Title: Hide & Seek
Characters/Pairing: Hisagi Shuuhei, Soifon
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for language and UST
theme: #3- the rain
Author's note: About the many things you can bet on children's play. I want to dedicate this story to taoempress that kinda teach me how to write combat scenes (with UST inside, eventually). Same as usual, goes in a continuity but can be read as a single story.
The only way to crack up a nut without smashing it, is to look for the softer spot in its hard shell. In those weeks, Shuuhei invested all his thoughts and energies in the quest for that little spot in which Soi's thick wooden coverage looked softer and more permeable; it was not easy, but every time he made up his mind to get back to his cozy single life, that little ache that had caught his stomach after their first and last night together came to visit him again, in a light, attenuate form that didn't really bother him, but that he couldn’t pretend not to feel. All his efforts were rewarded with the acknowledgment that the weakness he was so stubbornly looking for laid in the shades that used to grow under Soi's dark eyes each time she underwent the back-breaking jobs she assigned herself with the silent, twisted satisfaction of the martyr she someway liked to be. He noticed that she used to turn more frank and expressive when she was really tired, and consequently, took the habit to ask her out the day after she was back from that kind of missions. That night he found her waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs of her division, as usual, with her right wrist wrapped in a thick white bandage. He didn't mention it until late night, when they left the restaurant and Soi started to stretch it slowly, a painful grimace plastered all over her marble face. Shuuhei suddenly felt in the mood for teasing her a bit.
-You can't blame none but yourself for that, taichou… - he said in a quiet, serious voice; Soi looked puzzled. – you are always so irresponsible when you are on a mission.
The little woman gaped in disbelief, and as blood rushed to her head, she exclaimed, outraged - How do you dare say something like this to me?
Shuuhei grinned mischieviously; normally, she'd have never react so openly to his provocation, but she was tired enough to forget about the etiquette, and it was just what he wanted.
-I remind you – she hissed, holding her offended wrist- that not so long ago, I've had to save you, Hisagi taichou, from the consequence of your brilliant idea of starting a fight you perfectly know you weren't able to win…!
- That was accidental… the attack was unexpected, and Tousen came after me.. what else should I have done?
Soi mentally went over again what Hisagi had written in his report, and had to admit he was right. Nevertheless she pouted and kept on looking at him in clear annoyance. He smiled and came closer.
- And if you check my history file, my dear Office Paper Mistress, you'd learn that, beside that occasion and the attack Aizen planned to test his experiments on us students, I've never been seriously wounded in missions.
She recalled it was true, but she couldn't accept to be outwitted -And so, do you think I should praise you for that? – she asked rudely.
- Of course, this is the effect of my successful fight philosophy.
Soi frowned at him skeptically, but her rigid composure was broken by a sudden shiver. Little raindrops were starting to fall from the dark, wet sky, and Shuuhei couldn't stop himself from listing in his mind all the many nice ways he could have sheltered her from the cold. May it be that grumpy face or that irritated look, but that night, he found her sexier than ever. The thin, dark scars that chiselled the right half of his face twitched a bit under his broadening smile as he said, aloud.
- First theory lesson: the cheapest way to keep your ass safe is not getting into troubles at all, otherwise, you're gonna get screwed, more or less roughly... - Soi glanced at him with a shade of repugnance: surely, she was not even vaguely appealed by the lower class lexicon. Shuuhei noticed her snort and cleared his throat, flushing in the way only that particular woman seemed able to make him flush, and said- when you are up to fight, first thing to do is to establish if you do mind about surviving or not. If you can die for it, there's no limit to your strength, but if you want to survive, above all you have to know your limit and how not to cross it. Because, no matter how strong you are, if you pass the point of no return, the chance of you dying multiply exponentially.
Many years later, the same argument would have become the subject of Hisagi-sensei 's first lesson, but that night his only student, the already well instructed captain Soifon just stared at him and frowned a bit, then she said bluntly - You are a coward.
- Maybe, but I'm still alive , that means my philosophy works.
Soi rolled her eyes, amazed. His simpler-than-simple logic dazzled her to exasperation. It was hard to believe a man of that age and position could be really that stupid.
- You can't be this naïve, Hisagi… your reasoning makes sense, but if you face someone far way stronger than you, I'm afraid that things like your intentions and your state of mind will hardly make the difference.
- Still I think it could – he grinned, more amused than offended.
She hesitated a bit before dare saying something that cockish, but then replied - You won't stand a chance against me
The sparkles in the dark eyes of the shinigami were the most evident sign of a growing excitement, just half hidden under his poker grin. Each fiber of his tense muscles screamed for the contact with the waxy skin of the woman, be it a fight or not, but he only dared to take a step forward. One big raindrop splashed on his forehead, he didn't even notice it.
- I bet I can show you a way a good fighter can escape, ambush and neutralize a much more powerful enemy without being seriously wounded. You are one of the shinigami I won't ever wish to face, but I'd love to play ‘hide and seek’ with you.
- You asked for it – she replied with a smirk of challenge she's never show him before. Reddish clouds were streaming over the crumpled night sky and raindrops were falling now, cold and wet, on the naked arms of the 9 th division commander, but he barely felt it: the blood in his veins was boiling like lava. He took another step forward and Soi felt the brush of his heated reiatsu on her skin, confused in the aroma of wood awakened by the rain and another scent she distractedly identified as quite familiar, that was nothing but the smoky taste of his amber skin.
