Thank you so much everyone that reviewed the previous chapter! *Aizen plushies for all!*
Special thanks to the wonderful Panruru for betaing this chapter!
"Just know this: Ichigo ain't gonna forgive ya that easily!"
Aizen's opened his eyes and stared up at the ceiling of his bedroom. Once again he was having restless sleep, all due to that boy. He couldn't work his mind around why the boy had affected him so and why he wanted nothing more than to take care of him. He had never felt such affection towards anyone in his life: not Gin, not his Espada, and certainly not any other man or woman he had ever crossed paths with.
There was something that attracted him to the boy, something he'd felt even before the boy was captured and made prisoner in his kingdom. It had always been there; he just hadn't realized it at the time. He remembered watching the boy and his friends enter Soul Society and attempt to break into Seiretei. Foolish as it was to rush into danger so unprepared, he had been mildly impressed with the boy. He knew the boy wasn't ready to go head to head with some of the fiercer captains and had sent Gin to interrupt their quest but not to harm them ... much. Unknowingly, the boy's brash actions had only aided his plans, increasing his interest the bright haired boy. He could see the potential radiating off of him and knew he could grow to be a threat, and that was what had led to the current situation. However, the measures he'd taken had backfired. The boy was now more of a threat to Aizen's plans that he'd ever been, and he didn't even know it.
A part of him craved the boy, wanting to hold and possess him and kill anyone who dared to even look at him. His hypothesis of his feelings being mere lust had been proven wrong. If it had been only lust, he would have taken the boy regardless of his condition.
He closed his eyes and tried to block out Gin's taunting words that had been replaying constantly in his mind like a broken record. He did not love the boy! He couldn't, and there was no way he was going to throw away the hundred years he'd spent plotting to obtain the King's Key and become god for a worthless human. The boy could never offer him what he truly desired.
It was a useless weakness that tore at men's hearts. It had started many useless wars and feuds, and could only end in tragedy. It was something only the powerless craved since they could not protect themselves and had to rely on another to protect and care for them. He would not allow himself to fall so low. He would rise above those fools and crush that word from both this existence and the next.
Aizen narrowed his eyes at the ceiling before throwing the blankets off his body. He had had enough. He would not allow this boy to affect him any longer, cursing him with emotions he did not wish to feel. He knew the only way to solve this problem was to dispose of the boy. Once the problem was gone, he'd be able to return to his plans without any more useless feelings of guilt, remorse, sorrow, and most annoyingly, the light feeling he got in his chest when his eyes were on the boy. He would get rid of them all tonight.
He walked over to his closet and quickly dressed, not caring for once that his hair was in a state of disarray. He grabbed his zanpakutou and gripped it tightly in his left hand as he threw his bedroom door open and marched down the hall towards his prisoner's bedroom only a few doors down.
He would end this tonight. He would make the boy pay for affecting him in such a way. First, he would make the boy suffer for daring to inflict these emotions on him. If the boy thought he was in Hell now, he would learn a whole new meaning to the word. He knew the boy's weakness. He had often whispered it in his sleep while Aizen observed him on the monitor. He knew there was something the boy cherished even more than his friends and baby sisters. There was only one person that could tear his world apart and leave him completely broken.
A small smirk played on Aizen's lips at the knowledge that he would be the person to rip the boy's heart out before ending his life.
Ichigo huddled in the farthest corner of his new quarters. After Aizen had left, he hadn't dared to move for a few hours. Eventually an arrancar had come to clean up the mess, and he'd quickly dressed. Despite what had happened, he felt slightly relieved that the man hadn't raped him again. However, he couldn't trust Aizen's promise to leave his family and friends alone. There was no real way to tell if he was keeping his promise. For all he knew, Aizen could have sent one of his arrancar to Karakura Town to kill them all.
He slowly shook his head, trying to block out the thought. It was a possibility, but he couldn't bear to consider it. It was already bad enough seeing Orihime's face every time he slept, reminding him of his failure to protect her. He couldn't lose anyone else, and his only consolation was the belief they were no longer being held within Las Noches and were back in Karakura Town where they belonged.
He folded his arms around his knees and brought them closer to his chest before resting his forehead against them. He felt a silent tear run down his cheek and soak into the white fabric of his hakama. He was so useless and pathetic, his friends and family were better off forgetting about him. He had failed them. Hell, he couldn't even protect himself, much less them. If it hadn't been for him, none of this would have happened.
And Orihime… He closed his eyes and shook his head as depression overrode all other emotion once more. She had been so innocent. She wasn't meant for this life, but because of him she'd... And Chad, his best friend and loyal companion, had been dragged in and beaten in front of him...
He suddenly felt sick again and had to swallow against the bile rising in his throat. He couldn't stand the thought of his strong friend, the one who would never hurt a fly and always protected those weaker than him, being beaten like a dog just to hurt him. His friend didn't deserve it, and his stomach clenched at the thought of all that might have happened to his friends and family while he was trapped in the cell.
