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Sinful Part V

Pray for Predators

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"Shiro!"

Ichigo flung himself onto the floor beside the Hell Hound's prone, blood-covered form, hands reaching out to help only to end up hovering over the other's milky white chest. Shocked to the bone, his mind was already racing like it was running for its life, questions of what he should do and how had this happened and exclamations screaming how much blood was seeping from cuts in the pale flesh and that he should do something already speeding past. His rapidly beating heart stuttered and it suddenly became difficult to get any air, his chest and stomach tightening excruciatingly in sheer panic.

Shiro's black and gold eyes were hooded and out of focus even as they stared up at the orangette, pale lips twisting into a faint but still manic grin.

"Yea' I kinda gotta few scratches while I was out," he said nonchalantly, as if he were commenting on the weather, but his voice was faint, giving away how badly he was injured.

"You think?" Ichigo gasped, a combination of dry humor and breathless desperation. However, the bit of comic relief was enough to break through his anxiety so that he was able to slowly breathe in and out a few times and his mind cleared enough for him to think properly. After a second, the orangette sensed Grimmjow's presence as the Fallen angel squatted down beside him and his eyes flickered to the side. "Grimm, take off your shirt and give it to me," he ordered.

Bright cerulean orbs flashed up to hold Ichigo's gaze and Grimmjow nodded, hurriedly tearing off his navy blue jacket and then unbuttoning his dress shirt. As the bundle of black fabric was shoved into Ichigo's hand, its owner now bare-chested, a strained wheeze escaped from Shiro's throat and hastened the human's actions. Ichigo pressed Grimmjow's shirt against the worst of the Hell Hound's wounds, applying pressure to the bleeding gash in order to help stop the bleeding.

"Just hold on, Shiro, everything's gonna be all right, okay?" he said, attempting to comfort the injured albino.

"Aye aye, cap'n," Shiro murmured, his ivory eyelashes fluttering as he fought unconsciousness but ultimately lost.

"We need to get him to a hospital; he's losing too much blood," Ichigo said, turning to his lover with wide, beseeching eyes. Grimmjow's expression was stern, his brow furrowed slightly and gaze hard and cold like steel. "Can you call your car around or something?"

"It wouldn't help," the blunette said, abruptly standing and crossing over to his desk in one long stride. He grabbed the piece of paper illustrated with the foreign symbols and stuffed it in his front pocket then returning to his lover's side, a broad hand falling to the younger male's shoulder. "Unfortunately, there aren't many emergency rooms equipped to treat demons. Come on, we'll have to seek aid from an acquaintance of mine."

It was impossible for Ichigo to respond in any way before he found himself on his feet, Grimmjow's right arm hooked around his waist and bracing him against the elder's body while his left was holding Shiro's unmoving form over his shoulder, the white-haired immortal hanging limply across the Fallen's strong back. Blinking a couple of times, Ichigo realized Grimmjow had again moved too fast for his human eyes to see and therefore was somewhat ready for when it happened again. His eyes closing reflexively, he felt the chilled wind on his face, rippling his hair, as they shot through the air.

A millisecond later the temperature dropped instantly, a shiver making Ichigo's shoulders tremble harshly. "Put your arms around my neck," Grimmjow's deep, rumbling voice came from above his head. Cautiously squinting one eye he tiniest bit to peek at his surroundings, a stunned, forceful exhale rushed from his lungs and his eyes immediately popped wide open.

There was no mistaking they were now on the roof of the nightclub - the fucking roof. And not just on the flat spanse of concrete, either. No, they were standing on the goddamn ledge, staring down at the cars and flocks of people passing back and forth on the busy street stories below them.

Ichigo wasted no time heeding Grimmjow's orders, flinging his arms around the other's neck and clinging on for dear life. He tilted his head upward to stare directly into those entirely too intense lightning blue orbs. Grimmjow's face was a mask of unrelenting resolve, his features still like the stone glower of a statue but his aura and burning gaze radiating a brash certainty. "Don't be afraid," he said, a ghost of a smile passing over his feature.

"I'm not afraid," Ichigo said and strangely, it was one hundred percent true. He trusted the immortal he loved with his life and then some.

Suddenly, Grimmjow's body began shuddering violently, his shoulders which he arched back especially, and there was a terrible ripping sound, like the tearing of canvas multiplied by a thousand. Even in the dark of night, the glossy ebony of the feathers that burst through bronze shoulder blades shone vibrantly as the Fallen angel's breathtaking wings manifested themselves. The sheaths of silken midnight filled out to their full span of twenty plus feet, the vision of the outstretched appendages awe-inspiring, onyx hue glittering and feathers ruffling as their owner shook them off.

"Good," Grimmjow said, the corner of his lips twitching slightly. "Now, hold on tight."

Ichigo had barely registered what the immortal said when those great wings flapped once and then hurled themselves down, propelling them right off the ledge of the building and into the open air. Arms instantly tightening around the blunette's neck, the boy pressed himself as much as possible into Grimmjow's form, his left cheek flattening against a bare pectoral. They soared high above the ground until they paused for a fleeting second before those great wings beat once more and hurled them forward.

Stunned into silence, Ichigo watched the lights of the city's skyscrapers and streetlights race by as they followed the bustling avenue from high above the traffic jammed road, flying in between the matching lanes of hundred story buildings covered in opalescent mirrors. The view was so spectacular that for a few brief moments the current dire situation was forgotten.

"Won't people see us?" Ichigo said, raising his voice over the roaring wind.

"Nah, you mortals have a tricky habit of seeing only what you want to," Grimmjow answered, not needing to speak louder than normal for some reason. "We're almost there, anyway."

His sentence was punctuated by the abrupt sight of their apartment building up ahead, the winged male barreling directly toward its walls and nearly breaking through a window and making a crash landing on the thirty-fourth floor but careening upwards so they flew parallel with the structure. All the way to the roof they went, Grimmjow slowing their pace exponentially to what was basically a cruising speed and then stopping completely level with the rooftop ledge.

Touching down gently, the angelic male landed upon it and Ichigo once more felt solid ground underneath his feet. The latter looked up just in time to see those magnificent wings arch inward, almost cradling him, before disappearing in a burst of sparkling dust. Cringeworthy cracks and creaks were audible as he knew they settled back into place under Grimmjow's skin.

