Disclaimer:I do not own Naruto or Bleach.


Chapter Thirteen
最悪の場合( saiaku no baai ) The worst case scenario.

Toushiro swung his sword. The movement was pointless anyway- another identical clone immediately replaced the one he just slew. He took several steps back, stumbling slightly. The large wound he had accumulated from his previous fight started to throb much more painfully than before, and his vision was getting foggy again.

He threw a glance at his surroundings again. The Adjucas had somehow managed to lead both him and Naruto off to a deserted area, far enough that not a single Shinigami or hollow was in sight (besides the over-sized Gillians), but yet not so remote that sound of battle could not be heard. He cursed. They were in trouble- no one would be able to spot, and thus, aid them now.

But then, Toushiro thought grimly, even if no one came, he was rather confident that he could take this hollow down, just in time for Naruto to escape. He wasn't so sure about himself, but it was apparent that without extra help, one of them, be it the hollow or him, was going to die in this battle. In fact, it didn't seem as though anyone had missed them or saw them being forced into the forest. Joy. What magnificent devotion did everyone show to their third seater.

Toushiro gave a quick glance to his partner. Naruto was visibly panting, and his robes were torn and dirty from all the non-stop fighting he did- the clones haven't given them any chance to stop or catch their breaths. Toushiro placed his concentration back to his enemy. He needed to end this battle soon- it wasn't that often will he see Naruto panting this hard, with the amazing stamina the blond had. Enough fooling around…the fight was starting to piss him off, actually.

"Sōten ni zase," he growled, whipping his sword around as the temperatures started to drop drastically. "Hyōrinmaru!"

With another slash of his sword, a stream of water shot forward on the battleground from seemingly out of nowhere. Hopefully, Naruto had enough sense to avoid the oncoming stream of water. Toushiro hoped he did. It would be a trouble to defrost him later. Ah well, no point worrying about that idiot now. The water crashed onto each and every one of the numerous clones hungrily like a mini waterfall. In an instant, the entire area was encased in strong, sturdy ice, glistering in the orange light by the setting sun.

There. That finally got rid of the pesky little Adjucas. The Hollow certainly wasn't expecting such a strong attack from a wounded third seater. Toushiro didn't blame it- he had put his entire reserves into the small pool of water, which had gushed out of his sword tip. Now, to find the blond idiot…

" Toushiro! Behind!"

Toushiro swerved around just in time to see the Adjucas they were fighting bringing down a claw to strike him. Damn! Wasn't it supposed to be dead? He immediately brought up his blade to block, but with little or no reiatsu left from the previous attack and the pain, which suddenly shot up from the wound on his right shoulder, stopped his arm movements. He braced himself for the claw to strike down him…but it never came.

He looked up in confusion, just to see another Shinigami in front of him, shielding him from the hollow's attack.

" What a pussy, Shiro-chan." Naruto grinned down at his friend while straining to push the hollow off with his blade. His hands shook with the effort of pushing the large set of claws up and away from the two of them. " I thought you'd fare better than this, after all the 'third-seater' crap you kept telling me."

" This is my fourth battle in today's evasion already." Toushiro protested, rubbing his disobedient shoulder. Nevertheless, he stood up and ripping a small part of his left sleeve out, and used it as a makeshift dressing for his wound as quickly as possible. He figured that he'd better tend to it soon- it was starting to hurt like mad, and he didn't want it to be a disturbance in his future fights.

" And, I'm injured." He added once he was done. But that wasn't going to stop him from fighting further altogether though. He tested wounded arm, flexing the muscles in it, before readying his grip on his sword with the other. "Okay, I'm ready." He told Naruto. If the blond had any protests, the blond kept it to himself. " What? You aren't going to stop me from fighting?" Toushiro asked as he regained his posture.

" You aren't going to listen to me anyway." Naruto pointed out, still holding the hollows' claws, grunted, and slashed out, after realizing that he simply could not win the Adjucas when it came down to fighting with brute strength. To both of their surprise, it did not evade his attack; instead, it simply took the hit calmly.

They both found out why soon enough- the hollow dissolved into thin air. Another clone. Now this was starting to get infuriating. The damn original still had enough reiatsu to still create clones? Toushiro scowled silently. It was in much better condition than he thought it was in. That…was most displeasing to him.

