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Bleach crack. With mummies.

Because I'm completely off my rocker, I give you Bleach crack!fic. With Ikkaku and mummies:

Title: Because I Could Not Stop For Death
Summary: Madarame Ikkaku is tall and dangerous, but not particularly dark. At least not until he is sent to London, where bad weather and embarrassing memories combine to turn him into a brooding hero. Well, for about five minutes.
Fandom: Bleach/The Mummy
Pairings: Ikkaku/Evie
Rating: R; may climb eventually (i.e. when I get to the hot sexx0rz)


It was the third of May, 2007, and Madarame Ikkaku was in one of the two places in the whole world he'd sworn never to set foot in again: London, England.

The other one was Cairo, for similar though slightly more arcane reasons, and Ikkaku should have been happy that he had been spared the blazing, humid hell of early summer in that particular part of Egypt. After all, London in May offered bearable temperatures and even the occasional sneak peek at a watery sun. Besides, whatever unpleasant memories bound him to the city concentrated around the Tower Bridge, which he'd had no trouble avoiding so far, whereas in Cairo every patch of concrete reminded him of red sand, crumbling clay huts and people long gone.

Had Ikkaku been given to rational thought outside of shogi and general battle strategy, he would have agreed that his situation could indeed have been worse. As it was, he had used the first week of his assignment to nurse his initial pique into a grudge of elephantine proportions, and now he had decided that a grudge this large could only be dealt by drowning it.

Preferably in Guinness.

And that needed the proper preparation, i.e. clothes fit for getting drunk in, because Ikkaku liked to get drunk in style.

Luckily, it was hard to look conspicuous in London, even if you were as little in touch with modern fashion as Madarame Ikkaku. Not that he would ever be concerned with what humans—foreign humans at that—thought about his looks, or rather the looks of his gigai. But it made no sense to attract overdue attention either, so on the grounds that black went with everything, he had opted for a slim black suit and white dress shirt. He'd added suspenders and a rather expensive watch, and wing tips because they made him look a little like a rich gangster.

He would have liked to wear a hat but ultimately decided not to because he was just itching for someone to call him baldie to his face. In fact, he had scoured the city for the seediest pubs he could find for that purpose only, but so far he'd had no luck.

At eight in the evening Ikkaku left the Olde Cock thoroughly disgusted, shoving his way through the patrons in the desperate hope that he might get a rise out of someone, but even the meanest drunk seemed determined to be civil.

It was killing him.

He walked aimlessly through the streets, hands shoved into the pockets of his pants, and contemplated his situation. Since Ikkaku was not a man usually given to contemplation, thinking about it angered him even more.

Back home in Seiretei he would have spat a few insults at any random shinigami that came his way, provided he was strong enough, of course, and the other would have tried to bash his face in. Of course he would have retaliated and they would have happily beat each other into bloody pulps.

Ah, good times, that.

As it were, Ikkaku would be forced to bear the smog and perpetual ill weather of London for three more weeks, while the idiot who was actually responsible for Tower Hill and Greenwich recovered from his injuries.

Not for the first time Ikkaku wished he knew who exactly had been responsible for assigning him to London when the rest of the city was in sixth division hands, and not one decent drinking buddy among them.

And all because that stupid Arakawa prick just had to go and get himself gutted like a fish—by a fucking gillian no less.

Fucking Arakawa, Ikkaku thought. Fucking rainy,smelly city.

The clouds were out, rendering the sky a dull, uniform grey. Humidity lay heavy in the air and even if he couldn't see it, Ikkaku could feel the sun slowly sinking below the horizon, taking the rest of the day's warmth with it.

A feeling of foreboding tricked coldly down his spine. Beneath the rank wind blowing in from the Thames lay the dusty scent of death—parchment and old bones. Out of the corner of his eye he caught sight of Tower Bridge, a bad omen if he'd ever seen one.

Death was approaching swiftly with the dusk, and with it came the ozone scent of lightning in the air, then rain.

