Summary: A fanfiction of/prequel to Racey's Break Up 2 Make Up; a story of how Grimmjow and Ichigo got together in the first place. AU, yaoi.

Warnings: AU, yaoi, language, fluff to the extreme, currently unbeta'ed.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. Lyrics are from Civil Twilight's "Letters From The Sky", because I was listening to that song when I read the last chapter of BU2MU and it was kismet.

Note: I have Racey's full permission to go ahead with this; asked her myself and everything. However, this remains a fanfiction of her original story, meaning that this is in no way intended to be what actually happened. I only took clues from the fic to come up with this. Also, if you've never read anything of mine I must tell you my style is much different and nowhere near as awesome. That said, I hope you enjoy!

Before the Break Up

One of these days the sky's gonna break

And everything will escape and I'll know

One of these days the mountains

Are gonna fall into the sea and they'll know

That you and I were made for this

I was made to taste your kiss

We were made to never fall away

Never fall away

Ichigo had never been a big fan of night clubs.

Bards and Top 40 artists alike wax poetic about the places, but he'd always found the description of a dark, lustful locale full of serpentine, writhing bodies and vibrating, pulsing bass lines pouring through the speakers to be incredibly unrealistic- except for the 'dark' part, that much is true.

Instead, Ichigo's experience with clubs extended to nights of trying in vain to get a bartender's attention, and once he paid up the twelve bucks for a cocktail he'd be jostled about so much that his drink spills all over the silk shirt he spent half his paycheck on to wear that night and after giving up on getting tipsy altogether, makes his way to the dance floor to try and lose himself in the music only to be harassed by unbelievably horny men and women alike. It all leads up to a headache and fatigue in the morning that was in no way worth the aggravation.

However, when his friend Keigo managed to drag him out of his father's house for the birthday celebration he wanted no part in and into one of those Godforsaken clubs, Ichigo changed his mind entirely.

Because that was the night he first saw him.

Dressed to drop dead perfection in an all black ensemble including skinny jeans that could've passed for second skin and a v-neck shirt with a plunging neckline that showed off the lithely defined lines of his pectoral muscles over which he wore a silver rosary, the orangette knew he'd be turning heads that evening, and for once he didn't particularly mind. He'd been in a dry spell lately, deprived of the company of an attractive flirting partner for far too long and he was determined to change that. Surely there would be some piece of ass in the club that night he wouldn't be opposed to grinding against for a few hours.

Ichigo was proven correct when just as he'd turned away from the bar with a Firewater in hand (a 'girly' drink according to Keigo) and locked gazes with the most incredible pair of unnaturally blue eyes that surveyed him from a few yards away, the figure to which they belonged nothing but a dark outline in the dim lighting.

Those lightning blue orbs nearly made him spill his own drink on himself, they shook so badly. It was as if they were sending little pulses of electricity through him, his limbs suddenly numb and shoulders and spine shivering and shuddering spasmodically as his heart beat rapidly and harshly inside of his rib cage, tattooing the bone there with its imprint. The effect those eyes so instantaneously had on him was unnerving and unlike anything he'd ever experienced before and it vexed him to the core.

"Ichigo, are you okay?" Keigo's boisterous voice said over the music, and it was only then that the orangette realized he was frozen in place, tearing his eyes away from that bewitching gaze to look at his concerned brunette friend. Ichigo shook his head, messy strands of atomic tangerine flying every which way as he tried to regain control of his own body and very sense of self. "You looked like you were spacing out for a bit."

"Yeah, yeah, fine," he said, waving the other boy off with an absentminded wave.

"Good, because I'm going over to talk to those girls over there, I think they were checking me out!" Keigo said, thrusting the fist tightly clutching onto a glass of scotch on the rocks into the air. He was already halfway to being completely wasted, downing the 'manly' drink ever since they'd arrived despite the fact he was terrible at holding his liquor. The brunette's expression turned from overly excited to slightly guilty. "Er, you don't mind, do you?"

"Go ahead," Ichigo sighed, rolling his eyes when his friend barrelled off into the crowd without a second thought. "It's not like it's my birthday or anything," he said under his breath.

Ichigo didn't consider himself to be overtly petulant or needy, just the opposite actually, but seriously; what kind of person just abandons their friend in a night club they'd dragged them to on their birthday? That was just messed up.

So lost in thought was he, Ichigo didn't notice in the crowded atmosphere that an imposing figure with eyes like neon oceans had steadily been approaching him from his blind spot until a warm, firm chest pressed against his back and a gravelly, deep but still velveteen voice sounded in his ear, hot breath fanning over the hairs at the nape of his neck like the chills one gets while watching a scary movie and you just know the monster will pop out at any second.

