A/N: I'm back yet again with the final chapter. I swear I'd have had it up a lot earlier but my stupid internet fucked up on me. -_- Anyway, an extra-looooong chapter to finish it all up and tie up all the loose ends waving about in the wind. *woot woot* :D Thanks to Glowing Blue, (as usual for the really long, thorough and extremely enjoyable review :D I probably wouldn't be so inspired to finish this story if you hadn't been there egging me on. ) Yuki Rae (thank you once again for the review, the alert, and the favourite. I'm glad you liked it :D) and NearHitsugaya0218, kagome250, SuperNova41 and Zykira678 for the favourite and alerts. :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, (or the hunger games :P) all I own is my OC and the plot. So there. :P
Onto the story! ^_^

Relief:

Wednesday and Thursday had passed without event: Grimmjow had skived off school; Karin had done her level best to avoid the 'couple'; Kara, the evil bitch, and Toushiro, her easily manipulated best friend kept their charades up flawlessly; Ulquiorra tried talking to Nel two days in a row. The first day he was unable to muster up courage to walk up to her table and when perchance their eyes met, he gave her a cold stare and turned away. The second, he had walked up to her in the hallway opened his mouth to say something and had then instead called out to Kara who had conveniently been passing behind her.

Friday; Lunch:

"Neliel!" Everybody stared as the usually withdrawn German called out to the friendly greenette, who turned, surprise evident in her eyes.

"Ulquiorra, hi!" She smiled. "Did you want something?"

"I was wondering if..." he started calmly, coolly.

"Yeah?" Nel asked, faint hope glimmering in her eyes.

"...If you had the trig assignment for today." Ulquiorra continued after a small pause, mentally irked at himself for not being able to state his purpose to a woman.

"Oh." she couldn't help but be disappointed, Grimmjow's unexpected visit had seemed to be a prequel to something. "Uh, yeah.. It was the first few problems of the exercise.."

Ulquiorra nodded. "Thankyou." he said, turning away.

Nel sighed heavily. That's what she got for getting her hopes up. She attempted making herself feel less disconcerted and shook her head. She continued her walk to the cafeteria. The hallway was already empty so she hadn't expected anything to tap her shoulder which was exactly what happened; so, she reacted as any sane person would; she jumped a mile and turned swearing. Of all the things that may have approached her, she had not expected to see Ulquiorra there, looking ever so slightly awkward and embarrassed behind his poker face. Looking directly at a point to the left of her face, he said faintly "No, that wasn't it."

"Then?" She prompted, her smile growing back.

"What i wanted to ask you was if you'd want to go out with me this Saturday." His words were clear, concise and unrushed.

She looked a little taken aback. "Really?"

"I see. You don't want to. Its all right. I understand." He nodded, beginning to turn away.

She laughed quietly and he stiffened assuming her to be laughing at him. "Ulquiorra-aa, you dont have to be that formal and polite with mee."

He gave her as confused a look as his empty expression would allow. The corners of her mouth curved up as she continued. "And where do you think you're going?"

"You turned me down, so i was going to leave." He said blankly.

Another giggle escaped her. "But i haven't even said anything yet."

He just looked at her, clearly asking her to explain her motives. She stepped forward, slowly and deliberately, into his personal bubble and then jumped-hugged him. He staggered back at the unexpected weight, eyes wide. Aha! The first crack at the mask. She grinned to herself, he looked embarrassed. He turned his face away, to the side. Was he feeling shy? "Does the Ulquiorra Schiffer get shy?"

He turned back to the girl, startled. Oops, Nel thought to herself. She hadn't meant to say that out loud. "So what are our plans for Saturday?" She grinned coquettishly.

He looked surprised. "I didn't think that far.. I wasn't expecting acceptance."

"Well you can start thinking." She kissed him softly, more of an exploring touch and was rewarded by a sudden flare of red at his cheeks which died out immediately as he averted his eyes.

"I might not be able to live up to your expectations." He said stepping back.

