A/N: Hello all! My name is Princess Kitty1 and I welcome you to my second UlquiHime fic. However, before we get started, I have a few warnings for all of you. If you are looking for a happy, fluffy story about sunshine and rainbows, feel free to hit the back button on your browser. If you are expecting cheerful, bubbly, airheaded Orihime, again, the back button is right there. You could even hit backspace on your keyboard.
The cast featured in this story will be in character, but out of it at the same time. Does that make sense? As far as Ulquiorra and Orihime go, consider this a tiny role reversal. Very, very tiny. He isn't going to be a bucket of smiles either. This is a dark fic, but I do promise plenty of humor in future chapters!
Full Summary: Orihime Inoue has lived a short life of abuse, alcoholism, and prostitution. Upon fainting one night, she finds herself in a tidy apartment with no recollection as to how she got there. She leaves in a hurry, but the loss of her most prized possession leads her back to the doorstep of a quiet man who has lost an important 'something' of his own…
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or any of its characters.
By: Princess Kitty1
"You'll always be a whore, just like your mother." Orihime Inoue recalled these words often, spoken in a drunken slur by her disgusting excuse of a father when she was merely six years old. It was one in a series of bad memories; she didn't have many good ones. He had said this just hours after he had raped her for the first of what would become many times. Between the act and the statement she had been in the shower, furiously scrubbing at her body until her skin had gone red and raw, painful to the touch. A sad attempt at erasing what couldn't be undone. From that day forward, she was as worthless as he said she was.
It was little surprise, then, when her elementary school teacher had held her after class on the pretense that she had done poorly on an assignment and proceeded to rape her as well. She had been numb to it. She should have screamed for help, scratched and kicked and fought for her freedom. She could have prevented it, but those words uttered from her father's alcohol-flavored lips had imprinted themselves within her, eventually silencing her quiet protests. They were at the forefront of her mind, visible every time she closed her eyes, bright and bold against the darkness.
Whore. Just like Mom. She was a whore, a whore, a whore…
The attention given to her body had triggered an early puberty. Her chest had grown to grotesque proportions, weighing her down, a physical reminder of the burden she carried. It had drawn the eyes of teachers and students and strangers alike, and when either suggested a little fun, she went along with it. Her purity was gone, her reputation tarnished before it could even be built. She was trash, good for nothing and ready to be put out. It wasn't until high school, though, that she had thought to make money off of it.
Her friends hadn't known what she was doing. Her brother hadn't known either. God, if her brother had ever found out… her brother, the only good thing in her miserable life after their parents had passed away… her brother, who had died and left her alone so suddenly. In a way, she was glad he had gone. He would never have to know that his adorable little sister, the most precious thing in the world to him, was the girl treating guys between classes for some extra spending money.
But it was his death that had indirectly caused her to be discovered. In her grief she became careless, not minding the people watching her extra close until one day, the secret was out, the jig was up. Her friends never looked at her or spoke to her again. She was expelled from school, accused by the same slime-covered teachers she had stayed after class with for "extra credit" in an effort to keep themselves from being found out. And she left willingly, making sure to give the principal a clear view of her middle finger before she'd slung her backpack over her shoulder and walked out, heels clacking against the cool tiled floor. Good riddance.
If there was anything that prostitution had taught her, it was that she didn't need a high school degree to make money. There were plenty of detestable men in the world willing to pay for a good time with a minor. She earned such a killing on weekends that she could go out, get as drunk as she wanted and still have enough leftover to pay the rent on her cheap, dirty apartment. It suited her, she thought. Used, abused, and cockroach infested.
She could afford nice clothes, nice jewelry, food and over-the-counter medicines when she needed them. STD clinics tested for free, and thankfully she was clean due to her own strict rules in regards to the men she slept with. She was twenty years old – almost twenty-one –, smart and in good health.
Life may not have been worth living, but at least it was livable.
Orihime had never bought into the whole "sex is for soul mates" bullshit fed to her by the media. When it came to it, all she did was lie back – or bend over – and spread her legs, fake an orgasm or two. She knew exactly when to make her moans and pants increase, how to give her client a smoldering look that had him crossing the finish line in seconds, how to writhe and arch her back just right.
Tonight was no different. She stared distractedly out the window, vaguely aware of motion, trying to remember this guy's name. He was a soldier, just back from the war. He'd risked his life for the freedom she had to parade herself down the street in gaudy attire, stealing business from pimp-owned girls just to piss them off; the least she could do was remember his damn name. What the hell had it even started with? Oh well. She'd only be in trouble if he, like many others in the past, would get up the gall to order her to say his name in between the jingling of his dog tags and those ridiculous grunting noises he was making. She fought back a smile, trying to stay in character. Insert moan here. Tell him, Yes, baby, keep it coming. Cry out a bit. Stroke his ego, among other things. He wasn't going to hold out much longer. It had already been half an hour. Damn those soldiers and their stamina. She had other clients to see tonight.
