mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 3/30/15

 Did I mention I found a good writing position that doesn’t hurt my hands? I did. But you know what hurts me even more than my hands? THIS AU.

~

The human woman was listening to that song again…

Humming, bouncing along in her seat, tapping her pencil to the beat. It was the tenth time she’d listened to it in the last two hours, and she was beginning to pick up the lyrics as well, even though they were in English. He watched her from the corner of her desktop, his avatar stationed close to her pencil-tapping hand, though in reality it was the stationary webcam that provided him with sight. “Woman,” he addressed her, his voice cutting into the music, “why do you play this song repeatedly?”

She copied something from her textbook onto a note card in tiny, neat handwriting. “Why?” she wrinkled her nose. “Because it’s my favorite. My current favorite. My last favorite was…” she turned to the laptop and clicked open her music player. He did not so much watch her scroll down the playlist as he did feel the commands given. “This one!” She double-clicked on the title and the music changed into a Japanese ballad.

Ulquiorra listened to a minute’s worth of the song before speaking again. “I do not understand.”

Orihime leaned forward on her arms, staring at the green-eyed sprite standing above the start button. “What don’t you understand?” she asked him, always curious to hear what he had to say.

“This former favorite and your current favorite have nothing in common,” he said. “Should not these favorite songs be similar to each other?”

She blinked. “Why would they be?”

In answer to her dumb question, he took control of her computer and went to the music market. “Patterns,” he explained, sifting through thousands of songs in the space of a second. “The familiarity should be comforting, reminiscent of that which you already know you have a preference for. Like so.” A sample of a song nearly identical to the English one began to play. Orihime smiled at him.

“You’ve got a good theory,” she said, “but it doesn’t work that way.”

“Why not?”

Orihime shrugged and tapped the screen with her index finger. “The heart knows what it wants, I guess.”

The heart again. Ulquiorra was no closer to understanding it than he had been weeks ago. All that appeared to remain constant was the fact that the heart was illogical. It followed no rules, obeyed no orders, bowed to no authority. “I do not accept that response,” he said, resuming the Japanese song where it had left off.

“Then I don’t know what to tell ya.” Orihime yawned and closed her eyes. Her dorm room window was open, allowing in the springtime breeze and the sounds of students talking on their way to class. “Can you feel that, Ulquiorra-kun?” she asked, not waiting for an answer. “It’s warm today. There are these trees around campus that put out white flowers right about now, and you’d think that they smell good, but they kind of smell like fish. They’re still pretty, though. I call them the fish trees.” Her lips curled up into a soft smile. “I can smell them through the window because there’s a few outside of my building. If you come with me on my phone tomorrow, I’ll show them to you.”

“You are going to fall asleep,” she heard him say, and perhaps it was her imagination, but his voice sounded gentler, almost fond.

“Wake me up if it starts raining…” she mumbled. Seconds later, she was dozing.

The window was in the webcam’s line of sight. Ulquiorra could see the sun, and thanks to the microphone he could hear the breeze as well, though it sounded far away. But he could neither see nor smell any fish trees. Nor could he feel the woman’s breath, though it created a little circle of fog on the laptop screen. She would get sick, he thought, and stared at the blanket on her bed, all the way across the room. He could not retrieve the blanket and place it over her shoulders. He could not close the window for her, so that she could sleep undisturbed. He could not stand or grasp or move at all.

But he could sleep, couldn’t he? The webcam light turned off, the laptop’s humming quieted, the flow of viruses into the university’s network slowed to a stop. Yes, he realized, as his avatar’s eyes closed; he could sleep.

The First

Apr. 29th, 2015 12:25 pm
mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 3/30/2015

 Muse.

~

The nature of their relationship always seemed to change when they least expected it to. That day, they’d been arguing about socks.

She’d insisted on buying him colorful socks to go along with his new dress shoes. He didn’t want colorful socks. She went on like she hadn’t heard him, making plans to match socks to his ties, because no rich boyfriend of hers was going to walk on stage with black or white or even gray socks. His first public appearance had been rescheduled for April, so she was thinking of green, blue, pastel yellow.

He didn’t want to talk about socks anymore.

They’d unfurled the sofa bed because both of them wanted to lie down and there wasn’t room enough on the couch unless they cuddled, and she didn’t feel like cuddling with him because he’d dropped one of her thongs in the garbage disposal two nights ago. Granted, she’d put red food dye in his toothpaste so he’d think his gums were disintegrating, but it had been her favorite thong, and he knew it.

She’d almost pushed him away when he started on her neck to get her to shut up about the socks. Almost. Then he had honed in on that sensitive spot behind her left ear and she’d thought, eh, what was the harm in letting him think he’d distracted her? She would just start up on the socks again the moment they were done fooling around.

But within a few minutes she was picking up on a strange mood in the air, and suddenly, she really was distracted. What were they doing?

Name a place a cheating husband would keep a spare pair of underwear,” the game show host was asking, and she silently listed them off, tears welling up in her eyes.

At the office. His fingers laced through hers.

At his lover’s apartment. Her heart was beating so fast.

In his car. He whispered something in her ear.

In the dog house. She’d had no idea it could feel so good.

Sorrow as dark and as deep as the ocean floor welled up in her chest. She kept thinking she shouldn’t have known the answers to that question, shouldn’t have known other places that the contestants would have never guessed. And the way he kissed her tears away, looking at her with so much love and concern, only deepened the wounds she wished she could hide from him.

He held her for a long time afterwards. She kept whispering apologies, even as she allowed herself to be carried away by sleep. In any case, he didn’t seem upset; when she woke up alone on the sofa bed an hour later, he was in the kitchen making them dinner, like it was any other day. 

