Ichigo sighed, heading back home alone after school. Orihime had to go grocery shopping, Chad had something to do, and Ishida was probably hunting hallows again. Whatever. It wasn’t like he needed someone with him.
That was when he spotted the cat laying on the sidewalk. It looked dead. Ichigo leaned down next to it. Looked it was banged up, but still alive. He snorted. Who ever heard of a blue cat?
But he didn’t rise. The cat had more reitsu than he would expect. Not a ridiculous amount, but just a little more than usual. And there was something… familiar about it. After a few moments, he sighed.
Without further ado, he pulled the cat into his arms. It was a pretty big cat, about the size of a small dog. For a moment, Ichigo felt his throat constrict, and almost fell over. But it only lasted a moment. Then, looking around for anything out of place, he headed home, the tortoiseshell cat tucked into the crook of his arm.
When he got home, Yuzu was there to greet him.
“Welcome home, big brother!” she said. Ichigo smiled a little. Then she noticed the cat. “What’s that?”
“Found him laying in the street. Thought I’d clean him up a bit,” Ichigo said. Yuzu smiled brightly.
“Oh, okay!” she said, then rushed into the kitchen to finish dinner. Karin was already there, watching something on TV. Ichigo climbed the stairs and went into his room. He deposited the cat on his bed so he could change, and the animal stirred. It blinked a few times, then jumped up. Ichigo watched as it looked all around it, running in a circle even. Then it looked up at him. Ichigo blinked. The cat’s eyes were as blue as its fur. Then the cat jumped from the bed, onto his desk and then to the top of his dresser. It looked at itself in the mirror there, staring intently.
“Well, you’re lively, for looking dead ten minutes ago,” Ichigo said. The cat glared at him over its shoulder. Ichigo ignored it, changing out of his uniform. The cat was admiring itself in the mirror a bit more, then turned and jumped down. It sat, staring at the teenager as if considering.
“Hollow! Hollow! Hollow!”
Ichigo sighed as his badge went off. He reached for it, but suddenly his body froze. His throat constricted once again, and, as an overwhelming feeling of disgust and pain washed through him, his knees gave out. Ichigo curled on his side, trying to block out whatever it was that was happening. The cat watched with interest now, unmoving. If he were able to breathe, Kurosaki would scream. It felt like his body was being twisted and squished, pulled into itself painfully.
Then, after minutes that felt more like hours, all the pain dissipated, and Ichigo could breath.
He lay on the ground, panting. He was too weak to move. He didn’t even want to open his eyes.
“Hurts like a bitch, doesn’t it?”
Ichigo tried to groan, but it came out as more of a mewl. He knew that voice. He cracked open his eyes.
The blue cat was standing over him, an absolutely feral grin on its face. Ichigo stared. How did a cat make that expression, anyways? The cat snorted, then moved out of his sight. Ichigo felt something prod his back, until he was laying on his stomach. He found keeping his eyes open becoming easier. Then the blue cat was in front of him again, sitting and staring. Ichigo looked up at it…
Then it hit him.
He jumped to his feet, but the blue cat was still taller than him. He looked down at himself. Instead of hands, he found little orange paws. He spun, trying to see the rest of himself.
“Is it really that hard to figure out?”
“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Ichigo yelled. The other cat rolled his eyes.
“You’re a cat,” he said.
“What do you I’m a cat?” Ichigo yelled again, hissing at the blue cat. The other cat gave him a dead pan look. It stood, then clawed him on the top of the head. Ichigo jumped back with a yowl.
“You’re a cat,” the cat said. “Deal with it already.”
“How am I supposed to calmly accept something like that?” Ichigo yelled.
“Che,” the blue cat sat. “Stop being a fucking pussy already.”
Ichigo stared. The blue cat glared.
“You have no idea what you just said, do you?”
“Wha… oh,” the blue cat said. Then it giggle-snorted, grinning. It remained composed a moment, then burst out laughing. Ichigo sat, staring. Well, this guy looked like he was going to be very helpful. With a sigh, he jumped on his bed. He started pawing the Soul Reaper badge, hoping it would trigger something.
“That’s not going to work,” the other cat said, still grinning as it joined Ichigo on the bed.
“How would you know?” Kurosaki asked, but he sat anyway. The blue cat snorted.
“Can’t you tell? Our reitsu has practically disappeared in this form,” he said. Ichigo tilted his head.
“How does a cat know about reitsu?” he asked. The blue cat dead panned without losing its grin.
“Oh man, you haven’t figured it out yet?” he asked. Ichigo narrowed his eyes. He rose, circling the other cat. The blue cat sat, watching with amusement as he was examined. After a moment, Ichigo sat in front of him. He and the blue cat held each other’s gaze.
“I have no idea,” Ichigo said.
“Che,” the blue cat said, tilting his head arrogantly. “Let me give you a hint; even though it’s annoying as hell, this form is actually pretty appropriate.”
“…?” Ichigo’s eyes widened in realization, and he jumped back, completely tense. “Grimmjow!”
“Took you long enough,” Grimmjow said, laying down and yawning. Ichigo relaxed, feeling a little stupid. He padded over, and Grimmjow watched him lazily.
“What is this?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow licked his paw, then started on his ear.
“Hell if I know,” he said.
“Bullshit,” Ichigo said. “You were a cat first, and you didn’t seem all that surprised when I turned into one.”
“Doesn’t mean I know anything,” Grimmjow said. Ichigo clawed at him, but he was up in a blur. Grimmjow bowled into him, and Ichigo hissed and bit his shoulder. Grimmjow yowled, clawing what he could reach. Ichigo let go of his bite, scratching instead, and Grimmow attacked in the same way. In the meantime, they tumbled off the bed to the floor. They jumped apart, glaring at each other. Then Grimmjow sighed, sitting.
“Look, all I know is some weird Arrancar chick did something to me that hurt like hell and when I woke up I was a cat and in your fucking room.”
“…alright, fine, you don’t know anything,” Ichigo said, sitting. Grimmjow snorted, cleaning himself. Ichigo stared at nothing, thinking. He wasn’t sure why he’d gotten pulled into whatever happened to Grimmjow, but he did know he didn’t like it. Why the hell did he have to be pulled into this, anyways? It was the stupid Espada’s fault; he probably did something to piss the chick off. Ichigo sighed, sitting.
But who could he ask about this? Urahara was probably his best bet. That guy would have a field day with this… and he was much better than Mayuri. Ichigo shuddered. Anything was better than Mayuri.
Ichigo flinched as a weight suddenly settled on his shoulders, forcing him to lay down.
“What the-“ he started.
“Shut up,” Grimmjow said. “You’re thinking too loud.”
“What?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow sighed.
“Crash course on being a cat,” he said. “When you think, it shows in your body language. You’re too inexperienced to read it, but you’re too inexperienced to hide it, too. So, you’re thinking too loud.”
“… are you just going to stay there?” Ichigo said. Grimmjow snorted, then grinned, thinking.
Ichigo jumped as a rough tongue licked him behind the ear.
“What the hell are you doing?” he asked, trying vainly too struggle away. Grimmjow just draped over him further.
“You’re pretty scrawny, aren’t you?” he said, continuing to groom Ichigo. Kurosaki hissed, finally managing to pull away. Grimmjow laughed at his expression.
“… this is going to be a long night…” Ichigo said. Then he jumped on the bed, and scratched at the side of the window. If he could just get it open…
“Yeah, that’ll work,” Grimmjow said, calming down. Ichigo ignored him. Then Grimmjow yowled, and Ichigo whipped around.
Kurosaki watched in horrified fascination as the blue cat writhed in pain, then began changing. He could hear sickening squelches and cracking as bones reformed themselves. It took all of about five minutes before it was over. Panting, Grimmjow rose to his feet. He was back to his original form. Looking up at Ichigo, he grinned.
“Hurts just as much changing back,” he said. Then he took a step forward, and Ichigo suddenly had the thought to run. Grimmjow caught him before he got anywhere, picking him up by the scruff. Ichigo glared as the Espada held him in front of his face.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Grimmjow asked. Ichigo glared, swiping at him. The Arrancar held him out further before the hit landed. He chuckled. “Is that anyway to treat the guy trying to help you?”
Ichigo yowled. Grimmjow sighed, grinning still.
“Can’t understand you anymore,” he said. Ichigo blinked in surprise as he was moved to Grimmjow’s shoulder. He looked at the Espada, who mutely stepped on his futon and opened the window. “You were gonna head to Urahara Kisuke’s place, right?”
Ichigo nodded, then dug into Grimmjow’s shirt with his claws as the Arrancar jumped and ran down the street. He yowled in protest, but Grimmjow grinned, ignoring him. Suddenly, he stopped. Without thinking, Ichigo jumped to the ground. He turned to glare at Grimmjow, who just shrugged.
“This is the place, right?” he asked, pointing. Ichigo looked. They were in front of Urahara’s shop. He looked at Grimmjow and tried to tell him, but what came out were cat noises. Grimmjow sighed. “I already told you I can’t understand you anymore.”
Ichigo sat indignantly, then nodded. With an eyeroll, Grimmjow stepped up and pounded on the door. After a few moments, Tessai came to the door.
“Sorry, sir, the shop is…” the big man trailed off as he noticed the hole in Grimmjow’s stomach.
“Is the owner here?” Grimmjow asked, face impassive. Ichigo, deciding against waiting, zipped through the partially open door, running into the back of the shop to protests by Tessai. He passed by, using his limited powers to follow Urahara’s reitsu to him.
The former shinigami was asleep. Ichigo looked at him a moment, then walked up and sat next to the futon.
Then he yowled as loud as he possibly could.
Urahara sat straight up, eyes wide and panicked as he looked around. Then he spied Ichigo. He stared blankly.
“A… cat…?” he asked.
Ichigo and Urahara looked to the door of the room, where Tessai was failing to hold Grimmjow back. Urahar blinked, then looked at Ichigo again.
“… Ichigo?” he asked. Kurosaki nodded. Urahara looked up to think. Then he looked at the door. “And you are…?”
“Grimmjow Jeagerjaques,” the man said. “Recently turned into a cat, until about ten minutes ago.”
“Ah… I see…” Urahara said. Then he grinned. “Well, I guess I’d better get to work then.”
‘Work’ consisted of having Ichigo and Grimmjow wait for him in front of the store while he got dressed. Then he came and Tessai brought tea.
“So, what happened?” the former shinigami asked. Grimmjow sighed.
“Some chick showed up and did something to me that hurt like a bitch in heat and next thing I knew I was a cat,” he said.
“Is that all?” Urahara asked.
“Yes,” Grimmjow replied. Urahara sipped his tea behind his fan.
“Tell me the exact details,” he said. Grimmjow flinched, the scratched the back of his head. With a sigh, he started his story.
“Would you help me?”
Grimmjow snorted. Some chick was standing in his way. She had these sickeningly sweet eyes, and silver hair tumbling down her back. Her mask was just a sliver of bone above her right eye, her hollow hole in her shoulder. Lately, the former Espada had been aimlessly wandering around Heuco Mundo, looking for entertainment. He hadn’t found much. And now there was this chick from out of fucking nowhere, asking him if he would help her.
“… why the fuck not?” Grimmjow said, looking to the side. Maybe it would be entertaining.
“Oh, good,” the Arrancar girl said, then flicked him in the chest.
Grimmjow’s throat constricted, and he fell to one knee, eyes bulging. It felt like something had been torn out of him. Sweating, forcing his head up as if against a great weight, he tried to glare at the chick. But all he could manage was surprise.
She held in her hand a glowing ball of blue energy, different veins of color passing through it. The girl tutted.
“That’s so sad! You’re fated to never be with your true love! Isn’t it sad?” she asked. Grimmjow tried to reply that he didn’t give a fuck, but he still couldn’t breathe. The Arrancar girl grinned ferally.
“Well then, since you would have been willing to help me, why don’t I help you?” she said, moving her fingers around in the sphere. Grimmjow collapsed, feeling like she’d ripped right through him.
“Of course, I can’t just make it so, you know? But I’ll make it less certain, and I’ll even help you along! I’ll make it so you two need each other to survive, how’s that?”
Grimmjow struggled to stay conscious. What the fuck was she doing? It felt like his body was changing; horrible, black and ugly. Like his insides were playing twister over tripwire on a needleboard while Syazel experimented on him.
“Don’t worry, little kitty, it’ll be over soon. I just need to… there! All done!”
Grimmjow fuzzily saw the chick poke him in the chest again, and all the pain ceased. He tried to get up, but knew he was more likely to pass out. Not good.
“Now, since you’re fate’s been tampered with, my curse will stay in place until it becomes clear again. So do well, okay?”
“Fuck you…” Grimmjow mumbled, passing into oblivion as the Arrancar chick laughed.
Ichigo and Urahara stared. Grimmjow glared back.
“What?” he asked.
“… well, it sounds like-“
“Don’t fucking say it,” Grimmjow said, crossing his arms. Urahara snorted, then couldn’t help himself and fell into giggles. Ichigo looked at him, then stared back at Grimmjow. The Arrancar looked at him sidelong. “What?”
“Mrrow,” Ichigo said, looking to the side.
“Che, whatever,” Grimmjow said, looking away. “How long are you going to keep laughing?”
“Sorry,” Urahara said, mastering himself. “Well, it sounds like there’s nothing I can do.”
“… you’re kidding,” Grimmjow said, glaring.
“Nope, fraid not~” Urahara said. “If this girl is messing with people’s fate, there’s nothing I can do about it. Unless you want to end up worse off, that is.”
“Then how am I supposed to get back to normal?” Grimmjow asked, Ichigo yowling in unison. Urahara giggled, waving his hand.
“Well, it sounds like the solution is simple,” he said, catching both their attention. He snapped his fan shut, pointing it at them. “You and Ichigo have to fall in love.”
“… can I kill you…?” Grimmjow asked, glaring and somehow smiling at the same time. Ichigo opened his mouth to yowl something, but suddenly collapsed. Urahara blinked in surprise, but Grimmjow held up a hand to stop the man from moving forward. The two watched as Ichigo transformed from a cat back into a human.
“… fucking… hell…” Ichigo panted.
“Warned ya, didn’t I?” Grimmjow asked.
“Shut up,” Ichigo said, getting up to sit. Urahara was gawking.
“Astounding…” he breathed. “Simply astounding…”
“Are you sure there’s nothing you can do?” Ichigo asked, looking directly at Urahara. The man flinched, then opened his fan again.
“There’s really nothing,” he said. Ichigo sighed, then nodded.
“Fine,” he said. He looked at Grimmjow sidelong. The Arrancar met his gaze, then looked away. Ichigo looked away as well. Urahara looked between them, eyes calculating.
Then, behind his fan, he smiled.
Ichigo sighed softly.
“What?” Grimmjow asked. They were walking side by side, headed back to Ichigo’s house. Mostly because there was nowhere else to go.
“Nothing,” Ichigo said. Grimmjow snorted, looking to the side. They walked in silence. Ichigo wondered if Grimmjow had heard the Arrancar chick right, but he knew asking would just piss the former Espada off, so he didn’t. And why cats? Out of everything, why did they turn into cats? It made absolutely no sense. Well, for Grimmjow maybe, but otherwise…
“Huck, here we go,” Grimmjow said suddenly, and Ichigo had just enough time to catch the Arrancar before he fell to the ground. Easing him down, Ichigo watched sympathetically as Grimmjow made the transformation into a cat. He stared for a few moments as the now cat Grimmjow panted, laying pathetically on the street. After a moment, he sighed and picked Grimmjow up.
The cat blinked up at him, then snorted and clamored up onto Ichigo’s shoulders. Ichigo flinched, then relaxed as Grimmjow settled. Then, putting his hands in the pockets of his jeans, he kept walking, trying not to be bothered by the heat around his neck.
“… you know, you’re really big, for a cat,” he said. Grimmjow snorted, then smirked and started purring. Ichigo’s face fell. “Keep that up and I’ll make you walk on your own.”
Grimmjow ignored him.
Ichigo grabbed him by the scruff and dropped him.
The cat glared up at him. Ichigo shrugged.
“I warned you,” he said, walling on. “Ah!”
The teen hissed as Grimmjow, being none too gentle, leap onto his back, and climbed back up to his shoulder, digging in with his claws.
“Alright, I get it, I get it,” he said, letting Grimmjow settle. The blue cat smirked again, purring. Ichigo sighed, but kept walking.
How long was it going to be like this…?
Ichigo went the school day as usual. There were a few hallow attacks, but nothing big. However, Rukia stopped him in the hall.
“Where were you last night?” she asked, crossing her arms. Ichigo sighed, scratching the back of his neck.
“It’s… complicated,” he said. Rukia kicked him in the face.
“Idiot! It could have been something big!” she said. Ichigo got to his feet, glaring.
“It’s not like I skipped out! I couldn’t make it,” he said. Rukia narrowed her eyes.
“Why?” she asked. Ichigo sighed again.
“Come on, it’ll be easier to show you,” he said. Rukia blinked, then followed without a word, wondering what it could possibly be.
They walked all the way to Ichigo’s house, picking up Chad, Orihime and Uryuu on the way. No one asked any questions, waiting for Ichigo to show them what the problem was.
“Really?” Ichigo said as he opened the door to his room. Grimmjow, lounging on the completely messed up futon, grinned. The rest of the room was trashed as well.
“When did you get a cat?” Rukia asked, walking in behind Ichigo.
“I didn’t know you liked cats, Kurosaki-kun,” Orihime said. Ichigo rolled his eyes.
“It’s not that I like or dislike them,” he said, picking up his room. “I’m just stuck with this one.”
“How do you get stuck with a cat?” Uryuu asked, pushing up his glasses. Righting the lamp, Ichigo sighed.
“That cat is Grimmjow Jeagerjaques,” he said. There was a moment of silence.
“You’re kidding,” Rukia said. Ichigo kept on fixing things.
“Nope. He’s a cat all day, and I’m a cat all night,” he said. There was another moment of silence.
“You’re kidding,” Rukia again, now with 50% more skepticism. Ichigo moved to the futon.
“Move your ass,” he told Grimmjow. The cat stretched out on its back, ignoring him. With a shrug, Ichigo ripped the blanket off. Grimmjow yowled in protest, fighting his way out of the sheet. He glared and hissed, then turned and jumped on top of the desk.
“Kurosaki, is this some kind of bad joke?” Uryuu asked. Ichigo, fixing his blankets, glance at the quincey.
“Nope. I’m being totally serious,” he said, keeping an eye out for Grimmjow.
“How do expect anyone to belie-“
“How did it happen?” Rukia asked. Ichigo sighed, sitting on the newly made futon.
“He,” Ichigo pointed at Grimmjow, “got his fate messed with by some Arrancar chick.”
“Why?” Chad asked. Ichigo scratched the back of his head. He looked at Grimmjow.
“Ask him,” he finally said, looking back to his friends. “In a couple of hours, he’ll be able to answer you.”
“What does being a cat feel like?” Orihime asked, sitting down next to Ichigo. Kurosaki looked up in thought.
“… I don’t know. Like a cat?” he said. Grimmjow snorted. Ichigo glared.
“Oh. Well, does it hurt to change?” Orihime asked. Ichigo paused, then looked to the side.
“Nah, not really,” he said.
“Nya!” Grimmjow said loudly in disagreement.
“Shut up,” Ichigo said. “Freeloaders don’t get an opinion.”
Grimmjow made a plethora of cat noises in response. Then, after a pause, jumped down from the desk and up onto the bed. He planted himself on the other side of Ichigo from Orihime.
“… so it does hurt,” Chad said. Ichigo flinched, but said nothing.
“How can you all accept this?” Uryuu said, in complete disbelief. Everyone stared.
“Well, I mean, considering everything that’s happened so far, this really isn’t that far-fetched, you know?” Rukia said, Orihime and Chad nodding in agreement. Uryuu sighed.
“Yes, but why Ichigo and Grimmjow? What kind of sense does that make?” he asked. Everyone paused.
“Hey, why is it you two?” Rukia asked. Ichigo blinked, then flushed lightly. Grimmjow smirked. Kurosaki opened his mouth to reply, but whatever he had to say was cut off by a stifled cry. He fell off the bed, collapsing to the floor.
He was beyond their voices. He simply took the pain of the transformation as well as he could, and lay, full cat, panting on the floor. He’d thought he had more time…
“Nice explaination,” Grimmjow said, jumping down from the bed.
“Fuck you,” Ichigo said, slowly getting to his feet. He looked up.
Everyone was staring.
“How you gonna handle this one?” Grimmjow asked, grinning. Ichigo hissed at him, sitting. Orihime got off the bed and leaned down.
“Kurosaki-kun?” she asked. Ichigo mewed at her.
“…I have to report this,” Rukia said. Ichigo nodded. The Soul Society would definitely need to be notified about something like this.
“But wait, shouldn’t he have changed?” Orihime asked, looking at Grimmjow. The blue cat rolled his eyes. Ichigo sighed. He’d forgotten to explain the hour thing. He tried thinking of how to explain it without actually explaining it…
“Oof!” he said as Grimmjow collapsed on top of him.
“Thinking too loud again,” he said, looking into the distance of nowhere. Ichigo growled.
“Well, there’s not much I can do about that, is there?” he said. Grimmjow snorted.
“I didn’t expect it to be this much a problem,” he said. “You didn’t seem the type to think this much.”
“… was that an insult?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow grinned.
“You can decide that for yourself, prissy paws,” he said. Ichigo made a face despite not being able to look at Grimmjow.
“Prissy paws?” he echoed. Grimmjow yawned.
“Yeah, I mean, seriously, what kind of guy lives in a room this clean?” he asked. Ichigo rolled his eyes. There was a moment where they didn’t say anything to each other, oblivious to what the humans in the room were discussing nearby.
Everyone turned to the door to Ichigo’s room. It was Urahara, obviously smiling behind his fan. Ichigo tried to get up, and Grimmjow let him.
“What are you doing here?” Ichigo asked. To Urahara it sounded like a mutilated yowl. Grimmjow rolled his eyes. Urahara just leaned down.
“I’ll bet you’re wondering why I’m here,” he said. Ichigo nodded.
“Well, you see, I’ve really outdone myself,” the shopkeeper said. “I figured that, being an Arrancar, Mr. Jeagerjaques would have trouble getting around town when only shinigami and certain individuals could see him.”
Grimmjow’s ears perked up at his name, and he padded over to sit next to Ichigo, listening as well.
“So, I did something new,” Urahara said. “I made a gigai to contain an Arrancar.”
Everyone’s eyes in the room widened. Ichigo and Grimmjow looked at each other. Then Ichigo looked at Urahara and began practically howling in protest, while Grimmjow grinned wider than anyone had seen by far.
Urahara simply smiled, knowing exactly how Ichigo probably felt. But, the former shinigami really had outdone himself, and was proud of his work. Especially since it would probably be put to more than one good use. Giving Ichigo a quick scratch behind the ears (which, to the orange tabby’s dismay, made him start to purr), Urahara stood.
It was then that Grimmjow whined, collapsing to the ground. Everyone watched in horrified fascination as the tortoiseshell blue cat turned back into his original form.
Panting, he grinned. He looked at Ichigo.
“The pain’s getting less, I think,” he said. Ichigo snorted, looking off to the side in irritation. Then the Arrancar looked at Urahara. “Now, what was this about a gigai…”
Grimmjow sighed in irritation. He was walking down the street, dressed up in some outfit Urahara had put on the gigai- the fucking gigai! Ugh! How could he be so stupid!
“Urahara, how can you possibly think this is a good idea?” Rukia asked. The shopkeeper giggled.
“Oh, I don’t know, I thought it would be fun!” he said. Rukia groaned.
“He’s a dangerous Arrancar! A former Espada! How is that in anyway fun?” she asked.
“You know, I can hear you,” Grimmjow said, irked.
“Oh? But he’ll be here regardless, so why not make things more interesting?” Urahara said.
“Sometimes I really wonder about you…” Uryruu said, mostly to himself.
“So, Mr. Jeagerjaques,” Urahara said, pulling the cloth off with a flourish, “What do you think of my work?”
Grimmjow snorted. It looked just like him, minus his hallow mask. And he doubted there was a hole in the stomach, either. Other than that, it was perfect.
“Looks good, so how do I use it?” the Arrancar asked. Ichigo yowled in protest, first at Urahara then at his father. Without Grimmjow seeing, Isshin put a finger to his lips and winked. Ichigo shut up and blinked. His head whipped to where Urahara was instructing Grimmjow.
“Now, you should be able to just fuse with it,” the shopkeeper said. Grimmjow snorted.
“Whatever,” he said. He stepped forward, Rukia protesting in the background, and curiously grabbed one of the gigai’s wrists .”The fuck!”
Everyone watched in amazement as Grimmjow’s spirit form was sucked into the gigai. It was dead silent as they watched, and then the gigai blinked his eyes open. And then growled, jumping up and making to punch Urahara in the face.
Urahara didn’t even move, and Grimmjow collapsed to the ground.
“Oh, did I forget to mention? This is a special gigai that represses your reiatsu,” Urahara said. “It’s one of a kind, really. Though, with your reiatsu dampened, it might be hard to move around at first…”
“You fucking bastard! You tricked me!” Grimmjow said, jumping to his feet. Well, attempting to. He made it about half way. Urahara chuckled, backing away with Tessai in tow.
“But, Mr. Jeagerjaques, it is precisely what I said it was,” he said. “A gigai made to contain an Arrancar.”
And, with that, he left.
He looked behind. A few feet away, a scrawny orange tabby was trotting behind him. Not a guard that could actually stop him, that is.
“You gonna fallow me all night, prissy paws?” he called back. Ichigo hissed, but made no other response. Grimmjow rolled his eyes. What was that guy worried about, anyways? There wasn’t much he could do in such a weakened state…
“Hey, you there!”
Grimmjow stopped. A woman with long, straight black hair ran up to him. She was in a suit, and wore a determined smile.
“Hi, my name’s Ueno Izumi, have you ever thought of being a model?” she asked. Grimmjow frowned.
“A what?” he asked. What did this woman want? She frowned in disbelief.
“A model. You know, you show off clothes for big name designers… well, local designers, anyway,” she said. Ichigo padded up then, sitting at Grimmjow’s feet. He listened intently as the woman spoke.
“Why would I do that?” Grimmjow asked. The woman was even more confused.
“Well, you’d get paid, and you could keep the clothes you model, kind of like advertising,” she said. Grimmjow arched a brow. He was about to tell the woman to take a hike, when he was distracted by a meow. He looked down at Ichigo.
“What? This shit is real?” Grimmjow asked, pointing at the woman. Ichigo nodded. The woman’s face fell more, if it were possible. “So, what? I should do it?”
Ichigo nodded. Grimmjow nodded. It sounded annoying. Then he glared at the woman. She flinched.
“Fine,” he said. The woman smiled. Grimmjow held up a finger. “But I can only work at night.”
“Uh… okay, I can work with that,” she said, pulling a business card out of her briefcase. She handed it to Grimmjow. “Here, come to that address tomorrow at 8 p.m., Mr…”
“Jeagerjaques. Grimmjow Jeagerjaques,” he said, taking the card and examining it without interest.
“Wow! What a cool name, is it foreign?” Izumi asked. Grimmjow grinned, and she flinched.
“Something like that,” he said, pocketing the card and picking a protesting orange tabby up by the scruff. Ueno watched him disappear a moment, then chuckled. She pulled out a cell phone and dialed. As she spoke, she started walking away.
“Hey, he was right where you said he was,” the woman said. Then she laughed. “Yeah, talked to the cat and everything. And damn if he isn’t sex on legs, mm.” A pause. “You’re so old fashioned, Kisuke-san. Even my daughter swears these days.” Another pause. “I didn’t say it was a good thing. Anyways, I owe you one. My boss was threatening to fire me if I didn’t find another model soon…”
“Thought it would be about that time…” he said, setting Ichigo down as he started transforming from cat to human. The teen lay on the ground, panting as he recovered. Grimmjow sat next to him, on the curb of the sidewalk. He rested his head in his palm.
“So what’s this modeling thing, anyways?” he asked. Ichigo pulled himself off the ground, then moved to sit next to the Arrancar.
“People taking pictures of you wearing their clothes so they can sell them better,” he said. “It’s stupid, but it should pay good, and then you can take care of yourself.”
“Trying to get rid of me, prissy paws?” Grimmjow asked, smirking.
“Would you stop calling me that?” Ichigo asked. “And who wouldn’t try to get rid of a freeloader, especially when you destroyed my room today.”
“Che, don’t be so uptight,” Grimmjow said, looking to one side. Ichigo snorted, but didn’t reply. There was silence.
“So… do you believe it?” Ichigo said. Grimmjow waited a second, then looked over at him.
“What?” the Arrancar asked. Ichigo looked at him. Grimmjow blinked. The expression was… surprisingly open. He wanted to say almost vulnerable, but… not really.
“About what Urahara and the Arrancar chick said,” Kurosaki asked. Grimmjow waited a moment, then grinned.
“What? You got the hots for me, strawberry?” he asked, leaning over until he was only a few inches from Ichigo’s face. The teen leaned away, rolling his eyes.
“Right. I was being serious, you know,” he said, irritated. Grimmjow chuckled, pulling away. “I’m trying to figure out how to fix this.”
Grimmjow’s grin faded. He leaned back, one arm supporting his weight. He stared up at the sky. There were so many stars, compared to Heuco Mundo…
The Arrancar sighed through his nose, but said nothing. Then he grinned again, but softer this time. It was at least more interesting than wandering around Heuco Mundo.
“Ack!” Grimmjow fell back, and Ichigo flinched He turned his head and watched as Grimmjow turned back into a cat, gigai and all.
“Wow, Urahara knows his stuff,” the teen said. Grimmjow, getting to his feet, hissed and glared. Then, as Ichigo made to stand up, jumped up onto Kurosaki’s shoulder.
“What is with you? Are you really that lazy?” Ichigo asked, standing. Grimmjow licked his cheek, and grinned like a mischievous child. Ichigo wiped the spot, then sighed and left it alone. He started walking, eyes dropping from staying up all night. When he almost fell asleep on his feet, he was awoken with a scratch to the cheek.
“Ow! Shit!” Ichigo said, attempting to jump away. Grimmjow snorted and leap to the ground.
