CHAPTER 10

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach...

Onwards...

XOXOXO

"Oh, shut the fuck up already, Shin! Damn!"

Shinji cracked his infamous smirk, but thankfully, went silent. However fortunate the blond's quiet moment was, it didn't last long. After a few seconds had gone by with Grimmjow glaring through the windshield of the car they were driving to command headquarters, Shinji cleared his throat.

"Look, Grimm, all I'm sayin' is, ya might wanna think about taking care of that in the shower 'er somethin'. It's bad when yer desperate enough ta hump yer fuckin' bed, ya know?"

"Shin," Grimmjow growled. He didn't let his eyes leave the road, but his tone of voice was warning enough. "I will kick your ass all over this desert road. Don't tempt me."

"Hey, man! Yer the one who was makin' love ta his mattress an' shit. If ya ask me-"

"Yeah, well, I ain't fuckin' ask you, did I? Now, leave it the fuck alone before I put my foot so far up yer ass, you'll be sneezin' sneaker."

Shinji guffawed from the passenger seat as he clutched the "oh shit" bar overhead as well as his stomach. Grimmjow shook his head. Sometimes his best friend worked his last fucking nerve. There was no reason for the jerk to keep bringing up the previous night, especially since Grimmjow persistently asked him not to. Once he'd grown tired of being polite, though, he'd snapped at the man and demanded that he not talk about it. Like ever again. Not because the situation itself bothered or even embarrassed him, but because every time Shinji talked about it, it made Grimmjow involuntarily relive his frighteningly real dream. He wanted to see Ichigo so badly, he could damned near taste him. He could feel the younger man's skin beneath his fingertips if he closed his eyes long enough, and if he went silent for too long, he could see Ichigo's fiery brown gaze, see his full lips and unearthly bright orange hair. Could hear his husky voice that if used the right way made Grimmjow harder than a coffin nail. He wanted to fuck his boyfriend...and he wanted to do it like last month.

"Alright, Grimm, I won't talk about it anymore. But ya gotta admit, it was funny as hell."

"No, I'm sorry."

"Fuck you, dude. That shit was hilarious. I'm on my way to sleep, and I see you working the hell outta yer bed like it was hot and had a pulse."

"Yer jus' itchin' ta see what my fist tastes like, ain't ya?"

"Yeah, right. Don't go thinkin' I'll be an easy win. That ain't happenin'."

Grimmjow rolled his eyes and ignored the jibe. He just wanted to get this day over with and scratched off his calendar. He had so much that he wanted to do, felt like he had to do, and this whole mission/job was in the way. Not to mention, he had a lot of pent up frustration that was screaming for some type of outlet. He wanted to get laid, he wanted to smoke, he wanted to play his fucking guitar, but he couldn't do any of it, stuck in no man's land, Colombia. They approached the large metal gate housing the command headquarters before Grimmjow pulled to a stop and shut off the car engine. He rotated his shoulders and glared over at his friend.

"Don't piss me off today, Shin. I ain't in the mood."

Shinji scowled at him as he climbed from the vehicle. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. Ya know that's jus' you takin' yer sexual frustration out on me, right?"

Ouch. Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

"Just leave the Ichigo topic alone, alright?"

With that, Grimmjow hopped out of the car and strode over to the huge iron gate. As soon as he stood before the small peek panel, it slid back with a rusty rush of air. He gave the daily password and was granted entrance, a smug grin trying to creep across his face as he realized that the man answering the door, so to speak, was none other than Luis. The irony didn't slip by Grimmjow at all. Luis glared at him, the man's dark eyes promising that the very moment Grimmjow let his guard down, the man would move in for the kill. It just amused the hell out of Grimmjow. Everyday was a new adventure for the two of them, mainly with Grimmjow entertaining himself by Luis's apparent fury and envy. Shinji was two seconds away from kicking the guy's ass on a regular basis, but it wasn't necessary in Grimmjow's opinion. He liked seeing the man so surly and sour since it seemed almost impossible for Luis to grasp the fact that Grimmjow hadn't placed himself in this position, miles away from his own home.

"Good day, Señor," Luis gritted through tightly clenched teeth.

Grimmjow ignored the greeting, but Shinji turned to the dark-haired man with a snide smirk. "How much did it take to get that through yer asshole...Señor?"

Grimmjow had to fight the laughter bubbling in his chest simply because it wasn't professional, and that was his whole reason for being there in the first place. He grabbed Shinji by the arm and pulled the blond away from the sneering Luis. Today wasn't the day for the fur to fly or for the shit to hit the fan. They still had a month to go before Grimmjow was ready to show Luis why he wasn't one to be trifled with. That in mind, he led his best friend into the building of headquarters and waited until they were good and down the stairs to turn to him with a highly amused grin.

"Yer a piece a'shit, ya know that?" he rumbled.

Shinji rocked back on his heels and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his cargo shorts. "Nah, he's just a whining bitch, so it makes me look like the bad guy."

