Just realised that I forgot to put a disclaimer in, so I'll do it in this chapter:
I do not own Bleach, this wonderful series and the characters belongs to Tite Kubo.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy, there is a little fluff as promised, and there is a possibility of a sequel, I have an idea, but I'll only do it if reviewers agree that it's a good idea... maybe the story is complete the way it is and doesn't need a sequel.
Please let me know and above all, enjoy!!
Part Two: Letting Go of the Past
She swung her sword aiming right for Hitsugaya-taicho, and releasing all of her power with that one stroke. The effort almost sent her to her knees, and a sudden stream of cold raced up her feet and chilled her to the waist. She was unbalanced by the sudden cold without Tobiume's warm power within her.
She saw the clash of fire and ice- for a moment there was nothing but steam, but then, an icy wind blew, and she knew what she'd see when the smoke cleared.
Her fiery attacks had been completely iced over, and they fell to the ground, shattering. It was enough to make her cry- all that wasted effort. Hyorinmaru still circled him, neither of them even had a scratch.
Momo tried to draw her blade up, but it was impossible. She looked down and realised that she'd lost this battle before she'd even started it. She was frozen completely to her shoulders; apparently it hadn't just been the unbalance of power from losing Tobiume's warmth, he'd taken advantage of the lack of reiatsu in her body.
She smiled; he had always been the better planner. She waited for the ice to continue its journey and freeze her over completely, before shattering. She would welcome it, she tilted her head down, letting her hair curtain her face, but death didn't come, nothing did.
"Answer me Hinamori, because you're not going anywhere until you do," his voice was quiet, but in the silence, it carried.
She immediately tried to wriggle, but it didn't work in any way. She was completely frozen, and completely immobile, except for her head and her hair- just swell.
"It's not going to work Hinamori," now he sounded slightly amused, and that just irritated her.
Momo stopped, "fine. What do you want to know?"
"Tell me- Why can't Aizen have been a traitor? Why are we all wrong?" he asked, sounding genuinely curious.
"Aizen-taicho didn't betray Soul Society; he had his reasons for what he did! He must have!" she yelled.
"Tell me Hinamori, what bothers you more? That Aizen betrayed everything you believed in- and all your reasons for becoming a Shinigami? Or that Aizen began a war that almost killed us all?" there was a hurt, raw edge to his voice.
Momo couldn't answer his question, because she was afraid she knew the answer. She couldn't even look at him; she used her hair as a screen and a shield to protect herself from those eyes. But nothing could safeguard her against his voice.
"It's because he betrayed you- not us, isn't it?" Hitsugaya-taicho asked slowly.
She forced tears back, "he's the reason I entered the fifth division, and the reason that I-" she began.
"NO!" Hitsugaya-taicho shouted, "He is not the reason you became a Shinigami- You wanted to be one before you even knew he existed!"
"But he's the reason I succeed! He made me, and if he is a traitor- then I," she swallowed, afraid of finishing the sentence.
"You are completely your own person. You are good and sweet and kind and the best friend I have. I know you, and you could never betray anyone," the words almost did make her cry- she didn't deserve them.
"We haven't been so close in years, and now you don't know me at all anymore!" she shrieked, angrily defending herself from the desire to beg him to help her.
"You think that if we don't spend every single minute together then we don't know each other at all? Do you think our friendship is that shallow? We were practically family!" he roared back.
"We were, and now we live separate lives!" she yelled.
"Do I truly mean nothing to you- was it really all Aizen, everything that's in your heart?" he asked quietly, in what could only be described as a broken voice.
'I am a monster, worse than Aizen ever was,'
"You think that you mean nothing, that you are nothing other than what he made you. In my eyes, part of you never changed, the part that wanted to become a Shinigami was inspired by what you thought Aizen was. He didn't change you; he didn't make you, only you can do that,"
There was a long period of silence.
"I'm so sorry Shiro-chan," she whispered.
He blinked; it had been so long since she last used that name.
"I apologised once, but then I asked you to save the person who'd hurt me, and who'd hurt you as well." She sighed, taking a deep breath; it was so hard to admit that she had been wrong.
Knowing that in the deepest depths of her mind had hurt deeply and it had made her angry with the world, but most of all, she had been angry with herself. She'd never be able to thank Hitsugaya-kun enough for helping her lose all of that overwhelming anger, it had helped her move along and now she saw things more clearly.
The words she'd kept hidden deep in her heart emerged in a torrent. "I wanted so badly to believe in his innocence, because I thought that someone I admired so much, someone who I wanted to be like, couldn't be bad. But you're right, that doesn't make me guilty, it makes me an idiot. I didn't want to believe it, I hated seeing it in everyone's face, but I was an idiot, and I was proud enough not to want to admit it and then I was lost and angry and- I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," she cried and the tears flowed hot and heavy down her cheeks.
