Request for Pyro D: Hollow!Ichi and Hollow!Grimmjow

In Hueco Mundo, things were more or less ordered- not in the sense that everyone had an assigned place and name and duty like among Soul Reapers, but in the sense that there was a Hierarchy and everybody knew exactly where in that hierarchy they were placed. A Gillian knew damn well he was food for Adjucas and Vasto Lorde, and thus why they all tended to congregate in the Menos Forest for group protection from predators. A lower Adjucas knew to stay the fuck outta the way of higher Adjucas and Higher Adjucas knew that if a Vasto Lorde came within five kilometers of you, you hid until it was gone. Vasto Lorde had their own strange hierarchy involving territory size and didn't bother fighting each other, there being only about fifteen altogether. This order was not often upset- occasionally the lowest Adjucas would fall prey to a higher Gillian or something similar, but for the majority of the time things operated according to the already set precedents. During the times the order was largelyupset, however, it usually proved entertaining.

Heart pounding, ears flattened, claws digging into the soft sand, the smells of blood and panic in his nose and in his mouth- the glory of the Hunt. He'd chased this goddamn thing far and wide, beyond his own territory, through the Menos Forest and onto the other side, into unknown territory. Not only was he hungry, the barely-formed creature had shot off spikes at him and landed one in his upper back leg- he was not letting it get away alive. It finally stumbled, the sand tripping it up, and the chase was over in a flash of teeth and claws and violent ripping and tearing. It wasn't even really worth it- it didn't even have enough reiatsu to heal the wound it had inflicted. It had been a matter of pride, mostly. He was just about ready to collapse on the sand when he heard a snarl of warning that made his body lock in fear and his fur stand on end. That was a warning from something much, much bigger and more powerful than him and it informed him of the particulars of what he had already known- unknown territory was dangerous; apparently, the territories beyond the Menos Forest were Vasto Lorde territory. Shit, and he didn't think he would be able to get back to his own territory with all the blood he'd lost at this point. Damn his pride!

"I have allowed you to finish your hunt. Leave."

His body began to tremble as his ears slicked back once more and he lowered his head submissively- how in the hell had he not noticed that monstrous reiatsu earlier? "I-I don't think I can, um, Powerful One. I-i-it wounded me." Another snarl.

"It pleased me to let you kill in my territory because you had obviously been after it for quite some time, and you defy me?"

Grimmjow winced and lowered his head further, the rest of his body locked. It was all that kept him standing. "I would obey if I could! I don't think I can m-move." A low growl rang over the dunes, and he stood there, still shaking and hoping that he would get out of this alive somehow. He was taken off guard when something firmly prodded his side, and his overworked, stressed body finally gave in to an instinctual reaction. He collapsed with a submissive whine, on his side to expose himself to the dominant Hollow. It was quiet for a moment, than a claw-hand began to stroke his flank gently. "I see you weren't lying…very well. I shall let you live." The next thing he knew, he was being carried in strong but human-like arms and flashing over the sand faster than he'd ever known was possible. Though afraid, and reasonably sure he would starve if he wasn't eaten within a week, Grimmjow steeled his nerves and held on to whatever strength he could manage to keep determinedly. If he survived this, he would never venture towards known Vasto Lorde territory until he was a Vasto Lorde himself, no matter what prey he was chasing.

