Negirau Atashinchi
~Face to Face

In the shower Hitsugaya's head hung low and he simply let the water warm up his body. Despite being a shinigami with an ice zampaktuo, that didn't mean he was immune to the cold."I'm stepping out so you can change Toshiro." At that, his head popped up and he heard the door click. He opened his eye and turned the knobs. He then stepped out of the shower, grabbing the towel that he had tossed to the side when he got in.

As he dried off his body, his eyes fell on the pajamas that Yuzu had picked out for him. The pattern seemed rather childish, which caused him to let out a deep sigh of frustration. He dried off his body and then pulled on his underwear and then the pants. As he buttoned up his shirt, he took a gander at the mirror, only to glance back down. At that, he slipped out of the bathroom and walked over to Ichigo's room, his feet hitting the floor.

He opened the door, only to find someone stepping over and grabbing the towel, beginning to rub his hair dry. He turned his head in irritation at the person. "Kurosaki!"

"Then dry your own hair Toshiro so you don't get sick." Ichigo sighed, going over to his desk and sitting down to work on his homework.

The small shinigami walked over to the teenagers bed and sat down on it, cross legged and facing the window, drying off his hair as he did so. After a few minutes, he glanced up, turning his head so that he could see over his shoulder. "I thought you were going to press me?"

At that, Kurosaki paused and turned, letting out a sigh and pulling his arms behind his head. "What happened?"

At that, Toshiro turned his head back, pausing. He then spoke up. "What do you mean what happened?"

"So, you're going to give me the same round about Renji did about the fact I'm not to be involved in shinigami business anymore?" Ichigo stated. "I wasn't given any of the details on what happened to you, but I know something did happen."

"You'll have to pry a different way to get details out of me Kurosaki." The boy's head suddenly hung low and the towel fell so it was hanging over her shoulders.

"Hitsugaya Taicho..." Two brown eyes narrowed, watching the young man carefully.

At that, the small figure spun around, a rather hurt look on his face. His teal eyes were wide, and one of his legs flopped off the bed. "I told you! Earlier I told you to keep treating me like you always have!"

"Toshiro..." Ichigo let out a sigh.

"What?" A look of confusion spread on the white haired youths face.

"Toshiro?" The other male shook his head.

"Stop it! I don't like being teased like this!" The boy grumbled, his cheeks beginning to flush with anger.

"I wasn't teasing you. The only time you've corrected me on your proper title was when I mentioned Rukia and you got all flustered, which is likely only because you forgot about what was bothering you and instead focused on the caressing though that crossed your mind." Ichigo stated, watching as Hitsugaya's jaw dropped. "Something is bothering you enough that you discarded your title. Knowing you, that means you don't feel like you deserve it. Question is... why?"

"Why? Why do I not feel as if I deserve my title? I'll tell you why. I messed up again." Toshiro's face twisted up, his face irritated with himself.

"Everyone messes up. There was the time with your old friend, and the time with Momo when you stabbed her." Ichigo sighed, leaning on his arm, flipping his pencil around.

"Did you have to bring up the situation with Momo? That... isn't resolved." The young shinigami's face paled.

"Sorry. I didn't realize that." The teenager turned back to his homework, continuing to work on it while he listened. "You've been in fights before though. Something particular about this time?"

"The captain's haori... " Toshiro closed his eyes, then opened them and looked at the ceiling. "I don't remember much about the fight, other then the fact I doubt I landed a blow on the person. But..." At that, his eyes closed again, and his head hung low. "When they found me, I was tied to my own zampaktuo, unconscious. My haori... my captain's haori. He took it with him. I was out for I don't know how long."

"At least you are alive Toshiro." Ichigo stated, suddenly turning back to the small taicho.

Hitsugaya reached up and rubbed a hand across his eyes. "That's what Unohana Taicho said, in a way. But quite a few people know that I don't have my haori. They aren't happy about the situation. And... I was told by Unohana..."

"To stay put. One thing Rukia told me was you felt like you were in trouble when you really weren't." Kurosaki gave Toshiro a smile. "I am quite sure a good deal of people are simply glad you are safe."

"Except a captain losing their haori is a big deal. It's a very big deal, yet... Unohana said that losing my haori has a bigger meaning then just me simply having. It was meant to send a very definite message. I don't understand any of that."

