The sun had just barely begun its ascent on the horizon; a dusting of violet brightening the abysmal black sky. In this hour most of Karakura's residents would be properly at rest, another two or three hours between them and a long work day. However in a downtown apartment complex one resident begrudgingly attended to his new roomate, cursing his name and branding him a "lazy, unappreciative bastard." The resident - a man in his late twenties, all muscle, scars, messy blue hair, and a carved scowl - hated sharing his space, it annoyed him to hear the ruckus and yowling of his new companion. Still the man, Grimmjow, was very fond of the company of his new cat, Charming.
Well, new to him. Charming was a six year old black Cornish Rex with a missing right hind leg, torn ear, and one eye. The cat had scars and discolored patches littering his skin from past injury and disease, a tail that crooked at an angle to the left, and his remaining eye was a petrifying pale blue.
Obviously the gremlin hadn't been Grimmjow's first choice in a pet; his first choice was a petite tabby, it was simple and fine looking, but when it met him the thing was an absolute demon. Every feline bastard in the shelter was either too standoffish or absolutely hostile when confronted with the large man. He knew he wasn't the most friendly looking guy, from his studded leather to his stern gaze, Grimmjow looked fierce, but the animals' repulsion to him was disheartening. It was by chance that one of the workers happened to be carrying the decrepit rat down death row. He might have come off a little harsh in his request to see the animal, what he thought was, "Can I hold that cat?" the tiny woman heard as "Give it here, now." It was an honest mistake, a slip of the tongue. Regardless, he became acquainted and attached to the ugly, gentle little beast the moment it laid its head across his leather-bound arm.
Expecting there to be a million medications and precautions for his handicapped companion, it was a pleasant surprise to hear he currently had a clean bill of health. Grimmjow was in such disbelief he took the cat to the vet to get confirmation. Twice.
So here he was four days later, the Gollum staring at him through its one barely-functional eye after scratching on his door for twenty minutes to say "Get your ass up and feed me." Once fed, Charming would commence his shadowing of his owner, chasing him around and curling up close every time he came to rest. Such was the morning routine.
After work Grimmjow was quick to hop in his car, oil and spray paint still smudged across his forearm from a day at the auto body shop. He was exhausted and needed a shower ASAP. A U-Haul unloading selfishly by the parking garage entrance prolonged the wait and further infuriated not only Grimmjow, but the neighbor repetitively honking behind him.
Home at last, the blue haired man was quick to lock the door, shed his clothes, and step into a scalding hot shower. He could have fallen asleep if not for the needy yowling and scratching outside the door. Charming couldn't be left alone for more than five minutes before he threw fits, as a result showers were being cut rather short as of late. Grimmjow hustled to rinse the conditioner out of his hair before the paint on the door was too marked up. He was still dripping wet when he flung the door open to his little monster staring up at him in feigned innocence. Every step down the hall to his bedroom Grimmjow was trying not to step on the triped while it's crooked tail batted at his ankles. Sometimes he felt bad that Charming was always trying to keep up with his stride, but he couldn't really stop the cat from following him around, nor did it bother him very much. From what the shelter told him Charming was a stray through and through, he came in cut up like a wild animal, looking rabid and missing bits and pieces. Yet the feline was infinitely affectionate, perhaps to cash in on attention he never received prior. Whenever his companion drove him crazy, it was that recurring thought that had Grimmjow keep his cool.
Yes, Charming was most certainly more than the man had bargained for in his overwhelmingly loving nature and wild appearance. Oddly enough, he didn't mind the adjustment; perhaps it was too soon to be seriously bothered, but he enjoyed having a companion that wouldn't prattle about stupid things. Someone who wouldn't annoy him with nonsense and small talk. Sure his pet was lonely, but what was so bad about someone wanting him to be around for once? The little creature looked at him like he was a king and just wanted food and a pat on the back in return. It was easily fixed with a scratch behind the ears, so it must not be that big of a problem.
When it got late Grimmjow would head to his room, waiting a few seconds for Charming to scamper in before closing the door and burrowing into bed. The next morning he would again wake to the scratching on his door, curse his beloved bastard of a pet, and repeat. For three weeks this was routine, until one afternoon Grimmjow received a call while at the garage. A neighbor had heard a clamoring in his apartment and called the landlord, but when he came to inspect, the door was busted and the apartment was disheveled.
