_debbiechan_ (_debbiechan_) wrote in bleachness,
_debbiechan_
_debbiechan_
bleachness

New Fic, "Diaspora," Hard R, mostly Ulquiorra

LJ.... what is wrong with you. I swore I uploaded this a minute ago and it showed up. Refreshed and refreshed and it's gone.... so here again...

My first attempt to build a story out of a drabble. Think it failed but it was fun to write. I'm all about Ulqui and Zael-Apollo lately. Not sure how to categorize this fic either and don't want to give the plot away. Two more parts to proof.


Description: Hard R. A story about identity. Can Ulquiorra’s allegiance ever waver? Can Ishida’s?  Aizen, Gin, Tousen, Orihime, Zael-Apollo.

Warnings: Spoilers for Hueco Mundo arc, (mild) dark-fic-ness, (not overly explicit) sexual weirdness, mind fuckery, a hougyoku with erotic powers, and a long author’s notes at the end.

A/N: This story, written the week chapter 272 appeared, begins with the presumption that Renji and Ishida were defeated by Zael-Apollo.




Diaspora
by debbiechan




Disclaimer:  Kubo Tite owns Bleach; Bleach owns my soul.

Description: Hard R. A story about identity. Can Ulquiorra’s allegiance ever waver? Can Ishida’s?  Aizen, Gin, Tousen, Orihime, Zael-Apollo.

Warnings: Spoilers for Hueco Mundo arc, (mild) dark-fic-ness, (not overly explicit) sexual weirdness, mind fuckery, a hougyoku with erotic powers, and a long author’s notes at the end.

A/N: This story, written the week chapter 272 appeared, begins with the presumption that Renji and Ishida were defeated by Zael-Apollo.



Part One

Act as if everything is normal~Aizen, chapter 245



Calm. Commanding. Restrained.

Everyone in Las Noches could describe Aizen-sama this way, but the adjectives didn’t suit the fourth Espada. There appeared to be nothing in Ulquiorra’s temperament to restrain. His manner maintained a robotic poise, but that was it. No passion, no curiosity, no amusement in the goings-on of lesser beings. Most Arrancar displayed remnants of their crass and lumbering Hollow selves, but Ulquiorra must’ve been an atypical Hollow. Possibly an atypical human before his death. Someone devoid of enthusiasm but full of aplomb. The matter of Ulquiorra’s hand always being in his pocket lent him an air of nonchalance, but it was also as if he were clutching a secret.

It was as if his Arrancar personality was not his own; it was as if Ulquiorra were a small, elegant mirror of Aizen-sama.

Deep in the white cellars of Las Noches, the enigmatic fourth Espada was often the subject of conversation. Here, where Arrancar artisans crafted beautiful things for the palace and never practiced battle, amidst the sounds of reishi sculpting quartz, here-- gossip and speculation were art forms.

“He’s not so smart,” said one Arrancar. “He acts like he knows it all, but that doesn’t mean he’s anything like Aizen-sama.”

“Our leader trusts him, though,” said the second Arrancar. He was unscrolling sheets of white fabric from thin air. “He sends Ulquiorra on important missions.”

“That’s because Ulquiorra, of all the Espada, is the most devoted.” The first Arrancar kneaded the newly created fabric in his hands like dough. Trousers materialized. One yank of the fingers and a pants leg flared into an exaggerated pyramid at the foot. Unique designs won Aizen’s approval, and that approval was what Arrancar lived for… at least that’s what most of them claimed.

“Faithfulness is one thing,” continued the first Arrancar with a cynical half-smile. “But excessive devotion makes one a woman.”

“What do you mean?”

“Ulquiorra is the woman of the court. An obedient woman.”

“I don’t get it,” said the second Arrancar. “Halibel is a woman, not Ulquiorra.”

“Ha. I didn’t mean woman woman. I meant bitch puppet.” The first Arrancar spun fabric between reishi-charged hands, and his pale face reflected the concentrated blue energy. “You must’ve led a sheltered life. Or you don’t remember anything before your incarnation as an Arrancar?”

“I….” The second Arrancar looked confused. A length of fabric broke from an emerging gown and fell into folded layers on the floor.

“You must’ve died as a mindless little baby if you don’t remember anything.”

“I was a tailor before I was a Hollow. I remember it all very well.”

“That’s right. A tailor. I forgot.” The first Arrancar was not at all embarrassed to have proven himself and not his companion to have the faulty memory. “You were in that wacky cult.”

