Past Meets Future
Sensing his presence, the girl turned to him, only to be just as surprised as he was. Fortunately for her, she had the voice to speak and did so in a more childish way than one of a leader.
"Y…Y…You!" She shouted as her eyes widened.
"You…but…but…but you're supposed to be…dead." The woman stammered.
Still shocked by the sight before him, Hitsugaya had yet to speak and simply stared at the woman upon the podium. Finally freeing himself from shock, Hitsugaya swallowed hard and began to speak, hoping to explain why he was still alive while he was assume to have died when the Dangai was struck by lightning.
"K…K…Karin…I'm sorry I didn't…I didn't mean to leave…leave like that. We had been coming through the Dangai when it was struck by lightning; despite it being struck by lightning…we didn't die and instead ended up here. I'm sorry…I…I didn't mean to worry…" Hitsugaya explained.
He stopped short as he felt a pair of arms encircle his body and faint sobs emitting from his chest. He looked down at the woman, knowing she was the one to emit the sobs and placed his chin atop her head. Knowing he had caused her much pain, Hitsugaya wrapped his arms around her shaking figure, hoping his embrace would cease her sobs and calm her disturbed state. Having accomplished the task of subduing her sobs, Hitsugaya pulled away and looked at her red eyes and sad face; feeling guiltier than he had before, he looked away in shame, not wanting to look directly into her sad and worried eyes.
"Y…Y…Y…You…You disappeared…fo…for…for so long! I…I…I thought you were…" Karin hiccupped.
"Shush~, Shush~, I'm sorry Karin…I didn't mean to make you worry; I couldn't help that the lightning struck the Dangai but, I'm here now." Hitsugaya soothed.
"Y…Y…Yea b…bu…but that doesn't m…make…make it all go away." Karin sniffled.
"Ah~, I know but…I can't do anything besides be here; I'd like to know what happened after I was presumed to be dead." Hitsugaya replied as he wiped a stray tear from her face.
"O…O…Okay…" Karin sniffled once more.
"First, how did you become the Captain of my Squad…and why do you still wear my Haori after the Thirteen Court Guard Squads have crumbled? Second, why do you still look like a ten-year old?" Hitsugaya asked.
"W…W…W…Well, I…I…I died the day lightning hit the Senkaimon. I was…w…was seriously scared and broken inside. I was wal…walking across the street and…and got hit by a car. Ichi-nii saw the whole thing and went crazy after I became a soul; he said…s…said you'd…you'd be angry too." She answered sheepishly, looking away from his face.
"Toushirou…Toushirou…you're…not yelling at me for being stupid and getting hit by a car? I…Ichi-nii said you'd probably freeze me and lecture me until I was sixty after I got hit by the car." Karin marveled.
"How can I be angry at something that happened in the past? I can't dwell on the past, and neither should you. Someone really wise once said: you can't change the past, and right now, that's as true as it's gonna get…since I'm sort of stuck here. Anyways, you still haven't answered the other question." Hitsugaya replied.
"After I went to Soul Society, I promised you and myself that I'd become the next Captain of your squad. I trained and studied as hard as I could while I was in the academy; since I'm a Kurosaki, I graduated at the top of my class in about six months after attaining Shikai and Bankai. Head Captain thought it would be a good idea of I took over your squad since I knew you better than any other academy student and that I graduated the same way you did. Since I wanted to keep everything like you had it, I watched videos of you training with the Squad since Matsumoto had filmed you practicing with them. She probably did it while you weren't looking, you can yell at her later." Karin explained.
"Ah, I'll make sure to do that as soon as we get back to where we're supposed to belong." Hitsugaya thought.
"At first the Squad didn't take me seriously and thought I was just some advanced kid straight out of the academy…they were pretty wrong about that. Once they saw that I demanded respect and honesty, not to mention order, they straightened up and began to follow my orders without any remarks or comments. After we all got used to each other, they said I reminded them of you…with a bit more personality that is, and demanded that I stay their Captain. I tried to make you proud…so I hope I at least surprised you…if I did even that." She continued.
"You obviously impressed me, you're a Captain now and it's not easy to get into that position…even though you're a Kurosaki. Even though I don't know and haven't seen what's happened in the last ten years, I know that you've seriously impressed me; good job Karin." Hitsugaya smiled.
"Thanks Toushi…it means a lot." Karin murmured as a faint blush dusted her cheeks.
"Now, can you please tell me what's happened in the last ten years for the world to look how it does now?" He asked.
"Well, I was still in the academy when it all started but, I can tell you what happened after I got out and became Captain. Once I became a Captain, I was sent to the World of the Living to help out with everyone and anyone who could still fight. We left for Karakura…but things didn't go as planned. Five years later Aizen created some creepy creatures, the ones you fought off earlier, but they didn't follow his orders like the Hollow and Arrancar and instead killed him. They're called Rukins and they're made of Human, Hollow, and Animal; really strange mix, but that's what he wanted-should've known animals wouldn't listen to him if there wasn't anything in it for them. Since he needed some type of power to fuse 'em together, he used up Ichi-nii's power and…killed him after he wasn't of any use. Even though I went to Hueco Mundo to kill Aizen after I found that Ichi-nii was dead, the Rukins had already killed him so I went back to Soul Society to find it in ruins. Almost everyone was dead, Captains, subordinates, helpless souls, and even students: everyone. Luckily Squad Four was in good shape, so I took charge and had them help any survivors; after they saw that I was a capable leader, everyone voted for me to lead what was left of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads. At first, I wasn't sure if I could do it, but then I tried it out…and this is what we've got. Guess I'm not that great of a leader huh?" Karin explained.
"Idiot, you're not giving yourself enough credit. When Matsumoto, Hinamori, and I first came here, they had lots of respect for you. As far as I can see, you saved them and gave the…" Hitsugaya complimented.
His statement was suddenly cut short as a distressed Soul Reaper burst into the warehouse.
"Commander Kurosaki, the enemy has infiltrated the South Wall! We're currently keeping them at bay, but they're much stronger than we thought; we won't hold out for much longer." The Soul Reaper reported.
"How many are at the wall?" Karin asked in a commanding voice.
"Approximately one hundred enemies have breached the South Wall Ma'am." The Soul Reaper replied.
"Can't be helped; get Rukia and Rou over to the wall and tell them to wait for my signal. Since the Rukins are weak against the cold, they'll be at the mercy of those two…until I can figure out how to drive them back for a while. Wait, we're four times stronger with Captain Hitsugaya with us; Captain Hitsugaya and I shall deliver the first attack and then they'll unleash the second. Tell everyone they are to take orders from Captain Hitsugaya if he gives any; they're to treat him as they do me, understood." Karin ordered.
"Yes Ma'am, I shall see that I carry out your orders as swiftly as possible." The Soul Reaper stated.
"Commander Kurosaki…Heh, fits you doesn't it Karin?" Hitsugaya teased as a smirk formed on his lips.
"Oh shut up Toushirou…they suggested that they call me that. I was Captain Kurosaki until they made me leader of the Remainders. Anyway, this isn't the time to joke around; let's go." Karin spat as she ran off.
"She really has become a leader…and she's fast too." Hitsugaya marveled as he sprinted after her.
"I've got a plan…but it's sort of complicated." Karin mentioned.
"We've both got Captain Status; I think we'll manage." Hitsugaya replied.
"Great, so…" Karin began.