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Chapter 20

Chapter 20:

*Two Months Later*

Ichigo woke with a start when his alarm rang and groaned, managing to hit it correctly to make the noise stop. Burying his head under the pillow, Ichigo sighed heavily.

"Fucking great..."

Today was Grimmjow's birthday, something Ichigo had been dreading a long time now. It meant there was a chance he would come back any day now. Not that Ichigo was expecting him to, but if he did, Ichigo didn't know what he'd say, how to react to seeing him again.

Part of him wanted to forget all the shit that had happened and just be with Grimmjow again. But another part of him wanted to forget everything and move on with his life. Another part of him wanted Grimmjow to come back just so he could beat the shit out of him. Right then, Ichigo wasn't sure which side was winning.

Ichigo did regret how he left things though. He knew he'd overreacted to the girlfriend situation, that he should've heard Grimmjow out. But obviously he'd had more to drink than he thought and his judgement wasn't in the right place. Now their relationship was in pieces and Ichigo didn't know what to do to fix it, or even if he wanted to.

"Ichigoo!"

The teen groaned as his door slammed open, rolling off his bed in time, making his father smack into the wall. He glared at the man from the floor before picking himself up.

"What was that for?! Couldn't you see I was sleeping?!"

"Good reflexes son." Isshin mumbled, collapsing on the bed.

Ichigo snorted and grabbed a shirt to pull on before going downstairs. "Idiot." He muttered to himself, grabbing some toast from the side as he sat down and sighed heavily.

"What's up with you?" Karin asked, joining him a few moments later when she saw his drawn expression.

"Mmm? Oh, nothing." Ichigo shrugged and looked down at his hands. "Just thinking I guess."

"Grimmjow?" He jerked, looking at her in surprise and she snorted. "Please, it's obvious. You always look like that when it concerns him. What's happened now?"

Ichigo smiled wryly and sighed, Karin was too observant for her own good. "It's his birthday."

"So?" Karin shrugged, leaning back in her chair before continuing. "I thought you two were over so why should you care. Besides, he's in another country so you shouldn't be acting all depressed."

"I know, I know." Ichigo sighed and stood up, giving her a small smile. "I've gotta get ready for school, see you later."

"Bye." She watched him go upstairs before sighing and shaking her head. "Idiot."

When he got back to his room, Ichigo was thankful his father had disappeared and rubbed the back of his neck. He frowned when catching sight of his phone and hesitated. He snorted and turned his back on the object to get changed. Grabbing his bag, Ichigo eyed the phone warily before sighing and picking it up. He looked down at it for a moment, debating his options before shaking his head.

"Can't believe I'm doing this."

He muttered the words as he unlocked the phone and before he could think about the consequences of his actions, he sent Grimmjow a text.

Happy birthday Grimm. Call me when you get this if you want to talk - Ichigo

Pressing the send button, Ichigo quickly shoved his phone in his pocket and sighed shakily. "Too late to chicken out now Ichigo."

Shaking his head, Ichigo glanced at his watch and cursed, he should've left ten minutes ago. He left quickly, running down to school and just making it as the bell rang when he entered the classroom. He sighed in relief and collapsed in his seat, ignoring Renji's sniggering in favour of pulling his textbook out.

Ichigo glanced at his phone for the umpteenth time, sighing in frustration when he saw Grimmjow still hadn't replied. Cursing in his head, Ichigo scowled and put his phone away, trying to focus on the lesson and failed miserably.

When the day finally ended, Ichigo was beyond pissed at Grimmjow for not responding. He'd been sure the man had something to say to him, hell he'd said he wanted to explain. So why the hell when given the chance wouldn't he?

Ichigo left school as the bell rang, not even bothering to say goodbye to his friends who watched on warily, knowing he was in a bad mood. When he got home, Ichigo threw his bag in his room before yet again looking at his phone, growling in annoyance and throwing it on the bed when he saw he had no messages.