Another one attacked from behind. Naruto instinctively ducked and gave a upwards swipe- the hollow dissolved once again. Naruto groaned. Toushiro knew that the blond shared his thoughts too.

This time, five hollows came at once, dashing at full speed towards them. Toushiro raised his sword, ready to defend himself, but there was no need. Naruto, out of annoyance and exasperation at the current battle, had sprinted forwards to attack all five of them at once- the first strike destroyed two of them, a swift kick finished the third, the following slash at the fourth, and the final stab did the last in.

Toushiro blinked. Naruto was really good at swordplay. He didn't know if the blond was bad at it before or not- the only time they sparred with swords was when Toushiro wanted to 'test' Naruto if he could handle a zanpakuto properly or not.

" So how was that, shorty?" Said blond grinned from where he stood triumphantly before he did a shunpo and appeared beside Toushiro. More clones appeared, charging at them again, though this time in a bunch- from about fifteen to twenty.

" Great. Absolutely splendid." Toushiro said dryly. " Oh. And mind finishing those off too?"

" Arrgh. At least now I know how enemies feel when I use that technique on them. At least I wasn't so irritating to make small groups at a time." Naruto muttered. He did some stretches then turned to Toushiro. " Okay, I think I can handle them. In the meantime, just find the real one. He's probably still a bit winded after your last attack, so I think he's masking his reiatsu… or something like that. After we find him, the fight will be real easy."

" You don't know that." Toushiro pointed out. " He's an Adjucas that took out the third division's lieutenant."

Naruto scowled. " Just do what I say already, chibi." Without waiting for a reply, Naruto shunpo-ed off, instantly covering the distance between the two groups with a single shunpo, appearing in the center of the cluster.

Being caught off guard, Naruto managed to get rid off another five more clones before he did another flash step to give more distance between them, just before they managed to regain enough of their wits back to throw a counterattack at him.

It didn't matter if he was showing off much more than he usually did during missions. As long as he'd managed to protect Toushiro, that would be enough. But he wasn't crazy enough to be fighting with ninja skills yet- there was still a slight chance that Soifon might be closely watching him, and besides, he knew fairly passable amount of Shinigami skills, just enough to defeat this hollow, at least. He thinked.

Using the ice below him to maximize his speed, Naruto gave a yell and ran forwards, soon finding himself in the mist of the horde of clones, slashing madly at anything which came within his sword's range, occasionally throwing in a punch or two if he couldn't bring his sword back to cut another in time. Yup, he really was giving away too much of his real power.

" Shiro-chan!" Naruto yelled. " Have you found where the real one is yet?"

" Shut up, idiot! This takes up lots of time, concentration, and reiatsu, something which I don't have, or you're not giving me!" Came the replying yell.

" Well, hurry up! I might die any minute soon!" Naruto yelled back as he quickly brought his sword up and slice another clone into half.

" You don't look like it!" Toushiro replied. Muttering to himself and trying to ignore the burning pain on his left shoulder, Toushiro squatted down and drew out the last of his reiatsu, preparing for the spell. Biting his thumb and drawing blood from it, he quickly used the blood to draw out the circle needed for the bakudo.

"Heart of the south, eye of the north, finger of the west, foot of the east, arrive with the wind and depart with the rain." He muttered. He left the last of his reserves leaving him. His wound throbbed again, much more painfully than before. " Bakudo no go-ju-hachi, kakushitsuijaku!"

Toushiro squinted at the numbers being displayed to him by his spell. " Fifty four…no, fifty nine…ninety-eight?" Toushiro stared at the numbers. Why did it jump so quickly? Something was…off… Wait. It was back to the fifties again. Did he misplace it? Nah. Toushiro shook it off. Damn, he was feeling really woozy after the spell…

'Damn,' Naruto thought as he slashed at another hollow while glancing at the muddled looking and squinting Toushiro behind him. ' Its no good, Toushiro looks like he's about to pass out soon, he's already starting to act like a stupid old man…' He looked back up just in time to see a clone charging towards him, claws out, ready to slice. He immediately slashed at it right in the center- it vanished on the spot. 'If only I could locate the hollow…' " Oei! Are you done yet, ojii-san?!" He yelled.

" He's not moving! That means he's still being trapped by my ice!" Toushiro finally yelled. " The clones are a distraction!"

" Yeah, I figured that much! Good job, Mr. Dozy!" Naruto snorted. That's what clones are for anyway. Distractions. " So? Where is he?!"

