Wow... I wonder if there are as many of you guys reading this out there that are as psyched as I am. I'm just... really excited for a new Bleach Grimmichi story. With all of the reviews on the last chapter of Endure and Survive, I just... felt really bad about leaving the fandom behind momentarily. I knew that it wouldn't be the last time for me to write under it, but... it just made me want to kick-start writing on the fandom again... So I've been thinking for the past few months (during the midst of writing my Skip Beat story) about what kind of plot I should use for my next Bleach fic--and I was really torn!

So I posted that poll on my profile (about a week ago?) to see what you guys would prefer. For those who actually voted, thank you. I decided that I would do both... but make the winner my priority. (I'm actually writing this about... I dunno--3 weeks before polls are to close? I thought that I might as well get started, you know.) Anyways. Enough of my random babbling. I'm sure you guys want to get on to the story.

Full Summary: Being a little on the strange side, Ichigo has always been more of a loner. When he moves to a different country and meets Grimmjow, he realizes there's more to his problem than he originally thought. He should be happy that he wasn't going crazy, but... he couldn't help but wonder why it was Grimmjow of all people...

Started November 8th.

Completed November 9th.

Authoress: Desperatembrace

Disclaimer(s): I do not own Bleach. Pity.





Sexual Content

Chapter 1

So Strange

There was only way that one could summarize his existence: peculiar. He was anything but normal--the very definition of abnormal. He grew up that way, inevitably being singled out by his peers throughout his childhood, leaving little choice but to resort to self-isolation. He grew up without friends and became accustomed to the idea of depending on nobody but himself. It became normal for him to bow his head and ignore everyone around him.

Ichigo was always alone.

This eventually changed when he met Chad--another oddball singled out for his strange complexion and monumental height. They had hit it off pretty quickly during middle school, becoming an odd duo of friends that didn't quite know how to interact with each other. They proceeded through the necessary years of education relying on nobody but each other and themselves, getting into fights with pompous and self-absorbed punks who seemed to think that the weird pair were the perfect targets to pick on. They never expected the both of them to be rather well-versed in self-defense techniques and were usually pretty easily fended off.

Much of their time in high school passed in this fashion until they met a few open minded people who looked past their odd quirks. Ichigo's social circle expanded a bit more, but he still tended to keep to himself and was rather withdrawn, the few times he needed to talk to somebody still forwarded to Chad. He graduated from high school with nothing blindingly amazing to provide him assured passage into college--save for his near-perfect grades.

Now, a year after graduating from high school, is where Ichigo found himself in a bit of a hard spot.

The orange haired young man groaned, quickly becoming irritated. This was taking way too long. He was starting to regret the year off that he'd decided that he'd take after graduating. "I should have at least picked out which college I was going to go to and applied before I took a break..." he moaned, pushing the stack of papers away from himself and flopping back onto the couch.

"Yeah. You should have," a voice called from the doorway, inciting him to sit up from the cushions with a jolt. He turned a scowl on his younger sister, rolling his eyes. He knew that she was right, but he wasn't going to admit that out loud. "Give it up, Karin. What do you want?" He asked, feigning boredom. In reality, however, he was curious. She almost never disturbed him when he was looking through the horrendous stacks of college pamphlets, lists, and information sheets. To disturb him during something so frightfully annoying and irritatingly boring was tagged as an action that could be interpreted as, 'yes, I would like to be snapped at.' Therefore, his sisters and father avoided him when the stacks were out and this kept the family from bursting out in spontaneous conflict.

Karin held up the cordless phone and waved it slightly, raising an eyebrow. "Tatsuki is on the phone," she stated with a rather wry smile. Ichigo blinked and then rolled his eyes, a bit miffed--because he knew exactly what was going on in his little sister's mind. His family had always known him to be an introvert, so when he had mentioned a female friend, they had immediately started up the cat-calls.

Quite annoying, really.

