The Muggle with White Hair
NOTE: I am no way copying any other BLEACHHP fics out there. Have fun reading, eating, flaming, criticizing!
Chapter 23 Determination
"Had a good night's sleep?"
Hitsugaya pried his forehead off the wooden counter to stare blearily at Tom's all too shiny grinning face. He responded with a groan, clutching his eyes as if the force of Tom's smile had seared his retinas. And hell, it sure felt like it.
He could vaguely hear Tom chuckling to himself before turning his attentions to the other customers in the pub. If Hitsugaya had gathered enough strength to answer Tom's question then he would have vehemently replied "No."
He had spent the whole of last night rolling in his sleep, trying desperately to figure out why Aizen would want an army of wizards. The only conclusions he could come up with was either Aizen wanted an extra force to surprise Soul Society or he was just plain crazy. It wasn't like anyone back home had figured Aizen out, how could he expect himself to crack the inner workings of the former fifth division captain?
Calling yourself stupid isn't going to help you.
Hitsugaya winced as the reprimand echoed in his mind, rattling his skull. He was bone tired and Hyouinmaru's snide remarks wasn't helping his headache.
"Looks like you need a pick-me-up." Tom suggested as Hitsugaya dropped his head in his arms. "You should go to Fortescue's...get some ice-cream."
Hitsugaya was about to twitch and glare dangerously at the oblivious bartender, but his fatigue prevented his limbs from doing so. Maybe he did need ice cream. Or better yet, watermelon.
"Is that you Heksu?"
Lingering thoughts on watermelon disrupted by the sound of a overly perky voice, Hitsugaya turned slowly on his stool to see a woman with bright-pink hair drop into the seat next to him.
The shockingly pink color made Hitsugaya again close his eyes from the sheer brightness of it before forcing them open again. There was something distinctly familiar about the young woman next to him. He automatically remembered the pink hair, but the tiny nose and sharp cheekbones added an element of confusion.
"Nymphadora Tonks?" Hitsugaya mentally thanked his photographic memory for kicking in when Tonks smiled back at him, pleased that he had remembered her name.
"Just Tonks." She said, waving a greeting to Tom. "What are you doing out of Hogwarts, Heksu?" Tonks asked in a conversational tone.
Hitsugaya wondered if she was going to drag him back to school and carefully prepared his answer. "Dumbledore gave me permission to take a trip to Diagon Alley for a project back in Hogwarts." He said, meeting Tonk's inquisitive stare with his own calm one.
"Ergh, you've reminded me how much I hated homework back in Hogwarts." Tonks replied cheerfully, immediately accepting Hitsugaya's answer. "It's a great school, but I just don't like spending all my time writing essays. Speaking of essays, what exactly do you need to know for your project? Maybe I could help you?"
Tonks looked rather hopeful at this suggestion making Hitsugaya think twice before rejecting her. She wasn't trying to be an annoyance, more like a helpful annoyance. Weeks ago, Hitsugaya would have shot her down immediately, convinced that receiving help would just hinder his own progress. Maybe hanging out with the brats really had softened him up. He didn't know whether to be happy about it or just plain freaked out. He settled for freaked out.
"I need to do an analysis on the wizarding world in England compared to the one in Sou-Japan." Hitsugaya said, trying to make his assignment sound as boring as possible. "I just need to walk around Diagon Alley a bit, or maybe look at some landmarks."
Contrary to being bored, as Hitsugaya had expected, Tonks looked even more perky than ever. If that was even possible.
"Blimey, Heksu. I've always wanted to know more about Japan! It must've been fate we met here." Hitsugaya tried not to look horrified. "I'll help give you a tour!"
Tonks grabbed his arm and began pulling him off his stool and out of the pub. Tom must have seen the expression on Hitsugaya's face because he laughed heartily after them.
"Make sure to take him to Fortescue's!" He called. "I reckon that Florean can use a bit of business!"
"Will do!" Tonks replied cheerfully, still dragging Hitsugaya into the courtyard.