"Fine, that's how you want to play?" He growled at the object. "I don't give a damn. You don't want to talk to me? Good because I don't want to talk to you!" He huffed and left his room, slamming the door behind him before stomping downstairs.

Yuzu came out of her room slowly once he'd left and went over to Ichigo's, opening the door to see no-one was there and frowned. "Who was Ichi-nii talking to?"

...

*Three Weeks Later*

"Good morning Ichigoo!" Isshin boomed, throwing himself onto the sleeping teen who yelped in surprise and struggled fruitlessly. "Do you know what day it is?!"

"My death day?" He asked sarcastically, shoving his father off and sighing heavily.

"Close! Your birthday! My beautiful son is finally eighteen, a man!"

Ichigo's eye twitched when Isshin called him beautiful before he scoffed and kicked him in the chest when he dove in for a hug. "Congratulations. Now can you leave me be to sleep some more?"

"But Yuzu's already made breakfast, she's waiting for you downstairs."

Isshin grabbed Ichigo's arms, dragging him downstairs before he could protest. Ichigo was insanely thankful he'd slept fully clothed that night since his father hadn't given him much chance to change. Ichigo pulled his arm free and sat down slowly, smiling at Yuzu when she came in with breakfast and grinned at him.

"Happy birthday Ichi-nii!"

"Thanks Yuzu, breakfast looks great." He grabbed a fork to start eating, not realising how hungry he was until seeing the food.

Karin came in the room, holding a bunch of letters in her hands. "Here you go, birthday cards."

"Fanks."

She wrinkled her nose and snorted. "Animal, finish your mouthful first."

Ichigo rolled his eyes and swallowed before replying. "Sorry mother, is this better?"

"Definitely. By the way your presents are in the sitting room so hurry your as sup so we can get this over with."

One of their family traditions, kept on by Isshin, was that on any of their birthdays, they would sit in the living room together as the birthday person opened their gifts. Ichigo found it a waste of time, as did Karin but Yuzu shared their fathers passion and neither of them cared to take away the excitement they got from it.

"Ok, let me finish and I'll be there in a sec."

"Sure."

She left and Ichigo quickly finished his breakfast before joining his family to open his presents and cards. He thanked them for the gifts and Karin muttered finally and got up to leave the room, Yuzu soon following. Isshin gave Ichigo the pile of letters from the post and ruffled his hair before leaving him to open them.

Ichigo sighed heavily and opened them, most of them from distant family, a few from his friends. He paused when he got to the last one and frowned and the unfamiliar handwriting before opening it, his eyes widening in surprise when he saw it was from Nel.

Happy birthday Ichigo!

Hope you have a good time and are ok. Don't give up on Grimmjow just yet, I know he's not come back yet. Give him a chance, please, he'll be back soon. I promise.

- Nel

Ichigo sighed and closed the card, looking down at it with a frown before snorted. Why should he care if Grimmjow came back or not. As far as he was concerned, Grimmjow didn't have anything to say to him and he didn't have anything to say to Grimmjow. So if he came back, nice for him but Ichigo didn't give a damn.

He frowned when his phone rang and pulled it out, rolling his eyes when he saw it was Renji. "Yeah?"

"Hey, don't forget you're coming over to Rukia's later. Byakuya's gone for the weekend so we're setting up your party now."

Ichigo groaned and mentally smacked himself, he'd completely forgotten about the party. "Yeah, I'll be there soon."

"Great, see you then. Oh and happy birthday!"

Ichigo snorted and ended the call before standing up to stretch. Scratching his head, he sighed in defeat before going upstairs to shower and get ready to leave. An hour later and he was walking over to Rukia's and he stopped outside the door. Inside he could hear the music playing and he shook his head before opening the door and going in.

Making his way through the house, he found Renji messing with the sound system and nudged him with his foot, making the red head yell and jump up, whacking head head in the process. Rubbing the bruised spot, Renji scowled and turned to look at him, grinned when he saw it was Ichigo.

