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Chapter Text


He floats.


He's still aware. He's awake. He knows he died. He's dead. Still, he's alive. It's going to take a long time, but he's going to come back. He's going to regenerate. He's going to get his closure with Kurosaki because that's what he wants. It was his duty to protect Los Noches, but he failed.


He wasn't protecting Los Noches. If he wanted to defend the citadel, he would have let the boy have the girl. A lot of damage had been done to the place with their battle. Yammy was known to have not a care in the world when it came to destroying things. The Espada hadn't protected Los Noches at all. He was trying to keep that redhead from the substitute Shinigami. He was trying to save his own heart from being ripped away. He was intrigued by the girl.


He doesn't know how much time has passed, but when he opens his eyes, he can see the dark sky again. Maybe that's not the sky; perhaps those are those monsters from the first time he came to awareness.


Ulquiorra looks around and just sees darkness.


The next time he comes to he sees a crescent moon. The sky. That pale hand was reaching out to him. Memories flood him.








The human who slapped the Gods in their faces and didn't care that her actions had consequences. She healed people and things without thinking. Grimmjow. Ichigo Kurosaki.


Her hand slipped through the ash that his outstretched fingers. He just wanted to feel her skin once. Ever since the day she stood up to Yammy, he'd been curious. He wanted to know. He wanted to see. Ulquiorra had been through her dwelling, looking through her things and pictures. He had poked around in her bathroom and cupboards.


She was an odd one.


What would have happened if her hand had touched his? What would have happened if he had felt that touch a couple of seconds earlier? Would it have mattered?


There was another part of his brain that was telling him to push his emotions aside; to forget about her. She essentially murdered him! Had she just let that orange-haired brat die like it was intended, he would still be alive. He would have her to himself! They'd be together in Hueco Mundo.


She wouldn't let it go.


She would not listen to him.


She summoned the creature that killed him.


How could he feel anything but hatred towards her? How could he feel anything but resentment?


Easily. He could brush it off as the lack of emotions. It would be false, but it would be an excuse.


He had kidnapped her; traumatized her; threatened her. Through her, he found what a heart was and knew that he had a connection to her. Yes, it was forced and could be construed as false, but there was that bond.


How much time had passed? His thoughts were coming in stronger waves now. His skin felt clammy. His hair plastered to his face and was annoying him. He brushed it off his forehead. His eyes took in the sight before him.


There was no black claw.


There was no white claw.


China white skin with black fingernails.


Gingerly, he felt his head, fingers threading through ebony black locks of hair. They felt the hard ridge of the bone fragment; his breathing hitched because it was a sensitive part of his body. He never let anyone touch it. Touching an Arrancar's mask fragment was akin to touching their penis or nipples.


Touching an Arrancar's mask could mean death.


His fingers trailed down his face to his throat. Between his collar bones lay his hollow hole. It was smaller than he remembered. Come to think of it; his mask fragment seemed to be chipped in weird places. It covered most of his head instead of half of it.


What did this mean?


Would his number still be emblazoned on his chest?


Ulquiorra lifted his head to see that, yes, his Espada number was still burned into his skin. His eyes stared at the rest of his body. He wore no shirt or jacket but still had his hakama on his lower body. Strange.


Could he stand?


How long had it been?


So, he tries and is successful. That's all that mattered. He could get himself out of that black pit. He could find his way back to Los Noches—Wait a minute. He feels a fleeting spike of familiar reiatsu. His Sonido is not quick enough for him as he flies along the desert floor, raising up a cloud of sand and dust as he speeds his way towards the source.


She's here.


But why? Why is she in Hueco Mundo?


He stands along a plateau of black rock and looks down upon some ruins. She's there. There's a golden-orange glow in front of her and—


When he comes to again, the ruins are silent. There's no sign of Orihime Inoue. The last thing he remembered was a blast of white light. An explosion perhaps? What knocked him out that time? What made him lose himself that time?


He doesn't bother to try and pinpoint his location. Ulquiorra doesn't bother to try and find Los Noches. If she's not here then where is she? He rips open a Garganta. The sound of the portal opening is welcoming music to his eardrums. Stepping through, he goes to the World of the Living. He's not sure what he's looking for, but he knows she could be there.


Why does he want to see her though? She had betrayed him. She had betrayed Lord Aizen!


Lord Aizen.


The man—no, the Shinigami who made the Espada. Ulquiorra had a sinking suspicion that Lord Aizen wasn't something to worry about anymore.


Had he won, wouldn't the Espada be living in the Soul King's realm? Aizen had promised them power. He had promised them a better world. One where Hollows would be accepted. One where Soul Reapers would pay for their crimes.


Ulquiorra felt like a fool as the Garganta opened and he could see a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. This is what he wanted, right? He could just close the rip and go back to Hueco Mundo. He could find Los Noches and see what the damage was. He could find his crystal tree and sink back into the depths again. No one would bother him there.


Hueco Mundo didn't have Orihime Inoue. Hueco Mundo didn't have Ichigo Kurosaki.


He stepped out of the gateway, hovering above the above a park. It was the same park it still had a crater in the middle of a clearing. He used his Pesquisa to locate the various reiatsu signatures around the town of Karakura. There were seven strong ones in the vicinity of him. There were familiar ones.


What the hell was Sexta Espada and former Third Espada doing in the World of the Living? Grimmjow and Nelliel? He could sense Orihime. He would deal with her and her friend later. Right now, he had more pressing questions to attend to.

Chapter Text

His Sonido was a boom as he came to a stop above a shoten. The squat building looked dingy and unpleasant but he spotted a head of bright blue hair, and it was looking up at him. The owner of bright blue eyes narrowed in dislike at him.

“Yo, Ulquiorra, you gonna stay up there all day?”

It looked like Grimmjow. It sounded like Grimmjow. There was no mask fragment that cemented the fact that this was the Sexta. Another person came out of the shop and looked up at him. That looked like Nelliel Tu Oderschvank. The skull fragment was gone, however. Her teal hair still made her stand out.

“Oh!” she gasped, eyes expressing displeasure at the guest. “I guess Kisuke was right.”

“This is going to be a pain in our asses; you realize that, don't you?” Grimmjow asked the female. She nodded. “Damn Soul Society is gonna be all up in our business. Are you gonna fucking come down here or what, pasty ass motherfucker?”

Ulquiorra did not move. He did not say anything. He stood there with his hands tucked into the pockets of his hakama. Why did they not have their mask fragments? It was boggling his mind. It was confusing him. His sharp eyes took in both of their forms. He knew their reiatsu, but it was muffled.

“Why are you so keen on me coming down there? Why not come up here, Grimmjow?” Ulquiorra finally asked.

“This guy. This guy is fucking stupid. Did Kurosaki blow his brains out?” the blue-haired hollow absently asked to no one. “Take one look at us dickbag! We're in fucking Gigai.”

“A Gigai?”

“Yeah, it's a thing so humans can see us. If they're not spiritually aware, they can't see us.” Nel was the one to answer that question. “It was a condition of Central 46.”

Ulquiorra raised an eyebrow at this. Central 46? Wasn't that the governing body of the Soul Society? What were Espadas doing making deals with Shinigami? “Conditions of Central 46? Is this a joke?”

The blue-haired man sighed. “This would be easier if you just came down here! I wouldn't look like a lunatic yelling at the fucking sky. I'm not going to attack you! Hell, I can't fucking attack you. You'd kill me.”

Both of the fourth Espada's eyebrows shot up like they were rockets. He was just about to extert enough reiatsu to do so when the door of the shoten opened, and Kisuke Urahara stepped out. He immediately looked up.

“I wouldn't do that Cifer. If you plan on crushing Grimmjow like that you'll tip off the Soul Society to your presence and I'd really don't want them breathing down my neck,” the blond man said. “There's regulations and paperwork. You understand, don't you Cifer?”

“Come on down, prick,” Grimmjow yelled.

The force holding him up lessened and Ulquiorra found himself standing in front of the Shinigami and the two Arrancar, his feet touching the hard packed dirt. “How long has it been?” he queried in a cold, monotone voice.

“Been since when? A lot of shit has happened in—”

“How long has it been since Ichigo Kurosaki defeated me?”

“Uh, um,” Nel bit her lip trying to think of how long it had actually been. “There was that seventeen months that Ichigo couldn't see us. Then those Quincy assholes...”

“It's been about five years,” Grimmjow said. “Give or take a few—”

“How long have you been in those things?”

“Oh, I know this one! About two years!” Nel said excitedly. She noticed the look Grimmjow was giving her. “What? Don't look at me like that! Orihime—”

“Is she still alive?” Ulquiorra didn't mean for the words to come out but they did, and he wished he could take them back because the three looked at him strangely.

Nel nodded. “She's fine. She an Ichigo got married, and they had a baby—Hey! Where are you going?”

The boom was deafening. Ulquiorra shot straight into the sky and took off unsure of where he was going or what he was doing. He just heard the teal-haired hollow's words and rashly decided that he needed space. He needed time. He needed to think.

Damn that orange-haired substitute and the monster he had hidden inside his body. Damn Kurosaki for killing him!

It was said that Hollows forgot their past lives, but sometimes that wasn't the case. The ones who remembered their lives were the ones that became powerful. They were the ones that had vast amounts of power already at their disposal. Memories bred hate and ill will.

Memories were important if you were going to become a Vasto Lorde. Ulquiorra had lived in Germany a long time ago. Horses were still a prevalent form of transportation as was walking. He had a family. His wife had lustrous light colored hair... It was an odd color. It wasn't a typical brown or yellow. It bordered on red but not quite. She had blue eyes though.

He had children; two of them, A boy and a girl. He had been important. He did well with numbers and calculations. He was a banker. They lived in a lovely house in Berlin. Thieves came in the middle of the night and killed his children and his wife. They made him watch, and he could do nothing as his wife was violated. She screamed so loud. The silence that followed as they slit her throat and then the childrens' rang in his ears.

Afterward, he felt so broken; so lost. He remembered getting drunk. Water rushed around him. He was sinking—no, he fell to the bottom of the river. He woke up at the bottom of that black pit in Hueco Mundo. The only thing he knew was the emotion of being empty; of being nothing.

He didn't care for anything. He could not hear. He could not eat. The only thing he got to do was see and witness. He found his tree and then Aizen found him. Maybe he would have been better off if the Shinigami had never discovered him. He was content with his life as a Hollow.

Now, he just felt anger coursing through him. Frustration. Dismay. He knew why he was feeling this way. He didn't want to admit to it. He would not admit to anything. He felt betrayed. She had offered herself to that monster that murdered him.

It had been a long time though, and he wasn't exactly eloquent with emotions. How could she know what he felt? How could she have known that he felt something for her? His body soared over the rooftops of Karakura. Ulquiorra knew where he was headed. Would it be wise to see her? Would it be wise to confront her? Would Kurosaki rechallenge him?

“She was very uncomfortable when we returned to Hueco Mundo.”

The voice made him jolt, and he about fell out of the sky. Urahara was beside him. His lip curled in anger. Why had the Shinigami followed him?

“Orihime kept looking around like she was looking for something. She never said what happened. No one that witnessed your battle said anything about it. Ishida mumbled something about a bat and Grimmjow explained about Ressureccion forms. He said you had a secret.”

“I do not—”

“You may not want my help, but you are going to need it. Let's face it. You've done nothing for the past five years except lay in some pit and feel sorry for yourself. I know, I would periodically check on your progress. Central 46's agreement with Grimmjow and Nelliel are conditions because they are two out of three living Espadas,” Urahara said. “They helped defeat Yhwach. They helped defeat the Sternritters. It took months to nurse Grimmjow and Nelliel back to health. They were put in front of the Soul Society. Those presumptuous assholes were going to kill them, but we orchestrated a contract of sorts. They're exiled to the world of the living for one-hundred years. They're in reiatsu-suppressing Gigais.”

“And? What does this have to do with me?”

Urahara sighed. “If you show up at the Kurosaki residence, the Soul Society will be alerted. Their agreement only extended to Grimmjow and Nelliel. You will be killed.”

The dark-haired Espada snapped back in anger. “They can try. They'll all fail.”

“I can see you are angry. You have feel—”


“Unless you'd like to keep your head upon your shoulders, where it should be, you will employ silence,” Ulquiorra stated. His voice was tight. The former Shinigami was correct.

“Let Grimmjow and Nelliel explain,” Urahara said. “If you're not happy with the answer you're more than welcomed to go about your business, Cifer.”

With his bi-colored lips pressed into a thin line, Ulquiorra agreed and turned to follow the blond man back to the shoten.


Chapter Text

He listened to Grimmjow. He listened to Nelliel. Urahara had a Gigai ready for him in several days later. While staying at the shoten, he had to hide in some dusty underground area because someone came over. Grimmjow had shoved him into a hole, and Ulquiorra had fallen a good distance before his body hit rock.

“It looks nothing like me,” Ulquiorra said as he looked down at the lifeless body.

“It looks exactly like you,” Nel said.

Green eyes snapped to look at the teal-haired female. They were filled with rage. “Where is my Estigma? My lips are not that color!” He whirled around to face the Shinigami. “Did you even get my eye color right?”

Kisuke Urahara was looking down at the Gigai, a frown gracing his face. The fourth Espada could see the stitch marks around the man's hands and down his face. He had asked Grimmjow about it, and the other Espada mumbled something about Quincies and the war. How many wars had been fought?


“Cifer, while you're in this “suit” as you call it, you're going to need to work. Having those on your face would be detrimental to your assimilation into human society,” the blond said, pulling his hat down to cover his eyes.


“Japanese people hate motherfuckers with tattoos,” Grimmjow said, stomping into the laboratory. “The Estigma looks like tattoos. I argued this when I saw my face didn't have mine. Look at Nel! Urahara found a way around hers though. When she blushes, the area where she had that mark turns bright red. Looks like a damn anime character.”


“You'll learn what the hell that is. Probably learn what hentai is too. Nel's well versed in all things concerning perverted animations.”

Nelliel rolled her eyes. “It was a total accident I fell into it at all! You're just bitter about the hentai thing because it's censored,” she commented. “Besides, Jinta showed me!”

“What's the point of porn if I can't see anything?” the blue-haired male asked in a loud tone. Grimmjow glared at Nel. “You let that little fucker touch you?”

Ulquiorra's eyes darted back and forth from the man and the woman. What was hentai? What was porn? He had no recollection of that type of stuff in his memories. Who was Jinta? He opened his mouth to speak but instead found that he had been pushed forward.

When his eyes opened, he was staring up at Grimmjow and Nel. He even saw Urahara's stupid hat. He felt enclosed—No, imprisoned. A feeling of dread and panic welled in his throat which subsided as he thought about those emotions. How did he know what terror and fear were? The sensation bubbled again, and he quickly pushed it down. “What?” he asked in his monotone voice, eyes sliding from side to side.

“Let's get him up,” Urahara said.

Grimmjow was the one who took his hand and hauled him up into a sitting position. His eyes caught the sight of his hand. Usually, his skin was pale and white as bleached paper. The fingers that were in front of his face were a slightly warmer tone. There were no black fingernails. What had happened?

An enraged expression bloomed on his face. “I am going to kill you!” Ulquiorra stated as he leveled his eyes onto Urahara. “You put me in that thing!”

“You know, Urahara... I think you made him too pale. There's no way he's gonna be able to find a foundation that light.”

“What is foundation? Why would I need it?”

“Foundation is makeup, and it'd be to cover up the fact that you're being a bitch,” Grimmjow replied. “Just be glad that you're fucking alive. Be honest; no fucking Hollow wants to die.”

“Ah, Grimmjow can you explain things to him? Nel, could you help me with a few things?” Urahara said, leaving the room with its equipment and beeps.

Ulquiorra scowled and crossed his arms over his chest. He had nothing that made him who he was. His Estigma was gone. His mask fragment was gone. His ranking as an Espada—He suddenly looked down. The number four was still burned into his skin. The urge to collapse in relief was too much.

“Why'd you come back here?”

“What?” Ulquiorra snapped.

Grimmjow ran a hand through his blue hair. “Why did you come here? Why didn't you stay in Hueco Mundo?”

The black-haired man's eyes cut to the blue-haired man. “It is none of your business,” he answered.

“It's because of that female, isn't it? It's been a long time Ulquiorra. I didn't forget how you acted when you found out I took her; demanding I hand her back over and Aizen—You died because of her.”

“I know that. I'm well aware of that,” he stated. “I'm here to confront her. I'm here to rechallenge him.”

“Tch,” Grimmjow scoffed. “They ain't gonna go for that. What do you have to confront her about? What'd she do to you? He defeated you, didn't he? Why another battle?”

Ulquiorra shook his head. How could he expect Grimmjow to understand? “I demanded that he kill me. If he didn't, the entire battle was for naught. There was no closure to it! No one won!”

“Ugh, fuck you are stupid. Humans don't fight the same way that Hollows do. Kurosaki doesn't fight the same way a Hollow does!” Grimmjow barked. “Why you gotta vendetta against his wife?”

Just that word made him grit his teeth, and he scowled at the Arrancar. “I think that would be obvious.”

“You're in love with her.”

“Exactly—Wait, what? No!” Ulquiorra sputtered in indignation. How could Grimmjow even think that! “No! That's not it! I want to know why she summoned that monster who killed me! Without that orange-haired brat around she was someone who could stand up for herself. She had the nerve to slap me! He shows up, and suddenly she's a weakling!”

“You're jealous because she depended on him instead of you,” Grimmjow said quietly. His arms were folded across his chest, and he was looking at the floor.

Dammit. Grimmjow had struck a nerve with that statement because that was the problem. She had depended on that substitute instead of being the strong-willed woman he knew her to be. She hadn't listened to his words of it being a futile attempt to reject his injury. No one came back from a point-blank Cero Oscuras to the chest.

“How often does she come here?”

There was another scoff. “After we came back from Hueco Mundo the first time? Everyday. After a year not so much. Two years? She stopped coming. I mean, Orihime comes around when it's polite like Valentine's and New Year's Eve. She gave up on finding you.”


Chapter Text

Somehow Urahara forged some documents and hacked some computers because Ulquiorra was now a college student enrolled in some accounting courses at the university a town away. He had a phone that had been programmed with Grimmjow's, Nel's, and Urahara's numbers. He had been taught how to use the apps and the internet.


He was a smart creature. Anything could be figured out given enough time.


The only thing he couldn't decipher were his feelings. Whenever he thought of Ichigo Kurosaki, he felt nothing but disgust and anger. Why hadn't the boy just killed him when he asked? Why had he left things like that? Ulquiorra knew what would happen.


When his brain turned to thoughts of long coppery-red hair, and big dark eyes, these emotions would be all over the place. His frame of mind would shift from anger to affection. Irritation, annoyance, resentment would morph into fondness, sympathy, and tenderness.


Ulquiorra hated it. He didn't want to feel these things for this human.


There were times where he would look at Grimmjow and experience a strange pulling from the bottom of his stomach. He didn't understand this. Urahara said that his Gigai could experience things that humans did. He didn't like it.


The same thing happened when he would catch sight of Nel. Different things would happen though. His brain registered it as desire. It felt like what he experienced with Grimmjow but deeper.


If he lay on his futon in the room Urahara let him use, late at night, he could hear Grimmjow breathing heavily, grunting and quietly growling. He listened for Nel's labored breaths, small mewls and muffled cries. The two other Arrancars slept in one room. Were they mates?


Three months passed by before he got his answer. It had been the same thing every day for the last ninety days; get up, eat, go to classes, come back to Urahara's help around the shoten and warehouse, eat, bathe, homework, sleep. It was often implied as a complaint, but Ulquiorra had no problem with it. He was okay with the routine.


