A/N: Gin's eyes are blue in this fanfiction. The anime originally has them as red, one game as yellow, this is because the coloured manga page was not released at the time of their making. You can see in recent episodes the anime corrects this error and makes them blue. I have followed the canon and kept them blue, as opposed to the popularly used red.

Edge of Reason

There were two rules that a leader must abide by.

The first was that they must always understand their underlings, and the second was that they should trust no one. These were the fundamental and basic laws that meant the difference between life and death. If you misjudged your minions' strength, if you trusted a traitor, if you couldn't realise insubordination when it stared you in the face, then you were as good as gone from the throne that you had made for yourself. All it took was just one moment, one second of weakness, and the ladder would be cut from beneath you and you would crash down amongst the commoners, all your effort wasted in vain.

If you trusted someone then you depended upon them. If you gave a little part of yourself to someone else, if you allowed yourself to believe in them without sufficient proof or knowledge, then you were exposing a chink in your armour that you were just asking to be abused. That was the thing about trust: there could never be any certainties. If there was certainty then it would not be trust. Trust required believe without knowing, it required you to expose your very being to one person and to believe, to hope, that the other person was all you thought they were, that they would not take the knowledge of your weaknesses and use it against you.

There were some who perhaps could be 'trusted', in the way that Aizen could always trust Kaname to act on the path of justice, or for Momo to be forever loyal to her captain, but these were not exactly acts of trust rather than a steady prediction based on past behaviour. After all, wasn't past behaviour indicative of future behaviour? It did not take much to see where trust led you. Momo was critically injured, Izuru was broken-hearted, and Soul Society was in quite the predicament and at a significant disadvantage. They had trusted Aizen, and thus they had depended on him. They had depended on him to be forever kind, loyal and to fight alongside them, and because they depended upon him they never learnt to . . . think for themselves. They never learnt to see past the shadows, to see what really lurked in the hearts of men, and they never learnt how to protect themselves from the inevitable betrayal.

It had worked out well for Aizen of course, because what is more fearful than the betrayal you don't see? It had all hinged on Aizen's ability to understand those around him, to always plan several steps ahead, and it had helped that those around him always failed to understand, that they never even tried to understand. Aizen had learnt long ago that one simple manipulation was very much akin to moving a piece on a chessboard. There were those that planned one step ahead, that were reluctant to move one piece knowing they may lose it, but forgetting that by losing one that they could gain so much more. They forgot that sometimes even the most seemingly useless pawn could prove vital, or that with the right planning the seemingly unprotected king was actually the safest piece on the board. Hirako-san, Ichigo and Kaname . . . these were men that could only plan one step ahead, but men like Aizen could plan several moves ahead at once.

Aizen knew that sometimes a plan within a plan was needed, that shortcuts led to long delays, that sometimes it was worth waiting – no matter how long – in order to see ones plans come to fruition. It was necessary to understand your subjects in order to best predict how they would react, because one reaction always led to another action. If you move one piece on the board it will determine how the other pieces can move, and if you understand your opponent then you understood how they would react and hence where their pieces would move too. So Aizen took time with his plans and worked out every eventuality. It reminded him of a tapestry, in that to those who stood against him all that they saw was a mass of threads, something tangled and convoluted, but to those who stood on his side they saw the bigger picture, they saw order, reason and perfection. To achieve this perfection one needed understanding.

Aizen knew that his initial plan had succeeded so well because his had the understanding that others lacked. He understood Hirako's hesitance towards him, his distrust, his standoffish nature, and in return Hirako had understood nothing. Hirako had known Aizen was not a man to be trusted, but he did not understand that Aizen wanted the distance and space, that it was necessary for his plans, and – had he not kept Aizen at arms length – he may have stopped his friends and himself from becoming what they had.

That was the crux of the matter. Aizen would never bow down again to another because he was now the god that stood on top of the world, he had filled that vacant throne, and he understood those beneath him enough to keep that throne. He knew that Kaname would exact his own 'justice' if he could not perceive justice being taken, he knew that Byakuya would do anything necessary to protect the honour of his family, and he knew that Ichigo would not stop at anything to protect the ones he loved. By understanding these people he could use them, he could fit them into his plan like pieces into a jigsaw, each person connected to another in order to fill that larger picture. He understood his men, his minions, and his former colleagues . . . each one the same as the rest, acting and reacting in a set way as if from a script, and it was that sameness that made them so predictable, each one so understandable. The game was almost no longer fun, knowing that he'd win each and every time, it was almost like watching the sun rise and fall each day, no longer relishing in the beauty of something that becomes almost . . . monotonous. Indeed, there was only one person who could break his monotony, and that was the one person he could not – nor could he ever – understand.

Gin.

It would not do to ever admit it, but the man was a mystery to Aizen. It was not as if everything about Gin was completely alien to Aizen, but the things he could understand were ultimately superficial, giving no indication of the man's deeper character other than obvious deceit. It was easy to see – to those capable of such perception – why Ichimaru Gin smiled so often, on such a permanent basis.

Like Aizen he always wore a smile on his face, something obvious and unassuming, and it was a way of separating himself from the world, a way of saying 'here I am, I'm not going to hurt you'. Most people saw a smile and saw a man happy or peaceful, or at least that is what they had seen with Aizen, and that was because it had been what he had wanted them to see. Gin's smiled only varied in that it was obviously fake, and instead it seemed to say 'here I am, you'll never know why I'm smiling, I may be happy to see you or I may be happy thinking about how easy it'll be to hide the body'. One smile, two effects. On one man people always assumed the obvious, first it was kindness and now it was arrogance, but on Gin no one knew and no one would hazard a guess.

