Disclaimer: I don't own anything and I don't get any money.

Life's a piece of shit when you look at it.

Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true.

You'll see it's all a show, keep'em laughing as you go,

just remember that the last laugh is on you.

And always look on the bright side of life.

Always look on the bright side of life.

Renji squeezed the bridge of his nose and exhaled slowly. "He broke your pelvis," he said monotonously, as if he had guessed it would happen sooner or later. Probably not this soon though.

Ichigo sat between crisp white bed sheets and scowled heavily. "Don't start." He crossed his arms defensively.

"You idiot, he fucking broke your—"

"I know," he hissed. " I've noticed, believe me!"

"Your sarcasm isn't getting you anywhere!" At least not for the next weeks. Slumping down in a chair next to the hospital bed, Renji rubbed a hand tiredly over his face and gave Ichigo a scolding glare. "And what now?"

Ichigo shrugged his shoulders. Everything he was able to do was sitting back semi upright (Fowler's position – Ichigo had asked), chatting with the nurses and watching TV.

Currently, the evening news was on, displaying – among other things – Grimmjow. The newscaster wasn't even shy using rather strong language to describe his heroic deeds. And the sums he had asked for. Ichigo almost felt embarrassed for Grimmjow, as if he was responsible for his attics. He sighed.

"He still is a real asshole."

Ichigo looked up to Renji scowling at the TV-screen. He couldn't even deny that.

"You've lived with him how long? Three weeks? Four?" He huffed loudly. "I had hoped you might have changed him a little bit after this stunt of yours-" Although still nobody figured out, how or why it had happened in the first place. "-but obviously not. An uncaring asshole as ever. And I dare you to make any excuses. There aren't many ways to break your pelvis without any other very visible injury." Renji shuddered at the image he had in his mind, fueled further by the faint embarrassed blush covering the other's neck.

"Renji, just-"

"Oh no, I won't. Nobody knows what might happen the next time. More cracked bones? Or do you want him to paralyze you down from the waist? You think he might give a fuck?" Renji's nostrils flared, obviously caught up in his own horror scenario. "Have you seen what he did to people? Have noticed what he did to you? It takes more than a little beating to get even a tiny bit through his pig head. He-"

When the breeze from the opened window picked up, Renji stopped. In fact, when the redhead turned abruptly to his left, he saw the famous blue haired devil flying in front of the window, looking somehow irritated, bored and maniacal all the same.

Clamping his mouth shut, Renji's glare intensified as the bastard flew through the window, landing with a tap on the floor. When his gaze shifted back to Ichigo he couldn't believe that the kid gave the newcomer a small smile, something akin to joy flushing over his face.

"I gave the sick note to the office." Grimmjow didn't even greet Ichigo, but Renji was baffled hearing that Grimmjow actually did someone a favor.

"Thanks a lot." Ichigo reached for the bottle of water on the night stand and tried to look causally while taking a sip.

"Oh, and they gave me this letter for you." By the confused look Grimmjow just shrugged his shoulders and handed him the envelope. Without any other word, he turned and jumped back outside, his outline vanishing in the red light of the evening.

Upon opening the letter, Ichigo's face turned blank.

"I'm fired."

Renji waited for any other reaction, but Ichigo just folded the paper and put it back into the envelope. That was it.

"Are you happy now?" he asked harsher than he intended to. "Thanks to the bastard you lost your job. How often did you have to send in a sick note because he mauled you for one reason or another? Wake up, goddamnit!"

"Don't you have a job to do, too?" Brown eyes were alit with repressed anger. "I never asked for a fucking babysitter! I don't need you to fuss over me out of pity. You said you won't give me any sympathy, then stop it. Get the fuck off my back already!"

In-your-face. Renji felt as if he was slapped. Then he got angry. "You know what your problem is? Either you're a fucked up masochist or just simply fucked up. You treat people who actually care for you like trash, and you turn to the worst kind of people who don't give a flying fuck if you kick the bucket. Can't you see what the bastard did to you? Where the fuck is the fire that was there some months before? You were always in trouble and bruised from head to toe but you were alive and kicking! Now look at you! You've become a wimp, dependent on the worst bastard in all over the city." Renji stood abruptly, clenching his fists by his side. He actually considered punching the boy in the face but it wouldn't bring the satisfaction he was looking for; so he restrained himself from doing so. "Don't expect anything from me anymore. I thought we became something like friends."

When the door was slammed and Ichigo heard a nurse fussing over the police officer to be quiet in the corridor, he was left alone. With a numb feeling he looked to the bedside table and his throat went dry when he saw how empty it was. He had been in the hospital for four days as Renji had rushed in on the first notice that Ichigo was hospitalize. He – obviously – had feared the worst. In hindsight, Renji seemed to have noticed his bare table as well. There hadn't been anybody who would visit him and bring flowers.

It took a little over another three weeks until Ichigo was free to walk around – after a long and tiresome physiotherapy. His first walk lead him to his former working place in the middle of the city. He looked almost ruefully to the big gray building of the main post office. Regret washed over him the second he saw his unused working bike chained to a pole in the corner of the backyard. How many times did he have to bring it in a workshop, since he totally crashed it with a stunt of his? Actually, Ichigo had wondered since several months, why his chef hadn't thrown him out long ago. Maybe it was pity that had greeted him whenever he saw the tall man in the hallway.

Grimmjow's apartment was open upon entering. Ichigo put the box with his very few belongings onto the floor of the small entrance hall and made his way into the living room.

Grimmjow stood with a bare torso and clad boxer shorts in front of the television, sipping onto a beer while watching the news. He barely spared the redhead a glance and a grunt as acknowledgment before turning back to the weather broadcast who was promising storms and heavy rainfalls the next days.

Ichigo choked on his greeting when he chanced a small glance into the wide open bedroom. Something curvy was lying motionless under the crumbled sheets; a foot with purple nail paint was hanging over the edge of the bed.

Keeping himself upright despite the light feeling in the back of his head, Ichigo cleared his throat uncomfortably. "You..." he started unsure. "You have a guest?" He felt stupid, stating the obvious.

Grimmjow grunted again, slurped down the last drop of his beer and threw the crushed beer can over his shoulder, hitting the trash bin almost perfectly.

"She was offering."

Ichigo remembered the last report of his hero-playing, the image of the blue haired hated hero flying away with a woman in his arms still vivid in his mind.

"Is she alright...?"

Cold blue eyes bore into him and Ichigo was glad for the first time, that Grimmjow didn't possess any threatening weapons within his eyes. "Sure," he snarled. "She isn't a wimp like you."

Ichigo wondered whether Grimmjow did this on purpose or was just his usual asshole-self.

"And next time, keep your fucking dog at bay. He's getting on my nerves." Grimmjow strolled in the middle of the room and grabbed a package of cigarettes lying on the low couch table.

"...who?" Ichigo asked hesitantly.

"Your frickin' cop-friend. Fuck, bugged the hell outa me!"

Ichigo's mouth went dry and he felt even worse after the last words he had exchanged with Renji. And after all, he still stood up for him?

When the strong smell of tobacco invaded his nostrils, Ichigo jerked out of his thoughts. His head snapped up and he stared into Grimmjow's face that hovered closely above the redhead. A cigarette was dangling between his lips and with every exhale of his breath white-blue smoke came out.

"What is it with you...?" he asked in a tone as if he wasn't aware he said it out loud. His brows drew together, he grabbed Ichigo roughly by his chin and held him still while observing. As no real answer seemed to be found in his freckled face, Grimmjow clenched his teeth, snapping the stump of the cigarette unknowingly in two. "You little piece of..." Abruptly, Grimmjow shoved him a meter away, threw one last disgusted glance into the direction of the bedroom and stomped off to the wide terrace.

Ichigo had no idea what had went into him. If Ichigo didn't know any different, he would say Grimmjow was distressed with something.

"So, you're his little roomie?"

Ichigo almost jumped out of his skin when a sultry voice breathed into his ear. It was the woman who belonged to the feet with the purple nail paint. She was – due to the lack of any other word – hot. Curvy, dark skinned, gorgeous eyes. And stark naked.

With a rather unmanly shriek he whirled around, covering his eyes. "Get dressed!" he all but shouted. He heard her chuckling retreating back into the bedroom.

"And a shy roomie at that. How unexpected!"

The next time he dared to turn around, she was...somehow dressed. Ichigo wondered whether Grimmjow picked her right at a certain corner of a street.

"Now come again: how did someone like you end up with someone like him?" She pointed bluntly to the still smoking (and obviously still brooding) Grimmjow on the terrace.

Ichigo gave a small crooked smile. "Fate?"

She barked a hearty laugh. "Fate you say? Now that's a new one!" Despite her loud answer she did not fail to notice his almost lost expression when he chanced a glance to the blue devil. "Then fate be it," she huffed.

"And," Ichigo cleared his throat. "How did you two come together?"

She smirked, pushing back a strand of her long dark hair. "I'd love to call it fate as well, but it was more..accidently that we've met."

Figures, Ichigo sighed inwardly and opened his mouth to voice another question, when Grimmjow beat him to it.

"20-questions is over. Get out."

Surprisingly, it wasn't directed to Ichigo, but the female guest. She looked at least as surprised as Ichigo felt.

"What? That's not very nice." she pouted, crossing her arms over her ample chest.

