Ichigo leaned against the wall, his eyes studying the pale arrancar sitting across the room. The emerald eyed arrancar was thumbing through a novel, paying rapt attention to each word that he read. It seemed that ever since the slender arrancar had arrived in Soul Society, he had been busying himself trying to understand the human race; a race that he found extremely fascinating.
So fascinating that he would question Ichigo about everything to do with humans. Ichigo often wondered whether the pale arrancar's curiosity would ever be quenched.
The young Vaizard scowled. This was not how he had wanted to spend his time. He did not want to spend his time babysitting an ex-Espada. Especially one that had tried to kill him before and nearly did.
Renji thumped him on the back sympathetically, shaking his head. "Come on, Ichi. It ain't that bad. I had to keep an eye on that guy for a few days and it wasn't that bad. All he does is sit quietly and sometimes stares at you. Creepy, yes, but he won't try to kill you."
"That's because he has never tried to kill you before," Ichigo said darkly, remembering the intense battle he had with the pale arrancar a few months ago. That thing had very nearly killed him, for God's sake! Surely Renji had not forgotten?
Apparently, he had.
"Yeah, but he saved Ishida, didn't he?" Renji said. "So he can't be that bad. Give him a chance."
Well, he had a point.
The first few days of babysitting the pale arrancar was not as bad as he had thought. True to his word, Renji was right about the arrancar minding his own business the whole time. Except to occasionally send him a barrage of questions about humans which, due to the arrancar's nature, was having difficulties to understand.
The pale arrancar had left Las Noches about a month ago, choosing to join their side after realizing that Aizen only saw the arrancars as mere, disposable tools. While the shinigami of Soul Society were overjoyed to get a new recruit (and a very powerful one at that), they were also very cautious. They had been keeping an eye on the slender arrancar. And now, it was Ichigo's turn to look after him.
A fact that did not make Ichigo happy.
Other than nearly killing him before, there was something else that made him reluctant to take the job. It was just that every time he was around the beautiful arrancar, he felt all hot and uncomfortable and thus making him irritable. He had been pretty short tempered with the arrancar even though the arrancar had been nothing but pleasant, if not distant, to him. Maybe it was the way those large, mesmerizing emerald orbs looked at him. It made him feel funny. It was a feeling that one would not associate with an enemy (okay, fine, ex-enemy) but Ichigo could not quite put a finger on it.
"Kurosaki Ichigo," Ulquiorra Cifer said.
He sighed. Here it comes. The former Cuarta Espada was going to ask him a question.
"What, Ulquiorra?" Ichigo snapped.
Unfazed by Ichigo's tone, emerald orbs continued to gaze into his brown ones. Ulquiorra had placed the novel that he was reading on his lap, his hands folded in front of him demurely. "Why do humans have sexual intercourse?"
Ichigo nearly choked.
What did he just say?
Turning red, Ichigo turned his face away from those curious eyes and said, "So that we can breed. We talked about this before."
More like Ichigo had done most of the talking. Matsumoto had been giving the pale arrancar novels to read since the arrancar wanted to learn more about human emotions. Unfortunately, most of her books were romance novels. Whenever Ulquiorra read one of the books, he would knit his eyebrows together, trying to understand why humans were wasting their energy pursuing love since it did not offer any use in battle. But he kept on reading, determined to understand. To quench his curiosity. This lead to him asking Ichigo numerous questions.
If you think Ulquiorra asking about why humans having sex is awkward, wait till you hear what he asked Ichigo when he had discovered television:
"Ulquiorra! Time for lunch! I made some- WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU WATCHING?"
Ulquiorra was sitting in front of the television, his eyes watching the television program critically, his curiousity growing by the minute. The program, though it bothered Ichigo, did not seem to bother Ulquiorra at all. He merely eyed it in his usual analytical way. But it made Ichigo turn red and he promptly reached for the remote control and switched it off. Honestly. He would have expected Grimmjow to watch something like this, certainly not the former Cuarta Espada.
Ulquiorra looked at Ichigo over his shoulder, his face stoic as usual. Then came the dreaded question.
