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“Hey, why don't you leave him the fuck alone?”

 

“Oh look, Celeb wants to protect the freak,” came a snide tone.

 

Vain Noir Jaegerjaquez scowled. She was in many regards just like her father. She had a short temper and a death glare that would scare older people. She couldn't remember why she wanted to leave her posh private school and mingle with these fucking plebians. She absolutely did not like their nickname for her.

 

Did she give a shit if her dads were famous? Fuck no.

 

Both of her dads and mom made sure she knew how to fight. Her mom made her into this ballbusting woman. The teenager liked it. She liked making people uncomfortable. She liked being intimidating. “I said, leave him alone,” she repeated.

 

The group of Japanese students made some rude gestures but they walked away from the kid. Well, he looked like a kid. He was wearing her year's uniform.

 

“You okay?” she asked, squatting down to help him.

 

As soon as she reached a hand out to touch him, his head snapped up and Vain gasped when she saw his eyes. Two deep viridian eyes stared back at her.



Her hands couldn't help but reach out and touch the face that held them. She had seen these eyes before.

 

But where?

 

* * *

 

Ulquiorra sighed. He was on the phone and it wasn't an important matter but he had picked it up because he saw who it was that was disturbing him so early in the morning.

 

He lay in the middle of his king size bed, naked. He knew it was before seven; his alarm hadn't gone off and he had morning wood. It usually stopped being a nuisance after seven in the morning. It was just him inside of this two bedroom apartment in Utsunomiya. He listened to his ex-wife on the other end of the line.

 

“Ulquiorra?”

 

“Hmmm?” he questioned somewhat sleepily. “Yes, Wom—Orihime?”

 

He wasn't allowed to call her that anymore. It was an unwritten rule, a taboo thing. She wasn't his woman. They'd been divorced since Noboru was three years old. Ichigo Kurosaki had finally made good on his promise of kicking Ulquiorra Cifer's ass. He did it in the only way that he possibly could cut the man the deepest. He took away the love of his life.

 

It had been an ugly affair.

 

She felt neglected because he was going to college and working so much. His cousin had turned his father's engineering company into a laughing stock. Ulquiorra had to make it right. She took care of their son and ran her baking business. He made money through the legacy his father left him and trading stocks with the help of a financial advisor.

 

Ichigo Kurosaki came waltzing back into her life. At first, he'd drop by the bakery. He only knew because Orihime told him about it. Then she stopped talking about him. Then Kurosaki started showing up to the house. Ulquiorra thought nothing of it. Orihime was allowed to have a life outside of him. She was allowed to have friends.

 

When he walked into their bedroom, he found her naked, on top of the orange-haired man, his world stopped. He could see the tattoo on her side that was an almost exact twin of his own. He saw her tits bouncing up and down. His jaw tightened; he turned and walked out of the room. Later that night, when he was in the tiny room that he used as his study, she came in to tell him she wanted a divorce.

 

He nodded.

 

Ulquiorra figured this was karma's way of coming back and biting him in the ass for all those years ago. Particularly, the night Grimmjow was shot.

 

“Why?”

 

“Why what?”

 

“Why do you want a divorce? Have I not been a good husband? Have I not provided you with everything that you wanted?” Ulquiorra asked as he sat at that drawing table.

 

“Ichigo has never murdered anyone. He's a good man. I don't deserve him with how I've hurt—”

 

Ulquiorra held up a hand. “I do hope you remember the prenup you signed.”

 

A sigh brought him to the present. She was annoyed because he hadn't been paying attention. “I said, Ichigo didn't come home at all last night. I'm just wondering what it could mean. He said he was going out for drinks with his friends.”

 

Why would you call me this early in the morning to discuss the whereabouts of your husband?” he asked curtly. He shut his green eyes to try and stave off an impending headache.

 

“You're my friend and I can't call Rukia. She never picks up when I call anymore. I don't feel like bothering Nel either,” Orihime answered. "I'm worried."

 

He scoffed. She thought they were friends? Twelve fucking years and he was still in love with her. He had never gotten over her. It irritated him to no end. “Why don't you try talking to your husband instead of assuming things?”

 

“That's not fair.”

 

“Of course, you would say that,” he replied. “I wonder what your basis for comparison is.”

 

“Ulquiorra, why can't we just talk?”

 

“We can talk through the lawyers. My driver will be in Karakura on Sunday to pick Noboru up. Please make sure he has what he needs for the next six months,” he said.

 

That prenup she had signed... It had literally saved Ulquiorra's ass. It stated that if Orihime ever left him or divorced him she would receive a certain amount each month to provide for their son which she had to provide proof of, custody would be split evenly between the parents as they both got six months out of the year, and she was forfeit to anything concerning Cifer Engineering Incorporated.

 

The way that her face blanched, it seemed she had forgotten about that four-page contract that had outlined their lives if they ever separated. The company's lawyer thought it would be fitting.

 

During the proceedings, Ichigo Kurosaki sat next to Orihime but there was nothing the gingers could do. The prenup was ironclad. Ulquiorra won the war but he had lost the battles. He lost his woman.

 

Six years later, when he saw Orihime, the woman was pregnant. The Kurosakis welcomed a new baby boy into their lives. Noboru had told him all about it. He remained stoic and unaffected by this news, at least on the surface. Underneath his calm demeanor, Ulquiorra was pissed off.

 

He had done everything he could for this woman and she had betrayed him just because he had to go to school; he had to work. What did she expect from him? What more could he give her? What more did Orihime want from him?

 

“I was wondering if I could see you, maybe we could get a coffee... or lunch?” She was still chirping on.

 

Now, he was angry. He could barely contain his seething anger when he spoke. The words were spat out as if they were something disgusting. “If you want to go out on a date ask. Your. Husband. I am not it.”

 

“Ulquiorra,” she began.

 

He sighed. With some regret, he hung up on her. Why did she expect him to care about her marital problems? Why did she want sympathy and comfort from him of all people when she didn't seek him out all those years ago. She had made her own assumptions and she had left him.

 

Had she not had left he wouldn't have sold the house and bought this apartment in this city. He wouldn't have done a lot of things in his life. Ulquiorra wanted to hate her, he really did. He couldn't and he didn't know why. He was such a fucking fool at times.

 

* * *

 

He went to the gym that was inside his apartment building. He then went back to his apartment to shower. Ulquiorra looked at his schedule for the rest of the day. He had a board meeting. Then there was something to discuss the new contract they had received. Although he detested engineering as a career, he was quite good at what he did, being a logical person helped.

 

Sighing once more, he looked at the rest of his week. The weekdays were pretty much the same. Meetings, draft approvals, contracts to sign, accounts to look over; it was the same shit, different day kind of thing. He was scheduled to work at the Nikko branch of Candy Ink Friday night and Saturday which meant he got to spend time with one of his best friends. He didn't do it because of the money. He did it because he loved to tattoo. He understood what Shinji had meant all those years ago when he said tattooing was his passion.

 

It was Ulquiorra's hobby and most of the money he made from it went straight back to Nel. Ulquiorra's arms were covered in tattoos. The man's legs from the knee up were covered in tattoos. The teal-haired woman was trying to get him to tattoo either his back or finish his chest. Tattoos were the only thing he liked more than sex.

 

Not that he had that in a while. It'd been a couple of years since he had dated anyone or called an escort. He didn't feel the need to pursue it anymore. He had been wary of the entire concepts of relationships since the divorce. Having sex eventually led to relationships. The only person he liked to have sex with besides Orihime was Nel. The woman had confided in him that she was flattered but she had more than enough dick to keep her satisfied.

 

Then Nobu was coming on Sunday afternoon.

 

His son who looked more like his mother but with his deep green eyes and black hair. Nobu would probably mumble something and stalk dejectedly off to his room. Ulquiorra wouldn't see the boy unless it involved food or the wifi was out.

 

His son would have a couple weeks of summer break before the fall term started and it would be his first year of high school. He and Orihime had decided to place the boy in a school in Nikko. It was close enough that he could take the train to school and no one would be too inconvenienced.

 

Ulquiorra made himself a cherry smoothie and sucked it down as he cleaned up the apartment. It was already spotless, minus the blender in the sink or the towel that was hung over the shower rod in the bathroom. After that was done, he rode in the elevator to the parking garage. He was a billionaire but he still drove that old Honda Accord that he had bought years ago. He was thinking about upgrading but he had no desire to do so. He liked his car. It was dependable.

 

* * *

 

Noboru sat in the back of the SUV and stared at his hands. His father, the real one, not the orange-haired buffoon, had sent the company car around to get him again. Not that he minded. He was only obligated to spend time with his father because it had been outlined in the child custody agreement.

 

He had said his farewells to his mother. He tried to ignore Kazui and his stepfather. He had never liked Ichigo but hearing his mother and his stepfather arguing this morning did nothing to help his stance on the guy.

 

The accusations that they had hurled at each other behind their bedroom door were awful. His mom was accusing the man of cheating. He was saying she was still in love with his father. He lay there in the early morning hours and listened to it all.

 

Noboru had also heard what his mother said to his father on the phone at the beginning of the week. She had invited him out. Why? Weren't they done? Anything that had to be said concerning him was discussed between lawyers. His father's corporate ones versus a lawyer named Yukio that his mom had been friends with when she was in university.

 

He sighed and caught his reflection in the rearview mirror.

 

Noboru Mateo Cifer had been told many times he looked almost exactly like his mother but his jaw more angular, his lips well defined. He had a rather straight nose and eyebrows. His eyes were big and deep green, ringed by long thick eyelashes. He had his father's black hair. Where the older Cifer kept his hair long and layered, Noboru had a haircut. No, he had a hairstyle. A medium fade with a long side part on the right side of his head.

 

Although he looked like them, he was nothing like his parents. His mother was bubbly and jubilant in public. Once she was alone, she cried and it hurt his heart. She became withdrawn and often times looked through boxes that she hid in the closet in Kazui's room. They were on the top shelf and when she wasn't around one day, Noboru had taken a peek into that box. Pictures and other memorabilia littered the four shoe boxes.

 

Some of those pictures were not for anyone's eyes and the teen wished he could have poured bleach into his eyes for his nosiness.

 

His father was a stone and almost emotionless. Ulquiorra Cifer was stoic and passive. He would talk in a monotone unless he was angry. If he got angry, a lot of people cleared the way. Noboru had never been on the receiving end of the glares but he knew his mother had been several times. The glares in the courtroom sometimes had been unbearable.

 

Noboru was kind of tall. He stood above his mother by a whole seven inches, while only a scant three inches taller than his father. His grandmother said he got his height from his grandfather. He wished he was taller than five-feet-nine-inches. He had some muscles because Ichigo encouraged him to “train”, whatever that meant. He worked out with his dad but still, the teenager didn't like it. He did it because his parents expected him to be in good health.

 

With having a stepfather who was in the medical field, it was imperative to be in good health.

 

He didn't really have any facial hair but then again, neither did his father. He never saw the man shave. Ichigo shaved every day. He said he got it from Goatfucker, aka, his step-grandfather. The man called him Goatface but the dark-haired teen didn't like Isshin Kurosaki either.

 

The man was too excitable for his tastes. He was always freaking out about something or trying to catch his orange-haired son off guard. It never happened. Then the old man tried these tactics on Noboru. They ended quickly because Ulquiorra Cifer strode through the clinic doors one day after Noboru had a conversation with the man, holding a katana and threatening to “slice a motherfucker in half” if anyone touched his son.

 

No, Noboru wasn't anything like his parents. He had friends. He could talk to people. He wasn't overly cheerful or gloomy. He was just himself. He could care less what other people did. He didn't get into anyone's business and he appreciated if they didn't get into his. Not that he had any business. He did his homework, texted his friends, screwed around online, and read books. He listened to music and jerked off when he felt like it. He wasn't a problem child. Sometimes, his mouth did get him into trouble.

 

He was a hardheaded stubborn male. It wasn't his fault. His grandmother said he got his fire from being born at the end of March. 

Chapter Text

The girl started throwing shit before seven o'clock in the morning. Bazz could hear her from the other end of the house. If she didn't knock her damn drama off, the mohawked man was going to put the teenager in her place.

 

Grimmjow had done the exact thing with his son last week.

 

Jesus, Grimmjow.

 

That man. The very name sent a stirring through his groin.

 

Bazz shook his head. It'd been eight years since he came back from prison. It'd been some bullshit charges that landed him there. He thought he was going down for murder but there'd been something that came up and it was proven that he hadn't shot the asshole.

 

His brother, Tsukishima had been dead for fifteen years and some months. His father had been dead for seven—eight—no, nine years? He couldn't remember. Bazz tried not to think about it. The same person who killed his father had killed his brother.

 

Ulquiorra Cifer was a lucky bastard. Man gunned down two Yakuzas. Didn’t do a day of time or die.

 

Bazz did six years and three-hundred and sixty days for felony possession of a handgun charge. Those had been his guns. They could have slapped him with fourteen years.

 

What pissed him off was the fact that his father, Sosuke Aizen had taken hits out on Nel and Grimmjow. The blue-haired man took a bullet to the calf. He wasn't around for the big showdown that eliminated most of the Tokyo faction. Yhwach took over before his death. Now Jugo controlled the Tokyo prefecture, alone.

 

The man with the mohawk tried to have lunch with his old friend at least once a month. If they didn't have that much time, then they'd get drinks at a bar and eye people.

 

Jugo was the one that alerted him to an important fact. It wasn't one that he wanted to dwell on either.

 

His phone buzzed from the bedside table and he looked over at it. He sighed when he saw who the text message was.

 

Fucking Grimmjow.

 

- Tell that teenage drama queen to knock it the hell off. I think Nel's going into labor.

 

Bazz groaned. Why should he tell the bitchy teenager to cool her jets? It wasn't his kid. But wasn't he just contemplating going down there and yelling at her?

 

Grimmjow though... He was the MVP this time. It was Bazz's kid inside of Nel. Grimmjow knew how to deal with her when it came time for the baby appearances to happen.

 

With a huff, he sat up and then reached beside the bed to grab the gray sweatpants that were on the floor. After making his rounds in the bathroom, he walked down to the other end of the hall where the teenagers lived.

 

He didn't even knock when he opened Vain's door. Her fucking room was a mess. The girl looked up at him when he opened the door fully and came in. She had been told about these tantrums. “Daddy G says to knock it off. Your mom isn't feeling good,” Bazz said.

 

“Don't you know how to knock? I could have been naked or something,” Vain spat at him. She stood there cockily in her pajama shorts and a tank top.

 

Bazz had no interest in the girl. He'd been there since she was born... in spirit anyway. Nel always brought her along when visiting him in Kurobane. She had known who he was when he was released. Although he considered her his daughter too, he knew the girl could and would use devious tactics. She went to school in a den of vipers. Rich kids were the fucking worst.



“Get this shit cleaned up, Vain Noir.” The threat was implied.

 

The girl huffed and scowled at him. She didn't move from where she stood as she stared down Bazz. He couldn't have given a fuck less if she looked at him like that. He had survived her dad for the past fifteen years. Her copycat glare was nothing compared to the real thing. Hell, a look like that from her mother sent more chills down his spine.

 

“Bazzy—” She began, trying to coax him into a better mood.

 

“Nope. Don't even ask me.”

 

“Bazz Daddy—” His eyes narrowed at the teenager. 

 

“Vain. I said no. Your momma said no. Your father said no. You can't Daddy your way into us saying yes.”

 

Daddy B? Please?” She was looking at him with big blue eyes and he set his mouth in a straight line.


“Fine, Vain. Stop throwing shit and clean this up,” he said. Bazz sighed. All she had to was look at him like that and he caved. He only did it because she looked so much like Nel when it happened. Bazz knew that if Nel asked him for the world, he'd wade through hell and high water to give it to her. “I'll ask them about the public school thing.”

 

She was still harping on about this whole thing about school. Vain had run into some trouble with some students. She wanted to unenroll from the posh and private prep school that cost some serious cash. Grimmjow didn't bitch as he shelled it out. He did all he could for the three kids. Bazz did all he could for them too. What was the point of being rich if you didn't use it?

  

Before he retreated back to the bedroom, he knocked on the door across the hall. It was the other teenager's door. Liam Reuben Jaegerjaquez glared at the man who knocked. His hazel eyes still looked sleep addled. “I heard her. I was almost back asleep. What?”

 

“Juze get up last night?”

 

“I didn't hear him,” the fourteen old answered.

 

Bazz nodded and then told the boy, “Go back to bed.”

 

* * *

 

“Dear Lord,” Nelliel Tu Jaegerjaquez said sitting at the kitchen table. She threw a look at her husband, Grimmjow and glared at the blue-haired man. She could hear the teenage girl ranting and raving about something.

 

“What?”

 

“Go get her. I'd like Juzo to sleep in today, instead of—”

 

Another voice was coming from the hallway into the big kitchen. A man with a strip of red hair that flopped to one side came into the room, walking behind a boy with pale green eyes and light brown curly hair. “There's your mom, Juze,” Bazz said, jostling eight-year-old old in front of him.

 

“I can see her,” the boy said shrugging off the man's hands. Nel saw her youngest child and smiled. He was a terror and hell on wheels but she wouldn't have traded it for the world. He had her face but Bazz's coloring. “Can I have my DS now? It's been a week.”

 

Grimmjow raised an eyebrow and snorted. Nel face-palmed herself. She wished that Juzo had woken up after her husband left for a meeting in Tokyo. “You gonna be a mouthy little shit again? You gonna tell me that you're not gonna clean your room?”

 

Nel knew what had happened and no one could blame Grimmjow. Juzo had told Grimmjow that the man wasn't his father and he didn't have to listen to him. He wouldn't pick up a single toy that he had thrown around his bedroom.

 

Bazz said nothing when the kid got punished by having his video game thing taken away. Juzo had complained to his biological father. Bazz had told him that Grimmjow was well within his right as a parent to punish the boy. After all, Grimmjow's money had built this house.

 

That's how things worked around here. The children had two dads and one mother. The family of six had been working smoothly like that for the past eight years. It didn't matter whose child you were. They were all a family.

 

Vain was almost two when she found out she was pregnant with Liam. The birth control she was on had failed. So, she decided after the boy was born that she would not swallow or accept any more birth control. If Grimmjow wanted sex, Grimmjow had to wear a condom.

 

The multiple incidents with Bazz in the SUV on the day he was let out of prison was a pass. She had thrown caution out the window and accepted his cock with wild abandon. All she wanted to feel was him inside of her and felt him she did. It wasn't until after she had fucked him three times did she remembered she was ovulating. Juzo was totally her fault.

 

After Juzo, she said she was done. She couldn't focus on any more children after him and the complications that arose. Those complications still affected them to this day.

 

Now though, their family of six would soon become seven. Nel knew the little boy was sore about the whole pregnancy thing.

 

It hadn't been her idea to get pregnant again. This one was a complete oopsie. It happened. Grimmjow was on tour with Vapor Atrophy doing a stint around North America. Bazz took her to a nightclub, things escalated to the point Nel was contemplating riding him in the booth they were sitting in. They ended up fucking in his car. No condoms to be found and she wasn't on birth control even after all the years they'd been together. 

 

Her motto had always been the same.

 

If the boys wanted sex, they had to wear condoms.

 

Except this rule only applied to Grimmjow and not Bazz because the man's cock felt so good sliding in and out of her that she usually lost her mind and didn't warn him to pull out when he came. Nel felt like shit when she came to that conclusion. Not that Grimmjow's dick felt different. He still made her lose her mind but it was just that she had been with him for so long, that was just how they did things. 

 

Grimmjow, condoms. Bazz, pull out and pray. The only time the red-haired man employed the latex barriers was if they were all having sex together or Bazz had his dick buried in Grimmjow.

 

She slid a glance at her husband who was still having a death glare showdown with their youngest. Then she looked at the red-haired man who stared at her with a worried glance. All Nel could do was shake her head. She knew what that look was for.

 

Grimmjow had told him. Dammit.

 

Yes, she had woke up that morning from pain in her abdomen but the doctors' said that she should stay at home until the contractions were closer together. Grimmjow had been in the kitchen for two hours rubbing her back when they came about every thirty minutes. Otherwise, he stood, leaning against the counter drinking coffee and thumbing his phone.

 

Vapor Atrophy would be recording a new album soon and then touring with someone around Japan. Grimmjow was seriously contemplating a world tour after the national tour. He also had several albums to produce for new artists who signed with Pantera Productions.

 

That old cat. Grimmjow never got over her death. The half-Siamese and Ragdoll mix feline had lived to the ripe old age of thirteen. Panny, had gotten cancer. The vet said there wasn't much that could be done and Grimmjow had her put down. The blue-haired man sat with the cat while she was injected with the medicine and then he cried as she took her last breath. It shook the household. There were many fights about getting a new animal but Nel wouldn't have it. They had animals running around already; they were called children.

 

Children had longer lifespans than actual pets... Well, they were supposed to, Nel thought.

 

She sighed. Grimmjow had started the recording company to sign small acts and when they blew up, he'd shuffle them off to Zip the Bag Records and Sloane for a commission. Not that they needed the money.

 

They lived a nice life. They had a six-bedroom mansion on the outskirts of Nikko, close to Utsunomiya and several other places; the one Ulquiorra had sold them where her mother now lived, a penthouse apartment just outside of the Roppongi district in Japan, a small house in Osaka and Bazz's apartment near Tokyo Tower.

 

They didn't use the places in Tokyo much. Mostly rented the places out to people who could afford them. The house in Osaka was used during winter break because it was fun to have Christmas or New Year's Eve somewhere at times.



The last time Nel was inside of Bazz's apartment—It hadn't been a good time once that memory hit. Nel had to backpedal and Grimm was trying to calm her down. That night was the beginning of the end. They had fought about him being in love with her. She was trying to deny feelings for him. They went to bed angry. The two had tossed and turned until Nel found her balls to confront him. His sadistic brother had kidnapped her.

 

The teal-haired woman gritted her teeth as the pain between her hips radiated upward. It knocked her out of her mental closet of bad memories.

 

Grimmjow left his post and put the phone down to rub Nel's back. Bazz was in front of her rubbing the baby bump carefully. All she could do was breathe.

 

* * *

 

Orihime hummed quietly as she cleaned the house. She had already sent Kazui up to his room to finish tidying up. She knew what that would entail from the boy. Move some things around and stuff things under his bed. Later, when Isshin came to pick up his grandson, she would go to the bakery and see what needed to be done.

 

Probably not much, she frowned with a thought. Ururu kept the place running when she wasn't around. The girl knew how to manage a business because she had managed her father's business. Kisuke Urahara was batty but the man had expected perfection when it came to his candy store.

 

She sighed. The conversation she had with Ulquiorra had been playing in her mind since he hung up on her. Orihime had taken his advice and she talked to her husband. Ichigo basically told her to keep her nose out of his business.

 

Not a word escaped her mouth. She was tempted to call Ulquiorra again but he sounded like he was pretty fed up with her unsolicited calls. What had happened years ago was her fault. It was all her fault.

 

Back in those days, after their wedding, Orihime thought Ulquiorra would become more romantic or he would change in some way. He didn't. If anything, she thought he became more distant. She understood that he was dealing with getting through university and his classes.

 

She had episodes where she still dealt with flashbacks of Tsukishima. Even to this day, she dealt with them. They were random things too. It could be the smell of something, the memory of the sound of his voice, the feel of his fingertips against her skin. These were all things that could make her gasp and grip the sink while her knees threatened to give out.



Then there were times where the full on moments of her time with the tall scrawny man hit her with the force of a body slamming to the ground after a parachute did not employ and she found solace in the shower crying her eyes out. Ichigo never understood this. He always told her that she should be glad that the bastard was dead.

 

Ulquiorra never said anything like that. He just comforted her and held her. He made love to her. He loved her.

 

Orihime had hurt him badly. She was just lonely when he wasn't around. In retrospect, she should have been a good wife by taking care of him but when the cat isn't paying attention, the mice will get their crumbs of food from other places.

 

Ichigo had been a replacement for Ulquiorra. He took her out to dinner. He brought her flowers and chocolates. He touched her gently despite their history.

 

“I can't stay away from you, Orihime,” the orange-haired man told her.

 

That made her knees weak in a different way. It escalated and then suddenly she had a secret to keep. It was after hours at the bakery, Ichigo had her against the cake decorating table, her breast pressed to the cold metal surface. She gasped as he took her from behind. She was even shocked as he moved his hips in such a way that made her mewl with need. The feeling that she had betrayed Ulquiorra never entered her mind until she was shivering as her orgasm hit. It wasn't him who had caused it either. It had been Ichigo.

 

Everything just kept snowballing until the thing flew off the mountain. The avalanche came to a stop the day she was caught, fucking Ichigo on her marital bed. She had never seen Ulquiorra look so resigned and blank. Ichigo had the biggest smirk on his face. He didn't even stop when her ex-husband had caught them. He just kept making her cry out.

 

Orihime had cried when Ichigo excused himself. Hours later, she told Ulquiorra what she wanted and he agreed. Their five years together was now gone. A heavy sigh went through her body. She wasn't going to the bakery today.

 

She knew she was going to Utsunomiya. 

Chapter Text

Grimmjow laughed as the talk host said some silly quip. It was expected of him. He hated interviews of any kind. He hated televised ones the most. Sloane said this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about VA's new album and his future projects. The host didn't see it that way. She wanted a juicier scoop.

 

“So, Grimmjow,” the bubbly blonde woman said. “It was eight years ago today, that the world caught a glimpse into your personal life.”

 

“Yeah?” he asked somewhat confused, shifting forward in the chair.

 

“You don't know what I'm talking about? Do you remember a picture of you taken outside of Kurobane Prison?”

 

Grimmjow scoffed. “What about it?”

 

The woman smiled. “Let's bring it up on the screen,” she said.

 

“I don't think—”

 

“Oh, but I do—”

 

“Look, it's not important.” Grimmjow could see Sloane Parker's face as the woman sighed. He was ruining this. “My personal life has nothing to do with my music. I sing from my heart for Vapor Atrophy fans.”

 

The woman raised an eyebrow at him and gestured to a screen beside her. “What about this?”

 

The photo that splashed onto the screen was only a month old. He was standing with a pregnant Nel who held his hand. His wife looked gorgeous in the formfitting designer dress, makeup was done by professionals and hair swept over her shoulder; pinned away from the side of her neck. He was wearing an Armani Tuxedo with his hair styled in a very professional way. Sometimes, he didn't like the messy look.

 

There was nothing about the photo that was considered noteworthy... Unless you counted Bazz, with his red mohawk, grabbing Grimmjow's chin, tilting his head back, and kissing him.

 

Grimmjow remembered that moment very clearly. The gossip rags and the internet was ablaze with rumors. Fangirls were churning out pages of fanfiction about him and his red-haired lover is what Sloane said. People were drawing him and Bazz in “compromising” position. It'd been a fucking PR nightmare and his publicist was livid.

 

It wasn't Grimmjow's fault.

 

Oh, but it was. He brought Bazz along to the awards thing.

 

Once they got inside, Grimmjow about decked Bazz. “What the hell was that?”

 

“I see one of the designers I model for. Toodles,” Bazz said and sauntered away.

 

Nel just smiled and played the part of the trophy wife. That's what the tabloids called her. A fucking trophy wife. She was his wife and Bazz's girlfriend. She was the mother of their children. She was the fucking glue that kept everyone together.

 

“That's you and your wife, Nelliel Tu Jaegerjaquez, correct?”

 

“That's Nel. She's been my wife for fifteen years. We've been together for nineteen years. I've known her since we were in our third year—so, since elementary school. She's my best friend,” he said with a faint blush on his face. He grinned at the audience earning some applause.

 

The host of the show smiled too. “What about Bazzard Black?”

 

“Bazz and I go way back too,” he shrugged.

 

“Before or after he was incarcerated?”

 

“Before,” Grimmjow said in a curt tone. He was starting to get pissed off and the way his jaw tightened showed how his patience was coming to an end. “We met the year before Nel and I got married.”

 

The host beamed at him. “What's the nature of your relationship with him?”

 

Grimmjow's blue eyes cut towards Sloane who shook her head subtly. She knew what he was going to do. “Ain't my place to say. You'll have to ask him.”

 

The man said nothing as he stood up and walked off the platform on live television.

 

* * *

 

Noboru was watching television in the living room of his father's apartment and he idly watched as the singer from some band walked off the show he was staring at. Television programming was so boring these days. Who cared if some celebrity had a wife and a boyfriend? It wasn't like it was anyone's business.

 

He was glad that the new school term was starting soon. These breaks were boring and monotonous.

 

He sighed.

 

What activity did his father have planned for them this weekend? Was it some trivial museum trip that would bore him to tears? A trip to visit his elderly grandmother who always claimed he looked just like his dead grandfather?

 

No, his dad had to go on some business thing this weekend. He had to go to Tokyo for some meeting. Noboru would be alone.

 

He was planning on a weekend of gaming and binge-watching stupid videos on the internet but his phone rang.

 

“Hiya, Mom.”

 

“Hi Nobu!” the woman sounded really excited. “How are you?”

 

The kid decided to make an effort because his mom didn't deserve an attitude. “I'm okay. How are you? Things going okay?”

 

“Oh, they're fine.” The woman on the other end of the line hesitated to answer. Noboru knew things were NOT fine. “What are you doing this weekend?”

 

He sighed. One of these conversations. “Dad's going to Tokyo. I'm staying at the apartment.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“You want me to visit, don't you?”

 

“I was just wondering if you wanted to go to lunch or maybe have dinner with me?” she replied.

 

“Mom, you know what the agreement says, dad has to approve of the visit if I'm with him,” he reminded her gently.

 

* * *

 

Vain looked at the boy who was sitting in just his boxers on her bed. She wasn't clad in much herself. Just a flimsy sheet over her body. Her parents were at the hospital where he mother was giving birth to another brat.


The moment they took her bratty younger brother over to their grandmother's house, she called up a friend. Her parents didn't like any of her friends. The trio acted like everyone was out to get them. They especially didn't like Eizo Ginjo. He was more than just a “friend”.

 

The teen was simply delectable though. He was tall, muscled, and had the perfect set of sculpted lips to kiss. That smoldering bad boy look helped. He was also in his final year of high school, not to mention he was one of the kids that sold weed at her school.

 

He looked back at her. “What?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

 

“Nothing, I'm just looking at you,” she replied.

 

“Hmmm.” Eizo didn't say a lot and when he did, it wasn't anything of substance.

 

She stretched letting the sheet drop from her busty chest. He glanced at her. “Hmmm?”

 

The boy shook out his slicked back black hair and held something out to her. It was small and discreet. A baggie filled with green lumps. Vain reached forward and took it.

 

The girl wasn't stupid. She didn't do the drugs around her parents, nor did she do them in the house. It was mostly for at parties and even then, she didn't partake in them. People did things for her when she shared them. Besides, contact buzzes were a lot better than getting stoned out of your fucking mind and then waking up with no clothes on. That's how she met him. Eizo had explained that he wanted her, so he had her.



That was okay with Vain because he was hot and he didn't fuck around on her. He said he'd be loyal to her. At first, she didn't believe him but, he'd been true to his word, so far.

 

“You want to go again?”

 

“Can't, I've got to pick up Shukuro. Saka is—” Vain groaned at the mention of the second male's name. The teen scoffed. “Saka is having difficulties.”

 

“I will never understand how the hell a fourteen-year-old—”

 

“Hey, you don't need to understand it. All you need to do is lay low and not question the hierarchy,” Eizo stated, leaning over to kiss her. “You really pissed Shukuro off the last term. When are your parents gonna be home?”

 

“I don't know. They've been gone for three days already, counting today. So they might be gone another couple of days? Maybe up to four,” Vain replied. “Why?”

 

“I was asking,” he commented. “You don't want me to come back?”

 

“Tch,” she said with pursed lips then pouted. She didn't know why he stuck around those assholes. Eizo was practically an adult and he had to cater to some fourteen-year-old fucktwit. “Why can't I come over to your house?”

 

The boy smiled, “You know why. My dad doesn't allow anyone in the house.”

 

She watched as the male stood up and dressed. Vain sat there naked and stared at him, making her desire known. A smile played on her lips before Eizo grabbed her ass.

 

“Oww!” she said smacking his arm. That really hurt and he knew it did!

 

“I'll be back later.”

 

* * *

 

Grimmjow and Bazz were sitting around with Nel in the hospital room. The woman was looking down at the baby in her arms. She smiled broadly as the baby yawned. “Oh,” she murmured.

 

“You sure you want this to be the last time?” Grimmjow asked.

 

Nel looked at her husband and playfully glared at him. “You both have two and you both have one of each. Why would you want more?”

 

“Leave my woman alone, Grimm.”

 

Your woman?”

 

“Yes, my woman. The woman who just gave me a daughter. Quit fucking harassing her or I'm going to have your ass.” Bazz replied.

 

Nel saw the devious smirk on Grimmjow's face. She knew the sexual innuendo was literally coming.

 

“The only ass that's gonna be had is yours when I'm fuck—”

 

She huffed. “I just pushed a human out of me. Silence.”

 

Nel returned her attention back to the infant and smiled. The girl had wisps of blonde hair and a heart-shaped face. She was absolutely beautiful. Eyes were zeroed in on her and she glanced up to see Bazz staring at her. A blush heated her face. “What?” she said quietly.


“Nothing, Baby. I'm in awe of you again. You've given me another—”

 

“You are so like a fucking woman with your emotions,” Grimmjow said.

 

Bazz scoffed and flipped Grimmjow off. “Look, you just don't know how to treat a woman like her.”

 

The men started squabbling again and Nel pinched the bridge of her nose.

 

“All those years ago, I think I made the wrong choice,” Nel stated to herself. Both men stopped arguing and glared at her. “What? You know, if I wanted another child after this I'll see if Ulquiorra wants another kid.”

 

If Nel wanted to stir the shit pot, she said the right thing because the two men who sat on either side of her started bitching again.

 

* * *

 

Liam said nothing as he watched Vain's boyfriend—thing—asshole leave the house. The guy had spent the past few days in the house. The teenager was prepared to tattle on his sibling but he saw the scowl on his sister's face. Their parents were due to bring their new sibling home any minute!

 

“Don't. I'll kick your ass and you know it,” the girl had said.

 

He snorted and retreated to his room. Liam and Vain were like night and day. She got into trouble, ran her mouth, and was involved with the wrong people at their school. She didn't like doing her homework or following the rules.

 

Liam was the model kid. At least he thought so. So what if he liked playing video games and streaming the content to the world. It's where most of his pocket money came from. No one knew who he was though. Just some random kid on the internet making money by roasting random video games.

 

He did his homework. He had nerdy friends who roleplayed on the weekend. He never really caused trouble for his parents... Well, he did once when he caused the household to go over their bandwidth usage. When his parents got the notification for the broadband bill, they had been pissed.

 

He occasionally mouthed off to Bazz but that's only because the man ribbed him about nerdy and geek stuff. Like Liam could fend off the muscled idiot. He loved both of his dads and his mom though. Bazz had been around more than his other dad. Supermodels usually had less strenuous schedules than world famous musicians.

 

Liam looked at himself in the mirror on the back of his bedroom door and frowned. He was almost a complete clone of his father from what he had seen in the pictures his mom had shown him. The only thing that stopped the claim to a perfect copy was the fact that he had hazel eyes and his mother's ears. Also, his top lip was a little more full than his father's.

 

The kid sighed.

 

His sister was stupid and she was going to get caught. If she thought she would be able to talk her way out of Eizo Ginjo's damn presence in the house, she had another thing coming. He was going to tell their parents about the delinquent's appearance.

 

Chapter Text

Juzo stared solemnly out the window as he heard his sister cry. The baby had been crying ever since his mom came home. He wanted to go back to his grandma's house. She treated him like a kid instead of a delicate piece of glass.

 

He didn't even go to a normal school. He had tutors. His mom basically home-schooled him.

 

It's just a precaution, Juzo.”

 

We're just looking out for you.”

 

It wasn't his fault.

 

His mom said he was the last. He was her baby boy. Then she had to bring a stupid baby home. There was some blowup the night the baby came home. Liam snitched. Vain had someone in the house. It was revealed his sister was having sex. Then came an hour-long lecture about how they should focus being kids and not doing grown-up things.

