This is my first try on a BLEACH fanfic and it's a Hitsugaya x Hinamori (which is surprising since the pairing is only my third favorite.) It's a one-shot that demanded to be written otherwise it wouldn't allow me to concentrate on my other fic.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bleach.
Little Hitsugaya furrowed his eyebrows as he trudged down the weary path. Following the sounds of someone crying, he carefully made his way towards the lone tree near the river bank where he usually played with his bed wetter friend. He sighed and scratched his head. Why would she be crying?
True to his instincts, he saw his friend, little Hinamori Momo, sitting under the tree, her legs drawn close to her body, her forehead rested on her knees. She was crying silently that if it weren't for her occasional sniffs, Hitsugaya wouldn't have found her. But even then, he knew that if Hinamori suddenly disappeared early in the morning she would either be at his house eating watermelons with him, or under this tree which they considered their 'secret-base.'
Sighing for the second time in less than five minutes, Hitsugaya finally asked in a voice he thought sounded nonchalant, "Why are you crying?"
A stare and a squeak later, Hinamori moved to accommodate Hitsugaya who plopped beside her. "Wh-Shirou-chan! Wha-- what are you doing here?"
Hitsugaya stared at her as if it was the most obvious thing. "I could hear you crying even a mile away from here."
"Crying?" She hastily wiped her eyes. "I wasn't crying! I was just.. ah.. my eyes got irritated, yes."
"That's a lame excuse, you know," he stated flatly. Hinamori blushed from embarrassment as Hitsugaya rolled his eyes. It was then that he noticed a small leather-bound book that fell from her lap. Snatching the said item, he examined it carefully while avoiding Hinamori's attempts to get the book back.
"Shirou-chan! Give that! Ah--!"
He scanned some pages and crossed upon the words 'she', 'admired', 'betrayed', 'loved', 'died', 'wept', 'kissed'-- he stopped at that word, bewildered by the ideas. "... what kind of book is this?"
She took that chance and snatched the book back, hugging it close to her chest. She blushed slightly, "It's... just a textbook."
He rolled his eyes again and propped his chin on his palm, his elbow rested on his knee. "Really? So textbooks now contain the word 'kissed'-- is that a new kidou spell?"
Her blush deepened, and Hitsugaya told himself she was not cute. "Ah... well--"He continued staring at her with raised eyebrows that Hinamori finally gave-up. "It's... a novel my friend encouraged me to read during this spring break."
He raised his eyebrows higher, the image of Hinamori's blonde friend reading the--- horrid novel surfaced in his mind. "Hinamori," he started seriously, "I think you should stop being friends with Kira."
Hinamori was puzzled at first but finally she understood. She giggled. "Of course it wasn't Kira who lent me the book! It was Rangiku-san!"
"She's part of the thirteen squads. I met her through Aizen-taichou."
Hitsugaya snorted. Yeah, that Aizen-taichou again. And there's that Rangiku-san. Hinamori sure had some weird friends. Looking from the book to Hinamori, Hitsugaya finally realized something. "You were crying because of a book?"
The blush that started to disappear came back. "I-- well.."
"That's really stupid you know-- crying over a book," Hitsugaya said plainly. He would have continued his ranting if not for Hinamori's sudden silence.
Her head was bowed but even if her dark brown locks obscured her eyes, he was sure they were focused on the book. Gingerly, her delicate fingers traced the spine of the book.
He tried to stay silent, waiting for her to speak. But after five full minutes of her irritating silence, he gave up. Groaning, he leaned his head on the cracked bark of the tree. "What now, Hinamori?"
When Hinamori did not answer, Hitsugaya's brilliant mind realized he had done something wrong-- very wrong. He might have hurt her because of his remark earlier. But what can he do? Sure Bed wetter Momo was sensitive and emotional but to cry over a book? Was that normal?
"Oi, Hinamori." Still, Hinamori did not answer. After the fifth try, he was already irritated.
He sighed in frustration. He really did not want to resort to this method. "... What was that book all about?"
Hinamori had better answer him. Asking about that horrid book was the least of his favorite tasks.
"It-- it was about a girl who deeply admired her senior that she was willing to give him everything..."
Finally! Looking at her and nodding his head, he allowed her to continue.
She sighed and fingered the corners of the book. "Then came the time when her senior betrayed her trust. She could not believe it, she did not want to..."
