Remembering Winter

Chapter one: Calm Before the Storm

--A/N--

Well, this is my first fanfic! Well… not first ever, just … first that I liked enough to share. Hmm… so I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to write up here… but I really would like it if you would scamper down there and smack that 'review' button when you're done reading. It gives you brownie points!

Carrying on…

At this point it doesn't matter where you are in the anime/manga of bleach, But later chapters require you to be finished with the Soul Society Arc do to spoilers.

Reviews… are love! And love is good!

Disclaimer: I don't own bleach. And I'm really not looking forward to coming up with some witty comment to put here every time.

---

Hinamori gazed into the translucent summer night, her eyes staring into infinity at the glowing stars overhead. The night was hers and hers alone, to do with as she pleased. Occasionally, a figure or two dressed in black passed by the fifth division's quarters, but no one ever caught the petite lieutenant perched on the roof. Feeling a chilled breeze flutter through the trees and then whisper against her glowing skin, she pulled her blanket tighter around her arms before settling in once again.

I wonder if Shiro-Chan does this anymore. She thought to herself, remembering when they were just children and they would sneak out of bed on summer nights and watch the stars together. She smiled lightly at the memory that she was so fond of. Her smile gently slipped away as she recalled that he was a tachio now, and had no time for such trivial things. Inwardly, she scolded herself. I should be happy for him. No, I am happy for him. I can't let my feelings take over.

She knew it was foolish. Being jealous of a position of all things. He was a wonderful captain. With a smile she wondered just how he had gotten all of Seiretei perpetually fearful of him and his icy exterior. Deep down, he was still the same snowy-haired midget who ate watermelons like there will be no tomorrow and spat the seeds at oblivious victims. Unfortunately, the time when he truly was that person has long since been frozen away. Only at times was she able to thaw away a part of him for a short time before it froze over once again.

Speaking of freezing, at that moment another soft hush of chilly air dripped down her neck and she pulled the already tight blanket closer to her. Shivering, she decided that this evening was a bit to cool for her preference and was about to get up to leave when an extra layer was placed over her. Turning her head slightly she saw that it was the pure white of a captain's haori. Aizen-Taicho she thought, as he had caught her on the roof on many various around so she could smile up to her beloved captain she was shocked to turn into not the gentile and warm brown eyes of her taicho, but the icy turquoise ones of Hitsugaya. Hinamori merely stared for a moment, shocked. What… why is he here? Her stomach clenched together at the very sight of him, standing next to her with a smirk plastered over his features. Without his captain's haori he looked just like the average shinigami… except for the part of his uniform that was lazily left askew, revealing more of his sculpted chest than she had ever seen him show. Heat rose to the pale skin of her face at the sight of it...

"Hinamori?"

Momo's eyes darted into his, while silently hoping that she hadn't stared long enough for him to catch her.

"H-hai?" Momo stuttered, forcing the blush in her cheeks away.

Hitsugaya's icy scowl turned into a smirk.

"I was simply wondering if you were ever going to snap out of the daze you were in."

"Mou, Shiro-Chan, you're so mean." She pouted up at him.

"It's Hitsugaya-Taicho, and I apologize for stepping in right as you were leaving, so I'll let you-"

He was interrupted by a firm grasp on his uniform and a nearly shouted "No!" from Hinamori.

As she regained her composure, she let go on his uniform and smiled up at him.

"Please, Hitsugaya-kun, don't leave. I was only getting up because it got a little bit too chilly, but I'm fine now!"

That was when she realized that she really was fine. She was actually feeling warm. Wow, she thought, I never knew the captain's haoris were so warm…even though Hitsugaya's is sleeveless… then she realized that the haori wasn't making the difference, but Hitsugaya's riatsu was. The cold breeze I felt must have been him…

He smiled down at her, in her own little world once again.

"Then wont you at least ask me to sit down?"

She rolled her eyes childishly at him as he sat down next to her, his forearm barely grazing hers.

--

Out of the corner of his eye he drowned his eyes in her beauty. The soft moonlight gave her skin a near translucent glow that overwhelmed him. Her hair wasn't in its usual bun, and draped down her back in gentile auburn waves.

He was dragged out of his thoughts by a voice.

"Shiro-Chan?" She asked, still staring into the stars overhead.

"It's Hitsugaya-Taicho, and what is it?"