"What?" Nel was confused.

"I'm not the person you need. I might never be able to treat you as well as you deserve."

Nel merely tilted her head at him as he continued. "I can't express myself very well and i push people away. I don't say things that need to be said."

Nel smiled, a much gentler one than was usual from her. "That's alright. I'll always be there to say it all for you. I'll be here so long that I'll even decipher all your silences. You won't be able to get rid of me, even if you want to." She raised her chin proudly, beaming.

Ulquiorra said nothing, only looking at her. His intense emerald stare was unnerving. Without warning he pulled her towards him and held her tightly. "You make me foolish."


Friday; Halfway through History:

Grimmjow yawned widely, pointed teeth very visible. He couldn't believe his mother had shoved him out of the door. What was that woman's problem? It wasn't like he was bothering her, all he did was stay shut up in his room, mostly asleep. He growled in annoyance. Now if he didn't get to school that mad woman would give him hell to pay. She was too damn nosy to not check up on him after forcing him out. He stretched on the doorstep, turning slightly to glance at the front door in hope that she'd have opened it to welcome him back in. No fucking luck. He ran a hand through his already messy cerulean hair and rubbed at his eyes. Damn, he really was awake.

Groaning, he set out towards the school building. Just fucking great. Now he'd have to put up with seeing her with that fucking midget. If only he had joined the soccer team instead of basketball, he mused.. he could have accidentally bumped into him hard enough for him to break a bone or two.. maybe crack a few ribs.. He wondered if his mother knew that pushing him out the door today had just increased his chances to get thrown in juvie. He scoffed; if something happened, which was very probable if the puny bastard as much as moved in front of him, she'd have no right to blame him. But she would anyway..

"Cheh." He kept walking. That miniscule pest was even cheating on her. He really should rip him limb from limb, one muscle at a time. The notion was oddly calming. He pulled at the backpack slung over his left shoulder as he registered the school gates. He walked towards the back of the building, leaping neatly over the low wall, swerved to avoid Yamamoto's office and shot up the stairs before any teacher could catch him slinking around. He stopped in front of the History classroom and then shamelessly poked his head in. "Permission to come in?" he drawled respectlessly.

"Ah Jaegerjaquez. So nice of you to bless us with your godly presence. Pray, do come in. Don't deprive us any longer." Yorouichi Shihoin gave him an eerily dangerous smile.

"Wouldn't dream of it." He said, remaining unaffected by the heavy sarcasm, as he stepped inside. The cat-like woman threw the duster at him which whacked him solidly on the head. He turned his head just a little, enough for her to see him smirk. He enjoyed irritating the young-looking woman. He kept walking, dropping into the vacant seat beside Ulquiorra and deposited his backpack under his desk carelessly. The pale boy raised an eyebrow at him clearly questioning his absence. Grimmjow looked pointedly between him to Nel on his other side and blatantly ignored the inquiry.

"Trash." Ulquiorra mouthed, not showing any reaction to Grimmjow's obvious intention. Normally, Grimmjow would have tried something to annoy Ulquiorra into showing some sort of reaction unusual to him, this time however, he boredly turned his face away and his eyes inadvertently sought out Kara. He despised how torn up he was about her having a boyfriend(that fucking dwarf). It wasn't really that surprising given how pretty she was. What he really hated was how easily she had turned away from him, and from their friendship. It was as if she had never known him. He missed her, craved her company. She couldn't care less. It had been half a year and he remembered each one of their encounters. Why had she started pushing him away? He was pretty fucking sure he loved her. He couldn't even get her out of his fucking head. He disgusted himself sometimes.

He looked away from Kara albeit reluctantly. He was encroaching stalker territory. In fact, he was surprised she hadn't felt his gaze boring holes into her head. He certainly felt like by all rights she should have. He roughly ran both hands through his ever messy hair and fisted it, closing his eyes. He felt like fucking tearing it out. He was furious and he was even more fucking miserable.