This morning, however, had been different. Grimmjow had gone somewhere early that morning, probably to his job. He did something with construction or demolition, Ulquiorra wasn't sure. He walked past their shared room; the door was opened. He could see Nel inside, and she was naked. His green eyes automatically slid over her body. Ulquiorra saw the blush on her face. He finally got to see what Grimmjow pointed out those first few days before he got stuck in the Gigai.


“Sorry,” she said quickly covering her body with a sheet. “I thought I was here alone.”


“No worries,” Ulquiorra said. He was going to walk past the room, but he couldn't get his feet to move. His brain seemed to be listening to his groin.


“You shouldn't stare,” she said. “It's considered rude.”


“I can't look, but it's okay for me to hear it?” Ulquiorra said, raising an eyebrow. Hollows mated but it was rare, and most of the time it was to show dominance or a spoil of battle. He did not comprehend the humans and their awkward mannerisms. He did not understand why the former Espadas would have adapted to their ways.


The blush on her face deepened. “You've heard us?”


“Is Grimmjow your mate?”


“You can't go around asking if people are mating each other! That's impolite!”


“But you are mating.”


“Uh, kind of?”


He drew his eyebrows together. “What is the purpose of it? You are the stronger Arrancar,” Ulquiorra pointed out.


Nel looked very annoyed as she sat up, holding the sheet to her chest. “We're pretty much humans at this point, Ulquiorra. Grimmjow and I've been here for a long time. In Hueco Mundo sure, a couple of years is nothing but the passage of time is slower here. Our Gigais have the same instincts as humans. We get hungry. We need sleep. We need sunlight, water, and air. We like to have sex.”


Sex? Sex? What was sex? He had only heard of the term mating. Nnoitra called it fucking but still. Was sex, mating and fucking the same thing? “What is the purpose?”


“Pleasure,” Nel answered, the blush intensifying across her face. “It feels good. How old are you? Shouldn't you know this stuff?”


“I am centuries old, but I've never seen any need to mate with anyone,” he replied. “There's no need for it.”


“Have you ever felt desire?”


“Yes. I experience it when I hear you and Grimmjow at night. I feel it when Yoruichi isn't wearing much or is in the hot springs in the basement. I felt it when seeing you with little to no clothing on,” he answered in a monotone voice. “What is your point?”


Nel sighed. “Could you turn around so I can get dressed?”


“I've already seen your body, why the modesty?” Ulquiorra was getting frustrated because Nel wasn't answering his questions. “Do you not wish me to see your body because you do not want to mate with me?”


Ulquiorra could have sworn Nel's eyebrows disappeared into her hair. The woman spluttered and flailed at a response, but she ended up shoving him out of the room and sliding the door shut as hard as she could.


With a scowl, he turned and stalked back down the hallway. He saw Urahara standing with a smirk plastered on his face. “Is something amusing?” the former Espada asked.


“Not at all,” the blond said, fetching his fan out of his sleeve. The former Shinigami flicked the object opened and held it in front of his face. “Do you have any plans for the rest of the day? There are some orders I need to be fulfilled; before you ask, Jinta and Ururu are both at school.”


He helped the blond Shinigami until he was hungry. He left the shoten and walked down to a convenience store that carried pre-made bento boxes. Ulquiorra did not like walking into grocery stores. He did not like being around large groups of people. The most he could tolerate were about two dozen humans at once. It was the most Arrancar he had been around in his life. He'd been around more Hollows, but he had killed them.


He paid for his purchase and was walking to the door of the shop when a blinding color stopped him. Ulquiorra almost dropped the bag that had his meal in it. Instinctively, his fingers tightened on the plastic and held onto the thing.




It had been coppery-red hair. He rushed out of the shop only to look both directions. The person with the hair was nowhere in sight.


Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.


His throat went dry, and he tried not to look disappointed as he walked back to Urahara's shop with his food. Was that Orihime? Had that been her walking past the store? How many people had that color hair?


Maybe he should ask Nel or maybe Yoruichi once he got back. Ulquiorra noticed he was close to the shop when he found himself face to face with an angry blue-haired human.


“Your ass is mine, Cifer. I'm gonna beat your face into the dirt!”


This was all he needed, he thought with a baleful expression on his face. “What have I done? Do you think you can defeat me?”


“You don't ask my woman to fuck you! You can't just sit around like an animal, screaming I want to fuck at every female,” Grimmjow yelled at him. “Humans aren't—”


“I'm not human. I am a Hollow. I am a Vasto Lordes. I am an Arrancar. I am an Espada,” Ulquiorra hissed. “I did not ask Nelliel to fuck her. If she does not want to be solicited, then please suggest that she wears clothing. Or better yet, why don't you two shut the fuck up at night.”

With that Ulquiorra threw the bag in his hands at Grimmjow's face and took off running. He wasn't sure where he was going, but he knew he didn't want to be around that damn building anymore.


Chapter Text

He spent the night in a park, tucked in the branches of a tree. It was fitting since he like trees. However this tree was not the same one in Hueco Mundo and in the morning he woke up feeling pain radiate through his spine.

When he found his tree, it hadn't caused him pain, even when the sharp spikes broke through his mask. This tree had made his back tight, and his legs cramp. This tree could go to hell, he thought with a disdained look.


Great, he was starting to think like Grimmjow.


Ulquiorra dropped down from the branches with a soft whump, scaring some animal that had wandered into the park. It took off scampering, and he watched as it moved. The sun was just dawning, and he used his Pesquisa sensing all those with notable spiritual pressure, The dark-haired Hollow could feel her and her husband. There was even another flicker of reiatsu in that home.


She had moved on. Orihime had gotten married. She had a child. She had a husband. The thought made him sneer. He wanted to evaporate the entire town of Karakura into a pile of ash and smoke with a Cero Oscuras.


The former Espada wanted to stomp his way to the Kurosaki household and demand a rematch with that orange-haired twit who thought he could win by morphing into a Hollow. It would be useless. Urahara said there was no way he could leave the Gigai. If he left the Gigai, then he would either have to go back to Hueco Mundo or die.


Only two choices but they were intrinsic ones. Live or die. Ulquiorra knew it was survival of the fittest if he chose to reenter the Garganta. In the World of the Living, life was just about that, living. Humans were stupid, but they were living their lives.


Maybe that's what he should do.


He was more or less a human now. He'd gone from the top of the spiritual food chain to the bottom in a matter of years. The time that had passed had gone by in a blink of an eye. In Hueco Mundo, time didn't matter. It was black outside of Los Noches while under that dome, the blue of the sky was so vivid it could make eyes water.


How long had he been in the world of the living? Three months, maybe more? It wasn't years like Grimmjow and Nelliel, and it wasn't centuries like Urahara. The only analogy that Ulquiorra could think of was the fact that maybe this entire human thing was like being wet.


Once you're wet, you're wet. More water doesn't make a difference. But then again, you could be soaked. So...there was a chance he was wet, but Ulquiorra didn't want to take a chance and get immersed entirely by plunging into a lake when he was already standing in a drizzling rain.


That's what he thought about this entire being stuck in a Gigai in the human world. For some reason, he was in a human body, but underneath the exterior, he was still an Espada. He was the Cuatro; the fourth; the only Arrancar with a second release. He was the Vasto Lordes that did not need to kill others to survive. He was a monster.


Would she see him as that monster?


Would she see him as human?


Would she remember him?


With a sigh, he took off walking to Urahara's shoten. It would do no good to brood now. When he arrived, he was roughly shoved away from the front entrance. He briefly saw Jinta's red hair, and he dug his heels into the dirt surrounding the building.


“Quit being a dick and get into the warehouse! Kisuke has some company coming, and you can't be here,” the boy snapped.


“Who is paying a visit? Shinigami? Human? Quincy?”


“It's none of your damn Hollow business. You need to stay out of the damn way and keep yourself hidden!”


So when Jinta shoved him into the warehouse and locked the door from the outside, he didn't say anything. He just went to the the trap door that would lead to the underground training area. This opening wouldn't put him anywhere near the ladder that descended to the ground. No, this opening was just a hole in the floor and a good drop to the rocky surface.


Ulquiorra was quite comfortable down here. He knew if he stuck his landing, he'd break his Gigai's ankles and legs. When he hit the hard surface, he rolled, cushioning the fall, letting his entire skeleton take the impact of the fall. Ulquiorra had not taken these forced exiled for granted. He had the opportunity to explore the whole training grounds. He knew every nook and cranny.


The dark-haired Arrancar knew there were several small caves dotted through the vast rock formations. There was some kind of hot spring that Yoruichi had a fondness for and used often. There were two posts that stuck out of the side of a cliff face. Urahara said those were just for decoration. The dark-skinned Shinigami said it was for a Garganta.


He could easily open one. Ulquiorra chose not too. It'd be the cause of a bunch of so-called “paperwork.” It'd been hell when he opened the portal the first time. Urahara lied. He had to talk down some Shinigamis, saying he needed a soil sample from Hueco Mundo. No one knew about the dangerous Arrancar he kept in his basement.


The former Espada found his favorite cave and crawled into it. It was by the hot springs, warm and inviting. He lay down with his head pointed toward the opening. The best thing about this cave was the calming, bubbling sound from the springs. It steadied his heartbeat and made him sleepy.


He was almost asleep when he heard a brash voice ring out. Grimmjow was down here. Ulquiorra was trapped in this cave.


“Come the fuck on, Kurosaki. I'm gonna beat your ass into these rocks. You're gonna enjoy it,” the blue-haired man shouted.


“Yeah, yeah. I'm coming Grimmjow.”


Ulquiorra bristled with anger; he was so focused on Kurosaki's voice that he almost missed Grimmjow's offhanded, “Yeah, you will be.”


There are two soft thumps and then the clang of metal. It's followed by a wave of reiatsu and grunting as metal protests over and over. This goes on and on for a full fifteen minutes until he can hear gasping. They're right by the hot springs.


He moves until he can see Grimmjow and Kurosaki. Grimmjow is sitting with his head on his knees, dragging deep breaths in, holding Pantera loosely in one hand. Kurosaki is on his hands and knees. He looks vulnerable Ulquiorra moves to pounce on the human. He wants to attack.




Ichigo had on the Shinigami uniform, and Grimmjow had his mask fragment. They were not restricted by their human bodies. Grimmjow could tear Ulquiorra's Gigai apart. The Shinigami could purify him, sending him to Hell because that's where all Espada ended up, at least that was the rumor. Maybe Hell was just a metaphor for Szayel's cold storage.


The groan that the human emits is what makes him stand down slightly. For now, he will be satisfied with watching, taking in the scene in front of him. What he witnesses makes his jaw drop and stare like he's catching flies.


Grimmjow threw his sword to the side and then crawled over to where Kurosaki was still trying to breathe normally. The cat-like Arrancar nuzzled the other man's using the maskless side of his face. The orange-haired man turned his head to capture Grimmjow's mouth in a faint kiss.


He knew he wouldn't be able to look away, Ulquiorra breathed shallowly. Their mouths pressed against each other now and soon Grimmjow breaks it to strip off his jacket and stand up. They were getting naked. There were two muscled bodies wrapped around each other. Grimmjow thick and corded with muscle that was tensed. Kurosaki was lean but just as sharply cut.


“God, Kurosaki, I can't wait to be inside you.”


“You're impatient!”


As far as Ulquiorra knew Hollows were not monogamous, but humans were. A lot of humans became angry when their mates went to look for others to copulate with. There was a groan and panting, and Ulquiorra looked up to see Grimmjow had Kurosaki's body pinned to his own, quickly grinding their hips together, hands kneading the male's pale and sparsely freckled buttocks.


“Fuck, Grimmjow. I told you to wait. Can't you wait until we get into the water?” the orange-haired man sounded miffed, but his face painted a very different picture.


“Why wait when I can have you now?” came the response. “You know you want it, Ichigo.”


Ichigo? Why would Grimmjow address Kurosaki by his name? What was going on here? Ulquiorra didn't dare scoot any further towards the entrance of the hole. He didn't want to be caught especially by those two.


“It doesn't matter if I want it! Someone could come down and see us. We have—Nnnngh—this conversation every time I come around.” Kurosaki's hair was plastered to his forehead and his eyes closed. “Let's just get into the water, and you can do whatever you want to me.”


Grimmjow gave a grunt and then picked up the orange-haired man. “In you go then,” he said with a smirk.


The other male hit the hot surface of the water with a splash. He came up spluttering and cursing Grimmjow's existence. “You bastard!”


The blue-haired Hollow threw his head back and laughed. “Oh, you should see your face. Are you mad at me? You wanted the water. I helped you into it.”


“Just get in here, asshole.”


Grimmjow eased his body into the water and immediately went for Kurosaki. Ulquiorra was enthralled. There wasn't much else he could do since he was stuck in this damn cave. His eyes took in the sight and sounds before him.


Kurosaki was bent over the rocks at the side of the spring, Grimmjow behind him. Their bodies slapped together.


“You feel so fucking good.”


“Shut up and fuck me harder.”


“Does your wife fuck you this good?”


Shut up.”


“You like taking my cock? Tell me, Kurosaki or I'll stop.”


“Hnnngh. You know I do, Grimmjow.”


“That's a good boy, Ichigo.”


On and on their activities continued. Their obscene words continued. The black haired male stuck in the cave realized he had an erection, but there was no way he was going to do anything about it. Even when he heard Nel and Grimmjow mating, Ulquiorra never touched himself. There was something that didn't make sense to participate in that activity if there wasn't another partner.


Mating made no sense. Sex made no sense.


Ulquiorra shifts his hips and swallows the gasp that threatened to come out of his mouth because of the friction against his body. Fuck. Was that what Nel meant by pleasure? Damn it all to hell.


The sloshing of water became erratic. Kurosaki's crying out and biting his lip. Grimmjow's head is thrown back, and the blue-hair Arrancar let out a long groan. Then it was quiet. The men are panting again. Grimmjow separated himself from Kurosaki and had his back turned to the Shinigami.


Ulquiorra can see Kurosaki, who has his head in his hands and is quietly mumbling something. Who was he talking to? Was he talking to Grimmjow? Was he talking to himself?


“You shouldn't stay gone for so long,” Grimmjow commented as he turned back to the other male.


Kurosaki scoffed. “What?”


“I'm just saying,” Grimmjow stated before dunking his head under the water. He came up flinging water from his skin. “I wouldn't be so aggressive if you came around more. I'm already starving when you do come around.”


“If you even think about taking a bite of me, I'll run you through with my—”


“Nah, not like that, Ichigo. I meant I'm hungry for your body. Nel's okay but—”


Shut up.” The Shinigami is turning red. Ulquiorra realizes that the man is blushing, the coloring isn't just from the heat of the hot springs. “You know I can't come down here that often. You like leaving bruises. Besides, Orihime doesn't like to be reminded of things. Once in a while is okay but I can't make weekly trips just so you can get yourself off, Grimmjow. Use your damn hand, pervert.”


With that Kurosaki gets out of the hot spring and stalks off. Grimmjow huffs, grumbles, and follows him.


There's a word that comes to mind. Cheating. Infidelity. That's what he just witnessed. Ulquiorra waits until he heard the creak of the ladder and then the trap door swinging open and thudding shut. The scowl on his face is volatile because Grimmjow had a lovely woman in the form of Nel. Kurosaki had a perfectly good woman, his wife, waiting at home for him with their offspring.


Yet, the two men weren't satisfied and were mating with each other?


Kurosaki's woman. Orihime Kurosaki. His woman. At one point in time, he did consider the redhead to be his because Lord Aizen had entrusted the human with the peculiar power to him. He was her caretaker, her protector, her jailer, and her tormentor.


Ulquiorra sighed, running his hand through his hair. He didn't want to start trouble, but he had a nagging feeling that this wasn't fair to the two females. If they found out on their own, it wouldn't be as bad as someone pointing out that their mates were fucking each other.


Chapter Text

Ulquiorra emerged from the trapdoor an hour later. He had to make sure everyone was gone, and Grimmjow wouldn't suspect him of spying on the tryst he saw. He wasn't that lucky. The entire house was in an uproar.

It's all because they think he's missing.

Urahara sat at the low table, fanning himself while Yoruichi yelled at the blond. Jinta was fighting with Ururu. Tessai was standing like a stone statue, looking angry at the teenagers who were trying to bicker. Grimmjow was standing against one wall looking bored while Nel bit her lip. All the noise stopped when he walked into that room with the tatami floor.

“See! I told you that prick didn't escape!” Jinta crowed, hitting Ururu on the arm. The red-haired teen was gloating.

“Where did you go Cifer?”

“I was in the training facility,” Ulquiorra said. He noticed Grimmjow's briefly panicked expression. “As soon as Jinta shoved me into the warehouse, I used the hatch in there to get to the basement.”

“You've been down there this entire time?” Grimmjow asked, his voice carefully masked. Ulquiorra's green eyes cut over to the blue-haired male. There was an unasked question in there, one Grimmjow was asking with his eyes.

Did you see anything? Were you down there while I was fucking Kurosaki?

He gave a curt nod. The panic in Grimmjow's eyes flared more. Ulquiorra looked away from him. “I apologize for causing havoc. I did not want to be locked in the warehouse. I have a phone; next time, please use it to inform me when there are guests. I would have stayed where I was instead of coming back to the shoten.”

Ulquiorra quietly made his way past the inhabitants of the house and went to his room. He sat down at the desk in the room and proceeded to open a notebook. He had some coursework to look over. He would be starting a new class this week. It was an elective in creative writing.

It wasn't even two minutes later that Grimmjow shoved his door aside and came in without an invitation.

“You little shit!”

“I would keep your voice down,” Ulquiorra replied, not looking up from the paper he was staring at. He wasn't reading the words, merely trying to look occupied.

A big hand clamped onto the back of his neck, and Ulquiorra felt his head jerk back. Grimmjow was in his face. “What did you see?” he growled.

“I'm not sure I understand what you're asking, Grimmjow.”

“You know what I fucking mean! What did you see?”

“Rocks? Dirt? The back of my eyelids?” came the reply. Ulquiorra would not let the man rile him up. There was no need for it. When the time was right, he would reveal what he knew. If somehow the mating between Nel and Grimmjow were severed then it would balance things out.

Humans were not Hollows. They didn't follow mating rituals or customs. They were not polyamorous. It didn't seem right for Hollows to be fucking Humans.

Grimmjow glared at him. “I don't fucking believe you. How could anyone sleep when Kurosaki and I were sparring?”

Ulquiorra scoffed and pinched the hand Grimmjow had around his neck. “Let me go. I did not see anything. I fell asleep because I was practically awake all night. If you have a guilty conscience that is on you, not me. Are you doing things that you shouldn't be doing?”

As much as he wanted to, Ulquiorra refrained from saying, people. He didn't want to go to his classes tomorrow with a black eye or split lip. The blue-haired man left with a scoff, and that was the last of that. Except for that night when he was laying on his futon in his room, listening to Grimmjow and Nel have sex, something inside of him wanted to feel what the female called pleasure. He would not give in to this instinct.

So he got out of bed and silently slid the door to the side. Ulquiorra walked across the hall and tapped on the other door.

There was a growl and some rustling of sheets. Nel murmured something, and the door came open an inch. “Yes?”

“You are being loud,” Ulquiorra stated, trying hard not to let his eyes flicker through that gap to the rest of her body.

That blush bloomed and bled onto her face. Ulquiorra watched as Nel swallowed. “Oh, sorry.”

Without another word, Ulquiorra walked back into his room and shut the door, glaring at the tented fabric of his pajama pants. This body was a turncoat. This body was a miscreant. This body was the enemy. This body was defective.

Ulquiorra sighed and went back to his futon and laid down. He woke to the sun shining the next morning. He went through his morning routine, annoyed that he had to use things like bathrooms. It vexed him that he had to eat and drink. It irritated him that he needed sleep.

When he was an Espada, he rarely needed to eat, drink or sleep. One time he sat down on the woman's couch and closed his eyes. He'd been out all night patrolling the wastes around Los Noches. Idiot Hollows who thought they could overtake the stronghold had to be put down.

