BEGINNER'S LUCK

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach...

Happy Birthday, Mel, AKA Fozygirl! This one's for you, love! Hope you love it! ;)

Onwards...

XOXOXO

The atmosphere was festive like an indoor carnival. Better yet, make that a luxury indoor carnival. The carpet was a myriad of dark colors: green, blue, purple and black, but the walls were the color of creamy buttermilk. There were Greek-styled pillars in all corners of the far-reaching room, and the machines decorating the place were pristine and creating cheerful little noises.

You see, he was in a casino for the very first time in his life.

The smell of cigarette smoke lingered in the air, while the scent of alcohol was underlying. It was an interesting blend of expensive perfumes and colognes, polished wood and stainless steel, and a certain something that he just couldn't identify. His eyes were enormous as he carefully took in his surroundings. The casino was styled after ancient Greece, with tall pillars everywhere and service ladies gliding through the crowds, wearing beige togas, sandals and imitation golden leaf crowns. Even the dealers and cashiers were decked out in full regalia. The place was a casino and hotel, and it was named Caesar's.

Ichigo lifted a cup of coconut rum and pineapple juice to his lips and sipped lightly. He'd never tried a mixed drink before – only sneaking beers behind his old man's back at house parties and the like with his friends. But now he was twenty-one, as of an hour previously, and he planned to live it up a bit. What was the use being of age, when you had no plans of taking advantage of the "of age" part? Well, he wasn't going out like that. In fact, he'd decided to visit what his father labeled "the unholiest of unholies." He planned to get shit-faced, try his hand at some of the games and slot machines the casino had to offer, and by the end of the night, he wanted to drag some lucky soul to his hotel room and bone until he passed out. He glanced down at the watch on his left wrist and smirked. It was 1:37 AM. The night was still young.

For the moment, Ichigo was just taking his time and exploring the huge casino. He passed group on top of group of all manners of slot machines. They had Wheel of Fortune, Michael Jackson, Deal or No Deal, Golden Gong, Love Birds... He shook his head. The list could go on for days. However, what really intrigued him was what lay beyond the slot machines. The place where folks with addictions to gambling went bankrupt over thin slivers of hope. Where dreams had the potential to come true or be shattered. Where it was every man for himself. Where the cigarette smoke and the scent of alcohol was thickest.

Ichigo's eyes slid over to a section called the Poker Palladium, where six tables of five-card Poker were going strong. Then he sauntered past a set of Blackjack tables, eyes growing wider and wider with curiosity. He paused at a Craps table, heart starting to race. There was a blonde and gemstone-green eyed woman draped over the arm of a man with rich brown hair and matching eyes. The man was wearing a ridiculously expensive-looking, three-piece, white suit, and his eyes were laughing like he didn't have a care in the world, even though he merely wore a serene smile. Ichigo wanted to be a part of the world that that man was living in. He was obviously rich, and he seemed to be having the time of his life. The call to play at the Craps table was hard to ignore, until Ichigo witnessed the people surrounding the brunet groaning and cursing their luck. With an amused grin and a last look at the brunet with the beautiful blonde woman on his arm, Ichigo continued on his way. He almost passed another group of Blackjack tables, but decided to try his hand at it. He knew how to play this game somewhat, so maybe he'd have a little good fortune.

He tentatively took the nearest empty seat and set his drink down. Then, he reached into his pocket for the five hundred dollar bills he'd brought along with him. His old man's best friend, Urahara, had given Ichigo a few pointers about visiting a casino. He'd told him that it was wise to only bring what one was prepared to lose, and once that was gone, LEAVE. Don't get so drunk that he became unaware of his surroundings; and keep one eye on the board, the other on everything else. Ichigo had laughed at the time, thinking that that last piece of advice had sounded a little paranoid, but now that he was at ground zero, it made a hell of a lot of sense.

Next to him was a man with brown, wavy hair and hooded, sultry gray eyes. He had tanned skin and wore a long sleeved, hunter-green and navy-blue plaid shirt that was rolled to his elbows, along with a slim-fitting pair of dark-blue jeans. He was downright sexy and it made Ichigo a little envious. The strawberry-blonde dealer was wearing a deep blush as the man gave her a lazy grin while laying out his cards that added up to twenty-one, right on the nose.

"Congratulations, sir," the woman husked.

Ichigo grinned at her as he set down his money. "Can I have all of this in chips, please?"

She turned ice-blue eyes in his direction, surprise filling them once they landed on him. Afterward, she grinned, her full lips turning up at the corners.

"My, my, but aren't you a baby," she crooned.

"No, ma'am. I turned twenty-one today, and that makes me an adult. At least, last time I checked, it did."

The man beside him chuckled quietly as he glanced over as well. "So today's your birthday?" he drawled.

Ichigo nodded, unaware of how green he appeared.

"Well, well... that calls for a drink an' a lil celebration, dontcha think?" the man went on.

"Hell, yes," Ichigo instantly agreed.

He resisted the urge to dance excitedly in his seat as the beautiful dealer gave him her attention again. She had one hand on her hip, the other resting on the small, wooden partition separating the felt table from herself.

"Alright then. You want that in what, honey?"

Ichigo paused, eyes going big. What the hell was she talking about?

"E-excuse me?"

The man next to him chuckled again. "She means how do you wanna break down your chips. You want 'em in ones, fives, tens, twenty-fives, hundreds?"

He wanted to face-palm and hide under the table. How embarrassing! Instead, Ichigo cleared his throat and asked for the chips to be divided into twenty-fives and hundreds. The woman – whose name tag read Rangiku – smiled as she handed him the small pile. He'd had three hundred turned into twenty-fives, while the other two had been turned into hundred dollar chips. He took a deep breath and sat back against the plush cushion of his high seat, anxious to get started. However, as if on cue, a server sauntered over, long, sea-green hair pulled back in a braid, and beige toga hugging her curves like they missed her. Her golden leaf crown was perched delicately along her temples, and she held up a round platter covered with a variety of drinks. She stopped next to the man seated beside Ichigo and gave him a blinding grin.

"Hey, Starrk! Nice to see you again! Here's your bourbon on the rocks!"

She was so cheerful, she could be a one-person pep rally. And damn, she had boobs that he could lose himself in for years. Holy crap. Her eyes were big and the same color wheat would be if it had a layer of gray beneath it. She was gorgeous. As she leaned over and set Starrk's glass on the Blackjack table, Ichigo caught a glimpse of her name tag that read Neliel.

"Thanks, love," Starrk casually commented and handed her a few folded bills. "Can you bring my friend here whatever he wants? It's his birthday today."

Neliel's eyes perked up the instant they landed on Ichigo. She gasped and skipped over. "You're so cute!" she squealed. "Hey, how old are you? Are you sure you're old enough to drink? You got a baby face!"

"I just turned twenty-one," he grumbled, no longer feeling so excited about it.

Why was everyone making it their business to undermine him? He just wanted to play the game and enjoy himself.

"Aww! I didn't mean to make you feel bad! You really are a cutie pie, you know?"

Her high-pitched voice was endearing, but the words she used weren't. Ichigo shrugged and averted his eyes. He was in a sour mood now. Was this what he had to look forward to for the night? What about when he tried to pick up someone to take back to his room? Would they treat him like he'd just leaped over the side of a crib? How fucking unfair.

"Nel, that word kinda emasculates us, you know?" Starrk rumbled after taking a sip of his drink. "He may be young, but he's still a man, and no man wants to hear the word cute when it's pertaining to them. You understand?"

Nel watched Starrk speak as though he was a college professor during an important lecture. Once the man had said his piece, she nodded and pressed her full lips together for a brief moment.

"I see. Well, in that case, I apologize...um...hey, what's your name?" she asked, head tilted as she studied Ichigo.

"Ichigo. Ichigo Kurosaki."

"Oh! OK, then. I apologize Mr. Kurosaki. I didn't mean to make you feel like less of a man."

Ichigo just chuckled at the woman's earnestness. It was too adorable. He guessed that was why the casino had hired her as a server in the first place, and he had to say it'd been a good move.

"It's OK. And just call me Ichigo. Mr. Kurosaki is my old man."

"Perfect! You wanna drink?" she chirped.

"Uh..." Ichigo let his voice trail off as he glanced down at the half-empty cup next to him. He did say he'd come to get wasted and enjoy himself. With a confident smirk, he nodded at the green-haired woman. "Yeah, I'll take whatever he's having," he said, indicating Starrk with a lift of his chin.

Nel nodded as she wrote it down on a pad on her serving platter. "Comin' right up!"

With that, she floated over to the next table, her voice rising above the sound of the slot machines and rowdy men and women. Ichigo gave his attention to the brunet beside him with a sideways grin. He had stars in his eyes as he studied Starrk. The man was so cool, and Ichigo found himself wishing he could have even a third of that kind of smooth charisma.

"Hey, kid, you know what this is?" Starrk asked as he pointed to his glass.

Ichigo shrugged. He didn't want to seem like even more of a newbie, so he pretended not to care. Really, how bad could it be? The rum and pineapple juice he'd been sipping hadn't been bad at all. In fact, it tasted closer to juice than anything, so what could be different about the brown drink that Starrk was sipping from?

"Nah, but it can't be that bad."

Starrk lifted an eyebrow minutely before giving a small smirk that pulled at the right side of his mouth. Ichigo ignored the ice that slid around in his gut at the sight of that eerie smirk. What was so amusing?

"So, gentlemen," the strawberry-blonde dealer named Rangiku started. "Are you ready to place your bets?"

Starrk nodded as he glanced down at the cards Rangiku had set in front of him. After taking in the Jack of hearts on top of an overturned card, he pushed forward three hundred dollar chips. Ichigo almost swallowed his tongue. Did he have to match that bet? If so he was sitting this one out. He didn't know, but he didn't want to ask, either. Bad enough they were treating him like he was an infant fresh from the bassinet. In order to test out the game, he slid two twenty-five dollar chips forward after glancing at the eight of spades on top of his overturned card. When Rangiku said nothing, he slumped with relief in his seat. Perfect.

