Grimmjow stared at Ichigo in bewilderment, his blue eyes large and full of disbelief. "What?" he sneered, then he started to laugh loudly, making Ichigo clench his fists in anger and step forward in frustration.
"What's so funny about that!" the substitute soul reaper cried.
"Funny?" the arrancar said bitterly, "you're so pathetic! Why would you wish for such a thing? Are you trying to make fun me? You want to rub into my face what happened to Grimmjow Jaegerjaques?!"
Orihime gasped and hesitantly looked to Ichigo. She had not expected the arrancar to react so fiercely to his proposal. She was sure that Ichigo by no means had any ill intentions with his words.
Ichigo slightly calmed down when he heard Grimmjow's reasoning for being averted to the idea. "No," he said, "if I'd wanted to do that, I would have done so in Hueco Mundo already. I recognize in you a strong person with codes of honour, you've helped us a great deal and I don't want us to fight to our deaths anymore in the future."
Grimmjow stared at him, his chest going up and down visibly due to his heavy breathing, then he looked down at the scar on his chest that Ichigo had caused in their previous battle. "You want me to be your ally then?" he spoke, his voice calm, but not without dejection.
Ichigo's eyes lit up in excitement, he had not dared asking such a favor directly, but Grimmjow voicing it himself made him so excited that it made him weak in the knees. "If you want of course," Ichigo quickly said, trying to beat his enthusiasm down, "I am merely proposing a peace pact."
Grimmjow's eyes grazed over the floor, thinking over the matter and weighing the consequences of his decision until he finally looked up at Ichigo and Orihime again, "Here's what I can agree to: I'll consider you my allies if you help me regain my strength. In return I will help the woman regain her weapons from Aizen".
"You're going to oppose Aizen?" Ichigo asked in disbelief. "You can't return to Hueco Mundo if you do that."
"Don't bother with things that don't concern you. I take it that you'll be returning to Hueco Mundo to get her little fairies, at that time I'll accompany you, given my powers have restored sufficiently." He waved his hand dismissively and a sadistic grin drew across his face, baring his sharp fangs, "I didn't like that bastard to begin with. It'd be time for him to step down the throne".
Orihime felt the tears whelm up in her eyes. Would this relentless ex-Espada really help them get her friends back?
Ichigo scratched the back of his neck, not quite knowing what he should do. He didn't want to be responsible for unleashing another beast into the world, yet he wanted to grow closer to the arrancar so badly. He looked up to find Orihime's worried, but hopeful eyes on him, which was enough to push him over.
"We'll do it," Ichigo said determined.
Kisuke Urahara fanned himself calmly while he took in the unusual party in front of him from under his hat. "Well," he said as snapped his fan close, "I am glad to see you all in one piece after your encounter with the awakened arrancar." His gaze shifted to Grimmjow, "and I see Tessai did a good job reattaching your arm".
"Who's Tessai?" Grimmjow demanded.
Urahara pointed to the large man in a blue apron with his fan. "That," he said as a smile adorned his face, "is Tessai."
Grimmjow's mouth drew to a thin line, feeling grateful, but not knowing how to express himself he stayed quiet and looked away.
"Right," Urahara said, "how very awkward arrancars are indeed!"
"Why is he getting a gigai and am I still in this old plush doll?!" Kon suddenly yelled. "It's not fair!" He wailed in grief.
Grimmjow's eyes shifted to Ichigo, "What's he going on about?"
"Oh eh… hat-and-clogs and I—"
"You," Urahara interrupted and corrected him.
Ichigo looked to the other man in indignation, but Urahara was already back to fanning himself in an undisturbed fashion. The substitute soul reaper cleared his throat and continued, "So I thought it was a good idea to get a gigai for you, so you could steer clear from being hollow bait and the other Espada."
A lopsided smile tugged at the corners from Grimmjow's mouth. "What'll it cost me?"
Before Ichigo could answer, Urahara beat him to it: "Now that's more like it! Seems like I've been underestimating you menos. I could use another helping hand in the store, you can work here to cover your costs."
