*= side note at end of chapter if there is more then one side note an extra * will be added.
Here's a heads up the fic will be slow at times to emphasize Orihime's loneliness, confusion, or fear. I don't want to skip all that otherwise it wouldn't have much of the same effect as if I skipped it and just said she was scared.
Disclaimer; I do NOT own bleach in any way or form and I never will.
Princess and the Shark
1 – The night
The everlasting night haunts me for every second that I remain awake. I can do nothing but look out the single window at the moon that never moves nor does it ever change. I have lost track how long I have been here. No one has told me. Come to think of it, I haven't seen anyone in a long time now. Maybe they forgot about me or maybe they just don't care anymore.
It doesn't matter anymore I chose this and I can't go back to what I had before. I belong here now. I know I can't go back to my old life. There is no place for me there. I am not accepted there anymore. There is no doubt in my mind that they have already forgotten about me. I belong here…
No matter how much I tell myself that a part of me doesn't believe it. A part of me still thinks I can go back to my old life. I still cling to everyone that I have left behind. I single tear silently made its way down to my chin and is soon forgotten as are the rest of the tears that never come.
I shiver in the chill of the night. The cool of the endless night never changes either. I should get used to the cold soon. That's what they told me. How long ago was that now? It seems so distant now. How long has it been now? How long since I last saw Tatsuki and the others? How long since I saw Ichigo?
I can feel my heart sink as the memory of my farewell resurfaces. Even when saying goodbye to him, even though he was asleep, I still couldn't do it. I still didn't have the courage to tell him my true feelings. If I am fortunate enough to see him again I'll have the courage to tell him.
I rise from the poor excuse of a bed and make my way to the wall and place my hand on it. Sadness fills me as I feel its frosty chill on my skin. I let out a sigh and watch the frost from my breath evaporate. I run my hand along the smooth white stone wall. It's too thick to sense anything on the other side. There is no telling where I am or where any of the espadas are.
On the rare occasions I can sense someone walk by my room. However with the rarity of these occasions I have come to the conclusion that I am located in an area that isn't used very often. But then, that would make my leave unnoticed if I could leave. Though it may only be the walls in this room that are thick. I've been in here for far too long to remember what the outside of this room is like. I cannot recall how freely reiatsu flows out there.
These walls protect me from it as though any reiatsu would kill me if I left the room. It's as if this room is a bubble that protects me from the outside world. I knock on the wall with my knuckles and feel how solid it is. Just how thick are these walls? Is my power enough to break it? If I could leave this place where would I even go?
I let out another sigh. There is nowhere I can go if I left. I look up at the barred window that is cruelly just beyond my reach. The moon stays in its spot unmoving and ever watchful of me. It peers into my room at all hours never giving me peace. Its unwelcome presence is always there keeping its eye on me like that was its duty here.
I want to see the sun and smell the flowers on a nice summer breeze. I want to spend time with my friends. I want to see them laugh and have a good time. I want to sit with them and enjoy their company. Even if it's just for a moment, that would be enough. I don't like this unending loneliness that never leaves me. I want someone to sit with me and talk with me. I want this emptiness to go away.
Another tear rolls down my cheek. I know the reality though. I have no one here to speak with. When someone even enters this room all I get is a cold stare and no response when I try and speak with them. Is it even possible for any of them to feel any loneliness? I can't even begin to imagine any one of them being lonely or even feel anything close to emotion for that matter.
My thoughts are interrupted by the sound of a tray being placed on a table. I turn around and see the only female espada standing in my room. She held her arms crossed below her breasts. Her short blond hair was a mess and the three longer parts were held by a pale blue bead. Her lower face was covered as always while her ocean green eyes held no emotion as she watched me from across the room.
I looked over at the tray which held the same meal as it always did. "I'm not hungry."
The espada didn't move or respond. She remained standing there emotionlessly as she watched me stand there. Her cold eyes made my fear run deep inside me. I wish I could give her the same emotionless look she held but every time I'm in the presence of an espada I can feel only the fear that runs throughout my body. "Can you leave?"
It must have been the fear that shook so deep in me voice that made her approach me. Her pace was slow and menacing. Was she going to strike me? Her stare never wavered from me as my body unwillingly pressed against the cold wall. I could feel the cool of the wall sink through my thin clothing and chill my spine.
She stopped just in front of me and stared down at me. Her height was well over mine and her eyes remained emotionless. If she were to strike me right now I wouldn't be able to stop it at all. She raised an arm and I instinctively closed my eyes and prepared for the hit.
I felt her hand on my cheek. I opened my eyes in shock and looked at her. Her eyes didn't leave me or show any emotion as she wiped the tears from my eyes. Her hand lingered on my face for only a moment before returning to a crossed arm position. She said nothing as she turned and walked away.
I was in too much shock to say anything or question her actions. She went to the door in silence walking right past the table not stopping to take the tray away. When arriving at the door she stopped for the briefest moment and said only a single word, "Eat."
With that one word said she left and the door closed behind her. I could faintly hear the unmistakable sound of the door lock as my body sank to the ground with a slight shake that ran throughout my body. What was that about? Was that sympathy? For just an instant it looked like it was there but that can't be right. Hollows can't feel emotion… can they?
Her voice echoed in my head and told me to eat once more. I looked up in fear at the door. Would she return? Would she really hit me if I didn't do what she told me to? I buried my face in my hands as my body shook with fear of her return. What's going to happen to me? What will they do to me if I don't listen to what they say?
