Summary: Her eyes widened in shock as tears began to stream out. “I have been asleep for over 400 years? I wasn’t supposed to be asleep that long!”
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach, nuff said.
Orihime sat quietly with her eyes showing no emotion. The man before her smiled coldly in return but Orihime couldn’t take the time to care.
She had been left in her room for a few days, her rib cage hurting the entire time. It had healed up before they actually came to get her though. She never saw Ulquiorra again only a few other low ranking Arrancar. They would bring her food, which she didn’t eat.
They also brought her a change of clothes and a bucket of water to rinse all the blood and dirt off. She wondered why they always seemed to have clothes for her that fit perfectly.
At one point a bubbly Arrancar with green hair came to visit her. She talked strangely and didn’t leave Orihime alone despite Orihime’s obvious rudeness. She didn’t want to get friendly with any of them. She felt betrayed especially after she had tried to stick up for them a little bit with the villagers.
Of course, she was mad at them as well for being so uninformed. It was like nothing was going to make her happy.
So when Gin came to her room with his same twisted smile she was surprised to learn that Aizen had finally wanted to see her to explain some things.
She wanted answers but she wasn’t sure just how much Aizen would actually tell her- if he would even tell her the truth in the first place since he was a shady person.
“I hear that you hate us all now.” Aizen’s voice was smooth and kept to a low tone, but even still it made her jump.
He snickered a bit when he noticed.
“I’m sorry you had to learn about the Hollows that way. It isn’t that we wanted to trick you it is just we didn’t think you would believe us. It’s kind of a touchy subject around here.”
Orihime was confused. She couldn’t understand why it was a touchy subject for them.
“I will tell you a bit about why this world is- the way it is.”
Orihime kept quiet but let him know he had her full attention.
“In the past a foolish old man had caused a huge catastrophe that destroyed the world you knew.”
Orihime thought it was strange that he talked about the time as if he had been there. He continued to tell her all the different things that happened, all the people who died in some of the wars and so on so forth. Not much that really interested her because there was nothing she could do about it now and it was pretty obvious it had happened.
“I can see that you are wondering what my point is.” His smile grew wider and a little creepier making Orihime shudder.
“You are special.”
“What do you mean?” She leaned forward in her seat, confused by what he meant.
“You have a wonderful power. It doesn’t just heal, it reverts time back to its original state.”
Orihime always wondered about that. If she could just heal there would be certain things she couldn’t do, but for some reason she would always be able to make things seem like they had never been touched before. She was surprised that he figured that out so quickly without ever really seeing her powers first hand.
“Why are you telling me this?”
He rested back into the sofa across from her and ran a hand through his slicked back hair. “I think you can save this world.”
Orihime’s eyed him suspiciously. She couldn’t believe what he was saying.
“Your powers aren’t just some fluke. You have them for a reason. Your powers are that of a God- or no- they defy God.”
Orihime didn’t feel comfortable with him talking about her in that way. It was a taboo thing in her time to be compared to God. She was never sure if she believed in him but she also wasn’t going to play with fire and pretend there wasn’t one either.
Aizen got off his chair and came closer to her. Orihime wanted to dart away but felt if she did he would get mad so she made a conscious effort to be very still. He placed his hand on her head and patted it gently. The feeling was so strange that she didn’t know what to make of it.
“Orihime, I really want you to be my queen.”
She couldn’t believe the way he was treating her. Make her a queen of such powerful beings? Did he really believe she was more powerful than a God? She almost wanted to laugh.
“I really don’t think that is possible.”
He just smiled again and pulled back his hand. “You can think about it for as long as you like but please take my proposal seriously.”
She nodded her head. “What would being your Queen entail?”
As if he wanted her to ask the question his eyes lit up with excitement. “I would like for you to be like the mother for all the Arrancars. I want you to save them because -just like the Hollows- the Arrancars were once human.”
Feeling a complete sense of dread and sadness Orihime now understood why the topic was taboo. If they were once human themselves it made sense as to why they wouldn’t want to talk about it.
A few tears started to leak out of her eyes when she thought about the way she treated Ulquiorra and Nel. She would have to apologize to them the next time she saw them, if there would be a next time.
She was surprised when she felt a warm hand brush away the tears. She looked up to see Aizen was looking down at her.
“You have a very kind soul, Orihime. I really think I’m not wrong about you and what you could do for them.”
