Thought I'd bring in an action shot to work on my fighting scenes.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Time: I'd say about half a year into academy life, give or take.
Robin was considered a prodigy about three months after enrollment at Shino Academy. In both general and Shinigami studies, he came out at the top of his class no matter what(That is, excluding his Kido class). Having been placed in the advanced class, he was already expected to be slated for early graduation, following in the footsteps of only three other Shinigami before him. That being said, his area of expertise was definitely Hakuda; Otherwise known as hand to hand combat.
Of course, no one knew exactly how much of an expert he was until it happened.
It being the School-wide annual Hakuda competition. Once a year the school held a series of exhibition matches in order to test or show off the students combat skills. No swords, no Kido, not even Reiatsu attacks and Hoho were allowed; Only good old fashioned hand-to-hand combat.
It was also generally seen as scouting grounds for the Captains, who often showed up to see who was really 'worthy' of being in their division and who to keep an eye on.
The tournament was set up so students could enter in two ways, according to year, and according to skill.
In the year category, students were randomly matched up with peers of the same grade, regardless of class placement. Matches were picked and fought until only two competitors remained, and the winner became the champion for their grade.
The skill based matches were tougher. Fighters were randomly picked, regardless of year, meaning a first year could easily end up fighting a sixth year. Only those who were sure of their abilities were recommended to enter the skill category (usually meaning only 3rd to 6th years entered). Matches continued as one on one until around twenty students were left, and then switched to arena brawl, where all contenders fought to the last man standing.
For both categories, match winners could be determined through the surrender of one opponent, or the inability to keep fighting. Kill hits and breaking of vital bones/organs was prohibited. There was no prize for being an overall winner, only pride in knowing you are the best of the best among your peers.
The tournament usually lasted for about a week and was free for all Shinigami to watch.
Hitsugaya had known his friend entered the year category, but his duties as captain kept him from seeing all but Robin's final match, which had also been the final match for the first year classes. He had unsurprisingly swept through opponents like water down a stream, and it came as no real shock when he won the final match by taking down the guy with a simple nerve pinch, taking the title of first year champion.
Though first year matches were never very interesting anyway, more like cat-fights and street brawls.
Hitsugaya was surprised however, when he heard that Robin also entered the skill category as one of three first years. Unfortunately, he didn't learn this until all preliminary matches had passed, leaving only the arena brawl.
"I can't believe he never told me!" The captain fumed, finding his seat for the fight. The arena was large and circular, with wooden bleachers circling around it at various levels. At one side, the bleachers straightened out and stood more elevated than the others; this part was perfect for watching the matches and was sectioned off for captains and vice-captains, along with a custom seat for the sou-taichou. This was where Hitsugaya and Matsumoto now sat, along with a good number of the other captains and their subordinates. Seeing as the fight could take awhile, many brought their own snacks and refreshments.
"I wasn't even planning on showing up until you told me!" He continued. Most captains didn't even bother showing until the brawl anyway, which was the most exciting part of the tournament.
"Well, uh, funny story about that! it may have been a last minute decision," Matsumoto started, looking anywhere but her pissed off captain, "And Robin may have, um, asked me to tell you at the beginning, but I was, well, I was-"
"You were getting drunk, weren't you?" He ground out, twitching slightly, "Rangiku-"
"Oh! Shh! Sh! It's about to start!" She squealed, nudging her captain in the arm. Said man sighed and turned his attention to the arena as a sudden hush fell over the crowd. All twenty fighters entered the arena, each spreading out and claiming their own starting point at the edge of the circle.
A quick round of cheers went out as they took up fighting stances.
"Whoo! Go Robin! That's my otouto!" Rangiku called out, cupping one hand around her mouth and waving the other. A couple similar cheers went out, though it was mostly Renji and Ikkaku telling him to kick ass. Hitsugaya stayed obstinately silent.
The entire arena hushed again as the captain commander raised his hand.
"The fight goes on till the last man standing. No maiming or killing opponents. Begin!" His hand fell away, and a tense moment of silence filled the air, until one of the fighters took a step forward and let out a yell, prompting the others into action.
Unsurprisingly, Robin immediately became a prime target. Despite being the first year champion, he was still small, young, and well, a first year. Meaning he was new to the fighting scene, and though his skills were enough to luck through the preliminaries, there was no way they could hold up in the brawl. He would fall just like the other two from his grade, right?
Not to mention, a few of his bullies were among the fighters.
