This is What Happens

Yay, my first Bleach fic. You have no idea how much trouble I had when deciding who to write this fic about; There was Renji, Byakuya, Kisuke, Shuuhei, Kira, Ukitake, and others. But finally, I decided to pick on my little Hitsugaya-taichou! Poor, poor Toshiro...he's doomed.

º º º

It was January 1st, which meant that it was time for the taichou and fukutaichou big yearly meeting. This scheduled meeting was usually set to talk about the end of the previous year's concerns and any future concerns that needed to be addressed for the upcoming year. But so far, those were the only things not being addressed, for it was Hitsugaya Toshiro-taichou that was the main topic of discussion. Even with Hitsugaya physically sitting in on the meeting, his head was clouded with sickness.

Ukitake-taichou had succumbed to a bad case of the flu back in late October, and although he had done his part by isolating himself from the others, his fukutaichous had insisted on being with him and waiting on his every whim. Soon enough they too came down with the flu and did their part to spread it to the 11th Division. The 11th Division, filled with its share of hot-headed shinigami, felt that they were never going to be taken down by some "stupid illness", and eventually spread the virus to the 2nd, 5th, 7th, and 8th Divisions. In a matter of weeks, the influenza virus had spread throughout the Gotei 13, with an exception of the 3rd, 4th, and 10th Divisions. That is, until Matsumoto Rangiku noticed little Hitsugaya-taichou acting peculiarly...

It started on the 30th of December. Matsumoto-fukutaichou had gone to a New Year's party with drinking buddies Kira Izuru and Hisage Shuuhei. After getting completely hammered with the help of Kyouraku Shunsui-taichou, Matsumoto decided to leave the party at 11:30pm and turn in early. When returning to the 10th Division living quarters, she stumbled upon her little taichou curled up and fast asleep on her favorite couch in the office, the taichou's enormous stack of paperwork hardly even touched. Hitsugaya had obviously been too exhausted to even attempt to complete his paperwork, and that, as Matsumoto knew, was very unlike him; She knew that a few sleepless nights weren't enough to stop her taichou.

The next morning, Matsumoto was awoken by an unusual sound. Before she realized what it was, she saw the large white spikes of Hitsugaya's hair over the top of the sofa, which meant that he was still sleeping--another oddity. Matsumoto got up from the taichou's desk where she had slept, walking around the couch to check on him. That's when she realized the strange sound was a product of the coughing fit her taichou was going through.

Panicked, and unsure of what else to do, Matsumoto began to shake Hitsugaya awake. When he finally focused his bleary eyes on his fukutaichou, he sat up sharply, startled by her presence.

"Are you all right, Taichou?" Matsumoto asked.

"Yes, I'm fine," Hitsugaya replied after clearing his throat some. "What happened last night?"

Confused, Matsumoto raised her eyebrows, then, she smirked. "You were snoring by the time I came back from the party." She paused, considering her next choice of words. "You looked so cute!"

Hitsugaya blushed and looked at the floor. "I don't even remember falling asleep," he said seriously.

"Taichou, if I were to be so bold, I would say you look a little pale. Are you sick?"

Hitsugaya ignored her and walked over to his desk, sitting in his chair and picking up his pen. He picked up a paper from the top of the stack and sighed heavily. He stared at the paper a long time without actually seeing what was written on it; He just wasn't up to working right now.

"Matsumoto," Hitsugaya said, suddenly rising from his seat. "I'm going to...meet with another taichou. Stay here and take care of things while I'm gone."

Now, it was well known that Matsumoto-fukutaichou was usually very obedient of her taichou, but she was also known for keeping a close eye on things. So, it shouldn't have surprised anyone to see her quietly following Hitsugaya as he stalked off past the other Divisions. Matsumoto knew something was bothering her taichou, so she figured it was about time to put her investigating skills to the test. She watched as he walked past the 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th, and 5th Divisions before stopping outside of the 4th Division's doors.

She watched as Hitsugaya knocked softly on the doorframe and was then let in by Unohana-taichou. Matsumoto crept over to the door and placed her ear against the soft rice paper, hoping to listen in on the taichous' conversation.