He picked up his cards and checked the one beneath the eight of spades, sighing when he registered the Ace of clubs. He had a choice. He could hit and use the Ace as a one, or he could stay with nineteen, using the Ace as eleven. What to do, what to do? He didn't want to cheat, so he avoided glancing over at Starrk like he so badly wanted to. He wondered what the man's face looked like now. Did he still have that impeccable poker face in place? Or was he frowning, angry at what his second card had turned out to be? Ichigo sucked his teeth and drummed his fingers along the felt surface of the table. He peered up at Rangiku, who was watching him right back with a small smile. Her own cards consisted of a seven of hearts on top of an overturned card. Ichigo pressed his lips together. There was no telling what she had underneath that card, but that was what gambling was all about. He had to take a chance and weigh his odds.

"You better not play poker with a tell-all face like that, Ichigo," she teased.

At that, he did take a chance to peek over at Starrk. The brunet's face was blank, and his gray eyes were focused on Ichigo as well. Well, shit. Ichigo bit his bottom lip and studied his hand a little more. Aw, fuck it, he thought as he slapped down two more twenty-five dollar chips. Go hard or go home, right?

Starrk's grin disappeared as he glanced down at his chips. After a few moments of silence, he slid a couple more hundred dollar chips forward, making Ichigo wince. This was getting way above his head. He sat back and debated on surrendering his hand, but then thought twice. He had a pretty good hand, so what was the use of just giving up without really trying? Maybe Starrk was bluffing.

That thought in mind, Ichigo decided to stick with the hand he had. Nineteen was a good number. The next round saw Rangiku adding a hit to her hand. Ichigo tried to figure out what she had by reading her expression, but the woman's poker face was flawless, as was Starrk's when he waved a hand over his own set of cards. Ichigo blew out a nervous breath and did the same. Finally, it was time for the reveal. They all turned over their cards, and Ichigo stifled a curse. Rangiku had eighteen, but Starrk had twenty.

Fuck. He'd lost.

Ichigo watched with sadness as his chips were slid towards the brunet beside him. His will to play another round was sapped. He didn't like the feeling of losing, even if it was to such a cool dude. He sat back in his seat and crossed his arms over his chest, lips drawn into a childish pout. Now what? Should he stick it out? Or should he move along and find another game that might have better odds? As things stood at the moment, Starrk was a much more experienced Blackjack player than himself, so maybe it would be wiser to move along, rather than lose all of his chips at one table. He turned in his seat and surveyed the immediate area. Behind him were a few more tables, one with a hefty and quite noisy crowd. They were Roulette tables.

Well, he'd never actually played Roulette, but Urahara had told him that it was an easy game once you got accustomed to the rules. Maybe Ichigo could try his luck there. A soft chuckle drew him from his musings and turned his attention back to the smooth man at his side.

"Ready to go already?" Starrk rumbled.

Ichigo fought a blush at apparently having his thoughts read as he rubbed the back of his neck. "Heh-heh. I don't think Blackjack is my game."

"Aww! But you only lost once! You can't give up so easily!" Rangiku said, her tone dismayed, but her eyes amused. "Won't you give it another chance?"

Ichigo grinned at her. Urahara had also told him that the dealers would say anything to keep the revenue flowing at their table, so it didn't come as a surprise to hear the woman trying to convince him to stay.

"Sorry, ma'am. I think I wanna go check out that Roulette table over there."

All eyes went to the table Ichigo had a finger pointed towards, and Rangiku blew out a breath that made her bangs flutter cutely.

"That Gin. He always has a full table. I wonder how he does it."

Gin? Ichigo turned a little more in his seat to get a better look at the Roulette table. A tall, slender, silver-haired man stood behind it, wearing an eye-closing, toothless grin. He seemed fairly harmless, but one could never judge a book by its cover. The man's toga revealed thin arms and almost elegant hands that were in the process of setting the Roulette ball in motion. His golden leaf crown contrasted nicely with his silver tresses that gleamed beneath the lighting in the room. Ichigo smirked. The man reminded him of an elf, or a fairy. All he needed were the wings.

The more Ichigo watched the antics at the table, the more it called out to him. Finally, he nodded and carefully slid off his seat. He was suddenly anxious to join the boisterous crowd behind him.

"Well, Ichigo, it was nice meetin' you, and have a happy birthday," Starrk drawled before taking a sip of his drink.

Ichigo smiled, surprised by the genuine tone of Starrk's baritone voice. "Thanks, man. And you enjoy your night. Ma'am," he said, nodding in Rangiku's direction.

Rangiku grinned and waved. "Thank you for stopping by, Ichigo. Happy birthday, hun."

With another short nod, Ichigo made his way over to the lively Roulette table. He didn't take a seat right away because there were none available. Besides, he didn't know how to play the game, so he figured he'd just stand and watch to get a feel for it first. The dealer, Gin, waved a hand over the board, grin still firmly in place.

"No more bets, gentlemen. And lady," he said, indicating a lone, dark-haired woman with huge violet eyes seated at the table.

Gin's voice was a smooth, lilting tenor that was dangerously hypnotizing. However, Ichigo gave his attention to the screen right above the spinning Roulette circle. After a few tense moments, a number flashed across it, highlighting parts of the board on screen. Twenty-seven. Half of the surrounding crowd groaned and grumbled, while the other half hooted and cheered. Their happiness was contagious and had Ichigo smiling right along with them. He could easily fit in with this group of folks.

"Man, you're makin' a killin'!" a deep voice tinged with a Southern accent rang out from Ichigo's left. "How the hell d'ya do it?"

Ichigo's head turned towards the voice, and his eyebrows flew to his hairline in surprise. The man who'd spoken was extremely attractive. He had long, bright red hair that was tied back in a ponytail and held off of his forehead by a burgundy, cloth headband. He had on a simple, burgundy, v-neck t-shirt and gray, acid-washed jeans. A pair of burgundy and gray Supra sneakers completed his casual outfit. The man also had tattoos...everywhere. They made up his eyebrows, slithered down the sides of his strong-looking neck, stomped across the bit of chest that was revealed by the V of his t-shirt, and hugged his muscular arms from the elbow up. And his eyes were a deep, russet color, like dried blood.

Ichigo had to pull his gaze away in case he was caught staring. He'd known all through his high school years that he was bi-sexual, so it wasn't shocking that he'd be tempted by the sight of such a man. However, not everyone welcomed that kind of attention. He'd be wise to keep his appreciative glances to a minimum.

Instead, he gave his attention to the man the red head had been addressing. His blood instantly heated by several more degrees as he helplessly did what he'd just told himself not to. He couldn't help it. If Ichigo thought that the red head was a highly attractive member of the male species, then this man had to be on par with legendary princes. He was – for lack of a better word – beautiful. There didn't seem to be one flaw on the guy. He was seated at the head of the table, casually leaning against the edge, full lips pulled into a sideways smirk. He had bright, powder-blue hair that seemed to rebel against the very laws of nature. It was obviously styled, but at the same time, didn't appear so. The resulting effect was one of controlled carelessness. His sideburns were long and chaotic, and a few stubborn strands covered his forehead like miniature blue scythes.

And then there were his eyes. They were blue – cornflower blue – and they had the power to arrest anything in their path. The man's gaze was piercing, yet amused all at the same time, and that was astonishing considering he wore a pair of black, plastic, Ray-ban frames.

What he was wearing was casual, consisting of a mint-green t-shirt, the word HURLEY stamped across the front in bold, black lettering, a fitted, black hoodie that he wore open, the sleeves rolled to just below the elbow, and a pair of dark-blue jeans that were ripped at the knees. Black and white Chucks finished off his attire, and it made Ichigo almost drool.

The guy had tattoos as well, but they were mostly on his arms and hands. Ichigo couldn't make out the letters on the man's knuckles, but he could see the gleaming of silver thumb rings. The blue-haired man also had a silver industrial bar in his left ear and silver hooped cuffs in both. Just as Ichigo was appreciating the man's face a little more, Gin said something that made the man give a bark of laughter. Two rows of perfectly aligned and blindingly white teeth appeared, and Ichigo nearly swooned. There was nothing better than a man with a great smile.

"Lucky for me there's no way to cheat in Roulette, huh?" the man said.

His voice was one of a kind: a low, smooth tenor that greatly reminded Ichigo of a prime example of bedroom seduction tools. Damn an aphrodisiac; the man's voice was enough to get any warm-blooded human hot under the collar.

Gin chuckled and shook his head, his silver fringe shifting over his forehead. "Not unless yer friends wit' Danny Ocean."

The man gave a low rumble of laughter as he sorted through his chips, preparing for the next round of the game. Ichigo couldn't stop staring. He was supposed to be learning how to play Roulette, but was suddenly much more interested in learning about the blue-haired man with the sexy smile and hooded blue eyes.

The game proceeded, and Ichigo remained at the back of the crowd, quietly alternating his gaze between the board and the gorgeous man at the head of the table. During the next four rounds, the crowd began to thin as said man won a considerable amount of chips, and Ichigo had to assume it was because the man played like a professional, yet he never let his laid-back demeanor drop. Maybe it was his natural personality. That thought was just as lust-inspiring as his looks. Ichigo also managed to catch on to the general rules of the game. In fact, he felt like he was ready to jump in for the next round. He was busy dividing his chips, when a cheerful female voice chirped at his side.

"Hey, Ichigo! I see you got tired of the Blackjack table! Here's your drink!"

He lifted his head and came eye-to-eye with Neliel. Her large, wheat-gray eyes were wide and shining as she held up a glass of brown liquid, her other hand occupied by her trusty serving tray. He grinned and accepted the drink.

"Thank you, ma'am," he said softly.

Neliel blushed and shook her head. "Don't call me ma'am, birthday boy! I'm not that old, you know!"

"I'm sorry, Miss. It's a habit."

"I've never met a guy with such good manners," she said, tilting her head. "Your mom must be really proud to have a son like you."

Ichigo just gave a friendly chuckle. Neliel didn't need to know that his mom was dead and had been since he was a kid. As soon as the green-haired woman danced away, he lifted the glass to his lips to sample what he'd gotten himself into, only to be interrupted by that low, amused tenor.

"Birthday, huh?"

