The people who reviewed the chapter prior to this one—you guys are AWESOME! ImeanyouguysarelikeAMAZINGLYAMAZING! AJHGjdgjagd!
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And scottie994: I am so glad that you are planning to draw a manga panel for the first part! You are an amazing writer!
Check out a fic called 'Modern Romance' by her! It's amazing!
If he wasn't mesmerized by her eyes and if he wasn't busy wondering how perfectly anger suited her, he was sure he would have laughed. It was with a lot of self control and restraint that he made himself look at her in nonchalance, one eyebrow raised up in a silent question.
Her eyes were still burning.
It was a funny how such a small and tiny thing was capable of making her so angry. Maybe it wasn't a small, tiny thing, he mused, because if it were he wouldn't be in this position in the first place.
"Come again?" he asked.
Her grip around the collar of his yukata tightened till her knuckles turned white with half held control and immeasurable rage . He could see that she preferred lashing out currently than to keeping her emotions in check, "You and me. A battle. Now."
He could not see Matsumoto, who had happily let go of him when Karin had attacked him, but he was damn sure that her eyes were as wide as a saucer. It was always a mystery to him how his Lieutenant was capable of turning into a drunkard one moment and then into a somber the next.
Her gasp wasn't particularly audible, but Toshiro was sure that the strawberry blonde woman had indeed gasped.
"Karin!" surprisingly, the one to break the hushed silence— with people staring wide-eyed at the bemusing scene— was Renji, "What the hell are you doing!?"
Toshiro idly wondered how the two knew each other.
"Shut up!" Karin retorted, her scalding tone directed towards Renji, who was standing up, his eyes staring incredulously at the raven head.
"But, Karin, you don't know who he is—"
It took all but a second for Toshiro to realize that she really didn't know who he was. Okay, the realization had hit him the first time they met, but how could she not know? He was a Captain. Captains and their Lieutenants were bound to be known by Shinigamis. It was a basic fact.
That, and during their academic days, Captains frequently visited the students to know how they were progressing.
Her not knowing him struck him odd.
"This is between me and him, Renji!" she retorted, her anger directed towards both him and Renji, "This bastard was staring at me when I was—"
Realizing the dangerous incidents her words would invariably lead to, he calmly put a gentle hand, yet a rough one, on her shoulder.
In fraction of a second, Matsumoto, Renji and the other occupants of the room found Shindei devoid of a snowy Captain and a furious raven head.
All Matsumoto could do was stare, not really sure how to react.
He found it overly ironic how his legs brought him to the same place where she suspected that he was staring at her while she was taking a dip. It was ironic because, even when she seemed pretty hell bent on killing him, her not being in that place in particular felt aberrant. And this feeling, he suspected, was the reason for him bringing her there.
It was ironic because he wanted to pacify her somehow and this place was the last place he could do that because the scenery only served as a reminder.
He calmly let go of her, and jumped a few paces back.
Karin's eyes hardened with surprise when she realized that he actually had the nerve of bringing her to her training ground, where he had been, previously, peaking at her.
That surprise was soon replaced by anger, and she hissed, clutching her zanpaktou by it's hilt.
She saw him looking quizzically at her, arms crossed around his chest in nonchalance. His teal eyes, though attractive, did nothing to make her heart beat faster or make her face heat up, like the way it did to the others. She glared at him, and asked, "What do you have to say about it, huh?"
Toshiro looked impassively at her. Out of all the questions.
What did he want to say? That he was sorry. That he didn't mean to see her. That he had hidden himself behind a tree because she was taking a bath, and not because he wanted to stare at her naked form or anything. He knew that the words wouldn't affect her in anyway—she seemed to be too blinded by anger to want to accept an explanation.
Even if he did decide to say the above-mentioned stuff, he wouldn't be able to complete it, because, the next moment, he found himself staring at furious obsidian, her face a tad bit too close to his, raven hair flowing wildly with the sudden movement.
It took him less that a second to let his hands hold Hyourinmaru by the hilt to evade her sudden offence with a swift movement. He flew back, and the moment his toe touched the ground, she was onto him again and their blades clanked loudly with each other.
