Disclaimer – I do not own Bleach.
Silliness and abnormality seemed to abound with the gotei thirteen. Around the times that holidays came around, it seemed to be more so than ever. Anyone sane, could expect the insane to come out, more so than fools on a full moon.
Hitsugaya Toshiro was in his office, sorting through paperwork, so that he could rather be free to do what he wanted on the holiday. This was one time he didn't reluctantly take off, as he enjoyed giving his granny Christmas presents.
While he was busy doing work that actually needed to be done, the others in the office actually were not doing anything that was productive, at least productive towards getting the not so fun work finished. He alone was doing that work.
Matsumoto was busy hauling about boxes of Christmas decorations, her eyes full of glee at the prospect of fun this year always brought her. She had about three boxes from storage so far, filled with those weird decorative things.
There was also the freeloader on the couch. The captain of the third division had come for a visit, to see Ran-chan of course. Because she was currently busy, he had decided to take a nap on the couch, meaning the small taicho would have to find somewhere else to take his.
Soon, another visitor popped their head into the office. "Hey… Matsumoto-san? Can I help decorate? Aizen Taicho doesn't let us decorate for Christmas. I'm surprised Shiro-chan is letting you… he's a grumpy humbug."
"It's Hitsugaya Taicho…" Toshiro narrowed his two teal eyes, irritated that Hinamori Momo still refused to call him by his proper title. It was one of those things that went straight over her head sometimes.
"Doesn't surprise me. Aizen-sama has always been by the books, that it has to be a certain way," Gin muttered from the couch, causing Hinamori to jump, having not realized that he was there. It also proved to the youngest there, that he had been awake the whole time.
"Christmas… the idea of it… didn't really come to be common practice, until recently," Matsumoto stated, pulling out garland and lights made by the twelfth division. She stretched them out to inspect for breaks.
"But it is such a beautiful holiday!" Hinamori protested.
"That's why it got so easily adopted, that, and the lieutenant of the first division simply loves Western traditions. I forgot his name though…" Matsumoto suddenly held ornate, metallic balls to her ears, causing Momo to laugh.
"One has to wonder how Santy Clause gets all his deliveries done every year," Gin smirked, still pretending to nap.
"Santa isn't real. You of all people are too old to be believing in this Santa Clause person," Toshiro muttered, annoyed where the subject was heading.
"But Santa is real, Shiro-chan," Momo suddenly commented, causing the younger taicho to look up at her. Her face was all pouty like and her eyes were wide at the fact that he didn't believe.
"He isn't real, Hinamori," Toshiro sighed.
"Yes… he is," his childhood friends insisted. "If he doesn't, who delivers the presents from him… who are they really from?"
"Ukitake Taicho… duh," there was a major case of annoyance.
"Momo-chan, don't mind my taicho. He for once doesn't know what he is talking about," Matsumoto stated firmly. "Being captain for a couple of years has addled his brain a bit…"
This caused Hinamori to stick her tongue out at him. "See, even Rangiku agrees with me, Santa is real!"
Gin sat up at this point, then moved to the door to leave. "Take my advice chibi-taicho, don't argue with Ran-chan. She's always right."
Because Gin had left, Toshiro had been able to go ahead and take his nap on the couch. The room was starting to smell nice, as Matsumoto had put out pine and cinnamon popairi. Meaning that everything was nice and peaceful.
However, the peace was interrupted when, "Ne… chibi-taicho…"
"What is it Gin?" Toshiro asked, rather irritated that the older man felt the need to bother him when he was trying to take a nap.
"Old gramps has given us a special mission," the voice stated in an overly cheerful voice. Toshiro sat up, groaning as he did so, and followed the man first to twelfth division, then to the gate to get to the real world.
"So… what is this mission about?" the small taicho asked.
"This city is called Tokyo…" Gin's smirk grew wider. He then attempted to point at something. "I think that is a hollow!"
Toshiro's two teal eyes turned to where the man pointed, only to have his eye twitch. "Gin! That's not a hollow! That's what's called… a parade balloon!"