“It wasn’t wacky. There was a peaceful measure of days, the comfort of a code of honor.” His voice of the second Arrancar turned bitter, and he gritted his skeletal teeth. “Then the Shinigami came and murdered my people.”

“Forget it,” said the other. “Forget that Quincy life. The Arrancar are your people now.”

“Yes, yes.” The Arrancar’s face relaxed a little. “It’s good here in Las Noches. Aizen-sama promised to make us beings of incredible strength and he followed through on that promise. No wonder Ulquiorra is devoted to him. If I were an Espada and near our leader, I would be endlessly devoted as well.”

“You would be.” The first Arrancar tossed a silken sash into the air, and as he caught it again, the fabric changed from white to purple. “This,” he said, holding up the finished product with satisfaction, “is as much for myself as for Aizen-sama.”

“Of course,” said the second Arrancar. Anticipating a boring lecture, he returned to his work. “We didn’t lose our pride when we became Arrancar.”

“And there’s so much more we didn’t lose,” snorted the first. “Hollow are beings of self-interest. Unless you’re a stupid woman like Ulquiorra, that is.”

The second Arrancar smoothed his palm over the purple lining of a simple but regal coat. “I think you’re underestimating Ulquiorra,” he said. “I think everyone is.”

**

High in a white tower in a white-tiered room with many white couches, the ruling triumvirate of Las Noches had decided on the evening’s agenda. Entertainment, all agreed, was called for. Until the Winter War, the delegating class needed something to do besides ordering Arrancar around.

Gin-sama viewed all things beyond Aizen’s court with blatant amusement. Aizen enjoyed himself no less than Gin but was able to restrain himself from smiling. Tousen-sama stood tense and grim as Ulquiorra entered the room.

The Fourth Espada was small but he held his chin at an angle that confirmed stature and high rank. His eyes met the eyes of Aizen-sama without humility.

“I was told,” Ulquiorra spoke before being spoken to, “that I have a new charge.”

“Oh you must stay busy, busy, busy,” came Gin’s lilting voice. “Or else that beautiful mind of yours will get bored.”

“Ishida Uryuu,” said Aizen. “He’s in the room next to Orihime-chan’s and all the information we have about him was transferred to your private data files last week. I’m entrusting you to be as creative as you wish with your task.”

“Psychological manipulation?” asked Ulquiorra.

“No,” said Aizen. “He’s a Quincy. Two hundred years of trauma are too easily irritated. It would take less than a day to drive the boy completely mad, and an insane prisoner is useless for my purposes.”

Aizen’s purposes took less than a minute to explain.

“If I may ask….” Ulquiorra began. He was given to asking unabashed questions because he was the favorite Espada, if not the strongest, in Aizen’s court. “Why me? There are others whose strengths would benefit from this Quincy experiment, other Espada whose capabilities are not as diverse as mine.”

“But it’s precisely your diverse talents,” said Aizen, “that makes you perfect to implement this test. In the unfortunate but highly unlikely case that the Quincy would cause you to lose a limb, your power of regeneration is unique among my Espada.”

“Oh don’t lie like that, Sousuke,” said Gin. “There’s more, and not telling everything is flat out lying.”

Aizen gave Gin a fond, indulgent look. “What are my other reasons for sending Ulquiorra to Ishida-kun, then?”

Gin sunk against the white couch and crossed his legs. His fingers made a little pagoda on his lap. “Number Four, I believe Sousuke wants to test your sexual loyalty.”

Ulquiorra didn’t blink. He didn’t look at Gin and instead addressed his question to Aizen: “Why would I have sex with human trash?”

“Because your leader would like to see you on top of the heap for once?” Gin’s smile widened. “Sousuke thinks you and the boy look alike. That might be … charming.”

Ulquiorra spoke only to Aizen. “Is this what you want me to do? Achieve your goals through sexual coercion? I’m not the best candidate for this. Noitra--”

“Ichimaru!” Tousen snapped. The muscles in his face were as strained as Gin’s were slack. “You’re interfering with Aizen’s authority again and you’re confusing Number Four.”

“That’s quite alright,” said Aizen. “Gin likes to raise the stakes in his diversions.” Aizen turned to the Espada who was awaiting clarification of his orders. “Ulquiorra, sex is one means of exchanging spirit particles, but as you know, there are other, less distasteful methods that Mayuri discovered in his years of studying the clan. You’ve read the extensive data. You have the equipment. Beyond that …do what you wish.”

