(this always happens to me. I had my entire AN planned out and now that I'm actually uploading the chapter, I can't think of what I'd wanted to say... )

Anyway. This is the final chapter of Snuff and let me tell ya, I'm actually going to kind of miss it D: As dark as the subject matter is, it's been both a challenge and tons of fun to write. Thanks to everyone who gave it a chance and stuck with it this long. I hope you guys have enjoyed the ride!

Enjoy~


••• The detective's house : present •••

The two changed in record time, Ichigo slipping into something more professional that included his badge and holster, while Shiro tugged his shirt back on and slipped into a pair of shoes. For little more reason than out of spite, Shiro combed his long hair back into a neat tail. Grimmjow had always liked to yank on it, using it to keep Shiro arched and mostly still. A lot of people had, but the idea of seeing Grimmjow again made finding a pair of scissors tempting, made his gut tighten uncomfortably, so he settled for tying it back where it would be out of the way, where it wouldn't be loose and easily caught hold of, despite that he knew the slave trader would be handcuffed to a hospital bed and surrounded by armed guards.

Ichigo snagged his phone from the coffee table on the way by and the two left. Half a block from his home, an unmarked cruiser pulled out behind Ichigo, letting the detective know his team had heard the news as well. At his side, his passenger sat quietly, pale hands fisted in his lap so tightly the lad's knuckles stretched colorless skin almost harshly, but Shiro's jaw was set, his features determined.

By the time the thirty minute drive was over and they arrived at the hospital Jaegerjaquez was being held at during his recovery, the commissioner was standing in the lobby waiting for them. The older man nodded in greeting, handing detective Kurosaki a file. They didn't waste any time before turning and heading, unescorted, deeper into the hospital.

Halfway down the hall that led to Jaegerjaquez's room, deep, rough laughter rang through the corridor and Shiro's steady pace faltered, his movements hitching mid-step. His gold on black eyes widened just slightly and, standing a step in front of him now, the two law enforcers paused as well, turning back to look at him with varying degrees of worry and appraisal.

Shiro was there to verify the man's identity, but he didn't need to see him to know that the man they'd found was indeed Grimmjow. He would never forget that voice. "It's him." He muttered to the men watching him.

"How can you be sure? At least take a look. Just through the window." The commissioner bid.

"It's not a laugh ya forget..." Shiro hesitated, a small tremor running down his spine, but began walking again. He'd agreed to this, so that Grimmjow could finally be put away, so that he would finally get what was coming to him, and Shiro wasn't going to back down now.

They approached the room, the door cracked just slightly, and stopped. The colorless witness swallowed, looking straight ahead for a moment, before slowly turning his gaze towards the window that allowed visitors to look into the ICU room. His features remained remarkably controlled, despite that his chest rose and fell at a slightly elevated pace. He flinched, but quickly recovered when a warm hand found his own, pale fingers wrapping with a nearly harsh strength back around Ichigo's.

Inside the room, the dark skinned hybrid, Yoruichi, stood near the foot of the bed Jaegerjaquez occupied. His features were more pale than Shiro remembered and a blanket had been pulled up to his chest, hiding most of the thick, sterile white bandaging wrapping his chest and abdomen. His big hands were held out to either side, cuffed to the rails of the bed to keep him in place should he find the strength or desperation enough to make the effort to leave. Blue hair fell limply in the man's face and tubes and wires led from him to various machinery at the bedside, but those cynical, cold blue eyes were bright and lively as always.

Jaegerjaquez laughed again, head tipping back slightly. Standing before him, Yoruichi crossed her arms over her chest, a small but somewhat strained smile on her pretty features as she put up with the big man. She hadn't been in the room with him more than a few minutes and she could already see what made him so successful at what he did. Or used to do, rather.

"You're a lot prettier than Mr. Kurosaki," Grimmjow informed after his laughter had died away. A strained, stifled cough worked free from his damaged lungs, blue eyes narrowing in a wince. "but it's going to take a lot more than that fake little smile."

"That's fine. You don't have to tell me where to find him. You don't even have to say another word, Mr. Jaegerjaquez-"

"Please, call me Grimmjow." The bedridden trafficker corrected in a surprisingly smooth voice.

Yoruichi continued as if she hadn't heard him interrupt her. "You would be doing yourself a favor. Giving yourself a bit of leeway in the eyes of the court." She shrugged like it hardly bothered her, and really, why should it? She hoped the bastard got the harshest sentence they could possibly push for. "Either way, you're going to jail and so is he. We have a witness that's more than willing to testify against both you and Aizen."

The blue haired man snorted a laugh, his handsome features pulling into a wide grin that bared his teeth. A single brow arched a bit, something vivid and glittering swirling in cyan eyes.

"Ah, so the pretty little thing survived after all." That intense gaze panned over toward the door, despite that he couldn't actually see the lad he'd favored. Standing silently out in the hall, listening and watching, Shiro visibly flinched. After a few short moments of silence, nothing but the gentle, rhythmic hiss of the extra oxygen being fed to the injured man punctuating the quiet, Grimmjow continued, not pulling his attention from the door. "All that hollow blood: I should have known a gut shot wouldn't kill the stubborn halfbreed."

