new story time. written in internet cafe's so updates are sporadic and gramatically incorrect.

Ulquiorra Schiffer had never been one to suffer fools, much less to be one himself. At the moment though he had never truly felt more foolish in his entire life. It wasn't his fault that he had ended up in this position, he hadn't expected Ichigo Kurosaki to fail in his attempt to kill him, he hadn't planned for what would happen when Aizen inevitably lost the Winter War. That was foolish and that was why he was currently standing in nothing but a pair of hamaka in front of the blond haired, blue eyed supposedly exiled Kisuke Urahara. The scientist looked at him with uncharacteristic seriousness and tapped his fan to his chin, his head falling to the side as if the change of view would give him the answers he needed.

It wouldn't.

That sentiment seemed to be shared by the cell's other occupant as Grimmjow Jeagerjaques threw his head back and laughed. Ulquiorra didn't really think that the Sixth Espada had any reason to find amusement in their current situation but he had never really understood him anyway. The thought that he, Halibel, Grimmjow Jeagerjaques and Nel Tu Oderschvank would be the sole survivors of the fearsome Espada was not something he had ever considered a possiblity. Well, he had thought that Nel might survive, she was known for her ability too, and Grimmjow as well, though he was loath to admit it. But he? He had never thought he would survive, that Ichigo Kurosaki would take him as a prisoner rather than as a corpse. He should have known that there was a reason for that, he should have just gone ahead and killed himself. Death would have been preferable to this. Never before had he felt such a strong loathing for Aizen and Urahara, his two creators. Halibel, well, Halibel had always been something of a mystery to him and not one he would care to unravel. She and Nel were absent from the room but he didn't particularly care where they were. If they had survived this long then it was not as though they would die.

"How's it going?"

He looked at the door to find Yoruichi standing there, watching them with a guarded look in her golden eyes. Urahara sighed and turned to her. They were able to read each other with the kind of ease that only comes with spending many years in each other's company. Her face fell fractionally before she gave a curt nod and stepped fully into the room. Grimmjow, ever the cassanova, let his eyes roam up and down her body without the slightest bit of shame. He, on the other hand, kept his eyes averted and his lips pressed together in a tight line like he had since his arrival. Of course he was the one she walked over to, much to Grimmjow's displeasure. She circled him with predatory grace, her gold eyes examining every bit of him. When she reached his front she hooked two fingers under his chin and turned his face to the side to examine that too. He ressisted the urge to smack her hand away, reminding himself that there was no point or purpose to it anymore. She dropped his chin with a frustrated sigh and turned to Urahara.

"I got nothing, did you talk to Nemu?" she asked.

"She's looking through the files but she's got nothing yet," he said shaking his head, "Hinamori's going through Aizen's files as well and when Gin wakes up we'll be able to ask him but so far, I've got nothing. There may be nothing," he added angrily, "I mean, this wasn't supposed to happen! And now there may not be a way to fix it!"

"Getting angry isn't going to solve anything," she said glaring at him, "these two are the most recent test subjects, they're not like Shinji and the others who've been that way for centuries."

"I know, I know but--" he let out a frustrated breath, "this isn't fair," he looked at the two of them, "this is my fault," he shook his head before turning and walking out of the room. Yoruichi hung her head sadly before following him.

"Well that was depressing," Grimmjow grumbled crossing his arms, "think he's gonna give up and just kill us?"

"No," Ulquiorra said, "he will not give up."

"Well he ain't as stupid as Aizen," he said rolling his eyes.

Ulquiorra sighed but had to agree. He had been in Las Noches getting his ass kicked when it happened but he heard about it all the same. He had a feeling people in Hell heard about it. It was Aizen's own fault for overestimating the ammount of loyalty his precious Vice Captain held towards him. Allegedly his little girlfriend Rangiku Matsumoto had managed to talk to him, to get him to heasitate even if it was just for a second. It could have been a number of things that made him heasitate but Aizen would have noneof it. He had hypnotized Gin and made him run Matsumoto through with his own Zanpaktou and then removed the illusion while Gin's blade was still through her chest. What had happened next was the stuff of legends as Gin had demonstrated why, exactly, he had become a Seated Officer at such a young age. Within 60 seconds, two hundred years of careful planning had gone to hell as Gin had destroyed Tousen, Stark and Barragan before managing to stab Aizen. Aizen had, naturally, split Gin open in response. Even as he was bleeding out he had managed to drag himself to Matsumoto and collapse against her. From the way Urahara was talking he had a feeling that the two of them had survived somehow.

They had.

And at the moment Halibel was plotting all the lovely ways she was going to rip Mayuri Kurotsuchi apart, starting with breaking off that stupid middle finger that was currently poking the small of her back with its overly long nail. Next to her she could see Nel glaring furiously, her mind working along the same lines. She had a feeling that their nakedness was more for the pleasure of their current captor than actual necessity. After all, both the remnants of their masks and their Hollow Holes were above the waist area. Mayuri frowned and made some note on the pad he had with his free hand before resuming his poking. Halibel fumed silently, her lips pressed into a tight line that had been hidden by the high neck of her coat and tried to tell herself that slamming her heel into his nose before snapping his finger off was not a good idea. She was running out of reasons why that was. She was already an Espada, being experimented on in an attempt to find a cure for the Hollowfication process, trapped in Soul Society. Frankly she didn't see how death could be much worse than this.

