Gin knows his time as a sneaky shinigami is fleeting, but just how deeply does his knowledge go?
Warnings: Implied physical abuse, mental mind fuckery, frightening dreams, language, AU, semi-back story.
Pairings: AizenGin, mentions of past GinRangiku
Word Count: AHAHAHAHAH 4000, right on the nose! Me, FTW.
Notes: This is the result of too much coffee, not enough sleep and dreams that haunt me while I'm awake. It's part canon and part add-on, but I went a little nuts on the back story and I can't ignore my love for good Gin angst. Since no one really has any idea about when Matsumoto and Gin became vice captains, I'm ad-libbing my own ideas, so bear with me if things seem confusing. Keep in mind that I put AU in the warnings, because readers continue to tell me how wrong I am, for some reason. >_< Also, I may add to this in the future, but for now, consider it a one-shot.
It was far too white for Ichimaru Gin's eyes, the first time he opened them to the 'daylight' of Hueco Mundo.
He squinted them in what could be assume to be early morning white-light, as there was neither day nor night in the barren wasteland they had taken as their home. One slim fingered hand lifted to shield them and even the skin of his hand felt the light, a strange burning sensation akin to a sunburn but not as damaging, though no sun was visible. The pale shinigami sighed and turned his back while closing his eyes again, venturing into the depths of the grand palace his former captain and current lord had created.
“Your sadness pains me, Gin.” The brunet said softly, rising from his seat in the sparsely decorated throne room. “You must find something to occupy your time with.”
Like a spoiled but bored child, Ichimaru padded to the man's side and looked over at him, his eyes closed as always and a rather dejected look upon his normally smiling face. He was not hanging his head, as he had done so oft in the past, but he was looking in Aizen's direction, which was a given considering the elder man's demand for attention.
“Tell me what it is, Gin.” He commanded.
“How long've we been here, Sousuke? What season is it now? How long's it been since I last saw the sun? Why does Kana-chan get to wander where he wants but I can't leave the main floor?”
The once bespectacled shinigami chuckled quietly and lifted a hand to cup under the other's chin. “Seven months, we've resided in my paradise. The season remains a constant here, though to most, it would be considered summertime. The sun, while necessary in the living world, as it is in Soul Society, is not needed here. It would have burned your pale skin and made you ill anyway.”
The last part of Ichimaru's query was ignored for a moment, while Aizen pondered its simplicity and childishness. He knew Tousen was reliable and worthy of his respect, as was Gin to a point, but there were differences between the two men that he was wise to call attention to, as oppose to ignore.
“Kaname has been given free reign of his own comings and goings because I trust him with my creations.”
Gin gave a curious look and peeked his eyes open slightly, the light pouring in from the wide windows causing him to grimace. “Ya mean the arrancar? I don't even give 'em a second look!”
“Exactly. They need attention and affection as much as we do. Kaname has chosen himself a companion with whom he will share his affections, however private, for the duration of his stay. Provided his toy lives long enough to keep him occupied, that is.”
Even Gin, usually outgoing but oddly distant and introverted during his time in Hueco Mundo, noticed the closeness that Tousen shared with the young blond arrancar. The boy had been created late in Aizen's reign but he had caught on immediately and for some strange reason, had attached himself to the blind shinigami. Both Ichimaru and Aizen had had the unfortunate chance of coming between Tousen and Wonderwice when the two were sharing a chaste moment, and the boy's viciousness was felt duly. Neither man had attempted the same action a second time and had agreed to avoid the pair when they were together.
“He's just a kid though. I don't want someone like that 'round me all the time.” Gin whined, turning a little to settle himself onto the arm of the great throne.
“Find another then. I've created a massive army, Gin. You only have to chose one for your companion.” The elder man made a point of squeezing Gin's chin fiercely when the light haired shinigami tried to look away, causing him to open his eyes in slight panic. “It would please me, for you to find someone. Do it for me, if nothing else.”
His jaw smarting from the other's grip and his heart full of pain from the shabby treatment he seemed to be suffering though, Ichimaru nodded and moved to take his leave. He bowed politely to the larger man and walked out of the chilly room, his pace clipped and his mouth set in a tight line.
Three days into his search for a companion Gin gave up, though no one was around to see it happen and truthfully, he hadn't searched very hard, knowing that most of the arrancar population hated or feared him and he wouldn't have found anyone suitable to his persona anyway. He gave in dejectedly to his lonely fate and wallowing in concealed self-pity, he trudged to his private rooms and buried himself under the blankets and pillows covering the large bed.