"My Hatchling needs a new playmate anyway. It delights her when I let her make new friends." Grimmjow barely restrained his noise of surprise- this male had a cub? Younglings were incredibly rare, it being hard to find a mate that could survive long enough to bear the young and intelligent enough not to eat it after the birth. Actually, thinking of it that way, it wasn't all that surprising that a Vasto Lorde had a cub…the female would be protected until birthing and if she tried to kill the cub she could be killed then and there. That would work out quite well. They abruptly slowed to a stop in front of a cave and he was carted inside and set gently on a bed- an actual bed made of rags and fluff he'd probably taken from past meals- just as a little green-haired she-cub trundled into the main area of the den, probably just woken from a nap. When he laid eyes on Grimmjow, she grinned wide enough to display the large gap in her teeth, right beneath a huge crack in her mask (which also had a few teeth missing) and rushed to hug him around the neck, proclaiming her thanks to her 'daddy' for bringing her another 'brother'. Grimmjow, on the other hand, just couldn't help himself- instinct was kicking in full swing and he just couldn't, just could not disobey them. Her smell offended him greatly, like she hadn't been washed…ever, so he scooped her up in one paw as well as he could and sat her between his front legs to give her a good and thorough bath. She squirmed and wiggled, laughing and protesting that it tickled, but a heavy paw on her middle kept her where he wanted her until she was clean enough to let go. Why cubs hated baths Grimmjow would never know- the more they stunk, the easier it was for predators to get them.

When she scrambled up onto his back right after he released her, he dutifully ignored the pain of her little heels digging into his muscles and laid himself out, the only visible acknowledgement of the little female crawling all over him the flicking of one ear and the way he provided her his tail to grab for balance so she wouldn't fall off and hurt herself. All his attention focused on the youngling, his paternal instinct on overdrive since it was the first time he'd been around a cub since he'd lost his own to the bitch he'd sired them with, he never noticed how the Vasto Lorde was watching him, claws primed and eyes never leaving the predator that was touching his hatchling. The strange male had an odd sort of mothering characteristic to him, all the more prominently displayed when he gently scolded Nel for kicking him in the sides. It was…pleasant. He was the first to admit he adored the little green-haired hatchling and he was wrapped around her finger, but she just had so much energy and sometimes after hunting all day he just couldn't keep up with her. Having a mother-like figure that could settle her down would be a godsend…if the strange adjucas proved worthy, perhaps he'd keep the feline around. Besides, he'd taught her well and she'd simply bite his throat out if he proved a threat. Having decided the panther was not dangerous at this point in time, Ichigo crossed his arms in front of him, laid his head on them, and promptly fell asleep. He woke up in a familiar manner- Nel pulled on his tail, hard. Beyond yelping at the pain by now, he just peeled open one eye and raised an eyebrow at his hatchling to wordlessly ask what she wanted.

"I's hungy," she informed bluntly, eyes huge and watery, "an' Gimm-Gimm can't nurse me 'cuz he can't hunt so I hadda wake you up." Ichigo's eyebrows furrowed inward as he frowned at that. "Nurse you? Where on earth did you get the idea to do that?" She giggled. "From Gimm-Gimm of course! I's tell I's hungy an' he didn't wanna wake ya up so he was gonna nurse me but he got no milk 'cuz he hungy too. An' since he huwt, he can't hunt, so Daddy, I's hungy." Oh, the joys of trying to decipher the speech of children. Ichigo remembered doing so before he died, though, so it wasn't too terribly hard. "Alright, alright," he groaned, "just leggo my tail. I can't hunt with you dangling from it, you know." Nel, giggling, did as asked, and Ichigo went to go find something big- when Nel said she was hungry, she was hungry. Grimmjow, back in the cave, put his body in front of the entrance the moment the Vasto Lorde (Itsygo, Nel called him, but that surely wasn't his real name) left, both to keep predators out and to keep Nel in. She had mentioned a habit of wandering out of the den alone to play tag when her father wasn't around, and he wouldn't be able to protect her if she got away from him so Grimmjow had to keep her in. He wouldn't let any harm come to this cub. She'd lived past the first year. She deserved to make it to adulthood. A slow, lumbering game of tag later, he'd trapped her in his paws again to give her another bath- one bath hadn't been enough to fully clean her. He had just finished when the body of a dead hollow was tossed into the den, sliding across the floor and smashing up against the back wall, followed soon after by a sated and tired-looking Ichigo. Behind Ichigo was another dead hollow which he was dragging by the tail, presumably his own meal or a snack for the cub.

