Spoiler-alert; Manga chapter 253.

心 在るが故に妬み I envy because of the heart
心在るが故に喰らい I glutton because of the heart
心在るが故に奪い I covet because of the heart
心在るが故に傲り I am prideful because of the heart
心在るが故に惰り(あなどり) I sloth because of the heart
心在るが故に怒り I rage because of the heart
心在るが故に Because of the heart
お前のすべてを欲する I lust for everything about you


Even though he allows it, he finds that he doesn't like that she's healing others but himself. This is the only reason why he lets himself get wounded during battle. It's so that she can focus only on him.
Although she smiles at him knowingly as he comes back to her room over and over and commands her to fix him she obeys because she knows that this is the only way he knows how to show that he cares.


Ichigo doesn't quite comprehend the sight in front of him. He finds it astonishing to see Ulquiorra reach out to his friend. But what's more confusing is that she reaches back. Why does she cry when the man who kidnapped her disintegrates? He wants to comfort her and is dying to ask, but when she breaks down it's a hard thing to do because he's sure there's more to this than meets the eye.


Humans are simpleminded beings, he thinks right before she places a chaste kiss on his lips for the very first time.
Still he allows it to happen and can't ignore the prickly, warm feeling in his limbs. Somehow, he's grateful to the girl, or at least as close as he can get to it. There so much he doesn't understand when she does things like this, and it alarms him. But at the same time it's not as bothersome as he'd like it to be. Oddly enough, it's as if she's helping him find something he didn't even know he was missing.


Sleep isn't something a hollow needs, in fact; it's an ability he's not even sure he possesses.

The first time she asks him to stay, he's too caught off guard by the invitation to decline. Even though he doesn't touch her, he sits by her bed and watches her. It's part of his duty, he tells himself.
But when she mewls a few incoherent syllables that sound too much like his name in her sleep, he closes his eyes too. Not to sleep, but to visualize whatever she may be dreaming.


Even though he can't understand it till the very end; something about the girl chills him to the very core and burns him up just the same. He doesn't particularly like the accusatory looks from her because for some very odd reason it makes him feel offended even though that very stern common sense of his keeps telling him he shouldn't.
A big, far too big, part of him wishes to destroy her. But a very small, yet too significant part is afraid that whatever seed she has planted in him might stop growing if he does.


Possession is something he has never been introduced to prior to meeting the girl.

Funny, isn't it? That Grimmjow (of all) is the one who does the honor of doing so. It leaves a bad taste in his mouth upon realizing how easily the girl can be taken away from him and forced to side with someone else.
He's not particularly fond of the way she looks at him as her dying shinigami companion lays at her feet. Fear doesn't look good on something already that frail. And much to his dismay, he's annoyed that she's directing it at him.


Orihime Inoue. Orihime Inoue.

No matter how many times he thinks it or repeats it to himself the faint fluttering in his chest cannot be analyzed. What is it? It's surely not supposed to be this way. As much as it interests him, it repels him all the same.
So he just calls her 'woman' to avoid any further complications.


He's not all too bothered with the fact that he was defeated. It's a war, and battles are meant to be lost as much as they are to be won. Even though he's not the type of man to regret anything he has done, he still feels something much similar to regret as his hand reaches out towards her.
"...Are you scared of me, woman?" he asks. But even though she cries as she answers in the negative and reaches back he can't help but smile.
"I see."
In his hand is his heart and even though he can't quite reach her, he believes that she's the only one worthy of it since she was the one who found it.


"Hearts, you say? You humans are always so quick to speak of such things. As though you carry your hearts in the very palms of your hands. But this eye of mine perceives all. There is nothing that it overlooks. If this eye cannot see a thing, then it does not exist. That is the assumption under which I have always fought. What is this "heart"? If I tear open that chest of yours, will I see it there? If I smash open that skull of yours, will I see it there?" he says as his fingertips graze her chest. She's shaking, but it's not as much from fear as it is from anticipation.
Is it too twisted that part of her wishes that he would?


