If Aizen Sosuke had known anything of the events that were due to unfold with the beginning of the new term, he would've resigned in an instant. His pride being as it was, he would rather have left with his air of mystery and superiority intact and immigrated to the furthest country he could reach, perhaps start his retirement early, settle down in a new city, perhaps one by the sea, and spend his days in that bubble of peaceful serenity that he was so accustomed too.
As it was, even for a human being as intelligent as Aizen, he could not possibly have predicted the future, and so could not have seen the whirlwind that was approaching on the horizon, in the form of a certain redheaded teen who was going waltz into his life and turn everything upside down.
As the blaring sound of Ichigo's alarm clock wrenched him from a comfortable sleep, his first instinct was to thrown the damn thing against the wall. However before he could do such a thing, his body tensed and moved almost unconsciously to throw him from the bed, narrowly avoid his father's morning flying kick.
"GOOD MORNING ICHIGOOO!" Isshin cried joyfully as he sailed through the air, crashing unceremoniously onto Ichigo's bed. Ichigo flipped himself up off of the floor, twisting his body into a defensive position before delivering a powerful kick to his father's head.
"Goddamn it old man! I'm eighteen already, you've got to cut this crap out!" he yelled as his father crashed onto the floor, a look of sheer adoration painting his bruised face as he beamed up at his son.
"Oh but you'll always be a child to me." He sniffed, "I'm so proud of you, come give your father a hug!" he jumped enthusiastically towards Ichigo, who simply sidestepped and watched as Isshin crashed into his door, falling through to land on his face in the hallway.
"And stay out!" Ichigo shouted, slamming his bedroom door with enough force to make the plaque on the front of it fall off.
"Honestly…" he muttered, turning to survey the damage left by his insane father. Was it too much to ask that on his first day of college his father managed to exercise some self-control? At this rate he'd be late, and he really didn't want to start off that way. Now that he was a college student he was putting the past behind him, no more of this high school nonsense, no more late coming, no more school yard fights and half arsed homework. This year he was going to make things right, do things proper and make his departed mother proud.
He pulled on some inconspicuous faded grey jeans and a plain black t-shirt, silently thankful that he no longer had to wear a school uniform, those things were uncomfortable and nauseating, tight in all the wrong places and depressingly grey in colour. Now he could wear what he wanted. He glared at his reflection in the mirror, running a hand through his ever messy hair in an attempt to procure some order amongst the orange strands. Failing, he made a face into the mirror, wrinkling his brow into his ever present frown.
"Ichigoo!" he heard the crystal voice of Yuzu calling from downstairs, "Breakfast is ready!" With one last glare into the mirror Ichigo headed down to join his family for breakfast.
Ever constant, the breakfast routine was as usual; separating the burnt toast from the barely scorched, the typical fight over the last egg, Isshin getting overexcited at something, knocking his mug of tea over his food and wailing over the soggy toast… Ichigo smiled and frowned and laughed and berated his ridiculous father along with his sisters, but there was no real heart in his actions. It was the same old stuff, just on a different day. At least in the summer the routine was broken, but now the term had begun everything felt the same again. He only hoped that college would be something different from the red brick monotony of high school.
A glance at the clock told him that it was time to move out, and so he tugged on his jacket, grabbed his worn out shoulder bag and headed for the door, dodging his father's surprise attacks and stopping to hug his little sisters goodbye. Not that he could call them little anymore, both now fourteen years of age and growing taller by the day.
Stepping out into the street, the sunlight hitting his eyes made him squint and throw up a hand to shield his eyes. Squinting down the street he made a quick check for spirit life forms, something that he did constantly nowadays. They seemed to be getting more numerous lately, he could barely go a day without seeing one now. Thankfully the street seemed to be clear today and he set off in the direction of his new prison.
College. It was strange, Ichigo had never really given it much thought before he left school. He wasn't sure if he even wanted to go there, to spend another four years stuck in a soul sucking place like that. It wasn't that he was a bad student, the opposite actually. It was more his problem with authority figures and the claustrophobic atmosphere of the classrooms that irritated him. Most teachers automatically treated him like a delinquent anyhow, his unnatural hair colour, ever constant frown and frequent injuries sustained from fighting didn't exactly make him look like student of the year. But yet here he was, willingly on his way to 'Karakura College'. Inventively named it was not, but from what he had seen it didn't look too bad, and he was going to be studying his favourite subject – English Studies. To what end he was as of yet unsure, perhaps he'd become an English teacher himself one day? Now there was a laughable thought.
