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Sweet Submissive Sixteen

Uncharted Territories

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That night sleep was elusive.

Ichigo was tired to the bone and wanted to do nothing more than rest for just a little while, but it seemed that was not possible. At least not tonight.

Turning over roughly in the hotel bed for the umpteenth time that hour, he sighed heavily and opened his eyes. Perhaps it was best to give up on sleep for now since the clock read half past one and he'd gone to bed around ten o'clock, so clearly he wasn't getting any rest that night. Sitting up in the swaddle of his pile of blankets and sheets, Ichigo untangled himself from the blasted fabric trappings and sat Indian-style atop them. There must be something he could do to pass the time until Mister Sandman decided to at last pay him a visit...

"Ya can' sleep either, huh?" a voice cut in his mind's whirling dance of thoughts, the orangette turning his head to the left to see Shiro lying on his side underneath a single sheet, the upper part of his bare chest plainly visible even in the dark room.

They had decided earlier that due to a variety of reasons, the three dominants would switch every evening who slept in the other bed beside Ichigo's. Since Grimmjow had done so the previous night, now it was Shirosaki's turn. In fact, this was one of the factors the submissive believed to be contributing to his sleeplessness.

It was nice to have the albino there, but he could help but miss his other two loves. Plus, Ichigo could already tell that mating himself to three different strong-willed, powerful, handsome vampire was going to be a ton of work on his part. Yet, he couldn't imagine starting his new life any other way. Oh, and he could definitely imagine some of the females were going to positively green with envy that they were unfairly stuck with rich nobles three times their age and bland as unseasoned porridge and yet he, a 'nobody' got to have the cream of the crop.

"I can't stop thinking, I guess," Ichigo replied to the other male. "There's so much new information to process my mind is struggling to keep up. It's almost as bad as when I found out I was a vampire - a submissive one at that."

"Ya know, I can help wit' tha'," Shiro said, a light smirk materializing on his colorless but full lips. Ichigo didn't exactly understand what the albino meant by that but he certainly wanted to find out. "C'mon over 'ere." Shirosaki held out a black-nailed hand and the teenager slid out of his bed to cross over to the other's and take that hand.

The white-haired vampire pulled him gently down onto the mattress, Ichigo instinctually lying down facing the other and meeting those bewitching eyes like golden orbs of light forged in the darkness. He threaded his fingers through pale ones and pillowed his head with his free hand, already feeling a bit more at peace. "I think I forgot something earlier," he said, maintaining a cool composure.

"Wha'?"

"Well, it's something like this," Ichigo whispered, leaning up to press his lips against Shiro's. He didn't have to wait hardly a second for a response, those pale lips moving against his languidly, like they had all the time in the world. The slow, passionate liplock ended when Shirosaki broke away, causing the orangette to frown and feel a little rejected.

"Is much better when ya savor everythin', angel, trust me," the dominant said and Ichigo sighed again, letting his head drop back onto the pillow.

"I'm curious about something, Shiro," he said, chewing his lower lip out of habit when talking to any of the three men who made his heart race faster than an Arabian thoroughbred across the desert sands. "Do you have a tattoo like Grimm and Renji?"

"Jus' one," Shiro shrugged the question off. "Nothin' like theirs, though."

"Well, um... can I, you know, see it?" Ichigo inquired. He'd become increasingly fascinated with the inked artworks the men (and one woman) he'd met recently had adorning various parts of their body. In fact, if he admitted to himself the truth he kind of thought getting one of his own would be rather exciting.

"Sure, why not," Shirosaki said, letting go of the younger's hand and sitting upright. He brushed his shimmering curtain of long ivory locks to one side, revealing the black markings of a tattoo on the back of his corded neck. Ichigo squinted in the darkened room to make out the Gothic Medieval script that read Freak across the flawless porcelain flesh there. For some reason, he lifted his fingertips up to the inked area and tenderly caressed the letters. "People use' ta call me it all tha time, 'cause 'a how I look ya know, so I figured if I jus' embraced it then no one could ever use it ta hurt me."

