Obviously, 'Bleach' is not owned by me. Tite Kubo and a few large corporations have the one-up on me there.
This is based more on the manga than the anime and there is actual dialogue from the manga in this story. I am only as far as volume 21, so I don't know if Hinamori has woken up yet in the manga or not. Please no spoilers if you decide to review! Thanks!
"Adoration is the furthest state from understanding."
Toshirou's words had confused her. Beware of Third Company. She didn't understand. Izuru had been a close friend since they had trained together at the Soul Reaper Academy.
"Especially…" she whispered, "When the captain goes out alone." Momo clenched her fists as she paused outside of her captain's door. Peering through the screen that was dimly backlit by the lamp outside, she could see a shadow moving in and out of the light that spilled out onto the walkway from underneath the sliding door. She shivered and looked at the sky. The smoke had cleared since the ryoka had forced their way into the Sereitei, but Momo was still afraid.
"I don't want to fight." Before meeting Captain Aizen, Momo had envied the skills of Kotetsu and was frustrated at her own lack of healing talent. Instead, she was blessed with an unnatural ability to master and control kido. It became a way of keeping her hands free of blood, if she limited her use of zanpaktou to the ritual konso. Her gaze briefly landed on her hip where tobiume, according to the general, was now allowed to be carried at all time. She shuffled her feet nervously.
"What is it? Is something wrong, Miss Hinamori?"
Caught, Momo slowly slid aside the screen. She was immediately comforted by the warm scent of her captain's room.
"I'm sorry," she stuttered. "May I…speak with you for a moment?" Captain Aizen's eyes widened.
"I know it's late and this is rude of me. I-I won't sleep! I won't be rude and fall asleep in front of you, Captain." The words came out in a torrent and Momo blushed. In two strong strides her captain was by her side.
"Please…" he said, sounding worried. "Do you think I'd send you away for being rude?" His outer robe was now around her and Momo couldn't stop herself from closing her eyes briefly and breathing in his scent.
"Do you think I'm that cold-hearted?" His voice cracked with concern. "Come in, you must have had a difficult day today. Stay here until you calm down." He placed his hand on the small of her back and ushered her into his rooms. Momo blushed and dutifully walked to the opposite end of his desk, kneeling in silence.
Momo woke, gasping.
"Captain!" she screamed. There was no one in the room. She clenched her hand over her heart, wrinkling her black shinagami gi. Clutching the sheets to her chest, she began to sob.
Alone, the tears slowly began to streak down her face. She hugged her knees close and let out an anguished scream.
"Why did I have to wake up at all?"
"We're here to rescue you," he said. His face was serene and radiated warmth. When his hand touched her head, she felt calmed to a point of weakness that had nothing to do with his immense spiritual pressure.
"You must have been scared. Everything's under control now."
Momo felt the unshed tears in the corners of her eyes evaporate. Squinting up at Captain Aizen, she blushed. He was a good-looking man.
"Do you think," Momo said as they walked away, "We could ever be like them?"
"Gimme a break! Captains and Assistant Captains are beasts!"
"Renji!" Momo scolded out of habit. She hadn't been able to stop smiling since Captain Aizen had touched her head.
"I will," a quiet voice came from her left. Momo turned to see Izuru look grim, but determined. "I'll be like them."
"Me too," she replied. Renji scowled and said nothing. Hisagi-san began to yell at them from the gate, nearly drowning out Momo's whisper.
"I'll work hard, and when I graduate, I'll go to Squad Five, with Captain Aizen." Renji raised a half-interested eyebrow as the three walked through the gate together.
"Man, you should have tried harder," he whispered, nudging Izuru. "You already lost her to a captain."
The smell of charcoal and ink, lingered on her gi. Momo bent, doubled over so her head now rested on her knees. She was still beside herself. She didn't understand. Captain Aizen had always been at the forefront of her thoughts. Captain Aizen had been her ambition, her inspiration, and her goal. Hand shaking, she reached into the folds of her robe and pulled out a yellowed scrap of paper. It was so faded, Momo could barely recognize that it was a photograph.