- No flying, no zampakuto, no kidou… ready, taichou..?- Shuuhei asked smirking, ready, focused, aware that he was gambling a lot more than one worthless opinion of his in that children's play. The sky roared again.
- Go, I'll follow .- the small woman answered, death set to prove his conjectures were completely wrong. Determined to win him.
Shuuhei stared at his merciless huntress, her steady silhouette blurring in the growing rain shower, and without a warning he disappeared in a blow of wind, reiatsu and water drops; an instant later Soi was already in his slipstream.
It was everything but a game, he thought as he bolted like a bullet between the forest trees, dark shadows between the watery veils of that rainy night he was ragging, one after another, in his desperate rush. Soi was following him from the shadows, more silent and quicker than a dark ray of light. He had to thank the extra training he was undergoing to gain complete control over the highly destructive power of his bankai, otherwise, even his faster movement would not have been quick enough to avoid her attacks, that still were not coming. Soi was most obviously planning a long hunt, following him from behind to leave him breathless, and then, she'd have finished him with a single attack. All she had to do for the moment, was to make him run without letting him know her position, and she was so damn good at it: she had flooded the whole wood with her reiatsu (she was so stronger than him that she could even waste her reiatsu in her camouflage), and although his sense were completely focused on her, he couldn't hear not even a minimal movement from behind, even if she was supposed to be following him like a torpedo. The slight panic of not knowing were his predator was hiding just thrilled him even more, he couldn't think of anything more complex, he was just praying that before the night was over, he could have touched her skin, her mouth, her powerful body. It happened, but not as he wished to. A dark rocket of a dense, metal-like reiatsu suddenly appeared in from of him, moving in his direction at a dazzling speed, and he'd have never know how he managed to avoid the collision with her kick: she had been in front of him all the time.
Now Shuuhei was scared. He had underestimated the ninja skills of the second squad taichou: Soi's hits, quick and perfectly on the spot, were almost impossible to avoid, all he could do was ward them off and limit the damage to his body. She was animated by a sharp, rational ferocity, and hit after hit, she had cornered him to the limit of his stamina; she didn't loosen her attack not even to whisper in his deafened ear - more…?
Her wheezing voice woke Shuuhei up from the dumb resistance he had entrenched himself in. With a quick twist he dodged her kick and counterattacked with a neat punch to her stomach, she backed off and quickly started to attack him again, but Shuuhei was definitely out of the impasse and was able to respond to all of her knocks. The excitement that had ignited his blood in the moment he had challenged her was back with all his strength, and allowed him to move faster and quicker than ever. He reckoned that most probably he was able to even her in a hand to hand fight because Soi was just back from a hard and difficult mission, otherwise she would have overcome him, one way or another. This guilty thought stopped him to finish the match when, caught her arm, he felt the thick cotton of the bandage under his fingers. Instead of using a submission move, he immobilized her and panted in her ear -If I touch the wall of Yama-ji's place before you caught me, I'm safe …- a moment before her bare, minute hand smashed the bark of an ancient three, near enough to his head. Soi's glance was enlightened by a fierce desire of revenge, Shuuhei blow her a kiss and disappeared in the thick steam their fight had generated. The woman spitted on the scorched grass all her rage and started to heel him again.
She was really an hard match, and the advantage Shuuhei gained at first was pulverized in a bunch of seconds. She was not hiding herself anymore, and soon Shuuhei could see her black silhouette flanking him; he even had the impression she was smiling when he turned to face her, but maybe it was just his imagination. It was clear he wouldn't ever be able to overcome her in speed, but to reach their destination they had to cross Rukongai. He was aware he knew Rukongai far way better than her, and he could use this to his advantage, since Soi was aware of the same thing and was likely to follow him in there, like, now he understood, she must have done also before. Choosing the most unpredictable path, he indeed succeeded to make her loose his track and when he reached the wide court in front of the General Commander house, he was alone.
Everything was wet and foggy, but the storm was almost gone. Shuuhei breathed that humid air and walked quietly toward the wall, his sense ready to caught any movement, any trace of reiatsu that was possible to detect: with a bit of disappointment, he felt nothing. He raised his right hand to touch the fair wall, but he never touched him. A small hand wrapped in a white cotton bandage came out of nothing and captured his arm with the strength of an iron lock, forcing him to kneel. The pain in his shoulder blinded him for a second, but he didn't need to know who was submitting him that fiercely. Soi's pointed knee pressed over his kidneys, extorting him a little wail of pain, suddenly replaced by some twisted pleasure. He felt the stroke of the blades of heat that raised from her, and being at her mercy, her body so near, her wheeze on his neck, made his brain explode and leave him breathless.
- I've tried to warn you – she whispered with sadistic satisfaction, twitching his arm a little more. Shuuhei sighed deeply - the strongest always win.
With a quick move she let him go and backed away. Shuuhei turned to face her and found her skinny breast moving fast under the pace of her excited breath, a dark shade of pink coloured her pale cheeks and her long neck. He asked himself if he really wanted to restrain from jump up and caught her in his arms, but it took him too long to find a decent answer, because Soi quickly wished him goodnight and bolted away to the comfortable and quiet darkness of her apartment. Shuuhei stood up and tried to clean his clothes from the dirt they collected all over the wet pavement.
The marks of her bony fingers were still visible on the heated skin of his forearm.