The problem with wars fought on a spiritual level was that the Balance did not like it. That was the same reason the Quincy's had to be killed. Having Aizen as God was preferrable to having the Balance be 'off'. They had come dangerously close to doing just that during the war given the sheer number of Shinigami and Hollow's that had been killed. That was why she and the others had not been executed yet and wouldn't be until the Balance was a bit more stable. In the mean time they were being put to good use as Urahara and Mayuri tried to find a way to reverse the Hollowfication process they had created. She was not quite so foolish as to think they were doing it to cure the Espada, even though their creation was their fault n the first place, no they were doing it to cure the Vizards. Halibel was not sure how they were so different except that they had been Shinigami first. It seemed silly though, it was not as if she had chosen to be a Hollow anymore than she had chosen to become an Espada.

"Stupid, stupid, failed creations!" Mayuri bellowed, his finger digging dangerously low into her stomach.

"And whose fault is that?!" Nel hollered, unable to keep her silence, "we didn't ask to be created! Not by you or by Aizen!"

If nothing else that got him to stop the poking for a moment as he stared in unabashed shock at the green haired Espada. Nel swallowed, a measure of fear creeping into her eyes and Halibel felt irrationally furious. She remembered when Nel had taken delight in soundly beating most of the Espada, challenging even her. Now she was afraid of the oddest things, like this Shinigami Captain in front of them or the dark, which Halibel had found out the hard way last night when she had woken up with Nel curled next to her like an overly large cat. She had been stunned and confused and more than a little infuriated at the weakling her battle-partner had become but it was dark and they had a trying past few days so she had let the Espada sleep curled next to her. And then they had been dragged into the room and stripped and poked. Halibel's eyes went from Nel to Mayuri and back again as she tried to figure out the fastest way to find her Zanpaktou or if it would simply be easier for her to kill him with her bare hands. Could she kill him? Yes, she decided. Even if he had modified himself extensively she could still kill him quickly and quietly.

"That's enough Captain Kurotsuchi."

Her eyes flew to the door where she saw a man standing. He wore the robes of a Captain and the arrogance of a Noble. His eyes swept the room and if he was affect by her or Nel's nakedness he did not show it. Her eyes found the bandages around his hand and the edge of them around his chest where he had been injured in the battle. She saw his un-injured hand move closer to the hilt of his Zanpaktou. He crossed the room to where Mayuri stood.

"Captain Kuchiki," Mayuri inclined his head in greeting, "what brings you here?"

"Concern for the prisoners," he said, his voice making it seem like it was anything but, "and for one of our surviving Captains. How is your research going?"

"As well as can be expected," he sighed dramatically, "given that these are failed creations."

Halibel caught a flicker of amusement in his eyes and found herself hard-pressed not to laugh at the sight.

Apparently there were many of Mayuri's 'failed creations' running around Soul Society.

On her own part, Halibel knew she was not perfect but she knew she was not as horrible a failure as the scientist seemed to think. Even Aizen had been impressed with his creations. Despite loosing the war they had created enough of a dent in the Shinigami forces to have them scrambling to find replacements. She remembered personally turning many white robes red with fresh blood. She did not feel remorse for the lives she had taken, how could she? She did not feel, she acted. It had always been her way, for as long as she was capapble of remembering what her 'way' was. Las Noches and its desert were numbing for both the soul and the body. Once out of there everything had seemed painfully bright, as if someone had decided to turn the lights back on in a dark room. She wondered if Aizen's little girl had adjusted to being in the world again, whether or not she missed her silent captor, her silent protector.

"And do they need to be nude for your experiments to continue?" he inquired.

"Yes of course!" Mayuri snapped

"Because it seems to me that the evidence of their time as Hollows is above their waist," he continued, ignoring the Captain's outburst as he walked boldly over to one of the bins near the window and pulled out two hamaka's, "they have suffered enough. There is no need to add humiliation to their fate."

"You're Rukia's brother!" Nel announced looking at him. He nodded in response, "you two don't look alike."

"Rukia is my adopted sister," he said.

"So you chose her," she said turning to Halibel, "maybe someone'll choose us!"

Halibel highly doubted that. Even so she accepted the hamaka from the Captain with a nod of thanks. Nel was a bit more enthusiastic. She had never really felt the need to dress, as a Hollow she had spent a lot of time running around without any cloths on. After spending a day or so in the company of someone like Mayuri she had never been so desperate for some kind of covering. She saw Captain Kuchiki's eyes flicker to her and back to the still-ranting Mayuri, so quick that she had almost missed it, but she was sure it had happened. For some reason she felt laid bare under his stare. She didn't like not feeling in control and after only a few moment's in his presence that was exactly what she felt. With Aizen it had always been a game, always. The rules were simple, he won and everyone else lost. It was rather like dealing with a child. She had a feeling that this Mayuri character was going to be no different, not that she minded. This game she knew how to play. She had a feeling that with Captain Kuchiki, the rules were very very different. Angrily she reigned in her thoughts. Her lifespan was very short all of a sudden and even if she was turned into a Shinigami, she didn't know to what point or purpose it would be. It was not as if they would expect her to go and hunt down her own kind. Or perhaps they would. It was not as though she had any special love for the Hollows and with her Fraccion dead--she shook her head, better not to think about them. They had died doing what they had been created to do, she could give them no better death than that.

By the time she was pulled out of her musing, Captain Kuchiki was nothing more than a distant memory.

"Alright you two," Mayuri turned around, a long, wicked needle in his grasp, "lets try something a bit different."

"Where are you going to--" Nel began to ask but was cut off when he plunged it into Halibel's Hollow Hole.