Title: Las Noches High – chapter thirty-five
Rating: R / NC-17
Genre: AU; high school
Disclaimer: I own the mangas that I purchased, but Kubo owns the characters.
Summary/Notes: Forced to transfer from school to school because of something he has no control over, Kurosaki Ichigo resigns himself to expulsion, only to find out he has one last choice: attend Las Noches High.
Christmas Eve was a day for couples—is what society said. Because society has a strong foothold, many create the perfect atmosphere for couples on Christmas Eve. Some couples, however, had no desire for such festivities, and yet, still go out with the masses, but en masse. They were a mismatched group, and behaved as such, but with a bit more civility than normal high school kids.
Grimmjow and Ichigo always managed to clear a path for them— "Because you look like punks," Tatsuki had stated bluntly, tossing her hair over her shoulder. She gave the taller teen a onceover. "You look like yakuza." –so they kept them in front. Ichigo, however, fell back every once in a while to have small conversations with the others.
Inoue and Ulquiorra broke away from the group first—much to Chizuru's chagrin—once they entered the busiest part of the city, meant to trap couples. Inoue became enamored by the cute cakes decorating shop windows.
Grimmjow shot Ichigo a quick glance, a blue eyebrow arching questioningly. You want one?
Ichigo wrinkled his nose, frowning as he shook his head. No way.
Grimmjow smirked, turning back around.
Before they were completely separated, Ichigo placed a hand to Ulquiorra's shoulder. This caused Orihime to turn around, as the two were holding hands like couples should. Ichigo smiled at her, the gesture becoming edgier as he moved his gaze to the stoic brunet. "Merry Christmas."
Ulquiorra didn't return his smile—Orihime's was wide and bright enough for both of them—but his green eyes shone with emotion, instead of reflecting the lights of the decorations hanging all around. "Merry Christmas, Kurosaki."
Ichigo grinned, lifting his hand to set them free.
"We'll see each other again soon enough!" Inoue exclaimed, waving her free hand, her smile never diminishing. Soon, they were lost in the sea of people. Inoue kept a firm grip on Ulquiorra's hand as she led him into the store. They received jubilant greetings, which she returned, before dragging the brunet closer to the counter. Inoue gushed over how cute and darling some of the cakes were. She turned to Ulquiorra, offering him a sheepish smile. "I'm sorry, if I'm—"
"You're not being anything but yourself," Ulquiorra cut in firmly. "This is an important day and you're free to act any way you desire."
Inoue straightened up, tucking a curly strand of hair behind her ear. Her smile widened and she leaned in to press a kiss to the side of Ulquiorra's lips.
Ulquiorra lifted a hand after she pulled away, cupping the side of her face. He thumbed at the loose strand that tumbled over his hand. "Am I allowed to be selfish as well?"
"More than anyone else," Orihime giggled, leaning into the touch.
"I'd like to share your bed tonight."
"Finally," Orihime laughed. "It was getting a bit cold in there, you know!"
The smallest hint of a smile tugged at the brunet's lips, meant only for the young woman that stood before him. Absolutely bursting, Inoue turned around to face the pastry chef standing behind the counter. The young man smiled politely, his cheeks tinged pink in slight embarrassment at having seen such a private moment.
"Can we get a special cake made? I'm sure you're probably busy..." Inoue unconsciously pulled out a great weapon: a pouty smile.
"It's no problem at all...!" the man behind the counter stammered out.
Inoue let out a gleeful giggle before leaning closer to tell him her desired cake.
Other than the cake, there was nothing more that Inoue wanted to do this Christmas Eve night. She dragged Ulquiorra everywhere possible, and they had shared half the cake together on the riverbank, enjoying the evening stars. They were home by eleven.
Inoue had just finished tying her hair into a loose braid when she felt a second presence behind her. Her fingers still playing with the tuft of hair at the end of the braid, she turned and smiled at the brunet that stood just inside her bedroom. "Did you brush your teeth?"
"Yes," Ulquiorra replied monotonously.
