I don't own anything but my ideas.

XXX

Ulquiorra was running, his feet pounding against the unforgiving pavement, his breath pounding in his lungs and his heart hammering in his chest until he almost ran straight into the crowd of people waiting at the crosswalk. Waiting without a care in the world for the light to feel they were worthy enough to change to red and signal them to cross.

Ulquiorra pursed his lips, shifting anxiously from one leg to the other and back, pleading and staring up at the light, begging it to turn. He blinked suddenly, kicking himself mentally when he realized that he was praying to an inanimate object and gripped his bag tighter in his hand before streaking out into oncoming traffic.

People were shouting and horns were blaring as tires skidded across the pavement, slick from the rain, but Ulquiorra only sped up, not waiting for the crowd of people on the other side of the street for the light to move out of his way and pushed through them, ignoring their shouts and muttering.

His lungs were about to pop, and he thought he would never make it, but then he could see it. The large white building came into view in the distance, mostly because of the giant red cross on the top that lit up at night for helicopters flying major wounds in.

Ulquiorra veered for the emergency drop off, knowing that was where he would be. He dodged the ambulances and doctors yelling for him to stop running and burst into the ER. People were running, walking, sprinting and fainting everywhere, there was blood on the floors from what looked like a very recent car wreck and doctors were yelling orders to others so fast it was amazing they could keep up with each other, but what Ulquiorra was really listening for was—

"AAH! FUCK!"

Ulquiorra turned to the harsh voice, pushing his way through the people until he caught sight of the aqua-blue hair through the crowd and fought through the rest of the people to the side of the gurney, staring in silent shock down at what he saw.

"What. Happened," Ulquiorra almost spat, his bag dropping off of his shoulder.

Grimmjow winced again, letting out another loud yelp as a nurse wiped the blood away from his upper arm. "Got in a fight with some dumbass, motherfucker had a knife hidden up his—AAH! The fuck are you doing?" he bellowed at the poor nurse, who almost backed away before she remembered his arm gushing blood and returned to cleaning it. It looked like he was going to lose that arm when Ulquiorra had first walked over to the gurney. What he really wanted to know was how big of a knife it was to create that deep a wound. And the more Ulquiorra stared, he finally saw that the blood on Grimmjow's chest wasn't from his arm, there was another huge gash running down the entire length of his torso.

Ulquiorra watched, fighting not to role his eyes as Grimmjow griped over the doctors ruining one of his favorite shirts as they cut it away to clean his wound. Ulquiorra leaned his head forward, pinching the bridge of his nose as he told himself very calmly and slowly to count to ten before continuing.

"And how exactly did you get into that fight?" Some things about Grimmjow would never change.

Ulquiorra waited patiently until Grimmjow was done yelling about the pain and started to tell him what happened, when all of a sudden a shout over all the noise cut him off, irritating Ulquiorra even more.

"It's my fault! I'm so sorry!" an orange-haired girl called, her breasts arriving two feet in front of her as she ran to Ulquiorra, tears dripping from her eyes. Oh, Ulquiorra couldn't wait to hear this.

"It was those creepy men!" she blubbered, hanging on Ulquiorra as she relayed the story, leaving Grimmjow with his mouth half open from being in the middle of speaking. "They were following me and then I turned into an alley to get away except that I didn't know it was an alley, I thought it was another road, I didn't see those trash dumps in it, and they trapped me and then he came and started fighting with them and then one of them pulled out a knife and they…!"

"Are you hurt?" Ulquiorra asked, looking for any excuse to get her off of him. Her hair wasn't even a pretty orange; it was a half-way-almost-molding kind of tangerine orange. She had on the same uniform on as Ichigo Kurosaki and Rukia Kuchiki's school; he would have to ask one of them who she was, because he didn't think he could deal with anymore of her right now.

"Oh no, I'm not!" she smiled. "He protected me so quickly that those men didn't even have a chance to touch me!"

Ulquiorra shook his head, dipping it to hide behind his bangs as he turned back to Grimmjow so no one could see the tiny smirk that touched his lips. Some times he never understood Grimmjow, and then the taller, brasher boy would never cease to amaze him just when Ulquiorra thought he knew Grimmjow as well as he could.

