I haven't updated this in what feels like forever... for that, I apologize... I haven't forgotten about Twisted, just had other things on my mind, but I promise this story will see it's end and wont be abandoned.

Anyway. Still not too happy with this chapter. Something just doesn't seem quite how I wanted it, but I give up ^^; Time to move on
So try to enjoy~


The sun was beginning to climb into the sky, lighting the horizon and signaling the beginning of another day. The long shadows cast by tall buildings clung to the chill of the night before but the birds bathed happily in the warm, early morning sun, singing cheerfully to the new day. Somewhere down the street a dog's barking broke the peaceful melody but such were the sounds of civilization.

It had only been a couple of days since the encounter between the city's most renowned and feared men, three killers thought to be two that terrorized the night time streets and had the citizens locking themselves away in fear. The papers still spoke of the uncharacteristically gruesome kill made by the shinigami, the kill that had taken place only a day before the fated encounter, unknown of to all but those involved. The police refused to comment on the most recent murder, only stating that they couldn't find a motive behind the brutality of it.

But there were three people who knew the meaning behind it, the sign and invitation it had been meant to be, and those three had been mauling it over in the lee of their forced and unexpected break from the streets. It made them wonder what would happen next, who would make the next move. Nerves soared and plans were made but neither party knew what the other was going to attempt next and in order to keep their respective cover, daily life would have to resume before their absence was noticed.

A few mere days wasn't long to recover from the vicious wound to his abdomen, a lucky stab from one of the men that turned out to be his opponents, but the man with wild blue hair forced himself to his feet when his feline companion began kneading at his pillow and meowing to be fed. Gingerly making his way to the kitchen, he dug through a cupboard until he found what he was looking for. Twisting the cap to the little white bottle off, Grimmjow downed a half a bottle of painkillers while he re-bandaged himself and got dressed for the day.

With his cat fed and the over the counter drugs beginning to take affect, Grimmjow was back to wondering the streets of this new city he planned to claim for himself with the coming of the sun. He let the welcome rays warm his golden skin and help sooth some of the ache in his mending body as he listened to the city begin to stir. The occasional car passed by but the sidewalks were mostly deserted this early and his walk was peaceful enough.

His pace was relaxed and his grin revealed commercial worthy teeth as he headed in the direction of his favorite little cafe, his hands casually shoved into the pockets of his jeans. He was intent on continuing his game with the orange haired young man that was not as he appeared. Even after learning of the smaller man's true identity, Grimmjow found him intriguing, possibly even more so. He had known there was something a bit different about the young cafe worker he had set his sights on, but never would he have imagined that the orange haired boy would have been a killer, a murder like himself and as if to only make the boy all the more interesting, he kept rather close company with another individual of like mind.

Grimmjow's smirk only grew all the wider as he let his thoughts wonder while his feet carried him across the city. A cunning glint shone in his crystallin gaze, setting the swirling shades of blue alight with a cool, yet heated fire.

He would let the pair known as the shinigami killer think he was far less injured than he was, let them wonder when he'd be back and what he was doing, let them squirm while they waited for his next move and he would enjoy every second of it.

••••••

While it had only been a few days since the encounter with the blue haired man that turned out to be the hollow killer, Ichigo couldn't miss another day of work. No doubt his boss would have given him more time to watch after his injured lover, but he and Shiro still needed money if they wanted to eat.

Shirosaki was healing well and able to get up and move about on his own. He didn't really need to rely on Ichigo's help any longer, though his pale complexion still showcased deep, purplish bruising and the bandaged stab wound across his ribs was still tender. But that was also where Ichigo's dilemma lay; Shiro was up and mobile again.

Toothbrush sticking out of his mouth, Ichigo heaved a sigh and trudged back down the hall toward the bedroom. Standing in the doorway, he smirked at his still sleeping lover. The pale man lay on his uninjured side, facing the doorway and Ichigo, the sheets pulled up under his chin and his ashen hair spread out across the pillows. Ichigo almost hated to wake him but pulled the toothbrush from his mouth anyway. "Shiro, get up. You're going to make me late."