Ichimaru Gin never cried for long, no he didn't. He wallowed, sure. He pondered the meaning of his existence, now more so than when he had lived in Soul Society. His past haunted him like a cold draft, biting at his hands and feet and niggling at the back of his mind. Times like these he usually fell asleep to avoid thinking about said past, but even then, his dreams filled him with sadness and a kind of pain that wasn't physical, nor was it mental. It was more of a spiritual pain, one only a child like him could understand.
“It's cold, Rangiku.” A small voice said, from under the worn blanket the two forms shared.
“I know.” Came the tiny reply, though slightly warm arms wound themselves more tightly around Ichimaru's shivering body. “When the sun comes up, we'll go out and look for something to eat, ne?”
The silver haired boy nodded and fell into a fitful sleep, his dreams wracked with violent occurrences, mostly attacks with creatures they had both seen sparsely in their young years living in the slums of Rukongai. Hollows, the elder residents called them. They seldom ever ventured into the bright world, but when they arrived, there would be trouble no doubt.
During the night, after the red haired woman had fallen into a deep sleep, Gin shifted her stifling arms from himself and ventured out into the moonlit street, looking back at their tiny hovel, with its cloth door and patched roof. No one bothered them where they rested but it was cold and the drafts blew in constantly. In the warmer weather it stayed cool, so it was both a blessing and a curse.
The young teen knew that he had until sunrise to do what he had planned to do, but even more was going to happen come that afternoon. His companion had been accepted into the shinigami academy. The bright spirited young girl who had a penchant for drama and skills with a sword that Gin both admired and envied. While he had never even held a sword before and never wished to, Rangiku had practiced with one stolen from a nobleman in their district, and had become quite adept with it.
Walking toward the woods that surrounded their section of Rukongai, Ichimaru smiled the tiniest of smiles, lifting his hand to the man waiting beyond the trees. He was barefoot and the cool grass felt better than the cold stone walkway, but still the soles and toes ached. The man, a tall brunet, held his arms out for the boy and scooped him up into them, winding his white jacket around the small form. Though Gin was a teenager by then and well known in the ways of the world, he was slimmer than most and weighed less than the average waif.
“You haven't fed yet today, Gin.” The man's rich voice rumbled in the dark. “I have something for you.”
The boy's eyes widened and his timid hands took the small package the benevolent shinigami captain offered, carefully unwrapping it and digging in to its contents. He was like a wild animal the man was trying to tame, though Gin was a tame as they came by then. He had been visiting with the fifth division captain Aizen Sousuke for more than a month, after the man had caught him stealing fruit from a stall in the 77th district.
Kind as he was, the spectacles toting swordsman bought enough fruit to last the boy a week and watched as he ate all of it where he stood, save for a single apple, which he promptly stuffed into his shirt. The man could only assume that he was saving it for later but when Matsumoto awoke the next morning, she was pleased to find an apple for breakfast and was not the least bit curious over Gin's meal, even though his pallor suggested that he had indeed eaten and had fed well.
“Now, what will you do when Matsumoto-kun leaves for the academy tomorrow?” He asked conversationally.
Gin only shrugged and cuddled a little closer to the large, warm body, placated by the firm arms that surrounded him. Aizen hardly minded the teen's odd behaviour because he was secretly pleased with himself for befriending such a strange boy. It was unheard of for the captains to venture into Rukongai unless it was the cleaner, more law-abiding sections, and they almost never associated with the locals. A few of the divisions had members that were from Rukongai and still had family there, so they made the trip, but for Aizen, it was a challenge of sorts. He was in need of a new fukutaichou as his current one had bored him already and had not shown him the degree of piety he so demanded.
Despite their differences in homeland, Gin and Aizen shared a relationship quite different than the one he shared with Rangiku, though it lacked the intimacy he had shared with the girl. On the coldest of winter nights, the two had been intimate to create more warmth for themselves and it had worked, but in the end, it was all a lie. She would cry herself to sleep under the now-warm blankets and Gin would sit by the small window and shiver himself into a restless slumber.
“She's goin' at noon.” He said softly. “I have to walk her to the gate and she'll be taken from there. Then I gotta come back...by myself.”
The hesitation in his voice and the place where he halted his sentence caused the elder man to smile broadly, sensing a weakness and planning to exploit it thusly. He dug into his pockets for a moment and brought out another tightly wrapped package, smiling as the boy took it but was stopped from opening it just yet with a gentle touch to his hand.
“Would you like to come to my home tomorrow afternoon, Gin? While the academy majors and the Captain Commander are busying themselves with the training and acceptance drills, I will have time to spend on my own.”
