those little things
what matters the most
Matsumoto Rangiku was in awe. Oh yes.
Believe it or not, Hitsugaya Toushiro, captain of the tenth division, had always been known for his intuition. Although he was of very young age by Soul Society standards, already he was accepted as a captain for one of the divisions in Gotei 13.
At first, of course, the citizens of Soul Society doubted him. Like hell they did.
He was a child. He was a freaking child! He could be a genius for all that they cared, but seriously, he was only a child. How could one expect a child to rule over a division, moreover one of the Gotei 13? The idea was simply ridiculous to many people. He was a freaking child, for heaven's sake. Was Commander Yamamoto crazy? Were all the captains blind? Could they not see that Hitsugaya Toushiro was only a child, despite his maturity and so-called 'skills'? Could this be a sign that Soul Society, after many years of peace and so forth, was walking on the road to destruction?
Ooh, that could not be happening.
Commander Yamamoto knew that this was going to happen. He also predicted that the citizens would be dissatisfied with the promotion of this new young captain. Unlike the lot of citizens out of Seireitei, Yamamoto and the other captains and their lieutenants saw what they had missed: potential.
Hitsugaya Toushiro had something called 'intuition', and a very sharp one, at that. He was very observant, therefore a lot of times noticing something the other captains might have missed. The greatest example? Oh, the foul play of Ichimaru Gin, for example. That was something that could not be forgotten just in the blink of eye, could it; that the new captain of the tenth division had great eyes.
But still, still, there were just things he missed to see that made Matsumoto... well, to be honest, a little disappointed. Umm, okay, maybe a little more than a little disappointed. Or maybe a lot more than a little disappoin—
Oh, forget it. She was a lot disappointed, okay? There was no point hiding it when it was just so blaringly obvious. Well, to herself and the people around her, that was. Already three people asked her why she was looking so damn annoyed, disappointed, frustrated, and all that today. It was, again, so obvious.
She just couldn't get how he, the supposedly 'child prodigy' (yeah, right, she thought sarcastically), missed to see what was right there in front of his eyes this whole time!
Her nostrils flared just thinking about it.
She grabbed her bottle of sake and poured it out to her glass, sipping it. The taste of the alcohol immediately fell upon her, affecting her senses at once. This was her eleventh bottle, and still, still, she was (almost fully) wide-awake.
She was made for the drinking game, baby!
"You oughta stop, Matsumoto." Madarame Ikkaku said, trying to get hold of her bottle, but missed as the fukutaichou moved it out of his reach already. He looked at her irritably, "Really, you should. I don't want to know what your precious Hitsugaya-taichou would think if he sees you like this." He held a sake bottle of his own—it was his fourth, and already he felt high, although not quite drunk yet.
Still, he was not going to lose to this goddess of a woman, damn it!
"I don't... care!" Matsumoto said, her voice slurred, hiccupping just a little.
Madarame looked more annoyed. "Yes, you do." He said, sipping his own sake. Mm. This tasted so delicious. It wasn't long before he joined Matsumoto Rangiku and Izuru Kira on their crazy 'ventures' to the bar, but he could see that he was already addicted. "Hmm. I should ask Yumichika to come some other time. He'd love this."
"I... don't know about that!" Matsumoto laughed, her head on the table. "Sake affects your beauty, you know!"
Madarame looked at the bottle in his hand, silently wondering whether the magical alcohol could help with hair growth or not. He thought about asking Matsumoto, but considering her drunken state, it was not like he was going to get a clear, full-fledged explanation. He sipped his sake once more, looking at her sideways. Her lips were curled into a teasing smile, although her eyes were already closed. He nudged her. "Matsumoto. Hey, Matsumoto?"
She raised her head and coughed. "Y-yes?"
"Why are you... so... so annoyed anyway?" He asked, running a hand over his scalp. That kind of felt good. Everything felt good when he had a bottle of sake with him. This was pure bliss.
"Annoyed?" Matsumoto's voice came out all high-pitched and funny. "Annoyed? I am not annoyed!"
Madarame rolled his eyes. "Oh yes you are."
The fukutaichou did not reply, apparently too caught up in finishing her eleventh bottle. She asked the waiter for another one, and as soon as it was presented in front of her, gulped down one-fourth of it.
Denial, Madarame thought evilly. "So tell me." He began, feeling more light-hearted than he ever did. Sake was bliss. "Tell me... does your foul mood today has something to do with your... your... ah, so precious... taichou?"
Matsumoto shrugged. "It's... none of your business..." She said, voice slurring.
Madarame raised an eyebrow. "That is so harsh." He said, pretending to be hurt.
Even in her drunken state, she had the power and sense to roll her eyes at him. After that, she dropped onto the table once more, whispering to herself a line of curses that seemed to comfort her.
"What did you... say?" Madarame asked, eyes drooping. All he could hear was the words 'taichou', 'stupid', and 'blanket'. He was not sure how these three together would make sense, and anyway, any moment now his brain was objected to stop functioning.
Matsumoto smiled, a bit too cheerfully. "Nothing!" She said.
"Heh..." Madarame smirked. "Don't lie to me!"