"That senior is a bastard," Hitsugaya remarked dryly before he could stop himself.
"Shirou-chan! Where did you learn such a foul word!" she reprimanded.
He merely stuck his little finger in his ear. He heard that word from one of those bullies but of course, he wouldn't tell that. "Ok.. okay, I'm sorry. Continue with you story."
She adjusted her position and nodded. "The girl tried so hard to bring back the old senior she admired. She tried to find him and finally she succeeded. She tried to fight him but she just couldn't bring her heart to.. he was still that person she admired, no matter how evil he became."
"He took advantage of the girl's hesitance and tried to kill her. But the girl's best friend came."
Hitsugaya leaped up and started swinging an invisible sword. "And that best friend turned out to be a super hero! He," he slashed his imaginary sword downward, "slashed and slashed and slashed that evil bastard until he died!" He turned to Hinamori, "That's what he did, isn't it?"
Hinamori sniffed and started crying. Hitsugaya looked alarmed as he ran to her side. "Oi! Hinamori! Sheesh! What now? Why are you crying?" He looked around as if trying to find the reason for her sudden crying. Oh, that reason would surely pay. "Sheesh! Hinamori!"
She buried her face on her hands. "He-- the.. the best friend.. he.. he.. sacrificed his life for the girl!" Hitsugaya was certainly caught off-guard when Hinamori threw her arms around his shoulders.
"He.. the best friend.. had a chance!" she continued, "he.. he could have attacked the senior! B-but he.. he didn't! He.. he threw away the chance to protect the girl! And he.. he..."she couldn't continue anymore as her words were muffled by her cries.
Unsure of what to do, he tried to imitate what he had seen in situations like this. Slowly, he reached up his hands and wrapped them on her waist. He was relieved when Hinamori did not protest from his action-- at least, he was doing the right thing. He felt really awkward in this position but for now, he had to endure it.
It took several minutes to calm Hinamori down. Hitsugaya merely rolled his eyes as the girl continued using him as a comforter. Why were girls these emotional again? He really didn't know.
"Shirou-chan.. why would he do that?" Hinamori looked at her friend expectantly, her eyes glistening with tears. "Why would he sacrifice his life for a girl who obviously didn't love him back?"
Hitsugaya looked away and shrugged. "How would I know? He's pretty stupid though."
"I.. I really don't understand." Hinamori wiped her tear-strained cheeks wit her palm. "Rangiku-san said he wasn't stupid."
He sighed deeply. "Hinamori. Only stupid people would throw away their life like that. He is stupid."
"B-but Rangiku-san said he wasn't." She shook her heard. "Rangiku-san said he did that because he loved the girl so much..."she looked at him as if expecting any comment.
He crossed his arms and sighed. "I'm a kid. I don't understand such pointless show of affection adults do."
Hinamori looked at the book again and contemplated on what her friend said. Hitsugaya was merely thinking of how stupid the guy in the novel was.
"If..."Hinamori suddenly spoke, her voice soft. "If you were that guy, would you... would you sacrifice your life for a girl who doesn't love you back?"
Hitsugaya looked at Hinamori and didn't answer.
"Would you, Shirou-chan?" she asked again.
He rolled his eyes. "That's a stupid question."
"Shirou-chan?" she pressed, her eyes determined to receive an answer.
He sighed, finally succumbing unto his friend's pointless question. He merely repeated what he said before. "Only stupid people would throw away their life like that. I am not stupid." He rolled his eyes. "Besides who would I save? You?"
Hinamori smiled and hit her friend lightly on the shoulder. "That's mean, Shirou-chan."
"Why would I save you? Besides, you're the shinigami. I'm merely a kid," Hitsugaya replied nonchalantly.
Hinamori nodded. "Yes, I'm stronger than you."
Hitsugaya narrowed his eyes. "Wait till I get on that school of yours! I'll be stronger and stronger and stronger! Ten-- no, a hundred times stronger than you! And then I'll be called Hitsugaya-taichou like that Aizen you always mention!"
She patted his head and giggled. "Yes, yes. But until that time, you'll be my Shirou-chan!" She suddenly pinched his cheeks.
"Argh! Stop it Bed wetter Momo!"
"It is nice seeing you here, Hitsugaya-taichou."
The mocking greeting of the ex-captain of the fifth division rang through his ears like a venomous melody that surged his blood to boil amidst the dropping temperature of the surrounding area. Gritting his teeth, he positioned his sword in front of him and hissed, "Aizen!"