"Hinamori no Baka, you made everyone worry- you frightened me," his hands were rough as they wiped away the tears, "but I wouldn't change you, not one hair," the ice around her shattered and then his arms were there, supporting her.
She fell to her knees, burying her head in his shoulder, "oh Hitsugaya-kun, I was so scared," she gratefully absorbed the warmth of his body against hers.
"You don't have to be afraid, I'm not going anywhere- I couldn't imagine life without you," he breathed, pressing his chin against her forehead, mouth against her hair.
"How could I have been such a fool?" she sobbed, fingers twisting in his white haori.
They were silent for a moment; he just held her firmly against him as she continued to weep. The sentimental silence carried on for many minutes, until he opened his mouth once more.
"It's not the silliest thing you've done," he mused suddenly.
She blinked, head moving back so she could look at his face, startled by the abrupt break in the mood.
He looked at her, a wicked smirk in place, "there was the time when you climbed the tree to pick a plum, only you found a wasp hive. Then you brought it back down with you because you thought the wasps were bees and they might be cold."
Momo twitched, getting quite embarrassed.
"So you brought it inside the house and they swarmed, and so you tried to use kido to soothe them, but it set them alight. So they went around setting the house on fire, and you flung everything you could find at them to stop them or douse the flames. Then I opened the door, tossed out the hive and they went into the rain- problem instantly solved,"
She twitched again, by now completely pink with embarrassment, "I was very young then," she protested.
His fingers were on her mouth shushing her, "what about the day before you went to the Academy?"
She twitched again, going pinker.
"You tried to reach the highest shelf and fell off the ladder- I broke your fall- much to my own painful misfortune," he added, with a heavy sarcasm in his voice. "And then you fell through the doors, so we were cold all night. The real irony being this was all because of a dried peach blossom- your good luck charm, which turned up in the last place you'd seen it- beside your bed, not on the shelf!"
"You know that I've always had bad luck like that-" she protested, actually turning red.
He interrupted her, "What about the goldfish at the festival? Or the time you tried to cook and clean? Or the time you thought that I needed a bath? Or the-"
"Okay- so I'm a klutz and a little silly," she snapped, with flaming red cheeks, refusing to look at him now.
Every time he did or said something nice to her, he always teased her mercilessly- it was quite irritating, even if it was a familiar routine and she secretly enjoyed it.
"Is that a bad thing? Everyone has to have a fault," he said half seriously, looking up at the stars in the clear, cold night sky.
"Well then yours is you never have fun, your too serious and-" she looked for a word, and looked up, watching him watch the sky.
He was so… beautiful, all of the cares and lines smoothed away so that he actually looked he age, "-you're too perfect to be real," she finished in a whisper, looking down at the ground.
He blinked, "Hinamori," he began, tone serious.
"Hitsugaya-kun, we should probably get back to the celebrations," she abruptly tried to change the subject, and pulled herself out of his arms, standing up, brushing off the snow.
He didn't move, and remained kneeling, then he leant back to lie on the icy ground. "Why? They are a bunch of boring old men and women," he declared, settling himself down and looking quite comfortable.
"But they'll be waiting," she protested weakly, gesturing at him.
"It's not midnight yet- they can wait a bit longer," he smirked, holding out a hand to her.
"But," she began, feeling guilty for not wanting to go back to the party.
"Don't you want to spend time with me?" he asked archly, raising an eyebrow, hand moving slightly back.
"It isn't that-" she began, moving to stand beside him, taking the proffered hand.
She had meant to pull him to his feet, but when she tugged, he tugged as well. Apparently he was the stronger one, because he pulled her down on top of him, and wrapped his arms around her.
"I'm not ready to share you just yet," he said firmly.
"Hitsugaya-kun, we really-" she began as a final protest, and twisted to look him in the eye, trying to be serious, even though she didn't really mind being with him. He was a lot warmer than she was and one part was dreadfully tempted to snuggle into him.
He kissed her seriously, his mouth quite firmly closing over hers and ending any thoughts she had of protest or anything at all. She'd never been kissed before, and she doubted he'd ever been kissed before, but it was surprisingly… it was amazing.
He eased his mouth off hers and moved his head back slightly, lying flat on his back. "Just for a little longer," he said, arms tightening slightly.
She slowly opened her eyes and leaned back against him, "I'd like that," she said, in a soft voice. She could barely absorb the fact that he had actually kissed her. She shifted her body down and snuggled against him, tucking her head into the crook of his neck.
