Warinings are that there are rape scenes and blood and violence. I will put up the warnings where the "evil" scenes begin and end so everyone will feel comfortable. I did rate the story M for a reason and that was it. I knew the story would get dangerous and therefore was trying to keep those who wouldn't like it away. Obviously, it didn't work.

Those of you who still like me after that crappy last chapter here you all are. I truely hope it's up to standards...Really gotta hate that I set high standards for myself and can't keep up with them anymore. Darned school. Our school's rendtion of Taming of the Shrew was awesome though and very much worth the wait.

Alright...to the OOCness and whatever else comes from my fingers.

Chapter Twenty-four

~One Year Later~

Grimmjow grinned like a phycotic maniac as he watched Ichigo dance with his little sisters in the parlor of their bar. Yuzu and Karin weren't bad dancers considering their ages and how very little free time they had for dance lessons. Ichigo however had more rhythm in his feet than both girls put together and Karin had resorted to turning footwork for soccer into dance moves. Either way, Ichigo continued to dance circles around them. Isshin and Yoru sat on another side of the room chatting away their cares as if it was second nature and Grimmjow couldn't help but smirk. If things went on like that, Ichigo and the girls would have a step sister. At least she'd be a kick ass step sister...If this party didn't suddenly turn somber.

Grimmjow quickly glanced over to his left to watch Ichigo's friends yammer on about days past with specific Sextas. It was like all of them were in the gang as more than friends of the Second in Command. As much as Grimmjow liked that idea, he knew better than to expect their numbers to admit it to themselves. Grimmjow turned on his stool to order a refill from Shawlong. As soon as he was granted the drink, Ulquiorra and Starrk joined him, their faces somber. Grimmjow tried to ignore their looks knowing that they hadn't visited the hospital in a few weeks but then again, they could have just come from there. Speaking of the hospital, he had yet to see Shiro hanging about. Where the hell was that damned dopleganger?

"What is it boys?" Grimmjow asked simply as he sipped from his glass. Starrk sighed and ordered himself Grimmjow found to be a bit strong. Ulquiorra ordered a rum and coke and then went to watching Orihime join in with Ichigo and the rest on the newly polished "dance floor." Grimmjow heard her giggle and laugh as she was probably twirled dizzily by one of the fellow boys from her group of frineds. Probably that Uryuu boy if not Ichigo himself. Starrk cleared his throat and Ulquiorra glanced back to his two friends. Yes, he had begun to call them friends since that night. He didn't understand the change himself but as far as he was concerned, it was a welcome one. He was beginning to find himself hoping that a certain someone would get to see the change soon.

"Nothing's wrong," Starrk stated. "Lily's still too young to be left alone and I have to apologize to Nel for making her watch the girl."

"I still say you could have brought the girl," Ulquiorra growled. Grimmjow smirked.

"No," he replied, taking Starrk's hidden side of the argumnt. "I'm low on her favorite treat anyway so she'd be bored silly."

"I doubt it," Ulquiorra sighed. "Aren't Karin and Yuzu about her age?"

"Yeah but..." Starrk shook his head. "I wasn't about to bring her."

"I thank you Starrk," Grimmjow said calmly.

Lilynette had recently gotten into making herself a pain in the ass for every single Sexta she came across. It was all in good fun to her but her antics were becoming slightly worrisome and Grimmjow wasn't about to let Ichigo have a go at diciplining her even if Starrk did allow it - and the man had allowed it happily. Ichigo was in no mood for anything at the moment and Grimmjow had been suprised he'd managed to drag the Strawberry to the party. He hadn't planned for there to be a party to celebrate the revolution of Hueco Mundo but Yoru had insisted. Despite the fact she had lost feeling in one of her arms during her part of the revolution, she had become the leading force in Hueco Mundo. She hadn't meant to take over the way she had but the surviving leaders had decided it was kharma at its finest. Grimmjow was still twitching from her demands about how they, as leaders who knew the city better than anyone else, were to act as her goverors and regents as it were. Grimmjow didn't really mind considering the move had basically made the gangs something more reputable. They weren't simply thugs with power that was well handled. No, they were almost equal to military in Hueco Mundo. He noted quickly how much like martial law that sounded like but considering what they were and acted as, it was really the only way to look at it. Yes, they were Democratic and all now but the locals continued to say they wanted no one else as of yet.

