Chapter Nine: Gold



Finally, after all his years of silent agony, Grimmjow truly knew what love felt like. At last his Mate was in his arms, lips locked and eyes closed, and the aching want in his chest had swelled to dangerous new heights and it just hurt so good. Ichigo tasted like vanilla, sunshine, and freedom and he was immediately addicted, shamelessly insatiable. The moment was excruciatingly perfect, their kiss holding all the intensity of eternities of love within mere seconds and ending all too soon.

They parted at the same time, Grimmjow's eyes slitting halfway open, lids lowered in a lustful, intimate gaze. He watched the orangette blink dazedly until those cloudy brandy brown orbs cleared and flitted upwards to meet his own royal blue, confusion and shock making them shimmer brightly. The boy's thin, tangerine brows furrowed together, a light blush blossoming on peachy skin as his full, just-kissed lips curved down in a slight frown. However, he made no attempt to break out of their embrace, his hands still desperately clinging to the fabric of Grimmjow's winter cloak. "Why?" he whispered breathlessly, his voice the sound of a broken heart and simply hearing it would make anyone's own chest ache in sympathy.

"Why else? Because I wanted to," Grimmjow said, a small, crooked smile appearing on his face. Apparently, Ichigo didn't like that answer, the Gryffindor dropping his arms to his sides and stepping back, his frown deepening to an outright scowl. Grimmjow's hands moved from the other's back to grip his upper arms, not allowing him to get any further away.

"And why is that? Why would you... " Ichigo demanded, trailing off and knocking one of the blunette's hands off of him. "Why would you kiss me when you... have someone else?" he asked, voice softening as he looked down and to the side, outrage dissipating into bitter hurt and Grimmjow couldn't help but shake the boy, Ichigo's eyes snapping to his face to stare at him with incredulous, wide eyes.

"There is no one else, Ichigo," the half-veela growled through gritted teeth, letting go of the orangette's arms in order to grab his wrists and press them against his own chest. "There never has been, damnit. There's no one else but you."

"Me? What-... what the hell are you talking about?" Ichigo said, shaking his head as if he refused to listen to his own thoughts.

He tried to pull his wrists free from the older male's grasp but Grimmjow only tightened his hold, bowing his head forward so that their foreheads touched. Ichigo exhaled brokenly, closing his eyes and Grimmjow could tell he was steeling himself for what the Slytherin would say and whatever hurt it would bring. He could've rolled his eyes and sighed in exasperation as it seemed he would have to spell it out for the poor thing, completely clueless even after all the years he'd been so painfully obvious.

"There is no one else because it's just you, Ichigo. You're it for me," Grimmjow said. "You've been it ever since that day in Flourish & Blott's, do you remember?"

After a few seconds, Ichigo's eyes flew open, realization shining in those expressive, dark amber orbs. "It was just after my sixth birthday and I was there with my mom - she said she'd buy me a book that was for kids learning how to fly because I wanted to be as good as my brother. And there was a boy, I ran into him when I wasn't paying attention and we both fell and when I looked at him I saw he had... blue hair," he said wistfully, gaze listing to the side until then when it shot back to bore directly into the other's.

"It was you, that blue-haired boy. H-...how could I have forgot?" Ichigo paused those slender fingers crawl up the back of the other's thick neck and thread into his stray strands of sky blue hair.

"The next time I would see you was at the start of my second year, your first, and those dementors ambushed the train," Grimmjow said. "Your brother ensured we didn't get off on the right foot, assuming I was the one who'd attacked you."

"But it was the dementors," Ichigo confirmed, brow wrinkling in suspicion. "And if you were only trying to help us, how did you know we needed help in the first place? You must have been fifteen cars down, at least."

"Twenty-three, actually," the blunette said, smirking a little. "After that I made sure that I was never that far away again."

"Yes, the entire time I've been at Hogwarts you were always there to annoy me," Ichigo huffed, the meaning of what the older boy had said appearing not to reveal itself to him for a moment or two when he suddenly stiffened, expression turning wary. "What exactly do you mean you were 'never that far away again'? Why would you even care where I was?"

"Come on, I know you know," Grimmjow said, his smirk turning to a soft smile. He was certain he'd given enough away that Ichigo, as oblivious as he could be at times like this, would realize the truth - he could practically see the memories flicker past in those luminescent ochre depths.

"It's you, Ichigo. It has always been you."