Grimmjow shook his head as he chuckled and resumed the descent into the bowels of the building. Count on Shinji to make a shitty situation a little less miserable. Once they reached the room where the rest of the men were gathered, Grimmjow shut the door and moved to the front near the whiteboard on the wall. Javier's men had come to understand that Grimmjow didn't need to raise his voice to command attention in a room. All he had to do was stand where he was visible to everyone, hands clasped behind his back and expression deadly serious. They learned to shut the fuck up and listen after the first day, when one of their comrades had thought it a good idea to question his authority. A couple broken ribs and a broken nose later gave all of the men a change of heart.

Silence was golden.

Every eye was riveted to him, every soldier standing at attention and awaiting his next orders. If he was a power-hungry individual, the control would have made him arrogant and sloppy, but he was used to not only giving orders, but taking them as well. He took in the room with a large amount of pride. Javier's men had come a long way, and he could take credit for that without his head swelling to epic proportions.

"I won't be with you guys for much longer, but I will say this: I am proud of how far you've all come as a unit. If I didn't think you had the potential, I would've turned away from this position the moment I stepped foot into this room for the first time. However, that ain't to say I'm gonna lighten up on you, either. You're soldiers, and you will continue to behave as soldiers. Is that understood?"

The entire room chorused, "Sì!"

Grimmjow nodded and headed for the door. "Follow me."

XOXOXO

"Do you know what you're getting yourself into?"

"Why's it matter, Ururu? I've gotta do this. If I don't, I won't be able to be at peace with myself, knowing that Di's killer is out there somewhere, living life like everything is OK. It's not OK. He fucked up my life, he fucked up Di's life...I just-"

"You're gonna get yourself killed! Do you think that's what Di Roy would want, Jinta?"

Ururu was his one female friend. He'd known her since he was a toddler, and that was the only reason he allowed her to deliver such a low blow. Not to mention, she was normally more reserved and quiet about his personal life. He supposed this was just one of those things that she wasn't willing to let slide.

"Damn, Ururu. That was fucked up, and you know it," he muttered as he hung his head and swung his legs from the edge of the old river dock they were seated on. "Why ya gotta say somethin' like that?"

"It's the truth," she said a little less aggressively. "I don't want you to get hurt, either, but that's exactly what's going to happen if you go through with what you've got in mind."

"What the hell do you want me to do?!" he snapped.

He was at his wits' end. He knew what Ururu wanted him to do, but he couldn't go through with that plan. Di's killer needed to suffer like they suffered. He needed to feel that all-consuming fear before being overcome with helplessness and ultimately a pain so gripping, it felt like it could cripple him him. Di's killer deserved nothing less. He hadn't earned the privilege to walk the streets as if nothing had even happened, as if he hadn't torn out a piece of Jinta's soul. It wasn't fair, and it wasn't right. Di's killer had a whopping serving of street justice coming his way, even if Jinta had to take matters into his own hands, which was exactly what he planned to do.

"Go to the police, Jinta! They can handle this better than you can!"

"Fuck that!" he spat, the thought alone disgusting him. Jail was way too good for that prick. "What the fuck makes you think I'm gonna let that guy get three hots and a cot everyday? Do you understand what he did, Ururu? Can you?"

The dark-haired girl lowered her head and focused on the waves gently lapping against the wooden posts of the dock. She swung her legs back and forth, her mind clearly busy with what she wanted to say. Jinta rolled right over it.

"I can't let that motherfucker get away with this. He...he..."

He paused and squeezed his eyes shut as he gripped the bridge of his nose. This was getting him nowhere fast. All he kept thinking about was Di falling to the ground, blood all over his white hoodie and fear in his eyes. He kept seeing the tears, kept hearing the raspy breathing as Di's life spilled from his body. But most of all – and what was probably the most fucked up part about the situation – he kept seeing that evil asshole's smug grin. He couldn't get that image out of his head to save his life, no matter how badly he wanted to or how hard he tried. No. There was no way in the fucking world he would lie down and let Di's killer get away with what had been done.

"Jinta," Ururu started, voice soft and unsure. "I can't even say I understand what you're going through...but...I know that what you want to do is wrong. You could get yourself killed. And I know that's not what Di would-"

"STOP FUCKIN' SAYIN' THAT SHIT!" His breathing was ragged, and the tears he'd been fighting were falling freely. "You don't get it! You just don't fuckin' get it! There is nothing in this world that will bring him back, nothing that will change the fact that he's fuckin' gone, Ururu! Let me explain somethin' to you! Di was my best friend for years! And after that, he was the only person I could say that I really...that I really... You know what? Fuck this. I don't have to explain myself to you. I appreciate the concern and all, but this ain't what I wanna hear right now."

Jinta climbed to his feet and stalked off, angrily swiping at the tears on his cheeks. Ururu was his friend and everything, but she couldn't possibly understand what he was going through. She'd never had someone she loved with every breath in her body taken away from her in the blink of an eye before her very eyes. There was no advice that she could give that would change his mind. None.

He didn't bother looking back as he approached his car. She'd asked him to meet her at the dock after noticing that before lunch that day, he'd approached whom everyone in school referred to as a shady character. He was the go-to guy; he had a little bit of everything that anyone could possibly need.

And what he'd needed was a gun.

XOXOXO

"Tats, this don't feel right, man."

