Here we go! The second posting for my birthday! I hope it's as good a fic as it was while I was thinking about it ;p I threw in some twists you're not familiar with me writing as well! GO ME! XD Just so you know, I'm sticking to the pool I've been using and not adding more to it. So this is the only chapter you get of this one until I finish posting what I already have! Now, on with the fic!

Ichi: I'm not gonna like this fic, am I? *sighs*

Vae: Actually, you may be a little happier with this one than the others.

Ichi: Really? =)

Grimm: What! No way! =(

Vae: Now, Grimm-kitty, don't be selfish. I have to make Ichi happy once in a while, too. *scolds*

Grimm: But... last time you made him happy, Shiro got turned into a girl! *whines*

Vae: Don't worry, that'll never happen to you =D

Grimm: ... What will? I'm not bottoming, am I? I don't want to play this game anymore if I have to be uke!

Vae: Never, Grimm-kitty. Never. XD You'll always be seme in my fics!

Grimm: Oh... good. But...


Grimm: Wait... what about... *Vae clamps hands over his mouth*

Vae: No more talk! Reading time!

Chapter 1

The day started out dreary to begin with, he should've known it wouldn't get any better. He awoke in the middle of the night with a lingering nightmare, the first clue the next day would be horrible, and yet he brushed it off. Today is Ichigo Kurosaki's birthday… and he wishes he were anywhere but where he's at.

The rain is pouring, the youth sitting within his apartment in exhaustion as he watches. Ichigo's never looked as horrible as he does right now, days of sleepless nights and too many hours at his part time job catching up to him. His boyfriend of almost a year hasn't been home, looking for a job through the mornings and nights, and Ichigo's taken on more hours to pay the bills… yet it never seems enough. His bank account continues to drop lower although he's putting more money in each week. In all truth, he had millions before his boyfriend came into the picture.

Ichigo is a fashion designer, one of the best. He started the business at seventeen, just a hobby with his friend at the time. They set up a website that took off, the orders booming all through college. He and Uryu took fashion as their major, but Ichigo soon learned he wasn't very good at the sewing aspect… he switched his major to art and writing. He was always a more creative mind than most. Ichigo deals with creating the designs, Uryu makes them, and their other friends add their own talents to their ever growing business. After college, the group decided to take their fashions to the celebrities… nothing has been the same since.

Right now, however, everyone is taking a well-deserved vacation. Uryu is off at a beach resort, Orihime at the ski slopes with Tatsuki, and Chad is visiting family in the states. Ichigo was supposed to head off to Paris… but his funds were depleted. He took up a part time job instead at the market down the street, working himself to the bone. In all truth, he wasn't even going to take his birthday off. Rukia had called earlier and told him she had a special surprise for him, which is the only reason he asked for the day off.


The voice is on the other side of the door, startling the orange haired male from his thoughts. He must've dazed when she started knocking, the other sighing before pushing himself away from the window bench. He moves through the apartment he spent all day cleaning, opening the door and giving a tired smile to the girl on the other side. Rukia Kuchiki is a petite female, yet you'd never know that. Her right hook is evil and her temper is worse, the woman of twenty years having beaten up Ichigo throughout most of his life.

In all truth, the two met on the streets at around the age of four and he was adopted into her family. They fought together growing up; always at one another's side and taking down every adversary that crossed them. He knows how strong she is, she's in the top ten for the female cage fighters, and she scares the living shit out of him on most occasions.

"Hey, Rukia. Come on in," he greets.

"Wow, you look like shit," she mutters. "Have you been eating?"

"… Uh… sometimes," he muses. "I haven't gotten a lot of sleep lately…"

She frowns at him, yet says nothing more. She knows his downfall, she's well aware of it. Ichigo grew up feeling he was needed at every turn, whether it be for homework help or healing at times, and when everyone started leaving high school… he stopped feeling needed. He bases his relationships off that feeling, always picking the jerks that love control and money. He's never had problems with abuse after his first boyfriend, as they ended up in the hospital for attempting it, so Rukia never worries about that. She does, however, wish he could find someone better for him. It's been her life's goal to make that happen.

"You'll never guess what I got you for your birthday!" she squeals.