"Unohana Taicho said that it was meant to send a definite meaning?" Ichigo glanced at the ceiling.

"If you are looking at me to say what the meaning is, I haven't got a clue. I simply thought I was being humiliated, brought down to..." Toshiro paused, his cheeks puffing out a bit. "I was merely a child at that man's mercy."

"Child..." This caused the orange haired teenager to suddenly turn to stare at the small taicho. "Toshiro... I can assume that there has never been someone as young as you who has ever become a captain of the gotei thirteen?"

"The second youngest was twice my age equivalently. But that doesn't mean anything." Hitsugaya frowned, his hands clenching the bed sheet.

"Well, to you it may not, but doesn't it mean something to all the other shinigami?" The look on Ichigo's face was serious, yet showed some bit of frustration. "You being the youngest shinigami ever makes you important to them."

"Important to them. I''m not that important." At that, Toshiro's face paled and he crossed his legs again, his head hanging low.

There was a soft knock on the door and Kurosaki's head popped up. "Yes?"

At that, Yuzu opened the door and slipped in. "I fixed some hot tea and some cookies." She set it down on the desk, then slipped back out. Silence remained in the room as Ichigo stood up and poured tea from the container into one of the cups then walked over and set it down on top of the saucer next to Toshiro.

After he sat back down, Ichigo choose to speak about the subject. "So, you're saying there is no importance to you being the youngest taicho ever?"

"Well... it is a great achievement I guess. I never wanted... I never wanted to be one, but I felt like I needed to be." The small taicho glanced at the ground. "I don't care about my rank."

"Yet you were upset about your haori being taken." The other young man let out a deep sigh.

"I'm upset about it being taken because it means that I've let everyone down." Hitsugaya's face turned dramatic, frustrated at the fact that the former substitute shinigami was pushing the issue.

"And unless your someone that matters and is important to them, there should be no reason to feel that way." Ichigo suddenly scratched his head. "This math problem..."

"I..." Toshiro closed his eyes, not wanting the particular subject to continue. Something popped into his head. "Kurosaki? Why do you dislike your family so much?"

"Dislike my family?" The young man glanced up, somewhat surprised at that comment. "I don't hate them. Where did that come from?"

"You're not getting along with your father, are you?" The small shinigami picked up his cup of tea and began to sip on it.

"We've never truly got along, but then we've never truly not gotten along." Ichigo gave a weak smile. "I don't hate him, I really don't."

"Do you love your father though?" Toshiro asked, confusion written all over his face.

"I'll admit that is true, but I won't say the words out loud." Kurosaki continued with his homework, listening to the others words.

"Then why is it you want to get out of the house? Isn't it because of him?" The boy's face twisted up.

At that Ichigo glanced up, then looked at the wall. "I want away from my old man because he reminds me of you guys. It's not that I don't remember you guys, but it hurts too do so."

"I don't understand how your father could remind you of us." A sigh came out of Toshiro's mouth.

"Uhh... I'd rather not explain that one. It has to deal with protecting my family." Ichigo scratched his head.

"Speaking of family. About Karin..." The small taicho spoke up, his face perking up and a more innocent appearance appearing in his eyes.

"Yes. About Karin." Ichigo turned just in time for Toshiro surprised at the former comrades response. "What is the two of yours relationship? You act like you know her pretty well."

Hitsugaya's mouth suddenly twisted into a frown. "I don't have a crush on her. I don't."

"Where did that come from?" Kurosaki let out a chuckle, turning back to his school work.

"Rangiku and other people." The muttering was almost inaudible.

"Well, lets say you did like her..." The former substitute shinigami let out a chuckle.

"Don't even tease me about it! I've had enough with Hinamori and everyone else!" Toshiro snapped out the words, his cheeks flushed.

"I wasn't trying to tease you. What I was saying was, if you do decided that you like her, and soul society doesn't stop you with some law preventing you, I am fine with it, you having a relationship with Karin. Of course..." Ichigo found himself interrupted.

"She might kick a soccer ball at my head again." The small boy stated, the corner of his mouth twisting up, confusion and frustration written all over his face.

"All right, I won't push what kind of relationship the two you have, whether it is just that you two know each other, or are actually friends."