Kara's eyes shifted from the window she was staring out of, towards the boy she hadn't seen in two long days. Her gaze softened as she saw him running his hands through his hair. It was a trait she found oh so endearing. She smiled a small, sad smile to herself, lowering her gaze to his face. She took in his strong jaw and somewhat tanned complexion. His jaw was taut; he seemed tensed, and irritation was visible in the hard lines of his face. His beautiful eyes were closed. She sighed softly. She wanted him so badly but she just couldn't give find it in her to give someone the power to hurt her.. destroy her... Not again..

She had lost both her parents simultaneously, at the young age of seven. She had barely understood when their uncle had broken the news of their demise to the siblings. Ulquiorra had yelled at his uncle; in hysterics he had told him he was a liar and asked him to leave him alone. It was the first time, and the last, that she had seen her brother so upset. She had looked on blankly. She didn't react, she didn't move. She just watched and watched as their uncle had pulled Ulquiorra close to him, in a comforting hug. He had struggled for freedom before acknowledging his uncle's strength and succumbing to his tears. She had never seen Ulquiorra cry before. She had blinked and thought how Uncle looked so much like father.. Something had blurred her vision then and she absently realized it to be tears. Why was she crying? Why did she feel like her world was being torn apart? Her aunt had knelt before her, touching the side of her face telling her that it would be alright. She had called her sweetheart.. Only mom called her that, only her mom could. Anger had swirled in her head and in front of her vision, a reddish haze, but she hadn't been able to express it. She just looked on, not shifting. Her aunt had turned, panicked, towards her uncle saying that Kara was in shock. Kara was her name, she registered that, but she didn't speak. She couldn't find the strength to, and then she remembered black tinting the edges of her sight before overcoming it completely.

Kara shuddered. She'd never forget that day. She blinked away her tears furiously and clenched her jaw. The pain had lessened over time but it was by no means gone. It returned, raw and aching whenever she recalled something about her parents, about her past life, of innocence and easier, happier times. Ulquiorra had become stronger for her sake, he never let anyone see him upset, after that one breakdown. He had become her strength and she couldn't let go of her need for him. She wasn't strong enough to lose anyone else but Ulquiorra had not let her distance herself from him. Every time she had tried he had brought her back to him, again and again. He had prevented her from pushing her friends away. Toushiro had been her friend from kindergarten and Ulquiorra had convinced her to trust him again but it had taken a lot of time and effort and she was always thankful that he had not given up on her. That was why she was so fiercely protective of him.. Grimmjow was an entirely different story. Her brothers best friend, he had helped his brother through the most difficult time of his life and somehow had managed to creep up on her. She had never understood the ease with which she had let him into her damaged heart, but she had. He was the most important friend to her, so she had naturally shied away when she realized exactly how much she depended on him to stay, how much he meant to her. It would have destroyed her to see him leave, so she had pushed him away herself. She couldn't let what they had between them grow. If she lost him, she'd never be able to live with herself... But she had lost him anyway.. through her own stupid stubbornness. Another sigh escaped her lips. Her throat was painfully dry and the lump in her throat was obstructing her from swallowing. She glanced again towards Grimmjow wistfully, knowing he deserved better than someone as irreparably ruined as her, but the thought pained her. She looked away hastily as the bell rang, angrily willing the tears away from her eyes. She shot a glance towards Toushiro who was only just stirring from his seat... She couldn't face him right now. She quickly gathered her books and rapidly fled out of the room without waiting for her 'boyfriend'. She did not want to do this anymore. She just wanted to be left alone.


Last period:

Toushiro put his arm around Kara, knowing she'd react as she always did; by stiffening. Her face was unusually pale and she looked so upset that he wanted to hold her and cheer her up. She was his oldest friend. She was practically his blood sister and he hated that he was causing her discomfort. He looked down at her worriedly. "Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." she smiled weakly but her eyes were miles away. She looked sick.

