AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hallo! Well, this is my first ever time with a Bleach fic. Point out any mistakes with constructive criticism and you get hugs and candy. Flame me and you better like the taste of flame-retardant chemicals. This fic is going to be a series of one shots for Kisuke and Yoruichi, who I'm completely in love with as a couple. The one shots will range from PBS kids friendly to hot enough that it requires some light fanning as far as ratings go.

Normally, I wouldn't choose to start a new fic like this but... They REALLY wouldn't stop fooling around in my head. So, having said that, this one shot is MATURE in nature. Not MATURE enough to burn innocent eyes from their sockets, but enough so that it requires a MATURE label. And... I think everyone's got the point now so I'll shut up now. Thank you!

Winning The War


Gold eyes tinted ever so faintly with green peered at what was obviously supposed to impress her. "It's a big hole you dug in the middle of your shop," she said dryly, arching her brow over eyes that weren't perfectly human looking. Even in this form, she still retained some of her cat-like physique. She planted one hand on her hip and waited for him to explain why exactly he was putting a hole in his shop. Damp earth, gunpowder and for some reason acrylic paint wafted up through the shaft to assault her nose in a confusion of smells. The sound of voices fainlty carried up with those smells, and she could only imagine that they belonged to his three 'employees'.

The smile under the shady brim of his hat instantly flipped upside down, his shoulders deflating at her obvious lack of interest. "You're not impressed?" he asked with the faintest edge of a pout to his voice. He rubbed his stubbly covered chin as he regarded the hole again, this time as if trying to find out why she wasn't in the least bit impressed.

"Dogs do this every day."

"True... but can you think of a dog who can dig a hole this deep in only a few days?"

He had a point there, and she shrugged her shoulder to concede it. The movement instantly made her nose wrinkle in distaste at the feel of cotton against her skin. No matter how soft the material was advertised to be, it still felt unnatural to her. The only material she honestly didn't mind wearing was silk, but it wasn't at all practical for the activities she participated in. She ran a hand between her skin and the fabric, wishing once again that people in this world weren't so damned uptight about nudity. What was so upsetting about seeing a naked woman anyway? She knew for a fact she wasn't in the least bit unattractive in this form. Clothing was so... restraining.

"It doesn't change the fact that there's a six foot diameter hole smack dab in the middle of your store you, Kisuke," she repeated firmly before crossing her arms just under her breasts.

If she could see his eyes, she was sure they would match the crooked downward twist of disappointment on his lips. "Do you even know what it is, Yoruichi?" he insisted, pacing perilously close to the edge of the pit. If it were anyone else, she would have cautioned them back from the edge. However... this was Urahara Kisuke. She had to keep reminding herself that she didn't need to worry about him, not for anything.

"I've told you twice now that it's a pit, and if I have to say it a third time I'm leaving!"

Whatever Kisuke was about to say was lost as a big BOOM and a roaring cloud of dust suddenly exploded upward out of the hole. Both of them jumped back, shielding their mouths from the dust particles that billowed to the ground around them. Yoruichi glared at the hole through narrowed eyes, as if it had purposely attacked her. She was tired of his games, uncomfortable in these garments and now she was dirty. She hated being dirty! Gritting her teeth, she gave him the best glare she could through the smoke, demanding an explaination for what the hell just happened.


"But Jinta, you were holding the-"


"I... I did..." There was a little wail and more shouting that could barely be understood due to the speed and pitch of whoever was shouting. Thuds and sounds of things being thrown echoed back up through the darkness to the shop level, along with little whimpers and sniffles. Yoruichi hung her head and shook it at the routine that hadn't changed since she first met the children. How Kisuke could tolerate it without overdosing on asperin was beyond her.

Kisuke slapped a hand to his forehead and wiped it down his face slowly as he stood with the front edges to his sandals snugly pressed to the lip of his pit. A soft, slightly frustrated groan came from him as he looked down the darkness at the two voices like he could actually see them. "What's going on down there?" he called, his voice cutting easily through the din.

"Ururu didn't set the dynamite right, and then she set it off when I was trying to move it," Jinta tattled quickly.

"Please, Jinta, you told me to light the detonators. And you moved that last stick because you said it wouldn't make a big enough boom," Ururu corrected pitifully and with a large sniffle.

"Don't listen to her, boss! It's HER FAULT for not setting it up right to begin with!"

"Ai-yai..." Kisuke groaned. He pulled his hat off his head, frowning when he saw how dusty it was, and proceded to wipe it as clean as he could get. He scratched his head thoughtfully, lips still set in a grimace that said perhaps he wasn't as tolerant as she'd initially thought. "Tesai!"

"I was planting the trees, boss," the big man's voice rumbled back, clearing himself of any knowledge or responsibility of the incident and following fight.

"Trees? You have trees down in this hole of yours? And what's with giving dynamite to the children? You know how Jinta is with explosives," Yoruichi questioned, curious despite her irritated state as to what exactly the blonde haired man next to her was doing down there. At least most of the smells were explained. The only one remaining unanswered was the smell of fresh acrylic paint.

Kisuke favored her with a sly glance and a slightly lopsided smile as he replaced his hat firmly to his head. "Wanna take a peek?" he offered with just enough teasing to his voice to make the innocent question more of a flirtacious suggestion.

Yoruichi gave him a challenging smirk and cocked eyebrow in return as she refolded her arms just under her breasts. She knew his eyes weren't on her face any longer, but she couldn't outright accuse him of it since the hat hid his eyes completely from view. Kisuke was a clever pervert when he wanted to be. "Please, don't keep me in suspence," she replied sarcastically.