Ichimaru's eyes lit up with the promise of a nice day and he nodded, carefully extracting himself from Aizen's lap and bowing politely as he clutched the parcel against his chest. He turned back to wave but stopped when he no longer saw his generous benefactor, assuming that the man had headed back home. When in fact, the brunet had only used his mastery of shunpo to wait patiently on the rooftop beside Gin's home, watching from the shadowed side of the tiled surface as the pale skinned boy made his way back inside and settled in to make use of the early morning darkness. Sleep only came so often and what little he could get, Ichimaru exploited.
When the sun came up, the pair woke and bathed in the cool water brought in the night before and headed to the southern gate. Waving goodbye with a bright smile and a tidy kimono on, her meager belongings slung over her shoulder in a small pack, Matsumoto turned her back on her slim companion, leaving him to a life she despised, unaware of his plans with the shinigami captain. Gin waved back but was largely ignored, as the girl had already faced the other way and spoke excitedly with the other potential entrants.
Gin's hatred for her grew with each passing step as he headed back home to change into the clean clothes Aizen had given him the night before, which he had found when he prematurely opened the package before Matsumoto had woken up. The hatred blossomed until he felt it become shadowed by the love for her he thought he once had. The two feelings merged with each other in a coil of emotions, leaving only a half-sensed version of love, more so a perverted sense of tolerance, as one might tolerate a pathetic stray on their doorstep.
As she had nothing to return to in Rukongai, Matsumoto remained in Seireitei during all of her training, having been accepted at such a young age because of her skill with a sword. She took to kidou magic at a fast pace as well and alongside the new friends she had made, she lived her life happily, blissfully unaware of her former companion's continued suffering. At the hands of Aizen Sousuke, Ichimaru found pains he didn't know existed and truths he would have been happier ignoring. Without someone to mourn for him when he no longer returned home, or to worry when he came home bruised, Gin became a puppet of the bespectacled taichou, a toy to be molded and shaped.
Six months into their separation, Gin saw Rangiku again, now with a more trim physique than the one he remembered. Hard work in the academy had given her strong arms and powerful legs and while her bosom remained the same, her general persona seemed different. He smiled when she saw him, a faint smirk he had been taught by his beloved mentor, to mask the sadness and frailty he held inside. When she noticed the clothes he was wearing she balked slightly, but continued in her excited motions nonetheless.
“Gin!” She hollered, dropping the practice sword she had been wielding and running across the yard to embrace him. “How have you been?!”
The boy's smirk faded and was replaced by a small grimace as she squeezed him too tightly, crushing his already bruised ribs and compacting the scratches he had along his belly and sides. The beautiful redhead stepped back to regard him, noticing how tall he had become but still worried over his health because of his apparent waist size. His uniform, so much like her own and overly billowy, was what truly puzzled her.
“When did you become a shinigami?”
The tone was accusatory and Gin found that he didn't like it at all. “I've been the fifth division's fukutaichou for five weeks now.” He stated simply, clipping his words to show mild annoyance.
“Oh. I never thought you wanted to become one.”
“I didn't. I got the position from someone else.”
The girl's eyebrows knitted together with concern and slight confusion, a hand falling to her hip as she shifted her weight off to the side. “What do you mean, you got it from someone else?”
“Aizen-taichou tested me and gave me the job, Ran. What's to know?”
“How did you know Aizen-taichou before you were tested? You couldn't have just come in here suddenly on your own and made your own agenda-”
Caught in a partial lie, Gin cleared his throat and looked off to the side, watching the new trainees as they worked amongst themselves, waiting for their senpai to return. The next lie came to him quickly, though the half truth in his words justified the lie itself. He didn't have to tell her that he had known the man for sometime, no. He could bend the truth just a little bit, to make things right.
“He came to me the day you left me. He gave me someone to talk to again.”
The female fukutaichou blinked with obvious hurt, watching with slightly watery eyes as Gin turned away from her and walked off, as he had so often done in the past, without telling her where he was going. Her subordinates, still waiting patiently in the midday sun, called to her as their time was nearly at an end, anxious to continue their training and be done for the day. It seemed only right to ask for her attention back, now that her conversation partner had walked away.
“Matsumoto-senpai! Training's only for another fifteen minutes!”
“Hai, hai, I'm coming!” She answered in return, waving with one hand and wiping her eyes on her sleeve before heading back into the fray.
“You were right to lie to her, Gin.”
The warm voice, so casually stifling and sweet, frightened the pale former captain and caused him to sit upright in his bed, the blankets wrapped around him like a straitjacket from his tossing and turning. He stared wide-eyed at his lover, the red irises a stark contrast to his pale skin and hair.
“Sousuke! Ya scared me!”
