Blue Collar Angel Part VII


I've got to make a play

To make my lover stay

So what would an angel say

The devil wants to know

What I need is a good defense

'Cause I'm feelin' like a criminal

And I need to redeemed

To the one I've sinned against

Because he's all I ever knew of love

~ "Criminal" - Fiona Apple


Grimmjow Jaegerjaques


Grimmjow believed there was a special place in Hell just for him.

Beep... Beep... Beep...

This must be it.

It was all his fault, there was no denying that, and he heartily agreed he was the one who should have received some sort of divine retribution. He deserved it a thousand times over. He'd told Him that as many times, feeling like an idiot while he spoke to the man upstairs when he'd neither believed nor doubted his existence practically his whole life. He could have been talking to empty air for all he knew, but desperation and outrage had pushed Grimmjow over the edge. Way over.

Perhaps he should've listened to the priests and nuns who'd preached to him to pray to God and study the bible when he'd been in those god-awful soup kitchens and food pantries as a kid. Maybe then His Holiness would answer his calls, but then again He never had when Grimmjow was a child growing up in the rundown projects.

His dad had always sent his son to those damn places to get food for the house since the man pissed all of his welfare check away on booze and cigarettes, beer bottles he used to throw at Grimmjow and smoldering butts he burned the blue-haired boy's arms and legs with. And that had been a piece of cake compared to the fun his father had with those steel-toes boots. It was a wonder he'd never punctured a lung or broken a rib.

One good thing about growing up in that hellhole was that it made Grimmjow strong, tough, resilient. He knew no mercy, no tenderness, no love, not even at thirteen, when Aizen had found him living on the streets after running away from the abusive asshole who dared to call himself his father. That thick-skinned, angry at the world attitude had been what attracted Aizen to him in the first place.

Living in the mansion with the brunette 'businessman' and the other kids that trickled in and out was like a dream come true for him. Not only did Aizen indulge his every teenage want, Grimmjow at last put his natural rage to good use and learned to fight. He'd been instructed in martial arts from all over the seven continents like Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, Muay Thai, Aikido, Capoeira, Musangwe, and Krav Maga. He'd been taught how to use and make weapons, though he'd particularly excelled at sharp shooting - his aim was beyond perfect. His other studies had included strategy, survival skills, and unfortunately the 'standards' like History and Math. Even so, to say he'd been the star pupil in all of his physical education lessons was an understatement. Grimmjow was the singular Espada in training to earn a smile from Aizen himself.

By the time he turned eighteen he had almost completely forgotten about the incident in the garden where his guardian had shot and killed a man right in front of him. However, he soon remembered that Aizen's intentions were not squeaky clean, yet they had ended up a little different than he'd expected. Grimmjow had been groomed into a killer, yes, but one that slaughtered the guilty.

This twisted form of justice had worked for him for a while, he a faceless vigilante ridding the city of evil and a hero to the people. It wasn't until he'd made that one mistake, his first and only error in all his years as the Sexta, and there had been innocent blood on his hands. It was not fear but enlightenment that it cost him, his world warping into reality right before him. Grimmjow's life had not been what he'd thought it to be; it'd been meaningless, empty,... hollow.

So he'd left Rukongai for the first time in his life. He hadn't left so much as a note before he packed up what he could and jumped on the first train headed out in search of something... more.

The world had seemed so different when he'd stopped analyzing everything as a threat and ignoring that which he considered harmless. He realized he liked music, especially hard classic rock to go along with his newfound admiration for retro cars, and he loved cheeseburgers, an indulgence not included in the strict diet Aizen had fed him. It was exhilarating, yet he felt as if something was still missing, something to hold on to, something important. With so much new to explore, everything passed by him in a dizzying blur until it came to a screeching halt when he ran dangerously low on funds in a small town named Hanging Dog.

Beep... Beep... Beep...

Grimmjow never thought he'd be grateful to only be able to afford a stay in a fleabag motel just outside the town limits, surrounded by forest and the metal monstrosity of a steel mill. Once in the room he'd eaten some Chinese takeout and drank a beer or two then fallen asleep watching the football game. Despite that after a day's travel he was out like a light, his slumber was disturbed by a loud thud and then a bang coming from right outside his door.

He'd never forget what had been so clearly said in the hallway as he instinctually shook off the haze of sleep, the filth that had been spewing from those bastards' mouths and their jeering laughter. He still couldn't think of those hateful words without snarling silently. Grimmjow had barely begun to analyze the situation before bursting his door open in full search and destroy mode.

Needless to say, he'd laid the three puissants out in under a minute, letting them off far too easy by allowing them to run for it, but there had been a good reason for doing so, he swore. Because what he'd been looking for was right there, staring up at him with big brown eyes that were forcefully beautiful. Those pair of expressive, opalescent amber eyes conquered Grimmjow completely, a slave to the exquisite power they held. And that was all she wrote...

Beep... Beep... Beep...

The blunette had never known love in his life yet it was surprisingly easy to succumb to its lilting lullaby of a siren song, luring him into the depths of a passion he'd thought myth 'till that night and it seemed everything he'd ever heard of love was lackluster in comparison to his devotion, his possession, his adoration, and his protection. He figured it was because it is that the longer a man awaits love the stronger it becomes, and the more treasured.

Now look at what he'd done, having moved them away from the familiarity of their little house in Hanging Dog to the bustling danger of Rukongai. How could he have been so reckless, so ignorant, so… stupid. Yes, it had all been to see happiness glittering in those compellingly emotive brandy-colored orbs by providing financial security and full health and the opportunities to pursue dreams not available in that miserable small town, but what was the cost?

Grimmjow knew he'd failed the one he called his 'sweetheart', believing returning to his old position as Sexta would solve everything when all it had done was keep them from each other at all hours of the night and day and now… this.

Beep… Beep… Beep…

Christ, what if instead of this white room full of machines and tubes Grimmjow was on the steps of a cathedral, wearing black and shouldering the weight of a black pine box as it was carried to the churchyard?

Grimmjow's growl was thunderous in the relatively silent room and the sound of metal clanking on metal was heard as he threw his hands up to run them through his hair in agony and frustration. Narrowed blue eyes glared accusingly at the serene face to his right, eyes closed and a clear breathing mask covering the nose and mouth.

Dressed in a white hospital gown and lying within the just as white bed, it appeared as if there was a sleeping angel in front of Grimmjow, who wanted nothing more than for it to wake up.

Beep... Beep… Beep…

"Goddamnit, I can't stand that fucking noise," Grimmjow grumbled, covering his ears to try and block it out, yet that proved futile. "Two days – two damn days – I've been sitting here listening to that thing waitin' for ya to open those pretty brown eyes of yours, sweetheart. I know you hate it when I call you anything girly like that but maybe if I piss you off enough you'll jump up outta that bed and give me a black eye and a few good bruises. Wouldn't that just be peachy, mmm?"


