disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: snozberries.
notes: LES SAID THESE PROMPTS (i gave her a list) COULDN'T BE ANGSTY. I SHALL PROVE HER WRONG.
notes2: seriously, she should know better. i can't write anything not angsty.

title: stargazers in my head
summary: Hate sex, maybe? — Nnoitra/Neliel.

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Nel drew the blinds across the window.

They scraped along the metal bar holding them up, blocking out the fading daylight and the wet flicker of the stars. It sounded like nails against chalkboard and Nel grit her teeth to keep the horrible sound at bay. The little hotel room was dark and dingy. There was water damage in the corners of the ceiling and the carpet peeling away from the floor, revealing brown guck underneath.

Nel hated this room.

She always had, right from the first moment she'd stepped inside it. She hated the ugly flowered blinds and the ugly grey wallpaper and the ugly uncomfortable bed. She hated all of it.

But she always came back.

She stood at the blinded window for a moment in perfect silence. Her breathing was loud in her own ears, and she waited.

And then:

The rattle of the doorknob. Three knocks, then the knob again.

Then silence.

Nel's blood froze in her veins and her hand contracted into fists. She didn't have to open the door. She knew that; she had the only key. She didn't want to open the door.

But she needed to.

Oh, God, she needed to.

Nel crossed the floor and unlatched the chain. Unlocked the dead bolt. Opened the door. She stood there in nothing but an oversize shirt and looked up at him.

"Hello," she said.

She didn't look him in the eye.

Nel moved away from him and looked over her shoulder. She said "Close the door behind you."

The clink of chain and deadbolt had her shaking. It was precise and cold, not a single movement wasted, and Nel didn't need to see his hands to know that he was tense. It was always like this, right before they both broke.

Now it was just a game to see who would snap first.

Nel was determined that it would not be her.

The carpet softened the sound of his footsteps, but Nel could hear them. He took one step, two steps, three and four, and by then he was so very near that Nel's breath caught and lodged in her throat.

"S'been a while, huh," he murmured. His voice was very close to her ear.

Nel didn't jump. She had more control that that. She swallowed the lump in her throat and said "Two weeks is not a while. Get your terminology straight."

She thought she could feel his control snap.

And then she was against the wall and his mouth was on her pulse and his hands—his hands were everywhere—

"I hate you so much," he breathed into her skin and the words burned like a brand.

"I know," she whispered in reply. "I know.

/ / /

Everything ached.

Nel's wrists were red. Even in the dim room, she could see the bruises forming like glowing hot coals, and she didn't need to look to know that the bite marks on her collar bone wouldn't disappear for a week.

But then, she wasn't the only one with marks.

Nel could see the raised welts along his back where her nails had scored and dug in. She'd broken skin, and his blood was drying underneath her nails. She took a sick pleasure in it.

She knew he did, too, so they were even.

Nel quietly slipped out of the hotel's bed. She walked the tiny length of the room, restless. She would have thrown the blinds open, but the stars had no want to see the filth that clung to her soul.

She stopped, and looked around the room.

It made her ill.

Nel quietly gathered her clothes, and snuck towards the door.

She left her panties hanging on the knob, and closed the door behind her with a click.

/ / /

Red is such an ugly colour, Nel thought pensively. Ink across the page in the form of notes, it looked like someone had spilled blood across her notebook. It looked like it had seeped through. Like it had stained every thing it touched.

Nel sat in the middle of a lecture in a sea of five hundred people, and didn't know why on earth she was there.

What was the point?

She glanced at the clock on the wall.

(The numbers glared red. Red, red, red; it was such an ugly colour.)

Three forty-eight.

Two minutes, and then she could escape.

The entire class seemed to the be thinking the same thing. Everyone was shifting back and forth with the urge to move. But Nel didn't just want to move—she wanted to run. She wanted to run and never come back. She wanted to run and run until her legs gave out and she passed out from exhaustion.

That was what she wanted.

The red numbers couldn't move fast enough.

Nel sat and tapped her pen against her notebook and waited, waited, waited. Hallibel would be out of class, too, and Nel needed—needed—

She didn't know what she needed, but a friend would be a good start.

Ten minutes later, the two girls sat on a hill not far from the university. Nel nervously plucked and twined clover flowers into her hair, braiding the white puffs into blue-green waves. She sat with her knees to her chest, and didn't speak.

Tia Hallibel sighed. "Well, tell me, then—what's got your panties in a twist this time?"

Nel bit her lip.

"Don't go all silent on me right now, Nel. I could be getting drunk."

Well, that certainly was true. Nel slanted a look at her roommate. Tia's blue eyes were rolled skyward (not that Nel could really blame her; this wasn't the first nor certainly the last time that Nel had called her out like this).

She sighed. "Will you just tell me, Nel? I'm not going to get mad, I promise."

Nel's hands clenched involuntarily in her lap.

And Tia noticed. "What did he do this time?"

Nel shook her head, green strands of hair flying everywhere with the sharp movement. "He never does anything."

And maybe that was the problem. Tia pursed her lips and contemplated the sky as she flopped backwards, upper body hitting the grassy hill with a muted thump. "You are so crazy, Nel," she said. "You are so, so crazy. I mean, this thing you do? It's weird."

Nel snorted softly. "Yeah, I know. It doesn't even make sense."

Tia propped herself up on her elbows and stared at Nel. "What is it? This thing you do with Nnoitra? Like, what even is it?"

And wasn't that a good question. Nel tried to sort it out in her head, reaching for words and explanations. She came up short.

