Chapter 5: Despair
Ryu couldn't stop himself from gaping at Aizen. "So, you face me directly, even with Ichigo here, I must say I'm flattered." Ryu uttered sarcastically. "Damn, I really should've asked Captain Kuchiki for more info on him." He thought as he looked around at the hollows present as they held their ground. "So, the hollows still follow Aizen… Not good." He thought as he gritted his teeth.
"Ryu Aizawa, you'll find that you don't need to act around me, feel free to say what's on your mind." Aizen replied with a calm cold grin.
"Fine, you're a worthless bastard, and I'm not scared of you." Ryu replied smugly.
"Ha-ha, is that all that's on your mind? And here your brother told me you were some kind of genius." Aizen replied in a tone of disappointment.
"What's his game? Criticize me to death?" Ryu wondered. "Enough talk, Moetsukiru!" He shouted before launching a fireball at Aizen. "Got him!" He exclaimed when the fireball struck Aizen directly.
"Got who?" Ryu's eyes widened as he turned to the left to find Aizen completely unscathed. "You don't honestly believe you hit me do you?" Ryu narrowed his eyes as he turned around to find another Aizen smiling at him.
"After images of Shunpo? No… He appeared as my brother, and again as Momo… It's gotta be some kind of illusion." Ryu realized as he narrowed his eyes on Aizen.
"Let me guess, like so many before you, you're trying to think your way through the effects of my Kyoka Suigetsu…" Aizen paused as he held up his zanpakuto. "But you can't… Kyoka Suigetsu places the target or targets under complete hypnosis, and even upon realizing it…" He trailed off before multiple copies of himself appeared. "You can't break it's stranglehold on you." He finished before each copy rushed Ryu.
"D-damn, which one is the real one?" Ryu wondered frantically as he tried his hardest to get away from the army of Aizens. As he kept trying to flee from Aizen, he began to realize that there would be no escape, that if he hoped to get free of Aizen, it would take nothing short of his death. "Damn, there's gotta be something I can do… Somehow I have to be able to tell the real Aizen from all of the copies… Unless he isn't even here, could his power be a lasting one that remains in effect until it's released, and even with his absence, could it be possible that it would remain in effect?" He wondered as he glared around at the Aizens each grinning in the same calm and cold way.
"Ryu, tell me, why was it you chose Squad Five?" Aizen asked casually.
"Why would I tell you that?" Ryu asked angrily.
"Now now, no need to be completely rude, I was merely making conversation." Aizen replied.
"Why make conversation at all? Aren't you supposed to be trying to kill me, because in case you learned wrong, that's kinda the point of a battle." Ryu replied smugly.
"Oh Ryu, I don't want to kill you, I want to accept you." Aizen replied and Ryu's eyes widened.
"Accept me?" Ryu asked as he glared at Aizen.
"Yes, you see you are experiencing the effects of just my shikai, but my bankai would be much worse… I will break you Ryu Aizawa, and before the end you will be begging me to kill your allies in the hopes I'll ease the hypnosis." Aizen replied casually.
"Heh, anyone ever tell you that it's very foolish to reveal your plan to the enemy?" Ryu asked, but a second later, while he was in the process of merely blinking, when he opened his eyes the Aizens were replaced by Momos and other higher ranking members of the squad. "What the!?" He exclaimed as he jumped back while the Shinigami in front of him drew their zanpakutos. "Crud, the seated officers aside from Momo don't have bankai, so they won't be much of a problem, but Momo has bankai, and with how hard she's been training it'll be infinitely tougher than the battle we had for captaincy." He thought as he kept his eyes darting around at the many different copies of each Shinigami.
"Bankai!" The Momos all called out in unison while the other seated officers invoked their shikais. "Asahi Tobiume!" They all called out.
"Well this is going to be really difficult." Ryu uttered as he gritted his teeth. "I guess I have no choice…" He thought as he tightened his grip on his zanpakuto. "If this is complete hypnosis, then these aren't real, and I shouldn't worry about killing them, but… What if one of the copies is the real thing and is also under the hypnosis?" He wondered.