“Mrow,” he said, as if to say you brought it upon yourself. Ichigo glared, and pulled his hand away from the scratch. It was bleeding. He sighed, stuffing his hands in his pockets and walking again. Grimmjow trotted ahead, tail in the air like a flag. Ichigo snorted.
When he finally made it home, he collapsed on his bed, not even bothering to change his clothes or get under the blankets. He sighed, content. Tomorrow wasn’t a school day, so as long as there weren’t any-
“Hallow! Hallow! Hallow!”
Ichigo groaned. He glared at his shinigami badge, then sighed and grabbed it. His spirit was expelled from his body. He looked over to see Grimmjow staring. Ichigo looked around the room.
“Don’t mess with anything,” he said, then jumped out the window. Grimmjow snorted. He looked around the room, then Ichigo’s physical body. He jumped up on the bed, and sat. He tilted his head to one side, considering. Then he sighed out his nose, jumped up on the dresser and curled up to go to sleep.
“Ichigoooo!” Kon was right next to his face. “Help! This mad cat keeps attacking me! I think he’s trying to eat me!”
“Grimmjow, leave Kon alone,” Ichigo said, not bothering to open his eyes.
“Mrow!” came from somewhere in the room, indignant. Ichigo sighed, trying to curl on his side.
“Wha- no! Stop! Bad kitty! Ichigooo!”
Ichigo ignored him, trying to sleep. Then he gasped. He shut his eyes tighter as the change ripped through him. But, he noted, it was only about half as bad as it had been the first time.
“Ichigo…?” this was Kon, quieter. Ichigo mewled. Then he hissed as something draped itself over him.
“Oh hey, prissy paws, welcome back,” Grimmjow said, not moving. Ichigo ignored him, too. Maybe, just maybe, if he didn’t react, they would leave him in peace and…
Grimmjow licked his ear.
“Geez, even dog tired you think too loud,” the blue cat said, continuing his grooming. Ichigo mewled in protest, but was too tired to struggle. Grimmjow didn’t even say anything else, just continued grooming like nothing was wrong. Ichigo sighed through his nose softly.
Then, to his embarrassment, he began to purr.
Grimmjow paused, then grinned.
“Sure you don’t have the hots for me, prissy paws? Or are ya just too shy to admit it?” he asked. Ichigo cracked an eye open, then closed it and weakly tried to wiggle away. Grimmjow rolled his eyes, resettling himself.
“It’s a reflex, I know, so hold still and go to sleep, idiot,” he said, grooming again. Ichigo, unable to stop himself from purring, simply listened to the other cat’s instructions. He passed out in no time flat. The minute he was asleep, Grimmjow got up. He looked at Kon, who was staring in disbelief, and hissed. The doll yelped and jumped away, running out of the room. Grimmjow snorted and rolled his eyes. His tail twitched as he waited.
Damn idiot, can’t even take care of himself and he’s yelling at me for being a freeloader… he thought. He looked over his shoulder at the sleeping tabby.
“Do you think it’s true? What Urahara and the Arrancar chick said?”
Grimmjow snorted and looked away. What a load of shit. How the hell would prissy paws be his ‘true love’? Ugh, the words made him sick. All the guy was was some bratty teenager who happened to be a fucking powerhouse of reiatsu, that he could use to be more powerful than the Gotei 13 captains, Espadas more powerful than he was, more powerful than Aizen… a guy who was like him, searching for power, searching for the next battle to prove he was the strongest, to prove…
Grimmjow sighed again. Yeah, he and Ichigo were a lot alike. More than he wanted to admit. He flinched when he felt a twinge in his chest. He jumped to the floor just in time to let the change take him. It really was getting easier. When he stood, he looked at the cat curled up on the bed. He rolled his eyes, then moved carefully to leave through the window. He grinned.
Now wasn’t the time to get sentimental.
Besides, he had a job to go to.
“Now, Mr… Jeagerjaques, we’d like to hire you…we really would… but…”
“You have no experience! No resume! You don’t even have any identification! It’s as if you just popped into the world yesterday!”
Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Did you just roll your eyes at me!?” the man yelled. He was average in every sense of the word, except for the comb over. That was spectacularly horrible. The man behind the desk sighed.
“What my… excitable brother is trying to say… is that we have no way... to know if you’ll be a good… fit, here,” he said. He was broad, with a flat face and gray hair slicked back. He spoke in pauses, as if it were an effort to get the words out.
“Kagome-sama and Kagome-san,” Izumi said, sliding forward in her seat smoothly. “Perhaps a test shoot would satisfy you? Mueller is all set to go.”
Rikuto Kagome, the man behind the desk, sighed. It was as if thinking were even a task for him. His brother, Jiro, tapped his foot, waiting for Rikuto’s decision. They were sitting in the office of the modeling company, Grimmjow slouched in the chair next to Izumi. They were currently discussing Grimmjow’s possible future career, and the Kagome brothers weren’t pleased.
“…very well,” Rikuto said, taking out a cloth handkerchief to wipe his brow. Jiro sneered as Izumi smiled brightly.
“You won’t be disappointed, sirs,” she said, standing. She didn’t wait for Grimmjow to follow, simply grabbing Grimmjow by the arm and hauling him out of the office. Grimmjow stared. For a little woman, she was surprisingly strong. Once they were out, she rounded on him. She glared. “You will not be fucking this up.”
“Hey, you’re the one who asked me to-“ Grimmjow stopped as she poked him in the chest.
“I’m taking a chance on you out of respect for a friend, but my job’s on the line here. You fuck up, I get fired, understand?” she asked. Grimmjow blinked. He’d assumed because of the sweet smile and disposition, that was all there was to the woman. He grinned.
“What an actress,” he said. Izumi blinked, then smiled with a cruel edge. She turned, waving her hand dismissively.
“You have to be, especially in this business,” she said. Grimmjow followed behind as she walked through the halls. “You have to kiss the right person’s ass and leave anyone else in the dust.”
“I like it better already,” Grimmjow said, making Izumi laugh. It was a bit more walking before Izumi flung open the door to a photography studio.
“Kay! We’re here, get set up!” she called.
“Ja, ja…” came a deep voice from somewhere in the room. Izumi turned again.
“As for you, Ayane-san, the designer, is in the back. He’ll tell you what to wear,” she said. Grimmjow snorted, but shrugged and went to the back. There was a person there who could be a man just as easily as they could be a woman, sketching amidst a large clutter of cloth and finished clothing. Grimmjow stared a moment.
“Yeek!” Ayane squeaked, jumping at least a foot in the air. He peered around in confusion, then spotted Grimmjow. When he spoke, it was very soft.
“Ah, sorry, you must be the new model, right?” he asked, hugging his large sketchbook to himself. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Yeah, that’s me,” he said. “And you’re the designer.”
“Kita Ayane, nice to meet you,” the man said, bowing. He was very frail, his hair a complete mess.
“Whatever,” Grimmjow said. “Anyway, Izumi sent me-“
“Ah! Yes, please forgive me, one moment,” Ayane said, putting the sketchbook down. Grimmjow snorted. These were professionals? He wasn’t sure how he felt about all this…
In a matter of about ten minutes, Grimmjow had changed into one of Ayane’s outfits, and Kay, a broad German man who spoke heavily accented Japanese, was with his camera and ready. Grimmjow just stood for a minute. He had no idea what they were expecting him to do.
“Hat er das vorher getan?” the blonde photographer asked Ayane. The designer shook his head, then looked at Grimmjow. He made a habit of looking up at people through his lashes.
“Ah, the theme of these outfits is ‘urban animal’,” he said. “All you have to do is personify that.”
“Oh, is that all?” Grimmjow asked. Then he grinned his trademark feral grin. “Shoulda said that to begin with.”
A couple hours later, Kay started packing up his gear.
“Ich werde sicher sein, das heute Abend entwickeln zu lassen,” he said. He looked up from his case when he didn’t get a response. Ayane was standing stock still, mouth slightly open and eyes wide. Kay sighed through his nose and, standing, went over to poke the smaller man in the shoulder. “He, Ayane, wissen Sie, dass Sie wie Ihr über zu der Samenerguss in Ihren Hosen richtig aussehen?”
“Kay-chan!” Ayane said, jumping in surprise and blushing. Kay snorted, laughing and shaking his head.
“Das ist fein. Wenn es meine Designs wäre, würde ich das auch ähnlich sein,” he said, going back to his camera. Ayane looked at him a moment, then his eyes flicked up to where Grimmjow was reemerging from changing back into his own clothes.
“Ja ... für einen Anfänger, er ist phänomenal ...” the designer said.
Grimmjow leaned back as a water bottle was thrust into his face. He took it, raising a brow at a smiling Izumi.
“More acting, or am I just that good?” he asked, smirking as he examined the bottle. Izumi rolled her eyes.
“It’s a compliment. I know with your attitude you probably don’t get many, so I understand that it comes as a surprise,” she said, crossing her arms and smiling. Grimmjow snorted, taking a drink of water.
“So this is it? This is the whole job?” he asked, closing the bottle again. Izumi sighed.
“Well, there are different themes for different outfits that you have to match, and if you get really popular you might get interviewed or something, but yeah. For the most part, this is it,” she said.
“Che,” Grimmjow grinned. “Too easy.”
“Well, I’ll call you tomorrow…”
“Don’t have a phone. I’ll just show up here,” Grimmjow said, starting to walk away.
“Ah, Jeagerjaques-san!” Ayane said, running up before Grimmjow could leave.
“Yeah?” Grimmjow asked. Ayane suddenly bowed from the waist.
“Thank you very much!” he said. Grimmjow scratched the back of his neck, not sure what to do.
“Yeah, sure, whatever,” he said, walking away. Ayane looked up, face mostly expressionless. Izumi walked over to pat him on the back.
“Eh, don’t worry about him, Ayane,” she said. “He’s just that type.”
Grimmjow prowled downtown. He still had a couple of hours before he would turn into a cat, and he fully intended to use them.
“Hey, hot stuff, looking for some fun?”
Grimmjow turned at the husky female voice. From out of the shade came a woman dressed in skimpy clothes, a cigarette hanging from her mouth. She wasn’t gorgeous, but she wasn’t too bad looking, either. Even with all the makeup.
“Depends on the price,” Grimmjow said, grinning lecherously. The woman smiled, walking close enough to blow smoke in his face.
“For you? I might considered a discount,” she said, pressing up against him. Grimmjow snorted.
“Too bad, I’m outta funds,” he said, backing up. The woman frowned.
“And here I thought I found a catch,” she said, taking an angry drag and disappearing into the shadows once more. Grimmjow snorted, walking away. Dumb bitch… fun to rile up, though.
Then again, everyone was fun to rile up…
Ichigo was sleeping peacefully, finally getting a full night’s uninterrupted rest after so long. Usually, he would be called on to go fight hallows every once in a while, but since he couldn’t, well… he couldn’t. He didn’t even wake up when he changed from cat to human, though the lessening pain certainly helped. It wasn’t until there was a loud yowling outside his window that Kurosaki finally rose.
“Yeah, yeah, shut up…” he said, groggily letting the blue tortoiseshell in. Grimmjow snorted, purposefully jumping into and off of Ichigo’s stomach to get into the room.
“Ow! Shit! What the fuck?” he yelled, now fully awake. Grimmjow stared up at him innocently.
“Mew,” he said. Ichigo puffed, then sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Mrow!”
“What?” Ichigo asked, glaring at the cat. Grimmjow looked up a moment, then rolled onto his back and awkwardly patted his stomach Ichigo stared a moment, then crushed his palm into his eyes. “Are you serious? Did you not eat all night?”
“Mrow,” Grimmjow replied, sitting up again. Ichigo sighed once more, then got up. He changed into some baggy sweatpants and a loose tee, then clomped downstairs, Grimmjow at his heel. He went into the kitchen, and found some leftovers from the night before. Not even bothering to heat it up, he just opened the Tupperware and put it on the table where Grimmjow had hopped up to. The blue cat glared.
“Take it or leave it,” Ichigo said, moving to find some cereal for himself. So much for sleeping in.
After getting his bowl ready, he grabbed the remote and flipped on the TV, lowering the volume so he wouldn’t wake anyone up. Grimmjow, with all the disdain he could muster, did eventually start eating the cold leftovers. Ichigo leaned his head in his hand as he ate his cereal, watching a rerun of Don Kononji’s stupid show.
“Mrow,” Grimmjow said, obviously in disbelief as he watched. Ichigo snorted, smiling.
“He’s an idiot, but’s he’s not a bad guy,” he said. Then he thought about it a minute, and his face fell. “…usually.”
Grimmjow snorted, truning back to the leftovers. The room fell into a comfortable silence. Well, for a while, anyways.
“…oh! Good morning, big brother,” Yuzu said, walking into the kitchen.
“Morning, Yuzu,” he said, standing to wash his bowl. He snatched the empty Tupperware as well, Grimmjow having finished and laid down. Yuzu gasped.
“Borther! You can’t let cats on the table, then they’ll be cat hair everywhere!” she said, surprising the blue cat by shooing him off. He glared, but it soon shifted to Ichigo as the teen snickered.
“Whoops, sorry, Yuzu,” he said, finishing with his bowl. He turned to his sister. “Want some help with breakfast?”
“Wow! Big brother never has time to help anymore!” she said, grinning as they set to work. Grimmjow, finding an out of the way corner, watched impassively. After a while, Karin came down, sitting at the table and watching TV. Then, after failing to sneak attack Ichigo in his room, Isshin appeared to chastise his son for being up so early. Ichigo and Isshin started bickering, leaving Yuzu to finish making a real breakfast by herself. Karin complained, until breakfast was done and they all sat down to eat.
Grimmjow watched all of this without a sound, tail swishing lazily back and forth. Then, as the Kurosaki family ate, he got up and padded up to Ichigo’s room. He jumped up onto the bed and curled up. He sighed and settled down to sleep.
That night, Grimmjow’s first order of business was to stop at the modeling agency. Izumi met him at the lobby.
“Ah, Mr. Jeagerjaques, good to see you,” she said, smiling. Grimmjow snorted.
“Really? We’re gonna go through this again?” he asked. Izumi gave him an amused arch of her brow.
“I’m only being sincere. You, my good sir, have saved me my job,” she said, pulling an envelope from her briefcase. Grimmjow stared a moment before taking it from her. “The Kagome brothers liked your shoot so much that they decided to pay you for it. Next shoot is Friday.”
“Got it,” Grimmjow said, stuffing the check in his pocket. He’d have to ask about it later. Izumi seemed to jump, realization hitting her.
“Oh, and here,” she said, digging in her briefcase. She pulled out an older model cell phone, holding it out to him. “I got this for my daughter last year, but her father decided she needed an iPhone, so it’s just been sitting around the house. I had it put on the company’s plan, so it works just fine. Better than company phones, anyway.”
“… che, thanks,” Grimmjow said, examining the black phone.
“Well, in that case, see you Friday!” Izumi said, patting Grimmjow’s arm before walking out. The former Espada watched after her a moment, then looked back to the phone. With a snort he pocketed it, and wandered out into the street.
He moved through back alleys and side streets, preferring the darker spaces. He eventually came to a poorer district, and saw a couple of kids playing basketball behind a chainlike fence. He walked up and watched a moment, pretending not to notice the guys sneaking up around him. There were five, by his count.
“Hey, you!” one of the guys said. Grimmjow grinned. “Give us your money if you don’t want something bad to happen!”
“What if I want something bad to happen?” Grimmjow asked, turning to size up his opponents. There were five, he’d been right. They were all small fry punks, but they should at least be entertaining. Or so the man hoped.
“Huh… uh, I, uh… you asked for it!” the spokesman, a tubby guy who seemed to know how to throw his weight around, leaped forward. Grimmjow didn’t move until the last minute. He whirled, kicking the guy into the fence while dodging. Two more guys rushed him, and he lunged to punch the first one in the teeth, kicking the other one in the gut. The fifth guy moved in to hit him in the back with a pipe. Grimmjow had the breath knocked out of him, falling to the ground. Spokesman and the guy with the pipe started kicking him. With a growl, Grimmjow grabbed the guy with the pipe’s ankle and pulled him to the ground. He jumped on top of him and started pounding the shit of the kid. Spokesman aimed a few choice blows at his head, and the guy who’d gotten kicked in the gut kicked him in the side.
Spokesman got a punch to the junk, followed by a knee to the face as Grimmjow surged to his feet. The blue-haired man turned and kicked gut guy in the stomach, then grabbed him and headbutted him. The guy stumbled back against the fence. Pipe guy was out, spokesman was groaning on the pavement, and the guy who’d gotten punched in the face was already disappearing down the street.
Grimmjow grinned, wiping blood from the corner of his mouth.
“Don’t tell me we’re already done,” he asked. Spokesman clamored to his feet, stared at Grimmjow in horror and bolted. Kicked-in-the-gut was scared, but he at least crouched down to check on pipe guy. Grimmjow snorted, the grin fading. Putting his hands in his pockets, he wandered off. The kids who’d been playing basketball were nowhere to be found, which was probably for the best. Grimmjow wandered back towards the Kurosaki home. He knew his time was almost up, and didn’t intend to be caught in the backstreets when it happened.
“What happened to you?” Ichigo asked, opening the window for the slightly tattered blue cat.
“Mrow,” Grimmjow said, stalking past the teen and leaping to the desk. Ichigo rolled his eyes, closing the window.
“Well don’t destroy my room while I’m at school,” he said, grabbing his bag as he headed out of the room. “Kon, you makes sure he doesn’t!”
“What?” Kon asked. The animal looked over at Grimmjow, who debated a moment before pouncing to the edge of the desk. Kon scrambled back on the floor.
“D-don’t come any closer!” the mod-soul yelled. Grimmjow snorted and rolled his eyes, returning to a more comfortable position to curl up and take a nap. Kon moved a bit closer out of curiosity, but jumped across the room when Grimmjow peeked an eye open. The cat shook his head, but left the stuffed animal be. For the time.
“Hey, Ichigo, are you free to go see a movie Friday night?” Mizuiro asked at lunch. Ichigo sighed.
“Nah, I got stuff to do,” he said. Keigo, naturally, overreacted.
“What? But you said you wanted to see this one last week! And if you don’t go, Mizuiro will definitely dump me for some pretty girls! You have to come!” he said. Ichigo shrugged.
“Sorry, I can’t,” he said.
“But we haven’t hung out in-“
“Ichigo!” Rukia said, running up. She ran up and grabbed his wrist. “Come with me!”
“Rukia!” Ichigo said, stumbling as he was towed along. Rukia led him to the abandoned lot. There she let go of Ichigo’s wrist. “Is something wrong?”
“Uh, well…” Rukia said. She sighed. “Not really, I just figured that would be easier than trying to explain.”
“Oh,” Ichigo said. Then he snorted. “Thanks.”
“How is it?” Rukia asked seriously. Ichigo sighed, then scratched the back of his neck.
“Well, the transformation’s not as bad, and I’m kind of getting used to it, I guess,” he said. Rukia nodded.
“Urahara and the science department are looking into it, so don’t think we’ve forgotten,” she said. Ichigo smiled.
“Thanks, but I’m okay, really,” he said. Rukia gave him a searching look, then sighed and smiled.
“Well, alright. But I still thought you should know,” she said.
“You don’t have to worry about me,” Ichigo said. “Grimmjow’s stuck at the level of a normal human when he’s not a cat, anyways, so it’s not like I have to watch him too much…”
“What does he do all night, anyways?” Rukia asked. Ichigo shrugged.
“I only followed him the first night. Seems he got a job as a model,” he said, the two turning to walk back to class.
“Really? Who hired him?” Rukia asked.
“Dunno, some random lady just came up and offered him an interview,” Ichigo said.
“Just like that?” Rukia asked, clearly suspicious. Which made Ichigo suspicious.
“I guess,” he said, thinking back to consider if he’d missed anything.
“Maybe it’s more ‘fate’,” Rukia suggested.
“She was a normal human,” Ichigo said.
“Are you sure?” Rukia asked, stopping. Ichigo met her gaze.
“Positive,” he said. Rukia sighed.
“Well, alright. It still seems fishy to me,” she said, walking again. Ichigo shrugged.
“Well, at least it keeps him busy,” he said.
Ichigo opened the door to his room slowly. He sighed in relief at the still neat room. He walked the full way in, and nearly fell over when a blue ball of fur collided with his chest. Grimmjow, hissing and spitting, crawled up to curl around Ichigo’s neck.
“The fuck?” Ichigo asked, then he saw it.
Kon oh so innocently sitting on a dog to the side of the room. Ichigo sighed.
“Kon, get rid of the dog,” he said, slamming the door behind him.
“Soon I’ll be a cat, and I don’t appreciate you bringing strange animals into my room without asking me,” he said, tossing his bag on the desk. Kon sighed, but flicked the dog’s leash like a pair of reins and the dog trotted out of the room. Grimmjow leap from Ichigo’s shoulder on to the desk, looking disgruntled as any cat in the same situation. Ichigo rolled his eyes, then sighed and sat in his chair. Working quickly, he pulled out his homework.
Curling into one corner of the desk, Grimmjow watched Ichigo work on one set of homework, then another. After about an hour, Ichigo took a sharp intake of breath. Pushing the chair back, he let the transformation go through him.
“Wow, you’re just a nerd in disguise, aren’t you?” Grimmjow asked, looking over the end of the desk. Ichigo snorted.
“It helps keep me out of trouble,” he said, jumping from the chair onto the desk. Grimmjow grinned.
“Whatever you say, prissy paws,” he said. Ichigo glared, then let it go.
“How’s the modeling going?” he asked. Grimmjow shrugged.
“I’m perfect, of course,” he said. Ichigo rolled his eyes. “But, tell me, what’s the paper thing they paid me with? It isn’t money…”
“Paper…? You mean a check?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow laid down.
“I guess. Just what am I supposed to do with it?” he asked. Ichigo sighed. This was going to be tricky.
“You need a bank account,” he said. Grimmjow titled his head.
“A bank account,” Ichigo repeated, sitting. “They hold on to your money for you so you don’t lose it, and it doesn’t get stolen.”
“And they accept the check thing?” Grimmjow asked. Ichigo nodded.
“But most of them are closed by this time, so…” the tabby sighed through his nose. “Guess you’ll have to figure something out or wait until tomorrow or something.”
“Thanks, you’re so helpful,” Grimmjow said. Ichigo rolled his eyes again and laid down.
“Did you get in a fight last night?”
“If you could call it that.”
“What does that mean?”
“It wasn’t so much a fight as me kicking ass.”
“You seemed pretty beat up to me…”
“They were small fry, and I’ve had worse. You should know that,” Grimmjow said. Ichigo snorted.
“Guess that’s true. Why did you get in a fight, anyways?”
“Thought it might be entertaining. But it was boring as fuck.”
“What, did you just fight one guy?”
“There were five.”
Ichigo shrugged, rolling onto his side. Grimmjow watched, raising his head in curiosity.
“Seven’s usually a challenge for me.”
“Che, knew you were more the fighting type.”
“I don’t fight them, they fight me,” Ichigo replied, with a bit of venom. Grimmjow blinked. He watched Ichigo. The kid was such an easy read, cat or not, but especially as a cat. Tension, anger, bitterness… grief? As much as Grimmjow said that it was ‘thinking too loud’, it was really more emotions. Which, in his opinion, was worse. Thoughts were logical, could be taken in steps. Emotions… emotions elicited a response. Usually emotion, but in a language were body language meant everything, emotional responses were physical. And, with his reiatsu being lowered and his base instincts being heightened, Grimmjow couldn’t help but respond.
“Thinking too loud~” he sang, flopping over Ichigo’s side. The tabby wiggled out and batted him, but the orange cat kept his claws sheathed. Grimmjow snorted. Too easy.
“What is with you and doing that?” Ichigo asked, moving to warily lay down in another corner of the desk. Grimmjow grinned.
“Does it bother you?” he asked. Ichigo gave him a flat glare.
“No, asshole, it just seems almost like you want to drape yourself all over me,” he said. Grimmjow snorted.
“You’d want to be all over some scrawny punk like you?” he asked. He stood, holding his head and tail erect. “I am a feline of quality.”
“Oh, yeah, with all that extra fluff any girl would want to pet the cute kitty,” Ichigo said. Grimmjow smirked.
“At least my coat is full and not patchy,” he said. Ichigo snorted.
“At least I don’t look like I belong in a cat shampoo commercial,” he replied. Grimmjow snorted, then jumped off the desk. The change rippled through him, and he smirked at the tabby over his shoulder.
“At least I make money through commercials,” he said, laughing as Ichigo ‘mrow’ed something back at him that sounded suspiciously like ‘son of a bitch’. Ignoring the cat, he left through the window, deciding it was time for more exploring.
i have a talent for plotless slice of life.
well, i like to think of it as a talent...
Grimmjow panted, grinning. Kurosaki had been on to something with the whole seven guys thing, but ten was much more rewarding. Dropping the last small fry, he gave a parting kick to one of the semi-conscious men as he made his way down the street.
Grimmjow turned. One of the guys he’d just beat up was struggling to his feet. Grimmjow waltz over, wondering if he was getting some kind of pathetic rematch.
“What?” he asked. He arched a brow as the guy held out some kind of ticket.
“You wanna fight, don’t ya?” he asked, panting. Grimmjow took the ticket, looking it over, It was for some club called Heavy-X. “Buddy of mine got me in the fights, but it don’t look like I’ll be goin’ tonight. But if someone don’t show up, it’ll be bad.”
“…che, thanks,” Grimmjow said, smirking with teeth. He got directions to the club, then took off. The fights started in ten minutes, and he didn’t want to be late. He stopped when he found the place. It looked pretty swanky from the front; a black two story modern style building. The people on the balcony were all dressed black tie, and there was some very clearly expensive wine going around. Grimmjow snorted. As he had been instructed, he walked down the alley to the back of the place. He showed his ticket to the guard, who gave him a once over.
“What happened to Nakahara?” he asked. Grimmjow just grinned. The guard shrugged and let him through. The other fighters were already there, filling a too small, dinky waiting room with a dim light bulb and one fold up table. Grimmjow took a look around, sizing his possible opponents up. There were about twenty all told, from hardened fighters to street survivors. Grimmjow grinned, this was going to be fun.
“Alright, all fighters ready?”
Grimmjow flinched, surprised to recognized the heavily accented voice. He looked to the door, seeing the blonde German photographer holding a clipboard. Kay looked bored, scanning the sheet. Then he looked up.
“You who know drill, sit tight. I will call twos names, they will fight. No fighting in waiting room, or I kick you out. No fighting until bell has rung. Be entertaining, no killing and no one hit wins. No weapons, no improvising weapons. Those are rules. Now, Nakahara and Matsuoka, follow me.”
“Moonlighting?” Grimmjow asked. “I’m replacing Nakahara.”
“Don’t mess up your face,” Kay said, writing something on his sheet. Grimmjow chuckled, following Kay through the dim hallways. “And I am not here.”
“Whatever,” Grimmjow said. Kay stopped at a gate. He hit a button on the side, and there was a buzz. Kay pushed the gate open and waved the fighters through. Grimmjow sniffed, looking around. It was a concrete box, with sides too high to climb. The black tie patrons were ringed around the top, cheering as the fighters came out. He grinned as the gate was closed with a loud clank. An annoyingly loud bell went off, and the other guy ran at him from the back.
Grimmjow waited, then, at the right moment, spun, kicking the guy in the gut. The guy had the wind knocked out of him, stumbling back and barely keeping his feet. Grimmjow rushed in, punching the unlucky guy in the teeth. He was about to keep going, when from the corner of his eye he saw Kay do a chopping motion across his neck behind the gate. Oh, right, he was supposed to be entertaining.
The former Espada backed off and let the guy get his breath. The guy, snarling to show his missing teeth, lunged at Grimmjow. The Arrancar dodged, making it look like he got hit anyways. The other guy moved in, and Grimmjow gave a few light jabs while letting it look like the other guy was wailing on him. The crowd was so loud he could barely think.
Then, grinning, Grimmjow went on the offence.
He kneed the guy in the gut, and when he doubled over, elbowed him in the back of the neck. The guy went down, hard. Grimmjow jumped back, but the guy was out cold. Grimmjow sighed, and the crowd was quieter. So much for entertaining. The bell went off, and Grimmjow wandered over to the gate.
“You’re not very good at stretching things out, are you?” Kay asked, opening the gate. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Not my fault these guys are such pussies,” he said, starting to walk through. He paused, then looked at the big German. “Think I can fight more than one?”
“… I see what I can do,” Kay said, rolling his eyes as he let the next two fighters through. “You go back to waiting room.”
Grimmjow snorted, but did as he was told. He flopped into a cheap folding chair, the other guys in the room seeming to size him up anew. It was about five minutes later that Kay reappeared.
“Jeagerjaques, Fuji, Dari and Kaminari,” he said. Grimmjow grinned, practically jumping to his feet. They went through the dim hallways again. The other three went in first, and Kay stopped Grimmjow before he walked in.
“Those three are the top fighters here. The boss expects you to lose. Frankly, so do I. But if you win, you get free pass to fight here anytime,” he said. Grimmjow snorted, grinning.
“You got a point?” he asked. Kay gave him a look over, then shrugged.
“Just remember not to mess up your face,” he said. Grimmjow cackled, then entered the ring. Kay closed the gate then sighed.
Up in the watchers, the owner of the establishment took a seat at a luxurious red couch reserved for him. There were several bodyguards on either side of him, and a woman on each arm. He wore an expensive black suit, and his brown hair was slicked back. His cold eyes took in the fight beneath him, calculating.
Grimmjow grinned as the crowd roared. He heard the names of the other three fighters, booing and demands for death. People were throwing glasses into the arena, spreading broken glass. The Arrancar couldn’t think of a better environment.
The bell went off, and one of the fighters, a large guy with too much metal in his face and a green mohawk, charged him. Grimmjow ducked the punch and gave the sucker an uppercut to the gut. The guy grunted, but reached down to wrap his arms around Grimmjow’s waist. He picked the smaller man up. Grimmjow laughed; this is what he’d been waiting for.
Using his weight and momentum, Grimmjow let the guy toss him up. Then he twisted, grabbing one of the guy’ arms to land on the lug’s back. He wrapped one arm around the guy’s neck, then started pounding the side of his head. The guy’s muscles were too big for him to reach the pest on his back, and he started stumbling around. Grimmjow didn’t realize the guy had a plan until his back was rammed into the wall. He grabbed the gut tighter, the air knocked from his lungs. He gritted his teeth, holding on as the guy went to slam him into the wall again. He suddenly kicked up, feet hitting the wall, then pushed off, causing the big guy to fall forward. Grimmjow didn’t waste time. He let go, then spun to kick the guy in the head.
