Summary: Really...it was disgusting, how people allowed themselves to be led.
Rating/Warnings: R, sexual references/violence; spoilers for events in the Soul Society arc
Pairing: Aizen/Hinamori, Aizen/Gin
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach.
Original story: Blood Roses by jaina
Many many thanks to angstymcgoth and lady_ganesh for beta, and to maeveth for advice and listening to me whine about writing our favorite evil overlord.
Aizen Sousuke had long since honed his ability to determine someone's potential in serving his cause.
Abarai Renji had been a rare misstep; having spent his entire life avoiding being taken advantage of on the streets, he was too willful to be of use as a direct subordinate. The boy was a born brawler, so sending him to the Eleventh was easy enough and no one was the wiser.
Kira Izuru was a natural for vice-captain once he'd gone over to the Third. He was a constant, reliable source of amusement for Gin--weak enough to toy with, but strong enough not to immediately break. In battle he came alive with a viciousness born of his absolute loyalty.
And to be quite honest, once you were one of Gin's subordinates--one of those he paid attention to, anyway--you really weren't fit to serve beneath anyone else.
Hinamori Momo was painfully eager, the smallest kindness sending her into starry-eyed delight. Molding her was simple. Make her feel valued. Make her feel needed. Give gentle encouragement and guidance as she developed, and she would follow his slightest wish, spoken or unspoken.
A pawn's role was essential, even if the piece itself was not.
Hinamori advanced quickly through the ranks of her new division, and when Gin was promoted to captain, Aizen chose her as his new vice-captain.
In her eagerness to prove her worth, she managed to get herself sliced open on their first mission together. The urgency with which he came to her side wasn't entirely feigned; he had a timetable, and the loss of a subordinate as willfully blind as Hinamori would set him back.
He could work around it, of course, but would rather not if it wasn't necessary.
Aizen kept his voice soothing as he began the healing kidou. "You didn't need to step in like that, Hinamori-kun. I could have dodged that hollow. There was no need to risk yourself."
"You have to be able to count on me," she replied, her face pale and earnest as she clutched his sleeve. "I don't want to let you down."
"Ah, Hinamori-kun." He finished, letting his hands linger on her waist as he helped her stand. "Do you know why I chose you as my vice-captain?"
She shook her head, unconsciously leaning into his touch.
"I chose you because I have faith in you. There is no one I would rather have as my vice-captain, Hinamori-kun. But as far as you've come, I see how far you can go. You have such potential. Together, I think we can bring that potential out. Do you agree?"
She nodded vigorously, blushing as she straightened. "Yes, Captain Aizen."
"Good. Then you've got to take care of yourself." He laid a hand on her shoulder. "I'm counting on you, Hinamori-kun."
She ducked her head, murmuring as he smiled down at her. Really...it was disgusting, how people allowed themselves to be led.
"And how is Momo-chan?"
Aizen smiled, turning away from his desk as Ichimaru Gin entered his quarters. "She's well." It was late, and he was dressed to turn in.
Gin inhaled deeply, the lamp flickering over the sharp planes of his face. Aizen was certain Gin could smell her; she'd only rushed off a few minutes before, blushing and stammering, unable to repress the utter joy shining from her face as she adjusted her uniform.
Hinamori had all but fallen into his bed earlier that evening, all pink cheeks and wide eyes, self-conscious of her slight curves and inexperience. He'd been gentle, swallowing her small cry at the initial pain and later reassuring her as she fussed over the marks her nails had left in his skin.
"She's certainly growing into her position."
"Hinamori-kun is coming along nicely," Aizen agreed. He initially thought sleeping with her might be overkill, given her already extreme devotion. But it was little enough effort to more thoroughly secure her loyalty.
Gin crossed the room to kneel in front of Aizen, his captain's robe pooling on the floor beneath him. He slid pale, slender hands up Aizen's legs, pushing aside the folds of his yukata.
"Ah," he murmured a moment later, his breath warm. "She's a sweet girl."
Aizen let his head fall back as he sighed. "I knew you would think so."
Aizen looked down on Hinamori with satisfaction as she clung to him outside the Central 46. She'd performed exactly as needed, every step of the way. But her purpose had been fulfilled and he had other pieces in play. So he left her crumpled and whimpering on the floor, the shock and disbelief in her eyes so strong there was no room for pain. She would live or she would die, he mused as he walked away.
Her fate no longer concerned him.
They met again on the field of battle. Hinamori had always been a resourceful fighter, using her kidou as a perfect complement to the whip-quick strikes of her zanpaktou. To his surprise, she'd improved enormously, managing to catch him low across his belly.
"Ah, Hinamori-kun," he smiled, amused despite himself. "So it's you, after all."
Her eyes were hard and clear for the first time since they'd met; thinking for herself obviously agreed with her. Nevertheless, she seemed surprised to have landed a strike, barely reacting when his own blade slid out of her body. She staggered backwards, remaining upright even as she pressed an arm against her wound.
High-level shinigami fell on him like wolves. Kyouraku Shunsui looked grave and strange without his pink robe, hair straggling around his shoulders and blood dried down one side of his face. Abarai Renji and Kurosaki Ichigo both looked worse for wear, and yet still quivered with their desire to fight. Shihouin Yoruichi clamped a hand on Kurosaki's wrist, while Kuchiki Byakuya needed no more than a look to keep his subordinate in line.
The hard light in Hinamori's eyes stayed with him even as she disappeared from his sight behind black robes. How interesting; he'd been mistaken once again, it seemed. She'd not only survived, but proven herself rather more adaptable than he'd anticipated--and now he wouldn't be able to properly enjoy it.
Reiatsu rushed and howled in his ears as he summoned his bankai.
Such a pity.