"Um… peace and quiet?" he teases.

"Ha, ha, very funny," Rukia scoffs. "No! If anything, this present comes with a hell of a lot of noise!"

She holds up a slip of paper, a huge grin on her face as she waves it before his nose. Ichigo goes cross-eyed trying to read it, finally plucking it from her fingers and gazing upon the writing. His heart almost skips a beat as it jumps into his throat, excitement written all over his features as he withholds the urge to jump around ecstatically.

"Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god!" he shouts. "You… you got me a ticket to the fights! Rukia, you fucking rock!"

"I knew you'd like it!" she grins. "Nii-sama had to pull a lot of strings to get these, so you'd better thank him. Grab your boyfriend, we have to go."

"… Troy's… he's not here," Ichigo mutters. "He's been job hunting all day."

"On your birthday?"

"Yeah. He said he was close to finding something, that he had an interview later today…"

"He's a fucking liar!" Rukia snaps. "Dump his ass on the curb, Ichigo!"

"Not today, Rukia," the other sighs tiredly. "It's my birthday; I don't want to do this today."

Though she wants to beat some sense into him, she holds on to the promise of a better tomorrow for her little brother. Ichigo, at nineteen, is one of the most successful people in the world… yet he's held back by his idiocy. She grabs his wrist and pulls him out the door, barely giving him time to shut it before they're on their way.

The area is dark and mysterious, yet it's very well known. This is the rough district, the place the rich go to bet on cage fighters with reputations far exceeding the famous. They're celebrities themselves, rising to the top from these very streets and never forgetting that. All over the world, the best combatants looking to make a name for themselves start off here. Those that manage to make the big time travel the world, moving from ring to ring and soaking up the publicity they receive. Ichigo was born on these streets, spent most of his life here… but chose a different path.

"I'm going to write about this place someday," he smiles fondly.

"Oh? Autobiography?" Rukia wonders.

"No, that's not my style," Ichigo chuckles.

She smiles happily at his change of attitude, the sight of his hometown drawing forth the old Ichigo she knew so well before. In high school and before that, Ichigo didn't take shit from anyone. He was always the first to jump into a fray, his temper legendary, and his heart pure gold… he never fought unless he was protecting someone or something important to him. After high school, though, Ichigo fell into a slight depression that's only left him passive to the world around him.

They head inside, the atmosphere filled with smoke and sweat, and search for their seats. Ichigo is expecting something in the back, the cheaper seats, but Rukia pulls him toward the ring. His heart thumps harder with anticipation, the memories of when he stood within that cage making his hand twitch with the need to be there once more.

*No, * he thinks heatedly. *That's not my thing anymore! I will never return to that lifestyle… I can't! *


The orange haired male looks around curiously, attempting to locate the one that knows his name. The voice is memorable and Ichigo knows exactly who it is, his amber orbs scanning the crowd for crimson colored locks. The orangette catches sight of them near the ring, those long strands let loose to frame a tattooed face.

"Renji!" Ichigo laughs. "I didn't know you'd be here! It's so good to see you, man!"

"You've been hiding away since you went on vacation," the redhead snickers. "But you can't hide tonight; we got everyone together for a big surprise party!"

"Well… it was a surprise," Rukia frowns.

The tattooed redhead has the decency to appear sheepish at her comment, yet brushes it off easily. He grabs Ichigo's upper arm and pulls him along to their seats, eagerly chatting up a storm. Renji has always looked like a badass, but he's the most talkative person Ichigo's ever grown up with. He and Ichigo were rivals before they were friends, as Renji thought Rukia had a thing for the orange haired male… he felt pretty stupid when he learned Ichigo didn't swing that way.

