Gin is bored in Hueco Mondo.
Their base in Hueco Mundo was, for all its virtues ("Yes, Aizen-sama, it is quite atmospheric, and my, what a friendly-looking gargoyle,") bleak, drafty and ill-constructed, with more gloomy corners than the average evil overlord's fortress might conceivably house. The first week after their arrival saw Gin wandering in and out of sparsely furnished rooms, picking cobwebs out of his hair, looking for one that said Take Me, I'm Yours :) -- Aizen had given him full run of the place, which meant he had the power to uproot any prior inhabitants and send them scurrying to a new home.
At the end of the week he'd given up and started setting up nest in a room with a Queen Anne armoire carved with tortured faces sporting amazingly life-like grimaces. If you pushed it aside, it revealed an panel leading into a musty passageway, with exits in each of the palace's other three main wings.
Handy as it was for sneaking, it also meant that everyone else who knew about the passage was granted an additional entrance into his bedchamber, but Gin plastered both door and panel with enough wards and traps to decorate a Shinigami Academy obstacle course. (And then, supposing they were enterprising enough to make it through both wards and traps, they'd have to face /him/. Gin was a light sleeper, but grouchy when woken before schedule, as one Kira Izuru could attest.)
He made two more midnight runs into Seireitei without informing anyone: once for his mattress, which he'd broken in to just the right degree of softness and was really too valuable to give up; once for his favorite blanket, the checkered one with ducks on it, which was missing from his room the first time around and which he finally found folded at the foot of Izuru's bed. Izuru was sure to notice the filching of the blanket, and possibly he or Rangiku would discover the missing mattress, but Gin was pretty confident that they'd keep it to themselves. He left an unsigned Cheer up! note on Izuru's pillow before leaving.
After that, there was only Hueco Mundo. Gin had grown used to the hustle and bustle of the Gotei 13, and found a certain difficulty in accepting his new, cheerless companions.
"This is very boring," he said, flicking disconsolately at a thread on Aizen's couch without bothering to cover up his yawns. "The more I think of it, the more I think you should have left me behind to keep an eye on things until all the arrangements were in place. There's nobody here who's willing to blush when I tease them."
"You're just not trying hard enough," was Aizen's heartless reply. "Losing your touch?"
Gin rolled over. "You could have brought Hinamori-chan over, you know, and then we wouldn't be having this problem. She would've followed if you'd asked."
"Ah, but would she have flourished here?" There came the scritch-scritch of Aizen signing his name on another report. "Rich soil, clean water and lots of sunshine; that's what my Hinamori-chan needs. Here, she would have withered and died before a month was out."
Gin rolled back. "I think I'm going to wither and die before the month is out."
Aizen dropped his pen then, rising to his feet. "We'd better find you some nourishment, then," he said, with a smile that could have crushed nations, and for a while Gin didn't feel bored at all.
But Aizen wouldn't entertain him all the time, and the excitement would fade if they engaged in that kind of play too often, anyway.
He toyed with the idea of pranking Tousen, but only for a half-second or so. They'd never gotten on very well: Tousen disliked his slippery grasp on moral justice, and he found no enjoyment in poking at a man who'd just tune the world out from hearing as well as vision when annoyed.
That left a few thousand humorless Hollows, and while they were all very well as pawns and foot soldiers, scintillating conversation was not one of the traits for which they'd been bred. They reminded him of the Eleventh Division if anything, and while Gin was (had been) friendlier than most with Zaraki, he didn't have that charged relationship of equals with Aizen's army-in-shaping. Either they saw him as Aizen-sama's Lieutenant, favored beyond all others and too exalted to speak to without an exhausting succession of bows, or they saw him as Aizen-sama's courtesan, with all the attendant disdain and resentment.
The next time Grimmjow Jaggerjack passed him with a snort and a twisted sneer of lip, he said, "This is growing /tiresome/," and slammed Grimmjow into the wall of the corridor by the throat. His nails gouged marks along the unprotected side of Grimmjow's cheek.
"You don't get this grouchy with Tousen," he said, peering up as Grimmjow made furious noises and the other Hollows hurried away silently, "and he's the one who sliced off your arm. That's kind of flattering, actually. Tell me why?"
"Fuck off, fuckin' nancy boy," Grimmjow growled, one knee coming up while he grabbed his zanpakuto with his remaning hand. Gin disarmed him with one of Zaraki's moves -- prowess aside, the Eleventh were the undisputed kings of dirty fighting -- and stepped back out of range of the knee.
"What a nice sword." It wasn't, really: unprepossessing in appearance, and much heavier than his own Shinsou, but one had to be diplomatic. "Tell you what: I'll give it back to you if you tell me what you have against me."
And then he could up the volume so that it annoyed even more, but he kept that to himself.
He'd foreseen an interesting response, but Grimmjow surpassed his expectations.