"I understand," Ichigo said softly and Shiro returned to his place lying on his side next to him. "I used to get teased and picked on all the time because of my hair but then I realized i didn't give a damn what any of them believed about me. And for the record, I think you're beautiful."

The second kiss was a complete surprise to the younger vampire, not that he minded. It was deep and bone-meltingly passionate, Ichigo having to pull back just to be able to breathe properly again. He caressed the side of Shiro's face, unable to accept the fact someone could ever think this man was anything but gorgeous. "But I have to ask - why get a tattoo in the first place? You, Grimmjow, Renji, Halibel, Shuuhei - all tattooed someplace or another. It has to mean something, doesn't it?"

"Ya really were sheltered growin' up in tha' manor, Ichi," Shirosaki said in disbelief, shaking his head. "Everyone knows where people - vamps an' humans get tatted up."

"Well, I don't. So, could you please tell me?" Ichigo huffed, really sick of never knowing anything related to worldly knowledge or street smarts. Sure he could recite one hundred of Shakespeare's one hundred fifty four sonnets yet he could barely buy a loaf of bread on his own.

"Then 'member this, all righ'? If ya ever see someone wit' a tattoo it means they were in tha militia fer a long period 'a time - the more ink they've got tha more time likely served."

"So... you were all-?"

"Yea', every las' one 'a us. Am not sure how much ya really want ta know but our abilities got us up tha ranks pretty damn fast an' when tha' 'appens ya gotta deal wit' a lot of shit an' it wasn' easy gettin' out so mum's tha word, got it?" Shiro whispered, mindlessly playing with a strand of Ichigo's hair.v

"I won't say anything, I swear."

"Good. Now, ya can go ta sleep," the empath said, running his hand from the other's forehead to his chin, leaving Ichigo's eyes closed and mouth parted as he finally drifted off to sleep under Shiro's spell. His last conscious thought was how long would his thread in the tapestry of fate take to unravel?


Ichigo woke late the next morning, still in Shiro's bed but lying there alone. There was no sound or sight of him nor the other two dominants as the boy crawled out of bed and peeked through the door to see the empty parlour. Scowling heavily, he scanned the suite for any sign of where they'd run off to and if they had been decent enough to leave a note or something so he wouldn't sit there and worry needlessly, which of course he ended up doing anyway.

Twenty-five whole minutes later, the lift opened up for not any of his three dominants but instead the always impeccably dressed Miss Halibel. Today she was wearing a light blue dress with yellow lace around the sleeves and high collar, a matching yellow rose fashioned in her intricate coiffure. "Good morning, Ichigo. I thought I might find you here, most likely wondering where three certain men have disappeared to," she greeted curtly.

"You would be correct, Miss Halibel," the orangette confirmed.

"That was always their biggest fault - forgetting the littlest of details," Halibel lamented and Ichigo assumed she might possibly be talking about their time together serving in the militia. He hadn't even known women, vampire females as well, could legally sign up. "They no doubt rushed out of here as soon as they received that lead on one Lord Kugo Ginjou."

"A l-lead?" Ichigo questioned, mouth going dry at the sound of the name of a man more of a nightmare than a real person to him.

"Yes, he was spotted gambling at a hotel down the street so of course they rush off without any sort of plan... Oh, those three always give me the worst headaches," Halibel said, wincing and rubbing one temple to relieve some of the pain.

"Well, here sit down," Ichigo insisted, waving her over to the plush loveseat yet she refused, shaking her head.

"I will be fine. I'm only here to ensure you're on time for your brunch time meeting with the informant," the blonde said, looking up to hold the teen's gaze to convey the importance of what she said. "In the dresser you will find a morning suit in ivory with a light yellow waistcoat, put it on fast as you can. You're meeting a human man named Hachigen Ushoda for brunch - he's large with a pink mustache, you'll spot him right away. Introduce yourself as Tenshou Adjuchas, an employee of mine. Treat him to whatever he wants on my tab and make him feel important. He says he has information on what Kugo Ginjou wants with you."

