None So Blind

Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach. That honor belongs to Tite Kubo. All characters are depicted as legal age.

Warnings: Set before the Soul Society Arc, but there might be spoilers. Onesided Hitsugaya/Aizen.

This is for the 5 True Loves community on LiveJournal, #10: Hypocrisy.

"Admiration is the emotion furthest from comprehension."

He'd heard that once. Perhaps read it in a book. Had the universe whisper it in his ear. But Toushirou had dismissed the notion, had it go in one side of his head and straight out the other. It was completely irrelevant to his life. Had nothing to do with him at all.

There was nothing wrong with a little admiration. It had never hurt anyone. Nothing wrong at all.

Or at least, that was what he tried to tell himself.

Just a little admiration. He wasn't like Abarai, forever straining to best Kuchiki Byakuya. And he certainly was no Yachiru, clinging to her hero like some little pink leech. Most definitely, he wasn't Hinamori, even if they did admire the same person.

A mere coincidence.

Aizen Sousuke was everything he wanted to be as a Shinigami. As a man. The perfect captain. Fair and evenhanded. Balanced between justice and mercy. Wise. Respected. Patient.

He was the culmination of all that Hitsugaya Toushirou worked for, all that he wanted to accomplish. The bar had been set by Aizen, and he would do everything in his power to reach it.

But most of all, Aizen didn't treat him like a child. Didn't insist on shoving candy in his face. Didn't automatically dismiss his thoughts and opinions. Didn't make all those infuriating short jokes and barbs about his lack of experience.

Aizen was always welcoming whenever he just happened to wander by the fifth division. Inviting him over for tea and to talk, the only captain to see him as an equal. Willing to answer any and all questions Toushirou had, even if he was unable to voice them. Forever greeting him with a smile, his hand warm and gentle on Toushirou's shoulder.

Perhaps more than just a hint of hero-worship.

A tingle spreading throughout him as they brushed in the hallways. Belly fluttering when Aizen gazed across at him during the captain's meetings. Knees brushing as they sat next to each other at the table. Mouth dry and tongue heavy as the man looked at him.

But Aizen's eyes were kind and understanding. Without a hint of mockery. And he made no comment on what had to be so painfully obvious.

That only fed the flames. Made Toushirou like him even more. A never-ending cycle that grew exponentially with each passing day. Respect begetting admiration. Begetting infatuation. Begetting more respect. Until it became something else entirely.

Toushirou wasn't certain what, and in all honesty, he didn't want to know. He simply called it hero-worship and went on.

After all, admiration was just fine. And comprehension had always been overrated.

Ever Hopeful,