AN: Hello! It's been a while, huh? Well, as you may or may not know, ff deleted both this story and Tumbling, which I will also be re-uploading soon. Hopefully they won't get removed again as long as I keep the summaries clean and post warnings... Sigh. Also, I've changed my pen name. Rest in peace, Pinku no Otaku. Welcome into the world, Kajima.
Hope you all enjoy this story as much the second time around.
WARNINGS: Gays. Strong language. Overuse of the word 'god' as an exclamation. Use of Selena Gomez lyrics.
Here's my dilemma,
One half of me wants you
And the other half wants to forget.
My dilemma, from the moment I met you,
I just can't get you out of my head.
I tell myself to run from you,
But I find myself attracted to
My dilemma, my dilemma,
"Wait until you're ready."
That's what all the advice columns say, right?
Well, agony aunts of the world, riddle me this. What the fuck would you do in this situation?
She's looking at me with those fucking huge grey eyes and I haven't the foggiest as to what to say. It's not that much of a shock, really, I just never thought it would actually happen. Who encouraged her to do this? I bet it was Rukia. She's too smart for her own good. I bet she knows, and she's trying to drag it out of me. Fucksake. I sigh, rubbing my eyes with one hand before looking at the girl before me again.
Her head is tilted to the side like a curious puppy, her lips all small and pouty and I find myself wishing she were just a little less cute. Then this might be easier. For me, that is. Not meaning to sound cocky, but I'm pretty sure I'm about to devastate the poor girl. Oh god, what if she cries? What the fuck am I going to do? Tatsuki is going to kick my ass.
But I can't tell her. I haven't told anyone yet, not even my family, and I would really rather keep it that way. I certainly can't imagine myself telling this girl first. That would just… Make no sense. Also, she'd probably end up blabbing to the entire school - by accident of course, she doesn't have the malice in her to scream at a spider, for fear of hurting its feelings - and I'd really rather that not happen, you know?
So what am I supposed to do? It's not like I've got a while, or even a few minutes, to work out an answer, a reason, or an excuse, and I'm certainly not going to go along with it for the sake of protecting my secret. That would just end up hurting her more, in the end. I'm not cruel. I just need to be honest with myself, even if I can't be with anyone else.
Shit. That's as far as I can go. Please, someone take over for me?
Fine. I'll lie then, shall I?
"It's… I'm not… Shit, Inoue. You know you're important to me, right? I'm sorry, but I… I just don't see you that way. You're like, I dunno, my sister or something."
Oh god I'm going to puke if she cries. Then she'll be crying and covered in my vom and Tatsuki will literally cut my balls off. Shit. Something flickers across her face, and oh shit no her eyes are glazing, stop glazing for the love of god, I have testicles and they need protecting from my best friend's wrath!
"Thank you for being honest with me, Kurosaki-kun."
Why am I not convinced? Is she trying to guilt-trip me, or am I just feeling that lousy about lying to her, making her believe something that was actually pretty true, but not the real reason? 'Cause you know, I reckon I would have accepted her offer - I would have gone on a date with her - if it wasn't for one small, tiny defining attribute. You see, I'm-
No, no, no, why is he here?! I try not to look at him, try to ignore him. I watch Inoue's eyes widen as she flickers her eyes over to the approaching guy and then back to me.
"Kurosaki-kun? I think, er, I think Ja-"
I try not to shudder at his accent, the way he drawls the last syllable of my name. I motion my head towards Inoue. Let's go. She simply tilts her head in confusion again and I try so, so hard not to raise my palm to my face. Has the girl no tact?! I sigh, take her gently by the elbow, and lead her down the hallway, away from the bane of my fucking existence.
This is all his fault, after all.
"Let's go, Inoue."
Her eyes raise up to mine and oh for god's sake, why is she blushing?! I remove my hand possibly a little too quickly to be tactful - I don't want to lead the poor girl on - I just want to escape, run, flee for my goddamn life. Or, more accurately, reputation. But then there's a strong grip on my own elbow, a smirking question near my ear.
"Why you runnin'?"
Belatedly realising that I am no longer by her side, Inoue turns around. Her eyes flicker between us again and for a minute I consider crying out to her for help. She probably has some girly power she could use, or she could at least threaten him with her cooking. I shudder at the thought. Or is it the powerful heat that's still wrapped around my elbow, holding me in place? I let out a sigh. I seem to be doing that a lot, recently.
Probably all the stress.
"I'll see you later, Inoue."
I offer her a small smile and watch her skip off with a cute little wave before hardening my eyes, aiming a glare at the currently far-too-smug guy stood next to me. I shrug him off my elbow and he lets out a brash 'Ha!'.
"Quite the heartbreaker, eh, Kurosaki?"
He needs to shut the fuck up, and so I tell him that. I don't tell him for what reason, though. He simply laughs at me again and I eventually muster up the courage to actually turn around and face him full-on. I cross my arms behind me, lean back against the wall. This lunch-break is far too eventful for my liking.
"What the fuck do you want, Jaegerjaquez?"
I try to sound exasperated as his surname falls effortlessly from my lips, as usual - the fact that I can pronounce it at all is something I'm possibly a little too proud of - stupid foreign words. I allow my eyes to roam over him, just a little. I try to tell myself that he looks fine, as he always does. He just looks like a guy. A normal guy.
Okay, so maybe not normal, per se. He does have quite a bizarre appearance. But then, who am I to talk? Well, at least I don't have the reputation he does. A little voice niggles at me, tells me that I did, once, and that I shouldn't forget it. I tell it to shut up, tell it that I'm not going to treat Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez any differently just because he's 'misunderstood.' That doesn't mean we have anything in common.
He is misunderstood, by the way. I've kept that adjective stored away for any possible chance that I might get to use it - not sympathetically, of course, but patronisingly - I need to keep this guy away from me at all costs. In any case, many people at school believe him to be some hardcore gang-leader type guy. They think he beats people up for fun, takes shitloads of drugs and is a general miscreant.
He plays up to it all, of course. I think the sad-act actually enjoys the attention. The stares, the whispers behind cupped hands, the countless fangirls... 'And fanboy' my mind supplies me with, but I quickly silence it with a shake of the head. There's no need for that. Anyway. He's not actually any of those things. He's just… Well, he's kind of an asshole.