"O-okay, I can do that... I think," Ichigo said, recalling everything the female vampire had just said and steeling himself to do it all properly. "I mean, I will. He already wants to give us the information, right? So all I have to do is make him feel as if he's doing something heroic by being an informant."

Halibel stared at the youth for a long moment. "You would make a fine operative, Ichigo," she said, bowing her head slightly then getting back onto the lift. "Keep your composure and you'll be fine. Good luck."

Then she was gone and Ichigo made a dash for the bedroom dresser, shoving aside garments in search of what Halibel instructed he wear, his upbringing useful for once as he knew precisely what gentlemen should wear to brunch at a lavish place like the La Lavande, He dressed swiftly, adjusting his cravat in the mirror and considering himself decent.

On the way down the lift, Ichigo took several deep breaths in and out, using the thought of what terror he would unleash on those three clueless men when they returned to calm down. Love was strange like that.

He'd taken two steps into the dining hall when he spotted the man he was supposed to be meeting with, the pink-haired and mustachioed male one of the largest men he'd ever seen. Ichigo could decipher from surveying the man that he was harmless, though rather nervous for some reason.

"Mister Ushoda?" he said, walking up to the table set for two. The man glanced up at him, seeming to relax a little, and nodded.

"Yes, but please, call me Hachi. Ah, sit down, please," he said, gesturing to the empty seat across from him.

"Thank you," Ichigo said, giving a close-lipped, polite smile at the other (all of his etiquette lessons useful for once in his life.) "My name is Tenshou Adjuchas, I work for Miss Halibel and will be meeting with you this morning. Is there anything I can get for you? Coffee? Tea?"

"Ah, no. No, thank you," Hachi said, dabbing his perspiring forehead with a handkerchief. "I'd rather not stay for too long, if that's all right with you."

"Of course, I understand you must be a busy man," Ichigo said, knowing he'd seem an imposter if he dropped the formalities of a professional inquisitor. "Shall we get right to why we're here today, then?"

"Well, if that's all right with you, Mr. Adjuchas," Hachi said, winging his handkerchief. "I don't want any trouble or any involvement other than this meeting, it could mean trouble for me, you see."

"What kind of trouble, Hachi?" Ichigo asked, feigning deep concern.

"To put it frankly, I know something I shouldn't about... " the large man leaned in closer, dropping his voice to a whisper. "The missing submissive male vampire and my neighbor, Lord Ginjou."

"Oh? What is it that you know?" Ichigo pressed, using all of his self-control not to shatter his composure until after he heard what the man knew.

"I was in the garden and just overheard him, Ginjou, talking to another man who I didn't recognize. All I heard was that they said the boy who went missing was too useful to give up on... I think they might have been the ones who kidnapped him."

"Did they say anything else? Any names or information of that sort?" Ichigo urged the pink-haired man for more information.

"That's all I know, I'm sorry," Hachi said hastily, rising from his seat. "I have to be going now, I don't want anything else to do with this. T-thank you for your time, goodbye!"

Ichigo never would've thought a man of that size could move so quickly through a crowded dining hall and he cursed the man for being such a coward and not listening for more information, though he knew that was unfair. Running a hand through his hair, the orangette stood from the table and walked out of the dining hall, as well.

As soon as he'd heard 'useful' come out of 's mouth, he knew that Ginjou and his mystery associate meant his Seeing ability would be of use to them, though a lot of good he would do them considering he couldn't even control his power. He couldn't think of a single other reason what anyone would want him for.

Then that letter that had been left on his bed popped back into his mind, the entire letter.

The instant the elevator let him off at their suite, Ichigo raced to the bathroom and was immediately sick, retching blood violently at the realization of just how demented this murderous lunatic really was.


It was Grimmjow who found him almost a half hour later still slumped over the edge of the tub where he'd first collapsed, flecks of blood coating the porcelain surface.

"Shit, Ichigo," the blunette cursed, dropping down beside the unwell youth and placing his hands on either side of Ichigo's face to turn it up towards his. Royal blue eyes searched him for some sort of injury or sign of illness. "What the fuck happened?" Grimmjow demanded.