 

It was hard being a kid when you had a bum heart and everyone thought you were fragile.

 

Vain got into trouble. Her room had been stripped so the only thing that she had was her clothes, a television, hygiene necessities, and her bed. Everything else, like her makeup and hair products, music, books, electronics and her precious phone were taken away.

 

Then the two older kids got into a fist fight out in the backyard. Vain knew how to fight. Grimmjow had been teaching her martial arts since she was little. They even took her to a dojo. His father taught her how to “street fight”. The two men were also teaching Liam how to fight and defend himself but the boy was only interested in video games.

 

It wasn't surprising as Vain kicked her brother's ass into the ground, giving him a black eye and split lip.

 

He wanted to fight. He couldn't though. His dad produced defective children! That baby wouldn't shut up.

 

“Juzo? Can you get me a diaper for Akira?” His mother called out.

 

He didn't think of them as a family unit. The line had been drawn right in the middle of his mother. Grimm, Vain, Liam were one part. His father, Juzo, and the new squalling infant were the other part. They spun like an airplane propeller with their mom as the center.

 

With a sigh, he did what his mom asked him to do.

 

* * *

 

Nel sighed as she lay in the middle of the two men. The baby was asleep in her crib. The doctors' said she had colic. They had finally got her to sleep after hours of both females crying. The woman was pretty worn out to be honest. She had never experienced these problems with Vain or Liam. The both of them had been pretty happy babies.

 

She felt Bazz turn to face her and she looked over at him. Pale green eyes locked onto her face.

 

“Sorry,” he said, quietly as to not wake the baby or Grimmjow.

 

“What are you sorry for?”

 

The man reached up and stroked the side of her face. “Everything. I'm sorry for going to prison. I'm sorry for getting you preg—”

 

Nel hurriedly put her fingers against the red-haired man's lips. “Shhh, we're not going to talk about this. You have nothing to apologize for. The doctor said Akira would get over this. She's fine. It's not something that we will have to deal with in the long term like Juzo.”

 

“I'm still sorry that I went to prison and left you alone,” he murmured. “I could have been there.”

 

She was pressed against the muscled surface of Bazz's chest and sighed. She knew Bazz harbored a lot of guilt for what happened years ago. He constantly apologized, not that he needed to. She appreciated the sentiment but sometimes it was too much to deal with.

 

There were only three people in the entire world that knew what happened the night that Grimmjow had been shot in the calf by some crazy assholes that had worked for Bazz's dead father.

 

Ulquiorra, because he was there. Nel, who was also there. Bazz.

 

While Bazz was still incarcerated, probably two years before he got out, the guilt had been eating away at her and she was acting very different from her normal self. Bazz had phoned from the prison and called her out on the normal bullshit. She had told him. It all came spilling out.

 

“I fucked Ulquiorra.”

 

“You what?”

 

“I had sex with him. I—”

 

“Does Grimm know, Nel? When?”

 

She let out a somewhat hysterical sob. As if she would let Grimmjow learn that Ulquiorra had fucked her while he was laid up in a Yakuza clinic. It hadn't even been six weeks after Vain's birth. She wasn't even supposed to be having sex!

 

“No, I can't tell him, Bazz,” she replied. “He'd be devastated and angry. He'd kill Ulquiorra. It—I—the night he was shot.”

 

“What?”

 

“When Kenpachi called me with that news, I kept imagining all that blood. I needed him. At that moment, I needed him. Ulquiorra was the only one around besides Grimm that knew Nnoitra. He understood,” Nel said.

 

“I'm so fucking tired of being in this fucking place. Had I not—I should be there with you not stuck in this military-like sausage fest.” The anger was evident in his voice. His tone was icy and it sent chills through her. “You planning on sleeping with him again?”

 

“Bazz, he came before you,” she stated. “I only pushed my feelings to the side for him when I started dating you. I couldn't help myself.”

 

“I asked you a question, Baby.”

 

Nel sighed and was glad she was at work instead of at home. No prying ears to hear her secrets. “No, Bazz. I don't plan on it.”

 

But the thing was, she had slept with Ulquiorra again. It'd been during a New Year's Eve party and Grimmjow had watched. He had participated. Nel never told Bazz this though.

 

“He still number one?”

 

“What? No!”

 

“Tell me.”

 

“You are a fucking teenager with this ranking shit,” Nel replied. She only felt marginally better. “You are then Grimm and then Ulquiorra.”

 

“That's right. When I get out of here, the first thing I'm doing is having my way with you,” Bazz replied.

 

“Bazz? You're not going to tell Grimm are you?” she asked.

 

“Do I look crazy?”

 

“Truthfully, you volunteered to go to prison in place of the person who actually shot—”

 

A low rumble brought her out of her flashback. Bazz was nuzzling her neck and kissing the skin. He seemed very happy and content. “Nel, what's wrong?”

 

“I'm just worrying about everything; reliving memories,” she responded followed with a sigh. “Vain, Liam, Juzo, Akira... Grimmjow imploding on national television over our relationship.”

 

The man rolled over and took her with him. Nel had to prop herself up with her arms. “Stop worrying about it. Grimm's PR firm will take care of it all. Shit will die down. My agency ripped my ass but do I care? I don't. They all can know I like to fuck you; they can know I like dick too.”

 

“You don't like any dick, you like his dick.”

 

“You know I would do anything for the both of you.”

 

She scoffed softly. “You two are some pussy whipped—” Her words were cut off as she felt Bazz's cock against her leg. It was hard.

 

“We're what?” Bazz teased. “Says the woman that will drop everything and attempt double penetration at the drop of a hat. Sounds like you're dick whipped.”

 

Nel was glad it was dim in the room. Bazz couldn't see how her cheeks flamed. He had to bring that up.

 

The first time they attempted what the red-haired man called a “Nel Sandwich” hadn't been spectacular or successful. Bazz was inside her while Grimmjow attempted his position and it hurt too much or it was too intense, she couldn't remember but they ended up taking turns with one man fucking her, the other getting sucked off. She still persisted and took any chance she could to get between them.

 

Arousal pooled between her legs and she knew she had to stop thinking about it otherwise she'd end up having sex with Bazz and it had only been a week since she had the baby.

 

“I don't know what to do about Vain,” Nel said with a heavy sigh.

 

“Why are you two having a fucking conversation when we should be sleeping?” Grimmjow muttered and rolled over several times so he was lying naked against Bazz's body, snaking his arm over her body to touch the muscled one she lay under. Nel reached over and touched his naked chest.

 

“Our queen is worried about shit,” Bazz answered. “Particularly, our foul mouth, disobedient teenaged diva.”

 

“Vain, when did she turn into a rotten kid?” Grimmjow groaned quietly.

 

Bazz chuckled. Nel frowned. She didn't think it was funny. “We told her to stay away from those boys. That Eizo and Saka are bad apples. The girls are okay if a bit bitchy but I expect that out of teenaged females,” she commented.

 

“I told you so,” Bazz quietly singsonged. “Rich kids are the fucking worst things on the planet and it doesn't matter how much you pay for their schooling. They're going to make their own rules; teachers and authority won't do shit to them.”

 

“We know, Bazz. You've told us,” the blue-haired man said. “What do we do?”

 

“She wants to go to a public school. I say we let her see what it's like to slum around.”

 

Nel bit her lip and scooted until she was laying across both men. Bazz was stroking the upper half of her back, while Grimmjow groped her ass. It felt good. “Grimm, what do you think?”

 
“I think you should get to your knees so I can fuck you.”

 

“Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez!”

 

“No?”

 

“We need to discuss our daughter then I'd be more than happy to give you a blowjob,” the teal-haired woman said.

 

* * *

 

Shukuro Harribel sighed as he waited for Eizo Ginjo to come into the room. His friend's father showed his face shortly after. Kugo Ginjo nodded his head at the boy. He knew what his legacy was. He was Sosuke Aizen's third and youngest son. He had a lot riding on his shoulders until he became of age.

 

“Progress?”

 

“Some.”

 

“You want to elaborate or are we playing twenty questions?”



Despite being only fourteen-years-old, Shukuro was very mature for his age. He was absolutely ruthless but that's how his mother raised him. He looked more like he was in his late teens. He looked like Aizen but had his mother's eyes. People respected him but that was only because of who his father was. He had already told his mother that when he turned sixteen, he was going to change his name to Shukuro Aizen.

 

Tier Harribell said nothing. She merely nodded her head as if she expected it.

 

“What about my brother? Has he been in contact?”

 

Kugo shook his head. “Jugo—Jugram told him about you but other than that, nothing. Bazz said you must not be much of a threat.”

 

The boy smiled. “The Espada will be a threat when I eliminate his family.”

 

* * *

 

“I want my makeup and I want my hair stuff. You cannot send me to school looking like I'm some hobo!” Vain screeched as she stomped into the kitchen in her new school uniform. The girl's navy skirt, white shirt, and jacket fit her nicely. Her hair was another matter. It was wild and wavy. She needed those products to get through the day looking like she was a princess.

 

Nel looked at Grimmjow. “Your school handbook says that female students may wear mascara and lip gloss.”

 

“What about my eyebrows! You cannot expect me to leave this house looking like I'm a fu—”

 

“Vain.” The stern word came from her father. The girl knew when he used that tone, she was treading on dangerous ground. No one was ever allowed to cuss at their mother unless it was the blue-haired man. The girl bit the inside of her cheek and scowled. “Don't look at me like that either unless you want me to send you to some Amish community over in America. Do you want to learn the word of unfair? We told you to stay away from those kids. You had a boy stay the nights we were gone. You were told no sex until you turned sixteen. That's not a long wait. You destroyed the trust we had in you.”

 

“Give me my mascara and lip gloss.”

 

“No. Learn some respect, ya brat,” Grimmjow replied.

 

The girl's morning was not going to get any better. She threw her hair up into a messy bun and grabbed her bookbag and made her way down to the front door. Vain was planning on ditching school. She didn't want to go back to the posh prep school but she didn't want to go to the public high school either. Just as she was about to slip out the door, a hand wrapped around her bicep.

 

“Where ya going, girly?”

 

Bazz.

 

“School?”

 

“Really? Your momma told me to take you to school,” he said.

 

“I can take the bus. It's not that far,” the girl replied.

 

Bazz opened the door and swept his arm outside. “That really looks like the bus,” he said.

 

Fuck. Eizo was standing beside the door of his car out in front of the house with Shukuro, Saka and another boy named Kin Accutrone. They were waiting for her.

 

Grimmjow was now behind them eyeing the vehicle. “That your boyfriend?” the blue-haired man asked.

 

Vain shook her head but her dad and Bazz were already dragging her outside. This was not going to end well. Eizo hadn't heard from her since he left her house that day. The other boys were dressed in different color uniforms. Her former school must have started their term today also.

 

“Vain, baby—Oh shit,” the black-haired boy said, seeing the two males walking to the car. Vain watched as her dad had the boy pinned to the surface of the vehicle.

 

The girl was steered towards the red sports car that looked older than hell. Bazz grabbed the handle of the door, opened it, and pushed her in. She watched as the red-haired man waved at the blue-haired one and then he walked over to the driver seat.

 

She was absolutely furious. “Bazz, stop him!”

 

“Nope. I can't do it,” he said, starting the car and then putting it into gear where he could back out of the driveway. “You'll be late for your first day.”

 

Vain didn't miss how her second dad eyed the car like it was something deadly. She didn't miss the way Shukuro's gaze followed them either.

Chapter Text

Ulquiorra was surprised as his ex-wife walked into his office. The door was slammed shut behind her. He raised his eyebrows. He was sitting behind his desk, his suit jacket on the back of the chair he sat in and the sleeves of his dress shirt rolled up. “I didn't know you had an appointment,” the man said.

 

“I don't but this divorce agreement, the prenup, and the child custody petition are ridiculous. You left Noboru home all weekend by himself?” Orihime snapped. She was angry. He could see her eyebrows knitted together. “Is it really an inconvenience if I pick up my son for a weekend that you go out of town? Nobu reminded me that I needed your permission to take him somewhere!”

 

He sighed. “Those are the rules. If you don't like them, you can always take this issue to the courts and we can draw things out more, Orihime.”

 

She looked taken aback. “Do you hate me that much?”

 

His green eyes flicked up to her dark eyes. Whenever he was around her, it felt like the weight of the world was on his shoulders. “No, I do not hate you. I've never hated you. What I feel for you is so far from hate—”

 

“Wow, you must despise me that much. I see,” she assumed.

 

“Woman!” His voice boomed out across the room. He was standing up, both of his hands pressed against the top of the desk. He walked around to where Orihime was standing. “You will not put words in my mouth. Especially since you have no clue how I feel about you.”

 

“Then why—”

 

“Envy.” He watched as Orihime's eyes went wide. Ulquiorra continued to say the words that were tattooed on him. “Gluttony. Covet. Pride. Sloth. Rage. Lust.”

 

She regarded him very carefully. Orihime didn't make a peep but Ulquiorra could tell she wanted to talk. She wanted answers. He wasn't going to give them to her.

 

“Love,” he stated and then turned away from her, moving back to his desk. He kept his back to the redhead until he heard his office door open and then close. Ulquiorra gave a sigh and rolled down his sleeves and put on his jacket. He had a board meeting to rush to.

 

His heart was beating erratically as he stalked down the hallways carrying the folder he needed for the meeting. He could not believe what he said to his ex-wife. It seemed pretty pathetic that he hadn't gotten over her after all this time.

 

After the meeting, he felt like he needed to go talk to someone... The person who knew him best after Orihime. He'd drive to Nikko and talk to Nel.

 

* * *

 

Nel was on a conference call with Renji and Shuhei. Both men were detailing a breakdown on profits and such. Being the boss of three different tattoo shops was a pain in the ass but it had to be done. As soon as it got out that Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez's pretty wife ran a tattoo shop, Candy Ink had customers out the ass and was booked for an entire year. She talked to Rangiku and wrangled the woman's husband into running the Utsunomiya branch of the tattooing shop. Then she sent Renji to Tokyo to open a shop there. All three businesses were successful. Nel oversaw the hiring of artists and she occasionally did pieces in each shop.

 

She knew the booming business was because of her husband and her boyfriend's celebrity status. Not that she minded the work. It kept Nel busy.

 

There was a knock on the door and she glanced up to see a man in a suit standing in the doorway. Her eyes widened as she saw who it was. Nel held up a finger then beckoned him into the room. Ulquiorra nodded and closed the door behind him.

 

She looked him up and down. Nel licked her lips. She had to hold the reigns on her hormones.

 

Ulquiorra looked very good in the black designer trousers and the white dress shirt. He had the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. She could see his tattoo-covered forearms.

 

“Nel? Nel?”

 

“What?” she snapped.

 

“Are you paying attention?”

 

“No,” she snorted with laughter. “I'll call you guys back later.”

 

Once she hung up the phone she looked at the dark-haired man. “Hey, Ulqui.”

 

“Nel.”

 

She smiled when he didn't scold her for the nickname. “You're about six months early on an appearance. Why'd you come down?”

 

He shrugged, “I'm not gonna be skimping on weekends this time. He's old enough to be left alone at night. I needed to talk to someone. Orihime—”

 

“Here we go again.”

 

The green eyes narrowed. “No, not here we go again. She came by my office today.”

 

“Did you throw her down and make passionate love to her?”

 

“Tch.”

 

“You wanted to,” Nel said teasingly.

 

The man sighed and shook his long, layered hair. She watched as he ran his fingers through it. “Do you remember when you tattooed the words on my upper arms?” he asked.

 

She nodded. He'd been distraught that night but he handed her a design and she inked it into his skin. Nel remembered that night because it was Ulquiorra and Orihime's wedding anniversary... Well, it had been before the divorce. “What about the words,” she asked.

 

So, Ulquiorra told her what happened in his office and when he was done he said, “I said those words to her. Years ago, I said them to her. I don't understand this Nel. I've only had feelings for two women in my life. I can't get either of them out of my head. Neither of them wants me.”

 

“Have you thought about going to Retsu to talk about your issues?”

 

“She's still alive?” he asked in disbelief.

 

Nel shrugged. She made her lips form a thin line before she spoke again. “I've not kept up with any of them since Don died. You said two women, besides Orihime who else?”

 

Although she asked him that question, she was pretty sure what his answer was going to be.

 

Ulquiorra nodded. “Really? You have to ask?”

 

Yep, that's what she thought he was going to say. He meant her and Orihime.

 

* * *

 

When Bazz dropped Vain off at the gates of the school, she didn't say a word to the other man who she thought of as a second father. She flounced out of the car. He refused to stop anywhere so she could purchase makeup. She could hear people whispering as she walked up to the billboard that was posted in front of the school. She could tell her name from a mile away. It was always typed in English. No one wanted to butcher the celebrity name.

 

“That car is a classic.”

 

“Isn't that Bazz Black? The supermodel?”

 

“I don't know who he is but he's hot.”

 

“Is that his kid?”

 

“She's gorgeous.”

 

“Her hair is a mess.”

 

Vain tried to ignore the comments about her hair. She saw a kid who was about her height, looking at the board. He had a trendy haircut and was pointing to something. Elbowing him out of the way, She saw her name and then walked into the school. Building three, classroom two B.

 

Following the signs, the blonde made her way into the classroom and looked around. She had no clue how the seating arrangement worked around here but she noticed there weren't many people in the class. The room only had about twenty desks.

 

Then Vain noticed her name on a desk near the front. Second row, third seat. The hairstyle kid came in and sat in front of her. She raised up in her seat a bit and looked over his shoulder.

 

Cifer Noboru

 

What the hell kind of name was that?

 

Things were uneventful until the teacher asked them to introduce themselves. Hairstyles, as Vain had mentally nicknamed him, stood up with his head bowed and mumbled some sentences about himself then sat. Soon the front row was done and then it was her turn.

 

“I'm Vain Jaegerjaquez. Yes, my father is the lead singer of Vapor Atrophy. Thrilled to be here with you folks,” she plopped herself back into her seat. Once she sat down, there was a flurry of whispers and she couldn't help smiling.

 

What she didn't realize was that those whispers weren't nice ones.

 

* * *

 

Noboru said nothing when the girl with yellow hair practically elbowed him out of the way. He was a bit disgruntled to find her in his class. Then she opened her mouth and proclaimed who she was. He heard what people said about her.

 

“She's dating Bazz Black. She totally got out of a car he was driving.”

 

“I bet she thinks she's going to be loved.”

 

“Stuck up bitch.”

 

He knew what it was like to be hated by classmates. His green eyes made him different from the sea of black/brown hair and brown eyes. This he was shunned and only those who were different made friends with him.

 

During the lunch hour, he took his food up to the roof because he didn't feel like being around his classmates. He had managed not to look at anyone so his eyes couldn't be ridiculed. That was until he bumped into an upperclassman who shoved him into the wall. All Noboru did was glanced at the males who immediately crowded around him.

 

He was used to being shoved around. It happened a lot. What he didn't expect was the fact that these guys punched him in the face and he went down, slumped against the wall. Noboru heard her voice.

 

“Hey, why don't you leave him the fuck alone?”

 

“Who is that?” the boy who punched him asked.

 

“Vain Jaegerjaquez. The big celebrity's daughter.”

 

“Whatever. Bitch is stupid.”

 

“Oh look, Celeb wants to protect the freak.”

 

“I said, leave him alone,” she repeated. He could see her kneeling in front of him after the bullies left. “You okay?”

 

Her hands were going to touch him and that was one thing he did not want. Why couldn't people just leave him alone? So he snapped his head up and he stared at her with a displeased look in his eyes. She sounded shocked or surprised, he wasn't quite sure.

 

She touched his face and stared at him like she was looking at a ghost. It made him uncomfortable but seeing as she was a celebrity's daughter, she probably thought she could do anything she wanted... including assaulting classmates.

 

“What are you doing?” he asked.

 

“Your eyes,” she said. Her blue eyes were darting back and forth staring into his own.

 

He sighed and closed his eyes. “Is this better? I know they're a unique shade of green.”

 

“Viridian,” she replied, removing her hands from his face. “They're the color of viridian. Deep green emerald pools in a lush forest right after it rains.”

 

Noboru opened his eyes and looked at her quizzically. “You're weird,” he said. “I'm Noboru Cifer. I know who you are, Celeb.”

 

“Okay, Freak,” she commented. “Call me Celeb and I'll kick your ass.”

 

He scowled. “Do you regularly go around saving people, only to threaten them?”

 

She smiled and he was temporarily speechless. He glared at her.

 

“What's wrong?”

 

“I just wanted to eat my lunch in peace and now I'm going to have a target on my back,” Noboru stated.

 

She raised an eyebrow at him. “Don't you know how to fight?”

 

He shook his head. “My stepdad has tried to teach me but I'm not interested in violence. There's no point in it.”

 

“If you're going to be a freak, you're going to need to learn how to defend yourself,” the girl answered. She finally stood and offered her hand to him.

 

He regarded it warily.

 

“Don't trust me? We can be friends. I don't know anyone in this school.”

 

“You look like you're going to be a pain in the ass and a headache,” Noboru said but he grabbed her hand. She yanked him up. He was quite surprised to find they were almost the same height. She was slightly taller... The half-inch of height could have been because of the volume of her hair.

 

“My parents would agree with you. Wanna come to a dojo with me?”

 

“A dojo?”

 

“Yeah, I want to teach you how to fight.”

 

“Definitely a pain in the ass and a headache.”

 

Vain smiled. Noboru glowered.

 

* * *

 

Liam scanned each of the faces that were staring at him. He had returned to the prep school although Vain decided to go to a public school. Now her friends were crowded around him.

 

“Jaegerjaquez, where the fuck is Vain?” a mocha-skinned girl asked. Odessa Tristan wasn't one you yanked around.

 

“Chill the hell out,” this came from Elly Granz. Her twin sister stood beside her with her hands on her hips. Poppy Granz just smiled at him. The twins' dad died a long time ago and their uncle who was part of Vapor Atrophy raised them.

 

“She decided to go to a public high school this year,” Liam replied. “Why haven't you asked Ginjo where she is? He was at our house this morning.”

 

“Ginjo? Was he with Ebern and Harribel?” This question came from Valentina Mosqueda. He knew Val because her dad was a part of Vapor Atrophy. She had an older brother.

 

Liam nodded. “Also with Accutrone,” he replied.

 

“Tell Vain to call us. We've been texting her phone but no response,” Odessa said before clicking her fingers together.

 

“She got in trouble. Her phone got taken away,” the boy called out. The females looked back at him and he shrank back. “I'll tell her though.”

 

Chapter Text

The bell that signaled the end of the school day rang out. Vain stopped the boy sitting in front of her before he could rush out of the room. “I'm serious about teaching you to fight,” she said.

 

“That's nice but we have homework and I need to get it done.”

 

“You don't stay over for any groups or clubs do you?” Noboru shook his head. Vain smiled which made him scowl. “Then come with me to the dojo. Just for an hour. It's not even far from here.”

 

The boy sighed. “I have a train to catch, okay? I don't ride the bus or walk. I live in Utsunomiya.”

 

Her forehead crinkled in confusion. “Why would you go to a school in Nikko if you live over in Utsunomiya?”

 

“Can I go? Everyone else has left,” he replied.

 

Vain huffed. There was something about this kid that she wanted to know. There was something about him she needed to figure out. He was just a boy though. Boys came a dime a dozen. Why did Vain feel like she wanted something to do with him?

 

“No, come down to the dojo with me. Let me take up one hour of your time and then I'll never bother you about it again,” she said.

 

“But you're still going to bother me.”

 

Her blonde hair bobbed up and down as she nodded. “I told you, Freak—”

 

She watched as his cheeks tinged a slight pink. It was adorable. Noboru wasn't a bad looking kid. He didn't have that bad boy edge like Eizo did but this kid was probably clean cut as you could get. Maybe her parents would approve of him.

 

Hold the phone, was she contemplating dropping her hot boyfriend to do some slumming? Vain wrinkled her face at this thought. No fucking way. Eizo was hotter than anyone in this school.

 

“Don't call me that, Celeb. My name is Noboru.”

 

“Ima call you Ruru then.”

 

“Women are insufferable—”

 

“Humans are strange, we pick one human and are like, you're the one! Let's do stuff together,” Vain stated, cheerfully. “So you're my human for today that I want to do something with. Tomorrow my attention may shift to someone cuter than you.”

 

“You think I'm cute?”

 

Vain realized her slip up and she scowled slightly. “No, you're not cute,” she said. “Come on, daylight is burning.”

 

* * *

 

When Kugo walked into the sleek black office, he felt nothing but fear in the back of his mind. He knew he was playing a dangerous game but one did what they did to survive. He survived the Yakuza war all those years ago with nothing more than a couple of bullet wounds. A couple of new gangs had rolled into town while Jugram Haschwalth played the new Yakuza prince and courted Tier Harribel.

 

While the former Yakuza queen detailed how a great leader her dead husband was to her son, the Wanderreich and another group called the Espada had wiped or absorbed lesser gangs into its folds. Kugo helped with this task. He had met with the Wanderreich leader. He didn't need to meet with the Espada leader because that was his group.

 

Then Shukuro on his thirteenth birthday asked to meet with the Wanderreich leader.

 

The back of the shiny black office chair was still facing him. “You wanted to see me?” Kugo asked. The chair turned and the man who was standing had to swallow back a wave of nausea.

 

As Nodt was one fucking scary dude. He had completely black eyes. His black hair was shiny and sleek and hung to his waist. The thing that freaked Kugo out was the fact the man wore a midnight blue colored leather mask over his nose and mouth. The mask was studded with five long spikes. He always wore the same double-breasted, white trench coat and his fingerless gloves were the same color as his mask. The man wore a cape when he went outside.

 

Nodt didn't care if blood splattered the material. He strode into places like he owned them and was doing battle. He killed anyone in his path. He didn't take to theatrics. He didn't pause and make grand villain speeches. He walked in, cocked and then pulled. Ruthless was an understatement when it came to the man.

 

He was a freak all around but Kugo needed him. He was going to take down these Yakuza assholes. They let Aizen get killed. They allowed Tsukishima's killer to live. No one questioned Aizen's death. A fucking sniper bullet to the head.

 

For years, he stood in the shadows and watched Tsukishima. He talked to the boy and befriended him. He asked Aizen to assign him to the guy as a bodyguard once he got older. Aizen had denied him, said he needed him in the ranks.

 

Six fucking bodyguards could not protect his ass. Kugo could have. He could have gunned down and executed that pasty-faced Cifer and his fucking entourage of misfits.

 

When Tier called and told him she had Aizen's son and it was his turn to protect him, Kugo had been there since the kid was born. He felt like a true father to Shukuro.

 

“Ginjo,” came the slightly grating and metallic voice. “Sit.”

 

* * *

 

“I don't have anything to wear to do this,” Noboru said as they stood at a bus stop.

 

“So buy something—Wait, you're in a public school, you probably don't have money,” Vain said and sighed.

 

“Excuse you?”

 

“I'll buy you a t-shirt and some pants. You can pay me back whenever you can scrape together some money,” she commented offhandedly.

 

His green eyes narrowed. “You are rude and—”

 

She tilted her head and stared at him. “Look, I'm trying to be friendly and help you out.”

 

“Pushy, demanding, and you certainly live up to your name!” Noboru finished. He leaned against a building and crossed his arms over his chest. This girl rubbed him the wrong way but he found himself wanting to talk to her. Stupid teenage hormones were at work. He knew this.

 

It didn't stop him from being curious about her.

 

“Who is the guy that dropped you off this morning? You dating him?”

 

The blonde threw her head back and laughed. Noboru couldn't help his eyes were drawn to her neck. “Holy shit, no. Bazz? He's old. He's ancient. He's—”

 

A realization hit Noboru. “Wait, your dad is Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez.”

 

“Yeah, and?”

 

“Before summer break ended, I saw him on a talk show thing. They showed this picture of him and a woman—The host was trying to get Grimmjow to say he was dating the guy. Is he like a family friend? Is he gay?” Noboru asked, feeling like an idiot. He was rambling.

 

“It's none of your business but no, I'm not dating Bazz. He's an ass.”

 

Clearly, Noboru crossed a line that he didn't know that was there. “Sorry. I didn't mean to pry but you're famous.”

 

“I'm not famous. My dads are,” she replied, looking away from him.

 

The green-eyed boy scoffed and pulled his phone out of his pocket. He pulled up an app and then typed in Vain Jaegerjaquez. He tapped on where it said images and held out the phone. “You're not famous?” he asked.

 

Her blue eyes flicked to the screen and then back to his face. “Shut up, Freak.”

 

“Make me, Celeb.”

 

“You'd love for me too, huh? Want to be caught kissing the child of some celebrity singer? Get your famous for fifteen status?” Vain said. She was looking at him like she was trying to seduce him. It made him uncomfortable.

 

He wrinkled his nose. “I have no need for people like you,” he replied. “Fame is overrated.”

 

A car pulled up to the bus stop and a boy stuck his head out the window.

 

“Baby Vain, get your ass in the car.”

 

“Eizo!” she shrieked.

 

Noboru tried to push away the feeling of anger, unsure why he felt like this. Why would he be angry? People were rude to just pull up and demand that people do things. How did Vain even know this clown?

 

“Ruru?”

 

His head snapped up and he saw Vain was in his face. He had to take a step back only to find he couldn't because of the building at his back. “What?”

 

“Bring sweats and a t-shirt for tomorrow. We'll go to the dojo then,” she said. “Have a good night. I know I will.”

 

With that, she climbed into the backseat of the car and it drove away. He couldn't help but narrow his eyes at the car.

 

* * *

 

Grimmjow sighed as he sat at the table in the conference room inside ZTB Records. Bazz was standing at a bank of windows, looking out over Tokyo. His lover had his hands shoved into the pockets of his jeans and was wearing his standard white leather jacket.

 

“What?”

 

Bazz shook his head, his mohawk never moved.

 

“You sure?” Grimmjow asked.

 

“I don't want to talk about it right now,” Bazz replied.

 

“Why not? Something's got your ass in a twist,” he said.

 

Bazz sighed and dropped his head. Grimmjow rolled his eyes. For being a man, the red-haired man was emotional as a bitch. “You ever think of Nel leaving?”

 

Grimmjow furrowed his brow. “What do you mean? Why would she leave?”

 

“Look, her comment about Cifer after Akira was born... That shit didn't sit well with me. It didn't sit well with me at all.”

 

The blue-haired man lifted himself out of the chair and came to stand behind Bazz, wrapping his arms around his shoulders. “Bazzard, she was trying to get a reaction from us,” Grimmjow said, kissing the man's neck.

 

“Stop, we'll get caught. Heaven forbid if someone were to see us,” Bazz mentioned then shrugged the blue-haired man off him. “Your PR would blow a gasket if it came out that his little Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez liked cock.”

 

“Half of my fan base are females. I have an image to maintain.”

 

“What about the men in your crowds? The guys who sing along to every word that comes out of your mouth?”

 

“What the fuck is your issue, Bazz?” The man scoffed and turned to look at Grimmjow. He didn't like the expression.

 

“I'm worried about Cifer.”

 

“Ulquiorra isn't a threat. He's never been a threat,” Grimmjow replied.

 

“You sure about that?”

 

“Fuck Bazz. I've not talked to the guy since that one New Year's Eve that we invited the Candy Ink crew too. After his divorce, he fell off the face of the Earth,” he said. Grimmjow knew what happened that night. They each fucked each other into a sweaty mess. Ulquiorra left the next morning. Each of them looked like they'd been mauled, rode and put away wet.

 

Nel told him not to say anything to Bazz about it.

 

“She told me last night when we were giving Akira a bath that Ulquiorra is going to be working through the year. He's not taking his customary six-month break from tattooing,” Bazz stated. “What if I told you she fucked around years ago with him?”

 

Grimmjow shook his head. “I knew about it. I could hear her screaming his name.”

 

“Funny you could hear that from Karakura.”

 

What?”

 

The conference room door opened and Sloane Parker breezed through with another man on her tails. “Okay, boys, we've got a solution.”

 

Grimmjow glanced at Bazz who looked equally confused. “A solution to what?”

 

“Ya'll are gonna pose together for an endorsement. It's an underwear ad.”

 

“Sloane,” Grimmjow growled. “I'm gonna—”

 

“Yadda, yadda, yadda. I know. You're gonna kill me.”

 

* * *

 

Orihime waited until ten in the evening to clean up the kitchen from dinner. It looked like Ichigo wasn't coming home that night. She had just shut off all the lights when she heard fumbling at the front door. She stood in the dark living room as the door opened.

 

“Rukia, I know.”

 

It was Ichigo! Her heart swelled but the feeling immediately died when she heard his voice.

 

“Midget, look, I'll tell her when it's right. I'll be there for the appointment. I want to see the baby. Yes, are you done? I mean I just left your house. Yeah, love you too.”

 

Orihime couldn't help the gasp that escaped her lips. Tears filled her eyes. What had that conversation meant?

 

Appointment? Baby? Left her house? Love you too?

 

The words weren't coming together correctly for Orihime to process. So she just sat down on the couch with her head in her hands.

 

Her breath caught in her throat and she tried to stop the sob that shook her body. This wasn't happening. This was just a bad dream. Her husband loved her. He cared about her. He wouldn't do this to her. She found herself rocking back and forth, holding herself.

 

What happened? Why? What would happen? Was—was Ichigo cheating on her? Was this retribution for all those years ago where the orange-haired man found her wrapped around Ulquiorra while they were seeing each other?

 

Ulquiorra.

 

The words that Ulquiorra said to her a week ago hit her hard in the chest.

 

Lust.

 

Love.

 

Did he still love her?

 

The light came on in the room and she looked up to see Ichigo staring at her. Orihime looked at him, more tears spilled down her cheeks.

 

“Sorry, I had to work late. Did you have another one of those PTSD attacks?” he said setting down his things. “Did you have a nice day? Was the bakery busy?”

 

Orihime didn't say a word to him. She got up and went upstairs to their bedroom.

 

Chapter Text

Vain didn't go anywhere with Noboru that first month of school. She made the excuse that she had joined a club after school to her parents. Eizo would pick her up from that bus stop and she'd have the time of her life until the boy dropped her off near her house. He would never show his car on her street. Apparently, her dad had threatened her boyfriend with bodily harm if he even touched Vain again.

 

The girl was stubborn. She was hardheaded. She wouldn't take no for an answer. She would have her cake and eat it too.

 

The most important thing that bothered her was that Noboru had gotten under her skin somehow. She enjoyed making him blush and the small smiles he'd give her. Her after-school friends didn't matter when Noboru was around.

 

She sat with Noboru during lunch and they would talk about silly stuff. She would let him in on a bit of what it was like to have a celebrity for a dad. He would mumble about things and look off into the distance.

 

A perfect friendship.

 

Until their group grew. She recognized Gin Hisagi. His dad ran one of her mom's tattoo shops. Then there was a girl named Kiku Asano who Noboru started talking to. Their duo had now turned into a quad. Vain didn't like the girl; she was too handsy with Noboru.

 

Makoto Ishida joined them soon after. That boy mostly scowled and fixed his glasses with two fingers but he could sew like no one's business. Apparently, his father was an amateur fashion designer and a doctor.

 

Sora Kunieda was a quiet girl. Vain liked her because she ignored most of the group except Makoto. Sora brought Lola Margela, Toru Sado and Yasu Patros with her. With the exception of Gin, her lunchtime companions were in her class. They all became quick friends.

 

She was a totally different person when she was at school versus after school. She felt like she could be herself which was not the stuck up snob that everyone perceived her as. She was more toned down and actually did her school work and paid attention during lessons. After school with her former group of friends, she had to be this ball busting bitch who enjoyed getting high.

 

There was another layer to her too. She was a completely different person when it was just her and Noboru. Not that they got many chances to be alone anymore but it was nice when he walked to the bus stop with her.

 

“Are we ever going to go to that dojo?” he asked one afternoon. The weather was starting to become brisk in the afternoon and the boy had a hoodie on over his uniform. “I'd like to stop carrying these sweats and t-shirt around with me if you're not going to follow through.”