"I've never been known for being nice." Grimmjow looked even more unfriendly as usual when saying that.

With an obvious sway in her hips, she stalked towards Grimmjow. "What about my good-by-kiss?"

A blue brow twitched. "You'll get a good-by-kick-in-the-ass if you're not out in ten seconds."

"What about the kid?"

"He's part of the furniture."

Despite his serious thread (Ichigo had no doubt he would pull through it – he had done worse to comply that), she smiled widely and pulling out a small white card from between her breasts. "Then give me a call, will ya?" She boldly grabbed the elastic band of his boxers and pushed the card between his skin and the material, letting the band snap back. She then turned towards Ichigo, grabbed his hand in a rather manly strong hand shake, winked once and vanished behind the entrance door.

"I don't have a phone, dumb chick." Fishing the paper out of his underwear and crumbling it afterwards, Grimmjow tossed it backward, perfectly into the bin.

Relief flickered briefly in the back of Ichigo's mind as Grimmjow usual attics and a small smirk (or smile, depending on the position looking at him) grew on his face, which fell quickly when Grimmjow addressed him.

"And you, get in the bathroom, you stink."

Actually, Ichigo had made sure to shower twice before leaving the hospital and he didn't know if he felt offended that Grimmjow claimed he was stinky despite smoking himself like a bonfire.

"And hurry up, 'm horny."

All color drained from the redhead's face at the prospect of a romp in his current condition. He was about to voice his worry, but Grimmjow cut him off.

"Don't look like a kicked puppy, I'll be fuckin' gentle, okay?"

Didn't improve the situation. The last 'gentle' concluded into a four-week clinical pit stop. Even though Grimmjow ensured the financial backing (considering he was the cause of the whole mess), Ichigo wasn't really fond of the idea of going straight back there first thing in the next morning.

His face must have shown his discomfort as Grimmjow all but growled at him. "Get into the frickin' shower, wimp."

After a numb third shower that day, Ichigo stalked back into the bedroom where a pile of soaked bed sheets decorated one corner. His hip burned at the memory of his injury the moment he sank face forward and naked next to Grimmjow into the new sheets, waiting patiently.

After a minute or two, Grimmjow breathed into his ear. "If you're so afraid of me, why bothering coming always back again?"

Ichigo honestly didn't know.

But when those strong and often so brutal arms embraced him from behind without any sexual implication, he wondered whether it was for moments like this one?

Renji's doorbell rang on his only free day in the week. His brows shot up to his hairline upon finding Ichigo on his doorstep, holding out a small carton of confection from the pastry shop two blocks down his apartment.

Without any greeting, Renji pulled the other redhead inside and inspected instantly his plastered hands and fingers.

"I actually finished the dessert, but Grimmjow found it before I had the chance to come here." That explained the cuts despite the bought sweets.

"Coffee or tea?"

Ichigo looked dumbfounded for a moment before he smiled guiltily at the other. "Tea," he said and wondered – with Renji so gruff but still so forgiving and caring – why he didn't fell for the officer instead...

Equipped with a steaming mug, Ichigo warmed his cold hands on the cup.

"How's your hip? Everything's fine again?" Renji just finished his second piece of pastry, leaning back into the couch. "I hope the bastard kept his genitals within the confine of his pants," he added warningly. "Once hospital in a month should be enough, shouldn't it?"

Heat colored Ichigo's neck and ears red. Whether out of embarrassment about speaking of sex with his friend or Renji's lack of expectations for any apology (or the need of thereof), Ichigo didn't know.

"Fine," he murmured absently as he remembered the day he came back from the hospital. He could chalk it up with Grimmjow being incredulously blunt and uncaring of how he acted or was noticed by others, so that he was able to switch from an utterly asshole to a still new strange more – dare he say – softer side (well, as soft as a piece of hard rock can get). Even now, half a week later, Ichigo struggled with what happened that day – or better: what didn't happen. After all, like Renji put it: Grimmjow's genitals had stayed where they were. "It's fine, you don't have to worry." He tried a smile that looked not really successful considering the once more prominent scowl adorning his face.

There was a certain line between Renji's eyes that was still tense when looking him up and down. "What about the job you've lost?"

Ichigo cringed at the sore theme and glared at his cup of tea. "Well..."

Some pamphlets and brochures landed on the couch table before Ichigo could form any excuse.

"Look those through. They should give you enough first information. After that, visit the job center downtown." Renji pulled out one flyer. "Here are the opening hours and a map."

Ichigo didn't know what to say.

"Say: 'Thank you, Renji, my uttermost knight in shining armor. Take this pastry as a sign of my gratitude!' " With grace he grabbed a new pastry and gulped it down in one go. "You're welcome Ichigo! These are delicious! You can bring them more often!"

It took surprisingly much willpower to comprehend and suppress the urge to throw himself at the redhead and hug him. Ichigo settle for smile instead, without the scowl.

Grimmjow made his way down the street to the next supermarket. He ran out of food again, now with two people in his flat again. Not that Ichigo was eating much in the first place, but the constant urge to stop himself just to take what lies there next to him at night made him incredibly hungry. He would soon ban the kid to the couch again. At least when Ichigo stopped limping wherever he went.

And since he run out of money as well, he went into the next bank. Upon entering the small branch bank, he sighed deeply when two guns were aimed at him.

"Don't move," one masked man shouted at him.

Grimmjow pulled a bored face, shook his head and despite the five frightened people crouching in a corner, turned on his heel. He was in no mood for this.

"H-hey! Stop or I'll—"

Three shots later Grimmjow was still walking, turned left and vanished out of their view.

The money he had would be enough for that day, he didn't need unwanted attention. Again.

But fate wasn't his friend that day when an oh-so-familiar voice called after him, three blocks later.


He sighed. Just his day.

Matsumoto linked arms with him, making his scowl deepen. "And how are my two favorite boys?"

He considered telling her he almost paralyzed the redhead, but she wouldn't find it as funny as he had. So he stayed vague. "One is with his backside on fire and the other is annoyed as hell."

Matsumoto got the nerve to giggle. "I've got another invitation! Kurosaki can come, too!"

"I doubt he want to..."


A sigh. "She asked for you."

"Grimm, no."

"There is food."

"You're only thinking about the one thing."

"Be lucky it isn't the other."

"Grimmjow, I don't want it to end like last time."

"Everyone was safe while you drowned in the sea."

A sigh from the other side. "You know what I mean."

"Why do I try to convince you...?" Grimmjow asked himself. Wait: (Matsumoto: "You get a bonus if you coax him out!") that's why.

"I hate you."

"No, you don't." Grimmjow put his hands in his pockets. It was a week later and both men were standing in the entrance to an exclusive, but for the upper society decent room. Various styled people littered every corner, a small band played on a small stage, the decoration was flashy but not eye-hurtingly so. The spacious windows showed a spectacular view of the city at night. Considering they were in one or another of the freakingly tall skyscrapers, one had to expect such a view.

"Besides, I want to be here as much as you do."

Ichigo stared at him. "Then why are we here?"

Shrugging his shoulder, Grimmjow shoved him almost playfully. "What can I say? Food? Money? Doing a friend a favor?"

"You made the last one up, didn't you?"

Ichigo was surprised to see Renji in the small crowd. He looked a bit out of place with his tattooed face and he was red around his cheekbones (probably not because of the alcohol). The party was as small as the one on the yacht, somehow familiar faces were everywhere and the buffet look as delicious as ever.

The young Kuchiki was the one that approached him early that evening, pulling him aside.

"I heard what happened," she said quietly, "Last month when you vanished. Between you and...Grimmjow." She shied her eyes away, blushing lightly. "How was it?"

Ichigo spluttered terribly, trying to figure out whether he needed a hole to swallow him or not. Grimmjow would kill him if any of their more intimate activities (especially the one time with the superman on the receiving end) got out. He all but squeaked: "Excuse me?"

Kuchiki gazed up to him, her look dreamily and in awe. "How was it to fly like a bird in the sky?"

Stopping for a moment, the shock was covered by a small smile. He still felt the butterflies in his stomach, the wind over his skin, the freedom. It was... "Indescribable."

He left it at that and – when the young Kuchiki vanished satisfied – hided near the panorama window, taking small gulps of a beer. Even though Matsumoto greeted him with hugs and kisses and assured him how welcome he was, he felt...bad. Bad in bad feeling that something might happen. They were still in the middle of the city in one of the highest floors of a skyscraper. If something happened, the damage would be worse.

His eyes wandered to Grimmjow, who looked decent even while devouring almost every plate of the buffet. Obviously the only reason why he took up Matsumoto's offer. But getting down something to calm his nervous stomach sounded good.

The first plate he took cracked instantly in the middle and decorated the red plush carpet. Ichigo groaned. Maybe he should stop trying.

Upon picking up the pieces – trying not to cut himself – he noted even over the song of the band a strange sound. Investigating further, he pushed the long table cloth up and peered under the table.

His heart stopped when he spotted a small red blinking light in one corner of the underside of the table. Here he was, crouching with his upper body covered under the buffet, regretting every second he was within seeing distance to the blond actress.

"I doubt that is comfortable," Grimmjow's voice drowned from above him. Pushing the table cloth away Ichigo stared at him with big terrified eyes. Grimmjow crouched next to him and peered in the direction Ichigo had previously looked.

He clicked his tongue. "A bomb, how classy."

