A/N: Over All Things is one of the most emotional pieces I have ever done, and I think that this story shall be the ending of the Gin and Aizen saga in my own little Bleachverse. It is sort of a vanity project, to portray what Gin was feeling/thinking in Over All Things.
Before my readers send me death threats for what I do to my characters, please remember that (1) I don't own Bleach and never will; (2) these characters are evil; and (3) I love them very, very much, even if they are imaginary people living in my brain.
Please review at the end of the fic – even if you hate what I've done to them.
Thanks to Thaurn for suggesting the song, Kissing You by Des'ree (Romeo and Juliet soundtrack). It's the song that's playing right now as I write this piece excerpted from Over All Things, seen from Gin's point-of-view.
I know he is here.
He is outside, and they are trying to stop him from seeing me. They will not succeed.
Yamada, the slight if determined shinigami healer, is evidently distressed by my faltering heartbeat which he is monitoring. I am distressed by the creeping black lines all over my skin; they are repulsive. Nonetheless I smile at him. "Don't worry about me, kid. I'll be fine."
It is a lie, and we both know it. But he bows his head in thanks. He continues to fiddle with his fingers – there is nothing he can do for me, when even Unohana-taichou is helpless in the face of the hougyoku. I know Urahara has been consulted, and the man has been in to see me himself (when Aizen-sama is not around), but he can't help me either.
The three best minds of my world – the best healer, the best inventor, and my own lover – are helpless against this intruder to my soul, this innocuous black sphere that was meant to activate the King's Key, but had to be concealed before the shinigami reached it. My impulsive decision ruined Aizen-sama's plan, but he never once blamed me.
He could have taken the seat of God, had he continued to battle Squad Zero.
We had anticipated betrayal, but Grimmjow was stronger than I guessed. If he had been able to reach the hougyoku, it would all have been lost anyway. I keep telling myself that, but I knew my weakness became the deciding factor for Aizen-sama to give up the fight.
He could have taken the seat of God. He gave it up for someone as weak as me.
I wish I could turn back time, to the instant our eyes met in that corridor, when he had pinned me to the wall and teased me with a look and a touch. I should have left well enough alone then, because he would have been safe and successful. I would never have known the depth of feeling I have for him, but it wouldn't matter by then, because he would have ascended and attained his true place in the heavens.
I have wished for many things, and most of them have come true because of him. Why couldn't I have the strength to fulfill his wishes? Why can I do nothing else but love him? Why can't I do more for him?
I close my eyes, recalling the tenderness of his touch the night before. The nightmare had seemed real, far too real. I had screamed for him blindly, and he had been there, in real life, holding me, telling me he would always be there, always be there for me, always be there with me. The bone-crushing embrace had been so reassuring, and I had needed to feel him again buried in my body. His skin, velvet-soft, sun-warm, rich-tasting, melding into mine. He had been so gentle, fearful of hurting my frail frame, even as I tried to urge his passions higher with everything I remembered.
My heart aches with fond longing; I can still feel the soft wetness in the crook of my neck when we released together. He didn't let me see his tears though; not that I could, since my eyes had been blinded by my own.
We had known then that it would be the last time we made love.
I wish I could kiss him forever, dissolve into him.
If I had to leave while he was there, I wouldn't have gone. I wouldn't have left him if I had to say goodbye.
He is here now, seeking me. I knew he would come, but I have hopes that Urahara and Ichigo can hold him long enough for him to accept this fate I chose. Then he can resume his plans and fulfill his destiny. I have held him back long enough – I have been incredibly selfish, but I had needed him. But if he can be held back long enough, perhaps he can calm down, then complete the battle.
I really should have known better.
Two taps on the door: Yamada jerks his head up and scurries behind me. I feel a trifle ridiculous, seated in a throne of cushions. But the door slides apart and he is here, almost in the center of the arena.
Aizen-sama is here.
I feel my eyes brimming with emotion. I asked Ichigo and Urahara to stay him and keep him away, but deep in my heart I had been terrified. How can I leave without his strength supporting me? How can I possibly go without his kiss, his gaze, his touch?
I need him with me, despite my bravado.
I am a weakling, and I hate myself for it. But I need him with me.
He knows it.
The small smile on his face as he approaches means more to me than a thousand sweet nothings. Aizen-sama understands me completely, even the things I don't articulate. "Hey. Did you expect to see me?"
I sigh a little. "Sort of," I admit. "You made Ichigo and Urahara-san break their promises."
"I'll make it up to them," he says. I doubt he will; he wouldn't have appreciated them trying to stop him. I tingle under his scrutiny; he always makes me feel like I'm the only person in the room. Even if it is an domed auditorium full of enemies, he has eyes only for me. "You want to sit there or in my lap?"
He has to ask? "Lap, please."
He carries me as if I am fragile. I cling to him, loving his broad shoulders and muscular arms, loving that musky, sun-warmed scent that envelopes me. As we settle and he digs in his bag for something, he says quietly, "Sorry I'm late. There was a queue, and then a blockade, and then an argument."
I know his apology is meant for more than that. But he has nothing to apologize for; if anything, I should apologize to him for being his burden and for slowing him down. Instead I merely say, "It's alright. You know I don't care much about punctuality anyway."
A blatant lie; I care a lot. I may be the most tardy person on the planet after Godot, but I care when people are late. He knows what I mean.
