A/N: Hey there, me again with another HitsuHina story. Another multi-chaptered fic, don't know how long yet. But will most likely (as in 99% most likely) be longer than 'Veritas et Gaudium'.

On a special note, this will just be a short prologue, I promise the rest of the chapters of this story will be 2,000K+ words.

Warning: This story is rated M for language and violence. No smut will occur. And unfortunately, quite a few beloved Bleach characters will be dying in this story.

AU. Hinamori is not a Shinigami in this fanfiction. The battle against Aizen above fake Karakura Town goes a bit differently.

I hope you enjoy it!

Will to Live

Prologue: Things Look a Little Bleak

Toushirou gripped Hyourinmaru harder in his hands, swallowing convulsively as he watched Aizen blow through the ranks of the Gotei 13 with ease. Tousen was dead and Ichimaru was watching the battle with that infuriating, ever-present grin on his face.

Everything seemed to travel in slow-motion as Soifon was taken down in one slash of Kyouka Suigetsu, Kyouraku and the Vizard Hirako Shinji quickly following suit...all with apparent ease, Aizen not even breaking a sweat. Toushirou and Ichigo looked much the same, both clutching their zanpakutou and watching on in fear and awe. The only reason Toushirou held back was because he wanted to truly gauge Aizen's strength. And the unfortunate truth was...

Toushirou didn't stand a chance against him.

So he just stood there as Aizen turned to Ichigo, going into a monologue, Ichigo's grip becoming tighter on his sword with each sentence. Until finally, Ichigo's hollow mask came on and he charged Aizen...only to take Kyouka Suigetsu through the stomach, the blood-stained sword coming out of his back.

As Ichigo fell limply to the ground over a hundred feet down, Toushirou could feel his reiatsu quickly fading. Soifon's, Kyouraku's, and Shinji's were already just about completely gone. There was no way those three would survive at this point...not without Unohana or Orihime appearing within the next few minutes. Everybody was down except for him, so naturally Aizen turned to face him next.

"Ah, Hitsugaya-kun, the child prodigy," said Aizen condescendingly. "Too bad you never got to grow up to reach your true potential. That would've been interesting to see."

Toushirou lifted Hyourinmaru, but before he could even open his mouth to say, "Bankai," he felt an intense pain in his stomach and back. Aizen had gotten him, too.

Toushirou coughed up some blood and weakly rose his sword to strike, though he knew it was futile. Aizen let the weak blow hit him, the blade not even cutting him. "Goodbye, Hitsugaya-kun," said Aizen one last time before punching him in the chest, the impact breaking every single one of his ribs and sending him flying.

For some reason, as he was flying through the air, Toushirou found himself thinking about the fun times spent with his Grandmother in the Soul Society. The only person who hadn't been afraid of him in the Soul Society until he met Matsumoto, who had encouraged him to become a Shinigami. He actually let out a gurgled chuckle as he thought of all the wacky antics his fukutaichou got up to.

He flew past one of the pillars into the outskirts of Karakura Town, his speed only reducing once he struck the ground full force, many more bones breaking.

It was quite miraculous, really, but Toushirou didn't really feel that bad. All he had to do was focus on staying awake and eventually finding help, and he might actually make it through this ordeal. But his body wasn't listening to his brain, and a hint of black began to encroach on his vision. Maybe he had been damaged so badly that it didn't hurt anymore.

Toushirou lifted one finger, thinking he might be able to pull this off. He could do it, he really could. But just then, he sensed a close-by reiatsu. Just a meager hollow. It turned the corner at the end of the block and looked right at him before beginning to stalk towards him. It was going to devour him.

How ironic. The youngest captain in the history of the Gotei 13 and he was going to be finished off by a hollow that barely even had more reiatsu than a human.

The black began to push inwards, sealing off more vision, and Toushirou gave up, hoping to at least beat this hollow by dying before it reached him. But no, Toushirou wasn't completely dead by the time the hollow reached him, its red eyes fixed on him. It reached a clawed hand toward him, and a bit more black swallowed some more vision. It was only centimeters away from grabbing him.

Toushirou felt a strong pull on Hyourinmaru, which was wrested from his grip. Out of the corner of his eye he was amazed to find a girl who only seemed to be a few years older than himself holding Hyourinmaru in an amateur's stance, her hair held back in a pale blue cloth.

She stood in between the broken Toushirou and the hollow, the zanpakutou held steady in her unwavering hands. The girl seemed to ooze determination. Determination for what, Toushirou did not know. She didn't seem to have a legitimate reason to be so determined.

The hollow reached a clawed hand toward the girl, who just barely managed to slice the hand off with her unpracticed swing. The hollow howled in agony, and Toushirou just barely managed to croak, "The face," loud enough for the girl to hear.

The girl, only hesitating for a second, lunged forward thrusted Hyourinmaru all the way to the hilt into the hollow's face, causing it to disintegrate.

Toushirou just managed to get one look at her face, the beautiful and breathtaking face of an angel, before the darkness claimed him.

A/N: So what do you think? The beginnings to a great story and a great romance, no?