Summary: Yoruichi left behind much more than she could atone for, a hundred years ago. When she returns, she is about to pay for it… but the bitter reunion leaves many words unsaid.
"Those two are fine. Can't you feel it?" said Shunsui Kyouraku reassuringly to his fellow captain, Ukitake as they shunpo-ed down the side of the cliff, stirring up dust in their wake. "Another one of our heroes is drawing near…"
A blur of orange streaked across the landscape. Suddenly Soi Fon disappeared from her spot where she was trying to crush third-seat Kiyone Kotetsu with her heel. She was stunned for a moment. Who could've… She twisted to try and catch a glimpse of the being who was now carrying her, running at full speed in flash step across the desert like plains of the execution grounds of the destroyed Sōkyoku.
With a horrible jolt accompanied by the sickening feeling of one's stomach lurching uncomfortably; she was barely able to manage keeping her stomach's contents from spewing out her mouth before she came to realize they weren't running anymore. They had left firm ground and were now plummeting at unimaginable speed to the ground below. And that wasn't the worst of it…
The wind roared eerily as they fell. Their clothes whipped about them; the fabric snapping and crackling about, offering no resistance to the speed and force of the nature.
Soi Fon struggled with the hand at her throat; the grip was firm, strong and oddly familiar. "Let go! What are you, you bastard?!" she yelled angrily, her words were barely heard before it was swallowed up by the howling gales of wind.
"My, my. Don't make such as fuss. You're as short-tempered as always."
The melodious and playful voice cut through her anger like a knife through butter; she knew that voice. She knew that voice better than her own… The fact that they were about to hit the ground with astounding velocity had not escaped her; yet she found that at the moment, she couldn't be bothered. She could nearly taste the name on her tongue… I know you, she thought. I know you.
Her assailant slowly unraveled the thick white scarf covering her hair and face.
Soi Fon's eyes widened as the cloth flaps away; revealing a set of piercing, fierce golden eyes, and long, majestic, dark purple hair.
"You… You are… Yoruichi!" she finally was able to utter the name. The name of the one she cursed and hated for a century. The one she swore she would one day capture with her own hands. The one she loved so much, even after all this time. But the burning desire to just accept her return as if she had never gone was overcome by the rage she had nursed and harbored in her soul for all those years. As much as she wanted to forgive, she could not forget.
I thought I'd never see you again.
"It's been a long time, Soifon." Yoruichi smiled calmly, a yellow ball of energy grew in her palm. A very long time.
They hit the ground with such force that a mushroom shaped cloud of dust and grime blasted into the air, polluting the sight of the clear blue sky above.
I missed you so much.
Did you miss me at all?
A leaf fluttered. Cleaving slowly through the air, swinging from side to side, letting the soft breeze nudge it upwards and off course; then it started its gradual fall down to the earth.
The pitter, patter of hurried footsteps echoed throughout the calm woods.
Suddenly two feet appeared from seemingly nowhere and their shins clashed. If they were humans, their bones would have shattered from the mere force of the intended blow.
They both fell backward gracefully, and stood, facing off on opposite branches of one huge tree.
"I see. Even though you haven't shown yourself for so long, it seems that you have not increased your level of skill," commented Soi Fon, a superior air about her. Forget weakness, forget love. Those are useless feelings. Blind devotion and utter submission was what let her betray me so easily.
"It seems that your skills have become rather dull," replied Yoruichi, the smile still stretched across her tanned face, betraying none of the anguish she felt upon meeting her subordinate. She knew Soi Fon was bitter about her wordless disappearance. No, bitter didn't even begin to cover it…
Soi Fon tactfully changed subjects. "That ryoka child was wearing a Tentouken with a Shihou Seal attached. You gave it to him, didn't you?" she said accusingly.
"That's right. If he can't fly, he can't save Rukia." Yoruichi wasn't perturbed at all. Perhaps it was due to the unreasonable rush of giddiness she felt in meeting an old friend; but she knew the giddiness was only a shallow momentary feeling. She knew it wouldn't last. Hard feelings were felt, are felt. They would rise once again, no matter how much she wanted to keep them buried away and hidden.
"The Shihou Seal of the Tenshi Heisou Ban really has fallen. In fact, if it was found out that you were helping a ryoka, every member of the Four Great Noble Families would hunt you down. Other than the Batsuraku of the Shihou family. I can't recall any other disgraces to the honorable families." Soi Fon said, matter-of-factly.
"You're rather talkative today. Is it because you are excited to see your senpai, whom you admired so much, after so long? Or is it because you can express your usual desire for revenge? Huh? Commander of the special forces? Was it such a heavy burden for you to be my successor?" Yoruichi's words were layered with amusement and scorn. She wanted to cut to the chase, there was no point dawdling about pretending there was nothing wrong. She knew what was coming. She had known it even before she had left. And she had no intention of letting it broil over for any longer than it had to be. After all, she knew Soi Fon best, she knew she liked to brood over things.
