Remembering Winter 2

Revision and Completion

Chapter One: Waking Up Alone is the Hardest Part

-A/N-

This is a notice to everyone who had been a follower of the original Remembering Winter, and, well, everyone else as well I suppose. I want to sincerely apologize to you for not finishing, and for just stopping with no explanation.

Now, three years later, I have the direction and the desire to finish. However I can't start where I left off at that time, so a slight re-write and conclusion were in order. This will be a snippet of the actual Chapter 1, so

PLEASE GO TO THE LINK BELOW TO READ THE REST (and follow if you want to, as new chapters will only be posted there :

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This chapter is more like a prelude. It starts at chapter 169 and goes forward. Assumes knowledge of events leading up to Winter War. It covers things from the Soul Society arc, namely between Hina Hitsu and Aizen, and then I go off from there in later chapters and will create my own story line. But I will stick semi-realisticly with the manga we all love. (Disclaimer: I borrow direct quotes from the manga, but I do not own Bleach.)


So without further ado...

The long blade pierced through Hinamori's body in one smooth movement. For a moment, everything stopped as she looked up at her attacker, who was staring her down with eyes filled with unrecognizable coldness. A sickening sensation of shock and disbelief ran through her as she held Aizen's gaze with flickering eyes. Tears that were produced by joy only a moment ago now froze halfway down her cheeks.

Then came the pain. Spreading from her center to her toes and fingers, like a burning fire. Finally breaking his stare, she looked down and saw red blood pouring out of her, onto the hilt of the sword, tracing rivers down Aizen's hand until the drops finally fell to the floor. A pool was beginning to form below her.

Why is this happening? Why would her captain, her idol, betray her like this? She had just gotten him back, from what she thought was death, and now she was dying by his sword.

She opened her mouth to ask him just this when blood rose in her throat and her words came out in red, splattering on Aizen's white haori. He gave her a smirk as he quickly shed her body from his blade in a swift motion. The ground came quickly, knocking what little breath was in her lungs out of her in splatters of blood. She choked on each breath as she lay crumpled in the darkness.

I am going to die here. She concluded as she felt her blood swarm around her. I am going to die by my captain's sword. I've been a fool. I followed Hitsugaya here, thinking I could prove he murdered my captain... this is what I deserve. I chased him so blindly, all because a letter told me to. I pointed my blade at him, I tried to kill him! Oh, Toshiro... please forgive me...

The footsteps of Aizen and Ichimaru began to sound distant, until they stopped when a new voice arrived.

No... no, no, no Hinamori pleaded inside as she realized who the voice belonged to. She wanted to cry out, to tell him to run away as quickly as he could, to save himself. But she was powerless. She couldn't speak, let alone move. She was paralyzed to help him. Her body was beginning to feel cold, her breathing beginning to feel taxed and her heartbeat weak. She could feel her life beginning to fade. Seconds seemed like hours, and her ears interpreted voices in slow motion- nothing but blurs of sound. And then, in her last shred of consciousness, there he was. Appearing suspended in the light flooding the doorway of the dark room. Her eyes could see him, could see the look of pure disbelief on his face, but she was unable to make a single breath. She couldn't speak the words she needed to say. The only function still working were her eyes; unable to move or blink- but could still see and interpret what was happening in front of her. Her leftover spiritual energy kept her mind running for a few minutes after her body had stopped entirely.

Run, Toshiro... please, run away she prayed as he came closer to her, picking her body up gently from the pool surrounding her. She couldn't feel herself being moved. A few tears made their way down his face as she watched his mouth move, unable to make out the words. He held her lifeless body close to his chest and kissed her on the forehead before gently returning her to the ground and turned away, grabbing the hilt of his sword as he darted from the room.

Please, Toshiro, live, she begged as her eyes slid shut. The pain was gone now as she lost her grip on consciousness.

Please.

I'm so sorry.

I love you.

Hitsugaya's eyes flashed open and took some time to adjust as he looked around in confusion. Sunlight poured in through the windows, still making his eyes wince at it's brightness. It reflected itself wildly off the pure white walls and sheets of his room. But this wasn't his room. This had to be the fourth division's infirmary. Even his blurry vision and dizzy head could recognize the sight of this place.

His suspicions were confirmed as he attempted to sit up; a small motion that sent him back down on the cot in excruciating pain. With trembling fingers he slipped open his robe to find a long scar stretching from his shoulder to his hip.

"God dammit..." he murmured to himself as he felt the leftover riatsu tingling on the wound. "Aizen", he growled as he identified it. There was something else interlaced with his energy, however... just what was that? His thoughts stopped there as he realized his blistering headache. What even happened? Hitsugaya questioned as he rubbed his forehead. He knew that Aizen was the one who had done this, but the rest of the details seemed to be a milky blur in his memory.

"Good morning, Hitsugaya-Taicho!" The sweet voice and smile of Unohana entered the room and distracted him from his thoughts, "It's been a few days since we have seen those eyes!" She began to write some notes down on the clipboard at the foot of his bed.

I've been asleep for days?

Slowly, Hitsugaya propped himself up on his arms, wincing at the movement."Unohana-Taicho," he spoke hoarsely in a near-whisper, "How... How did I... " He trailed off not even knowing what to ask to gain clarification. Everything was still such a blur...

