The Espada were tools, weapons of war, weapons of fear and destruction. They knew that. Before they were Espada they were hollows and their lives existed only around death and survival.
Aizen made his Espada to be able to think and act on those thoughts, to be able to ignore the hunger of souls and to focus on other things. He made them bow and obey. They were his troops, his harbingers of death.
He was King after all.
With his Espada, he took high-powered hollows and he changed them, gave them shinigami powers, made them look human. But the emotions they could experience were limited. He had purposely made them without joy or happiness. He made them human appearance without the full spectrum of emotion.
The Espada could still feel hollowness in them. They tried to supplement that hollowness anyway they could. They indulged in their instincts, in fighting and in some cases sleeping. Anger and hate fueled them, the most easily attainable emotions they could express.
Others, like ULquiorra, could not express at all for he had no reason to express, blank on the outside, cold on the inside. He obeys, and he kills.
What a perfect soldier.
Aizen did good work making the arrancar. His toy soldiers were strong and they obeyed. They felt no fear, no love, and no pity. They were perfect soldiers. All were killers; all do not even caring that they killed. All stained with blood oceans thick. They lacked empathy, lacked hearts, lacked the impulse to care.
Aizen would have won in the war against Soul Society if he had kept his soldiers this way. Ruthless and bloodthirsty, they would slaughter any shinigami coming their way. Ruthless and manipulative, Aizen would've have them dancing by his strings as he did before when he was a captain in Soul Society.
The shinigami were of this era was too competent, too caring and too brave, a whole batch of do-gooders. Influenced by the ryoka, they have changed. Aizen, so arrogant, had forgotten how small things can become big things; he used the ryoka for his own plans and had forgotten how outside stimulus forces change.
Aizen forgot the number one rule of survival.
Adapt or Die.
If there was anything hollows were good at, they were good at survival. The strong lived while the weak perished. It is life, it is their meaning, it was everything. Even as they donned human form, the base instinct still lived on.
Aizen's only mistake, a seemly minuscule decision and scheme in the entire plan, was to kidnap Orihime. It wasn't that her friends were going to rescue her, or that she might use her powers against him, it was the fact that she was unpredictable and thus unable to be plotted.
It was small first, her influence among his Espada. Small nudges and somewhat overlooked actions. Orihime didn't notice what she was doing, she didn't know that she was doing them. She was just being Orihime, she was being human, she was being imaginative and expressive.
Had Aizen kidnapped someone else, the story would've ended differently. But he didn't. He thrust a small bright light into consuming darkness. Most lights would've faded and died. Most lights would've become darker and subcummed. Most lights were never meant to shine too brightly only to flicker out at their height.
Orihime did not flicker or die. She shined like a star, a sun, a warmth like her shield.
The first warning was in how Ulquiorra was acting. The normally passive Espada was expressing emotion, small twinges of irritation towards his charge. He even allowed himself to be slapped. That was big. Aizen decided to let Halibel take care of Orihime, confident that the silent Espada would be untouched by Orihime's brimming emotions.
But alas, Orihime was like a virus, infecting his Espada. She made them smile, made them laugh, opened their eyes, and made them yearn for emotions other than hate and lust.
She played games with them, simple card games, board games that the Espada took from the living world. Stark was strangely hooked on manga and Wonderwice painted the white rooms with color, small inessential that changed the Esapda. Aizen didn't care and allowed her to have her little whims. As long as she did her task, he would not bat an eyelash if she turned purple.
Small tiny childish games that children played, the Espada experimented puppet theaters and singing competitions. Orihime like glue bonded the Espada. She, like a force of nature, blew past their protests and forced them to face each other.
Brothers and Sisters.
Never had those words meant so much as they did when Orihime said them. When Aizen said them, his voice was sinister and sounded so hollow, so fake. They never knew a difference in the voice, in the tone until Orihime said them.
