Chapter five!

x

Strong arms were holding him in place, and warm lips were covering his own, a slippery wet tongue begging for entrance as Byakuya licked, sucked and nibbled on Ichigo's lower lip.

"Uhn." Ichigo moaned, arms suddenly too weak to push the black haired man away. "Byakuya ..."

"Hmm?" Gray eyes bore into his with a curious stare as long fingers pinched and flicked his already pert nipples. "Are you tired? Hungry?"

Ichigo wanted to say no so they could continue making out, so Byakuya could stick his tongue into his mouth and work his magic on melting Ichigo's insides, so he could continue fully debauching the teen until he crumbled into a quivering heap of jelly. However, circumstances reminded him that he was in an unknown land, in an unknown cave, cuddled in an unknown man's arms. Well, in technical terms, Byakuya wasn't a stranger, but in this land everything was just totally different to Ichigo. The depressing part was that Prince Grimmjow would definitely be on an angry rampage if he found out his 'spy' was missing. On the plus side, Ichigo got to discover how good of a kisser Byakuya turned out to be.

No, he really shouldn't be thinking about things like that. Ichigo tried pulling himself away, but his limbs wouldn't listen to him and did the exact opposite of what his brain was saying. He needed some distraction, and it had to be serious.

Think disgusting thoughts! Ichigo mentally screamed.

Byakuya's tongue feels so good.

No!

Well, yes, but no, not that thought right now. It wasn't helping.

Old man Yamamoto doing a strip tease on my bed ... yuck. Oh god, what if Byakuya was doing that in my bedroom...? Ah, got carried away, there.

Ichigo moaned into the kiss, half out of disappointment at himself and partially because he was feeling Byakuya's hand fondle his semi-hard cock through the lacy panties – he'd substituted his duck patterned boxers for clean underwear and it was the only thing available – that barely covered his privates. He briefly heard the black haired man mumble something along the lines of 'Lace, what a turn on' before he was pushed down onto a soft bed.

Maybe he didn't really have to go back to his modern world so soon. After all, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Right?

x

"Wrong way!" Grimmjow growled out as he gripped his horse's reins and pulled backward to reverse his mount. "This path leads to the Nice Witch's lair."

"If she's so nice, then why are we avoiding her?" Renji asked as he turned his white horse after Grimmjow's stallion, wincing as a few twigs slapped him across one cheek.

"It was a sarcastic title." Grimmjow resisted the urge to lead Renji into a bog and leave him there. "Get your head in the game. How long have you been living round here?"

The Captain of his Royal Guard just laughed in that infuriating calm way of his and followed along beside him in a brisk trot. Grimmjow gritted his teeth and restrained himself from asking Renji how he'd gotten so close to Ichigo. He was feeling something akin to jealousy – not because Renji was close to Ichigo, but because Ichigo seemed to warm up to him better than he did Grimmjow. Of course, the Prince knew the answer to his question, but he refused to acknowledge the fact that he could act a little nicer to the orange haired teen. To him, Ichigo was something similar to a thorn in his side. A very small, insignificant thorn.

But why did he feel so worried when he'd discovered Ichigo had run away?

The question burned into him, making him feel somewhat angry for even thinking about it. Ichigo was just some spy who was vying for his attention; no doubt sent by some other enemy kingdom. The reason why he teased the boy was because he was so easy to bait. Ichigo never ran away from trouble; in fact the boy seemed to welcome it. Trouble would be a good middle name for him. Grimmjow ran a hand through his hair, frustrated and urged his horse onward.

x

It was mid-morning when Ichigo awoke from a restful slumber, blinking as his eyes adjusted to the sunlight. Around him, the cheerful trill of birdsong could be heard. He was still in Grimm Forest. The teen yawned, stretching his limbs before he sat up on the makeshift bedding beneath him. He could smell something being cooked somewhere nearby. Pulling the coral dress around his waist, Ichigo bent his head as he exited the cosy tent into the warmth of the morning sun. Byakuya was seated on a rock, slicing something that looked like vegetables into a bubbling pot on a hearth of fire. Nearby, a larger fire roasted several fish on a long stick propped up above the flames. Ichigo felt his stomach growl. He walked over to Byakuya, who was focusing on cooking.