Ulquiorra didn’t wait to be dismissed. He was used to being sent on missions with the words do what you wish. Aizen had perfect faith in him.  Hand in pocket, Ulquiorra strolled out of the room.

“Oh Number Four?” Gin called after him. “I bet the first thing the boy’s going to ask is what are you going to do with Inoue-san? You can take it from there.”

Tousen let out a frustrated breath. “If you’re so sure about how to accomplish this business, then why don’t you do it yourself?”

Gin gave Tousen a deadpan look. “There now,” he said as Ulquiorra’s footsteps faded. “Haven’t I made it all the more interesting? He’ll think he’s betraying us.”

“You’re sick, Ichimaru,” Tousen said.

As his associates quarreled, Aizen rose out of his seat and began the long walk upstairs to the observatory room. He could see reports later from Ulquiorra’s eyeball, but he was eager to watch the first encounter as it happened.

**

The window in the new room was lower than the window in the old room, and Orihime didn’t need to strain her neck to look through it. It was, in fact, at eye-level, and by virtue of simple perspective, the window couldn’t hold the strange, high, and backwards moon of Hueco Mundo; instead it held a view of the desert sands outside the palace and….

Freedom?  Even if she knew how to escape, she wouldn’t leave Las Noches until she’d destroyed the hougyoku. Even then, Aizen would kill her for accomplishing such a deed.

The situation seemed hopeless, but in some ways it was not so different from a forlorn night in the Living World. I’m so alone. How will I die? Will I ever achieve anything important?

One of the many things Orihime thought about when looking out her window was that hope was wrongly compared to spring-like, gentle things. Hope was not like a flower, not like a bird. Hope was vast and constant, like a desert. Hope wasn’t happiness; it was a lonely emotion, actually, and it moved across a lifetime in heavy, colorless waves.

She wondered if there would be another invasion of Las Noches, if others would fall trying to save her.

She wondered about the tear-stains on Ulquiorra’s cheeks. She had believed that the markings came from gunk that ran when he pulled his eyeball out, but after the third or fourth time he took it out to show her the deaths of her friends, she noticed that nothing leaked from his eyes. The eyeball popped out as simply as an egg from a magician’s mouth.

No, it couldn’t be that her friends were dead. It was a trick. On Soukyoku Hill, Orihime had heard Aizen reveal that seeing his released zanpakutou meant absolute hypnosis. Even though she could not remember having seen the release, she must’ve. Or if she hadn’t, the projected images from Ulquiorra’s eyeball were fabrications. She was certain, certain, that she’d felt the injured restoring themselves. They’d left Hueco Mundo--that’s why she could no longer sense their reiatsu.

Not dead. Gone?

A sand-storm stirred outside the window. Orihime was pressing her forehead against the glass, telling herself not dead, not dead, and feeling her hopes hold like stubborn dunes against an onslaught of doubt when ... what? It was just outside her room. Determination?  Pride? A familiar life-force was drawing closer and becoming more distinct.

It was Ishida-kun.

**

“That’s not going to help,” said Ulquiorra upon entering Ishida’s cell. The Quincy was facing a wall and pressing his palms against it as if he could knock the building down by sheer will. “This room stifles your reiatsu almost entirely.”

Ishida put his arms to his sides and glared.

“Once our scientists configure all entrances to Las Noches with reiatsu-inhibitors, our dealings with intruders will be more efficient.” Ulquiorra looked the Quincy up and down. “But Aizen-sama said it’s no matter. Your friends died quickly enough.”

“They’re not dead.”

Ishida Uryuu wore a fierce expression but a slight darting of his eyes told Ulquiorra that the boy had doubts.

“I can show you how they died. Would you like to see?”

“What are you going to do with Inoue-san?” Ishida asked. “Why did the Arrancar take her?”

For a brief moment, Ulquiorra wondered if the boy was an illusion that Aizen had concocted and which Gin knew all about.

“Orihime is the only one of your friends who survived.”

No, the Quincy wasn’t an illusion because the response in his eyes couldn’t be mimicked by Aizen’s shikai. Hope. Ulquiorra had seen that look in the human girl’s eyes before. Why did these beings hang onto false beliefs in the face of plain evidence?

