Knocking on an Open Door
Chapter 1: Two of a Kind
'First love is only a little foolishness and a lot of curiosity.' –George Bernard Shaw
From the first moment he walked in, I knew he was going to be trouble.
Trouble for the teacher.
Trouble for the other students.
Trouble for me.
His washed-out jeans were ripped in the knees, his classic white-and-black Converse sneakers looking scuffed and worn out. His white t-shirt was hacked at the sleeves with the words 'THE WORLD IS A WHORE' stamped across the front in black script. His forearms swirled with tattoos so deep in color they almost hurt my eyes, even from my seat halfway across the lecture hall. His blue hair was bright, almost like cotton candy, but darker somehow. So messy, tangled in a sophisticated kind of way.
No backpack. No messenger bag. Just a black composition notebook and a pen held lazily in one hand and a yellow slip of paper in the other.
Nobody could tear their eyes away from the student who had just been added to the junior roster of Karakura University of the Fine Arts.
We knew he was a transfer because the first thing he did upon entering the classroom was drop the yellow slip of paper in front of the professor while he stood at his podium, having been lecturing on the finer points of European Renaissance art. Sensei glanced over the yellow document for barely a minute before nodding his head several times and motioning for him to take a seat in one of the many rows of the lecture hall.
He mounted the steps and I realized how tall he must be as he approached my level. 6'1'', 6'2''? Enough to make me jealous, that was for sure.
I thought I'd choke on my own tongue when I saw two silver studs in his lower lip glint in the light, a set of spider bite piercings, not to mention the black plugs in his ears. His eyes were like burning ice, if that makes sense.
He slid into my row, only two people away from me.
I tried to focus on my notes.
I heard him roll his seat back, squirm in his chair a little. He finally put his feet up on the desk and I turned my head just enough so I could see the tops of his shoes in my peripheral.
On the topside edge of his right sneaker, it said FUCK FREUD in English.
The room quieted.
"Is there something about Michelangelo's Pieta you find amusing, Mr. Kurosaki?" the professor deadpanned, staring up at me as I felt heat gather in my face.
They all waited. I had nothing to say. I was beyond embarrassed.
"There's a lot of shit amusing about it."
Everybody's head tilted towards the left. More specifically, towards the unfamiliar voice at the end of my row, the voice that was rough like cigarettes but still smooth like satin sheets and as edible to my ears as chocolate.
"Really? Care to enlighten us, Mr…?" The professor looked down at the paper the blue-haired punk had given him but paused, his eyebrows furrowing.
"Jaegerjaques," the transfer student said, legs still carelessly flung over the top of his desk. I noticed one of his shoes had become untied. Either that, or the lace was very long, "Grimmjow Jaegerjaques."
"Interesting," the professor said with a smirk, adjusting his black-rimmed glasses, "a very unique name you have there, Jaegerjaques-san."
Grimmjow shrugged, "It's the only one I've got."
The professor smiled again, an unnerving smile that I've never been comfortable with. Aizen-sensei is not a professor I have ever taken lightly and not one I think Grimmjow should challenge.
"Would you care to enlighten me in regards to this masterpiece?" Aizen said cheerfully, waving his pointer stick back towards the projection shot of the famous piece of free-standing marble art, "Tell me, what about the portrayed death of a prominent religious figure, Christ Himself, do you find the least bit amusing?"
"How about the fact that he's not proportional?" Grimmjow began, his voice sounding bored, "Don't know what kind of statement 'Gelo's trying to make with a Virgin Mary that's twice the fuckin' size of her dead savior. With those measurements, if she was standing, she'd be a giant. Christ looks like a kid laying on her lap, not a full grown crucified man."
Again there was silence. Nobody moved. I slid down farther in my chair, wondering if Aizen's wrath would fall upon me as well as Grimmjow due to my innocent interruption.
"Michelangelo is considered one of the greatest Italian Renaissance artisans," Aizen replied, an amused smirk still on his face, "he must have had some idea of what he was doing."
"Considering he did the Sistine Chapel while lying on his back on stories-high scaffolding with paint dripping into his face and eyes for over two years, causing him to go nearly blind, I'd say you're right. Michelangelo's one tough motherfucker."