I presume that we're not returning to Hogwarts then?
Hitsugaya watched as an enormous purple toad hopped slowly towards him. He was hypnotized by it's dark violet skin and it's yellow bulbous eyes. There were never toads (or frogs for the matter) this big back in Soul Society. In fact, the last time Hitsugaya had seen a toad was when Yachiru had slipped one in Kuchiki-taichou's desk. Hanatarou had been devastated to find out that his pet had been slashed to a million pieces with Senbonzakura.
The toad, as if somehow in knowledge of his comrade's grisly death, croaked a reprimand at Hitsugaya before hopping away.
"Hey, Heksu, look at this!"
Suddenly, the toad's disappearing image was immediately obscured by a huge fluffball. The fluff turned out to belong to a fat white cat who looked furious on having been picked up and waved around in an undignified manner.
Tonks shoved the cat into Hitsugaya's arms, almost causing him to fall over from it's massive girth. "Look, it likes you!"
The cat turned face-to-face with Hitsugaya's wide green eyes and slowly revealed a sharp pair of incisors. "Right..." Hitsugaya replied, deciding that if the cat were to bite him then he would throw it out the window. There was no way he would willfully experience the claws of a cat digging into his legs once again.
"You know, for some reason, this cat reminds me of you. You guys would definitely get along." Tonks said, patting the cat on the head.
Both the cat and Hitsugaya stared disbelievingly back at her.
It looks like a giant, overgrown rat. Hyouinmaru growled silently, feeling rather territorial all of a sudden.
"Maybe." Hitsugaya said slowly, dropping the cat back onto the floor where it sauntered arrogantly away to join its brown, inferior cousins. "I'm not really a cat person."
Tonks blinked and looked around. The Magical Menagerie was crawling with cats of every size, shape, color, and bossy temperament. "I guess we should get going then."
Hitsugaya nodded, mentally thankful, and followed the young witch out of the store. They had spent the whole morning and early afternoon browsing in the many shops of Diagon Alley. First Tonks had dragged him to Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor where she had purchased both of them ice creams. While Hitsugaya mulled over the fact on how juvenile it seemed, Tonks laughingly mentioned that Hitsugaya looked like her little brother. Or at least a elementary kid. Hitsugaya controlled the urge to dump his cone on her shoes.
After having grudgingly finished his ice cream (it was extremely good), Hitsugaya followed Tonks into Flourish and Blotts, amazed by the many different books. Some floated, others talked, and one had tried to bash him in the face. It was due to his gigai's quick reflexes that Hitsugaya ducked. He suspected that Tonks was secretly laughing at him as he fled from his aggressive pursuer around the bookshelves.
To make up for it, Tonks took him to Quality Quidditch Supplies, convinced that since Hitsugaya was a guy he would be a total Quidditch fan. Nothing could be farther from the truth. If he hadn't known any better, Hitsugaya would have been convinced that Quality Quidditch Supplies was a cleaning supplies shop.
Gambol and Japes turned out to be a smidgen more interesting to the tenth squad captain. The fake wands were interesting (Hitsugaya considered sending these to the Espada and imagined Tousen's expression as his wand turned into a rubber chicken), but it was the fireworks that really grabbed his attention. Hitsugaya remembered watching fireworks from his office window during the festivals in Soul Society. He also remembered being forcefully abducted by a drunk Matsumoto who brought him to the Gotei 13 party, much to his chagrin. Otherwise, Hitsugaya deemed that the joke items were childish, but nevertheless he made sure to remember them in case Fred and George slipped a few into his robes.
"Well enough shopping!" Tonks said. "Let's go see Gringotts!"
"Grin-what?" Hitsugaya asked, slightly distracted by the evil eye the white cat in the window was flashing him.
"The wizard bank." At Hitsugaya's surprised expression, Tonks laughed. "It has the best security after Hogwarts of course. It's the most reinforced bank here in the wizarding world. Manned by goblins."
Hitsugaya looked nonplussed. He was pretty sure that he had heard the term goblins somewhere before but...