Ichigo felt like ants made of ice were crawling all over his skin. He didn't know whether to be nervous or excited that his blue-haired attraction was talking to him. He lowered his glass and slowly turned to face his libido's current target. Brilliant blue eyes were focused on him, and full lips were upturned in a lazy smirk. Ichigo swallowed harshly, barely resisting the urge to fan himself and adjust the collar of his tan and brown striped polo shirt.

"U-uh, yeah."

He jumped a little when the red head's deep voice chimed in. "No shit! Really?"

Ichigo nodded this time, eyes round with childish wonder. Tonight had to be the best night of his life! Two of the most gorgeous men he'd ever seen were actually speaking to him. Not that he had a hard time finding dates, but these guys were on an entirely different level of hot. In fact, they tipped the scales.

"Y-yeah," he stuttered.

"Hohhhh? Well, grab a seat! Birthdays're special 'round here. Ain't that right, Grimm?"

Ichigo shuffled forward towards the seat the red head pointed to, which happened to be right between himself and the blue-haired man. Ichigo slid into the chair and set his drink before him, trying not to fidget with nerves.

"That's right," the blue-haired man answered.

Ichigo's ears seemed to perk up at the man's voice. So...his name was Grimm? That's what the red head had called him, anyway. Ichigo didn't quite know what to make of it.

"So, what's your name, birthday boy?" the red head went on after taking a sip from a cup of something clear and carbonated.

Ichigo did shift around on his seat to hide his case of anxiety this time. "Ichigo. Ichigo Kurosaki."

"Ichigo? Well, nice ta meetcha, Ichigo. I'm Renji," the red head stated, thrusting a large hand in Ichigo's direction. "And that lucky sonnovabitch over there is Grimmjow."

Grimmjow and Renji. Interesting.

Ichigo returned the man's firm handshake before glancing over at Grimmjow. Grimmjow's smirk merely lifted a fraction as he nodded.

"You two know each other?" Ichigo asked.

This time it was Grimmjow who spoke. "You could say that."

"Ah, he's just yankin' yer chain, Ichigo. We've been best friends since nursery school."

"I told you already, didn't I? I don't claim you in public."

Renji cackled and slammed down two hundred dollar chips before sliding them over the red square on the outer edge of the board.

"You know you love me long time," he sang, russet eyes devilish.

Grimmjow snorted into his cup, which contained something yellowish in color. "You wish, moron."

Ichigo grinned as he watched the two friends go back and forth. He'd never known men so handsome traveled in packs. Granted, it was just the two so far, but who was to tell that there weren't more? He finally lifted his own glass and took a healthy swig from it. In an instant, his gut burst into flame, and his eyes teared up. What the actual fuck? He coughed violently after setting the glass back onto the table, his throat and tongue burning so badly, it was going numb. If his coughing fit wasn't embarrassing enough, Renji and Grimmjow's laughter floating over the noise of the casino surely drove the nail into Ichigo's coffin of mortification. Renji slapped him on the back a few times with a generous grin.

"You alright there, Ichigo?"

Ichigo pressed a closed fist to his sternum and forced himself to breathe. Holy shit. Was that really what Starrk had been sipping? How could anyone drink something so heinously disgusting? Ichigo stuck his tongue out and looked down at it, just to make sure it was still there and hadn't disintegrated on contact with the poisonous alcohol. When he lifted his watery gaze, it locked with a clear blue one that seemed to smolder at the sight of Ichigo's tongue. Breathing didn't seem so important after that. All he could do was look back, trapped in Grimmjow's powerful stare. He didn't even know whether to blame his resulting hot flash on the alcohol that had just gone down the wrong way, or the blue eyes holding him hostage.

"I-I'm OK," he mumbled, finally remembering that Renji had asked him a question. "Just, uh...just went down the wrong way."

"Clearly," the red head said, obviously amused.

When Ichigo peered at him from the corner of his eye, he could have sworn he saw Renji grinning like he knew more than he was supposed to. Damn. He hoped it was his imagination. It probably was, though. Like that look he'd just seen from Grimmjow was probably his imagination too. His luck was never that good.

Ichigo glared down at his glass, upper lip curling back. He didn't dare try to drink the rest because it was definitely out of his league. He should've guessed back when he'd ordered, and Starrk had given him that mysterious smirk. As a matter of fact, he should've guessed when he realized that it was Starrk who'd been drinking it. Just as Ichigo was ready to launch the glass of toxin across the room, Neliel appeared beside him again, smile in full bloom.

"Something wrong with the drink, Ichigo?"

Ichigo sighed and nodded. "I don't think I like it too much."

She giggled and swiped the glass from the table before setting down a cup of pale yellow liquid. After that, she winked and sauntered off.

"Woohoo, Ichigo," Renji hooted. "Didn' know you were such a player."

Ichigo almost blushed at Renji's words. He so wasn't a player. He just had a feeling Neliel had taken pity on him, knowing that by ordering that drink, he'd been in way over his head. Yeah. She was just being nice.

"I'm not a player," he said with a quiet chuckle.

"Coulda fooled me."

Ichigo just gave an amused frown as he took a peek at Grimmjow. The blue-haired man was still looking at him, but the intensity in the guy's gaze had softened. Now he merely seemed curious. Ichigo pursed his lips as he felt a slab of heat glide through his gut. Grimmjow was apparently dangerous for his health, since one glance from the man nearly sent Ichigo into cardiac arrest. He grabbed the drink Neliel had just delivered and tipped it back, downing the entire cup. When he slammed the cup down, he grinned at the two men staring at him. Well, make that three because Ichigo had unwittingly caught the eye of the dealer, Gin. Gin was still smiling, but his eyes were open, revealing frost-blue irises.

Wow.

"You might wanna take it easy there, Ichigo," Renji said.

Ichigo scoffed. "Just 'cuz I didn't like that other stuff, it doesn't mean I can't handle this. It's much better going down."

The following silence was resounding. Ichigo didn't understand why until he reviewed what he'd said in his head. Once it dawned on him why his new, gorgeous companions were quiet and giving him twin wolfish grins, he blushed furiously.

"I-I...you know what I meant!" he fumbled, flustered to death.

How could he have made such a suggestive statement? Now they were sure to think of him as some sort of pervert. Grimmjow set down three hundred dollar chips in each of the boxes labeled 2nd 12 and 3rd 12 as he chortled.

"We didn't say anything, Ichigo. You did."

Ichigo had planned to make a witty retort, but the sound of his name from Grimmjow's mouth had him stiff in several places. It should be a crime for one man's voice to be that sexy. It was like the man had used it as a weapon, wielding it with an expert precision. Ichigo was left staring stupidly at the blue-haired man as Grimmjow focused on the board, not even realizing how he'd affected Ichigo. Finally, Ichigo tore his eyes away in time to catch Gin waving his hand across the board again.

"No more bets."

The screen lit up, this time highlighting the number thirty-one. Grimmjow grinned and collected his winnings once more, while Renji hung his head and groaned. He'd lost his bet of the ball landing on a red number.

"Grimm, you fuckin' suck nads, dude."

Grimmjow's laughter was like a song that Ichigo could listen to over and over, and it was contagious as hell. He found himself grinning along with the man, wishing he could scoot closer without looking like a suspicious character.

"Suck my cockiness," Grimmjow grumbled as he took another sip from his drink.

Renji snorted. "Awesome comeback, Rihanna. Wanna Taylor Swift me to death now?"

"That's a fuckin' insult to my manhood, asshole. At least Rihanna ain't lame."

"I just can't even respond to that. I swear, Grimm, with the shit you listen to, one would think you were a teenaged girl."

Ichigo burst into laughter at that, unable to hold it in anymore. Listening to Renji and Grimmjow griping at each other was like watching a sitcom. Grimmjow's eyes lit up as he turned to Ichigo with a crooked smirk.

"Oh, you find that funny, Ichigo?"

There it was again. Ichigo could really get used to Grimmjow saying his name that way.

"Well, yeah, it was kinda funny."

"Oooooo!" Renji taunted. "He said yeah, it was kinda funnyyyyyy!"

"Shut up, dumbass!" Grimmjow snapped as he slapped four hundred dollar chips on the board, this time on the black square.

Renji's elbow dug into Ichigo's side as he guffawed. Ichigo couldn't even get angry with the guy for abusing his ribs. The red head's laughter was more contagious than Grimmjow's. Probably because he was a lot more silly. As Renji slowly sobered, he placed three hundred dollar chips on the red square again. This time, Ichigo refused to miss the round. He reached for his lone hundred dollar chip and sat it on the square that read 2nd 12. He was feeling a little optimistic.

Both Renji and Grimmjow raised their eyebrows at Ichigo's move, which made Ichigo chuckle.

"What? I ain't allowed to play?" he asked.

He was growing more and more comfortable with the dynamic duo, so his speech and demeanor were relaxing. Renji was the first to grin and slap him on the back...rather hard. Ichigo grimaced through another chuckle.

"It's about time, Ichigo! Good luck, huh?"

Ichigo nodded and looked around for Neliel. As if their thoughts were tethered together, the woman floated over and set down another cup filled with the same yellowish alcohol Ichigo had been drinking not too long ago.

"Thanks, Neliel."

"Just call me Nel, Ichigo!" she called as she skipped away.

"Ladies man," Renji teased as soon as the green-haired woman was out of ear shot. "Why dontcha get her number?"

Ichigo shifted in his seat as he swallowed down his new drink in a matter of seconds. Once he was done and the cup was safely on the table, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. He studied the board as though it could answer Renji's question for him, until the red head nudged him in the side again.

"Don't tell me you're shy, now," Renji continued. When it was clear that Ichigo had no intention to answer, Renji persisted. "You don't think she's cute 'er somethin'?"

"It's not that," Ichigo finally replied, voice quiet. "I just...I'm not interested."

The following silence was deafening. Ichigo only looked up when Gin waved his hand across the board and gave them the usual instructions of "no more bets." The pause afterward was brief before Gin called out twenty-three. Ichigo almost choked on his saliva, the tense quiet completely forgotten. He'd won!

"Hell, yeah!" he shouted. He almost left his seat with glee as he looked back and forth between his new companions. "I finally won somethin'!"