"Kurosaki Ichigo. What were those two humans doing?"
Ichigo raised an eyebrow. He honestly did not know? Was the former Espada really that innocent? "They were having sex," he said slowly.
"I see." Ulquiorra thought for a moment. "What is sex?"
That had to be the worse half an hour of Ichigo's life. Ichigo's face was crimson and he kept on stammering throughout his explaining while Ulquiorra just gazed at him, listening intently. He had made Ichigo explain every excruciating detail; from kissing to pregnancy.
"Yes, I know that. But why?" Ulquiorra said, bringing Ichigo back to Earth.
"What do you mean why?"
Ulquiorra sighed. He clenched and unclenched his fists, trying to find a way to put his words together. Oh, God. He looks so adorable when he is confused. Ulquiorra bit his bottom lip, looking extremely endearing. "I thought the point of sex was for breeding only. But the characters in these novels, in television… They seem to be doing it because they like it. Why?"
"They do it because they love each other," Ichigo said shortly. He was not in the mood to be the pale arrancar's encyclopedia for today.
"Hmm." Thankfully, Cifer let the subject drop.
He should have known that Ulquiorra Cifer was not going to let the matter drop. The man was too curious for his own good. He seemed to possess the curiousity of a cat, poking and inquiring about everything. When his curiousity for something was quenched, he would find something else to poke and inquire about. It was a never ending cycle. And again, Ichigo would have expected this sort of behaviour from Jeagerjaques who undeniably had feline qualities.
Ichigo was in the bedroom that he shared with the former Espada, lying on his back as he stared up at the ceiling. There were two beds so they did not need to sleep together, which Ichigo was thankful for. He could not imagine sleeping together with the stoic arrancar. The guy would probably ask him even more awkward questions. If possible, he wanted as little contact as possible with the green eyed arrancar. He felt confused with the way he felt around the smaller man as it was. It was almost as if it was bordering on affection. Ichigo shuddered. He did not need to complicate the situation even more by forming a bond with Cifer.
It would have been useless anyways. The pale arrancar did not understand anything about affection, caring, love… All of these feelings were foreign to the arrancar. He only understood what he could see with his own two eyes.
Ichigo groaned inwardly. "You could just call me Ichigo, you know."
"Ichigo," his name rolled off of Ulquiorra's tongue, as though he was testing how it sounded. It sounded right. Ichigo liked the way his name sounded coming out of Cifer's mouth. "What is love?"
A sigh. Ichigo sat up to face Ulquiorra, who continued to gaze at him expectantly, waiting for an answer. "Love is when two people care about each other and- WHY AREN'T YOU WEARING ANY CLOTHES?" Ichigo shrieked.
Ulquiorra was not technically naked. He had wrapped a towel around his waist, covering his privates. But to Ichigo he might as well have been naked. Ulquiorra's slender yet fairly muscular body stood under the light, showing off his toned body, his flawless porcelain white skin seemed to have a glow to it. He had just gotten out of the shower and his damp raven hair framed his doll-like face. Ichigo watched as a drop of water on Ulquiorra's chest slowly moved down his stomach, and into the gap between the towel and his waist.
Ignoring Ichigo's outburst, Ulquiorra repeated, "What is love?"
Tearing his eyes away from the former Espada's toned torso, his face red, the orange haired teen cleared his throat and said, "It's a strong feeling of attachment that is formed between two people when they care about each other. Love is an emotion."
The pale arrancar seemed to be contemplating what Ichigo had just explained to him, his eyebrows furrowed and biting his bottom lip once more; a habit that Ichigo noticed Ulquiorra had. "So love is an emotion?"
Clearly, intelligent and observant as he was, Ulquiorra did not seem know how distracting his half naked presence was to Ichigo. The orange haired teen could feel himself hardening almost painfully. Damn these hormones. Did Ulquiorra turn him on that easily? "Yes, it is an emotion," Ichigo said irritably. "Now will you go and put some clothes on?" He got up, shoved some clothes into Ulquiorra's white hands and pushed him into the bathroom, slamming the door shut.