He held out a demanding hand, forcing her to walk over to the couch and silently reveling in the immature act as petty revenge. He was still peeved about how they seemed to insinuate a relationship between him and Tatsuki. Quite frankly, the thought was a tad scary. They had gotten into a scuffle once, and while he had ended up as victor of the clash, he had not come home without massive bruises. Needless to say, he had been in pretty bad pain for the next two or so days.

Now that he thought about it, he had actually been pretty sore for the next 2 weeks.

Black hair was pulled back by an irked hand as Karin shoved the phone into Ichigo's hand and then turned and walked out of the room, muttering about lazy brothers and denial. He rolled his eyes once more before holding the phone up to his ear. "Yeah," he said into the phone, glancing back at the stacks of paper, chewing his bottom lip whilst trying to come to a decision.

"Hey," the girl on the other line said with an almost sullen tinge to her voice. Ichigo turned his full attention to the speaker on the other line and let out a sigh, knowing from her tone what she was going to say. "Look, Tatsuki, don't bother, it's--"

The voice interrupted him, still maintaining it's bland tone and said, "You got in." Ichigo took no heed to her words and continued, closing his eyes in a futile effort to physically shield himself from the emotional barrage. "--Really quite fine. I understand. There's no need to call back and console me and act all depressed for my sake. And... wait--what?"

On the other end of the connection, Tatsuki burst out in explosive laughter, making the red head on the other side of the world flinch away from the receiver. He tentatively pulled it back to his ear and his lips pulled into a familiar frown. "You ass. I seriously thought it was going to be bad news." Tatsuki finally began to calm her laughter, quelling a few quiet chuckles as she undoubtedly wiped tears from her eyes. "I know," she said, still trying to stop laughing. "That's kind of the point."

Ichigo sank back into the cushions, vaguely wondering when he had sat up rigidly in his seat. He blew out a relieved and disbelieving sigh. "So, I really made it? I really did it?" he asked, his head not able to catch up with the astonishing news. Tatsuki laughed once more, her rough chuckle inciting a wave of nostalgia and anxiety in Ichigo.

"Damn right, Mister Berry. Looks like I'll be seeing you over here soon, eh?" Her voice clearly let her emotions seep through, making it easier for him to imagine the bright smile that was surely stretched across her face. He stayed silent, ignoring the nickname in favor of sinking into a sense of shocked amazement for a few moments before saying, "Yeah. I guess so. I'll probably be there in about a month, then."

The sound of a tongue clicking reached him over the line. "Alrighty, then. I can't wait to introduce you to some of my friends..." She trailed off, seeming to sense what was coming next. As she predicted, Ichigo blew out a heavy sigh followed by a groan. "Tatsuki," he moaned pitifully. "Honestly, I don't want to date. I want to focus on getting my medical degree. Please stop introducing girls to me..." There was a moment of silence between the two before she responded cheekily with, "We'll see." Then the line went dead as she hung up.

He groaned, knowing that it wasn't enough incentive for the tom-boy to stop. Ichigo would undoubtedly have to deal with more covert set-up dates again, as he did back in his high school days. His lips pulled up into an excited grin at that. He was no longer in his high school days. He was, as of now, officially in his college days. He didn't even bother to restrain the delighted yell that had crawled up his throat and leaned forward to shove the papers that he had previously been toiling through to the floor.

No more looking through college status papers!

He had been officially accepted into Seireitei University. About a month ago, he had been doing the monthly call to Tatsuki, one of his few friends from high school. She had moved to Society City almost immediately after graduation and insisted on keeping in touch with Ichigo, thus establishing what she called the 'monthly call ritual'. During one of the calls, Ichigo had complained about not being able to get into any decent colleges over in Karakura and not liking the medical programs of the ones that he had been allowed into. Deciding on a whim, Tatsuki had gambled on registering her high school buddy in a prestigious University that was a few blocks down from her own college.

She had randomly bombed the information after she had already submitted the papers, insisting that it was a really good idea and that he should take whatever he could get. After doing a bit of research, Ichigo actually found himself hoping that he was accepted into the University. It had a distinguished medical program, and was a bit more lax in the requirements to be accepted (as compared to Karakura's universities).

