Summary: After the war Orihime wakes up one day to find she is sharing her body with another soul.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.
Orihime moaned when she heard the sound of her alarm clock. She could have sworn she had just fallen asleep. Feeling groggy she reached over to turn it off before the music could get any louder. She really didn’t need her neighbors complaining about it.
She shivered when she felt the cool air hit her body, which was covered in sweat. It was the nightmares that made her that way. After the war Orihime had many bad dreams. Sometimes she would wake up in the middle of them feeling awful and breathing heavy. Other times she would sleep on through them, though she knew she had them by the sweat in the morning. She was never able to remember much about them though. All she knew was that she felt really sad and somehow empty. She considered going to a doctor and seeing if he would prescribe her something but never got motivated enough to do it.
She never told her friends about it. They were finally getting back into their mundane lives now that Aizen was locked away and Ichigo had lost his powers. She didn’t want them to worry about her. She just wanted to go back to the way it used to be, before they fought Hollows and Arrancar.
She knew that Tasuki was not at all convinced that she was okay. She always gave her strange looks and acted even more protective of her than usual. Orhime was okay with that but she felt bad for making her friend worry so much about her. She did let Tastuki know that she felt different after she was taken away. She no longer pined over Ichigo either.
Tatsuki was surprised to hear that but she did not question her reasons. She just listened and nodded her head, telling her that she was there for her.
Orihime felt lucky to have such a wonderful friend.
Orihime crawled out of her bed and stretched, then walked over to the thermostat to turn it up a bit. She hated taking a shower with it feeling too cold. She wished she could skip the shower but she felt gross and knew it would make her feel much better in the long run, as well as wake her up more.
Just as she was about to make her way to the bathroom she heard a voice.
A chill ran down her spine, the voice sounded very familiar but it couldn’t be possible. She looked around her room but saw nothing. Then she laughed nervously and wondered if she were losing her mind.
“Woman, will you go to the bathroom already?”
Okay, now Orihime was freaking out. She looked all around the room, jumping from side to side, looking high and low- making herself a little dizzy in the process.
“That was uncalled for. You are just making yourself sick.”
“What the hell?” she said. She kept hearing the voice but there was no one in the apartment but her! Perhaps it was time for her to go see a doctor before she ended up with multiple personality disorder.
Then again, hearing voices wasn’t really the same thing.
“Stop trying to figure this out and go to the bathroom already before you urinate on yourself.”
The voice sounded irritated in that same way that Ulquiorra always got with her when she wouldn’t eat her food. That was when she realized the voice was right. She really had to pee! She made her way to the bathroom as quickly as possible and planted herself down on the toilet.
Now, if she had been hearing voices or knew someone else was in the apartment without her consent she would have been too nervous to pee. However, it was like the voice knew her really well because she didn’t even have time to think about it before she relieved herself.
Feeling much better she flushed the toilet and pulled up her pajamas, made her way toward the shower to turn it on, and let it get hot.
She was going to really need to see a doctor now, no more time for her to be lazy. The voice in her head sounded too much like Ulquiorra and it was kind of weird that the voice was telling her things about her body that she should just automatically know without having to form words.
She knew that seeing Ulquiorra die was hard for her to handle – especially since he reached out to her – but she had no idea that it would affect her this much.
“You aren’t going crazy, Woman.”
Orihime placed her head down on the sink edge and sighed. Just what she needed, her voice telling her she was okay.
“Oh yeah? If I’m not going crazy, why am I hearing voices?”
Oh wonderful, now she was starting to talk to the voice.
“First of all, it is just one voice and second is because I know I am not a part of your human brain.”
Orihime felt a bit insulted by the voice, wondering if that was supposed to be a dig at her intelligence. Oh great, now her voice was starting to insult her.
“That doesn’t really make me believe I’m not just going crazy.”
The voice was quiet and Orihime wondered if it was gone now. She was starting to feel relieved but then scared at the same time. She stepped into the shower and began her cleaning ritual. She wanted to get ready as soon as possible because she didn’t think that being alone right now was a good thing.
“You surprisingly like your water hot.”
Orihime jumped and screamed when the voice was back. She cursed under her breath and tried to compose herself but she wanted to cry.
“Calm down, Woman.”
Feeling like there was no need to pretend anymore she decided to try talking to the voice more.
“Calling me ‘Woman’. It is rude and it reminds me of someone I don’t want to think about.”
She felt her heart hurt when she thought about him again. Curse her stupid voice, maybe it was her way of trying to get over him, or maybe she was finally losing her mind. After all she had been through – kidnapped, death of loved ones, and beaten nearly to death, she was surprised she didn’t go crazy much sooner.
