What doesn't kill me
A shadow fell across the Captain-commanders desk only he failed to notice. A polite clearing of a throat got a grunt in response.
"Hmm?" He didn't raise his head.
"Taicho!" The voice got a bit more forceful.
"What is it Nanao-chan? You wanted me to get these papers finished and interrupting me is counterproductive to that." he gave a testy response. He really hated paperwork but if it had to be done he wanted to finish it as quickly as possible.
"I know that." She snapped.
Letting out a gusty sigh Shunsui set down his brush and gave his lieutenant his full attention. "What did you need, m'dear?"
"I want to train."
"Well ...good, I hope you can find someone who'll..." He was cut off.
"I want you to train me." Her jaw was set in that particularly stubborn fashion that proved she meant business.
"Nanao-chan? Do you have any idea what that'll mean?"
Pushing back from the desk slightly, he folded his arms casually across his stomach. "And why should I do it?"
"Because you're my captain and you're obliged to train your subordinates." Nanao felt something brush across her ankle. She tried to gently shoo away the bit of fur that was rubbing around her legs.
There were cats in the Captain-commander's office. Pets weren't strictly forbidden but they were frowned upon. Kyoraku being his usual obstinate self threw caution to the wind and allowed the fluff balls access to his office and quarters; including his beloved Rag-doll cat that Nanao had given him as a birthday gift several years ago. It simply wouldn't leave his side and went were ever he went. Currently it was draped across his shoulders, sound asleep.
Nanao Ise sighed, "Why do you allow so many cats here?"
"They keep Cari and me company while I'm doing this tedious work," He reached up and scratched his furry 'collar', she purred loudly.
"About my request."
"I have a stipulation." Shunsui chuckled when he saw her roll her eyes. "It's a simple one; I can call a halt if I think you're being overwhelmed. I don't intend to coddle you."
"That's all I ask, sir."
"So do you think we can use that little underground playground of yours?" Kyoraku was apparently talking to someone, but Nanao wasn't sure who. From the back of the couch came a sound like a cross between a yawn and a groan.
"Yeah! I guess." said a deep voice. "...just how'd you know about that?"
"It's hard to hide things like that from someone who's seen it all."
"Nosy old timers." One of the black cats blinked it's golden eyes. "Should'a guessed you old farts had that all figured out."
"I object to being called old," Shunsui chided. Nanao stood frozen in place. A cat that talked was just a bit out of her comfort zone. Her mind was doing back-spins.
"Looks like your lieutenant is a bit stunned." The cat stretched and then there was a poof of smoke and a very naked lady stood before them. Nanao just stared; not comprehending what was going on at all.
Shunsui grinned and winked wickedly, "Yoru-chan, as much as I appreciate that luscious form of yours, it might be a better idea to cover up for now, miss."
"Wow! You're no fun since your promotion." She grabbed a plush throw from the back of the couch; dislodging a few of her feline companions.
"I'll have to take you up on your implied offer once I finish my duties." He teased.
Yoruichi Shihoin former head of Squad two and stealth squad poked at Nanao's shoulder. "Is she going to be alright?"
"NAKED..." Shouted Nanao as her face turned a lovely shade of crimson.
Both Kyoraku and Yoruichi laughed leaving Nanao to blush more and wishing to sink through the floorboards. "I take it you've never seen Yoruichi's little trick before, Nanao-chan?"
"N-no," She stammered. It took a few moments for her to gather her composure. "Now are you going to train me or not?"
"Girl has a one track mind."
"That she does." Shunsui nodded in agreement. "Alright Nanao-chan, but where we're going, you're not allowed to breath a word of it's secret location." She nodded solemnly catching her self before making a 'cross my heart motion'.
"Well let's get that training ground open, shall we?"
"Shihoin-sama? Would you please put on some clothing first?" Nanao was trying her best not to stare.
"Fine, fine," Yoruichi shot out the door after glancing at Kyoraku, "I'll meet you at the entrance." He nodded that he understood.
Gathering his swords from the kake they rested on, Shunsui led the way to the secret location under the Sokyoku hill.
"Why do we need a secret location?" Nanao blinked owlishly at her captain.
"A captain level fight would draw unnecessary attention," Shunsui scratched at his chin. "It would set off all kinds of alarm bells across the Seireitai."