Ichigo was in the garden, up in a tree in front of the ex-Cuarta's little house that Captain Yamamoto had provided for the slender arrancar, looking at the view of Soul Society. He sat on a branch, swinging his legs absentmindedly as he admired the view. It was nearly two weeks since he had first started watching over the pale arrancar. Ever since that little incident two days ago, Ichigo had been avoiding Ulquiorra. If Ulquiorra entered the room that he was in, he would leave it. If he saw Ulquiorra, he would go in another direction. And he would only go to bed when he was sure that Ulquiorra was fast asleep and he would also wake up before the arrancar did. Just to avoid him.
It just felt too uncomfortable for him to be around the arrancar on account of the fact that he kept on imagining Ulquiorra's half naked body.
And then there was the fact that he had started having dreams of Ulquiorra. This was so wrong.
How could he be thinking of the former Espada in this way?
Even if the pale arrancar did feel the same way, it just felt so wrong. He was not supposed to feel this way towards someone that he was supposed to hate. That he was supposed to consider as an enemy. Someone that had nearly killed him. The power that the pale arrancar held still overwhelmed him. How did someone so small, so slender, so fragile looking have such great power?
It was something Ichigo had trouble wrapping his mind around.
Admittedly, he had always felt uncomfortable in Ulquiorra's presence. Ever since the first time he had met the pale arrancar. It was not so obvious at first so Ichigo did not notice it that much, but after awhile, the feelings became more marked and apparent to Ichigo, much to his dismay. And it was because of this small weakness that made him unable to fight Ulquiorra at full strength. The pale arrancar had noticed this at the very least and had commented on it once, but he did not understand the reason behind the Vaizard's actions.
Ichigo groaned inwardly. No. He did not want to see Ulquiorra. Not now. It just felt too weird for him.
Ulquiorra was standing at the bottom of the tree, staring up at Ichigo, his hands shoved in his pockets, the coat tails of his Espada uniform flapping behind him as the wind blew past. He looked at Ichigo for a moment, studying the perpetual frown on the young boy's face and then he was suddenly sitting next to Ichigo. He had sonidoed his way up there.
Ichigo nearly had a heart attack.
"Don't DO that!" he growled, clutching at his chest. "You scared the shit outta me!"
Ignoring Ichigo's outburst once more, Ulquiorra looked at him intently, his emerald orbs looking into his brown ones with such intensity that it felt like he could see right through Ichigo. Ichigo squirmed, his leg accidentally brushing against Ulquiorra's, sending jolts of electricity across his skin. They were so close to each other. If they were to move ever so slightly, their lips would touch.
"What?" Ichigo's voice was shaking.
Ulquiorra blinked once or twice before opening his mouth. "Where do emotions come from?"
Letting out a shuddering breath, Ichigo closed his eyes. He really felt like he was teaching the former Espada Love 101. He thumped his fist against his chest, right where his heart should be. "It comes from the heart, Ulquiorra. Right here."
"So anyone can feel emotions?" Ulquiorra said in monotone.
"Even us arrancars?"
"Yeah, I suppose so." Ichigo looked at Ulquiorra curiously. Was it his imagination, or did he just see a faint blush grace the pale arrancar's doll-like features? But he had no time to confirm this because Ulquiorra suddenly looked down, his raven hair obscuring his face from Ichigo's sight. The smaller man reached his hand up to his hollow hole, the hole at where his heart was supposed to be, suddenly looking a little sad.
"Ah." Ulquiorra began swinging his legs idly with his eyes downcast, looking very much like a lost child. He wondered how could an organ that was just meant to pump blood throughout the body be the source of emotions, but he did not question the boy any further. At least for now.
Ichigo did not sleep with a shirt on that night. The night air was very cool and he wanted to savour it as much as possible. He was only clad in a pair of pants. He was lying on the bed, his hands behind his head as he stared up at the ceiling once more. For some reason, he could not sleep. Maybe because he knew that if he fell asleep, he would be haunted by the object of his affections, who he supposed was fast asleep right now. Ichigo turned his head to look at the bed next to his. The bed was empty.
