High School Days (3) – Valentine's Day

Grimmjow was eating at his table…with his family…No matter how many times he saw it, the fact made Ichigo's insides squirm. At least he was able to keep his food down this time. And, at least Grimmjow stopped trying to stab him with a knife.

"Seconds woman," Grimmjow pushed his plate to Yuzu.

"My already? You eat very fast Jack-san," she chuckled, already filling his plate.

"Oi, I don't care if you're a cousin or a pet, talk more politely to people showing you hospitality," Karin shot as she settled Ichigo back in his chair. He was about to reach over and strangle the man.

"Ah isn't it nice to have a big breakfast with family," Isshin commented. He had taken Kisuke's bribe. Ten percent of Yankee to Yankee's earnings would go to him for site location, plus any additional fees accrued due to damages would be paid for by the SWA. At first Isshin refused. Housing an ex-Espada, even one as disobedient to Aizen as the 6th, was putting his family in danger. But Kisuke showed him just how much 10% was and assured him that, while trapped in that gigai, Grimmjow could do little more harm than Ichigo in human form. That still meant there'd be quite a bit of damage, but they'd be relatively safe.

"Shut up. No one asked you old man," Ichigo, Karin, and Grimmjow said in perfect synchronization.

My nephew…I wish I had a nicer one…Isshin sulked.

The only one who didn't seem to mind his presence was Yuzu. He gave her more work to do like more cooking and more cleaning, yet that fact made her happy. The bigger the family, the better, she had commented one night when Karin asked her why she puts up with their cousin's rudeness.

"Besides…he's not closely related. He's our second cousin, and he's all alone," she whispered. Her sad tone filled the dark space between their beds.

Karin didn't believe a word of her father's explanation, that Jaque Grinchaw was a distant relative who lost his memory of his home in France. It likely had something to do with Ichigo. She had said nothing at the time and decided to observe, but this was starting to get ridiculously obvious. This stranger didn't lose his memory, he probably never even heard of France.

"I'm off," Ichigo rose from the table, anxious to get away. Unfortunately, he had to take his "cousin" with him. At least he'd be rid of one moron, his dad.

After school's out…I gotta start looking for an apartment…

Grimmjow walked on the other side of the street. It was bad enough he had to live with his enemy and eat with him. He didn't want to walk next to him too. But why was he doing all this? Why bother going to school now? Couldn't he just fight Ichigo and let Soul Society capture him? Anything would be better than this current prison.

At least the food is good…Souls didn't have much taste. Sure they made a Hollow feel better, but so did human food. And that brown haired chick in Ichigo's house, Yuzu was it?, her food was damn good.

Grimmjow couldn't resist the opportunity to antagonize Ichigo. "Your sister, the normal one, I wonder why she gives me more than you."

"It's your imagination Jack-san," Ichigo felt his irritation rise. He calmed quickly and replied with a cool stare, "She's not giving you more. She's giving you the fatty leftovers. Pet's are always happy with table scraps."

Grimmjow glared back across the street. A car drove between them and the driver shivered.

"Oh? I suppose you'd know wouldn't you? You looked like you'd lick her hand any second the night before when she gave you one of those brown things. Perhaps my presence was interrupting something?"

Ichigo was about to give another hot reply when he remembered. He stopped dead in his tracks. Shit. That's right…

Grimmjow misunderstood the frozen stare. "Damn that's sick…you got a thing for your sister? Even Hollows don't—"

Ichigo shook himself out of his state, "Not that idiot. It's Valentine's Day."

Grimmjow stared blankly, "I thought it was Monday."

Ichigo didn't bother explaining. He raced to school. He had to get there extra early this time or else he'd be late. Last year, thanks to Kon, girls trying to give him chocolates before and after school bombarded Ichigo. He had to sneak around most of the day. They were even waiting for him during lunchtime on the roof of the school. Only his classmates had any sense. If he could get there before the majority of the student body, he'd be safe.

"Tch…" Grimmjow scoffed and kept his pace. He didn't want to show up to school next to that loser anyway.

When Grimmjow arrived, there were a bunch a girls clamoring outside the school. They were all holding decorative packages. Some passed them to a guy, others looked frantically for whoever the chocolates were for.

"What the hell is going on…" Grimmjow muttered. When he neared the gates, the girls got out of his way.

They stared and whispered. Some pointed. He ignored them. If he let them irritate him, he couldn't guarantee he'd keep his cover.

"Um…Grinchaw-san?" a sophomore girl appeared in front of him. Her friend had pushed her out into his path.

She was shaking as she held out a small heart shaped box to him. Grimmjow paused and watched her curiously. With her eyes fixed on her toes she said, "W-would you p-please accept this?"

The girls around them that had been whispering fell to a weighted hush. Their stares bore into the back of his neck. What the hell was all this about? Some kind of dare to approach the Blue Devil?

"Fine. Whatever," he mumbled and took the box.

"Ehhhhh?" The girls' cries rose around him. Someone cheered, "Way to go Kanoko-chan!"

Kanoko, shocked, looked up at him with tear filled eyes. Jeez was she really that afraid of him? She was just giving him one of those brown things like Yuzu had made.

Grimmjow popped the chocolate in his mouth and savored it. "Hmm, this is pretty good. You got any more?"

He circled around her trying to see if she had another box hidden somewhere. "Ah…n-no but I'd be happy to make you some everyday!"

Grimmjow nodded. "You better."

The crowd of girls squealed. Suddenly Grimmjow sensed danger. "Please try mine Grinchaw-sama! No, mine next!"

