Another night, another hollow, another straw on the camel's back. In this case, the King's back, but camel sounded better. I didn't know what was different this time, maybe he'd just been pushed too far, maybe there was some aspect of this hollow I didn't know about, beyond more power then average. For some reason that straw had been a bit too heavy, he'd collapsed. I'd been there to catch him, been there to hold and comfort the King, as I always had. I didn't bother asking him what had happened, I decided that he'd simply been pushed too far.

I knelt behind him, legs spread to encompass his thin form, my right hand twisted up to hold his head steady with a firm but soothing hand lying on top of the orange locks. He was leaning against me, head propped on my shoulder, arms lying limply by his sides. His left knee was raised, foot braced against the earth, his other lying flat against the ground and sideways. The tail of his bankai coat was spread across the ground beneath him, looking like a pool of blood that had come from some hidden wound. His eyes were closed, and a thin streak of dried blood was painted across the left side of his face.

I held him, reaching my left hand over to the forgotten Tensa Zangetsu lying beside us. I picked it up, planting the tip in the red coat between his legs, turning the blade towards him. It was only inches from his clothing and skin, he didn't even seem to notice it was there. In that moment, he looked so defeated, so hopeless, that I contemplated slitting his throat right there. Killing him, and making him remember all of my warnings just when they would no longer save his life or throne. His head turned in my grasp, just slightly leaning into the touch, and a strangled sob wrenched itself out of his throat. I could see two tears sliding down his cheeks, glinting in the moonlight.

Outwardly I made soft, sympathetic, soothing noises. Gently rocking him, setting Zangetsu aside to hold him more securely while he dealt with whatever had prompted this breakdown.

Inwardly I smirked, inwardly I laughed. A brief fantasy played in my mind of wrenching the King's head back and slitting his throat, letting him know, far too late, that he should never have trusted me. But I held back, keeping my touches gentle. It wouldn't do to end the game so soon, not when I hadn't finished playing yet.

The King had been brought to his knees, beaten down, wounds torn into his soul and mind that were only getting worse. The tears were a dark symbol of that, a sign that he was starting to lose his control and his sanity, bit by bit. Bruises from past fights that he learned to hide just as all abuse victims did, by keeping everyone far enough away that they wouldn't notice if you acted a bit differently one day as opposed to the next.

But he could never hide from me, I made sure of that. He was mine, and I made sure he was always aware of my presence, always knew that I was right there. To help him mend the cracks or to beat them further in, that was my decision. For the moment, I played the kind, gentle, understanding friend. That would change, one day. When I was done, he'd understand. But for now, I only watched and comforted, waiting for that perfect moment.

Yes, my King was damn near broken, but he hadn't yet been pushed that last step over the edge. When that day came, I would be the one to break him. I would be the one to betray him, to calmly destroy his trust and the delicate bonds I'd let him create. I'd watch him fall, watch him shatter into a million pieces as I tore his soul from his body and ripped his already fragile mind apart.

That day would be beautiful, the day when I would be able to wrap a red collar around his throat and have him follow with no resistance. When he'd look up at me with liquid brown eyes that had lost their will to fight, to live. When he would know, without complaint or hatred, that he was mine, completely and utterly. That was the moment I was waiting for, and I was willing to wait for a long time to get something like that.

I lightly tilted my head down to watch him, observing the steady rise and fall of his chest, the tired, despairing features, the hands that were lying still instead of fiddling with something like usual. I let a small smirk slip across my face, letting my chin rest on top of his head.

Nothing was going to deprive me of that day. He was mine, and I wasn't about to let anyone else have the pleasure of breaking my toy. I could comfort him, protect him, play the nice guy a little longer. I can wait for you.

To break, to kill, to own.