"Taiyoko Imochi!" The Momos all called out before a hellish fury of massive fireballs engulfed the surrounding area in a raging forest fire.
"Ugh, normally the thought of fighting with so much heat around would be a blessing, but I can't fight like that if the real versions of them are among them." Ryu thought after escaping the explosions.
"Fight them Ryu Aizawa, fight and become what you are meant to be!" Aizen's voice echoed in Ryu's mind.
"Oh, you'd just love that wouldn't you!" Ryu exclaimed angrily.
Meanwhile, Momo and the others had taken their fights in a different direction, and were now a few miles away from where Ryu was struggling against Aizen, but while the others didn't seem to notice the changes in Ryu's reiatsu, she couldn't shake the feeling that he was in serious danger. "Shiro! I'm getting a bad feeling about Ryu, are you good to handle things here?" She asked after dropping yet another hollow.
"Captain Aizawa? Hmm, now that she mentions it, we've been getting dragged further and further away from our camp while Ryu's been steadily moving in the other direction. Could it be that this was Aizen's plan from the beginning? But why would he choose to isolate Ryu, aside from having that third release, there isn't much of anything special about his abilities, unless Aizen knows about his bankai when even the rest of us captains don't know." Toshiro thought as he narrowed his eyes. "Momo, we need to hurry. Rangiku, aide the others while we're gone!" He called out.
While Momo and Toshiro were heading toward Ryu's location, Momo only felt it for a second, but having felt Aizen's reiatsu stopped her in her tracks. "You feel that Shiro?" She asked nervously.
"Yeah, for a fraction of a second, but that was definitely Aizen, we need to suppress our reiatsu and slow our approach." Toshiro replied.
"Hey, do you think he got to Ryu the way he got to the rest of us a few years ago?" Momo asked nervously as they ran through the forest.
"I think it's a likely possibility. Aizen's Kyoka Suigetsu is inescapable, and I don't doubt he'd resort to using it, especially on a genius Shinigami." Toshiro replied worriedly.
"Well how do we proceed when we get there, do we engage Aizen, or do we stand back and assess the situation?" Momo asked nervously.
"Well when we arrive, do you feel confident that you can not only defeat Aizen with one attack, but before he can activate his shikai against you?" Toshiro asked.
"I don't care if he does try, I will kill him for everything he put all of us through." Momo replied angrily.
"Momo as much as I'd like to agree with you, we don't know if he's only using his Shinigami powers or if he's still empowered by the Hogyoku. We'll only get one shot, so we'll have to make it carefully." Toshiro replied.
Meanwhile, Yoshi was standing next to Aizen as he watched on in amusement as Ryu seemingly fought invisible opponents. "So I find myself wondering, can you see what he sees while you make him see it, or are you seeing exactly what I'm seeing?" Yoshi asked with a smirk.
"I don't need to see anything, it is merely enough that I know." Aizen replied with a smile.
"Creepy, I hope I never end up on the hypnotized end of his zanpakuto." Yoshi thought as he turned back to his brother.
"On a side note though, you expressed your optimism in Ryu joining us, but he doesn't show any indication that he's going to crack at all." Aizen continued as his smile faded to a scowl.
"Just give it time Lord Aizen, everyone has a breaking point, it's just that his is higher than most." Yoshi replied. "Hmm? It seems we have company." He uttered as he glanced over to Aizen.
"Is that so?" Aizen asked.
"Yeah, I figured the others might end up figuring us out and coming to help Ryu, so I took the liberty of placing several puddles of water all over the forest. I've been monitoring their approach, and I can say with certainty that they will be here soon. Captain Toshiro Hitsugaya, and Lieutenant Momo Hinamori." Yoshi replied blandly.
"Momo you say, and Hitsugaya as well? Will they ever learn?" Aizen replied as he put on his cold calm smile once more.
