That Evening
Bleach fanfiction by Midnight Crow

Note: I wrote this December 2004, when I first started becoming addicted to Bleach, mainly because of Hitsugaya Toushirou and the cuteness that is Hitsugaya/Hinamori (Or ShirouMomo, as I prefer to call them.) So naturally, the first Bleach fic I started writing was about them.

Disclaimer: Bleach is the property of Kubo Taito/Tite, etc. This is FAN fiction.

Dedicated to my partner-in-spreading-Bleach-love, Melpomene Melancholica.


Soft, light footsteps belonging to Hinamori Momo, vice-captain of the Fifth Division, skipped onto the old wooden flooring of the hallway leading to their office, while small hands clutched an envelope smelling faintly of rose petals to her chest. "There's a letter for you, taichou," she announced brightly as she slid the door open and entered the room. She stopped cold at the doorway. The ready smile on her usually cheery face vanished, as three pairs of eyes greeted her instead of only one. Her face paled. "Ah - I'm sorry for disturbing - I didn't know - I'll come back later--" She stammered and made signals of her intentions to leave, when the mellow voice of her captain stopped her.

"Nonsense, Hinamori-kun." Always gentle with her, the mild-mannered Aizen Sousuke sat behind his desk, looking at her through his glasses with smiling eyes. He gestured to the two plain couches facing each other in front of the desk. "Please, sit down and join us."

Nodding, Hinamori walked towards the couches. Bowing her head, she greeted the other occupants: "Good morning, Rangiku-san. Good morning, Hitsugaya-kun--" Her hand flew to her mouth. "I mean, Hitsugaya-taichou…" she corrected herself.

The young captain of the Tenth Division gave her his most displeased stare, but it didn't have the desired effect on her. A giggle escaped her lips which made Hitsugaya frown even more.

"Come, sit beside me, Hinamori." The attractive blonde who served as Hitsugaya's vice-captain patted the space on the couch next to where she lounged, directly facing Hitsugaya. Hinamori quickly obliged.

"Whom is the letter from?" Aizen asked when she had settled onto her seat.

She sat up straight. "The captain of the Eighth Division, Kyouraku Shunsui-taichou."

"Ah, that's probably the invitation," Hitsugaya said. Eyes closed, he rested on the other couch, his head tilted back.

She turned to him. "Invitation? To what?"

"A party," He answered unhelpfully. Typical Hitsugaya. Her brows met in confusion.

"In celebration of his vice-captain's birthday," Matsumoto explained. " A small, private party, with just the captains and their respective vice-captains invited. It's going to be held tonight in their office, at eight."

"Tonight! Already?"

"Yes. They must have sent the invitations just yesterday, after the bigger party with all their division members."

"Oh, so that's what all the commotion was about…I never knew!" Hinamori's head bobbed up and down in excitement. "Nanao-san's birthday. And a party. Wow! That'll be exciting. Don't you think so, Aizen-taichou?"

One of Hitsugaya's eyes cracked open and stared incredulously at her. Aizen, his face simply maintaining its amiable nature, held out an open hand. "May I see the letter, please?"

She jumped to her feet and handed the rose-smelling envelope to her superior. He motioned her back to her seat, and did not say another word as he read the contents.

While they waited, Hinamori snuck glances at the two other guests. Hitsugaya looked bored. Matsumoto was trying her best to stifle a yawn. What were they talking about, before she came in and interrupted? The beginnings of guilt started to overcome her.

"Just a random hollow attack in your area. We were discussing the idea of sending reinforcements when you came in - nothing really important that it couldn't wait."

Hitsugaya's voice jolted her out of her remorseful thoughts. Eh? Did he read her mind?

His eyes rolled skyward. "I know what you're thinking when you have that look on your face."

She blushed. Even though she had years on him, sometimes he made her feel like she was the kid. How fast the time flies; I'd never thought we'd exchange roles like this.

"I see…" Folding the letter up, Aizen set it down on the desk. "Well, this is such a shame. But perhaps…" He drummed his fingers on the desk. "Yes, we might be able to work this out."

"Taichou?" Hinamori asked, worried.

He looked directly at the younger captain. "I gather you and your vice-captain were invited too?"