He couldn't trust Aizen or any of his men. Hell, they had spent over a hundred years lying to Soul Society before they betrayed them and left them shattered; there was no way he could believe anything they had to say. Just because Aizen told him that his friends and family were unharmed didn't mean it was true. Who knew what had happened to them while in confinement. Were they starved? Had they been mocked and abused by the Espada? Did they … did they know what was happening to him?
The mere thought of them knowing he'd been raped made him feel even more disgusting, and he buried his head further into his legs. If they knew, would they understand? Or would they mark him as a traitor? The thought seemed silly, but at the same time it did not. The Gotei 13 were extremely strict and they had taken on the responsibility of upholding the law until the Central 46 could be rebuilt. So would they understand, or would they decide he was a disgusting rat that needed to be executed?
He heard the door creak open and felt himself freeze involuntarily. Fear raced through him and he refused to look up. What terrified him most was the thought of looking up to see Aizen standing above him. The lord of Hueco Mundo could do whatever he wanted to him at any point in time. He was still confused as to why the man had backed off earlier, but he couldn't complain. He just hoped he hadn't returned to finish what he'd started.
The sound of the door closing echoed through the room, and Ichigo already knew it was locked. Not that he wanted to go running through the halls of Las Noches with enemies stationed at every corner, but he didn't like knowing that he was trapped. He tried to calm himself, taking in a deep breath before slowly exhaling. It wouldn't do him any good to panic, even if that was what his instincts were calling for at the moment.
"Ichigo." His eyes snapped wide open and he slowly raised his head when he was greeted by the feminine voice. His mouth fell open and he couldn't help but stare at the woman he'd long believed to be dead.
This can't be real. This is a dream, he thought to himself as he watched her make her way across the room, a warm smile spread across her beautiful face. Once she'd reached him, she bent down until they were at eye level and placed a gentle hand on his knee. I don't care if this is a dream, I don't want it to end. His eyes teared up anew and he felt his heart skip a beat.
"I've missed you," she said gently. He blinked once and couldn't help but fall into her chest and sob as he hugged her. He felt her tenderly stroke his hair as he held her, and she ran her other hand up and down his back.
"Mom," he cried and held onto her more tightly, feeling that if he let go either she'd disappear or he'd wake up. He didn't care if he remained like this for the rest of his life; there was nothing he wanted more than to be held by his mother like when he was younger.
"Shh, it's alright. I'm here," she soothed and rubbed circles around his back as he continued to cry into her shoulder. She'd used to do this every night when there was a thunderstorm and he'd wake up and run to his parents' room. His mother would always quietly walk him back to his room and stay with him until either he fell asleep or the rain stopped. To him, whenever she was around there was nothing to be afraid of. He could be brave for her no matter how hurt or scared he was.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't protect them. I couldn't protect you." He buried his head further into her shoulder until she pulled away slightly, and he stared up into her beautiful eyes. It was then that he noticed she was wearing the same outfit she'd worn the night she'd been killed. Flashes ran through his mind of the little girl he'd tried to save, and then waking up to find his mother's dead body over him. He knew now that it had happened because of that disgusting hollow, Grand Fisher, but at the time he'd blamed himself for her death. Like he did now with Orihime's death, Chad being beaten, and his family and friends being torn away from their lives and held prisoner.
In the corner of the room, Aizen stood with his zanpakutou drawn and watched the moving scene before him. He had studied Ichigo after he'd left Soul Society and ascended into Hueco Mundo. The boy had sparked his curiosity, and he'd soon stumbled upon Ichigo's greatest weakness: his mother. Sure, he adored his sisters, put up with his father, and always protected his friends, but the one person he'd cherished most in his life was Masaki Kurosaki.
He hadn't been sure exactly how the boy would take to seeing an illusion of his dead mother, but it didn't matter anyway. If Ichigo freaked out and didn't believe the woman was really his mother, he would simply have her kill the boy and be done with it. The fact that the boy was willing to accept the illusion showed how desperate he'd become. He was willing to accept any form of comfort he could get, real or not.
He watched the two converse and saw how Ichigo held on to her so desperately. The scene was becoming harder to watch than he'd expected. He could feel remorse and guilt spreading through him again but he quashed the feelings, knowing what he must do. The boy needed to die for these worthless feelings to disappear for good!
The scene soon become overly dramatic, with Ichigo telling his mother how sorry he was and how much he loved her. It was disgusting and just showed how weak the boy was that he was willing to allow that useless emotion to run his life. A strange feeling spread through Aizen's chest, and for reasons he could not have explained, he was tempted to rip the illusion away from Ichigo and gather him in his arms. He wanted to hold the boy as she was holding him and allow him to cry into his chest. As much as it disgusted him, he wanted the boy to hold him like he was holding his mother and openly confess his darkest secrets and greatest regrets.
This must end, Aizen thought to himself as he attempted to shove those emotions down into his core. He could not allow himself to become weak. He did not strive for love and acceptance. Fear, anger, and hate was the only way to survive in this cruel world, and he would be doing the boy a service by ending his pitiful life.
