An Icy Bond

Momo huffed. She was being dragged along to World of the Living by Toshiro's side. This, normally, would not be bad. What made it bad was that she was not here to do some real fighting. No, she was here so Toshiro could reintroduce her to the battlefield. Soul Society was worried that if she took up fighting right away, she might injure herself due to lack of recent training. Thus, Toshiro, being the one closest to her, was forced to come to the living world as her guide and mentor.

She stood dejectedly next to the site of a recent battle. Toshiro had just run a hollow through in less than a minute. He landed next to her, sheathing Hyorinmaru.

"Come on, Hinamori," he said, "let's reclaim our gigais."

She was tempted to make childish hand gestures and faces behind his back, but resisted. She knew all of this was just because she was fed up with being treated so delicately. Obediently, she followed her best friend/brother.


Karin took a long swig from her water bottle. Soccer practice had been long and hard. The rest of her team looked as if they would collapse at any given moment. Some of them had already given lame excuses to escape early. Typical. The only ones that were left fled the moment she said "Practice is over!"

The girl gathered up her soccer ball and started up the hill. The sun was going to be setting soon. A smirk always drifted to her lips when she thought of the times she used to see Toshiro there. He went back to Soul Society, though. She knew she'd most likely never see him again, but she imagined him sitting there sometimes in all his white-haired glory.

Today, her imagination seemed particularly strong. It was more on the verge of a hallucination. She could swear she saw him. Shaking her head, she kept walking. It was only from fifteen feet away that she realized it was him. The thing was, there was another girl there and she wasn't his lieutenant, Rangiku Matsumoto. She was a girl a little older than them with neat black hair and perfect skin, sitting like a model on the railing as a slight breeze blew on her sundress. She was…pretty.

For a brief second, Karin considered turning around. However, she put on a straight face and moved forward. This was the fastest way home. It would take her at least ten more minutes to go around. Maybe if she didn't say anything, he wouldn't notice her. Heck, he probably didn't even remember her. Sighing, she glanced up at the sky, wondering why she should even care.

Toshiro was stoic as he sat on the rail next to Momo. He'd had to drag her with him to this spot since he was ordered not to let her out of his sight and he still wanted to watch the sunset. His calm mindset was interrupted by a burst of reiatsu. Glancing toward where it came from, he saw Karin Kurosaki walking their way, gazing upward. Her eyes lowered, widening when she noticed he was staring at her.

"Shiro-chan, do you know her?" Momo asked, wondering what he had to do with this human girl.

For once, he ignored her nickname for him. "Sort of." He stood fully, paying attention as Karin stiffened. Something was wrong. Usually she was very confident in her walk, but now it looked like she didn't want to see him.

Karin expected Toshiro to start walking away. She was probably interrupting his time with his friend---or girlfriend, whichever it was. After all, wasn't watching the sunset together something couples would usually do together? But to her surprise, he continued to stand there and stare with those piercing blue-green eyes.

She walked as far toward the opposite side of the road as she could, giving them their space. She was stopped when he called, "Hello, Kurosaki."

With an awkward smile and laugh, she answered, "Hey, Toshiro."

"Is something wrong?"

Karin finally made eye contact with him. "Um…of course not! You know, just going home. Heh, didn't expect to see you here again. So, uh, who's you're friend?"

Momo brightened at being asked her identity. She was about to respond when Toshrio cut her off.

"Momo Hinamori."

She pouted. "I can speak for myself, Shiro-chan."

"Sorry," he apologized. "And what have I told you about calling me Shiro-chan?"

It was at that moment his Hollow alarm went off.

"A Hollow?" Momo and Karin asked at the same time, surprising each other.

Not missing a beat, he nodded and dropped his gigai. Momo was about to do the same, but Toshiro stopped her. "Stay here," he said. "It's strong. You're not ready yet."

A sigh escaped her as he dashed off without so much as a goodbye.

"Well, nice meeting you, Momo," Karin bid, beginning to walk away. "Tell Toshiro I said goodbye."

"Wait!" Momo called after her. Karin froze in place. Momo continued on. "How do you know Toshiro?"

Karin turned to her and shrugged. "I just met him once a while ago. He helped my team win a soccer match."

"Really?" Momo asked. She paused. "Did…Toshiro say your last name was Kurosaki?"

"Yeah," Karin responded. "Karin Kurosaki. Why?"

"Are you related to Ichigo Kurosaki?"

Karin grimaced. Why did every Shinigami associate her with her brother? Instead of complaining, she replied, "He's my older brother."

"Hm." Now Momo understood. Shiro-chan was interested in her because she was Ichigo's younger sister and therefore had some potential in future Shinigami business.

Karin looked out at the sunset, sad Toshiro was missing it. "So, how do you two know each other?"

Momo smiled softly. "He's kind of like my brother, I guess. We grew up together. He's also one of my best friends, even if he acts like a grumpy old man sometimes."

Karin started to chuckled. "Yeah, that's true." They gazed out at the vibrant sky for a moment before Karin brightened up. "Hey, you wanna play soccer? You know, while we wait for Toshiro."

"Soccer?" Momo asked.

"Yeah!" Karin replied enthusiastically.

"Well, I don't really know much about it…"

"I'll teach you."

Karin smiled widely and Momo gave in. The two girls fled down the hill and back into the field.


Toshiro sped back to the hill, having just finished off the Hollow. It was a powerful one, but he wasn't Captain of the Tenth Squad for nothing. Worry creased his brow when he noticed both girls' absence. He closed his eyes and searched for their reiatsu, finding them not too far away. He changed course and tracked them down.

When he found them, he let loose one of his rare smiles. Both of them were down on the soccer field, kicking a ball around and laughing. He almost didn't want to disturb them, but knew that it was getting dark and Karin probably had to get home. Giving them a few more minutes, he jumped back into his gigai and walked down to where they stood.

He heard Karin shout, "Hey, you're not too bad!"

Momo laughed. "I think it's because I'm a Shinigami."

"Hm, is that why Toshiro is so freakishly good…"

They both cracked up. Toshiro snuck up on them and said, "I don't know, Kurosaki. Maybe."

The girl laughed harder after being caught, her cheeks beginning to turn red.

"Hey, Shiro-chan!" Momo called.

Toshiro sighed. "My name is Captain Hitsugaya."

Momo faked a sulky look. She whined, "Aw, but you let Karin call you 'Toshiro'!"

The boy tried to scowl. "That's because everyone in the Kurosaki family has the inability to call me by my proper title. Besides, I can't tell an average human to call me 'captain'."

"Hey, who are you calling average?" Karin complained with a grin.

Momo giggled. "Two against one, Shiro. You lose."

"Whatever," he sighed, giving up. If Karin ever became a Shinigami, he was in trouble. He'd be getting this all the time. Oh, boy. Maybe he shouldn't have introduced them. But as he looked back and saw their smiles, he found it impossible to truly think that.


Disclaimer: I only wish.

Thank you guys for all of the wonderful suggestions of odd or scarcely used character combinations, by the way. This one was suggested by Yemi Hikari. Thanks!