Disclaimer – I don't own Bleach. This is a slice-of-life fanfic that relates to my one-shot 'Sweet, Sweet Child'.
The month was February, two months since he had last visited the small house his mother lived in. Snow was still falling off and on. He smiled as he remembered the precious bundle he had left. Of course he always smiled so this one might simply be considered a real smile.
In his arms was a slightly different bundle, on that he had been hiding away in order to keep a certain secret from someone. No, he had to admit that he was keeping a secret from not just one person but everyone. The risk of that one person finding out and doing something bad was to high of a risk.
When he arrived at the house he carefully stepped inside. A bunch of white cloth hung drying from low hanging ropes from ceiling. All of them dripped onto the floor and the warm fire kept the room warm. There was an odd smell coming from somewhere.
"Gin? You're just in time. You can have the chance to change his cloth and bond with him," an old woman smiled.
"Is him bonding with me such a good idea?" Gin muttered, a bit of worry in his voice. "I'm not the most desirable person in the world you know."
"I never said you were, but a father is a father, especially when there is no mother," the woman smiled, carefully scooping an infant into her arms and carrying him over to the young man.
Gin's nose suddenly wrinkled up. "Is he what smells?"
"Babies sleep, eat, poop and pee," the woman stated, only to have the silver haired youth raise an eyebrow. "You're acting like I said something wrong, child."
"You always told me poop and pee were not for polite conversation." One pale teal eye opened up wide. Mirth was written all over Gin's face.
"So says the child who would come home and brag about how much farther he could pee than the other boys," the woman smirked. "Not to mention the other interesting things he would say while eating meals with the family. You were always interested in everything that happened in the world. I think that is the best way to put it."
"I had forgotten about my stupidity," the young man grimaced as he recollected some of his childhood actions. He then looked down at the tyke supported in his arms. "Hello, stinky."
The only reply he received was a yawn and two bright teal eyes opening up. The old woman shook her head as Gin continued to watch the small infant move in his arms. "I think 'stinky' is a better name for you. Toshiro is to big for a tiny baby such as yourself."
"Then I'm glad I named him. I wouldn't want a grandson called 'stinky'," the old woman sighed.
"Stinky Shiro," Gin continued before glancing up at his mother. "What exactly am I supposed to do?"
"You unwrap the swaddling, then the cloth around his bottom," the old woman sighed.
"That seems simple enough," Gin smirked. That was until he saw the mess. "Eww. Stinky Shiro."
"That's what babies do. Now use the already dirty cloth to finish wiping him by folding the cloth in half." The grandmother watched, her eyes filled with mirth.
Gin's head shot up. "Hold on... I have to touch him... there of all places?"
"Well, he can't do it himself yet, can he?" The old woman raised two eyebrows.
"Do you do this everyday? Did you do this when I was little? The boy blurted out, working on cleaning.
"Of course, though I had help from your older siblings," the woman smiled.
"Sorry... I brought money... to help..." Gin muttered, refusing to look her in the face.
"Never mind that," the old woman took the dirty cloth from him as if it were nothing. She handed him a clean one. "Now wrap this around him so that it is wrapped the same way as the one before."
The young man complied, wrapping the infant's bottom and then body so he couldn't squirm. "That's it?"
"Why don't you hold him to your chest?" the woman smiled. Slowly, the young man lifted the baby up and placed him against his shoulder. He closed his eyes, letting the peace consume him. The infant simply curled up closer, snuggling close.
In his mind Gin imagined what it might have been like for him, Ran and the babe to live together, as impossible as that might have been. For a bit of time though he could sit their imagining a different life. Time however was something he couldn't squander either. He opened one eye. "There is money and a rattle in the package."
"Rattle?" The old woman opened the bundle and pulled out the pastel colored child's toy. "I've never seen the likes... but the sound makes me think a baby would like it."
"I'm glad. I'll bring a little more each time I come," the young man stated.
"You don't have to, was her reply.
"Yes... I do."
Author's note – Another fanfic buried in one of my journals.
2-9-2012 – agoodcupoftea is helping with getting this fanfic edited gramatically. :D