Now, being labeled a prodigy has the tendency to put an immediate target on a persons back. The effects of that target being at least one of the following three: Being isolated by ones peers, being readily accepted by ones peers, or being singled out and antagonized by ones peers.
Robin was a mixture of the first and third. He had three things working against him during school hours: one, he didn't have noble origins or backing (which meant no upstairs backlash), two, he had an odd appearance and small, unassuming stature, and three, he was a prodigy (And admittedly, just a little bit of a harmless show off) It didn't really matter that he had friends in the divisions, as long as they didn't find out. (and Robin liked to deal with is own problems, thank you very much)
So, it was really no surprise when he became an immediate target.
It was a surprise however, when he struck back harder than they thought him possible. The first year classes were more about learning and mastering the basics, than learning how to absolutely trounce an enemy, so it wasn't really thought of to test exactly how far Robin's fighting prowess extended.
Turns out it extended pretty far.
The first contender approached with the intention of a feigned punch and leg sweep, which was quickly countered as Robin grabbed the crouching mans shoulders and used him as leverage for a flip, kicking the next fighter in the chest and delivering a devastating leg sweep for the original once he reached the sandy floor.
As both men got back up and aimed another attack at the boy between them, he gracefully spun out of the way, causing their attacks to hit each other instead, taking both down for the count.
"Third years." Robin quietly scoffed, settling into an advanced defensive stance as he was quickly surrounded by seven others. "Wow, Koji-san," He said sarcastically, "I can't believe you're ganging up on me!"
Koji smirked back, "We decided to take out the weakest before the fight got too rough. Figured we'd spare you the pain." He proudly held the title of one of Robin's most...determined, antagonizers.
"Yeah, I'm sure they thought the same." Robin pointed towards the two unconscious 3rd years. "Come and get it." He teased, moving his fingers in a 'come hither' motion.
"You're asking for it, runt!" Koji laughed, launching forward.
"I can't believe they're teaming on him!" Rangiku groaned from her seat in the stands. "That's cheap!"
"Yes..." Hitsugaya murmured. The other contestants were all taking each other on in groups of two's and three's, not groups of seven on one.
Though any worries they had for the boy proved unfounded, as he sprang into action.
Instead of attacking the group, he built up some speed and went to the ground, sliding straight through one mans legs and out of the circle of attackers. On the way out, he grabbed the bottom of the mans' hakama and pulled, forcing him to trip and fall onto his allies.
Robin cackled as he rolled to his feet and was running again, the others not far behind.
He ran through another group of three that were beating each other down, causing the two groups to become entangled and his attackers to go from seven members to four.
"That was smart," Rangiku commented, "tricking the others into fighting each other." Her captain merely nodded as he watched.
"But where's he running to?" He asked. The fighters were mostly congregated on one side of the arena, which his friend was running away from. His four attackers followed diligently. Hitsugaya watched as the boy started picking up speed, and looked back as Ikkaku took the chance to yell his 'encouragement' to the kid.
"Where ya goin', ya brat! The fights that way!" A few wondering murmurs rose from the crowd after his comment.
"I'm sure the boy knows what he's doing." A masculine voice chimed in. "Have a little faith, hm?"
They looked over to see a black cat curled next to Sui-Feng, yellow eyes trained on the match.
"Y-Yoruichi-san?" Rukia stuttered, surprised. "When did you get here?"
The response was a rumbling chuckle from the cat. "I'd never miss the Hakuda tournament." She flicked her tail. "Now, watch the boy."
They quickly did so, and noticed that their friend had gained an impressive amount of speed as he approached one of the support pillars connected to the arena wall. To the crowds amazement, he scaled the wall seven or eight feet up, then kicked off, curling into a ball and flipping several times.
"Show-off." Hitsugaya softly scoffed, watching with interest as unfurled on the down-turn, straightening out to land right on top of one of his pursuers, feet-first.
The landing pad held up his forearms for defense, only enough to protect his head. Robin barreled down like a bullet, landing on the mans arms with enough force to bruise (possibly fracture), and flipped off, sending the man stumbling back. Robin quickly landed and followed up with a harsh round-house kick to the sternum, ending by way of a black-out inducing upper-cut.
He gave no time for his other opponents to recover from their surprise, immediately ducking in and elbowing one in the solar plexus; then he took the man by the front of his uniform and hefted, somehow managing to throw him straight into another fighter. They went down with a yell and a wheeze, not even bothering to get back up.