Ulquiorra walked closer and closer until he was standing an arm’s length in front of Ishida. He could sense that the boy didn’t want to ask the next question.

“Is she….” Ishida’s voice shook. “Did you hurt her?”

“Of course not. Aizen-sama finds her interesting and beautiful, and as long as she stays that way, he will keep her alive.”

“What are you talking about?” Ishida’s voice rose. “Aizen doesn’t need her for that. He could’ve taken any human or Shinigami girl he wanted for that. I know that you’re lying, so you may as well tell me the truth.”

“I don’t have to tell you anything.” Ulquiorra’s voice was emotionless. “I’m here to take a look at you in the flesh and report back to Aizen-sama.”

Ishida closed his eyes and set his jaw. He was regaining his composure. His next words were spoken in as prideful and commanding a tone as he’d ever spoken. He pushed his glasses up his nose and brushed away a blood-clotted lock of hair from his forehead. “You don’t know who you’re dealing with. I’m a Quincy. Tell Aizen that a Quincy is here.”

“Oh Aizen knows all about the Quincy. Didn’t you deduce that when Cirucci said she knew about your clan?”

Ishida startled. It was an unequivocal fact; Cirucci had mentioned the Quincy being wiped out by the Shinigami.

“How else,” Ulquiorra continued, “would a newborn being like Cirucci Thunderwitch have such a memory? Aizen provided his soldiers with enough data to equal hundreds of years of your experience. We know how Quincy lived and died. We know the extent of their insignificant powers. We know the limits of yours.”

The boy looked vulnerable but his fingers instinctively opened at his sides. Whereas anyone else would make a fist when provoked, a Quincy reached to draw his bow.

“You know it doesn’t work, not here.” Ulquiorra’s chin gestured at one of Ishida’s broad, bloodstained cuffs. “That’s why we didn’t confiscate it. Aizen-sama would not be interested in it, so you may keep the bracelet.”

The Quincy gave the Arrancar a puzzled look.

“You may keep it,” Ulquiorra added, “as a reminder of who you are.”

“Inoue-san,” said Ishida. “She’s near here, isn’t she?”

“Your clothes are filthy and have to be replaced,” Ulquiorra said. “Had I known you looked this pathetic, I would’ve sent new clothes before I came here.”

“Inoue--”

“I have no need to talk further with basura so drenched in defeat.”

Ulquiorra turned and walked out the door, and Ishida was left, blinking over the odd encounter.

It took Ishida a long moment to realize that in this reiatsu-inhibiting room, his visitor’s powers must’ve been diminished like his own. Why had he allowed himself to be intimidated by that little Arrancar? There had been little spirit power emanating from the Arrancar at all and Ishida hadn’t even noticed that fact.

Why had the Arrancar been so confident that Ishida wouldn’t escape and summon his bow once past the walls? The zanpakutou at the Arrancar’s side was useless here.

Ishida sat on the floor and cupped his chin in his hand.

This white-skinned, tear-stained being was unlike other Arrancar Ishida had come into contact with so far. What was the deal with letting him keep his Quincy cross? The gesture was not a kindness. Ishida opened his cuff and as the bracelet fell out, the silver glittered even in the dim light. Was Ishida allowed to keep the cross so that his lack of powers would be a source of constant frustration?

Was the haughty Arrancar a high ranked Espada? He had seemed genuinely disgusted with Ishida’s bloody, bedraggled state.

Ishida touched the hem of the cape he’d sewn before coming to Hueco Mundo. His wounds were all superficial but there was a lot of blood. He hadn’t noticed how much before.

New clothes being sent? Ishida didn’t want to think about that, and lifting his head, he reached out with his senses.

He was able to detect a muted spiritual pressure outside the room. Unlike the sekkiseki-constructed walls around the Seireitei, these walls drained his reiatsu but allowed him to sense a few kilometers beyond where he was imprisoned. Either that or Ishida’s own perceptive skills had advanced more than he thought--maybe training with his father in that invisible room had heightened them.

Figures walked up and down corridors. Each radiated a recognizable reiatsu shape; they were all Arrancar. Power levels seemed subdued but not deliberately hidden. The spirits in nearby rooms were harder to sense--they were asleep or barely cognizant; maybe they were Hollow and not Arrancar?

And very nearby …there was the shape of absence … a hole in the air …a figure where reiatsu should be but wasn't …

Ishida rose to one knee.

The shape of a small, human, long-haired …

girl?