Grin flashing wider, he leaned over the hole and shouted, "We're coming down now!"

"WE!" Jinta shrieked. "Who's WE? Boss, have you been drinking again?"

Yoruichi snorted as Kisuke took a surprised step back from the edge at the lippy comment from the boy. She could also almost swear his cheeks were just a bit pinker than they had been before. "Again?" she smirked.

"Yeah... Tesai makes a killer Pina Colada," he confirmed sheepishly. "It wasn't any time recent, but that night... four of 'em later, I was so out of it you could have told me my name was Shirley and I would have believed you."

"Ah. I see." This was sooo going on the blackmail list now! Kisuke liked to drink Pina Coladas ... how cute. Judging by the way the pink suddenly spread a littly down his face, he probably guessed she was filing this information away for later mockery.

Clearing his throat, he stepped down the side, taking hold of a ladder she hadn't previously noticed along the edge. Well, it made sense to have a ladder when descending into an unlit pit of unknown depth. How else would one get back up? "Are you going to stand up here plotting ways to make me suffer for that information, or are you coming down?" he asked shortly before his hat disappeared into the shadows completely.

Sighing, Yoruichi peered down once again, trying to judge exactly how far down this hole of his went. She watched him as his clothing began to melt into the shadows slowly, narrowing her eyes to focus a little better. Her night vision was cat sharp, but even she couldn't see to the bottom of the pit. If Kisuke was bothering with the ladder rather than simply jumping down, chances were this thing was deep enough to actually do some damage if she leapt. She swung herself over the side, sandled feet finding the fourth rung down, and began to follow him into to whatever the hell it was he was creating.

The climb seemed to go on forever, and more than once she quietly cursed the fact that she was forced to wear clothing as it shifted against her skin in the most unsavory ways. Kisuke, the jolly pervert he could be, didn't mind her running around in her skin at all. The other two males in the shop were the real problem. The first time she'd changed form and walked out of the spare room in the shop in her human skin, Tesai had turned about fifty shades of red in the space of a minute before practically sprinting into the shop area and had been unable to look her in the eye the rest of the day. Jinta's jaw had dropped to the floor before he'd run screaming to the bathroom to wash his eyes out, all the while howling as if he'd been attached by a ferocious beast. Such dramatics over a little skin!

If it weren't for the fact that she knew who was waiting at the bottom of the ladder for her, she would have landed a sharp kick to the ribs of whoever owned the hands circling her waist and squeezing rather intimately into her curves. He lifted her slightly and set her down so that they were pressed together more closely than was necessary for exploring his latest creation. She shoved Kisuke back and ignored his chuckle at her display of outrage, thanking the darkness for hiding the sudden rush of blood to her face. Lords of the Underworld help her... he was in a flirtacious mood today! His mood was beginning to infect her a bit, she realized as she pulled her clothing away from the sweat just beginning to dampen her skin. She could lie to herself, and to him, about the sweat being caused by the stuffy, humid air from below ground. Yes, it sounded reasonable enough to be true. She would stick with that one... for a while at least.

"You've gained a little weight, Yoruichi. Maybe I should supply you with some skim milk for a while," he called at her back as she walked a few paces away from him to better see where she was now..

"Maybe you should learn the difference between fat weight and muscle weight," she bit back sharply. She had NOT gained any weight. He was just dillusional.

She once again ignored his laughter as she squinted at their surroundings. Dirt walls circled far above, turning the usually nondescript dull grey of the shop ceiling into a spot of brightness in all the gloom. Another spot of light caught her attention off to the left and had her walking toward it when she recognized it as an opening into another room. Jinta's low growl and Ururu's whimper informed her that the source of the explosion had probably started in there. Soft steps behind her told her Kisuke was following her, probably watching her ass as she walked. Her suspicions were confirmed when she added an extra bit of sway to her walk and heard his soft, "Oo," in response. This was an old game they were playing, one that had come naturally right from the very first day they had met. Kisuke had made a comment about it being illegal for her to spar in next to nothing, and she had countered with that it was his own damned fault if he was busy watching her breasts when he should have been watching her fists. And that, as they say, was history.

Yoruichi came to a halt just outside the exit to the narrow tunnel, her eyes blinking a couple times rapidly as she took in what was displayed before her. She'd not seen anything like this in... years. An enormous dome had been carved into the earth, and she already knew the diameter measurements without having to ask. One thousand and eighty feet in a complete circle. That was the bare minimum required for such a space. The ceiling was only half painted at the moment to resemble the sky outside, scafolding lining up the unpainted side in anticipation of its completion. Grass had been planted and was starting to turn a little brown without natural sunlight to filter in. The poor trees Tesai was planting weren't doing any better. Large lights were fixed into the curved ceiling to give those in the room vision, but it wasn't going to do a thing to save the plant life.

"Well? Now what do you think?" Kisuke said as he stepped up behind her, one hand curving to hold her hip gently. His breath blew against her ear lightly, but that was all from him that truly touched her. There was still a scant inch of space between her back and his chest. The game of tease was still on between them, and he was currently winning through illicit means. He knew she'd be awestruck at the sight of this place, damn him, and had taken full advantage of that.