"I see," she nodded. "It appears that Lady Shihoin has made her return."
A quick kido spell opened a doorway between some largish rocks. After they had descended into the large chamber Nanao looked around with surprised interest. "I had no idea something like this was here."
"There's a lot of things you don't know," Yoruichi poked the tip of Nanao's nose. "Most of it is on a 'need to know' basis."
"Are you going to be a spectator Yoruichi?" Shunsui was doing some warm up stretches.
"Referee actually," She chirped happily.
"Be useful and throw up a couple of extra barriers, we don't want any intrusions."
"My my... useful you say," she let a hurt look slip across her face. "Is that all I am to you, Captain-commander?"
"I've turned a blind eye to many things that have been going on." He sounded serious, but then tapped his eye patch with a goofy grin plastered on his face. "On that note though... no more sneaking Kisuke into Muken to tease Sosuke-kun." He tipped his hat forward. "Nor Shinji, is that clear?" Yoruichi saluted and began the kido incantation for a barrier.
Once he was sure they were secure, he turned to Nanao, "Now bare your blade." His tone was all business, there was no merriment sparkling in his eye. She unsheathed the small blade and took a defensive stance.
"You can't even touch me with that," he said sternly. "Unseal your sword."
She made a forward thrust anyway, telling herself she was only testing the distance. He batted the point away with the back of his hand. "Nanao I'm trying to take this seriously, if you're going to fool around you can just leave." She scowled at him.
" Furimawasu, Kureiji-kin cho1." The blade divided into a fan shape. Each point on the frame was a razor sharp blade. The handle was inlaid with gold diamond shapes and squiggly question mark like lines. The sharp edges glinted in the artificial light of the training arena.
"Better," Shunsui stated as he drew the longer katana from it's sheath. Without further warning he rushed forward and tipped his blade at her. She automatically responded with a blocking maneuver. The two blades clashed noisily. Shunsui pressed his height advantage and bore down.
Nanao let out a small grunt of effort as she pushed back.
"Find your opponents weakness, exploit it." He coached. "Even with the height disadvantage you can still score a decent hit."
"I know that," She barked impatiently. "I learned all that in Zanjutsu2 and Tessenjutsu3." She felt tiny against his hulking size, but he was correct there had to be something that she could use to her advantage. She began to recite the incantation for tenran4 and fed it into the fan's frame. With a quick flick of her wrist the wind shot out and Shunsui had to step to the side to avoid having hat and kimono blown off with the powerful spell.
"Good," the corners of his mouth curled upward. "You unbalanced me for a second..."
She took further advantage while he was talking to charge forward and swipe at him with the fan's bladed tips. He stepped back and to the side as she came to a halt where he had been.
They kept up the back and forth joust for a while. Nanao was becoming frustrated. "Taicho... this isn't fair. Shouldn't you at least use shikai against me?"
"I was hoping I wouldn't have to use that." He sighed.
"Do you think so little of my abilities? Are you mocking me?" She was close to tears. "I need you to take me seriously."
"Dammit Nanao." Shunsui flung back at her.
"Don't dammit me. Stop patronizing me, I'm not a little girl." She almost stamped her foot in a show of petulant temper.
He thought about calling an end to this spar. He didn't want to have to hurt her to get the point across. All he ever wanted was to protect her. Making her lieutenant kept her close. He always knew where she was. He purposely left her out of missions in spite of knowing that it angered her when he did so.
"Did I tell you ..." He was stalling for time. "Before Lisa-chan left on that last mission she begged me to keep you safe."
"You're deflecting blame now. Stop babying me."
His heart dropped a bit. He really didn't want to reveal his scary shikai to her. She had never really seen him fight. The only knowledge she had was what she read in the post battle reports.
"Hana kaze midarete, kashin naki, tenpu midarete, tenma warau; Katen Kyokotsu4." Shunsui called out the chant for his sword's release as he drew the wakizashi and set it crosswise against the katana. Large black scimitar's flashed with power as the seal was released on the matching daisho.
Seeing them in person left Nanao a bit in awe. She had never really seen her captain's released swords, at least not this close. She silently cursed him again for keeping her at bay while he trained or fought. She held the tennsen in front of her, waiting for the blades to come at her.
Shunsui was no where to be seen.
