to see your true face

Ichigo knows this shit has to be Aizen's zanpakutou, whatever the fuck it was called, nouns garbled together to make a phrase that made no sense, and even if he could remember it he's not sure quite what good it would do. He's alone with the man in a world of whiteness.

This had been Aizen's throne room. Logically he must be standing on the floor. Logically there are walls and doors and a ceiling.

Logically, he shouldn't feel so small and helpless.

Aizen gestures with his zanpakutou, and Ichigo's clothes shred away from his body -- bankai coat, jacket and hakama, all of it -- and leave him naked there, clutching Zangetsu with a growing fury.

"This is just illusion," he says, and is gratified that there's more anger in his voice than fear. "You really think that you can beat me with tricks like this?"

"So you're going to beat me with that?" Aizen inquires, raising an eyebrow.

The texture is wrong against his hand. Ichigo looks down to see that he's not holding Zangetsu any more, he's clutching himself, the curve of his cock hot in his hand, and he releases it with a gasp of shock.

"There you go. Throwing away your sword."

It's an illusion, it has to be an illusion, but Zangetsu tumbles to sink through the floor as if it were drifting down through clouded water, and in a moment it is lost to sight.

"It's a fucking trick," Ichigo snarls. He starts forward, curling his hand and trying to believe that he's still holding Zangetsu. Surely if he believes it enough, then he can break this daydream.

Aizen gestures again.

Chains lock round Ichigo's ankles, and he falls to his knees. More metal locks round his wrists, hard and tight, biting into his skin. He curses.

"Of course it's a trick," Aizen says. "And when you find the key, you'll be able to free yourself."

"So what's the damn key?"

"Oh, you expect me to tell you."

"You like that, don't you? Gloating?"

Aizen tilts his head. "It's the only sane response to the situation. Here you are, naked in front of me, chained, on your knees --"

"Shut the fuck up!"

"-- trying to think what to do. There is an answer. It's buried deep in you, Kurosaki, but I know how to get it out."

A collar locks itself round Ichigo's throat, and the chain round his hands clips itself to a bolt on the collar. He claws at the air.

"I just want you to understand," Aizen says, walking closer, "that you are helpless. Not just weaker than me. Not just failing in determination. But helpless."

There's something hard and plastic filling Ichigo's mouth now, and he can't get words out, can't even form them in his own head through the rising tide of panic and fury.

"Accept that," Aizen says, gently, "and change it."

He's not holding Kyouka Suigetsu any more. There's a piece of white silk in his hands. He ties it over Ichigo's eyes, and then everything is darkness.

Ichigo screams into the gag. He's squirming on the floor, he can feel hands on his body, he can't see, he can't fight back, and there's a black rage building inside him that is going to eat him whole when it breaks loose. It's like a worm inside his mind, growing with every second, and it's not about protecting the people he cares about, it's not even about fighting, it's about shame and humiliation and helplessness and revenge and fury and blood.

He's so angry that he could kill someone.


Gin enters the room to see Aizen lounging on his throne, Kyouga Suigetsu naked across his lap. His master's fingers run across the blade, and he smiles vaguely as he watches the twitching boy sprawled on the floor.

Slowly a mask begins to form on the boy's face.

"Ah," Aizen says. "Yes. That'll do nicely."