Under One Roof
Toshiro glanced at the house before him from his perch on a tree. He was being sent to the human world way too often. Last time he was here, he had promised a certain ex-Captain that he would visit. It was night now and most people would be asleep, which meant that Toshiro could say a quick "hello" to Isshin without alerting Karin. Ichigo was off Hollow fighting.
He waited stealthily to make his move, unknowing that his plan was destined to fail. The reason for this came in the form of a surprise kick to the back by Isshin Kurosaki. Toshiro was thrown from the tree and hit the ground below him. His former captain landed beside him successfully, dressed in full Shinigami attire.
"Hey, there, little punk," he greeted.
He was greeted in return with a swift punch to the face. Isshin laughed as he took it full on. Once the damage was done, he removed Toshiro's hand and grabbed him around the waist. The white-haired boy protested, squirming like crazy, but could not break free and was dragged into the household, scowl evident.
"Captain Isshin!" he argued. "Put me down! I'm not a little kid!"
"Hm, did you say something, Shiro?" the man teased. He dropped the boy nonetheless.
"I didn't come visit to get harassed," Toshiro muttered.
Isshin raised an eyebrow and smirked. "You should have known better," he teased. "Or did you forget all about your old captain?"
"How could I forget the one who plagued my nightmares for years?" Toshiro retorted.
"Aw, I wasn't that bad!" Isshin said, pushing off the mild insult. "So, how are things in Soul Society?"
"Chaotic as usual," the present captain of Tenth reported. "Matsumoto's still not doing her paperwork."
"Oh, how is Rangiku?"
Isshin chuckled, saying, "Well, what else did you expect?"
"True," Toshiro agreed unhappily. "What about here? I was called over due to more Arrancar encounters."
"Eh," Isshin answered, "just a few strays. Earlier experiments, I guess. Nothing too strong."
Toshiro nodded. "Is that where Ichigo is now?"
"Yup." The former captain smirked. "He still doesn't know."
Toshiro rolled his eyes. "How much entertainment have you gotten out of that fact over the years?"
The older man suddenly stopped and quirked his head toward the stairs. "Looks like we have company," he noted.
"Hey," Karin called, clomping downward, "What's all the commotion about down here?"
Her eyes went wide when she saw Toshiro. Man, was she lucky that she slept in sweats and not some frilly nightgown like Yuzu. Otherwise, this would have been mortifying.
"Toshiro?" she wondered. "What are you doing here? It's past midnight."
"Is it too much to ask to be called 'Hitsugaya', at least?" he sighed. "And I was sent by Soul Society---again---because there was some unusual Hollow activity. I was outside when I was attacked by this lunatic." Toshiro pointed to Isshin, who only grinned like the madman Toshiro just accused him of being.
"Well, you two have to be quieter," she reprimanded, "or else you'll wake up Yuzu. In fact, I can't believe she's not already awake."
"Karin, Yuzu can't hear us, remember?" Isshin prompted, motioning to his Shinigami appearance.
"I wish I couldn't hear you," she snapped. "I'm going back to bed."
"Aw," Isshin whined. "You don't want to stay and chat with me and Shiro?"
"I won't know what you're talking about, anyway," she reasoned.
"Hm, one day I'll have to show you the photo album," Isshin thought.
Toshiro's face started to redden, knowing exactly which photo album he was talking about. "No, you will not."
At seeing Toshiro's expression, Isshin's grin grew wider. "Actually, I think that's a splendid idea," he continued. "I should go and get it right now." He taunted Toshiro by taking a step down the hall.
The boy's face turned a shade of red Karin had as of yet to see as he growled, "No!"
"Oh, yes," Isshin teased, taking another step.
"Don't or I swear I'll go Hyorimaru all over your face," Toshiro threatened.
"You forget, little punk, that I was a captain as well and have years more of experience," Isshin said haughtily. "Besides, won't it be fun to remember the good old days? Like the first day you joined the squad and that time when…"
Isshin was cut off by the young captain tackling him. Toshiro, despite his small stature, was able to push Isshin to the ground. The boy tried to get another hit to the man's face, but Isshin caught it and shoved Toshiro off of him.
"Show me how good you've gotten, little punk," Isshin challenged, drawing his zanpaktou.
Hitsugaya was about to lunge at the man again, sword in hand, but found arms around his waist holding him back.
"Break it up!" Karin ordered, struggling with restraining Toshiro. "We can't afford to have anymore walls smashed through. The police are starting to get suspicious. Plus, beating on my Dad is my job."
"Five seconds," Toshiro argued, desperate to have a go at his former captain. He struggled harder and was about to break her grip when they were interrupted.
"What the h--- is going on?" Ichigo demanded from the front door in full Shinigami attire with his hand still on Zangetsu's hilt.
The small group stared at him, frozen for a second, before Isshin spoke up.
"Hey, there, Ichigo!"
"Dad?" the carrot top asked. "Hey, you aren't supposed to be able to see me! And why are you dressed like a Shinigami? And why is Toshiro here and looking like he's about to strangle you? And Karin…"
"That's Captain Hitsugaya to you!" Toshiro snapped, breaking out of his momentary stupor and out of Karin's grip.
Ichigo ignored him. "I want an explanation."
"Well…" Isshin started, "Not sure quite how to explain it."