There's a ruckus at the entrance that catches their attention a few minutes after sitting, Ichigo turning with a smile on his lips… only to lose that happiness at the sight. He's on his feet in an instant, moving fluidly through the throngs of people to the one in his sights. His boyfriend, the man he's been with for almost a year… is with another person. She's sitting on his lap, his hand up her shirt and fondling her breast as she moans like a two dollar whore. Ichigo's rage, something he's lost since his depression, blossoms faster than he's ever known it to. Her necklace is pure diamonds, her bracelet a Pandora which costs quite a chuck of money, and her dress is name brand. All his money, all the time and work he's put into building his life, was going to her! His boyfriend looks Ichigo's way, startled a moment before letting a confident smirk pass. He doesn't get the chance to dodge as Ichigo's fist cuts through the space between them, landing a crushing hit to Troy's jaw. His woman screams in shock, the two of them knocked to the floor with the momentum of Ichigo's punch.

"You fucking jerk!" Ichigo spits in fury. "All my money! All my money wasn't being spent on the fucking bills; you've been using it on your fucking slut! How long have you been cheating on me!"

"What are you talking about?" the woman scoffs haughtily. "He's been with me almost a year. Next month is our anniversary."

"… WHAT!" the orange haired male screams. "Two weeks until our anniversary and I find out you've been two-timing me with that cheap whore? On my birthday no less! I should fucking kill you!"

Thankfully, Renji followed Ichigo's progress through the crowd. He's holding Ichigo back in seconds, no pity in his eyes for the focus of his friend's fury. A thought suddenly flits through his mind and the redhead can't help the sadistic grin that splits his face. Renji's been trying to think of a way to get Ichigo back in the ring, everyone's missed him and it just isn't the same without the temperamental male. Here he's just been presented with the perfect bait to lure Ichigo into his old habits.

"I could request a fight in the cage," he offers. "Isn't the owner of this establishment your uncle?"

"… No," Ichigo mutters. "I'm over that. My temper isn't like that anymore."

"Who the hell are you kidding?" the redhead scoffs. "I just saw your temper erupt like the volcano it used to be. You so wanna fuck him up, you can taste it."

Ichigo glowers at his friend, knowing he's trying to provoke a fight… and hating that it's working. He brushes off Renji's hand, gazing upon his boyfriend once more. He had thought it odd that Troy shied away from having sex with Ichigo, though they made out a few times at the beginning of this farce. It hurts, but it hurts more that Ichigo allowed this to happen. He's far from stupid, he knew what was going on… but Troy needed him on some level and he needs that feeling.

"I'll pick up my stuff and leave tonight," Ichigo mutters. "At least now I know why you insisted on having your name on the lease."

"Ichigo, don't be like that," Troy almost purrs.

It's a sickening sound to Ichigo, a shadow of what it could actually be, and he retracts further from the other in disgust. There's only been one person that could pull off a sexy, almost feline, purr and this certainly isn't him.

"We can work this out," the other presses. "You won't leave me, we both know that."

"I'm leaving," Ichigo states coldly. "That's final. If you need money, sell your bitch's jewelry."

He turns and storms off, Renji mentally cheering at the static surrounding Ichigo. It's been so long since the other went off like this; it gives hope for the old Ichigo making a comeback. Renji notes that Ichigo isn't moving toward the seats, but toward the exit. The orangette needs some fresh air, needs to voice his rage and settle down a bit. This is his old routine for controlling his massive temper, something that sparks a sense of nostalgia within the redhead.

Ichigo is fuming, burning at levels he hasn't felt since before his anger management counseling. He wants to pace, wants to scream, wants to hurt someone! The ring is looking more and more inviting as his amber eyes fall upon it. He was one of the champs in his early teens, having grown up fighting every second of his life, but he gave it up. Ichigo always felt like another person in the ring, a more sadistic side peeking through the many layers of niceties and morals he holds. It always felt like another personality would show up when things got difficult for him to handle, like a monster lived on the very edges of his conscience and he couldn't control it. He knew another like that, yet they were much worse than him. After he realized he feared that monster getting out more than anything, he dropped out of the ring and went to anger management. His friends say it ruined him, but he still believes it saved him… on some level anyway. Such a belief isn't as powerful as when it was first instilled.

*Ya know ya miss it. *

"No!" he gasps as he puts a hand to his head. "No, go away. You're not supposed to be here, you're not real."