Renji grinned, his arm swinging back to prepare for Ichigo's celebratory pat, but Ichigo dodged it. He knew Renji didn't mean any harm and probably didn't even realize he was using too much of his strength in the gesture, but still... Ichigo gave his attention to Grimmjow, and his wide grin seemed to grow. Grimmjow was smiling back at him, those luminous blue eyes twinkling behind the lens of his glasses.

How gorgeous could one man be? Honestly.

"Congrats, Ichigo," the man rumbled as he sifted through his large pile of chips. "How's it feel to win?"

Ichigo chuckled as he leaned back in his seat and accepted the chips Gin slid towards him.

"It feels damned good."

Grimmjow grunted and smirked as he sipped his drink. Ichigo frowned a little. What was that about? Was there something he was missing?

"That's what we pros like to call beginner's luck, Ich," Renji said.

Ichigo turned to face him, small scowl still in place. "What? So, you're telling me that since I'm a beginner, I only won because of luck?"

"Yup. That's what I'm sayin'."

"What a load of bullshit."

Grimmjow chose that time to tip his head back and crack up with laughter. Even though the sound was incredibly inviting, Ichigo didn't like the idea of being the brunt of a joke. He glared at both men, wondering why they were laughing so hard. Sure, he was a beginner; sure, he didn't know much about the game of roulette yet. But he'd won. In his mind, that was all that mattered.

"You guys can kiss my ass," he grumbled as he placed a couple of chips over the black square on the outer edge of the board. "I might be a beginner, but that doesn't make me a noob."

The laughter only escalated. And what was worse, Gin decided to join in, his smile seeming to high-five his sideburns. He absently spun the ball and after a few moments, waved his hand across the table, all the while grinning like he was the keeper of a juicy secret.

"No more bets!"

Grimmjow had his eyes on the table, but Renji had his eyes on...Gin? Ichigo frowned as his gaze alternated between the two, good-looking men. He had to admit that they looked nice together. Then again, maybe he was just projecting. He thought that Renji was handsome, and Gin was a sexy guy himself, even with the Caesar's garb. Ichigo shrugged and figured he'd ignore what he thought he'd seen. The ball did its hop-skip thing as it chose which slot it wanted to rest in. Ichigo jumped out of his seat as soon as it came to a stop. He didn't even look at the number; all he cared about was the fact that the color was black.

He'd won again!

"Ha! Beginner's luck, my ass!" he shouted as he leaned over the table and collected his chips from Gin.

Grimmjow nodded, expression impressed. "Nice, nice. You might even make rent this month, grasshopper."

Ichigo's joyous smile instantly turned into an agitated scowl.

"You sure do know how to piss on someone's parade, don't you?"

"Nahhhh. Just sayin'...that beginner's luck is workin' wonders for you."

"Oh, come on," Ichigo groaned as he rolled his eyes and picked out his chips for the next round. "That's already getting old. Can't you find some new material?"

The entire table went deathly silent at his statement, which thoroughly confused him. What had he said? Had he unintentionally pissed someone off? He looked around the table and was disturbed to see Renji gaping at him in open-mouthed shock. Gin continued to smile, but it was more subdued this time around. However, none of that compared to the blank look Grimmjow was giving him.

Renji killed the silence first. "You are a brave, brave soul, Ichigo. Lemme ask ya somethin'. You ever hear of Tucker Max?"

"Yeah. That's the guy that fucked his way to fame, then wrote about it, right?"

"That's him. Now think of him, but ten times worse."

"That's impossible. You'd have to be Satan."

The table went quiet again. Now, Ichigo was extremely confused. He didn't understand what the hell Renji was beating around the bush about, but he was determined to find out.

"What's going on?" he asked.

Grimmjow slapped down a handful of chips before he strategically placed them around the board.

"What the flame head is trying to say is that I'm an asshole when I'm sober, but an unbearable asshole when I'm not."

"I just don't see it."

More silence.

Gin was the one to do away with it this time, though. "Ya haven't been at the table long enough. These guys've been here almos' all night, an' they're regulars here. Plus, Ole Blue over there's had time ta really let his alcohol soak."

Ichigo shrugged as he placed his own chips down on the table. "What's that gotta do with me?"

"It's sort of like that sign you see on the beach, where they advise you not to feed the seagulls. We try not to give this guy any fuel to run on. S'why he's been behaving lately," Renji explained as he took a sip from his cup.

Ichigo pondered that. So, Grimmjow had a mouth that could put Tucker Max to shame? He had to hear it to believe it. It was just one of those things. Sort of like believing in Big Foot and the Yeti: you wouldn't really believe it until you had proof, right? Same principle.

"I think he's bluffing," Ichigo huffed. Then, he turned in Grimmjow's direction and met the man's bright blue gaze head-on. "I think you're bluffing."

"Aaaannnnd he's off," Renji drawled, making a sweeping gesture with his right hand as he hung and shook his head.

Grimmjow, however, wore a smirk so big and smug, it was almost frightening. Ichigo tried not to smirk back, but it was pretty hard. Grimmjow had one of those smiles that made you want to smile back, even if you were frothing at the mouth livid.

"Bluffing, you say? You mean like you did when Miss Tits offered you everything except her soul on that drink tray?"

Renji choked on his drink, and Gin chuckled, his thin body vibrating with mirth. Ichigo's eyes went wide at the shot-gun fast retort, but Grimmjow wasn't done.

"Or, do you mean like the way you're sitting here pretending that you're not totally into me?"

Fun and games: over. All of the blood in Ichigo's face went south. Had he been that obvious? Or was Grimmjow just one of those people who were scarily perceptive? Either way, it looked like Ichigo's secret was all the way out. How could he get around the subject without seeming like a pussy? Was there even a way to gracefully back away from the explosion threatening to take place, without losing his dignity in the process? He didn't think so.

Didn't mean he wouldn't try, though.

He turned to Renji and nodded solemnly. "You've got a point."

Renji was red in the face and bent over the roulette table as he gripped his stomach and gasped for air. He was laughing so hard, he was damned near wheezing.

"O-oh, my God! Grimm, yer so wrong! I toldja 'bout that attitude a'yers, didn' I?"

Grimmjow sipped his drink as he nonchalantly focused on the board. "Perhaps."

Ichigo was fighting the urge to rise and leave the table. He didn't want to feel like a punk, and that's how he would feel if he got up and left right at that moment. So, instead of tucking tail and hiding, he sat forward, rested his elbow on the table and his chin in his palm, then peered at Grimmjow from the corner of his eye.

"How could you tell?"

He could fight fire with fire. Sure, he ran the risk of getting burned, but Grimmjow had started this little game, so Ichigo would see it through to the end. Grimmjow's eyes seemed to light up as he set his drink down and folded his hands in front of him on the table.

"Your pupils dilate every time you look at me. You blush and avert your eyes if I stare back too long. You're more nervous than a promiscuous man waiting for STD results, and...dude, look at me. I know I'm hot; you know I'm hot. What more needs to be said?"

Narcissistic, arrogant, self-centered – none of that even began to describe the level Grimmjow was on. Was the man serious? Did he really think that way of himself? Of course, there was nothing wrong with confidence and high self-esteem, but this was going a bit overboard, wasn't it?

Ichigo glanced over at Renji to make sure what Grimmjow had just said hadn't been a part of Ichigo's imagination. When he saw the amusement on the red head's face, he knew that he hadn't been hearing things.

"Must be pretty lonely in that world of yours, huh?" he finally asked, eyebrows raised as he turned back to the blue-haired man.

Grimmjow arched a brow of his own and lifted the right corner of his mouth into a miniscule smirk.

"Nah. All the voices keep me company."

XxxxxxX

About four hours went by before Ichigo started feeling the weight of the alcohol he'd consumed as well as his lack of sleep. He checked his watch and yawned. It was 5:30 in the morning, and he was beat. He was also coming down from a winning streak. He'd won over a thousand dollars at the table, but now his "luck" was starting to run out. He'd already decided to call it quits, anyway, so he asked the new dealer – a gorgeous, violet-haired and golden-eyed woman, whose name tag read, "Yoruichi" – if he could cash in. She nodded and told him where to take his chips.

Renji had disappeared not even a half an hour ago, claiming he needed his beauty rest. Ichigo had laughed at that, but now, he was feeling the exact same. He wanted to hit the bed and hibernate. As he climbed to his feet, the sound of a throat clearing brought his attention to the blue-haired man looking up at him with mischief in those multi-blue depths.

"Callin' it a night?"

Ichigo stood and stretched his arms over his head before using a hand to scratch his slightly exposed abdomen. After a couple of beats, he nodded and yawned again.

"Yeah. I had a blast, but I'm worn out."

Grimmjow fluidly climbed to his feet and stood right in front of Ichigo. "Nah. Not yet, anyway."

"What?"

He must've been sleepier than he thought. There was no way in hell Grimmjow had just said what Ichigo thought he did. Right?

Grimmjow tilted his head and gave Ichigo that smug grin again. "You heard me the first time. Are we really going to play ring-around-the-rosy about this?"

All Ichigo could do was stare. He was genuinely speechless. Of course, he'd fantasized about this happening during the time he'd spent at the roulette table beside the sexy blue-haired man, but he'd never even considered the possibility of it actually occurring. How could Grimmjow be so blunt? What was he supposed to say? The alcohol in his system was strongly advising him to take Grimmjow up on his obvious offer, but at the same time, he was nervous. He'd only been with a guy twice in his life, and both times he'd been a top.

Nothing about Grimmjow said bottom. ...Except that maybe he liked them.

Besides, Ichigo had wanted to take the easy route out, and just go to bed. He could always try and get laid later that night or something. However, the look in Grimmjow's breathtaking blue eyes said otherwise. The taller man edged into Ichigo's personal space and put a hand in his jeans pocket.

"You really gotta think that hard, Ichigo?" he rumbled, voice low and lifting the hairs along Ichigo's neck and arms. "I can see it in your face how badly you want me, you know. Here I am giving you the green light, and you're stalling. You want me to change my mind?"

"You're such an arrogant asshole," Ichigo growled, offended. How dare this guy? "I don't care how good you look; it doesn't give you the right to come at me like it would be a privilege for me to fuck you."

Grimmjow's eyes widened briefly before narrowing into royal-blue slits. "Fine. It's your loss."

