Song: The Last Song I'm Wasting on You, Evanescence.
Warnings: Non-con, non-graphic sex, violence, angst, suicide.
Sparkling grey, they're my own veins.
Any more than a whisper,
Any sudden movement of my heart,
And I know, I know I'll have to watch them pass away.
It's another one of Aizen's tests, his pointless little games of obedience, degrading and debilitating and slowly tearing him to pieces. He's sitting against the wall, knees drawn to his chest, arms curled around them just to hold still. It's been hours since he was left here, since this sick test of how long he can hold out began.
"Stay still and quiet, and I won't have to destroy your zanpakuto again, understand?"
Zangetsu leans against the wall across from him, once-silver blade tarnished to a dull grey, a reflection of his own slow descent into madness. After all, the blade is as much a part of him as the blood in his veins, as the muscle and bone that makes him such a powerful fighter. And, if Aizen shatters the blade into fragments, it will hurt just as much as any broken bone, he knows from experience. This isn't the first time they've played out this particular experiment, not by a long shot. Aizen's particularly fond of this one, and according to him, it's the perfect mix of objectives. Training him, and pain if he fails, but without the physically unattractive marks or bruises that come with a beating. Besides, Aizen's well aware that this is exceedingly difficult, the promise of the power and security that come with wielding a sword is hard to ignore. The almost physical pull of energy urging him to take Zangetsu doesn't help either.
Ichigo takes in a shuddering breath and tightens his grip, holding back the raw expression of longing and pain building in his throat. He can't go for Zangetsu, he knows exactly what will happen if he does. He'll touch the blade, feel cool metal under his fingers, and then the pain will hit. He won't know when Aizen entered the room, maybe he was always there, but Zangetsu will be systematically shattered into a thousand pieces. By the time the older man is done, he won't have any screams left for when the real punishment starts. It isn't worth the second of peace, of power, that he'll get.
His nails dig into his arms, and he squeezes his eyes shut. He can't do this, can't keep giving Aizen a reason to hurt him. He just has to do this, has to submit to the older man's demands. Focus on one day at a time, try and stay sane. His eyes open again, and a slight current of steel strengthens them.
Just get through this day.
"Give up your way, you could be anything."
Aizen's hands are curled around his upper arms, lips pressed against his ear, brown eyes locked with his in the mirror they're standing in front of. It isn't the first time he's heard those words, that demand, that offer, from Aizen's mouth. But it's the first time he hesitates, doesn't immediately snap back that he'd rather die then give in to the older man. It sounds good, so good. To stop fighting, stop the pain and the grief and the feel of a knife against his skin. His eyes shut, and something inside of him, that cord of steel that kept him standing through everything he's endured, gives way. He turns his head, eyes sliding open to look down at the ground.
"Give up my way…"
His brow furrows in pain, and he looks back at the mirror, hardly recognizing the person in it, the beaten young man with sad brown eyes. He meets Aizen's gaze, narrowed and unreadable, and realizes that he can't stomach giving in. He can't lose himself that completely, not in a way that final.
"And lose myself?" His head shakes and he closes his eyes, relaxing back into Aizen's grip. "Not today. That's too much guilt to pay." Something in his tone stops Aizen from speaking, till the older man presses a soft kiss to his cheek and whispers a soft agreement in his ear, holding him close in a sick parody of a lover's embrace.
He allows it.
Sickened in the sun, you dare tell me you love me.
But you held me down and screamed you wanted me to die.
It isn't often that Aizen takes him out onto the balconies of Las Noches, under the fake sun. He enjoys it, the warmth against his skin and the wind in his hair, and he's grown used to being held against the older man, it doesn't bother him anymore. He gives a soft sound of pleasure and leans his head back against Aizen's shoulder, ignoring the lips that press against his jaw. He's almost gotten used to that too, to the small parodies of affection that Aizen seems fond of, small kisses and caresses along his arms and face, the absent run of a hand through his hair. Aizen leans closer, speaks in his ear, and any enjoyment vanishes, eyes opening wide.
"I love you, Ichigo."
