I smother another sigh, feigning interest as the small woman standing in front of me babbles on in Spanish, an angry tilt to her eyebrows. Really, there's nothing I can do about her luggage being lost in one of the many postponed flights. Either it shows up or it doesn't, and I can't magically make it appear faster or go find it myself. I'm a translator, not one of the many other multipurpose staff members who actually handle the luggage.

Eventually, as my already frayed temper rises higher, I interrupt her.

"I'm really sorry, ma'am, but there's nothing I can do. I'll let my manager know about your missing luggage but there's not much anyone can do about it right now. If it shows up, assuming it has something with identifying info, we'll contact you."

She scowls at me and gives an angry huff before turning on her heel, without sparing me so much as another word. I grind my teeth, but bite back the urge to chase her down, turning to continue my interrupted walk to the staff break room.

I'm exhausted, hungry, and my temper is the shortest it's been in months, due to a certain blue haired bastard that had decided I was fun to mess with. Why today, of all days? Does the universe really hate me enough that it thinks I should have to deal with not only the insanity of the repercussions of this storm, but that blue haired bastard too?

I trudge into the staff room and halt in my tracks, eyes widening in surprise before narrowing in anger I can't even begin to control.

That motherfucker!

"What the fuck are you doing here?!" I hiss at the blue haired man lounging in an armchair midway through the room, and my temper is high enough that I barely manage to say the words in English instead of my home language; Japanese.

He turns his blue eyes up to me and grins, leaning forward in the chair and resting his elbows on his knees. "Sitting, waiting. Figured you'd stop by sooner or later, and you're just too much fun to fuck with."

I manage to unfreeze myself in such a way that I don't leap across the coffee table separating us to kick his ass, nice as that sounds right now. I stalk across the room to the mini kitchen and, specifically, the fridge, snatching my lunch from within its depths.

"This is off limits to anyone but staff, bastard. Get out."

He laughs as I cross the room and settle onto the farthest edge of the single couch, tossing the bag with my lunch onto the low coffee table.

"Money'll get you anywhere, and I got myself this little visitor badge from your manager. Isn't shit you can do about it, really."

Unfortunately, he's right. I can see, now that I look, the tiny white sticker on the front of his shirt with the word 'visitor' written in dark red font. The next time I see Urahara, I am kicking his fucking ass for enabling this bastard. I don't know and don't care who this blue haired fuck is or why Urahara would do something like this, but it is so not alright.

"Motherfucker," I hiss between my teeth, my right hand rising and rubbing over my eyes. I am so amazingly sick of this day.

"Yunno, you've got quite the mouth on you," the bastard says, and I lower my hand and look up at him incredulously.

"Like you're one to talk," I snap back, "besides, I only get nasty when people fuck with me, sound familiar?"

I know I've said something horrendously wrong when that infuriating grin widens, blue eyes lighting with amusement even as they narrow. "Can't wait to see that, my place or yours?"

"I don't fuck assholes, didn't you hear me the first time?"

"Of course you don't," the bastard says as I reach for my lunch and fish the contained can of soda and plastic wrapped sandwich from within the paper bag, "people fuck yours."

After a moment of stunned silence where I stare at him - and he grins right back - I tighten my grip on the sandwich in my right hand - but not too tight, because if I ruin it, then I won't get to eat for at least another six hours and I'll end up murdering someone - and glare at him, mentally willing him to fuck off and go die somewhere.

"Go to hell," I snap, unwrapping the sandwich from its protective layer of plastic.

"I'd need to sin first, but I'm sure we can take care of that, right?"

Dear god, does he never stop?

I seriously have to resist the desire to jump across the table and attempt to strangle the irritating as all fuck bastard of a human. He looks strong, absurdly so, if the visible muscles on his arms are any indication, and no one who isn't prepared to fight riles someone like he's doing, but I'm fast, and I know way too many dirty tricks. I could take him; it wouldn't be the first time I've taken down someone bigger and stronger than me. But then Urahara would give me that disappointed look, and then he'd have to fire me, and then I'd have to move back in with my psychotic father. Fuck.

