All I want for Christmas…
Chapter One: Christmas Kitty
"I don't get how the hell these people haven't just frozen over yet," Grimmjow growled, watching another mob of carolers stride onto his lawn. They were wearing heavy coats and the wind was clearly getting to the small amount of skin worn red on their faces. Half of them were children, but he was ready to throw insults at them regardless of age, or the spirit he would be breaking.
"They are dressed for the season," Ulquiorra stated. He didn't bother to look up from his novel to see exactly what was happening. The sound of their voices carried through the walls of their home with ease, however. Their voices were just as cheerful and excited as the previous groups, but this was the last Grimmjow could handle ignoring them.
Dashing through the snow…
"Get the hell off my lawn!" Grimmjow yelled out the door at them. In opening the door up so wide, snow piled onto the carpet, and his feet. "Damn it!" He yelled afterward, the cold instantly rushing through his body.
Finally, Ulquiorra looked up to see the people sulking off the lawn, complaining about his rudeness and lack of Christmas spirit. Then he allowed himself a quick glance toward Grimmjow, who slammed the door and wiped his feet across the carpet once he was away from the snow pile. Ulquiorra sighed, and resumed to read his novel. Grimmjow was storming off to another room mumbling something about the recent incident, when the doorbell rang.
"You can get that," Grimmjow yelled impatiently.
Ulquiorra raised his eyes briefly to look out the window before replying. "You will want to take it this time."
"I don't want to answer the damn door. It's probably some stupid ass musical again."
"Grimmjow, answer the door," he said plainly, allowing the doorbell to ring again without hardly caring how long it could go on for. Grimmjow came after a third ring, glaring at Ulquiorra as he walked by. When he opened the door, however, he forgot his frustration, and hardly noticed the freezing patch of carpet he was standing on.
Four beautiful women stood on his porch, which was a sort of relief compared to the other company he had been receiving all day. At first he figured they would sing a song to him, which even that wouldn't have bothered him because he was certain he could ignore the cold wind and another set of Christmas songs through that round. Instead, one of them began a small speech about donations. Another thing that normally pissed him off.
"We're here for the animal shelter," said the woman with loosely curled aqua hair. She stared at him with a smile once she was finished with her portion of the speech, and the next part began with the woman standing beside her with the strawberry blond hair.
"We'll take donations, of course, but what we'd really like is for adoptions."
"You look like a cat person," said the woman standing on the other side of the aqua haired one, her hair equally as unique with its dark purple composure. She had her arms folded across her chest, and a smug look on her face.
"Definitely," said the aqua haired one with her grin growing wider. They were all grinning at him, aside from the one to the far right. She was standing there, holding a folder, and the majority of her face was buried beneath a scarf, blonde braids falling on the outside of her enclosure.
"A cat?" He said, finally aware of what they were saying to him.
"Yeah, a cat," said the purple haired one.
"I don't want a damn cat." Finally, his instincts were kicking back into his unseasonable anger toward door-to-door services and shows. While he appreciated the shelters intelligence of their choice of sponsors, he wasn't about to fall for the trap. He doubted they even really worked there. They were hired for all he knew.
"We have dogs too!" piped in the strawberry blond, throwing a bubbly smile at him as she pointed a gloved finger up at this realization.
"I don't want a dog either."
"Do you have any pets currently?" Questioned the one that had started the whole speech. She was carefully focusing her eyes behind him as if trying to spot something that would prevent him from taking one of their animals.
"No, and there is reason for that," he frowned, staring at them hard now. His fun of them appearing at his doorstep was diminishing.
"There are millions of animals euthanized each year, it's a shame you have an empty house," the purple haired woman said matter-of-factly, her own lips turned into a frown at the idea.
"Asshole," the silent one said, which surprised Grimmjow slightly.
"We can find you the perfect animal that you won't even notice is living with you! If you're afraid of commitment, anyway. Low maintenance isn't a hard thing to find," it was the aqua haired woman reciting this bit of information to him. She spoke as though the tanned woman that insulted him moments ago hadn't said a word. They were all persistent, and their looks almost had him bent on giving in.
"I don't need an animal," he said, getting ready to close the door on them. It wasn't harsh, as he had no intentions of scaring them away permanently, but he needed to be sure they understood his final message with enough relevance that they wouldn't continue to prod him into guilt. He wasn't into giving into situations for guilt, if he even had such a thing.
"Grimmjow," Ulquiorra's voice was right behind him, and Grimmjow realized the eyes of the other four were also peering behind him at his mysterious roommate.