Killing them and releasing energy was taxing. He was almost dead on his feet when he delivered her meal that day. Then she had the audacity to address him as a human.

The male shook his head, black locks flying in his face. Being human meant the same thing over and over. It meant sleeping every night. It meant eating meals every day. It meant hydrating every couple of hours. It was routine.

He rather liked water and tea but didn't like the substance called alcohol or soda. Juice was tolerable in small amounts. Those coffee drinks from the vending machines that dotted the city were okay when he ran low on sleep. Today would be one of those days where he would hit up a vendie to get a burst of energy.

The rest of the night had proved to be frustrating as he could still hear Grimmjow and Nel mating. The erection in his loose pajama pants mocked him by not going away. He had turned on his stomach, squirming to feel the friction for a moment but forced himself to go to sleep.

He was tired as he caught the train to go to where his university was at. He got himself a coffee drink from the machine and was drinking it as he walked into the classroom. Ulquiorra tried to keep to himself when he was around other people. Sometimes it worked, other times not so much. Women would come up to him and speak to him in a shy manner. There would be moments where men would do the same.

It was the same response time and again. Ulquiorra would brush them off or stare at them with an expression so blank or cold that he'd feel guilty when the person would turn away. It wasn't his fault these people couldn't see him for the apathetic creature that he was. It wasn't an act.

Ulquiorra tried as hard as he could not to feel anything, pushing down anything that threatened to come to the surface of his uncaring mask. He did not want to feel frustrated (but it was already too late for that). He didn't want to experience jealousy (again. it was too late). He didn't want the anger; the desire; the curiosity; the overwhelming emotions that humans dealt with on a daily basis.

Maybe he should have just ignored Grimmjow yesterday and focused on his schedule; he might have noticed it. Perhaps he was so preoccupied with his thoughts and grievances; he wasn't paying attention so when he walked into the room where the class was to be held, Ulquiorra was shocked to find his vision filled with coppery-red hair, a scattering of freckles, and aquamarine hairpins.

She was as short as she ever was. Her dark eyes were full of joy and wonder. Her figure was slightly fuller with motherly hips and a shapely waist. His breath was taken from his lungs, and Ulquiorra tried desperately to make his lungs function. Ulquiorra could feel his own heart beating wildly.

When her eyes fell on his form standing in the doorway, they became full and startled. Her hands came up to her chest, palm laying flat against her sweater.

It was Orihime Inoue—Wait. No. That wasn't right. That wasn't her name.

It was Orihime Kurosaki.


Chapter Text



Run. Run. Run.


That's all his brain was screaming at him. He wanted to run. He wanted to leave. He didn't care if it would be rude. Ulquiorra wanted to bolt from that classroom faster than anything. He'd gladly use Sonido to leave her presence.


Her eyes were darting over his face and his body. She looked puzzled. That head of orangey-copper hair tilted to the side slightly.


Someone bumped Ulquiorra, and it broke the spell she had on him. He glanced around, quickly assessing the situation. Maybe she was a student. Maybe she had nothing to do with this class. Maybe—His eyes went to the whiteboard in the front of the room. Three words graced the surface in elegant handwriting.


Professor Orihime Kurosaki.


Well, wasn't this nice. Shit. How would he survive this class period?


He would have to see someone to get his elective changed to something that Orihime Kurosaki didn't teach. For now, he would have to grin and bear this torture. He took a seat in the last row of tables in the back of the classroom, putting his bag into the seat next to him.


It served a purpose; to deter anyone from sitting next to him if his frigid stare didn't get the point across. It worked, most of the college students avoided his stare and vicinity. The only person whose eyes looked in his direction was the woman standing in front of the class.


“Hello, my name is Orihime Ino—Kurosaki. Orihime Kurosaki. I'll be your teacher for this class,” the redhead said in a quiet voice. “Your first assignment for me will be an easy one.”


Ulquiorra listened to the woman talk, her voice a soothing blanket over his nerves but he knew this was a false sense of security. He could not be here. This would cause a whole slew of conflict that he didn't want to deal with at the moment. Did Urahara know that this woman worked here? Is this why he was so set on Ulquiorra attending classes?


He should kill the former Shinigami for meddling with fate.


Then again... Maybe Urahara was trying to help. Did the man know about the forbidden activities that happened when Grimmjow and Kurosaki sparred?


He had witnessed the woman's husband fornicating with a Hollow. Ulquiorra was sure that this fell under some variety of misconduct or something. He wasn't human and barely remembered his own human life, but he knew that humans were mostly monogamous.


“Your assignment is this,” Orihime said with a smile. “Every time you have class I'm going to give you a prompt. Write about it. Write me a story, a narrative. It can be fictional, fantasy, alternate universe, first person, third person; I want to read your words.”


There was a murmur through the class.


“I'll collect your notebooks at the end of the week. Three stories a week. I'd like them to be at least one hundred words long,” the redhead stated. “Does anyone have any questions about the assignment? Does anyone have any questions for me?”


“How long have you been teaching?” Someone near the front asked.


“This is my first year teaching. I graduated last year, so you don't have to call me professor or anything,” the teacher replied. “I'm just like you, human. So if there are no more inquiries, your first writing prompt is—”


She paused, and Ulquiorra looked up to see she was staring straight at him. It made him shift in his seat. What if she thought he was a monster? What if she didn't recognize him?


“Your first prompt is 'What is the heart?'”


Oh, no. She remembered who he was. He sat there as other students brought out notebooks, laptops, and pens. For some long minutes, all that could be heard was the soft taps of fingers hitting keys and the scratching of writing implements against the paper. Ulquiorra was currently avoiding the woman's dark gaze, his eyes darting where he couldn't see her.


Finally, he saw her out of the corner of his eye. She was standing at the table he was sitting at.


She bent down. Ulquiorra's green eyes shifted to the side, but he said nothing. He would not say anything to her. He didn't plan on interacting with her at all.


"You're not going to write?" she asked, her voice so low it was almost inaudible. He barely shook his head. "Do you have time to stay after class?"


A slight nod, though Ulquiorra didn't know why he agreed to stay. Nothing she had to say would make him stay in this course. He had to see someone about switching classes and do so immediately! He sat like a petulant brat in the back of the class, watching as Orihime moved around the tables, answering questions and laughing with others.


The ninety minutes passed by slowly. He felt every one of those seconds because he was captivated by that redhead.


Those five years he had been gone had done nothing to squash his curiosity and admiration for her. She still radiated beauty. She still glowed from within. She always saw the good in everyone, even himself.


Did he deserve it? Probably not, especially with what he had seen the other day. Ulquiorra planned to use that information to the fullest extent he possibly could but for what reason he did not know.


"Alright, I'll see you guys on Wednesday! I hope you have a good night and remember to write!" Orihime called out as the students began to pack their belongings away.


Ulquiorra remained sitting in the back of the classroom, with his arms folded across his chest. Once the room was empty and Orihime closed the door, she didn't turn around. "It's really you, isn't it?"


At this point, he could have denied everything, but Ulquiorra was pretty sure that his reactions prior to this would be a contradiction. "Yes, Woman."


"Are you—"


"Human? Reborn from a soul?" Ulquiorra scoffed. "Don't fool yourself. I'm a Hollow. I'm still an Espada. I'm still an Arrancar."


"You died."


"I disintegrated. I told Ichigo Kurosaki if he didn't kill me then there wouldn't be a winner; there would be no closure. Your husband didn't kill me." The way he spat out the word husband made her flinch.


Orihime sighed, still facing the door. "So, you know about that."


He almost snorted with contempt. "Of course, I do. I constantly have people rubbing it into my face. Orihime Kurosaki, Ichigo Kurosaki's wife. Orihime had a baby."


He couldn't help the anger that bled into his voice.


She finally turned around to face him, and he had to brace himself. “Why are you here?” she asked. Orihime walked away from the door and back to where he sat at the table. She looked injured or wounded. “What made you come to Karakura? Why are you in my classroom?”


Ulquiorra looked away from her, the corners of his mouth turning down to form a frown. He had no wish to tell her why he was in Karakura because that would be a one-word answer. How could he say that one word to her? “I am in a Gigai,” he answered. “I thought that much would be obvious, Woman. My spiritual pressure can kill humans or have you forgotten that?”


“You've avoided the question.” Orihime was standing across from him, arms in the same position as his, folded across her chest.


“What do you want me to say?” he asked. His green eyes cut over to her and Ulquiorra stared at her. He knew this had been a mistake. He should have never agreed to stay and talk to her.


“I want you to tell me why you are here! I want to know why you came to Karakura!” the redhead stated. “Why didn't you stay in Hueco Mundo? Where the hell have you been for five years? How did you avoid the Quincy army running all over the place?”


Ulquiorra stood up and grabbed his book bag. He wasn't going to sit there and answer her nonsensical questions. She didn't have any right to know the answer to them. He wasn't under any obligation to give her those answers. He needed to get away from her before he embarrassed himself.


She huffed. “You're going to run?


In a quiet voice, “I was in Hueco Mundo after you kidnapped me. I kept looking around to see if maybe you weren't dead; maybe that you'd come back and look for me. After the defeat of Yhwach, I gave up. I thought maybe I did feel a flicker of you, but Urahara said there wasn't anything there. Then Grimmjow—”




“Yes, Grimmjow. He helped during that war. He and Nel helped out. Ichigo and Grimmjow are friends and—”


He couldn't help it. The barking laughter rang out through the empty room. “Friends?”


“Yes, they're friends. They don't hang out that much anymore since Kazui was born.”


His expression became stone. She must have been talking about her offspring. Why did she have to bring him up? Why did she have to even bring up her husband?


“You got your five lifetimes,” Ulquiorra sneered. He hoped her badgering of question would stop, but it didn't.


“Why did you come here?”


He wanted to destroy her at that moment. He wanted to show her what nothing felt like. Ulquiorra said nothing as he left the classroom.


I came here because of you, he thought as he left the university campus and made his way to the train station.


Chapter Text

The train trip back to Karakura was agonizing. He had completely forgotten to go see an authority figure about changing classes. His anger concerning the situation simmered slowly. Ulquiorra knew he was going to chase the former Shinigami down and murder him in cold blood. Urahara must have known what classes he had chosen. He must have seen the teachers listed by the class names!


This humiliation was done on purpose by the calculating bastard! What was the point?


He stood on the train and fumed. He walked from the train station to the shoten still seething. The building was silent when he entered through the front door.


Was he a glutton for punishment? Why did he even talk to her? Why didn't he just follow his instincts and run? He should have just denied his existence to her. He should have left with the rest of the students. This was going to end horribly, Ulquiorra could feel it in his gut.


Rarely was he wrong about these things.


He went to his room, depositing his bag on the desk. Ulquiorra stood there feeling his anger slowly ebbing, and he had to wonder what was causing it. He needed to be angry! He needed this emotion to fill his person because if the resentment were stripped away, then other emotions would invade. There was no room in his life for anything but apathy and anger. There was no need for desire, pleasure, jealousy or feelings of affection especially towards a woman who had manipulated him!


She had cried over her orange-haired friend when Ulquiorra killed him. She spoke to him about 'the heart' and what it meant! As he was defeated and returning to the sands of Hueco Mundo, she gave him that false hope that she actually cared about him by reaching for his hand seconds too late.


Orihime Inoue had ruined him.


Orihime Kurosaki. Whatever her fucking name was, Ulquiorra didn't care! Dammit, he would never get used to that change. He blindly grabbed an object off his desk and launched it at the wall hard enough to break the cup that held pens and pencils and take a chunk of plaster out of the wall.


“Ah, Cifer. You're back. You're home.”


Ulquiorra turned his head to see the blond shopkeeper. He wanted to sneer and rant about this not being home but a prison. He found that he didn't have the energy for it. “What do you want?”


“Nothing really, I'm just testing out a new invention of mine,” Urahara replied with a sly smile. “It dampens bad emotions.”


“Bad emotions?”


“Anger, violent tendencies, and the like,” the man replied.


“What if I came in here praising kittens and spewing rainbows?”


“I'd question your sanity and wonder what effects the Gigai had on your psyche.”


There was a snort of contempt again. Ulquiorra found the more he was around people, the more he liked being by himself. He craved isolation. “You knew. You planned this. You meddled. You knew about today,” he said in a cruel tone.


The blond man lifted one shoulder in a shrug and merely said, “Perhaps. You have a visitor.”


Vivid green eyes looked at the former Shinigami. “Tell them to go away. I want to be left alone.”


“You wanted this,” Urahara stated. “Why are you running from it?”


“Tch.” Why was he running from it? Why would he possibly be running from it; from her? Orihime Kurosaki had a damn husband! She had a child! He expected her to be pure and pristine for him!

“You expected the situation to be different, didn't you?” Urahara said in a quiet tone.


Ulquiorra remained silent. He turned away from the shopkeeper and folded his arms over his chest. “I want to be left alone. Tell whoever it is that they can go away.”


The door to his room was shut, the breath in his lungs left him, and Ulquiorra collapsed to his knees. What the hell was he doing here? Why? Just why? What the hell was he doing in the World of the Living when he had no business being among humans? Honestly, what had he expected? Did he actually expect Orihime to forget about her 'five lifetimes of love'? Did Ulquiorra expect her to cast aside a human for the company of an undead creature?


He was pathetic. He was so pathetic to think a human could feel anything for him. He was nothing.


The door slid open again, and Ulquiorra turned around to sneer at whoever was disturbing his unstable silence. His eyes widened in surprise. “What are you doing here?”


Orihime gently slid the door shut and then turned to face him. “You left,” she murmured. “I wasn't going to let you go. Not when I have more to say to you, Ulquiorra Cifer.”


“How did you find me?”


“I texted Nel. I asked her where you were living. I drove from the university to Karakura to finish our conversation. Kisuke told me that you weren't accepting company.” Orihime walked over to him and lowered herself to her knees and sat back on her feet. She shook her head and bit her lip. “Five years.”


“What do you want, Orihime?”


She seemed almost taken aback that he had used her first name. “I want answers,” she answered him.


He shook his head and scoffed. She wanted answers? What a ridiculous idea! Why would she need answers? Why would she even— “Go home to your husband,” he glowered, making sure to stress that word that he was beginning to loathe.


“He's not home. He's a police officer.”


“Hmph, seems you've taken a liking to men in uniforms,” he retorted. “You don't want answers. You want me to soothe your guilt. I saw your face before I turned to ash. The sorrow. The remorse. The regret. Do you even realize what you did?”


Suddenly the woman became interested in the floor, so Ulquiorra continued with his dialogue. He stood up and looked down on Orihime. His voice was low and deadly sounding. “You killed me, Woman. You summoned that Vasto Lordes with your powers and you murdered me. I'll tell you what the heart is; it's lies. You were afraid of me.”


A sob rang through the room. He could see the tears fall from her eyes and onto her lap where they soaked into the fabric of her clothes. If he was a different creature or an actual human, he might not have said those words or comforted her in some way.


But he wasn't.


He was Ulquiorra Cifer; Espada, Arrancar, Hollow.


He held a grudge against this woman and her mate.


He really wanted to say that he hated her, but the words had no conviction behind them. They were lies. They were fake. Ulquiorra realized this quickly. He had to refrain from pulling her into his arms. He clenched his fist, nails biting into the palms of his hands.


He would not give into these human urges. He would not entertain these desires.


The tears continued, and he remained stoic, staring at the redhead's shuddering form. “Why?”


“Huh?” She hiccuped.


“Why? Why did you summon the Vasto Lordes?” Ulquiorra asked. He was genuinely curious.


“I didn't,” Orihime finally replied after several minutes. She looked up at him. “Can you remember what happened?”


He nodded. Ulquiorra never forgot what happened that day. Every detail of that battle was etched into his memories. He recalled morphing into his different release forms, killing Kurosaki for the second time while the woman watched him with wide, horror-filled eyes. She had cried and tried to revive her friend. He saw the fear on her face as he and the long-haired Hollow fought. He witnessed the anguish as he began to fade.


The most memorable thing?


The way the tears ran down her face because she couldn't grab onto his hand or fingers and hold them. By the time she had gained the courage, it had already begun to disintegrate.


He even remembered every word he said to her.


“I was afraid of you when I saw your second release. A gigantic bat? No, you looked like a demon. I felt how much power you had; it was suffocating. I knew I couldn't defeat you. I knew if Uryu tried to fight you, you'd kill him,” Orihime sniffled. “I needed Ichigo. I didn't want you to hurt my friends or me.”


His murky green eyes blew wide open. Hurt her? Hurt her? Was she blind? Did that woman not see all he did to protect her? Did she not realize what he had sacrificed for her? He defied Lord Aizen because of her! He contradicted his own morals, ideas, and values for her!


Ulquiorra would never harm her. It was the reason he'd approach the Vasto Lordes one last time. He protected her, and that monster was going to hurt her.


“You're quiet.”


“Thinking, Woman.”


“Why did you reach out to me?” The question was asked softly, almost tenderly. “What did you mean by you were 'taking an interest' in us?”


His eyes closed. Those final words he said were coming back to haunt him. Yes, it was true. He had said them, but the truth of the matter was that he was only taking an interest in the female. That's why he fought Kurosaki. That's why he defied Aizen and destroyed a good portion of Los Noches.


“If I answer, will that satisfy your curiosity? Will that make you run to me instead of him? Will that change the past?” Those three questions were out of his mouth without thinking. Ulquiorra sighed. Damn this body and damn him for even thinking those things. He turned his head away from her, planning on delivering a verbal death blow. “Will you go away?”


Orihime seemed to be at a loss for words. The tears kept welling in her eyes. Ulquiorra knew this woman was full of tenderness, affection, and determination that would not be quieted. He inhaled and then exhaled in a long breath, trying to still and calm his mind. He couldn't do it. The only thought running through his head was to touch her. His hands practically itched to do it.


Ulquiorra wanted to stop this madness, but he found that he couldn't. The thoughts of her body coupled with Kurosaki's did nothing for his state of mind. It fueled the desire, imagining her sans clothing but the irritation grew because he knew what Kurosaki looked like while getting fucked and coming to a climax.


He shook his head. He couldn't do this right now. He didn't want to do this right now. It wouldn't be right to capitalize on her emotional state to get what he wanted.


Two wrongs never did make anything right.


Chapter Text

“You're not making any sense,” Orihime said, staring up at his passive face. Ulquiorra turned his head back to her. “You say that Ichigo didn't kill you, but you're saying I murdered you?”

“Tch. Of course, it wouldn't make sense to you. Your husband didn't kill me. That child refused to put an end to me. Your other friend, the Quincy, he also was responsible for this! He stopped the Hollow from executing me and giving me the death I deserved! You did this when you summoned the Hollow. How did you do it?”


His rant was put to an end as his head whipped to the side, a hand print blooming pink and livid on his pale skin. The pain stung as it spread across his cheek. She had smacked him for the second time. This human had the audacity to touch him with violence twice now. Keeping his head turned, he looked at Orihime out of the corner of his eye.

The redhead had stood up and looked at him, a fiery look in her eyes. “I did not summon the Hollow Ichigo turned into,” Orihime said in a calm voice. “I was trying to help him! Why did you even kill him in the first place? What was the point, Ulquiorra?”

“What was the point? The point was to show you that your friends were gone and you had no ties to them! I did it to help you focus on what Lord Aizen wanted—”

“Aizen didn't want me to do anything. He used all of the Espada as pawns. You were nothing to him,” she countered.

“ We were supposed to win though,” Ulquiorra spat. “I knew we were sacrifices for Aizen. We were to keep the Shinigami occupied while Aizen built the key. I knew that. I was nothing. I am nothing.”

“You're wrong.”

That statement hung heavy in the air. He was wrong? How could he be wrong? He was the aspect of nothing! He reveled in nihilism. His middle name could very well be Nothing.

