A/N: This might not make sense to whomever reads this (made sense to me though), but it's plotless and was written on a whim. Just something to read to pass the time. I might add one more chapter to this just for the sake of ulquihime or just because. We'll see next week.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.
He didn't understand. What was the point to all of this? What was the point to feeling emotions if all it did was hurt you, hinder you, and cloud your mind at the most critical of situations? He thought he had the answer when their hands almost touched, but the ashes... the darkness, it was all a curtain of black to blind him in the endless abyss. His hearing was all that was left of him as they fell to mingle with the pale sand of Hueco Mundo. And it was then, that when his body became dust, the process started. Slowly at an agonizing pace, his body tried to resurrect itself, reconstructing the bones of his frame. He could not feel it, there were no nerves yet, but then if there was no flesh to be felt how was his mind intact? In this darkness, there was no such thing as sight; no light could penetrate the eternity of nothing. That's exactly what he was at this point, where time did not exist, no images, no solid feel of the physical world, not a single being existed in this world but him… the manifestation of a void.
Each particle of what was once flesh was the only thing that indicated his existence. The three that were against him, that person who was hollow and shinigami alike, the one that was the most logic of them all and the woman who sent his mind in a flurry of confusion went away. He just knew without any evidence to show for it, his instinct. In the end, even that was meaningless to something like him.
His body was terribly weak, pale and naked under the moon who was the only one to witness his revival. What used to be a white cloak was now tattered and filthy with dirt, but for him it was enough to at least make him a little modest. He was not so stupid as to walk around in such a way, not that it would matter to anyone. His bones ached and his nerves still burned at the exposure to the outside. His hair was a messy black with a few specks of sand hanging onto the strands. The fur and wings as well as the horns atop his head had healed and upon completion, his form returned to normal and the traits of a beast were sealed once more into his sword that was held in one hand at his side. He was nothing even in the physical sense. Color, physical features, shapes…none of it mattered. As a being, a hollow, a human, an animal there was nothing to him. He knew because the girl had told him. Emotions made humans and even hollows become their own person, an individual.
Nelliel, so childish; she was more human than any other arrancar or hollow. She cared for a shinigami, a broken tool. Hallibel was the same, but her emotions did not make her behave like Grimmjow or Nnoitra. She was just like Stark. They cared for someone. Every espada he has come to know had some sort of fondness towards something. What about him? What did he care for; was it Aizen?
No, loyalty was just as he was to a being that was far more superior.
He was empty. Do this and do that were his orders in which he has accomplished without fail with the exception of killing Ichigo Kurosaki. Weak. That was all there was to that battle. But, there was just one more thing…and that was the woman. She had him thinking, but the answers were hard to find. What was he to her?
There is no answer. Too bright when compared to all the others. Her voice, he remembers, that it was heard so clearly from within the confines of the four white walls that in the smallest of whispers or from the quiet loneliness she felt pouring out through silent tears with shuddering sobs, her voice was far too loud for his ears. It was too much that he couldn't understand; he could only see stupidity from the view of what was right and was wrong. A world of black and white. That bright splotch of color thrown his way sent him in chaos as the colors of every sort of emotion was bleeding into the blank paper.
Where had the simplicity gone?
Green, thin, streaks that fell down the same way tears had trailed down her face whenever her emotions got the better of her. Ulquiorra sat on a broken boulder that used to be a part of the building just behind him. His hand touching his face, tracing the mark that was forever engraved onto his skin no matter what form he was in. Why did he have them?
"It makes you look so…sad."
Orihime's words echoed throughout his mind; a distant memory of what once was. The cloth around him was a blanket, his sword leaning against his chest and shoulder as he remained focus on the marks that could barely be seen in his point of view.
"Sad…" He murmured quietly, letting the wind take away his voice. Her eyes were always so warm and welcoming, but when they met in a gaze of green and grey hers would fall into sorrow while his remained neutral. The footprints erased with each layer of sand that would follow the wind and spread about the land. He remembers that one time where he had asked her, the woman, what it was that pained her so much. The loneliness, if it is not even a physical presence to be seen, not a disease that could be viewed even through Szayel's high technology. That was the first time he actually noticed her eyes come back alive. Really alive.
"Because they'll get hurt. Kurosaki-kun... and the others, they'll all get hurt because of me."
