Author/Note from Neonzangetsu: Apologies for the Kurosaki typo in the last chappy. For those of you who wanted to review at times and couldn't due to the glitches the site has been having as of late, I deeply apologize. But if you can still find it in your heart to review this humble author's hardwork, then please do! Reviews keep me writing! And now, we'll get a look at Sasuke's future.
Dry your eyes, you can't cry now.
Sosuke Aizen. Soul reaper, and lieutenant of squad five, subordinate of Hirako Shinji. For those who'd seen him or met him face to face, Sosuke Aizen was a polite, mild mannered man who was arguably the most peaceful, sociable, and benevolent shinigami to ever exist in the Sereitei, next to the Thirteenth's Jushirou Ukitake.
For those who'd just been both viciously manipulated and betrayed by Sosuke Aizen, and the last Uchiha who weakly watched his former comrade explain that he was behind an elaborate scheme to ensure their demise, three words fit the bill, three words suited Sosuke Aizen to a T.
After witnessing the massive explosion created by Tessai, Sasuke seconded the sentiment entirely. He'd been thrown clear out of the grove, so great was the blast radius, even after being deflected by his fellow lieutenant.
Now, as he stared at the three co-conspirators from amidst the gnarled branches of an ancient tree, having been thrown into it during the climax of the explosion, Uchiha Sasuke observed the makings of a plot, so elaborate, so astounding, that for the second time that night, the sole surviving Uchiha once again questioned his sanity.
Right now, he just about to get up and blast Aizen with an Amateratsu, and none of this wicked tale would take place. But the pain in his head had other ideas, and thus, Sasuke was abruptly forced him to take other countermeasures.
He couldn't move his legs, they refused to respond to even the simplest of commands.
Out. Let me out.
"Oh? It seems we have an unwanted guest."
For a moment, those passive chestnut brown eyes fell upon the branches of Sasuke's self-made prison. Then the Uchiha swore, and worked harder to extricate himself, to retrieve his sword which had lodged itself in a nearby branch, whose hilt he could only just brush with the tip of his forefinger..
"Kaname, take care of it."
The breath hitched in Sasuke's throat, and the instinct of self preservation began to drive him again as he strained to retreive his zanpakutou from the perch upon which it had so quietly fell. And then, the sword nudged in his direction. Whatever foreign prescence that now existed within his mind, it wanted to survive, just as much as he did.
If he were to be discovered here, death was all that awaited him. Urahara and Tessai were too far away to possibly notice his plummeting reaitsu, which by this point, barely registered at a twentieth seat.
In which case...
Nudging the guard of his blade, Sasuke looked on as the zanpakutou began to spin lazily in front of him. Forcing himself to ignore the footsteps steadily drawing closer to his position, he forced the excess reiryoku from his body, converting it and its reishi into reiatsu, and reaitsu into a slow, spiraling undercurrent that rustled the breeze.
"Hado #58: T-Tenran. (Orchid Sky)" Sasuke gasped, his fingers weakly curing about her silvery hilt. No sooner had he taken his sword in hand, then a widening twister expelled itself outward from the tip, shredding away his cover, and forcing each of the three to raise a hand defensively to guard their face. Unseeing as the kido spell catapulted its wielder through the forest of rukongai and towards the streets that led to the Sereitei.
The winds spiraled wildly out of control after five miles of distance had been put between him and the traitorous trio. With a pained cry, his body hit the pavement and skidded to an abrupt halt. Still, it was all Sasuke could do to cling to Ikazuchi-Megami's hilt, and even that sapped his strength.
"Oh." Gin tilted his head slightly to the side, whilst Aizen looked on disspasionately. "Look's like he's gettin' away, Aizen-taichou." Indeed, the reaitsu signature was leaking away, slowly, fading into the distance.
"My deepest apologies!"Kaname bowed stiffly. "I'll pursue them immediately!"
Aizen stared after the resounding explosion, the flames flickering weakly in his eyes. Clearly someone had been spying on them, but that individual had fled the moment they'd been detected. There was no point in pursuing them, whoever they were, with Kyouka Suigetsu's perfect hypnosis, any claims they had would never have any hope of validation.
Besides, their reiatsu was on the verge of dissipating anyway. Anyone within a mile of this battle was sure to be surely injured and at the rate their reiryoku was dropping, they had to be wounded.
If they'd been infected, then whoever they were, they wouldn't be a threat for much longer. At best, they had an hour before the transformation set in, and once that began...
"No, we've done enough tonight, Kaname."
Sasuke made it to district twenty by the time the side effects became evident. He'd been feeling ill for about half an hour now, but it was only five minutes ago that the nasuea had taken a turn for the worst. Less then a second ago, he'd started to vommit white goop, barely able to drag himself out into an alleywaya before blood had tinged the white globs a sickly pinkish red.
An explosion of reaitsu came from his back as a strange white substance began pouring out of his eyes, his nose, his mouth. Sasuke was in more pain than he had ever thought was even possible. Hiyori running him through was nothing compared to this. The pressure on his body was incomprehensible. It felt like his body was suddenly three sizes too small for him, and was bursting at the seams trying to contain him.
