Stark does have a fear and it involves plants. Nasty green plants. Who like to eat people.
The Tameness of a Wolf
I booted open the door. It was fine. There was nothing there. It was dark, sure, but there was no one there.
Or so we thought.
“Guys? Forte?” Ilforte’s face lit up there and then.
“Starky?” A candle suddenly started burning, and the room lit up with a warm glow.
It looked like the parlour we had started in.
Stark was sat, hugging himself on the sofa. Ilforte ran to him and literally jumped on him, holding his face and kissing him as if it was to be the last time.
Stark was never usually scared. He was always the most calm and collected of all of us, but he knew his nightmare was about to become reality, and was treasuring these few last sane moments with his boyfriend.
I wish I had that someone. I couldn’t wait to see Szayel and Nnoitra’s reunion. That was going to be a dramatic scene, I can tell you.
Or, it could be the most heartfelt, romantic reunion ever.
You never knew with those two.
Szayel kinda picked up on the sudden disappearance of happiness on my face.
“Gin?” He asked. I stopped.
No, it wasn’t Gin that I was missing. I could have even gone so far as to say I had completely forgotten he existed.
I was feeling guilty. I was craving something, what was it? Love, warmth...?
Ulquiorra’s hand in mine?
“Nah, I’m fine.” I lied. He nodded and smiled.
“Just making sure. You’ve secured two of our lives so far. We owe you.” I nodded.
“Don’t mention it.”
Szayel and I took our places in the room on separate chairs, while Stark took in the fact he wasn’t alone anymore.
“What was your nightmare, Stark? We asked. He shrugged.
“It sounds kinda stupid...” Ilforte stroked his hair
“It’s alright Starky. We’re not gonna laugh at ya. Go for it, brother.” He sighed, before pushing his hair out of his face.
“It was a kid’s book I used to read. It had this boy in it, and he was attacked by a huge Venus flytrap. It was rather gory; though I’m not entirely sure it was a kid’s book.” I nodded.
I had already guessed it would have to be a fear to do with his childhood. I had never seen him scared before, so it would have had to have been something he had come across before I met him.
“You were young. We’re not going to laugh at you because of that!” Ilforte smiled.
I nodded. So, a giant plant was going to come along, eh? This was gonna be a piece of cake. Thank you for having an easy to get over fear Stark, we needed to make up time.
Szayel would want to dissect it straight away. Ilforte could snap it in half in seconds. The brothers would deal with it.
It went silent for a while. We were waiting for it.
I felt something wet along my ankle. I looked down, to see some sort of creeper vine thing there. I lifted my legs onto the couch.
Shit. Floor was outta bounds!
The others followed my actions. Stark was keeping a straight face.
And that’s when I grinned.
Cheeky bastard. He really was scared of nothing. He had put this because it was the only fear he had ever had.
Didn’t mean to say that he hadn’t already gotten over it years ago.
The vines started to wrap and merge in the middle of the room. I looked over to Szayel. He was not a happy bunny.
He couldn’t dissect it. New outfit meant no pockets.
No pockets meant no scalpels.
Ilforte grinned; he knew he was up next.
He stood on the couch, and jumped onto the stem just as the bud of it was growing. He lent on the stem with all his weight, trying to break it, and then stopped, his face going pale.
“I’m stuck!” He shouted. As he tried to pull his hands away, a green blob came with them, snapping them back like elastic.
The plant was made of goo.
I looked around the room in desperate need of some inspiration. I got it.
The candle was still sitting on the side. I didn’t know if you could melt goo; Szayel was the expert here, but it was worth a shot.
Especially now that the bud had bloomed and looked ready to eat the blonde haired Granz.
Stark was panicking now. I stopped, just briefly.
Hang on a sec. What if it didn’t matter what we had on our cards. Ulquiorra was using our minds against us.
That means that he would have known Stark’s worst fear, even if Stark didn’t.
I grabbed the candle from the side, jumping on roots and vines, careful not to snag my feet in them. I tried to light up the base of the plant.
Slowly, green water started trickling down.
As the heat spread, more of the plant started to melt, and Ilforte was gradually able to let go.
“GROSS, BROTHER! MY HANDS ARE GREEN AND EWW!” Stark chuckled, and pulled him back onto the sofa.
“Love you, Forte.” Ilforte stopped.
Stark was never a man of many words. He always kept quiet and to himself. He had never said that to Ilforte before.
Ilforte chucked his still gunky hands around Stark, being careful not to get it in his hair, and kissed him.
I grinned. Szayel nodded at me.
“That was a good idea, using fire like that.” I shrugged.
“It was the only thing that I could think of.” I sat back.
Ulquiorra was meant to appear now. But he wasn’t.
I was craving him.
I sighed. Best not to get my hope up. I looked at the gloop on the floor, and nodded. The others followed my direction of sight, and Szayel read out the message on the floor.
“Nnoitra is the next you must find. I have Gin in the attic. Hurry, there is minimal time left. As soon as Szayel gives you a number, a door will appear. Only Grimmjow is to enter. He will reunite with you again later if he succeeds. Good luck.
Ulquiorra.” They stared at me. My head flicked to Szayel.
“So, Szayel, what number are you giving me today?” He grinned.
“Five.” I looked at him, an eyebrow raised.
“Why five?” He blushed.
“No reason! At all! Just five, okay!” I grinned at him.
“Sure thing. Those bed sheets must be really stained...” He went bright red at that.
“How the hell did you guess?” I winked at him. Ilforte burst out laughing.
“He didn’t. You just told him, brother!” Szayel’s palm flew towards his forehead.
A door opened up behind the sofa.
I gave the boys a quick salute.
“Go get him, soldier!” Stark cheered.
“I’m on it!” I burst into the white corridor again, frantically searching for number 5.
Nnoitra was my best friend. If I didn’t save him and he was the one of us Ulquiorra promised would die, I’d be filled with guilt.
And I would have Szayel’s scalpel blades to answer to.
I kicked open door number five.