A/N: I blame my yesterday's lack of sleep for this fic. My only argument is that Seishirou and Szayel are as hot as hell on their own. Thus, they were put together for greater justice. Or bigger damage. Whichever appeals to you the most.
Put under the Hurt/Comfort tag, but there is more hurt than comfort here.

Warnings: Gore, violence, sex.

Disclaimer: CLAMP owns Sakurazuka Seishirou and X/1999, and Kubo Tite owns Szayel Aporro Granz and Bleach.

Cherry Blossoms

"Tell me, Szayel," Seishirou purred in a low voice against the Arrancar's ear. There was a wicked sneer on his lips as he watched the other's pink hair move lightly from his breath. The colour of it reminded him of his family's legacy. "Do you know why the cherry blossoms are pink?"

"Cherry blossoms?" Szayel frowned. He had never seen a cherry tree; not that there were any real trees or flowers to see in Hueco Mundo. Perhaps he had seen some back when he had still been human. Without a doubt, he could research the subject if need be and give Seishirou a very long and very detailed response. But there was no need. "Are you speaking of flowers?"

Seishirou breathed on Szayel's neck thoughtfully and ran a hand down the Arrancar's side in search of an opening in his white attire that would allow him to touch skin. His other hand was still holding a cigarette, thin smoke curling up from its glowing tip. He would have to put it out soon. "Only one."

"One?" Szayel arched his eyebrow cynically. Talking in riddles was not one of his pastimes. The black onmyouji, however, seemed to have a liking for them.

The Arrancar looked his strange companion up and down for one more time. In another place and time he would have considered him to be just another shinigami, what with his preference for black clothing. The Sakurazukamori watched him with equal interest and not even the tiniest bit of apprehension. He was not afraid of death and dying, Szayel deduced.

"The one in my family's keeping." Seishirou extinguished his cigarette on the closest table and traded nonsensical words with ease, confident about his skill. If he only looked at the Arrancar's white garb, he could easily imagine Subaru standing in front of him. The only exception was that the white-robed man did not shiver when Seishirou's breath danced across his neck and his hands undid his white suit to splay out against hardened skin.

Szayel was losing interest fast. He had quickly realised that he was dealing with a human here; someone who had a strange and powerful reiatsu, but still a mortal being. And Szayel ate those for breakfast.

"I should kill you," Szayel mused. In reality his thoughts were more centred around running a few experiments on this man. As a scientist, he was attracted to all things unknown. As an Arrancar, he was attracted to killing and destroying his subjects to satisfy that boundless curiosity.

"Kill me?" Seishirou smiled and reached out to trace the frames of Szayel's Hollow glasses. The fact that they could not be removed amused him to some extent. "That you can't."

"I am the eight strongest Espada," Szayel declared for, quite possibly, the sixth time that day. He did not like repeating himself more than once, but this situation demanded an exception. "And you are a human. Are you going to tell me that I can't kill you?" He laughed. It was an amusing thought, really – being unable to kill a human. It made him want to turn the human in question into one of his test subjects even more.

"Even if you were the most powerful, you couldn't kill me." Seishirou had erased the remaining distance between them and now both men stood face to face. Only one small movement was needed and then there would be no space between them left.

"Why is that?" Szayel queried in a silky tone. With each passing moment the urge to kill increased.

"There is only one man who can kill me, and it is not you." It was true. Only Subaru had the ability to kill him. Deciding to end the discussion then and there, Seishirou lightly pushed the Arrancar backwards against a freshly cleaned operation table.

Szayel was not pleased with such an answer. The human was merely making fun of him and that was something he did not appreciate. But the minute he tried to retaliate, he found himself in the middle of a light snowstorm of pink cherry blossoms. The Sakurazukamori smiled and moved in, seizing the Arrancar's wrists and leaning over him until the other was forced to lean back. It was all a game. Just one more game out of all he liked to play.

The cherry blossoms swirled slowly, and Szayel felt his movements slowing down as well. He snapped out of it soon enough, quickly figuring out what kind of magic was involved and used his inhuman strength to throw the Sakurazukamori across the room. The effect was not quite what he had expected. For one, Seishirou had no trouble regaining his footing and in the next moment a pair of black ofuda was flying towards Szayel. The Arrancar drew his sword and slashed at them, but as the paper split apart, thin lanky cherry branches appeared out of nowhere and wound tightly around his wrists, attempting to bind him down. However, it was not enough. Seishirou had not used the full extent of his powers and this spell could be easily broken.

Szayel tore those restraints with ease, but the marks on his wrists remained. He frowned at them in displeasure. An Arrancar's skin was invincible; it was not supposed to take harm from a measly illusion the likes of which Seishirou used. It looked like the Espada would have to resort to more forceful methods from there on. Before he could even start considering the options, the cherry blossoms swirled around him madly, hiding everything from view, including the human who controlled them. For a brief moment he could see a huge wildly blooming cherry tree, but the illusion disappeared from his sight, pink petals trapping him in a motion-filled orb.

"If you would like to listen," Seishirou started in a light and amused voice, "I could tell you why the cherry blossoms are as pink as your hair."