Little one! My blade! Use your reflection.
Clutching Ikazuchi-Megami in a trembling hand, Sasuke waited until he was given his reflection, left eye flashing red at the sight of the strange material trying to devour him with all the tenacity of a sloth. Indeed, something white was smothering his good eye, and he couldn't understand why it hurt so much to breathe right now, nor why his reaitsu felt like that of a hollow's.
But he did know this.
'Whatever you are, I don't need you! I don't want you! GO AWAY!'
He wanted this thing off!
You WILL need me, soon enough.
"A-Amateratsu!" Sasuke gasped, desperate to be rid of the voice. He was granted the brief satisfaction of the foamy white material smoldering away like paper under the intense flames, right before his conciousness was swept under. His skin howled in agony, but he somehow managed to estinguish the hellish inferno. Given the brief satisfaction of knowing that he'd escaped from whatever fate had befallen the other's, he ignored the fierce burns he'd been dealt.
Charcoal black eyes burst open, and he screamed, awakening from the nightmare in which he hadn't been able to douse the flames, forced to writhe upon the ground in raw agony, howling in pain until the heat at last scorched away his lungs.
He didn't know where he was, he didn't know what had happened to him, he knew very little of what was going on inside his body right now, nor of the irreversible change that had taken place.
His reaitsu, dormant until now, flared up with a sharp crack, similair to that of his chidori. Sasuke extended a hand, fingers clenching into a familiar claw. He felt the familair energy of his element surge through his veins, both exhilerating and calming him, all at the same time. The strange, alien prescence was gone now, apparently having chosen to slumber after its defeat.
But what he saw, Hirako and the other's, slumped in a corner, off to the side of this underground cavern, was enough to set his blood boiling.
"Sprinkled on the bones of the beast! Sharp tower, red crystal, steel ring. Move and become the wind, stop and become the calm. The sound of warring spears fills the empty castle!"
"Hadō #63. Raikōhō!" (Thunder Roar Cannon)
"You're betraying the Sereitei, just like Aizen, aren't you?!" Sasuke hissed through clenched teeth as he thrust a palm forward while placing a hand upon his forearm. "And now you're trying to escape! I can't allow you to go any further!" As before energy streamed into his palm, though this time, the swirling vortex became a radiant, azure blue.
"Hadō #88. Hiryugekizokushintenraiho!" (Flying Dragon-Striking Heaven-Shaking Thunder Cannon)
For the first time in nine years, Sasuke watched Yoruichi Shihoin become enraged. It wasn't an methodical change either, it happened so quickly that Sasuke actually thought he'd missed it, as her lips curled up into a snarl, the warning too late to be of any real use.
The destructive spell was again batted away with contemptuous ease, where it detonated harmlessly into the air. By time Sasuke'd realized she was coming, it was already far to late to do anything other than brace himself.
"Do you really think that's all there is to it?!" He winced as she slammed him into the stone wall, hairline fissures spreading out from the point of impact to spray a few pebbles into his hair. "That I'd just betray my division like this?! I have absolutely nothing to do with what happened to Shinji and the other's! They're only still alive because of me and Kisuke! Its the same for you!"
Sasuke didn't answer when she released him. He just slumped down against the wall, his face hidden in shadow. Yoruichi stared at him for a moment, amazed that he'd managed to suppress the hollow transformation through sheer willpower before being picked up and stabilized by Urahara. For a moment longer she considered the liability, before rejecting the possibility of bringing him along.
Sasuke had become too attached here. The very thing he'd sought to avoid had happened sometime during the last decade. He wasn't quite under Soul Society's sway yet, but at the same time, he wanted to upohold his new set of morals.
His injuries would likely leave everyone to think that he'd tried to stop them, but been defeated. There was no shame in knowing that he'd lost, in fact, it'd likely absolve him from any punishment the Central Forty-Six might be planning to dole out on the survivors'. Even looking at him now, there was no way to discern that he'd been infected by that horrible contagent.
However, there was still the matter of the hollow reaitsu now within him. With time, it would begin to resurface, and he wouldn't be able to suppress it once that power matured. Something would have to be done about it, or Sasuke would likely perish.
"Sasuke, I need a favor." He barely even twitched, but still, the Shihoin continued onwards. "Look after Soi fon for me. I know you can't stand her, but she'll be really upset about this. She might even hate me when all is said and done."
"I hate you." He grumbled, but as he looked up...
She was already gone, and so were the other's. He stared after them for a moment, his jaw clenched tightly shut in barely contained rage. No words could hope to mollify him, not now. He barely even heard the sound of the Onmitskido appearing behind him.
"Are you alright sir?!"
Sasuke tried to answer, but only vommited blood, the thick, ripe globes staining the dusty, oblong stone a thick red black. Apparently, he'd been hit harder than he thought, and only now had he begun to fell the after effects. Of course, he only realized this now, as he passed out.
"Quick, let's bring him to the infirmary! Unohana-taichou will know what do!:
Next time: Mending a shattered sense of pride and second division. Look around, Sasuke. You're not the only one who feels pain.