"Grimmjow, shut up," Ulquiorra said quietly when Grimmjow again yelled at the pain, thankfully silencing the blue-eyed boy.

"May I talk to you?" a nurse asked Ulquiorra, holding a pen at the ready to her clipboard.

Ulquiorra nodded, letting her lead him to the much quieter waiting room where they both took chairs around the other people laughing, crying and playing. Ulquiorra promptly tuned them out, too busy thinking about if Grimmjow would need physical therapy for his arm and how the younger boy's foster parents would react.

"Did you say his name was Grimjaw?" the nurse asked.

"Grimmjow, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez," Ulquiorra corrected, spelling out both of the unique names. The nurse looked a little impressed that he could spell Grimmjow's last name so easily, but to Ulquiorra, it was like saying his birthday. He'd known it by heart ever since that day two years ago.

"And how do you know him?"

The nurse waited politely as Ulquiorra paused, his head dipping again.

"Are you his brother?"

"…No… we're just friends."

XXX

"Ulquiorra, do you know how late it is?"

Ulquiorra sighed inaudibly, looking up at the clock in realization of just how many hours he'd been there. 12:03, he'd been in the hospital for almost six hours after every other one of their friends had left at five, when visiting time had finished, and then he'd left at eleven to drive Grimmjow home. His curfew was nine on weekdays even though he was already eighteen and a senior in high school; it was a wonder Sosuke Aizen, his foster father, wasn't taking his head off over the phone in the most calm and polite way possible.

"I do, and I apologize, but one of my friends was hurt and is in the hospital and I've just been so distracted I haven't looked at the time."

"Was it Grimmjow?"

Ulquiorra didn't miss how dangerously calm Aizen's voice had gotten. He knew both of his foster parents hated Grimmjow, but…

"Yes, but he was protecting someone."

"You know I don't like him very much," Aizen reminded him coolly. That may have been the understatement of the century and Ulquiorra was actually surprised that he wasn't elaborating more on it. Some of his favorite choice words when discussing Grimmjow were insubordinate, rude, disrespectful, brash, arrogant, impatient, reckless, and a few others that Ulquiorra had pushed out of his mind, having no desire to remember them.

"Yes," Ulquiorra said simply, not continuing the subject.

"Are you coming home now?"

Ulquiorra closed his eyes as he looked up at the ceiling, praying that this would work. "No, Ichigo has asked me to stay over his house tonight. He's very worried about Grimmjow."

It was farfetched; Ulquiorra wasn't going to lie. Ridiculously close to Grimmjow or not, Ichigo Kurosaki was not one to panic under any circumstances, but he didn't have a better story, and Aizen wouldn't have bought under any circumstances if Ulquiorra had said Nnoitra needed comforting tonight. Nnoitra, Grimmjow's best friend, had strolled casually into the ER ten minutes after Ulquiorra, taken one look at Grimmjow's mangled arm and chest before falling over he was laughing so hard, and then he proceeded to taunt Grimmjow for letting some street thug get him like that.

"Well, all right, but call in the morning. Goodnight, Ulquiorra."

"I will, goodnight."

Ulquiorra closed his phone and slipped it back into his pocket before breathing a sigh of relief and leaning his head back against the wall. It worked. He fought the triumphant smirk and opened the door at his right, walking into Grimmjow's room. He leaned against the door after he closed it, watching Grimmjow's sleeping form, calm for once. It was the drugs, Grimmjow was so drugged up that Ulquiorra almost crumpled under his weight helping him into his house and up the stairs. Thank god Grimmjow's foster parents, Gin and Rangiku Ichimaru, were away for the weekend and Grimmjow's little brother Luppi was at a friend's house, or things would have gotten much more colorful. Grimmjow and Luppi were actual biological brothers, three years apart, but as much as they didn't get along with each other, after their parents died, Luppi had refused to go to any foster family if he wasn't with Grimmjow, so Gin and Rangiku had taken them both in.