It takes me a few seconds to control myself enough to speak, grinding out, "Back the fuck off."

His grin vanishes in a heartbeat, eyes going from amused to studying, and I almost let out a sigh of relief when he doesn't answer me. I set the sandwich down and lean back against the couch, tilting my head back, closing my eyes, and struggling to control my breathing. My hands come up to tunnel through my hair, pressing against my scalp hard enough to wake dull pain at the pressure. The pain helps me focus and - even though by all rights it shouldn't - eases the tension in my shoulders and back, helping me fight down the remaining urge to attack the blue haired bastard.

Old tricks, ones I haven't used in years and hoped I would never have to again. Of course right when I'm settling down this fucker comes along and reminds me of all the things I'd either carefully forgotten or tamped down. I guess that's karma for you.

"You're a fighter." I flick my eyes open at the statement, looking over at the bastard.


He shrugs and leans back, raising his arms over his head and stretching over the back of the chair. "I've never seen anyone but fighters - the ones who really live for it - restrain themselves like that. I figured you were one, it's in the way you walk."

I stare at him for a moment before lowering my hands. I know what he's talking about. When someone is trained to fight, or just picks it up, it starts to show in the way they walk. The fighting lifestyle bleeds into your everyday mannerisms, and you start to unconsciously incorporate the balance, grace, and aura you've picked up from fighting into the way you move. I thought I'd managed to stop doing it, but apparently it's snuck back in.

Of course, if he knows enough to spot it, he must be one too. If I cared or thought it would be a good idea to indulge the bastard in any way, I'd probably be curious.

"Yeah, I am. Can I eat in peace now?" My tone is sharp and nasty, but fuck if I'm going to try and tamp it down. I've spent all fucking day pandering to other people, and I'll be doing it for a while after I eat too, so there is no fucking way that I'm going to be nice to the bastard that has invaded my break.

"No," he says bluntly, grin returning. Bastard. "Got a name, pretty boy?"


I take a bite of the sandwich, studiously attempting to ignore the blue-haired bastard grinning at me from across the table. I manage two more bites before he speaks again.

"Gonna tell me?"

Oh, fuck no. I answer by shooting him the nastiest glare I can muster with my mouth full of wonderful, life-saving, sandwich.

"Then it's good it's on your name-tag, Ichigo." Fuck. I'd forgotten I was wearing that. "Seriously, fucking strawberry?"

No. He better not fucking dare. I have had so much shit about that and I am in no fucking mood for him to poke at such an irritatingly sensitive subject.

His grin ramps up a notch and his blue eyes narrow. "That's fucking adorable."

I'm throwing my soda at him before I can even think about it, a snarl on my lips and fury burning bright in my chest. He ducks aside, standing in the span of a brief moment, and I rise to meet him.

No, fuck this. I am fucking done being baited and toyed with. I've been dealing with people all day, not to mention this blue-haired motherfucker, and I am done playing nice. If he wants to fucking fight then bring, it, on! It'll be fucking great, I'll get to kick his ass and then I'll feel so much better.

There's a brief moment of tension, and then he's jumping over the table at me, swinging for my head. I duck under the punch and meet him as he lands, hooking a leg behind his and throwing my shoulder into the center of his chest. He falls backwards with a startled grunt, slamming down onto the table, and it crunches and breaks beneath his weight. I slam a foot down, aiming for his ribs, and he rolls out of the way and smoothly back onto his feet. I clench my hands to fists, my mouth twisting into a snarl.

The blue-haired bastard grins at me. There's not much room here, most of the space is taken up by the two armchairs and the splintered remains of the table, and I can probably use that to my advantage. He's bigger than I am, significantly, he'll take up more room. Not to mention he's in jeans, which will be significantly more constricting than my slacks.