He held Kyōka Suigetsu loosely in his hand and found the blade becoming heavier by the second. He glanced down at his zanpakutou, but it was completely normal. He shook his head to clear his thoughts and quiet the part of him that was crying for him to stop as he unsteadily raised the protesting blade. He glared down at the boy hugging his mother, and against his will his hand froze just as he was about to make the illusion of Masaki kill her son. He did not know what was wrong with his body and his blade as they both seemed to work against him and forced him to stop and stare at the scene.
The boy smiled. It was the first time he could remember seeing the boy smile. It was then that the emotions he'd been pushing back and repressing sprang forth and overwhelmed the cold logic that had always dominated his personality. It washed through his chest and spread throughout his body.
Guilt over everything he had put Ichigo through. For taking the boy's virginity and his first kiss. For making him watch as his friend was murdered, even if it was an illusion.
Anger, all directed towards himself. He had been denying his feelings, and like Gin had said, had been hurting Ichigo because he didn't understand it.
Jealousy for how easily his mother could hold him. Ichigo would freak out if he revealed himself now. He could only stand there and watch as she held him so casually and he accepted her completely. He suddenly craved that acceptance, along with the beautiful smile he longed to have directed at himself.
Sadness, knowing the boy was suffering and it was his fault. He had caused so much sorrow and come very close to breaking Ichigo, if he hadn't already. The boy didn't trust him, and he honestly couldn't blame him if he never did. Not after all the unspeakable acts he'd committed on him. Ichigo deserved better.
Finally, as Gin had said before, he cared for the boy beyond any other he'd ever known. He felt protective of him and wanted to keep away any danger and hurt those that dared to cross him (even though most of it had been caused by himself). Dare he say, he liked the boy more than he should. The attraction he felt towards him was more than admiration for his strength and the loyalty he showed towards his friends; no, it ran far deeper than that and he knew it. He could now feel it burning in his chest where he'd once thought there was just lust making him crave Ichigo. The desire to have the teen beneath him gasping in sweet ecstasy was still there, but there was more.
He placed a hand to his head, feeling his mind ache from all the emotions he was being assaulted with. He finally turned back and saw Masaki rocking Ichigo to sleep. There was a smile on his face, and for once looked to be at peace. Looked the way he should have looked all along. He watched as her fingers lovingly stroked through the bright orange hair, and resisted the urge to replace her hand with his own. The temptation was great, but for once he denied himself and took a step back.
He would allow Ichigo to stay with his mother while he slept and have a night of peace. He had earned it, and was most deserving of it. With one final glance at the mother and son he turned and quietly left, abandoning his mission and for the first time in a hundred years, not caring that his plans had been disrupted.
Hours later, Ichigo slowly opened his eyes, his back feeling stiff and achy from the weird position he'd fallen asleep in. He looked down at the floor and realized he must have fallen asleep there, yet he felt more relaxed and at peace than he had in a long time.
A small yawn escaped him as he rubbed his head, and a soft smile played across his lips. He'd had a wonderful dream. His mother had comforted him and held him like she had so many years ago. Some teenagers were repulsed just by the thought of being anywhere near their parents, and he was the same when it came to his dad, but he could never turn his mother away. She had always been his light and protected him, even now.
He sighed as he stretched his sore back and scratched his head, oblivious to the smile that forced itself onto his lips. He could still feel his mother's gentle touch as she rubbed circles around his back and her warm fingers ran through his short, spiky hair. If only he could have that dream every night rather than the constant nightmares he'd been having before.
"Hm..." He turned to look at the door when he saw the handle turning. It looked as if the person on the other side was having difficulty opening it. He stiffened and scooted closer to the wall though he knew it'd offer little protection. He was finally feeling calm and well rested for the first time since he'd been captured, and he didn't want it ruined by Aizen showing his smug face.
Finally, the handle turned and the door creaked open. Ichigo narrowed his eyes, knowing right then that it wasn't Aizen who was entering the room. That man always entered gracefully and never delayed his entrance for such a long period of time. His next thought was that it might be an arrancar maid coming in to clean the room, but it had been cleaned before he slept and there was no reason to do it again. It could be Ulquiorra coming to bring him his food and stare down at him with disgust. He hadn't seen Grimmjow or any other arrancar bring his meals in a while, and it seemed that the job had been given to the fourth Espada. However, like Aizen, the green-eyed arrancar would never wait this long before entering.
The person finally stepped into the room, and Ichigo felt himself relax. He didn't know why, but he didn't feel intimidated by the person looking down at him with curiosity. He watched as the door slowly shut by itself behind the person walked closer to Ichigo.
"Uh, who are you?" he broke the silence, and the relaxing feeling he'd had before began to disappear. In its place, he felt a rising panic and the desire to get as far away from this person as he possibly could.
The figure cocked its head to the side before one of the most sadistic smiles Ichigo had ever seen spread across its face. It watched in joy as Ichigo began to scoot closer to the wall in a futile attempt to get away.
That was when the person pounced.
I know Ichi and Aizen are both OOC right now, but they will be returning to their character (Ichigo is kinda driving me nuts so he'll be the first to go back to character!).
Thanks so much for reading, hope you enjoyed, and please review!