He was back at the building in a flash, in his hall a few spectators and a cop were strewn about. The officer was currently questioned a ginger boy that looked to be a college student, the boy looked at Grimmjow as he passed but quickly looked away when his gaze was returned.
The blue haired man scanned his residence, an officer talking behind him as he trecked through, but his words just not registering.
The place was a mess, not as if it had been purposely trashed, but someone had definitely gone through his things. Clothes hung out of dressers and drawers were crooked in their frames. He didn't have anything valuable, no worries if someone took his cheap crap, but there was a problem.
"Where is my cat?"
The officer paused, then stammered out pathetic assumptions that the cat must have gotten out or run off when the noise started up.
"I'm sure he'll turn up, you know cats. Give it an hour or two, when he's hungry he'll come running home." The cop joked, but it did nothing to reassure the irate man before him.
Plenty of the neighbors had heard the clattering, but no one had seen any suspicious figures, or Charming. Grimmjow had wasted no time in asking around and checking the stairways and crawl spaces that the little bugger could be hiding in. All areas of the building were clear, the alleys empty, and the shelter hadn't received him either. By nightfall there had been no sign of the derelict feline and it would be hopeless to search for him in the dark.
The first thing Grimmjow did back in his apartment was take a shower, the longest shower he'd had in a month. He walked freely, dressed in silence, and laid on the couch without the sticky heat of the scarred up fur ball making him sweat. Still he hesitated to close his bedroom door that night out of habit. Buried in his comforter he told himself that first thing in the morning he would search for Charming, he couldn't stand another quiet night like this.
Habit had Grimmjow up at dawn, ready to feed a cat that still wasn't present. Last night his mind had been preoccupied by how he missed the company of the little goblin, but now he began to worry. Had he been able to eat? Some Good Samaritan may have slipped him some scraps, it happened all the time when people felt bad for cute little cats - but Charming wasn't cute.
Growing antsy, he stared out the window, waiting for the sky to brighten enough to search for his pet. In the meantime a quick search was done to find a picture of Charming, in case it reaches the point that posters have to be made. He pulled a Polaroid out of a photo album, the picture of Charming sitting on the arm of his lazy chair, poised and looking directly into the lens, 'Charming's First Day Home' was written on the white border.
Tucking the picture into his wallet, Grimmjow set off to locate his cat.
It was difficult to ask anyone about the missing pet; whenever he came close people would steer clear of his path to avoid him. It was typical. That was just how he'd been regarded for years, but now it was ruining his chances of finding his cat.
A dead possum lay by the road, either hit by a car or killed by another creature. In that moment a similar fate felt very possible for Charming, and with time slipping by desperation crept into his system. His words were more curt and rushed, not bothering with greeting or pleasantries.
"Have you seen this cat? He has three legs and a broken tail."
Mostly scowls and disgust followed presentation of the picture, followed by half-hearted responses and Grimmjow moving on to the next stranger.
He had been searching for hours with no luck. The rumbles and twinges in his stomach reminded the downtrodden man that he hadn't eaten yet and it was almost Two o'clock. In the entryway of the complex the ginger boy from the other day was adjusting the strap of his laptop bag while he tried to open his mailbox. The ginger looked up briefly when he heard the door, then took a double take. Grimmjow looked back at him.
His tone was much angrier than he thought it would be. He was exhausted and worried about his cat, but it wasn't this guy's fault.
"You look damn tired." He replied undeterred.
"Because I am, jackass."
"The break in make you feel uneasy? I can't blame you."
"I don't give a shit about someone breaking in. But I can't find my cat and that pisses me off. You wouldn't have seen one around have you?"
The orange haired boy slid his mail into the laptop bag and clicked his tongue.
"I saw a cat, not sure if it was yours."
Grimmjow was ripping the picture of Charming out of his wallet, surprise and hope flashing across his normally judgmental expression.
"Was it this one? He has three legs, a broken tail, and he can't see very well. Was it him?"
The ginger looked at the photo for a short second and nodded.
"Yeah, that's it. I just saw him about half and hour ago."
The older man lunged closer to the other, his hands clenched in anticipation, ready to run off in search of his cat.
"Where?" he growled, peering down at the ginger.
"About two streets over, near the farmer's market. Would you like some help looking for him?"
Grimmjow thought briefly about the offer. He didn't know this other tenant and didn't want to deal with him, but it would be easier to find Charming with two people looking.
"I'd... Appreciate that."
