A/N: I was watching DiamondDust Rebellion a few days ago, and noticed that Hitsugaya did not have the star pendant on his green sash when he was at the academy. Therefore, I 'm pretending to know where he got it. This is a sort of early birthday celebration, I guess you could say. If the story behind his pendant has been confirmed by Kubo Tite, then consider this non-cannon and point me in the correct direction for the real story.

I hope you enjoy! Please, read and review!
-Rachel Noelle

It was his first year as the taicho of Tenth Division, and, subsequently now time for his first birthday as such. Matsumoto offered to buy him all the sake he could drink (which she remarked probably wouldn't be much), she offered to find him a date for the evening (teasing that Hinamori would not take much persuading, to which he replied that he would pass), and she even offered to teach him whatever his little heart could dream up (implying, of course, that she could help him practice so that someday when he finally decided to ask Hinamori to dinner…). He blushed every shade of red, crimson, and pink, and a few shades of purple with her latest offer.

"Matsumoto, I want nothing to do with these 'gifts' you keep offering, and I wish you to forget about such an unremarkable day as my birthday," Hitsugaya demanded the afternoon before his birthday, wishing he'd never spoken of the horrible day.

"But, Taicho! It's supposed to be special, something you celebrate every year. Besides, who doesn't like gifts? I mean, I just love getting gifts from people, and why not have a day where people are supposed to give you gifts?" Matsumoto whined, trying to reason her views with him.

"Matsumoto, I mean it. I do not wish to celebrate my birthday, nor do I want you to. Don't force me to make it a command," Hitsugaya threatened, to which Matsumoto muttered under her breath and sulked.

So, naturally, he wasn't too surprised when Matsumoto presented him with a small gift the next day.

She appeared in the office before the normal lunch hour, acting as nonchalant as possible. "Taicho!" she sang, drawing his wary gaze to her.

"What, Matsumoto?" he sighed.

"I know you said not to, but I couldn't help but finding you a gift. No one should have a birthday pass and not have it recognized. I promise it's small, and it won't embarrass you or anything," she explained quickly and nervously, trying not to incur his wrath. Young and small he might be, but that was only a cloaking for the sheer amount of power he possessed.

"Matsumoto, take it back to wherever you found it and get your money for it. I told you I don't want anything." Matsumoto sighed at his demands, and instead took a seat at her desk. She worked as diligently as possible until lunchtime, when she declared she was starved.

As she headed for the door, she dropped a small box on Hitsugaya's desk, green with a small white ribbon. "I can't take it back, I made it myself a few weeks ago and I don't have any use for it. You don't have to keep it, but, it's here if you change your mind. It's real, if you decide you don't want it, I suppose you could sell it yourself." And with that she walked from the door for her lunch.

Hitsugaya stayed at his desk, fuming over the insignificant thing lying in front of him, for a good half hour before he finally slipped the box into a drawer of his desk, resolving to look at it later and decide what to do with it.

When Matsumoto returned that afternoon she was understandably hurt, because she did not see her taicho wearing the gift. She hid it as best she could, and refused to meet his eyes unless absolutely necessary. It wasn't much, and she didn't work all that long on it, but she noticed that it could be considered helpful. But, she pretended it didn't bother her that he refused to even open the thing, much less acknowledge that he'd received anything from her. It did hurt a bit that Hinamori could give him her stupid little pen set and he practically drooled over it. Matsumoto tried not to dwell on that, they were friends, after all, and had been for some time. And, eventually, his unrequited love would cease to be so, and perhaps even Hinamori would recognize it. She supposed that she and Gin had been like that once, he giving her insignificant things and she cherishing them like life itself.

When Matsumoto left the office for the evening, claiming she had a drinking date with her usual gang, Hitsugaya sat back and pondered over the day's events. He knew he had hurt her feelings, and he felt bad. He simply didn't know how to reconcile without sounding hypocritical. He really didn't want to forget his birthday, but the only other taichos he knew of who celebrated such things were Ukitake and Kyoraku, and that did not lend him much hope for being seen as mature if he followed their footsteps. He realized, too, that his actions over Hinamori's gift likely did not help matters. He simply did not know how to stop himself. He may have enrolled at the academy because of Matsumoto's recommendation, but he tried to prove himself for Hinamori. He was already beginning to reconsider his motives.

Resolving to try to make it up to Matsumoto, Hitsugaya slid open the desk drawer, and pulled out the small green box. Summoning his will to own up to his unkindness, and apologize to her the next day, he pulled at the ribbon and slipped off the top. He simply stared at the contents for a few moments, not sure what to make of it.

Inside the box was a shiny, gold star, shaped very similar to the hilt of his zanpakuto in bankai form, though with a few more spokes. He picked up the pendant and examined it more closely. He turned it over and found a piece of paper attached to a pin on the back. He pulled off the paper, unfolded it, and read the short message.

Hitsugaya Taicho,

I know you don't want to recognize your birthday, probably because you're afraid the other taichos will look down on you, which, given the circumstances, chances are good they will. People tend to be spiteful like that. But, I needed an excuse to give you this, and your birthday presented itself. I hope you find it helpful. I noticed that you're simply tying the sash that holds Hyourinmaru in a knot. Now, you can keep his sash pinned together, and it should be much quicker to remove and put back on.

Happy Birthday and Warmest Wishes,
Matsumoto Rangiku

Hitsugaya smiled to himself, thinking what a fool he'd been. No wonder she was so upset. She seemed more upset about this than the last reported fight she'd had with Gin. She probably thought he still didn't trust her or even like her, whether she was his second in command or not, and he had only helped that notion grow. He let loose a single angry tear over his stupidity before he gathered up Hyourinmaru, and using his new pin, strapped the sash and sword to his back.

When he finally found her at the bar that evening, and she noticed the pin displayed in all its glory across his chest, she immediately grabbed him up into a hug, cooing excitedly over the fact that he decided to wear her gift. That was the first time he'd gotten himself into trouble with her, and she forgave him. He knew then that he would never understand the workings of a woman's mind, and even allowed her to kiss him. Even if he did grimace.