NOTE: As promised (though probably a little late in the coming) here is the last "part" to my latest (and probably only, thus far) GrimmxIchi series. Also, if you just so happen to be new, check out my profile for the other "parts" -- wouldn't want you missing anything important. Please enjoy, and comments are always welcome.

Unholy Matrimony

by Duchess of Darkness

----
Dark caramel hued eyes glared at the image before him. Never in all his life did such a sight make him ill. He wanted to run, as far away as possible, as quickly as possible, where n one on earth would find him, and that smart-mouthed son of a bitch wouldn't get to even think his name, let alone say it. No matter how loving the words, he would turn away from that bastard, ignore those calls and sexy taunts, and pretend they were strangers. No way -- No HOW.Ichigo was not going to walk out of this room wearing THIS.

"Your face is gonna get stuck like that."

Ichigo turned an angry gaze to the speaker and glared more viciously at who he saw.

"Go away," he ordered the redheaded man.

Renji grinned and stepped further into the room in spite. "I'm your best man, kid. Can't exactly get rid of me."

Ichigo snorted. "Best man, my ass. Technically, you're my Maid of Honor." At the title brought on a sour thought. "But how come you get to wear pants while I have to wear THIS?!"

Renji glanced at the teen's outfit, thankfully so different from his own. Ichigo was dawning a pure white kimono, the uchikake, traditional bridal wear in Old Japan, and also a popular, current tradition in Seireitei. The pure silk gown wrapped around Ichigo suggestively, and fanned about his white socked feet like the tail of a mermaid. An embroidered obi fashioned around his slender waist hugged to his form and secures the ceremonial robe close. Between the folds lay hidden a small golden chest and a small dagger in a red lacquered casing. The white sleeves of the swan-embroidered kimono sloped down Ichigo's arms, softening the masculinity of body and hiding the worst of his battle scars, covering the back of his hands as, around one wrist, hung a silk purse.Ichigo would've resembled a doll were it not for that atrocious scowl on his face and the missing hood atop his head.

Speaking of, Renji glanced up at the disarray of bright red-orange hair crowning the teen's head. The customary white "hood" -- the tsuno kakushi -- that usually adorned a bride's head was missing from Ichigo's. Smirking at this little fact, Renji commented, "No deception in your wedding, eh?"

Ichigo lifted a brow. "What?"

Renji approached the manly bride and tapped his forehead, indicating what he was talking about. "You're not hiding your 'horns.' That's what the hat's for."

Ichigo glanced at the white hat he was supposed to wear, complete with kanzashi ornaments and jewels, and snorted. "You try wearing it, that thing's heavy." Next to it was the appropriate "hood" that would go over the hat, and drape down the back of his neck and around his shoulders. Altogether, the piece was heavy enough to make his neck ache. There was no way he was going to add more torture to himself by wearing that darn thing on top of everything else for a heavens-knows-how-long ceremony.

Renji shrugged one shoulder. "Suit yourself. You're the one ruinin' your own wedding." Without prompt he turned his attention to Ichigo's attire and adjusted the folds and smoothed out the wrinkles.

"Ruining?" Ichigo repeated incredulously. "I'm not the one that decided on this whole stupid arrangement in the first place. I was just dragged along." He remained still forRenji as he reached around and straightened out the obi, appreciative despite himself of the older man's help. "And let me remind you again who here is suffering under fifty thousand layers of silk DRESS and not wearing a hakama!"

Indeed, like all the other men who would be participating in the wedding, even most of those who would be attending, would be sporting traditional haori and hakama. Several few would go so far as to wear the man's version of the kimono, a freedom Ichigo wish he had. Unfortunately, however, he was stuck in this white getup that made him want to shed all dignity -- and clothing -- and run out of there naked. Alas, no such dream would be granted with someone likeRenji on guard, not to mention a possessive and rather perverted husband who wouldn't think twice about dragging him back for the ceremony, clothed or not.

