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A Feast of No Saints

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Orihime wants to believe there's good in everyone.

That's harder here in Hueco Mundo, where all seem so bent on death and destruction - on seizing power through whatever means necessary, and damn the consequences. But still she clings to hope, because it's all she has.

When Ulquiorra brings her food, or clothes, or any of the other things she's come to view not as a standard of life but sheer luxury, it's done not out of kindness or a desire not to see her waste away, but the orders he's been given. The only person in Los Noches who cares whether Orihime lives or dies is Aizen, and Aizen only because he still needs her. When Ulquiorra ceases to come, she'll know that's no longer true - that her fate is sealed.

Ulquiorra is her world. In the darkness of the night, waiting for the sun to rise, she trembles praying the door will open with it, and when the door closes as it goes back down, she weeps with terror that it might be the last time. As much as she dreads the sight of him, his absence is worse.

When he does come, he doesn't stay. Now that he doesn't have to threaten her to force her to eat, he leaves the tray without a word and only reappears when it's time to take it back. He's a lifeline that dangles just out of reach, sometimes swinging close enough that her fingers can brush it before it's snatched away, and sometimes so far that she might as well give up and sink down. He doesn't stay and she doesn't want him to, but sometimes, she wishes he would.

One day, he does.

Orihime's never seen Ulquiorra eat. That there's food so readily available suggests that someone in Hueco Mundo must - someone besides her - but she doesn't know who or when or where. There's a hunger in the Espada, though, and one that has nothing to do with what he can take in through his mouth.

The pinnacle of Hollow evolution, she's come to understand, isn't to be the largest or the most imposing, but simply to pass for human - to bind all the power in the world in a form that could walk among the meekest creatures on it and go unnoticed until it's released. When Ulquiorra looks at her, he doesn't see Orihime, the healer, or Orihime, Aizen's prisoner, but only Orihime, so very human. When Ulquiorra looks at Orihime, it's in a way that makes her half-afraid he wants to eat her, and by doing so take her humanity into himself.

He touches her shoulder and she tenses, breath becoming a gasp as it's sucked in through her mouth. Still he regards her in silence, his hand rising to her hair and sifting through the bright strands as if they were the wonders of a foreign land (maybe they are). It's so gentle that if she didn't know who was standing beside her, she might mistake it for a lover's touch (the sort of thing she'd always imagined Ichigo would do), and somehow that scares her more than anything else. She's used to the cruelty and lack of care that run rampant through the Arrancar. It makes it easier to separate herself from them - to view them as the enemies of her friends and prepare herself for what's to come. This, she doesn't think she can bear.

His hand remains on her neck as he circles her, staring down at her with those half-starved, eternally-shadowed eyes. When he comes all the way around, his fingers clench on her throat and press up so that she's forced to lift her chin, to raise her head and meet his gaze halfway - and for a time, he merely holds her thus. She swallows, hard and dry, and the white line of her throat works against his palm.

The Espada - this Espada, at least - seems unconcerned with foreplay, to the point that it doesn't occur to her that he might want her body - as a mortal man might want a woman's body - until her shirt's half-unfastened and her breasts exposed. Even then, his caress is more an examination than anything meant to rouse her. His curiosity isn't that of a boy, unskilled, but an entity so far removed from the days of youth and lust that he barely remembers how to go about it. The sands of Hueco Mundo may burn, but Orihime shivers for reasons that have nothing to do with hot and cold. Still, her nipples peak when they meet the air; ruddy nubs that jut with far too little shame from voluptuous swells. Her captor pushes the parted garment away entirely and cups her breast, rolling the bud almost absently between his thumb and forefinger.

Orihime doesn't particularly want Ulquiorra to be her first (and probably her last), but as much as part of her wants to cling to nobility and swear she'd rather die a virgin than be touched by anyone other than her own true love, the truth is, she really doesn't want that to happen, either. She isn't sure which part of that it is that makes her cry, but her eyes well with tears that spill without a sound. Ulquiorra pauses when he realizes it, and the hand that had been in her hair comes to her face, the pad of his thumb brushing sparkling droplets away. After that, he brings it to his mouth, where his tongue strokes the digit with slow deliberation. She's absolutely certain, then, that yes, Ulquiorra is tasting her.

She can taste herself when he kisses her, the salt of her tears on his lips. This, too, she doesn't know how to handle, and her responses - all of them - are clumsy. She raises her hands to push him away, but rather than brace and thrust, they only take hold of and curl fiercely on his jacket - and even as she tips her head to offer a more comfortable angle, one small fist pulls back to pound in futile rage against his chest. She screams into his mouth with it, frustration that's born deep in her throat and muffled by the kiss.