Ichigo's head was reeling, years of his life flitting through his mind and it was as if his memories had been in black and white and now he was seeing them in color, realization illuminating them for the first time. He couldn't believe he hadn't seen it before, hadn't known how much his life centered around just one person.

All those times when he'd been lucky to the point of a miracle and chalked them up to good fortune, he could now see he owed to the same anonymous guardian angel. When that dementor had attacked him, when the Slytherins that had picked on him because of his hair had potions explode in their face, when Professor Grubbly-Planks had given him detention for a week and the next day a crate of Cornish pixies was set loose in her office. When he was a member of the DA and not once was he called into Umbridge's office to write lines in his own blood like so many of the others. When Death Eaters had taken over the school and were doling out cruel punishments to all the students brave enough to outrightly oppose them. All except him. When he'd somehow made it through the battle last spring untouched until he found Dolohov. When after defeating his mother's killer he'd collapsed and the last thing he saw before blacking out was a blurry figure coming closer and an unexpected comforting aura of warmth.

"It's me?" he breathed almost inaudibly. "It's me, I'm your... your...?"

"You're my Mate, Ichigo. You always have been," Grimmjow said, grinning madly. "I've wanted to say that for too damn long."

Face falling into a deep frown, Ichigo suddenly pulled away and out of Grimmjow's embrace which earned him a slightly surprised look from the other but he didn't much care. "So why didn't you? Why wait until now?" he demanded, folding his arms over his chest both because he was growing increasingly upset with the man in front of him and now that those burly, warm arms no longer held him he felt the bitterly cold November air creep under his sweater and into his skin. "Why did I have to make the first move for you to say anything? All this time you've known that I was... what you say I am and you say absolutely nothing? Were you ever going to tell me?"

"Ichigo, it wasn't that simple," Grimmjow said, shoulders stiffening defensively. "If I'd told you a few months ago or any time before then, would you have believed me?"

"I-... I don't know," Ichigo admitted, thinking of how much he used to loathe the Slytherin and if during that time he'd confessed such a thing he would've most likely thought it another prank. "Probably not at first, but with time I think I would've seen you were telling the truth."

"Maybe so, but I couldn't risk that," Grimmjow said, hand reaching out for the orangette and pausing just before touching his cheek. Ichigo immediately felt his breath hitch, an electric zing of anticipation shooting through him. "I couldn't risk scaring you away by coming on too strong. It's not exactly something you just spring on someone, you know."

"I don't scare that easily," Ichigo said, shaking his head and letting his hands fall to his sides, clenching them into fists. However, as he spoke his voice became softer with every word. This didn't seem real, for Grimmjow to be saying something so... so perfect to him, something in a million years he wouldn't expect. "I'm not scared now. I half expect to wake up back in my dormitory any second, but I'm not scared. I don't even know what it is I'm feeling right now. It's strange but... good at the same time. Does that make any sense at all?"

"Yeah," Grimmjow assured him, finally brushing his fingertips over the Gryffindor's cheek. Ichigo leaned into his touch, cradling his face into the other's palm and sighing contentedly. "I get that, too. Every time I think about you."

To his embarrassment, Ichigo blushed brightly. "To hear you say such things makes me think I'm dreaming," he murmured against the veela's hand. Despite having heard straight from Grimmjow's lips that he, of all people, was the other's Mate, he still couldn't believe it and listening to someone he used to consider his rival make such amorous declarations was simply insane.

"Just being honest, love," Grimmjow said, smirking when Ichigo rolled his eyes, seeming to enjoy the reaction he was getting too much to stop. "You should start getting used to it, because I don't plan on stopping anytime soon."

Though the teen he tried to suppress it, a small, bashful smile tilted his lips and he couldn't stop himself from leaning forward and stepping up on his tiptoes so that their noses were just barely touching. "Kiss me again," he whispered and was almost unable to finish before Grimmjow eagerly obeyed, kissing him so thoroughly Ichigo felt his knees buckle underneath him. He nearly dropped to the ground, faint from the intensity, yet his fall was quickly stopped as arms wrapped around his waist and caught him.

Eyelashes fluttering, he tried to protest as Grimmjow broke away from their lip lock. However, he only managed a soft whine. "Ichigo?" he heard the other say his name while holding him up against his chest. "Hey, you still with me?"

"Mmm, yeah... " the orangette hummed faintly, blinking a few times as he attempted to shake off the dizzy spell currently making the world spin around him. Once he could again feel the ground beneath his feet, he looked up at Grimmjow through hooded eyes, seeing that the man's brow were furrowed and lips thinned. "'m fine, really."

