Disclaimer: I own this about as much as I own the queen of England. Which is to say, I don't.
AN: See, guys? I told you I couldn't stay away from the SchifferJacks for too long. It was fun to write, but I don't know how it came out in the end. Hopefully not too terrible. For those of you who are wondering, the numbers are in German. There's no deep, mystical reason as to why I picked German – I just happen to love the way the numbers sound (and the whole language in general, really).
In a slightly unrelated note, I absolutely refuse to use "Cifer" for Ulquiorra's (last?) name. What the hell is wrong with you, Kubo? CiferJaques isn't nearly as fun as SchifferJacks.
Many thanks to zigren and NeuroticNut for being woooooonderful betas. Love you both!
The following contains spoilers for recent Bleach chapters, relations between males, and a sex scene written by an amateur. Read at your own risk!
Hate Consumes You
For Grimmjow, hate is everything. Hate is what keeps him alive. When he's with Ulquiorra—when he sleeps with him, when he lays him out on the sheets and fucks him into the bed—he knows what keeps Ulquiorra there (and what keeps him coming back) is hate. And since keeping Ulquiorra there is everything to Grimmjow, since having Ulquiorra there is what makes him feel alive, that hate is everything to him.
Grimmjow doesn't hate Ulquiorra. He may not like him, he may just tolerate him, but he doesn't hate him. He's not entirely sure why—by all accounts he has plenty to hate Ulquiorra for. But there is a part of Grimmjow that doesn't want to hate Ulquiorra. Not at all. So he doesn't force himself to. He's content with not knowing exactly how he feels about Ulquiorra, his superior and—for all intents and purposes—his lover.
But Ulquiorra hates Grimmjow. Passionately. Grimmjow knows this because Ulquiorra tells him so, repeatedly, every night. Every night as Grimmjow's hands trace Ulquiorra's hips; every night as Grimmjow's tongue runs soft over Ulquiorra's skin; every night as Grimmjow pushes deeper and deeper inside Ulquiorra; every night as they both find their climax, making themselves dirty and sticky and unclean (but then again, Grimmjow prefers unclean to any clean he's ever known—a thousand times over and back). Ulquiorra's words are like ice, ghosting across the skin of Grimmjow's neck, over and over and over and Grimmjow can't ever stop hearing him say "I hate you." Grimmjow knows it, and he tells Ulquiorra that, frustrated—"I know, I know, I know!"—but Ulquiorra never ceases. And maybe that's one of those things that keep Grimmjow from hating him, after all.
Grimmjow doesn't like that Ulquiorra hates him, but for some reason, it's what makes Ulquiorra want him, so why would he want to stop it? Sometimes he even tries to feed the hate—to make Ulquiorra want him more. Except, somehow, that just feels like sabotage.
Someday he wants to fuck Ulquiorra, and he doesn't want to hear "I hate you, I hate you, I hate you," but rather, "I need you, I need you, I need you."
But that's just wishful thinking after all.
Ulquiorra is violent. Sometimes excessively so, though he would deny it if confronted about it. He hates violence. He hates senseless hostility, and pain, and death. It is useless to him. He finds no joy in taking his enemy's life; it is only his duty. His whole life he has practiced restraint, avoiding needless conflict and only eradicating his foes when he deems it absolutely necessary.
But when he's with Grimmjow, there's no such thing as restraint. When he feels Grimmjow's skin, the warm flesh against his own, he can't stop himself. When his fingers slide along Grimmjow's chest, he can't help but dig his nails in, leaving streaks of crimson; when he kisses down the side of Grimmjow's neck, he can't suppress the urge to sink his teeth into the flesh of his shoulder.
And Ulquiorra loves it; loves it and is intoxicated by it. Bruises blossom and spread like butterflies, joining old bruises, fusing and expanding until Grimmjow's chest looks like a patchwork quilt of black and blue and purple. And where there aren't bruises there are cuts and scabs and always, always there is fresh blood, covering Ulquiorra's hands and on his tongue and Ulquiorra's favorite color is crimson, because of this.
