A/N: Hello readers! Having just finished (and beginning to re-read) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, my mind has been in creative overdrive. Since I promised that I would write a Hitsu/Matsu follow up to Tossed Aside, I began typing earlier this afternoon and voila! This chapter ensued. As of right now, I believe this story will be three parts long, this being the first. Just a reminder, I am only partway through the Arrancar arc, so I am only go off of what other stories seemed to have indicated about Hinamori and Hitsugaya, if I am in error, please inform me and I will change it. It really doesn't have any true bearing on the story anyway but I dislike inaccuracy.

Paying Up
Chapter One: The Loophole

Hitsugaya Toshirō slung one arm over his raised knee, dangling his other leg freely over the edge of the roof of the Tenth Division Office building. His expression was troubled, his turquoise eyes staring almost unblinkingly into the hoary glow of the moon.

He didn't know why, but it was always on nights like this that he grew pensive. When the world was calm, all the pain and suffering any soul who had wielded a zanpakutō for over a century felt could well up without anything to hinder the tide.

People often mistook Hitsugaya for a child, but he was far from one. He had seen more in his relatively short time as a captain of the Gotei Thirteen than most humans saw in a lifetime. His best friend from his childhood, his first love, had even tried to murder him. He still remembered the look in her eye, that remorseless, wild look which told him she would rather murder him than live without her beloved Aizen Taichō.

Hitsugaya shook his snow white head, breaking his train of agonizing thought as he sensed a familiar reiatsu approaching.

It was her.

Surprisingly, his fukutaichō was silent as she padded her way across the rooftop, making more noise than she usually did. He supposed she was attempting to alert him to her presence in case he had not noticed her.

She knelt down beside him, placing a tray containing two steaming cups of tea and a bright porcelain teapot next to her. Hitsugaya could not help but smirk at this act; it seemed far too domestic for his stunning fukutaichō.

"Taichō?" Matsumoto asked softly, her tone laced with curiosity.

"What are you doing here Matsumoto?" Hitsugaya sighed eventually, still keeping his eyes trained over the mostly quiet Seireitei. Two divisions over, all the lights were on and loud, lively music was drifting towards them borne on the musky breeze.

"I felt your reiatsu as I was heading towards my quarters and it made me wonder what you were doing up here all by yourself on a night like tonight," she replied, airily. He wondered if she wasn't being exactly honest.

"And what exactly is the night like?" Hitsugaya demanded callously, just to hide the fact that he was slightly unnerved his fukutaichō appeared to know him so well. Did he have a large sign on his forehead that screamed he felt rather alone?

"Calm," she supplied, reaching over and lifting a teacup, blowing on it slightly. "Sultry," she continued, handing him the teacup. Hitsugaya jumped when her ample breast grazed his arm with the motion, one he was sure had been deliberate. "It's romantic. The type of night that lovers seek each other out or your sense of loneliness heightens. It's the type of night some of those lonely people set out to find a willing partner to ease their solitude for a while."

Hitsugaya turned to face her for the first time, their eyes meeting. There was a ringing truth behind her words. Was Matsumoto lonely? Doubtless her bed had played host to numerous men, all of them more than willing. He had thought for the longest time that she partook in this behavior because she enjoyed it. And while he knew that had to be part of the reason, he could not help but wonder if this was the other, larger part of it.

"Were you lonely, Matsumoto?" Hitsugaya asked. The words seemed to slip out of his mouth without ever entering his brain.

What did this woman have that made him come…undone? It had been happening more and more lately― sudden slips of the tongue, an ease in his reluctant acceptance of her infamous hugs, the way he looked forward to her coming into the office everyday, and then finally, the bet.

"Where have you been Matsumoto?" Hitsugaya demanded of his strawberry-blonde fukutaichō.

"I went to the Fourth Division to visit Nanao," she replied, flipping her hair over her shoulder and crossing the room. "What kind of friend would I be, if I did not even show up to say hello?

He snorted. "Couldn't you have gone to visit after you finished all your paperwork?"

Matsumoto laughed lightly as if he had said something incredibly stupid. "Friends come before work, Taichō. If I was lying injured in the Fourth Division, wouldn't you at least come see me before starting your boring paperwork?"

He opened his mouth to reply but couldn't think of anything to say. The truth was that if Matsumoto was ever injured, he wouldn't leave her bedside, let alone do paperwork.

