Back in Soul Society, the snow fell from the sky as Ukitake Taicho headed out from his division. He glanced up at the sky, a weak smile spreading on his face. He then glanced around, to check to see that no one was there to follow him. While his two third division members would have been ecstatic about helping him, he doubted that they could keep this kind of secret.
His feet crunched on the snow, as he headed out, towards the place that Hitsugaya Taicho grew up. His footsteps were light, but his heart felt heavy. The small taicho was not someone who easily cried, or pushed his woes onto other. In fact, if the child hadn't been so distraught when he had gotten the message he sent, he doubt he would have even found out.
The thirteenth division taicho though, found himself startled, as a voice came to him. "Ukitake Taicho? Should you be out in this weather?"
"Ahh!" He turned, recognizing the voice. "Ise Fukutaicho... how are you doing today?"
"I had to console Matsumoto Rangiku, but otherwise I am all right," the woman sighed.
"Let me guess. It has to deal with the fact that a certain, very small taicho, went and told her, he hates her," Ukitake stated calmly, though there was a touch of nervousness that escaped in his tone.
Nanao suddenly found her eyes going wide. "You know about that?"
"About the fact that he did. Yes, he told me himself," Ukitake stated, glancing up at the sky, and opening his mouth to childishly catch a snowflake.
"Well, I hope that you aren't taking his side on this," the female suddenly huffed. "She has a reason for not telling him."
"Telling him what?" Ukitake's ears suddenly perked, only to have Nanao glare at him.
"Gomen... it isn't any of your business," the woman stated. She then changed the subject. "Ukitake Taicho, should you really be out here? What are you doing?"
"I have an errand to run," the man smiled.
"If you need Christmas shopping done, I can do that for you. Just don't tell me what you're getting for you know who, actually, quite a few you know who. I don't want to know. There are quite a few men that I am miffed at right now, including my taicho, as usual. And one of them really isn't a man. He's a little boy," the female stated.
"I might take you up on that offer, but the errand I am running, is for someone else," Ukitake sighed. He tried walking away, only to have the small female fukutaicho hurry after him.
"Well, then I should go with you, or do it for you. You don't need to be out in this weather, with your illness. My taicho, and Unohana would agree with me, and you know it. What is the errand?" the female stated.
"It's an errand for Hitsugaya Taicho actually," the man stepped forward, continuing his way.
Nanao paused still, then hurried to catch up, going to walk backwards in front of him. "But... you yourself know about what he did to Matsumoto Rangiku?"
"I do know very well what happened." Sadness suddenly reflected in the white haired taicho's eyes.
"Then why are you helping him?" Ise continued badgering him.
"Because, if I can confirm what he told me as untrue, he can easily apologize to Matsumoto. I hope, dear Ise, that is good enough of a reason for you," the man stated, walking further along.
However, the woman was not to be thrown off guard. "What about if they are true?"
Ukitake paused, his usual smile leaving his face. "Then things are just going to get much worse between them."
"I am going with you. It has to do with Matsumoto, doesn't it?" the female stated. "She's my best friend."
"And Hitsugaya Taicho has my trust on this one," Jushiro frowned at her. "This is something that should not be getting out."
"But it is about Matsumoto, shouldn't she has the right to know!" Ise was becoming agitated.
"The person who should tell her, is Toshiro if it is false. If it is true..." Ukitake suddenly had a rather dangerous look in his eyes. However, he paused. "If you promise not to tell her, then you can come. What I am going to find out, isn't something she needs to hear from either one of us, but someone else."
Nanao nodded her head in agreement, and followed Ukitake, out into the Rukongai. She glanced around, as they came to a small house, on the edge of a small village in the first district. Ukitake knocked on the door. "Is this perhaps the house of the grandmother of Hitsugaya Toshiro?"
A small voice came from inside the room, and Ukitake gave a smile, and stepped into the room, followed by Nanao, to see a rather short old lady, smiling at them. "I am glad of visitors. I haven't heard from Toshiro or Momo for quite a few months."
"We had a great deal of trouble, and a lot of hurt, that I don't think either one of them wished to bring home to you," Ukitake smiled, taking a seat in front of her, followed by the fukutaicho, who suddenly became nervous.
"The, if you don't mind, remind my grandson, that it hurts me, to see him hurt himself like this. Keeping secrets from me, does him no good," the old woman stated.
"Speaking of him," the man placed his words carefully. "How long have you raised Hitsugaya Taicho? He is well mannered for someone his age?"
"Oh... Toshiro, unlike Momo, who came to me when my daughter died, I've raised the boy since he was an infant, until the shingami took over," the woman stated, a smile on her face. "He is a great joy to me."
"Wait..." Nanao suddenly spoke up. "I thought that he died, then came to Soul Society?"
