Well, another fic! Hope you like this story. MAJOR OOC in the first chapter, mostly on Grimmjow's part. The rating is debatable, but I'm leaning toward M because it does have graphic gore and some sexual situations (although nothing to sexually explicit), so it's staying at T for now, until I deem it necessary to change the rating. M'k? K.

Cool Summary: He had lived long enough to see the forest in all its seasons; it was his care that kept the garden beautiful, as it had been when he'd first encountered it. His power kept the autumn from taking the life of his beloved flowers, and the winter from reaching their leaves. Yet, there had been change on the wind, the beast could smell it. And then there was that boy, one that he'd seen roaming around, coming closer to his beloved garden. GrimmIchi

Real Summary: Grimmjow didn't know why he had been cursed, but he'd long ago come to accept it. He guarded his flowers savagely, knowing that if they died he died. So the day he heard wolves nearing his garden, he'd done no different than he normally did. He killed the two wolves. And he would have killed the boy, if not for those brown eyes. GrimmIchi

Chapter 1

Be Wary of the Untamed

Grimmjow had been a normal boy. His entire life was spent in a quaint little village surrounded by forest, growing up with meat eaten beside a crackling fire and sleeping in the warmth of animal skins. All his life he was prepared for manhood, to live on his own and leave his mother and father's tent. They would teach him how to start a fire, to cleave a leaf with an arrow, or to skin any animal that was to be eaten. His father would always tell him to pray for the soul of every animal he killed, to let it soar into the heavens and not linger with those of the earth.

When he was fifteen years old he was sent into the forest to kill his first prey. It was called the Little Hunt, and every child that came of age would go through it. When he caught it, he was to do the customary prayer and bring the animal home to be cooked and eaten. He was not afraid, for it was his destiny to catch the animal that would provide nourishment for his family.

He said farewell to his family with every intention of returning home and seeing them again. He walked into the forest, giving one last wave to his village before marching determinedly into the unknown. He waited till he was far enough into the forest that the animals would be out and not hiding from the bustling noise coming from the village. His footsteps were light and airy on the mossy ground, and the sunlight through the leaves cast an earthy glow upon Grimmjow's cheeks. His eyes searched through the forest, his pupils flitting from one gap in the trees to the next. He strung his bow, readying the weapon to shoot its deadly arrow into any unsuspecting animal. His eyes continued to move from one place to another, his footsteps slow and purposeful in his endeavor to remain quiet and hidden. It was the animal that came first, a small brown rabbit leapt from the underbrush that surrounded a tree to his right. He lifted his bow, and pulled the taut string back, bending his bow to kill his prey. He released the arrow and it shot forward, burying itself into the rabbit's thigh. The animal collapsed the pain in his leg to great to allow him to continue running. Grimmjow ran over to the fallen animal, eyes wide and the breath stolen from his lungs.

At first he was glad, he'd caught his first prey! He could provide for his family, just the way his family provided for him. Then he looked upon the small animal, its sides rising and falling with quick and shallow breaths. Its eyes were glazed with pain as Grimmjow looked deep into them. He placed a hand on the animal's belly, smoothing it over the soft brown fur, yet the rabbit seemed to be in too much pain to notice that it was being touched. He was about to pull the arrow out of the rabbit's thigh and plunge it into the animal's heart, then he felt that he could not kill this animal. He touched the area around the wound and the rabbit jerked forward, nearly getting up, but collapsing back onto its side when the pain became too unbearable. Grimmjow placed a hand on the area around the wound, and another on the arrow protruding from his thigh. He took a deep breath, readying himself for what he was about to do. He clenched his fist around the arrow and pulled hard, straight up from the hole in the thigh. The rabbit jerked and then went still. He looked hard at the rabbit, trying to find any trace of movement, but he found none. The shallow breaths it once took had ceased and the rabbit lay motionless on the ground.

Grimmjow looked upon his actions with a grim horror. He had taken a life. His mother would always tell him of the threads of life and of the prayer one must say when a thread is broken. He thought hard about the words his mother told him. He eyes glistened with tears and his voice hitched as he spoke the blessed words.

Humankind has not woven the web of life.

We are but one thread within it.

When a life is taken,

Utter a mournful prayer.

For all life is sacred.

He gently closed the rabbit's eye lids over its hollow eyes and then picked up the small animal, cradling it to his chest. He would find a place to bury the rabbit, some place beautiful, and he would dig a deep hole so that once he buried it any scavengers could not smell the scent of spilt blood and destroy the body. He looked hard, perhaps a clearing in the trees.

He'd been walking for a while and the sun was setting on the horizon by the time he happened upon it. An opening in the monotonous brown of the tree trunks, filled with flowers that Grimmjow had never seen before. Flowers of every color and shape and even size littered the ground. He carefully set the rabbit down in the grass and took a step into the clearing, looking around in wonder. He took off his shoes, and the soft grass tickled his bare feet, making him wiggle his toes in the shiny tendrils. There was a large boulder to one side of the clearing, and the rest of the space was filled with the strange flowers. The flowers seemed to glow in the light of the setting sun.