He wants to choke out a despairing laugh at how sick this is, how twisted and depraved. Part of him is clinging to the thought that Aizen is just messing with him, testing to see how far he can twist this. But no, this feels all too real, makes too much sense out of Aizen's behavior. He has to wonder what happened to the older man to make him into Aizen Sousuke the genius, the man who reaches towards the seat of God without even flinching. The man who could, in a rare fit of fury, beat him to within an inch of his life, terrifyingly silent apart from the one sentence he'd spoken over his bleeding and broken form – "Just die, hero." – and then turn around within a week and profess love.
Tears slip from his eyes, and he doesn't resist the shift of position that puts him on his stomach, Aizen layered over his back. Likewise, he doesn't fight it when the older man slowly strips him, eyes shutting against the ground. He inhales sharply when Aizen presses against him, fearing having someone inside him, the one thing he's never done. Lips press against his cheek, and a hand strokes over his shoulder and back.
"Honey you know, you know I'd never hurt you that way."
And true to Aizen's words, by the time the older man does press inside of him, it doesn't hurt, not at all. It doesn't lessen the twist of his stomach at the thought of the act, or the knowledge of how wrong all of this is, nor does it stop the steady trickle of tears from beneath his closed eyelids, but it's a small comfort that this will never be painful. Maybe it would be easier if it was. If Aizen had just raped him, hurt him, he could have classified this in his mind, but this makes something in his heart clench in a pain that isn't physical. And even though his seed splatters the ground beneath him, and the cries from his throat are of ecstasy, he doesn't enjoy it.
Days later, his estimation of Aizen's insanity raises when the older man, smiling kindly, ties him down and carves into him with a knife, citing a simple reason.
"You're just so pretty in your pain."
Here they are again, standing in front of the mirror, silent except for the almost ritual demand. He's so close, so close to just letting go, allowing Aizen his victory. Maybe then it will all stop, maybe he'll just be left in peace.
"Give up my way… I could be anything."
He closes his eyes and tilts his head back, the feel of Aizen's lips against his throat making something in him quiver in disgust. No. Before, he could have given in, but not now. Aizen won't give him up, he knows that as surely as he knows that no rescue will ever come for him. And if there's one thing he can't stomach, it's being Aizen's sick version of a lover. He can't bear the idea of belonging to the older man forever. "Leave me alone?" he asks softly, eyes opening. "Would you give me that?"
Aizen's hands tighten on his arms, strong enough that he knows he'll have vivid bruises later, and he feels the slight tremble that courses through the taller man. "I can't." Yeah, he didn't think so. Aizen's too obsessed, way too in 'love' with him to ever grant his only desire. He pulls lightly against Aizen's grip, and after a moment's hesitation is let go. He steps forward, turning to look Aizen in the eye, and something in the older man's gaze speaks to whatever old pain turned him into this, a twisted hatred of the shinigami that festers and rots. Ichigo scoffs, brow furrowing, and feels the broken pillar of steel slowly come back together, bringing anger, disgust, contempt for Aizen's madness.
"I'll make my own way, without your senseless hate."
The response is swift and brutal, the blow more than enough to break his jaw and send him crashing to the ground, forcing a pained cry from his throat. The look in Aizen's eyes is terrifying, cold, hard, furious with his disobedience. The grip that lifts him by his hair and throws him against the wall is expected, but no less painful for the foreknowledge of it. Before he even has time to fall a sharp punch breaks ribs, and a hand closes tight around his throat, blackening his vision and slowly killing him.
He's barely conscious when Aizen finishes with him, lying in a room now more crimson than it is white. If he could have laughed, he might have. Maybe it's finally over, maybe this time Aizen won't be able to patch him back together. This is as bad as it's ever been, he can tell that much. There's never been that much of his blood spattered across the walls and floor before, has there? He shivers in sudden cold, too weak to even groan at the pain that courses through broken bones and torn flesh, and above him Aizen's eyes widen in sudden realization.
The older man's shouts are oddly muted, as though his ears are clogged with water, though he can see the obvious urgency in his movements. Again he feels the urge to laugh, and his eyes slip closed as his awareness fades. Still trying to bring him back from death, still running to save him in some strange kind of concern for his wellbeing. There's no way, right?