What this ghost might mean struck Ishida harder than the sudden perception of it. She had been there. Inoue-san had been there but--

Why an impression in the dimensional field that was Hueco Mundo? Ishida wanted to think that she was gone home safe with the others, but--

The others hadn’t left such holes in space. Inoue-san had such bizarre powers that there was the possibility that this negative space was what remained when her spirit….

The Arrancar himself had said that she was alive.

The girl who could bring others from the brink of death could surely heal herself, couldn’t she? Inoue-san wasn’t--

Ishida noticed the window. A window in a prison made no sense. Neither did the opulent sofa in the corner, the empty vases, and the ornamental embossment over the door.

In the window, a slight wind was rippling sand dunes.

Think, think, think.  Ishida rose and walked to the window. He pressed his forehead against the strange transparency that wasn’t glass. She isn’t dead because Urahara-san said Aizen was interested in her powers. She’s somewhere here.

Even though some hours had passed since Ishida and the rescue team had arrived at Las Noches, the sky still looked like evening on the verge of night. Even as he tried to convince himself that there must be a way to save her, Ishida felt his mind empty of ideas.

The quartz trees glinted white and blue.

Then the sand from the gathering storm rose and blew past the window, and Ishida couldn’t see anything anymore.

He didn’t have a single plan.


**

Zael-Apollo Grantz knew more about Quincy that Aizen did and probably more than Kurotsuchi Mayuri had ever noted in reports confiscated from Soul Society. Zael-Apollo’s laboratory, Ulquiorra knew, was a necessary stop.

Ulquiorra walked at a leisurely pace. Las Noches was huge; a walk anywhere required patience and time, but there wasn’t anything else to do. No one ever flash-stepped from place to place.

Besides, Ulquiorra needed some moments to think about his assignment.

So Aizen wanted his soldiers to manipulate spiritrons like Quincy archers? Ulquiorra didn’t expect the experiment to work, but then again, it was just an experiment, not a dangerous one, and one that could yield important scientific data.

It was a Quincy test, Ulquiorra told himself, and not--as Gin had implied--a test of Arrancar Number Four.

Gin was so disgusting.

Aizen-sama had said that psychological manipulation of the subject wasn’t required, but he hadn’t forbidden it. The fourth Espada didn’t question his leader’s judgement, but Ulquiorra knew that warriors were not broken easily with physical intimidation or torture. They didn’t switch allegiances under threats of death or disfigurement. Aizen wanted the Quincy’s mind sound and brave throughout the experiment, but Ulquiorra knew that little tauntings wouldn’t hurt Aizen’s objectives. In any event, the Quincy was going to be easily conquered and recruited into Aizen’s army.

As for cutting the first encounter short, Ulquiorra wasn’t going to stand near the dirty being--let alone touch him--until he was bathed and presentable.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” came a voice near a staircase.

“That life is too easy when you’re not a Privaron?”

“No! That the kid looked exactly like Ulquiorra in those clothes we brought him.”

Ulquiorra paused in the hallway to listen to the two Arrancar. A thick-necked one with large bony hands sat the bottom stair. The second, an Arrancar as slight as Ulquiorra himself, leaned against the wall.

Behind slits in the Hollow mask that covered most of the second Arrancar’s face were two mild and patient eyes. “I don’t think there’s anyone,” said this little worker-Arrancar, “who looks like Ulquiorra.”

“Not in attitude, you mean,” said the first, “but the black black hair. All the angles and skinniness…. Tough-looking, though, for a runt.  Like you too, actually.”

“We gave him the coat we’d made for Aizen-sama. Do you think that was wise?”

“Ulquiorra’s communication made it sound like an urgent matter,” said the first. “How was I supposed to know we were bringing clothes to a human prisoner? I thought Ulquiorra had finally picked a fraccion.”

Ulquiorra stepped into view of the Arrancar. “It’s fine,” he said. “Whatever you brought him to wear is fine.”

One would’ve thought that Ulquiorra had breathed fire into the air instead of announcing himself in a calm voice. Flustered and bowing over and over, the Arrancar babbled many apologies for loitering at their jobs. Then they disappeared up the stairs before Ulquiorra could say another word.

Like me? The Fourth Espada continued down the corridor. There has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone like me. Least of all a dress-making Arrancar….

Ulquiorra jutted out his chin even though there was no one there to answer his arrogance.

And Ishida Uryuu? Tonight I should leech the very soul out of that Quincy.

