Eh heh... Yeah I'm updating this. *watches all the readers running to their windows to check for the Apocalypse* Real funny guys. Bunch o' jokers . copy and paste what AngelCat HellFire said in her AN: WOW, LOOK AT ALL THE TIME THAT'S GONE BY. I…I got nothing except an "I'm sorry!" and an "I'm through making promises/expectations!"

Yeah...pretty much that. So sorry guys!! Especially when I got such an unexpectedly amazing response for the last chapter that I deeply, deeply appreciate!! Think of the first chapter a preview! Yeah! And now the movie's come out!! WOOT!! Be excited 8D Okay, well anyway, thank you for your patience and from now on hopefully I'll get the updates out in reasonable times DX I don't have near the free time I did last summer when I was writing LBLB, so that ones rapid updates was a once in a lifetime deal you got from me xD Plus these chapters will most likely be shorter. So don't always expect super long ones... Just kind of the way I'm writing this one. Plus hopefully updates will be faster if I do that!

So that you don't have to go back and re-read the first chapter to remember what the bloody hell is going on, here's the summary: Obviously there's a nasty SOB out on the loose killin' chicks in 1927 Chicago. Why? Who knows. Enter, Ichigo as a 27 year old detective and his partner Hisagi who we first see quickly closing up a case of Loli killing her husband Yammi (crack pairing that somehow works ftw) over money or something. How did they wrap it up so fast in the days of primitive police work? Ichigo can see and speak to spirits (which sometimes gives him monstrous headaches afterward, his fiery secretary, Rukia, is no help to alleviate said headache). Tatsuki (a hardnosed reporter determined to get Ichigo's story) and her sidekick photographer Keigo (who might have a slight crush on her?) crash their crime scene and get kicked out. Orihime (a frizzy haired, bespectacled, corn-grown childhood friend of Tatsuki who has been working on the paper for several months since her brother died of a sickness back home) is frustrated with writing frivolous stories and Tatsuki pulls her into a scheme to get a story out of Ichigo, but Orihime blows it by telling Ichigo the truth about who she is and why she's there. So now he's just told her to get the hell out of his office and they've been suspended in animation with her sitting there in nervous shock and him angrily pointing at the door, waiting for her to leave.

Phew. Make any sense? No? Cool beans.

And lastly, but most of all, I...I got this betaed!! Yes! And it was amazing! So very helpful! So a million thank yous and ten million glomps to my dear beta Ritsu-san!!! *smothers her in glomps* I whined about my fail!writing on my LJ and she was so very kind to volunteer her services3 So thanks to her!




Orihime looked at his shaking finger pointing towards the office door, and then looked back at him, her expression a bit stunned at his outburst. "Detective Kurosaki." She tucked a loose hair back into the mass atop her head. "There's no need to be so rude," she admonished quietly.

"I beg your pardon."

He watched her with narrowed eyes as she sunk back just slightly, but she stood her ground even as a blush swept over her cheeks. "I said you shouldn't be so rude."

"I shouldn't be so rude?! I'm not the dame who swept in here, wasting my time with some cock n' bull story and then turning out to be just another press cannibal!"

Orihime bit her bottom lip and dropped her eyes to the gun and holster that lay on his desk. "Well, I suppose you do have a point…"

"You bet your sweet ass I have a point!" he bellowed as he rose out of his chair, sticking his finger back at the exit. "Out! Please, mi'lady," he added, his voice dripping with sarcasm and swirled his arm in a flourishing bow. The bow was added more in an attempt to quiet his mother's voice scolding him for treating a lady in such a way than to add theatrics to his sarcasm. He internally argued with her that this was not anything like a lady. This was press. But then she returned with being unable to recall giving birth to an imbecile who didn't know a lady when he saw one.

Suddenly, he growled painfully and clutched a hand to his head. Orihime shot out of her chair, her face laced with concern. "Detective Kurosaki! What's wrong?!"

"Nothing," he snarled. "I'm fine." His mother's scolding becoming louder wasn't helping things much either.

"I'm sorry, but you are obviously anything but. Is it a headache? I have just the remedy for that."

"Like I'm gonna put myself in a position to owe you."

She put her hands on her hips and frowned. "You won't owe me. I just want to help you."

He glared at her in disbelief. "A compassionate reporter? That's about as likely as a gentle rattlesnake."

