This takes place after 239. It's sort of random…but…I hope you will like it. It just explores the relationship between Toushirou and Hyourinmaru. Written for Toushirou-chan. Happy (very late) birthday!
A gentle wind blew through the forest, catching the man's long, teal coloured hair, sweeping it around his form. It caught the white locks of the unconscious boy in his arms, causing the soft hair to tickle his hand.
"Master," he breathed out, the words blowing into the wind. How good it felt to be able to say it. He finally found a place where he belonged. He had found his master.
He had found his own name. "I am Hyourinmaru," he said to himself, savoring the feel of being able to say it with confidence. "This is my master, Hitsugaya Toushirou." It felt that if he didn't say it now, all this would melt away, like how ice will eventually melt away if it isn't kept frozen, and so he will keep this knowledge frozen in his mind.
He was filled with relief at finally finding his master.
He stood, careful not to jostle the boy. A small moan escaped the boy's lips despite Hyourinmaru's gentle movements. The boy was wounded from the fight, and should be taken care of. Already, Hyourinmaru could feel his body's temperature dropping to dangerous levels. There is no time to waste.
He wrapped his arms around the small body, pulling it close to his chest. Without a moment's pause, he strong legs began to cover the ground as if it was nothing. Wind stung his eyes, and the surroundings blurred to a dark gray-green. His feet seemed to barely touch the ground, he felt as if he was flying.
He flashed by so fast that he barely noticed two female shinigami nearby, speaking to another group of shinigami, who were standing in front of a cart, which contained two familiar faces. Even from here, he could hear their loud protests, particularly the werecat's. "Haineko and Tobiume," he said quietly. Memories were coming back of his few conversations with the two spirits. "I'd thought they were familiar. His eyes fell upon the two female shinigami, and he recognized them as Matsumoto Rangiku and Hinamori Momo. "Those are two of the most important people to my master."
It was all coming back to him. The things he had forgotten, and had been taken from him.
His face twisted for a moment in agony at the memory. He had only remembered black, and opened his eyes to find himself a blank. The only thing he knew was that he was a zanpakutou, and that he had a burning instinct to find that one soul to whom he was bonded, who was his master.
He remembered now, the events that took place just before it. While he was training with his master, a voice had invaded his mind, a voice that would not let him go, no matter how hard he had resisted.
Toushirou had noticed that something was off about him. But at the time, Hyourinmaru could not open his throat to tell him. Muramasa's voice had taken hold of his entire concentration. He remembered Muramasa's last words before he blacked out. I shall erase your master from your mind.
It hurt. The knowledge of what happened was what hurt the dragon the most. He had thought he and his master's bond impossible to break. But he had forgotten so easily.
It is impossible to break, though, he thought. The fact that he managed to make me remember is proof of our bond.
But at a great cost.
He burst from the trees at last. The cool night air hit his senses like a cold wave of water. He had caused the coolness. He could still taste a faint trace of ice that remained from their fight, the faintest trace that only a dragon's sharp senses could pick up. However, there was no doubt that the shinigami must have noticed when signs of their fight radiated in all directions and the sky turned black. He paused for a moment, teetering on the edge of running forward and stopping. His eyes closed, and he breathed in, taking in the great flood of different scents. His senses were alert, and he quickly matched scent with reiatsu.
Ah, there it was. The scent of sterilized surroundings mingled with the reiatsu of captains. He knew the scent and the reiatsu of one particular captain well. Toushirou had always made a big deal about being sent to that place to see her.
It was a distance away. He decided that to approach by stealth would cause unwanted trouble, and he wanted no extra trouble, as it might jostle the sleeping boy. So, he did something that instantly proclaimed his presence.
Perhaps it was a little flashy, and unnecessary, Hyourinmaru thought as he felt ice form around his body, and his body elongate, the familiar strength and litheness of his dragon form filled his every being. Air whistled past him as he sliced through it. It had been so long since he'd flown. Muramasa had clearly requested that he did not. Hyourinmaru thought he knew why. The thrill of the flight jostled a whole new flood of memories through his mind; his first meeting with his master, the first time he'd flown in shikai, flight with his master in bankai. Slicing through the moist air, he felt true to himself once again.
All of it had been taken away from him when he lost his memories.
He carefully scanned the streets laid out beneath him. He shifted slightly, getting used to the slight weight of the young boy draped across his back. He was careful to fly just slow enough that he didn't fly off, but fast enough so as not to waste unnecessary time. Soon, he saw the familiar character for four. That was where the healers were.
