Chapter 25: You're Going Down

'I feel the heat comin' off of the blacktop
And it makes me want it more
Because I'm hyped up out of control
If it's a fight, I'm ready to go
I wouldn't put my money on the other guy
If you know what I know that I know

It's been a long time coming
And the table's turned around
'Cause one of us is going
One of us is going down
I'm not running,
It's a little different now
'Cause one of us is going
One of us is going down'

Alejo followed his master down the white corridors, once so abstract now solid, their passageways forming an immovable map in his mind. He knew vaguely where they were, but he did not know where they were going. They were currently in the accommodation wing, the area of the palace where the espada and their fracción had their quarters, but they were not headed in the direction of the lodgings that he shared with Grimmjow.

Aizen had not spoken a word since they had left the bright lights and blood stained dirt of the battleground. Alejo followed silently behind him, only limping ever so slightly. The battle had taken its toll, but his incredible stamina and impressive healing capabilities kept him standing, kept him moving unknowingly down identical white corridors on the heel of his master. He did not falter, though his breath came in short, silent gasps and exhalations. Aizen's pace was quick, as though he was testing him, another challenge that Alejo was determined not to fail.

When the silence eventually broke he was momentarily startled, the deafening whiteness of the palace walls suddenly cracked by Aizen's cold, neutral voice.

'Tell me Alejo, what do you know about the espada's aspects of death?'

'Aspects of death?' Alejo echoed the words back at him, a wary question contained in his voice. Aizen kept walking, not once looking back.

'Each espada is given one, a facet of death most fitting of their individual character.'

'Oh.'

A momentary silence passed between the two, no noise but the soft echoing of the clicking of heels upon marble floor. Alejo remembered Starrk saying something about that, but he had never divulged any details beyond the vague notion of the concept itself. He had briefly wondered what Grimmjow's personality represented but had not dared to ask; somehow he did not think that 'asshole' counted as a characteristic of death.

Aizen's steps halted suddenly and Alejo instinctively followed suit, stopping silently behind him in the blank white corridor.

'Do you want to know what yours is?' Aizen spoke without turning to face him, and though his voice remained neutral Alejo could feel a dreadful heaviness contained in those words.

'Yes, Aizen-sama.'

Aizen turned around. A curious expression laced his face, something between compassion and disgust. To Alejo it felt entirely faux.

'Sorrow, Alejo. It is sorrow.' Something deep inside of Alejo gripped at him at those words. He felt slightly sick and confused as he felt a warm hand take hold inside his stomach. Aizen continued, 'You have experienced such loss, so deeply rooted within your soul that it defines you. Remember that, and fight so that you do not lose anything more.' For a moment he looked as though he was going to reach out towards him, but seemed to think better of it.

'Yes.' Alejo spoke the word with difficulty, fighting to breathe against the obstruction in his insides.

Aizen smiled.

'We have arrived.'

The heaviness of their conversation dissipated in the instant that he spoke. He gestured to the wall, a door that Alejo had not noticed before suddenly making its presence known, as though it had just appeared out of a previously unblemished white wall. Alejo scowled softly in confusion as he turned his attention back to his master.

'Where?'

'Your new lodgings.' A soft smile curved the corners of Aizen's lips.

'New lodgings?'

'Surely you did not think I would let my cero continue to share quarters with the sexta like a mere fracción? No, you have earned your own place here, and this is it.'

Aizen gestured towards the door but did not move to open it, making it clear that this moment was for Alejo alone to uncover. Alejo looked at the door; it was like all the others in Las Noches, white, plain, and without any kind of conceivable handle. It did not need one; it would open only for its masters. Yet somehow this door was different. This door was meant for him and him alone. Beyond it lay his prize, his home. Perhaps this was the thing he had been searching for all along, the place where he finally belonged.

He reached out a hand and pressed lightly upon the join where the door met the wall. It slid open without making a sound, revealing the room that lay beyond it, the new symbol of his world.

He stepped inside.

