Summary: Nothing ever interested Ulquiorra, until he met Aizen.
Theme #4: Fate (PART ONE)
Set during Ulquiorra's time as a Vasto Lorde
Ulquiorra pressed the palm of his hand against the trunk of a quartz tree, barely able to support himself. If he had a mouth, his breathing would come out as ragged breaths.
He was so tired. So very tired.
Beads of sweat slid down his body as he leaned his forehead against the tree, exhausted. Sweat, dirt and dried blood covered his form of white, marring its perfection. It had been days now since he was born. Days since he had killed his "comrades" – could he really call them that, though? Even though they were Vasto Lordes just like him, they did try to kill him – and days since he had been trying to get away from others just like them; violent, hungry beings, they were.
Raising his hand to his line of vision, Ulquiorra quietly studied the latest wound that he had acquired – it was a rather deep gash that cut across his arm. Blood dripped down his arm and fell upon the forest floor in crimson droplets, forming a small pool of red below him. Even with such a large wound, he felt nothing. No pain, not even a sting. Just... nothing. He curled his fingers, forming a fist, tensing his arm. More blood flowed, trickling out of the open wound steadily, and still nothing.
... But that, of course, was to be expected.
Even when his own kin had turned on him, he felt nothing. No feeling of betrayal, anger, sadness... just... a void. All there was in the midst of those battle cries and blood was the need for survival.
He would not let himself be killed so easily.
Using what little reiatsu that he had, Ulquiorra healed his wound, the flesh joining together as though sewn by an invisible thread.
Trash, Ulquiorra thought.
By right, he should not even be wounded. The other Vasto Lordes that he had been fighting earlier were beneath him.
But he was tired.
He had gotten careless. And it resulted in him getting injured.
Pushing himself upright, Ulquiorra was about to look for a cave to rest his weary bones when a shadow came over him.
He did not need to look back to know. None of the lower Hollows were foolish enough to approach a Vasto Lorde, even an injured one, with killing intention.
They had found him again.
Ichimaru Gin yawned as he stretched his arms above his head.
"This is boring," he complained.
"Well, then you should not have come," Aizen responded simply. "Tousen was more than willing to accompany me."
"Yeah, well..." Gin pouted. "There're even less things to do at Las Noches. I'd rather go off looking for them critters-" Critters, being the Hollows "-than to sit around with Barragan all day. That guy's no fun. Tousen's no better. Justice this, justice that, justice here and there. It gets boring."
True. Las Noches was rather dull. Not that Aizen was going to let Gin know that, of course.
With steady steps, the two shinigamis calmly walked across the desert sand, leaving footprints behind as they made their way to the forest, to where most of the Hollows dwelled. Small, lowly Hollows shrunk away from just the feel of their reiatsu. While this reaction that they seemed to elicit from the majority of lowly Hollows amused Gin to no end, it did not affect Aizen in the least. He could only see his goal.
So far, he had managed to gather a handful of Hollows that were willing to join his army – the majority of them being Gillians and Adjunchases. Most of them were rather agreeable, save for one which he found to be rather impertinent. Not that it mattered, of course. So long as they did what they were told, he did not really care.
Perhaps today he would be able to encounter something more interesting than an Adjunchas. A Vasto Lorde. Aizen smirked. Another Vasto Lorde would do nicely.
Everything was a blur.
It was a flurry of attacks. One after another Ulquiorra delivered, sending more enemies down. It was difficult, what with the state that he was in, but he somehow managed to hold his own. All around them were Hollows of all types watching the battle that was presented to them. Lowly Hollows, Gillians, Adjunchases... They were all roaring, cheering. Cheering for his death. Some of the braver Adjunchases even leaped into the fight, wanting to join in. Hollows were savage creatures – they loved fights. Vasto Lordes were no different. At least, these weren't. They eyed Ulquiorra as though he was a piece of meat, smirking.