"Just gonna stand there, strawberry?" he asks, and any semblance of a plan flies straight out of my head. No, fuck this bastard.

I leap at him, wanting nothing so much as to feel my hands around his throat. We crash together – Christ, it feels like I'm running into a brick wall – and as I grip the white fabric of his tank-top and wind back for a blow to his ribs, his left hand curls through the hair at the base of my skull and yanks. I give a startled cry of pain, and then the breath leaves me in a rush as he slams an open palm into my sternum. My hand automatically releases him, and he shoves me backwards, still grinning. I come down across the arm of the couch, and he's on me faster than I can recover.

He pins me down with both hands on my chest, my back arched over the arm of the couch, my legs split around his hips. As I start to snarl, clawing upwards at his arms and trying to get out of this god-awful position, he pulls one hand back and something tightens alarmingly around my throat. The strip of black cloth in his hand gives the source away.

My fucking tie.

He pulls harder and it tightens further, pressing down on my windpipe and cutting off my ability to breathe. I rake red lines down his biceps as my hands fly to my throat, trying to pull the strip of fabric away from my neck. It doesn't work, it's too tight and I'm too late, and I only manage the barest gasp of air before it cuts even that off. I struggle, but the knot in the tie is pulled too tight to unravel and his grip doesn't budge under my shoves.

As panic sets in from the lack of air, something else rises beneath it.

Once upon a time, I could do this in the blink of an eye, at whim, and I probably still could, if I tried. As it is, I haven't done it in years, but the almost trance-like state still overtakes me as easily as breathing. In an instant, the panic is gone. As if from a distance, I calculate our positions. The way his weight is distributed, my lack of leverage, the deadly noose around my neck. In a moment, I settle on a course of action, and in the next moment, I enact it.

I bring my legs up in a feat of flexibility that would make my trainers proud to this day, folding myself nearly in half, and slam both feet into the blue-haired bastard's chest, dead center. He flies backwards, slamming against the wall, and I pull myself up off the chair. Without the tension on it, the tie comes off easily, and I draw in a deep breath. It hurts, but it's nothing I can't handle. I discard the strip of fabric and take a few moments just to breathe as the blue-haired man straightens up, one hand to his chest.

He's still grinning, blue eyes bright with excitement even as his chest heaves. "That's more like it," he says with a laugh, "Knew there was a beast in there somewhere, just had to coax it out."

I brush aside the anger that stirs at his words, automatically tamping it down. I can be angry later, now there is only him, and he needs to go down now.

Almost in tandem, we both step forward. He throws a punch at my head and I slide beneath it and closer to him, slamming my right fist into his stomach. He gasps in pain, hunching over in automatic response, and I take a handful of his white tank-top and throw him backwards, onto the ground. I follow as he falls, not releasing the grip I have on his shirt. I trap his right arm beneath my left knee, settling over his chest, and pin his other arm to the ground with my right hand. Lastly, his potential struggles taken care of, I close my left hand around his throat. He bucks beneath me as I tighten my grip, but I hold him on the ground. He snarls up at me, that grin finally leaving his lips, blue eyes narrowed. The look flickers as his throat works against my hand, his chest heaving in a futile attempt to breathe.

"Ichigo, stop!"

I jerk, the familiar voice, the familiar command, abruptly yanking me out of my trance. My body automatically obeys even as my mind hesitates, releasing the blue-haired bastard and standing. He gasps in a breath beneath me, coughing as his throat protests the sudden influx of air.

"Ichigo, step back, now."

I do it, moving blindly backwards a few steps as guilt rises heavy in my chest. I look over at the doorway, at the narrowed grey eyes of my boss, Urahara Kisuke. He gives me a look that speaks volumes, and I wince and cringe a little. He's disappointed, and he has every right to be. I nearly did and probably would have killed the blue-haired man, and even though he's a bastard, that's not an excuse.