"Hey!" He yelled over the music. "How are you?"

Ichigo rolled his eyes, pulling the plug on the speakers so they could talk without screaming at each other. "Good thanks. I see you've got the music set up."

"Yup. This baby's ready to roll." Renji patted the speakers fondly before looking at Ichigo again. "Rukia's gone to get the food and I've just about finished setting up."

"Great, when's the party starting?"

"Few hours yet. I invited the year over so it's gunna be awesome!" Renji grinned widely, rolling his eyes when Ichigo scoffed.

"Renji, you do realise we won't know half these people and they'll probably bring people too. This could be very bad, very quickly."

"Nah, they would dare. It's the Kuchiki Manor. Byakuya would kill them if they dared even put a scratch anywhere in the place. So it's cool." Renji shrugged and slung an arm around Ichigo's shoulders. "Come on, help me buy the drinks."

Ichigo sighed in defeat and let Renji drag him to the shops to help him carry the drinks back. He dumped them in the kitchen and groaned, stretching his cramped muscles. He turned to see Renji run over to Rukia and they started talking and sighed when they kissed quickly. He turned back to the table and rested his head in his hands as it hit him, he was alone again.

After being with Grimmjow, being so close to someone and sharing his life with them, being alone was hard. He didn't even realise it until now how much he missed being in a relationship, being with Grimmjow. He snorted at the thought and stood up straight again, shaking his head.

"I don't miss him."

...

Ichigo curled up on the sofa and sighed heavily, closing his eyes whilst attempting to drown out the loud music revibrating around his skull, giving him a major headache. The party had been in full swing for over an hour now and just as he predicted, he knew hardly anyone there.

"Hey, you look like you need a drink."

His eyes snapped open and he turned to look at the person sat next to him holding out a beer, obviously addressing him. "Uh hi?"

The man chuckled as Ichigo slowly took the drink. "Name's Shiro, what's yours?"

"Ichigo." He looked at the drink suspiciously and the man called Shiro laughed.

"Don't worry, I haven't done anything to it." He paused and lent closer. "So you're the birthday boy huh?"

Ichigo chuckled and shrugged. "Yeah, that's me. So how do you know that? You're definitely not from our school. You're too old."

"Well that's rude, I'm only twenty-one." Shiro grinned, reaching out to touch Ichigo's cheek. "I'm not that old."

Ichigo stiffened at the gesture before slowly sighing and relaxing, reaching up to hold the hand to his cheek and close his eyes. "Mmm. That's only three years I suppose..." Ichigo blushed when he realised what he was doing and pulled away, clearing his throat. "Uh... sorry."

"No, I don't mind." Shiro chuckled and stood up, holding out his hand. "You're cute, so you coming or not."

Ichigo hesitated before nodding and grasping his hand, letting Shiro lead him from the room. Renji, who was watching the exchange, nudged Rukia's arm. "Hey, Ichigo just went off with some guy."

Rukia turned to look at him, her eyebrows rising in surprise. "Seriously?"

"Yeah."

She sighed and shook her head, pulling out her phone. "Great, why does he have to complicate things?"

"Who you calling?"

"Who do you think?"

...

Ichigo's back hit the wall and he groaned as Shiro kissed down his neck. "Damn."

"Heh, you like that?"

"Yeah." Ichigo shivered when his hand slipped under his shirt. He hadn't realised how much he'd missed this until now. He closed his eyes and groaned, sliding his fingers into soft blue hair. Wait... blue? Ichigo stiffened and his eyes opened in surprise, making Shiro back away.

"What's wrong?"

"I-" Ichigo shook his head and stepped away from him, shaking his head. "I can't, I'm sorry... I just... I gotta go." He left quickly, running a shaky hand through his hair as he made his way down the stairs. He paused at the bottom and sat down, holding his head in his hands. "Shit..."

"Ichigo?"

His head snapped up and his eyes widened in surprise as his body stiffened. "G-grimmjow?"


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