“I have no idea who else could have called you Woman, but it would not be weird since that is what you are.”‘
Orihime’s eye twitched.
“Listen you- if you don’t stop I’m going to-”
She had no idea what she was going to do. It was just a voice after all.
“What? Hit yourself? I hope you know that will hurt us both and will not do you much good in the long run.”
Now Orihime was confused. The voice was telling her that he felt what she felt. That was interesting. She always figured when people heard voices it was because they thought it was other people around them, not like another personality. Then again she really had no idea how all of that worked.
“Oh great, now the voice is just me with a man’s voice. I really am losing it.”
“I’m not you.”
The voice was starting to sound tired of her, which was really weird unless she was actually tired of herself. That was a possibility.
“Oh really? Then who are you and why can you feel everything I do?” she smirked to herself. This should be interesting to see what her voice came up with. Being crazy was kind of fun so far.
Orihime’s heart stopped. This wasn’t fun anymore. She was a sick girl.
“It seems that after I died I ended up sharing your body.”
Orihime turned off the shower water and stepped out, putting a towel around her. She needed to get out- she was staying in too long and getting pruney.
“What the heck? Is that even possible? If that is so, why I didn’t hear you until now?”
It was strange, if what the voice was saying was the truth then that meant he lurked inside her for over a month and waited until now to say something- which would be very creepy and kind of Ulquiorra like. She tried to think back to the month and prayed she didn’t do something really embarrassing.
“I was not here until this morning. At least I was not conscious for it.”
Orihime sighed in relief- she hadn’t done anything embarrassing yet. Her ears got a little red when she remembered how frustrated her body had been getting late at night, enough so that she had to take care of herself from time to time.
Wait- was she starting to believe the voice? Was it really Ulquiorra? Her heart began to thud in her chest quickly.
“Woman. Calm down.”
She blushed. If it was really Ulquiorra, then that meant he could feel everything she felt including her sexual desires.
“How is this possible?”
It was quiet for a while but then he finally answered.
“I think it was when our hands touched.”
Orihime’s eyes began to water up. That would make a lot of sense.
“Stop crying, I can’t see.”
She sucked it up and apologized, feeling a little weird doing so.
“How long do you think this will last?”
He didn’t answer her and Orihime took that as a sign that he didn’t have a clue.
This was going to be very weird. That was when Orihime realized that if he could feel everything she felt then he could surely see everything she saw. Her cheeks burned red when she remembered how she was standing in front of the mirror – naked – for quite awhile and how she had to look closely at herself while she shaved and trimmed her privates.
“How embarrassing!” Orihime wanted to put her head in a bag and never come out now. She was going to have to make a conscious effort when doing her usual stuff now. She needed to pretend that there was someone standing right next to her from now on.
She wondered if she could do it.
That’s when a thought occurred to her.
“Hey, isn’t this weird for you? I mean, I am just a normal human. You haven’t felt this kind of stuff in a long time, right?”
She waited patiently for him to answer. It was really weird. When she knew him after he kidnapped her, talking to him was always like talking to a brick wall. She never really expected an answer even though he did end up talking a lot more than she expected. However, since he was just a voice and wasn’t standing in front of her, staring down at her with his piercing green eyes and making death threats, talking to him didn’t feel as weird.
Then again, if her mind was just that talented in tricking her then she was just a crazy person talking to herself.
She giggled. It wasn’t really supposed to be funny but she wanted to think positive.
“You have accepted this rather quickly.”
Her eyebrow furrowed when she realized he never answered her question.
“Well, I figured it’s best not to fight it. I have to wonder though, can anyone else hear you? And if you are sharing my body, can you move it?” She made her way back to her room while asking him these questions.
She never once felt as though someone was trying to control her body, so either he couldn’t do it or he didn’t feel the need to.
“No. I’m just here to observe it seems.”
Orihime got the distinct feeling that he was hiding something from her. She brushed it off figuring he would eventually tell her or she would just find out on her own. There was no use trying to force a voice inside of her to tell her things, especially one as stubborn as she remembered.
Feeling embarrassed about letting him see her so up close and personal she wasn’t going to let it happen again as she got dressed. So she laid out all the things she was going to need to put on and grabbed a scarf to tie around her eyes.
“Woman. What are you doing?”
“I don’t want you to see.” She said while reaching for her first article of clothing.
“This is ridiculous. It does not matter to me.”
Orihime huffed. “It matters to me though!” Besides the obvious fact that it was embarrassing to have someone see her body it was kind of weird that it was a man (if she could really call him that) that she had sort of gotten feelings for.
Her heart thudded hard in her chest one more time.