The crowd was silent for a moment, then burst into cheers; thereby announcing that while there were other fighters in the arena, Robin had somehow become the focal point of attraction. The boy took a moment to glance at the stands, hearing his adoptive sister calling out encouragements.
"Match is over here, runt!" A straight-palm thrust came his way, missing by a hair as he dodged back. "Don't get cocky and think you can stop paying attention." Koji warned, his body taught as a wire.
Robin settled back, looking his opponent in the eye. "Me? Never." He knew never to slack off or let his ego get in the way. Koji was in his last year of schooling and runner-up in the 6th year category, meaning he had more experience, probably more knowledge of techniques. Not to mention he was a bit of a hulkling body(and strength)-wise, and came from the rougher parts of Rukongai, which seemed to have taken a negative toll on his perception of others.
If Robin wanted to win, which he did, he couldn't afford to slack off. He'd had the drop on the other fighters, since no one expected him to do so well, but caution was written all over Koji's body language. That probably meant he would have to strike first.
"Or not." Robin murmured, as the other surged forward.
They traded blows in rapid succession, Robin using his small stature and quick nature to his advantage, while Koji did the same with his magnitude of size and strength.
At one point when Robin tried to land a kick to the mans side, Koji grabbed the boys foot and spun, throwing him across the sand. He skidded for a moment, sliding back on his haunches and hissing when his ankle twisted painfully, then jumped right back into the fray.
He caught a high punch and winced at the impact. It wouldn't be surprising if his entire palm bruised. They went into a stalemate as he caught a second, hands locked and pushing against one another. As it became clear that Robin would be the loser, he dropped to his back on the sand, causing the other to over-balance and fall forward. Robin kicked his legs up viciously, hitting below the ribs and hefting up and over, sending Koji flying.
Robin huffed out a breath and rolled back onto his hands and knees, a little winded, and looked back to see Koji slowly getting back up.
"Okay, not done yet. That's cool too." He hopped back up and prepared for round two, when something closed around his injured ankle and shoved it forward.
He bit out a pained curse and looked down, seeing one of his previous opponents, who wasn't as out as he'd thought, smirking up at him as he pin-wheeled, off balance.
"Watch it shrimp!" Koji's voice sounded, much closer than before. Robin snapped his gaze up just in time to see a fist drive straight into his chest, sending him to the ground.
A sharp pain in the back of his head was the only warning to injury as static filled his vision, quickly fading to black.
The first thing that he saw as his vision swam into focus was the ceiling of the tournament grounds.
The first thing he heard was the murmuring of a crowd and the voice of his sister, softly calling his name.
The first thing he felt was an obnoxious pain from the back of his head, a little behind the ear.
"Wha..?" He groaned, staring up in confusion. "W-what happened?" Memories quickly scraped themselves together, reminding him that he probably lost the tournament, since the last thing he remembered was being pretty much punched in the heart.
"You lost." Toshiro's voice sounded, his person falling into sight a moment later.
"No way man," He said drily, "Couldn't tell from the dirt-nap I just took. Now how, exactly, did I get knocked out?" He slowly sat up, noting that he was surrounded by his friends. The stands had emptied some, though a lot of Shinigami were congregated on the other side of the stadium, probably congratulating whomever won. He mentally cringed. " And please, don't tell me that Koji won. I might actually die of mortification from losing to that tool.
"You hit your head on a rock." Hitsugaya responded, while the others snickered. Robin groaned again, this time from utter embarrassment. Knocked out by a rock? Really?
He reached up to touch the sensitive injury, wincing in pain and pulling back to find his fingers smeared with blood.
"Oh now that's just sad." He tsked, wiping it on the uniform.
"Well on the bright side," His sister chirped, smiling brightly, "You didn't actually lose to Koji, since you were knocked out by a rock and all. And, Koji didn't win!"
"Then who did?" He asked, tilting his head to the side.
"A fifth year girl. Took him out about a minute after you went down."
Well, he thought, there's that at least.
"But I have to say Otouto, your performance was definitely the most memorable. No one expected a first year to come out and kick butt!"
"No one expected him to be laid flat by a rock either." Renji teased, cackling as Robin's entire face lit up red.
"Oh my god." He hissed out, hiding his face in his hands and laying them atop his knees.
Well, there's always next year. He thought, cursing inwardly.
Next installment in the shorts series!
The original ending had been pretty different, but then i forgot what it was and decided to make a little shout out to the 'Injustice: Gods among us' Comics
As always, thanks for reading and to those who reviewed on the last chapters!