Inoue moved closer to the other teen, her smile growing shyer with each step. Once she was standing directly in front of him, Ulquiorra was the one to reach out and cup the side of her face. He guided her forward, and Orihime giggled after the first taste of minty freshness. Ulquiorra muffled the sound with his lips, his thumb on her chin, guiding her mouth open for him. Orihime's hands rose, hooking over his shoulders as she drew herself closer, angling her head so their noses no longer bumped awkwardly. It wasn't their first kiss, but she felt nervous for some reason.
Ulquiorra obviously sensed this, and eased them apart, ghosting his thumb across the blush staining the girl's cheek. "If you're not ready—"
"To sleep?" Orihime laughed, tucking a hand behind her head. "I'm always ready to sleep! I'm just… It's just another step we have to climb, and this is excited nervousness."
Ulquiorra swept his eyes over her face, settling with holding her bright gaze. This woman saved him—showed him there was more to life than following the demands of a megalomaniac.
Orihime's eyes widened and she grinned. "You just thought something was funny." She laughed after noticing his surprise. "I'm probably the only one that really understands you. I'm happy, so happy." Orihime removed her hand from behind her head, once again placing it atop the brunet's shoulder for leverage. She moved close and placed a chaste kiss to each of his eyelids, grinning at the muted look of confusion now thrown her way.
"I don't know," the teen laughed. "I just felt like doing it." Orihime stepped away, her hand sliding down Ulquiorra's arm to grasp his hand. Their fingers danced until they were finally threaded together. With a shy glance, she tugged him towards the bed. Ulquiorra followed obediently.
It took a few tries, of finding the right positions that felt most comfortable, but they eventually did. Orihime was curled against Ulquiorra, her back to everything as she faced her future. She tucked her head against his chest, giggling as their legs became tangled. Ulquiorra let his arm curl around her waist, fingers teasing along the bare skin exposed at her back after Inoue's shirt moved as they shifted.
Orihime found the touch comforting, and closed her eyes, humming softly, "Good night, Ulquiorra."
"Merry Christmas… My Hime." A chaste kiss to the top of her head, Ulquiorra closed his eyes shortly after.
"Unfortunately," Orihime giggled, "It's still Christmas Eve. Sorry. I'm sure there was a livehouse or something we could have visited..."
"None of that—it doesn't matter," Ulquiorra interrupted. "I will still tell you Merry Christmas in the morning.
Orihime didn't care if she woke up and her face was hurting before of the wide grin that wouldn't disappear. "Merry Christmas," she whispered, fisting her hand against his chest.
X X X
Inoue and Ulquiorra started a trend. One by one, the others of the group broke away until only the 'punk' couple remained. Tatsuki and Chizuru had been the last to go. There wasn't enough evidence to confirm anything was developing between the two, but Ichigo suspected there may be a possibility. Chizuru had an attraction for the more well-endowed—or possibly just Inoue, but Tatsuki could easily beat some sense into her. After walking several minutes, moving past excited couples gushing over trivial things, Ichigo checked the time and realized it was only half an hour after eleven.
"Bored?" Grimmow muttered beside him.
Ichigo's expression soured as he looked from store to store. "Not so much bored... but there's nothing to buy except jewelry and cakes."
"I can buy you jewelry." Grimmjow grinned at the scandalized glare thrown in his direction. He freed a hand from the pocket of his jacket to trail his fingers across Ichigo's neck. His touch was warm against the chilled skin. "A pretty li'l necklace—a collar to let everyone know who you belong to."
Ichigo slapped his hand away, but his wrist was snagged in a firm grip, and he found himself flush against the taller teen. "Or I can let them know this way..." Grimmjow whispered, his lips mere centimeters away. Ichigo parted his lips expectantly and Grimmjow smirked, pulling back. "Later, shinigami," he chuckled, sweeping his thumb across Ichigo's bottom lip.
Ichigo's tongue darted out, following the path the digit had taken. He glowered at Grimmjow before storming ahead. With a laugh, Grimmjow followed.
Ichigo had taken over leading the way. His plan was to take Grimmjow to the square, where the town had a large Christmas tree on display, to wish him Merry Christmas. When they arrived, however, it was obvious every other couple in Karakura, and probably neighboring districts, had the same idea. A hand landed roughly atop his head and his dejected expression turned into a scowl.