Not wasting a minute of precious time during the crisis at hand, the Fallen angel again moved with inhuman speed and the world blurred around the orange-haired human in his grasp until he came to a sudden halt in the middle of their living room. Set safely standing on the hardwood floor, he was immediately left on his own while his lover disappeared.

A fraction of a second later, Shiro's body materialized on the couch in front of him and Ichigo fell to his knees beside it, noting the demon was still unconscious. Instinctively, he reached out a hand and placed two fingers at the base of Shiro's pale throat, wondering if immortals had pulses at all. Holding his breath, he waited with statuesque stillness and began to fear the worst when he felt it - a thready, strained beat beneath the milky skin - and sighed in relief.

"Ichigo," Grimmjow's low voice sounded out of nowhere right behind him, causing his head to snap back over his shoulder. The blue-haired male was bent over the coffee table, quickly laying a few unfamiliar items on its surface. "Come closer. I need your help contacting someone who can save him."

"How am I going to do that?" Ichigo asked shakily, moving to kneel beside the table and more intently examine the strange items.

There was a small bowl, seeming to be made from porcelain or something else pure white and perfectly smooth. The only marking on its surface was in the very center, at the bottom - a hieroglyphic style single black feather that he could've sworn began dancing in the bowl for a split second before he blinked and it was still, like it'd never moved.

Next to that, lying innocently on the table was a large knife equipped with a blade nearly eight inches long that was fashioned from a blackened stone similar to flint but boasting a sort of dark golden shimmer. Its handle was wooden and held the appearance of being very old - hundreds, maybe thousands of years old. There were seven symbols engraved in a vertical line from the base to hilt, mysterious characters unlike any language currently on earth and yet very loudly speaking of matters both ancient and otherworldly.

Finally there was a thick leather cord strung about choker length with what was unmistakably small fragments of chicken bones, each one from different parts of the bird's body. Ichigo rose an eyebrow at the unusual piece of jewelry but said nothing. Across from him, Grimmjow picked up the knife in his right hand and held it out over the bowl.

"I'll tell you in a minute. But you have to be absolutely silent the whole time for this to work," the blue-eyed Fallen said, serious as the grave. Ichigo greatly wanted to ask Grimmjow what he meant but there was no time and so he simply nodded, biting his lower lip in effort.

Both large hands hovering a foot or so above the bowl, Grimmjow glared down at it and appeared to marshall all his focus and powers of concentration. He breathed in deeply, exhaling and closing his eyes simultaneously, and his lips parted and then he began chanting. Musical, lilting sounds that spoke meaning in a tongue known only to the immortals and their realm fell from his tongue in almost a whisper, muttering syllables at rapid fire in his bewitching, deep voice.

As he said his incantations, tendrils of golden mist came into view along the edge of the knife, flickering and undulating whilst the mist formed into the shape of flames licking the blade. That was when the feather inside the bowl started spinning madly like a broken compass and Grimmjow only quickened his pace, chanting faster and faster.

Ichigo then witnessed the other, who never ceased in his intonations, bring the knife's burning blade to press flat against his palm. There was not a single moment's opportunity to protest before the knife broke through flesh, slicing a thin line all the way across that instantly beaded scarlet liquid. Grimmjow turned his palm face down, removing the knife, and it was as if time slowed down dramatically as his blood formed a single droplet that clung on and quivered threateningly. Then, at last, the drop of blood plummeted into the porcelain bowl and landed on the spinning feather, pooling atop the hieroglyph and making it stop cold.

Without warning Ichigo found his hands drawn in front of him, positioned flat against each other and his elbows resting on the table. Grimmjow's fingers were adeptly intertwining the length of leather and chicken bone around each of the orangette's digits and wrists, swiftly fastening them in that position. Gazing up searchingly at the other's expression that bore visible proof of his deep concentration, Ichigo wondered what he was supposed to do now.

Fortunately, he didn't have to wait long for his answer, Grimmjow letting go of his hands and continuing to look down at the bowl while he instructed Ichigo on what to do.

"Pray," he said.

Ichigo nearly broke his promise to not utter so much as a syllable at the order, finding it difficult not to ask what the hell the Fallen angel meant by that single word command. Did he mean 'pray' in the traditional sense? Or was it a code or cryptic name for something else? But he knew that the teen had no knowledge of at all of such things so he couldn't possibly expect for Ichigo to understand something like that.

But if he was supposed to do just what Grimmjow'd said and pray, how was he even supposed to go about doing so? Who should he pray to? What specifically should he pray for? Never mind that Ichigo didn't have any experience with praying to begin with. Giving a mental huff, he realized he was losing time every passing second and shut his eyes, determined to do whatever he must to save someone who'd become his friend.

Err... to anyone who may be... listening, I need your help. It's my friend, he's injured pretty badly and if he doesn't get any medical attention he might... he might be in a lot of trouble. Um, if someone out there can help him, please, please, come. I'll give you whatever I have in return if you want, I promise. Just... please.

Just when he began to believe it hadn't worked, a gust of wind blew through the room and made him open his eyes. The bowl and knife began to rattle on the table and the wind circled unnaturally around them, forming a kind of tornado that ripped through Ichigo's hair and clothes. Against his better judgement, the boy raised his arms from the table to shield his face from the air current. The wind's strength grew and grew until suddenly... it stopped.

And when Ichigo lowered his arm he saw standing atop the table was a young woman with long , wavy hair the color of burnt sienna dressed in a modest yet luxe white , long -sleeved dress overlaid in a layer of delicate lace. She was rather pretty in a chaste, virginal kind of way and had a madonna-like air of perfect innocence about her - a rarity in all corners of the earth.

"That was quite a trip," she said lightly to herself and her round , curious gray eyes landed on the shellshocked Ichigo. She bent over toward him, locks of her hair spilling forward off her shoulders. "Are you the one who summoned me here, the boy I heard asking for help?"

Luckily, he didn't have to answer her right away for Grimmjow spoke up from his side of the table, addressing the newcomer. "It was I who called you here," the blunette said, rising to his feet and prompting the woman to spin around and face him.