Standing at the pale lad's side, Ichigo curled his lip as a scowl pulled at his brow. His hand tightened around Shiro's as they listened to what the big man had to say.

"Does he still dream about me? Does he still cringe when you touch him?" Grimmjow asked in a chilling voice as he turned livid, fiery eyes back on the woman standing in the room with him. Yoruichi stared him down, matching that gaze with a cold, yellow one of her own. A cruel chuckle, deep and grating, reverberated in the man's chest. "If you can get him at just the right angle, he mewls and purrs under you. Tell that Kurosaki kid for me. He'll writhe and whimper and make the best expre-"

"That's enough." Yoruichi's voice wasn't overly loud, but there was a sternness there that warned of dire consequences.

Out in the hall, the abused man Grimmjow spoke of trembled where he stood. Ashen brows were furrowed over wide, horrified eyes. His colorless lips were peeled back, baring teeth but the expression was a pitiful attempt at anger. Instead, Shiro's body language spoke of disgust, of fear and panic, of hatred and indignation, but not quite of rage. The slave trader's voice rang in his head and he knew the big human's words were true. He knew it had been the drugs they'd been pumping him full of, he knew he hadn't been able to control himself and that it hadn't been his fault, but all that was little consolation.

But then, that was Grimmjow's entire point. The blue haired man had a sneaking suspicion that the mixblooded creature was listening in on them, and Shiro always had been his favorite. He was just too fun to play with.

"By the way," Grimmjow began again, propping himself up on his elbows as best he could so that he could readjust how he was laying against the inclined bed. They'd left him with very little room to move, seeing that his hands were stuck out to either side. It didn't much matter though, since nearly every move he made sent a wave of black, sickening pain through his body. "How is Nelliel doing? You know they were friends? Poor girl felt so bad for him, but she was a good lass, and knew where her place was."

"The girl is fine." Yoruichi's answer was short, but she knew he wasn't really concerned about the once-slave's well being.

"Really?" Grimmjow's surprise sounded almost sarcastic. "Because Szayel had gotten ahold of her right before you stormed my establishment and that magic of his isn't easy to get around." He was quiet for a moment, gauging how well he was getting under the woman's skin. More importantly though, he was looking to strike a nerve with the halfbreed out in the hallway. He kind of hoped Mr. Kurosaki was with the lad. "She's still unconscious, isn't she? Or dead by now. Knowing Szayel, he made it so the only thing that will wake her up is him. And I know you haven't caught him."

All of Shiro's nervous, uneasy trembling came to a jerking halt as the lean muscle of his body snapped rigidly tight. His hand clenched so harshly that Ichigo actually grunted a small sound under the pressure and glanced over to see the disbelieving look that marred pale features.

As if needing confirmation, Shiro turned his gaze toward Ichigo oh so slowly. The look on the detective's face was enough to give him his answer; what Grimmjow said was true. "Why didn't ya tell me?" He asked in a low voice?

Ichigo's features twisted into a sympathetic expression, "I didn't know what to tell you..." He admitted, "The doctors don't know why she's not waking up. She's alive, she's breathing. She's healthy. She's just...it's like she's sleeping and they don't know what's going on yet."

The look in golden eyes was far more vulnerable than the expression that pulled porcelain lips into a thin, outraged line. But a small growl crawled up Shiro's throat as he turned in a rush away from the detective and, before the commissioner or Ichigo could attempt to stay him, stormed through the doorway and into the room Grimmjow was being held in.

The door was thrown open with a little more force than necessary. Yoruichi turned to watch him enter. Blue eyes panned over to follow. A smirk stretched across Grimmjow's features as the halfblooded lad he'd captured and lost entered the room, a well covered hesitation as he stepped over the threshold.

"Where is he?" Shiro questioned in a snarl. He didn't bother putting a name to the man he sought information about, nor designate a subject. Grimmjow would understand.

And indeed he did. The slave trader let out a short bout of deep, rumbling laughter. Features pulled into a wide, but mostly humorless grin, Grimmjow shrugged as best as the cuffs would allow for as a stifled round of dry coughing followed his laughter. The extensive damage to his chest made itself evident even through all the pain killers he was on, despite how well he hid it.

"You think if I knew where the good doctor was," Grimmjow began, his grin falling away as his too blue eyes pinned to Shiro's own golden orbs with an unrelenting pressure. "I would be laying here waiting for them to remove the bullet still lodged in my lung?"

If he'd known where Szayel was, or had the magic-user known where he was, he would have been laying in that dirty alley while the pink haired man dug the bullets from his body and reversed the damage done. He certainly wouldn't have been laying there, bleeding out, for as long as he had. And he sure as hell wouldn't be laying in a hospital, handcuffed to the bed right then. He would have been up and healthy again by now.

Shiro curled his lip slightly, hands clenching into fists at his side, but he stood rooted to where he'd stopped half way to the bed. It was as if he couldn't draw any nearer, like his body couldn't physically handle it. Like a chain held him back, kept him from sinking black nails into vulnerable flesh.

The very notion made his stomach churn. At that moment, Ichigo briskly followed behind the pale man, gently but firmly turning Shiro back toward the door with a hand on his shoulder. Even Grimmjow noted how the once-slave hardly flinched.