Gin smiled to keep people on edge. He smiled when he was happy, when he was sad, when he was scared, amused, angry, bored . . . it was always there. No one knew how he felt, what he thought, what he had planned, and that was because he could not express himself in the way that the rest of the world could. He hid behind a mask, and he did so purposely. He knew people didn't trust him, he knew that they couldn't trust him, and he liked it that way. He liked keeping people on edge as if it were all a game, and he liked the fact no one knew why. Aizen could only speculate himself. It was possible that Gin was a sensitive man, prone to heartache, and thus kept his heart hidden to avoid pain, or it could be equally possible that his mean-spirited and sadistic nature enjoyed seeing people squirm, that he enjoyed manipulating them into feeling whatever it was he wanted them to feel. It was possible that – like how Aizen smiled to win trust – Gin smiled to disarm. It helped that people didn't trust him, because whilst they were debating what his next move would be he'd already made it, he took their distrust and used it against them. They knew he would betray them, but – as it had in the case of Shinji – he used that to his advantage and shocked them with a betrayal they could not see coming. He walked in and out of people's lives; Rangiku, Izuru . . . he never showed any sign of caring, or for that matter that he didn't care, and always left them wondering . . . Was that the power of his smile?

There were times his smile would die upon his lips. The time Rangiku had caught him was perhaps one of the rare times a genuine, sincere emotion slipped through the cracks of his mask, and when truly puzzled his smile would sometimes melt off, showing an element of surprise and confusion. Aizen hated to admit it but he was the same way. When he was truly surprised a slither of his old shell would peep through, a ghost of the man he pretended to be, the man that had not existed. His smile would sometimes fade, much akin to how Gin's would fade. Was that the reason for his inability to understand his subordinate? Was he simply too similar to Gin to fully comprehend him? It would be ridiculous to say they were the same side of the same coin, for that implied Gin was equal to him in a way that he could never hope to be, and yet somehow the analogy seemed strikingly apt. He may have believed it were it not for one thing, and that was even if he did not understand Gin, Gin understood him. That was also the dilemma.

He could remember how he had stepped down from his throne after an incident with Kaname and Grimmjow, and he remembered how shortly after Gin – with a startling insight – revealed he knew how Kaname would react to Aizen's words, and that he knew Aizen was merely playing with his subordinates. There had been a sense of shock upon hearing that. Kaname had completely failed to notice the subtleties at play, and – even if they somehow had the courage to eavesdrop – none of the other Arrancar appeared to notice this either.

Recently Aizen had been . . . pleasantly surprised. After a certain event had taken place Gin had confronted Aizen, commenting how Aizen seemed amused and how he seemed to be enjoying himself. It was somewhat surprising for Aizen, a man who prided himself on restraint and his ability to remain beyond comprehension, to be so easily transparent to another human being. It was worrying to know that there was a part of him that could be so easily seen, that he wasn't as hidden as he believed himself to be, and that worried him, it worried him because if someone else understood him then they were one step closer to knowing him, to knowing what his weaknesses were and how to overthrow him. It felt worse to know that – not only that – but Gin also felt the same way as him; he also had been enjoying the goings-on! It did not make sense. If Gin was so similar to Aizen, if they had the same demeanour and the same feelings, then how was it possible for his subordinate to understand him but not for him to understand his subordinate? It was admirable that a mere lieutenant, his now right-hand man, could be so perceptive, but at the same time it was disconcerting. He would need to keep a close eye on Gin, a very close eye on him.

He had given Gin's life purpose, meaning. He had taken Gin, his fellow Shinigami, and so many Hollows and gave their lives some sort of reason, something to aim for and strive for, and they owed him that. They owed him their lives because he had taken them, shells of their former selves, and given them human forms and strengths untold. Gin may not have been a Hollow, but it was Aizen who had raised him, taught him, and nurtured him . . . he could have reported Gin the moment he killed the third seat, but he saw something in the boy that was worth harnessing and challenging, and so he did. He made Gin into the man he was today. If anything he was the one who fully understood Gin, not the other way around. If Gin understood him and yet allowed him to go unchallenged, it was because he recognised Aizen as his superior, he knew he was an inferior man. If that was the case Aizen had nothing to worry, he only had to make sure Gin remembered his place.

It also sometimes seemed as if Gin forgot the hierarchy of the world. He had a way with orders that was sometimes . . . difficult. Unless ordered not to he would sometimes act on his own accord, playing pranks or breaking unspoken rules, and even when given a direct command he was quite unpredictable. Even the times he was caught blatantly breaking the rules he would always have a somewhat feasible excuse for his behaviour, one that would let him – as they say – 'off the hook'. It was merely frustrating at times; one could always tell Gin was lying, but it was always impossible to prove it.

It seemed as if yesterday he was killing his superior officers, today he was playing with the positions of the corridors, and tomorrow he would innocently eavesdrop to learn more about those he should be learning about. Time was fragile, its length depended entirely upon perception, and so no matter how long Gin would play his games Aizen would have the patience to wait, to see a day when he would have undying loyalty, in a way that was not currently evident. He did not want to break Gin, for the man's charm lay in his unpredictability and unconventional style, but he did intend to be able to understand Gin. It would be that understanding that would lead to his manipulation, and it would be at that moment Gin would be truly his, where he could use him as a simply chessboard piece and rid the man of the illusion he was an equal to Aizen. He wanted that assurance that he could give Gin a command and know how he would respond, he wanted that trust and loyalty that he received from Kaname, he wanted Gin's obedience and submission.

