Title: Power struggles

Rating: G

Pairing / Characters: Yamamoto Genryuusai Shigekuni, Kyouraku Shunsui, Ukitake Jyuushirou

Word Count: 1, 823 words

Warnings: Nothing

Summary: Shunsui and Jyuushirou own Yamamoto in another mock battle

A/N: I took liberties with the nature of their bankai's as you will notice. this is a good one, it even made me smile…

'This really has to stop,' Yamamoto stated.

Shunsui rubbed his temple. 'We know, we know. It's not our fault, Yama-jii.'

Yamamoto's eyebrow lifted. 'I never said it was, Shunsui.'

'I fail to see what we can do about this,' Jyuushirou pointed out. 'We can't keep going around having matches with our captains, that would be plain stupidity, not to mention demeaning.'

Yamamoto chuckled suddenly. 'Jyuushirou… how much have you been holding back?'

'Pretty much everything,' the white haired captain admitted. 'While fighting with Shun is one thing, it's another to fight against someone who is totally unprepared for our level.'

A slow, sadistic smile crossed the old man's face. 'Well, the way I see it, there's only one solution to this problem…'

'You've heard, right?' Zaraki demanded of Unohana. 'You've heard what they're going to do?'

Unohana blinked. 'What who is going to do?'

'The old man and Kyouraku and Ukitake. They're going to fight each other, that's what.'

'Are you sure?' Soi Fon asked incredulously. 'The three of them?'

'I'm sure,' Zaraki told her. 'What I heard is none of them are planning on holding back like before.'

'Before?' Hitsugaya folded his arms. 'What do you mean before?'

'What he means is that when they fought with Mayuri, and when Ukitake-taichou fought with me, is that they were holding back on their power.'

Byakuya's eyes held a gleam. 'It means that this is going to be the biggest sparring match Soul Society has ever seen. Fire, wind and water… mark my words, people will be talking about this one for years afterwards.'

'If they don't kill us all,' Mayuri muttered.

'At least you'll finally get to see what they're truly capable of,' Aizen pointed out.

Mayuri glared at him before slinking away.

'Oi, Kuchiki.'

Rukia turned. 'Kaien-dono?'

'You coming? Everyone is going to be there.'

Rukia smiled. 'I wouldn't miss this for the world.'

Apparently no one wanted to miss it. Kaien looked astounded at the sheer amount of people streaming towards the largest of the arenas, and as they joined the crowd, Renji dashed over, eyes sparkling.

'This is going to be amazing,' he told them. 'I've been looking forward to this all week.'

'You aren't the only one, fool,' Rukia said, elbowing him in the ribs.

Even so, the amount of people that were already at the arena was staggering. The three of them managed to get seats with the other lieutenants and captains, all of whom were staring at the three in the arena with expressions of curiosity and eagerness.

Yamamoto glanced at his former students. 'Are the two of you ready?'

'Always,' Shunsui told him, grinning. 'Although you might want to consider holding back a bit…'

Yamamoto flapped a hand. 'Bah, they'll survive.'

'Er… we were thinking of you, Genryuusai-sensei,' Jyuushirou admitted.

Yamamoto's eyes bulged. 'Have you lost your minds? You don't know that I'm going to lose.'

As one, Jyuushirou and Shunsui drew their zanpakutous, and an unnatural hush fell over the arena. For once in plain black and white, and hatless, Shunsui moved behind Jyuushirou, lifting his swords upward. Jyuushirou extended his zanpakutou before him, both hands on the hilt. Yamamoto stretched the muscles in his arms and neck before drawing his own zanpakutou, tilting the blade to the side. Like the twin zanpakutou wielders, his expression was unruffled.

For a moment no one moved, until a strange reiatsu suddenly filled the air. Yamamoto grinned. 'So that's how the two of you want to do it. I see…'

'What – what's going on?' Renji demanded, staring at the captains and the expressions on their faces. 'What are they doing?'

Byakuya answered without taking his eyes from the arena. 'Can't you feel it, Renji? Their reiatsu is combined – and they haven't linked with each other at all… I never thought something like this was possible…'

Only then could he see it, the tower of reiatsu that surrounded the two, the swirls of blue and pink that flowed around them both. Even so, he was unprepared for what happened next.

In unison, two voices roared an attack. '33rd hadou: soukatsui!'

Blue flames erupted across the arena, and there was an audible gasp from the crowd as bright flames rose to counter the attack. A flicker, and Yamamoto was gone, the only thing to mark his position the wall of flames behind which he had been standing.

Jyuushirou twisted, and brought up his zanpakutou with a clang, driving Yamamoto backwards towards Shunsui, who simply stepped out of the way, bringing up his zanpakutous and sweeping them to the side, blocking a blow.

Yamamoto ducked, twisting his body beneath a blow that would have decapitated him, and rolled to one side, coming up in a crouch, zanpakutou braced across his forearm, taking the weight of another blow.

Jyuushirou grinned. 'Too slow!'

Nanao gasped. 'No way!'