"Is the sky coming down yet?" Grimmjow asked groggily, his eyes still closed. It seemed he wasn't as asleep as Ulquiorra thought.

"No, he thinks I'm staying with Ichigo for the night," Ulquiorra said, remembering that he had to tell that to the redhead and pulled his cell phone out of his pocket.

"Jesus, I'm starving," Grimmjow said, squeezing his eyes shut and pinching the bridge of his nose before cracking one eye to glare at the limp arm lying at his side.

Ulquiorra paused, amusement crossing his face. He distinctly remembered the doctor telling him that Grimmjow wouldn't be hungry for a while and that it was normal if he didn't eat, but Grimmjow was Grimmjow.

"I'll get you something," Ulquiorra said quietly, pulling the door open as he finished dialing Ichigo's number.

Ulquiorra pinned the phone between his shoulder and ear, kicking himself for leaving the Bluetooth Aizen had gotten him for his birthday at home as he layered every sort of meat, cheese and cracker he could find in the fridge on a plate.

Ichigo picked up on the other end, and Ulquiorra could hear the shifting of blankets and some groaning before Ichigo muttered, "What?" into the phone. He sounded like he had a pillow down his throat.

"Kurosaki, I need to ask you—"

"Ulquiorra, do you know what goddamn time it is?" Ichigo chopped him off rudely, and Ulquiorra could hear a muffled thump as Ichigo fell back into his pillow and then a slow sigh. "Yeah, yeah, I know, you're at my house tonight, right?"

"Yes—"

"Fine, and we had pancakes in the morning, goodnight," Ichigo snapped before hanging up roughly. Ulquiorra hung up, not fazed by Ichigo's usual attitude at being woken up this late. He balanced the platter in one hand and a glass of milk in the other and started back up the stairs.

Ulquiorra pushed the door open with his shoulder, pausing for a second in the doorway. This time, Grimmjow really was asleep. His chest was rising and falling evenly, quieter than the whir of the fan in the window and his head was lolling slightly to the side, his mouth askew.

Ulquiorra set the tray and the milk down on the bedside table, knowing that Grimmjow would wake up in an hour or two and that he would be hungry when he did, and sat on the edge of Grimmjow's bed. He reached out, placing his hand gingerly on Grimmjow's cheek, staring at the bandages around Grimmjow's arm. Seventy-two stitches to completely sew up the gash in his upper arm, and another one hundred and forty to sew up his chest. The knife had gone right through the muscle of his arm and almost to the bone. The doctor had told Grimmjow six weeks of physical therapy, but they would be lucky if they got him to go to five weeks, and that was without Ulquiorra pushing him to go.

Ulquiorra smiled slightly again. He couldn't believe this, the boy who ran from the cops even though he was innocent because the chase was a thrill, was the same boy who had jumped into a dark alleyway to save a strange girl from a couple of street thugs before they were even able to touch her, and then so thoroughly beat them that the police found them all later unconscious in the alley. Grimmjow would never stop surprising Ulquiorra.

Flashback (Two Years Ago)

Ulquiorra looked around him, trying to see through the crowded room, filled to the brim with milling people, dancing, talking and shouting over the blaring music. Ulquiorra hated these types of things; he still wasn't even sure why he'd come tonight. He had his license, he could technically leave any time he wanted, but he didn't have anything else to do out and if he went home now his foster parents, Sosuke and Momo Aizen would be worried that someone brought alcohol or a gun into the dance. The damage was done, he was stuck here.

Ulquiorra looked again through the crowd to the electric-blue hair of Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez.

Grimmjow, a freshman, only fifteen years old while Ulquiorra was going to be seventeen soon, had a wild grin on, the same one he wore when he was playing basketball or soccer, the same one he had on when an adrenaline rush was coming, the same one he had while dancing at these types of things. Grimmjow fit here, Ulquiorra did not. It wasn't that Ulquiorra was unpopular, he had girls raving after him—hell, three had already asked him to dance tonight and four others had offered him some sort of food or drink—but he didn't have the right personality, unlike Grimmjow, who had a panther beneath his human skin.