"I got sick... " Ichigo explained, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly despite how weakened he was from the lack of blood in his system. "Keep 'im away, Grimm, I don't want... " Incapable of finishing his sentence, the orangette's eyes drooped and his vision began to fade in and out.

"Stay awake, damn it!" Grimmjow ordered and Ichigo heard the distinctive crunching sound of teeth biting through flesh, something pressed against his mouth the next second and once a droplet of blood fell upon his lips he began greedily gulping down the decadent sustenance, his strength steadily returning. "All right, that's enough for now." Grimmjow ripped his bleeding wrist away, the wound instantly healing itself as the skin knitted back together.

"What the hell's goin' on in here?" Renji burst through the door, taking in the gory scene of splattered blood and a dazed Ichigo.

"I think he was sick and lost all of the blood in his system," Grimmjow said, holding the youngest male upright in his arms. "If we'd been here an hour later..."

"Let's get him onto the bed," Renji suggested, Ichigo feeling the blue-haired vampire easily lift him up bridal style and carry him through the door into the bedroom, gently placing him on the bed. "Hey, Ichi... can you hear me?" the redhead leaned down by the younger's head, snapping his fingers.

"Yes, yes, I can hear you fine," Ichigo snapped, waving away Renji's hand. "Stop coddling me, I just got sick and lost blood but now I'm okay, all right?"

"No, not all right," Grimmjow said sharply. "I wanna know what possibly made a vampire sick to their stomach. Did someone slip you something again?"

"No, no, it didn't happen like that," Ichigo said, shaking his head and propping himself up on his elbows. "I-... I realized something that made me physically ill because of how... disgusting it is. I can't believe... No, I can't even think about it." He buried his face in his hands, wanting to shut it all out of his mind.

He felt the two men sit down on either side of him, allowing him to tell them on his own time. Thank god at least he had them, and Shiro. If he didn't and this was happening, he couldn't think of why he'd even want to live.

"Halibel sent me to meet with this man who's neighbors with... you know and what he told me made me remember the night Shiro grabbed me from my bedroom. Literally right before he caught me, I read this letter that I had forgotten for the most part but now it all makes sense why this lunatic bastard is after me," Ichigo ranted, staring up at the ceiling hatefully. "It said:

"Ichigo,

You will soon know how long I've waited for the chance to meet you after you blossomed into the beautiful creature that you are because we will soon be together forever.

Sincerely,

An Admirer"

A warm tear escaped the corner of his eye and he clapped a hand back over his face, not wanting anyone to see him lose control like an emotional wreck. "He killed my mother, and my father, just because he wanted to make sure he mated me! I never so much as got the chance to meet them and I never will, either, all because of some fucker's sick perversions and it's not fair!"

Ichigo's wild swing brought his fist cracking into the headboard, the wood splintering under his enhanced vampiric strength only increased by his anger. However, upon seeing the damage he had done to another's property, he immediately felt guilt and shame rise up like bile. "Goddamnit! " he swore helplessly, unaware until muscular, tattooed arms swept him up in their embrace that it was exactly what he needed.

Renji just held him, silent and strong like a rock, like the man was holding him to the earth. He stroked the messy halo of nectarine hair Ichigo knew the redhead secretly admired and a kiss was placed on his forehead.

Needing the other man in the room he loved during his inner turmoil, Ichigo reached back for Grimmjow and clasped their hands together. Drawing the blunette close on his other side, he let the two comfort him adoringly, two sets of lips brushing against the skin of his face and neck and hands wandering over his torso and even down to his thighs.

Sighing contentedly, Ichigo allowed Grimmjow to bring him in for a kiss, feeling Renji mouthing his pulse point simultaneously. His anger was rapidly turning into something else and he groped the other men's sculpted chests, switching his liplock from the blunette to the redhead whose tongue swiped out against his parted lips.

It was suddenly too warm in the room and Ichigo moved his fingers down to unbutton his waistcoat, not intending to stop there, and then he realized what this was swiftly becoming, a slight alarm ringing in the back of his mind. "Wait," he breathed, stilling his actions and reluctantly pushing the two dominants back a little. "Wait, this is... this is going a little too fast for me. I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize, brat," Grimmjow scoffed, his eyes still darkened with lust. "I keep forgetting you're still sixteen."