**

A pounding torrent of spiritual pressure, the unbearable ecstasy of the Arrancar hole clenching and letting go, being grabbed by the hair and thrown into pleasure as Aizen-sama levitated above the white couch. For a newborn who had yet to taste food or drink, sex with the king of Las Noches was a more thrilling event than tearing off one’s Hollow mask and surviving the Arrancar creation process.

Zael-Apollo had been Aizen’s lover for a time, but he was soon forgotten for others who had come before and for others yet to be created by the hougyoku.

The type of lover Aizen preferred was lithe and clever. From the way the leader of Las Noches had once rubbed his palms against Zael-Apollo’s shoulder blades, the scientist had deduced that the upper rib cage was Sousuke’s favorite body part. If there had been any way to make himself bonier and more delicate-limbed, Zael would have discovered it.

Instead, he dyed his hair and painted his eyelids in an effort to catch Aizen’s attention again.

Surprisingly for a scientist, Zael-Apollo Grantz valued physical attractiveness over intelligence. Even after having been assigned a laboratory, he believed that his role as an inventor of tactical weaponry didn’t suit him. Gadgets didn’t catch Aizen-sama’s attention because Aizen was a scientist himself.

Zael’s older brother was a pretty one, and Zael hated him. Even though Zael’s prowess with a sword would earn him a place among the top ten Espada and even though Aizen showed no sexual interest in lower-ranked Arrancar like Ilforte Grantz, Zael envied his brother with a murderous intent that inspired the deadliest of his laboratory’s inventions.

Zael also envied Ichimaru Gin, Aizen’s obvious favorite. Gin had the most striking dip between his neck and clavicle that the scientist Arrancar, a forever-fixed physique, could not compete against. Perhaps if Zael could develop a more playful sense of humor? Ichimaru was so annoyingly quick-witted and insinuating.

And then there was Espada Number Four. There was no science in the world that would help Zael emulate Ulquiorra’s boyish bottom lip and green-irised allegiance to Aizen. Ulquiorra Shiffer was deadly power and delicate beauty combined, and Zael despised him.

The suppressed reiatsu of the Despised One entered the laboratory.

“Hmm, so he lets you carry it around like that.” Zael turned his swivel stool around to face Ulquiorra. “Not very wise of Aizen, wouldn’t you say?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“The hougyoku.” Zael-Apollo tossed back his pink hair. “Aizen-sama requested that I make these glasses for the sole purpose of detecting it. I know it’s in your pocket.”

Ulquiorra was unfazed. “How involved are you in the Quincy experiment, Zael?”

“Aizen-sama didn’t tell you? But you’re his favorite!”

“I know that I’m supposed to gain in spiritual strength if the experiment is successful,” said Ulquiorra. “Aizen-sama didn’t brief me thoroughly, but that’s because he trusts me to take creative initiative once I’m given preliminary data.”

If Zael didn’t know better, he would’ve thought Ulquiorra was bragging. “Truth be known,” Zael-Apollo said, “I have no idea why Aizen’s interested in that pitiful human Quincy.”

“The Quincy,” Ulquiorra continued, “interests Aizen-sama because of his ability to manipulate spiritrons. Such an ability is beyond anything you’ve come up with in your laboratory.”

“Yet I was able to defeat him soundly,” Zael snapped.

“Luck,” said Ulquiorra. “Your information from his battle with Cirucci and your released form didn’t carry you far. From the footage I saw, you were able to disarm him with a small block of your new reiatsu-draining material. He didn’t have time to evolve.”

“Into what? A Quincy with a bigger bow and a longer cape?”

“Aizen-sama is interested in his possible evolution, just as he is with Kurosaki Ichigo’s.”

“A waste of time. He should have allowed me to kill them all instead of faking their deaths and kicking them back to the Living World. That took effort. I could’ve been working on the reiatsu-inhibiting crystals.”

Zael fluttered his long pink lashes and refocused his attention into a handheld telescope. It was a black tube the length of Ulquiorra’s zanpakutou, and after adjusting the dial near his eye, Zael pointed the telescope at the door. “I can see through walls with this,” he said.

Hand in pocket, Ulquiorra walked closer until he stood blocking the lens.

“Please don’t interfere with my scientific pursuits, Number Four.” Zael looked over the eyepiece. “I was on the verge of discovering the color of the corridor. I was predicting white.”

