Barragan realised the flaw the moment the old man rushed into the attack, creating a pole shaped staff from thin air and planting a strike into his kidney with one powerful thrust. He realised it the moment he had to move himself to block the Hollows strike. He brought his war axe down, hearing the screech of metal on metal as it drove the staff to the concrete.
His special ability, an ability he carried as the personification of one of the ten aspects of death, the personification of old age, an ability to age anything within a radius of his sight and focus into nothing more than bone. His new opponent must know nothing of his ability to turn any opponent within his personal space into dust.
That would be his downfall.
"Fool," the Second Espada grinned as he unleashed his Senescencia, his ability to rot and deteriorate every object, living and not, around him, turning the target into dust. The old creature was keeping his distance for now, still in a ready stance, his staff held in both hands as if he were preparing to use it. Then he vanished without a trace, removing himself from Barragan's sight.
It was futile.
No one could break through his impenetrable defence, one which had the ability to rot everything that got within range. The second this unknown opponent tried to attack he would be caught, and the battle would end. Then he would kill that annoying Shinigami Captain, and her Lieutenant, in one fell stroke.
Something slammed into the back of his head; forcing him to stagger forwards a couple of steps before whirling around to see what had struck him. He came face to face with the end of the staff, which had extended to thrice the width it had been previously, and the owner, who was smirking just out of the range of his Senescencia.
"I'm guessing you're wondering how my staff can get through that defence of yours without rotting away, right?" the Hollow asked with a grin, ignoring the murderous intent which seemed to enshroud all of the Espada's being. No one struck him, the God-King of Hueco Mundo, like that. Anyone who did had a death wish. "It's really quite simple, we do not age."
"It's rather simple," Roshi replied as his staff reverted back to its normal length. He spun it in his right hand, watching as it became a circle of blurred colour before stopping the spin. "We are the founding fathers and mothers of Hueco Mundo. We created the ten aspects of death, as well as all of the techniques and abilities you young bloods take for granted."
"I am tired of your rambling," Barragan snarled, gripping his war axe, Gran Caida, tightly in his skeletal hand.
"In short, we have a resistance built up to the ten aspects of death and all of the abilities they entail." Roshi replied with a feral grin, eyes changing colour to a surreal, unnatural black, the pupils seemingly expanding and overtaking all other parts of his eyes. "They do have an effect, but they cannot kill us easily."
"I'm tired of your lies," Barragan snarled before throwing his war axe right at Roshi, who easily sidestepped the bladed weapon before vanishing in a blur of motion. "Why don't you prove it?"
He knew exactly where the old man would reappear, and spinning around grabbed onto his right wrist with his left hand, watching as his opponents eyes widened before activating his Senescencia to full power. He watched as the ruinous forces he controlled fell upon the red haired man's hand, smirking as the skin, flesh, cartilage and muscle simply rotted away from his forearm all the way down to the tips of his fingers, becoming ash before vanishing in the wind.
His opponent howled in pain, and Barragan revelled in every moment of it, he howled and howled and howled until his voice became hoarse, but then he stopped screaming and simply lowered his head. For a moment the Second Espada thought he had simply lost consciousness from the pain, but when his free hand gripped onto the wrist of the hand holding onto him he suddenly felt that something was very wrong.
When the red haired man raised his head it was not the features of a pained and tortured man that greeted him, but the feral smirk of someone who had outsmarted his enemy. His now skeletal hand had suffered from the after effects of his ability to the point where even the bones were flaking away, but he did not seem to care.
It was then that Barragan noticed that the decay had stopped at his elbow. There was no proof that the deterioration had progressed any further. He watched in surprise as the man before him did not attempt to get free, but instead allowed his captured limp to continue to feel the full brunt of his Senescencia, to the point where the bone itself had turned to ash and vanished in the wind.
Then his other hand slammed against his right cheek in a simple slap. A simple slap, yet it was enough to send him stumbling a few steps away, forcing him to relinquish his grasp on the man's right arm.
"Let me show you something from the old books, young blood."