"Sir, are you alright?" Urahara asks cautiously, moving across the room and extending a hand to help the other man up.

To both of our surprises, the blue-haired man laughs. "Are you kidding? That was fucking fantastic!" Incredulity wipes out the guilt, and I stare at the other man in disbelief as he waves off Urahara's hand and stands without help, rubbing at his throat. The grin is firmly back in place, and even the near brush with death hasn't dulled the excitement in his eyes.

"Hey, strawberry, up for that fuck now?"

Just like that, all my anger is back. Urahara makes a warning sound as I step forward towards the irritating fuck, and I halt in my tracks.

"Really?!" I ask in incredulous fury, not totally sure if I'm referring to the bastard's suggestion or Urahara's refusal to let me beat the living crap out of him. I make a helpless sound of frustration and gesture wordlessly for a moment, before making another sound and whirling away, unable to look at the fucker and maintain my tenuous hold on sanity.

From behind me I can hear Urahara speak, his voice low, "Sir, I am so sorry for my employee's behavior," and my hands clench.

My fucking behavior? The bastard had baited and sniped and teased and I'm going to get all the fucking backlash?! Life is so not fucking fair.

"I will of course arrange all appropriate recompense for this incident."

"Why?" the bastard asks, and my head whips around to stare at him. He's got a vaguely puzzled look, blue eyes fixed on Urahara. "S not like I didn't know what I was getting into," he says with a shrug. He looks at me and grins, "Didn't think it'd take so long to get you to snap."

I struggle for words, but can't find any. Urahara glances between us a few times.

"So, you have no intention of pressing charges then, sir?"

The bastard snorts, "Of course not."

That's... Well that's good. Of course, I'm still going to get the lecture of fucking doom from Urahara later, but at least that won't include me getting fired (hopefully), or dragged to court. That could be bad, to say the least.

The relief in Urahara's voice is barely recognizable, but we've known each other a long time, so I pick up on it. "That's much appreciated, sir." He turns to me, moving across the room – carefully avoiding the remains of the table – and lightly grasping my upper arm. "Ichigo, go home. I don't want you back till you have control of yourself, understand me?" His voice is quiet, just for the two of us. "We'll talk later."

I wince and give a silent nod, he lets go. With a last apology to the blue-haired bastard, he sweeps out of the room. The door closes with a soft thunk, and I let my gaze move over to meet blue eyes. The anger is all but gone, buried under guilt and exhaustion. "Why'd you do that?" I ask after a second, turning to face him.

He shrugs, his hand falling from his throat. "What, you think I get a kick out of getting random bastards fired?" He leans down, picks up my tie from the ground near his feet, and tosses it at me with a grin; I snatch it out of the air automatically. "How long's it been since you had a real fight?"

"I don't know, years?" I answer, mirroring his shrug as I shove the fabric of my tie into my pocket – there's no way in hell I'm putting that back around my neck. Three years and seven months, actually, but he doesn't need to know that I can remember it down to the date and time it happened.

"What about a fuck?"

Christ, he just doesn't give up. I meet his gaze, too tired for anger but fighting down the hysterical urge to laugh. I don't voice the answer to his question – that it's been way too long – but I do ask one of my own in return after several long moments of silence. "What's your name?"

His grin ratchets up another notch. "Grimmjow Jaegerjacques."

And he's mocking my name?

Whatever. I'm hungry, I'm tired, and my day really can't get any worse, right? Maybe this arrogant asshole can make it just a little better.

'Well, Grimmjow, you buy me dinner, and maybe you'll get lucky. Deal?"

His answer is instantaneous.


I stretch my arms over my head, feeling my spine realign with several satisfying cracks, before slumping back into the chair I'm sitting in. It only took me a few mentions of my family's stature, and a short spout of bullshit about how pissed I was to be delayed here for so long, to acquire an official name-tag giving me access to the staff room from the orange-haired brat's manager. I might not be the bastard my father is, but I can bullshit with the best of my family.

