Warnings: Rape, angst.
Disclaimer: Don't own.
I figured it's been too long since I wrote good old fashioned angst. I sort of went for something a little different here, so I'd like to know what you think about it. Namely, I purposefully didn't include any dialogue, so I'm interested in hearing about your thoughts on the effect that had on the piece. I also tried to get it good and tense, really kind of set the scene up well. So, enjoy! Hope you guys like it.
He hadn't gone in alone. At the time, Kira and Renji had been with him - there had been backup - but they were unprepared for the overwhelming force Hueco Mundo brought to bear against them, and they fled. They fled, leaving Ichigo, because he was deep inside Los Noches, lost in its maze of shifting corridors and tall white ceilings. They fled because they knew they could not rescue him alone.
That is why they fled.
Shortly thereafter, Kuchiki-sama was elected to reconnoiter, very briefly, and then return with the foundations of a strategy for the recovery of Ichigo. Had one inquired as to his opinion of the situation, he would have suggested, grimly, that he believed the likelihood of the boy's survival to be very, very low.
And so he thought, when he came upon Ichigo's still naked body in that silent, windless desert, that he had been correct. The boy was prone, laying on his front, his back lightly scattered with sand. There was a faint movement of breath in him, his ribs expanded and contracted ever so slightly, and Byakuya perceived it. For a moment he was impressed - and then - there was a blackening of the white sand around the boy's thighs, and it became clear, upon inspection, that it was dried blood.
Byakuya drew back with a jerk as he understood the source. It suddenly seemed very indecent to be looking down at him, now less an injured comrade and more a young boy, cruelly used. It occurred to him that it might be some sort of illusion - and he looked around, he waited - but nothing came of it.
So there he was, an aristocrat kneeling over a young, devastated body, white scarf in hand, to clothe him. Byakuya wrapped the cloth around him tenderly, crossed it over his hips as he lifted him into his arms. The blood would never come out of the scarf, he knew, and in that sense it would stain the house of Kuchiki forever.
When Byakuya re-entered Sereitei, he did not want anyone to see the boy. He bore him close to his chest and considered a detour to his mansion to find dignified clothing for him, but he feared time was short, and instead carefully carried him to lady Unohana, taking twisting back routes for speed and stealth.
It was sunset, and the sky was a strange and grim orange, dark and tinged with heavy copper at the edges, as though it had been burned. There was an opaqueness to it, the way it penetrated the low clouds, and it became apparent that there was a storm in the distance, for the air was thick with hot moisture, and each breath felt faintly like drowning.
At the same moment, Hinamori was humming as she walked, basket over her arm full of fruit as she headed toward her home. Her small feet were soft on the pavement, and so Byakuya did not hear her until he passed by an alleyway; at the same moment, she glanced to her side as well, and through the narrow passage, saw him. It was only a moment's perception, but there was such scorn in his eyes - and the terrible sight of Ichigo, cradled in his arms, and worse - that she flattened herself to the wall, breathing again only when he had flickered out of sight.
Her basket had tumbled out of her hands, and her peaches rolled out onto the ground. The uneven brick she had been pressed up against caught her ribbon as she pulled away from the wall at a sprint, so her hair flowed out behind her as she ran.
Byakuya reached the fourth division headquarters, and found himself near the small, tidy home that Unohana kept. He had been there, had tea with her before, she was a fine woman, the kind that, withholding his devotion to Hisana and the many years between them, would have once been proud to call his wife.
With his arms full, he could not knock. Shameful as it was, he simply nudged the door open with his shoulder, careful to lift Ichigo's head to his breast. He stood in her entry way for a moment, waiting, and as he supposed, she sensed his presence through some daily miracle of womanly intuition, and appeared.
He did not know what to say. Nobles did not use the word 'rape'. It was outside the scope of decency. It was foreign to their world and coldly rejected from it. 'Violated' was too low in dignity; aristocrats were inviolate. Momentarily he settled - uneasily - on the term that had firstly occurred to him: cruelly used. But it failed on his lips as he raised his head to meet Unohana's eyes, and found that she had already understood. Her gaze lingered on the bloodied scarf and she glanced away, accepting the circumstance with unearthly serenity.
She guided Byakuya into a small chamber; whether or not it was her bedroom he could not discern. She stood by a bed, a little raised, very soft, and waited for the boy to be laid out before her. As soon as Byakuya carefully settled Ichigo into the sheets, Unohana was kneeling at his side - and the noble sensed it was time to leave the healer to her work.
He closed the door softly behind himself and heard no sound from the room. Nonetheless, he could not bring himself to step over her threshold. It was as though he had inherited Ichigo's misery on their journey. He couldn't leave him; he had to know if his efforts had been in vain. And if Unohana needed some aid, he rationalized, he would be present.