Barragan watched as his absent limp began to regenerate, beginning with the ashes of his very bones coming back together to recreate an exact replica of his bones from elbow to finger tips, every joint. Those bones and joints were soon covered by layers of cartilage and muscle, and the Espada watched in intrigue and horror as veins began re-pumping blood into the rebuilt tissue before it was completely covered by a layer of skin. By the time he was flexing his forearm and hand it seemed that the rotting of that limp had never happened.
"God-King you say?" the man asked before his face morphed into a feral grin. "Let's put that title of yours to the test. Are you strong enough to kill one of the Nine Lords? Let's find out."
His spiritual pressure intensified, stronger than even the female from before. His features morphed, canines becoming longer, broader and sharper. His ears became long and pointed, eyes once again morphing into a huge dark sclera which lacked the whites associated with human eyes. His spiritual pressure became visible around him as a mass of maroon fames, scorching to all within a fifty meter radius.
"Howl at the Moon," he growled before releasing a deep throated hoot. "Son Gokū!"
He changed, completely and utterly. His form become taller and lankier, and his facial features, all exposed skin which was not covered by his armour began to lose their wrinkles. The years fell from him as if they were leaves falling from a tree in autumn. His maroon hair lengthened to a cascade of maroon, a plate appeared on his forehead, with long legs and arms which were nothing but muscle. His clothes vanished, leaving his body covered in plate-like white armour from his neck all the way down to the tips of his toes and fingers.
What was before him was no longer an aging old man.
What was before him was a twenty to thirty year old hybrid.
He raised his head, took a deep breath of air and laughed heartily. "I forgot how it felt to be in this form, everything becomes so clear."
His whiteless eyes settled upon the deep blackness of Barragan's barren eye sockets before he released a feral grin, showing his enlarged, sharpened canines. "Let's get started my Lord. I look forward to seeing if you really are a God-King or not."
He opened his mouth, spreading his arms as a cero formed on the tip of his tongue, a ball of swirling dark red energy. A release of breath fired the cero, ball turning into a beam of crimson energy capable of atomising any lesser creature. The beam came within a meter of Louisenbairn before simply disintegrating into a mass of spirit particles.
"You have to do better than that," Barragan barked gruffly.
"Thought as much," Roshi muttered before vanishing in a blur of motion, reappearing several dozen meters above the skeletal Hollow and pointing the middle and index fingers of both hands right at him, circular spheres of a dual cero forming on the tips of his fingers. He looked down to see the Shinigami Captain, in the exact same place as before. "Oi, Shinigami. It'll be a good idea to get off the roof!"
She looked up, and he saw that she was unnaturally pale and her face was covered in a sheen of sweat, yet she vanished in a Shunpo barely a second later, reappearing several rooftops away before falling to her knees and clutching the stump where her missing limp once was. Roshi could be called many things, but to use this level of attack against an injured woman, even if she was a Shinigami, was a definite negative in his book. Some would call him a sexist pig, but he liked to think of himself as traditional.
The two cero exploded from his fingertips, lancing down towards the unmoving form of the Second Espada. The skeletal shape did not move, not an inch, remaining where it was, looking right up at him with those empty eye sockets. The resulting explosion destroyed the rooftop, and the full building below it, sending chunks of masonry and pulverised superstructure flying in all directions, impacting walls, smashing windows, crushing cars and breaking everything in the surrounding streets. When the smoke from the impact cleared it showed nothing more than a small mountain of rubble.
And Barragan Louisenbairn was standing, completely unharmed, in the exact place where he was when the Fourth Lord unleashed his strike. Roshi looked down at him for a moment, before whistling in appreciation. "That is a fine ability you got there. So no matter how powerful the attack is it won't break through that shell of yours."
"You seem too finally under-"
His words were stopped by a fist to the face, with such speed and precision that he didn't seem to know what hit him until he had been hit. The skeletal Arrancar flew through the air at blurring speed, slamming into the adjacent apartment block and piercing straight through the concrete wall, across a floor, through the outer wall on the other side of the structure, across the other street and finally through the wall of the next structure.
