Warning: Yaoi. Swearing. Angst.

Disclaimer: Come on…

Summary: Grimmjow is new, and Ichigo is late. What will blossom between these two oddballs? Why, love, of course!

Ichigo felt so…good. With the burden of keeping Grimmjow a secret from his friends off his chest, he could spend more time with them-with Grimmjow there, too, of course. He could talk to them normally again. Well, he was having one minor problem. Renji was keeping distance between them, and was awkward on the rare occasion that they were left alone in a room together. Renji had even resorted to giving him the cold shoulder, and ignoring him in classes. He hadn't been mad with Yumichika and Ikkaku-san when they got together. Or with Orihime and Rangiku-san. Had he done something else?

No matter how much Ichigo thought about this, he could only come up with one reason as to why Renji would start acting like this. But that couldn't be. Renji couldn't be jealous, could he?

But, as Grimmjow had pointed out, if Renji was jealous, there was nothing Ichigo could do besides leave him. The mere thought of this made Ichigo grow morose. Grimmjow was heartened by this reaction, and promptly dragged Ichigo to the bedroom to "make his little berry feel better."

And so that was what brings us to the current point in time. Ichigo was fast asleep, pillowed against Grimmjow's arm, Grimmjow's fingers drawing lazy patterns along Ichigo's ribs. He gazed fondly at the man cuddled into his side, breathing in the peach-scented orange hair.

This was too good to be true. In fact, Grimmjow was certain of it. But don't take that the wrong way. It was, by no means, a lack of faith in Ichigo. It was a lack of faith in everybody else. In himself. He sighed. Winter always does that to him. The bleak but very beautiful weather is potent. It makes him see the hurt of everyday life. Because life was like a winter storm. Calm and still, but then a violent tempest, emotion and rage and violence washing away everything you knew. Yes. Life was just like winter.

He turned and snuggled into Ichigo, wanting to cry, but the tears not coming. The tears never come. Not anymore.

He closed his eyes, waiting for sleep to take him.

The morning was grey, clouds blending seamlessly with the sunless sky. Grimmjow sat on the roof of his building, eyes trained on the horizon. The cold air pressed on his bare torso, and he closed his eyes, letting it wash over him, drowning all his other senses.

A rain drop fell and landed on his back. He turned his face to the sky, waiting patiently until rain clung to his eyelashes, drooping his hair, rolling off his body in little waves. Until he was soaked to the bone, so numb to everything but the icy rain pelting his body gently, proving everything he ever thought.

He skimmed his fingers over the surface of the puddle steadily collecting beneath him, gasping at the ethereal feel of the immaterial emotion pouring from the sky, of the beckoning coldness.

He'd been out here too long. Ichigo was probably awake and wondering where he was. Ichigo…

Ichigo was, in fact, awake. He stood shirtless in Grimmjow's kitchen, arms crossed over his chest, watching the rain ripple down the window. The light on the coffee pot blinked, and Ichigo reached for a pair of mugs. He waited silently for Grimmjow. He knew where Grimmjow was, and what he was doing; he had done it so many times himself. He knew that Grimmjow would be soaking when he came back inside. He knew that Grimmjow would look hopeless. He knew that Grimmjow would need to be left alone, then have company forced on him. He knew.

So he wasn't all that surprised when dripping arms wrapped themselves tightly around his waist, and he felt a cold body pressing itself to his back. He let himself be held, saying nothing, and saying nothing still when Grimmjow retreated.

Grimmjow stood under the shower spray, the temperature adjusted to the coldest it would go. He ran shampooed fingers through his hair, not bothering to bring it to a lather before rinsing it out. He sank to his knees, so much like he did when sitting in the rain, and let the freezing water pelt him. He sat like that, letting the numbness reclaim him, before turning around and turning the water to a temperature that should rightfully be dubbed "scalding." He braced his hands on the tile before him, pressing against it as the heat fought its way through the numbness, turning his skin a bright red and setting his nerves on fire. He gritted his teeth, letting the waves of pain wash through him.

He hated how he was during the winter. Hated that he was this strange mix of calm, anger, and sadness. He hated that in winter, he was sad that the things that made him happy made him happy. He was angry that he was sad about loving Ichigo, when they both knew that that wasn't how he really felt. He hated that he was numb.

But he loved that Ichigo was the only one who could make the numbness go away. Loved that only Ichigo could relight the fire that was doused. And so, having successfully boiled himself, Grimmjow shut the water off, toweled himself dry and walked into the kitchen in his starkers. Needless to say, this prompted laughter to bubble up in Ichigo's throat, and he could hold it in no longer when Grimmjow began to pour himself some coffee.

Grimmjow heard him and turned, an inquiring eyebrow raised.

"What?" He said.

Ichigo tried to stifle his laughs, only succeeding in turning them into giggles.

"Do you have any idea," Ichigo chortled. "How funny you look right now?" Grimmjow tapped his chin thoughtfully. "No." he decided. "No I do not."

"Dude, you're pouring coffee fucking naked, standing in the middle of your kitchen." Ichigo said, laughing again. Grimmjow grinned.

"He's definitely jealous." Rangiku said. Ichigo gaped at her.

"How do you know?" he demanded.

"Ichigo, love, everybody knows." Yumichika patted him on the shoulder. Ichigo stared at the circle surrounding him. Yumichika, Rangiku, Ikkaku, Uryuu, and Orihime looked back at him.

"Wh-what are you talking about!" Ichigo sputtered. The groups eyes turned to Orihime. She kneeled in front of him.

"Kurosaki-kun," she said gently, "Renji-kun has loved you very much, for a very long time…" she looked up into his face. Ichigo sat, stunned. Orihime put her two hands on top of his. He snapped out of his reverie and looked down at her. "R-Renji…l-loves me…?" he stammered.

Orihime nodded. "Just like I did, Kurosaki-kun."

"But…but why didn't he say anything?"

"He was afraid, Kurosaki-kun. He was afraid to tell you how much he loved you, because he didn't want to lose you. He could bare Kurosaki-kun not loving him back, but he couldn't bare losing Kurosaki-kun as a friend, too. Again, he is just like how I was." Orihime explained softly.

"Oh, man," Ichigo groaned. "And I let you guys find out like that- he must hate me now."

Orihime shook her head. "Renji-kun doesn't hate Kurosaki-kun. He is happy that Kurosaki-kun has Grimmjow-kun to love him. He is just sad that he isn't the one to love Kurosaki-kun. He wants Kurosaki-kun to be happy, even if he is not the one to do it." Ichigo stared. He felt like such a bastard. He had had no idea…


Moi: So, people, as you can see, this was a bit of a bullshit/plot developing chapter. It'll be like this for a while, since I need to get the conflict between Renji and Ichigo to spread out a bit. But I'm workin' on getting our Renji some lovin'! Buuuuuuut, before all that, I have someone here who would like to giva a shout out to some very special and dedicated reviewers!

Urahara: *Flutters fan* Hello! As Hoeru has said, I am here to say hello to some very dedicated reviewers! First off, to GoddesOfWrath and Roman C Lee for sticking with this story from the beginning. To Mithras151 for all her amazing reviews that always make me laugh. To xXSilver0BladesXx for flooding my inbox with reviews, and to , who gets a hug from " The Man With the Sexy Hat!" *Huggles*

Ichigo: *Feels like a bastard*

Moi: I know! I have to make him angsty for a little while for everything to work. But don't worry! He has Grimm-chan to make him all better!

Grimmjow: Oh yeeaah. *is already plotting*

Ichigo: *Still feels like a bastard*