She turned to look at him in the eyes with a playful smile on her lips

"How long were you standing behind me?"

Toshiro's mind drew a blank. What do I say? He frantically thought to himself. It would be quite stupid to tell her that as soon as he sensed her riatsu he flash-stepped all the way to her.

Once he calmed the frantic battle in his mind he turned towards her.

"Long enough to feel your riatsu fluctuate. What were you thinking about?"

He knew that whatever came out of her mouth next would be a lie, judging by the red that crept into her cheeks and her eyes breaking the contact.

"N-nothing, Shiro-Chan. Nothing at all. I-I just have so much to do lately and… and… "

There's no point in even pretending to listen to the rest

"…Aizen. Oh! And then all of our division is completely being…"

Aizen again. Is she all she ever talks about?

"…Helping with paperwork. Do you get a lot of paperwork? Because we sure do! Sometimes I think that…"

She's rambling. It's so cute when she gets flustered. Her eyes get wide… and her face gets a cute tint to it. And those lips...

He gulped.

For as long as he could remember he had been able to keep those certain thoughts from making their way into his head. As of late, it became nearly impossible to avoid them whatsoever. Every little thing she did, every time they came in contact with each other, shivers swirled down his spine and he resisted the light blush that always seemed to flush into his cheeks.

Just yesterday, she ran into his office with no knock- as usual. After having a brief conversation with Matsumoto, she walked over to his desk and leaned over his shoulder to see just what he was writing. A few stray strands of her hair tickled his face and her neck was so close. It would be so easy to lean over and… then he realized he wasn't breathing. Taking a large breath, he soon saw his mistake. Her scent was weaved with the surrounding air and the sweet smell of peaches burned itself into his mind, and shut down any thinking process left. Needing an escape, he mumbled that he had a captains meeting to attend to and left her alone in his office.

"Baka." Hitsugaya muttered under his breath at his own stupidity.

"Eh?" Hinamori looked at him with a look of confusion and hurt in her eyes.

She had still been talking, hadn't she?

"Not you, bed-wetter" He smirked at her, "I was just thinking about something that happened a few days ago… don't worry."

Any trace of any emotion other than Hinamori's usual giddiness disappeared.

"Shiro-Chan?"

Is there even any point in correcting her?

Deciding that no, there was no point, she never listened anyway and he might as well save his breath he looked over at her with a "hmmm?"

"Shiro-Chan… do … do you still watch the stars… every night? Like… like we used to do?"

Hitsugaya leaned back on his hands and looked up at the dark sky once again.

Every night, as if it was a habit that he was unable to break, he at least checked the stars overhead from the window in his office. Occasionally when he had little paperwork, or when his often drunk lieutenant, Matsumoto actually did her share of the paperwork, he would go and sit on the roof of the tenth division. Just like tonight. He hadn't known Hinamori did so as well.

"Not really. I don't have much free time for stargazing, like you do, apparently." he replied sharply.

"Oh... "

Hitsugaya mentally slapped himself. Wrong thing to say...

Hinamori was looking down at her hands that looked as though they were strangling each other in her lap. Hitsugaya couldn't visibly see her expression, but he knew that a sad smile had taken over her features. He had seen it too many times before. Usually by his own stupid fault.

Damn it. Hitsugaya scolded himself, Why do I do this? Why do I push her away?

He had such strong feelings for Hinamori, but as long as he could remember, he never let them show. He wanted so badly to be close to her, for her to be his, and his alone… but what would be the point? Whenever her "Aizen-Taicho" entered the room, Hitsugaya was soon forgotten. Aizen was her everything. He was just her friend.

Friend.

The word echoed in his mind. How could a word that means so much cause him so much hurt and loneliness? Did it make it better that he was her "best friend"? No, of course not. There were places of her heart that he would never be able to reach, no matter how far he strained to grasp them. That was how it was, and how it always would be.

"I'm sorry, Hitsugaya-Kun," The sweet voice of his companion dragged him back to reality "I should have known that you wouldn't. It's obvious, really. You are very… busy now." Hinamori looked up and met his eyes "I'm sorry. It was very silly of me."

That's what he loved about her, wasn't it? Even if she were hurt beyond all reason by someone, she would sacrifice her own feelings for them. To make the person that hurt her feel better.

