Flowers - Chapter 16 - waffaluserr (2024)

Chapter Text

Orihime was being followed.Trailed. Likeprey. The mere word had Ulquiorra's skin prickling. She had no idea. She went to school and work as she usually did with no clue of the danger she was in.

So, he tailed them. It was a couple of men who donned sleazy smiles and leather jackets. He could glimpse tattoos on their arms occasionally when their sleeves rolled up. And the knives strapped to their belts, poorly hidden. These two humans were utterly stupid.

Little did they know, Ulquiorra was the real predator. Arrancar, former Espada ranked fourth in Lord Aizen's army, with calculating, all-seeing verdant eyes. He studied their movements, wondering why they wanted Orihime. Pleasure? Blood? The only thing stopping him from killing them was the thought of Orihime's disapproval at the disposal of "innocents". They hadn't done anything to her, she would say. Fine. He would wait until they did—until theytried.

One day, they strolled into the bakery. Orihime met them with polite smiles. Perhaps she was a little stupid, too, not sensing the maliciousness in these men. When they left, they staked out under the nearby bridge that she passed on her way home, passing a bottle back and forth. Ulquiorra, dark and silent, sat in the shadows that the sunset cast on the world. He was close enough to hear their whispers.

The man with stringy black hair and a patchwork beard took a swig from the bottle, his beefy arms flexing under the cheap faux leather jacket. They both sat beside a towering concrete pillar; the other man—blonde and lanky, was staring down at a crumpled picture. "She should be walking through here soon," the large one said. "Man, did you see what she was wearing the other day?"

"Yeah, dude, her tit* were about to pop out of that f*ckin' shirt. Jesus, that body... I get the first round," the skinny one grinned.

"What?! No way, I saw her first, asshole. You can watch from the sidelines. I wonder what she sounds like when she comes."

"I bet she's a screamer."

"That's no good," Patchwork snickered. "Gotta make sure not to hit her in the face this time."

"Yeah, you f*ckin' ruined the last one," Lanky complained, waving around the photo in his hand. "I like 'em a little more pretty than that." Then he sighed and laid the picture on the ground next to his leg, the light of the moon illuminating the image.

Ulquiorra stared down at it, seeing a young woman, possibly a teenager, naked aside from a simple pair of panties, yet her alabaster skin was littered with black and purple bruises. There were jagged cuts in the most sensitive of places—her breasts, her hips, her feet, her face. Rope burns on her wrists and ankles. And one long slice across her throat, coated in crimson, widened like they'd pulled it apart to make themselves another entrance. They'd tortured this girl, aliveanddead.

That particular realization was not as harrowing as the fact that they planned to do this to Orihime, as well.

"Don't worry, man. I'll make sure to keep the hits to one place this time. Just make sure to pass her back to me when she's passed out. I didn't get to finish last time."

Ulquiorra swallowed thickly, feeling the sudden and unfamiliar bloodlust rush through him like a blast of flame. He'd never been like this before. The urge to protect, to eradicate anything that could harm her. He could not force the sensation away, nor did he want to.Nobodywould lay a f*cking finger on her.

Orihime's happy humming and the click of her footsteps were growing closer as she walked home. Unassuming. Ulquiorra tensed. Should he attack them now, whilst unaware of his presence? Should he wait for them to approach her? Despite the threat she faced, despite the urge to safeguard her, he stayed still as stone, with an expression to match. He was torn.

The wretched trash who had spoken last, the fatter one with the black hair, stepped into the light of a street lamp. "Hey," he called, strolling casually to her.

Ulquiorra rose to his feet.

"Oh," Orihime said, shocked. She paused on the sidewalk and clutched her bag of sweets to her chest. "Hello," she replied quietly. "Can I help you?"

"Yeah," the man grinned. He obviously tried to look charismatic but instead looked more hungry than anything. "Can you come over here? My friend—he's a little drunk. I need help moving him."