"Oh Taichō," Matsumoto squealed at his disgruntled silence, running over and burying his head in her enormous cleavage. "You really would come see me before paperwork! I have the best Taichō in the entire Gotei Thirteen!" He blushed profusely, both at her praise and the rather scintillating position he found himself in.

"Get off me, Matsumoto," he growled, jerking his head out of her grasp.

"Oh fine," she said, ruffling his hair. "One of these days you're going to enjoy my hugs."

He had a hard time admitting to himself that that day had come a long time ago and the only reason he protested her hugs so much was to prevent her from seeing exactly how his body reacted to her nearness.

"You were at the infirmary for that long?" Hitsugaya asked after a moment, when his slightly fogged brain had had time to process her response.

"Well, someone had to carry Nanao's book to the Eighth Division as Kyōraku-san was carrying Nanao."

"He was what?" he asked incredulously, hardly believing for one second that the strict fukutaichō of the Eighth would ever consent to being carried through the streets of Seireitei willingly. "And she allowed him?"

"Oh, she wasn't too happy about it," Matsumoto giggled. "Well, actually, she was incredibly happy about it, she just wouldn't admit it. Oh Taichō," she sighed, sitting on the edge of Hitsugaya's desk, "they are just so adorable. I wonder how long it will take them to get together."

Hitsugaya looked up at his starry-eyed fukutaichō and his heart gave a small lurch. No woman had a right to look like that without even trying.

"Ise Fukutaichō will never give in to that lazy excuse for a leader's advances."

"Kyōraku-san is a very nice man, Taichō," Matsumoto said with a slight pout, and Hitsugaya rolled his eyes in disbelief. "Perhaps you're only jealous that Kyōraku-san has a way with the ladies."

He blanched visibly, spluttering. "I am not jealous! I just can't understand why any woman would find a useless lay-about who wears pink attractive."

Matsumoto leaned down so that she was lying propped up on her elbow.

"Well, I guess that's good that you don't find Kyōraku-san attractive," she grinned, stroking one slender finger down his neck. "However, who you're attracted to is all a matter of personal taste. You see, some of my friends can't understand why I prefer short, angry, white-haired taichōs to tall, dark and handsome, albeit, pink-clad ones."

Hitsugaya flooded with color. "Matsumoto, y-y-you can't say things like that!"

"Why not?" she asked brightly, blinking innocently at him.

"Because…just because," he snapped lamely.

She laughed, throwing her head back and exposing the elegant column of her throat for view. He was wondering if she was trying to drive him insane. She gazed at him for a long moment, a frown creasing her brow. "Are you saying that I'm unappealing?"

"No," he said swiftly, too swiftly. "It's just…never mind. We are dropping this subject now. I don't even know how it got started."

"You were saying that Nanao would never give in to Kyōraku-san and I begged to differ."

He arched an eyebrow at her widening smirk.

"It's so cute that you're in way over your head here," she commented. Hitsugaya could feel his temple throbbing painfully, the usual symptom that stemmed from having too much Matsumoto, too quickly.

"You're so sure of yourself aren't you?" he asked sourly. "Are you willing to put paperwork where your mouth is, Matsumoto?"

She leaned forward, grabbing the sea-green sash that usually held his zanpakutō and pulled him towards her. "Only if you're willing to put your mouth on mine."

Hitsugaya blinked, momentarily stunned. Then, his floundering brain registered the gleam of challenge in her eyes. And Hitsugaya Toshirō, youngest captain in the history of the Seireiei did not back down from a challenge.

"Deal," he said shortly, reveling in the surprise that flashed across her perfect features. "Now, get off my desk, you have work to do."

He was broken out of his memory as Matsumoto bumped him slightly but not hard enough to spill the tea he was currently holding suspended in front of his lips.

"Not anymore," she said, replying to his earlier question. Her voice was as warm as the tea that was blazing a trail down his throat. But he knew her mere presence could warm him more than any beverage ever could. He turned his head slightly to look at her once more, treating her to one of his rare slight smiles.

He could not help but notice that she had changed out of her uniform, the dark purple fabric of her yukata shimmering silver when she moved, highlighting her hair like a golden sunset framed in a violet sky. They drank in silence for a few moments.

"What were you thinking about Taichō?" Matsumoto finally asked.