The pair left the building in silence, an arms length between them as they awkwardly walked through the streets. Grimmjow stood almost a head taller than his neighbor with a slightly larger build and a more confident stride. The younger male had light, close steps that appeared as though they were calculated to take as little space as possible.
"How... how long have you had the cat?" He chimed in, trying to clear the heavy, awkward atmosphere.
"A month," this was exactly what Grimmjow did not want to happen. He hated small talk, because it was always just someone asking stupid questions, trying to assure themselves 'he won't kill me, he's normal enough.'
"What's its name?"
"Charming, as in prince."
"Oh." The younger boy tried not to laugh, he did however grin at the irony.
"What about your name?" He continued.
"When are we getting to where you saw him? You said by the market right?"
A quiet pause punctuated the question, the other momentarily stunned by the disrespect.
"And my name is Ichigo, thanks for asking. It's around this corner."
Grimmjow hummed an acknowledgment and slipped back into silence.
In the market the two parted, Ichigo with the photograph for reference, to ask if anyone had spotted Charming, having little luck. With every negative answer Grimmjow became even more agitated, worrying about his disabled cat being alone for almost two days.
"I'm trying to find my cat, he's been gone since yesterday and I need to find him NOW. He has three legs, one eye, and barely any fur. Have You seen him?"
The clerk flinched.
"Oh, yeah. I saw it moving around the stands. I was going to call animal control but it left. I didn't realize it was a pet."
"I don't care what you thought, where did he go?"
"I couldn't say for sure, I think it was heading down..." He looked about and turned to his right. "It was going that way I believe."
Grimmjow didn't waste a second more and went where the clerk had indicated.
Walking down the road panic began to set in. Animal control, that guy had almost called animal control. If they had, Charming would have been taken to a pound and put down if - and when- he wasn't adopted in a few days. No one had Charming yesterday when he called, but he had to be sure he hadn't turned up somewhere. He pulled his phone out and looked up every shelter and pound in the area, calling each one to give a vivid description of his cat; no one had him and swore they would let him know if they found him.
By the last call his voice had cracked as he asked the sixth shelter. "Are you sure?"
Finishing the call he raked his hands through his hair and tried to catch his breath. The sky began to wear the fuchsia veil of twilight, he had been looking all day and was back to where he'd been yesterday. He didn't know if his pet had eaten, where he could have wandered to, or if he was still alive. Not knowing killed him, as a true pessimist his mind worked up the worst possible scenarios for every situation. He hated being so paranoid and afraid all the time, but in an odd way it usually made him so care free. He always knew what the worst possibility was in a situation, so he was prepared every time it was realized.
Two months ago the worst situation he could have been in was being single with no friends or family, a crappy job, a run down apartment, and staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.
He supposed it wasn't pessimism so much as self-fulfilling prophecy.
He was afraid of being rejected, so he kept his distance. He thought people would judge him for looking intimidating, so he didn't bother to impress them. All he ever did was hurt himself, but he was confident in that he was never wrong; it was the only confidence he had, so he clung to it for dear life.
Yes, he was never wrong, until he decided to get a pet. Worst case scenario going into the shelter: the tabby he picked out would be a bit skittish. Reality: that and every other cat hated him and he went home with a goblin.
New worst case scenario: he would have to suffer the torn up furniture and unruly nature. But Charming caused no havoc besides his four am wake up calls.
He was always wrong when it came to the cat, but it wasn't unpleasant. Slowly he came to love the little bastard, leaving one more pessimistic view to deal with: coping with him eventually dying after a number of years.
Again he was wrong.
Back outside his apartment building Grimmjow hung around outside, just in case his pet wandered by, but the night sky and dark street were betting against him.
Finally going in, the stairs up to the third floor seemed to go on forever, and once there he stared down the corridor, not wanting to go back to his apartment. A door opened not far from him, and from it emerged that guy - Ichigo. He had a garbage bag and nearly dropped it when he turned to see Grimmjow just standing at the end of the hall.
"Oh sh-! Jeez, you really got me there." He breathed out to steady himself and began down the hall to the garbage chute.
"It was a pretty shitty thing to just leave me at the market. I was trying to help you out, what kind of gratitude is that?" He called from around the corner, turning back once he'd dropped the bag.
"I had to keep looking," Grimmjow mumbled, glaring at his bold neighbor.
"Okay, and I was going to help you. If you wanted to do it yourself you could have said so."
The blue haired man was grating his teeth in frustration, it wasn't as though he meant to leave without notifying him, he just hadn't thought about it.
"Yeah," he nodded.