Unohana's expression softened, "We will discuss the details once you have had a bit more rest, Hitsugaya-Taicho. Your body has been under a lot of stress these past few days. You sure put up a good fight however." She smiled at him as she gestured for him to lay down on his back once again and began to change the bandages on his chest.

He was in minimal pain, if he laid still. Spiritual energy was working it's magic and was healing him quickly. Mentally, however, he felt drained and weak. As if she could read his mind, Unohana reassured him, "You will think clearer after you've slept some more. This is the first time you've been awake in three days, it's completely normal for things to be a bit fuzzy."

This must be several times worse than the hangovers Matsumoto has after a friday night at the bar, he thought with chagrin as he leaned back and let his eyes shut. Once Unohana finished with his bandages, she quietly exited the room, letting Hitsugaya slip into much-needed sleep once again.

Suddenly he was flash-stepping along the clay rooftops of soul society. He didn't know where he was headed. All he know was he needed to get there. Fast.

Panic soured through him as he ran. He didn't know who or what he was running towards, or what was causing this erratic sensation inside but he just knew he had to keep running. Soul Society blurred around him as he picked up the pace, and began leaping over multiple rooftops. When he paused for a millisecond tip-toed step, the clay tiles shattered under his feet.

He was getting close; he could feel the anxiety sharpen in his chest as he pushed himself to go faster.

His senses finally lead him to where he needed to be: the forbidden residential area of Room 46, the Seijōtōkyorin. Only coming to a stop once he entered the building, he paused and glanced around at the sporadic white towers reaching to the ceiling, each with only one small window. Forbid to anyone other than Central 46, this was his first time seeing it.

A quick burst of riatsu caught his attention and he rushed to the source, getting there in time to see Aizen and Ichimaru exiting a tower. What are they doing here...?

"Aizen-Taicho? And Ichimaru?" He was slightly out of breath from the run across Soul Society, but it didn't phase him.

"Yo, Hitsugaya-Kun," Aizen called out with a slight wave, a seemingly genuine smile stretched upon his face.

Aizen was supposed to be dead. And he had his suspicions Ichimaru was the one who killed him. Yet they were both here, together. Just what was this...?

"Aizen... are you really Aizen?"

"Of course," he replied, "What you are seeing is all very real. Although..." He paused, and glanced back at his counterpart with a slight frown, "Hitsugaya-Taicho has arrived quicker and in better shape than expected."

"Ah, Gomei, Taicho," Ichimaru responded, scratching the top of his silver head nervously, "clearly I overestimated my Fuku-Taicho's effectiveness at being a distraction." Hitsugaya could almost sense a hint of fear in his voice.

Suspicions began to rise. "What are you talking about, Aizen?"

Aizen turned back to Hitsugaya, a smirk firmly in place. "Oh nothing, just discussing our strategy. It's best to keep enemies dispersed, is it not?"

"Enemies? But-"

He froze when he sensed a whisper of riatsu, weak like a flame about to go out completely. It was difficult to make out, but somehow he knew who's it was as his once speeding heart froze in his chest. How had he not noticed sooner?

"Where is Hinamori?" He found himself nearly shouting as panicking nausea rose in his throat.

"Ah yes, where indeed?" Aizen muttered in tone one could only connote with self-satisfaction.

Hitsugaya's eyes fell on the doorway he had seen the pair walking out of. In one fast movement, he shun-po'ed past them and into the tower. Upon entering the blackened doorway his feet froze in their place.

There she was. His beautiful Hinamori who was so full of life and love was laying haphazardly on the floor, broken. Unfathomable emotions ran through him as he stood frozen, forced to take in the devastating sight. Her eyes were open, but were matte and unfocused. The luster in them had faded, turning them into a dull, grey amethyst. The only color that stood out in the room was red. Blood was everywhere; on her clothes, her face, her body... and it continued to run from the massive wound on her chest, adding to the already massive pool on the floor. Light from the entrance behind him reflected it brightly, making it seem fluorescent in the dark room. Taunting him with it's gleam that had been stolen from it's owner.

An impassible lump had formed in his throat and he did not fight the tears that he knew were slipping out underneath his trembling brow. Slowly, he stepped over to her, his footsteps echoing in the blood that had accumulated into a moat surrounding her.

"H-Hina... Mori..." He choked out as he knelt next to her and very gently picked up her limp body. Her head rolled back sharply as he did so, before he caught it in his hand and was forced to look at her. Fresh blood stained her lips a bright red, and had trickled down her chin. Mouth slightly agape, he could sense no breath coming from her. Even her riatsu had dulled to nearly nothing. He couldn't sense a damn thing that showed any sign of life.

Fighting back a sob that threatened to come out of him, he pressed her into his body so he didn't have to look at her lifeless face any more. It was truly the material of nightmares.

Oh God, Hinamori... Please... He pleaded, praying her soul could hear him, Please don't die. Please don't die on me, Hinamori.

This isn't all of Chapter 1! It is in the terms and conditions of that the same story cannot be posted twice on the site, so I decided just to give you all a teaser. Please go here to read the rest, and remember to follow if you want future updates.

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Thank you so much!