He is disgusted with himself. He hates that he has to hurt Grimmjow, hates that he can't control himself—like common trash. What he hates even more, though, is that Grimmjow lets Ulquiorra defile him. He hisses and gasps and even whimpers sometimes—though he muffles it; he doesn't want to appear weak—when Ulquiorra abuses him, covers old bruises with new ones, opens old wounds, and creates new ones altogether. Grimmjow endures it, lets Ulquiorra do whatever he wants to his body. He's never tried to stop Ulquiorra, never said no, never hid from Ulquiorra's cruelty.
These things he does, these things his body forces him to do, raise emotions in Ulquiorra—those abstract feelings which are so alien to him, so new and unprecedented. He feels what he assumes is guilt, and anger, and other things which he has not tried to put a name to.
And Ulquiorra knows that Grimmjow doesn't realize that every time he whispers "I hate you," it isn't Grimmjow that he's talking to.
The sex is always incredible.
Ulquiorra's skin is like porcelain. It's smooth and cool and white. And even though it isn't rigid and even though he won't shatter if you drop him, Ulquiorra is still fragile—to Grimmjow, at least. He can't bring himself to break that skin, to leave a gash that might scar, or dare to discolor it with a bruise. It's too perfect to damage. And for some reason that he hasn't quite pinned down yet, the thought of hurting Ulquiorra only causes him pain. He shelves these thoughts for later consideration, where they will gather dust until he stumbles across them again.
Ulquiorra isn't afraid to hurt him, though, and Grimmjow doesn't ever protest. He's too afraid of losing Ulquiorra, losing what little part of this Hollow he can pretend to claim.
Grimmjow leans over Ulquiorra, cages him between the bed and his body. His palms spread over Ulquiorra's naked hips. Porcelain skin lies exposed before him; he kisses down the side of Ulquiorra's neck, down his chest, and it tastes nothing like porcelain. His skin tastes like blood and sweat and dirt, and Grimmjow would have hardly expected anything else.
Those words, the ones that Grimmjow knows so well, hiss from between Ulquiorra's teeth as Grimmjow's lips play at the edge of the hole at the base of his neck. "I hate you," Ulquiorra says; to anyone listening, the tone of his voice suggests nothing about their current situation.
Grimmjow doesn't say anything. His kisses move back up Ulquiorra's neck, over Ulquiorra's chin until they find his lips. Ulquiorra's mouth opens to accommodate Grimmjow's tongue, and his hands twist in Grimmjow's hair. Grimmjow's own hands have made their way up Ulquiorra's sides, and now he's kneeling on the bed between Ulquiorra's legs.
Tug at his hair, and words whispered again against his lips. This is hell, or something very much like it.
Ulquiorra's hands move down to Grimmjow's shoulders, his fingernails drawing blood. Grimmjow hardly notices, except for the droplets of crimson that stain Ulquiorra's chest. He presses a finger inside Ulquiorra's body and feels the whole of it shudder beneath him. Grimmjow adds another and this time Ulquiorra's eyes close and his back arches in a beautiful curve away from the bed.
"Now," Ulquiorra whispers. "Do it now."
Grimmjow isn't entirely sure that Ulquiorra is ready for him, but he's learned to trust Ulquiorra's judgment, so he removes his hand and hooks it under Ulquiorra's knee instead. He pushes both of Ulquiorra's legs up to his torso; strong hands catch Grimmjow's back, bony fingers digging in and Grimmjow can feel the bruises forming already. He slides his hips forward and buries himself halfway inside his lover. Ulquiorra groans deep in his chest—and fuck if that doesn't make Grimmjow want to come right then and there—wraps his legs around Grimmjow's waist and pulls his body closer, until he's taken every last centimeter that Grimmjow has to offer.
For a moment neither of them moves, and they are suspended, savoring the perfection of this moment. Then Ulquiorra falls back and Grimmjow pulls away until they are separate once more. Grimmjow's breath falls out of him in one great rush, and Ulquiorra's breathing is heavy and labored.
"Don't stop," Ulquiorra commands airily, and Grimmjow growls in the back of his throat as Ulquiorra's nails carve down his shoulder blades.