Grimmjow was the boy that gave teachers the finger in the middle of class and laughed about it later when he was being threatened with suspension. He was the boy who wore chains on his school uniform pants and biker gloves to school. He was the boy who died his hair electric blue and got a gothic number six tattooed on his back.

Ulquiorra smiled quietly at another girl and politely turned down the drink she was holding out to him, gesturing to the one in his hand, as he wouldn't have been heard over the music. She shrugged before walking away, though she did look slightly hurt. Well that was her fault, she should have made sure that he needed one first.

Ulquiorra looked back over to Grimmjow, watching the way he grinned and danced, blending perfectly with the crowd at the same time that he stuck out. Ulquiorra felt his throat tighten as yet another two girls came over to hang on his arms as he danced, but he only sipped his drink, not allowing it to show on his face.

Ulquiorra looked sharply away when Grimmjow looked back over to him and caught his eye, burying his nose in his drink again. He prayed that he wasn't blushing, this was the third time tonight he and Grimmjow had met eyes like that.

And no, he did not like Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez.

Later

Ulquiorra sighed quietly, taking in his first real breath of air as he stepped out of the hot, crowded house of someone from school. He was pretty sure it was someone in his class, but other than that…

As Ulquiorra walked to his car, he was vaguely aware of someone right behind him, walking very close for not interacting with him. A quick nonchalant glance over the side of his shoulder and he spotted the electric blue hair, bobbing as Grimmjow walked. His hands were loose in his pockets and he looked tired for what it was worth.

Ulquiorra shook his head and pulled his key out of his pocket, slipping it into the car door and turning it with a small click. A glance in his other direction told him that Grimmjow was walking to the beat up truck that had parked two cars down from him that was covered in dirt and rust, missing the glass in one of its windows and with no side mirrors anymore. Ulquiorra could see one of Nnoitra's eye patches on the dashboard.

In eighth grade Nnoitra Jiruga had gotten into a car accident with his uncle. He'd been forced to miss three months of school, which had made him stay back a year, moving him from Ulquiorra's grade to Grimmjow's, and had lost his left eye. Ulquiorra had always thought staying back a year would be devastating, but as Grimmjow was Nnoitra's best friend he had no qualms in moving into the eldest Jaegerjaquez's class. Nnoitra was ridiculously tall, standing so tall that even Yasutora "Chad" Sado, who stood at 6'5", had to look up to see him, and he was lanky, so much so that he had earned the nickname from Grimmjow, the "spoon".

Nnoitra, having stayed back a year, was able to drive and must have driven Grimmjow in. That was why Grimmjow walk walking this way, and only that.

Ulquiorra moved his hand to the door, desperately keeping his head bent so that Grimmjow didn't meet his eyes again this night. He was flustered as it was. Ulquiorra tightened his grip on the door handle, waiting until Grimmjow passed before he opened his door so he didn't bump into the taller boy. He was so short, while Nnoitra stood almost two feet above him Grimmjow was still six and a half inches taller than him. It at least made the electric blue eyes of the fifteen year old easy to avoid at school.

Ulquiorra waited, tracking the steps walking behind him. They grew closer, and then directly behind him, and he waited for them to pass for a second before blinking. They hadn't passed him; they'd stopped right behind him.

Ulquiorra straightened, ignoring the slight drizzle as he looked back slowly over his shoulder and straight into the shockingly blue eyes. Suddenly, Ulquiorra felt a strong hand clamp down on his shoulder and he was spun harshly, his back slammed up against the wet, black paint of his car, and a muscular chest was pressed against him, pinning him against his car as a pair of warm, rough lips slammed over his.

Ulquiorra was frozen; wide-eyed and stunned motionless. He couldn't have moved if he'd tried, with the combination of Grimmjow flattening him against his car, pressing him back so he fit better to the shape of the civic, and his own shock, holding him fast in the position he was in.