Nanao glanced around the arena. There was no sign of the flamboyant kimono or the straw hat. Shadows seemed to ooze eerily. They shifted positions, throwing off her perceptions. He could be anywhere, she realized. Jumping at every little sound she slowly turned to get her bearings. She thought she felt his presence to her left, then her right. He was playing games with her. She understood that was the aspect of his swords power, but she didn't consider how involved that was.
Suddenly she felt a blade pressed against her throat. Some how he had gotten behind her and was now threatening her very existence.
"Yield!" His voice was flat, hollow sounding.
"No," Nanao was determined to hold her ground. Her arms were still free, so were her legs. Drawing her elbow forward she sent it back, hard into his midsection; there was a grunt of pain. Next she stomped down hard on the barely covered foot. With a quick spin she was out of immediate danger with just a small shallow cut across her throat. A quick healing kido took care of the worse. It was dangerous, but she felt a small victory for getting away.
"ARE YOU INSANE?" Shunsui roared. "A less scrupulous man would have had your head with that move. You are damn lucky I have such accurate control of my blade."
"I got away, didn't I?" She asked defiantly. Gathering up her reiatsu she once more sent a spell along the fan's framework and sent it hurtling toward her target.
Kyoraku was mad. He sliced through the spell and it sputtered against the shining edge of the huge sword. Resealing and sheathing the blades, he tread over to her side. Grabbing her chin roughly he examined her neck. "I'm done training you," He grumbled. "Go see Unohana about that."
"Taicho..." Nanao protested. "I need to know more."
"Find someone who can be more objective."
"You're my captain, you should be training me."
"Are you trying to kill me, Nanao?" Even with his back to her, she could tell he was scowling. "Do you know how easily I could have sliced through your neck, severing even your spine? There's no coming back from that."
"I know that. That's why I need more training." She sealed her own blade and slipped it back in the sheath. "What happens when the Quincy invade? What if we get separated? You won't be able to protect me then."
"I know that," was the slightly testy reply. "I'm saying I can't do it and remain objective about it." He finally turned to face her, "Do you know how much that would kill me? You are the most precious person alive. I've striven to keep you safe all this time."
"I understand, taicho." She evened her voice out a bit. "But I'm part of the Gotei-13 and if I'm needed to fight and defend myself, I need to know how. Not just against those of lesser powers but someone who's strong."
She hadn't heard him chant, yet there he was with the tip of that huge blade just tenderly pressing under her jaw. "Never let your guard down, not even for a second." The tip moved safely away, and this time she watched him sink into the inky shadows. It was creepy. Almost like watching him melt. She spun around, trying to locate the most likely place for him to reappear.
She felt the bite of steel across her thigh. With a startled cry she stumbled sideways and bumped into his solid form. "Beware." he warned, and sunk into the darkness again. This was a horrible game of cat and mouse.
She had to admit, she was a bit scared. She had never encountered anything like this in all her reading. Her zanpakuto was once more in her hands, the bladed tips sparking with life from the level 73 Soren Sokatsui5 spell at the ready. With several flips of her nimble wrist she sent the white beams at a few inky blots.
Another stinging slice crossed her arm and she almost dropped her weapon.
"You can't hit what you can't see child." Was the last thing she heard as he hit her with an Inemuri6 spell. She fell into a forced slumber.
She woke up in a solitary room in squad four. Isane Kotetsu was seated at her side, waiting for her to wake up.
"Oh Ise-san... you're awake." Isane chirped merrily. "You've been out for a very long time."
"We've healed all your wounds as much as we were able, and Unohana-taicho said you're free to leave when you feel up to it."
"Last I heard he was in his office." Isane checked the bandages.
"You said I was free to go?" Nanao's wounds itched. "I need to talk to him."
"He's in a meeting." Came a voice from the doorway and Unohana-taicho entered the room. "A number of Central 46 approached him with some grievances."
"I should be there, I'm his lieutenant." She searched for her glasses.
"Okikiba-dono is there. You should go home and rest." Stated Unohana.
"Yes ma'am." Nanao thought about rebelling for a few seconds but soon realized just how weak she felt.
"Do you want me to call for someone to come help you?" Isane asked, trying to be helpful.