"Sexta! I-... I didn't realize you were here," she stammered, leaping off the table, hands snapping into position on her stomach and lower back all in one smooth, unnaturally graceful motion. Her upper body pitching forward into the proper bow used in within the Court of the Fallen to pay respect to your 'betters.' "Forgive me, I would've never-"

"Enough," Grimmjow ordered shortly and the girl promptly cut herself off mid-sentence, holding her subservient position. It was crystal clear to Ichigo that she was tremendously intimidated by his lover and that was putting it mildly. In fact, it would be fair to say she seemed scared shitless of the Fallen angel. "For the thousandth time, woman, drop the pomp and circumstance bullshit around me, all right? I have a friend who's closer to death every second we waste with niceties and you're the only one who can help him."

Hesitating a little first, the girl straightened up and let her arms return to her sides. No one had to say a thing more for her attention to flash over where she'd somehow missed Shiro lying on the couch behind Ichigo, horror crossing her features at the gory sight. She flew over to the injured demon's side, kneeling as close to the couch as possible. "My God, how awful. I can't believe he was in the room this whole time and I didn't sense that he needed my help," the girl whispered mournfully.

"He's a demon," Grimmjow said as if it explained everything and Ichigo was a bit confused when the auburn-haired woman confirmed she believed that it did.

"Oh... oh, I see," she said, stunned as she obviously hadn't expected that answer. Despite this, and what Ichigo thought to be an overly timid personality, the girl's countenance began to shift into something more resolute and capable. Pushing up her sleeves and Shiro's jacket out of the way, she grimaced upon seeing the full extent of his injuries. "All right, I need to know how he was hurt, or anything that might be useful - and some towels and needle and thread. Please."

The burst of air that swooshed past and another immediately afterwards were the only pieces of evidence that Grimmjow had taken so much as a single step when he appeared in the same spot, the sole difference a bundle he offered to the woman of the items she'd asked for.

"I'm afraid I don't have much information to give you. He staggered in through the door, bleeding, and lost consciousness before he could tell us anything," Grimmjow informed her, folding his arms across his chest. "Though I don't need anyone to tell me those gashes on his chest are claw marks."

"You may be right, Sexta. But..." the auburn-haired girl trailed off, gripping the edge of a towel and blotting the coagulating blood in the middle of the demon's chest. She swabbed the dark red liquid away from the ivory skin, Grimmjow standing over her, and then she suddenly stopped in her task, withdrawing the towel. "I've never seen anything like this before."

Ichigo didn't have a choice whether or not to move in order to see what she was talking about, feeling his body were attached to puppet strings that pulled him to his feet and over to the others, a marionette for his curiosity to manipulate. He nor his actions earned much attention and he came to silently stand directly behind Grimmjow, searching impatiently for what was causing such a reaction.

Discovering it near instantaneously he automatically cringed, pained just by looking at the clearly revealed raw, bloody gouges, three of them clustered together and each ten inches long to form one of the many identical wounds shredded into Shiro's upper body. Ichigo marveled at how the Hell Hound made it back to the office in Sexta still alive and continued to defy death up 'till then.

"I don't know of any creature capable of leaving marks like these," the girl admitted remorsefully, her remarkable grief for a stranger shining in her teary, slate gray eyes. "Whatever it was, it didn't know show your friend any mercy. He must be strong to have managed to escape, especially with the extent of his injuries."

"You can still save him though, can't you?" Ichigo blurted, panic spurring his lips to respond on impulse too quickly for his brain to keep up. Nevertheless, he didn't waste time pondering how he'd let the thought slip right out and berate himself for it per usual.. "I mean, it's bad but after some stitches he's going to be okay, right?"

It was pretty obvious the girl wanted to say something yet forced herself to suppress the urge, biting her lip and looking back and forth between him and Grimmjow. It seemed she was waiting on the latter's signal that it was okay to answer the burning question and it led to a tense silence lasting a very brief period of time that stretched on for an eternity.

"He'll be fine. Do whatever you must in order to bring him out of the red and at least stable for the time being," the blue-haired immortal said, strict and commanding as a drill sergeant. "How much of a head start do you think you have - five, six minutes?" The woman nodded in confirmation, again attending to the prone demon dripping blood all over the navy blue velvet upholstery and beginning to gently swab the rest of his chest currently slashed to ribbons. "Perfect. Exactly what I need," Grimmjow muttered, oozing bitter sarcasm, and scrubbed a hand down his face.

Wondering what was happening for the hundredth time that evening, Ichigo felt his lips tilt downward and he idly turned and dragged his feet as he ambled away. Ten or so steps in he remembered the stupid cord still intertwined in his fingers and lowered his gaze to his hands. Glaring at the offending item as if to set it on fire, he tried to pull them apart and only succeeded in tightening the cord's unforgiving tangles. He didn't give up, though, and kept tugging them fruitlessly, making his frustration level rise rapidly.

"Here, let me do that," he heard Grimmjow insist next to him, sounding uncharacteristically tired and enclosing the younger's hands in his own. To Ichigo's chagrin, Grimmjow merely had to pull one knot free in order for the leather to loosen and slip free. "There, now I've more than made up for whatever it is you're so clearly thinking about because you can't possibly stay mad at me."

"Is it that obvious? And here I was trying so hard to hide it," the teen hissed under his breath, sparing a glance over his shoulder at the female visitor whose focus was wholly on cleaning Shiro's wounds. In the corner of his eye he saw the blunette step around and straight in front of him so he faced forward again to stare right at the other's bare rippling pectorals. He was forced to tilt his chin up so he couldn't get derailed by the distraction.

"But since you asked, I really don't think you understand how much I am starting to hate your habit of leaving me out of the loop like some kind of child. And you do it even when I'm directly involved, which is total bullshit. Nel was the one who explained everything about Consorts and the Court and what the hell I'd gotten myself into because you just couldn't be bothered. And now Shiro's hurt and might be dying and you're talking about foot races and head starts or whatever and I still have no idea what's really going on or who that chick is or anything on this entire fucking planet!"

At the very beginning of his tirade Grimmjow had calmly taken him by the arm and swiftly led them out of the living room, crossing into the main hallway during the venting of frustrations. Yet they didn't stop as soon as Ichigo ran out of steam, a bit out of breath and scowling up at the taller male, who was unaffected by the withering glare that drove mortal men to their knees. "Now do we feel better?" Grimmjow asked, his grip slackening on the boy's arm and slyly traveling lower to casually slide around the waist instead.