"I won't say it this time, but you know what I'm thinkin'. Let's just go back home." Grimmjow leaned down to meet his eye. "'kay?"
Ichigo stared around at the thick crowd and sighed, "Yeah."
Grimmjow kept his arm around the other teen's shoulder, turning him away from the couples that surrounded the brightly lit tree. He was getting ready to pull away when Ichigo's hand grasped his, holding his arm in its current place. Grimmjow smirked, staring straight ahead rather than glance down. Even if Ichigo was blushing because of his actions, the cold also caused his skin to become flush, so it would be unnoticeable.
The streets weren't nearly as crowded as before, but there were still many that lingered as they made their way back to the Kurosaki Clinic.
Ichigo found himself pinned against the door after quietly closing it, his arms trapped above his head by a powerful grip. Beyond Grimmjow, he was able to make out the time: seven minutes after midnight. He smiled up at the older teen—the blue eyes shone almost ethereally in the moonlight that streamed into the house. "Merry Christmas, Grimmjow."
"Merry Christmas, shinigami." With a wicked grin, Grimmjow claimed Ichigo's mouth.
Ichigo barely remembered how they got to his room, still fully clothed, but he hoped they did it quietly. He fumbled with the lock after closing the door, fingers trembling as Grimmjow's hand palmed his growing erection through his jeans. With a lewd grin, Grimmjow slid his hand away, not before squeezing the obvious outline through the material. He reached around Ichigo with his other hand, easily locking the door. Drawing his arm back, he wrapped it around the shorter teen's slender waist and easily hoisted him from the floor. Ichigo put up no fuss as he was carried to the bed, grunting softly after being dropped onto it. He sat up, his hands already tugging his sweater over his head. He managed to get one arm free before arching against Grimmjow.
Grimmjow took one pert nipple between his fingers, the other between his teeth; pinching, rolling, and laving both gently after the playful abuse. He kissed his way lower, his hands already working on removing Ichigo's pants so nothing barred him. Ichigo lifted his hips obediently, dropping his sweater onto the floor in time for his pants and underwear together to join it. He fisted his hand against his mouth to muffle his voice—the other clutched the sheets—as Grimmjow swallowed him deeply. Strong hands kept his hips firmly pinned to the bed, so he could only write in pleasure, unable to set his own pace for a quicker release. He whimpered against his fist, Grimmjow's skilled tongue taking him higher and higher. With a firm suck to the head of his cock, the warmth disappeared.
Ichigo peeked through one eye. "Grimm…?"
Grimmjow licked his smirking lips, standing from the floor he'd been kneeling on. "I'm not goin' anywhere, strawberry," he scoffed. "Just getting something that'll make you feel good… and taste sweet, like the strawberry that you are." Ichigo glared, the expression carrying no hostility thanks to the deep blush that colored his cheeks.
The flavored lube Aaroniero had given them at the end of the school semester had long since finished, but was easily found. Grimmjow had taken a liking to it and insist they continue to use it. He dug the bottle out of the pocket of the jacket that hung from the back of Ichigo's desk chair; their in-plain-sight hiding spot. Grimmjow tossed the small bottle once, twice, catching it, and grinned down at the eager teen awaiting his return.
This was going to be a memorable Christmas for both of them.
"Merry Christmas, m'boy and his boy!" Ichigo's bedroom door slowly creaked back after being slammed open and bouncing against the wall. There was only one visible body in the bed, and an orange crown stuck out from the top of the sheets. Isshin watched as his son rolled lethargically onto his side to glare half-heartedly at him. He did a quick scan of the room before focusing on Ichigo again. "Where's Grimmjow?"
"Dunno," Ichigo mumbled. "I guess he got fed up and left me while I was sleeping."
Isshin's eyes narrowed, an action Ichigo would have found ridiculous if he wasn't still so tired. Insatiable, Grimmjow hadn't given him a moment's rest until almost two. Ichigo had no idea where the energy had come from, but Grimmjow had woken up and left again after the sun rose, climbing out of the window to avoid the rest of the house.
Ichigo's eyelids drooped, almost closing entirely, and Isshin let out an exasperated sigh, throwing his arms up into the air. "Stop finding these tsundere types that love and leave you!"
