Whiskey Tango

A series of Ulquiorra/Orihime drabbles and short stories Written to the themes of Livejournal's 30breathtakes

By Jun-Ko

NOTES: First published in April 2009. It's been a few years since I started, and since I was last active in the Bleach fandom or writing in general. I'd thought I'd given up fanfiction all together but I suppose I'd spoken too soon because I suddenly had the urge to go over my Ulquihime fics. Upon review, I realized just how horrible my writing was, and was overcome by the need pimp up the existing stories, haha. With luck, I might even find time to continue where I left off two years ago. (: So, without further ado, I give you Whiskey Tango. - Jun-Ko, Sept 2011

"You accuse me of fancy talk
When I'm just trying to find the words
You've got a funny way of saying my name...
But you are too polite to complain.
Of the art of speaking plain
I haven't gathered a thing."

- Tanya Donelly, Whiskey Tango

1. Reunion
( First light of morning )

At first he thought his eyes were being fooled by the orange light filtering in through his bedroom window. He thought he'd fallen into another one of his dreams - another restless slumber he could neither control nor wake from. His mouth, hanging open; green eyes wide, staring at the widely-smiling girl in the black kimono balanced on his window sill - the last leaf before the fatal gust of wind.


She breathed his name like a spirit, tasting it. She tilted her head to one side.

"Long time no see."

An understatement.

It had been a century, a century since he had clawed his way back into existence; a century since he had left the ruins of Las Noches, since bribing that damned shopkeeper for a gigai, since the start of his search for the girl who had clapped her hands over his eyes. One long, unending century had passed since he had learned of her untimely demise - "Hit by a car in the rain," shortly after starting university.

(He had wondered long ago if she had been smiling before the moment of the accident.)

Suddenly conscious of his face, Ulquiorra willed the muscles of his jaw back into functionality and closed his mouth. Then opened it. Then closed it again. The cup of tea in his hands had singed his skin but he hardly noticed.

"I never thought I'd see you again." Inwardly he cursed. A century ago he would never have said something so meaningless, so unnecessary, so -

"So human," she said, in awe. "You seem so..."

Without thinking (or was it without hesitation?) Ulquiorra lifted his hand to touch hers. Another uncharacteristic move, something he would never have done without having lived in the human world for a hundred endless years and had long since shed his reservations. So instead he moved her hand away.

"Why are you here?" Ulquiorra asked simply, though not unkindly. She withdrew from him and stood tall.

"You forget, Ulquiorra Schiffer," smiled Inoue Orihime, fifth seat of Squad 4. "You were once an arrancar. Before that you were a hollow." She hopped off the sill, weightless as an autumn leaf and unsheathed her zanpakuto in one fluid motion. "And now, I am a shinigami."

Realization dawned on him. After a long pause Ulquiorra put his cup down.

"Will it hurt?"

"For a moment, I suppose," she shrugged. "But think of what it will mean."

For us, he thought he heard.

For us, she wanted to say.

Ulquiorra lifted his arms slightly in anticipation, flightless bird, as a certain light in his eyes shone, either the start of laughter or the start of tears - both equally deadly. He shut them in time with the swift swing of her sword.

The cut was clean, shoulder junction to hip. His remaining reiatsu began to dissolve quickly, along with his gigai. It hurt no more than the first time he died, in Hueco Mundo, cold and broken and wanting, reaching for her, pining for a chance to touch her, regretting that he hadn't.

Without hesitation (or was it, without thinking?) he put his hand out again, hoping it wasn't a dream. She reached for him again and this time their fingers tangled, for only a moment, though he knew it was the moment he had waited a hundred years for.

In a flash he was gone, leaving nothing in the modest apartment but the black-robed girl with sunrise hair and the butterfly hurriedly making its way to Soul Society. Orihime followed its path out of the window, from which she could see the sun burst forth, spit out by the dark horizon.

"Morning," she smiled.