A/N: It is finished. Yep, that's it. After this, there's NO MORE. Except for the sequel. It's tentatively titled "Affliction," and is from Grimm-chan's point of view rather than Ulqui's. So keep an eye out for it, yes? Oh ho ho Sorry this last chapter's so short. It's inexcusable, I know. I'm sorry. It really just didn't break up the way I wanted it to, damn it all.
It did not seem so much later that I awoke, lying beneath cotton sheets. I felt oddly exposed, and it was not more than a few moments before I registered my own nakedness. My clothes lay elsewhere, I now remembered, abandoned long before. With this revelation came a rush of other memories; his hands, his kisses, our bodies moving as one.
Sure enough, there he was, fast asleep next to me. He was not a pretty sleeper. Curled like a cat around his pillow, sheets twisted around his body, his mouth hanging open with a puddle of drool soaking the pillow. My pillow, I remembered with a tinge of annoyance. His eyes were open a bit, but I was sure he was asleep. The blue of his iris was just visible in the slit between his eyelids. I had never seen anyone sleep with their eyes open before. It was a bit unnerving, but I got used to it quickly.
I wondered if what we had done had been wise. We had broken no law, disobeyed no one. Still, I felt that what we had done had been somehow forbidden to us, that it was some great taboo that we had ignored. We had crossed a boundary into a land that we could not return from. What would happen to us now? Would we be shunned? Hated?
And most importantly, what would become of this? Would we continue to see each other this way? Or would it simply end here? I hoped earnestly that it would continue. I wouldn't be able to return to the life I had led before. There had been no life before. I had been born when he was born, when he had become my life. He was my life, and I could not live without him.
He shifted in his sleep, upsetting my thoughts. He seemed to settle, but then grunted and shifted more. I watched carefully as his sleep-clouded eyes opened slowly, blinking in the grey light of Hueco Mundo. "Fuck…" he hissed quietly.
"You're still here," I pointed out, alerting him to my presence.
He turned his head quickly to look at me, apparently surprised to find me there with him. I saw the comprehension of what had happened flow onto his face, similar to my own reaction upon waking.
"Were you watching me sleep?" he asked drowsily, seemingly amused.
"Seeing as you are in my bed, I think it should only be expected."
He turned, rubbing sleep from his eyes, propping his head up on one arm in order to better meet my eyes. He grinned mischievously, a joyful gleam shining in his eyes. "You were a virgin, weren't you?" he asked playfully.
I glanced away from him, turning my face to hide my uneasiness. "I'd never found sex to be much of an attraction. I never wanted it, before." I gave him a derisive glare. "I'm sorry if I wasn't up to par," I said stingingly.
"That's alright," he replied, still half joking. He pushed himself up onto his hands, crouching over me. "I'm just glad that I was the one who got to take it from you."
"I gave it to you," I corrected him, my hand meandering up around the base of his neck.
"Yes," he agreed. "Thank you, for that." He leaned down to press his lips against mine again, his body restraining me once more. His clothes, too, had been discarded long ago – there was nothing to come between us, now. His skin was soft and smooth against mine, and warm. So warm.
Soon, though, he rolled back onto his side of the bed – I had already come to think of that half as belonging to him – and propped himself up to face me once more. "I'm sure you've had sex before, though," he said. I couldn't tell if the laughter had gone from his voice, or if it was still half there. "Back when you were human, maybe."
I had to stop myself from gasping. An arrancar's human life was beyond taboo – they were a nearly forbidden topic. For him to make such a casual comment about mine was nearly unthinkable.
But was it such a casual comment?
I answered him at length. "I don't remember much about my human life," I said slowly, cautiously. "In fact… I remember nothing at all."
"Nothing?" he demanded, a little shocked.
An uncomfortable silence hung around us for a moment. His face was solemn, his eyes fixed warily upon mine. I held his gaze unwaveringly – I would never give up a chance to look in his eyes, not ever again.
"I… don't remember much either," he admitted. "Just a woman's face."
I waited for him to tell me more on his own, but when he offered no explanations, my curiosity got the better of me. "Who was she, Grimmjow?" I prompted softly.
"My mother, I think," he replied.
That surprised me – I had expected him to say his lover, or even his wife. Not a mother. We lay in silence for a long minute, letting his words and the implications they brought hang in the air. I had no comment for him; I could not imagine having a mother. I had been brought to this being by Aizen, and that was all that I knew. Before that, I had been a hollow, yes, and I had memories of that. I knew I must have been human once upon a time. But it was all in theory, now. Those memories had slipped away, after years and years of nothing but being a hollow.
He must treasure that image dearly, was all I could think. I was not much one for sentimental things; but a mother, a real, human mother was different. It meant that he, too, had once been human. And that made him so much more real, so much more breakable. He was more than just an empty shell of a soul. His heart was not dead and useless, the way mine had become. Perhaps from him my heart could learn to work again.
"What is this, Ulquiorra?" he asked, breaking the silence with barely more than a whisper.
"This?" I asked in return. "I don't know. It was hatred. Then obsession." I paused to gather my thoughts as best I could. "Now, I simply don't know."
"I think you do know," he insisted.
"No," I said. "I think it could become that. But that isn't what it is right now."
"Then what are we, exactly?" he demanded.
"On whether you still want me or not."
His hand reached out slowly, his rough, calloused fingertips brushing against my cheek. "I want you more than you know," he whispered.
"Then that's what we are," I said. "We want each other. That's all."
"And this can go on?"
"Yes. This can go on."
"That's good," he said, and then leaned forward and kissed me. It wasn't so strange, now, being kissed by him, but it was no less thrilling. Each kiss was different than the last, but there would never be a kiss like that first one. Never would I be so shocked again. Never would I be so confused. Never would I be left wondering why he had kissed me. That kiss had meaning to it. The same meaning which would be in every kiss that followed. Only now, I knew what it was.
He was mine. It was finally true. He was mine, and I was his. I watched as he rose from the bed and dressed in silence, retrieving his wrinkled clothing from the floor. We didn't know what would happen to us after this. We didn't know where this relationship, if that's what we were calling it, would take us. It could kill us – literally. It could tear us away from each other. Or it could bring us closer to being human than either of us had felt in a long time.
My dead heart pounded uselessly in my chest as I watched him turn to leave, as he pulled the door open. "Grimmjow," I called after him, a small panic rising in my chest.
He turned back to me with a smirk. "That's sexta," he corrected. "Gotta keep up appearances, after all."
And with that, he was gone.