Soifon frowned and gripped her zanpakuto tightly. "Don't act so high and mighty. How long do you plan on staying above us? The special forces and the police are both under my supervision. Your era is… already over, Shihouin Yoruichi!" she cried harshly, unsheathing her Zanpakuto with practiced ease and plunged it into the wood.
Yoruichi's eyes widened as military surrounded the area with lightning speed; they covered all grounds expertly so fast that she barely had time to blink. Their uniform black attire made them appear like carbon copies; and allowing them to blend in perfectly into the shadows. She felt a strange sense of pride at their efficiency; she had led them once. But before she could reminisce over the details of the past, Soi Fon continued.
"This is the difference between the you and the me of now. You should know, the head of police's sword us primarily appointed to secure the area before the execution. The head of the military aims to kill all who oppose us," she paused, a menacing gleam all too clear in her eyes. " Even if it is the previous head of military," her grin was anything but friendly. It left Yoruichi no doubt of her murderous intent. "You, who have abandoned the title of head of the military, will have no where to run, Yoruichi!"
You love running, don't you? …Into things… out of things… away from things… away… from me.
" No where to run…"
" No where to run…"
Yoruichi felt guilt knot in the pit of her stomach; it wasn't just the title of head of the military she abandoned. She left behind much more than that. And she was about to pay for it.
…No where to run…
Yoruichi didn't move, but the smile returned to adorn her face. One would think she was crazy, smiling at a time like this; facing down her enemy who obviously despised her more than anything else for reasons that were now unveiling themselves little by little through harsh words and silent thoughts.
A blast of white erupted into the sky.
Flashes of orange and black appear all at once in all directions around the area. Pained cries were so continuous it formed a sort of spine-chilling and morbid sounding symphony, along with the thumps as bodies hit the ground, which seemed to create a tattoo to accompany it.
Soifon was the only one left standing as the white cleared; her feet were frozen on the spot in fear and surprise. She was not expecting that. And she knew if Yoruichi actually intended to kill her, she would've just done so, and Soi Fon wouldn't have put up much of a fight at all; that was how unprepared she was. Obviously her inherent cockiness had led her to badly misjudge her opponent. But she dismissed it, shoving aside the doubt in her mind.
"I was underestimated, wasn't I? I may have abandoned my title as head of the military," said Yoruichi, tossing her head arrogantly. She loved baiting Soi Fon; she always fell for it. "But I don't remember abandoning my other name."
Soi Fon's eyes narrowed. "Goddess of Flash, Yoruichi," she spat viciously.
Yoruichi's long, purple strands strayed across her face; just as her smile seemed to have been blown away by the wind. Even the twinkle of amusement glinting in her golden eyes was gone; in its place was blankness, completely devoid of emotion.
"I see…" Soi Fon said, taking off her yellow belt. She tossed aside her thick white captain's cloak, which was promptly picked up by the currents of airstreams and blown high into the air and out of sight. Then she ripped off her sleeves with unwonted acrimony. "Then there's no helping it. With my own hands… I will tear that other name away from you." Venom coated her words.
"The ceremonial outfit of the Police Supervisor and head of the military… That's a nostalgic outfit," Yoruichi said fondly, trying to simultaneously ignore Soi Fon's blatant hostility and the twinge in her heart. To distract herself, she eyed the matte black clothing hugging Soi Fon's lithe form; but the twinge became even more unbearable. She's grown, she thought to herself.
"Does it make you remember the past?" Soi Fon sneered.
"A little," Yoruichi smiled.
"Don't hold back. Remember well. And carefully compare which of the two of us is the better warrior," said Soifon menacingly as she crouched, touching the bark with her hands. She quelled the feeling of uneasiness as she prepared, crouching there, watching her senpai closely; her gaze emanating rage as the emotions within her roiled about. A sour taste arose in the back of her mouth as she focused. She would not hold back.
Yoruichi's eyes widened suddenly, her mouth a grim slash. The amusement evaporated as it were never there. Play time was over. There would be no mercy.
Soifon winked out of existence.
Yoruichi blocked the kick to her head deftly, with one hand. She then drew her other fist back and launched a punch of her own. Flurries of lightning quick blows are traded off between the two. Blocked knee. Foot. Hands. Wrist.
They both retreat, landing back on their respective positions. Soifon landed gracefully right behind her sword and eyed her bruised shoulder incredulously. Inside she shivered at this blow, a crack appears in her wall. The one she built and honed over the past hundred years. I took a hit? " One-to-one we split the pain, Yoruichi!" she called out, keeping the quiver from her voice. I am not afraid. I am not weak.
Yoruichi supported herself with one hand in her crouch. Blood trickled from the corner of her mouth; she closed her eyes as she grimaced in regret. She knew her retreat would have dire consequences, but she never thought it'd be that bad. Yet, despite all that, she looked up, a wide smile stretched across her face. Just to unnerve Soi Fon. "That's right."
Soifon grinned, but there was no joy.
"Do you have something set up in that outfit?" inquired Yoruichi, standing up and flicking the blood away with a finger. What a nuisance. "I couldn't recognize your movements, Soi Fon."