Roshi frowned as he looked at his right arm, which had lost all of its flesh and cartilage up to midway through his forearm. A few moments passed before the cartilage and skin began to regenerate, and the Lord began flexing his fingers with an expression of controlled pain on his features. "So it goes through awakened Hierro as well does it? That is a pain."
He heard her before she approached, not in her technique or any flaw in her strike, for they were as silent and flawless as anything he had ever seen. His senses in his awakened form were just too acute that he could feel the presence of a fly from a mile away. He spun around and brought his other arm up in time to block a spinning heel kick, grabbing onto the ankle and slamming her to the ground.
The Shinigami coughed up blood as the air was forced from her lungs before beginning a tremor of hacking and coughing. "Do you really think you could defeat me in your condition, woman?"
She had a petite frame, with shoulder length black hair done up in two braids tied with white clothe, pale skin and gray eyes which showed such fight in them. Such supreme stubbornness was commendable. What was more commendable was when she began forcing herself back to her feet, falling onto her side when she tried to use her left arm for support which wasn't there anymore. Still she refused to lay down and instead rocked herself so that she could use her right hand for support, slowly getting to her feet.
The Espada did a number on this one.
"I applaud your strength and fortitude Shinigami," Roshi said as she looked right at him with fierce dark orbs which did not seem to know defeat or surrender. "Most in your position would be barely able to move, let alone get back to your feet. I would recommend a medic or a doctor though."
She glared at him, obviously insulted that he didn't seem interested in fighting her or threatened by her, "You bastard, who the hell are you!"
Roshi smiled, "Who are we? We're just a worried group of Hollows who want their domain back, nothing more."
Before she could muster a reply the building across the street collapsed, there was a groan of steel and then it just collapsed as if it were hundreds of years old. Masses of rubble, wood and steel fell away, becoming another huge mountain of rubble and debris. The Arrancar rose from the collapsing structure, skeletal hand tapping the bone where his left cheek would normally be.
"I wonder how many more times your can do that, trash." Barragan called, raising his right hand and allowing his long poled, double headed battle axe to form.
"He is going to be a problem." Roshi muttered as he flexed his recently healed fingers. "With that ability of his it doesn't matter how powerful you are. If you hit him long range any attack will disintegrate before it hits him. If you try short range you will become nothing more than ash, the perfect defence and offence all in one."
Suì-Fēng already knew all of this. The entire time these two Hollows had been fighting she had been attempting to come up with a new strategy to try and get through the Espada's defences, but every attempt she made on him failed and those failed attempts had cost her in her left arm right up to the elbow, turned to ash by his rotting ability. She only narrowly escaped such an end by ordering her Lieutenant to chop it off.
Laughter made her look over at the new Hollow, who threw his head back and howled in glee before levelling a bloodthirsty grin in the direction of the Espada. "Gaara is going to be pissed when he gets here. His ultimate defence seems to have been surpassed."
A clawed hand grabbed onto her shoulder with lightning speed, and before Suì-Fēng could react she found herself flying through the air and impacting against the far side of the roof, right into the concrete railing. She immediately berated herself for letting her guard down around a Hollow before looking up.
Her eyes widened, Baraggan had moved with such speed that he must have become a blur, skeletal hand grasping around the new arrivals throat and squeezing. She looked on in shock as the skin of his neck began to rot and decay.
"I will rip your head off." The Espada snarled.
The fist slammed into the skeletal nose with enough force to break the bone and send the Hollow flying back several meters, releasing the other Hollow from his gaze, once freed Roshi doubled over, hacking and coughing, hands grasping onto the decayed flesh of his neck even as it repaired itself with impressive speed. He looked up with bloodshot eyes before glancing down at his fist and managing a growl as he noticed the skin and cartilage of his knuckles were nothing more than bone.
"That was a cheap trick, young pup."
"An eye for an eye," Baraggan replied as he straightened.