Tatsuki nodded as they swung into the less populated area of the harbor. It was littered with abandoned factories and warehouses, and most of the lighting had been knocked out of their lamp posts. She would admit that she didn't like the sensation of dread descending in her gut, but logic kept her driving towards the dark sedan parked next to a warehouse on the waterfront. Her hands had gone clammy and she would have been bouncing her knees up and down had she not been driving. Yet, a small, niggling thought at the back of her mind told her that they weren't making their way to their deaths.

They just couldn't be. It didn't make any sense.

As she parked the truck and shut off the engine, one of the tall, thin figures leaning against the waiting sedan straightened itself out and sauntered towards them. Tatsuki took a deep breath and heard Nel doing the same beside her. They had no idea what they were getting into, and yes, it was scary as fuck. She climbed out of the vehicle, confident in the knowledge that she had a .45 tucked into the waistband of her sweats, and a .380 tucked into her right sock. She listened for the girls in the other truck, and once she heard their footsteps, she paused before the silver-haired woman looking down at her.

"Hey, ladies. How are we tonight?"

Nel cut in before Tatsuki could respond. "Hey, listen. If you're plannin' ta-"

"Nel," Tatsuki growled with a carefully aimed glare in the green-haired woman's direction. "What the fuck, dude?"

"I just wanna know! I like to see the hole I might be fallin' into, thank you very much."

Before anything else could be said, Genevieve's head reared back as she howled with laughter. She went on for a good while too, wiping her eyes free of tears as they slanted with glee.

"Oh, my God, that's fuckin' rich!" She turned to her brother, who was still leaning against the dark sedan, smoking a cigarette. "Hey, Gin! Ya hear that? They think we're gonna off 'em!"

Gin gave that creepy ass closed-mouth grin of his that made his eyes impossible to see, aside from the dark eyelashes fanning his cheeks. Other than that, though, the man didn't say a word.

Nel huffed and put her hands on her hips. "I just don't see the joke. Forgive me for not laughin'."

"Jeez-us, Sea Green! We ain't call ya here fer that. Trust me, if we wanted ya gone..." Genevieve's face went slack with frankness. "You'd be gone."

"Well, damned if that ain't ominous as fuck," Yoruichi said as she sidled into view. "So, if we're not here to get killed, what'd you call us for?"

"Mm," Halibel hummed as she moved next to Nel, which was probably the only thing keeping the green-haired woman quiet for the time being.

Genevieve rocked back on her heels and stuck her hands into the pockets of her long, black raincoat. Her silver hair fluttered on an invisible breeze, which just gave the moment a more dramatic effect.

"We don't really like discussin' business over the phone, ya know? 'Sides, we were doin' you ladies a favor tonight."

"Say what?" Nel snapped.

Tatsuki wanted to step on her foot to shut her the fuck up, but Halibel just slid a little closer to her, which did the job fantastically. Thankfully, Genevieve didn't take offense.

"Let's jus' say that The Man's got eyes everywhere. That guy you were watchin'? Well, he was in the middle of making a U-turn to see what you ladies were up to, and we didn't want him gettin' the drop on ya. We like workin' with you guys, so we'd like ta keep ya 'round fer a little longer."

Shock rippled through Tatsuki like a boulder landing in a pond. What was that supposed to mean?

"Are you...wait, are you telling us-"

"Uh-huh," Genevieve interrupted with a smile. "That guy's far from a fool. He spotted those hideous trucks a mile away."

"Now, wait a minute!" Nel interjected hotly...again.

"Nel, just shut up!" Tatsuki shouted, irritated. She was still flustered over the fact that they'd been spotted. And worse, that they'd almost been canceled. "How did...alright. Let me back up for a second. If you guys already had eyes out there, why send us?"

"Yeah, that's a good fuckin' question," Yoruichi growled, golden eyes hard and narrowed.

It didn't faze the silver-haired Amazon one bit. She continued grinning as though she were delivering a weather report.

"Well, we needed your assistance in drawin' 'im out."

Just as the words left her mouth, another dark sedan was pulling into the area where they were congregated. Tatsuki's eyes went wide as she whirled and stared. That was the same fucking car they'd just seen... She turned back to Genevieve, but the woman was still fucking smiling as though this were an everyday occurrence. Tatsuki went to glance in Gin's direction, but Genevieve gave a minute shake of her head, smile never faltering.

"Ah-ah-ah. Don't do that, girly."

Tatsuki's mind told her to freeze, but her instincts kicked in and, instead, allowed her to swivel in the direction of the man climbing from the newly arrived sedan. As she peered at her friends from the corners of her eyes, she noticed that they too were on edge. It was written all over their tensed shoulders and the way their faces had gone unmistakably poker-like. She wanted to reach for the gun behind her back, but it was too late for that. The man was already heading towards them.

It felt like a Mexican standoff. No one moved, no one breathed, no one even blinked. All eyes were riveted to the petite, dark-haired man confidently moving towards them like a wraith in the shadows. He came to stop a few feet away from the hood of Tatsuki's truck, his hands hanging loosely at his sides as his big, emerald-green eyes swept the party standing before him.

"Why were you watching me?" he asked in such a low monotone that the question more resembled a statement.

No one said anything, but the tension in the air was thicker than a porterhouse steak. Fortunately, Genevieve stepped forward, easygoing smile still in place.