"I's still dark out..." Shiro mumbled tiredly, not even bothering to shift about to look at his more colorful lover or even open his eyes. He was never one for mornings and a few injuries and the threat of a mass murderer on the loose wasn't going to change that.

Ichigo rolled his eyes and walked over to the window in their shared bedroom. Pulling the curtain back, he let the bright, early morning light filter in and splash across the bed and it's occupant. Shiro visibly flinched at the unexpected and unwelcome brightness. Furrowing his brows and refusing to open his eyes, he stuck his tongue out at Ichigo and pulled the blanket over his head while he hissed like the light burned.

Checking the clock, Ichigo put his toothbrush down on the nightstand and prepared for battle, chuckling under his breath at the man's antics. With a smirk that could have rivaled he pale man's own infamously dark one, the orange haired man carefully crawled onto the bed, watching as Shiro's form stiffened under the blankets in preparation of what he could guess was to come.

Hovering over his stubborn lover, still mindful of the stab wound and deep bruising he was recovering from, Ichigo straddled the man's hips and looked down at the blanket wrapped form. "Last chance, Shiro..." His voice carried an amused tone, edging on dark but not cruel.

"Don' ya dare." Shiro muttered sleepily from under the blankets, pulling the edge down just far enough so he could glare up at the more colorful killer. "I's way too early, why don' ya jus let me sleep in like normal?"

"Oh no. I know you way too well to think you wouldn't go after him while I'm gone. You're coming with me." Ichigo rose a single brow, giving his partner an incredulous look. The albino had been practically chomping at the bit, eager to get back on the streets since he had started being able to roll out of bed on his own. There was no convincing Ichigo that the man wouldn't go after the blue haired killer. It was just in Shiro's nature.

"I ain't ganna go after 'im..." Shiro rolled his inverted eyes, his lilting voice sulking as he peeled the sheet further down to expose his bare chest. Pulling his arms up to lock his fingers behind his head, he shifted a bit where he lay pinned to the bed below the more colorful of the two and looked up at Ichigo. Had the subject matter not been so serious, he would have never thought about letting Ichigo straddle him like that without repercussions. But they didn't have time for fun at the moment.

"You're terrible at lying." Ichigo deadpanned, staring down at him.

Shiro curled his lip and huffed an annoyed breath. "No I ain't. I jus' don' like lyin' to ya, and-"

Before he could continue his retort, Ichigo began again, attempting to talk some sense into the man, which wasn't always an easy task. "Besides, it's not smart for us to split up right now. We work better as a pair. It'd be bad for him to find and corner either of us and you're not even back up to full strength..."

"Ya know, jus' coz he got me once don' mean it's ganna happen again." The albino raised a single brow at his lover, not at all happy about anyone, let alone Ichigo, thinking that he couldn't handle himself. "He caught us off guard las' time but I fully intend ta return the favor."

Ichigo sighed and hung his head as looked down at the man pinned below him, recognizing the defensive anger for what it was. "I don't want to see you get hurt again, Shiro... but if you wont do it for your own safety, then come with me for mine."

Shiro didn't say anything but his ashen brows furrowed as he pulled his hands from behind his head and rested them upon Ichigo's denim clad thighs in a soft touch. His golden irises bright and burning in the early morning light flooding through the window, he looked up to match Ichigo's gaze.

"He knows where I work, Shiro..." Ichigo continued, seeing that the albino was about to give in and agree to accompany him. "He was visiting me almost every morning...what's to stop him from coming in while you're-"

A quick, protective sneer flashed across Shiro's features while Ichigo spoke. He quickly surged up, ignoring the protesting in his side from the quick movement, and cut Ichigo off with a possessive kiss. "I'll go wit ya. Get offa me so I can get dressed." He whispered against pink lips.

"Thank you." Ichigo wrapped the colorless man in a quick hug before he carefully climbed off. Grabbing his toothbrush from the nightstand, he left the room to return to getting ready for work, Shiro's grumbling following him all the way down the hall.