Ichigo snorted before letting his eyes completely close. "...tsundere."
Isshin shook his head and backed out into the hall. He pulled the door along with him, but didn't pull it shut. He knew exactly when Grimmjow had climbed down the side of the house, but wouldn't press the matter any. There was breakfast to be made and a full day that needed celebrating. With a grin, he marched downstairs to begin Christmas preparations.
Ichigo finally dragged himself out of bed after an hour of failed attempts to go back to sleep. He brushed his teeth, splashing some cold water over his face to help himself finish waking. Upon entering the kitchen, he was cheerfully greeted with a chorus of "Merry Christmas" and "good morning". Ichigo smiled lopsidedly, feeling a warmth in his chest that had been void for some several years. "Merry Christmas," he responded, tousling Karin's hair before leaning down to place a kiss to the top of Yuzu's head. Straightening up, Ichigo laughed softly after seeing the special Christmas breakfast. There were scrambled eggs and pancakes; a choice of homemade strawberry pancake or rainbow sprinkle pancakes.
"You, Ichigo, get strawberry," Isshin declared, pointing the spatula in his direction.
Ichigo rolled his eyes. "Of course."
"If you hadn't chased him away, I would've made blueberry pancakes for Grimmjow."
"Don't count me out just yet." Grimmjow appeared with a grim, rolling and flexing his shoulders. His hair was untreated and hung down around his ears, his bangs falling lower in his face. "Climbing back up is a bi—pain in the ass." He ducked away from Isshin's swatting hand with smirk. "Maybe you can put a ladder and hide it with some vines." Yuzu and Karin preened under the older teen's touch as he ruffled their hair.
Ichigo gave him a gentle elbow to the ribs. "Do you remember Keigo? He asked for that about two years ago. He was going through a Shakespeare phase."
Grimmjow's smile soured. "I'll keep climbing the wall."
"Don't climb the wall!" Isshin waved his spatula. "Come through the front door. You're—" He stopped himself from telling the boy he wasn't the only one that climbed through the window. Instead, Isshin grinned, a maniacal grin. "I'm going to put a deadbolt on that window."
Ichigo flew into a protest, complaining about dying during the summer.
Isshin ignored him and went to the fridge to retrieve the blueberries. "Sit, both of you."
Ichigo noisily dragged a chair out, dropping into it with a scowl. Grimmjow sat beside him, leaning over to kiss the frown away. "The strawberry gets to have strawberry. You should be ecstatic." Ichigo rolled his eyes, glaring off to the side, but the hint of a smile still betrayed him.
Isshin hid his grin and began working at the stove. This would be a great Christmas.
X X X
"There's a party taking place at the community center," Yuzu informed Ichigo, after passing him five times on the couch as she did a few last minute chores. "Take Grimmjow. Maybe you'll see a few familiar faces."
"Get up and get out," Karin translated for her sister as she passed.
"Christmas is supposed to be spent with family," Ichigo moaned, readjusting himself on the couch so he was tucked more comfortably into the crook of the arm. "You were crying for me over the summer, now you want to get rid of me. Are you trying to make me go back to Las Noches? There're plenty of people there that would love to have me."
"I hope not," a rough voice scoffed. Grimmjow shoved Ichigo's legs out of the way to take a seat at the other end of the couch. The sweatpants-covered appendages returned to settle in his lap. Ichigo grinned at him before resuming his game play.
Yuzu stared at the back of their heads for several long moments, trying to summon an inner strength to toss them both out of the couch. Sensing his daughter's plight, Isshin flounced into the room. "Ichigo! I need you to deliver something to Urahara."
Ichigo clicked his tongue in irritation, "I'm getting suspicious now, old man. You keep trying to send me to that shop." He never looked away from the television as he battled Arrancars.
Isshin moved around the couch to stand in front of his son. Ichigo leaned to the side, craning his neck to see around the man. Isshin leaned with him, father and child settling on a glaring match. "I'm sending you to pick up presents."
"Presents should have been delivered before today," Ichigo sighed, pushing pause again. He would never be rid of his father now, so it was only fair he give him his full attention.
"These presents can't be delivered." Isshin crossed his arms over his chest. "Stop being so difficult and go get dressed."