He paused when his other little sister, Yuzu, appeared in the doorway. She allowed her already-bright smile to grow even wider and tilted her head to the side, almost-blond locks of hair falling into her face. "Good news?" She asked with a smile, already knowing the answer. He grinned and nodded, waving the phone for emphasis. "Tatsuki called. I'm in," he said, always straight and to the point. Yuzu laughed good-naturedly and brushed her hair behind her ear. "Congratulations," she said, glancing over to the stack of papers that he had purposely knocked over. She raised a questioning eyebrow, making him give a bit of a nervous laugh. He mumbled something she couldn't hear and then reached down to pick up the mess, simultaneously avoiding her gaze.

The girl merely shook her head before taking off to the kitchen to inform their other sister of the good news and start dinner. Maybe she'd call their father and let him know the news...

Ichigo, in his place on the floor, amongst the mess of papers that he had been half-heartedly attempting to straighten up, leaned back and allowed a content smile to cross his face, ecstatic and giddy from the future's prospects.

Ichigo looked up from the box that he had chucked in the back of the moving truck and eyed Chad, frowning slightly. "Are you sure you want to come with me?" He asked, for what Chad thought was the hundredth time. The tall, dark-skinned young man shook his head once more, blowing out what was his version of an amused chuckle.

"Yes," he said, meeting his friend's gaze squarely. "I'm sure. Where you go, I follow. I want to go." Chad shrugged before loading up the last of the boxes and pulling the rolling door shut and latching it securely. Ichigo allowed himself to wilt as he watched his closest friend go to the driver's door and start talking to the man, no doubt assuring the man that yes, the money had been payed and that he was to deliver the luggage to the airport.

Ichigo let out a relieved sigh, finally confident that Chad truly wanted to go, too. When he had informed his friend of his acceptance into Seireitei University, the tall man had immediately put in his own applications and had received a rejection a few weeks later. He had, however, been accepted into Rukongai University, the same school that Tatsuki was attending. The whole time Ichigo and Chad had been packing, the orange-haired man had constantly been asking, "Are you sure? Positive?" He wanted to make sure that Chad was not making a mistake.

And now, the day that they were to leave, he was finally sure.

He watched the truck leave with a bit of a vague smile, taking a quick once over of his life. He was accepted into a wonderful University, he was moving to an apartment that he would live in by himself (without his dad--a bonus!), and his closest, most trustworthy friend was staying in the same apartment complex--guaranteed to stay by his side.

Things were finally starting to look up.


At this very moment in time, life seemed to be in the shit-hole for him.

He pulled back and raised a weary hand to his face, electric blue eyes locked onto a car of a similar color--if it could even be called a car at this point. Grimmjow allowed his hand to slide down his face, painting an intense frown across his lips and closing his eyes.

This cannot be happening... he thought to himself, fervently wishing that he would wake up any time now. There was no such luck. He was downright pissed. But... oddly enough, when he stopped to think, there was a niggling worry at the back of his mind. He pushed the thoughts away.

Behind him, there was a shrill whistle as his step-sister came to a stop. She eyed his formerly-beautiful ride. Nel turned her sea-foam green eyes on him and raised an eyebrow, honestly trying her hardest not to smile in spite of herself. "Seems like you really pissed someone off, Grimmy." She ignored the twitch of his arm when his nickname was stated aloud and continued with, "So... I'm going to take a guess and say that this was... Mila-Rose?"

He growled at the name, wishing suddenly that the chocolate-skinned woman was somewhere nearby so that he could smack her around. Grimmjow normally didn't lay a hand on women, but there were always two 'exception-spots': The first being anyone who did harm to his car and the second being his step-sister. The only reason why his sister had a permanent spot, though, was because she could definitely handle herself perfectly fine. In her spot beside him, Nel smiled, almost as if she knew exactly what he was thinking about at the moment.

"So how'd you piss her off? Embarrass her?" she probed, practically bouncing on her heels in excitement. She was looking forward to his answer because she had told him that Mila-Rose would not turn out as a very good match. Needless to say, her brother had refused to listen. Grimmjow continued to stare at his beaten up car, silently totaling up how much all the damage would cost him.