Yoruichi moved away from the pleasant warmth she could feel through the layers of clothing he wore, walking soundlessly over the grass. "You're doing a better paint job on the ceiling," she commented. It was, too. MUCH better than the original one, which boasted a smiling sun and random rainbows drawn between cloud puffs. Someone had paid careful attention to detail and had it so that the color faded from the palest of blue closest to the ground to a richer shade near the top of the dome. The clouds weren't just white splotches either, they had details of shadowing and sunlight playing in with the pale color. If it weren't for the artificial lights and the dirt section still remaining along one side, she almost could have imagined it was real.

"Tesai's a marvelous artist. Isn't the grass rather nice?"

"Except for the dead patches, yes. Sod?"

"Yep, brought in three days ago. It's kind of a bummer it's already dying, but..."

She nodded, understanding that there wasn't much to be done considering how far under ground they were. She could see Tesai laboring with great care at planting yet another tree, this one still alive to judge by the lingering blooms. Her nose twitched as it caught the faintest scent of lilac before a smile threatened to cross her lips. Lilac was her favorite. He knew that very well, and the thought behind it was touching. Just as he knew how to be a tease, Kisuke also knew how to be incredibly sweet. She walked further in, knowing he was following a slight distance behind her and enjoying her reaction immensely to all this. "Are you going to put the-,"

"-That's what the kids are supposed to be working on," he answered for her, obviously having anticipated the question. Yoruichi allowed him to lead the way, this time making it her turn to watch him walk. Even after years of nearly non-active duty, Kisuke still looked in relatively good shape, she had to admit. Especially his ass. She fanned her hand lightly to get some air moving against her skin, and told herself she was hot because of the stuffiness that being underground induced. It was NOT because of him. Nope, not at all.

They finally came to a section in the grass that didn't exist. The reason it didn't exist was because it had been removed partially to form a new hole within the exisiting one. Rich, dark earth was scattered in clumps everywhere in the hole that was easily as tall as Yoruichi with her hands stretched high over her head. This new pit wasn't nearly as wide as the one leading down here, and it wouldn't be as deep either. She shivered a little, running her hands down the material of her shirt, as she remembered what exactly this would be used for.

She was removed from her thoughts when she noticed two sets of round eyes staring up at them. The reason she hadn't seen them before was because the two small figures that owned those eyes were covered entirely in mud and dirt. Their eyes were the only thing clean to them. Big sad eyes reminiscent of a puppy's and sharper brown eyes that narrowed when they noticed her watching gaped up from the hole. The sharper eyes turned to the wide ones shortly before the owner growled and snatched a muddy hand out toward a filthy pigtail on his counterpart. He gave it a sharp tug, jerking her head harshly toward his fist.

"OW! Jinta, that really hurts," Ururu wailed. Her big eyes scrunched close a she tried to free herself from the hand in her hair. Jinta's fingers weren't budging.

"Why didn't you tell me she was here?" Jinta hissed out at the girl as he gave another sharp tug. Yoruichi's lips pursed as she glared down at the impertinent boy. Obviously, he wasn't over that one incident yet. Honestly...

"Be-cause you never asked!" She screeched a little as Jinta released her hair only to grab her cheeks and stretch them out to the point where even Yoruichi was wincing for the poor girl. She felt sorry for the day when Ururu would finally decide she'd had enough of it and get even. Jinta's temper was hot, but she had a feeling Ururu's would be something terrifying to behold. Of course, the girl had to develope a backbone first.

"Okay, that's enough, Jinta," Kisuke said. The volume was mild but the firmness to the order was undeniable. It demanded immediate obedience, and received it as Jinta reluctantly released his victim. Ururu's eyes remained watery and birght as she rubbed her abused cheeks. "Man, are you two a mess! What's been going on down here?"

"Well, I've been trying to blow this hole for you, boss, and she's been getting in the way. Like usual!" Jinta sneered with a final glare tossed at his cohort.

"I don't mean to, Jinta, but it's really not safe to-,"

Ururu's quiet voice was drowned out by Jinta shouting, "It would go faster my way! Go play with your dolls!"

Loud clapping instantly killed the fighting from below and made them both look at Kisuke as he got their attention. "Hey, kids! Okay, listen to the boss for a second," he said. His voice was loud enough now to carry through the big, empty room easily. "We've only got a few days to get all this done. So... less bickering, more exploding, got it? And Jinta? If Ururu says it isn't safe, it probably isn't. I really don't wanna have to sweep pieces of you off the grass."

"You got it, boss!"

"Yes, Mr. Urahara."

Satisfied that the two would play as nicely as they ever did together, Kisuke motioned for Yoruichi to follow him over to one of the dead trees planted a little distance away. They sat down together under the dry branches and fake sky, and listened to the sounds of production going on around them. Kisuke sat with his back pressed to the tree trunk and legs cross before him, the very picture of leisurely comfort. Yoruichi sat slightly away from the tree, legs folded intricately underneath her. The posture didn't look as relaxed as his, but it felt good to stretch her muscles a bit.

"So," she said after a brief silence. "Do you think you can train Ichigo in time?"

"Mmm... sure. He's got a lot of natural talent as it is. I'm confident."

"Forgive me if your confidence isn't so reassuring right now. Yes, he has some raw talent, but this type of training... There aren't many Soul Reapers who could survive it. What makes you so certain Ichigo will?"

Kisuke smiled beneath his hat and took a deep breath of the stale, dry air. "Gut instinct. He has something worth fighting for."

"That's not enough to win against what he's about to face."

"He's also got a huuuge set of balls on him."

Yoruichi made a face at his declaration before swatting him playfully in the shoulder. "Keep your discoveries of his anatomy to yourself!"

