Author's note: I wrote this last October by quite a random urge. It was a hit on DeviantArt, I must say.... Show full author's note »
A PrisonerChapter 1
There was banging on the great door of his personal chambers. Aizen lifted his eyelid just far enough to make out the silhouette of the massive door frame, with cracks of light from under and above it. The rest of the room was shrouded in the continuous nighttime darkness that was Hueco Mundo. The banging started again.
“Lord Aizen, your presence is needed! Are you in there?”
He waited for ten seconds, until he could tell the caller was
“Yes,” he replied, coolly and evenly, before there could be another knock. Even though he was still tired, and very angry at whoever had just banged him out of his wonderful dream, he could still retain his calm. He rose from his bed – a much better one than could be found anywhere in Las Noches – and slowly reached for his shirt that was laying across the table beside his bed. He pulled it on, just as slowly, and then quietly stepped for the doorway. Just as he got to it, the banging started up again, this time louder.
“Lord Aizen! Your presence is needed right away, sir! Lord Aiz-!”
“Yes, hello, what is it?” Aizen asked, flinging the door open (to the inside, luckily) and stepping up to come face-to-face with whoever dared to wake him with such insolence. The one who had been calling actually turned out to be one of the servants that helped to run this place. This servant, however, looked twisted and scarred… maybe Szayel had gotten to him?
“Uh… L-Lord Aizen!” the servant said, suddenly becoming aware, seemingly, that he was face-to-face with the grand leader of Las Noches.
“Yes?” replied the great Lord, barely keeping his calm beneath him, but managing to do so with perfection, as he always did. The servant gulped, but managed to keep speaking. Luckily for him, Aizen’s reiatsu was under cover at the moment. Otherwise, he might not have been able to stand while delivering his message.
“Um… Lord A-Aizen, your presence has been r-requested by the Espada Nnoitra and Grimmjow, sir,” he said, stuttering in almost-fear as he did so. He knew that at any moment, Aizen might kill him, possibly for no reason at all. He’d heard too many horror stories to be completely at ease.
“Requested?” he asked, looking down into the cringing servant’s eyes. The addressee quickly averted his vision to the tiled floor, and gulped. “What could get those two to request my presence instead of demand it?”
“I-I’m quite sure they respect you a lot, L-Lord Aizen,” the servant stumbled along, not wanting to set Aizen off on anything that might upset him. “B-but they asked that you come immediately. It is rather important, sir…”
“Important, you say, slave?” Aizen asked, striding past the shriveled Hollow and brushing against him as he did so. The mere density of his spiritual pressure as he swept past caused the servant to cry out in pain and collapse to his knees, grasping at his lungs and trying desperately to breathe. Smirking, Aizen strode on down the hallway, leaving the messenger to recover himself…. Or try to, in the darkness of the massive building.
He decided to take the long way, instead of just cutting a path for himself through the building, and walked calmly as he usually did along through the white, emotionless walls of this dreary place. He really had hoped for a structure much more confusing and exciting than this, but since it would take so much trouble to relocate all of the Arrancars and, now, the Espada, he had just decided to be content with it and leave it how it was. If he ever needed to torture someone into getting lost in this place, he could just rearrange it as he saw fit. That was one nice aspect of the place.
He got lost in his thoughts about the layout of Las Noches, almost forgetting about where he was going in the first place. In the back of his mind, he was still heading towards Nnoitra’s and Grimmjow’s spiritual pressures, but he slowed down and began to inspect the hallway as he went. It was such fun to waste other’s time, especially Nnoitra and Grimmjow’s. He became so wrapped up in inspecting one section of the wall that had recently been morphed, that he didn’t even hear, or sense, Gin approaching.
“Why, Lord Aizen,” Gin said in his signature, purring voice, right behind Aizen, but far enough away not to get sliced clean through with a sword, should his master decide to use one. Aizen started, and glanced around quickly at him, having been surprised. He forced himself not to scowl.
“Gin,” he said simply. “What is it?”
“I’m afraid you’re needed,” his former lieutenant stated, that wide grin of his slapped on his face. His eyes remained closed and set off his ‘Gin’ look perfectly.
“What, you too?” Aizen asked, turning and walking off in the direction of the reiatsu of his destination. “I’m guessing this really must be urgent if they sent you to get me.”
“Precisely, sir,” Gin said, falling easily into step right behind him. “Maybe it would spur you to move faster if I gave to you the reason why the Espada summoned you?”
“That would help, Gin,” Aizen said, in a slightly annoyed tone.
