SUMMARY: Ichigo never expected a thank you. He never expected him at all. Grimmjow returns to reap his pound of flesh. Now trapped, injured, and alone, Ichigo must choose. Fight or be killed. Can Ichigo win? Or will the last Espada simply self-destruct? The two hybrids must face off against one another, and come to terms with their most primal instincts before it's too late. Rated M for swearing, violence, gore, and graphic sex. Grimmjow/Ichigo.

It's not nearly as dark and serious as it sounds. So if that puts you off, give it a shot because it's more lighthearted than my summary suggests!

DISCLAIMER: I do not own Bleach. That honour goes to Tite Kubo. I don't make money from this. All I want are reviews.

This is my first story. (aside from the one-shot I just posted) It's taken me eight months to finish. All I want in return is feedback in the form of reviews.

Please Review! Write just one word - or as many words as you want! Helpful criticism and positive feedback are all welcome. I'm learning to write and I'd like to get better, so anything you say will make me deliriously happy!

To the people who already reviewed up to chapter four: I accidentally deleted my story and never got to read my four reviews. I'm ripping my hair right now out for that bit of idiocy! So if you did review already... uhmm... so like... could you do it again? =.=

The Grim and the Reaper


I came to cut you up
I came to knock you down
I came around to tear your little world apart
I came to shut you up
I came to drag you down
I came around to tear your little world apart
And break your soul apart

Garbage - Vow


Chapter One

Mundane things and private moments

His world had been decimated.

The creature that stalked its way through the twisted rocks and endless sands was the last of his kind. He was unique.

And he hungered.

He approached the Hollow silently, walking on the air inches above the ground to avoid the crunch of sand underfoot, until he stood directly behind it. The Hollow scratched the space where an ear should have been with long serrated claws, then ambled off, never turning back, never knowing the predicament it had been in.

Good. He had honed the art of reigning in and suppressing his spiritual pressure, at least when he kept himself calm, which was always an effort in itself. And as long as you didn't get too close, he could remain virtually invisible. This was the edge he needed to slip into the human world undetected. Not that he particularly gave a rat's ass about who picked up his reiatsu and wanted to die. But there was something he wanted to deal with first, a fight left unfinished, and any further interruptions would be intolerable.

He was ready to leave this dead world behind for awhile, and have himself some fun.

Kurosaki Ichigo had no idea how fast his weekend plans were going to turn from the promise of ease and relaxation to total shit.

A jagged outline of disorganized orange hair jutted out from beneath the edges of a light layering of sheets as Ichigo finally began to stir, his faced buried deeply between two exquisitely comfortable velvet soft breasts.


No. Not breasts. Just his pillow.

Lashes fluttered and slowly separated, revealing an unfocused pair of muddy brown eyes, that once cleaned of morning debris, would look refreshed after a restful night. He lay there for a long moment as his vision cleared, and breathed deeply, his body and mind filled with a profound sense of peace and calm. Everything in his world was right. And for once it wanted nothing from him.

Today there was nowhere he needed to be and nothing he hadto do. Aside from Kon, it was just him and an empty house.

Except for Ichigo, it seemed that everybody had left town. His family and friends had departed already for a weekend getaway three hours away from Karakura. His father had even paid for some of the hotel rooms, a very special treat in particular for the lovely Orihime who was like part of the family these days. His dad was always inviting her over for dinner. As if two kid sisters weren't enough. Ichigo enjoyed having her though. She was a really nice girl and she didn't have a family like he did.

Well she could have his if she wanted to. Ichigo snorted. They'd begged Ichigo to go, begged him, but it was that stupid spiritual show, "Drop-in Holy Ground", and Ichigo would rather spend the weekend with Kon than get sucked into another round of "Bo-ha-ha", and suffer the humiliation of being called Don Kanonji's "number one student". And that was saying something.

Ichigo shook his head. Drop-In-Holy... of all the...

Even Urahara Kisuke and his group had gone. As far as Ichigo was concerned, everyone in his town had gone insane.

A rare smile made its way onto his face. Except for Kon, he was completely alone, and the weekend was all his. He had plans for it too. He wasn't the kind of teenager who would sit in front a TV for hours on end, or fidget from boredom, or succumb to a sense of general ennui. No way.

Kurosaki Ichigo did things, sometimes ordinary mundane things that needed doing, and sometimes things that were decidedly un-ordinary.

The weather reports had declared two full days of sunshine and warm temperatures, a nice change from the previous day's rain. Though it had bothered him intensely after his mother had died, Ichigo didn't mind the rain so much anymore, because after the rain stopped everything looked brighter, crisper, greener. Rain was a necessary trial. It was part of the balance of things. For plants to grow healthier and stronger, they had to first weather the storms.

The strength of the human soul was no different. Into everybody's life, a little rain must fall.

It was fair to say that Kurosaki Ichigo, only 17, had been pelted by more than his fair share of rain. But without it he wouldn't be the young man he was today. His strength was born from being pushed down, begrudged and attacked. The seemingly endless string of bloody battles he'd endured had served to push him to his limits, and sometimes beyond. He'd even died. Several times. That was something he still sometimes couldn't quite wrap his brain around, or rather, he just chose not to. What was the point in thinking about things like that. Death happened when it happened.