Kisuke chuckled and lifted his hat enough for her to see the wicked gleam in his eye. "I wasn't talking literally. Had I known you like red heads though..." Another slap was his reward for that crack. "In all seriousness now, he stood up to both Renji and Byakuya. And lived."

She snorted, flexing her arms over her head to arch her back into a stretch. "That was stupidity that had him there, not balls. And a very nice bit of luck."

"Stupidity for going against them unprepared, yes. But ballsy because he didn't back down until they took the option from him. That's not luck, that's strength. Even then, he still stayed alive. I wish I could have seen Byakuya's face!" This time, the chuckle was entirely wicked, and she couldn't help answering it with a smile of her own. Considering how emotionless the captain was all the time, any twitch to that stoney facade would have amused the hell out of Kisuke.

"He's barely alive. I saw him. He looks like raw hamburger!"

Kisuke waved away her concern with an airy flick of his hand. "I've been dosing him up since I dragged him back here. By tomorrow, he won't look like hamburger. But surely, Yoruichi, you've felt it too?"

Yoruichi knew what he was talking about. She couldn't supress the shiver that ran through her body again at the memory of it. All that raw, searing energy pouring off of him... Ichigo's spiritual energy was like nothing she'd ever felt before in her life. If that was what he possessed as a novice, she couldn't even begin to imagine what it would be when, and if, he became a master. It... terrified her to think about, actually.

"It's one thing to possess power," she replied softly. 'It's a completely different thing to use it wisely. Ichigo throws it around like a handful of pebbles scattered across a pond. It creates too many little ripples that disrupt the others and therefore is counterproductive. I don't know if there's enough time to teach him to gather those pebbles up and form them into one rock to throw."

Her gaze dropped when his hand suddenly covered hers, giving it gentle pressure to reassure her. "Between the two of us, we can steer him in the right direction. Ultimately, he's got to figure out how to make that big rock on his own. Trust me, Yoruichi. I'm confident he can. His gifts are greater than my own."

Yoruichi whipped her head around so fast her ponytail nearly slapped her in the eye. Kisuke continued to smile as he gave her hand another squeeze. He couldn't mean that... not possibly! From the look on his face though, he was dead serious. Letting out the nervous breath she hadn't been aware of holding in the first place, she absently twisted her hand around so that their palms were touching, fingers twining together just as easily as they always had. "Well, I suppose if you put it like that...," she murmured.

His delighted chuckle was followed by a pat to her head as if she were one of the kids who worked for him. "There's a good kitty cat," he taunted, knowing how much she hated the pet name. Even if it was true in certain instances. When she was in human form though... all the cat comments were downright absurd and designed to pick at her temper.

Growling, she swatted his hand away irritably and twisted so that her back was to him in an attempt to blow him off. Not much of a deterant for him, unfortunately. She closed her eyes and willed herself still when she felt his fingers trail down her spine through the itchy cotton of her shirt. The perverse bastard just loooved to get her temper up, she thought with annoyance. She was beginning to wonder if maybe he was a bit more masochistic than she'd originally suspected. "I'm not in fur form. You can stop petting me anytime, you know."

"I know." He didn't stop though... and she was secretly pleased that he didn't. She wished she could take her shirt off and feel those calloused fingertips rub against her bare skin. If only the others weren't so damned close, she would have just taken the stupid garment off and let him! But, seeing as this was all she could get for now... His hand became more firm, massaging up her spine and back down, digging in a little at the base and causing her to arch a bit, lips parting in a silent groan she wouldn't give voice to. Damn him, he knew that was one of her weak spots! The massage moved upward again, rubbing gently between her shoulders blades. It was soothing now, but it did little for the pulse that threatened to explode out of her neck. She closed her eyes and relaxed a little into his touches while silently cursing him for being so good at their game.

Yoruichi's eyes flew open and she nearly growled a protest when Kisuke suddenly stopped the delicious little touches and stood up, stretching just a bit. "You know... it's been a little while since Benihime had a decent workout," he commented idly, stifling a yawn behind his hand.

"What?" she demanded through clenched teeth. He stopped just to tell her that?!

"Yeah. The poor girl should probably get a little action in before going up against Ichigo and his zanpaku-to."

Unbelievable. Just... incredibly unbelievable! First, he goes and turns her on so wickedly. Then, he ditches her just as the massage was starting to feel really good. And for what, because his zanpaku-to's a little rusty? Grraah... men! Yoruichi shook her head and directed her glare away from him. He wasn't even worthy of that at the moment.

"Well, how about it?"

His question startled her and caused her to glance warily at him from the corner of her eye. "How about what?" she demanded stiffly.

Kisuke's smile spread across his face in a slow, sensuous curve that turned her stomach to liquid heat. "I can't exactly spar alone, now can I? Besides... I think this pit needs to be broken in. Don't you agree?"

Yoruichi hesitated for a moment as she replayed the teasing words again through her head. At the last facility, they'd broken it in by... Slowly, a smile matching his for every inch of sensuous teasing came to her lips. She took the hand he held out to her and allowed him to pull her to her feet. "I think it does. Not to mention, I need to pay you back for saying I was fat... old man."

"Oo, ouch! That was a bit below the belt there. I see your claws are still nice and sharp, pussy cat."

"Call me that again and I'll scratch you up in a not-so-fun way." Kitty cat was annoying. Pussy cat was just downright insulting!