Ichigo wanted to scream. "Shit, what are we gonna do?" he whispered slightly hysterically.

Shrugging his shoulders, Grimmjow bent forward and unceremoniously ripped the red blinking thing from the table. In the dimmed lights of the room Grimmjow held it up and inspected it – with the size as small as his palm, the faint smell of explosive filled his nostrils – and came shortly to the conclusion, that it was quite real.

Unfortunately, the woman next to him came to the same conclusion and within three seconds, she shouted the whole area down. Men and woman alike stopped everything they were doing and stared at the spectators.

"Bomb", Grimmjow declared loudly and didn't even try to hide the small device. He rolled his eyes when half the occupants of the party – after a small shocked silence - stormed to the emergency exits, panic filled the whole room.

Ichigo had the fleeting thought to scold Grimmjow for even making the situation worse than it already was, but was distracted by the frantic peeping thing, that – frighteningly – became faster every second.

Grimmjow swept his eyes over the crowd, out the window. Evacuating the people took too much time, pointless; throwing the thing out would probably hit something else instead and if he just flew away with-

The device changed its sound to an eerily long shriek and without any more consideration, Grimmjow shoved it down his throat.

Ichigo's eyes grew incredibly wide. "Grimm...?"

Said man screwed his eyes close, pinched his nose and covered his mouth, bowing forward.

Ichigo wanted to touch him, feared that any moment –

Then the explosion inside wracked his body, the sound like a firecracker being thrown into a gully. His body jerked heavily and Grimmjow's face went beet red, sweat covered his whole frame.

When the first wave ebbed down, Ichigo dragged him down to the floor and shook him. "Grimmjow?"

He had yet to uncover his face and when he did he fell forward, heaved deeply and puked all over the red plush carpet.

Matsumoto stumbled towards them, went to Grimmjow's other side and supported the still heaving man.

"Someone get an ambulance!" She yelled loudly, her blue eyes wide and her hands shaking. "And get the frickin police!"

Renji came rushing over, pulled out his phone and made the first calls. "Everyone move out and into the foyer! Wait for the officers there!" Nobody said it out loud, but the possibility that another device was hidden somewhere made everyone scramble and hurry down.

"Grimmjow? Can you hear me?" Ichigo clutched Grimmjow's jacket, afraid of letting go.

"Too loud and clearly," he all but grumbled back and spit out the last remains of vomit. His sounded hoarse and the sweat covering his whole frame betrayed his careless attitude.

"Shit, we need to get him a doctor-"

"No," Grimmjow coughed. "No," this time more fiercely. "Those guys know shit, just-" he pulled himself up, Ichigo to his left, Matsumoto to his right. "Just get me home."

Ichigo would have laughed when he thought about Grimmjow's ass being one fire, but he couldn't find the humor in it. After they got home, Grimmjow's other opening was misused as an emergency exit as well that lead to things that shouldn't be described here. Since then he was lying in bed groaning and being miserable. Still, that was an extremely good condition, considering that the retard had swallowed a bomb.

"I made you a tea," Ichigo whispered when sitting on the edge of the bed with a trail in his hand.

"And you send me to an aroma therapy as well or what?" Grimmjow's eyes were reddened from all the vomiting. "Ugh..." he paled. "It's coming again."

While holding the bucket up dutifully, Ichigo thought that this would be a long night when everything Grimmjow ate that evening would get out this way.

The doorbell rang. Grimmjow frowned. That damn thing never rang. He peered one eye open and scowled when he saw Mister Officer coming inside his bedroom. Inside his bedroom.

"Ichigo!" he growled loudly. "What is the goddamn cop doing in my home!"

"He has news," came the reply from the kitchen.

"What news!" he shouted back.

"Grimm, ask him! He's standing in front of you!"

Renji sighed. Good start.

"Speak or go!"

Really good start.

Nevertheless Renji explained dutifully the progress of the investigation. They had even analyzed the broken pieces of the bomb hidden between half-digested food (Grimmjow had roared with laughter hearing that just before he was heaving again...).

Coming to a more uncomfortable topic, Renji cleared his throat. "Well, I suppose, you still remember the incident with Matsumoto and the roof."

"Where she showed her acting-skills and almost killed herself?"

"Ah, yes, that one. I'm not sure how much you were interested in it, after your official part in it, but it was supposed to be some sort of...plot. I have no idea what they intended in the first place, considering you've blown their plan anyhow. On the other hand, what came out of it was that Matsumoto took the whole thing to court. Obviously there were some major slips in the securities and weren't you half as nice back then that would have been her last role to play. Thanks again for that."

Grimmjow quirked an eyebrow, just half interested where this might lead.

"She won the process. The defendant wasn't very pleased with that."

"So he wants to get rid of her?"

"Possible." Renji looked at him. "Or he tries to continue what he started and wants to get rid of you instead."

By sunset Grimmjow was his usual asshole-self again. With his stomach empty he was more than willing to fill it to the brim. (during that process he emptied the fridge instead) Ichigo feared the procedure of last night would continue, but Grimmjow seemed to be more intractable than he had thought.

Around midnight Grimmjow went to bed.

Ichigo dared to give him a good-night kiss and crawled into his bed on the couch. His injuries didn't hurt anymore after all the resting and to not encourage Grimmjow anymore, he left willingly the bed to spare his behind for the time being. He practically felt the tension the last week and half and wasn't yet ready to try testing his limits again. Even though Grimmjow might have crossed the line the last time, there was no guarantee that he wouldn't do it again Accidently.

Ichigo cringed.

Beside being a good bedmate, what else had he to offer Grimmjow now...?

Ichigo curled up further under his blanket.

Not much, he concluded.

Finishing the last buttons of his dress shirt, Ichigo exited the bathroom. His hair was tamed and the bruises in his face were covered with a little help of make-up. He ignored Grimmjow's questioning stare.

"Why're you still here?"

It was eight in the morning and with Ichigo's former working schedule he would have been three hours late already. Considering he still had that job to begin with. Ichigo shrugged his coat on and buttoned it as well. It was almost winter and he hated the cold. "Got fired," he said in an even voice.

"What's the shirt for then?"

"I found a new job, hopefully. The guys from job center helped me to the interview I am going to now."

Grimmjow furrowed his brows. "And what are you gonna do?"

"Welcome," a woman with a timid voice said, smiling at Ichigo lightly. "You must be Kurosaki Ichigo." They shook hands. "Hinamori Momo," she introduced herself and led him to the elevator.

With the girl talking about the main service of the company all the way up, Ichigo stood in his corner, feeling his gut flutter. He hated elevators for a reason and he was exited. The bad kind of exited.

The ride ended in the fortieth floor or so and when the assistant led him to huge, impressing double doors, Ichigo would not have guessed what he was about to see.

A wide smiling blond man sat in a chair that was probably too big for his frame, and stood as soon as Ichigo stepped inside.

"Kurosaki! There you are!" he said happily, walking up to him with long strides. Ichigo never knew that someone could be so happy to see a mere guy looking for a job. The man eyed him up and down with this knowing smirk, patting his shoulder to finish his examination. "You're exactly the man I need!"

"W-well, good to hear that," Ichigo got out. What had they said at the job center? An easy office job, steady payment, 9 to 5, boring; exactly what he needed (no sarcasm included).

"Please, don't feel offended but you have to do me a big favor!"

Cold metal pushed against his temple, making Ichigo gulp. A creepy voice whispered in his ear that he "should better keep that little ass still, or my finger might slip." A black clad man with a gun stood grinning beside him.

"Please, be a nice hostage."

Ichigo was shell-shocked. Several other men appeared from the shadows of the spacious room, all lined up on the wall next to the double doors. Okay, being taken as a hostage was new for him. He had many ridiculous things survived and lived through; he asked himself how he would be doing now...

Shit. He hated his life.

"Since you're so close with our Blue Bird, would you mind giving us a telephone number so we can tell him that we like to meet him?"

Ichigo needed a moment to find his voice. "He doesn't have a telephone."

The blonde looked at him, laughed a bit, opened a fan and waved with it in front of his own face. "That was good, Kurosaki. Now please hand out the number."

Ichigo got annoyed. "If he doesn't have a telephone why should he have a number for it?"

Seemed to be the wrong thing to say since the metal of the gun started pressing more firmly against his head.

"He doesn't have a phone!" Ichigo said almost desperately.

This time the man seemed to believe him. "Well, that's bad. And complicated."

"We could send him a letter," one of the other black clad guys to Ichigo's left suggested.

"Good idea."

"He doesn't check his post box."

"You're no fun, you know that?" The blonde looked to his minions. "Any ideas?"

"Video message?" one said.

Humming. "No, that is too cliché already."

Another man ripped his arm in the air. "E-mail!"


Ichigo sighed. "No computer."

"Say, is Blue Bird retarded or what?"

Grimmjow was far from retarded. Especially when he tried to relax on his couch and was disturbed by the successful smashing of his terrace door. His eyes promised death when he eyed a small device that came flying through his windows and was now lying on the floor of his living room. The hand that formerly held the remote crushed it as soon as he stood and stomped to the blinking thing.

Smell and design was all too familiar and he just heard a small mechanic message being played.

