It took every ounce of Kira's courage to walk to Aizen-taichou's place, and as he waited he rehearsed the words he was going to say to the captain. He understood that between Gin and Aizen-taichou there had been a relationship that Kira could never hope surpass, but at this moment he didn't want to supplant Aizen-taichou; he wanted to be part of it.
It scared him a little, the depths of his emotions. Somewhere in his mind he knew he was very sick. A healthy relationship shouldn't involve cutting into your partner's skin, it shouldn't involve being tied down and fucked repeatedly, it shouldn't involve becoming completely obedient to one person's whims and fancies.
But he and Gin did all that, and Kira had never felt happier.
No, happy was not the word. Contented. Fulfilled. Kira felt fulfilled.
He heard the footsteps before the shadow, and he braced himself for what had to be the most awkward conversation he had ever had with the genial captain.
"Aizen-taichou," he greeted and bowed deeply.
Aizen-taichou seemed surprised and opened the gate quickly, asking, "Is there something you wanted, Kira-san?"
"I would like to speak with you, Aizen-taichou." Kira inhaled slowly and then added, "It's quite private."
"So I gathered, else you would not have come after office hours," said the captain. His reiatsu was dense, Kira realized with some irrational dismay.
The lieutenant trailed after Aizen-taichou into the main room, and as he sat down he wondered how he ought to broach the topic. Finally he decided that honesty was the best way to go. After all, Gin couldn't possibly the way he was if Aizen-taichou wasn't also somewhat like that too... right?
"Please, Aizen-taichou, may I speak freely?" he asked after he took some tea. It was finely brewed; no wonder Gin hated the tea made by the lower seats, and only drank from the pots that Kira made. After all, Kira had been taught – to excruciatingly exact steps and standards – the Art of Tea by his aunt.
Kira let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. Finally he said, "Aizen-taichou, Gin – I mean, Ichimaru-taichou – has-"
"-you call him Gin in your own time, and I do the same. There is no need to be that formal."
"Yes, Aizen-taichou." Kira began again and said, "Gin has asked... I mean, Gin indicated that he wishes a... He wishes to engage another man in our lovemaking."
Kira's cheeks flushed deeply and he stared at his hands in his lap, suddenly hoping that the ground would open up and swallow him. But the words were out there, waiting and huge and ringing with potential and dread, and Kira could only wait.
Eventually, Aizen-taichou said quietly, "How does that concern me?"
The lieutenant was flustered. He had a vague idea why Aizen-taichou was the best option, but he didn't expect having to explain it to the captain. "H-he has me as a bedmate, but he loves you. And... and since he desires a third man to b-be part of... I-I want to please him with the selection of a third party that he will de-definitely feel a connection to, feel l-loved by. Not a mere physical joining." Kira hated his nerves, hated the stammering, because it made him sound unsure, but then again if Aizen-taichou persisted in playing dumb then the whole thing was moot anyway.
Aizen-taichou took Kira by his chin and made him look up. He was smiling, but the expression didn't reach his brown eyes. "You are making assumptions of affection on my part."
Kira held the gaze. "I am, Aizen-taichou, but can you honestly state that you do not still love Gin?"
"I do still love him," replied the captain. "Are you not worried that he'll come back to me?"
The lieutenant smiled sadly, knowing the bitter truth: "Aizen-taichou, Gin never left you."
Kira took the small woven cricket and placed it on the low table before him. Its bright green hue seemed to mock Kira, its vibrancy at odds with the mute heartbreak inside the young shinigami. He loved Gin, who loved Aizen-taichou, and this was Kira asking Aizen-taichou to join them in sex. No. To join Gin in lovemaking, which is merely having sex with Kira.
"He gave the first one to me while we were on a walk," marveled Aizen-taichou, picking up the little ornament and smiling with fond reminiscence. "He's never forgotten to replace it, but I never once saw him do so."
Taking a deep breath, Kira buried his heartache and bowed to the captain. "Aizen-taichou, would you please be... please join us, for one evening?"
After a long minute, Aizen-taichou finally said, "On the night after the bankai demonstrations to the Gotei, come with him to the meditation room you used that time. I will secure that room for all three of us."
Kira thanked him and walked out the gate, wondering all the while why his heart was still intact, and why he couldn't stop loving Gin.