"Good morning." Ichigo ran a hand through his spiky hair.

"Did you rest well?" The Byakuya in this world was just like the one Ichigo was used to; stoic, expressionless and every bit the regal man he was - even while chopping chives and stirring a pot of broth.

"I did, thank you." The teen felt politeness at the tip of his tongue; Byakuya's formality was contagious.

With a slight jerk of his chin, the ebony haired man indicated a bucket of water nearby. "I believe you may want to freshen up before eating."

Ichigo nodded and used the water to wash his face and neck. They ate together in a comfortable silence for a while, and Ichigo tried not to do too much staring. Byakuya seemed to notice his awkwardness, as he seemed to notice everything, right down to the small details like Ichigo picking up most things with his right hand, and his adorable habit of tucking stray locks behind his ear - a slight feminine trait that contributed to his cuteness.

"You live at the royal palace, you say?"

Ichigo looked up from the fish in his hands. "I wouldn't say live, exactly. I'm more of a temporary guest."

Byakuya smirked. "Are you a relative, then?"

"Nah, not even close. We're enemies in my world." Ichigo noted the surprise in the noble's eyes. "I know what you're thinking, but it's true. I'm not from around here, as you've probably guessed. I just got sucked into this world by accident. I was brought to Prince Grimmjow's palace by his General, Renji. Maybe you've heard of him. Anyway, now everyone seems to think I'm some sort of spy from another empire, and Prince Grimmjow kinda wanted to kill me. I tried explaining, but I guess he's still stuck on that spy theory. All I really want is to get home. In one piece, if it's not too much to ask."

The teen muttered the last sentence in a low tone. Byakuya watched him carefully.

"You don't seem dangerous."

Ichigo chuckled. "Coming from you, that means a lot here. But I guess I'm just an outsider. Always have been, always will be."

Byakuya seemed to understand his plight. "The paths of our lives change frequently. It's not about where you end up - either as an outsider or someone who belongs. It's about how you shape your path to fit your life."

Ichigo could feel his eyebrows reaching his hairline. Byakuya liked philosophy. Not that he could say he hadn't seen that coming; as a Shinigami Captain, Byakuya was always nose deep in books and scrolls. Ichigo imagined him reading Shakespeare and shuddered. On the other hand, having Byakuya as a Literature buddy didn't sound like a bad idea.

"Thanks." He said softly, and received a ghost of a smile in return.

After he had helped Byakuya wash up and tidy their camp area, there wasn't much else left to do but talk. Byakuya seemed to have other things on his mind, however. He beckoned for Ichigo to sit beside him. The teen complied, somewhat awkwardly. He'd never been this close to Byakuya before, except in battle. Oh wait - he had. Last night was a perfect reminder of how soft the noble's lips were. Ichigo hadn't realized he was so deeply attracted to men. Did that mean he was gay? Well, time enough to mull over that thought later; Byakuya was leaning close to him, lips a fraction of a space away from Ichigo's own. The teen parted his lips, closing the gap between them and chasing all hesitance away. There was nothing like kissing Byakuya; not that he had much experience overall, but Byakuya was gentle and passionate and there was something about the way he would patiently wait for Ichigo to get accustomed to the feel of his tongue in his mouth. Their kisses weren't rushed. Ichigo decided he liked that.

A whinny sounded close by. Byakuya straightened up, pulling Ichigo closer. His free hand went straight to the hilt of his sword, strapped to the left side of his waist. There were more whinnies and the sound of hoof beats on the ground suggested more than two horses. They had company.