To many of the Arrancar it was almost strange . . . it didn't matter how large Los Noches they could always find Gin quite easily. It made life easier for Aizen and the likes of Kaname and Ulquiorra, but it was still a puzzle.

The palace was larger than the Seireitei, with travel between its furthest points taking over three days – or at least for those that could not navigate with speed. It often appeared to stretch for eternity, with its own detention centres and medical bay, and so large that each fraccion had its own space and each corridor could actually be moved at will. It was strange that in a place so large than a man so young, strong and with such a strong desire to socialise would be so easily bored. Gin seemed to confine himself to specific areas of Los Noches, talk only to specific Arrancar, and limit his activities to only those necessary or 'interesting' to him. Aizen would readily admit there were not infinite amounts of exciting activities to participate in, but it almost surprised him that Gin could be so easily bored. It was perhaps easy in that case to understand why the younger man chose to so often associate himself with the surveillance room. It was a place that enabled him to feed his desire to be with people, if only through a computer screen, although that perhaps suited him better considering his enjoyment for people-watching rather than socialising. It not only cured his boredom to some extent, but also enabled him to create mischief. He had at his fingertips the whole of Los Noches and could manipulate its walls at will, much to some of its occupants terror when they found themselves in a corridor moving them to very inappropriate points of the palace. It was because of this that Aizen knew where to conduct his search for his lieutenant.

The surveillance room was surprisingly dark when Aizen entered, the only light stemmed from the monitors towards the front of the room, where iridescent light caught the features of the man before the computer screens. Gin stood elegantly with his long fingers poised over certain keypads, gently but quickly moving one item to another, his back was turned to the entrance and he gave no sign of have noticed Aizen's appearance.

It was fascinating to watch the man work. His every movement seemed both purposeful and somewhat indolent, impossible to tell whether he truly meant the actions he preformed or acted to an unheard melody, blind and following an instinct unknown to any other person but himself. He'd move his arm with swings and waves in a blasé manner, then in another instant stab and jab at the controls as if expressing a solid and meaningful intent. Truly the man acted this way in all things. In battle he'd be slow, converse with his opponent and talk to them at length, but then with a sudden movement he was capable of moving from indifference to a cold stealth that was – admittedly indifferent, but – with a clear intent and purpose. In life, in conversation, he was the same. He could talk so casually and carefree, but in another instant his eyes would narrow and his face would darken, and despite that carefree grin there'd be a menace otherwise unseen, a darkness that not many men could live to tell. He was a man of two faces, and a man who perhaps did not even realise it . . .

Aizen leant casually against the doorframe with his arms folded, watching Gin with a subtle smile. His eyes narrowed slightly, hinting at a flicker of amusement, but there was a darkness to his gaze that may have shown something more than what it appeared to be. He stood with perfect posture, and yet despite the rigidity of his body there was an almost softness to it, something curved and unseen that made him seem natural despite his unnatural stance.

Aizen seemed to be a mass of contradictions, and it was perhaps for that reason alone he commanded both respect and fear. No one dared to challenge a man who appeared to be hiding more power than he wished to show. It was almost as if he was holding back, keeping hidden his true strength in everything he did, and not for any other reason than because he knew he could.

He could hide his strength, he could pretend to be less than what he was, he could pretend to be the calm and passive man, the benevolent leader with less power than assumed, and it was because he could act this way that they seemed to fear and respect him. It took a certain type of man to get away with such an act, a man who didn't need to show his strength . . . because one burst of reiatsu was all he needed to prove it.

"My," Gin said softly from the front of the room, only lifting his head just enough so that he could see Aizen from the corner of his eyes, "ain't it kind o' rude to stand staring at people, Aizen-sama? If ya keep starin' at me like that it'll put me off my work, an' then how will things ever get done?"

"It was certainly not my intention to distract you, Gin," Aizen replied with a soft half-smile.

A lock of his hair fell in front of his eyes in an almost carefree way. It was almost symbolic of his very personality, a man of such contradictions, his hair was perfectly smoothed back and yet he still let that one lock – just the one – fall freely about his face. It spoke volumes about his personality, but probably spoke more about his work ethic, after all wasn't Gin that one loose strand? He was the only one who could get away with spreading ripples in the calm lake, he was the only one with the freedom that the others lacked, and he was the only one forever before Aizen and yet simultaneously at his mercy, hoping not to get swept back. Yes, everything about Aizen spoke volumes . . . you just had to listen very carefully to what was being said.

Aizen spoke with a soft tone, a sort of singsong element to his voice combined with a drawl, as if he was taking a mild interest in what was going on, as if the sights before him somehow surprised him. It made Gin smile a little smile of his own, although even Aizen would never understand the meaning behind it. No, he would never understand the meaning behind the wide smirk with darkened face and narrowed eyes, and for that matter who would? Perhaps in the scheme of things it didn't matter.

"I can see how . . . arduously that you are working," he said with just the right amount of inflection. "It makes me wonder how we would ever get by without you. Your contribution to our organisation is certainly . . . one of a kind, wouldn't you say?"