 

Vain shifted her blue eyes over to the male walking beside her. “You actually want to learn how to fight?”

 

He shrugged. “You said that you were going to teach me,” he replied, voice sounding indifferent.

 

“You just didn't sound too into the idea, so I dropped it.”

 

“That sounds like a pile of bullshit if I've ever heard it,” Noboru replied. He sounded mad. “You stopped caring about the idea once that car came around to pick you up every day.”

 

Vain stopped walking and narrowed her eyes at the boy. She tilted her head slightly and put her hands on her hips. “Noboru,” she said.

 

“What?”

 

He was being bitchy... Could he be? No, he wouldn't be jealous. “Are you mad?”

 

That stopped him in his tracks. Vain had time to study him a lot over the past month of school. She observed how he acted around others and how he responded to different scenarios. He was mostly a calm and collected person. He bristled when people touched his back or neck. He didn't like it when people invaded his space but he allowed Vain to do it many times. Often at lunch, their knees and thighs touched.

 

“I just don't get you,” Noboru said turning around to face her.

 

“Do you want to go to the dojo or not?”

 

“No, you don't want to!” he shouted at her.

 

“I never said I didn't want to!” she shouted back. “What the hell is your problem? You've been acting weird all week! Actually, every Friday you act all pissy!”

 

He turned from her and started walking again. Vain had to jog to catch up to him. She pulled him into an alley and slammed him against the wall, pinning him there. “Cifer, I swear to everything you are—”

 

Her words were cut off and she found herself pinned against the wall, a pair of lips pressed against her mouth. Vain faced a very red-faced and angry Noboru Cifer.

 

“Leave me alone,” he stated, every word was spoken clearly. Then he was gone.

 

* * *

 

He rode the train to Utsunomiya, looking out the window. What had prompted him to kiss her? It wasn't even a good kiss. He just was tired of her running her mouth. He wasn't going to admit he was jealous because he wasn't. She could do whatever the hell she wanted and he didn't care. He just wanted to know if she was jerking him around.

 

Noboru didn't like the different faces of Vain Jaegerjaquez. There was her public face. There was the face he only got to see while they were walking to lunch or that stupid bus stop. It wasn't much different than the public but she was ruder and blunt. She touched him or called him one of the many stupid nicknames she had for him.

 

Hairstyles. Ruru. Freak. Nono.

 

He only called her Vain and Celeb.

 

Then there was the absolute bitch that came out once that car pulled up. Her attitude went to a depth of hell where demons were born and she became unbearable to be around. Those guys in the car didn't mind. They waved their hands and brushed her off like this was normal.

 

It took about thirty more minutes before he got inside the apartment where he lived. His dad was standing in the kitchen. It was rare if Noboru ever saw his dad. He mostly stayed in his room.

 

“Noboru,” his father said, in a monotone voice.

 

“Dad,” the boy replied.

 

“Do you want dinner? I'm making steaks, rice, and salad. If you're not hungry I can leave a plate in the refrigerator.”

 

Noboru raised an eyebrow and then eyed his dad carefully. He was still dressed in his business attire. The man was going on a date. Or he had someone coming over. He mulled over this information for a moment. Perhaps his father could help him. It was worth a shot. His dad obviously knew something about women if he had a girlfriend, gotten married and divorced. If he called his mom to talk about stuff like this she'd wax on about love and other nonsense.

 

“Dad, what do you do when you like a girl?”

 

“Run.”

 

“Pardon?”

 

The older man with the tattoos on his face shook his head. “Don't mind me. Um, do you like a girl? Is it someone from your class or school?”

 

Noboru shrugged.

 

“You don't like her. You've only been in school a month. Give it some time. Does she know you exist?”

 

The kid nodded.

 

Ulquiorra pinched the bridge of his nose then sighed. “Okay, um, I guess I'm going to let you in on some wisdom when it comes to women. They'll get you in trouble. Wear condoms, even if she says that she's on birth control or can't get pregnant. Wear condoms, bottom line. Do not go for the first person you like or think you love. There's someone else out there for you. The person you love first will hurt you the most.”

 

“That explains nothing.”

 

“That's pretty much how life is, Noboru.”

 

“How many people did you fall in love with before you met mom?”

 

“No one,” Ulquiorra replied and turned away from his son.

 

* * *

 

“Tell me what you meant,” Grimmjow demanded when they were in the kitchen on a clear Saturday morning. Nel had taken all the children to Aika's house to visit. He was leaving for Sapporo tonight for a start of a series of radio interviews and performances that would be a promotion for the new Vapor Atrophy album that was soon to be released.

 

He and the other members would be hitting fourteen cities in two weeks; one city per day. The only bad thing was the fact they'd be going to Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and China.

 

He had let the information stew for several days in the aftermath of the news of their joint underwear ad campaign. He wanted answers before he left. Bazz was cornered against the wall, the refrigerator, and Grimmjow.

 

“What did I mean when?”

 

“Don't play stupid son-of-a-bitch. Tell me what you meant by the Karakura comment,” Grimmjow said in an irate tone.

 

“Ask Nel,” Bazz said.

 

“I ain't asking her shit. You're the one who said it. Are you that jealous of Ulquiorra and feel that threatened by him that you'd make up shit?” Grimmjow asked, jabbing the man in the chest.

 

“Get out of my face, Grimm.”

 

“Fuck you. I'm not going anywhere until you answer my question!” He yelled. The blue-haired man was getting pissed off and it was all because of Bazz. The man was avoiding his question. He could see Bazz was getting just as mad at him.

 

The red-haired man sneered at him. “Go get fucked, that's what you can do. Take your woman and your disrespectful kids and go get fucked.”

 

Grimmjow's eyebrow shot up. He had never heard Bazz talk about anyone in their family that way. The way he talked about Nel was almost like he worshiped her. “Hold the hell up. What the fuck is wrong with you that you would say that about the mother of your children?”

 

“She fucked Ulquiorra,” Bazz stated. “I can't stand the little shit and the way he moons over her whenever I see him at Candy Ink. I'm tired of keeping it a secret.”

 

“I know she has,” Grimmjow said. “It's not a secret, man.”

 

“If you know about the time when you were laid up in Karakura, why are you busting my balls about it?”

 

WHAT?”

 

* * *

 

Nel held the phone away from her ear as she heard Grimmjow screaming through the phone. She could barely understand him with how loud he was being and finally, she just hung up on him.

 

“Mother, can I ask you a favor?”

 

“You want me to watch the children while you go home and attend to whatever tantrum Grimmjow is having?” Akia asked as she held the youngest child in her arms.

 

“Can I go home with you?” Vain asked from the room in the middle of the kitchen and dining room. She was sprawled out on her grandmother's couch, flipping through television channels.

 

“No, stay here and help with your brother and sister.”

 

Nel grabbed her bag and keys and then walked down the entrance hall to retrieve her shoes. She remembered this house rather well. She knew which room Vain was conceived in. She remembered what went on in the second bathroom and that small room at the end of the hall. She even remembered what happened in the room with the double sliding rice paper screens.

 

It didn't make her blush that much anymore. Just when the memories went into graphic details. Nel walked out to her car and then was on her way back to that big mansion in the posh Nikko hillside community. She didn't like the house all that much. Their neighbors were nosy and gossip mongers.

 

The little house where her mother lived by herself was the perfect house. Sloane Parker said it wasn't flashy enough for a rockstar.

 

Her phone rang and Nel blindly reached for the phone to answer it. “Hello?”

 

“Nel?”

 

“Ulquiorra?”


“Can you tell me how Grimmjow got my number and is now threatening to kill me?”

 

Her hazel eyes went wide and her brain stopped for a moment. “I'm sorry, can you say that again?”

 

“Grimmjow. Called. Me. And. Threatened. To. Kill. Me. Why?”

 

“He called me screaming. I don't know what is going on,” she replied. “Did he say anything else?”

 

“I think I heard Bazz in the background running his mouth about how I was a sad sack of shit who liked trying to steal other people's women,” came the response.

 

She sighed. “I don't know what is going on. I promise you that he won't kill you.”

 

“How did he get my number?”

 

“Oh, it's probably on my laptop at home. I keep backups of my contacts and clients on my PC at home,” Nel said.

 

The dark-haired man said nothing but goodbye. When she pulled into the driveway, Bazz was outside leaning against his red R8. Nel couldn't help notice he was looking at her angrily.

 

“What's going on, Bazzard?” she asked when she exited the car.

 

“Dunno. Wanna tell me why you would fuck Cifer while drunk on New Year's Eve?”

 

Fuck. “Is this why Grimmjow is yelling at everyone?”

 

“Nope,” Bazz said, shaking his head. “He knows about your little romp. He's leaving for the airport in ten minutes, if you wanna talk at him, you might want to do it now. He'll be gone for two weeks.”

 

Nel glared at the man and stared at him. “Why would you say anything about that to him? It was behind us.”

 

“I don't fucking like Cifer,” Bazz said before he pushed off the car and walked up to the house. The teal-haired woman followed him. “I don't like the idea of his dick anywhere around you.”

 

Her mouth opened in shock. “Bazz, what is going on?” she asked.

 

“I don't know Nel. I've spent the past five weeks since our daughter was born wondering when you're gonna fuck him again,” he snapped at her.

 

She almost opened her mouth to defend herself, saying she would never fuck Ulquiorra again but she stopped herself. Nel knew that she had been eyeing one of her best friend's up because he was sexy in his suits. They were top quality and designer. He wore them Monday through Friday until he arrived at Candy Ink. He'd disappear into the bathroom and come out with jeans slung low on his hips and a customary t-shirt. She knew when Ulquiorra was in the shop, he could be himself. He was an artist and tattooing kept him from going insane.

 

If Grimmjow would have allowed it, she would ask him to join her merry band of men. The way her dark-haired friend fucked was phenomenal. There were times that she thought he was better than Grimmjow and Bazz... combined.

 

“I was joking. I—Whatever was between Ulquiorra and I is over. It's been over for a while,” Nel said quietly.

 

“Mmmm. So if you were to get drunk and be around him, you wouldn't let him fuck ya?” the red-haired man asked as they entered the kitchen.

 

Nel almost shrank back into the hallway because Grimmjow was standing in there looking at Bazz and then her. Both men were staring at her. She swallowed and started backing out into the hallway.

 

“Of course, run Nelliel,” Grimmjow said, breaking his gaze. Nel watched him thumb through his phone. “I'm wondering if I should get a divorce lawyer. I should have had you sign a prenup like Ulquiorra did with Orihime. Won't matter, I guess. You're gonna take half, the kids, the house and the cars. I'll be stuck paying your whore ass.”

 

The blue-haired man slapped Bazz's arm. “You think Orihime knows about this? D'ya think that's why she divorced that stupid prick?”

 

The other man shrugged. “She was a pretty good fuck,” Bazz said.

 

Nel stood there in the doorway of the kitchen and felt tears come to her eyes. She remembered that night. She was forced to watch as Bazz fucked Orihime with Tsukishima. Those tears dried up quickly because she remembered her own abuse at the hands of Bazz's brother.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you two? Jealous? You're going to let one thing ruin what we've had for decades? You're at least going to let it ruin the past fifteen years?” Nel said in a quiet voice. She looked at the blue-haired man with anger in her eyes and walked up to him. “Let's talk about what you did Grimmjow after Ulquiorra was shot. You fucked Orihime and you didn't bother to tell me about it for two fucking months. You kept doing it. You kept going over to her apartment and fucking her.”

 

“We resolved that issue a long time ago, Nel.”

 

“Let's talk about you fucking Ulquiorra the night you were told I went missing. We've never touched on that. Or how about the same New Year's Eve night I fucked him, you fucked him too. I bet you declined to tell Bazz about that. You fucked him and you took his dick too!”

 

“He neglected to say anything about that,” Bazz said.

 

“Don't fucking call me a whore, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. Both of you have slept with more women than I can imagine. I've slept with five people. FIVE PEOPLE. Nnoitra, Grimmjow, Ulquiorra, Bazz and Orihime,” Nel said counting each person on one hand. “So get a fucking divorce lawyer if you want. Hundreds of woman hanging off your dick versus five people. Who knows how many fucking groupies you've slept with!”

 

Her husband was looking down at her and Nel knew that expression. His cerulean eyes were narrowed somewhat, eyebrows drawn and his mouth was pulled down into a frown. Nel took a step back and ran into Bazz's chest. She was trapped between them.

 

“Why do you look so fucking beautiful when you're angry?”

 

* * *

 

Grimmjow felt Nel's ass against his hips and groaned as she settled herself into a position where she was laying against his chest. The bed dipped and he saw Bazz reach over to the bedside table and grab a condom. The red-haired man straddled his legs and Grimmjow frowned. There was no way he'd be able to move with Bazz like that.

 

“What?”

 

“If you do that I can't move.”

 

Bazz scoffed and shoved a knee between Grimmjow's leg. It came dangerously close to his balls. “Move your legs apart then,” the mohawked man said. “Hold her legs up.”

 

Grimmjow grabbed Nel's legs behind the knee and pulled them up. He shifted his hips. She let out a whine. “Shhh, Queen. You wanted to do this, remember?”

 

* * *

 

Having a threesome with Nel and Grimmjow wasn't anything new but this was different. Usually, he was on the bottom of the pile, waiting for the blue-haired man to get his dick in her ass. It usually didn't happen. Then he'd get a blowjob while waiting for Grimmjow to finish fucking her.

 

Now, Grimmjow was on the bottom and he'd gotten himself into Nel's ass. All Bazz had to do was get his dick in her. He was working on it. The leg that wasn't in between Grimmjow's leg stayed on top of the other man's as he got closer to Nel. The woman's chest was heaving.


“You okay?”

 

“Mmhmm. I'm just—I want to—I need—”

 

Grimmjow shifted his hips again and her eyelids fluttered shut. “She's ready for this Bazz,” the other man said.

 

* * *

 

Nel was holding back a scream as her body rocked between both men. This was something close to the rapture she imagined. Having Bazz with his considerable length and width enter her was heavenly but the sensation was a bit too much as Grimmjow and him began to move. She had nothing to hold onto because she was on top of Grimmjow on her back. This position for the “Nel Sandwich” was already a success but they had to go slow.

 

Still, she was between them. Nel had been waiting for eight years for this. “Please, I want to come,” she whined.

 

“Tell us what you want, Nel,” Grimmjow panted from under her.

 

“Fu-fu—fuck me.”

 

“Bazz?”

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“You heard her.”

 

Soon the bedroom was filled with Nel screaming in pleasure and babbling incoherently. It took no time for all of them to come together. She vaguely heard Grimmjow complain that he was being crushed by Bazz's heavy ass. The man on top kind of slid to the side

 

Grimmjow turned on his side, taking her with him. He removed himself from her body and then kissed her shoulder. “I've got to go. I'm gonna be late,” he whispered to her.

 

Nel nodded her head. “I know,” she said.

 

“Look at me, Nel.”

 

She turned and stared at him for a moment. “What?”

 

“Step out on me again and what I threatened before won't be a threat. You get enough dick between Bazz and me,” he told her before kissing her lips. “Step out on me with him and I'll kill him.”

 

Chapter Text

The first week passed fine. Noboru didn't even think once about the girl with sky blue eyes and golden hair. He ignored her perfectly. Except when she didn't sit beside him at lunch. She didn't look at him. She wouldn't even talk to him.

 

Well, it was his own fault. He did tell her to leave him alone.

 

It was eating at him and one day at lunch Hisagi leaned over to him and quietly said, “You're a moron. Just tell her.”

 

Noboru's eyes went wide and he looked at the older male. “What are you talking about?”

 

“You two are practically killing yourselves being stupid with this. Get past whatever is between you. Everyone is noticing your moods,” Gin replied.

 

“I don't know—”

 

“You like her. You want her to be your girlfriend, right?”

 

Noboru nodded slightly. He couldn't help it but he missed Vain and her nicknames.

 

* * *

 

Two weeks passed without incident in the Jaegerjaquez-Black household. Her mom seemed happy. Bazz went to Italy for a job. Her dad called every night from a different city.

 

Vain didn't say anything to the green-eyed boy. She sat behind him and ignored him. At least that's what she told herself. Their friends noticed a change especially since she didn't sit beside Noboru anymore at lunchtime. She sat across from him and pointedly didn't look at him.

 

One day, Sora and Lola sat on either side of her and giggled about something. She tried to smile with them but she couldn't. Vain didn't feel like being around anyone at that moment. She excused herself from the group and made her way into the school.

 

Truthfully, Vain was fucking miserable. She missed talking to Noboru. She missed how he smiled at her. She even missed how he called her Celeb. A sigh left her. She was walking back to the classroom, lost in thought when she was pulled into a different room.

 

Noboru had her back against the door. It was quiet.

 

She looked at him then raised an eyebrow. “What—”

 

“I like you.”

 

“What?”

 

The boy scoffed. “I knew I shouldn't have listened to Gin.”

 

“No, no, no,” Vain said, very confused at this point. She had no idea why she was in a room with Noboru. She didn't understand what he said or she couldn't comprehend his words. “What do you mean?”

 

“I like you.”

 

“I heard that. I like you too. That's why we're friends,” she said. How could a boy make her so confused?

 

He sighed. “Not like that. I mean—Nevermind.”

 

Vain's forehead wrinkled. “Wait, are you saying you like me as you want to date me?”

 

His cheeks turned a bright pink. She didn't need to ask any more questions. That right there gave her an answer. He had been jealous. That kiss in the alley... It had meant something. After he kissed her, Vain had stood there for a while and traced her mouth with her fingertips.

 

Then she decided to actually listen to him. She left him alone.

 

“I have a boyfriend,” she said quietly feeling horrible for saying those words. She should not have felt bad at his resigned look.

 

Noboru nodded. “I know. I'm just telling you. Gin said I should tell you, just so you know. Also, I apologize for the—”

 

“Do you want to go to the dojo?” Vain didn't know why she invited him at that moment. Perhaps it was because she wanted to spend time with him... Alone.

 

“When?”

 

“Now.”

 

“We just can't—”

 

“We can. Let's get our stuff and leave. There's a gap in the fence by the sports field.”

 

* * *

 

Noboru wasn't sure what to expect when he walked into the big building. It didn't look like a dojo. It just said Kenpachi's on the front of the building. As soon as they walked in Vain's mood instantly shifted. The girl became cockier.

 

No, she wasn't being arrogant, Noboru thought. Vain was comfortable here. She was smiling and talking to people.

 

“Jaegerjaquez!”

 

Noboru fought the urge to run and hide when he heard a deep voice boom out. He saw a tall, muscular man with long black hair that was streaked with gray. He had an eyepatch over one side of his face.

 

“Who is that?” the boy asked.

 

“That's Kenny.”

 

“Kenny?”


“Kenpachi. He owns the dojo. Pretty scary, huh?” Vain smirked at him.

 

“Jaegerjaquez, getcha ass over here!”

 

He followed the girl as she made her way over to the man.

 

“Hiya Kenny!”

 

The owner of the dojo raised an eyebrow. “Why aren't you in school?”

 

“I brought a friend with me. He wants to learn how to fight,” she replied.

 

Noboru suddenly felt like this was a very bad idea. He wanted to sink into the shadows and disappeared when the man turned his attention from the blonde to him.

 

“What's your name kid?”

 

“Noboru Cifer.”

 

“Cifer? As in the engineering tycoon, tattooed, billionaire Ulquiorra Cifer? That Cifer? You're his son?”

 

The male teenager didn't miss how Vain's mouth dropped open. He nodded slowly. “You know my father?”

 

When Kenpachi laughed, Noboru jumped again. The sound echoed around the room. The few men who were sitting around eyed the man like he was insane. “Ah, man. I've not laughed like that in a long time. Vain, show the kid around. You gonna need help with teaching him?”

 

The blonde shook her head. “Can I use one of the private rooms?”

 

“Yeah, just don't put him through the floor. I don't need his dad knocking on my door.”

 

Vain showed him where he could change his clothes. She told him that she would be waiting for him when he got done and to leave his shoes off. Noboru felt so stupid as he walked out wearing the sweats, the white t-shirt, and his socks. Vain was already standing there.

 

Noboru almost retreated back into the men's changing area. His throat worked to swallow the lump that was forming. Was she doing this on purpose?

 

She had her hair up in a messy bun, strands poking out at all angles. She had on a white sports bra thing but it didn't look like her chest was going anywhere. There were a pair of dark gray fitted sweatpants wrapped around the lower half of her body, draped dangerously low on her hips. Noboru thought she was just some pampered princess but he saw actual muscle definition in her arms, along with her stomach and back. He couldn't help eye how her back curved down to a perfect ass. Shit. If he didn't stop looking he was going to get caught.

 

“Can't you put on something else?” he asked, almost stumbling over the words.

 

“What's wrong Ruru?” she asked, raising an eyebrow. “C'mon, this way.”

 

She moved towards a hallway that was beside the changing rooms. He followed her to the last door on the right. Vain opened the door and gestured for him to enter the room. The room had a blue padded floor and white walls. He looked around and noticed it was completely empty.

 

Thud.

 

He turned around to see Vain standing against the door. “Why did we need a private room?”

 

* * *

 

Orihime was on the phone again. She was at work, leaning against the tiled wall, watching her employees shuffle back and forth for some wedding order they had gotten months ago. She sighed and was about to hang up when she heard the person on the other end of the line.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Ulquiorra, it's—”

 

“Hello, Orihime.”

 

“You're probably—”

 

“Why are you calling?”

 

“I want to talk to you. I need to talk to you,” she said quietly. “I need you right now.”

 

A heavy sigh came from the other end of the call. Orihime wondered what she said for him to sound like that.

 

“Orihime, you have a husband.”

 

“I need to talk to you,” she repeated.

 

“Why do you persist in this endeavor? Why? What is the purpose of it?” he asked.

 

She could feel her eyes filling with tears and she placed a fist against one side of her face. “Ichigo—He's—Rukia.”

 

There was a snort of laughter. “Your husband is cheating on you with Rukia? Fitting.”

 

The line went dead and Orihime stood with the phone against her ear and hand on her face.

 

* * *

 

The teenagers stretched, Vain could feel the muscles in her thighs protesting. It'd been too long since she had been in here. The visits to the dojo stopped when she got involved with Eizo. She idly wondered if she could get her dad to come down here with her to fight when he got back to Japan. She couldn't fight Bazz. Pretty boy didn't want to take any shots to the face.

 

Her bare feet were rooted to the mat as she stood up. Noboru's face was red. She didn't think it was from exertion either.

 

“Take off your shirt and socks,” she said.

 

“What?” he spluttered.

 

“Take off the shirt and your socks,” Vain repeated.

 

“Why?”

 

The blonde looked at him and then suddenly her arm shot out, grabbing the white t-shirt. Her leg swung around one of Noboru's and the boy ended up flat on his back with a grunt.

 

“Last time, take off your shirt and your socks.”

 

“Owww.”

 

Vain watched as the boy slowly got to his feet. He glared at her before turning his back to her. Noboru took his time peeling that piece of fabric from his back. He threw it in a corner of the room along with his white socks.

 

“Now what, Captain Blood?”

 

“You need to face me,” Vain replied.

 

When he turned around she was not prepared for the slightly muscled chest or the faint six-pack abdomen. Nor was she expecting the barely visible Adonis lines. She looked at him up and down before settling on his face. Vain was aware that the other teen was blushing and she had been caught staring without shame.

 

“Oh.”

 

“Oh?” he asked.

 

“Shut up. So you're going to face your opponent but turned slightly sideways,” she said and demonstrated the stance. “The thing is you're going to turn your non-dominant side to whomever your fighting. You're right-handed, so you'd point your left hip towards me.”

 

“How do you know I'm right-handed.”

 

“Ruru, I've watched you a lot. Let's not skip around and deny it. I watch you a lot. You watch me a lot,” she said.

 

He rolled his eyes and muttered.

 

“So when you're like this, you're hard to catch. You're slippery. You're like a snake, slithery. It also gives you more power in your punches. You're not a big guy, so you need all the power you can get,” Vain stated. “You want to keep your weight on your right leg that will help you keep your center of gravity.”

 

“Like this?”

 

She nodded. “Now throw a punch at me.”

 

“What?”

 

“Throw a punch,” she said.

 

His mouth dropped open. Vain could see Noboru was flustered. “I can't! You're a girl! I can't hit girls!”

 

Her eyebrows shot up. “You are a pussy,” she said. “You're not going to land one, trust me.”

 

The boy's eyes narrowed and he swung, Vain easily dodge it by leaning backward.

 

“See? Why didn't you tell me that you're richer than my family?”

 

“Huh?”

 

Vain shook her head. When Kenpachi had asked if he was Ulquiorra Cifer's son, Vain had been shocked. Bazz was always bitching about Cifer stocks and sometimes she heard her mom mention that name. “Bring your hands up. You want your left hand blocking your face and your right hand by your chin. Keep your fist clenched like you had a bug inside of them and elbows tucked against your sides.”

 

“What do you mean?” He said following her directions.

 

The girl looked at him and put her hands on her hips. “You didn't correct me when I called you poor. You could buy out my family and still have enough for Eizo's family. You don't act rich though.”

 

“I told you fame isn't important to me. Neither is money,” he stated.

 

She nodded but Vain didn't believe Noboru. “You live in some penthouse apartment in Utsunomiya—”

 

“I live on the twelfth floor of an apartment building in a rather nice but still middle-class neighborhood. It's a two-bedroom and two-bath place. The building has a gym and a parking garage. The entire thing is like thirty floors. My dad and I don't care about money,” Noboru snapped, correcting her. “None of my family cares about money. My mom and my step-dad don't even care about it. What my family focuses on is quality time spent together and if we kids are happy.”

 

“Your parents are divorced?”

 

The boy nodded in a curt manner. “Yes, they are. They've been separated since I was three and I spend six months with my dad and six months with my mom.”

 

“At the same time? You don't see your mom or dad for six months?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“What kind of fucked up world did you grow up in?”

 

“Can we get back to you teaching instead of prying?”

 

* * *

 

He was sweating by the time she was done with the basics of how to fight. Noboru didn't want to tell her that he already knew some martial arts stuff. This was a totally new thing to learn though. Vain was circling around him and he kept trying to land a hit on her but she was fast. “Stop moving!” he barked out.

 

“That's no fun. I wanna see you work for it, Ruru.”

 

“I'm getting tired of your innuendos,” he panted taking a sloppy jab at her.

 

“Bite me,” Vain said, ducking out of the way. She managed to land a tap on his ribcage. “I told you not to swing like Rocky. You'll end up on your ass.”

 

“Who the hell is Rocky?”

 

“Sorry, my mom is a huge movie nerd. Rocky is this—Hey! That was kinda close. Anyway, Rocky is this boxer who goes from the poorhouse to stardom then lands in the poorhouse again because of bad financial decisions,” she commented. “Bazz and my dad like watching it.”

 

“Bazz and your dad are together aren't they?”

 

Vain shrugged as she danced out of the way. “They're all together, the three of them. My mom, Bazz, my dad. My mom has had each guy's kids but its none of my business. I just think it's funny people say I'm dating Big Red because I'm pretty sure if they're reading tabloids and internet blogs, they'd find out real quick.”

 

“Dammit Vain, hold fucking still. How am I—”

 

It happened. He threw a wild punch and ended up pitching forward, his body slamming into the other teenager. They both fell to the mat with an 'oof' and a groan. Noboru thought he had hurt her.

 

“Are you okay?” he asked, propping himself up on his elbows.

 

“You know you're supposed to buy a girl dinner before you get between her legs,” Vain managed to wheeze.

 

Automatically, he turned beet red. Noboru went to push himself off of Vain but she had her arms around his neck. She was looking at him like she was dazed. The teenage boy wasn't really sure. He was feeling hot and bothered. What was he supposed to do in this situation?

 

“I have a boyfriend,” she said quietly.

 

Vain pulled him down, her lips sliding against his mouth. Noboru felt lost, almost helpless against the pull of her body. It wasn't like she was his first kiss. There was a girl who liked him last year who taught him how to kiss against a tree during lunch. After winter break, she moved on to someone else. Noboru didn't care.

 

This girl's mouth was buttery soft and finally, he lifted his head up. His fingers played with some tendrils of hair that framed her face.

 

“I know,” he answered.

 

He leaned down and kissed her again.

 

Chapter Text

Ulquiorra sighed. His son could have the disposition of his mother at times. This was one of those days. The boy jabbered on about his studies.

 

“You're quite animated for a Saturday,” he noted. The boy stopped talking and looked down at his breakfast. This made Ulquiorra raise an eyebrow. “I don't mean that in a bad way, Noboru. What prompted this though?”

 

“Nothing.”

 

The eyebrow raised higher. The boy looked uncomfortable. “Noboru Mateo...”

 

“The girl... The one I told you about—Well, asked you for advice concerning her. She and I—”

 

“Does this have anything to do with the school notifying me that you skipped your afternoon lessons?” His son nodded. Another sigh from the father. “Did you use condoms?”

 

A fine mist of orange juice came from the boy's mouth. Ulquiorra calmly wiped his face off with the cloth napkin covering his lap. His face remained passive as ever. He just wanted to know his son was being safe.

 

His son was spluttering. “What? We didn't do that. I just spent the afternoon with her!”

 

“I implore you, Noboru, use caution and have some common sense. Forget about this girl. In a couple of years, she won't matter.”

 

“Why do you say that? Because Mom left you?”

 

Ouch.

 

The dark-haired man watched as his son shoved off from the table and stomped towards his room. He pinched the bridge of his nose. Ulquiorra got up from the table, scraped the plates into the trash then washed the dishes. He knew he wasn't “Father of the Year” material but looking back in his life, he knew didn't want his son to get hurt and experience that type of heartbreak.

 

All humans did was hurt and use each other. Emotions were useless. Feelings were false senses of security.

 

An hour later, he was sitting at the table with his laptop open in front of him, drinking a cup of coffee when a knock came at the front door. Ulquiorra looked at his watch and then stood up. He wasn't expecting company. He wondered if his son invited friends over.

 

As soon as he unlocked the door and opened it, he felt like he should slam the door shut. Orihime Kurosaki stood in front of him. There was a reason why he tried to minimize contact with the redhead. He didn't want the temptation.

 

“Can I help you?”

 

She took a step forward but Ulquiorra didn't move. He wasn't going to do this. That's how this trouble started seventeen and a half years ago. This little dance of advance and fall back. He narrowed his eyes and looked down at her.

 

“I need to talk to you,” she stated.

 

“Talk.”

 

“Can I come in—”

 

“No,” he replied. “What do you want?”

 

“You.”

 

If Ulquiorra thought that this woman's words couldn't impact him, he was dead wrong. She could have hit him with a car and it wouldn't have been as devastating as her one-word answer. He didn't show his shock. He didn't want to give her that satisfaction.

 

“Seriously, what do you want?”

 

“I just told you.”

 

“You are testing me, Orihime.”

 

“What's wrong with that? You need to be tested once in a while.”

 

“What makes you think I want you?”

 

Without warning, Orihime yanked him to her body, pressing herself against him. She had to stand on her tiptoes to kiss him. A growl ripped through Ulquiorra. He wasn't surprised to see Orihime inside of his home and pinned against his door.

 

“Dad?” Noboru called.

 

Ulquiorra motioned for the woman to be quiet and turned around. “Yeah?”

 

“Is someone here?”

 

“No, someone had the wrong apartment. They insulted me and I slammed the door.”

 

There was silence. Noboru must have closed his bedroom door. He turned back to the redhead who was blushing. “Come with me,” he said quietly.

 

Ulquiorra's bedroom was at the end of a hallway, near the front door. Noboru's bedroom was in a separate hallway on the other side of the living room. The boy wouldn't be able to hear him talking to his mother.

 

He had some reservations about allowing Orihime into his home. She had never stepped foot into the apartment. When he opened the bedroom door, he shoved her inside and then shut the door behind him after he entered the room.

 

“If you think—”

 

“You can deny it all you want. You can lie to yourself all you want. You will not lie to me anymore,” she said. “You still love me. You still want me.”

 

“No—”

 

“Shut up,” she said.

 

Ulquiorra leveled a gaze at her. “You—”

 

“I want you.”

 

He bristled with irritation. She had no clue what she was saying. She was talking out of her ass. “You're distraught. You know if you do this you'll be consumed with guilt. Just because your husband is a cheating—”

 

“Rukia's pregnant.”

 

“And? You think I'm—” Ulquiorra threw his head back, laughing. “Why did you come to my home, Orihime? Why did you violate a court order? You're not supposed to come here. No contact between the parents, that means I'm not supposed to see you, yet you come to my company. I'm seeing you at my house now.”

 

She said nothing. Ulquiorra's irritation got the better of him and he glared at her.

 

“You have a lot of tattoos,” she commented. Orihime wasn't looking at him. She was staring at his forearms that were visible.

 

“You're avoiding the questions.”

 

“You. I did it for you,” she murmured, looking down at the dark gray carpet.

 

When she looked up at him, Ulquiorra's heart about stopped. No woman had made him feel like she made him feel. He remembered that first time she invaded his personal space. Innocence exuded from her and he had been the one to snatch it away from her. He had used her body. He marked her that night.

 

“You're stupid. Have you forgotten?” He said in a low voice.

 

Her copper hair shook as her head turned from side to side. “You're not gentle. You've never been gentle. That's a lie, you know how to be gentle when you make love to me.”

 

Fuck.

 

In no time flat, he was in front of her, forcing her chin up. She stood four inches shorter than him. She still maintained a slim figure but had fuller breasts and hips. He ran his hands down her back with a light tickling touch, relishing the way she arched into him. Did he want this? Could he take this back?

 

He didn't think the desire surging through him would even listen to reason at that moment. He was going to give up all logic and lose his self-control all over her again. Ulquiorra made quick work of her jacket, exiling the piece of outerwear to the floor. Her t-shirt followed soon after that along with her bra, skirt, underwear, boots, and socks.

 

He knelt in front of her and took in the sight of the body on display. He could see the silver scaring of stretch marks around her abdomen. The woman had two children, it was to be expected. Ulquiorra used his tongue to trace one of these marks.

 

“Stop that tickles,” she protested.

 

“You rather it hurt?”

 

She gave a small shake of her head.

 

A smirk graced his face as he traced circles over the skin of her hip. His hands slowly approached her ass, grabbing the flesh. But he was getting ahead of himself. Ulquiorra moved his hands to her knees, letting his fingers trail up her inner thighs. He wanted to chuckle as she widened her stance.

 

He could be cruel. He could rile her up and then tell her to leave. He could bring her to the brink of ecstasy and then turn her away. He could tell her that he didn't want her. The erection in his jeans would be a bold face lie to that statement. Ulquiorra wanted Orihime very much. He'd been wishing for this moment for the past twelve years.

 

Slowly he got to his feet, and drew her close, kissing her; touching her neck. Pale fingers slid down and cupped her breasts. She gasped against his mouth.

 

“I miss your nipple piercings,” he murmured to her letting the pads of his thumbs brush over the skin.

 

“Moms don't have those kinds of things,” she said, blushing.

 

“Bullshit. Kurosaki didn't like them,” Ulquiorra stated. He bent his head down and licked one of those rosy nipples and kissed the other.

 

“Oh god.”

 

His fingers pinched and pulled on those sensitive nubs, making her gasp and moan with want. “Do you want this Orihime?”

 

She nodded. Ulquiorra stopped what he was doing and held her chin, forcing her to look up at him. “I'm going to make your world shatter with pleasure. I hope you know that. I'm going to make you come so many times that you'll beg for me to stop,” he told her.

 

The redhead bit her bottom lip. Her hands were on him, sliding his own t-shirt up. Ulquiorra didn't need much more encouragement than that. He soon made another pile of clothes beside hers. Once, he was naked, he grabbed the woman again, placing small kisses on her face and neck.

 

Orihime was the one who pushed him back towards the bed where he fell onto the surface and looked up at her. He motioned for her to come closer. When she straddled his legs, he found it hard not just to slam her down on his dick and fucking the living daylights out of her.

 

She had her hand on him, stroking the length with unhurried passes. He could feel how her hand felt silken against how hard he was at that moment. Orihime moved above him, crouching like she was waiting for something. Ulquiorra could only nod at her.

