Disclaimer – I do not own Bleach. Contains spoilers for chapter 394, and was partially written before 395. Note: contains theoretical material.

Hurt to Protect

One easily could say, the lack of movement from one treacherous bastard, had been an indication that things hadn't been going their way, as they had thought. What then, were the indications when he did in fact, start moving about the place? Surely, these indications could not at all be good, for this was the fox faced traitor that one spoke about.

Ichimaru Gin's first movements had been to move closer to Unohana Taicho, and the humongous vizard, Hachigen Ushoda. He remained at a relatively safe distance, not letting himself to come within an easy attacking range of the two, though both were rather busy.

"Ne… don't you think, after Aizen finishes playing with the ones still up to playing, he'll want to play with Ret-Ret-san?" the man stated, his usual playful tone present to the woman and the big male.

"You… if you are so cocky…" Ushoda gained an irritated look on his face. "…try attacking her…"

"Ehh… but I haven't been told to," came the silver-headed man's reply. His grin was still there. "It is also rather interesting to watch Aizen play."

"Then go bother him, not us…" the one armed vizard grumbled.

Unohana had that look in her eyes, watching the former third division captain as he simply stood there. This was her glare that normally would seem like a threat to others. Then, an even scarier look, the one where she smiled came out.

"Please put up a barrier around us. We don't need flying debris to hit anyone, nor do we need a certain someone, to be tempted by boredom, and interfere with what we are trying to do," came her response.

"Hai…" the man responded. Glancing back, Ichimaru Gin was in fact gone.

Yamamoto stared up into the gaping maw of Wonderweiss. The modified Arrancar was in truth, a beast of sorts. It was thus easy to predict the outcome of this. It, however, wasn't something that one could counter.

The general found himself, suddenly with a gash on his neck, not to mention, a few other blows, given by either Aizen, or the beiss beast. There was suddenly a yelling of the substitute soul reaper's signature attack, ripping through the creature.

The youth's face, along with his worried eyes suddenly appeared in front of him. "Gramps? You all right?"

"Fool…" was all Yamamoto could mutter.

"Fool is right," Aizen stated, dealing again, crippling blows to both, and watching them crumple to the earth below. However, he suddenly found something stab him through the waist, a very familiar, very short blade. "Gin?"

"Don't you think that you've been the one who's been a fool?" the man stated, only to have Aizen pull away, using his own zampaktuo, to make a cut at that younger man.

"Now, Gin… don't you think that you are the one being a fool?" the man glared at his long-term subordinate. "You, yourself have seen my shikai?"

"Have I?" Gin glanced at the sky. "I have… though I don't see how that makes me a fool."

"My shikai doesn't have a weakness," the other man chuckled. "How do you exactly plan on beating me?"

"Now… why is it, that you think your shikai doesn't have a weakness," suddenly, two eyes snapped open, revealing reddish irises. "Even my powers have limitations to them."

"My shikai controls the senses," Aizen stated, as Gin made a charge at him. As he cut through the hallucination, the voice moved behind him, and Ichimaru continued to swing around, making contact with Aizen's blade. "See… that wasn't me."

"Sorry… Shinso recognizes your zampaktuo… shoot to kill…" Gin stated firmly, only to have Aizen dodge away. Then, next one he swung at disappeared, and he received a few more cuts, and he swung his sword behind him, repeating his phrase. "Shoot to kill"

"Gin…" the man spat out, rather irritably, blood coming from his mouth as Gin's shikai actually made contact.

"Your strength is… you use others as your pawns. Any hallucination of a living thing… shoots to kill…" Gin stated, taking another blow to Aizen. "...needs to have a living be a thing for your thing. Otherwise, when someone cuts it, it disappears. Your corpse wasn't a living thing, nor a breathing thing."

The next thing happened; Shinso was ripping up and through Aizen's shoulder. "You had this planned, for some time…"

"When I was little, I followed you, because I feared you. Never because I trusted you. I never believed in your tomorrows. In the long run, I've protected what I care most about, but pushing it away, pretending it didn't matter."