"You sure? Because I can take y-"

"If you say 'take me to the hospital wing', I swear I will throw you off the astronomy tower," Ichigo threatened, narrowing his eyes.

"All right, I get it, no need for death threats," Grimmjow said, chuckling under his breath. "I didn't know I was that good I could make you almost faint on me. Makes me wonder what might happen if I did more."

Ichigo huffed at the other's playful teasing, winding his arms around Grimmjow's neck even as the potential promise that they could do more than kiss reminded him of why he'd so desperately sought out the man in the first place. "So... does that mean you're not leaving Hogwarts?" he questioned, afraid of what the answer might be. Surely fate wouldn't be so cruel as to take away what he'd so recently gained.

"Where did you hear that?" Grimmjow asked.

"Well, uh, my brother told me. He said all your stuff was out front on the steps," Ichigo said. "He told me it was because of this ridiculous rumor going around the school that you were going to be the new bassist for the Weird Sisters. That's why I ran out here looking for you. I wanted to tell you how I felt before you left and I never saw you again. How trite is that?" Ichigo laughed nervously, averting his eyes once again.

"Not exactly the word I'd use," Grimmjow chuckled softly, the delicate snowflakes drifting down into his eyelashes, flurries daintily gathering upon his head of cyan hair and on the black wool on the shoulders of his winter cloak.

"And which one would that be?"

"Fate, maybe." Grimmjow shrugged, an easy, crooked smile brightening his already radiant face. "Destiny, kismet, divine will... take your pick. This-," he paused, cupping Ichigo's face in his leather gloved hands and running his thumbs along the angles of the orangette's cheekbones. "Was always going to happen. Nothing could've stopped it, nothing. I'm bound to you by something stronger than any stupid spell or charm and it can't be broken. It won't be broken." His grip on Ichigo tightened and there was a desperate determination in his voice that while quiet roared fiercer and more powerful than the most fearsome Hungarian Horntail.

"No offense, Grimmjow, but..." Ichigo said shakily, clasping the other's hands and guiding them down to between their chests. "You're kind of bloody terrifying me. I mean, this is insane!"

The blunette huffed, chewing on his lower lip and furrowed his eyebrows as he apparently thought deeply on what his response should be. "Merlin, I'm an idiot. I keep forgetting this is all new to you," he whispered gruffly, squeezing Ichigo's hands.

"But I know you, Ichigo, probably more than you think. You hate not being fully aware of the situation, of not being in complete control, and later on when reality hits you'll be pissed the fuck off that something beyond your understanding chose your life for you. Hell, I was so frustrated and angry all these years at Hogwarts I took it out on anyone unlucky enough to cross my path. I destroyed almost everything I had, but you're better than that, better than me."

"No, I'm not," Ichigo protested adamantly, shaking his head in denial and nearly ripping his hands away. "Anger and... what it made me do, it took a piece of my soul I can't get back."

In the spring when the War at last came to its climax and the castle lay in ruins, littered with the bodies of the dead and the wounded, and ferociously fatal duels raged on around him, Ichigo hadn't stopped to aid anyone in need or even think about his plan of action he had only torn through the battle scene on the hunt for the bastard he'd sworn revenge on. He'd been a possessed man, filled with nothing but the intent to avenge, to hurt, to destroy, and be had.

He'd killed someone, a living, breathing human being with a mother, a father, a brother, maybe a wife and some kids. He was a murderer, nothing more nothing less, and that knowledge was ripping him to shreds on the inside and now he was struggling to hide what had happened to him after he'd committed the bloodiest of all sins, and steadily failing miserably.

"You may think you want me, Grimmjow, but you don't," Ichigo said, turning away toward the top of the Owlery's stairs and stepped onto the next stair level, instantly craving the veela's aura of ardent warmth whilst the December chill wrapped itself around him. "Trust me..." he trailed off.

A large hand grasped Ichigo's shoulder none too gently and forcibly whipped him around to stare with wide eyes into whirlpools of sapphire oceans. He was left bereft of breath at the commanding power that stare held over him, making him freeze in place and stare blankly in awe at the blue-haired boy like one would upon seeing their deity in their physical form.

"I know what I want, Ichigo. You are not the only one with skeletons in their closet, ones that make them feel less than human," Grimmjow growled, a primal rumbling deep in his chest. "Trust me."