"What?" He asked, leaving the door open to glance back at him, wondering why he was interfering with his newest attempt at being rude. He noticed Ulquiorra had also grabbed the edge of the door, which was why it hadn't closed before he had been caught off guard.
"I believe it would be a benefit to you if you at least went to observe some of these animals," he said patiently, glancing outside rather than at Grimmjow as he spoke.
"Why the hell would I want to do that? I would have had a damn cat by now if I wanted one."
"You never thought of the option before."
"Tch. Since when have you cared so much?" he narrowed his eyes at his normally quiet roommate.
"I don't care."
"Then why are you even interfering with this?" he growled, and tore his attention away from Ulquiorra back to the four standing outside. He was annoyed now. He tried to pull the door closed with a "I'm not interested." But Ulquiorra's hand was still grasping it open, forcing him to come to a different conclusion.
"We'll stop by later," Ulquiorra mumbled, and finally released the door. Grimmjow was applying so much pressure on it that it didn't seem like a hopeful result when it slammed unnecessarily loud in their faces. Ulquiorra only had peer out the window to see the success on their faces. They weren't afraid of Grimmjow's temperament.
"What the hell was that?" Grimmjow asked, finally realizing his feet were numb from standing in the puddle of now icy water for so long. He was glaring at Ulquiorra as he repeated his action of wiping is feet across the carpet as he made is way to the kitchen on the opposite side.
"What do you mean?"
"What do I mean? You just signed us up to go on some rescue mission for 'poor helpless animals'. What are you up to?"
"We've been sitting around here doing nothing for a while is all," he said so nonchalantly it annoyed Grimmjow. He knew there was something up with this request, though he had never been able to figure out how to read Ulquiorra's motives.
"Whatever. You're going by yourself," he said, relaxing on that idea.
"You will be going as well," he reminded him.
"I don't think so. I have better things to do."
"Need I remind you of how you've spent the last few days? I'm doing you a favor by forcing you out of the house," he said in the same tone as the rest of his words. He was watching Grimmjow, waiting for the turn in his personality, the defeat in judgment that would surely appear.
"I get it," Grimmjow said. He smirked at Ulquiorra once he was ready to return to the other room after warming his feet against the vent in the opposite room. "Which one?" He asked.
"You're jumping to conclusions," Ulquiorra said blandly, closing his eyes.
"What other reason would you have? Spit it out."
"I have no such intentions."
"I'll figure it out eventually," he kept his grin broad as he finally retreated to following him. "I'll go I suppose. For entertainment purposes."
He walked out of the room again, toward his bedroom, and returned moments later dressed more properly for the occasion with a long sleeved shirt, jeans, and his regular pair of shoes. He didn't bother with a coat, somehow that symbolized weakness. Ulquiorra wore a thin jacket, and was already standing by the door waiting for him.
"Let's get this over with," Grimmjow muttered, eyeing Ulquiorra suspiciously as they headed out the door. While he was curious about the possibility of Ulquiorra having a relationship with one of the girls, something in him still doubted that possibility. Whatever the result, he needed to know why Ulquiorra was so persistent. Normally he was just in the background. He never interfered like he had earlier.
Probably the holidays are getting to his head. He mentally groaned at that idea. He hated the mindless lifestyle people seemed to pick up around the holiday's. All that giving and sharing, and trying to not receive – it was all fake. Everyone wanted to receive, they just tried to pretend to be beneficial to everyone around them so they would get praise while they secretly wished they had gotten more. He knew how it was.
He hoped Ulquiorra wasn't just adopting a cat for the sole purpose of resolving past guilt. He didn't believe Ulquiorra had the ability to feel guilt; they were alike in that matter. The whole way there, about fifteen minutes, he stared idly at the road as he drove. By the time they had gotten there he had lost the motivation to puzzle the ordeal together by himself, and he decided he would act like himself and allow everything to be answered over time.
The oddest part of the whole event was that the girls were already back at the shelter, already assisting customers and smiling at them as they walked through the door. Didn't they have other doors to knock on and annoy?
We didn't get here that much later than they showed up. He didn't bother with friendly gestures, and neither did Ulquiorra as far as he could tell from glancing at him briefly as they walked through the door. He felt out of place amongst the children and older people rummaging through the stock of cat kennels they were greeted with. Scrawny figures with abnormally large eyes stared at him and Ulquiorra, and he had to hold back much needed ranting.
