Touch of an Innocent
Genre: Friendship/Humor + Mild Angst
Characters: Ulquiorra Cifer/Orihime Inoue/Szayel Aporro Granz (There will be no romantic pairings...maybe...idk)
Summery: An unexpected accident befalls Orihime (I won't say what, it's a surprise!) and being her guardian, Ulquiorra has to deal with it. How will the emotionless Espada put up with her and what will he learn in the process?
A/N: This will sort of be canon with a AU twist (the accident that happens to Orihime).
Some characters might seem OOC…we'll see…I can't really help it…you'll understand =)
Chapter 1: Introduction to the Heart
It had felt like weeks, months, since Inoue Orihime had been brought to Hueco Mundo. No—since she had left Karakura to go to Hueco Mundo.
Yes. She left. She came willingly in order to protect her friends.
And here she sat, in a small room, inside Las Noches, wearing a white Arrancar uniform; a traitor.
She shifted restlessly in the crook of the old worn couch she was sitting in.
She couldn't think like that. She was not a traitor, she did not belong to Aizen. No matter how Ulquiorra, her captor, tried to brainwash her, she refused to let it work any longer.
She let her mind drift for a while and was interrupted by three knocks on the door.
"I'm coming in." A voice said.
She looked over at the door as it opened and a small man with porcelain white skin entered. Attached to his left side was a mint green scabbard, and inside was a sword with a jade green hilt. He was wearing a white hakama that was extremely baggy on his small frame, along with a long sleeved white jacket with coat tails. The jacket was zipped up the middle just to the base of his neck where you could see a small round pit of darkness, his hollow hole. On the left side of his head was a white, bone like helmet with a horn protruding and pointing backwards. The helmet covered most of his long, black, unruly hair, however, some still managed to poke through and fall in the middle of his face.
She stared up at him as he stood there with his hands in his pockets. His face was incredibly stoic, yet the green tear tracks that trailed down from his startling emerald green eyes made him look otherwise; he looked almost sad.
It sent a pang through her chest just looking at him. She couldn't believe he was as cold and emotionless as he portrayed himself to be. She'd been in Las Noches long enough, spent enough time with her captor, to have learned that much about him. He tried his best to hide it, from her and his comrades, but she could see the hidden emotions in him. The way he reacted when she would catch him off guard, or surprise him by reacting in a way he hadn't expected of her. She knew when he was angry, annoyed, confused, amused, conflicted…No. He wasn't emotionless at all.
Hollow or not, she knew he had a heart in him somewhere.
"You've not listened to a word I've said, have you woman?"
Her eyes refocused and snapped to his, her heart pounding. "I….I'm sorry Ulquiorra-san, I was lost in thought."
"Obviously." He closed his eyes, which Orihime had come to learn was his way of signing in annoyance. "As I was saying, Aizen-sama wishes for you to accompany me to Szayel Aporro's laboratory for a checkup."
"Umm…" She fisted the fabric of her gown in his hands, anxious. She never liked the pink haired scientist, he gave her the creeps. "Check up for what?"
"A physical and mental health checkup. Come with me, woman." He said turning from her and gliding out into the long hallway.
Resigning herself she stood and quickly caught up with Ulquiorra, and settled into a brisk pace behind him.
After about ten minutes Orihime started hearing some odd noises.
As she got closer she was able to identify the sound. There was a loud bang, a grunt of pain and laughter.
Worried, she picked up her pace and surprisingly passed Ulquiorra and rounded the corner to find a group of Arrancar surrounding what looked like one of the servant type Arrancar that came to her room with a meal every day. The small Arrancar looked beat up and bloody as it lay curled up on the floor.
One of the taller, lankier Arrancar stepped forward and kicked the smaller Arrancar at the hollow hole in his stomach, and another stepped on its mask.
"STOP!" She yelled, rushing forward and using her Shun Shun Rikka to form a shield between the helpless Arrancar and the group of bullies.
"What the hell do you think you're doing girl?" The tall lanky Arrancar hissed advancing on her.
She glared at them, "Why are you doing this! Aren't you all comrades!"
This earned her a laugh from the whole group.
"Tch. Comrades? Nobody here are 'comrades' girl. We all look out for number one, and if you're weak, you die. Plain and simple." He grinned as he pulled out his Zanpakuto and shattered her barrier, re-advancing on the small Arrancar.
"Stop!" she yelled, taking a step forward and readying her Koten Zanshun attack.
"That is enough." Ordered a calm, cool voice behind her.
Her eyes widened, she had completely forgotten about Ulquiorra, though she couldn't help but smile at the looks of fear and surprise that rippled across the group in front of her right before they scattered.
Immediately she set about healing the unconscious Arrancar with her Shun Shun Rikka.
Ulquiorra leaned against the wall, his eyes closed. "Foolish woman. Why do you waste your time on trash?"
"They're not trash," she began, as she focused her reiatsu on the being before her, "and I just don't like seeing anyone hurt."
"Why don't you like seeing anyone hurt?" He asked, ignoring her rebuttal about trash, looking at her.