"Ichigo! Over here." He tore his eyes away from the ground to narrow his eyes against the sun and glance up ahead of him. There stood Tatsuki and Keigo gesturing for him to come and walk with them. He obliged, thankful that at least he would be going to his new hell along with his friends, surely they could make anything bearable? A rare smile graced Ichigo's face as he caught up with them, automatically punching a wailing Keigo to the ground as he leapt at Ichigo, arms outstretched in hope of a hug.
Aizen Sosuke leaned back in his chair, breathing in the musky smells of the classroom. It smelt best this way he thought, when the college had been closed for the summer and only the scent of chalk dust and books hung in the air. Shortly the classroom would be flooded with students, bringing with them a cacophony of smells; sweat and food and perfumes and aftershaves and toothpaste, smells that lingered in the desks and mingled with the hot sun to create an entirely different, human kind of smell. As it was at the moment, the scent of the room was like a clean slate, waiting for a story to be imprinted upon it.
Aizen was head of the English Studies department at the college, and he took great pride in his job. He made sure that his department ran like well-oiled machinery, with consistently excellent results both academically and socially, unlike the Art & Design department down the hall from him, though it was not surprising considering that their head was the famed slacker, Kyoraku Shunsui. And then there was that glorified gym teacher Kenpachi Zaraki over at Athletic Studies. Not to mention that ditz of a woman, Rangiku Matsumoto, how someone like her ever qualified as a Japanese teacher Aizen could never guess.
Aizen ran his fingers along the edge of his polished desk, wiping away a speck of dust that had dared to land upon his well-organised workspace before retrieving his well-read copy of Shakespeare's 'Othello' from the desk drawer and flicking through it to aimlessly pass the time before the college day began.
'Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul,
But I do love thee; and when I love thee not,
Chaos is come again.'
Aizen smirked a little as he read these words; Shakespeare did always write love as such a majestic thing, though Aizen knew the reality to be much darker than his beautiful words.
His thoughts were interrupted by the first students arriving; he glanced up from his book to lock eyes with a familiar face. A tall, sturdy man with long red hair that flowed all the way down his back, every bit of his exposed skin adorned with ornate black tribal tattoos. Renji Abarai, back to repeat his first year. Oh joy.
"Alright Aizen-sensei!" he quipped, meeting the teacher's brown eyes with a wink. "Bet you're glad to see me back eh?"
"Not particularly… In fact I'd be glad to see the back of you. Mind explaining to me how you managed to miss your final exam?" Aizen asked, not really expecting a sufficient answer. And he was right not to as Renji answered,
"Ah well, something came up. You know how it is, what with me having a life outside this class and all." The redhead chuckled, "C'mon admit it, you missed me right? Wasn't your summer just so empty without me there as a punching bag for your abusive tendencies?" he joked.
Aizen massaged his temples; he hadn't yet had enough coffee to deal with this. He decided to rectify that problem immediately, and once he'd thrown Renji a comment about how he always had so many injuries that he must think himself a literal punching bag, Aizen rose from his desk and strode over to the teachers' lounge for more coffee.
"Hey Ichigo!" Upon Aizen's return he heard the exuberant voice of Abarai rising far above the noise of the other students.
'Great,' Aizen thought, 'more of Renji's delinquent friends have come to join the class, just what I need this year.' As he pushed open the door to take in his first glance of the new class, he immediately spotted Renji and the boy that he had been shouting at. He raised an eyebrow when he noticed that Renji had been shouting at his friend from only a few feet away, and that the orange haired teen was scowling at the redheaded idiot with his hands clamped over his ears.
All eyes turned to Aizen as he entered and silence descended across the room, everywhere expect from the corner where Renji sat, already surrounded by a little gang of first years.
"Fucking hell Renji, there's no need to shout like that, I can hear you from here perfectly well you moron." The frowning boy snapped, unaware that the noise level had dropped suddenly and his voice was projected loudly all across the room. Renji found this hilarious, bursting into fits of laughter as Ichigo realised his mistake and turned to face his new teacher, cheeks flushing slightly as blood rushed to flood them with colour.
Aizen said nothing, class wasn't due to start for another ten minutes anyway. He met the boy's glance, catching his eyes for a moment longer than he had intended to. There was something in him, some kind of force or fire that caught the older man's eye, it was something that he didn't see every day. Ichigo broke the gaze, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable in the presence of this man. He flopped down next to Renji, scowling at him as he laughed still before thumping him over the head with his books. Aizen watched them fight as he sat down again at his desk, aware that every student was staring at him with quizzical expressions, all except those two in the corner. He briefly wondered how it was that Renji knew this boy, before dismissing the thought. What did it matter anyway? He was just another student, another empty cup here to be filled with the knowledge that he would impart, before moving on, leaving to the real world to fight and flourish or fail and wither.