"Fine," Ichigo gritted out, "But Grimmjow's coming with me this time."
Isshin's glare dissolved and he smiled sweetly. "I wouldn't have it any other way."
Ichigo's eyes narrowed even more, but he didn't have enough pieces that fit together; he couldn't figure out just what his father was planning. He exhaled deeply. "Let me finish this level first." Grimmjow smirked, looking away so Isshin wouldn't see it.
The physician sighed and lifted his shoulders in a shrug. "Just visit him sometime today," he stated, walking away. He smiled apologetically at Yuzu, but she shook her head.
"Karin and I are heading out to the community center. The town will look beautiful tonight and we'll be enjoying it."
"Have fun," Ichigo sang, lifting his left hand to wave over the back of the couch. "We enjoyed it yesterday." Yuzu pouted and headed upstairs.
Isshin grinned. "I'll be paying a visit to Karakura General."
Grimmjow stiffened, cursing his traitorous mind for making him relive that event. He shook his head, willing the images away, but they remained. He groaned out loud, burying his face in his hands. Ichigo spared him a confused glance before returning his attention to the television.
One by one, the house emptied. It was almost two hours later before the couple left the house and arrived at the strange neighborhood shop.
Urahara was waiting for them outside, his trademark hat back atop his head after Ririn had last kidnapped it. After spotting the teens, he snapped his fan shut, tapping it against a cheek plumped by his wide smile. "Merry Christmas!" he cheered. "It's so good to see you both. I bring good tidings."
"You sound like you're up to no good," Ichigo muttered, climbing the stone steps. He opened the front door to the shop and paused a moment to tap the dirt from his shoes.
Urahara's eyes widened in mock shock. "My dearest Ichigo—" Ichigo shuddered at the sickly sweet voice coupled with the term of endearment. "—You wound me. I asked you here because it's Christmas and I would love to spread the joy." Urahara's sharp gray eyes cut to Grimmjow as the tall teen passed. Grimmjow slowed, narrowing his eyes at the man.
"Hurry, hurry!" Urahara laughed, closing the door behind them. He moved ahead of the couple to reach the side door that led to the 'home' interior, sliding it open after reaching it. "I'm sure you're a bit chilled. I have coffee, hot chocolate, and even a special blend of tea. A tea I believe our dear Grimmjow might enjoy."
Ichigo glanced over his shoulder at the teen following him as they moved down the hallway. He had never once seen Grimmjow drink tea, or even ask for it. Grimmjow sniffed subtly after Urahara stopped them in front of a closed door. His eyes narrowed. "It's a fruit blend Tekoe tea..."
"Impressive," Urahara chuckled.
"What're you playin' at?" Grimmjow ground out. "How do you know about that tea?"
"I'm a lover of fine things, Mr. Grimmjow." Urahara tipped his hat forward, gray eyes gleaming in the shadows it cast. He reached for the handle of the shoji, curling his fingers around it. "And this is my Christmas present... to you." The door was gently pulled open. Inside the room stood an older, distinguished gentleman in a charcoal gray suit, sans the tie. Urahara stepped forward, head bowed. "Christoph Jaegerjaquez."
The man's smile was warm as he nodded his head in greeting.
Ichigo turned to Grimmjow and was rewarded with an innocence he had never before seen—not since their time together. Gone was the glare and furrowed brow, replaced with a look of shock that bordered on disbelief. From there, pure joy. Ichigo always thought Grimmjow's 'joyful' look to be his smug smirk or even his wicked grin.
"Vati," Grimmjow choked out, his voice hoarse, raw with emotion. He didn't care about keeping up appearances—not with his present company anyway—because he hadn't seen his 'father' in over a decade. Grimmjow took the first step, but Christoph met him halfway. Standing at the same height, he threw his arms around the older man, hugging him fiercely.
"You've grown," Christoph laughed, lifting a hand to smooth over the unruly blue hair.
Grimmjow pressed his face against the man's shoulder. "I never stopped thinking about you... I had planned to look for you after I finished school." Aizen be damned.
"I'm glad you didn't forget this old man."
"Never," Grimmjow whispered harshly. "You're my vati. The hospital... it was my true home. Everyone..."
