lacewood: (Default)
Pei Yi ([personal profile] lacewood) wrote in [community profile] toxicskyremix2005-08-19 04:53 pm
Entry tags:

bleach - bossanova casanova

For the [ profile] 31_days theme: Twiggy vs James Bond

So you ever been to Nice, the man asked.

What's it to you and yeah I have, he said.

He should've known it was going to be bad by the way he smiled. He hadn't really been asking a question had he? He'd already known the answer.

Should've run if he'd been smart, yeah. But that was what had started the whole gig the first time and who the hell says you learn from your mistakes? Not him. He was bad at running in the right direction and he wasn't learning now, that was the whole damn problem.

So he sat there dumb as a rock and the man started talking about the sand and sea and palm trees like he'd never seen a palm tree before, the beautiful girls - or boys if you liked that sort of thing - and feathers and sequins and the sweet ka-ching of a thousand jackpot machines, the rattle and crash of a million dreams. You never get out as rich as you went in, but that doesn't stop people dreaming, stop people flocking, looking for a good time, a pretty face, a hundred dollars, a fuckin' miracle.

The hell do you want, he'd finally cut in.

A smile, brighter than a neon sign and more shit eating than a toilet in China.

I have a proposition, the man had all but purred.

Not that kind of guy, fuck off.

Oh, I don't mean that. And I think you are, Mr... 'Izumi'.

So what if the bastard knew he was using a fake name?

He really should have known better than to ask Urahara to fucking prove it.

She cut through the crowd like a knife, her black and white dress an idosyncratic detail in the swirl of cocktail dresses and suits, her walk brusque and business-like. The lounging, aimless bodies around her existed in a seperate reality - she would pause long enough to pick up a glass of wine, smile at one of the better paying guests, be drawn into a brief conversation but then a twist of a hip would find her gone.

13 didn't lay claim to being the loudest or flashiest place to be in Nice. It was the jewel of the Kuchiki empire, and the Kuchiki empire was above crass displays. Money-was-no-object here and it was well known fact that wealth wasn't enough to buy you membership. If 13 was the place for the discerning, it demanded that members stand up to its own scrutiny as well.

But that was not Kuchiki Rukia's concern of the moment. She stopped at a roulette table to study the game, touched her glass to her lips. Somewhere, a woman was singing, but she heard nothing above the rattle and hiss of the spinning table, the rolling balls, eyes fixed on the blur of faces around the table, until a voice made her gaze blink and shift.

"Miss Rukia. We had no idea you would be here tonight!"

He slid into the corner of her eye with a smile and she ignored the urge to throw her drink at him, if only because she was used to pretending these thoughts weren't there. Besides, her glass was empty.

"Gin," she greeted, curt.

"And how do you find things? I hope our operations so far meet the Kuchiki's exacting standards."

His voice, all surface cheer, slid and twisted under the noise around them, grated under her skin. Control, she thought. Fear was irrational, and beneath her in this time and place. Raising an eyebrow at him, she wished she had another glass.

"Everything looks fine," she said.

"That's good to know," he said. "And of course, if you need anything, you can always let us know."

"That's not necessary," she said, cool. "This is a strictly business visit. I've told you, I don't need any... special treatment or benefits."

Before he could detain her with more pleasantries, she let her eyes slide past him, light on a distant figure.

"If you'll excuse me," she demurred, then slid into the crowd before he could stop her or see who she headed for. She could feel his eyes on her back anyway, her pretense transparent and dangerous in its obvious cowardice.

The distant head of bright hair her eyes had found in the crowd shifted and she traced it for lack of anything else to fixate on.

By the time she recognised him, it was far, far too late.

Getting in had been easy, even if they weren't technically in yet. Getting this far only counted as standing just inside the gate - a very well guarded gate, at that. Renji watched the black-suited security that edged the periphery of the room from the corner of his eye, all silent, discreet shadows with their sleek earpieces and fancy gadgetry. His smile was a baring of teeth.

