A/N: I'm so happy that I was able to write this story out in its completion. When I started I never expected it to turn into such an undertaking- I'd originally planned to stop at the first chapter and make it a song-fic! And then I wrote 12 more chapters, go figure.

(Also, sorry for any confusion with the chapter names- I accidentally got them out of order when I was uploading chapters.)

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Epilogue: Recovery

(Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma...)
Madness

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A strange feeling had settled over me, physically satisfied yet emotionally seeking… more.

We were currently standing in his shower, one surprisingly similar to the glass stall from his old apartment. Grimm had washed me first, taking time to reacquaint himself with all the places on my body he hadn't paused to explore yet it out multiple bouts of sex, and now he was finishing washing himself. I would have volunteered for the job myself but I was too exhausted to be aroused- besides, I was enjoying the unfettered view of Grimm's lean back as he rinsed his face off in the water. From where I stood behind him I could relish in the strong, muscular lines of his shoulders and back, the unbearably sexy curve of his spine...

My gaze lingered there at his lower back, eagerly taking in a part of Grimmjow I hadn't seen in years. That gothic 6 tattoo there was a surprising testament to his character, somehow both rugged and sleek, harshly beautiful in its simplicity. Unable to resist the urge, my fingers reached out to trace its edges slowly, and I felt Grimmjow twitch under my touch. He didn't turn, but I knew he was paying very close attention to my actions. For a moment he said nothing, finishing washing his face, and then he turned the water off and turned around slowly.

"If I wasn't confident that I'd already sated yer appetite completely for the next few hours, I'd think ya were still trying to seduce me." His purr was dangerous, slightly warning, but somehow still warm as I noticed his lips twitch up into his favorite grin. I tilted my head, considering him for a moment, before grabbing the nearest towel and wrapping myself in it as I stepped out of the shower.

"I'd like to think that there's such a thing as sating my appetite for you, Grimm, but I'm not sure I believe that."

"Ya almost sound disappointed." He was still teasing, but there was an underlying intensity that betrayed his real meaning. He wanted to know if it bothered me that I couldn't get enough of him, if it still made me feel like running away. I shrugged casually, but lightened my tone to let him know I wasn't going to let it worry me.

"I like looking at you, I always have, and it would be nice not to feel like jumping your bones every time I indulge in some visual dessert."

His growl followed me back into the bedroom and when I collapsed on the bed, sated to the point of physical exhaustion, Grimm slid onto the bed behind me and pulled me back up against him. I shivered, unable to fight a lazy smile as he wrapped me in his arms and planted soft kisses along the back of my neck.

"Ya make it difficult for me to resist the urge to jump your bones every chance I get too, ya know." He murmured teasingly, and I let out a sleepy laugh. Even too tired to be aroused I could enjoy the feeling of his tightening grip and the whispers of kisses at my ear as he spoke there. "Why are ya even still trying to resist any part of this anymore? I don't want ya to be able to resist me, it wouldn't be fair. I don't want to be the only one craving ya, wanting to hear your laugh or see your smile." He paused, unable to keep the growl out of his voice. "It pisses me off that ya shared those things with other people after ya left me."

For a moment I stopped breathing; I couldn't think of a thing to say to that.

Maybe it had just been what I'd always needed to hear. Maybe I'd just needed proof that it was, in all honestly, about more than sex for both of us.

Some unnamed last piece of resistance crumbled within me, and I took a deep breath.

Sure, he was possessive. Sure, it still scared me how important he was to me. But don't we always fear the things we love the most? For they hold the greatest power over us, the power to destroy us if they're ever taken away.

What use did fighting him even do, when we both wanted each other so badly? If we either suffered apart or learned to live together, battling through possessiveness and jealousy seemed like a small price to pay. I wordlessly slid deeper back into his chest, so that I was seated snuggly up against his front, and closed my eyes. I couldn't think of the words to explain how I was feeling, so I gave into the constant urge for physical closeness instead.

The soft purr of Grimmjow's sated contentment was what put me to sleep.

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The morning light was starting to creep in through the bedroom windows, which were a continuation of the wall of windows from the other room. The south facing wall might not be facing the sunrise, but the skyline was gradually beginning to lighten with the telltale hint of dawn.

I was still curled up in Grimmjow's in bed.

It was useless to fight the primal satisfaction that rolled through me as I felt his warmth at my back, the reminder that he was really here. Or rather, that I was really here. His even breathing was tickling the back of my neck from time to time where he lay behind me, and his arm was tossed almost casually across my chest. Grimmjow never did anything casually when he was awake, his every movement calculated beforehand inside his strategy-driven mind, and it was comforting to know that his subconscious wanted contact with me as much as his conscious mind did. The feeling was mutual.

It was the kind of simple peace I hadn't expected, the kind of peace I thought I'd given up when I'd met Grimmjow, for I hadn't been at peace for a day since I'd left him and I'd been unsettled before even that.

It was… different. Very unlike the memories of the predatory and passionate games we used to play. Instead of taunting and teasing that was about the challenge, the give and take of a game to see who had the real control, last night had been about us. It had been about claiming, as Grimm had said, and about love. I had been out of control, but not because I was drugged, but because I loved him. Because I loved the feel of him and wanted to be burned into every part of his life.

It was more than needing some sort of Grimmjow fix.

Somehow we'd changed, our desperation for each other, once purely physical, had become deeper. The talking, once so unnecessary, was what defined the change. It wasn't about simple physical closeness, it was about the emotional connection that seemed as important as breathing. At once teasing and serious, the conversations made the difference clear. We'd grown up and, during our time apart, it seemed that we learned exactly what we wanted from the other.

Having gone without for so long, we wanted everything that the other could give- and more.

The 'more' part was scary, but it's what reminded me that this wasn't just about my own uncontrollable urge anymore. It wasn't a game or a challenge, a possessive urge or the need to get a fix. It wasn't boredom or curiosity.

It was just… more.

I wasn't sure how that had developed, maybe a piece of it has always been there, but I knew that if I had never left we wouldn't have been here now. That time apart had changed us, just enough that now we truly fit together like some sort of two-piece puzzle. I knew that no one else would have the same effect on me as Grimmjow did, physically or emotionally. I knew that I'd never be gone long enough again that someone else might try to claim him.

Renji had made a comment about how he was concerned that once I got back in I wouldn't be able to get back out, and he was right. But circumstances had changed, my world had shifted, and once again Grimmjow lay at the center.

But this time, it was because I loved him.

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Six months later

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"Grimmjow, get your ass out of bed. You've got to go to work." I was standing in the bathroom fixing my tie but, through the corner of my eye, I could still see blue hair peeking out of the top of the sheets.

I'd moved in with Grimmjow a few weeks ago, and he had been acting like a spoiled lover ever since. More than once I'd had to call in sick because he wouldn't let me get out of bed, not for lack of effort on my part.

At least at first, since I did generally have good intentions.

He just happened to has seduction down to an art- he might as well list it on his resume: "Can successfully eliminate all will to do anything other than have sex with me. All day." I scoffed, not entirely as irritated as I should have been.

"Why don't ya working for me again? Then we wouldn't have to get up and go to the office at such ungodly hours. Even better, we could go to the same office." I heard his grumble, and couldn't resist an indulgent smile. This man, my lover, had definitely changed. Never in my life had I ever seen him so exposed, like he wasn't putting on any sort of façade around me anymore at all. The constant challenge in his voice, the predatory game, was now saved exclusively for use in the bedroom. Or the shower. Or the kitchen. Or, my personal favorite, the elevator.

"Because then I'd never go to work at all, you wouldn't let me." I wandered back into the bedroom, ready to go but determined to make sure Grimm was out of bed before I left. I grabbed the top sheet, ripping it from his clutches and tossing it off the bed. "Up!"

"Yer right," Grimmjow purred, apparently unfazed by my wake-up routine as he pulled himself up onto his elbows. "I would put ya to work here, in bed. Or maybe I'd take ya to my office and make ya my personal secretary."

It wasn't the first time he'd made that suggestion, and I highly doubted it would be the last. I couldn't help but rake my eyes down his body, naked as it always was in when he was in bed, and then I turned to stride purposely out of the bedroom in order to avoid being seduced out of work. Again. Grimmjow's chuckle followed me out.

"I will mourn the day when ya get used to seeing me naked," He sounded almost conversational, and for the thousandth time I cursed his nearly immaculate self-control. If I could only manage that poise I might stop blushing every time I was aroused. "I'll miss that rosy flush like a good friend."

I ignored that comment, since he didn't need his ego stroked. I raised my voice to make sure he could hear me in the bedroom, since I'd made it to the kitchen and was grabbing my keys, wallet and the toast I'd made earlier.

"I'll be back around 5, do you want me to make dinner?"

"I'd love that," Grimm's voice made me jump, since I hadn't heard him follow me. When his arms wrapped around me from behind I immediately relaxed into his touch, stiffening slightly for self-preservation when I realized that he was still naked. "I'm going to go take my shower."

"Okay," I smiled, forcing myself to ignore the smooth feel of his skin behind me as I turned my head up for a goodbye kiss. His lips went to the back of my neck first, to the spot where I had gotten a small, gothic six tattoo a few months ago. Since his had always been an object of fascination for me, it really hadn't felt like a strange thing to do. Though it was laughable that I might need some physical brand to tie us together, when I'd so clearly been branded internally. It had been a surprise to Grimm, and he never let an opportunity to kiss it go by.

Secretly I think his possessive half was ridiculously pleased that I'd branded himself into my skin, but I didn't mind. The brand worked both ways.

He moved his lips to mine, unsurprisingly taking what I'd intended to be a simple goodbye kiss a little bit further. His tongue brushed against my lips but, when I didn't open in an attempt to keep it light, he lingered, nibbling my bottom lip and not releasing it until I pulled away. I blinked up at him, dazed momentarily by beautiful blue eyes that often seemed capable of seeing right through me.

I was determined to make it to work so, pulling myself free from my favorite cage, I walked toward the front door. Grimmjow smacked my ass playfully as I walked away and I tossed him a reproving glance over my shoulder. However, right as I was walking out the door I couldn't resist one last cheeky comment.

"You'd better think of me while you're taking your shower."

"I think about ya all the time Strawberry." His eyes softened for a moment, before they flashed with warning. "Now hurry up and get outta here before I drag ya in there with me."

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Recovery is a relative term. Once I would have described it as an ability to resist that to which you are addicted. But for me, whose addiction had always been more complicated than that, I find redefining the terms is key.

Recovery is about understanding limits, learning how to live and communicate without becoming consumed. Recovery is the ability to function without, sure, but it is more important that you know you could leave, if you had to.

And I could, I knew that because I'd done it before.

I carefully planned our gradual relationship steps, moving in after a few months of reacquainting was only part of it. Grimm and I maintaining separate incomes was important, as was knowing different people from our respective jobs so that there was never the threat of complete dependency. We played a game of give and take, finding our balance. I still hung out with Orihime and Tatsuki from time to time, and Shinji was pretty much a member of the group now when all the guys met up at Departures.

Renji had been concerned at first, but he'd settled down after a month or two. Obviously our relationship was different enough this time around that it wasn't cause for serious concern. Rukia had insisted on meeting Grimmjow right away. They were a little too alike to get along in some ways, but she'd approved and had wished me the best before she'd gone back overseas a few months ago.

However it was Shinji in particular that had been excited with the turn of events, mostly because he described me when he'd met me as a mere shadow of the man I was around Grimmjow now. That comment had scared me at first, made me worried that my personal success was too dependent on Grimmjow, and then Starrk had casually mentioned the same thing about Grimmjow.

I should have known; as always, we were in it together.

He was mine, as I was his, and we were tied together by the strongest addiction.

Love.

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A/N: CHEESY ENDING I KNOW x) Forgive me and my ridiculous muse (who was, ironically, Muse for this story. Baha).

I love all of you that have read this story to the end, I am eternally thankful for the reviews & support.

Please review!