Out of the bushes, a string of horses pulled up, their riders garbed in the familiar royal blue and white of the place. Ichigo felt his heart thudding in his chest. Grimmjow was seated atop the largest horse - a fierce black stallion. He looked surprised and relieved at the same time. Well, at least until he caught sight of Byakuya's arms around Ichigo. His blue eyes narrowed and he seemed to seethe; his fury was practically visible. In a flash, he had his sword at Byakuya's throat. Ichigo was freaked out to notice his blade was exactly the same as Pantera.

"Who are you?" Grimmjow snarled, jumping off his stallion. His sword was still thrust in Byakuya's general direction.

His men surrounded them, swords drawn and ready to fight. Ichigo was roughly grabbed from Byakuya's loose grip and thrust into one of the guards' arms. Hands held his wrists as he tried to steady himself. He looked up into the guard's face and was immensely relieved to see Renji.

"Are you alright, Ichigo?" Renji asked as he checked him over for injuries. "We've been looking for you the entire night!"

"Fine, I'm perfectly fine." Ichigo gave him a grateful smile. To Grimmjow, he pleaded as persuasively as he could. "Please don't hurt Byakuya! He's a friend."

Grimmjow glared at him, sending icy daggers his way. "Byakuya?"

There were cliché gasps all around.

"Byakuya? It can't be!" One guard immediately dropped his sword; it hit the pebbled ground with a clang.

"Prince Grimmjow, it's him!"

Another guard dropped to his knees and fell onto his face in a dead faint. Ichigo couldn't help but feel like he was in a cheesy play. Even Renji was getting into the act, gasping at all the appropriate times and that one guard with the depressed face was theatrically wringing his gauntlet covered hands. Grimmjow and Byakuya were the only ones unfazed.

"Will you shut up and explain this?" Grimmjow ordered, clearly very annoyed.

"It's Prince Byakuya, sir. I have heard tell that he is on a journey over the mountains, travelling from the Zucchini Kingdom." Renji, ever the loyal general, spoke fluidly for the benefit of his Prince. "Sire, the Kuchiki Royal Family is our ally."

Wow, Byakuya was a prince. He'd been making out with pure royalty! Things were looking up.

Grimmjow narrowed his eyes even further, but lowered his sword. Ichigo breathed out a long sigh of relief. There wasn't going to be any bloodshed after all, thank all the gods who were kind enough to lend a hand in that mortifying display.

"If it is as my general says, how will you prove your identity?" Grimmjow had a snooty look on his face, which made Ichigo want to punch him.

However, Byakuya merely unclipped a silver claw-like pin from his long black hair and presented it to Grimmjow with a condescending smile. "This is a Kuchiki heirloom, made from the teeth of a thousand animals and forged with steel in the very smithy's within my palace grounds. It was passed down to me from my father, who achieved it from his great-grandfather, who -"

Grimmjow held up a hand abruptly, rudely interrupting Byakuya's explanation. "Fine. If you will excuse my doubting you earlier Prince Byakuya, I shall take my leave with my possession."

Ichigo blinked.

Byakuya didn't bat an eye. "Your possession, my good sir?"

Ichigo was manhandled out of Renji's grasp into Grimmjow's arms. "Ichigo is mine."

The teen felt his jaw drop; the nerve of the blue haired bastard! He was about to say something to gain a speck of his dignity back, but the crackling tension in the air as palpable. Byakuya and Grimmjow were having a staring match, cool gray eyes meeting defiant blue ones in a fierce battle. Ichigo felt like yelling 'Whoever blinks first is a rotten tomato!' but intelligently kept his mouth shut. The match ended after a minute, where Renji cleared his throat politely and respectfully bowed to both Princes.

"If I may humbly suggest, your Highnesses?" He straightened up with one of his brilliantly persuasive smiles. "It's almost noon. What say we head back to the Castle and get to know each other a little better over some wine?"