"I'm sorry, Sir. I can't say that I know what yer talkin' about."

"I have no tolerance for lies."

This was a bad situation at best, dire at worst. What the hell were they supposed to do from here? Why had things gone so horribly wrong? Tatsuki only refrained from fidgeting in place because she was damned near paralyzed with fear. This man was no one they wanted to fuck with. Not even a little bit. But here they were, caught in the man's unrelenting gaze. Tatsuki had no doubt in her mind that the man was carrying too.

"Ah, now, don't be thatta way," Genevieve chuckled. How the fuck could she be so damned calm at a time like this? So goddamned carefree? "Why don't ya tell me what's goin' on?"

Before anyone could say another word, the man had a nine millimeter pointed in Genevieve's direction, its aim solely for her heart. That wiped the smile off her face.

"As I stated previously-" the man started.

"Well, well. Didn' yer mama ever tell ya it ain't nice ta point guns at ladies?" a familiar light tenor floated over the loud silence that had fallen. "Tsk, tsk. I thought by the way ya talked, ya mighta had better manners than this."

The man still had his gun pointed at Genevieve, but he wasn't a dummy. Gin had a slender arm wrapped securely around the guy's neck and a big ass Desert Eagle pressed to the guy's temple. Tatsuki still couldn't breathe, but her heart was beating so fast, she thought it would explode, aaaaaany second now.

"You are one feisty, little motherfucker, ya know that?" Genevieve said, smile long gone and ice blue eyes slitted apart.

Tatsuki was thinking that maybe she didn't like guns being pointed at her too much.

"Now, now, 'Vieve. We got a job ta do. Matter fact, there's his ride," Gin said.

It was astonishing, really. Gin had never turned his head to look for the car that was now approaching them, but somehow, he'd known. She hadn't even noticed it, and she was facing the damned thing. It turned out to be a black town car, and it rolled to a stop between the girls' trucks. She watched breathless as the driver jumped from the front seat of the vehicle and jogged around to the back passenger door, where he opened it and stood aside, one hand behind his back. Another suspenseful moment passed before two, hulking men climbed out of the vehicle, guns in hand. They stood on either side of the open door, waiting until a man Tatsuki had only ever heard about, gracefully unfolded himself from the car. The man fixed the lapels of his tan, crisply tailored suit, then, adjusted the brown tie around his neck before moving in their direction, flanked by the huge bodyguards.

"Ya might wanna put that down 'fore ya get any bright ideas. Boss don't wantcha dead jus' yet, an' that's jus' what you'll be if ya make any funny moves," Gin said quietly into the shorter man's ear.

The man's face never changed as he lowered the gun, nice and slow, before letting it hit the ground. Gin kicked it towards the bodyguards, and one of them stooped to retrieve it. Javier Yasutora strolled to a stop in front of Gin and his hostage before cracking a friendly grin.

"How are you this evening, Ulquiorra?"

Of course, the guy didn't say anything. Hell, Tatsuki didn't even think the man was breathing. His glare, however, was deadly as cyanide. Yet, it didn't bother Javier one bit; he just continued addressing the man with heavily accented English.

"We'll be taking a ride, yes? I have a few things I need to discuss with you."

Still, the shorter man said nothing. His green eyes merely glinted with what he was really feeling, which had to be a shitload of malice. Tatsuki didn't think it could be anything else.

Javier snapped the fingers of his right hand, and the two bodyguards lowered their weapons as Gin handed the man over. He didn't lower his gun, though, which was probably a good thing. The look on the guy's face spoke volumes of what he wanted to do to the lot of them.

"Aizen will want answers," he finally deadpanned.

Javier grinned some more as he nodded. "And you will deliver them."

As soon as the words left his mouth, one of the bodyguards planted a beefy-looking elbow into the smaller man's stomach, making him pitch forward, doubled over in pain. Javier bent to eye level with him, charming grin never fading.

"I can't promise what state you'll be in, however."

That said, Javier straightened and turned to Tatsuki and the rest of the girls.

"Thank you, mis amigas. Expect payment in your accounts by the morning. Gin, Genevieve, come with me, please."

Tatsuki didn't know what to say as she watched Gin meander over to the sedan that had originally been on the scene. Genevieve's wide smirk was back as she turned to them.

"You ladies have a good night, alright? And thanks again!"

After that, she followed her brother to the car and folded herself inside. All vehicles started up and rolled away, leaving Tatsuki and the rest of the girls wondering what the fuck had just happened.

XOXOXO

He hated this office with such a passion, it was almost scary. But when he thought about it, he realized it was more annoying than anything. Being summoned by their leader was equivalent to standing before a judge during a trial that was guaranteed to result in a guilty verdict. The looks the brunet gave Tousen while interrogating him were nothing short of terrifying and unpredictable.

"Have there been anymore incidents?"

Tousen shook his head and clasped his hands together behind his back to keep from fidgeting. Thankfully, the string of sudden robberies had died down. If they hadn't, Tousen was positive that this meeting would have been a lot different.

"That's good. What about the ones who were in charge of the operations?"

"You mean the guys that ran the trap houses?"

"If you prefer to speak in layman's terms, then yes. That's what I mean. What happened to them? Were they properly disciplined?"