Orihime frowned and took a step back. "I'll call an ambulance," she mumbled.

"No, no, sweetheart, that's not necessary." The man prowled closer, now three feet away. Too close.

Ulquiorra bristled. Cold, hard rage made his nostrils flare. His fists clenched, but for some reason, his body wouldn't f*cking move. What was hewaitingfor? They had already started their pursuit. Was it perhaps his faith in the woman to hold her own? She was strong—he knew that—but it still did not curb the abysmal sea of dark, oily emotion from trickling throughout his body.

Orihime watched the man before her warily. It was conceivable that shedidhave a sense of self-preservation. However, it was her habit of seeing the world through rose colored glasses that would be her downfall. "You don't want to call for help?" she asked dubiously.

"He's just in a little trouble right now. Come on, we won't bite, sweetheart." The trash came closer and captured her wrist, making her gasp.

The sound echoed in Ulquiorra's ears.

The pet name. The touch. The f*cking sound of his voice, suggestive and full of lust. All of it made Ulquiorra's nerves fry up instantly, an inferno of desperate rage rising inside him. He couldn't f*ckingbreathepast the anger coursing in his veins. This trash had to die. He would perish by Ulquiorra's hands, and it would be tonight. Right f*cking now.

Just as he was about to lunge, Orihime yanked herself away and glared. "Don't touch me," she snapped.

The trash narrowed his eyes. "You f*cking bitch," he snarled. Then the man shot forward, about to grab her, but she smoothly stepped to the side and let him stumble. Ulquiorra stared on in awe, completely and utterly stunned in place. The man roared his fury and turned around, darting towards her again.

Into her glowing shield.

He hit it so hard that he bounced off with a satisfyingSNAP!from his nose and fell to heap on the ground. "What the f*ck?" the guy screeched, scrambling away while holding his hand to his nose. Blood leaked between his fingers. "What the f*ck are you? YUUKI! HELP!"

Orihime whirled as the other trash, Yuuki, came sprinting out. Those whiskey colored eyes hardened, more icy than Ulquiorra had ever seen. She blasted her shield in an offensive move and smashed it into the other offender, making him drop to the ground as well. She hit him so hard that he lay there, knocked out cold, lanky limbs splayed out awkwardly around him.

"Stay away from me," she said with finality, her voice trembling. Then Orihime ran, leaving her bag of sweets behind.

Ulquiorra grasped his throat. He felt breathless. He leapt away from his hiding place when Orihime was fully gone and loomed over the groaning man clutching his face. Ulquiorra bent down, staring into terrified eyes. "Who are you?" the man asked, shaking with a delicious fear.

"It doesn't matter."

Ulquiorra placed his hands on either side of the man's head, ignoring the rest of his struggling body, ignoring the disgust he felt from touching something so f*cking dirty. It was suddenly invigorating in a way he'd never experienced—holding a skull between his palms. Knowing there was a brain inside, firing neurons and trying to work through the adrenaline and fear and pain. There was a set of eyes, a jaw, and a tongue that was likely growing heavy with the intensity of his terror. He held this human's life in his hands. He'd held plenty of them before, of course, but the difference this time was the pure gratification. "You should not have touched her," Ulquiorra said darkly, the tenor his voice echoing around them. "You were going to die, regardless, for the things you said tonight."

"No," he whimpered pathetically, eyes wide. Sweat rolled down his temple. Or perhaps it was a tear. "No, no, no, I promise—I won't do it again, I swear. Please don't—please don't kill me!"

"You are trash, human. Remember that as you go to hell."

Ulquiorra jerked his arms. His victim's neck twisted easily. There was the satisfying sound of bone and muscle and organ tearing and breaking inside. The last of the human's air wheezed out. And then the body slumped to the ground, lifeless.

He did the same with the other one, almost wishing he'd drawn blood instead.

Flowers - Chapter 16 - waffaluserr (2024)


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