"Good point," Roshi replied after a moment of thought, cracking his neck muscles right and left. "I love fighting supposedly invincible opponents. It makes beating you all the more satisfying."
It took Suì-Fēng a moment to process what had happened, but the more she thought of it the more it made sense. Did he throw her away not as an attack but to get her out of range? Did he just protect her? The thought seemed impossible to her, a Hollow protecting a Shinigami, yet did it just happen.
The idea pissed her off.
There was a sudden surge of spiritual pressure, catching the attention of all three combatants. It was Roshi who seemed to be taken by it the most. His head snapped to the side, in the direction of the battle between Captain Hitsugaya and the two female Hollows. His eyes widened and his face went pale.
They moved so fast that they were a complete blur. The single sword of the Espada known as Cayote Starrk, and the duel katana belonging to the Captain of the 8th Division, Shunsui Kyōraku were nothing but near unidentifiable blurs of liquid silver as they struck and countered each other with near continuous, almost ringing clangs of steel. Like their swords, their wielders were difficult to keep track off, through a succession of Kido spells and Hollow abilities they proved to all who watched them that they were some of the most powerful competitors on the field.
Neither had released their swords, neither had showed any large piece of their abilities to each other. But at this moment in this round they were almost completely evenly matched. Lightning, fire and dark red spiritual energy struck, breaking through superstructure and singeing the air with absolute ease.
Fu simply watched the visage before her, knowing that it was exactly that, a visage. The two opponents were testing each other, trying to find any potential advantages or disadvantages which could be used in their favour. Neither of them were using even a third of their strength in this battle, at least not yet.
"Okay, so, why aren't you doing anything."
She looked over to see the other young Arrancar giving the white haired Shinigami a baleful look, to which the man just shrugged his shoulders and offered a serene smile. He was sitting cross-legged on the roof of an adjacent building, watching the battle with a casual aloofness. "There's no need to interfere. My friend over there usually likes to fight his battles fairly. The question you should be asking is why this lady here isn't jumping in."
Fu looked over at him from her own sitting position, lying on the roof a few meters away from him. She looked over, studying him for a moment before sitting up in a fluid motion, crossing her legs and folding her arms as she looked up at the two men fighting in the skies above.
"They're not taking it seriously." She said after a moment of silence.
"Huh," the little Arrancar asked in indignation.
"Why would you say that?" the white haired Shinigami asked serenely, though she could tell that he was interested, if only subtly.
Fu sighed as she laid down again, propping her head up by putting her hands behind her head and closing her eyes. "They're not even using a quarter of their power. When they decide to fight all out then I will join in."
"Boring," the Arrancar girl murmured with a pout before looking over at the Shinigami and cracking a childish smile. "I suppose I'll fight you then."
Fu cracked open an eye in time to see her reach for the horn on the right hand side of her head and pulling on it, revealing that it was actually the hilt of a sword, a curved sword. She then looked over at the Shinigami who was still sitting cross-legged, relaxed and serene. He even had a cup of Sake in his hand.
"Can I have a cup?" she asked.
He looked over at her, surprised, before smiling softly, "When you're older."
"I'm almost three times older than you," she retorted as she flipped to her feet and walked over to him at a sedate pace.
The Shinigami looked at her for a long moment, before shrugging and reaching into the long sleeve of his Shihakusho, pulling out a small bottle of Sake and another cup. He popped the cork with his thumb, poured a small quantity into both cups and handed the new one to her, which she took.
"Is it poisoned," she asked.
The Shinigami downed his in response, "Does that answer your question?"
"Thank you," she replied, downing her own cup before sitting beside him and allowing it to be refilled. "It does."
"Why the act?"
"You were acting pretty childish beforehand," the Reaper replied as he refilled his own cup. "Now your acting as mature as can be."
"No, you're not."
"Worth a try," she replied, downing her second before looking at the empty cup. "This stuff is good."
"Please," she allowed her cup to be refilled again. "My big brother would love this stuff."
"I'm guessing he's the one sitting on the throne over there?"