" You're going to receive a good trashing from me once we're back." He could hear Toushiro mutter angrily. " Not very far from here. Two meters further up. At the bunch of frozen trees. Tangled up, I think."

" Yosh!" Naruto grinned. Finally…Naruto was eager to end this battle soon too. Slashing through all the clones wildly, he sped past, getting rid of more on the way. He finally spotted the hollow he wanted- tangled up, just as Toushiro guessed. " DIE!"

The sword sank deep into bone of the hollow's mask, before it met with flesh and then bone again. Blood immediately gushed out on impact, the red liquid splattering on the surroundings floor and Naruto, but the shinobi did not stop there. He continued yanking the blade down a few inches more before digging his swords' blade out, totally ignoring the Adjucas's shrieks of horror and pain as its face was brutally sliced into two.

The hollow dropped down onto the floor, breaking the ice before it as it did so. Naruto was sure it was no clone this time. Its form did not waver, and the blood that had come out of it was definitely real. It was finally over. He had never fought a battle with this tough an opponent using this much handicaps before. His entire body ached like hell. He could've conserved much more energy if he had used ninjutsu. A single Rasengan could have finished the job much more quickly and less strenuously.

Toushiro was gaping at Naruto as the blond slowly made his way back, dragging his bloody sword behind him. That was Naruto? His mind replayed the scene of the blond 's final blows. It wasn't the movements of someone who had memorized on how to kill using a sword from a book. It was the movements of someone who had killed so regularly, it was almost natural for him now. It was the movements of an experienced. 'Naruto, just how many people have you killed in your past life?' Toushiro thought.

" Yo, Shiro-chan." Toushiro looked up to see the blond grinning widely down at him. Naruto now looked almost in the exact same state as him- torn, bloodied and dirty. He had gained a few more grazes as well. He wasn't in much condition to be fighting in as Toushiro was. Naruto tried to hide the severity of his injuries with that big goofy grin of his, so Toushiro tried to ignore them for the moment for his sake.

" I told you I'd beat him, didn't I? Took a hell lot of a time, but…damn, as soon as I find taichou and dump you with the fourth division, I'm going home to get myself a shikai." Naruto continued. With the topic however, his grin turned into a frown instead. " To hell with practicing on that Kido shit- we'd never got beyond twenty and I can't seem to remember the granny chants anyway."

" Yeah, well, at least you're admitting that you suck at kidou." Toushiro snorted and finally released his bakudo spell. He suddenly felt lightheaded with the loss of his reserves. " Help me get up. I think I used up a bit too much reiatsu back then."

" I think you overdid it with the ice. You don't have to pour out so much water. What a sho-" Naruto didn't finish his sentence as his eyes widened at something behind Toushiro. " TOUSHIRO WATCH OUT!"

Toushiro quickly turned just in time to see the Adjucas's claws rushing down to slash at him.

Soifon growled. Blood was being shed and splattered left and right. The hollows suffered a lot after she and her backups came, but they weren't winning either. The entire thing was turning out to be a huge mess. A gigantic, chaotic, ugly mess. And Soifon hated messiness.

She turned back to a passing shinigami. " Will someone take care of the two big and goofy Gillians already?!" She yelled. " What are you still running like that here? Grab your team and get going!" These people have no common sense at all! It's the big ones that are causing all the trouble and ruckus. And didn't people get rid of the root of the problem first?

" Urm…" The Shinigami fidgeted nervously. " W-well, I'm n-not exactly suited for…err…t-taking down large mo-monsters…"

Soifon blinked. " You're from the third division, right?" she asked, defeated.

" Err, yeah…Yamaguchi Kouhei, t-the third division's newly appointed fifteenth seater, actually."

" …Figures." Soifon muttered. She sighed. She was going to punch that persimmon loving Ichimaru once she gets back, she swore silently. Even her un-ranked shinigamis were doing so much better than this supposed 'fifteenth seater'. Wait, speaking of unranked…

Soifon paled as she looked around hurriedly. Crap. Where is that blond idiot?! She didn't catch sight of any unmistakable mop of sunshine yellow hair anywhere…didn't she specifically tell him to stay with her at all times? They were losing a battle already because of the lack of two freaking captains and now the idiot has to make matters worse for her by suddenly disappearing?