In keeping with the rest of the palace, everything was white, glaringly so as the room was lit by artificial lights. The furniture, the walls, the floor, the sheets upon the bed, all white. It was much bigger than Grimmjow's quarters. There was more floorspace and, though it was furnished in a similar manner, seemed more luxurious also. The bed was bigger, the mattress thicker. The window larger too, the windowsill big enough to sit comfortably upon. There was a small table beside the bed, a wardrobe, a desk, an armchair, a couple of sofas, a thick black rug upon the white floor, all the basics that an arrancar could possibly need to be comfortable. On the wall beside his bed was a weapon stand, and he knew without needing to try that Zangetsu would fit perfectly into it. In the corner of the room stood another door leading into what he assumed to be the bathroom, blindingly white and similarly spotless.

He turned to see Aizen regarding him, a soft, unreadable expression playing upon his face.

'Open the wardrobe.' He commanded gently. 'Look inside.'

Alejo took his first few hesitant steps inside, aware that his feet and the hem of his robes were still bloody from his victory. But they made no mark upon the floor; somehow things never seemed to get dirty here no matter how hard he tried.

Inside the wardrobe hung a row of identical white outfits, much the same as they had in his wardrobe before. But these were different; he didn't even need to take a close look to know that. He took out a set and walked over to the bed, laying it down and smoothing out the cloth to admire it.

The jacket was high collared with a low neckline; low enough that he knew that when on it would dip low enough to fully expose his hollow hole. It fastened almost seamlessly across the chest, coming apart again just above the waistband. Simple black lines ran down from the shoulders and the chest, frightening similar to the black marks that now radiated out from the hole in his chest. The jacket was completed by a simple white hakama, tied with a jet black waistband. It was simple and clean cut, yet radiated with it a new sense of authority.

He could feel the weight of Aizen's gaze upon him as he regarded his new uniform. He made a show of admiring it, running his eyes and fingers along every inch. Aizen took a weird sense of pleasure from things like this. Everything neat and in place and matching and organised. Everything to his design.

Alejo turned to face him and was helplessly caught within that gaze, like a bug in amber.

'Do you like it?'

'Yes.' Alejo declined his chin ever so slightly, dropping his head in a mark of gratitude. 'Thank you.'

Something flickered in Aizen's expression. He reached out his hand to touch the base of Alejo's chin. Gently he pushed his head back up. Their eyes met. Aizen's thumb began to stroke lightly along the curve of his cheek. He spoke softly, almost tenderly, a tone that Alejo had never heard from his master before. But as always there was that dangerous undercurrent to his voice, the sound of which made Alejo's stomach turn.

'You are the most powerful of the espada now; there is none above you but me. That means that no-one but me has a claim to you, understand?'

Alejo shivered at those words, at the unsaid meaning contained within them. That light, murmured tone which contained such heavy words. The gentle hand upon his skin stirred up fragmented memories which he knew had never existed.

'Yes Aizen-sama.'

'You are no longer bound to Grimmjow. You have gone beyond what he can teach you. Nor should you refer to Starrk any longer. From now on you report to me alone.' There was possessiveness there, beneath the surface, reminding Alejo of his place. The shivers came again, running afresh across his skin like electricity. 'Together we shall complete your training.'

He found himself turning his cheek towards the gentle touch, unconsciously leaning into it. But as he did the sensation was lost. Cold air replaced a cold hand as Aizen turned to leave.

'Rest now.' He murmured as he paused at the door, resting one hand on the doorframe as he turned back to lay his sharp gaze upon Alejo once more. 'We still have a lot of work ahead of us.'

And with that he was gone, leaving Alejo alone in the wake of all that had happened. A cold sensation burnt upon his cheek to remind him of his master's touch. He could still taste blood in his mouth, could feel it weighing down his hair and clothes like the remnants of battle. He ran his fingers through his hair and grimaced at how it was matted by blood and dirt. It was definitely time to get cleaned up.

He made the most of his new home, starting with the bathroom. Even it was huge, easily twice the size of the one he had shared with Grimmjow. If this was the size of the cero's quarters he could only imagine how large Aizen's must be, or Gin or Tōsen's for that matter. He did not know exactly where Aizen stayed, somehow nobody did, his private domain encompassing a section of the palace that no-one else could access or seemingly even perceive. But he knew that it was not in this section, nor anywhere near it. His master did not like to associate on any kind of personal level with those he saw to be beneath him.

