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22 May 2007 @ 03:27 am
[COMPLETED LOG] Soifon and Aizen, heart-to-- um...  
Who: Soifon and Aizen
Where: Aizen's house
When: The bridge between May 10th and May 11th
What: A midnight vigil/wake
Warnings: Mild language in narrative. That, and the log's longer than Ichigo's sword.

Logging off his computer, Aizen padded into the kitchenette and filled the kettle from the tap. It was rather late to be preparing anything, but he had cajoled a drunk, insomniac colleague to confide in him, and he was hoping to make more progress in person, as he slowly sobered her on tea. Soifon was fierce; he knew he could make her fiercely loyal if he cultivated her right. It was not all that different from hypnotism. Vulnerable moments were perfect to take such advantage, and having no conscience, he could exploit those moments without qualms.

It was rather good for Soifon that all of the faculty housing was centrally located; she could not have managed a long walk, in her state. Her typistry did not truly demonstrate her level of intoxication; despite being a true non-drinker, she had consumed one-half of a liter of gin. Added to the fact that she had not eaten that day, and her rather puny physical size, this equalled a rather horribly far gone Soifon.

Still, she managed to stumble up to Aizen's door without incident, and gave a short, irregular knock. Before he arrived, she used up her last smidgen of wherewithal to wipe at her tear-streaked face, not wishing to show a colleague weakness. Why was she there? Why had she given in so easily, or at all? The question hurt her head, causing her to lurch forward slightly. An arm shot out, and she caught herself on the siding. She stood there, uneasily waiting for her would-be host, and wondering what she had been thinking.

Hearing the knock, Aizen removed the kettle from the heat so it wouldn't whistle unattended, and walked back to the front door. He paused short of it, to adjust his features; between the deadness of the night, and the ease of writing his Mr. Nice Guy role as opposed to performing it, his lips had seen fit to pull up in a giddy smile, and that was hardly the way to greet his bereaved colleague.

Frowning slightly and already tilting his gaze down to see the diminuative drunk, he opened the door. "Soifon-san... Are you all right? Here, come in, sit down. I shouldn't have put you out to make the walk yourself..." He draped an arm around her shoulder and drew the arm in to guide her.

Soi looked up at Aizen, as he opened the door, not wanting to seem too weak; her vision lagged behind the movement of her head, though, giving her a sudden, powerful feeling of surreality. As such, she was a bit slow in answering, though she eventually managed a small response. "I'm fine... Not so helpless that I can't walk the fifteen meters between our houses..." Though... it had taken her a bit longer than normal, as her pace was reduced to a slow stumble, and she frequently had to check that she was headed in the proper direction.

The alcohol had done a fair job numbing her, causing the arm on her shoulders to go unnoticed; were this not so, she might have snapped at Aizen, not wanting to be touched so familiarly by one such as him. As it was, though... she recognized the impetus to forward movement, and obeyed it, allowing herself to be shepherded within.

"You managed, but you can't say it hasn't taken something out of you," Aizen said gently. He drew her closer, though the smell of gin the alcohol (as opposed to Gin the roommate; the man Gin never offended Aizen's nose) was repulsive to him. "Let's sit down. I'll finish the tea." He turned them slightly to close the door gently, as opposed to the easier course of kicking it; the slam would awaken the olfactory-pleasing roommate.

"....I suppose," Soi answered, after a moment. She did so just as he drew her in, eliciting a slight flush of embarassment; at that moment, anger was not on her scrambled mind, though she knew this was unwelcome. Confused arms pushed at his chest slightly, attempting to put some distance between them; however, this just caused her to stumble once more. Sighing, she resigned herself to the contact, hoping she would grow accustomed to it soon; not because she expected it to continue beyond that visit, but because that which is new and unwelcome is quite distressing to one who is intoxicated.

Aizen wasn't an oblivious man. He worked hard at reading signals and body language to make his reactions match the situation. But he wasn't about to turn loose of the woman even if she was trying to push him away. A bloody nose when she inevitably crash-landed on her face would make her a little more surly than a bit of platonic touching.

He deposited her in a chair and returned to watch the tea kettle. Taking it off just as it began to squeak, he dumped it into a serving teapot and returned to Soifon bearing a tray with two cups. "If you want it, there's still chocolate pocky from my last class..."

Soi made no further resistance, sitting as well as she could in the chair to which she was led. It was somewhat surreal, the situation she found herself in; she put up a facade of strength in front of those few she cared for, yet, here... her weakness was laid bare. And before a smarmy ignoramus such as Aizen? Were Soifon in her right mind, she would have been kicking herself for this bizarre, and certainly incorrect, move.

