Zaraki

"Speech."

'Thought.'

"Zanpakuto speech."

I awoke with a gasp, looking about with bleary eyes. I couldn't recognise my surroundings, though I could tell I was in a I could easily tell it wasn't my bedroom. The room was rotted and ragged, centipedes crawled from feculent holes and fed on the other monstrosities that skittered amongst the rotting boards.

I sat up, my head cradled in my hands. 'Where the hell am I?' I thought, looking around for any sign of were I was or how I got there. Other than a door so warped and decayed I was surprised it could even close, the only thing that drew my gaze was a very long and oddly familiar blade.

Leaning against a wall next to the ratty mattress I awoke on was Nozarashi; the ragged sword of Kenpachi Zaraki. My eyes widened as I slowly reached for the blade, all else briefly forgotten. The hilt felt good in my hand; like it was always meant for me. I ran a hand down the blade's ragged edge, watching in even greater surprise as the damage faded away beneath my hand; replaced by small, cruel serration. The bandages bled black around my hand whilst the guard turned crimson.

My reflection in the blade confirmed what I had already begun to suspect; the face of a young Kenpachi Zaraki stared back at me with an expression the man himself had likely never worn, fear. Unlike Kenpachi I was quite capable of feeling such when the situation demanded; and I rather think suddenly waking up in the body of a fictional character in a world of fridge horror was a good enough reason to be concerned.

A soft, almost skittish voice whispered from nowhere, "Wh-who are you?"

My gaze darted around the room, searching for any possible source of the quiet voice; before my eyes slowly settled upon the (my?) sword. "Nozarashi?" I questioned, "Is that you?"

A faint smile spread across my face when I heard a reply; at least I wasn't completely alone. "That's not my name… I am &%&!(+ ^*$."

Even with the knowledge that this was apparently not Zaraki's blade (and part of me was grateful, such cumbersome and uncouth released forms were certainly not my style; though the long, thin, almost elegant straight sword that was it's sealed state was) did not dampen my slightly raised spirits. Learning my blades name would take some time; but I had plenty. Based on the lack of a scar on my face I hadn't even met Unohana yet, meaning I'm still very young (if my youthful face wasn't testimony enough to that).

Kenpachi Zaraki was so powerful the Captain Commander feared what he could do with even a little training; his shear strength allowed him to become one of the strongest captains without any training whatsoever. A dark grin spread across my face; I have Kenpachi's body, his strength is mine… I wonder what he could do with some refinement.

"Well, I suppose I'll figure out your name someday. Regardless, my name is…" I paused, a confused expression on my face. I… I can't remember my name. I can remember the plot of Bleach and a dozen other Anime, hundreds of books, thousands of snippets of useless information… but nothing about who I am. "I… don't have a name… I guess we're equal there, huh?" A melancholic edge had entered my voice. What is a man without a name? When one has nothing to be known as, who are they? What has one with no history; when one does not know themselves? If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle. But what of one who knows only his enemy and not himself?

I shake my head, resting my zanpakuto on my shoulder; I don't have time to wallow in misery over things I wish I wasn't aware I had forgotten. Kenpachi lived in the worst section of the Rukongai; murderers, rapist, thieves, and other scum thrived in this lawless hell hole. I couldn't have asked for a better place to hone the art of murder.

A slightly false smile spread across my face, "Well, everyone needs a name so I might as well give myself one…" I paused for a moment, thinking of what to call myself by. Zaraki was the surname the nameless swordsman gave himself, but he had only a title where a first name should have been. I can't exactly go around referring to myself by a title I don't yet have, now can I? But I could never look at this face in the mirror and see anything but Kenpachi… Kenpachi… "How 'bout Ken, eh?"

The voice, once like a whisper on the wind, now seemed slightly stronger, more confident; if only just. "I… I like it… Ken-kun."

A far more genuine smile spread across my face as I stood and walked to the exit of this shit hovel. I pushed open the door, watching with an utter lack of surprised when it simply fell off its rusted hinges. Grinning, I stepped out into the filthy streets… and was immediately assaulted by a robber.

