Title: Of Princesses and Puddles
Fandom/Characters: Bleach; Orihime, Mayuri, mentions of 11th Division and Ishida
Notes: I love filling in the blanks during scenes. <3 Spoilers for after Mayuri vs. Ishida, takes place in the time between the Orihime arriving at the 11th Division and the great jail rescue. The idea... just hit. x.x
Summary: How to Fight a Captain and Win: water and lemon juice. Never piss off Orihime.
Orihime had never been like most girls. Most girls didn't stop in their tracks, just to converse with a little beetle crawling on the ground (even if the beetle had the shiniest emerald color and deserved praise and recognition and the title of "Super Super Beetle-Kun" for getting this far down the sidewalk without being stepped on). Most girls didn't run after dragonflies on warm summer nights, waving their arms and yelling, "IF I ASK REALLY POLITELY, WILL YOU SIT ON MY FINGER?" Most girls didn't believe in talking cats and couldn't accept the theory that six powers in the forms of fairies resided in their hairpins without questioning their own sanity.
Then again, most girls weren't friends with an eternally-scowling shinigami, a quiet giant, and a boy who could manifest pretty blue arrows from a charm bracelet (and later, a glove). And most girls didn't convert their forms into spiritual energy and venture into an entirely different world in order to rescue a friend from being executed by her own kind, risking their lives every step of the way.
No, Orihime was definitely not like most girls. Nevertheless, as she folded her hands in her lap and sat on the steps that led to the 11th Division Training Ground, she couldn't help but feel that the moldy-green puddle oozing her way wasn't normal at all, even to her standards.
That feeling of unease only increased when the puddle sloshed to a stop by her feet (which she obligingly lifted to avoid accidentally splashing it)-- and spoke, using a breathy voice that echoed distantly.
"I told him I'd find you... all it took was a single hair, and where is the Quincy now? He's not here to defend you with his pitiful talk of pride..."
Eccentric Orihime might have been, but she was far from stupid. She recognized the voice as the one belonging to the freaky captain who'd sacrificed his own men in order to kill the drifters; that attempt had failed, thankfully, but she hadn't been able to save the poor victims in time. She didn't know why he'd chosen to take the form of a puddle (did that make traveling more convenient?), but he had mentioned Ishida. That alone made her fist her hands into the black material on her lap, scrunching it into wrinkled folds. He wasn't dead; she'd convinced herself of that fact, but she didn't know if he was injured and needed her help, or if he was perfectly fine, and it made her bite her lip and glance out across the Training Grounds. Where was he?
The puddle was still talking, and she turned her attention back to it, doing her hardest not to let her concern show on her face. She had lost track of Ishida's reiatsu after the initial surge she'd felt and seen last night. It was almost like a candle that had flared briefly before guttering out into a wisp of smoke-- that worried her more than anything else, overriding the indignation she'd felt at being dragged away from the fight and her sadness over the deaths of those men. If the puddle had done anything to him--
"The poison should have done him in, but he's just like those human bugs... even if you step on them and grind them into paste, they still wriggle." The puddle snorted in disgust, a sound that Orihime might have giggled at, had it not been a puddle gloating over poisoning her classmate and companion. "He survived, and that bastard Kaname got him put away in a Fourth Division cell. No matter, though... I'll deal with him after I've taken you back to the bureau and laid you bare and examined every inch of your power. I'll keep you alive, but no drugs. After what that Quincy whelp did to me, I want to hear you scream. Atone for him, girl. You are my reward, and his punishment. Scream--"
"Puddle-san," Orihime finally interrupted it (him?), gray eyes narrowed at the sloshing form with an unusually somber expression on her face. "Is Ishida-kun okay?"
"Why should I care, girl?" If the puddle had eyes, she could have sworn it would have glared at her... or maybe rolled afore-mentioned eyes. "Threw away all his power to try to kill me, and still failed. Pity... he would have made a good experiment. Now, then..."
She'd heard enough. Speaking with Ikkaku and Yumichika had taught her that the Fourth Division specialized in healing, which meant that Ishida would be in good hands there. Still, a cell was a cell, and he hadn't done anything to warrant an arrest, so that had to be dealt with. First, though...
A bucket and a mop lay forgotten on the step behind her, apparently having been someone's neglected cleaning duty. Orihime smiled down at it, picking up the bucket in one hand and the mop in the other. Very calmly and serenely, she upended the bucket, letting lemon-scented water cascade down and hit the puddle.
There was a shriek. "IDIOT GIRL, DON'T DILUTE ME! DON'T YOU KNOW WHO I--"
The girl got to work mopping up the irate mess, letting the strands soak up every inch of Kurotsuchi Mayuri, and then wringing it out over the bucket. Once this was accomplished, she propped the mop against one of the wooden columns, retrieved the bucket, and stared down at the paler green liquid.
"I don't forgive those who hurt the ones I care for," she informed it. "Don't slosh too much, please."
With a smile on her face and a glad feeling in her heart that she WASN'T like most girls (where had there ever been a story where the Princess had vanquished the foe?), Orihime skipped into the Eleventh Division Headquarters.
"Zaraki-san, Yachiru-chan, Ikkaku-kun, Yumichika-san, I think I know where Ishida-kun is! Also, can you tell me where the nearest drain is? I need to throw something out..."