But then, knowing his laziness, he had probably just grabbed the third seater and sped back to Seireitei, thus avoiding all the 'unnecessary' fights. She knew for one thing that he wasn't stupid. But without a shikai yet, that idiot would've been seriously injured or worse if he'd ever encountered a hollow. From his mission reports, she knew so far that he could only handle one hollow at a time, and those were only D-ranked hollows, for crying out loud!

"Ōmaeda." She snapped. Her lieutenant immediately appeared, crouched down at her side.

" What is it, taicho?"

" Have you seen Uzumaki?"

Marechiyo looked at bit surprised at Soifon's question. " No, haven't seen that lunatic brat anywhere. I was shielding the bumble headed villagers from the hollows' ceros' attack. Why did you need him anyway? Sheesh, I told you we never should've brought him along…"

Soifon bit her bottom lip. Knowing Naruto, he might bite of a bit more than he could chew…The Sotaicho is going to kill her if he'd ever found out about this…

" Oei. Yamaguchi." She snapped. Not waiting for the other's stuttered respond, she carried on, " You didn't see a Shinigami with bright yellow hair around these parts, did you?" Hopefully, he hasn't. That meant that the idiot had at least had enough sense to hide or better still, flee from battle.

" Y-Yes, actually, I did, 'mam." The Shinigami stuttered. He winced and shuddered uncontrollably as Soifon screamed out a 'WHAT?!'. He so hated these types of temperamental captains…

" Well, what was he doing, you slow dimwit?" Marechiyo thundered, making the other wince horribly. " And don't stutter- talk like a man, not a sissy."

" I was helping the villagers to evacuate from their houses when I saw that boy you described. Shockingly yellow hair with a tachi and whisker marks on his cheeks, right?" The timid fifteenth seater said. Soifon nodded tightly. There was no doubt about it now, it was definitely him. " Yeah, he was heading to the forests outside this district…."

Soifon paled. What the hell was the blond doing? Going outside of the battlefield where they are no allies to help you nearby… " Any more? Were there any hollows nearby or something? Or did he have anyone near him?"

The Shinigami screwed his face up, deep in thought. " Oh yeah! And he had the tenth division's third seater with him, so it'll probably be okay. Though he did look a bit pale."

'Probably from blood loss.' Soifon thought, though the tension in her heart was relieved somewhat. ' Hitsugaya won't be much of a help at that state, though.' Maybe they headed to the forests for cover until the third seater regains a bit more strength. Anyway, with Toushiro around, she wouldn't have to worry too much. That boy was also known as the 'boy genius' amongst the captains, and was currently Isshin's pride. But most importantly, he was extremely cool headed, so he'd probably stop the blond from getting too upset.

Uzumaki will probably be fine not. With that assured, Soifon turned to leave, heading to where the Gillians were located.

She didn't know how wrong she could get.

His vision was blinded by red for a few seconds.

Toushiro blinked as the all too familiar warm red liquid was splattered all over the surrounding ice and snow, all over his numb body, and all over his face. But since there was no pain, his mind immediately reached its supposition- it wasn't his. His mind reeled in shock and horror as his mind registered what had happened, and more importantly, who was in front of him.

" NARUTO!" The idiotic blond had covered for him!

Said blond collapsed face forward onto the floor in a heap. His torso looks like it was pretty much sliced into two, with all the blood covering the wound. Said liquid was quick to seep out of the ghastly wound, and the ground was turning red in a few moments.

The Adjucas had retreated back into the trees for cover, leaving a trail of blood. It was probably still recovering, but leaped at its chance when he was wide open for attacks. It's my fault, Toushiro numbly thought, I was too weak, too slow to move my body in time. If I had, Naruto wouldn't have had to cover for my. All this wouldn't have happened.

Toushiro quickly rushed to his friend's side to check his wounds, never mind that his own was bleeding rather profusely itself too. He breathed a sigh of relief. The gash across the blond's torso was deep, but it wasn't as serious as Toushiro had previously thought. Still, unless Naruto receive medical treatment immediately, he was sure to die. 'Look on the bright side, at least he isn't sliced into two.' Toushiro told himself.

" Naruto," Toushiro gasped. " Can you hear me?"

" Unfortunately." Came the weak reply. Trust the other to joke at a time like this. But Toushiro was troubled over how weak the blond looked. His eyes were glazed over and his breathing was heavy. The large pool of blood under him wasn't doing the situation much good. No good, the blond was sure to loose consciousness at this rate.