"Ah! There's the...what are you, anyway? Not a cop..." Grimmjow shrugged, because really it hardly mattered. "What you should be, is an actor. Wonderful job, Mr. Kurosaki, I would applaud your performance, but, well..." He held his hands up, pulling them to the lengths of the cuffs in a helpless motion.

Ichigo ignored him altogether, and continued to lead Shiro from the room.

When the door was once more closed and the halfbreed and detective were out of view, Grimmjow turned back toward Yoruichi and picked up where they'd left off at, before he'd gone off on his tangent meant purely to rile Shiro up. "You really think he can identify Aizen for you?" Grimmjow snorted a harsh laugh, "He was drugged out of his damn mind most nights. You'll be lucky if he remembers what one client looked like compared to all the others."

"You're not doing yourself any favors, Mr. Jaegerjaquez." Yoruichi said shortly. "Aizen's the one who shot you, isn't he? You're really going to protect the man that had been so willing to throw you out like trash?"

Blue eyes narrowed on the woman, a low, grating rumble vibrating in his chest.

Still leading Shiro away from the room Jaegerjaquez was being kept in, Ichigo was silent as they walked. The commissioner fell in line behind them, a frown tugging at his features. Had he known Yoruichi was already going to be there and questioning the trafficker, he would have had the witness wait. The plan had been for the colorless lad to take one look through the window, say 'yep, that's him' and then he and Ichigo could go about their day. But Jaegerjaquez had opened his mouth and there was no denying that the man was good at getting exactly what he wanted.

Shiro paused in his marching pace. Ichigo very nearly walked right into him as he sighed an lungful of air he'd been holding in. "What do I gotta do ta make my id of him official?"

"You just have to fill out a witness statement." The commissioner answered, "We'll have the paperwork sent to Ichigo's house and you can fill it out when you get back."

Shiro nodded, then finally turned to look at them. His inverted gaze panned over the commissioner in an almost dismissing manner, before landing on Ichigo. Gazes locked, the colorless man's very expression seemed to implore the detective before he even spoke. When he did speak, it was a quiet request. "I wanna see her..."

Ichigo stared back at him for a long moment, not a word being said as he studied Shiro. This wasn't something he could deny the man though, even if seeing her would likely only be a painful thing. "Ok."

A doctor was found and the three were led to the room Nelliel was being treated in. A second bed was situated in the room as well, holding another figure Shiro vaguely recognized as having been a slave as well. Neither moved, as if asleep, just like Ichigo had said. They were hooked up to monitors that tracked their vitals and from what Shiro could tell, they read perfectly normal signs. But he was no doctor. He didn't know.

Golden eyes tracked the room before landing back on Nelliel's mostly motionless form. Her chest rose and fell in deep, even breaths where she lay, a blanket pulled up to her chest to hide the hospital gown she'd been changed into. Her hands rested at her sides, the blanket tucked under them. Everything about her was unnaturally still.

She was breathing, but that didn't really mean she was alive.

Shiro knew no one but the pink haired magic-user would be able to reverse whatever he'd done. But no one would catch Szayel, not alive at least. No lock could hold him, no set of handcuffs or bars in the world would keep him somewhere he didn't want to be. Nelliel was breathing, but she would never wake up.

The man turned away, silent, ready to go home.

••••••

In the end, Grimmjow's surgery went well and the slave trader was expected to make a full recovery. After recuperating enough to leave the hospital, he was escorted to a prison cell, where he would await trial. He remained oddly quiet through out the entirety of his incarceration.

A week before his court date, he was once more visited by Yoruichi and he agreed to spill everything on one condition; he got to speak with the colorless halfbreed that had brought about his downfall. Alone.

Everyone in the force; Yoruichi, the commissioner, Ichigo, were all for refusing his offer. They would just have to go about capturing Aizen in more roundabout ways. No one was willing to put Shiro through that, but the colorless lad himself agreed and despite all of the protests he heard from the few people he saw on a regular basis, he allowed himself to be locked in a room, alone, with the man that had caused him so much pain. Ankles and wrists handcuffed, Grimmjow stayed seated in a metal folding chair as he was warned about staying civil. He ignored the guards, his vivid blue eyes focusing only on Shiro as the lad entered.

The doors were closed and the two were left alone. Hardly five minutes later, Shiro knocked on the door holding him in and the guards opened it back up. Clearly nervous and on edge when he'd entered, it was with a determined, almost renewed sense that he left, like putting himself through the short meeting was going to help him put all that had happened behind him.

He never told anyone what Grimmjow said to him, not even Ichigo.

Two days before the trial, Grimmjow followed through with what he'd agreed upon. He told Yoruichi and her department everything they wanted to know. When they placed a recorder on the table that sat between the man and the officials, he simply glanced at it with a stoic gaze and crossed his secured hands on the table. He recited for them, in an even and unemotional way, every business transaction he'd had memorized and how to read the fake ones they'd found in his estate. He gave them the records he kept that pertained to Aizen and the business the two had done on numerous occasions. He told them where Aizen conducted most of his business when out on the streets, who he dealt to and bought from most often. He even gave them the man's home address, phone number and what kind of cars he owned. He told them everything.

