Drabbles from the AUs I didn’t write! Starting with QUIZ BOWL.
Calling him out was a bold move, but Orihime had always been a bold person. She walked a safe distance from the rest of HM Private Academy’s grinning, snickering team members, with their silent captain in tow, aware of her friends’ concerned stares from across the auditorium. What would he think of her question? Would it seem vain of her to ask? She swallowed her nerves and turned to face him as soon as they were out of earshot. It couldn’t be helped; she’d have no peace until she knew for sure. “Umm, sorry for inconveniencing you like this, Cifer-san. It’s just that… whenever we compete against each other, it seems like you target me intentionally. I don’t want to think badly of you, so I figured I’d ask you directly…”
Ulquiorra Cifer, the genius of HM Private Academy, regarded her with pocketed hands and a blank expression. “You are not wrong,” he said.
Orihime blinked. “Eh?”
His green eyes bore into hers. “Why is someone like you on Karakura’s team? They were already the laughing stock of the district before you came along.”
Her mouth fell open.
“This is a competitive environment, not an elementary school field trip. If you will not take it seriously, then you should find a club more suited to your personality. It is insulting to the rest of us to be pitted against the likes of you.”
Orihime’s mouth had gone dry, her face bloodless. There was a roaring in her ears. Was she hallucinating? Had she imagined all of that? Because there was no way anyone speak such unbelievably rude words so casually, right?
But Ulquiorra neither looked away nor back down. “Is that all you wanted to know?”
The blood rushed back to her face. She lowered her head and nodded once. Her breathing sounded wrong. She was just standing there, and he was headed back to his teammates…
“Cifer-san!” she blurted out, catching the attention of half the auditorium, staff and students and judges included. He stopped walking. She pointed a shaking finger at him. “We won’t lose!” she screamed, “I won’t be scared off! We’re going to wipe the floor with you, and then you’ll be sorry!”
He graced her with a disgusted glare. Most of his teammates were howling with laughter now. Orihime whirled around and stomped back to Karakura’s table, bowing her head to hide the tears of mortification brimming on her eyelids. “Inoue, what happened?” Ichigo asked.
“Are you okay, Orihime?”
“What did he say to you, Inoue-san?!”
Orihime took a deep breath. “It doesn’t matter,” she declared, straightening her shoulders. “I’m okay. What’s important is that we make it to regionals this year and send HM Private Academy packing, am I right?!”
She was met with several doubtful glances. Her shoulders sagged again. This was going to be harder than she thought.