"I wasn't planning to," Grimmjow answers roughly, and presses his lips against Ulquiorra's as he forces his way inside Ulquiorra again. He moves slowly; the friction and warmth of Ulquiorra's body under and around him is almost too much to take all at once. It's only in moments like this one that Grimmjow thinks of Ulquiorra as anything other than cold. Ulquiorra's moans are perfect and intoxicating—so much so that Grimmjow almost doesn't notice the I hate you's hidden between them. He forces the words off Ulquiorra's lips with the use of his own, runs his tongue along them and slips inside as he rolls his hips back again. There is no rhythm to their movements, no order, no patterns. Everything is instinct and necessity and lust, and there is no thinking involved. Grimmjow fucks Ulquiorra hungrily, and Ulquiorra takes it the same way. The momentum builds; tension—and that primal cry for an end—mounts in both their bodies.
Then Grimmjow nudges that spot, the one that sends Ulquiorra spiraling into oblivion. Ulquiorra's breath catches in his throat, and his whole body arches away from the mattress, pressing up into Grimmjow. His head falls back and his hands dig sharply into Grimmjow's back as a strangled moan escapes his lips. Grimmjow retreats and advances one final time, right at that perfect angle, and it's all Ulquiorra can take. He comes over both of them, gasping in ecstasy, and the sight of him pushes Grimmjow over the edge, so that twenty seconds later it's all over, and Grimmjow is collapsing, spent, next to Ulquiorra.
This isn't the first time Ulquiorra has made Grimmjow come tonight, and judging from the almost-hunger in those fathomless eyes, the lips that brush across his skin, it probably won't be the last.
Ulquiorra feels filthy and violated and guilty as he lies at Grimmjow's side with both of their bodies grimy and sticky from the night's events. His eyes roam over Grimmjow's chest as it rises and falls with every breath, counting and recounting the cuts and bruises, giving special attention the new ones. He doesn't remember making most of them—all he remembers is the glorious feeling of having Grimmjow inside him, Grimmjow's mouth on his body, and Grimmjow's skin under his lips and tongue and fingers—but he knows they're his fault.
He wishes—fervently, with an ardor that surprises even him—that he could stop. He wishes that he would never injure Grimmjow again. But he knows he can't—he knows the only way to fulfill this wish is to never be with Grimmjow again, and he knows he is far too weak for that.
Instead, he lets the guilt eat him away as he gazes upon Grimmjow's sleeping features. He lets the despair—despair of being the one thing that causes Grimmjow pain and at the same time wanting to protect him from all pain—devour him, corrode him from the inside out. He lets it torture him, lets it burn in his stomach and ache in every one of his limbs, lets it sit in the hole in his chest a spread like a cancer. He wants that kind of pain; he deserves it.
"Hate consumes you," he whispers, and even though he says "you," what he really means is "Hate consumes me," because there is no one he loathes such as he loathes himself.
Sometimes, just sometimes, Grimmjow wishes that there was more to him and Ulquiorra than just sex—not that he doesn't like sex. It's just that there are things he'd like to tell Ulquiorra, things he'd like Ulquiorra to tell him. Sometimes he just wants more.
He doesn't know that sometimes Ulquiorra wants the same thing.
The next time Grimmjow and Ulquiorra see each other, Ulquiorra shows him what he really looks like. Grimmjow is a little confused when Ulquiorra releases his zanpakutou, but it's nothing he hasn't seen before, so he isn't too surprised.
When Ulquiorra goes one step further, though, he sees the shock in Grimmjow's eyes. His black wings spread to either side, and fill the room with their horror. Grimmjow stands frozen, but he doesn't run. He doesn't run, but he doesn't move, either.
"This is what true despair looks like," Ulquiorra says simply, spreading his arms as if offering his horrifyingly grotesque body to Grimmjow.
"Why are you showing me this?" Grimmjow asks softly, his voice hardly louder than a whisper. He takes a small step towards Ulquiorra, then another, and then another. Ulquiorra is as tall as him now, or perhaps even taller, and with his wings and horns he towers over Grimmjow, engulfs him.