 

The purr that came from her slim throat as he entered her body almost drove him to the point of no return. He itched to grab her. The skin was incredibly slick and having her tight pussy wrapped around his cock again was almost like experiencing coming home.

 

It was bliss.

 

He saw what she was doing. He felt what she was doing. Her body was lifting up and down, the muscles in her thighs rigid. Her pace was slow, hips rolling languidly. It was lazy. She was trying to drive him crazy if he had to guess. She was trying not to make a noise. Whimpers kept escaping to fill his eardrums.

 

His green eyes closed and he reached out for one of her hands, letting their fingers entwine. Ulquiorra tried to pull her down but she refused. A growl came forward as he sat up and flipped them over. He wanted to kiss her, dammit.

 

And he did, he pressed his mouth harshly against hers. Orihime moaned as he used his hips in the only expert way he knew how to give her what she wanted. The way he withdrew and pushed back in, prodded and rubbed against that spot inside of her that turned her into a puddle. He knew it. Ulquiorra knew what he could do to her and he exploited the knowledge to his fullest advantage.

 

She thrust against him too just to heighten the euphoria that spread along his limbs and nerves. Their rhythm matched up and it was all too soon she was clawing at his back. He felt her nails dig into the skin. She was making him bleed. He gritted his teeth together. He couldn't hold on.

 

His movements became faster until he groaned against her neck, refraining from biting the skin beneath his mouth. Ulquiorra was coming inside his ex-wife. He could feel his cock twitching as his orgasm peaked and he came down from that sexual high he just experienced.

 

* * *

 

Orihime lay on her back on his bed; her head on one of his feather pillows. He had navy blue sheets, white and blue striped pillowcases, navy blue down blanket. As spartan as the room was, it was very luxurious feeling. The bedding must have been expensive because they were velvety soft compared to the two-hundred thread count sheets on her bed at home. Those were sandpaper compared to this.

 

He was holding her close, rubbing her back and side. That had been the first time in six months that she had sex with another man.

 

She hadn't expected that to happen. Orihime had heard Ichigo talking to Rukia this morning while she was putting linens away in the bathroom. There was more talk about the appointment, a baby, loving her. It upset her. So, Orihime dropped Kazui off at Isshin's house and she drove to Utsunomiya, only getting lost once because of the confusing directions her GPS was giving her.

 

There was no plan to kiss him. It'd been a while since she had seen him look so casual. When they were together it was always jeans and a t-shirt. Once they separated, all she saw him in was suits. A suit at CEI. A suit in the courtroom.

 

She traced the tattoos on his right upper arm. Orihime saw the words. They were a list with her initials underneath. “How many years have you had this?” she asked.

 

“About eleven years.”

 

“Do you still love me?”

 

“Isn't that obvious, Orihime?” he answered.

 

She sighed then pointed to another tattoo. “What is this cartoon skull? It looks almost like a goat or a ram.”

 

“It's for Nel.”

 

“Does she know you have it?”

 

Ulquiorra sighed this time. “She did it. She has a cartoon bat on her.”

 

Orihime was silent for a long moment. “You're not involved with her are you?”

 

“No, we put that behind us a long time ago. Nel is one of my best friends. I've not been involved with anyone for the past twelve years. I've gone on dates and had sex—No one could take your place, Woman.”

 

She felt like she could have melted into a puddle of goo at that moment. Instead, she gave a contented sigh.

 

“I have to get to work,” he murmured into her hair.

 

“Work? It's Saturday afternoon,” Orihime said looking up at him.

 

“I work at Candy Ink on the weekends,” he replied, returning the stare.

 

“You don't need the money.”

 

“Woman,” he said. “I have to keep myself busy. It's how I've kept myself busy over the past decade. Nel's a bit of a celebrity when it comes to tattoos. She's busy. I'm one too but only to other tattoo enthusiasts. She's famous because of her husband and boyfriend.”

 

Orihime reached up and traced that ink black lip with a finger which he kissed. “I want to see you again,” she whispered to him.

 

Ulquiorra said nothing as he flipped back the sheets and turned away from her. Orihime shifted herself so that she could watch his tattooed body walk away from the bed. She admired how his form moved. He was more muscled than he was twelve years ago. He kept his body toned. Besides the tattoos and the haunted look in his eyes, Orihime would have assumed he was the same man he was years ago. She knew he wasn't. He didn't put up with a lot of bullshit from her anymore.

 

They said nothing as Ulquiorra got dressed. He turned to her once he was fully clothed. “I'll make some room on my schedule for you. Let me know what days you're free. We can meet in Nikko if you don't want to drive all the way here. Do you want me to get you a phone you can use to contact me?”

 

“I don't want to be an appointment, Ulquiorra. Why would I need a phone to contact you?”

 

He spread his hands apologetically. “That's all I can offer you right now, Orihime. You are still married, I assume you don't want Kurosaki to find out what happened today. If you want to continue this, you don't want to get caught. A second phone would assure that he wouldn't be able to read any text messages or see any phone calls. I do not want to deal with your husband.”

 

“Hmph,” she pouted. “He's started this.”

 

“It doesn't mean what you've done is right. You're welcome to stay as long as you like. Do not let Noboru see you leave. I do not want to answer any questions that might pop up.”

 

“No, I'll get dressed now,” she stated, still pouting. What she did wasn't right, true but he had a hand in this also. It wasn't just her. Then again, Ulquiorra had no one to answer to. He was a bachelor.

 

Ulquiorra shook out each article of clothing and handed it to her. In minutes, she was dressed and stood beside him. She bit her lip wanting to say something, anything to him.

 

“What do you want to do, Ulquiorra?”

 

He softly scoffed then kissed her. “It doesn't matter what I want to do, Orihime. I don't have anything to lose.”

 

* * *

 

After showing the redhead out of his apartment with a searing parting kiss and a promise that she would call that week, Ulquiorra went to knock on his son's door. When the kid opened the door, he had to look up at a mirror of his own green eyes.

 

“I'm going to Nikko to the tattoo shop. Do you need money to order anything?”

 

“No, I still got money from last weekend.”

 

The dark-haired man nodded then turned away from his son. “Okay, well, you know the rules. Do not let anyone in and if you go anywhere, text me. Home by ten.”

 

“Who was the woman?”

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“The woman that was here. Who was she?”

 

Ulquiorra's face remained passive as he pivoted back toward his son. How did he know? Well, this was just his luck. He would lie. “It is none of your business, Noboru. Just some escort.”

 

With that, he left the apartment and rode the elevator down to the garage. He got into his Honda and sighed. He didn't think they had made that much noise. If he and Orihime were to continue this, he would have to set some boundaries and rules.

 

As he started the car, his eyes went wide. He had sex with his ex-wife... He fumbled with his phone and was about to tap Orihime's name but stopped himself. It would do no good to panic. She probably had precautions in place. After all, she was married.

 

Chapter Text

Nel was at the end of her rope by the time Grimmjow pulled up to the house in his own car. He came through the door all smiles and luggage. She could hear him greet the kids, even Juzo's complaint of being let down because he was too big to be picked up.

 

She was sitting in the living room, listening to Akira cry as she bounced her in that special seat.

 

The baby had cried non-stop for the past couple of days since Bazz went on another modeling shoot. Last week it was Italy, this week it was New York City. Nel knew that Fall Fashion Week would begin soon and she wouldn't see him for another couple weeks when it started.

 

Maybe Akira missed her dad, Nel didn't know but she just wanted it all to stop. She was tense. She had little to no sleep and needed a bath.

 

“Nelliel?” Grimmjow asked as he came into the room, still holding Juzo on his hip like a toddler. The kid was smiling, grinning ear to ear. The blue-haired man probably spun the kid around several times. Both men roughhoused with the kid although they knew it was against the rules.

 

She glanced up at him and shook her head. She didn't want to talk about it. She numbly picked up the baby and put her against her shoulder and started patting her back.

 

“Hey Juze, we'll play later okay? I'm gonna talk to Mom,” Grimmjow said putting the boy down.

 

Although Grimmjow was stern and could be a dick, he loved Bazz's kids just like Bazz loved Grimmjow's children in return. The boy nodded and ran off into the interior of the house.

 

“She's not doing good?” her husband asked as he took the child from her mother. “Hey Little Lady, shhhh. What's a matter? Do you miss Daddy B? Awww, it's okay. Shhhh.”

 

“I'm going to take a shower, maybe a bath. This week hasn't been the best for me,” Nel said. “I might pass out too. There's milk pumped for her—”

 

Grimmjow was carefully bouncing the baby in his arms. “I got this Nel, go have some me time,” he said kissing her.

 

She nodded and trudged upstairs and headed towards the master bedroom. The bathtub was calling her name. Entering the room, she made a beeline for the tub and started filling the thing with water. She undressed, leaving her clothes lying on the floor then stepped into the tub.

 

After Bazz and Grimmjow destroyed it with their first fight, which broke the mirrors, the shower doors and half of the counters, Nel told the men they were going to have the bathroom rebuilt to look like the one in Bazz's Tokyo apartment.

 

There was a huge glass shower, a gigantic bathtub with jacuzzi features, there was access to the walk-in closets and the laundry room. It also had a gigantic counter with double sinks and mirrors. The boys got one side of the sink. Nel got the other.

 

They both had bitched but by the time it was done, no one said anything. The day the bathroom was finished, they had gotten the worst news of their lives.

 

Nel sighed, reaching forward to turn the water off and tried to dispell the memory that threatened her peace. She didn't want to deal with the stress concerning Juzo. It didn't work. It never worked.

 

The ultrasound technician had quietly excused herself and the doctor came back into the room. He looked at the baby. When he took his attention off the screen, his face was grim.

 

We cannot visualize the infant's heart. You will need to seek a professional in pediatric cardiology,” the man said.

 

Nel sat there after the doctor left. The technician handed her some printouts showing them she and Bazz were having a boy. What was the point of having a little boy if he had no heart?

 

Bazz was angry. Nel just cried a lot. Grimmjow called a bunch of numbers.

 

They left Vain and Liam with Nel's mother and step-dad (when he was still alive before the “accident” claimed his life). Sloane knew a great doctor in Los Angeles that could give them answers. Once they arrived at the hospital, Nel had a high tech ultrasound done. Both men held her hands while it was done.

 

When it was over they were ushered into a room that was supposed to be comforting but Nel felt wired. She was too keyed up and when a man in a lab coat walked into the room, he looked at the trio. He sat down in one of the chairs and drew a picture. Then he drew another picture.

 

This is a normal heart,” the doctor said pointing to the first picture. He then pointed to the other picture. “Your son has a mild form of what we call HLHS, or Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. That means the left side of his heart is underdeveloped. On your son, it just affects the aorta. His left side is small but functional. Right now his body is being kept alive with a failsafe that closes after birth...”

 

The doctor gave them options. They could try surgery, wait for a heart transplant, or just take him home to die.

 

Bazz grew more irate. Nel cried more. Grimmjow called more people.

 

It was a frightening situation as they flew first class back to Japan. Walking through the airport, Grimmjow stopped to sign some autographs and Nel clung to Bazz's arm.

 

We've got to give him a chance, Nel. It doesn't make sense for you to carry him all that time only to bring him home to die,” Bazz told her as they waited for their luggage.

 

I can't think of taking another baby's heart for this. I can't contemplate it. That's another set of parents whose life is gone.”

 

You're not even gonna give Juzo a chance?”

 

Juzo?”

 

Yup, Juzo Augustus Black. That's my boy inside you and I'm gonna give him every chance I got as a kid. I may not have taken all of them but he's gonna get a chance at life.”

 

Life returned to normal at their home. Vain and Liam noticed their parents' moods.

 

Bazz was still angry. Nel still cried. Grimmjow still made calls.

 

They found a pediatric cardiologist who was there when Nel had her C-section. The doctor said delivering the baby naturally would kill him. At three days old, Juzo had open heart surgery. The surgeon didn't say much just that the surgery was a success and the baby would have to stay in a special ward for the next couple of months.

 

Nel almost couldn't handle it. She couldn't stand seeing that tiny body hooked up to tubes and swaddled with bandages. The first month was the hardest. They almost lost Juzo twice. Grimmjow had to escort Bazz off the floor. Nel crumpled to the tiles, sobbing.

 

Juzo was the only kid Nel didn't give natural birth to or breastfeed. She couldn't feed him from her body. Her milk could be potentially fatal because digesting fat put too much strain on the heart. He had to have a special formula.

 

The cardiologist released the boy when he was six months old. He wouldn't need another operation until he was almost three years old. When that time rolled around and Juzo had to go back into surgery, the nurse came out to tell them that Juzo wasn't looking good. Nel cried against Grimmjow's chest in the waiting room. Bazz sat there while running his hands through his mohawk, destroying it, and prayed.

 

Seven hours later, they were shown into Juzo's recovery room.  The doctor told them that Juzo would probably not need another surgery, it all depended on puberty.

 

Nel sighed as a knock on the door brought her out of her thoughts. “Yeah?”

 

“Mom?” a female voice asked.

 

“What Vain?”

 

“Can I come in? I need to talk to you.”

 

The last thing she needed was more child drama but since Vain started at the small public high school, she seemed to cool down and had joined some after-school clubs. The girl was actually serious about school. Maybe this was a good change for her.

 

“Yeah, come in,” Nel said sitting up in the tub and making herself modest by hiding her body with her long teal hair. She watched her daughter walk in and the girl sat on the floor beside the tub. “What do you need to talk about? Don't tell me you're pregnant because you can march right downstairs and tell that to your father.”

 

The blonde shook her head and scowled at her mom. “It's nothing like that. I want to know if I can have my stuff back. I made some new friends at school. They've asked for my number to text and call. I can't give them that information because—”

 

“I'll talk to your dad tonight about it. Anything else?” Nel asked. She only said it because her daughter was chewing on her bottom lip and looked nervous.

 

Vain sighed. “I know you guys have told me to stay away from Eizo. I haven't been—”

 

“I figured that. You've come home with hickeys on your neck and smelling like—”

 

“Mom!” the girl huffed.

 

“I'm just telling you what I know, Vain. I'm not going to tattle on you,” Nel said quietly. She watched the girl grab a bath sponge and pour some soap onto it. Vain wanted something because she started washing Nel's back. She didn't do something voluntarily unless she wanted something. “What?”

 

“There's this boy I met. He's really nice and I like him. He's different from Eizo. Eizo wants money and power and an empire,” she said, moving the sponge in big circles. “This guy doesn't want anything like that. He says his family just wants to be happy.”

 

Nel turned and looked at her daughter who was still biting her lip. “You don't want to be with Eizo anymore?”

 

Vain shook her head. “He's boring. It's the same thing week after week. Sex, money, who can he step on to gain some status.”

 

“Tell me about this other kid. What's his name? What's he look like? What's he like?”

 

“Nobu? He's funny. He blushes a lot. I skipped school with him this past week to take him to Kenny's dojo. He's not a bad fighter. He needs more practice but he'd be a decent sparring partner once he could get the hang of it,” Vain said, her cheeks faintly coloring.

 

Nel smiled. She had never told her children of her past and how she stumbled into love and relationships. She had never uttered a word about Nnoitra to them. She never would. “Do you like him, Vain?”

 

“Eh, I kind of want to tell Eizo to get lost. I don't know Nobu that well to ask him out. It's only been eight weeks since I met him.”

 

“Vain, how did you meet Eizo?” Nel had heard the story from her daughter. She went to a party, got stoned, woke up, and had a boyfriend. The teal-haired woman didn't need details but she got the gist. Something else went on at that party but Vain never spoke of it. Nel's policy on her kids was that they had to make their own mistakes to experience life. As long as they didn't get into serious trouble or hurt, it was okay. Grimmjow wanted to play helicopter dad along with being super strict... or at least be the biggest douche ever when it came to rules. The woman brushed blonde hair out her daughter's face and waited for her to continue to speak.

 

“Eizo and I've been together for a year. I don't feel anything for him except he's an escape from reality. It's starting to feel like it's not worth it. I don't want to be that person I was at school the last year. I know you guys don't want to deal with who I was either.”

 

“I don't know what to tell you kiddo,” Nel sighed and held out her hand. The girl plopped the sponge down and gave her a half-hearted smile. “You're going to have to go with your heart on this one.”

 

“I know. Can I ask you one last question?”

 

“You can ask me anything.”

 

“Do you know who Ulquiorra Cifer is?”

 

“How do you know that name?” Nel asked in disbelief.

 

Chapter Text

Bazz sighed as he heard Grimmjow on the phone. Akira was crying her eyes out. He'd give anything to home right now. Money didn't make itself though. Daddy had to do his thing. Right now his thing was in NYC, strutting along with other models. Modeling wasn't fucking easy when you were forty years old but looked like you were in your late twenties or early thirties.

 

Being in prison had been kind to him. Bazz had taken Yamamoto's warning seriously and he made sure he walked the line and did everything those above him said to do. He would lay in his cell late at night and imagine Nel from their visits or Grimmjow from the phone calls and fuck himself into an oblivion of fantasies. Grimmjow never visited him while he was behind bars. The thought made him frown.

 

He also was thankful that because he had been incarcerated, he wasn't dead from an errant Yakuza bullet.

 

“What do you want me to do Grimmjow?” he asked as he lay in his hotel room.

 

The man sighed and then he was shushing the baby. “Do you not hear her? Do you not care about our woman?”

 

“I fucking care but Grimm, I have a contract I have to abide by. You of all people should know about them. My agent says jump; I ask how high? I want to be home right now, not trying to play in a pissing match with shit heads who are twenty years younger than me,” Bazz replied.

 

There was a scoff. “I came home from my tour to find the house a mess. The kids were quiet but Akira's crying and Nel just looked defeated. I don't know why you work. You've got millions sitting in accounts—”

 

“Hire some fucking help. I'll pay for it. Put the phone on speaker.”

 

“Okay,” Grimmjow replied.

 

“Aki. Baby Akira,” Bazz said in a soothing tone. He was embarrassed but he began to sing to his daughter. He thought he didn't have the greatest singing voice but she always seemed to go to sleep when he did it. “Rest your head. It's time for bed. Rest your head. It's time for bed...

 

“Keep it up man, she's calming down.”

 

Ugh, he loved his daughter but he didn't like singing these silly little songs in front of anyone. “Dream of cotton sheets, dream of gazing stars, dream about your birthday, dream of planet Mars.

 

“C'mon Bazz, keep going. She's almost asleep,” Grimmjow whispered.


Just rest your head, rest your head it's time for bed. Rest your head it's time for bed...

 

He took a deep breath. Might as well finish the fucking thing. “Dream of autumn leaves, circle as they dance, dream of golden gate, dream of Paris, France.”

 

“Shhhh, Akira. Listen to Daddy.”

 

Just rest your head it's time for bed. Rest your head it's time for bed.

 

“Thank you, man.”

 

“Yeah,” Bazz said wholly uncomfortable with revealing that he sang to his kids and they were songs that he had heard during his childhood. When he hung up the phone, he was fucking tired. Emotionally, mentally, and physically.

 

Ever since the beginning of that year, life had been stressful and tense. There was the whole Jugo telling him he had a little brother and that brother wanted revenge. Not to mention his best friend had casually mentioned there were new gangs encroaching on the Yakuza territory and Bazz should take his rightful place as their leader.

 

Then Nel's pregnancy had been a shock because she presented him with a red box on Valentine's day with that damn pregnancy test in it. Grimmjow was pissed off.

 

Wasn't his fault.

 

It was hard to pull out while fucking in the driver seat of a classic model of an Audi R8. There wasn't room. But the doctors had gone over Nel and the baby was fine. She just had colic and they could expect it to last anywhere from four to six months. If he took that much time off, he'd be wiped from the face of the modeling world.

 

Pretty faces came and went in this business.

 

How he stepped into modeling had been a complete accident. Yeah, he had told Grimmjow years ago he was interested in it as they were on their way to kill his brother. He didn't think he'd make a career out of it. He'd been doing it for seven years now.

 

The two older kids were with their grandmother or at school, he couldn't remember which one. Nel had been with Juzo at the hospital. His life about stopped when he had found out about his son. The kid was okay now... He just had scars on his chest and abdomen from the surgeries. He'd been out of prison for maybe a year when he went with Grimmjow to a music video shoot.

 

Bazz was inside Grimmjow's trailer, leaning against one of the walls with Grimmjow on his knees in front of him. His jeans were unbuttoned and unzipped; boxers pulled down. His cock was hard. A pink tongue was licking the head of it, up and down the shaft. This was nothing new. The blue-haired man was constantly doing this to him and the red-haired man fucking loved it. 

 

Grimmjow knew where to lick to incite a moan. He knew where to scrape his teeth to cause Bazz's cock to jerk. He knew how to suck on his balls to induce begging. Grimmjow's blowjobs were mind-blowing. It was hard to believe that the guy had only sucked one dick in his entire life before Bazz came back. Nel was still better at sucking cock though.

 

“Aren't you—Fuck, Grimm. Aren't you supposed to be getting ready?” Bazz asked, panting as Grimmjow's mouth slid lower. “Parker is gonna get pissed if you're late.”

 

The man hummed and Bazz's eyes closed as the vibration assaulted his nerves. “If you were so worried about my schedule, you shouldn't have teased me by telling me how you were going to fuck me tonight,” Grimmjow replied. “Now shut the fuck up and come down my throat.”

 

How could Bazz refuse a demand like that?

 

His hands were gripping sky blue locks of hair and thrusting into Grimmjow's skillful mouth when the door of the trailer came flying open and Sloane Parker walked in. Bazz couldn't help it, he groaned, pushing himself as far as he could get away with into Grimmjow's mouth, coming.

 

“Well, this is a surprise and perhaps answers any questions I had about why you never took me up on my offers,” the petite brunette said, looking down at the star she managed. Parker didn't seem upset that she just discovered the heartthrob of Vapor Atrophy could suck dick.

 

Bazz didn't miss how Grimmjow glared at the woman. “What the fuck do you want, Sloane?” he asked as he got to his feet and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “I've never taken you up on your offers because I have a woman.”

 

“Does Nel know about him?”

 

“She fucking had his kid,” Grimmjow answered.

 

“Okay, good.”

 

The red-haired man was tucking himself back into his jeans when he saw Sloane Parker look at him up and down. “You know Grimm, he'd be perfect for this video,” she said.

 

Uh oh. This was bad. Grimmjow had told him whenever Parker got an idea, she was usually right.

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Mmhmm. That actress we got doesn't click with you. Besides, his O face is much more believable. I think instead of playing it safe we could totally switch the love interest to a male. 'From This Nightmare' deals with dark edgy stuff anyway. What's your name?”

 

The man with a mohawk stood beside his lover and looked the woman up and down. He scoffed then turned his head to look at Grimmjow who was staring back at him. Bazz wanted to lean over and kiss him, making those red lips swollen. If he didn't stop this line of thinking, he was going to end up fucking Grimmjow right there. “Bazzard Black,” he said, his attention back on Parker.

 

“Have your agent get—”

 

“Sloane, he's not in show business. He's a rich boy turned convict. Bazz got out of prison a year ago,” Grimmjow said.

 

“I'll get him an agent. He could model. He'll be a star,” she said. Sloane Parker knew talent when she saw it.

 

So, the next day he sat with Grimmjow, Parker, and one of the woman's contacts who owned a modeling agency. Bazz signed the contract. He was then given a contract by Sloane outline what she wanted and what he had to do for the music video.

 

There was no denying that he and Grimmjow had chemistry on camera. Whenever they had takes together, their eyes were on fire for each other. Bazz had to mentally chide himself to keep the contact casual. Then the director threw them a curve ball.

 

“I got this idea that Grimmjow will be sitting in some kind of antique velvet covered chair. Bazz you're going to be standing over him, kind of looming in a way that's menacing,” the man said. “Grimmjow will pull you down and you're going to almost kiss before you shove each other away.”

 

The red and blue haired men looked at each other, both grinning. Yeah right. They'd never shove each other away. “Can't do that,” both Grimmjow and Bazz stated.

 

That asshole didn't listen. It was because of this video and that picture that was taken outside of Kurobane Prison that started the whole Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez was gay rumors. But what Grimmjow and Bazz did during that segment of the music video, made it on screen. Vapor Atrophy won several awards for the damn thing. Everyone was asking who the hell the guy with the red hair was.

 

Grimmjow sat in that chair, the atmosphere was dark and decrepit. It was magical how props, lighting, makeup, and such were used to make movies and music. Bazz was standing there looking down at Grimmjow, his pale green eyes locking with cerulean blue ones. The entire scene reeked of sexual tension. He was mouthing the words of the song along with the man beneath him. His hand reached for the tie that Grimmjow had on, yanking the man up. They were still lip-syncing the words of the song together.

 

He was pulling the man closer, that tie around his fist. When they were nose to nose, Bazz let go of the fabric and grinned. His hand slid down Grimmjow's arm and their palms lay flat against each other, fingers splayed wide apart. He could hear people behind the scene whispering.

 

Bazz let his mouth brush against the other man's before he put his face next to Grimmjow's ear. He knew he was just supposed to move his mouth along to the words of the song but he found himself whispering. “You give me everything. My life ain't the same. I would stay right here. Should we die.”

 

I’ll be complete. I don't want to see you cry. I’m safe in your arms from this nightmare,” Grimmjow whispered back. The music ended and Bazz found their hands intertwined together.

 

“Holy shit,” the director said after yelling cut, fanning himself. “I'm going to need a cold shower after that. Are you sure you two are just friends?”

 

Bazz gave a boyish grin to his lover and bit his lip. He knew at that moment, he loved Grimmjow. Several months later, Sloane Parker announced she was going to sue Bazz for that video because she was pregnant with her second child. She had gone home so aroused that she attacked her boyfriend and it was his and Grimmjow's fault she was going to be big as a whale. 

 

The mohawked man was brought back to the present by a stinging sensation in his chest. He was tired of all of this. He was tired of being away from his family. When had he become such a fucking soft individual when it came to other people? He used to not give a fuck. Bitches were made for fucking. Assholes were made for blowing away with his guns if they crossed him the wrong way.

 

It had all changed once he met that teal-haired woman. It all changed once he found out his brother's intentions for her. Bazz went to fucking prison so that she and her friends could have a happy life. He had hoped she'd forget about him.

 

Didn't happen. Every fucking time he pushed her away, she yanked him right back into her arms which in turn put him back into Grimmjow's grasp.

 

Bazz groaned and rolled to his stomach. Once he got back to Japan, he had that underwear ad to shoot with Grimmjow, followed by a fashion show in Seoul and then he'd be back in New York City for Fall Fashion Week where he'd be modeling for five design houses. That was one per day. He'd be throwing clothes on for three big names and two lesser-known fashion designers.

 

After that, he was going to Miami for something, he wasn't really sure. His agent said something about a rap video. That would be followed by a meeting in Los Angeles with some movie thing. Bazz would decline the offer as he always did whenever the shift to the big screen was brought up.

 

He brought his phone up and flicked through the photos he had taken. There was Nel smiling with Akira in her arms. Grimmjow holding the baby. Juzo holding the baby. All the kids with their mom. The entire group of seven smooshed into a selfie. Nel, Bazz, and their kids.

 

Throwing the phone to the side, he buried his face into the mattress. He brought his fist up and down several times trying to take his anger and frustration out on the soft surface.

 

The past fucking sixteen years hadn't been fucking fair.

 

Chapter Text

A week after their encounter, he had sent a small phone to her bakery. Orihime followed the directions written in his neat print and turned the phone on. It was programmed with his name in it. She huffed at the thing and it chimed in response.

 

A new text message from UMC, the phone told her. She bit her lip.

 

- I am free this week on Thursday morning to afternoon. I will pay for a hotel room. Call me.

 

Did he really think it would be that easy to get her to agree to this? Orihime had meant it when she said she didn't want to be treated like an appointment. She sighed and picked up the phone from her messy desk. She should really be focusing on her business and not some booty call.

 

That's what the thing with Ulquiorra had been. It'd been a booty call. A momentary lapse of reason and judgment that she would gladly do again.

 

Ugh. Her fucking life was a mess. The redhead cradled her face in her hands. She grabbed the phone he sent her, tempted to pitch it in the trashcan but instead she texted him back.

 

- Thursday is no good. Busy.

 

She didn't have to wait long for a response. He sent a simple directive.

 

- Call me using this phone.

 

So she did.

 

“You follow directions well,” he said.

 

Orihime rolled her eyes, sighing. “What?”

 

“I told you to call me in the first text message. Why is Thursday no good?”

 

“Because I have stuff to do around my own business,” she replied. “I've been neglecting it for a couple of weeks now.”

 

“I can do Saturday morning.”

 

“I can't. Kazui has a soccer game.”

 

“Kazui—Oh, the other one.”

 

Orihime scowled. “What do you mean by that, Ulquiorra Cifer?”

 

She heard him sigh, “Your other child. The other one. Sunday morning?”

 

It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him to go to hell. “I can't. We go over on Sunday morning as a family to Ichigo's father's house and have breakfast.”

 

“Tell me your schedule then since mine seems to be unsatisfactory,” he said. Orihime heard the irritation in his voice.

 

“I can't, I don't live my life by a schedule, Ulquiorra. By the way who is UMC? What's the M stand for? I didn't know you had a middle name.”

 

There was a snort. “I'm not telling you my middle name. What did you want me to put in the phone? Fuck buddy? Ex-husband whose dick makes me scream? Lover? Wait, I have a better one. The guy I'm jerking along for the ride.”

 

“You're not bitter at all, I see.”

 

“Meet me today.”

 

“No.”

 

“Do not make me come to Karakura. I will see you this week, Woman,” Ulquiorra said in his flat monotone voice. “I will rent a room and fuck you in it. How would you like for your husband to find that out?”

 

Her breath hitched in her throat. “You wouldn't.”

 

“I've already cleared my schedule and am now walking to the parking garage. Try me.”

 

Orihime heard the telltale beep of a car alarm and her eyes went wide. Was he going to make good on his word? She would call his bluff. There'd be no way he'd come up to Karakura just for sex. “I don't believe you.”

 

“I'll see you within the hour.”

 

The line went dead and redhead stared at the phone. She shoved it into a desk drawer and decided to sort out a pile of paperwork. Ulquiorra wasn't a priority. After sorting through some receipts, she looked up to see one of her employees standing in the doorway of her office.

 

“Yes, Kamiko?”

 

“There's an angry guy up front who wants to see you,” the woman said.

 

Orihime sat there for a moment, frozen to the chair she sat in. She inched forward in the rolling chair, peeking her head out the door. His eyes automatically zeroed in on her. He actually showed up. Shit. What was she supposed to do now?

 

The redhead stood and exited the office with a fake as hell smile plastered on her face. She assured her employees everything was okay and then told Ururu that she'd be gone for an hour to take care of some business.

 

Once she was clear of her employees, she gave Ulquiorra a hard stare. “What are you doing here?” she whispered to him.

 

“I told you what I'm doing,” he said, irritated. “You cannot give an addict a taste of their vice and not expect them to want more.”

 

Orihime didn't expect the anger in his answer and she found herself in the passenger side of his car. He wasn't driving towards Karakura... He was headed toward Nikko.

 

She said nothing as they drove twenty minutes into the bigger town. Ulquiorra pulled up to a small apartment building. He cut the engine then pulled the keys from the ignition.

“I will be right back. I have to retrieve the key to my new apartment,” he said giving her a pointed look.

 

Orihime's breath sped up and she watched him talk to a man who was standing by the door to the building. The man bowed and held out a key which Ulquiorra took. He was stalking back to the car and the door opened.

“You can get out on your own or I can yank you out of there.”

 

She scurried from the car and followed him. He walked into the building and found the appropriate door, unlocking it. When he said apartment, Orihime was expecting something bigger than what they walked into. It was smaller than her first apartment where she met Ulquiorra but not by much. It was also already furnished.

 

The room had a tiny bathroom and a kitchenette.

 

“We need to set down some rules if we are going to do this,” Ulquiorra said as he shut and locked the door.

 

“Rules?” she asked, sitting on the platform bed.

 

“Rules. One, if it is the weekend, we meet here. I don't know how Noboru found out but he knew there was a woman in the apartment. Two, if it's during the hours he is at school, you may visit my apartment.”

 

Orihime's forehead wrinkled in concern. “Why are you so concerned about Nobu finding out?”

 

“I don't want to give him a false hope that his parents are getting back together. That would be cruel of us to project that kind of relationship,” the man answered.

 

Her heart fell. He didn't want to try to mend things between them? He didn't want to try to repair their relationship? “What? You don't—But I thought—”

 

“You thought I would want to be in another relationship with you? Do I look stupid? I've learned my lesson the first couple of times. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me,” Ulquiorra said as he walked closer to her.

 

“You love me though,” she said from her seat. She couldn't believe him.

 

He nodded and crouched down in front of her. “You are still married. You have a child with him. What are you going to tell your youngest son when he finds out Mommy is leaving Daddy? Why would you think I would want you back like that? I enjoy being a bachelor, Orihime. I can do whatever I please without answering to anyone.”

 

“You're—”

 

“I'm an asshole? I know, you've stated this several times over the years,” he commented. He stood up and started undoing his belt and the fastening on his trousers.

 

The redhead looked up at him angrily. “Do you really think I'm going to fuck you after that? What's the point of this entire thing if we're not going to end up together?”

 

“Pleasure?”

 

“Go to hell, Ulquiorra!”

 

“You have a knack for theatrics, Woman. I just wanted a blowjob; I was going to return the favor,” he stated. He turned from her and started redoing the button and pulling the zipper up. He walked over to the door, unlocked it and opened the barrier. “If you want to see me, you know how to get a hold of me.”

 

“Wait! You have to take me back to Karakura,” she said; her body jerking to a standing position.

 

“Take the train or the bus?”

 

“Can't you just give me a chance?” she asked, staring at the dark-haired man. “Can't we start over? You asked me that years ago. I just want the chance again. I want to start over with you.”

 

* * *

 

Noboru didn't talk to Vain for two weeks after the incident in the dojo. They resumed sitting beside each other at lunch but didn't talk much. She handed him a slip of paper with a number written on it at the end of those two weeks. He pulled out his phone and made a new contact. He smiled as he showed her.

 

“Celeb. Hmph.”

 

“Did you expect anything else?” he asked her in a quiet whisper. His mouth was dangerously close to her ear. Noboru felt her shiver. The rest of their group had already gone inside the school to return to the classroom. It was just him and Vain. “What's wrong, Vain?”

 

Her body trembled again and Noboru smirked. He liked turning the tables on her. Sometimes, she needed a taste of her own medicine.

 

“My ears are sensitive,” she admitted, kind of panting.

 

“I'll remember that,” he said before getting to his feet and going back inside the school.

 

It was Friday night and he was laying on his back on his bed. His dad had gone to the tattoo shop so he was alone. He wondered if he should text Vain. His phone was on his bedside table. He decided that he would. So he picked up his phone and quickly tapped out a message. Noboru sent it before he could doubt himself.

 

- Who is this?

 

Noboru's eyebrow shot up at the quick response. Confusion crossed his face but then he realized he never gave Vain his number. He told her and sent the reply. His phone rang.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Ruru!”

 

“Can't you call me anything else?” He asked.

 

“Here are your choices: Hairstyles, Freak, Ruru, Nono or Nobu.”

 

He had to snort with laughter. “My mom calls me Nobu.”

 

“Great, that's decided. What are you doing?” she asked.

 

Noboru was surprised to find he had a huge grin on his face. He rolled his eyes at himself. “I'm not doing anything. Laying on my bed, talking to you.”

 

“You're probably jerking off or something,” she quipped.

 

I AM NOT!” He heard her laughing and he could imagine she had her head tipped back, eyes closed and mouth open to show her straight, white teeth. The picture in his head caused a stirring in his lower abdomen.

 

“What're you—” Shit. He sounded strange. Noboru cleared his throat. “What are you doing?”

 

“I was painting my toenails and destroying my brain cells by watching crappy reality television,” she replied.

 

“How come you're not partying?" He asked then paused before asking another question. "Can we talk about something?”

 

“What about?” she replied. "In order to get my phone back I'm not allowed to go anywhere on the weekends."