"Doesn't look like they've changed at all," he said.

Ichigo snorted. "Changed the decor a bit, maybe. You think they're still using the same tricks?"

Renji didn't answer. Ichigo turned to find him stopped at a slot machine, digging in a pocket for change. He muttered under his breath and had to duck around an dusky-skinned woman to double back.

"The hell are you doing?" he demanded.

The taller man spared him a glance. "Look, it's just one game, asshole. You could lighten up a bit," he snapped back.

"We've got bigger stakes to worry about, bastard!"

"Hey, we'll look suspicious if we don't try to look like we're here for a good time. Gimme a minute."

Coins clattered down the slot, the machine whirled and clanged. No go. Renji swore and Ichigo grabbed him by the collar before he could get more change out of his pocket.

"You want to clean yourself out later, that's your business," he said, irritated. "Afterwards. I want to get this shit over with now."

"Alright, alright, let go of me, asshole!"

They drifted back through the crowd, trying to look aimless even as they worked their way to the back.

"They upgraded the cameras," Ichigo muttered from the corner of his mouth.

"More of them too," Renji said. Harder to spot against the elaborate plaster cornices of the ceiling - was that one attached to the chandelier?

The service elevator was down the short hall leading to the women's toilets; they ducked in, past the swinging doors, dodging the occasional staff member. This elevator had never been high traffic - they were lucky, it still didn't look like it was used much.

Leaning against the wall, Renji watched the corridor behind them. Ichigo checked his watch, glanced at the lift - "Five seconds..." he muttered.




The second hand hit twelve, the lift doors opened and they were in.

Renji eyed the camera in the lift's top left corner with mistrust. "You sure he really took that out?" he said, jerking a thumb at it.

Ichigo eyed it himself and glanced at his watch. "Urahara said he could make sure we wouldn't get seen for twenty minutes if we followed this route," he said.

Renji snorted. "What if he's wrong?"

"We've dragging his sorry ass into jail with us, that's what."

"I'd rather not get arrested at all, thanks. The first time was bad enough."

Ichigo snorted. "You were in there two days before you busted out. It took my sisters almost a week to raise the bail money," he said.

"Yeah, and then Big Brother Ichigo was out of the country before they could blink. How're they?" Renji smirked.

"Shut up, asshole. They're fine. And I paid the bail money back, okay?"

"Yeah, whatever."

The lift doors slid open. Heading down the narrow corridor, they turned out into a scarlet-carpeted lobby with mirror-lined walls. Renji raised his eyebrows. "Bit tacky, isn't it?"

"This from the guy with a fish on his tie?"

"Will you shut up about my goddamn tie already!"

"Whatever, we need to find the--"

They never heard the lift behind them open. What they did hear was the spine-chilling purr of a woman saying, "Hm, don't I know you two someplace?"

Renji froze.

"No you don-" Ichigo said automatically before Renji hissed in his ear.

"That sounds like..."

"What? ... Her? No way, she doesn't talk like th--"

"Forgotten me already?" the voice asked in tones of exaggerated hurt.

They froze.

Whoever was behind them was standing so that their reflections blocked hers in the mirrors. Ichigo wasn't sure he wanted to know at all. Running would have been the better option.

They turned slowly. Very slowly.

It wasn't slow enough.

Kuchiki Rukia beamed at them, all sweetness and fucking malicious light.

"So tell me, what are the two of you doing in my casino?" she asked.


"Is that how you greet an old friend?" she asked in wounded tones.


Ichigo took a step back. Renji looked like he'd been cemented to the spot. Rukia leaned against the wall behind her and crossed her arms.

"Oh, this and that. I just thought I'd drop by to see how 13 was doing, and who do I see but my two oldest friends? How long has it been now? Two years?"

"Not long enough," Ichigo snapped. "And it's three years. Three years since the Quincy Archer went down, remember?"

She lifted her chin. "Remember? Would I forget?" she asked, tone flat.