"Because I wanted you to know," Ulquiorra replies. His voice is as hard and emotionless as ever, but beneath it he is aching, he is falling apart and he knows this is the end, and he knows he has brought it upon himself. "I wanted you to know what kind of disgusting thing you've been fucking."
Any other day, Grimmjow would have made a comment about Ulquiorra's use of the word 'fucking.' Right now, however, it doesn't even matter. Right now, he doesn't even notice.
"What the hell are you talking about?" Grimmjow demands. His words are strained whispers; his face is twisted in pain and fear and maybe even concern; his eyes glitter with tears that don't fall, and Ulquiorra feels as if he's been stabbed in the chest.
"Look at me, Grimmjow," he instructs. "Really look at me, and tell me that you aren't afraid."
"I am afraid," Grimmjow admits. His hand moves to Ulquiorra's cheek and traces the enlarged tear tracks—streams now, really; rivers—with his fingers, just barely ghosting over Ulquiorra's skin. Ulquiorra doesn't even flinch. "I'm terrified. But not of what you look like. I don't give a shit what you look like, Ulquiorra. I'd fuck you right here, right now if you wanted me to."
"Then what are you so afraid of?" Ulquiorra is motionless, hardly breathing. He wants to keep Grimmjow here, hidden under his appalling, revolting wings, forever. He doesn't want to let go of this man (even if he isn't really holding him, per se), and in truth he doesn't even know if he can.
"I'm scared because you had to show me this," Grimmjow explains. "I'm scared because I think you might be trying to push me away."
Ulquiorra is surprised, but it doesn't show. Nothing ever shows. "Why would I push you away?" he asks. "I did this for you. I did it so that you could end this if you so wished."
"Liar," Grimmjow spits at him; his hand wraps around the back of Ulquiorra's neck. "You did this for you. So you could test me. So you could feel sorry for yourself if I ran away. But you know what?" he growled. "Fuck that. I don't give a shit what you look like or how scary you are or how much stronger than me you are. I'm not going anywhere."
Grimmjow's face is full of fire and resolve; full of desire, and the craze of lust, and life. Ulquiorra lets his release fall away; his wings retract painfully into his back, his bone mask shifts and moves to cover half his head, and the lines on his face contract. Then he's looking up into Grimmjow's face, as usual, and strong arms are suddenly around his shoulders, holding him close against Grimmjow's chest. Ulquiorra doesn't know what to do, so he doesn't move at all, and it's oddly comforting to simply be wrapped in Grimmjow's arms like this. Grimmjow's scent—blood and sweat and dirt and sex—is almost overpowering this close to his body, but Ulquiorra doesn't even care.
"I wasn't trying to push you away," he murmurs, and his voice sounds incredibly weak and feeble, muffled against Grimmjow's shoulder. Ulquiorra suddenly feels very young.
"I know," Grimmjow says, and he holds Ulquiorra even tighter. "I know."
Grimmjow has had some time for consideration, and he's had lots of time for thought, and a long time ago he came to a decision about Ulquiorra: that if he ever started to feel attached, he would end it. Grimmjow is usually one for keeping his resolutions, but not this time. This time he gathers up his promises and his declarations and his decisions and he throws them to the wind.
There is nothing Grimmjow does that he doesn't do passionately. Most people think he is just violent, and that's what he has thought up until now, too. But now he can see that the truth is just that fighting is the only thing he's ever known, so it's the only thing he's been passionate about. Until now.
Now there is Ulquiorra, and if he's going to do this, he's going to do this properly, and with all the passion and ardor and frenzy his body can stand.
It's when he's holding Ulquiorra's body in his arms, when he's pressing his face into soft black hair and breathing that scent that he knows so well—a scent like fire—that he realizes. And it's then that he knows he will break his resolution.