The first time I met him I may have stared just a little too long and you know what my face is like, with these eyebrows pretty much everyone thinks I'm looking for a fight. Cue Jaegerjaquez thinking exactly that. Luckily, we just so happened to be in a Karate class, so we actually got away with it. A few insults were thrown - an unoriginal 'Carrot Top' on his part and what I had considered at the time to be a rather genius 'Blue Balls' on mine - and so followed the punches.
It was that fight, that goddamn fight, that made me realise.
We had ended up entangled, both of us struggling to pin the other, myself finding the urge to bite him just so I could win far too tempting. His thighs straddled my own squirming ones, my back twisting to try to get away, trying to reverse the roles. I had been too warm - I had thought it was just from the exercise, the sheer effort of the fight, but my stomach had told me otherwise. It was roiling, and I had been confused.
Then I fell still as I felt it. Or, more accurately, felt him. He had been hard, pressing against my ass, and I had been shocked to discover that, instead of trying harder to escape his grasp, I was moving back against him. He had grabbed my arm, pulled it behind my back. I had told him to get the fuck off me, but it had come out all wrong, all breathless, and he had whispered into my ear, hot and purring and insightful.
"Don't act like you're not fucking enjoying it."
It was at that moment that Sensei had decided to interject, asking what exactly anything that we were doing had to do with Karate. Jaegerjaquez had relented, releasing me with a demonic grin, and I had brushed myself off, tried to calm myself down despite my whirling mind and churning stomach. I realised two things that day.
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez was gay.
And I liked it.
When did Jaegerjaquez get so close?
I start to realise just how long my quick glance has lasted, and move my eyes slowly up to his. Fuck. He's wearing a smug grin and he looks straight into my eyes as he asks me a question. It's the same question as ever. Normally I would just ignore him, walk away, push any thought of him to the back of my mind. But people were starting to talk, I had heard the rumours, I had seen that godforsaken chart of Rukia's.
Ah, let me explain.
Basically, since everyone realised that I'm not a violent punk with an attitude problem… Or, at least, not to the extent that everyone first thought, I started to get kind of popular. No, I'm not trying to show off or anything. In fact, I'd rather I wasn't. I'd rather live my school life in peace, thank you very much. In any case, with popularity, came female attention. And with female attention, came gossip.
I've always had more female friends, always. It's never bothered me and I have never seen anything wrong with it. I have guys friends, too, but - thankfully? - the gossip whores of Karakura High have overlooked their existence in favour of the girls in my company. They didn't even consider Ishida, the flaming homo that he is. The guy fucking sews. Anyway, yes. They focused on the girls. Well, in particular, two girls.
Rukia and Inoue.
Now, don't get me wrong, they're both lovely, but gah. Why? Even now, I still get people approaching me, asking when I'm going to 'make up my mind' and pick one or the other to date. Umm, excuse me? As far as I can see, I have. I have chosen neither of them. Why is that so difficult for people to accept?
I mean, I love Rukia to death but not like that. She's just a really close friend, close enough that I can be myself around her and we can laugh and there's always amusing banter - but the thought of screwing her, or even kissing her, makes me want to vomit. It's not that she's unattractive or anything, far from it. It's just that, well…
She's a she.
So, by the same token, you see my issue with Inoue. I mean, Rukia has something of a tomboyish charm, a brash humour that is nowhere near girly. She's not afraid to kick my ass if I fuck up - that girl is freakishly strong - and she is most definitely not afraid to give me an earful if I need it. Rukia isn't masculine in the slightest, but she's no Inoue.
Inoue is like the epitome of girl-kind. She's the femme of all the femme, the kind of girl that is the ideal of any straight man. She has flowing hair, fluttering eyelashes, fucking huge breasts - that are actually quite terrifying, might I just add - but that's my problem. I am no straight man. After almost a year of internal debate and confusion, I can finally admit it.
I, Kurosaki Ichigo, am a raging bender.
There. Happy now?
I'm not. Especially since there's this fucking chart. Basically, Rukia found the whole 'pick Inoue or Rukia' thing fucking hilarious. To the point where she got people to vote on who they thought I should pick. Some people actually got into fights over it, it was fucking scary. Anyway, the results came in, and Rukia assembled the final draft of her godforsaken chart. It looked a little like this:
Inoue Orihime: llllllllllllllllllllllll
Kuchiki Rukia: llllllllllllllllllllllll
Overall, it was a tie. But there, at the bottom of the chart, was one little thing that pissed me off. In tiny letters, perfectly hand-written by none other than Kuchiki Rukia herself, lay the following words:
Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez: ll
He's asked me again. I can't say yes, but I can't say no either. So, I settle for my old friend, avoidance.
"You can't just assume someone's gay. That's not how it works."
His arm is resting against the wall, above my head, and his face is pulled into the biggest grin I've ever seen. Not just on him, on anyone.
"Yeah it is. Ever heard of gaydar?"
I roll my eyes. Is that even a legitimate thing? I decide to test him. Okay, so maybe I'm just curious as to what it is exactly that would make other people realise I'm a giant homo.
"Okay, so what set off your 'gaydar' then?"
I feel extremely lame as I belatedly realised that I just made quotation marks with my fingers. Way to go, self. He's still grinning, though. His eyes slide down my form - dare I say it, appreciatively? - then flicker back up to my eyes. I'm having trouble swallowing.
You've got to be shitting me.
"What? Shitloads of guys wear skinny jeans, that doesn't make them gay!"
"It does if they're purple."
Oh god, I'm going red, aren't I? Crap, blushing really fucking clashes with my hair. Did I just think that? Shit. I don't want to be outed by someone else in the first place, but the fact that it just so happens to Jaegerjaquez who's doing it - and rather embarrassingly, can I just add - just makes it worse. Alas, he carries on.
"For someone so in the closet, you don't half pick some shit out of it."
Okay, now I'm definitely a nice shade of magenta. Someone kill me.
"So, Kurosaki. You comin' out with me or what?"