At least they've got a couple comfortable armchairs in here, and a couch. Makes perfect fucking sense that the staff would keep all of the comfy chairs to themselves, bastards. It's not a particularly big room, maybe built for five or so people at a time, but it's definitely built to relax. So for the sake of my continued amusement, I'm betting that the Japanese brat will show up here. It'll happen.

Sure enough, it's barely minutes before I'm pulled out of my idle staring at the table by a furious hiss.

"What the fuck are you doing here?!"

I look up, my grin forming instantaneously. If anything, he looks even more furious than before, and it's delicious. I lean forward in the chair, resting my arms on my knees. "Sitting, waiting. Figured you'd stop by sooner or later, and you're just too much fun to fuck with."

Understatement. Even just those words stiffen the brat's shoulders, and for half a second I'm absolutely certain he's going to jump straight across the table separating us and do his very best to throttle me. Unfortunately, he loosens just a little bit and stalks his way across the room to the fridge. I have to bite my tongue as he leans over to snatch something from one of its lower shelves, pulling the fabric of his slacks tight against his ass.

"This is off limits to anyone but staff, bastard. Get out." His voice is calmer than the initial hiss, but there's still an obvious undercurrent of anger.

I laugh at his demand as he straightens up with a brown paper bag in one hand, all but slamming the door shut before backtracking around the coffee table to sit at the corner of the couch farthest away from me. Not that it's more than about seven feet separating us. The bag, containing food of some kind I assume, gets flung onto the table.

"Money'll get you anywhere," I say with no small amount of satisfaction, "and I got myself this little visitor badge from your manager. Isn't shit you can do about it, really." I was fully prepared to bribe the manager, but turns out just threatening was enough. Go figure.

I watch his eyes fall to my chest, to the little white sticker on my equally white tank-top with the word 'visitor' written on it in red ink. The brat's gaze turns back to the table, and his right hand rises to rub over his eyes.

"Motherfucker," he hisses between his teeth.

"Yunno, you've got quite the mouth on you," I comment. Pissed he may be, but I only know a couple people who swear like he does. One is me, and the other is my step-brother Noitora.

His hand drops, and those dark brown eyes turn towards me with obvious incredulity. "Like you're one to talk," he snaps. "Besides, I only get nasty when people fuck with me, sound familiar?"

I know what he's trying to say, but it's too perfect an opportunity to pass up. My grin widens, and I narrow my eyes as I fight to keep from laughing. "Can't wait to see that, my place or yours?"

"I don't fuck assholes, didn't you hear me the first time?" To his credit, his response is instant. Too bad it's worded so poorly.

"Of course you don't," I say as the brat reaches into the bag and retrieves a can of soda and a plastic wrapped sandwich, "people fuck yours."

It's the first time I see his eyes widen in complete shock, mouth falling open just the tiniest bit as he stares at me, stunned. I grin at him for the couple of seconds it takes for him to recover, his eyes narrowing to furious slits and his lips pulling back to bare teeth at me.

"Go to hell," he snaps, his gaze turning down as he sets the soda on the table and carefully unwraps the sandwich from the plastic surrounding it. It's a little dented, from his grip I'd bet, but still completely salvageable.

"I'd need to sin first, but I'm sure we can take care of that, right?" The retort comes without me even thinking about it, and I mentally bless my tongue. Sure, my mouth gets me in trouble with Aizen, the bastard, and with some of my siblings too, but I fucking love it.

Again, I'm sure the brat's about to leap across the table and try to strangle me. I can see his eyes flick over me, the slightest hint of something analyzing in his gaze before its gone. His shoulders are stiff, the muscles in his neck tight.

"Back the fuck off," he grinds out, and there's something very serious in his tone, beneath all the anger. My grin drops, and my amusement fades as I watch him.