Even though she assured them she could make it on her own; Rangiku Matsumoto and Momo Hinamori were soon at her side and helping her to her quarters. They stayed and chatted with her until she grew weary and told them she was going to sleep. She had a lot of things to think about. Kyoraku-taicho had given her a very good lesson, and she had seen a side of him she never knew existed. If she was going to be completely honest with herself, she had to admit he scared her... badly. Sparring with him had been unexpectedly dangerous. She did know that fighting with someone of captain class was going to be dangerous, but she had no clue that he was so terrifying. He was so different from the everyday captain that she knew and respected.
It wasn't until three days later that she was finally able to talk to him. Nanao had sent a request that he come visit her in her quarters.
He arrived a few hours later carrying some books, flowers and sweets. "What's all this for?" She asked.
"One usually brings appropriate gifts when visiting those that are ill." Shunsui was being rather formal.
"Taicho you can relax you know?"
"I wasn't sure how to act, honestly." Rubbing at the back of his neck with momentary awkwardness. "I did injure you."
"Yes you did, and thank you. I learned a lot from that match." She smiled at him. "You are horrifying and now I see why you were made head captain. But... " Nanao had to stop for a moment because of the pained look he was giving her. "... but I'm glad you took me seriously and showed me part of your power and fighting style."
"I need to do that again sometime in the near future."
"Taicho I know that you worry about me, but I appreciate that lesson no matter how much it hurt me. It can only make me stronger."
"Are you sure you're not working for the Quincies?" Nanao gave Shunsui a puzzled look. "Well it's obvious that you're trying to kill me." He could only hold the serious look for a short time, soon that goofy lopsided grin of his started to spread across his face. "...or maybe you want to run the Soul Society like the lovely slave driver you are."
He didn't even bother to dodge the book that came flying at his head.
- [ MY NOTATIONS AND INFORMATION] -
sword name: Kureiji-kin cho
Release is "Furimawasu, Kureiji-kin cho" (Twirl, Crazy gold Butterfly)
battle fan with blades on the tips.
Furimawasu ( 振り回す ) twirl.
Kureijī-kin chō (クレイジー金蝶 ) crazy gold butterfly
Furimawasu, Kureiji-kin cho: Twirl, Crazy Gold Butterfly. Non canon name for Nanao Ise's sword and release phrase. The release command is "twirl" followed by the name "Kureiji-kin cho"
Zanjutsu: Zanjutsu (斬術, Swordsmanship; Viz "Art of the Sword"; Cutting Technique) is the fighting style for the Zanpakutō (i.e. sword fighting) and is one of the four basic fighting styles of the Shinigami. It is shameful for a Shinigami to not master at least this technique *source bleach wikia*
Tessenjutsu (鉄扇術?) is the martial art of the Japanese war fan (tessen). It is based on the use of the solid iron fan or the folding iron fan, which usually had eight or ten wood or iron ribs. The use of the war fan in combat is mentioned in early Japanese legends. For example, Yoshitsune, a hero of Japanese legend, is said to have defeated an opponent named Benkei by parrying the blows of his opponent's spear with an iron fan. This use of the iron fan was taught to him by a mythological creature, a tengu, who also had instructed him in the art of swordsmanship.
The practitioners of tessenjutsu could acquire a high level of skill. Some became so skilled, in fact, that they were able to defend themselves against an attacker wielding a sword, and even kill an opponent with a single blow. Like so many other Japanese arts of combat during this era, tessenjutsu reached a high level of sophistication. For example, a famous swordsman in the late 16th century, Ganryu, was able to defeat several enemies with an iron fan.
Apart from using it in duels against enemies armed with swords and spears, the skilled wielder could also use it to fence and fend off knives and poisoned darts thrown at him. Like a sword, the tessen could be dual-wielded to parry with one hand and attack with the other.
Tessenjutsu is still practiced by a few experts in Japan to this day.
Katen Kyōkotsu (花天狂骨, Flower Heaven, Crazy Bone; Viz "Flower-Heaven Bone of Madness"): His Zanpakutō is unique in that it exists as a daisho sword pair, consisting of a tachi and a wakizashi. Their cross guards are rectangles, with the corners cut off, decorated by a pattern of cherry petals and lines, and each sports a dark-blue handle. He keeps them sheathed through his waist tie at his left side, however, during battle, the swords have been shown to be placed on both sides of his sash. Like other Zanpakutō, Katen Kyōkotsu has a personality of her own. However, unlike other Zanpakutō, this personality shines through in battle and prevents Shunsui from fighting at full power until Katen Kyōkotsu is in the mood for it. Because of this, Shunsui does not like to "play" with "her".
