There was a shuffling sound coming from the couch area. Grimmjow rolled over and propped himself up in bed. He blinked blearily in the dark, but his eyes soon adjusted to the pale strips of moonlight filtering in through the slits in the wall. Bright orange hair came into view as Ichigo slid over hesitantly, trailing his fleece blanket behind him like a little blue cape. His small chubby hands clutched at a fluffy brown bear, keeping it close to his chest like a sort of protection shield.
"Yeah?" Grimmjow managed a sleepy grunt.
"I . . . couldn't sleep."
Ichigo came close enough to set his bear on the edge of Grimmjow's bed, leaning against it as he watched Grimmjow. Running a hand through his blue hair, Grimmjow quelled the urge to heave an exasperated sigh. It was the fifth time this week that the little boy would awaken to nightmares and ask for permission to sleep on the floor beside his bed.
"What happened?" Grimmjow asked quietly.
He wasn't used to being a parent, but he was trying – though mostly failing. Whatever the child did continuously baffled him.
"I dreamed that I was falling and it was all dark and then I was in the desert and there was sand everywhere." Ichigo's lower lip trembled as he struggled not to cry. "I was all by myself and there wasn't anyone to give me hugs."
There it was again, that constant need to be held. Grimmjow chewed thoughtfully on the inside of his right cheek as he considered calling Ulquiorra for help.
"Will you let me sleep here?" Ichigo asked in a choked sob.
Every morning, however, Grimmjow would find the little boy curled up like a large prawn next to him, nestled close to his body for warmth. Grimmjow was even more surprised to find that lately, he didn't even awaken when Ichigo snuggled in beside him. When had this recent physical closeness cease to make him feel uncomfortable?
"Come here." Grimmjow spread out both arms like he'd seen a human actor do in the movies Aizen made him watch daily. "You can sleep here with . . . Daddy."
He wasn't sure if he liked being called that, much less calling himself that, but it seemed to calm the boy. Anything for making the boy stop crying his eyes out.
Ichigo wasted no time in trying to clamber up the side of the bed before Grimmjow noted his struggling and lifted him up under his arms. He brought him to a close, tight embrace. His adoptive father's chest was bare – Grimmjow slept in his full uniform including his boots, for some unearthly reason – but Ichigo didn't mind. Grimmjow was warm. He could revel in the safety of a rhythmic thudding heart and warm skin beneath him.
"Nightmares are really bad, aren't they." Grimmjow said softly, threading his fingers through soft orange hair.
Ichigo nodded and buried his face in his father's chest. "They won't go away."
"Not while I'm here." Grimmjow dropped a chaste kiss on Ichigo's head. He wondered if he was making a bad decision before having his conscience berate him for thinking like a cruel, heartless being. "You can sleep here with me from now on."
"Thank you Daddy." Ichigo murmured into his chest, little hands grasping his white jacket as if he needed to hold on tightly to make sure he was really there. "You won't go away, will you?"
Grimmjow wasn't very sure what the child meant. Go away where? There wasn't anywhere else he could go. Aizen had placed him under 'house arrest', or so he'd called it. He wasn't allowed anywhere out of Las Noches with Ichigo, and he'd made a stout promise to never leave the boy's side. Promises were meant to be kept. Grimmjow was a man of his word. Duties as an Espada were still supposed to be carried out, though Grimmjow would do them within the perimeter of his home.
"Of course not." He reassured Ichigo. "The only place for me is right here."
It was the truth. Ichigo seemed to measure the certainty of his words before nodding and nuzzling Grimmjow's cheek with his nose.
"I love you, Daddy."
Grimmjow felt his heartbeat quicken just a notch over the usual pace. Maybe it was just nerves, but that was a stupid possibility. Grimmjow never had cases of nervousness. He ruled every option that had to do with weakness out because it made him feel like he was underestimating himself as Sexta. By the time he'd finally figured out that it had something to do with what the boy had said, Ichigo was already sound asleep in his arms, breathing steady deep breaths as he slept on in childlike innocence, absolutely oblivious to his father's inner turmoil.
Running his hand over Ichigo's smooth, plump cheek, Grimmjow leaned down awkwardly and managed to brush his lips over his boy's forehead.
"Daddy loves you, too."
First short spin-off to my fic, Daddy. I love Daddy!Grimmjow! And of course, Kid!Ichigo. I know I'm pretty bad at fluff, hence everything is so short and rushed. Oh well. Pleeease let me know what you think? :D