"You're the one marrying the bastard," Renji countered in good nature. Despite the rude label to Ichigo's soon-to-be husband, the older redhead didn't mind so much the union. In fact, thanks to some thoughtful intervention from a certain noble, this could be the harmonic union betweenShinigami and Arrancar that would stay the tide of terror and war from both sides. A... peace treaty in disguise, if one decided to call it that.

Ichigo made a face and turned to face the mirror again, grimacing at how girly he looked. "Yeah, no kidding..." he muttered none too quietly.

A soft knock came to the door of the dressing room, signaling the entrance of another person. Ichigo turned his sour expression on the newcomer. "Are you still complaining?"

"Yes," Ichigo replied and deepened his pout. Behind him stood Rukia, dawning a classic furisode decorated with sakura flowers on branches and fluttering in imaginary wind. Red and white bulbs, significant of fireflies, danced amongst the petals. "I bet you're not sweating right now."

Rukia chuckled and closed the door behind her, lightly brushing a stray bang from her eyes. Her hair, though short, was pulled up like all the other women who wore their kimono, sporting a small ornamental hair comb to keep most in place. "I think that's a sign of nervousness," she joked and stood with Renji before the bride.

Ichigo resisted the urge to take a swing at Rukia out of fear of messing up his ensemble. Regardless of how horrible he felt in it, he wouldn't mess up his sisters' hard work trying to get him in the damn thing. "After I'm done with this, I'm gonna kill every single guest I can get my hands on," he threatened. "No one's living with the memory of me wearing some dress."

Rukia rolled her eyes and took Ichigo by the hand, gently yet persistently dragging him off the stool. "Shut up and let's get going." She nudged the white geta toward Ichigo's feet so he could slip into them.

Reluctantly, Ichigo pushed his feet into the uncomfortable sandals, schooling his face (albeit poorly) when he began what would be a tedious and clumsy walk. No matter how much practiceYuzu and Karin had forced upon him (with no help from his dad), he still couldn't get the hang of wearing these things and walking with suchitty -bitty steps in such a constricting gown. Somewhere inside him, though, he gave his respects to the unfortunate women all across Japan dead and alive who have or have had to wear this awful getup and walk like a handicap right out of her wheelchair.

With slow, deliberate steps, the three traveled down the hall to where the others were waiting. Rukia was kind enough to hold his hand as he focused on step after step without tripping, and Renji gave his own moral support by stand close -- but not too close -- in case such an accident did happen. Along the way, Rukia glanced up at his face and noticed his ever-present scowl.

"Hey, this is a happy occasion, Ichigo, at least try and look happy." When Ichigo gave her a hard glance, she grinned. "You look like you're suffering from labor cramps."

Renji laughed and shook his head. He doubted Ichigo understood the joke, and good thing he didn't. He probably would've attacked Rukia right then and there. Good thing the kid was concentrating on his walking more than anything.

Ichigo did his best to soften the frown on his brow and the downward curl on his lips as they neared the shoji doors that would open to the outside path. When they came close, Ichigo was surprised to see Byakuya standing by, waiting for them. He, as any nobleman would, wore his family-crested haori and hakama. In his hair was weaved the three pale kenseikan, a sign of his nobility. He, unlike Rukia, did not tie his hair up in the traditional male fashion, refusing tradition this once to favor his hair down. Ichigo couldn't blame him; if he had long hair, he'd do as he well pleased with it -- though, he did wonder on occasion how the Kuchiki Head managed to battle without ever getting bloodstains in his perfect hair. (Would wonders never cease?)

Nodding slightly, Ichigo waited as Byakuya opened the shoji door for him, giving him a once over before stepping out. Almost immediately, a loud, joyous cry greeted him as the group assembled before him spotted his entrance.Ichigo spotted his father crying dramatically under a red parasol, dabbing the corners of his eyes with the edge of his sleeve. Isshin, too, wore a haori with the Kurosaki family crest on it.