My fears quickly turned to tears as I thought of what was to come in the future. I already know I'm going to be here for a long time. But for how long, is the question. My tears don't last long, they never do anymore. It seems I have been crying myself out. I have no more tears in me most of the time. When I do have tears they leave in a matter of minutes, if even that.
I look over at the table. Steam rises steadily from the food that was brought to me. Eating it would surely warm me up but it would also let me relax here and I don't want that. I don't want to think of this place as relaxing. I look away disgusted. This place is far from relaxing. My home was relaxing. My friends were relaxing.
I wanted to scream in frustration. I know I chose this. I did it to protect everyone I care about. This is all for their safety. This was the right thing to do. It was the only thing to do. There was no other option. I couldn't let anything happen to the others. This is all I can do for them.
I catch myself looking back at the table. Despite my anger and hatred of this place I can't deny the fact that I haven't eaten in a long time. I force my gaze away once more. I look at my bed instead. I should try and get some sleep. That way at least I can escape this place, even if it's just for a little while.
I force myself up and walk over to the bed. I sit down and the bed hardly moves. I barely sink down at all as I lie down and face the wall and curl up as much as I can to keep warm. I don't have a blanket either. I can feel another sob forming painfully in my throat. I have no more tears to cry out. This pain will fade in time.
With the pain in my throat I know I won't be able to sleep. My body begins to shake more from the cold then my fear. Is this how I will die? Just alone in this cold and dark empty room with maybe only one or two meals a day if it even is that much. I can feel a tear begin to form in one eye but it fades to nothing as soon as I blink. I try to bury my face in my arms as much as I can to shut everything around me out.
If I try hard enough can I think I'm home? Or even somewhere other then this horrible place? Anywhere would be better then this place. As long as I'm not alone I'm fine with being anywhere. A chill moves down my spine making me tighten my grip around myself. Another tear is close to forming. How much longer will I be here?
Eventually I managed to fall asleep and I dreamed I was sitting in my living room with Tatsuki. We were laughing over the silliest of things and enjoying ourselves. We were having dinner and Tatsuki was enjoying the food I had I made without any complaints. I listened to her talk about her upcoming competition and how hard she was training for it. Then things started to get dark and the room started to get cold. I could feel another presence in the room other then the two of us.
I turned and saw Ulquiorra standing at my door. I got up to defend myself and Tatsuki as he drew his weapon. As soon as I stood up he disappeared. Tatsuki screamed behind me. I spun around. Ulquiorra had her pinned to the wall by the neck and was about to kill her. Just as I was about to attack him a firm hand gripped my shoulder. I turned and saw the female espada standing there looking at me with her emotionless eyes.
Her grip tightened on me and my eyes shot open. I panted heavily trying to get the image out of my head but I could still feel the firm grip on my shoulder. I tried to forget about it and will it away. The grip slowly left my shoulder and I felt a little myself relax a little until something gently pulled my hair out of my face.
I felt as though my heart had stopped as I slowly turned to face what was there. The female espada sat behind me. She was looking down at me without emotion. I sat up and started backing away from her when a thick blanket fell off of me. I stopped and looked at it. When did this-
"I thought you looked cold before." The pitch of her voice was beautiful but the way she spoke was so cold. She looked over at the untouched meal. "You didn't eat."
I couldn't say anything in response I was too surprised and scared for words. She looked at me again. There was a very slight change in her eyes. Did she really feel sympathy or was this all in my head? How could it even be possible for something without a heart to feel a thing like sympathy?
The espada stood and went to the table and picked up the plate. She brought it to me in silence and sat down near me. She offered the plate and I shook my head slowly despite the fact that I was starving. "Don't make me force you to eat this."
I backed away some more and hit the wall. She advanced on me by climbing onto the bed. I flattened myself against the wall. "You can't run anywhere."
I know she's right but I can't just sit here. I don't like her being so close to me. It's uncomfortable. She was too close now. My body froze with fear. She offered me the plate once more but I didn't move an inch. Her eyes narrowed slightly. I wanted more then anything to run away but couldn't find the courage inside me to do anything but sit there in all of my fear.
She scooped up some of the food with the spoon and held it in front of my mouth. Still I didn't move or except the notion. "Open."
I was so scared of what would happen if I didn't so I obliged almost immediately. "Good, chew and swallow."
She scooped up another mouthful and held it to my mouth. When I was ready I took it without hesitation. It was cold and it didn't taste very good but I couldn't deny my stomach any longer and after a few more mouthfuls she offered me the plate again. I took it and ate the food as fast as I could. The food was gone in less then a minute. The espada took the plate and carried it back to the table.
After returning the plate she returned to the bed. I looked at her with a little less fear then before but her presence still terrified me. I move back to the wall in fear of what she would do to me. "Get some more rest."
The espada turned and left picking up the tray as she passed the table. I wanted to ask her why she was doing this instead of just shunning me like all the others did but in my lingering fear I couldn't find my voice. The door closed behind her and the sound of the lock was clearly heard even from the bed.
There was no hesitation when she left and no other words were spoken. I lied back down and covered up with the blanket. It was thick and very warm. My mouth betrayed me as it formed a smile when I snuggled up in the blanket. I quickly managed to get comfortable in the warmth and found sleep a lot faster this time and slept a dreamless sleep.