"I just don't. It's pointless. If I were to ever hate something in this world, it would be senseless pain and violence." She said firmly. "It hurts to see anyone in pain, especially my friends."
"How could another beings physical pain hurt you when you're not connected in any way?" He wondered, genuinely interested.
She sighed and closed her eyes, what he was asking was a different matter entirely, and one she was sure he wouldn't understand.
But she had to try.
"It hurts, not physically, but…inside, in here." She tapped her chest where her heart would be.
His eyes narrowed, "it hurts your heart? Isn't the heart a physical organ used to pump blood through your body?"
Orihime stared down at the Arrancar and let her shield fade, he was good as new. Standing up she straightened out and motioned for her captor to continue taking her to Szayel's laboratory.
She continued her explanation. "The heart I'm referring to is not something tangible, it is…the bases for all emotions, positive and negative, that a person experiences: Happiness, joy, anger, pain, lust, compassion, sympathy, sadness, jealousy, kindness….love, just to name a few."
She looked over at Ulquiorra who still had an unreadable expression on his face. "Even indifference and annoyance are feelings that come from the heart." She noticed his eyes narrow just the tiniest fraction at this. She held back the smile that threatened to escape. She had him there.
"That is why it hurts; I guess you can say I wear my heart on my sleeve; that my heart goes out to those in need." She smiled weakly. She knew he didn't understand, though one day, she hoped he would.
Ulquiorra paused outside a large double door, his hand poised to knock. "My eye sees everything. Nothing can escape it. What it doesn't see, doesn't exist." He rapped on the door three times.
Orihime frowned slightly, though she wasn't surprised by his response at all.
After several moments the tall pink haired Espada opened the door. "Ah, Ulquiorra-san," he said with a slight air of contempt, inclining his head a fraction. He looked over a Orihime, a calculating gleam in his amber eyes, "I've been expecting you, please, come this way." He turned and they followed him into his laboratory.
His lab was huge and totally cluttered with gadgets and knickknacks. Everywhere she looked her eyes landed on a table topped with glass vials filled with some unknown liquid. Every single corner was taken up by some sort of computer, or machine, a large capsule or container holding a dead or live specimen.
The place gave her the creeps, and she was afraid to move less she break something.
"Welcome to my laboratory Inoue Orihime. I am Szayel Aporro Granz, Octava Espada. Please take a seat." He pointed at what looked like a cross between an examination table and a dentist's chair.
She glanced at her captor nervously, seeking some reassurance, though she knew wouldn't be any.
He was leaning with his back against the wall, hands in his pockets and eyes shut.
"Inoue-san." He said more firmly, annoyance lacing his voice.
"Hai! Gomenasai!" She squeaked, carefully making her way through the laboratory and sitting in the prescribed chair.
(Gomenasai = I'm sorry)
He picked up a clipboard from a table nearby and a pen, "Okay lets get started!" He said excitedly with a gleam in his eye.
Orihime nodded obediently. For the next hour she was weighed, measured, had her temperature and heart rate taken, several vials of blood drawn among other things. Then afterwards he handed her a small survey, asking her random questions in regards to her mental health.
i Do you ever get lonely?/i 'Yes. I miss my friends.'
i Do you ever get scared? /i 'Yes, but only for my friends.'
i How often do you get the social and emotional support you need? /i 'I never get social and emotional support, not here, not in Las Noches.'
i In general, how satisfied are you with your life? /i 'I'm not. I don't like being weak and not being able to take care of myself. I didn't like being a burden, so that's why I came to Las Noches.'
i Do you have trouble falling asleep? /i 'No, all there is to do is sleep.'
i Do you have ever feel tired or fatigued? /i 'Yes, only because I oversleep.'
i Do you ever have a poor appetite or don't feel like eating? /i 'Yes, the food here is horrible. Who comes up with that stuff!'
i Do you ever have trouble concentrating? /i 'Yes, I get so bored my mind wanders a lot.'
i Do you ever feel nervous? /i 'Only when I'm around Aizen-sama, Gin and Nnoitra.'
i Do you ever feel hopeless or worthless? /i 'Sometimes, mainly when people try to protect me.'
The questions continued on for several pages before she finally finished. She sighed as she finally put the pen down. "I'm done, Szayel-san."
The Pink Haired scientist came over and took the clipboard from her. "Good, that will be all then. You may go."
Relieved, Orihime quickly stood up, stretched and began heading back to where her captor has been standing.
Something screamed from behind Orihime. She turned around only to be tackled and knocked into one of the many lab tables. Instinctively she threw out her hands to brace herself and only succeeded in flipping over a large tray of liquid filled vials, splattering it all over her face and skin. Her skin began to itch and burn painfully, making her want to scream, then her vision went black.
Chapter 2 teaser: The two Espada looked at each other.
If looks could kill, Szayel would be a dead man. "I'll let you explain this to Aizen-sama, Szayel Aporro." Ulquiorra hissed.
A/N: So what do YOU think happened to Orihime?
Also I know I know I should be working on Tainted Souls…but this idea was too adorable to pass up. I haven't read anything like it xD anyways…you'll see what I mean in Chapter 2 :)