-Tell Me Tomorrow-

'Everybody hates me

Everybody wanna fight

We can't stand to wake up in the sun

But can't sleep in the moonlight.'

-Chapter One: Veritas-

Grimmjow shifted in the bed that was too small for his tall frame, brushing against a small warm body as his alarm blared from his cell on the wood side table. He slammed his hand down on it to shut it up, running a hand through his thick blue locks, sighing. His little sister had crawled into bed with him again; it was becoming a bad habit, but he never turned her away. She was starting to fuss, her eyes not open as she murmured something and tried to burrow into his exposed side.

He gently ran a hand through her aqua colored hair as he noticed the trail of drool hanging from the corner of her mouth.

"Time to get up, baby," Grimmjow murmured, his voice soft. His voice was only ever soft with his baby sister. Fuck, the only time he ever sounded vulnerable was when it came to the six year old.

Her grey eyes finally opened, blinking several times as she rubbed them with both tiny fists, "Grimmy."

"I gotta go to school, baby," Grimmjow said, trying to stand up out of the bed without disturbing her waking frame. Most days he could get out of the bed without waking her, but she had slept on the side of the bed that didn't have the wall this time, "I can't be late again."

She shifted out of his way, flopping onto his pillow as he got up and started hunting the floor of the microscopic bedroom for a clean shirt. He pulled the white wife beater he had been wearing over his head and quickly changed into a red t-shirt before hunting through his abomination of a closet for a black hoodie.

"Are you coming home after school Grimmy?" his baby sister asked, curling up into a comfortable position on Grimmjow's neglected pillows.

Grimmjow adjusted his belt buckle on his dark-washed jeans, wondering if he could splurge enough of this week's paycheck to finally buy a new pair. With his mom still jobless, all his earnings from the garage were going straight to rent and his family's stomachs, "You know I will, Monster. It's Monday."

His baby sister giggled happily, knowing Monday was her brother's only day off from work.

"Will you make me spaghetti for dinner, Grimmy?" she asked in her adorable lisp.

"Yah," Grimmjow promised, pulling the hoodie over his head and adjusting it before making his way over to his baby sister and placing a kiss on her forehead, "Come on, let's go make some breakfast."

"Okay!" she said happily, following at her brother's heels as Grimmjow had to duck under the low awning of his room. He was 6'3'', and for his sake and everybody else's, he hoped he was done growing.

After leaving his room and walking down the short hallway with the peeling paint and creaking floorboards, he flicked the switch to the small kitchenette and began rummaging through a side cabinet, pulling out a nearly empty box of cereal. He poured two bowls and moved to the barely-running refrigerator to grab milk.

Grimmjow cursed in his head when he opened the door to find half a package of bread, a molding banana, and a bottle of mustard.

"Why didn't mommy buy milk yesterday, Monster?" Grimmjow said, turning his head to look at his baby sister who was now sitting at the wood kitchen table, her short legs swinging in front of her as she sucked on her thumb.

She looked away, her bangs hiding her eyes.

"Baby, if you know…" Grimmjow trailed off, knowing damn well he had given his mom 200 yen yesterday for groceries, "You can tell me."

"Mommy said she didn't feel good," she finally whispered, playing with her spoon Grimmjow had set out, "said she had to buy medicine."

Grimmjow cussed under his breath, slamming the refrigerator door closed before setting the bowl of dry cereal in front of his sister, "Gonna have to eat it dry today, baby. I'll be right back."

"Kay," she whispered, beginning to munch on the sweetened corn puffs almost instantly as Grimmjow walked back down the short hallway and cracked open the wooden door to his mother's room.

Medicine my ass, Grimmjow growled internally, seeing his mother passed out in the middle of her bed. There weren't any sheets on the bed, considering Grimmjow had had to take them off a few nights ago due to one of many of his mother's drunken fits. She had come home completely trashed and had proceeded to throw up all over her bedding. And here she was again, passed out with an empty bottle of liquor on her nightstand.