"Somewhat," Ichigo admitted, though still upset with his lover he did feel relieved to get all that off his chest. "I hope you know that doesn't mean that the problem itself is resolved or that I'm okay with living in total ignorance of everything around me. What do you think it's like to be in my place, hmm? To be treated as if I were completely incompetent and incapable of handling the truth, even a little bit of it? Let me tell you from firsthand experience that it unbelievably, unbearably, undeniably, flat out sucks."

As soon as those last words left his lips, Grimmjow surprised him by bringing them up short in the middle of the hallway and whirling him about so he was caught within the custody of Fallen angel's embrace . " The government should just send you to negotiate with hostile nations and whatever else. You give them some of your impromptu speeches, we'd have world peace in a month tops, " the one holding him sighed, blue brows furrowing at the baffled expression Ichigo knew he was giving him. "You're pretty good at persuading me to do what it is you want, at least, though I may be at a slight disadvantage when it comes to telling you no."

"Really?" Ichigo deadpanned, unable to tell if that was meant to be some sort of joke.

"Yes, even though you cheat since you're only supposed to use your powers for good," Grimmjow admitted, raising one of his hands off of the other's waist and up to his hair to absently play with the feather hair pieces fastened in the tangerine strands. "Nonetheless, I'm tempted to make you an offer - no negotiations, no counter offers, strictly take it or leave it. Interested?"

"I'm listening."

"Good, here it is: Starting this instant , I promise to start filling you in often as possible on a need to know basis and answer any questions truthfully and to the best of my abilities. I'll agree to do all of that on one condition."

"What... ?" Ichigo narrowed his eyes in rising suspicion, thinking it strange Grimmjow gave in so easily to his demands. Why did it feel like he'd unintentionally presented a shiny, golden opportunity and it'd instantly eagerly been snatched up?

"There will be certain... details that'll need to remain a secret. Nothing significant but vital enough it be kept sealed tight for everyone's sake and you have to give me your word you won't try and pry that seal open like I know you'll undoubtedly want to," the blunette said, fiery sapphire orbs boring into the other as if searching for even the slightest sign his terms were too much to ask of his mortal lover. "So, do we have a deal?"

Teething his bottom lip while he thought it over, Ichigo considered his response, yearning to find out whatever Grimmjow was willing to share with him but loathing the fact there would be the stipulation he wouldn't just be told what he wanted to know. And when he finally gave his inevitable answer he knew inside, deep down past the denial he'd keep his word, that it was a lie.

"Done," he said. "Not that you gave me much of a choice."

"Neccessary evil, love. You can't actually believe I enjoy keeping things from you, the sole person I ever want to tell anything to and whose opinion really matters. Don't you think that I would never sacrifice that if I didn't have my reasons?" Grimmjow said, letting go of the orangette and sighing again. That and the dismal tone he'd used then, seriously lacking any of his usual sparkling, wicked appeal or energy, was a little worrying. Since they'd met a month ago this was the very first hint of weariness or fatigue he'd ever gotten from the angel. Witnessing it made his chest pang with guilt and he automatically reached out for the other man.

Oh, Grimmjow was definitely hiding something.

"Are you all right?" Ichigo asked as gently as he could, frowning slightly in concern.

"Fine. I think I'm just finding out what being tired feels like," Grimmjow muttered sluggishly, rubbing his jaw. "Fuck, if you wanna know everything that's going on listen up 'cause I have time to say it once. Okay, here it is:

"The woman out there patching up our canine friend is the High Consort to the Fourth Aspect - Quatro. He was at the meeting with Aizen, the quiet one with dark hair and green eyes, you remember. Yeah, he's a little too attached to the chit, can't leave her alone for a fucking second - a living shadow is what he is. He's going to show up looking for her any second now. Fortunately for you, that slacker Nelly hasn't yet taught you the complexities of tea service and other such important skills so you'll be spared the misery that is Quatro's company. So you don't need to do anything except wait for him to finish sucking all the joy and laughter from the air and go home with the woman. You get all that?"

"I think so..." Ichigo said slowly, brain working at full capacity to process all of the new information. "I basically have to hide from this guy is what you're saying."

"You catch on quick. Yeah, all you have to do is stay out of the living room. That is, aside from be your beautiful self, of course." Grimmjow grinned, briefly flashing his rows of pure white teeth. Then he darted forward and stole a far too short kiss, pulling away the tiniest bit to utter "Do me a favor and miss me a little, yeah? \" as his parting words and, in the blink of an eye, disappeared.

"I don't think that'll be a problem," Ichigo breathed in the now very empty hallway, backing up against the wall and then sliding to the floor with a huff. He really wasn't having the best of luck that night. He could've sworn there was some higher power out there with an axe to grind for whatever reason, ensuring in every way possible he be denied what he'd originally set out hellbent that sunrise would come only when he'd had it. And yet he'd never had to work so hard for something in his life.

Was a few minutes he could spend really enjoying that perfect, magnificent body too much to ask? Was this his penance for all his sins? What fantastic irony that would be, to pay for his immoral choices in the same carnal currency.

But it wasn't the same, not really. No, in all reality this was so different it could be called the complete opposite of his old life's previous indiscretions. This was something he'd never known prior to meeting the mysterious blue-haired man in his office, the one who didn't hesitate to reach down and pull him out of the tumultuous waters of debauchery and addiction, proving himself nothing less than an angel no matter what lay beneath his feet, be it pillowy clouds or solid earth.

Realizing he was staring into space and drooling, he decided he needed to find something else to do.


Forty-five minutes later and Ichigo was bored.

Seriously, he'd looked all over the apartment, save for the living room, in search of entertainment. However, he found that it was a rather unengaging place without the company of either Grimmjow or Nelliel. Television programming wasn't exactly stellar in the wee hours of the morning, he'd discovered flipping through the never ending channels of infomercials in the master bedroom.

Rifling through his lover's material possessions had been a bust, too. How was it a thousands of years old immortal who'd lived on earth for almost as long when he'd been banished from heaven didn't have a single interesting thing anywhere? For instance, where the hell had he been keeping that bowl and knife they'd used earlier? Surely there had to be more artifacts of that nature.