Soi Fon cocked an eyebrow, feeling extremely insulted. "Set up? Is that what you think? Really?" I don't need to use underhand tricks to defeat you. Do you really think so little of me?
She suddenly appeared behind Yoruichi, her sword's razor sharp edge pressed against her throat, not enough to draw blood, but enough to sting horrendously. I will show you then, how much I am to you. How much you meant to me. Now…
Yoruichi tried futilely to repress her trepidation. Her awkwardness in battle was all too obvious, all due to her long time spent in hiding while her opponent honed her techniques. She knew this would happen. It did happen. And she couldn't do anything about it now… nothing, but to try and repair the broken bonds of friendship… and more.
But alas, if the price she had to pay for reconciliation was her death, then she would gladly pay. She would willingly go to her grave as long as the lies Soi Fon had believed of her were banished, rather than live with dark secrets hidden behind every honey coated word of a false facade.
"Jinteki Shakusetu," Soi Fon whispered in her ear. Yoruichi could not help but shiver as her breath caressed her cheek briefly. Her sword glowed bright white, then wrapped around her hand, forming the bee stinger over her middle finger. "Suzume Bachi."
Yoruichi stared down at the sharp point, knowing all too well the extent of damage it could do and how quickly it could do it.
The wind continued to howl; gradually working up to a magnificent crescendo, then petered off to a reedy whine, then picking up again.
A flash of white.
Soi Fon appeared right behind her, not missing a beat. Her confidence raised another notch. She smiled smugly. "You won't escape!" she cried.
Yoruichi was barely able to turn when the stinger slashed across her chest and a small red butterfly started to blossom. She landed in a crouch, her hand resting on the bark, supporting her suddenly weakened body. She clutched her chest, staring in defiance as the burning pain seared throughout her entire being. Are you really going to kill me? She wondered, watching Soi Fon look down upon her from the distance. Soi Fon…
Soifon stepped into view, sneering. "Why don't you think that I am better?" she asked, her eyes narrowing. "Did you think that someone like me could not fight against you all out?" I was always weaker than you. I was stronger than everyone else, but I could never rival you. But it didn't matter, I was with you. I didn't care as long as I was by your side.
Yoruichi's eyes widened, her pupil turning into slits.
"I said not to be cocky. I am already stronger than you! Know the price for retreating from the front for the length of a hundred years as you die, Yoruichi!" Anger gave a steel edge to her voice as she yelled, propagating the sound so her former master could hear it without a doubt. And you left me.
Yoruichi withdrew her hand from her chest. The red butterfly bloomed and turned black. She straightened slowly, her face betraying none of the emotions churning around within; a task which was getting harder and harder to do.
Soi fon smiled sardonically. "Do you remember, Yoruichi, what my Suzume Bachi's abilities are?" Blood dripped from the stinger and landed on the ground, soaking the small, tiny grains of sand in thick crimson. "Houmonka. With my first attack, I cut the 'Symbol of Death' on my target's body. When you were around, this ability was still incomplete," she explained, satisfaction ringing freely in her words. "But over the past hundred years, I have perfected it. Run around as best as you can so that you don't take a second hit, Yoruichi! Suzume Bachi's ability is 'Two hits and you die'!" You left me.
She raised the stinger in front of her face in one swift movement; the sunlight glinted off the gold. "If you are hit twice on the same spot, you will definitely die," she said firmly.
Yoruichi's eyes glistened with… tears? They shimmered with uncertainty. Soi Fon.
Soi Fon appeared behind her. "There! That is the second attack, Yoruichi!" No hesitation. No mercy. She played with me. She used me, manipulated me. Then when she was finished, she was gone. Like I was nothing. I meant nothing.
Yoruichi half turned, when again, the stinger slashed across her body. So be it.
Blood spurted. Yoruichi catapults to another tree, trying to ignore the sharp, throbbing pain spreading throughout her body. Hands touched the wood first, then she swung and planted her feet on the bark, running through the thicket of branches. One wrong move and she would be at Soi Fon's mercy, one wrong move and all would be over and she would die. Come, Soi Fon. Come play with me again.
Soi Fon chased after her, smiling in triumph, still in step. "Are you at the point that you will show your back to the enemy as you run away, Yoruichi?!" she gloated, raising her arm for another attack. She slashed viciously, remembering those years ago where she would follow Yoruichi like an obedient dog just to please her. You knew I loved you.
More blood sprayed into the air, splattering the surrounding branches and leaves like rain. Another butterfly appeared on Yoruichi's back. Then on her shoulder; every part of her body felt like it was on fire, yet at the same time, numb with cold.
Yoruichi could almost feel her breath on her neck, bearing down upon her as she if were helpless prey. But she wasn't helpless. Simply reluctant. But Soi Fon wasn't to know that. She had to play this out carefully, otherwise things would go awry. She had to let her feel superior… for a while. She knew Soi Fon still harbored deep respect and love for her; she simply had to arouse it from its sleep from deep within her heart.
