After A Time

Warnings: Graphic male/male sex, non-consensual sex, very dubiously consensual sex (Ichigo is not in control of his body), bondage, massive angst, some swearing, mentions of character death, a somewhat pretentious writing style, far too many imbedded mind/mindscape puns, Aizen being himself, a complete lack of a happy ending.

Spoiler alert: Canon-compliant through the Hueco Mundo arc, extensive references to Aizen's appearance and powers in the 400+ chapters in the manga.

Disclaimers: I do not own Bleach or the Star Trek quote that provides the title.

This story was written as a sequel to the one-shot A God's Desire, by Kyuubiluver; she courteously allowed me to continue her fic when I asked. You should go read it if you like angsty Aizen/Ichigo (and if you don't, you really, really shouldn't be reading this fic), but to summarize the prequel fanfic: Aizen was obsessed with Ichigo, and had him captured when he and the others came to Hueco Mundo to rescue Orihime. He offered to let his friends go if Ichigo stayed without looking for his sword or trying to escape. When Ichigo refused, Aizen used his sword to destroy his memories and alter his personality to make him into a perfectly submissive sex slave. Smut ensued. In the last scene, Aizen taunted the rest of Ichigo's group with the changes.

I couldn't stand to leave Ichigo in that position; I like Ichigo's character too much. Whether or not the position I do leave him in is any better is up to the reader to decide.

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"After a time, you may find that having, after all, is not so pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true." - Spock, Star Trek: The Original Series:, Episode 30

"Admiration is the emotion furthest from understanding." Aizen Sosuke, Bleach manga ep. 150

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There is a row of paperback books on the shelf, all clearly beloved and well-used. The spines are cracked and worn, and folded pages draw the reader easily to favorite passages. The newest books in the dog-eared collection, already extensively scribbled on, are in the original Shakespearean English, and a thick Japanese-English dictionary sits in pride of place at the end of the row. The orange-haired teen glances at the book in his hands – 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', translated, in characters he knows but cannot remember learning– before replacing it and giving his full attention back to the man beside him.

"What are they?"

"Shakespeare. He was one of the greatest poets and playwrights in human history. The books are yours. I thought you might like to have them back." They are all that remain of his hometown. It had been a whim, to go to Ichigo's former residence before the creation of the King's Key. He had been glad that he had once he saw the bookshelf in Ichigo's room. He had not known the boy had any fondness for literature, and it appears that their tastes are similar.

"Thank you for thinking of me, Master," he says with a smile, stepping into Aizen's arms and raising his face to meet the descending lips. The books stay on the shelf, undisturbed, while the two move to the bed.

In time, they begin to collect dust.

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His eyes are open long before he is aware. There is darkness around him, an oily blackness that is fluid but does not impede his breathing. Visibility is low, but he can see two figures a short distance away, floating, as he is, in the darkness. One is a dark-haired, rugged man in his early middle age, wearing a tattered black cloak and sunglasses. The other is a young man, a teen barely out of childhood, with skin, hair, and clothes of pure white. They would appear to be sleeping peacefully, if not for the glowing collars on their necks. He raises hand to his own neck and finds himself similarly accessorized, with a black silken collar that flares with a white fire when he touches it. He steels himself against the pain and explores it enough to find that there is no lock or hinge; the collar is a seamless circlet around his neck. He takes a deep breath and PULLS.

He does not know how long it has been before he wakes again. He learns to move in the viscous liquid surrounding him and joins the other two where they float side by side, but all efforts to wake his sleeping companions fail. Touching any one of the collars has the same effect on all three, the white fire that burns but does not consume. Wrapping his hand in the sleeve of his white outfit does not change the light formed on the three collars, but does protect his fingers. Attempting to remove the collar from the older man's neck sends him spiraling painfully down into unconsciousness once more. He does not try a third time.

He explores the world around him, and eventually locates the ground. For some reason, he is oriented sideways. The wide plain is covered with rubble, a mixture of differently sized stones, shattered glass, and a few twisted flagpoles. He swims through the darkness to one of the larger piles, and picks up one of the rocks. An image flashes through his mind.

/"GOOOOOOD MOOOOOORNING, IIIICHIGO!" and a dark-haired, bearded man attempts a flying drop-kick before being punted out the window/

His name is Ichigo.

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He is buried deep inside the boy, lazily thrusting, drawing the moment out as long as possible. Under him, Ichigo whines and arches, knees bent to his chest, begging brokenly for more, harder, faster. His hands fist the sheets under him, aching to touch Master, aching to touch himself, but he has been forbidden both and he does not disobey. He meets Aizen's eyes; they are dark grey and purple now, instead of brown and white, but Ichigo has never questioned the change. It does not matter; Master is Master.

Aizen stills, looking into the amber orbs that gaze back at him with lust and need and adoration. He remembers, then tries to forget, a time when the same eyes showed other emotions- anger, determination, fear, ferocity. They are gone, and will never need to mar his countenance again.

He pulls out and flips Ichigo over, taking him from behind, speeding up and driving into him roughly. It soon becomes his favorite position.

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He finds that, if he takes the stone to the right place in midair, it will stay there, hovering without any support. He cannot precisely say how he knows where the right place is, but each new memory comes with a sense of time and a category and he knows where it must go. There is a building formed by math, by numbers, by learning addition and subtraction, by taking algebra tests next to people he slowly comes to recognize.