So run, run, run.
And hate me, if it feels good.
I can't hear your screams anymore.
He does wake, eventually. And Aizen is there to berate him with narrowed eyes and cold words. He'd nearly died, he gets that much from his parody of a lover. If not for Orihime's abilities and Szayel's skill, he would have bled out on the stone floor and been really gone. All of the older man's words retain that muted quality, somehow not as important as they had been just a few days before. He feels empty, drained of all the grief and anger that had lain heavy in his stomach before his brush with death. A void that solidifies what is left of him, acceptance and certainty. Death. Death is the way out of this madness, and no matter what depths he has to sink to obtain it, he'll do it. In death at least there will be silence, calm, peace.
"Are you listening to me?"
He turns his eyes up to meet Aizen's gaze, ignoring the concern that is plainly obvious in his face. "Should I be?" It's reckless, dangerous to irritate the more powerful man on purpose, but isn't that just what he's decided to do?
Aizen sighs, eyes flickering closed for a moment, and raises his left hand to trace Ichigo's cheek. "Yes. You know that antagonizing me is a bad idea, I cannot always control my reactions." The older man leans down, pressing lips to his forehead. "I don't wish to hurt you. I love you."
He can't help it, he laughs. Loud and free for the first time in months, while Aizen stares at him in disapproval and irritation. "Yeah, I'm sure."
You lied to me,
But I'm older now and I'm not buying, Baby.
It's so close, he can almost feel it. Aizen's finally been careless, and it's his ticket out. The older man never lets him shave by himself, preferring to hold him in a firm embrace while carefully removing each trace of hair on his chin and legs. But this time he'd been distracted, setting aside the razor on the ground once done instead of safely on the counter. Lust in his eyes and water dripping down his chest from the still present spray of water, a look in his eyes that promises pleasure and has never failed to deliver. If there's one thing that can cloud Aizen's intelligence, it's certainly sex.
So he allows his captor to push him back against the ceramic tile of the shower wall, arches against him and allows himself to quiver in anticipation, and silently kicks the razor into a far corner of the bathroom. Hoping, praying silent prayers to whatever God will listen that Aizen won't notice. Not stopping till every shred of his mind is too consumed in ecstasy to even remember what it was he was praying for and the only thing that matters is Aizen's body pressed against his and the touch of lips, teeth and tongue.
After all, out of sight, out of mind.
Demanding my response.
Don't bother breaking the door down.
The pool of blood around him is comforting, the dull throb of pain that echoes his ever slowing heartbeat. He's done it. Aizen's shouts, demands to answer, are a victory cheer, and the pounding knock against the barricaded door are the drums. He gives a smile, lowers his head to rest against the stone floor, and contemplates his torn wrists. It had seemed easier than cutting his throat, though that might have been faster.
It won't take the older man more than a moment to shove the bed in front of the door away, material things aren't meant to hold up against shinigami strength, but Aizen has always preferred giving him a chance to obey.
"Ichigo, I will give you one last chance to open this door before I tear it down."
How typical. He closes his eyes and hears the screech of the bed against the floor and the slam of the door. It's too late, he'll be dead by the time Aizen gets him to Orihime. Ten minutes ago - or something close to that, his sense of time is long since gone - he had felt the life slipping from him, now an icy cold has taken hold of his legs and arms, and threatens to encroach on his torso.
I've found my way out.
He breathes shallowly and haltingly, each intake of air something that his mind demands of his body when it realizes that his lungs aren't working automatically anymore. A last ditch survival mechanism that stutters and starts and finally stops with a final sigh of breath.
He can still dimly hear Aizen shouting at him, threats and promises, pleading and demanding that he live. But it's unimportant, a buzz on the edge of his consciousness. He lets his eyes slip open, to blackness punctuated only by a softly glowing gateway that opens to emit a figure that makes his heart jump with emotion. Mom? She extends a hand towards him, and he steps forward without hesitation and wraps his fingers around hers. It's all perfect, warmth, safety and an overwhelming sense of affection that is whole and right and not the parody Aizen had made out of it.
He shivers, steps forwards into the gateway, and melts away.
And you'll never hurt me again.