I pull my scowl a little tighter, try to glare at him. Is he just going to keep asking? It's getting kind of awkward - and more often, bordering on every time I bump into the bastard - I'm running out of excuses. I drop my eyes from his to the floor. I need to think about this a little. I know I can't just keep running away... As tempting as that sounds. I still feel kind of bad about the Inoue thing.
It's been almost a year, now. It's not like I want to want Jaegerjaquez. I don't want to continue admiring him, as begrudgingly as it is, keeping a safe distance from him at all times. I've tried to stop myself from thinking about him, I really have. It doesn't seem to have worked, though. A small part of my brain is pushing unwanted thoughts forward. It's coaxing, it's tempting, it's crazy.
Why not say yes?
You want him, don't you?
Stop being a pussy and go for it!
But… But, I'm not ready to tell everyone. I bring my hand to my face, scrub over it. I'm quite surprised that Jaegerjaquez hasn't said anything more. Why is he letting me think? Why isn't he pestering me, as he normally would? I sneak a quick look at him through my fingers. His face gives me all the answers I need.
He knows he's winning.
I let out a sigh. I'd like to think I'm pretty comfortable with my sexuality now, but I've never done anything about it. I feel like a fucking virgin - well, you are one - I've never been out with a guy. I've never even approached anyone, asked them out. Although that might have something to do with the fact that the only guy I've ever been attracted to is stood right in front of me.
So what, Ichigo, are you just going to become asexual?
I mutter the word, not looking at Jaegerjaquez. I kind of hope he hasn't heard me, because the minute that word falls out of my mouth, I want to take it back. Could I really do this? Me? Go on a date with Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez, the resident not-so-bad bad-boy? Oh god, I really don't want to tell everyone that I'm going out with him of all people. My mind is asking me why I care so much. I can't give it an answer.
There's hot breath on my neck, purring in my ear.
"What did you just say?"
Do I really have to repeat myself? No. I can do this. I'm a man. I look him straight in the eye - oh Jesus Christ his face is so close to mine, I can smell the mint of his gum - tell him clearly. I can do this. I use that voice, the cocky one that always gets me into trouble. Even if I am bricking it, it's not like I'm going to let Jaegerjaquez know that. I let my lips pull into a smirk.
"Yeah, I'll go out with you."
His grin has got bigger. Is that even fucking possible? I have to cut him off, before he gets too ahead of himself. He's opened his mouth to speak but I hold up a hand, stop him. I keep my eyes on his, make sure he understands.
"BUT. I don't want anyone finding out."
His grin only falters slightly before it's back to its usual position, a new glint in those fucking gorgeous eyes. What the hell does that mean? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little, tiny bit excited. They're dancing with words unspoken and secrets kept. Then his voice is rumbling again. Why does it sound like a warning?
"A secret date, huh? I can work with that."
Wait. Why is he being so considerate?
He's moving forwards, his hands sliding down the wall so they're next to my hips, his breath fanning over my neck. I'm starting to feel a bit warm, too warm. I can smell his aftershave and shampoo, the weak mint of over-chewed gum still in the air. His breath is so hot against my skin and I find myself wondering if the rest of him is as heated. Then the breath forms whispered words, the hair on the back of my neck standing to attention.
Then he's gone, walking down the hall at a relaxed pace, leaving me stunned and a little stiff, in more than one sense of the word. I watch him as he walks away - really watch him. I feel it's fair enough that after abstaining from looking at him for so long, I'm allowed to perv just a little bit now. I mean, I had just manned up and agreed to go on a date with him.
"See ya at seven, Kurosaki!"
I collapse against the wall. Fucking hell that guy is exhausting to deal with. But… I have a date. I can't decide whether this is amazing or fucking terrifying. At the moment, I'm venturing towards the latter. I move to push off the wall, head to class, let out a sigh. Then I hear it. There are soft footsteps behind me - and I swear I hear laughter - but when I turn around, there's no one there.
Shaking my head, I return to class. I have to prepare myself for tonight.
I'm glad it's dark.
I'm stood against my front door, the cold of the wood seeping through my jacket as I lean against it. Jaegerjaquez has walked me home. He's stood in front of me, close to me, his breath puffing out against the night air, his hands in his pockets. He's wearing his signature grin, but there's something in it. Something I haven't seen before.
I've actually had a good night. I mean, I was nervous - I still kind of am - but I think I covered it up well enough. He was just himself - loud, brash, and more honest than I ever would have thought him to be - and I wasn't that surprised to find out that we got on quite well. He's just… Easy to be around? I don't know, does that make sense?
Anyway, we had what I would consider a pretty standard first date. We went to the cinema, watched an appropriately violent, manly man film, then walked the long way home, just chatting shit. He insisted on walking me back to mine. I would never have expected him to be so, I don't know, gentlemanly? In any case, now we're here and my heart is beating like crazy.
He's taken another step towards me. We're literally a few millimetres away from each other now. He tilts his head down, towards mine, and I try to resist the urge to mirror him. His face is so close. Is he going to kiss me? I'm not sure how I feel about that. I swallow the lump in my throat and hope he doesn't hear it. The grin on his face is smaller, and I wonder if I should be doing something to make it widen again.
He keeps his voice low, rough. It makes my face heat up, makes my fingers twitch. I want to touch him. I want him to touch me. Is this normal? His mouth dips just a little bit lower and I can't help but suck in a shaky breath. Fucking hell. His whispers over my lips. A question, so similar to his usual one, with just a slight alteration.
"You gonna come out with me again?"
I try not to let my breath out too heavily. I don't want him to know how much this is affecting me. All I can do is nod. When I do, my nose brushes his, and I feel a shudder pass through me, blame it on the cold. He knows, though. I can see it in his expressive eyes, the twitch of his mouth - which I can't stop looking at.
Then he's moving, backing away, leaving me to relax my tense muscles, slump against the door. He throws a hand over his shoulder by way of a farewell, his back to me. I watch him as he walks away, around the corner, out of sight. I start to genuinely shiver from the cold, hurriedly push open the door.
Why am I disappointed?
"We're on our second date, Ichigo, I'm pretty sure you're allowed to call me by my first name."
How did I get here?
Oh, yeah. I had text Grimmjow - after waiting an appropriate amount of time, of course - confirming the time and place for a second date with him. He had replied with nothing but the letter 'k' and it made me want to rip my hair out. Aren't I supposed to be the nonchalant one? In any case, here I am, eating dinner with him. If you can even call this grease food. I'm painting circles with a chip dipped in ketchup when he asks.