He very carefully sets the sandwich down before leaning back against the couch and tilting his head back. His eyes flick closed, and his hands rise to tunnel through his hair. His grip looks tight enough to hurt, and as I watch the tension ease out of his shoulders, sudden realization clicks for me.

Hot damn, have I found myself a fucking prize. Oh, the brat might have been fun to fuck with before, but now I'm really interested. I've watched so many people do just what he's doing, focusing themselves with self-inflicted pain. The brat knows how to fight, and not just that, but at one point that was his life. He's good at it. Oh this is fucking fantastic.

"You're a fighter," I say, and his eyes flick open and look over at me.

"What?" His tone is a little confused, and I shrug and lean back, stretching over the back of the chair I'm in.

"I've never seen anyone but fighters – the ones who really live for it – restrain themselves like that," I comment, and another piece of the puzzle clicks into place. I'd pinned the brat as graceful when he'd first come into that interrogation room, and strong in a physical sense, but now I know why. It should have been fucking obvious just from how he moves. "I figured you were one, it's in the way you walk." Yeah, bullshit with the best of them.

He stares at me for a second before lowering his hands; it's another few seconds before he answers me. "Yeah, I am. Can I eat in peace now?" His voice is sharp, mean, and his eyes have returned to being narrowed.

"No," I answer instantly. "Got a name, pretty boy?" Of course, the second after I ask it, my awareness decides to clue me into the small badge pinned to the right side of his chest. Ichigo, that's a hell of a silly name. Brat's either got fucking sadistic parents, or oblivious ones. At least now I know why he's a fighter. No way a kid with a name like that gets through school without being bullied.

"Yes." He takes a bite of the sandwich, his gaze fixed on the table. I let him take two more bites before continuing the conversation.

"Gonna tell me?" He glares at me, not answering, and I give a tiny shrug. "Then it's good it's on your name-tag, Ichigo. Seriously, fucking strawberry?"

He instantly freezes, completely stiffening even as he swallows the bite he'd been chewing on. Oh, I've hit the fucking jackpot. Right on the money, the brat obviously got all kinds of picked on for his name. Now I've got him, now I'm going to get the fight I really want.

"That's fucking adorable," I purr, my grin widening a little as my eyes narrow.

He doesn't even speak. Between the span of one second and the next, the brat's soda is flying at my head. I duck away, and shoot to my feet the moment it's safely over my head. He stands a moment after me, a snarl on his lips. It's pure, base, fury, and it's fucking beautiful. Even in the terrible dark blue uniform, with that dumb tie against his chest, I can see the fucking gorgeous danger underneath.

This is going to be fantastic.

After a moment, where he makes no move to attack, I take the initiative. I've never been good with waiting, or patience. I jump over the table, swinging a fist at his head. He ducks under my punch, and instead of stepping back like any normal person, steps towards me as I come down. His left leg slides behind mine, and his shoulder slams into my chest with pretty considerable strength. My breath leaves me in a startled grunt, and I topple backwards, off-balance. I really should have expected that.

My back hits the table, and it breaks beneath my weight with an awful splintering noise. The remains dig into my spine, but it's really nothing serious. That foot coming down on my ribs will be, though. I roll out of the way, back towards where I'd been sitting, and smoothly rise back to my feet. His hands clench into fists, and his lips twist into a snarl that makes anticipation rise sharply in my chest.

I grin down at him. He's smaller than I am, in height and weight, but that doesn't necessarily give him a disadvantage. I've had Ulquiorra hand my ass to me enough times not to underestimate people smaller than me. Not that it really fucking matters to me who wins this. I'd love to, but I'm more or less alright with him beating me too.

"Just gonna stand there, strawberry?" I ask, baiting him, and the rush of fury that lights in his eyes is intoxicating.