"How about starting with the fact that you're a former Shinigami captain," Toshiro suggested snappishly.
"Yeah, that would be a good place to start," Isshin agreed, rubbing his chin.
Ichigo balked. "What?! And you never felt the need to tell me?" he screamed. "Old man, I swear, I'm going to go Zangetsu all over your face."
Isshin started bursting out into laughter. "Funny," he remarked. "Toshiro said the same thing just a minute ago, except for the 'Zangetsu' part, of course."
"And I'll hold to it if you don't start talking, goat face," Ichigo threatened.
"You know, this would be so much easier if I could just go get the photo album…" Isshin said, starting to walk away again.
Karin couldn't stop Toshiro from tackling her Dad this time. "No photo album!" the boy shouted.
Toshiro was pulled back by Ichigo this time.
"Let me go, Kurosaki!" the icy captain protested. The grip Ichigo had around the boy was stronger than the one Karin had. It was also difficult seeing as Ichigo was much bigger.
"Be right back," Isshin promised, dashing off with a wild grin.
The temperature dropped as Toshiro was defeated.
The whole story was explained to Ichigo with proof given from the pictures in the album. Toshiro sat far away from the group, pouting and muttering the occasional threat under his breath. Several times his hand had twitched to Hyorinmaru's hilt. It only got worse when Isshin kept showing the pictures of Toshiro when he was younger, most of which were him glaring at either Matsumoto or Isshin. Ichigo had no problems with laughing out loud, but Karin had some semblance of respect and tried to stifle her giggles.
Finally, Isshin shut the book. "And that's the story."
Ichigo pouted for a minute. "Why am I always the last one to find things out?" he asked.
"Do you really want an answer to that?" Karin wondered.
The older brother scowled at her before a new idea crossed his mind, making him smile. He turned to the young captain, who was not in the best of moods. "At least I wasn't always a stiff, though."
The younger boy shot out of his chair and crossed the room.
"Where are you going?" Isshin wondered.
"I'm leaving," he barked.
"Come on, Toshiro," his former captain persuaded. "Can't you take a joke?"
The boy scoffed. "Goodbye, ex-Captain Isshin." He vanished.
The three members of the Kurosaki family stared at each other for a moment. Finally, Isshin sighed.
"I'll go talk to him," he said. "If I know Toshiro, he's probably on a roof somewhere."
Toshiro sat on the top of a small building, head rested on his knees. Why did his former captain have to be so annoying sometimes? Not to mention embarrassing. Couldn't he tell that Toshiro really didn't want him to show that photo album? "He just doesn't know when to stop."
"Or you just don't know when to start," Isshin said from behind him. Toshiro refused to look at the man as he sat in the spot beside the icy captain. Isshin stared straight forward as he continued. "When are you going to learn to have a little fun?"
"When you learn to be serious," Toshiro retorted.
"I am now, aren't I?" Isshin asked. He placed a warm hand on the child's shoulder. "What happened to you since I left? Sure, you were a little cold, but you weren't this bad. Not once have I seen a real smile from you since our reunion."
"I've grown up," Toshiro defended.
"No," Isshin argued, "you've gotten boring."
"Who are you calling 'boring'?" Toshiro snapped, glaring at his former captain.
"The little brat next to me who keeps claiming to be an adult, but doesn't even know how to have fun," Isshin retorted icily.
Toshiro froze, blue-green eyes glimmering with a speck of hurt, before glancing away. "I know how to have fun."
"Then come back and act like it," Isshin demanded. "Stay the night. Be a kid for once in your life."
"I don't want to," Toshiro muttered.
"Because I don't, okay?!"
Isshin looked taken aback, but his expression quickly melted into a smile. "There's the little punk I know and love." The man pulled his successor against his shoulder.
"Go back home, Captain Isshin," Toshiro said, holding back a yawn. "Back to Ichigo and Karin and Yuzu. They're your real family."
"You listen to me, Toshiro Hitsugaya," Isshin scolded. "They may be related to me by blood, but you're just as much a part of my family as they are. Got it?"
Toshiro nodded sleepily, on the verge of passing out.
"Do you remember what I used to tell you?" Isshin questioned. "I used to tell you that even when I wasn't your captain anymore, I wouldn't stop looking out for you as if I was and that you could come to me for anything. That still applies. So, go to sleep before I knock you out myself."
Isshin smiled when he got no answer in return. Gently, he lifted his former subordinate into his arms and glided back across Karakura town. Even now, it seemed Isshin's laid-back reiatsu could ease the boy into slumber land.
Isshin reentered his home and saw Ichigo waiting for him.
"Karin's asleep," the orange-haired boy informed, now back in his body. He stared at Toshiro.
"Good," Isshin commented. "Now you do the same. I'm gonna stick little Shiro here in the guest bedroom. Goodnight, Ichigo."
"Yeah, night, Dad," Ichigo responded. He smirked. "Night, Toshiro."
Isshin passed his son and traveled down the hallway. He placed Toshiro gently in the guest bed, giving his snowy hair an affectionate ruffle. He smiled. If only Rangiku and Masaki could be here. Their big happy family would be complete. But for now, having his four children under one roof was good enough for him.
Disclaimer: Why would I be on here if I owned Bleach?
Yep, this was the sequel to Family Titles. I wrote this because of a conversation I was having with Yemi Hikari.