To Your Advantage
Status: REVISED CHAPTER.
Chapter 1: Be Friend
Summary: Aizen Sosuke was not the cause of the war, and now he is set free; but brutally injured. What will happen to him now that everyone is out to get him, even though he is on their side? But what if not everyone is out to get him? And maybe, that one person—can change their minds.
"Sosuke Aizen…" A deep voice rumbled in the tight space, deep underground of the central 46.
A cold hand touched the side of the bound man's face, waving over it to release the spell he was in. Slowly the same hand unbound his mouth, followed by his eyes. He allowed a little bit of his reistu to flare, so that the other could sense him in the dark before moving away.
A small smile appeared on the image of the other. The Zanpakuto smirked as he caressed his owner's cheek. "You do not remember?"
A small shake of his head came from the other and the Zanpakuto only shook his head, a small 'Tsk-ing' noise coming from his teeth. "My dear Sosuke, do you want me to make you remember?"
With a wave of the man's hand which reflected his owners'; memories began to flood into the brunettes mind. Kyouka walked back, leaning against one of the damp walls of the seretei's highest level of prisons as he watched the other. He smiled a little, allowing his eyes to slip close as he waited. He never imagined the time would finally come, three years later that he would have to fill out his duty. It was, not his plan to have crumbled that day on the field while fighting Kurosaki Ichigo. He didn't expect, when he took control of Aizen, that the Hokyokou would soon destroy him, but it turned out better than he expected. In fact, he was glad that everyone believed he had been destroyed and only Aizen remained. But they didn't know the truth. The truth that he, in fact had been controlling Aizen, ever since he had faked his death.
Yes, it was he who also controlled half of central 46 and the rest of them, making them think it was in fact Aizen, who was destroying them. When the whole time, it was him. The plan had gone quite well, even the part with the substitute Shinigami. Kurosaki Ichigo.
Now he was free, taking longer than expected to heal his wounds and he could finish what he set out to do. Kill Aizen Sosuke. Without him, he would have the Hokyokou as his own, no one else. Without Aizen he could kill the central 46 and all the shinigami's and stat a new. Create his own world. It was perfect, the perfect plan. All he needed now was to move that final piece hindering his puzzle and start the game.
"Kyouka!" Aizen gasped as his hands clenched the chair he was bond to. His eyes were wide as they finally opened and blinked in the darkness.
The Zanpakuto stood motionless as he watched the other struggle to see him. He smirked as finally, horror stricken eyes turned to him and gasped.
"Why have you done this?"
The voice was surprisingly calm, and the man had to respect his owner for that. "What do you mean; I have merely done what has need to be done. And once I am finished I will be able to re create what these soul reapers have taken for granted, make it better. Don't you think that is for the best?"
The voice was deep and commanding and Kyouka had to resist the urge to roll his eyes. He had heard this so many times before, he was about to get lectured.
"You must turn yourself in Suigetsu, you are not doing this to benefit anyone. Don't you see? Destroying the soul society will only upset the balance between the three worlds!"
Kyouka really did roll his eyes this time and stepped forward, heading towards the other. Looking down at him, he met cold brown irises and smirked. "My dearest Aizen," He grasped the man's chin in between his index finger and thumb. "Do you really think that I would turn myself in?" He chuckled a bit, the deep rumble echoing throughout the small room. "Ah, that is where you're wrong." He caressed the skin underneath the man's lips and ran his thumb over the bottom piece of flesh. "I knew that you would not approve, and for that I am very sorry." He took a step back, still keeping eye contact with the man before moving his hand to the hilt of his Zanpakuto, or rather, him. "I was actually hoping you wouldn't be what I was expecting, but we can't all get what we want I suppose."
"What do you mean?" Eyes slowly began to narrow as the Shinigami stared up at his sword.
A small smile appeared at his lips as the Zanpakuto freed himself, and held the sword in his hand. "I am going to kill you Sosuke." He stated simply, watching the other's reaction with calm, collected eyes.
