Disclaimer: i dont own bleach, though i do wish they'd hurry it up with the mang already.
(A/N)ook. I fear that I have procrastinated long enough. You guys are lucky. Usually I need to drink four or five consecutive sodas in a row in order to get into my correct state of a caffeine high that I need to write, but this time ive only gotten to my third. So if the chapter seems to be a bit…jerky, or out of place, you'll know why.
x.x my very first attempt at fluff, I hope it goes well. I usually don't write stuff so…happy-ish (I think that's the word, though fluff can be angst as well). I tend to go for the bittersweet moments. Oh well, a promise is a promise. I hope it doesn't seem too weird to you guys.
(A/N)Actually, now that im looking back at it (in the middle of the night) this is one crappy chapter…dangit.
It had been two days since Aizen attacked Hinamori. So far he had shown no signs of returning to finish the job. But Soul Society knew better than to relax. Currently troops were reviewing drills and preparing tactics for an assault by an enemy. Captains, lieutenants, and other high-standing officers, when not completing paperwork, could be found dueling one another in attempts to strengthen their abilities. Aizen was not a foe to be taken lightly.
But that was only when there were no documents to be filled out. And lately, since two captains and a lieutenant had been temporarily put under custody of the healing division, there was a lot of paperwork.
But none of that was going through Hinamori's mind as she stood at the edge of Hitsugaya's hospital bed in the intensive care district. Unohana had even complained at the time (with a soft smile on her face) that once one patient gets better, another one quickly fills its place. However, if it wasn't for Unohana's immediate expert care, Hitsugaya wouldn't even have been able to fill her place.
She watched over him quietly, the sounds of fourth squadron members rushing to fulfill their duties echoed through the hallways.
He was so pale His skin was almost as white as the ice that he controlled through his soul slayer. And still.
Aizen had dealt some serious, almost-deadly blow to the poor boy's body. A slash across his chest, his face, two cuts that penetrated his stomach, and one that pierced his upper side.
Once again, if Unohana-taichou hadn't been there…
Hinamori shook her head. She did not want to think about what would have happen if Unohana-taichou didn't come when she did. It was unbearable.
She shuddered visibly as she recalled that night Aizen attacked. Matsumoto and herself had rushed to the crumbled heap that was Hitsugaya. At the time his hair and clothing had been dyed red from his own blood and the gashes on his body were left wide open. They thought he was gone for sure, but he was still breathing…barely.
Yet what scared her he most was not the bloody cuts and wounds, nor, ironically, the fact that he was hurt badly and it was all her fault; it was the lack of movement that scared her.
His stillness. Her friend from since who knows when, who always seemed to be bored at everything, sighing, meandering, fighting, scolding, whatever it was he was always tense and alive, even when sleeping, with what seemed to be older, wiser, and stronger movements. Movements that became limp as a wet cloth after being scarred by Aizen's sword.
There were no signs of strain in his brows from pain, no feeble attempt of whispering words, no shivering, quivering or heavy breathing. Just limp, and still, already comatose.
And he hadn't so much as twitched since that moment.
She observed his face. It was lax, and almost peaceful. Usually Histugaya always appeared to be older, or much more mature than Hinamori, with the confidence of an adult who seemed to know everything. But with his jaw slack and brows relaxed, the boy looked much younger than normal, reminding Hinamori of his true age. It was a side of him Hinamori had never seen before. Then again, she had never seen him in a coma before either.
She took one of his hands in her own, it was cold. There was a deep coldness inside her chest as well, a kind of gripping, yet subtle fear that wrapped it's way around her heart. She recognized the sensation. The last time she felt the same way was when Aizen-taichou appeared to be…
A new feeling enveloped her now. Longing. The feeling one gets when separated from a lover, or a once beloved past. So strong that she almost began to tremble as she held the limp boy's hand. If he were awake, he would know immediately what she was thinking about and would probably be upset by it. So Hinamori tried to take a few breaths to calm herself down.
