In the Devil's Snare

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. That honor belongs to Tite Kubo.

Warnings: Spoilers for the Soul Society Arc and beyond

AN: Companion to At the Right Hand of God. For the Bleach contest on LJ. The prompt was "Vaizard."

And yes, I generally spell it as Vizard instead.

Hybrid: a composite; something made or composed of heterogeneous parts.


He doesn't dream of power, of the strength to bring lords and entire worlds to their knees. He doesn't dream of conquest, of blood flowing in the streets and his enemies dead at his feet. There is no pain. No suffering. No accusing but dead eyes or bodies faded to ash. No blood or sorrow or loss.

Sousuke dreams of Heaven. Of the world as it could be. As it should be. Vivid colors and sharp lines in picture perfect clarity. The laughter of children. The smell of fresh rain. The heat of sunlight on his skin. Staring out into the distance and seeing nothing but wonder.

He is not a monster but a man. And has only ever seen himself as such. Perfectly human. Perfectly Shinigami. Perfectly flawed. Part of something but not all of it. Half that is lacking a whole. Incomplete.

Sending him searching. For himself, for something else entirely. Traipsing throughout all of Soul Society and the living world until he finally journeys here. Until he stares out with seeking eyes and the touch of Kyouka Suigetsu beside him, listening, waiting. Footsteps soft and not echoing in the emptiness around him. Sand sliding out beneath his weight. The flutter of his black shihakushou and his breathing the only sounds.

He'd heard a legend once that Hueco Mundo had initially been another heaven. Another realm much like Soul Society, the twilight reflection through the mirror. But there had been a war, perhaps a plague. Only that something terrible and horrendous and beyond imaging had happened here. That something unspeakable had made the people transform into monsters, and from there, the pestilence had only spread. It swept across the living world but somehow did not reach Soul Society itself.

Only, he is fairly certain that the last part is a lie. That most of it is a lie. It doesn't take a genius to see that there is something rotten in Seireitei. That it festers and seethes beneath the surface. A slow poison that seeps through veins into everything until no one remembers what it once meant to be healthy and complete. Alive.

There is just so much they lack. So much that is just beyond his fingertips. A shadow of possibility that slips from his hands like smoke. Unable to grasp and hold on.

This isn't about power, the right to rule. Or about remaking the universe in his own image. Having his adversaries and comrades bow down before him.

It is about survival. Evolution. Defeating the death that nips at his heels. That looms over them all, unsuspecting and weak. The end that crackles with each breath and the sickness that trickles in further. All but undefeatable. All but unbeatable, limited as they are.

But there is a way. One way. A single and solitary way. That coaxes him closer. Tempting and alluring.

Vizard. Hollow and Shinigami. Both but neither. Black but white. Light and dark. Intertwined and perfect. Whole.

A lofty goal but not an impossible one. Attainable if he sets his mind to it. A path is laid out before him, winding and difficult and all that much more appealing. A road where the end is not even in sight. A single step and he already knows that he will never turn back. That he will see this to completion or his own demise. Whichever happens first.

And he gazes around Hueco Mundo, the Hollow World. White sand. Blackened sky. Single moon. Reiatsu feral, untamed and writhing but so utterly fascinating. A majestic animal unbeaten and unbowed. Pulling at him. Twisting inside in a primordial dance. Calling, beckoning him in deeper. Ghosting across the very foundations of his soul.

Aizen Sousuke stares into the abyss with a smile. The abyss stares back.

Ever Hopeful,