/a busty, brown-haired girl in a school uniform crosses her arms across her chest and cries "Bwa-ha-ha-ha!" before the teacher calls the class to order and they begin learning how to solve equations with two unknown variables/

Through picking up tiny pebbles and fitting them together, he remembers learning to read, with each small stone bringing back a new kanji, and pebbles coming together to form entire books.

/a beautiful woman with the kindest heart he will ever know listens to him read out loud, and smiles as he stumbles through the greatest love story ever written. The play is far above his age level, but he does not care, because when he asked her what her favorite story was this was her answer, and so he haltingly reads "what light … through… um…".

"Yonder, Ichigo. It means 'that over there'."

"Window breaks. What light through yonder window breaks!" and he basks in her pride/

Entire city blocks are designated for the memories of his family.

/ "Oniisan… Karin-chan" and he stabs a sword into his heart to save his little sisters/

When the correct pieces of rubble are placed next to each other, they stay together without mortar or glue, though he can see the cracks where they were once separated.

He does not stop working. He cannot say how long it has been- he might have been laboring for a month or for a century. Time moves oddly in this world

/he faces the snow-white boy who has never claimed a separate name, fighting for the respect and forgiveness of the sword he depends on, and to the man walking away, the Captain who does not know his blade, only a heartbeat has passed before they rise together to fight once more/

and he does not know what is happening outside, or what shattered his mind. He does not feel hunger, and has no need for sleep. There is only the labor, the city of skyscrapers painstakingly pieced together from the rubble, the slow rebuilding of his psyche.

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"Damn it, Shinigami, this is sickening! Snap out of it! You make me want to put you out of my misery!"

Grimmjow again. Of all of the surviving Espada, he has taken Ichigo's presence the poorest. Aizen has always intervened before, but hesitates now. He waits to see what Ichigo will do when forced to respond on his own.

"Master! Help!" Ichigo's voice is strangled, and from the sound of the one-sided struggle he has been pushed into the wall.

"He's not here! He's not coming! Stand up and fucking fight for yourself!"

"He's just around the corner!" Ichigo cried. "How can you not feel him?"

He walks into the hallway, outwardly calm, though stunned inside. Grimmjow releases his grip on the vizard's throat and lets him dart behind Aizen's comforting bulk. He ignores the blue-haired Espada for the moment, turning instead to finger the black collar around Ichigo's neck.

"Ichigo," he asks, "can you sense my riatsu?" The boy stares back at him, wide-eyed, his momentary fear already made irrelevant by Aizen's presence.

"Of course I can, Master! It's enormous!"

In the same way that no two-dimensional being can ever interfere with one that lives in three dimensions, no creature not in the same spiritual dimension as Aizen can sense his riatsu unless he deliberately brings himself down to their level. Ichigo's most intriguing quality had always been his capacity for growth. Apparently, before Kyoka Suigetsu shattered his mind and rebuilt it to Aizen's desire, his struggles had brought him to a level approaching Aizen's even without the help of the Hougyoku.

He sends Ichigo back to their room and turns, bringing the full force of his spiritual pressure down onto Grimmjow for daring to threaten what is his. But even as the Sexta screams, the question lingers in Aizen's mind.

How far could Ichigo have gone, if he had been allowed to fulfill his potential?

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As the city begins to resemble its former glory, as the teenager begins to remember who he is, the oily liquid thins, becoming a dark fog that swirls around the patchwork buildings and leaves a constant unpleasant taste on the back of his throat. His hands are roughened by the work of hauling the stone, and constantly scratched by careless handling of the glass shards that make up the windows. He sees his reflection in a cracked pane of glass, and it strikes him that his outfit is the same as the one worn by his pale double- a shinigami's shihakusho in pure white. He does not know why until

/turning away from the very first hollow, a huge katana resting on his shoulder, he sees the dark-haired shinigami in a white kimono/

he realizes it is because his power is gone. His companions' slumber is not affected by the thinning of the darkness, and the attempts to remove the collars he now knows are acting as the seal on his riatsu are no more successful than the first two times he has tried.

With the thinning of the liquid surrounding him, the weather of his inner world returns, and as he relives each memory he discovers the effect of his mood on the state of his mind. When the sun shines, visible only as a faint outline through the murk, he is calm and happy. Resolve and determination

/he pulls a half-formed mask off his face and apologizes to the nobleman trying to kill him. He will win this on his own terms, or not at all. They charge at each other for one final pass/

are scorching winds that roar unceasingly around the towers. Rage

/a beloved face, used against him by the monster that claimed her life/

is dry thunder and lightning, dark clouds that cover the sun without precipitation. Fear

/the most powerful strike he is able to muster is stopped with a single finger, and as he lies on the ground with his life bleeding out through his stomach, the traitor rising into the sky gives him a look he cannot interpret, and tells him he is interesting/

is a cold breeze sweeping down the back of his shihakusho and giving him chills down his spine. But worst of all is the rain. When he is sad or depressed it falls from the sideways sky, and all he can do to protect himself from the cold barrage is to turn his back to it rather than his face. There is no shelter. When he picks up one particular memory

/a girl in the rain who does not need help, a rushing river, the center of his life and the heart of his family gone forever/

the rain falls for days, and the landscape floods, and the water rises above the rubble until he is forced to stop his work and learn self-control. He finds that he can call up happier memories to stop the rain and make the sun shine brighter. He thinks Zangetsu would be pleased.