"Retreat and you will age. Hesitate and you will die." That was what his zanpakuto had told him. So that's what he tried to do. The few times he'd actually dwelt upon defeat, people had noticed and quickly straightened him out. And they weren't at all kind about it either, much to Ichigo's annoyance. During one crisis, his friends had gathered at Urahara's Shoten to come up with a plan. Ichigo had had his ass handed to him in a fight the day before. He'd been quiet, brooding, depressed, and frankly sulking like a child who'd had his toy taken away, when a crazy man, riding a hog, had suddenly smashed his way into the shop... and had called Ichigo a "depressed bastard."

And Urahara had hid a grin behind his fan and waved a hand over his nose, declaring that 'now that he'd come to notice it, the shoten just reeked from all of Ichigo's moping.' Ichigo had lost it at that. In the end they had been right though, and they had helped him through it. But still... that smarmy bastard had a real way of pushing Ichigo's buttons.

Ichigo brushed aside his thoughts that had wandered like wind up toys with no clear direction or destination. He arched his back and extended himself fully into a deep and slow stretch, the shifting covers brushing over the lean muscles of his bare upper body.

His mind blanked, as something else, a basic need, growing more insistent, urged him to reach under the sheets, knuckles skimming down along the warm skin of his toned abs and the heat pooling beneath them, to where a morning erection waited impatiently for release. The root cause of it was the dream. Images, no faces, just roundness, touches, and wetness.

The pillow that wasn't breasts had given him quite a problem.

Yes, Ichigo did things, sometimes ordinary, mundane things that needed doing, some of them decidedly private.

What a fucking joke.

That he still wore that white uniform, long after their supposed lord was defeated and gone... che.

Aizen. Just another too-powerful megalomaniac and a pompous asshole. Not even worthy of the breath it took to say his name. He'd lost them everything. Destroyed the natural order of things... and hijacked his own succession.

He shook his head. That was the past now, as much as he could let it be.

He stood silently now between two worlds, clothed in the familiar material, hating the association it held, what it represented, but comfortable enough in the feel of it, and its casually revealing design. Couldn't deny that it suited him. Hell he made it look good.

He hadn't worn the uniform in awhile. At least now he could choose to wear it, or not. Some days he didn't, just strolled around Las Noches, naked as the day he he was born... re-born. He didn't give a flying fuck. And the fates, bitches, having turned out the way they did, meant he was alone with himself most of the time anyway. Except when he stalked his prey and devoured them.

He sank into a low, comfortable crouch on the edge of the dark precipice that loomed over Karakura, reaching out for the one he sought, the one he was going to kill, waiting for the sonic ping, the image of that blue flame that stood out in such bright contrast against the others, the one that burned, shiny and tantalizing, and lured him in.

He looked down at the town far below, colours fading, caught in the edge of night. Traces of memory still lingered, vague sounds and images, from some distant forgotten lifetime. He had felt it the first time he'd crossed over. This world held an odd familiarity, one that lingered always at the edge of his awareness, and which he purposefully ignored as irrelevant, much like the mask that so prominently adorned one side of his face, the sensation of it going mostly unnoticed by him, but still undeniably there. He never put it together, the meaning behind the feeling, that he was young for a former adjuchas, so very recently alive, human, and that he had evolved quicker than most, not unlike the Shinigami counterpart he loathed so much.

He adjusted the sleeve of his vest, rolling it back up from where it had slipped down his arm. He wondered why he had ever bothered to put his uniform on at all in his desolate homeland. Modesty? Unlikely. He could have dispensed with clothes entirely if he'd wanted to. None of the creatures there would have cared either way, and neither did he. Not that there would have been anybody around to see him anyway.

An empty minded Hollow wouldn't have even registered the concept of nudity. But there could be other powerful adjuchas or Vasto Lords out there, somewhere far from where he was. Perhaps that was the reason he slipped into his white hakama whenever he set out to hunt, in the vague hope that he might come across another intelligent creature, one that would recognize just who he was, and would know who was about to devour its soul before it died.

Every un-living thing had deserted Las Noches for miles around when the fighting had started, and for miles more when Ulquiorra had burst through the ceiling and released his monstrous energy into the skies and sands of Hueco Mundo. Like a supernova, the remnants of that energy still existed and nothing it seemed would come anywhere near the place now. A fact that now made hunting a royal pain in the ass.

Somewhere in the vast plains of sand, there were probably other younger Vasto Lords slowly coming into their own, on their own evolutionary journey. He wondered if maybe some day they'd replace him, that some day in the distant future he would die a weak, old arrancar. Would he even grow old? He wasn't sure how it worked, nor had he ever given it much thought, until now. Every Hollow he'd ever encountered had either died as something else's dinner, usually his, or it had been destroyed in battle. Now the old King of Hueco Mundo... he was an old fart for sure... but had he really been ageing or had he always looked like that? Hell if he knew.

Wait. The hell was this shit? Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez did not age. He lived by the sword. And when he died, it would be fighting in battle.

Dammit. He rubbed his hand roughly down his face, over smooth skin and rough bone, as if he could physically scrub away the distracting thoughts.

These were the kinds of thoughts that had been raping his mind, circling like hungry predators and drawing ever closer for all these long months, going around and through and over again. Sometimes he thought of killing the substitute Shinigami and other times he thought of this dismal depressing shit. His mind just kept dwelling on pointless things, obsessing, and confusing him. It was all but driving him out of his fucking mind.

And when he was confused and upset, he did what he did best. He got angry.