“Why am I wrong?”

“Because I've never thought you were nothing. While I was captive in Hueco Mundo, you were all I had,” Orihime answered.

That feeling was back. The one where he just wanted to grab her and press his lips against hers. It was raging in his head and around his nerves. What would it feel like? What would it be like to kiss her? What would it feel like to touch her?

“Yet you picked your friend who never looked at you in that manner over someone who gave their life for you,” Ulquiorra said in a flat monotone voice. This statement seemed like a physical blow because she flinched. “Think about that. I gave my life to protect you from the monster you created.”

“We could go back and forth on this all day. It won't get us anywhere,” Orihime said. She reached out to touch his arm which he quickly evaded. He didn't want her to touch him because if she touched him, that would open up possibilities for temptation. He didn't want to be manipulated by her a second time.

"You need to leave, Woman," Ulquiorra said in a brusque voice.

"You're uncomfortable with me being here, aren't you?"

"Your husband doesn't know I'm alive. I'd like to keep it that way until I'm ready to confront him."

No one in the Soul Society knew he had returned. That's the way it had to be. He had no desire to kill anyone other than Kurosaki, and he didn't want to be put on trial in front of a group of pretentious Shinigami who thought they had the right to judge other soul creatures.

Her mouth dropped open, and she stared at him like he had said something vile. "You're going to confront him? Why? What for?"

"My battle with him was never concluded. It was never resolved. Perhaps you missed that part of the conversation on top of the dome when my body began to fade away," Ulquiorra sneered. "Either way, you need to leave."

The woman visibly drooped. “I tried rejecting your death. Uryu thought I was crazy. After Ichigo left the top of the dome, I just kind of collapsed to my knees. All I could do was stare at where you stood. All I saw was black ashes and white sand. It was in a pile and blowing away.”

He clenched his jaw. He didn't want to hear this. He didn't want to listen to a sob story from her of all people. “Silence,” he ground out.

“I barely touched your hand, and it was gone. You were gone,” Orihime let out a ragged sob. “I didn't want to cry, but I couldn't help it. I knew what I did. I had trained so that I wouldn't have to rely on Ichigo but what happened? I ended up needing him. I was a mess, Ulquiorra. I really was. If I was distraught after seeing you blast through Ichigo with a Cero—I couldn't. I had to help Uryu from where Ichigo stabbed him.”

”I don't care!”

“My fairies healed him, and then I went—no, I ran back to the last remaining specks of ashes, I called my Soten Kisshun,” the woman continued clearly ignoring the Espada's commands. “Nothing happened. The two came out and flew around. They explained there was nothing there to reject. I said it so many times that I started screaming. Uryu said—”

“I SAID I DON'T CARE! I don't want to hear about your pity party or your regret, Woman! I want you to leave!” The outburst startled him, and Ulquiorra swallowed hard.

The third sob ripped through the room, and it sounded desperate. It almost made him reconsider things, what exactly Ulquiorra didn't know.

Orihime reached out to him, grabbing his hand. Ulquiorra snatched it out of her frail grasp. “Please,” she sniffled. “I waited for you for a long time. I was told by everyone to move on. Grimmjow told me to put it behind me. He told me that you didn't care. You couldn't.”


She said nothing as she turned around and left the room. Ulquiorra didn't emerge from his room for the rest of the night. When the shoten was utterly silent, he slid open his door. He wasn't surprised to see Nel waiting for him.

He ignored her, walking down the hall. He wanted to leave this place. He wanted to be stripped of this Gigai. He wanted to be gone from this mortal hell. He quickly moves through the building to get outside of the oppressive walls. He heard someone walking behind him. It was Nel. Well, Nel could go to hell with everyone else.

“You won't give her a chance?” Nel asked once they were outside.

“Why should I?” He didn't care about the redhead or her feelings at the moment. No one cared about his emotions. No one cared about his mental state. That stupid, blonde, busybody Shinigami did not care about anything, only doing things because it amused him! Help? The Shinigami didn't help; he manipulated people to his own designs.

“Ulquiorra,” Nel said.

He wasn't going to listen to anyone. He came here for one thing, and that was the woman. It all changed once Ulquiorra found out she wedded and bedded the same person who ended him. He was now out for retribution. He was here for revenge. When the time and place presented it, he would kill Ichigo Kurosaki. He would end Orihime Inoue.






Chapter Text

The next time he had to go to the university, Ulquiorra left the shoten earlier than necessary to talk to someone about switching classes. He left the man's office angrier than he arrived. The advisor said that he should stick with the class and that pretty much all the classes that could be a substitute for the Creative Writing class were full.

The school official didn't care if Ulquiorra had no interest in writing or if he had a problem with the teacher. It was a grin and bear it or drop the class, picking up another elective once the new term started. Doing this would push his graduation back. He would not be reimbursed for the course and would pay extra for another class.

Ulquiorra entered the classroom. It was completely empty save for Orihime. She was sitting at the podium looking depressed and dejected. Her exhausted expression was haunting, and she merely glanced at him when he walked up to her.

“Unfortunate as it is, I'm staying in this class,” he stated, his voice flat and without inflection. “I'm not doing your writing assignments. It has nothing to do with my degree.”

“You'll fail,” she mumbled, looking away from him. This didn't sound like the woman he had come to know. This wasn't the Orihime he remembered. Something was wrong. It was like she didn't care at the moment. “Why not just stay at home? Why even come in? Why don't you go back to Hueco Mundo?”

He wanted to get angry at her words, but he had asked himself the same things days ago when he was trying to work things out. His mind tried to work out the possible scenarios. The thought of staying at the shoten to avoid her was almost plausible. He didn't feel like spending that much time around Urahara and the others. He couldn't stand the Shinigami. He didn't like the way Grimmjow leveled the angry stare at him, daring Ulquiorra to say something. He didn't appreciate the way Nel glanced at him with those doe eyes.

Ulquiorra had spent the better part of the last couple of days, wandering around Karakura, thinking. He came to the decision that he didn't hate Orihime. He held no ill will towards her.

It wasn't her fault Aizen had tricked them. It wasn't her fault he learned what the heart was a little too late. It wasn't her fault he secretly fell in love with her, but at that moment, Ulquiorra wasn't ready to admit he had been in that deep of an emotional state.

After spending hours mulling over their conversation, he felt there was something he was missing. Why had she given him details of what occurred after his death? Did she try to save him? Ulquiorra would never know because he wouldn't talk to the other two individuals that had been on top of that dome. He would only have her words to go on.



“You're quiet again.”

All he said was, “Thinking.”

And thinking he was because he couldn't help but feel lost.

“Did you need something else?”

“No, Woman.”

He walked to the back of the room, feeling her eyes on him, his hands itched. He wanted to tell her everything that was on his mind, but Ulquiorra didn't dare to though. It would reopen old wounds and just make him angry and miserable again.

He had to reacquaint himself with that feeling. As an Espada, he never did get angry, merely frustrated. Even as a human, the only time he experienced anger was when those men invaded his home and took his family.

Ulquiorra was almost to his table when he stopped walking, turning to the redhead. “We need to talk again,” he said. “Not today but soon.”

She just nodded.

Two weeks later, he was in the basement hiding away from whatever guests Urahara had over. He had been invited to join the group, but he declined. Grimmjow glared at him as he entered the training grounds. He was tucked nicely away in his cave by the hot springs when he heard the hatch open. Ulquiorra didn't care.

“I know you're down here.”

In an instant his body froze, Orihime's voice echoed in the vast area. Why was she here? Why wasn't she at home with her husband and child? Did she torture him enough with her presence in class?

Hearing the crunch of footsteps, Ulquiorra's face snapped up, head turning toward the entrance of the cave. He could see Orihime's legs, clad in a pair of jeans.

“Where are you?”

He didn't answer. Ulquiorra's expression became stern as he watched Orihime turn and walk with her back facing him. Those pants were form-fitting, and it made a sensation stir in his groin. Why did she have this effect on his body?


Nel explained it was a very natural part of the Gigai. Desire was something that everyone experienced on some level. It could range from minute to something substantial. What he experienced for each woman was different. He knew he lusted for Nel and her body. This was a minute desire.

For Orihime what he felt was vastly different. It was more complicated; more intense. He needed to face her about this.

He sighed. “What woman?”

Immediately, she crouched down and looked into the small cave. “I knew you were around here somewhere. That Gigai doesn't mask your reiatsu completely. Can I join you?”

“No,” he retorted. “What do you want? Why are you here?”

She ignored his answer and started scooting through the entrance feet first. “Kazui is with Yuzu for the night, and Ichigo wanted to come spar with Grimmjow.”

“Your husband is here too?” Ulquiorra asked. He didn't move from his spot. It made it difficult for her to be in the space with him comfortably. “Why are you down here? Everyone else is upstairs.”

“Kisuke told me you were down here.”

He sighed again as she managed to wiggle her body into the small space beside him. It made Ulquiorra uncomfortable being this close to her, but he wasn't going to move. He wasn't going to concede to her. “That does not answer my question. It does not tell me why. Are you not understanding what I'm asking? Has your vapid mind gone blank?”

“Says the person who is failing a creative writing class,” she replied quietly.

“You could give me grades because you technically killed me.”

“Or you could do ask I asked.”

“Tch,” he scoffed. Ulquiorra noticed his body responding her how close she was and he resented this meat suit. Why would it betray him like this? “Why do you expect me to pour my heart out on a piece of paper? Why would I do that to you of all people? Especially the prompts you give out; what is a heart; name your worse regret; describe the moment you fell in love. It's all ridiculous.”

“You admitted that you had a heart. That's why you reached out to me. Don't you have one now?” She asked, shifting so that she was laying on her back beside him.

This was dangerous. Ulquiorra could feel something was going to happen. He just didn't know if it was going to be good or bad. “While in this Gigai, then yes, I have a heart, Orihime.”

“You fell in love,” she said in an accusing tone. “You fell in love with me. That's why you reached out—”

“You're delusional. You're trash. You're benea—”

Orihime started rambling, the words just flowing out of her mouth. Ulquiorra could feel his lips curl into a sneer. This woman knew nothing! She was throwing out accusations at him. She had no clue about him or his life as a Hollow, Arrancar, or Espada. “Nel told me! You asked specifically about me. You found out about Kazui and Ichigo then you left. Grimmjow confirmed that you love me.”

With this newfound emotion of frustration, he had her flipped entirely on her back in the middle of the small space with his legs between hers. He held her wrists to the rocky surface. He was pressed against her in all the right places making his body respond further.

“I need to know. I need to—”

Ulquiorra was tired of this. He was tired of her. He was so exhausted with being in the human world and wearing this human body. It was a drain on his mental state. It was a tax on his emotional health. “You don't need to know anything,” he snapped, gritting his teeth after he spoke. “I—”

“You almost loved me.”


“You reached out to me. I almost touched your hand.”


“If I could have I would have brought you back. I would have rejected all the injuries—”

Ulquiorra couldn't take this. He couldn't not accept her words. He would not recognize her words. He wanted her to shut up and cease talking because it was too much for him to comprehend. It was illogical what he did but it happened, and nothing could change the course of history now. He would blame it on the fact that the space inside the cave was cramped. He would lay fault on the fact that he was uncomfortable and kept shifting his body against hers to find a more suitable position. He would hold her accountable for his actions because had she not entered the cave, none of this would have happened.

His head dropped, and he noticed how the irises of Orihime's dark eyes widened. Her body stiffened slightly as his face got closer to hers. Ulquiorra's eyes darted back and forth over her face. His head dipped lower, and then their lips met.

It was brief and just merely a taste of skin meeting skin. It wasn't rough. It was just a glance of his mouth touching hers. His fingers threaded through her hair, pulling her closer. He needed her. He craved this for centuries.

All those nights he watched her sleep, tossing and turning. He wanted to comfort her, but he didn't dare show that weakness. All those times he escorted her to the baths. Ulquiorra could imagine how flawless her skin had looked. All those meal times where he covertly studied her as she ate. The images of tying her down and forcing her to do more than just eat had flashed across his mind more times than felt comfortable with. He had been watching her for a long time, ever since he showed Aizen and the Espada what she was capable of doing.

She was wrapping her arms around his neck. He could feel her pulling him closer. A flash of electric warmth ran through his body, and he pulled away, eyes wide. He couldn't believe what he had just done. He just kissed another man's wife. He was no better than Ichigo Kurosaki.

“You just kissed me. You just—Why? What—”

“Shhh.” His sensitive ears picked up movement. The basement hatch was opening and voices filtered into the training area. “Someone is coming,” he murmured against her cheek.

“Why the hell does it matter where she's at?”

That was Grimmjow's voice.

“Do you think I want to get caught? That's the last thing I want, Grimmjow.” There was a pause then and a loud thump. The male duo must have reached the bottom of the ladder. “I told Orihime when Kazui was born that this would end. I have family responsibilities.”

Kurosaki. Ulquiorra's murky green eyes shifted from the cave entrance to the woman beneath him. She was confused. He placed a finger to his lips indicating she should be quiet.

There was a rasp of metal and then a clang. They were fighting.

“You don't want her,” the former Arrancar called out. “You were playing house because you felt guilty.”

CLANG! BANG! CRASH! “What about Nel? Huh? Why are you with her again?” Huffing breath. “Right, because you're too fucking annoying and temperamental for any other human. She tolerates you.”

“Fuck you, Kurosaki.”

“Dream on, Grimmjow.”

There was another metal clang and then some grunting; fabric tearing. Ulquiorra could hear the sound of flesh hitting flesh. They were fist fighting. When they finally came into view, Grimmjow's jacket was done, leaving his chest bare. His lower body was covered by the white hakama that the Espada wore. He was grinning like a maniac with his mask fragment parting with every laugh the man let out.

Kurosaki's kosode was gone leaving him in just the hakama and the wrappings around his hips. Ulquiorra's eyes were trained on the two men.

“What are they doing?” Orihime's words were just audible to him.

Ulquiorra didn't answer. He knew she was watching the same thing as him. It wasn't surprising as Grimmjow lunged at the orange-haired man, pulling their bodies close; hands gripping the black swathes of fabric. It wasn't shocking to see them entangle in a kiss that was ten times more intense than the one he and Orihime shared.

No, what broke him from the scene in front of him was the fact the woman under him started sobbing. The men broke apart quickly, looking around. It was the blue-haired male that stalked towards the cave. He's the one that punched the stone surface, cracking the material and widening the hole.

He cradled Orihime close. Ulquiorra didn't want her to see how guilty Ichigo Kurosaki appeared. He didn't want her to see how betrayed her husband looked. The Shinigami had no one to blame but himself.

He looked at the orange-haired man staring at him. Ulquiorra knew Ichigo had to see the haunting look in his green eyes. Ulquiorra saw the murderous intent behind the other man's brown eyes because the Shinigami wasted no time.

“Kurosaki, wait—” Grimmjow was trying to stop him.


He could feel the spiritual energy that came rolling off the man. Ulquiorra shifted his eyes down toward the woman lying below him. Her fears were conveyed through her eyes, they were wide and shimmered with apprehension. She was scared. Was she scared of him? Was she scared for him?

To hell with it. If he was going to die, he was going to die being happy. Ulquiorra Cifer took one glance at Ichigo Kurosaki before he leaned down, kissing the man's wife again.


Chapter Text

Why did people go to such desperate lengths to escape their life? Why had Ichigo Kurosaki turned to Grimmjow, a former Espada, as a lover? Why had the human-slash-Shinigami pushed his wife to the side? Maybe there was something between the Sexta and Kurosaki while Ulquiorra was scheming with Aizen to abduct the girl from her friends?

It had happened suddenly. The blast of spiritual pressure had almost flattened him. It had undoubtedly destroyed the rocky formation that held the cave, leaving a cloud of dust in its wake. He had protected Orihime from any debris. While Urahara and Tessai restrained the maddened Kurosaki, Ulquiorra had helped the woman to her feet, putting a protective arm around her. Orihime clearly looked uncomfortable.

Was she uneasy because she caught her husband engaged in a sexual act or did she regret getting caught with him? Was it because of their bodies pressed flush together?

“This is fucking ridiculous! Let me go!” Ichigo shouted.

The orange-haired man was being restrained by Urahara and Tessai using some kind of Kido. Ulquiorra watched with worry. After the Shinigami activated his Bankai, he was immediately suppressed by Grimmjow. The blue-haired male must have seen the other one start pulling his hand down his face.

“What the hell is he doing here? I thought he died in Hueco Mundo!” Ichigo shouted. Ulquiorra could see how conflicted the man was at the moment. “I killed him! Does Kyoraku know about him? Does the Gotei 13 know he's here? What about Central 46?”

The silence that followed the Shinigami's questions was deafening. The dark-haired male noticed no one moved actually to answer the queries. Funny.

“Would you like to leave, Woman?” Ulquiorra asked, murmuring the question to her. She nodded, and they turned to walk to the ladder, but Urahara stopped them.

“Nel will take her,” the blond said. Ulquiorra almost let out a primal hiss at the blond. Urahara must have seen his expression because the former Shinigami frowned. “Don't do this, Cifer.”

Ulquiorra could see Nel's teal hair out of the corner of his eyes, but he didn't want to relinquish his hold on the redhead who he'd given his first kiss to. He narrowed his eyes, turning his gaze to the woman standing beside him. His green eyes gazed at Orihime's face. She was looking at everything but him. Ulquiorra watched as she bit her lip. “Orihime?”

“I should go,” she replied in a quiet manner, removing his hand from her shoulder.

Ulquiorra wanted to scream at her but found he couldn't. His voice wouldn't let him. He drew his eyebrows down into a stern look. Was she embarrassed? His eyes followed her until she disappeared into the shoten above the basement floor.

“He needs to get away from my wife!” Kurosaki's voice broke through Ulquiorra's thoughts, and his head snapped around to glare at the Shinigami.

“Tch,” he scoffed.

It was Grimmjow who stepped in front of the dark-haired Arrancar. “Don't Ulquiorra. He can—could break out of whatever spell they have on him. He'll come after you if you taunt him,” Grimmjow stated in a scolding tone.

“He's going to murder me anyway,” Ulquiorra replied. “The look on his face says it all.”

“Why is he here?” Kurosaki asked again.

Urahara was speaking quietly to him. Whatever explanation the shopkeeper offered to him must have been unsatisfactory. The scowl deepened. “What?”

Tessai replied.

“He doesn't get a second chance at life! He needs to answer for what he did to Inoue—My wife!” The orange-haired man yelled.

After all these years, the Shinigami referred to his wife as Inoue? That was curious. Ulquiorra had always called her, Woman but it was mostly because he had been her captor. He'd been ordered to make her uncomfortable. He did that by never saying her given name. Even being allowed to say her name now was strange.


Orihime Inoue.

Orihime Kurosaki.

A thought went through his body that made him stiffen with surprise. Why would his brain even entertain that thought?

Orihime Cifer.

He felt his eyes go wide with shock. Kurosaki saw the change in his expression, and his face became more hostile. “Bastard! Keep your hands off my wife!”

Ulquiorra scoffed again. He said nothing as he turned towards the ladder and walked carefully to it. He did not stop even as Kurosaki started yelling again.

“I'm gonna let Rukia and Renji know about you! They'll bring the entire Soul Society down on you! I'll make sure you stay dead this time! Maybe—”

The green-eyed male finally stopped moving and shifted so that his body faced the trio. “Maybe you should have honored your commitment to your wife and marriage. Tell the entire Shinigami force to come after me; I'll eradicate them all, Kurosaki.” Ulquiorra turned and proceeded to climb the ladder.

He didn't see Nel or Orihime as he moved through the shoten to his room. Let the Soul Society come for him. Let them try to destroy him. He'd rip them all to shreds. He'd kill everyone.

