Disclaimer – I do not own Bleach. Fanfic contains spoilers for 354 and 355. Yes, I know 356 is out, but waiting two weeks caused the brain to go overboard, so this is another, the others being so far Solider Boy, Irony of Isshin, and Vaizards are Annoying, at this point spelled wrong, but I am not that worried about it.

Effects of War

Vicious war affects one and all, twisting at not just the body, but also the mind and the psyche. Those that one thought would never change, end up changing. Those who seemed the most stable become in turn the most stable, suddenly having to rely on others when they never relied on others before. Those who were at one point strong, suddenly feel that they are weak, and their mind plays against them.

Within the tenth division offices, the captain of said division sat at his desk, for once not worrying about the paper work that piled up in front of him. Of course, some effects from the Winter War past caused him to have to push the idea of doing the work aside, as no way could he work on the paper work as his physical state was causing problems for him, not to mention his mind kept pouring over the battle he had seen.

Never before had he been effected by the battles he had been in, yet this one time was effecting him more so then ever before. Physically he had never been affected permanently by the battles that he had participated in, but this one time his body now bore the effects of the battle, his weakness seeming to become evident, though somehow he had managed to survive, even come to the point of defeating his opponent.

Of course, the cost of winning was that he had won his life, but ended up losing his right arm, severed to the point that it couldn't be reattached using healing Kido. Nor could it be regenerated by Orihime, as the girl had gone into a comatose state. He also had his pride shattered, as he happened to be the only captain to take such an injury, as far as he knew. The captain of the twelfth division also mocked him about his battle scenario, as if he felt that he could have done better.

While he had proven that, he was more powerful then the Espada that he had fought, he also proved her words correct, that this was all the power that a captain had, or at least the captain that she was fighting. His mind kept drifting back to how he had come to win, and then remembered that he had somehow managed to hold onto his sword with his left hand and let off some attacks on her, managing to land a killing blow.

As he sat in the office, his small left hand went up to his right shoulder, where Unohana had mended his arm so that he wouldn't have to worry about the bone sticking out as if it had been. This site had made his stomach curdle with sickness, causing him to be glad that Momo and Matsumoto hadn't seen him in the condition that he happened to be in.

The white haired taicho's left hand almost touched his right shoulder, but then suddenly yanked back, his mind not wanting to adjust to the pain that was flowing through his young mind, over the ordeal that he now had to endear. Everything around him was now going to change, whether he wanted them to or not.

Glancing at the paperwork piled up on his desk, he wondered how his lieutenant could have left him with all the work. He couldn't say that he didn't mind doing the work, however, there came to be the problem that he was right handed when he wrote and had only bothered to learn sword technique with his left hand. This meant that without his right arm, he couldn't complete the work that was set in front of him.

"You shouldn't be mad at her," came the loud voice of his zampakuto. "If one thinks about it, she may very well be trying to leave things the same so that one doesn't get too upset about things."

The small boys spoke up, speaking aloud. "I am more upset that she is shirking her work."

"She probably, as I said, wanted to make it so that things were normal, not realizing that there were some problems to this strategy, as you can't write any of these documents," the dragon hummed.

"This isn't about me needing help!" A small fist suddenly hit the desk, causing a rattling to be heard from Matsumoto's secret stash of sake. His lip twitched, realizing that she had yet again tried to leave the bottles within the office, which he had a problem with. He carefully got up and began removing the bottles from the small cubby, knowing he should check for hidden catches more often.

"You got distracted," the dragon commented, causing the young boy to nearly jump out of his skin.

"Hmm. As I said before, this has nothing to do with what you said, but the fact that she just doesn't do what I tell her to do," Toshiro carefully piled the bottles onto his desk.

"You do realize you sound like you're talking to yourself," the dragon commented, causing an icy chill to come from the boy as his reiatsu dropped.

"Hyorinmaru, shut up please," the white haired taicho suddenly snapped at his sword. His thoughts began to drift again, to what the Espada had stated, about how his levels were not that great. For Toshiro, that meant not being strong enough to protect those he cared about and this caused him to bite his lip. He reached up to grab the edge of the desk to pull himself up, only to come crashing back down.