Katen Kyōkotsu in its Shikai.
Shikai: Its Shikai command is "Flower Wind Rage and Flower God Roar, Heavenly Wind Rage and Heavenly Demon Sneer" (花風紊れて花神啼き天風紊れて天魔嗤う, hana kaze midarete, kashin naki, tenpū midarete, tenma warau; Viz "When the Flower Wind Rages, the Flower God Roars, When the Wind of Heaven Rages, the God of the Underworld Sneers"). Kyōraku sets the two blades against each other in a cross, and then pulls after uttering the poem-like command. When the flash clears, Katen Kyōkotsu has become a pair of huge, black, heavily curved Chinese scimitars with silver edges. The hilt and tsuba of each are still the same as they were in Katen Kyōkotsu's sealed-form, but they now sport long red tassels dangling from the end. Despite the two swords becoming identical in this state, Shunsui has stated they still work the same way; one (the wakizashi) is used mainly for speed strikes, and the other (the tachi) is used mainly for power strikes. Thusly, they still exist as a daisho sword pair, with the wakizashi being slightly smaller in size than the tachi.
Shikai Special Ability: The power of Katen Kyōkotsu is to "make children's games real". The Zanpakutō makes the rules, and anyone who steps within the boundaries of its spiritual pressure is forced to play by those rules, including Shunsui himself. According to Shunsui, "if you win you live, if you lose you die". Bushōgoma (不精独楽, Lazy Spinning Top): Shunsui rotates with both blades facing in opposite directions, creating large wind blades that fire toward an opponent from Katen Kyōkotsu. The wind blades join together, forming a spinning circle of wind that, upon contact with a target, envelopes the target with tornado-like intensity. The attack is not only dangerous, but can disorient an opponent trapped within it. The technique is powerful enough to counteract high-powered Cero blasts. The game this technique represents is a spinning top game. Takaoni (嶄鬼, Mountain Demon): This move was used in Shunsui's battle with Starrk, but Starrk's attack hid the nature of the technique. However, Shunsui later explains that in this "game", whoever is higher up "wins." Kageoni (影鬼, Shadow Demon): The rule of this game is that whoever gets their shadow stepped on "loses". The game itself allows competitors to manipulate shadows to their advantage. For example, Shunsui has demonstrated the ability to hide himself in shadows when using this technique, and he can also control the shadows, using them to attack an opponent by attacking the shadow they are currently standing upon. Irooni (色鬼, Colorful Demon): In this color-based game, you say the name of the color you want to cut with your sword, and you cannot cut anything else. If the color that you call does not exist on your body, the damage is minimal, even if the attack would normally inflict a much more severe wound. However, the opposite is also true; by calling out a color you're wearing and attacking, the damage given is proportional to the amount of that color on you. To maximize damage, you have to use a color that maximizes the risks to yourself as well as your enemy. For example, by wearing black robes and calling "black," one would inflict massive damage on an enemy if struck even if the actual blow itself was minor, but the caller would also suffer serious damage if he/she is struck by the enemy in return.
5. 73 Soren Sokatsui: An advanced form of Sōkatsui, it has twice the effectiveness. The practitioner generates blue spiritual energy with his/her index and middle fingers. Once that energy is gathered the practitioner can make a push motion using the palms of both hands to push the gathered energy away toward the target in a concentrated blast. It is essentially a doubled version of Hadō #33, Sōkatsui, as the user fires "two" bursts of blue spiritual energy with much greater potency than the single shot variety.
6. Inemuri: Knocks the victim unconscious when the user places their palm in front of their face. For a moment, the victim's pupils dilate several times before they fall unconscious
*PLEASE NOTE. ALL REFERENCES ARE TAKEN FROM- BLEACHWIKI AND WIKIPEDIA.
TRANSLATIONS WERE DONE BY GOOGLE TRANSLATE. IF THERE ARE ANY MISTAKES PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN A NOTE AND I'LL TRY TO CORRECT THEM.
I'VE DONE THE BEST I COULD WITH THE SOURCES THAT I HAVE.