Taking a delicate step down from the door, Ichigo clumsily departed from the house, nearly tripping over himself on the second step when a pair of hands quickly reached out and caught him by the waist. Not a fold out of place, a speck of dirt tarnishing the pure white of the kimono, those strong hands righted him before taking him by the hand. Ichigo looked up to see Grimmjow grinning at him, sporting a traditional black kimono and hakama pants, emblazoned with the number six, the closest thing he could get to a family crest. Immediately, he was jealous of his groom's clothes, so much simpler and breathable than his. He briefly scowled at theArrancar before schooling his expression and pointedly ignoring that shark grin on Grimmjow's lips.

"No lipstick? No white paint?" Grimmjow prodded as he slowly led Ichigo to the front of the precession, under the gracious shade of the paper parasol. Only close family and friends would join in the slow walk towards the shrine, the place where most of the ceremony would take place. In the very least, it was a gentle spring morning, just slightly breezy, enough to keepIchigo from dying of heatstroke. This gift from nature is what kept him from replying with a rude remark at Grimmjow's questions.

Instead, he resorted to hitting the man in the side with his fist before continuing on with the precession.

At the shrine, the two exchanged vows, commencing in the ritual san san kudo, drinking from the nine cups of sake to seal their engagement. It was almost a miracle no incident occurred in the middle of the ceremony. On one side sat Ichigo's family and closest school friends, and even those he came to know and respect in the Shinigami ranks; acquaintances like Urahara, Yoruichi, Kukaku and Ganju were also present, each wearing their own expressions of joy and moral support. On the other side sat the Arrancar and one ex-Shinigami who all probably were forced to come rather than came of their own free will; this group was significantly smaller than the half who sat on the "bride's side", only half of theEspada ranks present, and Gin to represent the traitors who obviously had better things to do than join in a celebration. Truly, this event was not meant to be, but for civil reasons, as well as maybe diplomatic, bothShinigami and Arrancar would play nice with each other.

Were the two betrothed not mortal enemies, it would've been more comforting, daresay even funny, when representatives of both "families" had to make vows of commitment and harmony to each other.Ichigo did not find humor in Gin's smooth talking, threats so expertly and secretly woven in his words. Neither did he like how his father didn't even care to hide his threat, promising to engage war upon theArrancar himself if he so much as saw a frown on his son's face (aside from the normal frown that was always there). He had to roll his eyes to himself, knowing no such thing would ever happen.Grimmjow, Ichigo knew, would sooner be buried two hundred feet under before the teen so much as felt tempted to feel sad and cry over the loss. Both of them knew it -- no unhappiness would come between them, not even war.

After the ceremony, the group departed temporarily to head over to the reception hall a block down. As soon as they went inside,Ichigo was more than happy to kick off the geta and pad around the dressing room in only his socks. He lifted the edges of the kimono and kicked out his legs a bit to grant them freedom once again.

"Oh man..." he groaned and stretched before letting go of the gown to allow two pairs of hands to reach around him and untie his obi. His sisters were present once again to help him get dressed; this time he would change into a different kimono, red and vermilion in color, decorated with elegant cranes and flowers. "Do I really have to wear this?" he complained for what must have been the tenth time in that half hour. "I already wore the other one, do I still have to go through with this traditional crap?"

Karin kicked Ichigo in the butt just as soon as he was undressed, throwing him a look. "Of course, Ichi-nii!"

"You said that you would wear traditional clothing for the wedding," Yuzu softly reminded him, recalling one of their many discussions on the setup of the wedding. "Jaegerjaques-san also firmly agreed that a traditional wedding needed for the bride and groom to wear traditional clothing. He even paid for most of the expenses," she also reminded him.