Nosing toward his target, he began to push through the air toward the place, flying steadily lower as he drew closer to it. He heard anxious cries from the shinigami, but paid them no heed. His only objective was to reach the fourth as soon as possible.
The fourth division captain, Unohana Retsu, rushed out as he neared the entrance to the compound. Her face was smooth and controlled, and she waited unworriedly for the dragon to completely descend. With her were two more captains, the white-haired Ukitake and flowery kimono-wearing Kyouraku. All were surveying the approaching dragon with serious faces. Other shinigami surrounded them, but drew back as they felt the terrible chill coming from Hyourinmaru's body and reiatsu.
He landed with a loud crash and burst of reiatsu, tiles, and ice. A low growl escaped his throat. The atmosphere was tense.
"You are Hitsugaya-kun's zanpakutou spirit, aren't you?" Ukitake, stepping forward to break the ice (no pun intended), was the first to speak. "Why are you here? Your master isn't here."
Hyourinmaru didn't answer. Instead, he lowered his head as a reply, lowering his body so that they could see the boy on his back. He heard gasps from the other shinigami, though the captains were too disciplined to gasp. Their eyes merely widened at the unexpected sight of the boy lying upon the dragon's back, like a limp and broken doll. The dragon's eyes surprised them too, for they were not filled with the burning spite or anger that shinigami had described the rogue spirits to have, but a kind of silent pain and suffering.
"Yare, yare," Kyouraku said causally. "Toushirou-kun looks in bad shape." His sharp eyes surveyed Hyourinmaru. Hyourinmaru let out a breath and allowed the ice of his dragon form shatter. He landed on the group before the shinigami, in his human form once again, and his small master clutched securely in his arms. There were sharp intakes of breath, but he easily dismissed them, his eyes were fixed on that of the three captains. Then, holding out the young boy, he said in his deep and grave voice, "Please, he is hurt badly. Please help him."
"Of course," Unohana said, stepping forward and giving the man a warm smile. "Please follow me."
Time can pass slowly, Hyourinmaru knew. But now, as he sat in the shadows created by dawn creeping up the walls of the hospital room, time seemed to pass even more slowly than usual.
He closed his eyes, but otherwise remained motionless. It had been a long night, He had not left his master's side once, and no one had tried to force him to leave, of which he was grateful.
Spending the long night alone in silence had loosened many thoughts. A sort of guilt had stolen over his senses. Opening his ice-blue eyes, he looked once again at the boyish face of the tenth division captain. His brow was smooth, and he looked peaceful. But Hyourinmaru could not forget the tormented expression on his face as he faced him only hours ago. The pain of betrayal, loss, and abandonment.
I caused that… Hyourinmaru thought to himself. I caused my master all that pain, and I had thought that out bond would survive anything. I have failed.
The man's brow furrowed.
"Excuse me," a soft, meek voice interrupted the silence. Hyourinmaru turned to see a young girl with soft brown hair and a tall woman with long, lustrous strawberry-blond hair at the door. Both looked slightly distressed. "May we come in and sit with Hitsugaya-kun?" the brunette spoke again, softly, and timidly.
"Hinamori Momo," Hyourinmaru said, feeling a jolt of satisfaction that he was able to recall her name. "Yes. It is not for me to decide who sits with Master Toushirou."
The strawberry blond woman looked surprised. "Master Toushirou? That's pretty respectful, even for a zanpakutou," she said. Hyourinmaru felt the corners of his lips twitch, but did not fall to the desire to smile. He chose not to answer. He could never explain the bond and loyalty he felt for Toushirou to another.
Momo pulled up a chair by the bed and sat down silently. She stared intently at the boy's pale face. Her eyes looked as if she were in immense pain. Matsumoto looked no different, sighing heavily every so often.
"Hyourinmaru-san?" Momo asked tentatively after a few minutes. Hyourinmaru inclined his head to show that he'd heard. "I…I have a question…Kurosaki-san said that you'd lost your memories and…" she trailed off, unsure of how to phrase her question.
Hyourinmaru willed himself not to clench his ice-covered hands. Without looking at anyone, he answered in a monotone, "Yes. My memories were taken from me when I was forced from my master's side. He is in this state now due to that. He put his all into making me remember, and I attacked him like an enemy," the dragon in humanoid form bowed his head in silent shame. It was hard for him to admit it, but it was the painful truth. He couldn't forgive himself for forgetting.