"Yes, Sir."

Aizen's idea of discipline started with "D" and ended with "EATH." There was never any middle ground for their leader, but Tousen supposed the man had his reasons. However, he could say that he was lucky. Or maybe Aizen just had other plans for him. The thought made his blood run cold and his hands go clammy. He barely suppressed a shudder as he focused on the intimidating man seated behind a desk before him.

"I want it to stay that way, Tousen. Anymore slip-ups, and I won't be willing to be so patient with you any longer."

Tousen quietly exhaled a breath and closed his eyes. The words hit him like a bullet to the gut. He nodded and opened his eyes to meet his leader's intense gaze.

"I got it."

He left the office without another word passing between them. Aizen's words had come in loud and clear, and frankly, it left Tousen a bit rankled. He wanted to cause some major damage. He had a feeling all of those robberies stemmed from what he'd done to that bastard G and his little shadow. But it was OK. He had a plan that would settle the score once and for all. As he made it to the front of the building, he pulled out his cell phone and called his informant. He wanted to get this show on the road.

XOXOXO

Ichigo lay on his back, staring at the tiled ceiling, head spinning and body tingling. He was high on a Molly, apparently, but it still didn't keep a wave of disgust from crashing over him. Sure, he'd thought he, Shuuhei and Renji were friends, but after a stunt like this, he didn't know what to believe anymore. Renji was still staring at him in amusement, and Ichigo still had his hand wrapped around the red head's hefty equipment. He wanted to let go, but his body had a mind of its own at the moment. It was almost embarrassing.

He swallowed a few times, his throat parched beyond belief. What should he do? He wanted to tell the two to stop and that he wasn't ready for what was going on. He wanted to get up and leave the room. There were plenty more things that he wanted, but he just couldn't get the words to leave his mouth. So, he lay still and continued to stare at the ceiling. His body was hot, damned near feverish, and his heart was racing. Everything was super sensitive, so he twitched when a pair of rough hands ran up his exposed thighs. He managed to lower his eyes and found Shuuhei grinning up at him, dark gaze twinkling with whatever he was influenced by at the time.

"I take it that felt good, huh?" the man asked.

Ichigo frowned and turned his stare back to the ceiling. However, before he could drift away inside of his own mind, Renji's hands were on his sides, the red head's lips blazing a trail down his neck.

"You OK, Ichigo?"

Oh, now he asks?

"No, not really," he slurred, glad that he could speak what he was actually thinking for a change. "I don't like this."

Renji pulled back and gave him a strange look. Ichigo thought he understood why the taller man was eyeing him that way, but when Renji spoke again, his thoughts were dashed.

"Why ya look like that?"

Ichigo drifted anyway. The music from outside of the room seemed to seep between the cracks of the door, the lyrics making him overly emotional. Everything was happening too quickly. He felt like shit because Grimmjow had just died, and here he was, messing around with two other guys. It was too much like a betrayal in his eyes. And then the song that was playing just added to his misery.

Why do you go where I can't follow?
I hate to watch you fall apart
Oh, why must you bear this burden alone?
Oh, you know it breaks my heart...
Oh, you know it breaks my heart...

Butch Clancy had turned Amy Kuney's song, "Where I Can't Follow" into a dubstep track, and the words were killing him none too softly. He wanted to roll over and die. It seemed like every emotion possible was coursing its way through him, more powerful than anything he'd ever felt in his life. He missed Grimmjow. He wanted to see him, wanted to talk to him, wanted to be with him. But he couldn't.

"Hey, c'mon, don't do that," Renji said gently.

Ichigo turned to him in confusion. What was he talking about? His question was immediately answered when Renji's hand came up to his face, and his thumb swiped across Ichigo's cheek. The moisture on the digit surprised Ichigo. What the hell was going on with his body? He hated being so out of control of his emotions and actions.

Shuuhei climbed onto the bed beside Ichigo, a slight frown marring his brow. "We're not gonna force you, Ichigo. We just thought you needed to loosen up and have a good time, ya know?"

Renji nodded his agreement, and Ichigo covered his face with his hands, trying to get himself together. Maybe they weren't so bad, after all. He took a few deep breaths and nodded in return.

"Thanks. I just...I don't think I'm ready for this right now."

"That's cool," Shuuhei stated. "You're our boy, ya know? We just wanted you to have fun."

Ichigo nodded again and slowly sat up. The room spun out of control, so he flopped back and shut his eyes.

"Holy shit, I think I'm gonna puke."

"Dude..." Renji uttered as he quickly backed away, lower half still exposed.

Ichigo was grateful. At least the movement gave him a chance to let go of the red head's ridiculous length. He grinned through the Olympics taking place in his stomach. He was almost certain that Molly didn't agree with him at all.

"I might be alright."

"I hope so," Renji grunted. "Ya need help gettin' ta the bathroom?"

"Nah, it's goin' away. Thanks, though."

They went silent for a while, Ichigo's mind running through what could have occurred had that song not been playing. Sure, he was high as a kite, and sure, he didn't have total control over his body, but the emotional aspect of the situation had seemed to bring everything into perspective. Now, he just wanted to go home.

"Can someone take me home? I just wanna sleep this off."