Toushiro cursed himself. Naruto was only a novice shinigami! No matter how strong the blond seemed to Toushiro, Naruto was still a beginner. The thing that separated them was plain experience. He was a fool to let Naruto partake in the battle; he should've just hauled the blond away from the battlefield, away from any fighting and back into Seireitei from the start. It was his fault. All of it. Right from the beginning.

" Okay." Toushiro took in a deep breath to steady himself. It wasn't going to be much help if he started panicking or loose control. " Right. Here's what we'll do. I'll distract the hollow while you call Soifon-taichou. Or anyone else, for backup."

Naruto's eyes widened. " No…"

" Then what?" Toushiro snapped. " I know it's not perfect, but it's the best I can come up with in this situation. You're injured enough. I, however, can still take another hit or two." Toushiro gripped his sword's hilt tighter. He knew he was breaking. He couldn't help it himself.

" …phone." Naruto finished, still managing to sound a little irritated in his weakened state.

" Oh." Toushiro mumbled, suddenly feeling a bit silly for his previous rant. Then the started muttering a few choice curses to cover up his embarrassment before sliding his own cell phone over to the blond. " Use mine. You can move your arms, right?" Naruto nodded in reply.

" I'll be going then." Toushiro mumbled as he staggered to his feet. " I'll probably be able to give you another five more minutes. Soifon-taichou should be able to make it in time." Toushiro grimaced as he took a step forward. His wound was hurting badly, but now was not the time to be thinking about that. Naruto was hurt because of his own carelessness. And he was the third seater. He was the own who was supposed to do the protecting, to do the fighting. And now he will. This wasn't the time to be nursing his injuries; the hollow won't wait for them forever.

Toushiro drew out his sword and prepared to sprint forwards, to slice at the Adjucas, but suddenly stopped as he felt something grip his left foot. Turning around, he found that it was only Naruto.

" What?" He snapped. There wasn't much time left. The battle won't carry on forever. And the sky was turning darker by the minute. Moonlight won't help any of them out when they can barely even see what was in front of them, with the lose of so much blood. Shinigamis may be death gods, but they die themselves too. Naruto was saying something. Toushiro strained to hear him.

" It'snotyourfault."

" What?" Toushiro asked again, but this time in disbelief.

" Its not your fault." Naruto repeated, softly but firmly. " I chose to take the hit for you. This was my choice. So don't force yourself if you hafta."

" W-what?" Toushiro gasped. He quickly looked down guiltily as he tried to hide his shock, or rather, gratitude for the blond. How did he know?

Naruto released him. " Now go kick butt, Shiro-chan!" He cheered. Or at least tried to- it didn't came out right. His voice was now scratchy and dry. Then he started to cough violently.

" Don't scream." Toushiro grinned, apparently managing to get over the emotions he was feeling, as he watched Naruto wheezing away. " You sound like a screeching cat."

" Right." Naruto muttered as his coughing subsided. He reached forwards and flipped open the phone. His face was still pale, and he winced at the small action." Go have fun. I'll just lie here to rot myself-cough- or something."

Toushiro nodded and turned to leave. His aching body tensing up for the fight ahead." Oh yeah. One more-cough-thing." Came Naruto's weak voice from behind. Toushiro turned expectantly towards the blond.

Naruto managed force out a painful, but wide grin. " Don't die." The simple grin turned out to be too much for him- the blond retched and lapsed into a coughing fit again.

Toushiro grinned back. Naruto's grin was forced, but he appreciated the gesture anyway. " You're forgetting that I, unlike you, am a third seater. Even an Adjucas won't have such an easy time defeating me."

" Promise?"

Toushiro looked at Naruto worriedly for a few seconds before nodding tensely. " I won't die." He grinned. " I told you, I'm a third seater."

Ignoring Naruto's snort in between his coughs, Toushiro sprinted into the forest, following the blood trail, his face serious now. Enough was enough. First Kira, then Naruto? That Adjucas was going to pay.

" Looking good, Soifon-taichou!" Came a mocking voice from behind. Soifon turned immediately, slashing at the speaker. As expected, her sword was blocked. The idiotic looking face of a certain Ichimaru Gin grinned back down at her. Soifon nodded at him as a form of disinclined greeting.

