Originally posted 1/1/15
Muse brats being silly! Don’t worry, I’ll write the other one too!
The university was close to two hours from their home on the hills of Dupont, Washington; therefore, Orihime spent close to two hours crying, through traffic and waterfront views and one pathetic excuse for a rain shower. Ulquiorra pretended not to notice.
Everything felt empty. The car felt empty without Scarlet’s mountain of crap blocking the rearview. The house had felt empty when they left it that morning, Scarlet chatting on the phone with her roommate about her estimated arrival time. A little corner of Ulquiorra’s heart felt empty too, but hey, at least he wasn’t embarrassing himself crying about it. His wife had obviously missed the memo.
Orihime sniffled at the intersection in town, whimpered as they drove past the place Scarlet had once fallen off her bike and scraped her knee. She blubbered a bit when they pulled into the garage, car shutting off as the door closed behind them. Ulquiorra sighed.
“Calm down,” he muttered halfheartedly, “we can visit her this weekend.” Orihime made a vague noise and blew her nose into a napkin from her glove compartment stash. Ulquiorra looked at her. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“This sucks,” she spat, turning to him with a miserable grimace. “Of all the people in the world, why do I have to be one of the ones who gets empty nest syndrome?”
“Because you aren’t heartless,” Ulquiorra said, then immediately realized his mistake when she started to bawl. “Hey,” he put a hand on her shoulder, “this college business is nothing to cry about. You should be celebrating. Somehow, despite all the odds stacked against you, you not only gave birth to a healthy child, but raised her so well that she’s now on the road to pursue her own future. Aren’t you amazed by that? I am.”
Orihime hiccupped. “Really?”
“Of course. My first impression of you was that you shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a child, let alone be given permission to raise one.”
She glared at him over her hands. He looked innocently away. “Furthermore, this is the first time we’ve truly had the house to ourselves since we moved in, if you catch my meaning.”
The glare eased into a bewildered stare. Ulquiorra withdrew the keys from the ignition and got out of the car, then went around and opened Orihime’s door for her. She climbed out, thoughtful and sniffling. He made it as far as the house entrance before she grabbed his arm, turned him around, threw him against the door, and pulled his head down into a very aggressive kiss. Ulquiorra’s eyes flew wide, hands scrambling behind him. Orihime drew back and gave him a sorrowful look. “I miss Scarlet.”
“Me too,” he agreed, finding and twisting the doorknob and all but falling into the laundry room. Orihime had her coat off before she’d stepped over the threshold, and tossed it onto the washing machine carelessly.
“I miss her so much!” she sighed, lunging for him again. He had enough sense to kiss her back this time, though he almost fell over a second time when she wrapped her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist. She looked him dead in the eye as he pressed her into the wall. “It feels empty inside.”
“Impossible, I can hardly carry you,” Ulquiorra answered, deadpanned. Orihime rolled her eyes.
“Oh shut up, you can make it to the couch at least.”
“Scarlet!” Orihime pointed to the phone she held with her free hand. “It’s Scarlet.” She beamed at Ulquiorra, who was walking - a bit crookedly - from the kitchen to the dining table with two plates of food in hand and a wine bottle under his arm. “What’s up, sweetie? Everything alright?”
“Yeah, just calling to say good night. You didn’t cry too much, did you?”
Orihime snorted as Ulquiorra set down one of the plates in front of her. “Who do you think you’re talking to?”
Her daughter let out an identical snort. “You cried a lot, then.”
“Your dad says hi.”
“No I don’t.”
Scarlet laughed. “Tell him I said hi back. Don’t kill each other, okay?”
Ulquiorra uncorked the wine bottle, eyed the glass on the table for a moment, then handed the entire bottle to Orihime. She gave him an approving smile. “We won’t.” They said their good nights, then she put her phone away and eyed Ulquiorra’s backside up and down as he walked back to the kitchen for water. “What are we toasting?” she asked.
“Our excellent parenting skills.”
“To our bad-ass parenting skills!” Orihime cried, thrusting the wine bottle into the air victoriously. “And to Paco Jr. for trying so hard to get me pregnant again.”“Don’t you dare,” Ulquiorra said from the kitchen. His lower back was killing him; he wasn’t sure he’d be able to survive sending a second child to college.