Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach nor do I profit from Bleach. I only do this as a fan.

Ulquiorra could feel himself free falling into the black onyx abyss of nothingness. The freezing air bit into his skin as his stomach flipped and flopped making him want to heave violently into the air. He was ready for it all to stop.

Death eternal

Just as he had resigned himself to his fate a small feminine hand reached into the void grabbing hold of his spirit. A determined grip and a violent jerk up broke the pull of his fall. Rushing warmth replaced cold and a strange thumping came back to his chest. His mind flooded with memories of his past life and he began to struggle with the hand to let him go. The pain, the sadness and the betrayal made it hard for him to breathe.

Drowning despair

'NO! Not again. I can't do it again!' he mentally screamed at whatever being was doing this to him. He scratched and clawed at the hand trying to free his soul. The hand finally released him, but now it seemed as if he was trapped in a much darker place. A place that held his memories of the life he wished so hard to forget.

He had somehow arrived at his childhood home. The screaming voice of his father and the sounds of breaking glass caused him to flinch. He looked to the corner and saw the black hair of a shivering child. He was dressed in rags huddling with his face in his knees hoping to not be detected. Ulquiorra closed his eyes wishing to be away when the next act of this dark play began. This was the memory of his first beating after his mother had gone missing.

He listened as the thunderous, angry, stomping feet of his father came closer. He nearly jumped in surprise when someone tapped him on the shoulder. Since this was a memory no one should see him or be able to touch him. He snapped his head back to see who was intruding in his personal hell. It was that girl, Inoue. He was about to ask her why she there when he realized where she was staring.

His father had made his grand entrance into the room. In his hand was a thin, black, leather belt with a large metal buckle dangling at the end. He had the same insane look in his eyes that Ulquiorra had seen many times in life. It took less than a minute for Inoue to figure out what was going to happen. The large slobbery drunk whipped the belt into the air using the leather as a grip. Inoue's eyes widened and she darted out to take the blow that was meant for the child. It passed straight through her and a shrilling scream hit their ears as the buckle ripped into boys flesh.

"Stop! Your going to kill him! Please, please. I beg you!"
Inoue screamed still trying to cover the boy.

"FILTH!" His father screamed whipping the belt back into the air.

The buckle shined brightly when it caught the reflection of the sun through the window. The child's green eyes glistened with tears as he lay bleeding on the floor heavily breathing. Inoue was trying to pick the boy up repeatedly, but her arms would only pass straight through. Ulquiorra frowned and decided that he had watched enough. It was entirely hopeless and the girl was going to break at any time now.

"TRASH!" His father bellowed striking the boy once more, but the child's voice could no longer cry out.

Ulquiorra inhaled deeply and walked over to pick up the irrational red head. She threw her arms around Ulquiorra's neck begging him to stop the horrid man, but Ulquiorra stayed silent knowing that there was nothing that he could do to stop this. Another crack of the belt pierced their ears before he walked out of the house. His father was far from finished with his beating that day.

Deep jade eyes stared e motionlessly straight ahead down a path behind the house. Inoue had begun beating his chest in anger with her small fists. She apparently had no idea where she was and why he had be unable to help the boy. He ignored her as she ranted on about how evil he was. He had heard all these words before and they had no real effect on him.

"Are you finished?" Ulquiorra asked setting the girl down once reaching the flower field that his mother had loved.

"Horrible." She sobbed with her hands covering her face.
"Why didn't you help him?"

"Help him?" Ulquiorra ghosted the question.
"There is no one that will help that boy."

"Bastard....Why are you such a bastard?" Orihime asked jumping up off the ground and getting in his face.

"Perhaps you do not understand what is happening here. You see these are my memories and that boy you wish to help....to save...to shield is me. He is nothing, but the bastard as you say before you now."
He replied without even looking at the girl.

Her mind was now processing. It had happened so fast that she didn't even think about how much the two looked alike. They both had the same jet black hair like a moonless winter night, the same sorrowful forest green eyes and even the same pouting lips. Tears once again rimmed her eyes as she launched herself at him hugging tightly.

"I'm sorry....I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have hit you like that."
She said regrettably.

He shoved her violently away from him. His eyes thrusting a rusted dagger into her heart .

"Pity, I don't need your pity. YOU ARE NOTHING! YOU'RE TRASH!" He shouted as he balled his fist. Once again he shut his eyes and inhaled deeply trying to keep his composure, but she was testing his limits.