"Are you sure?" He was really concerned. This past week she had pushed herself to the limit of annoying cheerfulness, all to get back at Karin. He hadn't approved but he had been swept along, unable to resist her scheming. He should have known it would take its toll on her. "You can tell me whats wrong.."

"I know." She sighed softly. "I'm perfectly alright." She was utterly unconvincing and she knew it. She just couldn't muster the strength to do anything about it.

Toushiro's eyes hardened slightly. This charade needed to stop. He did not want this to hurt Kara anymore. Karin didn't want him and that wasn't going to change but this had to stop. He just needed to do one last thing and then it would be the end of this drama. It was his promise. He knew better than anyone what exactly Kara had been through to make her the closed up person she was now.. so unwilling to let anyone in.. She didn't seem to see that opening up was exactly what she needed to help her through this..

His thoughts wandered to Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez... He remembered a time he was extremely jealous of how quickly he and Kara had become the best of friends because he had remembered the struggle it was for her to let him back in after the gruesome accident that had claimed her parents' lives. He had hated their closeness, wanting his sister-friend to himself. He always kept an eye on them to make sure that boy did not do anything to hurt his best friend, so he had seen exactly where it was that Grimmjow's intention towards Kara had changed. It was as if she was the sun and he the planet, gravitating towards her like a pin to a magnet. He flushed faintly red when she smiled or when she sat too close. He always took her side, always got on her team and always put her first. It had gone on for a few years and it seemed Grimmjow did not have any plan to change their current safe friendship with something more risky. It was clear he wanted to, but he didn't dare make a step that would drive Kara away... but feelings have a way of showing up when you least expect them to, and his had erupted in a jubilant hug after a game won and her stunned, terrified expression had told the ever-observing Toushiro that she had felt the crack in their friendship, enticing her towards something fresh and like a startled rabbit she had skittered away from the new and the unknown.

He sighed and she looked at him sideways. "What?"

Toushiro turned towards her, a cerulean flash catching his attention in his periphery. "Nothing." he said focusing towards it. Think of the devil. An idea struck him out of the blue and turning his attention back to Kara, he said "How about we skip this one?"

"Hm?" She looked surprised.

"I've got something i need to show you." he gave her an impish smile, unable to help a small cursory glance towards his target. His face was stormy and menacing.

Kara saw that refusing her 'boyfriend' would cause all kinds of wanton stirrings and rumours so she gave a faux-knowing smile and said "Sure."

Another swift stare behind him confirmed that Grimmjow had indeed overheard them. Good. He would definitely follow them, even to the ends of the earth, as if his life depended on it.

Toushiro grabbed her hand and led her away from the hallway towards the back of the building, stopping only once they reached. Out of breath, he knelt over his knees.

"What is this about, Toushiro?" Kara asked curiously.

He pulled her into an abrupt, tight hug and held her extremely close.

"H-hey. What are you doing?" Kara asked, struggling to get free.

"Its okay, Kara. No ones around." He said, pulling back slight and leaning close. Too close. He saw the alarm in her eyes and disregarding it completely, he kissed the edge of her mouth. She stilled immediately, eyes wide in shock. Toushiro spared a glance towards his victim and the mixture of anger and misery there confirmed that he had seen what was intended for him. Grimmjow's mouth formed the word 'fuck' and he turned to leave. His posture showed how he felt clearer than any words could have: shoulders slumped, clenched hands shoved furiously in pockets, jaw clenched, eyes despairing.

Unbeknownst to Grimmjow, he had left just in time for Toushiro's little scheme to remain effective because Kara's reeling senses had caught up to her and she shoved Toushiro away hard "N-no!" her voice was vehement but it shook. Her eyes were wide with anger and fear. "You can't like me! You're like a brother to me! This is too messed up!" She panted.

Toushiro's gaze softened. "I don't. This was just a thankyou."

"Well, I don't want any such thankyou's!" She was still shaking.

He extricated himself from her and put a hand on her shoulder. "It was for Grimmjow's eyes. He'll come to you, you'll see."

"W-what?" she flushed.