The tension seemed to dissipate at the mention of alcohol. Ichigo wrangled his way out of Grimmjow's stern grip and huffed at him angrily. He was still mad at him. Grimmjow was such an insufferable bastard! Ichigo ignored his threatening glare and turned away, heading straight for Renji, who smiled at him reassuringly.

"He rides with me." Grimmjow said loudly, commanding his horse over with a click of his tongue. "Get your ass over here, Ichigo."

Running a hand through his orange hair, Ichigo gritted his teeth and turned back around to face the blue haired prince. Leopards never changed their spots. The saying applied to panthers too, evidently. Renji gave him a gentle squeeze on his shoulder and headed for his own horse. Grimmjow watched as Ichigo sullenly stomped over toward him, bare feet making no sound on the grassy mounds. Cerulean eyes took in the tattered state of his dirty dress, now a darkened, mud-stained coral hue. Grimmjow's eyebrows rose as he noted the scratches on Ichigo's arms and feet, but he made no comment about it. Ichigo stood before him, pouting into the Prince's stallion's face. The horse nickered comfortingly.

"Well, get on." Grimmjow said gruffly, motioning Ichigo to the saddle.

The teen swallowed. He had never ridden a horse before, aside from the time Renji had helped him up on his steed. Grimmjow's stallion was larger. Ichigo had no idea how to mount the horse.

With a small bow, Byakuya was at his side. "If I may, Ichigo?"

Ichigo gladly took his offered hand. The Kuchiki noble held the reins as he guided Ichigo to step onto the stirrups before swinging his other leg over the horse's back. When Ichigo was seated safely, Byakuya held the reins out to Grimmjow with something akin to a smug smile.

"The essential key to being liked, Prince Grimmjow, is to be nice."

Grimmjow snatched the reins from him with a low growl.

Ichigo bit the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing aloud. The infuriated expression on Grimmjow's face was refreshing. At least the death glares weren't directed at him now. The teen hid his smile as Grimmjow slid onto the saddle behind him, arms slipping round his waist to grip the reins with practiced hands. He could still feel the anger radiating off the prince in waves. There was a shrill whistle as Byakuya called for his wolf, which came bounding across the clearing in swift, smooth strides. The horses neighed and champed their bits nervously; the wolf was large and every bit as intimidating as Grimmjow's green fury.

"I have things to do before I leave the forest." Byakuya waved a hand politely at Renji's offer to stay behind and aid him. "Expect my arrival before nightfall."

Renji bowed as low as he could on his horse. "Swift travel, my Lord."

Grimmjow barely waited a second longer to see if Byakuya would be okay on his own. He clicked his tongue to his stallion, making his horse break into a fast trot to the forest path. They started off in the direction of the Castle. They travelled in uncomfortable silence until Grimmjow decided to pick on Ichigo again.

"Have you had enough of your whoring, spy?"

Ichigo felt a vein twitch somewhere on his temple. "Excuse me?"

Grimmjow's voice was sending deep vibrations through his back, where the bare skin his coral dress didn't cover met the Prince's shirt-covered chest directly.

"You know what I mean. Don't pretend like you don't know anything; I'm sure you've had a lot of practice in that, but you don't fool me."

Amber eyes flashed furiously as Ichigo felt his anger start to stir. "Why don't you just quit being such a dick and tell me what your problem is?"

Gloved hands tightening on the reins, Grimmjow growled his reply. "You were whoring yourself out to Byakuya, weren't you? You seem to have a penchant for royalty. What have you done with him? Let him have his hands all over you while you keened like a wanton serving maid? I can see you have that act down pat."

Ichigo gripped a tight handful of the stallion's dark mane, eliciting a pained whinny from the horse. He relaxed his hold, patting the steed's neck apologetically.

"Grimmjow, you're either dense or really stubborn. Like I said, I'm not a spy! Nor am I a whore, a serving girl. If you can't respect me enough to call me by my name, then stop talking to me. I'm not going to answer you."