He was waiting for an opportunity to fuck up royally so he could "leave office" for good. Lily wasn't helping though.

"I note that Shiro's not here," Ulquiorra stated calmly. Grimmjow sighed. Exactly the words he hoped Ichigo wouldn't hear. No guns had been allowed in but Ichigo had this amazing tendency to find weapons when there weren't supposed to be any. Grimmjow had learned that for a fact when they had been clearing out Aizen's place and Ichigo kept finding gun cabinets and the like around almost every corner. Grimmjow and Ichigo were still reeling from how close to pulling the trigger Ichigo had been that night and Grimmjow wasn't taking chances. He glanced back at his orange haired lover to find the younger man dancing with Rukia, his face alight with joy and calm. As much as it pleased Grimmjow to see that expression, he didn't believe it for a second even if Ichigo's friends did as soon as they saw it.

"Nor is Abarai," Grimmjow countered. He saw Ulquiorra stiffen at his words. "What?"

"He's in rehab it seems," Ulquiorra stated softly.


"It seems he was sent undercover in a drug smuggling thing. He had to shoot to get creibility and he..." Starrk began. Grimmjow blached at him.

"He was stupid enough to get addictied?" Grimmjow starred at the brunette leader next to him. Starrk simply nodded and Grimmjow winced. "Don't let Ichi hear that. I don't want to have to hide my knives in under twenty seconds again." He sipped at his drink again, his nose wrinkled in annoyance. Yes, Ichigo's little stunts of suicide contemplation were wearing his patience thin and news like this was exactly what he tried to avoid. However, at the moment, he was far more annoyed with Abarai than Ichigo's moods. How dare that little bastard get himself in such a situation? Didn't he know how that type of news would affect Ichigo? Did that bastard really give two shits about how Ichigo may react to his actions? As much as Grimmjow was loathe to admit it, he knew very well that Ichigo still cared for the idiot pineapple even if he couldn't return the feelings the way said pineapple wanted. Grimmjow knew only because most of the time when Ichigo was in a mood, it had always come after he'd asked about Renji and gotten bad news or no news at all.

"How can you be sur?" Grimmjow asked.

"Orihime had pamphlets and had me help her go through them," Ulquiorra replied. "Starrk ended up having to tell me straight."

"It was real fun learning why exactly I hadn't been seeing the little fucker around," Starrk growled low in his chest. Grimmjow glanced at him to see his grey-blue eyes glowing with anger and annoyance. Grimmjow managed to not shiver.

"So what'd you two do?"

"We sugested a place for Abarai to go," Ulquiorra stated smoothly.

"You invited Gin?" Nnoitra asked suddenly on Starrk's left. Grimmjow glanced to the door to find Gin stepping in cautiously, his closed eyes obviously scanning the room warily. The music continued on but Grimmjow quickly noticed the tension in the atmosphere rise. It all rose from his men too. He couldn't blame them though. Gin and Yoru had apparently been in on the whole revolution thing for a while and as soon as it was over, it became very obvious. Gin and Yoru were now co-leaders of Hueco Mundo despite the fact that every gang member felt that Starrk or Harribel or Ulquiorra deserved the title. There were even some who felt Nnoitra, Szayel, or even Grimmjow deserved it. Grimmjow had made it his personal business to find anyone who thought he should have that title and shut them up on it. He didn't have to kill them, he simply scared them into thinking if he did get the title, they'd have twice as much shit to deal with from him.

"No," Grimmjow said. "Ichigo did."