"Why haven't ya come out yet?"
It's my natural reaction to send a swift glare in his direction, but he doesn't care. He's looking at me all weird, as though I am the source of all of his confusion, but he doesn't give a flying fuck because it amuses him. I sigh, abandoning my food-art. His gaze is too intense and I have to look away. I end up shrugging my shoulders, looking out of the window only to find my own confused-looking reflection. I don't know how to answer his question and so the silence drags on. I'm surprised, and thankful, when he changes the subject.
"This tastes like shit, let's bail."
I nod, follow him out of the god-awful fast-food joint. The night air is cold against my skin and I curse myself inwardly for not bringing a jacket. Then there's something warm around my shoulders and I flinch slightly but then I realise what is happening - Grimmjow is giving me his coat. I slip my arms through the sleeves, feel the ever-so-slight pressure of his hands on my shoulders as if they were made of lead. Then he's back at my side and I can't help but give him a small smile, thank him. We start to walk again.
"Where are we going?"
He's grinning again, his hands in his pockets as he moves in front of me, starts walking backwards.
I almost stop walking. We're what? My mouth has gone all dry and okay so I might be slightly panicking. Oh, did I say 'slightly'? I meant majorly. Fuck. What does this mean? Is he going to want to, you know? Please don't make me say it. I mean, we haven't even kissed yet, hell I haven't even touched the guy. Does he expect me to - us to - I feel myself swallowing heavily.
Are we going to have sex?
Oh my god I feel like such a dick for even thinking it. I mean, we barely know each other. But… Do I want to? Would I? My heart is beating double-time as I watch him spin back around, leading the way, clearly all too pleased with my reaction - if the new bounce in his step is anything to go by. I can't take my eyes off him as he walks, I can't stop thinking about this bizarre as fuck situation. I mean, I'm on a date with Grimmjow-fucking-Jaegerjaquez. Again.
"Why haven't ya come out yet?"
The question circles around my head, makes my brain hurt. I honestly don't know what's what anymore. I mean, I'm obviously gay. I know that, you know that, Grimmjow knows that - and seems far too happy about it, can I just say - so why shouldn't everyone else know? Maybe I am just a pussy. Or maybe I'm worried that I'll come out, tell all my friends that I'm dating Grimmjow, and then he'll fuck off again. It seems like the kind of thing he'd do, the life-wrecking bastard that he is.
Do I want Grimmjow to stick around? I bite my lip - god if this stress continues I'll end up gnawing it to death - try my best to think about it. It doesn't work and so I force myself to imagine my life without Grimmjow. Would it make a difference if he wasn't there to fight with - whether it be verbally or physically - in Karate class? How would I feel if he wasn't constantly pursuing me in the hallways at lunch? What would I do if he disappeared? I can feel my mouth turning down at the corners. I don't like that thought at all.
Okay. So maybe I do want him around for at least a little while longer. He's kind of growing on me, you know? He keeps whipping out these little gestures, things I would never expect him to do. Things that normal people would take for granted like, you know, common courtesy and the like. It's nice to discover new spectrums of Grimmjow - I think I'd like to learn more.
Plus, I can't deny I'm attracted to him. We may not have done anything other than hang out and talk, but sometimes my hand twitches and I want to reach out to him, sometimes he stands really close to me, his face almost touching mine, and I want him to kiss me. I suddenly remember that we're on our way to his house and excitement bubbles up out of nowhere to mix and mingle with my nerves. This guy will be the death of me, I swear.
Would you still do all of those things, if you knew he wouldn't stick around?
I don't know where the thought has come from and so I shove it back into the recesses of my mind. A small part of me knows that it's true, though. I have the feeling I may well be just a conquest of Grimmjow's - a challenge, a game - he probably just wants to force me out of my nice comfortable closet and then lock the doors once I'm out, strolling off whistling, never to be heard from again.
Something brushes my hand, wraps around it, and I am brought back to the present. Then I realise that it's Grimmjow's hand, his fingers linking through mine, rough but warm and completely foreign. I can't remember the last time I held another person's hand. I turn my head to look at him, expecting to see him grinning at me, smug expression in full bloom. But he's not, he's just looking ahead, up at the stars that keep ducking out of the clouds. My chest feels heavy, my head light. What is this?
We only have to walk a little further before we reach an apartment building. Grimmjow's hand slips from mine as we walk up some stairs and I hear the melodic jingle of keys as he pulls them from his pocket, unlocks his front door. We enter the small hall-space and I try my best not to touch him in any way as we remove our shoes. I'm feeling all on-edge. I am in Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez' flat. Remind me how this happened again?
When I look up again - having meticulously arranged my shoes for a few moments longer than necessary - I see Grimmjow leaning against the wall, his grin back where it should be, his eyes lingering somewhere I - is he looking at my ass? Shit. He doesn't take any notice of my obvious glare, my folded arms, and only once I growl out his name does he bother removing his gaze from its previous position, gesturing his head to the side.
"C'mon, I'll give ya the tour."
'The tour', as he so eloquently put it, is more sort of spinning in a circle. There's a corner where the kitchen is, a living-area sort of space with a sofa - where does he sleep? - and a television, a door leading to what I assume must be a bathroom. It small, and kind of untidy, but it suits him. I feel a little ashamed as I realised that I had temporarily forgotten Grimmjow lived on his own.
I had heard all the gossip going around school - I was kind of thankful it wasn't about me for once, as harsh as that sounds - I knew his parents had been in an accident, that he'd lost his family home due to a money-grabbing uncle with no intention of looking after his own nephew. I knew that his grandfather paid for him to live by himself. The closer I look, the more I can see that Grimmjow looks after himself well enough. I don't know why that makes me happy.
I'm snapped back to reality by Grimmjow asking me if I want a beer. I nod absent-mindedly. I feel kind of spaced-out, but then there's something freezing cold on the back of my neck and I yelp, jumping away, and Grimmjow is bent over double, pissing himself with laughter. Instead of snapping at him, I've somehow ended up laughing too, rubbing the still-cool patch of skin.