“Your heart beats irregular a lot. Is that normal for most humans?”
Orihime decided not to tell him what it meant. She didn’t want him to know about her hidden feelings for him. Though she couldn’t really call it love, she had gotten something out of all her time around him – something that had made her stop being in love with Ichigo.
Finally putting on the last piece of her clothing she took off her blind fold and looked at herself in the mirror and laughed. She looked like she had gotten dressed in the dark. She was rumpled and a mess, but at least she had put every thing on the right way. She took the time to straighten everything out before she made her way back to the bathroom to do her hair and put on her small bit of makeup.
Ulquiorra stayed quiet the rest of the time, which was kind of disappointing. She really wanted to talk to him, wondering if he was any different after his death. After all, when he reached out for her it was like he had discovered something big. A mystery that he had been searching for his entire life (could she even call it that?). She wanted to ask but felt it would need to wait.
Orihime made her way through the halls of her school. She waved and said her greetings to the many people she passed by and kept a huge smile on her face. Ulquiorra hadn’t changed all that much, he didn’t say anything to her after she had gotten dressed. She figured he was just using her as a tool to learn about the worthless humans.
She giggled slightly when she tried to think like Ulquiorra.
“What is so funny?”
She jumped slightly.
She was really going to have to get used to that. It was strange because the voice sounded so close that it seemed like the person was standing right next to her ear. Orihime looked around to make sure no one was around so she could answer him.
“It’s nothing. I just think this is all kind of weird but exciting at the same time.” She mumbled the words and hoped that her voice was just as clear to him as his was to her.
“You are still just as strange as ever.”
Obviously he could hear her, however she really wondered what he meant by that statement. Did he always think she was weird and was that a compliment from him or an insult? Maybe this would be the perfect time to get to know more about him. Since he was not in person she couldn’t try to read his stone face, so it wasn’t really much different. She just had to concentrate on the way his voice sounded to get what he was feeling.
Or just maybe pick up on sarcasm and insults more.
While Orihime was a very smart girl – high grades in school – she was also one of the dumbest when it came to other things. She should have known that walking and thinking at the same time was not a good idea for her. Without paying much attention she ended up walking right into Ichigo, and hard.
She let out a slight noise but swore she could have heard Ulquoirra grunt as well. Ichigo turned around immediately to help her off the floor. She laughed in an embarrassed manner and thanked him.
“Sorry about that, Ichigo. I really should pay more attention to where I’m going.”
Ichigo looked a little uncomfortable. He always seemed to be that way around her. She never really knew why. He should have been used to her by now. After all they were buddies, friends, nakama and they had fought a tough war together. Besides, since she didn’t have any feelings of love for him anymore he shouldn’t be picking up anymore weird vibes from her.
“It’s fine, Inoue-san. I’m just glad you didn’t hurt yourself.”
Orihime rubbed the back of her head and laughed again. “I’m a lot tougher than I look!” she grabbed her arm and flexed as if she had muscles. Then she waved goodbye to him and walked quickly towards the door to her classroom.
She hated it. The awkwardness she had with him. It was so suffocating. She wanted to help him, to make him feel better but she knew she did not have the right. If he wanted to talk he would make the moves and she would gladly listen but she could not reach out to him. Not anymore, not when the one he really needed was someone he couldn’t even see anymore.
Kind of like her with Ulquiorra.
“You know, this might sound selfish of me but I’m kind of glad we are sharing my body.”
She was going to say more but then she saw Tatsuki walking up.
“Hey Orihime, about time you showed up!”
Orihime pulled out her bento and beamed down at it. “I took some extra time in making my lunch today!”
Tatsuki looked at her with fright and she knew why. Her taste in food hadn’t changed since her kidnapping, if anything it just got worse.
“Want to know what it is?”
Tatsuki just shook her head. “I would rather not, Orihime. I would like to just eat lunch together with you and not think about it.”
Orihime giggled. “You really don’t know what you are missing out on.”
“I’m sure I will survive without it.”
They walked to their assigned seats once the class rep announced that the teacher was coming.
While the class was instructing them to bow Orihime couldn’t help but wonder how her day was going to be. After all, it wasn’t every day that you got to share your body with another person. (Why does that have to sound so dirty?) Not to mention that person was very different from any normal human, which was because he hadn’t been a human in a long time.
It was definitely going to be an interesting ride for the both of them.
“Humans certainly waste their time on a lot of pointless stuff.”
Ulquiorra first words once lunch break came made Orihime smile. She thought it was weird that he hadn’t talked throughout all the lectures and wondered when he would crack. It seemed he might have actually been trying to pay attention- for some reason that really tickled her funny bone.