Thoughts of the old man

/ "Retreat and you will age. Hesitate and you will die. Shout my name…!"/

bring him to a large section of his city that he has barely begun to reconstruct and cause him to laboriously change his mind. One by one the stones in the area are hauled to the outer edge of the city, onto land that did not exist before he needed it to, and the buildings are constructed there rather than on their original foundations. Someday, trees might grow in the space he has left empty. He hopes so. He hopes even more that his sword will be awake to see them.

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He recalls that, before he had captured Ichigo, he had occasionally wondered how the teen would sound when he climaxed with Aizen's name on his lips. It is one of the few fantasies he has not fulfilled, and it is clearly time to change that. That night, as Ichigo moans underneath him, "Master… please…" Aizen murmurs into his ear,

"Sosuke-sama."

"Wha… What, Master?" Ichigo manages to gasp out.

"Tonight, Ichigo, call me Sosuke-sama."

"So… Sosuke-saaah!" Good enough. He moves faster, bringing both himself and the boy bent facedown over the edge of the bed closer to orgasm. But when he climaxes, it is not Aizen's name he screams.

It is not the last time Aizen tries, even going so far as to tell the boy to call him by his name all the time to get him used to it. But, in the moment when all control is lost and rational thought falls by the wayside, the word is always 'Master'. After a while, Aizen stops attempting to correct him.

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Finally he is finished, each stone and windowpane and flagpole in its proper place. As the city was rebuilt his mind was healed. The cracks between fragments of stone and shards of glass have fused and faded. They are still visible, and may never disappear completely, but they are old scars now rather than newly stitched wounds. There is only one memory remaining: the event that led to the destruction of his mindscape. Every time he has approached that particular stone it has given him a headache and an ominous bank of stormclouds. He knows that if he faces that memory without a complete mind, his city may fall once more.

Now, with skyscrapers rising proudly to the sky around him, he walks down to the ground and extends a finger. He touches the stone, and remembers

/a pale Arrancar with green crocodile tears streaming down his face, forcing him to kneel in front of a throne. A devil's bargain- the freedom of his friends, in exchange for his parole. An instinctive, unthinking rejection, one that he still does not regret, for he knows that anything this man offers will cost more than he can pay. An unsheathed sword and three spoken words, "Shatter, Kyoka Suigetsu", and he feels dark streams of liquid flooding his mind, probing and violating while he resists the intrusion, struggles to remember himself, to remain Ichigo, and fails as his city shatters into pieces/

and knows he is in Aizen's hands.

Eventually, he manages to calm the frigid winds that howl through the buildings and chill him to the bone. He needs to know what has happened in the world outside of his mind. Now that his city is complete, the thick blanket of dark fog has faded to a thin mist, and the sun off to the side is clearly visible. He steels himself, and gathers his memories: his family,

/ "If you don't bring it back I'll shave!" and the bearded man he cares for more than he will ever admit thrusts the protective charm into his hands/

his friends,

/ "I'll fight for you, and you'll fight for me" and from a promise between two children comes a solid rock to lean on, a constant presence at his back, a hero who walks beside him into the realms of the dead simply because he knows Ichigo will need his strong right arm/

every triumph and victory he has gained,

/he has fended off the strength of a million zanpakuto, and he has freed the prisoner, and he has casually defeated three of Soul Society's strongest with his bare hands to cover her retreat, and, as he blocks the strike from the Captain who should be the greatest of his allies, he knows that he can do anything/

and as he raises his head, the sun burns away the mist to show the clear blue sky, and his mind is his own once more.

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Ichigo opens his eyes.

His mouth is-

His hands are-

He chokes.

Aizen is leaning against the wall of the bathing room, naked except for the black stone in his chest and the wave of brown hair tumbling down his back, one hand clenched tightly in the hair of the boy kneeling in front of him. His head is thrown back and his eyes are closed in ecstasy, and so he does not see the shock and revulsion momentarily on Ichigo's face. By the time he glances down in mild concern, Ichigo's expression has already smoothed back into a devoted focus on the task at hand.

Ichigo kneels on the surface of the skyscraper, gagging and retching, as clouds cover the sun and the mist sweeps back in. Horror, he discovers, is a full-blown blizzard, and it blankets the entire city with a solid wall of stinging snow as he comes to the realization of what Aizen was offering him on that last day. What Aizen wanted from him. What Aizen is doing to him, right at this moment-

NO.

And with that instinctive rejection, his breathing begins to calm, and the snow begins to thin, and the winds become gradually warmer.

Not him. Never him. He is not his body. Kon's antics had proven that a hundred times. Whatever inhabits his body now is a puppet, created by Aizen to fulfill some twisted desire for a living, breathing trophy, as false as any other illusion even though it has his physical form. He has not touched Ichigo.

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Aizen stands beside a forgotten bookshelf in the darkened room, fingering a slightly dusty copy of The Tempest, thinking thoughts that he is no longer able to ignore. He knows that, if he told Ichigo it would please him to hear the play, the boy would memorize each part and act it out in front of him. He also knows that it will be the only reason Ichigo ever opens this book again.

"Master? Is something wrong?" He is always so attentive; Aizen is the center of his world, and he exists only to fulfill Aizen's desires.

Literally.

"Tell me, Ichigo, do you admire me?" The question is rhetorical; he knows the answer, and mouths it with the teen as he circles around to embrace him from behind.

"Of course, Master. I love you."