The man was so covered in filth and grime I could scarcely tell their skin tone; though the madness in their fevered, bloodshot blue eyes that seemed to burn between locks of filthy hair was quite clear. They carried what appeared to be a rusted kitchen knife, the last inch or so appeared to have broken off some time in the past leaving a jagged and not altogether sharp edge where once sat a point. It was obvious his crude weapon was no Zanpakuto; most likely the wretch had simply scavenged the cooking utensil as an impromptu implement of violence as so many before him had.

The verminous man lunged at me, intent on facilitating a marriage between his knife and my throat. Rather than allow what I was sure would be a brief and unhappy bit of matrimony I sidestepped the stab, lashing out with my blade to sever his head. His body continued on the path set by his lunging stab, leaving his head behind as he landed in a crumpled heap. I batted his head away with the blunt side of my blade; the force of the blow causing the head to smash apart on the side of a nearby building like an overripe tomato.

I blink at the smashed skull, "Huh, guess I'm stronger than I thought." I shrug, idly noting the lack of blood on my blade before sheathing it with a slight flourish. I looked at the body for a moment, waiting to see if it would dissolve into reishi or something. It didn't.

My stomach growled as I looked at the body. I had always wondered if Shinigami could benefit from eating souls like a Hollow could; though the man's absolutely disgusting appearance told me eating him might be a bad idea.

The sudden and incredibly sharp pain in my stomach told me I had little choice. I reached down, dragging the man's corpse into my pathetic domicile, leaving his head where it was; I'm already going way beyond my comfort zone eating something so disgusting (let alone cannibalism), I'm not about to scrape so little meat off a wall.

I grimaced at the trail of blood the gushing stump left behind as I dragged it in. Tossing the corpse across the room I walked back out and attempted to kick dirt over the blood; this may be a lawless land, but advertising where the den of a cannibal (soon to be) serial killer was was a rather poor idea.

After spending a few minutes scuffing up the trail I gave up and went back inside, jamming the fallen door back in place. I stared at the crumpled body for a long moment, idly shooing away what insects took interest in the fresh meat (using it as an opportunity to train my accuracy and speed with my blade… most got away) as I contemplated the choice I was about to make.

It hadn't really hit me until I stood there, staring at the results of my actions; I killed this man. 'I'm a murdered… I'm a monster.' I shook my head, trying to rid myself of the thought. 'No, he attacked me first; it was self defense! Besides he's probably killed before; is it wrong to kill a killer?' Even to myself the words rang hollow; I had set out with explicit intent of killing someone, even if the man hadn't attacked me I likely would have killed him anyway. Even if I could justify the murder, how could I ever justify what I intended to do next?

Slowly I drew my blade, tearing my eyes from the corpse to look to my reflection. Could I take this step; if it leads to greater power? Madara was right about at least one thing: only those with power own anything; if you have not the strength to defend what is yours it will be stolen by one who does. 'Morals are weakness. Only sheep need follow the rules of the shepherd; wolves set their own rules.' My reluctance faded, though it was not gone; no amount of adages would completely dispel that niggling little voice in the back of my head that whispered 'Monster… killer…'

My vision refocused on my blade as slowly an unknown woman overtook my reflection; her skin was an ashen gray, an aristocratic face framed with hair as black as a starless night, her crimson eyes glowing with an oddly subdued yet nonetheless unearthly light. I meet her gaze, yellow eyes locking with the red of the spirit of my Zanpakuto. My Zanpakuto, the partner of my soul; the only person I can be sure won't ever betray me. "You and me," I whispered, "we're all we got." Perhaps Kenpachi's memories were affecting me; I could vaguely remember decades of loneliness, the only human contact I had taking place at the end of a blade.

The Shinigami feared Zaraki almost as much (if not more) than they did Ichigo, deliberately hindering his attempts to grow stronger (not that he made many, they didn't exactly have to try hard); only changing their minds when an overwhelming threat was made apparent and they felt they may need his strength. I have no intention of letting myself grow stagnant, but I'm afraid of what they'll do if they find someone of my strength; the Gotei Thirteen (and especially the Central Forty Seven) were not above assassination and they have imprisoned and eliminated threats before.