Shuuhei was the first on his feet. He leaned over Ichigo and peered down into his eyes with his signature grin. "I gotcha. Think you can get up?"

"Maybe. ...But I wouldn't bet on it yet."

Renji chuckled beside him, vibrating the bed with his deep voice. Ichigo was helpless to resist joining the red head in laughter. It all just felt so surreal. Like a dream. After he quieted down, a serious thought occurred to him.

"If you dipshits ever put anything else in my drink aside from alcohol again, I will personally fuck you up."

The two cracked up at that. Ichigo grinned, glad that the scene hadn't gotten ugly. He was just looking forward to getting off this bed and crashing into his. He'd probably sleep for a week, but that was fine. Besides, he could really use the rest.

After a half hour dragged by, Ichigo finally felt like he was able to climb to his feet (with Shuuhei's assistance, of course) and shuffle over to the door of the room. The walk to Shuuhei's car was a little blurry, but Ichigo remembered passing his car keys to Renji so the man could follow them. Ichigo really didn't want to have a reason to return to the warehouse any time soon, even though the trio had remained cordial.

The last thing he recalled was falling onto his bed and knocking out instantly.

XxxxxxX

"Get the hell away from my bed!"

Shiro grinned down at him as he held Ichigo's blanket in his hands. Ichigo had been comfortable in bed with no plans of getting up any time soon, until his door had been thrown open with enough force to bang against the wall. His brother had strolled in, teeth showing in his idiotic smirk before he'd snatched away Ichigo's blanket, declaring it was time for him to knock the mold off his ass.

"Nah, King. Ya been in bed all day. When ya gonna get up?"

"I was thinking some time tomorrow or the day after, if you don't mind," Ichigo grunted as he rolled onto his side.

He had a headache painful enough to bring about world peace, and his mouth was so dry, his tongue kept sticking to its roof. He was still exhausted, though, which was the only reason he hadn't climbed out of bed earlier when his stomach was growling like a lawn mower. He didn't want to move. He just wanted to sleep. He tucked his head beneath his pillow, but Shiro snatched that away too.

"What?! Like I'll let that happen! Get yer ass up, King!"

"Shiro! Man, damn! You're such a pain in the ass!"

"Haha! I know, right? C'mon, I made dinner."

Dinner sounded really good at the moment, actually, but sleep sounded a little better. Ichigo weighed his options. He could lie in bed some more and run the risk of his twin pestering him out of his sanity, or he could actually get up and fill his belly. Ichigo sighed and carefully sat up, swinging his legs over the side of his bed. Shiro would never let him sleep after going as far as waking him up and holding his blanket and pillow hostage.

"Fuck," he grunted as he stood.

He stretched his arms over his head, his spine realigning itself as he gave a loud yawn. He didn't have class until the next morning and had been looking forward to spending his day off lazing around. Oh, well. He shuffled into the kitchen, his gut grumbling appreciatively at the delicious smell wafting throughout the apartment. He found Shiro standing at the stove, stirring a wooden spoon around a pot of pasta. Ichigo went and stood behind him, glancing over a pale shoulder.

"What smells so good?"

"Mom's pasta and vodka sauce recipe. I made that chicken she used to make too."

"Nice!"

The chicken Shiro was talking about had been their mom's famous dish. She used to cut up red and yellow peppers, fresh garlic cloves, cilantro, and a red onion, mix it all together in a dish with lemon juice and olive oil, then spread it over boneless chicken breasts. After that, she'd top it off by adding a layer of freshly grated Parmesan cheese. She would cover the pan with foil before sitting it in the oven for around forty-five minutes, and what came out was Heaven on Earth. Ichigo nodded as he eyed the covered pan on the stove. He was almost glad Shiro had gotten him out of bed. He went to take a seat at the table, but Shiro scowled over his shoulder at him.

"Go take a shower, King! Ya smell like an after party."

Ichigo grinned and rolled his eyes as he trudged out of the kitchen. "Fuck you, dude."

A shower actually sounded good.

XxxxxxX

Fifteen minutes later saw him at the table, devouring the meal Shiro had prepared. It was absolutely delicious. He hadn't been able to say more than "thanks for the food" since his plate had been set before him. He knew Shiro was giving him that wide, amused smirk, but Ichigo didn't even care. There was a celebration going on in his stomach that had him a little preoccupied. Finally, once his plate was clean, he sat back and rubbed his belly.

"Good?" Shiro asked as he pushed his own empty plate aside.

"Fuck yes. You know it's good. When'd you learn how to cook?"

His albino twin actually blushed and averted his eyes. "None a'yer biz, King. Anyway...what happened last night? Ya never told me how the party was; ya jus' came in an' passed out in bed."

Ichigo sighed. He should've known Shiro had an ulterior motive.

"Nothing special, really. Just got a little too drunk."

"That so?"

"Mmhmm."

"King, ya think I'm dumb?"

"God, Shiro. Can't ya just leave it alone? I made it home, right?"

His brother went quiet, but Ichigo knew it was only a matter of time before he had something else to say. While Ichigo waited, he went to the refrigerator and poured himself a glass of water. He didn't think his gut could handle any kind of juice or soda at the moment. As soon as the glass was lifted to his lips, Shiro swiveled in his seat to face him.

