To Innocence and Now

By

PND

Disclaimer: I do not own the characters or the wonderful song this is based on. Those both belong to Kubo Tite and Dan Fogleberg.

AN: Just me writing another song-based fic. This one is to a wonderful Christmas-ish song by Dan Fogleberg called "Same Old Lang Syne" about two ex-lovers meeting each other in a grocery store on Christmas Eve. It's a good listen if you like ballads, but you don't really need to listen to it if you don't want to.

This is a Gin/Matsumoto story from me. My first…amazingly enough.

Also, yay! It's my 54th Bleach fic!

Anyway, consider this to be my Christmas fic to all of you. Thanks for reading and Merry Christmas.

Love you all,

PND


"We drank a toast to innocence

We drank a toast to time

We're living in our eloquence,

Another Old Lang Syne"

-Dan Fogleberg

Snow crunched under his boots as he walked down the sidewalk, hands shoved into his pockets, flexing his fingers for warmth. The cold December breeze bit through his thick coat and he reluctantly pulled his wool newsboy hat further down his silvery locks to attempt to block out some of the fluffy snowflakes that were falling. His steps carried him a short distance to a small grocery store a few blocks away from his home. The bell above the door jingled as he opened it and he sent an apologetic look to the bored-looking clerk leaning on the counter, waiting for time to go by.

"Merry Christmas," he greeted the man as he walked past him, pulling a short list of items out of his pocket. The guys back at the apartment were waiting for him to return with the forgotten items and he was eager to get back to the Christmas Eve party. A quick glance told him that whipped cream was needed so he turned down an aisle and opened the refrigerator. He grabbed a tub of Cool Whip and shut the door firmly. He turned to leave, but paused as he saw the other person at the other end of the aisle.

"Rangiku," he said hesitantly touching her on the arm.

The beautiful woman turned in confusion, eyes narrowed at him. He waited patiently for realization to kick in. Slowly her mouth spread into a soft smile and her eyes widened in blissful surprise. "Gin," she whispered. The next thing he knew, her arms were wrapped around him and the contents of her purse were dumped across the width of the aisle.

"It looks like you've spilt yer purse."

"I don't care," Rangiku laughed, hugging him tighter.

"Well I certainly do!" Gin chuckled along with her, both laughing at nothing and everything at the same time. Eventually though, she let him go and they knelt down to pick up her scattered belongings.

"It's been a long time, Ran." Gin murmured as they walked through the grocery store together, both gathering what they needed. "It's good to see ya."

"It's been a lot longer than I can admit to," Rangiku laughed softly to herself. "We were both so dumb as kids, weren't we?"

"Nah, we were just wild and crazy," Gin set her gallon on milk on the counter for her at the checkout.

"And we were in love," Rangiku added quietly.

"Yeah, we were," Gin murmured, rubbing the back of his head. Rangiku turned away, slightly embarrassed.

They both paid and Gin insisted on walking her out to her car. He put her bags in the trunk for her and opened the door to let her inside. Just as he went to shut it, Rangiku touched his arm.

"Do you want to get a drink somewhere?" Her eyes sparkled at the thought. "For old time's sake?"

Gin stood there, staring at her thoughtfully. That smile, those eyes…all reminders of their youth. He found himself nodding in agreement and got into the passenger's side even though he knew he needed to get back to his house.

The drive wasn't long, only a few minutes had passed by before they begrudgingly realized the bars were closed on Christmas Eve. Gin jokingly suggested they hit a liquor store and was surprised when she actually pulled into the parking lot of a gas station.

"Wait here," she said and a few minutes later came out with a six-pack of cheap beer and a box of donuts. Gin could have kissed her then and there.

"Just like old times," he murmured, cracking open a can.

"It is," Rangiku giggled as she bit into a donut, chasing down the sugar with a sip of beer. "I thought it would be fitting."

"Cheers, Ran," Gin said, lifting his can.

"What to?" She asked, lifting her own can partway.

"Uh, well," Gin shrugged, his smile turning sheepish. "To innocence."

"That's silly," she murmured, lifting her can to meet his anyway. "How about a toast to now?"

"Even better," Gin nodded, taking a long sip from the can. Rangiku's eyes darkened a little with sadness and Gin was inclined to agree with her unspoken thoughts. He wished it was different, too.

"So, who is the lucky dog who had it in him ta marry ya?" Gin asked quietly, finally catching sight of the fancy diamond ring on her finger.

"Shuuhei," Rangiku twisted the ring around her finger.

"Shuuhei Hisagi?" Gin's mouth pulled down into a slight frown. "I never liked him."

"He's a good, steady man," Rangiku argued gently. "He has a great job as a lawyer and is taking care of me just fine. He's wonderful."

"Do ya love him?" Gin asked, lifting his eyelids a little to get a better view of her face. By the emotions flitting across her face she didn't need to answer, but he was glad when she did.

"No," she whispered, unable to lie to him. "But he loves me."

"Rangiku," Gin said softly, wanting to comfort her in some way, but not knowing exactly what to say. "He's lucky he has such a beautiful, young woman like ya as his wife. If he doesn't know that, then he's an idiot."

"Young?" Rangiku gave a small, wistful chuckle and took a sip of her drink. "Gin, I'm not as young as I used to be. I'll be old soon."

"You look just as beautiful as the last time I saw you. It's your eyes, Ran. They'll always be that color of blue and to me they'll always be young. " Gin shook his head at the look she gave him. He couldn't quite read it. A mixture of happiness and uncertainty fluttered across her face.

"I hear you've been doing well for yourself," Rangiku swished her beer in her mouth thoughtfully. "Do you like it? I saw you on TV the other day. You were wonderful."

"Really?" Gin sighed softly. "It's great when I'm up there on stage, but it's hard to be away from home for so long. I'm leaving again this weekend."

"That's too bad," Rangiku muttered.

Gin had to agree.

They sat in comfortable silence for a long while, listening the sound of the vents blowing out warm air and the vague sounds of music in the background. It was their soundtrack for the night and it was perfect.

They knew the night couldn't last forever. Eventually the beer ran out and Rangiku turned the car on. Gin looked at her sadly, wishing he could express exactly what he wanted to say to her.

It's just another Auld Lang Syne, I guess—a rift between two people that can't be overcome because of time lost. There's no helping it.

"Keep in touch, okay?" Rangiku looked at Gin as he opened the door. He found himself nodding at the hope in her eyes.

"Of course I will, Ran," he promised, touching her cheek gently.

"Thank you," she leaned forward and kissed him goodbye and Gin shut the door, his bag of groceries in hand. He watched her drive off and waved until she turned the corner.

For some reason he felt like he'd just lost the girl of his dreams…

Gin sighed quietly, memories floating through his mind as he turned to head back to his apartment. He barely noticed the rain that pelted him from above, ruining the beauty of the snow around him.


END.