My grip tightened on my blade, a hard look settling on my face. "Freedom is the privilege of the strong; when you are the strongest, you are the free-est." A grim smile spread across my face, "I will never be a slave; no matter what." I give my blade a slight shake, "You and me, to the very end, eh? Live free or die. Fuck the Shinigami, fuck Aizen, and fuck Yhwach; I'm on my own side. I bow to no one." The only way to be truly free was to be so scary nobody would ever dare to fuck with you; you don't get that scary by being nice.

The woman in the sword smiled, "You and me." she said with a firm nod, "To the very end. My name is Kyuketsuki." Huh, well that didn't take as long as I thought it would.

My eyes turned back to the corpse, "I will carve our names into history with blood and fire. I will make us legends." I kneeled down next to the corpse, bringing the tip of my blade to his flesh. I slid my hand down her length, holding the last few inches for better finesse. I blinked, hearing a faint, breathy moan. I turned to stare at my blade; seeing the woman I presumed was Kyuketsuki, though her cheeks were a slightly darker grey, almost black.

Huh, not a lot of ways to interpret that. I had always speculated if parts of the zanpakuto spirit coincided with the blade; apparently they do. I have to wonder where exactly on her body the blade was; a long, hard appendage that gives pleasure when stroked reminds me of exactly one thing and women usually don't have them.

I shake my head; now is not the time to start worrying about what exactly the blade of my Zanpakuto represents. I roughly tore off the ex-person's clothes to give me access to the meat beneath (cutting off his genitals with a quick slice and tossing them to a corner… where something I don't want to contemplate swiftly dragged them into the impenetrable darkness of one of the many holes in the building) before carefully sliding the tip of my blade just under the carcass's skin but above the muscle; using the stump where his head was to see exactly where that was. The vicious little hooks along the blade's edge made any sort of delicate work pretty much impossible; fortunately I really didn't care. The only reason I was even bothering to flay the man was to try to remove some of the filth from him; I'm uncertain how exactly diseases work in the Souls Society, but there's no fucking way I'm sticking something so filthy in my mouth regardless.

It didn't take me long to carve open his skin enough to reach my free hand in and start peeling back the epidermis. I didn't bother being anything close to gentle; roughly tearing the cadaver's hide off with one hand and carving away and stubborn bits of flesh with my blade (ignoring any uncomfortable noises she made as I did so). Blood flowed sluggishly from the cooling body; an unbeating heart unable to push the blood from placid veins. Strangely, any blood that came in contact with Kyuketsuki seemed to slowly sink into the blade.

"I am a vampire after all…" she paused, seeming embarrassed to speak up. "Blood is the essence of life… by taking blood I take life, by taking life I take power. With stolen blood, stolen life, I can grow stronger." I blinked, is she saying she can take strength from others by drinking their blood? Huh, that rather fits with my desire to take strength from others by eating their flesh like a hollow.

I decided to voice my thoughts, "So… you grow stronger by drinking blood? How so?"

I could feel her hesitancy, something I was beginning to wonder about. "I… I'm not entirely sure. I just know that my strength grows as I feed… and I'm not sure how I know that." She sounded concerned, worried about her unknown source of information.

A crooked grin spread across my face, "Heh, s'pose will find out were that knowledge comes from later; maybe all Zanpakuto just instinctively know their abilities? Regardless, right now we just know that it works; we can work out how later." I didn't mention the strangeness of her not knowing exactly what she would gain by drinking blood (strength was rather vague after all) nor just how odd it was for the sealed form of a Zanpakuto to have any sort of ability; I was trying to reassure her, and I had a feeling raising my concerns would not help.

"Y-yeah. We… we have time." Huh, well that didn't sound confident at all; guess I'm not so great at this whole ''reassuring'' thing.

