Ichigo is just getting worse if that's possible, spending hours in his mindscape arguing with Shiro and even longer sitting and staring at the ball of reiatsu that is his child. It's at moments like these, quiet and serene moments that are far too rare to not appreciate, and Shiro sits beside his little Beta and holds him. Shiro loves his aibou more than anything in any world, almost as much as Grimmjow if not more, and when he gets to hold Ichigo like this he's never felt so relaxed and happy. He nuzzle the orange locks, breathing in the mixed scent coming off the Beta… one of his unique sent and that of the baby within him. It's so close to the time of birth, he can feel the giddiness building within his aibou and himself. Grimmjow's voice echoes within the mindscape, startling Ichigo and pulling him from the inner world to return to his other Alpha's side. Shiro huffs in disappointment, pouting as he watches the small ball before him.
"You knew this would happen when he found a mate," Zangetsu remarks.
"Yeah, yeah," he mutters. "I knew he'd have less time for me, but it's not like he won't go back to normal after he gives birth."
"True. So perhaps you should keep that in mind instead of sulking about it now."
"I don't have anything better to do… I'm still mad at that stupid feline."
"He is Ichigo's mate, so you should attempt to get along."
"… That's no fun."
The Zanpakto spirit sighs and shakes his head in exasperation, deciding the argument just isn't worth it. Shiro feels the other leave, a small smirk playing on his lips as he watches the light within the ball of reiatsu pulse… just like it's laughing with him.
"You okay, Kitten?" Grimmjow asks when he returns to him. "You've been spacing an awful lot."
"… She's in there," Ichigo says quietly. "I just want her to know she's not alone."
"She has Shiro to keep her company."
"… Yeah, you're right," the teal haired male murmurs at Ichigo's bland look. "Come on, the others are waiting."
"Nelliel wants to go swimming, so she's dragging everyone else with her."
"Is Rukia and Renji coming, too?"
Grimmjow shrugs, not really knowing the details and only knowing Nell would kill him if he didn't show up. Ichigo is wary about a bathing suit, as he's become very self-conscious of his weight gain, so he opts to stay out of the water. When they get there, even the Visoreds are splashing around. Hiyori isn't in the water, just watching for the couple to arrive.
"Ichigo, Unohana said you should relax and enjoy swimming today," she calls.
"… No thanks, Hiyori," he mutters with a blush. "I think I'll stay out of the water today."
"Unohana-Taicho demands you have fun today, Ichi," she growls. "I've been appointed to make certain you do, so strip!"
"… I'd like to see that," Grimmjow grins.
Ichigo blushes even brighter, his Alpha's blue pools watching him expectantly. As if the comment weren't embarrassing enough, now he has an audience of one. With a low growl, he pulls his shirt off and starts on his sweatpants as his blush spreads along his body. Once he's in nothing but his boxers, Grimmjow leans over and kisses the top of his head.
"Don't worry so much, Kitten," he purrs loudly. "I think you're beautiful."
"… I'm fat."
"You're pregnant, it's totally different, remember? Besides, it'll all go away once you give birth."
"Are you sure? Because this is a lot of fat to get rid of," the orangette sulks as he pokes his abdomen.
"It's not fat, it's our child," Grimmjow frowns. "Now let's go."
Ichigo groans and trudges along beside Grimmjow, obviously not happy in the least. Although he starts out upset about the whole thing, it doesn't take long for Ichigo to get in the groove of things. Grimmjow still keeps him close, yet he trusts the others to watch him as well.
Shiro lazes in Ichigo's mindscape, watching the fun from in his head… it's not his thing. After all the rain from Ichigo's warring emotions, he'd rather stay as far from water as possible. He gives the floating ball of light a sidelong glance, smirking a moment before returning his gaze to the clouds.
"Yer gonna love yer momma, baby girl," he sighs. "He's a real nice person. And yer daddy ain't that bad neither… but he's an asshole."
"You shouldn't speak that way around a baby," Zangetsu frowns.
"And Zangetsu is a mother hen," Shiro states with a growl.
The Zanpakto spirit huffs at that, sitting down beside Shiro with his arms over his chest. The snowy haired male gives him a childish face, ignoring the older man in favor of the clouds above. It's a long moment before someone speaks again, Shiro sighing as he looks back at the 'baby'.
"Ya gotta take care a yer momma, ya know… He's too trusting. One a these days, he's gonna do something stupid, so be on the lookout. I mean, he'll have us ta look after him… but he needs all the help he can get."
"Ichigo knows what he's doing, you don't have to badger him."
"Mm-hm, and letting himself get run through how many times was a good idea?" he says sarcastically. "If it weren't fer me being overbearing, he'd be dead fifty times over."
"… I suppose you're right," Zangetsu sighs in defeat.