"You may be running around trying to buy time, but it's pointless! My houmonka used to halfway vanish over time, but now it does not disappear. As long as I don't will it to disappear, it will never vanish! Just running around is…"
Soifon paused as Yoruichi suddenly touched the ground with her hands, her foot whipped back with lightning speed, unleashing hidden knives.
Hidden knives! Soi Fon narrowed her eyes, and raised her hand. The knives clattered off her Suzume Bachi uselessly, doing no harm. "You're naïve!" she yelled. Heartened. She was going to win.
Soi-Fon blocked the incoming foot with her forearm. Yoruichi's foot came whooshing down in a deadly axe kick. Soi Fon grabbed Yoruichi's foot and swung herself upwards, blocking heel from coming down with her own foot.
Then Soi Fon's feet trapped Yoruichi's on top. Soi Fon switched to her hand, and her stinger came into play, the split second before contact, Yoruichi crossed her arms in front of her chest to stop the stinger from hitting the target. Just in time to avoid the second attack. Her relief was short lived though, when she realized that she let Soi Fon carve another target onto her body. Whatever. It beats dying.
Yoruichi landed, looking weak and beaten. Blood flows freely from her numerous wounds and bruises were starting to form. She panted and sweat trickled down the side of her face.
"Do you understand? If you've realized that I am better than you, then it's the end!"
Whirling currents of white surrounded Soi-Fon.
Memories battered the cloud of dread in Yoruichi's mind. You discovered it? You're going to use it against me?
"Are you surprised? This is probably your first time seeing it. This is a fighting style for war that is a combination of Hakuda and Kidou. I created it. Be proud," Soi Fon said, observing Yoruichi's battered looking state with pleasure. Finally, I have the upper hand. I will make you grovel… I will make you pay for what you've done. She could taste the victory, it was sweet, but the bitterness was there, hidden, but enough to taint her satisfaction. "This technique was just completed the other day. You will be the first person it's tested out on during real battle. After all, I haven't even given it a name yet."
Yoruichi watched her silently. Her hair continually whipped about by the wind. Soi Fon… this was completed years ago…
Dust started to gather and swirl.
Yoruichi looked forlorn. She eyed the ground sorrowfully. Her head bowed. The shadows swallowed up the black butterfly that adorned her noble brow. "No," she sighed, "It has a name."
Soi Fon was skeptical. Surely she could not have heard what she thought she did? "What did you say?" she demanded, panicking.
"It's called Shunkou."
"What are you saying?" she demanded, her fear overcoming her calm poise. The tremor in her voice was all too palpable. N-No… no!
Yoruichi closed her eyes; she didn't want to look at Soi Fon. She didn't want to see the expression of betrayal on her face; that was the reason why she left without a word all those years ago. She never wanted to see it.
She remembered the pangs of guilt and sorrow she felt so constantly all throughout her exile. She missed Soi Fon so much, that after a while, the ache became something of the norm to her; it was always there no matter how she tried to dismiss it. Just like how she was always in her thoughts, no matter how hard she tried to focus on something else.
"Do you know why that military uniform doesn't have a back or sleeves?" asked Yoruichi, her voice a dull monotone; keeping her uproar of emotion where it ought to be kept. If anything was shown now, Soi Fon would turn away in contempt and it'd be even harder to win her back. She reached out with one arm, lifting it to shoulder level. A spark of white energy emanated from her fist. Don't worry, Soi Fon.
Soi Fon's eyes slowly widened. No… you don't know this…I created it! I created it!
"Because it is meaningless for them to be there. When this technique is perfected, the user's back and shoulders are surrounded by a high pressure build up as Kidou is gathered."
The wind picked up more force again, though either of them hardly notices. The external chaos was nothing compared to the ones the two were battling within. The turmoil continued to rage, relentless.
"When you let that tension explode, the Kidou fights its way through your arms and legs, empowering you in battle. In other words, at the same time you use this attack, the material on your back and shoulders is blown off."
She looked fierce as her stance straightened, the defeat wiped away as the crackling white energy sparked even more. Her orange shirt was torn apart by the force of the white, twisting jets of energy, revealing a black shirt similar to Soi Fon's underneath. The butterflies were still there, only they appear white on the black fabric. And black on her skin. They really don't disappear… Yoruichi clenched her hand. Her hair is whipped back.
Soi Fon's disbelief made her feet grow roots. She couldn't move. This was all too much for her. And again, she would lose… again, she was lacking... in everything. I couldn't protect her, I couldn't keep her… and I can't defeat her. I can't… do anything…
"My, my. I really was never supposed to fight you with this technique. Be careful, Soi fon. I can't control this technique very well yet," she said quietly, a touch of amusement back in her voice. You don't have to worry.
She smiled. I cannot hurt you.
An explosion rocked the earth.
Everything is engulfed in white.
Suddenly the dust cleared. There were deep gouges blown across either side of where Soi Fon stood, shock still, but completely untouched. Fires garnished the sides, making the peaceful landscape look like a scene from hell.