Aizen's eyes slowly began to widen and his hands clenched the chair he was strapped to as he spoke. "What?"
"You see…I really don't need you anymore." He walked forward and reached in front of Aizen's chest, moving the black material to reveal the bare skin of the man's abdomen, showing the small light of the Hokyokou as it rested in the center. "All I need is this to complete the task." He looked up into the eyes of the quiet man as he let his fingers glide over the Hokyokou. Smirking, he pressed into the man's chest with his hand and clenched.
"Ahhh!" A deep scream rumbled from Aizen's lips as Kyouka's hand pressed into him. Back hunching forward in pain, the brunette's brows furrowed deeply as his teeth grit—trying to keep himself from screaming out once more.
Once deep inside of him, he grasped the Hokyokou within his fist and yanked it out roughly. Blood splattered onto the front of his white uniform, and onto the ground. He turned the small object in his fingers as he smirked and blood ran down his arm; staring, fascinated with the object he had just received. "It is truly amazing." He said as he looked down into his master's pained expression.
Sosuke sat forward panting, as the blood dripped from him and sweat collected at his brow. Aizen could see the other shake his head as he stepped forward and placed the object somewhere hidden. Hearing the sound of the sword being lifted once more—Aizen slowly opened his eyes as he looked up at his Zanpakuto.
"Good bye, Aizen Sosuke." Was all that could be heard before everything turned into darkness around the Zanpakuto's former owner.
Ichigo sighed as he rolled over in the large bed and stared out the window. It was too quiet here at the Kuchiki manor he had been invited to stay in and he let out a breath. It had taken him three years, but he finally managed to do it; Regain his powers. He smiled more so than he usually did as he stretched out on the spacious mattress and allowed his eyes to slip close.
Feeling the familiar reiatsu, Ichigo looked over at the open door in front of the bed as he slowly sat up. Smiling at the female who could be seen poking her head through the open door, he chuckled softly as her face flushed when their eyes met.
"Ah! I'm so sorry! I should have knocked first! You might have been busy!" The female looked around nervously as she began to press her fingertips together; clearly embarrassed at how she didn't think her entry through. "L-Let me do that once more!"
He was about to say it was ok and that she didn't need to do so, when the door to his room was suddenly slammed shut. Sweat began to roll down his temple slightly as he waited for a moment—slowly shaking his head with another quiet laugh as a soft knocking sound could be heard at his door. "Yes?"
"It's Orihime, may I come in Kurosaki-kun?"
"Of course." Watching as she stepped forward, Ichigo swung his legs off the side of the bed as he stood, stretching out his limbs until he heard a satisfying 'pop' sound as his joints cracked.
"They're all waiting for you Kurosaki-kun. They want to celebrate!" The female beamed happily as she clasped her hands together.
Ichigo's smile faltered slightly and a small sigh escaped his parted lips. "I know but…I don't think it's worth celebrating, all that much." A frown began to twitch the teen's lips as he reached up—rubbing the side of his arm, he couldn't help but think all of this was unnecessary. If it were truly a celebration, that would have to imply that he had defeated Aizen upon the final battle—when he had not. In reality, he couldn't beat Aizen. And that was why he had lost his powers. You can't celebrate something that wasn't won… He mused, shaking his head slightly as he closed his eyes.
"But Kurosaki-kun! You just got your powers back! You defeated a big enemy right off the back even though you were new to it, well sort of, because you know, you just got your powers back and..Oh! I'm rambling now! Gomen, gomen, gomen!"
Ichigo laughed slightly as she the flustered female began to sputter and he leaned back against the wall. "I know but…I just don't want to make a big deal over this."
"But Kurosaki-Kun…It's also your birthday." She mumbled quietly as a sad expression laced her features.
