"Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania."

Dorothy Parker

There is No Romance in Bleach

Hitsugaya Toushirou sat contentedly behind his desk, taking a small break to look out the window. This rare moment without frustration or stress was afforded to him for two reasons. One, because Matsumoto Rangiku was not in the office, and two, because he was nearly finished with the week's paperwork a whole day ahead of schedule. If these two events were related in any way, Hitsugaya dutifully pretended to ignore it, returning to his work with an odd quirk to his lips that could almost be describe as a smile.

Of course, he should have learned by now that these rare moments were rare for a reason, and they hardly ever lasted longer than a few minutes.

This one lasted a whole forty seconds.

"Taichou! Taichou!" echoed Matsumoto's whining cry as she ran through the halls and into the room, slamming the door behind her. It wasn't until he heard a distinct thud on the other side of the door, however, that he really became irritated.

"Matsumoto…" he trailed, doing his best to keep his voice at a normal volume as he tapped his pen against the desk. "What was that?"

"That? Whatever could you mean?" One glare later, and she offered a sheepish smile. "Oh, that. That was … Gin! Yeah! Gin's back! He just couldn't stand leaving my hot body behind and came back to stalk me! It was so awful, Taichou! You can't let him in the office!"

"I am not that back-stabbing, manipulating meanie-face! Let me in!" returned a muffled voice from the other side of the door. "You just want to ask Hitsugaya-kun before me! I know it! I'm not leaving until you let me in!"

The voice was very obviously Hinamori Momo's.

Why Matsumoto had shut her out of the office, Hitsugaya couldn't imagine, but it quickly succeeded in putting an end to his good mood.

"Let her in," he grunted, setting down the pen. He wanted to make sure that, at the very least, if Matsumoto annoyed him too much, he didn't have a suitable weapon already in hand.

With a frown the size of the Kuchiki mansion, Matsumoto slowly slid open the door, and Hinamori toppled into the office. He counted to ten in an attempt to calm down, ignoring the fact that Matsumoto and Hinamori were now sticking their tongues out at each other and making faces. Once he felt confident that he wasn't going to wring them by their necks, he hazarded his question.

"What the hell are you two doing?"

"Ah! Hitsugaya-kun! I must ask you a dire question!" the young Fifth Division fukutaichou hastily burst. "Please, answer truthfully!"

"Yeah, Taichou!" Matsumoto scolded. "Don't you dare let her down gently just because you're old friends!"

"Just ask the stupid question already."

"Y-Yes!" Hinamori nodded. She took in a deep breath, pumping her fists in determination. "Will you marry me?!"

Hitsugaya blinked. Then, he blinked again. "…What?"

"Ha! What did I tell you?!" Matsumoto gloated in the girl's face. "He'd never go for you when he's got me as his fukutaichou! Right, Taichou?! Tell her I'm the only one for you! The proof is in the boobs!"

The taichou of the Tenth Division slowly and carefully stood up from his chair, supporting himself by pushing down against the large, wooden desk that was now the only physical barrier protecting him from whatever disease the two of them had caught. "You're both insane," he replied without hesitation.

Hinamori gasped. "B-But Hitsugaya-kun!"

"But what, Hinamori?!" he huffed in return. He wasn't normally this hard on the girl, but then she'd never said anything quite this ridiculous before. In all honesty, he preferred her asking him to save Aizen. "Why the hell are you two doing this all of a sudden? It makes no sense whatsoever."

"Oh, Taichou! It's the sexual tension! What with Gin and Aizen gone, you're all we have left! All the other guys pay more attention to me and buy me cool things, but you're the only one who's short enough to play 'Guess Who' with!"

"What does my height have to do with a stupid game?!"

The desk proved to be very lacking when it came to protection as Matsumoto leaned over it, her infamous assets now engulfing his face. It was both the best and worst answer she could have offered.

"Matsumoto-san! You're killing him! He needs air, Matsumoto-san!"

A couple more tugs, and he was finally freed. His less-than-subtle attempts to regain his composure did not go overlooked, however, and Hinamori took the chance to try to play the hero.