"Hello Mr. Blue Bird. I'm quite a big fan of your heroic deeds and would love to meet you in person, if that's okay for you and your busy schedule. Maybe I can bribe you to come here with a little lovely redhead who would die to see you come within the next two hours. So if you want him back as alive and kicking as he is know—" an address followed before the device gave out a shrill shriek so that he barely had time to kick it out of the window before it exploded with an ear shattering boom and the clatter of broken glass.

When the rubble and dust settle enough to see, the blue of his eyes went deeper with every ticking second. The damage to his property was limited to the large French windows that were shatter into oblivion, but it was enough to get his own inner bomb exploding, jumping out of his house and with his fury packed up he flew to his destination.

Ichigo would have sighed if he wasn't gagged already. His hands were tightly bound to his back and – to make his curse come into action – one of the black guards accidently shot his right foot. Accidently with a gun on safety. He would have laughed if it didn't hurt like a bitch. The wound bleed through his shoe and he felt dizzy but nobody seemed to see it necessary to look after the injury.

Urahara – so he had heard the guards calling the blond – sat draped over his chair, looking bored. "Blue Bird isn't really fast, is he?"

I doubt he'll come anyway, Ichigo thought in resignation.

Just then, the double doors opened again, revealing Hinamori from before. "This way, Sir."

Ichigo's eyes widened when he saw blue hair and a grumpy face. Grimmjow barely honored him with a glance and went up to the table. The guards were pointing their guns at him, at least two were securing Ichigo, daring him to do anything stupid.

"Welcome!" Urahara said happily, the same way he had said it to Ichigo. "You must be Mister...Mister..."

Grimmjow stayed silent.

"Well, I didn't catch your name or are you fine with being called Blue Bird?"

Grimmjow sighed and rolled his eyes. Ignoring everything around him he walked up to the large window side of the room, looking down. "Impressive view," he murmured bored, knocking once at the glass.

"Yeah, it is, isn't it? We actually took—"

A loud smash filled the area and the wind picked up. Several clicks of the gun signaled that the security lock of every gun was loose.

Grimmjow observed his hand that had smashed the wide window pane, seeming satisfied that the broken pieces didn't have left a scratch.

"So..." he drawled on, took several steps back until he vanished in a blur.

Nobody saw the movement, but when Urahara was dangling outside the window, only held up by an arm that belonged to Grimmjow, the guards got into motion.

"Stop right there! We'll have your little friend here."

Grimmjow rolled his eyes again. "And I have your boss." Boredom was all over him. He turned to the struggling Urahara again, squeezing teasingly his throat. "Okay, listen little man," he said with venom in his voice. "I don't care what kind of guy, girl, wimp or whatever you have taken hostage. Kill him for all I care. But if a fucktard like you think I am so easily blackmailed, keep in mind," he pulled Urahara nearer to his face, his blazing blue eyes would have burst the blonde's head away. "Keep in mind that whenever you try and pull such a pathetic stunt again, you, your guys, the whole building can kiss their asses good bye." With a flick of his wrist Grimmjow send the man flying over his desk into the row of stunned men. Two men, brave enough to shot towards him and fire a salve, were met by two brutal hands crumbling their guns and sending them straight through the concrete wall. To let a small part of his destructive desire show, he threw the hardwood desk right after those and punched a hole in the ground so big, a car would fit through.

Brushing off the dust from his fingers, Grimmjow jumped out of the broken window.

Ichigo felt his legs shake. He looked to Urahara picking himself up from the floor with a groan, then to the two motionless guards lying in a rubble of concrete and former wall.

"Well, that was unexpected." he said, laughing lightly.

"Boss," the gun pressed into Ichigo's side. "What are we gonna do with him?"

Urahara sighed heavily. He felt disappointed and frustrated with Grimmjow's reaction. "Get those two in the basement for medical treatment, and fast, please." He tapped back to his desk – or where it used to be – straightened the position of the two guest chairs and sat back in his own leather one, completely ignoring the fact, that his desk was missing. "Well, Kurosaki, you were here for an interview, weren't you?"

Ichigo hadn't expected to see Renji waiting in front of the building even at half past nine in the evening and considering his state he had been there for quite some time. He huffed relieved, but furrowed his brows at the visible limp and ushered him inside his car.

"Care to tell me what happened?" Renji nodded his head to the upper floors where the facade was missing an obvious part and spotting a rather dramatic hole.

"Grimmjow happened," Ichigo hissed and buckled the seatbelt. "How did you know, I was here?"


It seemed that the explosion of Grimmjow's terrace didn't go unnoticed by his unwanted neighbor Matsumoto. She – worried – called immediately Renji, who – in turn – rushed over to the side as fast as possible. He doubted Grimmjow would want any other police man of his department come to the scene, but it was impossible to keep that one hidden. So he ushered those guys through the pent house, finding no evidence of another device and clearing the side as no bodily harm was done to any inhabitant of the skyscraper and the damage was there, but still too small for deeper investigations. Renji promised to stay behind and wait for the owner to come back.

Grimmjow did eventually come back and was more pissed than anything. No gratitude for saving his ass and his privacy (and his hide-out more or less), but at least an address where he could pick up Ichigo who was still missing.

Ichigo nodded to the explaining.

"Why where you in there so long anyway?"

Ichigo shrugged, feeling tired and empty. "They wanted to talk." That wasn't even a lie.

"You've been there for more than twelve hours! I almost feared the worst."

"Does being threaten with a weapon count, too?"

Renji's jaw fell open. "They what! Okay, that's enough. I'll send a couple of friends over there by tomorrow. I have enough of this shit."

"Do you think I will be taken serious? They're pulling all strings and I'm..." I'm just there. He sighed. "They might have shot my feet, bu-"

"They WHAT!" Renji almost trashed the brakes when kicking them, stopping the car with squeaking wheels.

Groaning, Ichigo nursed his new bump. "Renji, just...just bring me to a bed and leave me there the next years..."

Renji didn't drive to Grimmjow's place but the neighboring building. He wasn't quite sure what he was doing but with the happy (and relieved) answer through the telephone terminal at the door, Matsumoto didn't seemed to mind at all.

They patched up Ichigo's foot, shoved some nutrients down his throat and squeezed him out after that. Grimmjow's appearance, his threatening, then the terribly long talk after that (it was rather an interrogation). Matsumoto, Renji and even Gin were listening closely, looking at each other troublingly.

"Don't underestimate Urahara." Gin rubbed his chin in thought. "Even if he seems harmless and easy-going; he's a genius running on the edge to madness. Believe me, some of those projects he sponsors are either born from a mind of a nutcase, or a ruthless businessman who knows what he's doing. Of course, nobody knows about those projects."

"Nobody but you."

He grinned. "I was Urahara's left hand. Until he pulled that thing with Rangiku where he didn't saw it necessary to fill me in about the details." Matsumoto rubbed his knee soothingly.

"So, it's no coincidence that suddenly so much happens around our Blue Bird."

"And Ichigo was just his luck."

"He just didn't think about Grimmjow really being..."

"An asshole?"

"A loner?"

"A lunatic?"

"An idiot?"

"...I wanted to say one of a kind, but just keep insulting him..." Ichigo sighed, shifting his leg. He could be glad that those guys just talked to him. In a very creepy way, but talking nonetheless. They explained the research they were making on Grimmjow. Who he probably was, what he could probably be, where he came from and stuff like that. After several assumptions Ichigo got the impression they had made their research in old comic books. After that they seemed to brainwash him, telling him over and over and over what a danger the Blue Bird was, that he should be kept behind secured doors, should be examined thoroughly in case more of his kind would appear. It was strange. And it made him worry.

He flat out refused though to be their agent, installing cameras in his flat or taking samples of his body like hair and...well, other things. Ichigo felt disgusted by the thought to stab him in the back so cowardly, but even more disgusted when they thought he would come to them like a puppy when they threw money at him. He would have run berserk if it wasn't for the security guards and his hurt foot.

"Stay here for the night," Matsumoto smiled encouragingly at him, patting his shoulder. He had to look tired. He was dead tired.


"Thanks, but I'll just go over there." He nodded to the still lightened living room in the other building, even though the terrace doors were missing. "After the..." he cleared his throat. "I don't want anything happen to you..."

Grimmjow ate one of his midnight-meals and didn't look up by the door opening.

There was a chill in the living room that didn't come from Grimmjow's fool mood but the missing windows. The once beautiful terrace was a mess, the outer walls slightly cracked. The bomb was as controlled and calculated as one would expect from a genius. It made Ichigo shiver.

"Late, aren't you?" he said still watching the screen of the television.

A small chuckle. "Yeah," Ichigo's voice was raspy. "Beating went longer than expected."

Grimmjow heard him removing his shoes and his coat. "How went the interview?"

He heard him hesitate, a small tingle up his spine and a small gulp.

"Fine," he said, limping over the carpet and closing the door to the bathroom behind him. Not even a minute later, he came back out, looking upset.

Grimmjow cocked an eyebrow. "Have I forgotten flushing?"

For long moment Ichigo just stared at him, the corner of his eyes were itching, until he shook his head angrily. Obviously coming to his conclusion he hobbled to the couch, and waited until Grimmjow managed to give him a glance. Surprisingly, Ichigo took that as an invitation to push himself forward and straddle his lap.

The very short shocked silence followed a low growl. "You're awfully brave to get between me and my food..." he said in a dangerously low voice.