For the next couple of days, the store was quiet. Everyone tiptoed around Grimmjow and Ulquiorra. The atmosphere was fragile and tense. At any moment it could all break down, and there would be a massive fight between the two male Arrancars. Nel tried to keep Grimmjow occupied, but it didn't help much.

Since the revelation that Grimmjow was having sex with Kurosaki, the couple didn't mate as often now. When they did, Nel would plead with Grimmjow that it hurt or to stop. Ulquiorra could hear the frustration in Grimmjow's grunts and words.

He was angry because once again, Ulquiorra was keeping him from his prey. Ulquiorra had ousted him. Ulquiorra had taken all of Grimmjow's fun away.

It seemed like Ulquiorra had the upper hand, but it was clear that was not the case when he walked into the creative writing classroom the next time he had to go to the class. Instead of Orihime sitting behind the podium, a middle-aged man with a paunch stood there.

“Who are you?” Ulquiorra asked, taken aback. This man was in his woman's spot.

“I'm the new teacher; Mrs. Kurosaki resigned.”

Ulquiorra stood there for a moment before he pivoted and left the room. He stomped his way out of the building, university campus and he got onto the train that would take him back to Karakura. His hands were balled into fists, and as soon as he entered the shoten, there was a flurry of activity. Someone was calling for Urahara. Tessai had Ulquiorra by the arms, which he struggled against; Grimmjow was laughing like a fucking maniac, and Nel stood there looking sorry.

“Let me out of this body,” Ulquiorra growled through gritted teeth. “Let me out, Urahara!”

“Hah! You know, don't you? You thought you had your cake and was gonna eat it too, didn't you Ulquiorra? Yeah, Ichigo found out that Orihime had you as a student,” Grimmjow crowed like a dead man with the world's funniest joke. “Was it surprising to find out she wasn't your teacher this morning?”

He knew it was at that moment, Ulquiorra detested and loathed Grimmjow. He fucking hated Ichigo Kurosaki.

Ulquiorra was livid. He hadn't been this angry since he yelled at the Shinigami that fighting him was a futile task. Grimmjow tested him. He had tested Ulquiorra, and the Arrancar had risen to snatch the bait, only to come up empty-handed. He was just a Hollow after all, and all Hollows wanted was living people to suffer. They relished the taste of souls that had endured sorrow for long years and endless decades.

One of the things that Ulquiorra could never understand once he became a Vasto Lordes was love. He could not fathom the love of humans for one another. He couldn't understand it, whether in marriage, business or friendship. There was no line between loving and hating. It was blurred and blended together. There was no barrier to signal which was which.

“Let me go; I'm leaving.”

It was Urahara that spoke. “Take him outside Tessai,” the blond said with a wave of his hand. “He needs to cool down.”

As soon as the big man took him out of the room, Ulquiorra could hear Urahara's voice speaking to Grimmjow. Tessai released him as soon as they were outside the shop. Without another thought, Ulquiorra took off walking. He knew where he was going. He had to see her. He needed answers.

Ulquiorra existed for one purpose now.

As much as he didn't want to admit to it, Ulquiorra Cifer; the fourth Espada, Arrancar, Hollow had gained a heart and never lost it when he met Orihime. With that heart, he fell hard for a copper-headed woman. This woman he had recently kissed and felt underneath him. His purpose had changed. He felt no ill will towards the woman, but her husband was an entirely different matter.

He'd kill Ichigo Kurosaki again if the man decided to keep that Woman away from him.


Chapter Text

Ulquiorra found himself standing in front of the Kurosaki residence several times that day. He never went to the door. He just walked away. It felt intrusive to invade her space; to confront her at her home. At the same time, he needed to talk to her. He needed answers.


When the sun was setting, Ulquiorra found himself looking up at that building once again. The lights were on both in the upper and lower floors. He could hear Orihime's voice carrying through the dusk light. It sounded like she was giving someone instructions. And then the front door opened, Ulquiorra froze to the spot where he stood. He had been caught because she was staring at him.


“I thought I felt you out here,” Orihime gently said. “I have been feeling your Spiritual Pressure all day.”


Ulquiorra did not confirm or deny this. He said nothing, just stared at her. How could he admit to anything when she already knew?


“I'm going for a walk, would you like to join me? I asked Yuzu to come over and keep an eye on Kazui for a little bit.”


He nodded his head, and they started walking down the quiet street. It seemed like they didn't speak for long moments. It was Ulquiorra who finally found his voice. “I apologize for intruding. I felt that we needed to talk.”




The street lights gave off a brittle glow in the coming dusk. Ulquiorra made sure to keep adequate space between him and the woman.


“You quit?” He asked after several blocks. His nerves felt frayed as he spoke, not knowing what kind of response she was going to give.


The redhead nodded. Ulquiorra watched as she bit her lip. “Ichigo and I thought it would be for the best,” she said. “Kazui needs more nurturing—”


If anything sounded untrue to him, it was that statement. “Bullshit.”




“You know that’s a lie, Orihime. Grimmjow told your husband I was in your class. You fought about it, didn’t you?” he asked, halting his steps. His mouth drew into a thin line. “If you would have said something, I would have dropped out. I would have—”


“Ulquiorra!” Orihime’s voice boomed out. Her tone immediately rendered him silent. Orihime closed the space between them as quickly as she could. He was surprised to find her in his arms, her hands diving into his hair. She was pulling him down until their lips touched.


That’s all he needed. That was all the encouragement it took for his body to respond. It seemed like in an instant, Ulquiorra had Orihime pinned to someone’s garden fence. He had her face in his hands, pressing their mouths together repeatedly. When his lips weren’t attached to hers, Orihime gave little whines and mewls of pleasure; with her voice, she told him all about her wants and needs, her desires and fantasies.




“Hmmm, Woman?” he murmured, engrossed with his task of teasing her earlobe.


“We should stop. Someone might see us,” Orihime gasped sharply. All Ulquiorra did was lick the side of her neck.


Upon hearing her words, he schooled his face into a careful expression and pulled away from Orihime. He made sure he gave nothing away because disappointment was coursing through him. “You don’t want to be seen with me?”


“No, no, no, Darling.” She paused and to Ulquiorra, the term of endearment sounded odd. Orihime shook her head. “Public displays of affection are considered impolite. We could—we could go somewhere.”


Go somewhere? Where the hell would they go to carry on these activities? If they were to go to Urahara’s—no, that was out of the question. If they went back to her home, they’d inevitably be caught. “Where?” he asked.


Orihime ducked her head. She explained to him about love hotels and their purpose. Her face turned red under the artificial lights. Ulquiorra finally understood what she was saying to him; what she wanted from him.


“You want to mate with me,” he commented.


“When you put it like that, it doesn’t seem romantic,” Orihime said, her bottom lip jutting out into a pout.


He sighed, already knowing this was a bad idea. “My apologies, Woman,” Ulquiorra replied. “You wish for us to—”


“I want you to show me what the heart is, Ulquiorra. Show me what you found all those years ago. Please.”


He agreed to do this because he wanted to be with her. At the same time, he knew that it was wrong. As they walked and took a train, it seemed strange that Orihime knew the location of where this love hotel was at. Ulquiorra paid for a modest room at a short stay price. It was only fifty-five hundred yen. 


They were given a key and shown to room 303. Ulquiorra’s eyes were assaulted as they walked into the space. It was garish and gaudy. The room had flowers artistically painted on a brick wall. There was one wall painted red, another pink and the other a light spring green. The bathroom was absolutely horrendous. The mustard yellow walls hand-painted with black roses clashed horribly with the bedroom.


Ulquiorra sighed as he came out of the bathroom. He saw Orihime thanking someone, and she turned around with a basket in her arms. It had a large bottle and two stemmed glasses in it. There was also some other items and flowers in the container.


“What is that?” He asked.


“Well, it’s, uh...” she trailed off and walked over to the bed. She set the basket down and started shuffling the contents around, pulling items out. She set the bottle and the glasses on a low table that sat in front of a sofa. That’s when Ulquiorra got a good look at the contents of the thing. Cinnamon and chili flavored chocolate, figs, almonds, a small jar of pickled ginger and vanilla bean honey. There was also a various assortment of lubes and condoms at the bottom.


He couldn’t help notice that her face was flushed. This tacky and cheap room was worth it if she looked like that all the time. Just her small, sweet smile was priceless to him, but he would never say that to her. Ulquiorra walked toward Orihime, but she held up her hand.


“I have to make a call,” she said, her tone serious.


She had pulled out her phone and quickly tapped the screen. “Yuzu?” Pause. “Yeah, everything is fine. Rangiku showed up, so we’re going to get some drinks and then go to karaoke. Just tell Ichigo—Huh? Oh, he’s working late and then going to the bar with Chad?”


Another pause, this one longer. Ulquiorra studied the woman as she worried her lip with her teeth. She appeared deep in thought.


“Oh, so Ichigo called and said he worked late and is now at a bar with Chad, Grimmjow, and Renji. Okay. Yeah, once Kazui is asleep, feel free to crash on the couch. I’ll pay you extra for this Yuzu. I just really need a night out.”


With that, Orihime thanked the person on the end of the line and terminated the call. She slipped the phone back into her purse which she took off and sat on the sofa.


Ulquiorra looked at her, concern spreading on his face. “Who is Rangiku, Woman?”


“A friend from the Soul Society,” Orihime answered, not looking at him. She was still rifling through the basket. Was she avoiding him?


“You lied to this Yuzu, person.”


“What was I supposed to say? I’m at a love hotel hoping to get my brains fucked out by someone who—”


“There is nothing classy about the way you said that,” Ulquiorra stated a hard edge coming to his voice. He quickly walked over to where Orihime was standing and took her by the arm with a firm grasp, turning her, so she faced him. It was only then she looked up at him.


"I'm going to hate myself in the morning."


"Why, Woman?"




"If you start an excuse with because you'll regret your decision. I forbid you to hate yourself. You'll do nothing of the sort," he commanded. He flipped the light switch, the brightness in the room dimmed considerably. He led her over to the bed and sat, pulling her down on top of him. The couple fell back onto the soft surface of the king size bed.


"Ulquiorra, I don't want to lead you on. You'll hate me," Orihime replied. He could see the apprehension in her eyes. Her eyes kept sliding back and forth across his face. “I love my husband.”


He shook his head. Of course, she loved her husband but did she actually know how much her husband actually loved her? Did she know the extent of Kurosaki's affair with Grimmjow; how Ichigo gave himself over to the Hollow? Ulquiorra briefly wondered if he could still use Solita Vista while in this Gigai. He probably couldn't and would only exceed to tear out his own eyeball.


It wasn't his responsibility to inform her of the infidelity. However, he wanted her to see it. He needed her to understand it. He flipped them over, so he was laying on top of her.


“If I told you that I love you, would you stay with me?” He asked, bending his head, opting to kiss a line of tiny pecks from her mouth to her jaw and finally ending up at her earlobe. “Orihime?”


“Have you ever—” Her tone was questioning.


“Have I ever what? Have I ever engaged in sexual activities? I was human once, Woman. I helped produce two beautiful children,” he replied, fingers stroking her face and neck. He hoped that was a sufficient enough answer.


It wasn't.


“You were married?”


“Yes,” Ulquiorra said. He didn't elaborate. He said nothing more. He didn't want to relive those memories, not with her around. In the dim light, he could see her big eyes staring at him. It was as if she was trying to figure him out.


“What were you like as a human?”


He sighed, “Does it matter?”


“No, but I want to get to know you better.” Orihime shifted and her hand landed softly on his face. “I just want to understand you. I've been trying to do that for years.”


“I was an only child. My mother was Spanish. My father, German. He was a prominent banker. We were well off. I was to take after him. I had a good education,” Ulquiorra mentioned in his monotone voice. If they were going to copulate, it was only fair that she knew about his past, about why and how he became a Hollow. “I met Elizabet. We attended the same university. She was pursuing an education in teaching. I courted her while in school.”


“After I secured a position within my father's bank, I asked for her hand in marriage,” he continued with a sigh. "I remember I was loyal and an obedient worker.”


“Did you love her?”


Ulquiorra raised an eyebrow. Why would she ask such an peculiar question? What man didn't love his wife back in those days? Arranged marriages were something only the monarchy and influential families employed during those times. “Are you jealous, Woman?” It was only meant to tease her.


He heard her scoff at his question. The smallest smile played over his mouth. She was jealous. “I loved Elizabet with my entire being. She was the reason I strived to do as well as I could. I was besotted with her. When Elizbet became pregnant, I was delighted. Henry was born a year after our nuptials. Emma was born a little over a year after him.”


His tone took a sad quality. Ulquiorra remembered what happened nearly a year later. He tried to swallow his discomfort. It kept rising back into this throat. He moved himself away from Orihime and sat up, running his fingers through his hair. Melancholy played over his nerves.


“Were you faithful to her?”




“Oh,” Orihime replied. “Do you miss her?”


“I can't... I can't remember.” Now, he wasn't so sure he could tell her this tragic story.


“What happened to her? What happened to your family? Did you grow old—”


“Orihime, Hollows do not come about by growing old and having a satisfying life.  She was violated and murdered. My children were killed. I drowned myself in the Spree,” Ulquiorra answered automatically. If his voice had any emotion before, it was completely flat now.


“I was distraught and wandered as a spirit after my death but I became something else. Monsters showed up and when I woke, I was in Hueco Mundo. I was a Vasto Lordes,” he said quietly. It was silent in the room for several moments but Ulquiorra spoke again. “Do you remember when I fell asleep in your room in Los Noches?”


“Yes,” she answered.


“I had a dream about my origins. There was a black pit. I couldn’t do anything but see. I couldn’t do anything but witness, to see what was around me. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t believe anything I can not see. My mask covered my entire face. I was taller. I was—I didn’t need anything or anyone. I was content to stay in my version of happiness with my broken mask until the end of time. Aizen found me. He forced my evolution.”


Orihime let out a long slow breath, “You killed yourself?”


His green eyes slid over to her face where deep concern etched into her eyes. What did she think of him now? “Yes, Woman.”


“Was life so awful after their deaths?”


The memories hit him hard and he wasn’t prepared for the assault on his senses. He hadn’t thought about Elizabet, Henry, or Emma in a dozen decades or more. He swallowed, his mouth dry. Could he tell her how he caused their deaths and that is what made it awful for him?


He gave a shrug. “I found out the president of the bank was involved in some illegal dealings. I was going to reveal this information to people who could stop him. If he kept channeling the customers’ money into these activities, it was going to hurt everyone. When all this information came to light, he told me my life was over. He had people attack the only things I truly loved in this world.”


“I’m sorry.”


Ulquiorra waved a pale hand as if shooing his emotions away. “It matters not. It was a long time ago.”


He paused and turned to look at her. “Were you faithful to Kurosaki?”


“Huh?” came the answer of surprise. Orihime’s voice sounded uncomfortable. “We—I—”


“You weren’t faithful to him? You didn’t honor your vows?”


He heard the scoffing noise again. Ulquiorra had offended her. “We had an agreement before Kazui was born. I fooled around with Chad and Uryuu. Ichigo had Grimmjow. Kazui came along, and I stopped. Ichigo agreed to end things.”


“He didn’t. It sounds like he's still with him.”


“Thanks for pointing that out again,” she retorted. Her voice sounded bitter.


Ulquiorra turned to face her. In the darkness, he could make out her eyes and her pale skin. He couldn’t read her expression however. He knew she was being sarcastic with that statement, so he used his hand to brush against her face. “Woman,” he said. “Did you suspect that Kurosaki still visited Grimmjow?”


She nodded. “I suspected they still met. Ichigo told me they fought occasionally. I ignored the bruises and the way he'd limp after visiting Grimmjow. He'd come home, smelling like sulfur from the hot springs and Grimmjow's cologne. What could I say?”


Ulquiorra turned back to her. She sounded so beaten down. “You spoke vows, did you not?”


“I just want Ichigo to be happy, Ulquiorra.”


“What about your happiness? Woman,” he breathed. He saw the pain on her face and in her eyes.


Their breaths combined in the darkness. Ulquiorra could feel the touch of her hand on his neck. He was holding back from being hasty, knowing fully well that once this was over, she would be gone. She had a life to go back to living. It was a life without him in it. Ulquiorra didn't want to give this or her up any time soon though.


He found himself pulling her into his arms, tilting her chin up and bringing his mouth down to her lips. A closed mouth kiss. Her soft, full lips beneath his sculpted mouth. It felt like everything he ever wanted.


For a moment there was no response. There was hesitation there like she was waging a battle inside of her head, telling her this was right but at the same time so wrong. Luckily for Ulquiorra, the closeness of his body won.


Being this close to her, however, was probably dangerous. She smelled like fresh laundry in the sunshine. She was soft, warm, and lovable. Her lips were insistent, kissing his mouth in small pecks then going for his chin, jaw, and neck. Ulquiorra wasn't well versed in matters of sexual activities, so he sat there, letting her touch him.


They hadn't even removed any clothing, yet he pulled her tighter against him, feeling her body respond. Her kisses felt more urgent than the fleeting touches. The way she gasped against his mouth as he returned everything she gave him. The way she moved her hips against his leg made him want to rip her clothes off. It was hard to restrain himself.


She stopped, suddenly laboring for breath, excitement alight in Orihime's dark eyes. Ulquiorra watched as she bit her lip as she pulled back. It seemed like she was appraising the situation. “I need to be sure about this. It's been a while since I was with anyone else.”


“Take all the time you need, Woman. I will not go anywhere.”


Ulquiorra watched as she got off the bed and walked to the bathroom. The door shut and he stood, pacing the small room. He was nervous, and he wasn't really sure why he felt frantic. Technically, in this Gigai he was a virgin. He knew that she wasn't a virgin. Would she be offended if he treated this coupling as if she were one?


The dark-haired male was so lost in thought he didn't hear the bathroom door open. He turned with his pacing and halted his steps, startled to find Orihime Kurosaki standing in front of him with just a bra and panties on. Ulquiorra had to swallow hard. His mouth had gone dry. He could see her clothes carefully folded on the bathroom counter.






“Come here.”

Chapter Text

She was obedient as she walked over to Ulquiorra. Was this Kurosaki's doing? Had he turned this woman into someone who was so beaten down she would do anything? “Hmmm,” he murmured as she came to a stop before him. “I expected more resistance.”

“I've come to terms with this,” she replied, blushing again. Orihime quickly looked at him before focusing on the hollow of his throat. “I've wanted this for a long time. I think I wanted this back in Hueco Mundo.”

This revelation floored Ulquiorra. He took her chin between his index finger and thumb, staring into her eyes. “I would never take advantage of you like that. It was enough that I kidnapped you and forced you—”

“You didn't do anything. I chose to go with you out of my own free will.”

“Woman, I—”

“Drop it. You're ruining the mood.”

“I just—” His words were cut off with a slightly hard kiss from Orihime. Her breasts pressed against him, her body touched him in all the right places. She gave him a light shove, so he fell back onto the bed. Ulquiorra landed with a light bounce but stayed upright.

He watched as she sank to her knees in between his legs. Her hands trailed up and down his thighs lightly, almost teasingly. The dark-haired male could feel her chest pressed against him. She looked absolutely perfect nestled between his legs, using her fingers to scratch his flesh through the denim of his jeans. Ulquiorra could see the hunger and desire in her eyes as she bit her lip. The way her teeth ran over the plump skin made him want to take her now.

“Woman,” he groaned. His penis was growing harder. Ulquiorra was sure she could feel it. He knew what he wanted, and he knew he wanted it bad. He wanted to have sex with Orihime. He wanted to experience it with her.

“I need to take your clothes off, Ulquiorra,” Orihime said. “It's somewhat hard to please you if you still have clothes on.”

He could see the blush spread across her face. Ulquiorra put two fingers under her chin and tilted her face up so that he could look at her. Orihime merely smiled at him in a shy manner. “We don't have to—”

“Lean back and lift your hips,” she commanded. Ulquiorra did as he suggested, shifting his arms behind him so that they could support his weight. The redhead wasted no time, unbuttoning the jeans and dragging them down his hips and thighs. “Stop protesting this. I want it.”