"You'll see." She replied in a secretive manner.
They walked down the relatively empty alleyway, Tonks in front whistling an unfamiliar tune with Hitsugaya behind her looking around at the other establishments. He bumped into Tonks as she jerked to a stop. Rubbing his nose, Hitsugaya blinked as Tonks peered at her reflection in the window of Ollivanders. He was confused, he wouldn't have pegged Tonks as the vain type at all, so why was she staring so intently at herself in the shop window? Maybe, she was looking at something.
He glanced inside the shop only to see Ollivander's large luminous eyes in the darkness. Hitsugaya almost jumped. Whoa.
"I wonder if blue will look better on me."
Hitsugaya waited, having long since learned that interrupting women during their primping almost always ended up with him being hurt one way or the other (Matsumoto could attest to this). He watched as Tonks looked thoughtfully at herself while knitting her brow.
The bright pink slowly darkened to an ocean blue, the strands of her hair lengthening until it brushed her shoulders.
Tonks rearranged a few hair strands that were scattered across her forehead and once again looked critically at herself in the shop window. She flipped her hair over her shoulder and laughed, shaking Hitsugaya out of his wide-eyed stupor.
"I've always wanted to do that." She said, punctuating it with another exaggerated hair flip.
"How...did you do that?" Hitsugaya asked, managing to calm himself down. He had seen a lot of shocking things in his lifetime, seeing someone change their entire facial structure wasn't enough to induce jaw-dropping. Instead, he stared at her suspiciously. "Is it an illusion?" Hitsugaya didn't do well with illusions. They reminded him of a person he utterly despised.
Tonks was unfazed. Her hair growing a couple of more inches, she explained that she was a Metamorphmagus. Apparently, metamorphagi could change their appearance at will and were extremely rare even in the wizarding community. And no, she wasn't casting an illusion. There were plenty of spells to accomplish that, but none could physically alter appearance like metamorphagi could.
Hitsugaya was impressed despite himself. "Do you just change your appearance for fun or do you use it for other things?"
"It helped me pass my Auror test. An auror is a dark wizard catcher." She exclaimed proudly, noticing the fact that Hitsugaya was for once initiating a conversation. "Concealment and Disguise. Didn't do so well in Stealth, but my metamorphagus skills managed to help me scrape by." Her nose becane longer and slimmer as her cheekbones grew more pronounced.
"How come you're changing your appearance now?" It was a simple question that Tonks responded to with a blush of embarrassment.
"Gringotts doesn't exactly throw me a party when I come through the doors." She replied in a quick mumble of sorts, tweaking her nose. "I think it's because I once tripped over one of their large golden scales and knocked down all their rubies, thereby tripping up all the goblin accountants which eventually led to one accidentally shoving the bank manager into a falling mine cart. They couldn't find him for six weeks." Tonks paused at Hitsugaya's incredulous glance. "I'm clumsy." She quickly said.
"Which is why I'm going to disguise myself for the time being."
Hitsugaya shrugged, it was no skin off his nose. Speaking of noses, he glanced back to Tonks who was changing the color of her pupils with an alarming swiftness that made him feel a little nauseous.
"There it is. Good ole Gringotts."
When he first heard the name Gringotts, Hitsugaya imagined some sort of a grimy wooden building complete with snarling guards and spiderwebs. The large white marbled building seemed to be mocking his ignorance. He walked up the carved stone steps with Tonks and stared at what he thought was a shriveled old man who watched them carefully. The guard did look a little bit on the elderly side, but that specific detail was overlooked on account of his long pointed nose, thin squinted eyes, and large ears.
Tonks quickly ushered Hitsugaya through the large bronze doors in an attempt to escape the looks that the suspicious guard were throwing at them, relaxing once they entered the marble foyer.
The marble ran its course all the way to another set of doors, this time silver with a written passage of sorts engraved on its flanks. Two similar looking guards were standing at attention to either side, giving no more than a glance at Hitsugaya as he followed Tonks past them.