" Don't be so cold. I only came to help." Gin said. He withdrew something red-orange and round from inside his robes. " Want a persimmon? I heard that it stops bleeding. And, it also helps to regulate reiatsu."

" No thanks." Soifon glared and wiped away the blood coming out from the small gash on her right cheek. The action was proved futile; more immediately seeped out, however. "I'm glad that you've finally decided to grace us with your presence. And may I add that you entire division is completely unreliable without you around?"

" They can't do anything without me, right?" Gin grinned." That's so sweet of them. I don't like them independent anyway."

" …Right." Soifon said. Crazy crackpot twig-man…

" Yo guys. How's everything goin'?" Came a voice from the left. The two captains turned to see a third hurrying towards them, carelessly throwing an empty sake bottle behind him as he walked over to meet them.

" As you can see, we're still fighting." Soifon informed him. " Good. Kurosaki, you're here too. I'll need you to-"

" Ooh, persimmon!" Isshin cried happily as he took the offered persimmon from Gin. He took a bite out of it hungrily. Soifon seethed in anger as the two men ignored her completely. " Hachiya cultivar too! You have good timing Gin. I haven't eaten dinner yet."

" Why, thank you." Gin replied. " But y'know, you shouldn't eat 'em when your stomach's empty." He informed the other man worriedly. " They might cause diarrhea."

Isshin immediately spat out his share of persimmons, showering the remains on an approaching third division member. " What did you say?" Isshin gagged.

" Nuthin', nuthin'." Gin said blandly. " Just don't puke them on my lieutenant next time, if you don't mind."

" Yes, it would be much appreciated, Kurosaki-taichou." Said the third division's lieutenant thickly as he tried to wipe off the bits with his good arm. He turned to his captain. " Ichimaru-taichou…" He said urgently as he gripped his left arm tightly, clearly in pain. Blood was visibly dripping down his right arm's fingers.

" Yes, what is it Kira-kun?" Gin asked. " Look at you- you're all torn up, aren't 'cha? What happened?"

" One of the three Adjucas." Izuru said. " I apologize for my incompetence, but I let it get away…"

" There are Adjucas involved?" Isshin groaned. " Just great. I shoulda've come a bit later."

" …You mean that you deliberately come late on purpose?" Soifon gritted out through clenched teeth. She had been keeping silent during the entire conversation, choosing to observe the ongoing battle and seeing if anyone from her division needed help, but perked up at Isshin's last sentence.

" Err…well, yeah…" Isshin muttered sheepishly. " I thought I'd let you clear things up a bit first, Soifon-taichou. Since you're so awesome and all."

" What do you know." Gin smiled. " I thought the exact same thing too. Guess great minds think alike, eh?"

" You…" Soifon hissed angrily. That's it. She was going to rip them to shreds!

Isshin saw the look on her face and was quick enough to change the topic before anything drastic would happen. " Oh yeah." He cried, glancing around at the battlefield below him. " Did anyone see my precious Shiro-chan?"

" Precious who?" Soifon asked, thinking that she heard wrongly.

" Ukitake-taichou's not supposed to be here." Gin pointed out confusedly. " He's in bed, again."

Isshin waved him off. " No, not Jyuushiro, I meant Toushiro. I didn't see him."

" …Oh, I saw him alright. He's doing fine." Soifon said irritably. What kind of nickname was 'Shiro-chan'? Who the hell would come up with such stupid a name as that?

" Really?" Isshin brightened up. " Well, that's good to hear."

" Yeah, he really was living up to his…urm...nickname." Soifon snorted. "Some fifteenth seater said that his face was extremely… white from blood loss."

" NANI?" Isshin screeched, rivaling a vulture. " That's not the definition of 'fine' at all!"

" Yes it is." Soifon said. " At least he's not dead. You got to be positive during battles, Kurosaki."

"…Evil, that's the definition of you…you're just plain evil." Isshin sobbed as he picked up his cell phone and punched in what was apparently Toushiro's number. He waited for a while. " Chikusho! The line's engaged! What is he doing? Calling his girlfriend?!" He dashed to Soifon and started shaking her. " Where is he? Where is my cute little SHIRO-CHAN?!"

" How would I know where that little twit went?" Soifon roared. Isshin whimpered and went to hide beside an amused looking Gin. Soifon took a deep breath and forced herself to calm down.