I hadn't even noticed whilst I was conversing, but I had managed to flay the skin from the cadaver's entire chest. I stared at the exposed muscle beneath for a moment, letting the blood flow sluggishly into my blade. Slowly I slid my blade into the yielding meat, carving a small piece off. My hand shook slightly as I reached down; I grimaced, clenching my fist. With a shake of my head I steeled my nerves. This time my hand didn't shake and neither did I hesitate as I rose it to my mouth. I sighed… and took a bite.

The taste was as unpleasant as I had thought it would be (I subsequently added a way to cook to my list of priorities)... but even so I couldn't stop the massive grin from spreading across my face. It was miniscule, but nonetheless there; I felt an increase in power. Throwing discretion to the wind I tore into the body, blood splattering everywhere as I tore chunks out with my bare hands to shove them down my gullet. The taste of the flesh was irrelevant compared to the taste of the soul; and it was beyond delicious. Honestly, saying it tasted good was untrue; it didn't really taste like anything. But I could feel myself grow ever so slightly more powerful; and that tastes delicious.

Before long the entire body disappeared down my throat, even the skin I had meant to discard. The elation of finding a way to get stronger beyond the norm faded to a dull buzz of background joy as I scowled down at my ruined apparel and abode. I blinked as the puddle of blood on the ground slowly crawled across the ground, flowing into my blade. My scowl turned to a smirk, "Well, ain't that convenient." After Kyuketsuki finished drinking the puddle that surrounded me I raised her to my chest, pressing the flat of the blade to my chest. Feeling blood creep across my body and be pulled from my clothes has to be one of the strangest sensations I've ever felt; even so, within moments I was dry.

I grinned, standing up and walking out the broken door. I stabbed Kyuketsuki into the trail the corpse left, laughing as the mostly dry blood slowly crept across the earth to be devoured by my blade.

As I watched the blood flow my grin faded from my face, leaving a contemplative frown in its place. Another murderer in the Rukongai would never be noticed; a prolific killer with a Zanpakuto and the insane amount of reiatsu unconsciously exuded by Kenpachi? Might attract some attention. Add cannibalism on top of that and they might just think a Vasto Lorde was prowling within the Soul Society; I might just bring a captain down on my unprepared ass if I'm not careful.

My frown turned to a scowl; well, that puts control at the very top of my priorities. I settled Kyuketsuki on my shoulder as I walked back into my hovel. Once more jamming the fallen door into its frame, I sat cross-legged in the middle of the one room building. Using my rather sub-par knowledge of meditation I attempt to gain control over my reiryoku.

It may have been days or perhaps only hours, but I found my core. Well, that's not entirely accurate; finding my reiryoku didn't really take long, but actually figuring out how to manipulate it was quite a bit more difficult. I slowly exercised my control over my power; tooth-achingly slowly I manger to reel in my frankly immense reiatsu. Even after I contained my power within me as best I could I remained sat there; simply feeling my energy and attempting to exert control over it in different ways.

It didn't take me long to notice something odd; there was three different kinds of energy flowing through me. One coiled through me, seeming like tendrils of purple shadowed blood flowing into me from my blade wrapping almost tenderly around and through my soul; it tasted of pain, suffering, violation, lust, blood, destruction, and indescribable joy. One was black as pitch and reeked of agony, loneliness, cold and abject hunger. The last one was pink… and it hated me. The sheer loathing this energy exuded completely obfuscated any other traits it may have had, only the cloying tendrils of bloody power restrained it from actively hurting me; though it seemed to wrap protectively around the dark energy, so closely that I wasn't certain whether it was really two powers at all.

While I could guess the incredibly dense tendrils coming from Kyuketsuki were her power, the other two were a surprise. Again, I could guess the hungry dark was likely a Hollow (though how I could have one when Kenpachi never did was frankly baffling) but the pink energy made no sense. I gently prodded the eye searing energy, watching it move with with intent to harm before what I can only assume is Kyuketsuki surged around it; the touch of the crimson energy seeming to cause the pink incredible torment.

