Characters: Aizen, Momo ( Aizen/Momo if you squint ), Gin, Tousen
Genre: Creepy hurt/comfort?
Warnings: Character death, generalized spoilers, Aizen being a creepy old man ( and, to be fair, Momo being rather creepy as well ), Momo swearing
Summary: Momo really just wants to be weak.
A/N: If anyone can tell me what genre(s) to put this under on the Pit, I would <3 you to death. I'm not entirely sure what's with the quote at the beginning except that it just seems right somehow.
“Touch is both the alpha and omega of affection.” – William James
The only thing that could match Hinamori Momo’s strength was her weakness.
She had planned this for months, at first only in her subconscious, then in daydreams, and then in the middle of the night, every night, with a small lamp sitting on her bed and a stack of forbidden books in her lap. She had practiced relentlessly, at first in secret, and then under the disguise of learning a different sort of techniques altogether. She had become strong, dammit. It didn’t matter what people said, or what sort of things they whispered behind her back. It didn’t matter that they would forever look at her and see a rather silly, pining girl– little more than a child, really– whom it was their inherent job to pity. She had learned a few things about how to hide one’s motives, and being looked down upon was, she supposed, an intrinsic part of this.
They were right about one thing, though. She was weak too, perhaps weaker than she had ever been before. Her strength only went to feed her weakness, to make it stronger. Because even though all the others thought that she was pathetic, they did not understand the word in the way that she did. No matter what they pretended, it could never be weak to wake up from such a coma, to work so hard. Weakness wasn’t a state of being for Hinamori, it was an indulgence, a goal. Just to be safe, to not even have to try. Just to let someone catch me when I fall. It was worth falling, so long as you made sure that someone would be there to catch you.
And so, she had studied. She had manipulated events. And now, at the end of all, she let herself be weak, as a thin hand pushed her through a doorway so sharply that she tripped over her own feet and was forced to the floor. A few seconds passed in silence. The hand reasserted itself, now positioned on the back of her head, keeping her face pressed to the floor, dripping sweat and blood and tears on what looked like very lovely white marble. She bit her lip, forcing herself not to whimper, but all that it really accomplished was to add a few more small drops of blood to the stone beneath her. Her heart pounded madly, like a starving hummingbird. And with every beat, she felt the worrying weight of the small, spherical object she had shoved down the front of her shihakushou. “I found ‘er”, began the one she still thought of as Ichimaru-taichou. She tried to picture what he would look like right now to calm herself down. Would he still have that weird, omnipresent grin that he had back at Soul Society? She did not know. Even when he had caught her in the room with the hougyoku and nearly killed her, had stabbed her in the side with a white-handled knife, she had forced herself not to look at his face. She was afraid to see anything, now. She was afraid that if even one little detail wasn’t the way she had pictured it, her whole plan would collapse like the poorly constructed house of cards that she knew that it was.
Ichimaru explained, and Hinamori heard a slight shifting of fabric somewhere off in front of her. She caught her breath, and strained to hear every little sound. It was hard, though, because her heart still pounded furiously in her ears. She felt like she was going to be sick. The wound in her side was throbbing now, and stinging in-between throbs.
Just as the sound of her pulse was becoming unbearable and she thought that she would need to break the silence, Aizen spoke up and stopped her heart. No, not Aizen. Aizen-sama, Aizen-dono. Or, the most precious one of all to her, Aizen-taichou.
“You came. I didn’t think you would, not really. And Gin says you seem to have ended up somewhere you were certainly not supposed to be...?”
And she found herself unable to reply. Any words that she might have said were stuck in her throat like flies in a bowl of honey, and she still felt like she would be sick if she opened her mouth. Was it something to do with the knife wound? It was stinging even worse than ever now, and she was beginning to feel woozy. Maybe she had lost more blood than she had thought?
When it became apparent that she wasn’t going to reply, he sighed annoyedly, and tried again. “Gin also says, Hinamori-kun, that when he arrived he saw, much to his ah, concern, that you were there and the hougyoku was...not. And so, he was forced to stab you, yes?”
All she could do in response was whimper. She knew that it shouldn’t, but somehow the fact that he could speak so lightly about her being stabbed bothered her more than anything she had witnessed so far in Hueco Mundo. Doesn’t he feel guilty, even a little bit?
“You should know that Gin had his reasons for choosing that particular knife, instead of, oh say, his zanpakuto. For one thing, that would have killed you far too quickly. And for another, unlike many other techniques, we won’t be able to undo this, no matter how much you beg.”
“I imagine that the injury you have there must be getting quite painful right now, Hinamori-kun. But you shouldn’t worry about that. It should being going numb any minute now, anyway.”