The wait was interminable and at times Kira thought he would beg Aizen-taichou to not be the third party after all. Sometimes, when Gin slid into Kira and the younger shinigami looked up into the shadowed, silver-haired captain's face, Kira would consider asking Gin to not want the threesome.
He could not ever get the words out. He could not. Even the mere idea of denying Gin the pleasure of something he wanted so much tore at Kira, and finally the lieutenant went to his parents' graves and begged their forgiveness.
"I know you wanted much more for me," he cried hoarsely, kneeling in front of his father. "I know you wanted me to shine, to be an honor to the family, but I can't. I'm sorry, Father, I truly am. I can't honor the family name, I can't shine like a light. I am not a light, Father, Mother, I am a shadow, hiding in deeper shadows, and Gin knows me. He knows me, and he knows how much darkness is in me. He is everything to me now."
There was only reproachful silence, and Kira stayed there until night fell, cloaking him in thick darkness.
Eventually that night came. Kira organized every detail in a half-dazed state. Part of him dreaded what was coming, and part of him relished the delight and pride Gin would have in his planning this out. He tried to straighten the sheets but was unsuccessful. Aizen-taichou, who was watching, took a seat near the blond.
"You fear me," he stated baldly.
Hearing it aloud eased Kira's erratic thoughts somewhat. He tensed, thinking that the captain would scorn him and reject the proposition. He exhaled and answered, "Yes. I fear you, because you are so important to him."
Aizen-taichou smiled faintly and said, "Don't lie, Kira. You fear me for other reasons."
"I-I... I'm sorry. I didn't mean-"
"Why do you fear me?"
Now Kira nibbled his lower lip in concern. How honest should he be? He was going to be naked with this man in a while. He was going to be fucked by this man – his heart skipped a beat, in terror or in anticipation? - and he needed to get this off his chest.
"Because I know the reason Gin does all the things he does to me," said Kira in a low voice, brutally honest and hating himself for it. "He does all the things he does to me, because you used to do all those things to him."
To his surprise Aizen-taichou did not deny it. He smiled and tilted his head in a winning manner. "We did have rather exotic tastes, which probably seem quite extreme to you."
"And you hurt him." It was a statement of hope, really, because how else can Kira explain what he himself was going through?
"No." Aizen-taichou was serious. "We used pain to drive us to greater pleasure. And... Kira?"
Kira withdrew slightly, a crease appearing on his brow.
Aizen-taichou's fingers touched Kira's chin, made him look into serious, warm brown eyes. He smiled and murmured, "It was never one-sided, young man."
Gin's arrival made Kira's heart beat faster. His palms dampened and he scrubbed his hands on his clothes. Then he mutely connected with Wabisuke in his mind.
:What do you want?:
Shut down my thoughts.
I can't be thinking. If I'm thinking, I can't do this.
:You chose to do this, Kira Izuru. You see it through.: The spirit was eminently unhelpful and disappeared.
Kira opened his eyes in time to see Gin gesturing for him to join them. Gin held Kira and beamed happily. "Izuru, darling, do you mean what I think you mean? Is this who you want?"
Shy and pleased by Gin's Kira returned the smile. "I know you love him. I-I want you happy, Gin. I want you to be happy and I know you trust him and I think I can... I think I can trust him too."
"You are a darling, my boy. You are amazing and sweet and I adore you." Gin kissed Kira and the younger shinigami glowed with pride. Gin looked over at the other captain. "Aizen-taichou?"
Aizen-taichou smiled. " Call me the way you always call me when we are alone, Gin."
Gin held out a hand and Kira wished suddenly that he was not nervous about this. His extremities felt cold and clammy, so he forced down the nerves, missing out part of the conversation between Aizen-taichou and Gin, catching only: "...Kira comfortable with that?"
Kira looked from one to the other, inferring that they had been discussing who was to lead the action that night, and stammered, "I would prefer that... I'd rather Gin lead, please. I'm not saying that I don't like you, Aizen-taichou, I just-"
"-feel more comfortable with Gin. I understand." Aizen-taichou patted Kira on the head, like a cherished pet. "So. We are at your mercy tonight, Gin. How do you want us?"