He was cut off as someone else grabbed his collar and pulled him back. Grimmjow hit the ground and rolled to his feet. He grabbed the foot aimed for his face and twisted, causing the other guy, this one had a nasty scar from his temple to under his shirt, to hit the ground. Grimmjow jumped on top him, wailing on him. The guy hit back, managing to land a few good blows before Grimmjow beat his face into a bloody mess. But then Grimmjow was lifted off his feet. It was mohawk, gripping him by the neck. The guy’s eyes were bright with excitement. Grimmjow grabbed his hand, then swung up to wrap one leg around mohawk’s arm. The other he used to aim a kick at the guy’s face, hitting him in the teeth. Mohawk snarled, bringing his other arm around to punch Grimmjow in the side. Grimmjow took a sharp intake of breath, then kicked mohawk in the neck and held his foot there. This increased mohawk’s stranglehold, but it chocked the bigger man as well.
Just as Grimmjow’s vision started getting blurry, mohawk grunted and dropped him. The last guy, a piece of broken glass hidden in his hand, had stabbed mohawk between the ribs. Grimmjow hissed, landing on a pile of broken glass. He rolled off of it, feeling the shards in his back clearly. Mohawk backed in a different direction, falling to sit heavily, one hand to the cut in his side.
“Motherfucker!” mohawk yelled, barely audible over the roaring crowd. Grimmjow panted, then grinned as he sensed the cheater approaching him. In one movement, he twisted to barrel into the cheater. He felt the glass scratch his cheek, and then the other guy hit the floor with a thump. He laughed, grabbing the guy’s arm. He looked into wide, shocked eyes as he pulled the glass shard to his mouth and licked the blood.
“You broke the rules,” Grimmjow purred, then twisted the guy’s wrist and leaned back, hooking one leg around the guy’s neck and the other on his shoulder. “Guess I’ll break something, too.”
And, with a sickening pop, his dislocated cheater’s arm. The man’s screaming couldn’t be heard over the crowd. Mohawk came from nowhere to kick cheater in the gut, and Grimmjow held him so mohawk could keep going. When he heard a couple ribs break, the former Espada let cheater go, and mohawk’s kick sent him rolling across the floor. The crowd was mesmerized. The owner sat forward in his seat. He beckoned one of his bodyguards.
Grimmjow got to his feet, and mohawk let him. The two were the last two standing. Grimmjow spat blood from the cut on his tongue, and mohawk panted, holding the bleeding wound. Then, to Grimmjow’s disappointment, mohawk’s eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed. The crowd wasn’t pleased, either. They booed, shouting and throwing drinks and glasses again. Grimmjow rolled his eyes, then looked as the gate opened.
To his surprise, Kay emerged. The German was dressed in simple jeans and a white tee, and seemed bored. The crowd roared approval, and some started chanting ‘Ballerina’! Kay gave them the finger, but it didn’t seem to faze them. Grimmjow blinked, then grinned and got ready. Kay rolled his eyes, then waved him forward. He seemed relaxed. Grimmjow knew he wasn’t, but that was only because he’d been around Stark long enough to recognize a different kind of fighting stance. Grimmjow shook his head. Kay sighed.
Grimmjow couldn’t remember how he’d ended up on his back. The blonde had been a few feet away one moment, and kicking him in the gut the next. Kay had a foot on his throat, and the blood loss was finally getting to him. The German stepped off as Grimmjow’s world turned black.
Grimmjow woke with a start, then hissed. He was bandaged up, in some small, dimly lit room. He was also a cat. He looked around, and soon his eyes fell on the German reading at a fold up table. It was the waiting room. Moving quietly, Grimmjow jumped from the bench he was on, and padded across the room. He watched Kay warily, but the man made no move against him. When the cat drew level with the man, Kay flipped a page.
“I saw nothing if you saw nothing,” he said. Grimmjow stared at him, then rolled his eyes and shook his head. He trotted away, finding his way out of the club with minimal difficulty. He wandered the streets, so different in the daylight, until he found his way back to the Kurosaki house. When he made his way up to the roof, he noticed the window was slightly cracked. He snorted, then squeezed through, opening it a little more. Once he was in, he jumped onto the bed and then onto the dresser. Kon, nearly jumping out of his skin, watched the cat warily, then went and shut the window. Grimmjow simply curled up and went to sleep.
“You look like shit,” Ichigo said, walking into his room after school. Grimmjow opened one eye lazily, then let it fall closed. Ichigo rolled his eyes, then sat down at the desk and started his homework. It was a few hours later that he shifted to cat.
“Find the fight you were looking for?” he asked, curling up on the opposite side of the desk. Grimmjow grunted, then stretched.
“Maybe,” he said, resettling himself. He watched Ichigo a moment. “Are you already used to this?”
“Well, worrying about it isn’t going to do much, is it?” the tabby said, tail twitching slowly. “And what about you?”
“What about me?”
“You seem pretty used to this yourself.”
“That’s… different,” Grimmjow finished lamely. Ichigo snorted.
“Why? Because you’ve already been a cat?” he asked. Grimmjow gave him a flat look.
“They’re different,” Grimmjow said, standing. Ichigo blinked, then curled away from the other cat.
“Whatever you say,” he said. “….Grimmkitty.”
“You gonna keep calling me prissy paws?”
“Already done, Grimmkitty.”
“Fuck you, prissy paws,” Grimmjow said, pouncing. He and Ichigo rolled around, breaking apart as they fell of the desk. “Don’t call me fuckin’ Grimmkitty.”
“I won’t if you don’t call me prissy paws,” Ichigo said, glaring. Grimmjow glared, then snorted and sat.
“Fine,” he said. Ichigo rolled his eyes, then jumped back on the desk. Grimmjow looked up after him a moment, then couldn’t stop himself. “Prissy paws.”
“Grimmkitty it is,” Ichigo called down. Grimmjow snorted. Well, he brought that one on himself. He looked around the room, wondering what his next move should be. He could head out early tonight, wait to transform in the streets…
“You never did answer my question.”
“What?” Grimmjow asked. He couldn’t see Ichigo from where he was, and the statement was unexpected.
“Do you believe what Urahara and the Arrancar chick said?”
“… che, fuck if I know,” Grimmjow said. Then, after a moment, he sighed. “Do you?”
“… I don’t know,” Ichigo said. “I mean, I trust Urahara, but sometimes he’s… well.”
“Oh, that’s descriptive.”
“It’s hard to explain. You’ve met the man, haven’t you?”
“… alright, you may have a point there.”
“Why is this so important to you, anyway?”
Grimmjow waited. For a long time, there was nothing, and then a quiet sigh.
“Well, I haven’t really thought about any of this stuff.”
“What do you mean?”
A heavier sigh.
“I mean, with all the shit going down, I’ve pretty much just been focusing on getting stronger and fighting hallows. Most high school guys are thinking about girls and going on dates, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t really thought about it at all.”
“… wait, have you never been in a relationship?”
“Well, more like sex friends, but…”
“Oh, is that all?”
Grimmjow sighed, then jumped onto the desk. Ichigo had his back to him. Grimmjow sat.
“What do you mean, what?”
“There’s gotta be more than that.”
Ichigo flinched. Then he forced himself to relax.
“It’s all over you. Cat body language, remember? You can’t hide from me, prissy paws.”
“Che, whatever,” Grimmjow said, turning and leaping to the bed. He shifted mid-jump, and scowled as he opened the window. “This relationship isn’t my problem, anyways.”
Ichigo looked over his shoulder as the former Espada left. He hissed in the direction, then settled back down. Then, slowly, it dawned on him. He sat up, then looked at the window again.
Had he been…trying to help…?
Then he shook his head.
And, after convincing himself if that, he curled up to sleep.
But, for some reason, he still felt uneasy.
gah, i haven't written action scenes in so long... sorry if they're not as good as they could be. and Kay will be explained, don't worry. hope you enjoyed, comments and suggestions always appreciated!
Grimmjow growled, lacing his fingers into the messy hair at his waist and tugging. The woman pulled off his dick and glared up at him.
“Hey, rough play will cost you double,” she said. Grimmjow snorted, but eased up his grip.
“Che, but isn’t it a bonus if it’s something you like?” he asked. The woman rolled her eyes.
“But I don’t like it, so it’s extra,” she said, and went back to giving the man head. They were in some back alleyway, near where Grimmjow had found the prostitute. He hadn’t actually been looking for this, but he supposed since he had a photo shoot tomorrow he should at least try not to get roughed up, so he needed something besides fighting to entertain him. And he’d happened to see the hooker and well… the mood struck. It wasn’t as exhilarating as actually trying to get someone into bed, but it was pretty satisfying in a fix. That, and he wasn’t sure where he could go to find some suitable bed partners… or even where he could take them. He was pretty sure prissy paws would just get pissed off if he showed up with some slut.
Grimmjow growled again, tightening his grip unconsciously. The prostitute was too into it to reprimand him this time, but Grimmjow probably wouldn’t have noticed anyways. The man shook his head, clearing his thoughts. Now was not the time to be thinking about some punk brat…!
Grimmjow sighed as he came in the woman’s mouth. She made an annoyed noise, but swallowed. She stood, wiping her mouth.
“Ever heard of a warning?” the woman asked, holding out her hand. Grimmjow grinned, handing over the money he owed.
“Not what I paid you for,” he said, tucking himself in as he walked away. The woman huffed, but returned to her corner. Grimmjow wandered around the red light district some more, looking for more entertainment.
With a sigh, Grimmjow turned to glare at whoever it was. He paused. It was the guy with the mohawk, grinning with a girl on either arm and some guys around him.
“Yeah?” Grimmjow asked as the guy lumbered over, bending to be closer in height to the girls.
“You were pretty good in that fight. How ‘bout coming out with me and the boys? You’re new in town, right? Tough guy like you, I definitely would have remembered your face,” he said. Then he snorted. “Or at least that crazy hair.”
“…che, you’re one to talk,” Grimmjow said, smirking. “Were you trying to imitate a plant?”
The guys around mohawk started to get angry, but the big man just laughed. Letting go of one of the girls, he slung an arm over Grimmjow’s shoulders.
“You know, I like you, Devil Cat,” he said. Grimmjow snorted.
“Devil Cat?” he asked, letting himself be led. He took notice as the girl that mohawk had let go of slid an arm through his.
“Yeah, it’s the ring name they gave you, since you jumped around so much,” mohawk said. “Like how they call me Fuji for being so big.”
“Is that so?” Grimmjow asked, smirk widening. “Devil Cat. Not bad.”
“Mm, but do you have a real name?” the woman on his arm asked. She was giving him a look to say she was interested, and Grimmjow felt like this night was gonna be interesting.
“Grimmjow Jeagerjaques,” he said. The woman, some petite blonde thing, blinked.
“Oh! It sounds so cool! Is it foreign?” she asked, snuggling closer. Grimmjow snorted.
“Something like that…” he said. He thought a moment, then looked up at Fuji. “What about you? Pretty sure Fuji ain’t your real name.”
“Eh? Oh, well it’s really plain, so I like Fuji better,” the big man said.
“Che, whatever,” Grimmjow said, noting that Fuji still had an arm slung around his shoulders. Huh, interesting.
Grimmjow was led to a club; a dirty hole in the wall with little light and music pounding through the building. Looked like there were two floors; they entered on a metal landing above a sea of writing bodies filling the entire floor below. There was a way leading upstairs, to various rest areas and the bar. Grimmjow grinned; he liked it already. Fuji seemed to be a regular, taking his group to one of the private areas with a circular couch around a table.
“Alright, first order of business…” Fuji said. “Let’s get drunk!”
As the night wore on, Grimmjow came to realize several things. One, he liked alcohol. He liked alcohol a lot. Two, Fuji was completely straight, he just happened to be very affectionate. Three, this club had back rooms.
Looking at the digital cloak, Grimmjow swore. He got up from the bed, pulling on his clothes in a rush.
“Aw, you don’t want another round?” the blonde whined. Grimmjow smirked.
“Sorry, gotta run,” he said. The girl sighed.
“Come back some time, okay?” she said. Grimmjow rolled his eyes. She was a good lay, but her high pitched voice was starting to get on his nerves.
“Yeah, sure, whatever,” he said, taking his leave. Being a little tipsy, it took him a bit to stumble his way out of the club. He didn’t see Fuji on his way out, and assumed the guy was having a good time on his own. The Arrancar fumbled his way through the streets, getting lost twice before finally making it back to the residential district. The buzz was finally wearing off, and Grimmjow felt the start of a headache. Grumbling to himself, he just made it to the Kurosaki residence before transforming. The headache seemed even worse in this form, and the cat had to concentrate more than usual to make his way up to Ichigo’s window. Pushing the glass contraption open, he stepped onto the bed. Ichigo was asleep, and didn’t seem to notice the fluffy blue cat come in. With a snort, Grimmjow considered jumping on the teen to make his way to the desk, then decided against it. He moved to the end of the bed and curled up there, hoping that when he woke up the headache would be gone.
“Hey, Kurosaki-kun, are you alright?” Orihime asked. Ichigo blinked, then jumped back in his seat. He hadn’t even noticed her get so close… and when did the teacher stop talking…?
“Huh, yeah, I’m fine, why do you ask, Inoue?” he asked, looking around a bit. Orihime blinked, standing straight.
“Oh, well, you just seemed to be thinking about something very intently…”
“You mean he was spacing out like an idiot,” Tatsuki said.
“Hey!” Ichigo said.
“She’s right,” Uryuu added, not looking away from his book. “And someone like you can’t afford not to listen to the teacher, Kurosaki.”
“What do you mean, someone like me…?” Ichigo asked, picking up on the implication that he was stupid. Uryuu ignored him.
“Kurosaki-kun, are you sure you’re alright?” Orihime asked. Ichigo turned to look at her. At her earnest gaze, he sighed.
“I guess I just… have a lot on my mind,” he said. Then, out of nowhere, he was pulled out of his seat and dragged outside. “Wha- R-Rukia?”
“We need to talk,” she said shortly, pulling him through the halls and to the roof. Then she let him go.
“What, is it a hallow?” he asked, looking at his badge. Rukia sighed.
“No, your badge is working fine,” she said. “I want to know if you’re alright; and I mean really alright.”
“Rukia, I’m fine,” Ichigo said automatically.
“Don’t give me that!” Rukia said, pointing a finger in Ichigo’s face. “I know I’ve been busy lately, but even I can tell you’ve been more pensive recently. Is it him? Did he do something?”
“What… oh,” Ichigo said, realizing what she meant. He stared a moment, then sighed.
“He hasn’t done anything,” he said, moving to sit against the fence. “We don’t really interact that much. When he’s in his human form, he goes off and doesn’t get back until after I’m asleep. When he’s a cat, I’m here at school. The only time we really talk is when we’re both cats.”
“So then he said something to upset you?” Rukia asked, sitting next to him. Ichigo snorted.
“Not really. Well, I mean, he pisses me off most of the time, but it’s not that,” he said. Rukia leaned to give him a serious expression.
“Then what is it?” she asked. Ichigo met her gaze, then looked away and scratched the back of his neck.
“Well, I guess… last night, he was almost… being nice, I think?” he said. Rukia blinked, then snorted, smiling wryly.
“That guy? Nice?” she asked. Ichigo snorted and smiled himself.
“Yeah, guess it must have been my imagination,” he said. Rukia could sense an edge to his words, but she couldn’t figure out the emotion behind them. With a soft sigh, she knew she probably wouldn’t be getting Ichigo to admit much more than that.
“Probably,” she said. “Hey, I should be around more, so if anything happens…”
“I can take care of myself, you know,” Ichigo said. But then he smiled. “But thanks.”
“Someone has to keep you from being an idiot,” Rukia replied playfully, standing to go back to class. Ichigo snorted, following suit. He felt a bit better now. Of course it had been his imagine, no way Grimmjow would try to be nice to him.
“Hey, I’m back…” Ichigo said, walking into his room. He paused. The entire room was destroyed, and in the middle of it was Kon astride a medium-sized dog. Grimmjow was presumably under the bed, since the dog was struggling to get under there. Ichigo sighed.
“Welcome back!” Kon yelled over his shoulder. “While you were gone, I decided to take care of this pest-“
“Kon, get the dog out of my room,” Ichigo said, glaring. Kon flinched.
“Out. Now,” Ichigo said, pointing to the door. Kon deflated under the death glare and, with some grumbling, led the dog out of the room like a horse. Looking around the room, Ichigo sighed. He set his bag down, then crouched to look under the bed. He was met with glaring blue eyes in the shadows. “Hey Grimmkitty, the big scary dog’s gone now.”
Grimmjow hissed, jumping forward and scratching at the teen. But Ichigo moved away before the cat could do any damage. He stood up, ignoring the bristling cat as he started picking up his room. Grimmjow, snorting, jumped up on the desk, moving the disarray to make a place to sit. He watched as Ichigo cleaned the entire room, and then curled up on the bed when the teen started his homework. Ichigo rushed, knowing he didn’t have much time. He only got halfway done before he changed.
“Where do you even go all night?” the tabby asked, jumping up on the bed. Grimmjow, whom had been dozing, peeked one eye open.
“Depends,” he said. “Follow me if you’re so interested.”
“Right,” Ichigo said, rolling his eyes. He sat down, looking out the window. After a few moments, Grimmjow stretched and sat up.
“Hey, does alcohol give you a headache?” he asked. Ichigo blinked at him.
“Yeah, it’s called a hangover,” he said in a voice that meant ‘no shit, sherlock’. “The more you drink, the worse the headache.”
“Got it,” Grimmjow said. Both cats looked away from each other, and the silence was almost tangible.
“Uh, about the other day…”
“What?’ Grimmjow asked. Ichigo started to growl, but stopped himself.
“You weren’t… trying to be nice, were you?” he asked instead. Grimmjow blinked in surprise. Then he snorted.
“Hell no. Why the fuck would I be nice to you?” he asked.
“Huh, yeah, that’s what I thought,” Ichigo said, feeling relieved.
“Then why did you bother asking?” Grimmjow muttered, curling up again. The awkward silence returned. Ichigo fidgeted, looking around the room. Grimmjow sighed. “Just say it.”
“… even if you weren’t trying to be nice, thanks. For listening.”
“… che, whatever,” Grimmjow said. It was silent again, but it was more comfortable this time. Ichigo curled up with a sigh, but he still wasn’t sure what to think. After a few moments, a weight settled on top of him. “What is it now?”
“What do you mean?” Ichigo asked, not even bothering to move. Grimmjow half sighed, half growled.
“You’re almost shouting, you’re so loud,” he said. “There has to be something wrong.”
“… tch,” Ichigo said, deciding to ignore the other cat.
“Out with it, prissy paws,” Grimmjow said. When Ichigo didn’t respond, the blue cat got more annoyed, and started grooming the tabby. Ichigo instantly struggled to get away.
“Alright, alright, geez!” he yelled. Grimmjow snorted, but got off the other cat. Ichigo growled a little as he glared. Then after a moment, he looked away.
“… I don’t know. I guess… I’m confused,” he said. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“That’s very descriptive,” he said. Ichigo gave him a flat look.
“Do you want me to talk or are you just trying to annoy me?”
“Is both an option?”
“… you know what, forget it,” Ichigo said, moving to jump off the bed.
“Che, so touchy, will you just come out with it already?” Grimmjow said, irritated. Ichigo, glared at him, then sighed.
“If you weren’t being nice, why did you bother asking me all that stuff last night?” he asked. Grimmjow paused. Ichigo waited, although the silence spoke volumes.
“I was just trying to get you to shut up, is all,” Grimmjow said after a few moments. “Animals are more deeply connected than humans are; when you get all fidgety it makes me feel fidgety. It’s kind of like a… an aura, or a pheromone or something.”
“… a pheromone?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow sighed, irritated. Ichigo was starting to feel irritated himself, and started shifting between his front paws. Grimmjow looked at him, and suddenly was hit by inspiration.
“See? Like right now; your dumbass questions are pissing me off, so you’re feeling it, too,” he said. Ichigo opened his mouth to reply, then stopped. He tilted his head, considering. Grimmjow seemed annoyed by his silence too. He watched the blue cat a few moments, and, sure enough, felt himself getting more irritated.
“I see,” he said. Grimmjow blinked, then walked closer to the other cat.
“Oh, do you?” he asked. Ichigo growled; he was definitely catching Grimmjow’s irritation now. He stood, tensing. Grimmjow grinned, and Ichigo felt ready for a fight…
But instead, the big blue cat just pounced forward to lay on top of him again.
“Then learn to control it so I don’t have to deal with your emotions,” Grimmjow said, tension dissipating. Ichigo was lost for words for a moment, then relaxed with a sigh.
“… yeah, fine,” he said, realizing Grimmjow was probably right. “… are you just gonna stay up there or…?”
“You’re still too loud, so yeah, until you learn to shut up, I’ll keep doing this,” the blue cat said. Ichigo sighed again, then flinched when Grimmjow shifted and he felt a rough tongue on his ear.
“If you would just stay still, this’ll help you relax,” Grimmjow said. “And when your all clam and shit, you’re a lot quieter, so just shut up and stay still.”
Ichigo wanted to reply, but he bit back whatever smart remark he had. Grimmjow was the more experienced one when it came to being a feline, and he hadn’t seem to lie so far, so the tabby decided to trust him just a little. And, he had to admit, the grooming was relaxing. After a few minutes, he couldn’t stop himself from purring. That was when Grimmjow stopped. The blue cat got up and moved away a bit.
“See? Quieter,” he said. Ichigo just stared. He couldn’t really tell the difference, so he just took Grimmjow’s word for it. The tabby curled up, feeling tired from all the conversations about his emotions today. Grimmjow watched a moment, then snorted and walked over to the window. He pushed it open, looking out for Kon and his dog before heading out.
As he walked down the street, tail held high, he couldn’t help but think that maybe Ichigo would never be able to hide his body language. It certainly would take a long time, without the instincts… the strange thing, however, was that the thought didn’t bother him as much as he thought it should…
well... I thought it was a good way to start a chapter...
comments are much appreciated!
Grimmjow blinked as Kay handed him an envelope. The shoot was almost over, and Ayane and Izumi were in the back having some kind of discussion. Grimmjow took the envelope, looking it over.
“What is it?” he asked. Kay sighed.
“Your winnings from the fight. The owner asked me to get them to you,” he said, turning his attention to his camera. “I figured giving them to you when you were a cat would be useless.”
“… che,” Grimmjow smirked, putting the envelope with his stuff. “Say, since you can speak Japanese so well, why do you speak that other language all the time?”
“I don’t speak Japanese well,” Kay replied. Then he smiled. “Compared to native speakers, I just butcher it.”
“Aiya, you still think that?” Ayane asked, looking a little hurt as he walked up to them. With a childish grin, Kay snapped a picture.
“Ich sage es nur, weil das wahr ist,” he said. Ayane blushed.
“Sie sollen nicht mein Bild nehmen, Kay-chan,” he said. Kay shrugged.
“Schade, konnte nicht mir helfen,” he said. Ayane sighed, but then smiled. Grimmjow watched with an unreadable expression. He wasn’t sure what they were saying, but their expressions made the meaning clear.
“Hey, Jeagerjaques-san, come with me so I can get you your check,” Izumi said. Gathering his stuff, Grimmjow followed her into the hallway as Kay and Ayane packed up.
“What language were they speaking, anyways?” Grimmjow asked. Izumi snorted.
“German. It’s Kay’s native language,” she said. “I heard he and Ayane met at university there. They’re a cute couple, aren’t they?”
“Kinda sickly sweet, if you ask me…” Grimmjow said. Izumi paused, then pulled an envelope out of her pocket.
“Just so you know, Ayane doesn’t think anyone knows they’re a couple,” she said, handing over the envelope. Grimmjow took it, brow arching in disbelief.
“You’re kidding, right? It’s so fucking obvious,” he said. Izumi rolled her eyes.
“Yes, well, I know that, and you know that, hell, even Kay knows that, but we play along for Ayane’s sake, get it?” she said. Grimmjow met her serious look, then shrugged with a grin.
“Whatever, not like I actually care about that shit,” he said.
“And that kind of attitude is why guys like you don’t make any friends,” Izumi said, shrugging.
“Oh? And what about you?” Grimmjow asked, walking with her as far as the lobby of the company. Izumi chuckled.
“What about me?” she asked. “I might be cutthroat, but I’m good to my friends.”
Grimmjow rolled his eyes, deciding to ignore that comment as he walked out of the company. Why did all these people seem so fixated on friends, anyways?
Grimmjow paused as his cellphone went off. He pulled it out of his pocket. He’d played around with it earlier, so it only took him a minute or two to read the text. It was from Fuji, asking if he wanted to come to the bar. The Arrancar grinned, sending back an affirmative. Well, maybe ‘friends’ could come in handy.
Ichigo stirred in his sleep at a knock at his window. Huh…? Coulda sworn I left it open…
He sat up and rubbed at his eyes. He looked at the window and blinked. It was Grimmjow, still in his human form. Tired and confused, he sighed as he opened the window.
“The window was open, ya know…” he started, but stopped with a grunt as the Arrancar pretty much fell on top of him.
“Too mush work…” he muttered. Ichigo could smell the alcohol on his breath. He tried to squirm out from beneath the larger man. He was already half way there, since he’d been sitting up.
“Are you drunk?” he hissed, trying not to wake anyone up. Grimmjow managed to push up on his arms to look up at Ichigo. His expression was searching, but still a bit dazed. Then he snorted.
“Geez…” he said, head and eyes falling. “Human or cat, yer a’ways thinkin’ too loud…”
“What the-!” Ichigo started, but he stopped. He looked down at the man in his lap. “Don’t tell me you’re asleep…?” The teen sighed, leaning back against the wall. “Dammit.”
Whatever, he’ll be a cat soon anyways…
Ichigo stared at the ceiling, waiting. He thought this was probably the first time Grimmjow had returned before he turned into a cat. And drunk! Who the hell did he think he was? They didn’t exactly have the best relationship to begin with, but this was really too much…
Ichigo flinched when Grimmjow shifted in his sleep. The man muttered something under his breath, and the change rippled through him. Ichigo snorted, reaching down to move the fluffy blue cat in his lap. He paused when the cat started purring. He stared, expression blank. Then he sighed, absentmindedly petting the purring feline. Guess it won’t do any harm… he thought as he fell asleep.
A few hours later, Ichigo woke with a start. He immediately looked at his clock.
Accidentally dumping Grimmjow onto the bed, he jumped up to get dressed. The cat woke with a grumbling growl, glaring around the room. As he’d been told, the headache was worse this time. He watched apathetically as Ichigo rushed to get dressed, then ran out of the room. With a snort, he curled up again… then suddenly jumped to his feet. He stared around the bed in surprise, then looked at the door. He sat, tilting his head.
“You mangy furball…!” Kon said, glaring over the bed. Grimmjow looked at him and the stuffed toy ducked. Then, realizing the cat wasn’t charging him, he glared again. “Showing up here drunk, and then forcing Ichigo to let you sleep in the bed…! He won’t even let me do that!”
Grimmjow hissed, flattening his ears. Kon yelped, ducking away. The cat rolled his eyes, then looked at the window. Tail twitching, he leap out. With a last look at the room, he left.
“Hey, is that a cat?” Mizuiro asked. Ichigo, Chad, Asano, Mizuiro, Orihime, Rukia and Tatsuki were on the roof, eating lunch as usual. The group looked over at Mizuiro’s statement. Indeed, sitting on the fence, was a blue tortoiseshell tom. The cat wasn’t looking at them; in fact, it seemed like he was ignoring him.
“Huh? Holy shit, it’s blue! It must be some kind of alien or something!” Keigo said. Ichigo looked a moment, then rolled his eyes.
“Ignore it,” he said. Rukia looked at teen seriously.
“Ichigo…” she said, though it was more of a question.
“What? It’s just a cat,” he said, meeting her look. Rukia searched a moment, then nodded.
“Whaaaat? But, it’s blue! And it can’t just be dyed! Who the hell would spend that much energy on a cat! It has to be something weird like an alien! We can’t just let it go!” Asano said. Ichigo ignored him.
“Is it… really okay?” Chad asked. Ichigo looked up at him.
“Yeah, it’s fine, not like he can do anything like that, anyway,” he said. Then he jumped up and away in surprise as Grimmjow clawed at him. The blue cat hissed, then turned and stalked away.
“Whoa… hey, is that your cat, Ichigo?” Asano asked. Ichigo glared.
“No, it’s not,” he said. Keigo snorted, and Mizuiro smiled. “What? I said it’s not.”
“Sorry, just, you know… maybe you don’t want to admit it, a punk kid adopting a cat and all…” Keigo said, then burst into a laughing fit. Ichigo sighed.
“It’s still not my cat,” he said, turning to go inside. Asano followed with Mizuiro, the rest joining them as they went back to class. All except for Rukia. The shinigami hesitated a moment, then walked over to the cat.
“I don’t know what you’re doing here, but I still don’t trust you,” she said. Grimmjow looked at her over his shoulder. She glared. “And if I find out you hurt him somehow, I swear you will regret it.”
Grimmjow snorted, flicking his ear as he looked away. Rukia waited a moment longer, then turned and went back to class.
“So, what? Kon get another dog?” Ichigo asked as Grimmjow began trotting along beside him. It was after school, and the only other person with the teen was Rukia.
“A dog..?” Rukia asked. Ichigo nodded.
“The idiot trashed my room by riding some dog around it,” he said. Rukia blinked.
“Why?” she asked. Ichigo shrugged, pointing at the blue tom.
“Ask him,” he said. Rukia sighed; Grimmjow was clearly ignoring them in the most cat like fashion. That is to say, flouting as if he wanted attention, but they weren’t worthy enough to give it to him.
“Well, besides that, what was Keigo saying about a punk kid and a cat?” the shinigami asked. Ichigo sighed.
“Oh, that,” he said. “It’s just a cliché.”
“Oh, I see,” Rukia said, in a manner which said she really didn’t.
“You know all that manga that you read?” Ichigo said.
“I told you, it’s simply for research!” Rukia yelled. Grimmjow snorted, and Rukia blinked as the cat jumped onto Ichigo’s shoulders. The teen glanced at the cat, but didn’t react.
