by BitterEloquence

Disclaimer: I tried bribing Hitsugaya with mellon but he just spat the seeds out at my and told me I wasn't his. Nuts.

My Silver Fox,

How are you, Gin? You left in such a hurry I didn't even get a chance to talk to you. I miss you...

Matsumoto Rangiku frowned, her hand pausing mid-stroke, and glowered down at the parchment in front of her. Sunlight filtered weakly through the window coverings to speckle fitful pale rays across the otherwise murky room. A candle burned at her elbow, the flame flickering erratically as it burned down to it's last few centimeters of wax.

It had been burning all night, the only sole companion to the beautiful blonde who hadn't stirred from the table for hours. She'd been trying to draft this letter for hours now but hadn't managed to even put quill to paper until a few moments ago. It had taken Rangiku most of the night to try to put her mixed feelings about Gin in order so she could approach their latest mission with a clear head. "Tch. Fuck it."

…I don't want to see you though. I'm still very angry with you and right now I don't think I could stand to look at your face without spitting in it. Kind of odd isn't it? I love you but I hate you for what you've done both to our world but also what you've done to me.

Surprisingly enough, a cold mug of tea sat at her elbow rather then her usual cup of sake. Tonight had not been a night for drinking. While sake dulled the pain and brought a blissful sort of haze to the world, it wasn't going to help her harden her heart to her former friend.

I'm going to find you though, you know that right? Then I'm going to make you and Aizen pay for what you did, especially what you did to my Taichou. The friendship's off, Gin. The past is behind us and now I will have to kill what affections I might have once had for you. It's not as easy as you would think. I wonder if you managed to pull it off. I can't think of any other way you and the others could have betrayed us like that unless you didn't care for us.

There was a quiet knocking at her door but Rangiku barely glanced up from the parchment, pale hands practically dancing over the paper as she yielded to quill. Her strokes were a bit hasty and messy due to her urgency to pour everything out at once. She had to clear out her head and her heart before they headed to the human world. How else would she be able to face Gin again on the other side of a battlefield with a cool head?

I wonder if you ever did love me like you claimed. Sure, you made the efforts; went through the motions, but even I have trouble reading you and that damned foxy smile of yours. When you said goodbye, you sounded…sad. Even with that cheerful smile on your face, there was a note of regret in your voice. Does that mean you truly did mean it when you apologized to me or was it just another of your games.

Is there any hope for you?

"Matsumoto! Wake up!" Hitsugaya's testy voice broke through her daze and Rangiku blinked sluggishly as the knocking on her door turned to a dull pounding. "You'd better not still be asleep, dammit!" The teenaged captain sounded rather annoyed at that prospect but in his own defense, it wouldn't be the first time he'd literally had to drag his subordinate out of bed. The blonde scampered to her feet, eyes automatically falling to the front of her robe where it last firmly clasped across her chest. Rangiku smirked mischievously and loosed the robe so it fell open, exposing her bosom in a tantalizing manner that was barely clad even by her standards.

She raked her hands through her hair, mussing those silken locks until it fell around her face in a tangled cloud-like imitation of bed-head. Finally, Rangiku half-closed her eyes and dramatically stumbled over to the door with a loud moan. She flicked the lock and pulled the door open enough to glare 'sleepily' at Hitsugaya. "Taichouuuuu. I'm trying to get my beauty sleep." She whined and fell against the doorway, almost planting the boy's face in her chest as she did so.

The slender youth took a hasty step back and gifted her with a censorious look. Hitsugaya really was too cute, he was a lot of fun to tease though he didn't usually blush and get all flustered over her antics. Where most men would have been falling over themselves and drooling, he just glowered at her with his typical surly temper. She'd almost gotten a blush out of him that time too! "Don't whine at me, idiot. You're the one who wanted to go on this stupid mission in the first place." Silver hair gleamed in the pale morning light and Rangiku was painfully reminded of another beloved silver-head. Though, Gin's hair was sleek and slinky light the rest of him whereas Hitsugaya's was as wild and unpredictable as his temper.

"But it's so early." She yawned hugely and batted her lashes sleepily at him. "Can't we go later when it's not morning? It's obscene to be up this early." In counterpoint to her griping about obscenely early mornings, she stretched her arms up about her head and in doing so, further exposed those pale breasts to the teenager. Hitsugaya's eyes widened just a tad bit in alarm as her robe pulled open just a little moreto him. A scant few more millimeters and she truly would be flashing him.