When it was all said and done, she collected her discarded clothing and began to redress as the soldier lit up a cigarette and watched her somewhat hungrily. "You're awful young," he noted, wiping sweat from the back of his neck. "What are you doin' this for? Girl like you should be in college." Orihime merely shrugged, pulling her tank top on over her head, tugging it over her voluminous chest, then collecting her hair into a messy ponytail. "Most of the prostitutes around here are working to get out of this hellhole," he went on, blowing out a cloud of noxious smoke. "You ain't got dreams or anything?"
She decided to grace him with an answer. "Nah, nothing like that." Her eyes flickered to the glowing end of the cigarette, watching the curling smoke. Add another touch of lip gloss, and there, she was good to go. She slipped into her heels and strode over to the door, giving the soldier a bored look. "I'm already fulfilling my destiny."
He chuckled and lifted his cigarette to her in a mock toast. "Here, here."
Orihime sighed as she stepped out into the hallway, weaving past two small children playing tag in the motel corridor. She dug through her purse, withdrawing the wad of cash she'd received from the nameless soldier and maneuvering it into her wallet. Watching him light up had prodded her craving for a cigarette. Luckily the corner store was two doors down. The clerk behind the checkout desk glanced up at her as her heels clacked against the floor. "Good night, Ms. Inoue."
"Night Rob." She waved tiredly, feeling the irritation gnawing at the back of her mind. Outside, the weather was humid and sticky, the heat suffocating as the end of summer rolled in. She could feel it rippling off of the pavement, having been absorbed all throughout the daylight hours. It was one of those nights, she decided. She wasn't much into smoking but every once in a while her nicotine craving would give her a smart kick in the skull, and when it did, she had to satisfy it before her patience ran too thin. It was usually on these cigarette-hunting nights that she got really, really drunk… but not before servicing her clients. They may have been up for a lot of things, but most of them didn't appreciate being puked on.
Tonight's excursion would take her into the Hueco Mundo district. There were a plethora of good bars there, she thought cheerfully as she entered the too-bright corner store. She picked out the cheapest pack of cigarettes they had to offer and a fifty-cent plastic lighter in green, her favorite color, before stepping back out into the muggy night. Shaking one cigarette onto her hand, she stuck it between her teeth and tucked the rest of the pack into her purse. Just one smoke, she thought, scowling as the lighter refused to come to life after several strikes. One smoke, then business, then beer. Awesome.
Finally the stupid thing lit. She took a good drag, feeling the smoke fill her lungs, poisoning her to a death she was far too afraid to face. Had it not been for the fact that, upon dying, she would have to see her beloved brother and explain her lifestyle choices to him, she'd have killed herself years ago. After all, she'd had plenty of chances. It wasn't like anyone would miss her.
The night was alive with crowds lining up outside of dance clubs and tourists drinking in the city life. Orihime exhaled, smoke leaving her mouth in a steady stream. She never thought too much about the people around her. They always looked like they were having so much fun; this city was just one of many pit stops on the roads of their lives. She felt lost among crowds. A car stuck in traffic, a ship lost at sea… just one in billions, unimportant, undeserving of the happiness she saw reflected in everyone else's eyes.
She cut her thoughts off by violently stamping out her cigarette, which had slipped from her shaking hands. She needed to get through with this and get drunk quickly, lest she end up a crying mess in her apartment again. Giving in to such weak thoughts… she wouldn't allow it.
Her next two clients were simple enough. One of them was a regular who drifted into the city every now and then for work trips. He liked to tell her that visiting her was his favorite part of the trip, despite the fact that he was married with children. Shameless bastard, Orihime thought, though on the outside she was the picture of lust and seduction, a wanton vixen with everything to give and nothing to inhibit her from doing so. Guys went nuts for that kind of thing.
And with those three clients, she had made close to five hundred dollars. Her rates weren't exactly cheap these days. After all, people like her were in demand during the last month of summer, before everyone went back to school or work, leaving behind fun for responsibility. Once Orihime was finished with her rounds, she found her way to a recently opened all-night diner. It was the kind of place she'd have expected to see off a highway exit for truckers in need of coffee. Upon opening the door, her nostrils were filled with the scent of greasy food, causing her stomach to growl. But she had learned the hard way that eating anything before getting drunk would only make the bile taste that much more disgusting, so she ignored the menu items and went straight for the beer.
Two drinks later, her thoughts were quieting. Two more and they were all but gone. One after that, the bright neon signs in the diner were making her head hurt and, for some reason, she was counting the notches in the wooden bar. "Geez," she muttered as she struggled to get out the appropriate amount of money to cover her drinks.
