Author Notes: Hello again, everyone! This one shot came about because of Ikkaku and Yumichika's extreme paranoia of having their captain and teammates learn about their respective Bankai and Shikai. My daughter and I just had to find some way of showing these two boys the world wouldn't come to an end if that happened.
The thing is, we couldn't recall a canon scene which had Yumichika using his true Shikai in public so we assumed someone - it's not important who - saw him using it in his fight against Hisagi (they were on a rooftop after all) and blabbed to Kenpachi about it.
Warnings: Possible OOC-ness. Spoilers for the Rescue Rukia arc, Episode 118 (Ikkaku's Bankai! The Power That Breaks Everything) & 217 (Beautiful Little Devil Charlotte).
Disclaimer: Bleach belongs to Tite Kubo.
- Story Start -
Rukia had been rescued from execution, and Ichigo and his friends returned to the Real World. Aizen, Tousen and Ichimaru had escaped to Hueco Mundo and been declared traitors of Soul Society.
Yumichika Ayasegawa couldn't spare a single thought for all of that. His entire being was consumed by a much bigger worry as he entered Squad Eleven's barracks with his usual grace. His teammates lined the walls on either side and he could feel the disbelieving eyes on him, hear the scandalised whispers.
After all, everyone here was a fight loving meathead, extremely loyal to - and somewhat terrified of - Captain Zaraki. Everyone adhered to the unwritten rule of Squad Eleven - melee type zanpakuto were both respected and expected, while kido based ones were looked down on and laughed at.
No one was more aware of that than Yumichika himself, especially now that his secret was found out. His vision narrowed until all he could see was his stone faced captain seated some twenty feet in front of him with little Lieutenant Yachiru a bright pink blob over his right shoulder.
Yumichika bowed low and straightened up.
"Is it true then ?" Kenpachi demanded without preamble. His gravelly voice was rougher than usual. "The true nature of your Shikai?"
"Yes, Captain." With a huge effort, Yumichika held that cold, granite gaze. Outwardly, he knew he looked calm and beautiful. Inside, he was shaking like a leaf.
"Spell based zanpakuto, huh. Vines. Flowers." Kenpachi's voice dripped with utter disgust.
Yumichika clenched his jaw harder and bowed his head. This was why he hadn't wanted to show his Shikai to Captain Zaraki, Ikkaku and anyone from this squad. He should have been more careful.
When Kenpachi stood up, the room seemed to take a collective breath. He approached the quaking Yumichika and loomed over him.
"Bah! I should kick you out, or better yet, kill you with my bare hands." Kenpachi's voice was low, but his reiatsu spilled out in his anger. A few of the lower ranked officers swayed in place, faces grey with fright.
Yumichika winced. He chanced a quick glance at Ikkaku, standing to one side. His best friend's face was set in stone, but his eyes showed wariness.
"All these years, and you were fighting with only a partial Shikai?!" Kenpachi's voice rose to a sudden roar, his words bouncing off the walls and ringing in everyone's ears. Two officers fainted, their bodies thudding to the floor.
Grumbling to himself, Kenpachi stomped back to his seat.
Yumichika stayed very still. This was it then, the moment of truth... strangely beautiful in its clear cut simplicity - he would either be kicked out or killed. Right this instant though, he couldn't even say which was worse. All he could do was wait... not even breathing.
"Still..." Kenpachi's voice was soft.
Yumichika chanced both a peek at him and a shallow intake of breath.
"You defeated a Lieutenant and remained unscathed - happily prancing around, even - while I can't get a half decent workout fighting all of these riff raff at the same time, even with their full Shikai out, even wearing this eye patch that constantly gobbles up my reiatsu."
Kenpachi swept a cold eye around the room, causing the other Shinigami to shrink back, fearful and abashed. Yumichika blinked in surprise - was that a backhanded compliment?
Then Kenpachi's eye snapped back to him, narrowed to a slit.
"So here's the question. Is there a way to halve my reiatsu for a couple of hours to let me get some exercise once in a while?"
Yumichika's breath caught in his throat, purple eyes widening in shock. He opened his mouth to speak, cleared his throat and tried again.