She had a lot of strength, he noted dully,keeping her at bay using only one hand. She, too, was holding her zanpaktou with only one hand, the black swirls glowing orange.
If she, just a normal Shinigami from the unruly and pretty much untrained Eleventh Division, where most of the people acted irrationally, was capable of holding him for this long, he had no doubt that she was impressive.
When Toshiro found his feet digging into the ground, courtesy of the sheer force she was using, he cursed under his breath, reprimanding himself for allowing his mind to wander aimlessly. Without a second thought, he bent his knees, to allow a minute gap to form between her zanpaktou and his, and shunpoed, only to reappear behind her.
She stumbled forward, but caught herself before she could fall on the ground. Furiously wheeling around to look at the Captain, her gaze still belligerent, he found it amusing to see her like that.
The thought easily left his mind, when she bombarded him with another ruthless attack, using two hands to double the force. Her strength was impressive, he felt, but it was nothing compared to his. He didn't bother using his left hand to fight back, but instead, stuck two fingers out, and brought it near his lips.
"Sai (Restraint)!" he said silently, and her mouth parted, realizing what he was intending to do.
It was a late reaction from her side, because seconds later, she found her arms pinned behind her back in a painful hold. She didn't let out a scream of frustration, but she sure felt like doing that when his lips curved up as a reflex action, satisfied to see his 'enemy' struggling.
He jumped back and landed on his feet.
He felt a bit guilty doing whatever he had just done to her, but he tried to subdue the increasing guilt. He comforted himself by adding that she was the one who had started attacking him when he had done nothing wrong. He knew he had to apologize to her somehow and vaguely he wondered how he was going to do that—he wasn't particularly articulate with apologies. Apologizing to Hinamori was an easy task- the brown haired Shinigami was somewhat docile and the sort who easily forgave people. Karin, however, he was sure, did not.
He was aware, though, that the tomboy never really held grudges.
"Ōkasen (Yellow Fire Flash)!"
Though the sudden burst of yellow energy surprised him immensely, he easily evaded the Hado by nimbly stepping around. The energy, however, grazed past his arm and he hissed in pain and surprise, feeling his skin burning, mouth curving down distastefully. He fell on his knees and stared at the raven head.
She was standing, her lips wide and happy, and a grin taking over her features. She looked smugly at him, as if telling him that if he had thought that she was weak of all things, he would have to change his mind as soon as possible.
Toshiro never even thought her to be weak, so all he did was gaze at her, thoroughly impressed. He was impressed because she was capable of hurting him. He was impressed because she was capable of breaking free of the Bakudo he had placed on her.
He was impressed of because she was capable of making him like her so much, even when all he did was to stare at her from far off.
He attacked her.
She wasn't unaware of his sudden attrition. With a swift movement, she unsheathed her sword (which she had previously sheathed in order to cast the Hado), and their zanpaktous met. A huge clang ensued as she pressed forward, the amusement replaced by petulance.
He didn't want to hurt her in anyway, so he tried to keep his offence at a minimum. He knew that she was pretty nimble with her footings, and stealth always seemed to be her companion. Even though he felt he was definitely faster than her, he didn't want to be sure of it.
With an expertise slide of her sword, she sent him flying back, his eyes widening in surprise. He let that emotion slide, and quickly leaped forward as soon as his feet came in contact with the ground, only to have himself facing her again, face millimeters away from his. That didn't particularly disturb him in anyway, as he easily evaded a jab from the hilt of her sword, which was aimed to his abdomen.
'She doesn't want to hurt me, huh?'
After all, if she did want to murder him, she definitely wouldn't have tried to jab him with the hilt of her zanpaktou. Granted that a furious offence from her side with the help of a blunt instrument was bound to hurt anyone, but it still wasn't capable of killing. Or slicing.
He rolled past her shoulders, midair, and, keeping a wary stance, stood, zanpaktou in hand. She stumbled distractedly, and blinked twice, surprised to meet nothing but air. Realizing her mistake, she wheeled around, ready to attack again. She did, aiming at his head, but he swiftly blocked it, raising his zanpaktou to deflect it.