Eventually I regain enough composure to pop open the can, lean against the kitchen sideboard, watch Grimmjow as he - what is he doing with that sofa? One of my eyebrows raises of its own accord as I try to work it out and when it suddenly clicks, my heart is in my throat, choking me. I decide the beer in my hand may not be the best decision. Actually, agreeing to come here was probably a worse one.
Grimmjow has just pulled out what is apparently a sofa-bed.
I think he's sees my face because he rolls his eyes, walks back towards me. Then his hand is back around mine - it's even warmer now, his grip firm - pulling me with him. He slumps heavily onto the sofa-bed-thing, his back resting against the back of the sofa, pulling me with him. I copy his pose as he reaches for a remote nearby, flicks the television on, scans the channels before settling on some bizarre game show.
I'm all nervous at first, but it strangely doesn't take long for me to get into the program - it's fucking hilarious - and soon I'm laughing, slouching further, my legs unfurling, fidgeting like I usually do, the hand around mine only making my laughter a little louder, my smile a little wider. It doesn't help that Grimmjow keeps making amusing comments, doing his own dubbing in stupid voices. Who would have guessed he was this fucking funny?
We end up arguing about who is going to win, each coming up with even more ridiculous points, Grimmjow eventually releasing my hand to express himself with over-enthusiastic hand gestures. By the time we've killed each other with laughter, the show is over and we never find out who won. This just sets me off again, silent tears leaking down my strained cheeks. I end up lying flat on my back, my arm over my eyes as I try to stop the stupid giggles shaking my chest.
I eventually calm down, wipe my face with my sleeve before looking up - to see Grimmjow hovering over me. Oh god. My chest feels really fucking tight right now, is that normal? I remove my arm from my face but I don't know where to put it - oh god even arranging my own body is too difficult - and I think I might be staring at his lips but then it doesn't matter because they're on mine and I think I might die.
People always talk about a spark, don't they? Okay, girls talk about it, but still. I never really thought much of it - kissing has always seemed kind of gross, what with all the sharing of saliva and the taste of whatever it is you've each consumed recently - until right now. Right now, I know what Inoue and Chizuru and whoever else was going on about. The second his mouth presses against mine, it feels like I've been struck by lightning.
I suddenly know where to put my arm. I wrap it around his neck, pull him down to me - use the other to push myself up - why can't I get any closer? Then oh god he's moving over me on all fours, I can feel the bed shift as he does so, one of his hands moving to cup my waist, the other my jaw, and I'm bringing my other arm up to wrap around his back, clinging onto his shirt for dear life. I try not to moan as his tongue leaves his mouth, as I open my own to greet him - but a sound still escapes me, its volume seeming far too loud despite the constant background noise of the television, the frantic beating of my own pulse.
He growls in response, pushing further into my mouth, his hands tightening around me, but not straying. My tongue catches up with the rest of me, moves to meet his - they wrap around each other, dance, retreat, repeat. We could have been kissing for hours already, I honestly don't know. All I know is that I don't want to stop. It feels too good, my body responding in all the right, embarrassing ways. I don't want this to end, I don't want to deal with anything that might happen afterwards. Can't we just stay like this?
Then Grimmjow is moving away, his teeth dragging over my bottom lip, his eyes opening, gazing right into mine. I can feel my chest heaving as I try to control my breathing, I can feel him panting against my lips. I feel as though my control has been stolen from me and I'm shocked to see that he doesn't look much better. Isn't he supposed to be all experienced and suave and stuff? Maybe that's just another part of his reputation that simply isn't true.
My body bounces a little as he falls back heavily to the mattress, resting only his head against the back of the sofa. In no time at all he's flicking through the channels again, as though nothing has happened. It doesn't feel weird, though. It just puts me more at ease, knowing that we could do something like that, then go back to how we were before. It's like there's no pressure - pressure being exactly the kind of thing I would expect from Grimmjow.
I watch him a little as he settles on some film, throws the remote to one side. Before he can look at me, I find myself shuffling over to him, resting my head on his shoulder. It's comfy, despite the obvious rock-hard muscle, and when he shifts to wrap his arm around my waist, I close my eyes, allow myself to relax further. I feel him place a kiss on the top of my head, suck in a long breath in which I can smell everything that is Grimmjow.
Before I know it, I'm drifting off.
Urgh, is it morning already?
I pull my eyes open but promptly have to squint against the brightness of the room. As I shift my body, start to stretch, I feel heavy. Why am I so warm?
I sit straight up, look around. As suspected, this isn't my room. It isn't even my house. That's when I remember, remember everything that happened last night. My skin starts to tingle at the still-vivid memory - the way Grimmjow's mouth had moved against mine, the way he had tasted. I bring a hand to my face, massage the bridge of my nose. Then I had fallen asleep. How embarrassing.
I hear a grumble next to me and I whip my head around, my senses on full alert. Grimmjow is still lying next to me, his arms and legs spread out at weird angles, his head awkwardly flopping to one side. I silently laugh as I realise he's drooling, his mouth wide open. He looks comically shocked. Then I notice the slight tinge of pink across his cheeks, the muscular arms slung above his head. I pull my eyes further down. He's kicked one side of the covers right down, and… I swallow heavily.
Grimmjow is wearing a tee-shirt, but it's ridden up, showing some of his stomach. I watch the rise and fall of his chest, his stomach for a while. I jump a little as he squirms in his sleep, relaxing again when he doesn't wake. It's nice to be able to watch him without him noticing, without him making some narcissistic comment. Oh god, I sound a bit stalker-ish, don't I? But oh dear lord I don't care because Grimmjow's fidgeting has revealed that his lower half is only covered by simple black boxers. Tight ones.
I shift my eyes nervously to his face, make sure he's still sleeping, before I dare to look again. I bite my lip as I realise I can see the outline of his cock through the thin fabric. What does it look like? I'm almost tempted to pull away that fabric, touch him, but I don't. Instead I shake my head, push myself carefully off the sofa-bed, tiptoe over to the doorway, slip on my shoes. Part of me wants to stay, go back, curl up at Grimmjow's side again. But I can't. I check my pockets, making sure I have my house keys, before sneaking silently out of the door.
