Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.


"Gwimmjow!"

"What brat?"

"Why ith you being tho thubborn?"

"Arrg! I've said it a hundred times, ya annoying little shit! Don't make me throw ya into the desert!"

"…you're really thupid, ya know?"

"Why ya-!"

Even as Grimmjow began to chase the irritating little ibex, he knew she had a point. His current problem was bad enough without the brat but she was part of the reason he was alive now. Her 'spit'- damn girl, it was vomit- had healed his injuries after Ichigo and the Woman had left to the Living World and he'd been at her mercy. Things were so different now than they were back then…


Nel had been the most beautiful female he could ever recall setting eyes on. To top it off she had power and intelligence. Of course, she'd never spared him a second glance back then; he'd been the 11th Arrancar and she La Tres Espada. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't absolutely smitten (to Pantera, he never planned on saying anything to anyone else ever). However, hollows only took mates with those close to them in power; else wise they might devour you and your offspring. So in order to even appear on her possible-mate-radar he'd have to at least rise to a ranking just below her. It was the perfect incentive to evolve and become more powerful all the more quickly. He shot up the ranks until he was the 9th Espada when one day, she was gone. No trace of her reiatsu anywhere. Even her fraccion were gone. Nnoitra, the skinny bastard, wore a smug grin for months. Grimmjow wasn't sure how but the then 7th Espada was involved in her disappearance, he had no doubt, and Szayel, the 12th Arrancar, seemed oddly pleased about something. While he could take on the crazy scientist any day, Nnoitra was higher in rank- and would remain so- and had been an Espada longer thus having more credibility. Time passed and he moved on, growing stronger for himself on his journey to Vasto Lorde. As the Sexta, he searched for powerful opponents to challenge, defeat and devour to increase his strength while obeying Aizen-most of the time- to remain in his favor. Then, he heard Ulquiorra's report…

He was still a Adjucas Arrancar when he first challenged Kurosaki Ichigo. That fight was one of the most exhilarating he'd had in nearly a decade. He found himself coming back for more and more, relishing in an opponent who could leave wounds on his flesh so deep, he'd forever bear the scars with pride in honor of such a worthy opponent. The first time they clashed, he won. Although it wasn't surprising when one took into account the Shinigami's condition. So what if he was exhausted from battling hollows all day? In Hueco Mundo, if you saw weakness in your prey, you exploited it. True to himself he had, only to be interrupted by Tousen. He left the Shinigami barely alive and already knew he'd want to face him again. Their second brawl, ended in the Shinigami's favor. Sneaky bastard got himself a hollow mask! How the hell did he do that? What the fuck did he do to himself? He never got any answers and was sent packing back to Las Noches, thoroughly trounced. His punishment for losing their battle was the reason he was dying now.


When they fought in Hueco Mundo, he tried to get the not-Shinigami-almost-Hollow to kill him. Unfortunately, the boy spared him and refused to deal the finishing blow. He yelled in frustration and nearly gave into the urge to yank his hair out. He clung too tightly to his tattered pride to simply beg for release from his suffering and was too cowardly to take his life himself. Nnoitra's betrayal was practically a godsend. His entire left pectoral was gone; he'd felt the sharp edge scrape slivers off the surface of his ribs, felt blood painting the sand, one of his lungs collapsing, the faltering flutter of his heart. He knew he was going to die and was willing to let Nnoitra finish him off, pride be damned.

CLANG!

"What are ya doin', asshole?" he hardly heard Nnoitra ask. His eyes were wide, stunned at the sight before him… The boy had protected him. In a split second, he was there; a leg braced on either side of Grimmjow, both hands on Tensa Zangetsu, said zanpakto meeting Santa Theresa where her crescents were joined.

"That's my line! Where the hell do you get off attacking a guy who can't even move?"

"Nnoitra….ya…bastard…." He couldn't tell Nnoitra to finish the job, or properly insult the stupid kid, much to his indignation. His opponent-turned-protector and his would-be executioner sent looks his way before the orange-haired-sorta-Shinigami took advantage of the minor distraction and pushed the Quinta away. Kurosaki shifted to meet his eyes and Grimmjow tried to convey his fury as light blue locked on chocolate-honey brown.

'Why? Stupid Shinigami-Hollow! Why save a dying man? A man that's brought you nothing but pa-'

'You're worth more than this.'