 

“About what happened at the dojo.”

 

“Eh, do we have to?” she asked. She was starting sound annoyed.

 

Noboru sighed. “You don't think we should address the fact that we kissed?”

 

The voice on the other end of the line scoffed. He didn't like the sound of it. “It happened. It's not like it's a big deal, Nobu. It's not.”

 

“It may not be a big deal to you but it was to me, Vain.”

 

“Do you want me to start ignoring you again? I will. I'll ignore you all the way to winter break!” she grumbled.

 

Noboru chuckled. He liked bothering her like this, making her spastic. “You'd go crazy first,” he replied.

 

“Just talk to me,” she said quietly.

 

So the two teenagers talked and it wasn't until he heard the door of the apartment open, he realized they'd been on the phone for hours. He looked over at his alarm clock, shocked to find it blinked one-thirty in the morning.

 

“Shit. I've got to go, Vain.”

 

“Hmmm? Do you have to? You have such a soothing voice, it makes me sleepy,” she said, yawning in his ear.

 

He practically hummed from the compliment. “Call me later,” he whispered before hanging up the phone.

 

The boy put the phone on the charger and then walked out of his room. He saw his dad bent over looking in the refrigerator and then he saw a woman with bright pink hair.

 

“Hey Dad, Yachiru.”

 

“Noboru,” came the reply from his father. The boy watched the man stand up with two beers in his hands.

 

“Clone!” Yachiru said, bouncing up to the boy and hugging him.

 

He'd been about five years old when he first met the woman. Noboru had walked into the kitchen of the apartment to see Yachiru making food and he'd rudely asked what she was doing. His father explained that the woman with various hues of pink hair was his friend that sometimes would spend the night. When the boy got older, he realized the older man meant that he was having sex with the woman.

 

His father cleared his throat and handed the woman one of the bottles, after opening it. “Yachiru and I are going to watch a movie—”

 

“Spare me the details, Dad.”

 

Ulquiorra nodded, “You need to go to bed then.”

 

* * *

 

That Friday night started out like any other. Ulquiorra left the CEI building and drove to Nikko, pulling up at Candy Ink. He walked into the building in a suit then changed into his weekend attire. Nel had nodded at him but she seemed distracted with something. He'd ask her later.

 

After his first client was finished, he walked past the pink-haired woman. “Batsy,” Yachiru said and smirked at him before disappearing into the room she worked in.

 

Yachiru had taken over as the head piercing expert for the Nikko location. Pesche worked between the Utsunomiya and Tokyo locations. The older man explained he was training his replacements and would soon retire with a harem of ladies and alcohol on a beach in Fiji. Everyone in the shop laughed at that.

 

He walked down to Nel's office and knocked. The teal-haired woman looked up and nodded at him again. “What's wrong?” he asked.

 

“You need to stay away from my daughter,” she said.

 

“Pardon?”

 

“Stay away from my daughter. She asked me this past week who you were. How does she know your name?”

 

Ulquiorra sighed. “Nel, the last time I saw Vain was the year after Orihime and I divorced. Remember I told you and Grimmjow I didn't need you guys checking on me? Then I disappeared for a while only to resurface in Utsunomiya? Why would your daughter say my name? I made it pretty clear that I didn't want reminders of my past. I pushed your family away.”

 

“I don't know. She asked if I knew who you were. Apparently, Kenpachi has been talking about you,” she replied. “I know you pushed us away. That's why no one bothered you until I needed your help. I bet our kids would have been best friends had they grown up together.”

 

The dark-haired man snorted. “That's all I need is to have the attention of the damn Yakuza again. And that reminds me of something Orihime said once. It was the day that—When she was staying with my mom and she said, “Tell Vain that Nobu missed his best friend”.”

 

Nel laughed. “Did you figure out a solution to your Orihime problem?”

 

Ulquiorra shook his head. “She doesn't want to deal with my rules. I kind of laid it down that I wasn't interested in a relationship with her. It was a lie. I can't get my hopes up because she is still married. At any time she could go racing back to the arms of her ginger husband and I'd look like the damn fool.”

 

“Renji told me Rukia is pregnant. She's almost five months. They've not been together since Ichika was seven years old,” Nel revealed.

 

Tch. It was just his luck that Nel could confirm things. He shook his head. “Want to bet if that kid is gonna be a redhead?”

 

“Ichika has Renji's hair. Bright fucking red,” Nel said. “He says it's auburn but whatever. I'm betting the kid will have black hair. Rukia needs one that looks like her.”

 

The man sighed and excused himself because he had another client to take care of. He was walking by the piercing room, when he heard, “Ulquiorra.”

 

His eyebrows raised and he peeked into the room. Yachiru was sitting on a stool, smiling. “What, Pinkie?”

 

“You free tonight?”

 

The pink-haired woman was a friend. Just a friend who sometimes he woke up to on a Saturday morning with her laying across his chest. He and Yachiru understood each other. It was a no-strings-attached arrangement.

 

After Noboru retreated to his own room, Ulquiorra sat down on the couch and sighed. The woman cuddled up to him. “You seem stressed,” she said.

 

He merely nodded. Stressed was putting it mildly and he didn't know how to fix it.

 

“You want a massage?”

 

Again his head waved up and down. They retreated to his bedroom and he stripped off the t-shirt before climbing onto the bed. When he woke the next morning, he still had his jeans on and Yachiru was fully clothed. He still felt stressed out but wasn't as tense.

 

He was alone in the apartment. Noboru had gone to Nikko for something. Probably to meet up with friends. Ulquiorra texted the second number he had for Orihime.

 

No reply came.

 

She probably destroyed the phone after he dropped her off at the bakery.

 

Chapter Text

Juzo was tired. He didn't feel good. The weather was changing, leaves changing colors then dropping off trees. It was getting colder outside. When the weather got colder that meant people got sick. Juzo hated winter. Grimmjow was always saying that schools were cesspools for germs. He was right.

 

Whenever someone got sick in their household, he was the one put into isolation. His mom didn't want him to get sick too because that caused problems which involved doctors and sometimes hospital stays.

 

He heard his sister sneeze and then the voice of his mom, “Goodness, bless the baby.”

 

The woman was using a cutesy voice with his sister. There was a gurgle of sound from the two-month-old baby. He peeked his head over the back of the couch where he was laying on the floor, reading a book. “Did she just make a noise?”

 

“Yep, that happens when they get older,” Nel said, smiling at her son.

 

The boy frowned. “When is she gonna walk?”

 

“I don't know. You didn't walk until you were almost two but that's because you had a lot to catch up on.”

 

“Talk?”

 

“Don't know that either,” Nel said.

 

“Babies are boring,” Juzo said, turning his attention to the book at his feet.

 

Nel stood up and walked over to him. “Juzo, I know you don't like the fact that there's a new baby but you should give her a chance. She'll be your best friend once you get older.”

 

“How would you know? You don't have any brothers or sisters.”

 

The woman sighed. “I know I would have loved having a brother or a sister. You should be glad that you have Vain, Liam, and Akira.”

 

“Are you going to have any more kids?” the boy asked, looking at his mother.

 

“I don't plan on it.”

 

“I don't feel good.”

 

This time Nel gave a heavy sigh. “Lay down, I'll go get the thermometer then call the doctor, and your dad.”

 

* * *

 

Shukuro Harribel looked at the man in front of him and scowled. “Kugo, what do you mean he won't meet with me?”

 

“Nodt is a busy man. He's trying to pave a way into the world of crime. That takes time and power. Money too,” the older man said. “You don't need to worry about the details. Your mom and I keep Aizen Industries running. Everything is going according to plan, Shu.”

 

“What about Bazzard? Is he going to cooperate?”

 

“I have no clue about your brother. From what I understand, he's out of the country on business and is expected to be away for two weeks.”

 

The boy mulled over this information. He had contacted Haschwalth about meeting Bazz face to face but Jugram said that Bazz was also a busy fellow and all he could do was put in a request for the man to meet him. He needed to know if Nodt was going to be on his side for this too. Neither of the older males viewed him as a threat. Shukuro knew it was because of his age. At only fourteen years old he'd already executed someone, with Kugo's help. Launching a hand grenade into the car of an aging, high-ranking Nikko faction member had been satisfying. He even stayed as the car burned, looking like a curious kid, not a murderer. 

 

Even as he attended the funeral of Dondochakka Birstanne, he felt glee knowing he had taken down a member of the faction that killed his father.

 

“What about profits of the Espada? Have you followed my late brother's plans?” Shukuro asked.

 

“There was some tweaking done but money is flowing in. Trade out of Taiwan and the Philippines is steady. ”

 

“It would be better if we had a stream inside of Japan and didn't have to import bodies or drugs,” the boy said. “Importing is risky.”

 

Kugo chuckled. “You're too damn smart for your own good, Shu. I'll be meeting with Nodt next week, anything you want me to bring up to him?”

 

“Ask him to look into the Nikko faction,” Shukuro said.

 

* * *

 

The underwear shoot was pushed back because of Juzo being ill. After Fashion Week was over, Bazz flew home took care of things then went to Miami. He was the star of another music video. He bitched about it the whole time because he didn't have a mohawk in the damn thing. They let that strip of hair go natural and he was constantly swiping it out of his face.

 

The negotiation about a role in a movie was a flop and Bazz's agent yelled at him. The red-haired man shrugged. He didn't really care if he was famous. His agent bitched and bitched. If Bazz became more famous, then it would be more money for him.

 

Bazz didn't care. He had money. It wasn't his job to make other people money. He was glad that he only had six more months until the contract was up. He wouldn't have to jet set around the world anymore. He would take the occasional freelance gig but no more contracts.

 

While he was home he got a call from Jugo. The man was inviting him to lunch. Bazz said he'd try to find some room in his schedule but right now, it was impossible. He had two days at before he was set to leave again and he was spending it at home, sitting in his favorite recliner, holding his sleeping daughter in one arm and his son in the other.


Juzo was animatedly telling him about something that he had read in a book.

 

“Did you know that the first fossil to capture the public interest is over three million years old? It’s a female hominid and was found in Ethiopia, which is in Africa. They don’t show the actual fossil, just a plaster casting of it.”

 

Bazz was about to say he didn’t know that but the boy continued to speak.

 

“People call it a fossil but it’s really not. It’s just a skeleton. The men who found it named it Lucy because of some Beatles song. I suppose it was natural for that time to call it that. After all, it was found in nineteen-seventy-four,” Juzo finished. “It’s not a big book.”

 

The red-haired man smiled. “Is that all you learned today?”

 

“No, but you didn't look interested in the whole fossil thing,” the boy replied.

 

“I just don't want you to exert yourself, Juze.”

 

The boy gave a dramatic sigh but snuggled against his father. “Can we watch a superhero movie?”

 

“Sure, which one?”

 

“Deadpool?”

 

Bazz gave him a stern look and shook his head. “Negative,” the man said.

 

“Uh, Suicide Squad?”

 

“No, your mom would kill me. How about—”

 

“No one ever lets me have fun.”

 

Bazz knew what frustration was because people treated Juzo differently. He had a problem that had been taken care of. He wasn't fucking fragile. If it was up to him, the boy would be a normal kid, going to school and making friends.

 

“Did you know there are different kinds of parchment? Nowadays it's made from paper. It didn't use to be like that.”

 

“There are different kinds of parchment?” Bazz asked, surprised at the change in conversation. He didn't even know what parchment was used for other than baking.

 

“Oh yes. True parchment isn’t really paper, it’s skin. England has calf and sheep-skin while Italy has goatskin. There's also vellum. It’s a term that loosely means parchment but is directed towards calfskin parchment,” the boy said, beaming with pride.

 

“How about watching Harry Potter?”

 

The boy shrugged the nodded. Bazz watched his son pick the movie out of the many that Nel had accumulated throughout the years. He shifted the little girl in his other arm. The infant was just about dead weight. Akira was plumping up and he found the little girls tiny double chin and fat legs to be adorable. As she got older, the colic seemed to be going away. She didn't cry so much. She didn't cry at all when Bazz was home.

 

He sighed and waited for Juzo to settle himself on the other side of him and the boy used the remote to start the movie.

 

* * *

 

Dinners at the Cifer household were a quiet affair. Noboru tried not to talk to his father much. The boy sensed his dad was going through something so he didn't pry. He couldn't help notice that every time his father's phone dinged, chimed, or rang the man had a hopeful look on his face, only for the expression to be wiped away once he had his hands on the device.

 

It made him feel kind of sorry for the guy.

 

Two weeks passed since that first phone call between Noboru and Vain. They texted constantly and talked on the phone until midnight every day. The first one who yawned was the one that had to hang up. It was a rule they had.

 

Everything was going fine. Noboru could almost call Vain his best friend. She still hung out with her former school friends but it wasn't as often. They were at the dojo, Noboru trying to get one freaking hit on her when he noticed it. The changes in the blonde were subtle. She looked more refined and polished. Her hair was less unkempt, often times sleek, shiny and controlled. It took him getting up in her face to realize what happened.

 

“Makeup?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Why?” he asked.

 

“Because I'm a girl and I like it? I don't have to tell you why, Nobu,” Vain said, shoving him back. "It's a lot less than what I used to wear. Ya gotta frame the face."

 

"Huh?"

 

"Brows, mascara, lips."

 

He scowled at her. “You're beautiful without it,” he said. Her eyes went wide and mouth dropped open. His cheeks turned pink. “I didn't—I mean—Dammit,” Noboru said as he tried to backpedal his words.

 

That blonde head was thrown back and she laughed for a few moments. He felt the stirring sensation again in his groin. He didn't want to feel like this. She had stopped moving though. Noboru took the opportunity to stare at her. They'd been friends for how long? Almost three months?

 

Friends? They weren't friends. Friends didn't want to kiss each other. Friends didn't want to touch each other like Noboru wanted to touch Vain. He wanted to tangle his hands in her blonde hair. He wanted to make her laugh more. He wanted to hold her.

 

The boy sighed and dropped to the blue mat, sitting down. He crossed his legs and dug his elbows into his thighs. He put his face in his hands. He was having some kind of crisis at the moment. He was having an emotional teenage moment.

 

“Nobu? You okay?”

 

He shook his head, grinding the palms of his hands into his eyes.

 

“What's wrong?”

 

“Nothing, Vain.”

 

Somehow, she wormed her way into his lap and pried his hands from his face. The only thing she couldn't do was force him to look up at her. “You're a liar. Tell me what's wrong,” she said.

 

“No. Get the hell off me,” he stated. He felt her arms go around his neck. “Stop. You have a boyfriend.”

 

Noboru pushed the girl off of him and he stood up. He retrieved his t-shirt and socks then left the room. He walked into the changing room, quickly slipping into his school uniform and grabbed his bookbag. When he walked out of the area, he saw his dad standing there talking to the tall owner of the building.

 

His father was nodding and Noboru stopped. Ulquiorra noticed him and all his dad did was slightly tilt his head back. The look on his face was one of disappointment. Shit. He was in trouble. He said nothing. He just walked out of the building like nothing was wrong. Ulquiorra followed him. Noboru waited beside that old Honda while his dad unlocked the doors.

 

“Is there some reason you're training to fight?” the older Cifer asked, starting the car and taking off. “Who did you get mixed up with? Is it drugs? Are you going to fight over this mystery girl that you talk to every night?”

 

“What are you doing in Nikko?”

 

“I had an appointment with your mother.”

 

“Liar,” Noboru said taking in his father's appearance. The suit jacket had wrinkles in it. His tie loosened. There was even a bruise on his neck. “You know, I saw Mom that day in the apartment. I heard you two. What's going on between you?”

 

“It is none of your business, Noboru.”

 

“Take me to Karakura then. I'll ask her.”

 

“Noboru Mateo,” Ulquiorra said in warning. “You don't know anything. Your mother and I are working on being friends.”

 

“So friends fuck friends?”

 

“Watch your language!”

 

“You and Yachiru. You and Mom. I've even heard stories about you and an old friend named Nel,” the boy snapped. “Mostly happens when Mom drinks too much wine but I've heard them. She has boxes of pictures in Kazui's closet I've seen. You and three other people. There's a couple of other people's pictures in that box but I have no clue who they are.”

 

Noboru saw his father's hands tighten on the steering wheel. He knew he was getting close to his father's breaking point which he had never breached. “So what's my punishment?”

 

“What?”

 

“I obviously displeased you. What's my punishment?”

 

“Nothing. I expect you to treat me with respect and not pry into my business. I am an adult. I will do as I please and what I do does not concern you unless you are paying my bills,” Ulquiorra said as he drove.

 

The boy nodded. “Are you and Mom getting back together?”

 

“No, we're merely talking about the—”

 

“Would you stop bullshitting me?” He saw the mirror of his green eyes flash with anger. Shit. He crossed the line. “I know what sex is.”

 

“Your mother and I are renegotiating the terms of our custody agreement,” Ulquiorra snapped.

 

“That happens in a courtroom, not a bedroom.”

 

“Are you going to persist with this?”

 

Chapter Text

Ulquiorra gasped for breath as he had Orihime up against the wall of his bedroom. As soon as Noboru had departed for the train station to go to school, he called the redhead. It didn't take her long to show up at his door.

She had texted him the previous night saying she needed to talk to him about something. It was important. When the door slammed he was onto her, kissing her and claiming her mouth. They hadn't waited for formalities. They'd worked out something of an agreement to carry on their hidden relationship. They started over, cleaning the slate between them and the past. They were just two star-struck lovers lost in each other.

 

He wouldn't treat her as an appointment. She would try to come when he beckoned. It was easy to do and so far they both kept their ends of the deal.

 

The dark-haired man lowered the woman so that she could stand and then walked to the master bathroom. He disappeared into the room and then came back with a towel. Ulquiorra offered it to Orihime and she shook her head, sitting on his bed.

 

“You said you needed to talk to me,” he said but it was more of a question. “I'm not as young as I was but I'm sure I could go a couple more times until I'm absolutely needed at CEI.”

 

“I'm pregnant.”

 

“What?” Ulquiorra said, dropping the towel on the floor in shock. His ears seemed to be deceiving him.

 

“I am pregnant. About three months pregnant,” she said, not looking at him. Orihime was staring at his carpet.

 

The man blinked several times. His brain wasn't registering what she was saying. “I'm sure Kurosaki is thrilled. Why are you telling me?”

 

“You're the only person I've slept with in the past year,” she looked up at him.

 

“We? Me? You?”

 

She nodded.

 

“Weren't you on birth control or something?”

 

Orihime shook her head this time. “I stopped taking it about four months ago,” she said. “It'd been several months since he touched me. I couldn't see spending money for the pills if there was nothing going on in the bedroom except sleeping.”

 

“You failed to tell me this,” Ulquiorra said.

 

“I figured you got a vasectomy or something. You didn't ask. You didn't say anything.”

 

Well, she was right on that point. He was going to ask but it seemed like Orihime knew what she was doing. She was married for fuck's sake! Shouldn't married couples have things in place to prevent that? He raked his hand through his hair. “We have a fifteen-year-old and you're telling me we've made another baby? I—I—What are you going to tell your husband?”

 

“I know when Rukia's next appointment is so I made an appointment at the same time and same clinic. Ichigo is planning on being there. I'll casually run into them. You can join me if you'd like,” she commented.

 

The man widened his green eyes to stare at the woman. “What does that mean? You're going to tell him about us then? Are you going to tell him about this?”

 

The woman sighed and Ulquiorra pinched the bridge of his nose. He took a deep breath and counted to ten. Doing this usually calmed him down. When he opened his eyes, Orihime was laying on his bed and he swore he could see the tiny baby bump. That would be impossible for only three months.

 

“You're positive that you're with child?”

 

“Yes, do you want me to take a test in front of you?”

 

“I'm going to have to get a bigger apartment.”

 

* * *

 

Vain didn't understand. She didn't understand at all but she said nothing. She didn't get Nobu and his weird freakout at the dojo. She didn't understand her mom freaking out about a damn name. She didn't understand why she was feeling like this.

 

And this feeling was strange because on one hand she had no interest in Eizo whatsoever but she kept coming back to him. She kept getting in his car when he came around. She kept having sex with him. She kept getting high with him and his friends. She was distracted when she was with her former group of friends. She mostly thumbed through her phone when they were standing around smoking and drinking.

 

This feeling was complex because she wanted to do those things with him; with Noboru. The very thought made her blush. Vain found herself thinking about him, texting him, calling him. She was constantly craving his attention but she had to hold back.

 

Noboru had no interest in her like that. At least that's what Vain picked up. Those three kisses weren't anything to judge. They were the heat of the moment things. They just happened.

 

“Baby V, what's up?” Odessa said as she sat down beside the blonde.


Vain looked at the teenager who she used to call bestie and frowned. A sigh ran through her. She began to realize that she had nothing in common with these people. She didn't even like them. She didn't even want to be in Saka Ebern's house right then. She just wanted to go home.

 

The Granz twins were okay. Valentina was okay. Those three were cool because she had practically grown up with them. The rest of her group of friends? No. She didn't want to be involved with them anymore. “Nothing, what's new?”

 

“What made you go to a public school?”

 

“I didn't,” the blonde replied. She was totally lying but Vain didn't feel the need she didn't feel safe at the prep school anymore. Telling Harribel to fuck off and die like his dad had not been a smart move on her part. All anyone knew of the boy was his father was someone important who got assassinated a while ago. “My parents found out I had Eizo over. I got everything taken away from me. It's part of my punishment for not listening.”

 

“They took your ass out of this fine establishment of learning and put it in some raggedy ass public high school as punishment? Damn, I am glad my dad isn't like that. The step-bitch can go to hell for all I care.”

 

She shrugged. “I'm actually getting high grades. There are rich kids who go to the school too and they're not snobby.”

 

The black girl scoffed. “You calling me snobby?”

 

“No, I'm talking about the other shits you all attend classes with.”

 

Vain looked up to see Eizo standing in the doorway and he was looking at her. “Baby V, c'mon,” he said.

 

That stupid nickname. She hated it. Noboru only called her Celeb in jest or was being annoyed. These people called her Baby V or V whenever it suited them. She couldn't show her vexed state. So, she smiled at Odessa and then stood, walking over to the boy with slicked back black hair.

 

“You're over there looking like someone died,” he said. “What's got you all frowny? Sad 'coz your boy ain't here?”

 

The girl scowled at him. “What are you talking about?”

 

“Tch, don't think I don't notice him hanging off you. I see it. He practically follows you around with puppy dog eyes,” the male said, smirking. “What's his name? Fufu? Ruru?”

 

“His name is Noboru and he's a friend, Eizo,” Vain articulated. “What do you want? I have to get home soon.”

 

“What I want won't take long at all. Give me ten minutes of your time,” he drawled, leaning close to her ear. Vain shivered as his breath ghosted over her ear.

 

Vain shook her head. “I don't want to,” she said in a bitchy tone.

 

“'Kay. Have fun walking home.”

 

“Are you fucking serious?”

 

* * *

 

His phone was ringing. Noboru had to dive to get it in time. He'd been in the shower when he heard it. He had enough time to shut the water off, grab a towel and then make a mad dash for his room which wasn't far, just across the hall.

 

Why was he acting like a madman all over a phone call?



Because it was Vain's ringtone blaring from the device.

 

He pushed the screen and brought it up to his ear. “Hello?”

 

“Noboru.”

 

“Vain? What's wrong?” She never said his name.

 

“I'm stranded out by Utsunomiya.”

 

His forehead wrinkled in confusion. It was a Saturday, why would Vain be anywhere near his city? “What are you doing out here?”

 

“It's a long story. Can I come to your house? I need to talk to you.”

 

His eyes went wide and he looked around. He knew what his dad would say if he called and asked him if someone could come over. It would be a resounding no because Ulquiorra Cifer liked his privacy. It had made Noboru a social outcast along with his funny colored eyes.

 

“I have a cab coming to get me,” she said. “I don't want to go home though. I was supposed to be back like two hours ago. If I go home now I'm gonna get in trouble.”

 

“If you don't go home you'll get into trouble.”

 

“No, because—Just tell me where you live. I'll explain once I'm there.”

 

Noboru told her but he had a bad feeling about it. It was thirty minutes later someone knocked on the apartment door. He pulled it open to see Vain, looking extremely dirty and pissed off. Her hair was a mess and she had several scrapes and cuts on her arms and legs.

 

“What the fuck happened?”

 

“Let's just say Eizo doesn't like to be told no.”

 

Red colored his vision and Noboru went for the front door. Vain grabbed his arm. “What are you doing?” she asked.

 

“Tell me where he's at,” he snapped. Anger flooded his body and he recognized this emotion as jealousy. Someone touched her and they did it with an intent to harm. He started yelling, “Did he do anything to you? Do I need to call the cops?”

 

The girl's shoulders slumped. “No, he didn't do anything to me. Basically, he told me to start walking to Nikko, so I did. Well, a couple of my former friends attacked me. I fell down a hill and here I am. That's why I can't go home. I'm a mess and lost my fucking hoodie. My phone was in the pocket of my jeans along with my wallet but I think my screen is cracked.”

 

Noboru looked at her. Her t-shirt was caked with mud and her jeans had several rips along the legs on both sides. Shaking his head, he led her to the bathroom. “Get cleaned up. I'll bring you something to wear and we can wash your stuff.”

 

Vain sighed and placed her forehead on his shoulder. Noboru froze for a moment but then gently patted her back. “I'm sorry,” he said quietly.

 

“I'm gonna call my parents first,” she said.

 

“Okay, I'll be right back.”

 

* * *

 

“Mom?”

 

“Vain where are you?”

 

“Sorry, Sora and I lost track of time. I was wondering if I could stay here tonight,” the girl said, chewing her lip. She knew she was lying to her mother. She had lied to get out of the house, saying she was taking the bus to see one of her school friends. Eizo had picked her up at the normal place he dropped her off at when they were done hanging out in the evenings. The afternoon was going fine until she told him no.

 

She had reasons for telling him no. The biggest reason was that she was no longer interested in him in a sexual manner. Vain wanted nothing to do with him anymore. She wanted nothing to do with those assholes. They ran her down and off the road. She tried running through trees to get away from them and ended up tripping. She didn't realize the hillside was that steep and she fell.

 

The laughter she heard from the road above hurt worse than the cuts and bruises. Those people were supposed to be her friends. They were supposed to be a close knit group. It just showed Vain how shallow rich bitches could be.

 

“Vain,” her mother said. “Vain?”

 

“Yeah? Sorry. Distracted by the movie we're watching.”

 

“You can stay; just make sure you're home by noon, okay?”

 

“Absolutely, Mom.”

 

* * *

 

She looked weird sitting on the couch wearing a t-shirt and sweatpants of his. Noboru scowled then flopped down beside her. “Did you take an actual shower?”

 

“Yeah, there was mud in my hair,” she said. “Yes, I used whatever shampoo and soap was in there. I smell like you. All tough and manly.”

 

“You're not funny. Is anyone coming to pick you up?”

 

“I'm staying.”

 

“What?”

 

Vain looked at him and repeated her words. “I. Am. Staying. If I go home, they're going to ask questions about why I'm all cut up and bruised. I'll be out of your hair in the morning.”

 

Noboru scowled harder at her. There was no way she could stay! His dad would flip his fucking lid if he caught someone else in the house! He couldn't be inhospitable though. She seemed to have a bad experience this afternoon with those dipshits who she called friends.

 

He huffed and leaned into the corner of the couch. “Fine but you're sleeping on the floor,” he stated. “Are you hungry?”

 

The girl nodded her head. “I've not ate all day.”

 

“What do you want?”

 

“What do you have to eat?” she asked him from the other corner.

 

“I can't cook. I usually order something when my dad isn't home,” Noboru replied. “He's the one that cooks and it's mostly basic shit. I can make rice, scrambled eggs and miso soup. Oh, and peanut butter and red bean paste sandwiches.”

 

“Ewww.”

 

He rolled his eyes. “My mom likes it.”

 

“Your family just sounds weird,” she said with a laugh. “Pizza?”

 

“Your family has two dads and a mom; you're calling mine weird? I guess.”

 

So they ordered pizza and ate almost all of it. Noboru was kind of surprised that Vain could eat that much and not be heavy but she did work off most of her calories at the dojo. He left the box on the kitchen table and motioned for her to follow him. He opened the door to his room and waited for her to walk inside.

 

She looked around and then whirled to face him. “You're boring,” she said.

 

“I thought you knew this?” Noboru said in a questioning manner. “Did you expect me to be a party monster?”

 

He shook his head and walked over to his bed, sitting down on the piece of furniture. He observed the girl as she poked around in his books, movies and music collection.

 

“You have a Vapor Atrophy CD,” she commented.

 

“It was a good album. I don't buy music unless I can listen to half the album without hating it,” Noboru said. “You don't like your dad's music?”

 

She shrugged. “I don't listen to it,” Vain replied.

 

“Do you want to listen to it?”

 

“No, do you have a laptop?”

 

He nodded and gestured to the desk in the corner. She raised her eyebrows and tilted her head. “Well?” she said.

 

“Oh, you want me to open it up and put in the password then let you rifle through my personal files,” he said in a snarky tone.

 

“Whatcha' hiding on there? Porn? We could totally watch that,” she said with a serious expression on her face.

 

Noboru felt his face get hot and he scowled. He never in his life met anyone so infuriating than Vain Jaegerjaquez. He wanted to throw her off the balcony. “I think we've had enough excitement for today. I'm gonna go see if your clothes are done in the washer.”

 

While he was switching her clothes, he took a deep breath then blew it out, trying to calm himself. Noboru could explain why he was doing this in a logical manner. He was merely helping her out. On an emotional manner he wanted to spend more time with Vain. He liked her. He wanted to be around her without anyone else interrupting them. His dad wanted him to exercise caution and common sense.

 

How was he supposed to do that when both things seemed to escaped him as soon as she was around?

 

He was only gone for a minute but when he came back, Vain was laying in his bed, under his blanket and she had his laptop sitting on her thighs.

 

“Want to watch a movie?” she asked, looking up at him.

 

Noboru was absolutely right. She was a pain in the ass and a lot of trouble. He was totally going to regret this but he found himself nodding. Caution and common sense be damned. After the movie was over, he put the thing back on his desk and then sat on the bed. “Floor,” he said.

 

“Make me,” she replied then yawned. “I'm not going to molest you in your sleep. Though I'm not too sure you wouldn't do the same to me.”

 

“Ugh, Vain.”

 

The teenage male stomped out of the room to check on her clothes that he had put in the dryer. Then he stomped back to his room and threw the clothes on the bed. “Here,” he complained, face reddening as his hands got caught on her bra. His eyes scanned the pile and he saw her skimpy underwear.

 

Dammit! She wasn't wearing those either! His scowl darkened. She was smirking. “What's wrong, Nobu? Cat got your tongue?” she asked.

 

He turned out the light and then crawled into the bed next to her, making sure to shove her all the way against the wall. “Stay over there.”

 

She didn't. In the morning he found himself nose to nose with her. Vain actually looked innocent and not a perverted deviant as he usually saw her as. Noboru gently smoothed some hair out of her face. She snuggled up to him which had him swallowing. He needed his body to behave.

 

The only thing that woke her up was his dad's voice. It was loud.

 

“NOBORU MATEO CIFER!”

 

“Mateo?” she asked sleepily. “You have a strange middle name, Ruru.”

 

Fuck, he was in trouble.

 

Chapter Text

Ulquiorra stared at his son with a stern look on his normally blank face. He never saw the need to scold Noboru but he was doing so now. The boy knew he was in trouble when he had yelled. The kid came out into the living room with his eyes pointed at the floor. “You realize I saw you two last night. Her clothes were on the floor. Condoms? Do I need to buy you some?”

 

“It's not like that!” Noboru claimed. “I swear, Dad. We're just friends. Something happened to her last night and I was just helping out.”

 

“By sleeping with her?”

 

“She doesn't listen! I told her to sleep on the floor!”

 

“You're not supposed to have anyone over here! There are reasons why I—”

 

“I know you don't want your precious privacy invaded.”

 

The slap that echoed through the room had turned Noboru's head. Ulquiorra stood there fuming. He was tired of the teenager's attitude. It had been horrible since the school year started. His son turned and looked at him, holding the side of his face. The other male was clearly in a state of shock.

 

“Who is that girl? Is she the one that you like? I want a name.”

 

“Vain,” his son said quietly.

 

VAIN?

 

“Vain.”

 

“Let me tell you something, Noboru. There is only one girl in the world I know that is named Vain. Her last name is Jaegerjaquez. Her father is the lead singer for Vapor Atrophy. Her mother runs Candy Ink Tattoos,” Ulquiorra said. “Does this sound like your Vain?”

 

“Candy Ink Tattoos? Isn't that the same place you go to on the weekends?”

 

Ulquiorra nodded.

 

“You know her?”

 

Another nod.

 

“Are you going to get her in trouble?”

 

“That,” he snapped. “Is no concern of yours. Go get her. You two have ten minutes to say goodbye because after today—”

 

The boy scoffed. “You know, I could tell the courts I don't want to see your face; that I don't want to visit you. I probably wouldn't have to see you again. I'll tell Mom you hit me. Think she would want you back after that? Ichigo may be a crappy example of a father to me but he's never slapped me. He actually shows Kazui love and affection.”

 

Ulquiorra's eyes widened in shock as he stared at his son. The expression only rested there for a moment before he replaced it with a blank stare. “When you make mistakes in your life and you're looking back at your past regretting them, don't come to me. She will only get you in trouble.”

 

* * *

 

Grimmjow said nothing as his daughter came into the house, slamming doors. He looked at Nel and raised an eyebrow. The woman with teal hair shrugged. He could hear the teen crying as she ran up the stairs.

 

“Go see what's wrong,” Grimmjow said. “That's your job, isn't it?”

 

“Why don't you go see what's wrong with her? You're the dad; she's supposed to be Daddy's girl.”

 

The blue-haired man looked at the woman as if she grew another head. “Bazz!”

 

“What?” came the reply from the living room.

 

“Go see to your daughter!”

 

The man with the mohawk popped his head around the frame of the door and scowled. “Akira is fine, probably hungry. I just changed her diaper,” Bazz said.

 

“The other one numbskull.” Grimmjow pointed to the ceiling.

 

“Uh-uh. Nope. She's probably getting ready to start her period or something,” he replied then walked over to Nel, depositing the infant girl into her arms. “However, Mommy. This one is rooting around and I don't have the right size tits to please her.”

 

Nel snorted with amusement. “Go put a shirt on,” she replied.

 

“So no one is going to go see what is wrong with Vain?”

 

“Give me a blowjob and I will.”

 

“Perverted, sick—”

 

“You love me.”

 

“I swear one of these days, I'm just going to kick your ass, Bazz.”

 

The man with red hair smirked. “Fine,” he said. “I'll go see what's wrong with the Diva.”

 

* * *

 

Orihime was nervous as she walked into the clinic. She had time the appointment to arrive a few minutes after Rukia. The small black-haired woman had already gone inside. She saw the woman and she saw her husband. She pretended not to notice them.

 

The redhead knew that the man and woman saw her. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see them arguing. Orihime looked at her watch as she waited to check in with the receptionist. Ulquiorra said he would show up. She looked back at the door, just as she felt someone take her elbow steering her away from the front desk.

 

“Orihime, what are you doing here?” her husband asked.

 

“Oh, Ichigo!” she said with a smile. It felt like her face was going to break. “What are you doing here? You do know that this is a pregnancy clinic, right?”

 

“Yes. Explain what you're doing here,” Ichigo demanded.

 

“A female in a pregnancy clinic is normal. However, seeing someone else's husband with another female remains suspect. You should explain what you're doing here, Trash.”

 

Both of the ginger-headed adults looked to see who addressed the man so harshly. Orihime about smiled with glee as she saw Ulquiorra standing there in an impeccable suit with his hands in the pockets of his dress pants. He even wore an aquamarine colored tie.

 

“Oh, is that Rukia? Hi Rukia!” Orihime waved. Her husband was starting to look miserable. The small woman turned red. “Didn't I see you with her when I came in? You must be such a nice guy to bring her to these appointments.”