Aizen knows he is a considerate lover. There are many kinds of power, and one of the sweetest is having his partner beg for his touch without using anything more than his skill and knowledge of their body. He gains almost as much pleasure from his partners' satisfaction as from his own.

It is not so tonight. Aizen does not bother fully undressing the boy, but simply shoves down his hakama and pushes him up against the wall, fucking him brutally without preparation or lubricant. Blood coats his inner passage as he screams and claws at the wall, trying to accept the violent intrusion, while Aizen pistons in and out, attempting to lose himself in sensation, to forget what he has thoughtlessly destroyed forever.

He had mocked the Shinigami captains once; had despised them for ignoring the reality and embracing an illusion.

He knows that Hitsugaya and Unohana are laughing at him, somewhere from their next incarnations. Someday, even he may be able to appreciate the irony.

Aizen climaxes with a strangled gasp, and then calms his breathing, remaining inside of what was once Ichigo while the boy's sobs soften and stop. Eventually he pulls out, fixes his clothing, and steps away without a word. He finds himself as disgusted by his own loss of control as by the impostor behind him.

"Master!" He turns back and looks into the familiar amber eyes, eyes that still only contain love and trust behind the remnants of pain.

"Master, please! What have I done? I don't understand."

He turns away again.

"No. And you never will."

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He is more cautious when he comes out again. He learns how to dispel the mists slowly, and he retreats instantly if his body is not alone. From his brief glimpses of the puppet's life, he knows that he cannot take his place when anyone is watching. His personality is too different, and he will never be that good of an actor. Aizen is manipulative, intelligent, and perceptive; he will not be able to fool the man for more than a second. He knows how… lucky he was that Aizen had been… preoccupied the first time he emerged. If he is discovered, Aizen will destroy his mind again, and Ichigo doubts there will be anything left to rebuild the second time. Kyoka Suigetsu will shatter the city to rubble, then grind the rubble to sand, leaving a barren desert as the only remnant of the person he had once been.

The second time he fully emerges, Ichigo examines himself in the mirror. He has been in his inner world for at least a few months; he has gone through a growth spurt and his hair is longer, with ragged edges that reach to his shoulder. His face has lost the last of its baby fat, becoming thinner and more aquiline. He is wearing the puppet's usual outfit, a white open vest and hakama trimmed in black, with a black collar on his neck. Pulling on the collar has no effect, but he at least remains conscious. He knows that this is the original seal, and that if it can be removed at all it will have to be here in the outer world. Lacking any better ideas, he goes in search of a set of scissors, and leaves the white apartment for the first time.

He is not in Hueco Mundo.

He stumbles as he realizes what this means,

and the mists sweep back as he screams into the sky.

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Guilt is pebble-sized hailstones that come down with the pouring rain.

He knows Aizen's plans for Karakura Town, and knows that every one of his allies, human and shinigami and vizard, would have died before letting him win. If Aizen rules from the King's Realm, then his father, his sisters, everyone and everything he has ever loved- they are gone.

He should have been there.

He should have protected them.

He should have died with them.

He stands facing into the storm, letting the hailstones and raindrops impact his entire body. He does not move until the flood rises high enough to hit his back, and then it is only to move higher, up to the top stories of the skyscraper. He ignores- no, he welcomes the pain. He deserves it. If he had been stronger, if he had fought harder, if he had kept his promise to protect, they would still be alive. He failed them. He failed himself. He was too weak to even protect his own mind and body from being raped by a madman. He imagines his little sisters at the end, crying out and wondering why their brother wasn't there to help. He did not guard them. He does not deserve his name.

When the flood covers the top of the skyscrapers and he can no longer feel the hail, he lets himself float, and drifts aimlessly through the drowned city.

It is far harder to pull himself out of depression this time. They are dead, and the water rises every time he remembers it. But he is alive, and he remembers them, and he will avenge them or die trying. He needs to get out of this world. To dispel the hypnosis, the flood must recede and the sky must be clear. It takes all of his will, but he manages to remember

/lunch on the rooftop and how startled the Quincy had been to be included/

/sparring with his friend in the dojo and smiling as his mother comes to get him/

/showing an Edo-era shinigami how to open a modern juicebox/

/yelling at a shapeshifting catwoman to put her clothes on/

/watching a plush doll attempt to molest a buxom blond shinigami/

/pulling off his mask while a blond man asks him how he feels/

/screaming at a redhead who from his clothing has clearly not been in the human world in decades/

/fighting watermelon monsters on a bright sunny beach/

/destroying the stupidest hat he has ever seen in a basement too large to exist/

/wrestling with his father while one sister looks on in bemusement and the other ignores them/

Chad, Orihime, Ishida; Tatsuki, Keigo, Mizuiro; Kon, Urahara, Yoruichi, Tessai, the kids; Shinji and the rest of the Vizards; Rukia and Renji and so many other Shinigami- all of them friends, teachers, companions he would have died for. Goat-face, Karin, Yuzu- his family. He remembers the good times, and tries not to think of the rest. It takes a long, long time, but he finally gropes his way towards some semblance of inner peace.

The floodwaters gradually begin to recede. He can see the sky again when the falling waterline exposes the tops of the skyscrapers. Rain still threatens, and it is a major effort to bring out the sun. He cannot manage happiness, but he can be calm. The mist is thin, and blown around by the heated winds of his resolve, and calm is enough to get him outside. He has things to do.