She started, causing the small sphere to bounce dully against her sternum. “P...poison?”
She knew that she probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. She had expected something like this to happen. Hell, she had even fought for it. Besides, she chastised herself, never throw away a perfectly good bargaining chip just because you find it horrible. Chances are, you’ll need to exploit it every way you can.
“The hougyoku. I think that we both know that you have it. And now we both know that there’s nothing you could possibly have to gain by keeping it from me. Hand it over.”
“I...I can’t, Aizen-taichou.” Her hand went instinctively to her breast, as if afraid that the stolen orb would suddenly topple out onto the floor.
“Minutes, Hinamori-kun. That’s it. I’m giving you the chance to give it back now, but trust me, I can wait. But truly, all I’ve ever been is kind to you.” He now took on a tone not unlike that of a teacher lecturing a devoted but hopelessly dull-witted pupil. “You really ought to think more about your own position, Hinamori-kun. Obviously, if you are adamant in your refusal, you won’t be conscious to feel any of it, but still. You hid it in your clothes, did you not? I would imagine that a young lady of your integrity would be, ah, uncomfortable, to say the least, at the thought of a man many, many times her senior– that would be me, Hinamori-kun– undressing her.”
At this, she made a small, startled sound. Perhaps it carried some hidden tone to it of which she was not aware, or perhaps wanton cruelty would have been the order of the day no matter how she had responded. Either way, this immediately precipitated an unpleasant snicker from Gin and a stifled little laugh from Aizen.
“Oh dear me, Hinamori-kun. Don’t tell me that you, ah, get off on that sort of thing. Really, I never would have thought it of my sweet young fukutaichou–”
“Shut up!” No sooner were the words out of her mouth than she wished that she could take them back. She did not think that anyone had ever told Aizen-taichou to shut up before, and there were so many reasons why she wished that she had not been the first. She was starting to shake now, and sob. I must look pathetic.
Apparently Aizen thought so as well. He seemed to be growing impatient now, because there was a sharp sound of someone standing up suddenly, and the noise of footsteps coming towards her. “I’m losing my patience, Hinamori-kun. Give it to me. Now.”
Ichimaru snickered again, apparently pleased to see her put in such an uncomfortable situation. “Gin, this won’t take much longer. Go back and check if she damaged anything. Tell Tousen that he can stay on guard outside the room here, though. He’ll come and deliver it to you there.”
“Aizen-sama.” Gin turned and left the room, the sound of his walking dwindling away into nothing as went further and further down the hallway outside.
“Now then, shall we get started? I meant what I said, Hinamori-kun. Gin won’t have long to wait.”
His footsteps moved closer, and then closer again. Momo counted them in her head, estimating the distance as best she could. Close, closer, a few paces away...now!
People said what they liked about her, for the most part, but no one could deny that she had a natural talent when it came to kidou. The barrier was good, she knew. This had been one of the things that she had been practicing. The footsteps stopped.
“You really have improved. But, so what? Sure, this is good. It’ll probably even hold until after you yourself are dead. But it won’t hold forever, you know. And as I said, I can be patient.”
Momo gulped. This was the time, wasn’t it? This moment was the crux of all of her plans.
“You...you could do that”, she started slowly, nervously. “But I’ve figured out how to do this one really well, and it would be hours, at least. And before I left Soul Society, I left a note saying that I was being abducted. So, I don’t know if they’ll actually come or not, but you’ll probably need most of your...people...to be on the lookout, not in here trying to break through my barrier.”
“You seem to be suggesting that there’s an easier way.”
“Yes. We could...could...make a deal....”
“I’m hardly interested.”
“But it...it wouldn’t cost you anything...just...just....”
“Just say...I just want you to say...to say....” She couldn’t help herself. She was choking on her own words now, more than anything else. She was stressed and although her side had indeed gone numb, the rest of her body was prickling unpleasantly now; and she couldn’t even remember the last time she had slept. She couldn’t help it anymore. She threw up.
Oddly enough, it actually did make her feel a little better. Only a little though, not a lot. And that was when she knew, fully and for sure, that she had to go through with it.
“Say... say you’re sorry.”
“Eh?” And for a second, just a split-second, he did seem truly surprised. After all, she supposed, it was hardly the sort of thing he had grown accustomed to, was it? She shook her head. My Aizen-taichou isn’t like that. He isn’t. Even if my Aizen-taichou doesn’t exist, he’s still mine.
“Say you’re sorry!” She raised her head to look at him, remembering too late that this was exactly the thing that she had been so afraid of doing. However, she needn’t have worried: by now tears were streaming thickly down her face, and they blurred her vision. Outside the clear kidou bubble that she had created, Aizen was a blur of black, white, and brown; the same colors that he had always been to her, anyway. “Just say it and I’ll give you the goddamn Orb. I don’t– Why should I– God, none of this matters to me, I just wish you would say it already!”