"Birthday, huh? And all by yerself?" the voice said. "Well, we'll just have to fix that, now won't we?"

Ichigo didn't think he knew of any kind of monster that possessed such a god-like voice, but he still felt himself tremble as his knees nearly gave out from under him. It took all of his nerve to turn and face the owner of that voice, who undoubtedly also boasted those incredible orbs of sapphire.

In spite of his current condition and his gut feeling that the man behind him would no doubt be downright heavenly up close, the orangette's face drew into the very austere scowl that frightened away all those that dared to hit on him when he wasn't in the mood and they were far from what he found attractive.

At the sight of a wicked grin that bared two rows of sharper than knives and ivory white teeth set in an angular, high cheekboned, strong-chinned, straight-nosed handsome face that Ichigo could see clearly now that the other was not six inches away from him, the spell that had earlier frozen him in place was cast upon him yet again. And this newcomer certainly seemed like he wasn't put off by the resulting stony, unfriendly expression on Ichigo's face, smirk widening to epic proportions.

"Dance with me," he said. It was a command, like that of a divine being to his follower, and would've normally been a huge turn-off for Ichigo, but when a calloused, broad hand captured his to lead him to the where the throng of bodies was thickest in front of the DJ booth he fast forgot why that would ever rub him the wrong way.

The pulsating lights around the turntables that were currently spinning a remix of a recently popular track billowed over his new dance partner, illuminating the bedhead of carelessly styled turquoise locks, stone-washed, loose-fitting jeans, and snug white, long-sleeved v-neck that bedecked the man's body, making him impossibly even more beautiful. Ichigo couldn't believe his luck that he'd landed such a worthy companion without hardly even trying.

The blue-haired man took the drink out of Ichigo's hand, casually placing it atop the tray of a waitress that was passing through the crowd before turning to bring them face to face, their position far away enough from the thundering speakers so that their voices could be heard over the music without having to yell.

"What's yer name?" the man asked, placing his large hands on Ichigo's hips, to which the orangette arched a brow as he was steadily regaining his usual confidence.

"Tell me yours first," Ichigo said, lips curling into a smug little smirk and, eager to gather some dominance over the situation wrapped his arms around the other's trim waist, letting their bodies press against each other as they began to move to the music.

"Hn, all right. 's Grimmjow."

"Grimmjow," Ichigo repeated, savoring the taste foreign-sounding name on his tongue like a fine chocolate. It definitely suited the blunette, he decided. Any old, commonplace name just wouldn't have fit. "I like it. Mine's Ichigo."

"Ichigo," Grimmjow said like he'd been resurrected from the pages of a romance novel, his voice husky and rumbling from his broad chest. "Mind tellin' me what ya happen to be doin' here all by yerself on yer birthday?"

The way this blue-eyed, blue-haired man handled himself, so brash and almost arrogant and yet somehow charming, was totally new to Ichigo and he was practically starry-eyed in awe. It was different from anyone or anything he'd ever witnessed, and came to the conclusion that this entity who'd whisked him away from the bar and onto the dance floor, not even knowing for sure whether or not he was into the same sex, was some kind of immortal force of nature.

And he hadn't even had a sip of alcohol that night.

"Well, I was forced to come here by my friend, but he-"

"Left ya to chase after some tail?" Grimmjow said all-knowingly.

"Yeah, how'd you know?"

"Dude I came wit' did the same thing to me." Grimmjow shrugged, devastating grin softening just the slightest bit and eyes darkening as the front of his jeans every so lightly brushed against the other's. Ichigo had to fight to keep himself from going cross-eyed at the gentle sensation. "Can' say I'm mad at 'im now, though," he said, chuckling lowly.

"Me either," Ichigo said, taking full advantage of his rarely seen vixenish side to rock his hips forward so there wasn't an inch between their bodies, the friction making him feel dizzy and lightheaded and completely wonderful. He'd been neglecting his body's needs for far too long, and every fiber in his being was begging for more.

For a while, neither of them said anything as they moved together to the beat, Ichigo's hands venturing over Grimmjow's wide shoulders and muscled just enough back, getting dangerously close to crossing the border of the man's jeans' waistband to grope what surely had to be the fittest backside the orangette would ever get the pleasure of fondling.

He was suddenly grateful for the dim lighting of the night club as he mentally repeated his last thought. It wasn't like him at all; he was a self-admitted prude that occasionally had the urge to flirt with an attractive stranger, like he'd experienced earlier that evening.

But perhaps it wasn't due to any change within himself that had him acting like this, so carelessly wanton as he practically had clothed sex with a man he'd just met in public.

