Leaves off after chapter 315. Contains spoilers, I guess. Multichappie fic, I dunno how many, it's still in progress. May contain adult content in later chapters, but probably won't, cos I'm lame that way. Beginning is idiotic, I haven't written anything for so long, I'm out of practice.

This thing needs to automatically capitalize all the i's I type.

Pairings: UlquiorraxGrimmjow fic, onesided IchigoxUlquiorra. maybe more pairings as I write, I can't tell.

Disclaimer: Don't own.


Chapter 1:


Ichigo counted the steps.

He counted the steps backward.

Five hundred thousand, three hundred ninety seven steps from the entrance.

Two million, three thousand fifty-eight to where he had left Renji.

Three million, four hundred and two steps to where Rukia was.

He counted the steps forward.

Fives steps to where Kenpachi Zaraki stood.

Fifteen steps to Nel.

Countless steps to Orihime.

And Ulquiorra in between those countless steps.

His eyes darkened as he remembered his last encounter with the Espada. Ulquiorra had beaten the snot out of him then left him to die. His grip tightened crushingly on his zanpakuto hilt as the pain of the final blow washed over him once more. There were so many things for which he despised that Hollow. He had kidnapped Orihime and marked her as a traitor, he had nearly killed Ichigo, he was a skinny little fuck with an emotional range of a teaspoon… Ichigo hated him. Everything about him always made that barrier between anger and pure fury crumble and disappear. He promised himself he would kill that conniving bastard even if it meant his life.

He wasn't going to wait any longer. White sand flew in a glittering arc as he pushed off the ground, shunpo-ing across the vast expanse of Hueco Mundo. Ulquiorra's reiatsu made a straight, even line across his awareness, leading him to what was surely a trap. But Ichigo no longer gave a damn whether they meant it or not. He wasn't going to run, not when his friend's lives and that of his hometown lay on the line. Gritting his teeth, he pushed himself to go faster, but the reiatsu wasn't getting any closer. On the contrary, it seemed to fade away, as if the Espada was traveling in the opposite direction he was.

"Shit." He muttered, "Shit."

Suddenly, he skidded to a stop, whirling around as if he had just realized something. He narrowed his eyes and tried to sense Ulquiorra's reiatsu again. What he found confirmed his suspicions. With a snarl of frustration, he started off back where he came from.


A dark foot stepped soundlessly on the ground, shifting the sands imperceptibly. Another followed, white hakama swishing softly with the movement. Both stopped beside each other, spaced about a foot apart in a perfectly balanced stance.

"Grimmjow, you fool."

The sixth Espada's eyes fluttered open, his gaze unfocused. Blinking quickly, his vision improved enough for him to be able to recognize the shape hovering over him.

"Ulquiorra." Grimmjow was too tired to even put his word into a question.

Ulquiorra stared down at him, his face impassive and calm. "You fool. What did you think to accomplish with that exploit? I would have thought that you, as an Espada, might have had a little more sense of self than the average Hollow, but I believe the circumstances fall short of that." Grimmjow averted his gaze, his eyes half-lidded. The clear blue color was dull and glazed. Ulquiorra watched for a few seconds more. "Fool…" he whispered as he knelt down in the sand and dragged the other arrancar up onto his shoulder.

"What're you doing?" Grimmjow growled, but his words lacked their usual biting edge.

"…" Ulquiorra remained silent for a moment, then, "Doing my job."

"And what the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"I'm to keep as many of the Espada alive as I can. Aizen-sama will be displeased if you were to die."

It may have been a stupid trick his ears were playing on him, but Grimmjow thought the honorific added to the end of Aizen's name was somewhat strained and superficial. He smirked, lips curling over somewhat bloodstained teeth.


Green eyes snapped to his, oddly still against the blur of sand as they sped across the ground.

"Do you really care enough to save me?"

Ulquiorra's eyes darkened. "Yes. Don't question my loyalties. I live to serve Aizen-sama." There it was again. There was a faint tremor in the smooth, analytical voice.

Grimmjow didn't have much energy left to keep his eyes open. His smirk slipped off his face as he sank back into unconsciousness, leaving himself at the Fourth's complete mercy.

Ulquiorra mulled over what Grimmjow said. Did that arrogant fool expect him to waver in his duties or even think to defy his god? I am to serve Aizen-sama with my body and soul, to the end of death. He reminded himself. Cursing, he tightened his grip on the rather larger body in his arms. He couldn't doubt his leader, not in a time like this. Aizen-sama will make this world something bearable, he is working for the greater good, and they must realize that he is doing this for their benefit. It was the logical explanation, and Ulquiorra was content to serve the ex-shinigami as long as this was the logical decision. Whether he died or not didn't matter, that was unimportant.

As long as it was logical.

Bringing himself back to reality, he realized that the shinigami that had defeated Grimmjow was tailing them. His reiatsu was carelessly cast around, exploding in every which direction. Ulquiorra's nose wrinkled in disgust. People like this were trash. If Aizen-sama hadn't asked him to, he would never have even laid eyes on such a crude persona, therefore making his existence a little less tedious and miserable. Slowing his pace, he stopped at one of the hidden passages leading into Las Noches and slipped in, stumbling a bit under his passenger's weight.

Closing his eyes for a moment as if he would sigh, he laid Grimmjow on the floor and dusted himself off, rubbing distastefully at the bloodstains on his prude uniform. Then, shoving his hands into his pockets, he leapt back out into the open, the dark of night unvarying from the gloom of the tunnel. He waited for the next fool to come.



He felt him before he saw him.