"I don' like that yer keepin' shit from me, King. What if somethin' happens because of whatever went down at that party? How'm I 'sposed ta know what ta do?"

Ichigo wanted to be annoyed, but he couldn't. Shiro was only concerned for him. Ichigo sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as he squeezed his eyes shut. What would Shiro say once Ichigo told him the truth? He'd probably be ready to kill both Shuuhei and Renji.

"They kinda gave me a Molly," he mumbled.

Shiro was instantly on his feet. "What?!"

"Calm down. It wasn't that bad."

"Are you stupid or somethin'? What else did they do? An' you better not fuckin' lie ta me, King! I swear ta God!"

"Jesus Christ, Shiro! What the hell is wrong with you? I'm not a kid, you know!"

"What's wrong with me?! What's wrong with you?! I told ya not ta fuckin' go ta that stupid ass party!" Shiro stalked over and got right up in Ichigo's personal space. "What else did they do?" he growled.

Ichigo scowled at his brother. Shiro was definitely overreacting.

"Shiro, it really doesn't ma-"

"KING! IT DOES FUCKIN' MATTER! YOU'RE MY GODDAMNED BROTHER!"

Ichigo snapped his mouth shut and stared at his twin. He could see an unnatural fear in Shiro's eyes, and it made Ichigo feel guilty for being irritated. He had to remember that Shiro had been abandoned by Shinji not too long ago, and he was more than likely afraid to lose someone else close to him.

"If I tell you what they did, you're gonna wanna fight them, and it's really not that serious. I already chewed them out for what they did."

Shiro pressed his lips together, the look in his strange eyes broadcasting loud and clear.

"Fine. They put a Molly in my drink, and Shuuhei gave me head while I was high. Happy now?"

The expression on his brother's face was scary. Ichigo closed the gap between them and put his arms around Shiro to keep him in place.

"Please don't make a big deal about this. I know what they did was fucked up, but I really don't plan to hang out with them anymore. I'm fine. Nothing other than what I told you happened. Just let this go," he murmured.

Shiro's shoulders trembled as he took a deep breath. "How can you say somethin' like that? They were tryna-"

"I don't think they were trying to go that far. I mean, they probably would have if I wanted to, but when I told them no, they stopped."

"But they drugged you!"

Ichigo didn't know what to say to make the situation seem less severe than it was. He knew it was bad, and trying to make light of it was just as bad, but what could he do? It had already happened, and there was nothing he could do about it now. He couldn't see himself calling the cops, either. He sighed.

"It's over. I'm not kicking it with them anymore, so don't worry about it. Alright?"

Shiro nodded against his shoulder, his voice muffled when he spoke. "Fine. Only if ya promise not ta see those assholes again."

"Deal."

Shiro put his arms around Ichigo and hugged him. This was a rare moment for the two. Sure, they loved one another unconditionally, but they were never affectionate and serious about it. They played around a lot, which had started a lot of rumors, but that was as far as it went. Ichigo held onto his brother and closed his eyes. He felt bad for him. Shinji had royally fucked Shiro over by leaving him without even telling him where he was going. It wasn't the same as Ichigo's situation, where his lover had died. Shinji had made a choice, and that choice hadn't included Shiro.

Shiro was the first to pull out of the hug. "I need a drink," he grumbled before walking away.

Ichigo chuckled as he followed behind him. He could go for one himself. At least this time, he wouldn't have to worry about it being laced.

XxxxxxX

Two Weeks Later

Ichigo left the University building with a scowl. He had enough homework to last him the rest of the week, and he was so not looking forward to it. He sucked his teeth as he rooted through his jeans pocket for his car keys. He was exhausted. He really didn't want to attribute the fatigue to the abnormal amount of stress he was under, or the depression that had hit him hard again after the night he'd partied with Shuuhei and Renji, but there was no getting around it. He was missing Grimmjow now more than ever. There was so much he wanted to tell the blue-haired man, so much he wanted to share with him. He sighed as he went to the parking lot beside the school. It was incredibly hard getting used to the man not being around, especially since Ichigo had already gotten comfortable with the idea of being with him for a long time, if not the rest of his life.

Ichigo was about twenty feet from his car, when skidding tires squealed through the lot. His head snapped towards the sound, eyes going wide as a dark green car pulled to a stop right beside him. He didn't even have time to yell before a familiar, brown-skinned man hopped from the vehicle and approached him with a drawn gun. Ichigo's heart started racing as his stomach dropped onto the pavement.

What the fuck?

The man grinned at him, teeth nearly blinding him with their brightness. Ichigo was paralyzed with shock and fear as he watched a man he hadn't seen since Grimmjow's death, slowly stalking towards him.

"What's up, kid? 'Member me?"

Did he... There was no way in the world Ichigo would be able to forget this man's face.

The hand in his pocket finally wrapped around his keys as he tried to edge his way closer to his car without the other man noticing. His heart felt like it was literally in his throat as he kept his eyes glued to the threat in front of him. He couldn't even call anyone. Couldn't scream, couldn't run, couldn't do anything except watch the inevitable occur.

"Ah-ah. I wouldn't do that if I were you. Don't wanna end up like yer boyfriend, right?"

