Grimmjow looks at the tall building warily. It isn't classy but it doesn't look rundown either. In fact, it has a sophistication about it with its door framed by marble pillars, the porch is lined with fresh and blooming wisteria and the entire place painted in a rich, creamy off-white coat. It almost looks homey and inviting. He didn't have a problem with the house. He would have even traded it in for his penthouse. The bone he has to pick with it is what the place offers for the 'betterment' of mankind.
'Are you actually serious about this, Ichigo?' Grimmjow mutters and crosses his arms across his chest as he glares once again at the ominous building.
'No, Grimm, I brought you here so we can laugh at the poor suckers who go in.' Ichigo rolls his eyes and takes a step onto the porch. He glances back at Grimmjow and sighs. 'Well don't just stand there and sulk all day! We got a lot of things to do to make this official!'
'I still can't believe you want to adopt,' Grimmjow sneers, practically forcing himself to say the last word.
'You make it sound like its wrong and illegal,' Ichigo says sarcastically and knocks on door. Grimmjow joins him on the porch, stuffs his hands in his jean pockets and slumps on the side moodily.
'Well it should be,' Grimmjow sulks. Ichigo notes the bitterness in his tone of voice, sighs and turns around to face him with his arms crossed.
'Grimmjow, what's this all about?' he says as if he is conversing with a five-year-old. Grimmjow looks down at his feet. 'Grimmjow?'
'It's just,' Grimmjow struggles to say. 'We just moved in together and everything was going perfectly fine. You got an awesome job as a lawyer, I've got an interview at that new ad company, we have a kick-ass penthouse and don't get me started on our love life.' He gives Ichigo a tired look. 'And then one day you go and say 'I want a kid, Grimm. I want to be a daddy.' What the hell, Ichigo? What do we need a kid for? Is something wrong that it needs something? Am I not enough?'
'Grimmjow!' Ichigo fusses and snakes an arm around his lover's waist to pull him closer. 'I love you! Don't you forget that! I guess I should have told you or warned you that this might come. I've always wanted to have a kid, Grimm! It's been my dream! If you don't want to do this for yourself, do it for me. Please?'
He locks eyes with the blue-eyed broad, his own eyes evoking a plea and some support. Grimmjow smiles and suddenly grabs him around the waist to swing him around suddenly. Ichigo gasps and clutches Grimmjow's biceps to steady himself.
'Whatever you say, Strawberry,' Grimmjow whispers and leans his forehead on Ichigo's. Ichigo cracks a smile and lightly kisses his lips.
'I love you, Grimmjow,' he repeats himself and drapes his arms around Grimmjow's neck.
'Love you too, Ichigo,' Grimmjow murmurs and leans in for another kiss when they hear a cough behind them. They both swivel around to see a stern-looking woman in spectacles and her hair in an elaborate bun glaring at them, a clipboard in one hand. Grimmjow grins widely, kisses Ichigo on the cheek while looking at the woman and then pulls away to stand beside Ichigo. The woman sniffs and fixes her glasses as she looks at her clipboard.
'Kurasaki Ichigo and Jaguerjack Grimmjow?' she says stiffly.
'That's us!' Ichigo says brightly, hardly able to control his eagerness. He's so close to having a kid of his own so very soon! If he didn't have to control himself, he would have done cartwheels in the front lawn of the adoption building.
'I'm Nanao, the secretary of the Shusui Adoption Agency,' the woman says robotically as if she's used to saying this to everyone who comes here. 'I take care of the adoption papers and the entire adoption process. Please follow me to the main office to meet the manager.'
'What she got stuck up her ass?' Grimmjow mutters as the three of them march down a narrow hallway.
'Don't be rude, Grimm,' Ichigo scolds him and smiles at Nanao as she glances at them suspiciously from behind her.
'She keeps giving us the evil eye,' Grimmjow complains in a low voice. 'Something tells me she's got a grudge against gays.'
'Don't be ridiculous,' Ichigo scoffs.
'You know it's true.'
'Alright alright. I'll be 'nice'.'
'When you say that it worries me.'
'You know you love it.'
