I never tried my hands in such a deep piece of work before. I keep thinking that I'll mess up the characters because, you know, true personalities come out in serious situations. Anyway, it was rather difficult to write this as Hinamori's character is rather complicated, and Hitsugaya's is equally so.

Hope you all enjoyed reading this and please review!

--

Loose Ends

--

As Hinamori Momo stood in front of the pair of strangely intimidating doors, she wondered if the nervousness and anxiety she was feeling were reflected upon her face.

Beyond those doors, she could hear the sounds of a muffled conversation. The words were loud enough to be heard, but still low enough as to not make out to what was being said. But Hinamori knew that the scene inside was a tense one, as she had heard more than just a few frustrates sighs and agitated rise of voice.

Before she could take in a deep breath and screw up her courage, however, the door was pulled open, and Matsumoto Rangiku stepped out. She swept past Hinamori with a flutter of golden blond hair, fine lips pulled into a straight line, without even sparing her a glance.

Hinamori's heart felt heavy in her chest as she looked towards the retreating back of one of the kindest people she knew. Especially as she knew that Matsumoto was aware of exactly why she was here, and what she was going to do.

In the deepest part within her, Hinamori understood.

But she was here for a reason, and just because her heart cracked a tiny bit at that moment, it was no reason for Hinamori to throw way the resolve it took her hours to gain.

Closing her eyes for a brief moment, she gave two firm knocks on the twin doors.

"Come in."

And as Hinamori stepped in, the beating in her chest rose to a slightly faster rhythm.

"Hinamori," he said, looking up from his papers with a little quirk in his lips. He didn't seem the littlest bit thrown off by her visit. She'd like to think he was, but he just hid it well.

"Hey," she greeted back, walking to stand in front of his desk, her hands clasped in front her. She didn't know why she suddenly felt bashful and awkward.

Especially around Hitsugaya.

"How've you been?"

Hinamori blinked a little, trying to keep her mind focused.

Her eyes were trained on the ground.

"Ah, I've been ok," she said, her voice low and soft, her hand unconsciously reaching up to tuck some hair behind her ear. "I... I just finished with my time in rehabilitation, and I'm moving out this afternoon."

"I'm sorry for not visiting you too much," he said, sounding sincerely apologetic. Hinamori felt a smile pulling at her lips. "I know this is a horrible excuse, but everything's been ridiculously hectic and everyone's been slacking off more and more lately."

"You're too much, you know? You came to see me at least once a week..."

"Aa." His lips twitched. "How'd you find out?"

"Even when I wasn't allowed visitors, they told me who came and went..."

"Mm, still. So I take it you're going to be back on duty soon?"

"Yeah."

"Good," he said, absentmindedly shuffling the papers in front of him, "I knew that they couldn't keep you in there for long. You're too good for them to keep you confined in a building without you trying to do anything about it."

And as she finally lifted her eyes to meet his, the sheer love – and although she couldn't read it properly, it truly didn't matter what kind of love it was, for all forms of love were pure and bright – that she saw in those pretty, pretty turquoise eyes made her want to break down and cry in both happiness and despair.

Because Hinamori knew that those eyes were meant for her. And as much as she basked in the glow that someone... someone as amazing as Hitsugaya could love her so selflessly, guilt ate up her heart because she knew she wasn't worthy of it.

Not anymore, anyway.

So she mustered up a smile – and cried a little bit on the inside as she saw his eyes light up – and said, "I couldn't leave the all grown up Hitsugaya-taichou out here in the big bad world for too long."

Hitsugaya shook his head in amusement. "Well, at least now you know what to call me now. After so long too. I worked hard to become the captain, you know. I couldn't leave you alone in the big bad world for too long either."

It was such a simple sentence, really. It was something that she knew, something that put pride in her heart every time she looked at him. Yet hearing it be voiced out by him...

Hinamori's hands shook slightly as her smile fell from her face. She turned slightly and leaned her back on his desk for support as she felt her knees feel slightly weak.

"Hinamori?" he said at once, standing up. "Are you alright?"

Beneath the tone of authority, there was concern. He was concerned for her.

Hinamori didn't know what to feel. It was such a Hitsugaya reflex – to be troubled over every single on of her problems – which she felt like laughing and sobbing over the same time.

"Ah, I'm fine." She lowered herself down to the floor and closed her eyes, head leaning against the desk behind her. "I just..."

"Hinamori."

"Mm?"

Hinamori heard the scrape of chair against the floor. She could see his sandaled feet in front of her. She saw him kneel down in front of her and felt him touch her shoulder.

"Look at me."

She tilted her head upwards and felt her eyes sting a little when she looked at Hitsugaya's worried face.

"What's wrong?" His fingers were resting gently on her cheek and the temptation was too much for her to resist as she found herself closing her eyes and leaning into the warm touch.