Even as Yamamoto had moved, so had Shunsui and Jyuushirou, the former with one blade against the old shinigami's neck, the other poised over his head. Jyuushirou was standing in front of him, Sougyo no kotowari resting against Yamamoto's blade, the tip inches from his eyes. Another flicker, and Shunsui and Jyuushirou were standing across the arena, out of the range of a blast of red fire that had taken out the wall where they had previously been standing.

Yamamoto got to his feet, and another silence fell over the arena. It wasn't clear to the watchers who released bankai first, but the explosion of reiatsu effectively brought those watching to their knees, almost literally. The sight below was seared into their minds forever.

Yamamoto was standing near the wall of the arena, sheathed in flames. His zanpakutou had increased in size and shape, the blade widened and the hilt lengthened, sheathed in black and gold flames. A ring of the same flames danced around him.

Neither Shunsui or Jyuushirou had moved. Both of them were smiling, despite the clear lack of bankai from either of them. The captains and lieutenants who had watched their fight with Mayuri knew what was coming, but not a single person could believe what their eyes were telling them.

Storm clouds were gathering in the sky, whipped together by a fierce wind that had sprung up from nowhere.

Unohana was the first to point out their zanpakutous. 'Their nature has changed since we saw them last…'

Hitsugaya's gasp was audible. 'What the hell – '

Jyuushirou's zanpakutous were still joined by the slender gold cord, their surfaces still tinted blue, but the shape of his zanpakutou had changed. Both blades were longer, more slender than before, the tips of each blade wreathed with blue light. Shunsui's zanpakutous were also different – the first blade was scarlet in colour, the second a softer shade of pink, but the edge of the blade curved outward sharply.

Jagged bolts of lightning flashed in the sky, and the wind grew stronger. The smell of the ocean was clearer, as was the light, almost silky scent of flowers. Just then, a single bolt of lightning hit the floor in the centre of the arena, and with a groaning sound, the ground was ripped apart with the force of the water that rose up from its depths. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of flowers flowed down into the arena.

Blue green water surged up around the three of them, its surface whipped into a frenzy by the wind, but even as it swelled around Yamamoto, steam rose from the surface at the heat of the flames. Yamamoto flicked the tip of his sword casually, sending a stream of fire across the water. Shunsui used shunpo and lifted himself high into the air above the arena, neatly avoiding the flames. Jyuushirou however, sank beneath the water, reiatsu swirling around him. When he surfaced, he was standing behind Yamamoto, his sodden robes not hindering his movements in the slightest. He swung his zanpakutou around and brought the flat of the blade against the water, and lightning flowed from the blade into the water – but Yamamoto was no longer there. Like Shunsui, he was hovering in the air above the arena, matching blow for blow with Shunsui, each movement faster than the previous one. Jyuushirou stood still, head tilted upward as he watched, seemingly oblivious to the water and the lighting that still flashed across its surface.

Shunsui grinned as he slashed at the wall of flames with his zanpakutous.

The sharp wind cut through them briefly before Yamamoto swung his zanpakutou underhand, black and gold flames filling the air.

Shunsui immediately fell backwards, falling through the air swiftly as scarlet flowers soared up to meet him. As the flowers and the flames met, an explosion shook the arena.

When the dust cleared, Shunsui was standing beside Jyuushirou in the water, while Yamamoto was balancing gracefully on the wall of the arena.

Again, Yamamoto disappeared, reappearing above Jyuushirou, bringing his zanpakutou down with all his strength. Jyuushirou crossed his wrists, using both blades to wrench Yamamoto's arm down and to the side, at the same time kicking out with his foot and knocking the older captain off balance. Not to be caught out, Yamamoto sank beneath the water, and the red glow beneath the surface was all the warning Shunsui and Jyuushirou had before a second shot of red fire headed straight for them. As Jyuushirou dived to one side, a gust of wind lashed at the water, the waves rising higher until they obscured him altogether.

At the same time, Jyuushirou's voice roared a command. '4th hadou: byakurai!'

Rukia found herself covering her eyes as white lightning flared, but she squinted through her fingers to see three figures standing in the centre of the arena. In shock, she actually stood up.

Yamamoto was flanked by Shunsui and Jyuushirou, his zanpakutou somewhere beneath the water where he had dropped it. Jyuushirou had both blades resting across Yamamoto's neck, while Shunsui had the tip of the more slender of the blades pressed between the old man's shoulder blades, the other just touching his wrist where Yamamoto had flung up his hand.

All three of them were grinning openly.

Yamamoto looked resigned. 'I hate fighting with the two of you,' he complained.

Jyuushirou's expression was satiated. 'That felt good,' he remarked dreamily. 'Not having to hold back… we should do this more often…'

Shunsui chuckled. 'And destroy Soul Society altogether? I don't think so.'

Jyuushirou blinked at him. 'Does this mean that we don't tell anyone that we could probably do more?'

'No, no,' Yamamoto said hastily. 'We can't afford the cost to rebuild again, my budget is still recovering from the last time. Besides, we are getting older, you know. To be honest, I don't think I could take the strain of another match with either of you.'

Not a single person watching could understand why the three of them burst out laughing.

owari, for real this time