“Well, we have a prisoner,” replied the latter, suddenly catching the attention of the former.
“Prisoner?” he asked. Gin nodded.
“Yep,” he said.
“What prisoner? Why? And where did you capture him? Who is he?” Aizen shouted, becoming fed up with his right-hand man’s personality.
“You’ll have to ask him that yourself, I’m afraid,” Gin purred, opening a garaganta inside the building, plowing a pathway through the structure. He flash-stepped through it, beckoning to Aizen before he did so. Growling under his breath, Aizen followed him, and, being more powerful, arrived before Gin did by a breadth of a second.
Before him, he saw a scene so unusual it genuinely shocked him. There stood Grimmjow and Nnoitra – both looking bored – holding the prisoner between them. He was suspended half in the air and half out of if, because Nnoitra’s arm was so high off the ground, but it wasn’t his odd position that shocked Aizen. It was his face. The color of his hair… the shape of his mask.
“It’s… it’s you,” he said, stumbling over his own words for the first time in his life. The prisoner looked up at him and sneered in disgust.
“Aizen Souske,” he stated flatly. Aizen stared back, his expression evening out and becoming hard as he realized what must be going on.
“Arturo Plateado,” he replied.
A moment passed in silence, as the two stared each other down, looks of recognition in their eyes. The turquoise-haired Arrancar tried to shake off his captors, but to no avail. The sixth and fifth Espada refused to let him escape, especially when they were right in front of both of their superiors. Still, there was silence.
“Um, Lord Aizen?” Grimmjow finally asked, snapping everyone out of their little, seemingly evil moment. Aizen turned his malevolent glare to the sexta Espada, angrily awaiting an explanation for the interruption. “We found him hanging around outside the back gate. We got him by surprise, but he still tried to fight back.”
“Didn’t make it very far,” Nnoitra put in. His grin was even worse than Gin’s.
“That’s odd,” Aizen said, slowly, turning his gaze back to Arturo’s. “If my memory is correct, you are one of the most powerful Arrancars alive. Yet, you fell to two of my weakest warriors?”
Grimmjow and Nnoitra winced.
“I didn’t fall to them, Aizen Souske,” Arturo replied, repeatedly using Aizen’s last name to show disrespect. The great ex-Soul Reaper didn’t seem affected by this, and instead took two steps towards his old acquaintance.
“Whatever it is that you did do out there, Arturo, it probably doesn’t mean you came here to call on me socially.” He stopped about three inches from the Arrancar’s face, letting part of his spiritual pressure leak out and overwhelm the person he was talking to. “What is it you’re here for, outcast?”
“I’m here…” he started, trying not to let the reiatsu get to him. Grimmjow and Nnoitra on the other hand, had stumbled backwards and away, unable to stand even a little bit of Aizen’s immense power. Arturo continued. “…to kill you, Aizen Souske.”
There was a pause.
And a laugh.
“Kill me?” Aizen scoffed, suddenly becoming amused. He let out a loud, barking laugh, doubling over in an attempt to control it. However, it continued to come out, and he set off on a loud stream of laughter. Arturo scowled at him, and stood, now free of his bonds. Gin, however, was instantly at his side, grabbing onto one of his free arms and cutting off his escape.
“Kill me?!” Aizen roared, laughter still bubbling out of him. “How, in your right mind, could you conceive to kill me?! I am the most powerful Soul Reaper alive! And not only that, but I have obtained the power of the Hogyôku! There is no way you could have even attempted to kill me!”
“If your memory is correct, Aizen Souske,” Arturo suddenly burst out, angry enough to make Gin’s eyebrows go up. “Then you will remember that I singlehandedly destroyed half of your Soul Society’s army! And that was nothing hard at all! Killing you will be mere child’s play!”
“I’m afraid that I’ll have to disappoint you, Arturo,” Aizen said, coughing a little into his hand to appear at ease. “You’re not going to kill me. I’m going to kill you.”
“Oh?”Arturo asked, looking deep into Aizen’s eyes with resentment and anger.
“Yes,” replied the former, drawing his zanpakuto. This was enough to make Gin’s eyebrows go up even higher than before. Arturo’s eyes narrowed to golden slits.
“Try,” he replied, grinning.
“Oh, I already am,” Aizen replied. Gin, knowing all, stepped carefully away from Arturo’s side, taking a few steps until he made contact with the wall, and knowing he was therefore safe from anyone’s wrath.