The two women were silent for a moment. Then Matsumoto spoke, "At least you remember now, right? That's all that counts."
Momo nodded vigorously. "Hitsugaya-kun and you have such a deep bond. I couldn't imagine you not remembering him for long."
Hyourinmaru looked up at the two, his eyes hard. Matsumoto shrugged. "Taichou's lucky to have a zanpakutou like you. Haineko can be such a pain! Stupid cat, calling me such insulting names." She sniffed disdainfully. Momo laughed slightly. "You still haven't gotten over that?"
"Of course not!" Matsumoto said, crossing her arms, though a small playful smirk was hovered on the corner of her lips.
Hyourinmaru smiled inwardly. He was glad that Toushirou had such friends. They were light and energetic, and good at rousing the ever-stoic child prodigy.
But even their antics could not arouse the unconscious shinigami. He lay, ever still, just like ice.
Night had fallen again. He was alone in the hospital room, standing ever dutifully beside the young boy's bed. Shafts of moonlight spilled into the room, pooling upon the bed where the young shinigami lay still.
Hyourinmaru's sharp ears could easily pick up the sounds of other fights going on. The zanpakutou were going all out against their previous shinigami masters. He felt a little irritated at the others. They knew their masters well, they never had to forget, and they still attacked? Then again, he knew it was not their fault.
He stared up at the moon. It's silver light caught on the silver-white locks of Toushirou's hair, flashing off brilliant turquoise eyes…
Discipline allowed the dragon to remain motionless through his surprise as he watched pale lids close over the green-blue irises and blink open again. He was very aware of Toushirou's sudden gasp, and his own breath, slow and anticipating as Toushirou slowly, and painfully, pushed himself into a sitting position.
"Where am I?' Toushirou said tiredly. His sharp senses allowed him to note Hyourinmaru's presence almost as soon as he woke up. His eyes widened and then narrowed, his muscles tense. "You…!"
Hearing his master say his name with such worry and trepidation made the dragon feel waves of disappointment well up again. He didn't want his master to be so uneasy of him like this. However, the disappointment quickly melted to concern as Toushirou's let out a gasp of pain as he tensed his aggravated body.
"Do not push yourself," Hyourinmaru said evenly. "You put your body through much in order to get me back.
Toushirou's face was scrunched up in pain, but quickly smoothed out. "What's going on out there?"
Even at this distance, the boy's sharp senses were also easily able to pick up signs of the fight.
"Muramasa and the others have begun an all out attack. The shinigami are fighting them back."
"I see," the boy said seriously. "It is time I got out of bed then," and with that, he tried to stand up.
He may be a genius, and with prodigious skill, Hyourinmaru thought, but even he cannot fight if his body is unable to. The boy grunted again in pain, panting slightly, as his body stubbornly refused to allow him to leave the bed before he was ready. Feeling a stirring of amusement at the boy's determination and usual businesslike way of looking at chaos, he held out a hand to stop the boy from any further attempts at leaving his bed.
"Believe in them," he said in a soothing tone. Toushirou looked up at him in surprise. "This is not enough to kill the shinigami. At least, is that not what you have proven, master?"
Toushirou's eyes widened and were fixed on the tall man with shock. His hands were still poised to push himself up. Hyourinmaru added, "And I would not want to be the victim of Unohana Retsu's wrath because you did not stay in bed until you were recovered."
That seemed to convince the boy to give up. Sighing, he grudgingly lay back down, staring out of the window. "I hate being here."
Hyourinmaru's eyes sparkled with amusement. "I know."
They were silent for a moment. Then Toushirou turned his piercing gaze onto his zanpakutou spirit. "You called me master…does that mean that…you remember?"
Hyourinmaru felt his amusement leave him. His master was always so serious. He should have known that he would immediately bring up that topic. "Yes."
"How did you forget?" Toushirou questioned.