He punctuated the echo of the Gryffindor's words by removing his hand from Ichigo's shoulder and grabbing onto the sleeve of cloak and sweater, tearing the fabric away to expose the entirety of his left inner forearm.

There, on the background of flawless sun-kissed skin, was the noxious black ink marking the flesh with the symbol of a shadowy human skull and a demonic serpent curling and twisting around the macabre bones and slithering out the mouth open wide like it was screaming. Even while they stood there the snake bobbed its head, narrowing his eyes at the orange-haired teenagers and sliding its tongue out to hiss at him.

Ichigo gasped, subconsciously covering his mouth and rearing back in his shock. He wasn't stupid. He knew the other boy was in Slytherin and had been associated with the friends, families of and Death Eaters themselves. Merlin damn it, his father had wined and dined with the upper crust of Voldemort's followers and was now even in Azkaban for crimes committed under the direct orders of the Dark Lord himself.

"Y-you… you... were a Death Eater?"

"My… recruiting was somewhat complicated, but yes," Grimmjow confirmed stonily. It was like he was waiting for the other to reject him for what he'd just revealed, to be disgusted with him or angry or at least disappointment.

But all Ichigo felt was sorrow. Overwhelming, bone deep, aching sorrow.

"Now you realize you're not alone, yeah?" Grimmjow said, a sardonic smirk seeming to mask the vulnerability he felt at the moment and for some reason Ichigo found it incredibly endearing. "Not anymore."

Reaching out hesitantly with one hand, the younger boy looked back up to Grimmjow's face to make sure he wasn't pushing his boundaries and upon finding the blunette frowning in confusion let the tips of fingers graze the glossy jet black scales of the serpent, lightly tracing up around the skull. By touch alone he could sense the noxious evil embedded in the tattoo and immediately wished he could somehow scrub the elder's arm clean of this nefarious, ugly thing.

Then Ichigo covered the Dark Mark with his palm, a small smile on his lips that would've seemed out of place to anyone else beside the two of them.

"No, not anymore," he said.

And that was when the warning bell for first period decided to ring.

Grimmjow could've Bombardo'ed that huge, stupid thing in the front courtyard until it was nothing but scrap metal lying in a million little pieces at his feet. He was in the middle of the moment he'd thought impossible for over six years. It was ridiculously maudlin and very unlike him to whine about being parted from what he hoped to be his new beau like some third year girl on her first date at that tea shop in Hogsmeade, he knew that and yet he barely resisted scooping Ichigo up in his arms as if he was a damsel in distress or something and running away with him.

"Shit, I'm late! Again!" Ichigo cursed in despair, clutching fistfuls of his neon tangerine spikes. "Ugh, Professor Shihoin is going to have my ass, I just know it."

"So just ditch for a day," Grimmjow suggested casually, though his demeanor was nowhere close to the furious outrage his veela blood pumped through his veins at anything taking his Mate away from him. The sixth year looked back forth between the main castle and him, biting his lip indecisively."It's almost holiday, anyway, so you wouldn't be missing anything important."

"What? You wanna ditch class?" Ichigo sputtered as if he couldn't believe what scandalous behavior the other suggested, his brandy brown eyes bigger than dinner plates. "I can't do that! I've missed too much already being in the Hospital Wing and midterm exams are coming up next week. And I really don't want to add anymore detentions on to my list if we get caught and-"

Grimmjow decided to shut the poor thing, who looked like he was on the verge of hyperventilating, up by pressing a vigorous kiss on his lips. In spite of their liplock still being chaste and close-mouthed, the intensity quieted Ichigo right down and the blunette smirked into the kiss. "You need to relax, love," he murmured, pulling back. "Oh, and don't worry, I promise we won't get caught."


"And wouldn't you agree we need to talk about some things?" Grimmjow quirked an eyebrow and watched in delight as the orangette's expression went from doubtful to contemplative and then finally resignation as he accepted his former rival's reasoning.

"Fine, but only if you help me with my Potions essay for Kuchiki, I need at least an Exceeds Expectations to keep my grade in the class."

"Consider it done," Grimmjow said, placing a hand over his heart and then using it to capture Ichigo's in his own, leading them down the Owlery stairs and across the snowy courtyard. "We'll go to your dormitory first so you can put on some proper clothes and not freeze to death, sound good?"