Grimmjow couldn't help letting his surprise show when the second hollow was dropped in front of him and he was quietly directed to 'eat up'. Trying not to aggravate his injuries, Grimmjow obeyed. He was good and healed by the time he finished it, it being a higher adjucas, and he actually felt…full. The eternal hunger had abated. Of course, he didn't spend long contemplating this, because Nel had managed to get blood all over herself (how she'd gotten it in her hair he'd never know) and needed another bath, which he promptly gave her. Like all cubs, she squirmed and squeaked in protest, wriggling out of his hold again and again, and every time he patiently pulled her back in and resumed where he had left off. After about fifty escapes she settled down with a pout and he chuckled, finishing the bath quickly and letting her go- only, she didn't go anywhere. She'd fallen asleep. His tail flicked as he looked down at her, contemplating moving her to the bed, but giving in and curling around her when he realized that if he tried to move her he'd probably wake her, and she was just too adorable when she was asleep. When he realized what he'd just thought, Grimmjow's ears flattened and he covered his eyes with a quiet groan. "Ah fuck, she got me already? Shit…me an' my weakness fer cubs." It was true- big, badass Grimmjow had the most massive soft spot for younglings, he couldn't help but go all gooey and soft when he was around one. Gnawing on his lip, he gave a defeated sigh and laid his head next to the girl again, a small smile curling his vicious mouth. "Oh well…at least this one ain't bit me in the ears yet." Just as before, Grimmjow was so consumed with the child that he forgot that a Vasto Lorde was even in the room.

Yes, the middle-classed Adjucas would make a fine mother indeed, particularly if he could nurse the hatchling the way he'd implied- she was still so young, eating whole hollows often gave her a stomachache and for that reason she didn't like to eat much or very often, which was why she was developing so slowly. If the panther could nurse her as he had suggested, she would be able and willing to eat more, and she would get stronger, and Ichigo wouldn't be so worried when he left her alone to go hunt. That only added the little trouble of the Adjucas being unable to hunt himself because he'd be busy taking care of the hatchling, but Ichigo could take care of that easily- what was one more measly Hollow per trip when he could kill three dozen with one swipe of his claw? He'd manage, but first…first to find out if there was any truth to the blue-eyed-male's claim to be able to nurse.

Grimmjow woke up half-way with a bit of a start; something felt wrong, but… Not. Unfamiliarly familiar, like something from long ago that he hadn't done in forever and had just remembered how to do. It was very strange, and he laid in his half-awake state for a few minutes just trying to figure out what the hell it was before it hit him. Somebody was nursing from him. Jesus, it would've been nice to have a little warning! With a little sigh he stretched his body out more, deciding to just go back to sleep. As long as no sharp little teeth went biting at his teats (they felt so fuckin' weird when they were full of milk, sloshy and sensitive) he didn't much care. Besides, females slept through feedings all the time…surely he could do the same. But then, of course, came pressure on his side- kneading. It kept the milk flowing, and at the moment it was also making it impossible to sleep because it added more oddness to an already really weird feeling. He grunted. By damn, even if he couldn't get any more sleep, he was not watching this! It felt disturbing enough, even though at the same time if felt perfectly natural to him because, damn it, he was built to be a father. Right down to his bones. If he ever found lost children, he was more likely to take them in and raise them rather than eat them, no matter what species they were, be they human, shinigami, or hollow. He just couldn't help it. Both his ears slammed forward, however, when he heard hesitantly, "Daddy? What're ya doin'?" Peeling open one eye, he discovered his ears had not deceived him- Nel was right in front of him, looking curiously towards his side; that left only one other person. He squeezed his eye shut again and tried, very hard, not to think about it.

