Thank god for small favors.

Sitting on the couch with my head leaned back and my eyes closed I let the loud thrum of music from the expensive radio system in the living room sooth my agitation. When I had gotten back to the house I nearly ripped off my clothes in aggravation before turning on the water as hot as I could for a shower. My skin is still a bit pink and my shower had been roughly two hours ago.

I stretch out my legs, relishing in the feel of the brown Gabardine pants sliding up my legs with the action. My feet are socked in nice warm cotton, and the short sleeved zip up white cashmere vest coupled with the blue-grey polo that Rukia gave me for my last birthday smells like and reminds me of home.

I lift up my arm so that the glass full of whiskey on the rocks presses against my lips and take a nice long sip, cringing and yet relishing the sharp bite and burn of the liquor as it slides down my throat. Well, so much for the liquor being for a night later on in the week. It seems as if my nerves just won't be able to hold up to this place. I wonder idly if there is even a liquor store nearby… I sit the glass on the side table and amble to where my briefcase sits precariously on the small table next to the kitchen doorway and rustle out my laptop and internet card, fingering the small device as I plunk back onto the couch with a long drawn out sigh.

As I wait for the computer to boot up and the internet card to start tapping into the satellite that it needs in order to give me internet I take another sip of my drink. This is my third one already for the night and I am starting to get the munchies but, unfortunately, in my annoyance at having to come out to this place I had forgotten to stop and buy groceries. Go figure. Add that to the fact that the only thing I could find in the refrigerator was some old milk and questionable meat in the freezer, as well as some age old looking cans of beef soup in the pantry… well. I'm pretty much starving. But I figure, at least for tonight, if my hunger gets too strong I will just switch to beer. That always does the trick in making me feel full.

I blandly look back to my computer screen and click on the explorer icon…. Only for the right hand corner of my screen flash and tell me that, so sorry, no internet connection can be formed. For a moment I think that maybe I forgot to turn my internet card on even though I remember doing so but when I flick my gaze to the spot where the innocent piece of equipment sits I groan and flop back against the high rise backing of the sofa. Seriously? The card can't even connect with a satellite out here?

I reach up with my right hand to rub at my temples with a sigh. Another strike against this place. What the hell am I supposed to do when there is no internet and (what I'm sure will be) a very limited television show selection?

I shove my laptop unceremoniously off of my legs and onto the couch beside me before downing the rest of my drink in a single gulp, enjoying the warmth that spreads through my abdomen as I stand up with the intention of getting another drink. I've taken two shaky steps in the right direction when the deep ring of the doorbell resounds throughout the house, drowning out even my music. I blink slowly as I try to comprehend the idea of someone coming by for a visit in a place where I know no one before turning down the volume on the radio, place the empty glass on the little table in the hallway, and finally make it to open the door with my brows furrowed.

Well, my buzz fogged brain is able to humorously supply to me, I guess he finally found some clothes.

He looks kind of sheepish standing there in my doorway with a hand rubbing the back of his neck as if he is the uncomfortable one. Blue hair is slicked back and somewhat damp and by the smell of something spicy and masculine I can only guess that he has recently stepped out of the shower. He has traded in his bare chested state for a relatively unwrinkled and clean looking dark blue plaid shirt that hangs un-tucked from his black belted jeans that are, in my opinion, a few sizes too small by the way they hug his waist and long legs. But, hey, at least he has put some clothes on instead of running around like some sort of Neanderthal.

"Yeah?" I finally manage to ask as I lean against the door that I hold in my hands. I watch as he squints his eyes a bit, no doubt smelling the whiskey that I have consumed, before he flicks his eyes over my shoulder towards the living room and back.

"I, uh, just wanted to apologize fer earlier," he says slowly, the thickness of his accent making me lean towards him unconsciously as my mind tries to sort out the words one by one, "You hungry?" The question takes me a bit off guard and I find myself leaning back again to look up into his face instead of at his chest, my head cocking to the side.

That's when I notice he's carrying a large jar of something in his right hand, and a white plastic back in his left packed with what I assume must be food. My stomach immediately gives a grumbling purr of joy and I scrunch my nose up at it as I rub at it harshly. The damn thing, giving me away.

He must have heard it because when I look back up at him he's got a small little smile on his face and his shoulders don't seem quite as tense anymore. "It ain't much, just some chips and stuff, but the cheese dip is pretty good… a friend makes it." He offers up the back in front of me and I hesitate only briefly before caving in the face of starvation. I snatch the bag away and turn to march towards the kitchen… though it turns out not much more than a drunken wobble.