"Well, well, well, if this scene isn't familiar," a voice from behind interrupted her thoughts, "except that usually it's you who's on the bed and taichou who's holding your hand."
Hinamori started as she faced the woman almost guiltily, "Matsumoto! You shouldn't be up! Don't you need to be resting? What about your wound?"
" 'Tis but a scratch," she exclaimed.
Hinamori frowned, "That's what the black knight said when he got his arm chopped off."
Matsumoto grinned, "Well, I have Unohana's permission, if that's any help."
The younger girl shrugged.
"He's fine, he wanted to come over and see how you were doing, but Unohana made him stay in his bed."
Matsumoto walked over to her and leaned against the bed. For a while neither of the two did anything but enjoy the silence that was lain between them.
Eventually Hinamori stood up, as though she was going to walk away, but her hand was still holding Hitsugaya's.
Gently she let it go and continued to stare sadly at the boy.
Matsumoto examined the younger girl carefully, then casually plopped down in Hinamori's seat. She ran a delicate hand through her hair.
"So then, what's wrong?" she asked.
"Nothing," she stated firmly.
"I'm sorry. I have work to due." Hinamori started to leave the room, taking one last look at her childhood friend.
"Well if there ever is anything wrong, feel free to talk to me kid." Matsumoto assured her.
Hinamori paused, seeming t consider her words, then looked back, a faint blush covering her cheeks.
"He really held my hand?"
Matsumoto grinned, then gave out a dramatically exasperated sigh as Hinamori left the room.
The next day…
"Koufu-san, would you please pass me that pile over there?"
"Thank you very much, you may take a break if you want to," she smiled innocently, as if she had no problems like injured comrades and vengeful enemies to think about.
Her unofficially appointed lieutenant, a kind, elderly man, bowed to her politely and shook his head.
"No taichou. Perhaps you should like to take a break instead?"
Hinamori gave out a small fake laugh, "No way! I just started working!"
Koufu stared at the girl. She had already been working for three hours straight. He shook his head, the youth were so energetic, he could hardly keep up with them.
Hinamori looked up at him quizzically when her lieutenant continued to stare at her. He looked back at her.
He kept smiling.
"Um, Koufu-san, do you mind delivering these papers for me?" she held out a small stack of white, partially crumbled sheets.
"Not at all, taichou" he replied, gently taking them from her hands with a small bow.
About to walk out of the office, he took one more glance at his new taichou staring down at her desk. She looked so tired and lonely... definitely not the kind of appearance suited for a pretty young lady.
Tsk tsk tsk, such a pity.
The kind old man took his leave, set out on delivering the papers and giving the girl some time to think in private.
But instead of thinking, Hinamori tried to finish up on some even more papers, make-up work, specifically, work that other squadrons didn't have the time to, or couldn't finish, due to certain circumstances.
Nononononononono! Don't think don't think don't think!
Hinamori pounded her head rhythmically in order to block her thoughts. I need to concentrate. I can't think about them now, if I do, I'll never get my work done!
She finished filing out one paper and set it in the 2nd division pile. She reached out to grab the next one.
"Let's see, this one is from…" she paused and read the small italic print at the top of the page.
ADDRESSED TO 10TH DIVISION CAPTAIN HITSUGAYA– PLEASE RETURN BY (THIS DATE)
Immediately her head began to fill with images of a certain white-haired boy lying pale and still on a hospital bed.
"NO!" she cried, this was not working out the way she wanted it to!
She quickly set the paper aside, intending to fill it out later, then picked up the next one.
ADDRESSED TO 5TH DVISION CAPTAIN HINAM-
Aizen's kind face, then his evil one, forced its way into her mind. She threw down the paper and grabbed at her hair, "No! No! NO!" she shouted.
" - I'll – uh, I'll uh come back later…"
The girl spun around, uniform ruffled up and hair sticking in all directions, just in time to see Koufu shut the door while mumbling something about mentally disturbed youths as he hurried away.
Damn she was a mess.
