Wow, I gotta be on crack to be writing this. Anyways, read, review, and enjoy, as its part of Ichigo crack pairings series. Enjoy this oneshot quickie!
The man rolled out of bed with barely a grunt. The thin light of the sun shone through the blinds, which he angrily closed with a weary slap of his hands against the window.
After a few moments of fumbling around in the dark, he finally found his kimono and haori, and after a few seconds of terse silence, there was a soft swishing sound, indicating that he had donned said garments.
He doused his face with cold water, strapped the large, cleaver-like blade to his back, and groaned as the lights flickered on, nearly rendering him blind from the intense glare.
The face that greeted him in the mirror was a worn one, chestnut brown eyes lined with stress, strawberry blonde, spiky hair, matted down, in the classic form of a bedhead.
"Kurosaki Ichigo-taichou!" The loud sound of knocking, accompanied by a cheery female voice called. "It's time to get up! We have our mission in the real world today!" Again, the man winced, futilely clasping both hands over his ears when the incessant din did not cease.
"Yare, yare, keep it down, will ya, Hinamori?! I'm up! Just gimme a cup of coffee! AND STOP BANGING ON THE DAMN DOOR!"
When the pounding quited, and her footfalls faded away in the opposite direction, the captain groaned once more. Briefly glancing over his lavish quarters, he allowed himself a soft, nostalgic sigh as his gaze rested upon his most cherished possession.
A faded, worn photograph of him and his friends, filled with so many memories, both happy and sad, but mostly sad, as he recalled what the war had taken from everyone. They weren't dead, but with the war tilting in Aizen's favor, and with their hometown in shambles, it really felt as if they were. Quietly, Ichigo approached it, frowned, and rubbed off a spot of dust on its glass frame. Silently, he set it down, exhaling angrily as he did so.
A throbbing vein appeared on the captain's temple. Whirling around, he all but screamed at the top of his lungs.
"DAMNIT MOMO! I'M-
Kurosaki Ichigo felt the words die away in his throat. He wanted to reprimand his lieutenant for sneaking up on him, something she'd picked up from Hitsugaya no doubt, and something that continued to irritate him. Instead, he only blinked, now staring blankly at the cup of jo' thrust into his face.
"Thanks." He forced himself to scowl instead of smile, and took the steaming cup from her dainty little hands.
"Shall we go?" She beamed up at him, her once dull orbs now full of lively life and laughter.
Ichigo stared at her for a moment longer, and she blushed.
Hinamori had come a long way since Aizen's betrayal. No longer was she the weak, desperate little girl that still clung to the hope that her beloved Aizen-taichou would return. When the battle had began to go south, Aizen had started with the lieutenants first, cutting them down, one by one. Hinamori had been his third victim, her eyes going wide as her beloved captain seized her by the throat and prepared to drive Kyouka Suigetsu through the supple flesh of her stomach.
That had all changed when Ichigo burst out of the garganta, catching Sosuke's blade with his own, just before it could claim her life. That event had planted a seed in the heart of Hinamori Momo, and that seed would soon become something wonderful in the coming years of the war.
They still hadn't won. In fact, Aizen and his newest set of espada were systematically demolishing the Sereitei one by one, whenever they engaged each other. The key exceptions had been for the vizards, and Yamamoto-taichou. And thanks to Ichigo's new powers, horrible, arcane abilities that far surpassed those of a shinigami or hollow, Aizen was now hesitant to invade Karakura Town, though it was ripe for the picking.
In the coming months, Kurosaki had, albeit reluctantly, accepted a position as captain, as had a few of the ex-captains amongst the vizards. Kensei Mugurama was more than willing to take his place as captain of his old division, with a slightly sulking Mashiro dropping to third seat, pending Tousen's death at Hisagi's hands.
Rose had accepted his old division as well, and Love, though he had to be coerced by Kensei, reluctantly resumed his duties as squad seven's taichou, thusly replacing the deceased Komamura Sajjin.
Shinji Hirako, however, had been the exception. That goofball wanted nothing to do with his former captaincy. Which of course, left an opening in the recently filled ranks of the Gotei Thirteen. And thusly, they had approached Ichigo Kurosaki, the only one to hold his ground against Aizen, AND emerge unscathed.
He hadn't wanted to either, but he had, for the sake of keeping his town safe. The transistion from substitute soul reaper, to fifth squad captain, had been seamless. Momo took to Ichigo like a fish to water, and there was shock and surprise throughout the ranks.
Even Toshirou was speechless.
Now, all vizards, Kurosaki included, were given the once dull duty, now turned potential suicide, duty of reconaiisance. Lieutenants' were allowed to accompany them, but at their own risk.
Now, Ichigo nodded, reaching forward to clasp Momo's palm in his own. As he did so, a faint gleam could be seen, beneath their intertwined fingers, just for a moment, then the engagement ring was once more lost from sight.
He could lose her at anytime, he knew this. This war had already taken so many friends from him, and it could take her away, just as easily, just as suddenly. But he wouldn't allow it, he would let it happen. He would protect her, he would always protect her. Nothing could defeat him.
Ichigo gripped her hand tighter, and before Momo could ask what he was doing, he pulled her forward. She gave a slightly startled squeak of surprise, turning into a groan midway through, as his tongue ran over hers, only to dar away just as quickly, before she could hope to respond. It was a brief kiss, but his feelings were conveyed nonetheless, as he pulled her into his chest.
She buried her head into his robe, fisting his haori in her hands, and he arched an eyebrow.
"Hey, didn't you say we had to get going?"
But Momo only held him all the tighter. She raised her gaze to meet his then, and for the first time in three years, tears glimmered in her eyes, her lower lip already beginning to tremble. Her voice was weak, cracking, barely held together.
"Ichigo...I'm scared. We're going after an espada this time. What if-
'I'm scared too.'
But he didn't say it. How could he tell her that just the thought of losing her left him paralyzed? He was terrified, terrified of losing her, and he was afraid, afraid of what could happen, always dreading the next sunrise, and the danger it would bring. But instead, he ran a hand through her hair, and began to fiddle with the bun she had styled it into, coarse fingertips seeking the ties that held it up. The pins slowly clattered to the floor, leaving the long black locks to pool around her.
He set the mug down, and placed his hands on her shoulders then, and her eyes widened slightly. He didn't reassure her, didn't say that he'd never let anyone hurt her, in fact, he barely even spoke. Instead, he allowed a smile to flow across his face.
"Well...I guess the espada's going to have to wait then, huh?"
"You heard me."
Hinamori already knew what was happening, as her hands found their way under his shihakusho. Ichigo-taichou wasn't as adept as Aizen when it came to verbally reassuring his allies. He'd learned that actions spoke louder that words, and these actions spoke only of reassurance, and the utmost, tender love. She whimpered softly, gasping as his fingers ran over the now bare skin of her shoulders, only to pull away seconds later.
"C-Captain, the door...
Ichigo glanced towards the still open frame then, scowled and muttered some obscure kido under his breath, even as his haori and Zangetsu were shrugged away, sliding back off his shoulders.
And the door closed, cutting off all light in the room.
That morning, Hinamori Momo was reassured.
Whatcha think? Review please!