Christoph cupped the back of the teen's head, whispering soothing words to him. He locked gazes with the quiet, frowning orange-haired figure still standing just inside of the room and smiled. He switched back to his native tongue as he spoke as a test to see if his 'son' had kept up with his German. "I thought you were a heartbreaker. Did you finally settle?"
Grimmjow glanced over his shoulder, smirking at the glare he was met with. "I did break his heart a few times, but I think I've finally settled. I don't think I'll tell him that, though... not just yet."
Christoph captured Grimmjow's nose between his fingers, tugging gently. "Stop being such a brat."
"I'm not!" Grimmjow argued, his voice more nasal now that said passage was momentarily closed.
"Don't play with love, son."
"I'm not playing," Grimmjow swatted the man's hand away, rubbing at his nose. He glanced at Ichigo and found the younger teen smiling at him.
Ichigo was smiling at their interaction. That smile, however, disappeared after feeling an arm slide around his shoulder. He took pride in noticing the way Grimmjow glowered at the shopkeeper, but glaring-he could do that himself.
Urahara ignored the narrowed brown eyes and spoke, "I still have to give Kurosaki-san his present. I promise to send him back in one piece so he can get acquainted with his father-in-law." Urahara laughed after taking an elbow to his side. His smile remained, even after guiding Ichigo back out of the room.
Once the door was closed, Urahara removed his arm. "I apologize. There really is no present, not a physical one anyway."
"I figured as much," Ichigo muttered.
"I can share words of wisdom, if you'd like." Urahara smiled sweetly.
"Is that what my old man wanted you to do?"
He ducked his head; only his smile remained out of shadow. "Just like a Kurosaki. Your father's been trying to influence your college decision. He knew you wouldn't listen to him, so he asked if I could pass on a bit of knowledge from his teaching days."
Ichigo stopped to glare at the man that had stopped with him. "If I was any less of a person, I would spend as many years in Las Noches as I wanted, before I even decided on what career I might pursue."
Urahara laughed softly, pushing his hat up with his closed fan. "But you're a greater individual than that. Remember... your father swallowed his pride to send you to Las Noches—to ensure your education."
"I know that," Ichigo scoffed, looking away.
"Do you... know what career you would like to pursue?"
"No." Ichigo's shoulders sagged a bit. "I've just been going through the motions. Trying to literally keep people off my ass and stay alive takes up a lot of my time."
"A fact I will not disagree with you on. If I may offer a suggestion? It's time to stop going through the motions now."
"Never," Urahara cut in. "It's never too late. Because of your condition, for lack of a better word—" Ichigo shrugged. "—you fell behind, but you benefitted from that setback with many riches. I'm sure it was a harrowing journey, but it was worth it, wasn't it?" Urahara didn't need the boy to answer. All he needed to know was written plainly across Ichigo's face. He pressed his fan against his smiling lips. "Do you like kids? Do you wish to follow in your father's footsteps? How are you with math? Computers? I don't want to take your father's place—having this talk with you and all—but... you're only just figuring out who you are. Once that task is done, it might be easier to decide on your future."
"Maybe you should tell him that," Ichigo scoffed.
"I shall," the blond chirped.
"He listens to you, I'm sure. You've been his friend since you both worked at Shinou, right?"
Urahara reeled in his shocked surprise, a smile spreading slowly across his face. He tugged at the brim of his hat with a chuckle, "I've been found out, huh?"
Ichigo's smirk widened as he shook his head.
"I can tell you tales, if you'd like."
"No, because I have a feeling your tales are really what my old man wanted you to tell me."
Urahara shook his head in awe, lifting his head high enough so that the shadows no longer hid him. He showed the teen a bright smile. "You can go far, Ichigo—believe me."
"Right now, I just want to go back to Grimmjow and his dad."
Urahara nodded and stepped back. He bowed, extending an arm in the direction of the room they'd not too long ago vacated. Guardian and child both looked up after the door rattled open. Christoph smiled widely and stood from the kotatsu. Ichigo hadn't properly closed the shoji when he found himself enveloped by strong arms and crushed against the man's chest. He let out a surprised 'oh', barely managing to move his arms to hug back.