"Stupid fucking doctor; she told me that maybe if I talk to you like this you can hear me and then wake the hell up already," the blunette muttered harshly, cursing that doctor in all kinds of unholy ways in his mind. He sighed heavily, folding his arms on the bed rail and resting his chin atop them s"o he wasn't ten inches from wild strands of nectarine orange messier than usual due to lack of grooming.

Reaching out toward those vibrant wayward locks, Grimmjow just managed to brush his fingertips over the silken hairs near the temple where there was a nasty purplish bruise. It killed him that was all he was able to touch, wanting to caress the peachy skin of a cheekbone and intertwine those slim, elegant fingers with his own larger, rougher ones.

"C'mon, sweetheart, I know you can do it," he whispered, the words for one person's ears only. "Please, babe. I only got twenty minutes and I won't be able to see ya for… a long time. Just lemme see those eyes of yours before they get 'ere, just for a second. Ya know I don't beg but…. please."

Beep… Beep… Beep…

Nothing. Grimmjow nearly kicked the rollaway medicine cart over in his desperation turned to ire. However, he restrained himself, not wanting to accidentally damage any of the important medical equipment.

Taking a deep breath in through his nose, he closed his eyes and exhaled through his mouth in an effort to calm down and it did help quell the fire in his gut a little but the disappointment and anguish remained. He didn't know what he would do if his twenty minutes passed up and he never got the chance to say goodbye, so he might as well do it now and wish that somehow he would be heard.

"I don't blame ya for wanting ta ignore me, y'know. I know what happened was my fault. I couldn't even get there in time to get you away from him, I don' deserve to be here in this room with ya, I know that, too," Grimmjow said, eyes still closed as even looking at the still form on the bed was too much for him to handle as he admitted his failures. "I never deserved ya. I could never take care of ya and whenever I tried I just fucked it all up. 'Ey, but even if we never see each other 'gain, I'm gonna make sure Aizen helps ya out with whatever you want and you damn well better let him, ya stubborn little brat."

Beep… Beep… Beep…

"I still love ya so fucking much it's prob'ly illegal in the other thirty states too now. Forget everythin' else 'bout me but… don' forget that, a'ight?" Grimmjow opened his eyes and saw the orange-haired man still comatose before him and shook his head.

Bittersweet moments are the hardest to bear, he believed. He felt as if he'd let go of a delicate butterfly captured between his palms and watched it flutter away, pain and serenity both making his heart pang at the loss of the beauty that was once his.

"And you lived happily after, or some shit like that," Grimmjow huffed, leaning back in his chair as far as he could, the metallic clanking sounding ringing out yet again. "The end…"

Finding it too difficult to keep staring at the boy he wanted with his entire being to be in his arms, safe, happy, and healthy, once again, the blunette let his head loll back so he could gaze up at the ceiling. Only eighteen minutes to go…

"G-guh… " sounded a strange gurgling noise and immediately Grimmjow snapped his gaze back to the hospital bed, a confused sneer arching one turquoise brow.

Ichigo still appeared as if he was sleeping, his eyes closed though screwed shut instead of resting peacefully, but the sound was definitely coming from him. A hundred panicked conclusions ran through Grimmjow's mind, like the young man was choking or unable to breathe or having some sort of coma nightmare. Thanking the staff for allowing him to sit close enough to the bed he could grab the nurse call button, Grimmjow snatched it up and smashed the red button repeatedly, wondering why it was taking so long after five seconds.

"Ha-… guh," Ichigo warbled behind his breathing mask and his head turned to the side just the slightest bit.

"Ichi?" Grimmjow asked hesitantly, bowing down closer to the other. Yet that was the moment two nurses burst into the room, both eying him with a mixture of nervousness and suspicion and edging around where he was seated to reach the other side of Ichigo's bed.

"So, what's going on?" the first woman, the doctor, asked, plastering on a fake smile as she addressed Grimmjow.

"Just listen to him," the man demanded, pointing at the orangette who made more unintelligible noises that turned into outright gagging. "Do something!"

"Okay, let's all calm down now," the doctor said, lowering the palms of her hands to punctuate. "The patient is probably nearing consciousness and finds the breathing tube uncomfortable so we'll remove it and make sure he's breathing fine on his own, okey dokey?"

The look Grimmjow gave her would've given the Devil himself the chills.

Moving swiftly, no doubt because of the intimidating presence watching their every move, the women pulled the clear mask off of Ichigo's face and carefully began to slide out the two joined, thin tubes that had been taped inside the boy's nose. They seemed to stretch on forever and as the last of it was drawn out, Ichigo made a small noise like a groan only raspier, so the nurse went to get a glass of water and the other checked his vital signs.

"Helloooo, Mr. Kurosaki," she called to the virtually unresponsive patient, pushing back his left eyelid and shining a little flashlight in his eye then reaching lower down the bed to hold his hand in hers. "If you can hear me, squeeze my fingers, okay? Can you do that? Mr. Kurosaki, can you hear or understand me at all?"

This went on for a couple of minutes until the doctor sighed, pocketing her flashlight and stringing her stethoscope back around her neck. "Well, he's still unresponsive but he's showing progress and breathing on his own, which is a good sign. If he wakes up or if anything else unusual happens, just push the button for the nurses' station, all right? I'll come back in an hour."

Then it was just the two of them again.

Thirteen minutes left…

Grimmjow was quiet as the grave, studying the face that had been fully revealed now all of that disturbing medical equipment had been removed. Ichigo almost looked like himself again, but he was no less striking despite everything that had happened to him. Fuck, Grimmjow was going to miss seeing that face and smelling his fragrance of cinnamon, sandalwood, and vanilla and resting his head on Ichigo's lap so he could play with his hair when they watched television and getting tangled in their bedsheets whilst in the throes of feverish, burning passion and-


Oh and how could he forget how much he would miss that honeyed baritone, sweet and masculine at the same time.


His eager cerulean gaze whipped back to Ichigo's face, where those big brown eyes were staring up at him from underneath layers of dark lashes. He almost jumped the poor orangette, jerking forward in his chair and making the metallic clinking noise again.

"Ichigo," Grimmjow sighed in relief and bliss, watching as the other glanced around the room and steadily began to put the pieces together of where he was. "Yer in the hospital, but Doc said yer gonna be fine," he hastened to soothe his lover's nerves.

"How l-long… have I be-been here?" Ichigo asked, his voice coarse as sandpaper.

"Two days," Grimmjow answered and the younger's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "They kept ya under 'cause ya needed four surgeries on yer shoulder an' a few blood transfusions."