*Yer right, I ain't nothin' but another part a yerself, * the voice laughs. *The part ya won' accept, the one ya refuse ta welcome. But I ain't never goin' away, 'cause ya need me. Everyone needs their base instincts. *

It's not often that this beast speaks to him and Ichigo never welcomes the liquid voice, but when he starts it's hard to stop him. He's not another personality, per say, but Ichigo knows they're nothing alike and has named him 'Shiro' to remember that. Shiro is the devil that sits upon his shoulder, his sense of wrong that only serves to coax bad behavior… his Id. The Id is one of three personalities that make up a single person's mind. Whereas Ichigo is the Ego and his little angle is the Super Ego, this demon is his Id and constantly pushes for actions anchored to base instincts. If Ichigo's angry Shiro wants him to hit someone, if he's hungry Shiro wants food immediately… there is no compromise for him. Since he couldn't control that part of him, Ichigo cut himself off from Shiro and locked him away within the back of his mind. Unfortunately, that very action is what caused Shiro to develop his own personality within Ichigo. They may be of the same mind, but Shiro is getting stronger.

*Ya just gave up on me, on us! *

"It was for the best," he murmurs to himself. "I'm not like that anymore, I'm better. There's no split personality, no monster waiting in my head to get loose, and no more bloodlust in the ring. I'm better."

*Ya only wish ya were better, * Shiro cackles. *We both know that ain't true. Ya keep lyin' ta yerself, though, make yerself feel better… I'll prove ya wrong 'ventually. *

Ichigo repeats his mantra a few times, trying to succeed in making himself believe that. He's not stupid by far, as once stated… he can feel that other self just waiting. Waiting… so patiently within the back of his mind… and watching eagerly. It hasn't gotten any better, it's only gotten worse. Now he's been having blackouts and dizzy spells, he can feel that monster's emotions flowing alongside his own. He knows they belong to that personality, because when he's elated his boyfriend is touching him that other side is disgusted. When he's overjoyed he gets to spend the day with Troy, the monster within is furious at his chosen ignorance. And the worst part is… the longer he stays away from the ring, the more he realizes how much of himself is a lie.

A few minutes later, Ichigo manages to calm the storm caused by his other self. The orangette heads inside, berating himself for letting that inner turmoil spill out of him in public. It's getting more frequent, the times he can't control his true emotions, and he's not liking it one bit. One of these days, he's likely to really hurt someone… or bite off more than he can chew. Shiro never bothers him in public, a small favor to keep the two out of the loony bin, but he just loves to make himself known when Ichigo gets overemotional.

*Please stay quiet for a bit, * Ichigo scolds the other mentally. *It's my birthday, the least you could do is leave me be until tomorrow! *

*Happy birthday, * Shiro states cheerfully. *Now let me do ya a big favor fer yer big day… challenge that prick and let me loose. I'll make sure he don' ever come near ya again! *

*Forget it; I'm not like that anymore. *

*But I am. *

Ichigo sighs at the thought as he pushes Shiro away once more, not paying attention when he runs into someone. They're built powerfully, the lithe muscles beneath their tan skin bunching with every movement, and Ichigo catches the scent of mint and evergreen with a hint of menthol.

*That scent is so familiar, * he muses distantly.

A strong arm wraps around his waist to stop his fall, his amber eyes locking with a shade of cyan he hasn't seen since high school. His heart stops once more, stuttering in its beat as he's taking in by that feral grin. A grin belonging to a man that never gave him the time of day in their teens.

There you have it! A little of this, a lot of that, and a fic is born! XD Granted it's probably not the best fic, but I'm liking it so far! Now, as for the pool, I've noticed some people have been choosing fics that aren't in the pool. Lol! You can only pick what I give you, because I haven't written anything else ;p Here are your choices: Dream x2, Hunter x1, Lust x1, Tiger x1. Happy reveiwing! XD

Shiro: Yea! I get ta be a split personality in this one! XD

Ichi: Perfect. Now I can't walk away from him when he gets on my nerves. =(

Grimm: I have a feeling this fic is going to be a rollarcoaster... Fucking awesome! =3

Vae: I love making my boys happy! =)

Ichi: Hello! What part of 'Now I can't walk away form him when he gets on my nerves' sounds happy to you?

Vae: ... I love making my boys happy! =)

Ichi: I give up. *throws hands in air in defeat*