Currently he was pacing aimlessly throughout the main hallway, crossing it to amble in and out all of the rooms while he sighed heavily for the six hundredth time. His mind inevitably wandered back to Shiro and if his condition had worsened since he'd last seen him. Despite the severity of his injuries, Ichigo couldn't even imagine for a moment the Hell Hound dying. It'd been disturbing enough to see the livewire of a demon unconscious and bleeding.

Shaking his head to rid it of all the gruesome thoughts he had every time he was reminded of the white-haired demon, Ichigo knew he had to figure out something to occupy his mind for at least a little while...

But what?

Frustrated, the orangette continued on his track along the hallway and was innocently minding his own business when he heard the sound of someone talking trailing its way down from the living room. Only human, Ichigo stepped back flat against the wall and inched along the rest of the hall to the archway at the end that just so happened to lead into the living room. Then he carefully crept over to the wall directly next to the edge of that open space, listening for that voice again.

"I see you used a common summoning prayer to call upon a highly gifted Consort and rip her from wherever she may be in order to force her here and do your bidding," it spoke in an eerily calm manner, so quiet Ichigo had to strain in order to make out what he was saying. "And on the behalf of a demonic mutt. Somehow, I am not surprised."

Scowling at what he heard this person saying with absolutely no shame, he mouthed 'what the fuck' and confused why they seemed to be getting away with it. "I see we're going to have to simplify this so you can understand." That was Grimmjow, talking to his guest in an unamused drawl and Ichigo imagined him to be slumped in his favorite chair by the fireplace, perhaps a drink in hand and genuinely not giving a shit.

"He's not some common demon, Quatro. He's the Hell Hound, which trumps any of their highest ranking titles by leaps and bounds and he has been singlehandedly flawlessly executing the most important task they've got down there - a perfect track record, if you can believe it. If he were to die there'd be chaos among all of us,it doesn't take a genius to figure that out."

"You greatly exaggerate his worth. Understandably, but not excusably, your opinion of the Hound has been colored by your long-lived friendship with him. There are many immortals who could readily take on the responsibility of dragging the souls of the damned down into the Pit in the event of his demise. They may do their job without transforming into a giant beast of a canine for dramatic effect."

Yeah, Ichigo totally understood Grimmjow's attitude about this Quatro. He idly mused whether something happened between the two in the past or if they'd always hated each other. "What I wouldn't pay to see you say that to his face. In fact, why don't you stick around until he wakes up? Just don't bring your coffin to sleep in or hang upside down from my ceiling or anything like that, this is a family-oriented place."

"Insincere as that invitation may be, every passing moment I spend in your presence is what I imagine it like to having the plague, only without being able to look forward to the sweet relief of death."

"Look, Quatro, I know you can't stand it when the other boys and girls play jacks with 'your' friend and I get that, I do. Think of it like this, though, that maybe in the back of her mind she believes you're doing her a disservice hoarding her all to yourself like you do. She knows she's capable of doing bigger and better things but she can't realize that potential boarded up in your creepy dungeon twenty four - seven. One day she can't take it anymore and snaps, just loses it completely. Hey, What will you do then, because I don't want to jump to conclusions but you'll probably be number one on her shit list."

"Absurd as that scenario us, I assure you she has the freedom to come and go as she pleases."

"And you simply go wherever she does, brilliant. You think she'll ever catch on to your master plan?"

"Your intentions to initiate an emotional reaction are pitifully transparent, as always."

"Is that so? Because I'm afraid I'll have to disagree with you on that," Grimmjow said, his already deep voice lowering an octave or two. "I'm not waiting for something that'll never happen, I'm having way too much fun getting inside your head - that's where I see it get to you, right up there where we both used to live until they came along. You put up a good front, I'll give you that, but you can't hide what's really going on from me. Oh and... there it is. Just beautiful, babe."

Though all he could only hear what was being said, Ichigo could feel the tension radiating from the room and, in the spirit of being completely honest, he found this side of Grimmjow extremely attractive. Simply listening to that dominating, alpha male come out so intensely had him shuddering as it called to that primal instinct so much stronger than any rational thought.

"Speaking of hiding, how is your Consort? I hope better than last I saw him, poor boy," Quatro said "He looked so miserable I can't help but worry."

Chewing on his bottom lip, Ichigo grumbled 'asshole'under his breath listened to the stretch of absolute silence that followed. He was insulted by the intentional undertone to the other Fallen angel's comment, of course, but he hoped Grimmjow wouldn't take too much offense. He didn't know if the apartment was built to withstand a full blown angel fight, what with their godlike strength and all. And so, waiting anxiously for something of that nature to happen, he never noticed the approaching footsteps behind him.

"Can you hear anything they're saying? I hope they're not going at like cats and dogs again."

Ichigo was caught so off guard at the voice coming out of nowhere he jumped about a foot in the air and clasped his hand to his chest directly over his racing heart. He whipped his head to the origin of the pleasantry and took in the sight of the auburn-haired girl's sheepish but kind smile. "Oh, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to frighten you."

Eyes flickering lower, Ichigo quickly glimpsed the heavy choker embroidered in green and black and boasted a hulking emerald and a number four as its pendants. He noticed the resemblance between it and his own Consort choker given to him by his Sexta, absentmindedly touching the sapphire dangling in the hollow of his throat. Apparently she saw something in Quatro he didn't.

"No, no, it's fine. I just wasn't paying attention," Ichigo hastened to assure the young woman. His surprise quickly wearing off, his mind returned to the most pressing issue at hand and he clenched his fingers in and out nervously. "How is he? Do you know yet if he's going to be all right?"

"Ah, well I finished stitching him up a few minutes ago and getting his condition stabilized and Sexta helped me move him to a bed in another room. He's still unconscious and I believe when he wakes up tomorrow he'll be a bit sore and disoriented but he should make a full recovery."

"God, that's... that's a relief. Thank you,-," Ichigo paused, realizing he didn't know the girl's name since he'd never heard it the whole time she had been there. "Sorry, we didn't get the chance to properly introduce ourselves. I'm Ichigo, I... live here with Grimmjow, or Sexta as you would call him."