The silver doors opened up to a magnificent hall, its size reminding Hitsugaya of Seireitei as he looked around. There were goblins everywhere, outnumbering the tiny amount of humans that were standing in front of the many counters. They all looked the same almost, pointed nose, squinty eyes, the works.
Tonks guided him throughout the hall, pointing out the large golden scales that she had once overturned and the mine cart that stood unobtrusively near a rather tiny entrance way. She greeted a few goblins who in turn looked rather annoyed on having been interrupted with their calculations, Hitsugaya wondered at her energy for someone who would probably be jumped as soon as her identity was revealed.
"It's too bad we can't take the cart for a spin." Tonks said, a little wistfully.
Hitsugaya shook his head and turned to walk back down the hall. He was tired of walking around and around Diagon Alley without any real purpose or reason to. True, it was for his supposed 'project', but then again that had been a made up excuse.
What he really should be doing was trying to figure out Aizen's motives for allying himself with the dark wizards. Aizen wasn't the type to become buddy-buddy with anyone without having some underlying manipulation. The bastard.
"Can I ask you a question?"
Tonks abruptly stopped singing and glanced back at Hitsugaya. "What is it Heksu? Is it about Gringotts? I'm afraid that I don't know much about the place, never really liked going there with all the goblins around, they sort of freak me out. Not only do they stare but-"
Hitsugaya cut in quickly before Tonks could unleash her tangent. "Can you tell me more about Voldemort?"
The smile on Tonks face faded so suddenly that Hitsugaya wondered if asking had been the best course of action to take.
"What do you need to know about him?" She asked slowly, not suspiciously, but rather curiously all the same.
"For the project." Hitsugaya said. "Japan has had its share of...malignant wizards also." Which is true.
Tonks relaxed for a tiny fraction, but her overall posture was still tense. "I'm guessing that you already know that You-Know-Who is an evil idiotic prat, eh? Well, I can't really say much, but I can suggest you to go to the library at Hogwarts. They have a lot of information on him."
Well that was helpful. Why can't someone just give me an answer where I don't have to go back to Hogwarts?
"Thanks," the captain of the tenth squad replied. "I just have this one question though. Did Voldemort try and raise his own...army when he was still around?"
"Raise his own army? He practically already had one when he was in power. There were a lot of wizards and witches that were interested in what he was offering. True, he did resort to bullying and intimidation, but most of his followers were absolutely crazy." She frowned. "Not to mention all the creatures that joined."
Creatures...so all in all, Voldemort had an impressive amount of soldiers. Still doesn't tell me anything.
Tonks went back to whistling, changing her hair at least three times before depositing Hitsugaya at the front of the Leaky Cauldron. She gave him a hearty goodbye, promising to come visit him at Hogwarts (much to Hitsugaya's dismay) and apparated away.
Hitsugaya entered the pub, nodding at Tom's "How was it?", and eventually reached his room.
He was tempted to sleep, but managed to wrest himself away from the bed by glancing at his cellphone. There was service, but Hitsugaya didn't feel like calling up any one of his acquaintances back in Soul Society.
I should make a report to Yamamoto-sou-taichou. It's been weeks since I last contacted a shinigami with any relevant information at all to my mission.
It took him a while to set up communications. All captains had some form of the technology on their person, whether it be butterfly or television. Conveniently, Hitsugaya possessed the television screen.
He swallowed a soul candy, freeing his soul from the constricting boundaries of his gigai and immediately dug into his shinigami robes for the object he was looking for. He pulled out something akin to a thick oozing slug, glancing down at it indifferently before jamming it straight next to the mirror.
The mirror squealed indignantly. "Don't let that thing touch my face!"
Hitsugaya ignored the mirror and released the slug. The 'thing' suckered itself to the wall and began to heave rapidly, the mouth on its tiny face opening and closing in order to squeeze in air.
It then regurgitated all over the wall, spreading vomit all over the pale white wallpaper. The mirror began to complain in quick high pitched tones of disgust as the vomit hardened into a clear black substance, creating the communications screen.
