Well, here I am with a new story, after all this time. I've been working on a Byakuya/OC one as well, but decided to do Ulquiorra first xD

Anyway, enjoy. Also, the text written like this represents quotes from the Bleach special edition, Ulquiorra: Unmasked. If you haven't read it yet, then get to it. It's just A-W-E-S-O-M-E! :D

Also, before I forget... every Bleach character belongs to Kubo-san.

1. Dreams of emptiness

I was born at the bottom of a pit... where no light shone...

The first thing I remember seeing is darkness. Darkness, and in that darkness shadows creeping about and around me. In front of me... behind me... above me... anywhere... everywhere. Everything around me was black as the darkest night. Black as the murky sediments from which I had spawned. Yet I was not black... I had a white form... unlike all my comrades.

The first thing I remember feeling is nothing... I felt nothing. Not the soil beneath my hands... not the air around me... nothing. And then... pain... excruciating pain wreaking havoc throughout my body. Awful... agonizing... unbearable... I raised my hands to my forehead, but I felt no touch. The pain soon subsided, or perhaps my body merely grew used to it. And left in its place, there was nothing...

The first thing I remember tasting is nothing... not the meat my comrades were feeding upon... no water... nothing. I raised my hand to my mouth... but I had no mouth. The hard bone-like armor covering my head was encasing my entire body aside from my eyes, my wings and tail and the lower part of my hair.

The first thing I remember hearing is nothing. Then... faint scratching... the clattering of claws against soil and rocks. Everywhere around me... growling... humming... crashing... my eyes grew used to the darkness and I watched my comrades moving around, eagerly devouring something. And then there was nothing...

I raised my hands to my eyes and came across two flaws in the smooth armor that covered my face. Two narrow fractures along my cheeks... like streams of tears. And I felt like crying... the ache in my chest was unbearable... and I longed to weep... and sob... and wail... and howl... yet my eyes were dry as the desert. It was as though the darkness that had spawned me had forgotten to finish the draft that was my body. I had no mouth... no ears... no nose...

There was nothing to me, but my eyes...

I waited there, in the exact place where I had crawled out from amidst the sediments... I waited for what seemed like ages upon ages. Until, at length, my comrades turned their attention to me. They gazed at me for a long time, studying my every feature of the few that I had to show. They watched... and watched... and watched... until I felt my muscles numb from tension. For I was ready to defend myself, should they decide to attack.

"Look at that new one!"

"He's different..."

"He's all white."

I listened to their awed comments, until they finally turned to a mocking tone. Whereas they had admired me at first, now they were laughing.

"Poor guy, he's got no mouth."

"No ears either..."

"Even his wings are useless; they're too low, he'll never be able to use them."

At long last, upon seeing that I did not react to their remarks, they grew angry.

"Look at him, ignoring us like that when he's nothing but a newborn."

"I say we teach him a lesson."

"I say we eat him!"

Within mere moments they swarmed on me, like enraged beasts. My keen reflexes made up for my lack of experience... and at the end of an excruciating struggle, I came out alive. I was now the only abomination alive at the bottom of that pit... my comrades laid dead around me... my hands dripping of their blood. And then there was nothing...

I stood there amidst my comrades' corpses for a while, until they all decayed into the sediments from which they had come... I felt no remorse or pain over their diminishment. Had they not attacked me, I would have let them live; I had no quarrel with them. And as I stood there, allowing my body to absorb their reiatsu, I raised my gaze above for the first time since my birth. But I saw nothing... nothing aside from darkness...

Ultimately I gained a grasp upon my courage and began walking. For it had not been bravery that had urged me to fight... but merely fear of death. Thus I learned my first lesson... fear can become one of the greatest motivations. In my walk I soon came across the walls of the pit... if there were walls there, it meant there had to be a way out. I reached to the soil before me and grasped at it with my claws... it did not give in, which only further urged me onward.

I fell back on the ground countless times. I slipped... and collapsed... and tumbled... until my entire body was aching. But still I tried again... and again... and again... the sediments were treacherous, hard like rock at first then fluid as the sands. It was as though the soil itself did not want me to leave that place. Was that truly my curse? To be born and to die in that pit?

And just when I had all but given up on hope, I made it to the edge. All around, nothing but trees... an endless sea of dead trees. There was nothing above me aside from the darkness I already knew so well. Yet my instincts told me there was something up there... before I could ponder on that for long, I was already climbing. The tree I had chosen was faithful to its unspoken promise, for the bark did not change its appearance to deceive me.

I climbed without rest... my body was angry at my ongoing struggle, but I paid no attention to it. My gaze was fixed upon the invisible peak of the branches, my will urging me to continue. At long last I reached my goal and raised my hand only to encounter solid rock above me. My last hope shattered like sand in the breeze... all my struggle had been in vain, for I was still buried underneath the soil.