"Using just one hand is not the same as both Hitsugaya." The dragon sword sighed, causing the young Taicho's cheeks to turn pink.

"I don't need a lecture from an old codger who has never used a human body before," came his snark reply.

"Oh my… I am so affronted by ones insult," the dragon suddenly roared with laughter.

"Would you just shut up!" the boy yelled, causing some of the lower division members to glance into the room as they walked by, giving him an odd look. However, the cold look that he gave them caused them to scurry off. He then got up without falling this time and slammed the doors shut.

"I would like you to find a way to make me shut up child," the dragon commented slyly. He received no reply from the young one, who instead suddenly grabbed at where his right arm should have been as he thought he felt a bit of pain shoot through. "Perhaps you should see Unohana about that as one has been bothered by these pains for a couple of days now."

"You do know," Toshiro stated, leaning against the door to the office as his eyes drifted to the bottles of sake. "I actually know of a solution to getting you to shut up and to take care of the pain."

"Toshiro… you are too young to drink…" the dragon stated, worry in his voice.

"I am sorely tempted," the boy went and sat down, trying to forget about the idea that had suddenly formed in his head, but another riveting pain went through where his right arm should had been, causing his eyes to close and him to swallow.

"Child… look at what it does to Matsumoto," the dragon commented.

"Matsumoto… she should be here doing her duties and not off drinking. Hell, she shouldn't leave sake in the office in the first place," the young boy stated as he leaned back in his chair, still eyeing the bottles.

"Don't…" his word replied, becoming even more agitated.

"Then will you shut up already Hyorinmaru?" the boy asked.

Instead, his sword went into a tirade. "Shut up! Why should I shut up when all you are doing is sitting here feeling all depressed and not doing anything to help yourself! You also refuse to get help from others when it is obvious even to me that you need the help!"

Toshiro suddenly pulled out one of his cups for drinking tea and opened one of the bottles and poured some sake out. "Seriously, I told you for one thing to shut up and second that I am not upset that Matsumoto isn't here to compensate for me as I am not a complete invalid, but that she yet again left her work for me to do."

"Hitsugaya Toshiro, don't you dare drink that foul stuff!" the dragon protested, only to have the young taicho bring the cup to his lips and take a small sip and swallow.

Hitsugaya at first blinked a couple of times, the taste not at all what he expected. Then a small buzz hit his mind, almost numbing of his senses. This caused him to take another small sip.


Matsumoto had left the office, presumably to go and drink, but more of the case was that she had decided that she needed some fresh air. She had complete faith in her young captain's abilities and had come to know his moods quite well. However, ever since the end of the Winter War, or more of a little bit before the end, he had become quite depressed, something that was worrying her.

She was trying to figure out what to do to bring him out of this depression. For her, drinking some sake was her way out, but her taicho wasn't even in the equivalency of being a teenager yet, so not only was he a minor even in Soul Society terms, he was also too young to start drinking. Thus her mind had to settle on something else to try and cheer him up.

She knew that he wouldn't accept candy, as he thought that doing so made him look childish, so she settled on a watermelon, then headed back to the division quarters. To her surprise though, she was met outside by one of the members of the division, who was quite frantic. The young woman spoke up, slight panic in her voice. "Lieutenant Matsumoto, you have to do something about the captain… especially before he gets sick or in huge trouble with one of the other higher ups."

"What do you mean? Taicho plays by the book all the time," Matsumoto muttered. "That is unless it is something that he absolutely feels needs to be done due to what he feels in his heart."

"This… this isn't one of those times. I was taking paper work to the office, and when I saw him, I knew I had to get you… maybe you can do something…" the young women watched as Matsumoto suddenly shunpooed to the office door and quickly followed her.

When Matsumoto opened the door and saw what had bothered the young shingami, her eyes went wide. "Please go and get Unohana of the fourth division and please do not tell anyone else about this."

