~As always, I only own the plot. I don't own the series or characters so don't sue me.

Chapter Three - In the Rain

Bolting upright, Ichigo panted heavily as a hand clasped the front of her night shirt. Sweat covered her body and sheets from some horrible nightmare. Running a hand through her damp locks, she can only recall her tears of pain and sadness as the color pink filled her vision. Finally getting her breathing under control, she shoved the dream aside as she detangled herself from her bed and headed for the shower. Her shower is far from relaxing as her thoughts are filled with Grimmjow and the way he had been ignoring her lately. It had been about a week since she heard him address her as Kurosaki. During that time the blunet had just ignored her. He never spoke to her and he never so much as glanced at her during that time.

Pounding her fist against the tiled wall of the shower, Ichigo turned the water off and forcibly shoved the feelings of rejection down. He just needed time to adjust to the fact she was a girl, that's all. The orangette toweled off and dressed quickly before heading down to the table to enjoy some of her sister's exquisite cooking.

The weather was dreary and dark matching the dull and boring school day Ichigo suffered through. The bell signaling the end of the day tolled and the teenager couldn't be more relieved to hear such an annoying melody. Gathering her things, Ichigo moved lethargically to her shoe locker where she switched to her simple loafers. Gazing out the front doors of the school, she hoped to make it home before it rained. As she grabbed her school bag, a spiky head of vibrant blue came into sight out of the corner of her eye. Turning, she watched as her classmate changed his shoes.

"Hey," she called out to him. Grimmjow didn't seem to hear her and merely grabbed his bag and exited through the main doors. Tightening her hand on her bag, she rushed after the teen, hoping to salvage their friendship after all these years. "Mind if I come over and study with you for our chemistry test?" she questioned as she fell in step a bit behind him. "You know I was never any good with anything science related." Ichigo laughed nervously, waiting with bated breath for some sort of reaction. When none came, she continued. "Or you could come over to my house. I think Yuzu is making sukiyaki tonight." She wasn't about to throw a childhood friendship away because of gender confusion. Especially not one that meant so much to her...

"We don't have to study if you don't want to," Ichigo quickly blurted out. "We could just play video games like we-"

"Look," the blunet finally bit out as he turned to face her, his face scrunched in annoyance. "I thought by ignoring you that a girl as smart as you would get the picture, but I guess not. I don't want to be with someone like you, let alone be friends with you. Now leave me the hell alone!"

Before he had the chance to turn and walk away, a strong punch landed on his left cheek causing him to stumble backward a bit and drop his bag. Wiping the corner of his mouth with his clenched hand, his bright blue eyes darkened in anger as he gazed at the girl responsible for punching him.

"Fine Jaegerjaques!" she shouted, venom lacing her voice as she put extra emphasis on his name. "If my gender is such an issue, then you should have no problem in walking away from a fight with me!"

Charging toward the blunet, she reeled back her fist and landed a solid hit to his gut before shifting her footing to kick the side of his head. Grimmjow ducked, missing the kick to his head and took a step back. However, Ichigo wouldn't allow it. Pulling her fist back, she aimed for his face. Grimmjow grabbed her fist this time and instinctively returned with a punch of his own, crushing her solar plexus and forcing her to her knees. Clutching her stomach, the teen coughed and gasped repeatedly, trying to catch her breath. Grimmjow merely stared down at her, glare in place. Finally, as the darkened clouds released their rain mercilessly to the world below, Ichigo looked up, a smirk on her face.

Grimmjow hadn't resisted the urge to hit her, meaning a part of him still viewed her as the same Ichigo from their childhood.

"You should listen to your gut more," she chuckled.

The blunet growled low in his throat. "Fuck you," he muttered before grabbing his school bag once more and storming off to his home.

"You're soaked," Szayel stated monotonously, his hand tightly wrapped around the handle of an umbrella. "You're awfully later than usual as well." Golden eyes peeked out from under the umbrella to better examine the look on his boyfriend's face. "What happened?"

