A Fair Man
by Duchess of Darkness
Warnings: none
Pairing: Aizen/Ichigo
Summary: He especially delighted in the idea of gambling a bit of his money and pride, all for the sake of trying every game and winning every single prize he ever wanted. And he always got what he wanted...

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He loved fairs. The smell of sweets; the shriek of laughter; the warmth of happiness as another person wins a prize. He loved the Fun House, the House of Horrors, the Mirror House. He enjoyed the idea of riding the ferris wheel for the sake of seeing the city at a new, unimaginable height, and being able to say you were higher than anyone at that brief moment. He especially delighted in the idea of gambling a bit of his money and pride, all for the sake of trying every game and winning every single prize he ever wanted. He never lost a challenge, and no matter how long it took him, no matter how taxing just to get that one toy, he would and could do it.

Yes, he was a fair man. Even upon death he played with the thought of treating the afterlife as some sort of game, and his tasks necessary for the acquirement of his goal merely challenges set by the booth manager, bent on taking his spare change. Stages, he called them, the steps that were essential for rising up to power. Like a video game, or "dungeon" set up in the far corner of the fair, he had to go through different levels, conquering small challenges, solving riddles, completing tasks. He became the Fifth Captain amongst the Gotei 13 Shinigami; he created a well-liked reputation for himself, thus easily manipulating the pawns on the chessboard; he secretly formed an alliance to serve under him and lead him in his revolution; he stole the Hogyoku from Rukia Kuchiki's soul; he formed his own army of specialized Hollows, his precious Arrancar; he was two steps away from taking the Ouken and finally initiating his revolution.

That's right, he wasn't even started yet.

But that was because he still wasn't done playing at the fair. He was still looking around for more prizes to take, more games to play, more houses and booths to wander into and satisfy himself. He truly enjoyed an adventurous life, but he knew that he was still missing pieces. He still hadn't picked up that last little prize before he settled his eye on the big one, the key to his victory.

Many years he planned and acquired his other prizes. He collected them all and bared them up on a large, pristine shelf for all to see and understand the sweat of his hard labor and the honey sweet victory that came with each one. Yet one spot on his magnificent shelf was missing and it took him quite some time to ponder and figure out just what it was that belonged there.

See, not only was he a fair man, he was greedy, a perfectionist. He didn't enjoy juggling the idea he was incomplete a collection; it was like trying to build a bike from a kit only to realize you were missing the wheels or handles or seat even! You couldn't ride the bike if a part was missing, just the same he couldn't take that final step toward Ouken without having his last piece of the collection. But what was it? Simple. It wasn't what, it was who. People had always played an important role in his plans, and it was certainly not surprising when yet another was needed to complete his preparations and forward his plans.

This particular person had already once before played a part in his plans. Without even realizing how great a part he played in this game, the child had inadvertently drawn attention to himself, ultimately leading to his own doom. Of course, it certainly didn't help that the boy had a strong pride, rival to his own when it came to winning versus losing. Ah yes, the "substitute Shinigami" famed for breaking every law ever created in Seireitei all for the sake of one weak, little royal Shinigami girl. The one and only most arrogant child he'd ever come across:

Ichigo Kurosaki.

This child was his last winning piece. He was the prize he long awaited to complete his collection. Young, powerful, naive, arrogant, and an anomaly in and of himself, Ichigo was a strange, fascinating creature. He was like that one wild wolf amongst a pack of dogs in an animal shelter, not quite belonging even though he was surrounded by his distant cousins. Ichigo was neither fully Shinigami, nor fully Hollow. He was hardly a Vaizard for that matter. Still, the little pup, with all his snarling and growling and prickly fur, was so degradingly adorable, he wanted to put the little beast in a jar to stare at all day.

But why? Why would he care about a little show-off, an outcast when there were many others? Sure, the boy was powerful, enough to challenge his very best Arrancar, and possibly worthy of being pulled into his ranks, were his soul tainted enough; yet he was still just another chess piece. Why was he different from all the other pieces? He already had his Queen, his ever-faithful Ulquiorra; though the Arrancar wasn't his strongest warrior, he was the most obedient, never failing to prove him how slavish he was. He didn't need another Queen.

No, what he needed was a King. He needed a more dominant force to drive his warriors into action. Ichigo would be his King. He would not be like your normal kingly chess piece, that hid behind the Rook and Knight, the Bishop and dozen little Pawns; he did not cower behind the Queen. Instead, Ichigo would be the fire that fed his Arrancar warriors to battle, and feed them the bloodlust necessary for carrying out his revolution.

And though his side of the chessboard was white, as all his Arrancar and Espada dawned the pure white robes, symbols of justice, Ichigo, with his mixed appearance -- the black Shinigami shihakusho with the white Hollow mask -- would stand with them. Together, however unknowingly the boy acted, they would knock down the black Pawns of the Shinigami forces, destroy the Rooks that were their fortresses in Soul Society, and eliminate the strong political defenses that made up the skeleton of their kingdom. In time, certainly, Soul Society would fall, and all would be his.

All with the help of one Ichigo Kurosaki, his precious, invaluable King.

So even as he lost some of his most powerful warriors in his very home in Hueco Mundo -- his Las Noches -- the end result was worth the pain and loss. He was willing to take the long route of things if in time he got his just reward. He always won his prize. Whatever the challenge, he would tackle it and overcome it. He was, indeed, a fair man.

What god wasn't?

After all, he was Sousuke Aizen.

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NOTE: This is something new I thought I'd try out. No, other Bleach fans of mine, I did not abandon my GrimmxIchi escapade. I simply had the urge to write Aizen and his bad self. It's a little different from my other Bleach stories, but that's how demanding Aizen is, I guess. (grins) Anyway, in addition to completing the next GxI "chapter", I'm willing to churn out another fic for the 2007 holiday season, whatever the pairing, and whatever position Ichi holds, be it forever uke or finally seme. Readers' pick. I'll go with whatever pairing's most popular, and whatever situation I find appealing enough to write. Please cast your votes either via PM or review or email or even LJ! (I float around LJ a bit...) I'll have it done by New Years.