“Whatever,” he said. “Well, you know how all lot of them end the same? Or have the same plot?”
“…yes, I noticed,” Rukia asked, seeming to be more curious about the boy and the cat. Grimmjow looked at her, then gave her his trademark feral grin. Rukia flinched, then glared. He was doing this to piss her off!
“Those are clichés,” Ichigo said.
“I see,” Rukia said, still glaring at the grinning cat. Ichigo suddenly stopped.
“Oh, shit, I forgot, the old man asked me to get some groceries,” he said. He turned, headed in a different direction. “I’ll see you later, Rukia.”
“…yeah, see you later,” she said. Her eyes were calculating. After considering a few moments, she turned and headed for Urahara’s shop.
“I don’t know what you’re so worried about, Kuchiki-san, this is exactly what needs to happen,” Urahara said, grinning behind his fan. Rukia practically growled.
“How can you be so calm about this!” she demanded. “You’re leaving Ichigo at the mercy of some sadistic killer! And you’re happy about them getting closer?”
“But didn’t you hear the story?” Urahara asked. Rukia’s face met her palm.
“Of course I heard the story, that doesn’t mean I believe it!” she said. Urahara closed his fan, face serious.
“But I do,” he said. Rukia flinched. Then gave him an analytical look.
“You don’t believe thing like this lightly,” she said. Urahara met her gaze, then sighed.
“Well, I may know a thing or two about the Arrancar that did this,” he said. “But only whispers. I’m still looking for more information, but so far, it seems like the only way to break this curse is to assume she was telling the truth.”
“… is that all?” Rukia asked. She sensed that there was something else behind the former shinigami’s words; not that this was new, but given the current situation, she felt she needed to know.
“…as you wish, Kuchiki-san,” Urahara said, opening his fan again. “Think about it. If they do end up getting close, the way Ichigo seems to be allies in the most surprising places, Grimmjow could become a powerful asset. He can also help us learn more about the Arrancar, so we’re better prepared in the future.”
“… I suppose you have a point,” Rukia said, crossing her arms. “But I still don’t like it.”
“He’ll be fine,” Urahara said. “Besides, with Grimmjow locked in a gigai half the time and a cat the other half, it’s not like he can do much harm.”
“I still don’t like it,” Rukia said. “Are you sure that gigai can hold him?”
“I’m certain,” the shopkeeper said, shepherding Rukia to the door. ”Now, if you’re so worried, you should go check up on them, though I’m sure they’re fine.”
“Alright, well, keep me updated on your information about that Arrancar,” the young woman said. Urahara smiled and nodded, gently pushing Rukia out of the door. As she left, Tessai walked up behind him.
“Owner, I thought you said there was no way to tell if the gigai would hold up, since it was an untested technology,” he said. Urahara sighed.
“I know,” he said, and turned to walk to the back of the shop. “I just had to tell her that, or should would do something rash.”
Tessai made no comment, simply watching as Urahara retreated.
One Month Later
“Isn’t he just the coolest~!” Michiru squealed, scrunching the magazine in her hands.
“Aiya! Don’t do that, you’ll ruin the picture!” Mahana complained, flattening the magazine again.
“Sorry! I just got excited!” Michiru said. “It’s just that Jeagerjaques-sama is so cool!”
“Yeah, I know!” Mahana said. “That’s why I don’t want you ruining the picture!”
“Well, for a new model, he may be nice, but he could never compare to my Hime-chan!” Chizuru exclaimed, hugging around Orihime’s shoulders. Tatsuki snorted.
“I don’t see what so great about that guy and his weird sounding name…” she said.
“But, Tatsuki-san, I think his name is cool,” Michiru said. Mahana crossed her arms.
“Yeah! It’s a really cool foreign name!” she said. “I heard he’s actually a prince from another country, being a model because he was cast out for a scandal!”
“Really, Mahana-san?” Michiru asked.
“Doesn’t sound real to me…” Tatsuki said.
“It’s definitely true!” Mahana said. As they continued arguing, Orihime glanced over at Ichigo. The teen was staring out the window absently, seemingly unaware of the girls’ conversation. He flinched when Rukia walked up to him.
“Hey, is it really okay for him to be getting so popular?” she asked. Ichigo snorted.
“It’s not like we can do anything about it,” he said. “I haven’t even seen the guy in at least a week.”
“What!?” Rukia asked. “How can you just let him run about so freely?”
“Am I supposed to be his keeper?” Ichigo asked, fixing her in his gaze. After a moment, she sighed and crossed her arms.
“Well, no, but this is troubling,” she said. “What if he’s running around causing trouble we don’t know about?”
“… fine, I’ll see if I can find him tonight, if it’ll keep you from worrying,” Ichigo said.
“You don’t have to-“
“It’s fine,” Ichigo said. “Besides, you’d just keep nagging me until I did, anyways…”
“Hey! That’s not fair!” Rukia said. Ichigo shrugged.
“But you didn’t deny it,” he said. Rukia opened her mouth to protest, then sighed.
“Thank you,” she said. “I know this has been hard on you…”
“Don’t worry about.”
Rukia regarded the teen for a few more minutes, then sighed as the teacher entered the room. Returning to her seat, she wondered what was really bothering the teen…
Grimmjow stretched. The late afternoon sunlight was pouring in from his window. The blue tortoiseshell untangled itself from the haphazard blanket on his futon, the only furniture in the small room besides his wardrobe. Blinking his eyes awake, he looked at the window. He glared at it a moment, then leapt onto the windowsill. He pushed the window open with little effort. Padding onto the fire escape, he looked up. Two floors up, a man was smoking a cigarette.
Without much effort, Grimmjow made his way up the escape in leaps and bounds. When he reached the rail above, the man arched a brow.
“Guten tag,” Kay said, taking a drag. “Aren’t you up a little early?”
Grimmjow glared at the sarcasm. He settled on the rail, overlooking the alley below.
“You’ve been getting popular you know. That haircut got your ratings up 50%, too.”
“You can even see it in this form, you know.”
“Mrow,” Grimmjow complained, glaring. Kay snorted, taking another drag.
“Oh, here you are.”
Kay and Grimmjow both stared in shock as Ichigo suddenly landed on the railing. Grimmjow recovered first, yowling at the teen.
“Rukia was worried you were causing trouble,” Ichigo said.
“Mrow,” Grimmjow said, rolling his eyes. Ichigo snorted.
“Your reiatsu’s getting stronger, you know,” he said. “I could use it to find you.”
“Mrow?” Grimmjow asked flatly. Ichigo nodded, then sighed.
“Shit,” he said, just as he transformed into a cat. In surprise, he lost his balance and almost fell… except Kay reached over and grabbed him by the scruff. Ichigo blinked in surprise, staring a moment as he was set back on the railing.
“It’s fine, this guy knows about it,” Grimmjow said, diverting the teen attention.
“How did that happen?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow snorted.
“I passed out after a fight, and this guy say me change,” he said. “No big deal, though. Oh, he’s also the photographer for the guy I model for.”
“Cause that makes sense,” Ichigo said.
“And you jumping on the fire escape out of nowhere was any better?” Grimmjow replied. Ichigo snorted.
“That’s just because Rukia nagged me into checking up on you,” he said. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“So, what? You gonna follow me around like you did in the beginning or some shit?” he asked. Ichigo shrugged.
“I guess,” he said. “Though I doubt you’re causing the kind of trouble she’s worried about…”
“Oh? What kind of trouble do you think I’m causing?” Grimmjow grinned. Ichigo sighed.
“I don’t really care,” he said. “As long as it’s not hurting anyone innocent, it’s not my business.”
“Kay-chan, what is that noise…” Ayane asked, appearing at the window to his and Kay’s apartment. Kay held a finger to his lips, pointing at the two cats. Ayane blinked, then watched curiously.
“Then why not just text me? I gave you my number, didn’t I?” Grimmjow asked. Ichigo rolled his eyes.
“You think that would satisfy Rukia?” he asked. Grimmjow growled a little.
“Seriously, what’s her problem? Just what is she expecting me to do after over a month?” he asked. Ichigo arched a brow.
“Well, you did try to kill all of us before…”
“…che, I guess you have a point…”
“You guess? I’m pretty sure I have a really valid point.”
“Fine, you have a point. Happy, prissy paws?”
“Dammit, I forgot about that…”
“Again, if you would stop calling me prissy paws, I wouldn’t call you that.”
“Whatever, prissy paws.”
Ichigo sighed, looking away. Then he seemed to remember something.
“Oh, nice haircut, by the way.”
“Thanks. Apparently, it raised my ratings by 50%.”
“Is that why you did it?”
“Huh? No. One of my roommates thought it would be funny to cut it while I was passed out drunk. But it worked out all right, so I guess it’s fine…”
“... what kind of roommate do you have?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow snorted.
“The kind that gets drunk a lot,” he said.
“Oh, so a guy like you?”
“It has to hurt to be an insult, idiot.”
“So, what? Are these guys your roommates?” Ichigo asked, looking over his shoulder at Kay and Ayane.
“Them? No, I live a couple floors down. That’s the designer I work for; these two just happen to be in the same apartment building, is all.”
“Oh, I see,” Ichigo said, turning back to Grimmjow. “I think one of them teaches my little sister dance…”
“He probably does. He is a ballerina.”
“I was expecting you too be more snide about it.”
“Again, it has to hurt to be insult. That guy just doesn’t care.”
It was about that time that Grimmjow changed from cat to human, just as the last light of day disappeared over the horizon. Snorting, he reached in his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He looked at Kay.
“Got a light?” he asked. Kay shrugged, pulling out his lighter and tossing it lightly.
“So, what’s with the kid?” Kay asked. Grimmjow lit his cigarette, then tossed the lighter back.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, picking the tabby up by the scruff. Ichigo yowled a moment, then stopped as Grimmjow put him on his shoulder. “See ya.”
“Don’t get in a fight,” Kay said, only half serious. Laughing, Grimmjow swung down the fire escape.
“Don’t hold your breath!” he replied. The German rolled his eyes.
“Well, at least he seems to have a friend,” Ayane said. Kay snorted. “What?”
“Nothing,” Kay said, rubbing what remained of his cigarette on the railing. “Is dinner ready?”
“Almost, but-“ Ayane was cut off as Kay gave him a peck on the lips.
“Then let’s eat,” he said, grinning impishly. Ayane sighed, but moved back to allow the man in.
In the alley, Grimmjow started sauntering onto the street. Ichigo jumped down from his shoulder, following a few steps off. He watched the former Espada carefully. The haircut honestly didn’t look too bad, but it was different to see the blue hair short cropped and close to the man’s head, rather than spiked up. Grimmjow looked over and smirked.
“What? Admiring the view?” he asked. Ichigo huffed, purposefully looking away. Grimmjow chuckled.
“Well, better get used to it, prissy paws,” he said. “Cause if you really intend on tagging along, there’ll be plenty to see.”
Ichigo rolled his eyes, but relaxed as he trotted along. Grimmjow chuckled again, pulling out his phone and texting Fuji.
Hey, Hiro, get your lazy ass up.
dammit grimm i told you not to call me that!
Whatever. Just get up.
fine. meet you at the usual place?
Grimmjow tucked the phone away, casting a glance at his cat companion. He smirked, toying with one of the several rings he was wearing. Looks like things would be interesting tonight…
“So…what’s with the cat?” Fuji asked, a girl on each arm already. Both were little, cute petite girls. Grimmjow snorted, his own arm candy an older, shapely woman only a few inches shorter than him.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said, taking a drag from his cigarette. “Just some stray following me around.”
Ichigo glared, and Grimmjow grinned.
“… you ain’t… going crazy, right?” Fuji asked. Grimmjow looked at him.
“What, I’m not already there?” he asked. Fuji roared with laughter, as well as most of his followers.
“I ‘spose ya got a point there,” the big man said, grinning as he headed into a nearby club. He had several on his circuit; this one was one of the tamer ones.
“Starting off slow tonight?” Grimmjow asked.
“Is slow such a bad thing?” the woman on his arm asked, tracing a finger down his chest. Grimmjow snorted.
“Depends on if it’s worth it,” he replied, smirking. From behind them, Ichigo rolled his eyes. Avoiding the bouncer, the tabby threaded through the throngs of people, following Grimmjow’s group.
“Man, ever since your ads got popular, we can get in anywhere,” Fuji said. Then he reached over to punch Grimmjow on the shoulder. “Guess chopping off all that ridiculous hair was a blessing in disguise!”
“My hair was ridiculous?” the former Espada asked as they sat down. One of the guys called for drinks, and Fuji grinned.
“Guess you have a point there…” he said. “But I’m surprised; you weren’t kidding when you said it’s naturally blue.”
“Why would I lie about something dumb like that…?” he asked, grinning as the drinks arrived. He cast a quick glance around, spying Ichigo under the table. Ok, so the kid was alright.
“Worried about your stray?” Fuji asked. Grimmjow snorted, snaking an arm around his date’s waist.
“Why would I be worried about some scrawny cat when I’ve got company like this?” he asked, grabbing a drink as he did. Fuji grinned, holding up his glass in a toast.
“To hot bitches and awesome fights!” he said, his followers cheering in response. Grimmjow grinned, taking a drink. He was actually glad for that curse right about now; it meant he could live a life like this, and it was his kind of life.
As the night wore on, Fuji got drunk as usual. Grimmjow more than matched him, but he managed to say something to piss off his date. It got him a slap, but another girl soon took her place. They travelled to a few different bars as they got kicked out of the ones before, and it took several hours before Grimmjow realized he’d lost track of his tagalong. Leaving behind another girl, he started looking around.
“Hey, you guys seen a stray cat?” he asked some of Fuji’s gang. The guys snorted.
“Yeah, that little orange thing? Some of the guys thought it would be funny to get it drunk,” one of them said, pointing to a corner. Ichigo was there, wobbling and glaring around blearily. Grimmjow sighed, looking at his watch.
“… dammit,” he said under his breath. He pushed past the guys, picking up the protesting tabby by the scruff and heading outside. “Hey, Fuji, I’m done for the night!”
“Huh…? Uh, yeah, see ya later!” the big man replied, preoccupied with his date. Grimmjow rolled his eyes, continuing out. He went around the back, into a deserted alleyway. Just as he’d thought, it was only a matter of minutes after he set Ichigo down that the teen changed back into a human. Ichigo stumbled, catching himself on the wall.
“Sum… grea friens ya got there…” he muttered, speech slurred. It was obviously an effort, and Grimmjow groaned, slapping a hand over his eyes. He couldn’t just send the kid home like this…! With a sighed, he took a step forward.
“Hey, ya got your cell on you?” he asked. Ichigo tried to glare at him, but his eyes were unfocused.
“Of cour... course I do -hic-…” he said, fumbling at the pocket of his jeans. Grimmjow sighed, taking another step forward and retrieving it for the drunken teen. “H-hey!”
“Shut up, you’re drunk,” Grimmjow said, taking out the phone. He flicked through the contacts, finding Issin’s number under ‘Goat-face’. Thinking a moment, the Arrancar sent the man a text saying something had come up and Ichigo was staying with a friend tonight. Then, looking at the barely conscious teen, he sighed and tucked the phone his own pocket. Carefully, he wrapped and arm around the teen’s waist.
“Wha’re ya-hic- doin’?” Ichigo asked, struggling weakly. Grimmjow rolled his eyes, pulling the teen’s arm over his shoulders.
“Lean on me,” he said. “You’re too drunk to walk straight.”
“You ‘ad… mor’n -hic-..” Ichigo started, but as he took a few steps forward, he finally succumbed and lost consciousness. As his body turned into a dead weight, Grimmjow growled in frustration. Thinking a few minutes, he finally sighed. He took out his phone, and texted Fuji. The big came out after a few minutes.
“Huh? Where’d the kid come from?” he asked, scratching his head. Grimmjow sighed.
“Don’t worry about it, just help me out here,” he snapped. Fuji snorted, walking over and helping move Ichigo onto Grimmjow back.
“Hey, you’re in a bad mood,” Fuji said. “That’s weird, were you in a bad mood before?”
“Blame the kid,” Grimmjow said. “Thanks, you can go back to your date now.”
“Sure you don’t need more help…?”
“Absolutely, now fuck off.”
“Touchy…” Fuji said, but returned to the club anyways. Grimmjow continued down the street, cursing under his breath as he headed back to his apartment. He told off the people that jeered at him, until word spread that the infamous Devil Cat was in a bad mood and they started avoiding him instead. When he was almost home, the Arrancar’s phone went off. Swearing violently, he leaned forward so that the obliviously slumbering teen didn’t slip off as he pulled it out and answered.
“Who the fuck is it and what do you want?”
“Is that how you always answer the phone?”
Grimmjow paused. He vaguely recognized the voice, but couldn’t place it.
“… who is this?”
“… how the fuck did you get this number?”
Grimmjow swore. Of course that guy knew his number. He didn’t know how he knew, but it still wasn’t surprising.
“So what do you want?” Grimmjow asked, awkwardly walking up the fire escape. He never used any other entrance.
“Need a hand?” Kay, out smoking again, called from above. Grimmjow glared up at him, not bothering to respond.
“Were you the one who sent the text from Ichigo’s phone? Rukia said he was watching you tonight.”
“…what makes you think it was me?” he asked, still struggling.
“Elevator would be easier, you know,” Kay said, surprising Grimmjow by pulling Ichigo off his back. Grimmjow flipped him off. The German merely rolled his eyes.
“Well, if it were Ichigo, he wouldn’t have said anything,” Isshin said. “And if it were one of his friends, they would have given their name.”
Grimmjow swore again, opening his window and climbing inside before turning back to take Ichigo from Kay. He nodded to the German as the man lithely swung back up to his own floor. Laying the teen out on his futon, he gave him a quick look over before shutting the window.
“Fine, so it was me. What about it?” he asked, going into the main apartment.
“What happened?” Isshin asked. Grimmjow sighed, heading into the bathroom and then the medicine cabinet.
“Well, he tagged along while me’n a friend went to some bars and clubs, so some of the guys thought it would be funny to get him drunk. You know, drunk animals and shit,” he said, taking out the asprin and shutting the cabinet again. He headed to the kitchenette next, grabbing a glass and filling it with water.
“Drunk? You know, if you’d called, I would have come and get him…”
“Che, it’s fine,” Grimmjow said, heading back to his room. He set the water and asprin next to the wall near the futon.
“Should I really be trusting you…?”
“Why not? I’m a respectable member of society now, after all,” Grimmjow said, walking out again. He knocked on one of the doors, to be met with a glaring chick barely higher than his waist. He mouthed paper, pantomiming writing. The chick rolled her eyes, then held up a finger.
“Right, because all respectable members of society go out clubbing,” Isshin said. Grimmjow could hear him rolling his eyes.
“Whatever. You haven’t seen me in the news, have you?” Grimmjow said, nodding to the chick as she handed him a few sheets of loose leaf paper and a pen. Heading back to his room, he didn’t notice her staring after him with an arched brow.
“Well, I guess I can give you the benefit of the doubt. But if I find out something’s happened to him-“
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Grimmjow said, hanging up as he walked back into his room. Pocketing his phone, he used the wall to scrawl a quick note.
“What with the kid?”
Grimmjow set the note by the water and asprin, then walked to the door, where the chick stood with crossed arms.
“None of your business,” he said, shutting the door in her face.
With a sigh he sat down, letting the change rippled through him. With a growl, he stalked over to curl up by the items he’d left. He cast a glance at teen, who was still dead asleep, then sighed and went to sleep himself.
When Ichigo woke up, it was to a pounding head and light in his eyes. He groaned, forcing himself to sit up. He looked groggily around the room, squinting at the light. Finally, his eyes settled on the tortoiseshell sleeping nearby. Half crawling over, he noticed the water and asprin. He took two as he read the note.
Hey, prissy paws, nice job getting stupid drunk. Had to carry you all the way here myself, you know? This is my apartment, by the way, so you better be grateful. You can leave by the fire escape, but if you really have to, going through the apartment’s fine too, I guess. You might run into my roommates, though, so just use the fire escape. Seriously.
Ichigo jumped at a knock on the door. When it repeated, he cautiously got up and answered. He blinked at the diminutive girl in front of him.
“Hey, how old are you, kid?” she asked. She looked about twelve. He blinked some more.
“We didn’t do anything,” he said.
“Oh really?” the chick said, crossing her arms. Ichigo glared.
“Yeah, really,” he said. “Besides, who would want to do anything with a guy like that?”
“… well said,” the chick said, turning. “Want breakfast?”
“Nevermind, just come eat some, middle schooler,” she said. Ichigo glared, trailing behind her.
“I’m in high school, you know,” he said. “Besides, you’re the one that looks like a middle schooler.”
“I’m a college student!” the chick said, rounding on him. “Mutou Kumiko, and don’t forget it!”
“What the hell, Kumiko? It’s too early to be so loud…” Fuji said, stumbling into the common area.
“If weren’t such a lush it wouldn’t matter!” the chick replied, turning to the kitchenette. There was a table set for three, and she and Fuji took two of the seats. “Besides, it’s already ten!”
“Too early…” Fuji said, digging in. After a few moments, the big man noticed Ichigo. “Oh, hey! You’re the kid from last night!”
“Uh… yeah, I guess,” Ichigo said, sitting at the third spot awkwardly. Kumiko snorted.
“Well, even though that guy never comes up until after dark, I figured you might be hungry,” she said. “So dig in already.”
“Sure… thanks,” Ichigo said, trying some of the food. He blinked in surprise. It was really good.
“… didn’t know Grimm was into guys…” Fuji said, chewing thoughtfully. Ichigo chocked.
“He says they didn’t do anything,” Kumiko said while he recovered.
“Really? Grimm carried him piggyback and everything; never seen him being so nice to someone,” Fuji said. Ichigo glared, hating the way his face heated up.
“We didn’t do anything,” he said through clenched teeth. Kumiko smirked.
“Isn’t that a bit defensive, middle schooler?”
“I already told you I’m in high school,” Ichigo said, rising. “Thanks for the food; I’m leaving.”
“Hey, you really okay on your own, kid?” Fuji asked, standing up.
“I’m fine, thanks,” Ichigo said, heading out. Fuji and Kumiko shared a look.
“Well, maybe, but since you and Grimm seem to be friends,” Fuji said, throwing an arm over Ichigo’s shoulders. “I can at least make sure you get to the residential district alright, right?”
“… fine,” Ichigo said, brushing the big man off. As they made it through the building and onto the street, Fuji kept giving him odd glances. “We really didn’t do anything.”
“Then how’d you guys meet?” Fuji asked.
“How does that guy meet anyone?” Ichigo replied. Fuji laughed.
“What, are you saying you two fought?”
“… you’re kidding. A scrawny thing like you?” Fuji asked, laughing.
“I’m stronger than I look,” Ichigo replied flatly.
“Whatever you say, kid…” Fuji said. Ichigo sighed, rolling his eyes. It wasn’t the first time he’d been underestimated, and frankly, he didn’t care.
Fuji and Ichigo stopped, and the teen looked over as some punks walked up.
“What’re you doing on my territory, punk?” some stupid looking guy demanded. Ichigo looked at him a few moments.
“… do I know you?” he asked. The group got angry then.
“I’ll make you pay for not remembering my face after you beat me up, punk!” the ringleader said, throwing a punch. Fuji blinked in surprise as Ichigo’s punch sent the guy flying across the pavement.
“Must not have been a very good fight, then,” Ichigo said, turning and walking off. Fuji looked at the punks that rushed to their ringleader’s side, then started laughing as he caught up with Ichigo.
“Wow, guess you are stronger than you look,” he said. Ichigo shrugged. Then he flinched in surprise as Fuji swung an arm over his shoulders again, holding out a hand to shake.
“I’m Fuji, by the way,” he said. Ichigo gave him a questioning look, then sighed through his nose and smiled.
“Ichigo,” the teen said, shaking.
“And, if you ever need help finding Grimm, feel free to contact me!” Fuji said. Ichigo snorted.
“Why would I want to?” he asked, slipping out again. Fuji laughed.
“You never know,” he said, turning. “Grimm sure seems to like you, though!”
“Yeah, right,” Ichigo said, waving as the big man parted ways. Turning ahead, he collected his bearings to head in the direction of home. After a couple of minutes, he stopped. Then, scratching the back of his head and sighing, he pulled out his phone and sent a quick message.
He stopped a moment, then smirked, adding more.
Then, pocketing his phone, he started whistling on his way back.
In Heuco Mundo, a certain silver haired Arrancar chick pouted as she looked into a ball of light in her hands. She sighed dramatically.
“This is taking too loooong!” she said, flopping backwards. Then she sat up again, smiling. “Guess I’ll just have to spice things up a bit, then…”
“You aren’t getting my help,” another Arrancar, this one male and hidden in shadows, said. The chick smiled.
“Sure I am, if you want me to grant your wish,” she said. The other Arrancar sighed.
“Very well,” he said. “What do you want me to do?”
“Well, you see…”
“You know, with how popular you’re getting-“
“I already told you I can’t work during the day, Izumi,” Grimmjow said, taking a swig of water. The shoots had been getting longer lately, and they were taking a break between sets. His manager sighed.
“You could make twice as much as you do now,” she said, crossing her arms. Grimmjow grinned.
“Wish I could, but I can’t,” he said, setting his water bottle down. “You’ll just have to settle for whatever I make you now.”
“Oh, whatever shall I do? An ambitious working woman like me…” Izumi said, dramatically putting the back of her hand to her forehead. Grimmjow snorted.
“Think of it this way; only working at night makes me a commodity,” he said.
“You aren’t that popular, hot shot,” Izumi said, rolling her eyes. “Now get back work.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Grimmjow said. As the up and coming model returned to the set, Izumi sighed. She walked up to Kay, who, as Ayane’s line got more popular, was no longer the photographer. However, the burly German still came to the shoots.
“Is it just me, or is he distracted lately?” she asked. Kay glanced at her, then shrugged.
“Maybe,” he said. Izumi blinked, then looked at him.
“You know something,” she said. Kay grinned.
“Why would you say that?” he asked. Izumi smirked.
“Woman’s intuition,” she said. “So, what happened?”
“… well, I don’t know if it’s connected, but a couple days ago he brought a kid back to his apartment,” Kay said. Izumi arched a brow.
“A kid? Don’t tell me he’s sleeping with minors now,” she asked. Kay snorted.
“That didn’t seem to be it,” the man said. “I mean, he’s been sleeping with a different woman every night since then, but…”
“But what?” Izumi pressed. Kay scratched the back of his neck, be seemed highly amused.
“They were all gingers,” he said. Izumi blinked.
“So was the kid,” Kay said. Izumi chuckled.
“So, he’s falling for some young ginger girl?” she asked. Kay smirked.
“The kid was a guy.”
Izumi didn’t seem to hear him for a moment, then suddenly she covered her mouth to keep from laughing.
“A guy? A guy? You’re kidding,” she said. Kay shook his head.
“Nope,” he said. “And I don’t think he’s even realized it yet.”
“You’ll keep me posted about this, right?” Izumi asked, grinning. Kay nodded.
“Of course,” he said, and the two continued to watch as the shoot progressed.
“Damn, stupid teacher keeping me late with some dumbass lecture…” Ichigo muttered to himself as he walked back home. Looking up, he sighed. There was no way he was going to make it home before he changed into a cat.
Ichigo flinched, then looked down at his badge. Before he could reach for it, the hallow seemed to fall out of the sky to land in front of him. It grinned, and Ichigo’s eyes widened as he realized he had already started changing. He turned and ran, completing the change as he did. The hallow chased after, and Ichigo darted down an alleyway to try and lose it. But then another hallow appeared at the other end of the alley. Ichigo skidded to a halt, taking a few steps back. Looking around, he spied a box. He ran and jumped up, then over to a window ledge, scrambling across a clothing line between the two buildings. He barely managed to make it to the roof, then stared in shock. There, grinning, was another hallow.
You have got to be kidding me…
Grimmjow stretched, sitting up. It was a few hours past dusk, right about when he usually woke up. Scratching the back of his head, he got out of bed and strolled over to his wardrobe. Compared to some odd days ago, he now had a bed, a nightstand, an entertainment center and a floor lamp along with his wardrobe. Throwing something on, he snorted. He still couldn’t believe he’d bought furniture because of some smart ass text the kid had sent him. Shaking his head, he grabbed a crumpled pack of cigarettes and headed out the window. He started to take out a cigarette, but stopped when he sensed something. Recently, he’d noticed his reiatsu had been coming back. And he was definitely sensing a hallow, and…
Sure enough, in the alley below a streak of orange darted forward. Close on its heel was a hallow. Grimmjow sighed, stuffing the cigarette in his pocket. He jumped up on the railing, waiting for his chance. As the two ran below him, he jumped. He drop kicked the hallow on the head, causing it the slam down into the pavement. The hallow ran off, and Grimmjow stared after it. There was no way that little hit was enough to…
Grimmjow flinched, then remembered why he’d attacked the hallow in the first place. Turning around, he saw that the tabby had managed to end up in a puddle, still trying to move forward. With a sigh, he walked over, picking him up by the scruff. Ichigo struggled weakly, and Grimmjow turned the cat around to face him.
“Damn, calm down, prissy paws,” Grimmjow said. Ichigo stilled, and looked at the Arrancar wearily. He reached out, pawing Grimmjow’s nose. The former Espada stared, then sighed. Tucking the cat under his arm, he climbed back up the fire escape. Reentering his apartment, he turned on the lamp. He went out to the hall, turning to go into the bathroom. He turned the faucet, letting the water run to heat up. When it was warm enough, he put Ichigo under it. The tabby hissed and squirmed. Grimmjow snarled.
“Will ya calm down?” he said, grabbing some shampoo nearby. “Che, think you were a real cat or some shit…”
As the Arrancar started to work the liquid into Ichigo’s dirty fur, the cat calmed down. Realizing what was going on, he stared up at Grimmjow. The Arrancar ignored him, simply continuing his work until the grime had been rinsed away. He turned the water off.