Hitsugaya silenced the mirror with a spell he had learned from one of his many books and turned his attentions back to the regurgitating slug. It finished vomiting up the hard black material eventually forming one solid layer across the wall.
The screen began to crackle, fizzing in an effort to contact with the realm beyond. Then-
A tall man clad in the robes of a shinigami captain peered at him from the screen. He looked startlingly similar to Hitsugaya himself, what with his white hair several lengths longer, but with a rather gentle expression on his face.
"Ukitake-taichou. I need to speak to Yamamoto-sou-taichou."
Ukitake smiled in acknowledgement as the captain commander of Soul Society stepped into view. Yamamoto was still as stern and as elderly as ever with his long white pointed beard and large staff.
"Greetings, Hitsugaya-taichou. You haven't been sending in your regular reports ever since you got to that wizarding school."
Typical of Yamamoto-sou-taichou not to beat around the bush.
"I apologize. It seems that electrical devices don't work in Hogwarts. The magic barriers around the school interfere with all signals."
Yamamoto humphed and cast a critical eye on Hitsugaya when Ukitake cut in with a grin.
"I heard that you've made some friends over there, Hitsugaya-taichou." He said, friendly as ever. He looked rather proud of him, like a father with his son's first interactions at the playground.
Hitsugaya maintained a blank expression in order to counter Yamamoto's raised eyes. As soon as he went back, he would sentence Matsumoto to paperwork duty for ten years. That should teach her not to spread ridiculous rumors around Soul Society. Did it look like he was enjoying himself when she came to visit?
"Your report Hitsugaya-taichou."
Errr..right. "There have been two arrancar confrontations on the outskirts of Hogwarts, outside the castle, but still on the land. All three have been eliminated, but the object of their mission has yet to be fully determined." He paused, hoping that Yamamoto wouldn't immediately embark on one of his many...many lectures. "However, I believe that they were sent to Hogwarts from Hueco Mundo to kidnap a certain student at the school."
"Kidnapping? It doesn't sound like Aizen..." Ukitake trailed off with a frown. Nobody knew exactly who Aizen was, kidnapping might be the way he got his kicks, who knew?
"Neither does seeking alliances." Hitsugaya replied and quickly revealed the meeting between the Death Eaters and the arrancar under Aizen's banner. Ukitake looked disturbed at the fact that Aizen wanted to ally himself with a dangerous murderer while Yamamoto assumed his stoic manner.
"Have you discovered his motive?" Yamamoto finally asked, eyes boring down at the tenth squad captain. Hitsugaya tried hard not to look frustrated or annoyed.
"Unfortunately, I still don't know exactly what Aizen's trying to do." He admitted grudgily as Ukitake made a small noise of surprise.
Yamamoto-sou-taichou unfortunately did not look impressed. "At least we know that Aizen is attempting contact with the wizards. While he's distracted with them, the Gotei 13 should work on increasing their powers. We need to prepare for the upcoming war." He tapped his staff on the floor and glared straight at Hitsugaya. "I think it's time you come back to Soul Society, Hitsugaya-taichou."
"What?" Hitsugaya exclaimed, caught off guard by Yamamoto's demand. Going back already? "But sir, Aizen's motive is still undetermined..."
"Your mission is not an urgent priority anymore. You haven't met any members of the Espada here, correct?"
Hitsugaya nodded slowly, still surprised at Yamamoto's order.
"It's important that you come back to Soul Society. We need to be at our full strength." At this Ukitake nodded in agreement and both officers looked back at Hitsugaya through the screen.
"But sir, it's important to know what exactly Aizen wants with Voldemort. He might want to use the wizards against us in the war."
"Something that we will surely be prepared for. I doubt that even wizards with their magic can stand up to the full power of the Gotei 13." Yamamoto remarked. "Regardless, seeing as you have been unable to figure out what Aizen is exactly up to, it's time you come back. This is an order, Hitsugaya-taichou."