But... it had been made. Now she had to live with it.

"...no," she said to his offer; a moment later, she hastily added "...thank you." After all, manners were a way to gain control over a situation, and control was something she desperately needed. She hated feeling helpless...

"All right, then," Aizen said gently, setting the tray down and pulling up a seat next to her. He paused to sip his tea, rallying for the attack. He was an expert at manipulating people, but he wasn't on sure footing in any attempt to convince someone in genuine pain he was deeply sympathetic to said pain, and not in fact enjoying watching them squirm. He wasn't even sure why he had asked her here, other than the impulse that it was something a nice guy such as him should do. What was he going to gain out of this?

Well, if he played his cards right, he might gain a path behind Soifon's defences. He weighed how to begin, imagining how a therapist might work with her. "Would you like to talk about your grandmother?"

Soi, too, sipped at her tea, as she considered the question; did she want to talk about her grandmother? Well... no. She wanted to talk to her grandmother. But... well, there was a chance it might help. Aizen had suggested it, and the human psyche was within his field of expertise... much as she was loathe to do so, even non-explicitly, Soi thought it best to bow to the knowledge of an expert.

"She was... a singular woman. Charismatic... quick-witted to the last. She always had a certain... energy about her." Why was she opening up? Why was it so easy to talk about this? "She was our matriarch, no-one would argue that... but, she always looked out for us. She may have been the family head, but she took good care of the body..."

A thought struck Soi just then. Her mother had never inherited the title of Soifon, the sign of the heiress. That meant... with her grandmother gone...

Oh dear.

Soi's eyes grew rather wide, all of a sudden, and seemed to be looking past the world in which she currently resided. She was trying to figure out exactly WHY no-one had mentioned this... granted, they were all hit quite hard by her loss. It was possible no-one had even thought of it yet...

The concept of a currently-drunk-off-her-ass struggling artist/teacher being the new head of the Most Ancient Fon family was... well, a bit mind-warping.

Aizen felt better, more confident. It was obvious he had chosen the right course, because the path was opening up to him. To follow it, too, was easy; even a sociopath such as Aizen, after nearly twenty nine years of human experience to take in, knew the right thing to say to such an outpouring, with just the right pitch of solemnity. "She sounds like a wonderful and honourable woman, and I can understand why having her torn away from you would affect you so greatly."

Now came Soifon's pause, and her widened eyes. Damn, had the right words been the wrong ones with this unfathomable woman? "Soifon-san?" He reached across the breadth between the chairs. "Was it what I said? I'm sorry, I only meant to listen..."

She shook her head at his question, feeling herself drawn back to the here and now. "I... something just occurred to me. It's nothing, really... Just, sort of an inheritance, that I'll have to deal with eventually..."

This was not something she had wanted. She'd never envisioned herself as the head of the Fon... that was Lao-lao's job, and she did it well. No-one, not even Soi, could measure up to her. To try to do so... one might call it a form of blasphemy, against her memory. It was madness. Yet... it was this Soifon's very real future...

"I see. I suppose, from what you've said, that the Fons are a noble family?" Because he was well practiced in hiding his true, shallow emotions, Aizen sounded merely curious and not bitterly envious. He was verily a god; it wasn't right that by an accident of birth, he came from urban white-collar stock, limiting such fantastic aspirations as ruling a clan. For he would have ruled, even if there were someone with a better claim to the throne...

"Yes... ever since it was first granted to our family during China's Han Dynasty, by Emperor Wu Di... that was over two thousand years ago..." Boasting was not on Soi's mind at the moment; the explanation came automatically, finished before she knew she was speaking. Her family was something Soi took extreme pride in; not simply due to their status, but also their perceived quality as people. She was, in fact, the closest she knew of to a failure in the family's history. They were politicians and scientists, authors and humanitarians. They were noble not simply by the word of a long-decayed emperor, but by deed and legacy.

"...my mother was excluded from the matriarchal succession," she said, as an explanation; she didn't want to leave the dots unconnected, now that they had all been laid out. "Which would make me..."

She didn't even need to say what that made her. It made her BURDENED.

It was a testament to Aizen's acting skills, even at this late hour, that this explanation drew from him nary a wince nor a line of drool pouring from his mouth at the prospect of being one so powerful, so illustrious. He could almost-- almost-- settle for becoming Headmaster, and here the noble matriarch of a powerful clan was sitting here before him, drunk as a skunk. Aizen sat there, levelly sipping his tea. He allowed himself a raised eyebrow as Soifon laid her position plain.