The day of the trail, Ichigo wasn't surprised when he climbed from the shower and entered the kitchen to find that Shiro hadn't touched the breakfast the two had made. The pale lad was silent the entire morning, no matter what was said to him, all the way up until he was sworn into the court and seated at witness stand.

Ichigo watched from the plaintiff's table, seated beside the commissioner. He could see the nervousness that bubbled just below the surface as he watched Shiro's odd, golden gaze coast through the room and land on Jaegerjaquez, but he could also see something solid and determined there. The young man wasn't going to back down, he wasn't going to crumble. He wanted an end to all this; to Jaegerjaquez, to his enslavement, to his fear and his panic and anxiety.

Fire simmered in the blue eyes his locked with while Shiro answered question after question and spoke of the atrocities he had gone through. He couldn't look away, like he had to make sure Grimmjow stayed in that chair, made sure the man didn't move, didn't come anywhere near him. At one point, the big man shifted where he sat and Shiro flinched back as he spoke. No one in the courtroom missed it. Nor did they miss the way he struggled through certain explanations and answers.

The defense attorney called forth Shiro's therapist and doctors, trying to build a case against the lead witness's credibility and his mental state. It did them very little good and even Grimmjow knew it was a waste of time. In the end, he was found guilty of the crimes he was charged with. The idea of making him work off his charges wasn't even discussed. To put the man into indentured servitude would be to set him free. A man of Grimmjow's status in the slave trade would have quickly been boughten and either killed out of malice for what he'd done, or he would have bought his freedom with his near limitless funds. Grimmjow was instead sentenced to prison, where he would be locked away, out of reach and unable to harm anyone else.

Yoruichi and her department went about building a case against Aizen, armed with more than enough evidence to obtain their warrant, thanks to Jaegerjaquez. It was debated that Shiro would again play a part in the case, but after confirming what Grimmjow had said while laid up in the hospital, they decided to leave the young man alone and finally allow him to begin putting all that had happened behind him.

Szayel was never found. Nelliel and the other slave that had been discovered in the room near the slave trader's office remained in the hospital, unconscious and in a coma-like state. Their conditions slowly deteriorated and there was nothing that could be done.

Aizen, catching wind of Grimmjow's survival, incarceration and ultimate betrayal, eventually fled the city. Luckily, Yoruichi's devision had high enough clearance to give chase outside the city's districts.

As for Shiro, he still had a long road ahead of him, but he'd also come a long way. Grimmjow and Aizen had friends in both low and high places, so even had he been psychologically ready, being on his own wasn't yet an option. So he stayed with Ichigo, where he was comfortable, where he was safe, and where he could get the care and support he needed to continue healing.

••• The detective's house : present : nearly two months after the trial •••

Outside, the city was dark and quiet as late night settled in. The sky was grey and foreboding and not a hint of the moon shown through the cloud cover. The first snow of the season blanketed the streets and sidewalks, covering the roofs of buildings and cars and it continued to fall in an almost lazy, but steady way that promised to continue well into the morning. Shiro still wasn't much for nights out though, so it didn't really matter that they were stuck indoors.

Ichigo laughed where he sat on the couch. The television played across the room from them, a light hearted comedy movie that was paused every half hour for commercial breaks. The detective's smile only widened all the further as, seated at his side and pressed comfortably close, Shiro managed to crack a smirk as well.

Pale hands were wrapped around a hot mug of steaming tea and one of Ichigo's arms was wrapped comfortably around lean shoulders. Earlier that week, Ichigo had finally decided it was getting cold enough to break out the extra throw blankets he usually kept stored in a closet and a fluffy, oversized, navy colored one was currently pulled over their laps and around their legs. Though being in only an over sized shirt and boxers, the blanket was more for Shiro's warmth than Ichigo's.

Every so often, as the snow continued to fall in complete and peaceful silence, Ichigo would catch the gold of Shiro's irises flashing towards the window. He hadn't understood what was so fascinating to the man at first, but after nearly a half hour of pondering while they watched the movie, it finally occurred to Ichigo that this was the first time Shiro had seen it snow in more than a year. He'd been locked up in a windowless cell last winter, so really, it'd been at least two.

Ichigo smiled to himself and decided that they were making snowmen tomorrow, after they woke up and had breakfast.

By the time the movie was over, the mug Shiro had been holding was resting on the coffee table that sat in front of the couch and he'd pulled his knees up, still hidden under the blanket. He leaned against Ichigo and seemed rather content to stay there, one arm draped loosely over Ichigo's toned stomach. Ichigo took a moment to marvel at how comfortable Shiro had grown in his company and vise-versa. At moments like this, it was hard to tell that anything had happened, that the pale halfbreed still struggled through cruel memories and still shied from unexpected contact.

He had been working hard to get better, to grow. He was healing. And knowing that an end had finally been put to what Jaegerjaquez had been doing seemed to have greatly helped. It took a layer away from his fear, made it so he no longer had to worry about the big man finding him and let him focus his efforts on other things. In many ways, Shiro had won. There was still a lot on his plate, still a lot of things he'd have to get used to and have to learn to live with, but he wasn't quite the fragile, broken thing Ichigo had carried from the estate, not really.