Her foyer was neat and clean, the picture of good Japanese housekeeping, with a little table supporting a simple flower arrangement, and a petit chair nearby, for those who needed to wait. Byakuya simply leaned against the paneled wall, resting his shoulders. He swallowed a breath of the balmy air, and tasted it as though he had taken a mouthful of the faded tea and spices, the polish that permeated old houses, old books and fresh perfume.
Sweat was unknown to aristocrats save for on noble occasions such as gentlemanly sparring sessions, so the heavy moist cloth that adhered to his skin was a disturbance Byakuya had not been particularly prepared for. Condensation had formed on the orchids in the vase. There was a heaviness to the air like the threshold of a hot spring, but thicker, more oppressive.
There was thunder in the distance.
Kira only remembered that she had said he was naked - that Ichigo was naked - and his worst fears were immediately confirmed. It was a suspicion so grim and terrible that it had haunted him from the moment they left Ichigo there, swearing to one another that they would go back, that they would rescue him within the hour.
It had been a day -
That was hardly enough to comfort himself. He had started running the moment she said it, though she didn't know what she said. The implications - immediately, Kira's heart had frozen and his breath had left him with an aching emptiness in his chest. And then, he was gone, sprinting, his long shadow spreading over the pavement behind him, all the way to the horizon.
And she had to tell Urahara. He made her promise.
Byakuya had left the wide sliding doors of Unohana's house open to invite some phantom breeze. The air was still; there was no wind in the grass or trees. The sky had darkened, but the sultry presence of the impending storm remained, suspended there, nervously anticipated.
Byakuya gave a start when Kira appeared, panting in the wide doorway. There was a sheen of sweat over his pale skin, his gaunt, haunted face. The noble turned to face him for a brief moment as a tense silence passed between them, and then settled again, against the wall.
Kira hung back for a couple of heartbeats before stepping timidly over Unohana's threshold, and into the small foyer. The chair tempted him, but he couldn't bring himself to touch what looked so delicate, so simple, so clean. So, he sat down on the other side of the little table and drew his knees up to his chest, settling an elbow on each, crossing his forearms over one another. He looked up at Byakuya for a short moment, and though their eyes did not meet, he knew by the grave look - and the disturbance in his person - that all of his suspicions were correct.
Kira rested his forehead on his arms.
If I was a better person I would be more worried than this. Aizen wouldn't do it. Tousen wouldn't do it.
There was no doubt in his mind that Gin had been the one to take the boy.
So all the scars are on the inside.
It wasn't as though he hadn't been on the receiving end of Gin's special brand of brutality. He preferred to blur the boundaries of consent. Those long fingers, that spearlike tongue, his lips, dry and soft, and the absolute stunning leanness of his body, perhaps one would suppose him bony and thus delicate, but the man was cold and hard and solid as stone. For a time, Kira protested, though Gin was always gentle to a sinister degree. There wasn't blood, but there were always mutual orgasms, which Kira firstly believed to be twice as shameful.
I liked it.
He was still even as the crickets outside began to sing, their chorus growing shrill and deafening.
I wish it had been me they'd left behind.
There was a searing pain behind his eyes, and he realized with a sinking self-loathing that he was angry at the boy, that he was jealous, that Gin's cold malice must have infected him.
And I wish they would never go back for me.
Urahara still knew the place as well as he ever had. Somehow he got there, though his lungs had seized and his knees had gone weak the moment he had heard the news.
No, no, no. No.
But he knew it was true, and he wondered if he had somehow invited it by loving the boy, putting the scent of sex on his skin and the particular grace of movement that only came from learning the arts of love. On a whim, he thought, they must have noticed, and, finding it a little humorous, had decided on that torture. And they knew, must have known, who they were torturing: whoever left him, whoever found him, whoever loved him.
He arrived to the wide open doors and the thick, wet air, to the screeching of crickets and the new wind in the grass and reeds, to the vague sound of thunder approaching. Hand resting weakly on the doorframe, he looked firstly at Byakuya, secondly at Kira, and turned his back to them, sitting on the porch. No one spoke. It was too anxious, the tension was too high, thicker than the heat, than the moisture in the air, it was oppressive, kept their mouths shut for the force of it.
He was light-headed, dizzy, in a terrible dream. In the damp oppressive heat and the small room which seemed to be closing in on them, a headache slowly settled in him, and despite it, he thought.
Let's be serious.
But he couldn't finish the thought. Just didn't work. Couldn't rationalize his way out of this one. Worst thing he'd ever encountered, worse than anything he had ever thought of.
At least Shinji had his shit together.
And yet his mind drifted repeatedly, endlessly, inexorably to the thing that had caused the blossoming of such unmitigated anguish in him, that made his chest ache so badly and his heart beat so painfully, that made him sick; he knew he would vomit in the grass at any moment.
The crickets stilled as the first drops of rain fell.
This won't ever go away.