No, it wasn't him at all.

It was Grimmjow.

He was... different.

Ichigo let his eyelids flutter closed as Grimmjow leaned in to say something into his ear, lips that were assuredly soft as the petals of a newly blossomed rose coming so close to brushing against the sensitive skin there that he shuddered involuntarily.

"Let's get outta here, yeah?"

Ichigo's eyes snapped open to gaze directly into salacious, glittering orbs of blue fire that tore right through him like a double-edge blade, leaving his insides and all of his secret desires exposed for the man to see. The adrenaline rush shot through his veins, a high unlike any other.

"Let's," he said,the word leaving his mouth in a breath, so quiet it was almost lost among the earthshaking bass and general din of the club.

Grimmjow's grin was so devilish it put Lucifer himself to shame, and his hands left to grasp one of Ichigo's and part the crowd as he turned to lead them through the throng of dancing club-goers, past the bar, and to the utilitarian door that acted as the portal to the outside world.

Crisp night air met Ichigo as he followed the other all too willingly through that door, mildly surprised when the coolness against his heated, flushed skin didn't even somewhat knock him back to reality to see that he could potentially be headed for disaster, running off with a strange man to indulge in sins of the flesh. Like that wasn't just asking for both his rear end and heart to be sore the following morning.

Ichigo pushed those negative thoughts to the back of his mind, inwardly waving a dismissive hand at his more rational side currently trying to dissuade him.

It was his birthday, he was allowed just this one night of debauched fun.

And, he thought as his gaze raked over the long-legged, muscled form that continued to steer him past the line of the less fortunate waiting to get into the club, at that moment, it felt like a night with Grimmjow was definitely worth any morning heartache.

They came to a stop by a relatively new, black Honda Accord parked a few blocks down, Ichigo allowed himself to be manhandled so that his back was pressed against the passenger side window, arching backwards over the glass as Grimmjow placed a hand on either side of his head, trapping him like a hunter would an exotic beast. It made all of his breath rush right out of his lungs, head spinning as the other male loomed over him, eyes phosphorescently glowing in the light of the streetlamp they stood under.

Words weren't needed for that moment. Ichigo was sure there weren't even ones invented to express the electricity that sparked between the two of them and made the air heavy with its power. He'd never felt anything like it, ever.

There was just something different about Grimmjow, something unexplainable, metaphysical, bewildering, and very, very lovely.

Lips met in a bruising kiss, that same electricity now running through Ichigo's blood and making his heart seize erratically, somehow slowing and speeding up at the same time. In any other occasion he'd have been rushed to the hospital for cardiac arrhythmia.

Grimmjow's kiss was just like him, confident, powerful, but there was an underlying sweetness to it, and not just in his taste (which surprisingly was completely free of any of the distinctive burn of alcohol and was instead reminiscent of spearmint and summer rain.) No, it was more apparent in the way his hands that had formerly been restraining Ichigo against the side of the car lifted to cradle the orangette's face in their calloused palms, one sliding up to gently grasp a handful of messy, spiked sunset hair while the pad of his thumb traced along the delicate skin over a defined cheekbone.

Forgetting himself completely, Ichigo whimpered into the kiss, melting into Grimmjow's body like hot fudge poured over ice cream.

The blunette apparently took this as a signal he could deepen their kiss, velvet tongue darting out to seek entrance, which Ichigo immediately granted. They both moaned as their tongues intertwined with each other's, not battling for dominance as much as they tried to taste, feel as much as they could, Ichigo's running over Grimmjow's pointed canines and shivering as he discovered they were even sharper than they appeared.

Ichigo was devastated when the blue-haired man pulled away, automatically gasping for breath even as he instinctively leaned forward to try and resume their soul-sucking kiss. When he felt Grimmjow's hands hold him back, he opened his heavy-lidded eyes to stare up into the most beautiful face he'd ever seen in confusion. The other chuckled gruffly, clearly amused as his ultramarine orbs gleamed and he lifted a finger to lay over Ichigo's already slightly swollen lips.

"Let's get ta my place first, yeah?" he said, smirking arrogantly in a way most men could never dream of pulling off but he certainly made work. "Then I'm all yers."

Ichigo felt his cheeks burn a deep cerise, a little embarrassed by just how good that statement sounded to him, but he nodded anyway, eager to feel those lips on many, many other parts of his body and eventually do a little exploring of his own.

Grimmjow reached into his back pocket to dig out the keys, but just as he'd withdrawn them, a furious male voice addressed them from several feet away, the orangette letting his gaze swivel from the gorgeous man in front of him to where it'd originated from.