Arm tightening slightly, Ichigo hugged the colorless man even closer and turned to press a kiss to pale hair, just above Shiro's ear. The hand settled against his abdomen first tightened slightly, fingers flexing in the material of the detective's shirt, before Shiro seemed to fidget a bit. Then, in a gesture that Shiro had never before showed in the time they'd known each other, pale fingers loosened and released the fabric of Ichigo's shirt. Hand coasting upward oh so slowly, carefully, Shiro turned toward Ichigo as his fingers settled at Ichigo's collar bone, then raised higher still to trail lightly down the side of his neck.

A little taken off guard, Ichigo simply looked into the inverted eyes that didn't quite match his gaze and let Shiro's digits explore. Black nails, capable of being truly wicked when the need called, were surprisingly soft against Ichigo's cheek. Careful fingertips danced in a nearly shiver worthy trail, following the curve of his jaw, as Shiro seemed to really concentrate on what he was doing. The muscle of the pale lad's jaw flexed, brows furrowing just sightly, but it wasn't a negative expression. Only a hint of being somewhat unsure, it spoke more of determination.

Shiro didn't initiate things often, and Ichigo knew this was the young man pushing his own boundaries, the ones he didn't quite understand but that his mind insisted upon building all the same.

When those careful fingers finally found warm, pink lips in a ghosting of touch, another smile spread across Ichigo's handsome features under them. He turned where he sat, so that they more faced each other, his own hand reaching up to settle gently against the side of ashen features. He wanted to tell the lad that he needn't be so timid, that if he wanted something, anything, he could have it. But he knew that to say such things would be to overlook the progress such a small act indicated. It would be to discard the work and fortitude Shiro had put into even the small things he accomplished.

So Ichigo smiled and held golden orbs with his warm, brown gaze as he rubbed the pad of his thumb along Shiro's cheekbone. After a moment, he leaned in, careful with the speed of his motions, and only paused when his lips were a breaths width away from colorless ones. "Is this ok?" He asked in a whisper, unwilling to put Shiro through anything he wasn't comfortable with.

Shiro nodded a shaky motion, not trusting himself to answer aloud. This is what he'd wanted, what he'd been silently requesting and he wasn't about to change his mind, but it was still a big step. He knew Ichigo had wanted to kiss him, really kiss him, for a while now, but he also knew that Ichigo wasn't going to do it without an obvious invitation and green light. The detective that had become his savior was far too kind for that, far too caring and understanding.

And then the warm lips that had been hovering so near his own pressed against his and Shiro's entire thought pattern was scrubbed clean. It was warm and soft and gentle. It was deep, yet not invasive in the least. There was no teeth, no tongue, not yet, and it was the exact opposite of everything he'd experienced before he'd met Ichigo, before he'd been pulled from his hell. It was perfect, it was exactly what he'd wanted. It was scary and powerful and wonderful and before Shiro realized it, a slight whimper crawled up his throat and his hands were clenched in the more colorful man's shirt.

Ichigo was smiling into the kiss, he could feel it and he loved it. Pale lips parted and Shiro's discolored tongue just barely slicked across Ichigo's bottom lip but it was enough to show that he wanted this, that it wasn't enough and that he was ready for more.

Complying, Ichigo's tongue slipped from between his lips to find Shiro's, then to slip past pale, petal soft lips as the smallest of gasps escaped the lad. Shiro pressed himself closer, almost melting against Ichigo's chest and the detective wrapped thin but strong arms around him, holding him tight but not harshly. Shiro groaned a small sound into the growing heat between them, his tongue sliding against Ichigo.

After a moment, he broke the kiss but he didn't put any space between them as he panted against Ichigo's lips. He practically slid into the detective's lap, chest heaving with his elevated breathing.

"Shiro..?" Ichigo breathed against him, wondering if this was really ok, if the lad was going to regret all this later. It all seemed rather fast, sudden.

It was like the man knew the unspoke question and Shiro shook his head. His hands traveled up, braced against Ichigo's shoulders as his inverted, swirling gaze locked upon the more colorful man's. "N-not here..." He breathed, "...not here..."

Ichigo nodded, understanding, and wrapped his arms tighter around Shiro's waist. But still he hesitated because did the lad really want this or was this some sort of late, inlaid reaction? A learned response? A small growl filtered through Ichigo's teeth at his own thoughts and he pressed his lips back to Shiro's, feeling the heat in the other's touch, in his kiss. Shiro wasn't drugged, hadn't been for months. This was real. This was really Shiro and it was completely different from the mindless, hazy need he'd shown while chained in the estate. This was passionate and heated, still scared, timid and raw but there was trust in Shiro's gaze and genuine want in his actions.

That meant they needed to make it to the bedroom because there was no way in hell Ichigo was going to let this be anything but perfect. Standing, the detective lifted Shiro from the couch and turned towards the hallway, but the lad was about the same size as he was, a littler lighter, perhaps, from his time chained up, but still nearly Ichigo's size. So the detective settled him back on his feet as the blue blanket fell the floor in front of the couch, and grabbed Shiro by the hand as he led him back to the master bedroom.