"Ah, ya hurt me! When ya word it like that it's like yer implying you could do without little, ol' me. Ya don't wan' me to feel like a burden, do ya, Aizen-sama?"

"Truth is what you make it, Gin. You can take from my words what you will, but the fact remains that I need you by my side. You have something that no other Shinigami has, and it would be foolish of me to dismiss that in any way."

Yeah, there it was, Gin thought. The stating of 'facts', and the fact was that Aizen hadn't exactly denied that Gin was a burden. In fact the only thing he'd done was admit that he 'needed' him. Needed him for what? They seemed to need Wonderweiss and yet the creepy, little brat didn't exactly appear to do much other than cry, whine and hide. Let's face it, there were plenty of reasons to 'need' someone, but Gin knew from experience that it didn't automatically mean that you wanted them or desired them in any way. Hell, some of his own subordinates back in Soul Society had needed him for their pay cheques, but they certainly hadn't liked 'creepy, old Fox-Face'.

There were many things Aizen may 'need' from Gin, and he wasn't going to start speculating what, because the moment you started thinking in probabilities you began ruling things out, and that was a dangerous game, especially with a man like Aizen. You wanted to leave all your options open and consider all possibilities, and if in the eventuality you were just a pawn in a game then it was best to just be 'clueless', because as long as you unquestioningly followed orders you weren't a threat or a liability. It was the best defence. No one could fault the confused one, the puzzled one; if something had been done wrong then who could blame the man who hadn't known what he was doing? It had worked way back when he'd allowed Kurosaki-kun to live at the west gate, and it worked when Ulquiorra had questioned him about the placement of the corridors. If people thought you didn't know anything, that you were genuinely puzzled by what they were saying, then you were harmless and no longer a threat, which was just the way he wanted to be. Aizen no doubt saw past this simple act, and probably a few others saw him for what he was too, but not one of them knew just how deep his understanding and intelligence went. They knew he was the famed child prodigy, but so what? So were Kaien and Toshiro, so that on its own didn't mean anything. He'd continue with his smile, he'd continue with his façade, and he'd enjoy every minute of it, because even if no one knew where his loyalties lay, even if they treated him with suspicion, at least they couldn't prove he wasn't trustworthy, and that was the main thing in this little game. If he appeared to be on their side, appeared to have useful abilities, then he was worth keeping around.

Aizen only 'needed' him because he didn't want the Shinigami to have him. There was no real way to know what Gin knew or what strengths he had, and he did have talents that were undeniable, so it wouldn't do to kill him or harm him, he was a kind of asset. It was because he was an asset that Aizen had to keep him around, kind of like a collector hoarding away a treasure, because the likelihood was he didn't want Gin on the other team. Yes, he could probably destroy Gin in a heartbeat, but then that would be a waste, wouldn't it?

Then again, Gin was willing to bet that his existence only carried on because he fulfilled a purpose, he was loyal and he could fight, he was the perfect right-hand man, and he knew that Aizen only kept him because it was a form of status, a way of declaring power. 'I have what you do not, this man is mine and he is no longer yours, he was never yours', and at the same time when Gin fulfilled his role or appeared no longer useful then Aizen would probably try to kill him. He'd kill all of them if he had to. He'd like to think it was just the likes of Grimmjow or Harribel that were expendable, but to think that for a minute would be naïve and suicidal, because he knew that both he and Kaname were objects to Aizen and nothing more. Likely it'd be Tousen-san to go first, because he was naïve – no doubt about it – and he let himself get manipulated, and his ridiculous obsession with justice meant his loyalties were not entirely to Aizen, they were with an abstract concept, a meaning foreign to the likes of Aizen-sama. The moment keeping the blind man became too much hassle he'd be gone . . . and Gin would be next.

That was the truth, wasn't it? Aizen didn't understand Gin, he didn't understand how Gin could know him so well, obey him so effortlessly or why he did the things he did, and because he didn't know it meant that the silver-haired man was a threat. Whilst he was entertaining, harmless, just a pretty sight for the eyes with an undying loyalty to Aizen, then he'd be allowed to live . . . but it would not be forgotten the power Gin had. It was for that reason he would be destroyed if he stepped out of line. He'd be crushed the same way Luppi had been crushed, and Aizen wouldn't even stop for a minute to regret it.

If that was the way things were then he'd make sure to keep wearing his mask, because that was the thing about Aizen's games: they were never just for one person, anyone could play.

"Would you care to tell me what you are doing here, Gin? Surely you cannot find entertainment from these lifeless monitors. If you are bored I could easily find you other tasks to occupy your mind."

"Nah, yer should know how easy it is t' get absorbed in yer work, sometimes it's kind o' fun, ya know?"

Gin turned his head back to the monitors, but this time refrained from playing quite as much as he had been doing, instead he moved only occasionally, making subtle movement as if analysing the facts he saw before him.

The change in demeanour was deliberate. It was as if he was saying 'I'm too good to give the likes of you any thought, and I can afford to turn my back on you, but I'm not that good. I know better than to give you anything less than my full attention.' That was not something Aizen approved of. It was possible the young man was doing this purposely to get a rise from his master, or that he merely wished to give the impression of hard work, but it still did not sit right with Aizen. It was almost amusing really, both frustrating and yet enjoyable. He was annoyed that someone dare to turn their backs on him, knowing the full extent of his power, but somewhat amused that someone did have the confidence to do this. It made the game all the more exciting when they fought back, no matter how subtly.