Ichigo's jaw dropped and he jerked his head to see the arrancar's reaction, but to his surprise Grimmjow didn't seem abashed at all, he just wore his usual scowl, unresponsive to the absurdness of the request, but when the arrancar noticed Ichigo's dumbstruck, a suspicious look appeared on his face.
"What does this work consist of?" he asked Urahara.
"Nothing you can't handle. You're partially like a soul reaper anyway."
"I am nothing like a soul reaper!" Grimmjow snarled. "Don't relate me to your kind," he spat.
Urahara looked at Tessai with feigned surprise. "I don't think this one realizes how much trouble a soul reaper has gone through before he earned the status."
Ichigo cringed at the tension between the two. "Hat-and-clogs, just show the gigai already!"
"So many ill-mannered souls, how do I even keep alive among you," Urahara shook his head, but not without amusement. "You see," he said to Grimmjow, "you are really not that different from certain," he glanced at Ichigo, "soul reapers."
"Gaah!" Ichigo tugged his hair in frustration. "Stop it! Get to business already!"
Orihime softly snickered at her friend. She smiled to Ichigo and Grimmjow, perhaps this was going to work out after all.
Grimmjow slid inside the human mass of muscles, as soon as he stepped into the gigai, it miraculously started to shape to his original form, except that the gigai perfected the arrancar's human appearance.
"Ah!" Orihime yelped and covered her eyes with her hands.
Ichigo's face heated up to the point he thought his head was going to explode. Reluctantly he jerked his gaze away from Grimmjow's nude body. So that's how he looks like naked… he's hung.
"What are you all looking at?" the arrancar growled in annoyance. He shoved his hands in front of his genitalia, but when he noticed the hole in his abdomen was filled up with healthy muscles and flesh, his eyes widened in amazement. "It's… complete," he muttered to himself, then he quickly looked up at Urahara, "does this mean I…?"
"You what?" Urahara said, the amused smile ever present.
"I have a… no, that's not possible…"
"Indeed that is impossible, my dear Grimmjow. You, unlike us, are and will always be a hollow. What you see in front of you is a fake body. So unfortunately for you the gigai does not grant you a soul. The moment you leave your gigai you will find yourself in your original form, including the hole in your abdomen."
Grimmjow looked disappointed and Ichigo truly felt for him. The arrancar touched his right cheek, making Ichigo blush heavily as he removed the hand before his genitals, to check up on the partial mask, but was again amazed as he noted it had disappeared. He grinned widely and stood up, making sure to put a hand before his genitals again. "This is crazy," he told Urahara, "does this gigai hide reiatsu as well?"
Grimmjow laughed a rough laugh, making Ichigo smile at the sound. From under his eyelashes he secretly ogled Grimmjow's naked body. The gigai formed to its wearer's body, therefore every part was perfectly copied from Grimmjow's original form. Standing there in all his glory, hiding nothing, those taut muscles in his shoulders, chest and thighs, Ichigo felt hot. Then he remembered Orihime and glanced at her; he shrieked in laughter when he saw the girl blushing furiously with her face buried in her hands.
Grimmjow looked up and scratched his head, but showed no further signs of embarrassment.
"Well then," Urahara said, "let's get you some clothing before Orihime gets a stroke."
Tessai brought khaki trousers, a white t-shirt along with an apron.
"Wear this and you can start working for me right away!" Urahara said happily.
Grimmjow snatched the clothes and dressed himself. "What's there to do in the store? Sounds like a waste of time to me."
"You just leave that to me, I can ensure you there's enough to do," the shopkeeper said with a sly smile.
Author notes: Thanks a bunch for liking the story and ignoring the horrible grammar and spelling errors! Those who reviewed: *throws rose petals on you*. I was writing and writing when I suddenly realized it's been too long since I've last read about canon Grimmjow, so I reread some manga chapters with Mr Handsome and did some research on other stuff as well. So I sincerely hope the characters are better in character now.