Instead of leaping from the place, Ichigo stayed stubbornly, even going as far to grab him by his hair and pull him down for a harsh kiss. It turned out he rather pulled himself down than Grimmjow up, but the kiss happened all the same.

Much to Grimmjow's enjoyment, because his mouth twitched. "Continue this and we'll go the whole way," he promised, gripping Ichigo's butt tightly.

"You could have taken me with you, you ass," Ichgio murmured against his mouth. He wanted to bite him for a better visualization of his anger but he would just hurt himself.

"And let them think you're important what you're certainly not?"

A statement like that one was to be expected, so Ichigo didn't feel as hurt as he might have before knowing Grimmjow's attitude. "At least I can be a good lay," Ichigo all but growled.

"Average one at most."

Whatever Grimmjow might have had as parents, he would have driven them nuts (or into their graves) by his constant back talk and smart answers. Ichigo's eyes glowed with renewed anger that seemed to amuse the blue-haired man more than anything.

"Where do you come from?" Ichigo asked suddenly, completely changing the topic.

Needing a second to form an answer, Grimmjow said: "From a mother's womb?"

"Can't you stop those smart ass answers?"

"When you stop asking ridiculous questions." Grimmjow snorted. He leaned back, quirking a blue eyebrow. "Do you want me to say from Mars or another galaxy?"

The redhead blushed. "... actually I wanted to ask what you did in your childhood and stuff..."

"My childhood on Mars?"

Ichigo slapped his forehead. (This man was ridiculous...)

"Can you remember your parents?"

"An ugly mermaid and a three eyed Klingon?"


He sniggered. "Why so curious?"

Ichigo leaned back further, all too eager to give the bastard an earful, when his foot's injury came back full force, making him gasp in pain and loose balance.

Not surprisingly, Grimmjow did nothing to stop his fall, so he toppled right backwards and fell onto the coffee table. According to the strange feeling, he fell right into Grimmjow's midnight snack and the sauce of the pasta started seeping through the material of his pants, leaving an uncomfortable wet feeling to his butt. Grimmjow all but quirked an eye brow again. Rather expecting him to lash out for ruining his meal, Ichigo was prepared to be hit square in the face, not for the other man taking his foot and inspecting it.

"They shot you?" he asked, fingering the formerly white bandage where red started to blossom again.

"Accidently," Ichigo hissed as Grimmjow began to peel the bandage away. "Stop that!" Like with any other command as well, Grimmjow did exactly what he wasn't supposed to do and continued. "Oi, that frickin' hurts!"

Ichigo even ignored the wet sauce that now successfully was plastered to his behind; but obviously Grimmjow seem to remember that little detail and before Ichigo could comprehend what happened, his trousers were gone and the plate of squashed foot was suddenly next to instead right under him.

With his trousers, bandage and socks missing, he sat half-naked and shivering on the coffee table and saw Grimmjow inspecting the nasty looking hole that bled profusely.

"Smells strange," Grimmjow announced. "And it smells infected. Sure this was a normal bullet?"

It had left a hole like a bullet and the thing pulled out by Gin looked like a bullet. Moreover, it frickin hurt like a bullet.

"You're getting a little hot for my liking." Grimmjow eyed his red face. He didn't even considered that he blushed out of embarrassment. Without further warning, Grimmjow pushed him onto the glass table.

"W-what are you doing?" Ichigo squeaked, trying to push the other away.

"Do you have to be always this complicated when I'm trying to be nice?" Grimmjow drove forward for his 'special' attack, but before he could even come close to Ichigo's face, the redhead clapped his hands in front of the other's mouth.


"Why the hell not?"

"It might be the reason you lost your powers."

Grimmjow halted at that. The redhead under him at least looked like he was actually contemplating that. Truth to be told, Grimmjow had similar assumptions before. One can only guess and investigate after something as shitty as that incident happens. So, assuming it was the fault of his new found ability was either stupid or the truth.

Better not push his luck.

Grimmjow eased off him and fell back into the couch. Despite that Ichigo had actually sat on his plate, Grimmjow still took it and continued eating.

Scrunching up his nose, Ichigo wobbly got off the table as well, and sat next to Grimmjow.

When Grimmjow was about to finish his meal, he felt the red head fall onto his shoulder, the slightly high temperature seeping through. Irritated Grimmjow shoved him away, knocking him into the other arm rest, and picked up the remote. That no annoying cursing or accusing followed made him frown and turn his eyes to the side. Ichigo all but lay knocked out on his side, slightly sweating, shallow breathing, his dripping foot ruining the floor. His crumbled dress shirt revealed part of his back and Grimmjow actually flinched upon seeing the first old scar peering through.

He took the shirt and lifted it far enough to study the other marks, his jaw clenching unknowingly. His foot would become his newest scar in his sheer endless collection. Still gazing at the pale freckled back, Grimmjow cursed silently, let the material go, cursed again while he hit the remote in his hand repeatedly against his forehead for his stupidity.

He was getting way too soft. Maybe not on the outside (according to the now crumbled remote), but definitely somewhere...else.

Picking the boy up as gently as he could, he laid his head onto his lap and started to flick him back together, despite all warning bells in his head to not use that technique again.

By the next morning, the couch, where the boy was neatly tucked in under layers of blankets, was empty. As was the rest of the apartment.

Grimmjow wasted a second or two on frowning upon it until he just shrugged his shoulders.

One week went by without him caring much. He pulled three kids out of the remains of a building they were buried alive under. Their parents welcomed them back with tears and snot covering their faces, going even so far and thanking Grimmjow.

Then he accidently caught a suicide that made him rethink his whole being and start a new life as a new person. Grimmjow snorted at that.

When he came home that evening to tell Ichigo about that he remembered one glaring detail: he was still missing.

In the middle of the second week he felt an itching. It drove him nuts and he concluded that he needed to get laid...

When he wasn't able to find a fitting person, it drove him even more nuts.

Even Matsumoto had deserted him, so there was no way to relieve his frustration with a free food orgy.

The third and fourth week flew by and he almost reached his breaking point. He concluded he should forget everything about the wimp and get on with his goddamn life like he used to.

So, one afternoon, fresh in his new old life, he got a rather strange surprise when he saw a men standing on his still messy terrace and smoking. He furrowed his brows.

Shoving the glass door aside he tapped his foot repeatedly against the tiles on the floor, glaring at the intruder. "Care to tell me, why you're here?" he said in his pissed-off voice, crossing his arms. He recognized him easily, being the partner of Mister Officer.

With the stub being thrown to the floor and put out by a hoe, the long brown mane turned towards him. "Well, good morning, Grimmjow," he said in a sleepy voice, scratching his cheek and yawning.

"How did you get here?"

"Grimmjow," he said, completely ignoring the question. "I'm here to invite you to come with me. Please, refrain from being difficult; elsewhere I have to force you."

Grimmjow almost laughed. "Are you shitting me?"

"Please don't make it complicated."

"I'm going to make your life complicated," Grimmjow promised. He wasn't one to be ordered around.

With the calmness of the world, Stark put on a white glove, flexing his fingers. Grimmjow didn't saw the fist smashing into his jaw and send him flying into his wall on the other side of the living room. He was busy understanding why his whole body was screaming in pain. He picked himself up so that the broken pieces of his former wall fell from his body.

"Holy shit," he gasped out, shaking his spinning head.

"You know where you have to go to."

This time, he barely was able to see the beeping and blinking device, before its detonation crashed around his ears. He actually needed minutes until he was able to shake of the spinning in his head and the ringing in his ears. Certainly that wasn't any normal bomb. He wondered how the other guy was doing considering he felt already this bad, but the terrace was deserted and his once beautiful lazy home was a pile of former walls and furniture.

He remembered what Starrk said, even though he can't spot or smell that bastard nearby.

He knew where he had to go? Oh hell, he damn sure knew...

"Oh, welcome, Mister Blue Bird!" said a sing-song voice right before Grimmjow drove his fist into that smiling face, sending the blond man into the window pane and right through it.

"Well, I am lucky that that had just been a dummy," the same sing-song voice said right behind Grimmjow so that the he whirled around and lashed his fist out.

It was stopped a mere inch before the blonde's nose by none other than Stark looking bored despite the fact that he had just stopped a punch that would have send Urahara into the seventh ring of hell.

"Please, calm down!" Urahara said soothingly, and took a step back when Grimmjow began to struggle to get his fist free again. "I'm sorry for your apartment but you seem to react to violence or provocation only."

"I'll kill you," Grimmjow hissed lowly.

"Aah, Kurosaki had said the same thing..." Urahara sounded devoted. "But it seems as if our glove was a success!"

Kicking his leg sideways, Grimmjow got Stark out of the way, launched to the still grinning Urahara with a raised fist and—


In midair.

"What the fuck..." Grimmjow barely could move his body. His anger grew when Urahara had the gut to walk up to him and pat his cheek.

"Don't worry," he said friendly, tugged at his arm and lead his stiff, floating body out of the door. Grimmjow just caught a glimpse of brown eyes and red hair until he was forced further into the building.

"The last time, I was a bit unprepared for your rude behavior and your short temper," Urahara kept talking pushing through endless corridors. "I was convinced that your relationship to Kurosaki would go deeper than sex, but you proved me wrong. Kurosaki was there different, acting like your cute caring boyfriend, but that's beside the point. We actually didn't need his help that much in the first place, that was, until you decided to share your power again."