"Kara, you have to let him back in. It's what will help you through the pain. You know it just as well as i do.."

"I can't." she said looking away.

"You can. You're stronger than this and he won't hurt you.. I'm not saying its going to be easy, but it will help you in healing the hurt."

"What if it just tears me apart?" her voice was soft and fragile. He had never seen her this vulnerable.

"Why be afraid of the unknown? This life is too short. You shouldn't have to have regrets." He smiled sadly.

"Thankyou, Toushiro." To his surprise, and horror, her eyes were wet. He gave her a tentative hug. She accepted it and he felt her exhale and then pull away. She gave him a much stronger smile, insecurity fading. "Thankyou for being a pain in the ass." she joked.

Relieved, he just nodded and gave a small grin. "Always willing."

She sighed softly and the smile she gave next was genuine and sincere. "Thankyou for everything.. Really."

He shook his head gently. She lowered her eyes seeming to be contemplating something and coming to a decision, she looked up again. "Stay here and brace yourself."

He gave her a confused look, not quite understanding. "What do you mean?"

"I'm bringing Karin." She said, walking away.


The time spent waiting was oddly agonizing for Toushiro. He was not expecting this to go well. At all. He stilled, detecting a presence then exhaled swiftly and turned. "I know you're there. Come out already."

Ulquiorra stepped silently out from the side. "I should probably hit you."

Toushiro gave a wry smile. "For manipulating Grimmjow's feelings?"

"Not really. He had that coming."

"Then?" Toushiro queried.

"For making her say you and I were the same to her.. I should really be more important." He mused.

"She was just stressing on the platonic manner of our relationship, you know." Toushiro said, amused.

"Yes. Of course." A small smirk pulled up the corner of his mouth.

"What are you doing here, anyway?" Toushiro asked.

Nel poked her head out from behind Ulquiorra and grinned. "Does this answer your question, Shiro-chan?"

Ulquiorra turned his face to the side pointedly, embarrassed. Toushiro looked so taken aback that Nel giggled.

"We should go, Ulquiorra." Nel slipped her hand through the crook of his elbow.

"Yes. We'll give your teary reunion with your girlfriend privacy." Ulquiorra taunted lightly to cover his discomfiture.

"I would say go find Nel but…" Toushiro retaliated, gesturing between the two of them.

Nel laughed and tugged at Ulquiorra's arm again. "Let's go." Ulquiorra nodded his assent and gave a small smile to the waiting boy. Toushiro nodded in acknowledgement and watching them leave he wondered the outcome of the soon-to-be tryst. There was no way that Karin would let him off the hook too easily.. It was as he was contemplating the extent of damage that would be done to him that he heard approaching footsteps. He exhaled sharply silently praying for God's protection from potential life-threatening danger. He turned somewhat nervously to Kara and Karin, taking in Karin's stone-cold expression and Kara's calm countenance. He gave her a questioning look and Kara shook her head in response to his silent query.

"What is this?" Karin asked. Her expression indicated that she felt she would not like what she was about to hear.

Kara walked over to where Toushiro was standing. "We're getting married." She couldn't quite stop the laugh that erupted from her mouth next. Toushiro face-palmed.

Karin's eyebrows furrowed in confusion and anger. Hurt was being well-concealed. "Is that so?" She tried to appear indifferent but her expression contorted.

"Kara." Toushiro glared at her.

"No, it's not actually." She grinned. "Let's just say, you've been 'punked'?"

"What the fuck is this?" Karin was now glaring.

Kara sobered immediately. "It's like this: you broke his heart, so I broke yours. Nothing personal."

"And what does my heart have to do with any of this?" Karin gestured coldly between the both of them. Toushiro took that as another sign that she was not interested. God knows why he didn't see it as the feeble mask it was.

Kara tilted her head at the shorter girl in front of her. "Really? You're armed to the teeth with stubbornness aren't you?" Her expression was blank but her tone of voice was irritated. "Let me make this even clearer. You rejected him for no reason, so I decided to hurt you the way you hurt him; by playing you for a fool."