I frowned, gently pulling the tormenting energy away from the pink; this pink, much as it seem to despise me, is still a part of me and torturing a part of yourself is about as far from healthy as a living being can get. Kyuketsuki almost lashed out at my energy, the oddly comforting energy sending a spike of uncontrollable malice out before backing down like a shamed toddler; I even got the impression she was deeply ashamed of even thinking of attacking me. The pink energy twitched in agony, the pain my blade caused it seeming to override its hate, if only for a moment. I took advantage of the opportunity provided and attempted to soothe the energy; my wild yellow power embracing it as comfortingly as I could. Immediately the energy pushed me away, though it was somewhat less aggressive this time; I'm counting it as a victory.

A noise within my rotting sanctum drew me from my meditation with a gasp. My eyes flew open just in time to see a man thrusting his dirt encrusted cock towards my face. Kyuketsuki flashed through the air in a split second, removing the offending appendage and withdrawing a scream from its former owner. All my progress at reiatsu control flew out the window with the phallus, spiking with my rage to lash at my surroundings.

I stood up, a scowl on my face; try to molest me will you? Pitiless eyes watched the man writhe on the floor for a moment before I stabbed my jagged blade into his wound. A dark grin spread across my face as I slowly pushed her deeper within him, eliciting ragged screams. With my vampiric blade piercing him his blood ceased to flow onto the rough floor; though I'm sure he was still bleeding out. I slowly began to saw my blade upwards, her steel teeth chewing through flesh and bone with equal ease. With each retraction her metal teeth pulled up bits of flesh and bone, partially pulling out his intestines as she tore through them. Considering I was deliberately just barely cutting into his spine in the hopes of causing immense pain without making him lose feeling from below that point (and apparently succeeding if his writhing was anything to go by), he lasted far longer than I would have thought; his twitching and screaming (more gurgling than anything, considering the amount of blood bubbling out of his mouth) only ending when Kyuketsuki was part way through his lungs.

I panted, staring down at the mutilated body for a few moments. My attention was drawn back to myself as I noticed my pants were oddly tight. I blinked in shock, "Well fuck, never knew I was that sadistic." Apparently I was aroused by torturing a man to death. "Wow; I am a really bad person." I stared at the evidence of just how messed up I was with a blank gaze; some part of me railing against myself for my arousal. 'What kind of monster am I to get hard from torturing the helpless?' I shook my head, 'No! Self-doubt leads to self-defeat. Doubt leads to hesitance, hesitance leads to lost opportunity, lost opportunity leads to weakness, weakness leads to death. Besides, this was no innocent; he was at the very least a rapist and likely a murderer.' I nodded sharply, eager to accept my own logic and free myself of any guilt.

I shake my head, trying to ignore my raging erection as I settled in for another meal. I noticed now that I have tasted the forbidden fruit of power that I was always hungry; not starving, just hungry. This time I didn't bother flaying the corpse, my last meal told me I would end up eating the skin anyway, though I did feed his balls to the centipedes. The flesh went down easy, disappearing even quicker than the previous body. My teeth, sharper than any human's had a right to be, bit easily through flesh and bone. My hands rendered flesh like soft clay, shoveling handfuls into my ravenous jaws whilst my blade guzzled blood like water, leaving nothing but the tattered rags the man wore to show he ever lived.

I stared at the pile of rags for a moment. "Am I evil?" I ask the empty room. "Am I the villain in someone else's story? Am I a monster?" Two murders and I start breaking down… higher threshold than most, I suppose.

My whispered words seemed to hang in the dusty air for a long while,the silence ringing loudly in my ears. A soft voice hesitantly speaks up, "I think… I think a better question is… can you live with your decisions, your nature?" She paused again, seeming to gather her nerves before continuing, "You can never be happy if you don't accept yourself for who you are… no matter who that is. Remember; everyone is the hero in their own story; even if others see them differently. I will stand by you whether you are savior or destroyer; the only person whose opinion you need care about is your own."