Grimmjow growled at the memory four weeks ago healing the foot.

"Then he was perfect for our research. You can't imagine the progress we made. You've experienced the glove of Stark. What a great piece of work!" Urahara hummed contently. "After we found a speck of your 'Reiatsu' in Kurosaki's body, we were able to tell that you're just a mere human. What a disappointment, since we hoped for something...more thrilling."

"I'll give you thrilling," Grimmjow growled deeply, observing his surrounding in his peripheral view. Laboratories. He hated laboratories. The smell of all those chemicals made his head fuzzy and his bile rise. "And Stark's a mere human, too? The last time I checked he was a cop pooping into his chair."

"Stark? Of course he's human. Everybody we found until now is human even if their abilities are extraordinary. Stark is no exception."

"So he is your little agent in the police? How boring."

Urahara came to a halt in a room that could have been right out of a horrible trash movie. The technology and the peeping machines made Grimmjow rolling his eyes and huffing loudly.

"And what's keeping me up in the air?" Grimmjow asked flexing his muscles but didn't move an inch.

"I have a psychic following us. She's very capable and, beside you, our most interesting project. Very impressing, that she can handle a raw monster like you."

"Hey," Grimmjow growled almost pouting. "Don't call me that. Combined with the trash here I'll look like Frankenstein."

"Ah, yes, Frankenstein," Urahara sighed dreamingly. "You see, we have the most interesting people: one is able to talk with animals, one is able to tell when a natural catastrophe will occur, one can tell how people will die, people using telepathy, telekinesis, seeing dead people or – my favorite – killing goats by looking at them."

Grimmjow felt as if the whole thing was a big bad joke.

"But you, Grimmjow," Urahara came up to him, "You're special, unbelievable special with abilities that get us frightened."

"You want to figure me out? Cut me open? Make me your little peasant?"

Urahara didn't smile anymore. "Grimmjow," his voice was slow. "You're not stupid," he said, making Grimmjow roll his eyes, again. "But you're not a genius either." Grimmjow glared at him. "Maybe you don't know what kind of power you hold in your hands. However, others know. Kurosaki was right when he accepted your bad attitude as a kind of self preservation. You were selfish, but you weren't used by anyone."

"That should be changing?" Something clicked. "You're gonna sell me to the military after a brainwash? Or to the highest bidder?"

"No. I doubt I am able to clean your dirty mind with a simple brainwash. And we would be stupid to give such a precious thing like you away."

"I won't be too thrilled to work for an ass like you."

Urahara sighed. "I feared you would say that." With a flick of his wrist a door to the side opened and three men stepped in – one (as predicted) was Kurosaki, dangling between the other two, but wide awake and furious, obviously.

His and Grimmjow's eyes met for a short moment, until Urahara stepped between them. Grimmjow snorted. "I already told you that you could finish him off."

The blonde looked to the two guards shrugging their shoulders, then back to Grimmjow. A shot later Ichigo groaned loudly, adding profane words to vocalize his pain.

Grimmjow didn't even blink. He shrugged his shoulders as well. "And? I've done worse to him."

Urahara turned back again, looking something between surprised and nervous. Kurosaki was bowing his head, cradling his arm to his chest, blood was seeping through the cloth.

"Well, that's a shame. Sadly, I have to admit that he was the only trump I got." He scratched his head and went to one of the tables to the side. "Okay, I guess I have to finish you off then." He was rummaging through his studies, pulling out a gun.

"You're going to kill me...with a gun?" Was the guy an idiot? After he had admitted that Grimmjow was a walking miracle?

"You can't be killed by fire or cold, we wouldn't be able to make a blade that cut through your skin. Drowning or suffocating may be possible, but I fear you would be able to hold your breath longer than our psychic can hold you at bay. And starvation...well, it would need even more time. No needle would get into your skin for poisoning and your stomach even resisted a bomb. Congratulations on that one." He made a pause. "This may be a mere gun, but we developed the bullets. Some tests we did with Kurosaki had shown that your Reiatsu is sensitive to several kinds of acid. Since Kurosaki had just a small amount of your Reiatsu, we couldn't be sure which acid was really affecting you. So we prepare several different bullets. Coming in contact with your skin in a strong bundled impact, the acid will weaken your Reiatsu and the bullet gets through. Even you would stop living with a hole in a heart." Putting the first bullet into the revolving breech, Urahara clicked it shut and fired.

Grimmjow grunted when that damn thing hit his temple. "Headaches worsen my mood..." he growled out.

"Okay, we have some left..."

After five more shots, Grimmjow's patience was running thin. He had to admit that one left burning scratches on his skin, but that was that.

Urahara already started to fidget uncomfortably. Everyone knew what would happen if there was no suiting bullet for the superman since his psychic just couldn't keep him up for eternity.

"Just let him go already!"

Urahara blinked stupidly at Kurosaki who came over the pain from the shot and glared at him. It was almost cute to see him fight for the Blue Bird even though that man made it very clear that he was worth nothing. Besides, as soon as his psychic would have to let him go, Blue Bird wouldn't need anyone trying to fight for him anyway (correction: everyone else would try to fight for their poor life)

"Kurosaki, I seriously think that you're in absolutely no position to make any demands." As if remembering something, Urahara snapped his fingers and rummaged through his pockets. "Good that you remind me! Before I forget..." He smiled upon finding what he was looking for: a neat silver handgun. "Better start eliminating the first evidences, won't we?"

A shot later the redhead lay motionless on the floor.

Grimmjow's jaw fell slack. His blue eyes looked incredulously to Urahara but the blonde just pocket his weapon again.

"Where were we...?" He asked as if he hadn't just killed—

Then Grimmjow snapped.

The psychic – wherever that bastard hid – couldn't even hold the man down for another second as Grimmjow release with a roar an immense wave of power. Machines and screen crushed under the force, guards and anyone else flew several meters away.

Too fast for every human eye, Grimmjow vanished, and with him the body lying in the puddle of his own blood, and a final destructive blow to the construction left the whole part of the building in ruins.

Renji was dead tired when he arrived at his small home; however, not tired enough to miss that something in the confines of his living space was amiss. He drew his weapon and crept through the dark rooms. Upon opening the guest room, his heart leaped a bit and he almost fired his weapon when the outline of this ridicule hair style made him stop.

Still with the weapon aiming at the trespasser, Renji cleared his throat. "Grimmjow?" An answer never came, but his eyes slowly got used to the darkness and he was able to make out the blank face of the other man sitting on the bed.

Huffing a sigh, Renji pocketed his gun and crossed his arms. "A little warning would have been fine, you know?" Even though Renji had absolutely no idea, what the other wanted in his of all apartments. "I doubt you came for a little chit-chat." Considering he didn't say anything at all, that answer would be no. "Hey, why so docile? I would have expected you to spit fire and smoke, given the condition of your home." If 'condition' even covered it. The once so proud home was heap of rubble. Due to the extension of the damage it was a miracle that no one got hurt. He just came from that crime scene, even though his team was still digging through the mess.


Furrowing his brows, Renji flicked finally the light on, gasping as soon as the brightness filtered through the room.

The bundle that was pressed to Grimmjow's chest turned out to be very human. And with a rising feeling of dread, he recognized the color of that hair. His eyes wandered lower, finding the shirt completely clad in one big red stain. He became sick.

"What the fuck happened?"

He jumped up to the other, fisting his clothes and shaking him as hard as he could. Even in Grimmjow's lethargic state, it barely had an impact but that the bright red head that was formerly tucked under Grimmjow's chin, fell back, revealing dull brown eyes. Open.

The shock made Renji stumbled back into the opposite wall. He felt seriously sick. He had seen dead bodies, but none he was emotionally attached to. "You're supposed to fucking watch out for him, you bastard!" he croaked hoarsely, burrowing his face in his hand. "Oh fucking shit..!"

In Grimmjow's defense, he had tried to make it right, had tried to heal him. But his efforts were in vain. He could only try so much. After all, he was just human, wasn't he?

Gently tucking the motionless redhead back into the crook of his neck, he kept staring ahead. He just came here because this was the only place he knew besides his own home, and that was no more.

When Renji lowered his hand and managed to look up to the pair on the bed again, his breath hitched when suddenly a woman stood there, her posture timid and her smile sad. She lifted her hand and stroked softly over the blue-haired man's cheek, making him come out of his trance.

At first, Renji thought he would lash out and kill her in the process, but the murderous glare swiftly fell. Before he could recognize the new raw emotion flickering through those blue eyes, Grimmjow hid his face in Ichigo's shoulder.


Her smile turned even sadder as she crouched in front of him and rubbed his knee in a soothing manner.

"Kurosaki told me about you," she began, ignoring the twitch in Grimmjow's shoulders. "In fact, he didn't talk about anything but you. And considering we met four weeks ago, that was a lot of talking. He..." she hesitated. "...he adored you. You meant so much to him." Her voice wavered a little bit. "You were always so angry at the world, so he wanted you to find balance, freedom...happine—"

"Shut up!" Grimmjow snapped his head up, glaring at her. "Shut the fuck up." He didn't sound as angry as usual.

"He loved you."

Grimmjow screwed his lids together, clenched his jaw. His hand went up to his eyes, covering them. "Just...just...fuck..."

Renji had never seen him like this. So...human.