Ichigo blinked at her words and tilted his head—slowly looking over at the female. She looked a little disappointed and he felt bad. He just, for some reason, didn't feel right. Like one of those feelings you get, when something bad is going to happen, then nothing does until you least expect it. He ran a hand through his orange spikes as he stood up straight and made his way over to her. "Fine, I'll—"
He was interrupted as loud alerts blasted through, and hell butterflies fluttered in from everywhere. Grabbing Inoue's hand, he quickly ran down stairs to see what was happening. Orihime shook softly under his touch, but he ignored it as he continued down the steps of the large manor.
"What's going on?" Ichigo scowled slightly as he looked around the room, noticing that everyone was trying to talk above each other—and some even panicking. Looking over to Byakuya, who even had his brow creased in worry with Renji at his side—he became instantly confused and somewhat concerned. Looking around once more, he blinked as the secret mobile corpse began to enter the room, and knew instantly that something was not right.
"Everyone, there is something very important going on! Please settle down."
Everyone stilled as Soi Fong spoke up and moved out of the way. The room went silent as the head captain walked in, and nodded to them all as he slowly made his way into the large room. "We have some very important new to discuss. It has come of great importance that all captains listen carefully to what I am about to say."
Ichigo looked around as he moved forward and stood in front of Soutaicho. "What's happening?"
The eldest Shinigami nodded to him and then raised his head, speaking up. "Aizen Sosuke has been attacked in his cell."
Gasps could be heard around the room as well as cheers and some fits of 'Why didn't they just kill the bastard?'
"Now now, settle down!" The head captain ordered, banging the cane that he had in his hands, onto the floor of the Kuchiki manor.
Everyone went quiet again and Ichigo stilled. It was happening. That horrible feeling he had, it was coming true. Something big was about to be announced, he could tell—and judging by the current subject they were on; there was a higher probability that whatever this was—was going to be bad.
"Aizen Sosuke, has been taken to squad four to be healed. Unohana-Taicho is doing everything she can to save him as we speak."
"WHAT!" Almost everyone screeched at once and Ichigo blinked in confusion.What did he mean, 'to be healed'? Wasn't Aizen evil? Wasn't that the reason he had lost his power to defend them in the first place? And now they were healing him? Furrowing his brows into a scowl, Ichigo clenched his fists before speaking.
"What the hell!" He yelled over everyone, his brow twitching slightly in irritation. After doing this, he noticed that everyone had gone quiet around him and he flustered slightly under the gazes and went quiet.
"What I think Kurosaki Ichigo mean's to say is, why? Head captain." Came the smooth reply from Byakuya, the sixth squad's captain. Ichigo was almost thankful that the man had stepped in to cover for his outburst.
"It appears to be, that the Hokyokou no longer remains within him; it was stolen."Quiet murmurs went about and stopped as the man continued. "The room was well concealed by high seated officers—making the area almost impossible to break out of, or into. Once anyone—if they do manage to break in or get out, an alert would be triggered; much like the one you had heard moments ago. Seeing as we had anticipated this, we made it so a trap was set up and would immediately capture the criminal. However, whoever this was had their reiatsu greatly concealed… Although, the mobile corps were able to detect some distinguished reiatsu, belonging to none other than Kyouka Suigetsu. He was already gone due to his intricate powers; leaving us with an injured Aizen who had been attacked by none other than his own Zapakuto."
Everyone's eye went wide and Ichigo's jaw dropped. "But…that's not possible. I saw it with my own eyes! When I defeated Aizen, the Hokyokou took over and destroyed his Zanpakuto!"
"There is more, Kurosaki Ichigo."
Ichigo swallowed and waited to hear what the man had to say.
"The mobile corps was immediately transported to the scene once the break in started. They saw with their own eyes as Kyouka removed the Hokyokou and attempted to kill Aizen. Apparently he is much stronger and used a shock wave to conceal him and kill over half the members that were present, leaving some so they could report back, to alert us."
"Wait." Renji stepped forward, uncertainty in his tone. "Does that mean…Aizen was good? Well, not like that but—"
Ichigo stared as everyone looked disbelieving at the head captain; even Byakuya who stood emotionless, eyes widened for a mere fraction of a second.