"Well . . ." Gin continued, as if Aizen was no longer with him, "it's easy to get wrapped up in work, that is, until a distraction comes along . . . Ja, then it's hard to concentrate and it ain't no fun no more."

The smile on Aizen's face seemed to brighten for a short moment. His head lowered by an inch or so, just enough so that the little light that bounced from his features kept him in shadow, casting him in a darkness that was enough to match his renowned persona. His eyes seemed to narrow in an almost dangerous way, just enough that they seemed to convey ill intent but soft enough at the corners to seem almost amused, and the slight purse of his lips seemed to add to the look of contradictions. It was impossible to say what the man felt, and no doubt if Gin had only turned to look upon him he would have issued forth an identical smile of his own.

It often seemed to Aizen that they were more similar than he cared for, each delighting in the manipulation of the people around them, each one relishing in the element of control that they had over one another and those around them. Gin would be pleased to know he had induced this response in Aizen, just as Aizen would be pleased to know that his reaction could bring that response in Gin . . . It would be highly amusing, except Gin seemed to forget who was in control, and that was something that needed to be corrected. Gin needed to know his place.

Aizen pulled himself up from the doorframe and casually walked into the large room, his footsteps tapping out a regular and echoing pattern upon the slabs beneath him as he went, his eyes focused solely upon Gin. The younger man didn't move from his work, not even as he felt that strong reiatsu behind him and those powerful arms wrap around his waist.

He smiled at the action, but noted the almost possessive nature of the gesture. It meant that with those arms around his waist and Aizen on his back that he couldn't move, he couldn't go forward for the computer screens and he couldn't go back because of Aizen, he was effectively pinned. It was almost frustrating, but he knew better than to question it. He lowered his hands to touch Aizen's arms, feeling the smooth material of his overcoat and the hard, tense muscles beneath his clothing. The man appeared to be bothered it seemed. His grip was tight, and he didn't even react when Gin pushed back the sleeves and touched the bare skin of his forearms, and when the elder man pushed Gin's head to one side with his own, nuzzling into his neck, the younger man could only sigh. It was a sigh that could have been either exasperation or interest.

Gin shuddered as Aizen licked a long trail against his neck, stemming from near to his collarbone and only stopped when he reached Gin's ear. It was always such a strange feeling. It was warm, bordering on hot, and the rough tongue always seemed to stroke his pale skin in just the right way, teasing him, seducing him, and hinting at the things to come. The way the cool air froze the trail of light saliva afterwards added to the reality of what had happened, and just as Gin swallowed Aizen's left hand left his waist and came upwards. It lightly traced a path up Gin's side before coming up into his hair, where there was a harsh tug, and Gin was forced to tilt his head to one side, giving Aizen full access. The man never let go of his grip, holding firm and almost hurting his silver-haired subordinate, before he began nibbling upon Gin's earlobe, sending ripples of pleasure down his spine. Occasionally he'd blow lightly into his ear, lick around the shell, making the whole act seem so much more seductive than it really was, and then he'd let out a low laugh through closed lips. Gin didn't want to admit it but he enjoyed this, his body couldn't help but enjoy it. His breathing sped up and a blush came to his cheeks, and his body seemed to become weak, giving into Aizen's administrations.

"I know a way to cure your boredom, Gin," Aizen whispered, "if you'll let me."

"Ja, I ain't that bored, Aizen-sama."

"We shall see about that."

Aizen tightened his grip on Gin's hair, tugging harshly enough to cause a jolt of pain to spread through the younger man's body. Gin's only reaction was a dark smile, a half-smirk with eyes like slits and a shadowy aspect to his expression.

It seemed to Aizen as if Gin was enjoying the rough treatment, but on the other hand he may have simply enjoyed the predictability of events, taking a delight in knowing what was to come and having his prediction come to fruition. It frustrated Aizen – he was loath to admit it, but it did – to have this younger man, this weaker man, able to guess his very thoughts, emotions and actions. He wanted to make Gin pay, he wanted to do something unpredictable, something new, but more than that he wanted to claim Gin. He wanted to remind Gin who he belonged to and what he meant. He may have stood by Aizen's side but he'd always be beneath him, for after all there was only room at the top for one person, for one god, and that spot was for Aizen alone. He wanted to remind Gin of his place, remind him that he was merely a tool in this war, and no matter how much he meant to Aizen he was not his equal, he was merely an object to be used at his will. Gin fascinated him, provoked him, and amused him . . . He was a mystery, but he was Aizen's mystery, and he wanted to solve him. Sometimes it seemed Gin knew that, that he knew his worth stemmed from the riddle that he was, and that was why he kept his mask up, because he knew that the moment he was solved that he'd be of no interest. If his demeanour really was just self-defence it'd make him harder to understand, it'd make the puzzle harder to solve, and that only inspired Aizen all the more. It made him strive all the more. He wanted Gin. He wanted him.

He pulled harshly at Gin's hair and relished in the look of the other man. His smile was still there but his eyes were so much darker, there was a menace and venom in them that Aizen so rarely saw, his eyes almost like slits but with a slither of blue peeking out, almost glaring at Aizen. Yet his smile never faded, it was there, being worn like a symbol of pride, hiding the extent of his feelings and emotions. Even when Aizen forced him to spin around, pulling his head back so that he was now facing his lord with his neck bared too, he still smiled . . . but this time there was a slight pouting of the lips, a curl at the corners of his mouth, and his eyes narrowed and seemed to pull together. He appeared to be enjoying this. It didn't matter why he enjoyed it, not to Aizen, because the more he smiled the more he wanted to wipe that smile from his face. The more he wanted to break him.

