Christmas Nightmare
~Unexpected Guest~

As he lay in his inner world, resting, and enjoying the fact that it was a plain once again, and not a desert, he felt his body becoming less tiered, yet this was hard to go away. While it was no longer comprised of sand, his world definitely was still a tad warmer then he would have liked it to be. This caused him to curl up further into Hyorinmaru's coils.

Suddenly, the dragon nudged him. "It is time to wake up."

"I really don't want to," Toshiro stated, his tone quite calm. "It's nice and bright in here. Out there, the world is dim."

"That is because that is the way you choose to see it, not that is the way that the world is. You can't go and hide from things, that's what Hinamori-san did, remember?" the dragon nudged him again.

"All right, all right…" the boy stated, suddenly sitting up, his eyes opening to a world.

"Hey… kiddo. Good, you're awake. We're at our stop, and need to get off," Gin stated, his hand on his far shoulder, trying to wake the boy up. This caused the small taicho to sit up, realization hitting him, he had been curled up to the man's side, as he slept. This caused him to jerk away in shock, only to have Ichimaru stand up, and pull him after him, and off the bus.

The shock of just waking up, still wasn't lost on him, and he rubbed his eyes, trying to erase that dull feeling, and simply let Gin pull him all the way to Urahara's shop, and simply walk in. At this, he felt Jinta's eyes on him, as the red head was forced to sweep the floor. "What the hell…"

This caused Toshiro to try to turn towards the boy, only to find his left sleeve being held onto tightly by Gin, which he hadn't noticed before. However, the man's hands carefully turned him, and Ichimaru shook his head, indicating that a confrontation should be avoided. From the corner of his eye, he jaw Urahara's associate tense, only to have the shop owner speak up.

"Hitsugaya Taicho isn't feeling good. Ichimaru took him to get some medicine," the man stated, though the white haired boy couldn't see the man's face. "Let him rest… he needs it."

"Did you have a good nap on the bus ride?" Gin suddenly asked, causing Toshiro to tense up, and his face to flush, as the man slid the door open to the room that he had been in before. "Well?"

"I would rather not talk about that," Toshiro took a deep breath. He sat down on the floor, and pulled out one of the tubes and read the cardboard boxes instructions. Or, he tried to, only to have it grabbed by Ichimaru. The man then handed the whole thing back to him.

"I'll be right back. Don't put it on, until I get back," Ichimaru stated, causing Toshiro's eyes to go wide.

"You are kidding, right? What about privacy?" the boy stated. "I am not a little kid!"

"You still need to sponge bath the areas that the rash is on, before you apply that stuff," the man stated, heading out the door. "And before you argue that I should leave you completely alone, you'll need help with your back. Unfortunately, you also happen to have it all over your body, so you're also going to have to strip down to your underwear."

At this, Toshiro cursed his luck, pulling his shirt over his head. By the time that Gin had gotten back, he was down to his underwear, glaring at the rash spots. Some were a little bit pussy, where the thorn had dug in deep. He heard the bowl of water set down next to him. He made no move to start doing anything though, as his mind was still numb.

"Shiro-chan?" He felt Gin place a hand on his shoulder. As Toshiro absentmindedly reached up to itch, he grabbed the small hand. He then saw the man move to one side, and begin to wipe of the arm that he had grabbed with a soft, damp cloth. "If you don't do it, someone has to do it you know…"


It took time, for Matsumoto to get permission to go to the living world. As her captain was away from the division, and had been gone for what was now over twenty-four hours, her concern had grown. She had received a text from Rukia, that he was with Gin, of all people, and her heart became suddenly worried. She had an idea that it had something to do with the fact she felt she couldn't trust Gin.

When she finally had received the permission, she headed through the gate, and ended up in the yard of the candy shop. She saw Jinta sweeping furiously outside, and tilted her head at this. "Hey… have you seen taicho?"

Rangiku watched, as Jinta stopped, his lips pursed closed. Something was bothering the boy. "He's…"

"Come on… out with it," the woman sighed. "I am worried enough about him as it is."

"Well. I saw him get back somewhere, with that scary looking guy. The one with the fox like face," the boy glanced at the ground.

"That's good. The man's name is Ichimaru Gin," the robust female knew something else was there. "And…"

"Ichimaru was pulling Hitsugaya Taicho along by his sleeve. That isn't like him. Urahara said something about medicine. But…" Jinta let out a huge sigh. "That freaky guy mentioned something about stripping down to underwear."

"Did he?" Matsumoto's voice suddenly turned like that of a feral cat. She stormed into the shop, Jinta following behind her. "Urahara… explanation?"

"Matsumoto?" the man suddenly fell off where he had his feet propped up on the counter. "I didn't expect to see you. You're… rather protective of your small taicho."

"And why shouldn't I be?" the woman stated, suddenly repeating what she had just been told.

This caused the man to glare at Jinta, indicating that he should leave. When the boy was gone, his tone turned a bit on the dark side. "Your small taicho, happened to have a case of poisoning, from an attack of one of the Arrancar. She used a vine attack with thorns. Unfortunately, he… also had an allergic reaction to the vines. He has a rash… all over his body. That's what Gin is helping him take care of."

"I see…" Matsumoto nodded her head, and headed towards the room that she could feel the rieatsu of the two males. She opened the door to the room. "Taicho…"

In front of her, she saw her small taicho, silently letting Gin put some sort of medicine onto the boy's rash. The child was complacent, simply letting the man do what he needed, which wasn't usual. When Toshiro heard her voice, he was startled from his trance and glanced up, his eyes wide from the shock that had come from hearing her voice.