One last tug to the teat and he was released, his ears flat in discomfort but his body still relaxed. His underbelly where the teats were located were going to be tender and sensitive for a couple days since they'd been dry for so long, and the more relaxed he was and the less he moved until his body adjusted, the better. "Just helpin' him get ready ta nurse, Nel. He hasn't for a long time, so I had to get things ready again." A short silence followed this, and Grimmjow swore he felt it nip at his ears. "Oh. Did it work, Daddy?" The panther stretched a little further and opened his eyes. "Yeah, cub, it worked. Ya hungry?" Her previously small mouth stretched wide in a smile, showing the large gap between her teeth, and she dived into his underbelly with a squeal of delight. He fought down the winces and talked her through her first feeding, one step at a time, and advising in a strained voice to release his teat from her teeth- sucking was more than enough, and there was absolutely no need for biting. He also showed her how to knead with her front paws to keep the milk flowing thickly, demonstrating against the floor. By the time she was full, he was ravenous and his tail was thumping the floor agitatedly, but she'd gotten the hang of proper nursing and he might actually be able to sleep through the next one. She had just thrown herself onto the bed for an after-breakfast nap when his stomach growled loudly, and the panther started to get to his feet but the lizard was faster. "Stay here," the lizard commanded, his tone strangely gentle when compared to how other Vasto Lorde issued orders, "watch the hatchling. She is usually energetic after her morning nap." Then he left. Though healed, Grimmjow knew that the lizard was at least two hundred times stronger than him and didn't dare disobey, so he curled up around the cub on the bed and settled in to wait out whatever the lizard had in mind.

Stalking through his territory, Ichigo was glad he'd kept the Adjucas alive, because he made a good mother indeed. And he could nurse! Why the fuck could he nurse? He was undoubtedly male, so- this wondering was useless. It would only go in circles until he asked the panther himself. But it was sure as hell real, honest-to-fuck milk, heavy and creamy and buttery and nutritious. Nel would grow fat and strong on that quite quickly. But he'd have to bring in something bigger and stronger to feed the other male; in just one meal, Nel had exhausted all the milk he had produced thus far, and she would be eating three times a day cycle if he had any say in it. Finally finding a suitable prey, he dropped his weight onto his haunches and focused on bringing his new subordinate's meal down.

This time he easily managed to keep up with Nel in her game of 'Endless Tag' and had finally proposed he teach her some of the games he knew while they took a rest. She said maybe but she had to ask Daddy first (why, he couldn't fathom, but he wasn't about to argue with the more powerful male's edict). She had just begun using him as a jungle gym again she suddenly she sat up straight and gave a sort of yelping noise quickly followed by "Daddy's coming!" and scrambled to the floor where Grimmjow promptly gathered her closer with one paw. "Wait, cub," he cautioned, "what if somethin' followed him? Or he could be chasin' somethin' this way, so ya gotta be careful." She giggled and squirmed up to hug his neck. "Don't be silly, Gimm-Gimm! Daddy would never put me in danger." His reiatsu stopped directly outside for a moment, then his head poked in, horns scraping against the sides of the entrance. "You. Panther. I brought you food but it's too big to fit inside. Come outside and eat." Picking up Nel by the back of her ragged shirt, careful not to tear it or catch her with his teeth, he placed the little girl in front of Ichigo –whose name he had figured out once he had managed to decipher the she-cub's pronounced lisp –before proceeding outside. Once he did, he stared for a moment or two with wide eyes before actually eating it; a fucking Vasto Lorde. Lowest possible class, probably just evolved, but- but- but- it was a goddamn VASTO LORDE! Holy fucking shit! By the time he finished it, he was so stuffed with reiatsu he was surprised he hadn't evolved on the spot. He figured it out after a short while, however, when he felt the majority of the spiritual energy streak straight to his belly and condense rather than soaking into himself. It was being converted to milk, so it wasn't actually getting absorbed and thus it wasn't nearly as much power as he'd thought.