He went over to his mother and kicked her leg, waiting for a response, "Wake up, mom."

He began shaking her shoulder when he grew impatient, until she finally huffed and rolled over, cursing, "What? What? What do you want?"

"I told you to buy groceries yesterday," Grimmjow growled, knocking over the empty bottle on the nightstand as he drilled holes into his mother's head, "So what the fuck are you doing here with an empty bottle of tequila?"

"Don't fucking talk to me like that," she huffed, sitting up and running a hand over her face, "Fuck, I'm a grown woman. I don't need you giving me shit."

"That money was for food," Grimmjow hissed, "What do you expect Neliel to eat?"

"We've never starved before," his mother growled, waving her hand as she pushed him out of the way as she stood up shakily. She was definitely not sober; he had hoped she was nursing a hang over, but it looked like she had gotten started good and early that morning getting trashed. It was a weekly ritual that Grimmjow was getting fucking tired of.

"You didn't go lookin' for a job yesterday either, did you?" Grimmjow interrogated, watching his mother stumble to the bureau to rummage through drawers, "Fuck mom, it's been almost a year. The well fare check ends after next month."

"I fucking know that!" she screeched, turning on him, standing in a stained pink bathrobe, her long black hair looking like a wild nest as she regarded him with blood shot eyes, "I know that, so stop it. Just fuckin' go!"

"I'm taking Nel," Grimmjow said, turning away from his mother, completely disgusted.

His mother didn't even reply as she lit a cigarette and collapsed back onto her bed, rolling onto her back to stare at the peeling, veined ceiling.

Grimmjow slammed her door closed, completely enraged. Fuck, he could not afford to be late to school again. If his homeroom teacher wrote him up for tardiness one more time, he'd be on academic suspension and risked not graduating.

"All done, baby?" Grimmjow asked as he entered back into the kitchen.

She nodded, pushing the other untouched bowl towards him. Grimmjow grit his teeth, knowing his baby sister was still hungry. He shoved the bowl back into her hands, hoping his face looked calm, "It's okay, Monster. I'm not hungry. You eat it up, okay?"

"Are-are you sure?" Nel asked, turning her big, liquid eyes up at her brother, "What're you gonna eat, Grimmy?"

"I'll grab something at school later," he offered as his stomach growled in protest, "But we gotta hurry, baby girl. You're goin' to day care today."

Her eyes lit up as she contemplated going back to the community day care center. It wasn't exactly expensive, but Grimmjow knew they couldn't really afford it. But what else was he supposed to do? He couldn't leave her here with his mother comatose to the world and he couldn't get a babysitter on such short notice. He also knew her pink-haired friend Yachiru went there and that always made Neliel squeal with happiness.

She ate the cereal like a starving prisoner and dashed back through the hallway to their shared microscopic room to grab the cleanest clothes she could find. Grimmjow knew she would hurry since he had asked, and he was down to twenty minutes if he planned to make it to his high school on time. He'd have to take the bus to the day care and run the eight blocks from there if he was going to make it to homeroom before the tardy bell.

He went to the bathroom and ran water over his face and through his hair, his cerulean eyes cloudy and tired-looking. He had worked a twelve-hour shift the day before at his night job and hadn't gotten home until nearly two in the morning. And, of course, his mother's deranged boyfriend had been home, fighting with her as usual before storming out and nearly cracking the front door in rage. He had found his sister hiding in their shared closet, her face brightening as soon as he had gone in to find her. He had helped her get ready for bed, too tired to confront his mother about her increasingly bad habits in front of her six year old. He hated his mother's boyfriend with a passion, and he sure as hell didn't like knowing he was in the house when Neliel was there. Yammy was huge, a mountain of a man who wasn't afraid to use his intimidating muscles. One of these days, Grimmjow was going to knock him the fuck out. The next time he scared his baby sister enough to have her hiding in a closet, Grimmjow wouldn't hesitate to put the man six feet under.

Grimmjow grabbed Nel's hand as she blabbered away about day care and how she couldn't wait for snack time.


