Golden Tumbles

He's early. Shinji is still in a pale blue yukata, a robe tossed over his shoulders, his endless golden hair pinned at the crown of his head to keep it from getting too tangled in the night. Protocol dictates he should greet him. But there's something in Shinji's dreamy gaze, his sleepy movements that makes Aizen hold his tongue. He will never again see Shinji as vulnerable, as real as he is right now.

His sleeves fall to reveal pale white arms as he tugs at his hair pins. His hair cascades in soft golden waves down his back, across his shoulders, over his raised arms. Aizen wets his lips, and watches Shinji brush out tangles with slow, determined precision.

"Rapunzel, rapunzel, let down your hair." He murmurs, feeling a forest away from his captain, when its merely the length of the room.

The dreamy look is gone in a heartbeat, replaced by hard distrust and practised disinterest. Aizen regrets breaking the spell, regrets ruining the fairy tale before him in favour of a fairy tale he'd never see. "Huh?" Shinji demands crudely. "What did you call me?"

"Rapunzel." Aizen answers softly, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose. Shinji glowers at him, and stands to throw on his shihakusho. The harsh black makes him look hard, where the blue was delicate. He wonders if he should arrive early tomorrow too, just to catch another glimpse of that almost breakable vision of his captain.

"You day dreaming or something, Sousuke?" Shinji asks roughly, pulling on his captain's cloak. He brushes past him to get outside, and Aizen breathes in the scent of plums and sake, and commits it to memory. "A cool guy like me ain't nothing like a princess."

"No." Aizen agrees, following his faithful half step behind Shinji, like always. "It was merely the hair, I think." Shinji snorts, and doesn't reply.

A hundred years later, when they meet on the battle field, Shinji is awake for the first time in a century (just like sleeping beauty) and his hair is cut short. Aizen refrains from telling him he prefers the rapunzel length, and its endless golden tumbles.