"You're being rude again. I happen to know many newspapermen who are wonderful people."

"You've got low standards when it comes to wonderful."

She sighed in exasperation and fixed her glasses. "I'm simply not the type of person to let a person in front of me wallow in pain. Do you want my remedy or not?"


"Being stubborn is only going to make it worse." With that she picked up her over-sized carpet bag and plopped it on his desk. Anymore protesting was silenced by scowling curiosity as he watched her forearms disappear to dig around in her monstrosity of a "purse". "Aha!" Suddenly she pulled out a small jar filled with what looked like cinnamon or nutmeg. Then she retrieved an empty jar and finally a tiny spoon. Her eyes lifted to search around and smiled brightly when she spotted his water glass which she grasped and set before her.

He watched in fascination as she dumped a couple of spoonfuls of the spice into the empty jar and mixed in a bit of water. She was humming an old tune softly while she made the paste. Finally she came around the desk, spoon and jar of paste in hand. "Sit down, please."


"I can't reach your head."

"Oh," he remarked compliantly and promptly sat down. Almost immediately he half-stood out of his chair. "Wait a minute! What are you doing with that stuff?!"

Her eyelashes fluttered behind her lenses. "Why, I'm going to put this on your forehead. Cinnamon paste. It'll get rid of your headache in no time!"


"No more talking," she softly but firmly scolded. "Sit and let me put this on."

Before he knew what he was doing, he was sitting back down in his chair as she leaned towards him, a spoonful of cinnamon paste headed for his forehead and then being lathered on his skin. His eyes watched her face as it frowned in concentration, feeling mesmerized when her pink tongue stuck out a little as she focused. He breathed in, and past the strong cinnamon he could smell the faint scent of fresh soap.

All too soon she stepped back and grinned. "There. You should be feeling better soon."

He scowled at her and reached up to scratch his forehead.

"Oh no! Don't touch it yet!"

"It itches," he remarked grumpily, lowering his hand back to his lap.

"Well, you'll just have to bear it. An itch is better than a headache."

He continued to scowl at the woman as she cheerfully went back to the other side of the desk and put away her supplies. "What else do you have in that thing?"

She lifted her head and beamed at him with a wink. "It's a secret!"

He narrowed his eyes at her. What was her angle? She didn't seem like the typical cutthroat he was used to dealing with. Were they just trying a new strategy on him? Get him to spill the beans to this seemingly sweet girl? Well, they weren't getting' a thing outta him, that's for certain. "What are you doing here?"

She stared at him with that little frown again. "What do you mean? I just told you, I-"

"Yes, I know what you told me. But what are you doing here? You're not the usual that I have to deal with. You don't seem like the type to do a story like this. Shouldn't you be writing about fashion? Or what about those new gardens at the church down the street?" His brows rose a little when she flushed and pursed her lips. Hit the nail on the head apparently. "So, you think I'm your big break?"

She leveled her gaze at him, steady but holding an apology in her eyes. "Yes."

Well, she seemed to be honest so far. He'd give her that. Though it might be a trick to reel him in to trust her… He mentally shook his head. She just didn't strike him as the type. "And you think that you can get a story out of me that eight newspapers in the Chicago area alone have been trying to get out of me for years? Don't kid yourself, sweetheart."

Orihime bit down on her lip as she closed her bag shut with a click, and then looked back into his eyes with quiet determination. "You said yourself that I'm not the usual, so I'd say I have a pretty good chance."

He let out a loud sound of derision. "Good luck."

Just then Shuuhei burst in, mouth open, ready to exclaim about something when he saw Ichigo's forehead covered in some kind of brown paste. "Uh…" He glanced between Ichigo and the reporter. "You…uh…you got somethin' on your forehead."

"No shit. What's up?"

"Uh…" Shuuhei shook his head slightly. "Just got a call. Woman was found dead at Chestnut and Wells."

Ichigo stood and stuck his arm through the shoulder holster. "All right, I'll be just a minute."

"Uh…Kurosaki?" Hisagi pointed to his own forehead as Ichigo looked up at him.

The oblivious detective blinked before it clicked in his mind what Shuuhei was referring to. "Shit…" he suddenly muttered upon realization. He riffled around his desk and pockets, trying to find something to wipe the Indian shit off of his face.

"Wait! Let me." Orihime quickly pulled a large handkerchief out of her pocket and trotted over to him, reaching up on her tiptoes to gently wipe her remedy off. Again, Ichigo fell into compliance.

Hisagi's eyes had grown wide at the scene when Ichigo glanced over at him. "Problem?"

"Uh…no. Not at all… I'll just bring the car around."

"You do that." He went back to watching the woman, pissed at his sudden urge to reach up and wrap his finger around the tendril that had fallen out of place again. Quiet seconds passed and then she nearly made him jolt when she placed her slim fingers on his jaw turning his head one way, then the other, examining him for any paste that she missed.

Finally she stepped back. "There you go. All done. How do you feel?"

"I…" He blinked in surprise. "I…feel fine, actually."

She grinned confidently. "Of course you do."

He stared at her for a moment and then gave his head a shake while moving past her to retrieve his coat and hat from the hook in the corner. "Well…thanks."

"You're welcome," she replied cheerfully. She slipped her own coat on and hefted up her bag. Ichigo glanced at her before heading out of his office, grunting at his grinning busybody secretary, and stalking through the desks in the big room, the loud chatter echoing off the cinder block walls.

Finally he turned around when he was standing next to the black Model T that was sputtering and jostling its driver, not completely surprised to see her on his heels.

"Well, thanks again. Good luck with gettin' your break."

"I…" She shifted the bag from one hand to the other. "I was thinking I could go with you…you know, just kind of-"

"No," he replied shortly.


"Absolutely not." He dropped his voice to a gentler tone. "Look, it's not going to happen. No interview. And no following me. You're never getting a story out of me so you might as well stop now and not waste your time."

He turned on his heel and quickly climbed up into the car, shutting the door behind him. He looked at her as she stood there with that ridiculous bag's handles clutched in both hands, and became concerned at the determination behind that sweet smile.

"Thank you for your time, Detective Kurosaki."

With that she turned away and walked away. He blinked and twisted his neck out the small window to see where she was going. Shouldn't she be a bit more…disappointed or something? What is she up to?

"Hey, Lover-boy! You gonna gawk at her or the dead body we got waitin' for us?"

Ichigo quickly fell back into his seat and glowered at Hisagi. "Shut up and drive."

Hisagi rolled his eyes and put the vehicle into gear, the car creaking and lurching out into the minimal traffic. They rode in silence to the intersection where the body had been reported.

They finally spotted the entrance to an alley where a couple of policemen were standing and talking. Hisagi pulled over and shut her off, Ichigo jumping out before it had come to a complete stop. He nodded at the officers whose faces looked tense and pale and then noticed the smell of vomit in the air. Ichigo sighed. Must be a bad one.

As he went further down the narrow alley his skin began to crawl, a million tiny spiders scampering up and down his arms. He moved his shoulders as if to knock off the invisible pests, but he only got a chill riding up his spine. Suddenly the stench of death combined with vomit slammed him in the face. He faltered, but pressed onward since he could see the body and there was no turning back now.

"Shit." Blood was everywhere. Dread emptied out the bottom of his stomach and his steps felt heavier as if clinging to his legs, begging him not to go any further. Another curse flew from his lips when he stepped to the edge of the blood pool, getting a full view of the shredded body.

The woman's short blonde hair was dyed red and black with blood, the once sweet curls carefully caressing her cheek were now frayed and plastered against her face with dry blood. Her naked body had been carved into dozens of times. Some cuts jagged and rushed, others carefully sliced.

"Holy fuck." Hisagi had appeared behind him and was covering his mouth and nose with his gloved hand.

"Yeah." Ichigo tore his eyes away from the woman's lifeless dark brown eyes frozen in horror and glanced around for her spirit. It wasn't going to be pretty, but he had to find her killer. He could do that much.

He stepped around the body to go further into the alley as Hisagi bent over her. When he came to a brick wall he turned and frowned, searching the area with his eyes darting about. Where the hell was her spirit? It couldn't have already passed on, could it? Dammit, I need

Suddenly he heard a teeth-clenching wail from the dark corner his back was facing. He whirled around and as his eyes adjusted to the darkness he saw her spirit, almost completely translucent, curled into herself, her stringy blonde hair shielding her face. Slowly, he moved towards her, his hand reaching in an attempt to comfort. "Hey, are you-"

Her head snapped up and he flung his arm back, stumbling backwards and feeling the horror grip him that contorted her once beautiful face. Her pale mouth opened and closed in soundless screams, her eyes were sunk deep into her skull – or perhaps there were no eyes in those black holes, he couldn't quite tell. The horror of her death reflected on her spirit's appearance. She scooted further into the corner, away from him. "Wait, I just want to-"

Another scream filled his ears and he winced against the pain in his ears. Before he could do anything else she rose and swept past him, her ghostly clothing brushing against his arm and sending more chills up his spine. A baseless, irrational fear filled him, like the emotions from this woman's last moments were passing from her and into him. He shook it off and started running after her. "Wait!"

Hisagi looked up and frowned. "Wait for what?"

Before Ichigo could think of a bullshit answer that would let him go after the spirit, the chilling fear left him abruptly. "Shit!" She was gone. He had no idea where she fled to, but he wouldn't be able to find her now. Sometimes it was too much pain to bear and the spirits would leave. Usually they came back, but on occasion they never returned. He wasn't some voodoo priest or after life theologian, he was a detective, damn it. He didn't know what kind of shit happened on the 'other side' or whatever the hell it was; he just knew she'd unwittingly made it that much harder to catch her killer.


Ichigo shook his head. "Nothing. Find anything?"

Hisagi started to shake his head when Ichigo's eyes suddenly widened and then narrowed, scowling at what was coming towards them down the alley. "What the hell are you doing here?!" he bellowed.

Orihime didn't even flinch at his voice as she stared with big eyes at the body the men stood next to. Her feet kept moving until she came to the edge of the blood pool.

"Hey! I asked you a question. What-"

Suddenly her eyes filled with tears and she stepped towards where the woman's head lay, crouching down and reaching out her hand, hesitating, and then lowering the lids of the frightened eyes.

Ichigo scowled at the lady reporter, wondering why she wasn't fainting at the desecrated body but instead tenderly touching the cold, bloody cheek. His jaw clenched and his arm snapped out and grabbed her arm, pulling her up, although gentler than he'd intended.

"All right, that's enough," he barked – or tried to, but again, his voice was gentler than intended. She wiped at her eyes behind her glasses with her free hand.

"I'm sorry…I…I'm sorry…"

"Kurosaki! Hisagi! We've got another body over here!"

All heads snapped to the officer that stood at the open end of the alley. Ichigo put his hand over hers and gently loosened her grip. He studied her for a moment. "Don't follow me. Get back into your cab and get out of here." He nodded to Hisagi and they both headed off to follow the officer into another alley a block away.

It was the same thing. A brunette this time. Shredded. But somehow more blood this time. Again he discovered a spirit, barely existing, barely comprehending anything around her, lost in her own horrible nightmare. And again it disappeared into God-knows-what-or-where.

They finished their investigation; which equaled to nothing. Nothing but bringing in bodies and cleaning up blood.

He stopped before he climbed back into the car.

"You comin' or goin'?" Shuuhei asked after a moment.

Ichigo turned back towards the first alley. "Goin'. I wanna take another look around. Go on ahead. I'll see you there later."

As the car sputtered away, Ichigo's eyes scaled up the buildings, searching, hoping for either of them to show up again. Those faces…he couldn't get their horror stricken faces out of his head, as if those women were facing hell itself. He braced his hand up against the brick building. That bastard. What the hell had he done to those women? And why?

Not to mention he didn't know where to begin. He beat his other fist against the building. God, he was such a fraud. A famous, adored, and complete fraud. Sure, he could solve cases once he had the end answer and then work his way backwards through the maze back to the beginning, but if all he had to work with was what every other detective had to work with, he was fucked.

He was a joke.

"Mr. Kurosaki?"

He spun around at the soft voice. The reporter. "What the hell are you still doing here?! I told you to go!"

"I-I know…but I…I just couldn't…I-"

"Looking for clues for your story?" he growled angrily, turning his frustration with himself onto her and not giving a damn. "Two women have been brutally murdered almost beyond recognition and you're clamoring for a few steps up the career ladder? Don't any of you people have a heart?!" He grabbed her by the shoulders and nearly dragged her up against him. "Don't-"

Up close he could see her soft grey eyes through the glasses, sadly looking up at him, and he remembered her tears for the death of a stranger. Dammit, maybe she really is of a different breed. And I'm an idiot. As usual.

His grip loosened a little on her shoulders and his eyes softened. "No…I'm sorry…I… Look, you shouldn't be here. This isn't your type of story. You shouldn't be around all this ugliness. Write about fashion and school events. Not this. A woman like you doesn't belong here."

Her brow crinkled into a frown and she shook her head. "No. I…have to do this."

"Why?! You-"

She looked away and he felt her stiffen under his hands. "I just do."

Ichigo glared at her for a few seconds, but finally sighed and dropped his hands. She was drenched in none-of-your-biz. "Fine, but you've got to get out of here. Come on, I'll get you a cab."

"No. I'll wait until you're finished." He scowled and opened his mouth to protest, but she interrupted him. "My apartment is on the way to the station, it'll save money."

He couldn't argue with that. So he sighed again and told her to stay put, but of course she didn't. As they walked quietly through the alley, he could still feel the remnants of the horror that had happened as he mulled over the possibilities. What could have been the guy's motive? Jealous husband? A message from the mob? But why two women? Maybe the first one had been the wrong woman…


Grimmjow Jeagerjaques absently took another sip of his rum, his eyes on her sultry body moving to the music as her low, smooth voice floated throughout the dim speakeasy. Her short black dress shimmered and swayed over her generous curves. As she sang she flipped her long, thick hair over her shoulder. He was glad she didn't cut it short in one of those fucking mannish bobs.

He downed his drink and motioned to the waitress for another. She sashayed over to him, smiling invitingly as she bent over to serve him his rum on a small, black platter. His blue eyes roamed over her small body slowly, took his drink, and disinterestedly flung a green bill at her as his eyes went back to the singer, ignoring her as she huffed and stomped away.

Finally the singer glanced at him, and he grinned as her eyelashes fluttered and her voice stumbled over the lyrics.

"Hey, Boss, we-"

Grimmjow turned his head and gave Di Roy Linker a look that could kill, and promised sudden death if he didn't choose his next words carefully.

"S-Sorry, Boss. Didn't mean to interrupt."

Grimmjow snarled at him and turned back to the singer, but she was singing out the last notes. His anger neared boiling point as she bowed to the applause and quickly walked off stage to the band starting up a new song. He reached out to the side as he watched her leave, grabbed his minion's collar, and pulled it down hard onto the table, the glass and the little candle holder clinking with the vibrations the blonde's head gave off. "This better be fucking important."

"Uh…well, Boss," he mumbled into the table. "We got ourselves a bit of trouble. Our guy in the police department say they're gonna start sniffin' around us 'cause of those dead girls."

Grimmjow blinked at him. And then a slow smile spread over his face that caused Di Roy's tiny heart to shake a little. "Oh really? That's a useful piece of information, Di Roy."

Di Roy grinned, showing his widely spaced teeth, and nodded eagerly. "Yup, sure is."

The mob boss leaned down close to Di Roy's face as the grip on his shirt tightened. "Are they sniffing around us this very second?"


The grin twisted into a deep scowl and he slammed the guy's face into the table again. "Then why the fuck are you interrupting me?"

"S-Sorry, Boss!" Di Roy cried, holding up his hands in defense, his body nearly shaking.

Grimmjow rolled his eyes and released him onto the floor, emptying his drink and standing up to walk away. "Just get outta here, you little shit."

"O-Okay, Boss!"

He growled as he stalked off towards the backstage area. Why did he have to get stuck with these fucking pansies? Idiotic pansies to boot. Grimmjow took in a deep breath as he stepped through the doorway for the first time, grinning at the lack of bodyguards. Little bastards had been too goody-goody to take money. Guess they'll think twice before refusing money again while they nurse their broken bones.

He'd finally make this woman his.


"Oh, Nellll!"

Neliel Tu Oderschvank cringed at the sickening sing-song voice calling out to her and kept her back turned. Maybe it would just go away.


No such luck. She turned and managed a stiff smile at the girl who was still carrying the black platter she'd served the guy his drink on.

"Your boyfriend's here again," she sang out. Neliel really wished she'd stop singing.

"I don't have a boyfriend, Menoli."

"Then what do you call that man who's been comin' here every night for the past week listenin' to you sing?"

"A pest," she responded shortly, turning back to riffle through the inventory sheets. Damn it, she was going to need to get in another shipment of booze and fast. People are really tossin' them back these days.

Menoli pouted. "Well, if you don't want him, let someone else have him."

"He's all yours, Menoli. Wait," she spun around on her heel and frowned at the girl. "Menoli, do you realize who that man is?"

She shrugged. "Some kind of big shot."

"Some kind of big shot," Neliel echoed in shock. "He's a tyrannical, evil, good-for-nothing, mob boss, Menoli! You need to stay away from scum like that! What about that nice kid that keeps comin' around here. What's his name…Hanatarou?"

Menoli snorted and turned up her little nose. "He's not a real man like this guy though."

Neliel stared at her incredulously. "Grimmjow Jeagerjaques is nothing but a slimy bastard that feeds on the souls of the innocent!"

"Well, at least you know my full name. That's a start."

She whirled around in shock at the deep voice that seemed to fill the small hallway. There was the very same scum leaning against her wall with his arms crossed like he owned the place. Tch, he probably wanted to own her place, the motherfu-

"We'll work on the slimy bastard part later."

How dare he look at her body like he knew what she looked like naked! Not that her dress left much to the imagination…but still… "How the hell did you get past my guards?" Her heart stopped when she glanced down the hallway only to see them missing. "Where are they?"

"Home in bed. Don't worry. I've got replacements coming in."

She narrowed her eyes at him and clenched her fists. "They better still be alive you son of a-"

"Hey now, you got some mouth there."

Said mouth twitched as his eyes lingered on her lips, making his double meaning more than clear.

"And yeah, they're alive." Grimmjow suddenly noticed Menoli grinning at him, and he growled at her. "Scram, bitch."

Menoli stared at him aghast and then turned to her employer for help, but Neliel was too busy keeping herself from tearing into his throat right then and there for even touching Pesche and Dondochakka. In fact, Neliel thought, in case the urge became impossible to resist she had better send Menoli off so she wouldn't be witness to it. "Go Menoli. I can handle this creep."

Grimmjow arrogantly held Neliel's glare as Menoli loudly exited.

"So, I'm interested in seeing how you handle me, Neliel."

Her eyes narrowed even further at the use of her name. "What do you want?"

"I wanted to meet you."

Neliel blinked. "Meet…me?"

"And then fuck your brains out."

She gasped. And then, damn it, she couldn't help it, but she was slammed with hot images of him doing that very thing. Thank God she was wearing her black dress with the tiered fringe to hide her body's reaction or he'd probably take it as permission no matter what she said and nail her against the wall right there! Which is not something she wanted to happen, no matter what her body thought about it.

"Hey, Boss! Right here?"

The muscle in Grimmjow's jaw ticked as his grin fell away. With a growl he turned around to nod and bark at the two guards that had stationed themselves in front of the doorway.

"You sure you can spare your men like this?" she managed through clenched teeth.

He turned back to her, his wide, easy grin back in place. "Anything for you, babycakes."

"You're too kind," she seethed.

"Not particularly. I got dozens of people workin' for me."

Her eyebrow rose as his chest puffed out in obvious pride in himself. "Why exactly do you have such a massive collection of minions, Mr. Jeagerjaques?"

His broad shoulders shrugged. "People fear me. And what people fear, they kill. But if they can't kill it, they follow it." A slow grin stretched over his face. "Nobody can kill me, so the second choice is their only option."

"Well, you have a pretty limited view of things, don't you?"

He ignored that and suddenly took a step towards her. "What about you, Neliel? Are you my killer or my follower?"

Her chin jutted up and somehow she looked up at him while managing to look down on him at the same time. "I don't fear you."

He took another step and to her horror she somehow found her back flat against the wall behind her, but she kept her face defiant. His voice got deeper and quieter as he leaned in closer. "That's not too smart, Neliel."

She wished he would stop saying her name like that. "You are merely another annoying patron, and with those, I simply ignore them as I will now ignore you. Good evening, Mr. Jeagerjaques."

She turned to go, but then suddenly with slams on either side of her, she was imprisoned between his arms, his big hands glued to the wall beside her. "No one ignores me," he growled menacingly.

"You do make it kind of difficult," she remarked, deliberately maintaining her calm even as he leaned in closer. For a moment she thought he was going to kiss her, but then his lips moved past hers, his breath brushing her cheeks as his mouth continued to hover over her face…down her neck…over her shoulder…. "Let me go, please."

He answered her request by dropping his hand and gripping her waist with it, making her gasp at the sudden feel of his strong, warm hand, his breath hot on her shoulder. Finally she felt him pull back and he held his face close to hers. His startling blue eyes stared into her golden ones for an eternity before he stepped back and suddenly walked away, waving his hand and calling her over his shoulder. "Good-bye, Neliel. I'll see you tomorrow night."

