Hitsugaya struggled with the heavy transfer of paperwork, resting precariously in his arms as he took small baby steps along one of the corridors of Tenth Division.

Gin accosted him as he rounded a corner and Hitsugaya held back a frown, knowing full well that that is what the grinning captain waited on. He wouldn't give him the satisfaction. Probably jumped out unexpectantly to try to make me drop these. Not going to happen.

"Sure is hot today, eh?"

"Mm," Hitsugaya tried, hoping that would end any further attempts at conversation. Couldn't he see that he was busy?

But Gin only matched his steps, no small feat, given their obvious differences as Hitsugaya – inch by inch – moved to the sanctuary of his office and the retreat it offered from the trickster.

Gin put a finger to his mouth in mock contemplation. "Hitsugaya, you remind me of an animal."

"Really?" He said with disinterest. What is he going to compare me to? An ant? I will not be played he chanted as he continued his crawl along the corridor.

"Yes," he said enthusiastically, "I didn't quite see it until now, but what with you waddling along the corridor with your white haori complementing your black kimono – it came to me."

"Waddling?" Hitsugaya growled.

"Now now. Nothing wrong with waddling. Tis cute," Gin remarked as he made a show of mimicking Hitsugaya's movements.

"You try walking properly with a tonne of paperwork in your arms!" Hitsugaya hissed, refusing to be mollified by Gin's demonstration. I am most definitely not cute.

Gin searched his face, moving closer to bypass the heaving stack of paper.

"I know what you're thinking but you're wrong. You remind me of something...more...magnificent."

Hitsugaya didn't take him seriously. When could he ever? The grinning visage disguised his true feelings unless he was always cheery, but Hitsugaya had trouble believing that. However, something in his tone made him pause. Was that sincerity? That appealed to him, despite himself.

His interest was now peaked. Perhaps Gin saw what he did and would compare him to a polar bear or a white hare – something icy and aloof; something that would fit with his own perception of himself.

"What animal do I remind you of?" He asked stiffly, trying to communicate disinterest.

"A penguin," Gin boomed with the air of one gifting someone with a present.

"All the flapping you do – helps. The height too," he smirked, as he patted his head.

"Still," Gin said charitably, "you're not looking so icy right now. You're looking all red and inflamed – penguins don't look like that. Don't go all out of character on me."

The carefully annotated and organised paper flew from Hitsugaya's shaking hands as his trademark scowl surfaced and his hackles rose, the temperature dropping by degrees as he faced the grinning captain.

"Phew, that's better. It was getting hot in here, no? Just what I needed to cool me down."

Hitsugaya didn't trust himself to speak as Gin lightly skipped away.