"Hey, Miss, you want me to call you a cab?" someone offered, though she wasn't entirely sure where the voice had come from. Everyone's faces, male and female, were blurring together.
"No, I'm… I'm fine," Orihime insisted, putting the money down and sliding off of the bar stool. "Keep the change." She stumbled out of the diner, her stomach turning as soon as she drank in the oppressively humid air. It smelled like it was about to rain, but the scent bothered her. Everything stank. Her cuffed shorts were giving her a serious wedgie, which she would have loved to dig out had there not been so many people around. Stopping and peering down an alley, she figured she could cut through there and pick the fabric out of her butt. Besides, it was a faster way home… maybe.
Shoot, which way was she even going? She always got confused in the Hueco Mundo district, and being smashed didn't help matters much. Her hand fell onto the lid of a dumpster and, realizing what she was touching, Orihime's stomach twisted and pitched to the side. She managed to get two steps away from it before she doubled over, vomiting violently. Her insides heaved uncomfortably, her temples throbbing. She mumbled an unintelligible curse as she realized she'd gotten puke on her tank top. "Ugh…" There was another one she'd have to throw away. At least this time the only mysterious stain on her clothing had been caused by her own stupidity and not some guy's shoddy aim.
Straightening, Orihime groaned as her entire world spun in a quick circle around her head. She took another step forward, but the rocking boat sensation worsened. She knew what this feeling was; she was about to faint. Her eyes locked onto the end of the alley. She could see pedestrians walking, cars passing, help just a few feet away. But she didn't make it much farther. Her legs gave out, her ankle twisting on her four-inch heels, knees scraping the grime-covered pavement as she collapsed, her monstrous chest somewhat cushioning her fall.
She had to turn onto her side. There was no way she was going to choke on her own vomit. What a way to go, huh? It would have looked lovely in the newspaper, on a miscellaneous page sandwiched between a cheesecake recipe and an article about the local community center: Prostitute found dead in alley. She'd always had a feeling that her life would end in a similar fashion, but she couldn't let it end tonight.
"Sora…" she muttered, her brother's kind face temporarily replacing the scarlet letters behind her eyelids. Her eyes filled with tears. She wanted to apologize, to make things better, but she knew better than to give in to her own feelings. After all, she only had these thoughts when she was drunk.
Orihime faded in and out of consciousness the entire night. At one point, she felt raindrops pelting her skin and momentarily worried that it would carry her vomit down and soak the entire side of her body. At another point she could have sworn she was flying, and thought that perhaps she really had died. She started preparing her excuses for Sora before slipping back into darkness. When she became lucid again, it was quiet all around her. There was no more rain, but it was far too still for her to be in the alley. Something warm was covering her, and she burrowed into it, inhaling the scent of clean laundry, a smell she associated with comfort. How in the world had she ended up somewhere comfortable? That wasn't a luxury for people like her. Still, she drifted off again, deciding that whatever questions she had she could answer in the morning… after her hangover was gone.
But a few hours of oblivion later, she came to her senses far too quickly. She bolted upright, eyes flying open, and immediately regretted it. "Oh…" Her head was throbbing, as if her very brain were thumping along to the beat of a song. Her long auburn hair fell over her shoulders, blocking out the unwelcome sunlight as she rubbed the crust from her eyes. When she dared to open them again, she noticed white fabric enclosing her arm. It was a sleeve, far too lengthy to belong to anything of hers. Looking down at her body, she saw that she was dressed in a white button-up that fell loosely past her chest. It was long enough to cover her bottom, but didn't quite reach her knees. Her tank top, shorts, and heels were gone.
Wondering where she was, Orihime observed her surroundings. It was a clean, quiet apartment, looking like something out of a house and home magazine. The furniture was plain and modest. The walls were white, the carpet a basic gray color with no design. She was currently sitting upright on what appeared to be a sofa bed, her long legs tangled in a series of crisp white sheets. In front of her, a console held a flat-screen television and a blu-ray DVD player. To her left was a dining table with four chairs set before an open window – her enemy – and next to it, seemingly out of place, sat a beautiful black concert grand piano.
Drinking all of this in, Orihime suddenly realized that she shouldn't have been wasting her time checking out the view. She didn't know where she was. The last thing she remembered was being face-down in an alley that smelled like garbage and urine. How did she get here? Where was here, anyway? And what, in her drunken stupor, had she done with whoever owned this place?
To Be Continued
A/N: Hopefully by the end of the next chapter you'll have a full grasp of the type of person Orihime is, though this chapter should have covered most of it. Interested to know how this completely twisted version of everyone's favorite damsel in distress is going to handle life? Let me know!
Next Chapter: Orihime escapes from the apartment building! …but not without meeting some crazy characters first, as well as losing something of great importance.