Hitsugaya internally winced, but stood his ground all the same. "Sir, I think that there's more to the surface here than Aizen trying to buddy himself with the wizards. After all, he's trying to involve the mortal realm and isn't it one of our duties to defend the realm from the hollows in Hueco Mundo?"
"It's true." said Ukitake thoughtfully. "It might be safer for the...wizards if Hitsugaya stays there for the time being."
Eyes flashing, Yamamoto leveled a cold glance in his direction and slowly turned towards Hitsugaya. He regarded him silently, brow knit with mental exertion.
"A week. That's all I'm going to give you Hitsugaya-taichou. Spend that time wisely and figure out what Aizen's up to. It should be something that the boy genius of Soul Society could achieve easily, am I wrong?"
Hitsugaya saluted him in response. He was long used to Yamamoto frequently referring to his incredibly quick ascent through the ranks of the Gotei 13. It was how the captain commander acknowledged him in a way, almost as if because Hitsugaya was a genius then he should have double the responsibility of any other captain in the squads.
Yamamoto nodded in approval as Ukitake waved cheerfully at Hitsugaya. Hitsugaya inclined his head in response and the screen immediately darkened.
The silence was sudden, casting Hitsugaya into a thoughtful mood. He exhaled the breath he was holding and turned to his waiting gigai.
"Looks like you have a big responsibility-pyon." The gigai remarked, glancing at him from beneath a shock of white hair. Hitsugaya threw him a look, ignoring the plain weirdness of speaking to yourself, and instead motioned the gigai to come forward.
As he entered his mortal shell he placed the soul candy carefully back into its container. A week to find out what Aizen's up to. I hardly have any time. Running a hand through his snow white hair in one smooth exasperated motion, he collapsed onto the bed and forced his eyes to stay open.
Looks like I'll be spending another sleepless night tonight. Gosh, how much do I hate Aizen again?
Hitsugaya turned his head towards the quickly evaporating screen on the wall, trying to fend off his thoughts for the time being in order to clear his mind. He was still as obsessed with Aizen as he was in the very beginning and wasn't any step closer to figuring him out. Sometimes late at night in his office, he would give up and ponder exactly why he was so bent on beating the crap out of the traitor.
Then he would remember Hinamori's prone body. The pool of blood. Hitsugaya squeezed his eyes shut as he felt another violent wave of anger swarm around him. He had never felt as much loathing towards an individual since Aizen, Ichimaru coming a close second. Hell, might as well put that fury to good use. Hitsugaya hadn't been named a prodigy for nothing.
"Rumors have it that you're the embodiment of a heavenly guardian that's reincarnated every few centuries."
Well, whatever the rumors say, I know one thing for sure. I'm going to show Yamamoto the reason why I'm called child genius.
Well, aren't you getting carried away with yourself?
First things first, what are you going to do?
"I'm going back to Hogwarts." Hitsugaya said determinedly, this time with none of the dreading he had the night before. "And I'm going to need all the help I can get. Starting with the headmaster."
Are you saying what I think you're saying? You're actually agreeing to bend your pride to ask for help?
Not exactly. But to an extent, yes. I figure it's time to stop looking down my nose at everyone. I know absolutely nothing about Voldemort, what's more convenient than asking the people who've had the most experience with him?
Hm. And exactly who are you going to ask for help?
Starting with Dumbledore.
Now Hitsugaya is definitely going back. This time, he's back with a slightly different attitude. There'll be less sarcasm and more maturity from now on, (hope that satisfies the fans of Hitsugaya's awesomeness). This didn't take as long as the last chapter, thank goodness. It's probably because I know exactly what I'm going to do with this story. Hurrahs. I'm going to concentrate more on Hitsugaya's relationship with the Trio as well as more of Aizen's EVIL PLOT TO TAKE OVER THE WORLD (muahahahha). And maybe Voldemort. eh. no one cares about him. Speaking of Voldemort, who else loved young Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Half blood Prince? Okay, that was off-topic. Hope you enjoyed the newest chapter. FireyFlames.