He leaps at me, crashes into me head on, and I brace myself against it. He's strong, but his weight isn't enough to even make me stagger. One hand clenches in the fabric of my tank-top, the other winds back, and I grab a handful of the hair at the base of his neck with my left hand and yank downwards. He voices a startled cry of pain, and I slam my opposite hand – open palmed because I don't want to really kill him – straight into his sternum. He staggers, air leaving him in a rush, and I shove him backwards with a grin. He falls backwards across the arm of the couch, and I go after him.

I shove my way between his long legs, pinning him down with both hands on his chest. This isn't what I'd pictured when I'd imagined him with his legs around my hips, but it's still fucking awesome. He snarls, and oh I hope he's this wild when I'm fucking him, and his nails dig into my arms as he struggles against me. In a sudden bout of inspiration, and vindictiveness, I close my right hand around the tie still lying loosely against his chest and pull back.

His eyes widen as the cloth constricts around his neck, and I stifle a hiss of pain as his nails rake down over my arms, flying to his throat. He tries to pull the cloth away, but only gets in a brief gasp of air before I pull it tight again. He fights me, his hands shoving and clawing at anything near them. I can see the panic in his eyes as his chest heaves, as he fights for air. I'm not going to kill him. Give it a couple more seconds, then I'll claim my victory and let him breathe again.

I kind of expected more, honestly. That level of anger, I'd expected one hell of a fight. This kind of an ending, after just the minute or so of combat, is almost disappointing. It's a good distraction, but not really a challenge. There has to be more to the brat, if he was willing to go up against someone with my kind of musculature.

Before I can blink, I'm flying backwards. I slam against the back wall of the room, my chest protesting whatever the hell just happened. I lift my eyes in time to watch his legs come down as he straightens up off the arm of the couch, and realize he kicked me with both legs, dead center. Christ, that requires one hell of a level of flexibility. He yanks the tie off his throat, dropping it on the ground, and draws in a deep breath. His brow furrows in pain, and I know from experience that first breath hurts like a bitch, but he doesn't give any other sign.

I straighten up against the wall, lifting one hand to press against my sore chest, my mouth still twisted in a grin that I can't control at this point. He watches me, and I notice after a moment something incredible. There's no anger in his eyes. They're narrowed, yeah, and his brow is still drawn downwards, but the light of fury that had been in his gaze is completely gone. They're cool, completely focused. Oh, yes. I've seen eyes like that before.

"That's more like it," I say, laughing. "Knew there was a beast in there somewhere, just had to coax it out." His eyes flash with brief anger, but then it's gone just as instantly.

Yes, yes, yes.

He steps forward a fraction of a second before I do. I swing at his head and he slides underneath as though it's the most natural thing in the world, his fist slamming into my stomach. I gasp in pain, hunching over a little in reaction, and his hand curls into my shirt. He throws me to the ground before I can recover, and he goes down with me, his hand never leaving my shirt. I hit the floor hard on my back, my arms splaying to either side. His left knee settles over my elbow, grinding it into the cheap carpet, and his right hand pins my left arm down as well. His weight settles on my chest, and his left hand closes around my throat.

His fingers are steel, and he barely moves as I buck underneath him to try and dislodge him. The only movements are his unconscious adjustments to my struggling. I snarl up at him as his fingers tighten, the grin leaving my lips. His eyes don't flicker, his fingers don't even twitch, and the tiniest thread of fear starts in my chest. He doesn't seem to have any intention of letting me go. Fuck, maybe I did push this too far.

My eyes flicker, black creeping in around the edges of my vision.

"Ichigo, stop!"

His fingers flex around my throat, and in the next instant I'm released. I gasp in a breath, immediately coughing it back out as the air grates against my abused windpipe. I force my eyes open.

"Ichigo, step back, now."

The brat does it, guilt obvious in his eyes as he avoids looking at me. He looks over at the doorway, and I follow his gaze to his manager. The blonde man, Urahara if I remember right, gives the brat a look that has so many levels of meaning I can't even start to understand it, but it's enough to make the younger man cringe.