A loud and hyper yell came trailing down the hall as Orihime was walking back to her isolated room with one of the lower ranked Arrancars.
She turned around to see Nel just in time as she ran up and grabbed her into a tight hug.
Orihime smiled at the young woman’s antics and was glad she was able to see her again so soon.
“Hello Nel, you act as if we haven’t seen each other in a while.”
Nel backed away with her face covered in snot and tears. Orihime almost wanted to burst out in laughter at the sight. If it wasn’t for her strange look she would have been worried.
“I thought you were already going back to the human village and I didn’t want that!”
“It’s okay. I’m not going back any time soon. I need to apologize to a few people first, including you.”
Nel gave her a strange look. “Why do you need to apologize to me?”
Orihime just smiled. She turned to the lower ranked Arrancar as he sighed from having to wait around. “You can go back to whatever you need to do. I think Nel can help me from here.”
He looked as if he didn’t believe her but then noticed Nel’s stern look. Orihime didn’t notice it though so she had no idea that Nel was actually very strong. The Arrancar bowed and took his leave.
“I was very rude to you the last few days even though you were very nice to me and I’m sorry.”
Nel clung to Orihime’s arm and smiled. “I don’t really get it but I forgive you.”
Orihime didn’t understand why Nel was so different from the other Arrancer, especially Ulquiorra. Some of them were nice to her but she was the only one who wasn’t creepy nice, as if she had an ulterior motive. Plus, she was the only one who seemed more human which was even weirder.
They started to walk back to her room as Nel held her hand. Orihime couldn’t help but think it was like they were best friends going on a shopping date. Of course, at her age, there would be no way she would still hold her best friend’s hand.
“Um Nel, I got asked something big and I wanted your opinion about it.”
“What’s that, Orihime-sama?”
Orihime didn’t understand why Nel liked to call her Sama from time to time. It was strange, almost like she was already treating her like a queen. The only person who ever got that kind of title was Aizen.
“I was asked to be Aizen’s queen, but how would that make you guys feel?”
To Orihime’s surprise, Nel stopped walking. Orihime wondered if the Arrancar was angry because her face was lowered and there was a dark sort of aura to her but before she could say anything, Nel was back to her bubbly self.
“I think it is a great idea! I already think of you as our queen anyway!”
Orihime was startled by her words. “Why?”
“Because you are so kind and you don’t treat me like a monster. Most humans can’t even talk to us without wanting to try and kill us or just cower in fear but you are different. Just like Aizen-sama.”
“What about the others? They all seem so strong. What would they think having someone like me being in charge of them?”
Nel put her finger to her chin as if she were thinking really hard. “Hmmm, I really think it is up to you. I will follow you not matter what your decision is though. After all, I’m ranked number three!”
Orihime was surprised – yet again – to learn that Nel was one of the Espada. Not to mention that she was higher up than Ulquiorra and Grimjow. It was something to really marvel about.
“Why would you follow me when you are such a high rank?”
Nel just grinned. “I think you are changing me already. I feel different around you.”
Orihime decided not to ask her any more questions because she was just getting more and more confused.
She felt happy that she had at least one friend she could rely on in Las Noches and that made her feel a lot better about her situation.
“By the way Nel-” Orihime began. “Have you seen Ulquiorra around?”
“Ulqui-chan has been a little moody lately.” Nel sulked at the mention of his name.
Orihime felt a pang of guilt, wondering if it was because of her.
She hadn’t noticed that Nel seemed to put two and two together because of her facial expression.
They both stopped just outside her room and Orihime cringed. She hated the room, it was so lonely.
“I hate this room.” She said softly, mostly for herself but she knew Nel would hear her.
Orihime turned to her and smiled. “Don’t apologize- it is not your fault.”
Nel still didn’t like it. She knew what it was like to feel lonely and she could see in Orihime’s eyes just how alone she felt. She wanted to join her but she had some duties to take care of. Suddenly a thought crossed her mind that made her giggle in happiness.
Orihime didn’t ask. Nel was weird that way, going from serious to being all happy.
“I got to go now, Orihime-sama. I wish I could stay and talk more but I have to do some things for Aizen-sama.”
Orihime nodded her head. “No, it’s okay. You have your job, of course.”
Nel opened the door for her and let her in. Orihime walked over to her plain white couch and took a seat, then waved at Nel as she shut to door.