"My Shikai is at your disposal anytime, Captain Zaraki," he said, thankful his voice remained steady. Just barely.
"And no more secrets."
Kenpachi nodded and waved a hand in dismissal.
Yumichika bowed low and took a step back, feeling somewhat dazed, knees decidedly shaky.
He was still alive!
He was still a part of Squad Eleven!
Best of all, Captain Zaraki knew about his Shikai and it was somehow, miraculously, wonderfully alright!
Yumichika was torn between wanting to scream and dance about in utter glee, and wanting to thumb his nose at his teammates who were now gaping at their Captain in slack jawed disbelief. Instead, he looked at Ikkaku and saw him give a reserved nod.
Yumichika smiled in relief, the rest of his worry melting away under his best friend's acceptance.
Ikkaku went to stand beside Yumichika and bowed low.
"What about the rumours of you having achieved Bankai?"
It was Ikkaku's turn to freeze.
"It's true," he confessed, hands fisted tightly by his sides.
Kenpachi's expression turned murderous as he jumped up again, reiatsu flaring. Unchecked. Oppressive. Terrifying. There were a few whimpers from the audience as hairline cracks snaked along the walls.
"What the hell! Not only was my Fifth Seat hiding a secret from me, so was my Third Seat Officer!"
Kenpachi stalked towards Ikkaku who held his gaze, back ramrod stiff.
"It better not have vines."
"No vines," Ikkaku said hastily.
"Not a bloom in sight, Captain."
"Hm. Not kido-based then?"
"No. Blades. Huge ones."
"So why the secret?" Kenpachi growled.
A lesser man would have crumpled under the ominous weight of that black gaze... or that incredible reiatsu. Ikkaku stood tall, shoulders squaring even more.
"A Bankai would almost certainly mean a Captaincy especially with three spots now available," he replied in a monotone. "I have no wish to move out from Squad Eleven."
For a moment, Kenpachi seemed nonplussed at his reply and then he smiled, a wide, feral grin that made Yumichika's heart fall right down to his feet. He heard the audible gulp of Ikkaku swallowing.
Kenpachi stretched his arms high above his head, joints popping, every muscle and sinew standing out in stark relief. He tilted his head to the right and left, more joints popping. Yachiru hopped down from his shoulder, laughing.
"Ken-chan's in a happy mood again!" she observed brightly.
Yumichika and Ikkaku shot each other near panicked looks.
"Well, I think it's time I had a look at that Bankai of yours, Ikkaku," Kenpachi said in a casual tone, but still with that wild feral grin. "And your Shikai, Yumichika."
With that statement, he walked past them and headed out, followed by a happily skipping Yachiru. The others followed, some scowling, some curious, and all of them shaking their heads at their Captain's uncharacteristic leniency.
Alone for the moment, Yumichika and Ikkaku turned to each other, the latter folding his arms across his chest.
"So, who do you think ratted us out?" Ikkaku growled.
"Does it matter? It still ended well."
"Yeah." Ikkaku stared at him for a moment. "So. Vines and flowers, huh?"
"Yes. Beautiful flowers, and deadly too, I'll have you know," Yumichika told him with a sniff.
"Sure they are if you managed to beat Hisagi," Ikkaku agreed and then he grinned.
Yumichika gave him a relieved smile.
"So we get to stay where we belong and we're still alive - a most beautiful outcome, wouldn't you say?"
Before Ikkaku could reply, there was another surge of reiatsu coming from outside.
"What the hell are you two waiting for, an invitation?!"
Yumichika's lips quirked again, but this time in resigned amusement, while Ikkaku's stretched wide in gleeful anticipation. They both knew they would end up in Squad Four in a few hours, being treated for serious injuries and broken bones... but that wasn't as important as Captain Zaraki learning about their secrets and not killing them.
Schooling their faces to serious expressions, the two best friends walked out with their hands on their zanpakuto hilts, a huge burden lifted from their shoulders, and their heads held high.
- Story End -
A/N: Thank you for reading! I know Kenpachi is a bit OOC here, but surely he wouldn't be dumb enough to kill off his Third Seat and Fifth Seat officers. Luckily, he managed to think of a reason that allowed him to save face as well as the situation. If you enjoyed this story, please do leave a review :)