A look came over her face, not of anger, but something akin to respect. Toshiro knew that it was respect—he had seen that look on many Shinigamis.
His strength easily overcame hers, and he pressed forward, pinning her. Her left knee buckled minutely, and he pressed forward, till her left knee hit the ground. She gritted her teeth in frustration, and she tried to retaliate by straining her arm muscles. His sheer strength completely overtook hers.
And then she, without a warning, summoned fire. The whole sword turned an orange-ish yellow, like molten metal. A sudden hiss ensued as his sword melted at the point of contact. Toshiro gaped at her in disbelief, his mouth parting silently in awe. He didn't allow the awe to settle in his face for long, hiding it with a slight upward curve of his lips, jumping backwards. He could hear the unmistakable sizzle coming from Hyourinmaru, after which the melted edge covered itself with ice.
She saw the ice helping his zanpaktou, and her fury turned to something akin to amazement. She attacked him again, almost immediately, while he deflected it. To keep her sword from melting his, he summoned ice continuously at the point of contact.
"You are pretty good," she murmured absentmindedly, knowing that she was going to lose. Women's intuition, she figured, though previously she never believed in such things. She didn't let the thought bother her, as she leaped back, the sudden push from his end being the reason for her doing so.
Meanwhile, Toshiro really did not want to hurt her. She wasn't an enemy, he reminded himself, but even he knew that that wasn't the sole reason for his reluctance. She needed a distraction, which he was sure wasn't going to work well with her—her fast reactions hardly permitted that. Double distraction, he felt, would help.
Wordlessly, he summoned ice; and she, fire. Thrusting two fingers out, almost immediately a pole of ice appeared over her. She summoned fire in order to melt it, and did so easily, only to be bombarded by sheets of ice from behind.
'That was a distraction!' She thought furiously, mentally slapping herself. She did not let the mistake bother her in anyway, as she turned around. Fire shot out of her palm again, melting the sheets of ice.
And then, hoping that she would duck his sudden attrition towards her somehow, he attacked her with his zanpaktou.
It happened in a fraction of a second, the surprise which took over him acting as a dangerous distraction. His sword sliced through her flesh, like a knife passing through butter, and he heard the distinct splash of blood.
He jumped back, almost reflexively, Hyourinmaru in hand.
This wasn't supposed to happen! He didn't mean to hurt her; he never even dreamt of it! He almost wanted to apologize, feeling guilty as he stared uncomfortably at the bloody figure; her hair disheveled, clutching onto her cut shoulder. Her breath was ragged and heavy, taking in air with difficulty.
"Shit," she mumbled, her attention diverted. Sure, this was the first time battling with him; she could still gather that he was strong. He was too strong for her to fathom, and, for some absurd reason, the anger she had felt towards him dissipated like it never existed in the first place. Something akin to respect took over her, surprising her over the sudden change of emotions.
"Out of all the ways…" the usual annoyance took over her voice again, stifling the urge to scream at herself.
She gritted her teeth in frustration and awe, wondering what she was supposed to do now. There was something about him, something deep and awkward and mysterious and strong that she had no idea whether to envy him or not. Her ragged breath did little to help her cloudy mind.
And then, suddenly, she smiled.
Toshiro, who, up till now, had been feeling guilty and had been having a serious argument with himself whether to or not to help and/or apologize her in anyway, noticed the smile. Her lips were stretched to form a weary smile, eyes looking at him with acceptance.
And then, as surprising as the smile was, she fell on her knees and bowed her head in respect
"Please!" she said abruptly.
Toshiro blinked in surprise, his form relaxing. He would have asked her why she was bowing to him, but was cut off almost immediately.
The sudden jerk made her hair escape the band's hold and her dark tresses fell out loosely, covering her eyes as she slapped her palms on the ground, in submission, "Please help me train!"
It took a few seconds for the Captain to realize what her words meant.
I hope you like this chapter! Please tell me if anyone is a bit OOC, and if there are any grammatical errors. I had to type this down overly fast—I have an exam this Friday.
Review, please! It means the world to me~! :D