Ichigo was staving off his boredom in homeroom by drawing a very detailed eye in his composition notebook while his friend Keigo chattered away to his left about how the weekend had been so spectacular and how he had come this close to sleeping with a college girl. Ichigo felt almost bad about tuning his little posse out, but it was still early in the morning, and he really couldn't find it in himself to care what his friends blabbed about these days. Everything was always so trivial, and Ichigo didn't give a damn who his friends were screwing or where they were partying.

Weren't there more important things to worry about in life? Like passing the college entrance exams and getting into a pre med program to study medicine and learn everything one could possibly learn about the human anatomy? Or worrying about his father's increasing debt that was being accumulated at the tiny, family-run clinic only a few minutes' drive from the house he had lived in his entire life? Ichigo found the list never seemed to end, especially when he started thinking about his little sister who had been confined to a wheelchair since she was born, while her twin acted like a rabid guard dog and was one of the most anti-social beings on the planet.

"Oi, earth to Ichigo!" Keigo yelped, slapping the back of Ichigo's head playfully, "Didn'tcha hear anything I just said?"

"Touch me again and I'll break your fingers," Ichigo said calmly, his chocolate brown eyes beaming lasers through Keigo's skull.

Keigo laughed nervously, knowing it was no empty threat. Ichigo had become a black belt at the age of twelve, and he was known for his fighting abilities. One became quite good at fighting when taunted and made fun of growing up just for having a strange head of hair. What the fuck was so weird about orange? How come the redheads didn't catch the same shit? Wasn't it in the same color family?

"Just playin', Ichi," Keigo said, lifting his own notebook, "I was sayin', did you do the homework for today?"

Ichigo just rolled his eyes, already denying Keigo what he wanted, "Maybe instead of chasin' pussy this weekend you should have thought about the fuckin' exam we have tomorrow."

"Mm," Chad nodded from his desk kitty-corner from Ichigo. Keigo blanched at both of them, as if unbelieving that passing high school could take priority over sex. Chad was a good friend to have around, and out of his circle of friends, Ichigo considered him one of his favorites. He was tall, stoic, and barely ever spoke, which was perfectly fine with Ichigo. He also cared about his grades, which meant Ichigo had a friend that he could actually study for exams with without worrying about them losing focus or wanting to take a break to smoke pot. The little shitheads.

The classroom door slid open to reveal Ukitake-sensei, his silver-white hair free-flowing down his back. Ichigo rolled his eyes as he heard a few girls giggle and couldn't help but smirk as a paper airplane sailed across the room, headed for the garbage can as Ukitake-sensei put down his briefcase and adjusted his podium stand before addressing the class.

After doing the standard bowing and greeting of the morning, the classroom door slid open again, the entire class's eyes swiveling to see who had dared to come in late.

A few boys scoffed upon recognition and Ichigo could see a few girl's had turned pink in the face. Ichigo studied the classmate that had just revealed himself and felt a familiar rush of adrenaline assault his veins, making him frown.

The tall student slid the door closed, turning back around to face the front of the classroom. He was wearing ripped jeans and a black hoodie pulled over his head, his muddy dark blue converse making noise as he moved quickly to the back of the room, heading for his usual seat in the back corner closest to the windows.

"Jaegerjaques-san," Ukitake-sensei said clearly, making the student stop and turn around, "I believe this is your final strike for tardiness."

The delinquent murmured, bowing his covered head slightly, "I had…a family emergency. It won't happen again."

Ukitake nodded once, his eyes fixed on blue ones, "I was running late this morning myself, so I will overlook it this time. However, that doesn't excuse you from classroom policies: please lower your hoodie while in class."

The frequently late student pulled back the hoodie as instructed, revealing a head full of messy natural blue hair, making Ichigo's stomach squirm. His blood seemed to be pounding in his ears as he continued to stare at the boy who had been bothering him for the two months they had been in school this year. He had never had the privilege of running into the blue-haired terror, only hearing rumors about the supposed thug and drug dealer. There was no doubt he had gang ties, as Ichigo had seen the Hollow tattoo on the delinquent's inner forearm. He had been amazed at the use of color: black, sky blue, white, and red all coming together to form a mark that meant chaos. Half the student body feared him while the other half worshiped him.