With a massive yawn, Grimmjow laid down on his side once back inside the den, his uncomfortably full teats carefully angled so as not to hit them against the floor. They were also placed so that if Nel wanted to suckle, she'd easily be able to without waking him up. The panther then promptly went to sleep, exhausted after the game of tag with Nel. Soon they fell into a comfortable routine- Grimmjow stayed in the den and took care of Nel, who was growing rapidly now that she was eating regularly and properly, and Ichigo took care of things outside of the den, which included not only hunting but defending his territory. Grimmjow was slowly growing stronger as well, which brought a slight worry- as Vasto Lorde were much closer to humans than animals, what would happen if he evolved before Nel was grown enough to handle a diet of full solids? If he lost his ability to nurse her, it would retard her development and make her sick, neither of which he desired for her. Grimmjow very much felt like she was his own after nursing her for such a long time (had they moon cycles, it would've been counted as twenty-four that they spent in this comfortable routine) and had been eating less so he wouldn't evolve too soon. Nel was eating more, as well, and her mask had repaired itself before she began to age extraordinarily quickly. She was almost adolescent now, though she still refused to eat anything other than Grimmjow's milk, since it was the only thing she'd ever eaten that didn't give her a stomachache. The panther, to be entirely truthful, had become so accustomed to feeding her that he wouldn't have cared if she fed from his teats well into adulthood, just as long as she was healthy and happy. It was when Ichigo was hunting at the far reaches of his territory that their comfortable routine was upset. A higher Adjucas, just below Vasto Lorde level, tried to get into the den to get at the weak prey he could sense in there- the still-underdeveloped Nel. Grimmjow was absolutely furious.

Ichigo returned as soon as he felt the threat, forgoing his hunt, and arrived to find a scene that was absolutely striking- Grimmjow, being smaller, was ripping the enemy hollow apart one bite at a time using his speed. His claws were out as far as they went (and they were unexpectedly wicked, almost like small scythes) and his lips were pulled back in a ferocious snarl, his ears flat to his head and his piercing blue eyes glinting red with not only rage, but bloodlust. Between vicious bites, he was spitting and hissing threats and promises as to what hell he was going to put this bastard though, punctuated with vows that he was going to send him straight to the lowest level of hell there was and how fucking dare this bitch try to harm his cub, that part it would pay for the most. When it was looking like a living chew toy, guts spilling onto the sand, unable to stand because of blood loss and pain, huge chunks ripped off of every part of it's body, missing fingers and over half it's tail and one ear and blinded from having them plucked out with Grimmjow's claws like skewered grapes, finally it was put to death, screaming as his claws rent it in four unequal portions that dissolved into nothing. There wasn't even anything left to eat, he had damaged it so badly. Snorting at the bloodstained sand, he turned his back on it and returned inside the den, calling softly to Nel that it was alright and he hadn't meant to scare her. Nel playfully responded that it was okay and it was finally his turn to take a bath from having a messy meal. Grimmjow was so submissive with him that Ichigo had actually forgotten for quite a long time there that the panther was, in truth, among the greatest of predators. He'd become so used to providing that he'd forgotten Grimmjow was completely independent and would easily provide for himself if he was so inclined. Telling himself he would not forget again, he entered the den.

Bathing himself, Nel watching carefully to make sure he didn't miss anything (her perceived revenge for all the baths he'd given her) he was being particularly thorough with his teats because Nel fed from those and he would not have her mouth or her food tainted with that filthy hollow's blood when she asked him a rather strange question. "Hey Gimm-Gimm, don't you ever drink your own milk?" Giving the last bulging nipple a last lick for cleanliness, he started on a back haunch before answering. "No, I've never needed to. My milk is saved for cubs, not for me. Maybe if a pride-mate, like Ichigo, got injured I'd feed them my milk, but other than that, it's mostly for cubs." Nel, very much accustomed to being called Grimmjow's cub by this point, accepted that for her answer and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Do you have any other cubs?" she asked curiously, her cheek against the back of his neck. He stopped, his whole body becoming very tense. "I…I did, a long time ago. They…they died." Nel gasped against his neck and he left off his cleaning, instead laying his head on his front paws. He still missed them, even if he had killed and eaten their bitch of a mother in vengeance. Suddenly her arms tightened in a hug. "It's okay, Papa. I'll get big and strong so I never die, I promise! So you don't have to be sad over me too, alright Papa?" Touched that she considered him her second father, he rolled over to curl his body around her and licked her face lovingly. "Of course, baby. Besides, if anyone tries to hurt you me an' Ichigo will rip 'em ta shreds."