"Sounds just wonderful," Ichigo said lightly and the Slytherin glanced over his shoulder to view the boy wave flippantly before a deadpan, unamused glower fell over his face. "Except for the part where we run into Filch, or worse – that feline demon Mrs. Norris, and end up scrubbing first year cauldrons for the rest of our bloody lives."

Grimmjow stopped and after a moment's consideration leaned forward and laid a swift kiss upon the crease between Ichigo's furrowed brows, the terribly sappy gesture completely worth it when the wrinkles on the teen's forehead disappeared when he was so startled his brows rose sky high and a blush the color of a peony blossom made his whole face glow. Perhaps the older boy should've held off on such affectionate gestures, despite the fact they'd both confessed their true feelings for each other not twenty-five minutes earlier.

"Just follow my lead and we'll be fine," he reassured the other. Very well, apparently, as Ichigo fell silent and tread behind Grimmjow making as little noise as possible, their hands dropping back to their sides as they entered the castle through an open archway. Grimmjow knew better to be offended; for him it was more natural than breathing and even fighting to display his amorous affections. Not to mention he really didn't give a goblin shit if anyone saw him engaging in some PDA with his Mate. Who wouldn't want to be seen publicly in a romantic relationship with the most stunning creature in all of Hogwarts?

Creeping through the hallways the paintings all eyed them suspiciously and a few coughed poignantly to let the two students know they were aware of their rule breaking behavior. However, they reached Gryffindor Tower without coming across so much as a single prefect and Grimmjow paused beside an intricate tapestry mounted on the wall adjacent to the entrance to the Gryffindor Common Room, turning to Ichigo. "Go put on clothes that aren't part of your uniform. I'll wait here for you," he said, knowing that it was an unspoken law that Slytherins and Gryffindors do not encroach on each other's territory no matter what.

Ichigo nodded and disappeared around the corner, leaving the blunette to lean against the wall casually as if he were supposed to be there as many seventh years had a free period. Though his cool countenance only applied to his exterior, considering inside he was wracked with jumbled thoughts of how to explain his and Ichigo's 'situation' in detail without scaring the boy off. He remembered that his mother had once told him that Mates, both veela and human, needed to be with one another like they needed air. But that didn't exactly comfort him, for Ichigo was as stubborn as he himself was and that could lead to disaster rather quickly.

Said stubborn boy then emerged from the Fat Lady's Portrait portal, heading straight for him in his new outfit of black courduroys, a gray turtleneck, and a muggle-style red flannel coat. "So now where are we going?"

"The third floor, the Defense Against the Dark Arts Tower."

They snuck through the hallways as they'd done before, taking a shortcut through the Charms corridor to get to the third floor and to the statue of Gunhilda of Gorsemoor, or more popularly known as the One-Eyed Witch, in record time. Well aware that Ichigo would soon begin firing off questions of what they were doing, Grimmjow grabbed him by the wrist and dragged him to the rear of the statue where the witch's enormous humpback concealed them from plain sight.

"Dissendium," he said and couldn't resist watching the other teen's face as the statue's humpback slid heavily to the side to reveal a slide like ones found in playgrounds but made of stone and leading somewhere pitch black down below. Grimmjow chuckled as Ichigo's jaw dropped slightly and withdrew his wand from under his left sleeve. "You want to go first?" he teased.


Sensing true discomfort from his Mate, Grimmjow hastened to correct it. "We can go together," he offered, catching the flicker of relief in the other's eyes at the suggestion and carefully lowered himself to sit at the top of the slide, bracing himself on either side to stay in place while Ichigo got into position behind him. In the fleeting second before Grimmjow let go he felt the younger's arms cinch around him tightly and then they were swiftly plunging into the darkness stories below.

Unable to see much, the end of the slide caught the Slytherin by surprise and the both of them ended up tumbling off the slide rather ungracefully. "Lumos," they whispered in sync, light blooming at the tip of each of their wands whilst they rose to their feet.

"Where are we?" Ichigo asked quietly, as if afraid to speak too loudly for whatever reason.

"Under the school in a tunnel," Grimmjow answered, pointing with his wand to illuminate the shadowy, damp passageway and began walking the twenty-minute trek he knew that lay ahead of them.

"And where exactly does this tunnel lead to?"

Realizing Ichigo was in for enough surprises for today, Grimmjow glanced over his shoulder at him and smiled mischievously. "Honeydukes."

"Right," the orangette scoffed, but the other boy didn't respond knowing that he would find out soon enough that it was the truth. "Still, how did you know about this passage, anyway?"