She… I… I'm not dead? She… didn't kill me?
Yoruichi stood, far off on a little island, which is protruding piece of rock, really. Dust and smoke columns billowed into the clear blue sky around them. "Why? Can you understand why I have not shown this technique to you until now?" Can you understand, Soi Fon? Why I left? Why I didn't tell you…Can you understand it all? Any of it…
"This is impossible," Soi Fon whispered in disbelief, feeling like the world she'd been living in had just been blown apart. She felt like she was suffering from a bad case of vertigo. Her handle at reality was broken and she was spinning into the void, searching desperately out of instinct for a new hold. But could she find one? Meeting Yoruichi so unexpectedly was already a jarring and devastating blow to her carefully constructed veneer…
Yoruichi raised her arm again, white electricity gathered and lighted again, engulfing her upper body. "It's because this technique is too dangerous."
It was too dangerous. I had to leave; otherwise you would've been hurt. But a fat lot of good that did, eh, Soi Fon? I hurt you anyway.
The energy flowed to Soi Fon's side. She came back to her senses; realizing the imminent danger and fades away, using flash step to evade it.
Soi Fon screamed angrily. She could not accept her defeat, because accepting her defeat would mean accepting her weakness, and accepting her weakness would mean forfeiting the rest of her shattered world which she held in her hands. Losing was not something she liked to do. Losing Yoruichi then, and losing to her now was… unforgivable. She was not weak. She was strong.
A tornado of whirling white energy surrounded her as she charged. She looked manic in her rage, unfiltered hate pours out of her. But the hate wasn't all aimed at Yoruichi. In fact, most of it was for herself.
Yoruichi stood there calmly, her white aura forming a sort of dancing barrier of white energy about her. She looked as calm as ever as she watched Soi Fon sprint towards her; bitterness shining in her eyes just as admiration and adoration used to.
She outstretched her hand, right beneath Soi Fon's; white energy whirled. Frozen. The energy is negated and disappeared. She then lifted Soi Fon's unresponsive hand up and leaned closer; their faces were mere millimeters away from each other's. Soi Fon…
Soi Fon was shocked. Yoruichi looked grim. "It is too soon for you to learn this technique," she said softly, ever playing her role as mentor. You must understand.
White energy twirled around both their hands.
It was never my intention to hurt you.
I couldn't and still can't bear to hurt you.
You must understand.
"Hanki… It thrusts the same quality and amount of backspin Kidou against the opposing Kidou, nullifying it."
Within just that moment she was able to put so much Kensoku and so much Kidou into it so easily. Soi Fon's eyes narrowed in unconcealed rage. The implications whirling around inside her mind like a hurricane, like the energy that was now whirling around them.
No! I will not lose… not again.
"Why ?! I am stronger than you!"
I am stronger than you!
She squeezed her eyes shut. Then opens them; wrenching her hand away and lunging for an attack. Yoruichi turned in time to dodge it. Soi Fon whirled, dealing fatal blows… if they would've hit. She slashed at the air violently. Not once did her stinger come close to touching her mentor's skin.
" I was supposed to have…"
She spun in the air, then came flying down with terrifying speed, her heel aimed for Yoruichi, who eluded it fluently once again.
Soi Fon landed, and skidded backwards. She dug her nails into the ground, screeching to a stop. "…surpassed you! The hundred years of isolation was supposed to make you weak and bring me strength!"
The strength I always lacked…
White energy coiled around her, picking up speed and momentum.
Yoruichi stood, unmoving, and tight lipped; the energy still pouring out from her back and shoulders.
" So why?! Why are you still standing in front of me?! Are you still going to continue controlling me?!" She cried bitterly, charging again.
Yoruichi's face was shrouded in shadow. I never controlled you, Soi Fon.
"Answer me, Yoruichi!"
I never wanted to control you.
It was you who controlled yourself.
Her screams tore at reality.
" Can you see that, Shaorin? The person riding in that sedan chair is the Tenshi Heisou Ban Shihouin Family's Princess."
Little Soi Fon gazed upon the Princess in wonder.
Yoruichi was being escorted by a hoard of guards. She is royalty. A golden and flowing kimono. Her hair was pinned up in an elegant bun; but a couple of rebellious strands were strewn across her neck. She looks stiff as they walk; her head held high and her golden eyes never straying to the side.
" Eventually she will become leader of the military Police force. Our main family branch will give their everything to her."
Little Soi Fon, still watched, her gaze not tearing away from the sight. " Everything?" she asked timidly.
" That's right. Everything. That is our job as well as our fate. From today forward, you will change your name to Soi Fon and live for this person."
The first time we met was almost like meeting a god. The main family branch handled the executions and assassinations from generation to generation. We were one of the lowest class of noble families. Strength was everything. All family members who were incapable of getting into the Military Police force were disowned without exception.
