Hitsugaya Toshiro's mind was spinning as he and Ichigo fought the two female Arrancar. His mind reeled at the idea that someone was getting hurt because of him. That was why he needed to take care of this mess himself. This was no matter how much Kurosaki pressured him into letting him help, he simply couldn't allow it.
He watched as Ichigo began to collapse to the ground and he knew this was the best time to leave the young man so that he wouldn't get further involved. A fear reigned in his heart and he wanted the pain to go away, the pain he didn't understand. While he concentrated on these thoughts, he didn't realize that someone he had forgotten about was moving behind him.
"Toshiro!" Suddenly, two small arms wrapped around his neck, Karin's breath falling next to his right ear. "What are you doing!"
At that, he felt his body tense up, the sudden feeling of being touched like that a shock to him. Practically no one touched him like this except for his grandmother and sometimes Matsumoto. He could feel the color leave his face too and he snapped out the words. "Let go!"
However, instead of letting go, Karin hung on tighter, jumping up so that she could wrap her legs around his waist, almost as if she were trying to stop him from escaping. This caused the wound on his side to open up again and for him to let out a sharp yelp of pain. Panic also filled his mind and his mind reveled, not being able to think straight.
At that, he shunpooed away, Karin still hanging onto him, tightly. As he landed, he stumbled backwards a few steps, not being used to this kind of weight on his back. He then shunpooed again, having nearly the same experience when he landed again, but the next few times his steps were their normal rhythm, despite the fact that his mind was in complete panic.
Finally, he stepped into an alleyway, his breath coming to him hard and ragged. He felt Karin slip off his back, her hands still around his shoulders. "Toshiro?"
"Why?" His words came out, as his face twisted up in frustration. "Why did you have to do that?"
"I'm not going to let you push me away because one of your friends died on you." The dark haired twin snapped out. "Seriously, were you honestly thinking of leaving my brother there, injured without helping him? I thought better of you Toshiro."
"It was either that, or have him follow me and get hurt even worse." The small shinigami blurted out, suddenly grasping his knees in frustration.
"You are afraid of the people around you getting hurt, aren't you?" Karin stated, watching as the boy slid to the ground.
"I am not afraid! I am not afraid of anything!" Hitsugaya's words snapped out again.
"That is a complete lie, and we both know it." The girl stated, one of her shoes scuffing the ground, causing him to look up.
When he did, he saw blood on her leg, and his eyes became wide. "Did you... did you get hurt too?"
At that, Karin glanced down to where his eyes were looking, to the spot on her inner thigh. "No. I'm not hurt Toshiro." Her mouth suddenly hung open, realization hitting her. "Toshiro... I forgot you were hurt. The blood's yours." At that, she bent down onto her knees and pulled back the cloak, in time to see the blood seeping through the bandages.
"I'm fine..." The boy glanced away, his teal eyes showing a great deal of pain.
"No, you're not." Karin placed a hand on his chest. "Leave it to Ichi-ni to wrap the bandages on the outside, rather then the inside."
"I'll be fine." Toshiro repeated the words.
"Again, I'll say you aren't. There is a convenience store near here. I'll go get some first aide supplies." The female paused for a few seconds. "However, I can't trust you not to take off on me."
"I promise that I'll stay." The boy let out a deep breath, folding his arms across his chest.
"And then you'll break your promise and take off on me like you did before." Karin stated firmly.
"I didn't make a promise the time before." The boy's body tensed up, his head darting downwards.
The preteen female looked at the boy for a few minutes, then nodded her head. "I'll trust you to keep your promise. If you don't... well, I trust that breaking said promise will eat away at you."
His mind was black, his head throbbing from the attack. He could hear someones voice calling for him, telling him to wake up. He felt like a complete idiot for falling for what he had, for not realizing the situation that Karin had gotten herself into. Ichigo suddenly felt a fist launched into his face and he startled awake."
"Ichigo?" Rukia peered into his face.
"What the hell is going on?" the substitute shinigami stated, holding a hand to his face. "And why did Renji punch me in the face?"
"Hitsugaya Toshiro has been labeled a traitor by soul society. We either have to bring him in for questioning, or kill him on site." Abarai's eyes were narrowed as he reached a hand down to help Kurosaki up from the ground.
"That little brat. What exactly did he do to warrant this?" Ichigo muttered, irritation spreading over his face.
"A very important object was stolen that he was supposed to be guarding," Rukia sighed. "He simply took off right after the object belonging to the royal family was stolen."
"That doesn't mean he's guilty though." The substitute shinigami folded his arms across his chest, frustration written on his face.