I frowned at nothing for a moment, contemplating her words; could I live with myself. My yellow eyes drifted back to the pile of tattered clothes as I thought, briefly reliving both murders. Immediately I noticed my attempts to justify myself and demonize them but I shrugged them off and tried to look without feeling. It wasn't hard to demonise either man (one attacked me on sight and the other tried to molest me while I meditated) but I wasn't looking for a bandage to put over my feelings; I was looking for what I really felt in those moments. I wanted to know when my reactionary aggression had turned to sadism as I tortured the molester, when self defense had become murder with the first man.

Setting aside my minds instinctive attempts to protect itself from such pure evaluation was just as hard as I expected; I didn't want to acknowledge the darker parts of myself. People instinctively want to view themself in a good light and I was dragging out things my subconscious thought could be harmful. As I watched the murders play out over and over again I slowly came to a conclusion I had known I would; I enjoyed killing, enjoyed causing pain and suffering. Accepting that wasn't hard; what was was acknowledging that I didn't want to stop, I didn't want to get "better".

Accepting the darker parts of yourself, the parts that want to kill, and rape, and torture… it's not easy. Even having only blurry and vague memories of my parents I could remember that murder, rape, and torture are bad things that only bad people do. My thoughts swam, the niggling voice was screaming now, 'MURDERER! MONSTER! KILLER! SCUM!' roaring through my mind over and over again. Only bad people want to hurt others, only monsters want to rape and torture.

Slowly a saying I know I used to say trickled into my thoughts, 'Good and bad are just labels; one side's hero is the other's monster.' I felt myself frown, how was that relevant? I'm nobody's hero; I'm more akin to the dragon the kidnaps the princess, dragging her off to be raped to death in some cave than I am the knight riding out to save her… Knights… my knowledge of knights flashed in my mind. That "noble" knight was just another killer; just as likely to be the kidnapper himself. Were the dragon another kingdom's knight he would just as likely be their hero… Do I not have a side? Do I not count as a side? Why does the dragon acting alone make it a monster but the knight's a "hero" because he has support? Is having a faction the only determiner of hero and villain?

My eyes settle on the faintly smiling face of my Zanpakuto staring at me from out of my blade and an answering grin spread across my face. I slowly nod, "I accept myself. I am the dragon, the rogue knight. I act without the support of a nation; fulfilling my own desires with no regard to anything but my own life and that of my horde… you are my hoard, currently the only treasure I have."

Kyuketsuki raised an eyebrow, "A dragon? A powerful creature that takes what it wants and never gives anything up? Often considered second only to Gods in power, if not being Gods themselves? How… fitting." Somehow I got the impression I was missing some context to that statement.

I shook off the odd feeling, moving to jam the fallen door back into place once more before sitting back down where I had been meditating. "Well… any thoughts on how I should proceed?" I asked. "I readily admit that I'm no super genius; if I tried to throw my hat into the intellectual ring with Aizen and his ilk I rather imagine it would go about as well for me as it had for lunch here." I gestured expansively towards the torn clothing.

"Well… based on you memories, Aizen's most basic motivation was that he was lonely… maybe if you find him while he's still young you can get him on your side; the young are the easiest to manipulate and mold to your will." Her voice took on a darkly reminiscent tone near the end.

I nodded slowly, "Hmm, he would make a fine piece in my budding collection; a sparkling jewel to add to my hoard. Though, there's a couple problems with that plan; number one is that I don't know where Aizen is nor when he was born. For all I know he's already a Shinigami; though I doubt it. Even if I can't collect the man; I only need to avoid his illusions and get to him before he implants the Hogyoku and I can handle him." I wave my hand, dismissing the Arch-traitor; though I'm nowhere near as confidant in defeating the super Shinigami as I sound. Avoiding his illusions is easier said than done, let alone actually hurting him. "Putting Aizen aside for a moment; Yhwach is the true threat; with his host of bullshit powers the only way to kill him is to take him by surprise with an instantly lethal attack… but with his "Almighty" power he can't be taken by surprise. As soon as he wakes up he becomes nigh unstoppable."