"About your sister though..." At that, Toshiro got up and walked over to Ichigo's desk. He pulled out his phone, then a wallet containing id if he needed it. Both were rather damp, along with the soul candy container.

"The stuff you pulled out of your pocket when you changed out of your wet clothes." The teenager sighed. "What do any of those have to do with Karin?"

The small shinigami though opened his wallet and pulled out a piece of paper and set it on the desk. The edges were damp from water and Kurosaki picked it up and began to open the paper. "You need to really talk to her, Kurosaki."

Ichigo felt his brown eyes suddenly go wide as he read the note. "Toshiro... where did you get this."

"I followed your sister to her school this morning as there was something I needed to ask her about... relating to what I came to the living world for. Some girls stuck this into her locker. They're bullying her."

"So she didn't listen to you when you told her to go talk to and adult about it?" Ichigo set the paper down.

"Talk to an adult?" Two teal eyes blinked a couple of times. "That's what your supposed to do when that kind of thing happens?"

"Yeah..." The orange haired teen looked to watch the white haired taicho. "Toshiro... what did you do."

"I tied their shoelaces together... while I was in shinigami form." The small shinigami's cheeks flushed up slightly and he glanced at the ground.

"Uh huh." Ichigo nodded his head. He then blinked a couple of times. "Wait... you did what?"

"Matsumoto's already lectured me about it, so don't you do it too." At that, Toshiro turned around and leaned up against the desk.

"Lecture you about it?" The former substitute shinigami however suddenly started laughing aloud.

"It isn't funny Kurosaki!" The small shinigami turned around his voice rising.

"You can call me Ichigo or what my sisters sometimes call me." The orange haired teen laughed.

"Kurosaki!" Hitsugaya slammed the palms against the desk, turning back around. "It isn't funny."

"Come on Toshiro. That was one of the best pranks I have ever thought of. I never expected you to do something like that." The teenager laughed.

"It really isn't funny." The small taicho's voice began to calm down. "Matsumoto also pointed out that wasn't normal behavior for me. Plus, your sister got mad."

At that, Ichigo coughed into his hand. "Uhh... sorry. I didn't realize that." As Toshiro folded his arms and glared at the wall. He then let out a sigh and picked up his soul phone, snapping it open. The small let out a groan. "What is it."

"I turned off my ringer so that they couldn't contact me and bother me, or find me easily. I've got a lot of missed calls." Hitsugaya simply stared at his phone.

Kurosaki held out his hand. "Who would it be best for me to talk too, to let them know that you are all right?"

The small taicho paused. "I think that Unohana won't be happy unless she is the one contacted."

"All right." Ichigo snatched the phone from Toshiro and began fiddling with the settings.

"Hey!" The white haired child tried grabbing the phone from the bigger male.

"Do you really want to take the brunt of Unohana's wrath?" The orange haired teen sighed. He then put the phone to his ear. "Hello?"

"Kurosaki-san?" Unohana's voice came from the other side, nice and sweet. "Have you found Hitsugaya Taicho?"

"I found him over an hour ago. I brought him back to my place so we could talk and so that he could get a hot shower as we got soaked in the rain. He's feeling a little better and I'm going to make sure that he stays inside rather then sleeping on my roof." Ichigo stated.

"Kurosaki!" Toshiro muttered.

"Did Hitsugaya Taicho or someone else tell you of his habit of sleeping on the rood?" The forth division taicho asked.

"No..." The orange haired teen blinked a couple of times.

"Interesting. Tell Hitsugaya Taicho to get to bed." The female stated over the phone, then said goodbye.

"What did she have to say?" The small taicho glanced at the floor, his feet unable to stay still as he fidgeted slightly.

"Your to go to bed. I'll go get a futon later on." Ichigo stated. "You know she's not someone you're supposed to argue with."

"She wasn't mad about earlier though?" Toshiro frowned, something feeling off.

The high school student blinked again. "No. She was actually very calm. I guess you have to see her face and her look. Good night."

"Good night." The small taicho shook his head, then crawled under the sheets as Ichigo switched off the light.

"Hey... Toshiro. I know that you aren't completely back to norm, but do you feel better after having talked?"

There was a short period of silence, and then Toshiro spoke up, much to his own surprise. "A little, actually."