It started slowly, as a gentle patter. The drops were cold though; Ikkaku rubbed a hand over his smooth-shaven pate as he tried to discern who of the people passing him by was going to buy it within the next hour.

He was feeling rather unsettled, he realized as he scanned faces, and not because of the beer sloshing inside his stomach, unerringly making its way towards an already overfull bladder with each step he took.

This was a different kind of urgency, darker and more prickly than the insistent need to pee, and he had no explanation for it. It was growing steadily as he took in his surroundings, from the aged pavement, already growing slick with rain, over the wrought-iron streetlights to the spattering of tired businesspeople trying to make it home from work before the rain started in earnest.

There were a few tourists too, dressed in inappropriately thin clothes for the season and wide-eyed with excitement despite the dreary weather. Ikkaku glanced them over with little interest; the small, persistent chill he was feeling did not originate with them.

An old lady bent under the weight of two plastic bags caught his eye for a moment, and kept it as she made to cross the street without looking for any incoming cars. Traffic was atypically light, though. She made it across without incident and Ikkaku's attention wandered again.

Who could it be? Not the old man hanging a closed sign on the wood-and-glass door of Barnaby's bookstore; not the mother who, lacking an umbrella, was trying to screen her baby's stroller with her trenchcoat.

It had to be someone else but the moment of death was nearly there . . .

He felt her.

He knew it was too late even before he turned around, eyes searching wildly. He saw her step onto the street just as the streetlight went green, digging distractedly through her bag for something as she did so.

Her coat was dark, he thought, and there was not enough light, and then there was the car, just behind the corner.

It was not going very fast, not after taking such a sharp curve, but it was not slowing down either; Ikkaku's legs propelled him into motion although he already knew he would be too late—and then, with a sharp crack of splintering bone as the impact drove her head back, he suddenly was.

She flew sideways through the air, although not very far, resembling nothing as much as a rag doll. When she met the ground it was with a soft thud, and by then she was already dead.

The car screeched to a stop, too late. Moments passed, then came the roar of a speeding engine and the squeal of tires.

Stupid, Ikkaku thought distractedly, and then, It didn't hurt much. At least it didn't hurt.

The bile rose in his throat anyway. Someone screamed, but the sound was muffled by the roaring in his ears.

The rain was coming down harder now, hammering the asphalt with drops the size of pennies. The sky was nearly dark. It wasn't hard for a shinigami to melt into that darkness and Ikkaku did it automatically. When the onlookers came rushing in they sidestepped him without noticing.

He ignored them as they surrounded the body, clutching their umbrellas and exclaiming to each other. Some of them had pulled out mobiles and were calling 999. A little girl had started to cry with great, noisy wails.

In the middle of it all a portly man in faded grey slacks and tennis shoes had cleared a circle and was now administering CPR.

She's got a broken neck, moron, thought Ikkaku bitterly.

He couldn't remember being so angry in a long time. Mere minutes ago, the cooling corpse lying in the middle of the road had been young, female and pretty. It seemed like such a waste and even though he'd seen worse, this affected him more than he liked.

With a flicker, the streetlights went on, adding a yellow tinge to the darkness. A sharp glint of light on the rain-slick pavement caught his attention and he went to investigate. It turned out to be a pair of glasses, now cracked and bent out of shape. She must have worn glasses, round ones with plastic lenses and a thin metal frame, and they had been propelled off her nose by the impact.

Ikkaku bent and picked them up. He turned them over in his big hands, rage rising off him like steam.

He had to calm down. The spirit would not be far, frightened and likely disoriented. She needed someone to soothe her, tell her that she was not alone.

After downing the requisite pill, Ikkaku stepped out of his gigai and looked around. Although the human simulacrum remained standing where he'd left it, still holding on to the girl's glasses, Ikkaku's own hands were empty.

The girl's ghost, however, still wore them.

She had shimmered into focus at the edge of the crowd, a forlorn little figure in soaked and bloodied clothes. Her dark hair was still wet, dripping ghostly rain that made no impression in the puddles at her feet.