Aizen sat back in his chair, his coffee cup in his hands and watched the clock tick away the minutes left till nine o'clock. He always liked to start punctual, not early nor late. In the corner Ichigo and Renji bickered still, drawing the attention of the surrounding students away from their silent teacher and towards them. They certainly looked a strange lot this year, one boy sitting to the right of Renji had bright blue hair and eyes, and when he smiled his lips drew back in an almost feral grin to reveal sharp looking teeth. A girl with long green hair flowing out from beneath a hat and with a pink scar across her face sat whispering to a tall, skeletal looking boy wearing (could he believe it?) an eyepatch. There was a dark haired, eyeliner wearing boy with skin so pale it looked unreal, and another with scars and a tattooed '69' on his face who was bothering a blonde haired boy with a fringe that concealed most of his face. Perhaps the strangest was a brunette who seemed to be fast asleep slumped over his desk. If Aizen had thought Renji looked strange with his full body tattoos, he was completely perplexed by this lot.
His eyes were once again drawn to the boy that Renji had been shouting at. He had called him Ichigo.
'Strawberry.' Aizen thought to himself and smiled a little. The boy certainly was unusual looking, though not more so than the rest of his classmates. His hair colour was very rare, though it seemed to be natural, and he appeared to carry himself with a certain air of dignity and wholesomeness, something that was rare amongst men of his age.
The clock made its final rotation, and as the hands approached the nine Aizen stood up from his seat and called for quiet as he picked up a piece of chalk and began to write on the board.
"Welcome to Karakura College, if you are not here for English Studies then you are in the wrong classroom." He spoke succinctly as he chalked words upon the board, "I will be your tutor for this term, my name is Aizen Sosuke; you may refer to me as Aizen-sensei or simply 'Sir'. I am Head of this department and so I do not tolerate misbehaviour in my classroom. Take my subject seriously and you'll do just fine, and if you don't, well you'll end up like Abarai-kun over there in the corner." He gestured towards the grinning redhead who seemed unaware that he had just been insulted.
Ichigo smirked a little at Renji's idiocy, if the guy wasn't such a great fighter he'd have nothing going for him. But Renji's humiliation was only a secondary thought, ever since the man had started speaking Ichigo had been studying him intently. He didn't seem to be anything like how Ichigo had imagined him from Renji's description. Aizen was tall, well-built and young for a teacher, Ichigo estimated him to be in his late twenties, early thirties at the most. He had dark chestnut hair swept back from his face, leaving only a few strands falling over his forehead and curling round his ears. His eyes were dark brown to match his hair and partly hidden behind thin reading glasses which gave him a certain dignified air. He didn't dress anything like a teacher either, wearing tight-fitting black jeans and a white shirt with a red tie done up loosely. And here Ichigo had imagined that all male teachers dressed entirely in tweed.
Ichigo glanced back at Aizen's face and was embarrassed to discover that the man had been staring at him. Had he seen Ichigo looking at him? Did it look like he was checking him out?
'Great, well it's been a fucking brilliant start to the year so far.' Ichigo huffed, tearing his gaze away from the older man's in favour of staring out of the window. Aizen started to outline the curriculum of the course, and Ichigo heard the chalk squeak as he drew diagrams upon the board. Ichigo tuned out for a moment, letting his thoughts drift as he stared out of the window across the sports fields where keen students were already running helter skelter up and down the tracks. He was pondering how it would feel to be a different life form when his reverie was broken by a voice cutting into his thoughts.
"Kurosaki Ichigo?" he blinked at the man who had spoken, opening and shutting his mouth for a moment as he tried to work out why he was being called upon. As he took in the sight of his teacher standing with a clipboard in his hands he realised that Aizen was doing the roll call.
"Oh, I'm here…" he mumbled, aware that he was making himself look like an idiot for the third time today, and he'd only been here twenty minutes.
"Well thank goodness for that, thought we'd lost you for a minute there." Aizen smirked, his upper lip curling in what could almost be described as a smile. Ichigo scowled at him, feeling the heat of a blush creep into his cheeks as he bit back the retort that had formed on his tongue. Aizen noticed this action, he saw the way the boy itched to start an argument with him and he wasn't entirely pleased when Ichigo squashed the urge. Most of his students were at least a little bit scared of him, except Renji but he was too dense to know any better. But this one was intelligent, Aizen could tell, and he was bold too. Often a dangerous combination, but always an interesting one.
Perhaps this year would be more eventful that he had expected.
A/N: Well this is my very first AU fic. Reviews would be much appreciated since I've never done one of these before.
And yes, there will be a lot of Shakespeare and other literary references, (I'm an English lit. student myself :3)
First person to guess the identity of all the other students described gets a pat on the head :D