Again, there was an uneasy silence only punctuated by the sound of the air conditioning kicking in and circulating throughout the large room. Aizen stared up at Grimmjow while Grimmjow looked away from the projected picture, now disinterested.
Aizen adjusted some papers on his podium, "Perhaps one day in the future your artwork will also be found humorous during a college lecture, Jaegerjaques-san."
I stared at Grimmjow, unable to look away as he crossed his arms over his chest, his face looking quite serious, "I fucking hope so."
Later that day, after a free period in the art studio, I was invited to grab a cup of coffee with one of my good friends from the music department, Chad. We grabbed our coffees from the swank little café boasted on campus and relaxed on a bench just outside one of the main music auditoriums, chatting about exams and other bullshit. Not too much time later, Chad confessed that he had work that evening and needed to go. I watched him walk away, sighing heavily before running a hand through my annoying orange locks, my coffee gone and my mind slowly sinking into a familiar depression.
I didn't feel like going back to my dorm room. I'd applied for a single occupancy room, which, looking back on it, I shouldn't have done. I enjoyed the college, but having a roommate would have made making friends a hell of a lot easier. I just…I couldn't imagine having a roommate this late in the game. I wasn't an only child, but I'd never had to share before, and it really wasn't out of selfishness more then it was out of privacy. I couldn't imagine sharing a room with another male student, having my privacy disrupted, having to know that I was feet away from another sleeping male. I had never told anyone that I was gay, not even Chad. I had never even gone out with somebody before. There had been a few girls growing up that had shown interest, but I had been oblivious or shy. A part of me hoped that the world would figure it out on its own: I didn't need to broadcast something so personal.
But not broadcasting was just as difficult, considering I had never had a male relationship before either. I'd kissed a few boys, but they'd all been drunken decisions at frat parties that nobody ever remembered in the morning, leaving me in an even worse state of depression.
I am a twenty one year old virgin with less dating experience then my younger twin sisters.
It sounds stupid, but I was beyond lonely. I don't know what I wanted, but what I think I needed was change from what had become my day-to-day existence.
I continued to sit on the bench, waiting for a sign, divine intervention from Kami. Eventually I got tired of waiting and decided to check out the auditorium.
It was beginning to get late. Most students didn't stick around the auditoriums, lecture halls, or art studios past five and it was nearing seven. Feeling useless, I slipped into the music auditorium, staring at the rows and rows of empty leather seats. It was one of the smaller auditoriums with a stage and proper lighting, a shiny black grand piano looking impressive under the harsh lights.
My jaw unhinged when I realized somebody was sitting at the piano, a notebook in their lap, eyebrows drawn together in concentration as they stared down at whatever it was he was writing. A shock of blue hair immediately made my insides curl, and when he lifted his head and set the notebook on the piano stand, I thought my legs would give out from beneath me.
Grimmjow's long slim fingers positioned themselves over the ivory keys, immediately beginning up a soothing melody that had my insides melting. His hair was different from this morning. In fact, he'd changed his outfit. A pair of loose-fitting dark-washed jeans and a plain white long-sleeved t-shirt, his blue hair seeming longer now that it wasn't styled up in that cohesive mess I'd seen this morning. It was down and loose around his face, accentuating his high cheekbones and piercing blue eyes.
I moved down the aisle to get closer, keeping to the shadows so as not to draw his attention as the music flowed, growing in power as his fingers flew over the keys. I noticed that his lip studs were gone, and the shirt prevented me from seeing his intricate tattoos on his arms, but I did see ink on the skin just before his knuckles, something curving that I couldn't read from this distance. That was a tattoo I had seen this morning, but the air about him was so…different.
Was this really Grimmjow?
I froze as I knocked into a metal music stand intended for rehearsals that I hadn't seen. It clattered noisily to the ground.
The music stopped. Grimmjow locked eyes with me.
All the air left my lungs as those eyes settled on me, his face showing no anger or irritation at having been interrupted. Instead, he offered me a warm smile. I felt my heart constrict and knew that I was a goner.
"Hello," he said in a soft voice. And it was soft, soft in a way that seemed impossible for the Grimmjow I had seen in the classroom this morning. The German accent also peaked through, and now I was blushing because he was still staring at me in a calmly friendly way and I didn't know what to do.
"Sorry," I rushed, picking up the music stand and running my hands on my jean-clad thighs to clear them of sweat.