Ichigo was still straddling the fence, as having the boy in his homeroom and in two other of his classes had given him more up and close time with the beast. He always sat in the back of the room, surrounded by other gangbangers that were associated with the Hollows. Homeroom offered Grimmjow two such fellow gang members, Nnoitra Jiruga and Gin Ichimaru. Nnoitra sat to Grimmjow's side while Gin always sat behind him, as if that were his designated place. Grimmjow had finally sat down, his messenger bag flung off and to the side as he pulled out a notebook to start copying down the notes Ukitake-sensei had already started throwing up on the board.

Ichigo finally looked away, embarrassed. How long had he been staring? Of course some of the other students had been as well, but most of them were bent over their desks, furiously copying down everything their sensei said and wrote. Ichigo felt his neck pivoting to stare into that back corner again, feeling like he was going to itch right out of his skin unless he made contact with those deep and disturbing eyes again.

Cerulean blue eyes locked on his, making him turn back around, flustered. He shook his head once, clearing his mind as the teacher droned on. What the hell was wrong with him? He had seen Grimmjow Jaegerjaques five days a week for the past two months, and every day he saw him, he felt the same anxiety. It was unnerving. It wasn't fear; that was for damn sure. At least, he didn't think it was fear. Something about the blue bastard set him off, and he didn't like it.

Grimmjow Jaegerjaques was a delinquent.

Grimmjow Jaegerjaques was a gangbanger.

Grimmjow Jaegerjaques was, most likely, a drug dealer.

It all added up in Ichigo's mind: Grimmjow Jaegerjaques was trouble.

He pressed his pencil firmly into his notebook, nearly snapping the tip as he tried to concentrate. He had to concentrate, get organized, and remember why he worked so hard in school. Degree. College. Med school. Money. Focus.

When the bell finally rang to dismiss them, Ichigo looked down at his notebook, closing it quickly before any of his friends noticed.

He had barely written any notes at all. Instead of the war history of the Edo Period, Grimmjow Jaegerjaque's eyes stared back at him.


Grimmjow lounged on the school's roof, his and his friend's favorite lunch spot. Most students avoided the roof as most of the school's delinquents chose to eat and smoke there, ignoring school-like behavior and even getting into fights once in a while. He was currently lying on his back, a hand behind his head as he stared up into the gray sky that threatened rain. It was the time of year where Karakura's weather couldn't decide if it wanted to rain or snow.

Nnoitra was off to the side, his gangly long frame leaning against the tall rusted chain-link fence that kept students from falling off or jumping to their deaths. He currently had a cigarette between his teeth, blowing smoke out of his nostrils like a content dragon, "Fuck I hate school."

Grimmjow sucked on his own cigarette he had bummed off of Nnoitra. He had tried to quit several times, but stress was such a needy bitch. He exhaled as Gin giggled that disturbing giggle that made most people uncomfortable.

"S'not so bad," Gin drawled, his arms on his knees as he flicked his cigarette, the ashes falling near his black boots, "Lots'a ass walkin' these halls, ne?"

"Shit, I think I've fucked just abou' every bitch in this place," Nnoitra scoffed, lighting another cigarette, "Gettin' fuckin' bored. If I wanted 'ta be in a shit hole, I would'a stayed fuckin' home."

Grimmjow blew several smoke rings in succession, watching them fade out as he listened to his friends banter back and forth. Yeah, as shit holes went, Las Noches was probably the grandest of them all. The Japanese-Spanish slum was one of the worst ghettos in Karakura. It wasn't uncommon to hear gunshots or sirens. It was a place Grimmjow had lived his entire life, albeit not always in the same shitty apartment or complex. His mother had always moved them around, jerking him every which way as she changed boyfriends and leeched off of them like the pill head parasite that she was. The drinking had started after Neliel was born, but Grimmjow couldn't protect both of them. His mother was pretty much dead anyway, but he'd die before he'd let anything happen to his baby sister. She was his reason for fighting to get through school, for pretending to give a fuck what happened the next day or next week. He'd never admit it out loud to anyone, but she was the only light in his life, the only pureness or innocence Grimmjow had ever seen or protected. Neliel was just a baby, a helpless little girl, and Grimmjow would do anything for her.