Just this once in your fucking life, be professional. With a short tug Ikkaku adjusted his robe and made his way towards the girl just as one of the bystanders, a businessman who was clutching his mobile like a lifeline, walked right into her.

And stopped.

She startled at the contact and then she looked down to where the man's larger feet, clad in shiny black dress shoes, occupied the exact same space as her smaller ones, obscuring them completely.

For a moment Ikkaku thought she was going to scream, but then she merely stepped back, very carefully, and frowned. Still moving with great care, she spread out her shimmering hands and wiggled her fingers. Then, seemingly satisfied that they were still in working order, she rubbed them on her coat and gave an experimental tug on the translucent chain dangling from the middle of her equally translucent chest.

"Drat," she said.

Her shoulders slumped, just a little. It seemed to Ikkaku that she was growing wetter and more bedraggled by the minute, even though the rain was falling through her rather than on. And she looked so young. It had been hard to discern her age from the slack, bloodied features of her corpse, but in soul form her profile was unblemished and smooth.

It ain't right, he thought and touched her arm, wondering what he was going to say to her.

She winced at the touch, whirling around to face him. Even behind the glasses, she had the largest, prettiest eyes.

It's all right, he wanted to say, I'm here to help you, but the words stuck in his throat. Damn but she was cute, even annoyed and scared like she was now. And she looked . . . familiar. He was suddenly sure he'd seen her before, somewhere, and she'd been scared then too, and screaming—

His expression must have changed because the tightness around her mouth eased and she took a step forward, gaze locked with his. And it was the eyes that brought the memory crashing back.

Screaming, yes. And scared. And blowing off his then-mummified head with a huge motherfucker of a sawed-off shotgun.

She'd had a point, but he still wasn't inclined to forgive her for that. That, and . . .

. . . other things.

Ikkaku blanched.

"Oh no," he said, grimacing. "Not you again."

"What?" said the girl. "What?"

Even in soul language, she had an unbearably posh accent.

He glowered at her. "What's your name?"

She frowned back. "Why should I tell you? And who are you, anyway?"

He gripped her arm again, this time tugging her close. "Your name," he bit out.

Her mouth pursed into a stubborn moue but she answered. "Evie. Evelyn. After my grandmother," she added unnecessarily.

Although Ikkaku tried to appreciate the cosmic irony of this, he failed miserably. He spat out a low curse instead and wished he had a wall to hit his head on.

"Ye gods. A bit of imagination would have been nice," he muttered. "Okay, Evie, here's what we do—you come with me, I take you where you need to go, and then we never see each other again, Buddha willing, or whoever else is running this freak show of a reincarnation business. Understood?"

She blinked at him. "Why are you so angry all of a sudden? I didn't do anything to you!"

"No," said Ikkaku viciously. "You just fucking killed me. Twice."

It was hard to argue with that, especially without having all the facts, and Ikkaku knew well enough that as newly deceased soul, Evie would have trouble remembering its last few minutes, let alone mischief committed in previous incarnations. To her credit she didn't even try, which was just what he'd hoped to accomplish.

By then the ambulance had arrived anyway, making it impossible to argue properly over the din of the sirens. Ill-temperedly, Ikkaku pulled Evie to the side and saw her face go livid as she watched her body get loaded onto a gurney and ferried past them by two tired-looking EMTs.

Ikkaku felt a pang, but it was quickly and ruthlessly suppressed. Things happened around this woman. People got killed, only to get resurrected as mummies after, and smashed to bits by her crazy boyfriends. Rinse and repeat, until even the most easygoing mummy wanted to take a bandage to her backside.

This was a woman who started plagues just by reading.

He wanted nothing to do with her.

Although, seeing how she was tugging on his sleeve and looking at him with a plaintive expression, he just might not have a choice.

"Did I . . . Did I really kill you?" Evie wanted to know. She sounded appalled by the notion.

"Yeah," he said gruffly.

"I'm sorry," she said.

Ikkaku bristled. "How can you be sorry if you don't even remember it?"