"Don't ignore me," the Arrancar cried in agitation before forming a cero on the tip of her tongue and firing it right at them. The Shinigami took a sip of his Sake with one hand, and with the other casually swiped the cero aside, allowing it to fly far to the right and dissipate into the atmosphere. "What the hell!"
"That was pretty week," Fu muttered as the Shinigami refilled her cup for a fourth time.
"Indeed," the white haired man agreed. "I have been a Captain for a long time and I have never seen such an underpowered cero. Perhaps you should return home and play with a ball or something."
"You assholes," she roared as she jumped forward with her sword held at the ready. "Stop underestimating me!"
It happened in a flash, the Shinigami stood, half drawing his Zanpakuto in time to block the young Arrancars sword. Then he blurred into motion, kicking her away and sending her flying several meters through the air before she could stop herself. By the time she could he was standing, holding onto her sword as if it were a walking stick.
"Wow," Fu whistled before breaking out into a grin. "That's a pretty cool pose."
"You're welcome," she replied as she stood up and offered him her hand, "My names Fu."
"Jūshirō," he replied, shaking her hand.
"Stop ignoring me!"
"Go home kid," Fu called back.
"She's right," Jūshirō replied as he broke eye contact with Fu and meet Lilynette with an unwavering gaze, one of a veteran soldier. "In strength terms I have seen Gillian-class Menos Grande release stronger cero than what you just released. You are not strong enough for this battle."
"Well said," the Seventh replied before tossing him the cup, which he deftly caught. "I enjoyed drinking with you, but I am afraid I cannot continue. I am here for a purpose."
Jūshirō nodded as he finished his own cup of Sake before casually placing the two back inside his sleeve, drawing his Zanpakuto in a swift motion. "I guessed as much. I am your opponent."
"I'm sorry to hear that," Fu replied as she held out her hand, allowing a long polled halberd to form into existence. It was a beautiful weapon, with a crescent moon shaped blade and a black tassel fixed at the tip, fluttering in the wind. She spun it expertly in her hand before falling into a battle position, ready for him. "Shall we?"
The Shinigami was already moving, using a Shunpo to gain the advantage of higher ground, right above her head and came down with a diagonal cut. The Hollow was fast though, spinning around and bringing up her halberd in time to block the strike. The Captain disengaged, somersaulted back and pointed an open palmed hand right at the lithe woman.
"Hadō 31; Shakkahō."
A ball of right energy swirled into existence and fired right at her. Fu watched it, forming a Bala at the tip of her tongue before firing it at the last second. The two balls met, and exploded in a swirling mass of dark and bright reds.
"Beautiful," she muttered at the mass of colour, before spinning around in time to see the Shinigami prepare to release another Kidō spell directly at her. She felt so nostalgic, seeing one of the Shinigami spiritual arts being used after so long. She opened her mouth, preparing another Bala just as he called the name of his spell and set it loose.
"Hadō 33; Sōkatsui!"
He released a torrent of blur spiritual energy right at her at a wide arc, forcing her to disengage her Bala and jump high into the air, watching with a grin as the electric blue energy moved up to meet her. A cero appeared from her free hand and she fired it at a wide arc, allowing it to destabilise and become not a beam but a wide wave of energy similar to his spell. The two strikes met, and exploded in a dazzling display of blue and red.
She used the flash to vanish in a Sonido, reappearing right behind the Captain and with a wide swing of her halberd released a torrent of purple spiritual pressure, a spearhead shaped blast aimed at piercing his chest. The Shinigami vanished courtesy of a Shunpo, missing her strike altogether before reappearing directly behind her, and forced to bring up his Zanpakuto in time to deflect a stab from her halberd, forcing the blade to the side and away from him.
"Good use of Kidō," she said with a smile. "Not bad reactions either."
"I was one of the best in my class," the Captain replied with a serene smile before vanishing from sight, and Fu heard his voice directly above her, once again creating a Kidō spell, this one in the upper numbers. "Hadō 63; Raikōhō!"
He was right above her, firing a huge blast of lightning shaped energy right at her, taking on the form of a powerful lightning bolt. She looked up at him, eyes wide, before attempting to blur away from the attack. She was a split second late, managing to dodge the worst of it, but still gaining a nasty looking burn on her left arm as she came to a stop several meters away.
She smelt her burning flesh before she felt it, and it was only after looking at the blackened skin of her left arm that she took a sharp exhale of breath. "Damn, that hurt."
She gave him a puzzled look, knowing that the burn was already beginning to heal. "Sorry for what? It was a good hit."
"You heal fast," he replied.
"One of our advantages, we can take almost extreme amounts of punishment as long as it isn't fatal or crippling." She replied, spinning her halberd in her hand a few times before once again falling into a defensive posture. "I suppose it's my turn, right?"
A cero began appearing from the palm of her free hand, swirling and increasing in size until it was twice the normal mass. Jūshirō waited, preparing himself to move to dodge it, considering the second it took a Hollow, even an Arrancar, to make such a powerful strike it was usually easy to see which direction it was coming from and how to defend against it.
She vanished in a blur, and the Captains eyes widened before he looked up in time to see her right above him, firing a powerful cero, dark crimson light obscured his vision. The cero collided with him in an explosive mass of crimson energy, but the Hollow didn't whoop in triumph, nor did she act as if the battle was over. She remained where she was, waiting patiently.
The smoke cleared.
The Shinigami remained standing, a shield shaped circle of golden light between him and her. The solid, condensed spiritual energy was chipped and charred, but it was strong enough to take her cero and not disintegrate on impact, "Bakudō 39; Enkōsen!"
"Very good reflexes," Fu said, more to herself than him.
Jūshirō was about to respond before he felt something, a weakening in spiritual pressure from the battle taking place with Captain Hitsugaya. His opponent noticed faster though, a lot faster. Her head suddenly snapped to the side with supreme quickness, eyes widening before becoming narrowed slits.
"Naruto is going to be mad," She muttered, but her eyes were now shimmering with the promise of violence and her grip tightened on her halberd. "He dares strike at another one of my sisters!"
Jūshirō felt it, a sudden burst of spiritual energy. He looked back to where the throne which housed the strongest Hollow in attendance only to see that it was now empty. The Captain didn't have to guess, because he already knew what the leaders likely destination was. From the moment the female Hollow released he knew that she was capable of beating the young Captain Hitsugaya, and Yamamoto maybe a bit too rule conscious but when it came down to the coin he protected his subordinates.
"Sorry," he looked around and was just barely able to bring his own Zanpakuto to deflect as she flashed in with a stab. "But I need to finish this one quickly and rip that bastard limp from limp."
He knew who she meant, and his eyes narrowed. "I can't let you do that."
She swung her halberd, and the force behind it surprised the white haired Captain who was thrown backward by several meters before coming to a halt. He was just able to sense her presence before she came at him again, this time from behind. He spun around, once again deflecting a stab from her halberd before attempting to move forward for a diagonal slash.
She didn't vanish this time.
She blurred, and she was right beside him.
He was just able to bring up his Zanpakuto to deflect the new strike, but it was so powerful it sent him soaring through the air by a dozen meters before forcing himself to a stop. He looked up from his crouch to see her coming right at him, halberd ready for a swing. He was about to bring up his sword to block when it hit him.
A tremor, which made his whole body go numb, and suddenly he went into a fit of hacking and coughing, blood suddenly dribbling from his mouth. His eyes widened in shock before he cursed his illness for his weak body.
Not now, of all the time for it to hit it had to be now.
There was a sudden shrill gust of wind, and he looked up to see Fu right in front of him. Her halberd was mere millimetres away from the side of his head, yet it went no further. Her eyes were widened in surprise before narrowing in confusion, brow furrowing.
"You're hurt," she murmured in disbelief. She looked at him closer and he could swear her eyes were glowing before they widened. "No, you're sick."
Ukitake was about to say something, but her sudden end of hostility was surprising. The halberd vanished from her hands, and she straightened herself, amber eyes looking into his for a few moments before she sighed.