Aizen let go of Gin's hair and pushed him hard, so that he fell back against the control panels behind him. Even when falling Gin seemed almost graceful, agile, feline-like, his back arching smoothly and his hands coming up behind him to catch his weight, whilst his head moved backwards instinctively. He'd lifted his leg slightly to create shape to his Arrancar uniform, and the way he sat against the controls . . . it was almost seductive. It was a vulnerable pose, one of weakness in any other creature, but the way Gin tilted his head to the side, smiled that smile, and bared his throat . . . it was like he wanted this. He wanted to be vulnerable, to be taken, he wanted to submissive to Aizen, and the 'why' was unfathomable but did the 'why' really matter? If he had a young, beautiful man beneath him, more powerful than any other in his palace, asking to be taken and submissive to a fault, obeying his every command with a smile and without a second thought . . . what man could ask for more? He was the perfect subordinate and the perfect lover. He would not question Gin, because to question him would be to break him, for him to lose his magic to solid answers. It was his mystery that made him worthwhile.

In one steady, slow movement Aizen took a step towards the trapped man beneath him and pressed his palms on either side of Gin's waist. He leant forward so that Gin was forced to lean back further, and stopped when his mouth was but an inch from his lover's. His brown eyes seemed to gleam with interest and amusement, and Gin was completely trapped beneath him, unable to move even the slightest with Aizen's large, muscular frame completely surrounding him.

"Tell me that you want me, Gin," Aizen said passively, his voice censoring out any sign of emotion. "Tell me, if you wish for me to continue."

"Ya should know by now that I'll always tell ya what ya wanna hear, Aizen-sama."

The glint in Gin's eyes was too much, too telling, and the words themselves hid an obvious meaning beneath the surface, and wasn't that just like Gin? Two faces in everything he did, even the words he spoke, and never could he give a straight answer, at least not one that didn't raise more questions that it solved. It wasn't quite what Aizen wanted to hear, and at the same time it was everything he wanted. That feistiness, that rebellious nature . . . it was his to command as he willed, and no matter what Gin's meaning was his will would always be Aizen's.

"I want ya, Aizen-sama."

There was a light in Aizen's features that would have terrified a lesser man, something dark, sadistic, something almost primal. His body seemed taut and tense, almost like an animal ready pounce upon its prey, and the way he leaned in closer to Gin was almost as if he wished to consume him. His breath was warm and moist on Gin's lips, teasing him with hints of what might be to come, and when his lips touched the younger man's they felt soft, plump, and almost too perfect to be real. He wanted to kiss him, to devour him, but neither man moved, each one perfectly still, poised in waiting. Their breaths mingled, their lips pressed upon one another, and their eyes were mere inches apart, and yet neither made a move.

The moment seemed to last forever, until Aizen brutally reached up and grabbed a handful of Gin's hair, yanking his head backwards and causing the younger man to issue forth a short cry.

Gin's neck was completely bared before Aizen once more, but this time the sharp pain in his head distracted him from what was at hand, and even though his eyes were focussed entirely on the brunet there seemed to be a thin haze to them. It was hard to tell if what he felt was pleasure or pain, but Aizen didn't wait to figure it out, he only sought to confuse Gin's senses all the more. He leant forward and licked a long, slow line along Gin's Adam's apple, relishing in the other man's delectable shudders, and once he heard that deep intake of breath he smirked. Gin was obviously enjoying this at least a little, which was good, it would make this all the easier.

He gripped tighter on Gin's hair for a split second; just enough for the man to gasp loudly, and then relaxed his grip so the pressure was gone. His other hand snaked its way to Gin's hip, rubbing and massaging the area through his thick clothes, teasing him with gentle touches as he stroked his scalp with his right hand. He pulled back his lips and began soft nibbles along his lover's jawbone, distracting him from the soft caresses with an even softer pain. His teeth dug in just enough to pull at the pale flesh, to cause Gin to struggle just slightly, then he pulled back seconds away from drawing blood, easing the marks with his rough tongue, lathing at them and enjoying the taste of Gin. He moved slowly from his chin to Gin's jawbone, loving how his partner could have such self-control as to refrain from touching back, to just take what was given, to accept that he had no control in what was going on, to accept that he was Aizen's in every possible sense of the word. His bites and kisses had turned Gin's skin pink, sensitive, raw . . . it made him look taken and claimed, it made it clear that he belonged to Aizen, that he was owned by the other man. Aizen delighted in that. It was a visible mark, something to state his claim, even if it would soon fade.

Gin was visibly writhing under Aizen now. His head turned as Aizen stroked and teased at his hair, and his back arched and twisted as hands moved under his overcoat to play with his hips and waist, and most of all his breath came out in short pants at the delicious kisses upon his jaw. When Aizen's hands came to his obi sash, he gave an audible gasp, causing Aizen to offer forth an amused smile, his tongue coming forth to lick at his reddened lips as he continued to kiss Gin and play with his clothing. The obi sash was easily undone, ripped from his waist and dropped almost elegantly to the floor beside them both, leaving Gin's hakama loose on his waist and ready to be removed, leaving him ready to be exposed, to be ravished, to be taken.

