I do not own Bleach

Here you guys go! : D As promised! Thanks so much for reviewing!

Chapter 17

The Test of a Lion's Pride

Hueco Mundo was still. Everything was silent. No one moved an inch as they gazed around at their surroundings. This new resitu plagued through the halls, creeping through the bodies of the inhabitants like a hand touching ice. The weak fell easily against this foreign enemy, not able even stand up against the pressure. The Espada did not know whether to interpret this as Aizen or someone else. But the general conciseness was clear—whosoever this spiritual pressure belonged too, it was terrifying. It sent shiver done the spine of the most senior Espada. Yet it was oddly peaceful, cool and refreshing.. It as if a madman was trying to convince others that he was sane--even after having killed seven others.

In the darkness of Aizen's study, the Hōgyoku sat on its pedestal, it's insides buzzing with activity. Do you feel that? Can you taste it? Can you just feel its power! I want it...I want it!

Orihime was sitting in her bedroom, wrapping her arms around her stomach. Shoulders hunched, her body withering with anguish. What is this? Why is there so much pain?

Aizen was still glaring Ichigo down, his face livid. His hand was on his nose, blood flowing in between fingers and staining his white uniform. Ulquiorra tighten his grip on Ichigo's arms as Aizen approached them. Ichigo should have been afraid of what would happen next but he wasn't. He continued to scowl at Aizen as he stepped closer.

Aizen stopped as he felt a freezing embrace fill the small room. He turned around, wondering if someone had come into the room uninvited.

And than quite unexpectedly, pain erupted inside both Aizen and Ichigo. Aizen placed his bloody hand onto his forehead, while Ichigo struggled to break his arms away from Ulquiorra. However Ulquiorra would not allow it. In fact, he made his grip even tighter than before. He was watching his creator with a look of panic on his face. What should he do? Aizen had not given him any orders to leave Ichigo...but he was in pain...

Aizen in pain? There was something wrong with that scenario.

Ichigo bit his lip, trying not to cough blood onto the white floor. This was more than Ichigo could take. He felt as if every organ in his body were being pierced with white hot knives. He wanted it to fade, to black out, to die...

Farrin was still on the floor, blood dripping from her cracked skull. Her mouth was slightly opened, her eyes half lidded but it was easy to tell that she was no longer in this world. Szayel was shaken by the events that were taking place. He was sitting down, his back against the wall. Every inch of him was being suppressed this spiritual pressure. What the hell was this? Why was the resitu suffocating him? It wasn't Aizen's, he knew that. Nor was it Gin's...his wide eyes looked over at Farrin.

"What had that stupid woman said? I heard her..." He mumbled. "Does she know was going on?"

He tried to stand up, but found it impossible. Szayel swallowed his pride, forcing himself over to Farrin's body by any means necessary. He eventually got to where she lay, reaching to where her hand had been clutching her body.

Removing her hand, he placed it at her side. He then took his own hand on the spot Farrin's had been. It was as if he touched the surface of a very hot stove. He clenched his teeth, removing his hand. Careful not to get his hands burned again, he lifted his Fraccion's shirt. What was revealed underneath shocked Szayel.

A black "L" was literally craved into the girl's body.

What was that suppose to mean?

Szayel gazed down as Farrin groaned and her eyes were given back the torch of life. The moment this happened, the foreign resitu vanished. The incredibly pressure left the room and everyone seemed relieved that the enduring pain had finally swept pass. Relief soon turned panic as the Arrancar began to question the events at hand.

"Was it the Soul Society?"

"How could it have been them? No one there has a a spiritual pressure that vast!"

"Is everyone alright?"

"What just happened?!"

The questions were muttered among the corridors, the kitchens, the dining room, floating to everyone in the vicinity. Fear turned into curiosity and pain turned into indifference. How dare anyone attack the Hueco Mundo unawares! Whoever did this would most certainly pay!

It was only Farrin who screamed.

Once the foreign power had disappeared, Aizen ordered Ulquiorra to stay in the room with Ichigo. He gazed at Ichigo with anger in his eyes. "I'll deal with you when I get back." He said, wiping the blood from his face. Ichigo clenched his teeth, feeling very sick. He wanted Ulquiorra to let go of him but the Arrancar had not budged from his death-grip. Ichigo tried to struggle, only to feel Ulquiorra's hold become even tighter.

"Ah..." Ichigo took in a deep breath. "Let go..."

"No." Ulquiorra said. "Aizen-sama gave no instructions to release you."