She didn't even know why she was thinking about Aizen anymore, she had already acknowledge him as her enemy didn't she? She just felt so lost without him…
And Hitsugaya? Why did she keep thinking about him as well? Was it because he was lying, half-dead, and in a coma because of her? Or was it because he was the one that kept her from fighting Aizen and getting revenge on him?
She slowly leaned back against the wall of her office, and sobbed.
Aizen was her mentor and her captain, someone she admired. Shirou-kun was her childhood friend and protector, someone she could rely on. And right then, at that moment, they were both gone.
Many days later….
The good news: Hitsugaya woke from his coma.
The bad news: he felt like crap.
His entire abdomen was wrapped in bandages and he could hardly sit, stand, or walk without feeling intense waves of pain wash about his body.
He didn't even remember what had happened to him when he first woke up. Then Kyouraku had the decency to visit him and inform him with the single, explicit word: Aizen. That explained a lot.
Obviously the first thing out of Hitsugaya's mouth after that was 'is Hinamori alright!'.
To which Kyouraku chuckled and told him that he should take the week off from his captainly duties like a good little boy and get some rest. And then had the gall to pat him on the head and walk away laughing his freaking head off.
The patronizing bastard! If he wasn't so weak at the moment that he couldn't hold a sword, Hitsugaya swore that he would have decapitated him right then and there.
Ah yes, but Hitsugaya will get revenge on him one day…
At the current moment, Hitsugaya was gently leaning against the door of his office room, bored out of his freaking mind. Matsumoto too had come to the conclusion that he needed to take the week off as well, and locked him out of his own office!
Didn't anybody have any pity for him, a poor wounded shinigami? No, apparently not.
"Matsumoto," he called out calmly.
"Yes taichou?" her voice came sweetly from within.
"Do you appreciate your job?"
"Would you like to keep your job?"
"Then if you don't let me in I'm demoting you."
"That's cheap taichou, real cheap."
Hitsugaya rolled his eyes. Like locking him out of his own office wasn't cheap.
But then he heard evil little voices mumbling from inside the room.
"Can he really do that?"
"Don't worry, he can't."
"What the-" Hitsugaya started, "Why the hell is Kira in MY office!"
"Why the hell not?" Kira retorted. From the sound of his voice Hitsugaya could tell he was drunk. That figured, when were Matsumoto and Kira not drinking together?
"Oh wait, I know, because Kira isn't some poor injured work-obsessive midget who doesn't know how to have a good time without his paperwork," Matsumoto explained, her tone just beginning to slur from the alcohol.
Hitsugaya murmured, desperate for some kind of comeback. "At least I didn't get stabbed in the back," That was real lame, he though.
Unfortunately the two heard him.
"I'm still not a midget!" called Kira.
"Ooh, but he's right Kira-kun. So don't be naughty or I'm going to have to kick you out of my office." Matsumoto cooed.
"That's MY office!" a highly irritated boy-taichou shouted.
Suddenly Matsumoto squeaked, "Oh!" she giggled, "Kira-kun you are such a naughty boy!"
Kira laughed and a few more squeaks, as well as other sounds, resounded from the blonde's throat.
Hitsugaya brought his hands to his temple; he did not want to know what they were doing in his office. Nevertheless, as a responsible captain he had duty to protect his property. Not to mention one can only take so much more of this torture.
So he snapped. "Goddammit you two!" he screamed, " I swear to god if you two do not get out of my office I'm going to-
"-Um," came a shy voice through his yelling. Hitsugaya froze instanly, and turned.
"H-hinamori-ch- kun" he stated, " I didn't realize you were there."
"That's okay, but why were you yelling at your door?"
"I-I wasn't yelling at my door, I was just, it's just that these two-" he reached out to tug at the door, to show that it was locked.
It opened easily. He peered in, the office was- or seemed to be- empty. He shut the door.
"Nevermind." He said bluntly. Okay change of plans. First I kill Matsumoto and Kira, then I go after Kyouraku.