Ichigo frowned. He could have sworn that Ulquiorra was lying there a moment ago. Where did the little guy go? Browns eyes searched the darkness for the owner of those familiar emerald orbs and that hauntingly beautiful white skin.
"HOLY SHIT!" Ichigo yelped, nearly falling off of his bed. Ulquiorra was standing at the end of his bed, looking slightly amused by Ichigo's reaction, a small smile playing on his black and white lips; a rare sight that took Ichigo's breath away. He was clad in a white shirt and a pair of black pants. "Will you please stop doing that? My God, you will be the death of me if you keep sneaking up on me like that!" He rubbed at his chest, trying to still his fast beating heart. "You crazy lil arrancar," he muttered angrily.
Ulquiorra watched him silently and then made his way towards Ichigo, who instinctively squirmed away from him. Not that that bothered Ulquiorra. When he was right in front of Ichigo, he bent down so that they were now face to face, his breath caressing Ichigo's face. Ichigo's brown eyes widened. What was Ulquiorra doing? His heart was beating a mile a minute and his breaths were quick and shallow.
"Where did you say the heart was located?"
Ichigo's heart dropped.
The pale arrancar was in one of his curious moods again. He was stupid to think that Ulquiorra had wanted something else from him.
Swallowing his disappointment, Ichigo thumped his chest with his fist like before at the spot where his heart was located. "Right here," he informed the curious arrancar, and then let his hand drop to his side.
"I see." Ulquiorra tilted his head, looking like a child. Adorable and forever curious. "Right here," Ulquiorra murmured, reaching out and placing the palm of his white hand on Ichigo's bare chest, right over his heart. Ichigo badly wanted to yell at Ulquiorra to move away from him but found himself to be captivated by the sight of the pale arrancar in front of him, those emerald eyes full of questions. Besides, Ulquiorra's hand felt warm and comforting against his skin. A blush slowly crept up Ichigo's tanned face.
"The source of emotions." Then Ulquiorra leant forward and placed his ear against Ichigo's chest, removing his hand so that he could listen to Ichigo's heartbeat. Ichigo's breath hitched when Ulquiorra's fingers accidentally grazed against his nipple, making it harden. Thankfully, Ulquiorra did not seem to notice this; he was too preoccupied listening to Ichigo's heartbeat.
Ichigo saw the former Espada's eyes close slowly, comforted by the steady thumping of the orange haired teen's heart. "Where love comes from," Ulquiorra said softly. He saw a unmistakable blush grace Ulquiorra's doll-like face. So he had not imagined the blush from before up at the tree. Why was Ulquiorra acting so strangely, Ichigo wondered. Then all too soon, Ulquiorra pulled away, breaking skin contact. He gazed into Ichigo's brown eyes questioningly.
The pale arrancar's white hand touched at the edges of his hollow hole, looking very confused and sad.
Ichigo's eyes widened. What was wrong with Ulquiorra?
Ulquiorra's eyes were downcast. "I don't have a beating heart like you do, Ichigo."
"What? Of course you do. Don't be silly. Otherwise, how could you be talking to me right now?" Ichigo said quickly, alarmed at the melancholic tone the pale arrancar's voice had taken.
"I don't," Ulquiorra said softly. "But if I don't have a heart, why do I always feel so strange around you? It is all rather confusing."
Brown eyes and emerald ones met.
"What?" Ichigo breathed.
Could it be?
