This just came to me today because I realized I haven't read a story like it. I hope you enjoy it.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or any of its characters.

"Ha ha!" the child taunted, pointing a vindictive finger at the very embarrassed white haired boy who had just missed the goal for the upteeth time.

"You stink!" cried another, while several others snickered. The boy did his best to ignore them, but his patience was running out.

"Once more," he said to himself. "I know I can get it this time." He retrieved the soccer ball, scrunched up his face into a look of total concentration, then swung his foot out as hard as he could. He missed the ball entirely, and the force of his swing propelled him backwards so that he fell flat on his back, his clothes and hair now coated with mud from the torn up soccer field.

He would not cry. He did not cry. It was a stupid game anyway, right? He tried as hard as he could to drown out the derisive laughter that surrounded him, but it filled his head and stung at his soul. He began to get to his feet, trying to maintain whatever dignity he had left, but as he went to stand, he accidentally stepped on the un-kicked soccer ball, which sent him sprawling backwards for the second time.

He scrambled up and ran, the sounds of mocking and teasing still ringing in his ears. He would show them! No one laughed at Hitsugaya Toushiro and got away with it! He would become the best soccer player in Rukongai!

Night settled over Soul Society. Lights went out as people turned in for the night. But one little boy was not thinking about sleep. He had one thought-to hit the makeshift target he had made by scratching on a tree with a sharp rock. A figure appeared on the porch and watched the boy with sad eyes. His back was still covered in mud where he had landed on the field. Sweat poured down his face. His hair looked silver in the moonlight and his brilliant green eyes shined with determination. He took aim and kicked, missing his target by several feet. Cursing, he went to retrieve the ball.

The girl pulled her robe tighter around her as a brisk wind whipped across the summit where their house sat. The boy however, was oblivious to his surroundings. The girl sighed deeply, then stepped off the porch to approach the child.

"Shiro-chan, when are you going to stop?" she pleaded gently. "You've been at it for hours and you haven't eaten anything. Why don't you give it a rest and go to bed?"

"Shut up, bed-wetter-Momo," he replied angrily, still focusing on the soccer ball at his feet. "I've got to practice." He took another swing at the ball, and it missed the target by an even wider margin than the last one.

"Why is this so important to you?" she asked him as he cried out in frustration. "It's just a game, right?"

"It doesn't matter!" he insisted. "I can't stand being the worst at something. If I'm going to something, I've got to do it with everything I have. I decided that I want to play soccer, so I've got to be the best! If I'm not, then there's no point. That's all there is to it." The girl looked at him with a mixture of admiration and pity. He was so dedicated. Once he set his mind to something, he just had to see it through. That's the kind of person he was. But she still hated seeing him beat himself up over a stupid game.

"Is it worth it?" she asked. The boy didn't respond. He looked up at the sky as another gust of wind blew, rattling the windows and making the trees rustle like crape paper. The boy shivered. He picked up his ball and turned on his heel, heading towards the house. The girl sighed then followed him inside. She would never fully understand him.

Several months passed. The boy was unwavering in his relentless training. Finally, he felt confident enough in his abilities to show his face in public. He headed for the soccer field.

"Well, if it isn't the loser!" one girl exclaimed while the others snickered. But the boy wasn't intimidated. Not anymore. He walked straight up to the girl, stuck his face into hers, and said with a smirk,

"I'm not such a loser anymore. I want to play." The crowd around them looked at each other, then broke down in hysterical laughter. The girl was doubled over. At last, she calmed down and wiped away the tears that had formed at the corners of her eyes.

"Oh you silly little boy," she said amused. "It doesn't matter how good you are. We just don't want to play with you. That's it really." Everyone burst into cruel laughter again at the look on the boy's face. It was a mixture of shock, anger, hurt, and loathing. He tried to defend himself, but before he could the girl waved her arm.

"Come on!" she said to everyone but him. "Let's get out of here!" And they left the boy standing, alone and heartbroken, in the middle of the well used soccer field.

"Welcome home Shiro-chan!" the girl said merrily as he entered the house, slamming the door behind him. "How was your game?"

"Shut up, bed-wetter-Momo!" he barked. "Why does it matter?"

"Was all your practice worth it?" she asked, not deterred by his harsh words. He didn't say anything. He simply ran to his room and shut the door, wanting to be alone. He would not cry. He did not cry. He was above that. Who cared about soccer anyway? It's a dumb game that children play. He could be so much more than that, so much stronger than that. He would make something of himself and leave those horrible kids behind him in the dust.

40 Years Later

He would not play soccer. He did not play soccer. Soccer was a child's game, and Hitsugaya Toushiro never did anything that might be deemed even remotely childish. But for some reason, he was playing soccer. She had been injured right? She could sense hollows and therefore he wanted to help her right? She had begged him with hopeful eyes right? Of course, there was nothing more to it than that. Right?

He passed the ball to her. She shot and scored the winning goal. He watched her cheer and celebrate with her friends. Then she approached him.

"Toushiro it was all thanks to you!" she said happily. She was beaming. She was radiant. He looked at her glowing eyes and her ecstatic smile, both of which existed solely for him. And he thought to himself,

"Yes Hinamori, it was totally worth it."

Let me know what you think! Reviews are much appreciated. Thanks for reading!