 

“What are you doing here Orihime? We've not had sex in nine months,” the man seethed. His voice was low but she knew Ulquiorra had heard him.

 

“I suggest you back away from her. It's none of your business what she's doing here. Just like it's none of her business that you knocked up that woman over there,” Ulquiorra stated.

 

The orange-haired man's mouth opened and closed. “I've done no such thing. I was just bringing her to an appointment. We work together so she asked me to bring her—”

 

Orihime shoved her phone in Ichigo's face and pressed the screen. She had the device turned up as loud as it could go so that everyone could hear what she had recorded.

 

I'll tell her when it's time. I know, but I can't leave and get you cheese. I miss you too, Rukia. I'll tell her I have to work late on Saturday night. Yes, it's been over between Orihime and I. I love you too.

 

The recording stopped and the redhead smiled. “There's also screenshots of Rukia's text to Renji about you fathering her child. It's also been confirmed with Byakuya.”

 

She watched her husband's face become red and his eyes flicker between her and the man standing at her side. Ulquiorra reached into his suit jacket and pulled out an envelope. He handed it to Orihime who in turn, gave it to Ichigo. “Divorce papers. You'll be hearing from my lawyers,” she chirped.

 

“Orihime Kurosaki?”

 

“Woman, we have an appointment to keep,” Ulquiorra said, taking her hand.

 

She thought that when she looked up at her husband's face she would feel some kind of triumph for beating him this game. She didn't. It looked like Ichigo's entire world just fell apart and shattered in his hands. Orihime realized too late that both of their actions were petty and trivial.

 

Nothing was said and Rukia came forward but Ichigo just yanked his arm out of her grasp and stomped out of the building. She allowed her ex-husband to pull her along until they were inside the ultrasound room.

 

* * *

 

No one addressed Vain's issue until the next Wednesday. The adults figured if it bothered her enough, she would come to one of them to talk about the problem. She never did and it was up to Bazz to try to find the root of the problem. “Hey, blonde bombshell. You decent?”

 

“Yeah,” came the muffled reply.

 

Bazz walked into the room which was spotless and looked around. Finally, he spotted Vain huddled under her blankets on her bed. She had her face pressed into a pillow. “What's the matter?” he asked, sitting down on the surface.

 

Her head shook back and forth.

 

“You don't want to talk or nothing is wrong?”

 

“Both.”

 

“Can't be both, Princess,” Bazz said. He hauled her from her spot and deposited the teen on his lap. She squawked with protest. “We're worried. You're scaring your mom.”

 

“Leave me alone. You guys don't care!”

 

“Vain, what's going on?”

 

“A lot. I don't want to talk to you about it. I want to talk to Mom,” she wailed.

 

“Your mom is busy. I can help,” Bazz said in a comforting way. The girl started crying more and he rubbed her back. “You having boy troubles? Friend problems?”

 

The blonde head bobbed up and down.

 

“Did that rich prick break up with you?” A head shake. “What's going on Vain? I'm not gonna play Guess Who with you.”

 

“I'll get in trouble if I tell you.”

 

“I promise, Daddy B will grant amnesty,” he said holding up his right hand like he was swearing to tell the truth.

 

She sniffled and then squinted at him. “Saturday I lied. I said I was going to a friend's house in Nikko. I didn't. I went with Eizo, Saka, and Shukuro—”

 

“Hold up, wait. Who?”

 

“Eizo Ginjo. Saka Ebern and Shukuro Harribel. We went to this house by Utsunomiya. It's a cabin Erbern's mom owns or something. We were partying. I realized I didn't want to be there. I didn't want to be friends with them,” she said.

 

Bazz was barely listening to what the girl was saying. He was stuck on those three names. Ginjo. Ebern. Harribel.

 

What the fuck was Tokyo Yakuza doing in Togichi Prefecture? Did the Utsunomiya leader know about this? Fuck, he and Grimmjow were going to have to take a ride down to Kenpachi's place and ask around.

 

“Bazz? Are you listening?”

 

“Nope, I've got to go talk something over with your dad. I'll send your mom up here,” he said and pushed the girl onto her bed. Bazz stood and then looked down at her. “Hey, Vain?”

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“Be careful, okay?”

 

* * *

 

Ulquiorra was on a roll. They were in Orihime's new apartment that he was renting for her and her youngest child until he found a suitable and much bigger place. It was hard to find a four-bedroom and three-bath apartment without getting a penthouse.

 

“Why don't you just buy a house or use the one in Nikko?”

 

“The one in Nikko? That thing hasn't been mine since six months after our divorce, Orihime. As soon as I could, I got rid of it. I think Nel's mother lives there,” he said. “Grimmjow bought it.”

 

Grimmjow. That was a name she had not heard in a while.

 

The man gave a sigh and Orihime looked at him. The way he was holding himself in a way that seemed painful. She soon found out why he looked like this.

 

“What's wrong?” She asked.

 

* * *

 

He didn't want to tell her what was wrong. He didn't want to tell her that he could sympathize with Kurosaki. It was weighing on him. Everything felt like it was weighing on him. Noboru's threats didn't help either.

 

“I know how your husband feels. I saw his face. Anyone who cheats is trash. I don't care what the situation is; it does not matter. No one deserves to go to bed at night wondering why they weren't enough,” Ulquiorra said, his eyes burning. He had to hold them back. He would not cry in front of her. He would not show her that she was his weakness. “Do you know how many times you made me think I wasn't enough for you when you left me and took my son? Do you know how many nights I contemplated ending my life inside of that house in Nikko because I wasn't enough?”

 

“I was lonely. I'm sorry for the strife I've caused you in the past. I apologize for being blinded by false promises,” Orihime said, turning to face him. He could see her from the corner of his eye. “Ever since I found out about Ichigo and Rukia, I've thought the same thing. Why wasn't I enough for him?”

 

Ulquiorra scoffed. “Why wasn't I enough Orihime? I told you I had to go to school. I told you I had to get my father's company straightened out. It took me five years to do all of that. Had you waited two more fucking years, I would have given you everything. Time, vacations, love, romance, anything.”

 

“You left me alone when I needed you the most! You could have put off school for a year to help me. What happened with Tsukishima wasn't something I could sweep under the rug and forget about, Ulquiorra! I still have flashbacks to this day. They're not as devastating as they were after his death but I still have them. Sometimes my entire day is ruined because of them.”

 

“That's a pathetic excuse. Get some help or talk to someone.”

 

“Like you did? I don't think you care about me.”

 

“Woman, did you not hear me? Anything. Everything. I learned how to feel for you. I stayed in Japan for you. I got shot because I stayed. Does that not matter? I would have died for you. I left the safety of my mother's home to come to you, only to learn that you were sleeping with Grimmjow. I sacrificed my happiness because of you. I bought a house; a car for you. I killed two men for you. Everything I have done in the past almost eighteen years has been for you!”

 

“You want to seem like you're so generous but you're not. You're a jerk. You've done everything for me? More like you've done everything for yourself! Like taking me to court and outlining how my son got to spend time with me? How you dictated our divorce and lives? How you can't even be mature enough for us to be friends?”

 

“All those contracts were in place before we were married. You knew what they said,” Ulquiorra stated. “You signed them. I've told you time and time again, if you are not happy with the arrangements made, please feel free to hire a lawyer and we can go back over them.”

 

“It doesn't matter.”

 

“How can it not matter? Enlighten me,” he snapped. This build-up of emotions was rolling over him like waves on a sandy beach during a storm.

 

“I just don't want this time to be like last time.”

 

“You're still under the impression that I want a relationship with you,” he stated.

 

She rolled her eyes at him. “You're lending me your own lawyer for my divorce and paying for it. You're paying for an apartment when I could have just stayed in my own home. Tell me you don't want anything to do with me. You're shelling out a lot of money for not wanting a relationship with me.”

 

His green eyes slowly closed. “I—It's not that simple. I just can't—”

 

“What? Are you doing this because you feel you have to? Are you doing it because I'm pregnant?”

 

He shook his head. “I'm doing all of this because I love you. We could have gone about this in a better way. An eye for an eye leaves people blind.”

 

Chapter Text

Noboru pulled Vain into an empty room before they got to their classroom after lunch. It was November and soon winter break would begin once December came around. They hadn't talked to each other much since his dad found them. That'd been almost three weeks ago.

 

His phone was taken away. His laptop was taken away. Ulquiorra gave them back after a week but still. It'd been the longest week of his life, just staring at the ceiling of his room. The part that blew the most was the fact that the pillow she used, smelled like him so he couldn't relive that night. Not that he would admit to anything. Okay, so he had jerked off a couple times to the image of her laying beside him.

 

“Are you okay?” he asked, smoothing her hair out of her face.

 

Her shoulders lifted and fell. “I heard every word you said. I heard every word your dad said,” the girl uttered. “Your dad is probably right that I'm going to get you in trouble.”

 

“You need to shut the hell up, Vain. You don't know how crazy I am about you,” he said to her. “He's a jerk anyway. He's only had one love in his entire life so he's not an expert on what it feels like. I want to run my hands through your hair and stare at your eyes. They're just not blue. They're crystal clear water of the tropics flecked with darker specks of ocean—“

 

“I'm not one for romance, Noboru.”

 

He scowled. “I don't care. I'm still going to tell you how beautiful and how amazing I think you are. Nothing can change my mind on this. I don't care if it's just us and we're fighting. I don't care if you're around your snobby friends and waving me off. You are fucking amazing to watch.”

 

“I am not,” she said. “I'm just some stupid girl.”

 

The urge to shake some sense into her was overwhelming. Noboru wanted to jostle the female until she saw his way of reasoning! Did she not understand?

 

“You don't know what it's like to think that people love you, only to find out you're hated. You don't know what it's like for people to use you, Noboru,” Vain said, staring at the floor. “Who we are; who we want to be and who we need to be to survive are two different things.”

 

He huffed in disgust but not at her. He was more annoyed with her so-called friends. “You're Vain to me. You're not some celebrity's kid. You're not some rich kid. You are Vain to me. You're the Vain that kicks my ass. You're the one who kisses me and I lose—”

 

“You know you sound like one of those sappy teenage love stories right?”

 

Noboru narrowed his eyes at her and then pinned her against the wall. Vain just looked at him. “Tell me I don't give you butterflies. Tell me that you don't stare at me. Tell me you don't try to agitate me to the point I want to stop you by holding you down and kissing the breath from you. Tell me that you don't fall asleep to my voice. You know I can feel every time your fingers brush against my back. I don't want to be your friend anymore, Vain.”

 

“Just like everyone else—”

 

“I want to be your boyfriend.”

 

* * *

 

Nel stared at Ulquiorra as they sat inside of a coffee shop. “You're saying that Vain, my daughter was sleeping in your apartment and you now decided to tell me this?”

 

“A lot has been going on,” the dark-haired man said. “Orihime's going to get divorced from Ichigo. Noboru is being a defiant child. I have to find a new residence to accommodate more people. Orihime's pregnant.”

 

The teal-haired woman looked at him and then started laughing. Deep belly-wrenching laughter bubbled from her throat at this news. “Well shit. You've certainly got some potent guys there, Ulquiorra.”

 

“I figured she had things in place to prevent pregnancy,” he stated, defending himself. It still made Nel laugh her ass off. “What do you guys do?”

 

“What do we do? Condoms. Bazz occasionally plays the pullout game,” Nel replied. “After getting pregnant with Liam, I swore off birth control.”

 

The man snorted. “Is that how you got pregnant with the newest one?”

 

“Nah, she was... Well... No, he didn't pull out. We were in the driver seat of his car,” she said. “I don't know what you want me to do with this information, Ulquiorra. Vain's a teenager and she's gonna do what she wants.”

 

He scoffed. “Can't you restrain your child? Put her in a different school? I've already threatened to remove Noboru from the school and he threatened to refuse to visit me. He's acting out all because of a damn girl.”

 

The woman who was sitting across from Ulquiorra looked at him in disbelief. Nel couldn't help but laugh at his words. “Pot, kettle, black,” she said, thoroughly amused. “You did the same thing over Orihime. You acted like a fucking jerk over her and don't deny it. I remember.”

 

“Fuck, you're right. What do I do?”

 

“Are they having sex?”

 

Ulquiorra shook his head. “I don't think so,” he replied. “Noboru vehemently denies it whenever I ask. He just likes her. They're not together like that.”

 

“You could give my kid the benefit of the doubt. She's all ego but fragile, like her father. Noboru has been a good thing for her, Ulquiorra. I could ask her what her intentions are concerning Noboru and then pass them onto you.”

 

The dark-haired man shook his head. “No, as much as I hate people prying into my business, I know that would be breaching a line. How do you do it?”

 

“Do what?”

 

“Just let your kids make mistakes and not steer them in the right direction?”

 

“I got my own problems, Ulq. I don't want to deal with their problems too. They need to sort it out themselves to be adults in the world today.”

 

* * *

 

“Did you shave?”

 

“Yeah. Sloane told me too.”

 

Bazz started laughing. “Is it smooth? Can I touch it?”

 

“Get the hell away from me, you pervert,” Grimmjow complained but he didn't move away from Bazz.

 

The red-haired man smirked and then quickly snaked his hand down the front of Grimmjow's sweatpants. The tip of his tongue ran along his top lip as he felt silky smooth skin just above his lover's cock. “That's gonna itch like a motherfucker when it starts growing in,” he said before pulling away from the man.

 

“Get back here,” the blue-haired man growled.

 

“We've got to get ready,” Bazz said, sticking his tongue out again at Grimmjow.

 

“This is so fucking stupid,” the other man muttered as he followed Bazz.

 

It was a normal thing for Bazz. He was used to the noise, people, the atmosphere. There were makeup people running around. There were lights being set up. There was the table with cameras, lenses, several laptops, and tablets. The people from the clothing line were there to observe. Bazz's own agent and Sloane Parker were standing there talking to the execs.

 

* * *

 

“Grimmjow! Bazz,” she said with a smile. “These people are from Gigai Threads and you're going to be modeling their new line of underwear today. Supposedly it's like free-balling when you wear them.”

 

“We have boxer briefs and regular ones. We've even brought some bikini cuts,” one of the women said. “We thought about doing a thong or g-string for men but it's tricky to find people who would do advertising for it.”

 

“My dick ain't—Owww.” Grimmjow groaned after Sloane elbowed him in the gut. She flashed him a brilliant smile. That smile was dangerous and the blue-haired man knew it. “Where you guys putting these ads up at? I don't want my kids to see them.”

 

“Tokyo, Seoul, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, and Rome. Several magazines have already been secured.”

 

“It's time to get you guys to wardrobe. So Bazz, show him the way and handle him with care.”

 

Grimmjow's eyebrow raised as he looked at the selection of multiple pairs of white underwear of various cuts spread out in front of him. He looked at Bazz. “I'm gonna kill her. There is no fucking way—”

 

“Shut up and put them on. We're supposed to do the bikini ones first. Oooh, I wonder if we're gonna have oil rubbed on us,” Bazz said, his eyes dancing with mischievous delight.

 

That mental image sent jolts of arousal right to his dick. Grimmjow didn't need that at the moment. “I'm not putting on anything but the boxer briefs. Sloane!”

 

“What? Jesus Christ, Bazz! Grimmjow, can I borrow your boyfriend for like five minutes?”

 

Grimmjow turned his head to see the red-haired man had stripped and was shimmying those white bikini cut briefs up his legs, ass and finally slipping the front of them over his dick. He had to avert his gaze quickly or else Bazz was going to get molested and he didn't give a damn if he had an audience.

 

Bazz laughed and smiled, showing his teeth. “Sorry Sloane, you're about sixteen years too late for that,” he teased.

 

The blue-haired man scowled. “I'm not wearing those. I'll wear the boxer briefs but I'm not a model. Bazz is. He can model the damn underwear, I'll just stand there with my arms crossed.”

 

The woman pursed her lips and tilted her head, looking Grimmjow up and down. “I'll go see what I can do,” she said.

 

He sighed and flopped down into a chair the studio had provided them with. Bazz was adjusting himself and not even being sly about it. “Would you fucking quit? My dick is already hard,” he bitched at the other male.

 

Bazz shook his head. “They want you to be kind of hard for these things. Makes things look bigger.”

 

“I don't think your pair can handle any more stress.”

 

The grin that came over the man's face should have been a warning alarm. Bazz sauntered over to Grimmjow with a hungry look in his eyes. “You like this don't you?”


“Bazz, I'm warning you.”

 

He didn't listen and placed his hands, palms down on Grimmjow's cotton covered thighs. He leaned forward to whisper in the blue-haired man's ear. “I could do a striptease for you. Get a pair of these or something else and grind away on you.”

 

Grimmjow growled. He had a thing for lap dances and stripteases. It drove him wild. He fondly remembered Nel and Orihime practicing a lap dance years ago. His wife had been giving one to Ulquiorra and he had gotten jealous. It was the first time he'd seen the redhead's naked ass and other goods.

 

“Okay boys,” Sloane said, coming on the other side of the divider. “Am I interrupting anything? I mean, please continue, I can watch.”

 

He pushed Bazz away from him with a groan. “What Sloane?” he asked gruffly.

 

“The photographer says that's fine. Now, get dressed and get out there.”

 

* * *

 

There were one hundred and fifteen images of Grimmjow and Bazz. In the first fifty frames, Grimmjow stood with his oiled body. His feet were shoulder-width apart, arms crossed over his built chest. All Grimmjow did was move his eyes looking at the other man but he never turned his head. Bazz was the one moving around him in various poses.

 

“Loosen up, you're like posing with a statue,” Bazz whispered into his ear. “If we were fucking, you'd be a blowup doll.”

 

After that, the fun began. The two men began to ignite that spark that had always erupted between them. There were poses of them almost kissing, Grimmjow touching the area just below his bellybutton. Their hands were on each other, Bazz sometimes smiling; oftentimes giving the blue-haired man a glance like he was going to either fight him or fuck the hell out of him.

 

The people from Gigai Threads seemed very pleased with what was going on in front of the camera. Sloane was thanking every god that she could that she was single at that moment. When they got home, Bazz was dragged into the bedroom with Nel just raising an eyebrow at them but she said nothing once she heard the noises.

 

She even peeked into the room seeing Grimmjow on top of Bazz, the latter's dick buried in her husband. The teal-haired woman hummed happily to herself and returned to what she was doing.

 

Chapter Text

“Freak?”

 

“Yeah?”

 

“Wanna go party like a rich kid?”

 

Those seven words were the beginning of the end for him. On a clear and cold Saturday evening, they were standing outside Kenpachi's dojo. His dad was okay with him doing this now. He was letting Noboru have more freedom.

 

Noboru looked at Vain, confused. She said she was done with them. She said that the other group of teens didn't matter to her. When that sleek car pulled up she was practically preening when the boy with the slicked back hair started apologizing to her.

 

It was close to the beginning of December which meant his father's birthday and winter break. They never talked about what he said to her, about being her boyfriend. She had just pulled him to her and started kissing him like her life depended on it. Once the bell rang, they walked back to their classroom.

 

“Baby V, c'mon we were just playing around. You know you're my everything. Odessa's not you. Your boy can come along too.”

 

Now, staring at that car and those two boys, made him angry. Noboru wanted to snatch Vain away from where she stood listening to what he suspected were lies spewing forth from that greasy bastard's mouth.

 

Then she asked if he wanted to go party. He didn't but he didn't want her to go alone. He didn't want anyone to harm her. “I can't, my dad—” he gestured toward the direction of the train station. Noboru gave her a hard stare. Vain wasn't catching his eye.

 

“C'mon, Nobu. I promise to show you a good time,” she said smiling, still not looking at him directly.

 

Noboru could feel his cheeks become red and he licked his lips, unsure of what she meant. The girl turned her head towards the car.

 

“Vain, you coming?” the boy who she called Eizo said from the window of the car.

 

“Get your ass in the car, bitch,” the other boy named Saka said.

 

She looked back at him, smiling again. Noboru thought this was a really bad idea but he sighed and followed Vain to the car. The two teen males said nothing as they climbed into the back seat.

 

They lit up a joint. This was going wonderfully. Vain held it out to him. When he shook his head, the other males threatened to throw him out of the car if he didn't take a hit. So, he complied, watching Vain the entire time. She looked guilty but said nothing. Noboru felt his head flying high as he watched her.

 

He narrowed his eyes in displeasure a little while later. Was this really how rich kids partied?

 

The party was boring to him. It might have been “poppin'” and the music loud. Noboru didn't care. The green-eyed kid didn't like being around people he didn't know. There were teenagers drinking. Others were smoking. Vain had run off somewhere with her boyfriend.

 

There was a cup pressed into his hand. He blindly took a drink. Too much alcohol and not enough of whatever it was mixed with so he put it on a table, forgetting about it. From the weed and the alcohol which he wasn't used to, Noboru started looking for Vain. He was going to tell her everything that was on his mind.

 

He saw a flash of golden hair. He saw what she was doing. She was dancing with Eizo grinding her backside against him. Vain was looking at him, beckoning him with her fingers, to cross the floor and come to her. Noboru shook his head. He wasn't about to get involved in Vain's rich kid's world. He didn't need that headache from his dad. He surely didn't need a headache from the drugs and the drinks either but he felt one coming on.

 

She shrugged at him. Noboru saw the greasy head older teen whisper something into her ear and she nodded. He told himself that it didn't bother him when they went hand in hand up the stairs. He wasn't bothered by it. It didn't feel like a knife going through his heart.

 

They were “just friends,” he told himself. “Just friends” didn't look at each other like that. Just friends didn't sleep together in the same bed. Just friends didn't do the things that Vain did to his emotions.

 

Once they were out of sight, he sighed in disgust. Noboru roamed through the house deciding on finding a quiet corner. It was harder than it sounded. The entire first floor was vibrating with bass. There'd be no respite down here. So, he decided to go up those stairs. He wished that he had never come to this place with her.

 

Any room that had a door on it was occupied or locked. Noboru was walking past a door when he heard a moan.

 

He stopped and turned his head toward the door. It was opened. He could see just a sliver into the room. It was enough for him to witness what was going on. His mouth dropped open.

 

Vain. Naked. On top of a male. No, she was naked on top of that slimy asshole.

 

Noboru could see her through the crack in the door. He could see a naked Vain. No, she wasn't naked... She had on a pair of skimpy underwear but other than that she had nothing on. He could see the bottom of her smooth feet, toes curled. Her hips rolled slowly on top of the guy. His breath got caught in his throat.

 

Was she having sex with this dude? It wasn't any of Noboru's business. Vain was just his friend. Hell, she was barely that. She was just someone who kicked his ass on a regular basis and who liked throwing him off by kissing him... once in a while. He didn't even like her like that. He'd just been telling himself he was attracted to her.

 

There was another moan from the room that caught his attention.

 

Shit. She was having sex, he could see—He squeezed his eyes shut. When he opened them, he could see Vain's head turned towards him. She was staring right at him, blue eyes wide. Noboru backed up and then found himself running down the hall then the stairs.

 

He had to get out of there.

 

* * *

 

“Your boy is watching us,” Eizo said, looking over her shoulder.

 

“Huh?”

 

“The kid you've got yourself in a tizzy over? He's watching us,” the older teenager said.

 

“Nobu isn't that kind of guy he would never—”

 

“Take a fucking look V,” Eizo sneered.

 

Vain turned her head and saw one green eye peeking through the crack in the door. Oh, God. It was him then he was gone. She moved to get up off the male under her but he held her still, slamming into her. “Stop! I have to go get him!”

 

“You care more about him than you do your own man?”

 

Her mouth opened and then shut. The door opened and in walked Saka and Shukuro. She swallowed when the door was shut and locked.

 

“Vain, I told you that you'd pay for what you said about my father,” Shukuro said with a slight smile. It was malicious.

 

She turned her head toward Eizo, thinking he help her. He was inspecting his nails while he had his dick in her. Bastard. Her eyes darted between the three males. She could kick their asses. She could totally do it. She was Vain Jaegerjaquez. Her father taught her to throw a punch. Bazz taught her to fight dirty.

 

Hands clamped around her wrist. Eizo was holding her arms by her side as if he knew her intent.

 

Shit. Fuck. Damn them all to hell.

 

“It's time for that bill to be paid, Vain.”

 

They were going to hurt her.

 

* * *

 

Noboru said nothing after paying his cab fare. He walked into the apartment building, rode the elevator to the twelfth floor. He unlocked the door and walked in to see his mother, his half-brother and his father standing in the living room.

 

“Dad. Mom. What is he doing here?”

 

“Noboru,” Ulquiorra said. “I thought you were going to be gone until—”

 

“What are they doing here?”

 

“Ichigo and I are getting a divorce,” his mother said.

 

The teenager said nothing. He just looked at his father and then at his mother. He didn't think his day could get any worse. He'd be wrong. His phone rang. It was Vain's ringtone. It only been an hour since he last saw her and what she was doing. Without looking at anyone he turned and answered it. “What?” he asked rudely.

 

“Help.” The voice was faint and sounded ragged.

 

“Vain?”

 

“Help.” The line went dead.

 

* * *

 

Grimmjow drove like a bat out of hell in the SUV. Bazz was sitting beside him in the passenger seat with a baseball bat. Ulquiorra was in the backseat, holding a katana and his fucking kid was sitting next to him. The boy looked scared out of his fucking mind and all the blue-haired man could think of was that he better be. If anything happened to his little girl, Noboru Cifer was first on the list for an ass whooping of major proportions.

 

It had been a surprise to see the dark-haired man standing at his door, along with Orihime, the teenager and another ginger headed kid. Nel had let them in and Noboru explained what happened.

 

Vain and he went to a party, although the kid didn't want to go. She did, so he followed her. They got high. They drank. The boy noticed Vain going off somewhere with that sleazy creep he'd given the business to on Vain's first day of school.

 

The kid laid it all out. Vain was having sex and he had seen them. He left the party. After he arrived home, he got a call from her number.

 

“All she said was help,” Noboru said. “It sounded like a frog croaking and dying.”

 

Nel collapsed to the floor and it was Orihime who went to comfort her. Grimmjow pulled up an app on his phone. He had trackers on his kids' phones, although Liam didn't leave the house much. He wanted to know where the hell his kids were.

 

“C'mon, assholes.”

 

The men raced out of the house. Ulquiorra stopped to get that damn mint green sword. Bazz had already grabbed the baseball bat. They all jumped into the SUV, Grimmjow peeled out of the driveway and down the street.

 

“Keep going straight,” Bazz said.

 

“Hey, fuckface. No, not you Ulq; your asshole kid.”

 

“My child is not a fuckface or an asshole,” the man muttered.

 

“Yes, sir?”

 

“Any idea who would do this to her?” Grimmjow watched in the rearview mirror as the boy shrugged.

 

“We were with Eizo. I didn't catch his last name. The boy in the passenger seat was Saka.”

 

“Shit! Shit! Shit!” Bazz yelled hitting the dash. “Fuck!”

 

Grimmjow's eyebrow raised. “What?”

 

“Eizo Ginjo. Saka Ebern. Shukuro Harribel.”

 

“I recognize Ebern,” the blue-haired man said. “The other two?”

 

“Toyko Yakuza. More specifically my half-brother and Kugo Ginjo's kid. I fucking told that brat to be careful! What does she do? Runs right the fuck into them,” Bazz spat. “I was going to tell you about it but it fucking slipped my mind. I was gonna drag you to Kenpachi's.”

 

“Well, I don't think I'd go because you know that whole let's use Grimmjow as bait thing still burns my ass.”

 

“Kugo Ginjo? I know that name. Urahara—”

 

“He can't fucking help. When you're paralyzed in a wheelchair you kind of become insignificant as a Yakuza boss, Cifer,” Bazz stated.

 

The boy cleared his throat. “She was attacked by them some weeks back. She felt down a hill because they ran her off the road. Vain didn't tell me a lot.”

 

“Turn on this road,” the red-haired man said and pointed to the right.

 

This road? This was in the middle of fucking nowhere! Grimmjow did as he said. It didn't take long for him to stop the car. He wanted to shout and scream and tear someone apart. His grip tightened on the steering wheel.

 

Vain was sitting on the side of the road, against a tree. She was an absolute mess. Her blonde hair was tangled. Her face was bruised and he could see blood going down her mouth and chin. He wanted to commit murder at that moment and could understand how Ulquiorra pulled that trigger all those years ago because he was going to do that if he ever caught the fuckers responsible for the fact that his daughter had ripped and shredded clothing.

 

“Bazz, Ulq. You two know what to do,” Grimmjow said in a calm voice. He would not show those men how fucking enraged he was. He couldn't because he would kill someone at that moment. When the other men exited the car, he turned in his seat and leveled a hard stare at Noboru. He wanted to blame this kid for this but he couldn't. He had done nothing but helped Vain. “Get out.”

 

* * *

 

Vain couldn't look at her dad or Noboru. She didn't want to. Disappointment rolled off her father in waves. She could tell Nobu was worried. Her dad had a blanket and wrapped it around her. The other teenager held a first aid kit. She let out a sob as her dad wiped her face off with a wet cloth.

 

Bazz was back and swinging a baseball bat as he walked up to the trio. Noboru's father was coming from the other side; he held a sheathed katana in one hand.

 

“We need to take her to the hospital,” Bazz said, crouching next to her father. “We need to call the police too.”

 

“No, we take care of this in-house,” Grimmjow said.

 

“You're going to drive her all the way to Kurosaki's clinic?”

 

“No, I mean the police. We're going to take care of this in-house. I don't care who these punks are,” Grimmjow growled.

 

The girl looked at both men and fear swelled in her mind. “You guys don't know who you're dealing with,” she said. Another sob escaped her and she tried hard to hold it in. “I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I tried to fight but—”

 

“Vain, shut up. We should get her to a hospital though. At least a clinic,” Bazz said.

 

“What happened? Can you at least tell me what happened to you, Vain?”

 

She shook her head. “I don't want to talk about it.”

 

“Do you need to go to the hospital? Do you want to talk to the police?”

 

“I want to go home,” was all she said.

 

Chapter Text

Nel watched her oldest child as she sat at the window and looked out at the snow falling. Liam, Juzo, Bazz, and Grimmjow were outside playing in it; running around and acting like idiots. Vain wasn't the same anymore. The woman sighed and watched as her youngest daughter got up on her knees and tried rocking back and forth. The baby fell flat on her face. It was funny watching the four-month-old trying to do things. It made her smile sadly.

 

Everything since that night had been stressful. Vain wouldn't talk to anyone. She just sat and stared at things. Nel knew that feeling but she wasn't going to ask Vain outright what happened. She didn't want to induce that kind of panic in her daughter.

 

All the blonde girl said when she got home was that her phone got broken and she didn't want a new one. The device was smashed when she laid it on the kitchen table. She didn't want to talk to anyone. Grimmjow shook his head when Nel asked him what happen. Bazz didn't have any answers.

 

Orihime had been a big help that night. She talked Nel through a panic attack. She helped with Akira. Juzo made a ginger-haired friend. Nel realized she missed the other woman's company. They talked and Nel showed the redhead pictures of their family throughout the years.

 

Nel even invited her, Ulquiorra and the kids over for Christmas. Orihime had shrugged her shoulders. If the couple was getting back together maybe they all could be friends again.

 

Maybe pigs would fly in the meantime too.

 

The woman walked across that beige carpet and held her hand out to Vain. The girl looked at her mother's hand and then up at the motherly face. She shook her head but Nel wasn't taking no for an answer. She pulled the girl up and led her over to the couch. Once other children came along, Nel didn't have time to devote to Vain like she should have. It made her frown. Maybe she should have been more of a Mom instead letting the teenager figure things out on her own.

 

Nel sat down and pulled the girl down beside her. The blonde just kind of sunk into her mother's side. The older woman put her arms around her daughter. “Want to hear a story?” Nel said. “If I tell you this story will you tell me yours?”

 

Vain looked up at her mother. “I'll get in trouble.”

 

“No, you won't. Now listen,” she said. “There was once a little girl who had a couple of great friends but there was this boy who loved her so much. So much that it made him angry at the girl. The boy was constantly trying to hurt the girl with his hands or his words. One day, when they were older the boy attacked the girl—”

 

“Is this story about you?” Vain asked in a flat voice.

 

Nel nodded. “I was raped and beaten when I was younger by someone who I thought loved me. He claimed he loved me. It was a long time ago, over twenty years ago. Your dad came to my rescue.”

 

“I wasn't raped, Mom.”

 

“Tell me what happened. It will not go any further than this room,” Nel said in a comforting way. In reality, she wanted to sigh with relief. “You need to let this go Vain or else, you'll never be able to get over it. Believe me, I know. If you don't get it off your chest, you'll never be able to breathe normally again.”

 

The girl closed her eyes and shook her head. “Eizo and I were having sex. I didn't know he left the door open. Noboru saw us... He saw me and he ran. I was going to go after him but Eizo wouldn't let me. Then Saka and Shukuro came in.”

 

“You had sex with three boys? Do we need to take you to the doctor for birth control?”

 

“No, Mom, just listen. Eizo finished up although I didn't want him too,” Vain replied. “He held me down while Shukuro beat the hell out of me. Saka groped me a couple of times. He got kicked in the face for it.”

 

The teal-haired woman sighed. “Why couldn't you tell this to your dad? We were thinking all kinds of awful stuff had happened to you!”

 

“I'm not done! They put me in Eizo's car. He drove, Saka was upfront with him. Shukuro was in the backseat with me and Eizo started driving. Shukuro made me—He made me give him a blowjob. I said something about his dad being dead the last term while I was at the other school and I was just paying for what I said,” Vain stated quietly. “When he was done they pushed me out of the car and I couldn't catch my breath on the side of the road. I was just trying to breathe from hitting the pavement too hard.”

 

“Vain, that's not how you pay for something you said. Getting the shit kicked out of you—”

 

“I called Noboru and tried to talk to him. Shukuro stomped on my phone. Then they took off,” she finished. “I didn't expect him to show up with a cavalry. And I couldn't say anything because I was ashamed. I disappointed Dad and I can't look at Noboru anymore. I can't even talk to him.”

 

“Have you tried?”

 

The blonde shook her head.

 

“You miss him, don't you?”

 

A nod this time.

 

“Go get dressed,” Nel said and then watched her oldest scamper away. The woman stood up and walked down the hall that would allow her access to the backyard. She opened the door and stuck her head outside to yell as loud as she could, “Bazz! Grimm!”

 

She closed the door then waited as she saw four males walking to the house. Once they were inside and started taking off their outerwear, Nel pulled her male lovers to the side. “I'm taking Vain shopping,” she said. “She needs to get out of the house. She talked to me.”

 

“And?”

 

“Not raped,” Nel said quietly. “She was beaten up. One of the boys forced her to give him head.”

 

Both Bazz and Grimmjow shook their heads. She could tell Grimmjow was about to go off on a yelling fit. He didn't like hearing about his daughter's adventures but he had to face the truth.

 

“We should be thankful for that and it wasn't worse,” she snapped. Nel turned and started walking away. “There's milk pumped for Akira. She's in the living room right now on her blanket. I don't know how long we will be gone.”

 

“Hey,” Bazz called out.

 

Nel turned around enough to look at the red-haired man. “What?”

 

“You need money for this shopping trip?”

 

* * *

 

Vain looked at the bags around her feet. Her mom bought her a new phone, a green hoodie, some makeup and some wild looking leggings. The woman was inside some manga shop, perusing titles. She knew her mom didn't like to admit it but she liked reading the stuff. It was the woman's guilty pleasure.

 

The blonde sighed and looked at her rose-gold phone. It looked like the same model Noboru had. It was big, way bigger than her old phone. Her mom said she could get a cute case for it. Vain had bought seven different cases. She currently had a cute silicon chibi walrus case wrapped around the device.

 

She bit her lip and then tapped a number into it, pressing the circle that would allow her to place the call.

 

“Hello?” came the annoyed voice.

 

“Ruru.”

 

“Vain, oh my god. Are you okay?” Even after almost two weeks, Noboru still sounded worried.

 

She sighed. Why did he worry about her? Why did he care so much? “I don't know,” she replied.

 

“Is this your number? It's different—”

 

“I got a new phone. My other one was destroyed.”

 

“I want to see you.”

