~As always, I only own the plot. I don't own the series or characters so don't sue me.
This fic is dedicated to my two besties in the whole world, Wulfie89 and xXSatsujinXx. I love you guys. Merry Christmas!
All I Want for Christmas is You
Snow gently fell onto the hooded figure hurrying down the darkened street, a small grocery bag held tightly in his hand. The wintery air so cold you could see their breath coming out in tiny white puffy clouds. Soon the grocery toting person arrived in front of a decently sized house, his footfalls coming to a halt in front of the metal gate. Reaching out, they gently pushed the gate open, before stepping inside and shutting it just as softly. Taking a few deep breaths to calm themselves, they slowly walked up the path before opening the door to a warm and seemingly inviting household.
"I'm back!" they called out, as they proceeded to remove their hood allowing bright orange spikes to be seen.
A head of brown peeked from around the end of the hallway, a smile plastered onto her face as she spotted the contents in the bag. "Thank you onii-chan," she said as she walked over to take the bag from her brother. "I still can't believe I forgot the onion and soy sauce."
"Don't worry about it Yuzu," the orange haired man responded, a soft smile crossing his face.
The young brunette turned around to head back down the hall, but not before sending a sad and pain filled expression toward her brother over her shoulder. Of course the man did not notice as he was proceeding to remove his shoes. Sighing, he slipped into his warm slippers before heading up the nearby stairs to his room. Once in his room, the orangette sat on his bed for a moment before sprawling out to lie on his back, his amber eyes staring numbly at the ceiling.
Ichigo Kurosaki, aged 20 and still shinigami daikou to Soul Society. After the winter war ended five years prior, Ichigo had finished school and just sort of lived day to day. He had asked to be permitted to go through the Academy in order to become a full fledged shinigami, but Yamamoto had denied it stating that only the dead could become full-fledged shinigami. It didn't really upset the orangette, it just meant he had one less thing to try and occupy his time with.
Amber eyes began to slide closed as his thoughts subsided enough for him to fall into a light slumber.
Lips met, hands caressed, bodies moved rhythmically against one another... Pants and moans filled the air. Soon all he could see was blue. Dazzling, stunning, soul piercing blue, gazing deeply through to his core. "Kurosaki..." was heard; uttered in the most passionate way.
Suddenly a knock at the door jolted Ichigo away, forcing him to sit upright and call out to the person on the other side.
"Onii-chan, dinner's ready." It was Yuzu.
Ichigo ran a slightly shaky hand through his unruly hair, trying to calm himself. "I'll be down in a minute," he replied shakily.
"Are you alright?"
That was Yuzu; always worried about everyone else much like a mother would. It was nice, but sometimes Ichigo just didn't want to deal with her. "I'm fine, I just fell asleep is all."
There was a short pause. "You dreamed about him again didn't you?"
The orangette sucked in a breath. Yuzu didn't know who he was personally, only knew that there was someone important to her brother that he often thought about, and as a result often depressed him. "I'm fine Yuzu. I promise I'll be down in a minute."
The girl seemed to hesitate for a moment on the other side of the door before she finally walked away, much to Ichigo's relief.
The true details about the winter war were starting to come to surface and it seemed like everyone knew about Ichigo's secret. At first, it was believed Ichigo fought Grimmjow only three times during the war. However, the last time the two faced off was actually their fourth encounter. Their third encounter took place the night before he left for Hueco Mundo. Grimmjow had arrived looking for the shinigami daikou, and the two engaged in battle, but something was different about it.
Ichigo is even unsure as to why it happened, but the two eventually tossed their weapons aside and embraced each other passionately. There was an obvious connection to the two and they had promised to seek the other out once the war was over. It was a silent promise to survive. Ichigo knew that if he fought Grimmjow, the Espada would survive and they could be together. He just didn't count on the blunet being betrayed by his comrade.
He could still remember the pain filled grunt Grimmjow had given as his body was knocked to the ground. And the blood... So much blood. Amber eyes squeezed shut at the memory as he tried to block it out. The Espada was still breathing the last he saw him. He somehow managed to get Soul Society to agree to heal him with the aid of Orihime, but...
When they returned to Hueco Mundo, his body could not be found. There was no trace of it being moved or anything. All that was left was the dried blood staining the sand. Soul Society labeled him as dead after that, but Ichigo knew that if someone he was so connected to had died, he would feel it in his soul. Rukia had explained to him that a hollow's soul would be purified and returned to Soul Society once they died. There would be no body or evidence left behind. Something similar happens to a shinigami when they die, only they are sent off to be reincarnated.
Ichigo placed his elbows on his knees and rested his head against his intertwined hands. There was no way Grimmjow was dead. He would know if he was dead... Right? But it had been five years... Grimmjow had promised he'd come find him as soon as the war was over. Maybe he had. After all, he did lose his powers after the fight with Aizen. Perhaps Grimmjow had- No. There was no way. He may not have been able to use his powers or see, let alone sense a hollow, but Grimmjow would have gone out of his way to get Ichigo's attention.
So the only logical thought left was that-
"Ichi-nii!" his other sister Karin called through the door as she pounded on the wood. "Dad says to get down here. He says stop skipping meals your figure is fine."
Ichigo couldn't help but smile at that. Leave it to the old man to cheer him up. Standing, he moved to his door to open it, his trademark scowl replacing the smile. "I'll kill him," he growled playfully.
As he moved to step past his sister, she sighed and crossed her arms. "You should wash your face first. Wouldn't want them to know you've been crying in your room again."
Amber eyes widened as a hand moved up to touch his cheeks only to find them damp. He then rubbed at them as quickly and subtly as possible. "I haven't been crying. I already told Yuzu I just fell asleep."
"Sure," the raven haired teen replied sarcastically as she walked past her brother. "That's about as believable as Yuzu claiming Jinta is just a friend."
"More like when you claim there's nothing between you and Toshirou," Ichigo teased, a smirk sprawled across his lips.
Karin flushed heavily as she turned to glare at her older brother. "There is nothing between us!" she shouted before quickly storming down the stairs.
Ichigo did take her advice and washed his face before joining his family at the table for Yuzu's infamous curry. The other's had already started eating by the time Ichigo sat down to begin eating as well. Although he wasn't quite hungry, he forced himself to eat as he'd rather avoid more unwanted attention toward himself. Moments after he began to eat, Yuzu glanced worriedly at her brother before speaking to her family.
"Seeing as how tomorrow is Christmas Eve," she began, "I'd like to make something special for dinner. What sounds good to everyone?"
"I would love it if you made Sukiyaki," Isshin suggested. "The way you make it is just like Masaki's."
Yuzu blushed at the compliment, insisting her cooking wasn't nearly that good. Karin merely stated whatever her twin felt like making was good enough for her, which received a pout from the brunette. After a moment of silence, the group looked to Ichigo, who then realized they were waiting on his input.
Blinking a few times, he apologized. "Sorry, I promised Inoue and Ishida that I would go to their Christmas party."
The girl nodded, but before she could say anything, their father smiled widely. "Ah, young love" he sighed, voice a tad louder than usual. His gaze focused on his son and although he was smiling, it seemed to be a sad smile. "I can't wait for the day you extend our family by getting married."
He knew. That jerk had known about Grimmjow from the very beginning, and whilst Isshin didn't exactly approve of the Espada as they were on opposite sides during the war, he had wanted Ichigo to be happy. For him to go and say something like that knowing just who his heart belonged to...
Well, it hurt.
Lowering his head so that his shaggy bangs covered his eyes, Ichigo excused himself from the table. He missed the worried look on Yuzu's face as he opened the door leading into the main hallway before closing it softly. Moving toward the front door, Ichigo slipped into his jacket and wrapped his scarf around his neck and mouth before stepping into his shoes. Just as his fingers wrapped around the door handle, a deep voice spoke behind him.
"I'm sorry if what I said hurt you," Isshin said, his arms crossed loosely across his torso. "But you need to face the truth."
Ichigo's grip on the door handle tightened, but he made no move to turn around. His vision was starting to blur from the impending tears and he knew if he looked back, they would fall. His father was the last person he wanted to see him like this.
"Grimmjow is dead and you need to move on."
The orangette's mind screamed at him, demanding he turn around and give that scruffy man a piece of his mind. Instead, he wound up dashing out the door, running from his house at top speed. He heard his father call out his name, but he didn't care. Grimmjow wasn't dead. Ichigo couldn't explain it, but he just knew that the blunet was tougher than that. There's no way he would have died from that attack. His legs carried him to a desolate street. Leaning against a nearby fence, he bent in half, panting heavily as he tried to catch his breath.
Before he had the opportunity to do so however, a Gargantua opened directly behind him. Amber eyes widened as the orangette's breath hitched. Could it be? Slowly he turned to face the black tear in the sky, a tinge of hope sparkling in his heart. Scowling deeply, Ichigo buried his hand into his pants pocket, his fingers wrapping tightly around his combat pass. That reiatsu was definitely not Grimmjow's, let alone high enough to be an arrancar's.
Pulling the pass from his pocket he moved to slap it against his chest, but the wooden object never met his body as he was suddenly hurled roughly to the cold snow covered cement. The combat pass clacked loudly as it slid against the ground, far from Ichigo's grasp. Amber eyes narrowed on the instinct driven beast that now pinned him to the ground. The shinigami daikou struggled, trying to break free from the Hollow's strong grip, it's talons cutting into his arms and legs, but was unable to as he was much weaker in his human body.
The oblong mask parted horizontally, preparing to devour Ichigo. Just as its parted jaw was mere inches from the man's face, it shot back, letting out a horrifying scream. As soon as the Hollow was off of him, Ichigo jumped to his feet and scrambled away, his amber eyes searching the snowy ground for his combat pass. His gaze finally found it in the hands of a certain red headed friend of his.
"Looks like I showed up just in time," the vice-captain sneered.
"Yeah yeah," Ichigo sighed, scowl still in place as he collected his pass from the shinigami. Quickly slapping it to his chest, the two made quick work of the Hollow. Before Ichigo could return to his body, a firm hand clasped his shoulder, forcing the orangette to face his friend.
"I know you weren't responding to the Hollow call," Renji started, a worried look in place. "You would have already been in shinigami form if that were the case. So what are you doing out here so late?"
Ichigo averted the intense gaze from those russet eyes as he responded. "I just felt like going for a walk."
The red head could tell the man was hiding something from him. As much as he wanted to prod, he knew it would be best to just let it go. "Alright," he finally said, releasing his hold on the orangette. "Get some sleep. I'll see you at Orihime's party tomorrow night."
The moment Ichigo opened the door to his two friend's apartment, he instantly regretted it. An overly cheery Christmas song blasted through the speakers in their main room causing the orangette to wince. Inoue always did go overboard with her holiday parties. Near the stereo was a brightly lit pine tree. It looked to be real, but without getting closer, he couldn't be certain. The moment he entered the home and shut the door, he was pulled into a rather suffocating hug.
"Kurosaki-kun!" the busty auburn girl cheered. "I'm so glad you could make it!"
Ichigo merely grunted unable to do much of anything else. The girl seemingly took the hint and released him looking a bit sheepish. Ichigo merely smiled before offering her a red metal tin. "Yuzu made some cookies for the party."
Orihime gladly accepted the sugary confections, thanking her friend for the sweet gesture. As she walked off, both Ishida and Sado approached the orangette. It seemed he wouldn't be able to do too much mingling at this rate. They didn't chat about too much. Tatsuki had apparently forced Sado into a date about a month ago and the two were doing great. Ishida didn't say much about his going-ons. Just mentioned he had a surprise planned for the evening.
Amber eyes rolled at this. He always did something over the top for the auburn girl and Ichigo was certain that tonight would be no different. Biding his farewell, the orangette moved to mingle. He wasn't expecting to be pushed into a body with a similar build to his. The raven haired man lurched forward, spilling the drink he held all over himself. Ichigo profusely apologized before his eyes widened slightly as the man turned around to face him, a black '69' tattoo filling his vision.
"Ah, Kurosaki-san!" the shinigami exclaimed a tad surprised to see the spiky orange haired man.
"What are you doing here?"
"Inoue-san invited a bunch of us from Soul Society. Soutaichou agreed seeing as how it would help to deter any potential Hollow activity in the area for the night." Ichigo nodded in agreement and an awkward silence fell over the two. "So um..." the raven haired vice-captain trailed off as he rubbed the back of his neck. "If you're not doing anything next week, I have some free time. You could come to Soul Society and I could help you train or something."
Ichigo caught the faint blush on the shinigami's face. The orangette swallowed audibly, a faint blush warming his cheeks as he realized the implication. "Are you asking me on a date?" he blurted out. This caused Hisagi's blush to deepen. It was all he needed for an answer. "Look, I'm flattered and all, but I just can't." His eyes seemed to gloss over as his gaze lowered to the floor.
Hisagi let out a heavy breath, knowing just what the poor shinigami daikou was referring to. "I understand," he responded, his voice filled with disappointment. "If you're ever able to, you know where to find me."
The orangette nodded before walking off to find Renji. After all, his friend had mentioned he would be there. Unfortunately, much to his dismay, he was stopped by few more shinigami, some he hadn't ever met before, all seemingly interested in a date with him. Something was up, that much was obvious. He was beginning to regret coming to the party. Exhausted from dealing with so many people, Ichigo managed to find the plush dark blue couch empty. Plopping onto the soft furniture, he exhaled a deep breath, closing his eyes as his head tipped back to rest against the back cushion.
"Rough night?" a female voice teased.
Opening his eyes, his gaze shifted to his right to spot a familiar head of raven smirking at him. "You could say that." Rubbing his eyes, Ichigo leaned forward. His companion took that opportunity to sit next him on the couch. "Where's Renji?" he asked.
"Poor guy got stuck on Hollow duty tonight," she answered, a slight smirk on her lips.
Ichigo recognized that twinkle in her violet eyes. She obviously had something to do with it. He shook his head, a bright smile on his face. "Let me guess, you promised him some alone time if he took over your duties for the night?"
"You make it sound like it's a bad thing."
The two erupted into laughter at this, laughter that Ichigo very much needed. Before either of them could say another word, cheering filled the apartment. Curious amber and violet peered through the throng of people only to find Ishida kneeling on the floor, his fingers gently sliding a sparkling ring onto Orihime's left hand. Ichigo was the first to look away. At least his friends could have a happy love life. Rukia saw the slight pang of sadness in her best friend's eyes.
"Ichigo..." she started, but was unable to get out anything else as they were approached by both Ishida and Orihime.
"Congratulations," the orangette smiled, but it was obviously forced.
"Oh thank you. I just can't believe he would ever ask," the busty woman responded, her cheeks lit up a bright red.
"I'm happy for you."
"I'm surprised you haven't found anyone worth your time here," Ishida chimed in as he pushed his glasses up on his nose a bit. "After Orihime went through all this trouble-"
The Quincy was cut off when an elbow connected roughly with his solar plexus followed by a stern glare from his now fianc . Ichigo's face twisted into slight shock and horror before morphing into anger, directed at the girl who used to have a crush on him.
"You what?" he growled.
"Kurosaki-kun," the auburn woman started. "We just want you to be happy. You seemed so distraught after the war, and it's just been getting worse."
"Why would you do something like this?" His anger seemed to have ebbed, at least for the time being. He understood why she would be worried. He wasn't exactly like his usual self and he knew that. "You know I made a promise to-"
"When will you face the truth?" Ishida snapped. "Grimmjow is gone, Kurosaki. He's dead. He's not going to come back! Just let it go already!"
Without warning, Ichigo's fist slammed into the raven haired Quincy's face, breaking his glasses in the process. "You don't know anything! Just because they couldn't find his body doesn't mean he's dead!"
As much as Orihime wanted to tend to her wounded significant other, she knew he had it coming for being so blunt with someone in as fragile a state as their friend. All attention was on the group now. The room was silent save for the Christmas music playing in the background, seemingly quieter than before.
"Kurosaki-kun," Inoue tried, hoping to be able to calm him down. "I know it hurts to lose someone you're close to. Believe it or not, but Ulquiorra and I had grown close during my time of captivity. It hurt to see him die like that. You weren't the only one to lose someone during the war. Rangiku lost Ichimaru-san, Hisagi-san lost Tousen-san, and Momo-chan lost Aizen-san."
"A lot of people died-" Rukia was cut off.
"But not Grimmjow!" Ichigo was irate. He was tired of everyone telling him to move on and let it go. "He was still alive when I left him. No one saw him die, so no one knows what happened!"
"Kurosaki," a stern and even tone seemed to echo in the small room. The crowd parted to reveal the captain of squad six, his features stoic as he approached the orangette.
"Nii-sama," his sister breathed.
"Yamamoto-soutaichou has declared that Espada to be dead. Unless you have evidence that he is alive, I would ask that you please let it go." His gaze shifted to the right and left as he continued. "You are upsetting the guests with your outburst."
"I know what he said, but I know-"
"Kurosaki," the noble repeated, much more sternly this time, as if reprimanding a child.
The fire in those amber orbs seemed to slowly fade, his gaze lowering in response. Byakuya felt bad about being so harsh, and felt even worse when he saw the defeated look in those once determined eyes, but it had to be done. He was slowly killing himself holding onto that shimmer of hope.
Ichigo muttered a soft apology before moving to collect his coat. He was stopped at the door by Inoue, his hand turning the knob even as she begged him to stay. The shinigami daikou ignored her, rushing from the apartment as quickly as possible. Once again he found his legs mindlessly carrying him off. A hand flew to his face to wipe the tears forming in his eyes. Before he had realized it, he had wound up in the park where he and Grimmjow had their lust filled encounter, the same one where they had made the promise to meet up after the war was over.
Tired from everything, all the waiting and crying and more recently running, Ichigo collapsed to his knees. He ignored the stinging sensation from the snow against his bare hands.
"Why?" the orangette mumbled to himself, the tears falling freely from his face onto the snow. "Why haven't you come back?" His crying became a bit more audible before he finally just let out a broken yell. "It's been five years! That's plenty of time to heal up! So why?!" His voice grew quiet suddenly. "Why won't you come back to me?" His breathing hitched as Ichigo lowered his forehead onto his hands. "Maybe they're right. Maybe Grimmjow really is dead."
"Do I look dead to you?" a deep familiar voice called out questioningly to the orangette.
The shinigami daikou slowly lifted his head, amber eyes wide. He'd recognize that voice anywhere. After all, it had been haunting his dreams endlessly for the last five years. His eyes fell upon a darkened figure standing in front of a large pine tree that he just noticed was covered in decorations.
"Is it... Is it really you?" Ichigo started out hesitantly.
Suddenly, the large tree lit up in a dazzling display of lights as a faraway bell tolled, signaling midnight. Christmas. It was Christmas. Either Ichigo's eyes were playing tricks on him, or he was just given the best Christmas gift of all time. The figure standing against the tree was smirking ferally. God Ichigo had missed that smirk more than he realized in that moment.
"The one and only," the blue haired man responded, his smirk widening at the look of pure shock on the shinigami's face. Amber eyes blinked a few times, his body unmoving as his mind tried to process if what he was seeing was real. The man merely chuckled before speaking again. "You really let yourself go... Kurosaki..."
The uttering of his name caused him to snap out of his reverie. The orangette slowly moved to his feet, taking small, somewhat distraught steps toward the man and the tree. Those piercing blue eyes were smiling at him, almost tauntingly so. One step, then another. Without realizing it, Ichigo found himself sprinting toward the blunet. When he was in swinging range, the shinigami pulled his right fist back, and landed a powerful punch on the Espada's jaw, forcing him to step back a bit.
"You bastard!" he cried out as his fist connected.
"What-" was all Grimmjow got out before he saw the pained look on his love's face. He felt his chest tighten as he rubbed his cheek to soothe the now dull ache.
"I couldn't sleep... I couldn't eat... I haven't been able to do anything without thinking about you! Every time a Gargantua opened, I hoped it was you, only to be let down when it was just some Hollow! How could you do that to me? How could you-"
Grasping the orangette's shoulders firmly, he silenced the man with a soft tender kiss, filled with all the longing and heartbreak he endured since the last time they were together. "I'm sorry," the blunet mumbled as he pulled back slightly, their lips nearly touching from the moving of his lips.
"I've waited for so long..." Tears seemed to flow over again, but they were quickly stopped by Grimmjow's tender touch wiping them away.
"I know, I wanted to come back sooner, I tried," Grimmjow replied, his voice softer than usual. "After you left, I drifted in and out of consciousness for some time before I felt shinigami approaching. I fled, not wanting to be finished off before seeing you one last time." A blue eyebrow rose upon feeling the figure he was holding shudder slightly.
"They weren't coming to kill you," Ichigo chuckled. "They were coming to heal you."
Grimmjow chuckled in turn, relieved to hear such happiness in the orangette's tone after witnessing him break down in such a way. "Well now I feel like an idiot for running." He kissed the shinigami again before continuing his story. "I found a cave to hide in and it took a lot longer to heal by myself. Once I was fully healed, I planned to go to Las Noches to see who all had survived, but the place was swarmed with shinigami. It was a risk I couldn't take. It had to be at least a year before they finally cleared out.
"After that, I found Hallibel and her fraccion were the only others to survive the war. She of course had no interest in leaving Hueco Mundo, too many females that needed protection from the over bearing males. Before I could leave to come find you, I was approached by that blond scientist shinigami Urahara."
"Wait," Ichigo's tone had dropped a few notes, obviously displeased with the latest revelation. "Urahara found you, alive, and didn't say a word to me?"
He could feel his love's reiatsu begin to rise and billow out in anger, but Grimmjow merely rubbed his back, effectively calming him down just a bit. "He said there was no guarantee it would work and he didn't want to get your hopes up."
"What would work?" It was then the orangette noticed that the blunet's bone mask on the right side of his face was gone. Lifting up the man's shirt, he noticed the Hollow hole was gone as well. "You're a human now?"
"No," the Espada laughed softly. "It's a gigai, but as arrancars are different than shinigami it took him a long time to make one that would work for me. Urahara just finished testing it out a few hours ago."
"You didn't need to have a gigai to come see me, I would've been happy just seeing you," Ichigo admitted.
"I know, but I promised we'd be together, and we couldn't be together if I was constantly having to travel between Hueco Mundo and Karakura." Grimmjow was right as much as he hated the idea. Besides, the constant back and forth would most likely cause more Hollows to appear, not that Ichigo couldn't handle them of course. It was more of his family being at risk if he wasn't fast enough, something he knew he couldn't deal with.
"You know what?" the shinigami started, a true smile finally reappearing on his face. "It doesn't matter anymore. What matters is you're finally here."
The two shared another kiss before Ichigo felt Grimmjow shiver slightly. "Having a tangible body is nice and all, but I don't very much like feeling the cold this intensely." Ichigo laughed at this before pulling away from the embrace as he began to lead the blunet away from the cold park, their hands still connected tightly. "So, where do you live in this apparently popular town?"
"I uh... I still live with my family," he replied sheepishly. Ichigo watched curiously as Grimmjow's face seemingly paled at this information.
"With your Dad?" With a nod from the shorter man, he continued. "Your Dad who took on Aizen without being seriously injured?"
"You're not afraid of him are you?" the orangette questioned, a devious smirk in place.
"Of course not!" his love snapped back. "It's just... Well I'm sure he could deal with me in one swing if he wanted to."
"He won't... That is unless you give him a reason to."
With that, Ichigo released his hold on Grimmjow's warm hand and trotted off down the sidewalk toward his home, truly happy for the first time in years. Grimmjow called out as he gave chase to the man that had been his sole motivation for surviving the last few years. He was definitely looking forward to the adventures they were sure to have in the not so distant future. The two mentally vowing to never let the other leave their sight for too long.
Off in the distance a set of violet and russet eyes stared on at the pair running down the snowy road. They exchanged a smile, finally relieved to see their closest friend happy after so many months of depression and longing.
"Merry Christmas Ichigo," the red head said, a wide smile plastered to his face.
"God knows you deserve it more than anyone else," the raven haired girl added, a smirk in place. They continued to watch the pair until they were no longer in sight before exchanging another look and flitting off into the darkened night.
A/N: I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'm not entirely sure why my Christmas fics tend to be super angsty... Oh well. XD Just to let those who are reading Little Berry know, I will not be able to update the fic next Monday. I'm still hoping for an update sometime next week, but it won't be on the usual planned day.
I hope you all have a Merry ChrismaHaunaKwanzika. I shall see you all next year.