Summer Outings

The Winter War had long passed. Aizen's megalomaniacal plans for world-domination had been thwarted by the combined efforts of shinigami, humans and a few defected Arrancars. It was already summer in the real world and it was a wonderful day, worthy of being spent on the beach playing games, splashing around in the cool water or just goofing around and chilling out.

Orihime had wanted to go with everyone to the beach and have fun just like any normal high school girl would and she'd been so happy to know all her friends had agreed to the idea. The fact that they were starting to warm up to Grimmjow-kun was wonderful in itself and she wanted him to seize this chance to make his bonds to everyone in their tightly knit little group a bit better. He'd already saved most of them from certain death in the Winter War but his attitude towards them had not improved much…

So this was his chance to show them that side of him that had drawn her to him!

But then why was he the only one sulking on shore while everyone else was having great fun the water?

Orihime had a hard time figuring out what had gone wrong… Grimmjow-kun had been actually quite excited himself about this trip to the beach they'd all been planning for weeks and he'd shared with her after they—err, he'd just told her at some point yesterday that he really had a liking for sunny warm places and that they made him feel oddly at peace. (He'd turned his back at her after that, probably realizing what "embarrassing" truth he'd just shared with her and she hadn't been able to convince him to look at her for an entire hour.) He'd been still very spirited when they'd all stripped down to their swimsuits, getting ready to get in the water.

And then it had all gone downhill while everyone else was sprinting for the sea.

Why was he so angry? She really couldn't come up with what she'd done wrong… One moment he was as giddy as a child on his first day at the beach (most of that was practically true too, save for the "child" part) and the next he was seething? He made no sense, however you looked at it.

The only ones under the umbrellas on shore were the irritable Grimmjow, the puzzled Orihime and the smartly reading a book Ishida. Neither of his two fellows with him noticed his presence much and he was quite content with that—a "macho man" like that Arrancar would probably laugh if he knew the kind of knitting technique teaching book the glasses-wearing teenager was reading.

"Grimmjow-kun?" Orihime pled for his attention but he refused to bestow it upon her.

He had his head stubbornly turned away from her, facing the exactly opposite direction of her seated form. The girl's brows drew together in despair.

"Didn't you say you wanted to play on the beach with everyone as well?"

He did not reply to her and just continued to fume to himself. She was at a loss, truly. Some days handling that man's totally unpredictable mood swings was a full time job—and she wasn't even getting paid for it.

She cast her eyes down to her hands clasped together in her lap.

"Why won't you answer me? Why did you suddenly change your mind? We were going to have such great fun today too…" She was being exceptionally emotional—she felt her eyes welling up. It was a good thing he wasn't looking at her right then because he really hated her overemotional moments—he always scolded her for them because he claimed they made her look even "wimpier than she was".

And all she'd wanted was to have some normal fun…

Grimmjow growled ill-temperedly.

"You're annoying, woman—go off and play with your fucking buddy-buddies and leave me the hell alone!"

Ishida pushed his glasses up on his nose with a finger, successfully disguising the disapproving look he was sending the lounging Arrancar behind the shine of his glasses against the sun. It was Inoue-san's choice what to do with her personal life, but he really believed she could do better than this guy—from what Ishida had seen in the several months so far, all he ever did was talk horribly to her and mistreat her in all ways possible.

Orihime herself didn't seem the least bit fazed though. If anything, she was encouraged from the fact he had even opened his mouth. It was certainly progress compared to the way things were just a minute ago.

"But I wanted to have fun with everyone and that includes Grimmjow-kun too!" She pouted petulantly, puffing out her cheeks a bit. She noticed that as she did so he looked at her out of the corner of his eye for a moment and then quickly shifted his gaze away and that encouraged her further. "You promised me you'd try to get along with everyone—why are you breaking your word now?"

Her interlocutor clenched his large hands into tight fists, still adamantly not facing her.

"Your screeching is seriously starting to fucking piss me off, chit—go whine to your friends and leave me fucking be already!"

He was cussing more than usual—something was definitely up.

"Just a second, Grimmjow-san!" Ishida snapped his book closed loudly, reproachfully glaring at the one he was addressing. "I admit I don't know your reasons but should you really be treating your girlfriend like this? Inoue-san only means well."

"Ishida-kun…" Orihime had a silly little smile on her face that Grimmjow did not see because he was too busy cocking an eye brow at Ishida to his other side.

"What the fuck's "girlfriend" mean?" Ishida almost gaped at the question fired at him—wasn't that what Inoue-san was to the former Espada? "What the hell ever—mind your own business, four-eyes; this has got nothing to do with you!"

Neither of the two quarreling lovers noticed Ishida's indignant squawk.

