By: Koorino Megumi
This drabble has backstory spoilers through episode 46. Special thanks to link no miko and Ginger Ninja for their help with it! I may never have finished it without them.
"Shiro-chan, you never smile!"
The white-haired youth gave the girl a look at those words, screwing up his face. For a moment he was quiet as she eyed him, but then he turned away with a, "Tch. Bedwetters shouldn't smile so much anyway."
She pouted at him at that. It made him smile--but only on the inside. He couldn't let her see it. If she did, she might not yell at him--and make him smile--another day.
"It's just school," the dark-haired girl said to the boy, as if the words were meant to make him feel better. He rolled his eyes. Anyone could see that she was just trying to reassure herself. "Shiro-chan, I'll come back to see you when I can!" she cried. Her voice was shaking a little.
He looked up at her to find her staring right at him, her eyes pleading. He could see how scared she was and how much she wanted encouragement--a smile, at best, or at least a response. She would be leaving, and neither of them knew what that change would mean.
"Bye, bedwetter-Momo," he said, "You don't have to worry about coming back." His expression was flat. She smiled a little as she turned away. He watched her back while she walked, but he averted his eyes any time she glanced his direction.
Even after she was out of sight, he stood watching after her.
"Been a long time since Momo came to visit, huh?"
The white-haired boy looked up from the waters in which he was wading, focusing his sea-green eyes back on the beach where the other laid with his arms behind his head. "Quiet, or the fish won't come," the boy in the water said, his expression sour as he turned back to the task at hand.
The other snickered. "She finally decide she's too good for you now that she's a shinigami?"
The white-haired boy didn't look up from the calm waters before him. "I never asked her to come."
"She liked you, but she's too good for you now, just like all the shin-" The boy sputtered, sitting up with a jolt as water was splashed all over his face. "Hey!"
"I said shut up. You're scaring all the fish away." The boy gave his friend a glare.
"Can't we just give up on the fruit for today?" one little boy whined from where he and his white-haired friend hid by the side of a shop.
"Shut up," the white-haired one hissed, his expression as sour as ever. "We just need an opening...now!"
As the vendor turned to serve a customer on his other side, the white-haired boy dashed out of his hiding place like lightning, grabbing apples and oranges and chucking them back at his friend.
The white-haired boy dodged the hand of the vendor, darting back in the direction he had come from with both hands full of fruit, his friend only steps ahead of him.
He didn't expect the vendor of a nearby stand to come to the fruit vendor's aid.
Later, the two boys were back in their "home," their "sister" dabbing a damp cloth on one's forehead, just below his white hair.
"Toushirou, why do you take risks like that for food, anyway? Only shinigami need that kinda stuff."
The boy didn't answer, instead keeping his sea-green eyes focused on the ceiling as he fought not to wince in pain. His expression was one of glum annoyance.
His "sister" blinked at him curiously. "You can't use spirit power, can you, Toushirou?"
The boy scoffed in response, averting his eyes. "Even if I could, why would I wanna do something like that?"
"Of course you do!" the other boy piped up, "Because Mo--oww!" He grabbed his leg where it had been kicked.
"Shut up," the white-haired one stated, "I said I'm not interested. Food just tastes good."
His friend had found him in the same clearing many times before. When the other arrived, he was always sitting against a tree napping or seemingly wandering around the space, hardly even paying attention when he was joined. His face was always the same, too--passive, bored, sour. But this time he jumped as if an adult had arrived, eyes wide and spinning around with the speed that always left his friend amazed. And before he could say anything, his friend spoke up.
"You can use spirit energy."
The white-haired boy scowled at him. "Why're you saying something like that?"
But the other persisted, pointing a finger at his empty hands. "I saw it! Spirit energy--in your hand!"
Sea-green eyes gave a skeptical look. "You're seeing things."
But the other was not to be deterred. "You're lying."
For a moment two friends stared each other down. Eventually green eyes were averted. "What's it matter anyway?"
"Because you're really doing it!" The other's tone was accusatory, almost angry. "You're trying to become a shinigami!"