"We don't like this any more then you do." The fukutaicho of the sixth division glanced at the ground. "We have enough problems as it is without him going and pulling a stunt like this."
"It isn't as simple as that. Karin is with him." Ichigo piped up, worry spreading across his face.
"Your little sister?" Rukia's eyes blinked a couple of times surprise and worry evident on her face.
"Wait, you mean to tell me that Hitsugaya Taicho kidnapped your younger sister?" Renji snorted out of his nose. "If it weren't for the current situation, I would find this rather funny."
"I don't see how it is funny at all," Kurosaki retorted, his eyes narrowing with distaste.
"Hitsugaya Taicho never acts his age, so him suddenly taking an interest in a girl..." At that point, Abarai found himself interrupted with a good solid kick to the face by Rukia.
"Now is not the time." The Kuchiki noble folded her own arms. "Why would he take her?"
"Well... he didn't exactly kidnap her..." Ichigo reached up and scratched his head at this. "I am still going to seriously hurt him when I find him for putting her into danger like this."
"Wait, are you trying to tell me that she went willingly with him?" Renji shook his head. "You know that makes her his accomplice, right?'
"Wait!" Ichigo held up a hand. "She didn't go willingly with him either. She jumped him trying to stop him from getting away."
"Ichigo... I am not sure if I can trust your memory on this as you have a head injury." Rukia sighed.
"Yeah, how can some girl from the living world jump a captain of all people. You insist that she isn't an accomplice?" Renji stated firmly, to which Ichigo nodded his head.
Karin walked into the convenience store and picked up some bandages, a small sewing kit and some disinfectant, along with some food. She opened her coin purse and set the change on the counter. The man raised an eyebrow but choose not to say anything. Having only a few coins left, she walked around the corner to behind the wall.
Upon turning the corner, she saw Toshiro leaning up against the wall, panting slightly as he leaned up against his zampaktuo. She walked over to the young taicho and knelt down. "Toshiro?"
At that, he glanced up, his face pale. "I made a promise, did I not?"
Karin simply ignored him and pulled the cloak lose from his shoulders and then began to unwrap the bandages around his waist. "You did keep your promise."
Her hands then went up to pull on the shoulder of his uniform, which caused him to blink a couple of times, then to reach up and grab her hand. "Can't you just wrap it around like your brother did?"
"Are you a baka like Ichi-nii? That works when you need something quick and easy." The female sighed. She then caught the expression of exasperation plastered on Toshiro's face. "Look, I know I can get this over quickly, but truth of the matter is, you run the chance of your injury opening up again."
As she pulled the uniform down, Toshiro felt his cheeks heating up, his mind not at all comfortable with the idea of her bandaging him up and for some reason his mind also went to the fact that Karin seemed to not be phased at all with what was going on. She reached out her fingers to touch the injury, causing him to flinch.
It was then that the preteen female's expression changed. She didn't seem bothered by applying first aide to her shinigami friend, but more concerned with what she saw. "The injury... how come I can feel the same kind of aura that comes from your sword? Yet... it is different for some reason."
"That's because it was made with the same sword, so to speak." Toshiro closed his eyes.
Karin went and dumped a little bit of the substance for disinfecting injuries onto the thread and needle. "This is going to hurt."
At that, two eyes snapped open and blinked a couple. "What do you mean?"
However, he quickly felt her press the wound together and then stitch it back together. He made the mistake of casting his teal orbs onto the area she was working with, and he suddenly felt green at what he saw. This reminded him too much of the vaccines Unohana tried giving him and he paled, letting out a yelp of pain as he did so.
At that, he closed his eyes shut, until he felt Karin wrapping the bandages around his waist. His face remained colorless except for his flushed cheeks. She placed a hand on his chest when she finished and let out a sigh of relief. "There. It is done. Not the best I would like to have done, but it will have to do."
She then glanced up at the boy. "Toshiro, what is the matter?"
"Needles..." the boy muttered, his face turning a shade of green.
"Oh... I'm sorry about that." Karin stated, pulling his uniform back on, not noticing the young male's cheeks flushing slightly.
"Can I go now?" Hitsugaya let out a deep sigh, only to hear a rustling of a bag, and suddenly found a roll of bread shoved into his face.
"I promised to treat you, to make sure you had something in your stomach to give you the stamina you need for this journey you're going on. I'll help you in the way I know how." The female gave him a rather large smile and Toshiro reluctantly took the food from her. He bit down, suddenly realizing how hungry he really was.
Author's note – I think I promised eight chapters, but that was when I had my chapter list still, which is still misplaced.