A cold wind filtered through the trees, and Grimmjow shivered. The last of the light disappeared and the silvery moonlight was what was illuminating the flowers. He picked up the rabbit at his feet and carried it deeper into the flowers. He found a spot beneath a large flower that reached to his knees. Using his hands he dug a hole in the ground, disregarding the dirt that began to dig into his nails, and then placed the rabbit in the hole. He slowly covered the animal in the soil. He felt that with each bit of dirt he placed over the rabbit's fur, that he was adding more and more protection for the small creature.

When he was done he looked around, perhaps he could bring a flower to his mother, as a way of compensation, for not fulfilling his duty as a man. The flower had to be beautiful, something extraordinary. And, looking around, Grimmjow was hard pressed not to pick them all and bring them to his mother, for they were all beautiful. He spotted a lovely red flower, nestled in the corner of the flower garden, and Grimmjow felt it was decided. He pulled out his knife, and just as he was to cut the flower from the life giving ground, he spotted another one. It wasn't beautiful, no, but it had a gift. Simplicity.

The petals were the color of the sky at dawn, a deep blue, and they lined the eye like feathers on the wings of a hawk. The sheer uniqueness of the flower was what made Grimmjow pick it. It was what made him take his blade and sever the flower's ties with the earth. He held the flower in his hand, and walked back the way he came. He left the flower garden, and went his way home without seeing the stem of the cut flower curl in on itself, turning black, until it was merely a shriveled shadow of its former greenness.

When Grimmjow reached the edge of the forest, where his village resided, he felt ashamed that he had come home with just a mere flower. Yet, it seemed that the flower gave him strength, because when he lifted it to gaze upon its blueness, he felt the courage to face his mother and father filling his bones and singing in his blood. He took a step forward… and froze. At first he thought it was merely his body betraying him, and perceiving his fear as unwillingness to go to his parents and face his consequence. Yet, as he tried to move his fingers, they did not move. He attempted to lift his feet, and they were unmovable, as if they were molded to the ground with clay. Clay can be broken, he thought. He pushed forward with all his might yet the more he pushed, the more the hopelessness of the situation began to creep into his thoughts, like spiders spinning their web of doubt into the farthest reaches of his frantic mind.

He wanted to scream, he could see his family beyond the trees, laughing. His mother was braiding her blue hair, and his father was tending to the fire. The fire that would cook the prey he returned. He tried to, but it seemed that the breath was stuck in his throat, and he could not expel the air needed to cry out his fright and confusion to the world around him. It was a flash of blue caught out of the corner of his eye that made his worrying increase tenfold.

The flower, it was still there in his hand, and despite the long time he had spent walking home, it had not withered. The petals were still bright and the stem was still firm. He attempted to lift his hand and found that he could, with minimal effort. He gripped the stem tightly in his hand, making sure not to drop it. The flower had something to do with this situation, Grimmjow was sure of it. He took a step back and was surprised that he could do it. He took another. And another, until he was more than ten feet from the clearing. He turned slowly, making sure his movements were fluid and unrestricted, and then headed back toward the flower garden, where he suspected his answers would lie.

When he reached the clearing filled with flowers dawn was breaking and the opening in the trees was filled with shadows. He searched for the red flower, and when he found it, looked beneath it and found what remained of the blue flower. He touched the gnarled black stem and then his eyebrows furrowed. How was it that the stem, which was still linked to the life giving earth, had died before the flower had even withered?

He stood up, staring down at his feet, seeing the leather moccasins that covered them. He had started something… something of great proportions and something of which he did not know the severity. As he stared he felt his fingers tingling. A quick glance at his hand and then his eyes flitted back to his feet, only to dart back to his hand, widening in horror at what they beheld.

The flower, the wretched flower, was growing. Little green tendrils had begun to wrap around his hand, and even as he attempted to swat them away they just grew back and covered more of his skin. Soon his entire arm was covered in green leafy vines and his panic was making him shake, causing the leaves to tremble.

He fell to the ground, screaming his throat hoarse in his attempts to call for help. Yet, it seemed that doing so was a mistake because the vines snaked around his legs and pulled tight, till his body was pulled so close that his legs were drawn tight against his chest and his other arm trapped underneath him. Grimmjow took a deep breath to scream, but stopped abruptly. The vines were not constricting to the point of pain, they just… surrounded him. Not that the sensation was pleasing, no, not at all. But they weren't hurting him. With this thought in mind, among many other thoughts telling him to keep screaming and struggling, he let the vines cover his body. He belatedly realized that they stopped wrapping around his arms and legs after he stopped struggling, and instead began to wrap around him, much like a cocoon.

After the last sliver of light was covered, Grimmjow saw the little blue flower, right in front of his face, glowing faintly in the darkness. He felt no panic, no worry, and his eyelids began to droop, and his short pants began to grow into deep, long breaths. And soon, he was asleep.