It didn't take long for the albino to ready for the day, slipping into a pair of loose jeans and t-shirt, clothing that wouldn't rub against his wounds too much. He couldn't hide the deep bruise across his jaw and cheekbone, earned from a solid punch to the face, but he left his long, white hair down to detract from it and hopefully draw less attention to himself. Before long, he was sitting in the passenger seat of Ichigo's car, unhappy but unprotesting about being up and watching the sun climb higher in the sky through the window as the city rolled by.

"It wont be that bad." Ichigo said as he parked the car, smirking over at his sulking passenger. "It'll only be for a couple hours."

"Ya play dirty, ya know tha'?" Shiro asked him, climbing out of the car and plastering a scowl onto his normally amused features. He directed the look over the car's top at Ichigo but couldn't hold the expression as Ichigo grinned back at him. He rolled his inverted eyes as a slight grin quirked at the corner of his colorless lips.

"Yeah, I know." Ichigo said cheerily enough, his tone pleased and a bit relieved. He rounded the car and grabbed Shiro's hand, leading the way toward the cafe. "Come on, don't be angry with me... I'll buy you breakfast."

"Tch. Ya better." Shiro smirked at the peace offering, not that he was really angry or ever could be, but Ichigo knew that too. He allowed himself to be pulled through the front door and toward the counter, happy to see it didn't seem too busy just yet and that the few guests within still looked half asleep.

Ichigo hurriedly clocked in and didn't bother asking what his lover would want for food as he put in the man's order. They knew each other well enough that he already knew exactly what Shiro preferred and would likely order. Casting his vision around to see if his unwanted guest would be sitting in his usual booth by the window, Ichigo was relieved when nothing blue stood out in the quiet cafe.

"Oh, Ichigo! It's good to see you back." The orange haired man's boss walked through the swinging doors that led to the back of the cafe, sending a friendly greeting and smile to his employee. He turned toward Shiro as he neared Ichigo, his intent to greet the albino as well but his smile faltered slightly. "Dear lord, whatever happened to your face?"

Shiro lifted an ashen brow at the man, his lip curling slightly. As if he didn't realize the bruising stood out terribly against his unnaturally pale skin already... the older man just had to point it out. "The reason Ichi missed the past few days, tha's wha' happened."

"Ahh yes, Ichigo said you had hurt yourself." The eccentric man hid a sly smile but anyone who knew him was used to it and thought nothing of it, that was just the way Urahara was. "I'm happy you are doing better."

Shiro grumbled to himself, huffing an annoyed breath. "Yeah... Thanks."

The man leaned closer as he inspected the deep bruising marring Shiro's pale features. The albino leaned away, his inverted eyes darting over to his lover for a moment. One reason he hated tagging along or visiting Ichigo while he was at work; his boss was a bit on the odd side and always made Shiro wary, like his secret was about to be discovered even though there was no possible way the elder man could know their secret.

"Did you hit him, Ichigo?" The young man's boss turned to look at Ichigo, his grey eyes bright under his strange hat.

"What? No!" Ichigo gaped at his boss before he forced himself to regain his composure. He shook his head at the very thought, unable to wrap his mind around ever hitting his lover. "Why would you even think that? He was in an accident."

Ichigo's boss gave them a curious and slightly skeptical look and Shiro rolled his strange eyes, the bell to the door jingling quietly in the background. "Air bag." The albino said in his lilting voice, hoping to drag the attention away from the fact that the bruising looked exactly like what it was; a hard hit to the face. The knuckle prints were even visible if you looked closely enough.

"Ahh, I see. Lucky you weren't injured worse, than~" Urahara sang, straightening away from his inspection. Of course he couldn't see what lay hidden beneath the pale man's clothing and both of the younger men were content with letting him think it was only some bruising. Genuine curiosity shone in his eyes as he glanced back to his employee, giving the albino a bit of the space he seemed fond of. "How did you get to work this morning then, Ichigo?"

