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It was when you joined Squad 3 that we began to drift apart. Well, more accurately, you drifted away from me. It was gradual at first, but as time went on, it got more and more obvious that for some reason you just didn't want to be near me. Couldn't look at me, couldn't speak to me. I didn't understand why, but I always assumed it was my fault. I wondered if it was because of my actions that night, so long ago, when I touched you like that. I thought maybe I'd offended or degraded you. I had no idea the truth was much, much worse. And even though I know now it might have cost either of us our lives if you had, I still wish you'd told me. If I could turn back time, and revisit these moments between us in the flesh, instead of just remembering like this, those years where our friendship fizzled out would be the times I revisited over and over again- so I could replay them until I got it right. Even now I don't know what the "right thing" to do would have been, but… I'd try over and over until I made things okay for you. Even if that just meant that you had someone to listen to you, someone to hold you, someone to tell you that it wasn't your fault and that you would eventually recover from it. But I couldn't do anything then, and I still can't now. In some ways I guess it's better that I never knew. It would have killed me to stand by and watch, just as helpless as you were.

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"Hey man. You look tired- why don't you come have a drink with me and Renij? Might help you relax a little." Shuhei clapped his younger friend on the shoulder as he passed him in the hallway, taking his sallow complexion and dark eyes to mean that he was overworking himself. Becoming lieutenant was hard work, Shuhei knew that. He probably looked just as tired as Kira did, really. But he couldn't explain the tension that rippled through that shoulder as his hand rested on it.

Kira looked at him then his eyes instantly flicked downward again as he replied in a flat monotone, "Thanks, Hisagi-san, but I have a lot of work to do. Perhaps another time." With that, he shrugged off Shuhei's hand and began to walk away, head down.

Shuhei jogged up behind him insistently, and grabbed his wrist. "Aw, come on, that's what you said last time, and the time before that! We never see you!" He smiled as he gently chided his friend, trying to keep his tone light so as not to belay his underlying worry. Kira twitched and immediately withdrew his hand to his chest, but not before Shuhei spotted a dark red bruise that ran along its underside.

Rope burn.

"I'm very sorry, but I really can't."

Shuhei stood and watched Kira leave, face distorted in confusion.

"Kira…." He said softly, lost for words. His fellow lieutenant did not reply, or perhaps didn't hear him. He just carried on walking quickly away, fists clenched by his sides.

I wonder how he got a mark like that, Shuhei mused. It seemed kind of an unusual training injury, although it was plausible. Maybe he'd gotten experimental with some girl. That seems unlikely too. Shuhei went back to work, and soon forgot about the altercation. Tousen-taicho was piling more and more work on him these days, he seemed to always be busy or out of the office. But later that night when Shuhei staggered back to his empty quarters after drinking with Renji and Rangiku, when he laid himself down on the bare futon and closed his eyes, all he could see was a plum-red bruise on a pale wrist, and sad, tired eyes that constantly avoided his.

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When I finally got back to my barracks, I was summoned almost immediately by Ichimaru-taicho. I hoped it was just because I forgot to do a report or there was an emergency patrol or anything else…. But it wasn't. I could tell from the type of grin he had when I walked in. It wasn't gleeful, it hardly ever is… It wasn't teasing like it usually is either. It was completely lecherous. My heart dropped and I began to feel sick, but I bowed just like I always did.

"Ichimaru-taicho, did you need me for something?"

He chuckled, as if he knew, too, that I already knew the answer, "Silly Izuru…. Why else would I call you, hm?"

I didn't reply. I just straightened myself up and watched as he pushed his chair out from his desk and leaned back, staring at me with those unnerving eyes and waiting. I knew what he was waiting for, but I hesitated. I knew it would end up being worse for me, but for some reason, I hesitated for a long moment before walking over and kneeling in front of him.

"Sure took you long enough, Izuru. I thought you were never gonna come over here." He started petting my head as I undid his hakama, not because he was fond of me, but because I was his pet. His loyal dog….

I finished undoing his fundoshi and quickly took him into my mouth, trying to concentrate on something else. I'd had enough practice already to know the quickest way to get this over with. I swirled my tongue, took him in to the hilt, and sucked as hard as I could as he pulled my head back and forth.

He usually holds my head and forces me to swallow, but this time he got it all over my face. Probably because I hesitated…. He knows I'll stay in the bathroom for a half hour washing my face afterwards, afraid to go out in case I missed some.

I stood up, bowed and turned to leave, hoping that was all he was going to do to me. He didn't stop me, but a knock just as I got to the other side of his desk did.

"Ah, I wonder who that could be…. Come on in," I quickly turned my back to the door and fumbled with some papers on the desk, making myself looked occupied. I don't know who it was or what business they had, I couldn't hear anything over my heart racing. All Ichimaru-taicho did was calmly scoot his chair back under his desk.

"Now, now, Izuru…. I know you're not this rude. Why don'cha say hi to our guest?" I heard the visitor say something about that not being necessary and I wished I could agree with him, but I had to do what I was told….