And indeed, on the surface, it seemed like nothing had changed at all - especially when she started hounding him about the socks again. But when she stepped out of the apartment the next morning for her work shift, she couldn’t help thinking, in an uncharacteristically moony sort of way, that the world looked just a tad bit brighter.

mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 3/25/2015

 I’m supposed to write a smut drabble for this, but until then…

~

If he had to be asked, it was this or that. Like the upturned corner of her mouth when she saw him, just beyond the glare of the spotlight, and pretended she hadn’t. The rueful way she said “detective.” How water clung to her as long as possible, whether it was dripping from her hair or hanging on to an eyelid.

Not so much the time he spent bedridden after she pistol-whipped him. Or the time she’d called the French police and claimed a pervert had snuck into bed with her. Or the time his rental car had exploded not even two minutes after he’d left it.

The back and forth. It wasn’t normal. He’d never suspected himself of being insane until he’d met her. “Not insane,” she’d murmured, her hands trailing from his shoulders to his chest, her front pressed against his back, “in love…”

Him, of all people, wrapped around the delicate pinkie finger of a criminal. A game of cat and mouse where neither knew who was who.

He captured her. He let her go.

She captured him. She let him go.

Their intertwined hands like chains as they lay together in darkness, gazing at each other, haunted by “What do we do?”

It was the way she needed him and hated him all at once. How her breath caught when he talked about the future they could have. The lipstick stains, in various colors, left behind on her tea cups. How unexpectedly kind she was to children.

Not so much the blood splatter on her dress. Or the way she hissed at him to stop following her. Or the gentle caress of her fingers on her bodyguard’s cheek - no, especially not that; he’d strangle that Tsubaki if he could.

But no one would ever ask him why he loved her, because no one would ever know he did.

mistkitt: (Default)

Originally posted 3/13/2015

Orihime Inoue survives the train crash that kills her husband. She then goes on to survive the knowledge that he is dead, his funeral, and the putting away of his things. She survives two months of near catatonic depression, followed by four months of sullen moods and bitterness. She survives the overwhelming impulse to burn down the house he had built for them, exactly as it was before they left it, so that it would be theirs forever.

Orihime survives, because that’s what she was born to do - only now she must do so without a crutch.

She throws money at orphanages, schools, music programs, women’s shelters, the ASPCA. She creates scholarships in her husband’s name. She counsels girls like herself and helps them off the streets at the risk of her own personal safety.

Eventually, she recovers her sense of humor and becomes an embarrassing and inappropriate (great-)grandmother. Asks for Victoria’s Secret gift cards for Christmas. Pretends to commune with her dead friends at the dinner table. Swears she won’t date unless Ulquiorra has reincarnated as a strapping young German boy with a monstrous package. Carries around a walking stick to hit people with, not because she actually needs it.

In what spare time she has, she plays the piano. She’s not very good at it, but the older she gets, the more she starts to understand Ulquiorra’s complaints of an untamed composition. There’s one that’s been buzzing around her head ever since he died.

At the age of 93, on a sunny afternoon, she finishes and records her one and only composition. Scarlet finds her a few hours later, slumped over the piano, resting her head on her arms as if she’s fallen asleep.

The recording of “The Uninspired Pianist” features Orihime having a cheerful one-sided conversation with the music, which seems to be complaining because it sounds far too nice. She sounds happier than she has in decades. When the song ends, there’s a brief silence, followed by:

“I would like that very much. Hold on a moment.” 
mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 3/11/2015

 Everything else was too sad. “See You Tomorrow” from the Azumanga Daioh soundtrack for atmosphere, pls.

~

The evening sea breeze pushed the curtains into the hotel room. A single lamp illuminated Orihime Schiffer where she sat on the edge of the bed, phone pressed to her ear, flipping through a brochure of things to do in Genoa, Italy. “Trust me, I wish I’d gotten here when you and Klaus did, but you know how your father procrastinates when he has to perform. If it was anyone other than Natalia, I’d worry about him falling asleep at the piano.” She frowned. “Don’t tell her I said that.”

“She’s retiring. I hardly think it matters,” Ulquiorra chimed in from where he lay behind her, then said in a louder voice, “Good night, Scarlet. See you tomorrow.”

Orihime rolled her eyes. “We’ll be on the 8:15 from Genoa, so meet us at the station. Bring some water… and possibly a barf bag. Night, sweetie. Try not to get pregnant until we’re stateside again.”

“Mom!”

“I love you!” She hung up and set the phone on the nightstand. Laying beside Ulquiorra, she wiggled the brochure in front of his face, hitting him on the nose several times. “Look here, they have a booze cruise. Can we do that before we leave the country?”

Ulquiorra took the brochure, irritated. “You wish to pregame our flight home. Why does this not surprise me?” He turned in her direction, placing a hand on her hip. “If you were the slightest bit more embarrassing, you’d be fighting drunken middle aged white women at county fairs for a crown.”

Orihime stuck her tongue out at him. “You love me.”

“I do,” he agreed, so easily that she narrowed her eyes, suspicious. “But how about we save it for our anniversary?” He pulled her closer, lowering his head until his forehead rested on her shoulder. “I want to go home,” he murmured. “I want to see Tchaikovsky. You know how anxious he gets when we leave him at the pet hotel.”

“Oh my God, if someone’s scratching his rump, he’ll hardly notice we’re gone.” Orihime combed her fingers through Ulquiorra’s hair. There was more gray in it, obscured by the black that had been touched up prior to their coming. The stress was doing him in, she thought, and kissed the top of his head. “Fine. We’ll bring Tchaikovsky on the booze cruise in April, but if he gets into the alcohol, it’s on your conscience.”

Ulquiorra sighed. “I don’t say this often enough, but I am so glad I married you.”