With that, the man grabbed his chips from the table and ambled off in the direction of the cashiers. Stunned, Ichigo watched him go. He instantly regretted it when Grimmjow shot a smug smirk over his shoulder at him.

"What a jerk," Ichigo groused as he stood around and waited for Grimmjow to be done at the cashier.

Like hell he was going to stand in line with the insufferable twat. Ichigo was angry, sure, but he was also incredibly disappointed. He felt like he'd been misled. When he'd first arrived at the roulette table, Grimmjow's personality had been appealing as all get out. The man had appeared slightly mysterious, yet still alluring. Now, Ichigo knew that it was all a facade. How the hell could Renji call such a man his best friend? Was Renji an asshole too?

As Ichigo stood around, feeling like a fool, the urge to use the restroom hit him like a speeding train. He shuffled over to the bathroom on the other side of the casino, frowning at the absence of other guys. In a place as lively as Caesar's, he was expecting to wait in line. Oh, well. Not like he was complaining about the good fortune. He slid into the lavatory, nodding appreciatively at its polished marble décor. Everything was cream-colored and trimmed with gold and actually clean. He rushed over to one of the urinals and released himself from his jeans. Just as he started going, he registered low moans and the sound of flesh quietly coming together. There was no mistaking what was going on in one of the stalls.

"H-harder!" a hushed voice pleaded.

The flesh sounds got louder and a little faster. Ichigo's face ignited as he heard a deep voice grunt.

"Shit! You feel so fuckin' good, baby," the deep voice continued in a low growl. It was oddly familiar too. The flesh sounds gradually escalated until Ichigo felt himself getting aroused, his face damned near on fire. The deep voice hissed and gasped, "I'm 'bout ta cum!"

The other voice responded with an unrestrained howl. Ichigo's blush darkened as he shook and tucked himself away. He had to get out of there. It was bad enough that he was becoming hot and bothered, but if he was found out too – no bueno.

"Fuck! Oh, God!"

Ichigo was afraid to flush, but luckily, he got a reprieve. After a few moments of silence, where the only sounds were harsh breathing and clothes rustling, the toilet within the stall flushed. Ichigo immediately flushed the urinal, thanking every star in the sky that it wasn't one of those automatic ones. He hurried over to the sink, then stopped and pressed his lips together. He didn't want to leave the bathroom without washing his hands, but if he turned on the water now, the pair in the stall would definitely hear.

What to do, what to do?

Meanwhile, he'd lost himself to his inward fretting to the point that he'd forgotten about the two that had been going at it. The sound of the lock giving on the stall door jerked Ichigo out of his thoughts. He was caught. He turned on the sink and began washing his hands, hoping against hope that his eavesdropping wouldn't be so obvious. He focused on the rush of water, refusing to lift his eyes when he felt a presence behind him. However, anonymity wasn't meant to be.

"Oh, Ichigo!"

Ichigo jumped and raised his head, locking eyes in the mirror with a broadly grinning red head. Renji's hair was out of its ponytail and hanging over his shoulders, some of the strands sticking out at odd angles. His shirt was inside out and his face was flushed. Ichigo lowered his eyes to the water, face hot again. What was he supposed to say?

"How long ya been here?" Renji asked.

Ichigo shut off the water and sighed as he grabbed a paper towel from the dispenser next to the sink and dried his hands. "Long enough."

He wanted to get out of there. He was thoroughly mortified, but Renji, on the other hand, seemed perfectly fine with having been caught in the act.

"Ah. Oh, well." Renji turned towards the stalls and rapped on the one he'd just exited. "Ya ready yet? I wanna hit the sack."

After a few quiet moments, the stall door swung open and revealed the silver-haired dealer, Gin, his beige toga a little lop-sided. Ichigo's jaw threatened to unhinge, mouth dangerously close to hitting the floor. He'd been right! He'd been so fucking right!

Gin sauntered over to the sink and washed his hands. Afterward, he faced Ichigo with his charming, closed-mouth grin, eyes slitted shut.

"Ya wanna keep this between us, Ichigo?"

His tone was meant to be pleasant, but Ichigo was far from dumb. He caught the underlying threat.

"Fine with me." He paused and shuffled his feet some, ridiculously uncomfortable with the entire situation. "Uh, 'scuze me. I'll be going now," he muttered as he almost tripped over himself to get out of the awkward atmosphere.

Before he could fully leave the room, Renji's deep voice halted him. "Hey, Ichigo! Ya still at the table with Grimm?"

The sound of the blue-haired man's name had Ichigo bristling with almost forgotten fury. He whirled on his heel and glared at the taller red head, hands clenched into white-knuckled fists at his sides.

"Your friend is an arrogant jerk!"

Renji's eyes widened before he bent at the waist and cracked up. "I-I told you!" he sputtered through the raucous laughter. "I fuckin' told you!"

"It's not funny! How can he live with an attitude like that? How does he make friends?"

Renji slowly sobered, taking a few deep breaths before answering. "That's the thing. He's only got me an' one other friend, an' that's only 'cuz we knew him since we were kids."

"Ya don't say?" Ichigo replied, heavy on the sarcasm. "I never would have guessed."

"Well, ya can't say I didn' warn ya, Ichigo."

Renji was right, but it still didn't excuse Grimmjow's behavior. Ichigo shrugged and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his jeans. He thought about pressing the issue, but what would be the point? He'd probably never see Grimmjow or Renji again in his life. No use crying over spilled milk. That in mind, he turned, and as he was exiting the restroom, he waved over his shoulder at the red-haired man.

"It was nice meetin' you, Renji."

"Likewise, Ichigo!"

Ichigo returned to the cashier and blew out a harsh breath, relieved. Grimmjow was nowhere to be found. He waited for the friendly cashier – Keigo – to pass him his cash. Once the transaction was finished, Ichigo trudged through the casino towards the elevator that would take him to his room. He was downright exhausted, and even though the night hadn't ended the way he'd thought it would, he'd still managed to enjoy himself.

He stabbed the call button for the elevator and rocked back on his heels as he waited for it to arrive. Grimmjow's blue eyes and blue hair suddenly invaded his mind, making Ichigo shake his head sadly. Why did such a gorgeous man have to be such a cretin? Where was the fairness in that?

The elevator dinged into place, and Ichigo stepped inside. He leaned against the back wall and shut his eyes. He still wanted to have sex with Grimmjow. Hell, had the man approached him in a more respectful manner, Ichigo definitely would have leaped at the opportunity. Call him a slut, a whore – whatever. He didn't care. He was a guy, and he was celebrating his twenty-first birthday. He was entitled to a little leeway. Too bad. Grimmjow looked like he could really give Ichigo a run for his money.

The elevator stopped on his floor, and he plodded to his room. After fussing with the lock a bit, a light blinked green, and the door swung open. Ichigo barely made it to the bed. He flopped onto it on his stomach, rested his head on his arms and instantly closed his eyes. He didn't even bother to remove his sneakers. Just as his breathing was beginning to even out and a dream was forming at the corners of his subconscious, a loud knock at his room door startled him out of his semi-coma. His head shot up from his arms as his eyes darted around the room. The burgundy, vertical blinds on the window were shut, blocking the just rising sun, so the room was still dark. Who the hell could be knocking at the door? Maybe it was housekeeping. He sighed and slid off the bed, growling to himself when another knock echoed through the room.

"Alright, alright. Keep your pants on."

He threw the door open and gaped.

"What the hell are you doing here? Were you following me?"

Grimmjow arched a fine, blue brow and smirked. "Noooo," he drawled. "I figured out that you were staying here at the hotel inside the casino when you kept playing with your room key at the roulette table. Which, by the way, has your room number on it. Besides, Renji told me I should apologize to you, so...here I am...making apologies."

"Are you serious?"

"Unfortunately."

Ichigo snorted and started to close the door on the narcissistic man with the come-hither, blue eyes. He didn't have time to entertain Grimmjow's ego, but a foot in the doorway stopped his progress; otherwise, Grimmjow would have been talking to metal.

"What?" Ichigo snapped.

"I just said I was apologizing. Don't be rude."

"Are you fucking kidding me? You're calling me rude? Who the hell do you think you are? You've got-"

"Ichigo," Grimmjow interrupted, voice low and authoritative. "I'm sorry. And don't make me say it again."

Ichigo ceased his tirade just long enough to stare at Grimmjow with a blank face. What did this mean?

"Why are you apologizing to me? Because Renji told you to? Is that it?"

The blue-haired man sighed and pinched the bridge of his straight nose, clearly exasperated. "Why do you have to make things so difficult?" Before Ichigo could open his mouth to retort, Grimmjow continued. "Yes, Renji told me I should apologize to you, but I'm doing it because I was wrong. I know that. Normally, I just don't give a shit, but you..."

"I what?" Ichigo snapped when Grimmjow remained silent for too long.

"You turned me down. I don't think anyone else has ever done that."

"Yeah, that much is more than evident, Grimmjow."

Grimmjow sucked his teeth and looked away down the hall. "See, that's what I'm talking about. That right there." His head came back around as he faced Ichigo again, this time his eyes hooded and lecherous, and voice low and seductive. "You expect me to take no for an answer when you keep saying my name like that?"

A muscle in Ichigo's jaw twitched. Grimmjow was very good at distraction. The way his voice had taken on that bedroom tone would have had Ichigo more than willing to ignore the man's past transgressions, but Ichigo knew better. Grimmjow had said so himself: no one had ever turned him down before. That had to be the reason the man was so damned arrogant now. Ichigo was sure that this act had probably worked wonders for Grimmjow many times, so he figured the asshole needed a dose of his own medicine. Ichigo cracked up laughing, one hand holding his stomach, the other braced along the door frame.

"This has got to be a joke!"

Grimmjow scowled, the lust in his eyes evaporating. "What?"

"This!" Ichigo repeated as he straightened up and gestured towards the blue-haired man. "Does this lame act really work for you?"

"What?" Grimmjow asked again, this time, the word escaping as a growl through gritted teeth.

"Oh, so now you have a hearing problem. I understand. Well, good luck with using that crap on someone else," Ichigo said, suddenly sobering and lowering his voice a few octaves. "Because I'm not buying it."