The man exhaled a long breath, glad that he had enough sense to put on a nice pair of boxer briefs that morning. His dick was prominent, tenting the cotton material. She placed her hands on his thighs; her fingers ghosted over him. Ulquiorra gasped as her touch went higher.

She was doing absolutely dreadful things to his body and his mind. This is what he wanted. This is what he craved. He knew that if this had happened in Hueco Mundo, everything would have changed. His world would have revolved around her. Ulquiorra would have gotten the girl and kept her. He would have defeated Kurosaki.

He would have protected this woman so that she wouldn't have been scared or lonely. He never wanted to hurt or harm her. Ulquiorra was merely following orders from Aizen. He never touched her while she was in his custody. Yes, he had mentally tormented her, but those were Aizen's orders.

Dammit. The need to apologize was surfacing again.


His eyes snapped to her face, and he looked into her dark eyes. “Woman?”

“You checked out for a minute. ”

“I'm sorry. I apologize. I never—”

Once again she was rendering him speechless by kissing him thoroughly on the mouth. Her hands covered his, and he found himself cupping satin covered breasts. This distracted him enough; she removed his button-down shirt then gently scratched her nails over his balls. Just the action alone made his entire body jump.

“What are you—”


"Go with it. I want this,” Orihime murmured against his mouth. “I want to feel you inside of me.”

Again she was on her knees, Orihime didn't waste any time. She pulled the top of his underwear down, allowing his dick to spring free. Her hand wrapped around the length and he moaned. Ulquiorra moaned. He couldn't contain what he felt, but at the same time, he couldn't verbalize what was going through his head.

Ulquiorra watched a smirk spread over Orihime's face. She licked her lips, and he wished for nothing more than her to place that tongue on his body. His breath left in the next instant. He was fully erect, and his eyes felt like they were bugging out of his head since she flicked her tongue against the underside of his cock. It made his entire body twitch.


Without any other indication, Orihime had him in her mouth. She sucked him in, rolling her tongue over the sensitive skin of the head. Her mouth lavished attention, soaking his skin with saliva. He could feel her reaching with her hands, to pull his underwear down further. He groaned as her lips detached from his body.

“Oh fuck. What was that, Woman?” he managed to sputter.

“It's called oral sex or a blowjob,” Orihime answered, finishing taking off the rest of his clothing. His shoes flew behind her. His socks and jeans followed. The boxer briefs were shimmied down his legs. Ulquiorra watched as she casually dropped them beside her.

Her head dipped below his dick, and he felt her placing gentle kisses on his balls. He bit his lip to keep from making any noise. When she licked the palm of her hand then grabbed his hard length, he almost lost it. Ulquiorra's eyes witnessed the way she ran her hand up and down the flesh, adding a twist to the end with a flick of her wrist. The silky surface of her hand was achingly delicious on the head of his cock.

Was this pleasure? Was this what Nel and Grimmjow experienced with each other before everything fell apart? He closed his eyes because now Orihime was letting her tongue slide up and her mouth was engulfing him again.

“Woman, your mouth—It's so hot. Your tongue feels incredible. “Hnnngh,” he moaned. Ulquiorra's hips bucked, and he fisted the blanket that lay beneath him. “I've never—You—”

He looked down to see his dick, wet with saliva and some other substance, slide into her mouth. It made his throat dry to see his skin disappear into that hot, wet orifice. For some reason he wanted to hear her speak while she was doing this, just to listen to her mumble around him. His hips bucked again, and she moaned. The sound went straight to his lap, allowing more blood to pool there if possible.

He reached one hand out, stroking her hair. The dark-haired male couldn't help but wonder why the scent of her seems intensified. He couldn't seem to place why his breathing isn't quite right or why his voice caught in his throat as she took more of him into her mouth.

She kept her head and hand moving. He could see how red her lips were, swollen from the friction of touch. Her chin was shiny with saliva. It was almost too much to bear. Ulquiorra had to stop this because he felt a tugging in between his legs. He was not sure what it was either. His head felt numb like static on a television.

He grabbed a handful of Orihime's hair pulling her head back from him. “Stop, I—Something—” Once again he was inarticulate, and it frustrated him. He let go of her hair, smoothing it down.

“Are you going to come?”



He bit his lip unsure of how to answer. Was that what this intense pleasure was called? She continued to stroke him. Ulquiorra could still feel that tension in the pit of his lap. It kept building. He nodded. “I think so,” he answered.

She smiled. “I don't mind if you come in my mouth,” Orihime stated. “I can take care of it.”

This made his cock twitch. How could she—what was she saying? Never in his life had he experience anything like this. Even with his wife, it was utterly sex by the book. Elizabet was always on her back with him in between her legs, holding himself up with his arms and thrusting into her slowly.

Orihime knew more about sex than he did. She was probably more open-minded to things that she wanted. He looked at her face, somewhat perplexed by this idea. “Are we going to mate?”

She chuckled at his words and Ulquiorra frowned. What was so funny about what he asked? Finally, Orihime answered him. “Yes, Ulquiorra. We're going to have sex, but first I want to pleasure you. I want to make you feel good. I want to feel every inch of you.”

Without another word, his dick was back in her mouth. Orihime's head moved, taking him in deep. Her tongue kept brushing against the sensitive flesh, which made him jump. His body and nerves were numbing again, but the ecstasy was building in his limbs. His occupied hand gripped the blanket tighter, the other one placed on Orihime's shoulder. He didn't want to hold her for fear of hurting her. Truthfully, all he could think about was the fact that he wanted to push into her mouth faster and faster to increase the friction and the pressure on his skin. She looked so delicate though.

His heart was beating faster, Ulquiorra knew his body felt hot. The way this woman looked at him was sultry, and the way her mouth moved on his skin only helped what was boiling under the surface. What was about to be unleashed was a dire need to be fulfilled, and Orihime was the only one to satisfy the desire.

Ulquiorra's back arched and his hips thrust forward, his head lolling. His eyes rolled back into his head which he squeezed shut because what he was feeling was too much. He can feel the muscles in his legs and thighs tighten. He could sense how his flat stomach is tensing with every movement Orihime made. He could feel his dick start to swell.

All the tension that coiled in his muscles finally broke. There was the first spasm, and he felt a strange sensation run up his length. Ulquiorra could feel Orihime stop moving. He experienced a second twitch that left his mind blank, mouth dry, and his hands gripping the blanket so tightly he was sure his hands were bone white. He grunted with the final burst; mind-shattering thirst leveled his brain. Bliss rocketed through Ulquiorra, like a joyous feeling that crept up from every nerve. He wanted it to stop, but at the same time, he wanted it to continue forever. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut, feeling his cock spasm inside of her mouth. This orgasm was a shock to his system, startling and yet discreet, leaving him with vibrations jetting along his senses.

Ulquiorra shuddered with that final twinge of euphoria. He opened his eyes and lifted his head to see Orihime looking at him. She slowly slid his dick from her lips, her eyes never leaving his gaze. Finally, it all stopped, and he was left huffing for breath.



Orihime sat back on her heels and smiled at him, casually wiping her mouth with the back of her hand like she did things like this every day. “I take it you liked that?”

Like that? He couldn't even describe that. Ulquiorra could not put into words how this thing called pleasure felt on his nerves. “Woman,” he muttered, still out of breath. “I want to do to that to you.”

Her laugh tinkled through the room. “Maybe later. This is about you.”

“No, this is about us.”


Did she not understand? Did she not comprehend what he was feeling for her? Ulquiorra pulled her up from where she sat and deposited her on his lap. His mouth came down on hers. They kissed passionately for several moments before she pulled away, looking at him.

“You—You love me.”

“Yes,” Ulquiorra stated that one simple word then allowed his tongue and lips travel down her neck. “Are you going to leave now that I've admitted to it; that you now know?”

“No, I knew that before coming here. I knew it when you walked into my classroom. The look on your face told me everything I needed to know,” Orihime answered.



“Nothing. I'm enjoying this. I'm enjoying holding you,” Ulquiorra said. His voice sounded content. “I want more of you. I would like more; to do that again.”

“More? Ulquiorra, you seemed wrecked after what I did.”


That was true. His orgasm felt like it had nearly destroyed him. The subsequent lethargy was fleeting, however, and within minutes the now-familiar itch had returned. It ached in his veins and compelled him to reach for her again. Was that feeling worth having Orihime in his arms? Absolutely. He would do it again and again just to feel her against him. Her presence drove him to do things he wouldn’t usually do.

She whimpered against him, his breath heavy against her skin. This was what he wanted. He wanted this woman, every inch of her he wanted to know on an intimate level. He wanted to memorize every crevice, line, dip, and curve of her body. He wanted to touch every single scar on her body.

The funny thing was, Orihime didn't have any scars.

Ulquiorra knew that after childbirth, women would have marks from their time carrying a child. Orihime had none. His eyes were silently questioning her as he ran his fingers over her smooth stomach. “Woman?”

She blushed, the color scattering over her face. “The year after Kazui was born, we went to the beach with Grimmjow and Nel. I wore a bikini. Grimmjow commented on how my body looked gross. Nel was pretty angry at him, but once we got back home, I rejected my—”

“You denied yourself that badge of motherhood over some comments Grimmjow made?”

Orihime looked incredibly uncomfortable now, and she turned from Ulquiorra. “Ichigo laughed at the things he said too,” she added.

He scoffed, “Your husband is a moron.”

“Perhaps,” she murmured. “You’re an idiot too.”

“How am I an idiot?”

“You’re ruining the mood again,” she scolded softly. She caught his mouth in a kiss, pressing hard against him.

Ulquiorra allowed his hand to drift over her body, his fingers catching on the strap of her bra. He pulled away from her slightly and frowned at the piece of clothing. “You’re wearing too much,” he stated. “Take this off.”

Orihime carefully stood, and his green eyes saw everything. They saw how beautiful she was and how much strength lay in her eyes. Ulquiorra reached a hand out and slipped it between her legs. His fingers brushed over her cotton covered mound. Her breathing hitched and the dark-haired man was surprised to find the surface was damp.

“You are aroused.”

“Yes,” she said.

Hollows were creatures. They were animals. Animals had basic needs. They didn’t need emotion. They didn’t need feelings. They had instincts. Right now, his instincts were screaming at him. They were telling him to shut up and just go with the flow. To kiss her, to touch her, to fill her with his essence. His arms wrapped around her possessively. She returned the gesture, her arms circling his shoulders.


His voice was low, rich and deep. It was filled with desire, hunger, and longing. Ulquiorra nuzzled the skin he could reach with his face, murmuring that same word over and over. He reached up, cupping Orihime’s breast, feeling a flash of irritation that they were still covered. His pale fingers pushed the material up until Orihime stopped him.

“Wait,” she protested, putting her own hands over his. “That’s not how you take it off.”

“I can rip it off.”

“Ulquiorra, please, we have time.”

Did they have time? To him, it didn’t seem like enough though. The seven—No, now the six hours and thirty minutes they had in this room did not seem like it was enough time for them to be together. With a groan he sat back and waited as Orihime removed her bra, carefully folding the lingerie. She moved away from him and placed it on the low table.

He almost growled when she turned from him to remove the panties. He watched her bend over to pluck the fabric from her feet and ankles. His hands itched. The need to take her was mounting steadily. Ulquiorra drew in a shaky and ragged breath. “Woman,” he groaned.

The redhead turned around and smiled at him. “I have a name, you know.”

“I am aware of that,” he replied, irritation growing. This hunger to take her was starting to overwhelm him and his senses. He wasn’t an irrational creature. He’d never been just a Hollow. Ulquiorra was born a Vasto Lordes. This need to touch her and fill her was grating on his senses.

He felt strange desperation coursing through him that he had never experienced before in his life. He stood and walked up behind her. Ulquiorra’s hands went between her legs, and she yelped in surprise as he pressed his fingers against that damp skin. His exploration didn’t stay there.

Wet fingers slid up her body to slowly stroke over her pert nipples. Ulquiorra could smell her arousal. It lay heavy in his nostrils as he buried his face in the side of her neck. “Woman,” he moaned.

“Orihime. Orihime, I need you. Now.”

She turned slowly in his arms to face him, and Ulquiorra’s eyes went wide. The hunger in her expression was real, and it made his brain switch to a frenzy mode that he could barely control. His eyes closed as he leaned forward to kiss her, capturing her mouth with his own. This was exquisite. This was what he waited five years for; this is why he came back to the World of the Living.




His cock was stirring against her body, and he looked puzzled as she pulled away from him. “What? Is this not what you want?”

“No. I have to get a condom?”

A condom? What was that? Ulquiorra knew what sex was; he had the memories of when he was human. He’d watched the hentai and other adult videos that Jinta had shown him. “We don’t need that,” he murmured lowering his head to kiss her again.

She evaded him, dodging the kiss and slipping out of his grasp. “Yes, we do. I do not need to get pregnant.”

“I’m dead,” he stated. “How could a dead creature produce viable sperm? How can I reproduce?”

“Your Gigai can,” Orihime answered. “A couple of years ago, Nel and Grimmjow had a scare. Urahara explained that their bodies could produce children although their souls were dead.”

“What is this condom for?”

“To prevent pregnancy.”

“You don’t want my seed?” Ulquiorra’s brow furrowed in confusion. What was the purpose of their coupling if not for mating? A part of him was offended that she didn’t want to reproduce with him.

The redhead sighed and placed a hand over her eyes. “Sometimes I forget that you’re not human and you’ve not had the same education as I have received.”

“You say that as if I’m beneath you. Are you doing this out of pity?”

She sighed again. The heaviness of it made him worry for a moment. “You’re not, but I take for granted that you’re in a Gigai. I forget that you’re not human and you Don’t have the same education I’ve had. Your knowledge as an Espada is completely different than mine.”

“Why can’t I inseminate you?” His question must have confused her because her tilted her head, expression conveying bewilderment. Ulquiorra rephrased the question. “Why can’t I come inside you?”

Orihime paused for a moment before answering the question. “It’s not—Believe me I don’t want to use the condom, but it might be suspicious if I end up pregnant.”

“Are you saying there’s a chance that it might happen?” Ulquiorra asked, peering at her. “There’s a chance that it could and a chance that it could not happen.”

She nodded. “As much as I want to feel you against me, we have to use one. I make Ichigo use them. It’s also cleaner. It makes clean-up easier.”

Now she was appealing to his practical side, but the animalistic part of Ulquiorra was still put out. He wanted to fill her. He wanted to fuck her. “Fine, I will use this condom.”

“Go sit on the bed; I’ll be right there.”

He didn’t listen. As soon as she turned, Ulquiorra was behind her, wrapping his arms around her body and pulling Orihime close and nuzzling her neck again. His length was stirring again, anticipating what was coming.


“Hmmm?” he murmured questioningly. The dark-haired male wanted to tell her all the things he wanted to do to her, but the desire was clouding his mind. “What?”

“Go, I’ll be right there then you can attack me,” she said with a giggle. “Wait, not attack. Wrong word. You Arrancars are so literal. I’ll be right there then you can ravish me.”

Attack wasn’t the right word because all he could think of was brandishing Murcielago and trying to cut her down. It would never happen in a thousand years; however, if it were her husband, it’d be an entirely different game. Ravishing, on the other hand, he knew what that meant, and he could not wait.

So, he followed her suggestion and walked over to the bed to sit again. He watched her move to grab one of those square packages out of the basket along with a small packet. She smiled, face flushed and he had to wonder if it was from embarrassment. He hoped she wasn’t ashamed of being here with him.

As she got closer to the bed, he scooted back until his feet were off the floor. Ulquiorra laid back enough to prop himself up on his elbows so that he could watch everything Orihime was doing. She had straddled his legs practically crawling up his body until she was sitting on his thighs, her nether lips settling just below his cock. He watched as her peachy fingers rip the square package open.

Then she had a circle in her hand, which she positioned over the head of his cock, rolling it down with short strokes that made him gasp. Dammit. How was this going to feel?

Orihime then picked up the other packet and started to open it. Ulquiorra stopped her. “What is this?” he asked, taking it from her. He read what the black letters spelled out. “What is lubrication?”

“Sometimes things are dry down there,” Orihime explained, taking it back from him.

“You mean you’re not wet?”

“What? How—How can you know some stuff but not other stuff?”

“I blame Jinta and his collection of adult videos.”

“Of course, I should have known Jinta—I mean he did show Nel all that stuff,” she sighed.

He looked at her and then his dick. It looked like a package, all wrapped up and waiting. He felt neglected. “If you want I can do what you did to me. I’m sure it’s not a—”

“I don’t want that. I just want to have sex with you!”

“Oh, I see, just sex.”

“No, not just sex but—Dammit!”

With that Ulquiorra watched as Orihime shifted and brought herself down on his lap. He was engulfed in a tight heat that was almost unbearable. He shot up to a sitting position, hanging onto the woman for dear life. His arms snaked around her back, and his hands gripped her tightly.

Words left him as she began to move, her hips rocking them forward. Ulquiorra had to bite his lip to keep from crying out in an embarrassing manner. He wanted to tell her things. He wanted to kiss every part of her he could reach. He wanted to hear her voice.

She moaned softly. Ulquiorra’s eyes snapped to her face. Orihime had her eyes squeezed shut, the look of pure bliss etched on to her features. He slid his hands down to her hips, stilling the movement. He wanted to savor this moment, to relish in the touch of her against him; hot, hard silk sliding against warm, soft velvet. It was just one man and one woman.

Her dark eyes stared at him, and his own murky green ones gazed back. What hold did this woman have over him? Why did she do this to him? Why did his brain feel like it was scrambled and jumbled up? It happened only around her. “Orihime, I—”

He moved their bodies, so she was beneath him. Ulquiorra could look down at her while she blushed and laid an arm across her chest. It was a moot point to be bashful at this point, wasn’t it? He sat up to watch as he pulled out of her body. She whined; confusion crossed her face.

Ulquiorra had to swallow hard as he felt her press again him, squeezing his cock. He wanted to collapse on top of her, sliding and thrusting into her fully, never to leave. The pace is slow because he wanted to enjoy this moment. He would never be like Grimmjow, fucking people just to get himself off.

A dark thought crossed his brain. Didn’t she say they had an open marriage at one point in time? Had she mated with Grimmjow? Did it matter if they did have sex? Had her husband joined them? The mental image of the redhead sandwiched between her husband and the blue-haired Arrancar was a jolt to his senses.

He opened his mouth then quickly closed it. If he said something or asked about any relations with Grimmjow, she would most likely complain that he was ruining the mood again or maybe she would leave. Ulquiorra did not want that, so instead, he shook his head. He needed to concentrate on what was going on between their bodies.



His eyes saw her shiver. It was slight, but the movement was still detectable. “Do you like that? Do you like it when I call you by your name?”

“Mmmhmmm,” the woman moaned.

Ulquiorra wasn’t one for games, but he wanted to give her as much pleasure as she gave him. So he leaned down, putting his mouth near her ear. “Orihime,” he murmured. He felt the shudder that time. It ran through her entire body.

She was the one who drew her legs up, wrapping them around his waist. The way he slid deeper into her body made him groan with need. Ulquiorra could hear the wet sounds of their coupling. It was erotic. He pushed himself up again watching how his dick parted her lips, pulling the skin in and out at a slow pace. It made his breathing hitch, and he paused for a moment biting back the feel of the orgasm building in his body.

He had to put it off for her. It was only fair.

Pulling entirely out of her body, he was surprised to hear her whine. Ulquiorra bent over to capture her lips in a kiss. Did she think he was going somewhere? He just wanted that sensation of her body passing completely over his again. He swallowed as he breached her once more.