The tension between them was nearing the bursting point. It was so thick, she was surprised the others hadn't noticed it yet. She could almost see the searing wall drawn between them as if it were a tangeible thing. Slowly, Kisuke took two steps back from her, his hand gripping his cane just a little differently than before. It was a gesture she knew too well. Yoruichi ran her tongue over her lips eagerly as she sank gracefully into a crouched position, one hand touching the ground to help propel herself faster at the man across from her when the time came.

"Everyone, out!" he ordered loudly, reaching up to idly flick his hat through the air toward the tree they'd just vacated. Without the hat, she could now clearly see his eyes, and the heat there was enough to make her wriggle anxiously in her crouched position. She was rewarded by the heat flaring ever so slightly. The others better hurry and leave. She wasn't going to wait much longer.

"Huh? Why?" Jinta demanded from the hole he and Ururu were working on.

Kisuke didn't reply to the challenge. He didn't need to. Around here, when he said out it was expected that his order would be obeyed. Especially when Yoruichi came to visit. Tesai knew that and immediately dropped the spade in his hand to go collect the little ones, mumbling something about needing help checking inventory. Kisuke and Yoruichi remained poised and still, eyes locked on each other with anticipating smirks to their faces. A brief truce between them while innocent civilians remained in the same area.

"Tesai! Why'd ya pick me up? Put me DOWN! Hey! Hey, boss! BOSS!" The big man didn't pay attention the the indignantly shouting boy, who continued the entire way to the ladder. Pretty soon, Jinta's comments faded away to nothing. That meant they were alone. Good. Very good.

Yoruichi felt a low, nearly predatory laugh trickle from her throat shortly before they both sprang at each other, Kisuke whipping his still sheathed zanpaku-to where her head would have been if she hadn't ducked. He easily danced out of range from the fluid series of kicks she aimed for his chest and shoulders, whirling away in a whispering flurry of material to fall easily into a defensive pose about six feet away from her.

"I thought you were rusty," she remarked appreciatively of his speed. He'd always been wonderfully swift, and it seemed as if he hadn't lost that edge too badly.

"Or maybe it's those two pounds holding you back," he replied, knowing his words would goad her into attacking again.

Yoruichi let out a fierce shout as she launched herself into the air, foot aimed to connect with his chest. Kisuke took the blow, hands locking around her ankle as he fell onto his back with the force of their impact. He used his hold on her to send her flying over his shoulders into the ground hard enough to sting and possibly leave a bruise or two. She kicked her foot free of his grip and was on her feet in an instant, crouched and waiting for his next move.

Kisuke pushed to his feet, letting out a tiny groan as he rubbed his lower back. "Ow... that one kinda hurt."

"Aww... poor baby!"

"First, you tell me I'm old, and then you say I'm a baby. You need your eyes checked, kitten."

This time, he pushed the offensive, keeping his zanpaku-to sheathed still as he swung it near blinding quick toward her knees. Yoruichi laughed as she sprang backward nimbly, flipping from her hands to her feet before returning the favor of attacking knees by swinging her leg at his. He jumped back and she followed him, aiming a punch toward his stomach. Kisuke swerved to the left, spinning around with his own momentum in an effort to place her back to him for his next attack. He was quick... but Yoruichi was just was swift. She pivoted on one foot, using the other for a kick that would send him sprawling.

Or would have if she hadn't yelped at hard wood connecting with her ass. The surprise move caused her to lose her balance and fall to the grass hard. She hissed, rubbing her hip a little as she shot him a glare. Kisuke smiled, standing just far enough away to be out of immediate reach. His sheathed zanpaku-to rested on one shoulder idly as he waited for her to get up. She did so and immediately stopped rubbing her hip in favor of her ass. He'd spanked her on purpose, she would bet good money on it! Twisting her neck, she kept her hands loose and posture low, waiting for him to move.

Kisuke remained where he was. Waiting, patient. He wasn't going to press an attack. It was so like him to be difficult like that! "What, calling it quits already, Kisuke?" she called mockingly.

"No, just giving you a chance to recover is all," he replied nonchalantly.

"Such a gentleman," she sneered back.

"That... is something I'll never confess to being!"

She grinned and sped toward him, keeping low in hopes of making him think the attach would follow there. It worked beautifully. She waited until his shoulder was dropping to deliver a blow then sprung at the very last second into the air. Kisuke turned surprised eyes up at her shortly before she kicked him a good four feet across the grass. Yoruichi sank down again, poised and ready.

Kisuke groaned and sat up slowly, rubbing his jaw where a nice red mark puffed out. "Uh... that's gonna be a nasty bruise," he remarked before using Benihime to help push himself up. He brushed his clothing off, his hands deflating some of the bulk to show the trim body she knew was underneath. She couldn't help the quick little dart of her tongue across her lips, but she wouldn't go to him. He had to earn it first.

"Serves you right for attacking an unarmed woman with a sword," she said sharply. "Benihime will be getting enough of a workout with Ichigo. Come at me hand-to-hand... if you can."

It was a challenge, and he never was one to back down from one of her challenges. Others, perhaps, but not hers. Kisuke's eyes narrowed slightly at her words before he carefully placed his zanpaku-to on the grass with a final, almost reverent, caress to the wood. Benihime was a lucky girl to have such a man with her, Yoruichi observed with a bit of amusement. Unlike a number of Soul Reapers she could think of, he truly respected his zanpaku-to as a partner to his own abilities. Benihime wasn't just a tool for the job to him. When he was standing again, he rotated his neck to pop the joints... and then proceded to start a series of stretching routines.

