Author: Cella N.
Ship: hints at Hitsugaya/Matsumoto
Summary: Hitsugaya finally experiences a growth spurt. Yet, still no respect. HITSUGAYA. MATSUMOTO. On how tall or short doesn't matter when it comes to oxygen.
Spoilers: Soul Society arc, Arrancar-arc, and speculating.
Dedications: To Seren, because I love her a lot.
A/N: Not particularly serious. Possible OOC. Enjoy.
In the beginning, her astute observations always happened on the way to school. Five months after they had brought Aizen to his end, the old Karakura Shinigami-exchange-students team was sent back to the human world, to aid Kurosaki and his friends, in case any of the surviving Arrankars decided to come out from licking their wounds to play poke-the-Shinigami with them. Only, in retrospect, the only ones who did the poking were the Shinigami themselves, because time had past, and now they were stronger. The intensive training they had undergone before the 'final battle', topped with a little help from Inoue Orihime and the hougyoku had given them more than enough power to feel confident and end up, with much difficulty, wining the battle. But, in the end, several Arrankars, and perhaps even an Espada or two, had managed to escape, running away from Las Noches.
And there they were again, the old team of exchange students, or the 'anti-Arrankar brigade' as some of the Shinigami chose to call them, walking to school each morning, keeping up a good façade, and keeping their eyes open for any Hollow movements. In his opinion, Kurosaki could've dealt with the Arrankars by himself; but orders were orders, and this looked like too much of a paid holiday for him to pass it.
Two weeks or so before, it had begun. She always brought the matter up when they were halfway towards school.
"Have you grown an inch?" she would ask.
He would shrug, and blame it on his shoes--thick soles. But it was true, Hitsugaya Toshiro had began growing up in height. Nothing blatantly obvious, but of course Matsumoto would notice, she saw him every day and night, and probably knew his height better than he did. Part of that could be due to the fact that she knew exactly where his nose would be, if she squeezed him to her chest in an impulsive hug to cheer him up a bit. However, during the last weeks, she had began to notice his nose's position, when squeezed between her ample cleavage, was slightly higher. Not that she spend her day shoving her Captain's face between her boobs. (Not that he would've complained about that, either.) But it was just so Matsumoto-ish, that she would take notice of everything.
One evening, they went to bed with Hitsugaya being still the size of a pipsqueak. And the next morning…a relatively higher pipsqueak in need of coffee would emerge from Orihime's spare room, growling at anyone who dared say coffee stunned his growth.
Matsumoto had told him one of those nights, when he had been busy moping on the rooftop, that he needn't worry about growing up too fast. It would come when it came. And besides, she had added gaily, being that short had its advantages. A minute afterwards she showed her grumbling Captain exactly what the advantages were, hugging him tightly and shamelessly as he flailed, begging to be released by 'those monsters'.
That morning, when Hitsugaya woke up, he did the same thing he did every morning. He rolled off of his futon, crawled to the door, composed himself minimally, and headed for the kitchen. Inoue was in there, already preparing breakfast for them all (he didn't dare guess what it was), and he sat on his chair, hands placed on the table and demanding coffee.
Inoue provided his elixir. He downed it in a gulp. Set the cup down. And frowned. Things are…tiny.
In his tiny moment of elqocuence, Hitsugaya's brain noticed that things were, indeed, tinier than usual. Or at least farther down from his face. Or maybe it was just his face that was farther away from falling on the table with uncontrolled sleep.
"You look…different," Inoue mussed, sitting at the table with him. She tapped her chin thoughtfully, and observed him. "Have you done something with your hair?"
Hitsugaya shrugged, and decided on another cup of coffee. "I'll go change. You wake up Matsumoto," he instructed his benevolent landlady.
"Alright!" Inoue grinned, standing from the table and leaving the kitchen.
After placing his empty cup in the sink, he made his way back to his room, noticing mildly how things looked…odd. In an almost dream-state way, he mechanically put on his uniform, struggling with both the pants and the shirt. Must've shrunken while washing, he reasoned, and a minute later, left his room.
He waited for four minutes outside the house, until the women got ready, and when they still made no appearance, the man threw the door open, fully intent on screaming at them to move it already. In stead, he found that his forehead hit something hard. Pulling away fast, and rubbing his head to check for bumps, he realised what was so weird about that morning.
Of course, she said it first.
"Captain, you're tall!"
"Oh!" Inoue realised as well.
Some years before, when he had been the size of a peanut with legs, Hitsugaya used to hate and despise the way the people looked and stared at him. Such a tiny Shinigami Captain. That morning, it happened again, with two women looking at him eye to eye (for the first time ever) with amazement. The fact that he wasn't craning his neck to look at Matsumoto's face--heck, the fact that he wasn't in full eye-range with her boobs--was proof enough that she was right.
A miracle had happened.
Hitsugaya had grown taller.
His team would finally respect him.
"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!" was the first thing Renji said, pointing at Hitsugaya, uncaring of the sour look on the Captain's face. "Who shrunk your clothes? Didn't Inoue teach you how to program the washing machine?"
Renji was quickly quieted by a punch to his jaw as Hitsugaya dryly answered: "They haven't shrunk, you idiot."