"Is that why you say that?"
Orihime asked not realizing the thin ice she was stepping on. "Because your dad..."

With that statement his composure snapped.

"I am nothing like my father! I am calm! I am collective and intelligent! I am not like that drunk!" He screamed snatching her by the arms roughly and shaking her to make her understand what he was trying to say. Orihime didn't fight him back knowing that it would just add fuel to his already raging fire.

It took only as few moments after his words that his eyes widened.

"I am nothing like my father." He repeated softly releasing her from his grip and turning away into the breeze.

"Okay." She said deciding to let the subject drop for the time being.

"What were you doing before you arrived in that place." He asked trying to get back to the main problem.

"I....Well Urahara and I...." She was sputtering and he was growing agitated again.

"Yes, you and This Urahara what?" He asked trying to speed her along.

"Well, we wanted to save you and we came back, but Urahara said that you were beyond saving. I said that you were not. Then I grabbed hold of your arm and this bracelet that you gave me started to burn. Then I was there and you were there and that terrible man was there." She finished.

He turned his head and looked to her wrist.
"Why do you still have the bracelet?"

"Well it is the gift that I have received from a boy. I mean besides my brother." She smiled twisting the silver band.

"Gift, it was hardly a gift girl, but think what you will."
He chided waving off her action as stupidity.

"Anyways, something inside me keeps telling me to save you."
She said looking down at her shoes.

"Why save me? What are you trying to accomplish?"
Ulquiorra queried suspiciously.

"Accomplish? Well, I had not thought that far ahead really."
She said tapping her lip.

"So there are in fact times when you think ahead."
He said monotonically.

"Hey!" She yelled realizing his sarcasm.

Before she had time to begin a new lecture the world around them began to quake. Everything was becoming distorted and fading. Inoue quickly grabbed hold of Ulquiorra's hand. He looked to her in a questioning expression. Just as his mouth was about to move a giant hand shot from the sky snatching them up and out of the field.

Inoue was keeping her strangle hold on his hand. She had decided that she was going to save him just like her brother had done for her. Something inside her was screaming that she was the only one that could.

Ulquiorra ignored the red haired girl who was currently scratching her head in confusion.

The hand had not brought them from the realm of memories, but merely tossed them into another.

To be more exact they were at his last memory.

Forest green eyes stared down the steep marble stairs that led into mildewed darkness. The girl beside him was still mumbling about someone still not getting it right. Her eyes turned to the dismal descend when she heard a whimper.

"Hey do you hear that? Sounds like a puppy or something." Inoue whispered tugging on Ulquiorra's arm.

"Yes." he replied jerking his arm away from her grasp. Inoue was too focused on the noise to notice his action.

"There it is again. Wait, that sounds more like someone is hurt." Inoue said. Without a second thought dashed into the unknown. Ulquiorra stood watching her figure until it vanished into that place at the bottom of the stairs.

Inoue moved quickly for not being able to see anything. Her hands slid along the damp glacial like wall as she followed the muffled gargling sobs. She could see the dim light of a tiny candle and beside it was a shivering form. Her foot steps quickened as she made it to his side and kneeled down to see what was wrong.

"Ulquiorra." Inoue said softly as she tried to brush the sweat matted bangs from his eyes. He was no longer a child, but now held the look of the teenager she traveled with now. A frown formed when she noticed how sickly thin he was. His clothes were no better than when she had last seen him as a child and greenish black bruises marred his alabaster skin. His teeth chattered only stopping when a violent liquid cough seized his body.

"He locked me away in the cellar after that first beating so no one would find out. Threw me scraps to eat and somehow I managed to live to be eighteen."

The voice of Ulquiorra came from behind her.
"We should go. It is almost time."

"Almost time?" Inoue whispered as she tried to hold the tears back.

"Pneumonia." Ulquiorra stated letting her draw her own conclusion on how this would end.

She listened as his foot steps moved away and back up the stairs.

Inoue tried to place her hand on his cheek forgetting once more that it was not possible. "I won't let you die alone."
She moved to lay behind him wishing that he would feel her presence if only a little.

"Trash." He mumbled trying to suck air while the mucus from his lungs was slowly drowning him.

"No, no your not." Inoue cried choking on her words as she tried to comfort him

"No...no one...I ...have ...no....one" He breathed out his last words.

"I'm here. I'm here for you Ulquiorra." she called out to him.