Hinamori blushed slightly, "Hitsugaya-kun, I was wondering f you would walk with me, for a bit?"
Outside he shrugged and said, "Sure." Inside the wheels were spinning in confusion.
They walked together for a while in silence. It was the first time Hitsugaya had spent any real time with Hinamori since he came out of his coma.
They walked along the outskirts of the shinigami buildings, to where they knew was a forest and a small green lake. It was a place often visited by shinigami students and their friends. At that time it was vacant. Not many people had a chance to relax these days.
One could suppose that the walk was romantic, in some ways. It probably would have been, if Hinamori had not been staring at her feet the entire time. At one time Hinamori did glanced at Hitsugaya's face, then back down. She remembered how it looked when he was unconscious, so slack that it was scary. Now he had the usual unamused scowl that she was used to seeing.
She realized suddenly that, whenever she looked at his face, she had no desire to think about Aizen, his attack and betrayal. Which was odd, since that was all she usually thought about nowadays.
They came to a rest at the foot of the lake. Hitsugaya leaned against a tree while Hinamori stood with her hands clasped in front of her.
Still neither of them spoke.
The constant silence was beginning to annoy the boy, so he decided to approach things…directly.
"Is there anything you want to talk about Hinamori?" he asked. Yes, he couldn't get anymore direct than that. Well, at least it wasn't small talk about the weather.
"Nice weather today isn't it?" Hinamori commented.
Dammit, he scowled. "What is it Hinamori."
Obviously there was no getting around this one. Remember, you brought this upon yourself, Hinamori reminded herself. So she decided to start out her talk with the least of her worries.
"Do you think, that I make a good captain?"
"What the hell kind of question is that?" Hitsugaya glared at her.
Dang, there really was no getting around it.
"Well," but Hinamori didn't back off, "It's just that Nanao-san said that you were against it and all so I was..."
She gave in.
"Why did you stop me from fighting Aizen?" she asked, and glared him the eye, "You knew that it was something I had to do. Why did you stop me?"
Hitsugaya looked away, arms folded across his chest, "Baka, you would have died if you fought him, is that what you wanted? To throw your life away at the hands of some sadistic bastard?"
"But," she began, Hitsugaya noticed that some tears started forming at the corner of her eyes. "I'm so weak, without him. I'm nothing. It would have been better if I had died back when he first stabbed me," she said almost bitterly.
Hitsugaya's scowl didn't let up,"What are you talking about Hinamori? Your not weak at all, you can totally kick Kira's sorry ass in sparring, I've seen you do it several times. Besides, you don't need that traitor, if anyone's weak, it's him, for not staying as the great captain you always saw him to be."
He meant to comfort her, but it only made her cry harder. She sat down through her tears, and, with great pains, Hitsugaya sat next to her, regretting whatever it was he said that made her cry so hard.
But it wasn't him she was crying about…or maybe it was. She couldn't let go of the fear she felt when Hitsugaya was conscious, and the loneliness that came with the fear. She thought it was bad when she lost Aizen. She felt as though she had been abandoned by the world, and everyone in it. She forgot that she had people there who cared for her as much as she thought that Aizen did. She didn't realize her mistake until Hitsugaya, Matsumoto, and Kira were all taken to the hospital.
She continued to cry as Hitsugaya, unsure of quite what to do, awkwardly wrapped an arm around her shoulders.
Hitsugaya… he had always been there for her, ever since her childhood days in Soul Society. He even came to the shinigami academy, for reasons, of which she was sure, had to do with her.
She tried to not pay a lot of attention to the fact that her childhood friend was still looking out for her, even as he excelled rapidly at the academy. As it was in his character to mask his emotions and intentions by an unnerving confidence, she never wanted to be mislead by what seemed to be brotherly affection.
Hitsugaya had grown to be a special confident of her own. Somewhere inside of her she knew that if something ever went wrong, that he would always be there for her. Therefore she was not afraid to move forward.