Grimmjow's lips thinned into a straight line, hating to talk about it but willing to tell his Mate the truth. "A friend of mine read about it in our fourth year and we decided to test it out to find out it actually works."

"Oh, was it that pink-haired guy... um, Szayel?"

"No, his name was Ulquiorra," Grimmjow stated stiffly, hearing Ichigo's sharp inhale that meant he'd picked up on his use of the past tense.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to... " the Gryffindor apologized profusely, coming up to walk beside the other boy and looking like he wanted to say or do something more but didn't know what. And so they fell silent for the rest of the trek to the end of the tunnel.

Ichigo was grateful that Grimmjow spared him the 'I told you so' routine when they did indeed end up in a cellar stocked with barrels of candy that no doubt was part of the sweetshop Honeyduke's.

He wondered if any other students knew about the secret passageway. There couldn't have been very many or else kids would be skipping out everyday to come there. "So what's the next step of your evil plan?" he hissed under his breath. "We can't just walk up out of the cellar into the store."

"Actually, we can and we will," Grimmjow said confidently, stepping onto the ladder that led up to the main level yet not getting very far before Ichigo grabbed him by the cloak and forcibly held him back.

"Are you crazy? Someone will see us and then we'll really be screwed."

"Ichigo, it's two weeks before the holidays and we're in Hogsmeade. Just listen," the blunette said, gesturing upstairs and making Ichigo first notice the sound of numerous sets of footsteps bustling around on the wooden floors and the low, constant buzz of voices. "See?"

Reluctantly, Ichigo followed Grimmjow up the cellar stairs and braced himself when he shoved the trap door up, swiftly ascending through it with the kind of easy grace the orangette both envied and admired. Trusting that the coast was clear for him to proceed as well, he scampered up hurriedly and took Grimmjow's outstretched hand to help pull him up to his feet. This time, however, he didn't let go, not worried about causing the school's biggest scandal here.

They made their way through the crowd of people inside the candy shop and out to Hogsmeade's main street where it was still gently snowing and the stores were all decorated in their Christmas best - wreaths, garlands, lights, the works. Standing in the middle of it all, holding the hand of the boy he loved, Ichigo felt lighter than he had in weeks, as if all his stress had melted away. "This way," Grimmjow guided him up the road toward where the smaller, speciality shops were located.

"Where are we going, now?" Ichigo questioned, thinking they would've probably hit up the Three Broomsticks but it was in the complete opposite direction.

"You're not going to like it," Grimmjow said, chuckling darkly.

"Are we going to the Shrieking Shack?" Ichigo accused, thinking it very likely the older boy would take him there to talk about their love life.

"Worse," the blunette confirmed and stopped in front of a tiny building with steamed up windows and lacy curtains, the place's reputation proceeding it.

"Madam Puddifoots, the place where all the couples go to snog in public? You're right, I would rather go to the Shrieking Shack. Come on," Ichigo declared, tugging Grimmjow away from the dreaded tea shop that smelled like old lady even from where they stood twenty feet from the door.

"It's the most secluded place we can talk about... things," the Slytherin defended his choice. "All the rest of the teenagers who come here are in school so it'll be practically empty."

"I guess..." Ichigo relented, allowing himself to be led inside the tea shop, a little bell over the door announcing their arrival. The interior was somehow even uglier than he'd imagined, antique lace doilies and china sugar bowls decorating the circular tables. Yet Grimmjow had been right about its occupancy level right then, the sole patrons an elderly couple sitting by the window and holding hands. "Let's sit back there, the booths with the curtains," he suggested, jerking his head toward the few specially private seating areas for the particularly amorous.

Actually, now that he thought about it, he certainly wouldn't mind kissing Grimmjow again.

Their backsides had barely touched their seats when a stout witch with jet black hair and a wide smile appeared at their side. "What can I get you, m'dears? Tea, coffee, hot cocoa...?"

"I'll have a black coffee," Grimmjow said, not even looking up at the woman.

"Make that two," Ichigo said, giving her a polite smile. The witch strolled away, straightening one of her doilies and then heading into the back. "So... " he said, clasping his hands in front of him and meeting dark cerulean eyes across the table. "Let's talk."

A/N: Ooh, Ichigo's getting down to business and they both have some 'splaining to do. But Grimm finally told him they're Mates! Yay!

Whew, two updates in one day. Yeah, I'm going to go take a like three hour nap now.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter!