I've finally got something published again! So I hope you all enjoy this little story people!
Title: Kendo Chaos
Author: MeteorLeopard (HoneyBadger)
The day would have been perfect, had it not been for the yell that sounded from three roads down. A small girl with pitch black hair, carrying a bag with the initials 'K.K' scrawled on it in permanent marker, twisted her head at the voice, her sometimes soft grey eyes now hardened with steel. They flashed as she narrowed them briefly before her feet began to run, heading rapidly right towards the source of the disturbance. She heard a muffled thud just as her sneaker-clad feet skidded on the tarmac of the road and she rounded the last corner. Standing pressed up against the high wall of the street was a young boy, maybe only eight years old, perhaps nine, ganged up upon by some older ones. The girl didn't stop and dashed forward, her fists already clenching, ready to knock some teeth out if she had to.
"Oi!" Her shout effectively drew the attention of the four older boys surrounding the younger kid and their eyes widened pathetically as they saw the short, black-haired fury approaching with frightening speed. But they still weren't backing off and the girl put on another spurt of speed.
"Get the hell away from the kid or I'll pummel you till your mamma's don't recognize ya!"
That seemed to work; mostly because her threats were usually believable since she tended to follow up on them. The tough guys scampered and the girl slowed her run as she saw them disappear around a corner, shouting stuff like, "We won't forget this!" and "We'll be back!"
She rolled her eyes. Yeah, that's what you said the last time and the time before thatas well. And you never seem to stick around too long.
Sighing once, the girl turned to face the smaller boy still standing up against the wall; he hadn't moved even after the bullies were gone. He was crying and she frowned. He was small, tiny actually, even by normal eight-year old standards and his little fists were bunched up tight and pressed hard into his eye sockets, undoubtedly making stars erupt behind his lids. The girl walked over to him and knelt down slowly so as not to scare the little boy away.
"Come now, quit crying already." Gently she reached up and pried his tight fists away from his eyes. She smiled at him when he finally looked at her. "You're supposed to be a big boy now, right?" The boy just looked at her for a moment, his eyes rimmed in red and his little eyebrows furrowed. The girl pulled out a packet of tissues and handed the whole thing to him. "Here ya go. Now wipe your face."
Patiently she waited for the boy to blow his nose and for his slight hiccoughs to recede. Then she smiled at him again. The boy blinked once at her. "Nee-san…"
"Hai?" Man, I wish Yuzu were here. She'd know how to handle this! On the outside she kept up her smiling face for the scared little boy.
He cocked his head to the side. "What's yer name?"
The girl's grey eyes softened again. "Kurosaki Karin."
The little boy nodded once, as though to say he understood. Karin stood up again. "Well then, where do you live?"
Around the corner, a good 20 meters away, another boy watched this scene. He'd been walking around in his gigai when he'd heard the yell. Sure, he was technically only here to kill Hollows and stop Espada attacks, but in the end it was all to save human life. So if a little kid was getting attacked he wasn't just going to stand around and wait to see how it played out. But then again, that's exactly what he'd ended up doing in the end.
Someone else had arrived there before him and by the time he was about to turn the corner, the four terrified guys had come hurtling around it, yelling things over their shoulders. The boy stood watching with his intense turquoise blue eyes as the young girl with black hair held out her hand to the little child, taking his small hand quite gently. The boy frowned slightly. She was certainly a strange human. She made enough of an impact to scare away four boys without even fighting them but she managed to gain a little kid's trust so easily within only a minute. He stayed still for a moment before he watched them walk off to the other end of the street, the little boy's hand linked with the girl's. Once they were out of sight the other boy sighed once and ran his hand through his white hair. Toushirou stretched once and dismissed the thoughts. Odd girl indeed.
A satisfying crunch sounded from beneath Karin's knuckles as she broke another guy's nose. The teenager in question stumbled back two steps and into the ranks of his cronies. Karin glowered at them and her mouth hardened into a tight line. They seemed wary of her all of a sudden. Karin took a step forward. The guys took a step back. She took another forward. And they ran.
Karin remained standing where she was, hands still balled into fists as she kept her stance ready and aggressive. But the cowards didn't even look back as they disappeared around the corner. Karin sighed once gustily and leant down to dust her uniform skirt off. As much as it irked her, she was officially classified as a girl and therefore had to wear a skirt. But she wouldn't be Karin if she hadn't modified it a bit to suit her. The teachers had given up on trying to dissuade her from wearing the gym shorts underneath it by now. And that suited Karin just fine. She needed those shorts on if she was going to keep little kids from getting beaten up every day.
She picked up her school bag as she prepared to walk away. She wasn't in a hurry but she didn't want to hang around much in particular either. She frowned. Ever since Ichi-nii had started getting busy with his Shinigami duties he'd been spending less time in their neighbourhood. And that had meant that the bullying had picked up. Karin still tried to stop it wherever she could but obviously she couldn't be everywhere at every time. However, she wanted to be a lingering thought at the back of people's minds so that they considered her before deciding whether or not it was worth trying to bully someone.
"Hey, you there."
Karin turned her head at the voice and narrowed her eyes. Approximately fifteen guys in high school uniform were gathered at the top of the street. Karin dropped her bag again, freeing her hands just in case she needed them. But then again, her legs were usually enough to deal with normal humans. And these guys had no shred of reiatsu on them.
Toushirou huffed irritably as he crossed his arms into the sleeves of his navy kimono and glared craters into the floorboards through his closed eyelids.
"Karakura First District versus Kotei Academy is about to begin!"
The nerve of that Madarame. Toushirou had told the guy a hundred times, 'Don't get too involved in human affairs.' And what had the idiot gone and done? Landed himself as the coach for a high school kendo team!
"Since this is an exhibition, we'll declare whoever lands the first hit as the winner."
Whatever. Toushirou still had his arms crossed tightly and his hands clenched within the sleeves of the stupid kendo uniform. The sleeves were far too narrow for his taste. And it was so awkward to move in! Nothing like the Shinigami robes.
He glanced down their 'team'. And what kind of line-up was this? Himself, a human guy with reiatsu but possessing less courage than a weasel, Abarai, another human without reiatsu and lastly Madarame bringing up the rear. Toushirou was clenching his jaw tightly to stop himself from attacking Madarame.
He ground his teeth but ignored the voice.
"Pst. Pssst! Taicho!" Her whispered voice was annoying in his ear.
Now normally he would have replied with at least a 'What do you want', but right now, he was in no mood for one of her hair-brained answers. "Go away Matsumoto and shut up."
Matsumoto huffed and pouted, obviously annoyed. "Fine then, I won't tell you."
If that was supposed to be provoking then it was failing amiably.
"First contestants, come forward!"
Toushirou glared down at his headgear and irritably pulled it over his head. He proceeded onto the match square and looked up at his opponent. Toushirou had to blink once before he frowned.
Weren't they going up against a high-school? So why was his opponent so short? Perhaps even shorter than him? He tried to look closer at the face behind the headgear but couldn't see anything, they were still too far away. Both knelt on their heels for a moment.
He rose to take his stance and watched his opponent. From the way that they were standing it seemed they were accustomed to fighting. But the way that they held the shinai seemed to tell otherwise. Toushirou narrowed his eyes and the person adjusted their grip. Seemed like they had gotten the right position after all. So why had they held the shinai wrongly beforehand?
Neither moved for while, Toushirou just keeping his eyes on the other. Their stance itself wasn't bad. In fact, he had the feeling that if this were a hand-to-hand fight his opponent would be much better off than in a kendo match like right now. Toushirou struck once downward, his shinai aiming for the top of his opponent's headgear.
His shinai was stopped.
Toushirou frowned as he pulled the wooden sword back. Behind him, he could feel the suddenly more intense stares from the others. This human had blocked the attack. Toushirou kept his frown in place. This human's strength was high. His hit had been hard enough to usually knock a shinai from unpracticed hands such as theirs but instead they had met his strike with enough strength to resist the hit.
Toushirou lunged forward again, trying another hit, releasing just that tiny fraction of his reiatsu to strengthen this gigai's muscles. The person's left foot slid back for support and the overhead strike was, once again, stopped. This time though Toushirou followed it up with a thrust. The opponent easily lowered their shinai and side stepped just in time to avoid it.
They struck back and Toushirou was momentarily thrown by the sheer strength that this human possessed. They were so small! He released a little more of his strength and eased up on his restraint a little. But only a little. Hurting or injuring a human was not an option.
His shinai crossed with his opponent's again and they met his attack with their own, the force equal and matched, each pushing against the other's crossed shinai, trying to gain the momentary advantage.
Toushirou gritted his teeth. This human was so strong! Almost… made for battle. Not kendo fights, but normal, weaponless hand-to-hand combat. The way that they'd held their shinai at the beginning of the fight was a dead giveaway, he couldn't believe that he hadn't seen this before: But his opponent right now was not used to fighting with a sword. They were relying solely on instinct and other fighting experience.
This human…Once again Toushirou tried to see beneath the headgear, regretting that he hadn't looked at his opponent before the match. He wanted to know his opponent's face. He wanted to know who he was fighting.
But the shadows from the lighting and the angle of his opponent's head made that impossible. Even with his sharp eyes all he was able to see was a darkness and faint outline of the person's features. He pushed a little harder with his shinai, wanting to force their head up.
"Quit holding back."
Toushirou's eyes widened at the sound of his opponent's voice, sharp and cutting.
Toushirou's breath caught instantly. His opponent forced him back and he stared for a moment, taking a second to comprehend. What the…
He gripped his shinai tighter again. How did he know he was holding back? And more importantly…
He released yet another small amount of his reiatsu into his limbs. And he lunged forward, his shinai crashing against theirs for a moment, struggling, but then theirs giving way, almost cracking under the strain. His shinai connected with their shoulder pad. And the judge raised his flag.
Toushirou faintly realized that the people in the hall were cheering wildly. But instead of focusing on the noise, he watched his opponent straighten up from his blow and give a slight bow in his direction. He returned it, meaning it. He still couldn't see under his opponent's headgear. Then they turned on their heel and Toushirou watched them walk for a moment before leaving himself, settling himself again at the edges of the area.
He removed his own mask and took a deep breath of fresh, clean air. It felt good after the stuffiness of the uniform. His eyes immediately went up to his opponent, who had by now also taken their seat. Their hands, surprisingly small, reached up. There was almost a twist of anticipation in his gut as the irritating headgear came loose.
Toushirou felt his eyes widen slightly as he saw the shortish charcoal hair falling from beneath it, closely followed by glinting, steely grey eyes. He swallowed hard as those eyes locked onto him.
Matsumoto slid up beside him. "Oh, a pretty girl!"
Yumichika sidled up as well. "No wonder you were having fun…"
"Shut up you two," Toushirou snapped at them.
His eyes involuntarily flashed back to the young girl to find her staring right back at him. She smirked then, upon finding him looking back, a glint of her smirk reaching her steely eyes and turning them to mercury. The spark of confidence and unwavering self-assurance that was fused into every fiber of her being was showing in those… eyes.
Unconsciously, he gulped and his hands fisted the navy hakama pants that he'd been conned into, his eyes narrowing.
This girl had reiatsu.
Toushirou tried reaching out with his own, trying to touch hers, but he came up against a wall. A smooth, impossibly thick, tantalizing glass wall. Tantalizing because he could see what was on the other side of it but at the same time being impossible to reach. His eyes widened and she smirked; she had her reiatsu under perfect control. He couldn't even tell the extent of it.
Toushirou barely noticed as the next match began and their one team member began scampering around in circles, trying to avoid getting pounded. Instead Toushirou kept his eyes on her, trying to lift some of the answers from her. The guy, Keigo his name was, got conked on the head and came crawling back onto his cushion.
"Heh!" Toushirou turned his head toward Madarame who was leering at him from five seats down. "You sure struggled pretty hard against that little gi – ARGH!"
Toushirou's eyes didn't widen in the least as Madarame went flying back and blood spurted from his nose, almost expecting what had happened. He turned his head back to his earlier opponent, the girl with the mercury eyes, to find her kneeling forwards with her hand pulled back from tossing her headgear into Madarame's face. "Shut the hell up, Baldy!"
Toushirou almost grinned at that. Almost. His frown returned, stoic as ever. His team member had just been injured by a human; there was nothing funny about the situation. He watched the girl sit back and cross her arms over her own uniform, still glowering and glaring intensely at the floor.
His frown deepened again. She had reiatsu, obviously knew about Shinigami somehow and how strong they were too. And yet she still blatantly attacked one who had insulted her, like she couldn't give a damn. Who the heck was she?
Abarai took the field then but Toushirou paid him little mind, it was obvious who would win in this situation. And then a constricting, suffocating pressure fell onto all of them: A Menos.
"Hollow?" Abarai briefly paused as he also sensed the spiritual pressure, lunging when the ref gave the signal and hitting his opponent just a little too hard, sending them sprawling onto the floor.
Toushirou reached inside his robes to pull out the container of Gikongan that he always kept with him. The container looked ridiculous but it was the actual medicine pill that he needed. The pill fell into his hand easily but before he could raise it to his mouth he felt a stare on him. His eyes immediately fell back onto the girl. Her smirk had vanished to be replaced with a calculating, almost contemplative look.
He kept his blank face in place but inside her fixed grey eyes were making his stomach roll, like she was waiting for something. He swallowed the pill, looking away from the strange girl and briefly closing his eyes as his soul leapt from the constricting gigai.
"Madarame, don't take too long."
He noticed the girl's slight smirk again and his insides turned rock solid and heavy. He needed to get rid of this…tension! Mutilating that Menos sounded damn good right now.
Toushirou leapt from the gym roof and overtook Matsumoto on his right, Ayasegawa and Abarai still ahead, having the head start. The Menos was easy to spot, towering above the houses as it was.
Madarame lashed out and drove his spear-form Zanpaktou deep into the Menos's mask, shattering it and sending it crashing to the earth. Toushirou watched silently, not even having needed to draw his own sword. Damn it…
"Even though Aizen's been using the Hougyoku to create more Arrancar, all we've been fighting are weaklings." Madarame seemed to have a sudden bright moment then, like his inner blown lightbulb had glowed for a second. "Oh crap, I don't have time for this!" And then he took off running.
Toushirou just sighed once and made his way back more slowly. He was both dreading and anticipating getting back into the hall. But he had to go back there eventually so he might as well get there a little later than Madarame. His gigai could take care of itself for a while. Matsumoto caught up to him.
"Why have you been keeping secrets from me?"
Toushirou frowned. "What exactly are you referring to?"
She giggled. "Aw, so cute taicho! You were scared to tell me, right? Because you thought I'd tease you?"
Toushirou stared at his fuku-taicho. "What?"
"You know what I mean, don't pretend otherwise…"
Toushirou was utterly confused. Whatever rubbish the woman was spouting seemed to be sucked right from her thumb. It didn't make any sense!
Matsumoto, catching his slightly annoyed face, sighed once and pouted. "Hmpf, he's not getting it…"
Ayasegawa chose that moment to appear. "Of course not, Rangiku-san. You're not being very clear about this issue."
Abarai fell into step beside them. "What issue?"
"Oh, nothing too much…" Matsumoto grinned devilishly. "Just the fact that…" Toushirou felt her eyes shift onto him and immediately felt uncomfortable. Abarai's eyes also fell onto him now and Toushirou wished he'd hurried up earlier in getting into his gigai again.
"Ah… I see." Abarai nodded once, his eyes knowing, leaving Toushirou feeling all the more stupid.
"Just spit it out already you three."
"Fine then taicho, fine." She giggled once and averted her eyes, turning to Abarai instead. "You noticed it as well then?"
The red-head smirked. "Who wouldn't? I'm pretty sure the whole hall noticed."
Toushirou growled under his breath at his two advance-team members. "You two…"
Ayasegawa sighed once. "Honestly. I didn't think you'd be the type Hitsugaya-taicho."
Toushirou was speedily getting pissed off. "What type?"
Abarai grinned once. "The stalker type."
Toushirou almost fell out of the sky. "WHAT?"
Matsumoto laughed loudly at her taicho's reaction. "Taicho, I didn't think you had it in you. Really, I think you were staring at that girl for at least five minutes back there in the hall."
Toushirou bristled as he finally understood what they were talking about. He rounded on them like an enraged shark but his flustered face ruined the whole effect and made him seem more like a gasping guppy.
Toushirou finally found his breath and yelled at the three snickering idiots. "QUIT JUMPING TO STUPID CONCLUSIONS YOU MORONS!"
And with that he disappeared back into the hall, striding towards his gigai and, still fuming, entered back into it.
Absently, Toushirou heard the judge announce, "Karakura has won the goodwill competition of Karakura First District versus Koutei Academy!"
Madarame jumped up and went to argue with the judge, demanding to know where his turn was. Toushirou instead just remained seated on his place, refusing point blank to look up at the girl while Matsumoto was watching. Just then Madarame struck down the judge and the seated last opponent with a vicious attack, knocking the guy's wig clean off his head and giving him a near fatal concussion to boot.
"How dare you attack our boss?"
Toushirou sighed and kept his arms folded as the opposing team immediately leapt up with their shinai in hand. Those comments only got Madarame riled up further. "Come on! I'll take you all on at once!"
"Stop it! Stop it!" The judge was frantically trying to break up the fight when it was obvious that with his wobbly double chin and bulging beer-belly he wouldn't stand a chance.
"You've started a war, Ikkaku-san!" Ayasegawa was prancing around all too happily. "I shall also lend my services!"
Toushirou watched all of the commotion from his position on the floor, frowning. No matter how much the judge yelled 'Stop it, stop it!' Madarame wouldn't stop until he was satisfied that all his enemies had at least two fractures and a concussion each.
Suddenly, Toushirou noticed another movement from the corner of his eye. The girl with the mercury eyes was standing up from her place on the floor and dusting her oversized kendo uniform off. He tried to see what her name was from the plate hanging from the front of the armour but it seemed that she'd only borrowed the uniform as it was clearly a boy's name on the front and she was a girl. His eyes followed her as she sighed once and then turned on her heel to leave the room.
Toushirou looked back over at the raging chaos and then stood up as well saying, "This is ridiculous, I'm leaving." And he left the battlefield swiftly, all too aware of Matsumoto's eyes on the back of his neck. He briefly heard the referee yell, "Stop it already!" before Toushirou was out of the warzone and back in the changing rooms. Hurriedly he pulled the awkward uniform off and rushed to dress in his normal clothes again. He glanced out the window to his left and spotted the girl's small figure already heading away from the building, clothed normally again and heading away. Toushirou thought fast. If he took the stairs he'd be too late and the girl would already be gone. That wasn't allowed to happen. She needed to answer some questions first.
The girl turned her head a moment later to find Toushirou standing behind her. That smirk returned. "Yes, what's the matter, Shinigami?"
Toushirou frowned. "That's the matter."
The girl kept her grin in place. "What?"
Toushirou narrowed his eyes in frustration. He'd risked getting caught by jumping out of the third storey window to catch up to her and she was being silly! "Don't play dumb."
The girl's face cleared as she took a breath and then turned to the side.
Toushirou spoke again when it was obvious that she wouldn't. "How do you know about Shinigami?"
A frown passed the girl's face as she looked away from him, the corners of her moth pulling down slightly with her frown. She crossed her arms. "No reason."
"Don't give me that crap."
The girl turned back to him and suddenly Toushirou felt like he'd been punched in the gut. The force that she was transmitting through those mercury eyes was…
"What's it to you," she stopped and seemed to think for a moment before grinning. "Midget."
Toushirou instantly gritted his teeth. "What'd you say?"
She leaned in closer. "You heard me perfectly well, midget."
Toushirou had to struggle to keep his temper in check. "Stop trying to change the subject!"
The girl didn't back away and Toushirou realized that she was very much up in his personal bubble space. But he refused to back away either. So instead he just tried to glare at her hard enough for her to back away. She didn't. Toushirou tried another approach.
"What's your name?"
Her eyes got a strange glint in them and Toushirou had to stop himself from gulping then. Because she was so uncomfortably close up she'd undoubtedly hear and see it if he did. Her mouth curved upwards in a vaguely familiar smirk. Toushirou's mind tried to remember where he'd seen that expression before. He came up with a blank.
"Well then, I suppose you'll just have to try harder to find out, won't you, midget?"
Toushirou kept his jaw locked from all the insults that that he wanted to spew at her this very moment and only glared at her more. Her own response was to match his glare with her own, both escalating in intensity as they each tried to get the other to back away. It was like they were having an intensified version of a staring contest.
And then suddenly the girl grinned again, her eyes lighting up and her chin tilting upwards. And before he knew it she was ruffling his hair. Toushirou only gaped for a moment, not quite believing this.
"See you around, middle schooler."
And she turned her back and laughed, waving her hand over her shoulder once before turning the corner and running out of view. And only then did Toushirou's brain start functioning somewhat coherently again. "I AM NOT A MIDDLE SCHOOLER YOU DAMN BRAT!"
The last he heard of her was a scoffing laugh, as though she were telling him, 'Dream on, squirt.'
Yet another re-make of a filler Episode! If any of you were wondering, this is the famous and crazy Episode 133! It's brilliant and I love how crazy Ikkaku is in there ^_^
Many thanks to Rose Zaki for recommending that particular Episode to me. It's been ages since she actually sent me the message, but I got it done.
So, Rose Zaki, this one-shot is dedicated to you for your amazing input so I sincerely hope you're reading this.
Also, many thanks to KazeNoSakura. Thanks for beta-ing this and all my other stories for me! You rule!
And lastly, I am planning on writing a Chapter 2 for this. I might incorporate more filler episodes into this story-line and the more ideas and input I get, the better the story will be! So, anyone who has any ideas, please send me a message or just mention it in a review. Either will be great!
Oh… one last thing…