"Shit, me too," Renji confessed, sliding further away from temptation that Ichigo assumed was none other than himself (which was an incredible boost of confidence to say the least.) "Reminds me of when we were on assignment in the Western islands, except there was no one that looked like Ichi here."

"Damn it, don't remind me of that, or the hell hole we lived in for those six months," Grimmjow grumbled, folding his arms across his pectorals. "Tch, and all for absolutely nothing."

"Uhm... are you guys talking about when you were in the government militia?" Ichigo questioned tentatively, unsure of whether or not it was a sensitive subject. "Shiro told me you guys and Halibel were all in it together at some point..."

"Yeah, only we three got out. Halibel and Starrk weren't so lucky," Renji answered, shaking his head in pity for the latter two. "That's why Starrk's down in Hueco Mundo. Or he was, she says he's makes port at Inuzuri tomorrow."

"So... " Ichigo considered how to phrase his question carefully, picking at his fingernails to appear casual. "Why did you guys leave? Did they not pay you enough or something?"

"Hah, do you see this place we're in? Hali and Starrk make more money than God working for the special ops," Grimmjow laughed humorlessly. "Yeah, you can live out yet entire immortal life in the lap of luxury if you play attack dog to a bunch of brainless, greedy fat cats who've run our government into the ground and the humans and their organizations flourish like weeds in spring. If they'd left well enough alone, there wouldn't be any godforsaken Watchmen or curfews or any of that shit."

"I guess that answers my question," Ichigo said slowly, trying to process all of the different bits of information the blue-haired male had spouted forth like water from a fountain. "But what I really want to ask you two is where the hell have you been all day? Is it that hard to leave a note or anything that tells me you three haven't abandoned me here for whatever reason?"

"Fuck, Grimmjow, I told you we forgot something!" Renji yelled at the other dominant, smacking him upside the head which earned him a deadly glare and probably a counter strike if Ichigo hadn't snatched Grimmjow's wrist in the air.

"Halibel said you found a lead on... Ginjou," Ichigo spat the name he hated most in the world, leaving a bitter taste in his mouth.

"Oh we did better than that," Renji said, smirking. "We know exactly when and where he'll be tomorrow night - some masquerade ball at another hotel down the street, The Grand Polar. Shiro's actually gettin' us two invitations to the soiree right now."

"Only two?" Ichigo repeated, wondering who was going to be attending the party.

"Yes, about that..." Renji trailed off, glancing to the side for help from the blue-haired male reclining against the broken headboard, Ichigo following his line of vision to see a devious grin pop up on Grimmjow's face.

"You and I are the lucky couple, sweetheart," he announced, brushing some stray strands of turquoise hair back off his forehead. "We'll blend in the most out of the four of us, you see."

"But won't it be odd for two men to show up to a masquerade ball together?" Ichigo frowned, not liking the idea of being in the same vicinity as that sleazy Lord Ginjou in the first place. "I am the only male submissive in all of Rukongai, after all."

"Exactly, which is why you won't attend as one," Grimmjow said cryptically, clearly enjoying whatever it was he was trying to tell the orangette. "Our invitations will be under the names Lord and Lady Pantera Adjuchas, so we'll be no different from any of the other married couples and do our reconnaissance mission completely undetected."

Ichigo was fatally silent for a good few moments, staring at the infuriatingly smug blunette blankly. Then he brought his hands up under his chin, pointer fingers directed at the older male as he at last spoke. "Do you want to repeat that last sentence for me? And yes, I am giving you the opportunity to change it should you feel it very neccessary."

"Come on, darlin', don't be difficult," Grimmjow crooned, jutting out his lower lip. "This is the best way we can get the information we need to get rid of that pathetic excuse of a man. It's just for a few hours."