He'd move mountains to see her smile that gap-toothed smile.

He'd die before he'd let her get dragged into the darkness. Yeah, he had gotten jumped into a gang, but it had been for protection. With kids and adults alike being popped on the streets, he'd needed a strong family-like unit, a back up, a brotherhood. The Hollows had supplied him with that structure, had allowed him to assimilate into a culture that was both horrifying and lifesaving at the same time. He'd bonded with the boys as if they were blood brothers, and he'd take a bullet for those closest to him any day, no questions asked. He'd never say it out loud; none of them ever would, but it went unspoken amongst them. They had pride, and Grimmjow would be the first to admit he was probably the most stubborn, but it was a stubbornness he had learned from a young age. You couldn't protect anything unless you learned to protect yourself.

When Neliel was born, he'd found something to protect, and he'd be damned if he wasn't the strongest for her, if for no other reason. The Hollows were notorious for territory wars and drug trafficking, although Grimmjow and his crew were mostly errand boys sent out to collect from those who had taken a loan. If they couldn't get the money, they collected collateral, and if they couldn't get collateral…well, that's what fists and feet were for. That's what strong bodies were needed for, why Grimmjow had always made sure to keep his body in the best shape possible. It also helped that he ate no more than his body needed for his basic nourishment: his family had never been able to afford more than their basic needs anyway. Grimmjow had been born into a world that offered no clear-cut answers or gave him happy memories of a father figure. The blue-haired, European bastard had skipped out before Neliel had been brought full term, leaving Grimmjow to be the man of the family at the age of twelve. He had been initiated into The Hollows only a year later, the age they started recruiting. Part of Grimmjow wondered if things could have been different if his dad hadn't been a druggie coward, but the other part speculated that he wouldn't be the man he was today if he hadn't gone through hell and back and came out fighting.

"Oi, ya fuckin' listenin' over there, Socrates?" Nnoitra spat, breaking Grimmjow out of his reverie. He'd been so lost in thought his cigarette had burned down to the filter.

He flicked it away from him, sighing heavily, "What, fuck face?"

"I was sayin' tha' ya need ta' come out with us ta'night," Nnoitra said, finally taking a seat on the cement, his long legs crossed Indian style, "Gonna hit up Seretei with tha' boys."

Seretei was actually one of his favorite hangouts, but Grimmjow was tired from working all weekend, not to mention barely getting any sleep the night before. With a pang he realized he had promised Nel a spaghetti dinner, "Nah, not ta'night, man."

"Why the fuck not?"

"I'm not in the mood, ass hole," Grimmjow said, his voice full of venom, "Got shit to do. I got responsibilities, unlike your pussy-grubbin' ass."

"Don't work yerself 'ta death," Gin murmured, his arms crossed over his chest, his eyes hidden in their usual smile, "Even tha' King 'a Beasts needs 'ta rest every once in a'while."

Grimmjow grunted, running his hands through his hair before running them over his face as he sat up, the bell ringing distinctly to announce the end of lunch. It had been a while since he'd just chilled with his boys, and he could use some relaxation. If he went straight to the convenience store after school and bought some ingredients, picked up Nel from the center, played with her and made her dinner and got her to bed at a decent time, maybe he could manage it.

"I'll call 'ya if I change my mind."

Nnoitra's grin was in danger of eating his face, "Knew ya'd come."


