It began with a faint buzzing sound. A faint, yet continuous, buzzing sound. It nudged against the barriers of her mind, creeping into her consciousness. She tried to ignore it, but to no avail. Confined to her mind, she could form no coherent thoughts to eliminate the irritating noise. Fragments of unfinished thoughts floated through her subconscious mind, occasionally giving off small sparks of ideas, ribbons which led her back to that particular train of thought for a few moments before it ricocheted off in another, irrelevant direction. Yet the buzzing persisted, and she was unable to deduce the cause.

A flicker of electricity passed through her body. She felt it, like a jolt, and twitched. Movement was strange after being stationery for so long. Another flicker, she saw it this time. A brief flash penetrating the darkness. It happened again, and again. With each illumination, more darkness was banished. Before long, it vanished completely. Light danced above her eyes. Despite being dim and blurred, it hurt her. Yet it was a welcome relief from the darkness which had plagued her.

It was like resurfacing from a dive. Her senses rushed back to her, eager to fulfil their duties. Ripples of consciousness spread through her numb body, as did the sensation of pins and needles. Her body lagged behind her mind, already awake from her slumber. After a few minutes, she could feel again. A sharp intake of breath revealed the synthetic taste of rubber. Her hands found their way to her face, and her breathing apparatus. Weak arms supported her as she forced herself into a sitting position. Glancing around, realization soon hit. She was in a hospital room… But why?

As if waiting for such a question, the memories sprang forth eagerly, bombarding her mind. Flashes of the events that had transpired some time ago, though she had no idea how long. Hands fumbling against the breathing apparatus, she ripped it from her mouth. A strangled cough was captured by her fists. Betrayal, heartbreak, confusion. Unawares, she was holding her breath, awash with emotions which were crushing her, suffocating her. Hands clawed at her chest, begging for release from this agony, as she threw back her head and screamed, her voice epitomizing the raw pain coursing through her veins.

It was a calm night in the world of the living, but Hitsugaya Toushiro dreamt of storms. Grey clouds hung over the skies, carrying with them a sense of foreboding. The deep rumbling of thunder echoed through the night, and Toushiro watched the shadows that formed on the floor with each lightning strike. He barely even noticed the drumming of the rain against the roof - it had been falling all day, and he no longer paid conscious attention to it. He lay there, wide awake, his mind wandering. A slender silhouette appeared by the doorframe. He tensed, hands fumbling for the blade by his side. As his fingers slid around the hilt, he felt himself calm, and pointed Hyorinmaru in the direction of the silhouette. "Shiro-chan…" the figure stepped forward. Lightning flashed outside, and Momo's frightened face became visible. Hitsugaya relaxed, releasing Hyorinmaru from his grip. "C-can I…" Before she could finish the sentence, he motioned to her to come forward. Her lips curled into a small smile, which soon vanished with another roar of thunder. She scampered over to her friend and lay down beside him. He folded her frail body into his strong arms, protecting her as he always had. No longer afraid, she closed her eyes. She was safe in his embrace, safe enough to sleep.

Hitsugaya felt her body relax into sleep, still in his arms. He pressed his forehead against her back, thinking to himself how nice it felt to have her in his arms again. For her to seek his protection again. He ran his finger over the scar on the small of her back, able to feel it through her thin sleeping yukata. Her body twitched in response, knees drawing themselves closer to her chest, and a small yelp escaped her mouth. Hitsugaya drew his arms back immediately, gasping as he felt the familiar hilt of Hyorinmaru between his hands. He dropped the sword to his lap, wide eyes fixed on his bloodstained hands. "Momo…" he whispered, turning to the girl at his side. Blood flowed from the wound, soaking through her yukata and pooling underneath her. A trickle of red ran from her mouth and her eyes bored into him, wide and lifeless.

Hitsugaya cradled her face in his hands, searching for even the tiniest light in her eyes, but to no avail. He then placed his face in his hands and cried, Hinamori's blood mixing with his tears. He raised his head again. The storm outside had stopped and the sky had cleared. Looking out the window to the full moon, he could see his reflection. He dropped to his knees and screamed. The scream echoed through his dreams and into his consciousness. As he flew up from his bed, the scream continued. It pierced the silence of the night, intertwined with another scream, from another world.