"Well, you are a little pale; She was right about that." It was Unohana-taichou.

Matsumoto listened, hoping to hear her taichou respond, but all she heard from him was the clearing of his throat.

"Before I do my check-up, just let me say this, Hitsugaya-taichou: you really should listen to Matsumoto-san every now and then. I know you are her superior, but if you keep over-working yourself, stuff like this is bound to happen."

Hitsugaya groaned. "Not you too. If I were to stop working, nothing would ever get done."

Outside, Matsumoto began to ponder what kind of "stuff" Unohana-taichou was talking about. Also, it was nice to hear Hitsugaya whine like the child he was. It proved to her that even though he was very mature, there was still some kid left in him.

"If that's the way you feel--"

"It is."

Unohana sighed. "All right then. Take a deep breath. Good, now exhale. Inhale now."

This time when Hitsugaya took in a breath, he choked and began to cough. Matsumoto noticed that these coughs were different than the ones from this morning; They sounded worse and the sound made Matsumoto shudder.

Apparently, Unohana thought the same. "That doesn't sound very good. How long have you had that cough?"

"About week, and it wasn't that bad before. I don't even think Matsomoto noticed."

"That's what the others said too...before they all came down with the flu. Tell me, have you been feeling any muscle aches lately? Or sudden chills?"

"No...not really."

In the hallway, Matsumoto accepted that her taichou was sick. It made sense now, and plus, the majority of the Gotei 13 had been sick or still were. With Hitsugaya always working with little to no rest, it was only reasonable to say he had a weak immune system. Of course he would get sick too.

"You should have come to me sooner," Unohana said inside the clinic. "With your symptoms, it would have been easy for me to give you some medication, but now I think you're coming down with the flu."

"Coming down with? But that means I don't actually have it yet--"

"I'm putting you on strict bedrest. With you being so young, getting the flu could be dangerous. I also don't want you spreading it to anyone else."

"But I can't! If I'm on bedrest, what about all my paperwork?"

"Oh, I'm forbidding you from doing your paperwork. Give it to someone else. I'm sure Matsumoto-san can take care of it...Right Fukutaichou?"

Even though Matsumoto couldn't see through the door, she could feel both their eyes staring through it, right at her. She couldn't just ignore Unohana; She had no choice but to go in.

She slid the door open and made her way over to them. Hitsugaya was sitting on a bed in order to be eye-level with Unohana, while she held a thermometer in her hand, ready to take the little taichou's temperature.

"Matsumoto," Hitsugaya started, obviously surprised to know that he had been followed.

"I'm sorry, Taichou. Can you kill me for being worried about you?"

Hitsugaya said nothing, but turned away.

"And you had good reason to be," Unohana said, looking back to Hitsugaya. "I was just about to take your temperature."

Hitsugaya grabbed the thermometer and shoved it into his mouth. He crossed his arms and legs and looked so much like a pouting child. Normally, Matsumoto would have laughed, but she had an odd feeling that Hitsugaya was angry at her for having followed him when she had been told to stay behind.

Before waiting the whole minute, Unohana took back the thermometer and looked at it a long time, her face unchanging.

Finally, "Anyway, Taichou, remember what I told you about bedrest. I'm going to make-up some medications for you and when I'm done, I'll have someone deliver them to you. You may go."

Hitsugaya hopped off the bed and stalked out of the room without even waiting for his fukutaichou. When Matsumoto started to head off, she was stopped by Unohana who had grabbed her arm.

"Matsumoto-san," she began. "I didn't want to say this in front of him, but his temperature was extremely high for someone his age. We both know he'll never admit it, but he's very sick. Make sure that when you get back, he goes straight to bed. Tell him not to worry about the paperwork; You can even send some to me, and I'll take care of as much as I can."

"Thank you, Taichou."

Matsumoto left the room, but didn't get far before she bumped into Hitsugaya. Apparently, he had waited outside the room for her. Like Unohana said, he did look sick; He looked more exhausted than anything else, but that was just an effect of his being sick. It was true that he would never admit it.

When she smiled down at him, he turned around and starting to walk away. This time, Matsumoto didn't wait before following him.