"You're a -- a /whore/," the Arrancar snapped, and there, there was the blush, the absence of which had caused Gin so many hours of melancholy. He laughed.
"An acceptable reason! Here you go," and he tossed the zanpakuto over, bringing Shinsou up in its sheath the next second to block the incoming blow. Shinsou throbbed, eager for the exercise, but Aizen didn't want him to show his hand yet; besides, he'd just been given something more fun to play with.
"You'll be late for the Arrancar check-up if you hang around any longer," he observed sweetly. Aizen was an easy-going leader, most of the time -- that was one of the traits that hadn't been feigned during his stint as 5th Division captain -- but 'most of the time' wasn't 'all of the time', and Grimmjow didn't have a lot of leeway left right now for misjudgement.
He snarled and sheathed his sword before stalking off, every inch of him screaming petulance and indignation.
Gin continued down the hall in high spirits.
He found Aizen in his study, toting up the cost of breeding supplies. Once again he acknowledged that, as monotonous as his current job was, Aizen's was just as tedious and came along with inbuilt headaches.
"Spare me a minute?" He made his way around the huge centerpiece of a desk to wrap himself around Aizen's arms, resting his chin on Aizen's shoulder. "I'll leave you be afterwards, promise."
"So demanding," said Aizen, but he turned his head, and they were kissing the next moment, smooth and familiar, Gin slipping onto Aizen's lap, Aizen's hands coming around to fist in the folds of his robe, like they'd done a hundred times before during stolen moments in Seireitei, in full view of their colleagues and subordinates while Kyouka Suigetsu wove its impenetrable veil. The lack of glasses was a big plus for convenience.
He pulled out of the kiss long enough to nibble his way down Aizen's neck until he reached the very hollow of it, where he pressed forward and bit down /hard/.
Aizen's fingers crushed his hips.
Then: "Minute's up," Aizen murmured, and pushed him away.
Gin wasn't required to be present at the morning audiences since they took place too early for him to be clear-headed, and he could catch the bullet point version from Aizen afterwards. He dropped in sometimes, especially when indications pointed towards a spectacular blow-up in the offing, but most of the time he slept until noon and left the ceremonies to the less fortunate.
That morning he attended, slipping beside Tousen with a grin (which Tousen couldn't see) and a greeting (to which Tousen didn't respond). The Hollows left a respectful space around them, though the Espada were on a line with them, right before the throne. Grimmjow, having been demoted, scowled at everyone and no one in particular a distance behind Ulquiorra.
He knew the exact moment Grimmjow noticed because he'd been watching for it: widening eyes, a spasmodic clench of fists, and then enough fury radiating from his tense shoulders to fry a marshmallow. His companions in the second row sidled away from him unobtrusively.
Aizen probably knew something was up -- he'd always been sensitive to these things, which one wouldn't expect in a tyrant -- but he ignored them to continue the pep talk. The dipping collar of his robe still showed the imprint of Gin's teeth clearly, and Gin felt a vague thrill at the sight: he was used to being quiet, being discreet, trained by years of secrecy, but here the only rules were the ones Aizen made.
And the rules of his own games, which he determined.
He met Grimmjow's eyes and smiled, gave him a friendly little wave. He imagined he could hear Grimmjow's teeth gnashing from twenty paces away.
"What are you playing at?" That was Tousen, too low for anyone else to hear. Gin covered his surprise; he hadn't expected Tousen to consider his activities of any consequence.
"Just keeping myself occupied," he said. "I remember you being very much in favor of that, the last time I tried to tag along with you to Karakura."
"He will cause trouble." Tousen stood respectfully at rest, unseeing eyes fixed on Aizen, but Gin could see his lips thin into a slash. "It would serve us all well if he were simply forgotten and left to the fruits of his own incompetence."
"I'm hardly going to call for his promotion, am I? Not to mention that I have just as much influence on Aizen's decisions as you or anyone, which is to say, very little at all." Pause. "You of all people should be aware of that."
"You will bring him to Aizen's attention."
That seemed as much as Tousen was willing to discuss; his body language closed off, making it clear any further comments would be met with silence.
Gin sighed. Not that Tousen's disapproval wasn't unexpected, but was everyone out to prevent him from having fun? Aizen was still talking of revolution and glory up on the throne, and he was quite willing to toss in his lot for revolution and glory, but so far all he'd found were dust bunnies and misplaced limbs.
He missed Rangiku, and Izuru, and Hitsugaya; Grimmjow, he thought, quite resembled a grown-up Hitsugaya, which was probably one of the reasons that playing with him was so satisfying.
The other reason lay also in resemblance, but not to Hitsugaya, who'd always been innocent on that score. There had been a moment, as Grimmjow scowled and blushed, that Gin had seen in him a seed of what Hinamori-chan tried so hard to hide in their frequent meetings, and the discovery had been a revelation, a birthday gift come early.
It had been the color of envy.