Ichigo automatically lifted his hand to reach for his injured shoulder where Ginjou had shot him and winced when the motion yanked on the IV needle embedded in the vein on top of it, instantly dropping it back to his side. "Water, please," he rasped and Grimmjow saw the cup of water where the nurse had set it on top of a cabinet. Scowling, he leaned back as far as he could, the chair tipping back on its back legs, and used one foot on the side of the bed to balance himself whilst he laid himself out almost parallel to the ground. Extending his neck as far as it would go, Grimmjow grunted in triumph as his teeth clamped onto the rim of the cup and picked it up off the counter.

He eased himself back into his former position, still holding the cup in his mouth like a dog with an empty food bowl and presented it to Ichigo, who took it in spite of the bewildered expression on his face. Nevertheless, he gulped down nearly the whole cup of water before asking the obvious.

"Grimm, why exactly are you handcuffed to the bed?"

The blue-haired man's shoulders dropped and he bent over to rest his elbows on his denim-covered knees. This was the one con about Ichigo waking up in time to see him shipped off. "Well, it ain't for fun, sweetheart, I'll tell ya that much," he said, a sardonic half-smile crossing his lips.

"I figured that much, idiot," Ichigo snapped, flinching probably from pain when he shifted onto his side to face the other man. "It's about what happened with… Ginjou, isn't it?"

"Yeah, apparently ya can't go around shooting bastards in the head without sufferin' a few consequences," Grimmjow said, hoping he could just hint at what that might be and wouldn't have to actually say it aloud. "Well, at least ya can' do it in front of a bunch a police and pedestrians."

"So you were arrested?" Ichigo cried out, his good hand latching onto one of his lover's wrists where the silver bracelets were securely fastened with two deadbolts considering the man's reputation. "But-…but you were only trying to help me! If you hadn't done something, he would've killed us both."

"Well, that's how Gin's spinning it."

"Gin? The silver-haired guy that never opens his eyes?"

"The very one. He does a lot of odd jobs for Espada but his main title is Aizen's attorney; has a law degree from Stanford or something," Grimmjow answered, shrugging his shoulders. "He's the one who got the judge ta let me stay in here with you for two days 'fore they haul me away, hence the cuffs."

Ichigo made to sit up but Grimmjow was faster, lifting one of his legs over the bed rail and gently pinning the orange-haired boy to the mattress which earned him a pouty glare for about two seconds. Then the reality of what he'd said seemingly kicked in and Ichigo's mouth dropped in horror.

"What do you mean 'haul you away'? Like, as in…."

Grimmjow didn't have to answer. "They'll be here in about five minutes."

"No! No, no, no, they can't take you to jail! Not for defending yourself and somebody else, that's not the way the justice system works. They should be giving you a, I don't know, a Purple Heart or something! I mean, you kill the bad guys," Ichigo rambled on, his heart rate monitor going through the roof as he panicked.

"Whoa, careful there, Ichi, yer gonna give yerself a heart attack or something," Grimmjow fidgeted with the handcuffs around his wrists, knowing he had to tell the love of his life the same speech he'd given while he was sleeping so that Ichigo wouldn't be tied down by a boyfriend in prison and be free to pursue his dreams and be happy. It was now or never. "Look, Ichigo, it's 'bout time ya got rid of me, anyway. All I've ever done was bring ya trouble and-"

"Oh no you don't, Grimmjow Jaegerjaques," Ichigo cut him off, amazingly energetic for someone who'd minutes earlier woken up from a medically induced coma. "I heard everything you said while I was asleep. I can't remember every word but it's all in there somewhere, I swear, but only what I heard you say. I heard you coaxing me into waking up and asking me to open my eyes and I promise I was trying so hard. Especially when you were spouting that nonsense about you failing me. I've never heard anything so untrue in my whole life."

"Ichigo, I want-" Grimmjow attempted to say something a little reassuring the second he saw the watery droplets appear in the corners of the orangette's glistening dark amber eyes.

"Well what the fuck about what I want? This-," Ichigo gestured between the two of them,"-is not about your ridiculous pride or masculinity or whatever bullshit you've come up with to split up just because things are going to get a little rough. We've been through so much shit together, Grimm, and we can make it if you could see how much you have done for me."

Grimmjow was silent for awhile, then a huge grin split his face and a swell of affection and pride for this orange-haired, doe-eyed creature rose in his chest. "Now, this is why I'm proud to call ya mine, sweetheart."

Somehow, despite the deadbolted handcuffs and Ichigo's injury and various wires wrapped around his body, they met each other halfway in a bone-melting, soul-sucking kiss. Grimmjow parted his lips, allowing Ichigo's tongue to dart inside his warm mouth and savoring the delicious taste of the slick muscle. Tenderly and carefully so as not to disturb any if the various medical accoutrement covering the other's lithe body, the blunette smoothed his hand over the elegant curve of Ichigo's neck and slid around to cusp the nape. He knew very well that his lover shivered in delight when he massaged the back of his neck, his thumb and forefinger caressing the pressure point behind the ears.

"Mmm, Grimm, please don't go," Ichigo murmured against the man's lips, nipping the bottom one playfully. "Can't they let you stay for at least another night?"

"No, they cannot."

Grimmjow felt the younger man jump at the sudden voice sounding to their left by the door and drew back from Ichigo's tempting mouth to give a cursory glance at the brute squad they'd assembled to transport him to the city jail and incarcerate him. There were six uniformed men in total, all big and tall yet not very fit or muscular and the one at the front who'd spoken had a thick mustache but was completely bald underneath his police hat. "Grimmjow Jaegerjaques, directly following your grace period of forty-eight hours you are now hereby being placed under arrest for the crime of murder in the first degree," the mustachioed, bald man said, his badge on his right breast pocket indicating he was the Chief himself.

"Excuse me, officer, but this is a private hospital room. You may not just barge in here whenever you feel like it," Ichigo began, ready to read the police chief the riot act and Grimmjow knew he had to stop the boy before they both ended up in the pen.

"Ichi, it's fine, I can stick up for myself, you know," he muttered under his breath, pressing one last kiss on Ichigo's bruised knuckles. "As soon as you get outta here you can come visit me, yeah? It ain't the end of the world."

Three of the officers hurried over to where Grimmjow was sitting, one of them with their taser drawn and he mentally swore if he dared used it on him the man would be eating through a stomach tube when he was done with him (yeah, being tased is not fun.) They unlocked the handcuffs from the bed rail, fastening them behind the former Sexta's back, and clasping chained shackles around his ankles. During the whole thing the chief was reading him his rights but he wasn't listening, instead mouthing 'Love ya, kid' to Ichigo and giving him a saucy wink like he wasn't currently being arrested for first degree murder.