It was then Aizen grabbed Gin's hips and pulled him to the very edge of the desk, leaving his groin pressed right against his lover's. There was a slight crease to Aizen's features as he felt the jolt of pleasure course through him, the sudden surge of enjoyment as he thrust hard against Gin, causing the other man to feel Aizen's aching erection press against his own. He looked up at the brunet and saw an intense look of concentration, the tension in his face, the pursing of his lips, and the hands upon his waist and hair gripped tight enough to cause damage. The look of a man fighting for control, holding onto restraint, trying not to give into his base, carnal desires, was deeply erotic. It caused Gin to moan aloud, to whisper 'Sosuke', and to move his own hands to grip Aizen's upper arms for support, scared that his own arousal might cause him to fall. It was such a heady feeling, like a cloud overcoming his mind, his sight hazy and his thoughts focussed only upon one thing, he needed Aizen and craved him, and his body ached in heat, pleasure tingling upon every nerve. It was almost overwhelming. He was sure he must have been bruising Aizen's arms with his tight grip, but the older man gave no indication of pain or recognition of his hold, instead his gaze just intensified and he licked his lips once more, staring at Gin with sheer want and desire.

Gin shuddered and wrapped his legs tightly around Aizen's waist as the brunet lifted him by the hips, raising him off from the desk so that he had to support his entire weight upon his hands. The position was awkward and submissive, but he was willing to overlook that when he felt Aizen's hands upon the waistband of his hakama. The older man eased the white hakama down just enough to bear Gin's groin and buttocks to the cold air, but true to his nature he didn't take the effort to untangle Gin's legs and remove them completely, instead he left them on, restricting Gin's movement further and diminishing what was happening to the realm of 'quick fuck', as if to remind Gin that he was nothing more than an object.

Aizen moved a hand down to Gin's aching member. He gasped as he felt that rough hand encircling his length. He was so hard that it was almost painful, his tip leaking drops of pre-come providing some natural lubrication to Aizen's subtle touch, and he could feel himself throbbing under the touch. It was driving him insane. Aizen's grip was firm but he wouldn't move, he just kept his hand completely still, unmoving. It was a control thing, it had to be, he wanted Gin on the edge completely at his mercy, he wanted Gin to give in and move of his own accord, or to give in and beg, and the way he stared down was almost seemed to cement the fact. His other hand had thankfully moved away from Gin's hair down to his own groin, where he subtly adjusted his own hakama to free his erection, his clothing completely intact save for that one appendage creeping its way from the gap his had made for it in his lower garments. The sight of it made Gin's mouth water.

His member was perfect, like every other inch of him. It was long, incredibly so, and each time it entered Gin it seemed to fill him to the brim, stretching him and taking him with such power that it nearly drove him mad with lust. Its width was perhaps not the most impressive, but it was enough to stretch Gin to his limit each time they had moments like these, making him gasp and claw at Aizen in fear of being torn in two. The head was just perfect, beading with silver drops of come, and the length was red and glaring, showing the clear desire that Aizen felt, desperate to take Gin, desperate to have him.

Aizen looked down at Gin with brown eyes hazed and wide, his pupils dilated with lust, and his lips wet with saliva, and his smile still faintly there but barely recognisable. He pulled Gin slightly towards him so that the head of his member was pressed lightly against his hole, teasing him with the feeling and pressure, promising him what was to come. There wouldn't be any preparation. There was no need for it, Gin was taken on a nearly daily basis, and beyond that Aizen seemed to enjoy the flicker of pain that crossed his lover's face on the sometimes rough, fast entries. It rarely hurt, but there were times when it would, and Aizen would merely grin from above and pause, before continuing at a hard pace, taking every ounce of pleasure he could from his younger lover. He wanted Gin, he wanted everything from him, he wanted to claim him and make him his own. It didn't matter what Gin felt, the fact he came at all was merely a bonus. Sosuke's pleasure was paramount to all.

There was no warning as Aizen pressed inside. He moved slowly, forcefully, breaking into Gin without subtly and full of purpose. There was a slight ache and a stinging sensation at first, one that caused Gin to hiss loudly and move his grip to Aizen's shoulders, where he dug in tightly as he braced himself against the intrusion. He felt full; a feeling that only increased as Aizen continued to slide in, not pausing for even a second.

It was a rough sensation, it wasn't made easy by the lack of lubrication, and it somewhat hurt because of that, but Gin bore it with a grin of his own. Once Aizen was completely inside he paused for a second or two to allow Gin a moment of adjustment. It was always so strange. He felt so full, so complete, he could feel the other's member inside his surrounding muscles, he could feel it with every contraction he made and it made him squirm, it was so foreign and alien and yet it also felt so right. It was a familiar feeling, one that he'd grown used to, it was like he'd became one with Aizen in body, as if in these short moments they shared something with the other that no other person could share. It was intimate, more so than he cared for, but he couldn't fault the feeling nonetheless, it was just too perfect to complain about. He wanted more.

Aizen began to move in a fast and rhythmic motion, he wasted no time in getting straight to business, and with each thrust inside he'd purposely aim for that one spot that had Gin seeing stars. The pleasure of having that place within him struck with such force was overwhelming, it had him moaning loudly so that he was sure the other Arrancar would hear, his head thrown back as he let loose a barrage of sounds and cries. Aizen would always watch him at this point with a keen sadistic interest. He'd relish in how Gin's smile would visibly shake and fade away, how the younger man's eyes would open so that they revealed shining blue orbs consumed with ecstasy, and how Gin's skin would flush so brightly. Their uniforms unfortunately covered each inch of skin, but Aizen knew beneath that white material that white skin would be turning red in a sexual blush to match the one on Gin's cheeks. It made him want more. He'd sometimes slow his pace as if to try and madden Gin, whilst at other points he'd more with such power that it'd bruise Gin inside, causing him to cry out in pain rather than pleasure, but it was the moment he began to move his hand on Gin's member that the silver-haired man really let loose.