Teenage Soi Fon faced off against four men who surrounded her. One charged at her; she blocked all his punches; she threw a spinning hook kick, grabbed his arm and pulled him off balance. She then launched herself into the air and delivered a jump spin hook kick. The force of the blow sent the man spinning. She lands, her fist a hair's breath away from his face. He opened his eyes, "I give up!"
Another man started for her; he throws high and wild hooks, which she ducked under. Then she launched a flurry of quick and lethal punches all at the same spot of the man's gut. Then she threw a round house kick; knocking him backwards. She barely managed to turn when she blocked the first kick of another, but was caught in the stomach by his second thrust kick. Another man grabbed her from behind. An arm secured around her neck and a hand around her small wrist.
"Standing out even though you're a woman!" he growled.
She said nothing, breathing lightly, she lifted both legs then rammed them straight into his knee, followed by an elbow in his side.
He doubled over, wheezing. She shoved him aside, shifting her weight; she grabbed another man's wrist as he punched; his arm extended, and then threw him over her back.
I wanted to become strong. Stronger than anyone else.
Yoruichi flew in, kicking one in the face. She bounced off both hands and propelled herself sideways and caught another one beneath the chin with both feet. Up in the air, she brought a foot crashing down upon his head and her other caught him in the face.
He fell and skidded across the cement.
She delivered round house kick to another one; her foot causing his neck to snap back with a sickening sound. Then her elbow whipped up. The guards have all fallen.
Then she kicked Soi Fon; another roundhouse. Soi Fon instinctively caught her ankle, supporting the block with an upraised fist.
They stand there, gazing at each other; frozen. .
Yoruichi looked surprised.
Soi Fon's eyes widened as she realized whose foot she was now holding in the air. "Commander!"
Yoruichi hooked her around the neck with both feet, and reached down with a hand like she was preparing for a cartwheel and then tossed the still mortified Soi Fon to the aside like an unwanted rag doll. She lands graciously on her feet.
Soi Fon hit the ground hard, flat on her back; her eyes closed, and her hair fanned out upon the ground. Yoruichi walked slowly towards her.
" What's your name?" she asked, leaning slightly forward curiously, yet appearing to be indifferent.
Soi Fon kneeled in front of her, obedience and admiration shining in her eyes. " I-I'm Soi Fon," she stammered.
" Is that so?" said Yoruichi, cocking her head, watching her. She turned away, barely able to conceal the smile on her face, and headed off towards the building.
Soi Fon sat there, watching her retreating back, wishing she had not left.
I admired her. Fiercely. Before long those feelings surpassed admiration and became close to idolization. Seven years after entering the service. I entered the escort serving directly under the Unification Squad's Commander.
Soi Fon bowed to Yoruichi, who is sitting on a simple, richly colored, wood throne, set upon the ground.
"Soi Fon has arrived, Ruling Commander."
"You've come?" asked Yoruichi in amusement; her eyes shimmered constantly; as if there was some inside joke that she was always laughing at. She shifted her leg slightly from her lackadaisical cross legged position. "Have you heard the story?"
"Yes! I, Soi Fon, will give my entire body and soul to protecting the Ruling Commander," said Soi Fon, shy with admiration. Her eyes averted to the ground.
"That's too formal," said Yoruichi, leaning on the arm rest. She raised a hand, "Quit calling me 'ruler'. You can call me something more normal. Like Yoruichi-san."
The guards are like stone gargoyles sitting beside her. Though they say nothing; there is an air of surprise; they were stunned.
Soi Fon recoiled, looking shocked. "Th-that's too absurd! To call the Ruling Commander something like that…"
Yoruichi looked puzzled… sad even.
Soi Fon realized her outburst must've hurt Yoruichi's feelings, she spoke without thinking. She had spontaneously denied a request from the ruling commander; that was unforgivable. She shut her eyes, inclining her head, trying to suppress her jittery nerves. "Th-then may I call you Yoruichi-sama?"
Yoruichi threw her head back and scoffed. "Gah! You're really a stiff one. Very well. Call me whatever you like." Yoruichi leaned forward eagerly in her chair; her eyes sizing up the tiny individual kneeling in front of her. Though really, she wasn't that much taller than the girl. "I called you here because of your power. I don't care what I'm called. I'm looking forward to working with you, Soi Fon!"
Soi Fon was ecstatic. "Y-Yes!"
' You will live for that person.'
" Right. My everything is all for Yoruichi-sama."
I had no hesitation. I was happy.
Yoruichi was walking through the bridge, guards by her side… as always. The others are aligned against the railing, head bowed as she passed. Yoruichi ignored them all.
Soi Fon is at the end. Yoruichi spotted her suddenly and an eager smile stretched across her face with alarming speed, "How is it, Soi Fon?"
Soi Fon looked up meekly, unable to conceal the twinkling of wonder in her eyes.
"Have you gotten accustomed to working as an escort?"
She nodded vigorously. She felt like she could burst with pride and honor. The commander was talking to her! She tried not to let her nearly uncontrollable elation ruin the conversation and distract her. "Yes, Ruling Commander."