"Bye-bye Aizen… the idea your shikai has no weakness is laughable," the man stated. "And good riddance… bankai has a reason too you know."

M

Hitsugaya Toshiro couldn't look up at the sky, the trepidation that Aizen might actually win, was that great. Not only was there nothing he could do about it, he felt like he was to blame, for losing it like he had.

"Hey… kiddo?" came the voice of the leader that had come after them, whatever they were. Somehow, they had landed on the ground, near each other, too weak to move, but to strong, as Aizen had pointed out, to fall unconscious.

"I'm not a little kid, you know…" came his own raspy reply.

"Could have fooled me. Anyways… can I ask you something?" the man stated.

Two teal eyes darted over to where the man lay, across a pile of rubble, not able to move any more then the child prodigy. "Do whatever you want. While I don't see how Soul Society could have labeled you enemies, it is Soul Society we are talking about, where justice isn't always true justice."

"Children shouldn't be able to say such profound things. I like you… bet Hiyori would like you too, even though she says otherwise most of the time," the man chuckled, retaining his witty composure.

The small taicho was only able to roll his eyes. Having limbs missing wasn't pleasant. It might not hurt, to try to let the man run his humor. "So… what is it that you wished to ask me?"

"Ahh… just... let me guess… your birthday is somewhere around December seventeenth, to twenty first?"

"December twentieth," Toshiro's two eyes went wide, his tone suddenly feeling with amazement. However, Shinji's face paled, and his smirk left. "How'd you guess so close?"

"Oh… god… I was just being silly, and didn't think I would guess that close…" the man had a rather shocked look on his face, as if he was trying to hide something. However, Hitsugaya couldn't see it.

"I guess… it was just a lucky guess. It probably isn't my real birthday anyways," Toshiro glanced around, his tone filled with disappointment, looking for the captains, Soifon and Kyoraku. "Do you think the other two are going to be all right?"

"This isn't exactly the time to be thinking about that. "Your voice is getting weak," Shinji uttered.

"So's…" However, the young taicho stopped short, as a shadow suddenly fell onto the battlefield. A person was near them. Toshiro gulped, as his eyes suddenly rose up to the silhouette of the person, which was not completely shadowed. "Gin…"

The man had something cradled in his arms, seeming to be wrapped in black cloth, and retained that trademark smirk of his "I am not surprised that you don't want to see me, chibi-taicho."

"Go follow your master, like the dog you are, Ichimaru," the boy sputtered out, completely uncomfortable around the man, as he had no way to defend himself.

"This dog bit the hand that fed him," the man stated, lowering himself to kneel next to the small body. Hitsugaya suddenly heard Shinji snort through his nose at the silver haired man's statement. As Gin lowered himself, what he had been carrying became apparent, Hitsugaya Toshiro's severed limbs. The man set them on the ground next to the boy.

"You sick fr…" Hitsugaya felt the nausea hit him, and he tried turning his head to vomit. However, he found a hand on his chest and back, lifting him up so that he could spew, without possibly chocking. However, this also caused his eyes to somewhat cloud over with dizziness, even as he was lowered back down.

"Make what I am trying to do, harder, why don't you?" Gin raised one eyebrow, revealing a pale colored eye, that had none of the red color to it that Toshiro was familiar with.

"Stay… away from me…" the small boy blurted out, shaking, as the bone thin fingers began to tug on the left side of his uniform, pulling it away from the wound. This made it so the entire left side of his chest was exposed, paler than usual, but then, so were his cheeks, that were beginning to flush. "Stop…"

"Didn't I tell you… I bit the hand that fed me…" Gin muttered, suddenly moving one of the limbs. Two teal eyes suddenly darted over to a head of blond hair, which could only shake it's head, indicating that either he refused to help, or he couldn't, or both.

The two eyes then glanced back, to where his severed arm should have been attached, only to have his chin turned away. "Really… Shiro-chan… you don't need to see what I am doing. You have enough bad stuff to remember from all of this mess."

