A/N: ((Made a few changes to the AN)) First, this A/N is long. My apologies, but I think there are some things you all need to know before you start reading. First, this story is already over half-written. So, hopefully I'll have weekly updates for you (if I don't, you are welcome to flood my inbox with anything that isn't mean).

I have done an immense amount of research for this. However, since I am not now a mother, nor do I plan to be anytime soon, do know that I may or may not have fully, truly accurate facts. I am, however, an aunt to identical twin girls (whom my sister named Ashlyn and Blaire), so anything that is early or out of place can most likely be attributed to the fact that I am using my sister as a sort of reference. For instance, many first-time mothers cannot feel their baby(ies) until the fifth month. My sister and I were both (internal and external) able to feel her babies in month four, at about 14 or 15 weeks.

But, if you have any questions, I primarily have used this site for reference: www(dot)birthingnaturally(dot)net. Though I am indeed an advocate for pain relieving medications during childbirth (though you couldn't pay me enough to have an epidural, there are other alternatives), and the authors of the site seem to disagree (but I wouldn't swear to that, either), I found it very informative and helpful for someone like myself.

Many of you who follow my writing will find very little of my usual attempts at humor, and this will be your typical "Fairy Tale" romance, with a touch of drama (and not much of that, either). I actually began this in early December last year, a couple months before my sis was pregnant, so, as I said before, some of this may be unbelievably off. I hope not, but, do let me know if you've good reason to believe something I've included is as good as a blatant lie.

Also, for this story, there have been some changes in the structure of Soul Society's governing bodies. I likely won't ever go into detail about that, but understand that it is there. Any questions? Just drop me a line (no, it doesn't have to be a review). Also, because I still occasionally get this, if you don't like my pairings, I don't care. If you don't like my subject matter, I still don't care. However, if something is horribly grammatically wrong, I do care. Please point it out. I will love you forever (you know, that e-Love everyone's been talking about? Lol).

Now that I've rambled on and on, I present you with the story ("Finally, what I actually came here for!"). I hope you enjoy! And, if you find the time, please leave a review to let me know what you think.

Please Enjoy!!
-Rachel Noelle


Prologue (Note: the italicized words in the third paragraph shouldn't be read as stressed, they're only italicized to show that he's speaking of another woman.)

She finally convinced him to go out and drink with her, and they both ended up wasted. He knew, somewhere in the back of his mind, that this wasn't the best idea either of them had ever had. With his recent breakup, and her feelings for a deceased lover from the past, he felt they were using each other for a rebound. And, if he were to be completely honest with himself, it was all very true.

But as she panted and moaned his name lustfully beneath him, all thought but her and his insatiable need to satisfy them both left his mind. They moved in synch, trying to generate as much friction between them as possible. She ran her fingers down his back, digging her nails in, and he buried his face in the crook of her neck, both calling out the other's name as they came together with one final thrust.

Needless to say, sex with her would never have been this good. She was too timid, she barely let him kiss her, much less touch her in some other way. He respected her wishes, and even felt maybe he loved her a bit more for it, but, when he came home to find her in bed with someone else… He realized then why she would not be intimate.

But, he found the respite he had needed for so long with this woman. She let him touch her, caress her, pretend to love her. She even encouraged it. But, it was only meant to last for one night. Maybe someday they would come together again like this, and maybe there could be something more behind it. But, presently, what they had was all either of them needed.

He moved from the top of her to lay beside her in his bed. He knew what the consequences could be, but he decided, in his inebriated state, that he could care less. She appeared to have come to the same conclusion. They cuddled up to one another, sharing one last kiss, and fell to sleep together. Neither cared that come morning, things would return, awkwardly, as much as possible to the way they had been. But tonight they were determined to pretend to be in love, and to pretend that the one they loved, loved them back, and held them in their arms, and all was right in the world.


Amazingly, though the next morning was a bit awkward – as he watched her, his eyes still full of lust and blushing profusely, climb from his bed and dress – when they both appeared at the office, everything still felt comfortable. She greeted him as usual, with her hug nearly suffocating him, he fussed as always, demanding she do her paperwork. It seemed she was happier than he could remember her being in some time now. She hummed a fun little tune as she plowed through as much of the horrendous paperwork as she could force herself to do.

They did not always work the first Saturday of the month, but since Ukitake's takeover as soutaicho everyone worked to catch up with the new paperwork. Before long, Matsumoto stood from her desk, yawning, "I'm sleepy, Taicho. I think I'll fix some tea, maybe the caffeine will help wake me up?" Hitsugaya rolled his eyes. She was already making excuses, and she had only been working for maybe half an hour. "Do you want some, too?" she offered as she stepped into the kitchen.

"Yes, if you don't mind," he looked up long enough to meet her eyes; he held her gaze for a long moment. In that one look, Hitsugaya saw that Matsumoto, too, was determined not to let their friendship be ruined because of something they'd done, both willingly, although both intoxicated and not thinking clearly. He sent a silent thanks her way, and when she smiled, he knew she understood.

And, as if second nature to them – which, given the time they had been together, side by side, supporting their best friend like this, it was second nature – they fell quickly back into a pattern they found familiar and welcoming. The last five years, since the war, brought them closer together. Everyone else could see it, but those in love are always blind. As the days passed, they basked in the glow of an unnamable relationship, their bonds unknowingly growing in strength.

Neither paid any mind to the slowly intensifying reiatsu coming from her.