"It's nothing," the teen bit out. However, the look from the pink haired boy forced him to continue. "Nnoitra and I just got into a fight, that's all," he sighed.

Szayel's scrutinizing look disappeared and was replaced quickly with a smile. "Let's get you inside and get you warmed up. I brought some dinner." Sharing the umbrella with the blunet, the two turned and headed toward the front door of Grimmjow's run down home. "We'll eat and then get to work on preparing you for that Chemistry test you have tomorrow."

Grimmjow allowed himself to be led into his house by his boyfriend. After a quick change of clothes the two ate and attempted to study. They had a hard time keeping their hands to themselves. One thing led to another and one sweat and pleasure filled hour later the two were finally saying goodbye at the front door. Szayel always insisted he stay over, but Grimmjow hadn't let anyone meet his father. The only ones who had met him were Nnoitra and Ichigo, he trusted Nnoitra, but Ichigo knew the father he used to be. Not the drunken bastard he was now.

Succeeding in getting the pink haired teen to leave, Grimmjow gave a heavy sigh before turning to enter his house once more. That is until he heard a girl yelling...


Spinning on his feet, he spotted a brunette girl a few doors down. If he recalled correctly, it was the house Ichigo used to live in. That brunette also looked awfully familiar. He just couldn't quite place her.


Shrugging his shoulders, the blunet turned back to head into his warm house. It wasn't pouring rain anymore, but it was still damp forcing the previously nice temperature to drop quite a bit. Before he could reach his porch, let alone front door, the voice was suddenly hollering at him.

"Grimmjow?" the young brunette girl questioned with a squint of her eyes as she moved closer, trying to get a better visual of the blunet. "Grimmjow it is you!"

"Uh yeah," he said, as he turned back to face the now approaching girl. He opened his mouth to speak, but stopped as he finally managed to get a good look at her. An image of a much smaller and younger brunette with pigtails surfaced briefly. "Yuzu!" he suddenly blurted out, remembering the orangette's younger sibling.

Yuzu's face lit up happily. "You do remember me! It's been so long and we were so young I didn't think you'd recognize me now."

"How could I forget such big doe eyes like yours?" Grimmjow questioned as he rubbed her head, successfully messing up her hair.

The young teen quickly fixed her hair before her happiness faded to worry. "Grimmjow, have you seen onee-chan?"

The blunet replied with a shake of his head. "Not since school today."

"She still hasn't come home yet. I'm worried something might have happened to her."

"Don't worry, Kurosaki can take care of herself. Trust me," he said while rubbing his cheek at the memory of her punch from earlier.

Yuzu frowned heavily at the use of their family name. Grimmjow never called her older sister by anything but her first name. And sometimes Berry head just to get a rise out of her. She wondered briefly if something had happened to the two to cause them to act so distant, but shoved it aside. Now was not the time to be worrying about such things.

"Please, you have to help me look for her," the girl pled. "Dad will be home soon and I don't want him to worry about something bad happening to her."

With a relenting sigh, Grimmjow agrees to help the girl find her sister. After all, he was never any good at turning down the young girl for a favor even when she was toddler. Moving back into his house, he quickly snags an umbrella for the two to use before leading Yuzu to the nearby shopping district. The brunette dragged the poor teen into every store her sister frequented, including a lingerie store, much to his extreme embarrassment. Unfortunately their search seemed to be fruitless. Just when Grimmjow is about to call it quits and head home, a memory from his childhood surfaced.

The young blunet had been running all over the town for the majority of the afternoon trying to find Ichigo. They'd gotten into a fight and the boy had taken off after angrily punching Grimmjow in the face. He checked the arcade they liked to hang out in after school, he checked the convenience store, hell he even checked maid cafe he dared the orangette to go into one afternoon. There was just no sign of his crush anywhere.