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Aizen knows it is time to make a decision he has been putting off. He is a God, and it is difficult to admit to a mistake, but his distraction is beginning to affect his oversight of the balance between the worlds. He mentally reviews his options for the hundredth time. There are not many; Ichigo's memories were destroyed, and simply dispelling the hypnosis would leave a mindless husk, even less functional than Wonderweiss and about as attractive. He could remake the impostor's personality, but although it might make him more realistic, it would not make him any more real, and he would eventually come to this decision point again.

That means he must either accept the impostor, or dispose of him. He still finds Ichigo's body extremely attractive, and there is a certain convenience in having a willing, submissive lover at his beck and call. If he were moved to another part of the palace, so that Aizen never had to see the impostor unless he wanted sex, it might be tolerable. But he does not have to settle for merely 'tolerable'; there is no shortage of beautiful men and women eager to share his bed, and none of them will bring to mind the ghosts of lost chances.

He decides.

The impostor, after all, was made so that he cannot live without Aizen.

He will be doing him a favor.

That evening, he walks calmly into his quarters with his sword unsheathed. The impostor turns from examining the bookshelf and comes to greet him, resting his right hand on the bottom of Aizen's ribcage, to the left and slightly below where the Hogyoku is placed. Aizen raises the teenager's face for one last kiss. As their lips chastely meet he readies his sword- and pauses.

Something is different. The kiss is hesitant and fumbling. The hand on his torso is rough and callused. The open eyes are calm and focused. He starts to pull back, but Ichigo ('how can it be Ichigo?') is too far inside his guard, has caught him too much by surprise.

The knife hidden in Ichigo's left hand, coated with the deadliest poison in Szayel's laboratory, slips smoothly under his ribcage.

In the very brief moment before the knife reaches his heart, Aizen is afraid.

Ichigo feels the strangled puff of air on his lips as Aizen makes one final gasp and sags forward, leaving Ichigo to support most of his weight. Ichigo's left hand is still on the dagger, and his right arm is now under the taller man's shoulder in a twisted parody of a loving embrace. There is a long moment of silence, broken only by Ichigo's heavy breathing as the adrenaline rush slows and he lets his own head fall forward onto Aizen's shoulder. Finally, he musters enough energy to pull out the knife and lower the corpse to the ground.

Suddenly, beams of bright light shoot out of Aizen's body, and the stone in his chest sends out a pulse of energy that shakes the foundations of the palace around them.

Ichigo scrambles away, eyes wide and weapon ready. He hopes this is normal, that this is the part of the story where the castle collapses for no apparent reason just because the villain is dead, he has to be dead, he was stabbed through the heart- and his hope is denied as the wound heals in front of his eyes and the beams of light coalesce into a long robe and a pair of shining wings on Aizen's back.

They stare at each other in shock for a breathless moment before Ichigo snaps.

"Damn it, why won't you die!" and he attacks once more with the dagger even though he knows it will be futile; and indeed, the blade disintegrates before it comes anywhere near Aizen's skin, melting in his magnified spirit pressure as though it had been shoved into a volcano. In a movement too fast to see, Aizen is on his feet and grasping the hand with the useless hilt. He pulls Ichigo towards him, catching him tightly around the waist as he stumbles and bringing him up against his body.

"Because I am a God, Ichigo," he whispers throatily into his ear. The teenager twists in his grip, aiming a punch at his jaw,

And the clouds of rage finally cover the sun, and the mist returns. Ichigo smashes a fist into the side of the building, sobbing in anger and frustration, while around him thunder roars and lightning flashes. Even after he manages to stop lashing out at the surroundings physically his inner turmoil continues, and lightning flashes across his field of vision again and again, falling sideways from the sky to kiss the ground.

Ichigo walks on turbulent air across the city to where his sleeping companions float unsupported. He knew it had been a desperate attempt, and he knew the price of failure. The mist swirls around him as he places himself facing the sky with his back to the two avatars of his power. His right hand curls, as though around the hilt of a sword; his left hand crooks its fingers, ready to conjure a mask across his face. It is reflex, it is instinct, it is the preparation for battle he has performed more times than he can count; and though his power is sealed and there is nothing to fight, he stands, head raised high, ready to face oblivion.

In front of him, his defiance is the red sky visible through the breaks in the rumbling clouds.

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Aizen blinks when, as suddenly as if someone had turned off a lightbulb, the punch heading for his jaw loses direction and the snarl on Ichigo's face fades into a peaceful smile. Ah. So that was how he had stayed hidden. Clever boy.

"Master!" The impostor's eyes widen as he sees the blood that has soaked through Aizen's new white robe. "You're bleeding! Let me…" His eyes get even wider as he sees the blood on his own hands, and he pales and sways as though he is about to faint.

"Master, what happened? Why can't I remember-" Aizen quiets him with a single finger to the lips, and he stands obediently silent as Aizen examines the wings that now extend from his back, flapping them a few times to get an idea of their range of motion. Finally, he turns his attention back to the teenager in front of him.

The impostor blinks at him guilelessly as Aizen takes his chin in one hand. He turns it left, then right, burning the face and the moment into his memory. Then, he smiles. It is a calm, gentle, joyous expression. Hinamori Momo would have recognized it from a hundred nightmares, had she been alive to see it. In each of them it was the prelude to a sword through the stomach.

"Good-by, little one. I don't believe I will miss you in the slightest."

Before the impostor can comprehend his words, Aizen's mouth comes down in a searing, possessive kiss, holding the boy's face still with one hand and molding their bodies together with the other. He gathers his power and pulls.

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The mist disappears.

