Chapter Kyuu

Ichigo was sent flying through 3 blocks of buildings by Grimmjow's Gran Rey Cero.

"Ichigo! Get serious and fight back! I know this is not all you've got." Grimmjow was evidently irritated by Ichigo's defencelessness which was obviously not his true power.

He knew that Ichi had a huge influx of reiatsu and although his hollowfication was not perfect, the difference in his strength after pulling out his mask was tremendous. He wanted to fight that Ichi, who would not get blown away so easily. At least if he were to die, he wished to die under that sleek black blade.

A cero was shot out from where Ichigo was blown off and Grimmjow smirked as he saw the familiar black and white mask approaching him.

"I swear that I'm going to finish you off, you bastard!" Ichigo declared the real start of the fight with the Sexta Espada.

"Howl, Pantera!" This was the first time Grimmjow had released his zanpaktou in front of Ichigo.

Kurosaki looked at the arrancar before him. It looked nothing like the teal haired Espada who had given him warmth and held him in his arms so firm and gently. It was practically a wild yet haughty panther, trying to quench its eternal thirst for greater power.

"Ichigo! What the hell are you doing? This is no time for you to be admiring your enemy's new form!" Renji rushed over to help Kurosaki once he had finally pushed away the arrancars that attacked him all together at once with his Zabimaru.

"Renji! Baka, step back!" Kurosaki yelled as he had a bad hunch and his intuition was right.

With just one howl, Grimmjow sent Renji flying, and crashing down into the cemented roadway.

"Renji!!!" Ichigo tried to get a response, no matter how minimal it was as he always believed Renji was not a weakling, even if he was up against Grimmjow. However, Renji just remained as he were dead and there seemed to be no sign of movement, not even a twitch.

"TEME! How dare you-!" Enraged, Ichigo charged towards Grimmjow, who howled again.

Ichigo could do nothing about it but try his best to remain at the same spot whilst holding on to his zanpaktou for support.

However, Ichigo was not going to let Grimmjow get on top of him so easily. Before Grimmjow could release his next attack, Ichigo immediately sent him a powerful Getsuga Tenshou.

Grimmjow saw it coming and dodged it easily with sonida while mocking Ichigo, "So what? You're going to take revenge on me just because I killed your little fuck buddy down there?"

Since Grimmjow had seen and recieved Getsuga Tenshou, Ichigo's one and only attack, so many times, Getsuga Tenshou was not very useful against him. Then, he moved at a speed which was even faster than sonida to get around Ichigo several times, kicking, hitting and pounding him from all corners without allowing Ichigo to have any time to recover.

"You're finished, Ichigo. Look at your pathetic self! Your mask has even broken off. You're no match for me," Grimmjow looked down at the beat and battered body he had trampled with in less than ten seconds with a sense of achievement for himself and despise towards Ichigo.

'Oh shit! I accidentally got too serious and Injured Ichi… I thought I could get him unconscious with my howl then get Ulquiorra and the underlings to get out of the Human world but stubborn Ichi keeps coming back up again and again. Argh! I can't possibly kill him! I'd rather kill myself first!' Grimmjow felt aggravated.

"Let's go, Ulquiorra. I'm finished here." Grimmjow asked Ulquiorra to summon all the arrancars back and return to Las Noches.

"I'm afraid you can't leave just yet, Grimmjow. You have not finished him off. Aizen-sama made it clear that the Shinigami MUST be dead."

Grimmjow tried to retort back but Ulquiorra pointed towards behind Grimmjow and the Sexta Espada turned around to be greeted with an even larger and more powerful Getsuga Tenshou and the sender already regained his footing.

"Fine! My next move shall be the finishing blow." Grimmjow clenched his fist and bitted his lips.

'That baka… He could have just stayed lying down and acted dead! I should have known better that Ichi is a stubborn-and-unwilling-to-lose battle idiot...' Grimmjow grinned to himself.

However, this time the air around Ichigo was different and it gave Grimmjow a tingling feel. When the mist around Ichigo cleared up, Grimmjow saw a fully masked Ichigo swinging his zanpakutou and laughing in an eerily high pitched voice.

"Since Ou can't deal with you, I will. It's been a long time since I've been let out so, Arrancar let me have some fun!"

Grimmjow could not understand what this Ichigo was saying but he knew in his heart the half-Shinigami standing in front of him was not his beloved Ichi.