“Damn straight,” Orihime replied. Then, because neither of them were tired, they stayed up half the night trying to make each other tired.

In any case, there would be plenty of time to sleep on the train.

mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 3/9/2015

 An epilogue that I’m totally NOT going to put in the crossover whenever it stops giving me hell.

~

“…thereby resulting in the gigai’s ability to sustain itself when it’s unoccupied. It was an excellent question. You wouldn’t believe how much trouble I had with rotting–”

Urahara was interrupted by an electronic chirp. Ulquiorra, who had managed to lose track of Urahara’s enthusiastic explanation five minutes ago, recognized the chirp as belonging to his phone. Odd. The handful of people who would text him knew he was abroad. He hadn’t had a message in two years.

“You have reception all the way out here?” Kisuke whined, referring to the mountains surrounding them. They had arrived in Peru at the beginning of March to investigate an alleged higher traffic of hollows. Urahara had a theory, of course, but despite having spent all this time wandering around with him, Ulquiorra still couldn’t put together how the man’s mind worked. He reached for his phone as Urahara continued to grumble about switching service providers, and checked the name on the display screen.

The Woman.

His eyes widened. He’d long since changed Orihime’s contact name to Orihime, and before then, it had been Woman, not The Woman. But it was impossible, wasn’t it? The communication channel had closed minutes after she’d… He opened the message.

The look on Ulquiorra’s face flipped Urahara’s silliness switch off. “What is it?” he asked, approaching him quickly. “Do we need to leave?” No response. Whatever was on that phone had rendered Ulquiorra speechless. He didn’t even try to hide it from Urahara as he leaned over to look.

It was a picture, taken in a hospital room. On the edge of the bed sat Ulquiorra - a different Ulquiorra, with no tear marks to be seen, but undoubtedly him - and beside him, an Orihime in a hospital gown with a tired smile, holding in her arms a swaddled newborn. The accompanying message was brief: Scarlet Schiffer, 03-11-2011, seven pounds, 18.2 inches.

Urahara relaxed, but his former panic was replaced by curiosity: How had the message gotten through? Was there another rift between the universes? And how did Ulquiorra feel, knowing that in another world, in another life, he and Orihime had a child together? He couldn’t gauge anything but shock from his companion’s expression. But it wasn’t a bad shock, Urahara thought. It was as if he’d been given a gift he hadn’t known he wanted more than anything in the world. “What say we try to be home by summer?” Urahara suggested with a knowing smile.

Ulquiorra nodded once, his eyes never leaving the phone. It took a few minutes, but as they resumed their walk up the mountains, he typed out a simple thank you, and pressed send. Seconds later, his phone chirped again:

Error, number does not exist. Message could not be sent.

mistkitt: (Default)

Originally posted 3/7/2015

This was in my head ALL DAY.

~

The future Mrs. Schiffer had gotten into the wine.

Despite having more money than two people in a cheap one-bedroom apartment knew what to do with, Ulquiorra and Orihime didn’t go on vacation very often. This hotel adventure hardly counted; Las Noches could be seen from the balcony of their room, jutting out of the Hueco Mundo district like a cold sore, if they turned south and craned their necks a little. But Ulquiorra had had a thing, and Orihime had dressed very nicely for the thing, and dancing had been mandatory at the thing, and bedroom eyes had been made until they’d had no choice but to extend their hotel stay. Who would miss them at Las Noches, anyway?

“You know who you’re like?” Orihime asked as she rolled over to face Ulquiorra, nearly knocking over the food and dish tray she’d eaten her breakfast-in-bed on. “You’re like… a sexy Beethoven.”

Ulquiorra thought the drunken compliment over. The afternoon sunlight glinted off of the nearby empty wine bottle, of which he’d had one glass, and Orihime the rest. He shifted his leg under the scratchy sheets and the bottle rolled off the bed. “I don’t have a powdered wig, though,” he said.

“That’s okay, we’ll make ya one,” Orihime patted his stomach reassuringly. “Well need a couple dozen Barbie dolls and some powdered sugar.”

“I’m not sure that’s correct, Ms. Inoue.”

“Then you can put it on and I’ll screw your brains out.”

“Hold on, let me find my phone. I doubt that you can text in your condition so we’ll just have to record a verbal contract, for future reference.”

“Oh no you don’t!” This time she succeeded in knocking over the tray, which flipped over the edge of the bed and landed on the floor with a noise of broken dishes. She threw her entire body across Ulquiorra’s skinny midsection to prevent him from moving. “I’m too smart to fall for that again.”

“For what again?” Ulquiorra asked innocently.

“Verbal contract a-k-a blackmail!” she cried. “‘Cause you’re an asshole. A sexy Mozart asshole.”

“Wasn’t I sexy Beethoven?”

“There’s a slight to major possibility that I might not actually know the difference.” Orihime tried to lift herself up, then went limp. “There’s also a slight to major possibility that I’m drunk.”

Ulquiorra stroked her naked back. “That’s fine. You’re engaged to me, and social convention dictates that I should take care of you in your vulnerable state, not lock you out of the room in nothing but a bed sheet, no matter how badly I want to.” He tilted his head to look her in the eyes. “I really, really want to. I’m letting you know this because I love you, and hope that you’ll forgive me, should I give in to the temptation regardless of our premarital status.”

“I don’t want to marry you anymore,” Orihime grumbled. “I was gonna make you a powdered wig and wash your underwear and cook you dinner sometimes but you can forget all that now.”

“Were you really?” he asked, sounding much too cheerful for someone who was being dumped.

“No. Maybe. It doesn’t matter 'cause I’m not marrying you anymore. I’m leaving just as soon as I throw up in your piano.”

“I’m so touched.”