"I don't know. I am, though. Sorry, that is." She bit her lip. "This is turning out to be one really crappy day," she said.

She looked so lost. Despite his determination he could feel the first twinges of sympathy tug at his gut and take root there, digging deep.

Ikkaku had to dig deep into his dwindling reserve of anger to dredge up some righteousness. "Sorry for being all insensitive here, but you got me killed. What did you expect me to do? Give you a hug?"

"Er, I didn't expect you to do anything," she ventured cautiously. "I don't know what to expect since I'm dead and all and it doesn't seem to come with a whole book of instructions, obviously, just sexy bald guys screaming at you for any old reason—"

"I'm not bald," replied Ikkaku automatically. Wait a minute. Sexy? He tried to wrap his brain around that, but it just didn't work. He stopped for fear of growing blind from the strain.

". . . and anyway," she was saying, "I think I'm entitled to a little sensitivity here. Even if I did, you know, kill you. I can't imagine I did it on purpose."

"Oh, you never do," he said, with venom.

"Anyway, I don't see why this has to be all about you," she said. "I'm the one who died."

Ikkaku scowled.

"All right, I'm the one who died just now. I need—I don't know what I need. A pat on the head, or something. I don't need you to look at me like you're about to wring my neck."

Her attempt to stare him down was growing more pitiful by the minute. Ikkaku scoffed inwardly. She obviously couldn't maintain a good glower for more than five seconds and anyway, if she wanted a pat on the head she could wait until hell froze over as far as he was concerned. If there was going to be any comforting it sure as hell wasn't going to come from him. Not even if her eyes grew even wider than they already were, and her lower lip started to tremble just a little . . .

She looked away even though there was no way he could see her tears through the torrential rain. But then her shoulders started to shake, just the tiniest bit, and Ikkaku could see that her hands had clenched into little white fists.

Oh shit. Fuck it all to hell.

He would have been the first to admit that killing was no big deal, especially since she didn't even remember it and she was going to start sobbing any moment now, so maybe just one hug but only if she promised not to tell but then again you couldn't just go and hug your fucking killer, or could you—

Tentatively, he cupped her shoulders in his hands, trying to ignore the thoughts buzzing like bees through his head. After a minute or so his fingers started to twitch, so he moved them up and down a little in an approximation of a caress.

Evie relaxed.

He felt gratified at that although he really shouldn't. Just as he shouldn't have turned her around and closed the rest of the distance between them, rocking her into his chest.

They stood like that for a bit, while Ikkaku tried to ignore the jangling of Evie's soul chain and the way her lashes were tickling his chest. The rain seemed nearly soothing now. It must have seemed that way to Evie too, because she gave a soft sigh, followed by a sniffle.

And then her stomach growled. Loudly.

After which it growled again, just in case somebody had missed it the first time around.

Finally, Evie raised her head with a ladylike little hiccup. Her lashes were wet and her nose was as red as a ghost's nose could get, but she seemed to have regained her composure.

"I'm feeling a little peckish," she said. "Is that all right?"

Ikkaku closed his eyes. Shinigami, he thought, torn between horror and a curious relief.

"Don't ask me," he said. "I'm sure I have no fucking idea."

He still had no inkling what he was doing as he pulled back, drawing Hozukimaru out of its scabbard.

Evie's eyes widened.

"There's really no need for this," she said, taking a step back. "Can't we talk? It's unhealthy to bottle up aggression, you know, and—"

"Be quiet," Ikkaku said, not unkindly, and raising the blade, hilt forward, pressed the embedded crest into Evie's forehead.

And as she vanished, still wearing that puzzled expression, he caught himself wanting to follow.