"Oh, that's not the right way to greet your elders," Aizen reprimanded as he watched the tenth division captain narrow his eyes dangerously. Taking his own sword out, he awaited for the younger captain to lead the first attack.
"Aizen..."The bitter memories of how Aizen treated Hinamori flashed before his mind, fueling his deep hatred for the man standing a few meters away from him. He could feel it interred in his bones-- the loathing, the promise to protect... the will to kill. "I will kill you."
"Such a kid like you shouldn't be using such hard words," Aizen replied casually, the malevolent glitter in his eyes shone indignantly.
Hitsugaya's grip on Hyourinmaru tightened, as his eyes flashed. There was a sudden explosion as the tenth captain vanished and reappeared in front of his adversary. Swinging Hyourinmaru created a series of human-sized ice stakes that created a circular barrier around the two.
"Die!" Another swing and a series of pointed ice stakes plummeted to their target. Several resounding tinkle rang through the battlefield, each containing the will to admonish the ex-captain bitterly, each containing the frustrated attempts to win a losing battle, each containing the acrid regrets of not being able to protect.
"Too slow." Amidst the large explosion of ice and steam, Aizen's calm expression was fairly visible. He was standing on his original position without any signs of damage, not even a scratch.
Hitsugaya landed on the ground on one knee, his face burning with hate and desperation. Gripping his sword, the painful truth sunk deep within his mind. Aizen was too powerful. He was light-years away from him to begin with.
"By the look on your face, I believe you have realized our... power gap," Aizen remarked as he raised his palm upwards. "You're still weak, kid."
Kid? The word stung him hard as another bitter truth clenched his heart tighter. No matter how he tried to act all mature and wise, he could never hide the fact that he was still a kid... a kid with fears. A cold shiver ran down his spine, suddenly paralyzing his hands, causing his grip on his sword to numb as Aizen's eyes bore deeper unto his aquamarine ones.
Those eyes.. those were the eyes of a person who doesn't have any regret to kill.
It was then he realized what he feared: he feared... death.
He didn't want to die... he didn't want to die in his hands. His eyes shook as fear dimmed the blazing rage of fire in his heart. Unconsciously, his body trembled, the sickening feeling of death lured his mind into desperate measures. He willed his feet to move... to flee for his life, but ended up unsuccessful. This man, Aizen, was going to kill him without any ounce of mercy. He didn't want to die..
"You should have realized that from the moment you failed to protect my dear Hinamori," Aizen continued as a powerful red orb floated on his palm.
There was another flash as Hitsugaya appeared behind Aizen, his Hyourinmaru was perfectly positioned on his neck. There was a raging fire that burn cold on his eyes. The fear that tried to consume him suddenly succumbed to his bitter hatred.
His mind replayed all of Hinamori's suffering from the day Aizen faked his death until the weeks after she woke up. Aizen destroyed her. This bastard twisted her mind that up to now, she was still confused. He could picture it well on his mind's eye: Hinamori crying... willing herself to believe that her captain was merely being used... calling her captain to come back.
It was all he needed to solidify his resolve.
Fear for his life.. it didn't have any place on his heart.
If he did die.. he was sure to take this bastard with him.
When he spoke, his voice matched the coldness of his ice crystals. "Hinamori's not yours."
Aizen merely smirked as he looked at the blade then to the wielder. Another explosion shook the ground as the two clashed on each other, both swords burning with the resolve to kill. The fight ensued, the older captain enjoyed making the younger suffer his high-level attacks; the younger only thought about his will to slaughter the man who had hurt his best friend.
The constant sound of "clink, clank" and "boom, bam" continued as the swords collide with enormous force, a string of demon spells used in between. As the smoke cleared, the two were meters apart again. Hitsugaya's robes were torn in several places, fresh blood glimmered brightly against his white captain robes. There was a gash above his left eye that continued to trace his pale face with red fluid. While Hitsugaya suffered the best of worst Aizen was perfectly.. unharmed.
The ex-captain of the fifth division surveyed his junior with an air of interest. "Why are you still fighting me, Hitsugaya-taichou? Even that ryoka boy had no match for me. What gave you the idea that you, especially alone, could beat me?"