"Then don't let him wake up."

I blinked, "That's… brilliant!" I jumped up with a grin. "I could just kiss you! In fact, I will." So saying I promptly kissed her reflection right on the lips. A megawatt black blush sprouted across her face as she stuttered and I grinned at her; I wasn't quite sure what I felt about her, but I knew she was better than being alone. A thought occurred to me and my grin turned to a frown, "One problem though… I have no idea how to get to where he is let alone where that even actually is. Oh, and there's an army of super Quincy between me and him even if I can reach his shadow palace."

Her blush faded as she considered my words, "Well… That strawberry boy had a representation of Yhwach in him… If you can figure out how to capture that spirit I could "convince" it to give up its progenitor; I'm very persuasive."

I stared at her for a moment, gauging her resolve; on the one hand she seemed very shy, on the other she hadn't batted an eye at torture and cannibalism. Eventually I saw what I was looking for; beneath the veil of demure innocence was a well of bloodlust and undirected malice that honestly frightened me. I was barely accepting my own sadism and bloodthirst; seeing it reflected a thousand fold in what was ostensibly a part of my soul was more than a touch disturbing. Apparently my apprehension must have shown on my face for her eyes widened and all traces of naiveté vanished.

"You never need fear me, belovéd host. My hate shall ever face away, my blade shall never pierce you, my scorn falls only on your foes, my thirst only quenched with the blood of those that oppose you." Her serious expression disappeared like mist in a desert, replaced by an imperfect mask of cheer. "Besides, I wouldn't have chose you if I was just gonna off ya part way!"

'Chose?' I thought with a frown, before shaking my head; Zanpakuto lore makes no sense. How can they be both an intrinsic part of your being and be created by someone else? Nonsense, I say. Discarding the errant thought, I focused on what she had said. From my rather limited knowledge on the subject I would have to say my Zanpakuto just gave me a vow of loyalty. The fact that this implied that a Zanpakuto's loyalty couldn't be taken for granted wasn't lost on me; but I had no intention of abusing my blade so it was hardly relevant.

Well then, I suppose I should reciprocate her vow. " I'll give you a similar vow. I will always take your advice and opinion into account," Even though that kinda chaffes my whole "dragon, loner" thing. "And while I doubt it will ever be relevant, your enemies are my enemies. Your pride is my pride, though I've never really put much stock in pride; tends to get in the way in my experience." Where said experience came from I'm not entirely sure; my memories had a blank space surrounding myself.

She gave a faint smile, a deep grey blush settling over her face. I stood up, holding Kyuketsuki aloft before me. I twisted the blade around to meet her eye, smirking at the raised brow I was presented with, "If I'm to have any hope of survival I can't merely hang of Kenpachi's coattails; I need to be better than him. The first step would appear to be learning how to actually use a sword rather than swing you around like a sharpened baseball bat."

She gave an honest to Chaos giggle at that before responding, "And how do you intend to get better at swordsmanship with no instructor?"

I grimaced, she had a point; without any formal instruction I was running off nothing but vague memories of historical knowledge and assumptions. For all I knew going on guesswork was likely to make me develop bad habits; things that a more skilled and experienced swordsman could easily exploit.

"No one wields a Zanpakuto better than its spirit; I will teach you to wield me." My eyes widened slightly, I was honestly surprised, if only slightly. I'd never heard of a Zanpakuto spirit training their wielder; Ichigo's Zangetsu certainly never did, though that may have been do to Hollowfication.

"Hold me like this…" An image flashed in my mind of Kyuketsuki holding her own blade in a specific way. I tried to replicate her stance as best I could; altering it at her command.

It would take me three months to go from "Thug with a sharpened bat" to "novice swordsman" level of skill and ten years to approach mastery; though I didn't sit idle in that time. I continued to throw myself into training and killing; it wasn't long before I began to hear whispered legends of a monster in the Rukongai. Theories ranged from a cannibal Shinigami to a powerful Hollow; neither was quite correct.