"Don't be sorry. You worry too much, Bed-Wetter Momo" Hitsugaya smirked over to her.

"Mou, Shiro-Chan, you're so mean." Hinamori pouted playfully back.

And, just like that, they were back to the way they were, and always had been.

Friends.

Even if that wasn't exactly what he wanted, he did need her beside him, no matter what. Her breaths were his heartbeats. Her smiles were his sunshine. Her laughter was his music. Her life was his most prized possession.

I will protect you; Hitsugaya vowed silently as she leaned back and rested on his chest, if you need me, I will be there. I promise… Momo.

He didn't know how long they sat under the blanket of night, but not before long he felt her slow and heavy breathing and noticed that all of her weight was pressured against him. Not that he minded. It felt perfect, like they just fit together. No matter how much Toshiro wanted to stay in that moment forever he knew that they would both be quite sore if they awoke to the hard ceramic tiles of the roof as a bed. With that, he gently lifted her up in his arms. When she let out a mumble and she shifted in his arms he held his breath, afraid that he had woken her. As if sensing his stiffness, she clutched the front of his haori and snuggled into his chest, clearly still unconscious.

Thank god. Hitsugaya thought as he let his held breath out slowly.

Leaping off the roof, he landed gracefully one-footed on the ground.

She really can sleep through anything, cant she?

Hitsugaya opened the door to her quarters and then into her bedroom. Shifting her feather-like weight onto one arm, he pulled back the blankets draped over her futon and laid her down as gently as he could before covering her up.

"Goodnight, … Momo" he whispered as he brushed a few stray strands of auburn out of her face and let his hand stroke her cheek before getting up to leave for his own quarters.

Starting toward the door to leave he felt a tug on the sleeve of his haori. He abruptly turned around to see a heavy-lidded Hinamori looking up at him, as if she was still in a dream.

"… Hitsugaya…?" she murmured through her lips that were still kissed by sleep.

"I'm sorry- I didn't mean to wake you up. I just thought that-"

"No, that's not It." she cut him off "I'm cold."

"Ill get you another blank-"

"No." she cut him off more sharply this time.

"Well, Bed-Wetter, what do you want me to do then?"

That was when she smiled.

Oh no. Hitsugaya thought, totally unaware of what she could possibly want him to run around all of Seiretei trying to find for her. This had not been the first time she had made nearly impossible requests of him in the middle of the night.

Hinamori scooted away from the middle of her futon that she was currently occupying, and patted the space next to her while pulling the blankets back, signaling for him to lay down.

"Body heat." she sleepily smiled at him

"Go back to sleep, Hinamori" he replied fatly, pulling her covers back up to her neck "ill go find you more blankets."

Hinamori took that opportunity to grab his wrist before he was able to leave. She was not taking 'No' for an answer. It was time to get this over with, and win. She was getting close to falling asleep again, and she didn't want to be cold when she did.

Putting on her best puppy eyes, she looked up at him with a pout on her face.

Oh no… Hitsugaya thought as he felt his resolve slipping away instantly.

"… Unless… unless you just don't want to be… near me…"

"Hinamori… you and I both know that's not true."

"Well you sure have a strange way of showing that you care, then."

Hitsugaya mentally rolled his eyes. Holy hell. What have I gotten myself into? Next she'll start crying. I don't think I can withstand that…

"…Please, Hitsugaya?" The puppy eyes had disappeared from her eyes, leaving a determined plea in their depths.

Why is this such a big deal to her?

"Fine…" he muttered in defeat as he pulled back the covers and slumped down next to Hinamori on her futon. Turning his head to face her he muttered "I hope you're happy." before turning over on his side, and his back to her.

A few silent minutes passed by, and he wondered if she was asleep yet. That question was easily answered when Hinamori's voice broke the icy silence.

"Shiro-Chan?" she questioned the night air.

"Its Hitsugaya-Taicho."

She took that as a "what?".

"… Please?"

Hitsugaya sighed. Quite audibly. Then he rolled over onto his back, stretching his arm out for her. He could feel her smile of victory smother the room as she cuddled up to him, her head resting on his chest. Hitsugaya couldn't help but grin as he wrapped his arm around her waist and felt her sigh deeply.

"Arigato, Shiro-Chan."

"Baka."

That was the first night in a long time Toshiro fell asleep with a smile on his face.

--A/N--

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