"No. His father brought him to me as a new born babe. Foolish boy hadn't cut the cord, or cleaned the poor baby. But then, his father, my youngest, was the one who was always different, thought about things differently. Toshiro is much the same way, but... things happened differently." The old woman was suddenly frowning.
"So, his father had the last name of Hitsugaya?" Ise asked, suddenly looking relieved.
"Yes... he had the name of Hitsugaya. Hitsugaya Gin," the woman stated.
"Are you sure, it isn't Ichimaru Gin?" Ukitake suddenly imputed, a bit of worry spreading on his face.
"That boy..." the old woman let out a sigh. "You tell Gin, he'll always be a Hitsugaya. He can't go changing what happened in the past, simply by pretending his name isn't something it isn't."
"And his mother..." Nanao bit her lip, rather upset about the explanation to the whole problem.
"Let me guess. Gin told you that she was dead?" Ukitake brought up. "Hitsugaya already told me. I apologize if I've come across as deceitful, but Toshiro found out recently, from your son, a lot of things. There are, to say the least, reasons why we didn't know whether to trust Gin's word on this."
The old woman shook her head. "I actually understand. I know that my son has a way of hiding the truth from people. Tell my grandson's mother, his fukutaicho, to come and meet me face to face. I've been wanting to meet her, ever since she convinced my grandson what was best for him."
"You... knew..." Ise chocked back.
"On one side, I couldn't convince it. On the other, something told me, Gin didn't want Toshiro to know he was his father," the old woman had a tear suddenly streak down her cheek.
"Did something happen?" Ukitake asked.
"My son has always left money to buy food, leaving so only I would notice him. But when Toshiro was an infant, and when he was really small, he actually showed himself in front of the boy. However, Toshiro's first word ever, was chichi. He said his first word, then a full sentence, about the age of a three year old, in terms of the living world, to Ichimaru. Ichimaru told him to his face, he wasn't his father, which was a lie. I ask that you not tell Toshiro that... let his father tell him," the grandmother stated.
"I won't," the thirteenth division taicho stated.
"But... if Ichimaru Gin loved and cared for..." Ise suddenly closed her eyes.
"My son has said, he doesn't have emotions. Truth of the matter is, he really does. He just never has known how to express them like a normal person. Then again, neither has my grandson. If his mother hadn't found him, I fear he would have possibly headed down the same path as my youngest. So many things, were similar in their lives. But she managed to make the change he needed. He talks about how she saved me, but truth of the matter is, the person she really saved, was that little boy."
"I'll leave you, granny Hitsugaya," Ukitake bowed his head, indicating it was time to leave. He and Nanao walked a ways away, only to have Nanao have to stop. The man turned to her. "You understand, it's Gin who has to tell her?"
"Why him?" Nanao suddenly asked.
"Because Toshiro can't tell her. And... I think that boy desperately wants things to be fixed between the two. Do you understand, Ise Nanao?" Ukitake watched her carefully.
"I do." However, she suddenly found the tears she had been trying to hold back, come flooding forwards, and the normally emotionless eighth division fukutaicho was bawling her head off. The white haired taicho simply sat back, and waited patiently. She finally stopped. "I am so sorry..."
"Don't be..." Ukitake glanced at the sky. "I've been feeling ill about this whole problem, ever since Shiro-chan broke down crying, and told me everything. I had hopped I could tell him, Ichimaru was simply pulling his leg. I felt him lying, would be kinder then him actually having told the truth."
"So then... I don't understand. Shouldn't Hitsugaya Taicho be lashing out at Ichimaru Gin, not Rangiku?" Nanao asked, worry written all over her face.
"He doesn't want to be a replacement for himself," the man sighed, placing his hands in his sleeves.
"You'll have to explain to me, what he meant by that," the female felt some snow fall onto her lashes.
"He feels that Matsumoto was using him as a replacement, for the baby that she lost. He feels that she hasn't told him the truth, because of that. He feels he's an unwanted child."
"I am going to tell Matsumoto..." Ise found herself interrupted.
"Listen. I am going to try to convince her, to tell him the truth. Problem is, the reason she didn't tell him, is she didn't want him to feel that way," the woman stated, tears still falling down her cheeks. Glancing up at the sky. "Did you know, Matsumoto named me the Godmother of the baby she lost? She didn't say much about it, but said she wanted me to be. I think it was some way for her to cope. Does this mean I'm Hitsugaya Taicho's Godmother then?"
"I guess so," Ukitake frowned at this. However, he saw a smile spread over the young woman's face.
"Then, in all this mess, I've found something to smile about," she chocked out.
"We're going to need it," Ukitake sighed.
Author's note – Sorry for not updating in a long time. I've been in the process of moving.