Renji then blinked, still rubbing his sore jaw. He paused for a second. And had a moment of pure brilliancy: Hitsugaya hadn't--for once--had to jump in order to punch him. In fact, he had barely lifted his hand at all. His jaw dropped open in his palm, and Renji viewed Hitsugaya with new eyes. The Captain was taller. Impressively taller. But he looked absolutely ridiculous in his old clothes, which were still the size he used to be a few days ago.
Renji snorted. "Congratulations, Hitsugaya," he said.
"That's Captain for you," the man grouched, pulling his sleeve down awkwardly. "Anyway. Matsumoto sent me here to see if you could lend me a uniform. All mine are…small."
Hardly keeping himself from laughing, Renji pulled Hitsugaya into Urahara's house, guiding him to his room. Hopefully, the younger Shinigami would have no qualms against not wearing uniform that day. Renji didn't have spare one in his closet.
"I wonder what's keeping them," Orihime wondered, twisting a lock of hair around her finger. "I hope Abarai-kun found some clothes to fit Toshirou-san, at least until he can order a new uniform," she mused, twisting and twisting the hair while she worried. "I'm so glad he's finally taller, but I've gotten used to looking down to talk to him. Oh well…"
"I know, I know," Matsumoto sighed next to her, leaning on the wall of the school, "I'm gonna miss his adorable tiny figure."
"Oh, there they are," Orihime jumped, pointing off into the distance, where two figures appeared. Her finger pulled her hair, and she flinched in pain, before untangling it.
Matsumoto tilted her head, grinning slightly. "What is he wearing?"
He, namely Hitsugaya Toshirou, was wearing casual clothes pulled out from the deep and dangerous parts of Renji's closet. Black pants, and a simple black t-shirt. Simple and discreet, something Renji would've never worn (hence why he eagerly gave them to Hitsugaya), but which looked perfect on Hitsugaya.
They made their way to where Inoue and Matsumoto were standing, mouths wide opened; and Hitsugaya scowled deeply, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
"What?" he asked, dryly.
Before either of the girls could answer, someone did it for them. Perfectly worded, as well. "Well, hello there, beautiful! Who might you be?" the ever-enthusiastic voice of Yumichika drawled slightly, sliding next to the handsome, tall and white-haired boy. Extremely daring, Yumichika patted the new-comer's arse, and grinned.
Hitsugaya snapped his head in the man's direction, eyes narrowed.
Yumichika paled. "Captain!" he squeaked. And passed out.
In the corner, Matsumoto was wiping tears from her eyes. "Captain makes me so proud!"
Hours later, when school was over and general patrols for Hollow activity had been made, Hitsugaya allowed himself to fall into step with his Lieutenant, enjoying a pleasant walk back home. He had endured the surprised gasps, and jabs at his new-found height, and even the jokes the professors made about him maybe needing glasses to assess the different perspective after he had tripped over a desk that had really not been there the day before. He had placed the orders for a larger uniform, and twitched furiously as the girls in school fawned over him. But the worst had to be Matsumoto.
The woman seemed intent on letting all the girls know that Hitsugaya was her friend, thusly shutting them up, for which he was thankful. Of course, now the whole school thought that he was going out with Matsumoto. He wasn't exactly sure how to react towards that. She seemed content with the situation, a secret little smile on the corner of her lips as she watched him from the corner of her eyes. Hitsugaya rolled his eyes and huffed a bit. Walking next to her and actually reaching over her shoulder was…too new.
It seemed almost wrong, in a way.
"So…" she began, grinning secretly.
"Yes?" he asked, glancing at her.
"How does it feel to be taller?"
Hitsugaya shrugged a bit. "Strange. Expected. I hate it, and am thankful for it at the same time."
"How come?" she asked, coming to a stop.
He stopped as well, turning to face her. "Well, now that I'm above vision-range, all the squealing girls have noticed me, and it's too…loud. And thankful for many reasons. Although I think the best one is that I'll never be in danger of losing my life to those," he smirked, pointing to her chest.
Matsumoto chuckled darkly, stepping closer to cup his face. "Tsk, tsk, Captain. So very wrong you are. Puberty has just begun for you. Soon enough you'll regret losing that privilege."
Hitsugaya raised an eyebrow, but made no movement. "What makes you think puberty hadn't hit me before? This height thing is just a much expected bonus."
The woman grinned, "Then you should know that I can still do this," she shouted, and pulled his face forward.
Now. Before, his nose had been buried somewhere where her cleavage met the clothes' line, which was reasonably low. This however, was different. Because. Because he had to lean down when his face had been shoved in between those beasts, and because he made a startling discovery. She applied perfume there. And it smelled good.
"Oxygen!" he choked after a moment, lips brushing over skin that his lips should've never brushed over. She let him go, and he knew, just knew that he was blushing. Hard.
She had the gale to laugh at his expense, one arm thrown around his shoulder as she started walking again. Hitsugaya followed, shoulders slumped slightly.
"You liked it, didn't you?" she poked his arm, grinning wildly.
"Would it matter what I answer? You'll keep doing it, anyway."
"True," Matsumoto chuckled. "But you know, in that aspect, many would kill for your place."
He didn't answer her, but he knew it was true. Even before, when he had been short, there had been one place in the entire world where he could go, and where no-one else was allowed to. Glancing down at her cleavage, he smirked, and inwardly patted himself on the back. Short or tall, he still had access to that place.
His very own privileged position.