Nothing moved, and then Grimmjow shifted after a moment, pulling back and hovering above Ulquiorra for a moment, a light pink dusting his cheeks. Ulquiorra watched as Grimmjow seemed to be forcing himself to look back into his emerald eyes, and then gave up and stepped away, letting go of Ulquiorra's arm and shoulder as he marched to Nnoitra's car just as the lanky teen stalked by, slightly hunched, his hands in his pockets, looking extremely bored. They climbed into the car, Nnoitra started it with a loud rumble and a small cloud of smoke, and they pulled away into the night, disappearing into the rain, Grimmjow pointedly looking the other way as they drove.

Ulquiorra stood in the drizzle long after it had turned into rain and most people were running for their cars. Thunder cracked over his head and Ulquiorra blinked himself out of his daze, climbing with some difficulty into his car and sitting, dripping water onto his seat, as he stared straight ahead, replaying what had just happened over and over in his mind until he was dizzy.

Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez. Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez had kissed him.

Next Day

Grimmjow must have been drunk. That was the only explanation. Someone must have snuck alcohol into the dance. Grimmjow must have mistaken him for a girl, he was small and slim after all, and then he just… just…

Ulquiorra quickly reached down for something nonexistent on the floor, desperately hiding the blush on his face. The bell rang and Ulquiorra was instantly out of his seat. He didn't want to talk to anyone because they would most likely mention the dance and that wild fire would spread across his cheeks, so the only solution was to leave and get to his next class and not talk to anyone. They could think he was sick or something.

So far so good, he'd already run into Grimmjow once this morning, but thank goodness he'd looked away in time and gone down a different hallway before he did something embarrassing. So far so good, until he walked out of the classroom, turned the corner and walked straight into the muscular chest of Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, Nnoitra standing beside him, the large mocking grin spread on his face.

How had he run into him? Grimmjow didn't usually walk this way! Ulquiorra floundered for a second, looking between the floor and Grimmjow's unsure and annoyed expression before he gripped his shoulder bag tighter and ducked around Grimmjow, until Grimmjow stepped back into his path, blocking his way.

Ok, calm, don't blush and everything will be ok. "Please move, Jaegerjaquez," he said firmly, looking straight into Grimmjow's bright eyes and watching how something… unconfident flashed behind the deep blue color. "You're going to make me late."

Ulquiorra angled himself to move around Grimmjow again, about to breathe in relief when a hand four times the size of his own clamped down on his upper arm and yanked him harshly back, forcing him to stumble backwards as Grimmjow dragged him through the hallway of wide-eyed students and into a deserted music room where he pushed Ulquiorra up against a wall after locking the door.

"Dammit! Give me some sort of response!" Grimmjow barked, his hands up on either side of Ulquiorra's head, blocking his escape. "Show some emotion for goddamn once! I can't ever tell what you're thinking because your face is like a fucking mask! I can't tell if you've been ignoring me when I tried to catch your eye for the past week on purpose or if it's just because you're dense! And you're acting like nothing happened last night for Christ fucking sake—"

Ulquiorra didn't know what made him do it. Maybe it was the fear that someone would hear them outside, or that Grimmjow would get physical, or that Nnoitra would walk in and things would get ugly between him and Grimmjow, but Ulquiorra dropped his bag, letting it land unceremoniously on the floor, and took the two steps forward to close the gap between them so he wasn't pinned up against the wall. He clapped his hands to the sides of Grimmjow's face, shocking the blue-haired boy into silence, stood up on his tiptoes and yanked Grimmjow down the other three and a half inches to his lips.

Grimmjow was stunned to say the least, but Ulquiorra didn't give him any time to catch his thoughts. He forced Grimmjow to bend down another inch so that he had the upper hand and ran his tongue over Grimmjow's lips. That was all it took before Grimmjow closed his eyes and pushed Ulquiorra back into the wall, his lips moving against the pale teen's as he placed his hands back on the wall, much rougher this time.

The bell rang above their heads, sharp and shrill, but neither paid any attention to it. It wasn't part of the moment, they couldn't even hear it, and Ulquiorra honestly didn't give a damn if he was late, or even missed the entire next class.

Part one of a two-parter!

Start thinking about if you want an epilogue or not (even though you haven't finished yet at this point)!

~Fireserpent14