But then, later on as she grew stronger as a shinigami, it occurred to her that she shouldn't always be so dependent on someone else for strength. It was around that time that Hitsugaya had surpassed her in the shinigami rank and was on his way to captain. Of coarse, with his ever-so distant manner and maturity, along with his cocky attitude, he sometimes appeared to be 'too good' for, and uncaring towards Hinamori. She began to waver in her faith that he was very reliable. More proof that her conscience shouldn't depend on him so much.
Of course, it was only Hinamori who saw it that way. Hitsugaya figured that getting stronger, if anything, would make him even more reliable. Not only would himself and Hinamori be able to live their experience as shinigami, but he would be able to protect her no matter what. Plus he believed that knowing that you will always have someone you can count on could only be a good thing rather than a hindrance. He kept his distance, of course, as so not to impose on her, also he knew that there was a slight chance that she didn't want him around, even as a friend (but those doubts were of his own insecurities), not to mention that being captain was no free ride. It was hard, despite how it may look to Matsumoto, on top of the fact that he was the youngest shinigami-taichou ever in the history of shinigami captains made it even harder for him. Hey, it wasn't his fault everyone else was stupid.
But then there was Aizen. A man whom Hitsugaya tended to be indifferent to, even after Hinamori began to show her affection towards him.
When she too, was rising up in shinigami rank, almost a lieutenant, she had begun to admire her captain more and more. He was a responsible man, very much aware of his rank and duty as a captain, much like Hitsugaya, but he was sensitive too. Not like most of the men (and women coughsoifongcough) she had encountered in her experience as a shinigami.
Eventually, by following Aizen as his lieutenant, Hinamori was lead to believe that she was growing more as her own person, when she was really becoming even more dependent, this time on Aizen, rather than her childhood reliance.
Hitsugaya too saw that Hinamori was getting stronger and more confident, without him there. At first it bugged him slightly, but he never felt any hard feelings towards his fellow captain. He recognized his intelligence and valued his judgments as much as he would for any decent captain (decent meaning not Ichimaru, or probably the half-crazed Kenpachi and his wacky lieutenant). Though in all fairness, Aizen appeared to be a much more sensible adult than the other eleven captains. Plus Hinamori was greatly fond of him, so how bad could he be?
Unfortunately Hinamori became so found of him that she was completely enveloped in Aizen's scheme and easily persuaded that the one other person she had ever truly relied on would commit the worst sin she could imagine, which was to murder her precious Aizen.
Hitsugaya had never felt truly betrayed before in his life until that one moment Hinamori was determined to believe what was obviously a lie, and to attempt to kill him. It was only for a moment, however, because he knew that the grieving Hinamori-chan was being toyed with, although he believed it was the bastard Ichimaru who was truly toying with her, he would never forget what that one instant felt like. He even felt his first hard feelings towards the 'dead' Aizen, jealous that his childhood friend would choose to believe that man's 'fake' letter over himself and reason.
But at times, surprisingly, Hitsugaya can be a very forgivable person. He even forgives Matsumoto for her constant teasing and slacking off. Though, while at times he was ticked at Hinamori's obliviousness, he never held her mistakes against.
Even as he held the sobbing girl in his arms he didn't think anything of the times when she had chosen the traitor over himself. While he could never forgive Aizen for his crime, he knew that he would always be able to forgive Hinamori's for hers, when she needed to be forgiven.
After for what seemed like ten minutes or so Hinamori's tears began to dry and she felt a sudden wave of overwhelming fatigue, the kind one usually gets after a good grieving. She was so tired, in fact, that she didn't even fully comprehend that she was lying completely in her childhood friend's lap, cuddling up to the warmth from his chest.
Hitsugaya didn't mind, obviously, in fact he was quite content, as he attempted not to winced from the pressure on his sore stomach.
That sat there like that for a while, Hinamori dozing back and forth, with both of Hitsugaya's arms wrapped securely around her. At some point she as vaguely aware of Hitsugaya resting his head on hers.