"It has been proven that, he had been in fact, controlled by none other than his own sword. I did not wish to believe it myself, but I saw the damage that was done, first hand. Also, he has only slight memory of what happened, telling me everything that went on with him when Kyouka Suigetsu visited him. Not only that, he also has next to no power, except flash step and minor kido."
"So we can't kill the bastard even if he's lying." One of the soul reapers muttered.
The room went quiet in separate discussions and Ichigo was still from where he stood.
Ichigo turned a bit and tried to force a smile, but couldn't. He glanced over at Inoue, Ishida, Rukia and Chad's worried expressions. He sighed and turned back to Soutaicho as Unohana entered the room. He didn't want to worry them, but for some reason… It was hard to process what was happening at the moment.
Everyone looked towards her as she stepped forward, a bit of sweat dampening her brow as she looked them over. "Aizen Sosuke has been healed; he rests in the fourth division, and is well guarded."
"And his condition?"
"As I said before, he survives with only the use of some Kido and flash step. Although if Kyouka was in his hands, he would most likely be able to use a Zanpakuto."
"I see." He turned to the others and nodded as he walked out of the room, departing to go visit the ex-captain.
Ichigo looked around at the others in the room. Momo looked as though she were about to shout out in glee, but thankfully Hisagi and Kira held her back, trying to calm her.
"I knew it…I knew he was good!"
Ichigo watched as Toshiro growled and fled, flash stepping from the room. One by one, people began to leave be it for whatever reason. Ichigo still stood there, even as Rukia and his friends bid him a goodnight. Slowly he sat down on one of the chairs in the room and rested his face into his palms. "What's happening…?"
Ichigo looked up as Ishida sat in front of him on the floor in a light blue kimono, a small smile on his face. Ichigo blinked, surprised a bit at the gesture but found himself smiling too. "It's late, you should be in bed."
"As should you, Ichigo."
Ichigo's mouth opened in a small 'o' shape and his eyes widened a bit. "Did I miss something?" He sat up slightly, his brows creasing into a small scowl as he looked around. "Since when did we get on a first name basis?"
Ishida sighed and rested his chin on his knees as he looked away from Ichigo and towards a wall. His hand reaching up slightly to adjust his glasses as he shook his head.
Ichigo sat quietly, waiting as blue irises returned to him.
"We've all been…Through so much. I think it's time I set my pride aside and meet you on some level, even if it's only trying."
Brown irises softened and Ichigo sat back in the chair. "Yea, me too." It was silent for a bit and Ichigo let his eyes close for a couple of minutes. When he opened them again, he found the archer spread out on the floor, fast asleep. Chuckling to himself, he stood and gathered the Quincy in his arms as he headed towards their rooms. Depositing the archer on his bed, he removed the teen's glasses and set them on the night stand. "Good night, Uryu." Ichigo said quietly as he gave the teen one last glance. Reaching up, he gently flicked off the light switch and excited the room; heading out and into the large halls of the manor.
Ichigo tossed in his sleep for the hundredth time as he let out a small groan. Sitting up, he scowled at the fact he was being so weak. So what if Aizen's back? He's good now. He tried to make himself believe it, see the better half of the situation; but for some reason, he couldn't. This man had destroyed everything. He wrecked half of Karakura, his home. He hurt his friends and his family, almost killed the entire soul society and now…He was suddenly good? He couldn't believe that, let alone accept it.
Well actually... It was Kyouka who did it all, wasn't it? Ichigo let out a frustrated sigh as he smoothed a hand over his face, before allowing it to enter his hair. It doesn't matter though! He still did those things! Well, he didn't, but he did, but he didn't but…ah hell I give up! Ichigo mentally argued with himself as he stood from his bed and walked over to the dresser. Opening it he flitted through it to grab his only Shihakushō and hastily hurried to put it on. This is the only way I'll be able to decide it seems. Ichigo sighed as he fastened the strings at the waist and hauled Zangetsu over his shoulder.
