Disclaimer – I don't own Bleach. Contains small spoilers for the forth filler arc in the Anime. This fanfic took time to write, over a week to be exact.
After the Winter War, instead of the world feeling colorful and bright, it felt dull and gray, as if all the hope had been sucked out. Then again, the person who had brought a great deal of the color and hope to the world was no longer with them, having lost his powers. No on could deny the fact that something felt like it was missing.
The tenth division was no different despite normally having to deal with the vibrant personality of Matsumoto Rangiku. Her normally chipper spirit had been dampened due one Ichimaru Gin, where ever he may now be. So to had the spirit of the small taicho. Work got done, but not to the same rhythm as before.
Hitsugaya sat at his desk, when the message came to him from Yamamoto. His teal eyes blinked a couple of times as he read the message. "Hitsugaya Taicho, we wish for you to sit in on a captaincy test."
His fukutaicho, whose cool eyes picked up on the fact that a message had come spoke up. "Something wrong taicho?"
"Yamamoto's requested I sit in on a captaincy test..." A look of confusion spread across his face. "Why?"
"Because you're a taicho, taicho." Long forgotten mirth filled her eyes as she watched him.
"I know that Matsumoto. There are plenty of taicho who are better suited. I mean, I 'm the newest of the taicho." The small shinigami's face twisted in confusion. "Why now?"
Rangiku smiled at him. "You need to have more faith in yourself."
Soft footsteps fell on the wooden floor as the small shinigami approached the room that the questioning part of the test would take place in. He glanced out into the garden, noting how carefully Yamamoto had the garden taken care of. His body stopped moving as he looked, his muscles suddenly relaxing as something familiar and normal came into his site.
He didn't notice another person coming up from behind him. "Oh my. You haven't been here since you took your captaincy test."
"Unohana Taicho?" At that, the small taicho's attention snapped back towards the female taicho who smiled at him. "I do not have fond memories of that time, as I failed to pass the actual test. It took being recommended by the captain's of the Gotei Thirteen for me to become a captain."
At that, the female's mouth twisted up into a frown. "I think you need to remember that the person who failed you was Aizen. I personally think that he failed you thinking that as a taicho, you would have gotten in his way."
At that, Hitsugaya made to follow the older taicho. "You know that I don't like being patronized."
"Oh?" The female taicho turned her head, glancing over her shoulder at the child who followed her like a small duckling. "What I said is honestly what I believe. I also believe making stuff up to tell people is detrimental."
When they came to the room, the small taicho moved forward to open the door for her, stepping aside to let her through. They then moved over to the three cushions that were on the floor and they sat down on either side of the cushions folding their legs underneath them. Unohana sat, her entire body remaining proper.
Toshiro also sat holding back his emotions for a good deal of the time, but every so often, he would glance around nervously. He thought about asking why he had been selected to watch the test this time, but thought better of it. Finally though, Unohana turned her head to the small taicho. "Have you spoken with Hinamori Momo since she got out of the twelfth division?"
"It's been only two weeks." The small taicho glanced at the ground, his hands suddenly tightening around the legs of his uniform. "I don't expect her to talk with me for awhile, after what happened."
The questioning went no further. Eventually, Yamamoto came into the room and sat down on the middle cushion. He didn't speak or say anything, but instead remained silent, until his fukutaicho opened up the door again. "You may now enter."
The candidate for the captaincy stepped in the room. Upon seeing who it was, Toshiro felt his eyes going up in surprise. His head darted over to the other captains, seeing if this was some joke. However, the other two taicho remained stiff, unmoving from their positions. The person who came into the room suddenly spoke up. "I don't know why you are so surprised Shiro-chan."
At that, Toshiro flinched, then turned his head towards the small female in front of him, a rather bewildered look on his face. "There is no way in hell that Hinamori could possibly know Bankai. She hasn't had any time to bring her zampaktuo spirit into this world and to create dominance over it. Also, she's going for a captain's rank? If she can't call me by my title, does she even understand what it means to be a captain."
The other two taicho ignored the fact that Momo had called Hitsugaya Toshiro by that dreaded nickname. Yamamoto spoke up, watching the small female carefully. "The place that we start the captaincy test is by asking you questions. Hitsugaya Taicho will begin the questioning."
The small taicho's eyes blinked a couple of times, then he spoke up. "Do you really know Bankai Hinamori?"
At that, Momo let out a deep sigh. "Do you think I would be here if I didn't?"
"What is your reason for becoming a captain?" The small taicho continued, choosing not to try and argue why he had asked the line of questioning he was taking.
"Well, someone needs to replace Captain Aizen." Hinamori spoke up, a smile on her face, her entire continence too lax for the situation.
At that, Toshiro let out a deep sigh. "Would you please elaborate on why you wish to become a captain?"
"Nee... Shiro-chan..." However, at that point, Hinamori paused for a small bit as Yamamoto let out a cough, indicating he would let the first time slide, but not the next. "As I said, someone needs to replace captain Aizen. I've been tasked with quite a few duties in the fifth division already and the captain duties shouldn't be much more."