"What for?" Grimmjow said.
"For interrupting?" I said, the statement somehow coming out sounding more like a question. My neck and ears burned as he regarded me, standing up from his place at the piano to make his way almost silently to the edge of the stage. He sat down, his long legs hanging off the edge of the stage as he stared back at me.
"I think you're the best interruption I've ever had," he said quietly, the corner of his mouth tugging into a smile while I gulped for air and tried to figure out what to do or say.
I had never been this tongue-tied. This creature was just too…too… "Amazing."
Grimmjow smiled at me. I went into cardiac arrest.
Or at least it felt like it. Did he have no idea how gorgeous he was? How appealing? The man was already affecting me in ways I didn't think were humanly possible. Is this what they called love at first sight? I had never been a believer in it until this moment.
And still…I felt as if this was the first time I had ever seen him before, which was ludicrous. He had saved me in class this morning from complete humiliation, taking a fall for me for no reason. I owed him my gratitude.
"What's amazing?" he said, his eyes as deep as the ocean. I couldn't look away.
"Y-your music," I amended quickly, embarrassed I had almost said something else. Grimmjow did not need to know he had a crazy stalker this early in the game.
What the hell was I thinking? No way did I have a chance with him. He was gorgeous. The entire student body was probably already reeling over him. I could imagine the number of girls giggling behind their hands and snapping shots of him on their cell phones when they thought he wasn't paying attention. I was still bright as a tomato.
"Thank you," he said, his hands on either side of him, bracing the edge of the stage, his gaze still locked on me, "I didn't think anybody would be here this late. I'm pleasantly surprised. I haven't had the pleasure of meeting anyone yet considering I just transferred."
By this point I was thoroughly confused. The more I listened to him, the more I was convinced that this wasn't Grimmjow, or if it was, he was suffering from a multiple personality disorder and I needed to get him to a psychiatrist. His skin was lighter then I remembered, and his polite quiet speech was not gruff or sarcastic or in any way like the voice I had heard this morning. It was gorgeous, attractive, and sexy, yes, but it was somehow different.
"What's your name?" he asked, and I thought my heart had dropped through my stomach.
"Ichigo," he repeated, saying it slowly as if contemplating it.
This is it, I thought. This is where he makes a joke about my name. I've always resented the fact that people immediately associate it with the delicious red fruit.
"That's a strong name. 'One who protects', correct?" he said with that half smile, "Very unique. Is it all right for me to be so informal? Do you prefer Kurosaki?"
I was completely taken aback. I felt like I was going to collapse from surprise. Not only did he not make fun of my name, he complimented it.
Who was this kid who had managed to steal my heart in less then twenty-four hours?
"You can call me whatever you want," I said truthfully, feeling like an idiot as soon as the statement left my mouth.
He grinned at me again and I don't know how I was still breathing. The room was too small, and I felt like I was sweating out of every pore on my body.
He held out his hand, "It's nice to meet you, Ichigo."
I took the few steps forward, approaching the edge of the stage, holding out my hand. Our skin made contact. He shook my hand firmly, my arm loose as pudding. I felt like a live wire, the hairs on my arms standing up at full attention. My mouth went dry.
"Godric, you still in here?"
I yanked my hand away from him as if I had been electrocuted, spinning at the familiar voice that had my stomach doing somersaults.
This couldn't be happening. It was impossible.
I had known from the beginning that he was going to be trouble.
Grimmjow made his way towards the stage, looking me over once before locking eyes with his doppelganger, "Am I interrupting something here?"
"Not at all, lieber bruder*," he said slowly, looking at me again, "Just making a new acquaintance. This is Kurosaki Ichigo."
"Kurosaki," Grimmjow said, arms folded over his chest, "You're the idiot from this morning. Pissed off the art teacher who thinks he knows fuck-all about sculpture, yeah?"
"Yeah, that's me," I said, looking between the two people before me who could only be twins, "I thought…"
Godric grabbed his notebook from the piano before he slipped off the side of the stage. Now that they were next to each other, I could definitely see the subtle differences. The skin tones, the styling. Godric's eyes were a lighter blue and he was barely an inch shorter then Grimmjow and still taller than me. Grimmjow was broader, but Godric was by no means gangly or unfit. They were the most gorgeous brothers I had ever seen.