Unconsciously, Ichigo's gaze drifted to the ring on his finger, his wedding band that he had received from Grimmjow not too long ago. He was disgruntled by it somewhat, but it was true: Grimmjow had orchestrated most of this event, leaving Ichigo with little to worry about -- except maybe his sanity and manliness (who knew if that would remain intact by the end of the night?). It seemed unfair, but at the same time Ichigo was grateful he didn't have to deal with making all the decisions. ...Still, all the same, did he really have to wear another dress in front of several dozen people? He was embarrassed enough!

But no, Yuzu and Karin wouldn't have another word of his complaining. They promptly shoved him into the next kimono, wrapped him up in the obi, and set him back on his feet in no time. They accompanied their brother to the main room where the reception would take place, and met Grimmjow just before the doors. Together, they would enter and greet their guests. Both Kurosaki sisters ushered the couple forward, opening the double doors for them.

Ichigo blushed despite himself, losing whatever manliness he tried to retain, when he and Grimmjow were greeted with loud cheers and suggestive whistles. Grimmjow led him to their table at the northernmost part of the room, head amongst all the guests, and laughed when noticed Ichigo's rising panic, glancing every which way when his friends and comrades called out to him. The grip on his arm tightened slightly and he couldn't help but grin more broadly as he laid a hand over his spouse's.

Now that it was just the reception and not the ceremony itself, everyone was more at ease. Those women who previously wore their furisode and tomesode (a married woman's formal kimono), now dawned the more casual yukata. Some men, similarly, changed into more casual clothes, traditional clothing exchanged for modern wear -- pressed slacks and a button-up collared shirt. The only one who was exempt from this freedom was Ichigo, who tried as he might to hide his discomfort and jealousy.

As the reception progressed, food was served, displaying the finest in Japanese cuisine. More than once Ichigo questioned how Grimmjow was able to pay for all these expensive things, yet the Espada only grinned back at him and told him not to worry. Of course, this only piqued the Shinigami's curiosity, but he never got around to prodding further when the time for games came around.

These games favored in humiliating both bride and groom. Ichigo found himself quickly stripped of his alpha when female hands ripped him out of his chair and away from his food (which he so daintily had to pick at for fear of ruining the kimono) and thrown into the middle of the room. He was immediately blindfolded and left flailing before he was pushed down into a chair. He sat without hesitation, though he was nervous, and held tightly to the arm rests as he was told to relax.

"What are we doing?" he asked, only to be answered with laughter.

"It's a game, Ichi-nii," Karin supplied, her voice close to him. He tentatively reached out and found her hand. He had a sneaking suspicious there was a hint of mischief in her voice when she answered. When he squeezed her hand questioningly, she giggled none too innocently, confirming his suspicion. "The rules are: while you're blindfolded, people will come up and give you a kiss -- on the cheek," she added to assure Ichigo the game would be chaste, "--and you'll have to guess which one's your husband."

Despite the blindfold, anyone in the room could see Ichigo's expression change into that of incredulity. "What?"

"Anyone who comes up can't speak or give a hint to give themselves away."

"This is ridiculous," Ichigo interjected. He was immediately hushed and had to sit still when the game started.

It was a surprise at who all came up to take a stab at this game. From behind his blindfold, Ichigo was horrible at discerning which lips belonged to whom. In the very least, he could figure out the difference between the male and female lips based on their softness and the stickiness (lipstick probably smeared his cheek by now). However, with each passing kiss on his cheek, Ichigo couldn't tell which one belonged to Grimmjow. The man never really bothered with chaste, featherlight kisses that normal couple would start out with to test the waters. He was the type of man to just dive in, consequences be damned. ...So how was he supposed to tell? By the twenty-fourth kiss, they were all starting to feel the same.

"Uh..." he hesitated after the latest kiss. Was this one Grimmjow or not?

Risking a guess, Ichigo called out, "Grimmjow?" and lifted the side of his blindfold to check his guess. To his surprise, it was not Grimmjow who stood before him, but Hitsugaya. The petite captain had a disgruntled look on his face, while Matsumoto was grinning right behind him, hands on his shoulders to show she had dragged him into the game. Looking about, Ichigo tried to spot Grimmjow and found him standing off the side, along with all the others who had taken their turn.