She realized that her temper had been raging rather badly ever since Naruto came into her division. And whatever happened to being emotionless? Right. She was going to advance the blond idiot once she gets back and then kick him out of her division to be the Sotaichou's guard. And then finally, peace and tranquility will return…

" He ran off into the forest with the Uzumaki brat." Soifon said coolly. She then turned to Izuru who was helping his taichou toss the over-reactive Isshin away. " Now back to the Adjucas topic. I have already killed off two, so that only leaves one last one- the one Kira killed. So maybe you could-" She cut of her speech abruptly and looked slightly annoyed. The others watched in amusement as she withdrew her vibrating cell phone from her robes and flipped it open. " What?" She snapped into it.

" Taichou," came the cracked and weak voice from the other end. " We need…backups." Both Isshin and Soifon paled as they recognized the voice. Gin and Kira just stood there to eavesdrop on the conversation.

" Is that you, Uzumaki?!" Soifon said. " What happened to you? What are you doing?"

" I'm lying on the floor with a massive injury and-cough- bleeding all my guts out." came the weak reply. Soifon groaned. Definitely Naruto, alright. " Just hurry up and-cough- give us freakin' backups already."

" Alright. I'm coming." Soifon snapped as she abruptly turned to leave. She glanced quizzically as an anxious Isshin followed her. " What's the situation over there?"

" Where's Shiro-chan?" Isshin called into the speaker.

There was a surprised pause at the other end, then Naruto replied. " Toushiro's fighting the Adjucas, since I'm in no-cough- condition to fight right now. He's-cough- injured too, though. And he said he might only last for five minutes, so you better get your asses here and help him out. I'm- cough-lying in a forest clearing. It's covered in ice, so you won't miss it. Toushiro's further in."

" NANI?!" both Soifon and Isshin yelled into the speaker of the tiny hand-phone.

" Ouch." Naruto said irritably from the other end.

" You two have been fighting the last Adjucas?" Soifon asked. An amateur and a bleeding third seater? This was the worst case scenario! She immediately shunpo-ed off to the forest.

" And Toushiro's still fighting it?!" Isshin wailed, trailing after her, weeping like a child who had lost his mother. Soifon was surprised that he was able to catch up with her in this state. "He said he'd only last for five minutes! How long has it been now?"

There was a long awkward pause from the other end. " Urm…seven?"

" WHAAAT!" Isshin screamed, pulling his hair.

" Why didn't you call us earlier?!" Soifon snapped.

" …I err…forgot your number." Came Naruto's sheepish voice from the other end, before he burst out into a coughing fit. " And Shiro-chan's phone doesn't-cough- have it."

" …No wonder the line's been engaged." Soifon muttered.

Isshin gave another wail. " Toushiro's doomed by now! Gone! Dead! Decayed!"

" No." Naruto said weakly yet firmly. " He won't die."

" You don't know." Isshin wailed, drying his mucus on Soifon's haori. Soifon cursed as she tried to yank the other captain away from it. People have a grudge against her haori or something!

" I do." Naruto said. He sounded angry. " …because he promised me." Then the line was cut off. Soifon stared at her phone indigently- no one, no one hangs up on her! - then blanking her face and pocketing her phone and shunpo-ing off. Isshin stared into the trees for a moment or two before hardening his face and doing the same.

" Well." Gin said. " That's just great, guys. Leaving me here to take care of this entire mess. You cook up some drama with a hand-phone and a third seater and leave me…alone…by myself. To think that I even offered you persimmons. Just great." Gin scowled and turned to his expectant lieutenant. " Well? What 'cha waiting here for? There's a battle going on down there." Saying so, he shunpo-ed off.

" B-but Taichou, I'm injured." Izuru mumbled to himself, somewhat appalled.

" You're finally here. Took you long enough." The Adjucas leered at the young Shinigami. " I thought it'll take you till sunrise until you finally managed to drag your ass here for me to kick it."

Toushiro narrowed his eyes. His legs left like they would buckle under him anytime soon, but he forced himself to stand up straight. He wouldn't show any signs of weaknesses in front of this beast. " And how do you know that I'll come? You gave us ample time to escape, despite how severe our injuries are."