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Aizen knows it has worked when Ichigo gives a muffled yell into his mouth and bites down. He ignores the teeth and continues exploring Ichigo's mouth with his tongue, absently blocking the knee to his groin with the hand around Ichigo's waist and keeping him still with the iron grip on his chin. A wild swing to the cheek causes Aizen to use the restraining hand to catch the punch, and Ichigo finally pulls his face away, gasping for breath. Aizen uses the captured hand to turn the teenager around, gathering Ichigo's back against his torso.

"Did you think I would let you run?" he purrs, his mouth next to Ichigo's ear and his arms wrapped around the smaller body. He no longer bothers blocking the few strikes Ichigo can make with his limited range of motion; with his power sealed, the kicks to the shin and jabs to the ribs are as light as the touch of a butterfly's wings. Frustrated, Ichigo cries out,

"Damn it, just finish it!"

"Now why would I do that, Ichigo," Aizen murmurs, "when you have been so very helpful?"

Ichigo stills warily in his arms, realizing with growing apprehension that Aizen does not intend to immediately destroy him. "What do you mean?"

"Before creating the King's Key, I implanted the Hogyoku into my body and it merged with me, propelling me to another dimension of spiritual power. I underwent two transformations to reach the state in which you saw me. But I had not yet reached the form I desired, because the Hogyoku could not initiate that transformation unless I was afraid for my life. The fear that one can be annihilated at any moment is necessary for evolution. This was a problem, Ichigo, because I have not been afraid of anything for a very long time.

"I had great plans for Gin. The man was a treacherous snake, and I expected that he would stab me in the back at some appropriately dramatic moment. Unfortunately, he died before he got the chance. I believe that was the only time I ever saw Kuchiki and Zarakai work together.

"I had almost given up hope, until you showed yourself today. If I had not had the Hougyoku, your dagger would have killed me. You made me truly afraid for the first time in more than a century. Thank you, Ichigo. Thanks to your efforts, I have finally risen to an existence that surpasses both shinigami and hollow."

"You look like a fucking butterfly," Ichigo spits, twisting again in Aizen's grasp.

"I promise you, Ichigo," and he brings their lower halves into contact for the first time, "I am still very much a man." Ichigo had been squirming against him for several minutes, and his appreciation was obvious.

"Don't touch me, you bastard!"

"I'm sure you know by now that I've already done much more than simply 'touch you'. Tell me, were you awake the entire time? Have you been watching us together, struggling to take control of your body and helpless to prevent its actions?"

"Fuck. No."

Aizen bends and nips Ichigo's jawline, a place where he knows the teen is particularly sensitive, and smiles at his shudder. "What a pity. It was such a beautiful thought. Would you like to hear about your first time, Ichigo?"

"Shut up."

"You were so eager I barely had to do anything. You played with yourself in front of me, and begged me to touch you. Do you know how gorgeous you are when you beg?"

"Shut up."

"We used saliva as the lubricant. You sucked on your fingers and prepared yourself, then sucked on my-"

"SHUT UP! That wasn't me! It wasn't real! That was just some puppet you put into my body for your own sick fantasies! It wasn't –" He gasps as Aizen's arms tighten dangerously around him, cutting him off.

"You." Aizen finishes quietly. "No, it wasn't you. I think it's time to change that, don't you?" Ichigo promptly begins struggling again, with no greater success than before. A flash-step, and they are in the bedroom. Aizen places Ichigo on the bed and sits next to him, keeping him in place with a hand on his chest and using the other to grasp Ichigo's wrists. With a single murmured word, the boy's arms are tied to the bedposts with cords of glowing light; with another, his legs are bound and he lies spread-eagled on the bed. Ichigo closes his eyes, trying to slow his breathing and quell his rising panic.

"Look at you, Ichigo. Fully clothed and still so terrified. I wonder, how will you react when you lie naked in my arms?" Aizen begins to run one hand across Ichigo's toned chest, letting the other rest in his shoulder-length hair. Ichigo shudders, then finds the strength to meet Aizen's dark eyes.

"You're not going to do anything you haven't already done." He will not let this man see him afraid.

"Be careful, Ichigo. That sounds like a challenge," Aizen murmurs, leaning close. He cannot believe how hard the boy's defiance is making him. "We'll have to try something different today." He lowers his face to Ichigo's neck and begins.

Ichigo closes his eyes again, trying to ignore the mouth sucking on his pulse; tracing the outline of the collar; nipping the flesh where his neck met his jaw. His breathing becomes ragged as Aizen nibbles his way up his jaw, and he feels the first stirrings down- no.

He does not want this, he will not participate, he calls to mind anything he can think of to ignore what Aizen is doing and stop his body's reaction- Isshin in a thong, Isshin in a thong- until his eyes pop open at a sudden bite and he jerks his earlobe out of Aizen's mouth, hissing.

"Try to pay attention, Ichigo."

"Fuck off."

Aizen just chuckles and turns his focus to Ichigo's left shoulder, and his lips now leave behind a tingling, burning feeling that can't be natural- and Ichigo is proven right when, as Aizen follows the curve of his shoulder, the vest melts away under his lips. He repeats the caress on the other side, and what little the vest covered is exposed, leaving Ichigo topless.

Aizen pauses for a moment to appreciate the view. The orange-haired teen is spread open, naked from the waist up, flushed, and glaring at him.

Exquisite.