Ichigo froze. The words pissed him off, but even though he was furious, there was nothing he could do. The man had a gun pointed at him, and Ichigo had already been shot once. He wasn't really trying to relive that moment, thanks.

"Better. Why dontcha come with me? Go for a ride, huh?"

Ichigo licked his lips and swallowed the lump in his throat. "I-I don't...I don't think that's a good idea."

The man tilted his head, his grin widening. "Aww, don't be like that. It'll be fun, trust me."

Yeah fucking right. Like hell he'd do that.

"No...I just...I just wanna go home. Please," he whispered.

God, don't choke up now. Don't let fear consume you. Think. Think. THINK.

But he couldn't. Tears were welling up in his eyes as he began to panic. Was this asshole going to shoot him? Was he going to die? He didn't want to die. He wasn't ready. There was so much that he still wanted to do.

Fuck.

"P-please don't shoot me," he stuttered.

The man chuckled and shook his head, his long, dark hair swaying back and forth across his shoulders. His eyes were gleaming with malice as they remained steady on Ichigo's face.

"I won't. Long as you cooperate."

Ichigo glanced around at the surrounding cars. It was still a bit early, so there were no other students in the lot. The one day his professor had been kind enough to let them go a little ahead of time, this shit had to happen. The man waved his gun in a "come here" gesture, but Ichigo still flinched. He would openly admit that he was now terrified of guns.

"Let's go, kid. Don't make me come over there and getcha."

He was trembling, and sweat was forming under his arms, above his top lip and along his brow. What was he supposed to do? If he wanted to live, he would have to listen to this guy. It was the last thing he wanted to do at the moment, but...fuck it all. If it meant staying alive for a little longer, he would do it.

He slowly started creeping over to the man, footsteps heavy and heart drumming against his ribs. He was a good two feet away, when the man's arm lurched forward, snatching Ichigo's wrist. He jumped and almost cried out, but refused to show anymore weakness than he already had. The man used his free hand to frisk Ichigo, pulling Ichigo's cell from his pocket, as well as his car keys. The man shoved the items into his own pockets before grabbing Ichigo by the arm again and leading him over to the green car.

This was it. He was probably heading to his death, and he hadn't even had a chance to say goodbye to anyone. He wanted to break down and cry, but he was a man. If he had to go, he would go with his dignity in tact. When he made it to the passenger side of the man's car, the man stopped him and pulled a pair of handcuffs from his back pocket.

"Let's put these on ya for now. Don't wantcha makin' a fuss."

Ichigo wanted to fight, but he wouldn't risk being shot. He just wouldn't. If there was even a miniscule chance that he would make it out of this with his life, he would do whatever it took. He wanted to see his family again. He wanted to see Karin's baby when it was born. He wanted to be there for his brother.

During Ichigo's mental breakdown, the man snapped the cuffs around Ichigo's wrists, then opened the passenger door. He guided Ichigo inside the car and ran around to the driver's side before peeling out of the lot with another shriek of rubber. Ichigo watched the scenery fly by, wondering what Shiro would do when he noticed Ichigo's prolonged absence. The cops would probably be involved, and then their old man... Ichigo grimaced. He really hated being a burden to his father. That was the reason he'd gone back to school in the first place. He wanted to prove to the older man that he wasn't a failure, that he could do something with his life.

Now, look at him.

Caught up in yet more bullshit.

Hey guys! There's something I need to discuss with ya. Earlier today, someone flamed the hell out of several of my stories: God Amongst Men, Thriller, Untrained Heart, Mix Up, Inferno, Stupid Girl, The Fairy Prince, Lazy Bastard, and Beginner's Luck. Lmao, I don't give a fuck about that part. The part that bothers me is that they used other people's pen names. That's not only rude as fuck, but it's just downright wrong. I'm adding this author's note to let the people whose names were used know that they were being impersonated in a wrongful manner.

MMagnet, Odiemee, Cheeva, PhoenixDiamond, Puppikooky, Misc. Ink, The Petulant Prodigy, and Selphiebunny. I consider these people my friends. Most of them I'm on a first name basis with, and two I'm even writing stories with. I can't believe the gall of whoever the troll was, but I thought it should be known what was going on. I don't know what this person's aim was, but it's not going to keep me from fucking writing or posting on this site. Get a life. If you have a beef with me, come to ME. Stop being a fucking coward. I'm past tired of this bullshit. It's old, and it's fucking lame already. Seriously.

From now on, I'm going to automatically moderate the anonymous reviews to be posted so everyone can see the shit I'm talking about. I can't make this shit up if I tried. Pussies. I mean, you sure talk a lot of shit behind an anonymous mask. I won't respect that shit until you sign in and pop your meaningless junk. Fuck outta here with this shit, man. Grow a spine and THEN come for me. I don't know what people's beef is with me, but I'm pretty sick of the anonymous garbage. Stop filling my inbox with this crap, and stop wasting my fucking time. I'm a grown ass woman, dog. Ain't nobody got time fa dat.

That being said, I just wanted to let those whose names were being abused know what the deal was.

My next update will probably be The Cleaners. Thanks for your patience! And thanks for reading! Have a good one! I know I will! :)