Four months in and Ichigo thought he was doing pretty well. So far he hadn't had a mental breakdown and was managing to get through his school work at a pretty decent level. Unfortunately for him, exam season was drawing closer and with each day, his work load got higher and higher.
At the end of yet another busy day and several pieces of homework later, Ichigo sighed in relief when the final bell rang. Shoving everything into his bag, he paused and glanced up to see Renji grinning at him.
"What?" He asked warily, not at all comforted by Renji's expression.
"No staying up late tonight revising my friend!" Renji slung an arm over Ichigo's shoulders, pulling him from the room. "We are having a party to celebrate the fact we are still alive."
Renji snorted, casting him a sly glance. "You need to unwind, seriously. Ever since Grimmjow left you've been so depressed it's like a cold draught every time you walk in the room." He sighed when Ichigo stiffened at the mention of his name. "See? You need cheering up, desperately."
Ichigo sighed heavily, shrugging his arm off. "I don't care, I'm fine."
"And I don't believe you." Renji pulled him back when he went to walk away. "So you're coming, whether you want to or not."
"Oh yeah? How are you going to make me. I'm stronger than you."
"Yeah, but I'm not alone."
Ichigo gulped at the smug look, pulling his arm free "I'm not going." He jumped when his arms where grabbed, turning to see Rukia and Tatsuki on either side of him, grinning. "No way in hell!"
"Aww Ichigo, relax for a bit. Even you will have a meltdown if you don't take a break soon." Rukia chided him.
"She's right you know." Tatsuki continued as they steered him outside, Renji following behind with a grin. "Come get drunk with us, you'll feel better after letting it out."
"Somehow I don't think a killer hangover will make me feel better." Ichigo dragged his feet, pulling them to a stop and glared at them both. "I'm not coming."
"You don't have a choice." Renji put in, shoving on his back and making him tumble forward before he being dragged again. Renji grinning and waved as Ichigo glared at him. "See you in a bit!"
"Renji you bastard, you're gunna pay for this!"
So three hours later Ichigo could be found sat on Renji's sofa with a beer in one hand and his phone in the other, looking severely pissed off. If looks could kill, Renji sure as hell wouldn't be making his way over to the fuming teen and sitting next to him with a grin.
"How's it going?"
"It aint. I fucking hate you, this is shit." Ichigo shoved his phone back in his pocket and finished the beer, throwing the can at Renji's head. "I can't believe you actually got me here."
"Like I said, lighten up a bit. You'll kill yourself if you keep going the way you are." Renji rubbed his head and sighed, leaning closer so Ichigo could hear him over the loud music. "I know you're missing him but c'mon, it's only for another two months."
Ichigo snorted, grabbing another beer from the table. "You say that, but there's no guarantees he will come back."
"You seriously believe that?" He snorted when Ichigo shrugged, diving onto him to grab his phone. "Would he bother talking to you nearly every waking second then?"
"Hey, give it back!"
Renji jumped up, eyeing the phone when it buzzed to see Grimmjow's name flash across the screen. "Even now you're still texting him and you seriously believe he won't come back?"
Ichigo stood up and glared at him. "Give me the phone Renji."
"And if I don't?"
Renji shrugged before dialling his number and tossing the phone back. "Talk to him. Not once have I seen you actually speak to him dumbass. You want the truth, ask him and get over this depression. This aint you and I don't like it, I miss my friend."
"Renji..." Ichigo watched him go before looking down at his phone, his eyes widening in surprise when he saw Renji had called Grimmjow. "Fucking idiot, there's a reason I don't talk to him."
Ending the call before Grimmjow answered, Ichigo sank back into the sofa and groaned. Eyeing his beer, Ichigo turned his phone off and grabbed it to finish it off and closed his eyes, leaning back.
I can't just call him. Even hearing his voice will make this worse, I can barely stand it now, let alone if we talk. It'll drive me crazy. It's like having an invisible barrier between us. I can see him and I could hear him, but I can't touch him. That would be too much, I know it.
"Not tonight what?" He jumped, opening his eyes to see Tatsuki and sighed. "Gunna answer the question?"
"Not now, leave me alone."
She sighed, grabbing them both a drink and tossed Ichigo one. "Grimmjow huh?" She nodded when Ichigo flinched and shook her head. "Told you, you would've been better of with Orihime."
"Yeah well, I'm gay so it wouldn't work."
"Would if you were straight." She grinned when Ichigo scowled at her. "Don't worry about it. Besides, she's busy getting it on with that Ulquiorra in the kitchen."
Ichigo spat out his mouthful, looking at her in surprise. "What?"
"Didn't you know? They've been dating for a while now. Guess she was feeling brave, things were getting heated so I thought I'd join your sorry ass." She lent forward, touching his arm gently. "What's up?"
Ichigo snorted and lent back, choosing not to reply and they sat in silence for a while. "Did I tell you he asked me to marry him?" He asked eventually, making Tatsuki look at him in surprise.
"No, jeeze Ichigo, way to keep a secret."