Ichigo was gathering his books together from the final class of the day, sighing as he shoved them all into his canvas messenger bag. He slung it comfortably over his shoulder, saying his usual goodbyes to the few friends that shared his last class with him and made his way into the parking lot before trotting down the sidewalk. He ruffled through his wallet, making sure he had grabbed enough money this morning to buy the few ingredients he needed to make hot pot tonight. His dad always got home so late that he never cooked, so the responsibility had fallen to Ichigo to prepare most meals. Karin helped, of course, and Yuzu was the best cook of them all, although when she went into one of her small nerve fits, her hands would tremble so unsteadily that she couldn't be unsupervised in the kitchen and couldn't possibly continue what she had been doing.

Yuzu had been born with a nerve disorder in her spine, which left her paralyzed from the hips down and sometimes her body would go into uncontrollable fits that resulted in tremors through her arms and fingers. She was on several medications to monitor strokes, as she had suffered a rather terrible one two summers ago and had been in the hospital for weeks. She hadn't had a major attack like that since then, and every day that passed seemed to reassure Ichigo that she was getting better. Although she would never walk, the medications seemed to make her life a little easier with the rare disorder.

Karin, on the other hand, was the healthy twin. Ichigo couldn't remember a time in his life he had ever seen her sick with anything other than an occasional stomachache or head ache. If Yuzu was the sun when it came to personality, Karin was the moon. Quiet, pale, and intimidating. She barely spoke and when she did, it was aggressive. She even spoke aggressively to Yuzu, but Yuzu's calm and cheerful demeanor always seemed to make Karin calmer, or at least, less hostile. Ichigo loved both of his sisters dearly, but he worried about them on a daily basis; Yuzu because of her physical condition and Karin because of her emotional one.

And it certainly didn't help matters that their mother had died when the twins were three from lung cancer. Ichigo had only been nine years old, but the tragedy had left him growing up very fast. Child-like behavior had been left behind, replaced with a driving force that was found in most adults. Since his world couldn't be perfect, Ichigo had allowed his emotions to die out with his mother and had adopted almost a robot-like behavior.

If his world couldn't be perfect, he would have to be. Grades consumed him; being the best at everything he did was his meaning in life. He had to be the best, had to be the last standing at the peak of the mountain, not only for his sake, but for the sake of his family. His father, Isshin, was a giant kid, and Ichigo, although only eighteen, seemed to be more of the father figure than his forty year-old goofball of a father that refused to grow up. It was as if when his mother, Masaki, died, father and son had reversed rolls and they were all living in an alternate universe where children were adults and adults were carefree children.

Ichigo stepped into the convenience store, waving at the cashier as he called out cheerfully. He came to the store so often that he had developed a bit of a friendship with the strange, big-eyed kid. Well, he looked like a kid with his height and baby face and big eyes, but he was actually somewhere in his twenties.

"What's going on, Hanatarou?" Ichigo offered, perusing an aisle for the spice he needed.

"Slow day," Hanatarou sighed, still smiling, "Glad to see a familiar face, though. You haven't been in here in a while!"

Hanatarou's cheery disposition made Ichigo almost feel bad, "Been busy. No time to eat when you're studying."

Hanatarou laughed, shaking his head, "Your brain's going to explode one of these days. When you going to learn to take it easy and have a little fun?"

"Never," Ichigo said, completely serious. There wasn't time to take it easy. Between school, studying, and his part-time job at Urahara Shoten to help with his family's bills, Ichigo's social life was non-existent outside of school.

Hanatarou just laughed his nervous little laugh as he started arranging things behind the cashier's counter. It was a few minutes later when the door bell chimed announcing a new customer that he heard Hanatarou's voice again in greeting. Ichigo was in one of the final aisles, trying to decide if he needed a box of pasta for tomorrow night's dinner or not when he heard footsteps approaching him.

Ichigo turned slightly, making eye contact with the one boy that both thrilled and scared the hell out of him.

Grimmjow's black hoodie was still pushed back, his steel blue gaze flitting over Ichigo quickly before reaching his hand out, making Ichigo stiffen.

Grimmjow cocked his head to the side as if studying Ichigo before his hand moved past Ichigo and pulled a package of spaghetti from the rack near Ichigo's head, "I ain't gonna hurt ya, kid."