º º º

As soon as they returned to the 10th Division office, Matsumoto instructed Hitsugaya (as weird as it felt for her) to get some rest. He didn't put up much of a fuss and even admitted to feeling tired. He did have one condition though; He needed to work on some papers.

"Look how high that stack is! I can't just not do it because I'm feeling a little under the weather."

That had been his argument, and once he was set on something there was little Matsumoto could do. So, she had watched as he grabbed a small stack of about 50 papers, and then walked up the stairs to his room.

That had been nine hours ago.

Although Matsumoto knew that Hitsugaya needed his rest he certainly didn't need nine hours of it. It was rare that he slept that long under any other circumstance. That's when she decided to go check on him. At least, she would have had there not been any knocking on the door.

"How's Toshiro?" Hinamori asked, the second Matsumoto opened the door.

"He's asleep," Matsumoto replied. "You probably don't want to wake him..."

Matsumoto let her sentence die as she watched Hinamori climb the stairs to Hitsugaya's room. She thought about following just so she could check on her taichou as she had originally planned, but she figured it was better to let them have their privacy.

º º º

Hinamori clutched the packet of medicine Unohana-taichou had given her as she slowly turned the doorknob. She walked in quietly, expecting to find Hitsugaya lying asleep in bed, but as she opened the door, she couldn't help but giggle. Hitsugaya was asleep and he was in bed, but he wasn't lying in bed. Apparently he had woken up, or gotten very little work done in nine hours; Either way, he was sleeping sitting up with his back against the head-frame, his head slumped over his shoulder. He had his stack of papers laying in his lap. Whatever the case was, he didn't look very comfortable.

Hinamori made her way over, placing a hand on the taichou's shoulder and shaking him gently. After a while, Hitsugaya managed to open his eyes.

"Rise and shine, Toshiro-kun."

"Momo? What are you doing here?" His voice was strained and he still looked half-asleep.

"Unohana-taichou called me deliver your medicine."

Hearing this caused Hitsugaya to understand. His being sick and his visit to the 4th Division had been real and not just a dream. He moved his papers onto his bedside table and sat himself on the edge of his bed.

"She said you had the flu and--"

"Getting the flu. I don't have it yet," Hitsugaya said. "Anyway, aren't you sick? What are you doing out of bed?"

"You're such a worry-wart, Toshiro-kun! Unohana-taicho said that I'm getting better, and I'm not contagious anymore. If you're going to worry about anything, worry about getting some rest so you don't get the flu."

Hitsugaya just rolled his eyes and coughed. "What kind of medicine did she give me?"

Hinamori reached into the white packet and pulled out a bottle. It was relatively small, about the size of a saké bottle, and it was filled with a dark pink liquid.

"Quiets cough, eases headache, and reduces fever," she read off the label. "Oh, and look: it's watermelon flavor!"

She had expected this to excite the little taichou, but he seemed unphased by the information. Instead, he grabbed the bottle from her and downed about a third of it.

"You know, you really should look to see how much you're supposed to take before you start guzzling down drinks like Kyouraku-taichou."

"Right now, I don't really care. You said this thing eases headaches, right? Well, my head's killing me. It feels like it's going to split open," Hitsugaya said, rubbing his right temple.

"I'm sorry," Hinamori said. She felt bad for scolding him before. "What about Yamamoto-taichou's New Year's party? You're still going, aren't you?"

"I don't know, Momo. Not if I'm feeling like I do now."

"Oh..."

Hinamori didn't know why she was so disappointed. It's not like Toshiro went to these kinds of things anyway--he always said he had too much work to do. That, and he wasn't exactly the social-type. She was supposed to go with Izuru anyway.

"So, how is everyone in the 5th Division?" Hitsugaya asked. What he meant was how are you doing?

"We're getting better," Hinamori said, moving to sit on the bed beside him. "Aizen-sama still tires easily, and you've seen how I am. I think most of us will be fine in a few days; We're better off than some of the other divisions. I mean, Renji's not doing too good."

She looked down and cupped her hands in her lap.

"What's wrong with him?"