The Prince seemed unfazed by his short burst of anger. "You have everyone deceived and at your fingertips, but not me. I'll figure out what you really are. And one last thing, Ichigo. I don't take orders from a little whore who doesn't listen to good advice. Now I have to get another dress made for you; look at all the trouble you've caused."

So that was it? Grimmjow was pissed and acting like he had a flagpole up his ass because Ichigo got chased by monsters and ripped his clothes and let himself get molested by Byakuya out of his own free will? It couldn't even count as molestation because Ichigo had allowed him to. He could defend himself just fine against men. But freaky monsters who wanted him for dinner? No way in hell, not without Zangetsu strapped to his back.

"Look, the only reason why I ran into the forest was because I was so mad at you. You're the biggest jerk I've met since the day I was born, and that's not counting Aizen, or that one guy who bullied Chad for being Spanish. I got chased by monsters until I had to climb a fucking tree. I lost my heels and tore this dress, sure, but not on purpose. Byakuya saved me. He shot at the monsters with arrows. I owe him one."

"I see you repaid your debt by sleeping with him." Grimmjow's tone was steely.

Ichigo sighed loudly. "We didn't sleep together, okay? We just made out a little bit. So what? He's a good kisser. And it's not like I'm gonna get pregnant."

Grimmjow scoffed. "You're a little liar, aren't you? What else did you do for him? Lick his boots once you found out he was royalty, too?"

That was the last straw. Ichigo couldn't take it anymore. He badly wanted to punch Grimmjow in the face, but he knew it wouldn't solve anything - only make things worse.

"You know what? Just put me down. I think I can walk from here. I can see the Castle already, and it's still afternoon. No monsters." Ichigo lifted one leg fluidly over the stallion's back, readying to jump off.

Conveniently, the horse broke into a quick canter, thanks to Grimmjow squeezing his knees around its stomach. Ichigo glared at him and looked away sullenly. Of all the Princes he had to stay with, the fairytale had to pick the biggest dick.

"Your Highness? Is everything alright?" Renji asked anxiously, his horse matching Grimmjow's in speed as he rode up beside them.

"We're fine." Grimmjow snapped.

Ichigo ground his teeth and burned holes into the ground as he sorely waited for the ride to be over.

x

Dinner was a relatively tense affair. Ichigo answered everything with curt replies and didn't bother making eye contact with anyone, save for Byakuya, who was silent for the most part. Renji was not present, having gone with other guards for a nightly session at the local tavern in the village. Grimmjow was seated regally on one end of the long table, while Byakuya occupied the other. Ichigo sat somewhere in between, picking at his grilled salmon and boiled potatoes. The food was nothing short of sumptuous, but everything that went into his mouth tasted sour, thanks to the day's happenings. Ichigo ate as fast as it was deemed politely possible, and excused himself from the dining hall. He fled to the library, where he busied himself with a few good books. A servant kindly lighted several candles for him so he could sit in an alcove and read comfortably.

The hours passed before Ichigo felt fatigue catching up with him. He shut the book he had been reading reluctantly and sat gazing at the full moon through the tall French windows. A soft thump sounded as the library doors closed. Ichigo tore his gaze away to meet Grimmjow's hooded eyes in the dim light of the vast library. He didn't bother saying hello, still feeling sore and hurt from the Prince's words. Sliding out of the comfortable armchair, the teen placed the books back where he had found them and made swiftly for the exit. Unfortunately, he still had to pass Grimmjow.

"Where are you going?" Grimmjow grabbed him by the arm.

Ichigo was clothed in a new dress, which he hated - not the dress, but the fact that Grimmjow was still making him wear one instead of a shirt and trousers, like every other sane man in the kingdom. The fabric was soft and silky on his skin, and the material was a lovely satin white. Grimmjow's grip on his arm hurt.

"To bed, if that's still allowed here, your Highness." Ichigo couldn't resist the sarcastic tone in his voice. "Quit being so petty. I'm not going to run away and come back with an army to massacre everyone, alright? And yank that stick out of your butthole; you're seriously cramping my style."

