I do not own Bleach.

Shinji x Hiyori

Chapter 1 Descendants

The weather was cold; the chilly wind swept across Hiyori's face as she walked down the street under the dark, starry night. Hiyori saw a few decorations made in regards to Christmas, which was just around the corner. She lonely stared at a colored, small light bulb dangling at the tip of the tree. The snowman had a black hat on with a carrot smile on its face. Next to the snowman stood a fake reindeer, it head vowing down to the ground. The cold wind, again, penetrated Hiyori's face, down through the very core of her skin, sending a jolt of shiver to her body. Hiyori covered her face with her favorite brown-pleated scarf that Mashiro gave her last year as a Christmas gift.

'Time's gone fast,' thought Hiyori as she slowly strolled to her house.

70 years had passed since the unforgettable incident at Seireitei.

Despite the relatively long time that elapsed quickly, she could still remember every bit of her emotion and memory when she began to transform into a hollow. The more she thought of it, the more the fragments of dreadful memory popped up.

Hiyori stopped thinking right away to avoid excruciating mental pain that recalled bad times. Instead, she picked up the pace to the Vizard's house, where she'd only belong to forever until her death, if there was one.

The door slammed shut as Hiyori took off her shoes and slipped into her house sandal. When she raised her head, she could see Shinji looking at her down as if asking, "Why did ya roam around the town like a lost cheetah till this hour again?"

"What, dickhead? Yer trying to pick a fight?" spoke Hiyori, who obviously didn't understand Shinji's feelings.

Hirako Shinji. The man whom Hiyori never forget, whom Hiyori would always remember subconsciously, for she had given him a permanent scar across his chest back when she just had transformed into a hollow for the first time.

"Yer late again," said Shinji, still fixing his gaze on Hiyori's eyes. Feeling awkward, Hiyori immediately shunned his gaze and passed by him to get a glass of water. She could hear him behind her, asking, "Why yer late? What did ya do till now without any notice? Ya just disappeared in the morning. For what?"

As she poured water to a cup, she quietly answered,

"That's none of ya business. It doesn't concern ya."

Until she finished drinking water, Shinji remained silent. When she put the cup in the sink, Shinji came to her side and stood without a word. Hiyori realized he was intentionally standing in front of her to hear what she'd been doing. She shouted,

"Outta my way, dickhead!"

Shinji didn't move an inch, keeping his grim expression on his face.

"Ya didn't still answer my question, blockhead."

Hiyori glared at him as meanly as she could, but couldn't look into his eyes for long, for Hiyori saw blazing fire in them.

Hiyori loathed the fact that Shinji was the only one who was able to detect whether she was lying or not; he was insightful and keen. It was unnecessary to ask why he had Aizen as his lieutenant when he was in Soul Society.

"Why do I have ta answer yer question, dickhead?" screamed Hiyori, her patience running out.

Again, Shinji kept silence. In contrast to his reserved attitude, his eyes were full of curiosity and a bit of frustration: he didn't understand why Hiyori didn't tell him what she had done till this hour. Not only that, it was very rare for Hiyori to keep secrets from him. He thought that he and every Vizard member, was her comrades. To be frank, he secretly claimed himself little bit more precious to her than every one else, considering the fact that he had been her slave and involuntary (although it was voluntary in a way) guard when whatever tried to harm her. As time passed, it reached the point where he truly wanted to know what he was to Hiyori, not as a friend but as 'something' that was above the friend level—as a man, as a...

lover.

A long silence continued. Couldn't stand it anymore, Hiyori told him,

"Fine! I was just wandering around the street, doin' nothin'. Ya know, just looking around what humans do on holiday what they call Christmas."

"It's been 70 YEARS since we had arrived in the human world. Ya couldn't be curious for it like ya haven't seen it for the first time," said Shinji with a mixed feeling of both anxiety and curiosity, emphasizing 'years' when talking.

Frowning, Hiyori shoved Shinji away, trudged to the living room, and comfortably lied down on the big sofa that other Vizard members used for many different purposes (Mashiro used it for her exercising material while Rose deliberately ruined a patch of cloth to learn sewing). Shinji came along like nothing happened. Somehow his presence disturbed her for no reason: 'What does he want from me?' was the only question echoing in her head. To shut out this disturbing question, she closed her eyes and pretended to sleep. A few minutes later, she could hear Shinji's footsteps receding slowly. Fatigue swallowed her very quickly as she loosened herself on the sofa.

***

Hiyori was gone again. However, she was not alone this time. Wearing the special cloak that erased reitsu, Shinji followed her quietly not to get caught. Whenever she made a pace, she checked her back to make sure no one followed her. Shinji was grinning in triumph; the fact that Hiyori couldn't sense him delighted him that he felt he was stronger than her in many ways.

After making a right turn at road A, he could see Hiyori standing before the white, magnificent mansion without a word. At first, Shinji thought she was planning something evil to annoy the residents like she always did when she first came to the human world. Unlike he expected her to be, she looked gloomy; her forlorn glance at the mansion gave Shinji a strange feeling. As he cocked his head more to the right side, he could see a sign that had Sarugaki name on it. He instantly realized right away—this was where Hiyori's family had been 200 years ago.

Although the buildings were renewed, the place where Hiyori resided when she was alive as a human stayed the same. He vaguely remembered her telling him that before she entered Seireitei Academy, she was killed in the human world by a group of samurais in circa 1800. She couldn't meet her family, for she entered Seireitei Academy right after. The name Sarugaki on the sign represented that Sarugaki family lived on and passed the name to the descendants. Shinji now understood why Hiyori was gone everyday recently. Not only that, it reminded him of his human life when he had family—living in a shabby house, working under peasant parents, helping harvesting crops, and raising cows. Shinji found himself saddened by such a long-lasting memory. He studied Hiyori with a pity; then, he went back to their house silently.

***

An hour later, Hiyori came back. This time, Shinji, who was comfortably postured himself on the sofa, didn't bother to ask or talk to her. Hiyori took off her shoes and wordlessly sat right next to him. He felt it was good time to talk to her seriously. He began the conversation,

"Don't carry all the burdens by yerself, dickhead."

"Wha…t?" apparently dazed, Hiyori turned her face to meet his eyes.

"Yer looking for your descendants, right?"

"Huh?! How did ya know…wait, yer following me?" said Hiyori, almost yelling.

Hiyori couldn't feel any particular reitsu around her when she went to Sarugaki mansion as usual. In fact, it was impossible that she couldn't have sensed Shinji's reitsu when he followed her. Without tracking her, there was no way he could have known what she'd been doing.

"Ya wanna know how I knew?" Shinji said as if it was fun.

He grabbed the cloak that sat on his other side showed her the special cloak that Hiyori made based on Kisuke's idea when she was his lieutenant. Hiyori couldn't even think he used it. No, it was foolish not to think that Shinji didn't use it in the first place because when she and Vizard members arrived in the human world, she told everyone to freely use it. Hiyori felt she was fooled by Shinji even though she knew she was foolish. She swiftly reached the cloak before Shinji took it away and ran out of her sight through the backdoor, screaming to her triumphantly,

"Yer blockhead as always!"

Shinji could feel the anger behind him, for he knew Hiyori was running after him like a real cheetah. As he used shunpo, he said to himself,

'Come to think of it, tomorrow is Christmas. What would I give to Hiyori?'

He found the answer.