He'd never set foot in a church before, and neither had she. But she had needed a sanctum, and he had the drive to follow her here.

Hitsugaya's shoes made faint clacking sounds on the carpeted floor, the sound echoing through the cavernous cathedral. The night was dark, and but a single stained glass window allowed the moon's ethereal light to seep through. He found her in the front pew, seating himself in the second, neither making a sound.

Candles, scarlet in color, lined the walls of the room, the podium at the front, at the ends of every other pew, in the balcony. Tiny flames lit the room in a flickering glow, and all he could see of Hinamori was shadow. Hitsugaya freed the fingers on his gloved hands and touched them to her neck.

Hinamori jumped.

"Eyaa! That's cold, Shiro-chan!"

"Don't call me that."

She turned on her side in the pew, facing him with a tiny scowl. "Why are your fingers so cold? Don't you have gloves?"

He waved them at her.

"How old are they?"

"Old enough."

"You need new ones." She took them from his hands and examined them shortly. "I'll get you a pair tomorrow."

"Save the gifts for Christmas," he said, waving her off and stealing his gloves back. "I like the cold."

"Well, I like it when you're not sick."

"I don't need them right now. It's not incredibly urgent, so chill."

"Shiro-chaaaan," she whined, as if she was begging him for gloves in 20-below weather. He gave her a long-suffering glance and gave in with a shrug.

"Do whatever you want."

Smiling in a self-satisfied way, Hinamori turned her body back around. Her head remained mostly stationary. "Come sit by me, Shiro-chan."

He complained, but was compliant, lifting himself off his pew to join his friend on hers. "Stop calling me that."

The warmth of the candles seemed to be more affective at Momo's side. She closed her eyes, breathing deeply through her nose. There were things about her Toshiro couldn't help but notice. Like the dark circles under her eyes, the result of a terrible lack of sleep; the way her dark hair hung in a limp, half-messy frame around her face, like she had begun to brush it, but then decided that it just wasn't worth the trouble; her hollowing cheeks and thin, thin hands, clenched in a perpetually nervous tangle. All of it contributed to her aura-- seeing the light in forfeit.

"Don't look at me like that," she said softly, slouching a little to rest against his shoulder.

"Like what?" he replied in a low voice, lifting his hand to tap gently on her forehead. "Your eyes were closed. You don't know how I was looking at you."

"You worry about me too much."

Hitsugaya's hand left her forehead in favor of her hair. He brushed the mussed strands aside so that her face rendered a little less of its beauty to shadow, and a little more to the candles' light.

"For you, too much is never enough. You'd make anyone worry."

"I'll be fine."

"I know you will." He, too, closed his eyes. "Just... be quick to recover."

For the longest time, she didn't answer. Then, on a sigh, "Okay." It was nearly nothing, but he had her word. And he would hold her to it.


Toshiro took Momo's hand in his and basked in the light of one hundred crimson candles.