The speaker was a bald man, closely followed by a slighter male with dark, chin-length hair who kept what looked like a death grip on the man's arm. The former's face was twisted into an infuriated expression, thin lips stretching into a snarl as he rapidly approached Grimmjow and Ichigo, finger pointed accusingly at the bluenette.

"Yeah, I'm talking to you!" he said, spit flying. "You asshole, I swear I'm gonna-"

"Who the fuck 'er you?" Grimmjow took a defensive position, squaring off with the newcomer.

Ichigo was utterly lost. Did Grimmjow know this man? Who was he, and what did he want with the other?

Inexplicably, the orange-haired male found himself livid at the thought of this person verbally attacking his new beau. Despite the indisputable fact he'd only just met Grimmjow, Ichigo felt his brow furrowing and eyes narrowing into a death glare he usually only reserved for puppy killers and those religion fanatics that went door-to-door trying to convert whoever would listen.

"Who the fuck am I?" the bald man said, fists clenching by his sides. "I'm only the guy you mugged right on this street a year ago, you bastard!"

Ichigo's eyebrows shot up into his hairline and he looked back to Grimmjow to see the man not even appearing one bit surprised, only royally pissed off as a vein visibly throbbed in his temple while his jaw clenched tightly to grind his teeth together so harshly it was audible even a few feet away.

Strangely, Ichigo didn't feel scared or nervous at the revelation that the sex god he'd just been making out with could possibly be a criminal, only outraged and a bit... betrayed, nonsensical as that was.

"Is this guy serious, Grimmjow?" he said, his tone demanding and stern but so quiet it was nearly a whisper.

"You bet your sweet ass I'm serious." The bald man took it upon himself to answer, breaking away from the grip the brunette had on his arm to start shrugging out of his leather jacket. "Hold my jacket, Yumi, I'm gonna kill this motherfucker," he said, addressing the one with him. He then began to bounce up and down on the balls of his feet, punching the air with unpracticed jabs.

"I think ya should go back to yer friend, Ichigo," Grimmjow said, not even looking at the orangette as he took a step forward, his stance shifting into one of an experienced street fighter, knees bent and shoulders hunched. "Sorry," he added, eyes cornering to the side for a moment to regard his all too willing conquest with a hardened expression that may have held a trace of disappointment.

Ichigo was hardpressed then not to stomp his foot like a petulant child being denied something, his indignation surely inappropriate for the situation but he just couldn't help it.

It was his birthday, damn it, and he wanted to spend it writhing in ecstasy in the throes of passion with one particular blue-haired individual. Or at least not slinking back off to the nightclub, rejected, to join up with the doubtlessly equally rejected Keigo.

So when the newcomer, looking like Mr. Clean on PCP, sprang forward to attack Grimmjow, Ichigo darted in front of the man with speed perfected from all of his father's 'parental beat-downs' and landed a powerful right hook to the left side of his face.

The bald man dropped to the ground like cement in water, tooth flying out of his mouth as he crashed onto the sidewalk with a satisfying thud. He lay there for a good few moments, twitching spasmodically, before his companion gave a long-suffering sigh and strode forward to scoop him up to his feet.

"Ikkaku, you idiot," the brunette said under his breath, not acknowledging either Grimmjow nor Ichigo before hauling the bald man down the street, most likely to seek medical attention.

Appeased, the orangette spun on his heel to grin up at the blue-haired man, finding him in what looked like a state of shock.

Ichigo thought to himself then that he wanted to show Grimmjow much more of what he was capable of.

And he had a feeling that he'd have all the time he'd need to do so.

Damn did that kid have one nice right hook.

When Grimmjow had been practically dragged to the club that night, he certainly hadn't been expecting to come across such a find.

Though it had only been a month since he'd landed himself a job at the factory, he had rapidly grown accustomed to living a responsible adult's life, which included staying at home to go to bed on time in order to get up for work in the morning (which he had found himself strangely liking, the knowledge that he had a job making him feel more like a man than he ever had.) And it meant that he no longer had time nor the energy to party, weekday or not.

However, his new co-worker, Nnoitra, had harassed him so often about checking out the city's newest night club together that Grimmjow had finally given in. He'd figured he could at least get one good fuck out of the night in order to relieve some of his new work-related stress.

Ten minutes after they'd arrived, Nnoitra had abandoned him in favor of chasing down some little blonde thing, agitating the blunette to no limits as he was forced to linger by the bar by himself like a total loser. So irritated was he that the man had blatantly turned down all the offers he'd been given to dance regardless what the one offering looked like, realizing he was definitely over his days of bed-hopping. He was getting too old for that shit now.

