By: Koorino Megumi
This drabble has spoilers through the end of the Soul Society arc (episode 63 of the anime). It's dedicated to my wonderful friend Ginger Ninja for giving me the amazing opportunity to visit her for eight days of fabulousness in England. Thank you so much, Gin!
"Is she ever going to wake up?"
"There is no reason to think she won't."
Captain Unohana continued to stand behind him as he watched her sleeping face for a bit longer, perplexed. After a moment of silence, the woman added, "She is waiting."
Kira winced. "For him?" He scowled bitterly, his hand clenching to a fist where it rested against the sheets. "Even after what he did?"
The captain didn't respond. She simply frowned slightly and turned away. "Stay as long as you like." And strode out of the room, heading along the hallway outside.
She stopped halfway down it, knowing who stood in the shadows of the corner, even if she could not see him and his spirit energy was kept low. "You still will not speak to her?"
She heard him shift where he leaned against the wall. "I told you I have nothing to say." His voice was flat.
"She is waiting for you."
She could just make it out when he lowered his head with the pain that her statement must have caused him. "She's waiting for him."
"Oh?" She strode forward, not looking at him as she continued down the hall. "Then perhaps you are right. Perhaps you don't have anything to say."
She heard the slight rustle as he pulled his head up, looking at her in surprise. She continued walking, a faint smile touching her lips at the sound of his footsteps, heading away from her and toward the room where a dark-haired girl waited.
Kira didn't notice him on the way out. He never had noticed him, really--not even since he had appeared among the shinigami. He had always been just on the edge, near her but never part of her group of classmates. But it had never bothered him before, and at the moment, he was glad for Kira's inattentiveness.
He stepped into the room softly, not really thinking about not making a sound but, as he noticed his own silence, realizing that he didn't want to. He kept his spirit energy low, as well. She couldn't sense it, he was sure, but if for some reason she woke up...
...if she woke up...
He stopped beside the bed, focusing in on her face. Her hair was splayed out around it in a dark frame that shadowed her features. She never wore it down, and he almost wanted to ask someone to fix it for her. But that thought was absurd. Why in the world would Captain Hitsugaya be worrying about the hairstyle of the unconscious Lieutenant Hinamori?
But still, he decided that he liked it better up. She was so much brighter that way, so much livelier. She didn't look so shadowed, as if she were...
...as she did now.
He stood like that for another moment, unmoving, just watching the rise and fall of her chest, the faint movement of her hair when he leaned too close and his breath made it blow just slightly, as if she herself were moving...
He had only come into the room because that had been his plan since the beginning, he told himself. Captain Unohana's words had not had an effect on him. Nothing had changed. He was still Hitsugaya Toushirou--the Hitsugaya who had been tricked. The Hitsugaya who had almost let Hinamori die--more than once! The Hitsugaya who had nearly died without helping anyone.
The Hitsugaya who would never again be called Shiro-chan.
Sea-green eyes widened at the word, startled to hear it in his own voice. He hadn't come to speak to her. One who had done nothing but put her in more danger could not speak to her.
He heard the rustle of clothing then, and he jerked his head up to stare at her face in a mixture of surprise and...anticipation? Hope? Whatever the feeling was, it froze his heart in his chest. "Hinamori?"
She was asleep just the same as before. Could the sound he had heard been only himself shifting? Her hair moving in response to his breath? Hitsugaya sighed.
He wasn't sure what made him decide to speak again. He had arrived determined not to, after all. Maybe Captain Unohana had affected him. Or maybe it was the hope that had been sparked within him from that tiny imagined rustle. Whatever the reason, words slipped from his lips just the same. "But she's not waiting for me. Not this me."
The rustle sounded again, and Hitsugaya froze, his eyes widening as he kept watching her. He wasn't imagining it. She was moving.
"Hinamori?" he asked again, his voice urgent now. He wanted a response, a visible movement, something, anything more than just that fleeting sound that made his heart jump! "Are you awake?"
The heart that had frozen now began pounding against his chest. He held his breath without meaning to, all his attention locked on her still face. Could she really be waking up? All these days, could he have been wrong? Could the voice that Hinamori had been waiting for, the voice that could bring her back from the prison of her mind, really be his own?
For the first time in longer than he could remember, Captain Hitsugaya Toushirou felt his eyes of ice begin to well with tears.
"Captain Hitsugaya! Captain? Captain!"
Hitsugaya's eyes flared open, the youth immediately sitting up rigidly, his eyes scanning his surroundings as he tried to remember where and why he'd fallen asleep. He blinked. "Matsumoto?"
"It's late," came the voice of his lieutenant from above him. He could see concern in her pale eyes. "I wouldn't have woken you, but the meeting is about to begin."
"Meeting?" He blinked, pausing as his mind began to clear from the grogginess of his nap. Of course, all the captains were going to meet to discuss further details about what they would be doing from here. How could he have risked missing that? This was no time to be napping! Why in the world would he have...
Hitsugaya's eyes widened, the captain jerking again as he looked around the room. He was still here, at the relief station. He had fallen asleep over...
"I'm sure she'll wake up soon," Matsumoto commented softly, as if reading his thoughts.
He just stared. His head had been resting on the edge of the bed where Hinamori lay, still in her sleep, her hair splayed out around her unconscious face, shadowing it. "But she..."
He trailed off. Matsumoto gave him a concerned glance, but then she stood from where she'd kneeled to wake him. "I'm going on to the meeting, Sir," she said, "I'll see you there." And she strode out of the room, giving only one more worried glance back as she left him in peace to say good-bye.
Hitsugaya was too shocked to even react. Hinamori had woken! She'd even spoken to him! She'd said...
"Was it all a dream then?" he asked aloud, voice bitter. He watched her for a moment more and then sighed, getting to his feet himself. "I knew she wasn't waiting for me."
He started toward the door, but hesitated at the threshold, turning back around. Hinamori still slept behind him. If his voice were going to wake her, it certainly should have by now. He almost went ahead and left, but something made him stay just a moment longer, watching her sleep.
"I'll be back later," he stated suddenly, a little more loudly than necessary, as if calling to her from a distance. And then he turned and left, his promise still ringing in his ears, and her voice still ringing in his heart.