He turns his attention to the nipples, and his mouth draws a groan from Ichigo before the boy bites his lip to keep any further sound in. Ichigo almost- almost- doesn't notice that Aizen has transferred the kido from his mouth to his hand, the hand that is now tracing up his leg and to his thigh, leaving his hakama in shreds behind it. His attention is focused abruptly downward, though, as the hand ghosts teasingly across the erection Ichigo has been trying to ignore, destroying the concealing cloth and coming so close that he can feel Aizen's body heat, but not actually touching. He throws his head back and stifles a moan as the hand follows his thigh down the other leg, completely exposing him, while Aizen's mouth traces down Ichigo's stomach to his groin. He does not quite register the action, cannot believe that this man would do that- until his length is engulfed in a warm wet heat and his vision whites out.

Ichigo arches and pulls involuntarily on his restraints, and would have pushed up into Aizen's mouth if his hips had not been firmly held in place. Aizen, glancing up after bobbing up and down twice, sees with amusement that the teenager has bitten deep into his lower lip rather than release the scream in his throat. He pulls away with a slight 'pop' that produces a whimper Ichigo had not ever wanted to know he was capable of making, and reaches for the scented oil next to the bed.

Ichigo chews on his mangled lip, eyes clenched, focusing on the pain to try to ignore the sensations this man, the man who has singlehandedly destroyed everything he cared about, is producing in every nerve in his body. He jerks up as a single finger, slick with something he hadn't noticed Aizen applying, (sandalwood, and he knows he will remember this night every time he smells that scent) slips inside of him and twists around. Aizen, still fully clothed and seated next to him, leans over and licks the blood off of his lower lip. In the wake of his tongue, Ichigo's lip is fully healed, as though it had never been bitten.

"If you enjoy pain, Ichigo, we can work something out next time."

"You bast- aagh!" Ichigo arches and throws his head back as Aizen hits his prostate for the first time he can remember, and at his expression Aizen has to stop and clench the base of his own aching erection through his clothes. He wants to fuck the boy, to pound into him so hard that Ichigo remembers every time they were together and Aizen forgets ever time they were not. But he will not move too quickly, will not give Ichigo the satisfaction of being able to look back and think that he did not enjoy this. After a moment he regains his control and murmurs,

"Did you enjoy that? I am a fortunate man, to be able to take your virginity twice." Ichigo glares back at him, panting, his eyes a brown so dark they are nearly black.

"I hate you. I hate you so fucking much," he chokes out before Aizen twists his finger and he bites into his lip once again to stop the moan.

"No one else will ever make you feel this, Ichigo," and he punctuates his poisoned words by sliding his finger into and out of Ichigo's passage, "and every minute of this night is going to be burned into your memory for the rest of your life. Hate me if you want, but you will always know that you are mine."

"I will never call you Master!" Ichigo hisses.

Aizen pauses, the non-sequitur breaking through the heat of the moment and the haze of his own desire. He realizes how great a turn-off that would be and quells the sudden, absurd desire to laugh out loud, settling instead for gracing the boy underneath him with a brief, genuine smile.

"Good." He withdraws his finger from Ichigo, and begins undressing while the vizard looks determinedly in the other direction. Aizen is actually glad not to have an audience, for his new appendages make it difficult to get out of the white robe that came with them. At this point, he has very little patience to spare, and removes his own clothes with the same kido he used for Ichigo's.

Finally fully naked, he climbs back onto the bed, rubbing their erections together in passing. He bends as if to kiss Ichigo, and, when Ichigo tries to pull away, incants one final phrase. The kido forms a rod of energy like a horse's bit between Ichigo's back teeth, a rod that is not visible when his lips are shut but that prevents his jaw from fully closing. He glares at Aizen, who smiles again, rubbing a thumb across Ichigo's lips and erasing the bite mark a second time.

"I want to hear you scream."

He lowers his head to Ichigo's neglected erection, and enjoys the moan when he engulfs it in his mouth; the gasp when he inserts two fingers into Ichigo's passage; each whimper gained by sucking with his mouth and scissoring with his fingers; the cry when he inserts a third finger, half-pain that quickly turns to pleasure; and, indeed, the scream as he arches and climaxes into Aizen's mouth.

Ichigo lies back, gasping in the afterglow and not quite able to believe that that had happened. Aizen's domineering kiss, though, quickly disabuses him of any notion otherwise. Ichigo finds that he had not swallowed when, instead, he presses their mouths together and spits, holding Ichigo's face still and forcing him to literally choke on the evidence of his own pleasure. Ichigo soon swallows in order to breath, eyes closed and more humiliated than he has ever been in his life.

"In case you were wondering, Ichigo, that was your first time." There had been no reason to bother with the impostor, and fellatio was not an act he took any particular pleasure in performing, but Ichigo's reactions had made it more than worth the effort. Particularly the last.

Ichigo doesn't even open his eyes as he hears Aizen reach for the oil again, just braces himself for what he has known was inevitable ever since he was tied to the bed. He has been hurt far worse in the past- been hurt far worse by this man, even. He will get through this. He kicks out when his legs are freed, but it is more out of pride than out of any real hope of fending Aizen off. He has a second of warning when his knees are bent nearly to his chest, and then Aizen is pushing-

Aizen is quickly losing the battle to go slowly. The teen is tight around him, incredibly tight; he had limited himself to using the impostor's mouth ever since that night to avoid losing control again, and it shows. Soon, he is completely sheathed within Ichigo, staring down at the closed eyes and familiar grimace while he waits for the boy to relax (and relax he does; his body remembers this even if his mind does not) and he is finally, finally, able to take what he has wanted ever since he first saw Ichigo's image so long ago.