“You feel like—I can't even describe it,” he moaned, quickening his thrusts. Ulquiorra took a chance to look down at the woman wrapped around him. Her breast bounced with every snap of his hips, mouth opening to gasp for air or whimper.

“I loved having your mouth on me, Woman. I’ve never had anyone do that before. Hnnngh,” he huffed as she began to move with him. He could feel her hands grip his shoulders tightly. Just the idea of her doing that again spurred him on. Ulquiorra was gaining speed with each new stroke he delivered to her. He moved his hips in short, fast thrusts. “I never knew that could happen. It felt like I was so deep in your mouth. I liked how my cock moved in between your lips.”

“Ulqui—Oh God,” Orihime cried out. It seemed like she was enjoying his words as much as he was because she was moaning and—Oh...

The dark-haired male’s eyes went wide as he felt the walls of her clench around him rhythmically. He dug his teeth into his bottom lip to keep from voicing his pleasure. What was going on? Ulquiorra didn’t have too much time to think about what was happening to Orihime because his own orgasm, snuck up on him. It was something that transcended all other senses. It was a purely physical feeling that started in his thighs and swept through his body, leaving his mind and nerves tingling, yet numb at the same time. It was an almost helpless feeling; a threshold that he could cross as his release came. The spasms went through him again, the pressure building and falling.

Finally, their bodies stilled; their breathing stunted by exertion.



“Are you okay?”

He gave a content sigh. “I think so. My knees feel a bit weak, but I’m sure that’s normal. Are you alright?”

“Mmmhmmm,” she said smiling. “Here, roll over and lay beside me. I’ll show you the best part of this entire thing.”

“There’s something better?”

She didn’t answer him as she casually reached down and pulled the condom off of him and then threw it into the trash can. She wiped him off with a tissue. Orihime waited until he was settled in beside her. Ulquiorra couldn’t help but stare as the redhead cuddled up next to him, nestling her head against his shoulder.

Guilt was quickly settling over his mind. What they did was wrong on so many levels, and he aided in helping Orihime destroy her marriage vows. He gave a heavy sigh and stared down at her red hair.

“Woman?” He asked, his voice sounded small in his ears. Why did he feel afraid to ask her things about the past five years? “Did you—Have you ever mated—No, had sex with Grimmjow?”

In the dim light of the room, he saw her blush. It wasn’t any of his business. He shook his head the exhaled. He wondered and got his answer; it was quite clear that she had sex with the blue haired male. Why had he even asked?

“Ichigo suggested it,” she murmured against his shoulder.

He couldn’t see her face, but he heard the shame. What had that monster done to this woman? Why did she seem so broken down? “What happened to you? It is hard to believe that you slapped me years ago. You look like the same woman. You sound like her, but something is missing. What happened to your determination and fire?”

She sighed. “I grew up, Ulquiorra. It's difficult to keep those ideas when you’re faced with reality. The Blood War—The thing with Grimmjow—It happened when I was in Hueco Mundo the second time. It just happened, and when Ichigo suggested us all together, I said yes because we already knew each other intimately.”

He scoffed. What she said was probably correct; Grimmjow had a way of just doing things without thinking of the consequences. The lower ranked Espada was impulsive. “Things just happened with you and Grimmjow. A likely story.”

“You sound jealous.”

He raised an eyebrow and then looked at Orihime, who was gazing up at him. How did she know that he was envious? Ulquiorra nodded in response. “I was jealous the first time he took off with you. That asshole had no right to touch you.”

Grabbing her waist, the dark-haired male dragged the woman over so that she was laying on top of him. “I want you. You’re mine. You were put into my charge, and I never got the order to be released from being your caretaker.”

He threaded his hands through her hair, pulling Orihime down so that he could kiss her again. Ulquiorra felt his body responding to her body.

“Ulqui, we just got done. ”


“I’m not going to get any sleep, am I?”

“We have well over five hours left and I plan to enjoy them.”

Ulquiorra groaned and rolled over. He was groggy, and his body felt sore. This almost felt like the morning after sampling a wide selection of sake with Grimmjow, Nel, and Urahara. He hadn’t had any alcohol since that night, so why did it feel like he had a hangover?

He lifted his head and looked around. Ulquiorra knew he wasn't at the shoten. The reality of the situation hit him. Orihime. The love hotel. Copulating… the many many sessions of mating or lovemaking as she called it. He was lying naked in the bed, alone. Had she left him? Had she returned to her dwelling?

“Woman? Orihime?” He called out.

“I’m bathing; I’ll be out in a moment,” she replied.

A few moments later, she came out of the bathroom, smiling. She was just as perfect as ever with some small marks on her body.

He smirked as he watched her walk around the room. Orihime was limping slightly. It made him frown, but at the same time, he was proud. He had done that to this woman. Ulquiorra reached out to her, only for her to shake her head, sending red hair swaying side to side. “We need to get going. Our time is almost up.”

Oh, this was it. Their time together was gone. The magic had run its course. Everything that seemed perfect now fell apart to show the cracks in the facade. Ulquiorra looked up at her with worry in his eyes. A stone of dread settled in his stomach, heavy as panic welled in his throat. “I could pay for more time, Woman. I don't want to—”

“Ulquiorra, I have to get back to my son. Thank you for everything,” she said leaning down to capture his lips in a kiss.

Her appreciation seemed final, like this was the absolutely last time he'd ever get to touch or kiss her. Did she not understand the difference between him and Kurosaki? Ulquiorra died protecting her; Kurosaki married her out of guilt!

Ulquiorra was in love with her. He could finally admit that. Kurosaki only cared about her as a friend! Maybe he loved her as more than that, but it was not likely. He didn't act that way!

That was the difference in their love for this beautiful, smart, and sweet woman.

“Woman,” Ulquiorra called out, catching her wrist in his hand. “I want to see you again. I want to be with you again.”

He sat up on the bed, swinging his legs over the side, and pulled her into his lap. Already his dick was stirring at the thought of being inside of her once more. Ulquiorra stroked her back and breasts with his hands, making sure to touch her nipples and other sensitive spots teasingly. “Give me a chance.”

All she did was kiss him in response, which he returned.


Chapter Text

Before Orihime, Ulquiorra knew the only happiness he had found was in the branches of a vast crystal tree; the nothingness of that bright void. The feeling was so overwhelming that it was the first time as a Vasto Lordes that he felt complete.


He lost all that when he became an Arrancar; Ulquiorra forfeited everything when he became an Espada. He was a slave to Aizen, executing his orders without question.


Ulquiorra knew his place, what was there to question? Aizen had given him a new life. He felt obligated to serve this new master. He did everything the traitorous Shinigami asked. The dark-haired Hollow even pledged his life to him, knowing fully well that their roles as Espada were to distract the intruders from their primary goal.


Aizen and the Hogyoku.


They were to win the Winter War. Aizen did not factor in the determination of some teenagers on a suicide mission to rescue their friend. He didn’t think his warriors would get so cocky; so full of themselves that they would make grave mistakes. The former Shinigami didn’t foresee one of the strongest Espada falling for the human girl.


It was suspect when he walked into the shoten the next morning wearing a huge grin. It was quite out of character for him to even smile so when he walked in wearing a smile and a blush on his face, there were questions. He was a mess; hair tangled, skin bruised and marked. Ulquiorra smelled of sex. He looked like an alley cat after a night out on the town.


Jinta laughed and crowed. Urahara hid behind his fan. Tessai nodded with a grim expression. Ururu blushed. Nel smiled politely. Grimmjow glared daggers at him.


It was then that Ulquiorra felt uncomfortable with the attention. He excused himself and went to his room, falling down onto this futon, body exhausted. His mind was still reeling from his actions. His balls felt sore. They had used every condom in that basket. That was six orgasms in seven hours.


Surprisingly, Ulquiorra didn’t regret his choices.


Given a chance, he’d do it all again. Over and over.


The week after the night at the love hotel had been nerve-wracking but blissful. He learned how to be a good boyfriend from Nel and Ururu. The female with black hair explained how he should be respectful towards his lady. Nel, however, took a different approach.


The teal-haired woman dragged him into her room. He stumbled into the space but didn’t fall. His eyes flickered to Nel’s face. “What?”


“It’s Orihime, isn’t it?” she asked, arms folded over her chest. “She’s the reason you’re constantly on your phone. You randomly smile for no reason. She’s been the same way!”


Ulquiorra didn’t say a word, preferring not to incriminate himself in this matter.


“The morning you came home from wherever you were, you were with Orihime, weren’t you?”


He sighed, “Does it matter?  I mean if that’s what you all want to assume, why should I answer?”


Nel’s face turned into one of concern, “I don’t want to see you get hurt, Ulquiorra. You’re not a complicated person. You’re new to these emotions, and you can drown in them. You can’t date a married woman. It’s gonna get messy. I don’t--”


“I’m not asking for your approval, Nel. I don’t need it. I’m an adult and what I do is none of your business.”


“An adult? No, you’re not an adult,” Nel replied. She huffed, blowing her bangs out of her face. “You’re still an Arrancar inside of that Gigai. You still have that same way of thinking, Ulquiorra. You are not an adult. You’re a Hollow. One of you will get hurt.”


“Duly noted.” He sighed again. Ulquiorra felt like there was some truth to Nel’s words but he was going to ignore them. Orihime loved him, and he returned these feelings. He bit his bottom lip. He wasn’t sure if Nel would even help him. “Can you tell me how to be a boyfriend?”


Her hazel eyes leveled a look at him. “Don’t be like Grimmjow,” Nel stated.


He nodded and left her bedroom. It seemed like common sense and good advice. He would never treat Orihime like Grimmjow treated Nel.


It was several days later when he saw Orihime. He conversed with her through text messages and phone calls, but it wasn’t anything like looking at her face or being able to touch her body.


He was in his room, laying on his futon, stretched out on his stomach and just staring at his phone. It had been about an hour since Orihime texted him. A sigh left his throat. How was it that one night made him fall completely in love with her? Before he could tell himself it had just been curiosity or a mild infatuation. Now he had a taste of her, he was completely hooked; even addicted. It irritated him.


The door slid open. Ulquiorra didn’t look at who entered his space. “Go away,” he said in a flat tone. He wasn’t up for company. He just wanted to see his woman.




A voice. That voice. Her voice. Was it? Was she actually here?


His body twisted faster than anything, his eyes went wide. She was standing in his room. Orihime was there, physically. The day got brighter. His dark mood lifted. Ulquiorra stood then practically ran to her, sweeping her into a hug. She clung tightly to him. “Woman, why didn’t you tell me you were coming here? I would have made myself and my surroundings more presentable,” he murmured, before pressing kisses into her neck. He lifted his face away from her long red hair so that he could look at her.


She was so beautiful with big dark eyes and the faint blush on her cheeks. He bent his head down, kissing her passionately. His lips hurriedly met hers, skin sliding against skin. Ulquiorra had to bite back a groan as she stepped away from him. “I want you, Woman.”


“Not right now. I told Yuzu I was going to the store to buy something I needed. I decided to stop by here and see you,” Orihime gasped as Ulquiorra pulled her back into his embrace. His mouth made its way down her neck. He heard how she whined when his tongue flitted over a sensitive spot.


“When?” Ulquiorra asked. His impatience showed as his hand roamed under her shirt.


“Soon,” she answered.


She gave him a blow job, but he wanted more. He wanted to touch her and return the pleasure she gave him. The answer was always the same.




“Not now.”




A couple weeks passed by and Ulquiorra found himself down in the training grounds, pacing. He was itching for a fight.


How exactly did Nel know if someone was going to get hurt? He would never harm Orihime. Ulquiorra could never physically hurt her. He huffed in annoyance. The former Third’s words didn’t make any sense.


“You look mad enough to spit nails, Ulquiorra.”


The dark-haired male turned around. Grimmjow was behind him wearing his mask fragment and the white hakama. He was out of his Gigai. Ulquiorra tried his damnedest not to shrink back. The Gigai had trouble resisting strong spiritual pressure, especially when Grimmjow was exerting it.


“What do you want Grimmjow?”


“Wanna go a couple rounds? We can soak in the hot springs afterward and have a chat,” the blue-haired Arrancar commented casually.


Ulquiorra snorted. “I don’t think so. Urahara won’t release me from my Gigai, and I don’t feel like paying for a hospital visit. Besides, I know what you do in the hot springs. I’ll decline.”


Grimmjow shrugged. “You might be singing a different tune.”




“Meaning, you might take me up on it. After all, I did fuck your girlfriend,” came the reply.


Green eyes narrowed into slits, Ulquiorra’s expression turned deadly. He had to remain calm. He could not let the other goad him into a fight. “If I were to mate with any of the Espada, it would be Nel, but I appreciate your interest as much as it is unwanted.”


“You didn’t refute the girlfriend part.”


“Mrs. Kurosaki isn’t my girlfriend.”


“He knows.”


Ulquiorra was turning away from Grimmjow and stopped. “Who knows?”


“Ichigo,” Grimmjow said. “He knows you’re fucking his wife. He knows all about the night at the love hotel.”


He had to swallow hard and think about his next words carefully. Why the hell was it so hard to become a stone statue when it came to emotions in this damn body? “I’ve no clue what you mean. I was never at a love hotel--”


“Bullshit. Women gossip. Orihime told Nel. I overheard Nel talking to Yoruichi about it; how good of a fuck you are. She regrets not taking you up on the whole "mating" thing. I told Ichigo.”


“You fucking worthless piece of trash.” The anger building in Ulquiorra finally spilled over, and he launched himself at Grimmjow.


The thing was, Grimmjow had the upper hand. Ulquiorra knew this and didn’t care. All the Arrancar had to do was exert a bit of spiritual pressure; that’s all it took to bring the once great Cuatro Espada to his knees, gasping for breath. It was nostalgic of the time Aizen had done this to Grimmjow.


Grimmjow laughed, the sound barking in echo along the walls of the bunker. “You gotta death wish, don’tcha? You know Urahara has camera-like devices all over the shoten. I’ve seen you with her. She gives really good blowjobs, doesn’t she?”


Ulquiorra gritted his teeth, feeling the overwhelming sensation pressing down on his body. “Go to hell, Grimmjow!”


“You’d like me to, wouldn’t ya?” Grimmjow asked in a cocky tone. The pressure on Ulquiorra’s body lessened but still was immense. “I’m gonna get you out of that Gigai. We’re gonna fight. Ichigo’s upstairs, waiting to come down here and talk to you about it.”


The green eyes darted up to see Grimmjow fitting a glove over his hand. “Why do you get to fight me first? Why not just throw me into a Caja de Negación? Don’t tell me you’ve changed your dirty ways.”


The other male squatted down in front of him and Ulquiorra glared some more, wishing looks could kill. “Heh, you think I was fighting dirty? You’re wrong. I know I may seem impulsive and hot-headed but let me tell you something Ulquiorra. I knew I couldn’t beat you. I knew you would destroy me. I used logic to put you away long enough for my dreams to come true. I’m going to punch you in the chest with this glove. You’re going to draw Murcielago. I’m going to draw Pantera. We’ll see who survives this time.”


“It figures Kurosaki would send his lap dog down here to try and take me down.”


“Is that what you think I am? You think I’m just a lap dog?”


The pressure increased on him once again and Ulquiorra struggled to breathe. Once he got out of this Gigai, he was going to kill Grimmjow. He was going to end the Sexta Espada for good. The blue-haired Hollow kicked him back. Ulquiorra felt something ripping at his nerves. It was almost painful the way his senses prickled, ripping down his spine.


The breath in his lungs left him as he slammed into a rock wall. Then the pain was gone, power surge through his limbs. Gone was the peachy undertone of skin replaced by gray pallor and black nails. A comforting heaviness sat on top of his head. His eyes shifted seeing a shadow out of the corner of his peripheral view.


Was that—was he free if that cursed Gigai? His hand came up, feeling the ridges of his mask fragment, the chips, and cracks biting at his Hierro. Ulquiorra looked down to see he was bare-chested, wearing a white hamaka. The hand dropped to the hollow of his throat. A perfect circle sat in between his jutting collarbones. A murderous jolt of glee coursed through his brain.


He used his Pesquisa to feel for the other spiritual pressures. Urahara, Nel, Yoruichi, Tessai. If he felt out farther, he could feel faint licks of flames and then a strong one slightly southwest. He knew who that belonged to. It was Orihime. Finally, there was one strong spiritual pressure above him. Kurosaki. All he would have to do is fire a Cero, and his competition for the woman he cared for would be gone.


“If you kill him, she won’t be happy. Ichigo has more of a place in her heart than you.”


His eyes narrowed as he zoned in on the blue-haired Arrancar standing across from him. His mouth remained in a straight line as he studied Grimmjow but inside Ulquiorra was gloating. Within an instant, he used Sonido ending up behind the Sexta with his blade drawn. He pressed the sharp edge against the other's neck. “What happened to drawing Pantera, Grimmjow? Go ahead, take her out.”


“You think I’m stupid? I know what’s gonna happen if I even move for it.”


What was the point of playing cat and mouse if the mouse wasn’t going to play along? Still, Ulquiorra wasn’t going to stand around to get his ass kicked by that ginger-headed brat. He’d pull every ounce of power from every recess in his body. He’d smear Kurosaki on the pavement. The only reason he lost the first time was--


The thought stopped his murderous tirade.


He lost because of Orihime. He lost because she called upon the dead to help her. It was all because she’d been frightened of him. Ulquiorra’s memories betrayed him. He was not supposed to feel. He was not supposed to care.


He was nothing!


Instead of fighting Grimmjow, Ulquiorra quickly fired several Bala at the ceiling. He had to see Orihime. He had to talk to her. Maybe if they conversed while he was in this form, then he could be rid of this terrible idea that he was human and he had a heart. Using Sonido again,  he flew through the holes he created in the shoten, not caring if he just destroyed someone’s home or business.

Ulquiorra could hear Grimmjow screaming far below him. In an instant, he was gone, his Pesquisa already honed in on one spiritual pressure.








When he arrived at the house, Ulquiorra was surprised to see it dark. She must have been asleep. He stood there in mid-air, staring at the redhead’s form laying on the bed. Just when he was about to turn and leave. He saw her thrash at the air and call out.


“I reject!”




Nothing happened. The two fairies came out and flew around. They could detect nothing that needed healing or rejecting. She repeated her phrase. "Soten Kisshun, I reject! I reject! I reject! Dammit, I reject! Soten Kisshun, I REJECT!" she screamed and pounded her fist against her thighs.

The Quincy stood and watched Orihime; she could feel her eyes on him. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched a frown grace his face as she became more and more hysterical. He moved slowly over to her and then knelt beside her. He gently took her hands into his. "Orihime, what are you doing?"

She jerked her hands away from him. "I have to try! I can't just-- I need to try--He--He... Why won't it work?"

"Orihime," Uryu murmured to her. "He accepted his fate. He wanted to die. Even if you could bring him back, he has no Reitsu. He would die again."

Sobs painfully wracked her body. She cried for what was lost and for what would never be. It only took several minutes for her to find her voice and she turned to the boy. "No! He wasn't horrible! If you guys had just stayed in Karakura Town, he'd be alive now! I came here of my own volition!"


"We would never leave you behind."


"I don't care!" she screamed at Uryu. She focused on the shrinking pile of dust. "Soten Kisshun, I reject! I reject! I reject this! I didn't want you to die!"


She exhausted herself by crying and trying to bring the decimated Arrancar back to life. Orihime was unaware of the battle going on below them. Eventually, she slumped over, laying down where Ulquiorra's taloned feet once stood. Her face was puffy from crying. Her cheeks were streaked with dirt and tears. Her hands moved through the remaining dust.


It was clear Uryu didn't know what to say to her.


After long moments, which seem to stretch to infinity for her, he finally said, "We should get going. It's quiet below."


"Go, leave me here."


"Orihime, I can't do that. We came all the way to Hueco Mundo to rescue you! Ichigo will not leave you here."