The three gave him wary glances but as soon as Ichigo saw the silver haired man, he waved and Gin waved back before retreating to Yoru's side. He shook Isshin's hand and sat down with them. As they began talking, the atmosphere suddenly became lighter and more balanced. Grimmjow breathed out through his nose and sipped at his drink again. He wondered why the hell he was nursing the liqour but quickly remembered why he had begun to do that.

"Tough year for all of you as well I see," Szayel sighed on Ulquiorra's right. Grimmjow and the others nodded. "How's Ichigo doing Grimm?"

"Same as always,' Grimmjow muttered. "I can't have weapons around him and he still manages to find them."

"At least tell me he's sleeping."

Grimmjow shrugged. Ichigo wasn't really sleeping much either. He would really only sleep if he were purely exhausted and that was the only thing Grimmjow liked about this whole situation; he got to fuck his berry into the mattress pretty much every night now just to help the kid sleep. Given, Ichigo was getting better in the past month or two. He didn't stay awake for hours at a time, pretend to sleep, then pace the appartment. The thoughts of suicide were getting fewer in number too and Grimmjow was beginning to think that Ichigo was almost over whatever then hell it was that was bothering him. Szayel however glanced worriedly at Ichigo who was now dancing with Orihime, twirling her gracefully despite the fact she had two left feet. The five leaders watched them carefully and smirked as Orihime blushed profusely when Ichigo had her fall into a deep dip. Even Ulquiorra chuckled softly at the girl's reaction. They weren't blind that the girl had feelings for Ichigo and Ulquiorra seemed to not give two shits about the fact he hadn't quite conqured all of them. Grimmjow had a feeling that, like himself, Ulquiorra didn't care because he knew very damned well how much of her heart he had conqured. Niether one of them really minded the small pieces that still cared for their lovers' first crushes. Grimmjow however had the whole problem of how terrified Ichigo had been of the look Renji had given him after shooting Aizen. That grated on Grimmjow's nerves the same way velvet felt when smoothed the wrong way.

"He's sleeping more than he was Szayel," Grimmjow said calmly. "I'd call that progress wouldn't you?

Szayel nodded, his face relaxing slightly. It was progress considering everything Ichigo had been through. Harribel skipped in then and waltzed over to Grimmjow to peck him on the cheek, thanking him for the invitation and a quick apology for Nel being unable to come. She then left quickly to say hello to Ichigo. The orange haired man gave her a bright smile, one of which Grimmjow could tell was genuine, and the two hugged quickly before Harribel left to sit with Yoruichi and Urahara. Ichigo smoothly returned to dancing with Orihime. Grimmjow glanced at the others to see their reactions and was secretly pleased. Yes, Ichigo was getting a bit better even if he still didn't feel like leaving the apartment for any reason other than Grimmjow's urging and ordering. Grimmjow didn't mind the idea of having Ichigo more to himself but he knew very damned well how unhealthy it was for Ichigo to become a shut-in. To tell the truth, Grimmjow always saw that overseer's room with the brought in mattress and a barely dressed Ichigo everytime he thought about shut-ins. He no longer saw senile old men or insane cat ladies when the words shut-in came to mind. It was always Ichigo when Aizen had been using the boy. Needless to say, Grimmjow had made it a mission to keep Ichigo out and about no matter how much Ichigo was against the idea of going outside on certain days.

"Well, I guess we're all becoming fast friends huh?" Starrk murmured as he watched Harribel and Yoruichi trade tales. Grimmjow watched the others nod but continued to watch Ichigo's movements. He hoped half to god Shiro showed up soon. Another wonderful thing about the events last year was Shiro and Ichigo had become inseperable in so many ways. They both talked through texting, e-mail, IMs, phone calls, and in person. Grimmjow again didn't mind it in the least. It was a connection to the outside that Ichigo needed badly. Shiro however rarely left the hospital in Karakura other than to eat, bathe, and see Ichigo. There were updates from the Sextas to be gathered as well but Shiro got those mainly from Ichigo or Grimmjow himself. Shiro wsn't quite a shut-in yet but he was getting close.