An Arrancar was listening to one of those monotone lectures that most regular human children did all they could to not fall asleep during.
“I suppose you could be right but if we don’t waste our time on this than we don’t have much of a chance to being able to do other things once we grow up.” She understood what he was saying though. A lot of the stuff they did go over did seem rather pointless and kind of sad considering how short human lives actually were.
“Nonsense, they waste too much time on such trivial details.”
“I suppose you are right.”
“Right about what?”
Orihime nearly did a back flip when Tatsuki came up behind her.
“Um, nothing…” she laughed nervously. “Did I say something?”
Tatsuki gave her a strange look but then seemed to discard it as just another one of her strange episodes.
Orihime nodded her head and followed Tatsuki to their usual eating place. They always ate on a bench outside when the weather was good. It was usually just her, Tatsuki, and Chizuru these days. Sometimes they would join the boys but that was a very rare occasion.
Orihime flinched when she heard Chizuru say her name. Chizuru had taken longer to get to them since she didn’t bring her own lunch and had to buy something from the cafeteria. Chizuru ran up to Orihime and hugged her tightly.
Orihime stiffened – it wasn’t that she wasn’t used to Chizuru’s antics but she knew that Ulquiorra would not be.
“Woman, you really need to work on your guard.”
Orihime just shook her head back and forth. She couldn’t very well answer him in front of her friends but she had to let him know that she heard him.
At that moment Chizuru gave one of her boobs a squeeze and she blushed at the strange noise Ulquiorra made. Tatsuki must have thought her blush was out of frustration because then we she on Chizuru as if her life depended on getting her to let go.
Orihime was thankful for her friend’s over protectiveness at that moment. She never got any weird feelings when her friends would grope her but hearing someone else make a noise made her much more self-conscious. She tried to think about her meal to calm her body down. She didn’t need to go in that direction already.
“Orihime, are you okay?”
Realizing she was in a daze she immediately turned her attention back to her friends. They were looking at her as if she had grown a second head.
“Ah, sorry I guess I didn’t get enough sleep last night.”
Tatsuki gave her a worried look. “Are you sure everything is okay?”
Orihime nodded her head vigorously. “I’m better than okay. This day has just been interesting.”
She hadn’t lied but she couldn’t exactly tell Tatsuki that a ghost was living inside her body. They would probably think she was crazy and take her to a mental institute.
“If you say so…”
She didn’t sound convinced at all and for that Orihime felt a little guilty- mostly because she hated keeping things from her friend now-a-days.
They all took their seats and pulled out their lunch boxes. Her two friends stared at her huge box of food with fright. She slowly took off the lid and right away they flinched, as if it was a ticking time bomb.
“Oh my god, Orihime! How can you eat that? Maybe that is why you haven’t been feeling so well lately.” Chizuru said loudly after she took a good glance into her bento.
Feeling a bit offended, Orihime snapped. “I told you I’m feeling fine.”
They looked at each other but both decided to drop it. Orihime sighed in relief.
She pulled about her chopsticks and pulled out a simple hard boiled egg. She stared at it for a bit trying to decide if she wanted to put ketchup on it or mustard. Then she remembered that Ulquiorra would probably taste what she ate. She wondered if that meant he would like it too or if he would have a different reaction.
There was only one way to find out.
Not being able to decide, she pulled out both condiments and poured them onto her egg. Tatsuki and Chizuru seemed to be deeply conversing about something that happened in class to deliberately ignore what she was eating. She took a bite and savored its taste. She never understood why everyone had to like such bland food. She needed lots of spice on hers.
She waited for Ulquiorra response to her taste in food. Just when she thought he would say nothing he spoke.
“No wonder you never ate the food we gave you.”
Orihime thought it was kind of funny how he brought up her kidnapping right then. She was glad it wasn’t really a touchy subject for her, as much as some people liked to believe.
“Your taste in food is quite,” she waited for the insult, “peculiar.”
Well, that wasn’t what she expected at all. She was glad he didn’t outright insult her taste though. She wanted so desperately to respond to him.
Orihime continued to eat her food with a smile on her face. Every now and then he would make a small noise of disapproval but sometimes he seemed to like her choices, the things she was sure that – if they gave them the chance – her friends might like as well. It made her happy that she somehow got someone else to try her food, even if there was nothing he could do about it.
After she finished eating her last egg the bell chimed around the school, signaling for students to get back to their classrooms. She gathered up her things and made a beeline for her class, not waiting around for Tatsuki and Chizuru since they were still talking about something she didn’t care about. She was ready for the school day to be over. She had so many things she wanted to say to Ulquiorra and for once she was glad that she lived alone.
To Be Continued.