Yoruichi blinked, her eyebrows furrowing sharply together. She slowly stood up from her crouched position to watch as he swung his arms back and forth, bent to touch his toes and did a few lunges in between before repeating the cycle over again. "What the hell are you doing?" she demanded irritably on his third go around the cycle. Did he have to stretch now, just as the game was getting really good?

"Limbering myself up for you," he replied. The slightly crooked grin and wiggle to his eyebrows turned the fairly innocent words into a face-slapping offense if said to any other woman. "These are preventative measures. Strenuous activity plus an out of conditioned body equals lotsa pain later on."

"I'll show you lots of pain if you don't hurry up," she muttered, placing one hand on her hip as she watched him for a few more minutes. Finally, after almost five whole minutes of him twisting himself around like an idiot, Kisuke gave his shoulders a final rotation and situated himself in a loose defensive position.

"Oh, no!" she laughed as she too sank into a defensive crouch of her own. "I was on defensive before you decided to limber up." Unlike the way he said it, she gave the phrase a more mocking quality. She was dirty, she was fully clothed and now she was irritated that he interupted their game like that. He either needed to make it up to her... or get ready for a hell of a lot of payback.

"Well, we can't BOTH be defensive," he reasoned, stating the obvious of their predicament.

Yoruichi rolled her eyes and didn't give an inch. "Obviously not. Seeing as I was the one on defense before you interupted the game, I think it's only fair that I resume the roll I was in before."

Kisuke sighed but relaxed his pose and stood up with slightly curved, defeated shoulders. "If you insist... kitten-baby."

If she had fur, she was certain it would have been standing on end from her nose to her tail. He was purposely trying to goad her into giving up her defense! That smug, insufferable... The really sad thing was, his plan was probably going to work. They knew each other's buttons so well, she sometimes wondered why they bothered with this game at all. He enjoyed her temper, she enjoyed laying him flat on his back. A perfect combination that for some reason only worked in this scenario.

"If you think that's going to work-," she began before he interupted her abruptly.

"You mean it's not... pretty kitty?" he teased. He was still standing there, looking as if they were discussing the weather in that painted sky, but that didn't mean anything with him. Kisuke almost had a sixth sense in combat. No matter how relaxed he looked, he was ready for her.

She growled low in her throat as her hips subtly shifted her body from a defensive crouch to an offensive one. "Kisuke..." she warned. The way she said his name sounded suitably irritated, but they both knew her heart was pounding with excitement.

Sweat tickled her skin shortly before being trapped in her clothing, which was becoming more and more bothersome the longer she was in it. A familiar heat was uncurling in her stomach as she looked at the confidently smirking man across from her. Two comments from him, and just like that the game was back on. It was most irritating that he was so good at it.

It was the slow curving to his lips, revealing white teeth in a bright flash, that warned her he was getting ready to drop the mother of all cat jokes on her. She waited with lethally narrowed eyes. His dark eyes were practically glowing with mirth and anticipation as he pitched his voice a little higher and said in a sing-song voice, "Here, kitty-kitty-kitty!"

Damn him! Damn him six different was, and then damn him some more! The few hairs remaining on her body snap upright with those words and made her wish she still had her claws to scratch that smirk right off his face. It was an obvious reference from when she'd been captured by a well-meaning old lady a while back and forced to share a house with fifteen other cats for a week before she was lucky enough to escape.

One of the most embarrassing and utterly humiliating experiences of her life, and he was using it as ammunition! Being called Tinkerbell and expected to drink water... She still had nightmares about it. And every time she'd ignored the old woman, that ridiculous cat call was screeched at her nonstop until she either submitted or one of the other cats answered her instead. Every day since then she regretted ever filling him in on the horrors of being a domestic cat for an elderly psycho. She wished she would have remembered then that Kisuke would use information like that for entirely wicked uses. Some friend!

It worked though, he won the defensive position from her like they both knew he would with that joke. Yoruichi let out a wildly fierce scream and threw herself at him, fists whizzing straight for the other side of his face to give him matching bruises. He dodged it just barely, chuckling as she continued to drive him back further and further across the grassy area. She continued to press her advantage of lightening quick attacks, not giving him a moment's break to counter with ones of his own.

Their game continued on as if they had all the time and energy in the world to keep at it. Punch, block, swing away, move back, jab, block and repeat. Kisuke finally managed to break away from her attacks in a movement so graceful it could have been choreographed into a ballet. Her fist struck the air where his head would have been and the first thing she did was start to scan the area for where he'd disappeared to. She hadn't even seen him move.

Her ears picked up the whipping, rustling sound of fabric being roughly pulled by a fast moving wind. Using that to track his movements, she reacted instinctively. She had enough time to turn around, eyes wide... and then she was slammed into the ground in a painful burst that sent bright sparks dancing in her vision. The air whooshed out of her lungs as she was squished between the hard ground and a hard chest roughly.

Wincing, Yoruichi managed to suck a gasp of air into her lungs, her fist connecting with his shoulder violently in an effort to get him off enough for her to breathe. "Grrraaah... Kisuke! Damned... heavy... Get UP!"

Laughing at her, nearly as breathless as she was and just as sweaty, Kisuke did as she asked but only after he pinned her wrists to the grass with his hands. She glared up at him as she relearned how to breathe and ignored the fact that he was straddling her hips. Glaring meant looking him in the eyes, which meant she didn't have to follow the sheen of sweat down the curve of his cheek... or down a jawline that desperately needed a shave... or his neck where she could see his pulse pushing against the skin. Little sensory flashes of having that pulsing beating in her mouth as she carefully sucked on it flashed through her and made the breath she'd just found again get lost in her throat.