Walking out of the room and turning off the lights as he went, he walked quietly down the steps as he left the manor. Sliding open the door he walked out into the cold night, sighed, and made his way over to the fourth division.
He was careful as he made his way down the halls of the healing center, peeking quickly and quietly into rooms as he passed; trying to find the right one. He almost hit himself when he realized they would most likely have him concealed in some hard to enter room, loaded with guards. He let out a breath as he turned a couple corners and groaned. This place is like a maze. He thought about stopping to see if they had any maps like they did at the mall but he shook his head. These people were too old fashion they probably didn't have that.
He stopped walking and backed up to peer in one of the rooms he passed. He felt a familiar reiatsu and looked in through the large window. And there he was; Aizen Sosuke, laying peacefully in one of the beds, his stomach all bandaged up and some tubes and cords going in through his arms. He licked at his bottom lip as it went dry and slid open the door slowly. He didn't know why he was being so sensitive as to the others feeling and trying not to wake him, but he ignored it.
His head snapped to look behind him as the door opened again and a sleepy looking Hanataro entered the room.
"Shhh!" Ichigo flash stepped and dragged the startled healer out of the room as he covered his mouth with his hand. "Shhh, Hanataro, it's just me, Ichigo." Ichigo smiled at the startled boy and waited until he calmed down before removing his hand.
Ichigo laughed quietly as he was tackled by a pile of arms and limbs into a tight hug. Ichigo sat there on the floor until the youth got off him quickly and started to scramble—trying to help him up. "Ahhh! Sumimasen! Gomenasai! I didn't mean to—"
"Shh, Shh! Just calm down." He shook his head as the boy stopped and bowed, apologizing.
"It's great to see you again, Kurosaki-San."
"Yea, it's good to see you too." Ichigo watched as the boy flustered and he stepped backwards, back into the room. Hanataro looked in, in front of him and his brow creased in worry. "Even though it's him, I think it's cruel that his own Zanpakuto did that to him…"
Ichigo blinked as the other spoke and stared for a moment. He hadn't really thought about that. It was true, even though it was technically Aizen causing all the harm; in reality, he didn't know he was doing it. And not only that, he had to be imprisoned for a crime he hadn't committed and punished for it. Ichigo frowned as he walked more into the room, followed by the young healer.
"What are you doing here anyway Kurosaki-San? I thought you were going to be at Kuchiki-taicho's for your stay here."
Ichigo sighed and looked to the boy who was now checking and re-bandaging the ex-captains wounds and he sat down on the other side of Aizen, in one of the chairs. "I…couldn't sleep, after the news."
"Oh. Yeah, it's something big to take in I guess, especially for you."
Ichigo looked up to the youth and then back down to the unconscious Aizen in the bed. "I guess…" Ichigo sighed and rested his elbow in the bed, leaning his cheek onto his palm. He watched quietly as the boy checked wounds once more, re-did stitches, checked those weird bags that you injected stuff into. He seems like he's forgiven Aizen. Ichigo mused as the younger checked the man's pulse and wrote something down on a piece of paper, nodding. He looked up to Ichigo and Ichigo let out a breath he hadn't know he'd been holding and sat back in the chair. "So, you seem ok with this."
"You know…" He gestured to Aizen and looked down at the sleeping man.
"Oh, that. Well…" Hanataro looked a little uneasy and smiled weakly. "I think everyone deserves a second chance. But, because of what he did, well; his Zanpakuto, everyone is going to be rough around him when he recovers. I think he needs as many people he can get to help him, even if it's someone as weak as me." He shrugged.
"You're not weak."
"Yea well, I could never beat you." He gave Ichigo a half smile and gathered up his things, placing them into his small white bag before lugging it over his shoulder. "I'm going to my quarters now, um…I should be every so often, like; every couple hours to check on him."
"How long will you be here?"
