Um, this is more of a prologue since nothing actually happens yet. By the way, note that I do not live in an English speaking country and I may or may not have trouble with grammar and/or spelling. But I'm doing my best.

Disclamer: I do not own BLEACH. I wouldn't have the time to work with yet another manga; and I'm not THAT good at writing stories.

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ONE - Confronting

Several low-ranked shinigamis quickly got out of his way that day with expressions of angst and curiosity as the 10th division captain, Hitsugaya Toushirou, hurried through the hallways, heading for his office. As he reached it, he slammed the door open and glared into the room, with aqua-coloured eyes filled with frustration. As he had suspected, his vice captain Matsumoto Rangiku were slacking off on the couch.

"Matsumoto!!"

Surprised and caught off guard by the young captain's sudden yelling, the big-breasted vice captain nearly fell off the couch.

"... Well if it isn't taichou!" she smiled heartily.

Hitsugaya frowned. No worries in the whole world, as usual.

"You have work. You were out drinking with Abarai and Kira last night, again, weren't you?"

Matsumoto sat up in the couch, still smiling towards her angry, white-haired captain. She ignored the fact that he was scolding her for the fifth time in two days because she had been out drinking. But of course she had to tease him a little.

"Whatever gave you that idea, taichou?"

Matsumoto found it overly amusing when Hitsugaya's left eyebrow twitched. The captain pointed towards the door and replied in a cold tone.

"Kira was found unconscious on the hallway with no..." He stopped in the middle of the sentence, trying to find a decent way to phrase it. "... Unproperly dressed."

Matsumoto giggled at the thought.

"Oh, poor Kira-kun, he had too much."

Hitsugaya walked up in front of the woman and gave her a cold glare.

"This is not a laughing matter, Matsumoto! It has to be tough on Kira too, with Ichimaru gone. He has work too, and it'll only get delayed if you keep... getting him drunk."

Matsumoto waited for her captain to cool off a little before giving him a warm smile and replying:

"What's wrong with having some fun with your friends once in a while? Taichou, you should relax more often. Too much work isn't good for you."

Outrageous.

"It would help out if you did some of it", Hitsugaya countered.

Matsumoto laughed. "Touché!" She patted on the empty spot beside here, but Hitsugaya declined. He prefered standing up.

"Go to your private quarters, taichou. Get some rest. ... Or, you could go for a walk with Hinamori-chan!"

"She's got work too! And... I bet she's a wreck after Aizen's betrayal."

Hitsugaya almost spit the name of the former 5th division captain out. There were a lot of contempt in his voice. But Matsumoto pretended as if he hadn't mentioned Aizen at all.

"Then you should go help her, taichou. I'm sure she'll appreciate it. I'll finish everything here, so don't worry!"

At least being with Hinamori beats spending time with this... devourer of sake. But I hope for her sake she really will do paperwork today.

Hitsugaya let out an exhausted sigh and decided to go with Matsumoto's suggestion.

That woman's going to get me killed someday.

The small captain was in deep thoughts while heading over to the 5th division. He hadn't seen his childhood friend, Hinamori Momo, very much lately. Having found out that the one person you've been admiring and loving for so long is a cold-hearted villain isn't something you get over in a week.

Hitsugaya tightly clenched his fists. He hated Aizen. He hated him for deceiving, betraying and hurting Hinamori. And he hated himself for not being able to protect her.

He suddenly stopped. In front of him was the entrance to the office. Was she in there? He lifted his hand to knock on the door, but hesitated in his movement. Did she want to meet him? ... Did she want to meet anyone? Hitsugaya shook his head. He had to act normal. For her sake.

When he regained control of his fingers again, he barely touched the door...
... before it opened, with a slight, shuffling sound.

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