Before she knew it, her eyes were peering down the enormous gap in the front of his shirt, watching as his heavy breathing shifted his abs in little waves of mesmerizing motion. All the activity had pulled the fabric nearly completely free from the tie belt around his waist to expose skin she knew almost as well as her own, right down to the last little scar that was barely visible on his skin.

"That... was fun," he said between breathes. "Haven't had... that much fun... in a while. Whew!"

"Easy for you to say. You weren't nearly crushed into the ground," she muttered back before twisting her body in a futile effort to free herself from him. Not that she really wanted to... and he knew that. It was all a part of their game. She simply couldn't surrender all the way without a little more of a fight.

His grin flashed again, full of pride and a little bit of smugness. "Didn't see that coming, did you?" he asked.

Honestly, she hadn't. It wasn't a standard move taught during any training practice she had ever seen, not even in eleventh company. Yoruichi turned her head away, holding his gaze out of the corner of her half closed eyes. "No... I didn't," she admitted, giving in to stroke his ego just a little bit. "Where did you pick that up?"

"Professional wrestling."

"You mean that crap on TV where men run around in gold underwear and slam chairs on each other's backs?"

"Hmm... that's not a bad idea. A couple chairs down... oof!"

He winced as she twisted her hip just hard enough into his groin to stop that particular derailment of his mental train. Their game was strenuous enough as it was, they didn't need to add furniture into the mix! The hit to his groin wasn't nearly hard enough to kill any chance of them finishing their game, not by any stretch of the imagination. She wouldn't ever do that, to him at least. Other men though... She could think of a few that deserved to have their anatomy rearranged off the top of her head. None of them were Kisuke.

"Oooh... that was so mean," he complained.

"So was body slamming me into the ground," she shot back.

His hands tightened a little around her wrists as she circled her hips more gently into his, a slow smile forming on her lips. She knew by the flare in his eyes that it was the smile he absolutely loved, the one she saved only for this part of their game or when they were alone. He'd told her once that this smile was like a living billboard of sensualness. She had taken the odd statement as the compliment it was intended to be and let rather strange imagery it conjured up slide off.

A pleasant little shiver ran down her spine as she remembered the day he'd told her that... So long ago now. She'd actually one the game that time and the reaction out of him had been... Well, intense was a very mild way of putting it. She made a little approving sound as he lowered his lips to the point of just brushing the area where neck and ear met.

"Yoruiiiichiiii," he all but purred against her skin. His hot breath clung to her damp skin and made her shift a little more insistantly beneath him. "Guess what?"

"Do I have to?" she murmured shortly before she flicked her tongue out to taste the sweat on his neck. It was too much temptation for her to resist, having his skin so very close to her mouth. She was rewarded with a feather light kiss right above her pulse followed quickly by another one more firmly pressed to the bend where neck and shoulder met. It felt wonderful... but this wasn't what she was looking for. Gentleness was boring. He insisted it wasn't... but she always got her way in the end.

She made a protesting little whine as he sat back up abruptly, a wicked look on his face. Yoruichi arched a brow, waiting for him to tell her what he wanted to. Her body continued to curve and move slightly, an unconscious effort on her part to maybe encourage him to forget words and get back to what they'd just been doing. It was sort of working, if the suddenly sharp intake of breath was any indication, but Kisuke could be just as stubborn as she was when he wanted to be. Apparently, this was one of those times where he did.

"I think this makes twenty-three wins for me now."

Yoruichi couldn't help the smile or the little laugh that came from her at that unsurprising confession. "And?" she prompted. Gloating was well and good when backed up with evidence, but the simple truth remained that twenty-three battle victories did not mean the end of the war. He could brag all he wanted about those mini victories. It would make her own bragging rights all the more sweeter for it.

"And... nothing. Just thought you should know." Kisuke shrugged before giving her the boyish smile he knew made her melt like chocolate in the sun. He said fighting in next to nothing was cheating. That smile of his was dirty pool for sure. It made them even in her book.

Shaking her head slightly as she rolled her eyes, she managed to twist her wrists just enough so that their palms were pressed together again, fingers locking in an automatic ease that came from years of knowing each other. It was an act that had originated during their friendship, one that predated any deeper emotions or physical needs that had soon followed. Before him, she hadn't been much on holding hands or other such tiny displays of affection. It seemed pointless and trivial compared to touch just for the hell of it. Kisuke was the one to break her of that, as well as a few other things she had originally deemed unnecessary in terms of a relationship. Oh, she wasn't completely on board with those little displays of affection for just anyone. Even though she could now admit that quick kisses on the cheek or a casual arm draped over her shoulder weren't as silly as she'd thought them to be, she couldn't see herself allowing any other man but him doing that to her. It only seemed right with him... and that ridiculous smile of his.

"Pride cometh before the fall," she reminded him. "So, are we going to see this game through or what? You still have a pit to finish decorating." Not that she wanted to end their time together so quickly. They didn't get to see each other as much as she wanted in recent years, and it was due to this that she was now impatient to get on with it. Having him so close again... looking so thoroughly mussed up from their sparring... and all alone... With the way he was sitting on her, she could tell what kind of reaction her body invoked in him. How he could continue to remain so casually in control was impressive but very frustrating for her own mood.