Jealousy is not a trait he possesses, it's just another bothersome feeling. Look how it makes humans act.
But as he sees Szayel leave her chamber he has the pink haired Espada pressed into the wall so fast he himself can't even begin to calculate why. As the octava stares at him in disbelief and then cracks into a big obnoxious grin, he drops him like the trash he is.
"Leave and don't come back."
Knowing better, Szayel obeys. But he strides down the corridor laughing nonetheless. Who knew taking a few tests on a supposed prisoner would be a matter of life and death? Looks like the pet-sama has a pet of her own.


The very first (and only) kiss he ever initiates is insecure and probing. He barely touches her then and is almost afraid to, as if her skin will burn him. Still her knees weaken and her breath hitches. When her small, delicate fingers carefully touch his face, he pauses and gives her an intense, wary stare.
She almost expects him to ask what she's plotting, but surprisingly it never comes and he just picks up where he left off. There's something so endearing about it, and in her mind she secretly compares him to a stray kitten she once found on her way home from school.
The kiss is short, and strangely leaves her with a lump in her throat. But it's a kiss, and it's still very beautiful.


He believes she's lost it when he walks in on her laughing and gives her a long, hard stare. This only encourages her further and he can't help but ask. She tells him she's reminiscing about things from her past as if it that alone will explain everything. When she laughs at his serious, never changing expression he slowly closes the distance between them and leans down till their faces are leveled.
The laughter dies and her smile falters, but the expected insult never comes. Instead two cool fingers brush over her lips and something much similar to a faint smile ghosts over his face. But it happens so quickly that she's not sure whether she imagines it or if she's really beginning to lose her mind.


Every time she looks at the moon these days, it reminds her of him. It's ghostly pale, stoic and untouchable.
Some nights she even talks to it, and much like Ulquiorra, it rarely responds apart from the few times it shines its light upon her as if to show that it's listening.


The one and only time he ever says her name is shortly before the final battle against Ichigo. His eyes are more melancholic than usual, and it frightens her. She knows this was bound to happen from the very beginning. Still that knowledge doesn't cushion the feeling of having her heart ripped into two when it does.
"Inoue Orihime," he says and it's all he needs to say. The message is brutally loud and clear. It's him saying goodbye, isn't it?


This time he doesn't leave her chamber upon making sure the meal is delivered. Instead he sits down next to her and picks up a spoon of his own. No words are exchanged, and he acts like he can't see her wide stare.
She wants to ask him badly, but is afraid to because it might break whatever spell he's under. Part of her wonders if this is part of his obligation as her 'caretaker', while another ponders on whether there's an ulterior motive behind this.
Though when he finally runs out of patience and commands her to eat, she obeys much too happily.
Orihime decides that she doesn't care which one it is. She's just happy to have company. Especially this person in particular.


It's not that eavesdropping is his thing. He could care less about what people are doing here.
The slightly open door isn't what attracts his attention when he strolls down the long corridor, it's what's happening inside. Hueco Mundo isn't by any means a fun place to be in, and he's far too impatient to just sit around and wait for battle.
But as the Sexta witnesses the scene not too far from where he's standing, he realizes that he may have been looking for fun in all the wrong places. He knows that Ulquiorra knows that he's there since the Cuatra Espada breaks the kiss and indifferently looks at him. And even though he's slightly irked by the fact that the bastard doesn't even look a bit remorseful at being discovered, he can't help but grin widely. Now, this could be fun.


People often ask about the unusual bracelet around her wrist. But it's a question she never answers.
Although the piece of metal may have served it's purpose and should if anything, be a bad reminder of everything that's been, she still can't seem to take it off. As much as it's been a curse to her in the past, it's still a memento that she'd rather not trash. Bad things may be associated with it, but the few good ones make it worth the trouble.