Madarame sighed. "Whatever."
She pouted cutely. "Big meanie!"
He rolled his eyes and asked for another bottle. The next was going to be his seventh—Matsumoto was on her twelfth. Catching up was not going to be an easy work, but when the Madarame Ikkaku was determined, he was determined. No matter how heavy his head felt, he could win, and he would.
He tugged on her sleeve. "Tell me!"
"Tell you... what?"
"What annoyed you so badly!" He hiccupped. Oh, no, no. This was not happening.
Matsumoto giggled. "I'm not annoyed!" She announced happily.
"Matsumotoooo..." Madarame groaned. He had to keep her talking to keep him talking. Else, he'd faint and that would be the end of today's competiti—venture—already.
"Yesshh?" She sounded so giggly, her speech slurred heavily.
He was about to say something when a hand found its way to his shoulder and he let out a piercing, kind-of-girly scream. He turned around in his dazed state, and screamed once more when he saw who it was.
"Madarame." The young taichou acknowledged him with even eyes. "Good evening."
Upon hearing her taichou's name, Matsumoto also turned around. Staring into the teal blue eyes of the one person she secretly wanted to see tonight, she grinned. "Hitsugaya-taichou!" She said cheerfully, "You're here!"
"Yes, I am." He said, sounding rather amused. "I expected to find you here, Matsumoto."
The woman looked at him with big eyes. "Really? You were looking for me?"
"I'm afraid I was." Hitsugaya answered mildly. "You left me in wonders when you stormed out of the office around... one and a half hour ago, I believe."
Madarame looked at Matsumoto, slightly in awe. What Hitsugaya said just snapped the drunkenness out of him. "You dared to do that to your captain?"
Matsumoto almost blushed, but she didn't. Her shoulders slumped and her eyes drooped as she leaned into the back of her chair, saying nothing as she dozed off.
Receiving no response, the young taichou turned to his lieutenant's drinking partner. "What happened to her?" He asked, slightly curious.
"Drank twelve bottles of sake." Madarame answered, a little more sober, but then the devilish grin appeared on his lips. "I drank seven. And am going to drink until thirteen! I'm going to beat Matsumoto."
Hitsugaya looked at Madarame bemusedly. "I see."
"Heh." Madarame grinned confidently, "She was, hic, really annoyed. I don't know what's... hic, up with her."
The child prodigy chuckled. "Thank you for looking after her." He finally said, reaching for his fukutaichou. Suddenly he had her on his shoulder already, and in one swift movement, he fled out of the bar.
The next day, Matsumoto woke up with a heavy headache. She blinked several times until her vision became clear. Scrambling out of her blanket, she grumbled under her breath until she came to a sudden halt.
How come she was in the tenth division office? All she could remember was drinking in the bar, Madarame pestering her with stupid questions... and then the vision of Hitsugaya-taichou coming into the bar, which clearly had been a pigment of her imagination no matter how real it felt like, because as far as she could remember, her taichou just could not st—
"How are you feeling?" A cold, baritone voice asked from behind the sofa.
Matsumoto gasped as she turned around. "Taichou!"
"Good afternoon." He smiled mildly.
"Afternoon...?" She let the end of her sentence trail off as she realized what time it was now: 12.31 PM. She had overslept. She looked at her taichou and offered a sheepish smile, "Good afternoon, taichou. Sorry for... last night, I was..." She mumbled incoherently, trying to find the right word. "I was out of it."
"You were out of it, I agree." Hitsugaya said amusedly. "How are you feeling?"
"... dizzy." She replied, closing her eyes for a moment, and then opening them again.
"How would you like a drink?" He offered, gesturing to the glass of water on the coffee table next to her sofa.
She reached for the glass and gulped the cool, fresh water, before returning to look at him. "I had a weird dream."
His blue eyes met hers evenly. "Really?"
She closed her eyes again and leaned on the arm of the sofa. "Yes." She said, allowing herself to relax as she stretched. "I dreamt about you coming into the bar. You had this strange talk with Ikkaku about... well, something. And then you picked me up..."
"Uh-huh..." He looked at her, not commenting. "What happened then?"
Matsumoto shook her head. "I can't really remember." She opened her eyes and looked at her taichou, mumbling peacefully, "Mm… It was a nice dream, taichou."
He raised her eyebrows and looked at her intently, "It wasn't a dream."
Her heart skipped a beat. "What?"
"It wasn't a dream." He repeated, standing up. He walked towards her and lifted her glass of water, refilling it with warm water before offering it to her once more. As she drank, he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned on the wall across the sofa. "I really did go to the bar."
"Really?" She looked surprised, and then she giggled, "I thought you hated the bar, taichou!"
"I did." He looked annoyed at himself, "I do."
"Then?" Matsumoto smiled teasingly, "Why did you go? Were you looking for me?"
"As a matter of fact, I was." He said easily. "I was wondering what you were up to after that... ah, temper tantrum you threw at me earlier yesterday."
Her cheeks reddened. "I was not throwing a tantrum!"