"It's so good to see my kid settling down! Should I expect grandchildren before I pass away?"
Ichigo blushed brightly, wriggling until Christoph released him. He absently fixed his shirt, trying not to look directly at the retired doctor.
"Vati," Grimmjow growled, joining them in standing. He continued in German, stating something that had the man laughing uproariously as he responded in the same foreign language; Ichigo grew suspicious. Christoph placed a gentle hand to the orange-haired teen's shoulder, leading him back to the kotatsu. Ichigo nudged Grimmjow aside, taking up the post he'd vacated. Of course, Grimmjow reclaimed his cushion, so it was a tight squeeze on one side of the table.
Christoph grinned at them from the opposite end. "I'm happy for both of you. Grimmjow told me as much as he could about school and what goes on behind those walls; the reason why my correspondences never made it. He told me a little about you, too."
Ichigo glanced at the older teen beside him, but Grimmjow steadily stared ahead. He turned back around, smiling at Christoph. "Because of your son, I've come to accept my problem. Though... it's more his problem now." He grinned.
"He's a brat, so he won't admit it to you often, but he really likes you. I can tell."
With their hands out of sight, Ichigo sought Grimmjow's, squeezing tightly once their fingers interlocked. Grimmjow squeezed back with a small smirk.
Christoph would have plenty of time to tease them later. Right now... "We should go out, instead of staying cooped up in here. It's Christmas Day! Do you have any particular location in mind?"
Ichigo shook his head, clearing his throat. "There's not much to see in Karakura."
"If that's the case, we'll see as much as we can." Christoph was already heading for the door. "I'll meet you out front after I thank Mr. Urahara for his hospitality."
Ichigo nodded absently, finding himself tugged to his feet and pushed along by another. After another push that sent him stumbling a few steps down the hall, he spun and rounded on Grimmjow with a glare. "How many times do I have to remind you I'm not a thing? Stop… treating me like one."
The creases in Grimmjow's brow lessened and Ichigo swore his expression almost softened. "You're not, but you do belong to me."
"Regardless! That doesn't mean you have to treat me however you damn well please," he spat.
Grimmjow smirked, reaching out to curl his fingers around the other's chin. "You just agreed to being mine."
"I... agreed to that... a while ago, Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez."
Christoph's reappearance stopped the kiss from turning into something more, both teens reluctantly separating. Urahara escorted them to the front of the shop, waving as he watched them walk away. Lowering his hand, he slipped it into the opposite sleeve of his haori, pulling out a cell phone.
"Isshin? Forgive me, but I couldn't. He's happier than he's ever been before."
"Yeah… It's alright. I guess I wasn't ready to lose my son just yet."
X X X
Karakura Town was alive and buzzing as they walked through it. But rather than the atmosphere, the trio enjoyed each other's company. Ichigo took it upon himself to be a sort-of tour guide, though there was not much of his hometown to look at. A visit was paid to the community center, where they encountered Tatsuki, Ryo, and Michiru helping out. Ichigo introduced his childhood friend and classmates, mentally preparing himself after seeing Tatsuki's wicked grin blossom.
Tatsuki sighed deeply, crossing his arms over her chest as she cocked her head to one side, staring from the teens to the older gentleman. She looked back at Ichigo. "It's Christmas. I'll let you escape unscathed this time."
Ichigo smirked, nodding his gratitude. "Thanks. I know I'm going to have enough to deal with when I see Nel again."
Tatsuki smiled, no longer feeling a touch of jealousy at the way her friend brightened at the mention of this 'Nel'. "I'd love to meet this person."
Ichigo sobered, his expression souring. "No. You don't."
"Definitely now," Tatsuki laughed.
After leaving the community center, they walked around a bit more, finally making their way to the large tree at the center of town. Grimmjow, who had stayed silent for most of the evening—other than bickering with Ichigo—reminded them that it was time to eat when his stomach growled loud enough for his guardian to hear. Christoph offered to treat the boys to dinner, ignoring them as they tried to turn him down. "It's my gift to you," he'd told them with a smile. His eyes said they needed to stop arguing with him.