 

Tears came to her eyes. It wouldn't do to cry, not in public; not at the mall and not while around her mother. That woman thought she was fragile and she was wrong. She had headbutted Eizo after he was done with her. She pulled on her clothes and glared at him. Then she had to face the music. The pied piper was demanding his payment for the performance.

 

Vain took the ass beating those three gave her. She got Saka in the face good. She heard bone crack against her foot. Always hit them in the soft spots was Bazz's motto. His fucking nose gushed blood. His jaw had hung slack. It was when they hauled her past everyone at the party that she started panicking. Shukuro said Vain was going to get what she deserved. They had plans to fuck her and it was only then that Eizo came to her rescue.

 

Bastard. He probably thought he was some knight in shining armor. He wasn't. He was a peasant with a wooden shield and a bucket helmet. He told them that would leave evidence. Vain was tempted to spit everything Shukuro put into her mouth back into his face. She didn't. She just let it all drip to the floor of the car Eizo drove around on his dad's dime.

 

Asshole. Then he pushed her out of the car. Her body hit the ground and she could feel her shirt being shredded as she rolled against the rough pavement. Her legs were bruised and scraped. Vain quickly got her phone out but for a moment all she could do is try to breathe. The impact had been devastating to her lungs and diaphragm.

 

The car stopped. The boys got out.

 

She said two fucking words to Noboru before Shukuro kicked her phone from her hand and then stomped the heel of his boot onto the thing. They got back in the car and were gone. She pulled herself to the side of the road and concentrated on trying to breathe normally again. It was hard to do.

 

She knew her parents were worried but Vain had to sort out her own shit. She had to work through the feelings of betrayal and pain. Those kids from that prep school had been her friends since she entered the place!

 

The biggest worry now was Liam. Vain didn't want her brother to get bullied. She would walk into that school, kick ass and ask questions later if anything happened to her baby brother. She was the only one allowed to mess with Liam. It was her god given right as the oldest and his sister.

 

They were family. Family... Her mom. Vain looked up to see her mom was on the phone and thumbing through a book.

 

It'd been shocking to find out her mom had been raped when she was younger. Vain knew that in her mom's walk-in closet there were photo albums and in these books, there were pictures of her dad, Noboru's dad, her mom and some freakishly tall guy. Those albums never saw the light of day but Vain had seen them. She was a nosy child and she went exploring one day when her parents were gone.

 

Her mom was a strong lady. If she could deal with getting beaten and raped. The teenager's respect for the woman went up.

 

“I don't know, Nobu. I just want to talk to you,” she finally replied.

 

“Vain.”

 

* * *

 

“Ulq, I'm gonna be dropping Vain off at your house. Do you think you could bring her home?”

 

“Uh, hello, Nel. Why would you be dropping your daughter off at my apartment?” the green-eyed man asked, looking over a sheet of paper. He was sitting at his desk inside of his office. Ever since that incident involving the girl, his hands itched to take down the bastards that made his son look like that. The girl hadn't caused his son's heart to fracture. It had been her so-called friends. Noboru looked so lost for several days and when he came home from the last week of school before winter break, he appeared defeated.

 

Ulquiorra said nothing. He just went out and purchased a small box of condoms and set them down on his son's dresser. He didn't miss the way that Noboru's eyes went wide and the boy tried to squeak out a protest. The older man held up a hand. “It will happen eventually. It might not be with her. It may be someone else. You're a teenage male,” he said in a flat voice. “I can see it. You need to be prepared for it.”

 

He left it at that.

 

She sighed. “Vain needs to talk to Noboru.”

 

“Can't they talk about your house?”

 

“Ulquiorra,” Nel stated his name like he was being scolded.

 

“Fine, I'll take her home when she's ready.”

 

* * *

 

Vain's eyes got big as she noticed where they had pulled up. She turned her head then glared at her mom. “What are we doing here?”

 

Nel's eyes shifted over to the girl. She said nothing as she pulled several bills from her purse. “For food, if you get hungry. Mr. Cifer will bring you home later when you're ready,” she said.

 

“I didn't ask to come here, Mom.”

 

“Go talk to him, Vain.”

 

She huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. Vain had compared herself to her mom a while ago. They both had long legs and an impressive chest. Tall with thick hair. Her mom was prettier than Vain. All the teenager did was scowl like her father. That's what she was supposed to do. She was still a kid practically. She was still learning. She was trying to navigate the world that was placed in front of her.

 

“Vain, let me tell you something.”

 

“Great, more motherly advice.”

 

“Shut it, Vain Noir,” Nel scolded. “Does Noboru's laughter make you warm inside? Does he tell you that you're beautiful while you deny it? Can you trust him to comfort you if you were to cry in front of him? Do you feel like you can trust him with your secrets? Does he know the important things about you? Do you feel safe when you're around him? If you love or care for Noboru, Vain, you need to figure it out. If he feels the same way, I hope you ask if he's scared of heights because you both fell for each other.”

 

Her mom's words made her confused, so the girl just shook her head. “Can I leave my bags in the car? Will you take them inside? Are you going to make me a doctor's appointment?”

 

Nel nodded. “Got your phone? You seriously want to get birth control?”

 

“Yeah. Better safe than sorry. I'll text you later.”

 

With that, she pushed open the car door and ran inside of the building. She waited as the elevator made it to the floor he lived on. Vain walked down the hall and knocked on the door.

 

“Who is it?”

 

“Delivery.”

 

The door was yanked open faster than she registered. Noboru stood there looking at her in disbelief. Within seconds, she was pulled against him, her face pressed against the side of his. He was hugging her tightly. He used one arm to shut the door.

 

“You said no. What are you doing here?” he asked.

 

“My mom dropped me off and said to let your dad know when I wanted to go home,” she replied.

 

Noboru pulled back and looked at her. “Vain, I'm sorry. I—I was fucking jealous and I was angry. I shouldn't have left you there. I should have dragged you out of that place when I left.”

 

“Did you at least enjoy the show?”

 

“What? What the hell? N-n-no,” the male stuttered.

 

“What you saw did nothing to you? You weren't affected in the slightest by seeing me naked?”

 

Noboru blushed. “The way your toes curled...”

 

Vain laughed and pushed him away. She wasn't going to rib him about it. She sat on the couch then took off her coat, draping it over the furniture. “Come sit down,” she said.

 

He did. He sat right beside her and Vain smiled at him. Of course, Noboru scowled but it softened.



“Want to watch a movie?” he asked.


Vain nodded and snuggled up next to him, not even minding when his arm wrapped around her shoulder.

 

Chapter Text

The movie ended and Vain seemed antsy. Noboru untangled himself from her, although he enjoyed the warmth of her body. He reached for his phone and tapped it on his lips. “Do you want something to eat?”

 

She shook her head. “Dance with me, Nobu.”

 

“I don't dance, Vain,” came the reply. The teen smiled at her. “Also, no music.”

 

The girl stood up and grabbed the remote to the television and she punched in a number on the controls. Automatically, the deep bass beats of a song came through the surround sound. “Solved, Freak. Get up.”

 

“I still don't dance, Celeb. I don't know how to dance. I don't know how to dance your way,” Noboru said to her.

 

Vain crossed her arms over her chest. She looked unimpressed. “What do you mean my way?”

 

The boy looked away from her, his cheeks turning a deep pink. His face felt like it was on fire. He didn't mean for that to come out that way.

 

“Get up, Cifer.”

 

The boy did as he was told. Vain missed his look of confusion as she turned his back to him. What the hell was she doing now? “Now, I'm gonna teach you to dance just in case I want you to accompany me to a club. Put your hands on my hips.”

 

“Yo-yo-ou-r hips?” he stuttered.

 

There was a huff of breath. Vain took his hands and put them on her waist and then slowly slid them down to her hips. “Hips.”

 

“That was unnecessary.”

 

“Come closer,” she demanded. “Our bodies have to touch.”

 

“No, they don't.”

 

“I fucking knew it,” the girl said and turned her head to look at him. “You're a virgin. That's why you always blush and shy away from me.”

 

She was right; he was a virgin. He knew what sex was. His mother would waffle around trying to give him advice. His father just said to look it up. The internet was filled with porn and it was at his disposal at any time. He had read articles when he brought up questions about things. The almighty internet had the answers. He'd read a lot about sex since Vain entered his life four months ago.

 

“You're not one,” he replied. “I've seen you.”

 

* * *

 

Vain almost forgot to breathe with how he looked at her. His green eyes almost showed anger and a flash of jealousy. He had seen her have sex. She looked away from him, blushing. She was imagining things.

 

One of the hands on her waist was traveling up her body. What was Nobu doing? Her breathing sped up as she felt his fingers on the outside curve of one breast. The same hand was now trailing down and cupped her elbow. “What are you doing?” she whispered.

 

“Nothing,” he said, his mouth was close to the shell of her ear. Vain's breathing hitched. “What do you want me to do?”

 

She had to take a deep breath and calm herself. She didn't come over here for this. She wanted to spend time with him, not fuck him. Vain turned to face him. His arms wrapped around her waist.

 

"I know I said you're boring. I can't help find myself wanting to listen to you talk for hours though. I want to look into your green eyes; emerald moss, trees and leaves from an untouched forest forgotten long ago," Vain murmured with a smile. "I want to know what you're thinking because sometimes I can't tell. I can't read your face at times. I think about all the stuff you've said to me. I'm not perfect, Noboru."

 

"Vain, you don't have to be perfect to be amazing to me. You just have to be you."

 

"I don't get it. Don't you hate me for what happened?"

 

"No," he said. "We're teenagers. We do stupid shit at times. We cheat, lie, criticize and fight over stupid shit. We fall in love and care too much about things and end up getting hurt. We bitch but what are we supposed to do? We hate for no reason. We're still learning to be people. Hell, my dad is almost forty and he still doesn't know how to be a person at times. I know we've not known each other long but—I-I-I dream of you. I dream about kissing you. I dream about your voice, your body. I jerk off to you. I'll just put that out there. It's not like you don't know. You tease me about it all the damn time. You do affect me. If we were in a room full of priceless works of art, I'd pass them all over to stare at you."

 

"You're crazy."

 

"I. D. F. C."

 

"IDFC?" she asked, confused.

 

"I don't fucking care. I'm a fool for you, Vain. They're lyrics from a song that I think describes us."

 

The girl felt tears stinging her eyes and a couple of them spilled over. His fingers were gently wiping them away. "You know, I can be needy. I can be a horrible person. I don't want you to have this one perception of me."

 

"Needing people isn't a problem," he said.

 

"Needing someone isn't beautiful or romantic, Nobu. Sometimes it's painful," she said.

 

“I need you right now. I want you right now.”

 

Vain shook her head and pulled away from him. “No, you don't,” she said. “Your hormones are working overtime.”

 

“Really? I'm about the most level headed person out of the two of us. Hormones aren't at play,” he said. “C'mon, I want you to hear something.”

 

Noboru led her to his room where he walked over to the desk and touched the keyboard of his laptop. The computer flickered to life. He opened a folder and click on a file and his room was filled with some kind of electronic sound and some guy singing. She heard the words though.

 

"'Cause I have hella feelings for you. I act like I don't fucking care."

 

"Nobu," Vain said. He didn't look at her.

 

"'Cause I'm so fucking scared. I'm only a fool for you."

 

She wasn't sure what to say. Was he saying that he—No, he didn't. He didn't love her. Just like she didn't love him. They were just infatuated with each other. That was it.

 

When the song was done playing, he walked over to his bed and sat down. Vain watched as he reached into the drawer of the table that held his lamp. He got something out of there and placed it on top of it.

 

A square. A foil square. Shit. That was a condom.

 

He had condoms.

 

A nervous giggle bubbled from her lips. He looked at her. Vain felt like she was slowly going crazy. This was surreal. She couldn't believe this was happening.

 

“We don't have to take it that far,” he murmured.

 

“You have to learn the basics first,” Vain said. “Tell me about how my toes curl. Why does that—”

 

His face got bright red. “It was more the way you moaned and the first thing I noticed was how your toes were curled into your feet. I—I just wanted to touch them. Your feet look incredibly s-s-soft. So does your back.”

 

The way he stuttered words was cute. With another deep breath, Vain stripped off her t-shirt and threw it on his floor. She couldn't believe she was going to say this. “Practice. That's what we're gonna do.”

 

* * *

 

If anyone was in the apartment they would have heard giggling, moans, hurried breaths, the occasional word of encouragement and finally muffled screaming. The entire thing had been slightly awkward for him so he let Vain take control and guide him through things because no matter how much he read, it was way different than the actual performance. She was a great teacher.

 

In the aftermath, they both lay on his bed breathing heavily, naked under the blanket, holding each other. The condom untouched because Vain said he wasn't ready; that was okay with him after all, she was more experience in this stuff than him.

 

Noboru's room was a mess. Clothes were everywhere. The teenage boy sat up and she whined. “Stop, I'll be right back.”

 

She smiled and rolled her eyes. Noboru didn't bother to put on anything as he exited his room and walked across the hall to the bathroom. He relieved himself and as he was washing his hands he looked at his face. He looked like the same old kid but he felt totally different. He felt alive.

 

He returned to his bedroom and heard music playing. He gave Vain a quizzical look, “You put in your dad's CD?”

 

She nodded, standing in front of his stereo. She was still naked. He walked up behind her. “Thank you,” Noboru said, kissing her shoulder.

 

“You're silly.”

 

“C'mon, let's get back under the blanket.”

 

Vain scoffed at him and turned around, “You're not going to turn into one of those boyfriends who is constantly humping their girlfriend, are you?”

 

He smiled but shook his head. Noboru pulled her closer.

 

“Are you going to kiss me?”

 

“Yes, why? Are not excited by this?”

 

“Well,” she trailed off.

 

"If you don't get excited about the thought of someone you want kissing you, you shouldn't be kissing them. When we kiss, it's not mediocre; it's fire to me."

 

“You are a fool.”

 

* * *

 

Orihime bit her lip as she unlocked the door to her house. She didn't see Ichigo's car and she was only there to pick up a few things. It'd been a few weeks since she moved out. The place looked the same as always. There were even a few of Kazui's drawings stuck to the refrigerator with different magnets. She padded through the house looking at the things that reminded her of her second failed marriage.

There was a family portrait of Ichigo, Noboru, Kazui and herself. There was that ugly vase that Isshin had given them on their wedding day. It sat in the entrance hall. She walked up the stairs to Kazui's bedroom. Photographs that she needed were in his closet. When she opened the door to the room she could see the bed was unmade. There were a few toys and books scattered about the floor. Dust motes floated in the sunlight that came through the curtain.

 

She had to take a couple of breaths to keep herself from shaking.

 

“I thought I heard someone in here.”

 

Orihime whirled around to see Ichigo looking at her. She quickly glanced down at the floor. “I didn't know you were here,” she said.

 

“I just got home. Slow day at the office,” he replied. “So, what are you doing here?”

 

Her gaze flickered to his face and Orihime couldn't help but feel her heart twist. “I came to get some things.”

 

“Like your Ulquiorra Cifer porn collection? What sleeping with him isn't enough? Are you having his baby?”

 

“Ichigo.”

 

“I know, I don't have a right to sound bitter because I did this to myself. If I said I was sorry, would that change anything?” Ichigo said, moving closer to her. Orihime wanted to back up but she didn't. “You know if you get rid of some of those pictures you might be able to move on. What's the purpose of having pictures of Tsukishima and his brother? If you tossed them out then you wouldn't have reminders of what happened and I wouldn't have pushed you away. I wouldn't have—”

 

She sighed. “I could see it happening one time but you aren't sorry if it's been going on for the past year and a half. Renji told me everything over the phone. He sent me screenshots of his conversations with Rukia.”

 

“Orihime, I love you but your obsession with this dead guy is too much at times. Your obsession with Ulquiorra is too much. What did you want me to do? Was I supposed to tolerate my wife fantasizing about other men while I was trying to be intimate with her? I can't ever be either of them.”

 

“You made a choice, Ichigo.”

 

“You made a choice too,” he stated. “I want my wife back.”

 

His words were a cruel blow to her chest because all the air rushed out of her lungs. How could he say that? His arms wrapped around her and Orihime found herself on her tiptoes; hands clutching his biceps, kissing him. He still had to lean over to reach her lips. This was familiar. This was her husband.

 

They stumbled into their bedroom with Ichigo pulling her onto the bed in a series of hot and needy kisses. Clothing came off and it was peachy skin against peachy skin. Mouths met, parted and slid down flesh. Orihime cried out as Ichigo entered her body. They rocked together until everything came to halt in a flurry of orgasms.

 

She lay there on top of him, his hands stroking her head. She was lulled into a sense of contentment when she heard him speak.

 

“Are you pregnant with his baby?”

 

She nodded against his chest. “Almost six months,” she told him.

 

“I've raised one of his kids like my own. I don't mind doing it again,” Ichigo whispered to her.

 

“You're not addressing the real issue here. What about Rukia? You know she's pregnant and you know that baby is yours,” Orihime pointed out. “What are you going to do about that?”

 

“I'm going to do the right thing.”

 

“Which is?”

 

“I'm going to help her raise my son. I'm going to provide for him.”

 

* * *

 

Nel was almost asleep when her phone rang. Since she was laying in the middle of both men she had to reach across Grimmjow to get the damn thing. She looked at the screen and answered it. “What Pesche?”

 

“Candy Ink is on fire.”

 

“What?”

 

“Candy Ink Tattoos in Nikko is on fire. I was up here checking in on Yachiru—”

 

“What do you mean it's on fire, Pesche?” she asked her voice becoming louder with every word she spoke.

 

“Molotov cocktails came through the windows. I got everyone out through the back but the place is going up like dry tinder. Fire. Flames. Stuff burning.”

 

WHAT?”

 

“Nel? What's going on?” Grimmjow asked. He sat up and was rubbing his eyes.

 

“You need to get down here, Nel. The police are going to have questions.”

 

Nel ended the call and then looked at her husband. Tears welled in her eyes. Candy Ink Tattoos had been a dream of hers since she started tattooing. It was her dream job to become a famous tattoo artist. It had been a dream to have multiple tattoo shops that didn't pass judgment on those wanting tattoos. She wanted to offer unique options to people.



“Nel? You okay?”

 

“Candy Ink is burning. It's on fire. Pesche said it was Molotov cocktails,” she said, wiping her eyes. "My dreams are going up in flames right now."

 

 

Chapter Text

Nel buried her face in her hands as she looked at the burnt structure of her business. It was just a hulking mass of black wood. The air was choked with the smell of plastic melting and electrical residue. What was she suppose to do now?

 

Both Bazz and Grimmjow were standing beside her. Ulquiorra was also there. He was one of the biggest investors of Candy Ink beside Pesche. Vain and Noboru were in the backseat of Ulquiorra's car. Both kids looked scared. Liam, Juzo, and Akira were in the Jaegerjaquez's SUV. Her oldest son was the only one awake and looking at the wreckage.

 

“Why? Who?” She turned and looked at Grimmjow. Nel needed answers. “What the hell did I do to anyone for a fucking attack?”

 

“Why are you asking me? I have no fucking clue what is going on!” the blue-haired man said. Nel knew he was scared that was the only reason he was angry. “Why don't you ask your fucking useless lover? He knew who the fuck attacked our daughter but didn't think it was important to say anything!”

 

The teal-haired woman zeroed her gaze on Bazz who was looking away from them. He wouldn't even glance at her. “Do you know something about this Bazz?”

 

He shook his head. “Jugo called me some months back; almost a year ago and told me that Tier had a kid. I had another half-brother. Vain's first day of school, I saw him. He was with the kids from her other school. When Vain came home after spending the night with a friend, she told me what happened. Those same people attacked her. Then Jugo leaves a message on my phone telling me this asshole wants to meet me. I didn't pay any attention to it.”

 

The red-haired man sighed. “I don't know if Kenpachi or Kyoraku know if Tokyo Yakuza are in Togichi.”

 

“Don't you think you two—three might want to go talk to him?”

 

“Three? I'm not involved in this,” Ulquiorra stated.

 

“Bullshit,” Nel spat. “You're the one who started this shit years ago!”

 

Grimmjow huffed. “He didn't start shit. We all know it was that greasy bastard Tsukishima's fault. Don't blame him just because the responsible asshole is dead.”

 

“Did you just defend me?”

 

“Shut the hell up, Cifer.”

 

“Likewise, Jaegerjaquez.”

 

“I'm going to call Orihime and let her know what is going on. Maybe she can take all the kids to my apartment and keep an eye on them. Then we can go visit Kenpachi,” Ulquiorra said before walking away from the group.

 

* * *

 

“Hello?”

 

“Who is this?”

 

“It's Ichigo Kurosaki. Who is this?”

 

“Why are you answering this phone?” Ulquiorra growled.

 

“Cifer?”

 

“Where is Orihime?”

 

“She's sleeping. Do you know what time it is?”

 

Ulquiorra hung up the phone without answering the question. Anger boiled in his blood. His face contorted into one of rage. He checked his watch and noticed it was just after two-thirty in the morning on December eleventh. If Ichigo Kurosaki was answering the phone that he had sent to Orihime, that meant—He sighed.

 

This was his own fault.

 

He had told her that he didn't want a relationship. He had laid down the rules about them. She never liked them but they were supposed to be working on it dammit! He needed time to look for a proper place that would house three children and them as a couple.

 

“You ready? What did Orihime say?” It was Grimmjow addressing him.

 

“I've been informed that Orihime is unavailable.”

 

“By who?”

 

Ulquiorra turned around and glared at Grimmjow. “Her husband! Who else would inform me?”

 

“Ouch.”

 

He pushed down these feelings of betrayal and hurt. It would do him no good to focus on her. He had to focus on the fact that a business he had invested in was smoldering and his business partners seemed to be useless. He stomped over to Nel. “Have someone take the children to your mother's home. I will pick Noboru up when I am done.”

 

* * *

 

“Fuck,” Grimmjow muttered as he ended the call he just placed.

 

“What?” Bazz asked.

 

“Kenpachi isn't answering.”

 

“He's probably asleep. Did you try Retsu?”

 

Grimmjow shook his head. “Did you call Jugo?”

 

Bazz shook his head. “Do I need to? I'm sure that fucking little prick knows he's done for.”

 

“Call him.”

 

* * *

 

The door to the dojo was open and Bazz wished he had his gun holster and guns under his white leather jacket. One of the stipulations was that he wasn't allowed to touch another gun ever again. If it was found out that he had guns, he'd go back to prison and this time it would be Fuchu not a cushy ride at Kurobane.

 

“I don't like this,” Bazz said. He had a metal baseball bat in his hands.

 

“Neither do I. Maybe we should go to Kenpachi's house first.”

 

“You both are cowards,” Ulquiorra said, sneering. He walked into the darkness. Bazz could hear him flipping the light switches on and off. Nothing was coming on. A groan came from the back of the building. “I need light.”

 

Bazz brought out his phone and turned the flashlight on. He pointed it inside of the building. The fucking dojo was a mess. His green eyes could pick out bullet holes in the walls. There were several bodies laying down on the floor. Kenpachi was sitting up against a wall.

 

“Fuck.”

 

“Call Emergency Services,” Ulquiorra shouted. He bent down next to the dojo owner. Bazz could see him feeling the man's wrist and neck. “He's alive!”

 

* * *

 

The three men stood in the lobby of Kyoraku Escort Services waiting for the man himself to show his face. Kenpachi was in the hospital recovering from probable surgery to remove the five bullets. The police had counted three dead bodies. Someone had a proverbial hard-on for those who were involved with the Nikko Yakuza faction.

 

It had started years ago though. It'd been years since Dondachakka died from a pineapple. Now, Nel's shop burnt to the ground. Kenpachi's dojo and body looked like Swiss cheese. Grimmjow made several calls during the drive to Utsunomiya. The first was to Sloane Parker.

 

“Sloane, I need you to find me a furnished penthouse apartment in Utsunomiya. Then contact a moving company. I want my house packed up in three days. Put it all in storage. You know my account numbers.”

 

“Any reason why?”

 

“My family is in danger.”

 

“Grimm, don't tell me you're involved in that gang bullshit again.”

 

“I'm pretty sure a rival faction burnt Nel's shop to the ground last night.”

 

He could hear the shock in Sloane's voice. “Fuck, is everyone okay? Why can't you guys go to the Tokyo apartment?”

 

“If it's who we think it is, I'm not stepping a foot in Tokyo. Speaking of which, if you're serious about Fifteen's first concert being in the city, beef up security,” Grimmjow answered. “I have more than enough money. Make it happen.”

 

He hung up then pressed Nel's contact. “Queen, you okay? Kids okay?”

 

“Yeah, Pesche took them to Mom's house. She called me saying that she caught Vain and Noboru kissing in my old room,” the woman said. “I've talked to the police. I've called the insurance people. Uh, I called my employees. I've also shut down the other two locations. I don't need this to happen in Utsunomiya or Tokyo. The damage is massive, Grimm. I'm either going to have to move the location or bulldoze and rebuild. I've been here for almost twenty years.”

 

“Hey, this isn't over. You—no, we can rebuild it. We will not let some pissy teenager stop us,” Grimmjow said. “Kenpachi got shot. Someone shot up the dojo. I've got Sloane looking for an apartment in Utsunomiya for us. The house will get packed up and put in storage. I figure you can pull all the important shit and put it in one of the cars. I'll put the house up for sale.”

 

“What? We've—”

 

“This isn't for discussion. Those pricks know where we live. I'm not putting you, Bazz or any of our children in harm's way. I'm a fucking rockstar. Bazz is a fucking supermodel. We can afford it. I'll sell the Tokyo penthouse. We'll go to Osaka! I'll get the most remote fucking house I can with high fucking walls to protect you,” Grimmjow stated in a way that left no room for argument.

 

“Okay, Grimmjow.”

 

“Okay, Queen. I've got another phone call to make. I love you, Nel.”

 

Once he was done with that phone call, he made a call to Shunsui Kyoraku's personal number. Jushiro Ukitake answered. Grimmjow explained what was going on. The man on the other end of the line was very disgruntled to hear this news. He put the blue-haired man on hold and returned a few minutes stating the Yakuza faction leader would meet with the men.

 

It was the waiting that made Grimmjow uneasy.

 

* * *

 

“Wait, wait, wait. You're saying I was conceived in this house?” Vain asked her mother, her tone suggesting that she didn't believe one word the woman was saying. “You've lived here?”

 

Nel nodded. “Noboru was conceived in that room right down the hall and you were conceived in this very room. I know grandma uses it as a family room but this used to be your dad and I's bedroom.”

 

“Where was my parent's room?” Noboru asked.

 

“It's where my mom's bedroom is in the next room. We each had our own private room to stay in when we needed space,” Nel answered.

 

“I lived here for three years?”

 

“Yup, your parents were on and off for about five years.”

 

Vain scowled and looked at her mom. “Why are we still here? Why can't we go home?”

 

“Vain, my shop burnt to the ground. Kenpachi is at the hospital and was shot several times. There's some serious shit going on that you two have no clue about. It's stuff from Bazz's past. It's stuff from Ulquiorra's past. Bad shit happened back before you two were born. There was a Yakuza war about two months after you two were born.”

 

“Wait... How old is Vain?”

 

“She'll turn sixteen on March nineteenth.”

 

“My birthday—”

 

“Is a week later. Yeah, I know,” Nel said. “You two used to do everything together. I think there are pictures of you guys somewhere.”

 

Vain raised her eyebrow and looked over at her boyfriend. “Wait, is he the kid I'm with in that one photo album?”

 

Once again, Nel nodded her teal head. “You're nosy, child.”

 

“There's a couple of photos that show a group of four. You, Dad, Nobu's dad... Who's the fourth guy?”

 

“No one important.”

 

“Hmph. Can Nobu and I walk down to the convenience store?”

 

Nel gave them permission to do so. Vain and the male got their coats and their shoes on then trampled outside. It was a cold mid-morning as they walked.

 

Noboru reached out and grabbed her hand. “It's funny we have history and didn't even know about it,” he said. "I could have wooed you sooner. You wouldn't have turned out so terrible."

 

The blonde nodded. “Ugh, you're sappy. I would have turned out worse with you.”

 

“You like it, don't you?”

 

“Yeah,” she said with a blush.

 

“Why do we need to go to a shop?”

 

“Because I want to get you out of that place where we're not being watched like hawks. I'm also hungry and I know my grandmother has nothing sweet in her house. Well, she has nasty, bitter dark chocolate. I want a sweet roll or maybe donuts. I could get some meringues or onigiri or maybe taiyaki.”

 

Her boyfriend laughed. “You're not seriously going to buy all of that, are you?”

 

“Are you calling me fat?”

 

“No! I was wondering if you were going to share some of it!”

 

“Smooth, Cifer. Smooth.”

 

* * *

 

Vain bit the corner of her bottom lip and smirked. Noboru studied that mouth and watched as she inserted the tip of the finger that was covered in white chocolate into that warm area. His mouth went dry. The chocolate had dripped down further and soon that Vain had her entire index finger in her mouth.

 

He had to clench the muscles in his jaw to keep from saying anything. She was teasing him. His hormones were on high alert. The things they did in his room the other day, weighed heavily on his mind. He turned his head away as the girl licked her other fingers. Ugh.

 

She had bought the sweet roll filled with pastry cream. She bought a doughnut. She had gotten some Hello Kitty meringues. She had bought two taiyaki, on filled with white chocolate cream; the other with chocolate cream which she had given to him.

 

“What's wrong, Ruru?” Vain said getting into his face. “Did that bother you?”

 

Noboru gave her a very unimpressed stare. “I told you not to call me that and no, it didn't.”

 

He had to go through his days around her pretending he wasn't affected by her and he hated it. He still felt like that only because she would tease him if he said that he was bothered by her. Noboru reached up and pulled her down for a kiss, licking away a tiny smear of white chocolate at the corner of her mouth.

 

Last night, his dad had knocked on his door when they were hot and heavy in the middle of something again. Noboru knew that if he didn't answer his dad, the man would open the door. So, the boy wrapped a towel around his waist and opened the barrier enough to poke his head through.

 

“Is your friend ready to go home?”

 

“Uh, no. I don't think so. We're uh... um... busy.”

 

Ulquiorra's eyes narrowed. “Noboru Mateo...”

 

“We're being safe. Nothing like that is going on, yet. You're interrupting,” the teenager said in a rushed manner.

 

“Oh, I see. Well,” his father said. Noboru could tell the man was at a loss for words. “I'm ordering Chinese for dinner. Take the menu and circle what you two want. I'll come back for it in thirty minutes.”

 

Noboru grabbed the menu, slammed the door in his dad's face then dropped everything to pounce on the girl. They had a nice awkward dinner after that. There was a lot of silence, blushing, smiles, and throat clearing. Ulquiorra just muttered as he cleaned up the kitchen. The two snuck off to his room again, this time to watch videos on the internet. Then they were being jerked out of his bed half-asleep, shuffled into Ulquiorra's old car and then off to witness a fire.

 

His dad was unhappy.

 

They went with an odd man who then drove them to another place in Nikko. Noboru now knew that it was Vain's grandmother's house. It was her idea to sneak into that room at the other end of the house and make out on that bed. He'd been shirtless and he knew damn well Vain didn't have a bra on. It was accidentally left on a shelf that hung on the wall of his room. That's where it landed when she threw it off of her.

 

The pair now sat at a park, eating their spoils when Noboru's phone rang. It was his mother. He dismissed the call. He had no desire to talk to her. He had no desire to talk to either of his parents. Before his father shuffled him off with the rest of the Jaegerjaquez-Black clan, his father's words pierced him. Ulquiorra had urged Vain to leave the car so that they could chat.

 

His father never chatted. It wasted air or something. It was a waste of time.

 

“Noboru, things are going to get messy. I know this is all brand new to you but I promise you will find someone else out there. You need to break this off as soon as possible. You're going to get hurt. Someone is going to. It always happens. You are too young to feel something that real at the moment. In a few years, you'll understand what I mean. Tell her this is over before things get complicated. They're just words that you said to her. Women get over words. They move on.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Your mother is back with your stepfather,” Ulquiorra replied. “In a couple more months, you'll be living with them again. Who knows how your mother will react to Vain and whatever you two are doing. Have your fun and use her; whatever. But get away from her before you get killed. Since I've known of her existence, she's been nothing but trouble. She has brought the past back. This is the past repeating itself.”

Chapter Text

Orihime didn't know what she did wrong. The phone she used exclusively to contact Ulquiorra had the service turned off. She tried using her own phone to contact him but he sent a message saying to contact his lawyers. She received a letter at her bakery stating she had seventy-two hours to clear her belongings out of the apartment that Ulquiorra had rented for her. A week later, she still hadn't talked to him.

 

It made her very confused. So, she called Nel as the woman understood the situation. There was no one else she could talk to.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Nel?”

 

“Hey Orihime,” the woman replied.

 

The redhead sighed, “Are you busy?”

 

“I'm packing up a house,” Nel said. “You're more than welcome to come over and help.”

 

Her forehead wrinkled in confusion. Why the hell would Nel be packing up a house? “Are you moving?”

 

“Yeah, Grimmjow's moving us to Utsunomiya for a bit before we find a place in Osaka. Since the fire, my husband has become paranoid.”

 

“Fire? Osaka?”

 

“Some Tokyo Yakuza people are targeting people. Candy Ink was burned down. Kenpachi was gunned down. He's still in the hospital. It's really touch and go with him at the moment,” Nel responded.

 

Oh crap, Orihime thought. If those gang members were resurfacing did that mean Ulquiorra was in danger? “Kazui gets out of school in an hour, can we come over? I can bring coffee,” Orihime offered.

 

Nel accepted the coffee but declined the company of the tiny ginger boy citing reasons her house was a mess. The redhead made arrangements with Yuzu to watch Kazui and she left for Nikko.

 

After stopping at a coffee shop, Orihime arrived at the mansion. She plastered a smile on her face and walked to the door.

 

* * *

 

Nel watched the woman carefully. Ulquiorra had told her what was going on. The night of the fire, he called Orihime's second phone. Her husband answered. He had cut off all contact with the woman. He was done with her.

 

“So, have you seen or talk to—”

 

“Yes, I have. Just let it go, Orihime.”

 

She watched as confusion crossed the woman's face. “I don't understand.”

 

“You jerked him around again. What did you expect him to do?”

 

“What do you mean?” the redhead asked.

 

Nel sighed in an exasperated fashion. Was this woman truly that dense? “Ulquiorra called your house the night of the fire. Ichigo answered your phone. He told Ulquiorra that you were sleeping. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to put two and two together Orihime. If you were sleeping at two-thirty in the morning and Ichigo answered your phone... Ulquiorra came to the conclusion you either had sex with Ichigo or you went back to him.”

 

“What? It was a mistake. I—I went to his house to pick up some things. I didn't mean—” the redhead was stumbling over words.

 

“You don't need to tell me this,” Nel said. “I'm not Ulquiorra. I can tell you though, he's done with you, Orihime.”

 

* * *

 

Ulquiorra wasn't surprised when he answered his door. She was standing there looking every bit seven months pregnant. He had avoided Orihime for almost a month. “What?”

 

“I'm sorry.”

 

“Not good enough.”

 

“I love you.”

 

“Not good enough,” he repeated.

 

“It was a mistake.”

 

He sighed. Yeah, it had been a mistake. “You pursued me. I was not the mistake in this. Meeting you all those years ago was a mistake. I'm thankful you gave me a son but my gratitude ends there.”

 

Ulquiorra went to close the door. He had no intention of entertaining her anymore. He was done. He told Nel he was finished. She had hurt him enough. Her small hand stopped him.

 

It took twenty-one days to form a habit. It took fourteen days to break a habit. It had been twelve years and Orihime was still a fucking habit, a vice he had yet to break.

 

“It's funny, Woman.”

 

“What?”

 

“My addiction is not drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling, or sex. It's something much worse. It's your love. It's your smile. It's your voice. It's you.”

 

“Ulquiorra.”

 

“No, let me finish,” he said, holding up a hand. “For the past eighteen years, you have had me twisted around your finger. For all of those years, I loved you with everything I have and not giving others the time of day. I could have had something with Nel. I could have had something with Yachiru. I could have had something with every other woman in Japan that was not you. I pushed everyone away and kept them at an arm's length away.”