Grimmjow said something hurriedly in a language I assumed to be German; it was gruff but still sounded sexy. Godric replied with a few words before looking at me and smiling, "Sorry. My brother is being rude."
"No. Not at all. Your Japanese is amazing," I replied, feeling like a tongue-tied lunatic.
"Our mother was Japanese," Godric said while Grimmjow stared at me. He was staring like he was evaluating me, searching me. I felt incredibly self-conscious as his eyes openly roamed my body. I told myself he was a fellow artist.
"Let's go, Godric. We can play with the kitten later," Grimmjow said dismissively, tugging on his brother's forearm.
Godric looked at me apologetically, "Sorry, Ichigo."
I watched them go, leaving me in silence.
I shuddered as soon as I was completely alone, thinking about what they had said. What had Grimmjow meant?
And even more importantly, what was Godric sorry about?
The next several days were spent wishing I would run into the brothers. Grimmjow never said a word to me in class; he wouldn't even look at me. Aizen-sensei continued to rattle on and on and all I could do was doodle idly in my notebook, thinking about the conversaton I had had with Godric.
In my desperation, I even went back to the music studio. Godric hadn't been there.
In my painting class almost a week later I was beginning to feel depressed when one of the studio doors slammed open and who should walk in but Grimmjow, his jeans so shredded I wondered if he had been attacked by a Rotweiler, his plain black tee covered in blue and red splatters of paint. Dark aviator sunglasses covered his eyes, his turgid blue hair piled like a monsoon. An unlit cigarette was tucked behind his ear, a large wet canvas under one of his armpits while his other hand carried a black bag that I assumed to be painting supplies.
"Oi, this Advanced Placement Painting?" he barked and a dozen heads swiveled in his direction along with the studio teacher.
Szayel-sensei lifted a cool pink eyebrow, "I don't believe you're in my class, Mr...?"
"This fuckin' ape kicked me out of his painting class," Grimmjow said nonchalantly as if it was no big deal to be excused from a class permanently or to refer to another teacher as an 'ape'.
"And why is that?" Szayel said with a spark of interest. I didn't like the new gleam in his eye: Szayel-sensei had always been a monger for gossip and he was quite the mad genius as far as art teachers went. I didn't like the way he was looking at him, like he was a new experiment.
"Took a box cutter to somebody's canvas," Grimmjow said dismissively, "Not my fault the little fucker wouldn't lay off my hair."
Someone in the classroom snickered while I stared at him slackjawed. I don't know why such knowledge surprised me, but i did.
"Well, I suppose you can sit in for today, but if you plan on transferring into my class, you'll need to go through the registrar," Szayel said with a chuckle. He pulled out the class attendance sheet and a pencil, "Your name, please?"
"Jaegerjaques, Grimmjow," he said before moving across the room and grabbing an unused wooden easel. He propped his large canvas on it and swiveled it around so that he could get away from the lighting of the large glass windows that took up two walls of the studio. This surprised me. Every student, including me, had some source of natural lighting. Why was he avoiding it?
Everyone was quietly continuing their own paintings, but everyone's eyes continued to shift over to the mad man who had decided to come amongst us. He wasn't quiet at all as he moved about the room, getting plastic cups of water from the well-used and paint-covered sink, paper towels from a dispenser, and grabbing a small paint-splattered stool from the corner that we use as part of our still life concentrations on occasion. This he used to set up his paints. My eyes went wide when I saw him pull the tubes from the bag and begin squeezing them with abandon, a very, very expensive brand that nobody else in the room had or could afford. He pushed his sunglasses up out of his eyes and grabbed a thick-bristled black brush and began attacking his canvas with abandon.
I stopped pretending to paint and just watched him, his hand never wavering, never a sign of indecision. His blue eyes never left the canvas, never veered off to look at anyone else or anyone else's work. I was so hypnotized, in fact, that I hadn't heard Szayel-sensei come up behind me.
I nearly fell off of my stool, "Uh, no, sensei. Sorry."
Szayel smirked before wandering off to appreciate someone else's work and I let out a small sigh of relief.
When I looked up, Grimmjow's eyes were on mine. I froze.
"You ever catch shit fer yer hair?"
"What?" I said, the back of my neck heating up.