He hummed a formless tune as he scrubbed himself in the shower, letting the events of the day wash over him like the hot water. He took his time cleaning his hair, rubbing a soapy substance through the long thick strands, teasing out the many tangles with his fingers, making sure to wash the fragments of the battle safely away down the plughole where they would bother him no longer. Grimmjow always mocked him for the care he took over his hair but he shrugged it off. He smiled to himself as he remembered that he could shrug off a lot more from Grimmjow now.

He let his fingers trace upon the new black lines, inked upon his chest like a tattoo. Another decorative mark to add to the collection. To him they were trophies, something indicative of whatever power it was that had been unleashed during that battle. He let his fingers trace along the edge of his mask. It felt different somehow, as though it had cracked or fragmented in the face of the punishment taken in the fight. But in the mirror it looked much the same, though he could swear that the tip of his broken horn seemed shorter than before.

It was a strange feeling, to suddenly have so much power bestowed upon him. He didn't feel any different, but in a matter of minutes his life had changed. Amongst the arrancar power and status was everything and here he had gone from lackey to the sexta to the head of the espada. Everything would change now, not just the new quarters and the new clothes, everyone's perception of him would change. He would be treated differently by everyone, particularly Aizen.

He had spent a good amount of his thinking time in the shower trying to work out the meaning contained in the touch that had passed between the two of them in the bedroom, but try as he might he could not pin it down. It must be nothing, but the way he had spoken and the cool, familiarity of that touch had Alejo rattled, and just a little excited by the whole thing. In the end he had decided not to waste too much thought upon it, as Aizen had said he still had a lot of work to do. He had gained his new position in one bloody instant and now he had to live up to it.

As he towelled himself dry his thoughts slipped back to what Aizen had told him. The one thing he still did not understand was the loss that he had spoken of. Alejo was sorrow, but he didn't know why. His life had been short and, for the most part, contained and uneventful. He wasn't sure that he even truly understood was loss was, having never lost anything beyond the buttons off his uniform. Perhaps such knowledge would come in time; he wouldn't put it past Aizen to have some form of clairvoyance stowed away with the rest of his powers. But there was one thing he had understood,

'…fight so that you do not lose anything more.'

He had a place now; he had a master and comrades, perhaps even friends, if an arrancar could possibly have such things. He would fight to protect all that he had, for now he had the power to do so.

He sat down upon the bed, jiggling up and down slightly as he tested out the mattress. Very comfortable, again it was much more luxurious than the one in his old room. Feeling lethargy tug at his bones he yawned and stretched out, feeling his muscles groan and his joins crack and pop as he shook the exertions from his body. He crawled under the thick white sheets, hair still damp and body still nude from the shower, and gratefully accepted the warm blanket of sleep as it wrapped him in its arms.

He slept the sleep of the dead as his body healed and his reiatsu renewed itself. He would have gone on sleeping for a long time had he not been rudely dragged up from the depths by a heavy weight thumping down upon the bed next to him. Had it been an enemy his body would have snapped awake a long time before the intruder reached the bed, but it was not, and the reiatsu was so familiar to him that it did not ring as a threat any longer. He blinked sleep away as he struggled to focus in the dim light, seeing the colour of azure blue. He groaned sleepily as he frowned at the new arrival sitting upon the end of his bed.

'How'd you get in?'

'Window.'

Grimmjow's lips curled in a wicked grin as he moved to dodge the pillow thrown at his head by an irate espada.

'Leave me alone.' Alejo muttered as he turned his face back into the pillow. 'Tired.'

'Yeah, no wonder.' The grin upon the sexta's lips did not falter. 'That was quite a stunt you pulled back there.'

'Is that supposed to be admiration?' Alejo's voice was muffled by the pillow but it could not quite cover the sarcasm in his tone. Grimmjow laughed.

'You'll have to try a lot harder than that, cub.'

With his face buried in the pillow Alejo could not see what Grimmjow was doing. But he felt him crawl up the bed towards him and groaned huffily. Realising that the panther was not just going to go away he rolled over to face him, scowl firmly plastered on his face.