Mesmerized by the strange power and fluttering petals, Szayel could only listen. No matter how many times he had already witnessed it, this spell always took him by surprise. There was just something about it that stole his breath away and made him freeze on the spot.

"I could tell you..."

Seishirou was approaching: a dark shadow amidst the unearthly snowstorm.

Szayel chuckled in his throat. They were having the same discussion over and over again. Every time the Sakurazukamori gave an almost-promise to tell him the answer, but in the end he never did. It was the same dance as the first time. Always the same. Small variations applied every time, but the main script did not change. The Arrancar knew they would fight; they always fought. Trashing the furniture, smashing the monitors and phials of chemicals and substances the Espada was experimenting on; they would dance throughout the laboratory until the exhaustion took over and all their resources were wasted.

Szayel remembered how the very first time he had tried to use a sedative on the black onmyouji, but Seishirou had retaliated with amazing skill and only later did the Arrancar learn that he, too, was skilled in medicine. From that day on, he did not try to use any of his chemical concoctions on Seishirou, knowing that he would get a taste of it himself. Likewise, Seishirou made sure not to damage Szayel's clothes too much, aware of the Espada's little quirks. Anything else was a fair game and they never held back. Every injury Seishirou received at Szayel's hands was returned almost instantly, and most of them the Arrancar himself healed once their fights were over. Seishirou, on his part, made sure to keep the demonic cherry tree in control, not letting its branches tighten around his victim with the intent of devouring him.

They were each others' victim. Each other's target. A research subject and a plaything. Watching Seishirou approach him, touch him, in the end – undress him, amused and intrigued Szayel. Feeling those warm fingers moving over hard, dead skin made him almost regret the fact that it was not as sensitive as that of a human because Seishirou was very sensitive to his touches. Once discovering the ability to dominate him that way, Szayel liked to take his time and explore his body slowly. Preferably, when the Sakurazukamori was strapped down to one of the tables usually meant for carving out the insides of his still alive and attentive victims. He always got off on their screaming. It only made things more interesting when he realised that Seishirou could sense the aura of death and the torment humans, shinigami and fellow Arrancar alike had suffered on that cold, hard surface. And when he realised that this human was also getting off on death... Szayel took it upon himself to raise their sexual encounters to a new level.

What Szayel accomplished with a scalpel, other sharp medical instruments and small doses of acid applied directly to Seishirou's skin, the Sakurazukamori did with his onmyoudo: the cherry branches burned deep into Szayel's skin, leaving marks for days to heal and the slicing spells he cast with the aid of his ofuda left deep cuts on his body. Seishirou was the only plaything that was allowed to play with Szayel in return.

It could hardly be called sex, what they had. It was more of a competition to see who could harm the other more without causing too much damage and accidentally killing the other. Their kisses where brutal and ferocious, more akin to biting each other to death than showing affection, and their touches always turned into sinking their nails into the other's flesh, leaving raw marks and drawing blood.

One night Seishirou burned a pentagram onto Szayel's chest, marking him as his prey. Knowing the significance of the mark (he had done his research), the Arrancar laughed.

"I am not the one you want to kill, Sakurazukamori," he hissed against Seishirou's ear and bit down on his neck, tearing the soft flesh apart. For a moment he only watched the blood dripping from the wound, then leaned down and slowly licked and sucked it up. Sneering, he sucked on his own tongue, thoroughly enjoying the taste of blood. He tilted his head slightly and breathed in the scent of his victim. Idly, the Arrancar swiped his tongue along Seishirou's ear. "Just like I can't kill you, you can't kill me."

"Your death is predestined, Eight Espada. Just like mine." Seishirou bared his teeth in a rivalling sneer. "When I look into your future, I can see the man who will kill you."

For that Seishirou received a scalpel in his side. He laughed despite the pain and Szayel grinned in satisfaction. Killing was nothing for either of them. For as long as he could use Inoue Orihime to heal his playthings, there was nothing holding him back from doing a bit more harm than usual.

Szayel did not pull away when the straps holding down Seishirou snapped loose. But he did curse out loud when the Sakurazukamori rammed a needle in his chest, emptying a syringe with one of his experimental liquids right into his lung. It was one of the substances he used for slow and painful killing of his test subjects. The liquid was burning a second hole right through his chest and the pain was enough to make him moan in twisted ecstasy. The Arrancar closed his eyes, breath coming out of him in small gasps. He would need an antidote later.

Cherry branches wound around Szayel's arms and neck and tightened, keeping him suspended and slightly choking. Half-removing Szayel's clothing, Seishirou gave a few rough strokes to his cock and watched with satisfaction how his face twisted in agony: the only pleasure the both of them knew. The line between sanity and madness had been long erased. Black was no longer black and white was not white anymore. They watched each other like predators and never responded like preys.

They fucked each other hard, with no preparation, without holding back. Each thrust, each move was meant to only bring more pain, to torture the other more. But it was still not enough. It was never enough. They needed more pain. They needed it harder, faster, with all the brutality they had. When pleasure faded into pain and pain became pleasure, the world stopped turning and they could finally lie still, relishing in the ache that held their bodies captive.

It was as close to heaven as they would ever get.