He kicked Grimmjow's foot out of the way and slammed the door in the man's face, grinning like a maniac as he imagined the expression the blue-haired man had to be wearing. He waited for furious pounding on the door, then frowned when it didn't happen. He pressed his back to the door and tilted his head. Had he gone overboard? He'd never said something to someone with the intention of purposely hurting them. His parents had raised him better than that. But Grimmjow had deserved it and more! Did the guy really think that that half-assed apology would excuse his earlier behavior towards Ichigo? Still...Ichigo was beginning to feel extremely guilty. No matter how badly Grimmjow had treated him, Ichigo was bigger than that. Sighing forcefully and inwardly cursing his conscience's timing, he pushed away from the door, turned, and snatched it open.

Grimmjow was gone.

"Goddammit," he grumbled.

Now, he really felt like shit. He made sure his room key was in his pocket before he stepped through the doorway. As he was swinging the door shut behind him, he glanced down the hall both ways and jumped when he turned to the left. Grimmjow was leaning against the wall beside Ichigo's room door, thick arms folded across his chest. His head had been down, a frown marring his perfect features until Ichigo had shown up. Blue eyes focused on the orange-haired man, clear and sharp behind Ray Ban frames. However, neither man moved to speak. All they did was stare at each other. After a few more tense moments, Grimmjow pushed away from the wall and came over to Ichigo, not stopping until he was right in front of him.

"Looking for me?" he rumbled.

Ichigo didn't want to admit that he was, so he stubbornly remained silent, arms going across his own chest, defiant and full of self-defense. Grimmjow looked away and nodded, lips pressed into a thin line. When he turned back, he raised a hand and lifted his glasses up into his hair, then swiftly pulled Ichigo into his chest and kissed him. Frozen, Ichigo just stood there like an idiot.

What the hell?! his mind screamed.

Grimmjow's lips were soft, but firm and demanding as he slanted them over Ichigo's. The man wasted no time at all, gently gliding his tongue across Ichigo's bottom lip. Ichigo was helpless to refuse the offering. He parted his lips and accepted Grimmjow's clearly more experienced tongue. The taller man gave a quiet grunt as he pressed a large hand against the small of Ichigo's back, expertly aligning their bodies like puzzle pieces. Ichigo tried to stifle it, but a moan escaped him anyway. Grimmjow's tongue thrust in and around Ichigo's mouth, aggressive and absolutely delicious. The kiss was noisy and needy, Ichigo's arms going around the other man's neck as it deepened. All too soon, Grimmjow pulled away and carefully considered Ichigo, blue eyes hooded and shining with unabated lust.

"You wanna ignore that?" he asked, a little out of breath, and the hand on Ichigo's back sliding beneath Ichigo's polo.

Grimmjow's hand wasn't rough, but it wasn't femininely soft, either. The skin contact was almost driving Ichigo nuts, but he managed to surface from the ocean of want he'd been drowning in.

"You play dirty, I see," he sighed, already missing the man's tongue and lips.

Grimmjow's chuckle vibrated through Ichigo's chest, his smile doing away with the rest of Ichigo's anger.

"I get what I want, Ichigo, and right now, I want you."

"Right now, huh?"

Ichigo didn't mean to sound like a lovesick female, but he couldn't help it. Sure, he'd come to the casino with every intent to have fun, including getting laid. However, for some strange reason, he didn't want a one night stand with Grimmjow. Aside from the man's asshole-on-high attitude, he was the exact kind of guy Ichigo liked and wouldn't mind being with. Grimmjow arched a brow as his head listed to the side.

"You want more than that? I thought you didn't like me?"

"If I didn't like you, dumbass, I wouldn't let you kiss me."

"You might have a point there."

Ichigo couldn't hide his laughter as he shook his head. "Grimmjow, you'd be perfect if you could put a leash on your mouth."

Grimmjow dipped his head and nuzzled Ichigo's temple, his signature grin stretched across his handsome face. "Perfect, you say?"

Ichigo felt himself crumbling. There was something about this man that could make his best protests a joke. To hell with it, he thought. Against his better judgment, he leaned into Grimmjow's tender gesture and closed his eyes.

"Maybe not perfect. Don't want your head to get any bigger than it already is, you know?"

"Too late," the blue-haired man purred into Ichigo's ear. "Dontcha think?"

"Yeah," Ichigo breathed, savoring the other man's alluring scent. "You're totally a lost cause."

Grimmjow chuckled again, the sound emanating from deep within his chest as he captured Ichigo's lips in another soft kiss. This was nice. Ichigo quickly immersed himself in everything about Grimmjow: his warmth, his lips, his tongue, his muscular body, his mischievous smirk, his soft, bright blue hair, his stunning and brilliant blue eyes... Ichigo's thoughts were interrupted as he let out a startled hiss. Grimmjow's lips had traveled down across Ichigo's jaw, then under his chin, where they'd pressed against his throat before Grimmjow nipped lightly at his Adam's apple.

"W-we should go in my room," he mumbled through the cloud of "do me now" surrounding him. He glanced around nervously, hoping no one was watching. "Come on."

He stepped back and gripped Grimmjow's wrist before unlocking his room and leading the man inside. As soon as they crossed the threshold, Grimmjow pulled Ichigo back to his chest and resumed kissing him. And to think that not even a half an hour earlier, he'd been dead tired and ready to kill the man holding him in his strong arms. He knew this was all sorts of wrong, but it felt all sorts of right.

Grimmjow's hands dove beneath Ichigo's shirt and lifted the hem towards Ichigo's armpits. "Take this off."

Ichigo hastily complied. His shirt landed in a puddle at his feet as he stepped back with a coy grin. He lifted his chin, indicating Grimmjow's clothing.

"Your turn." After he spoke, he backpedaled to the bed and plopped down on the edge of it. If he was going to do this, he was going to thoroughly enjoy himself. That included watching Grimmjow disrobe. When the blue-haired man didn't immediately move to undress, Ichigo tilted his head. "Don't tell me Mr. I'm-Too-Sexy-For-My-Shirt is shy?"

Grimmjow scoffed and was quick to snatch off his hoodie, leaving his tattooed arms revealed. Ichigo almost started drooling as he watched Grimmjow ease his mint-green t-shirt over his head of unruly blue hair. The shirt hit the floor with a muffled "fwump," and Grimmjow gave Ichigo a sideways smirk that just barely lifted the right corner of his mouth. He clasped his hands together in front of his thighs and flexed his bare chest muscles. Both of the man's arms were covered in tattoos, but his torso was curiously empty. However, even that did nothing to keep Ichigo's eyes from straying to Grimmjow's pronounced Adonis lines and the fine hair that covered his lower abdomen, starting from his navel.

"You were sayin'?" Grimmjow drawled.

Ichigo blew out a harsh breath, only just aware that he'd been holding it. He started to fire back a witty retort, but was cut off by Grimmjow's hands going for the belt holding his jeans up around his hips. Once it was undone, he did the same with the button and zipper. Ichigo watched, enthralled. He was totally engrossed. Grimmjow's body was mouthwatering, and the bad part about it was...the man knew it. Ichigo jumped off the bed like it was on fire, startling Grimmjow and himself. All he knew was that he wanted to finish undressing the beautiful specimen standing in the middle of his hotel room.

He sauntered over to Grimmjow and took a hold of the man's jeans before easing them down over slim hips, marveling at the thick, yet hard flesh that made up Grimmjow's sides. Ichigo ran his hands up the man's trunk as if it were a priceless artifact. He'd only seen men with bodies like Grimmjow's on TV and billboards. It was insane, but so fucking delightful. He grinned as a thought skated through his mind with the speed of a hare. Judging by the bulk resting in front of Grimmjow's jeans, Ichigo knew he had a lot to look forward to, so he dragged the denim down over Grimmjow's thighs and exhaled quietly when he realized that the blue-eyed wonder had either forgotten to put on underwear that morning, or he just preferred going commando. Lady Luck was smiling at Ichigo again.

"Do you always leave your house hiding secrets like this?" he asked, tossing a short glance up at the taller man.

"Maybe."

Ichigo couldn't keep his eyes away from Grimmjow's nether regions. It was tougher than a Dragon Ball Z fight. He closed his mouth and inhaled deeply through his nose, almost swaying as Grimmjow's sex appeal hit him full blast. The taller man smelled like a mixture of a sultry cologne, alcohol and shampoo. Ichigo dug his fingers into the man's hips as he slowly lowered himself to his knees. Grimmjow wasn't fully erect, but his length still managed to hang heavily between his legs. He wasn't grotesquely long, nor was he obscenely thick. Ichigo wrapped a hand around the base of Grimmjow's shaft and stuck his tongue out for a taste, his eyelids fluttering shut as Grimmjow sighed with contentment. Ichigo pulled back and stroked the steadily hardening flesh a few times before lowering his mouth over the head and gently suckling. He knew there was something special about that tiny section of raised skin on the underside of a man's helmet that was hyper-sensitive and drove men wild. Therefore, he teased it and showered it with affection until Grimmjow was straining against his lips, his breath leaving him in short, impatient pants.

Ichigo raised his head and locked eyes with hooded pools of brilliant blue. Grimmjow's hand had crept into Ichigo's hair, and his chin was tucked into his chest as he stared lusty holes through the shorter man. He watched as Grimmjow's Ray Ban frames were tossed onto the bed not too far away before Grimmjow burrowed his free hand into Ichigo's hair as well. With both hands massaging Ichigo's scalp, Grimmjow began a series of slow, shallow thrusts, his hips moving fluidly as he maintained eye contact. Ichigo couldn't take it anymore. He shifted around on the floor between Grimmjow's legs in order to free himself from the restrictive confines of his jeans. It took a bit of expert shimmying, but he managed to get his pants undone and down to his thighs. His erection was desperate as he grasped it with one hand, his strokes hurried and strong.

God, the sounds Grimmjow was making...

Ichigo took more and more of his temporary lover's need into his mouth, pressing it against the roof and molding his tongue along the underside. Grimmjow hissed and tilted his head back, lips parted and eyes squeezed shut.

"Damn," he grunted as Ichigo grazed the crown of his arousal with his teeth. "Do that again."

Ichigo chuckled as he did as the blue-haired man asked. This was easier than he'd thought. With Grimmjow's blunt personality, Ichigo had been sure that the man would either be extremely picky, or downright condescending. For once, Ichigo was glad to be wrong.