Ichigo was not so clandestine about his final goodbye, ignoring the pain in his shoulder so he could get up onto his knees and snatch Grimmjow away from the police for one last mind-blowing kiss that had some of the officers blushing at such an ardent public display of affection. Nevertheless, they dragged Grimmjow away, who was escorted out of the hospital and into the squad car with the biggest smile on his face, which ended up frightening some of the weaker-constituted staff members as they walked out of the building.

He would survive prison, Gin would probably even get him a severely reduced sentence, and then he would go back home to his brat, his sweetheart, his Ichigo.


Six Months Later

Christmas Eve


"Attention: all inmates who want to go outside for rec time line up single file by the blue double doors! You have one minute to be in line or you will be locked inside!" the loudspeaker blared over the massive, open space that housed Rukongai's most dangerous and notorious male criminals.

It was basically shaped like a dome with the individual cells lined along the walls on two levels, two sets of stairs on the north and south ends, the doors leading to the yard to the west. In the middle of everything was the common area, where there were numerous circular tables with chairs made out of some kind of plastic too heavy to pick up and throw at guards and/or other prisoners. There was also a TV set by the northeastern point playing some re-run of a talk show whose ratings depended on scandal and vulgarities.

And for the past six months, this had been Grimmjow's home.

Currently he was sitting at the table farthest away from the control desk where the corrections officers would casually glance over at the security footage every so often in between eating boxes of Krispy Kreme. His chair was leaning against the concrete wall while his arms and legs were crossed, feet up on the table, as he surveyed the entirety of the prison's common area. Dressed in his orange jumpsuit with the top few buttons undone to show the white undershirt he wore and a navy blue wool beanie halfway pulled on, strands of his aquamarine hair falling over his forehead, and a handmade cigarette tucked behind his ear he looked just like every other inmate.

But anyone who'd stepped one foot inside the prison walls knew he was far from it.

In the county jail where he'd vacationed for a month while his trial went underway, Gin had killed in the courtroom and gotten his charges reduced to second degree manslaughter and his sentence lowered from twenty-five to life to one single year, of which he'd already served half. That was when he'd been transferred to the state prison, which was a world of difference from the county jail, and the worst part about his arrival there? The inmates had all recognized him as Sexta.

Needless to say, he'd been the prison's most wanted during those first two weeks, almost every gang in the system vowing to avenge one of their own Grimmjow had disposed of sometime or another. That was until he'd been jumped in the showers by multiple members of both Hueco Mundo and the Shinigami, an entire audience crowding around the entrance to witness the immaculate beatdown of eleven gangbangers by a naked dude and ever since he'd been crowned the king of this joint, baby. Or as some say on the inside the "Shut Call." Every CO, dealer, affliate, gang member and their leaders were in his back pocket. Hell, even the warden was in on his game. It was like these men had all simply been waiting for someone to take charge and lead them.

Plus, they'd also given him a new nickname - Pantera.

"Hey man, you goin' out ta play ball taday?" a deep but youthful voice asked, addressing him a bit casually than most did but when he looked over to see Renji, a high-ranking Shinigami and best resident tattoo artist with a head full of long scarlet red hair and jagged tribal designs inked all over his body, Grimmjow relaxed. He and Renji were cool. "I'm feelin' pretty hot taday, jus' so ya know. Renji smirked, fanning the flames of their friendly rivalry when it came to the court.

"D'ya even 'ave ta ask?" Grimmjow said, smirking devilishly and swinging his legs off the table. "An' this feelin' of yers, would ya be willin' ta put money on it?" he asked, a devious glint in his eye as he and the redhead walked over to the line forming over at the blue double doors, taking no notive of how the men already in line shuffled aside to allow them to pass right up to the front.

"Hmm, no, not money..." Renji mused teasingly, stroking his chin as he pretended to think hard about his 'feeling.' "But I woul' say I gotta bit of a sweet tooth."

"Yer on, firecrotch," Grimmjow sneered, confident that when such a valuable pot was at stake he would crush his opponent into the dust. "An' if I win, ya gotta do that favor we talked 'bout las' week fer free."

"Free! My work ain't never free, dude," the redhead scoffed, withdrawing a black bandana (the color of the Shinigami) and tying it tightly around his head. "Whatever, gonna win anyways so it don't even matter."

"Righ', just like ya won yesterday's game? An' tha game 'fore that?"

"Shut the fuck up, man. Taday's my day, I can feel it!"

At that moment the doors automatically swung open with the sound of a deafeningly loud buzzer. The frosty air immediately brushed over Grimmjow's face and he let a tiny secret smile tilt his full lips. Playing ball wasn't the only thing that made rec time his favorite part of the day.

"There will be no spitting, fighting, or any other unruly behavior allowed in the yard. If you are greeting visitors by the gates, remember there is to be absolutely NO touching between inmates and visitors and NO contraband or products of any kind are to be passed through the gate. You have thirty minutes before everyone is required to line up for role call," the voice on the loudspeaker droned the same speech they all heard everyday and the parade of prisoners spread out and headed to wherever their affiliated gang had claimed territory.

Grimmjow strolled leisurely out onto the blacktop that spanned about the size of a professional basketball court, his eyes scanning the length of the chain link barbed wire fence that surrounded it. Once he spotted what he was looking for he grinned and fleetingly glanced at Renji. "'Ey, why don' ya warm up fer a lil' while an' I'll come beat yer ass later," he said.

"Yeah, yeah, jus' don't waste all yer time flirtin' again," the other man said, striding away towards the basketball hoop while Grimmjow jogged in the opposite direction, where a small group of people were waiting to pay one inmate or another a short visit for the holiday. It's probably not surprising that not many of the prisoners received visitors and those that did rarely did, averaging a few times a year if they were lucky.

Grimmjow was the only one who had a visitor waiting for him everyday at the beginning of rec time, just like clockwork.

And he swore up and down with every day that passed Ichigo became more and more stunning, especially how he looked right at that moment wearing Grimmjow's old red plaid lumberjack coat that was a few sizes too big, jeans ripped at the knees, black Timberlands the leather gloves the blunette bought for him all the way back when they still lived in Hanging Dog,

Speaking of which, Ichigo, with Aizen's help, had long since moved from Rukongai out to a nice, three-bedroom house in a suburb called Junrinan. The orangette also worked full-time as a cake decorator at a local bakery but was saving up to buy his own place, which was why he never failed to bring a Tupperware container full of leftover cake for Grimmjow, since he apparently couldn't live off the slop they served at the prison. One last addition Ichigo had made was Shiro, a pure white Husky/Malamute mix with the strangest black and gold eyes he'd adopted from an animal shelter because according to him the house had felt too lonely living in it all by himself. At first Grimmjow had been wary of the mutt, having a natural aversion to canines, but had grown to like the dog more and more after all the stories he'd heard about Shiro being extremely protective of and loyal to Ichigo. He was actually at his owner's side right now, sitting still obediently as he evidently only behaved for Ichigo.

