Title: Cuarto Espada

Author: Calenlass Greenleaf

Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach—not even a copy of the manga or anime. I read/watch them online.

Spoilers: Major spoilers for some Bleach chapters and future Bleach episodes (For example, we have yet to see Ichigo-transformed and Ulquiorra dying in the anime; I don't know why they haven't showed that yet…instead, I have to sit through a bunch of Soifon scenes).

Rating: Very high PG-13 or T.

Warnings: Violence, angst, blood, mentions of crazy wounds and crazy bleeding…what you'd expect of Bleach, after all. No pairings/romance.

Summary: From beginning to end, the life of the Fourth Espada, Ulquiorra Cifer. Because all Hollows, even Arrancar, were once Human. This is not an epic WIP; there are eight chapters only.

A/N: Thoughts and conversations are in italics.

Cuarto Espada


He was just like any other kid. Nothing unique. His name was ordinary. He was an average student in school. His parents weren't rich. He lived in an apartment, but he had his own rom.

Just another kid.

He didn't smile often, but he did it only for his little sister.

Rather, he cried more often.

At seven, he cried when his mother left his father for another man. Why, he asked, over and over again. But he didn't receive a single answer.

He tried his best to comfort his sister though, who was only four and didn't understand.

We're on our own now, girl (His sister hated her real name and insisted that he call her "girl." He never questioned her on this.)

At eight, he cried when his father began to come back home late, drunk. He watched in the shadows as his father staggered about and collapsed on the ground, smelling like cheap wine and vomit.

He still protected his sister, shielding her from the sight.

His work at school deteriorated, but…that was nothing to him.

At nine, he cried when his father began beating him. The drinking had reached a dangerous point now, and he often stumbled into bed, bleeding and bruised.

Luckily, he was always able to hide his sister somewhere before his father got back home.

He was friendless now; no one wanted to be near someone who looked half-dead. At first, it had hurt, but then it faded. He didn't care anymore. Better to not feel than to have his heart broken and repaired so many times.

At eleven, he ceased to cry. These days, he and his sister lived at their apartment during the day and stayed in the downstairs lobby at night. Their father was no wiser, anyway.

He started skipping school. What did it matter? His father didn't care, so why should he?

At thirteen, their father caught up with them (He truly was inept, in his son's mind, if he took this long to figure things out) and threatened to throw them out unless they lived in together.

And thus the nightmare continued, and this time, neither of them were spared.

His tears were gone, dried up. Instead, he simply cleaned up his wounds, then cared for his sister.

At fourteen, he was in his teenage years and rebelling. He dressed in black, or dyed the cast-off clothes dumped in his direction. His favorite characters in fiction were vampires, because vampires lived forever and had nothing to fear.

He thought life was foolish and meaningless. Everything was nothing. He was nothing.

His laugh was now bitter and cynical. The only thing that could make him truly laugh was his sister. He refused to let her be defiled by him or by others. The only sunshine in his life.

Are you all right, girl?

He constantly asked her that question.

Her only reply was to burrow her face into his shoulder and cry, and then he would sigh and hold her. What else could he do?

At fifteen, he was a drug addict. He took everything, getting high and crashing low. He grew moodier, and his sister feared for him. She begged him to stop, but he couldn't.

He tried once. And the voices in his head were loud and clamoring. The pain in his body was excruciating. He couldn't stop.

And while he was high on something, he lashed out at his father.

The day had been terrible; the police had gotten hold of him and threatened to throw him into some juvenile detention centre (At least they hadn't figured out he was a druggie). He half-heartedly agreed, and they let him out.

He crashed at some alley, where he kept his stash of illegal drugs. It was near midnight when he stumbled home, with two thoughts in his mind:

I'm going to kill you.

Then I'm going to kill myself.

He pulled out the gun he had stolen, barged in, and pointed the gun at his father.

His sister had run to him, tugging at his sleeve and shouting at him to put it down.

While he was distracted, his father, half-drunk, had somehow grabbed a knife and stabbed him in the chest, dragging the blade down and sticking it hard into his gut.

How dare you how dare you…

He was proud of himself for not screaming as he collapsed on the ground.

As his blood dripped out and pooled around him while his father stumbled out the apartment, the last thing he remembered was his sister, tears streaming down her face and pleading for him not to go.

He found himself laughing at this, even though the action made the blood flow faster. He turned his head to spit out the red, coppery taste, reaching his bloody hand up to her, gasping a few final words.

Take care of yourself, girl. I…can't watch over you forever, you know.

Then his hand went limp, and he became a soul without a body.