“I hate you.” 
mistkitt: (Default)

Originally posted 2/21/2015

Finally, there’s the question of Ulquiorra’s mental health, which Aizen claims is excellent in chapter five or so.

It’s not. Aizen was lying. (ノ´ヮ´)ノ*:・゚✧

To start with the most obvious, Ulquiorra suffers from high anxiety. He has violent panic attacks before his concert performances, but they can also be triggered by memories and seemingly trivial things. In high school, his anxiety was so bad that it rendered him unable to eat, which in turn led to him being hospitalized when his weight dropped dangerously low.

Second most obvious, obsessive-compulsive habits, such as rearranging his furniture when he’s stressed, his refusal to compose on any piano but his own, and his severe dislike of odd numbers.

Third are autism-like behaviors, such as:

- lack of empathy: He uses Natalia for the opera and is utterly blind to her feelings for him, and was on track to doing the same to Orihime. There is very little that he truly cares about. Other people’s problems don’t concern him at all (Gin and Rangiku; caring more than there will be no Thanksgiving turkey if Nel leaves than the effect it’ll have on Grimmjow).
- trouble socializing: He doesn’t seek others very often and prefers to be alone. The few friendships he’s made in Las Noches were either out of necessity or against his will. He’s not very talkative, and when he is, he dominates conversations with his rants, moods, and tantrums.
- upset by changes in routine (playing Moonlight Sonata a billion times after Gin retires from the front desk)
- extremely organized
- temper tantrums
- aggressive when stressed
- trouble expressing himself: As a child, he wants everyone to hear the piano’s voice, not realizing that the piano is merely acting as his own voice. His compositions all contain his memories, thoughts, and feelings. Rather than tell Orihime he doesn’t want her to go, he drags her back to his apartment; and rather than tell her he loves her, he tells her he doesn’t want to have sex with her.

(Note: Mrs. Ingram recognizes the above symptoms in Ulquiorra after he’s adopted, which is why she defends him against her husband. She also loves him unconditionally, despite him not showing much affection back, or just staring at her blankly.)

In Las Noches, only Szayel and Aizen know the extent of Ulquiorra’s mental health problems. Szayel was the first to recommend Ulquiorra see a psychiatrist, after Gin noticed that Ulquiorra was way too skinny and privately asked Szayel to check on him.

Ulquiorra is on antianxiety medication for the panic attacks. Other than that, it’s up to the people around him to figure out how to be his friend without upsetting him.

mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 2/21/2014

 Here we come at last to one of the antagonists of this universe. What does my mind have say about him?

Lowell Ingram was born in California. He double-majored in music and business, becoming adept at playing several instruments. It was in one of his theory classes that he met Rebecca Hunter, a younger woman who, despite being conservative and quiet, made his head spin with her wisdom and beliefs. They married after she graduated.

The record company was his baby (before he had kids of his own), headquartered in Seattle. He built it from the ground up, finding success in the classical world, and took delight in starting and nurturing the careers of many musicians. But for all his effort, it still remained within the confines of the classical music world. “Kids these days just aren’t interested in us,” was a firm belief of his.

He and Rebecca had two children, the tone-deaf Matthew who couldn’t have learned an instrument if he were held at gunpoint, and Sarah, who picked up the violin and never put it down again. Their home was a happy one, filled with children, music, and dogs at any given hour.

While attending a local talent competition, the family was collectively struck dumb by the talent of a pianist named Ulquiorra Schiffer, who had been entered into the competition by his orphanage (and won). Lowell, seeing the limitless potential in him, spoke with his caretakers, and was invited to the orphanage to hear the rest of Ulquiorra’s compositions, which he was shocked to discover the boy had memorized entirely. He asked Ulquiorra if he would like the opportunity to share his music with the world. Ulquiorra, beside himself with happiness, said yes, and was shortly after signed to Ingram’s label.

Under Lowell Ingram, Ulquiorra was given proper lessons and taught how to write music. His very first compositions were collected into an album and released by the company. But where all others had failed, Ulquiorra succeeded; his music and story hit the mainstream so hard that he was invited to talk shows and concert halls the country wide before the age of ten. Tours were demanded. A private tutor had to be hired for him so he could graduate elementary school on time. Classical musicians flocked to the Ingram label, hoping to find the same success, and Lowell was more than willing to receive them.

He expected Ulquiorra to slow down or become exhausted once the shock of fame wore off, but it never seemed to happen. The preteen boy produced hit after hit after hit, followed by a concerto, followed by a Broadway musical, followed by an opera. And it wasn’t money he was after; it was the attention. Lowell was surprised to hear Ulquiorra say, again and again, that as long as people were listening to what the piano had to say, he was satisfied.

Therefore Ulquiorra came to shoulder all of Lowell’s hopes for his label. He was adopted into their family after his European tour, and the Ingram household became even happier.

But it didn’t last long. With his astronomical expectations, and the bar set so high, Lowell couldn’t separate “boss” from “father.” Having never lived with Ulquiorra until then, he couldn’t understand his new son’s eccentric and rigid creative process. He was shocked when Ulquiorra showed such little regard for his dreams and plans. There didn’t seem to be a hint of familial affection, gratitude, or empathy in the boy anywhere.

The two were soon fighting constantly. Lowell began to think him manipulative and cold, and threatened to take back all of Ulquiorra’s money when he finally left the house, because he believed that Ulquiorra had just used them to get ahead. He also fought bitterly with his wife, who defended Ulquiorra to the end, furthering Lowell’s belief that his family had been charmed by a sociopath.

As the years passed and the label’s success grew, Lowell noticed that Ulquiorra had not gone to another label, was not performing for anyone anywhere, and had all but dropped off the face of the earth. He asked his wife one day what she knew of Ulquiorra, and she reported to him that last she’d heard, his inspiration had abandoned him.