The Rukongai is a harsh land, very similar to Hueco Mundo in all truth; the strong survive and the weak die. One of my primary ways of training was to throw myself into battle; killing as many people as I can and devouring there corpses on the aftermath. Another favorite of mine was to hunt individuals down to learn to better suppress my power and move silently.

Problems started however, with what I did when I caught them. At first I merely killed and ate them; but with Kyuketsuki's soft encouragement, what I was more than suspicious was a developing Hollow, and my own desires, I soon started escalating. First it was extended torture (not just a particularly painful killing blow, this was deliberately prolonging ones death to extend suffering)... then it graduated to rape.

The first victim was a pretty little thing; short brown hair and large tits. I had cornered her in an alley, forcing her hands above her head and stabbing Kyuketsuki through them to keep her in place. I hadn't even realised what I was doing until I tore her dress off and held my dick in my hand.

It's a very strange feeling to realise you're a monster, stranger still to accept it. As I looked in her wide green eyes, watching tears flow from them and hearing screams wash over me; I realised that I felt nothing for her. No sympathy, no empathy, no hate, nothing. I wanted to hurt her not because I hated her, but because I knew her suffering would cause me pleasure. In my eyes she had become nothing but an object; a screaming bleeding toy to use and discard. I tried to care, to see things from her eyes, and realised I simply couldn't; I couldn't bring myself to care.

She screamed louder when I entered her, choked sobs and whimpers spiking with each thrust. I roughly squeezed her soft breasts with one hand, the other held her throat. I maintained eye contact the whole time, watching as misery and fear gave way to hopelessness and despair. As the light of hope left her my pleasure spiked and I released myself within her before pulling back.

I stared at her for a long moment, watching tears mix with the puddle of semen forming around her feet; trying to feel something, anything but the cold satisfaction and pleasure that sent a shiver through me. I couldn't; there was no remorse in me, only pleasure. I stared at the broken woman for another moment before pulling my blade from her hands and calmly driving it through her heart.

A long moment passed, silent save for Kyuketsuki words of praise and comfort. I devoured her corpse the same as any other before leaving the alley; slowly walking around the Rukongai. I watched as those who met my gaze cringed and turned away; only the most hardened of monsters stared back without flinching, but even then I could tell they were unnerved.

I turned my gaze to a rare unbroken window, staring at my own reflection as Kyuketsuki whispered soothingly to me. There was something wrong with my face, something missing from my eyes; some vital part of humanity wasn't present in my gaze. My eyes were not quite empty; a dark glint seemed to have replaced the light of life present in most.

Before I knew it my legs had carried me back to my lair. I stood in the long abandoned building for a long silent moment, even Kyuketsuki had gone silent… until I drew her from her sheath. I sat cross legged on the ground with her naked blade sat on my lap; in the decade I had been here I had long since learned Jizen.

I closed my eyes and reopened them in my mind. I stared at the world around me; the familiar red sky and black sun nearly obscured by an endless crimson rain that slowly flooded my mind, the growing puddles disturbed by the harsh wind that seemed to flow in every direction. I couldn't understand it; why would it be raining when I'm not sad? I thought rain was representative of sadness, not… whatever it is I'm feeling.

"The wind and rain are representative of a precarious mental state." A soft voice spoke from behind me; a voice I knew well. I looked over my shoulder and saw Kyuketsuki standing behind me. Looking at her I knew I wasn't empty; I was still capable of caring. I knew because I felt warmth upon meeting her crimson gaze.

The rain began to peter out, the wind dying away as we locked eyes. I slowly rose to my feet, not having noticed myself sinking to my knees. My long stride closed the distance between us quickly.

I wrapped my arms around her and kissed her right on the lips. She returned the embrace, her serpentine tongue flicking out to probe my lips. I let her tongue slip through my teeth, feeling it explore my mouth.

I am a monster who sees most others as nothing but toys; objects to use and abuse however I wish. But the operative word was most; I was still capable of caring, even if only for a very select few. And that was enough.

Five years later I found a young Aizen Sousuke.