What caused the boy to run off in such a frenzy? Grimmjow had told him that Sailor Moon was for girls and wimps who didn't have the guts to stand their ground. Ichigo apparently didn't like that answer as he was quickly punched in the face shortly after blurting it out.

Grimmjow was forced to stop and lean against a stone fence on the sidewalk as he panted heavily, attempting to regain his breath. Ichigo was nowhere to be found. He knew the boy was good at hide and seek, but usually there was a limited area to search in. The blunet was forced to scour the town in hopes of finding the boy before the sun set completely. After that, they'd both be in a good deal of trouble.

Back sliding against the rough stone, Grimmjow sat down. He wiped the sweat from his chin as he watched the sun slowly setting on the horizon. It was hopeless. There was no way he could find the orangette in time at this rate.

"No," the blunet mumbled as he pulled himself to his feet. "Ichigo would never give up if I ran off, so I won't either!"

Hurrying off, there was only one place left the blunet hadn't yet looked. The park down the street from their homes. Ichigo was afraid to go there after the group of boys tried to jump him. It was a long shot, but it was all he had left. Turning the corner, he arrived in the park and halted instantly. Sitting on the swings a short distance away was the object of his affection.

The scruffy head of orange turned, big amber eyes staring directly into blue. "Took ya long enough," he said, a bright smile crossing his face.

"Grimmjow?" Yuzu questioned as he brown eyes gazed up at the faraway look on the blunet's face. "Grimmjow, are you alright?"

Cyan orbs blinked a few times as the memory slipped away from his mind. "Hmm?" Turning his head, he looked down to see a worried Yuzu. "I'm fine. I just figured out where your sister is, that's all." He couldn't resist the smile that spread in return to the pure happiness pouring off of the brunette.

With Grimmjow leading the way, he quickly led the young girl to the park down the street from their homes. Although they were much too old to be playing at parks, he could just tell that's where the girl would be hiding. From what he could tell, the orangette had only changed in appearance. Her personality was still the same, meaning she would most likely possess habits from her childhood. She often hid in that park when she was upset. It's where he found her after her mother had died.

The park came into view and there sitting on a lonely swing was the beautiful long haired teen. Yuzu rushes past Grimmjow to scold her sister.

"What do you think you're doing out here?" Yuzu snapped, slightly startling the distant minded Ichigo. "Dad will be home soon and you have homework to do. You don't have time to be playing around in a park like some child."

The orangette blinked wide amber eyes as she stood to her full height, hands held up defensively. "Yuzu!" she cried out. "I didn't mean to worry you. I just need some time-"

"Look at you, you're soaked!" the brunette shouted, cutting her older sister off mid-sentence. "We're going home right now so that you can bathe, change your clothes, and do your homework."

"Wait Yuzu, I-"

"If we manage to make it home before Dad, I'll even bring you something to eat." The young girl ignored her sister's protests and merely grabbed her wrist to drag her along. "You have a cell phone for a reason you know."

Ichigo laughs nervously, about to respond, but movement off to the side catches her attention. Shifting her gaze, she spots a retreating head of blue. So Grimmjow was the one to help her sister find her. The girl would have never thought to look there. A soft smile appears on her face. Perhaps, some things hadn't changed.

(A/N: So this is my last update until I can get my laptop fixed. The wireless internet card has crapped out. It's being sent out tomorrow for repairs, so I'm hoping to have it back by this Friday so I can continue working on Little Berry. As soon as I get my laptop back, I will push out an update for Little Berry as I have cranked out a lot more of the outline. I would like to push out an update for my other fics as well, but we'll see.)

Please note: There will be no fic updates between the time of March 24th - April 8th and May 26th - June 3rd. I will be staffing conventions during this time. The first convention I am a department head hence the two week's compared to the second break of one week. I will post this in all fics updated until then.

Thank you to all the reviews/favorites/follows. They mean a lot to me! : )