Captain Aizen and his assistant, Ichimaru Gin, had insisted on taking a photograph with the students who had bravely stayed behind and stood up to the impossibly strong hollows.
"I have taken the matter up with the other captains of the 13 Court Guard Companies. A hollow that could disguise its spiritual pressure!" he exclaimed as they were arranged for the photo. He managed to catch Momo's eye and offered her a look of empathy. His next words seemed to be solely directed at her.
"Thank goodness Assistant Captain Ichimaru and I reached you in time!"
Momo's head swam with the headiness of Captain Aizen's scent. He had been positioned directly in back of her for the photo, and he seemed to radiate a warmth that burned through her lightweight uniform. He smelled softly of charcoal and ink.
"Can we hurry this up?" Hisagi Shuhei grumbled. Half of his face was tightly bandaged, and Captain Unohana had already warned him that the wound would leave a large and permanent scar. Renji had already expressed jealousy over it, going as far to say that he wanted a facial scar as well to make him 'look badass.'
Even now, sitting broken in her hospital bed, she smiled, running her thumb over the photograph that was so worn it felt like cloth to the touch. Since that day, she had always kept it tucked away in her clothes. It was her one secret from Toshirou, who had never discovered it, even when she had returned to visit home.
"Shirou-chan," she whispered.
"Yeah?" his acrid and knowing voice answered.
"Shirou-chan!" Momo exclaimed. Her childhood friend stood in the doorway, leaning against the wall with an eyebrow raised.
"You woke up," he said matter-of-factly. Momo crumpled and began sobbing again.
Hitsugaya Toshirou flinched as he watched Momo doubled over, her body wracked with sobs. Absentmindedly, he put his hand over his gut. It felt like someone had punched him, rendering him speechless.
For weeks he had dreamed of this moment. For days he had buried himself with an unequaled fervor in the piles of Squad Five's paperwork, trying to sort through the aftermath. He had watched his assistant captain stumble in, evening after evening, as she and Assistant Captain Kira dangerously attempted to drown their betrayal in sake. And at night, Hitsugaya Toshirou had slowly begun to realize that his feelings for Hinamori Momo had deepened well beyond a simple friendship.
In the few spare moments he did have, Toshirou managed to visit her room covertly. When Captain Unohana noticed, she let it slip at the next captain's meeting that coma patients sometimes responded to outside stimuli, like a familiar voice. Toshirou had scoffed openly at the idea. Weeks later, the fourth company captain smiled as she observed Captain Hitsugaya kneeling at Hinamori's bedside, involved in a seemingly in-depth one-sided conversation.
Toshirou talked to her every day after that, sticking to the mundane and familiar. He kept his new-found feelings to himself, imagining the day when Momo would wake up.
These thoughts crumbled as he wordlessly approached her bedside, rigidly patting her on the back.
"I don't understand," she gasped between sobs.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I should have…I should have protected you."
Momo began to cry harder. She fisted her hands in Toshirou's gi and pulled him close.
"I'm sorry…I don't know why he did this." Toshirou grasped at what to say. He awkwardly stroked her hair as his words stumbled out.
"I don't see…I can't imagine…" He grappled for a way to keep his anger in check. "I can't imagine the same person who wished me a happy birthday…I guess it wasn't even the same person," he finally said.
Momo sniffled and sat up. "You remember that Shirou-chan?"
"Of course," he said. In an uncharacteristic gesture, he pulled her close to him in a less-awkward hug.
"Thank you Shirou-chan," Momo said, her voice muffled by his white outer robe.
"It's Captain Hitsugaya to you."
And Momo smiled.
AN: I decided not to use the Japanese version of Captain (taichou) and Assistant Captain (fukutaichou). Hopefully this doesn't confuse anyone, as I did decide to keep the basic honorifics.
Was anyone else really crushed when they found out Captain Aizen was the bad guy? He was my favorite captain before that:(