrancar can't breed. I'm not sure if it'd be different if a soul reaper is involved."

"Grimmjow...why did you really save me this morning?"

"You're a cat. I'm a cat. I was bored." he shrugs. "Go get dressed. If you feel safer, come to my room for the night. Just don't expect me to cuddle you or any shit like that. You're still a pathetic soul reaper."

He walks away before I can say anything else. I'm not sure what is going on with him. I appreciate his offer but there has to be an ulterior motive. Grimmjow isn't the type to just offer help freely, especially not to a weakling like me. In a way, he sort of reminds me of Kenpachi.

****Grimmjow POV****

I stay silent as my door opens. Finally, the damn scaredy cat came to me. It's the middle of the fucking night but still. She makes no sound at all, simply locks the door behind her. She doesn't join me in my bed though, shockingly. She props herself up in a corner and puts her head on her knees.

"What the hell are you doing?" I ask her.

"I didn't want to bother you. But I'm too scared to sleep right now." she admits.

"Get over here then, runt."

"You said you wouldn't cuddle."

"I never said I'd cuddle you but it'd be fucking rude for me to let a girl sleep in a corner. Get over here and lay down."

She scurries to do as I've ordered. She makes sure to keep space between us, with her back to me, but for some reason, as she lays beside me, I feel sort of happy. I never feel happy, only pissed off. "Thank you, Grimmjow. I don't exactly trust you but...I think I feel safe enough to sleep."

"So shut up and sleep then."

Her soft laugh makes me smile a little. I've never heard her do that before. I gotta be careful not to get attached though. It's likely she'll end up dead by the time this is all over. In fact, I'm positive she will be dead soon. I keep watch over her for awhile before shutting my own eyes.

****Nakkita POV****

I'm panicking. Somehow, I've managed to roll in my sleep...right into Grimmjows arms. He's wrapped around me like a cat with a ball of yarn, unwilling to give it up. He's going to murder me when he wakes up! I'm such an idiot! I know how much I normally roll around in my sleep. Why did I think being in his bed would be any different?

"You fuckin' stink again. The hell're you freaking out about now, runt?" he grumbles without opening his eyes.

"I'm sorry!" I squeak.

"For waking me up? You should be. Go back to sleep."

"Grimmjow, you're cuddling me."

"Shut up. You were cold. Go back to sleep."

"But-"

His eye snaps open an inch from mine. "Go. Back. To. Sleep. Now." he snarls, his voice like daggers. I bite back a retort, glaring at him as he glares at me. Eventually though, my eyelids sink closed again. I must be imagining things but I'm almost certain I hear him chuckle.

 



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