At that, Matsumoto carefully walked over to where the young captain was staring off into space, a cup in his hand and a bottle of sake sitting open on the desk. She carefully set the watermelon down, then removed the cup from his hands, frowning that this was one of the ones he liked using for tea. He startled as she removed it and she set it down on the desk. "Matsumoto?"

"Are you trying to get into major trouble with General Yamamoto?" the woman commented quite curtly.

"Yamamoto? Let him have another reason to get rid of me for all I care," the young taicho suddenly bubbled out, causing Matsumoto to grasp his shoulders.

"Taicho… why would he even have a reason to get rid of you?" Matsumoto tried rubbing his shoulders to get him to calm down.

"I am useless now, am I not?" Toshiro commented, then before Matsumoto could interrupt, he continued his little tirade. "I mean, I am the only captain who ended up losing a limb to the Espada. I'm the only one who almost died. I mean, how the hell did I end up becoming captain in the first place… just because I knew Bankai?"

"Taicho… what will Unohana think of this stupidity," Matsumoto sighed. "I've already sent someone to get her."

"So… I was probably a pain in the neck with my injury for her. I mean, she had others, including you and Momo-nee-chan to take care of," Toshiro suddenly slurred out, nearly falling out of the seat.

"How much have you had… you're not calling Lieutenant Hinamori by her last name?" Matsumoto questioned, trying to continue to rub the young ones shoulders, he tone a bit desperate.

"Why shouldn't I call Momo-nee-chan, Momo-nee-chan? Wait… she doesn't think of me as her sibling, does she? When Aizen supposedly died she wanted to kill me," Toshiro bubbled out, causing Matsumoto to glance up to make sure no one was around.

"Look at the Kuchiki sibling relationship… they still address each other as siblings," came the tenth division lieutenants reply, she watched as he suddenly grabbed the glass quicker then she had expected and took another drink.

"Kuchiki is a noble bastard who doesn't know how not to be anything but formal and is yet another prat who shows off his nobility. Kuchiki is lucky that she doesn't have anyone make fun of the idea of them being siblings because she was adopted into a noble family. Momo-nee-chan got made fun of until I stopped addressing her by her first name,"

"The first part, you are so going to be glad that no one overheard that and I won't be one to spread that news for fear of sixth division captain trying to kill my Taicho!" Matusmoto suddenly grabbed the cup from his hand and poured the remaining sake back into the bottle, stoppering it. "And what exactly did you mean by that one?"

"You thought that the reason they didn't give me back the change when we first met was because I was a child. You still think that, don't you Matsumoto?" the young boy commented, turning his face so she couldn't look him directly in the face.

"Taicho… that was rather obvious what was going on," she commented, setting the bottle down, and returning to massaging his shoulders, something when he was sober she wouldn't have been able to do.

"No… if you had been around there, you would have known that I was seen as a jinx. The only people I made friends with growing up were Momo, Granny and Kusaka."

"Kusaka… he wouldn't want to see your life get wasted away like this," Matsumoto suddenly tried throwing something else out as her captain tried reopening the bottle. However, she quickly removed it from his hand and put it out of his reach. However, she found the bottle suddenly grabbed from her hand and flung across the room, the shards scattering across the ground.

"I really should go and pour sake over his grave. He's the one who should have lived and I should have died so long ago… I mean, he wouldn't have messed up like I did," the young boy commented, his eyes beginning to droop.

"Taicho!" Matsumoto suddenly shook him so that he wouldn't fall asleep. "Stay awake… and personally… I don't think he would have even made captain like you did."

"I think so," he muttered.

"What about Kurosaki… if he saw you drinking…" Matsumoto suddenly commented.

"Ichi-nii?" came the sudden reply. "You do realize that his name means one who protects, right? Even I know he's miffed he couldn't do anything about my situation, so don't you dare bring that one up. He thinks that because I am a child that I need to be protected!"

"You… you just called Kurosaki… and you admitted you were a child! How much did you drink!" Matsumoto became even more adjitated.

"A bottle and a half," the young boy commented.

"And you haven't thrown up yet," Matsumoto muttered under her breath.