'I told you not to call me that.' His frown and the anger in his tone were overshadowed somewhat by his still damp hair sticking out in all directions and the blanket of sleep still heavy upon his face and in his eyes. Grimmjow smirked as the redhead blinked sleepily and angrily at him. He crouched on the mattress beside Alejo and continued talking as though he had not heard the other speak.

'Though I must admit, it did get my blood all stirred up. I wanted to fight you on the battleground but since you're in bed already…' He leered suggestively as he leant over him, gripping his wrists to pin him to the bed as he leant in close. Alejo felt warm breath tickling his cheek as he was pushed down against the bed, wrists trapped in a clinch that he knew he could easily break. His frown deepened.

'What do you think you're doing, sexta?' He growled softly, his tone edged with annoyance.

'What are you talking about?' Confusion and exasperation flitted across Grimmjow's face as he rubbed their noses together, their lips brushing ever so slightly.

'I outrank you.' The words were nearly whispered, amusement shining in his ochre eyes. He knew that this time he had Grimmjow beaten.

With hollows, sex was about power. It was instinct, the strong overpowering the weak, using them as they pleased in a display of strength and domination. And Grimmjow had just lost the right to dominate him. They both knew this, it was sheer animal instinct.

But Grimmjow was never one to submit without a fight, whether on the battlefield or in the bedroom.

'Don't get full of yourself cub.' He growled dangerously as he tightened the grip upon Alejo's wrists.

'Hmm,' A slow, amused smile crept across Alejo's lips. 'I think this makes you the cub now.'

'Tch, don't kid yourself,' Grimmjow growled dangerously as he nipped gently at his bottom lip. 'you'll always be his pet.' Alejo scowled momentarily, knowing exactly who Grimmjow was referring to. There was something in those words, that specific, mocking title, which stirred up memories of pain and anger which seemed to have no origin point. Something hot bubbled up from the pit of his stomach.

'Maybe…' Alejo moved his head to return the gesture. He caught Grimmjow's bottom lip between his teeth and bit down upon it, sucking it gently into his mouth. He felt a soft moan shudder through the larger espada's body and he smirked. 'But you'll be mine.'

'Fuck you.' Grimmjow's body stiffened in annoyance at the threat contained in Alejo's voice. He dug his nails into the skin of the redhead's wrists in response. Alejo's smirk just widened as he felt the nails dig in uselessly, no longer able to break the surface of his skin. In one swift movement he reversed their positions, flipping Grimmjow heavily over onto his back.

'With pleasure, cub.' He hissed the title in Grimmjow's ear before burying his face in the espada's thick neck, biting down just hard enough to break the skin. Now it was Alejo's turn to mark him.

Grimmjow growled in a mixture of pain and annoyance as he twisted his body uselessly beneath the smaller espada. Alejo had long been the stronger of the two, but he'd never had the authority to use his strength against Grimmjow before. But now he had his former master pinned by the wrists upon his bed. All bets were off and it was the sexta's turn to feel the sharp sting of submission before a stronger beast. He knew that obedience was not something that Grimmjow would take to willingly and relished the prospect of being the one, perhaps the only one, to top him.

He pressed his lips to Grimmjow's in a slow, teasing motion, swallowing the angry noises he made as he tried in vain to free his wrists from Alejo's tight grip. As if to humiliate him further Alejo pushed the blue haired arrancar's wrists together, holding them above Grimmjow's head with just one hand. He let his free hand run gently across the espada's body, circling teasingly around the curve of his hollow hole where he knew the most sensitive nerve endings were. The sexta spat and snarled as he tried to twist from his grip, even knowing as he did that it was useless to try.

He did not give Alejo the satisfaction of begging, still regarding him in his mind as an inferior being. Even when his clothes were ripped from him in the same way that he would tear cloth from the redhead's body and listen to him whine. Even when nails bit into his skin in a painful display of dominance, drawing red from the welts. Even when he found himself naked, pinned beneath a stronger beast upon white sheets. Even as thin fingers snaked downwards over muscle and flesh, raking nails across his hipbones, settling between his legs to stroke him slowly and intimately.