There had always been a reason why Ichigo remained as far from the forest as he could. As a child, Ichigo was impressionable, and all those stories of a boy lost in the woods, nearly seventy summers ago, did nothing to lessen his fear. The boy had been like him, fifteen, and he'd gone into the forest to perform his writ of passage into manhood. And he never returned. Ichigo never forgot those tales. No one even knew what happened to the child. Some say he was eaten by wolves, and others say he never found his way back. But Ichigo's father, oh his father, said that he was eaten by the Scorned. The Scorned was a supposed beast that roamed the forest, eating little children and trapping women for its own pleasure. None of the adults believed him, for there had never been any proof of such a claim, no child found dead, no woman lost. But Ichigo didn't know that. So, as you may have guessed, he was a mite reluctant to go on his first hunt. Going into the forest alone was not what he wanted to do! He was scared, and he wasn't ashamed to admit it. His father knew. His mother knew. Even the other villagers knew. His friends made fun, but he didn't waver in his unrelenting fear.

Appreciative as he was of his mother's consolations and his father's encouragements, Ichigo still had to go into the forest. He didn't want to be eaten, so he kept his bow strung, an arrow nocked and ready to pierce the heart of anything that seemed threatening.

His hunt was a long one. With the winter season coming, many of the animals fled south to escape the cold and snow. He was afraid, the sun had begun to set and he was running out of time. He wasn't to return empty handed. He needed to find something. He heard a loud fluttering, and looked to his left. A ptarmigan hen scuttled from a tree, landing on the ground a little ways away of him. Ichigo hid himself, hoping that the hen hadn't seen him. He slowly snuck around the tree, trying to be as quiet as he could. Pulling the string taut, he aimed, and released. Ichigo saw a puff of feathers and the hen was flying away. He ran after it, making sure to keep the bird in his sights. He was right on it, so he stopped, nocked an arrow, and then, still walking, he aimed to shoot—and he fell, flat on the ground, his foot having gotten caught on a root.

He looked remorsefully at the ptarmigan that was flying away, squawking. He lifted himself to his feet, patting the dust from his pants. He picked up his bow, slinging the string over his shoulder so the bow rested at his back. He looked around, taking in the fallen leaves, and bare trees. He wished that he had caught the hen. If he had he would have been able to go home. As his home was brought to mind, he realized something. In his haste to catch that ptarmigan, he had been easily misled and had deviated from the path which he could follow home. He looked frantically for a clue that would lead him back to his village. The trees, they all looked alike. None of them had leaves and they all appeared dead. He began walking in the direction he thought would lead him home, praying to every deity that could hear that he would just make it home. He didn't need to find an animal to kill; he just wanted to get home. If could just see one of the rabbit traps that were riddled about the outside of the village, he could navigate his way back home by those. He only wanted his mother's comfort. He didn't know how to hunt, his aim was horrible and he had no balance whatsoever. He wasn't a hunter. He liked to cook, he liked to sneak away from the other boys and watch his mother teach his sisters how to sew. His mother had caught him once, and she didn't admonish him, she merely let him join. It was what he was good at. He had a knack for creating things.

So lost was Ichigo in his thoughts, the boy didn't see the two wolves standing in front of him, sniffing curiously. They growled as he neared them, and he looked up at the sudden and aggressive noise. He froze as he laid eyes on the two wolves. They looked ferocious; one even had a missing eye. The other one was smaller, most likely female, and he coat had a very faint reddish hue to it. The color was so light that it was nigh impossible to see, merely appearing and disappearing when the she-wolf moved. They looked at him calculatingly, and no matter how still he stood, he knew that they may or may not deem him worthy of the hunt. They might just see him as food.

The she-wolf lowered her head, and stared at Ichigo, teeth bared in what looked like a smile. Ichigo got the feeling that it wasn't a nice smile. It was a sinister smile, one of a hunter awaiting the gore and blood of killing its prey. The sharp teeth were glistening with anticipatory slaver, and a low growl emitted from her throat. The growl was akin to laughter, sadistic laughter warning him of the imminent danger to his life. The one eyed wolf also turned toward him and Ichigo was the one to run first. He ran as fast as his legs would take him, hoping to the gods that he could make it out of this horrid experience with his life. Tears poured from his eyes and his body would have wracked with sobs had he not been running for his very life. He could hear the snarling of the wolves behind him and he nearly fell to the ground. He was going to be eaten like that boy seventy years ago. Oh gods no! Please spare his life!

He was approaching a clearing in the trees. It might be the village! His father would save him! He pushed forward, adrenaline pumping through his limbs, giving him a renewed strength to reach his destination. Just as he was about to break the line of trees, one of the wolves pounced, making him fall forward into the dirt. The leaves from the forest floor were crushed and they filled his mouth with their bitter and rotting flavor. Something landed on his back, and teeth gripped his moccasin clad foot. A loud scream was wrenched from his throat as one last snarl was released in his ear and the echoes of a deep roar filling his bones with a fear so potent it made his world go black.

Hope you liked the first chapter… Tell me if you want me to continue! I probably will, I just want to hear your wonderful opinions! :D

The apron-clad-Ichi-baby fic will be up in a while, but not until the last chapter of Endeavors is up!

Thanks for reading!

Aku :)