Ichigo looked to Hanataro and back down at the still Sosuke. "I don't know." His brow creased and he let out a breath for what seemed like the millionth time now as he ran a hand through his hair and plopped back against the chair.
"Alright." Hanataro gave him a bigger smile and turned to the door. "I'm going to leave this door open, just call if you need me."
Ichigo nodded and watched as the boy turned and left the room. Leaning forward he rested his chin on his folded arms as he sat them on the bed. He wondered if that was really true, what happened. Aizen could merely be tricking them again, couldn't he? But, if he was, he could have escaped by now. Looking down, Ichigo peeled off the covers over the older man's abdomen, and looked closely at the bandages. There was a light pink stain that was barely visible and his brows furrowed. Could his Zanpakuto really have done this? He traced his fingers over it lightly and felt the muscle ripple under his touch. He sighed and moved his hand, shaking his head. "This is stupid."
"Ahh!" Ichigo jumped and fell backwards off of his seat. Scrambling he stood and stared wide eyed into amused brown irises. He felt a soft flush stain his cheeks and shook his head as he picked up the chair, moving back over to sit back down in it. Folding his arms across his chest he closed his eyes as he sat there.
"My apologies, did I startle you?"
"Yes you did, and it's fine." Ichigo muttered under his breath. When he opened his eyes he felt guilty because of his harsh tone as he looked into hurt brown ones. It's like he's a different person… "Ah, sorry…It's just…"
"No, it's alright."
Ichigo looked up, uncertainly in his eyes as he watched the man in front of him run a hand through his thick, brown hair.
"Do you mind…?"
Ichigo blinked and followed the man's gesture to the nearby table. On the corner sat a pair of thick, black rimmed glasses. "Oh." Ichigo reached over and retrieved the spectacles before handing them over to the man's out stretched hand. "Here."
Ichigo's face flustered a bit as their fingers touched and he got that same tingly feeling from when he had fought the man before; when Aizen's hand had touched over his heart. Only, this time was different. I never thought I'd live to see the day Aizen Sosuke thanked me. The substitute thought to himself. Although he hadn't realized it—but he had actually spoken the words out loud, rather than only thinking them.
Aizen raised a brow and his head turned to face Ichigo.
"Uh, sorry about that…" Ichigo mumbled as he glanced away, rubbing the back of his neck. "I shouldn't have been rude like that, earlier. You know, it wasn't really you and you, uh…you know." Furrowing his brows, Ichigo scowled at the fact that he couldn't muster up something even half-intelligent to say.
"No, it's fine."
"It is?" Ichigo looked up as brown eyes met his; his expression growing more curious as he spotted a small smile upon the former captain's lips.
"You have every right to be angry with me. After all, I had hurt your friends hadn't I? Your family as well?"
Ichigo blinked at the man's words and sat up, stuttering slightly as he stumbled over his words. "Y-Yeah, but...No! No, you didn't do that, it was Kyouka, right? Your Zanpakuto..."
"So why are you acting like I should be mad at you?" A small frown formed on the orange haired boy's face as his shoulders began to slump. For some reason, he was defending the man in front of him—and he wasn't quite sure why.
"Even though it wasn't me, Kurosaki Ichigo; It was my fault for being so weak I could not control my own figment that I had created."
Ichigo blinked and stared at the man who now hissed in pain and clenched his eyes shut. Sweat formed at the other's temple and a pale hand clenched the sheets tightly, while the other rested on his abdomen. "Are you alright? Should I call Hanataro?" The teen's brows creased in worry as he sat forward in his chair.
Ichigo was already out of his chair as the man had spoke—and was walking around the bed to head towards the door. However, a weak hand lightly gripped his wrist—stopping him. Confused, Ichigo turned around and looked down at the other slightly, from over his shoulder. "Why?"
"Just, don't…" He panted and his hold on Ichigo's wrist weakened.
"Give me a good reason…" Ichigo mumbled softly as he stared down at the older Shinigami.