Her voice, full of love and caring opened their ears. It didn't matter they were arrancar, that they were enemies. She reached out and they, reluctantly, touched fingertips. True innocence was so hard to find and so very easily crushed. Orihime, could not be crushed, it was forbidden in the beginning, was under radar, and was able to radiate her innocence like a beacon.
Like a light in darkness, she was their flame. But they were not moths. With each touch, each graceful brush, the moths changed and grew. Their masks, the ones they were born with, broke and shattered. Their true face, their hidden face, another adaptation, another change and they moved becoming.
Even Aizen's two lieutenants were not immune to her. Gin, the ever-smiling fox, could be seen fondling a wide haori in his room while Tousen seemed to be staring at walls even though he could not see. Her words reached them, her actions. She had done something to them, something that made them both Think.
It was only at the final battle did Aizen realize how grossly miscalculated he had of his pawns and his pieces. The shinigami were pushing forward, slashing through the hoard of hollows. Aizen was losing. He needed the Orb to be fully powered. Orihime was next to him, Tousen holding her elbow.
She refused to use her powers. She used all her defiance at that one crucial moment.
"Do it." He yelled, losing his composure. Orihime shook her head. In anger, he grabbed her arm, and slapped her.
A hand went through his body. A sword sliced his arm off. Aizen screamed in real pain, and pulled back. His Espada had gone against him. Ulquiorra held Orihime in his arms, his cold green eyes narrowed at Aizen. Stark held his hand, fingers limp, dripping with Aizen's blood in a bored way. Gin smiled, his blade also dripping in Aizen's blood.
Aizen didn't take betrayal well, ironic for a man who betrayed everyone else. The shinigami stared as their enemies turned around and ignored them. Aizen initated Bankai, confident he would be able to wipe them all out. Everyone was hit.
"Fools!" Shouted Aizen as his enemies withered. "I am unbe-"
A sword came out of his chest. A voice near his ear whispered," You forget, I am blind. I see nothing, never fooled by your illusions."
And so the most powerful shinigami fell, his bankai falling apart. He fell to the ground but he never made it. A cero vaporized him courtesy of Grimmjow. Grimmjow laughed hysterically.
The shinigami looked at each other and then at the Espada. "What are you going to do? "
Ulquiorra spoke, the unofficial representative. "Aizen's war is of no concern to us."
Ichigo ran over. "Give back Orihime."
Grimmjow snickered. "No way. She's ours now. One of us. We're not handing her over to you nimrods."
Stark scratched his ear and opened garganta. "We're leaving."
Ulquiorra spoke once more. "I believe a human statement could be said in this situation. Keep what is precious to you, protect with all your life and will or suffer the loss of failure." He walked towards the garganta.
The Espada were leaving with Orihime, the girl with god defying powers, and the shinigami were too wounded to make a decent effort to stop them. Orihime was also willing walking back with them, following them.
Just what had happened in Hueco Muendo?
"Don't worry strawberry, we'll let her visit. After all you're her friends." Grimmjow sneered. "But we're family."
Ichigo stared in shock and watched as the garganta closed. Gin and Tousen were left behind. Some of the random hollows dispersed.
"Why didn't you go with them?" Asked Toshiro, hand on his wound.
Gin grin widened. "Didn't ya hear Grimmy? I'm not family and they hate me."
Tousen nodded. "It's true. They hate him." Wonderwice cooed and hung onto Tousen's leg.
"What about him!" Shouted Ichigo, pointing.
Tousen patted Wonderwice's head. "I'll bring him back later."
Gin snickered. "I'm sure y'all want to know what happened right?"
Nods from multiple heads.
"It's just this." Gin paused. A minute passed, then two and finally Rangiku bopped him on the head for taking too long.
"Ran-chan," whined Gin before speaking seriously. "They're family."
Another bop. "What the hell Gin! That doesn't explain anything!
Something I wanted to write. Just some thoughts that's all.