I slowly turned my head, barely even halfway, hoping with all my being he couldn't see my sullied face through my hair, "Hello… Don't mind me; I'm just looking through some papers…." I have no idea what the squad member's response was, as I quickly turned back to the papers and tuned out the conversation again.

Once I heard the door close, and I was sure the visitor was gone, I tried to escape to the bathroom again.

"Izuru, where do you think you're going?" His voice was calm and sounded genuinely curious. Apparently he thought I was foolish to think we were finished.

"I…. Did you need me for something else, Taicho?" When I turned back to his desk, I saw him sweep the papers I was fumbling with off his desk and tap on the surface with his finger.

"Get undressed and come back over here."

"….Yes, sir..." I reluctantly walked back to the desk, slowly pulling my shihakusho open on the way. But, I must have been taking too long, because when I got within arm's reach, Ichimaru-taicho pulled me to him and shoved me onto the desk. I managed to catch myself a bit, but I knew I was going to have a bruise on my cheekbone. I also knew that that was the least of my worries. I'd been too hesitant….

As Ichimaru-taicho quickly pulled off the rest of my clothes and bound my hands tightly behind my back, all I did was stare at the wall. I didn't snap back to reality until he put his fingers into my mouth. "You're gonna be good now, right, Izuru?" I only nodded a reply, trying to wet his fingers as best I could. He didn't give me much time before he pulled them out and pushed one into my entrance.

I bit my lip, doing my best to ignore the uncomfortable feeling. He shortly added a second finger, roughly moving them around, and dragged his nails down my back, entertaining himself with the red marks, perhaps.

"Are you ready, Izuru?" I knew there was only one right answer, so I nodded again and braced myself for what was to come. "Hm? I can't hear your head nodding."

"Yes, Taicho…. Please… take me…"

With my "permission," he chuckled to himself and started pushing his way in. I did my best to keep from yelling, but I must have let some out. Ichimaru-taicho decided he had to gag me as well. It was just so painful…. Yet, as he picked up a steady pace, I could feel myself get hard and I started letting out little moans through my gag. I was disgusted with myself. How could I like something like that? If anyone knew, they would surely think I was filthy, and sickening. They would be ashamed to know me…. That's all I could think about as I lay there, moaning, with tears stinging my eyes.

Ichimaru-taicho never even said my name. I wonder if he ever really looked at me…. I was only a plaything for him, so why would he? Sometimes, I wished he would, just once, call my name. Sometimes, I wished I wasn't a plaything…. I just didn't want this to feel so horrible and cold.

When he started pulling my hips painfully hard into his thrusts, digging his nails in, seemingly enough to draw blood, I knew he was almost finished. And, even though it made me sick to realize, I was too. Once I realized how close I was, it was too hard to ignore his assault on my senses. I wanted to hold back, with the dull hope that he would stop this if he thought I didn't enjoy it at all. But I couldn't. I shook and shuddered through my orgasm, pulling at my restraints, causing them to cut into my wrists. After a while, I felt him finally release inside me.

He pulled out and loosened the fabric binding my arms, which I soon found out was my fundoshi, breathing hard, but still managing to sound as calm as always. "Izuru, clean up the mess you made all over the floor here, and then do those papers for me, will you?" He redressed himself and waved to me, grinning that horrible grin, as he left me in his office. Still half bound and gagged.

I freed my arms and pulled off the gag, which happened to be my obi, quickly in case someone decided to come in again. I cleaned the floor and myself some and all but ran to the bathroom, gathering the rest of my clothes on the way. Sometimes when I look at myself in the mirror after that, I feel sick and need to hurry to the toilet. Other times I feel nothing.

But this time, I burst into tears, crumbling to my knees and sobbing for what seemed like hours. I thought of you, Shuhei. About how I couldn't bear to look at you. Or rather, I couldn't bear you looking at me.. About how I couldn't get away from you fast enough when you confronted me. But, I didn't want you to hate me… So I just couldn't tell you the truth….

There was nothing you could have done and it would have only hurt you in the end. I'd never be able to live with myself if you were hurt because of me. I could never tell you what Ichimaru-taicho did to me after I became his lieutenant. The rope burns, the bruises, the hickeys…. If you ever saw them or found out what they were from, I would have died from embarrassment. If you found out, what if you thought I was disgusting? I thought I was…. I felt dirty, used…. Just filthy…. What if you lost all your respect for me because you thought I only became a lieutenant because I slept with Ichimaru-taicho? Even though I became a lieutenant legitimately, I knew people thought that…. I knew. And I was so paranoid…. What would I do if they said something? If you found out, Shuhei…. What would you have done? I wouldn't even be able to explain it…. I don't know why I let him do as he pleased with me. Was it because I respected him and didn't want to displease him? Was it because I was afraid to disobey? Was it because I knew I would never have you…? Shuhei, how would things have changed if I knew you felt the same?