It was so quiet in the room.
Orihime wondered just how long they planned to keep her locked up in it.
Ulquiorra had many things to do ever since he took Orihime back to Las Noches. In reality he could have gone to visit her but something about her irritated him. He didn’t understand why, but figured it must have been because she was just human trash.
When he had watched the scene in front of him many things had gone through his head. He had even considered stepping in and stopping it before she could realize what the Hollow was. Then he realized how stupid that would be, there was no reason for her not to know. What he didn’t expect was her reaction to it. He figured she would be shocked, upset, and scared but he didn’t expect her to break down so badly.
She was so different from any other human and it intrigued him, which in turn angered him. Why did she seem so special from anyone or anything else? He had never felt any sort of attachment to anything before, just followed his orders and lived life in a way he felt wasn’t a waste of time.
For some reason he wanted to change that. He almost felt the need to torture the girl, to abuse her verbally and mentally. To see her squirm and then marvel at the site of her tears, to crush her and make her seem like just another pathetic human, which she was.
The anger she showed him when she called out his name was not really a surprise. He felt no need to provoke her more so he chose to just stay quiet. Surprisingly it only seemed to make her angrier which ticked him off a bit. She didn’t realize how lucky she was by having Aizen’s protection or he would have let her hear the truth in such a cold way that she would have most likely broken into many pieces.
Instead of losing his cool, which was not something he did often, he grabbed her roughly and took her back home. He figured he would need to tell Aizen and let him decide what would be the best way to deal with her and her anger.
Once again, a mere human seemed to be getting the best of him. She was making him think things and overanalyze things. She was making him feel things. He wasn’t supposed to feel. He was a calm and collected soldier for Aizen. Feelings of anger, lust, happiness… it was all useless in his eyes and meant for the other Espada he deemed inferior.
Ulquiorra turned around to see a big bustle of green come running towards him. He sighed. When it came to Nel his usual tactics just wouldn’t work. Usually he could just ignore them and they would go away, like Grimjow, but Nel was different. She would just bother him more if he tried to tune her out.
If he were to try to be meaner to her she wouldn’t even respond, almost like she never understood. Having an intelligent conversation with her was out of the question. He knew she possessed the brains and the intelligence but ever since her fight with Nnoitra it was like she had shut off a good portion of her brain.
He wasn’t able to figure out if it was on purpose or not. She was a bit bi-polar at times so maybe she had figured something out in her own logic that was just not something he was supposed to understand.
Then again, she did hit her head pretty hard.
“Ulqui-chan! Orihime-sama wants to see you.” She stopped right in front of him and made a strange gurgling noise that Ulquiorra recognized as one of her weird laughs.
Then he realized what Nel had just called Orihime, never mind what she called him. He had already tried to get her to stop but it was a lost cause. “Nel, why are you calling her sama?”
“Because she will be our queen!”
She said it was such clearness that Ulquiorra was actually taken aback. He wondered if she had heard something about it from Aizen.
Nel saw his puzzled look and decided to let him know what Orihime told him. “Orihime-sama told me that Aizen wants her to be his queen. She hasn’t said yes yet but I know she will and I can’t wait!” She clapped her hands together in excitement.
“I think you are making wild assumptions again. I get the feeling she will never say yes.” He thought back to her anger when she had learned what they were and the look in her eyes. They were so clear that he could read her like a book.
Nel decided to ignore that comment though. “Anyway, she wants to see you.”
Ulquiorra closed his eyes as if he was sighing. He really didn’t want to but he figured he would grasp the situation a little better if he heard it himself and not through Nel.
He began to walk away without saying anything to Nel. She didn’t follow him, she knew he was going to go visit Orihime.
She hoped that seeing Ulquiorra again would make Orihime a little happier. She got the strangest feeling from her future queen that Ulquiorra was a small source of comfort for her. She figured it was probably because he was the very first thing she saw when she woke up after 400 years.
Orihime sat up from the couch when she heard the door to her room slowly start to open. She wondered if it was Nel coming back to play or if it would be more food.
At the thought of food her stomach grumbled. She was being stubborn before, not eating much of the food they brought her but now she wished she hadn’t.
Who came through the door was not what she was expecting at all.
Ulquiorra came in as if nothing had happened, as if the last time they saw each other wasn’t after a lot of yelling and hateful words.