"You're getting just what you deserve. You've had this coming for months."

Ichigo didn't move after that, standing very still as he waited for Aizen to return. His mind was foggy, thoughts running through his mind like a speeding freight train. What had just happened? Why was the room so cold?

Everything was just so painful...

I can't...I can't think at all...

My mind's mess...

He closed his eyes and his body began to limp. He wasn't sure what was coming over him...but he felt like falling to sleep...

His mind...

Aizen returned within a span of thirty minutes, opening the door and looking as menacing as he did before. His dark eyes landed right on Ichigo's sickly face but he spoke to Ulquiorra, "I was not able to locate the culprit but it does seem we have been attacked by a foreign entity. I want you to gather the rest of the Espada to discuss the matters at hand."

"Aizen-sama, does this include--"

"Yes, it includes number seven. Nouri's not here, so we'll have to use Farrin. Be sure to tell Szayel to bring her along."

Ulquiorra gave the deepest of bows, letting go of Ichigo before rushing to the tasks at hand. Ichigo fell to his knees, his mind buzzing with unwanted emotions. Aizen could tell that the boy was not feeling well, but he took no pity on him. He walked slowly over to the other man, his expression like that of a predator after his prey. Ichigo only looked up when Aizen was right in front of him, their eyes locked onto each other.

Ichigo could see that the man's face was quite clean and his nose was healed, but there was blood staining his white uniform. He inwardly laughed at that.

"Get up." Aizen said. Ichigo didn't respond. "Don't make me ask a second a time." Again, nothing. Ichigo just glared at Aizen. Grasping Ichigo by the collar of his shirt, he yanked Ichigo to his feet with all his strength.

"Stand, now." Ichigo knew from the start that he was treading in cold water. He lifted his head up, his eyes still narrowed. He had no idea what had taken over in those few moments between Aizen and him. All he had known was that he wanted to hurt Aizen, make him pay for what all that he had done to Ichigo. Taking away his future, his friends and family. There had been so many other options available to Ichigo. He could have just talked back, given Aizen a hard time. But in those brief seconds, confronting Aizen had seemed just right.

And Ichigo did no regret what he did.

He used his own legs to support his weight and Aizen let go. "You're pale." He said, though he didn't really seem to care. "Why don't you go eat?"

"I don't need it." Ichigo grumbled.

"I wasn't asking."

"Really? Because it seemed like you were--"

Aizen struck Ichigo's face with the palm of his hand. Ichigo gaped, placing his hand where Aizen had just slapped. Despite everything Aizen had done to him, it all had been psychological. He had never become psychical with Ichigo. He clenched his teeth, ready to hit back if he had too. Aizen eyed Ichigo's forming fists and sighed.

"Put your hands down." Aizen said, not even bothering to raise his voice this time. Ichigo, once again, did not listen. Aizen rose his spiritual pressure, forcing Ichigo to his knees again. "Put them down."

Ichigo did what he told this time. He wanted to vomit--both psychically and mentally. Aizen's spiritual pressure lifted slightly, which allowed Ichigo to stand up once more. He rubbed his face and headed towards his tray of food. He picked up a bowl of rice and started to eat with his back towards Aizen. The man must be feeling full of himself right now for this was the first time that he had really gotten Ichigo to listen to him.

"Good boy, see how easy that was? I guess practice makes prefect." Aizen did seem quite pleased with himself.

Once Ichigo was finished, he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, turning around to see that Aizen had not once looked away from Ichigo. Those cold eyes met Ichigo's through a kind of mist. But it did not scare him—Ichigo's determined gaze was not phased.

"Ichigo-kun, how long have you been here?" Aizen questioned.

"Four months." Ichigo responded.

"That's a long time for someone to be here. What have you done for me?"

"Nothing nor do I plan to."

Aizen smiled, "Not plan to? Well, let me reinstall a point. Orihime's life lays in the decisions you make tonight."

"No! You need her!" Ichigo spat. "You wouldn't kill her! You're just using her as a means to control me!"

"Am I, Ichigo?" Aizen smiled widen, but it was a different smile from the ones Ichigo remembered. He couldn't quite put his finger on it but it was as if Aizen was beaming as a parent would when braggin about their children. "How do you know what Farrin tells you is not false? Why do you trust her so blindly?"

Ichigo knitted his eyebrows together. "What are you talking about..."

"Farrin has an amazing ability to get people to believe anything she tells them." Aizen said, stepping closer to Ichigo. "Nouri has that wonderful talent as well. They lie beautifully."