 

He watched her mouth turn downward. “I pined for your love. I told myself I would fight for you. I told myself you were worth everything I did. Every minute spent at the university to build a future for you. Every dollar spent to make your life comfortable. Every emotion I felt that drove me to the brink of insanity.”

 

“I'm—I'm sorry.”

 

“Of course, you are sorry. As soon as that child is born, I will be taking you to court for full custody of them. Ichigo Kurosaki will have no part in my child's life. You won't ever understand Orihime. I told you that years ago. I am so hopelessly in love with you even to this day and I am so fucking angry that our future was destroyed. I don't get to wake up next to your smiling face or notice how fucking perfect you are when you're asleep.”

 

He heard her breathing hitch. “I—You—I—”

 

“Go home to your husband. I will take my son to my mother's house where he will be safe from all this bullshit.”

 

“You know, I used to hate how much I needed you. I used to hate how much I wanted you. I used to hate how much I loved you. I want to hate you. I can't,” she said quietly. “People are not rain, snow, or autumn leaves. They do not look pretty when falling down. You made me fall down so many times, Ulquiorra.”

 

He didn't say anything and he didn't close the door. He stood there looking at her with his deep green eyes through the small opening.

 

“And time may heal all wounds but the scars are still fucking there. I will never—I can't forget what happened. I can't forget you. I can't forget him. I can't forget how you two made me feel. You loved me. Tsukishima used me but he made me feel something that was real.

 

I think back to those days of being happy with you. We didn't have many of those in the beginning. In fact, we didn't have many happy days at all; just a handful. I've tried to drink you away but all the alcohol did was turn every thought into you,” Orihime sniffled. “Every memory I had played in my head like a movie. You're like my favorite chapter or part of a story that I keep rereading; that I'll stay up all night to see what happens next, although I've read it a million times.

 

Retsu told me that I have to let you go. I have to let it go. I have to let everything about you go. We're broken people and we love the deepest because we're trying to fill the cracks in our souls that other people created. No one says congratulations, You've survived the battles! You've survived the war! Now you get to live with the trauma! Let's see if you can survive that!”

 

Orihime took her hand off the door then turned around, walking down the hall. Ulquiorra had to stop himself from calling out to her. A lot of what she said made sense to him. A lot of it didn't though. He wanted answers to his questions that he had but he decided to cut himself off from her. She was no good in his life.

 

He closed the door quietly then opened it again. Ulquiorra said he was going to fight for her, didn't he? What happened to all the words they said to each other as they cuddled after their lovemaking sessions? Ulquiorra Cifer was such a hypocrite at times; telling his son to use condoms. Telling him that his woman didn't matter. Telling him that they were just words. He hadn't used condoms. He always thought Orihime mattered. He put stock into her words, using them as promises.

 

He ran out of the apartment and down the hall to the elevator. She was stepping inside and he held the door so she couldn't go anywhere. And he didn't say anything. He just stared at her face. Until finally, he took a deep breath, unsure of his emotions because they were all jumbled with his heart in his throat, choking him. Why was it so hard to breathe?

 

“The hardest part of letting you go is everything we shared. Letting you go means letting my dreams die,” he said and then Ulquiorra stepped back, letting the elevator doors close.

 

Chapter Text

Nodt stood in Jugram Haschwalth's Tokyo high-rise office. The man had his hands behind his back, though no one could really tell because of the cloak he wore. He was waiting to speak to Haschwalth, Kugo Ginjo, who was bringing this snot-nosed kid who was the offspring of Sosuke Aizen.

 

Except he had already conversed with the high-end criminal defense lawyer. They had an understanding. The Nikko faction of the Yakuza was severely weakened to the point of crumbling. People had died in the attack against them. As Nodt smiled from behind his mask. He'd used his guns to fire upon Kenpachi Zaraki.

 

The kid had lit up a Yakuza business with flammable cocktails. Nodt had sent them as a test. The boy had passed with flying colors. Wanderreich would absorb the Espada. The group would take over the Nikko area. They'd killed and decimate the Utsunomiya warlord and his cronies.

 

Nodt would then take over Tokyo and behead the oldest son of Aizen's with the help of his longtime best friend and half-brother. There would be no survivors. There would be no one to contest his power. He would reign at the top with fear controlling people.

 

* * *

 

Ulquiorra got a text from Orihime two weeks later. He was surprised that she even contacted him. He thought they had said everything that day in his apartment building. He couldn't help but feel a sense of elation as he saw her name on the screen.

 

He missed her terribly. Ulquiorra wanted to wrap his arms around her. He wanted to tell her how sorry he was that he pushed her away. She should have expected it by now from him. They had both hurt each other so much over the years. It made him wish that time travel was possible because he would have gone back and changed so much between them.

 

He hadn't been looking for anything but a place to live when he met Orihime. Once he met her, it made him question everything he believed in and what he wanted in life. She made him feel alive. She was never supposed to affect him this much. He was never supposed to fall for her. He expected more from her because he was willing to go above and beyond for her.

 

When Orihime walked into his life, it made him realized why no one else stuck around. There were points of their relationship that made him think he wanted it more than she did.

 

Pinching the bridge of his nose with one hand, his other hand shook as he picked up the device and opened the message. There was a picture of what seemed to be an ultrasound. He couldn't make out what it was but he got the message loud and clear with the text.

 

- It's a girl.

 

He sat back in his office chair and sighed. He was going to have a daughter.

 

Ulquiorra pressed her contact info. He had to talk to her. He had to make this right. He was going to fight for his woman, his son, and his daughter. She wasn't good for him and he wasn't good for her. Their relationship always seemed to be over before it began. To him, it was the realest thing he'd ever felt.

 

He knew though. Ulquiorra knew.

 

If he left it like this, the almost was going to haunt him until his dying breath.

 

* * *

 

School was back in session. They didn't have that much time to do anything together. They “studied” at each other's apartments, especially since they only lived a few blocks from each other. The Jaegerjaquez-Black family had bought a penthouse apartment four blocks from Ulquiorra's apartment building. His father accepted Vain as a permanent fixture in his house, begrudgingly.

 

These study sessions included spending a lot of time making out, talking about the future, and exploring each other. Noboru was a lot more confident in himself when it came to Vain's body but she still said he wasn't ready for sex. He didn't understand what she meant because he thought he was ready.

 

Once school resumed, they did everything together. When they were at school, no one came between them. Their friends knew that Vain and Noboru were a couple. The entire school knew it.

 

Celeb and Freak, sitting in a tree...

 

It was now March eighteenth, Vain's birthday would be tomorrow. Noboru had already picked out a gift for her. He planned for a bouquet of roses to be delivered to her apartment in the morning complete with a balloon. He had bought a really nice handmade necklace off some website. It was a thin, sterling silver ball necklace with a pink tourmaline stone inside a wire cage.

 

“You remind me of a dude,” Noboru said, glancing at the girl sitting on the rooftop beside him. It was a nice spring day.

 

“A dude? You mean I remind you of a guy you know or a male?” Vain asked.

 

“You remind me of a human male.”

 

The girl snorted and rolled her eyes. “How fucking so?”

 

“You aren't frilly, soft or sweet,” the green-eyed teen said. His hand was inching up her thigh and she glanced down at it. “You're abrasive.”

 

“So you like dudes? I could get a fake dick. You saying you want me to bottom for you, Ruru?” The blonde smirked as his face turned red. She leaned closer to him and whispered, “Want to rip a pair of jeans off me, so I can tell you to suck my dick?”

 

“We're on the roof you do realize that, don't you?”

 

“I. D. F. C.” she said every letter perfectly and he watched her mouth form them.

 

He wanted to lean over and kiss her. Instead, he tugged gently on a strand of hair that had escaped her braid. “I'm a fool for you,” Noboru murmured to her, smiling.

 

“We could be like Romeo and Juliet,” she said looking up at the sky.

 

“Underage and dead?”

 

“No, in love.”

 

“Did you actually read the story or just watch the movie?”

 

“My mom owns both versions of the movie.”

 

“Dear Lord,” Noboru muttered. “It's about two teenagers who “fall in love” over three damn days and six people get killed. It's about stupidity. The entire story is about the stupidity of humans when they fall in love or have the hots for someone.”

 

He heard her sigh. “It's cool how someone can just pop into your life all of a sudden and become so important to you within a small amount of time.”

 

“Yeah, but it sucks when that person disappears just as fast,” he stated.

 

“Nobu, I'm not going anywhere.”

 

“Vain, look around you. The statistics of high school couples aren't good,” Noboru said as he stood up. This conversation was taking a downward turn. “The average school relationship last twenty-six school days. Your dads seem to fucking hate me. My dad doesn't like you. He tolerates you.”

 

“Well, I can't help how people see me. My dad and Bazz don't like anyone. Blame Eizo,” she replied.

 

Noboru gave a derisive snort. “My dad just harps on me. Forget about you, find someone else, and make sure you use condoms, Noboru,” he said in a mocking tone.

 

She laughed, “Your dad sounds nothing like that.”

 

“Vain?”

 

“Hmmm?”

 

“You know you're indescribable to me right?”

 

“I know, Nobu,” she said smiling at him. She held her hands out and he pulled her up.

 

“Hey, baby?”

 

“Baby?” she giggled. It was so adorable the way she blushed. “You're crazy.”

 

“I love you.”

 

* * *

 

Ichigo left the house that morning. He had taken his stuff to Rukia's apartment. So, she was alone again but this time she had more to worry about. How was she going to keep everything up and running? How was she going to do everything that needed to be done with a teenager, a soon to be nine-year-old and an infant? The new baby wasn't due until May so she had time to figure this out.

 

Her phone rang and Orihime looked at it from where she was sitting on the couch. He was calling? Ulquiorra must have seen the text message.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Do the right people with wrong timing get a second chance because I think I'm really pathetic how much I hope it's still you and me in the end,” came his voice. It was raw and filled with more emotion than she thought he had inside of him. What prompted this?

 

“Ulquiorra?” she asked, brow wrinkling in confusion

 

“We are broken. I want to fix this. I want to fix us. I want you to fight for me as much as I fight for you,” he said his voice breaking. “We can help each other Orihime. We can—”

 

She started sobbing. She brought her free hand up to her mouth to cover the noise she was making. Orihime knew that the past couple of conversations they had, had taken a lot for the man to say. Ulquiorra pushed emotions down and away. He didn't like dealing with them so if he was saying these words to her, he meant it.

 

“I'm outside of your house. I went to the bakery but they said you left early because you weren't feeling well.”

 

Another sob escaped her.

 

“I can hear you, Woman. Please open the door.”

 

She stood with shaky legs and walked out of the room and down the hall to the front door. Orihime gripped the doorknob and twisted. He was standing there looking at her with his phone in his hand. She hung up the call and wiped the tears from her face.

 

“What—”

“Shhh,” he said, walking into her home then closing the door. Ulquiorra pinned her against the wall, brushing her hair and tears from her face. “I have invested too much time; too many years on you to let you go. I'm going to tell you what I want Orihime. Then you are going to tell me if we can make it work.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“I want to make love to you. Today. Tonight. Now. Forever. I want you and your son to move into my new apartment with me, Noboru, and our daughter. It's right across the hall from Grimmjow's penthouse though. I told the realtor that I didn't like that fact but I'm not paying for a house. The prices in Utsunomiya are astronomical,” he said then looked at her like he was getting off track. “I want to be as happy with you as Noboru is with his girlfriend. I want to smile at you. I want to love you.”

 

Orihime knew that she would give into every demand he had. She pulled him into the living room because the couch was comfortable and she didn't want to spoil him with the scent of Ichigo. Her arms wrapped around his neck and she leaned closed and breathed in. He still smelled the same after all these years; citrus and mint.

 

“Does this mean you'll submit to my wishes?” Ulquiorra said with a chuckle.

 

Her dark eyes found his gaze and she nodded. “Anything you want,” she replied.

 

She saw the hunger in his eyes. It'd been almost two months since they had sex. Orihime could feel the heat building between her legs. She wanted to please him first. She wanted to touch him. She pushed him urgently towards the couch, which he fell down on. The redhead sank to her knees in front of him and quickly undid his belt and the fastening of his dress pants. He was wearing a suit which meant he left work early to come all the way from Utsunomiya to Karakura.

 

Orihime watched as he unknotted his tie and then pulled it off. He laid the piece of silk to the side then started unbuttoning his shirt. He pulled the suit jacket off, followed by the shirt. Tugging down his pants and his boxers to his knees, she licked her lips as his cock came into view.


“What are you going to do, Woman?”

 

“I can count on both hands the times I've given you a blowjob. You wanted one weeks ago,” she said, gently trailing her fingers along his skin. It hardened under her touch. Soon he was fully erect and her hand wrapped around his dick. “You don't want me to give you one?”

 

He answered with a moan and a slight arch of his hips. “You can do whatever you want. I am at your disposal, Woman,” he murmured, laying his head on the couch. Orihime watched him staring at her with those half-lidded green eyes. Her tongue came out again to wet her lips then she licked the underside of the head.

 

Another groan. She felt his hands slide into her hair. Those fingers made fists and gently guided her head up and down. He felt incredibly hot in her mouth and impossibly hard. When she thought he had enough and was wet enough from her activity, Orihime hiked her long skirt up, hooked her thumbs under the band of her panties and took them off.

 

She placed a knee on either side of Ulquiorra's thighs. His hands were grabbing her hips and pressing her down. He entered her rather savagely and without apology. The way he fucked her was blissful. It was hot. His cock rubbed right against that spot inside of her that took years for Ichigo to find. He knew how to angle his hips to make her moan and cry out. Ulquiorra knew everything about her to make her orgasm in such a way that her entire being would be broken.



The aftershocks of such powerful orgasms put her back together. Then she would be destroyed again as he fucked her into a boneless puddle; screaming his name; digging her fingers into his shoulders; capturing his mouth in a kiss that she never wanted to break away from.

 

Orihime knew he was holding back on her. He was doing what he always did and denied himself an orgasm because it got him off. He loved feeling how good the sex felt until it toed the line of pain. It helped when she bit him, scratched him, or pulled his hair. That hiss that came from his lips as he thrust into her, she knew he was close.

 

“Orihime.”

 

It came out more like a growl but she felt him coming inside of her. He was deep inside and all she felt was the heat of him.

 

They both sat on her couch, cuddling. His arms were around her waist. She had her face pressed into his neck.

 

“My lawyer informed me this morning that Ichigo signed the divorce documents without a peep. He agreed to everything that you wanted. You're no longer tied to him. I'm not telling you this to rub salt in the wounds. I just thought you should know. I don't know if he called you, yet.”

 

That was why he moved out. That had to be why he moved out. “He left a message but I didn't listen to it. Ichigo moved all of his things out this morning.”

 

“Would you marry me again if I asked?”

 

“You—me? Married? Again?” she squeaked. Orihime sat up and flapped her hands a couple of times. “I don't—you don't—I would—”

 

He quirked his head and looked at her. “What do you mean I don't? Woman if I didn't want you, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want you. However, we both need to work on our relationship. It can't be a one-sided affair. We can't be toxic to each other anymore if this is going to work.”

 

The redhead looked down at her lap, sighing. “You're not going to treat Kazui different, are you? You have to treat him like you would treat Noboru, Ulquiorra.”

 

“With indifference and slight disapproval of his love choices? I can do that.”

 

“Ulquiorra M. Cifer!”

 

“Masuo.”

 

“What?”

 

“Ulquiorra Masuo Cifer,” he said with a teasing smile. “I would never treat your son any different than I would treat our son. I don't have a crazy father around that threatens my kids either.”

 

“Isshin didn't mean anything by it,” Orihime replied. “It's his way of showing affection.”

 

“Noboru calls him Goatfucker,” the man said before kissing her slowly. “No love lost there. Get up, I love you but these are Brunello Cucinelli pants and they're probably wrinkled all to hell, Woman.”

 

“Since when have you been worried about clothes?”

 

“Since I paid almost four-thousand American dollars for them? That's how much the suit cost, just for the jacket and pants.”

 

Orihime fell off of him onto the floor in shock. She knew now, without a doubt, Ulquiorra was crazy.

 

* * *

 

Shukuro looked at As Nodt with a shrewd expression. He laid picture onto the table and slid it across the surface. “This is Ulquiorra Cifer. That is his son, Noboru Cifer.”

 

“Anyone else?”

 

More photographs were handed out. “Bazz, my half-brother. His girlfriend and her husband. Their children.”

 

“Is this a personal vendetta?”

 

“Cifer killed my brother years ago. Bazz supposedly confessed to the crime. Then five months after Tsukishima's death, Cifer assassinated my father,” Shukuro stated. “I want Bazz dead because I don't want anyone in my way to take over Aizen Industries. The other two adults because they produced this blonde horror who has snubbed me for years.”

 

“What does this boy have to do with it?” Nodt was pointing to the image of Noboru Cifer.

 

“He's fucking her now. He took what is mine.”

 

Chapter Text

“We're moving?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“To the same building where Vain lives? You're buying the other penthouse apartment across the hall from them?” Noboru yelled. He couldn't believe his father! The man had no right to invite his mother and his half-brother into their house! “I thought Mom was back with Ichigo?”

 

“Do not yell at me.”

 

“Don't you think I'd be a little upset that I'm going to have to live with that fucking brat again?”

 

“Noboru,” Ulquiorra sighed. “I don't know if you're aware of it but your mother is pregnant again.”

 

“Great another fucking ginger headed kid to contend with. I'm not Kurosaki's kid so I get second-rate interactions and treatment,” the teenager yelled. "Even from you, I don't get fatherly love. You treat me as if I'm something that doesn't concern you. You're always detached and uninterested!"

 

Ulquiorra's face was bordering upon irritation. The kid could see it. “Your sister will be here by May,” his father said. “She won't be a half-sister. No, that child is mine.”

 

The teenager let out a chortle of laughter. “I knew it! You and mom were—”

 

“If you wish to keep your mouth on your face, I would not finish that statement, son.”

 

SIGH.

 

“So when are we moving?”

 

He found out. April first. He was not to tell Vain anything. Noboru stood in the empty room which the movers had packed all up, minus his phone, charger, and laptop. He looked around. For some reason, he was going to miss the navy blue walls where he had lived on and off for the past twelve years. He was going to miss the light bamboo wood floors. He was going to miss the dark gray carpet in the living room which ran down the front hall to his father's bedroom.

 

The whole thing of living across from his girlfriend was exciting but he didn't like the prospects of being in such close proximity to her if they had a fight. Not that they fought about much. Occasionally, Noboru would point out that he thought her ex and his friends were following them or something. She would bitch that he was being paranoid.

 

So, he decided to bring it up with his father. Maybe his father would have some advice about the whole thing. Noboru hadn't had the chance to ask him about it though.

 

About ten minutes later, Ulquiorra came into the empty apartment. “We're ready to go if you are,” the man said.

 

“Dad?”

 

“Noboru?”

 

“I think Vain's ex and his friends are following her,” Noboru stated, with his hands shoved into his pockets. “I keep seeing them when we're out in Nikko together. Occasionally, I see just Eizo and sometimes he's with this other kid—”

 

His father was instantly by his side and grabbed his arm. “Have you told anyone about this? Have you told Vain this?” Ulquiorra asked, eyes searching his face.

 

Noboru shook his head. “I tried bringing it up to Vain but she said I was paranoid because of our parents' past.”

 

“What do you know about my past? What do you know of your mother's past?”

 

He shrugged. “Nothing really. Just that you lived in Vain's grandma's house a long time ago. She and I were best friends. Nel said something about Yakuza.”


The kid was shocked when his father let him go. The man unbuttoned his coat, letting it slip to the floor and then took off the t-shirt he wore. Ulquiorra turned around and Noboru gasped. The skin of his father's right shoulder was heavily scarred and it looked almost mangled.

 

The older Cifer let the shirt fall back into place and then picked up his coat. “A couple of months after I met your mother, I was shot by Bazz's father, Sosuke Aizen. I supposedly touched his wife in an inappropriate manner.”

 

“Did you?”

 

“No, I only had eyes for your mother,” Ulquiorra said with a shake of his head. “I left the country and went to America, only to return five months later to attend my father's funeral.”

 

“Wait, when did this guy shoot you?”

 

His father sighed. “Two months and two weeks later. I came home in May; I was shot in July. A lot of stuff happened after that. Your mother had a miscarriage. We moved into that house with Nel and Grimmjow. Nel got pregnant. Your mother got pregnant.”

 

“Wait, hold up. There was a kid before me?”

 

Ulquiorra nodded. “Your mother lost it about a year before you were conceived,” he replied. “Anyway, there was this man; he was obsessed with your mother. He put this plan into motion. Your mother was kidnapped and brainwashed by him... This man was Bazz's brother. Bazz was involved with Nel during this time. The guy kidnapped Nel too. I shot him. I shot him and I killed him. Some months later, I killed Aizen. I was involved with the Yakuza.”

 

“You're a gangster?”

 

“No! I left that life behind once I left that rooftop. I left it behind when you were born. I only did these things to protect you and your mother! You two were living in Maebashi at your grandmother's house when all of this went down. There is a reason why I told you I didn't want you involved with Vain. She is a piece of that past and now it's back! You've got break it off with her before you get hurt. These people aren't playing around Noboru! They burnt down Nel's shop. I could have been there. They shot Kenpachi. You two could have been there!” Ulquiorra ranted.

 

The boy scoffed. “You want me to break up with her because of your past?”

 

“You just told me that those kids are following you.”

 

“I could be wrong, Dad!”

 

The older man stared at his son. “And when you're not wrong and you're dead what are you going to say to me then? Hmmm? What am I supposed to tell your mother?”

 

Noboru's stomach hit the floor. That's what it felt like inside of his torso. It was a gut-wrenching pain because that was a reality now. It twisted, leaving a sour and vile taste in his mouth. “You never liked her just because of what happened between you all. I've seen the pictures. You and Grimmjow kissing. You and Nel! Mom keeps these pictures of all of you.”

 

“Noboru, when Vain's grandfather died, he didn't die in a car accident like they told everyone. A hand grenade was thrown into his car. Surprisingly the only one who was at the scene of the crime when the police arrived was a boy. Do you know what that boy's name was?”

 

His head shook back and forth. The only information he had gotten about Vain's grandfather was that he was dead and been dead for a few years.

 

“Shukuro Hallibel.”

 

“You're kidding.”

 

“Nel told me when she got there. She saw the police reports. Do you know who Shukuro Hallibel is?”

 

Again, he shook his head. “He's one of Eizo's friends.”

 

“He's Bazz's half-brother. Do you understand now, Noboru?”

 

* * *

 

Vain ran the tip of her pencil down his head, neck and back, making sure not to leave any marks. She watched as he shivered.

 

“Stop that,” he hissed.

 

“Why? You like it,” she teased.

 

“Vain, knock it off.”

 

She sat back in her seat, pouting. “I know we live right across the hall from each other now but—”

 

“I can't. I've got to study,” he stated, cutting her off.

 

Hmph. Since, Noboru had moved into the apartment across the hall from her family, a month ago, he'd been pissy. The boy was straight up bitchy. He was being so bitchy that Vain was tempted to offer him chocolate to curb whatever had caused him to PMS. She didn't like this side of Noboru. No amount of kissing or fondling or offers of handjobs or boob touching seemed to get him out of this funk. Maybe he was still sore about the whole not having sex thing.


Vain only refrained from it because it was always expected from her with Eizo. She just wanted to be a normal teen and just make out with her boyfriend.

 

Something was up. He wouldn't talk to her though. He didn't even wait for her to walk to the train station together anymore. He would rush out of the classroom as soon as the final bell rang.

 

A couple weeks later, the group of friends was sitting outside in the grass at lunch a week. A car pulled up on the other side of the fence. Vain glanced at the car then did a double take. It was Eizo, Saka, and Shukuro... What the hell were they doing here? Her mouth dropped open and she turned and looked at Noboru. The boy was scowling at the car with a deadly glare.

 

“Nobu?”

 

“Tch, what?” he said in a nasty tone. Vain didn't know if that was directed at her or the people who had just shown up.

 

Although they still sat beside each other, she felt the distance between them growing. What had she done wrong?

 

“Yo, V!”

 

“Vain? I think those boys are talking to you,” Kiku said, pointing at the car with an expression that conveyed she thought it was something nasty.

 

Vain had heard them but she was still staring at her boyfriend. His green eyes shifted towards her briefly. It was nothing more than a flicker of awareness. Noboru gathered his lunch, stood, started walking toward the school. She sighed. She wanted to scream at Noboru. She wanted to shake him and ask what the hell was wrong.

 

“V get your ass over here!”

 

The blonde saw all of her friends looking at her; questions shining brightly in their eyes. They were wondering who these people were; why were they yelling at her? What the hell was going on with her and Noboru?

 

With a sigh, Vain stood up and walked over to the fence. “What Eizo?”

 

It wasn't Eizo who answered her question. It was Shukuro. “Your boyfriend doesn't look too happy we're here Vain. Did you forget about us?”

 

“Piss off, Shu.”

 

“Tut, tut. That's not nice, Vain,” he replied.

 

“What do you want?”

 

“I'm here to give a warning.”

 

* * *

 

Two weeks later, it was a beautiful spring day. The sun was shining. There were birds chirping and Orihime was sweating. Ulquiorra was sitting beside her, holding her hand. She had been in labor for a couple hours now. The baby was early but seeing as she had a hell of a lot of stress to deal with over the past couple of months, it was understandable.

 

It was nothing like the stress she had to deal with her first pregnancy or when she was pregnant with Noboru. Most of her birthing experiences had been easy. She hadn't spent a long time in labor like Nel had with her kids. Orihime's water broke that morning. Noboru and Kazui had been sent off to school. Ulquiorra drove her to the clinic in Utsunomiya where she was going to be giving birth. The doctor wasn't happy but there was nothing they could do.

 

They had decided after this one was born there would be no more children. Ulquiorra was getting a vasectomy. They had enough kids to worry about and he was almost forty. They didn't need any more surprises. They both wanted to have sex and be together without stressing about getting pregnant.

 

A couple hours passed, Orihime left Ichigo a text message asking him to pick up Kazui from school. Ulquiorra called his mother and told her what was going on. He hung up with promises to call once the baby was there. The man sent Noboru a text message.

 

Another few hours passed and there a scream that pierced the air. The baby was here. Ulquiorra watched over the child as the nurses cleaned her. This was his daughter. She had black hair. She was squabbling like a kitten; protesting the nurses and their attention. She was absolutely—Ulquiorra couldn't put into words what it was like to see the what the love between him and Orihime produced.

 

The nurses handed her to him, once they were done with the infant and he walked over to the bed where Orihime looked exhausted. He sat down in the chair and stared at his daughter. “I get to name her,” he said to the redhead.

 

“What?”

 

“I'm picking her name,” Ulquiorra said, looking at the woman with a small smile. “Don't worry. I've put a lot of thought into it.”

 

“What are your choices?”

 

“Marise Allegra or Nyoko Charlotte.”

 

“Marise? Does that mean anything?”

 

“Infinite, endless. Allegra means bright.”

 

“What about the other name.”

 

“Nyoko means intoxicated infatuation—”

 

“No.”

 

“No?” he asked.

 

“We're not infatuated with each other. We love each other,” Orihime said. “I was thinking Kanaze.”

 

Ulquiorra raised an eyebrow at this name. It sounded too much like Kazui for his taste. He shook his head. “Seiren?”

 

“We've got a couple of days to decide. We can fight over it then.”

 

* * *

 

Noboru listened to a song that Vain had sent him months ago. His earbuds were shoved into his ears and the volume turned up as loud as it could go. He needed to drown out his baby sister's crying. It was getting annoying. Not that he didn't like the newbie, Ayame was fine but she squawked like Kazui did when he was that little.

 

He also did it because he needed to think. The words flowed through his eardrums washed over his other senses. He didn't understand why this hurt so much. He had seen her talking to her former friends. It made him angry.

 

They had upset her. Those pricks had upset Vain. She had run away from the fence and their friends. Sora had to collect her from the bathroom. They didn't talk about it. They didn't talk about much anymore. Noboru barely spoke or texted her. It was all because of his dad. His mom was happy for him because he had a girlfriend. She wanted her kids to experience love. His father's words still echoed in his ears.

 

You've got break it off with her before you get hurt. These people aren't playing around Noboru.

 

What was he going to do? What was he going to say? Why was it his responsibility to fucking atone for his father's past? Why did his father get a happily ever after ending when Noboru didn't? He was so fucking in love with her. The only way he could even end it would be to lie to her then walk away.

 

He thought about Vain and pressed the corner of his phone against his bottom lip so hard that it brought tears to his eyes. He should talk to her. He should text her. He didn't get a chance. His phone chimed.

 

- Nobu?

 

Noboru looked at the message and took out his earbuds. With a sigh, he tapped out a message for her to call him. His phone vibrated in his hand. “Hey.”

 

“Hey,” she echoed. “I miss you.”

 

“Yeah, same.”

 

“Will you tell me what's going on?” she asked.

 

He sighed. There was no way he could tell her what was going on but he needed to. “Vain, I'll tell you tomorrow. Okay?”

 

“Okay, but I wish you would tell me now. I love you, Nobu.”

 

“I know.”

 

They hung up and Noboru turned that song back on, listening to it on repeat. It explained a lot.

Chapter Text

 

It took him almost a week later to get the courage to actually tell her. He dragged her from her seat in the middle of a lesson, ignoring the teacher's questions and the whispers from other students. They'd make their own assumptions and rumors would start.

 

They stood on the roof of the school. Her back was against the outer wall of the stairwell. He grabbed her arm and brought her around to the side where no one could see them if someone were to come onto the roof. Vain stared at Noboru as he walked a couple of feet away from her. He knew she was glaring at him. She had every right to be angry at him.

 

“Why'd you drag me out of class? What could be so important?” she asked.

 

Noboru took a deep breath. He had to bolster himself for this. She was a teenage female so she would probably throw a fit.

 

“Remember when you called me and I told you that I would tell you what was wrong? We can't do this.”

 

“What? What the hell do you mean we can't do this?”

 

“Vain,” Noboru said. He looked to the side, unwilling to look directly at her.

 

“You're an asshole,” the blonde teenager said. “You mean us.”

 

He could tell she was crying or on the verge of it. Noboru could hear it in her voice. Shit. But he had to go on. He couldn't stop in the middle of his grand statement for her fucking tears. He sighed and his shoulders visibly heaved. “What do you want me to say? They're my parents and if they don't want me—us to be together, I have to respect that. They must have their reasons.”

 

“Go then, prick. You got what you wanted from me,” Vain spat. “Thanks for the fucks and the memories. I guess I should have stuck with people from the private school instead of you lowly people. At least with them, you know they're using you to climb the social ladder.”

 

This made Noboru's dark-haired head turn towards her. He wanted to point out that they never actually fucked yet. He didn't say a word about it though. “Celeb, shut your mouth.”

 

“Make me, Freak.” She was challenging him and he knew it.

 

He walked slowly towards her. There was a smidge of a predatory glint in his eye. Did she want a fight? She would kick his ass but was that what she wanted from him? Would that make this easier to do?

 

With Vain, he couldn't explain how he felt. He couldn't explain to her how she made him feel. He tried to tell her but he couldn't get the words out. His father always said that actions spoke louder than words. His dad said it was nothing; this would pass. It was a phase. He'd get over the blonde.

 

Noboru's jaw clenched as he drew up to her. They only had half of an inch difference. He could look her right in the eye. He placed his hands on either side of her head, leaning in close to her. Her breath hitched. Vain was biting her bottom lip. She was trying to be coy and innocent; the tears were gone.

 

Just looking at her like that, Noboru didn't want to say anything. He just wanted to pin her against that wall and have his way with her, leaving her panting against him. He had to control himself.

 

He could do this. His dad said they were just words.

 

Women got over words.

 

It wasn't like she'd be here next year. She was probably going back to her drug dealing, preppy, private school friends when the next year started anyway. When he'd seen her talking to Eizo, that's what cemented his decision. They were still around her and she kept going back to them. His father was right. He had to break it off before he got hurt.

 

A breeze decided to blow at the moment and it picked up a strand of her long hair, tickling his face as it blew his direction. He pushed the strand back behind her ear. His lips kissed her softly then stepped back from her.

 

“I don't want you anymore, Vain,” Noboru said quietly. He saw her crystal blue eyes fill with tears. “You'll get over me.”

 

With that, he turned and walked back to the door of the stairwell. His plan was to go back to class so the teacher could lay into him with a lecture about him about respect. Noboru didn't go there. He walked out of the back doors of the school, slipped through a gap in the fence by the sports field. His chest hurt and his eyes burned with the tears he was holding back. If they were just words then why the hell did he feel like this? If it was nothing and just a phase, why did it feel like his chest was ripping apart?

 

He remembered the first time he had seen Vain. She held his face in her hands and stared at him like she was staring at a ghost. The image of her at that rich prick's party, where she had sex with Eizo. The guy had left the door open on purpose. He remembered the curve of her back as it descended towards her bottom. He remembered their first actual kiss on the floor of Kenpachi's dojo and the first time they—they—they—

 

Noboru had to choke back something akin to a sob at that point.

 

She wasn't any good for him. No, she had turned his entire world upside down. She goaded him into underage drinking. She pressured him into doing illegal drugs. Vain never lied to him though. He was constantly lying to her by saying she didn't bother him or he wasn't affected by her. She never hurt him. Already he missed her blue eyes and the touch of her fingers.

 

The song he listened to a week ago that she sent to him a while back came filtering through his mind. He had to push the memory away. It wouldn't budge. A tear fell out of his eye. He scrubbed it away. Noboru didn't know why Vain sent him that song. It said nothing about their relationship. It described her and Eizo's relationship.

 

What you call love looks a lot like drugs. What you call lust looks like three years bad luck.”

 

He wouldn't miss her. He wouldn't miss Vain at all. Noboru Mateo Cifer would keep lying to himself too.

 

You were out the door when push came to shove. You've gotten so fucked up, but I'm still in love.”

 

They both were fucked up and in love.

 

* * *

 

The hallway was wet. Nel looked quizzically at her wet sock and the water spilling all over the floor. It was coming from the bathroom. Who was taking a bath? She tried to turn the doorknob but it wouldn't budge.

 

“Where's Vain?” Nel jiggled the bathroom doorknob. “Vain? Are you in there?”

 

Locked.

 

Panic rose in her throat. The kids were on their summer break and it was only a week into it. Ulquiorra had told her that Noboru left school that last day and hadn't been home since. The kid called from his grandmother's house and said he was staying there now. Nel understood. The boy had walked away from her daughter. Noboru had pulled an Ulquiorra, except where her friend had let Orihime down gently, the kid had dropped Vain from thirty-thousand feet and expected her to survive the fall. 

 

The blonde hadn't been the same since the last day of school. She'd been off. Nel didn't know what to do to help her daughter. She didn't know what to say or do that would mend the girl's emotions or her heart. She didn't want to seem like the insensitive one.

 

GRIMMJOW?” Nel screamed. “BAZZ!”

 

“Why is the floor wet?”

 

The teal-haired woman looked up at Liam's face followed by his little brother. Both looked concerned. The red-haired man and her husband came into the hallway. She swallowed, looking panicked.

 

“Bazz, take them. Get Akira and take them across the hall! Ask Orihime to watch them.”

 

Once the younger ones left, Nel pulled on the doorknob. It was still locked. Shit! Her hands fluttered uselessly. “VAIN? VAIN NOIR?”

 

“Nel? What's going on?”

 

“Open the fucking door, Vain!” Nel started pounding on the door, screaming. Grimmjow pushed her out of the way.

 

There was a crash.

 

* * *

 

She was jostled.

 

“Vain.”

 

Sirens wailed in her ears.

 

“Vain!”

 

Was that Nobu's voice? It sounded like him.

 

“Vain?”

 

It wasn't him. He walked away from her. He didn't care.

 

“Vain?”

 

They all sounded so worried. The voices were concerned. Why? 

 

“VAIN!”

 

She was cold. She wanted to sleep. It was dark here and felt nice. No one cared.