Something in Lowell’s heart began to give. He sought out the compositions that Ulquiorra had written after he’d been adopted, and listening to them, heard the joy, the gratitude, and affection that Ulquiorra had never himself expressed to them.

Lowell was deeply grieved. He remembered how proud he used to be of Ulquiorra, how he’d shown him off as if he were his own son long before they’d adopted him. He wished desperately to see Ulquiorra’s inspiration return, to hear his house filled with the piano again.

Then, days later, he fell ill with pneumonia and died, never able to reconcile with his wayward son. He was 62 years old.

mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 2/18/2015

 My brain is preparing to turn all of her focus back to original stories and the few fics I have left, so let’s get a few stray fic things out of the way.

Ulquiorra’s birth mother, Gloria, was a young Peruvian woman, still in her teens when she met an American missionary by the name of Schiffer. The two had a brief affair before he packed up and went back to the US with his church (A+ morals).

Shortly after she found out she was pregnant, and became scared to death that the drug guys would take her baby for ransom money if they knew the father was a “rich American.” So she left, heading always north, the only clue she had to Schiffer’s whereabouts that he came from a place called Washington.

But the journey took its toll on her; she was very sick when she went into labor. Her first and only son was born in Arizona, and named Ulquiorra because he cried constantly. When they reached Washington state, she was taken to a hospital in grave condition, and lived only long enough to fill out her baby’s birth certificate. She gave him the last name Schiffer in the hopes that it would lead him to his father.

And so Ulquiorra came to Seattle, growing up and eventually bringing his family back to Washington with no idea that his birth father - with wife and kids of his own - lived in the vicinity. Likewise, his birth father, though aware of the classical pianist Ulquiorra Schiffer, hasn’t even a remote suspicion that they’re related, let alone father and son.

They may have passed each other on the street and been none the wiser.

mistkitt: (Default)

Originally posted 2/18/2015

Muse.

~

When Fitzwilliam Darcy proposed marriage to Elizabeth Bennet, he said to her, “I cannot fix upon the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation.”

Like Fitzwilliam Darcy, Ulquiorra Schiffer had found himself in the middle before he knew that he’d begun. But unlike Mr. Darcy, Ulquiorra could, with some effort, fix upon the hour, the spot, the look, and the words which had laid the foundation of his love for Orihime Inoue.

He’d heard from various sources that love was a thing that took people by surprise. Certainly, it had been the same for him. He was not above admitting that if he’d known what she would reduce him to when he saw her face in that dark alley, he’d have left her there and waited for his inspiration to come back on its own. Unfortunately, his selfishness had been his undoing, and just like that…

“I guess between you and me, you’re the lucky one this time.”

Just like that, it began.

All of the sudden, his plans, his moods, his thoughts, his anxiety, his choices; everything revolved around her. But he was not in love with her yet.

He was not in love with her when he confronted her old friends. Nor was he in love with her when she told him he was strong. Nor did he love her when she made him dinner, when she hid his dining table chairs, or when he allowed her to sleep in his bed for the night. But he was already in love with her when he held her in the rain, and when he kissed her for the first time.

There was a moment in between. One tiny, inconsequential moment, amidst the clatter of dishes and bustle of dinner preparations in his family’s home. He’d happened to glance into the dining room and saw her standing there, fidgeting behind the table, watching everyone move around, unsure of what to do with herself. Ah, he’d remembered, she’s never done this before.

And he was in love with her. Motionless in the kitchen with a stack of plates in his hands while his brother snuck food scraps to the dogs and his sister said something to their mother and Natalia Moretti could be heard singing upstairs. He was in love with Orihime Inoue, so lost, so harmless, so very much like him.

And he never once stopped needing her. 
mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 2/8/2015

 For the first time, I took a pain killer for my hands today. Hiatus coming soon.

~

“Still can’t believe you’re dating a babe like her,” Grimmjow muttered, not bothering to hide his envy. “Must be nice.”

End of another school day. The sun was sinking, its light casting an orange glow on the city as students departed for clubs or home. For a moment, Ulquiorra’s eyes drifted skyward. “It’s not nice at all,” he said, turning to Grimmjow with the most miserable look he could muster. “She talks about death all the time. It’s morbid.”

“You’re a damn liar!” Grimmjow shouted, only to remember that Ulquiorra didn’t lie. He sneered. “The one guy in the world who’d complain about having a hot girlfriend, and I’m friends with him. What does that say about me?”

“I wonder.” Ulquiorra stared blankly ahead. “And I wasn’t complaining.”

He wasn’t. Orihime understood that, and laughed her loud, happy laugh when he told her later. “Me and my morbid curiosities!” she cried, waving her arms at the ceiling. “Whatever shall you do about them?”

“Put a stop to it before you start communing with the dead,” Ulquiorra replied. He didn’t even move when she took his glasses off and dropped them on the floor beside her bed.

“Like Don Kanonji?” She undid his uniform tie.

“You’ll be his new assistant.”

“If that happens, please break up with me. You have your reputation to think of.” Orihime pulled the tie away from his neck and burrowed into his chest. He put an arm around her. “Suppose I hadn’t been cured, though,” she murmured, “what would you have done?”

Ulquiorra looked up at the ceiling. “Died a virgin.”

“Oh please!” She started to unbutton his shirt. “You would have loved again.”

“I wonder,” he said for the second time that day, before sitting up and laying her on her back. It would be alright, he told himself. Therapy was doing her well. She wasn’t as anxiously attached to him as she was before. Wasn’t cycling between reckless impulsivity and fear as often. Sure, she’d been too afraid to leave the house today, but it was her first major setback in weeks. Given time, she would be fine.

And he would wait with her until she was.