After teasing the head of Grimmjow's erection, Ichigo decided to get a little more serious. He lowered his mouth over the straining shaft and settled into a swift rhythm. Grimmjow's hips moved in time with Ichigo's head, the tips of the man's fingers almost digging into Ichigo's scalp. The orange-haired young man didn't mind the slight pain because he was really enjoying the hissing and deep moans coming from the taller man. That was...until Grimmjow tugged a little too hard. Ichigo pulled back with a scowl and a glare.

"Hey!"

Grimmjow stared down at him with a mischievous grin, blue eyes practically dancing. "Why don't you come up here so we can try out this bed of yours?"

His gut flipped as Ichigo slowly climbed to his feet. He was still nervous, but he wanted this. He wanted this so badly, and he'd be damned if he let a simple case of nerves stand in his way. He sauntered over to the bed and faced the blue-haired man, a small smirk lifting the corner of his lips. Once he was positive that he still had Grimmjow's attention, Ichigo undid his pants and let them fall to the floor. It felt like it happened in slow motion. Grimmjow's eyes narrowed as he watched the garment pool around Ichigo's ankles, but he didn't take long in striding over. He pushed Ichigo down onto the bed and lowered himself to the floor, where he finished removing Ichigo's jeans and tossed them aside. The look in those inhumanly blue eyes was almost scary.

Ichigo couldn't get a hold of himself. He really couldn't believe he was doing this, but he also wanted it more than anything else at the moment. So, he told himself to relax and enjoy what the blue-haired man was about to do to him.

Once Grimmjow had Ichigo's pants off, he kneaded each of Ichigo's thighs, refusing to break eye contact. His now infamous grin was out in full force, and once again, Ichigo found it hard not to grin right back. In fact, he didn't even fight it anymore. He leaned back on his hands and tilted his head.

"Well?"

Grimmjow arched a brow. "Oh? Feisty are we?"

"Maybe. Depends on what your definition of feisty is."

"Hmm. That can be largely debatable. However, I do recall telling you that you are the only person to ever turn one of my initial offers down. I think that qualifies as feisty."

Ichigo tipped his head back and cracked up. "Your arrogance knows no limits! I can't believe you just said that."

Grimmjow honestly looked confused, a slight frown threatening to pull at his brows. He opened his mouth as if he planned to retort, then shook his head, those blue eyes lighting up once more.

"Just shut up, and let me work. I'm tired of you insulting my ego," he grumbled.

There were a lot of things that Ichigo wanted to say in return to the self-centered man between his legs, but a slow, hot and moist tongue traced a path up the underside of his erection. He shuddered and let his eyes fall shut. It'd been quite a while since he'd last gotten some, and he was sorely overdue. Still...he didn't want to make a fool of himself in front of Grimmjow, so he tried to keep his reactions under wraps.

Tried was the key word there.

Grimmjow's big hand wrapped around the base of Ichigo's arousal and squeezed as it stroked in an upward motion. Once, twice, three times...oh, God... Ichigo hissed, but caught himself before it made itself known. Too bad he hadn't counted on Grimmjow having the hearing of a feline. Luminous blue eyes flicked up at Ichigo as Grimmjow smirked.

"Feel good?"

Ichigo pursed his lips, hesitant to answer. Why should he? He didn't want to give Grimmjow the satisfaction of knowing that just his hand was damned near making Ichigo squirm in place. But, it didn't seem like Grimmjow needed the verbal confirmation. His grin widened as he lowered his gaze and returned to his task at hand...literally. Ichigo grabbed two handfuls of the blanket and wished he could dig his heels into the soft carpet. Grimmjow had abandoned using his hand and was back to using his tongue. He laved the entirety of Ichigo's hardened flesh until it was glistening with saliva. Then, he lowered his mouth over the head and sucked strongly.

Ichigo fought tooth and nail not to buck his hips forward and shove the rest of his dick down the man's throat. Grimmjow was driving him crazy with the smallest touches. How was Ichigo supposed to endure the rest of what the blue-haired man had in store? Just as that thought crossed his mind, Grimmjow began steadily taking more and more of Ichigo's length into his mouth. As a matter of fact, the man didn't stop until his nose was pressed against Ichigo's pelvis and nuzzling coarse orange pubic hair. Grimmjow opened his mouth and tilted his head back before shaking it back and forth, adding pressure to the head of Ichigo's shaft.

He couldn't hold it in anymore.

"Ah!" he cried, throwing his head back. "Fffffuck!"

Grimmjow grinned a split-second before shooting his head forward and recapturing Ichigo's arousal with his lips. The rhythm he built after that was nothing short of epic. Not too fast, but certainly not too slow, either. Just enough pressure. Ichigo was about to gnaw away his bottom lip, his right leg straining out in front of him and his hands adhered to the blanket. And then Grimmjow pulled back and started jerking Ichigo's shaft, his mouth capturing Ichigo's balls and expertly rolling them around.

He was moaning so loudly. He'd long forgotten his vow to stay silent; the pleasure had grown too immense. If he didn't stop Grimmjow now, he would cum all down the man's throat and chin. But he was torn. On the one hand, he wanted to make his orgasm last, but on the other, he wanted to keep feeling the shooting jolts of pleasure streaking from his groin to every other part of his body. Luckily, the decision had no longer been left to him. Good thing too; his toes had begun to curl. Grimmjow pulled back, his large hand still working over Ichigo's length as the man stared Ichigo down.

"You ready?" he husked.

Ichigo frowned for a moment, but it didn't take long for him to understand what Grimmjow meant. All of a sudden, the nerves were back as if they'd never left. Not only that, but they were stronger than ever, too. Ichigo nearly doubled over from the discomfort, pretending at the last second that he was just reacting to Grimmjow's hand on his dick. Grimmjow grinned, totally falling for the act. Ichigo wanted to sigh with relief, but instead nodded his understanding. Grimmjow's hand fell away from Ichigo's rock-hard and willing arousal as the blue-haired man climbed to his feet. Before Ichigo could even think to do anything, Grimmjow was crawling over him and connecting their lips. The taller man ground Ichigo into the mattress, his slim hips winding in all the right ways. All Ichigo could do was hold on and moan, wonderfully enjoying Grimmjow's aggression.

Their erections collided and Ichigo jerked out of the kiss with a startled gasp. He wasn't in pain, although the pleasure was so intense, it could have been mistaken for it. His nails dug into Grimmjow's shoulder blades, making the bigger man hiss and bury his face in Ichigo's offered throat. Ichigo ran his hands up to Grimmjow's strong neck and on up into the man's feather-soft blue hair. He should've known that Grimmjow's hair would be nothing short of shampoo-commercial-worthy.

That had been fun to think about until Grimmjow lifted Ichigo's legs and spread them apart. Ichigo tensed when Grimmjow settled himself against Ichigo's exposed opening. He wouldn't do that, would he? he internally panicked.

Please, no! I'm an anal virgin!

Grimmjow must have sensed his minor breakdown, because he lowered his face to Ichigo's with a reassuring grin.

"I'm not that big of an asshole, Ichigo."

Ichigo tried to feel relief, but the way Grimmjow was baring his abnormally sized canines at him had Ichigo a little on edge. He shifted a little higher on the bed, trying to make himself comfortable. Grimmjow watched him with his head tilted and an amused grin lingering at the corner of his mouth. Ichigo grew defensive.

"I'm just trying to get comfortable. So what now?" he shot at the taller man.

Grimmjow smirked and leaned in for a quick kiss. "Now you reach over there in that drawer and grab that travel sized bottle of lubricant you bought specifically for this occasion."

The fucking know-it-all!

"Who says there's any lube in there?" Ichigo argued, refusing to let Grimmjow get one up on him that way.

"Says me. Now get it out and stop lollygagging."

"I really don't like you, you know that?"

It was the only thing he could think of at the time. Grimmjow was a heinous shithead, but he was a right heinous shithead. Ichigo pouted severely as he reached overhead and dug blindly through the night table drawer. After a few seconds, he withdrew a travel sized bottle of K-Y. He thrust it in Grimmjow's direction, thoroughly disgusted. And Grimmjow's smug grin wasn't helping matters, either. Ichigo was so busy being fed up that he missed the sound of the cap popping open. He didn't, however, miss the ice cold drips that landed on his separated cheeks. He jerked and glared at Grimmjow, who was grinning like he'd won the Mega-Million.

"You're positively adorable when you pout, Ichigo. Do it some more, wouldja?"

"Fuck you! You're such an-"

"And that lovely singing voice!" Grimmjow interrupted. "I wanna hear you hit that marvelous note again. What was it?" The blue-haired man stopped and used his right hand to massage the arctic lubricant into Ichigo's skin. He made sure to rub everywhere on Ichigo's bottom. Then, he picked up the bottle again and squeezed some more of the chilly liquid onto Ichigo, but this time, directly over his opening. Ichigo had no preparation whatsoever for the long finger that made its way inside him, the overwhelming pleasure of having his prostate immediately stimulated damned near breathtaking.

"Thaaaat's it. Mmm, so sensitive," Grimmjow practically purred. "So tight. Damn, I can't wait."

Ichigo moaned and rolled his hips against Grimmjow's finger. He hoped the other man understood his indication of more. More, more, more! Ichigo grinned when Grimmjow slipped another finger into his passage. Double the pleasure, double the fun. He worked his hips in time to Grimmjow's thrusting fingers. He couldn't get enough. As a matter of fact, he couldn't even comprehend this sensation. He'd never had anal sex; hell, he'd never even had someone finger him before. All of what Grimmjow was doing to him was completely alien to him. But it was somehow good, too. Extremely good.

"Shit! Fuck! Yes! Shit!"

The expletives just poured out of him. There was no way in hell he would have been able to stop them. Ichigo shuddered and arched his back, his head falling back of its own volition. His mouth was wide open as he tried in vain to catch his breath. What the fuck was happening to him? Why wouldn't his body listen to him when he told it to calm the hell down? Why couldn't he think past the shivering ache in his core?

Grimmjow leaned over and quickened the pace of his fingers. The noise was sticky and moist – erotic as fuck. The blue-haired man settled his head right beside Ichigo's, his lips pressed against Ichigo's ear.