"Damn fucking straight," Ichigo agreed from the entrance, where he had been watching the sweet scene. After seeing the sheer vicious brutality Grimmjow had displayed outside, observing his absolute gentleness with Nel was a striking contrast, and one that touched what was left of his heart. Ichigo had always kept physical distance between them, as he was more powerful and thus a distinct threat, and he didn't want to jeopardize Nel's relationship with the male that fed her so well by intimidating him. At the moment, he went and threw that out the window, laying next to Grimmjow and starting to lick away the blood that was slowly starting to dry. Grimmjow proved his trust by not even tensing up, giving Ichigo more access by turning his head and sighing happily as he was gently cleaned. A new routine was established- the males took turns hunting, the other staying behind and both protecting and entertaining Nel (she was now old enough to be allowed to explore outside the den, and she was taking full advantage of that) and Grimmjow continued to feed her as she matured into an adult. They then began teaching her how to hunt and more importantly, how to defend herself. She would one day take a mate, and she would need to be able to protect herself and her children when that day came. Speaking of mates, Ichigo had begun to look at Grimmjow differently lately. It made the panther nervous because he didn't know what it meant- he'd never seen that look before. He skirted the lizard warily most days, but Ichigo didn't seem to mind. He just started getting…cuddly. He would snuggle his body right up to Grimmjow's at every opportunity, especially if he was close to Nel (which would be all the time) and whenever he slept. He then started to get friendly, grooming the panther and letting the panther groom back- as far as the panther was concerned, it was a confirmation that they were a pride. Mutual grooming was only practiced by close friends and pride members.

Ichigo couldn't help his subtle courtship of the lower Hollow- he was just too fucking beautiful when he was in a killing rage. It didn't matter that if other Vasto Lorde ever found out Grimmjow would be killed on the spot because Ichigo would defend him with his life. Besides, the Adjucas made a damn fine mother, and he wanted another cub. He wanted litters, actually, and he couldn't envision having them with anyone other than his lovely panther companion. So, come hell or high water, he was making that panther his mate! Plain and simple, that male was his! Now…how to convince Grimmjow of that? It happened, he discovered, that the panther had periodical heat periods in which he would become insanely aroused for the duration of the heat and extremely likely to accept almost any hollow that approached him to mate. He'd never noticed before because his presence deterred other hollows and while in heat Grimmjow was too lust-maddened to make the offer, which meant that if he wasn't approached, he wouldn't mate. Paying close attention to changes in the panther's scent, when he discerned that Grimmjow was entering a heat, he invited him into the side area of the den that served as the only place of relative privacy- a smaller room, it had the remains of a soul reaper's cloak that he had found and strung across the entrance for a sort of curtain, and rarely used except by Nel when she was having a 'womanly time'. The wilder male came docilely enough, looking only mildly curious. He was a master at hiding his heat, muting his scent and rigidly controlling his behavior- if Ichigo hadn't gone and tracked down another panther to question, he would've never known felines had a heat time at all. "Grimmjow," Ichigo said gently once they were behind the curtain, "I like you. I trust you. I enjoy your company, and consider you a great father to my hatchling. I would…help you with your upcoming heat, if you wish." The feline blushed slightly. "Ya knew about it?"

