Disclaimer – I do not own Bleach.


Monster

The walls of the fortress were dull, sparse of any kind of decorum that would make it friendly or inviting. Of course, a place built for hollows would be this way, a heartless place for those without a heart. They had no feeling, no reason to go about except for survival instinct and self gratification.

Orihime stood in one of the great halls, the towers billowing columns all around her, engulfing and dominating her figure hundreds of times bigger than herself. Her heart thudded in her chest sickinly, filled with dread instead of the usual forlorn hope, and grasped onto a dark depression.

A depression that made her feel like she would never see the faces of Tatsuki, or any of the other girls. Or Keigo and Muzuiro. Or Chad, Uryu and many others, including the shingami she had befriended, Matsumoto, Rukia, Toshiro. But most of all, she felt that she would never again see Kurosaki Ichigo.

She had a crush on the orange haired substitute shingami ever since she had first seen him. One might call it love at first site, as there was a feeling of ecstasy that sent shivers down her back. A voice came that had a slight riveting echo to it. "So… you want to be the king's bitch?"

Orihime suddenly spun around, her eyes wide with fear. There, behind her, stood what could easily be called the doppelganger of Kurosaki-san, a white morbidity of death that exuded the same aura, not of the shingami, but that of a hollow, particularly that of an arrancar. It was a monstrosity that could not in truth be described, an abomination of what she loved.

"Ehh… don't like me, do you?" the Ichigo copy smirked.

"I…" However, she found herself frozen in terror.

"You defiantly are a hottie. I'll give you that much," the being smirked. "However… what else are you? You rank in the top of your school, yet you lack common sense. You have strong moral convictions, yet you're weak, unable to see the strengths you do have."

A few tears suddenly fell down Orihime's cheeks. The doppelganger smirked. "You don't have a reason to cry, but I'll give you one!"

"Suddenly, the monster's hand shot out towards the center of Orihime's chest. She screamed in pain as the nails dug in, biting through cloth, then skin, then muscle. It dug towards the left, towards a rhythmic beat, then grabbed hold of the throbbing muscle. Tears poured down her cheeks. "Please… no…"

"The being only smirked at her as she bled out, squeezing hard a few times as the beat occurred, causing a great deal of pain each time. Saliva began to drip from her pale lips, and when this happened, he yanked hard, grinning as he removed his hand, a thumping, pulsing heart muscle in his palm, dripping with her life fluids.

Suddenly, Orihime sat up, the sheets of her futon falling away. "Oh… it was just a nightmare."

The girl scrambled from her bedding and dialed a phone number. "This is Tatsuki speaking," came the very tired voice.

"Tatsuki, it's me… Orihime,"

"You had that nightmare again, didn't you?"

"Uhh-huh,"

"Remember, Ichigo protected you,"

"Protecting me doesn't mean he has romantic feelings…" Orihime muttered.

"No… it doesn't. I mean, his name does mean, one who protects. But still, do you really think he would let anything hurt you?"

"I guess not…" Orihime gave a half smile. "Good night Tatsuki."

"Good night Orihime,"


Author's note – While the pairing Ichigo/Orihime is cute, I don't think it is possible in canon unless she comes to accept that the inner hollow is part of Ichigo. And… in the Bleach world, protecting someone doesn't constitute liking someone in a romantic way… as the theme is protecting that which one cares about, whether it be friends, family, morals, honor… you name it. Any ways…

Happy Halloween!