Ichigo still looked confused, backing against the wall as Aizen came closer. "What have they..."

"They lied to you because I told them to do so." Aizen said, now standing mere inches from the man. He leaned over and whispered into the man's ear. " Don't you remember? They're my creations. I control everything they do."

Ichigo didn't move, not knowing if he should believe Aizen's words. Was it possible? Had he just been blinded by his loneliness? Had Nouri been lying about their entire friendship? Was Farrin just as cold-hearted as Ichigo remembered hearing? But no...Ichigo had to remember that despite Aizen's words, there had been something human about them. Something that separated them from everyone else.

but he had to remember, Aizen, the man who had destoryed everything from him, was telling him this. Why on earth would he trust Aizen?

Aizen contuined his speech. "Ichigo, let me tell you something. Your little sisters, at this very moment, are being attacked. They are going to be captured and brought here. And you know who I sent to fetch them?"

Ichigo shivered, not liking how the man's breath tickled his neck. "Nouri and Grimmjow. Nouri left without complaint because remember, he's mine. He follows any order I give him. Everything in this castle is mine. Orihime, the Espada..they all listen to me. Did you honestly think you would be able to find any solitude with them?" He pulled back, eye-level with Ichigo, cupping his chin. "I own their free-will, whether they realize it or not. Whether they like it or not." He shook Ichigo slightly, "And you know what? You're here to work for me, so your will also belongs to me. You're mine."

Ichigo's confusion was dissolved and replaced with indignation. "Yours? Yours? I don't belong to anyone!"

He attempted to pull away from Aizen, but failed. Aizen gripped the younger man's arm, pulling him close to his face, so close that Ichigo swore he could see every wrinkle underneath those possessive eyes. Ichigo tried to tug away from his grip but this caused Aizen to hold him even harder. So hard in fact that Ichigo was sure that his bones would crack from the pressure.

"Damn it, let me go!." Ichigo grumbled. But to his displeasure, Aizen did the exact opposite. He used his other hand to lift Ichigo's face to the side as his lips trailed down Ichigo's neck.

Ichigo stopped trying to struggle, comprehending the gravity of his situation."Sto--"

Aizen clamped a hand over Ichigo's mouth. "Be quiet." He lifted his hand up and leaned in closer to Ichigo. Each individual finger caressed over Ichigo's lips for one moment. Ichigo's breath shook slightly and slowly Aizen captured them in a kiss. The same wondrous feeling that had erupted inside of Aizen the night before rekindled itself, but this time only as a small flame. Aizen was no doing this for pleasure, more to drive home the lesson that he was the dominant one. Ichigo reacted quite predictably, trying to shove Aizen away. However Aizen wouldn't let him. He wrapped his arms around the Ichigo's waist, pulling him closer to his chest.

Ichigo groaned, loathing every second of this encounter. He just wanted Aizen to let him go and walk as far from here to Pluto a million times over. This wasn't the bastard that had captured Ichigo! This was some weird parallel universe Aizen that was a homosexual. Or bisexual, like it really made a difference to Ichigo's situation. Aizen stopped for a brief second, allowing himself to take a breath before latching his lips onto Ichigo's neck again.

"Aizen, let go." Ichigo said.

"I told you to be quiet." Aizen said in hushed tones, his hand traveling down Ichigo's shirt. Ichigo placed his hands on the older man's shoulders, trying to push him away. Aizen took Ichigo's hands, grasping them into one of his own. He placed them high above his head. He smiled despite Ichigo's angry expression. "Good, this is much better. You're sparing your sweet sisters from any pain I may inflict when they arrive. Who knows? They might have a peaceful first night here."

Ichigo closed his eyes, not daring to do anything that might make Aizen change his mind. There was a good chance that his sisters would be perfectly fine. From what he remembered a few months ago when he had been fought Nouri, the man was strong. Yet Ichigo wasn't postive of getting past shinigami like Urahara or his father. But if he was teamed up with Grimmjow...his sisters also had a horrible chance of being brought here. He closed his eyes as Aizen bit his neck, drawing blood. He licked the blood away, causing Ichigo to cringe. He knew that this was payback for what Ichigo had done to him.

Aizen's other hand was going underneath Ichigo's shirt, feeling the tense muscles. "Relax. As long you do what I command, no one will be hurt."

Ichigo didn't say anything. What was coming over Aizen? Why was he doing this to Ichigo?