Leaning on Hyourinmaru for support, the tenth captain slowly pulled himself up, his frame wobbly from the numerous wounds he received. "Anyone," he hissed coldly, "who hurt Hinamori," he readied his sword for another attack, "will die by my hands.. alone."
Hitsugaya pushed his feet on the ground and vanished again. An echoing clash confirmed that he had once again continued the fight. It was a blur of white and brown, a blur of fiery blue and cold red.
Aizen continued blocking each and every desperate strokes of the younger captain. Hitsugaya still continued with his attacks, each reflecting his life mission to give the worst punishment to this man-- this man he hated with all his heart, this man he swore to get revenge on, this man he vowed to kill.
Another slash and Hitsugaya managed to get his other hand free. As he reached his palm to his adversary, his thoughts of killing Aizen shifted to the image of the brown-haired shinigami smiling at him, calling him 'Shirou-chan' even without his consent.
"Art of Destruction # 31: Red flame canon!"
Another explosion and Hitsugaya's sharp eyes caught Aizen's fraction of a second stumbling. It was a split second, rare opening that he knew must not be missed, whether it would work or not. Maneuvering his hands expertly, he prepared to give Aizen a lethal blow: a stab deep in his chest.
"NO! Don't kill him! NO!"
The tip of Hyourinmaru suddenly stopped a mere centimeter away from Aizen's chest. Hitsugaya's eyes widened. Turning his head sharply, he prayed that it was not her.. not now.. please..
"Hi-Hitsugaya-kun.. please.. don't"
His worst fears were confirmed as his mouth gaped open at the sight of Hinamori Momo standing a few feet away from them. She was clutching her side as the crimson liquid stained her black torn shinigami robes. Her other hand rested on her soul slayer, supporting her frail form that seemed to stumble any moment now. Her hair was freed from her bun, apparently a consequence from her previous fight. He willed himself to look at her face and he felt his insides melt... she was crying... for Aizen.
"Hinamori!" he felt his fear flare alongside his rage. He didn't give a damn about his life now but Hinamori... "Get out from here! RUN---"
He was too preoccupied with the girl's sudden appearance that he failed to notice the demon spell Aizen cast on him, sending him flying a good ten meters away, only stopping when he hit the wall hard, a loud 'bam' echoing around the place.
His eyes were closed as he tried not to scream from the pain. The collision sent him down on the floor, his face pressed unto the cold ground. He could feel it, the numbing sensation too much pain brought, followed by the agonizing pain in his internal organs. Damn. Aizen got him pretty hard there.
He felt helpless. He couldn't even properly reach his head to stop the bleeding from a second gash. He couldn't even pull himself up. He was pathetic. Aizen merely struck his hand on his back and suddenly he was already sustaining hemorrhage and a couple of broken ribs. He was pathetic.
He didn't know if he was merely hallucinating but he could hear Hinamori calling him. He wanted to respond to her but his throat felt painfully dry that blood might come out instead of his voice.
He felt the vibration brought by someone walking. It wasn't light as he expected Hinamori's footsteps to be but heavy just like the low sound it created.
"I've missed you so much, Hinamori."
Hitsugaya's eyes opened sharply that it was almost painful for his eyelids. Amidst the crimson liquid that clouded his vision, he could perfectly make out the frames of both Aizen and Hinamori. The former was walking closer to later, his steps slow yet perilous.
"A-Aizen-taichou..."Hinamori whispered, her eyes mirrored her debating emotions on whether to take her former captain back or to forever declare him as an enemy. She took a step backward.
Hitsugaya's mind was overloading with panic signals. Hinamori was in danger and yet he couldn't even get up to run to her! How pathetic had he been in just mere seconds? He hated himself. He couldn't even shout at her to escape. Damn it!
Aizen surveyed his former vice-captain's battered form. Slowly, he shook his head and spoke, his voice gentle and soft. "I am to blame for all these miseries I've put on you, Hinamori. Please... forgive me."
Hinamori's face lightened up with hope. "A-Aizen-taichou! I knew it! You were just being controlled. You could never be bad, Aizen-taichou. I knew it! I know you would never do such harsh things." Tears started welling up the sides of Hinamori's eyes. "Aizen--tai---"
"That's why," Aizen's voice was back to the sheering cold tone he used on his departure from Soul Society. "I've decided to end it all.. again."