This time, when he leans over Ulquiorra's naked body, lying prone on his bed, and feels Ulquiorra's hand thread through his hair, he doesn't ravish him like he normally would. He doesn't push him into the bed, or straddle his hips, or grope him, or force their lips together angrily, or any of the things that he has done every other night for what seems like forever. Instead, he plants a hand on either side of him, hovering, and bends down slowly. He presses one kiss, small and light and almost chaste, into the dip of Ulquiorra's shoulder.
He whispers the words breathlessly against Ulquiorra's skin. "I love you."
Grimmjow feels Ulquiorra's hand freeze at the back of his head, then pull away, and his heart sinks into the pit of his stomach. Then it rises again, right past where it should be, up his throat and out over his lips.
"I love you," he says again. "And I need you"—he pauses, chokes on the fears that he has kept bottled inside for too long, far too long—"to stop hating me, or kill me. One or the other." Grimmjow turns his face away. He doesn't want to cry—isn't going to—even though his body does, because he doesn't want to play the guilt card, even though he knows it's one that wouldn't work on Ulquiorra, anyways.
Ulquiorra is silent and motionless for a fleeting moment, and then he pushes himself up until he is sitting upright. "Look at me," he hisses viciously. He grabs Grimmjow's hair, and part of his ear in the process, and tugs his head around painfully until Grimmjow has to look at him. Ulquiorra is angry, and for the very first time it's clear on his face and Grimmjow doesn't even have to guess.
"I have never hated you," he whispers. "Never."
"But you-" Grimmjow starts, but Ulquiorra cuts him off.
"I hate myself, Grimmjow. I hate myself more than you can imagine." The anger starts to fade, and Grimmjow isn't sure whether he should be relieved or dejected. "I loathe that I have to say those things around you, but I no longer have any self control. Never have I once said 'I hate you' and meant it to be directed at you."
"Why?" Grimmjow demands; and his voice shakes, his hands tremble—just a little bit—with fear and anticipation.
Ulquiorra sits back, lets his hand fall from the side of Grimmjow's head, and answers without emotion, the way Grimmjow is used to. "Because I'll never be good enough. I will never deserve you. And as much as I would like to believe you when you say you love me, I can't believe you." He pauses. His eyes search Grimmjow's features, but the rest of him is completely still. "You saw what I am," he says at last. "How can you love something like that?"
"I don't know," Grimmjow replies, "but I do." And then he gives up talking, crushes his mouth against Ulquiorra's and fucks him into the mattress.
That night they fuck four different ways: twice on the bed, once against the wall and once on the floor, because they can't be bothered to get back up when they fall out of the bed. And every time Grimmjow violates him, whenever he presses himself inside, when Grimmjow's lips and tongue slide over his skin, and even when he fucks Grimmjow for a change, he can't help but think those words. They intoxicate him, echoing through his mind, make him moan even louder than normal, make him kiss even harder.
This time, he doesn't let one "I hate you" slip past his lips. He doesn't break Grimmjow's skin and he doesn't bruise him—not too badly. But he still knows he can't change himself for good. He knows he will never be able to forgive himself. Ulquiorra won't ever stop hating himself, not for one moment.
They fall back for a minute, panting and gasping to fill their abused, overworked lungs. Grimmjow's arms wrap around Ulquiorra's chest; their legs are tangled indefinitely. Grimmjow kisses along Ulquiorra's neck and murmurs, for the third time, "I love you."
There it is again, and it cuts Ulquiorra to the bone. It tears his chest open and just leaves him there, bleeding and dying, but at the same time he feels more alive than he's ever felt before. He doesn't deserve Grimmjow. Nothing he says or does can ever make him deserve Grimmjow. But for some reason Grimmjow loves him, and there can be nothing better than that.
Ulquiorra doesn't have it in him to say "I love you" back. He isn't ready to, not yet. But someday he will be. Someday, possibly soon, he will be the one to murmur those words against Grimmjow's skin. Ulquiorra knows that Grimmjow will wait for that day, and he knows that Grimmjow will stay by him for long afterwards, until the day they die. He's grateful to Grimmjow for waiting, even impatiently, even though it might be hard for him. He loves him for it, even.
But no matter how long it takes, he knows the truth. Both of them do.
Hate consumes, but love devours.