The small boy's body began to shake, and he felt his air chocking in his throat. However, as he felt Gin's hands move around his shoulder area, he suddenly felt them pause and tense, which caused him to glance up, to see both of Gin's eyes opened wide, and the man to have lost his smile. The reason was apparent, by what was at Gin's neck.

A long, thin, black blade, was pressed against the man's neck. A voice from behind spoke up. "Don't you dare touch Toshiro."

"You don't know what you are asking, do you?" the man stated, suddenly looking Toshiro in the eyes. If it weren't for this being Gin, he could have sworn that there was a sadness there. The eye contact caused the small taicho to look away.

"Not only is Toshiro a good friend of mine, he's also like family to me," the substitute soul reaper hissed. "I won't let you harm him."

"So… that's what you're thinking… that I am trying to harm him. Are you able to actually perform healing kido? I highly doubt you've had time to learn any," the man hissed.

"Hold on…" Toshiro startled, blinking a couple of times. "You're not making any more sense then you usually do… bastard…"

"Didn't you hear what Gin said, kiddo," Shinji spoke up. "The dog bit the master that fed him. Kurosaki… I take it that Aizen is dead?"

The substitute soul reaper scratched his head, but retained his zampaktuo to the man's neck. "Yeah… but that weird thing is still alive, and Yamamoto, as bad as he is, is still fighting him."

"I thought you two were given crippling blows," Gin sighed. "Should you be up walking. Yamamoto… he can possibly take one… but you?"

"Ahh…" Ichigo paused for a second. "It doesn't matter… I've got someone to protect still…"

"No you don't," Shinji sighed. "For once use your brain. Gin is trying to use healing kido on the kiddo here."

"Oh…" Ichigo pulled away, collapsing to his feet, a look of feeling perhaps being completely useless plastered on his face. "I don't get it. Why turn on your allies? I've seen that a lot."

"That's Aizen's way. With him, there are no true allies, just simple pawns," Gin stated. "I never got along with any of them."

He paused, as a small hand suddenly reached up and tugged on his sleeve. Two teal eyes had a bunch of anger in them. "Baka… go heal Matsumoto!"

"She's safe. Kira took good care of her," the man narrowed his eyes. "She was down, so Aizen had no need to take her out a second time. Your far worse."

"Then Hinamori…" Toshiro stated, his body shaking again, as it was starting to push the limits.

"I hate Hinamori Momo. I don't understand how you didn't come to hate her yourself, considering how much she didn't really understand about you. Then again, hating Aizen… that's really your first time learning to hate," Gin snapped out. "I don't care about helping anyone else you ask me to help."

"Bastard! Why do you want to play with my mind," Toshiro stated, his voice fading suddenly, as he started to finally lose consciousness.

"Hey… Kurosaki…" Shinji suddenly spoke up. "You help out at your father's clinic. You might not be able to perform kido, but perhaps you can do some basic first aid… ahh…"

However, the substitute soul reaper suddenly collapsed. Gin shook his head. "I told him, he shouldn't be up. He's as bad as… chibi-taicho's asleep…"

"That's a good thing, isn't it. You don't have to tell him the truth of why you are trying to hear him," the other man chuckled.

"Don't know what you're talking about," Gin's smirk suddenly returned.

"I roughly guessed when his birthday was…" Shinji's eyes narrowed. "I find you more dangerous than Aizen."

"Then why didn't you do something about it a hundred years ago," came the venom in the voice.

"Because, I didn't see the threat you would pose, beyond the fact that you followed Aizen around, like a little lost puppy," the man muttered. "And not all danger, is a bad kind of danger…"

"You should have stepped in… huh?" the man stated. "Don't bother doing so now."

"A little hard to. However, if Hiyori dies, I will kill you,"

"I'd appreciate that. Especially if it means you do it before a certain two people find out the truth," came the reply.

Author's note – What this piece focus on the most is that Aizen does in fact have a weakness to his zampaktuo. However, this whole scenario… is simply too easy in comparison to the huge plotline that Tito Kubo has going. This was also rather dark too.