Hinamori's eyes widened as her former captain raised his arm, preparing for another demon spell. She knew she needed to escape but her body betrayed her. Cold sweat suddenly washed over her body, rooting her even more on the spot. She couldn't move. Aizen's calm glare seemed to have paralyzed her being.
She was going to die.. oh God, she was going to die.
She couldn't even will herself to close her eyes as Aizen's palm emitted a static red light. She couldn't even scream as she watched the said light wheeze through the air in a lightning speed towards her.
Oh God, she was really going to die..
There was an explosion and it was only then that Hinamori closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around her shoulders. She winced as bits of debris flew towards her direction but seemingly missed her. As the smoke cleared, she willed her eyes to open.
Her mouth gaped opened at the sight that behold her.
He was standing in front of her, feet apart, his bleeding hands on Hyourinmaru for support. His robes were streaked with more blood than before, tracing an ethereal river of crimson down the ice-covered ground. His silver hair was disheveled, the fresh blood stood out against the mysterious glitter of his soft hair. His head was bowed as his breathing hardened. There was that major wound on his left chest, the result of Aizen's attack, causing him to cough blood.
"H-Hitsugaya-kun.." Hinamori whispered, her eyes staring unblinkingly at the form of her friend.
Hitsugaya raised his head a little to meet his best friend's shocked brown orbs. He forced himself a smile. "A-Are you.. alright?"
Hinamori bit her lower lip to stop herself from quivering. She willed herself not to cry but the salty liquid still traced her pale cheeks. "W-Why...? Why?"
She almost melted at the sad gaze the tenth captain gave her. "M-Maybe... that guy on your novel... wasn't stupid... after all..."
She was crying freely now. "B-But why! Why did you have to imitate him? Why..? Why!"
"That guy... he just didn't want to lose.. the most important person in his life.."
"B-But.. I could have protected myself! W-why did you have to do this.. Shirou-chan," her voice faltered at the last word, her tears consuming her strength.
Slowly, he raised his hand to caress her face. Her tears and his blood mingled into one river that slowly descended down her cheeks. Hinamori leaned into his hand, enjoying the warmth and sensation of having him near.
"Stupid, have you forgotten... that I'm stronger than you? I must.. protect you..."he whispered.
"B-But I never told you to," Hinamori whispered back as she placed her palm on his hand. "I'm not worth it.."
He shook his head. "You're my bed wetter Momo. I could never let you die."
"But... look at you... you're wounded!"
Hitsugaya gave her a small smirk. "It's not like I'm going to die. It takes more than that to kill me."
Hinamori was shaking. "B-but why..? Why are you always out there for me? Why are you always there when I'm in danger? Why?"
He was silent for a moment. "You know, I've never been good with words..."
Slowly, he leaned close to her, his hand holding her cheek. Hinamori could feel her heart beat faster, a feeling she could never describe slowly seeped through the heart causing a warm fire to cruise through her veins. She closed her eyes and felt Hitsugaya's warm breath on her lips before he claimed it softly, as if he was afraid she would pull back. But she didn't.
She allowed his gentle lips to caress her own in a way her mind almost drifted from her body. Her tears continued to flow as her mind registered that this wasn't the same Shirou-chan she knew since childhood. This was not even the genius Hitsugaya-taichou of the tenth division.
This... was Hitsugaya Toushirou, the wonderful man Hinamori failed to notice.
He almost regretted pulling away upon seeing the beautiful eyes of Hinamori shinning with tears. He closed his eyes for a moment to lessen the pain in his wound. When he opened them, Hinamori saw the faint glitter of something she had never seen in his eyes.. an emotion she didn't thought he harbored.. an illustration she only read in romance novels.
"I'm sorry to interrupt you lovebirds but I believe I must end now this pointless battle," Aizen's voice suddenly broke the serenity of the two. Slowly, the ex-captain raised his soul slayer.
"I'm sorry... Hinamori."
Hinamori's eyes widened as Hitsugaya withdrew his hand from her cheek to reach for his soul slayer. "Don't.. Hitsugaya--"
Hitsugaya merely gave her a sad smile. "Ban Kai."
The echoing crashes resounded through the icy air, the ground shook with force. The smoke embraced the figure of the two out of sight. All Hinamori could do was to scream, to cry, to call and pray that her pleas would reach his ears.
So what do you think? Please review! I would really appreciate if you leave some comments so I'd be able to know for my future works(?)
It's up to you people to decide the ending... hehehehehe.. Thanks for reading!