"I withdraw," she said. "I will not fight an opponent with such a disadvantage."
"No," she looked at him with a frown as he straightened. "I can still fight."
Her amber eyes once again looked into his for a few moments before looking to the side. "No, I still withdraw."
Ukitake was unsure whether he should be insulted by this or not.
She had an opportunity to end this battle, to finish him off and go after the Captain-Commander.
Why didn't she take it?
Why did she halt her blade?
"I will not attack an opponent who cannot defend himself," she said suddenly, as if she were able to read his mind. She looked him in the eye again.
"As well as that," she added, cutting him off. "I've grown fond of you."
It took him a moment to properly analyse her words, but by then he was bewildered beyond belief. "What?"
"You shared Sake with me, four of them in fact," she replied, giving him a smile. "You're not like Shinigami I've met before. In fact I'd say you're a bit of an oddball."
He waited for a moment, digesting the information before throwing her an unsure smile. "I'm not sure whether to accept that as a compliment or not."
She giggled in response, "Take it any way you want, but I'll still need you to stand aside."
"I will not."
She sighed as she shouldered her halberd, "Please, I'm begging you."
"The Shinigami fighting that Arrancar is my friend, and I will not let you double-team him."
"You misunderstand," she replied. "I'm not looking to double up on anyone."
"He and his fellows have been squatting in my big brothers domain. We're more interested in sending a message to both sides than teaming up against one." She declared, spinning her halberd in her hands idly. Her amber eyes looked at the battle between Shunsui and the Espada, and Ukitake followed her vision to see that the two were now separated, and that the younger Arrancar was now by his side.
"What is going on?" he muttered.
Fu shushed him before smiling, "Wait and see. It's about to get interesting now."
Yugito stood where she was, unable to move, unable to even breathe as she watched the display in front of her. The blonde didn't sense him coming right at her at all; barely realising he was there until the very last second. She wasn't given enough time to turn and face him before his blade pierced through her steel skin like a knife through warm butter.
Blood dripped from the serrated edge of his blade.
It wasn't hers though. The blade bit a few millimetres into the skin of her wrist before it was forced to a stop.
Naruto stood between them, feet spread and right hand gripping tightly onto Yamamoto's Zanpakuto. His hand was bleeding profusely, crimson rivulets tracing the edge of the Captain-Commanders blade before allowing gravity to force them to fall to the ground far below. Just the sight of Naruto, her Naruto, bleeding was a shock to her. The eldest of the Hollow, whose Hierro was so strong that nothing bar the most powerful of attacks at point blank range could pierce it.
She remembered Yamamoto when he was a Vice-Captain, tall and lean, with full brown hair and a few days old stubble. He looked nothing like he looked now, an old man covered in battle scars with white hair. He was nowhere near this powerful the last time she saw him either. Yet the evidence was there, right in front of her, his attack which could have crippled or killed her with her barely realising it, she needed Naruto to save her.
Naruto pushed out with his injured hand, sending Yamamoto skidding back several meters before bringing his hand up to look at the deep cut in his palm. The bloody gash was already healing, and in a few more moments nothing more would exist except for the shed blood. He swiped his hand, allowing the red liquid to fly before bringing his gaze upon Yamamoto. The old man didn't even look like he lost his balance when he was forced back. He flicked his sword to remove the spilt blood and stood there, waiting.
His left hand circled around her waist and pulled her too him, so close that her body was pressed flush against his. She didn't mind. He was only this intimate with her. He leaned in to whisper into her ear, eyes still locked with the Captain-Commander.
"You're playing around," he said with all seriousness. "Stop it."
"I wasn't playing," she pouted, but seeing the seriousness in his eyes she sighed and relented, pressing her head to his chest.
"You were playing." Naruto replied before planting a chaste kiss onto her forehead.
"Alright, yes, I was." She relented after a moment.
"Stop doing it," he added, pressing his head to her temple. She relished the warmth of the contact, and purred quietly without meaning too. "Stop messing around and go wild."