She had always loved him, but she'd thought her feelings were those of one friend for another, even sibling love. She thought she'd loved Aizen, that her feelings for him were those a woman should have for the man she loved.
Reflecting on it now though, Hitsugaya-kun had turned everything upside down. The feelings she'd had for Aizen, they had been an admiration- not love, like that of a child for a parent. The feelings she'd had for Hitsugaya-kun, those had always been love, that of a friend and older sister, but now…
Now, she didn't know if she'd ever know love before. She had never felt so flushed, her heart had never raced like this and the desire never to leave his arms- for eternity to stop at this very moment was the most powerful emotion she'd ever had in her entire life.
He seemed to feel everything that she felt, "there's nothing else I could ever want now- not with you at my side," he whispered, lips just barely touching her ear.
She shivered against him, "Arigato, Hitsugaya-kun," she'd never be able to say it enough. How could you thank someone for saving you, in every way possible? Not just your life, but your purpose, your soul… your heart…
"You're not going to cry again are you?" he asked, partly worried, partly teasing.
"No," she said firmly, "I don't want to worry you anymore, and besides… there is no reason to cry, nothing is wrong," she finished firmly, and surprised herself by realising she really wasn't going to cry.
"You really are stronger," he whispered.
"And you've grown up completely," she commented, half sadly, he was so mature, so serious, and she felt almost uncomfortable with him sometimes.
"But some things don't change bed-wetter," he said, "child or adult I've always loved you, and that won't change, no matter how idiotically you behave," he snorted.
"Mou hidoi Toshiro," she snapped- he did it every single time, why couldn't he be sentimental for once? But if he was, then he wouldn't be himself, and she loved him best this way, because she understood what he was really saying.
He'd started laughing, and it was infectious, she didn't understand what was funny, but suddenly she started laughing too. Neither of them managed to stop for ten minutes, and their stomachs were aching, she lay in his arms in a comfortable silence, which had not been possible hours earlier. She had her head on his chest now, and could hear the steady beat of his heart.
"We probably should get back," he finally, reluctantly broke the silence, his hand toying with her tangled hair.
"One more minute," she whispered, "please," she looked deep into his eyes.
"If anyone comes looking for us, you get the blame," he informed her, and she knew he'd wait with her as long as she needed to.
Momo pulled herself up slightly and then leant down, brushed her mouth over his. "I'm not ready to share you yet either," she whispered against his lips, before kissing him deeply. There was a strange freedom in being able to choose to do this, and know that, she had no shadows in the past to prevent her from choosing him as her paramour.
He broke the kiss, and kissed her on the nose, then on the forehead, "we should get back before we turn into iceblocks," he said.
"This coming from you? The Shinigami who wields the most powerful ice zunpukto?" she asked archly.
"Do you want a puffy red nose? It happens every time when you get a cold," he commented, "and of course I wouldn't be able to kiss you or come near you for fear of you passing your germs to me," he added teasingly.
She had twitched at the 'puffy red nose' comment- as a child he'd asked her every time if she was trying to be a clown. She'd known she looked horrible, but he didn't have to be so rude about it, even now!
"Alright fine," she said, not really wanting to go back, but really not wanting to look like that any time soon, or at all if possible.
They stood up, brushing off the melting ice. He took of his haori and squeezed the water out of it, she was surprised by the amount the thin looking garment was capable of holding. She was even more surprised when he placed the haori over her shoulders.
"You're still shivering," he told her gruffly.
She looked down and found that he was right, and she hadn't even noticed.
He offered her his arm and she took it, clinging onto his warmth. He shunpoed, dragging her with him, she tried to help, but most of her energy was depleted by the battle, and he shot her dirty looks every time she tried anyway. Apparently he was still as proud as ever- a typical dragon wielder.
They raced through Rukongai- much faster than she could have on her own; they passed through the gate, barely even greeting Jidanbo and into Seireitei. Momo made a mental note to apologise to Jidanbo the next day, she felt so rude, but it was so cold.
They stopped via fifth division, at her quarters, and he forced her to change her wet robes for dry ones. He turned his back while she changed, refusing to leave the room in case she collapsed or something- and she didn't know if she was relived or insulted that he didn't try to peak while she was changing.
It didn't matter that he'd seen her naked when they were younger (Ba-san had insisted on shared baths, which he'd hated), or that because she hadn't changed much since he probably had a fairly good idea of what she looked like. It was slowly becoming an insult that he could defy his hormonal urges so easily.
She quickly forgot her irritation when he bullied her into putting a scarf and a shawl over her robes. She was forced to admit that she did feel much warmer, but she was still quite indignant about the treatment. She was the older one, not him!