"That's great! Now if you'd excuse us, we were just leaving--"

"So soon? But you just got here! And you know, forgive me but I don't really think the two of you were here on a social call..."

"Well, you supposed right--" Renji muttered. His survival instincts had kicked in too little, too late. By the time he'd started to back for the corridor, Rukia was strolling across the lobby. Not close enough to grab them if they ran, maybe, but she didn't need to. He stared at the tiny remote alarm dangling from her finger.

"You wouldn't," he said.

She looked at it like she'd forgotten it was there, then tucked it into a pocket in her dress and smiled. "Do you think I need to?" she asked.

Renji twitched. Ichigo muttered under his breath about no help here and snapped at her, "Okay, what do you want?"

She raised her eyebrows at him. "I just wanted to know what the two of you were doing here. Surely that's not so much to ask, after all this time?" she inquired.

"So maybe we thought we'd drop by for a good time. Is that so strange?"

"With the French police still offering $10,000 for your head from that last job? I thought you didn't even like gambling, Ichigo."

"Maybe we thought we'd come back and ask for a job again," Renji hedged.

Rukia's eyes narrowed. "After what happened the last time?"

"Money's money. You know how it is, it just gets harder and harder to earn a fucking living these days. Or wait, you wouldn't know, the Kuchiki swim in the stuff anyway," Renji said.

If she flinched at that, they didn't see it. "Well, I was trying to catch up on what my oldest friends were up to. But if you're going to be such bastards about it, maybe you'd like to go straight to the manager's office. Which is on the top floor, as it's always been, so it seems a little strange you're here on the fifth..."

"So we thought we'd take a look around, see if the place had changed. You haven't changed at all," Ichigo commented in sour tones.

Her smile was all teeth. "Is that a compliment? You don't seem to have changed either. Though Renji's fashion sense does seem to have improved... that's not your suit, is it."

"It's mine," Ichigo said.

"I thought so. Not ugly enough to be Renji's."

"You know, he wouldn't believe me when I told him not to wear his own suit."

Renji twitched. "Will the two of you just -"

"And the tie? Is that a fish on it?"

"Look, there's only so much I can do, I'm not his fucking fashion consultant."

Renji choked. "Well excuse me if we can't all be metrosexuals, Mr Fashion Expert!"

"It's not called being metrosexual to NOT BE COLOUR FUCKING BLIND."

"Children, children," Rukia cast a glance around the lobby, "if you yell like that you'll have security up here before I even do anything."

Ichigo glared. "You wouldn't," he hissed.

"She would," Renji snarled under his breath.

"Only if I have to," Rukia said pleasantly. "So, have the two of you really become desperate enough to come back looking for a job?"

"Maybe we have, maybe we haven't," Ichigo hedged.

She gave them a long, cold look. "Take my advice," she said. "Don't."

They stared at her, eyes narrowing. "What?"

"Do you really want a repeat of what happened the last time?" she asked. "And believe me. Things haven't changed."

"Oh isn't that good to know," Ichigo muttered. "So, just a tip out of the kindness of your heart, huh?"

"You could call it that."

"The hell are you doing here anyway? I thought there was a rumour your brother got you transferred back to Japan after the whole fiasco."

Rukia shrugged. "Three years is a long time. And you know how business is," she said, vague.

Ichigo glanced at Renji, who was studying Rukia with an unreadable look. He looked around the lobby. They'd been lucky no one had walked in on their little conversation so far but there was no way they were going to get anywhere with Rukia here - and no way they could shake her off. They were going to be lucky if they got out of this with their skins - what was that Urahara had said about this being the easy part again? Ichigo was going to kill him.

"So maybe we'll just turn around and find something else to get our asses busted for," he said.

"Leaving so soon? And it's been such a long time too," Rukia mourned. They knew she knew they were up to something - not like it hadn't been obvious to begin with. She smiled. "Why don't we find somewhere to sit down and have a nice, long talk?"