“Stay there,” he said, standing. Ichigo did as he was told, exhaustion really beginning to set in as his adrenaline died. The Arrancar returned shortly, a towel in his hands. He used it to pick up the spent tabby, roughly drying him off as he walked to his room. Ichigo didn’t resist, eyes barely slits as he struggled to stay awake. Grimmjow sighed, flopping on his bed and flipping on the tv on the entertainment center. The play screen for “Cats Don’t Dance” was up. Grimmjow rolled his eyes. It had taken generous amounts of booze and some creative bargaining on Kay’s part to convince him to watch the damn thing, but the German had managed it. Now, not that he would tell anyone else, it was kind of like his guilty pleasure movie. More like his ‘easy to follow while plastered’ movie. Looking down at the cat in his lap, he decided it was okay to play it.
Ichigo fought to keep his eyes open, attempting to twist around and look at the Arrancar scratching between his ears. He didn’t really get it. What had just happened? Why did all the Hallows appear? How did he end up here? And why…
Purring, Ichigo sighed through his nose, losing the fight to keep his eyes open. He fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. All he could remember was that it felt warm.
Hours later, after several reruns of quirky cartoon cats and bad cable television, Grimmjow sighed. Ichigo had turned back to human from cat, and the Arrancar found himself with a lap full of ginger teenager. Said teenager was still asleep, blissfully unaware of his compromising position. Grimmjow frowned, shifting a bit. He wasn’t sure why he didn’t just wake the brat up and send him home, but…
He sighed again, letting his head hit the wall behind him. Staring up at the ceiling, he wondered what the hell he was doing. They hadn’t even had to interact like this for a long time. He’d only had this gigai for a little over two months, and he’d only really interacted with Ichigo for maybe a week or two. Well, they texted infrequently, when Ichigo would check up on him… though it had been more over the past couple of days than lately. Dammit, what the hell was with this shit? It was like someone was conspiring to get them together… Grimmjow slapped his forehead. Oh, right, someone was. With a sigh, he looked down at the sleeping teen again.
He guessed he didn’t have a bad face, for a bratty teenager. And in sleep he looked a lot more peaceful than when he was awake, with his eyebrow always slightly furrowed, almost like he was glaring at everybody. Though, Grimmjow supposed he couldn’t exactly blame the kid. He didn’t really have it easy. The Arrancar knew that first hand, since he’d been part of the problem. Grimmjow flinched.
Subconsciously, he’d reached up to brush Ichigo’s cheek, his other arm wrapping loosely around the teen’s waist. He froze, trying to decide what to do next. After a few minutes, he cautiously carded a hand through Ichigo’s hair. It felt softer than he expected, though he supposed he should have known it would. When he was a cat, his fur had had the same consistency. Shaking his head, Grimmjow withdrew his hand, letting it fall onto the bed. He looked at the ceiling again, cursing himself.
No! He was not going to let some random Arrancar chick decide who his so-called true love was! As if he even had one! This was just… just… proximity! That was it. He was so used to sleeping with people that got this close to him that he was feeling affection due to proximity. Attraction! Attraction, not affection! Fuck! What the hell was wrong with his head… he wasn’t even drunk, shit…
Maybe that was it. Being sober too much recently was messing with his head. Grimmjow rolled his eyes. Okay, even he knew that was a stretch. But what else could it be? It wasn’t that he actually was attracted to Ichigo. It couldn’t be.
Sneaking a look at the teen again, he thought back. Recently, he’d been feeling something off. He was sleeping around like he always was, but there was something… less than satisfying about it. He thought about the recent woman he’d slept with… he paused.
“Shit…!” he whispered, slapping his forehead. The girls he’d gone for had all been gingers, or if not, tall and small breasted, built more like guys. In fact, one of them had been a trap. Not that it had been a big deal, he’d slept with guys before, but his preference was women. In fact, it had been his first time sleeping with a man since he’d gotten his gigai.
What is this kid doing to me…?
Noticing the time, Grimmjow gently moved Ichigo to lay on the bed. The teen stirred, but didn’t wake. It was a matter of minutes before Grimmjow turned, his coat by far less fluffy than it had been originally. It seemed cutting his hair had had an effect on his other form as well.
Watching Ichigo for a few more minutes, Grimmjow snorted. Curling up where he was, he closed his eyes. Whatever. So he was attracted to the kid, so what? It wasn’t like anything was going to come of it. In the morning the kid would leave, and that would be that. Grimmjow would move on, forget about him and be the same guy he always was. Ichigo would go on doing whatever it was he did. Probably save the world again or some shit. Whatever. Not like it mattered anymore.
Or at least, that’s what he told himself.
ah, forgot to mention this, but last chapter this story reached 100 pages!!! so, i might do a fan special or something, if i get enough requests!
also, jinchuriki10 on deviantart has plans to draw this fic soon, so be sure to check it out!
Ichigo blinked as he woke up, then sat straight up. Looking around, it took him a minute before he remembered what happened last night. With a sigh, he rubbed his eyes, feeling a headache coming on that had nothing to do with alcohol. He made to get out of the bed, then paused as he felt something warm against his leg. Looking down, he blinked at the slumbering blue tortoiseshell in his lap. When did I…? The teen shook his head. Must have been while he was asleep.
Carefully, he dislodged the cat without waking him. Then, glancing at the door, he decided the fire escape would be the safer way to leave. So, quietly, Ichigo slipped out the window. He looked around, but didn’t see anyone as he swung down to the street.
However, as he was walking away, the teen didn’t realize he’d been seen by a certain blonde German a couple floors up. Kay snorted, taking out his cell phone.
Kid just left his apartment
what? the ginger you were telling me about?
no way!!! i think i smell love in the air
Maybe. Let’s see how it pans out first
Smiling, the German pocketed his phone. He took a drag as he idly wondered if Izumi was right…
“Hey, what’s wrong? Don’t tell me you’ve got performance anxiety now,” the chick demanded. Grimmjow snarled, sitting up. They were at his apartment, in his bed, and barely clothed. And, to top it all off, it was a chick he’d already slept with a couple times.
“That’s not fucking it,” he said, scratching the back of his neck. The chick rolled her eyes, pointing at Grimmjow’s groin. He had his black jeans undone, but that was about it.
“Then why can’t you get it up? You didn’t have a problem last time,” she complained. Grimmjow growled. He’d purposefully went for someone completely unlike the brat teenager; a voluptuous, black haired gray eyed minx. And it wasn’t doing anything for him.
“Che, like I fucking know…” he said. The huffed and shook her head. She was down to just her bra, her lacey black panties already halfway down her legs. She pulled them back up now, reaching for her abandoned clothes on the floor.
“Well, I’m not gonna stick around for some guy that’s not even into it,” she said. “I mean, you were already an asshole, but at least you knew that.”
“Do you have a point, bitch?” Grimmjow asked, not even trying to stop her. He scowled when she pointed in his face.
“Tell me what you’re thinking about right now,” she demanded, glaring. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Nothing,” he said. Without warning, the chick leaned forward to kiss him softly on the lips. Grimmjow closed his eyes on instinct, but was really unaffected. The kiss was too soft, too… peaceful. He wanted it rougher, more dominating, so he could beat that stupid kid…
“And now?” the chick asked, arching a brow as she pulled away. Grimmjow opened his eyes slowly, face impassive but focused.
“…no one you know,” he said, surprised by his own honesty. The chick gave him a pointed look as she stood to shimmy into her jeans.
“See? I knew something was up when you came to me,” she said, more berating herself than him. Grimmjow snorted.
“What does that mean?” he asked, watching as she pulled her shirt on. The chick rolled her eyes.
“The great sex beast Grimmjow Jeagerjaques never asks anyone for sex,” she said. “It’s always the other way around. Or didn’t you notice?”
“… che, whatever,” Grimmjow said, flipping to lay on his back in his bed. The chick just huffed again, reaching for her purse.
“God, why am I always attracted to assholes like you?” she asked.
“Do I remind you of your dad? I’ve heard that one a couple times,” Grimmjow said.
“Fuck you,” the chick said, storming out of the room and slamming the door behind her. After she left, Grimmjow sighed. Stupid Kid, always messing shit up…
Experimentally, Grimmjow closed his eyes, going back to his thoughts from before. He imagined kissing the ginger brat. He’d probably get punched for it, but it would be worth the look on the teen’s face. Grimmjow wondered if he’d blush. He probably hadn’t even had his first kiss yet, since he hadn’t been in a relationship yet.
The Arrancar groaned, putting his arm over his eyes and reaching for his budding hard on from the image of Ichigo blushing. He’d probably be shy. But he wouldn’t just let Grimmjow win, would he? Grimmjow would have to try kissing him again, harder, holding in place with an arm around his waist and another buried in that soft orange hair. The kid would fight him, maybe even bite. Grimmjow bit his lip, covering the noise he was making as he pumped his erection. Shit. If he could surprise the teen, he could probably get inside his mouth. What would it taste like…? Shit, he needed to stop this. But his mind kept going; apparently his dick was running the show tonight, as usual. He thought about liking every inch of the kid’s warm mouth, fighting his tongue for dominance. As he drew blood from his arm, he figured the teen might bite him for kissing him like that. But it would be worth tasting his own blood to see the blush dusting his cheeks…
Grimmjow groaned into his arm as he climaxed. He released his bite on his arm; panting. Then he groaned again, this time in frustration as he slapped his forehead. What the hell? Did he just orgasm to a kiss? A fucking imagined kiss? Someone had to be shitting him. What was that fucking kid doing to him? Shit!
Grimmjow sighed, running his hand down his face. He stared blankly at the ceiling. With a snarl, he whipped the pillow from behind his head and threw it. It fell back on his face. The Arrancar sat up with a growl. He looked at the window. He still had a couple hours left, since he’d come back early to try fucking the chick. His mouth twitched, then he sighed again. Throwing on a shirt, he went over and opened the window, looking up. Kay didn’t seem to be out, and Grimmjow snarled in frustration. He debated a moment, then stomped over to his nightstand and swiped his phone off it. He flipped through his contacts, using the page to call the German. It took three tries before he finally picked up.
“Get your ass out of bed. I need to talk to you.”
“Du scheißt mich an… you couldn’t have waited twenty more minutes?” Kay asked, sounding a little hoarse. “I was in middle of something.”
“Like I give a shit. Are you gonna meet me outside or what?” Grimmjow asked. Kay sighed, and the Arrancar could almost feel the German rolling his eyes.
“Fine, fine,” he said. Before he hung up, he muttered something in German that Grimmjow was pretty sure meant asshole, but there were plenty of other expletives to pick from as well. Grabbing a cigarette and lighting it, Grimmjow left his phone on the nightstand as he went out. He easily climbed two floors up, to be met with a glaring blonde German.
“Don’t glare at me, I’m having a fucking crisis here,” Grimmjow said, swinging his legs over the side of the railing to stand on the landing. Kay snorted, crossing his arms.
“And I was having sex, so this shit better be good,” he said. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Cause I would call you if it wasn’t?” he asked. Kay gave him a look that said ‘yeah-I-do-you-giant-pain-in-the-ass, but Grimmjow just shot him one back that said fuck-you-it’s-important. Finally, Kay sighed.
“Fine. What is it?” he asked. Grimmjow sighed, taking a drag before answering.
“What happened when you first met Ayane?” he asked. Kay stared. He blinked.
“Hold on,” he said, disappearing inside his own apartment. Grimmjow growled, fidgeting impatiently until the German returned, lighter and cigarettes in hand. “This sounds like long conversation.”
“No fucking kidding,” Grimmjow said, taking an irritated huff of his cancer stick. Kay took his time as he lit his own cigarette, taking a drag before he spoke next.
“I’m sure I’ll bore you, but it was love at first sight,” he said. “Well, for me it was. I saw him on campus by coincidence, and I couldn’t get him out of my head afterwards.”
“Were you attracted to anyone else?” Grimmjow asked. Kay opened his mouth, but Grimmjow cut him off to stipulate. “Just physically.”
“… I stopped looking,” Kay said evenly. “I honestly don’t notice other men anymore. I can tell who is attractive, but I am not attracted to them.”
“Dammit,” Grimmjow said. Kay arched a brow, taking another drag.
“This have anything to do with your ginger friend?”
Grimmjow nearly jumped, and it was enough of a confirmation for Kay. The Arrancar glared.
“Fuck you, asshole,” he said. Kay shrugged.
“You didn’t deny it,” he said. Grimmjow growled, taking a drag and glaring at the landing. Then, the German seemed to notice something. “Huh, seems like you saved me from an unpleasant surprise.”
“What?” Grimmjow asked, just as a guy who looked like a punk teenager swung down onto the railing.
“Fuck you,” the guy said. Then he looked at Grimmjow. “Huh, if it isn’t the infamous Devil Cat. Haven’t seen you around lately.”
“The fuck are you?” Grimmjow asked. Kay sighed.
“Grimmjow, this is Sano. Ayane’s father,” he said. Grimmjow arched a brow.
“I’m older than I look,” Sano said. “I also own Heavy-X.”
“… wait, you’re a yakuza boss?” Grimmjow asked. When Sano nodded, the Arrancar looked at Kay. “That guy’s dad is a yakuza boss?”
“He was raised by his mother without the yakuza,” Kay answered. Sano snorted.
“Du scheißt mich an?” he asked Kay. The German chuckled.
“Er ist verliebt, aber er will es nicht zugeben,” he said. “Sagen Sie ihm nicht, wird es ruinieren den Spaß.”
“Du bist ein Arschloch,” Sano said. Kay shrugged, grinning.
“Es ist eines der meine Reize,” he said. Grimmjow snarled.
“Enough with the fucking German already,” he said. He went to take a drag, then glared when he realized he’d already smoked his cigarette to the butt. Kay rolled his eyes, offering the former Espada another one. Grimmjow accepted, letting Key light it before leaning back. “I just have one more question; then you can get on with your family time or whatever.”
“Then ask the question,” Kay said. Grimmjow seemed to debate a moment, then sighed and looked away from the two waiting expectantly.
“Exactly how… turned on do you get just thinking about a kiss?”
For a moment, the two men just stared. Then Kay snorted, immediately clamping a hand on his mouth to keep from laughing. Sano’s eye twitched.
“Verdammt, er hat es schlecht,” the yakuza said. He looked at Kay. “Ist sie wenigstens hübsch?”
“Es ist ein er,” Kay said, barely keeping himself composed. Grimmjow was glaring at him now, and Sano sighed, looking to the sky.
“Warum ist jeder um meinen Sohn Homosexuell?” he asked. Kay finally got a hold of himself.
“Es ist eine Krankheit,” he said, making Sano roll his eyes. Then the German looked to Grimmjow. “I couldn’t say, I usually just go for it.”
“Well, thanks for all your help,” Grimmjow said, scowling as he snuffed the cigarette out on the railing. Still sour, he swung down the fire escape and back to his own apartment. Kay snorted, putting out his own cigarette.
“You might as well come in,” he said, entering his own apartment. Sano shrugged.
“Nah, that was enough entertainment for tonight,” he said. “But watch your back, Ballerina. I’ll be back.”
Alone in his room, Grimmjow flopped onto his bed again. He decided to try and sleep this shit off. Or at least forget it for a while… lousy fucking German… can’t give advice worth a damn…
After a while, the Arrancar started turning, trying to find a comfortable position. It was over an hour before gave up, walking into the kitchen to try something else. Kumiko was already there, heating milk on the stove.
“What the hell are you doing?” he asked. She snorted.
“Couldn’t sleep,” she replied. “What about you?”
“Same,” Grimmjow said, spinning a chair around before sitting at the table. He crossed his arms on the back of it, resting his chin on top. Kumiko rolled her eyes.
“You can have some of this, then,” she said. “Warm milk is supposed to help you sleep.”
“Thanks for the info,” Grimmjow snapped. Kumiko glared at him over her shoulder.
“I don’t have to give you any, you know,” she said. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Sorry, I’m having a rough night,” he said, half begrudging, one fourth sarcastic and one fourth honest. Kumiko snorted.
“Yeah, I’d say, by the state of the bitch you pissed off,” she said.
“She’s not the problem,” Grimmjow said.
“Could’ve fooled me,” Kumiko replied, turning off the heat and getting two cups. She carefully poured the warm liquid into each one, then sat as she handing one to Grimmjow. He took a sip without commenting. “So what’s eating you?”
“… have you ever been turned on by just thinking about a kiss?” Grimmjow asked. Kumiko narrowed her eyes.
“What kind of kiss?” she asked. Grimmjow growled.
“Whaddya mean what kind?” he asked. Kumiko rolled her eyes.
“Well, just a peck on the lips? Were you playing tonsil hockey? Was it just a kiss, or were you making out?” she asked. “And who with? Some random chick or someone you actual, heaven forbid, care about?”
“… just a kiss, tongue and someone…” Grimmjow sighed. “Someone I don’t know about.”
“What does that mean?” Kumiko asked. Grimmjow growled.
“I know him, but i don’t know what I feel about him,” he said, taking another sip of milk. Kumiko snorted.
“Well, if you got turned on by just imagining a kiss, you probably at the least care about this guy,” she said. “It’s the kid, isn’t it?”
“… and at the most?” Grimmjow asked, ignoring the question. Kumiko sighed, then downed the rest of her milk. She rose, dropping her cup off in the sink before she turned and headed to her own room.
“At the most, well,” she said, turning back just as she reached her room. “I’d say good fucking luck, you’re head over heels in l-o-v-e.”
“In Japanese?” Grimmjow asked as she began shutting her door.
“Love, jackass,” she called back as the door shut. Grimmjow stared. Love? He snorted, drinking some more milk. He stared into the glass a few moments, then sighed, leaving it on the table as he went back to his room. He closed the door behind him, then went and laid on his bed. He stared up at the ceiling awhile, before he finally dozed off.
Ichigo tapped his foot under his desk. He glanced at the clock. If its speed had changed at all, it was moving slower than it had about two minutes ago. He returned his gaze to the front.
In the middle of last night, something weird had happened. His entire body had been hot and strung out with pain; it was like how the transformation from human to cat had been when he first started, except worse. The teen had wanted to scream, but couldn’t. He dreamed of a swirling sphere of bright orange light, except it seemed a bit… wobbly, and something happened to it. From outside, there was a burst of blue, which thinned to a tendril. The tendril reached out to the ball; at first it was rebuked, but it tried again, wrapping around the outside. Inside the sphere was another blue tendril, mixed in with a bunch of other colors. This tendril was much smaller, barely a wisp. It started squirming, reaching for the blue tendril. The tendrils kept trying to get to each other, creating sparks. Each spark elicited a stronger burst of pain, until finally the larger tendril broke through.
At first, the pain had been unbearable, enough to wake the teen up with a breathless whine. But, as the image faded from his mind’s eye, Ichigo felt a warm sensation spreading through him. The last he saw before the sphere had completely disappeared was the blue curling up around the center of the stabilized orange sphere. The teen had laid, panting for a while and letting his erratic heartbeat slow. When he’d calmed down, he realized he was far too awake to fall back asleep. He’d sat up with a sigh, glancing at his clock… and doing a double take. His jaw dropped slightly and his eyes widened.
The clock read 12:06. Dawn was hours away.
And he was human.
The first thing he’d tried was texting Grimmjow. He had to know if it was just him, or if something weird had happened to the Arrancar as well. But the man never picked up, and Ichigo had almost thrown his phone across the room in frustration. Next he’d paced, trying to decide whether he wanted to go to Urahara’s or check Grimmjow’s apartment. Since it was highly unlikely Grimmjow would be in his apartment, Ichigo went with the former. Carefully waking up Rukia, the two had gotten dressed and headed to Urahara’s shop straight away. Surprisingly, the ‘humble’ shopkeeper had been awake. It seemed he’d been entertaining a female guest. The woman had left without a fuss, though she had given Ichigo a curious look before doing so.
Urahara, however, didn’t have much to offer to the teen and shinigami. He did point out that the ball of light Ichigo had seen sounded kind of like the one Grimmjow had mentioned in his encounter with the Arrancar chick, so maybe it had something to do with that. Ichigo explained how he hadn’t been able to contact the former Espada, and the problem with trying his apartment at this hour. So Urahara had suggested to simply wait and go during the day.
Unsatisfied, Rukia and Ichigo had arrived at home just in time to get dressed and go to school.
And now the teen sat at his desk, impatiently waiting for the school day to end so he could confront the blue haired menace. The teen hadn’t even been able to focus on his lessons; his thoughts kept drifting back to the Arrancar; why hadn’t he answered his phone last night? Even when he was being a bastard, he always replied to Ichigo’s texts when he could. Though, usually it wasn’t the middle of the night, and Ichigo had to wait until the next morning to get the reply… but that was beside the point! It had been a time when Grimmjow should have been awake and perfectly able to answer! What, had he been fucking someone and too into it to hear his phone go off? Though… given what Ichigo had seen, it seemed like that was actually a good possibility. That stupid bastard! Didn’t he know more important things were going on?
Ichigo huffed a sigh. He was being unfair. Of course Grimmjow wouldn’t know; not when it was the time he was supposed to be in human form. Unless something had happened at his end, there was no way he could ever know something was up. And if he really slept the day away, and the curse was broken, he still might not know something was going on. The teen still felt agitated, but he forced it down. It was just because everything was turning upside down again, and he hated when his life did that. Well… it did happen a lot. And usually it didn’t agitate him this much… Ichigo stopped that thought. There was no way he was putting more thought into this.
Inside, he decided to turn his thoughts to the ball of light. If he was guessing correctly, the ball represented his ‘fate’. Or at least, that’s what it had sounded like it was from what Grimmjow had said. So, if that ball was his fate, then the blue tendril was someone else’s. So far, he only knew one person for certain with a blue fate. Ichigo groaned internally, but pushed the though aside for now. Just because one particular person happened to have that color fate, it didn’t mean he was the only one with it. Moving on, it must have been someone Ichigo had met before, but didn’t play a huge role in his life. It would have to be, since there was already a tendril as part of his ‘fate’. The teen banished thoughts of certain former Espada as he continued on his line of thought. So it was someone already part of his fate, someone that either had become a bigger part of his fate, or wanted to become a bigger part of his fate. Or maybe it was both. Maybe while it was outside Ichigo’s fate, the other person’s fate had become more attached to Ichigo’s fate… or something. That didn’t really make sense…Ichigo’s gaze went out the window. He stared listlessly, mind trying to figure things out. He knew what he was thinking, but he couldn’t seem to phrase it quite right…
Suddenly, clarity hit. Maybe Ichigo had become a bigger part of the blue fated person’s fate. So, since he had become a bigger part of their fate, naturally they would want to be a bigger part of his. Or their fate would. The teen wasn’t really sure how this worked. And he definitely wasn’t used to this much hypothetical thinking. But, since he couldn’t take action the way he usually did, it was what he had to run on. He wondered if Grimmjow had had a similar experience. Though he kind of figured if it had, he would have heard about it by now.
But… if it was Grimmjow’s fate, and assuming Ichigo’s theory was right, what did that mean? Had Ichigo become a bigger part of Grimmjow’s fate somehow? The teen snorted softly. He doubted it. How would he, some punk teenager, become a bigger part of a playboy model’s life? Ichigo had to stop himself from laughing out loud. Playboy? More like total man-whore. Seriously, was he just trying to sleep with every vaguely sexy woman he met? The thought sobered him a little. If the curse really was broken, what would the Arrancar do…? Would he try to find a way to ditch the gigai and go back to Heuco Mundo? Would he keep on as he was? Ichigo almost wished he could read fates right about then. It would make things a whole lot simpler.
For now, he would just have to wait and see what Grimmjow had to say.
As it turned out, he didn’t have long to wait.
“Damn, does that school shit always this long?”
Ichigo whipped around at the familiar voice. Sure enough, leaning against the entrance to the school was Grimmjow. He was dressed in a simple tee shirt and jeans, light bags under his eyes and cigarette butts on the ground around him. He looked irritated, like he’d been waiting for the high school to get out since morning. By the remnants of the man’s chain smoking, Ichigo guessed he had.
“Are you planning on leaving those there?” Ichigo demanded, walking up to the Arrancar. Grimmjow stared.
“What? You aren’t surprised to see in the… well, almost flesh?” he asked, leaning down with a cigarette in mouth. Ichigo crinkled his nose at the smell, gently wafting away the smoke.
“Judging by how I’ve been like this since a little after midnight, no,” he said. He glared, pointing at the butts littering the ground. “Now answer the damn question; are you planning on leaving those?”
“So what if I am?” Grimmjow asked, straightening and pulling the cigarette from his mouth after a drag. The Arrancar barely ducked Ichigo’s punch.
“Dumbass, don’t leave trash outside my school!” he said, causing a couple of people to stare. Grimmjow just rolled his eyes.
“If you’re so worried about it, prissy paws, you pick it up,” he said.
“No, you’re going to clean it up, since you made the damn mess,” Ichigo said. He glared at the Arrancar, who glared back. After a few moments, Grimmjow rolled his eyes again, shaking his head.
“Che, whatever,” he said, stooping to gather the butts. Ichigo stood by to make sure Grimmjow collected all of them.
The teen turned as Rukia ran up to him, a serious look on her face. She spared Grimmjow a glare as she got close, and the Arrancar returned it as he stood. Then she looked to the teen.
“So, it looks like the curse really has broken,” she said. Ichigo nodded.
“Looks that way,” he said. Then he turned to Grimmjow, pointing to a nearby trashcan. “If you’d bothered, you’d have seen that, since it’s all of five feet away.”
“Fuck you,” Grimmjow said, brushing past Rukia to throw away the butts, clapping his hands together to get rid of extra ash. Rukia leaned closer to Ichigo, whispering conspiratorially.
“So what are we going to do now? We can’t just let him run free,” Rukia said. Ichigo glanced at her, then over at Grimmjow. While he’d been throwing away the cigarette butts, some of the girls from his class had approached him. They’d shyly asked him to sign his picture in their magazines, and it looked like the Arrancar had begrudgingly obliged them. It didn’t seem like something the old Grimmjow would have done.
“We’ll figure it out as we go,” Ichigo replied. Rukia gave him a questioning look, but didn’t say more as Grimmjow replied. “Must be nice to be popular.”
“Yeah, I’m so into annoying high school girls, you have no idea,” Grimmjow muttered, taking another drag of his current cigarette. Despite this, he was still… fidgety. Ichigo decided not to press the Arrancar anymore.
“Come on, we should talk to Urahara,” Ichigo said, heading off for the former shinigami’s shop. Grimmjow snorted.
“You haven’t already?” he asked, falling into step with his hands in his pockets. Rukia watched him carefully from behind.
“I have, but it’ll be better to compare stories,” Ichigo said. Grimmjow squinted at him, as if considering something. Then he shook his head, taking a final drag of the nearly gone cigarette. He almost tossed it on the ground, but stopped at the last minute. Grumbling something, he waited until they came to another trashcan before disposing of the butt. Ichigo wondered if it was because of what he’d said before. More likely he just didn’t want to hear the teen bitch at him for it. He already seemed harried.
What was his problem, anyway? Was it just because of the sudden change? Or maybe it was just that he was tired. He usually slept during the day, after all. And he seemed sober, which couldn’t help with how much he seemed to drink on average. Probably had a hangover. That was probably it. A combination of sleep-deprivation and killer headache.
Ichigo almost physically paused, just barely remembering to keep walking. Why was he so worried about this, anyways? It wasn’t like he really cared about Grimmjow’s health.
Ichigo groaned internally, pinching the bridge his nose as he felt a headache starting. This is what he’d been avoiding earlier. Ever since the hollow incident, the teen couldn’t seem to get Grimmjow off his mind. It had just been too weird. Why had the Arrancar taken care of him? Why had he been so nice about it? Why did it seem like Grimmjow was taking care of him every time they met up lately? He could understand the time when he got drunk. Grimmjow could have gotten in legal trouble for that, which would be bad for his career. There was something off about that explanation, though, but Ichigo had just pushed it away since it worked. Now he thought about it in a new light. Why hadn’t Grimmjow just taken him home? Or called someone he knew to take care of him? Why had the Arrancar taken personal responsibility? It seemed… out of character, to say the least. Putting that and the hollow incident together, it was almost like… like… like he cared.
But it couldn’t be that. This was Grimmjow he was thinking about. The man-whore playboy sadist street fighter punk with a good dose of narcissism. Why the hell would Grimmjow care about him?
Which brought up another uncomfortable question. Did he want Grimmjow to care about him?
Ichigo almost sighed out loud in relief as Urahara’s shop came into view. Now he could hear Grimmjow’s side of the events from last night, and he could put all his weird thoughts to rest. Then, for no particular reason, he remembered one of the early conversations he’d had with Grimmjow.
“Why is this so important to you, anyway?”
“Well, I haven’t really thought about any of this stuff.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, with all the shit going down, I’ve pretty much just been focusing on getting stronger and fighting hallows. Most high school guys are thinking about girls and going on dates, but I’ve been so busy that I haven’t really thought about it at all.”
“… wait, have you never been in a relationship?”
“Well, more like sex friends, but…”
“Oh, is that all?”
“What do you mean, what?”
“There’s gotta be more than that.”
Was that was this was? Was he scared? Scared of what? Scared that he might have feelings for Grimmjow? Grimmjow? No fucking way! That was just…
“Hellooo, earth to prissy paws.”
Ichigo jumped, taking a step back. When had Grimmjow gotten right in front of his face? And why the hell did he feel himself blushing?
“What the fuck?” Ichigo demanded. Grimmjow arched a brow.
“Ya kinda spaced out in the middle of walking there,” he said. “But I mean, if you were trying to look like an idiot, sorry for interrupting.”
“Fuck you,” Ichigo said, pushing past the grinning Arrancar to go into Urahara’s shop. Grimmjow followed behind, neither noticing Rukia’s careful, calculating gaze as she walked in last.
“So… the curse is broken,” the Urahara said.
“No shit,” Grimmjow said, earning an icy glare from Rukia. They were in the back of the shop, seated around a low table. Rukia and Urahara were on one side, Ichigo and Grimmjow on the other. Urahara brought out his fan, smiling.
“Well, congratulations!” he said, watching the two carefully. Ichigo scowled, and Grimmjow looked to the side. The only one who didn’t notice they were both blushing slightly were the two males themselves.
“It’s not like that,” Ichigo said, seeming to brush Urahara’s comment aside.
“Oh? Then what happened?” the shopkeeper asked, still grinning to himself. Grimmjow seemed to be studying the wall, resting his chin on his hand. Ichigo glanced at him before speaking.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Well… I had a weird dream…”
“Go on,” Urahara said. Grimmjow had seemed to perk up at that. Ichigo sorted.