"Oh… let's go see them then!" Gin chirped, causing certain images to pass through Hitsugaya's mind. One was of the third division captain using the balloons as a form of trampoline, and the other was of the same man using the balloons as target practice for his shikai. It completely depended on what kind of mood he was in and what whim was currently going through the man's head.
"Gin… what about the mission?" the small boy reprimanded, wanting to get back on task.
"This is the mission," came the chuckle, as the man turned and smirked at him.
"How'd you trick General Yamamoto this time?" Toshiro couldn't help but roll his eyes.
"Well, because the one tricked wasn't him," Gin laughed. "We cooked up this plan to get you to enjoy Christmas a little more, chibi-taicho. You need a break, just like everyone else."
"That senile old geezer…" Toshiro muttered. "More paperwork for this? I'm going back…"
"Oh no you're not," Gin suddenly grabbed the back of the boy's uniform, and dragged him after him. They landed on the last float, and Toshiro realized it was the one with the Santa Clause.
"This is crazy!" the white haired boy snapped.
"Oh, almost no one can see us, and if they can, people will think they're crazy," Gin smirked, and then began to pet one of the deer pulling the fake sleight. "Awe… what a cute reindeer…""
"And you… are supposed to be… an adult…" Toshiro could feel his face twitching again as he stared at the silver haired man. Something though, also began to bother him. "Please tell me this isn't to try and make me believe in the whole Santa thing?"
"Yup!" Ichimaru continued to pet the deer. "And we're not finished yet!"
There came yet another twitch from the young taicho.
Somehow, Hitsugaya would rather not know how, but Gin happened to have secured gigais from the twelfth division for the two of them. The man also managed to drag him to a place that sent shivers up the small boy's spine. The place was one of those overly large, shopping malls, filled to the brim with people shopping, likely for the Christmas season.
Because of his discomfort, he was rather glued to the third division, his hand holding onto the man's sleeve so that he wouldn't suddenly become separated, though he really didn't want to know what the man was planning on doing with him. He was sure it somehow involved him acting like a child and a complete moron, not to mention, having to be in an embarrassing situation.
Sure enough, Gin arrived at the set destination, and the small taicho narrowed his eye at the whole mess that was in front of him. There was a short line, of parents and children of various ages. And the place that the line led to, was a small place set out in the middle of the mall courtyard, with a big cushioned seat, and a jolly old man sitting there. At the site of the old man, the small taicho's face suddenly turned pale.
"No… I am not going to do what you want me to do…" the boy stated, pulling away.
"Oh… come on, Shiro-chan, is it really going to be that bad?" Gin laughed suddenly.
"Idiot… they are taking pictures! And knowing you, you would keep it… to likely blackmail me with!" Hitsugaya turned to head away from the place, only to have the back of his shirt grabbed.
"I wasn't thinking of using it for blackmail. Why would I want to do something like that? I was thinking Ran-chan would like…" Gin started, only to have the boy pull harder, beginning to stretch his shirt. Thus, Gin had to change his tactic and turn around and grab the small boy under the arms. "Why are you running off like that?"
"You give such a picture to Rangiku, she'll never let me live it down, and she'll show it to people, that or blackmail me… I'm not doing it! This is completely stupid!" the boy muttered.
"Then… can we at least watch, you might change your mind?" Gin suddenly asked.
"I'll watch, but you'll have a much better time if you had brought Yachiru with you…" Toshiro stated, following the man to where the exit was.
"Well, the thing is… hey, would you take a picture with Yachiru if I had brought her with us?" Gin suddenly asked.
Toshiro's face was red from the situation at hand, but the flushing began to calm down. "I would have done it to make her happy, yes."
"Because she calls you her aniki?" came the next question.
"Yes… she calls me aniki, but I am never sure when she means brother, or gang boss," the boy muttered, a rather disgusted look on her face.
"But… it still cute when she does it," Gin smirked, his smirk actually growing wider.