"Not until recently," the lizard answered delicately, his tail-tip twitching nervously, "but I noticed a change in your scent when we woke this day cycle. Once I realized, I…did not want you to suffer through it alone as you have for many heats before." Grimmjow appeared to consider it for a few moments, then he got up from where he was sitting on the floor. His nostrils flaring to take in as much scent as possible, he started to circle the Vasto Lorde, rubbing up against him at intervals. Ichigo tried to make sense out of what was happening for a few minutes, in which the panther continued to circle and rub. Then Grimmjow stopped and walked directly in front of him, splaying his back legs and lowering his front half as his tail lifted invitingly; Grimmjow was giving his consent. The smaller male surrendered to his instincts, shoving his ragged pants entirely off his body and draping himself over the offered body with a loving growl, his claw-hands bracing on the floor to either side of the panther so he didn't claw him all to hell. What followed next would've been insanely impressive where they not the two they were- five days of mating. Absolutely nothing got done in those five days but continuous, tail-banging, blood-drawing, floor-clawing mating. Somewhere in the middle of all that, by silent agreement they bit each other's necks and mate-marked each other to declare them mates for life. Naturally, they had to feed Nel, but even that they managed while mating; it was, after all, as good a time as any to explain what mating was and how it worked. They had to go slowly those times, otherwise all the movement would've made it too difficult for Nel to eat while the teats swung.

(To all readers blushing right now, you didn't think they would magically dry up or somehow stay still during five fucking days of nonstop fucking, did you? And Nel has to eat, so obviously she's going to be learning the facts of life…she's an adult now anyway, so there is no scarring of the young child, folks. I'm twisted, but not that twisted.)

After that, they began living as one loving, happy family, albeit one with two fathers. Unfortunately, their Happily Ever After was not to last. They heard of a white palace being built on the other side of the Menos Forest, and of lower Adjucas being stolen away to the place, never to return. Wary of this, they shrank their hunting area, staying close together at all times and moving as a unit. The first time they caught an Arrancar, they weren't quite sure what it was, and played with it for an extended time before eating it. The strange hybrids turned out to be incredibly good eating, tasty and powerful at the same time, and they devoured any that got too close to their territory. Then…Nel was taken.

The pair descended on that thrice-cursed fortress like a natural disaster- devastating and unstoppable. They did not get out unscathed; Nel was now an Arrancar, Grimmjow was missing an eye and part of his tail, and Ichigo had nearly been stripped of his mask and bore terrible scarring on his chest and face, but they got out alive. The same could not be said of the inhabitants of that place. Much later, the orb that had transformed Nel came into their possession from a turned Vasto Lorde- he wanted to return to his former state, but someone else was required to perform the strange ritual itself. Upon discovering it would fix Grimmjow's eye, Ichigo insisted he transform, and Grimmjow insisted the same for Ichigo so he would also be healed. The strength boost that came with it convinced them to stay that way, and they once again lived their lives happily as a family until Nel left to find a mate.

Alone in the den with his beloved mate, Ichigo sidled up to the humanoid that was once a panther and purred in his ear. "It's so quiet and empty in the den with no hatchlings, my love…" His own voice a husky growl, the blue-haired male tilted his head back to rest on the shoulder behind him, exposing his neck to his dominant mate. "And what, beloved, would you have us do to fix that?" The Vasto Lorde placed a gentle bite on that tan column, his hands fastening to the strong hips. "I smell your heat, your fertile time, coming. I think we should be trying to beget us a litter." Grimmjow chuckled and tucked his body closer to the other male's. "Then what're we waitin' fer, love?" And thus preceded their first litter, which bore them two sons and a daughter that they loved and faithfully raised with all their hearts, their first daughter occasionally babysitting with her mate, Stark. Seven more litters later, they were happily babysitting grandchildren and it turned out that their sons had inherited from their Papa the ability to birth and nurse, making the number of grandchildren grow three times as fast as it would have for any other family…not that Ichigo and Grimmjow were complaining.