They pressed in on him, pushing boxes at him and into his face. "What the-? Get away! Stop pushing me!"

The bell rang and as soon as it had appeared, the crowded dissolved. Saved.

Damn women…because of them I'm gonna be late.

The disheveled Grimmjow entered the classroom just as the teacher was finishing role-call.

"Late again. You're on cleaning duty for a week," she said without looking up.

"Oi it's not my fault. Look at all these stains. Those crazy women outside were stuffing it in my face," he growled. His chair screeched across the floor as he whipped it out and sat down hard.

"If you arrived early like your cousin, then you wouldn't have had to worry about the Valentine's Day Gauntlet," the teacher commented with a tone that said "no excuses."

Ichigo leered over his shoulder at Grimmjow. "Not everyone can be responsible I suppose," he whispered.

"Fuck you. You didn't even warn me," Grimmjow was smoldering with rage.

"Shut up both of you. Everyone, get out your text books," Misato sighed.

*During lunch period*

Ichigo, Chad, Keigo, and Mizuiro stayed in the class to eat their lunches.

Keigo Asano wept piteously. "For real? He got a ton of chocolates too? Why every year am I forgotten? Is there no girl in this school that see's my hidden charms?"

Mizuiro ate his lunch serenely. Several freshmen girls had offered him homemade chocolates, but he turned them down saying there was already someone he liked. A lie of course. He didn't like anyone in particular. He just happened to like older women. "They don't see what isn't there," he said.

"The way you put that…it was meant to be hurtful wasn't it?" Asano cried.

"Ichigo, isn't it noisy in here?" Mizuiro ignored Keigo's question. "Why aren't you on the rooftop."

"You remember what happened last year. I don't want to be bothered."

"Oh yeah…so…you didn't warn your cousin to not go up there did you?" Keigo had already forgotten his heartache.

"Nah…this will be educational for him," Ichigo sighed and leaned back in his seat. He had to admit, he was enjoying Grimmjow's suffering.

"Jeez you got some weird cousins…Can't be surprised though. You're dad's pretty weird too huh?" Keigo chuckled.

Orihime, Tatsuki, and Ishida approached the four. Ishida had several chocolates on hand. Being the president of the student council had it's perks.

"Here," he dropped the candies between the four chocolate-less guys. "I don't really care for chocolate, but it'd be troublesome if I refused."

"You know…the way you're showing your generosity makes me not want them," Ichigo said testily.

"Then you don't need to eat them," Ishida replied coolly.

"Orihime-chan, Tatsuki-chan, don't you two have guys you want to give chocolates to? It's our last year as high school students after all," Mizuiro asked innocently.

Orihime blushed bright red while Tatsuki chuckled. "This girl tried making chocolates for everyone but they burned. Besides, she couldn't carry them all to school."

"Tatsuki-chan! You weren't suppose to say that!" Orihime cried.

"It's okay Orihime. I appreciate the thought," Ichigo chuckled. Orihime's face turned as bright as her hair.

"I'll treat everyone to chocolate shakes after school at my old job. The boss gives me good discounts," she said, hoping the offer wouldn't be taken as too foreword.

"Damn you Ichigo. I got caught by your stalkers," Grimmjow kicked the door open with his foot while he shouted. There were even more chocolate stains on him than before.

"Stop kicking the door like that. You're leaving footprints. If you break it you'll be the one who has to fix it," Tatsuki replied.

Grimmjow sat on the window seal, taking one of the community chocolates along the way.

"Jack-san…you didn't eat all the chocolates they gave you, did you?" Mizuiro said with a worried tone after everyone stared in silence.

"Eh? Who are you? So what if I did? It'd be wrong for them to go to waste right?"

Everyone blanched. Ichigo burst out laughing. "Seriously? You did?"

Ishida pushed up his glasses, "I'd hate to be you a month from now."

Even Tatsuki and Orihime were looking at him piteously. The only who could compose himself long enough to explain was Chad.

"White Day. You have to give all those girls something white next month," he said.

"Eh? Like hell I will. I don't even remember who they were. I could hardly see them they way they bum rushed me."

Orihime replied, "I understand not wanting the chocolates to go to waste, but it's even worse to accept them without understanding the person's feelings. If you don't offer them something during White Day, after all that care they put into those chocolates, and all the anticipation and anxiety they will carry for a month…it'd be too cruel."

"She's right Grinchaw," Tatsuki smirked. "You'd be labeled the worse guy in the school. You'll be shunned by every girl and mocked by every guy."

"It's because you're greedy that you suffer," Ichigo said between breaths.

"Tch…so? Like I care what other people think of me," Grimmjow growled.

"There is one way out of it," Mizuiro, who was the most knowledgeable in ways to let a woman down easy, explained. "If you give something white to just one girl and declare your love for her, the others will understand and leave you alone."

Ichigo could hardly breathe at this point. "What? Him? Declare love? Oh that's a good one. I'd like to see that!"

"Ichigo! This is partially your fault for not warning him about Valentine's Day," Tatsuki crossed her arms and glared. "Are you going to be an accomplice in breaking so many girl's hearts? If so, you're just as bad as he is."

Both Grimmjow and Ichigo stood. "Don't drop me to the same level as that guy!"

"Fine. It's settled. Ichigo, you're going to help Grinchaw get a date before White Day. It'll be very troublesome for the Student Council if our foreign exchange student started getting bullied by every girl in school," Ishida stated.

This was going to get the highest ratings ever. Ishida was already planning the costumes for the next episode.