Only a few dozen yards away Momo and Toshiro slowed to a walk as they attempted to sneak up on Aizen and Yoshi. "Hey Shiro, he's hypnotized, look!" Momo whispered as she pointed at Ryu fighting nothing. "Strange, why are the hollows just standing around? They almost seem like statues." She uttered under her breath.
"Moetsukiru!" Ryu shouted before taking out another clone of his fourth seat. "And another one down, and the copies are still standing. Man I hope I'm right about this." He thought as he dodged several attacks before getting clear enough to counterattack.
"If he is affected by Aizen, then that means he's probably close by." Toshiro stated angrily. "We need to be careful." He continued as he stealthily moved through several bushes and shrubs. "Where is he?" He wondered as he looked around.
"Shiro above you!" Momo called out, and when Toshiro looked up into the branches overhead he was horrified to see Aizen grinning down at him.
"Damn it!" Toshiro exclaimed as he raced to draw his zanpakuto, but it was too late, Aizen had successfully snuck up on them, and worse yet, he already had Kyoka Suigetsu drawn.
"Shatter!" Aizen exclaimed, and in addition to Ryu, Toshiro and Momo both were now caught in the perfect hypnosis. "Too simple." He continued as he dropped down in front of a frozen Toshiro. "Captain Hitsugaya, oh how the mighty have fallen… And Momo Hinamori… It really has been too long." He continued as he looked over at a frozen Momo as well. "Hmm, what to do… Yoshi, what do you think?" He asked as Yoshi approached them.
"I think we should kill these two now so that they aren't a threat in the future." Yoshi replied smugly as he looked Toshiro dead in the eye. "May I have the pleasure my lord?" He asked with a wicked grin.
"No, I have a more entertaining idea… You've managed to spark my curiosity when you told me everything you knew about your brother, and I honestly am interested in his abilities, but with the fact that Byakuya Kuchiki can also use a similar power leads me to believe it can be learned by anyone, so this is what we're going to do…" Aizen explained before Toshiro and Momo turned toward Ryu before rushing the captain. "We'll make them all see us, and no matter how sure they are otherwise, it will only be a matter of minutes before they're fighting each other to the death." He explained as his smile grew.
"So to each one, the other two look like us… Is there anything you can't make them see?" Yoshi asked.
"It's more than just sight, every sense is affected. Whatever I decide is whatever they will hear, and touch, and smell, and taste. As long as they're under my hypnosis, they will never be in control of their senses." Aizen explained.
"My god… Just what the hell did I release?" Yoshi wondered as he effectively masked his reaction. "It's an impressive gift sir." He uttered as casually as he could manage.
Ryu was struggling, right after Aizen and Yoshi reappeared, Aizen made the other copies disappear, but now the young captain was fighting his brother and his predecessor. "Tch, I see them right in front of me, but it's like… I don't know why, but it almost feels like it's not… Them…" He thought as he came to a horrifying realization. "Stop!" He called out as he jumped back to add more distance.
Momo and Toshiro came to a brief stop. "Why are you pausing Aizen, you and Yoshi having problems?" Toshiro asked as he glared between Ryu and Momo.
"It's obvious enough to me Aizen, that Yoshi has had enough." Momo replied.
"I'm not giving up!" Ryu shouted angrily. "It's just… This is false." He uttered.
"Of course it's false!" Momo and Toshiro exclaimed angrily.
"Tch, both of them are acting strange… Perhaps they're not really Aizen and Yoshi, but rather someone else, and maybe putting three people under the illusion is harder than just one, especially when the three are captain class." Ryu thought hopeful he was right.
"Well Aizen, I don't see what point you have in telling me that I'm under an illusion, but I will be killing you here today." Toshiro replied.
"Aizen, this isn't going to work, they're onto the illusion, and they're not going to fight each other now." Yoshi stated as he turned to Aizen.
"No… Perhaps you're right… Fine then, we're leaving. We have much to do anyway before then." Aizen replied as he turned to walk away.