Kisuke's eyes rolled upward as he studied the brown splotches still dotting the perfectly painted sky. She could almost see him mentally checking off how much work still remained to be done and knew without asking that it was longer than he'd hoped for this stage of construction. "Yeah... I know," he said on a wistful sigh. "I really hate not having enough time anymore."

"Then stop wasting it," Yoruichi urged, her voice low and a little breathy. She disentangled one of their hands and he let her without trying to recapture it. Her fingers curled into the front of his shirt and used it to haul him down to her again. He came willingly enough, planting his free hand into the grass to keep from crushing her again. She rolled her body underneath his, enjoying the shiver that worked itself down his spine but didn't show in the playful spread of his lips. He moved a little lower, teasing her by coming within an inch of kissing her and stopping at the last second, making her moan her frustration at his stalling. "Come on, lover, don't you want to make me purr?"

"Oo, that was a bad one," Kisuke said, his nose wrinkling a little while his words brushed across her lips. Still, he did nothing. The patience on this man was insane!

"As if you have any room to complain!" He really didn't either, as far as she was concerned. Their lips touched briefly, almost as if they both took deep breaths at the same time and the light grazing resulted by accident. It hardly qualified as a kiss, which is what she really wanted out of him. It still managed to make her lips tingle in response. She tried again, arching upward to try and get that delicious heat back. Once again, he drew back slightly with eyes that laughed at her from barely an inch away. He was teasing her, pulling back in order to make her reach for him. He loved her as the aggressor. The thought was one that made her smile as she played along, using her grip on his shirt to pull her upper back off the ground and press her mouth to his bruising hard.

Kisuke's free hand moved to support her back, his fingers digging in just hard enough to dance the line between feeling good and hurting. It was perfect, just what she wanted. Yoruichi nipped at his lower lip hard and followed it quickly with a delicate lick of her tongue before she pushed it into his mouth in one swift move of dominance. His response was instantaneous and counteractive to her bid for control, offering her just enough of a fight to make it more interesting. She lifted her hips to his, using his momentray distraction from the movement to reposition her legs so that she was now on her knees while still being bent over. He wasn't aware of the subtle change in position, which was excellent for her little plan. The movement had brought a groan from him and a sudden dueling of tongues that very nearly made her forget what she was about to do herself.

Kissing him was like drinking an entire bottle of wine to herself. It was a heady, giddy thing that damn near overwhelmed her at time. When her tongue darted out, his followed to continue the fight before retreating as she pressed the attack again. They kissed like it was the very last time they ever would, and there were a time or two in the past where she honestly thought it would be. But, she was forgetting the plan. The plan was for a little retribution, and getting lost in one of Kisuke's mind numbing kisses wasn't part of that plan. Not for now at least. She allowed it for a few more seconds, bringing both of her hands up to clutch at the frabric still partially covering his chest. Just a little longer... she would enjoy the kiss just a bit longer... and now... She smiled against his mouth as she made her move, using her legs now planted firmly on the ground to surge forward, bowling him backward as her hands aided to increase his momentum by shoving roughly. The grip on his shirt helped to pull her over with him, and Yoruichi tore her mouth away just before his back impacted the ground to avoid possibly biting her own tongue. She completed the maneuver by swinging her legs around to either side of his and effectively pinning his hips to the ground.

"Hey!" Kisuke's startled yelp was followed closely by his head thunking back into the grass. Yoruichi grinned at his surprised expression to find their positions had been reversed entirely. That surprise quickly melted away as his gaze moved to where she sat across his hips now, her fingers splaying over the expanse of skin now fully exposed by his loose shirt. The look he gave her said clearly that he liked this show of dominance just as much as she enjoyed delivering it. She loved the way her dark skin looked against his much paler one, loved the fleshy give of muscle under the press of her fingertips. Those muscles were just as firm as she last remembered them to be, something that the loose, bulky clothing he prefered failed to show off.

Kisuke's hands went straight to her fully clothed thighs, fingers spreading so that his thumbs just barely teased along the insides of her legs. She bit her lower lip hard when his fingers slipped underneath her knees, teasing at the little pulse point just behind that softer bit of flesh. It made her already heightened nerves zing sharply in response, encouraging her hips to grind down into his more urgently. His eyes sparked even hotter as they both suddenly lunged at each other, mouths crashing together hard as she met him half way. Her hands frantically tugged his shirt away, just as his hands abandoned her thighs in order to finally get that horrible cotton shirt off of her.

Yoruichi hid her triumphant smile in the curve of his neck as his hands moved firmly up the column of her spine, blunt nails pressing into her skin hard enough to make her moan and arch away from his mouth and into his hands. She leaned forward again, kissing him just a little gentler than before in order the taste him better. He let her completely control the kiss, satisfied to simply lie back and enjoy the ride while she did all the work. He made a half-hearted attempt to try and flip their position again just so she couldn't claim total victory without a token protest. Hhis pathetic rebellion quickly ended when she jerked his belt free before letting her fingers slip just below the waist of his pants, exploring that lovely dip of flesh formed by his hip bones. This was one of the spots on him that guaranteed her complete control over him. She wasn't disappointed in the way his hands suddenly gripped her hips hard, muscles tensing briefly before releasing in a slow shudder. The soft moan he gave vibrated from his mouth into hers and was echoed back again as she moaned in turn. His boast about how many times he'd claimed victory meant nothing to her. It didn't matter how many times Kisuke won the battle.

She always won the war.