"I have a proposal for you." She lifted her hand and hold up one finger. "You grant him his request. I know he already asked you twice and you refused. But now since he's..." She let it linger in the air until she lifted her second finger. "Or you'd be selfish. You had heard that I'm...one of his favorite projects and...I'm able to..." She guided Grimmjow's hand to the unmoving chest, placing it upon the wet cloth.

Grimmjow stared at her, his mouth ajar, disbelievingly.

"Will you be selfish?"

Renji blinked at them both.

"I.." Grimmjow said, looking to Renji, to the girl, then to Ichigo, tracing with his thumb his cold lips. "I'm..."

Renji saw a movement in the corner of his eyes. When he looked through the door to his dark living room, he swore he saw Starrk pointing a gun at them until he pocketed it calmly, disappearing into the shadows of his apartment without any evidence that he had been there.

They made Grimmjow eat his own words thoroughly. Only after he agreed to almost everything that Urahara-bastard was proposing, they took Ichigo from his arms and placed him in their own medical ward. He was allowed to watch the girl – the psychic – work on him, saw how the bullet came out without any hand touching his chest. A soft glow surrounded the redhead and Grimmjow watched for hours to pass.

He gave himself up to save the boy. That goddamn boy, the biggest wimp of them all. The one they could kill without him caring much. And now, look at him. Blackmailed to be their fucking guinea pig or Ichigo's treatment would be stopped.

It tore at him, in more ways than one.

Grimmjow went through dozens of experiments, nothing really hurt, considering Urahara's assumption was true and they had to fail several times until they even got the equipment ready for a body like Grimmjow's. Most times, his temper got the better of him, leaving havoc wherever he was.

But every time that happened, Urahara was there, fanning himself with that wide mysterious smile on his lips and the silent promise to let his boy die all over again.

Frankly, Grimmjow would have been over the hills and far away if he hadn't witnessed Ichigo breathing again, still unconscious, but with a real steady heartbeat, his body warm instead of dead cold. A miracle, but that was Ichigo anyway. He survived so much so far; he would pull through this shit, too. Grimmjow knew. And he hoped.

It seemed as if weeks passed without end. With every passing day, the wide mad smile of the blonde businessman/scientist became wider and wider. Every result of one experiment or another made him explode in an almost orgasmic bliss that it disgusted him without end.

In the evening and during the night, Grimmjow usually sat next to the clean bed in one of the many underground levels, silently observing the steady fall and rise of Ichigo's chest. He relished during that time the faint smell of the redhead that got fainter during the weeks and was replaced by the sterile room and the medical equipment.

How long did he have to wait?

It was one of those evenings of waiting that found Grimmjow sitting next to the boy as the psychic – Orihime he had learn one day – came walking through the door. Grimmjow didn't need to turn around to get her smell right.

"Leave," he all but grumbled, annoyed that they even disrespect his quiet evening.

She was sometimes as stubborn as he was, so instead of going straight back, she paused next to the bed. He ignored her, trying to focus on the redhead and his freckles.

Minutes went by before he heard her whispering.

"Look at him."

Grimmjow furrowed his brows. What the hell was he doing all the time? He wanted to give her a piece of his mind when he noticed her rigid posture. "I mean, look at him." She barely moved her lips and if it wasn't for his good hearing he wouldn't have understood her. She bowed he head so that her chin rested on her chest, giving her a posture of regret and pity. "Please," she whispered so lowly. "Don't believe everything they serve up."

With that she was gone.

Careful to keep his blank face on, Grimmjow mulled over that. Longer than he was comfortable with.

By the next experiment he bothered to actually look at his surroundings. Whereas he always showed disinterest and irritation he noticed the slight difference. This laboratory didn't look as if it came out of the movie. It looked quite real for a change and the machines were more authentic than before. Urahara was part of the team working on him, but his posture, his presence was completely different. He actually felt it, something, making his hackles rise.

At night, he sat again in front of Ichigo's bed, but his frown was deep and his shoulders hunched up. It didn't make sense. Or better: everything started to make sense. Everything but one glaring detail.

He suddenly stood and crossed the remaining space to the bed. He bend over the unmoving body, listening, smelling, watching. Something was off. His natural smell had almost completely vanished, his skin looked pale due to the lack of sun. Grimmjow bend more over the bed to get a better look on the face. He got a strange feeling. As if you're looking at your own things but you clearly noticed that someone had went through them and tried to make them look as before.

It clicked.

Hastily he ripped the sheets off, his blue eyes dancing over the pale visible skin. With renewed fury he gripped the limp arm and threw the boy across the room. He suppressed the sick feeling in seeing the redhead so lifeless and stomped over to him, ripping the shirt up and inspecting the back.

Everything was wrong.

"You shouldn't come to hasty conclusions," Urahara voice sounded through a speaker from a far wall.

"Where is he?" Grimmjow stood and looked into the camera he knew was there. "Where the fucking hell is he!"

"Kurosaki? Right in front of you?"

"Cut this bullshit, you stupid prick! You had long enough your fun in making a fool out of me!"

"Seriously, Grimmjow, I have no idea what you're talking about."

But Grimmjow had. Whoever lay there on the floor next to him, he was anybody but Ichigo. And he was more than sure.

Without any second thought, he skipped to the area where the camera should be and blew a hole through the wall. His raging anger topped everything he felt before. It took seconds for him to demolish the whole floor, less than a minute to crash through the two floors above him and leave destruction that had no equal. Oh, even through these massive walls he felt this one faltering heartbeat, this specific one frightened man who got everything going to get out of his way. Like a rocket he crushed through every level; a maddening, pain promising smirk graced his features. No psychic would stop his desire of revenge and destruction.

Urahara was surprisingly calm on the surface, once Grimmjow found him barricaded in his office. The dozens of guards were nothing but insects under his brutal strength, with or without their fancy gloves. Grimmjow saw right through the blonde, could practically feel the fluttering heartbeat of terror despite this carefree smile.

"You wanted to talk to me?" he asked, still smiling.

Oh, Grimmjow would do anything but talking. He managed three leisurely steps closer to the blonde, when another figure appeared from the shadows. He recognized her easily, with her dark skin, her voluptuous figure, the dark hair and her golden eyes. She wore more clothes than the time Grimmjow had picked her up for the one-time-romp, but she was definitely that woman.

He quirked an eyebrow, annoyed and amused. She wore no obvious scientific equipment like Starrk had; so either she had a death wish or something up her sleeve.

"Move, woman."

She grinned.

He didn't make differences between male and female, so when he lashed out to knock her out of the window, he was quite shocked to notice that her hand blocked his hit almost effortlessly. His second fist snapped forward but was gripped by her other hand. He kicked his legs out, ripped his hands free and drove forward to get that woman moving. But punch after punch after kick, the more he tried to hit her – successful or not – the more he noticed his actual struggle to fight her, his own limbs getting sore and bruises forming on her body.

They parted, him panting in exhaustion and awe. Shit, obviously this blonde freak had managed to get his experiments too far. Glaring at the man – who surprisingly pressed himself in a far corner of the room – Grimmjow sneered.

"Aren't you lucky to create a frickin' mutant like that?" he spat.

Instead of the blonde answering, the woman sneered. "I'm not one of his experiments." She flicked her hair and smiled mysteriously. "Or don't you wonder why I survived your brutal copulation so easily?"

Grimmjow's jaw fell slack again.

To emphasis her statement, she became airborne, flying leisurely and stepping down again.

Out from his corner, Urahara approached the pair slowly, looking as if he would bolt any given moment. When she was standing on the floor again, the blonde crept next to her, smiling nervously.

"You see, Mr. Grimmjow, my assumptions and interest didn't come out of nowhere." Before he could talk more, the woman grabbed his neck and pressed his face into the side of her breasts, silencing him.

"Stop talking, boy; I want to have a word with my blue friend." She ignored his loud splutter and concentrated on her opponent again. "Obviously, as you noticed, you're not the only one. Just the only one who made a jerk out of himself and became an official asshole."

Grimmjow didn't even feel offended.

"I suggest you leave this little boy here with me. You marked your territory, I marked mine." Her golden eyes glittered in the light. "I would be not very pleased if you try anything more with him." She stroked the blonde's neck, where she still kept a firm grip.

"Yo-yoruichi—" Urahara choked, trying in vain to get her lessen the grip.

"Sorry," she said as she noticed her mistake. "Possessive nature, you know?" she smirked, then turned back to Grimmjow. "Now go."

His hackles rose with that command, his anger still very present. His fist lashed out again with a loud growl, and landed into her steady palm with nothing but a short buckle of her shoulder. Urahara started sweating like a pig and he smelled it.

"You had enough fun here," she said, motioning to the building that lay half in ruins. Grimmjow ripped his hand away, clenching his jaw in anger.

"If you ask nicely, I might even consider a real match. I promise." His reaction was still subtle, but the woman added: "Now look for your boy."

This time, Grimmjow got knocked out of his immense fury and his aim came back in focus. He spit once to the ground, kicked the sturdy table out of the window and made his way after it.

The frustrated crumble of the newspaper followed the thud of it landing in the bin. Renji groaned out loud. His job had become boring as hell, even the newspaper wasn't what it used to be. He hadn't heard anything from the blue devil within the last months, not personally nor in any news in the television, radio or in paper size. Since Starrk had quit suddenly and without explanation, he was ripped from the only constant and motivation his job had to offer. Now his office looked just so boring.