"Shiro-chan..." she murmured, and she felt his hands stiffen momentarily.

A heavy sigh escaped Hitsugaya's lips. "Hinamori..."

Hinamori kept her eyes closed even when she felt his hands lower from her face. "What happened to us, Shiro-chan?"

There was a moment of silence.

"What do you mean?" He sounded slightly confused. She could almost see his eyebrows furrow in thought.

Finally opening her eyes, Hinamori smiled a little bit. She wondered if her smile looked as sad as she felt. "You. Me. Us. What happened?"

Of course, she didn't expect him to answer, she didn't want him to.

"We don't even call each other by our names anymore," she said, and felt her heart hurt a little as he looked away from her, guilt adorning his features.

"I'm sorry," he finally whispered, looking back to face her, so she could see the sincerity and truth behind his words.

"You're saying it like it was your fault," replied Hinamori, and there was a small tremor in her voice. Unconsciously, she put her hand on top of his knee, and softly curled her fingers around the white material on top of it.

"It was," he said, looking down at her hand, absently something on top of it. His face looked too weary for his young age, and for the first time, Hinamori noticed just how fitting the stark white hair was for Hitsugaya. "I saw it, you know. I saw that we were drifting and I... didn't have the courage to do anything to stop it."

Hinamori blinked.

And then she threw her head back and laughed.

"Oh, Shiro-chan," she said, a grin forming on her face. She tried to not look at the expression of genuine hurt that he was sporting. "At least you wanted to do something about it."

A frown formed on Hitsugaya's face.

She answered the unasked question, "You weren't the only one who saw it. I was too in love my life, with Aizen-sama, to bridge the gap between us. It was just easier to ignore to it."

"You had your ties to him," he murmured, his voice laced with apology. Those pretty eyes were still staring at her hand. "It was me who was free to pursue you to repair our friendship. But I was just too scared that you had moved on."

As Hinamori looked to meet his gaze, she felt a spark of anger in her as she saw the sadness that he held. Why wasn't he getting mad? She realized that she did things that weren't good. Why couldn't he just see it?

"I'm not entirely in the right, Shiro-chan. I held a sword to your neck." She looked down, ashamed. "I hurt you."

There was a brief moment of quiet before a low, "You never hurt me by holding a sword to me. You were not in a proper state of mind."

Hinamori frowned a little bit at the evasive answer. "But I did hurt you."

Hitsugaya looked away and did not answer.

"Do you bear a grudge against me?"

At that, Hitsugaya smiled. "Never."

And Hinamori felt like she could rip her hair out in both gratefulness and frustration.

She could not stand the fact that someone as limitless, as amazing, as kind and caring and all the other positive adjectives in the world combined – and more – could be tied down to someone as weak and jumbled up as her.

"Why... why do you do this?" she asked, her eyes slightly narrowed as she tried to figure out the one person that she used to know best.

"Do what?" He sounded sincerely oblivious. Hinamori felt her heart crack a little bit more.

"Why do you see me in such a... such a holy light?" Her voice shook slightly. "Why do you look at me like I can never be in the wrong? Why am I in such a high standing for you?"

Hitsugaya seemed to be in a moment of shock. But then a small smile pulled at his lips and he let out a chuckle. There was such warmth in his eyes that Hinamori felt her heart beating faster.

"Mm, you really don't know, do you?" He laughed a little bit more and looked at her fondly. "Idiot."

Hinamori glanced at him questioningly.

Hitsugaya chuckled again.

"It's because... you're Hinamori Momo. It's because you're my best friend. It's because you're... you. I... care about you." He let out a sigh, and settled himself in a more comfortable position on the floor next to her. "Do you know why I became a Shinigami in the first place?"

Hinamori bit her lip.

"I tried out because I wanted to catch up with you. I wanted to be with you, and do the same things you do. You were my best friend, Hinamori. I didn't want to be in a place where my best friend wasn't."

After suppressing it for so long, Hinamori felt her eyes start to mist up.

"You have such faith in me," she whispered as she closed her eyes, blinking away the moisture in her eyes. "Where did my faith in you go?"

And Hinamori almost smiled at Hitsugaya's silence. He was honest to such an extent that she knew every heart warming thing he said – without meaning to or not – was true.

But his silence meant that that he had a truthful answer, but he wasn't saying it because it was a truth that would hurt.

"You... loved him deeply," he finally said, and neither of them needed the person to be named. "And love can be blinding."

There was nothing Hinamori could say to that.

Hitsugaya released a breath that Hinamori wasn't aware that he was holding onto. As he made a move to get up, Hinamori grabbed his hand in an almost blind reach for hope.

"I want it back," she said, and he looked at her in wonder.

"Want what?"

"I want us back. I want the trust between us. Even..." Here, she paused for a bit, racking her mind for the proper words. "Even if it means we have to start over."