“I would apologize, but I find that I'm not truly sorry for my actions. You were interrupting travel in the halls, with your crying and carrying on.”
The younger shinigami lifted a hand to his face and angrily wiped away the tears that had partially dried to his cheeks, turning his back from the grand brunet in a gesture of both embarrassment and slight annoyance. There were rumours that the sneaky former captain talked in his sleep and he must have on this occasion, for Aizen to come to see what the problem was. Gin's voice was muffled by the blankets as he again buried his face in them, curling around the soft sheets as tightly as he comfortably could.
“What all was I sayin', Sousuke?” He asked timidly.
“I only caught the tail end, Gin. Something along the lines of your first meeting with Matsumoto-kun, after you had both become vice captains.”
The slim form flinched noticeably and the elder man reached a hand out to comfort his comrade, smiling where Ichimaru couldn't see, when his touch caused a similar cringe. There were things that went on during Gin's time as subordinate to Aizen, that never made it into any log books or division records. There were reasons why Gin kept his hands and arms inside his long bell sleeves and refused to open his eyes when in the view of others. Each reason began with a thought from the once-beloved former fifth division captain; on occasion a suggestion, as opposed to a thought.
“I think you should forget it all, Gin.” He said this time, his words deep enough and somber enough to suggest an order, not an offer. “The past drags you down as no other anchor can. Why not do as I had asked of you, and find yourself a companion to share your time with?”
Resolved by the tone his lord and lover used, and by the ingrained behaviour he had come to learn under Aizen's rough tutelage, Gin nodded into his pillows. His body ached from the crying he had done while sleeping, the deep, agonizing sobs no doubt echoing throughout the inner halls of Las Noches. Suddenly though he sat back up, his red-rimmed eyes starting to puff out like a child's after a long fit of crying.
“Ya knew I wasn't gonna find anyone to spend time with, didn't ya, Sousuke?”
His tone was accusing but still respectful enough to be deemed appropriate. “Why would you think that, Gin?”
Ichimaru shifted and revealed creamy white legs as he kicked the sheets away from himself and approached the elder man on all fours, coming to rest sitting back on his knees.
“None of the arrancar like me, that's obvious, ne? Only Luppi ever showed any interest and he's dead.” His eyes narrowed as he glared daggers at the grinning brunet. “Ya wanted me to come find ya and tell ya that I couldn't find anyone. Ya wanted me to admit my failure.” He took a shuddering breath and then whispered his next words, pained by the admittance that he had obviously been duped by his lover. “It was a test.”
“Your loyalty has never been questioned before Gin, but recently, you've shown me how torn you still are over all that's happened to you. No one here, not even your beloved Luppi, knows you or will know you, as well as I do.”
The words stung the younger shinigami but he bit his lip and refused to retaliate, verbally or otherwise. Aizen saw his hesitation and lifted both hands to gently cup Gin's chin, pulling him close enough for a light kiss, their lips touching briefly enough for it to be considered as such. Slim, bony arms moved away from the once broken body and wound around the elder man's neck, pulling Ichimaru closer as he demanded the attention he should have had earlier in the week. Sure, it had been a test of loyalty and duty; to accomplish a personal task set out by his lord, but by failing it, Gin had let himself fall back into the cycle he secretly loathed. To be used and abused until his barriers wore down. Until his mind and body only thought of the brown haired lord, as they once had long ago.
Even Gin knew that his time as the third squad captain gave him a cockiness and sense of freedom he was never supposed to possess. It dawned on him then, as Aizen placed his warm hands on Gin's shoulders and roughly shoved him backwards. A realization he should have known from the start but was too blinded by devotion to see.
His time away from Aizen, as a captain in his own right, had been a test too. The longest, most despicable test of all. What a cruel thing, to bend you to his will, then give you what you desire most, only to tear it back out from under you when you had finally become accustomed to the comforts and joys! Even as the elder man's jaws closed around the tight flesh of his neck, in a bite that would certainly bruise and may even bleed, Gin heard his mind chastising him, chiding him, telling him what he knew but never cared to acknowledge.
Do it for him, Gin. It mimicked, seemingly one with Aizen's own mind. You have nothing left, save for that man's affections. You may bend and you'll certainly break, but why suffer needlessly? Your past is a ghost now. Let it rest.
“I'll let it rest.” He said softly, his body contorted to the side as Aizen licked at the vicious bruise he had inflicted on Gin's tender skin. His eyes opened as he cried out in exquisite pain, when the proud arrancar lord wrenched Ichimaru's head to the side by the hair, to better access the soft surface of his shoulder.
“...anything for Aizen-taichou...”