"Yeah? You don't want my help 'yeah'?" The ginger looked unimpressed with the answer.
"Alright. Just wait here for a second," he retreated into his apartment, leaving the door cracked. Grimmjow hadn't planned on moving soon anyway.
Ichigo returned with a thick Manila envelope, undoing the clasp as he shut his door behind him. He pulled out a stack of white papers and handed the pile over.
"I still had the picture, so I thought I might as well get some posters printed. You were nowhere to be found and I don't really have... ANY of your information, so I put my contact info. You can just white it out or scratch over it or something." He scratched the back of his neck, waiting on a "thank you," but his blue haired neighbor just stared at the stack in his hands.
"You're welcome!" He said loudly after a far too long pause. His neighbor was still fixated on the posters.
"Do you think anyone is really going to look for him?" a voice that sounded much too quiet came from the large man before Ichigo.
"I've been all over town twice looking for him, I've called every shelter, talked to every damn person that I came across. He scares people, they want nothing to do with him, and now he's all alone. No one will look for him, they'll be too scared that he's diseased, or violent. Sorry to have wasted your afternoon." His grip on the papers was deathly tight, never looking from the picture of his scraggly pet.
"You're just a big teddy bear aren't you?" the smaller man joked.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Grimmjow finally looked up, his stern expression firmly placed.
"Look at you, you're really torn up, you can admit that you're upset."
"I told you before that I'm pissed off that I can't find him!"
"No, not that way. I mean you look like you're about to cry."
"Why are you badgering me like this?! It doesn't matter!"
"Hey, calm down. People actually live on this floor, don't be so loud."
After a tense pause Ichigo sighed.
"You know what, you're right. I'm sorry for pushing it, it's not my business," he crossed his arms and leaned back on his doorframe before continuing.
"I was just trying to be nice, but obviously you have boundaries and I didn't take the hint. I'm sorry."
"You don't have to be nice to me."
"I didn't have to, but you were having trouble, I thought you would appreciate the company."
Grimmjow gave a solemn nod.
"Yeah..." he looked towards his door, not wanting to go back to the silence of it.
"Ichigo, uh," it felt awkward to call his neighbor by name when today he had barely even wanted to speak to him.
"Thank you for... The posters... And tagging along this afternoon, and... I guess putting up with me in general. I know that's not easy." He let out a hollow laugh to try lightening the melancholy mood.
"Oh, are you normally so moody?" Ichigo attempted to return the humor.
"No, usually I'm just an asshole," the pair grinned.
Sliding the posters back into the folder, Grimmjow again looked to his apartment with dread.
"Well, I hope you find your cat... Neighbor."
"Grimmjow, that's my name. You asked earlier, and I just thought I should..."
"Oh! Oh, yeah. Glad to finally know your name. Good night Grimmjow."
Panicked, the taller of the two tried to keep his acquaintance locked in conversation.
"Actually, would it be too much to ask that you help me put these up tomorrow, I mean it IS your info, and it would take a long time to change. I want them up really soon, so I'd rather-"
"You're stalling," Ichigo interrupted, looking puzzled.
"No, I'm just asking you before I go to bed."
"Mhm, how about you come in and we'll talk it over inside? We've been standing in the hall long enough."
"Yeah, that's fine," Grimmjow agreed quickly.
The door clicked behind the two and Ichigo led them to the dining room and kitchenette. There was a small table and four chairs where Ichigo indicated they should sit while he went into the fridge.
"As much as the next guy."
The red head pulled out two cans of a cheap beer and set one in front of his companion.
"So why don't you want to go back to your apartment?"
"I never said that."
"You kept looking down the hall and dragging things on. I kinda put two and two together."
"Alright genius, I just didn't want to. It's really boring there now."
"Was that so hard?"
"Tremendously," Grimmjow smirked.
"So, Charming? Quite the name," Ichigo sniggered.
"Isn't it? The day I got him I was saying it to be sarcastic, but he really is charming."
"He's just a sweet cat. Really loving and all, no mischief."
"So he's docile?"
"Not at all, if I move, he moves. If he's in another room he'll do whatever it takes to get my attention. He's like my shadow the way he's always a step behind me."
"Oh haha, yeah the big scary guy and his crypt keeper cat are just the cutest," sarcasm dripped from the statement and Grimmjow tilted his head back to finish his drink. He could feel it warm it's way down and start taking affect on his empty stomach.
"You're not scary. At least I don't think so."