"Yeah, but--"

Aizen clasped his fingers together on the desk and said: "Our meeting today has saved me the time of looking for you, then. Would you do me a favor, Hitsugaya-kun? Please take Hinamori-kun with you as well."

"Eh?" Both Hitsugaya and Hinamori went to their feet. Matsumoto blinked a few times to wake herself up.

"Taichou, aren't you coming?" Hinamori spoke up first, her voice pleading.

His look was apologetic. "I'm sorry, Hinamori-kun. I would like to enjoy this evening with you and the others, but there's still a few things I need to finish."

"Then I'll do them, so you can go!"

"No, Hinamori-kun. I insist you go. Please, give my greetings to Ise-san."

A smile was still present on her captain's face, but she knew from the forceful tone that he was serious, and did not want further argument from her. Deflated, Hinamori let her arms drop and sat back down. Hitsugaya had also flopped down back on his seat.

"Well, Hitsugaya-kun? She needs a well-deserved break, and I would not want my absence to deter her from going. Would you accompany my vice-captain to the party as well?" Aizen's eyes flickered to the seemingly disinterested blonde. "With Matsumoto-san, of course."


Hitsugaya looked at Hinamori, then at Aizen.

Finally, he shrugged. "Yeah, sure."

A cough came out of Matsumoto, who covered her mouth with one hand. "Really, taichou? I thought you weren't planning to go…" She asked innocently.

The glare he sent her was enough to send shivers down Hinamori's spine. Hitsugaya could look so nasty sometimes. She wondered what could be the matter, but she was also contemplating the upcoming events that evening, and her mind drifted to the nonattendance of her superior. Even now she sorely missed him.

"But you did finish all the paperwork yesterday, so I guess it's all right…"

"Yeah, no thanks to you."

The scowl on Hitsugaya's youthful face was so familiar that Hinamori couldn't help laughing.

"This arrangement is fine with you, then?" Aizen asked her.

She nodded. "Yes. Thank you for accepting me, Hitsugaya-kun. Taichou, I hope you can catch up with us later?"

Aizen nodded with a smile. "I'll try, Hinamori-kun. Now, shall we get on with business? About this hollow…"

Matsumoto Rangiku walked side-by-side with her captain down the hall, on the way back to their office, the meeting with the Fifth Division over. It was a beautiful summer day, but she found the captain's impassive countenance and the exchange a while ago much more fascinating than sunlight on a newly-trimmed garden landscape.

She stretched her arms upward. "Ah, I've got to find something nice to wear for tonight. Since you're going too, Hitsugaya-taichou, maybe you'd like to give some advice?" Yes, she was utterly shameless. Baiting the captain wasn't really one of her pastimes, because it was rare to find opportunities - and this she simply couldn't resist. Hitsugaya Toushirou may have been her captain, but he was also a little kid. A few times she had reflected on the long glances he gave the Fifth Division's vice-captain, which sadly, went unnoticed. She dismissed it, however; she knew they had grown up together.

But now, could there be possibly something more - at least, on his side--?

How cute. He's growing up.

He didn't answer at once, but quickened his pace instead. Matsumoto wondered if she had better drop the subject when he halted and turned to look over his shoulder.

"Yes, as a matter of fact, I do have advice for you. Which I think every woman follows."

Intrigued, she cocked her head and waited.

The little devil looked absolutely full of himself. "Wear something that displays your assets." His eyebrows raised as his gaze traveled from her face down the length of her body. "As your captain, I don't think you have any trouble."

She blinked.

Then unavoidable laughter bubbled out.

She was wrong. Terribly wrong, she berated herself as she ran to catch up with his fast movements. The captain was no kid. He looked young, but the mind he possessed was definitely not of a kid's anymore.

"Was there anything else today you wanted me for, aside from the meeting?" She asked when their pace had settled into a comfortable stroll. "I was thinking of taking a short nap after lunch."

"Just make sure to take it in your room, and not in the office again. I'm going to have a few words with the Commander, and some other members of the division."

So young, yet so diligent, she noted. "Do your best," she told him as parting words when she stopped in front of their office, and watched him walk away.

And she really couldn't resist.

"Don't forget to pick up Hinamori-chan at seven!" She called teasingly, and disappeared into the office before he could throw her another glare.

Constructive comments and reviews are greatly appreciated, thank you very much. :)