Parenthood

Apr. 29th, 2015 11:03 am
mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 1/28/2015

 Tell Yourself. Note: “aka-chan” means “baby.” It’s not the name of the child.

~

“Wasn’t the weather nice today?” Orihime lay in bed, smiling at the ceiling. “I thought it was lovely. Nice and mild. We’re right between flu season and allergy season, so it’s lucky that I fainted today and not, say, next month!”

Ulquiorra lay facedown beside her. “Are you listening to yourself?” he grumbled.

“You can’t be upset about the news,” Orihime said, rubbing her belly. “And if you’re mad because I fainted, that’s pretty unfair, don’t you think? I didn’t want to faint. Poor Satsuki-chan thought I was dead!” He didn’t answer. She sighed. “Nod for yes, head-shake for no. Are you mad because I fainted?”

He shook his head.

“Are you mad because I’m pregnant?”

He shook his head.

“Are you upset because I just gave birth three weeks ago, and you got me pregnant again on the first try, so now you’ll have to wait another nine months to touch me?”

He nodded once.

“I thought that might be the case.”

A tiny cry started up on the baby monitor. Orihime sat up slowly. “I’ll get it!”

Ulquiorra held out a hand to stop her. “You should rest,” he said, straightening and moving to the edge of the bed. “And I will not so much as sneeze in your direction, lest you give birth to twins.”

Orihime laughed. “I don’t think it works that way, but okay!”

Over the baby monitor, a door could be heard opening. Ulquiorra and Orihime stared at it, curious. “Oi, aka-chan” they heard Satsuki say, and turned their gazes back to each other. “SHUT UP!” her voice screeched, startling them both. “I’M TRYING TO SLEEP!”

Ulquiorra bolted out of the room. Orihime laughed herself breathless listening to her daughter’s complaints, her second daughter’s wailing, and her husband’s scolding. Poor Satsuki-chan! She didn’t even like the new baby. How in the world were they going to tell her that another was on the way?

mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 1/15/2015
 
Tell Yourself. A spring day.

Satsuki Cifer hauls a bucket onto the roof of her home. She waits, munching on a snack in the warm afternoon sunlight. Her Fullbring instructors come by to question her presence there.

THEN, target spotted! Her father, the unsuspecting Ulquiorra Cifer, approaching the house. He senses his daughter up on the roof, but since she’s attended by responsible adults, he says nothing. He doesn’t even look.

Too bad. A bucket’s worth of pickle juice comes crashing down on his head.

Across town, Orihime is walking home from work, when all of a sudden her daughter sprints past her in the blink of an eye. Seconds later, she’s followed an angry black blur that smells like pickles. Orihime flies after them immediately. She manages to cut Ulquiorra off, ready to put up a shield to protect the terrified child screaming “DADDY’S GOING KILL ME” behind her. Ulquiorra takes one step… and keels over, nauseated.

An hour later, Satsuki is grounded in her bedroom, the Fullbringers are scrubbing every trace of pickle juice from the front walk, and Ulquiorra is soaking in the tub. Orihime walks into the bathroom and reminds him to reassure Satsuki that he still loves her later.

Ulquiorra looks her dead in the eye and says he wants to have a second child. Orihime thinks the pickle juice has gone to his head.

The end.

mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 1/12/2015

 A thing my mind would not let me write at the time, even though I wanted to.

~

“Ulquiorra, there you are. I received a call from Mr. Maddox a few minutes ago, claiming he tried to get in touch with you but he was rudely told off by two strange women, then hung up on.”

A sequence of memories flashed through Ulquiorra’s mind as he held the phone to his ear. A brunette lady with a kind smile and a gentle voice, introducing herself, shaking his hand even though he was a child. That woman, leaning over to fix his bowtie before the host of the television program called his name. That woman, digging snacks out of a travel bag, holding three packets out in front of him and asking which he’d prefer.

“I understand that you’ve decided to take this slow; believe me, I wouldn’t want you doing anything you weren’t ready to do, but you can’t keep disrespecting these men if you expect an easy transition.”

That woman, asking him all manner of questions about his music, listening with interest as he told her of his little match girl and the songs she liked to sing. That woman, in the audience, applauding him after every performance.

“If you want to do business with adults, you need to stick to your commitments. You promised them you would be at that recital, and you didn’t show up. Didn’t even apologize. They have every right to be annoyed.”

What did he call that woman, who looked as terrified as he was when she brought him into her home? That woman who picked him up from school when he wasn’t well? That woman who cried for him when she thought he couldn’t hear, who felt the pain of his departure so much, who continued to watch over him even though she didn’t have to, who loved him even as she chewed him out on the phone?

“Mom,” he said, and there was silence on the other end of the line. A threshold had been crossed. A barrier had been broken down.

“Ulquiorra,” her voice was thick with tears, “what’s going on?”

He’d wandered into the hallway when he’d seen the name on his cell phone display. He leaned back against the wall, staring at an impersonal painting of a landscape that was probably meant to be calming. “Ms. Inoue is in the hospital,” he slid to the floor, “ because of me. She could have died, because of me,” he felt his own voice thicken, “and I think I’m going to lose her.” This was what mothers were for, wasn’t it? He’d seen them do things like this in television and movies, so it was alright to confide in her, wasn’t it? “I’m afraid,” he whispered. “What will I do if she dies? How will I go on without her? Who will throw shoes at me, and complain when I play the piano at five in the morning, and watch those daytime court shows on my TV? I hate those shows, Mother. I hate them so much…”

“Stop.” He stopped. “Take a deep breath. Are you breathing?”

“Mmhmm.”

“I’m going to pray for her. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but when I’m done, you’re going to tell me everything, is that understood?”

“Mmhmm.”