Rather than be scared of the menacing stare, Ichigo found himself already comfortable around Grimmjow's father figure, which he took as a good sign. He lifted his shoulders in a shrug, conceding defeat. "Let's eat," was all he muttered.
Dinner was mostly Christoph revealing all of Grimmjow's dirty little secrets, which Ichigo enjoyed immensely, despite the older teen's constant whining protest.
"It was such a pleasure," Christoph told the couple, smiling at each boy. "Don't let this one go," he told Grimmjow, reaching up to tousle the already unruly blue locks.
Grimmjow accepted the gesture with a smirk, ducking his head. "He wouldn't let me even if I tried."
Ichigo frowned as the other two laughed without him. "Stop talking about me," he mumbled.
"All good things, I swear," Christoph chuckled, holding up a hand defensively. "I'm just telling him to hold onto you."
Ichigo's frown relaxed into a small smile and he dared not glance at the taller teen; he could practically feel Grimmjow's smugness washing over him. He realized something, and took a step toward the retired doctor. "Um… did you want to meet my dad—my family?"
"I'm here until New Years," Christoph admitted. "We can all get together then," he added, meeting Grimmjow's eye. The blue-haired teen looked away with a scoff, shoving his hands deeper into the pockets of his jackets.
Ichigo found the interaction strange, but Christoph was smiling at him once again, and holding out his hand. He took it, unmasked surprised flooding his face as he was pulled into a tight embrace.
"Please. Take care of him," was whispered into his ear.
He nodded and the older man pulled away, his smile as gentle and warm as ever. Christoph headed down the walk, back to the Shop. Urahara wasn't anywhere in sight when the door opened, which Ichigo found a bit surprising. He returned the man's wave, and then the door slid shut, leaving just him and Grimmjow. Ichigo started moving first and Grimmjow silently fell in step beside him. He smirked, remembering the earlier conversation with his dad. "My old man call you tsundere."
Grimmjow's scoff preceeded his laughter. "Really? What made him think that?"
Ichigo rolled his eyes. "What, you ask... I don't think you're dere at all. You're just Grimmjow."
The blue-haired teen turned, walking backwards to stare at Ichigo. "I think there's a dere hidden in you somewhere."
"Where did you go this morning?" Ichigo questioned, bringing an end to the dere talk.
Grimmjow turned back around, shortening his strides to maintain Ichigo's calm stroll. "To check on your present. Unfortunately, it won't be ready until New Years."
Ichigo knew whatever Christoph and Grimmjow shared between their looks and non-looks had to do with him, along with Grimmjow's so-called present. He hoped it wasn't another ploy to get him to make a final college decision.
Grimmjow knew from the other's scowl, what he was thinking. "I don't care where you decide to go," he sighed. The deep breath caused a cloud of condensation to billow before him. "And you shouldn't either. Stop thinking so hard, and just enjoy what you have now, while you have it now."
Ichigo stopped, staring at Grimmjow's broad back as the older teen moved ahead of him. 'He's talking about himself.' There was no telling what Aizen planned to do once he had all his test subjects together again. There was no telling whether or not new subjects hadn't already been gathered. There was also Wonderweiss. Pushing the thoughts aside, he told himself those were issues to be tackled when they arose. Ichigo smirked and rushed after Grimmjow. He grabbed his shoulder after reaching him, pulling him down for a kiss.
Grimmjow's surprise gave way to a toothy grin. "You want another present like this morning's?"
"Maybe," Ichigo murmured against his lips. Thinking about it sent a shiver of pleasure down his spine. Grimmjow must have seen it in his eyes, because the next thing he knew, they were running down the streets. Christmas declarations were shouted between the Kurosaki family plus one after the boys returned to the house.
Isshin sighed and wondered if he should give his son the gift of a sound-proof room.
A/N: Shoot me, yes. I don't care. This chapter is too long not to have smut, but I'm gonna do all those scenes as "fade to black" from now on. The lemons are what are holding me back (that, and the fact that I kinna lost sight of the plot) most of the time. People keep favoriting and following, and I'm like "T^T nuuoo... I haven't updated". Hope you enjoyed deredere!Grimmjow with his dad x3
I'll be back in three months! *runs away*
Vati - Dad, in German