Grimmjow looked amused instead of angry, which wasn't the reaction Ichigo intended to produce. "We have to talk."

"I'm tired." Ichigo pulled away with more force than necessary and turned toward the red carpeted hallway. "Goodnight."

He was yanked back into the library, pressed up against the door as it clicked shut behind his body. Grimmjow held his gaze, blue eyes glinting in the orange candlelight. He looked predatory. Ichigo swallowed, feeling his pulse quicken.

"You are nervous." Grimmjow's voice was low, silky, and dangerous.

"You're an asshole." Ichigo quipped, emotions getting the better of him.

Grimmjow looked like was about to say something, but Ichigo didn't feel kind enough to give him a chance. He pushed the Prince away as hard as he could, hands on his chest. Grimmjow caught his hands with his own.

"Listen to me." He said softly.

"No!" Ichigo startled himself; he hadn't realized how quiet the library was. Still, he couldn't control his anger. It was bubbling up in his throat, overflowing into the words that spilled out of his mouth. "No. I tried reasoning with you, but apparently you like being a dick. You revel in it. You enjoy my discomfort. You like seeing me squirm. You laugh when I'm trying to be serious. You hurt me intentionally, even when I'm being honest. What have I done to you? I wish Renji hadn't brought me here. I wish he'd brought me to Byakuya instead. I wouldn't be treated like some sort of joke. Maybe this fairytale story would turn out better than the shithole it is right now."

Honey brown eyes glared defiantly into Grimmjow's. The Prince could feel the hate rolling off the teen in waves. He was hurt, Grimmjow knew. He understood that. But he couldn't help saying things he knew he would definitely come to regret later. And hearing Byakuya's name roll of Ichigo's tongue so easily; he didn't like it.

"You keep saying things like fairytale and story. How much longer are you trying to deceive yourself? This is real." Grimmjow snarled back. "You're the one living in a dream."

Ichigo shoved him, hard. Grimmjow went back one step, an unfathomable smirk on his face. The teen could feel hot pricks of tears behind his eyes, but he was damned if he was going to let Grimmjow see him cry.

"Had enough?" Ichigo's shoulders heaved with the effort of his ragged breath. "If you hate me so much, then let me go. I'll find someplace else to live. I can find my own way home. I hate it here. I hate you!"

Turning on his heel, the teen wrenched open the library doors and dashed out, running as fast as he could toward the stairs at the end of the hallway. Part of him seethed; he'd said such childish words and acted like a little brat instead of a seventeen year old. But he didn't care. He's said what he'd been feeling at the time, and in a way, it felt worth it. He'd finally gotten it off his chest.

Running up the stairs, he let out a choked sob. The Prince's royal chambers were located at the third floor. Ichigo made a beeline for it. It was only after the bedroom doors slammed shut behind him did he allow himself to cry.

He was homesick. He wanted a little familiarity; this world was only teasing him with the lookalikes of people he knew. They weren't close to him, not the Renji of this world. The Renji he knew was red haired, covered with tattoos, loud, brash and always eager for a fight. This General Renji here was nothing like what he was used to. Ichigo wished hard for something good to happen. He wished with all his might to be able to go home. He wished for things to get better. He wished that Grimmjow would just up and die for convenience's sake.

He figured that with all the shit he'd uncovered, he could be reckless with his wishes; just this once.

x

It was late into the night - or early into the morning, whichever floats your boat - when Ichigo awoke. He was being carried. The person was gentle with him, like he was a little child. It reminded him of the time when he was little, and his mother would put him to bed and tuck him under the covers. His mother had smelled of flowers, but this person smelled of spice and something citrusy. Ichigo turned and buried his face into the person's chest, seeking warmth. He was laid on something soft; most likely the bed and nimble hands deftly loosened the complicated ribbons on his satin dress. His soft shoes were tugged off next, and a hand gently stroked the hair from his forehead. A warm wet cloth slid over his feet, and a soothing, jelly-like liquid was slathered over his grazed feet. Ichigo murmured incoherently and frowned as his legs were lifted. Warm, comfy blankets were pulled over him and a soft, bouncy pillow was adjusted beneath his head. Honey brown eyes blinked open blearily, just in time to catch blue hair - almost silver in the moonlight - before lips claimed his own in a chaste kiss.