Karin directed the full force of her glare towards Kara who didn't seem the least bit fazed. "We are not dating. I lied." She continued point-blankly.

Now Karin looked taken aback. Her glare faltered as she turned to look at Toushiro who gave her a hurt half-smile. "What type of guy do you think I am? I wouldn't confess to someone just to toy with them."

She took a sudden step towards him and slapped him across the face. Hard. His face swung sideways from the force. He didn't turn back to look at her. "And yet you did anyway! Did you think for an instant how used I would feel, thinking that you were toying with me to make your 'girlfriend' jealous?" She grabbed his collar. "Look at me and answer!"

Kara prised her hands away from Toushiro's collar, calmly. "Don't take it out on him; he had virtually nothing to do with it. I dragged him into this. Unwillingly, I may add."

Karin shot her a death glare. "You're a real bitch, you know that?" Her words were venomous.

She laughed at the grey-eyed girl's retort. It was short but amused. "Yeah, I know. It was intentional."

Karin's opinion of the girl bumped up just a notch. She was impressed that despite everything she didn't try to defend herself. "I still don't like you." She glared.

Kara's mouth pulled up slightly at the corner. "I don't expect you to. Hell, I don't even expect you to forgive me."

Her grey-eyed glare flickered. She hadn't expected such honesty or sincerity from the girl who had personally made her life miserable this past week.

"But, you should forgive Toushiro. He had no intention to do this." The girl's steady emerald stare was unsettling. Karin swallowed, unable to find a suitable answer to that. Kara continued, "I don't imagine you to ever be able to get along with me after this, or to put up with me, and I won't force myself on you. You can have all the time you need to get used to me, if you want such a thing… but I'm Toushiro's best friend. Always have been and always will be. Nothing more and nothing less..."

Kara was entirely unsure about what she should say, the girl was straightforwardly telling her that she shouldn't blame Toushiro and that she herself would avoid them for her sake… what was a person supposed to do in such a strange situation… Her gaze darted from Kara to Toushiro whose face had a red imprint of her hand on it. He was looking at the ground. She turned back to Kara. "Why are you doing this now?"

She half-smiled, "Well, I just don't think it'd be a very good thing if you hate Toushiro's best man, at your wedding,"

Karin's face flushed bright-red as the comment registered. Unable to help herself, her gaze darted towards Toushiro again, nervously. He was still looking away but there was a hint of red at his cheeks. Kara's smile grew, a mixture of rueful and wry, as she said. "I'm going to leave now. I hope I didn't scar you for life, Karin."

Karin simply nodded at her. Kara placed a hand on Toushiro's shoulder and gave a small unnoticeable squeeze, wishing him luck mutely. With one last glance back at Karin, she left; the sounds of her footsteps growing steadily weaker.

Karin swallowed. "She's seriously bi-polar." she said in an attempt to diffuse the tension.

"Yeah…"

"But, somehow, it's really hard to hate her... she's so frank." Karin mused, more to herself than to her companion.

"I'm sorry." Toushiro broke in suddenly, his sea-foam eyes finally on her. "I never meant this to hurt you. I thought you hated me…"

"I do hate you." Karin glowered at him.

He looked down, hurt. He turned his sight to the left and then back towards her. He opened his mouth, only to close it again. He was so God-damn nervous. "I love you." He managed, quietly.

Karin gaped, mouth slightly open. She had not expected that. He was looking at her with a mixture of weary hurt and disappointed regret now. "I'm not expecting you to reply. It's okay." He gave a small, pained smile. "Goodbye Karin." He twisted around, shoving his hands into his pockets, also starting to walk away.

He only managed a few steps before Karin called out. "Wait." He halted obediently, looking listlessly back at her, over his shoulder. "Turn around." He did so deferentially. She grabbed his collar again; his expression was blank as he looked down at her. He made no move to defend himself from her expected next strike. She yanked him down to her level and abruptly kissed his cheek on the spot where her first blow had landed. Face flaming, she pulled back but did not let go of his collar. His face was flushed and eyes were wide. For the first time, she could see the faint vestiges of hope in them.