"Yeah, well, you know how it is, places to go, jobs to find..."

"At least tell me where Renji got those tatoos. Trying to hide a receeding hairline? I always said you tied your hair too tight-"


"Nah, he was just dru-"

"Do I look like I'm BALDING TO YOU?"

"It's a bit hard to tell when your eyebrows are so... distracting... Are you sure he was just drunk? Maybe the alcohol poisoning went to his hea-"

"At least I don't dress like I'm TWELVE."

"Oh, of course, I'd rather dress like a colour blind RAPPER WANNABE."

Ichigo really, really, really should have known better than to let anyone talk him into anything this stupid. Next time, he was moving to Mongolia, he decided.

He grabbed Rukia by the back of her dress just as she opened her mouth to yell again. "LOOK, you're going to bring security down on us next. Renji, SHUT UP."





A door behind them crashed open and a gang of guards ran in. Renji spun, Ichigo swore and the click of maybe seven safety catches told them they were surrounded. Their twenty minutes were up with a vengeance.



One of the guards lowered his gun to blink. "Miss Kuchiki?"

Cold steel tapped the back of Ichigo's neck "Put her down now," the man behind him ordered.

He swore and dropped her.

Fucked didn't begin to cover it.

Ichigo was still awake when he heard a door somewhere open and footsteps ring on the concrete. Renji had managed to fall asleep and was snoring on the other bunk, mouth open and a thin line of drool tracing his chin. Must be dreaming of Rukia, Ichigo had thought sourly.

Urahara leaned against the bars of their cell and smiled. "Well, nice to see that you're still in good condition, Kurosaki."

"Not good enough," Ichigo snapped, kicking Renji awake. "Get us out of here."

"Now, now, is that the tone you want to take with your potential bailer?"

"We wouldn't be in here in the first place if it weren't for you!"

Renji sat up with a grunt and an oath. "URAHARA."

"Good morning, Abarai. I see you slept well," Urahara greeted, cheerful.

He glared. "Why didn't you tell us SHE was here?"

The older man had the grace to look apologetic. "Kuchiki Rukia's presence was an unforseen circumstance. I had no idea she would be there last night. If I'd known the two of you would get so... distracted by her, I would have made better plans."

"Don't fake it. You could wire the cameras, you had to know she was in Nice. At the 13. You didn't tell us that," Renji snapped.

"And what would you have done if I had, Abarai?" Urahara asked with a very small, very dangerous smile.

Renji spluttered.

He transferred his knowing gaze to Ichigo, who glowered. "Kurosaki?"

Mongolia, Ichigo decided, wasn't far enough. "Moved to Alaska, booked a flight on the next space shuttle to Mars. Stayed the hell out of this."

"Very smart of you. Terribly inconvenient for me. Despicable, but I'm sure you understand my motives," Urahara said.

And now they were in too deep to back out. He wondered if it was too late to try and book a ticket out of France. But first, they had to get out of the damned police station.

"What's in this for you?" Renji asked before Ichigo could word the question.


"You knew what we wanted. Aizen set the Quincy job on us and almost got us killed, we wanted payback. What's in this for you?" Renji asked, standing to shove his hands in his pockets and study him.

"Do I really need a better motive than money?" Urahara beamed. "Are you sure you want to admit to felonies while still in police custody, Abarai?"

"I'm not owning to anything! I'm just saying you're in too deep for this to be just about the money."

"Oh, you'd be surprised at how far mercenary lust could drive a man." That was no answer at all. "And really now, this isn't the place. Do you or don't you want your bail posted?"


"That'd be one firstborn each, then!"


"Just my little joke. The bail's been posted already. You know, Miss Kuchiki must have been in a good mood if she only got the two of you charged for making a public disturbance. I expected to fork out quite a bit more..."

The cell door swung open and Ichigo rubbed his eyes. Not even eight in the morning and he was getting a headache already, he thought. It was going to be a hell of a day.


August 2005