Hyourinmaru stared off into the distance for a moment before meeting his shinigami's gaze. "I am not sure myself. That time in the courtyard, when you summoned me, I heard at the same time another voice, Muramasa's voice, asking me to join him. I refused, naturally, and he began to become more forceful. I felt him trying to bind me to come, but I managed to beat him. My will and belief in our bond was enough to easily break out of his trance as he tried to convince me to leave you. When that did not succeed, he tried to control me with my instincts. That proved failure too," Hyourinmaru couldn't keep himself from feeling a stab of satisfaction. Muramasa had underestimated the loyalty he had for him master. He didn't know that a dragon's instinct is to protect his pride and guard what is dear. A dragon will never go back on his promise, and therefore, his instinct had been, of course, to fight of the rogue spirit and protect his master. His instinct was to always stay by his master's side, for it was where he belonged.
"And so he erased your memories?" Toushirou finished for him. His fists were clenched in anger, though whether it was from the knowledge that Muramasa had tried to erase Hyourinmaru's memories, or that Hyourinmaru had succumbed to the spell, the man was not sure.
Hyourinmaru sighed. "You are a genius. I do not know myself, but I do not doubt it. I cannot but feel rather…ashamed of myself. Of everything I have ever anticipated to happen, I never imagined that I would forget who my master is, who I am."
He averted his eyes and dropped down to one knee beside his master's bedside, much in the same manner as the ice sculpture he'd created (and that fourth squad lieutenant had taken). "I am sorry master. Please forgive me for causing you trouble."
"Tch," he heard the boy chuckle slightly. "That's all in the past. There's no point in lamenting about it. I'm just glad…that you see me as your shinigami again, and not some small child."
Hyourinmaru's eyes looked up to meet Toushirou's. The boy was grinning slightly. "I'm just glad you're back. It felt so strange, not to feel your presence. I guess I rely on you being there too much. I felt a little…lost, and vulnerable, like I was a naïve child again, and something of me was missing," Toushirou admitted.
Hyourinmaru was startled, but a small smile began to creep onto his solemn face. It was rare indeed to see Toushirou display emotion like that. "We are one. Our souls are connected."
"I know. That's why I forgive you for everything…except for calling me a 'mere child'," the boy added, twitching in annoyance at the memory.
"But Master, are you not a child?" Hyourinmaru said. Toushirou hissed in annoyance, and Hyourinmaru chuckled. "Rest now, Master. I will be here when you wake. I will not leave you again."
Toushirou nodded contently and slowly, his eyelids closed again, and his breathing evened out. Hyourinmaru just stood, not feeling any exhaustion from standing still for so long. In fact, he felt more energized than ever, as if a great weight had lifted from his shoulders. His master had accepted him back. He should have expected it. His master was not stuck up, and never treated Hyourinmaru as a mere tool. Their bond went beyond that of friends or comrades, or master and servant. It was all of that mingled to one. They guided each other, and understood each other. How could Toushirou not accept him back?
He stood by, watching contently as the boy slept. He was in so much peace he could not even bring himself to remind Kyouraku Shunsui that they were here when the man called out into the still division as to whether anyone was there. At the moment, Toushirou really did seem like a child, with his face smooth, and his stiff posture relaxed for once.
He remembered that he had told the boy that he could only have been wielded by a powerful shinigami, not a mere child.
"Toushirou, you are a child, but that is what makes you strong. You are already so powerful at only this stage in development. Who knows how much more power you will gain as you grow?" Hyourinmaru said.
The boy smirked in his sleep as if he'd heard Hyourinmaru's words.
They were flying through the air. Toushirou had healed surprisingly quickly. Hyourinmaru felt a thrill of anticipation of the coming fight, and euphoria at finally flying with his master after so long.
"There's Ryujin Jakka's flame!" Toushirou shouted from his place upon the dragon's back. The dragon had consented to give him a ride when they'd felt the odd, unnaturally strong reiatsu, and Toushirou, following his instincts, had declared that they needed to get to the center of the conflict as fast as possible.
The dragon growled in response. The heat of the fire of the most powerful fire-based zanpakutou licked against his icy scales, but he fought against it with his own cold. His sharp eyes picked up a small figure, being engulfed by the smothering flames.
Toushirou saw it just as Hyourinmaru did. "Tch, Kurosaki never changes, always rushing into things."
Without another word, Toushirou leapt off the dragon's back, temperately defying gravity as he drew his zanpakutou from his sheath and released it in the same move.
"Soten ni Zase, Hyourinmaru!" he cried to the heavens.
How good it was to hear those words on his master's lips again. Finally, he had found his master. Finally, he had found where he belonged.
so...yeah...I don't think this turned out as good as I hoped, but I tried! ah well, hope you enjoyed it still! Please Please review!