Grimmjow had been entertaining the idea of taking off to drive his new car home and leaving Nnoitra there to fend for himself, but then he'd seen him.

The orange hair had been eye-catching in the darkness of the club, like the sun in a midnight sky, beckoning to him. And the rest of its owner certainly didn't disappoint, lithe, tanned body the perfect size to hold in his arms hiding underneath a layer of black clothes that outlined every angle and curve of that lovely figure. He'd licked his lips hungrily just as truffle brown eyes had met his, unknowingly lighting a lustful, desirous yet maudlin flame inside of him.

And then when the kid had spoken to him in that sweet, baritone voice of his, Grimmjow knew that he had to have him. He'd been smitten with Ichigo from the second the orangette had scowled up at him in that endearing, unintentionally adorable way of his.

Grimmjow had mentally worked out that the other most likely thought of their current tryst as a one time thing, but he had no intention of letting Ichigo slip away from him after that night, especially not after he'd tasted the boy's intoxicating flavor and felt the silkiness of his skin. He was pretty good at reading other people, he thought, and he could tell Ichigo was one of those tough as nails on the outside people with a gooey, sentimental center and so there wasn't a doubt in the blue-haired man's mind that the other wouldn't reject any advances he made towards making their relationship a bit more permanent.

It was insane. Grimmjow had never been in any kind of romantic relationship that had lasted more than a few nights in the sack and yet he was considering spending the foreseeable future waking up to that beautiful face.

There wasn't any doubt, Ichigo was... different.

He could've cursed whatever deity was bestowing such terrible luck upon him when that bald guy had shown up out of nowhere just as he'd been about to take the kid home with him, all too eager to have that lean, bronze body thrashing about underneath him. But he'd deserved it, because he sure as hell didn't deserve to spend the night with someone as perfect as Ichigo.

Grimmjow had recognized the bald man as soon as he'd laid eyes on his infuriated visage. You never forget the faces of those you've wronged.

Ready to accept the hand karma had dealt him, the blunette had told Ichigo to go back to the club,the thought of seeing the orange-haired man getting caught up in the fistfight sure to ensue because of his past mistakes much more distressing that it should've been to picture what was essentially a completely stranger being hurt.

However, Grimmjow had been blown away when his long-ago victim had charged at him, only to be on the receiving end of an absolutely devastating right hook from Ichigo himself, the kid having stepped in between the two men. He was only able to stare in shock as baldy dropped to the ground short one tooth and looking completely out of it as his brunette boyfriend helped him up and away from the two of them.

Now Ichigo was practically beaming up at him, lightly freckled button nose wrinkling and maple syrup brown eyes sparkling, and he hadn't a clue as to what to do.

Oh, Grimmjow knew what he wanted to do, don't get him wrong. He wanted very much right then to thoroughly ravish the orangette over the hood of his new car, more turned on by the sight of one single punch than he'd ever been in his entire life. But something kept him frozen in place; shame.

He barely knew Ichigo and still he was entirely ashamed that the kid had somewhat learned of his past.

"Can we get going now?" Ichigo said, voice cutting through Grimmjow's thoughts like a razor blade as he sidled closer, clearly wanting to make some kind of forward move but too reserved, too innocent, to actually do anything. "I... want to spend more time with you." The bridge of his nose and cheekbones flushed crimson, apparently embarrassed by what his words implied.

"Ya still want to spend the night wit' me?" Grimmjow was bewildered, though he kept his tone level and only arched a single blue brow at the slighter male before him, whose bashful expression quickly hardened into a scowl.

"Why do you think I just punched that guy, stupid?" he said, crossing his arms over his chest. "I don't make a habit of doing things that could get me arrested, you know." Grimmjow nearly laughed at that, but something was still bugging him.

"But... ya don't care 'bout what he said?"

"You mean when he said that you'd mugged him?" It was Ichigo's turn to raise his eyebrow, coffee-flavored orbs narrowing in suspicion.

"Yeah, that," Grimmjow said, biting back his sarcastic retort. Even a year prior to that day he never would've imagined himself caring so much about what a kid he didn't know at all thought about him.

"Well, did you mug him?"

"Yes." The blunette didn't think lying would work on Ichigo, already gathering that the orangette would be quick to spot that he hadn't told the truth, though he suspected that given the right circumstances the kid could be fooled into believing something that wasn't true. Anyone could be if the situation demanded it, actually.

Ichigo frowned deeply and Grimmjow found himself mentally cursing his own damn self out for already screwing up what could've been something life-changing.

"So you're a criminal, then."