'How can I not?'
'Enter through here,' Nanao interrupts them and moves her glasses up her nose as she gestures to an polished wooden door with a golden plate on it reading 'Manager'. 'I hope we can meet your expectations here at Shusui Adoption Agency.'
'If you can disappear fast enough, you probably will have,' Grimmjow mutters as they enter the room and the door shuts with a soft click! behind them. The office is nice and well furnished with a bookshelf in one corner, a sofa set on one side, a mahogany desk in the front with a swivel chair behind it. Right now, the chair has its back to them but as soon as they enter, it turns around to reveal a pleasant-looking man seated in it.
'Well hello there,' he says languidly. 'Please, sit down. I'm sure we have much to discuss.'
Grimmjow raises an eyebrow as he sits next to his boyfriend on the two seater sofa. This man, Shusui he assumes, is quite a character with waist length brown tresses that he has tied back in a ponytail. As he gets up to join them on a recliner, Grimmjow notices he's isn't dressed like most businessmen. Instead, he wore a loose flannel shirt with a florid print and stone washed jeans.
'Suits are too stuffy to wear,' Shusui comments as if he read Grimmjow's thoughts. 'I like to feel comfortable when I come to work. After all, finding a job for these kids is like breathing air for me. I can't imagine myself not helping them. You can do it too by helping adopt one of our lovely children. Each and every one of them is unique in their own special way.'
'Oh, I've been waiting for this moment my whole life!' Ichigo gushes excitedly and lays a hand on Grimmjow's knee. Grimmjow gives him a surprised look. His whole life?
'We've always wanted a kid,' Ichigo continues. (We? Grimmjow thinks.) 'But never felt we were ready for one. Until now.'
'Splendid,' Shusui says pleasantly and claps his hands together in satisfaction. 'But you must know, a child is a huge responsibility, regardless of age. You must care for their every need and whim as they are helpless little beings that require our undivided attention at all times. I hope you are ready to make that sacrifice because once you agree to this, there is no going back.'
Grimmjow gulps. Maybe this isn't such a good idea. He doesn't think he's ready to take on such a big task. Take care of a kid? He can barely take care of a plant! Ichigo had once told him to take care of his one-eyed Susan's while he went on a business trip and let's just say Ichigo wondered why there were rotting leaves where his most prized possession used to be. He should just come clean to Ichigo right now and tell him he just isn't ready to be a parent. He turns to Ichigo, about to open his mouth to speak when Ichigo starts talking.
'We know what it means to be parent,' he says crisply. 'So many times, I've seen my friends spend hours and hours on their children; how they give up on going out to care for their little ones. But the look of happiness on their faces when they are with their kids, it's like they are their whole world. I want to feel that. I want a kid. I want one of my own so I can tell people that this is my baby; this is my reason for living. So bring on the hardships. We're ready. Right, Grimmjow?'
You know those times when you feel like a hole would appear at the bottom of your feet so you could just slip down it and disappear at that very moment? Grimmjow is feeling just that but ten times the magnitude. But as Ichigo looks at Grimmjow with that earnest look, Grimmjow just couldn't bring himself to say what he wanted to say. It would be like shattering Ichigo's world like a heartless prick. At that moment, for some reason, Grimmjow began to recall the time he came home excitedly with tickets to a concert by his favourite rock band. He begged Ichigo to go with him and he had done so without hesitation. At the concert, while Ichigo thought Grimmjow was busy enjoying the concert, Grimmjow had snuck a peek at his lover to see Ichigo had stuffed his fingers in his ears and had scrunched his eyes shut at the loud thudding of the hard rock music. That's when Grimmjow realized that all that time he had cranked up the volume when they would play his favourite band, all that time he had made Ichigo listen to his music, Ichigo had always detested it. But he bore with it without complain. Grimmjow never understood why until he asked. Ichigo had given a smile and he said 'Isn't it obvious? It's because I love you, silly.' Right now, Grimmjow finally understands why people make those sacrifices for the people they love.
'You betcha,' Grimmjow squeaks and wraps his arms around Ichigo's shoulders. Ichigo just beams at him.