He then took her to fourth division, where they found Isane-san treating the victims of a drunken Zaraki and Yachiru-chan- apparently they'd gotten an early start.
"Kotetsu would you please examine Hinamori? We were fighting quite recklessly, and I want to make sure she is completely fine," Hitsugaya-kun asked.
He then left to give them some privacy for the assessment.
"So Hinamori-san, would you please give me your hands," Isane-san requested formally.
"Hai Isane-san, and sorry for all the trouble I must have caused," said Momo facing just the beginning of her shame. She wondered if everyone she had once called a friend was scared to address her or felt uncomfortable around her now. Hitsugaya-kun had adjusted quickly, but that was different and special. She knew it would take a lot of time to fix her friendships with all the others.
"That's alright Momo-chan, the betrayal has left its scars on all of us in different ways," the taller woman said with a gentle smile.
Momo felt warmer just from hearing Isane-san's words. The older girl was so sweet, a natural healer just like Unohana-taicho, who always made a person feel better.
Isane thoroughly checked Momo over, her reiatsu levels; body functions- everything, and found nothing that a little rest and time would not fix.
Hitsugaya-kun was waiting for her outside the room, his robes were dry. He had obviously changed his clothes while she was being examined, he had left his taicho haori off and wrapped the red scarf she'd given him years ago around his neck.
"Hitsugaya-taicho, perhaps I should also check you over," Isane-san commented, looking amused.
Momo looked at her friend for a few seconds before working it out. He had a livid looking scratch down one cheek; she hadn't noticed it before, but she must have done it when he'd pinned her. It looked a little odd to see him, normally so neat and well presented, roughed up like that, and she began to smile as well.
"Would you please fix this?" Hitsugaya-kun asked, flushed faintly at this request, and Momo resisted the urge to giggle.
Isane-san looked even more amused, but she moved forward stretching out a hand. The scratch disappeared quickly, but the pink flush on his face did not, "Arigato Kotetsu," he mumbled in a manner she knew well from their childhood.
Isane's examination of him was much briefer, because unlike Momo he had been in perfect health before their battle, and his reiatsu was much stronger. He was fine, although his reiatsu levels were slightly down and he had a few bruises, though they'd be gone by tomorrow.
"Well, I suppose we can all go to the party now," Isane-san said with a smile.
The three of them began walking back to the party, along with the unseated officers that had been attacked by Zaraki and Kusajishi. They walked nervously and respectfully at the back of the group, Hitsugaya naturally as a taicho took the lead, and Isane-san walked beside Momo behind him.
Momo walked nervously, slowly sliding behind Isane-san and even further behind Hitsugaya-kun, her courage fading with every second. She had been an idiot; she had been horrible; how could she face her friends and colleagues after everything she had done?
A warm hand wrapped itself firmly around hers, and Hitsugaya-kun dragged her towards the brightly lit courtyard. She realised with bemusement that it didn't matter, because he would always be in front, behind and beside her with every step forwards she took.
She entwined her fingers with his, squeezing his hand, and took that last step forward into the light and back into her life. She smiled at him, and he smiled back.
Well I sincerely hope that you enjoyed, sorry if the miniscule amount of romance annoyed you.
Well I sincerely hope that you enjoyed, sorry if the miniscule amount of romance annoyed you.
Also, on the question of the sequel- yes or no? It would be romance/humour, let me know if you think I should write it or not.
Please review and let me know what you thought of this piece- because this is my first try of something that is not complete humour or romance/humour, and I don't know if it was any good.
Translation of Japanese Words:
Ba- Grandma/Old woman
Chan- a suffix indicating a close relationship, often used by girls and when addressing someone younger.
Fukutaicho- Vice-Captain/Vice Unit Commander
Haori- Hip/thigh-length kimono coat which Kyoraku Shunsui wears over the Shinigami uniform.
Kido- Ghost Magic
Kun- a suffix considered quite familiar, often used for addressing classmates and friends.
Mou Hidoi- That's mean/rude
Reiatsu- Soul Power
Rukongai- This is part of Soul Society outside of Seireitei, anyone not in Seireitei dwells here.
Sama- honorific- generally means master/lord, used only in cases of high respect.
San- a suffix considered polite, often used for addressing people who you don't know well.
Seireitei- The city in Soul Society where the Shinigami and nobility dwell.
Shinenju- "Memory Rosary"
Shinigami- Death God
Shunpo- Flash Steps
Soutaicho- Head Captain/Commander General
Taicho- Captain/Unit Commander
Zunpukto- Soul Slayer