Liking Oneself II
Thank You
~Home Stay (Part VI)~

"He's always been there."

Renji felt the corner of his mouth twist up and down upon hearing this from the small taicho. He then let out a deep breath while closing his eyes and scratching his head. "Why don't you get some sleep. I'll take a look outside to get an idea of where everything is."

"Whatever." Toshiro closed his eyes and folded his arms across his chest while he leaned against the wall.

"Toshiro..." The comment from the old woman caused both of the male shinigami to look at her.

"Sorry... I'll get some sleep." Toshiro turned his head back just in time for Renji to turn back towards him. The older shinigami stepped out of the room and two teal eyes turned to look at the ceiling before closing. A few minutes later he heard the sound of children in the yard, their laughter catching his attention.

"I heard the monster that used to live there is back." One of the small taicho's eyes opened and he let out a sigh before closing his mouth.

"Monster?"

"You know... the older kids and adults talk about how their used to be a monster that lived there."

"Yeah right, monsters aren't real."

"Really... I dare you to go in and see the monster." This comment caused Toshiro to let out a deep sigh.

"Yeah... well, if I have to go and see the monster you and everybody else does too."

"What... you're kidding me, right?"

"Oh come one. There shouldn't be any problem." A third voice came about, this time female. "I doubt there is anything like a Hollow in there that would eat us."

Another female voice came, this time even younger. The child speaking had some problems with the words, but what they said was very clear. "Yeah. If it isn't a Hollow, it isn't a monster. Every body knows that Hollows are monsters and if there was a Hollow here the shinigami would take care of it."

"See?"

"Wait! Chiho! Get back here!"

There came the sound of a child breathing roughly as said child ran across the ground. The sound of two small hands hitting the edge of the door frame came as well as the sound of the child climbing in. The sound of the other children could be heard coming after the child just as the sound of her crawling closer could be heard.

A small hand touched his sleeve, causing his eyes to snap open. Slowly he turned to look at the smile child who had a look of awe on her face. The next words out of her mouth surprised her. "Are you an angel?"

"What?"

Two wide eyes looked up at him, obviously awestruck by the sight of him. Her small hands kept a grip on his sleeve. "Are you an angel?"

At this point the other children came forward, peeking in. One of the boy's spoke up. "Wow! A shinigami!"

The first one that had spoken up now spoke. "He's not much older then us."

"Actually, he looks to be the same age as Tomoya." The second boy spoke up.

The boy in question simply narrowed his eyes, while the older girl who had been with them suddenly turned to look towards the outside. Renji's voice came booming at them. "Hey! What are you doing!"

The first boy to speak up once they had gotten into the house suddenly turned and pointed at Renji. "Monster! Run!"

All of the children suddenly took off running while the youngest remained clutching Toshiro's sleeve. The older female came back and grabbed her before taking off again. The smallest girl spoke up. "Are you a hollow. You're not wearing a mask, but you got strange marks."

Renji came in, his arms folded across his chest. "Are you all right?"

"Why wouldn't I be?"

"Your own village has bullied you since you were little. Rangiku wouldn't have made that video for you if you had more self-esteem. I think your problems stem from..."

"Stop it." Toshiro interrupted, his teal eyes glaring at the shinigami. "I wasn't bullied. Honestly, I don't know what you're talking about there." The boy remained silent. "Plus... you're only saying that because you see me as an obnoxious little brother and you're looking for a fight with someone. You think you can use me to justify you getting into a fight."

"Say what? Where did that stupidity come from?" Renji scratched his head.

"You said 'it is hard to think of something nice, for someone you see like an obnoxious little brother, who tags along where ever you go. It's been that way since academy.' Which by the way..."

"Where did that come from. I never said that."

"Yes you did. I have the video to prove it to back at my division."

"Oh..."

"And by the way. I didn't ever follow you around. The only reason I hung out with you guys at times was become Hinamori dragged me along despite me telling her I didn't want to go."

"Oh."

"Do you have anything else to say?"

"Not really." Toshiro leaned back and looked at the wall, thinking that would be the end of it. "I don't care what you say about not being bullied when you were younger. I know you were."

"Abarai... don't go there!"

"Go where?" Momo popped into the room. "By the way, Kira will be back in a bit."

"Did you know that he was bullied by others in your village?"

"What has Shiro-chan been telling you? He never was bullied when he was younger. I'm not even sure why he would make up such lies."

"What..."

"I told you Abarai. I wasn't bullied. It's just a misunderstanding Hinamori."

Renji stood up, storming out of the small house, only to bump into Kira. The blond frowned. "What ever is the matter with you?"

"Hitsugaya Taicho is being such a brat."

"What did he do this time because of the medication he's on?"

Renji blinked once before glancing back at the house. He grabbed Kira's arm and dragged him away from the house so that those inside wouldn't hear him. "I don't think it's the medicine that is the problem. He's insisting that he wasn't bullied as a child simply because there wasn't any physical abuse, but I know full well that everyone outside of that family unit treats him as a monster."

"So pretty much you're not mad at him, your mad at the people who bullied him."

"No. I'm mad at him as well. He accused me of trying to pick a fight with them and using him as a reason to go and pick a fight."

"Your personality doesn't exactly help matters." Kira frowned. "From what I heard though the abuse at one point escalated to the point it was physical. Apparently he almost ended up being drowned when he was younger."

"What stopped..." Renji shook his head. "Hitsugaya Taicho said there was no physical abuse." He then took a deep breath. "The old lady didn't want me to push the subject."

"Probably because Hitsugaya Taicho's forgotten about it already. The entire village remembers though because a man ended up drowning that day instead."

"What? Did that man rescue him and then fall back in?" The red headed shinigami shook his head.

"No. I think that man was the person who was trying to kill Hitsugaya Taicho and someone stepped in and killed him instead."

"Who? Wouldn't be people be calling the man a hero for saving one scrawny little kid."

"Not if this man was my former taicho."

Renji's mouth dropped. "Ichimaru? Please tell me that you're pulling my leg."

"That's one of the other things that the village remembers that Hitsugaya Taicho doesn't. They've also made the claim that he's also the son of Ichimaru."

Yeah right. He would know whether or not Gin was his parent or not. He'd be having nightmares about it as the guy is a creep."

"Or is that the reason he doesn't remember? I'm going to ask his grandmother later, once he's asleep and Hinamori isn't around."

"Why not while she is around?"

"Because she doesn't know anything about this. Not only has Toshiro avoided telling her, the village has as well."