"Damn right I am," Shiro mutters. "Now be quiet, I got a ton a embarrassing stories of aibou ta tell!"
It's exactly nine weeks from the day Grimmjow impregnated Ichigo that they're all gathering around the Senkaimon to Urahara's underground training area. It's at this point, once they're all through and staring at the little sterile setup, that Ichigo finally realizes something.
"Wait a minute," he mutters. "How the hell am I supposed to give birth?"
"We could use a teleportation Kido," Byakuya offers. "I'm rather good at those."
"No, we'll be doing a C-section," Unohana explains softly. "Szayel also thought that best. He explained to me that during their time of heat, a male Beta's organs shift to make room for the womb. After the birth, which usually consists of the mother ripping the child out so their body can heal naturally… thank goodness most Betas have exceptional regeneration abilities… the extra organs die off and vanish until they're grown again."
"I, myself, have created a serum to stop this process," Szayel grins. "Being a Beta as well, having to worry about getting pregnant so often is annoying. So I created a serum that cancels out the effects of heat, that way I can concentrate on more important things."
"… You'll have to make me some," Ichigo remarks. "The only thing I want ripped out of my body, if something absolutely must be, is my enemy's weapon after a particularly nasty attack."
"The serum isn't permanent, you'll have to keep taking it if you don't want this to happen again."
"You shouldn't have said anything," Grimmjow pouts. "What if I want another cub?"
"You'll talk to me before you go ahead and get me pregnant, baka!" Ichigo snaps.
Before Grimmjow can react to that, Ichigo doubles over in pain and he's keeping his mate from dropping to the ground. Unohana and Szayel are quick to help Ichigo over to the table Urahara placed, letting Grimmjow in and closing the privacy curtains afterward. The only reason Urahara and Yorouchi managed to sneak in was under the reasoning it was Urahara's training area… and Yorouchi would kick their asses. Ichigo cries and screams, trying his best to beat the shit out of Grimmjow as they administer the pain killers.
"Please hold on, Kurosaki-kun," Unohana says kindly. "Everything will be fine in only a few minutes. The pain killers will take effect and things will be more manageable for you."
"This is all your fault, Grimmjow!" Ichigo screams. "I hate you! How could you do this to me? I thought you loved me! You're a horrible mate! Damn you to lowest depths of hell!"
"… He's really mad at you," Yorouchi mumbles.
"Well, men weren't built to withstand the pain you women are capable of handling," Kisuke remarks. "I'm surprised he hasn't started bawling yet."
"Male Betas are equipped to bear the same amount of pain a normal Beta is," Szayel states. "Ichigo will calm down soon, it's only a violent reaction to the sudden pain he experienced. Of course, his normal temperament is violent, so he may just get worse."
"I'll fucking kill you! If you ever touch me again, I'll castrate you!" Ichigo continues. "Get your ass over here so I can abuse you, Grimmjow! Right now! You fucking pussy, get over here! Yorouchi, punch him for me! Really hard!"
She shrugs and swings, catching Grimmjow in the stomach and knocking the wind from him. Ichigo seems pleased with that, noting the pain killers are kicking in as he slowly relaxes. Finally, Unohana and Szayel begin the C-section and work quickly as the audience outside listens with baited breath.
"Ichi-kun will be okay, right, Stark?" Lilinette asks in worry.
"He's in very good hands, Lily," he answers. "I'm more worried about Grimmjow."
"I would be, too," Soi Fon states. "Lady Yorouchi is a very powerful woman, who will use any excuse to swing. If Ichigo asks, she will do."
"I can't wait to hear the baby cry for the first time!" Rukia squeals.
"This is so exciting!" Orihime sighs. "I never would've thought Kurosaki-kun could get pregnant."
"As if the world didn't suffer enough from him," Uryu mutters. "We'll be forced to tend to a mix between him and Grimmjow… how wonderful."
"It's a happy moment, Uryu," Chad reprimands. "You should be glad for them."
"Well, it certainly doesn't sound like Ichigo's very glad," the Quincy points out.
"Masaki was the same way both times she was in labor," Isshin grins. "My precious little boy is so much like his dear mother! I'm so proud!"
"Grimmjow, you're a fucking dead man!" Ichigo screams.
Finally, the sound of crying breaks through the silence that's ensued. Everyone cheers, Rukia hugging Byakuya as the others all find their own hugging partner. Unohana opens the privacy curtain after they've cleaned everything, and the others are graced with the scene of Grimmjow holding a tiny bundle… and Ichigo passed out on the bed. Everyone waits with baited breath once more, eyes eager as Grimmjow quietly leaves Ichigo's side to walk closer. The baby in his arms has a tuft of bleach white hair and large cyan eyes, its tiny body looking more like Ichigo than Grimmjow.