" I know." The Adjucas replied, his voice as arrogant as ever. " You humans are the only ones who harbors pansy thoughts like 'take vengeance' or ' finish the job'." Toushiro growled in reply. The menos scrutinized him with a thoughtful look on his face. " A little small, but this'll have to do." He jeered. " Since the other one practically killed himself while he covered up for you. What a pathetic ding-dong."

Toushiro bristled in anger. He charged up his reiatsu. "…and I will kill you for what you've done to him."

" It was his fault." The hollow said evenly as he cracked his knuckles. " He jumped in to save you. Don't take it so hard on yourself, kiddo." He grinned wickedly, displaying a set of sharp, inhuman fangs. " However, thanks to him and his efforts when fighting my clones, that had allowed me to recover to a full hundred percent of my original strength, though my legs are still feeling a little… burdensome."

Toushiro blinked. " I'm not blaming myself. What on earth would make you think that I would feel that way?" He channeled the remaining of his reiatsu into Hyorinmaru, making the temperature drop drastically. The surrounding area was immediately frozen solid, encased in rock hard blue ice.

" W-What is this?" The Adjucas looked a little unnerved. He'd never seen anything like this before! The tiny Shinigami in front of him hasn't even unlocked his sword yet, so why did the surroundings change so much? He tried to put his leer back into place, to look unaffected by it all. This guy's zanpakuto was an ice element. " Freezing me won't work again- I won't fall for the same tricks two times, little boy." He heckled.

" I didn't want to use this with my body in this state, but I guess there's no helping it now, huh?" Toushiro growled out. Clouds in the sky started to drift towards them, as thunder started to flash overhead. " You should be proud..." He gasped out as he struggled to force in more reiatsu into his zanpakuto, struggling to ignore his weary body's protests, struggling to complete the transformation. " …You'll be the first one to actually witness this."

" …I have no idea what you're doing, but I'll stop you before you'll even manage it!" The Adjucas roared, trying to hide his fear. There was no need to worry; the brat was almost half dead. He was in full health now. His clones will eventually overpower him. This battle was in his favor from the start. He created the clones and sent them dashing at full speed towards the twerp.

The Adjucas grinned as his clones' claws smashed deep into the boy, creating a cloud of smoke. His jaws dropped, however, as the dust his clones kicked up thinned out to reveal that each and everyone of them were dispersed. The worst part was that instead a bloody boy that he had imagined, there was only a large ice ball in his place.

" Is that some sort of pansy-like cocoon?" He jeered. " So what are you going to be when you come out? A butterfly?"

"Your eradicator." Hissed a voice from inside. The hollow gaped as the 'ball' unfurled itself to reveal that it was actually an enormous pair glass-like of wings. No, not glass. Ice. They had actually acted as his protection! The platinum haired boy stood in the center of it all, eyes white and alight with reiatsu.

" Bankai." Toushiro snarled. " Daiguren Hyōrinmaru." He clenched his sword's hilt even tighter. He had told Naruto five minutes, but it seems that he was much, much more weaker than he'd thought. With his bankai activated, draining away his reiatsu like water flowing through cupped hands, at this rate, he might only last for about two minutes. He could already feel one of Hyorinmaru's ice petals starting to crack softly.

" Two minutes' more than enough." He growled. And sprang forwards into a charge.

Author's notes:

Yay! Chapter's complete! I think I almost died when I typed down this one. There are so many different things I want to put into each scene, but I can't do that, least the story will look…overstuffed with talking. Sad, isn't it? And I ended this chapter much, much earlier than what I expected. Ah well.

...And apologies if my story didn't meet your standards. If you're not satisfied with it, then just leave quietly. No need to make a fuss.

Some replies to a few reviewers:

Xsilverstarx:I'm really sorry for the typos! My Microsoft word spell check feature has gone bonkers, and yes, I am really reluctant to get a beta-reader. Don't ask. Yes, Ichigo is going to make his debut…a while later. 'Bout five to seven chapters or so. Let me finish this, and maybe another one more arc first. And yes again, Isshin's Ichigo's dad.

Jstrife:Really sorry! I dunno if I'm going to make Naruto a captain or not…and err…I'm not really sure I should put pairings for this fic…. gomenasai!

So once again, thanks for reviewing: animekingmike, xsilverstarx, itachigurl93, jstrife, DarkRavie, Tzeentch, Poet Bucky, PennyArcadeFan2, and brolly51.

Hope to receive more reviews from you guys.

Till the next chapter- Ja.