Arbitrary vice-captain's meeting, presumably takes place shortly before the SS arc begins.

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Fit to be Tied

Draped over the side of a couch, Matsumoto-san stretched, and the room's occupants turned away. Whether it was out of politeness, of the painful-sounding popping of a joint in her back, or the opportune movement of clothing across her chest indicated by the light blush across Hisagi-san's face-- was anyone's guess, and Momo wasn't up to guessing.

Neither was she up for the sudden question from the stretcher. "Hinamori, why do you wear your hair like that?"

The assorted vice-captains had gathered and arranged themselves haphazardly across the meeting room in various stages of polite disinterest or boredom. While captains' meetings were punctual, official, and far duller, their vice-captains didn't bother with the guise of a meeting on some days. Truly, this was a place to dump the vice-captains while they were waiting for their superiors to finish untangling whatever mess of bureaucracy was up for debate at the moment; today was one of those times where No One Bothered Pretending, so it seemed to her. After all, not even half of the officers had bothered to attend, and Abarai-kun was slumped over where he sat, snoring somewhat indelicately.

Kira-kun nodded. "Ah, right; Hinamori-kun always used to wear her hair in..." He gestured vaguely to the side of his head.

"Pigtails?" Momo supplied, picking at the hem of her hakama. She, at least, was kneeling on the tatami, legs folded primly. "Um, my hair grew too long for that."

Matsumoto-san blinked. "Ah, but that shouldn't keep you from doing it. Was it such a bother?" she queried. "Or did it just get in the way too much?"

Momo hesitated, eyeing her colleague. Matsumoto-san's shimmering waves of hair looked remarkably untangled, and she shrugged. "No more than yours would, but it's more practical."

Of course, as Tobiume had suggested helpfully when she'd become a ranked officer, one reason for the change in hairstyle was that hair was very flammable and the most prudent course of action would have been to cut it off entirely. She'd tied it up into a ponytail once, but the best way she could keep her hair long and not accidentally get it caught in her own shikai was a bun.

Matsumoto raised one shoulder in a half-shrug with a yawn. "It makes you look more mature, anyway."

Momo hoped no one caught sight of the pink flush skittering across her cheeks then. As if on cue, the door to the adjoining room flew open, and the captains of Soul Society's Gotei 13 flowed out; after Kuchiki-taichou had unceremoniously knocked his subordinate awake and she'd waved to Hitsugaya-kun, she caught warm brown eyes behind lenses and scrambled to her feet.

Aizen-taichou smiled and placed a hand on her head, and her mind finished the preceding train of thought for her. Another convenient reason as to why she kept her hair up was that Aizen-taichou had once mentioned that it was like a beautiful secret-- since her hair was always in a bun, it was startling that her hair was so pretty and long when it was down.

(Later, after all was done and he-- they were gone and little was said, she cut it for practicality's sake and Hitsugaya said in an oddly rough voice that it looked good anyway.)

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