He vaguely noted he could see the faint outline of her nipple skimming along the edge of the robe, and with a huff, he turned away. "Stop bitching at me and get going. I'm not going to listen to those idiots whine just because you're late. Get moving and that's an order!" He barked as he felt his cheeks tinge just a bit with color. While he loved Hinamori to death, there was no denying that Matsumoto was a beautiful woman. He would rather die then let her get to him like that however. The reason she'd been in his command for so long was because he was one of the few males she hadn't managed to have drooling over her within five minutes.

And he made certain the rest of his unit followed his example. Nothing could rip a unit apart faster then jealousy or romantic strife. Matsumoto had been trying to get a rise, if one will pardon the pun, out of her captain for years and Hitsugaya was determined to not let her get the upper hand. "The faster you get up the quicker we'll be in the human realm and you can get those disgusting sweet things you like so much." That quietly uttered reminder softened his previous gruff treatment of her. Ugh, he was loosing his touch. Next thing he knew, he'd be getting all touchy-feely and emotional with his men.

"Oh! That's right, we have to stop at that candy store on the way there then. We can, can't we, Taichou?" She wheedled and bat her lashes at the youth's retreating back.

"Whatever, just hurry up." Now thoroughly grumpy, Hitsugaya stalked off in a familiar direction. Rangiku knew he was going to spend what time they had left in Soul Society at Hinamori's side. Part of the reason she'd wanted to go on this mission, to drag and or guilt trip Hitsugaya into coming along, was so that she could get her moping commander away from Hinamori's side. The kid needed a break and a fresh breath of air. This mission had seemed like just the ticket in Rangiku's opinion.

She shut the door behind her then and hurried back to her desk.

I don't know if there's any hope for you anymore. If you were to come back to Soul Society, they would most likely execute you. We can never go back to the way we were. I just want to know if the Gin I knew, the Gin I loved exists anymore. Or if he even existed in the first place.

Is that selfish of me?

You're the selfish one though. I'm sure you'd be able to tell me if I'm being selfish for wanting my silver fox back. Maybe I'll ask you next time I see you. I won't love you then, I'm going to do my best to kill what love I have for you and I'll know better next time around not to trust you. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. I don't intend to be fooled again.

I'll see you later.



She finished the letter and stared down at it for a long moment, those beautiful eyes solemn and unhappy as she watched the inky quickly dry. Now that she'd gotten it out on paper and out of her heart, the festering wound that had been there since Gin's betrayal slowly started to heal. Turning away, she quickly striped out of her robe and started to get dressed. Once she was done with that, the blonde turned back to the letter and picked it up.

Lily-pale hands carefully folded the letter and held it to the flame. The rice-paper caught on fire quickly and was soon falling to ash on her desk as she continued to hold the steadily burning paper. Heat beat uncomfortably at her hand and the flames started to lick her flesh before she let go of the letter. The last few inches of paper were soon lost in the tiny fire and the quick-burning rice paper soon flickered out. On her desk, all that remained was a small pile of pale grey ash the flickered like dandelion fluff in the near invisible air currents in the room. Soon it was cool to the touch and she moved one hand to comb through the ashes, their near weightless softness smoothing across her skin as it stained it with the uniform white-grey color.

It was vaguely ironic and symbolic that much like the paper, her love for Gin had burned quickly and so hotly that it burned itself out. It left only ashes behind and a coldness in her heard. She finally understood why Hitsugaya hid his heart in a shield of ice that just waited and begged to be melted. If your heart of cold, it didn't leave as many opportunities for pain. But if Hitsugaya's heart was surrounded by ice, hers was surrounded by ash.

He might one day have that ice melted away. Hinamori had already created a few cracks in that icy demeanor. Turning away from the table, she brushed the last traces of ash from the desk and stared down at her fingers where the ash clung to her skin. She wiped that off as well but it just coated the fingers trying to brush it away from her hand. When she wiped that dirtied hand on her black uniform, it left behind a grey smear.

She couldn't escape the ash.

Behind her, the candle finally flickered one last time and gutted out, casting the room in gloom. As she left her darkened rooms, Rangiku came to the morbid realization that she wasn't going to be able to escape from the ash because it was on her, inside her. It dwelled in her heart. Cold ash couldn't be heated again, no more would her heart be warmed, especially by the likes of Gin.

There was nothing left to burn.

For Sharingank