. . . alternately, here's the fic at FFN: (link)

Thanks to Cinnie for her help! Without her, this would have turned out even more of a cryptic mess than it actually is.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
karlyl
Feb. 26th, 2006 10:59 pm (UTC)
Oh dear. I am very amused. This is good crack. XD More please!
technoelfie
Feb. 27th, 2006 11:43 am (UTC)
Thanks! If everything goes well, the next chapter will be out pretty soon. :)
destervetha
Feb. 27th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
Illogical it may be, but nevertheless, this is some very well-written AU ^3^ Ha. I love your "alternative" Ikkaku backstory, too, hee! They're both bald. HA.
technoelfie
Feb. 27th, 2006 11:45 am (UTC)
Thank you. :) Ikkaku is not Imhotep though. Who he is exactly will be revealed in one of the coming chapters. XD
incandescens
Feb. 27th, 2006 01:40 am (UTC)
Awwww. That is brilliant and sweet and effective and I would love to see more like this.
technoelfie
Feb. 27th, 2006 11:49 am (UTC)
Thanks! ♥ I love Ikkaku to bits, so I'll try to do him justice despite the unlikely premise of the story. :)
moko_moko
Feb. 27th, 2006 02:19 am (UTC)
Oh wow, it works, man! It's very well-written as well; his inner voice makes me chortle into my iced tea.

...but even the meanest drunk seemed determined to be civil.
HAH.
technoelfie
Feb. 27th, 2006 11:52 am (UTC)
I'm happy you think so! I wasn't sure whether to post this at all, but it's good I did because now there's quite a bit of pressure to continue it. I love Ikkaku, but he's a hard character to write--a compassionate thug. ^__^

glass_houses
Feb. 27th, 2006 03:42 pm (UTC)
I'm a little confused, but I just loved Just this once in your fucking life, be professional. lol.
kilerkki
Mar. 7th, 2006 02:28 pm (UTC)
I am a completely random wanderer, come here because I was bored and searching lj interests, and you happened to have Ivan Vorpatril listed. I recognized your name from deviantart and was intrigued by your journal title, so I wandered over.

And promptly laughed myself silly at Ikkaku being a mummy. I saw The Mummy for the first time two weeks ago, and I have to admit that the comparisons are absolutely amazing. Also that you are a terrific writer, and that Ikkaku is love (you did an excellent job at capturing that 'compassionate thug' aspect of his personality) and that I'd like to see more of this!

And to figure out who Ikkaku is, if he isn't Imhotep...
technoelfie
Mar. 7th, 2006 03:17 pm (UTC)
Ah, Ivan! One of my most enduring fictional loves. Too bad that Lois has decided to leave the Vorkosigan universe alone for now.

The Mummy fic is scaring me a little right now, because it's gaining momentum and has managed to pick up plot along the way, which terrifies me to no end.

I started writing it because I've always been interested in the minor characters, the 'redshirts' and 'ensign expendables' of the movie universe. The mummies fit the bill, and then I saw Ikkaku and a little light went on in my brain, and suddenly I could see him dealing with Evie and working things out with her.

So I'm both scared and a little excited about this story, and it's hugely gratifying to work on it. :)

Oh, and before I forget: welcome to my LJ! I rememember you from DA. :)
kilerkki
Mar. 7th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
Plot is a good thing--except when it refuses to stop. Such plots are now the bane of my creative writing class, and have turned a nicely well-behaved short story into what's looking alarmingly like a novel.

Minor characters have always been my favorites--the people who barely have names, but who have rich and wonderful personalities just waiting for you to discover them. I find them much more satisfying to write about than characters whose lives and personalities and goals and relationships are already clearly laid out. Perhaps it's simply the covetous urge yearning to appropriate them and make them mine?

I am guessing, then, that Ikkaku is one of the random mummy guards or priests who had the bad luck to get caught up in the Big Guys' battle?

And thanks for the welcome! D'you mind if I friend you?
technoelfie
Mar. 9th, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think part of the attraction of minor characters is the fact that they are still so sketchy, personality-wise. There's a lot more room, creatively.

It's the same with main characters who have managed to retain an aura of mystery --for me that would be Kisuke and Isshin in Bleach, Kakashi in Naruto and Sesshoumaru in Inuyasha.

And yes, Ikkaku is one of the random mummies. :)

I don't mind being friended at all, go ahead! I'll friend you back. :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )