"So, it's all ready for you now."

The speaker was a silver-haired arrancar.

"His fate has changed, so now hers is open."

The woman stretched and yawned, sitting naked next to a small pool of water.

"Even though I don't know what you see in a human girl..."

She turned to look at another arrancar sitting in the shadows. She waited for him to reply, but he didn't. She sighed.

"You know, the least you could do is thank me. I put a lot of effort into this, you know."

"You were only repaying a debt."

"Pooh, you're no fun."


"...whatever. But, like I said, Orihime Inoue's fate is open now, ready for your... loving arms."


The woman sighed.

"Well, have fun, I'm more interested in watching the other two, anyways..."

With that, she returned to her pool of water. As she did, the male rose, and strode out of the cave. He looked over the desert of Hueco Mundo.

"Oh, and, Ulquiorra?"

The raven-haired male turned to look at the woman apathetically.

"This is just a tip, but uh...don't tell the girl you broke her up from her fated true love so you could have a chance at her, eh?"

Ulquiorra said nothing, and turned to look over the desert once more.

"Move in with me."


"No, I'm serious. Move in with me."

"That's not really how it works..."

"Why not?"


Ichigo struggled to put his thoughts into words.

"Well, first off, I'm still a minor."

"I'm really starting to think that's just a fall back..."

Ichigo turned to hit the man in the chin. They were in Ichigo's room (at Isshin's insistance after he freaked out about Ichigo staying over at Grimmjow's apartment on occassion), with Grimmjow sitting on the bed and reclining against the wall, and Ichigo (at Grimmjow's insistance by manner of pulling him there) in Grimmjow's lap, the blue-haired man's arms around his waist.

"Hey! I'm just saying..."

"It's just as true for this as it is for...other things," Ichigo said, blushing a little. Grimmjow smirked, and pulled the teen closer, snuggling against his neck. "Hey!"

"Calm down," Grimmjow said, kissing Ichigo's neck. "I'm not gonna do anything...yet."

"Grimmjow..." Ichigo warned. Grimmjow sighed, but didn't move. Instead, he continued kissing the teen's neck, interspersed with a few small licks and light sucks. Ichigo blushed and frowned, but after a moment he relaxed. As a boyfriend, Grimmjow was surprisingly affectionate, and sometimes Ichigo still had trouble dealing with that. Well...it was more most of the time then some times, but...

"Then move in with me when you turn eighteen," Grimmjow said against the teen's neck. Ichigo supressed a little shiver. He really wasn't used to people just being this physically close, and he hated how sensitive it made him to everything Grimmjow did. Especially since he was pretty sure Grimmjow knew about it, too.

"But where? In the apartment you share with Fumiko and Hiro?"

"I'll buy a new apartment."


"I'll figure it out."

"Well, it should be somewhere I can at least pay half the rent..."

"Don't worry about it."


"It's not like I don't make enough to cover for both of us. Hell, I could probably provide for at least ten people comfortably."

"That's not the point."

A sigh, another kiss against his neck.

"Then what is?"

Ichigo opened his mouth to answer, when he was spared answering by a certain redhead popping through the window.

"Oi! Ichigo, I-...um..." Renji trailed off as he noticed Ichigo in Grimmjow's lap. "Did I come at a bad time...?"

The way Grimmjow glared and growled a little said yes, but Ichigo disentangled himself from the man to stand up. Seireitei was aware of the teen's relationship with the former Espada, with varying degrees of approval among it's citizens, but, due to all the help he was to the shinigami, it was more or less tolerated.

"No, Renji, what's up?" Ichigo asked. Grimmjow sighed, resting his chin in his hand. Ichigo ignored him. Renji glanced at him before returning his attention to Ichigo.

"Eh, well, Urahara asked me to come tell you he wanted to talk to you, but it didn't seem like he was in any rush..."

"It's fine, thanks for letting me know," Ichigo said.

"Yeah, no problem..." Renji said, trying to ignore the way Grimmjow was glaring at him. "Well, anyways, I have patrolling to do so..."

"Yeah, see ya around," Ichigo said. Renji nodded, and forced himself not to run out of the room. He was half successful.

"So, I take it you're gonna go see Urahara now?" Grimmjow asked. Ichigo debated a moment.

"Eh, well..."

Grimmjow snorted.

"Go. But think about what I said, will ya?" he said, sliding off the bed to stand in front of the teen. Ichigo didn't meet his eyes. Grimmjow sighed. He put a hand under Ichigo's chin to gently make him look up. "Hey."

The former Espada leaned down a bit to kiss the teen, surprising him enough to look up.

"I'm not gonna get made if you say you just don't want to, ya know? Take your time, but promise me you'll think about it."

"...yeah, ok," Ichigo said, not really sure what else to say. Grimmjow sighed again and rolled his eyes.

"Geez, you don't have to get all broody about it," he said, toussling the teen's hair. Ichigo pushed him off.

"Hey!" the teen said, glaring up at the man. Grimmjow just smirked, and the teen sighed. Then he smiled. "You're a pain in the ass, you kow that?"

"Yeah, it's a point of pride, actually," the man said, and pulled the teen against him to kiss him again. Ichigo kissed him back, but blinked after words when the man gave him a serious look.


"... you should smile more," Grimmjow said. Ichigo blushed.

"Uh, well-"

Grimmjow snorted, and kissed him again before pulling away.

