He didn't like the man. Far from it. Not at all. He knew, that all he was doing, all he was achieving, everything would always be inferior to that man. Always. Forever. He was being used, manipulated, taken advantage of. Simply because he had the brains, because he just refused to bother about anything else except what he loved, because of that, he had been thrust into a situation, with only one real way out.

And with only one real way out, he had taken that. He had had no other choice. No, he did not take the offer out of the pure goodness of his heart. What tosh, what nonsense. He, Kurotsuchi Mayuri, was not a nice person. He was not even a good person. He saw himself on the borderline between good and bad, not particularly inclined to either, but both at once. He had taken the offer of one dastardly deviously scheming Urahara Kisuke, the one man who could, if he wanted to, easily take over the world.

And he had done so, even if he had detested his new superior, because of the opportunities. No, Kurotsuchi Mayuri was not weak. He was powerful. He was strong. He was a genius, though not a genius of the level of Urahara Kisuke. He was smart, and he knew it. Shikai had been easy for him. Sure, he had been estranged from Ashisogi Jizou for years and decades, but it had been easy. They had both reached common ground, having a common goal. Both detesting one Urahara Kisuke.

He had always wanted to be better than that dratted blond superior who could trot around the place, head held high, and with good reason. It just hurt, that someone with so much talent, with so much ability, someone with so much of everything could exist. He was a genius, true, but compared to Urahara Kisuke, he was nothing. And so he had worked hard, even under that man, but he had worked hard. Climbing to the top, conditioning, getting the advantage, science had taught them that hard work was essential to getting what one wanted. And Kurotsuchi Mayuri was an expert at science. He lived and breathed it. His very being was science.

And because his very being was science, he was never satisfied with being second best. Never. There was not a single true scientist who could be satisfied with being second best. And Urahara Kisuke was the best. He was widely acknowledged to be the genius of the century, the genius of centuries past, perhaps overshadowed only by a few key initiating members of the Gotei 13 and Seireitei itself. But there was a way. Science said that there always was a way.

And so he would work hard, and so he did, pouring in hours and hours, days after days, dealing with the spoilt brats, and the imbeciles who dwelt within the Twelfth Division, the Research Department, these people who called themselves scientists, but were hardly deserving of the name. Fools, these idiots, trash. He would prove that with a little god given talent and with a lot of associated hard work, he was going to be the best. He was going to outshine Urahara Kisuke. He would dazzle his superior in the light of his successes. He would choke him in the dust turned up by his feet.

Kurotsuchi Mayuri was going to win, and no one was going to stop him.

And then it had happened. The genius himself had come out of his private lab, once more associating with his inferiors, mixing around with that damn fake smile of his, that goofy personality which Mayuri knew was a mask, a shield, and working with everyone again. It was that incident, the incident which showed to him, once more, exactly how far, and far it was, that he was trailing behind the man with so much god given talent that he did not know what to do with it.

He was that far behind. So far behind that it seemed impossible to catch up. Theories which he had only skimmed the surface of, Urahara knew like the back of his hand, having created them from scratch in his sleep or in the shower. And oh how the universe was unfair! He could not believe it. All his hard work, everything, once the private labs had been temporarily released to the division members, when the goofy captain had announced in one of his fits of self-doubt and gloominess that he required help, everything was just gone. Blown away by the sheer genius of his superior.

And it seemed impossible to catch up. But he knew that seeing was not always believing, and what people saw might just be wrong. Perception, perception, perception. And this was science. Science was doing the impossible, proving the impossible, moving on and doing the impossible. Urahara Kisuke had done that, god knew how many times, and he, Kurotsuchi Mayuri, was going to do that by beating the genius, by drawing level with him and then surpassing him.

He was going to do that. And so he buried himself deeper than ever into his work, he stayed long hours, overtime in the laboratories, analyzing, studying, improving, and constantly watching, learning. He did all that, his life was the lab, his soul was his science. He worked so hard, and he was so close. He was so agonizingly close that it was painful to go to sleep, that it was painful to leave it behind after two whole weeks of impasse, of bottleneck, of barricade. He was at his limit.

And then it happened.

The excuses were pitiful. He knew that. They were completely, utterly, entirely crap. Not even logic was needed to see that the excuse, that reason was flawed. Nothing like this had ever happened before, no, it had not, and he would know. He had been caught in the system before, he knew what it was like. These lies, this was pitiful. One look at the rest of the captains, one look at the proceedings… Everything fell apart under his gaze, but he did not know it all. He had his suspicions, he had his thoughts, but he kept them to himself. After all, he did not matter.