He felt it before he saw it.

Hollows did not constitute as anything more than monsters, or things. He refused to acknowledge the possibility that they were humane enough to have genders.

And Ulquiorra was no exception. He stood before Ichigo, hands in his pockets, stance nonchalant.

"Shinigami." He said be way of greeting.

"Ulquiorra." Ichigo growled back, pointing his zanpakuto at the arrancar threateningly. "Where's Orihime?"

"You know where she is."

"You bastard! Tell me where she is, or I'll just kill you now! I don't have time to waste on you!"

Ulquiorra closed his eyes for a moment. Such situations gave him a headache. "Trash. I don't want to have to go through this again. We both saw what happened the last time you pulled something like this. You cannot hope to win, shinigami, defeat is the logical outcome for you."

"The last time we fought… it was different." Ichigo said, choosing his words carefully so as to not give too much away.

"How so?"

"Last time, you were at an advantage. The last time, you had the element of surprise. I dropped my Hollow mask before I could beat you, and I had other people to worry about besides me. While I had my mask on, it was easy to see that you were no match for me." Ichigo's look hardened. "Given time, I would have killed you."

Ulquiorra stood very still. Ichigo used the silence to continue to goad the Espada into a fight.

"Why aren't you moving, coward? You're afraid to fight me, aren't you? Because you know I'm right, you're the trash now. I will kill you and save Inoue and my friends as well. I was stronger than you in vizard form, wasn't I? And you would have died had you-"


Ichigo's eyes widened. "What?"

Ulquiorra finally turned his head to look at the shinigami. "Trash like you always talks like that. You think you can taunt me into fighting. You are a fool, just like the rest of them."

Then, his fingertips were millimeters from Ichigo's wide eyes. Ichigo barely contained his gasp of surprise.

"Shit." He said. Ulquiorra had somehow attacked before Ichigo registered the movement.

Green eyes stared disdainfully into his. "You cannot win against me, shinigami."

Ichigo snarled. "Don't tell me what I can and can't do!" he swung Zangetsu in a wide arc, aiming for the pale, slender neck. Just one hit. If he could somehow land one hit on this Espada, he may have a chance. But there was a flicker of motion as Ulquiorra expertly avoided the blade, using the minimal amount of movement. He hadn't even taken his hands from his pockets. Another flash of white was all he had for a warning before Ichigo felt a foot connect with his chin, sending him flying through the atmosphere. He hadn't even cried out yet when that same foot crashed into his chest, sending him speeding towards the ground again. He gasped, all the air leaving his lungs with a whoosh. There was no time; he couldn't even draw enough breath to use his bankai. He thrashed futilely with his sword, trying to connect with anything, everything, anything that could save him-


Something slapped against his sword arm, smashing it forcefully into a wall. Ichigo screamed, his voice drowned by the sound of the crashing rubble as he felt the building crumble behind him. Zangetsu dropped to the earth as the bones in his arm splintered under the force of the blow. Forcefully biting down on his lip, he cracked his eyes open and looked to the side. Ulquiorra's wrist lay against his, the Hollow gazing impassively at the limp, broken limb. Then, he stepped back and thrust a hand back into his pocket, leaving Ichigo to fall to his knees, clutching the broken arm.

"F-fuck…" Ichigo hissed, shaking, "Fuck you, bastard…"

Ulquiorra disregarded this. "Now do you see the difference in our skill levels? You cannot hope to defeat me, shinigami, it is against logic." He looked down at Ichigo. "Your mission has failed, it was doomed to do so from the beginning. Give up."

Ichigo refused to meet his eyes. He knelt on the ground, head bowed. His shoulders heaved as he hyperventilated, shock and pain setting in. He couldn't do this. For all his efforts, for all his training, for all his promises, he couldn't kill Ulquiorra. As much as he hated to admit it, the Espada was right; they were too far apart in terms of skill and experience. Clenching his teeth so hard he could hear them grind, he narrowed his eyes in hate and anger. He wouldn't die. He would keep fighting until he died- which was probable- or he rescued Orihime. Much less probable. Slowly, all the muscles in his body tensing and straining, he looked up. Brown eyes met green. He could read nothing in those emerald depths, but it mattered little to him. All that mattered was what he was about to try…

Without warning, he grabbed Zangetsu in his left hand and lunged, thrusting the sword forward. With a sense of grim satisfaction, he saw Ulquiorra's eyes widen fractionally, the arrancar scrambling to avoid the attack. A triumphant smile spread across his face.


Grimmjow opened his eyes.

What the hell?

At first, he thought he had gone blind. Then he realized he was in an especially dark hall of Las Noches, with no one in sight. Groaning, he heaved himself to his feet.

"Shit…" he staggered and fell against the fall. Retching, he heard a sickening splattering as something hit the ground. Grimmjow wiped the remnants of the blood from his lips and raised his head.

Suddenly, he was aware of the sounds coming from outside. There were screams and several thuds, then a not so quiet crack and the rumble of a crumbling building. Just faintly curious and far more annoyed, he dragged himself to the entrance and pulled himself out into the night, wincing as the breeze ripped at the gaping wounds in his body.

But all that was forgotten as he took in the sight in front of him.

Ulquiorra stood, bathed in moonlight, his sable hair blowing gently in the wind. Kurosaki Ichigo knelt before him, staring up at the Cuatro Espada.

A black sword pierced Ulquiorra's chest, the tip jutting from his back.


Hopefully a cliffhangerish ending.

Review plz, you've wasted a hell of a lotta time reading it, just review! :D