The moment that hand upon his member began to slowly pump in time with the thrusts Gin nearly gave up all self-control, the double pleasure was almost unbearable, and Aizen's touch was just perfect. He'd occasionally squeeze hard or jerk his hand on purpose, but even the moments of pain didn't cause him too much distraction, instead he'd only loudly moan at these moments and smile inwardly as he knew just what it was that Aizen needed, what he wanted. The man wanted submission, control and power, and these were things Gin would willingly give, or at least as long as it took for him to reach completion.

Aizen was getting close now. Gin could see his face contort into a sharp kind of frown of concentration, his eyebrows knitted together as a thin film of sweat broke onto his forehead, and his eyes were tightly closed as opposed to Gin's wide open ones. His mouth was partly open, and his body jerked a little on each thrust with his hand moving at a lightning speed. It was tantalising, maddening, infuriating! The pleasure throughout Gin's body was so intense, he could feel his stomach muscles fluttering and his cock was no doubt dripping furiously with pre-come, and he could no longer catch his breath. His heart was beating so hard upon his chest he was scared it would stop, unable to take the strain, he wanted to pause to be able to breathe deep and slow down his beating heart, scared that any moment he might pass out, but he wouldn't say anything, not to Aizen. He wouldn't.

It was then that Aizen thrust deep inside Gin and stopped as he was balls deep inside his lover, and with a primal cry of lust he came deep inside Gin. He could feel the hot wave of come inside him, filling him almost whole, and he could feel the trickle down his thigh that would probably stain his hakama, although luckily his overcoat would hide it. Aizen gave a couple more slow thrusts, moaning loudly at the sensations surrounding him, and then Gin came too, seeing the face of absolute rapture on his lover and finding himself crashing down on a wave of bliss.

He bit his lip hard and came silently. Hot ropes of come splattered his uniform, some trickling down Aizen's hand and coating him in its sticky, white substance, and meanwhile his inner walls clamped around Aizen tightly and drew out his own orgasm and he moaned once more, giving one final thrust into Gin. A few seconds later and it was all over. They were both drawing in deep breaths, coming down from such heights that many would never know, feeling the absolute heaven that would only come from moments like these.

Aizen slid out of him and Gin hid back a wince as he felt a smart stinging in his behind, but ignored it as he watched Aizen quickly tucking himself away, barely passing a glance in Gin's direction as he left him to clean up his own mess by himself. Gin smiled a bright grin as he slid down from the desk and reached down onto the floor for his sash, it didn't take long to readjust his uniform and from the corner of his eyes he could see Aizen watching him, observing him from a short distance as he made himself appear presentable. Gin's eyes narrowed and his lips pulled at the corners as he reached down upon his chest and wiped a finger along the come on his coat, before bringing the finger to his lips and sucking seductively upon the digit, giving one lustful glance towards Aizen.

The brunet only smiled back a dangerous smile of his own as he folded his arms, leaning back against the far wall in a way that spoke of power and ownership, in a way that simply stated 'I am'.

"Hmm, I really do admire you, Gin," Aizen said softly in a neutral voice. "After all, not many men would have been willing to do that, and on such a regular basis with a man they don't even love. I wonder what that makes you, Gin?"

"Ja, well you know what they say, don't ya?" Gin said with a devilish grin, as he walked slowly over towards the door with an elegant grace of his own. "Admiration is the feeling further from understanding."

He turned to watch Aizen's expression. The brunet was simply wearing a dark smile, his head lowered just by a degree so that a shadow was cast over his features, making him appear somewhat sinister in the awkward light, but his eyes shone like candles in the darkness and his lips spoke of pleasure. Gin thought he saw a flicker of anger and resentment but it was hard to say, it was always hard to say with Aizen, he wasn't a man renowned for being easy to figure out. Instead Gin gave a smile of his own, his lips pursed and pulled heavily at the corners, with his eyes dark and narrow and heavily weighed on his face, he lowered his head slightly with a glimmer sparkling in his expression of what may have been delight.

"It's time I got back to work, Aizen-sama," Gin said brightly. "Bye, bye!"

He didn't look back as he left the room. There was no movement from Aizen, no flare in his reiatsu, no visible reaction at all . . . and why would there be? Aizen understood everything, didn't he? There wasn't a single person he didn't understand, it was a gift of his, something he openly treasured and made use of, and no doubt he thought that power of his also extended to Gin . . . That was the reasonable thing to assume, wasn't it? Aizen was a man of reason, no matter how much he might claim otherwise, and Aizen could reasonable conclude that he understood enough of Gin to understand him as a person . . . He knew Gin intimately; he knew his battle styles, his techniques, he knew his reactions to news and his approach to life, and surely that meant they he understood the man behind the mask, and not just the mask itself? Surely that was reasonable to assume?

Gin smiled to himself.

Yes, that was reason, and – as Aizen would say – it was time to go to the edge of reason. There were some things, after all, that a man like Aizen would never understand, and Gin was one of them.