"So all that strength you leaned on before, you are now expected to be yourself. That is especially hard."

Soi did not, at that moment, feel either powerful or illustrious. She did, however, still feel quite drunk; clarity had been hers briefly, but the fog descended over her mind once again, causing her to sway slightly in her chair. It was as though the room had started to move, like an amusement park pirate ship; pendulum-esque movements were seen, though the room was, in fact, quite stable. It was... a bit unsettling. Her answer came, eventually... though, it took a bit for Soi to compose her thoughts.

"...yes... something like that..." It hadn't quite hit her, yet; this newfound responsibility. However... it was starting to. Every moment, the gravity of the situation inched forward, slowly but surely weighing down on her. After a scant few minutes, Soi felt like she was suffocating.

Aizen reached a hand across to steady Soifon physically, and squeeze her shoulder. Still as watchful as a hawk, he recognised when he had begun to lose her to her own internal war. Selfish aristocratic brat; didn't she know there were people who would kill to be in the position she found herself in? How could she be so stupid as to view such an opportunity as a bad thing? But even as the green-eyed monster gnawed at his insides, his chocolate brown eyes showed only all-encompassing compassion. He moved his hand to her cheek, to lift her head to take in the full effect of his very difficult acting job.

"Easy," he said, stroking her cheek with his thumb. "I was only thinking aloud. You don't have to face that tonight, or be the reigning queen in the morning. You dont have to think about that, at school. The faculty are your friends, the students unlikely to look to you for anything more than sanctioning a match. You have all the time you need to be...just you."

If Soi's face was red then, she would blame it only on the alcohol; it was certainly not an effect of Aizen's overly-familiar contact. Even though it was slightly comforting... It drew her another inch out of her oh-so-comfortable shell; she blamed this baby step for what happened next. That is to say, the dam broke. She hadn't been conciously holding back, not for a while... her subconcious had merely been trained to be reticent.

A single tear traced a path down Soi's face; it was soon followed by many more, a veritable torrent of them. She couldn't take it anymore. It was just... too much to hold back. She'd been seeking some sort of epiphany from the alcohol; now, she only hoped that it had led to a catharsis, in a rather roundabout way. That when this flood ceased, there wouldn't be another growing right behind it.

To her credit... she didn't sob. Soi maintained at least that much dignity... though not enough to avoid putting her head down almost on top of her nearly-untouched tea, and mumbling "Lao-lao" over and over again.

Aizen had been expecting this waterfall, at one point or another, and had pocketed a handkerchief from his bureau. This he offered to Soifon now as he attempted to move the teacup out of her way, that she might keen less guardedly still.

These accomodations so valiantly offered, Aizen reached his hand across again to stroke her hair, from the crown exposed by the slouch, to her neck. There were no right words; silence was the best course of action now.

Soi clutched the profferred handkerchief to her closed eyes, attempting to intercept the falling tears. If she could have thought clearly just then, she would have berated herself for the inglorious display she was putting on. Crying her eyes out before one of the meaningless masses? Pathetic. Weak. She was bringing shame upon the Fon already... and her tenure as matriarch had only barely begun.

Again, she would not admit it, but the stroking of her hair had a certain calming effect on the grieving, and thoroughly intoxicated, art teacher. Before too long, the waterfall was reined in, becoming merely a slow trickle.

Aizen was patient, and it was because he was patient that he withstood the tide of tears coming from this pitiful excuse for a noble matriarch without bursting out with such enraged nonsense as 'I would be a better matriarch than you, you pathetic, snivelling bitch.' Even if he was secretly thinking it, anyhow, he kept petting her, to soothe her down.

When at last she began to dry up, Aizen gave himself pause to recollect himself from the petty thoughts he had allowed to roll through his mind during this down-time. Then, ready to murmur stupid and meaningless comforts again, he cupped Soifon's chin in his hand. "There... Sometimes a good cry can be cathartic. Do you feel any better?"

"Wei... zhi shao-" Soi winced ever-so-slightly; her head was still abuzz, which was a perfectly reasonable excuse for her slip-up. She started again. "Um... yes... somewhat." Sighing, she forced a token expression of politeness out. "...thank you..." There was nothing else to say. She really was thankful, despite her sincere desire not to be. At the same time, she was forcing herself to express her thankfulness... which resulted in Soi being rather thoroughly confused as to her own motives.