For at that moment, Aizen shattered, it seemed, into a hundred thousand pieces of tiny shards of mirror. Arturo’s eyes widened instantly as he realized what must be going on. He whipped around, only to lock eyes with the real Aizen.
“Goodbye,” the former captain said tauntingly. He lunged forwards, sword point at the ready, and attempted to spear Arturo straight through the chest right below his Hollow hole. However, he didn’t expect his former follower to dodge the attack using flash step, and appear to his right. Aizen’s sword met thin air, and his lunge was broken, allowing Arturo to unleash a wave of his own immense reiatsu, surprising both of them, but not downing them. Instantly, his own zanpakuto was unsheathed, and he lunged for Aizen.
However, Gin had unsheathed his own sword and had leaped in the way, using flash step, blocking the blow with a clang of metal. Aizen immediately appeared behind Arturo and went to slash him from behind, but the Arrancar was too quick, and ducked out of the way, sending Aizen’s sword straight into his subordinate.
“Oops,” thought Aizen as Gin fell to floor, a deep wound across his shoulder. With no time to think anything else, he whirled around just in time to counter a death blow from Arturo’s blade. The swords slid against each other’s blades until their hilts locked, as did the opponent’s eyes. Aizen’s were full of fury at his adversary, and Arturo’s were practically bursting with revenge. They pushed with all their strength against each other, trying to use muscle to out-power each other and force their opponent to the floor. While doing this, they inadvertently unleashed even more of their powerful spiritual pressures, filling the room with a crushing force.
Barely able to stand, let alone keep his sword up, Gin made his way slowly towards the duo, readying his blade. The reiatsu that filled the room nearly crushed his mind into oblivion, but he managed to keep a steady path through the room. The two of them were nearly at the point of killing each other, they were pushing against each other so hard. Their swords were creaking under the pressure, and their upper bodies were practically drenched in sweat after even such a short struggle. Gin could sense that both of them still had some reiatsu hidden away inside them, and that they were going to unleash it. He’d better hurry. He quickly stepped up towards Arturo, unnoticed because he was staggering under such pressure, and with one, swift movement, brought his sword in for the kill.
Aizen, still pushing with all his spiritual might, was surprised, mildly, when Arturo’s eyes suddenly flew open wide, and let out a grunt of pain. The strength left his arms, it seemed, and Aizen pushed him backwards and to the floor without a second thought. Gin pulled his sword out from Arturo’s side just in time for the Arrancar to slither to the floor, blood instantly pooling beneath him in a puddle of bright red. Aizen smiled down at him triumphantly.
“As you can see, Arturo Plateado, you can’t kill me,” he said in a sneering tone. Arturo, gasping for breath and clutching at his side under his arm, darted his gaze at Gin.
“Y-you didn’t d-defeat me… coward…” he managed to gasp out. Aizen glanced at Gin as well, who was leaning against the wall, holding his shoulder, his big grin toned down to just a little smile.
“I realized that if you continued to unleash your spiritual pressure, you might end up killing Grimmjow and Nnoitra,” he said, slowly, motioning at the two writhing figures on the floor. “And that probably wouldn’t have been good.” Aizen scowled at him, dismissively.
“Well, at any rate, Arturo, this means you wouldn’t have gotten far, even if you had managed to injure me in some way.” He glanced back down at the turquoise-haired Hollow. “You would have been struck down by my subordinates… all of them.”
“Weak….ling…” Arturo managed to say before catching his breath and tightening his grip on his wound. It felt as if his lung had been punctured… and it hurt. Bad.
“Oh well,” Aizen said, mostly to himself. “Well, I’m going to get rid of you. Your face has ceased to amuse me. Gin!”
“Yes, Lord Aizen?” asked his lieutenant, gritting his teeth in pain from his wound, but trying not to let it show.
“I want you to dispose of this… trash,” he said, borrowing his fourth Espada’s favorite insult. It seemed to fit the situation. By now, Arturo’s blood had stained the floor around him, and his entire side of his outfit, and his breathing had become more ragged, allowing Aizen another smile at the state of defeat of his adversary.
“Of course, Lord Aizen,” Gin said, sheathing his zanpakuto and shuffling towards the prisoner. He took Arturo by the torso under the arms – which included putting his hand directly over the wound he’d given him – and started to drag him away. As he was lifted up to Aizen’s height again, Arturo spit in the face of the former Soul Reaper.
“I hate your kind,” he said scratchily. “And I will kill you all!”
“Go ahead,” Aizen said, calmly. “Try.”