“It’s probably nothing,” he said, scratching the back of his neck. “I saw this ball of light, just kind of swirling in the middle of nowhere. And while it was doing that-“ another glance at Grimmjow, “-this other like showed up, and kind of surrounded the ball, trying to get inside. And it did.”
“Is that all?” Urahara asked. Ichigo glanced at Grimmjow again.
“Yeah, that’s it,” the teen said. After a moment, Urahara snapped his fan closed, setting it in his lap.
“Well, then, what about you, Mr.Model?” he asked. Grimmjow flinched, then turned to look forward.
“What?” he asked. Now all eyes were on him.
“Has anything like that happened to you?” Urahara asked. Grimmjow glanced at everyone, then sighed and looked away again.
“Nope, can’t say it has,” he said. Ichigo rolled his eyes, and Urahara put his fan up again to hide his grin.
“In that case, there isn’t much I can do,” he said, voice quite serious. “I suppose my assumption could have been wrong. What was the exact wording of the curse…?”
“’Until your fate becomes clear again, the curse will remain’,” Grimmjow quoted. Urahara nodded.
“Well then, your fate must have become clear!” he said, as if that had solved the entire matter. Grimmjow and Ichigo gave him almost identical looks disbelief, though Grimmjow’s had the added flavor of are-you-an-idiot.
“Ok, this has been a great chat and all, but my fucking manager somehow heard I’m actually alive in the morning, and if I ignore anymore of her calls she’s going to be a major pain in the ass,” Grimmjow said, getting to his feet and walking out.
“Tell Izumi I said hello,” Urahara said. Grimmjow paused, looked back, and ultimately decided not to say anything as he kept going out. Ichigo raised a brow.
“You know his manager?” he asked. Urahara shrugged.
“I know lots of things,” he said. Ichigo rolled his eyes.
“Well, if that’s all you have to say, I guess I’ll go, too,” he said, rising. Urahara nodded, and he and Rukia watched as the teen left.
“You told me his reiatsu wasn’t going to come back,” she accused. Urahara frowned.
“I don’t remember saying that,” he said.
“Yes, you did! You said-“
“That the gigai could hold him,” Urahara said. “I said nothing about his reiatsu returning.”
“But the gigai is supposed to repress it, isn’t it?” Rukia asked, watching the former shinigami. Urahara said.
“Well, I suppose he could build a tolerance to the gigai’s effects…”
“But I still believe the gigai can hold him,” Urahara said, meeting Rukia’s gaze. The woman sighed.
“Fine, I’ll trust your judgment,” she said. “But what about the curse?”
“What about it?” Urahara asked, appearing genuinely confused. Rukia blinked.
“What do you think broke it?” she asked, as if the question were obvious. It was Urahara’s turn to blink.
“Isn’t it obvious?” he asked. “What the Arrancar who laid the curse said was true.”
“Yes, you already said that their fate had cleared-“
“Not that part,” Urahara said, smiling. Rukia stared at him a few moments, then frowned.
“You can’t mean-“
“I do,” he said. “Or did you not see the way they were acting around each toher?”
“… I still don’t think they’re… they’re…”
Rukia flinched. Urahara was still smiling, but he nodded.
“I can understand your feelings, but were you honestly not watching their reactions?”
“That doesn’t mean they’re in… love,” Rukia said. She seemed reluctant to even say the word, let alone believe it was true. Urahara sighed.
“Well, you don’t have to take my word for it,” he said. He rose, and Rukia did as well.
“But what makes you so certain?” the woman asked. Urahara chuckled.
“I told you,” he said. “I watched them.”
“… yeah, yeah I got it,” Grimmjow said, cellphone to his ear as Ichigo emerged from Urahara’s shop. The Arrancar was scowling. “Yeah, I’ll do it. Yeah, fine. Yeah, I got it already. I said I’d do it, didn’t I? Goddamn-! Yeah, alright, I’ll do that too. Got it.” He hung up, slipping the phone in his pocket. “Bitch…”
“That seemed harsh,” Ichigo said. Grimmjow flinched, then snorted.
“She wouldn’t care,” he said, taking out a cigarette.
“Really?” Ichigo asked, arching a brow. Grimmjow grinned.
“She’s tougher than petty shit like that,” he said. Ichigo snorted. Then, in spite of himself, he smiled.
“Sounds like you like her,” he said. For a moment, Grimmjow looked surprised. Then he shrugged, walking away.
“She’s ok,” he said. Ichigo watched after him a moment. He opened his mouth to say something, then closed it. In the end, he just watched the former Espada until he disappeared from sight. A few moments after that, Rukia emerged from Urahara’s shop. She watched Ichigo a moment before speaking.
“We should probably head back,” she said. Ichigo flinched. Then he turned to her and nodded.
“Yeah,” he said. He noticed her stare. “What?”
“… nothing,” Rukia said. “Let’s go.”
Ichigo arched a brow as she brushed past him. But then he shrugged, following behind quietly as the woman led the way home.
“Damn, I want to meet this kid,” Izumi said, watching Grimmjow get admonished by the photographer once again. She was standing with Kay, at their first daytime shoot. The German sighed.
“You and me both,” he said. Izumi bit her lip, then her face lit up with realization.
“Oh! Maybe Kisuke knows something!” she said, pulling out her phone. Kay sighed.
“Are you sure Grimmjow is the only one distracted?” he asked. Izumi stuck her tongue out at him as she texted.
“We’re just friends and you know it,” she said, watching her screen.
“Whatever you say, Izumi,” Kay replied. The woman’s text tone went off, and her eyes scanned the screen. Kay couldn’t quite pretend to be as disinterested as he wanted to, slightly lifting his head in an attempt to read the text himself. Izumi sighed.
“Well, that was helpful,” she said. Kay arched a brow.
“What did the humble shopkeeper say?” he asked. Izumi rolled her eyes.
“Good things come to those who wait,” she said. Kay laughed. After a moment, Izumi smiled. Then she looked at Grimmjow. “But, seriously, if this starts interfering with his work…”
“Hopefully, it won’t come to that,” he said. “He is a professional now, after all.”
“Does he know that?” Izumi asked, smirking. Kay chuckled, shrugging in agreement.
“Hey, you okay?” Asano asked. Ichigo blinked. They were on the roof, eating lunch as usual. Except Ichigo hadn’t noticed that everyone was staring at him, clearly concerned. Again.
“Huh? Yeah, I’m fine,” he said, trying to reassure everyone. It didn’t work. Even Uryuu seemed concerned.
“Kurosaki, you’ve been spacing out 40% more than usual,” the Quincy said, pushing up his glasses. “And for you, that’s quite a lot.”
“Thanks,” Ichigo said, rolling his eyes. Even though the statement sounded like an insult, he knew it was the dark haired teen’s way of asking him if he was okay. Ichigo sipped his juice, looking away from everyone. Dammit! Why did he keep obsessing over that stupid Arrancar? Now that they didn’t even see each other, he should be happy! Instead, he felt tense and restless. But he still wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t like he missed Grimmjow…
… was it?
“Ichigo,” Chad said, surprising the teen from his thoughts. It seemed the others had turned to another topic of conversation, and only Chad was paying attention to him.
“Yeah?” he asked, wondering what it was now. Chad waited a few moments before speaking.
“You shouldn’t let pride get in the way of your feelings,” the big teen said unexpectedly. Ichigo blinked. Then he snorted, smiling a little in a sad sort of way.
“…yeah,” he said. Then he looked back up at his friend. “Thanks.”
Chad merely nodded, turning back to the others on the roof. Before Ichigo had time to disappear with his thoughts again, Rukia sat down next to him.
“What did Chad mean?” she asked, watching him seriously. Ichigo sighed, studying the ground.
“…I can’t really explain,” he said finally. And it was true. He knew exactly what Chad meant, but he still wasn’t quite ready to admit it. Rukia was still watching him. Then she sighed, looking up at the sky.
“It can’t work, you know,” she said, almost absently. “A shinigami and a hollow.”
“… do you want it to?”
“…dunno. I still don’t know how I feel.”
“That’s it?” Ichigo asked, looking over at the petite woman. Rukia sighed, then gave him a calculating gaze.
“Ichigo, you’re my friend. You stood with me against the impossible. More than once,” she said, mouth curling up. “How could I be your friend if I couldn’t do the same?”
“Thanks,” Ichigo said, smiling himself. He had expected a stern lecture at the least, but he guessed he hadn’t been giving Rukia enough credit. The woman always seemed to know what to say to help him out. Even if it was just letting him know he had her support. “But I still don’t know how I feel.”
“Take your time,” Rukia said, rising to return to class. She smiled sadly, as if accepting something she didn’t want to. “You’ll know.”
Ichigo rose as well, hoping the shinigami was right as he returned to class.
“Ugh! I am so sick of this!” Kumiko said, slamming her hands on the table as she stood up. Fuji rolled his eyes as he cooked.
“Ya always are. Now just do yer work like ya know ya will,” he said. The diminutive woman sighed, but sat down to scratch at her algebra. She was a literature major, for pete’s sake! Why did she have to deal with math shit?
“I hate this shit!” she muttered, trying to work out an especially difficult problem. Fuji rolled his eyes, turning from where he was making selsko meso to look over her shoulder. He sighed.
“Ya gotta use the Pythagorean theory,” he said. Kumiko scowled.
“That’s trigonometry,” she said. Fuji rolled his eyes.
“Ya still need to use it,” he said, returning to his cooking. Kumiko sighed.
“Hiro! Why don’t you go to college!” she yelled, just as Grimmjow came through the door. He’d been doing that more recently. When you left through the fire escape during the day, people seemed to find it suspicious. Or so he’d found out when someone had called the cops on him.
“I’m not smart enough for any college ta want me,” the man grinned. Grimmjow raised a brow.
“Then why do you keep getting fucking offers in the mail?” he asked, tossing the keys to his new car on the counter. Kumiko straightened up, then glared at him accusingly.
“What?” she asked as Grimmjow flipped one of the chairs at the table around. Fuji shot him a look, but the Arrancar merely shrugged. How was he supposed to know it was some kind of secret?
“It’s nothin’,” the big man said, focusing on his cooking. Kumiko scowled.
“It better not be that French school again,” she said. “I already told you to go there if they asked again!”
“But I don’t want ta go there,” Fuji said, turning to glare back. Kumiko huffed a sigh.
“Why? You’re an amazing cook! If not there, then at least go to the one in Germany,” she said. Grimmjow arched a brow. Someone was popular. Fuji groaned, shifting his glare to Grimmjow.
“Ya just had to bring it up, didn’t ya?” he asked. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“If you wanted it to be a secret, you should get your mail before I get mine,” he said.
“Hiro, are you listening to me?” Kumiko said, standing. It actually made her a little shorter. She was glaring up at the green mohawked man.
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” he said, rolling his eyes. Clearly, this wasn’t the first time they’d had this argument.
“You need to think more about your education!” Kumiko continued. “You need to decide on a school! Right now!”
“Nah,” Fuji said, turning to his cooking once again. Kumiko huffed.
“Why not?” she demanded. Fuji grinned at her over his shoulder.
“Because Japanese girls are the best!” he declared. Kumiko made a disgusted noise, collecting her school material and heading to her room. It was silent as she slammed the door.
“So, you ever just going to tell her you like her?” Grimmjow asked. Fuji didn’t respond for a few minutes.
“Ya gonna tell the kid ya like him?” he asked, making two servings of the food. He handed a plate to Grimmjow, who took it with an eyeroll.
“Whatever,” he said, digging in. Fuji snorted.
“It’s obvious as hell, ya know,” he said.
“So are you,” Grimmjow said, without taking his attention from the food. He had to admit, Fuji was a good cook. Even though he only seemed to cook foreign foods.
“… I think I need a drink,” Fuji said. “Or a fight.”
“Same,” Grimmjow said. “When we’re done?”
“Yup,” Fuji said, wolfing down his own food. Grimmjow idly wondered if he was running from his problems… then stabbed the thought violently. Nope, not going there. He didn’t not have a problem. Problems were things you hadn’t solved. But he’d already solved his… issue, so it was no longer a problem.
He was simply going to forget a certain ginger all together. It would be better for both of them that way, he reasoned. He could continue living a normal, hollow and shinigami free life and start new and fresh. The teen could go on saving the world or some shit like that, without having to worry about the former Espada. Besides, it wasn’t like the kid liked him. This was really for the best.
Or so he told himself.
Kay sighed. He had just changed into street clothes after finishing a lesson at his studio. It had been a week since Grimmjow’s last shoot, and Ayane had invited him to the one today as well. It had already started, unfortunately, but if he hurried now, he would be able to make the tail end of it, and then he could take Ayane out for-
“Yuzu-chan! Has your father not picked you up yet?” he asked, noticing one of his students sitting on the steps up to the building. The little girl jumped, then smiled.
“Oh, it’s okay Mueller-sensei,” she said. “There was a car accident near the clinic, so Dad’s busy helping. He’ll be here soon.”
Kay sighed. He looked at his watch. He really didn’t have time if he wanted to make it to the shoot… but he couldn’t leave a child to fend for themselves. It just wasn’t in him. So, sending Ayane an apologetic text, he smiled at his young pupil.
“How about I take you home instead?” he asked. Yuzu blushed, a lot of the little girls had child-crushes on him, he knew. It seemed Yuzu was one of them.
“You don’t have to, sensei,” she said. Kay chuckled, taking her hand.
“I want to,” he said. Yuzu giggled, but agreed, leading the way to her home. Ayane texted back as the young girl chatted, letting Kay knew he understood. The German apologized again, then returned his attention to Yuzu. He listened with amusement as she told him about her siblings, and how she needed to get home right away to make them all dinner. Kay kept up his end of the conversation when necessary, smiling the whole time. Children were really one of his soft spots; it was why he’d opted to teach them over adults.
“Ichi-nii!” the girl said in surprise, dropping Kay’s hand to run over to whom the German assumed was her brother. He blinked in surprise when he saw the orange-haired teen, walking with a black haired woman.
“Why aren’t you home yet? Who’s this?” the teen asked as Kay walked up. He noticed the boy’s eyes widen in recognition.
“There was a car accident near the clinic, so Mueller-sensei offered to walk me home!” Yuzu said. Ichigo gave the German a curious gaze, then snorted and smiled a little.
“Thanks for taking care of Yuzu,” he said. “I’m her brother, Kurosaki Ichigo. I can take her home from here.”
“It is no problem. I just wanted to make sure she got home safe,” Kay said. So, this was the teen Grimmjow was hung up on…? The German was a bit surprised, to say the least.
“Thanks again,” Ichigo said, and Kay stepped aside to let them pass. He noticed his student was now holding her brother’s hand, and the teen didn’t seem bothered by it. Kay certainly didn’t expect someone that seemed so…normal. He could see Kurosaki clinic at the end of the street, and watched a few moments before turning to find the woman who’d been walking with Ichigo watching him. On second glance, she was a teenager, since she was wearing the same school uniform. She seemed bothered by something.
“You’re reiastu’s too high for a normal person. Who are you?” she asked. Kay blinked.
“Kay Mueller,” he replied. “And you?”
“Kuchiki Rukia,” she said, eyes narrowed. Kay tilted his head in surprise.
“Any relation to Kuchiki Byakuya?” he asked. Whatever Rukia had expected the German to say, it wasn’t that.
“What do you know about my brother?” she demanded. Kay arched a brow. Maybe not so normal after all. He shrugged walking away.
“I knew him when I was younger,” he said, grinning at the shinigami’s confused scowl. “If you want to know more, talk to Urahara.”
Kumiko sighed. Fuji and Grimmjow were out again, still in their respective slumps. What was wrong with the men she lived with, anyways? She knew Fuji was totally in love with her, and Grimmjow was head over heels for that ginger kid, so why couldn’t they just get over themselves and tell them? No, they just had to be idiots and drink and make themselves feel even worse. They were probably creating a bad atmosphere for the rest of whatever bar or club they were in, too.
Setting aside her frustrating math work, she decided it was time to do something about it. First, she had to figure out where to find that damned kid… but who would know? Besides Grimmjow himself, that was… she guessed she needed to start with other people that knew Grimmjow. The closest being that German guy a couple floors up…
Ichigo took out his phone for what must have been the twentieth time in the past ten minutes. Rukia watched for a moment as he checked for missed messages, then tucked it away again. When he pulled it out again not five minutes later, she sighed.
“If you’re so worried, why don’t you just call him?” she asked. Ichigo flinched, then almost dropped his phone in his haste to tuck it away again.
“Call who?” he asked, refusing to look at her. Rukia sighed again. She couldn’t believe what she was about to do, and it pissed her off. She stomped up to stand in front of the teen, crossing her arms.
“Grimmjow Jeagerjaques,” she said.
“What are you checking your phone for?”
Ichigo opened his mouth, then shut it. He looked at the ground, trying to think of something to say. Rukia watched him seriously for a few moments, then sighed. She took a step forward, and flicked the teen on the forehead. Ichigo blinked at her, and she tried to give him one of her best smiles.
“Listen, I still don’t like this whole thing but… but it’s obvious to me, no matter how much I try to deny it, that you… you at least have some kind of feelings for him, right?”
“I…” Ichigo seemed about to refuse, then stopped and sighed, running a hand through his hair. “I don’t know. I…”
“It’s okay,” Rukia said. “Take your time. Just know that I’ll be here for you, no matter what.”
“Thanks,” Ichigo said, smiling. “And-“
“Hey! Middle schooler!”
“Who is that?” Rukia asked, just as Kumiko ran up to them.
“One of Grimmjow’s roommates,” Ichigo replied.
“Yeah, sorry kid, gotta borrow this guy for a while,” Kumiko said, grabbing Ichigo by the elbow and forcefully towing him away.
“Whoa, hey! What are you-“ Ichigo started, almost falling over due to the height difference.
“Honestly, I don’t get men at all,” Kumiko said, ignoring the teen. “You all talk so big, how you’re so macho and important, and how all the girls fall all over you, but then when you meet the one you actually like, you don’t do anything! And if you do do something, it’s the stupidest shit! Like… like avoid the chick! Or dude, I guess. Or sleeping around to try and make them jealous, or to try and forget it, or I don’t know how men’s minds work! Why can’t you just walk up to them and say, ‘hey, I like you, how about we go out sometime?’ It’s so simple! Isn’t it simple?”
“Uh,” Ichigo said, barely following the woman’s rant. “I-“
“Don’t talk, it’s simple,” Kumiko said. “It’s so clearly simple. I just don’t get it, it’s so simple and stupid, and men just… ugh!”
“… what are you talking about?” Ichigo asked, getting his feet under him. Looking around, he vaguely recognized the neighborhood. It was the red light district, where Grimmjow usually came when Ichigo was still tailing him.
“My idiot roommates, of course!” Kumiko said.
“I don’t follow,” Ichigo said. Kumiko sighed.
“That’s because you’re a boy,” she said, as if it explained everything. “And you’re doing the same thing they are.”
“What?” Ichigo asked.
“Avoiding the fact that you like Grimmjow!” Kumiko said. Ichigo pulled out of her grasp then, and the little woman turned to glare at him.
“I am not!” he said. Kumiko sighed.
“Then have you told him you like him?” she asked, putting her hands on her hips. Ichigo glared right back.
“I don’t know if I like him,” he said. Kumiko rolled her eyes.
“Well have you thought about it?” she asked. Ichigo opened his mouth, then closed it. He looked away. “Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
“Why do you care?” he asked.
“Cause your idiot and my idiot are being idiots together and probably sitting around some bar making everyone else uncomfortable,” Kumiko said. Ichigo’s brows furrowed a moment, then cleared.
“Oh, you mean that guy with the mohawk,” he said. Kumiko snorted.
“That’s how everyone seems to remember him,” she said, smiling. “Did you know it was my idea?”
“Really?” Ichigo asked. Kumiko grinned.
“He wanted to stand out. I said get a mohawk,” she said. Then she turned. “Now come on; it shouldn’t be too hard to find them.”
“Why are you so resolved on this? I mean, you were just ranting about them,” Ichigo said. Kumiko sighed.
“Just because he’s an idiot doesn’t mean I don’t love him,” the woman said. She said it so casually that Ichigo almost missed it.
“There! Some of those guys are in Hiro’s gang!” Kumiko said, dashing forward before the teen could finish his question. With a small sigh, Ichigo trotted after her. She was already angrily pushing her way past the bouncer, and the teen was mostly ignored as he followed after her.
Inside the club, it seemed to be exactly as Kumiko had predicted. Grimmjow and Fuji sat at a round booth in the back, the nearest people a few feet away. Fuji was fidgeting, and looking around, glaring at anyone who met his eyes. He had several empty glasses in front of him, and was working on another one. Grimmjow merely sat, glaring intensely at his own drink. He seemed to be ignoring everyone else, or more like they didn’t exist.
Then, from out of nowhere, Kumiko slapped Fuji upside the head.
“Ow! Who tha fu-Kumiko?” the big man asked, staring in shock as his childhood friend plopped herself down next to him.
“Who else would it be, idiot?” she asked. She took Fuji’s drink from his hand. Taking a sniff, she made a face. “You’re drinking this weak shit? Come on, bring out the real drinks!”
“Uh…” Fuji said eloquently. Then he broke into a wide grin, leaning back and yelling at the bartender over his shoulder. “Hey! You heard the lady! Bring out the real shit!”
As the bartender scrambled to do the big man’s bidding, Grimmjow continued glaring at his drink. He either truly didn’t notice what was going on around him, or he was absolutely brilliant at ignoring loud, obnoxious people.
The former Espada blinked, then leaned back and looked over his shoulder. He was met with a pair of brown eyes. Ichigo looked askance, scratching the back of his neck.
“So that roommate chick of yours randomly dragged me along here…” he said, watching for Grimmjow’s reaction. The Arrancar didn’t seem to have one.
“She’s kind of a pain in the ass like that,” he said. Then he smirked. “Don’t tell me the big bag shinigami couldn’t stop some pushy little kid.”
“Fuck you,” Ichigo said, but smiled a little in spite of himself. It almost seemed to be what triggered Grimmjow’s grin, but that couldn’t be right. The former Espada turned to face front, finally picking up the drink he’d been glaring at for most of the evening.
“Why don’t you pull up a seat prissy paws? Or are you just gonna stand there looking uncomfortable all night?” he asked, taking a swig. Ichigo snorted, but came around to sit next to the Arrancar.
“Who says I’m staying all night, Grimmkitty?” he asked, smirking at the face Grimmjow made. Then the man grinned again.
“Well then, how about a drinking contest? Whoever loses gets to keep their ridiculous nickname without complaint.”
“I don’t drink.”
“What, pussying out before it’s even begun?”
“You just want a contest you know you’ll win.”
“If you ain’t cheating you ain’t trying.”
“Where’d you hear that?”
“Dunno, but it works. Except fighting. It isn’t fun if you cheat,” Grimmjow said, taking another drink. Then he grinned. “Besides, only people who can’t win a fight cheat.”
“I’m still not drinking,” Ichigo said, rolling his eyes. Grimmjow leaned closer, still grinning.
“Fine, no contest, but you can’t tell me you aren’t at least curious,” he said. Then, more quietly, “It’s a whole lot more fun when you aren’t a cat.”
“…fine, whatever, one drink,” Ichigo said, leaning away and glaring. Grimmjow snorted, but leaned back.
“We’ll see how long you stick to that,” he said, then called to the bartender. As they were talking the two hadn’t noticed Fuji, Kumiko and a few members of Fuji’s gang that had finally thought it safe to come closer watching them. Fuji looked childishly surprised, the other gang members looked absolutely shocked, while Kumiko merely had a self-satisfied smirk.
“Told ya they liked each other,” she said, taking a sip of her own drink. Fuji snorted, then chuckled, then burst out laughing. It caused Grimmjow and Ichigo to look over, and the other members of the gang closed their gaping mouth was a snap and looked in any direction but the formerly oblivious pair’s.
“What’s wrong with you?” Grimmjow asked, arching a brow. Fuji snorted while he laughed, trying to get a hold of himself. Kumiko leaned forward to talk around him.
“Told him about how some prick from our old school got himself fired by his own father for bein’ such a disappointment,” she said. Grimmjow eyed her suspiciously a moment, then shrugged and looked away. As he and Ichigo started bickering again, the members of Fuji’s gang started to cautiously watch them again. It only lasted a few moments, as Fuji finally got a hold of himself and stole all the attention with his usual loud attitude.
As the night wore on, Fuji challenged Grimmjow to a drinking contest. Grimmjow lost, but then a slightly tipsy Kumiko took on the winner. No one was sure how the little woman could drink so much and only remain tipsy, but somehow she managed it. Ichigo ended up having two and a half drinks, but stopped when he started to feel a little more than buzzed. The members of Fuji’s gang seemed uncomfortable around him at first, but when the teen decked some guy for asking him if he would be more comfortable in a dress, they treated him like one of their own.
At some point during the festivities, the teen checked the time on his phone. When he saw it was well past one in the morning, he decided it was time for him to go home. He said as much to Grimmjow, who made a couple jeers but that was all.
As the teen headed out, he didn’t notice the cerulean eyes tracking him through the club. Ichigo made it out, taking a deep breath of crisp air. It cleared his head a little, but he was still a bit fuzzy. Shaking his head, the teen put his hands in his pockets and headed for home. With his senses compromised, he didn’t noticed someone slip out of the club after him. In fact, the further he went, the fuzzier his head felt. After walking for not even five minutes, he stumbled into a wall. He leaned on the cool surface, trying to regain his sense of balance. He squinted around, but he was disoriented.
His hand slipped, and he half fell to the ground. His body felt so heavy, like he couldn’t move. Maybe, if he could reach his badge…
It was the last thought Ichigo had before falling into a world of black.
Ichigo woke up with a splitting headache. He sat bolt upright, and nausea hit him like a tidal wave. Fortunately, there was a bucket handily thrust in front of him right before he gave up the contents of his stomach. There was a warm hand on his back, holding him steady as he dry heaved for about ten more minutes.
“Easy, easy,” the voice said. It was familiar, but the pounding headache seemed to be preventing Ichigo’s brain from working properly. After panting for a minutes with any signs of nausea, the bucket was taken away. Strong hands gently pushed the teen back.
“How long…” Ichigo croaked, voice a bit raw. He cleared his throat. “How long have I been out?”
“About five hours,” Grimmjow said. Ichigo’s vision was a bit blurry, but there’s was no mistaking the man now. “Want some water?”
Ichigo nodded, shutting his eyes. It felt like his eyes would burst out of his head, and it was too bright. He heard Grimmjow walk away, and dimly heard running water. He knew it was probably only a few minutes before the Arrancar returned, but it felt like longer. When he came back, Grimmjow helped Ichigo to sit up enough to drink some of the water. When he laid down again, the teen tried to fix the former Espada with a droopy eyed stare.
“What happened?” he asked. Grimmjow sighed, turning his head.
“You got roofied,” he said. He scowled. “Some bastard was trying to pick you up when I came along.”
“Tried to… where?” Ichigo was already tired of the conversation, and just wanted to sleep and try to rest his aching head. But he needed to know what happened. He could sleep after that.
“In the street. You must have collapsed,” Grimmjow said. He looked at the teen again. Ichigo squinted, trying to read the emotion there. “Do you remember?”
“I remember… walking out of the club…”
“Yeah, but you seemed pretty out of it, so I trailed you to make sure nothing happened. I noticed some guy following you, but I knew you could hold your own… well, until I saw you unconscious.”
“Then…?” Ichigo asked, closing his eyes. It was too much effort to keep them open. Grimmjow took a deep breath, and Ichigo struggled to hear what he said next.
“I…” he seemed to be picking his words carefully as he spoke. “Kind of… kicked the guys ass.”
“More like beat him to a bloody pulp…” a male voice, further away.
“How’s the kid?” female voice, getting dimmer.
“Still in bad shape.”
And the teen fell into the welcoming abyss of sleep once more.
When Ichigo woke up again, he was feeling much better. There were lingering traces of the headache from the last time, but they were fleeting and fading. Carefully, the teen pushed himself up. Feeling no nausea, he took a look around. He was in Grimmjow’s apartment, the lamp in the corner providing dim light. He flinched when he noticed the man himself sitting next to the bed, arms and head resting on the mattress. He was asleep, but it seemed troubled. Ichigo didn’t realize he’d reached out his hand until he’d already carded it into the arrancar’s short hair. The teen blinked in surprise, then slowly drew his hand back. It was probably just his imagination, but Grimmjow actually seemed… calmer, now. Ichigo sighed, looking away.
With a sudden burst of realization, Ichigo reached in his pocket for his phone. It wasn’t there, so the teen took another look around the room. After a moment, he spied it on the nightstand. Reaching over carefully, he picked it up and checked it. He swore. Not only had he slept for over ten hours, he had a ton of missed messages and texts. Glancing at Grimmjow, the teen sighed. After a moment’s deliberation, he slipped out of the bed carefully as he could, then snuck out the window. On the fire escape, he made his first call.
“ICHIGO! Where are you? Your school called, saying you didn’t show up for class at all-“
“Yeah, my bad, something came up,” Ichigo said, cutting his dad off. “But don’t worry, I’m fine.”
“Why wouldn’t you be fine? Kuchiki-san said you were dragged off by some middle school girl-“
“Actually she’s in college, but yeah. She dragged me to some club because she’s one of Grimmjow’s roommates and he and this other guy were in some kind of shared bad mood.”
“Don’t tell me you got drunk again,” Isshin said. Ichigo flinched.
“Again? How do you know about the first time?”
“Uh… well, you see, I got a text from your phone but I figured it wasn’t you, and so I called… uh…”
“Who? Who did you call?”
“So you just left me at the mercy of a former Espada? What kind of father are you?”
“Hey! I said I’d come get you, but he insisted-“
“Whatever, don’t know why I even bothered.”
And with that, Ichigo hung up. With a sigh, he went to the next person on his list.
“Ichigo! Are you alright?” Rukia asked. Ichigo leaned back against the rail.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said.
“Where are you? What happened? Are you hurt?”
“I told you, I’m fine. I’m at… I’m at Grimmjow’s apartment.”
“What? Why? What happened?” Rukia asked. Ichigo sighed, putting his hand over his eyes.
“It’s been a long night,” he said. “Or day, I guess.”
“What happened? That girl-“
“Listen, I’m fine. I’ll tell you more in person. I was just calling to say I’m alright.”
“… fine. But I do expect a proper answer!”
