A/N: This is a look at what might have been if I followed Tite Kubo's canon as the start and added my own AiGin twists to the development of Aizen and Gin's relationship, instead of the convoluted, complex, contorted monster that First Contact and Touched have become.
I promise that this tale has nothing to do with my currently established Bleachverse, that the characters belong to Tite Kubo, that I do not make any profit from this other than relief foor my overactive imagination and frustration at writing the next installments of my multiple fics.
I also promise that I will not use any more run-on sentences.
He is brilliant.
I watch as he steps back from the fallen body and turn to face me. He smiles that uniquely innocent smile of his. "He's not very strong, is he?"
"No he's not."
"Worthless." The boy throws down a fitting eulogy for my third seat.
I step into the moonlight. "What is your name?"
"Ichimaru Gin," he answers with a bright smile.
I move him into my division.
Hirako Shinji notices nothing, as usual, though I give him plenty of opportunities to catch me out at minor infarctions.
Just to keep him happy and self-satisfied.
Nothing like confidence that he has my number to keep him away from me.
The boy is progressing nicely.
His sword is remarkable; I have spoken with him and apparently they began conversing some time ago. The whole farce about going through the academy is to satisfy the purists, who believe in indoctrinating the cannon fodder. The Central 46 are intent on keeping the shinigami blinded to their real role in Seireitei.
No matter. They are there to slow down their minds.
The boy has been accelerated out of there, thankfully. A smart boy as he should not be dulled by education. At night, while the rest of the division sleeps, I teach him about the social structure in Seireitei, and how far he can go with his abilities.
Rise straight to the top.
He knows he is strong. He has so much confidence in his abilities that I am assured of his success. As long as he manages to keep his... less socially accepted... habits in check, I know he will shine as a star.
I found a dead recruit this morning at the far end of the training grounds. That recruit had his pants down, and even if he were alive, he will not be hunting for a lover anytime soon. And I recognize the blade work too well.
The boy told me earlier that he has to clean his sword, because "something filthy got on it". He hadn't cared when he slew my former third seat, so I suppose Ichimaru has had a rather upsetting night before.
He's certainly defensive when he's out there in the mess hall with the rest of the division. Not that others can tell. He smiles, but that smile is fixed. He flinches from every touch, and avoids all contact with a subtle shift in posture.
Finally he escapes from the conviviality of the mess hall, leaving Hirako Shinji to cavort with his people. I excuse myself when the captain starts tossing back bottles of wine; I do not want to hear him attempt to sing again.
I find the boy seated in my room, huddled against the window and peering out at the night sky.
"What's wrong?" I ask as gently as I can manage.
He regards me with the fixed, unnatural smile. "Nothing."
"If there was nothing wrong," I say, sitting down a few feet away from him, "why are you alone in the dark, looking like you are about to cry?"
"I do not."
"Yes you do."
"No I don't," he insists, the annoyance in his voice a little sharper. Then he sighs. "I just miss my favorite food."
I'm surprised that his melancholy stemmed from something this simple. "What is your favorite food then?"
"Dried persimmons." He sighs again, his fine silver fringe fluttering. "I used to have them once a week. I make them myself, you know."
"No, I didn't," I reply. If he misses dried persimmons, he shall have them.
I have never seen such joy in the boy before. He clasps the dried persimmons to himself like they were gold nuggets, and when he bit into the first one, he practically glowed. When I gave him fresh persimmons and some seeds, he looked at me with something akin to awe.
I like him.
There is an innocence about him that still sings out despite his casual killing of others. I have never seen anyone like that.
If I can groom him personally, I will have the best right-hand man in the world.
He placed dried persimmons on my writing table today. When I came back to my room, I see five of the fruit arranged on the surface, a thin sheet of white paper beneath them. I know he must have taken some pains to prepare this little surprise.
The boy is surprising. I pick up one of the gifts and tear out a sliver. It smells sweet. I eat the offering.
He absorbs lessons like they were food. The boy is still too skinny. For all my culinary efforts, he does not like to eat much. Except for persimmons: he polishes them off so quickly I sometimes wonder if I should stop the supply of same.
He listens and he learns. I have never had a student of his caliber to work with, and each improvement he makes gives me a sense of paternal pride. The boy is remarkably quick and intensely loyal too, for just two mornings ago I saw him beating down another for saying that I was a useless lieutenant.
The unwise speaker is currently buried under some tree. I have to wean the boy of this slaying habit. It is difficult to keep explaining the loss of people in the division, even if Hirako doesn't notice. He distances himself from us and will barely notice if I wear a red robe with orange sleeves and a purple hat.
It is a stormy night. I fold away my documents and prepare for bed. When I blow out the candle I see his shadow outside, illuminated by a flash of lightning.
The boy is at the door, his arms clutching his middle. His slitted eyes are open, revealing fear and nerves in them. That smile is still there, if slightly shaky.
"It... it's too cold in my bed," he tells me, almost defiantly.
I hold out a hand. "My bed isn't that cold. Come with me."
He stares at my outstretched palm. While lightning and thunder crash outside my study, we examine each other. Finally his slender white hand touches mine and he follows me to my room.
He smiles more when he is afraid.
I learn that as I tuck him into the warmth of my embrace. He snuggles in, probably subconsciously, and his cold feet wiggle in between my calves to warm up.
I rest my chin on top of his head. The silky texture of his hair clings to my skin. For a brief instant I wonder what it would be like to have him in this bed every night.
"Thank you," he murmurs. "I used to sleep in the same bed with my friend back when there were storms. There hasn't been storms for a long time."
I put the thought away for the moment. He is still too young, and he has just begun to show his trust in me. I can wait: he will be mine one day.
"You're welcome." Then I press my lips to the top of the silver head and tell him to go to sleep. "You'll be safe here with me."
Ichimaru Gin. I pat him on his thin back as he relaxes. I can wait. You will be safe with me.
Just a little something to urge the muse on. Thank you for reading.