"Well, look at wha' Santa brought me, I must've been a good boy this year," Grimmjow chucked, unable to resist, and he walked straight up to the chain link fence, lacing his fingers through it so that he and Ichigo were mere inches apart. It was agony, he had to admit. "Or a very naughty one, perhaps?"

"Hello, Grimmjow," Ichigo greeted formerly, though his chocolate brown eyes shone with amusement and he leaned up on his tiptoes so that his and Grimmjow's lips could collide through a gap in the chain fence, neither of them wanting to break away until their lungs were screaming for air. "I still feel like we're going to get caught for doing that. Isn't it against the rules or something?" the orangette said breathlessly.

Grimmjow shrugged dismissively, turning his attention to the enticing container in the crook of Ichigo's left arm. "So, wha'dya bring me?" he questioned eagerly, his mouth watering at the promise of his daily treat.

"Is that all you want me for? Kisses and cake?" Ichigo demanded haughtily, sticking his nose up in the air.

"Yes, but they're the best kisses and cake."

"Ah well, I guess I can live with that," the orange-haired man sighed, opening the lid of the container full of pastries. "Um, I have mostly holiday type stuff, like gingerbread, sugar cookies, a yule log somewhere in there, I think. Oh, and I threw in some German chocolate cake since I know you like it and I'm the best boyfriend ever."

"Whatta bout me? I've got a treat for you, too," Grimmjow said, his smirk widening into a full on Grinch as he snatched up a cookie in the shape of a Christmas tree and bit into it. "It's kinda fer both of us, actually."

"Oh really? And just what is this treat for the both of us?" Ichigo arched a brow, obviously skeptical of what the blunette might be planning. Grimmjow grabbed another cookie, this one a bell shape, and pressed himself against the fence so they were close as possible.

"Have ya ever 'eard of a 'conjugal visit'?" he said, licking sugar off his lips almost lasciviously.

"What? I mean, I think I've heard of it before but I..." Ichigo trailed off, his eyes widening impossibly and his mouth dropped. "W-wait, you mean a... y-you and I-..."

Down by their legs, Shiro barked as if to confirm his owner's suspicions. "Smart boy," Grimmjow commented approvingly, slipping the rest of his cookie through the chain links to feed it to the mutt.

"Don't give that to him, he'll get sick," Ichigo scolded even though Shiro was already chomping on the pastry happily.

"He'll be fine," the blue-haired inmate waved off the other's concerns. "So, should I be expectin' ya tomorrow evenin' or no?"

"Okay, hold on a second," the younger man said, seeming a bit overwhelmed. "I'm still not exactly sure what this 'conjugal visit' is. I mean, I can guess... " Grimmjow knew that Ichigo would blame the bitter cold wind for his pinkened cheek, yet fascinatingly enough the other still was so shy when the subject of s-e-x came up - when they were talking about it, that it, not during the actual act. Not at all.

"Basically this program or whatever 'ere at tha prison sets up places, usually trailers, for couples ta spend some quality time for a few hours tagether durin' tha holidays an' I signed us up fer it," he elaborated. "I thought-"

"All right, let me get this straight. You're saying we'll really have a few hours to be together tomorrow, like really be together and not have to talk through a fence?" Ichigo interrogated rapidly, his lovely face lighting up just like a Christmas tree, only more beautiful.

"'S kinda the point, babe."

Ichigo's next kiss was so vigorous that both of them reluctantly parted ways with cuts on their lips from the metal of the fence, not that Grimmjow particularly minded. Knowing that tomorrow night he would be able to spend hours alone with Ichigo doing whatever they pleased put him in such a good mood he even gave Renji the gingerbread from his goodie basket.

Nevermind that he didn't like gingerbread.


One Day Later



Grimmjow stood in front of the dingy, cracked mirror that hung above the sink in his solitary cell, his chest bare as he studied his newest physical feature, one meant to be there, he thought. It was hard to believe he hadn't come up with the idea for it until then. He merely hoped it would be met with the same kind of enthusiasm he felt toward it,

Eyes flickering over to a small digital clock he read that it was 4:45 p.m., which left him a measly fifteen minutes to make his way over to the eastern border of the prison where he'd reserved one of the trailers. Slipping his undershirt on to ensure his recent addition wouldn't be revealed prematurely, Grimmjow quickly donned the bright orange jumpsuit all inmates in the facility were required to wear. He must've been the sole occupant who didn't detest the color.

Taking the steps in threes down the stairs from the second level where his cell was located, he headed for the control desk. The sole corrections officer sitting on duty was a behemoth of a man who wore tacky gold jewelry and his hair in an absurd jet black pompadour. And to make things worse he was almost always stuffing his face with potato chips, crumbs constantly decorating the front of his officer's uniform. Absolutely disgusting but Omaeda was by far the easiest CO to bribe and Grimmjow had been counting on this being the man's shift.

"Oh, is it time for you to go down already?" Omaeda said once the blunette stepped up to the desk, the civil servant's expression as dimly lit as he himself was. He stood up to his full height, which had to be close to seven feet tall, and brushed some of the heavy coating of chip residue off his hands on his pants."I guess you're the only one who's getting lucky tonight, 'ey?" Omaeda guffawed, walking from around the desk to lead Grimmjow to where he would be getting 'lucky' and pulling his set of keys from the coiled cord on his belt that was about ready to burst.

"So, what's she look like, this broad of yours? Blonde, brunette? Ooh, a redhead?" Omaeda continued on as they strode past the common area through a door on the eastern part of the rotund structure which led them straight outside. There were flood lights high above illuminating the path to a corner where three generic stationary trailers were situated, though there was no sign of Ichigo anywhere around them and Grimmjow. "Come on, give a man something to think about while I'm sitting at that desk."

Grimmjow rounded on the large man, who dwarfed the inmate's six foot three frame and yet shuffled back a few steps in alarm. "Go. The Fuck. Away," he hissed like his feline namesake, slipping a stack of bills rolled up in a rubber band from an inner pocket sewn he'd had sewn into his jumpsuit. "And you get this, got it? Come back and get me in the mornin' an' ya'll get double. Do we 'ave an understanding?"

Omaeda frowned, glancing over his shoulders like someone might be watching them, then he nodded and pointed to the trailer in the middle of the three. "That one's yours for the night. I'll let you back in for role call at six-thirty, is that okay?"