Punctured tires, disfigured rims, busted windows, cracked windshield, slashed leather seats, damaged frame and a new paint job that undoubtedly said, "go fuck yourself!" in a very crude puke green. It would no doubt cost a small fortune.

Perhaps a new car would be cheaper?

Grimmjow was jarred from his thoughts when there was a rough shaking on his arm. He growled low in his throat and snatched his arm away from the green haired girl, unable to put up with his sister's antics at the moment. He turned his attention back to his car and then finally lost it. "Goddamn it!" he yelled, smashing his fist against the passenger side door, ignoring the pain that blossomed at his knuckles. Nel whistled once again and then let her face fall into the 'worried sister' expression that was naturally programmed into her, a bit anxious when she saw a bit of blood drip down from his knuckles.

"I told you she had a very bad temper. I told you she would end up doing something like this. Why is it that you never listen to me?" She had her hands on her hips by now, quirking an eyebrow teasingly at her older sibling, all the while resisting the urge to take his hand into hers so that she could attempt to doctor it. He, no doubt, would not take well to that. Finally, Grimmjow gave up, allowing his hand to fall limp at his side before blowing out a defeated sigh and spent the next few moments staring at the abused car in silence. Suddenly, without warning, anger seized him, burning at the very cells of his blood--even though he had just calmed down--a staggering anger, foreign and abrupt and yet so much like his own...

"Yeah, she had a bad temper," he growled out.

She blinked. That was as close as she was going to get to an apology--it was rare for him to agree so easily.

He continued, ignoring what he knew was to be a questioning look growing on the girl's face. "She wanted to know why we weren't 'connecting on a more personal basis' and why the hell I hadn't 'popped the question' yet." Nel let out a confused noise, wondering if it was normal to want to marry after only two months of dating. She wasn't even sure if it could be considered dating. They never went on a proper date. Surely the girl was crazy. She frowned, however, when her thoughts proceeded further. She let out a dismayed sigh and said, "You insulted her, didn't you?"

She almost laughed when Grimmjow's face melted into a scowl and then quickly morphed into a look of dark humor. "Apparently she was under the impression that I was there for more than just the fuck."

A disapproving frown swept across her lips before she imagined what the scene must have looked like, causing a smile to erupt on Nel's face. "At least you aren't together anymore." She turned around and pulled out a phone, pausing to look over her shoulder at him. "We'll have to call Mom and Dad to ask them for a bit of money, then. You don't want to take money out of that account..." She quickly dialed a number and started speaking quickly, smiling and laughing to what the person on the other line was saying, ignoring what was sure to be a dark look on her brother's face. After a few minutes of this, she turned back around.

"Alright," she said, turning a bright smile on the taller man. Grimmjow blinked in response. So soon? He thought it would take a lot longer than that to convince their parents. Especially him. He voiced this aloud.

At this, she quirked an eyebrow and gave an amused smirk. "No... I just got us a ride back home. You're the one who is going to be doing most of the talking in that conversation, Mr. Go-getter." She wriggled her eyebrows a few times before laughing. "Come on. Let's go home and get your hand fixed." When Grimmjow let out a growl, she frowned, heaving a sigh before conceding. "Fine. But we're at least going to wash it off." And with that, she started off down the street, her brother muttering obscenities as he followed along behind her.

He stood next to the entrance of the airport, waiting. A rental car pulled up, a dull red with flaking paint. Ichigo turned and looked past it, figuring that it wasn't the one he was looking for. He was proved wrong, however, when he heard his name being shouted ("Ichigooooo!!") and quickly stepped to the side, narrowly avoiding the full grown man that had provided half of his chromosomes.

His father.

Rolling his eyes, he turned his attention to his sisters, smiling when he caught the twins with two very different expressions. Karin had a wide smirk and a quirked eyebrow painting her face, a huge contrast to the soft smile on Yuzu's face. The both of them were pulled into an almost-painful hug and when he pulled away he gave them a rare smile. "I'll miss you guys," he murmured, unwilling for the rare caring words to be heard by outsiders.

