There was an exception to every rule, no matter how concrete. Especially when it concerned a man like Aizen Sousuke, one who made it his mission to bend or break every rule possible.
The truth of the matter was that as much as Yamamoto’s prattling annoyed him and Byakuya’s perfect composure rankled him, there was always one person he reserved his deepest hatred for.
He hated this man even more than Shunsui and his drunken disregard for everything, including his firm grasp on a power Aizen wished he could obtain.
Far more than Unohana’s unfailing gentleness or the fact that nothing could ever disturb her.
Greater than Zaraki’s bluntness, his freedom to be himself, and Mayuri’s disgusting eccentricity.
It went beyond even the genius of Urahara and Hitsugaya.
Contrary to popular belief, there was one person in Seireitei, or truthfully no one now that he had gone, that did not like Ukitake Jyuushiro.
It wasn’t even so much an issue of like.
Sousuke loathed Ukitake Jyuushiro.
He poured hatred into the older shinigami’s existence with as much emotion as he could muster. On the outside, he was nothing if not the same tender and generous Aizen, smiling at everyone he met. Yet, inwardly, he seethed in a flaming pool of resentment.
He despised the other captain for his power, insurmountable and beyond comprehension, yet trapped within that frail and useless body. Aizen himself had only been witness to Ukitake’s skill and strength once, and it had remained abundantly clear that there was even more simmering beneath the surface. And yet, an impromptu coughing fit had ended it before Aizen could even begin to fully appreciate the grandeur.
A waste of reiatsu, he had reasoned.
He loathed Ukitake for his beauty, for long and flowing white hair. For that damned inherent grace Aizen could never quite grasp with his broader frame. For the unfailing acceptance glinting behind dark eyes that were very close to an onyx gleam. They were all parts of Ukitake he could not mimic, despite how desperately he wanted to.
Further, he loathed the man for the desire he unwittingly raised inside of Aizen himself. He hated Ukitake for the fluttering the man caused in his heart, for the fact that Jyuushiro had never looked at him as anything more than a friend. A much cherished friend perhaps… but just a friend nevertheless.
Most of all, he hated the other captain because no matter how much he smiled or how kind his words, he was nothing compared to Jyuushiro’s unending benevolence. Everyone would always love Ukitake more, would always see him as the perfect gentleman, leaving Sousuke in the shadows… making him forever second best.
He loathed Ukitake since, in the end, he had had the last word. Even if Aizen’s own had lingered longer and echoed louder, Ukitake’s would be the ones remembered, forever resonating inside of Sousuke.
For that one brief and agonizing moment, Aizen had doubted himself and his own resolve. For a single instant, he had wanted nothing more than to apologize, to throw himself at Ukitake’s mercy.
And the truly sad thing was… Jyuushiro would have forgiven him.