Author's Note: Done for the 13drabbles community at LJ! I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them! Un-explanatory spoilers through the latest manga chapters and mucho coarse language abound!
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach nor any of its respective characters, settings, etc. This applies to all current and upcoming chapters.
I. "Running Away"
Orihime lay in her bed in Hueco Mundo, the perpetual moonlight leaking through her barred window and painting the room in morose black and white pinstripes. Grimmjow had already come and gone, leaving her bed in more disarray than her torn clothes and disheveled hair.
Run away, her mind screamed again, begging and pleading for her to heed it. She pictured her conscience on its knees, hands clasped together, and then she wondered if maybe this was the brink of insanity.
Looking without seeing, Orihime's hollow eyes glanced up at the hairpins resting comfortably on the edge of her night table. She felt a little guilty, knowing the Shun Shun Rikka inside probably didn't appreciate the way the bed would rock noisily every time the man with a hole in his abdomen came for a visit.
"Run away, you dolt!" Tsubaki would scream at her in moments of utmost irritation, usually after an especially loud experience with Grimmjow or when he was forced to listen to Orihime cry. Still, Orihime couldn't even muster up the strength to shake her head.
When Ulquiorra came with her dinner, or even just to make sure she was still loyal to Aizen, he always told her she had the right to wander about the citadel. Perhaps it was meant to cheer her up; she suspected so, but then she didn't think Ulquiorra really had all that much compassion lurking behind those sad, empty eyes. Grimmjow occasionally even told her the same thing, saying things like, "Stop that Goddamn sobbing! At least you have free reign of the whole place!"
No, she thought. Neither the words "free" nor "reign" belonged to her. This place, reigned over by that deceitful Aizen, sucked every ounce of freedom from her listless body.
Run away, a soft voice called. The voices of her friends, she knew. Or at least the remnants of her friends that called to her from the depths of her heart, beseeching with every speck of their deteriorating strength for her to save herself.
But Orihime felt that there was nothing left to be saved. She was content to live a dead life there in that citadel, in that room, between those torn silk sheets and swallowed by her shame and guilt. She was content to listen to Grimmjow say each night as he stood in the doorway and glanced back, "Don't you dare run away, because I won't save you."
And the very notion of being saved, even by him, was enough to keep her there.