"I could get there." She said. He gave her a curious look. "I... uh… never meant to reject you that time…" She admitted uncomfortably, face still glowing red.

"Why did you?" His voice was still shielded, subdued.

"My mouth ran away with me." More red suffused into her face. Why couldn't she stop fucking blushing?

"Huh." The sound he made indicated surprise but not question. He leaned in, hands still in pockets, and kissed her chastely, such that the only parts of them touching were their lips and her hands on his collar. He pulled back and gave her a small but sincere smile. "Do you want to see a movie today?"

"The Hunger Games." She said immediately, her face still flushed. He laughed. She was always so interesting.

"Um. About Kara.." Karin said hesitating awkwardly.

"Yeah?" His smile dropped just a little, wondering what was to come.

"I don't want you to stop hanging out with her or anything… I.. uh.. believe you.. And I'll try and get accustomed to it… without getting… jealous" The last word was mumbled.

"She's my sister, Karin. It's not ever going to change into anything else." His words relaxed her, as she remembered his confession. "And you don't have to force yourself. I understand that it's difficult for you. She understands that too… and… uh… You'll always be my priority." His voice grew uneasy and embarrassed towards the end. She felt a smile curve her lips and she nodded.

"Okay." Kara's words rang in her hand and she held them to her like a talisman 'Well, I just don't think it'd be a very good thing if you hate Toushiro's best man at your wedding,' It was her guilty pleasure knowing the extent of his seriousness from Kara's joking words. She wanted to believe in him; and so, when he tilted in to kiss her again, she let go of his collar and put her arms around his neck.


Kara sighed as she ran a towel through her rapidly drying hair. She couldn't help but be worried about Toushiro. Her phone vibrated and discarding the towel she pulled it out of her jeans. It was a text from him. 'Thank you for being a pain in the ass.' She smiled at the mirror of words from their earlier conversation. 'Always willing.' she texted back and threw her phone unceremoniously on her bed as she walked down the stairs to the living-room. Having skipped what remained of the last period and bunking off school altogether, she wasn't surprised at having reached home before Ulquiorra. Deciding to have lunch when he got back, she abandoned the kitchen and flung herself down on the floor cushions and flicked on the flatscreen. She heard the door click open and then slam closed. "Which one of us is cooking, Ulquiorra?" She asked, without looking back. There was no answer so she turned, and immediately froze. "Ulquiorra's not here, Jaegerjaquez." She bit out, even as she mentally throttled herself for being a bitch again.

"I know." He walked over to where she was sitting but remained standing.

"Then why…"

"Why am I here?" He interjected bitterly. "I'm here to talk to you."

"I'm not interested. You can let yourself out." She got up and turned away, mentally chanting 'stupid stupid stupid' at herself for her inability to hold a civil conversation with Grimmjow.

He grabbed her wrist, hard, and made her face him. "Why the fuck are you always like this to me?" He growled in frustration. "We used to be friends! Where the fuck did it all go wrong?"

'I messed it up Grimmjow.' she thought to herself.

Grimmjow growled again as he realized she wasn't even looking at him as he spoke. He used his free hand to forcefully turn her face towards him. "Fucking look at me!"

His grip on her jaw hurt. She struggled against it, trying to turn away again. "You're hurting me."

"And you're hurting me." She stopped struggling at the obvious pain in his voice. She blinked... she wasn't the only one suffering.. She looked at him, taking his face in.

"Alright, I'm listening."

His grip on her jaw loosened a little but he didn't let go. "I think your boyfriend…" He swallowed "…is cheating on you…"

Her disinterest was not feigned this time, as she said "Is that so?"

His gaze flickered down to her lips, as if only just realizing their proximity. He raised it back to her eyes as he replied. "Yeah… I heard him confess to Kurosaki's little sister…"

"How fascinating." She drawled.