"So…" Toshiro commented.

"And… hold on, you called him Ichi-nii… not Ichigo-nii," Matsumoto sounded.

"Ichigo nii-san sounds better then that," the boy pushed away some of his white hair from his forehead, his body suddenly feeling warm, which caused Matsumoto to feel his forehead.

"No… I think you picked up Ichi-nii from Karin-chan," the woman commented, suddenly feeling her captain stiffen under the one hand that was still on his left shoulder. "I got a reaction from you."

"Don't you dare say I have a crush on her Matsumoto, because I don't," he commented, trying to turn his face away from her, however only found her forcing him to look at her.

"I'll take it as the fact that your warm as to the reason your cheeks are flushed and not that I am right," she frowned. "What if I were to tell her you suddenly decided to get drunk?"

"No… don't," came his sudden plea.

Matsumoto let go of his chin, allowing him to turn away. "Even though you may not have a crush on her, she and those other children treated you like you were a person. You think of her as your friend, don't you? Especially after what you told me a bit ago about not having any friends and everyone around you treating you the way they did."

"Please don't tell her Ran-chan," the boy muttered. "I promise I won't do something stupid like this again."

"I should hope not, at least until you're much older," Matsumoto suddenly grabbed his chin again. "Don't hate me for doing this taicho."

"Matsumoto, what are you…" the boy started, only to find himself gagging as Matsumoto suddenly shoved her fingers down his throat, causing his eyes to grow mind. His protests were in no way audible, then he suddenly found himself retching all over his desk. "Why…"

"Possibly because you shouldn't have been drinking and we need to get the alcohol out of your stomach so you don't get even drunker," came a small voice from the doorway, causing them both to look up and see the fourth division captain. She carefully spread a blanket that she had brought across the couch. "I can see from your eyes that you are close to passing out, and we don't need you vomiting while you are asleep."

"Apologies for the paperwork taicho too," Matsumoto made a face at the mess that had been caused.

Toshiro just looked at them. "It isn't as if I can sign them with my right hand anymore."

As Matsumoto lifted him up by wrapping an arm around his chest and hauling him to the couch, she blinked a couple of times. "I am so sorry… I really hadn't realized…"

"I told Hyorinmaru that wasn't the reason I was mad at you Matsumoto. I'm mad at you because you took off yet again and you hid sake again," the boy suddenly commented.

"Now, what does your sword say about you being drunk," the fourth division captain commented softly.

"I started drinking to get him to shut up," came the very curt reply as the two women lay him on the couch.

"Oh dear," the older of the two women suddenly had worry in her eyes.

"Taicho… one should listen to the zampakuto,"

Except, he replied back to her, "Matsumoto is one to talk. Matsumoto never listens to her zampakuto. Matsumoto argues so much with her zampakuto that she can't meditate. I wonder if that is why Matsumoto drinks so much sake."

"Taicho, that was mean!" Matsumoto suddenly commented, however, received no response as he had crashed.

"We'll need to take turns watching over him," came Unohana's reply.

"Yes, well would you please take the first shift?" Matsumoto suddenly commented. When she was given an odd look, she suddenly shook her head, tears in her eyes. "I have to go and get rid of all my sake stashes. I can't have this happen again. If I hadn't had this one in the office, then this might not have happened."

"Maybe… or he would have done something else…" the other woman started slowly. "I think quite a few of us are to blame. I should have kept a closer eye on him for depression setting in, but didn't, so do not be so hard on yourself Rangiku."

"I know, but… I can't have this happen again. He may be in charge of the division as the captain here, but I am the adult, not him, so this is my responsibility for once," she commented, gathering the bottles up.

"You know that I can't keep this from General Yamamoto?" the other woman suddenly commented.

"I was afraid that you would say that," Matsumoto suddenly sighed.


Toshiro found his head to be hurting quite a bit when his body finally started to wake up. His teal eyes started to open, the world around him at first starting to feel blurry. He then realized he was on the couch in the office, with Unohana, Matsumoto and the Gotei thirteen General sitting near where he was. His whole body suddenly tensed as he felt Yamamoto's aura change from calm to something rather vicious.

