Hitsugaya Toushiro chased the hollow over rooftops, annoyed. He had just put up with another day at the school, had just endured another day of teasing by classmates. It's not like he could control his hair color or his height. Hitsugaya hated this world, but he was stuck here with his vice captain, Matsumoto, and other shinigami. Stuck here with that Ichigo and his friends.

The hollow's shriek snapped him from his thoughts and only served to irritate the captain more. He brought his zanpakutou back and prepared to bash its head in. Suddenly, the hollow jumped away as Hitsugaya snapped his weapon down. The shinigami stumbled and landed on a lower rooftop, only to lose his footing again. He fell and instinctively shifted his weight toward the house's open window.

Hitsugaya tumbled through the window but managed to land gracefully. He was surprised to find a cushion under his feet and gingerly stepped off.

Damn, he thought, that was pathetic. I missed a hollow, and even fell off a stupid roof. Matsumoto's never gonna let me live this down.

He didn't realize he had spoken his thoughts out loud until he heard a frightened voice.

"Hollows- are they the things that attacked you outside?" asked the voice.

The death god turned around, shocked. And I didn't even feel the spirit energy behind me. I blame lack of sleep. He stared, then registered that the girl was talking to him.

"You can see me?" The spirit pressure is pretty high for a human, too.

The girl sat at the edge of a futon, holding a blanket protectively around her shoulders. Her long black hair was tied into two braids. She was missing a pillow.

"Are the monsters called hollows?" she repeated.

"Ah...they're souls, actually. And yes."

An uncomfortable pause ensued, until the curious girl piped up.

"Who are you?"

Hitsugaya paused, then replied, "Hitsugaya Toushiro, shinigami. Captain of the 10th division. And you?"

"A-Akihime. Nishimoto Akihime. Nice to meet you." She didn't bother asking him what the 10th division was.


Akihime visibly relaxed, even though the other boy obviously wasn't even human.

"So is that orange guy who used to chase all the monsters- hollows, I mean- a shinigami too?"

Toushiro blinked, confused, until he realized that the "orange guy" referred to Ichigo.


However, the human was full of questions.

"Hitsugaya-taichou," she used his rank mockingly, "what about those hollow things that attacked one night that looked know..."

She broke off uncertainly, and gestured toward her companion.


He hesitated before answering. Should she really know this much? I suppose I could always erase her memory, but still...

"They are called arrancar. They're created by turning hollows into people, and vice versa. Or something like that."

"They were created then. By who?" she inquired.

Akihime saw his face harden, then regretting her prodding.

"I'm sorry...I shouldn't have don't have to answ-"

"That bastard Aizen."

" old are you really?"

He chose not to answer that.


The sun's first rays had appeared over the buildings- they had been talking for hours. Akihime, flustered, immediately apologized for keeping him so long. He waved off the "I am so, so, so sorry"s, as he was used to staying up. Hitsugaya rose from his position on the floor and started to leave.

"Wait!" she called, "Am I going to forget this?"

He froze. Did she read my mind? No, that has to be impossible.

"Where did you get that idea?" He feigned innocence, and apparently she bought it.

"Um...well, I've been watching these movies...but I'd really like to remember this," she replied sheepishly.

Hitsugaya glanced at her wide-eyed expression and sighed.

"Don't worry. I'm sure you'll remember this."

She beamed at him, with the slightest trace of a blush.

"So Toushiro-san- can I call you Toushiro?- could you come over tomorrow? I kind of have some more questions."

The young genius was taken aback by her request, but quickly recovered.

"Sure. For both."

Toushiro quickly jumped out the window. He was sure he heard a quiet "bye, Shiro."

Maybe being stuck here isn't as bad as it seems, he mused.