Hitsugaya got a slightly pained look in his eyes. "Hinamori..."

Hinamori laughed a little.

"I want that back too, Shiro-chan." She smiled at him wistfully. "I want to be Momo again. Bed Wetter Momo, remember?"

Hitsugaya was still staring at her with that look of thoughtfulness on his face.

Hinamori reached forward and touched his face.

"Don't you want it back, Shiro-chan?" she asked, smiling. There was this feeling of... exhilaration through out her body. Hope was shining dangerously bright inside her. "We could try again. Start over from the beginning. Back before he came in between us."

"Hinamori... we can't blame someone else for everything that went wrong..." Hitsugaya looked like it was taking everything that he had to say this. "We both could've prevented all of it from happening. If only we had worked harder... If only we trusted each other more then everything between us would be different. If I was more open with you, you would've had no reason to suspect me..."

"This time, we can work harder," she said, the jubilance inside her preventing her from voicing out that not everything in the world was his fault. "And no Aizen-sama will be in between us."

And with that, she removed the covering of her bun, and let a cascade of black fall behind her. Then she neatly separated the hair into two, and rested each part on each shoulder, as if imitating two pigtails.

"We can start from the beginning, Shiro-chan," she told Hitsugaya, who was looking at her in an almost painful remembrance. "Before everything went wrong."

She reached forwards to ruffle his hair, when his hand gently caught it.

"No, Hina- no, no, no," Hitsugaya shook his head a little bit. "Momo. Momo. No, Momo, we can't. I... don't want to."

Hinamori felt like she was just punched, and couldn't even enjoy the fact that he was finally calling her by her name. This time there were no cracks, like before with Matsumoto. Hinamori knew her heart cleanly broke in two.

All because he was Hitsugaya Toushirou, and if she wanted anyone to have such complete control over what she felt, she'd want it to be him – someone as selfless and uncorrupted as him.

Her breath was stuck in her chest as she tried to speak. Finally, she managed to let out a choked, "Why?"

"Because what we had is something that I don't want to throw away," Hitsugaya said, looking towards a wall. "Someone told me that if I care about someone who I know is good, all the bad stuff that happened shouldn't keep us from forgetting all the great things that happened as well."

Hinamori was surprised to find her eyes surprisingly dry. "...That was Rangiku-san, wasn't it? She's... absolutely brilliant in everything when it comes down to it."

"Mm." Although he looked momentarily surprised, Hitsugaya's face relaxed into a smile. "That Matsumoto. She's really something else, huh?"

"Yeah, she is..."

The same kind of warmth and happiness and love that was on his face when he looked at her appeared once again in thought of his vice-captain. She loved the fact that he could never hide any positive emotion he felt – in her eyes, anyway – and felt a rush of sadness inside her as she realized that perhaps someone else was taking her place in Hitsugaya's life.

But, for the life of her, she couldn't stop the wave of appreciation for Matsumoto that washed over her for looking out for Hitsugaya in all the moments in his life where she failed to.

Hinamori let out a hesitant smile. "I have to say thank you to her, one day."

"Matsumoto?"

Hinamori nodded. "Yeah."

"For what?"

"For taking care of you when I couldn't," she replied, her heart still heavy, though her mind was now clearer. "For helping you... see reason so you could show it to me."

Hitsugaya's eyebrows rose a little bit.

"Does that mean," he asked slowly, "That we...?"

Hinamori nodded, driving a hand through her loose locks before twisting it back into a bun. Her shoulder was leaning against his, as if he was a support – and in all fairness, at the moment, he was.

"Your panda eyes are gone now," he noted.

Hinamori blew out an irritated breath. "Mm, Shiro-chan is so mean."

Hitsugaya managed to roll his eyes, though the pull on his lips ruined the effect he was aiming for.

"You really are much better. You're handling the Aizen issue rather well," complimented Hitsugaya offhandedly – as if not realizing he was doing so, which would be so typical of him – breaking the blanket of silence that fell over them in a manner that said that he knew she was strong enough to take it.

Hinamori looked at him in silent gratitude. "Well, physical recovery wasn't the only thing that I went through. Most of my time there was for mental strengthening."

"You still call him Aizen-sama though."

"I suppose that old habits die hard, hmm?"

"Don't I know it," he said, looking at her with a slightly amused grin. "Bed Wetter Momo."

And even though Hinamori was still aware that everything that went wrong between them still existed, it helped her conscience and her heart to know that they could overcome it without starting from the very beginning. Even if he called her Hinamori again the next day, it eased her heart to know that he had called her Momo right now, and that was worth everything.

And it also helped to know that if Hinamori ever impulsively reached forward to hug him and rest her head on his shoulder – like right now – then he'd do the same to her, and hug her back.

--

End

--