There was a moment of confused silence before the other man replied.
"Well... You'd be the first."
"Really? That's surprising, I don't see why anyone would think you're scary. A little intense maybe."
"Fire is intense too, but no one says 'maybe if I just put my hand in I'll know if it's dangerous or just INTENSE.' Same rules apply to people."
Ichigo nodded and went to grab a few more drinks from the fridge.
"Here. I'm trying to get rid of these, I don't get a lot of visitors."
"That makes two of us."
"I take it you're the type to keep a small circle?"
"Yeah, real small. Party of one."
"Char- the cat?!"
"That an issue?"
"Obviously, I mean you must have SOMEONE. Family, coworkers, someone?"
"Foster child most of my life. Hate my job. And people generally don't like me, like I said."
"I'm sorry, didn't mean to get so personal."
"No, it's fine. I don't keep it a secret or anything. I was a foster kid, it happened and it sucked, but hey- shit happens."
"But you know, stuff like that... It really does fuck a kid up. Some of the others were fine, but I remember having a parent. Vividly. So adjusting was hard, you know?"
Ichigo nodded, his expression drawn down in his edge-of-inebriated sadness.
"One of my best memories was this birthday party I had when I was like nine. My mom invited the whole neighborhood, there was a magician, carnival games, there was a goddamn horse! And so many gifts, everything a nine year old could want. That was the first time we had a cat, she was a gift and since then I've just really liked cats."
"Oh wow. You're going to make me cry, honestly. So is that, uh, is that why this cat means so much to you? Is it a nostalgic thing I mean?"
"Maybe, or at least, that's part of it I think. Really, I just love the little guy cause he loves me. These days getting people to give a damn is like pulling teeth. But pets are so simple, you take care of them and they make you feel important and all that good shit."
"Ever try speed dating?"
They both laughed heartily, the influence of a growing number of empty cans making everything result in rioting laughter.
"Speed dating? Might as well, my dates always leave five minutes in anyway."
"No!" Ichigo gasped in astonishment.
"Apparently it's just not my gig."
"But you're so handsome!"
"Apparently my personality overrules this," Grimmjow flourished a hand about the frame of his face, "ungodly beauty."
His conversational partner frowned.
"You're not bad, not at all. It just takes a minute to get used to your overcompensation."
"Overcompensation?!" The older laughed, doubling over.
"What is that supposed to mean?" He said, finally catching his breath.
"You act a lot meaner than you are. You're downright sweet if you ask me."
"You're really too nice to me. And much more approachable to boot, but why do you think I'm so nice? You talk about me like I'm a child."
"I do not!"
"In the past-" Grimmjow checked his watch.
"Four hours, you have called me: a teddy bear, adorable, and sweet. I'm a grown ass adult!"
"Well I think you're cute, that's all."
"You're much more 'cute' than I am. I'm almost offended, I feel so patronized."
"No, I really think you're cute, like really. You're a good looking single guy that adores his little crippled cat. It's so sweet, I think you are perfect."
"You say that now-"
"Drop the whole 'I'm not so nice' thing. I didn't care the first five times, I won't care now."
The older man brushed his hair back away from his face, trying to decipher where this conversation was going in his drunken stupor.
Ichigo was being forced into a kiss by the other tenant, the other's body hovering above him to lock him in place. The kiss wasn't unpleasant, and he'd be lying to say he hadn't thought about it himself. Kissing turned to wandering hands and breathy muttering neither could really understand. Alcohol, hormones, and instinct took the reigns as consciousness became vacant.
Ichigo woke up the next morning with a pounding headache, feeling overheated. Opening his eyes he could see the clock on his side table, one o'clock on a Saturday and he was still in bed. Moving to get up, he noticed a heaviness on his hips that felt odd, but mysteriously familiar. Sitting up, the young man bit down hard, clenching his jaw so not to let out the surprised yelp in his throat. His neighbor, or friend, or... Whatever he was, Grimmjow lay on his stomach, face turned in Ichigo's direction in deep sleep, left arm coiled around his waist possessively. His bare back was exposed over the covers, revealing muscle tone usually hidden beneath his heavy leather jacket. Both shoulders bore a tattoo, the left a heavily detailed crown, the right had the outline of a paw print with the photo-realistic face of a panther inside. Scanning the sleeping figure, Ichigo noticed the other markings adorning the otherwise flawless body, the bright red scratches down the center of his back. Not sure what to do or how he would deal with the situation when Grimmjow woke up, the red head began to slide out of the grip on his hips as slowly as possible.