"Listen to that," the man breathed. Ichigo choked on a gasp. He helplessly did as Grimmjow ordered, his eyes rolling shut as the thrusting noises seemed to amplify. "Now, listen to me. I'm gonna fuck you so good and so hard, you'll never forget about me, even if you get Alzheimer's Disease."

At that, Grimmjow added a third finger with no remorse or compunction. The resulting sensation was like having the wind knocked out of you. Ichigo gasped again and cried out loudly afterward.

"Oh, my fuckin' God! Just fuck me already!"

Shameful was what it was. Grimmjow cackled and nipped the shell of Ichigo's ear.

"Patience is a virtue, young grasshopper."

Ichigo writhed on the bed, almost delirious with want. He had no idea what he was so anxious for, what he was yearning towards – aside from an Earth-shattering orgasm, of course – but whatever it was, he wanted it. And he wanted it now.

He gritted his teeth and squeezed his eyelids together even more. "You're enjoying this, you prick!"

"Oh, very much so. Had no idea it was so obvious."

Ichigo wanted to grab the blue-haired man by the dick and shove it head first, but figured maybe he was jumping the gun a bit. Just because he could handle the man's fingers, it didn't mean he was ready for the real deal. He wound his hips in a slow, small circle, hoping against hope that Grimmjow would understand just how much pleasure-pain he was inducing. But then again, the asshole had to know what he was doing. In fact, he was enjoying it.

"I just..." Ichigo started before pausing to lick his parched lips. "Please...I want..."

"I'm all ears."

Ichigo hissed and moaned, his breath leaving him in deep, shuddering heaves. Grimmjow was crooking his fingers, mercilessly continuing to stimulate Ichigo's prostate.

"My God, this is so insane. Please," he tried one more time.

He was so close to just giving up. Grimmjow was a fucking sadist...and Ichigo was his masochist.

Apparently.

"Alright, alright. I guess I'll cut you some slack. Besides," Grimmjow stopped, but a sharp swat to the side of Ichigo's left thigh made his eyes fly open as he jumped in shock. "I'm fuckin' hard as concrete here from all those nice little noises you keep making. That and this tempting view."

Any other time and Ichigo would have grinned up a storm or snapped back with a witty retort. Now? He was completely at the other man's mercy. Thankfully, Grimmjow eased up. He withdrew his fingers before running that same hand over Ichigo's rear, kneading here and there. Ichigo faintly registered the sound of a rubbery snap as he let his eyes fall shut again. This was it. He was about to lose his V-card...and he was hiding his fear like a prostitute in church. He absolutely refused to let Grimmjow know that this was his first anal experience on the receiving end. Ichigo took a deep breath and let it out through his nose. He didn't realize that his efforts to hide his anxiety were going in vain.

Not until Grimmjow told him so anyway.

"This is your first time, isn't it?"

Ichigo cringed. Dammit. Still not one to admit defeat even when it was staring him in the face, he opened his eyes and pursed his lips as he glared at the blue-haired man hovering above him. Grimmjow's eyes danced with laughter as he studied Ichigo, head tilting to the side.

"So you don't wanna answer? That's fine. I already know anyway."

Before Ichigo could decide what he wanted to say in return, Grimmjow had both of Ichigo's legs over his shoulders. Grimmjow's strong arms braced themselves next to Ichigo's head, the man's hips pressing along Ichigo's exposed lower half. Ichigo could do little more than breathe as Grimmjow angled his hips just the right way and slowly pushed.

At first, all he felt was pressure. Not so bad. But then, the sting emerged, waving a huge, red flag. Ichigo opened his mouth as he tried his hardest not to holler like a woman in distress. It kept him from screaming, sure, but sweat sprang up along his upper lip and along his hairline, not to mention, under his arms. His hands turned into claws as they dug into the cheap hotel bedspread, and his body twitched with every inch Grimmjow drove past. Finally, verbal confirmation of the wicked sting wreaking havoc in and around his opening just had to be made. He hissed and whimpered as quietly as he could. But it just wouldn't be right if Grimmjow hadn't heard him. The taller man leaned forward, brows low and pulled together and blue eyes the color of shimmying ocean waves.

"What's the use in holding back? I like hearing you."

Holy crap! Had Grimmjow's voice always sounded like that? It seemed deeper, rougher, and a lot more sexually potent. Ichigo arched into him, which just made the man's length at long last settle within him. Thankfully, Grimmjow didn't move, allowing Ichigo a bit of time to adjust to being penetrated for the very first time. It was uncomfortable as all hell, but not totally unbearable. Ichigo ground his teeth together as he kept his eyes glued shut. He breathed slowly: in, out. In, out.

I can do this.

Grimmjow lowered even more and captured Ichigo's lips in a kiss. It actually worked in distracting him...until Grimmjow moved his hips.

"Ah! W-wait! N-not yet," he gasped, breaking the kiss.

Grimmjow paused, but left wet marks over Ichigo's jaw and chin. That was nice. Just as Ichigo felt himself falling under the blue-haired man's oral spell, a big hand wrapped around his almost flaccid arousal.

"Uh-oh. Think you might wanna tell this guy it ain't bedtime yet," Grimmjow murmured against Ichigo's chin.

How embarrassing. What the fuck was he supposed to say?

"Shut up and move!" he snapped.

Grimmjow chuckled and playfully nipped Ichigo's cheek before his hips pulled back and pushed forward in two quick motions. A chill raced down Ichigo's spine at Grimmjow's resulting groan, even as he winced against the sting. When was this supposed to feel good? Why didn't it feel like Grimmjow's fingers?

"Look at me," Grimmjow rumbled. "Whatever you do, don't stop looking."

Ichigo was confused, but did as Grimmjow asked. He stared into the other man's impossibly blue eyes and found himself feeling as though they were the black and white hypnotizing swirls. How could one person's eyes be so powerful? As he stared, Grimmjow slowly moved. His movements were fluid and gentle, his hips easing back and forth. Ichigo didn't even realize his erection had started filling out, and the sting had begun ebbing, until a soft moan escaped him, startling him.

"There you go," Grimmjow coached, his deep tenor soothing and arousing at the same time. "Move with me."

Ichigo lifted his hips and immediately growled as he was filled, his length throbbing and twitching, now back at full salute. As if sensing his thoughts, Grimmjow's hand around Ichigo's need stroked once, then twice, then three times, that same hand tightening with each upward pull. Ichigo panted and tossed his head from side to side. Grimmjow was moving a little faster now, his breathing harsher and his moans a little closer together.

So, this was what it was supposed to feel like.

"Ah, fuck," Ichigo groaned as his hips rotated against Grimmjow's.

Grimmjow growled low in his throat, blue eyes rolling shut. "Just like that," he said quietly as he picked up the pace.

Soon enough, Ichigo was back to spilling profanities from his lips as the sound of his and Grimmjow's hips coming together drove him up the wall with lust. He grabbed Grimmjow's forearms and bit his bottom lip. He was getting closer and closer. Everything about the man above him was sending his head spinning and heat rocketing through his blood. When it gathered in his balls, he started moving even faster, his moans and curses growing more and more urgent. And then, Grimmjow's hand abandoned Ichigo's shaft in order to better position himself. He leaned back on his heels and gripped Ichigo's hips, keeping Ichigo's legs over his shoulders. Ichigo shuddered violently, his head lolling back against the pillows and eyes creeping open to watch what the blue-haired man was doing.

Rock-hard and perfectly chiseled abs flexed with each of Grimmjow's thrusts that had become stronger and deeper. Everything about the man was flawless. Ichigo reached forward and took hold of his own erection, growling at the sharp flood of pleasure that washed over him. His toes curled and his back arched. This was it. He didn't know how much longer he was going to be able to last with Grimmjow moving faster and harder and his own hand trying to keep up with the other man's tempo.

"Sh-shit!" he breathed. "Fuck, that's good! Holy shit! K-keep...right there..."

Grimmjow grinned and used his right hand to nudge Ichigo's left thigh wider apart before knocking the hand Ichigo had around himself away. Grimmjow stroked like a man on a mission. If Ichigo thought the pleasure had been blinding with his own hand in the equation, it was damned near explosive when Grimmjow worked his into it.

"Ah! Ah! I'm...I'm...oh, man..." Ichigo babbled.

Grimmjow's grin disappeared as he hissed and gritted his teeth. "Hell, yes," he grunted.

Ichigo tried to remain in control, but two sharp thrusts later was all it took to make that shit vanish like Houdini. He howled like a wolf, both eyes clenched so tightly closed, they were beginning to water. Nothing he yelled was intelligible, but that really didn't matter at the moment. Swell after swell of bliss overwhelmed him, leaving him open-mouthed and...stupid...for lack of a better word. He barely registered Grimmjow's deep-chested grunt of satisfaction as he continued floating on his own cloud of ecstasy. Once the sex high died down, he opened his eyes and focused on the blue-haired man easing out of him. With a wince, he lowered his legs to the mattress and felt every one of his bones turn to mush.

"That was amazing," he muttered, more to himself than to Grimmjow.

Unfortunately, the blue-haired narcissist heard him and grinned as he rolled onto his side, pulling Ichigo to his chest as he spooned him from behind.

"Tell me something that I don't know."

Sleep was throwing its robe over Ichigo's eyes, his eyelids unable to remain open more than a few seconds at a time. He didn't have the energy to battle wits with Grimmjow, so he just nodded and burrowed into the pillow beneath his head.

"Mmhmm," he hummed.

Grimmjow was quiet for what felt like forever. Ichigo was almost asleep when the man's deep voice finally floated over his shoulder.

"That really was amazing."

Ichigo grinned as he felt a kiss pressed to his shoulder.

Not bad for his twenty-first birthday. Not bad at all.

It's finished! It's also a one shot, so there will be no more to this. Hell, it was long enough, if you ask me. But, Mel, my dearest! Happy belated birthday, and I really hope you enjoyed this monster of a one shot. I'm extremely sleepy, and I really don't feel like proofreading. I know, I know. Bad Racey. But what can I say? Thirty-three pages is too much to proofread a little after midnight. Apologies!

Thank you for reading, guys!

To bed I go...