Alejo hummed in amusement at the expression on the sexta's face as he teased him, amazed at how good the reverse of roles felt. He had never been allowed to dominate before and now he could see the attraction. His free hand slid softly up and down Grimmjow's length, not giving him nearly enough stimulation to get off but enough to keep him hard and wanting. The elder espada's snarling was punctuated by groans now as Alejo stroked him teasingly slow. His body beginning to relax into the touch.

For a moment Alejo considered not preparing him, taking his former master dry and rough as he had done to him so often. But he could not bring himself to be so cruel; knowing already how painfully humiliating this was for the elder. Grimmjow's body snapped rigid as he felt that warm hand leave his length and move round behind him. His struggle renewed as he felt fingers press against his entrance. Swearing and struggling uselessly as the digits pushed in, clumsy and inexperienced in their preparation.

He bit his lip hard as Alejo pressed himself against his entrance. Their eyes met and still he did not plead for the readhead to stop. If he was forced to be submissive in body then he would remain defiant in silence.

Alejo smirked softly at the bold anger shining in Grimmjow's eyes. But all the anger in the world could not overcome the vast difference in strength between them now. He watched the sexta's face contort in a grimace of pain and rage as he pushed inside of him, the other's insides so warm and tight that he could barely breathe for a moment. Grimmjow growled at him, almost an expression of 'hurry up and get it over with'. He smirked back, deciding that he would not make this easy for the proud espada.

Alejo began to move, teasingly slowly at first as he got used to feeling the other around him. Little breathy moans escaped from his lips and Grimmjow sneered at him through his stoic expression. He picked up the pace in response, moving harder and faster into the sexta, pushing deeper until he forced a strangled groan of pleasure from the other and knew that he was hitting the right spot.

Grimmjow bit down harder on his lip as he tried to ignore the pleasurable sensations, but every hard thrust of Alejo's hips hit him in just the right place and he could feel that animal pleasure pooling in the pit of his stomach no matter how hard he fought the rising sensation. Then his wrists were released as Alejo's hands moved to fist in his hair. Soft lips and hard teeth clashed against his mouth, a tongue tangled with his own and he forgot to resist.

They writhed together upon the sheets, frantic and animal in their dance. Grimmjow began pushing back, moving his hips to meet Alejo's motions, no longer a mere submissive in their interaction. Their breaths turned to moans, echoing in the vastness of the cero's chambers. Alejo moved his hand in clumsy motions against Grimmjow, fingers working him up and down until he came, warm and wet against their skin. Alejo felt his partner tighten around him and could not hold out his own end for much longer. He had to curb the urge to move harder and faster for fear of hurting the other with his overpowering strength but when he peaked he almost forgot to hold back, slamming harshly into the other as he emptied himself inside of him. Grimmjow grimaced in disgust as he felt hot liquid fill his insides, an unfamiliar and unpleasant sensation.

Breathing heavily, Alejo rolled off of Grimmjow and flopped face down on the bed beside him, his face buried in the pillow. Freed of his forced submission and the pleasure which had overwhelmed even his fierce pride, Grimmjow felt the hot burn of anger flare up inside of him once more, but was simply too tired to do anything about it. He looked over at his partner and saw the other already asleep, hair splayed over a sticky, sweat drenched back. Long eyelashes fluttering ever so softly as he breathed gently.

Tomorrow, he decided as his own eyelids began to slip closed, tomorrow he would teach Alejo a lesson. But for now it wasn't so bad, to lie here in the aftermath of the adrenaline rush and let the redhead's gentle breathing lull him to his own sleep.

He shifted ever so slightly and hissed as pain shot up his spine.

Yes, tomorrow he would make Alejo pay, that is if he could walk by then.


A/N: So sorry this update took so long, I've been crazy busy this semester, and also had big problems with blocks on this one. I'm still not very happy with it but it's as good as I think I can make it for now. I can't promise the next one will be quicker but as always I'll try my best.

Hope you guys enjoy regardless, it's lovely to still get comments/reviews for this fic even though it's not been very active these past few months.

UPDATE: With this chapter this fic is officially over 100,000 words long! Woah! It's been a long time getting here so thanks for everyone who's still following after all these years. We are heading towards the ending now and I do hope you enjoy the rest of the ride.

K.