Grimmjow shoved the money at the CO as his answer, taking off in the direction he'd been pointed in and wondering if Ichigo was already inside or was running late. He didn't like not knowing where the orangette was on the grounds of a state prison and he practically sprinted to the steps directly below a heavy metal door equipped with three deadbolts. Again he frowned when he turned the knob to find it totally unlocked, swinging the door open and letting himself inside.

Well, now he definitely knew that Ichigo had been here before him at some point though the man was not anywhere in the one room space. Usually this trailer was furnished with an ancient pull out couch, an even older TV with antennae, a small dresser, and a ceiling fan lamp. Tonight was slightly different though, Grimmjow noted, as there were holiday decorations all over the room - golden garlands lining the shuttered window, the TV, and dresser, multi-colored lights strung from the lamp out to each corner, an array of his lover's to die for pastries, and there was even a five foot tall Christmas tree in the corner opposite him bedecked in lights, ornaments and candy canes. Even his shriveled little black heart was touched by the fact Ichigo had done all of this for him.

Speaking of the orangette, where had he disappeared to?

"Ichi? You in here?" Grimmjow called out, not moving from his spot by the door. "Ichigo?"

"I'm in here!" that golden baritone rang out from the farthest corner, the blue-haired man relieved to see he'd missed the extra camouflaged door made of the same 1970's wooden paneling as the walls that had to be the bathroom. "D-don't come in! I'm uh just... just... wait out there, I'll be out soon!"

Ichigo had to know that wasn't going to fly with Grimmjow, who headed directly for the bathroom door and tried the handle but this one was locked. He could without a doubt hear the hint of distress in Ichigo's tone and his brow furrowed in confusion, pondering what it was that was so plainly bothering the other. "I said don't come in!" the younger man nearly shrieked and Grimmjow could hear frantic shuffling of some items.

"Wha's tha matter? You sick er somethin'?"

"N-no, I'm fine. I-...UGH, I am going to KILL Szayel the next time I see him!" Ichigo shouted in clear frustration and there were more noises of things being rustled around, perhaps in some kind of bag, then the bathroom door practically flew open. "Just look at what he did to me! I look like a total idiot and it's all his fault, that little..."

Grimmjow couldn't exactly reply at that time because he was pretty sure his jaw was on the floor. If what he was currently seeing before him was Szayel's work he would have to remember to get down on his knees and thank the man. It goes without saying that no matter what Ichigo wore he was always gorgeous in his eyes but this... this was on a whole different level. To be honest, Ichigo was a raunchy, steamy portrait of pure sex.

How Szayel had managed to get the boy into a men's Sexy Santa outfit, Grimmjow would never know. It was wantonly skimpy, consisting of skintight red vinyl booty shorts, a black belt and gold buckle, a pair of glittery red suspenders worn over a completely naked torso - well naked except for the sparkly white snowflake pasties - black leather gloves and lace up boots. "Oh, I almost forgot the cherry on top of this ridiculous sundae," Ichigo snapped sarcastically, whipping a traditional red and white santa hat off the sink and yanking it on over his head. "Go ahead, you can laugh now."




The orange-haired Santa's face screwed up in evident bewilderment at the other's command yet when the next second Grimmjow lunged for him he apparently got the memo and yelped, slipping out of the elder's grasp and past him. A shark-like smile only a lunatic could love broke out on Grimmjow's lips and he quickly began to give chase, hurdling over the sofa toward Ichigo who leapt away. Damn, he'd forgotten how fast that little minx was.

"Grimmjow, stop it!" Ichigo yelled at him, throwing his Santa hat at the man chasing him around the tiny space like they were predator and prey, which in a way they very much were.

"All right, all right," Grimmjow pouted, stopping halfway across the room from the other man. "But you started it by wearing that outfit with the snowflakes and the shorts..." He trailed off completely, licking his lips as he eyed the outline of his lover's goods through the clingy fabric.

"Are you serious? You... like this on me?" Ichigo asked unbelievingly, his flattery clear underneath his disbelief as the sunkissed flesh of his face and decolletage flushed a light pink.

"Sweetheart, it's takin' everything I have not to jump you right now," Grimmjow answered honestly and was surprised when he earned a sassy smirk in response.

"Oh. So, then why don't you?" Ichigo challenged, folding his arms over his practically nude chest and cocking one hip to the side. "If you want it... come and get it." And that was all the invitation Grimmjow needed, bursting with speed so that he had what he wanted in his arms and falling backwards on the couch before the object of his desire could so much as bat his thick, dark lashes in that come hither manner. The blunette cradled the back of Ichigo's neck in one hand and rested his other on a lithe hip just above the hemline of those illegally enticing shorts.

They stared at each other for a drawn out moment of perfect tension, their long-denied want to feel the other's touch finally fulfilled an erotic epiphany. Then their lips met, soft and playful at first but soon rapidly succumbing to the sensual desires they'd simply dreamed of the past six months. Grimmjow growled into Ichigo's mouth, forcefully prying it open with his hot tongue and pressing his need for dominance, which he was granted fervently, the younger allowing Grimmjow to taste all and any part of him. The submissive behavior called to the blunette's inner beast, who rumbled in satisfaction and lust and compelled him to slip his hand at Ichigo's waist down the toned flesh of his hip and then he was smoothing his broad, calloused hands along the satiny, peachy skin of his lover's slender thighs.

Hooking a hand under Ichigo's knee, he hitched that leg up around his waist so that he could slide his knee between the boy's legs. The latter moaned, biting down on Grimmjow's lower lip and then suckling it tenderly to soothe the sore spot. "I've missed you so much," Ichigo whispered breathily even while placing butterfly kisses on the larger man's chin and jawline. "God, I get so lonely at night lying in bed and I start thinking about you," he said, shuddering.

"Yeah? Wha' kind 'a things did ya think 'bout me?" Grimmjow asked, smirking while he dipped his head down to nip at the juncture of Ichigo's throat and shoulder which made the other groan agonizingly.

"Mm, I thought about if you were there with me and... ah, touching me like this," the boy said, sounding helpless and seductive at the same time. Grimmjow purred at the confirmation no matter how long they were separated Ichigo always thought about him, and only him. "And if I could touch you again." Ichigo's nimble fingers undid the buttons on the inmate's jumpsuit and ran his free hand up to squeeze a strong shoulder.

"So wha' did ya do when I wasn' there ta-," Grimmjow laved his tongue along the middle of lightly defined pectorals and those utterly hot pasties on either side. "Take care 'a ya?"

Ichigo looked down and met the man's eyes, smoldering dark amber boring into Grimmjow like a mystical enchantment as if the ingredient for love potion was in those bewitching pair of beautiful eyes. "I... I had to take care of myself," he said, panting slightly. "I would close my eyes and pretend it was you, but it was never enough. I needed you, so badly I thought I would lose my mind."

