|shiegra (shiegra) wrote in het_challenge,|
@ 2008-08-21 21:31:00
|Entry tags:||a: shiegra, f: bleach, r: promptbuilding|
Bleach, Ulquiorra/Orihime, "Downtime"
Request: Ulquiorra/Orihime: 35. Espionage and 93. Future fic - "Fancy meeting you here".
A/N: This is an AU. It is also very different from my original plan, and has a slightly different dynamic than I usually write them, because as an AU the circumstances in which they met were a bit different.
The first time she escaped him there had been others sent to bring her back already, and they had failed.
He cornered her on the long slope of stone wall, dirt crumbling away beneath their heels; she wasn't unafraid of him, but she still smiled fierce and defiant, her hair spilling down her back, power gathering like static electricity in the air. She had a gun in one hand, and the slinky black dress wrapped around her long legs.
"Ulquiorra-san, hello," she said airily, meeting his burning-bright eyes as he moved towards her. Even in motion he had a sense of deep stillness, of a coiled and animally lethal patience. Her heartbeat pounded in her throat, a hard sharp pulse under her ribcage.
She didn't bother to raise the gun. It would have been an empty gesture and they both knew it.
"Aizen-sama no longer has any use for your presence." He said, and one hand rose, fingers uncurling lazily. "Are you afraid?"
She took in a deep breath and thought of what she'd gained, thought of Ichigo and Kuchiki-san and Tatsuki-chan waiting for her at HQ. "No." She told him proudly.
His eyes flashed like gemstones. Orihime had never seen real emeralds before, but his eyes were prettier, she had always thought. The scars on his face only made them stand out more. "You ran."
"I'm escaping," she told him, lifting her chin defiantly. "A good spy does that, you know."
He blinked, once and slowly, and then she caught the first flicker of movement as he uncoiled from where he stood, all that contained power blurring out of inertia and she threw herself backwards, dirt falling away beneath her feet, and tumbled towards the sea.
Don't hit the rocks, she told herself, and smiled.
The second time was on a hot island, the air steaming with humidity, a broad hat brim shielding her face, as Orihime haggled over the price of oranges in a small diverging finger of the main market, surrounded by cloth-covered stalls and tall salt-white buildings. Her hair lay heavy and sweat-damp over her shoulder blades and she wore a white dress and laughed as she held out her bag, the scent of spices and cooking meat filling the air.
She pinched the bag shut and turned, and she didn't think she paled when she saw him, white and cold as a ghost across the street. Alone, and watching her with sharp green eyes, so eerily calm that she pressed a hand to her throat and remembered the touch of his cool fingers there at the pulse in a dark hall, only half threat.
She smiled at him then, too, because she wouldn't do anything else; she certainly wouldn't back down. And she tipped the bag of oranges into the crook of her elbow and danced backward, slipping into the crowd. Orihime was afraid of a lot sometimes, but she flinched from nothing.
She wasn't expecting him when she finally reached her little loft, but she wasn't surprised either. So she put her oranges down and faced him, and thought about the gun in her bedroom.
Then she said to him, "I think your eyes are pretty." Because it was very quiet and she had nothing else of import to add. He blinked and didn't say anything, but he moved forward, gliding around the edges of her worn furniture, moving like ghost over bare floorboards in the hall.
"Are you here on a job?" He asked, and then before she could blink he put a hand on her throat, fingers curling around the back of her neck, thumb against her pulse.
She gasped in a breath of sharp fear-spiked air, dug her fingers into her palm, and didn't reach for the little fairy bombs sewn into her skirt. No matter how small, they'd hurt her too at this proximity.
"No," she said solemnly instead, watching his face. She could easily have been lying. He acknowledged that with another slow blink, and then he turned his head and looked at her oranges. One was spilling out of the bag, onto the table where she’d placed it.
He could kill her with his bare hands. Orihime waited, watching him, and pushed the fear down until it was locked tight away, opened up a little hatch and tamped it down, like she might if she really had learned how to grow up a robot. She thought about unlatching her chest and taking out her heart—he had asked her about hearts, that was the only time he’d touched her before now—to show it to him, pointing out each cog and scar. And this is where I loved, and this is where I hated, and this is what I learned.
He probably wouldn’t understand. But Orihime never learned how to accept a stalemate.
“Wrong,” she added, and took his wrist. The touch of skin shocked her briefly into stillness—she’d touched him once before too, and the circumstances surrounding it were not particularly pleasant—but then she drew his hand down, over her breast. “This is where the heart is, Ulquiorra-san.”
Something sparked deep in his eyes, but he did not split her open as he had once threatened, splaying her ribs to expose the warm meat of her. Only relaxed his wrist in her touch. The air was too cold around his body, living with a sharp, prickling hiss of winter.
“I have oranges and onions and ginger-chocolate sauce,” she said gravely. “Would you like dinner, Ulquiorra-san?”
His fingers curled again, tendons rising in his wrist, and he stepped forward.
That was when the windows exploded.
Orihime lunged for the bedroom because she’d been an agent long enough to go for the nearest weapon first and foremost, and the hot bark of gunfire made her yelp, diving for the closest gun—just inside the jamb—and rolling to her knees, aiming and hot-pop of firing, the recoil smacking up her elbows and jarring her teeth. Enamel grated and she grimaced, fired again, and reached for the little bombs under her skirt.
Then Ulquiorra ripped a head off. It was very messy and blood splashed over her bright upholstery, and she couldn’t see very many whole pieces of the first three in the window. She lowered the gun and ran to make it to the glass, grateful for once for her shoes, and kicked the next one in the face as they dropped onto the sill, flowing her body into the first form and the next, bringing her arm out in a sharp line to smash the butt of her gun into his head. Tatsuki-chan would be proud.
He fell, naturally, and she scanned the rooftops as she listened to him make a sad splat. Ulquiorra was very close when she moved away from the window, his winter chill sliding like an icy kiss over her skin, looking utterly unaffected by the violence. His hands were spattered with blood.
“I really was not working,” she told him, words spilling helplessly off her tongue, and checked her ammo compulsively. He put cold fingers on her wrist and watched her face, eyes burning.
You are not my ally. “I’m afraid I can’t make you dinner, Ulquiorra-san.” Orihime told him apologetically. “Would you like an orange instead?”