"That is because she is a little girl, and because she is as young as she is, when she drags me into doing things with her, it ends up not being embarrassing," the small taicho muttered, watching as one kid screamed their head off while their picture was being taken, only to have the Santa Clause calm him down.
"I'll have to take that into mind," Gin stated. "Isn't Santa amazing… he calmed that baby down…"
"Baka… he's probably trained like that, because they wouldn't make any money if he scared all the little kids away," Toshiro muttered, leaning against a poll, his arms folded across his chest.
"Ehh…" the man sounded a bit disappointed, but continued to also watch the children as they came out. "You sure you don't want to go through the line?"
"Absolutely positive…" the small taicho muttered, rather irritated that the man was even bothering to ask such questions.
The next child came up with his parents, and he came to sit on his lap. The language he spoke, wasn't Japanese, yet the man could understand fully. Gin tilted his head as soon as they left. "Now wasn't that interesting, Shiro-chan?"
"Nope," Toshiro's eyes were narrowed. "Those parents have been out of the country in America, so their child is now having to learn Japanese. There is a whole issue in the education system, about children who get behind simply because their parents have lived out of the country."
"But the fact that the man spoke English…" Gin tried imputing.
"Baka…" Toshiro rolled his eyes, then whispered so no one could hear what he was going to say next. "You are over a hundred years old, so you might not realize that the schools teach English as one of their subjects. It actually isn't uncommon nowadays to know how to speak English."
"So… have you changed your mind yet…" came the question again.
"No…" Toshiro hissed. "Santa isn't real, and there is no way you're going to convince me that Santa is real!"
Something that Hitsugaya should have known was, saying aloud, in front of a bunch of little kids, that someone they believe is real, isn't, is likely to bring about problems. Especially when one looks like a slightly older big kid, who is trying to sound overly smart. There are certain children, who didn't know the difference between smart aleck child, and child genius.
And unfortunately, the small taicho had happened to say his words in front of the wrong child. The next thing he knew, the next little boy off the old man's list, had swung his small foot at him, right in the back of the knee, hard, fast, and filled with fury, that only a little boy who has had their feelings hurt can do. And as soon as he felt the contact, Toshiro realized his mistake.
But as he cringed and suddenly collapsed to his knees, to his complete and utter horror, the mother of the small child spoke up. "Shame! If your child is going to be such a brat, you really shouldn't have brought him here! I mean, good grief, anyone knows that you don't go telling little kids that Santa isn't real."
Ichimaru could have apologized, or have said something sweet, but unfortunately, his nasty side and personality for some reason decided to surface, much to the small taicho's dismay. "Lady… you are one to talk. It is one matter of hand, to let a child voice their opinions about the world, it is completely another, to let their small brat go around kicking other people simply because he disagrees with what they say."
The woman though, didn't pay attention to the overly cold tone that was in Gin's voice. She held onto her small child's hand tightly, her anger growing. "You have no right to talk! I mean, look at the fact you both bleach your hair, you're not a good role model! You let him say out loud things he shouldn't be saying!"
"That doesn't excuse what your brat did," the silver haired man stated. "And this is…"
"Gin! Stop it!" Toshiro used the other man to pull himself up, painfully so.
"And the fact that this boy is calling his father…" the woman kept going, making Toshiro realize he had to step in.
"Gomenasai, lady-san, but Gin isn't my father…" the small boy stated.
"Then… he's…" the woman's face suddenly turned pale, her mind coming to the idea of what a strange man, and a strange boy might be doing in the mall.
"He's my older brother… this is our natural hair color too… I don't know why we were born this way, but we just were," Toshiro quickly interceded. "I usually don't blurt out things like that, but we were having a disagreement, because this year, I simply decided I'm too old for Santa, which has rather upset Gin-nii-chan. I'm sorry that our argument disrupted your day. Honest."
"I… am sorry for jumping to conclusions about… you and your brother," the woman stated, rather taken aback at seeing such a small child, use such big language.