"Wild and often," Gin said with a happy smile.
Kira rolled his eyes, and met Aizen-taichou's equally exasperated gaze. So we have that in common, at least. With that, Kira decided to shut away his apprehension and let desire take the reins.
Other than a brief moment of hesitation and struggle when Gin wanted to turn Kira around and show his back to Aizen-taichou, Kira immersed himself fully in the experience of being taken by the two captains.
Gin's milk-white skin shone in the golden light from the bronze lamps, and as he moved over Kira the lieutenant reveled in the familiarity of every touch and caress. Aizen-taichou was different: more deliberate, more considered, more thoughtful, each contact calculated to heighten Kira's physical pleasure. There was no doubt that Gin had learned from a master; Kira swooned as he leaned back into Gin's embrace, his body responding enthusiastically to Aizen-taichou's confident and expert moves. The older captain had slicked up his fingers and slipped them into Kira after Gin's earlier preparation, patiently spreading Kira wider and looser for them both.
The lewd, wet sounds and the dark-haired man's intense gaze kept Kira on the edge. How could he ever have thought that Aizen-taichou was mild-mannered? The things he was doing with his fingers and his lips and his tongue were driving Kira mad.
"Look at Aizen-sama," Gin crooned into Kira's ear, "look at him. He wants you too, so much."
Kira looked down, vision blurring at the edges, and that was when Aizen-taichou chose to take Kira in completely to the base. Kira could feel the tip of his cock hit the back of Aizen-taichou's mouth and there was a rippling pressure that echoed up every nerve. Kira tried to restrain himself but was foiled when his prostate was firmly prodded. Aizen-taichou twisted his hand, the slick wet sound resoundingly loud in Kira's ears, and that snapped his control. He threw his head back and cried out as he came, but tried vainly to wrestle control of himself; Gin hadn't given the order.
When Kira blinked the tears and sweat from his eyes, he saw Gin licking sticky come from Aizen-taichou's fingers, and the tenderness and love in Gin's eyes stung a little. He was still hard, though, even after the first round, and that ought to persuade his captain a little. Kira licked his own lips and whispered, "Gin? Can we please...? I n-need, I need this, I can't-"
"Hush, love, we're going to prepare you, darling, we'll take it slow now." Gin nuzzled into Kira's neck and Kira squirmed. "I don't wanna hurt you. I want you to enjoy this, to savor this present you're giving me. Gods, Kira Izuru, you are so sexy now, so perfect. You found the perfect man for us, darling, you are amazing and gods I want you right now. Aizen-sama, can we? Can we have Izuru now?"
"Not yet, lover," said the older captain calmly, as though he didn't have his hand buried inside the blond. Kira wondered what Aizen-taichou wanted to do when the brown-eyed man ducked his head low; the query was answered when the lieutenant felt a slick wetness move from over his entrance.
"Aizen-sama, please," Gin begged.
"Izuru, are you ready for us?" Aizen-taichou lifted his head and smirked. Without his glasses and his trademark gentle smile, this man seemed to be an entirely different person. Kira couldn't put a name to the tingle that spread over his lower back whenever he met the older male's gaze, but he had an uneasy premonition that this was the real Aizen-taichou, the one that Gin fell in love with.
Carefully, Kira exhaled and nodded. Aizen-taichou had him straddling Gin, and it was with a pleased smile that Gin pulled Kira close and kissed him. Kira and Gin both gasped and breathed out harshly in tandem when Gin was directed into the blond lieutenant's body.
The youngest shinigami flexed his fingers, feeling both excited and fearful, and was oddly discomfited by how easily his captain had entered him, without the usual mild stretch and burn. Aizen-taichou hummed approvingly. "Lean back a little, Gin," said the dark-haired captain. "Izuru, I need you to breathe slowly and deeply, slow and deep, and tell us if it hurts, all right?"
Kira nodded once more, and waited, forcing himself to breathe slowly and steadily. As his lower back made contact with Aizen-taichou's skin, he felt the nudge of another cock breaching his entrance and he buried his face in Gin's hair. He trembled, his body rejecting the intrusion of someone who was not Gin; his thighs shook while he forced his mind and pulse to slow, tried to force calm on himself.