"Aw, don' worry now, babe," Grimmjow murmured, ego well catered to and turned on beyond belief, blood pooling in his loins making them throb with desperate primal urges. "We 'ave the whole night ta make up fer los' time."

"Oh fuck, then what are we waiting for?" Ichigo moaned loudly, ripping away the top of Grimm's jumpsuit and some of the white undershirt, as well. Grimmjow didn't even realize the orangette had frozen still until he heard a faint "Oh my God" fall from parted lips, causing him to glance at Ichigo's shocked face and then back to his chest so that realization dawned on him. He'd been so blinded by lust he'd forgotten to tell the other about that.

Ichigo laid a hand over Grimmjow's heart, tracing the newly inked lines there that formed a kanji symbol. "That's my name," he said a bit dumbly and it was difficult to tell whether he loved or hated the tattoo Grimmjow had gotten just last night that spelled 'Ichigo' in kanji over his heart, where it should be. "Grimm, that's-"

"I know ya don' really like tattoos, but I like havin' it there as a sorta... reminder."

"Reminder of what?"

"What's important," Grimmjow explained, not wanting to go into a dramatic, romantic soliloquy of how Ichigo was the one person he ever loved and therefore owned his heart. Luckily, he didn't have to because Ichigo seized him for a bombastic kiss, the other man holding him so tightly it actually started to hurt when he at last let go.

"I love you," Ichigo vowed and after a few seconds began shifting upwards so that Grimmjow was forced to lean back. "Now, I suppose it's my turn to show you." He bit his lower lip enticingly and straddled the older man's lap, who was certainly enjoying this rare, bold side of Ichigo. Slipping the suspenders off his shoulders, the orangette caressed himself up from his V-lines to his collarbone and Grimmjow hummed in appreciation. Then Ichigo bent over and placed his hands on the man's chest, slowly beginning to crawl backwards very catlike and stopped when his head was directly above his lap, the sultry smile he sent back up to his longtime lover enough to get him rock hard.

Removing his black gloves, Ichigo pulled the orange pantlegs down to his knees and exposing a sizable erection straining against black boxer briefs, lowering himself even further so that his mouth was inches away from the bulge and Grimmjow could feel hot, moist breath ghosting over the sensitive area. He let his head fall back as Ichigo reached into the open fly of his briefs and wrapped those talented fingers around the shaft of Grimmjow's manhood, ever so slowly withdrawing it out into the cool air. Biting down on the inside of his inner cheek, Grimmjow sank under the waves of bliss as that smooth hand began skillfully stroking him, running a blunt thumbnail across the slit at the head that was already dripping.

Gathering more courage, Ichigo pressed a kiss to the tip and then lapped at the beads of precome there. Grimmjow's eyes rolled in the back of his head as a warm, wet mouth began taking the head inside, steadily descending while a sinful tongue swept along the underside of his erection and swirled around the tip once more. Unconsciously the man's hand threaded through Ichigo's hair, a gentle gesture instead of forcing the other down even further, and he groaned in pleasure when the other's cheeks hollowed. The stimulation simply increased when Ichigo hummed around his mouthful, creating a dizzyingly intense sensation.

As Grimmjow sensed one of the younger man's drift down to the base of his manhood, cupping the sac of flesh there, he knew he had to - very unwillingly - stop Ichigo or else this would all be over way too soon. He gripped the orangette's chin and lifted his face up to his own, giving him a peck on the lips for his delicious performance. "Did'ya bring-"

"I put it in the dresser drawer," Ichigo said hastily, grinding his clothed hardness against Grimmjow's bare one, both of them hissing at the satisfaction of contact.

"I'll get it, so ya jus' lay back down," Grimmjow directed, smiling lazily at his flushed, panting lover. He angled himself around to reach for the dresser, opening the drawer and finding his prize in the form of a small clear bottle with red wrapping. Returning to his Ichigo who was so obviously in need of some sort of release, he arched an eyebrow as he read the label. "Coca-cola flavored?" he asked, unable to believe Ichigo would buy such a thing.

"Might as well make it taste good, right?" he said, chuckling breathlessly.

"Mmm, tha's pretty kinky fer ya, Ichi," Grimmjow said, grinning and leaning over on one hand so he was parallel with that tempting body. He unbuckled Ichigo's belt with one hand and hooked the fingers into the waistband of those tiny red shorts, tearing the vinyl fabric away from the man's frame. He would mourn the loss of those shorts later, he was sure, yet he was so focused on getting to the main event his patience was nearing zero - they could take their time later, they did have all night after all. "Imma need ya ta spread 'em, babe," he husked, Ichigo blushing harder but allowing his legs to fall back and to the sides so that everything he had to offer was on display to the blunette, who felt a head rush at the erotic sight.

Grimmjow ripped the wrapping off the bottle of lubricant with his teeth, his other hand slithering all the way up from a slender ankle to the silken skin of Ichigo's inner thigh. Taking pity on the boy, he gripped the hard column of flesh between his legs and began stroking. "Ah, yessss..." Ichigo mewled, his eyes drifting closed. "More, I can't wait any longer."

The blue-haired man obliged his beloved's request, pouring a generous amount of thick clear gel onto his fingers and brought them to circle teasingly around Ichigo's twitching entrance. He started to work in the lube using his thumb, pressing the tip of it past that amazingly tight ring of muscle. Ichigo hooked his arms round Grimmjow's strong neck, pulling him in for a sloppy liplock, their tongues tangling together while the latter eased his index finger inside Ichigo, Damn, he could feel that the other man had gotten even tighter during his six months of celibacy and his erection twitched at the thought of being buried in that tight channel.

He had three fingers massaging Ichigo's hole, spreading him and getting him nice and relaxed for what was to come, when he found that sweet spot that had the orangette's hips bucking wildly as a series of short moans escaped his parted mouth. "Fuck, tha's it, Ichi," Grimmjow rumbled primitively, his instincts screaming for him to take what was his.

"Grimm, please just do it already. Just fuck me now," Ichigo breathed, running his hands up and down the other's bare chest.

"Mm, say no more," Grimmjow murmured, slipping his fingers free from the relaxed but still incredibly snug hole. "Turn on yer side."

Ichigo nodded and rolled onto his right side so he was facing the front of the couch and made room for the older man to shift into place behind him, melding the front of his body to that beautiful figure covered in flawless tawny flesh. Grimmjow's eyes couldn't help but be drawn to the still raised, red scar that marred Ichigo's right shoulder, not giving it a second thought before kissing the healed wound in a tender moment. Then he gripped the back of Ichigo's knee, moving that leg up so that the boy's most intimate area was easily accessible.

Coating the entire length of his erection with lubricant, Grimmjow lined up with that small entrance and nuzzled the crook of Ichigo's neck. "Ready?" he murmured softly.