"Wait sir… I was thinking, you could make them see anything correct? What if you made Toshiro follow a copy of you somewhere else, and have Momo believe Ryu is you, and then we sit back and watch as either Ryu is killed by the woman he loves or is forced to kill her instead?" Yoshi asked.
"Yoshi Aizawa, I need a strong soldier, not a broken one." Aizen replied irritably.
"I understand that, but let's say Momo wins, you could choose to appear as Ryu to her or I could, and if Ryu wins, we find some unsuspecting woman and force her to play the part." Yoshi explained.
"Why not recruit Toshiro Hitsugaya with such a scheme?" Aizen asked.
"Well I don't know much about Toshiro's bankai, but Ryu bragged about his to me once, and trust me, it's a weapon worth having." Yoshi replied.
"Tell me about his bankai and maybe I'll be more inclined to consider your plan." Aizen replied.
"Alright, take Momo Hinamori for instance, her Tobiume is a fire type zanpakuto, and in bankai remains a fire type zanpakuto. Toshiro's Hyorinmaru is an ice type zanpakuto that remains as such in bankai… But here with Ryu is where things get interesting. In shikai his Akai Fenikkusu is a fire type zanpakuto same as Momo's, but what sets him apart is the bankai, in which it becomes a light type." Yoshi explained.
"Is that so?" Aizen asked, he believed his Kyoka Suigetsu could render a target completely hypnotized, but it was a light zanpakuto, and unsure of its abilities, he was unsure if Ryu could be indefinitely controlled. "Interesting, Shatter." He continued, and as planned Toshiro jerked his head around before running off while Ryu and Momo stayed behind. "Yoshi, eliminate Toshiro Hitsugaya with extreme prejudice." He finished, and with a nod Yoshi turned to leave, but something out of the corner of his eye made him stop before looking up just in time to dodge a few attacks from Lee Shihiro.
"L-Lee!?" Yoshi exclaimed as he stared down at the Shinigami holding a large hammer.
"Yoshi… Time for some payback!" Lee shouted loudly as he brought his hammer up.
"Tch, Aizen, we have company!" Yoshi exclaimed, but when he looked back he was horrified to find that Aizen was absent, and might have been for the entire battle. "A-Aizen?" He uttered before Lee pinned him up against a tree.
"Those two, how do I stop their battle?" Lee asked furiously as he motioned over at Ryu and Momo.
"Ha, you can't, it's the beauty and danger of Aizen's Kyoka Suigetsu, complete hypnosis, and only Aizen can control it." Yoshi replied with a sinister grin. "Those two can only fight to the death from here on out, but hey, if you think you can break them out, by all means be my guest, just be careful not to get cut." He continued while Lee pulled Leviathan away from its partner.
"Alright, but first, Courage of Thunder, Bridge of a Spinning Wheel. With Light, Divide This Into Six! Bakudo number sixty-one, Rikujokoro!" Lee exclaimed before six beams of light slammed into Yoshi's midsection. "Now then, I hope this works." He thought before drawing strange black symbols on his arms. "Black and White Net. Twenty-two Bridges, Sixty-six Crowns and Belts. Footprints, Distant Thunder, Sharp Peak, Engulfing Land, Hidden in the Night, Sea of Clouds, Blue Line. Form a Circle and Fly Though the Heavens. Bakudo number seventy-seven! Tenteikura!" He exclaimed as a light blue box of reiryoku appeared in front of him while he waved his arms around in deliberate and carefully thought out patterns before forcing his hands toward the rectangle.
Ryu and Momo kept fighting each other under the belief that they were fighting Aizen alone, but even then they both came to a sudden stop when Lee's voice filled their minds. "Ryu, Momo, can you hear me?" Lee asked desperately.
"L-Lee? Is that really you?" Ryu asked nervously.
"Yes, and you both need to listen to me, the Shinigami you're fighting right now is not Aizen but each other. You need to stop the fight now!" Lee called out.
"Are you insane, how can you be sure this isn't the real Aizen?" Momo asked angrily.