"Unfair, Ichigo! What about me?" His father stood behind him, a pout on his tanned face. Ichigo rolled his eyes in response and said, "You'll live." He was going to head inside to see if he could find Chad, but stopped and hissed, grabbing at his knuckles. Out of a natural instinct, he pulled his hand up to where he could see it, frowning when he couldn't see any signs of injury. His father immediately quietened and grabbed his hand, pulling it closer to himself to examine. When he came to the same conclusion as his son, he shook his head sadly. "Again?" he asked quietly, rubbing over his hand. Isshin frowned when Ichigo winced as his fingers trailed over the knuckles, even though the light touch didn't cause any renewal of pain.

The younger man didn't even bother nodding, knowing it was more of a rhetorical question rather than one that needed an answer. He gently pulled his hand away and tucked it in his pocket, fervently ignoring the spiking pain. His father cleared his throat, bringing his attention back on him. "Try to keep it as quiet as possible... alright?" Ichigo scowled at this, irritated. He already knew that! A hell of a lot more than his father! He had suffered through this for years, and his father was lecturing him? Anger coursed through him, so intense that he had to clench his fist.

Isshin's face melted into a guilty expression, accurately guessing why Ichigo was suddenly so angry. He started to apologize but was cut off when his son suddenly sighed, forcing the brash anger away, and pulled him into a fierce hug. "I know you're just worried. I'll be fine," he muttered. He pulled away just as quickly as the hug had been initiated and trailed his eyes back to his siblings. He kissed them both on the crown of the head and smiled at their individual farewells. Chad suddenly appeared beside them and said, "They're starting to board our flight. Our luggage is already on it's way to the apartments via another flight." Ichigo nodded and started in the direction of the entrance. He looked over his shoulder and smiled at his three family members, and shouted, "Take care of each other! I'll see you later!"

Once Ichigo was relaxing in his seat, and buckled up, ready to exit the country, he looked again at his hand and frowned.

Ichigo wasn't considered strange for some random reason, like his hair or tendency to get into fights. No, he had a much more personal, deeper reason that couldn't be explained even in today's technologically advanced society.

His father, a well-known doctor had looked at him, vehemently trying to figure out what exactly was wrong with him, only to be stumped time and again. Other doctors over and over had told him that he was going mental, that he was going crazy and there was nothing he could do about it. Both he and his father had refused the idea of going crazy, his father insisting that he was just... different. There were times when he would feel phantom pains, injuries that didn't exist on his body--like what had happened just a half-hour ago. There were also times when he would be assaulted by foreign emotion, sometimes randomly bursting out in laughter during tense or even solemn situations. People tended to avoid him, figuring that he was, in a sense, "off his rocker". Because of this odd quirk, he didn't have many friends and had never had a true lover. Ichigo clenched his hand into a fist, refusing to acknowledge the spasming pain of his unblemished knuckles.

Perhaps he was destined to be alone.

-Chapter End-

Alright, guys. I am really sorry... but I think this is my new baby-fic. I am way too excited to get this one going and I know it's going to be amazing. For those who were hoping for the other one in the poll... (It's called From the Ground, Up)... I apologize. This one will likely take precedence for now. And I'd like to take this time to warn you guys: this doesn't have much of a plot... it's not nearly as intricate as Endure and Survive was. This fic is mainly based on the developing relationship between Ichigo and Grimmjow. There will be the occasional plot weave and yadda-yadda--but that's about it. Don't expect as much epic-ness in this fic. (Sorry... I just really wanted a more laid-back plotline.) But don't worry. I'll try to keep it interesting.

So. Does anybody have any theories behind this story? What it's going to turn out like, what's up with Ichigo...? (Though, I'm sure some of it is rather obvious... I was hoping for it to be. If it isn't, then it will definitely become obvious within the next chapter or so.) I love to hear the speculations of my readers. XD

Oh yeah. And that whole phone episode... with the family teasing Ichigo about having a girlfriend--that happens to me way too much. Most of my friends are guys, so when they call... -rolls eyes-