Author: A.Pevensie PM
Matsumoto can't hate Hinamori: she's too much like her.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst - R. Matsumoto - Words: 1,312 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 01-08-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5650854
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The night of Hinamori's attack on Hitsugaya, and his subsequent attack on Ichimaru
Matsumoto couldn't hate Hinamori Momo for drawing her sword on Captain Hitsugaya; not when her captain was telling the story himself, his eyes never leaving Hinamori's wan face as they sat beside the bed in the clinically white healing room.
She had not known the younger girl well, except as a friend of Kira and Abarai, and of course, of her own Captain Hitsugaya. But everyone had been aware of the close relationship between the small dark-haired vice-captain and her smiling captain. And after all, what Hinamori's attack on Captain Hitsugaya really showed was her level of devotion to her dead captain; it had made inescapably clear whom Hinamori considered the most important person in her life. Hitsugaya's face, even paler that usual in the stark light, plainly showed that he had realized to whom Hinamori had given her fullest trust.
Matsumoto should have hated Hinamori Momo for putting him through such pain.
But Hitsugaya loved the girl. And Matsumoto knew that Hinamori had been crazed with despair, desperately trying to do what she thought was right and tearing herself apart in the process.
And so instead Matsumoto pitied her, deeply. Divided loyalties are impossible to live with, something Matsumoto herself was rapidly realizing.
Three days later, after Aizen, Gin and Tousen's betrayal is discovered, and their subsequent flight from Soul Society.
It had begun to dawn on her as she sat next to Hinamori, just having fought Gin. And Matsumoto finally put words to it as she listened to the whispering of Hitsugaya's pen across the report papers, so used to his presence that only that noise reminded her she was not alone. Which was precisely the problem: she trusted her captain absolutely and implicitly, just as Hinamori had trusted – still trusted – Aizen. The thought terrified her.
The explanation she had given Hitsugaya about the fight with Gin was true, of course. She had felt Hitsugaya's reiatsu explode that night, after Hinamori had tried to fight him – had felt it reverberating in the night air, and she had immediately turned and run towards it. But she had also felt Gin's answering reiatsu spike, almost simultaneously. His was more controlled, sharper and less showy than her captain's, but no less noticeable to her senses, so carefully attuned as she was to both.
When she felt both reiatsu flares, though, she had only thought of Hitsugaya. It was he to whom she had run. Oh, she could try and tell herself that she had known what Gin could do, that she'd been afraid for Hitsugaya because she'd known he did not have Gin's terrible, subtle cunning and his smiling malice. But she knew it wasn't true. Not that she hadn't been afraid: she had been terrified that everything that had been simmering between Gin and Hitsugaya would erupt and that someone else would die. But in the moment when she'd turned around she was only thinking of one of them. Hitsugaya was the one she was most afraid to loose.
And so there was no hesitation when she stepped between Gin and Hinamori. It was another move she could try to justify. And three days earlier, sitting in the fourth division next to her captain and looking down at Hinamori, she had tried. She'd told herself that she hadn't wanted innocent blood shed, that she'd known Hinamori didn't deserve to die, even that she had been trying to protect Gin from himself, keep him from making that final betrayal – not knowing then, of course, that the deed was already done.
But when she flashed into the fight her only thought had been that her captain wanted to protect Hinamori and couldn't. So she stepped in. She had done it for Hitsugaya, had chosen to side with him instead of Gin, and Gin had known. In that moment, when Shinsou slammed into Haineko, they had both known who it was that Matsumoto had chosen.
Of course, Gin had always been very practical. He had accepted both her right to choose and the choice she had made. His last words to her had made it clear that he forgave her, or at least that he still acknowledged her (which was almost as close as you could hope to get, with Gin).
It still felt like betrayal. Like she was the betrayer.
After all, should she not have stood by Gin more? Her birthday was the day she met him – she began with him, and ought to have ended with him. But she had chosen her captain over her friend, just as Hinamori had. And she was worse than Hinamori, even, because her betrayal was not only of a friend, but also of a former lover. The younger girl was not guilty of that, only of being too emotionally involved with her captain.
And now Matsumoto was worried that she was in exactly the same position. In the first few days after the fight she'd told herself that it wasn't really a problem. He was her captain; she was supposed to be devoted to him. She was a loyal subordinate. It was her job.
And she wished, she wished, she wished that she could really believe that.
Because what she was really afraid of was that her choice of her captain over Gin had not been motivated by respect or duty or even loyalty but, like Hinamori's by –
Matsumoto opened her eyes with weary resignation, and shifted against the pillow, trying to push the thought away.
"Matsumoto?" said Hitsugaya's voice, sounding more curious than concerned.
She gave a loud, convincing snore and rolled noisily over, years of practice lending credence to the action. A moment later the noise of the brush resumed. But Matsumoto still couldn't quite breathe, a weight that wasn't just her breasts constricting her chest. What was she supposed to do with this new-found insight into her own emotions? She couldn't define it, this mixture of respect and exasperation and amusement and loyalty. Matsumoto wasn't sure it was, and she was worried about what it might turn into, given a few more decades and a growth spurt on the part of her captain. She didn't want to define it yet.
Unfortunately, when you're willing to lay down your life for someone, without question, and fight the man who was your first friend, your first love, and your first lover, you probably need to take some time to think about the reasons for your actions. But Soul Society could not afford to have another Hinamori. So Matsumoto Rangiku, lying on the office couch, decided to concentrate on locking up those problems, and on not being afraid.
And buried so deeply that she didn't have to even think about addressing it, so deeply that no one and no amount of alcohol would ever drag it out of her, was a final fear: that she wasn't like Momo because she was unswervingly loyal (and maybe more) to her captain, but that she was like Momo because her captain did not feel the same about her.
Matsumoto waited till Hitsugaya got up for a bathroom break, then fled from the office through the window. A few flash-steps later and she'd found both Kira and Hisagi. "Hey," she said, flashing a bright smile, "let's go get smashed."
A/N: This started as an attempt to get over my irrationally strong hatred of Hinamori, but at a certain point it just seemed finished. It did serve it's purpose, although the main result of writing it was actually just to make me love Matsumoto that much more. :)