If she didn't know what she knows, she'd reprimand him for it severely despite their brutal differences in strength.
The bruises on her fair skin are faint and ache dully, but it is something she can repair quickly. It's worth it, she thinks. He doesn't hurt her out of malice, he hurts her out of inexperience. And she already cares for his touch too much to shy away from it.


One of the things he finds fascinating about her is the smooth, delicate skin right above her heart.
It's the part (among many) of her that he can't seem to stay away from and all too often his fingertips graze the skin there and rest over the soft heartbeats. Somehow he feels like this part of her compliments him.
She's so many things he's not. Orihime is the sun, and he's the moon. Without her, he's not sure if he'd be seen at all.


He can't say he has ever enjoyed another being's touch, whether it's a fellow hollow or a puny human.
But it's also very hard to determine a real, valid reason behind why he doesn't crush her right at the spot when she slaps him so hard that he can almost feel it. When he leaves her, he tells himself it's out of disgust for the human trash. Yet when the door closes and he hears her sobs, he doesn't move an inch.
Suddenly, the strange urge to trace his fingertips over where her hand touched just a moment ago is a very hard one to resist.


The first time she's to undress in front of him, she stops halfway and blushes profusely before turning away. Even though he's not really there, she can almost hear Ishida-kun scolding her for undressing in the same room as a boy. She hesitates greatly, weighing her options. Either she can chicken out and tell him that she changed her mind, which isn't quite the case, or she can perhaps hide in one of the darker corners of her chamber. But as she starts scooting away, slender fingers, so cool that they chill her despite the thick fabric of her robes stop her. He doesn't turn her around, and his voice is still as cool and indifferent as ever, but it's still more than enough to make her shiver.
"...I want to see."


Her voice proves to be just as addicting as every other part of her. It has the strangest ability of making him listen.

All too often she says things he'd rather not hear, and speaks of the shinigami too much in his presence.
It's bothersome, he thinks and doesn't approve of the heavy, cottony feeling in his chest upon hearing her say another man's name so lovingly. He commands her to be silent, yet when she obeys, he wishes she'd speak.
Originally, he made sure she spoke in order to keep her sane. Lately, he makes sure she speaks because it keeps him sane.


Orihime is not aware of it until the door to her chamber slides open and the sound of familiar footsteps reaches her ears. There's a tiny anomaly in her heart rhythm and skin tone and although she tries to fight it she's positive that she's blushing.
He stops not too far from her, and tilts his head to the side just slightly. A single finger reaches out and the smooth tip brushes over her cheek. She can tell that he's curious about her current state, but stays silent nonetheless.
"Speak, woman," he says and traces his finger down her chin to tilt her face up. He's waiting, but is greeted with more silence. She's too busy trying to compare her own symptoms to the ones of Stockholm Syndrome.


The air in that particular area is so xeric that she feels like she's about to choke on it. His breathing is shallow and she can tell that he's having trouble standing up straight but knows he will, despite that. She wants to speak, to scream at him and to have a temper tantrum of her own, but knows that it's to no avail. Orihime knows that it's over long before he parts his lips to tell Ichigo to finish it while he still has the chance. But the realization is too numbing, so she just stands there and watches it happen.


As he answers her question after much contemplation and promptly leaves her room, she stands still, as if rooted to the floor and stares at the closed door. Her fingertips are still tingling after being allowed to just briefly graze his cheek and her inner is in turmoil.
It's not that he had approved of her touch, it's that he hadn't rejected it. And just for a moment, she had been able to see what was underneath that unbreakable facade. Even though he's no longer in front of her, and hasn't been for some time now, that little word is still echoing in her ears and she silently cries for him.

"Don't you ever feel lonely?"


The loss of control, even if only for seconds, is an unknown and unexplored zone. Yet as Ichigo is struggling hard to get to Orihime in the middle of their battle, he loses it and repeatedly gets in his way. It's another part of him that he can't quite understand yet. And that very part is struggling too, just like Ichigo. The woman should be nothing to him now, so why is he working so hard to keep her his? Is this the human part that the shinigami claims to see in him? Could this be the beginning of an ending?