"It's a little girl," he says quietly. "Her name is Shai."
"Oh, how cute!" Yuzu grins. "Can I hold her? Please?"
"Well, you are her aunt, aren't you?" Grimmjow snickers. "Just be careful, okay?"
"What happened to her?" Rukia wonders. "I mean… where'd the white hair come from?"
"From me," Shiro grins. "I can't live within Ichi and not affect him in some way. Sides, I think she's fucking beautiful. You do know, this kind of makes me her daddy, too. Ichi and I may look alike, but that damn evolution fucked up our DNA a bit. I wouldn't feel right getting him knocked up myself, but I'm not above sending my genetics through him."
"Such language in front of a baby," Hallibel frowns. "It's unacceptable."
"I agree with Hallibel," Ulquiorra states. "You should watch your mouth around Shai."
"Oh, my turn!" Nelliel squeals as she lifts the baby from Yuzu. "Hello, baby Shai, I'm your Auntie Nelliel! We'll have such fun together!"
Grimmjow is lying next to Ichigo on the bed while everyone passes Shai around, a bit exhausted from being a punching bag between an infuriated Ichigo and an enthusiastic Yorouchi. Ichigo stirs beside him, blinking owlishly before glancing at his Alpha.
"Grimm… where's the baby? Oh my god, did I lose it?" he panics.
"In a way," Grimmjow chuckles pointing to the mass passing Shai about happily.
Kenpachi finally gets his hands on her, growling at anyone that tries to take her from him. Yachiru is singing to Shai, Nnoitra arguing about not getting a turn yet. Ichigo smiles softly as Kenpachi shifts to keep Shai away from the lanky Espada, Yamamoto slyly slipping her from his grip as Yachiru cries out to Kenpachi.
"I named her Shai," Grimmjow says quietly. "Do you like it?"
"I love it! It's perfect!" Ichigo grins. "What does she look like?"
"She's beautiful, Ichi, you did a wonderful job," he says lovingly. "She has my eyes and she looks like you… but has Shiro's hair. Apparently, he didn't want to be left out and slipped some of his genetics in when you weren't looking. She has two fathers."
"I don't mind," Ichigo sighs happily. "Man, I'm exhausted."
"So… when you're feeling more lively… how about we try for a son?" Grimmjow grins feral.
"… Wait at least a year before asking me again, or I'm afraid I'll have to kill you."
"Right… fair enough," he blushes. "You do know you'll go into heat about four times before I'm allowed to say anything, don't you?"
"… Szayel!" Ichigo cries in panic.
Szayel looks his way in worry, hurrying over to tend to him as Shiro nabs Shai and hurries at his heels. Once they're there, Shiro carefully lays Shai in her mother's arms and kisses his forehead. Ichigo looks down into his daughter's large blue eyes, so much like her fathers and far less intense. He sends her a loving smile, holding her close as she yawns, and Unohana hands him a bottle to feed her. Before he can, however, Shiro takes her back along with the bottle.
"I wanna feed her," he pouts. "Such a pretty little baby."
"Shiro, you're such a cream puff," Ichigo snickers. "Hey, Szayel, how soon can I get those serums? I'm not letting Grimmjow touch me until I have them."
"What!" Grimmjow gasps. "That's not fair!"
"I just went through worst experience in my entire life! Don't fucking tell me what's fair!" he snaps. "You try being pregnant and going through all that, then you can say it's not fair! Until then, I'll break every fucking bone in your hand if you touch me before I get that damn serum!"
"… Yer not supposed ta talk like that in front of Shai," Shiro states. "Hallibel and Ulquiorra said so."
"They so don't want to try me right now," Ichigo snarls.
"I should be able to concoct them in a week's time," Szayel smirks. "That's plenty of time before your next heat and that's the only time you should have to take them. Grimmjow will know instinctually when you go into heat, so there's no worries about him 'accidentally' getting you pregnant again."
"I'm not worried about an accident," Ichigo frowns. "Mr. Let's-Try-For-A-Son is likely to do it on purpose next time."
Grimmjow sulks at the comment, watching Shiro feed Shai while cooing to her and keeping the others away. Rangiku is whining that she wants to feed her, Yachiru arguing that Kenny should be able to since he's better with kids, and everyone else is debating whether they can manage stealing the baby from the second father. It's Ulquiorra, however, that steps forward calmly. He sets a hand beneath Shai, garnering Shiro's attention, and then punches the white haired male hard enough to make him tumble backward. He smiles to himself in satisfaction, cuddling Shai close and catching the bottle before sitting down to feed her. Shiro whines at the loss of his daughter, strolling back over to Ichigo before retreating into his inner world to tell Zangetsu all about his new pride and joy. Things are going to be extremely interesting from now on… Ichigo has no doubt about that.