Once free, the smaller man crept out of the bedroom, collecting the discarded clothes on his way out. Having to wear yesterday's clothes after a one night stand was shameful enough, but having to do so in his own apartment felt like a slap in the face. His clothes were just in the next room, but what if he woke his unexpected guest? How would this end? Most likely they wouldn't speak again, and Ichigo didn't want that. Getting Aspirin and water from the kitchen, he resigned to the couch in defeat. Passing the kitchen table he tried to remember when the two had drank so much, surely they finished off all the alcohol in his fridge by the number of empty cans. He and Grimmjow could have been friends, they seemed to get along alright before things got hazy, but would it be too awkward now?
The creaking of the box spring and shuffling in the bedroom sent the ginger into distress. Should he greet him? Tell him to leave? What was proper procedure for this situation? As steps approached, the decision was made to keep quiet, pretend not to notice him if possible. Unexpectedly, his housemate initiated a conversation with him.
"Your head alright? I don't know how your tolerance is, but you look like you're hurting."
"I-I'm fine. Just tired, we were up kind of late..."
"Yeah, I'm sorry about that. But thanks for inviting me in last night, it was nice to talk to someone. You know, besides my cat." he laughed.
"Are you leaving?" It sounded desperate as it left his lips. Last night Grimmjow hadn't wanted to be alone, now it was Ichigo that didn't want him to go. If he left, would they talk again or just be neighbors?
"Yeah, I was going to go shower and get dressed. I wanted to get those posters up today, you coming with?"
Surprised, Ichigo just nodded.
Half an hour later the two were walking down the street with the envelope and a roll of masking tape, hanging one on every street corner and in most shop windows.
It was nothing like the day before when they were locked in tense silence, standing on opposite ends of the sidewalk. Grimmjow was speaking freely, asking about Ichigo, what he does, his family, where he was from. He even answered questions about his own life without deterrence.
A cocky grin was affixed on his visage in place of the brooding scowl. His red headed companion liked this much more, it was more open.
Halfway through the stack the pair came to a street full of shops and restaurants.
"There's a diner up here that I like to go to, you hungry?" The blue haired man asked.
"Uh, sure. Sounds good."
"Great, I haven't eaten in who knows how long."
"Were you really out that long looking for Charming?"
The diner wasn't very full now that the lunchtime crowd had come and gone; inside the volume was a soft lulling.
"Do you come here often?" Ichigo wondered.
"Is that a pick up line?" Grimmjow smirked, giving his shorter friend a slap on the back.
The two ordered and ate quietly, occasionally exchanging questions and laughs. The enjoyment was halted when Ichigo made an observation,
"This is almost like a date."
Not expecting the out of the blue declaration, the other paused. He wasn't upset by it so much as confused by the tone. It was so blatant, was that bad?
The ginger was still, again unsure what to do, he peered out the window behind his friend, unable to keep eye contact.
"Well... Is it?"
Grimmjow rubbed his thumb along the side of his fist nervously.
"I thought it was, but if not, it's just friends at lunch right? It's fine."
Ichigo continued staring out the window, worrying his companion. Suddenly, wordlessly, he jumped up, leaving the building.
Lost on how to handle the rejection, Grimmjow sat still, reflecting on the events leading to this point. His neighbor had been nice to him, they shared a drunk night, and when he wasn't kicked out, he had taken it as a sign that things went well. It was his mistake, both the night before and right now.
A loud, repetitive knocking on the glass behind him jolted Grimmjow from his self loathing. Ichigo was at the glass, his arm cradling the very scraggly rat that started this: Charming.
Elated, He leapt from his seat, threw a pile of bills on the hostess' podium, and ran around to collect his beloved cat.
"Little bastard! Making me worry, you little asshole!" He lifted his pet from the shorter man's arms and cradled it gingerly, relishing the familiar purring.
"I saw him across the street while we were talking. I'm really sorry I had to leave like that, but I didn't want him to disappear again."
"No, no, thank you. I could cry, thank you so much. I'm thrilled," Grimmjow rambled on his gratitude while he combed his hands over his returned baby.
"Want to just head back? I'm sure Charming needs something to eat and a bath. Especially a bath."
Grimmjow laughed and the two started in the direction of the apartments.
"Again, I'm really sorry for leaving like that. I should have said something."
"Don't worry about it."
"But I will, I'm sorry if I upset you. So, next time I'll ask you out."