I'm on edge at school. Enough that my friends notice. Inoue comes up to me at break, asks me if I would like her to make me a batch of red bean and wasabi cookies - I politely decline. Tatsuki yells at me when I dismiss one of her jokes, asks me what the fuck is wrong. Then there's Rukia. She just sits there, her eyebrows raised as she regards me silently. I would be thankful, if it wasn't for that evil little smile on her face.
I'm glaring at Rukia, silently asking her what the fuck she knows and how the hell she found out - when her smile grows, her eyes actually leaving mine to look above my head. I feel my forehead crinkle in confusion until a voice rumbles behind me, something heavy tapping me on the head. I whip my head around to see - ah, crap.
"Your wallet, dumbass."
My shoulders tense instinctively. No, what the fuck is he doing? I silently glare at him and he raises an eyebrow at me, waves my wallet in my face. I snatch it out of his hand, begin to begrudgingly thank him, still trying to tell him without words to go away before he ruined everything. But then Inoue chirps up - seriously, who let her have vocal chords? - and I want to run away.
"Oh! Kurosaki-kun, how did you not notice you didn't have your wallet?"
She starts giggling - oh yeah, ha ha ha, how fucking hilarious - before the cogs slowly start turning and she opens her gob again.
"Where did you find it, Jaegerjaquez-kun?"
I would laugh at the ridiculously cutesy way she said his name, but I'm too busy having a panic attack. Oh god, Grimmjow, please don't do what I think you're going to - oh, fuck. He's wearing that smile. The one that says 'I am going to ruin your life and take great enjoyment in doing so.'
"Well, Inoue…"He really is enjoying himself far too much. I start shaking my head at him, my eyes wide - for the love of god, stop talking! "I found it on my-"
"Way to the classroom!"
My hand has clamped itself over Grimmjow's mouth, my voice possibly a little too shrill as I finally take action. When my little outburst has finished, my friends are all looking at me as though I have grown an extra head. Except Rukia, she's still smiling. Bitch. I realise my hand is still over Grimmjow's mouth and so I quickly remove it, wipe it on my jeans as though it disgusts me. I then take him by the arm - my hand won't fit all the way around it, Christ he's ripped - drag him towards the door.
"Let's go, Gri- Jaegerjaquez, show me where you found it, yeah?"
He's chuckling as we leave the classroom and as I start to tell him to shut up, I realise he's not the only one. I can hear tinkling laughter - the same laughter as last time, in the hall, when Grimmjow had asked me out - and I suddenly realise why Rukia has been acting weird. Fuck. Then it all clicks together and I realise just why there were two scores on the Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez part of that stupid fucking chart. Were they in this together?
"What's the matter, Ichig-"
"What the fuck are you doing?!"
He looks almost as stunned as I feel as I yell at him, garnering the attention from a few people in the hallway. They quickly leave, probably thinking there's a fight going down - that's what Grimmjow and I usually do, isn't it, so why does this feel so weird? He's glaring at me now and I want to punch him and so I raise my fist back, but before I can push it forwards he has grabbed my wrist, slammed it against the wall.
"Shouldn't I be askin' that, Kurosaki?"
I can see he understands. He knows what he's done, that I'm not ready for this, not yet. So why is he so angry? Why is he pushing me? Where's the Grimmjow that I've started to discover - the one who insists on walking me home, the one who makes me choke with laughter, the one who stole my breath with a kiss? I feel helpless as he pushes away from the wall, away from me, stalks off down the hallway.
I bring my wrist to my other hand, rub it as though that would make it feel better. Then the classroom door opens again and a petite girl walks out, shaking her dark head at me, her violet eyes annoyed, disappointed. I'm suddenly angry again, so fucking angry. I feel the need to punch something and so I slam my fist into the wall, stomping off in the other direction.
"Fuck off, Rukia."
I only hear her sigh in return.
"Kurosaki-kun, did you hear?"
Shut up, Inoue.
"Jaegerjaquez-kun asked Mizuiro-kun out on a date!"
What. The. Fuck.
"Is that so."
"I didn't even know he was, you know..."
That's because you've probably cooked your own brain-cells into one of your freaky recipes.
"It's really quite obvious, Inoue-san."
Like you can talk, Ishida.
I allow my friends to continue their gossiping as I stare out of the window, a hole slowly forming in my chest. I try to pinpoint the feeling but can only compare it to when my mother used to pay attention to someone else's kid, and I'd throw a tantrum. Yeah, I know I was a brat. Wait. Am I… Jealous?
Although, can I just point out that I have a right to be? I mean, Grimmjow and I are supposed to be dating. Are you allowed to date two people at once? I suppose it seems plausible, if two people aren't officially togeth- ah. I see. But still, Grimmjow should know how difficult I find this whole thing, he must have been in my position once. Unless he's one of those gays that popped straight out of their mum's vagina wearing a big sign that read 'Congratulations! Your son is a homo!'
I mean, what the fuck?
"Is it true?"
Grimmjow looks thoroughly bored.
"Is what true, Kurosaki?"
I feel myself flinch at how he spits out my name. What the fuck is his problem?
"Are you dating Mizuiro?"
"You got a problem with that?"
I am temporarily stunned into silence, my brain working overtime. Maybe Grimmjow never really gave a shit about me, maybe he got bored of me somewhere along the way, maybe the fight we had put him off me for life - although I'm still adamant that it was all his fault. But it's been days now, days since we last spoke, and to be honest, I've kind of missed him. I look up from the particularly dirty patch of floor I've been staring at.
"… What if I do?"
"You have no fucking right."
He growls out the words and I'm wondering what he means - why is he so angry? I just want to show him that I care-
"So what is it, Kurosaki? Huh? You too good for me, that it?"
"You to good ta be seen with me?"
Is that what's going on?
"Are you pissed 'cause I haven't told anyone yet?"
It's his turn to look away. Is it bad that I feel kind of relieved?
"Yet? Does that mean you're going to?"
He sounds so much calmer and as much as I'd like to keep it that way, I have the feeling that what I'm about to say is just going to piss him off again. I have to tell the truth, though, don't I? I can't seem to lie to him, not like everyone else.
"I… I don't know, Grimmjow. I don't feel rea-"
"You're not fucking coming out to a group of Evangelical Christians, Ichigo-"
"I know! But it's getting it out, getting out the words! How am I supposed to do that?!"
"You open your mouth, makes noises, y'know that thing called talking? It's not difficult."
"But it is. How is this so easy for you?"
The last words that fall from my mouth sound pathetic. But I guess I am. I know Grimmjow's right, I know I have to stop hiding, stop lying, I have to tell them. But I don't know how.
"Why shouldn't it be? This is just about you and yer fuckin' pride! You really think any of your friends would give a flying fuck if you were gay or not? That Kuchiki chick seems to have sussed it anyway, and surely Tits McGee would feel just a little better about you rejecting her if she knew it wasn't anything to do with her, you just like cock-"
I've pushed my arms out in front of me, shoved him against the wall. The snarling, condescending tone of his voice, the anger, the frustration coming from him makes me lash out in what I can't decide is annoyance or guilt. Is that what I'm doing? Am I hurting the people that care about me the most? Am I… Am I hurting Grimmjow?
"No, I ain't-"
"Shut. The. Fuck. Up."
He actually does as he's told, although that might be due to the fact that I've wrapped my hands around his waist, stepped into his personal space. I can feel his warmth through the thin fabric of his shirt, smell the familiar fragrance of the gum he's always chewing. I find myself hoping that he isn't chewing any right now as I press my lips against his. When I pull away he isn't smiling. I want him to. I want to see that insane grin.
"I'll tell them, okay?"
He lips quirk up a little, but not enough. How can I make this up to him?
I push myself as close as I can to him, thankful that we're late for class, that no one is around. But I shouldn't think like that anymore, should I? He's still watching me with confused eyes. At least he's calmer, now. I'm not. I mean, I'm not angry any more, but there's still one thing bothering me.
"What are you going to do about Mizuiro?"
The grin is back. That's it, that's what I want to see. All teeth and arrogance.
It's his turn to initiate a kiss. Even though I know we're in the middle of school, even though I know I shouldn't, I push forwards, upwards, open my mouth to him. Then his arms are around me, holding me as close to him as possible, one hand playing with the hem of my shirt. Then I feel the warmth of his fingertips as they skim over my waist - how does such a small thing affect me so much? I feel like I'm on drugs - and then the moment is shattered by a high-pitched gasp.
I feel as though I'm frozen as I rip my mouth away from Grimmjow's, turn my eyes to see Inoue backing away before literally legging it down the hall.
"Shit, Inoue, wait!"
I turn my head to give Grimmjow a pleading glance - what should I do? Even he looks kind of concerned. But then he's raising an eyebrow at me, sighing, nodding in her direction.
"You gonna go explain shit to her, or what?"
All I can do is nod at him before I run down the hall, trying to find Inoue. God, I hope she's okay. What if she's secretly homophobic? No, that's a horrible thing to think - she's such a sweetheart, she wouldn't - I'm just scared. I've pushed myself into a corner and for the first time in my life, I'm going to have to admit it. I'm going to have to say it out loud.
I've caught up to her, grabbed her wrist, turned her to face me. Oh god are those tears in her eyes? Fuck. She makes no move to get away, thank god - all that running was exhausting - but simply looks up at me, her lower lip trembling slightly. Shit. Has seeing Grimmjow and I kissing made her that upset?
"Why couldn't you tell me?"
God, I'm a dick.
I move to hold both her wrists gently - at least I know I can, now, without her looking too deeply into it - shake them slightly as I try to get my words out.
"I'm sorry, Inoue. I just... Wasn't ready, you know? But I am now. I'm sorry you had to find out like this…"
"So, are you, you know…?"
I sigh at her a little, my mouth quirking up on it's own. If Inoue can't even say it, how am I supposed to?
"I'll say it if you do."
I'm grinning at her. I feel so much lighter, just from this. Grimmjow was right, the stupid bastard. It really wasn't as difficult as I had thought. She looks up at me, her cheeks reddening slightly as her cute little mouth tries to form the word.
"Yes, Inoue. I'm gay."
Then I am thrown into shock as she jumps on me, her arms moving to wrap around my neck as she giggles happily. I don't know what to do - should I be hugging her back? - this is weird. But then she's moving away again, all bouncy and smiley and I can't help but look at her as though she's just a little crazy. Well, she definitely is.
"I'm going to bake you a cake."
"A coming out cake, of course!"
Oh dear lord.
"When are you going to tell the others?"
I scratch the back of my head. I'm really not sure when to tell them, I mean today is already pretty much over. At least I know that I can tell them, now. If they react anything like Inoue - although I hope to god they don't, if Ishida tries to hug me I'm going to have to punch him - it shouldn't be too bad. I hum a little to myself. Inoue is rocking back and forth on her heels, her hands linked behind her back, her eyes expectant.
"Tomorrow, I guess."
Inoue skips off without so much as a good-bye or an explanation, and I am left confused. Shrugging my shoulders, I move to collect my belongings out of my locker. I've already missed half of the last class, I might as well go home. I briefly look for Grimmjow, but he's nowhere to be found. He must have fucked off home, too. I stretch my hands above my head, sling my bag over my shoulder.
Tomorrow is going to be a long day.
I wasn't wrong.
Class dragged like hell, but here I am. Lunch-break. The lunch-break. I'm stood outside my homeroom door, trying to get up the balls to actually go in. Holy fuck, this is really happening, isn't it? If someone could come do it for me, that would be great. No? You're all useless.
Eventually I muster the strength to pull open the door, step inside. My small collection of friends are sat in the usual spot by the window, talk and eating - is that cake?
My fears are only confirmed as I walk up to them, watch them push the dry sponge - why is it purple? - around their paper plates. Inoue is sat there with the biggest fucking smile on her face. Simple things, I guess. As I pull out a chair, I hear Rukia pipe up.
"So, why did you bring in this dis- er, delightful cake in today, Inoue?"
She isn't looking at Inoue when she asks, though. She's looking at me. What, is she psychic or something? I swear to god the midget can read minds.
"Oh! It's for Kurosaki-kun!"
I facepalm as Inoue sends me an obvious wink. Oh, Jesus. So it begins.
"It's a coming out cake!"
She beams as she cuts me a slice of what will probably become a massive in-joke. 'Hey, remember when Ichigo came out as gay and Inoue baked him that awful cake?' Oh god. She places the plate in front of me and I stare at it for a few seconds. Taking a deep breath, I finally look up to see how the rest of them are reacting.
Tatsuki isn't paying any attention, completely blasé to Inoue's quirks as usual, picking at her cake, pushing the icing to one side. Chad is as silent as ever, using Inoue's moment of distraction to slyly tip his cake out of the open window. Ishida is stood upright, the constant stick up his ass helping his posture, a small frown on his face as he looks between Inoue and myself, his plate empty - did he actually eat all that? Keigo and Mizuiro are absent, thank fuck, so that just leaves Rukia, who... Looks like she is in pain. Then I notice the shaking of her shoulders, the hand over her mouth. The bitch is trying her hardest not to fucking laugh.
Ishida pushes up his glasses. Learn when to shut up, you little prick!
"What do you mean?"
"Oh! Kurosaki-kun is coming out toda-"
Her insufferable rambling is drowned out by the sound of my head connecting loudly with the desk. Well, at least that got their attention. As I lift my head up again, they're all staring at me. I hear a snort, shoot a glare in Rukia's direction. She has fucking tears falling down her face, both of her hands now clamped over her mouth. It's not that funny!
"Coming out of where? Kurosaki?"
Ishida's annoying voice pulls my eyes back to his. I scratch the back of my head as I try to push away my nerves. I sigh, put on my best serious face, but the small noises coming from a certain dark-haired menace are making my eye want to twitch.
"Out of the closet- Rukia would you shut the fuck up?!"
The hands that had previously been holding in the midget's apparent mirth are now gone -ridiculously loud, raucous laughter exploding from her tiny form. My shouting at her only seems to make it worse as she snorts loudly, tears streaming freely down her cheeks.
"I'm sorr- HA HA HA HAA!"
I glare at Rukia a little longer before turning my attention back to the others. Ishida looks the most shocked - it looks as though he's worried I'm going to take his place as resident ass-bandit - I couldn't give a fuck if I tried. Chad nods at me once, to show me he's cool with it. When I look at Tatsuki, she's grinning at me, a thin eyebrow raised.
"So, Ichigo likes cock, huh?"
I find myself grinning back. God bless you, Tatsuki. She carries on, clearly interested in the sudden development.
"So, when did you work it out?"
"Uhh, sometime last year?"
Tatsuki simply nods.
"Cool. So was there anyone in particular who you, y'know..."
"I think what Arisawa-San is trying to say is are there any males in this school to whom you are attracted."
I move my gaze to Ishida. Why does he have to say stuff so... Fancy? I raise an eyebrow at him pointedly. Wait... Why are his cheeks pink? Oh hell no. I jump as I feel heavy hands on my shoulders, a familiar scent drifting over me as the person now behind me leans over my hunched-up form.
"It ain't you, ya little prick."
I roll my eyes before glancing up at Grimmjow. His cocky grin is in full bloom. I find myself mirroring it. Perfect timing.
He pulls a chair from a nearby table, sits right next to me, slinging an arm over my shoulders. It doesn't bother me. In fact, I feel fucking awesome. I slump further into my seat. It's done. It's over. My friends know. I don't think about my family, my insane father, how my sisters will react. They can wait. The people I spend most of my time with, the people I felt needed to know, know. The rest can wait. I hear Tatsuki let out a low whistle, feel my smile growing wider.
"Hey, is that cake?"
I watch his face as he places the forkful of sponge and icing into his mouth. His smug, cake-thieving face turns sour and I can't help but laugh at him. He eventually swallows, pulls a face.
"What the fuck was in that?!"
"Oh!" Inoue pipes up. "It's strawberry and pineapple."
That doesn't actually sound too bad. I push my finger into the icing, placing it into my mouth. What the f-
"With bonito icing."
I quickly spit out the icing onto the floor, uncaring of how gross it might look. That is fucking disgusting. I don't know why, but Ishida starts complaining. Is he pouting?
"Why didn't I get a cake?"
"Well... Everybody knew Ishida-kun was gay!"
Inoue looks so pleased with herself, bless her, and so she should be. It takes everyone at least five minutes to stop laughing. Inoue just sits there smiling, probably without a clue as to what is actually so funny. Then Tatsuki comes out with the most random question.
"Are we going to need a new chart?"
"Nah." Grimmjow looks far too smug. "I was already on it."
Rukia starts giggling again and Grimmjow grins at her, offers her his raised palm. She leans over the table to slap it with her own, the biggest smile on her face as she sits back down, wipes a tear from her eye. I fucking knew it. How long have these two been plotting together? I'm about to ask but Grimmjow is standing, pulling me up by the arm, whispering in my ear. I turn to my friends, who are already over the news, apparently, chatting amongst themselves.
"See you guys later."
They all say their good-byes and as I walk out of the classroom, a few wolf-whistles following me out of the door. I roll my eyes, turn to Grimmjow. He's grinning at me - a genuine, fucking huge grin, and I find myself smiling back. I follow him through the halls for a while.
"Wait, where are we going?"
He spins around, walks backwards in front of me. This looks familiar.
I honestly don't know where I learnt to be so cohesive.
"Ichigo, it's Friday. Last lesson is double history and as much as I'd love to hear Grandpa Yamamoto rage on about all the wars he's probably lived through, I'd rather waste my time with you. C'mon."
I can't think of anything to say - I know it's crazy, ditching school to go home with Grimmjow. It's definitely not something I'd usually do. Maybe that's why I find it so exciting. Plus, it feels like an age since I last properly hung out with him. I'm looking forward to spending some time together, just us two. I start to wonder if this is it, does this mean he's mine now?
We grab our stuff from the lockers as quietly as possible, move through the halls almost silently. As soon as we leave the building Grimmjow is grabbing my hand, pulling me with him, running like a crazy person. I'm starting to get a stitch as I laugh at us, at this whole thing. I feel so light, so happy. We eventually slow down but his hand doesn't leave mine until he roots around in my bag, pulls out my mobile phone, pushes it into my hand.
"Phone your family. You're staying the weekend."
"What? But I don't have any clothes or-"
"You won't need 'em."