The next thing he knew, he had been hauled into a sitting position by the man, his wrinkled hand holding onto the boys head. One of his eyes opened and he plainly stated, "Do you remember what you did a couple of days ago?"

Toshiro thought for a bit, and then groaned as his sword reminded him and everything came crashing back into his head. "I've been out that long? I can't believe I did something that stupid."

"I can," the general started. "I've actually been waiting for some time for you to do something stupid, not this drastic, but I've been expecting you to do something stupid."

Toshiro glanced away, trying not to look any of them in the face. "I guess I am not fit to be captain, am I?"

"You said that, not me, so don't put words into my mouth, especially when I don't think that," the general suddenly gave him a small smile.

"Hold on… I thought," Toshiro then stopped and glanced at the ground.

"That I perhaps had little faith in your abilities? No, your skill as a captain is very high and still is growing. Not even that battle with the Espada can change the value you've always had, nor ones potential value," the old man sighed.

"That probably still doesn't explain what he means," Unohana gave him a weak smile. "Do you know how worried you've had everyone? I told everyone that you were ill, but not why, other then the general."

"I…" Toshiro gave the three a confused look and found that Matsumoto couldn't look him in the face. "What exactly is my punishment going to be for this whole mess?"

"The punishment that is handed out," Matsumoto suddenly commented, still not looking him in the face. "is that I am on probation for a month of no drinking."

"But I was the one…" Toshiro couldn't continue and glanced again at the ground as the general removed his hand, causing the boy to fall back onto the couch.

"This is the one time where the roles are reversed, Hitsugaya taicho. Matsumoto is the adult, while you are the minor and she should have been not only setting a better example, but it was due to her disobeying of you command to keep sake out of the office that this happened,"

"No… I was the one who made the decision, so she shouldn't be punished," the young taicho closed his eyes.

"Sorry, but I was the one who suggested this," Matsumoto suddenly commented, causing him to turn his head towards her in shock. She still wasn't looking him in the face.

"If it is any consultation, the temporary relief of duty I am placing you on should be good enough punishment, though I think you are one of the few who would find this to be punishment," Unohana suddenly commented. "I have other patients to go and see."

"You were wondering why I was expecting something like this." Yamamoto suddenly spoke up as he too got up with the fourth division captain. "Everyone makes mistakes and even though you have the mind of an adult, captain Hitsugaya, you are still physically and emotionally a child, something I don't want you to lose so soon."

After a few minutes of silence after the two captains had left, Toshiro turned his head to his lieutenant. "Gomen Matsumoto. I didn't wish for you to get in trouble or make you mad at me."

"You think I'm mad at you?" Matsumoto suddenly commented, not looking at him.

"You haven't looked me in the face since I woke up," the boy commented, suddenly closing his eyes. They snapped open as soon as he felt her lifting him into a sitting position, leaning against her, pulling him into her lap, shocking him so much he couldn't say anything.

"I wasn't mad Hitsugaya. I was upset, yes, but not mad," she softly whispered into his ear. "Please don't scare me like this ever again. This was worse when you disappeared on us."

"Gomen Rangiku," Toshiro stated, closing his eyes. "I won't do that again."

"Oh, I have the feeling you won't. I told you, remember, if you did this again, I would tell Karin-chan? And there is no telling if anyone else outside here will find out, as I am rather upset with you and might accidently say something. And the fact that I have a punishment like this…" Matsumoto squeezed him suddenly. "Toshiro… if you ever, ever need to talk to someone, you know that there are people one can talk to, so please try to open up some more."

"You know, Hyorinmaru said the exact same thing," the young Taicho suddenly commented, causing Matsumoto to laugh.

Author's note – I am not condoning over drinking or the drinking by minors here. However, the idea from this story came from all the soldiers I've heard about having problems with war, and I am not just talking about the Iraq war here, but the Korean war and others. I am rather pleased with chapter 356, which is far from as depressing as this fanfic is.