Ichigo shook his head and put the drink down, pulling out his phone again. "Yeah, he did, just before he left. Promised he'd get me a ring and everything when he came back." He continued when she didn't answer. "I said yes." He groaned, leaning forward to rub his face. "Thing is I don't know if he'll come back."
"What makes you think that?"
"I don't know, just a bad feeling." She snorted, punching his arm roughly. "What was that for?!" He asked, turning to look at her and rub the spot.
"Ichigo I swear to god you better call him or I'll beat the shit outta you! Get this into your head, he's coming back." She stood up, flashing him a glare. "You better talk to him or you will lose him and you'll have no-one to blame but yourself."
Ichigo watched her go and sighed, looking down at his phone again. "Fucking hell, I can't believe I'm doing this." He grumbled, getting up to go outside where it was quieter. Leaning against the wall, he let the cool air clear his head before calling Grimmjow before he could regret it.
He frowned when a woman answered. "Uh, hi. Who's this?"
"Shouldn't I ask you that? After all you called."
"I'm Ichigo, where's Grimmjow? And who are you?"
She sighed and Ichigo could tell she was getting impatient with the questions. "I'm his girlfriend ok?" She said, her voice becoming harsher instantly.
Ichigo stiffened, his mind going blank. "H-his what?"
"You heard, so what do you want?"
Ichigo couldn't find anything to say, sliding down the wall, he clutched the phone to his ear. "Put him on."
"Give the phone to Grimmjow!"
"Alright, no need to shout. I didn't do anything."
Ichigo heard her walk away and sighed heavily, closing his eyes. Girlfriend? He's dating someone, a woman? Why didn't he tell me? Why bother talking to me at all? He won't come back, I know it. I knew something was wrong, I knew he wouldn't come back.
Ichigo stiffened when Grimmjow answered, dropping his phone in shock. He scrambled to pick it up, pressing it to his ear again. "Grimmjow?" He whispered, gripping the phone tightly to stop his hand shaking.
"Ichigo?" He was surprised, Ichigo guessed the woman, Tier, didn't tell him who it was. "Ichigo is that really you?"
"Seriously?" Grimmjow laughed, making Ichigo flinch as his heart jolted slightly. "Man it's really good to hear your voice. Why haven't you called before? I know you didn't want me to so I was hoping you would. What's up?"
Ichigo scowled, letting anger flood his sytem to numb the pain. "What's up?" He asked harshly. "Why don't you tell me? Since you have a damn girlfriend!"
The line went quiet for a moment, Ichigo imagining Grimmjow was trying to think of an excuse, not that he was going to listen. "What?" He finally responded, making him growl in anger.
"Why the hell didn't you tell me?! Don't you think I had a right to know, or do I mean that little to you?!" Ichigo snorted, starting again before Grimmjow could respond. "You're a fucking bastard Grimmjow Jaeggerjaques and I wish I never met you. Don't you dare come back here. I don't ever want to see your face again!"
"You don't mean that." He paused, sighing heavily. "Ichigo I don't know what you're going on about, or what you think's going on, but I don't-"
"So you're going to lie to me?" Ichigo cut him off, standing up and balling his hand. "Do you really think I'm stupid enough to believe whatever you say?"
"I love you."
Ichigo laughed bitterly, shaking his head even though Grimmjow couldn't see him. "Liar." He ended the call, almost throwing his phone but thought better of it and jammed it into his pocket. Pushing his way back inside, Ichigo made his way to the door, he had no intentions of staying now.
"Hey Ichigo, where are you going?!" Renji grabbed his arm, ducking when Ichigo threw a punch at him and backed up, looking at him in surprise. "Ichigo?" He asked when he saw how upset his friend was. "What happened?"
"Oh you really wanna know?" Ichigo stepped towards him, pointing his finger at him threateningly. "You made me believe that bastard would come back. Turns out he's got himself a girlfriend and never bothered telling me. He strung me along and for what? A bit of fun?!" Ichigo opened the door and paused before turning to look at Renji again. "I'm done with him and I swear to god, don't ever mention his name in front of me, ever."
"Gotcha." Renji nodded, to afraid to do anything else as the look in Ichigo's eyes told him he was on the verge of madness right now, the alcohol in his system fuelling his anger into an almost uncontrollable rage."See you next week."
Ichigo scowled before slamming the door shut and walking down the street, shoving his hands in his pockets to keep them warm. He walked for a while, letting the alcohol burning through his system fade, taking his anger with it. He sighed and sat down on the kerb, not caring what anyone thought if they saw.
He frowned when his phone beeped and pulled it out to see he had several messages and missed calls from Grimmjow and snorted, deleting them without reading them. Whatever he had to say, Ichigo wasn't interested. He pulled his knees up to rest his head on them, the last ebbs of anger fading, leaving behind nothing but the cold and wet and his hurt, the impact of what Grimmjow did crushing his heart. Clutching his legs tightly, Ichigo sighed heavily and closed his eyes.
"You promised me you would come back, you told me you loved me." He whispered the words to himself, rubbing at his face when tears spilled onto his cheeks. "So why did you do this? Why did you break my heart?"