Chapter 1

The flowers blew gently in the breeze as the young priest set yet another bouquet on the next gravestone and closing his eyes solemnly. He did not particularly enjoy watching over the long dead people in the church cemetery, but he felt it was respectable and honourable. They had, after all, been like him.

Daniel Connery, he read off the faded grey slab sticking from the ground awkwardly, not unlike much of the surrounding areas. 1928-1944. He had only been sixteen. Sixteen. He hadn't deserved this. No one did. Not the boy, not the other surrounding grave-dwellers, and not him. But life was not so kind.

"Rest in peace, Daniel Connery," his deep baritone rumbled tiredly. He had justifiable reason to be tired though. He had been up at six, and then he'd started.

No, he didn't like honouring his dead companions as it only depressed him, but they deserved to be remembered by someone. Someone like them. Like him.

He looked at his watch. Already past 2, he realised with surprise. He bowed his head to his long-passed cohort.

"You'll understand if I finish after I eat, won't you?" he asked the headstone, imagining a person who could hear him, could understand him and everything he had to go through. "I mean, I know you can't eat, but us livin' ones up here with all the issues that you ditched out on still have to survive. You got the easy way out. I have to stay here and slowly rot to death," he said flatly, glaring angrily at the grave. "But chances are I'll end up like you pretty soon anyways. We don't last too long, do we," he murmured softly. He turned to walk away but spared one last glance back at the grave. "I bet you wished you hadn't had it, either. But I guess I'll never know."

His name was Grimmjow Jaegerjaques. He was a strong man, built with incredible physical capabilities, such as the strength of an ox with the muscles to show for it and the agility of a jungle cat. His sky blue hair fell in a perfect mess around his chiselled face and currently covered the eyes he hated so much.

And that's where all my problems begin, he thought bitterly. Now, that's not to say his eyes weren't one of his best features, as they truly were. His eyes were a beautiful oceanic, nearly aqua blue that could shoot straight through a soul and bring any man or woman to their knees. Now if only that's all they could do. Clearly, living alone was beginning to get to him, making him more temperamental and bitter as of late.

Grimmjow opened the door to his living quarters on the church grounds. It was a humble abode, the exterior a simple, classic wood house, looking quite like a cabin. Grimmjow believed it had it's own personality, such a rustic, classical taste. It suited him, or so he had decided and was hard pressed to change his mind once he had decided on anything. The interior was furnished with all assortments of modern day needs like a television with comfortable furniture and a state of the art kitchen. He did not, by any stretch of the imagination, live in the dark ages as one would expect of a priest. Then again, he was not like most priests, if he could really be called a priest at all. It was more like a default job or a side-job to the one he actually had. Not like it was my choice, anyways.

He rooted around in the fridge until he found enough ideal items to make a half-way decent sandwich. As he began to slice the cheese, the boy's name rang in his head like a never-ending mantra. Daniel Connery, Daniel Connery, Daniel Connery. He grabbed the meat next. Only sixteen. Maybe he needed some lettuce. I've already outlived him.

Grimmjow slammed his hands on the counter and grimaced at the turn his thoughts always wanted to take. This was why he hated attending the graves so much. He thought to much. It led to compassion for the dead, and knowing that he wasn't far behind.

He roughly grabbed the sandwich and sat down at the small wooden square table, big enough for only two, maybe three if you squished. He took the first bite of the sandwich and routinely cleared his mind by doing the most menial task he could possible think of using his mind for. His to-do list. Finish with the graves, mow the grass, start on the shingles on the church. And that would most likely take up his day. He sighed dejectedly. Maybe I should run into town for food as well. His fridge was looking rather sparse.

"Where's my sandwich?" he murmured aloud to himself, startled momentarily before he brushed the crumbs away from his mouth. He really shouldn't zone out like that. But, it hardly mattered. He had work to do, had to get back to the graves. To Daniel.

Grimmjow walked back out of the house, sighing as the spring breeze assaulted his to-light jacket. Winter had just passed, but its remnants still remained. Late march still saw snow on the ground and grass frozen every now and again. Then again, it had been a hard winter and he really was hardly surprised to see winter clinging on with its last bit of unrelenting strength.

When he exited the house, however, he was frozen solid at the door, unable to hide his surprise. God was cruel, apparently. This was his home. This could not happen. Not here, not now. Please no.

God is cruel. He thought dejectedly, managing to gather his wits at long last. So very, very cruel.

"Hello there," he said, raising his voice slightly so the person, or whatever you deigned to call it, standing on the opposite side of the picket fence could hear him. It was unneeded. He could have whispered and the creature would have easily heard him, but appearances were necessary when you didn't know what you were dealing with. "I don't get many visitors out in these parts. What brings ya?" Grimmjow had always been good at hiding his true intentions and feelings behind masks of coldness, aloofness or peaceful oblivion. But he was not oblivious, not like every other normal, unseeing, lucky person in the world. I see you.

The man himself was not entirely impressive. To any onlooker, he was a man, perhaps a boy of seventeen or eighteen, he assumed. His body was small, much smaller than Grimmjow's, in fact; he probably reached up to his shoulder. At best. Black hair fell on his shoulders straight, with no apparent style or care done to it. He was dressed normally, in a fur-lined brown jacket and black jeans with heavy looking casual black boots underneath. Two lines ran down from his eyes, green and very noticeable, which Grimmjow thought was odd. Most like him didn't want to draw attention to themselves.

It was the eyes, though, that made him stare. They were green as emerald, larger than most and you would think it would be the centerpiece of his face, as though he would dazzle you with them. But they were so very cold and empty of infliction and just so lifeless that it took Grimmjow a few seconds to recuperate from them.