"Do you. Ever. Catch shit. For your. Hair?" he said, breaking the sentence up in such a weird way that I couldn't help but snort.
"Yah. All the fucking time," I answered honestly, running a hand through my unruly orange spikes for emphasis. I wouldn't tell him that I'd gotten my eyebrow pierced and the two silver hoops in my ears to make me look more of a delinquent then I actually was. The ploy had worked well for the past two years since I had gotten the piercings done; most people left me alone, assuming it was a dye job.
He grinned at me, a grin that reminded me of his twin brother, and my heart skipped a beat, "You a trouble maker, Kurosaki?"
I gulped, "No. Not really."
"Too bad," he said dismissively, flicking his paintbrush at his canvas again, "At least you don't look like a total pussy."
I don't know what to say to this, but my classic temper is starting to get the better of me, "Fuck you."
Grimmjow's leer was making my blood boil, his eyes roaming my body in a way that made my dick twitch, "Nah, you're the one that needs a pounding. You look like a screamer."
I feel as if my entire body is blushing at this point and half the people in the room are eavesdropping on our conversation by now. The girls look like they're going to faint while the guys have a look of disgust.
"This isn't time for chatting," Szayel-sempai says commandingly from the other side of the room, "You can talk in an hour, when class is over."
"Sorry, sensei," I say automatically, used to the ingrained response. I look at Grimmjow. He looks like he's never apologized for anything in his life.
And I hate him for it.
He's something I can never be.
After class, I'm slow in putting away my painting supplies, lingering as long as possible because even though the class has been dismissed, Grimmjow made no move to start cleaning up. He's being much more careful with his brush now, his strokes long and languid and I can't help but stare at the muscles in his arm as it flexes. His fingers are long and look calloused, and that's when I notice that he's looking at me again and I look away.
"What?" he says, and its the way he says it that makes my mind scramble to say something coherent.
"Why aren't you using natural lighting?" I say, hoping I can cover for the fact I was staring like a love-struck moron by feigning artistic curiosity.
He sighs, looking at me like I'm a dumbass, "Natural lighting changes every fifteen minutes. The sun's unreliable."
I furrow my eyebrows, never having been told this information by an art teacher, but it made sense. As the sun continues to travel across the sky, the lighting would constantly change, shifting shadows and expanding angles. How stupid of me not to think of something like that.
"Oh," I say lamely, grabbing my bag.
I'm almost to the door when I hear, "Go grab me something to eat."
I turn around, stare at him, "What?"
"Are you fuckin' retarded?" Grimmjow says, staring at his canvas instead of me. He lifts his eyes and I feel like hyperventilating, "I'm hungry. Go get me something."
"What do you want?" I reply stupidly, realizing my infatution has been taken to an entirely different level if I'm already his slave.
"Pizza," he says dismissively, turning back to his canvas, "And hurry. I'm fuckin' starving."
About twenty minutes later I'm on my way back from the tiny hole-in-the-wall pizza place just off campus when I realize I never even asked Grimmjow what kind he likes. I'd ordered a large cheese because I'd been confident in the fact that if anything, plain cheese pizza was the safest route.
But knowing what I knew (or didn't know) about Grimmjow was that he was the most unpredictable person on the planet. What if he got pissed that there was nothing on it? What if he liked pepperoni? Mushrooms? Green pepper or, heaven forbid, anchovies?
I worried myself sick the whole way back to the painting studio. When I got inside, Grimmjow had cleared up his paints and was sitting on the teacher's desk, elbows resting on his torn knees, glasses low on his nose as he looked at me, rolling paper in his hand.
"Are you rolling a joint?" I say aloud, the pizza forgotten in my hands.
"Yep," he says, licking the edge before folding it over, "Now bring that pizza over here and we'll have ourselves a party."
This is stupid. This is beyond stupidity. Food isn't even aloud in the studio much less an illegal substance, and anyone can walk in at any time, but my mind has been boycotted by my body and I pull up a chair to the desk and open the pizza box.
"What's in there?" Grimmjow asks, fingering the small plastic bag slung on my arm.
"Grabbed some drinks too."
"You think of everything," he said with a smirk before picking up a piece of pizza and annihilating it in less time then I thought was humanly possible, "Good thing it's plain. I was worried I'd have to kick yer ass."