And so she prayed, and when she was finished, Ulquiorra told her the truth from beginning to end. There were several disappointed murmurs, a handful of shocked silences, an interrupting accusation of “you made her lie for you,” and a couple of sobs. And as he recounted the story from August, as he heard his mother’s reactions, he saw himself not as the heartless beast he’d claimed to be, but as a frightened and wounded kid, swinging his fists at anyone who tried to help him, no matter how good their intentions.

He knew that this was the way his mother had always seen him. Even here, at his absolute lowest, and at the height of her disappointment, he felt like she was lifting him up from the ground, wiping his face while scolding him for running around recklessly. And when the berating was done, she smoothed it over with a figurative kiss on the forehead:

“Orihime isn’t going to die. If you love her half as much as I think you do, you’ll try to make peace with her when she wakes up; and if she loves you half as much as I think she does, she’ll listen.” In her Washington living room, surrounded by concerned dogs, Mrs. Ingram smiled a sorrowful smile for her wayward son. “Worst case scenario, she’ll leave you, and you’ll deserve it. But don’t give up before you’ve tried. She’s important to you, isn’t she?”

Ulquiorra thought of Orihime, sitting on the piano bench with her head against his shoulder and her hands under his. But he also thought of the woman who’d tenderly welcomed him to his new home nine years before. “Mom,” he said again, and he heard her breathe in, “I’m sorry I hurt you.”

“I know.”

“You didn’t do anything wrong.”

A painful pause. “…I’ll call Mr. Maddox and apologize on your behalf, but this is the last time. You’ll call him too in a few days. Go get yourself something to eat, and when Ms. Inoue wakes up, you grovel, you cry, you kiss her feet and offer your body as a punching bag, is that clear?”

“Yes.” He sighed. “Thank you.”

And just like in the movies and television, he felt better.

mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 1/8/2015

 The Faust AU.

~

Springtime on the heather. Beautiful, such lovely weather. Butterflies through the iron bars, black and blue. She thought of hell.

Flowers, little daisies, geraniums, morning glories, forget-me-nots. Colorful petals plucked by colorful girls, sighing over lovers real or imagined. Running past the iron bars with laughter on their lips, and she laughed with them.

Melting snow from mountain passes, making the rivers swell, the waters murmur, feeding the grass and the forgotten dead beneath it. Quicker currents to stand in, to wash away stains from white sheets, to carry her sins downstream. God cast sins into rivers to forget them; she’d merely done the same.

The sun came through the iron bars, the sun slipped out of them again at night. Someone had told her once that she was like the sun, and yet, there she remained. Day in and day out, the spring and the merry-making and the Easter preparations underway, and no one was thinking of her, and no one cared, and nobody loved her and no one ever had.

She’d loved a man who’d tasted like the gates of hell. She’d loved him, yes; a love so pure. She’d loved him and told him she was afraid and he’d left her anyway, and she’d cast her sins into the river, and now she would be punished for playing God.

The spring would swell the banks and bring the waters to her six feet under and the water would taste like green eyes and a tuft of auburn hair and tiny fingers that gripped hers with an innocent coo, and she would cry, and she would wail, and her lamentations would ring through the mountains for all of eternity.

And he would never come, and he would never rescue her, and he would never love her again.

mistkitt: (Default)

Originally posted 1/6/2014

Whoops more Muse high school AU. Music for atmosphere: “Closer” by The Tiny.

~

His bedroom both was and wasn’t what she’d expected: clean, decorated with various trophies and classical music awards, a whole wall featuring framed originals of his compositions; but it didn’t feel very lived in. It was like a themed hotel room, designed down to the last detail to make whoever stayed there feel welcome, but not too welcome.

Maybe that was why he was sick, she thought, staring at the hospital bracelet on his too thin wrist. Maybe if he threw some clothes on the floor or tracked dirt on the carpet or ate food in there every once in a while, he wouldn’t have ended up in the emergency room.

He hadn’t stirred when she came in a few minutes ago. He’d probably be mad at her if he found her in his room - or in his house for that matter - without his godly permission, so she didn’t plan on staying. She wasn’t even sure why she was there in the first place. Guilt, or something. She ate lunch with the guy every day and hadn’t said a word about the food he never touched. She just assumed he was eating at home.

But that was it, wasn’t it? She was always assuming. He had money and talent, his life was so easy, he was loved by so many people. He couldn’t possibly have problems, and if he did, they weren’t real problems. The privileged couldn’t have real problems. It was all in their head.

His eyes opened. Orihime’s heart jumped into her throat, followed by a myriad of excuses. Homework delivery? They didn’t have any classes together. Sarah invited her? She wasn’t home, fuck. It was on the way? She lived in Lakewood, the exact opposite direction of Steilacoom. “Err…”

“Ms. Inoue,” he said groggily, “what a surprise.”

Orihime’s string of excuses fell apart like a worn out bead necklace. A surprise? He was surprised? What the hell did he think of her? That she was only pretending to be his friend to get something from him? That she’d heard about him passing out in class and laughed? She’d faked period cramps and humiliated herself to get to the nurse’s office to see him before Matthew took him to the ER, and quite frankly, she never wanted to see him like that again.

She stood from his desk chair and sat on the edge of his bed. “Move over.”

Ulquiorra stared at her, cloudy-eyed and rumpled, unsure if he’d heard her right. “Huh?”

“Move,” she snapped, and he was so bewildered that he obeyed. Orihime flopped over beside him, slid her arms around his torso, and buried her face in his chest. His shoulder blades were more pronounced than they should have been. His shirt didn’t fit him quite right. There was so little to hold onto, and yet, she felt his heart beating hard against her forehead and a flood of tears rushed to her eyes. “You’re an idiot,” she whispered, her voice catching.