His idol, his goal, was no longer there. There appeared to be no point in everything that he was doing. It was that which he hated the most. He could not stand that idea. He refused it, rejected it. He refused to accept that Urahara Kisuke had just upped and left. This was ridiculous. He knew that the Central 46 probably had found something that they did not like out of his research, especially since those imbeciles of the Central had ransacked their database.

Fools. No one knew the database as well as he did, or as well as Urahara Kisuke. All that rubbish that they had dug up, all those so called conclusive evidence against the man, all that traitorous rubbish, it was crap. And he, Kurotsuchi Mayuri knew that. After all, he was monitoring the sensitive issues. He had the database under his control, ever since both the irritating lieutenant and that fool of a captain had shot off somewhere. It was of no importance to him. But there was one thing he knew for sure.

One thing that he knew. Urahara Kisuke was no traitor. Frankly, although the man was unpleasant, although his ambitions were shady and guarded and things that not many knew, he was a scientist. And all scientists, all true scientists, knew how to read each other. Urahara Kisuke, all he wanted, was to push the frontiers of science. He wanted to find what was possible, see what could be done, find out what could not be done and then do it. That man had not a single traitorous bone in his body. And why would he? He was no victim of circumstance, no target of the system. In fact, he was the epitome of genius. Sure, a brilliant brain concealed beneath a goody personality.

But he could do nothing, and he would do nothing. There was nothing that the creepy third seat of the newly established and now dishonored Twelfth Division could do. He was powerless, and frankly, he hated that. But he bided his time, worked his way up, kept his head down, locked all of those damning secrets away into his secret, private database, in the place where all of Urahara Kisuke's other secrets were stored. Sure, the other man would never have guessed that his subordinate had ever found his secret stash, in fact, the blond would probably be sure that he would have been betrayed even further by that ambitious subordinate of his, made it such that it would be utterly impossible for him to return, his name besmirched all across Soul Society.

But there was no point in doing that, no? Kurotsuchi Mayuri was a science person. He wanted to pit his skills against that of the best in the field. There was no point in preventing the best from becoming the best. There was no point. And quickly, he was promoted to captainship. Central seemed almost desperate to put the 'unfortunate betrayal' behind them. Any fool would know that this was merely a farce, that something was going on. But they were not just fools. They were blind fools. They saw not what they did not want to see, and so they ignored it.

They shunned him to a side, wanting no reminder of that 'unfortunate betrayal'. They ignored him. He was a freak. By all means. Freak was a good mask to place over his face as he sharpened his art to a needle point, and then sharper. He perfected his art, he worked at it until he knew every single centimeter of the lab by heart, until he could perform complex experiments in his sleep, until he was so far ahead of everyone else that he felt almost as if that he could glimpse that elusive title of genius. There was no one else to discuss his theories with, they were too advanced even for the so-called advanced minds of the Twelfth Division. And he was really, really, that close to his target, his goal, his aim.

But he never could. It was an illusion. He was deceiving himself, and he knew that. He was a mad scientist, he was an abusive father, he was a disgusting pile of slime, but he was not a genius. He was not even close to that elusive dream. It was almost despairing. He almost gave up. But no, he was a scientist. He would never stop in his pursuit for perfection, climbing but never reaching it. He did not want to reach perfection. He wanted to reach that last checkpoint. That last blond, goofy checkpoint by the name of Urahara Kisuke.

And why? Why was it so difficult to climb up that slope? Why was it impossible to reach that peak? How was he to topple the champion from the podium if he could not even reach the steps? Why? He could not even touch the base of the mountain. It was impossible to even begin. And he hated that. He hated not even being able to try, not even being allowed to begin. He simply detested that notion, but there was nothing he could do about it. He refused to reference the goofball's notes. Flat out refused.

He was going to climb up without the help of others. He was going to make it on his own. Kurotsuchi Mayuri, taicho of the Twelfth Squad of the Gotei Thirteen, was going to beat Urahara Kisuke at his game someday. Until that day, he was going to strive to get there. He was going to face all the ridiculing, he was going to weather it all, he was going to be snarky and going to go all sarcastic on them. They did not understand. They would not understand anyway.

He was relishing the challenge of getting to that level. He really was.

But of course, there were those times, on a bad day, when no one else understood him, when no one else understood the flexibility of changing the power source to impact the fluid density of the compression chamber's insulation and thus increase the efficiency, ramping it up such that he was able to conduct even more complex experiments, that he was dying, simply dying, for some intelligent conversation.

Intelligent conversation in the form of a blond, goofy captain.