Ulquiorra sighed, closing his eyes, then opened them again. He considered the words that he was about to say, trying to find the best way to explain. "When I am around you," Ulquiorra said slowly, hesitating slightly. Was it right to tell Kurosaki this? "It feels like there are…" Ulquiorra struggled to find the right words. "… butterflies in my stomach." He had read that description in one of Matsumoto's many romance novels, and it seemed to be the one that was the most fitting of his predicament. "And I start blushing." Ichigo's eyes widened. "And… I find myself thinking about you a lot." Ulquiorra stopped, and then continued, shaking his head, his hand rubbing the side of his head. "I don't understand this at all. I-"
Before Ulquiorra could finish that sentence, he felt a pair of soft lips covering his own black and white ones. Ichigo had captured his lips in a gentle kiss, his arms encircling the pale arrancar's waist, pulling him closer till he was practically in Ichigo's lap. Shocked, Ulquiorra stiffened, not responding to the kiss. What was happening? He usually knew everything to do about anything, but he was at a loss right now. He had never done this before. Once he had gotten over his shock, Ulquiorra tentatively kissed Ichigo back, soft, innocent and unsure.
As soon as the kiss had begun, Ulquiorra pulled away. "I- I don't understand."
Ichigo smiled, his brown eyes warm. "You will. Now no more questions, Ulquiorra." He did not say it in a mean way. He said it gently, calming the pale arrancar's nerves.
He pulled the former Espada into another kiss, his hand touching the side of Ulquiorra's face, both of their eyes fluttering close at the sweetness of the moment. Ulquiorra wrapped his arms around Ichigo's neck, pulling him closer, eager to feel Ichigo's body against his. Ichigo ran his tongue over the Cifer's lower lip, seeking permission to enter. Ulquiorra shivered and immediately granted Ichigo's tongue entrance. Ichigo's tongue explored the pale arrancar's wet cavern, exploring every tooth and corner, and then rubbing against Ulquiorra's wet muscle. Ulquiorra tasted sweet and addictive, and his kisses were innocent and unsure. It nearly made Ichigo's heart burst at how adorable this was.
Strawberries, Ulquiorra thought absently as he ran his tongue over Ichigo's.
Slowly, Ichigo pushed the former Espada to the bed.
He lay down beside Ulquiorra, his hand circling around the former Espada's slim waist. They were both breathing heavily and sweating profusely from their activity, both slowly coming down from their high.
"Wow," Ichigo breathed. He turned around to face Ulquiorra. The pale arrancar's face was still flushed.
"Yeah," Ulquiorra agreed, too tired to add anything more. He reached out and played with the orange locks behind Ichigo's neck absentmindedly.
As Ulquiorra's eyes began to flutter close from exhaustion, Ichigo touched his cheek and placed a gentle kiss on Ulquiorra's lips. "You do have a heart, Ulquiorra," Ichigo said softly, making Ulquiorra smile before drifting off to sleep. Both of them lying there in each other's arms… Sharing each other's warmth… It felt so right even though they had both thought it was wrong at first. It was then and there that Ulquiorra finally understood the answers to his questions.
Rukia walked up to the little house that the former Cuarta Espada, Ulquiorra Cifer, was supposedly living in. It was her turn to watch over the ex-Espada. She felt sorry for Ichigo who had to watch the pale arrancar for the past month. She knew that he did not want to take on the assignment that he was given, but orders were orders. They had to be fulfilled. She was sure that Ichigo was going to be delighted in having her take over.
She smiled at the thought and walked up to the door. She knocked the door.
"Hello?" she called out.
That was strange. She was sure Ichigo would have answered the door in a heartbeat. Maybe he did not hear her? She tried several more times and when there was still no answer, she gave up.
Maybe there was another way in? Rukia walked around and found a window, where the curtains were open so she was able to look in. She peered into the window. If Ichigo was in this room, she could ask him to open the door.
Then the most shocking sight met her eyes.
Ulquiorra and Ichigo. On the table. Doing, doing...
Oh. My. God.
This was so wrong. Ichigo Kurosaki and Ulquiorra Cifer? The young Vaizard and the young arrancar? And yet, it looked so hot. She could not wrap her head around it. She felt something wet drip down her nose. She touched the wet trail gingerly and to her horror, saw that it was blood. She was getting a nosebleed!
Rukia was later hospitalized that day due to a serious case of major blood loss.
DIOR: This fic has been censored to fit this site's M-rating. To read the uncensored version, go to my profile and click "Fic LiveJournal".