"God, yes," was his answer and so Grimmjow began to steadily but carefully push himself inside his lover. He heard Ichigo exhale harshly as he pressed in farther and paused for a moment to let the other adjust then continued the almost painfully slow process of fully entering the orangette's channel. However, at last he was buried in to the hilt and let out a shaky exhale as he exerted all his self-control not to move,

"Ya good down there, Ichi?" he asked quietly, noticing Ichigo's harsh breathing as he attempted to accustom himself to Grimmjow's size again.

"Just move, damn it," came Ichigo's strained whisper and the blunette acquiesced, not drawing out but rather rotating his hips in controlled circles so that he stayed deep within the other yet also brushed against his prostate with acute accuracy. Once he'd stimulated that sweet spot a few times, Ichigo was gasping in pleasure. "H-harder," he demanded.

It was then that Grimmjow began thrusting in and out, forcing out cries of bliss from his orangette, He kept ahold of Ichigo's leg and began nipping at the sensitive spot behind the man's ear. Being inside Ichigo, being one with him again was heaven, and he assumed his lover felt the same when he turned his head and caught Grimmjow's lips in another passion-fueled kiss.

The intensity of their lovemaking after such an extended period of being apart and therefore celibate was causing them both to rapidly ascend to their releases. "A-ah, I'm close," Ichigo confessed under his breath, clearly not having much energy to spare.

"Unh, me too," Grimmjow grunted, speeding up his thrusts until they lost all sense of rhythm and were only concerned with reaching the highest point of ecstasy. Ichigo's almost obscenely wanton moans as he neared his finish just turned him on even more and when he felt his lover convulse around him as he climaxed that pushed him over the edge as well, delirious bliss surging through his entire being as he came deep within the other.

They both slumped bonelessly into the couch's cushions at the same time, limbs tangled and short of breath. Grimmjow used the last of his reserve energy to pull out of Ichigo, pushing aside the need to clean themselves up in favor of lying there with his sweetheart for the first time in six long months.

"You have no idea how badly I needed that," Ichigo said after a while, chuckling softly.

"Well, I'm 'ere ta service those in need."

"Uh-huh, you wish."

Grimmjow didn't have the opportunity to think of a comeback as the next millisecond Ichigo shot up in a sitting position, eyes wide, "I can't believe I almost forgot!" he exclaimed, carefully standing up on his shaky legs and the other man was about to offer to get whatever he needed for him but Ichigo was already striding over, stark naked (not that Grimmjow minded), to the Christmas tree set up in the room.

Grimmjow pushed himself up on his elbows as he came back with a sealed red envelope that only read 'Grimm' on the front and handed it over. The man stared at the thing for a few seconds until Ichigo sighed exasperatedly. "It's your Christmas present," he explained, gesturing toward the envelope. "Come on, open it!"

Tearing the top of the envelope with his thumbnail, Grimmjow plucked out the contents - a digital photograph of a cherry red 1952 Harley-Davidson FL Hydra-Glide in decent shape but in need of some TLC. It was a thing of beauty for sure yet he wasn't sure why his present was a picture of one.

"Oh Jesus Christ, Grimmjow, the bike is your present," Ichigo clarified, rolling his eyes. "I know it's a little beat up but I thought it could be like a pet project for you when you come back home."

"This is my bike?"

"Yep, all yours."

Grimmjow dropped the papers in his hands and swept Ichigo up in his arms to assail his face and throat with countless kisses, "You... are... the best," he proclaimed in between kissing the younger's cheek who laughed at the man's dramatics and tried to swat him away.

Even with Grimmjow in prison, that was the best Christmas they'd ever had.


Six Months Later


Grimmjow never realized how much he'd taken freedom for granted until the day came he was released from prison and stepped outside that concrete cage he'd been confined in for a year. One miserable, lifeless, very, very long year.

He just walked outside the chain link fence when an armoured truck drove by, revealing the two figures standing at the edge of the sidewalk waiting for him. As soon as they spotted him in the leather jacket and jeans he'd been wearing when he was arrested at the hospital they immediately began barrelling toward him, dog and man running beside one another to practically jump him in their enthusiasm. He stumbled backward as their combined weight slammed into him, orange spikes burying into his shoulder while white paws dug into his thigh,

He wrapped his arm around the man clutching onto his shirt much like he had when they first met, kissing that head of tangerine hair, and gave his other admirer some attention by scratching behind his ears. "While I appreciate tha love you two, I'd rather get as far 'way from this hellhole as fast as possible," he said and the other two backed away, though they weren't quite finished yet,

"Wait, I made this especially to give to you when you walked out."

From out of a small container, Grimmjow was presented with a single cupcake whose frosting decoration clearly depicted a miniature version of himself, blue hair and everything, only with white fluffy wings and a halo atop his head.

"You know, 'cause you're finally free."

"Tha' I am," Grimmjow said blissfully, laying his arm over the other's shoulders and taking a hold of their furry companion's leash. "Shiro, Ichigo, let's go home."

Sometimes it seems that the going is just too rough

And things go wrong no matter what I do

Now and then it seems that life is just too much

But you've got the love I need to see me through

When food is gone you are my daily meal

When friends are gone I know my saviour's love is real

Your love is real

You got the love

~ "You've Got the Love" - Florence + the Machine






I did it! I finally finished a story! Ah, it's a great feeling of accomplishment, I'll tell you that. I never even intended this fic to be this long at all, the idea for it even blossomed out of thin air like some sort of invisible flower that ended up in my bouquet of stories. I just had this great burst of inspiration and started writing until I had a first chapter that I originally intended to be a one-shot, then a two-shot, but the soul of this story somehow developed on its own and captured my heart.

What I ended up hoping to accomplish by writing this fic was to take a departure from my heavy repertoire of fantasy-fueled tales. I wanted to show that it was possible that I could pen a love story that portrayed a stark contrast between the grayscale, sometimes grisly "reality" and the wildly surreal and almost mythical phantasm of soul mates. The quality of a romance does not rely on its dramatic grandeur but rather the lovers themselves. Histrionics can be frivolous in the face of something as overworldly as true love. The greatest acts of love are the little ones.

The angel theme really was just an extension of my own fascination with angel lore and that spiritual motif manifested itself much like the origin of the story itself. I would like to reiterate here that no part of this story was in any way a commentary on any religious sect or belief. It was simply a metaphor.

I had to sneak a little Christmas in this last part since once again I don't have time to write a story for my favorite holiday. Sigh. Oh well, at least I bet you haven't read Grimm and Ichi going at it in a prison conjugal trailer. I like to mix things up every now and then, you know. ;)

In conclusion, I sincerely hoped you enjoyed reading Blue Collar Angel. Thank you times a million for all your support! I couldn't have done it without you.