How am I finding him adorable right now? Charming, even? What the fuck is wrong with me?
We continue to eat in companionable silence and when the pizza is completely gone and we've drank our sodas, he pulls a lighter free from his jeans pocket and lights the joint. He puffs on it long and hard. I watch him open his mouth, allowing the billowing cloud to haze out softly and then he breathes in heavily through his nose, the cloud that had been coming out of his mouth now sucking into his nostrils. He finally releases, spraying the smoke in my face.
He takes one more puff before offering it to me. I'm embarassed to say I've never even tried it; my dad was incredibly strict about these kinds of things and I believe it when people say he shelters his children too much. I'd never even had an inclination towards the stuff, but something possesses me and the only thing I can think about is the fact that Grimmjow's lips have been on the joint and I take it in my hand and I take a drag.
I exhale almost immediately, my chest feeling weird and I let out a weak cough.
He grins at me, "Ah, did I just pop your Mary Jane cherry?"
I blush furiously as I take another drag, determined to hold it in for as long as possible before exhaling. I've only had two hits and I'm already feeling the effects, feeling lighter. I hand it back to him before saying, "Shut up."
"So," he says, blowing more smoke in my face again, "You're into my brother."
My eyes go impossibly wide before I shake my head, "N-no, no I'm not."
"Fuckin' liar," he murmurs, "I'm not an idiot. You were eye-fuckin'."
"No I wasn't, shut up!"
"We're twins," he drawls, blowing smoke out of his nostrils, "I'm older by six minutes. I'm the older brother. I know more about him then he knows about his own goddamn self."
I don't say anything because I'm hypnotized by his lulling voice; it's gruff but affectionate and I have a wild moment where I imagine Grimmjow being all over me.
"They say twins can read each other, know what the other is feeling," Grimmjow said, blowing more smoke into my face with an amused grin, "Would'ja like 'ta know?"
I snatch what little is left of the joint from Grimmjow's fingers and chief it, sucking as much into my lungs as I can possibly stand, closing my eyes and ignoring his previous statement before opeing my eyes and blowing all that pungent smoke right into Grimmjow's face.
"I don't know what you're talking about," I say, hoping my face is quite serious. My eyes are starting to burn.
Grimmjow's leer is slower then drying paint, "He'd fuck 'ya."
He gets off the edge of the desk, towering over me, his shit-eating grin severely weakening my knees, "He'd fuck you, then I'd fuck you. Maybe we'd fuck ya at the same time."
I don't know what to say and my head is feeling light and heavy at the same time, the back of my skull feeling as if it is beginning to slide away and my eyes are still burning, "What the hell is wrong with you?"
"He wants it, he's just more patient then me," Grimmjow continues as if I never posed a question, "He likes to earn things. I don't. I just take."
I take a step away from him as he grabs the front of my shirt and I'm frozen and I want to fight at the same time.
"See 'ya around, Kurosaki," he says before ruffling my orange locks and pulling a wad of yen out of his back pocket and throwing it in the air in front of my face. He tells me it's for the pizza, but the bills are marked high and it's much more money then a stupid pizza cost me. I watch the bills float to the ground as he leaves the classroom.
I stand still, staring at my shoes, my fists shaking at my sides, "What...the...fuck...?"
A/N: And so begins a journey I have never contemplated before my realistic dream sequence a week ago. To my readers who constantly take chances with my work, I understand if you are ready to abandon ship. Very few fan fiction fans can tolerate an original character, much less a three-way forbidden love triangle. I could see a Grimmjow like Godric so clearly that I simply had to create him, although I'm sure many of you are apprehensive. I myself am not a fan of original characters, although there have been a select few I am willing to read about due to their amazing characterization or charming wit. Whether you are for it or against it, please consider reviewing for my sake. I would love to hear feedback on what is working and what is not. Life in general has been getting in the way of my writing, and I apologize for that. I know I am letting a lot of you down by turning my attention in another direction yet again, but this idea simply refused to be tucked away and saved for a later date. It was literally clawing at the back of my brain and after chatting with a friend I came to the conclusion that it is far better to write something then nothing at all. This by no means implies that I will be abandoning any of my other projects; simply another outlet for a crowded and stressed mind. ~TPP
*German: 'dear brother'