Shocked into consciousness, Ichigo gasped. Grimmjow took the opportunity to slip his tongue into his mouth, one hand gently sliding under Ichigo's head to tilt his neck upward. He deepened the kiss, taking all the breath out of Ichigo as he did so. The teen released a soft moan, hands coming up to slide over Grimmjow's broad, muscular shoulders and trail down his back. Ichigo blinked; his eyes were sleep-swollen and reddened from all the crying, but he could still make out Grimmjow's face in the pale light from the window.

"I'm sorry." Grimmjow whispered, his voice soft and loving. "I didn't mean to say those things."

He kissed Ichigo's lips, catching his chin in a tender grasp to trail his lips over the teen's cheek to his neck. Ichigo placed his hands on the Prince's shoulders, squirming under the intensity of Grimmjow's words, despite his brain barely registering them. His hands were brought to Grimmjow's lips, his knuckles kissed tenderly. There was something strangely romantic about being treated so delicately by Grimmjow. It was a stark contrast to his previous behaviour. Ichigo hadn't the foggiest how to react save for blushing like an absolute virgin - which he was, truthfully.

Grimmjow continued speaking, his words poignant and begging for forgiveness. "I know you don't feel like you're welcome here, but I want you to know that you're wanted. I want you to stay. You don't have to leave. I'll do my best to help you get home."

Ichigo melted into Grimmjow's arms, leaning up as he used the pillows as leverage to pull the Prince into another kiss. Grimmjow's tongue slipped over his with practiced ease, slicking and sliding into his mouth. He was exhausted, his mind so tired; he didn't have the strength to marvel at the strangeness of it all. Grimmjow's fingers brushed over his eyelids, lulling him back to the throes of sleep.

x

Ichigo awoke to find himself snuggled into a warm body. There were bare arms around his upper torso, and someone was breathing gently into his hair. The teen took his time registering the owner of the bedchambers. Realization hit him, chasing away the remnants of sleep clouding his mind. Ichigo looked up to see Grimmjow's peaceful expression. The Prince looked handsome even while asleep. Ichigo snuggled closer, nuzzling Grimmjow's cheek with his nose. He placed a soft kiss at the edge of Grimmjow's lips. About to pull away, Ichigo's breath hitched as Grimmjow's arms tightened around him, pulling him even closer under the covers. The Prince breathed evenly, a sure sign he was deeply asleep.

Ichigo watched him as he mulled over the thoughts in his fully awakened mind. Grimmjow had apologized to him last night. It was surprising; something so out of character made Ichigo doubt his knowledge of how well he knew the Espada.

No.

Here, Grimmjow was a Prince.

He'd been mean to Ichigo because he was afraid for his safety; at least that was how Ichigo saw it. And something else besides; he hadn't liked it when Byakuya or Renji were around him. Possessiveness came to mind, but Ichigo obliviously brushed that thought aside. He liked Grimmjow, was willing enough to be friends in this world so long as there wasn't any fighting, but something was niggling him. It felt like his instinct knew something was going to go wrong somewhere. Then there was the problem about getting out of this Fairyland. The teenager knew it wasn't a dream he was having; he had gone to sleep and woken up multiple times in this world and hadn't gotten back to Karakura so far. He wondered how many more of his friends and Espada he was going to meet in this parallel universe.

Grimmjow heaved a quiet sigh in his sleep. Ichigo smiled as he noted the way Grimmjow's thick eyelashes curled. The bone white mask on his face was absent, as were the blue markings around his eyes. Grimmjow was cute. Ichigo reached up with one finger to tap the tip of his nose gently. Grimmjow's eyebrows dipped as he frowned, then relaxed as he continued sleeping. Ichigo couldn't resist chuckling. Grimmjow was handsome up close. Why hadn't he noticed it before?