"Nothing," he replied tersely.

"It sure looked like it was something. You even had that cute little crease between your eyebrows that means you're concentrating extra hard. Well, you usually have a crease between your eyes, but this was the crease with an extra little dent. That means you were thinking about something personal."

He blinked up at her, amazed that she had examined his features so well. He should have known better, really. Matsumoto, for all her reputation, was intelligent and incredibly observant.

"Were you thinking about us Taichō?" she asked, leaning her head on his shoulder. Her magnificent hair smelt faintly like ripe watermelon.

Struggling to maintain a hold on himself, he ground out, "There is no us beyond Taichō and Fukutaichō, Matsumoto." She lifted her head off of his shoulder abruptly.

"That's not true is it?" she asked quickly, leaning across him to retrieve his teacup and place it once more on the tray. "I thought we were at least friends, Taichō."

Hitsugaya grimaced at the strain in her voice. He hadn't meant to hurt her feelings.

"Of course, Matsumoto. I just meant there isn't any us in the… other sense." He blushed crimson, unable to bring himself to say the word.

"You mean romantically?" Matsumoto cooed softly, the smile evident in her voice. "We can always work on that," she stated, shifting herself so she could lay her head in his lap, and look up at his face. He resisted the urge to push her off, as she would probably fall off of the roof. "And, you can start by paying up."

Startled, he glanced down at her. Her silver-gray eyes were dark, a seductive smirk playing at the corners of her mouth.

"What did you just say?" he asked.

"I said you can start by paying up." She tugged on the front of his uniform, dragging him down so that his face was only inches above hers. "I won the bet, Taichō."

Hitsugaya felt as if his insides had dropped out from underneath him. Still slightly convinced that he hadn't heard her correctly, his brow furrowed, delighting Matsumoto who noticed the extra dent was incredibly visible.

"What bet?" he asked, hoping she would just call it off, forget he had ever opened his brash mouth.

"Nanao and Kyōraku-san are currently holed up in his quarters above the Eighth Division office doing unspeakable things," she giggled as he opened his mouth to protest that she had no proof. "I have witnesses, numerous ones."

She tugged him even closer, so that he was dimly aware that this position was not incredibly comfortable for his back, but the only thing he could truly register was that his lips were now less than a breath away from her own.

"You owe me a kiss, Taichō," she whispered, her breath smelling slightly of sake and the green tea she had just drunk.

A part of him was screaming in triumph at his loss, while the other part of him wanted to run in terror. This was Matsumoto, the woman he had declared he would never get involved with even as puberty wracked his body with hormonal changes that had made him quite aware that most captains would think themselves extremely luck to have her as a subordinate. Wracking his brains for a loophole, he could only find one.

"Not right now," he choked out.

"What?" she asked, slightly breathless. He wondered if her heart was racing as well.

"I agreed I would kiss you, but I never told you when," he said, reaching up a hand to pry her grip away from his uniform.

"That's not fair, Taichō!" Matsumoto demanded indignantly. "I won fair and square. You have to kiss me!"

"And I will," he growled, slightly irritated at her insistence. What couldn't the woman let anything drop? "Eventually."

"Soon," she demanded, sitting up.

"Soon," he sighed.

They locked gazes. "I don't believe you," she said, leaning closer. For one moment Hitsugaya was sure that she was going to relieve him of his responsibility and kiss him herself, but she turned her head to the side, so that her lips grazed his ear.

"One week, Taichō," she whispered. "One week or I'll tell the entire Eleventh Division that you backed out on a promise, that you aren't a man of honor." She drew back with a satisfied smirk at his scowl and lay her head back down in his lap, her hair fanning around her luxuriously.

"Are you going to stay there all night?" he asked her peevishly a few minutes later.

"Maybe. I am defending my territory after all," she laughed.

"What are you talking about, Matsumoto?"

"Weren't you listening to me earlier?" she asked playfully, reaching up to brush a lock of hair out of his face. "It's the type of night where lonely people seek out willing partners. What if I left you all alone up here and some beautiful woman came and stole you out from under my nose before I'd even gotten my payment kiss?"

Hitsugaya snorted derisively, his scarlet blush framed by his pure white hair. He could not help but think as Matsumoto smiled gently up at him, that she had nothing at all to worry about.

A/N: Please review, or you won't get part two! (I hope you at least kinda want it…)