They were out of place. Ulquiorra's stark figure seemed to dampen the holiday spirit, and Grimmjow's needless glares and lack of sympathy only added to that clouded figure. Still, they were greeted by the four they had met earlier as though their presence wasn't ruining anything. Or perhaps they were just trying to cover up the obvious mismatch with their overly happy personalities. Well, three out of the four anyway. The silent one stood in the background as usual, sitting behind a desk across the way from them.
"You actually showed up," the girl with aqua hair said, "I'm impressed." She seemed to talk more than the others did, at least to him directly.
"It was by force."
"Oh really?" she couldn't help but to smile at him, "That amazes me, that you let him push you around so easily. I would bet my money on you in an argument."
"Heh. If there was an argument you'd have the wise choice." He allowed the brief moment of pride. He also allowed himself to get distracted from his true purpose of being there, and that was figuring out Ulquiorra's meaning. He once again stole a glance toward him to see if he was fixated on any of the woman, but it seemed like he was simply observing Grimmjow's conversation. This one? No. He tried to puzzle that together, but this woman in particular didn't seem like the type for Ulquiorra. Well, none of them really did. They smiled.
"Well, I'm Nel," she said, interrupting his thoughts, "And I'd be glad to show you around." Another smile after her words. He had a feeling this wasn't holiday cheer. This was just her. He could handle that, at least she wasn't phony as he assumed everyone was, especially during the holidays, when they expressed any liking for their job. Then again, this was volunteering, though he still didn't understand why anyone would bother with wasting his or her time with no reward.
"Grimmjow," he muttered, hardly realizing he had managed to be polite in a sense. "Might as well walk."
"Good. I'm sure you won't be able to resist taking someone home today."
"Doubtful. I never intended on taking a scrawny stray home today," he said, following behind her as he began to prepare himself for the tour through something that probably should have made him feel guilty and vulnerable. Instead, he had no problems ignoring every pleading pair of eyes through the first row of cats. Nel had mentioned their names and personalities, but he was hardly paying attention to any of that. He didn't want pity stories of abandonment flooding his thoughts.
"I think this one matches you," the statement directed at him caught his attention. She already had the cage open and the kitten in her hands before he could retaliate that no cat could possibly match him.
He didn't see the resemblance. The kitten had long, silver and white fur and bright blue eyes that were too large for its head. It probably weighed a pound, and its thin legs and hardly formed nails were clinging desperately to Nel's shoulder as she held onto it. It didn't take much effort for her to pry it off herself and hold it out to him.
"I don't want that thing," he said, grimacing at its weak meows. It was clearly pleading that someone needed to hold onto it closer since Nel had it dangling in only her hands above the ground that probably looked too far off for comfort for its feeble mind.
"Stop being so difficult," she said, handing it over regardless of his words. He had no choice but to hold onto it as it dug its nails into his shirt after Nel had released it.
"What the hell?" he said in a tone that would have been loud had it not been for the other commotion muffling him throughout the building. He was insecure holding it. This damn thing is spreading its vulnerability into me. "You could have just killed this thing you know," he said looking back at Nel.
"Nah. I figured you cared enough to save it," she smiled at the last words, "You're his hero." She couldn't help but to rub in his face.
He frowned at that idea, and then wondered why he was still holding onto it.
"Take it back, I don't want it… and I wasn't its hero. I just didn't want to hear you whine if it fell and broke."
"He wouldn't break, or fall for that matter. And, I don't want him back," she tried to repress a laugh as she watched him balancing a kitten that looked perfect for him, but at the same time looked so awkward with his agitated expression and overall 'tough guy' appearance.
"I'll stick it back in its cage then," he said with a huff, pushing past her to toss it lightly into the cage. He closed the door on it, and then turned to look back at Nel who looked mildly disappointed and mildly amused.
"That's the one for you," she said stubbornly, "So there's really no point in walking anywhere else. Adoption fee is free on me even." She hoped that would push him into accepting the offer.
"Why do you think I need a cat so much?"
"I'm just trying to get them homes," she explained, "It has nothing to do with you."
"Uh-huh," he narrowed his eyes at her to try and figure out her reasoning. Then he remembered how he even got there in the first place, and turned his attention from her back to Ulquiorra. This made his mood instantly return to amusement and triumph. Ulquiorra was standing next to one of the other women, while she rattled on to Ulquiorra about something Grimmjow couldn't hear.
"Who's that?" He asked Nel, nodding toward Ulquiorra's direction. She looked in the same direction as him.
"Oh, that's Yoruichi Shihouin," she said, then turned back to him, "Why?"
"Nothing. Fine, I'll get the cat," he said, realizing if he made his way to the desk for a reason he would be able to hear Ulquiorra's conversation.