As if Aizen had read Ichigo's mind, he said. "I've watched you for six years...a decade almost. You grew up from a headstrong teenager into a virtuous adult. I don't know why I'm doing this..." He softly nipped at Ichigo's bottom lip, before kissing him once more. Ichigo didn't know how he should react to Aizen statement. What was going on with you, Aizen?

Ichigo had become so immersed with his own thoughts, that he barely noticed Aizen slipping his tongue into Ichigo's mouth. It was a smooth and wet and took Ichigo a minute to register what was going on. This was going to far. Ichigo had every intention of biting the man's tongue but than he remembered his sisters.

And Orihime.

And Tatsuki.

Tatsuki...he had once kissed Tatsuki like this. In the days when he had left his childhood behind and had grasp her hand within his. The world had seemed to be in bliss back than, despite the tragedies of war. Everything in his life had been stable and than his life had been thrown into the arms of the wind.

His world.

His future.

His friends.

His family...

He felt as if they had been slipping through his fingers.

Tatsuki had been one of his only comforts in that confusing era. At least she had been able to make him smile.

Yet he did not want to remember those happy days for they had long since past. Those days were no longer apart of his reality.

Aizen, Las Noches, Nouri, Farrin, Ulquiorra...this was his reality. He was going to have to protect those he cared about in a different way. His eyes narrowed, vowing that no matter what happned, he would not allow anyone who he loved to be harmed. Even if it meant his own death. He had been blind these last few months, feeling sorry only for himself. But he knew that all of this would have to change.

He promised.

Aizen explored Ichigo's mouth, before slowly drawing away. He let go of Ichigo's hands, allowing them to drop back down to his side. He whispered, "You'll be leaving after my meeting is over. Remember the decisions you make tonight will affect your sisters." He gave one last lingering kiss before finishing his speech, "Your mission is to kill Arisawa Tatsuki—remember that."

Yuzu defended herself against the blast of spiritual pressure that came Nouri's transformation. Karin gripped her arm, pulling Yuzu closer to her and Chad stayed in front of them, watching the sight with both bewilderment and suspicion. He was not entirely sure if he could trust this new man or not. He might be betraying Aizen, but it didn't mean that the man had his own agendas planned. He could still be a threat.

The transformation was nothing like Yuzu had ever witness. Whenever there was a battle, she had never been allowed near them. This meant she did not really understand what it was look liked when Arrancars released their swords. The man called Nouri was as horrible as it was wondrous to watch.

His former partner had jumped into the air, watching with a look of loathing on his face.

How could this stupid kid do this to him? He was going to kill him! Tear him from limb to limb...

Grimmjow stopped his savage thoughts for a brief moment when Nouri had finished his transformation. There was other stun mummer that rippled through bystanders. Grimmjow had never actually seen Nouri release his sword. It wasn't that he was interested, he had just heard through numerous rumors that Nouri's was a transformation worth watching. Even Aizen had intinally expressed an interest in it--and it wasn't because of his power. It was because of the way Nouri looked. Grimmow could never figure out why someone's appearance would cause such a stir. But now he knew why. Whenever an Arrancar went into his true form, their bodies usually changed shape, making them less human. Nouri was the exact opposite.

He looked exactly like a human.

His matted hair was gone, replaced with a lock of wavy black hair. He appeared younger, even, with a youthful glow in his face. His white suit had vanished to be placed a dark green uniform with his shirt tucked in and black boots. One of the most visible features was a red tag wrapped around his elbow. It seemed to have sort of symbol, but no one could see it at the angle Nouri was standing in.

He stood straight as a solider, with his eyes looking up right at his foe. His eyes were no longer green but a deep, dark blue. "I'm sorry, Grimmjow. But I won't let this happen...not if I can help it."

Marine, I'm sorry, Nouri thought. I'm sorry for everything I have done.

Writer's Notes:

Good? Like it? Love it? Hate it? Want me to smash my head into the wall? This was the first time I have done a scene this intimate...so...please don't yell at me if it was bad or not...

So, like uh...leave a review...I would be thrilled if the same number of people left me reviews...who knows what might happen?

And thanks for everyone did review last time and I didn't get a chance to respond yet! I was busy writing this chapter before Sunday came. I'll get to it as soon as I can.

I can't believe this story one years old! D : I'm sorry dusty! Happy very belated b-day!

Dusty: Yeah, that's right. You give me a happy b-day present. I want cookies!

-_- No.


No. Go to hell, Dusty. These are my cookies.

WHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAA! I thought you loved me?

No. : D *Latches onto something Disney related*

O.- Meanie.