"Don't overthink it," he said, then turned to leave the room. "Have fun at Urahara's place."

Ichigo watched him go, not sure what else to say. Finally he sighed and scratched the back of his head, then stared at the ground a minute. Then he sighed again and headed out to see Urahara.

Ulquiorra looked over Karakura town. It had been a while since he had last seen the place. It looked as dull as it had before. But where was she...?

He searched for her reiatsu. But, with all the different, larger sources, it was hard to determine where hers was. He couldn't just walk up to the nearest reiatsu source, either; there weren't exactly happy feelings between him and shinigami. There were a few he could take a chance with, but he would save that as a last resort.

Turning to look elsewhere, Ulquiorra paused. He looked back; that reiatsu... it was familiar. And it didn't belong to a shinigami. Looking around, he spied a familiar head of blue hair. From where he stood in the air, he dropped to the ground. He landed a few feet in front of the former Espada, and looked side-long to catch his gaze.

Grimmjow looked like he'd seen a ghost. Not surprising, considering Ulquiorra was supposed to be dead. The raven-haired arrancar held the other's gaze a moment, then looked and walked into a nearby alley to get off the street. After a few moments, Grimmjow followed. Ulquiorra stood and waited until Grimmjow walked up, leaving only about a foot of space between them. The blue-haired man growled, grabbing Ulquiorra by his shirtfront and pulling him up.

"The fuck are you planning?" he demanded. Ulquiorra blinked.

"Nothing," he said.

"Bullshit. You're suposed to be dead."

"It looks like I'm not."

"So why are you here?"

Ulquiorra looked to the side, then back to Grimmjow.

"My own business," he replied. Grimmjow growled.

"Which is what?"

"It does not concern you," Ulquiorra replied. Grimmjow ground his teeth, then pushed Ulquiorra away.

"You know what? Fuck it. Just don't give me a reason to kill you," he said, turning to walk away.

"...do you know where the girl is?" Ulquiorra asked. Grimmjow flinched, then looked at Ulquiorra over his shoulder. Ulquiorra's gaze gave away nothing. Grimmjow sighed, half growling.

"That's what this is about? Seriously, what the fuck..." he said, hitting his forehead with his hand. Then he turned again, giving Ulquiorra a considerig look. Then he sighed again. "Listen, if you're gonna be roving around town, you're better off makin' sure the shinigami pricks know about it. Probably'll save you a lot of headaches from stupidity."


Grimmjow sighed yet again.

"Just go talk to Urahara. Ichigoshould be there too, so you'll probably be able to convince both of them that you're harmless...mostly, I guess."


"...yeah, well, good luck, I guess. Asshole..."

And with that, Grimmjow left the alley, headed back where ever he'd been heading before. Ulquiorra watched after him a few moments, then looked away. After a moment, he flash stepped.

"So... you wanted to tell me that there's been a... decrease in Hollow activity lately?" Ichigo asked. Urahara nodded. "You needed to-"

"I'm telling you to be ready," Urahara said, face serious. "This isn't natural. It's too quiet; like the calm before the storm."

"You think something's coming?" Ichigo asked. Urahara nodded.

"I don't have any evidence, but my instincts say something big is about to happen."

"Do you have any idea what it is?" Ichigo asked. Urahara shook his head.

"I have some hunches, but I need to gather more information first," he said. Ichigo nodded, and looked at the ground, thinking. Urahara took out his fan. "In other news, how's your relationship going?"

"Wh-what?" Ichigo asked, looking up, wide-eyed with surprise. Urahara smiled behind his fan.

"How's you relationship? Anything you want to talk about?"

"Um..." Ichigo said, not sure how that change in subject came about. He scratched the back of his neck. "It's uh...it's going well..."

"...Ichigo, is something wrong?" Urahara asked. Ichigo flinched, then sighed.

"Well, I guess it's just...Grimmjow asked me to move in with him," he said. Urahara paused waving his fan, then resumed.


"Yeah, and well..." Ichigo sighed. "It's hard to explain..."

"Do you want to move in with him?" Urahara asked.

"I..." Ichigo paused, considering. "I...maybe? I just...I don't know how I would repay him for somthing like that, I guess. I mean, I don't want to be a burden on him; that's why I made the descision to move out on my own in the first place."

"Did you tell Grimmjow that?" Urahara asked. Ichigo flinched.

"Er, well..."

"Ichigo, I don't think Grimmjow is thinking of this the same way you are."

"What do you mean?" Ichigo asked. Urahara sighe softly.

"Well, think of it from his point of view. If you were the one with able to provide for him, when he couldn't do it for himself, what would you do?"

"I...I guess I see what you mean..." Ichigo said, scratching the back of his neck and looking away. Urahara waited a few more moments.

"Is there something else?" he asked. The teen sighed.

"Well...I'm just..." Ichigo started, then he took a steadying breath. "I'm still not completely sure I'm in love with him."

"Ah," Urahara said, nodding to himself. Then he sighed, closing his fan and smiling ruefully. "Well, I'm afraid that's one you're going to have to figure out for yourself."

"Yeah," Ichigo said. The he stood, stretching a bit. "Well, thanks for the warning...and for listening."

"Any time," Urahara said, standing to walk the teen out. When Ichigo opened the door to the shop, he froze. Urahara blinked in suprise, and moved to peer over the teen's shoulder. Then he too froze.

Ulquiorra stood, before them, face unreadable. He wondered if listening to the trash was a good idea after all.