Ichigo felt his ears redden as he looked away, unable to help his temper, "We're in the same grade, so don't call me kid."

"Then what should I call you?" he offered, his voice deep and quizzical.

Ichigo's eyes flitted over Grimmjow again, his body still tense as he moved to the side, deciding to grab the box of pasta he had been contemplating to keep himself from looking like an idiot, "Kurosaki Ichigo."

"That's a mouthful," Grimmjow said, his face morphing into a grin full of pearly white teeth.

Shit. Was Ichigo still breathing? He had never had a conversation with the delinquent before, and it was all so exhilarating. He was slightly disgusted that his heart rate had picked up and that his tongue was sticking to the roof of his mouth like glue. He finally committed verbal throw up and smirked, "Yeah, and Grimmjow Jaegerjaques just rolls off the tongue."

If it were possible, Grimmjow's grin got wider, making Ichigo mentally slap himself. God, why were his knees feeling weak, and why the hell did it feel like blood was pooling into his stomach and legs? Ichigo remembered that these were the characteristics of the human body's defense mechanism known as 'fight or flight' syndrome: his body was preparing to run, not fight, which just pissed him off. He was pretty sure he was scowling at this point as Grimmjow chuckled.

"My mom wasn't exactly sober when she named me," Grimmjow said, shrugging, "but obviously your parents were, Strawberry."

"Don't call me that," Ichigo said, instantly bristling. Only his mother had ever called him that, and he'd beat boys until they bled for taunting him with that pet name.

Grimmjow's eyes flickered over his face, his trademark grin still in place. Ichigo didn't understand how a smile could be so scary; he wondered if Grimmjow was conscious of it and did it on purpose. If Grimmjow wasn't scowling or looking bored, the Cheshire grin was his trademark. Ichigo gulped, suddenly curious if this was the expression Grimmjow wore when he beat people up.

"Ya turn so red when you're embarrassed," Grimmjow said, passing by Ichigo's shoulder close but not touching, "I guess I'll see ya tomorrow, Kurosaki Ichigo."

Goosebumps raced up Ichigo's spine as Grimmjow said his name. He was sure his blush was eating his face alive, and he was refusing to believe what all of this interaction had implied.

Ichigo, although not having much of a social life, had recognized at a young age that he was attracted to the same sex. He had never told anyone and had never pursued it, but damn him straight to hell if he wasn't reacting to the blue-haired delinquent. It was the only explanation for his scatter-brained behavior in the classroom, why his body seemed to react to the blunette's voice. Ichigo heard Hanatarou ringing up the register and the drawer sliding open and closed, the door chiming again as Grimmjow left the store. Ichigo shook his head to calm himself, his blood boiling. Why the hell was he attracted to that antagonistic, childlike bastard?

Get a grip, Ichigo, he ordered internally as he headed towards the front counter with his armload of ingredients. Grimmjow Jaegerjaques is completely off limits. Grimmjow Jaegerjaques is the boy that you can never take home to daddy and expect a blessing. Grimmjow Jaegerjaques is the boy that is deadly as sin…looks deadly as sin too, with that perfect body and deep, intimidating blue eyes to go with that shit-eating, sharp-toothed grin. God, he could corrupt anything he put his fingers on…shit, I wonder what those fingers would feel like on me, in me…

"Shit," Ichigo huffed, running a hand through his hair as he tried to calm down. There his mind went again, off on a tangent that only distracted him more from the real world. Hanatarou said his farewells, waving as Ichigo left the convenience store, the bag slung over his back as he walked briskly down the sidewalk. He would just have to force the delinquent out of his mind; nothing good could come from such thoughts, and even if a physical relationship were possible with Grimmjow, he didn't need the added drama in his life at the moment. He was just another punk, a street urchin. Nothing more, nothing less.

It would be only a month later, in the pouring rain, that Ichigo would realize everything he had just thought was utter and complete bullshit.

I'm nervous. Review?