"I drove. It, uh, wasn't my car." Ichigo mentally cursed himself for not having thought this through before they had left. They should have gone over what they would tell people if they were questioned. They should have had an alibi ready. It was an oversight on his part and he fully planned to never make that mistake again. As it was now, he scrambled for answers to the questions his ever curious employer asked, doing remarkably well at spinning a tale on the fly and keeping his calm, confident facade.

Behind where Ichigo and Shiro stood, the more colorful's boss facing them, footsteps approached but no one paid much attention. They were in a public cafe, after all. Shiro was the first take notice as a stifling aura seemed to weigh down upon them, sounding alarm bells off in his mind. He stiffened as his senses told him another predator, another killer, had just entered his space. His hand automatically edged toward the back of his pants where his dagger was secured in it's sheath and hidden below his shirt.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." A low voice rumbled, hardly making any sound at all but Shiro caught it and he paused, a sneer forming on his features. The bastard was right though, they were in a much too public place for him to draw his weapon.

"It was my car." The man said with a sinful grin, his deep voice much louder so that Ichigo and his boss would hear as well this time.

Ichigo's eyes widened at the deep, growling tone, a voice he would never forget. He jolted slightly but he recovered well and nodded, like they had been expecting the blue haired man he know knew stood behind him. "Yeah, they were lucky it was his vehicle, too. If they had been in my little car..." Shaking his head, Ichigo let his voice trail off like it was unthinkable.

"Oh dear...well I'm relieved to see you three relatively in one piece." Urahara glanced up at the bigger bluenette, un-noticing of the hostility simmering in the air between the three. "I knew you must have known Ichigo, with the way you two talked every morning. Guess I know why one of my regulars were absent for the past few days as well."

With a sly wink, the older gentleman turned and disappeared back through the swinging doors of his cafe to continue working. Shiro curled his lip and issued a quiet snarl at his parting comment, his jealous anger rearing it's head. At his side, Ichigo gently nudged him with his elbow, giving him a knowing look that told the albino to ignore the older man's comment.

Turning to finally face the blue haired killer, Ichigo swallowed and looked up at him before he edged back behind the counter. He had to get to work now that he had showed up and he really wasn't surprised that Grimmjow had made an appearance but he certainly hadn't been prepared for the shock all the same. The orange haired male and Shiro watched as the bigger man gave a cocky, predatory grin and turned toward his usual booth in the corner by the window.

"C'mon, no need to blow our cover now while Ichigo gets to work." He said through a grin as he walked away. He gave the albino a friendly pat on the shoulder on the way by.

"Don' ya dare touch 'im again." Shiro growled out quietly, but he took the hint and slowly trailed behind the man, turning to glance back at Ichigo over his shoulder. They held an entire conversation in that single look and the albino's liquid gold eyes simmered as they panned back over to watch their rival slide into the booth's bench style seat. He plastered his classic, slightly unhinged smirk onto his startling features and confidently joined the other man.

The two sat in silence a moment, taking each other in, studying and sizing the other up like a predator does it's prey. If Grimmjow had heard the albino's low warning, he said nothing about it. After that short moment had passed, the bigger man leaned back in his seat, his movements easy and unworried, like they were the best of friends and not cold blooded killers intent on each other's destruction. "I'm sure Ichigo has told you who I am, but I don't think he ever mentioned you."

The albino curled his lip slightly, knowing the words were meant to rile him up and stir his jealousy. Rather than give in to that possessive rage simmering in his gut, he smirked back and cocked a single brow. "A course I heard all 'bout ya, ya were supposed ta be my next headline. The name's Shirosaki."

"Well, Shirosaki, I'd say it's a pleasure but..." Grimmjow started, his own smirk growing to a full grin.

Seated before him, the albino snickered slightly, his dark colored tongue peeking out to wet his pale lips. "Like wise an if ya ever touch 'im 'gain, I'mma kill ya fer real this time."

Grimmjow cocked a blue brow, his smirk never wavering, but still said nothing to the threat.