"Yes, I know," she said, beaming with joy that gleamed in her big gray eyes and then held out a hand. "My name's Orihime. It's nice to at last meet you in person after hearing how Sexta of all people finally found you. I can definitely see why the powers above chose you for him - it's all there in the eyes..."

"Y-yeah, nice to meet you, too," he said, taking her hand and shaking it. So far she seemed to be a pretty nice albeit a little spacy, but overall okay in his book. Although the prolonged once over she was giving him as one would a slide under a microscope was mildly unnerving. "Thank you for coming, again. Is there anything we can give in return, if you like? Anything you want."

"Oh yes, that's right, the prayer," Orihime said, refocusing her gaze to the acceptable settings. "You really are something special, to remember the promise you made in a moment of desperation. So, anything I want you said?"

"Uh, yeah, you earned it."

"Hmm, it's going to be difficult to narrow it down to one thing. Okay, let's see... what do I want, what do what I want... " Orihime trailed off obviously thinking hard as she tapped her cheek with the tip of her index finger. Then she clasped her hands together under his chin and lit up like a Christmas tree, apparently having thought of something perfect. "Do you have any red bean paste?"

"Bean paste? Erm, are you... sure that's what you want?" Ichigo said, rubbing the back of his neck and trying to figure out if this chick was for real."

"I have everything I really want, except we're out of red bean paste and it's my favorite."

"That makes sense," he said, chuckling sheepishly. "I don't think we have any spare cans in the apartment right now, so-,"

"That's okay, Ichigo, you can always give it to me next time. We should be getting home, anyway, it's getting close to sunrise," Orihime waved him off, her face falling into a slight frown. "I'm sorry about Ulquiorra. Sometimes he gets a little carried away when Grimmjow teases him and says things he doesn't mean. I guess even after five hundred years he still needs practice controlling his temper. Hold on, I'll go grab him so that he can apologize."

"No, don't!" Ichigo hissed urgently, sidestepping in front of the girl and blocking her from going into the living room. "Knowing deep down he truly is sorry is good enough for me. Seriously, don't worry about it. I understand how Fallen can get sometimes, trust me."

Ichigo was so taken aback by her use of five hundred years that it took a good moment for him to figure out she probably meant that Quatro had met her that length of time ago and gained human emotion yet still hadn't mastered the art of dealing with them. gaze drifting up to the ceiling in a show of exasperation then returning forward.

"Yes, I suppose you would," Orihime agreed amiably. "Oh and one last thing; I've known Sexta for a long time and I can see the difference in him because of you. You've made his life much brighter than you realize, Ichigo."

Not having the slightest clue what to say to that, Ichigo didn't say anything in response. He found it so hard to believe, after all, that somehow he just by being there at that precise moment in the nightclub so that when Grimmjow had laid first eye upon him the immortal's life had been changed forever. Why on earth, heaven, or hell would he be the one that gave Grimmjow the gift of human emotion? It wasn't that he didn't feel stupidly lucky that it had been, but seriously - why?

During his deep philosophizing, Ichigo absently realized that the living room had been deathly silent, which wasn't a great sign.

Then she was on the other side, walking into the lion's den where he imagined the two occupants were staring each other down. He listened to her footsteps and a murmured greeting from the two Aspects in the room upon her entrance, saying it was time she be going. Quatro agreed with her, probably standing from his chair and joining his Consort. He heard Grimmjow once again thank Orihime for healing Shiro and bid her a good night. Then there was a whoosh easily recognizable as the aftermath of an angel moving at inhuman speed, which he assumed were their two guests leaving the apartment.

"You can come out now, sweetheart," Grimmjow called out to his hiding spot, forcing him to suppress the amused smile tilting his lips and step out into the archway. His eyes instantly went to where the man was reclining in the massive wingback chair by the fireplace, a tumbler dangling in the hand of the arm hanging limply beside the chair, filled with almost all ice and that last sip. Pretty much exactly what Ichigo had pictured.

"Don't tell me I've driven you to drinking already," Ichigo said, crossing his arms across his chest while he took his time lazily sauntering toward where the chair was located. He made a point of not looking anywhere near the blue velvet couch bearing a new set of dark, heavy stains, mind too overwhelmed by everything that'd happened since the night started.

"A lot of good that would do me, I can't even taste this shit anymore," Grimmjow scoffed, tossing back the rest of his drink and then hurling it into the empty fireplace, the sound if glass shattering ringing throughout the room. Ichigo winced upon hearing it and instinctively backed up a step.

Brows knitting together in a concerned frown, he gazed searchingly at the one behaving oddly. "Grimmjow," he said, earning the attention of a pair of simmering cerulean orbs, something in them calling to him so strongly he was practically yanked forward all the way to the chair. He leaned against the side, reaching out to brush his fingers gingerly through the electric blue, tousled locks of hair, a hand snapping up to catch his wrist and bringing it to that pair of enticingly full lips. "What's wrong? Remember, you swore that you would answer honestly."

"Hn, I'm starting to have second thoughts about that," Grimmjow muttered, not bothering until afterwards to remove Ichigo's hand away from his mouth. "Nothing's wrong, I'm 'tired'."

"C'mon Grimm, you can tell me what's the matter. I promise won't even say anything if you only want me to listen. Please, just... let me in," the orangette pleaded, ready to do whatever was neccessary to comfort his lover, who circled a slightly rough thumb along the sensitive skin on the inside of his wrist covering the delicate, faint blue vein. "You don't always have to be the rock in this relationship, you know. You don't always have to be the strong and silent one. I can be there for you, like you were for me when I needed you to be." Giving the other male some time to think, Ichigo waited while chewing his lower lip raw from the anxiety.

"You never cease to amaze me how you manage to be so blind to how much you already do all that and more," Grimmjow finally said, a smirk on his lips while he shook his head in disbelief. "All I need is for you to just be near me, all right? You don't have to waste time worrying about me."

"Grimmjow Jaegerjaques, you are unbelievable," Ichigo huffed in exasperation at the stubbornness of the other man's, jerking his hand free and waited for Grimmjow's adorably puzzled face to gaze up at him questioningly. Then swiftly turned sideways and let himself drop directly onto the blunette's lap, who grunted at the unexpected weight. "However, I can't afford to be upset with you at the present time," Ichigo confessed nonchalantly, wrapping an arm around Grimmjow's neck and walking his fingers up the angel's chest playfully. After all that'd happened that night he figured they could use a break to enjoy themselves. "It would be... counterproductive."