Inoue was not sure how long she sat next to him weeping after he passed on, but she just could not bring herself to leave him. She was starting to feel ill from her swallowed tears and the burning in her eyes was causing a headache.

"Woman, I refuse to stay here any longer. Stay if you wish, but I am walking on." Ulquiorra shouted.

Inoue turned her head toward the stairs and his voice. Then she looked back at the shell of his physical body.

"I know that you can not hear me, nor will you remember this, but I promise to make you happy and when it looks like you have to face the world alone once more I swear to stand by your side." Inoue said in silent pray and oath.

The walk back to the flower field was silent. A bright full moon hung in the sky illuminating everything around them. Crickets played the music for the dancing fireflies. A light breeze wafted the fragrance of the flower field.

Inoue had wanted to say something to him, but thought that he would only think she pitied him again.

"Umm hey, what are you going to do when we make it back?" Inoue asked. Her eyes cast down as she walked.

"Most like go back to the night desert of my home." He replied.
His eyes watching the path ahead.

"But you weren't happy there."
Inoue said halting her steps and thinking he would also stop.

He did not.

"I do not recall being happy anywhere."
He said with what sounded like a roll of eyes.

"Come home with me!" She shouted nervously.

He did stop and even turned to look at her.

"Bold, very bold proposition."
He said mockingly to a very red faced Inoue.

She bit her lip trying to figure out how to word things so that they did not twist.

Not an easy task when dealing with him.

"Well...You see...I am lonely and would like you to stay at my home. Um, like a room mate."

She said wringing her hands and bouncing nervously on her feet.

She heard him move closer to her then a finger lifted her chin.

"Are you saying that you will turn your back on your friends to aid me?" Ulquiorra asked cocking a brow.

"I don't think that I will have to turn my back on anyone. I mean my friends will stand by my resolve."

She said assured.

He tilted his head.
"I do believe that I will take you up on your offer." He replied with a smirk. She wasn't sure why he was looking like that, but the fact that he had agreed to stay with here made her heart feel lighter.

"Great! That is great!" she clapped. Not even thinking a second about it she threw her arms around his neck.

They had not reached the flower field, but the same shake and distortion as before began anew. To no surprise the same giant hand reached into the realm and lifted them out. Ulquiorra closed his eyes inhaling the warm air.

In flash of a second the couple arrived in a new place and he was thankful that he had no idea where he was.

"Welcome back to the land of the living!" A man in an over sized hat and clogs yelled out before popping steamers.

Inoue giggled and Ulquiorra sighed inwardly realizing that he was most likely going to be surrounded by morons.

"Thank you so much for your help Urahara."
Inoue said with a bow of her head.

"No, no. It was the least that I could do for you." He said flipping open his fan to hide his blush.

"So am I to assume that your friend will be staying for awhile?"

"Ulquiorra has agreed to live with me." Inoue gleamed grabbing hold of Ulquiorra's hand. Ulquiorra thought it best to stay silent when dealing with these two. No matter what he said they would imagine the wrong thing anyway.

"Oh my, do tell how this came about in such a short time?" Urahara asked lowering his fan slightly to show his grin.

Inoue's smile faded thinking of the events.

So she did what any woman would do in that situation, changed the subject.

"Urahara, I don't think that you have formally been introduced." She said pulling a reluctant green eyes hollow over.

"Urahara, this is Ulquiorra. He was my protector and guardian while I stayed in Hueco Mundo." she said pointing to the young man at her side. 'She makes it sound like she was merely on holiday.' Ulquiorra thought to himself.

"Ulquiorra, this is Urahara and he runs the shop that we are in now." She said cheerfully. Both men looked at each other knowing that there was far more to the story than what she had said, but let it go for the time being.

"Okay, well we better get going. I still have to make dinner and make a place for you sleep..." Inoue babbled

"Umm, you may need this."
Urahara said pulled out what looked like a deflated dead body.
"Try it own."

Inoue was humming happily as the couple walked down the street. Ulquiorra was still adjusting his new skin over his old soul. Urahara's smile disappeared once the two were out of sight.

"This is going to cause a lot of problems."
The deep voice of Yoruichi stated

"Of course it will cause problems, but I will help them as much as I can." Urahara sighed

"Why go through all this for someone who wants us all dead?"
The cat asked stretching out lazily.

"Because I know and I saw."
He said casting a glance over his shoulder to the confused cat.