"How long do you think you'll be able to keep this up, you little squirt?" one of them laughed. "How long?"
There were just two Vasto Lordes, but Ulquiorra was having a difficult time because on top of his state, he was getting overwhelmed.
Long enough, was Ulquiorra's thought as he raised his arm, ready to fire a cero at the offending Hollow.
He refused to die.
But then something happened. The crowd surrounding them quietened. Finding this odd, Ulquiorra furrowed his eyebrows and made a mistake of turning to look at what had gotten their attention.
It happened almost instantaneously.
The moment Ulquiorra turned to look and caught sight of two humans walking through the now parted crowd, he felt a clawed hand being shoved through the flesh in his back.
"...!" Ulquiorra's eyes widened in shock.
Blood gushed out. The arm that now stuck out of the wound, dripping red, twisted and shoved, trying to elicit pain from Ulquiorra.
"How does that feel?" his attacker said. It pulled its arm back and dug its clawed fingers into his flesh. Ulquiorra's pupils constricted at that. "Good, ain't it?"
All this, while the Hollows and the humans watched.
"Time for you to die, little one."
Closing his eyes, Ulquiorra was ready to pull away from his attacker to fire a cero at it. A green cero formed at his fingertip, glowing, ready to be released should he command for it, when he felt himself being pushed forward. Sand got into his eyes when he hit the ground, and by the time he got them out of his eyes, he was breathing hard and fast as he watched the spectacle that had taken place before him. Placing a hand over his open wound, Ulquiorra used his reiatsu to close it up again, wincing.
"Eager creatures, aren't you?"
The brown-haired human had stepped forward, surveying the Adjunchases and Vasto Lordes before him calmly. He drew out his zanpakuto. "Let's see if you can best me."
It did not take long for him to annihilate them.
Once it was all over, the man nudged an unconscious Vasto Lorde with a foot. A sigh. "How disappointing," he stated, before sheathing his zanpakuto. "I was expecting a bit more of a fight."
That said, he turned around and approached Ulquiorra. He did not show any of sign of wanting to hurt him, and for some reason, Ulquiorra did not pull away, even though he had many reasons to do so. In the few seconds since he had known him, the human had shown that he was dangerous. Ulquiorra merely watched, his emerald eyes reflecting nothing, no hint of an emotion, not even fear, as the man drew closer, just like how he had watched when the man rendered his comrades unconscious.
When the human was finally in front of Ulquiorra, he stopped.
Silence reigned. Gazes were kept locked. Neither moved.
"Ey, ey," the other human said. This one had silver hair and a fox-like face. He neared his brown-haired companion. "You two aren't gonna stare at each other all day, are ya? That'd be borin'."
When his question went unanswered, he looked at his friend, then at Ulquiorra, then at his friend, and then at Ulquiorra again. At that, it all clicked into place in his mind.
"Ahh, this one, Captain Aizen?" he said, tilting his head as he examined Ulquiorra. Silver hair swept across his closed eyes. "But he's so tiny! He would have died if ya didn't save him. Don't even know how he got past Adjunchas... Do ya really think that he'd be able to stand his own ground in the army?"
"Of course," the one named Aizen finally spoke, his voice smooth. "I have no doubt about it. Besides, this is no ordinary Hollow, Gin, you know that."
Gin pouted. "Fine, fine... Take the tiny Vasto Lordy." He yawned. "I'll go ask those other two Lordies if they'd like ta join yer army as well, if ya haven't killed them already."
His name... Aizen, is it? Ulquiorra took no notice of Gin as he swept away, and instead paid attention to Aizen, eyes taking in every feature on his face.
Aizen spoke once more. "Would you like to join my army, Vasto Lorde?"
He kneeled before Ulquiorra so that they were eye-to-eye.
Ulquiorra did not offer him an answer.
... He interests me, Ulquiorra thought.
Though it was slight, Aizen could see a nod come from Ulquiorra.
Disclaimer: Bleach is not mine.