"I was," the larger man said, correcting the other. He wanted to get into the nitty gritty of how he had fallen into that lifestyle in the first place and his subsequent struggle to lead a normal, moral life.

Neither of them said anything for a while, until Ichigo surprised Grimmjow yet again.

"You know what we should do? Since it's my birthday, I mean," he said, leaving the other man hanging for a long moment before continuing. "We should go bowling."

The blunette took a moment to stare blankly at his conquest before remembering up the block, around the corner from the club they'd met in, was the flashy King Ping, famous for their Friday All Night Bowling.

Grimmjow's grin when he realized what Ichigo was suggesting was broader than ever, white teeth gleaming under the fluorescent street lights. He shouldn't have been incredibly hyped that some orange-haired kid he'd only just met in a night club wanted them to go bowling together at one o'clock in the morning, but he was and it felt like his chest came close to bursting as Ichigo reached for him so that they could walk hand in hand to the bowling alley.

He knew he didn't deserve this chance, this sinfully sexy orangette on his arm willing to hear him out, but Grimmjow wasn't about to question his unusually good fortune, half-believing that if he did Ichigo would disappear right before his eyes.

Ichigo supposed it was an awful idea to stroll around the city after midnight with a man who'd just confessed he'd mugged someone and had previously considered himself a criminal, but he didn't care. He hadn't been this intrigued by someone, or anything actually, in a long time.

It wasn't until after they had set up their lane and scoreboard, changed King Pin's alternative pair of previously worn proper bowling shoes, and picked out their balls (neon orange for Grimmjow and turquoise blue for Ichigo) that the impending conversation actually began, Ichigo taking the initiative to get to know more about what they'd previously discussed earlier by the car. He wanted a glimpse into the mind of the gorgeous man he was still seriously considering letting pound him into the mattress in the very near future.

Criminal or not, Grimmjow was positively edible and Ichigo while no winsome little tart really wasn't a saint either.

"So... " he said, lingering by the ball return since he was up first."You used to... corner people in alley ways and hold them at gunpoint so they'd give you all their money?"

He knew his particular phrasing of the question was a little harsh, a little judgemental, but he didn't want to beat around the bush. He had to know what drove this seemingly decent, attractive man to do such a thing.

"No, not exactly," Grimmjow said, voice kept to right about a whisper. "I never used a gun; shit's for pussies who want to hide behind something, ya know? I just used to pick out guys who'd put up a good fight, rough 'em up, and... take their wallet."

"Oh." Ichigo nodded, brain working to process the blunette's logic as he picked his bowling ball up with the designated two fingers and thumb, lining himself up with their lane before rushing towards the marker and letting his arm swing back and forward to release the ball in a perfect, spinning curve toward the front of the stack of pins. Unable to help himself, he smiled brightly as the turquoise thing barreled through the white pins, knocking each and every one over onto its side. "Strike," he said, turning around to point out the obvious to a bemused Grimmjow, the screen above their heads spelling the word out enthusiastically before recording Ichigo's score.

The orangette sat down in the seat beside the other man's, Grimmjow getting up to retrieve his own glaringly tangerine ball.

Ichigo surmised that his date (it was a date, wasn't it?) definitely had some code of honor, to pursue capable men that could very easily killed him without regret in their twisted view that it was only self-defense since the blue-haired man had been the one to jump them. It must have made Grimmjow feel as if he was actually earning the money he took from them, more so than ripping cash out of an old lady's hands at gunpoint would've at least.

But why do it in the first place? Why not make money the legal way? There had to be a legitimate reason.

Grimmjow threw his ball too hard for it to be in any way effective, the thing almost leaving scorch marks on the smooth, wooden floor as it rocketed straight into the gutter. At the pout the man tried to hide after his failed attempt at bowling, Ichigo had to clasp a hand over his mouth in order to keep from laughing out loud. Surely Grimmjow would never jut his lower lip out or furrow his brows together ever again if he knew how adorable he looked doing so.

"Stupid ball's too light," he said as he walked back to the ball return and the orangette suppressed his reflex to say that Grimmjow was already throwing the heaviest bowling ball they made. Instead Ichigo asked his next question before the ball came back for the man's second try.

"So why'd you do it? Why not just get a job?"

He feared for a second or two that he'd hit a nerve when Grimmjow pressed his lips into a thin line and didn't answer for a few long moments, stony gaze directed at the floor even when he did speak.

"Dear ol' mom threw me out when I turned eighteen. Got slapped with a felony so I couldn't get a job anywhere, not even at a damn fast food joint," he said, bitterness drenching his words as they fell from his mouth. "I didn' want to get in wit' drugs and wannabe thugs, so I did the only thing I could think of. Felt like scum, but it's amazin' what hunger and nigh's sleepin' on park benches will do ta guilt."