Ulquiorra releases her and steps back, and for a moment, she thinks she might have startled him so much by fighting back at last that he's abandoned the idea - but it's only so he can catch her wrist before she lands another punch, his fingers closing as tightly on the slender limb as they had her throat. Tighter, even, so that when she cries out again, it's with pain and the fear that he might snap her bones. He twists her arm, forcing it behind her back as he turns her around, and uses it as leverage to put her where he wants her: Face-first against the wall, her cheek grazing the stone and her breasts flattened by the same. She's possessed abruptly of the notion that he's done this not because he's angry with her, but because he doesn't really want to see how very human she can be, when he's doing this to her. It's too much, even for him.

He's behind her now, his body pressed to hers, and she can feel through the layers of cloth that separate them the hardness at his groin. His free hand fumbles between, and she can only assume that he's undoing his hakama first, for when he loosens the ties on her own, what she feels when they fall is naked skin. Unrestrained, the length of his cock rides the cleft of her ass. She's terrified, trembling in his grasp, and as a fresh flood of tears flows down her cheek to soak both skin and stone, his lips are against her ear.

"It's okay."

It's not, and that shouldn't make it okay, but somehow, it does. His voice is low and soft, and she doesn't know if there's really any comfort or in it, or if she just wants there to be so badly that she can't help but imagine it. Whatever it is, she'll take it. He relinquishes his grasp on her arm so that he can seize her hips instead, shifting so that his cock is angled properly between her thighs, and her eyes squeeze tightly shut.

He's in her quickly, showing no concern for the resistance her virgin body offers by nature if not intent. The pain is sharp and swift, and there's a wetness trickling down her legs that she doesn't really want to contemplate the origin of. One arm moves to embrace her, wrapped across and up so that he can reclaim her breast, and when he squeezes it, she's sure he can feel the frantic beat of her heart beneath. Sure that's why he's doing it.

Ulquiorra rocks against her, inside of her, and she doesn't know what to make of it. She's overwhelmed with a mix of friction and fullness, a heat that soothes as much as it burns. This isn't how she'd pictured her first time, and yet, now she can't imagine it any other way. Maybe it's just that she's been here too long to hold to the hope of anything different. Maybe Ulquiorra really has become her world. He dips his head, nuzzling through her hair to dust his lips feather-light at the nape of her neck, and for an instant, she wishes he'd be rough with her simply because she'd understand him doing that.

He doesn't. Not intentionally, at least. His thrusts become faster as he nears the peak of pleasure, and the head of his cock slams hard into her depths, but there's nothing vicious about it - just a need so urgent it causes his control to slip. His breath comes as shallow pants (she isn't aware that her own does, as well) that wash hotly across her skin. Say something, say anything, she prays, and he doesn't do that, either - only groans deep in his throat and jabs her with his cock, his hips grinding against the lush curve of her ass as his seed erupts. She can feel the shaft twitch with each spurt, and her cheeks tingle with a flush she knows all too well. It's reddened her in front of Ichigo enough that she's glad Ulquiorra isn't looking at her, now.

And that's the end of it. She's as surprised by how soon it's over as she had been that it happened at all, and can't do anything but shape her lips against the wall and shake uncertainly. He doesn't yet let her go - only rests heavily against her, the hand on her breast drifting down to stroke her belly. Eventually, he pulls free without a word and bends to retrieve his pants.

Orihime turns because she has to, her eyes seeking Ulquiorra's of their own will. There's nothing in the glance that's returned to her: not guilt, not apology, not pleasure - only the emotionless stare of Aizen's most trusted vassal, and beneath it, the vestiges of a hunger already growing anew. After that, he turns away himself, and then he's gone. The door closes and the sun goes down.

He comes more often after that - literally and figuratively; through the door and inside her. He doesn't speak and he doesn't stay long once he's done, but it's enough.

One day, her world turns upside-down - or is it right-side up? Ichigo and Ulquiorra stand across from each other, and Orihime doesn't know who to stand beside. Neither is wholly human and neither is wholly monster, and she fears them both - and fears for them both - with the wholeness of self that being Orihime, so very human requires.

Her world crumbles.

Ulquiorra looks at her one last time, and for the first time, she doesn't see that hunger in his eyes. They're filled instead with sadness, with weary acceptance; with something that, surrounded by Arrancar, she hasn't seen in so long that it takes her a while to realize what it is.

Humanity.

Ulquiorra dies sated. It's Orihime who's left with the hole where a heart ought to be, and it gnaws at her with a hunger she's never known. She draws breath at length and wonders if the taste on the wind is love or hate or ashes gone cold, and turns to look at Ichigo with new eyes. He's more monster than human, and it rocks her to the core the way the brush of a hand in Los Noches once had.

It's alright, though. Whatever Orihime is, she can save this one, too.


Author's Notes: Inspired by a prompt of Bleach, Ulquiorra/Orihime, saviour, in Round Fourteen of Porn Battle @ IJ. Not entered in the battle due to length.