A blush marked Ichigo's cheeks as he realized he had already received a kiss from the other man. "Whoops."

Grimmjow rolled his eyes before shooting the teen a look that promised revenge for the small mistake. Ichigo shrank under the gaze, knowing it could come soon or later -- but it always came. Before he could run, though, hands reached out to him again and lifted him from the chair. Confused at the sudden change, Ichigo stared as the participants in the last game returned to their seats, leaving him and Grimmjow in the center of the room. A strip of cloth was handed to Grimmjow who wrapped the cloth around his head, blindfolding himself before he lifted one side to watch the setup.

"What are we doing now?"

Renji grinned as he held up a long pole, reminiscent of a fishing pole, and hooked on the wire a large piece of Peking Duck. Ichigo lifted a brow at this. Renji reeled the poultry up until it dangle high between Grimmjow and Ichigo. Matsumoto came to wrap a dinner cloth around his neck, doing similar to Grimmjow.

"Alright, put the blindfold back on, Ichigo," Rukia said from the sidelines, grinning as she nudged Renji in the side.

"What are we--"

"Get the duck!"

Ichigo rolled his eyes and looked up at Grimmjow. The Espada was grinning before he pulled back down his blindfold and laced his hands behind his back. Ichigo hesitated before following suit, knowing full well that his cheeks were aflame in embarrassment. He pulled the cloth over his eyes and put his hands behind his back, waiting for Rukia's signal before he started leaning in for the meat that swung before his nose. He could smell the darn delicious thing, and he knew he was just right there in front of him, but he couldn't get it!

He knew he was making a fool of himself, yet he was sport enough to play along. Once or twice he accidentally bumped into Grimmjow, raising a chuckle out of the other man, but Ichigo wouldn't let the other man win. If he was supposed to get to the duck first, then that's just what he would do.

Leaning forward again once he felt the duck swing low in front of him, Ichigo made a small dive for the meat. He missed, and rocked back to try again. When he leaned in, his movements were slower, more deliberate. He could almost feel the duck brush against his nose. But just as he pushed forward to breech that gap, the duck zoomed out of reach and something else met his lips instead.

A startled yelp escaped his mouth before it was smothered. Arms quickly and firmly wound around his waist, drawing him close. Automatically, he reached up to brace himself against a broad chest, fine and muscular under that suggestive cloth. Unlike the kisses he received before on his cheek, this one was hot and heavy on his lips, full of need to taste him. For once, Ichigo ignored the encouraging shouts and mixture of responses to this sudden act as he was swept away in the single kiss.

Just as soon as the kiss started, however, it stopped. Before he could regain his composure, Grimmjow pulled away, and he pushed off the blindfold from his eyes. His breath was slightly erratic, and his cheeks were hot and flushed. Suddenly, his clothes felt too tight, the obi too wound, and he wanted to get out of them as quickly as possible. A public and energetic crowd kept him from giving into his needs, and pushed both him and Grimmjow back to the front of the room where a wedding cake awaited them. Hand in hand the two walked, Ichigo shedding what shame he had to lean comfortably against Grimmjow's side. Damn the comments his comrades and crazy friends would give him later. He was finally enjoying himself.

The cake stood on its own table, tall and towering at nearly seven feet on its own. Nevermind modest, the thing was black and white, each tier a tribute to both the Shinigami and Arrancar sides. ...But the thing that caught Ichigo's attention was not the decorative part at the bottom, but the centerpiece at the topmost tier. Gaping at it, he saw himself in his Bankai outfit, minus Zangetsu, cradled in Grimmjo'ws arms as the Arrancar made to carry him away.

...Wait.

...WHAT?!

Staring again, Ichigo took in the image of himself being carried away by the tenacious bastard. At first the shock was too great, the mere submissiveness his character portrayed on this humongous cake seemed to cut his vocal chords. But once Ichigo got a hold of himself, he whipped around to face Grimmjow who laughed back at him, oblivious to (or else completely ignoring) the dark look on his face.

