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In Te Viris Mea

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The moment of bonding, Kisuke has been reliably informed, is one of the most glorious moments in a Rider’s life, the instant of realization that they will never be alone again. As he watches the latest batch of baby Riders and dragons make contact with each other for the first time, the old bitterness that rises in his throat threatens to choke him, and he has to turn away. Tessai blinks at him, but does not comment. Yoruichi threads between his legs with a comforting rumble deep in her chest.

 

The moment passes and Kisuke shakes himself. He has better things to do than pity himself, like make sure none of the hatching dragons below him have trouble during the process. Most of the hatchlings have already struggled free of their shells and are wandering shakily toward their Riders, but there are a few still being encouraged by their bondmate. Kisuke’s gaze falls upon one of the latter pairs, the Rider of whom is kneeling in front of a large black egg webbed with fine red veins, murmuring quietly to it. He focuses in with a little more intensity on the orange-haired brat who’d been chosen, and as ever, he wonders what made this one different, what made the dragonet in the egg choose him out of everyone who had ever touched it.

 

A long second passes in which little happens. Then the egg rocks, a black claw chipping out a small triangle of shell, and the paired Rider shudders, clearly feeling something. His body bows forward, as if he wants to help but knows this is important for the hatchling to accomplish on its own. Instead, he watches with his soul in his eyes as the little dragon he’ll spend the rest of his life with continues to whittle away at its constricting shell. Then, suddenly, a loud crack splits the room, and the shell shatters in its entirety.

 

Two dragonets tumble out in a tangle of limbs.

 

The uproar is immediate. The new dragon/Rider pairs are oblivious to everything but each other, but half the watchers on the edges of the room surge forward with a choked cry as if to stop the bonding. Regardless of their intent, though, they're far too late. The orange haired brat reaches out with both hands, one stretched toward each dragon, and with a flash of magic the bonds are simultaneously sealed.

 

The resulting flash of magic nearly knocks everyone off their feet. Kisuke braces himself on his cane, leaning forward to see the fascinating new triad. He’s never even heard of such a thing happening. Perhaps the elves will know. Are the dragons bonded to each other, or are they only individually bonded to the Rider? Will they grow territorial? Will the Rider’s magic even be able to support such a bond?

 

He takes a step forward, but winces as his ward-bonds tighten around his mind.

 

Damn Aizen and his tricks. Surely they’ll have to let him study the newly bonded triad, if only to ensure their safety? Kisuke is their top scientist and researcher and very nearly one of their strongest mages, or would be if his magic weren’t as bound as the average human’s.

 

He can’t help but push against the bonds, just a little, but they sense his intent and constrict further, nearly blinding him with the resulting flare of pain. He doesn’t go to his knees, but only because he knows Aizen’s cronies will report back to him and Kisuke refuses to show such a man any weakness at all.

 

The new Rider and his dragons are being bundled off the floor, the orange-haired human cradling a dragon protectively in each arm. One of the dragons is black as onyx, with fire flaring scarlet along the edges of its scales. The other is its mirror image, bloody garnet with undertones of shadow. No doubt they’re being taken to see the head captain and the counsel. Kisuke aches to follow them, but for now he forces himself to turn away, scanning critically over the rest of the newly bonded pairs. None of them particularly catch his attention; no doubt they’ll be dead or under Aizen’s thrall soon enough.

 

He grimaces, lowering his head to hide the involuntary expression of distaste. If only there were more he could do… but he has fought his bonds until blood streamed freely, and there is nothing he can help with, not even the slightest freedom to offer them a different path.

 

Kisuke already knows that the newest Rider and his two bondmates are going to be of particular interest to Aizen.

 

Well. He will just have to offer them what little help he can, in that case.