From behind the counter, Ichigo poured a glass of orange juice and a mug of black coffee as Shiro's food was slid into the window toward him. He kept a careful eye on the two conversing men, both very dangerous and neither known for their overly friendly manners. Holding the glass of juice and the coffee in one hand, he snagged up the plate of food with the other hand and rounded the edge of the counter, just in time to hear the bluenette's next words.

Grimmjow smirked, finally breaking the tense quiet as he leaned forward in his seat once more. "Ya know, I didn't get a good look at you guys while in the 'accident'. You're weird as fuck looking."

It took the albino a split second to fully register what had just been said to him, but as it did, he snarled at the bigger man and looked ready to lunge over the table, his strange eyes glinting hard and angry in the light streaming through the window. Seeing the impeding disaster, Ichigo hissed a silent curse and hurriedly crossed the cafe before his lover could strangle the bigger man.

He arrived seemingly just in time and shot Shiro a stern look as he slid the plate of food in front of his hot headed lover, effectively averting the albino's attention, blocking his path and defusing a bomb. He placed the coffee and juice down as well, sliding the mug to his regular that had turned out to be far more than he had bargained for and sliding the glass to Shiro.

"Not. Here." He said in a low, commanding tone, annunciating each word like it was threat. His words were directed at both the seated men and his deep, brown eyes only sealed the deal and made the threat all the more real. He turned to pin the blue haired killer with his hard look. "You need to keep your daylight cover just as badly as we do. Every employee here knows what you look like, what your name is, even when you come in and what you order. Things stay civil while your here."

Grimmjow grunted a laugh, looking up at the standing cafe worker. Sure, that was enough information to give his identity away and have the police on his ass, he did have pretty recognizable features, but he'd gotten away before and wasn't worried now. "Or what?"

"Wha? Ya think that crazy bastard Urahara don' got some type a security in his joint?" Shiro's grin was wide and manic as his lilting voice snagged the hollow killer's attention, diverting the man's piercing eyes away from Ichigo. White hands flat against the table, the albino leaned over his plate and leered at the bigger man. "Who ya think he's ganna start shootin' at if shit goes down 'ere?"

It wouldn't be Ichigo. The owner of the cafe knew who Ichigo was and saw him almost everyday. And he knew Shiro was with Ichigo. If either party started something in the cafe, Grimmjow was the stranger, the man Urahara had no knowledge of and therefore the one he would go against. It was simple logic but it was sure logic.

"A gun goes off and the cops would be all over this place." Grimmjow countered, unsure if he believed a word the two were saying. It seemed pretty likely that they were bluffing. Why would the strange cafe owner have a gun in his place of business, that was illegal and most people tended to stay on the side of the law. Except for him and two men before him, but that was a different situation.

"So let 'em." Shiro shot back.

"My record's spotless and Shiro's hasn't been marked in for more than a year, and never with something more drastic than minor theft." Ichigo folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the back of the bench his pale lover sat in. "I bet you can't say the same thing."

Grimmjow's brows furrowed, his upper lip curling into a displeased snarl. His narrowed eyes went from the albino to the orange haired man and back. These two were good. He had known that when he realized who they were. They were probably bluffing. In fact, the bluenette wondered if anything they said was true, but they had effectively backed him into a corner. Even if they were bluffing, even if everything they said had been a lie, he couldn't take that chance.

Leaning back in his seat again, Grimmjow wrapped long fingers around the warm mug and brought the steaming liquid to his lips. He studied the two over the rim of his coffee with narrowed, piercing blue eyes before placing it back down on the table. After the silence stretched on, he nodded his agreement and a sort of truce was born.

Ichigo absentmindedly ran his fingers through the thick, white hair at the back of his lover's neck as he nodded back to the blue haired man sitting before them. They were criminals, lawless killers, monsters in the eye of the everyday citizen, but even murders had an unspoken code. The cafe was officially off limits. While there, they weren't rivals or enemies, they were simply men.

Their little game would be saved for the dark of night and shadowed alleyways.


Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated and are always inspiring!