Because he'd been too busy trying to dodge Pantera's blade, obviously.

Well, if the Renji here was largely similar in comparison to the Lieutenant he knew, Ichigo supposed Grimmjow would be the same back in his world. Now that he'd seen Grimmjow without his mask, he had a burning desire to peek beneath the covers and check if Grimmjow still had a Hollow hole. Respect for the Prince's privacy warred with his desire to find out, but Ichigo gave in to his curiosity. Slipping his hands beneath the covers, the teen ducked his head down to take a look. He couldn't see shit; there was too much blanket and too little Grimmjow. With an irritated grunt, Ichigo lifted the covers and checked Grimmjow out.

Perfectly sculpted pectorals, a nicely defined six-pack and the firm curve of a rounded ass cheek met his searching gaze. Ichigo swallowed and shook his head violently to clear all dirty thoughts from his brain. There was a good expanse of skin on Grimmjow's stomach, which stretched all the way below to meet blue tufts of pubes. The teen forced his eyes not to look any lower. He hadn't a clue the Prince liked sleeping naked.

"Like what you see?"

Ichigo jumped out of his skin and back into it.

"Whoa! Uh, I was just ..."

Yeah, there was no describing what he had been doing. Ichigo came to terms with that understanding and blushed to the tips of his ears.

"I'm sorry." He pouted. "I was checking if you still had your Hollow hole."

Prince Grimmjow looked stunned. "My ... what?"

"You know, that hole you always have. Whenever I was fighting you, I couldn't stop staring at it. I mean, I know you don't eat things the same way us humans do, but you do eat lesser Hollows and other Arrancar. I figured the spirit particles had to get digested somehow, but how could they if you have such a gaping hole in the middle of your ... you know, down there."

After a moment of awkward silence, Grimmjow felt Ichigo's forehead. "Perhaps you need a little more rest, my sweet."

Sweet. His sweet. Did that mean he was Grimmjow's candy? What else was sweet? Sweet meat? That was actually beef cooked with sugar and cinnamon sticks. Ichigo could feel himself blushing again. "No, I'm fine. Never mind, forget what I said."

Fingers carded through his hair. Ichigo leaned into the touch, his lips curving into a smile as he felt Grimmjow kissing both his eyelids. He was giving in too easily, but this felt great. Being able to spend time with Grimmjow and getting to know him bit by bit was awesome. Double plus because Grimmjow was an amazing kisser. Sliding his arms around Grimmjow's neck, Ichigo pulled him closer, revelling in the feel of larger, warm hands feeling the sides of his body. He kissed the edge of Grimmjow's lips, earning a gentle squeeze on his rear as he did so. Their legs intertwined in a tangled mess of limbs, shifting under the covers.

As Grimmjow ran his fingers through Ichigo's hair, lips brushing over his own, the teen felt a mixture of emotions well up within his chest. Grimmjow was only worried for his safety, nothing more. Was he kissing him because he liked him, or did he just treat anyone who shared the same bed as he did in a similar manner?

"Grimmjow, I ..." Ichigo trailed off, biting at his lower lip as he wondered whether or not to ask.

Blue eyes watched him questioningly.

"I like you." Ichigo said truthfully. "I'm sorry about yelling at you last night. I don't hate you at all. I just wanted you to understand me. I'm sorry."

"There's nothing to be sorry for. It's me who should be saying that." Grimmjow tilted his chin and enticed him into a slow kiss.

Ichigo could feel his heart do a little dance in his ribcage. Kissing Grimmjow felt even better than kissing Byakuya.

x

I couldn't resist and snuck in some cuddling. I figured Ichigo deserved it with all the shit I put him through. Lol!

I'd appreciate it if you could review. ;)