Disclaimer: Bleach is not mine. It belongs to that teasing, teasing Kubo, with that teasing, teasing Bleach Musical and it's Kenpachi/Unohana hints.

Pairing: Matsumoto Rangiku/Hitsugaya Toshiro (platonic)

Summary Notes: I'll be honest; I'm not much of a Matsu/Hitsu fan in the romantic sense (though I've read and loved some good ones xD). However, I admit to being a guilty fan of them in the more platonic, "have so much respect for you" devotion...even when Shiro-kun's being a cranky bum. Set after Bleach 2: The DiamondDust Rebellion.

If my world were crumbling down
You are the one I'd want around
Cause through everything you've shown me that
You were the one who had my back

He grew so...so tired, sometimes.

Of course, Hitsugaya Toshiro would never admit that, not out loud, anyway. He was neurotic at worst, and stern and controlled at best, both in himself and with the world around him.

Well, he tried to control the world around him. In some small way, there was still a spark of hopeful youth inside him. Buried deep under cold stoicism and fierce independance far beyond his meagre years (certainly meagre in comparison to some of the other Captains, such as Shunshui-taichou and Unohana-taichou)...but it was still there.

And it was that small spark that made him think that maybe, just maybe, if he could control his world as it was around him, then he could keep it safe. But it was such an immense world, filled with darkness and cruelty and betrayal, and child genius or not, he was still only one being within it.

Still, that small spark of hope remained, deep down. It showed in the way he kept a tight control over his division - not tyrannical, but his standards were set, and he expected them to be met, from the neat stacks of completed paperwork to the fighting fitness of his division members. And for the most part, it seemed to work, even if he had to quite literally grab his Lieutenant by the hair and drag her, complaining all the while, to their office so she could do her bit towards the neat piles of paperwork.

Control worked for him, and with his natural fearlessness and strength, he was the epitome of what Shinigami should aspire to, despite his age (and height, though no one that wasn't Matsumoto was stupid enough to comment on that).

Still, sometimes, something would occur, and he would be left feeling so...so tired all over again.

Like...today. No, not today, the past days...week...whatever time had passed. It was all a blur now, really. Betrayal...Hyorinmaru...Ichigo...Kusaka.

Memories. Tired, sad memories, kept locked away tonight by that stoic facade and a veritable mountain of work. Of course, nobody really paid enough attention to notice anyway.


Well, nobody except for her. But then again, she wasn't really nobody. Matsumoto was...indescribable to him. She was his Lieutenant, yes, the ditzy, boisterous carrot-top that drove him mad and tried his temper to insanity.

And yet, she was a comfort. She understood. Because under that ditzy, playful nature lay a complex soul, tormented by so many grievances in her own past and present.

And that is why he tolerates her. Allows her to get away with things nobody else would normally be allowed to. Loves her, even. No, not in that way, like so many perverts would think...but he did love her. He loved her in that almost sibling fashion, that "you drive me absolutely mental but god I admire you so much and would do anything to protect you" way.

She understands.

He appreciates that.

Even now, as he growls unintelligably in response to her call, he appreciates that she understands. She knows when to leave him alone, and when to stick it out and stay by his side. When words are needed, and when they're not. Like now.

Most would shy away at such a sound from Hitsugaya, discouraged more so by the fact that he stays where he is, staring out the window, posture stiff as he watches the overcast clouds threaten with rain.

Matsumoto Rangiku does not, though. Because she knows, and she understands. She makes her way across the floor with uncharacteristic quiet, stopping at her usual place beside and slightly behind her captain.

Toshiro feels the gentle pressure of those voluminous breasts against his back, but unlike other times, he cannot find it in him to blush madly. Nor can he find it in him flinch away when one of her hands rests upon his shoulder, the slender fingers digging gently.

Instead, he simply glances at her, teal eyes so dark with exhaustion it tugs at his Lieutenant's heart. She could say something, anything, but she doesn't. She simply gazes back in response, blue eyes surprisingly calm and even gentle, as if she is the one to bear mist-cool reiatsu and an ice-cold zanpakuto. Understanding and everything that could be conveyed passes between them with that simple glance, and then he looks away again, gaze impersonal once more as he watches the clouds grow heavier and darker.

And yet, even as the rain begins to fall, Matusmoto's hand does not move away.