The silver-haired captain was nibbling on Kira's ear, his teeth and tongue playing over the shell and earlobe. Kira whined, suddenly wanting the entire encounter over with, wanting to scrub the sensation of Aizen-taichou from his skin, wanting to scream and cry and forget the entire evening ever occurred. It was too late and he could feel the older shinigami's breath on his neck, the heat of Aizen-taichou's body pressed against his skin.
"Too much, Izuru?" asked Aizen-taichou.
"No, no," Kira answered, hating himself for it, hating Gin for just that split second for wanting this. "Just... unexpected. Odd. It's... it's more than I thought."
Gin purred in a consoling manner and rubbed his cheek against Kira's face. "Wait till we are both completely in you, darling. It'll be amazing."
It was a nightmare that Kira wanted desperately to erase. His body responded with ardor and passion to the deft touches of both men, his own desire spiking every time battle-roughened fingers brushed over his nipples or played with his cock, but inside his mind he was screaming to end the torment. He should never have agreed to this. He was cheap. He was a whore. He had become a mere plaything for Gin and he hated hating Gin for anything, and deep in his soul he could hear the hollow, mocking laughter of Wabisuke.
Even as his body adjusted completely to the two of them, Kira reached into his psyche and forced his mind to stop thinking. He had to stop, because if he kept on thinking he would scream and not stop screaming until both of them had left him and he needed so much for this to be over, completely over so he could soak himself clean, erase all vestiges of this night-
His hands braced on Gin's thin shoulders, his hips being forced to ride, Kira abruptly locked away all conscious thought and gave in to his basest desires and drowned in the sensations.
Every thrust the two captains made plunged Kira down further into the abyss of pure physicality, and he gasped for breath, helpless, mindless, and finally descended with a wail as his body shuddered and tightened into climax. His eyes squeezed shut, Kira heard his voice break and wondered, detachedly, if this would be the end to the experiment. It was for him; Aizen-taichou hadn't finished and was making love to Gin with a ferocity that fascinated Kira, but the blond was not registering much beyond the immediate stimulation by then.
He only remembered later the obscenely wet sounds of Gin and Aizen-taichou pulling out of him, the force with which the older captain taking Gin even as Kira was rolled onto his back to watch Gin being fucked, of the hot spill of Gin's come over his skin, the languidness of them all curling into a mess of limbs and stickiness and warm breaths.
He definitely registered how Gin regarded Aizen-taichou, and how they kissed before they fell asleep.
The next morning Kira followed his usual routine dully, and winced when he had to sit down. Thankfully, Gin accepted the lieutenant's reluctance to work in the office and sent him on a walking patrol and then on other errands. Though moving about was difficult, it was not as painful and Kira got some time to himself.
When it was sunset, he found himself back in the Fourth Division's greenhouses, his one refuge when he felt lost or confused, and walked in. Unohana-taichou wouldn't begrudge him a moment of serenity, he was certain, and he needed calm right now.
He was not expecting to see Renji in there with his senior, Madarame, who was apparently collecting some herbs from the greenhouse shinigami-in-charge. The redhead saw Kira and smiled broadly. Madarame merely glanced at the blond lieutenant before walking away, instructing Renji not to dawdle, and the shinigami-in-charge only jotted down Kira's name before she left for other duties.
"Kira! Are you all right?" Renji peered closely at his friend's face. "You're quite pale- Oh. Um. You have marks on your neck." The redhead's face was almost as flushed as his hair.
Instantly Kira's hand flew to the side of his neck and remembered that he was marked by both the captains the night before, and suddenly everything he had done to please Gin crashed on him. He swayed, his mind whirling with a storm of emotion, and he vaguely wondered if he was even the same Kira that Abarai Renji had met and befriended. Kira's knees buckled and he sagged against the nearest wooden stand.
"Oh gods. What did I say? What happened, Izuru?" Renji grabbed hold of Kira. "You're white. Do you need help?"
"No. No. Renji, don't." Kira held on to his friend.
His best friend.
His best friend who had never once tried to take advantage of him, had never professed anything more or less than the full sum of his affections for Kira.
Kira was abruptly overcome with shame and he pulled away from Renji's reassuring touch. "Gods, Renji. I've done something terrible. I'm something terrible."