They made it into the room before Ichigo spun and wrapped his arms back around Shiro's waist. His lips found pale ones again in a kiss that drew a small, watery moan from Shiro's throat. Colorless fingers fisted in Ichigo's shirt as he was lifted. Wrapping his long legs around the detective's lithe waist, Shiro trembled almost as if cold but when Ichigo tried to pull away to check on him, to make sure he was still ok, the lad whimpered and again slicked his tongue along the detective's bottom lip.

Ichigo grunted a small sound and backed up a step, still holding Shiro up. The backs of his knees hit the mattress and they bounced as he stumbled backward to sit on the bed, Shiro in his lap now. They scooted back, further towards the middle of the bed as Shiro's hands found the hem of Ichigo's shirt. When the article was lifted, Ichigo lifted his arms so that it could be removed and their kiss was finally broken.

Ichigo looked up into the lad's eyes, took in the set of Shiro's features and the way his normally ghostly pallor took on the very slightest hint of a flush. But Shiro didn't give him much time to think about it as the man dipped and pressed his features close to Ichigo's neck, breath hot and moist, pale lips soft and feathery where they brushed smooth, sensitive skin. Ichigo stifled a gasp, eyes a little wide with a mix of surprise, unsureness, and maybe a bit of concern. Seated on his bed and only half dressed, he settled his hands along the colorless male's boxer clad hips, fingers edging under Shiro's shirt to feel smooth, touchable skin.

Nearly all of the bruising Shiro had sported from his trauma was faded to invisible, the wounds already healed. Most of his scars were dull now, hard to see, leaving only internal marks upon his mind rather than his body. The lad had come a long way in these past few weeks, but the memories, the learned fear and trauma hadn't been easy to get past. They didn't go out very often, not just because Shiro was still in protective custody, but also because he just couldn't handle crowds of people he didn't know. He still had nightmares and trust issues. And sometimes, if he wasn't expecting it, he still reacted violently to touches from others, even if it wasn't a cruel or inappropriate touch. No one blamed him though, not the doctors, nor the therapist, not even Ichigo. Especially not Ichigo.

"Shiro..." Ichigo breathed, his one hand moving up to cup the back of the mixblood's head, fingers threading gently through long, white hair. "A-are you sure? We don't have to do this. We can wait. I don't want to push you into anything..."

The pale young man was quiet for a moment, finally pausing in his actions long enough to really think about what he was doing. His fingers were a little too tightly clasped over Ichigo's shoulders, black nails starting to bite at tanned skin. But Ichigo didn't rush his answer, nor comment on the sharp pinch. He was patient, like he had been while first getting to know the abused man.

"I want this, Ichigo..." Shiro finally decided, his distorted voice a low whisper against the detective's jawline. His grip loosened again, went back to something easy and unpanicked. He slowly eased his weight further upon Ichigo's lap, long legs still wrapped loosely around the detective's waist where the two sat upon Ichigo's bed facing one another. Pale lips traveled at a slow pace, hot and gentle and almost careful as Shiro kissed and nipped and licked his way toward Ichigo's ear. Darkly stained like that of a full-blooded hollow's, his tongue found the shell of Ichigo's ear and the detective shivered, arms wrapping further around Shiro's waist all over again.

Shiro paused, seemed to hesitate, before he let out a low, quiet chuckle. He didn't pull away as he spoke in Ichigo's ear. "I never done this b'fore..."

It was a bit of an odd thought, considering what the young man had been forced to go through, but Shiro had never before been concerned with pleasuring those he was forced to lay under. He'd never participated in any sort of foreplay, in tender touches and slow, heated gestures. When under the weight of the drugs he'd been given, he'd only been able to concentrate on getting off, on sating the burning need that ached within him, so even the few clients that had attempted more gentle things had eventually given in to his needy actions and sounds and had rushed through this part.

"I promise we don't have to, Shiro..." Ichigo assured again. He wanted it, of course, he'd long fallen for the pale man when he'd been visiting Shiro weekly in his hell. But he would never put Shiro through anything the lad wasn't ready for. He would never push Shiro into being intimate with him. "I don't mind waiting until you're sure. I'll wait as long as you need. If you never decide you're ready, that's ok too... I swear, Shiro, I wont mind. I just want you to be ok..."

A small, choked, whining sound crawled up Shiro's throat and his arms wrapped tight around the back of Ichigo's neck as he moved to press his pale lips against pink ones. Ichigo kissed him back. It was a burning, heated melding of two men, but it was also tender and gentle and slow. It was the reassurance they both needed at that moment.

Thumbs teasing small circles against the points of Shiro's hips, Ichigo was the one to break the kiss again as he looked up into burning golden eyes. He nodded slightly, as much to himself as to Shiro, and began working his hands higher up along Shiro's abdomen until the young man's shirt was pulled up and bunched around Ichigo's hands. The halfblooded male lifted his arms and helped Ichigo tug the shirt free. It was dropped to the floor beside the bed and forgotten.

Ichigo's lips found the hollow of Shiro's throat, his tongue gracing prominent collar bones. Hands threaded through the hair at the back of his head, tugged him upward gently but insistently. Ichigo once again smiled as their lips met in a heated way, like Shiro just couldn't get enough of how he tasted, how he felt.