"Just for a few hours!" Ichigo snapped, roughly shoving the blunette and turning to Renji with pleading eyes. "You're not seriously thinking about making me do this, are you? It'll be utterly humiliating, not to mention a whole other risk if I get discovered!"

"Look, I know it seems insane but trust me, we've considered every other alternative and... well, since you're a submissive you're the only one who can pull it off," Renji tried to explain, squeezing the youth's shoulder. "Is it really that awful when doing it could help us get rid of the bastard?"

"Yes!" Ichigo insisted, but deflated visibly as he saw the reasoning behind what his dominants were asking of him. "But I guess... maybe, just this one time. And only because it'll be one step closer to bringing my parents justice after all these years. Oh, and one condition: no, and I mean no corsets."


The evening of the ball Ichigo was distressed to find that Halibel did not get the memo.

"Oh my God, I think you broke one of my ribs!" the orangette wheezed, clutching his side as the blonde woman tightened the ladies undergarment around his waist.

"Just relax your abdominal muscles and try not to take deep breaths," Halibel advised him, earning a horrified look from the teenager. Why in the hell would women put themselves through such pain to look just a little bit better? It was sheer lunacy!

Currently they were in the female's dressing room, her extravagantly extensive wardrobe containing feminine garments that could fit Ichigo, including a massive ball gown she'd had a seamstress let out and tightened in the right places to suit the male's figure. They'd been in there for over an hour and yet all Ichigo wore were a chemise, stockings, drawers, and this torture device they called a corset. "There, all done," Halibel announced as she tied the ends of the corset's ribbon's into a bow.

Yet, they were still far from done, the female still needing to fasten a slim petticoat sewn in the latest trend of a large bustle in the back around a woman's rear end, the shape held up by metal wiring she referred to a hoop skirt and that he should be grateful this wasn't the previous decade when women wore hoop skirts with circumferences five times larger. Ichigo just grinned and bore it as Halibel slid the final piece on which was the actual dress itself, which he'd barely given a second glance until it cinched into place along his figure.

It wasn't ugly, at least. In fact, Ichigo might think the dress rather nice if he were not the one wearing it.

The fabric was a sea foam green satin, the pattern along the dress in varied shades of similar greens that winded along the fabric almost like snakes. It was a low-cut, off the shoulder style, the sleeves voluminous at the top then gradually thinning to perfectly encircle his wrists. Thankfully, Halibel had also asked her seamstress to sew in padding along the chest to give the appearance of a female bust.

"I tried to make it as least horrible as I could," the blonde said while Ichigo grimaced at his reflection in the body length mirror. "I chose the color to complement your haircolor. I'm surprised they were able to dye a hairpiece the same shade as your natural color."

Oh, had Ichigo forgotten to mention the elaborate wig complete with braids and curls that formed an intricate updo popular with the noblewomen he was now wearing? And the face paint Halibel insisted he wear so he could pass for a woman? Looking at himself he was actually growing quite terrified of how effeminate he now appeared, wanting nothing more than to rip the - okay, gorgeous - dress off and wipe off his face and rip that stupid hairpiece off his head.

He knew he was a submissive male, and maybe he did have a tapered waist and thicker eyelashes and shapelier legs but he was still a man, damn it. This had all better be worth it.

"These are the flattest heels I could find that matched your dress," Halibel said, presenting forest green shoes fortunately made in a big enough size with only a two inch heel. "I also brought you one of my masks." The latter item was a handled porcelain mask shaped to cover just the upper part of the face, gold and green glittering designs curling around the eyes.

"Thank you for all your help with this... act of pure madness," Ichigo said, only half joking as he slid on the shoes that felt too narrow at the toes but were doubtlessly the best fit he would be able to find before the ball started.

"Don't worry, no one will suspect anything after all the work we've done," Halibel said, opening the door to the rest of her personal chambers. "Remember to stand up straight, chest out, and try not to talk too much, your voice is the only thing that might give you away. If someone tries to speak with you just giggle and nod, that's what they expect from us ladies, anyway."