"GRIMMJOW!!"

Grimmjow laughed louder before moving away, approaching the cake to pick up the knife laid out for him. "I take it I'm cutting the cake for us?"

Ichigo growled. "You'd better hope that knife's sharp when I stab you or you'll be in a helluva lot more pain."

Grimmjow disregarded the threat and puled Ichigo close, wrapping his arm around the teen's waist. "Here," he gave the knife to his angry wife, but held still his wrist to prevent any "accidents" from happening.

Ichigo was reluctant to cut the cake instead of Grimmjow, yet he complied and sectioned out the first two slices, serving each on an individual saucer. When Grimmjow handed off the knife to someone else to hold, he drew Ichigo close again, giving the Shinigami a fork to eat with. Together, they served the other a piece of the cake, twining arms in a classic lovers' move. After another bite or two, the cake was passed out amongst the guests, and Ichigo and Grimmjow returned to their table to mingle with family and friends, comrades and enemies.

More than a few times near-fights started between the two parties, but reminders of why they were there staunched any immediate thirst for blood. Gifts were given by the guests and gathered at a long table, left there for the remainder of the day until at last evening rolled by and it was time for many of the guests to return home. Shinigami Captains still had paperwork to file, Espada had things to kill, Ichigo's classmates had school to attend to (something no one expected Ichigo to go to tomorrow, or maybe even the next day, with a husband now haunting his steps), and Kurosaki Clinic still had to be open for business the next day.

Slowly, the crowd dwindled, leaving the Kurosaki family, Ichigo, Grimmjow, and two choicely Shinigami Enemies to partake in the last few words. The first to speak amongst the seven was, surprisingly, Ulquiorra. He approached Ichigo with a small package in hand, elegantly wrapped and tied in a modest bow. Ichigo hesitantly took the gift, wondering why the Espada didn't just leave it on the table with the rest of the presents.

"Something from Lord Aizen," Ulquiorra replied to the silent question. "He says it is a gift you will find very useful."

Ichigo nodded and accepted it, albeit suspiciously. Aizen hardly seemed like the type of man to give honest, safe gifts, in Ichigo's opinion, so he was tempted to just leave the thing alone, on the off chance it blew up or attacked him or something. "Uh, thanks, I guess."

Halibel snorted and stepped forward, approaching Ichigo as well. As the one exception to the female guests who had attended this event today, she did not bother in dressing up. In fact, she still wore her Arrancar outfit, complete with zanpakutou at her hip, and more-than-revealing top. The only difference, as far as Ichigo could see, was that Halibel bothered to clean the ensemble, bringing out the shine in the material.

"Yes...?" he addressed her, trying not to get distracted by her... well, her breasts. (Absently he wondered if Keigo was able to keep his hands off Halibel; nevermind Kon, the pervert had no manners, though he did have to go home with Rukia when she left with Renji and Byakuya.)

Halibel handed him a present as well, just as obscure and suspicious as the first gift, though obviously larger. The only other difference -- besides the size -- that Ichigo could see between the two was the abundant feminine scrawl on all four sides of the present. Different Arrancar names showed just who took care into making this present for him.

"They wished to give you something special for your wedding night," Halibel explained before turning away. Ichigo didn't have a chance to say thank you before Ulquiorra left as well, the two disappearing into Gargantua.

Soon enough, he was left with his family and Grimmjow who took the presents from him and carried them away to put with the other gifts.

"My son--!" Isshin grabbed the attention of the teen, pulling him into a suffocating hug. "Mommy is so proud! She communicates through Daddy like a leech swimming in your intestinal tract, wishing to be heard and felt as it eats at your inside. She wants you to know you are so pretty! A blushing bride!" He snuggled the boy's cheek, earning a strangled growl. "And now, out baby has left the nest! I only have Karin and Yuzu to keep me company. Oh, woe-! If only I could put you inside of me and hold you forever! Eat you up like a crocodile does its unborn children. Then you would be with me forever!" Dramatically, he sniffed back a tear. "Be sure to use a condom when you have sex. You don't want to become pregnant on your first night. I'm too young for a grandchild!"

