Okay, considering that my writing is probably coming to an end shortly, I felt like I needed to do at least one Bleach fic. When I first started writing, I had no idea I would get so into Bleach. Anyway, one of the pairing that has intrigued me the most is UlquiorraxOrihime. Whilst listening to some sad music this idea popped into my head and it seemed too good to pass up. So without further, ado, enjoy. :)
The school bells rang, and as students eagerly emerged from the doors, chatting rapidly about their plans for the summer, Orihime Inoue lagged a little behind.
She had never expected high school to go so quickly. Graduation was two days away, and then she would be leaving Karakura and attending a college in the city. She feasted her eyes upon the classroom she had known so well in the past few years. She would soon cast aside her uniform and never wear it again. Her days would be filled with studying, socializing, and hard work; the thought of the newness excited her. New people, new places...but at the same time her heart was in her stomach. She was leaving everything behind.
With a pale finger she pointed at each desk in turn. "That's where I sat, Keigo was there, Uryu took that seat. He always had his head in a book," Orihime laughed furtively, tears carving rivers in her cheeks. "And, by the window, sat..."
It was impossible for her to finish. It seemed like only yesterday that the War had ended, and every memory from the battle was burned into her memory. She still had nightmares about it. Watching both black and white uniforms shredded and dyed red with the blood of their wearers, healing the injured, and the most terrible memory of all:
Ichigo and Aizen both plummeting from the sky, too mortally wounded for even her to heal, having defeated each other simultaneously. Aizen was dead before he hit the ground. Ichigo had been born again in the Soul Society. It seemed a cruel irony that his name had gone down in Soul Society legend. There wasn't a child there who didn't know his name, who didn't aspire to be just like him, pretending as they played with each other to be part Hollow and play-fighting each other.
But the day her heart truly died happened long before then.
Orihime stopped herself. It's behind me now. He was an enemy and would've died anyway. No, no! Just forget about it.
The girl turned around. "Hi, Tatsuki."
The dark haired black belt had grown her hair out. It made her look a little more feminine, but she still had the tomboyish attitude and loyal persona that Orihime had grown to love. "What are you still doing here?"
Orihime shrugged her shoulders, still staring at Ichigo's old desk. "Just...taking some last looks."
Tatsuki frowned. She followed her best friend's eye path, and her face grew sad. In just a few days they would be parting for their own lives; Orihime was going to a college, unsure of what to go from there, and Tatsuki had received a scholarship by winning a national championship. They would keep in touch, but it would never be the same. "Good idea," Tatsuki agreed quietly.
The flow of tears dammed up and stopped flowing. Orihime turned her back on the classroom, giving her friend a big, albeit puffy-eyed, smile. "I'm ready to go now."
Graduation came and went. Orihime visited every place she could think of, saying good-bye to her loved ones and tying up loose ends, until there was just one more place to go.
She stood outside the small building with the sign that read "Urahara Shop."
Her chest rising painfully with every breath, Orihime knocked on the door. It was quickly answered by a tall man wearing almost entirely green, his wooden sandals clacking against the concrete steps. He peered down at her through the shadows his striped hat cast upon his face. "Why, if it isn't Orihime. It's been a while."
"It has, Mr. Urahara. Can I...come in?"
He ushered her in with his fan. "Of course you may." The shopkeeper showed her to the table and hospitably poured her a cup of tea. "Now what may I help you with? Interested in a visit to the Soul Society again to visit Rukia?"
"No. I...just wanted to say thank-you. For everything you've done for me." Orihime could feel herself losing it, but she quickly pulled herself together. "You don't know how much this means to me."
Urahara fanned himself, nodding his head. "Really it was nothing. Ever since the War I've been trying to keep an eye on you, after all. It only seemed right. But it seems you've made a pretty good name for yourself."
Orihime bowed her head, smiling broadly. "Thanks. I'm getting ready to leave Karakura Town for a while, so I just wanted to pop in and say my goodbyes."
Kisuke smiled almost as widely as she had. "I'm glad you did. But...you're not intending just leaving without at least talking to Rukia and the others?"
She turned her head away, shadowing her face with her hair so the shopkeeper wouldn't see the pain written all over it. "No. Besides, their time is different. I'll probably be back before a week even passes for them. Well, goodbye, sir..."
Orihime quickly stood up, tears falling from her cheeks as she left the store. She stood outside for just a moment, sobbing loudly, before turning to walk off.
"Orihime!" cried a voice. She looked back to see Urahara running at her. "I wasn't going to do this, but I think I need to. Would you please come with me?"
"Mr. Urahara, sir...why have you brought me here?"
Orihime looked around. He had brought her to a small playground area, filled with laughing children and watchful mothers. The sun was beginning to set and a few of the parents were beginning to call their sons and daughters back to them so they could return to the safety of their home as the twilight fell. Soon, only one little child remained. He stood in the dead center, sadly watching them all leave, with his back turned to the two. Sensing Orihime and Urahara's presence, he turned around to face them.
He was a little pale, with ruffled black hair. His eyes were an interesting shade of emerald and were staring curiously at them. He was extremely young, probably only around 4 years old, give or take a few months. He was wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt stained with dirt from rough-housing with others his age. "Mr. Urahara?" he said in a small voice.
Her face blank and eyes wide, Orihime fell to her knees. No... it wasn't even possible. For him to be standing there, as a human child, was like looking at an illusion of past days. He had died by Ichigo's hand. Yet here he was, undeniably alive...
The little boy drew him a timid breath and took a nervous step back. "Why is that girl crying, sir? I don't like it. She's scaring me!"
"Ulquiorra..." Kisuke replied, deadly serious. "Please come here. She won't hurt you."
He moved slowly at first, unsure of this new person, but he quickly gained confidence and approached them. His eyes were suspicious, much more so than any normal child his age normally would be. "Hello," he greeted. "My name is Ulquiorra. What's yours? And why are you so sad?"
Memories were coming back at her so quickly that Orihime felt like she was going to be overwhelmed. It took all of her energy just to lift her arms and place her hands on the boy's narrow shoulders. "I'm Orihime," she whispered. "And I'm sad because you're just like someone who was very dear to me."
Ulquiorra tilted his head sideways, not fully comprehending her words. "That's a nice name. Would you like to come play with me?" He squirmed out from Orihime's clutches and raced towards the colorful equipment, lithely scrambling up to the highest point of the tower.
"Not long after the War ended, I felt his spiritual pressure and found him wandering the streets of Karakura. He has no memories of his time as an Espada, so I took him in. He's been helping out and living at the store." Urahara put a comforting hand on her shoulder and discovered that Orihime was trembling.
"B-but...why didn't you at least tell me?" Her face swung upward. Orihime's face was soaking and her eyes were pleading for answers, filled with longing for truth she had been denied for all these years.
"I didn't think you were ready. But you made me realize today that this may be the last chance you'll ever have."
Orihime forced her shaking knees to stand up and she wiped her face with her hands. "I never knew, never felt him. I guess after Ichigo...left...I sort of pushed everything about the spiritual world away. I didn't want to be a part of it anymore, but now...I've seen what I've been missing."
"Hey! Miss Orihime!" yelled Ulquiorra, waving his hands at her and gesturing her to follow him. "Come up here and play with me!"
"Go to him," Urahara urged.
Her eyes finally drying, Orihime nodded at him, a small smile tugging on her face. As she sprinted for the tower, her shoes crunching in the gravel, and climbed the ladder leading up, the only thing in her mind was reaching the top, where the green-eyed boy waited patiently for her.