I hear the door close behind me and am unsurprised when, as I take down a bowl for the chips and start to pour, the blue haired man moves into the kitchen as well. He hovers near the door, that imposing and unavoidable presence pressing it's force against my senses as I rustle through the plastic bag and pull out a medium sized container of what I figure must be the cheese he was talking about because of its yellow color.

Instead of taking it back out into the living room I plunk down at one of the stools pulled up the island counter top and start digging in. I was right about the cheese, but he was right about it being good! Little chunks of ground meat that I guess must be beef lump together net to small slices of jalapeño peppers… not something I would have thought of doing, but it tastes great and isn't too hot on my tongue.

Silence fills the kitchen but I don't really mind, my thoughts souly on devouring as many chips as I can without choking. It's a bit undignified, I know, but I'm hungry, damnit. And it just tastes so good. It takes me a few minutes but with my damnable conscious kicking in and screeching at me to act hospitable since the other man had been nice enough to bring an apology along with the food and so as I swallow I look up, lips parted to speak.

He's staring at me.

His shoulders are hunched over as he leans his elbow on the counter top, having pulled up a stool as well without me noticing, and his chin rests in the heel of his upturned hand. More hair has fallen over his forehead in disarray as it dries, and his intense blue eyes are locked onto me even as I startle in surprise. He doesn't seem to be ashamed by the fact that he has just been caught staring at me but I shift uncomfortably in my chair.

"What are you staring at?" I ask in a clipped tone but he merely blinks and tilts his head to the side like a curious dog, the expressionless mask on his face making me feel even more fidgety. I clear my throat and play in the cheese dip with a large chip, averting my eyes down to watch as I do. "There's beer in the fridge, if you want one." I don't know why I offer it, but it must be the manners that I used to learn while growing up.

There is a grunt and a strange scraping noise and before I can fully understand what might have made the noise, the glass jar that he had been holding in his hand earlier is placed in front of me. I find myself looking down into a smoky kind of red liquid, my brows furrowing as I tip my head closer. It looks like chunks of strawberries sit at the bottom of it, but other than that I have no clue what it is. "Uh…" I slurr out unintelligently, flickering my eyes up to stare at him.

I don't know how he's moved that fast, or maybe I am just slow because I have been drinking, but he is holding a fork out to me, chin still in his hand, with an expectant air about him. He motions to the jar with the fork and I take the utensil in slight hesitation. "Try the fruit," he grumbles out to me, and I find myself following his order as docile as a lamb where normally I would bristle if someone ordered me to do anything.

I stick the fork into the liquid and spear a strawberry half, lifting it up and out of the jar to inspect it. It looks juicy and swollen with whatever it is that it has been soaking in and I don't think that he's trying to make me sick so I open my mouth and put the whole piece into my mouth and begin chewing.

My eyes widen almost immediately and I sit up straight on my stool, the sweetness of the strawberry heightened and defined by the other, sharper bite of something that burns its way on my tongue and down my throat when I finally swallow. Chill bumps dance up on my arms and I shiver and lick my lips slowly. "What is that?" I ask the question while fishing around for another piece of the fruit in the jar.

A dry chuckle makes me pause and I look up to see a somewhat wicked smile on the other man's face as he answers. "Well, ev'ryone round here calls it Moonshine… ya put the fruit in with the liquor and it soaks it on up… ain't really legal to sell, though."

I nod as if I understand and eat another piece of fruit, relishing in the flavor. He continues on as if he hasn't paused at all. "Kinda a specialty, ya know? Anyway… I'm Grimmjow." He offers a hand to me and it takes me a second to take it because I wasn't expecting it, but when I do his rough fingers wrap around my somewhat smaller hand and clench in a strong handshake. It's quick, and polite despite the strength behind it, but I draw my hand back and fist it against my thigh anyway.

"Ichigo," I churn out on a mumble, choosing to snack on another chip with dip instead of ingesting more of the liquor soaked fruit. Shifting on my stool I can feel the world do an interesting little spin…..

And, well. That's all I can really remember.


Hope you liked this chapter. A little bit more civil towards each other, even though Ichigo is damned and determined to NOT get along with the handsome devil Grimmjow, but we shall see how their rocky relationship continues in the next chapter!