"Really?" She was surprised by his sudden decision, and she glanced between him and Yoruichi again. "Why the sudden decision?" She asked, skeptical.
"I had a change of heart. Why the hell does it matter?"
"You weren't enthused about getting him earlier…"
"I am now," he said, still fixated on Ulquiorra.
"Ok… fine," she said, reopening the door to the cage and grabbing the insecure kitten back out of its enclosure. "This way," she said, leading him right toward where he wanted to go. He followed without hesitation, and leaned against the counter casually once they got there. Nel sat down in a chair to click some things into the computer. The scrawny kitten sat still on her lap, and sniffed cautiously at the desk.
He was close enough now to hear Yoruichi discussing something about the holidays, but he was still unsure of what they were discussing because the place was completely filled with people. Ulquiorra glanced up at him suddenly and he shifted his eyes back down to what Nel was doing.
"I don't know how to take care of a cat," he mumbled.
"I can stop by with everything you need… and help you get started anyway," she offered, focusing on something on the computer.
"Why do you go through all this trouble over a cat?"
"It's just what I like to do on my spare time," she said with a light tone that suggested she was thinking of something else on that subject as she spoke. She handed him a paper, "You need to fill this out."
"Fine," he grumbled, grabbing it out of her hands to fill it out. He still didn't want the cat, but his own curiosity led him right into it. Sure he could change his mind, but suddenly he felt he had to have it. The form only took him a few moments to scribble his personal information onto, and he handed it back to her. At the same moment, he stole a glance toward Ulquiorra again, trying to act casual as he spied on them.
Ulquiorra was always relaxed around people, but around this woman he seemed to be standing rather close, and they weren't even discussing cats. Well, he wasn't talking as usual. Go figure. But it was almost as though they knew each other. Or he was just snooping and jumping to conclusions. All of this led me to getting a damn cat. He knew he would regret that move later.
"Well, everything is all set," she said happily, getting up and setting the kitten down on the chair. "I'll go grab a carrier, and you can head home with him."
"Yeah, sure." His attention broke from Ulquiorra again as he stared down at the solo kitten. Look what I got myself into.
Nel returned and stuffed the cat into the carrier. It was too young to bother with fussing to escape the box, and it simply curled up into the blanket that was tucked neatly inside for its comfort.
"Did you want me to come over later?"
"Sure, why not." He replied.
"All right. I'll see you later then," she smiled, handing the carrier over to him. He grabbed it tentatively and gave Nel one last glance before he walked over to Ulquiorra. Now's my time to hear what they're talking about.
"I'm amazed you actually gave in," Ulquiorra said, waiting for Grimmjow's explanation. Grimmjow glared at him, realizing Ulquiorra had figured out he would be approaching him in time that he and Yoruichi dropped their conversation.
"Eh, it's all yours," he said, holding the crate out to Ulquiorra. His attempt to toss it off to him failed as Ulquiorra walked past him.
"Let's go then."
"You're a pain in the ass," he snarled at Ulquiorra. He glanced at Yoruichi while he was still standing next to her, and noticed she still looked too happy for her and Ulquiorra's conversation to have been casual. Ulquiorra wasn't funny, or that pleasing, especially to someone new.
Of course, their walk to the car, and their ride home, was silent. When they got home, both of them stared at the crate, unsure of what to do with the creature inside it.
"Do I just let it out?" Grimmjow asked, keeping his eyes locked on the cage.
"It's yours to deal with," Ulquiorra finally broke off of the same confusion and walked off toward his bedroom. If he wasn't looming in the living room reading some novel, he would sit in his room and work. He worked from home, both of them did, but Grimmjow slacked on his free lance lifestyle. Ulquiorra on the other hand, worked regular hours almost as he locked himself away from Grimmjow's free for all lifestyle.
"I guess you're coming out," he opened the door to the crate, and stared, expecting it to charge out in happiness of its new freedom. Instead, nothing happened. At first he thought maybe he had already failed to be an owner and had already killed it. He was frantic at that idea, grabbing the back of the kennel and shaking it out onto the floor. He couldn't kill it already, not when he had Nel coming over later to explain proper care.
It plopped onto the ground in a heap with its blankets, and its head bobbed up slowly with a hazed expression. It glanced around lazily, then looked up at him and mewed.
"Stupid cat." He grumbled. He left it there, forgetting that there could have been possible dangers in the house, and walked toward the kitchen to move on with his daily routine. It was nearly six now, and he hadn't ate yet that day. Probably because he was too busy yelling out the front door. Despite being roommates, neither Ulquiorra nor Grimmjow cooked for each other. They always had meals at separate times, and never did they trust each other's food ideals.
After dinner he sat down at his computer to go over emails. He worked at night more so than the day, and figured if he had anything business like to reply to, he could throw some effort into making a profit. Nothing. He wondered how Ulquiorra kept busy during these down times. Or perhaps his business was more profitable. Whatever. He didn't mind the time off.
Just as he was about to wander out to turn the TV on, headlights appeared in the window. He glanced at the clock again and saw that it was heading on eight. He was amazed she had showed up at all with how late it was.
He opened the door before she could even knock, and she walked in carrying bags full of cat necessities.
"Hey, sorry I'm over so late," she said, dropping everything on the ground, "And sorry if this is awkward…"
"Nah. I have nothing better to do than to learn cat essentials," he said, more enthusiastic than he had been earlier.
"Did you name him yet?" She asked, shuffling through bags pulling things out and sprawling them across the floor.
"No, I don't care what he gets called." Suddenly, when he realized the cat was supposed to be involved with this, he turned around to look for it where he had dropped it off earlier and it was gone. He glanced back at Nel to see if she was preoccupied, which she was, and he wandered off to see if he could inconspicuously find it.
He casually walked through the house, only moving his eyes to the side to peek around furniture and down the halls. "I'll be back in a minute," he told her, as he made his way down to Ulquiorra's room.
"Ulquiorra, help me find the damn cat," he said, opening the door without bothering to knock. Ulquiorra was sitting at his desk, a word document filled up with something he assumed was related to work.
"I told you, it's yours," he said, not bothering to look up from his work.
"Ulquiorra, I need the damn thing."
"You lost it," he pointed out, typing away as though Grimmjow was merely background noise.
"Damn it! Don't make me unplug that," he growled.
"If you did that, how do you figure I'd help you?"
"You're not one to throw a fit," he pointed out, "So I'm sure you'd make me return the favor later."
"Yes." He said, finally standing up, "I suppose that's what it is."
"Ok, you look for the cat, I'll go pretend like everything is fine," he mumbled, and wandered back down the hall. Stupid damn nuisance. He would have to find a better place to keep the thing. He thought of throwing it in Ulquiorra's room, the door was always closed anyway. That bastard would just throw it right back out. Sometimes he wondered if Ulquiorra had hidden amusement behind his stoic appearance with how much he tortured him.
"Ok, so what is all of this?" He asked, entering the main room again. He noticed some toys, a bed and blanket, food bowls and food. All the basic stuff for it to survive, if it could survive his careless nature for much longer.
"Everything for him to be comfortable," she said with a quick smile, "It's all pretty self explanatory."
She went over feeding schedules, vet care, and everything else he hadn't really thought of before then. It really was a lot of work, though she had claimed she could find him something low maintenance earlier. This was certainly not that something.
"So, where is he? Maybe I could help you think of a name," she said with a promising gesture.
"Ulquiorra has him," he said, nodding down the hall.
"Ah. You already dropped him off for someone else to take care of?" She laughed lightly. "I guess I should have expected that."
"Eh. He has a thing for cats."
"I see. He could have gotten one too."
"I think he was too busy to be looking at cats," he said, remembering the earlier event that had led him up to even getting the cat.
"You don't seem to care much for the holidays," she said suddenly, glancing around the casually decorated room.
"You need some decorations in here. You don't even have a tree."
"What do I need a tree for? You stick it up and spend hours throwing ornaments on it, only to spend hours tearing it down again."
"That's not what it's about," she pointed out, "I'll get you a tree. I'll even decorate it and tear it down."
"I don't know that I could handle looking at it."
"You'll like it, I promise," she said hopefully. She was close to the door as though she was ready to leave, though she had a few more things to say, and she was waiting for his response.
"I don't care for the whole holiday spirit thing," he grumbled.
"You're quite the Grinch, aren't you?"
"That's the only story I can handle," he said with a wide grin.
A/N: Woo, I'm getting so much done this week. An update, and a new story? =O I know, I shouldn't have new GrimNel stories… but… the reason the others weren't updated yet is because of my taking my time to work on this, lol. It's basically a collection of one shots I guess, but they are all connected… so I guess it's a mini story? And, sorry for adding my other favorite pairing in here… I had to use them as an excuse to get Grimmy out of the house =P
Thanks for reading =D After the holidays, I'll definitely have the other stories updated =P I just felt like getting into the spirit of the holidays by working on something. After all, I only have a couple more weeks to enjoy writing about it.
&& Thank you Shay for helping with the title (as usual) xD