"May I ask why?"

"Ah, it's all rather unfortunate, really," Ichigo said, sighing thematically and beginning to trace his fingertips along the other's collarbone and pectorals. "You see, it was my intention this whole night to do anything I could to tempt you into having a bit of fun entailing more than we ever have - you know, should be easy enough, wouldn't you think? Hah, that's where we were both very, very wrong. Throughout the course of the night everything that could've possibly gone wrong did, terribly, terribly wrong. Then not too long ago I thought I had given up and accepted disappointment but again I was wrong, isn't that wild? It would seem, after all this time, that the desire I had for you and the things you could do to me is still there and it's so hot I can barely stand it. And now here we are, finally alone... "

"Ichigo?"

"Hmm?"

"I think you know you can't say things like that and get away with it without any consequences."

"I know. I'm counting on it."

"Mmm, don't worry, love," Grimmjow rumbled from deep in his chest and Ichigo almost yelped when burly arms like bars of steel suddenly caught him, holding him captive in the other's heated embrace. "I'll go easy on you this time."

The world blurred around them and flew by at top speed. Ichigo barely realized they'd stopped before he felt himself falling backwards, landing bouncily on the plush mattress of their bed with Grimmjow above him. They both froze in their position a long second and he dared not so much as breathe, staring fathoms deep into glittering aquamarine depths. Then they were lunging for each other, lips crashing together in a bruising kiss.

Ichigo ran his hands over every square inch of Grimmjow's body he could reach, ascending rapidly into a passionate frenzy. He wasted no time parting his mouth to deepen the kiss, allowing that skilled, powerful tongue to plunge deep into his wet orifice and smooth over every surface hungrily in order to taste all of him. A loud, raunchy moan escaped his throat of which any proper porn star would be jealous, earning a low growl of approval from Grimmmjow. The older male was pinning him to the bed now, his own legs easily parting to allow those muscular thighs in between and a hot, bulging groin to brush along his.

Twin groans of pleasure sounded as their most intimate areas rubbed against each other, the friction making Ichigo's eyes roll up into his head. Sharp teeth bit his lower lip whilst his palms slipped underneath the shirt of the blue-haired sex god over him and slid up that spanse of smooth, toned flesh. Kissing the teen a few more times, Grimmjow grabbed onto his hip with one hand and pushed the hem of his turtleneck up to his waist with the other. "Fuck, Ichigo," he murmured against the smaller's open, panting mouth. "I won't be able to stop if don't slow down."

"No... don't stop," Ichigo gasped pleadingly, sliding his hands across the blunette's broad, strong back and laying a series of butterfly kisses on the other's mouth. "Please, don't stop. I want it, it's okay." He didn't think he could bear it if Grimmjow pulled away from him no, especially not with how the man was currently moving his shirt higher to fervently caress the sensitive bare skin underneath. He was more than ready to go all the way with his lover right then and there. He wanted it more than anything he's ever wanted before.

"Ichi, you're killing me here," Grimmjow husked, trailing his mouth away from the orangette's and down to his fully covered neck. But he certainly didn't make any attempt to stop, using his teeth to pull away the fabric and expose the other's throat.

"Grimm," Ichigo whined, training his best big puppy dog eyes on the immortal at his neck and pouting petulantly. He was burning with deep desire everywhere on his body, a raw, primitive hunger for the one in his arms he's never known existed before. Blood was rushing to the place between his thighs, making his pants tight as it pulsed pleasurably within his groin and he felt himself harden exponentially. "Please, I need it. I need you."

He was exultant when Grimmjow ravenously seized his lips for another explosive kiss, thinking the lip lock a symbol of accession and that'd he won. But the other's deliciously possesive mouth tore away from his, garnering a displeased mewl, and then he felt its warmth on his forehead where it touched him briefly in a chaste gesture of affection. "I gave you my word we would wait until you become immortal," Grimmjow whispered lowly, the strain of exerting such an impressiv amount of self-control showing in his voice. "Sorry, sweetheart."

Ichigo blinked several times, stunned by the rejection, but it hadn't yet sunk in when he hissed deliriously at the sudden pleasure that rocked through him due to a large hand cupping the heated hardness between his legs.

"But that doesn't mean I won't take care of you," Grimmjow said, his aura so incredibly dark and sensual it was hard not to come right at that moment. Ichigo tried to look into the elder's sapphire orbs yet found his vision too unfocused at the physical bliss he currently felt. Hell, he was practically going cross-eyed it was so intense. "Feel good?"

Answering intelligibly was an impossibility, the gasping moans he was making the only sounds he was capable of, and so he settled for nodding dazedly. There was a satisfied rumbling that came from Grimmjow's chest and the grip on the teen's arousal tightened, lining up perfectly with the shape of his manhood in order for that wicked hand to hold most of it and beginning to stroke the sensitive area through the fabric of his pants. A breathless keen slipped past Ichigo's lips and his fingers twisted into bright blue strands of hair, throwing his head back once Grimmjow began a steady pace.

"Oh my god, yes... " came his soft, kittenish cries. He'd never felt such euphoria at another's touch, the sensation more than all his other sexual encounters combined. It was unreal, how he could possibly be experiencing from simply being fondled through his jeans. "So good... "

"That's it, baby," Grimmjow's erotically predatory voice cooed into his neck, hot, slick tongue laving the pulse point. Then the sly devil picked up the pace of his ministrations, creating more heavenly friction and causing Ichigo to wantonly buck his hips. He could already feel it, the tightening of his muscles, the quickened heartbeat, the frantic anticipation of what was ahead. There wasn't a thing he could do about it, either, it was barreling toward him like a freight train.

"Grimm... I'm close... " he panted senselessly, arching up into the other's tantalizing touch and circling his hips repeatedly to try and get more stimulation. He could see the light up ahead and he needed to get there, needed the dazzling nirvana and transcendental release it promised. He was almost there, Grimmjow's overwhelming presence spurring him even closer to the edge with its nearly suffocating sexuality. "Oh my god, Grimm... jow," he gasped in ecstasy, toes curling and clinging onto the older male's solid frame as he was hurled into the best orgasm of his life.