"He's a monster," she replied. She knew Uryu couldn’t argue with her. He’d seen what the creature had done. The thing stabbed him! "I came to protect you all and--and--and, you're all stupid! You threw away my sacrifice! These Arrancars and Espada had more power than any of us combined! You all got lucky! Sheer dumb luck!"


She was crying again and had her upper body propped up with her arms. She was clearly distraught. Grimacing, he knelt once again. "Orihime, do you know what Stockholm syndrome is? It's where a victim of kidnapping have feelings of trust or affection towards their captor."


“I don't care. Ulquiorra made me stronger by challenging everything I stood by,” she flatly stated. “You all doubted me and wanted me to stay out of the battle. I was too weak. I wasn't suited for battle. I could help. I can help.”


“I reject!” She screamed. The redhead sat up in bed, clutching her chest and looking around wildly. She felt him! She had felt Ulquiorra! “Ulqui? Ulquiorra?”




“Nice to see you back Cifer.”


Ulquiorra whirled around, spotting the shopkeeper leaning against a tree. “What do you want?” he snapped.


“You know,” Urahara said then paused. His dramatic antics were not going to fly.




“You wouldn’t be here today if not for me.”


This statement hit his body with more force than any of Orihime’s words or Grimmjow’s blows. “What do you mean?”


“Aizen created you guys with the Hogyoku right?”


“What of it?”


“When I found you years ago on top of that ridge before we got into the war with the Quincies, you were a gasping, dying creature. Spindly legs and arms. Your torso was concave like you hadn’t eaten a meal in years.” Urahara stated. “I brought the Hogyoku with me. All I had to do was touch you with it, much like Aizen did all those years ago.”


The fourth Espada looked at the ex-Shinigami with a look of disbelief. “No, you didn’t give me life. Orihime did.”


His reply was a one-shouldered shrug. “Believe what you will. Now, you have two choices. Since you crossed a barrier which sets the alarm off in the Soul Society, you can either get back into your Gigai and hide in the training grounds or go back to Hueco Mundo. They’re going to bring an army to take you down.”

Chapter Text

No army came. No one bothered him. Occasionally he was banished to the underground facility to hide but there were no repercussions for crossing an imaginary line to see Orihime in her home. Several months had passed and she hadn’t said anything about that night. It made him worry. She had to have known he was nearby.


As the weeks passed by Orihime kept him at an arm’s length away. Still flighty on things; still not giving him definite answers.




They were at another love hotel, laying in the huge bed, cuddling.


She had been on top of him, riding him, tits bouncing without the barrier of a bra to hold them down. Ulquiorra cupped those firm breasts and kneaded them as she brought wave after wave of pleasure to him.


It had been bliss, feeling the slick skin against him. She told him they didn’t need to use anything because she was on some medication. He didn’t understand the terms or words. All he knew is that he never wanted to feel anything else except Orihime. He wanted to hear only her words. He only wanted her touch.


He thought he didn’t want anything else in the world.


“I want to meet your son.” It wasn’t a statement, but a demand. It wasn’t a request, but an order.


The way that Orihime looked at him was confusing. It looked like her heart was breaking while at the same time she had a secret to spill. She looked uncomfortable. “Eh, heh. Maybe,” she said, sitting up then scooting to the end of the bed.


The Gigai-encased Espada propped himself up on his elbows, watching as she gathered her clothes then disappeared into the bathroom. She came out a few minutes later fully dressed.


“I totally forgot about--”


You’re leaving me.”


“No, Ulquiorra, I just forgot that I--”


“You’re leaving me.” Ulquiorra sat up and looked at the woman with a serious expression. His brows furrowed in anger then smoothed out. Understanding came over his thoughts. It was a shock of ice to his system. “No.”


She stood there wringing her hands, looking guilty. Her eyes kept shifting side to side. He finally understood.




Feelings of betrayal bubbled in his throat and Ulquiorra felt like he was going to be sick. Something between them had changed. Something had shifted and unbalanced their relationship. What was it? How had the tides changed? Why were things suddenly not okay between them?


What was she thinking?


From her behavior, it wasn’t anything good. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Ulquiorra. I just forgot to--”


“Tell me, has Grimmjow met your son?” Ulquiorra asked in a sharp tone cutting her excuse off.


She nodded. “He’s been to the house many times--”


“Why is he allowed to meet your offspring but I cannot?” His voice was becoming louder.


Orihime looked at the floor. It was like she didn’t want to show him her face. If she showed him the emotion in her eyes then he would know the truth. He could read her like a book at times. She was that transparent.


“Ichigo’s rules.”


He narrowed his green eyes and glared at the woman. His nostrils flared in anger. Finally, Ulquiorra stood, naked and bare before her. Kurosaki’s rules? Kurosaki’s fucking rules? When had that poor excuse for a Shinigami laid down any rules? “His rules? Does he follow these rules?”


Her head shook back and forth. “Ichigo doesn’t know we’ve continued this,” Orihime said in a small voice.




“I told Ichigo it had been a one-time thing and that I was just helping you--”


The pain that lanced through his body was unbearable. He’d never experienced anything like this before. What did she mean? Then it hit him. “You won’t spend time with me and you won’t let me meet your spawn because you lied to your husband ?”


“He said that he would stop seeing Grimmjow if it was once,” she replied.


Ulquiorra could not believe the stupidity of humans. They would say anything; do anything to achieve a goal. This woman had lied to him over multiple months. She had lied to her own spouse over that time and for what? “Grimmjow is still fucking Kurosaki,” he snarled. “Are you really that blind and oblivious to your own circumstances?”


That’s when her head came up and Ulquiorra could see the pain spread over her face. It was as if he had stabbed her with Murcielago and then pulled the katana from the wound, letting it slowly seep and drain the blood from her. If he hurt her so be it, she’d done nothing but hurt him since she had dropped into his life when he was an Espada.


Anger started building in him. She was in distress because she believed her husband and Grimmjow’s relationship was over. If she wanted to believe that why hadn’t she stopped seeing him?


“I didn’t want you to be alone,” she whispered.


“You’re an idiot,” he stated in a sharp monotone voice. “I came to the world of the living for one thing and one thing only. I did not come here to engage in human activities. Do not get me wrong, Inoue Orihime--Wait, it’s Kurosaki Orihime, isn’t it?  Well, full offense, the sex was nice but I came here to end the life of your husband and you.”


When Ulquiorra came to he was in the room of the love hotel alone. That redheaded bitch had blasted him with something. All he could remember was a golden glow and then nothing. It hadn’t been that shield she could produce. This had been something else.


While he lay in the bottom of that pit as he regenerated in Hueco Mundo, Ulquiorra had pondered many things but one of the main points that he kept coming back to as he drifted in and out of consciousness, was the fact that Orihime had put that barrier up between him and Kurosaki. Why had she done that during the battle with the Vizard? He remembered asking why she decided to protect him then when she could have done that from the very start.


It took a while but the answer finally came to him.


Orihime was not protecting Kurosaki from him. She was protecting Ulquiorra from the substitute Shinigami.

A shrill tone cut through his musings and Ulquiorra sat up. His phone was ringing. With some care, because he didn’t know the extent of his injuries, he stood and gingerly walked over to where his clothes lay folded. The device laid on top of the pile.


Urahara was calling.


After he killed Kurosaki, the blond man was next on his hit list of trash that shouldn’t live. That shopkeeper had humiliated him time and time again. The crater when he first met the woman. Reviving him with the Hogyoku. Putting him inside of this Gigai. He was the most powerful Hollow in all of Hueco Mundo and he’d been reduced to a damn human.


He was livid as he dressed, pulling his clothes on while he muttered under his breath. That woman had murdered him. She had called that Vasto Lordes from the pit of hell. The creature had bowed down to her and did her bidding, ultimately turning on her in the end.


What had Ulquiorra done?


He wasted the last little sliver of his life protecting her. He sneered at himself in disgust. He was the Espada of Nilhlism. He was nothing. He had nothing. He felt nothing. He would achieve his goal. He’d go back to the shoten. Ulquiorra would leave this Gigai. He’d battle Kurosaki. He’d fight anyone who came for him.


It was a cold walk home. He felt eyes watching him. They were not the eyes of the people scurrying to and fro. These were invisible eyes. Were they Shinigami or were they Hollows?  He could not tell because he could not access his Pesquisa. Ulquiorra could sense the other spiritual pressures but he could not tell if they were friend or foe.


Right now it felt like everyone was his enemy so he labeled them as such. He would be rid of them after he got his revenge. He would deal with them all after he got his retribution.


Upon arriving at the shoten, it was dark. There was no welcoming light nor was there any noise that would indicate that people were awake. The first person would be Grimmjow. He’d rip the Arrancar’s head from his shoulders. After that, it would be Urahara. Once he cut a path through his opponents, he’d face Kurosaki again. He’d confront that two-faced woman who claimed she felt affection for him. She meant nothing to him now. Orihime had fooled him twice, spouting nonsense about hearts and emotions; friends and family. He’d strike at her heart with his hand. He’d show her what pain was.


With a dead set expression on his face, Ulquiorra took a step towards the building, eager to get out of this meat suit. He was eager to start laying waste to those who had wronged him.


Urahara released him from the Gigai once he stepped foot inside the shoten. The shopkeeper told him that Grimmjow, Kurosaki, and Orihime were outside. They were at the clearing where Ulquiorra had first arrived in the World of the Living with Yammy.


Using Sonido, it took mere seconds for Ulquiorra to arrive at the location, looking down at four heads milling around; blue hair, teal hair, and two gingers. He growled, completely vexed. Seeing Orihime’s long hair sent a wave of desire through him. He did not want this! He did not want to feel anything for her!


She had betrayed him on the dome of Los Noches. She had once again betrayed him in that room at the love hotel. Kurosaki’s rules… Fuck Kurosaki and his rules!


In the end, Ulquiorra only faced one person.


There was no bloodshed.


No heads rolled. There were no shattering screams to pierce the night. There was no dead Shinigami at his feet.


“Ulquiorra please,” Orihime pleaded. She was standing in front of him, six beams of light swirling around her.


“I came here for a reason, Woman.”


She nodded as if to accept that. “We can be friends. If you stay we can be friends.”


Friends? Was she really that dense to think he’d stay and just be friends with her? He scoffed, “You expect me to stay? You expect me to be friends with you? Do you normally fuck your friends Orihime?”


No answer came.


“Why can’t you answer me?”

“Maybe you should leave my wife alone!” Kurosaki. Ulquiorra’s green eyes slid in the Shinigami’s direction. “She never wanted you. She felt sorry for you.”


Ulquiorra shook his head. “Says the person who couldn’t stay faithful to her,” he retorted. “You never wanted her, Kurosaki!”


Silence followed his words. No one said anything. There was a small hiccup and the lights surrounding Orihime faded. She dropped to her knees.

“I don’t want to be your friend, Woman. I’m going back to Hueco Mundo.”


Ulquiorra turned his back on her. Just as he lifted a hand to open the Garganta, she called out. “Stop! Please, don’t go! I love you.”


Humans would say anything to get what they wanted.

“Love? No, Woman. You never loved me. You were enamored with an idea about me. You were in love with an unrealistic version of me,” Ulquiorra said without turning around. He swallowed, bracing himself against the wave of emotion that threatened him. He could do this. “That’s why--That is why I reject you, Kurosaki Orihime.”


The ripping sound was too loud in his head. The woman’s sobs echoed in his heart. He stepped through and turned around to see Orihime’s eyes trained on him and filled with tears. Ulquiorra stayed there until the Garganta closed, his emerald, reptilian eyes staring intensely at the copper-haired woman.


Pain crackled against his skull. His irrational pain and anger caused him to rip off that helmet, leaving it lay in the sand. He didn’t want to be a Hollow! He didn’t want to be a Vasto Lordes! He never wanted to be an Arrancar! He never wanted his position as an Espada.


Many times over the decades, he and Aizen discussed things.

He had never shown the ex-Shinigami the true extent of his powers but the man knew they were there. Aizen knew exactly how powerful each one of the Arrancars were; he knew the strength and weakness of every one of them.


Ulquiorra had a third release that held even more power. To unleash it would mean the destruction of Los Noches and every hollow within a two-mile radius. He’d transformed into it once, leveling a mountain. It had been hideous. He truly had been a monster with a vast wingspan; the unearthly demon-like horns of ghostly flames. His hollow hole had changed and instead of the circle in his chest, it’d become more heart-shaped. His black hair faded to a brilliant white.


He traveled through Hueco Mundo, alone. He found his tree again. Tears fell down his face as he pushed through the crystallized branches, feeling them nick his Hierro and stab him.


He swallowed, feeling the pain. It all felt superficial compared to the hurt coursing through his heart. He was a mess because of his emotions. What was this constricted feeling in his chest? Why did it feel like he was in so much turmoil?


The black blood that trickled and poured from the wounds wasn’t enough to kill him but he wished for death. He did not want to feel this emotional pain.


Ulquiorra had only done what was best for him.


He wanted to die.

Chapter Text


He wanted to die. He wanted to embrace death again and be gone from existence. Death was supposed to be painless. It was dark. It was numbing after a while when shock set in. Ulquiorra knew because he had died twice.


This hurt. Even behind his eyelids… this was too bright.


He could feel the hum of energy. This wasn’t his first time dying. He knew what to expect. When he was dying the first couple of times there was no energy. It didn’t hurt. The pain and his life were supposed to fade not intensify.


What was happening?


He opened his eyes, fully expecting to see the white branches of the crystal tree, instead, he saw gold. A figure loomed above him with their hands out. The color burned bright obscuring his view of whoever was doing this to him.


As soon as he moved the thing above him dissipated and Ulquiorra found himself looking at the one person--no, the one reason why he returned to this desolate place and its unchanging scenery.


“Go back to your husband,” he snapped, dragging himself to a sitting position. “How dare you take away the one thing I had to decide for myself!”


Orihime flinched. “You can’t die, Ulquiorra.”

“Why not? Tell me why I can’t die for the third and final fucking time!” He watched as she got to her knees in the sand, sitting across from him. Her face showed that she was conflicted. “Why are you denying me death?”


“Do you really want to know?”


A curt nod, his head bobbing up and down once. He wanted desperately to know why this woman would come to Hueco Mundo and find him; why she would not allow him to die in peace. “Why Kurosaki Orihime? Why will you not allow me the peace of death?”


“I lied.”


His eyes instantly narrowed. What could she have possibly lied to him about? Did she lie about loving him? Did she lie about her true intentions concerning him? “What do you mean you lied? Why would you lie to me?”


The redhead took a deep breath and then exhaled, looking pained. “Ulquiorra, you--you’re--I’m sorry.”


Her avoidance of the question gave him the strength to stand up and stare down at her, hostility written over his features. “Why did you invade my realm? Why did you reject my wounds? Why did you lie? Why me? Why not go crawling back to your pathetic husband?”


“I knew about Grimmjow and Ichigo. I knew the entire time; I knew when it happened. I knew where it happened. I didn’t want to believe it,” Orihime stated, looking up at him, tears filling her eyes.


Ulquiorra would not be swayed by her words or actions. She could cry all she wanted. “Go back to him,” he growled. He wanted to pull out his Zanpaktou and say the words that would destroy this tree and any Hollow that was close by. He wanted to utter the words that would unlock the Segunda Etapa release. He wanted to draw the power inside of him to level this entire place.


“I lied to you because--I knew that you wouldn’t stay. I lied to you because I wanted something to remember you by. I lied to you because--I did it for my own selfish means.” Orihime gave a shuddering sob.


“You haven’t said what you’ve lied about, Woman.”


“Please come back to Karakura, so I can explain.”


His bicolored lips set into a hard line. Ulquiorra scoffed at her words. As if he would ever set a damn foot back into the world of the living! He was not a human! He was a hollow. A bad soul that held a grudge after his death, left to wander the world and only to wake up in Hueco Mundo as one of the few Vasto Lordes. “State your business, then leave. I rejected you, just as you rejected me.”


The woman sobbed again. “I lied about the medication,” Orihime managed to choke out.


Medication? “What do you mean you lied about the medication? What medication?”


“I was never on any pills... ”




“You’re going to be a father.”


Disbelief and confusion fought a war inside of his head. Thoughts rolled through leaving devastation in its wake. His brow furrowed, making his stare that much more intense. It took several long moments before he found his voice. “Father?” he mumbled.


Ulquiorra could remember his first life and death. He remembered his dear wife and his two lovely children. He could close his eyes and remember the love, warmth and affection that he held for those three people. He knew that their murders had caused him to commit suicide by drowning. He had been named the Espada of Nihilism, believing in nothing; having nothing; wanting nothing.


He was that until this human walked into his life, shattering everything he held dear as a Hollow. She made him feel. She made him yearn for closeness. She was the reason he had sacrificed his own life to remain safe.


She just told him he had a chance at happiness. She just told him that he had a reason to live.


“Please, say something. If you don’t want this or you don’t want to come back I need to know,” she stammered, her voice wavering and stumbling over the words. Ulquiorra looked at her to see her bottom lip quiver.


“What about Kurosaki, your husband?”




“Being a fucking stay at home dad has to suck,” Grimmjow grumbled. The blue-haired hollow threw his head at the teal-haired woman who was currently blowing raspberries on to an infant’s stomach. “Glad I get to work and Nel’s staying home when it’s born.”


That infant had jet black hair and dark eyes. She was perfectly formed and had a heart. Rikku Sora Cifer was human as Orihime. She had none of her father’s Hollow qualities. The girl was absolutely normal. The afternoon the girl was born, six months after his return to Karakura, Ulquiorra was absolutely terrified and ensnared by the tiny female.

His daughter.


His legacy.


His blood.


“I enjoy spending time with my offspring, both of them even if Kazui finds me “strange”. Besides, I’m still working towards a reputable education so that I can obtain a job, Grimmjow.” Ulquiorra said, staring at his redheaded wife.

“I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with that carrot-topped brat,” Grimmjow muttered.


“You don’t help parent him?”


“Hell no, Nel and Ichigo do that. I’m fun Uncle Grimm!”


“You’re a disgrace.”


Grimmjow snorted. “This is nothing new, Cifer.”

He had insisted on the separation of the Kurosakis. Ulquiorra told Orihime that there would be no point to the continuance of their relationship if they were still married. The two gingers came to an agreement over the offspring they shared and annulled their marriage.


It came out several months ago that Nel was pregnant and it could possibly be Grimmjow or Ichigo’s. Grimmjow threw a hissy fit but Ichigo shrugged and grinned at the former Tres Espada only to grab her by the waist. This caused everyone to roll their eyes.


The former substitute shinigami was head over heels in lust with his two lovers. The three of them worked surprisingly well together. Ichigo and Nel often put the blue-haired man in place which was needed.


Orihime resumed her job as a teacher while Ulquiorra stayed at home with the children. He really did love being around his daughter and step-son. He helped with schoolwork, bedtimes, meals, and discipline. He sparred with Kurosaki and Grimmjow when Orihime had days off or he needed to release pent-up energy. The woman understood when he got antsy.


The blended family sat on a hill overlooking the town, having a picnic. They were celebrating Kurosaki and Grimmjow’s birthday.


To think Ulquiorra was going to give this up. He was going to die just because he had come to rely on his lover. As a Hollow, he hated his life. He loathed what he had become as a creature. Everything felt wrong but he labeled it as nothing banishing it from his mind. The former Espada could not escape it though. He swore loyalty to Aizen only for it to crumble so easily at the feet of a human girl.  


She had unbound him from his obligations with his death. It was haunting but Ulquiorra knew that he would fight to the last breath and to the end of his days for her. He’d gone through hell for her; for one more chance to prove to her that she held his heart.


He was glad she had rejected him, otherwise, he wouldn't be here today. He wouldn't have his daughter. He wouldn't have Orihime. Ulquiorra wouldn't have this life.