There was a pause, and then, “You planned all of this, didn’t you, Hinamori-kun? I thought that it seemed a bit...off.” Now his tone turned smug. “And all because I hurt your feelings, dear? Fine, I’m sorry.”
“You don’t mean that, ta– taichou.” She was suddenly more angry than she had been in a long time. “You’re so damn good at deceiving people! Don’t tell me you’ve just gotten lazy now! You say it like you mean it, you bastard, or you can just shut up and get the fuck away from me!”
She was not sure how long the pause after that one lasted. Her mind was reeling. I just told...just told...Aizen-taichou to get the fuck away, she thought, almost bemused.
“That’s okay, Hinamori-kun. I understand.” Was there a slight change now in his tone? He was really going to do it, wasn’t he? Even after all the planning she had gone through, she realized that she had not thought that he would really go through with it. Maybe Aizen-taichou’s plans are just as fragile as mine, so he would do anything just to keep things on track as much as possible? No. My Aizen-taichou wouldn’t leave things to chance like that. He’ll do it because it’s true. And it is true. It is, it is!
“And I am sorry, you know. I never meant to hurt you, Hinamori-kun, but there was so much that I had to do. You have to believe me when I say that I was only doing what I thought was best for you, for everyone, in fact.” Liar, she thought, but still she listened on eagerly, a flower growing towards the light.
“Please, forgive me?” And that was it. You slimy bastard, she thought vaguely, as the little kidou bubble she had created disintegrated all around her. Aizen had moved closer still, and was now kneeling in front of her. He was, she noticed, wearing black hakama. Are they the same ones, or does he just like the color? Oh god, why do I even care?
“Hinamori-kun”, he continued, voice now absolutely laced with that hideous mock-sympathy that she despised and longed for and tried to convince herself was the real thing. “Have you been getting enough sleep?”
“No, you don’t look like you have. Come here, you poor girl.” Saying that she fell forward after that would missing an opportunity to use the word ‘flop’. So, she flopped, strangely heavily, right onto him. Her sweaty, practically twitching fingers grabbed onto him, small sharp nails digging into his clothes as she tried to pull herself up. It was more difficult than it really ought to have been, but now her body seemed to now be made out of nothing but pins and needles.
And then, somehow, she was in exactly the circumstance she had wanted, although she knew how strongly she ought to be ashamed. She was sitting on his lap, hands clasped behind his back, his chin barely touching the top of her head. She risked a glance behind her, and saw her feet, dangling off to one side. She had lost all feeling in them, and now they looked strangely like dead fish, flopping uselessly on the marble.
“Ai... Aizen... tai... chou....”
“Shh... You ought to be resting now, Hinamori-kun. It’ll be okay.”
Lies, lies, lies. Surely everybody knew that. But it would pointless now to reject them, after having worked so hard for them. You knew, before you began, what the price of these lies was likely to be. You knew. And even knowing how ridiculously high a price it was, you still went out of your way to pay it.
Something suddenly occurred to Momo, and she could not help but giggle at the thought. Aizen was practically hugging her ( and how strange was that? ), and she could not help but wonder if anyone had ever before, in the history of the world, payed this much for a little affection. Ah, but affection was always something that was easy to pay for, no matter where you went. So, what does that make you, Aizen-taichou?
When Momo laughed, she coughed up blood right into his face. Did he say something in reply? She realized that she was not quite sure, although strangely enough, it was not terribly worrying. She wondered vaguely whether she ought to feel bad about Aizen-taichou’s face, but no: at least for these last few minutes he was hers to do with as she pleased. Poor Aizen-taichou, bought and paid for....
When her giggling fit finally stopped, Aizen made a small, disgusted sound at the back of his throat, because there are some things that even crazed despots would rather avoid dealing with.
And just outside the doorway, looking for all the world like a statue, knowing all but telling none of it, stood Tousen Kaname, who heard everything but who knew better than do anything that could upset the greater good. In the dark stillness that made up his world, hearing accounted for quite a lot, and he was much better than most at interpreting even very faint noises. For instance, here was a long, quiet sound that was somehow both wet and dry at the same time, and involved a slight interruption in someone’s breathing. It was most likely the sound of someone wiping something wet from their face. And then, the rustling of someone digging through fabric and finally withdrawing some small object.
And finally Aizen-sama’s voice, his tone full of annoyance and revulsion something that was almost like loathing. “Disgusting”, he hissed, as he kicked at something soft and heavy that lay on the floor.