Ichigo didn't know what to say to that, only watched with wide eyes as Grimmjow picked his bowling ball up, this time hurling it half-heartedly at the pins. Too weak of a throw for the ball to pick up enough speed to travel down the lane, it drifted into the gutter again.

Perhaps it was a bit, okay a lot, childish of him, but Ichigo was a little smug that he was already obviously so much better at bowling than the blunette.

What could he say? He loved to win.

However, that was at the very back of his mind when his new crush dropped down onto the seat next to his, the look on that divine face one of a man torn up inside by the regret he had over what he'd done.

"Stop beating yourself up; you're a good person, Grimmjow," Ichigo said without thinking, not allowing himself to become embarrassed before continuing despite the dazzling effect that pair of phosphorescent marine eyes had on him when they lifted from the other's lap to stare at him. "I can already see that, crazy as it sounds, and you don't give yourself enough credit. I mean, you stuck to your own moral code when you were thrown out onto the streets with no way to support yourself. That's gotta be more than most would've been able to do had they been in your shoes. And you don't do it anymore, right?"

Grimmjow shook his head, expression almost like that of a devout worshiper and what Ichigo was quoting holy scripture.

"So you've got to forgive yourself, or the past'll just chew you up and spit you out," Ichigo said, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand while the other hesitantly reached to rest on the other's shoulder and wondering why he was so nervous to touch the man when they'd already had their tongues down each other's throats that night. "What I'm trying to say is... well, you get it right?"

"Yeah, I get ya," Grimmjow said, lips twitching into the smallest of smiles and his upper body tilting towards the orangette so that their faces were but inches apart. "Never been told I'mma 'good person' before, but I like hearin' ya say it."

The intensity between them as they fell silent, and all of their moments together during their very, very, short-lived relationship. mystified Ichigo. It was almost like they'd known each other before that night, or maybe their souls had.

Such a cliche thing to say, yes, but all cliches are the tombstones of what used to be truths, phrases beaten to death because they made so much sense.

Unexpectedly, Grimmjow pulled away, a smirk appearing on his face as he pointed to the pins that hadn't needed to be set up again after the man's two gutterballs in a row.

"Yer turn," he said. "Hope tha' luck of yers doesn't run out any time soon."

"Luck?" Ichigo gave a quick laugh, waving a hand at the other male in a dismissive manner. "You don't need luck when you have skill."

"Oh?" The blue-haired man's sapphire orbs glinted mischievously. "Care ta put yer money where yer pretty mouth is?"

The orangette scowled determinedly and crossed his arms to disguise his blush at being told his mouth was 'pretty.'

"Twenty bucks says I win," Ichigo said.

"Hm, sounds fair... " Grimmjow's grin was devilish, every bit the sadistic villain as his gaze darkened, a predatory gleam sending the other's heart into overdrive. "But I think we can do better than tha'. How 'bout loser takes winner out ta dinner tomorrow night?"

"Is that your way of asking me out?" Ichigo couldn't help the surge of school girl giddiness that overtook his entire being, utterly ecstatic this drop dead sexy, intriguing man seemed very much like he was suggesting they go on a date the next night.

"Is this yer way of stallin' yer inevitable loss?" The man waggled his sky blue eyebrows suggestively.

"Ha! Get ready to foot the bill for my New York strip after you lose, baby," Ichigo said, not even realizing he'd just unwittingly called the other man the almost strictly romantic pet name until he was already lining up his ball with the lane and pins, grateful that he was facing the opposite direction so that Grimmjow couldn't witness his furious blush.

Though he had a feeling the man would get plenty more opportunities to see many others just like it.

Fate could have led the two of them to the club tonight or it could've been a complete coincidence, but Ichigo knew that now that they knew of the other's existence he and Grimmjow would never again be the same. There was something different about their relationship and how it was already developing at a rapid-fire pace, and Ichigo thought it had to be because they recognized the same fire that burned within themselves in each other.

And he knew, even though he hadn't a clue what could possibly be the other's last name was, that their connection was too intense to ever fade, not with time, not with distance, not even with death. Pretty strong words considering how long they had known each other, yes, but this was an instinct, a gut feeling, that derives from that first impression.

They parted that night with nothing more than a chaste kiss, Ichigo returning to a rejected Keigo before he assumed Grimmjow went to tend to his plastered co-worker.

It wasn't how he'd planned for things to happen with the man that night, having intended to have a good toss in the sheets with that wickedly beautiful body the other possessed, but Ichigo found the thought of seeing the blunette again the next night for dinner (which he would be getting for free thanks to his incredible bowling skills) much more exciting than a one night stand. And so it was.

