before the fall

From up here, you can see all Seireitai. From up here, Kira can see Third Division laid out as clearly as a collection of toy houses.

Up here, the wind is cold on bare flesh.

Kira finds this place disturbing in itself. The Tower of Penitence is built of killing stone, and its vibrations are a smoothness against his perceptions, and its stone is hard on his knees.

"That's . . . right," his Captain says. He's leaning on the parapet, angling himself so he can look out over Seireitai below, while Kira's kneeling there in front of him. "You're so nervous, Izuru-kun."

There's nothing Kira can say, or would say if he could.

"Don'tcha worry." His Captain ruffles his hair. He isn't even breathing hard. "Ain't nobody going to come up here and see us, Izuru-kun. Even if they did, they won't say nothing. Not against a Captain and his vice-captain. Mm?"

Kira lowers his eyes, torn between shame and awkwardness and the half-strangled surge of excitement at the thought of someone walking in and seeing him here like this, naked, kneeling . . .

"That's right," his Captain says, voice roughening a little. "Yeah, that's right, Izuru-kun. You're doing just fine."

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