Isshin paused slightly to pull back and allow Ichigo a moment to breath. "But if you do have a child," he continued with sudden seriousness, "Make sure it's a boy. You must always have a first son to carry on your legacy."

Ichigo made a face, ill that his father would even suggest pregnancy, something he knew was impossible for him. "Stop, stop! I'm not going to get pregnant you perverted ass! Stop saying such creepy things. Go home!" Promptly, he hit his father for old time's sake and shoved him away so he could look at his sisters.

Both of them smiled happily at him, albeit a little sadly. They held out their hands for him, from which he took a small object each. Looking at them, he saw a modest, maybe even masculine locket from Yuzu, in which lay a picture of them as a family, one side empty for whatever picture he wished; and from Karin was... two keys? Yes, keys, but nothing to unlock.

Looking up curiously at his sister, Ichigo inquired the meaning of the items she gave him. In answering, Karin said, "That dumb Old Goat got you something, he just didn't tell you. And, well, I stole the key to it from him. He wanted to keep the spare so he could visit you whenever he wanted, uninvited."

Confused, Ichigo stared at his sister before he took another look at the key in his hand.

"1506 Encrucijada Road," Karin continued gruffly before she threw her arms around Ichigo and gave him a hearty hug. "It's not far, but it's not close either. The Old Goat said it would be everything you wanted, maybe a little more. Either way, it's all yours, free of charge."

Ichigo hugged his sister back, startled. "A... home?" he asked. "For me-- us?"

Karin nodded. "Yeah."

Yuzu sniffed and hugged Ichigo as well. "We're going to miss you, Ichi-nii."

Ichigo hugged his siblings, at a loss for what to say. He didn't expect the old man to get him his own house, of all things. Could he really accept it? And he was leaving his sisters behind to fend of that dirty pervert by themselves. Would they be okay?

"Oi, don't start cryin'."

Ichigo turned to see Grimmjow had returned, cocking a brow at him. "My dad gave me a house," he explained. "I'm... moving out..."

Grimmjow shrugged a shoulder. "Yeah? Well it's not like you won't visit them, Berry Head. Knowing you, you'll find every excuse possible to go to them. Besides," he continued with a smile when Ichigo shot him a look, "who's gonna take care of Nel while you're off at school or whatever?"

Brightening at the sudden idea, Ichigo smiled down at his sisters. "Hey, you're gonna take care of Nel for me, right?"

Both Yuzu and Karin nodded eagerly, happy to have a reason to see their brother again. Now, they could stay happy even without him being in the house anymore.

Departing in good spirits, Ichigo and Grimmjow went to go check out their new home. On the way they picked up Nel from Yoruichi and Urahara, temporary babysitters for the toddler Arrancar for the day. And together, the three went home.

---

THE END.

Afterward: That's it. That's the end. ...Of course, I could've done a little more to make the story round out, but I'm a little (very) tired and pressed for time as it is. I still have several other things to do, not to mention a research project and midterm studying I already have to do, hanging over my head. Maybe when I have more leisure time I'll fix the end a bit, but for now, this is where I end. Really, I need to stop. Sorry guys. I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Take it as the last "part" to the series or take it as it's own individual story. Either works. (And I hope you got a bit of an educational lesson on traditional Japanese weddings.)

Whatever your reaction, whatever your path from here onwards, take and bring a smile. I am done and now it's time to bow out (and collapse in bed). And to those who are aware (or maybe not) of the new project under my belt, please keep an eye out for the next novel involving Grimm and Ichi. Title still pending, but you'll recognize it.

Adieu.
Finished 2.12.08