Both the Sexta Espada and the Shinigami Substitute shot out their best and strongest blow, crashing everything in the way down and finally, hitting each other. After a few seconds, Ichigo got up to his feet again and ran towards Grimmjow, who was slashed deeply on his chest and had returned to his original form.

Ichigo grabbed Grimmjow's attire roughly, pulling him up and shouting nonsensically into his ear.

"Why did you retain your strength during that last stroke!? Stop playing dead and answer me! Grimmjow!"

"Hah! You found out… End my life here once and for all, it's easy for you to do that, right?" Grimmjow spoke with much difficulty as he coughed out blood.

"No, I can't do that! You know I can't!" Ichigo cried and felt frightened for the second time in his life, afraid that his most precious person was going to leave him once again…

"Baka… You can once you know all this is just a scam. Come on, since I am going to die anyway, I wish to at least be able to die under your blade than Aizen-sama's…"

"What do you mean all that had happened between us was just a scam? Don't lie, dammit! No matter what, you are the only one for me… Don't say that you wanna die in my hands bastard! I can't stand seeing people who are dear to me dying before me anymore…"

"It was Aizen-sama's plan to let Grimmjow make you think that he had fallen for you and shame you. I don't know what Aizen-sama is trying to achieve since he could just send me to kill you off in one shot.

However, Aizen-sama said he was bored and needed entertainment so he thought that seeing how much he could put your dignity as a man down could serve as a laugh for him." Ulquiorra spoke out this time in his usual cold and aloof voice.

"Hah! You're being chatty for someone who only licks Aizen's boots, Ulquiorra." Grimmjow snorted.

"That bastard Aizen…!" Ichigo was surprised and angry to hear about this dumb and nonsensical plan of Aizen's and glared at Grimmjow with a so-you-have-been-lying-to-me-all-this-while look and his tears slowly welled up.

"Baka!" Grimmjow hit Ichigo on the head and laughed, "Did you really think I will say all those mushy things and act so disgustingly just because Aizen told me to do so? You're really a big idiot!"

"Huh? So… you mean…"

"You're not just an idiot, you are slow in thinking as well. All the time we were fighting, I was trying to hint to you to just play along with me using eye contacts but you just ignored me…" Grimmjow sighed.

"Eh… EEEEHHH!?!? Who the fuck could understand your hints when you are glaring straight at them like you want to eat them up!" Ichigo snapped at Grimmjow's ridiculous statement.

"I see… Grimmjow Jeagerjaques, you are not worthy of the title of Sexta Espada since I take your words as you have betrayed Aizen-sama. Since both of you are useless to Aizen-sama now, I shall kill you starting with the Shinigami Substitute." Ulquiorra pointed his index finger towards Ichigo and Grimmjow immediately moved to shield him as he knew what was coming.

Grimmjow whispered to Ichigo, "I really loved you, Ichi and am glad to have you as my soulmate…" Grimmjow kissed Ichigo one last time and pushed Ichigo away with the last bit of his strength before Ulquiorra's Cero hit the both of them.

Ichigo, aghast by Grimmjow's last words and last action, reached out automatically in an attempt to pull Grimmjow back to him, but he was too late. His dearest Sexta Espada already disintegrated just like how any other arrancars did when they were given the finishing blow.

"I think you're as good as finished, Kurosaki Ichigo," Ulquiorra summoned all the remaining arrancars and left through the black hole in the sky, which slowly closed up when the last arrancar entered.

Soon after, Rukia, Orihime, Ishida and everyone else reached where Ichigo was. Orihime saw the badly injured Renji and went off to tend to him.

"Ichigo, did you finish off Grimmjow? I saw a cero and then the arrancars started leaving… I thought something had happened to you..," Rukia asked out of concern.

"Yeah… That cero was supposed to have finished me off… Grimm blocked it for me…" Ichigo replied feebly. Rukia and the rest could not understand what the fellow was trying to say but did not ask further since he was safe and sound.

As Rukia helped Ichigo up, Ichigo asked her, "Ne, Rukia… Do the dead say the truth before they die?"

As puzzled as she was to why Ichigo was talking weirdly and asking such a bizarre question, she replied him seriously no matter.

"Yes, I think they do."

"He's such a jerk…" Ichigo mumbled to himself but he could not cry any more. Somehow, he felt like exploding but it felt as if his tears had dried up and he kept his precious memories with Grimmjow to himself and buried them in his secret Pandora box.