Fireworks exploded behind his eyes, ringing in his ears, and his entire vision went a blinding white. Milky ropes of fluid shot from his sex at the peak of his climax onto the material of his jeans and a pleasant throbbing followed, the orgasmic rush consuming him to the core. After the highest point he swiftly came falling back to earth, utterly relaxed while spots appeared before his eyes until his sight returned to normal and his breathing and heartrate slowed steadily. The warm, mellow air of afterglow wrapped around him, Ichigo turned his head so he could be face to face with Grimmjow.

Finding the man smirking contentedly at him, he was unable to stop the slight smile of his response. "Wow, that was... how did you even do that?" he whispered, not even irritated in the least when the smirk of content graduated into a wickedly pleased, arrogant grin worthy of the Grinch himself.

"The pleasure's all mine," Grimmjow said, rubbing small circles into the human's hipbone using his thumb. "Watching you just now was easily the sexiest thing I've ever seen." A dark flush of rose red stained Ichigo's cheekbones and warmed his entire face at hearing that, highly doubting such a thing to be true.

"But what about you?" Ichigo asked, reaching down with every intention of reciprocating even as he did. He barely brushed his fingertips over the zipper of Grimmjow's pants when his hands were caught and drawn away from the area, causing him to frown deeply in confusion. Why was his lover, a red-blooded male, refusing the opportunity to have someone he was supposed to be attracted return the favor? "Did I do something wrong...?"

"Tch, don't be stupid," Grimmjow said, letting go of the orangette's hands and propping himself up on his elbow, gazing down at the other with an unreadable expression.

"So, then why did you... ?"

"Hey, I told you I can only go so far before I reach the point of no return and won't be able to stop," the blunette explained, arching an eyebrow suggestively. "That would definitely be past that point, especially if you were doing it."

"I'll... take it as a compliment then, I guess," Ichigo said, pushing himself up do that he was level with that marvelous face he loved and caressing the plane of one cheek tenderly. "I had no idea you were such a gentleman. I feel like such a lady right now." Batting his eyelashes coquettishly, he was rewarded by a small chuckle before he dropped the act and spoke again, this time with no false pretense, wanting to relay how strongly he meant what he said. "No, but seriously... for you to keep your promise means a lot to me. I haven't considered myself useful for anything else but that to anyone in my life, like I was worth anything more to someone. But you know what? It feels really, really good."

In spite of trying his hardest to stifle the powerful wave of emotion that made his throat tighten and eyes sting. Embarrassed by his second bout of tears that night, he initiated a kiss so electrically charged it was practically bone-melting in the hope it distracted Grimmjow thoroughly enough he wouldn't notice how the person he was lip locked with was choking back chest-heaving sobs. Unsurprisingly, it didn't exactly work, especially right after the Fallen angel broke the kiss and Ichigo hurried to defend himself.

"S-sorry, I can't believe this is happening again b-but I want you to know I-... I'm not doing it because I'm sad. I'm a-actually really happy, I swear," he said through his uneven breathing, closing his eyes because he was too mortified that he was acting like such a little crybaby bitch. "It's your fault for pulling that romance novel crap on me, I don't know how to respond to that kind of stuff, okay!" He punctuated that sentence by punching Grimmjow's shoulder, who didn't even have the decency to be affected at all.

"Hey, just breathe, in through the nose, out through the mouth and all that good stuff," the blunette told him, still obviously unnerved by tears. However, his advice was helpful and Ichigo did what he said, calming down almost instantly.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," he said equally as much to himself as to Grimmjow. "Shit, it's probably getting really close to sunrise. What time is it?" There was the sound of rustling sheets as the other male turned to look at the clock then a moment of silence that he harshly shattered.

"Goddamn it, it's fucking six o'clock!" he snarled, the unexpected noise making Ichigo leap a foot off the mattress though the urgency of that information didn't hit for another full second.

"Shit, are you serious!" he exclaimed, the question obviously rhetorical and therefore he didn't wait for a response, scrambling off the bed and onto the floor. "Don't move, okay? I'll get you something to sleep in so just stay right there. I'll be right back!" Ichigo ordered the male on the bed, racing across the room and inside the spacious walk-in closet. He fumbled with the drawer handles, opening and shutting and back again as he grabbed a pair of silk pajamas purchased for him by, who else, Nelliel (who he hoped had made it back home and was now slumbering away in her bed.)

The desperate need to be in bed before sunrise was normal to him after living with Grimmjow for a month, though he wasn't in the same danger of burning alive in the light of day. He hadn't actually seen the sun longer than that but he found he didn't miss it, much more appreciative of night's shadowy beauty.

Dressed in his pyjamas and clutching a clean pair of boxer briefs that Grimmjow could change into, Ichigo sprinted to the massive structure of the high tech resting place specially designed for Fallen angels. Snatching the remote off the dresser, he practically dove into bed and swore under his breath as he glimpsed the lightening sky through the blinds. He fell back against the plush mountain pillows, frantically mashing the button to activate the metal sheet curtains that immediately slammed shut over the windows and then pressing the large red button that controlled the bed.

Sighing in relief, he could finally relax as the massive protective casing steadily enclosed the mattress from the top and bottom, the impenetrable pod it created ensuring the occupants could rest easy. "Grimm, here, put these on," Ichigo whispered, holding the underwear out for the man to take, but when nothing happened he turned on his side and squinted trying to see in the pitch black. Impossible with his human eyesight, he reached out and felt around until he touched the body bewitched utterly motionless by the unnatural sleep cast over Fallen angels sunrise to sunset.

Tossing the boxer briefs to the end the bed, Ichigo closed his eyes, lying there a few seconds after which he opened them again and shuffled himself closer to the slumbering immortal in the bed, sidling right up against the unmoving figure. Much more comfortable curled against his lover's familiar frame, he let his eyes flutter closed and at last that chaotic night came to its end.

Everything else, however, was just beginning.


A/N: Yes, it's been a while, I know. I worked really hard to make this the best it could be for you guys since you had to wait for it, including practically rewriting the entire thing while editing. I tried to throw a bit of everything in, too - comedy, romance, drama, a little action *wink wink nudge nudge*.

Hope you enjoyed. :)