"Really." Hitsugaya said sarcastically, and Matsumoto saw no point in continuing her act. His blue eyes found hers. "What were you angry about?"
She turned away, not quite meeting his gaze. "I wasn't angry. I was just..."
"You were just?" He prompted.
"Disappointed." Matsumoto admitted finally after a short silence.
Hitsugaya smirked. "Yes, and why were you disappointed?"
She looked at him and felt the annoyance, the disappointment, all surfacing again. This was hopeless, she realized. He would never, never, notice those little things she did for him.
He would never notice how she would always, always wake up in the morning just to prepare for him a cup of hot tea for him to last the day, although she would always sneak to sleep right after so that he'd never notice that it was her who prepared for him his favorite drink in a cold morning.
He would never notice how she would always put exactly two and a half cubes of sugar into his tea, exactly the amount of sugar he preferred each time.
He would never notice that she secured the sugar blocks well inside the cabinet, so that no one would realize that still, still, the taichou liked sugar in his tea, although he did not like sweets that much. He had let it slip once, accidentally, that he did not want to spoil the good image that he had formed in the first few years he headed the division, and she really respected him for that.
He would never notice that the blanket under his desk was actually for him, although she was the one who used it. She even had sewn his name on one corner of it, although it was very small barely anyone could notice it, but it was right there all along.
He would never notice that, maybe—just maybe, somewhere along the way, his fukutaichou had already fallen for him, and she'd fallen hard.
Never. He would never notice them. Never.
Really, who was she kidding?
So Matsumoto smiled. "It was nothing, taichou." She said calmly. "Forget it."
He raised his eyebrows intuitively, and all of a sudden she found herself hoping that he would ask her about... anything, everything, just to show that he cared enough about her... or maybe, just maybe—she didn't dare hope when it came to this—he had...
Stop, Rangiku, she thought.
"I see." Hitsugaya finally said, returning to behind his desk. He stayed silent for a while, studying the document in front of him, and Matsumoto had to suppress the urge to laugh bitterly at herself.
She stood up, tall, and stretched once more. She reached for the door and was about to walk out, planning to freshen herself before coming back into the office and spending the day with her oblivious taichou, but before she stepped outside, Hitsugaya had stopped her.
"Matsumoto." He called.
She swore under her breath. Even his voice saying her name sent shivers down her spine. How was that even healthy? She looked at him, turning around, "Yes, Hitsugaya-taichou?"
It took him four seconds to speak. "Thank you for the tea."
"What tea?" She tried playing nonchalant, although her heart was beating faster already. Did he… did he notice? Did he?
He held up his cup; the cup she had bought for him, the cup she used to make him tea every morning. She had the exact same one, too, but she preferred to keep it as an ornament because she didn't drink tea all that much. "This tea." He said.
He noticed! She was screaming inside, but she tried well to keep her composure, although she could not contain her smile for any longer. "It's my pleasure, taichou."
"And the sugar." He added, his voice a little lower at this. "I didn't know you were aware of how much sugar I like in my tea."
She laughed. It was as if her burden, her worries, all melted into happiness. "It's my responsibility as your fukutaichou." She finally said, and was even more surprised when she caught him looking at her in what seemed to be disappointment.
Was he..? No, really? That didn't seem possible up to two minutes ago!
Matsumoto decided to go for the leap. "And... well, let's just say that I'm really observant when it comes to..."—she took a deep breath—"you, Hitsugaya-taichou. That is, regardless of my responsibility as your lieutenant."
Hitsugaya looked at her with teasing but curious eyes. "I wonder why that is so." He said, sounding genuine.
"I honestly wonder, too." She lied, smiling prettily as she walked towards his desk, picking up his teacup. "Would you like a refill, taichou?"
"That would be great, thank you."
"All righty then!" She said high-spiritedly, once more making her way outside, and again, again, he stopped her.
Hitsugaya looked at her carefully. "Are you... well, are you free tomorrow night?" He asked, sounding a little nervous.
Matsumoto smiled, more to herself than to him. She held his intense gaze gleefully. "I don't have plans, not yet." She answered.
"Great." He said, "Then you would be free to go with me, I gather?"
She seemed to think this over as he returned to his papers and signed the front document, "Where to, taichou?"
Hitsugaya looked up once more, meeting her eyes. "Anywhere you like."
"Anywhere I like." She repeated, and then burst into peals of gleeful laughter. "I love the idea. Is this... is this a date?"
Upon hearing the word 'date', Hitsugaya blushed. And he really did it wonderfully this time. Coughing a little, he turned away to regain his composure. When he did, he looked at her, allowing a smile on his lips. "It can be."
It can be, she thought.
"Shall we make it one?" He interrupted her train of thoughts.
She smiled widely. "I'd love to." She said. "Thank you, taichou."
He returned the smile with a soft one of his own, "It's my pleasure."
notes: It's been a while since I wrote a fanfic, a one-shot moreover (yes, yes, I know, this is my first in this ID), and I have to be honest that it was a lot of fun. HitsuMatsu has recently become my OTP, and seeing the rate I'm going, it's not going to change any time soon. Just know that this is my first contribution, hopefully out of many. :)