His motions careful and a strong grip guiding his companion's weight, Ichigo leaned over, resettling their positions so that Shiro lay on his back and Ichigo hovered over him. He pulled from the kiss then, taking note of the slight change in the pale lad's breathing and the small furrow to ashen brows.

"Is this ok, Shiro?" He asked, his voice a whisper. He always asked before doing anything, no matter how innocent it usually was. Their developing relationship was built around trust and Ichigo fully planned on keeping it that way. "We can switch, if you're more comfortable with-uh-with being the one on top."

"No..." Shiro took a deep breath, eyes straying off to the side in a brief moment of hesitation before redirecting back up at Ichigo. "No, this is fine. It's different than...when it's you, it's ok."

"If you change your mind, please tell me." Ichigo whispered as his hand made a slow path down Shiro's stomach, feeling the slight quiver of lightly toned muscle under his fingers. He watched the lad's reactions, looking for any signs of discomfort, any signs that he should stop. When Shiro only shivered under his touch, Ichigo unwound the long, pale legs from his waist and slid backward on the bed, lower along Shiro's body.

Shiro gasped a stifled sound, body arching a bit, when Ichigo's hand found his straining member through his boxers. The more colorful male worked the bulge there for a few moments, teasing in an almost gentle way, but it was more to give Shiro time to decide, time to back out if he wanted to. After those few moments, when Shiro's surprised sounds started to turn into more needy, heated ones, Ichigo tugged his boxers down and off, throwing them to the floor and leaving Shiro lay bare upon the mattress. Not so surprisingly, Shiro didn't seem all that shy about his sudden nakedness: he'd rarely been clothed when Ichigo came to visit him in the estate, seeing as he was supposed to be allowing the orange haired male to use him. So they both had become comfortable with his state of undress, used to it and unbothered by it.

Ichigo quickly tugged his own pants off, before kneeling between Shiro's legs again. Depthless, brown eyes aimed upward to watch the young man's reactions, Ichigo wrapped warm fingers around Shiro's erection. He stroked in a few slow motions as Shiro gasped, hips jerking slightly under a touch he hadn't really felt before. Sure, clients had done much the same before, but never so gently, so kindly like they really cared to pleasure him. And even had they, it would have never matched the way such an intimate touch felt when he actually wanted it to happen.

After a few exploratory strokes to let Shiro adjust, Ichigo lowered to swipe his tongue in a slow, hot trail up the underside to the head. When his head lowered, wet mouth slowly taking Shiro's member in, a shuddering gasp stuttered from Shiro's lungs and his pale hands fisted in the sheets at his sides. As Ichigo continued, working back up, then down again, Shiro bit back a moan, arching away from the bed. Ichigo's hands trailed down his sides, across his hips until warm fingers danced in gentle, exploring touches along his inner thighs. But as they headed north again, edging closer to Shiro's entrance, the pale lad whimpered a slightly distressed sound and all the muscle in his body went rigid, his hands shooting to Ichigo's shoulders as he leaned up slightly.

Ichigo glanced back up, pale length still in his mouth, to see the traumatized man fighting back panic. Pale, bare shoulders rose with Shiro's deep, heaving breaths. Inverted eyes were wide, lit with conflicting fear and want. Ichigo pulled back just slightly, his hands frozen in place. "Too much?" He asked quietly, "You just have to tell me to stop, Shiro, and I will..."

Shiro hesitated, took a deep breath as he looked down his naked form at the detective. He closed his eyes and took another deep, shuddering breath, before his harsh grip loosened and he reopened his eyes. Ichigo was patient with him, letting him take his time in deciding. Shiro was more than grateful for it, and after a minute of steadying his breathing and convincing himself that nothing bad would happen, that Ichigo wasn't like the others that had ever touched him, he shook his head in a small motion.

Ichigo gave him a small, knowing smile and nodded slightly. He went back to what he'd been doing; working his tongue and mouth over Shiro's straining member, letting the lad loose himself in a pleasure he'd never before had the chance to really enjoy.

Within a few minutes, Shiro dropped his head back, one hand clamped over his mouth and bared teeth, eyes squeezed shut as his back arched away from the bed. His other hand fisted so tightly in the sheets his black nails were slicing through cloth and Ichigo smirked around the lad's cock as he worked, not that Shiro saw it. When warm fingers found his tightly clenched knuckles, Shiro eased his grip a bit and released the sheets in favor of clutching at Ichigo's fingers instead.

He writhed under the pleasurable assault like he never had before, mind and body buzzing in the best of ways. When the fingers of Ichigo's other hand brushed between the seam of his entrance, his eyes flew wide and he gasped, but it was different. It wasn't harsh and cruel, it wasn't...wrong and dirty or forceful. He squirmed as a single finger breached him and the smoothness with which it glided told him somewhere along the line, Ichigo had grabbed a bottle and lubed up his fingers. The lean muscle of his abdomen went rigid, but he didn't want Ichigo to stop.