She closed her eyes and smiled, "Alright."
"Good," Naruto nodded, before releasing her from his grasp and moving so that the two of them were back to back, him facing Yamamoto and her facing the Espada and the young Captain. She was a full head smaller than him, and considerably slimmer. "Now hurry along, and let me deal with the old fart."
"He's strong," she muttered, giving his left arm a squeeze. "Not as strong as you, but damn well close."
Naruto shrugged. "That's what happens. We remained the same over the years while the world got stronger."
Yugito said nothing in reply, just smiled before taking off at breakneck speed, aiming right at the young Shinigami and the Espada. Naruto didn't watch her go. His eyes were completely on Yamamoto. He took a few steps forward, watching as the old man before him didn't relent, or step back or show even the slightest hint of trepidation and fear, but remained where he was.
It was an unmovable object, meeting an unstoppable force.
"You haven't changed." Yamamoto said solemnly as he raised his Zanpakuto, "Haven't aged a single day."
Naruto smirked, bringing his own sheathed sword into being with a thought and catching it before gravity forced it from his reach. He drew the blade slowly, hearing the continuous grind of steel against wood. "You've changed, aged pretty badly."
Yamamoto chuckled, something which would horrify any of the present officers under his command. "It has been three thousand years."
"That it has," Naruto agreed as he finished drawing his blade, holding the scabbard in front of him and rearing his sword back, smirk morphing into a feral grin. "So tell me old man. Do you want to live forever?"
Yamamoto looked right at him before taking a breath and bringing his sword up in a ready stance. "At my age forever seems far too long, and it looks like what I did will finally catch up to me today. I am prepared."
"It is not me who will do so," Naruto replied with a smile, waiting. "Someone else has that right."
A gargantua opened right behind him, easily big enough to swallow him whole if it were a real mouth. The darkness within just showed the shape of a feminine silhouette, tall and slim with long hair. The figure stepped into the light without hesitation and walked until she was standing right beside the Ninth Lord, hole between worlds snapping shut behind her.
She was smaller in stature than the Ninth, top of her head only reaching up to his chest. Her skin was as pale as he remembered, hair as black as midnight cascading down her shoulders all the way to the small of her back, gray orbs which once held such life but now were dulled, a sculpted round face with a dainty nose, long neck, and sinewy build. She wore a black armoured vest which left her arms bare, leather pants and knee high black boots.
She hadn't changed.
Even her style of dress was the same.
He looked into her gray orbs for a moment, feeling disrespectful to shy away from her intense gaze. He knew this day was coming, ever since all those millennia ago when he knelt beside her and stayed with her until the end, until she was sealed away. She could not speak, could not move, but the look in her eyes haunted him to this day and perhaps for the rest of his life.
Betrayal seemed to be sculpted into those gray orbs.
"Rin," he muttered. "He's all yours Pup, just like I promised."
Her words weren't a reply or a retort, but a message that she was not in a talking mood, not by a long shot. "Bare your Fangs, Kokuō!"
Author's Note 1: Naruto is the property of Masashi Kishimoto and Bleach is the property of Tite Kubo. I make no profit from publishing this story and suing me would probably be counterproductive at this point.
Author's Note 2: As most of you are aware when I first started posting this story I had the idea of using Spanish for the released forms of the Nine Lords and Ladies (We'll just call them The Nine from this point onward) and a few readers informed me that my translations were completely wrong from what I wanted, and that the real translations sounded considerably less cool, so I was at a loss as to what to call them, then Kishimoto gave us the true names of the Biju and so I got lazy and decided to just use them, sorry about that. Below that is a translation of the Shinigami Kido spells.
Hadō 31; Shakkahō – Way of Destruction; Red Fire Cannon
Hadō 33; Sōkatsui – Way of Destruction; Blue Fireball
Hadō 63; Raikōhō – Way of Destruction; Thunder Roar Sear
Bakudō 39; Enkōsen – Way of Binding; Round Lock Fan
That should do the trick.