“I want you to advise me on how to best accomplish Aizen-sama’s goals without injury or humiliation to myself.”

Zael-Apollo put down his telescope. “It sounds to me like Aizen-sama trusts you but that you don’t trust him.”

“Aizen-sama’s data came from a scientist in Soul Society. I’m asking you to give me more information is all.”

“Why would I do that? You know I hate you.”

“How you feel about me is inconsequential,” said Ulquiorra.

Zael-Apollo had a habit of slouching with his arms crossed when he felt threatened. It was anything but a warrior’s stance, but it would’ve caught any opponent but an Espada off-guard.

“I don’t know how much new information about the Quincy people I can offer. What makes you think I haven’t already given Aizen all the data that I have?”

“That’s not possible,” said Ulquiorra. “Personal memories are infinite when compared to simple quantitative data. You were a Quincy in your human life”

Zael snorted. “Someone’s been taking a look at my files.”

“Aizen-sama gave me the information.”

Zael’s foot kicked off a spin on the swivel stool. There was a blade, among other things, hidden in his telescope. He didn’t want to get violent--he was no good at that. “What makes you believe that Aizen, who knows everything by the way, didn’t read my file and decide that my memories were inconsequential to the Quincy experiment?”

“You know more than what you’re telling,” said Ulquiorra in his soft resonant voice. “I want information.”

Ulquiorra’s voice was young-sounding but nonetheless intimidating. Zael-Apollo was forever envious of its sexiness.

Espada Number Eight considered his options as Espada Number Four’s green eyes stared like Doom and Death. Ulquiorra’s reiatsu was rising in miniscule increments that foretold a power-up. Zael wondered if his own sonido abilities were keen enough to out-run the little guy.

“You are aware,” said Ulquiorra, “that I could kill you with one hand if you don’t give me the information I want.”

“I could lie,” Zael grumbled.

“Then I’d kill you later.”

“Ha. You’re pretty when you’re emotionless.” Zael affected a sardonic calm. “Pretty is as pretty does, but I imagine that you’ll be thrown over for that angelic-eyed Wonderweiss eventually.”

“You’re ridiculous,” said Ulquiorra. “This spite of yours must inhibit your research. Sexual jealousy is an emotion that makes a warrior vulnerable to psychological manipulation.”

“Whatever,” said Zael. He uncrossed his arms and spun around once on his swiveling chair. He was secure now that Ulquiorra wasn’t going to kill him. Ulquiorra avoided unnecessary killing. Everyone knew that.

I may as well have some fun with Number Four while being interrogated about the Quincy ways. He wants information? I’ll give him information.

“I think Aizen-sama may actually enjoy the flailing about for his attention,” Zael said. “And he hasn’t given up on me yet. Did he tell you that I was being considered to undertake this experiment? I was the number one candidate for a while.”

“I’m not surprised,” said Ulquiorra, “Aizen-sama knows about your Quincy soul.”

“Oh but there’s something else that would surprise you,” said Zael-Apollo with a slow grin.

“I’m not here to listen to you brag about your attributes.”

“Not bragging, not bragging.” Zael’s smile broadened. “All I wanted to tell you was that Aizen-sama chose another ex-Quincy for this mission.”

Silence.

One couldn’t say for certain that Ulquiorra’s eyes had widened, but the white around his green irises seemed more conspicuous. If not for the sudden stasis in Number Four’s reiatsu, Zael wouldn’t have been able to tell that Ulquiorra was in shock.

“Oh yes, Ulquiorra Shiffer, Espada Number Four, you were a Quincy once. Aizen knows--even if you yourself don’t remember.” Zael’s smile opened and revealed a set of perfect white teeth. “And you don’t remember, do you?”

TBC


As always, the pointing out of typos, oddly constructed sentences, contradictions with tiny canon factoids and MORE will be VERY VERY appreciated. Also I love concrit, esp with a story I'm wobbly about like this one. I'll start ^^:

This starts as a yaoi fic and then seems to be an IshiHime--what's up with that? Ulquiorra seems less than his cold character in the manga. I love your Gin but your Zael-Apollo is almost exactly like him, maybe more insecure that's all--is he TRYING to be like Gin? I don't understand the bit about the tailors.

But if you write I enjoyed this. Please update soon! I'll be very happy! ^^
Tags: aizen, diaspora, diaspora part one, gin, ishida, orihime, szayel, tousen, ulquiorra
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