"When he got sick, he stopped eating. And anything he does eat, he just throws it back up." Her eyes started to well up with tears. "He's lost a lot of weight and Unohana-taichou said that he could be in danger of dying."

Hinamori placed her head in her hands and began crying. Hitsugaya wanted to comfort her, but he couldn't find it in himself. Sure, he had grown up with her and she was like a big sister to him, but he just wasn't good at this kind of thing. He had sympathy for her--she had gone through the academy with Renji.

"I'm sorry," Hinamori said again after a while. "I came here to see how you were doing, and I'm crying over Renji!" She looked up at him and wiped her face with her sleeve.

Hitsugaya meant to give some snide remark, but instead he gave a huge yawn. Suddenly, he had begun to feel tired again, although he wasn't about to go back to sleep. He had wasted too much time doing that already.

"I guess that's my que to leave. Please take care of yourself; I don't know what I'd do if you ended up like Renji." Hinamori got up from the bed and headed towards the door. "Bye, Shiro-chan!"

Hitsugaya sighed heavily, but he felt too weak to argue over his name. When Hinamori had closed the door behind her, Hitsugaya crawled back under his quilt and closed his eyes.

º º º

It was now January 1st, time for the taichou and fukutaichou big yearly meeting. Hitsugaya had skipped Yamamoto-taichou's New Year's party, although he hadn't gotten much rest due to all the lights and sounds of the fireworks. Since the time Hinamori had come to visit him, he too had stopped eating. He did drink a lot of tea and had a cup of noodles every now and then, but unlike Renji, he did manage to keep everything in his stomach. He was beginning to lose some weight though, but he figured it was just due to his lack of training and appetite.

As he walked beside Matsumoto on their way to the meeting, he noticed she was carrying a metal pail with her. He had seen her grab it on their way from the 10th Division, but he had ignored it then. Now, his curiousity was getting the better of him.

"What did you bring that for?"

She smiled down at him and said, "You never know when you might need it."

He watched as she placed it on the floor right outside the doors to the meeting before walking in. Kenpachi and Yachiru looked at her strangely before following her inside.

Inside, Hitsugaya took his seat beside Matsumoto and watched as the rest of the Gotei 13 filed in. When 6th Division's Kuchiki Byakuya-taichou and Abarai Renji-fukutaichou walked in, Hitsugaya couldn't believe his eyes. Renji looked so thin and frail, almost as if the slightest breeze could knock him over. As Renji took his seat, Hitsugaya noticed that the fukutaichou's hands were trembling. Hitsugaya listened as others told him that he was looking better, but he couldn't imagine how Renji could have looked worse; Just looking at him made Hitsugaya shudder.

"Good morning, everyone," Yamamoto started.

Hitsugaya looked up to the head of the table. He was so busy contemplating Renji's condition that he hadn't even noticed when the other captains and vice-captains had arrived.

"I'm glad everyone is looking and feeling better," there was an unmistakable groan from the crowd, "but it's time we get down to business. I gather everyone knows why we're here?"

"Jidanbo's been shirking off on his duties," 3rd Division's Ichimaru Gin stated. "I believe it's time to get a new guard for the West Gate..."

Hitsugaya's mind wandered as he chanced a glance in Renji's direction. Just looking at how sickly he was made Hitsugaya's stomach curl.

"I think we should do something about this illness," Unohana called out. "It's turning into somewhat of an epidemic."

"What's wrong?" Matsumoto whispered to Hitsugaya.

He shook his head. He had already gotten the image of Renji out of his head, but his stomach kept churning. He didn't know what it was, but something was really making him sick. Had he eaten this morning? Maybe these were just really sharp hunger pangs.

"Taichou, you're looking a bit green."

"As I'm sure you've all heard, there is a rumor going around about a number of ryoka threatening to invade the Seireitei," Yamamoto said loudly.

"What's wrong with that? I say we let 'em," Zenpachi said, beside a giggling Yachiru.

There was an outburst from the crowd as they all gave their opinion on what should or shouldn't be done about the situation. Some even argued whether the rumor was just that or whether it was possible that it could be true. Eventually, Yamamoto-taichou had to quiet everyone, and calmly went over any strategies that they had to offer.