She figured that it must have all been a dream. That her reality was that her friends had died in the attack and that it was Aizen's satan-like wrath that held her now. She could even see his sadistically smiling face as he held his arms out to her, sword in hand ready to penetrate through her body. So cold…
"Uwah!" Hinamori jerked awake, causing her companion to rouse up out of his momentary slumber as well.
What Hinamori felt was not coldness, but warmth; then it was Aizen's wrath that was a dream.
She relaxed her body, which involved tilting her head slightly, and finding herself staring straight into Hitsugaya's bright green orbs. It took them exactly ten seconds of staring at each other for the to realize their position that they were in.
Hinamori blushed hotly, "Ah! I'm sorry!" she exclaimed as she tried to pull away.
Hitsugaya too was blushing and trying to pull away, however his attempt to suddenly stand up caused shots of pain to shoot up through his body. He fell back down on his butt, tripping Hinamori so that she too fell down – right on top of him…again.
"Ow ow ow ow ow," Hitsugaya cried out, the full force of the impact having terrible results on his stomach.
"I'm so sorry, are you okay?"
"Fine, fine" he managed to croak out. He was completely on his back, suited with a full view of the cloudless sky above him.
Hinamori, still somewhat on top of him raised herself with her arms and looked him full in the face.
"Are you okay?" she asked again.
He didn't know what came over him; he stared at her, then cupped her face with his hand, gently playing with some of the strands of her hair, eyes never once leaving hers. She was so close to him that he couldn't resist at least touching her beautiful face. By now she probably thought that he had gone insane, and was too startled to freak and run away, or so his doubts told him, but he ignored them all the same.
Please, he prayed, just let me have this one moment with her before someone else takes her away from me again.
He sat up slowly, one armed wrapped around her waist so she couldn't leave, not that she wanted to. Then her embrace her fully, hugging her as tightly as her could.
"Shi-shirou-kun?" she asked, not quite sure what was going on. Her protector had never acted this way before, even in his most affectionate moments. He really did care, more than she ever knew or cared to realize.
"Shirou-kun," she called again, this time with tears resuming in her eyes.
He let go of her and looked her directly in the face. "Baka," he said, and gently kissed her lips.
It was kinda stupid, but Hinamori was surprised nevertheless. Several thoughts ran through her head. Most of them were about how warm his lips were and about that weird feeling in her stomach. How long had this boy been in love with her?
Hitsugaya soon broke the kiss, he wasn't so much as nervous as he was taking in what he had just done. He had kissed Hinamori!
The female shinigami pulled back, blushing. Histugaya had kissed her!
"Shirou-kun," she repeated for the third time.
As if just then Hitsugaya regained his self-consciousness he blushed, even more than Hinamori, and shot straight up, ignoring the protests from his wounds.
"S-sorry," he said, still not believing what he did, "I should go."
He turned to leave – only to have Hinamori reach out and grab his hand. "Please don't go," her face reddened as she added quietly, "I don't want you to leave."
Hitsugaya, unable to resist the adorable look on her face, turned around, pressed her up against the tree, and kissed Hinamori again, this time much much more passionately.
"Aren't they just adorable?" Matsumoto commented, peering around the tree she was hiding behind.
"What the hell does he think he's doing?" asked Kira incredulously as he watched the two kids make out by the lake, "who would've the little punk could be so bold?"
Matsumoto gave a ha-ha, "Bold? I did tell you about the time he talked back to the first captain didn't I?"
She walked up behind the blonde-haired man.
"You know," she started, wrapping an arm around Kira's waist, "while this is really interesting and all, we really should be getting on to, other things. If you know what I mean." She said seductively, her other hand tracing along his neckbone.
Kira laughed, "You are so full of it Rangiku."
She let him go, "I know." And took his hand and led him away from the forest.
Aha! I have finished! Ah ha ha ha ha! Finally!
Oh yeah, and for all you hitsu/hina lovers, keep an eye out for a bleach fic by angelicmayuka, she has a real good one coming out soon : )
Anyways plz review and goodnight.