Neliel sagged against the wall. What's his deal? More to the point, what was her deal? She'd dealt with this kind of scum before and yet here she was getting all hot and bothered. For…for this riff raff! She didn't really expect to find a nice guy while running a place like this, but at least one that wasn't the head of a mob would be closer to ideal. She shook herself and squared her shoulders, marching down the hallway after him.

At the sound of heels clicking on the hard wood floor Grimmjow turned with raised eyebrows. "Can't wait until tomorrow night?"

She ignored his remark and brushed past him towards his guards. They stared at her with wide eyes as she stopped before them. "What are your names?"

"Uh…" The first big and tall one spoke. "Nakeem Greendina."

The tall, bulky redhead pointed at himself in case there was any doubt about whose name he was stating. "Edrad Liones."

She nodded and smiled with threatening but mellow sweetness. "Mr. Greendina. Mr. Liones. If you so much as breathe the wrong way I'll use your heads as sandbags for rigging. Understood?"

The thugs blinked at her and then nodded simultaneously. "Y-Yes ma'am"

Neliel's smile turned brighter, and then she walked back down the hallway with her head high, ignoring the grinning mob boss.

Grimmjow's face contorted back into a nasty scowl at the sight of the guards gaping after his woman. He stalked up to him and grabbed them by the collars, pulling each of them up till their feet dangled. "You heard the lady. And if even one hair on her head is out of place when I come back tomorrow night, you're gonna end up in pieces in the trunk of my car. Got it?"

"G-Got it boss!" they both cried.

He grunted and dropped them, turning around to glance back at her, surprised to see her staring at him with wide eyes. He winked at her and her chin jutted back out as she whirled around. "Good night, babe," he called out, and walked out without a second look.


Orihime glanced at the detective sitting next to her in the cab for the umpteenth time and wrung her hands in worry. For the past ten minutes he'd done nothing but scowl at the back of the front seat with his arms crossed. His legs were spread in a casual position, but his whole body was stiff. The stories had always made it seem like he solved the crimes as easily as he brushed his teeth or shaved his face. But she could tell he was already agonizing over the case, even though it had barely begun!

She wished she could say something to put him at ease. But what on earth could she say? She barely knew him!

The cab rolled to a stop in front of her apartment building. The detective blinked out of his concentration and quickly hopped out of the cab to open her door for her.

"Thank you," she said as she slid out, his face still distant as he held the door.

He grunted as he finally looked at her. "No offense, but I hope this is the last time I'll see you."

A grin spread across her face. "I'm afraid not." She looked a bit sheepish at his horrified expression. "Sorry, but I really can't give up. Good night, Detective Kurosaki!"

He dodged her swinging carpet bag as she spun around and scowled after her retreating figure. "Damn female," he muttered as he turned to step in.

"Beggin' yer pardon, sir," the cabbie spoke up, startling Ichigo. "She might be a funny little thing what with her way of dressin' and actin', but I'd sure wanna see her around again if I were you."

Ichigo glanced up at the building just as the glass and wood door closed behind her, and then turned back to the cab driver who was grinning at him with that knowing grin between men. "I pay you for your excellent driving skills, not your opinions." With that he fell into the seat and slammed the door shut as the driver put the car in gear, muttering to himself.

Immediately, Ichigo's thoughts returned to the case. To those women. He couldn't fail them. He wouldn't.

He'd catch this bastard even if it killed him.




Finally! The GrimmNel I promised you ages ago Eloni (and probably code too)!! DX I fail. So hard.

The cinnamon mixture actually IS an old-fashioned remedy for headaches, although I highly doubt it works that fast. Please excuse me for taking creative liberties...

And those of you who didn't anon review probably already noticed I'm doing the review replies differently with this one. Instead of putting them at the end, I'll just reply as I get them because since I was getting so many, as much as I adored all of them and loved communicating with all of you, it was a little exhausting. Plus when as much time passes as has this time, it's rather embarrassing and I feel silly when you probably don't even remember what you said xD As for the anons, I'll try to reply at the end of chapters, but I may forget or too much time has passed that I might not bother...

Anyhow, thank you so much for reading and sticking with this story!! I hope you continue to enjoy it!! :D