Arc: Winter War -- an AU co-write with incandescens and sophiap
Characters: Gin, Kira, and others
Rating/Warning: R for language, torture, and character death
Summary: King Gin is on top of Soul Society.
Notes:This is a rather dark AU co-plotted with incandescens and sophiap. The war against Aizen went very badly. Nothing is sacred and no one is safe. And an additional note is that I was remiss and didn't post a notification when incandescens's "Soi Fong: En Garde" went up, but here it is as well.
Links: previous chapters
9. Momo: Trust No One
10. Soi Fong: En Garde
Encoded to the 28th Publication of "The Tale of Heike" through a juxtaposition of the date written for the page number, and the number of days since Kage entered Seireitei for the word count, and the katakana used for the Medieval Chinese-script text against the hiragana for the Japanese text of the message itself.
The rule of law in Seireitei has deteriorated badly in the last few months. While the bulk of the population has seen evidence of the despotic tendencies of our new ruler, there has been little outright rebellion against it. The people of Seireitei have never been that good at not sticking out; but they're learning quickly.
Retaliation is extremely harsh against those that defy his rule openly, and the open cruelty of his punishments has made all action extremely covert on the side of the resistance.
This aids our cause as there is extreme resentment building against the present regime. It is an avalanche awaiting a trigger point. I have high confidence in my ability to deliver more power than I'd hoped for at the beginning of this assignment.
Hirokawa Mayu did her best to hide behind a pillar as the man on the rack screamed and screamed and didn't stop screaming. Ichimaru Gin looked bored, picking his nails even as his burly assistant kept tightening the screws to horrifying popping and crackling sounds.
There was no way to see which way those slit eyes were looking, and the Fourth Division healer didn't want to be the one that finally caught that mad silver gaze.
"Stop." Gin said, and the assistant stopped throwing his body weight into the device. The screams continued for a little longer, and then ended in pants and sobbing breaths. "Tell me who you're working with, who gave you food and support?"
The man on the rack rolled his head in whimpering denial.
"Damn me if I don't hate the strong ones," Gin drawled with a sigh and signaled to the rack man again: more screams made Mayu put her hands over her ears.
"Come on, tell me," purred that soft drawl as the screaming died down. "Or I'll just haveta use you as an example, the Hollows in the pits are always hungry. Won't ya just love being just torn ta bits?"
Mayu shuddered even as the man moaned.
"Hell, if you give me what I want, I'll have little Mayu-chan there heal ya right up, you'll be right as rain. Justa few words, names of guys that can stick up for themselves, huh?"
The moaning rasp of breath made Mayu close her eyes hard. The sound of spitting made her eyes snap open, to see Gin grimace, and wipe his cheek off before shaking his head, his face hardening.
"Hmm... I think I've just thought of something worse. Mayu-chan, come here."
Trembling, Mayu walked up, "Y...y... yes... s... s... sir?"
"Heal him. Heal him up good."
Mayu felt her jaw drop.
"Heal him all up, so we can play this fun little game again..."
Mayu wasn't sure which of them whimpered more, the man on the table or herself.
Kira felt hungry all the time. He made little cakes, cookies, snacks, cream horns, and red bean mochi balls; and he ate them and shared them with anyone that even looked at him, until no one seemed to see him any more.
He did his best to just ignore or work around the funny bone spurs he'd gotten since... since...
He ate another cake.
Ichimaru-sama walked into Kira's rooms, and he shone like an angel. Kira bowed down to him as was proper for a humble man before a god.
"Come on, Izuru, I have something I want you to do."
Kira followed his master through the throne room that used to be the meeting room for the Central Forty-Six. The chambers now echoed emptily with the scattered sounds of people running either toward Ichimaru-sama to bow to him properly, or away as quickly as they could run.
Ichimaru-sama went through the elaborate passes needed to open the seven locks on the Chambers which were always closed, now, and sent his bodyguards ahead of him to do their job. There was no screaming today.
His hopes were raised when they met a guard detail outside the building, all surrounding a battered man with chains on his arms. His reiatsu made Kira drool. Like strong wine and beef on a cold day, but there wasn't the sweet tang of fear. His anger and courage boiled up when Ichimaru-sama said, "All right, boys, let's get this little traitor to the Pits."