"Ichimaru… I can take care of this, would you please leave?" Rangiku tilted her head, over her shoulder.

She watched, as Gin suddenly cocked his head at her, tilting it and opening one eye. "You sure you know what you're doing?" However, he didn't object, and simply got up, and walked to her door, handing her the tube of ointment. "There is something I need to talk to you about in a bit."

"I really don't want to talk to you," the female sighed, closing the door behind him, as he left. She then went over to where her small taicho sat, and began to wash off his small back. She couldn't help but wince at the amount that covered his body. "Hey… taicho, has he been treating you all right?"

Toshiro's next movement, suddenly caught her off guard, as he suddenly leaned backwards, his head tilted so he could actually look her straight in the face. His eyes were odd, a bit on the wide side, a bit of his actual physical age showing through. His mouth twitched, showing that quite a few thoughts, and perhaps emotions were going through his head. She also saw a bit of glistening in his eyes, almost as if he was upset of something.

"Has he done something to you?" Rangiku asked, concern in her voice, wondering what being with Gin for as long as he had, which very few people rarely could do, had done to him mentally. "Has he said anything, that hurt your feelings, that insulted you?"

This caused his suddenly to refuse to look into her face, which he had done, surprisingly, for a few minutes, almost as if he was looking for her to give him some kind of awners. "Gin… no… it's not really what he said or did that I am upset about."

"I see," Matsumoto began to place the ointment onto a few spots on his back. She had been used to him pulling away from her at times, but for some reason, this time it seemed more purposeful, then from his usual subconscious embarrassment.

"Matsumoto," came his voice, as he suddenly pulled his legs to his chest , and held them there. She let out a small sound, indicating that she was listening. He then asked a question, that she hadn't expected him to suddenly ask, and hoped would never crop up again. "Why do you always forget about my birthday?"

"Taicho…" the female suddenly tensed up, wondering how to answer his question.

"Can I have an answer?" the small boy stated, his chin resting on his knees.

"I told you… I thought that you didn't care for your birthday," the female stated, letting out a sigh, her administration of the medicine ceasing.

"Are you telling me the truth?" Hitsugaya's tone was distant, filled with grayness, emitting a lack of sincerity to his words.

"Am I telling you the truth," Matsumoto suddenly paused, closing her eyes.

"No… you aren't telling him the truth," Haineko suddenly spoke up, from the back of her mind. "You think he's picking up on it?"

"Taicho… look, if there is another reason, it isn't really something you need to know about," Rangiku stated, not wanting to tell him about the past.

However, this suddenly caused him to bury his head, so that only his white hair was visible. His voice was almost chocking. "Leave…"

"Taicho…" the female was suddenly shocked, at his reaction, and pulled away slightly.

"I hate you…" came the even more expected words. His body had tensed up. "I want… Gin… to help me."

"Taicho… you don't mean… I mean, I understand that you want Gin to help you, I am a female after all. But… that other thing… you didn't mean that, did you?" her voice shock, the first thing he had said hurting deeply.

"I… hate… you," came the rather childish reply, one that she never thought she would hear her taicho doing or saying to someone. "Leave… now."

"All right…" she stated, getting up, and heading to the door, and opening it, to slide through, and close it behind her.

"That was, rather quick," Gin stated, leaning against the wall, only to find the tube of ointment shoved into his chest.

"What did you do and say to him Gin?" she stated, finally using his first name. Tears were welling in her eyes.

"What did he tell you?" Ichimaru's eyes suddenly opened, a bit of concern in his voice, almost as if he wanted to have control over something, but that it had possibly escaped him.

"He told me, he hates me, and wants you," Matsumoto stated, her eyes closing, and a few tears streaming down her cheeks.

"Ran… he's starting to hit puberty. Perhaps it is because he's starting to notice females more, is all," the man stated.

"I don't know how you could make a judgment like that, when you haven't been around for so long," Rangiku stated. "He hates me, because I forget about his birthday. I mean, something as trivial as that!"

"You of all people, should know, birthdays mean a lot," came the sigh. "It isn't something that is trivial. Let me try to fix this…"

"By telling him the truth!" Rangiku verbally slapped him, though he paid it no mind. "I don't believe it to be your place to tell him, when it is between him and me. What exactly was it you wanted to talk to me about?"

"About that truth…" Gin stated, only to have the female stick her hands up in the air.

"You really are a baka, aren't you, so called genius because you graduated in a year's time," Rangiku shook her head at him. "I don't want to talk to someone about that, who didn't even care that our baby died. Such a person also doesn't have the right, to tell him the truth, do you?"

"No… look, I'll go take care of this," Ichimaru sighed.

"Promise me, you won't tell him, that I avoid his birthday because of the fact my little one was supposed to be born on that day," she stated, turning away. "And if you make things worse… just… don't make things worse."

"I can promise you, I won't tell him that is the reason that you avoid his birthday, but if he asks, I won't lie to him either," Gin stated, as she suddenly moved away, trying to get away, before she completely lost it.

As she did, she thought she could hear something along the lines of "chibi-taicho, what have you gone and done this time?"

Author's note – There were a few reviewers who noticed, Toshiro seemed to take it… rather well, last chapter. Stubborn Toshiro is using Toshiro logic, is the best way to word it.