Yoruichi looked saddened again. Suddenly her gaze was drawn away from Soi Fon, and she stared into the distance. "What was that noise?" she said. She looks around, then looked at Soi Fon again.
"Buzz, buzz. Buzz, buzz. Buzz…There it is!" She cried, laying a hand quickly on Soi Fon's head.
Soi Fon was dazed; physical contact? From the ruling commander…
"That was a noisy bee," She said, ruffling Soi Fon's hair affectionately. She smiled. "There was a small bee right here."
Soi Fon felt confusion dampen her joy a little. She was unsure of how to act. Was this normal? " U-Um…"
Yoruichi withdrew her hand. "I told you to call me Yoruichi."
Soi Fon protested half-heartedly. "B-But…"
Soi Fon lowered her gaze again. "Yoruichi-sama."
Yoruichi smiled widely, looking very happy. "That's better!" she said, cocking her head to one side. "Come!" she exclaimed, starting to run.
Soi Fon started after her, and then stopped, hesitant and bewildered. Did she hear her properly? Or was it her rabid imagination taking flight because of her joy of being privileged enough to be singled out by the Ruling Commander and engaging her in conversation? "Eh? Ah, excuse me!"
Yoruichi stopped running and glanced backwards. "If I tell you to come, then you should just come."
"O-Okay!" yelled Soi Fon from far away. She ran full pelt to reach Yoruichi and skidded to a stop.
Yoruichi ruffled her hair again. "That's good." She smiled.
I was happy.
Yoruichi and Soi Fon sprinted side by side across an empty field; Zanpakutos in hand.
A hollow reached for them, but it was slow. They both leapt aside. Soi Fon charged and jumped, brandishing her sword with natural ease and cleaved the Hollow apart from the hole in his chest and up. It shimmered and started to fade; she somersaulted in mid-air, hit the ground, flipped backwards and came to a stop.
Then a Hollow appeared behind her, grabbing her with one huge hand before she could jump away. She cursed her stupidity; but the Hollow was unanticipated. It lifted her to its mouth; she struggled and then cringed as she was granted a close view of the inside of its mouth, she was mere inches away now from being crushed by its maw. The rancid smell of its breath washed over her in waves. She nearly passed out.
Yoruichi leapt, appearing from nowhere and sliced the Hollows hand off; the one that was holding Soi Fon captive. Blood showered the ground like rain. She continued in one fluent movement, crying out her battle cry and plunged the sword right between the Hollows eyes, piercing the thick white armor of its mask. Twirling in the air as she set down; the Hollow started to evaporate. She stood protectively in front of Soi Fon.
I was happy even in the middle of battle.
Soi Fon watched from her spot on the ground as the Hollow finally winked out of sight.
Yoruichi turned to her and said, "Right! Let's leave." She was about to take a step when suddenly an anguished cry punctured the silence.
"I am terribly sorry!"
Yoruichi turned around to gaze at the kneeling Soi Fon.
"I am supposed to protect you, but I lack the strength."
Yoruichi threw her head back and scoffed. " Gah!" Her hand rested on her hip. "That's the problem?" she asked incredulously. "There's no need to worry about it," she waved her hand dismissively.
Yoruichi gazed at her with compassion. "If I say its okay, then it's okay," she said gently.
Yoruichi leaned closer, cocking an eyebrow. "Hmm?"
"No, just talking to myself, Yoruichi-sama," Soi Fon said softly.
Yoruichi hesitated, then smiled. "Right!"
…A forest of cherry blossom trees. A full moon.
A sword sliced through the air, leaving air rents where it passed.
"Can I protect Yoruichi-sama by doing this?!" She leapt and swung the sword about viciously; she landed, gritting her teeth in frustration. "Or by doing this?!" she shouted angrily, lunging forward, and slashing furiously at imaginary foes. Whirling and twirling around, her sword appeared as quick flashes of silver as she hacked at her foes with rage…hacking at her weakness with rage. She wanted it gone. She needed it gone.
She paused as a hand fell upon her shoulder. Yoruichi came up behind her. Soi Fon froze.
"Listen, Soi Fon," she said quietly into her ear, her words soothing her anger. She gripped Soi Fon's small hands in her own slightly larger ones. "You swing a sword like this." She raised Soi Fon's arms in a swift and smooth motion, the sword tip pointed at the moon. She stood right behind her; their bodies pressed against one another; using both her hands and body to guide her through. "Right. Swing it like this…"
Soi Fon blinked. Then broke out of Yoruichi's gentle grasp, and fell down on her knees into the soft green grass. Her head bowed in submission.
Yoruichi stepped closer to her, her voice gentle, "Don't brood over it like this. You are doing well."
Soi Fon lifted her head, dissatisfaction in her eyes. "No, I'm not good enough."
Yoruichi watched her silently, waiting for her to go on.
"If I want to protect Yoruichi-sama, my strength…" she said, pausing. She closed her eyes, bowing low once more. " No, I'm lacking everything."
Yoruichi touched her hair. "That's enough," she said firmly, stroking her silky black hair tenderly.
