This is a one-shot I wrote for my friend, although I'm not overly fond of it... Hope you like it better than I do.

Remember, remember forever!
You can't just stop and forget.
Remember, remember forever!
Please don't leave me yet.

She raced as quickly as she could by rows of houses and people, bare feet kicking up grass and dirt. Her breath came in ragged gasps, but she didn't stop. She couldn't stop, not yet. Squinting her chocolate-toned eyes, she scanned the horizon. A distance away, approaching the Seireitei, two figures came into view, one of which was a blonde-haired Soul Reaper and another that was shorter, his silver hair shining in the sunlight. The girl picked up the pace and gathered a lungful of air.

"Toushiro-kun!"

The boy turned to look over his shoulder, and she saw his firm expression change to surprise.

"Ameko?"

Close and closer,
But now you rise high.
Close and closer,
Say one last goodbye.

She slowed to a stop in front of him, panting heavily.

"What are you doing here?" Toushiro Hitsugaya asked her, placing a supporting hand on her shoulder. Reaching into the pocket of her sky-colored kimono, Ameko held out a small object. He took it, studying it inquisitively. It was a silver chain, a few inches long, with a painted white flower on the end of it.

"Take it with you, okay?" she told him, finally catching her breath. "So you won't forget the Rukongai."

"But this is your bracelet," he protested. "You've had this forever… I can't take it from you."

"Please, Toushiro-kun. It'll bring you good luck for when you become a Soul Reaper!"

He bit his lip, glancing between the bracelet and Ameko. Reluctantly, he closed his fingers around it and gave her a fervent smile.

"I'll always treasure it."

She smiled back wistfully.

"Good luck, Toushiro-kun."

A hand was placed on her shoulder, and Ameko looked up at the blonde Soul Reaper, who was wearing a warm smile of her own.

"Your name's Ameko, right?"

"Yes."

"I'm Rangiku Mastumoto. Don't worry about him—I'll keep him out of trouble."

"Hey…" Toushiro started reproachfully.

"Thank you, Rangiku-san," Ameko interrupted.

"Don't mention it. We'd better go now before the gates close, Ame-chan."

"Okay. Bye, Toushiro-kun." She hugged him tightly, holding back tears.

"See you around, Ameko." His usually determined voice was soft and sad.

Parting, he followed Rangiku towards the gates of the Seireitei, watching as his childhood friend shrank slowly into the distance. She was crying, and he knew it. Why couldn't he comfort her this time too?

Quietly, so quietly,
Years fade to bare traces.
Quietly, so quietly,
Single out friendly faces.

"Do we have to go meet the newbies?" Assistant Captain Matsumoto yawned. "I'm sleepy."

Captain Toushiro Hitsugaya sighed irritably, shaking his head in disbelief at his assistant's laziness.

"You just took a nap half an hour ago! And we need to get acquainted with the new recruits to help unify the whole company!" he lectured for possibly the fourth time that day. "It's a standard procedure for raising morale, too."

"I know, I know," Rangiku grumbled, pouting.

Wooden doors creaked open to reveal two rows of newly-accepted Soul Reapers, many of which were standing far too stiffly in preparation for their superiors' arrival. Captain Hitsugaya gestured for them to be at ease.

"Welcome to Tenth Company," he greeted them, pacing between the lines to observe the individuals.

A murmur of reply wafted back to him. He slid his hand into his pocket, fiddling with the silver chain he kept there, and began the introductions, or what Rangiku referred to as his "Stay out of trouble and you won't die" speech. The expressions of the listening Soul Reapers varied under his intense blue eyes, but he didn't give them much thought.

At the end, he dismissed them, his friendly nodding paling in comparison to his formerly reluctant assistant's enthusiastic waving. Most passed by with a nervous or encouraged smile, some leaving a word of thanks or confidence.

"Captain."

He turned his gaze from a beaming Soul Reaper to his assistant captain. She was grinning as though at some private joke. He raised a brow inquisitively until she pointed past a few men that were leaving. A small girl with a chocolate gaze was making her way between the rest. His icy blue eyes grew wide in recognition.

"Ameko?"

She smiled and slid past one more person to him.

"It's nice to see you again, sir," she saluted. "You too, Assistant Captain Matsumoto."

He discarded his self-control for the moment and threw his arms around her. She blushed and hugged him back.

"I missed you, Toushiro-kun."