A/N: this is a continuation/deviation of sorts on PND's "Zanpakutology" story. I figured that her birthday would be the perfect occasion for writing and posting it. I'm keeping it as "In Progress" because the plot bunny won't leave me alone and might start chewing my brain off or something if I dare mark it as "Complete".

So, anyway: PND, hakkaisensei joins me in wishing you a HAPPY BIRTHDAY :) !!!


Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.


Zanpakutoulogy - Chapter 1?

Yumichika sighed dreamily.

"It's just perfect!"

The wistful look on the pretty-boy's face surprised Shuuhei.


"Hm-mm. Beautiful, powerful, and unique. What more could you ask for?"

Shuuhei glanced down at the zanpakutou in his hands. Powerful and unique, that he could see, but...


Yumichika hummed once more before answering brightly: "Yes! Look at those exquisite curves, and those superb moves you can achieve with them... It's just magnificent!"

Shuuhei was stunned. He knew that the 11th divisioner could be quite... odd at times, but this was ridiculous. Bringing up one of Kazeshini's double-scythes, he explained:

"Those curves are not exquisite; they are creepy. Can't you see how they scream 'Death!' all over?"

The pretty-boy's eyes widened in surprise and confusion.

"Of course they do, but that's part of their beauty, isn't it? 'I am a bringer of death': such a simple, elegant statement."

Shuuhei stared; what was wrong with the man this time??

"Look Yumichika... I know you guys in the 11th love to fight and don't fear death and all that, but... Surely, even you wouldn't want a zanpakutou that can do nothing but kill, or at best maim, once it goes into shikai... Right?"

Shuuhei's voice had grown steadily weaker as he was speaking and watching the confusion increase on the other man's face. By the time he was done, Yumichika was downright frowning.

"Well... Of course it kills and maims! It's a zanpakutou. What else is it supposed to do!?"

The conversation was becoming more surreal by the minute, and Shuuhei was feeling like the ground under his feet was turning to quicksand - a phenomenon that happened all too often whenever he talked to the pretty-boy. Hesitantly, he tried to explain:

"It could do a lot of other things. It could incapacitate, for example. Weaken the enemy. Prevent them from using their own weapons. Confuse them. A lot of things, really. Like yours does, or Kira's, you know. But my zanpakutou? All it can do is kill and injure. I can't knock people out with it, I can't overpower them or anything. I can just kill them or at best cut their limbs off or something. That's just... That's just disgusting, don't you think?"

Well, he had tried his best, but obviously he had failed, as the look on Yumichika's face had shifted successively from confused to shocked to angry. There were now furious flashes glinting in the purple eyes, and the fifth seat's voice was clipped and charged with venom when he countered:

"You are so weak, Hisagi Shuuhei. Why are you even a Shinigami if you can't face the prospect of killing your enemy? Your zanpakutou is everything a zanpakutou should be: practical, versatile, deadly. And on top of all that, it's also beautiful. You should count yourself lucky to be the master of such an excellent weapon, but it seems to me that you are too much of a coward to even realise the true depth of the gift you've received."

Shuuhei gasped. He was floored; he could not believe what he was hearing. He did not even know if he was more appalled or enraged; all he knew was that he was not going to take those insults lying down. How did Yumichika dare...? What did he know...!?

"Look here, Ayasegawa! Just because I am not a berserker who only gets excited at the idea of killing or being killed doesn't mean that I'm afraid of doing my duty. I've killed, many times, and I've never shrunk from the inevitable. As for being a coward... Remind me again who it is who's too afraid to face his precious captain and tell him the truth about his zanpakutou?"

Shuuhei had hit home with his last question; he could see it from the twist of rage and fear that suddenly distorted the other man's features. Satisfied with his semi-victory, he decided it would be better to bring an early end to the hostilities; it was never a good idea to antagonise an 11th divisioner after all, especially not one as powerful as Yumichika.

Taking a step back, he resealed Kazeshini, and he was re-sheathing it when he noticed the fleeting expression that oh-so-briefly crossed the pretty-boy's face. With a shock, he recognised it as longing - and with an even stronger shock, he became aware of the sensation bubbling up from deep inside himself, from that place he shared with his zanpakutou. He did not need to hear Kazeshini's voice to know what the sword spirit wanted, as incredible as it was...

Looking up again into Yumichika's morose eyes, he took a deep breath and forced himself to speak:

"Would you..."

He choked and coughed. This was such an amazing thing to ask; it seemed like the words themselves refused to go past his throat.

"Would you like to try it?"

All anger instantly disappeared from Yumichika's countenance as intense surprise and sheer incredulity replaced it. The fifth seat stared with wide eyes at Shuuhei for a minute, before the most incredible smile - bright, eager, almost child-like in its pure joy and intensity - settled on his face.

"You'd... You'd let me?"

Shuuhei squirmed and lowered his gaze, vaguely ashamed by the confession he was about to make.

"Actually, he - Kazeshini - asked me to."

Oddly, this admission seemed to dampen Yumichika's enthusiasm. His smile vanished and he frowned slightly before replying:

"I won't do it if you don't want me to."

Shuuhei would not concede it, but he was shaken by this simple mark of respect. Once again, he was awed - and annoyed - by the complexity of feelings and thoughts that the pretty-boy kept hidden behind his vain appearance and behaviour; haughty and insulting one minute, humble and deferential the next... Yumichika was an enigma, and in a strange way, Shuuhei was glad he had been given a chance to expand his own understanding of human nature by coming to know the 11th divisioner a little better.

He forced himself to smile as he offered Kazeshini's hilt to the fifth seat.

"I want you to. Here. Take it."