Shallow Life

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. That honor belongs to Tite Kubo. All characters are depicted as legal age.

Warnings: Spoilers for the Soul Society Arc, Speculation, Implied Sex

AN: For the Bleach contest on LJ. The prompt was "History."

Inspired by DracoQueen22's awesome Aizen/Urahara fics in her Seireitei Monogatari series.


His hair is brown and blows into his face with a careless ease. Eyes dark behind glasses but so very warm. Smile easy and light. All soft angles and gentleness wrapping around a solid core. The silk over steel. Strong as any in their organization but so much kinder. As if this life has yet to taint him. As if it can't taint him at all.

She already knows his name, but she asks it anyway just to hear his voice. To watch his mouth form the syllables.

"Aizen Sousuke," he introduces with an uplift of his lips.

And she can't help but smile back. But this time – unlike all those other times, all those other people – it is genuine.

Skin against skin. A mouth at her neck. Nipping. But it is only a slight thing. Not enough to draw blood or to even make her bruise. Gentle even at his fiercest and freest. Firm and strong but never forceful. Never taking more than what is offered. Never demanding.

He is a gentleman even now. Ever considerate as he makes certain she is pleased first. Always her and then him second. Always curling up with her afterwards and not wanting to leave though they both know that he can't be found here.

He sits across from her and sips tea from the mate to her own cup. The garden of her division stretches out beyond their porch, and the doors behind them are wide open to allow the breeze to enter her office. It is too warm for her haori, but she dare not remove it. Just as he doesn't remove the badge on his arm.

They talk about everything and nothing. Simply allowing the world to pass them by as her lieutenant bustles around in the background. Watching her patients as they feed the fish in the pond by the far corner. Listening to the buzz of voices in the walls beyond them.

They do not touch. Are not even near enough to do so. But she can still feel the tingle of his reiatsu, the caress of him in the air. And she knows that he can feel her as well.

No one has ever made her feel like this before. Lighter than air. As though she isn't weighted down by the centuries – millennia – of her life. As if she is truly as young as she appears. Young and desirable and full of hope and promise. As if she is more than the head of a division and the proverbial mother to all and sundry.

Sexy. Alive.

Blood rushing through her veins. Heating and tightening places that have been so neglected in the past. Arms wrapping around her front as her back leans into his chest. Simply standing in her kitchen with the remains of their dinner. Letting herself soak up his warmth before she turns and offers her hand. Leading him back towards her bed.

No one can say that his promotion comes as a surprise. He has headed the division in all but name since before the treachery of two years ago. The previous captain was powerful but altogether useless when it came to actual leadership or even filling out the paperwork. Sousuke is probably the only reason the buildings of the fifth are still standing.

Nevertheless, she likes how he looks in the haori. The white suits him. It is softer than the harsh black of his shihakushou. And she rather approves of the sight of him gliding down the streets with it billowing out behind him and Kyouka Suigetsu at his side.

The fact that he is still with her neighboring division goes without saying. It is merely a bonus. A happy coincidence as he invites her into his new office and slides the door shut behind her.

He traces words onto her naked back with his fingertip. A stroke down her spine. Another across her shoulder blade. Two more at angles that leave a trail of shivers in their wake. And if she concentrates hard enough she can follow the patterns along her skin. Can see them as surely as if he writes them with red ink and burns them into her mind.

Lovely. Divine. So very beautiful.

The same words he whispers before sleep claims them both. The very same things she hears just before the dark takes her when she thinks that she is already dreaming.

The captain-commander drones on in his usual style, and really, she should be used to it by now. But even she finds her attention wandering. Drifting to the captains lined up across from her until her eyes inevitably end up where they always do. His gaze meets hers within seconds, as if drawn like flowers towards the light.

He does not smile, but she can still see the spark in his eyes. The slight tilt of his head. The curl of his fingers into an almost cup-like gesture. The flick of his gaze to the captain-commander before slipping back to her.

An invitation to tea after the meeting? Why, yes. That sounds wonderful.

She likes to think that he doesn't ask because he has never demanded more than she's been willing to give. It certainly isn't against the rules. Not with both of them captains. Of equal rank now where they weren't before. The only one with the power to deny them would never dare. She has known the captain-commander for far longer than even she likes to admit, and there is a very good reason why he always lets her have her way.

It is a moot point, however, since he has yet to voice the question. Even if she already knows what she would say. Has known from before he ever even spent the night in her bed and ate breakfast with her the following morning.

But one day when he finally does ask, her answer will be a most emphatic yes.

She knows without truly knowing. Feels it in the painful flutter of her heart. The chill down her spine. The ghost that whispers in her ear as the alarms resound around them all.

This is the beginning of an end. But which end is it? Hers? His? Theirs?

Something screams at her to take his hand and run. To discard her haori and flee. To run and never look back. To throw away her duty and cling to what matters most.

And it is only the knowledge that they won't get far with the captain-commander chasing after that keeps her frozen in place. That makes her meet his eyes but not come to him as the clangs echo throughout the room.

Ryoka. Rogues. Intruders.

She hears the words and feels a tremble of fear. But she still can't understand why.

"Sousuke," she says.

And it is a sigh. One full of contentment and joy and something altogether like love. Like the plunge over the edge that is nothing but pure exhilaration. Pure elation as he hovers above her, weight pressing her down. As his forehead rests against hers and their hair mingles together. As time stretches out and still they don't move.

"Sousuke," she repeats slowly.

And his lips are warm on hers as he breathes her name.

"Retsu."

Aizen Sousuke.

Captain. Comrade. Companion. Friend. Lover.

Her lover. Her love. Her soul.

Curling around each other in her bed. Warm smiles and soft eyes. Teas of all flavors and the sound of his laughter. The feel of his skin and his taste in her mouth. Silent promises and words traced against her back.

Aizen. Sousuke.

But no such person has ever existed.


Ever Hopeful,

Azar