He could virtually hear the younger male's voice in his head and felt unfamiliar warmth spread throughout his extremities. He put it up to the fact that he was dying, despite Pantera's weak protests otherwise. He was a hollow, a hardcore cannibalistic being without a 'heart'. He didn't get warm feelings about anything. Pantera roared in disdain at such thoughts, and mentally cuffed him. A moment later, he registered the Woman at his side hands up by her temples as the golden glow of her healing-chamber-shield enveloped him.

The following events were a flurry of activity. Kurosaki was getting his ass kicked, the Woman trying to talk to him to keep him awake, and the green nuisance was sobbing.

"Ithsygo! Don't die, Ithsygo!"

Then, the unbelievable happened.

"I am Neliel. Neliel Tu Odelschwanck, the former Tres Espada."

The next instant, she was kicking Nnoitra's ass into next week. She even used her Resurrection and had the Quinta on the ropes. And just as she was about to kill him, poof. Baby Nel was back. Apparently she overexerted herself and drained what little reserves of reiatsu she had. They were pretty much done for, all of them, when three taicho arrived and saved their sorry asses. The Woman had healed most of his injuries and Kurosaki picked him up to carry him with them (his growls were ignored). They left him nearly a mile away propped up against a slab of stone before leaving for the Living World.

He was hidden from the taicho by the intact pillars and Yammy's (when did that brainless oaf get here?) reiatsu. Nel was sitting in the sand by his left hip; having been left behind for her own safety- did he look like a babysitter? - And was mostly silent. Mostly.

"Gwimm?"

"…"

"Gwimm?"

"…"

"…"

"…"

"…I mith Ithsygo."


Oh, why, was he left with the toddling girl? And now he was running after the diminutive former Espada, again, the picture of fatherhood. Good god, fatherhood. The thought stopped him in his pursuit of Nel. He looked down at his whole stomach, something he managed to keep hidden under a longer jacket he'd zipped up during his fight with Kurosaki, and his hands raised unconsciously to the smooth skin. He let his eyes fall shut as the tiny reiatsu beneath his fingers rubbed softly against his own. So small, yet so draining. Literally, draining his reiatsu to feed itself because he couldn't leave the safety of Las Noches to hunt, lest he be hunted himself. It was a miracle Nel hadn't dropped dead with hunger.

"Gwimmjow?" she asked. She knew his mind was not completely on her game- Poke The Kitty And Run, Run, Run!(a spin on Eternal Tag) - no matter how oblivious she behaved. Nel may have been a child, but even she knew that an unprotected pregnant hollow, was a dead pregnant hollow.

He sighed defeated, 'Don't got a choice at this point.' He was nearly a month along and his body felt as though it'd fall over at the slightest nudge. His belly rumbled all day, his limbs- particularly his legs- moved sluggishly and his head throbbed and his back was leaning towards betrayal and his feet were just so sore, and his entire body felt hot, damn it.

"Shut up. We're…going. Alright brat?" he said through clenched teeth. He couldn't believe he was caving on the issue but as Pantera reminded him,two little lives were depending on him and he couldn't stand to watch Nel and his unborn cub die. For hollows, cubs were rarer than Vasto Lorde. A mate who wouldn't devour cubs was nigh impossible to find- hell, sometimes, crueler hollows reproduced for the sole sake of easy prey, with no regard for their little ones at all. Others grew tired of being needed for everything and simply abandoned the defenseless babes in the middle of the desert. The rest were usually eaten by stronger hollows when their parents were too weak to protect them. Grimmjow wasn't so cruel as to blame the child inside him for his situation and Nel, while annoying, was a cub left in his care, thus, she might as well have been born from his body (much to Pantera's fucking joy: what the hell was wrong with his zanpakto?).

Nel was silent as she scurried to stand before him. He opened his eyes and watched as she eyed his temporarily-still-flat-abdomen. After a moment she met his gaze and raised her arms in the universal request to be held. He did so without a word, placing her on his hip with a hand under her bottom and she gripped his jacket by his collar bone tightly. With his free hand he opened a Garganta and stepped through it, and then he was using what reiatsu he had left to take them to safety. To the home of his arch nemesis and only lifeline. Karakura Town, the home of Kurosaki Ichigo.