She was crying then and he didn't know how to stop her tears nor did he feel an immediate urge to do anything. He was uncomfortable though, the image of her genuine selfless tears, in pain for another, longing to be assured that they would be safe. She was selfish and yet at the same time not. That's what he heard from others, the trash that knew of nothing.
"Stupid, she is treated like a princess, is to be protected by one of the espada!" Every word that was replaying in his mind spilled through that girl''s lips with malice while the other could only watch helplessly. "And yet, after all that Aizen-sama gave her, she hates it! How much more will that stupid human girl ask for?"
His eyes grew cold at the memory of Loly's one-sided conversation. The wind picked up and the howl of a distant hollow was heard. It was time to move on.
The weakness he felt deep in the marrow of his bones had passed, his strength completely back. However, the voice of his zanpakutou has not entered his ears in so long. He was there, resting dormant in the blade, he could sense it, but that was it. He had to wonder, what was he to do now. No purpose, no reason to kill and attack when there was no provocation. Hollows knew well at the sense of his reiatsu that he was beyond their power to kill. Run and live while he wanders like the lost soul that he was. This loneliness... it was boring.
Then, it had dawned on him: how much time had passed since his battle with Kurosaki? What had become of all of them, past associates and former enemies? His flesh had that odd feeling of something warm running through his entire body. Years could have passed, all that had participated in the war could all be dead including Kurosaki and his friends. Odd sensations came over him as he thoughtlessly opened a garganta and without a thought or mind as to what he was doing, he slipped through. He was already at his destination, the wind a light warm summer breeze. Voices of every kind flooded his ears and the colors of the sun, buildings and people were enough to leave him in a momentary daze. His feet moved without direction, eyes looking nowhere but forward, scanning all that was seen and meeting with nothing of satisfactory.
A furious longing had built up within him during his time in Hueco Mundo and it was seeping out in a blur. There was pain, a horrible pain that tore at his insides, begging to be soothed. A familiar burning sensation brought up from the most primal of instincts. In his blind search, he came across the sound of weeping. So soft, so quiet, it was barely even heard. The sound was enough to make him stop and listen. It was weak, but close by. Very close. He followed one step at a time, slowly and the pain deep inside him gradually eased up, lingering so as to remind him that it was still there. What was this sound that was so familiar? It sounded like a child silently crying in the farthest corner of a room.
"So tell me, how is it there in college?" A female's voice, one that he could not quite place a name asked right as the owner along with someone else exited a small shop.
"It's fine. Alot of homework though..." Every sound melted in the background as his eyes widened in recognition. He stood there, every nerve within him frozen by the sound of her voice. It was a whisper compared to the one etched in his memory. Light and free. The burdens of the past no longer suffocating her heart. He could sense that subtle pause in her movements at the sense of his presence as well as her friend who could sense him too, and it was then that a fear so frightening overcame him, his eyes wide, mouth open in a pathetic attempt to inhale oxygen. Cold, everything went cold, his feet not responding to the danger that could not be seen, but it was then that a tear so small and insignificant welled up at the corner of his eye and fell. They could see him and their conversation came to an end at the odd display of the former espada's reaction to them.
He wanted to run. The flurry of emotions coming forcing their way in him was too much.
"Ulquiorra!" His name was screamed, but it never processed through him. He fell, his eyes closing , his head pounding and the silent cry deep within him was all that could be heard.
The crying was found, the owner a mere child of himself in his second release, curled up in the darkness, his wings limp on the ground and it looked like he had been crying for so long, his voice heard through the soft sobs was hoarse.
"What is this?" He asked not really sure if he should be angry or not, but it was all he could say.
"I want her back...bring her back..."
Ulquiorra could not comprehend the boy's words.
"She has it..." He whispered, tears of longing and pain so much like the woman back in Las Noches streamed through him; it was pitiful but he could not find it in him to lash out on what could only be him.
"What is it that she has?" He asked lowly as if dreading the answer that was sure to come.
"Ulquiorra, wake up!"
He couldn't understand these emotions. They only caused pain. He couldn't understand why she was calling out to him, her hand touching his cheek. The darkness would come back soon, he could feel it, the void that had suddenly filled with emotions that were not suppose to be there would close up and return to the endless road of solitude. That was all he was, a void of nothing. "It's strange though..." His eyes opened slightly to look at the girl that was begging him to wake up.
"If I am nothing... then why does my soul cry?"