The meeting went on for about an hour. At the end, the only thing that had been decided was that this year, all members of the Gotei 13 would be required to get a vaccination. Unohana had argued that the 4th Division was over-worked and didn't have enough man-power to care for all those who had gotten sick as a result of the flu.

Hitsugaya sat tapping his foot impatiently. Throughout the meeting, the twisting in his stomach had gotten gradually more painful. Once or twice, he felt his breakfast begin to rise in his throat, but he reluctantly swallowed it; He wasn't about to be embarrassed by vomitting all over himself.

He knew that at the close of a meeting, Yamamoto would recap everything that had been decided. This usually took another half-hour, ending with more announcements about upcoming meetings, training sessions, or anything else remotely important. This then proceeded with everyone slowly filing out, or staying behind to chat with the other taichous and fukutaichous. Hitsugaya didn't know if he could wait that long.

In the middle of Yamamoto's announcements, Hitsugaya's body began to shake. They were more like convulsions really, and they made him feel extremely light-headed. He was beginning to lean forward onto the table, causing it to shake on that end.

"Are you all right, Shiro-chan?" Ukitake asked, speaking over Yamamoto. He too could feel the table's tremors and noticed that their source came from the youngest and smallest of the captains.

Hearing his name, Hitsugaya sat up as straight as he could, trying to focus his eyes on Ukitake, but he was still shaking and it was hard to keep his eyes from moving too.

"Hitsugaya-taichou," it was Yamamoto, "is there something you wanted to say?"

Although it would have seemed impossible, Hitsugaya calmed his nerves enough to shake his head. He had to concentrate on not letting himself pass out, and when he did this he got a vile taste in his mouth. He wouldn't be able to control it for much longer.

"May I be excused?" he asked, suddenly standing.

Without waiting for a reply, he bowed slightly and bolted out the door. Now he understood and was grateful of Matsumoto for brining that bucket. As soon as he saw it, he knelt beside it and relieved his stomach. Throwing up wasn't the best feeling in the world, but it definitely made him feel better. He hadn't eaten anything that morning, so he wasn't quite sure what was falling into the pail as it hit the bottom with a sickening splat.

"And we'll end on that note," he heard Yamamoto say from inside the meeting.

When Hitsugaya was finished, he stood and began to return for Matsumoto, but just standing left him feeling dizzy. The last thing he heard were footsteps coming toward him, and then he blacked out.

º º º

Eventually, Hitsugaya woke up. At first he was confused to find himself in a place that only vaguely looked familiar to him, but when Unohana walked in and told him he was in some sort of Soul Society hospital, only then did he get it. She told him that he had gotten the flu, as she had predicted, and that he would be staying under her care for a few days.

That was five days ago, and Hitsugaya had finally been allowed to return to the 10th Division. When he got back, Matsumoto told him that Yamamoto had given him the entire rest of the month off. At first, this infuriated the little taichou, but after sitting at his desk and doing nothing for a few hours, he began to appreciate what Yamamoto had done.

"It's a good thing too, because you practically had a seizure at the meeting," Matsumoto told him.

"I did?" He hadn't anticipated it being that bad.

Although he was enjoying his time off, it wasn't in Hitsugaya's nature to be lazy, so occasionally, he would sit at his desk and attempt to do his paperwork. Matsumoto scolded him from time to time, but let him be whenever he would stop to take a break. Today was one of those times that he chose to sit at his desk.

"Well, Unohana-taichou called it an 'agitated fit', but it's more or less the same thing."

Regardless of what it was called, Hitsugaya couldn't stand to even remember the events of that day. He had hoped that everyone else would forget them as well, but it was times like these that Hitsugaya knew he wasn't born under a lucky star.

He had gotten mounds of sweets from Ukitake, flowers and a variety of watermelon flavored medicine from Unohana, an actual watermelon from Hinamori, and countless scoldings from Matsumoto (sometimes, he thought she was taking her role as caretaker a little too seriously). This was all on top of all the Get Well cards he had gotten from every other captain and vice-captain. He began to wonder if he would have gotten all this attention had he not been the youngest captain and if he hadn't have almost "died" at the yearly meeting.