Ichigo learned that his new lover worked the day shift at a toothpaste factory (the locale he found hilarious for a reason even he wasn't sure of) and that he had a tendency to be on the protective side. Understatement of the year, actually. It was soon apparent Grimmjow defined the term 'overprotective' and at times nearly smothered the orangette with his actions of a concerned significant other, always making sure Ichigo never wanted for anything or hurt not just physically, but emotionally as well. But the younger of the two grew used to it, appreciating his beau's plain as day care for him more than words could say and tolerating the man insistence on paying for things as much as possible.

If their relationship had been a sports car, it would've went from zero to sixty in three seconds flat, and that wasn't even counting the physical side of things. Ichigo discovered as he and Grimmjow progressed as a couple that their connection and the intensity with which they cared for each other had to be hands down the only one of its kind. Romeo and Juliet, Marc Antony and Cleopatra, Napoleon and Josephine, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler... they could all suck it, not one of those hacks had a single teaspoon of the insanely deep love he and Grimmjow shared.

Sometimes that backfired on them like the hellacious detonation of an explosive, as anything on that level of intensity is bound to do. They had words, harsh ones, and arguments so bad the make-up sex almost wasn't worth it, but Ichigo knew they would always reconcile, never able to stay angry or away from the other in spite of their stubborn nature.

He never saw that phone call coming, and it made him doubt everything he'd ever believed about Grimmjow and what they had between them. And yet, how could he have imagined all of that? It just wasn't possible.

Ichigo had never given much credit to the phrase 'all good things must end' until then, but as the reality of what his lover had done hit him he supposed it still couldn't be applied to him, because despite the agonizing hurt the man was putting him through , Grimmjow Jaegerjaques would always be the best 'good thing' to ever happen to him

It was just too bad it had to end.

But... aren't endings just the start of something else? Something better, maybe?

Ichigo doubted it, but still prayed to anyone up there that bothered to listen that it was true.

On the night when Grimmjow finally convinced his Ichigo to leave him for the kid's own good, he reflected on that first, memorable meeting and unofficial date. He'd been overwhelmed that anyone could ever accept him so completely, especially someone as stunning and wonderful as Ichigo, who hadn't hesitated to confront him about his criminal past and in one single night managed to at last get rid of the chip on his shoulder the blunette had possessed for years due to his guilt and disgust for himself. That orange-haired minx was both his undoing and his redemption, blessing and curse.

It hurt to think that Ichigo could think he'd ever been able to touch, look at another the way he did the boy. Ever since he'd laid eyes on the other in the club on the orangette's birthday that night he had never regained the ability to regard any person other than Ichigo himself as even remotely attractive. His brightly-maned lover was his entire reason for continuing on after he'd lost his job.

Grimmjow loved Ichigo so much he was willing to let the man leave him behind for the better life the other could surely lead without him in the way, the pathetic, unemployed excuse for a man that doubtlessly Ichigo only stayed with out of pity.

He'd been right that first night, thinking that given the right circumstances the kid could believe something that wasn't true. How odd it was that he'd thought about that right then, like he subconsciously knew this would inevitably happen to them. Well, that wasn't too much of a stretch when Grimmjow remembered realizing he didn't deserve Ichigo when they'd first met, barely knowing one another past pleasing to the eye physical features and first names.

The blue-haired man knew what he'd done was for the better, but he'd do anything just to bowl one more game with Ichigo like they did that night on their first unofficial date.

Unlikely since they were now... exes, but Grimmjow clung fast to the idea that maybe someday in the future when his former lover had undeservedly forgiven him they could bowl at King Pin and bet on the game to see who would buy dinner just like their first.

But for now he would just have to be content with his memories of their time together.

Grimmjow thought too much of himself when he convinced Ichigo to break things off with him. He thought himself strong and unselfish enough to stay away from the man, but the truth was that he just wasn't and unsurprisingly soon found himself once more in that bowling alley, unable to live without the one who'd kicked his ass every game they'd played since.

One day soon I'll hold you like the sun holds the moon

And we will hear those planes overhead

And we won't have to be scared

'Cause we won't have to be scared

We won't have to be, yeah, scared, no

You're coming back for me

A/N: Well, I can only hope I did the great Racey and her story justice. Her work was one of the reasons I ever decided to write GrimmIchi in the first place, so I had to pay tribute to her and her stories somehow. I sincerely hoped you guys liked it too, and don't want to kill me for ruining one of your favorite fics, heh heh. ^^'

See you guys later~