"Yes we all are despite the fact that we're completely different types of societies," Nnoitra stated wryly.

Grimmjow shrugged and chuckled. "Somehow we can all work together right?"

"Yeah," Szayel said with a chuckle.

Grimmjow went back to watching his lover as the orange haired man began to dance with Yoru as well. The music had become slow and Grimmjow had to admit that Yoru was a good ballroom dancer. A fox trot was easy to do but she made it look hard and Ichigo was leading her like he had been blessed by the muses of dancing. Ichigo and Yoru weren't bad together either as dancing partners. They looked like champions evon in their casual jeans and graphic t-shirts. Yoru smirked as Ichigo whispered to her, their conversation soft and secretive. Grimmjow didn't mind it. Yoru was one of the few people besides Shiro and himself who could get Ichigo outside. She had become a wonderful ally in the past year despite everything. Grimmjow really hadn't minded everything about Yoru's coming to power the way everyone else seemed to. Even Starrk, Harribel, Ulquiorra, Szayel, and Nnoitra didn't really care becasue they hadn't really been affected that much. Yes, their becoming equal to military was partially thanks to her. Yes, the changes around here with Ichigo were partially thanks to her. Yet, Grimmjow really coud care less. Ichigo was plagued by the look on Renji's face and Yoru was plauged by something else. The same thing that plagued Shiro, plagued Yoru and with good reason.

"How about a round Shawlong?" Szayel asked. Shawlong smiled and went about preparing more drinks for them all. Grimmjow let his eyes fall back to Ichigo in time to be pounced by the younger man. Ichigo's arms were around his neck and their lips smashed together violently and smoothly. He didn't bother registering the smirks and chuckles and soft catcalls around them. He placed his drink onto the counter somewhat shakily but it didn't matter. This was the first time Ichigo had come onto him first in months. He liked it.

"What te hell brought this on?" he asked bemused when Ichigo finally let him breathe again. Ichigo was beaming a smile that was genuine and Grimmjow felt his heart speed up. What a beautiful vision Ichigo was like that. Ichigo held up his cell, his smile never ceasing.

"I can promise I won't do anything stupid for at least two weeks," Ichigo whispered. Grimmjow quirked a brow and glanced at the screen of the phone. He smiled.

"A round on me then!" he bellowed. Starrk and the others smiled and nodded. Shawlong smirked. They knew what a round on Grimmjow meant; things were looking up.

White walls attacked her vision as her eyes flitted open for the secon time that night. This time however, the images were clearer than when she'd first awoken. When she'd first woken up, her throat had felt full with something, her chest felt tight and slightly...off, and her eyes only caught blured images of people. Her ears had only caught echoes of what was being said to her as well, as if they'd been plugged with something. She'd heard what had been said to her though and had responded the only way she knew how; nodding and moaning, her eyes wide and pleading. Whatever had been in her throat had been pulled out, saliva following it almost painfully and she'd choughed violently. A mask was on her face now and she was breathing slowly and almost calmly now. The blurred images had left her alone, yet she'd seen them speaking to anothoer outside the room. She had let her eyes roll back and slept for god only knew how long but now, as her eyes fell open again, she began to see a bit better.

"Koori?" a plaintive voice called to her.

"Shiro?" she asked, her voice cracking from lack of use. "Wh-where am I?"

"Karakura General." She glanced at him, her eyes smiling as she saw him clearly. His eyes were red from crying and rubbing at them and she wondered why.

"What happened?"

"You were rushed to surgery." His hand weaved into her hair and twriled it lovingly.

"How long...was I out?"

"A..." he heasitated.

"Please. Tell me."

"A year," he winced. She blinked. So that's what it felt like to be unconsious.

"How's everyone else?"

"Fine. Yoru's in charge." He smiled softly.

"Hmm. Sounds like her."

"You still sound tired. Sleep."

"Alright...Wake me up again will you Shro?"


Koori's fine people!