"Because I'm staring at both of you right now, and you two look ready to tear each other apart." Lee replied.
"How do I know you're not part of some illusion Aizen is creating simply to fool me into submitting?" Momo asked angrily.
"See Lee, it's no use, tell them all you want that they're hypnotized, but in the end it just comes down to them trusting their senses more than anything." Yoshi explained smugly.
"Surely you know how to break the hypnosis." Lee replied bitterly as he turned his head toward Yoshi.
"Nope, only Aizen himself can let them go." Yoshi replied with a snort.
"Tch, damn, okay Lee think, there has to be something, some kido that can break them free…" Lee thought before his eyes shot open. "Of course! Thank you Soifon, I'll have to remember to give you a big kiss later!" He thought with a grin. "Okay Lee, you remember learning about the ryoka invasion led by Ichigo Kurosaki right?" He asked.
"Yeah, your point?" Ryu asked as he continued to glare at Aizen.
"Do you remember the reports we were shown about Soifon's and Yoruichi's battle?" Lee asked.
"Yeah, and again your point?" Ryu asked as he began to lose patience.
"Hanki, I can't remember which one used it, but it can cancel out any ability with a perfectly opposite rush of reiatsu. Do you think you could manage it?" Lee asked desperately as he began to pant for breath.
"I could try…" Ryu replied as he went to work. "Argh, it's no good, I can't make it perfectly opposite of Aizen's." He replied in frustration.
"D-damn… Alright, but can you believe that the Aizen you're seeing right now is actually Momo?" Lee asked.
"Y-yeah, I guess…" Ryu uttered nervously.
"And Momo, can you hold off on attacking for a few more minutes?" Lee asked.
"I'll try, but I can't make any promises." Momo replied.
"Alright, give me a sec to figure some things out." Lee replied before pouring more energy into his kido. "Attention all Shinigami in the world of the living, come to my location, I need help with Captain Aizawa and Lieutenant Hinamori, and most importantly Yoshi Aizawa." He continued.
"Byakuya!" Ichigo exclaimed, and ignoring the lack of respect Byakuya nodded before the two raced toward Lee's location.
Before long several more Shinigami were gathered around. "So the situation is complicated but simple, they both are made to believe the other is Aizen." Lee explained as he released his kido.
"Damn, even after training so hard, and with a decent knowledge of Aizen's power, I still get caught up in it." Toshiro grumbled as he sat down next to a tree.
"Uh Lee, a lot of hollows just showed up, but they're not attacking, do I hold off on attacking them as well?" Ryu called out nervously.
"So how can we break them from the hypnosis?" Lee asked nervously.
"Well… If I know Aizen as well as I think I do… We can't, only Aizen can." Kyoraku replied.
"Damn it, there has to be something we can do!" Lee exclaimed.
"Sure there is, we place them under arrest and take them back to the Seireitei and have Unohana look after them." Ichigo replied.
"They're going to go insane with fear though. They believe everything they see to be real." Toshiro replied dismally.
"Are we real?" Rangiku asked as she rubbed her arms.
"Well at any rate pack those two up, we're going home… It's obvious we were ill prepared to deal with Aizen this time. Come on, let's go back." Kyoraku replied, and after incapacitating the two highest ranking officers of Squad Five, the group of Shinigami returned to Soul Society in possession of a bitter defeat.
Chapter 5- end - So what do y'all think, to be honest this chapter is a rewrite of the same chapter as I thought of two different ways to work on it, and well this one won, lol, anyway yeah Ryu and Momo both believe the other is Aizen, talk about bad luck, anyway read and review, and I'll hopefully post another update soon
(Shunpos to figure out a reasonable means of breaking Aizen's hypnosis)
Disclaimer 1: I do not own bleach, but if I did I would have done an arc where Tsukishima and Aizen team up, all rights to tite kubo
Disclaimer 2: I do not own Ryu, Lee, or their zanpakutos, credit to AVP5