“Yeah, yeah, I know,” Ichigo said. “Talk to you later.”
“Alright,” Rukia said, and ended the call. The rest of his group he sent text messages back, receiving mixed responses.
im so glad ur okay *:) u had me really worried, Kurosaki-kun *:(
Kurosaki, I hope you are still taking your responsibilities as a shinigami seriously. This is highly unprofessional, and if you plan to make a habit of it, at least let those around you know in advanced so they can properly prepare.
what do you think youre doing! you had Orihime worried sick! man up and take responsibility once in a while
After replying to the replies, until everyone was satisfied, Ichigo sighed. He debated just leaving, but decided that wouldn’t be fair. Especially since it seemed Grimmjow had looked after him all day. So, stealing himself, he reentered the room. It seemed Grimmjow was still asleep. Hesitating a moment, Ichigo walked over and gently shook the man’s shoulder. The former Espada woke with a start, and, seeing the bed empty, practically jumped to his feet.
“Hey,” Ichigo said, more in surprise than as a greeting. Grimmjow whipped around, then relaxed.
“Oh, so you’re finally up,” he said, acting like he hadn’t just had a panic attack.
“Uh, yeah… thanks for um…” Ichigo said. Grimmjow shrugged.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “It wasn’t a big deal.”
“Uh… okay,” Ichigo said. He fidgeted, unsure of what to say next. Grimmjow scratched the back of his neck, and the two couldn’t quite seem to look each other in the eye. Then the Arrancar sighed.
“So… if you wait a bit, Hiro will probably be up and start making food,” he said. Ichigo only noticed then that he was starving.
“Yeah… that, um, sounds good,” he said. Grimmjow kind of nodded, then sighed.
“Well, since you’re… fine, I’m just gonna… take a shower and shit, so…”
“I’ll just wait here,” Ichigo said, awkwardly sitting on the edge of the bed. Grimmjow nodded.
“Yeah, that’s probably best,” he said. They didn’t say anymore, thought Ichigo watched as the man gathered what he needed to bathe and get dressed. Ichigo sat quietly, staring around the room as Grimmjow showered. He sighed, fidgeting again. He kept going back to the same question.
Why any of it? Why did Grimmjow take care of him when he got drunk that first time? Why was he so nice after he’d been chased by hollows all day? And why stay up all night watching over him? It didn’t make any sense. The man had had other options; Isshin even said he’d offered to come get him the first time. The second time Grimmjow didn’t even have to do anything, and this time… this time was probably the same as the first time. Ichigo sighed. It just seemed a lot like…
His thoughts were interrupted when the man himself walked back into the room. He was barefoot, towel drying his hair in only a pair of jeans. Ichigo stared a moment, until Grimmjow noticed his gaze. He smirked.
“What? Enjoying the view?” he asked. Ichigo wasn’t swayed, not this time.
“Why?” he asked. Grimmjow blinked, then let the towel rest on his shoulders.
“Why what?” he asked, keeping his expression unreadable. Ichigo stood.
“Why did you do this? Why do you keep doing this?” he asked. “And don’t give me some bullshit answer you’ve thought up.”
“I haven’t had time to think one up,” Grimmjow said, tossing the towel in the direction of the dresser. “Been too busy taking care of your drugged ass.”
“Then answer me,” Ichigo said, keeping his gaze locked with the former espada’s. Grimmjow met his gaze, then sighed through his nose. It was a long, hard moment before he answered, and when he did, his face gave away nothing.
“Maybe I love you.”
Ichigo punched him.
Grimmjow didn’t even try to avoid or block it. He took the hit, then slowly brought his gaze back to Ichigo. The teen looked back, his eyes betraying the confused mess his mind had become. Then, without warning, Ichigo grabbed either side of Grimmjow’s head and pulled him into a kiss.
Though kiss was being generous; it was more the teen smashing their mouths together to start with. But after a moment he calmed down, pulled back a bit. He didn’t break the kiss, but he was gentler. Grimmjow wasted no time after that; he reached down and picked Ichigo up by the backs of his knees.
“Hey-!” the teen said, breaking away in surprise as he wrapped his arms around Grimmjow’s shoulders. Keeping one hand under Ichigo’s thigh for support, Grimmjow used the other to pull the teen’s head back down into another kiss. Ichigo fought a moment, then turned the fight into the kiss as Grimmjow decided to add tongue to it. The teen was blushing, and it felt like his face was on fire. And that fire was spreading to his ears, and down his neck and chest. Grimmjow moved to half fall on the bed, leaning over Ichigo and continuing the rapidly growing in intensity match of tonsil hockey. The man ran his hands down Ichigo’s sides, and the teen shivered. Suddenly, the room was stifling; Ichigo hardly noticed the way Grimmjow was pushing up his shirt when those cool hands left fire in their wake…
“Hollow! Hollow! Hollow!”
The pair froze. Ichigo turned his head; his shinigami badge was screeching from the nightstand. For a few moments, neither of them moved. Then, with a sigh, Grimmjow rolled off the bed.
“Go, you’ll regret it if you don’t, right?” he said, picking out a gray shirt and pulling it on. Ichigo watched a minute, then sighed.
“Yeah,” he said, reaching out and grabbing the badge. In shinigami form, he went to the window. “Hey… about what you said…”
“You don’t have to say anything,” Grimmjow said. Then, turning, he smirked. “Besides, you’re coming back, ain’t you?”
Looking over his shoulder, Ichigo smiled.
“Yeah,” he said. Then, looking out the window again, he hesitated. “But… maybe I love you too.”
And with that he took off, leaving a wide-eyed Grimmjow behind. After a moment, the man snorted, then chuckled, breaking into a grin.
“Brat,” he said, before heading into the main part of the apartment.
As it turned out, the hollow hunt took longer than expected. Not because of the hollow itself, but because of the impromptu interrogations Rukia subjected him to. The woman wasn’t satisfied until she’d drawn out the entire story from her young friend, including his and Grimmjow’s confessions. Then she had set about first lecturing the teen about the incident at the club, then a slight ramble on her feelings towards the former Espada, finally ending the discussion with a halfhearted congratulations. Ichigo found the whole conversation exhausting. If that weren’t enough, once he left Rukia, he was confronted by Uryuu. The Quincy took it upon himself to give Ichigo another lecture, though his was far less forgiving than Rukia’s had been. He kept going on about a shinigami’s responsibilities, how it could never work between a shinigami and a hollow, especially one as volatile as Grimmjow Jeagerjaques… and Ichigo wasn’t sure what else, because he snuck away somewhere in the middle. If that weren’t enough, he then ran into Orihime, Tatsuki and Chad. It was Tatsuki that forced Ichigo into retelling the whole story, after which the highly athletic girl promptly laughed her ass off. She composed herself quickly enough when she remembered Orihime was standing right there; but the other girl simply gave Ichigo a sad smile and wished him good luck before running off, Tatsuki on her heels. Chad had no comment, but placed a hand on Ichigo’s shoulder and nodded before wandering off himself.
So, by the time the teen returned to Grimmjow’s apartment, he was mentally exhausted. His physical state was fine, but his mind needed a good long break. He didn’t even want to think about how the other shinigami were going to react to this… at least he knew he had Urahara on his side.
… though, in this situation, whether that was a good or a bad thing was rather debatable…
Ichigo climbed through the window. He didn’t see Grimmjow, and he was glad. He knew they needed to talk, but he wasn’t sure he was up to it right now. Quietly as he could, he slipped in the room and back into his body. He sat up, blinking to keep his eyes open. Damn, had he really slept over eleven hours today already…?
“Whoa-hey!” the teen said, falling back as a warm weight flopped on top of him. Grimmjow grunted, settling himself and wrapping his arms around the smaller male. He burrowed into the crook between Ichigo’s neck and shoulder, but made no further move after that. And the teen was fine with that. He really just wanted to sleep…
“Welcome back,” Grimmjow said, muffled voice vibrating against the teen’s neck.
“Thanks,” Ichigo said. “You seem less energetic.”
“Shut up. I stayed up watching your drugged ass all day,” Grimmjow said, shifting his weight a bit. Ichigo felt like rolling his eyes, but they were already closed.
“Sorry for showing up at that club,” he said, starting to drift off.
Ichigo’s brows furrowed, and he opened his eyes as Grimmjow shifted to look down at him. The arrancar’s face was impassive, but his eyes were soft and intense.
“If you hadn’t, I don’t think I would have had the guts to tell you I love you,” he said. Ichigo felt the blush spread across his cheeks like fire.
“I thought that was a maybe…” he mumbled, looking to the side. Grimmjow snorted, then laughed a little. He leaned down and kissed Ichigo softly, drawing the teen’s eyes back to him.
“Well, it isn’t now.”
“I…” Ichigo faltered. He was about 99% sure he was in love with the former Espada, but there was still that nagging 1% that said he was still a kid and how could he really know if it were love when he hadn’t even really had a crush on anyone?
“Don’t get in a twist about it, prissy paws,” Grimmjow said, rolling his eyes and burrowing into the teen’s neck again. Ichigo sighed, but then he smiled. And then he sighed again.
“I do have one rule, though,” he said. Grimmjow grunted. “No sex until I’m 18.”
“… how long is that?”
“Couple of months.”
Grimmjow sat up again, giving a half smile/half frown and arching a brow.
“You’re kidding me,” he said. Ichigo snorted.
“…dammit,” Grimmjow said, settling again. He planted a kiss in the hallow between Ichigo’s neck and shoulder, then licked the same spot. Ichigo shivered, squirming a bit.
“I mean it! If you keep trying, I’ll leave,” the teen said. Grimmjow snorted.
“What? You aren’t just gonna kick my ass?”
“Who said that?” Ichigo snorted, drifting off again. “I’ll kick your ass then leave.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” Grimmjow said, smiling slightly as he drifted off as well.
“Go to bed.”
“I’ll hold you to that.”
Ichigo snorted, shifting closer to the man on top of him.
Grimmjow snorted just before they both fell asleep.
Chapter 18: Bonus 1 Grimmjow's POV
....i forgot to posts the bonuses....
Grimmjow watched as Ichigo threaded his way through the crowd. He knew the kid was a bit drunk, but something seemed… off. The Arrancar wasn’t sure why, but there was something dark gnawing at the pit of his stomach. Ichigo could take care of himself, as the man knew from experience, but Grimmjow just couldn’t shake the feeling that something was horribly, terribly wrong.
“If you’re s’worried why don’ ya go check on ‘im?”Kumiko asked, making Grimmjow jump. The man sighed, debating, then rose without a word. He got through the crowd easily, emerging from the club just in time to see someone dart around a nearby corner. The same why that would lead back to the residential district.
Instincts screaming, Grimmjow took off, skidding as he ran around the corner. He could see the guy crouched over, but couldn’t tell what he was looking at. Then, as the suspicious man turned around, Grimmjow saw a familiar head of orange hair.
He lost it.
He grabbed the guy by the back of his shirt, pulling him back to kick him in the gut. The force laid the guy out on the pavement, and for the next few minutes, Grimmjow saw red. He felt like he was somewhere in the air above, watching calmly as he kicked the guy some more before straddling him and beating his face into the molten center of the Earth.
He wasn’t sure when it happened, but somehow Fuji was behind him holding him back while Kumiko was checking the fucker’s pulse. Grimmjow panted, eyes wide as he struggled against the big man, his self-awareness gone.
“Calm down! He’s out, Grimm! Jesus, I hope you didn’t kill this guy…” Fuji said, but it sounded far away.
“Nah, he’s still breathing,” Kumiko said. Then she spat on the bloody mess of the guy’s face. Grimmjow kept struggling, still feeling like a spectator nearby, watching himself as he tried desperately to get loose and keep beating the shit out of the fucker.
“Goddammit! Will you stop! It’s enough! Enough! Fucking…!”
“I’m gonna check on the kid,” Kumiko said, like flipping a switch. Grimmjow was suddenly himself again, completely still. He panted, blinking as his heart beat painfully against his chest.
“You good?” Fuji asked after a couple moments. Grimmjow looked at the guy he’d just been wailing on. He couldn’t even tell what the fucker looked like anymore. Then he sighed, looking away. He still wanted to beat the tar out of the guy, but he had more important things to worry about.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he said, breaking out of Fuji’s grip as soon as it was loosened. The big man looked about to grab him again, but the Arrancar walked around him to kneel down next to Kumiko. She was by Ichigo’s head, checking him over as best she could.
“He seems alright,” she said. “Probably got roofied. He’ll be fine once it’s out of his system.”
Grimmjow let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.
“How long will that take?” he asked. Kumiko shrugged, standing.
“I’m not sure. Let’s get him back to the apartment, and I’ll look it up,” she said. Grimmjow nodded, giving the teen he own look over before gently sliding a hand under his back, the other under Ichigo’s knees and picking him up. The teen’s head slumped against Grimmjow’s chest, and the Arrancar buried another urge kill the bloody mess a few feet away.
“What about this guy?” Fuji asked, poking said bloody mess with his toe.
“What about him?” Grimmjow and Kumiko asked simultaneously, already walking away. Fuji shrugged, leaving the guy behind as he trailed after his roommates.
“So, it looks like rohypnol’s effects last for eight to twelve hours,” Kumiko said, walking into Grimmjow’s room with two mugs of coffee. Ichigo was laid out on the bed, sleeping like the dead. Grimmjow was sitting on the floor near the teen’s head, watching him with his brows drawn. Kumiko handed him one of the mugs.
“Thanks,” he said, taking a sip and wrinkling his nose at the strength.
“Hiro made it,” Kumiko said, taking a sip of her own. “I thought you could use the extra bite of his tar.”
“Yeah, this’ll keep me awake,” Grimmjow said, rolling his eyes and taking a more cautious sip. He sighed, looking over at the teen once more. Kumiko bit her lip, drumming her fingers on her cup.
“…sorry,” she finally said. Grimmjow blinked, looking up at her.
“This is my fault. If I hadn’t dragged the kid along, none of this would have happened,” Kumiko said, looking away. Grimmjow blinked again. The thought to blame someone other than the guy he’d beaten up hadn’t even crossed his mind.
“Oh! The website I was on said nausea was one of the effects! Let me get a bucket, just in case,” Kumiko said, dashing from the room. Grimmjow stared after her, then sighed. Just one mess after the other, it seemed.
When the little woman returned with the promised bucket, Grimmjow didn’t acknowledge her at first. But, when she set the object down next to the man and went to leave, he stopped her.
“It’s not your fault.”
“Uh… yeah, well, who in their right mind thinks it’s okay to bring kid-“
“He can handle himself,” Grimmjow snapped. Kumiko flinched. “Don’t tell anyone I said this, but he’s a better fighter than I am.”
“What? This scrawny kid?” Kumiko asked, giving the teenager an appraising raised brow. Grimmjow snorted, a smile tugging at the corner of his lips for a moment.
“Yeah. Pretty much kicked my ass last time we fought,” he said. Then he was frowning again. “I wasn’t paying enough attention.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean I knew how strong he was, so I wasn’t really keeping my eye out,” Grimmjow said.
“This isn’t your fault,” Kumiko said.
“Sure it is…”
“Don’t give me that shit! You couldn’t have known some pervert was gonna roofie the kid!”
“Yeah, and neither could you,” Grimmjow said, smirking. Kumiko opened her mouth, then closed it. She smiled wryly.
“Huh, guess you don’t have any brain damage from all those fights,” she said. Grimmjow snorted.
“How did you think I won them?”
“Well, I thought maybe your skull was thick enough to break bones…”
“Fuck you,” Grimmjow said, but he seemed a little more relaxed now. The two were silent for a few moments, then Kumiko turned to leave.
“Thanks,” she said. Grimmjow grunted in response, drinking his coffee. Once she left the room, the Arrancar reached over and lightly carded through Ichigo’s hair.
“You better be alright, Ichigo.”
Chapter 19: Bonus 2 Amusement Park
this remains my favorite bonus chapter.....maybe even my favorite chapter....>.>
“Do you see that?”
“Whose car is that?”
“It looks foreign!”
“Must be some big shot…”
“But what are they doing here?”
Ichigo sighed as he walked into the classroom, wondering what all the fuss was about. There had been an early morning hollow, so he’d just arrived early at school since waiting would have been pointless. Then the stupid gym teacher thought he’d shown up to cause trouble, and forced him to stay in the office until the gates had actually opened.
“Good morning, Kurosaki-kun!” Orihime said.
“Hey, Inoue,” Ichigo replied, looking at the crowd by the window. It looked like he wouldn’t be getting in his seat anytime soon…
“Is that Mizuiro!?”
“Oh my god, it is!”
“What’s he doing getting out of a car like that?”
“And he’s running out so fast!”
“What’s with them?” Ichigo asked, standing by Inoue and Tatsuki. The latter shrugged.
“Some foreign sports car is parked outside the school,” she said, just as an extremely out of breath Mizuiro burst in the room.
“Ichigo!” he said, grabbing the teen and pulling him into the hallway.
“Wh-what is it, Mizuiro?” Ichigo asked. Mizuiro fixed his friend with a hard stare, clapping both hands on his shoulders.
“Ichigo, have you gotten into any sort of trouble?” he asked.
“Trouble…?” Ichigo asked, wondering what had brought this on.
“Yes, like with the yakuza or something?” Mizuiro asked. Ichigo felt his eye twitch. Somehow, he had a feeling he knew where this was going…
“Why do you ask?” Ichigo said. Mizuiro sighed, letting him go.
“Well, I went to your house to walk to school with you, but you weren’t there. And this Jaguar was just parked outside, and when I started walking away the window rolled down and this guy with blue hair-“
“Wait, stop right there,” Ichigo said, feeling more annoyed than anything. “I know who you’re talking about.”
“Y-you do?” Mizuiro asked. Ichigo nodded.
“Yeah, and he’s not yakuza,” he said, turning to walk outside. “Don’t worry, I’ll handle it.”
“Ah! But, who is he?” Mizuiro asked. Ichigo flinched, then scratched the back of his neck.
“Ah, well, the best way to answer that would be… my boyfriend, I guess?” he said, still walking away. Mizuiro nearly fell over.
“Y-your-!” he stuttered, unable to complete the sentence before Ichigo was out of sight. The dark haired teen stared in shock, then ran into the classroom, pushing past his fellow students to press up against the window.
Meanwhile, Ichigo stormed out of the school. He had no idea what Grimmjow was thinking, but he was definitely going to find out. He marched up to the expensive looking black car, slapping his hands on the bottom of the open window.
“What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Ichigo demanded. Grimmjow smirked, leaning over the side of the window.
“What do ya mean?” he asked. Ichigo glared.
“Why are you showing up at my school?” he asked. “And what did you tell Mizuiro, anyways?”
“Is that that kid that was at your house?” Grimmjow asked. Ichigo sighed.
“Yeah, now what did you tell him?” he asked, crossing his arms. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Come closer and I’ll tell you,” he said. Arching a brow, Ichigo leaned down… and Grimmjow pulled him down by the nape of his neck for a kiss. Ichigo stiffened in surprise, fought to pull back a moment, then sighed through his nose and gave in.
In the classroom, Mizuiro pressed further against the glass in shock, not believing his eyes.
“Oh my god!”
“Is that Kurosaki!?”
“He’s kissing a guy!”
“What!? Move out of the way!” Tatsuki said, pushing the other students out of the way to press against the glass next to Mizuiro. She gaped, then threw the window wide open. “Ichigo! What the hell!”
At the car, Ichigo flinched, and Grimmjow let him pull back this time. The teen glared up at the window.
“What? You got a problem?” he yelled back. Tatsuki flinched, then scratched at her upper lip.
“Well, no, but this is kind of sudden, ya know? And in front of everybody!” she yelled. Ichigo flinched, suddenly realizing what had just happened. He blushed, but then glared.
“So what?” he yelled. “If anyone has anything to say, they can come down here and say it!”
“Hey,” Grimmjow said, drawing Ichigo’s attention.
“What?” the teen asked.
“If you’re done showing off, get in,” Grimmjow said. Ichigo jumped back.
“What? You can’t just expect me to go along with something like that!” he said. “It’s a school day, idiot!”
“So?” Grimmjow asked.
“You can’t just expect him to leave with no notice!”
The pair turned to see Rukia at the window now.
“Yeah! I don’t care if you’re his boyfriend or whatever, Ichigo still needs to attend his lessons!” Tatsuki joined in.
“Huh, well, if it’s for love, then it’s alright if Kurosaki misses one day, isn’t it?” Ms.Ouchi said, surprising Rukia and Tatsuki by appearing next to them.
“Is that really alright?” one of the other students asked.
“See? It’s alright, even your teacher said so,” Grimmjow said, smirking. Ichigo glared, crossing his arms.
“That doesn’t mean I’m going to go along with it,” he said. Grimmjow smirk turned into a grin.
“I can always force you, ya know?” he said. Ichigo opened his mouth to say something, then remembered that his whole class (as well as other classes facing the windows) were watching. With a growl, he marched around to the other side of the car and climbed in, slamming the door behind him.
“Fine,” he said, strapping his seatbelt. Grimmjow chuckled, rolling up the window and shifting the car into gear. From the window, Ms.Ouchi turned away from the window with a wistful sigh.
“Ah, young love…” she said, smiling.
“Ms.Ouchi, that guy didn’t look so young…” Mizuiro said, but was ignored.
Back in the car, Ichigo looked silently out the window as Grimmjow drove, sulking from being outmaneuvered. After a while, he sighed.
“So, when’d you get this, anyways?” he asked. Grimmjow snorted.
“From the company. They said it fit my image,” he said.
“Your image?” Ichigo asked, arching a brow. Grimmjow shrugged, shifting gears.
“Model thing, I guess,” he said.
“Well, you are getting to be quite the big shot, aren’t you?” Ichigo said, smirking. Grimmjow smirked right back.
“I’m surprised no one at your school recognized me,” he said. “I have shoots all week, since I’m getting popular.”
“Huh? Really?” Ichigo asked, brows arching in surprise. Grimmjow nodded.
“Today’s my day off,” he said. Ichigo blinked, then looked out the window again to hide the light blush dusting his cheeks.
“So, where are we going, anyways?” he asked.
“It’s a surprise,” Grimmjow replied. Ichigo growled.
“For crying out loud…” he muttered. Grimmjow chuckled, but didn’t say anything more. It took a good twenty minutes before they reached the mysterious destination the arrancar had in mind.
“An amusement park…?” Ichigo asked in disbelief as he got out of the car. Indeed, they were in the parking lot of a large, busy amusement park.
“Yeah, and?” Grimmjow asked, walking past him. Ichigo flinched, then snorted, catching up.
“Nothing, just not what I was expecting,” he said, keeping pace with the former Espada.
“What were you expecting?” Grimmjow asked, arching a brow. Ichigo looked up, thinking, then shrugged.
“Dunno. But not this,” he said. The teen hardly noticed as Grimmjow handed tickets over the ticket counter.
“Why not? I can’t do something normal?” he asked. Ichigo blinked at the annoyed tone, then snorted.
“This wasn’t your idea at all, was it?” he asked. Grimmjow flinched. “Hah! I knew it!”
“Shut up, brat!” Grimmjow said, punching Ichigo in the back of the head. Ichigo growled, aiming a punch at the Arrancar. Grimmjow just dodged, smirking.
“Who’re you calling a brat?” Ichigo demanded. Grimmjow laughed.
“Maybe the guy who lost his temper just for being called a brat,” he said, walking forward. Ichigo opened his mouth to reply, then shut it again with a growl. Grimmjow laughed again, then looked around. “So, what are you supposed to do at a place like this?”
“You came here without knowing that much?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow crossed his arms, frowning.
“Well, it’s not like they have anything like this in Heuco Mundo, ya know…” he said. Ichigo blinked, then sighed, smiling as he took the lead.
“Guess it can’t be helped, then,” he said. He smiled back at Grimmjow, who looked surprised. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
“…che,” he said, but smiled as he followed Ichigo’s lead.
“Alright then, first is…” Ichigo said, looking around. “Ah! That!”
“That big thing?” Grimmjow asked, looking up at the roller coaster Ichigo pointed out. It didn’t exactly look safe, though he wasn’t sure what he was looking at. Ichigo smirked, jogging ahead.
“What? Don’t tell me you’re scared?” he asked, Grimmjow snorted.
“Who’s scared?” he asked, marching ahead of the teen. Ichigo snorted, but followed behind as Grimmjow entered the line. The Arrancar complained about the wait the whole time, and Ichigo only egged him on with jibes about his lack of patience. Finally, they made it to the front, and boarded the cars. “I still don’t see the point of this…”
“You’ll see in a minute, just calm down,” Ichigo said, strapping himself in. Grimmjow copied the action, still trying to figure out what was going on. As the car started moving, Grimmjow flinched. Ichigo snickered, and the former Espada shot him a glare before looking ahead. They were a couple cars back, so Grimmjow didn’t see the hill until they were already rocketing down. Grimmjow grit his teeth in surprise, and Ichigo laughed at the man’s expression. Grimmjow glared at him, then snorted. Then he chuckled, and soon they were both laughing. As they got off, the Arrancar slung an arm around Ichigo’s shoulders.
“Not bad, not exactly fast, but…” he said. Ichigo snorted.
“It’s built for average humans, you know,” he said. Grimmjow snorted.
“Whatever. What’s next?” he asked. Ichigo shrugged, looking around.
“Let’s see… ah!” he said, and jogged ahead. Grimmjow snorted again, following behind at a more measured pace. Sometimes he really did act like a kid… not that the Arrancar minded, really.
“What this?” Grimmjow asked.
“A haunted house,” Ichigo said. Grimmjow arched a brow.
“Really?” he asked. Ichigo shrugged, getting in line.
“It’s not really my thing, but it can be amusing,” he said. Grimmjow sighed, following.
“If you say so…” he said.
As they emerged from the other side of the haunted house, Ichigo was nearly bent double with laughter. Grimmjow glared at the ground, storming forward.
“Will you shut up already!” Grimmjow demanded. Ichigo tried to compose himself, and managed to do so just enough to stand straight.
“I can’t believe you got scared of some rubber bats!” he said, eyes tearing from laughing so hard. Grimmjow growled, instinctively reaching for his sword. He never really did get over the reflex. Then he sighed, turning in a huff.
“Let’s just do something else,” he said, making Ichigo stop laughing in surprise. The teen caught up to the angry Arrancar, looking up to see him blushing slightly. Ichigo blinked, then laughed again. Grimmjow grit his teeth. “Now what?”
“Nothing, we’ll do something else,” Ichigo said, leading the way again. Grimmjow stared in surprise, then snorted and followed. The next ride Ichigo picked was another roller coaster, which lightened Grimmjow’s spirits considerably. After that was the Devil’s Drop, where the cart rode all the way to the top of a tower, then dropped. Then they rode a ship that swung like pendulum, and another roller coaster. They stopped for lunch at a vendor, where they nearly got thrown out for Grimmjow picking a fight with some guy. Throughout the day, people (or, rather, women) stopped to ask Grimmjow for his autograph, reminding Ichigo once again of how popular the arrancar was becoming.
After eating, they rode some gentler rides, though Grimmjow complained. So Ichigo let the Arrancar ride a roller coaster on his own, and the man was promptly sick afterwards. Ichigo couldn’t help but make a few jeers, and in the end he bought some cotton candy as penance. When Grimmjow’s fascination with the treat wore thin, they rode a few more rides, until the sky grew red with dusk.
As they headed out of the park, Ichigo insisted they get ice cream, and Grimmjow rolled his eyes, but acquiesced. He wasn’t disappointed. As they were walking away, Ichigo suddenly remembered what he’d been thinking that morning.
“Hey, Grimmjow,” he said. The Arrancar looked over at him.
“What?” he asked.
“What was all this, anyways?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow flinched, then looked away.
“Shit…” he muttered. “I guess I must not have done it right…”
“Huh? What are you talking about?” Ichigo asked. Grimmjow ran a hand through his hair with a sigh.
“Well, I was talking with Izumi…” he said.
“What!? You haven’t taken him on a date yet!?” Izumi demanded, pointing in Grimmjow’s face.
“So?” the man asked, batting her hand away. Izumi groaned.
“You’ve been in a relationship for almost a month now! You can’t be dating if you don’t go on dates!” the woman insisted, crossing her arms over her chest. Grimmjow growled, looking over at Kay. The German was conveniently looking the other way.
“Did you really have to tell her everything?” the Arrancar asked. Kay smiled sheepishly, meeting Grimmjow’s glare.
“Actually, I’m kind of wishing I hadn’t…” he said.
“But you agree with me, don’t you?” Izumi demanded, glaring up at the German man.
“Uh… well…” Kay started, looking between the two. “I still take Ayane out on dates, so…”
“Is it really that important?” Grimmjow asked.
“Yes!” Izumi declared. Grimmjow looked around.
“I want a third opinion,” he said.
“On what?” Ayane asked, startling the three.
“Whether or not dates are important in a relationship,” Grimmjow said. Izumi gave Grimmjow a reproachful look, while Kay just sighed. Ayane thought a moment, then blushed, glancing at the blonde.
“Well… I think they’re important, because they show you care enough to make time to be with the person you like,” he said. Kay blushed a bit, smiling as he looked off. Grimmjow looked between them, then sighed.
“Fine, I guess you have a point,” he conceded. “But what do you even do for a date…?”
“You don’t know!?” Izumi exclaimed.
“Why would I know something like that?” Grimmjow asked. Izumi sighed.
“Honestly, you’re hopeless!” she declared. “You have to do something big, like go to a fancy restaurant! With a candlelight dinner and-“
“Izumi-san, I think that’s a bit much for a first date…” Ayane said.
“It’s to make up for lost time!” Izumi insisted. Kay sighed, stepping away as the two bickered.
“Listen, ignore Izumi and just try going to an amusement park or something, ja?” Kay said, patting him on the shoulder.
“…che, whatever,” Grimmjow said.
“…so it happened like that,” Grimmjow said, and Ichigo felt his eye twitch. The more he heard about Grimmjow’s manager, the less he wanted to meet her. But…
“It’s fine,” Ichigo said, surprising Grimmjow by lacing their hands together. The teen snorted, looking away as they walked. Grimmjow stared a moment, then chuckled and looked forward.
“It better be,” he said, and Ichigo chuckled.
“Just, next time, could you try asking?” he asked. “And not on a school day…”
“Che, maybe…” Grimmjow said.
