Disclaimer - I do not own Bleach

Chapter Ten - Battle

"You children do not stand a chance against me," Yamamoto growled as he held up the cane within which resided his zanpaktou. A dangerous aura surrounded the man as he released a burst of reiatsu, disintegrating the cane and revealing his sword.

"We'll see," Ichigo said calmly, having heard this more times than he cared to count. Gripping the handle of Zangetsu, the Captain of Squad Five drew his sword and held it out in front of him.

"Stand aside Kurosaki…"

Ichigo actually felt a shiver go down his spine as he heard this cold voice. Glancing over he saw that a tremendous aura had grown to surround Hitsugaya, causing the room's temperature to drop dramatically.

"There is absolutely no way that…"

"Please Ichigo…"

The fact that Hitsugaya had addressed him by his given name gave Ichigo pause and he gazed at the white haired captain once more. There was something of a pleading look in his eyes as he gazed back that caught Ichigo completely off guard.

"This is all my fault," Hitsugaya said, his voice thick with guilt as he thought back to the actions that had brought them to this point. "I should have stood up for my child when she was born but instead I gave her away like a coward. Now she's gone and this bastard wants her killed. This is my fight… and I'm going to end it."

With a nod Ichigo stepped back, holding Zangetsu at his side. He could understand Hitsugaya's feelings and would abide by his friend's wishes.

"Alright Toushirou," he said, his gaze fiery. "Just know that I've got your back."

Hitsugaya nodded as he held up Hyourinmaru, the tip of the sword parallel to the ground. He was well aware of the fact that this battle would be far from easy to win however he was determined none the less. And this determination shone bright in his teal eyes.

The eyes that his precious daughter had inherited from him.

"I will end this," Hitsugaya vowed as he glared at the Head Captain. He had followed this man for many years but his condemnation of an innocent child was the last straw.

"We shall take this outside," Yamamoto growled, his narrow eyed gaze shifting back and forth between Hitsugaya and Ichigo. "And it shall be a fair fight."

"Right," Hitsugaya said with a nod.

The force of two major reiatsu rocked Soul Society, causing many of the inhabitants of the Seireitei to rush to the Squad One training grounds to see exactly what was going on. And what they witnessed upon arrival defied description.

Fire and ice clashed together as the Head Captain engaged in battle with the Captain of Squad Ten. Many of the spectators were betting on the outcome of the fight and almost none of them were betting on the white haired prodigy surviving the fight.

Let alone winning.

Ichigo and Rukia were a different story however. They were both certain that their friend would be the victor in this fight because he was fighting for his child and there was nothing more dangerous than a parent whose child has been threatened.

By this time most of the other captains had arrived but none of them made a move to interfere. The law of the Shinigami was that you could challenge a captain in combat for their position and the same held true for the Head Captain.

It was perfectly acceptable to challenge your superiors in fair combat, it's just that no one ever had.

Hitsugaya's thoughts were firmly focused on his missing daughter as he fought against the man who had condemned his child for something that was his fault and not her's. Tenshi had no control over who her parents were or how she came to be in this world. So she shouldn't be condemned for it.

"I will find you," he vowed as he used his tremendous ice wings to launch himself into the air. Swinging the blade of Hyourinmaru in an arc in front of him the white haired captain released the ice dragon.

Head Captain Yamamoto blocked this attack fairly easily but his guard was down when Hitsugaya launched the attack that he actually intended to make contact with.

Flying toward the old man with newfound speed the Captain of Squad Ten pierced his chest with the blade of Hyourinmaru. Ice erupted around them, in the shape of a four petaled flower, and a simultaneous gasp escaped from the crowd.

"I… I can't believe he actually won."

"Unbelievable…"

Ichigo heard the shocked words that were being whispered around him but his attention was focused squarely on the ice flower. He couldn't see Hitsugaya and he wanted to make sure that his friend was alright.

A few seconds later the sound of ice cracking was heard and then Hitsugaya emerged, looking exhausted. There was a wary look in his teal eyes as he faced all of the Shinigami who had borne witness to the battle but none of them made a move to attack.

The battle had been fair so there was nothing that they could do.

Not that many of them really wanted to. The reason for this battle had spread amongst the crowd and most of them thought that the young captain had merely been doing what any parent would for the sake of their child.

Hitsugaya staggered slightly as he made his way across the ice strewn battleground and Ichigo rushed to help him. Coming to stand beside the white haired captain Ichigo grabbed his arm and wrapped it around his shoulders. "Come on. I think you should rest."

"No," Hitsugaya said, determination still shining in his teal eyes. "I have to find Tenshi."

Ichigo opened his mouth to protest but then changed his mind. He knew that if it were his daughter out there then he'd stop at nothing to find her so he had no right to stop Hitsugaya. "Alright. We'll help."

"Thank you," Hitsugaya said as they walked away from Squad One.

A/N - Hope that you enjoyed this chapter.