"Fucking great." He muttered. His grip on her tightened again as his voice rose. "Why do you fucking hate me so much?"

"Is he really cheating on me?" She could barely comprehend what he was saying; all she could think of was how much she wanted to kiss him. He nodded, a little taken aback, both relieved and disappointed at her sudden subject change. Her heart, however, was too busy recognizing the glorious opportunity presented to it and taking reign over her brain, it said. "Well, then maybe I'll cheat on him too." Her gaze was still on his mouth.

Grimmjow's eyes widened. The already fragile supports of his self-control were splintering fast. He let go of her wrist and used both hands to cup her face. Restraint abandoned, he kissed her firmly and was surprised as she responded; one of her hands at his neck and the other tangling in his hair. There were explosions of white behind his eyelids as he reluctantly pulled back a little. This time, she closed the distance between them. If the house was to go up in flames right now, he doubted he would notice. Shaking and panting heavily, he leaned back again, despite his entire existence screaming at him for his stupidity. "Wait." He said as she made to lean in again. Eyes heavy with desire and disinclination, she stopped; she was breathing just as hard as he was. He was so stupid to be doing this. He knew that there was no fucking way he'd ever get a chance like this again… Stupid morals.

"I can't be the one you cheat on your boyfriend with." His voice was unsteady. He withdrew himself from her but she wouldn't let go of him. "It's all or nothing, Kara." His eyes lowered to her mouth again. "God, I'm completely fucking insane." His laugh was bitter.

"What if I didn't have a boyfriend?" Her words surprised him.

"What?" he said blankly.

"What if I told you it was just an act?" her gaze did not waver.

"I don't get a fucking word you're saying." He looked utterly lost. Like a cute, flustered, lost kitten.

" 'Kurosaki's little sister' is his girlfriend.. I was just there to speed along the process."

"So you're not..?"

"No."

"What about him kissing you?" His voice shut down suddenly and he tried to pull away again. She held on tighter, refusing to let go.

"Trick of sight."

"Then you've never…?"

"No." her mouth pulled up slightly in a smile. His gaze flickered back to her mouth and giving in he kissed her fiercely again, his arms going around her waist as he pulled her closer. When they broke apart gasping for breath, he leaned his forehead against hers and looked at her.

"I really thought you hated me."

"I don't. I never have, but…" Her voice broke off.

"But, what?"

"I'm not at the position where I can lose someone else again." She looked at him, emerald eyes begging him to understand. "It was bad enough with mom and dad but I couldn't let you get any closer just to watch you walk away…"

"What made you think I'd walk away?" His gaze was more serious than she had ever seen before.

"Insecurity, I guess…"

"Well, you can tell insecurity to shove it up its ass."

Her eyes widened slightly in disbelief before a laugh escaped her. "You're serious?"

"I'm in this for as long as you want me." He flushed slightly. "I might hang around even after that."

"Then you can stick around for as long as you want." She smiled, a little red tainting her face.

He kissed her again with a gentleness that the first few had lacked. "I've known that I loved you for quite some time."

Her eyebrows rose at his words, and his face flushed deeply. He hadn't meant to say that out loud. "Even better." She smiled up at him. "I've loved you for quite some time too." She replied, assuaging any doubts he might have had.

"So where does this go?" he questioned.

"Where we want it to." She wrapped her arms around him, listening to the sound of his heartbeat, letting realization sink in. He was hers; the only exception.


A/N: Yayyyyyy, I'm done! *Throws confetti in the air* Finally! :D I loved loved loved writing this fic; I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. :D Please leave a review, so I know how I did. Anything you thought. Was it lame? Was it boring? Did you hate it? Did you feel like strangling me? Did you get the urge to throw rotten fruit at me? *cowers* Did you love it? Did you find it rushed? Were any of the characters OOC? Did anything seem unrealistic? Constructive criticism is much appreciated. :) Once again, a great big thank you to everyone who read it, reviewed, favourite-ed and alert-ed. :D