"You see, this is what happens when you over-work yourself and hang out with all the sickly people," Matsumoto said, smiling.

"I try not to make it a habit to 'hang out' with anyone, really. And what sickly people?"

"There was that time you visited Hinamori while she had the flu...and then you even went to go talk with Ukitake."

"Talk with him? Matsumoto, I don't ever want to talk to that man, and besides, you were the one who was too lazy to deliver that message to him--"

"You're straining yourself."

"What?"

Hitsugaya was still not yet 100 percent well, and sometimes over-doing it made him tired and gave him a slight fever. Matsumoto must have been referring to the sweat starting to run down his temples.

He sighed. "Whatever."

"Oh, quit sulkinging, Taichou. You're going to get wrinkles."

Hitsugaya rolled his eyes and initialed at the bottom of one of his papers. He was glad Matsumoto was able to tease him again; While he had been in the hospital, she came to visit him often, but rarely ever spoke. If he hadn't have been feeling so miserable, Hitsugaya would have commented about her "unusual" behavior.

"What about you? Why were you one of the only people who didn't get sick?" Hitsugaya asked, the thought finally crossing his mind.

"I got vaccinated!" Matsumoto said, rolling up her sleeve to show him the bandage. "After seeing what happened to you, what other choice did I have?"

Hitsugaya was speechless. How could he have been so stupid? He should have known the second he got word of Ukitake being sick, that the only reasonable thing to do would make sure he didn't get sick as well. But Ukitake was sick so often, it was hard to tell whether what he had could infect the whole Gotei 13.

"Just think, Taichou: by this time next year, you'll be required to get vaccinated, so that way you won't get sick again!"

Hitsugaya was glad about that. To think that all this trouble was caused by visiting a couple of sickies. Well, he knew one thing for sure: never do that again, especially if it was Ukitake. And, if the opportunity ever came up, send Matsumoto instead.

º º º

Things that need to be addressed:
1. I know Ukitake's 3rd seats aren't called fukutaichous, but I didn't know what else to call them.
2. I blame the 11th Division for getting everyone sick after Ukitake's people.
3. I didn't make Gin get sick because...he frightens me. Hardcore. And can you imagine how scary a sick Gin would be?
4. There was no HitsuMatsu in this story.
5. Unohana is scary! I know I made her overly-motherly (unintentional)...deal with it.
6. I'm not really quite sure what Hinamori calls Hitsugaya, other than "Shiro-chan." I made her call him "Toshiro-kun" because it's cute... Does she call me "Hitsugaya-kun?"
7. There was no HitsuHina in this story either.
8. This story took place before Ichigo invaded Seireitei, but after Rukia's capture, and before Evil Aizen.
9. Again with the honorific: I'm pretty sure Tousin is the only one who calls Aizen "Aizen-sama"...buuuuuuuuut, I thought it suited Hinamori to call him that (considering she's freakin' OBSESSED with him).
10. Honorific #3. Yamamoto-taichou? Taishu? Something else?
11. I only made Renji suffer for WahKeetcha's sake. Renji, I'm sorry!
12. I feel like Matsumoto is the only one who understands her taichou.
13. I read about the "agitated fit" thing connected to the flu...although I exaggerated some and made up the name for it.
14. Matsumoto likes to exaggerate things. She's so funny.
15. Ukitake and his sweets. Haha.
16. I made Matsumoto too childish...I think.
17. This was supposed to be 10 percent humor. 90 percent...my usual sadistic crap. :(

OKAY. That was a long list, huh? I hope I covered everything...If not, sucks for you. Gawd, I'm so mean. Sorry, guys. I think I'm just hyper.

What's weird is that this idea came to me when I was finishing up "Torn Apart" (cough, cough). It was one of those stories that you had to write, for fear you'd lose the idea, or not be able to live with yourself if you chose NOT to write it. Yeah, well it was both of those. And, now I'm bored, so I'm gonna wrap this up. Please review...or not, whatever floats your boat. But no, please review. You'll make this poor unfortunate soul very happy. Haha, Disney pun. Hope you enjoyed!