Pairing: Ichimaru Gin x Matsumoto Rangiku

Warning : OOCness, and spoilers regarding the end of Soul Society Arc and a little mention about the Hueco Mundo thing-y.

Notes : This is rather off with the canon, but yeah… I like this pairing too :P 1341 words.

Title Notes : I can't think of a nice title T…T

Inspired By: Me watching the episode with the Tenth Division on the credits –I think it's episode 35- coz I heart the young GinRan picture there…


He always protects me.

During our first meeting, I collapsed on the dry, dirty ground, unable to walk any further, because of the hunger that suddenly ate at my dead soul. The others at the Rukongai don't experience this type of pain, and I was all alone. I didn't have anyone, and most people made fun of me and tried to either pick me up, or ruin my pretty face.

It's ironic, actually. With this searing pain that my body couldn't handle, I would have gladly traded my orange-colored hair, and doll-shaped face, in exchange for just a little moment of salvation.

A hand paler than mine, paler than the white robe that dangled loosely from the sleeve of the person's clothes, appeared in front of my hazy eyesight, and a dry persimmon is there, shoved close to my face, letting me smell the scent of food. My mind tells me that eating a dry persimmon in a desert-like area is not a good idea, more so because it was offered by a stranger, but I was hungry.

I reached out for the fruit, and it was given to me. "Here," a boyish voice said, and after a few bites, I looked up and my vision cleared. I could see the clear, blue sky, the drifting clouds, and the face of my savior.

He's got a funny face, I thought, but I didn't say it out loud; I didn't want to anger the person who offered me food, during the time when I thought I wouldn't be able to move on any further.

"Come," He said, and he pulled my fragile hand; and in contrast to the speed we were running towards a place only he knew of, the hand pulling mine is soft and gentle, and I find myself smiling at the back of his silver-colored head.


He arrived in our hut with disheveled clothes, wounded hands, and several goods cradled on his arms, and a proud, uncanny grin. I wanted to wipe off that expression on his face, and scream and yell and cry my eyes out. I was so worried about him; this was the third time he arrived like this on this week. And it was repeated from the past months, and I wondered, where the hell are you going off to, Gin? He arrived in our hut with disheveled clothes, wounded hands, and several goods cradled on his arms, and a proud, uncanny grin. I wanted to wipe off that expression on his face, and scream and yell and cry my eyes out. I was so worried about him; this was the third time he arrived like this on this week. And it was repeated from the past months, and I wondered,

I know I didn't have any right to prevent him from doing what he wished. I know that I didn't have any right to ask him of anything that he wants to keep a secret from me. But I wish I knew that I couldn't stop myself from worrying about him, from being unable to sleep when he hasn't arrived yet, from being unable to rest until all his wounds were bandaged.

He looks surprised when he sees me, sitting near the front make-shift door, my eyes blank and heavy with fatigue and red with tears. His grin didn't completely wear down, but it cracked a little, and he hugged me, and he hugged me until we fell asleep in that uncomfortable position. I was very tired until late afternoon the next day, but I would gladly endure that fatigue if it means seeing the true expression of my friend.


The Hollow was supposed to attack me, a mere fourteenth-rank Shinigami, and I closed my eyes, unable to keep them open long enough to see my fate. A sudden whoosh of air came just beneath my earlobe, catching a few hair strands in the process. "Shoot him down, Shinsou," Gin's familiar voice rang in the air, and I found myself thanking my luck.

The Hollow disintegrated into dust particles, and it disappeared into thin air. For a few moments, I just stood there, with my back facing Gin, and then I collapsed to the ground. I felt something warm, and I smiled, knowing what it is.

After all, I'm rather used to the feeling of Gin's arms cradling me, and his soothing voice whispering words of concern to me.


I stretched and yawned, thankful that my strict Captain is not around to scold me for being lazy. Honestly, for such a young boy, Hitsugaya-taichou really needs to loosen up, even just a bit. I stretched and yawned, thankful that my strict Captain is not around to scold me for . Honestly, for such a young boy, Hitsugaya-taichou really needs to loosen up, even just a bit.

I carried the stack of papers –labeled by my captain as 'Matsumoto! Do this, or else!'- out of the room, with the intent of working at Nanao's squad office. Maybe she'd even help me with this work, if I begged properly.

I was busy pondering about my methods of begging Nanao, when I bumped to Kira, who is also walking hurriedly down the hall. We both dropped our papers, and in his hurry, he carried away the wrong set of papers. I was about to call him back, when I thought, heh, let him be, and I went on my way to pester my fellow vice-captain.

Several hours later, I was on my way back to my Squad Office, when I met Kira, and he is carrying the stack of papers he mistook for his own. I was about to ask him what took him so long to realize his mistake –and maybe tease him a bit about becoming dull- when he smirked at me and pointedly asked for his stack of papers. I gave his papers confusedly, and I retrieved mine.

Kira was smirking the whole time.

It was when I submitted my papers to Hitsugaya-taichou –and rather ready for a screaming match that would undoubtedly ensue between us- that I realized what Kira was smirking about.

"I wasn't expecting you to finish this, Matsumoto," my captain's voice sounded suspicious, and he threw me a dirty look. I was about to retort something nasty –preferably a jibe about his lack of height- when he casually asked me, waving the finished reports as he spoke. "Is this really your handwriting?" The incredulity is present, even without me looking at my captain's disbelieving –yet still composed- expression.

I looked at it, and recognized the different handwriting: stiff, straight and rather violent strokes. I hid my smile beneath my long, wavy hair, and I waved my captain's questions off, as I made my way out the office, and towards a certain destination.

That was sweet of you, Gin.


I forced back the tears, because I am fighting now, and I am not allowed to show any weaknesses to the enemy, to the traitor. But, when I saw the apologetic look on my friend's face, on my Gin's face, I never wanted to do anything else but take back my actions, and never let go. I forced back the tears, because I am fighting now, and I am not allowed to show any weaknesses to the enemy, to the But, when I saw the apologetic look on my friend's face, on my Gin's face, I never wanted to do anything else but take back my actions, and never let go.

The reason why he was avoiding me during the past months, it was all becoming clear. And I wanted to apologize too, for not noticing, for not supporting him. For not protecting him, the way he does to me. "I'm sorry, Rangiku," he said, and I wished that I saw him drop that grinning countenance on a situation other than this.

"Goodbye,"


I knew it wasn't our last encounter, but I find myself wishing that that it was the case. Because, I don't know what would I do if I see him again. Would I kill him? Would I forgive him? Would I leave him to the others? Would I…?

But, when he suddenly got in the way of one Arrancar that was attacking me, and it hit him severely instead, I knew I have my answer. I finished the fight, my Haineko showing its fearsome abilities, symbolizing all my pent-up frustrations and feelings.

"Gin," I murmured, and I rested my lips on his sweaty forehead. I sighed, and let the warm air wash over him. This time, I know the answer. And, from the way he is acting, he also knows and agrees with my answer.

"Gin," I murmured again, and he opened his eyes, letting me see his crimson-colored irises, and I know, that I just got many more chances to see that grinning façade slip.

This time, I will protect you.


OWARI

Well, it was longer than I intended, but –shrugs- I hope you guys like it :D I'd love to hear constructive criticism, seeing that this is one of my very rare attempts on a first-person POV.