A second finger was added after a few shallow thrusts as Ichigo continued to bob his head up and down. He diligently watched for any negative signs and reactions as he crooked his fingers slightly, rubbing against Shiro's inner walls in search. When he found what he was looking for, he nearly choked as Shiro's hips jolted in a harsh thrust.

"Ah! I-Ichi-go..!" Shiro's lilting cry accompanied the jerk of his body. His cock throbbed from the duel stimulation. His hand tightened again, clutching almost desperately at Ichigo's while his other found the sheets again. He keened desperate, pleasured noises, head thrown back in blissed out euphoria.

He tried to warn the detective of his impeding release, but it came out as nothing but a moan as Ichigo continued his assault. The orange haired man didn't let up as he worked his mouth and tongue over Shiro's cock and throughly abused the lad's prostate. His warning came in the form of jolting hips and throbbing pressure against his tongue. He pulled back, replaced his mouth with his other hand and continued to stroke Shiro's length in smooth, slick motions. His thumb teased at the head of Shiro's pale cock, the long fingers he still had sank within the other's entrance pushing against that sensitive bundle of nerves.

A moment later, Shiro lilted a distorted cry and arched away from the bed. The cry turned breathless as Ichigo harshly pressed his fingers further, grinding them against his prostate. White seed slashed across Shiro's colorless stomach and spilled over to run down Ichigo's stroking fingers. He instinctively thrust into the detective's hand, milking his own release as his teeth clamped down on his bottom lip and he moaned.

When Shiro finally fell still, collapsing flat against the bed again and panting, Ichigo let go and pulled his fingers free of Shiro's entrance. He leaned forward, smirking a bit at the unfocused, dark look in golden eyes, and sealed his lips over Shiro's in a fevered, heated kiss.

Shiro kissed back and wrapped his pale legs back around Ichigo's waist, using them to tug Ichigo's center closer to his prepared entrance. He moaned a small, wordless sound, a silent consent to what he knew was supposed to come next.

Ichigo pulled from the kiss and looked down into heated orbs with a telling look. Shiro nodded, his hands reaching up to trace the defined ridges of Ichigo's belly and chest. Knowing the nod was a yes, the detective gently grabbed pale hips, lifting them slightly as he slowly sank his hard, aching member into Shiro's body.

The added stretch and the steel hard shaft that filled him pulled a low, drawn out moan from Shiro's throat as he grabbed for Ichigo. He pulled himself up slightly, clinging at the more colorful male, arms wrapped tight around the back of Ichigo's neck as Ichigo pulled back and slowly ground his way back in.

With his next thrust, Ichigo leaned them both back again, so that Shiro lay flat against the bed again, but he stayed close, leaning over the mixblooded male. He let Shiro cling to him and soothed pale hair out the lad's face as he thrust, his own face buried in Shiro's bared throat. His breaths puffed out in hot pants as he pistoned into Shiro, the head of his member reaching deep and once more finding Shiro's prostate. Shiro seemed to clamp down around him, the lean muscle of his body and legs doing much the same.

Ichigo moaned into the side of Shiro's neck. He winced slightly as pale fingers fisted in his orange hair, but he didn't ask Shiro to let up, letting the abused man loose himself in pleasure, showing Shiro that it didn't have to be painful or cruel, that sex could still be enjoyable, could still be about everything positive. That it could still be for love.

"I-Ichigoo-" Shiro groaned in a voice so quiet Ichigo almost missed it. He pulled back just enough to look down at pale features and frowned slightly at the expression that twisted said features. It wasn't quiet pained or lost, but it edged on desperate, on frightened. A single tear streaked down the side of Shiro's cheek and Ichigo's motions faltered, his brows arching, but he was quickly reassured that all was well as Shiro continued in a low, breathy whisper. "Thank you..."

It was a showing of gratitude for everything Ichigo had done for him; for finding him, for respecting his boundaries, for being so careful and so understanding. It was for fighting for him, for risking his life to rescue him and not thinking him used and dirty and unworthy. Gratitude for saving him. And now for helping him heal, helping him battle his demons and learn to live with what had happened to him.

"Hnng-Shiro..." Ichigo sealed his lips against Shiro's in a deep, passionate kiss as he thrust one more time and buried himself deep as he found his own release. Shiro gasped into the kiss before relaxing into it and letting his darkly colored tongue snake against Ichigo's.

When the need for oxygen forced them apart, Ichigo rested his forehead against Shiro's and searched the eyes looking back up at him. He smiled, trying to control his panting. They lay like that for a few moments, nothing but quiet, comfortable silence drifting around them. There was nothing for Shiro to thank him for, but Ichigo didn't say that. He didn't want to and wouldn't dismiss the lad's feelings, knowing they were important, because if Shiro was thanking him for coming to his aid, for saving him, than that meant Shiro was beginning feel like there was hope for himself again. He was no longer ready to give up, but wanted to fight and live on again, he wanted to heal, wanted to be ok.

Shiro had been the one creature Grimmjow hadn't been able to destroy, and he was finally beginning to think that maybe he really was still strong enough to get back the him that had been taken. And when he needed help, when he couldn't support his own weight any longer, he had Ichigo.

"Thank you, Ichigo..."


Thank you for reading! I'd love to hear your thoughts and opinions. :)