"Sir, are you alright?" The manager moves towards me, offering me a hand to help me up. Like I need it.

Actually, that was pretty fucking cool. Not like it's the first time someone's almost killed me, not even the first time I've almost been strangled to death. Whatever. I laugh, the excitement and amusement returning along with my grin.

"Are you kidding? That was fucking fantastic!" I wave off the manager's hand and get to my feet, rubbing a hand over my throat. It hurts, yeah, and I'll have some nasty bruises, but it's nothing that won't heal. Besides, the brat's going to have some pretty similar bruises around his own neck.

"Hey, strawberry, up for that fuck now?" There goes my mouth again.

The brat's brown eyes light with that same intoxicating fury, and he takes one step forward before a sharp warning sound from his manager freezes him in place. There's something more there than just a manager/employee relationship. Urahara's got one hell of a level of control over the brat, more so than just a boss would.

"Really?!" The brat snarls with equal measures of incredulity and fury, his gaze flicking between me and Urahara. He makes a helpless sound of frustration – that I hope to god I can make him repeat later 'cause it's fucking hot – and gestures wordlessly for a moment before making another sound and spinning on his heels, turning his back on me.

"Sir, I am so sorry for my employee's behavior," the manager says, and I see the brat's hands clench. "I will of course arrange all appropriate recompense for this incident."

My eyes turn to the manager. "Why?" I ask plainly, my grin falling, and from the corner of my eyes I can see the brat's head snap around to look at me. "S not like I didn't know what I was getting into," I explain with a shrug, before looking over at the brat and grinning. "Didn't think it'd take so long to get you to snap."

I really didn't. With the fucking disaster of this airport, and his obvious temper, I figured I could throw a few jabs at him and he'd just leap at the chance to try and kick my ass. It was significantly harder than I thought it would be.

"So you have no intention of pressing charges then, sir?" The manager's tone is cautiously hopeful, and I snort.

"Of course not."

I might be a fucking, self-admitted, bastard, but I try not to make other people pay for what I want to do. I'll goad anyone I can into a fight, but I don't turn around and accuse them of assault. That'd be fucking retarded, and cruel. I'm violent, but I leave the manipulations to the rest of my family.

"That's much appreciated, sir." The manager crosses the room, carefully avoiding the splintered remains of the table, and grasps the brat's upper arm. He says something, too quietly for me to hear, but the brat winces and nods. The manager turns back to me. "Again, I'm so sorry, sir." I shrug, and after a moment the manager sweeps across the room and out of it.

The door closes, and the brat looks over at me. The anger is mostly gone from his gaze, replaced with guilt and exhaustion. He just looks tired, not that it's really a surprise. I can only imagine how long he's been working, and I know how absurd it is out there.

"Why'd you do that?" he asks, and I shrug and drop my hand away from my neck.

"What, you think I get a kick out of getting random bastards fired?" Fabric catches my eye, and I lean down and retrieve the brat's tie from the ground. I ball it up and toss it at him, and he smoothly, and clearly automatically, snatches it out of the air. One more clue to the beast within. "How long's it been since you had a real fight?"

He answers with a small shrug, shoving the tie into his right pocket. "I don't know, years?" There's a flicker in his eyes, as he looks down at the ground, that makes me think he's lying, but I don't call him on it. If it has been years, that's pretty damn impressive.

"What about a fuck?" I ask with a grin, unable to help myself. He meets my eyes, exasperation flickering in his eyes. He doesn't answer me, and that's really telling enough. Christ, how long's it been since the brat got laid? I am so down to fix that.

"What's your name?" he asks eventually, and the tiny yield makes my grin widen a little.

"Grimmjow Jaegerjacques," I answer, and one of his eyebrows rises. Hey, at least my father didn't make me take the name Aizen. Grimmjow Aizen just really doesn't have the same ring to it.

"Well, Grimmjow, you buy me dinner, and maybe you'll get lucky. Deal?"

Fuck, yes!