A/N: The UlquiHime obsession...it begins. :D

Call her crazy, but Orihime has heard things that nobody else has. From the earliest, sun-spotted memories she posseses (My mind is mine), she can select the ones where so vividly she heard the calls, the things people thought were safe in the zenana of their mind. The bruised face of the playground ruffian; the grasping, dead-eyed version of her soulless brother; she hears their intention, and what their facades of bitterness hide. She hears the heart of the one who think they are heartless, because they've buried their memories of love and kindness under a desolate landscape of bitterness.

Ulquiorra's mouth is moving, but she can hear the things that this cold-faced brute doesn't dare to feel.

Being inside has never bothered her like it has now; she is constantly at the large window, with it's stalagmite bars, praying herself into the distant, endless sands of the Hueco Mundo. There's nowhere to run, but she'd still like to; she wants to escape this vessel of a castle, a gourd full of darkness. There are days and nights that blend together, and times that the impossible hope of Ichigo saving her is as real to her as the revelation of a faithful zealot meeting their god. She sees him on the horizon one day, but the longer she looks, the sooner he turns into the scowling form of a sand-battered, white-skinned pilgrim from the grim world outside.

She envies his empty green eyes, that have seen so much. He is free to walk from this place; he could take her with him, if only she can remind him that he has a heart.

One day, he carries through on his threat to force food down her throat. With one hand he grips her chin and neck, and with the other forcefully pecks something tasteless, something to save her life into the nethers of her throat, no matter how she chokes. She is seeing spots, is limp by the end of the meal.

Screw that, she thinks.

Stockholm Syndrome. Orihime tries to bat her eyes at him, tries not to lose herself. She must save herself, she decides- she is done being dependent. She prepares to give herself over to this harlequin captor, lowering her neckline and her pride by minute centimeters.

It is the day that she shrugs her gown down over the curve of her shoulders and turns to look pryingly at him that Ulquiorra slaps her. There is wildness and blood in her mouth, and Orihime wants to tear his face off in desperation. Instead she lies on the ground with head hung, the spectre of Ulquiorra's thin, white hand still curved around the now-absent roundness of her cheekbone. Without a word of remonstration (without an utterance of "whore", a glare that would have leveled her had she looked up), the black-and-white succumbi strolls back into the perpetual darkness of the hall outside, coattails swaying.

This place is a mad house.

He is always watching, so it doesn't surprise her at all to come bobbing out of the depths to find him by her side. She keeps her eyes closed as his long, thin fingers stroke her cheek, his black fingernails sleeping threats against her ashen skin. She lies in fear of what will happen if she opens her eyes- and so she does, to destroy the hold that the what-if held on her brain.

His eyes speak in a way that they don't in the day. She can hear it clearly; his buried fossil of a heart, talking to her, crying out, streaming out through his skull. He doesn't stop petting her cheek; he doesn't stop staring into her eyes, even when she finally shifts under his hand. He finally cups her chin, as if appraising her for purchase. Cattle. Property. A resource. He has Aizen's guise, but the heart of something entirely his own.

She wants to kiss him, not out of the crazy lust bourne of months indoors, but to fulfill his fear that she is not really there at all. He is telling her how much fear he has that he and the world are transient, and he secretly doubts that hatred is the only possession available to him. He wants what Orihime has: a hope of escaping this grim, grim expanse of loveless desert.

A/N: Oh, my god, what fluffy trash... I'm trying to get better in touch with emotions in writing, since I'm so rusty at it, so let me know...