“Oi-!” Ichigo started, but stopped when he saw Grimmjow’s face. The Arrancar was smiling, but it wasn’t his trademark feral grin, nor was it a smirk. It was an actual, warm smile. Ichigo blinked in surprise, then smiled himself, blushing a little as he looked away.
By the time they reached Grimmjow’s car, most of the parking lot was empty already. Ichigo didn’t notice the way Grimmjow grinned right before tossing the teen in the back of the car.
“Oi-!” Ichigo was cut off by Grimmjow’s lips on his, the man suddenly on top of him in the cramped space. Ichigo pushed against the Arrancar, struggling against him… and then he carded a hand in the man’s hair and pulled him closer. Grimmjow made a grunt of approval, deepening the kiss easily. Ichigo was finding it hard to breath, and pulled Grimmjow’s hair harshly to get the man to let up. The Arrancar snorted, moving to bite and suck at the side of Ichigo’s neck.
“Ugh..! Geez…!” Ichigo said, tilting his head back, unsure whether he was trying to get away or give Grimmjow better access. He’d kept to his word, and so far the most Grimmjow had been able to push him to was a rather heated makeout session, but it didn’t mean the man was making it damned difficult not to let him have his way… even more so when his calloused hands made their way under the teen’s shirt, making him take in a sharp breath and squirm. He wasn’t sure how Grimmjow managed to make his skin burn when his hands always seemed cold, but the Arrancar never failed to do so.
“Shit!” Ichigo cursed as he bucked, accidentally rubbing against Grimmjow’s leg. He could feel the Arrancar smirk against his neck, and the teen started squirming against him. Grimmjow captured Ichigo’s lips roughly, groaning as the teen pulled sharply on his hair. Ichigo half whined half groaned, knowing he needed to get away, before things got any more intense, but his body wasn’t in agreement with him. Then Grimmjow ground down on him, and the teen whimpered in surprise, breaking the kiss. Grimmjow growled a bit, moving to speak directly into the teen’s ear.
“Ya know, it’s really hot when you whimper like that,” he said, voice a harsh whisper. Ichigo’s only response was to whimper again, fisting a hand into Grimmjow’s jacket. He hated when the man started talking dirty… it made it harder to focus on not going too far. Ichigo grit his teeth trying not make any more noise, but Grimmjow was persistent. The arrrancar continued whispering in his ear, worshiping his body with those icefire hands, and grinding down on him until he cried out, falling over the edge.
The teen fell back, panting. Grimmjow cursed, biting into Ichigo’s shoulder as he brought himself to his own release. He half collapsed on top of the teen. Neither of them moved for a bit, then Ichigo punched Grimmjow in the back of the head.
“Idiot-!” he said, attempting to wiggle out from under the man. Grimmjow pushed up and kissed him, firm but soft, causing Ichigo to pause. The Arrancar grinned down at him.
“Don’t pretend you didn’t enjoy it,” he said, and Ichigo hit him again, blushing.
“That’s not the point!” he said. Grimmjow rolled his eyes, but moved off the teen, opening the door to let Ichigo get up. The Arrancar walked around to the driver’s side as Ichigo slide out, moving the seat back to sit up front.
“So, what is the point?” Grimmjow asked, taking out a cigarette and rolling down the window after starting the car. Ichigo sighed, leaning towards the window as Grimmjow lit his cigarette. “I didn’t break your rule, did I?”
“Grimmjow…” Ichigo started, then stopped as the Arrancar pulled out sharply. “Hey-!”
“Will you just tell me what I’m doing wrong already?” Grimmjow asked, and Ichigo looked at him in surprise. He was practically biting into his cigarette, and driving way too fast, the knuckles of his hand on the stick shift blanched white. The teen stared in shock for a few moments, then sighed. Gently, he put a hand on top of Grimmjow’s.
“Calm down,” he said, struggling to keep his voice level. Grimmjow seemed to ignore him for a few moments, then sighed through his nose, down shifting. Ichigo sighed. “I’m sorry.”
“What?” Grimmjow asked, glancing at the teen. Ichigo was looking out the window.
“Sometimes I forget how new you are to a normal relationship,” he said. “It’s not your fault. I’m still confused about… a lot, so when you do something like that, I don’t know what to think, and I take my frustration out on you. Sorry.”
Ichigo made to pull his hand away, but Grimmjow reached out, sandwiching the teen’s hand between the shift and his own hand.
“I… I’m sorry, too,” he said, frowning. Ichigo blinked at him in surprise. Grimmjow sighed. “I forget you’re new to this, too. And… and I know I push the issue, when you aren’t ready. So… sorry.”
“… hey, can I stay at your place tonight?” Ichigo asked suddenly, making Grimmjow flinch in surprise. The Arrancar blinked, then tightened his grip on the teen’s hand.
“… yeah, that’s fine,” he said, still a little confused. Ichigo made no comment, not even when they pulled into the parking lot by Grimmjow’s apartment. In fact, he didn’t say anything until they were in Grimmjow’s room, and then it was only about cleaning up from earlier.
Tired, Grimmjow laid out in bed, half asleep already He was a bit surprised when he felt Ichigo join him, but didn’t move. The Arrancar was almost asleep when Ichigo finally spoke his mind.
“Thank you,” he said, and Grimmjow pretended to be asleep in case there was more. “For trying. I know I’m a pain in the ass sometimes, so… thank you. Grimmjow…”
The Arrancar moved then, turning on his side and pulling Ichigo into him.
“Enough,” he said, ready to sleep. “I get it, so… enough. Ok?”
“… ok,” Ichigo said, muffled from his position. The teen sighed, then chuckled.
“What?” Grimmjow asked.
“I was just thinking… you’re surprisingly mature,” Ichigo said wryly. Grimmjow grunted, then pulled back to look into Ichigo’s eyes. The Arrancar snorted, closing his eyes and pressing his forehead to Ichigo’s.
“That’s cause you’re a brat,” he said, and Ichigo snorted. But, the air around then seemed clearer than it had, and they found it all too easy to fall asleep, safe in each other’s arms.
Chapter 20: Bonus 3 Fighting
Grimmjow groaned lightly as he woke up. He made to shift positions, but something was trapping his arm. Blearily, he blinked his eyes opened. His arm was trapped under a certain orange haired teenager, who was still asleep, curled into his side. Grimmjow sighed through his nose, a soft, contented noise. He closed his eyes, settling back around the teen. About once or twice a week, Ichigo ended up staying over at his apartment. Sometimes it was more, sometimes less, but once or twice was the norm. The only thing they did was sleep (though sometimes Grimmjow pushed the envelope just a teeny bit), but that was fine. Grimmjow was getting more and more popular for modeling, and recently had been asked to do some televised advertisements as well. Ichigo still had school, as well as his shinigami responsibilities. Despite that, they’d still been able to go on a handful of dates after the day at the amusement park.
As it was, the Arrancar simply woke up slowly, keeping his eyes closed and breathing easily. He felt Ichigo stir after a bit, and knew the teen was waking up as well. It was still a school day, and Grimmjow knew any minute that annoying alarm Ichigo set on his phone was going to go off. So, huffing a sigh, he decided to preempt it. Grimmjow opened his eyes, and pushed to sit half up.
“Oi, Ichigo,” he said, voice quiet but low. The teen grunted in response, peeking one eye open. Then he sighed, sitting up.
“What time is it?” he asked, turning to reach for his phone on the side table.
“You tell me,” Grimmjow said, maneuvering around the teen to slide out of the bed. Ichigo sighed, clicking some buttons.
“How the hell did I beat my alarm by an hour…?” he muttered. Grimmjow snorted, grabbing his lighter and cigarettes.
“I’m going for a smoke. Want to come?” he asked, already at the window. Ichigo sighed again, then slipped off the bed.
“Might as well,” he said, following as Grimmjow went out the window. The Arrancar looked up, not terribly surprised to see a blond German a few landings up. Without preamble, he climbed up, flipping over the side of the fire escape to lean back against it.
“Hm? Guten tag, Grimmjow,” Kay said, arching a brow. Then he shifted his gaze as Ichigo hopped onto the railing, letting his legs slip to sit on it.
“Mornin’,” Grimmjow said, lighting up a cigarette. He looked up as he took a drag. “Don’t think you’ve been officially introduced. Ichigo, this is Kay. He’s the boyfriend of the designer I work for. Kay, this is Ichigo. My boyfriend.”
“A pleasure,” Kay said, holding out a hand. Ichigo gave him a once over, then shook.
“Sure,” the teen said. “… don’t you teach-“
“Your sister’s ballet class?” Kay finished for him, grinning like a kid. “Ja, that was me.”
“Thought you looked familiar,” Ichigo said, smiling. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Should have known you’d get along,” he said. Ichigo arched a brow.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” he asked.
“Just what I said,” Grimmjow said, taking another drag. Kay took a drag himself, watching with interest, as Ichigo gave Grimmjow a flat look.
“That didn’t make any sense,” he said. Grimmjow glared.
“I’m saying there wasn’t any deeper meaning to it,” he said.
“I get that. I’m saying the first thing you said didn’t make any sense,” Ichigo replied, also glaring.
“How doesn’t it make any sense?”
“Because we only said like two things to each other!”
“Did I come at a bad time?” Sano asked, swinging down to crouch on the railing next to Kay. The German shook his head.
“Nur der Streit eines Liebespaares,” he said.
“What was that?” Grimmjow asked, glaring. “You said it in German, so I know it was an insult.”
“It wasn’t,” Kay said.
“Unless you’re not gay,” Sano added. Grimmjow glared daggers at Kay, while Ichigo turned to Sano.
“Who’re you?” he asked.
“No one important,” Sano said, shrugging.
“He’s a yakuza boss,” Grimmjow and Kay said in unison.
“What?” Ichigo asked, pointing. “This guy? But he looks like a teenager.”
“He’s older than I am…” Kay said.
“Enough about that,” Sano said, waving a hand. Then he gave Ichigo an appraising look, as if trying to remember something.
“Um, what are you-“ Ichigo started. He flinched when Sano hit his fist in his palm, realization lighting up his face.
“Kurosaki Ichigo, of Karakura High School!” he said. “You’re the punk that’s been beating up some of my men recently!”
“Huh?” Kay asked, blinking in surprise.
“Are you saying there’s a hit out for me…?” Ichigo asked, wondering if he should move away from the so called yakuza boss. But Sano burst out laughing.
“For weaklings that get beat by some high school punk? No fucking way!” he said, still laughing.
“Just because I’m a high school student doesn’t make me weak…” Ichigo said, beginning to feel his eye twitch. Sano managed to compose himself, but still chuckled.
“Sure, kid,” he said. “It’s not like I don’t recruit teenagers, you know. But they’re usually not scrawny as you.”
“You’re scrawnier than I am!” Ichigo said. Sano shrugged.
“It’s all muscle,” he said, smiling. Yes, Ichigo’s eye was definitely twitching now.
“You really should be careful,” Grimmjow interrupted, lighting his second cigarette. “Last time we fought, Ichigo kicked my ass.”
“You’re kidding,” Sano said, and Kay’s eyebrows arched.
“He’s not,” Ichigo said.
“Hm…” Sano said, then waved. “I don’t believe it.”
“You want me to prove it?” Ichigo asked. Sano laughed, and Kay sighed.
“Sure, why not?” Sano said, grinning. Grimmjow flinched a little.
“You talkin’ about-“
“Yup. Thursday, my club,” Sano said.
“Fine by me,” Ichigo said, crossing his arms.
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Kay asked Grimmjow. The Arrancar sighed, mussing with his hair.
“Well…” he said, then jumped as Ichigo’s badge went off.
“Shit,” Ichigo said, and half jumped half climbed back down to Grimmjow’s apartment.
“What was that?” Kay asked.
“What was what?” Sano asked, arching a brow in confusion. Grimmjow, on the other hand, gave the German a hard, surprised look. Then the Arrancar shifted his gaze down, to watch as Ichigo left his apartment in shinigami form. Kay noticed the look and followed it.
“Ah,” he said. “I guess I shouldn’t be worried about Thursday, then.”
“No,” Grimmjow said, then grinned. “You should be worried about the other guy.”
“What are you two talking about…?” Sano asked, looking between them. Grimmjow snorted, grabbing the railing and flipping over it to climb down.
“Nothin’,” he said.
“That didn’t sound like nothing,” Sano said, frowning.
“You’ll see Thursday,” Grimmjow called up, just before slipping into his apartment. Sano scowled, then turned to Kay.
“What was that about?” he asked. Kay shrugged, smothering his cigarette butt against the wall and standing.
“I have no idea,” he said, climbing into his own apartment.
“You fuckers are keeping something from me, aren’t you?” Sano demanded, sulking on the fire escape when Kay didn’t answer. After a few moments, Ayane poked his head out the window.
“Sano, would you like to join us for breakfast?” he asked. Sano looked to one side, then sighed.
“Sure, why not?” he said, before disappearing into the apartment as well.
“So this is the place?” Ichigo asked, looking up at Heavy-X. Grimmjow snorted, heading to the alley on the side.
“Yeah, but we enter back here,” he said, leading Ichigo to the back.
“Devil Cat! Haven’t seen you in a while!” the bouncer said. Grimmjow rolled his eyes.
“Devil Cat?” Ichigo asked, arching a brow. Grimmjow shrugged, smirking.
“’S the name they gave me,” he said, walking past the guy. When Ichigo tried to walk by, the bouncer put a hand on his shoulder.
“Hey, this isn’t a place for kids, ya know,” he said, and Ichigo felt his eye twitch again.
“He’s here on the owner’s invitation,” Kay said, emerging from the back.
“This kid?” the bouncer asked, and Ichigo brushed the man’s hand off.
“Wasn’t expectin’ to see you here, Ballerina,” Grimmjow said, still smirking. Kay rolled his eyes, walking with the two to the waiting room.
“I was curious,” he said, glancing at Ichigo. “Do you know what you’re getting into?”
“Grimmjow explained it,” Ichigo replied, looking around as they arrived at room filled with fighters.
“Oh man! We’re in for a treat today!”
“Hey, Hiro,” Grimmjow said, and Fuji put the Arrancar in a headlock.
“Goddammit, Grimmjow! It’s Fuji!” he said, but Grimmjow just laughed, struggling against his grip.
“Must have slipped my mind,” he said, slipping away.
“Slipped your mind my ass,” Fuji said, putting his hands on his hips. Then he grinned. “So, what brings you in tonight?”
“Him,” Grimmjow said, jerking his thumb at Ichigo. Fuji seemed to have not noticed the teen until just then. The big man blinked, then grinned again.
“Looks like the competition’s gonna be really tough, then!” he said, mussing Ichigo’s hair. The teen backed away from him, frowning. Then he smiled.
“At least I got one vote of confidence,” he said.
“Well, even though you’re pretty good, don’t let your guard down,” Kay said, looking around the room. “These guys don’t exactly play nice, ya know?”
“I can guess…” Ichigo said, looking around.
“Alright, time to start, gentlemen,” a man said, entering the room holding a roster. He held the clipboard up. “First up, Devil Cat and Kurosaki.”
“…guess I should have expected this…” Grimmjow said, scratching the back of his neck. He looked at Ichigo. The teen snorted, walking past.
“You better not hold back,” he said. Grimmjow smirked, following after.
“Same to you,” he said. Kay frowned, and looked over at Fuji.
“You think that’s ok?” he asked. Fuji shrugged, leaning against the wall.
“Not sure if you noticed, but I’m not really an expert at relationship shit,” he said. Kay sighed, moving to lean next to the big man.
“I really hope this doesn’t go bad,” he said, and Fuji nodded.
Meanwhile, Grimmjow and Ichigo followed the man with the roster through the halls to the fighting pit. When they entered the cement box, the crowd above started the cheer, some chanting Devil Cat and others complaining about the kid in the ring. Ichigo looked around a moment, taking it in.
“Ready?” Grimmjow near yelled, getting into a fighting stance nearby. Ichigo nodded, settling back into his own stance He and Grimmjow watched each other, eyes sharp as they looked for openings. As they stared each other down, the noise of the crowd died in their ears. Ichigo took a breath in. His last battle with Grimmjow flashed through his mind, and he reached for that feeling, that adrenaline rush he had when facing down an enemy. A few feet away, Grimmjow did the same, letting his connections to the teen across from him fall away as he built up the heat of battle.
Then, exhaling at the same time, they charged.
The crowd noise dimmed and people murmured in surprise, and Sano leaned forward in his seat to watch more closely as Ichigo and Grimmjow went toe to toe. The Arrancar had started with a right hook, which Ichigo dodged by millimeters to try a left uppercut. Grimmjow leaned back to dodge, grabbing Ichigo’s wrist and the back of his neck, pulling him forward to knee him in the gut. Ichigo lunged into the movement, knocking them both off balance and causing Grimmjow to fall over. The Arrancar used his knee to push Ichigo up and over him, and they both rolled to their feet and charged without pause. It continued in the same manner, each landing hits where they could, separating and coming together in a no holds barred brawl. From his vantage point, Sano watched with glittering eyes, impressed in spite of himself. The crowd, back to its typical lively noise, was just as pleased as the club’s owner.
As the end of fight started to near, Ichigo and Grimmjow ended up a few feet away from each other, each catching their breath as they watched the other. Ichigo had a trickle of blood at the corner of his mouth, and Grimmjow had the beginnings of a black eye. Both had plenty of nicks and small cuts from the hard ground and walls, as well as bruises and scrapes. Rather than looking put out, however, they were both grinning. Spitting some excess blood, Ichigo settled into his original stance. Snorting, Grimmjow did the same. They looked straight at each other, and knew this round would contain the deciding blow. So, without further ado, they charged forward once more, except this time neither bothered blocking the other. They stood, facing off and simply dealing and taking blows, each pressing his advantage far as he could.
At the last, it was Ichigo that landed the last hit, causing Grimmjow to fall backwards. The man was a bit dazed, and it was obvious he wasn’t getting up again anytime soon. The crowd went crazy, demanding more. Ichigo ignored them, helping when the roster guy came out to pull Grimmjow away. There jeers from the crowd, but the teen could not have cared less as he and the other two returned to the back. It took about ten minutes before Grimmjow was able to walk mostly on his own, and roster guy went ahead of them to collect the next fighters. Grimmjow navigated through the corridors with Ichigo’s help, and they eventually arrived back in the first room. When they got there, Fuji and Kay were the first two next to them.
“Nice shiner,” Fuji said, supporting Grimmjow’s side so Ichigo didn’t have to. Grimmjow chuckled.
“Thanks, haven’t had a good one in a while,” he said, groaning as he sat in one of the folding chairs.
“I’m not sure if that’s a compliment or not,” Ichigo said, crossing his arms and arching a brow. Grimmjow grinned, pulling the teen over by his waist.
“It definitely is,” he said, tugging Ichigo into his lap. They both winced.
“Really?” Ichigo asked, and Grimmjow just shrugged, keeping his hands around the teen’s waist.
“The adrenaline rush is really turning me on,” he purred into Ichigo’s ear, and the teen felt a shiver go down his spine.
“Can you two possibly save this for the bedroom?” Fuji said. The big man was facing away from them, hands covering his ears and eyes closed for good measure.. Grimmjow snorted.
“Like you haven’t said worse to women,” he said. Fuji shook his head.
“That’s completely different!” he declared. Kay sighed, rolling his eyes.
“Either way, this is still not the time or place,” he said, letting his gaze wander around the room pointedly. Grimmjow shrugged, resting his head on Ichigo’s shoulder.
“Not like I have the energy to do anything, anyway…” he said. Then, low enough that only Ichigo could hear, “…for now.”
“If you pass out, I’m not helping get you home,” Ichigo said, fighting the blush creeping into his cheeks. Grimmjow chuckled.
“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll be awake for that,” he said, causing Ichigo to ultimately lose the battle with his face. Kay sighed again.
“I don’t even wanna think about this…” Fuji said.
“Don’t tell me they’re any better in private,” Kay asked. Fuji gave him a look.
“Hell no,” he said. “They’re so much worse!”
“Hey! That’s all Grimmjow!” Ichigo said, half-heartedly struggling against the Arrancar. “Don’t make me sound like a pervert!”
“Yeah, but you let him,” Fuji said. “So you’re just as bad!”
“Who says I-!” Ichigo was cut off by Grimmjow capturing his lips in a sneak attack.
“Hey, don’t worry about it,” the former Espada said, smirking. “Hiro’s just jealous that he can’t be the same way with Kumiko.”
“That’s not it!” Fuji yelled, but his red face betrayed him.
“How did it turn into this…?” Kay wondered, watching as the three continued bickering.
Later that night, Grimmjow and Ichigo agreed it would probably be best for the teen to stay at Grimmjow’s apartment. They walked back with Fuji and Kay, chatting as they did. When they got to the apartment complex, they went to their respective apartments, all of them pretty much crashing when they got into bed. (Except for Grimmjow and Ichigo, but that was a private conversation.)
In the morning, Ichigo decided to skip school, calling his dad to tell him if the school called, he was sick. There were one or two hollow calls, but other than that he and Grimmjow just hung around the apartment. It was nearing noon when there was a tap at Grimmjow’s window. The Arrancar went over to be met with Sano on the fire escape outside. The yakuza boss snorted.
“Geez, you two really went at it, didn’t ya?” he asked, giving Grimmjow a once over.
“What? Don’t tell me you were expecting us to go easy on each other,” the former Espada said. Sano shrugged.
“Well, you are a couple, aren’t you?” he asked.
“So?” Grimmjow responded.
“…you don’t know much about relationships, do ya?” Sano asked. Grimmjow rolled his eyes, shifting so that Ichigo could join him at the window.
“Hey, you believe me now?” the teen asked. Sano snorted, then grinned.
“You’re definitely something else, kid,” he said. “Just stopped by to tell ya if you ever need a job, feel free to contact me.”
“Yeah… thanks, but no thanks,” Ichigo said. Sano shrugged.
“Just sayin’ the offer’s open,” he said. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go threaten my son’s boyfriend.”
“…and I’m the one who doesn’t know about relationships…” Grimmjow said, watching as Sano climbed up to Ayane and Kay’s apartment, sneaking in through the window. Ichigo snorted, then laughed, and he and Grimmjow retreated inside, spending the rest of the day watching B-rated movies and arguing over who cheated while playing video games.
Chapter 21: Bonus 4 Animals
this bonus (as were all the bonuses) was due to a request. this particular request was another cat fight. so.
Ichigo yawned as stretched on the window sill. Ears twitching, he laid out, basking in the warmth of the sun.
“Good morning, Ichi-nii!” Yuzu sang, reaching up to scratch him between the ears. Ichigo purred, leaning into the touch before the girl pulled her hand away again. She started humming, tying on an apron and beginning to cook. Ichigo resettled himself, curling into a ball. He started dozing off, enjoying the peaceful morning when-
“Ichigo! What are you doing?” Rukia demanded. Ichigo sighed, picking up his head to look at the cat in front of him. She was a little black cat, with a white belly and one white paw. She also had a white spot around her left eye, though currently she was glaring at the bigger orange tabby.
“… taking a nap…?” Ichigo replied. Rukia sighed, sitting. Her white tipped tail twitched behind her.
“Are you sure it’s okay to relax right now?” she asked.
“Why not?” Ichigo asked.
“What if some of those strays show up again?” Rukia demanded. Ichigo sighed, curling up again.
“Then I'll deal with them, geez," he said. "Besides, it's not like they even try to get in the house..."
"That doesn't mean they won't try!" Rukia insisted. "You should be on guard at all times in case-"
"Listen, Rukia, I'm sorry I didn't come from the Seireitei Shelter the way you did, but I really don't get why you guys are so against the strays."
"It's not all strays, it's just the ones-"
"From Hueco Mundo Pound, yeah, yeah, I got it," he said. "But it's not like they can really help coming from the pound..."
"I'm telling you, they're trying to shut down Seireitei!" Rukia yowled. Ichigo sighed again.
The Kurosaki family had adopted Rukia a couple of months ago, after Ichigo had brought her home one night. He'd found her fighting another cat, and losing. He'd chased off the other guy, then carried her home, where Yuzu and Karin had cared for her while Isshin doted in the background. Ichigo asked her why she had been fighting the cat in the first place, and she had told him the story of Seireitei's long struggle against the animals of Hueco Mundo. Apparantly the owner of the pound was taking strays and experimenting on them to make them more violent. And then he was using them to attack the animals in the shelter, and eventually shut down the shetler. Ichigo had found it all very interesting, if a little far fetched.
As it was, he got up and stretched with a yawn.
"Fine, fine, if it'll make you feel better, I'll go check the yard," he said.
"Then I will patrol inside the house," she replied, strutting off with her tail in the air. Ichigo watched her a moment, then shook his head and jumped down from the window. He padded across the room and out the "doggy door" in the front. When he got outside he did a quick once around the yard, then went back to the front. Sneaking a peek at the house, he found a nice, sunwarmed spot on the front porch and curled up to get to his nap. However, it wasn't long before a shadow crossing over him made him look up.
Leaning with his face mere centimeters from Ichigo's was a large doberman.
Ichigo yowled and jumped back, hitting the wall.
"Sorry, didn't mean to startle you there~!" Ichigo looked on the doberman's back for the speaker. It was a cheerful raccoon, whom was wearing a battered white and green striped hat for some reason.
"Who the hell are you!?" Ichigo asked, still recovering from waking up to a faceful of doberman. The raccoon grinned, jumping down from the doberman and giving a bow.
"You can call me Urahara, the humble and sexy shopkeeper," he said.
"Shopkeeper?" Ichigo asked, sitting down. The doberman followed suit. Urahara nodded, putting a hand under his chin.
"Yes, yes, I have a cozy little home where I happen to sell and trade things I... collect," he said. "But, as I have already introduced myself, wouldn't it only be proper to recieve an introduction in return?"
"...Ichigo," the tabby replied. Urahara nodded as if it were all to be expected.
"Ah, I see, I see~" he said. The doberman turned to look at him.
"Owner, aren't we supposed to be looking for Kuchiki Rukia?" the dog asked. Urahara flinched.
"Ah, yes, that's true, that is why we came here..." he said. Ichigo stood.
"What business do you have with Rukia?" he asked. Urahara looked up.
"Hm? Oh, were just some old friends here to check up on her. You know, make sure she's alright," he said, smiling and clasping his hands. Ichigo was growing more and more suspicious the hat-wearing raccoon.
"Really? Well then, she's fine," he said, sitting again. Then, more to himself, he added: "And being a regular pain in the ass, too..."
"Ah, that's good to hear, but, might we have a word with her?" Urahara asked, stepping closer to the tabby, still smiling. Ichigo hissed a little, and the raccoon took a step back, holding up his hands. "My, my, we're really only here to check up on her, no need for histilities~"
Whatever response Ichigo was planning to give, it was cut off by the appearance of Rukia herself.
"Urahara! What are you doing here?" the black cat asked, padding up to the group.
"You know this guy?" Ichigo asked.
"Like I said, we're old friends," Urahara replied, a tad petulant. Then he was smiling again. "Ah, Rukia, we came to make sure you were alright~!"
"I'm fine," she said, then glanced sidelong at Ichigo. Ichigo caught the look and blinked. "Mm, sorry, Ichigo, but could you leave us alone for a bit?"
Ichigo looked at her, then the smiling raccoon. He almost refused, but instead sighed and shrugged. Whatever, he didn't care who Rukia decided to associate with. He got up and padded around to the backyard, resolved to find another comfortable place to finish the damn nap he kept trying to take. But, as he settled at the base of a large statue, it seemed it wasn't to be.
Ichigo growled a little, the opened his eyes and looked up.
Lounging on the top of the wooden fence surrounding the yard was a large, blue tortoiseshell. The tom smirked at him.
"Can I help you?" Ichigo asked. The other cat shrugged, jumping down into the yard. Ichigo hissed, ears going flat as he got down from the statue to slink towards the other cat.
"Was in the neighborhood, heard about some housecat messing in stray business," the tortoiseshell said. He gave Ichigo an appraising look with glittering eyes. "Thought it might be interesting."
"The fuck do you want?" Ichigo said. He was tense and ready to spring. There was just somethign he really didn't like about the tom; be it entering the yard without asking, or that cocky smirk the cat seemed to continuously sport. Or maybe it was just the sound of his voice, but everything about the stranger was pissing him off.
"Not much. Thought I'd just come around and see if the little housecat has what it takes to handle the stray world," he said.
The tabby didn't turn as Rukia called his name, but he sensed her moving behind him.
"Oh, it's one of the Seireitei cats," the tortoiseshell said. Rukia ran up to Ichigo's side.
"Ichigo, that's one of the Hueco Mundo cats," she said. "His name is Grimmjow, and he's very strong. You shouldn't try and fight him."
"Pfft! That's right, housecat! Listen to the kitty!" Grimmjow said, sitting down to laugh. Ichigo hissed.
"Fucking make me," Grimmjow grinned. Ichigo hissed again and threw himself forward.
"Ichigo!" Rukia said, but it was lost on him.
Ichigo swiped at the tom, but Grimmjow reared up to try and bat him down. Ichigo got in closer to rear up as well, and the two cats tried to scratch each other's faces. After a few moments, Grimmjow landed a good hit to the side of Ichigo's head , and the tabby hissed and backed off. Grimmjow was still grinning, and Ichigo stalked around him warily, then darted in again. When Grimmjow started to rear, Ichigo bowled into him, causing the tortoiseshell to lose his balance and both of them went tumbling. They tried to scratch at each other, continuing to haphazardly tumble aorund the wall as they refused to back away from each other. Then, landing a nice scratch across Grimmjow's face, Ichigo lept back, hissing. Grimmjow panted, eyes going livid a moment....then he grinned again.
"Heh heh....heh heh heh....heh heh hehheh heh hehheh heh hehheh heh heh!" he broke into crazed laughter, startling his opponent. Then he suddenly stopped, grinning at the tabby. "This was fun, housecat. Wish I had more time to play, but it'll have to wait."
And with that, the mysterious tom turned and leapt back up the fence and over. Ichigo hissed a little after him, then snorted and sat to groom himself.
The tabby flinched. He'd forgotten Rukia was there. He turned to see that not only was Rukia staring at him wide-eyed, the doberman and Urahara were standing there as well. The raccon had a calculating smile on his face, and Ichigo felt like he'd just gotten himself into something bigger than chasing a stray out of his yard...