Ichigo gasps and arches as Aizen hits his prostate with the second thrust, and as Aizen angles himself so that he hits the spot with every push he feels himself responding, his erection reawakening despite his own fervent wish to never touch this man again. Aizen pumps him in time with his thrusts, and soon they are moving together in a dance as old as time, a dance that to Ichigo is both new and horribly familiar, and he finally just stops thinking and loses himself in sensation.

Aizen knows when they are both close, and starts pumping Ichigo harder and faster while the vizard's hips rise to meet him, until he is pulling on his bonds and arching- and then feels a hand around the base of his penis, preventing his climax. He groans and opens his eyes, and finds that all he can see is Aizen's face and the white wings framing his body. Aizen presses their lips together, and the bit in his mouth disappears.

"Say my name, Ichigo."

"Wha- aah!" as Aizen twists his hand and thrusts at the same time.

"Sosuke. Say it," he says between gasps of his own, while his thrusts become more erratic, "and you can come."

"Sou-" Ichigo manages, "-Sosuke!" as Aizen lets go, and he is falling over the edge, spraying them both with his release; and as Aizen feels Ichigo's muscles tighten around him he lets himself be pulled along, coming harder than he can ever remember and flooding Ichigo's passage with a groan before collapsing on top of him.

Neither man can move for several minutes. Eventually, Aizen dispels the kido tying Ichigo's arms to the bed and withdraws, turning him to one side and spooning his smaller body with his own. One arm is wrapped around Ichigo, holding him close and preventing escape. The other simply strokes his hair in an absent caress. After a few more minutes, Ichigo breaks the silence.

"Why?"

There are a thousand questions in that one quiet word. Why the betrayal, why the bid for godhood, why shatter his mind, why destroy his home and family, why rape him, why make him enjoy it. Aizen chooses to respond only to the most obvious.

"Because you are mine. Now and forever."

"That's not an answer." He doesn't really need one. It is in the aftermath now, and as if they had crossed swords rather than… and as if they had crossed swords, he had gotten an impression of the heart of his opponent that he now has the leisure to think about. There was a deep, endless solitude there, as though Aizen had always been on a level above the people around him, and has always known it.

"Go to sleep, Ichigo." Aizen had been stabbed in the heart, come back from the dead, evolved, recovered the object of his greatest desire, and had the most intense orgasm of his life, all in a very short period of time. He knows he cannot stay awake any longer, and sends a wave of healing kido through Ichigo's body to ensure that he is unable to try to escape while Aizen is inattentive.

As Ichigo begins to drift off, he comes to a chilling realization that helps him stave off the enforced slumber for a few more minutes.

It hadn't just been solitude.

There had been desire there as well. Desire for someone with a potential equal to his own. Desire for someone whose simple existence means that Aizen is a little less alone.

And, just before he loses the fight with unconsciousness, he understands that Aizen will never let him go.

And a blizzard howls through the darkened city.

AT_AT_AT_AT_AT_AT_AT

Author's Note:

Thank you for reading this far. I would appreciate any comments you have; this is my first M-rated fanfiction and the first fic I have written in a long time. A simple 'I liked/hated it' is always appreciated, of course, but if you do decide to critique, I would in particular like thoughts on how I wrote Ichigo's reactions throughout the story. I don't particularly like reading about characters wallowing in self-pity; there were definitely times when reading the manga that I wanted to smack Ichigo. At the same time, though, Ichigo goes through some major shit in this fic. It might not be realistic to have him find out that he is being used as Aizen's sex toy and then get over it in a single paragraph. When he finds out that Aizen has won, he has a complete mental breakdown in one paragraph, is depressed for one sentence, and becomes functional again in the next two paragraphs. And this all happens in the same story-time it takes for Aizen to decide to kill something he doesn't have a use for anymore. I hand-wave it away by blaming it on his desire for revenge, and by saying that real time and inner-world time don't line up and it took a while, but really I just didn't want to write pages and pages of wangst. I tried to strike a balance, and I would like to hear reader's thoughts on which side of the line (not enough angst/ too much angst/ just right) I fell on. Thank you.

Some other comments:

To head off any complaints about the rape scene: I tried to make it clear in the story that I don't follow the trend in yaoi fanfiction that implies that it isn't rape if they enjoy it. I am well aware that if both partners aren't mentally capable and free to say no, it's rape no matter what the gender of the participants or what their involuntary bodily reactions are. If any of the content of the fic offended you, please see below.

I have taken some liberties with Ichigo's literary choices. Character sheets for Ichigo say that the person he most respects is William Shakespeare. Presumably this arises from some fondness for the Bard's plays and poetry, but it probably does not extend to reading the works in the archaic English. However, I'm also a fan and I liked the idea of him reading the originals. My flashback to him reading the plays with his mother is also speculation (and is the only one of the flashbacks that is not based in either the manga or the anime) but I don't think it's a bad one. A fifteen-year-old with a liking for Shakespeare was most likely introduced to the plays by one of his parents, and Isshin doesn't seem like the type.

General disclaimer:

If we shadows have offended/ Think but this, and all is mended/ That you have but slumber'd here/ while these visions did appear/ and this weak and idle theme/ no more yielding but a dream.

-Puck, A Midsummer Night's Dream, act V.