"It's friends with benefits. Only we're not friends. And it's super-violent. Like, crazy-violent. So not really friends with benefits. Hate sex, maybe? I don't even know."

"You have a boyfriend," Tia pointed out.

"I know."

"That's pretty fucked up."

"I know," Nel said again.

"But you can't help yourself, can you," Tia said, and it wasn't a question.

There was a flush high in Nel's cheeks. "It's just—it's—I know it's not fair but I—I can't—"

"You can't help yourself."

"I know it's not fair," Nel whispered into her knees. "Not to Szayel, not to you, not to anyone. It's just Nnoitra. He makes me want to break things."

"That's not normal, Nel," Tia responded, comfortable.

"I know."

"You say that a lot."

And just to be vindictive, Nel smiled. "I know. Not that it changes anything."

A long sigh escaped Tia. "You're impossible. You're not going to stop, you're not going to break up with Szayel; you're not going to do anything. That's psychopathic behaviour, I hope you know."

Nel shot her a deadpan look. "What would you do, then, Miss Perfect?"

"Well," Tia said after a moment, "if I was you, I'd dump Szayel because I'd be a horrible girlfriend, and then I'd find Nnoitra and fuck his brains out."

"Which, for the record, I already do," Nel said.

Tia continued as if she hadn't spoken. "But since I'm me and not you, I'd never be in that position. Tia Hallibel will never fuck Nnoitra Jiruga. Ever. I don't care how many lifetimes I have to live. I'd never date Szayel, either, now that I think about it. He's a creep."

Nel's voice was dry. "Thanks ever so, best friend."

"Your shitty taste in men is very welcome," Tia replied with a smile and a flutter of blonde lashes.

The two girls were quiet for a moment. The wind tugged on Nel's hair, infusing it with sunshine and courage and the scent of freedom. Flowers went flying, and Nel quietly watched them go.

She knew that Tia was right.

(Tia was always right.)

"How do you do it?" Nel asked.

"Hm?"

"Like, how do you and Grimmjow fuck other people but still have, like, a semi-functioning relationship?" Nel asked. Genuine curiosity coloured her voice, and she blinked down at the blonde girl lying on the grass.

"It's called honesty," Tia explained patiently. "He doesn't give a shit who I fuck as long as I'm upfront about it, you know?"

Nel wrinkled her nose. "His language is rubbing off on you. You never used to swear."

Tia shrugged and sort of smiled. "Sung-Sun says that all the time. Doesn't make me care any more than I already do."

Nel sighed and slid down to lie next to her oldest friend. They spent the rest of the afternoon in silence, staring at the sky.

It was very blue.

/ / /

"You've got grass in your hair," Szayel murmured against her mouth that night.

She didn't trust herself to speak; she nodded against his forehead. His fingers were gentle, so gentle, as he pulled the stray pieces away.

Nel absolutely hated herself.

/ / /

For the next three days, Nel was a hot mess with cold hands. She was sketched out on the floor, murmuring nonsense to the ceiling. The world came in twos and threes and she would count but she actually just didn't care. Grey light in through the window. The soft feeling of colourless sheets and down comforter.

There was elevator music playing in the back of her mind.

Nel went to class but didn't learn. She ate food but didn't taste. She existed but didn't live. It ought to have been blasphemy—it was wrong and it was dull, but Nel didn't know how else to deal.

And still, she did nothing.

/ / /

Nighttime.

Nel pinched the bridge of her nose and trudged up the stairs to her dorm. It had been a particularly long day, and Nel was still only beginning to come back to herself. Tia had forced her out of bed that morning, shoved a cup of cold coffee in her hand, and ordered her to be normal, already, god, this is getting annoying.

And Nel could see why it would be.

But that didn't necessarily mean that she was going to be any better, just because Tia told her to be. Maybe she was never going to be normal—maybe Nnoitra would always make her crazy and maybe she would never really be happy.

Nel walked through the tiny kitchen, shedding shoes and book-bag and jacket and jeans as she went. There was a trail of clothing and books behind her. It wasn't even anything new.

She pushed through the door into her small room with the yellow door.

Nnoitra was stretched out on her bed.

Nel was scandalized. "Nnoitra—what are you doing here?"

"'Lo t'ya, too."

"How did you even get in here?"

He raised his eyes to the open window. The fire escape, Nel thought distantly. He'd climbed the fire escape, broken in her window, and now he was sitting on her bed.

Nel kind of wanted to bash his head in.

But she had more control than that, even when sleep-deprived and angry and dealing (or not dealing; same difference, really).

Nnoitra stood slowly, and Nel could only watch his long, lean form unfold. She hated that she knew the muscles beneath that skin. She hated that she knew what made him him. She hated it.

He advanced. Nel stood her ground.

But the lust was rearing its ugly head, and Nel knew—she just knew—that this thing they had would never end well. His hands balled up in her hair and he jerked her head back. He didn't need to tell her to look at him. Nel knew what he wanted.

(What he always wanted.)

There was nothing in his eyes. Nel hated it.

God, she hated everything.

She stood up on her tiptoes to graze her lips over his. For a moment, they stood there only barely joined. Almost innocent.

"Ya thinkin' too much," he growled.

A flare of lust and heat rose, and he threw her against the wall. There was a sickening crunch, and Nel couldn't help but smile.

That would hurt in the morning. Nel very nearly tore his shirt off in a bid to get to his skin, fingers scrabbling and nails digging into his flesh.

A hiss, a breathe, a sigh.

Outside, the stars twinkled sadly.

It started all over again.

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fin.
notes3: I TOLD YOU SO.
notes4: please leave a review! :)