"I said I wasn't interested." The white-haired boy walked away, ignoring the friend who followed him.
"So he's not leaving either, huh?" one student commented to the other, his words a bit hissed, though the volume of his voice showed just how worried he really was about the white-haired boy in question overhearing him.
Said white-haired boy was standing against the hallway wall, arms crossed over his chest, watching the birds out the window passively. His expression didn't change at their words. It never did.
"Of course not," his companion replied, looking surprised the other had even asked the question, "Are you kidding? None of the kids from Rukongai ever go home."
The boy's eyes widened. "He's from Rukongai?"
His friend screwed up his face, giving him a funny look. "You couldn't tell?"
"Well, he always acts like such a big shot..." the boy replied defensively.
"What else is he going to act like?" the other shot back, "He never does anything but study! Of course he looks good. He doesn't have a real life."
"Heh, oh yeah," the first agreed quickly, looking as though his words were more to alleviate his embarrassment than anything, "If we didn't wanna have any friends, any of us could be big shots like that, too."
"Yeah," his friend stated knowingly. Then he frowned, looking as though he realized that things had gone far off-topic. "Hey, come on, what are we doing standing around here? We're getting drinks, aren't we?"
"Yeah!" the first exclaimed, "Let's go."
The white-haired youth headed to the opposite end of the hall then, going alone toward the room where he would spend this break.
"Did you hear the news?" one youth said to the girl next to him, a grin on his face, looking proud to know what he did.
"Yeah!" his partner declared immediately, also proud to be informed, "Ichimaru Gin's a captain now. Can you believe it?"
"Wow, really?" piped up the third at their table, another young man, "He's a scary guy. I wouldn't want to get assigned to his squad!"
The other two nodded their heads in assent. There was a moment of silence punctuated by a bit of chewing before the second continued the previous conversation. "Hey, any news yet on the new lieutenants for Third and Fifth?"
"I haven't heard anything," the third replied immediately, his words a bit woeful, as if this were the usual state of affairs for the youth.
"Well, there's nothing on Third yet," the first broke in knowledgably, "But I heard Captain Aizen has already decided on his new lieutenant."
"Really? That fast?" The third's surprise again overtook his woe.
"Who is it?" the second asked, practically on top of the words of the other. Her eyes sparkled with interest. "He must be pretty amazing to follow after Lieutenant Ichimaru!"
"Heh, it's not a he. It's a girl," the first replied, smiling a bit at the second's obvious happiness in response to that proclamation. "I hear she's a real expert at kidou."
"Really? Who?" The second's excitement was now as great as the third's.
"Hinamori. Ever heard of-- Hey, Hitsugaya, what's with you?"
The white-haired youth, the fourth at their table, had been sitting with his head propped on one arm, barely eating and looking more sleepy than anything. He had suddenly jolted at the name, however, sitting up straight, his drowsy look disappearing in an instant. But when the attention turned to him, he simply shook his head, picking up the fork he had dropped and returning to his meal, his expression taking on its usual sour cast. "Nothing."
"You know that Hinamori or something?" the girl persisted, leaning toward him, "Is she really that good?"
He took another bite. "I don't really know her."
"Captain Hitsugaya! Wait up!"
The white-haired youth had been taking a walk, apparently lost in thought, though his typical passive expression made it hard to tell. He turned in surprise at the voice, however, his face seeming to come alive with the emotion. "Lieutenant Hinamori?"
The dark-haired girl smiled, stopping behind him. "You don't have to call me by my full title anymore, you know. You're above me now!"
He nodded vaguely. "Did you need something?"
She gave him an odd look. "I came to congratulate you, silly! You're a captain! The youngest ever!"
She pouted. "I came all this way, and that's all you have to say? You don't even look happy! Don't you want to celebrate?"
"Argh, come on!"
The dark-haired lieutenant grabbed the white-haired captain by the arm, dragging him off into Seireitei. And when she wasn't watching, for a moment, his passive expression disappeared. He smiled.
When she left that day, he didn't have to watch her go. He knew she'd be back to make him smile again another day.