Aizen looked up at him with soft brown eyes and his breathing slowed. "There's no need to now…See?" Sitting back against the headboard, the fifth squad's ex-captain allowed his breathing to settle down even further as he masked his emotions; making it seem as though the pain had gone away.
Ichigo nodded slowly and sat back down in his chair. Still a bit wary, he continued to eye the man silently; not wanting to give away the fact that he was a bit sceptical of the man's appearance.
"It comes and goes, I don't need that boy working on me."
Still confused at the man's words, Ichigo's head tilted slightly and he shifted in his chair. "Hanataro? Why not?"
"He is the only one, and he's been doing it all night now; hardly getting any sleep, no matter how much I tell him not to fuss over me."
"Why? Aren't there other healers here?" He saw the hurt expression on the man's face, even though he tried to cover it up with a chuckle. Brows creasing once more, Ichigo brought his back up against the chair as he listened to the other speak.
"There are, but…"
Ichigo sat quietly as he waited for the man to go on.
"All my comrades, people I trusted, people who trusted me... They do not see me that way anymore. So, they don't really care much whether I live or die." He shrugged. "Its fine, I don't mind so much. It is, understandable after all."
Ichigo blinked and stared at him. "No it's not."
A brown eyebrow arched in question.
"It wasn't you, so that's not fair. Yes, I actually only came here hoping you were going to try and escape or something so that I could kick your ass but…" Ichigo swallowed and shook his head. "It wasn't you, your Zanpakuto, it has the power to manipulate and control all senses, and that's what it did with most of them. And you! You…you…You should be given a second chance!" Ichigo finished with as he stared at the other—resolve settled slightly in his features.
Ichigo stopped his rant and stared into startled brown eyes. After he settled down, he sat back in the chair and flushed. Looking back up at the man, he blinked at the smile he received. Staring, he watched as a strong hand reached out and touched his cheek gently before falling back onto the bed as he groaned in pain. "Are you sure you're alright…?" The teen spoke softly as he watched the other, concerned.
"Yes, it's not as bad this time…"
Ichigo nodded and leaned onto the bed next to the man and sighed. "You just need one person to like you, and eventually others will come around."
"True, but that is not as easy as it looks, getting one is very difficult—let alone everyone else."
"No it isn't."
"You already have one."
"Ah, yes. The healer boy. But I do not want to use him."
"He has so many things to accomplish. He has grown much since I last was truly here—Not controlled by Suigetsu. I don't want to ruin whatever image he has now, even if others will follow after."
"You know, that's really nice of you."
Aizen chuckled. "Hardly. It is only common sense."
Ichigo sat quietly next to the man for quite some time. He watched the slow rise and fall of the others chest as Aizen's eyes fluttered close and his breathing went to a steadier pace. He let his head rest on the side of the bed as he looked over the brunettes face. Am I really going to do this…?
"Hey, Sosuke…You still awake?" He didn't think he would get an answer so he slowly and carefully sat back from the bed. Waiting for a moment, he was about to get up as the others eyes fluttered open and focused on him.
Ichigo smiled and placed his hand on top of Aizen's that lay on his chest. "I have an idea."
"Is that so?" Aizen spoke quietly as he gazed at the younger man.
"Why not start with me?"
"What do you mean?"
Ichigo's smile brightened and he removed his hand as he shifted Zangetsu on his back. "I'll be your friend, you can start with me."
Aizen blinked and stared uncertainly up at Ichigo. "Are you sure…that is a lot to risk, Kurosaki."
"I know. But it's alright." Ichigo laughed. "Besides, it's not like you're going to kill me."
"And what if I was, Kurosaki? What if I really have this all planned out and stab you in the back, so to speak?" Despite the harsh words, the man's voice remained the same—quiet, yet strong.
Ichigo stilled at the door, with his palm placed flat against it. Taking a breath and turning around to slowly face the other he smiled. He wasn't sure why he was allowing himself to do this, but he knew that somehow—it was the right thing to do. "I guess that's just going to be a risk I'm willing to take."