Summary: The one time he ever dares to fight her is the one time she hurts him more than he'll ever know.
Timeline: Pre-Turn Back the Pendulum
Author's Note: My personal crack OTP and conspiracy theory is that Aizen wanted to destroy the Soul King as revenge for Hikifune's death. It's… cracky.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach and never will.
His shihakusho is sweaty from practice, and he ties and reties his obi around his waist. "That Aizen boy," he hears the instructor say as he walks out into the courtyard. "He's going through the standards like lightning."
I will go through your damn standards before you even blink, he wants to turn around and say. I'll use my shikai and you won't even remember blinking. Kyoka Suigetsu burns hot against his thigh. Its power is maddening and sickening, and he wants to grasp it by the hilt and never let go.
It's not even noon yet and he's already fumbling for the books; the other students are just reaching for their blades… except her. This day—it's suddenly become so much more exciting, because now kami Aizen has someone to play with.
"Hikifune," he says, and his hand is on Kyoka Suigetsu's ribboned hilt.
She turns around and laughs at him. Her laugh is high and clear and soft, lightning that's been tamed and brought down to earth. "It's Kirio." When she says it it sounds like she's laughing like life will never end, and something flips and writhes inside of him.
He can't tell whether it's the spirit of his zanpakuto or his own heart.
Aizen allows her a fraction of a smile. "Kirio," he ways, testing the waters, and her eyes curve into cool dark crescents. "You want to fight me, Sosuke?"
She shrugs and draw her own zanpakuto. In the seven years Aizen's known her, he hasn't seen a single shikai release. She flips on her feet and makes to cut in from the side, and his blade shoots out to block hers. Thrust and parry, turn and block. She crouches to make a quick upward cut, and he moves aside effortlessly.
The words "Kyoka Suigetsu" are only halfway out of his mouth when Aizen sees Kirio's eyes widen, round and dark in her pale face. She's stopped laughing. He isn't even done saying his zanpakuto's name when her fingers are on his blade. Blood sprays onto the white of his obi, and her hand slides down to the hilt. He glares and bites his tongue until he can taste the bitter.
"Sosuke." She drags his name out into syllables that aren't there, and he cringes at the sound.
"What's the meaning of this, Hikifune?"
"Sosuke!" She glares at him, and her voice is bitter and sharp, cutting through any of the thoughts he might have entertained. "Your shikai. I can't allow it." Her fingers are still clutched on Kyoka Suigetsu's blade, the flesh splitting open into red, red that Aizen cannot bear to see. "Now I know what it does. You can't!"
"What are you doing, Hikifune?"
"Kirio, I—take your hand off of my sword! You're cutting yourself!"
"Better me than you," she's muttering, and yet all that he sees is the sticky crimson of her blood—on his blade. "Don't cut yourself with that blade, Sosuke."
The something inside of him flips again. He's slipping Kyoka Suigetsu back into its sheath and suddenly her arms are around his shoulders, her fingers in his hair, her blood staining the back of his neck. Aizen freezes, and for some reason her lips—her lips have found his cheek.
"Kirio." Why? He can't breathe.
And then she is laughing again, and when he blinks, she's gone. The sound of her laugh hangs in the air, brighter and sweeter than the tang of lightning just before a storm. A curious satisfaction sprinkles itself over his ribcage, and Kyoka Suigetsu stirs inside him, murky and menacing. He lets the spirit seethe. There's something else he has to protect.