The old Hollow Pits had always been empty before, as far as Kira knew, but now they were in use as often as Ichimaru-sama could find examples to be made in them. Hollows of all shapes and sizes were kept in the Pits and people thrown down. Usually. Once in a while someone was too strong for the normal run of Hollow. That's when Kira would get his chance to please Ichimaru-sama
As they drew closer the guard detail was more careful about clearing a path about them. There was a crowd at the nearest Pit, some sitting in the common stands, some watching from Family platforms. A few lower house nobles had a small entourage and a servant with umbrellas for the women. The crowds were bigger now, filled with people that used this as a regular form of entertainment, regulars that had their spots for observation.
But Ichimaru-sama held Kira back. "I want this one to last a while, Izuru, jus' hold on."
Kira knelt by Ichimaru-sama's knee as the man was unchained and shoved over the lip of the Pit. The crowd roared almost as loudly as the dozens of trapped Hollows in the hole as the prisoner shoved off the wall in order to jump off the skull of one of the Hollows. Ichimaru-sama laughed his wild laugh, and then brandished a sheathed zanpakutou. "Here... try and make a fight of it, will ya?!" he called, and threw the sword at the prisoner.
The man caught it, put his back to a corner, and defended himself against the Hollows. He and the sword moved as one to cleanse each hungry ghost that came right at him. Kira keened softly; that was what he wanted to be doing, cleansing those Hollows, that was his duty; but the hunger gnawing at his heart, his soul, and belly made him want to eat up the one Ichimaru-sama wished dead.
Then five Hollows ganged up on him all at once. One leapt up into the corner to fall behind him and take a chunk out of his shoulder, the other lamed a leg even as a third snapped his left arm above the elbow while he cleansed the two that had charged in from his right. He managed to turn the point of his sword on the mask of the one on his leg, but screamed as the one on his arm shook him as a terrier would shake a rat. The one on his back took another bite at the back of his neck. Kira drooled helplessly as the man was ripped apart. He whimpered softly and Ichimaru-sama stroked his hair.
The crowd applauded and settled back, calling for tea or sweets. Kira's stomach growled.
"Hungry, my pet?" Gin asked.
Kira nodded, blushing and ashamed.
"Patience, Izuru, patience, your time will come. Your time will come."
Gin watched and seethed behind his grin. He'd gotten squat from the damned arrogant pup after a second session. A threatened third hadn't gotten fuckall either, and after getting called a Puppet King, he'd had enough. Showed him who was King.
Given the asshole a better sendoff than he deserved. Gin liked seeing the guy's legs getting eaten off while he screamed. The crunches had been satisfying.
He had this all under control.
He was keepin' everyone safe. Rulin' all this was easy as cookin' noodles. Take out the bad guys, the ones that were upsetting things. Keep rooting out all the idiots that wanted him gone.
Find 'em, eliminate 'em. An iron hand, under a smile no one could fathom, and he had everything under control. The sick loser was probably dead on a hillside in the snow. The rebels and mutterers were getting harder and harder to find, so there must be fewer of them. He had everyone and everything else under control.
The Houses were licking his feet, with their so-polite clapping, their pavilions against the rain. They had kowtowed to him the most easily, and it was good to see their stiff necks bend to him. Ha, who woulda thought some rat from the deserts of Rukongai would have them bending to him? He smiled as he watched the Rukongai urchins jumping up and down and screaming in delight as the Hollows fought over the last scraps of the rebel, licking the walls for his blood. That's what that asshole deserved, fighting him.
He stroked Izuru's soft blond hair. It was jus' like old times, Izuru doing every damned thing he told him to do, all the other minions running around whenever he said go. Top of the heap. The whole damned Soul Society heap, built on the bodies of the wicked and the innocent alike. He sure liked being on top.
Lot better standing up here on the lip of the Pit than howling and slobbering at the bottom.
Lot better than bein' thirsty and hungry all the time.
Lot better than trying to get across the sand without water or food.
For an instant, Gin's hand trembled. He remembered soft peach-colored hair and storm-gray eyes. That was what he had to do next: he'd already sent out search parties, maybe he needed to go out and look around himself. How could anyone miss her? Matsumoto Rangiku couldn't be hiding from him, she must be hurt somewhere, needing him. Kira had said that he'd stopped her bleeding as best as he'd been able to before the False Karakura had tumbled to the ground.
He trusted his Izuru. He'd never lie to Gin.
The crowd cheered as the guards brought out another prisoner, and he felt Izuru quiver like an eager hound at his feet.
He was King. Now all he needed was his Queen.