Worried, Renji sat Kira down on the nearest bench and he took a place beside Kira. His large hand patted Kira's smaller palm in faint, confused reassurance, and Kira tried to get his breathing under control.
"Do you... do you want to share with me?" asked the red-haired shinigami quietly.
"No." Kira swallowed. "Wait. Yes. I-I-I have to. I have to tell someone, I must. N-not in detail. But I gotta tell someone. I have to. I'll go mad if I don't."
"Then I'll listen."
A surge of gratitude swamped Kira. No one had ever really been there for him like Renji, and he had pushed Renji's concern away before. He swallowed again, trying to clear his throat, and said in a low, pained voice, "Renji, I know you disapprove of me and Gin. And your concerns aren't... Well, there are reasons to be concerned." Kira turned his hand palm up and gripped Renji's strong one. "But it's all okay. Or it was, until last night. Gods, Renji. I never thought-"
"I caved. I caved, Renji, I let Gin pressure me into doing something I didn't, and now I can't even-" Kira choked on the bare thought. "I can't look myself in the eye, I can't even bear to think of having allowed-"
Even though the words were trying to escape from Kira, the lieutenant held back but his grip was more than sufficient to convey his dismay. His other hand covered his mouth as nausea rose in him. Kira felt sick at having allowed another man to touch him that intimately, at having even asked Aizen-taichou to come and join them, at having been the one to ask the captain to fuck him.
"Renji, I don't know what I am anymore." Kira whispered, eyes downcast, and he shivered. His right hand grasped his best friend's tightly and Renji let Kira hold onto that little bit of support.
Renji petted Kira's shoulder. "You're Kira Izuru. A good guy. My best friend. A strange man who has somewhat questionable taste in men but... You're you. And I'd trust you with my life," said Renji quietly.
Kira looked up, grateful. He began, "Gin wanted... something that I wasn't comfortable with giving. And I-I let myself become... I don't recognize me anymore."
Kira inhaled sharply and went on, emotions rushing to the surface and his composure cracking.
"Gods, I don't even know h-how I can- Renji, I can't think for myself anymore. I can't. Gin is all there is, and he is terrible and beautiful and glorious and frightening, and all I can think of is how much I love him and how much I hate him right now and I will die for him, I swear, and I-I don't even know what I'm saying," cried Kira, clinging on to his friend, and hoping that soon the world would stop spinning and that Gin would come and that everything would make sense again.
Unfortunately, all that happened was a tight, warm hug from Renji, who had no words of wisdom to offer but a lot of encouragement to give. He had no ideas, and Kira dared not be more specific, but his stolid presence and kind acceptance pushed Kira's emotional walls down.
Kira finally acknowledged the gaping loneliness that existed in loving a man such as his silver-haired, quick-tongued captain. No matter what he did or would do, he would still be no more than a pleasant way to spend a cold evening.
And yet Kira still loved Gin. He loved Gin to the brink of insanity and he hated himself for being so hopelessly, stupidly in love, yet he was. However, even he recognized that one day, eventually, he would be able to walk away from this destructive relationship.
His eyes were open now.
He would still fight for Gin, he would still die for Gin, but he would not forget how, on that one night when Kira demonstrated his full obedience and submission and love for his captain, Ichimaru Gin had eyes only for Aizen Sousuke.
It has been an incredibly long, breathtaking and enriching ride. Much of it has been tumultuous and terrifying and fun and amazing – and a huge part of me is going to miss it. I still have some fics to finish up (give me a year, perhaps) and then it's going to be a new chapter of life for me, and I will no longer take on full-length epic fics again.
At least, not on purpose. I know better now.
I have learned so much through writing this and through the reviews sent me. I can never thank all of you enough for your encouragement and ideas. Though my RL at the moment is a hell of a bitch to suffer through, I know that I have your love for this set of fics that I can go back to as a long, happy period in my life, and I don't regret a single word I put up as peppermintquartz.
(Well, maybe the typos. And the early, crappy efforts. I won't take them down though.)
Thank you all again, so, so much for having followed and read and loved Gin and Aizen and Kira and all the characters as I have. You have been my inspiration and my encouragement, and I will treasure your reviews as I have done for the past few years.
Over on AO3, chapters will be loaded as they are edited.
With lots of love,