"Are you okay, Hitsugaya-kun?" she asked, running to his side. "I'm so sorry! If only I had pulled her away a little sooner…"

Hitsugaya snorted derisively and plopped right back into the chair. Hopefully, that would amend the height difference just long enough for him to shoo them away and find someone who still bore a hint of sanity left in them. "Matsumoto… Hinamori…" he began, trying to sound as professional as he could despite the situation. "I'm afraid I must decline both of your offers. Now, please leave before I throw something at you."

"No!" the fukutaichou of the Fifth wailed over-dramatically. "I won't accept it! We were always so close, Hitsugaya-kun! I thought…! Why are you so cold all of a sudden?!"

He gaped. She couldn't be that naïve, could she? No, that wasn't naivety; that was sheer stupidity and denial. "You tried to kill me," he answered levelly, "and then you asked me to save the man who tricked you into doing it."

"Well, I couldn't very well ask Matsumoto-san to save him, could I?"

"What was that?" the aforementioned woman growled. "Oi, I demand answers too! Why'd you turn me down? Nobody's ever turned me down!"

A vein throbbed painfully in his forehead. "You are my fukutaichou. Romantic relations are unacceptable in a professional environment."

"But! But!" she whined, still at a loss. "The boobs!"

"It's that girl in Karakura, isn't it?!" Hinamori suddenly burst. "I heard about her from Matsumoto-san! Kurosaki's little sister! It's her you like, isn't it?!"

"You know, Hinamori-chan, you may be right," Matsumoto nodded, deep in thought. "In that case, we'll have to eliminate her."

"That's not it!" Hitsugaya hastily yelled, teal eyes wide at the serious expressions on the women's faces. "That's even more ridiculous than my marrying one of you! She hasn't even reached puberty yet!"

"Neither have you."

"Matsumoto, you're not helping your argument at all."

"At least be honest, Hitsugaya-kun," Hinamori beseeched her childhood friend. "Please, tell us the real reason you're acting like this."

Hitsugaya ground his teeth together and counted to ten. Again. "I am being honest. I believe I'm the one who deserves to know the reason you two are acting the way you are."

"But, Taichou, the boobs are undeniable! Just take another look, and I'm sure-!"

"No!" he hastily cut her off. He had to say something, anything! As long as they believed it, it didn't matter what it was. Anything to keep those monstrosities out of his face! "Okay, okay! I'm … gay! That's it! I'm gay. That's the reason."

Now it was Matsumoto's and Hinamori's turn to gape. Silence prevailed for several long seconds before Matsumoto finally broke it.

"Oh. Wow. Now that I think about it, that kind of makes sense."

"I… I never knew, Hitsugaya-kun. I'm so sorry to have bothered you."

And the two of them left the office much quieter than they'd entered.

"That was … effective," he sighed in relief. "I should have tried that right away."

Another knock at his door nearly had him diving under his desk for cover. "Um … Toushirou?" pried a hesitant voice. Hitsugaya recognized it as Kurosaki Ichigo's. What he was doing in Seireitei, Hitsugaya didn't have a clue, but as long as it was someone other than Hinamori or Matsumoto, he assumed he'd be safe.

"What is it, Kurosaki?" he huffed his irritation, opening the door to look up at the orange-haired boy. He was a little red in the face, but nothing about him seemed to project that he had any reason to speak with the Tenth Division captain.

"Ah, well… I couldn't help but overhear that conversation you just had, and I was wondering if … maybe, you know…"

Hitsugaya promptly slammed the door in the substitute shinigami's face.

Only when he was sure the teenaged hero had given up and left did he allow himself to let go of the door. "I swear all of Seireitei is nothing but a gathering of obnoxious, self-obsessed pedophiles…" he grunted under his breath as he made his way back to the desk. "You can come out now."

A mass of giggles erupted from beneath the desk before the small form of Kusajishi Yachiru hopped into view. "Big Boobies is funny! What do ya think Ichi-chi wanted, huh, huh?"

"It doesn't matter," he replied curtly as he reached for the light switch. "Now, where were we?"


And the lights went out.

Please don't hurt me.