For countless days I wandered that forest, my last shred of hope gone... like my heart. I encountered many Hollows in my way, as I later found out we were called. It was not long before I understood my second lesson... in our world only the strong survive. The weak have no place amongst us; they are merely expandable trash destined to be consumed by us. So I went on... consuming... growing stronger...

Until one day I came across a group of Hollows I had met before. During our first meeting I had barely escaped with my life after wounding one of them. Thus, upon seeing me once more, they attacked without warning to avenge their past shame. The first one to approach disintegrated under the heaviness of my reiatsu, his death putting a stop to the others' rage.

They fled in terror, yet amidst their shouts I could make out two words... Vasto Lorde. And I understood then... I had reached the peak of my power... there was nothing left in that forest to devour me, aside from those matching me in strength. But there were few of us and we rarely encountered another of our strength in our path. It soon came to my attention that all Vasto Lorde possessed great knowledge, thus I became aware as to why they never attacked each other upon meeting.

Having ascertained my new rank amidst Hollows, I returned to my solitary life. Whereas before I could not gain comrades for fear of being devoured, now I could not have any due to my reiatsu which exterminated any Hollow weaker than me. For back then, no one had taught me how to restrain it... therefore it flowed freely around me slaying any life feebler than mine. For that reason I was, again, left with nothing...

I had finally done it... I knew not how much time had passed since my birth, but at long last I had found the way out of the forest. I climbed... and climbed... and climbed some more... until after my seemingly endless struggle I was standing upon the never-ending sea of sands that flowed above the forest.

The sky above me was black as the darkness that had spawned me... yet high above my head, a pale moon shone down upon that dead world. No sound reached my ears... no movement stirred in my eyes as I looked around. There was nothing but sky and sand as far as I could see... yet I could relate to that... for that place was devoid of everything, as I was.

I could hear nothing... I could bite nothing... I could smell nothing... I could feel nothing as I touch... I could not rest... I had no companion... just walking... alone...

For centuries I walked and walked... my existence empty as I pressed onward to no destination. Those who would have crossed my path sensed my reiatsu before I even caught a glimpse of them... and they fled to save their pathetic lives. I could perceive nothing around me but sky... moon... and sands. I could perceive nothing in me aside from pain... growing... tormenting me. And then I saw it...

My eyes were blinded for a moment when I first came upon it... it was magnificent in all its light. The moon reflected in it as though it was ten times as bright, turning the silvery sands to white.

With no color, with no sound, with no scent, does not interact with anything, it only exists there. It was the closest thing to 'void' that I had ever laid eyes upon.

At long last I regained the grasp upon myself and stepped closer... it was as though all those strange objects I had scarcely seen far in the distance had gathered in one place. Whereas they had crumbled under my reiatsu whenever I attempted to approach them, these did not.

I reached out to touch one but I felt nothing... yet, the more I stood there, the more I was determined... I would become one with that 'void'. With my will set on that goal, I stepped forward and submerged myself entirely in it.

It was then that it happened... I felt my armor cracking... rupturing... splintering... until finally one piece of my mask fell off. I stopped and raised my hand to my face... and at long last I felt my fingers touching my cheek. I was frightened, but I pressed onward with almost desperate need.

One by one the pieces of my carcass fell and it was now that I felt my skin breaking... my arms uncovered from underneath the white shell revealed themselves to bear black fur extending along my forearms. My torso was now covered in cuts, drops of warm blood slithering down my pale skin toward the black fur covering me from waist down.

My wings, frail as they were, soon became a shredded mass, like moth-eaten curtains. I could now feel the breeze on my body... I could hear even the tiniest sound of those crystal-like needles scratching against the remnants of my case... I could smell the dry air of the desert... the fragrance of cold sand... in the end, all that was left of my white jail was the part which covered the top of my head and my horns.

Eventually I collapsed in the middle of those strange objects... my skin was hindered by the rough sands beneath me... my gaze was fixed upon the pale moon above me... my entire body ached beyond anything I had previously known... for it is a terrible thing for a Hollow to lose his mask... it causes pain beyond any imagination. I had failed at becoming one with that 'void'... now I had been stripped of my armor as well... I had nothing...

"~Happiness~" I muttered, startled at the sound of my own voice.

I raised my clawed fingers and felt my lips... I had a mouth... I had ears... I had a nose... I was not incomplete. Yet I still had nothing...

Nihilism is having nothing, and having nothing to lose. If that is not 'happiness', then what is?

There is nothing in you... and in me...

Well, I can only hope I managed to capture Ulquiorra's nihilistic nature well enough in this chapter. Look forward to the next... that's where the real story begins ;) As always, R&R please.