I would again thy former light restore

Hitsugaya Toushirou has never loved her that way. He's aware of the suggestions and the whispering, but he has always had enough sense to keep his mouth shut and avoid denying it. He's seen how denial feeds the beast of public opinion and makes the belief stronger.

It's just that she's always been there. Hinamori-san, Momo-chan, all of it. She was warm and she laughed at him and she ruffled his hair and cared about him and criticised him and sat next to him on the step and she was there.

And now she's gone.

The person who he's seen wandering around Fourth Division, clutching her robe to her with delicate hands, isn't his Momo. It's someone else. His Momo would never be so utterly drained, so fragile, so broken. This person, this Hinamori-fukutaichou . . . is someone who he doesn't know and he's not sure that he wants to know. This person wouldn't even try to kill him if she thought he'd killed her Captain. She'd only weep.

He's young, and he will occasionally admit to that, and he'd never seen a person broken in that way before or had any understanding of why it hurt so much. He'd heard stories of lost loves and betrayals, and while he might have nodded sympathetically, it was always with an inward snort and the thought that whoever it was should have showed a little common sense. Pulled themselves together. Realised the situation and got on with their lives.

He'd never seen it happen to someone he cared about before, and never understood quite so precisely how it was done and where the knife went in and how it was twisted.

He doesn't say I will do anything to save you. He doesn't tell her that he'll kill Aizen for her. But when she asks him to save Aizen . . .

. . . he doesn't know if he would have lied to her, or worse, if he would have told her the truth when he said yes or no, and he is grateful to Yamamoto for sparing him that decision.

He knows he wouldn't betray himself to bring back the light to her eyes. But then, Hinamori once knew that she'd never attack her Shirou-kun, didn't she?

Once upon a time, the two of them and Aizen Sousuke watched the fireworks together, and the night sky was bright and full of possibilities.

Now the night sky is dark and winter is coming.