When Ichigo opened his eyes, Unohana observed, but chose not to acknowledge it. She hadn't much experience with this, with the delicacy of this state; once Ishida had refused to explain the damage to his body, and perhaps that was as close as she had been. He blinked once, twice, and immediately turned away from her, loosening bandages and perhaps opening remaining wounds.
At once he relived it, without a moment's calm.
Aizen hadn't said a word; he had nodded to Gin with this peculiar quirk to his brow - they must have discussed it before. And he was already hurt, they had toyed with him enough to incapacitate him though he was still conscious.
And then Gin had enveloped him in white cloth, pressing him against the cold pale stone. He had lurched back, tried to fight as best he could, but his blood was smearing onto the floor and he slipped in it; Gin slid his arm under the boy's hips and held him tight. Ichigo could feel soft, dry lips on his neck, mouthing, - kisses. he felt the slightest brush, the barest touch of the tip of Gin's spearlike tongue against the nape of his neck, and he shivered.
Gin's touch was horrifyingly tender. Urahara had always been so careful with him, but he hadn't treated him like glass, there had been grabbing and holding and hard kisses and typically a few minutes of wrestling before they lost their clothes. It was almost like playing; he was a teenage boy -
The thought of Urahara while Gin's hand wrapped around his sex with those spider-like fingers that seemed two joints too long, made him shudder. It wasn't right, what was happening to him. He felt childish thinking, 'no, I only want him to touch me there' - and his stomach seized, and he vomited on the icy stone floor, whatever had been left in his stomach, mostly bitter bile.
Gin stopped for a moment, as though to verify what he thought had happened had indeed happened, and then slid his arm up to Ichigo's chest, raising his body slightly, as to avoid a mess.
There was a stillness, during which Ichigo heard Gin sucking lightly on his own fingers, and he cried, perhaps there were tears, but certainly a sound of utter anguish, something like begging, which he hated himself for, but - he wouldn't ever admit it, he decided, he wouldn't ever tell anybody, if he made it out of there, what had happened.
Wouldn't tell them how scared he had been.
And then, Gin's fingers were inside of him. He eased them in slowly, breathing soothing words into Ichigo's ear - 'there, there, be still, it'll be better in a minute, I promise' - which finally broke the boy, and he cried. He could feel the other grin against him, that infuriating, sinister smile that was the mask of so much malice, so much hidden scorn and rage and hatred of the world.
Gin worked him open like a lover would, held him close and carefully stroked that little pleasure center inside of him, which only made him tense, squirm a little. And then, withdrawing his fingers, he gently pressed his length inside, until Ichigo could feel his lean body pressed up tight against him. He was long, very long, an appropriate extension of his generally elongated, sharp body.
As he began to thrust, very slowly, gingerly, Gin redoubled his efforts to restrain Ichigo, holding him tight against his chest, the boy's knees trapped between his own. With a sharp breath, Ichigo gave one last show of resistance, bucking back, twisting his body - and Gin remained still as stone. The boy screamed, and blood dripped onto the white floor, obscuring their reflection.
Panting, heaving, Ichigo's struggling subsided; he had no more strength, physical or moral. He felt Gin's hips moving, now at a quicker pace, and that same hand moving on his sex, barely hard, and worsening.
Somehow his body gave in, accommodated Gin, and he simply collapsed, sagged, let the man take him with his cruel tenderness. It became impossible to cry: his throat was too swollen, his chest too weak, his heart too broken. He thought simply about Urahara, about dying, about how terribly young he was - sickened by the thought of his age, that he was, now very obviously, just a fifteen-year-old boy.
Gin's orgasm was sharp; he finished in a few quick, hard thrusts, filled Ichigo with an uncomfortable, stinging warmth and stilled for a moment to breathe. When he had regained his bearings, he went back to stroking the boy, murmuring terrible things into his ear, undulating against him with his sex still inside.
Ichigo came with a raw, burnt-out sob.
As he recovered, Gin pulled out of him and wrapped his hands around his throat, holding tight until darkness overtook him.
Rain pounded against the windows of Unohana's home, flooded the grass, silenced the crickets, drenched all the world.
Urahara hardly seemed to notice; he only moved inside and slid the wide doors shut when he sensed Byakuya staring intently at him. Presently within the room, he had no idea what to do. He looked around, tidy little corners, the neat vase and the delicate antique chair.
He stood and waited; he thought of Ichigo, only of Ichigo.
And Byakuya, waiting as well, considered the cruelty of it, the arrangement of the new Sereitei, one potentially without the boy forever.
And Kira, waiting there too, was overcome with his uselessness, and with the petty hatred consuming him.
The room was still just as hot, the air just as dense, the silence, despite the thunder and the rain, just as tangible.
Unohana shortly entered, quietly shutting the door behind her.
She looked around at them, and said nothing.
That's all folks! Please let me know what you think!