"Don't be like that, Grimmjow-kun! We're here to have fun and play and yet you even refuse to look at me! What gives?!" She pouted some more, crossing her arms under her chest. Thus successfully accentuating on her ample bosom barely held by the skimpy top of her swim suit.

The azure-haired man growled viciously again.

"How the fuck am I supposed to go and play—" he spat the word out with so much venom Orihime couldn't help but wonder if he had something personal against it; "—with 'everyone' when you didn't warn me you were wearing that today?"

The girl's brows drew together in her complete befuddlement.

"Is there something wrong with my swim suit?" She looked down at herself. She was wearing her yellow and orange two-part swim suit that the clerk lady who had sold it to her had insisted looked very flattering on her. Had she been lied to that badly, she wondered.

"How am I supposed to act normally when just looking at you in that gives me fucking hard on, dumbass?" the cerulean-eyed male all but yelled in Orihime's face, making her blink dumbly at his outburst.

She then looked thoughtful, humming slightly to herself as she seemed to consider the bit of new information under Grimmjow's severe gaze.

Meanwhile Ishida begged for all the merciful deities up there to let the ground open beneath him and swallow him whole. His face was beet red with embarrassment and he firmly believed this was really not the type of conversation people should be having when there were others around them.

"Hmm, is that so? You like it that much?" she pondered out loud with the most innocent of expressions, as if the topic of discussion wasn't anything but innocent.

"You want me to fuck you right where you stand to prove it, stupid?" Grimmjow snarled, an evil glint in his eyes that spoke volumes of his readiness to do as he threatened.

"Please don't do any such thing!" Ishida tried to interject before things escalated beyond his control—he had to remind them of his presence, in case they'd really completely forgotten he was still there.

"That's really troublesome indeed—I did not think of it posing such a problem." She continued looking deep in thought, her petite hand cupping her chin as she did so while Grimmjow grinded his teeth in his frustration with her. "Hmmm…"

Did that woman even realize how much effort it was just keeping himself from giving into his instincts—instincts he had always immediately given into without a second thought before—and jumping her right then and there, before the eyes of each and every one of her friends? Was she really stupid enough to think there was a way out of that situation that did not involve having her body wrapped around his for the next hour?

"I got it!" she suddenly exclaimed cutely, pushing herself upright, grabbing Grimmjow's hand and dragging him to his feet as well. "Come on, Grimmjow-kun!"

Even despite his moody grumbling and constant complaints she managed to somehow drag him waist-deep into water, turning to face him only she'd successfully done so.

"See – the water's really cool and pleasant and you don't have to worry about your issue if we're in like this—problem solved!" She was practically beaming; she was smiling so wide and bright.

Grimmjow's sore expression slackened as he looked at her grinning at him like that. He stared at her levelly for the longest of times in history.

"Hey, look, that Grimmjow and Orihime finally decided to join us in the water!" Tatsuki grinned, pointing at her childhood friend and her boyfriend just a little ways away from the gang.

"What are they doing over there—let's call them over to join the game!" Ichigo said, looking around with a hand shading his eyes from the sun to spot said duo.

Renji had adopted a really smug look on his face within the minute.

"I think they're a bit busy right now," he pointed out smartly, his grin positively disturbing and the glances he was throwing Rukia doubly so. Ichigo felt the irresistible urge to slam his fist into the red-head's face.

When he turned to look where everyone else was, Ichigo understood what Renji meant when saying they were 'busy'. Grimmjow was definitely very busy smothering Inoue with very passionate-looking kisses which the girl seemed—to Ichigo's surprise—to be returning with equal fervour. The fact neither of them appeared to care they were not alone made the orange-haired youth blush an even deeper shade of red.

Oblivious of the ruckus they had created within Orihime's friends circle with their disregard for keeping private moments private ('Have they no shame?', 'I knew Grimmjow was like that, but Orihime-chan too?', 'Wait, you knew they were together!? Was I the only one who didn't know!? You guys aren't my friends anymore!', 'I swear, if you don't stop looking at me like that in the next minute, Renji, I'm going to cause you severe pain…'), the two soon disentangled from one another, Orihime still grinning radiantly and Grimmjow smirking complacently.

…And then the azure haired man pushed her away by her shoulders, throwing her completely off-balance and making her fall with a splash in the water back-first. He laughed raucously while her crown of now totally soaked orange hair emerged above water.

"That was mean, Grimmjow-kun!" she whined, hitting the water surface with her tiny fists petulantly. Her companion just snorted with a toothy grin at her.

"It's your own fault for letting your guard down, stupid."

That day Grimmjow learned that water splashing matches were definitely Orihime's forte. He hadn't had that much fun that did not involve any bloodshed in any way in his entire existence.

Maybe he could learn to tolerate this Real World place. If she was willing to give him reason to.

He was never telling her that out loud himself though.