"Yoruichi-sama," whispered Soi Fon, gazing into her once fierce golden eyes. There was nothing like that now; her gaze was gentle, reassuring…
"You resemble myself," said Yoruichi quietly, drawing closer. "I feel as though you are my sister."
"Words like those are wasted on a person like me."
Yoruichi suddenly fell forward, Soi Fon was alarmed; was her master hurt? Injured? She looks down anxiously to find Yoruichi's head resting on her lap.
"So that's enough," she sighed.
Cherry blossom petals fell like snow, dancing in the air, weaving through each other, the soft pink decorating the dark sky.
"There's a full moon tonight."
Soi Fon glanced up at the moon, admiring its pale beauty. "Right," she said.
Yoruichi felt sorrow settle in her heart, almost crushing her. She knew this might very well be the last time she could be with Soi Fon. She knew it, and hated it. She slowly closed her eyes, trying to will it away... if she could only forget about it… even for a moment.
Soi Fon watched Yoruichi, her gaze softened. Her troubles forgotten. She runs her fingers through Yoruichi's short hair, though she was forbidden to do so. But what did it matter? What did anything matter?
"I will always be by your side, protecting you," Soi Fon whispered softly. "Always."
The soft murmurs of the pink petals carving through air prolonged the heavy silence.
"Yeah. It's a promise," Yoruichi said tiredly. Her eyes still closed.
Soi Fon recoiled, frightened. She thought she was asleep.
Then she nodded.
I was happy. Right until that time.
Door slid open. Quick footsteps. Soi Fon panted as she rushed through the corridors. They seemed so long that day. As if she would never reach the end.
She reached Yoruichi's throne room and wrenches open the doors… only to find it empty.
Her eyes widened.
It was a shock.
She walked slowly into the empty room. Her footsteps falling hard on the floor; each one was just a little heavier, just a little harder to lift.
Without so much as a farewell, you had vanished from before me.
'It's a promise.'
Her eyes clouded with tears.
The master I had loved and respected like a god had obviously betrayed me.
"I was disappointed in you!" she screamed at Yoruichi, renewing her fevered and desperate charge again. "I hated you, and even cursed you!"
Yoruichi was impassive. She stood there, still; deathly afraid that she could not keep it up any longer… her shunko, and her stoic demeanor; her shield, physical and psychological. It was about to break and shatter into a million little pieces that she wasn't sure she could put back together again. If only you knew…
"I swore that I would definitely become more powerful than you, and capture you with my own hands!" Wisps of white whirled around Soi Fon's hands and whole body as she leapt into the air.
A huge flash of white. Yoruichi jumped aside; then they both fly up into the air. Their movements co-coordinated even though their minds and hearts were not. Not yet…
"I cannot forgive you, Yoruichi! I can never forgive you, who betrayed my respect and trust!"
Her eyes narrowed once more, her resentment poured into her words, just as her last vestiges of strength poured into this last frenzied attack. "I…"
Yoruichi's eyes widened.
A huge ball of white flashed and ate up the landscape. Then detonated; a thick column of lighting shot up high into the sky. The very ground beneath their feet shook as if it were trying to wrench itself apart.
The fog slowly dissipated. Energy crackled along Yoruichi's outstretched arm, her legs were spread wide for balance.
Soi Fon found herself frozen in mid charge. Yoruichi's fist was mere millimeters from her face. Suddenly, all the anger that fueled her hate vanished like it was never there.
Yoruichi withdrew her hand slowly. If only you knew…please understand, Soi Fon…
"Why is it?"
Yoruichi watched her carefully, her expression guarded to hide what was happening inside. She was falling apart, crumbling… she'd waited a hundred years already, she could not wait any longer… she couldn't hold it in any longer… she just…
Soi Fon straightened, her eyes brimming with tears. They rolled down her cheeks.
"Why didn't you take me with you?" she whispered.
I had to leave.
But I didn't want to leave…
She fell to her knees in front of Yoruichi; her body betrayed her will… her will to fight.
Her tears splashed against the ground as her fingers curled and dug into the soft dirt.
Yoruichi finally found her voice, looking down upon Soi Fon, she said softly, "You've become strong during our short time apart." Just a little longer…
Soi Fon's sobs racked her body and she sprawled in front of Yoruichi, curling up, wailing in despair, bitterness and frustration. She was never going to be strong enough. She tried so hard and yet she still lost. She'd lost Yoruichi a hundred years ago. She was going to lose her again. That was why she had to become strong. So she would stop losing. So she could be with Yoruichi, by her side, protecting her forever.
"I'm sorry, Soi Fon," murmured Yoruichi softly, gazing up into the sky.
A/N: I hope this monster of a fic was alright. I congratulate you for reading the whole thing. I know I didn't change much at all in the story; I wanted to keep it as authentic as it was. Mainly, my goal was to sort of display some things more clearly, things that they were hinting at in the episodes. And elaborating on what Yoruichi and Soi Fon were thinking as they faced off for the first time in a century.
Feedback would be greatly appreciated.