Title: Sparring match
Pairing / Characters: Kuchiki Byakuya, Ukitake Jyuushirou
Word Count: 769 words
Summary: After witnessing the fight between Jyuushirou, Shunsui and Mayuri, Byakuya wants a sparring match of his own
A/N: Whew. I sorta kinda plagiarised myself for this one… don't ask me why but I ran out of inspiration (or steam) halfway through and had to resort to drastic measures. It didn't turn out too bad though, so I'm happy :)
FOR EVERYONE WHO ASKED FOR MORE UKITAKE IN ACTION!!!!!
The gentle knock at the door made Jyuushirou look up from the seemingly endless pile of work on his table.
'I hope I'm not interrupting anything, senpai?'
A genuine smile of pleasure crossed Jyuushirou's face. 'Byakuya! Of course not – what can I do for you?'
Byakuya sat down opposite him, wondering how to word his request. 'I would like to have a sparring match with you, senpai.'
'A – sparring match?'
Byakuya inclined his head. 'I would like to test my skills against yours, particularly after witnessing you and Kyouraku – '
'Hanging Mayuri out to dry?' Jyuushirou laughed. 'I'd be happy to, Byakuya. Tomorrow afternoon?'
'That's more than acceptable,' Byakuya said. 'I look forward to it.'
Jyuushirou's eyes gleamed. 'So do I.'
Byakuya glanced at the people gathered around the practice field. 'Word certainly travels fast,' he mused.
Jyuushirou himself looked a little bewildered. 'So it does. Ah well, shall we begin?'
Byakuya unsheathed his zanpakutou. 'What conditions do you wish to set?'
Jyuushirou grinned wickedly. 'None, no restrictions whatsoever.'
'If you can keep up with me.'
Byakuya laughed suddenly, moving into a defensive stance. 'You're forgetting just what I'm capable of.'
Jyuushirou unsheathed his own zanpakutou, his stance more casual than his former students'. 'And you're forgetting just who it was that taught you what you know!'
Byakuya lunged forward, bringing Senbonzakura around and aiming for Jyuushirou's neck. There was a faint flicker, and Jyuushirou was no longer standing there, but a few feet to the side. 'Too slow!'
Twisting, he neatly avoided a kidou attack, flinging up his hand. A shield, just visible to the watchers, appeared in front of him, stopping what would have been a near fatal attack of white lightning. Still moving, he twisted his blade, wrenching Byakuya's arm down.
The two captains circled each other warily, each seeking an opening, neither willing to release shikai just yet.
Jyuushirou lunged forward now, bringing his blade around in a loop towards Byakuya's stomach. He countered the blow easily, Senbonzakura knocking against Sougyo no kotowari with a clang.
With lightning fast reflexes, Byakuya blocked another blow and brought his zanpakutou up, attempting to slash across Jyuushirou's chest. The older captain was barely able to counter the blow, and fell back.
For a moment, it seemed that Byakuya had the upper hand.
Instead, Jyuushirou's hands shifted on the hilt of his zanpakutou, his postion subtly altering. Now, instead of merely defending himself and allowing Byakuya to tire, he began to attack. Sougyo no kotowari flashed, and it was all the Kuchiki noble could do to keep his grip on his blade. Little by little, Byakuya was driven backwards, until he had to use shunpo to avoid a blow.
'There's no helping it,' Byakuya said abruptly, only dimly aware of the awed murmurs of the crowd.
He lifted Senbonzakura up, the tip of the blade pointing skywards. As he closed his eyes, the blade glowed.
Jyuushirou grinned as the blade broke into thousands of pieces, each piece reflecting the sunlight. Despite the danger, it was an eerily beautiful sight.
'Not yet… not just yet…'
As Byakuya directed the pieces of the blade towards him, Jyuushirou rolled under the flow, coming up in a crouch directly before Byakuya. As he came up, he released shikai, the command ringing out.
'Every wave be my shield! Every lightning bold be my blade!'
Jyuushirou crossed his wrists, twin blades shining in the sunlight where they rested against Byakuya's neck.
There was an audible gasp from the crowd.
Byakuya swallowed, and disappeared. When he reappeared, he was standing behind Jyuushirou, the tip of his finger pressing against his spine. Jyuushirou chuckled.
'Nice, Byakuya. But not good enough!'
Byakuya really wasn't expecting it, and consequently, the wave of water that flowed up from the ground knocked him off his feet.
Before he could recover, his violet eyes widened in genuine shock to see Jyuushirou with one knee planted firmly in his chest, twin blades perfectly poised on either side of his head.
Jyuushirou shook his head in mock sadness. 'Didn't I tell you that you wouldn't be able to keep up with me?'
He stood, offering Byakuya a hand. 'You've still got a ways to go, Byakuya. Keep practicing.'
Byakuya glared at him. 'I nearly had you.'
'Of course you did,' Jyuushirou agreed cheerfully. 'Who knows? Another two or three thousand years and I might really have something to worry about.'
The younger man laughed suddenly. 'It will be less than that, senpai. I guarantee it.'
But despite his cheerfulness, Jyuushirou sighed.
He really hated restraining himself like this.