He nipped sullenly on a coffee, brooding.

The sudden noise from the window opening was his only warning, when Renji was ripped out of his musing, spun around and faced with the very person, he had just cussed out.

"Where is he?" Without waiting for an answer Grimmjow shook him vehemently, his blue eyes blazing. "Tell me, now!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" The coffee had ruined his white shirt and Grimmjow was ripping it apart by now, not to mention he had no idea what the blue bastard was shouting about. "Get a grip, will ya!"

"Ichigo!" Grimmjow growled, noticing the confused expression, but didn't recognize it to be for his use of name.

"You tell me you didn't know? He's back at his family!" Renji stumbled back into his desk, trying to rescue his shirt as best as he could.

Grimmjow's face fell. "What? When?"

"For quite some time. I thought you knew and went with him?" Considering that face, Renji guessed he didn't know anything. Then where had he been all the time? He tried to ask but was interrupted.

"Where? Where is it?"

Scratching the back of his head, Renji went to a shelf nearby and started rummaging through the old files. "Oh boy, I have to look up his address..."

"A name. Just give me the fucking name of the city!"

Blinking, Renji cocked a brow. "That would be Karakura, but—"

Grimmjow was gone long before Renji could utter another word.

It was the longest fly he had ever managed. His speed was neck-breaking and he felt for the first time the icy wind against his skull. The mountains flew by, then the ocean came and when land was visible again, he felt he was close. There was no world map in his head, but he had spent a good amount of time traveling aimless through the world, visiting places but feeling wherever he went unsatisfied.

It took him actually hours to get to the average city of Karakura. Enclosed by the mountains and the sea it lay peacefully in front of him.

He concentrated on his nose, trying to figure out and divert the millions of different smells, until his eyes snapped open again, rushing along the track he found.

Equipped with a small bouquet of white lilies, Ichigo trailed after his small family, a faint, comfortable smile on his face. His gaze swept aimlessly through the rows of graves, a peaceful silence surrounding them. He looked in front of him again and saw his father standing and waiting for him, the relieved smile never left his slightly wrinkled face since three months.

"Come, my boy," he grinned, slinging his broad arm around his shoulders and ushering him after his sisters.

Despite being with his family for such a long time again, he hadn't found the nerve to actually visit his mother's grave. Quite a shame, but nobody of his family had forced him. They seemed to be glad he was back at all.

Feeling an embarrassing blush crawling up his neck, Ichigo shoved his father gently away. "Dad, I'm not a kid anymore."

"You'll always be my kid," his father smiled instead, tousling his hair with a short laugh. "Now, be a good boy and greet your mother."

"I'm not a dog either," he grumbled out, rearranging the flowers in his hand.

Then he felt a tingle up his spine.

His eyes widened and when he whirled around, he saw him again.

The flowers fell to the floor.

"Grimmjow?" Questions of what the hell the bastard was doing here couldn't even leave his lips as he was suddenly squeezed to death by two corded arms and a body made of stone or steel.

"G-grimm—!" he choked out, feeling a nose bury in his neck and inhaling deeply. He would have felt overwhelmed by this show of affection, but the man was rather killing him than being 'gentle'. "You're crushing me!"

Instantly, he was freed by those arms, but not for long, as a pair of hands grabbed his face and pulled him into a fierce kiss. Grimmjow was too eager and wild, so it didn't take long for Ichigo's lip to bleed from the harsh treatment. Obviously sensing his second mistake, Grimmjow pulled away, winced at the sight and tried again, this time as breathtaking and gentle as he was able to. Ichigo righteous melted.

They parted instantly when they felt their audience shifted uncomfortably.

Ichigo cursed loudly and hid his red face behind his hand, trying to rub the blood on his lips away. He took one staggering step back, wincing as his feet crushed the poor lilies still lying on the floor.

He hastily swept them up again, looking apologetically to his family and shied his eyes away from Grimmjow. With a deep breath, he went up to the single grave of his late mother, putting the flowers down with as much dignity as he could muster. He gently stroked the stony surface of the grave, sent some silent prayers and apologies to his parent and stood, smiling at the rest of the family.

His father squeezed his shoulder encouragingly and in approval, but almost immediately, another similar large hand fell onto his other shoulder.

"I'm just burrowing this one for a while," Grimmjow said, gripped Ichigo and threw him over his shoulders.

The protest lay on his father's lips, but Grimmjow shot into the air and had already vanished.

"That's called kidnapping!" Ichigo screeched when they finally landed a few miles away on the roof top of one of the few high rise buildings in Karakura.

"Burrowing, I'll give you back!"

Ichigo grumbled at being treated like a thing, crossing his arms and trying to get the shiver out of his limbs. He had experienced flying with Grimmjow; that didn't make it less overwhelming.

Grimmjow pulled his jacket off, draping it over the redhead's shoulder and pulling him close again.

"What went into you?" Ichigo asked with wonder in his voice, peeking up from under Grimmjow's chin. On the cemetery he had looked like he run mile – or like any normal human would look when running a mile: Flushed face, sweating and slightly out of breathe.

"Isn't it a little dangerous to be around your family, with your kind of luck?"

Gazing into the distant, Ichigo shrugged his shoulders. "It just...stopped." He cleared his throat. "I can't explain it." He rubbed his fingers over his chest, shuddering at the memory.

Grimmjow pulled him an arm's length away, studying him thoroughly. His hands went to the buttons of his button-down and started opening them.

"Okay, that's getting a little too far! Grimmjow!" the redhead shouted when the other failed to hear him. Again.

Halfway done, Grimmjow pushed the material away, revealing a white fresh scar over his left pectoral. He stopped, staring at it. "They really shot you," he breathed out and traced the scar.

Ichigo shifted uncomfortably. "You were right the first time. That weren't normal bullets." He scratched the white and pink mark. "This one...how can I say it? In a state of apparent death?" He gazed over Karakura. "They pulled it out, gave me medication and within three, four days I was as good as new."

Three to four...days? He was staring at a double for months and didn't notice? He gritted his teeth, feeling a deep mortification coming up. His attachment and grief was so big that he did not see the wood for the trees. It was humiliating.

Grimmjow stepped several feet back, eyeing the boy from a distance. This fragile, all too easily breakable boy. His still bloody lip, the scars, those big brown eyes. For a guy like him to want to be together with someone like Grimmjow, it was just suicidal.

"You still wanna die?"

Ichigo smiled at him, closing the buttons of his shirt again. "I think dying once is enough for my young life, isn't it?" he grinned patting the spot of his newest scar. "And thanks," he chuckled at Grimmjow's confused expression. "For not letting me die."

A door to the staircase opened that very moment. A security guard eyed them warily. "Hey, here's no entry! Staff only!"

Both men didn't really notice the guard. Blue eyes still stared disbelievingly at the redhead. "Orihime told me. With your selfless behavior of saving me you were really a fine specimen of a true hero. My lousy thanks can't even cover that."

Instead of a proud arrogant smirk, Grimmjow looked as if he got hit in the guts and actually felt it.

The guard, now with a light-calibred gun pointing at them, furrowed his brows at the strange exchange. "Boys, if you just—"

Grimmjow took a step back. The whole realization of what he had done came crashing down on him. He had done something good with a good intention. As simple and petty as it sounded, it scared him shitless.


No, he chanted in his mind. Ichigo came towards him, and he suddenly felt drained from all witty comebacks and superhuman powers he possessed. This small pathetic boy had him, the super-anti-hero, twisted around his little finger without the boy or himself realizing it. Now Grimmjow knew. And he would do everything to escape those innocent clutches.

"Grimm—" Before Ichigo had the chance to take another step or finish the name, Grimmjow bolted. Despite the loud shriek of the guard Grimmjow all but dashed over the edge of the roof.

Leaning over the railing, the guard wouldn't be able to find the bluehaired man on the pavement or the streets. He cursed loudly and jumped back to the open door of the staircase, completely ignoring the dumbstruck Ichigo. "My coworkers won't believe this!"

And Ichigo didn't believe it either, despite being an eyewitness in the front row.

Grimmjow run.

From Ichigo.

The irony was lost to him.

He rubbed over the spot of his last near death experience, and smiled even though feeling a sting without recognizing it for what it was.

"A real True Hero; running from his Lois Lane" Ichigo snorted to himself and shook his head. Or was he Grimmjow's Kryptonite? A fleeting image of Grimmjow's expression on the cemetery crossed his mind, and with a small smile, he turned to follow the vanished guard down the staircase; his shoulders still covered with Grimmjow's jacket.



Keeps reminding me why I started avoiding multi-chapter-stories. It's really easier getting everything out at once.

Anyway: Thanks for your patience and reading! I was really surprised to get still feedback and reactions from you even though I kept you waiting for so long. Actually I had the story finished while updating the first chapter, but got dissatisfied with the later ones and had rewritten the last chapter for a year. Obviously, I got a little busy. Sorry, but my Bachelor degree and the preparations for my internship were more important to me...

And shoot me for the ending, please. The former one was even worse, but it didn't feel right to get them together for real. At least, nobody died. ;) Urahara is still the better villain; he's just so predictably unpredictable. And you can't really hate him.

Feel free to rip me apart (for story, ending, spelling, grammar etc)

Thanks so much for reading anyway!

See you with my next monster! +insert evil-mad-scientist laugh+