The color in her face had begun to return to a normal state... until she noticed the further overly-familiar contact. Re-reddening, her mind raced, struggling to invent a way to tactfully extricate her chin.

Soifon did not need to invent an excuse, because Aizen, as watchful as a hawk even through the tender eyes he was bestowing on her, noticed her blushing and removed his hand before he awoke the old, guarded Soifon. His pretext was much easier to come by than Soifon's might have been; he was ready to proffer her tea again now she wasn't a leaky mess. "You're welcome. I'm here for you, Soifon, anytime you need me." It was petty, but Aizen could almost imagine himself practicing his would-be lordship by dipping into the Fon affairs.

His hand gone, Soi scarcely had time to exhale, before being hit with something else that made her uncomfortable: that statement. He was... there for her? What did that even mean? It... oh, whatever. She wasn't going to figure it out in THIS state, anyway... best just not to say anything to it. Or should she? Soi was quite unsure about... basically everything, at the moment.

She took the tea that was put forth, taking a slow sip, hoping to calm herself, gain a bit of clarity... and failing.

"No, really, I mean that," Aizen said with a smile, misreading the exact nature of the doubt he was reading in her body language. "Any time you need a friend, just come to me. In my office, in class, it doesn't matter." He deliberately left off "in bed," not because he was trying to avoid imposing sexual overtones to this (although he was), but because he knew if he welcomed her to wake him up for midnight heart-to-hearts like this, she would continue to do so, because nights were often the hardest. It wasn't worth making himself sick for lack of sleep. "Emotions come on strong, and if you need help this minute, then you need help this minute."

Soi looked away, unused to apparently-unselfish acts of kindness; at the very least, when they came from outside her immediate family. She was at a loss as to how to react... and that unsettled the tiny drunk. For some reason... she suddenly felt pleasant. Not hateful, not angry... for a moment, not even bereaved. Just... pleasant. This was further unsettling, though she didn't realize it at the time.

"Ah... I will keep that in mind..."

Aizen sat back with his tea and gauged his quarry. She was avoiding his eye. Was she simply overwhelmed by his benevolence, or had he made a wrong step again? No, he was sure he hadn't, and Soifon's voice did not betray any newfound defensiveness or distance. She was obviously brimming with gratitude.

He smiled on her again and said, "Now aren't you glad you came here, after all?"

Soi nodded, embarassed at having this concession dragged out of her. It was true, though; on some level, she was glad that she had come. It had proved... helpful. If nothing else, she was now unlikely to die in the near future due to massive liver failure...

The night had seemed to fly by; Soifon had not noticed, for obvious reasons, the great passage of time. However, the call of a bird from outside the building, and the sudden weight of weariness on her shoulders, brought this idea to the front of her mind. A thought occurred to her, that she ought return to her home, and go to sleep; this thought disappeared rather quickly. One arm remained on the table, on which she placed her chin; simply keeping her head up was too much for the pint-sized sensei.

"And I'm glad you came," Aizen agreed. "I'm glad I could help." More appropos, he was glad he now had her so totally under his thumb. This was one investment bound to pay off-- not that he ever doubted it, or his abilities. He had been charming people for t-- wait, he was twenty-nine in just a couple of weeks, so that made it... fourteen years. A record he was proud of, even if he had no intention of ending it.

Even as he mentally congratulated himself, he was still watching Soifon, and noticed all the indications of the pathetic sot about to fall asleep right on the table. "It's getting late. Too late, it seems, to walk all the way back home, now. I'd be happy to roll out a mat for you out here..." Somehow Aizen suspected she didn't even have the strength left to nod, but skipping courtesy and removing her to the couch forthwith was bound to go over badly.

Soi mumbled something back to Aizen, totally unintelligible; likely, it was an acceptance of his offer, though it very well could have been something as outlandish as a comment on the color of his shoes, or a cutting philosophical observation. Whatever it had begun its infinitesmal life as, it ended it as a sort of "mgldrf"; more prestigiously, though, it served as a marker for Soifon's last moment of conciousness that night, as, moments later, she was starting to snore.

Aizen sat back and finished his tea, not only to enjoy at least lukewarm tea before it went cold, but to give Soifon time to more completely lose consciousness; he'd put in enough time on this project for the day, and he did not want to accidentally wake her while moving her somewhere more comfortable to sleep. For the same reason he dawdled over laying out a mat for his guest, before finally lifting the mini matriarch from her chair and resettling her on the mat. He covered her with a blanket, then retreated to his room to dress.

There was a book he had to go fetch from his office.