A/N: Someone wanted a continuance of Her Son, so as I'm ahead on Her Monk, I thought I'd make a prologue for a short story in Toshiro's POV.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Bleach characters, manga, anime, movies, etc. They belong be copyright laws to Kubo Tite et al.

His Mother, His Lieutenant


Burning with an intense hatred for Aizen, Captain Toushiro Hitsugaya stumbled through the portal between Soul Society and the Living World just in time to see Kurosaki attack the traitor with a sword form that the young genius had never seen before. Recognizing it for what it was though and knowing he was too injured to be of any help to the other man, he instead went in search of his subordinate who had taken off after Ichimaru. Not that he blamed her. Toushiro had been mourning the loss of his childhood friend so it was only fitting that Matsumoto do the same.

He arrived in time to see Rangiku slice her blade through Gin's heart, the two unaware of his presence. One of Ichigo's friends stood on the sidelines, fatigue written all over her face. She caught sight of him and compassion filled her eyes before she picked up her burden and made her way slowly through the rubble.

The young captain knew Matsumoto had a fierce fighting spirit, as exemplified by her Haineko, but he had never believed she would have been able to defeat a captain class ex-Shinigami. She would have to have gotten her bankai some time between the living world and this one. No one, not even Kurosaki could have achieved it that quickly. Not unless she had been practicing in secret as most soul reapers did.

"Tell him…" the words were barely audible coming from the dying man's lips.

"Not likely," Rangiku denied. She had as yet to see her taicho.

"Tried, you know, Ran-chan. Tried to keep him away."

"You were a genius, Gin. You should have known that with two Shinigami parents, he'd be one too. And you didn't try hard enough. You should have never gotten involved with Aizen in the first place."

"Too late by then. Knew too much…"

"Maybe." Matsumoto pulled her sword from her former love's chest and flicked the blood off of the blade. "Find what rest you can."

"At least…at least he's smarter than his old man…" Ichimaru's head fell to the side as the traitor finally died.

Toshiro hid himself from her sight, masking his reiatsu so that he could process what he'd heard and seen. Her Zanpakutou had only been in its shikai state so why had she been able to defeat Ichimaru when Kurosaki had been unable to? And what had Gin wanted him to know?

"It's done, Haineko. Toushiro won't have to deal with him. Our secret's safe."

The prodigy's eyes widened in realization. Matsumoto never called him by his first name, not even when they had been in the real world. The implications of her words crowded inside his head, leaving no thought for anything else. She was his mother!