I feel myself tremble when I realize what he has brought. "There wasn't raspberry sorbet," he tells me as he inserts a spoon into the ice cream container. I think my heart just stopped. "I got you lemon and chocolate instead."
"Two flavors? Yum." I adore the combination, so like the two of us. Actually I would have eaten anything from his hand, even if he fed me poison. But he sincerely regrets not being able to secure my favorite flavor – what karma did I earn in my previous incarnation to have such a man in my life?
He smiles broadly. "Which?"
I can see rows of black and white robes behind his head, and I shift closer so he fills my range of vision. There is no one else I need now. "Lemon, first."
I didn't think I can swallow, but I do. The sour tartness expands to the back of my throat and then dissolves into a faint sweetness. He hums softly – I still don't understand why he can hum on-key but cannot sing. It does not make sense – but then again, nothing in our relationship really does.
The chocolate's richness brings me back to his birthday we spent in London, the first time I encountered chocolate. He had been amused by the rate I devoured the treat, and of course the various ways of enjoying the deep, sinful confection. He still tastes of the very best chocolates: bittersweet, all-consuming. I want to cry, I want to taste him again and again for all eternity, but I shan't cry. I will be strong now that he's here.
I can be strong when he's here.
I try to eat what he has brought, but I can't. My body fails me. "I'm full." And then I snuggle closer, trying to stifle the ancient terror. "I'm sleepy."
"You're always sleepy," he says, a weak tease in his voice. He understands; a firm imprint of his lips on my forehead tells me that he is fully aware of my fear, and his gentle rocking of me in his arms tells me he is still with me.
I nuzzle him under the chin and he returns the caress. I have to tell him now. "I'm sorry you have to go through this."
All of this: my weakness, my hampering of his plans, my uselessness, my cowardice. He holds me tighter and whispers, "It's alright. I just wondered why you didn't say goodbye."
How can he forgive me so easily? How can he just forgive me, with no recriminations, no anger? I have to tell the truth, even though I fear he will desert me after hearing it. It's an irrational fear, I tell myself, because a man who has passed through worlds and entered enemy strongholds to feed me ice cream will not leave just because of my words.
"Because... because if I saw you one last time... I wouldn't be able – be able to go." I can't smile anymore, even though he loves to see me smile. "But I'm tired, Aizen-sama. I'm tired, and I was afraid you'd be angry... I'm so tired of being weak... I was afraid that if I was weak, you'll go away."
I want to cry. I've always been able to cry in front of him, and he has never ridiculed my weakness. But now I have to be strong. He has to see I am not afraid – even though I am, very much – and then, perhaps, he can continue with his ascent.
He is stroking my hair. Those hands that had held me so tenderly and tightly, the hands that had incited my lust and love to fever pitch, the hands that are by turns demanding and generous... I yearn to hold them. I already know by heart the shape and shade of his hands. The small cut on the first knuckle of his right index finger. The odd bend of his little finger on the left hand.
I know the back of his hand better than my own face.
"I won't be angry. I haven't been angry with you for a long time. I'll never be angry with you again." He combs through my hair, the way he always does. "Rest, love. Just rest. You're not weak. I won't be going anywhere. I'll be here, with you. I'm always here."
"I know. I know." My control slips; the tears come. I press my face to his neck, too far from the spot I love to kiss, the part where his scent is the strongest. It's close enough for me to feel dizzy. Kissing him quickly I try to gather my courage. I have to tell him, I won't have the strength to do so after this. But pressing my lips to his skin feels so good, I don't want each contact to end. But the words are ready now.
"I know you love me. I know you will never say it, but you love me." He knows that I know, and this has been something he has never budged on. He will never say the words, because we both know that once the words are said every gesture will mean so much more. Yet, at this moment, I wish he will give in and say the words. However there is the fear still in me. "But I won't remember when I wake. Will you remember everything? I don't know if I can. I want to, I don't know if I can. Can you?"
His beautiful brown eyes are dark and glimmering. I see my hideous face mirrored in those depths before he shuts his eyes for an instant. "Yes. I can remember. I will remember."
My resolve firms. I am finally prepared. His grip tightens; he knows as well. I can't breathe much anymore, but I still long to gaze into his handsome face. I have seen it for so long, studied its every detail, and I still have so much more to discover. I want to keep exploring. I want time to stop so I can look at him just for a while longer, just a while longer. I try to speak, but his thumb slides over my mouth. He murmurs, his voice hitching slightly, "And when you wake, we'll remember together."
No. No. I know what he plans to do. He shouldn't, he has so much to accomplish. But he will follow through with his promise. If I insist, he will live on, but I am a selfish brat spoilt for too long by his love. I know I am selfish enough to want him to come with me.
I can't stay anymore, I am so tired.
"Rest, love," he says softly. I feel his heartbeat racing; I feel his warmth seeping into me. His sweet breath washes over my face. "I'm here with you."
"Promise?" I ask, out of habit. Gods, I am so tired.
I try to reach up to touch his face, but end up brushing my hand over his heart. How many times have I woken to his heartbeat? I want to listen to it forever. Now my hand falls between our bodies, and I blink away the tears. He is still watching me, and I study his face again.
He mouths the words.
I swallow the lump in my throat, and smile at him. It is his smile, the one only he gets.
I am so tired, and selfish, and weak, but he is still here, holding me.
How can a man like that love me?
He knows. A final, gentle smile comes to him, the clear gaze determined and firm. I wait for his command. He hesitates before giving it. "Now rest."
I close my eyes and obey.