Ichigo fiddled with the handle of his mask as he made his way down to the main lobby, his nerves aflame that someone would point at him and call him out for being a man dressed as a woman, even though he knew Halibel had done a frighteningly good job at disguising his male attributes. Yet he still hesitantly stepped out of the elevator and into the relatively busy lobby, his heart racing as his actual masquerade was put to the test.

Several people glanced his way and Ichigo began to think the worst until a man perhaps in his mid-thirties bowed before him, tipping his hat and greeting him with a "My lady." Exhaling in relief, but not too heavily due to the corset, the orangette wondered where Grimmjow was, the two of them supposed to meet there and then head out for the ball.

A low whistle caught his attention and he span around, unused to the pounds of fabric that swished about with him. However, he was caught completely off guard by how exceptionally debonair his blue-haired dominant looked tonight. Grimmjow was dressed in his finest that night, black formal tailcoat, highland pants, lace up boots, bow tie, and top hat to complement his white formal dress shirt and scarlet red aristocrat vest. He also carried a dark cane with a silver top shaped in the head of a wild cat with an open maw full of sharp fangs.

"Hmm, I guess you clean up nice," Ichigo spoke first in a soft voice so no one overheard his baritone coming from his mouth.

"Perhaps, but I am nowhere even close to you, darlin'," Grimmjow said, grinning as he gave the other's entire outfit another once over. "I definitely picked a keeper to be my little woman."

"Where's your mask?" Ichigo hissed under his breath to distract from the flush heating his face, though it might've not even been visible under the rouge painted onto his cheeks. Withdrawing something from within his inner coat pocket, Grimmjow brandished a similar porcelain and cat-eye shaped mask, only his was plain white and had ribbons to tie it securely around his head.

"Shall we, dearest?" the blunette said, holding out his arm that Ichigo knew he had to take due to ridiculous societal standards.

"Can you at least try to make this as painless as possible for me? Please?" the teen nearly begged whilst they strolled out the lobby onto the street where the carriage was waiting for them, he definitely not in the mood to go along with Grimmjow's usual playful teasing. The man didn't answer until after he'd helped Ichigo into the carriage car, the ample skirt of the dress actually making the process much more difficult than usual, and closed the door behind himself, tapping the roof with his cane twice to spur the driver onwards.

"Just stay calm tonight and you'll be fine. I just needed a companion to attend this ball with me so I could scope out... the target, so you won't have to do much except try to stay out of the limelight, though I don't know if you'll be able to in that dress."

"Aren't we supposed to be married? I'll simply giggle and say that I'm taken in a girly voice. Halibel says it's practically a woman's oldest trick in the book," Ichigo said, shrugging so that the fabric of his dress rustled annoyingly. "And I expect to be repaid with a very big favor after this."

"Whatever you want," Grimmjow conceded, tilting his cane down toward the floor and it wasn't until Ichigo felt the chilly air travel up his skirt did he notice the man was lifting his dress up to peek at what lay underneath. Apparently sufficiently distracted, the blunette lost the cane in the next second as the submissive yanked it out of his grip and twirled it upside down, stabbing the silver panther head into the top of Grimmjow's foot.

"Fuck! Ah, what was that for?"

"You were peeking up this stupid dress, idiot!"

"So? You're my wife, remember?"

Ichigo's retort died on his tongue as the carriage rolled to a halt, announcing they had arrived at The Grand Polar where the masquerade was being hosted. He rose his mask up to his face, watching through the slits as Grimmjow tied his own on, and then the door opened by the hand of a footman.

Exchanging glances one last time, they exited the carriage and prepared to literally waltz right into the lion's den.


A/N: Ah, the plot of this story has completely taken me over! There's so much to get through, so much I have planned that I have to keep writing while I have the motivation and spare time. Oh and for those who are like morally opposed to crossdressing and whatnot please keep in mind Ichigo is doing so out of necessity and nothing else. Well, maybe to satisfy my love of describing good fashion in my fics, but that's it.

Hope you all enjoyed!

The dress Ichigo wears in this chapter is actually from the movie Bram Stoker's Dracula. If you google "Lucy snake dress", it should be the second image in the image search results. So sorry I can't link you to it on this site.