"One more thing…" two teal eyes looked her directly in the face. "What would you have done if it really had been a brat, and not myself who had said that, and your son had kicked? I'm bigger than him, and small for my age for one thing, and if it had been some snot nosed brat, kicking some random stranger, might make that stranger turn and hurt him back, far worse than he has given."
"Ahh… arrigotto," the woman stated, scooping her small son up, still in rather a huge shock, and heading off to do the other things she needed to do.
"Ackk…" A jolt of pain had shot through Toshiro's leg.
This response from the small taicho, caused Gin to glance down at the small taicho. "Ne… Toshiro-kun, I don't think you should be walking on that leg of yours…"
"Shut up…" Toshiro stated, still leaning against the man, trying to put weight onto his leg. Suddenly, Gin was down at his level. Instantly, he realized what was going on. "No… that's completely embarrassing…"
"I don't think we have a choice. I am not going to let you walk on that leg of yours," Gin stated. "Get on my back, Hitsugaya."
At this, the small taicho let out a sigh, and complied with the older taicho. He muttered out of his breath. "You know, if anyone asks, this is all your fault."
"Hai, hai…" Gin muttered, as he stood up and began to walk. "Ne… Shiro-chan… why didn't you just stick to the whole father story, and move onto older brother."
"Because, it doesn't bode well, a kid calling their father by their first name…" Toshiro stated firmly.
"I would have explained it that you always called me silver… the meaning of my name silly," the man laughed. "And that it rather stuck."
"Don't kid me, Ichimaru," the boy stated. "That is one of the most embarrassing thing I've heard in a long time. I wouldn't be caught dead saying something like that."
"But you are so cute when you're embarrassed!" Gin smirked. "Rangiku doesn't have enough pictures of you that way! She said so herself!"
"Shut up!" Toshiro growled.
As the two went back to the tenth division, they ended up passing the eleventh division. They could see Renji playing with, Yachiru, a few of the noble kids that had happened by, and a few of the younger shingami
Yachiru saw the two of them, and waved at them. "Hi! Snowball-chan! We're playing zoo! Do you want to play with us!"
"Oh, come on… everyone knows that Hitsugaya Taicho has no imagination…" Renji rolled his eyes. "I went to the academy with him… I should know…"
"He's a taicho… wow…" came the reply of one of the small male shingami. "He's younger then I am…"
"Oi…" Toshiro muttered, glaring at the boy, from where he was.
"Well, you're stuck being carried by an adult…" the boy muttered.
"I can teach you how to use your imagination!" Yachiru muttered.
"Neh… sorry Chiru-chan!" Gin tilted his head. "Chibi-taicho got his knee kicked out because he said the wrong thing around a toddler today."
"Oi… I didn't need…" Toshiro stated, only to suddenly hear Renji's laughter catching his ears. He felt like going and hiding somewhere, but the fact was, he couldn't easily escape.
They got into the tenth division office, where Rangiku and Momo were hauling in more decorations. The small teenaged shingami looked at Toshiro, a worried look on her face. "Shiro-chan, what happened?"
Gin helped the small boy onto the couch and pulled out the first aid kit, and began to perform healing kido on the leg. "He said Santa isn't real in front of a little boy… you believe in Santa now, Shiro-chan?"
"I believe in Santa," Toshiro stated, and as soon as Gin reacted. "If it means you stop bothering me about it."
This caused Ichimaru's face to faultier. Momo went and placed her hands on her hips. "But Santa is real, Shiro-chan."
"Ukitake delivers all the presents… baka," Toshiro stated, his leg hurting badly.
"Well, Matsumoto-san explained that to me… that's how Santa is able to deliver so many presents every year, he has helpers," Momo stated firmly.
"Bedwetter Momo… do you… really believe in Santa Clause?" the small boy asked.
"But of course," Momo stated cheerfully, which caused Toshiro to glare at his fukutaicho.
Author's note – This is a challenge for my Paradise Challenge forum on the site… which… I am still the only one participating… oh well. The idea, was to do a parody of a Christmas story, and I choose Miracle on 32nd Street. I could have gotten the number wrong.