Any normal person should be able to tell that there was something wrong with this person, that he had some terrible flaw that could not be overlooked. But Grimmjow could see it, he didn't have to wonder or guess.

His accursed eyes raked over the thing standing before him. I see you for what you are.

Before Grimmjow stood a particularly lanky creature, absurdly skinny and almost as tall as him, no clothing on him but for the hair covering the better part of his lower half. His feet were claws really, naturally black and sharp. His skin was a horrible, dead white, looking as though Grimmjow could grab him and he would simply crumble. Instead of hands he had long black claws that could most likely rip through him without a moment's hesitation. His hair, too, was longer, reaching down to his back. A hole gaped in his abdomen, perfectly cut and round. He could see a tree on the other side of the road through it. The lines on his face were not lines anymore but huge markings, covering most of under his eyes. Horns protruded from his skull, long and sharp and oh so deadly, and the enormous, black bat wings that jutted out from his back, probably twice his body length, only added to his sinister appearance. But this did not bother Grimmjow too much. He'd seen many of this kind of creature in his life, they all looked different but all had something of a hellish appearance.

His eyes were the same in illusion as in reality. Empty. Flat. Dead.

To anyone who hadn't lived with the sight and upon finding out about all of this, they would most likely not be surprised that it had such blank eyes. But Grimmjow knew better. Normally, creatures like this had some emotion in their eyes, such as bloodlust or anger or sadistic happiness. He had never seen one so cold.

What, thought Grimmjow, in the name of all holy hell is a demon doing here? Demons roamed the earth, seeking destruction and death for their own amusements, depending upon their inflictions at the time. They killed without feeling, delighted in their own brands of torture and were never caught. Not ever. Unless someone like Grimmjow came to the rescue. Someone that could see.

But they, the seers, as it were, were few and far between. Grimmjow knew of one in China, some background town he couldn't pronounce and didn't care to, and one hiding out in the desert somewhere in the Middle East. He wasn't too sure exactly where as she'd done a damn good job of hiding herself. After a certain point of realising they were overwhelmed by demons, they all just eventually hid where no vile hell creature could ever find them.

Enter Grimmjow, living peacefully in a church a few miles outside the small, small town of Hueco Mundo. After searching tirelessly for a place to hide a few years back, he had come across old writings of a place that had been fortified on holy ground by those with the sight like him. Extra protections had also been put up, different incantations and shields of sorts that kept demons at bay. The church, Las Noches, was his haven. It's size counted for it immensely because demons stuck to the main centers, with all the more people to torture. If a demon stepped foot on the grounds, it was stripped of all power and burned mercilessly. No demon would ever think of coming to such a tiny, no-fun town with a church that could potentially kill them.

And yet, here he stood, staring at what he believed to be a very powerful, most likely very old demon that did not look to be leaving anytime soon.

The demon blinked its eyes owlishly before replying, "Nothing in particular."

Grimmjow looked at him flatly. "Really," he said disbelievingly. "Because a three mile walk seems a bit extravagant to just come and stare at a church."

The demon said nothing, opting to continue to stare. It seemed relaxed enough, staring idly into space. Grimmjow wondered if this was as close to content as it could get.

"Fine," Grimmjow huffed. "Stand there if you want to but I have work to do. So unless you're here to help, buzz off. I don't like bein' watched." And with that, Grimmjow turned his back on the blank-looking bat demon and went back to the graves. He had no weapons with him, didn't believe he would need them today, and besides, the demon couldn't do a damn thing to him anyways. He was protected fully by Las Noches, so fuck that stupid hell spawn. He had better things to do.

Grimmjow heard a slight shuffle behind him, the gravel moving beneath the demon's feet. It wasn't moving, he suspected it was contemplating, but contemplating what, he couldn't imagine. And perhaps it was best if he didn't. He did not wish to share thoughts with such a creature.

"If I am needed," came the docile tone from the other side of the fence. Grimmjow lifted his head from staring at the grave and looked at it again. Such a strange thing for a demon to say. They were hardly needed anywhere. Yet, this one seemed sincere, as though he wished to stay, in so many words. But why? The only thing this demon could garner from staying there was a severe burn. There had to be a reason, something underlying in the demon's mind that had it asking to stay.

"Do you want to be needed for this?" he asked. In essence, Grimmjow was giving him a way out. It could leave now, and never look back. There was no need for it to come onto the sacred ground.

"I do not want anything," it said, not blinking. Not once. It unnerved Grimmjow slightly. "But there is nothing else for me."

That threw Grimmjow. A demon saying there was nothing for it? There were people, and therefore there was a means of torture and, for a demon, fun. This was its reasoning, then. It had been stripped of purpose, or it had run from that purpose. The demon was an anomaly. It frightened and intrigued him. There was something different about this one.

He walked up to the fence and stared hard into the others eyes.

It is lost. Grimmjow thought. It was the only look besides death in its eyes.

"What's yer name?" he asked, not looking away, not moving. Their faces were a foot apart at most.

"Ulquiorra Shiffler," it-he stated. And Grimmjow believed him. There was no hint of a lie in his eyes. It was an honest demon, baring itself and asking for judgement from Grimmjow. Clearly this Ulquiorra did not know what a good choice he'd made in asking him for judgement, as he was the only one who could truly see him.

"I'm Grimmjow. Grimmjow Jaegerjaques," he extended his hand to him. Ulquiorra took it immediately and merely held on, as though holding onto something had solidified his existence, and he wished to retain that small sense of existence while he could. After a few seconds, they broke apart, but a new feeling had instilled itself in Grimmjow.

There's more to him than I can understand, than there has been for any other demon I've encountered.

"Well, come on in then. I've gotta get some new shingles on that roof and I could use some help."