Ulquiorra stared past her shoulder at the clock on his nightstand. It was 11:52am. She’d ditched school to come see him.

He lifted her head, brushed away the tear that rolled down her cheek with his lips, followed the path the others had left, to her trembling mouth. He’d never kissed her before. He’d never even thought of kissing her, not once. But there in the darkness, as he sank into the depths of a vast and silent ocean with no strength left to swim, it was all he wanted to do.

And so he did. 
mistkitt: (Default)

Originally posted 1/4/2015

Prompt 2 also ended up being about the Muse brats, but in the high school AU. You’ll notice that M!Hime is always the same, whether she’s with TY!Ulqui at age 21 or with M!Ulqui at age 15. Hot chocolate and a hat store!

~

“How about this one?”

Ulquiorra sighed into his hot green tea. He stood a safe distance away from Orihime and his sister Sarah, who had forced him along on their trip to the Tacoma Mall because he was the only one between the three of them who had a car. “It sounds like it could be fun,” his mother had said in that if-you-don’t-take-them-I’ll-be-heartbroken voice.

“You’re absolutely right, mother. Let’s place bets on how long it’ll take Ms. Inoue to realize Sarah’s in love with her,” he’d replied with an amused smirk.

His real motivation for coming was to buy a few ounces of tea from the tea store. He’d ended up laden with that, a carry out beverage container balancing two cups of hot chocolate, several bags of clothing that weren’t his, plus a Batman coffee mug that Orihime had purchased for him, claiming that it suit him perfectly somehow.

Sarah turned, modeling a beret she’d plucked off of a hat rack. “Nice!” Orihime said, then sighed enviously. “Berets just don’t look good on me. Neither do those long beanies that flop in the back.”

“Really? With all that air in your head?” Ulquiorra muttered, earning him a smack in the stomach.

“Nobody asked you.” She picked up a sun hat, placed it on her head, and made herself look as bored as possible. “Darling, you simply must go to the deli on Broadway while you’re in the city,” she said in an exaggerated old Hollywood voice.

Ulquiorra stared at her over the lid of his cup, a little longer than he meant to. She was beautiful; glamorous, even, like she’d been born for money, but ended up selling herself to get it. Judging by Sarah’s expression, she’d noticed it too. Orihime blinked, looking from Sarah to Ulquiorra and back again. “Geez, it must be awful.” She replaced the sun hat on a rack and tried on a cloche instead. “I think my hair’s too long for this one.”

“No!” said Sarah, recovering. “It’s cute! Isn’t it cute, Ulquiorra?”

Ulquiorra thought it made her look forlorn. “Are you almost done? My hand is cramping from all of these bags.”

“Oooh, his precious hand!” Orihime laughed, looping her arm through Sarah’s and dragging her away. “Come on, let’s go check out the shoes so the poor guy can sit down.” 
mistkitt: (Default)

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.”

~

“Hey Mom!”

“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.”

“Paco, really?”

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. 

...

Apr. 28th, 2015 06:09 pm
mistkitt: (Default)
Originally posted 12/23/2014

 The deep spring of sadness is back, and I must get this heaviness off of my chest. Tell Yourself universe; adult things I wanted to explore.

~

It was what one would call a “sensitive subject.” A fresh, badly hidden wound that bled and ached and screamed. Touching a sensitive subject was widely regarded as impolite. However, they were not that easy to avoid.

When two people suffered in the same confined space, it was impossible not to bump into those wounds. When two people had to look at each other every day, eat meals together, share a bed, there was no point in trying to hide their pain. They’d learned that lesson the hard way back in the early days of their relationship, and perhaps in a moment of youthful naivety, they’d promised it would never happen again.

Then she’d gotten cramps. Then she’d rushed to the bathroom to protect her clothes from getting stained. Then he’d walked in and found her crying, asked her what was wrong, and she could no longer stop herself from crashing straight into the sensitive subject:

“It was late. I thought… this time, for sure…”

She was angry at him. Angry at herself. Every day she faced the room of smiling, innocent children - children that weren’t hers - and a tempest raged inside of her.

Why did he get to pretend that he was the only one hurting?

How dare he shut himself away from her. How dare he hide his heart from her when he was the only person she could confide in about this. How dare he become cold to her touch. And how dare she be angry at the both of them for having equally valid feelings.

Two months passed. Two months of strained and meaningless conversations, of sleeping with their backs turned, of sitting up at night staring at her wedding band in tears because it was only a matter of time before he left her; when finally, she lost it.

She filled their silences with yelling. Closed the distance between them with hands grabbing and shaking and hitting where the hole in his chest used to be. Appealing to the heart he’d buried beneath the sands of his past, the heart that loved her at her ugliest, because she didn’t want to feel alone in that big house anymore, because hurting together didn’t have to be a bad thing. If he was upset with her, if he thought she’d been unfair, she wanted to know. If he was upset with himself, if he was afraid, if he thought he’d failed her because he couldn’t give her a child, she wanted to know.

Anything but this, she sobbed, as she lost the strength to keep hitting him and threatened to collapse on the floor.

But he caught her before she could fall. Caught her and held her against him so tight that it almost hurt. Held her without speaking, but the tears she felt landing on her shoulder were evidence enough that he’d returned to her, sorry that he’d been gone for so long.

They spent the evening nursing each other’s wounds. She told him that she was his, that she would never regret choosing him, that no matter what happened they would face it together. He told her he loved her, again and again, in the heat of passion and in the quiet and uncertain moments after.

They were still scared, of course. There was nothing that wasn’t frightening about trying to make a marriage between two completely unique individuals work. But it was their hearts that had brought them together, and they knew it was their hearts that would keep them that way.

Four months later, she turned up at the shop with a hand resting beneath her navel and an enormous, watery smile on her face.

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