She only continued to stare at him- his eyes seemed to be burning a hole through her head.
“You wanted to see me?”
Orihime wondered why he would say such a thing. It was true that she wanted to see him but she never told anyone that. Then it dawned on her that it was most likely Nel since she had asked Nel about his whereabouts.
“Um-” now that he was actually there it was hard for her to spit out the words. She felt like saying sorry was just not going to be enough.
He stayed silent, as if trying to study her every move and thought.
“I wanted to apologize.”
There it was- a small flicker of something in his face. It was gone before he spoke. “Nonsense, you are wasting my time.”
He turned to leave but Orihime didn’t want him too, not just yet. She felt like he was actually mad at her even though he hid it so well.
“Wait, please…” her voice was small and pathetic but he did stop.
Once again they are filled with just silence before Orihime worked up the courage to speak again.
“It’s a burn you know.”
Ulquiorra turned to look at her and she knew why. Her words were so random and out of the blue that any other person would have been completely confused. She knew he wasn’t though- it was one of his many traits, to understand things like that so quickly.
She was finally answering his question so long ago, the one about the scar on her back. She felt it was only fair that she share something about her past since she had learned that he was once a human.
“I was still really young and living with my parents and older brother.” She walked up closer to him, wanting to make sure he wouldn’t leave.
Ulquiorra was surprised she was telling him this right now. There was no reason for her to do it unless she was just so lonely that she would do anything to keep him there.
“You asked me why I would have a scar when I have such powers. The reason is because I wasn’t born with them. They just showed up out of the blue one day.”
Orihime felt her hands shaking. She hated this story- it was something she always wanted to forget because it always brought back horrible memories.
“When I was about five my mother got mad at me. I’m not really sure why since I was too young to remember but the punishment was to pour boiling water on my back.”
Orihime felt her stomach flop. She was grateful for Ulquiorra’s silence right then, it made it easier to just tell her story without any interruptions. She didn’t want to start crying in front of him.
“My parents hated me and as soon as my brother was old enough he took me away from that house. But before all that I went through a lot of torture. That time was one of the worst because it left a permanent mark.”
Orihime chuckled darkly at the thought of her next choice of words.
“It was a month after that, when my powers woke up. I find it funny that it waited until I had one reminder of my horrible past.” She gripped her arms around her body and looked away from Ulquiorra, not really wanting to see how he would react to getting all this information.
Ulquiorra just took in all that she said in silence. There really wasn’t much he could do or say to it. A part of him wanted to tell her to shut up, that he didn’t care to know that much but a much bigger part of him told him that would be a big mistake. He didn’t want to have to face the wrath of Aizen if she were to get some damage because of the words he said. At least that was what he told himself.
Not knowing what else to do Ulquiorra said the first thing that came to mind.
“I will be taking you back to the village shortly. Someone will be by with some food before then. Be sure you eat it this time.” Then he turned back around and left. This time she didn’t try to stop him.
Orihime watched as he walked away. Most people would feel hurt by the way he just seemed to brush off her story but she knew better. In fact she was actually feeling a bit of relief getting that story off her chest. She had never told anyone about it before.
Ulquiorra walked down the hallways slowly, thinking about everything the woman had told him. He didn’t think he was ever going to be able to understand her. Her outbursts, her anger, her random apology and then the sharing of a personal story. None of it had any real point or pattern but for some reason he couldn’t just brush it aside, like he did with Nel when she acted random.
Reaching Aizen’s room he knocked on the door to get let in by another lower ranked Arrancar.
“Ah, Ulquiorra, just the man I wanted to see.”
Ulquiorra wanted to correct Aizen in calling him a man, he was far from being a man but he was pretty sure Aizen was aware of that and said it just to annoy him.
After he left Orihime’s room he was summoned.
Ulquiorra looked around the room to see that Gin and Tousen were in the room as well and he wondered what this could possibly be about.
“I just wanted to ask you what you think of our precious Orihime.”
Ulquiorra didn’t understand how his opinion of the woman mattered but decide to amuse his boss by answering.
“She is interesting- for a human.”
At this, both Aizen and Gin smile widely. Tousen didn’t do anything but he noticed a slight nod in his head, as if his answer was more than acceptable. Ulquiorra was starting to feel that something was up and wondered what they were planning.
To Be Continued.