"That's it?" Toshiro asked, moving into showing absolutely no emotion as he interviewed her. "Doesn't she understand that being a captain is more then just the paper work and such. Doesn't she have any sense of duty? I mean, seriously, this isn't a game."
A few more questions came Momo's way from the other two questions, causing Hitsugaya to frown at the female he had grown up with, his worry growing. Something about the situation didn't seem right. Eventually, it came time for Hinamori to show them her Bankai and they stepped out into the garden. Two teal eyes took in the view, watching her carefully.
First, Hinamori called out the release of her zampaktuo and it went to Shikai form. Everything seemed normal at that point, as if Momo in fact didn't know Bankai, but then she said the word Bankai and Toshiro's eyes went wide as he saw the fiery site in front of him. His mind at first went to the idea that she had somehow managed to learn Bankai, but something still bothered him.
"I am going to ask you a question Hinamori. Do you know how to release your zampaktuo into Shikai state without saying its name?" Toshiro asked, personally thinking he all ready knew the answer.
"No... I actually don't. I know it is usual... but I can't." Momo stated, confirming what Toshiro was worried about. They moved into the room and the small female sat in front of them, waiting for an answer.
Yamamoto turned his head to the small captain. "Hitsugaya Taicho, have you made your decision on the matter?"
"Yes..." The small taicho tried to keep his tone of voice without emotion, but something told him that he might have let something leak out about how he was feeling. The head taicho then asked Unohana the same question, to which she replied that she was indeed ready. Yamamoto spoke up, telling the child captain to give his answer first.
Toshiro spoke up, restraining his emotional reaction. "My answer is no. I don't believe that you are anywhere near ready to be a taicho."
Hinamori had been smiling up till then. When he spoke his mind, her face faltered, knowing full well it was now impossible to pass the captain's test. Her face also revealed a level of hurt from what the small taicho said and she hung her head to the ground. The white haired youth felt his throat seize up, knowing full well that he had hurt Hinamori again, despite the fact he hadn't wanted to.
"Better that she be protected..." His dragon hummed in Toshiro's ear, while he waited for the answer from the other taicho.
"I have to agree with Hitsugaya Taicho here." Unohana looked straight at the female. "I am rather bothered by the fact that you had a problem addressing the tenth division taicho by his name by his title." At that, Toshiro glanced up, giving the female taicho a surprised look. "I know full well that the two of you grew up as siblings and I understand that you would use his given name, or even nicknames when it comes to your private relationship."
"However..." As the forth division taicho berated her, Hinamori found herself suddenly flinching. "You have a bad habit of not using proper etiquette when it warrants it. You have shown restraint before when the head captain and I have been around, but this time around you let slip the childish nick name in front of us."
"I am concerned about your level of respect for Hitsugaya Taicho. It was problematic before, but now it seems you have less respect for him simply because of hurt feelings over something that was out of both of your control. If you want to be captain, you need to have respect for others around you, even if you are not happy with them."
Then came Yamamoto's turn. "My answer is also no. You do not seem to understand what the significance of being a captain means. It isn't simply about being able to do the job or not. What matters to, is your personality and how you interact with other people, not to mention how mature you are able to act. Your actions of late haven't shown a level of maturity.
"That said, it needs to be brought up the fact that you need to be more concerned about keeping your rank as a fukutaicho, rather then worrying about becoming a captain. You have made certain choices that brings into question whether you really have the ability to be a lieutenant. A new captain is going to be taking over the fifth eventually. You need to be prepared to possibly work to keep your rank, if said captain hasn't already had a choice in mind."
Glancing over Hinamori, the small taicho couldn't help but feel the look on her face sting him deep down. Yet, there was honestly nothing he could do about the situation. Momo was the one who decided to take the captain's test, getting her hopes up about whole idea. He wanted to say something to her, even privately, but found himself stopping short when she spoke up again.
"Can I ask something?" Momo's voice were highly downcast, shaking even.
"I don't see why not."
"The reason that you said no to me on this, it wasn't because he doesn't want me to be captain?" Hinamori's words came to the small taicho, causing him a great deal of pain.
Glancing down, after having let his jaw drop for a bit, he found himself hanging his head from the hurt. "I should have known that she and I aren't going to get along for awhile."
"I'll make this very clear, Hinamori Fukutaicho. If you ever wish to become a captain of the Gotei Thirteen, you are going to have to show the other captains that you have some form of respect for Hitsugaya Taicho and that you have some understanding of his situation, instead of thinking of your own. We said no, not because he doesn't wish you to be a taicho, but because we honestly believe you aren't ready." Unohana stated firmly.
Yamamoto then spoke up, his voice dark. "Now, if you are done wasting the time of us three captains, you should leave."
At that, Hinamori's face contorted up. She stood up, the look in her eyes rather haunted and then headed out of the room, her aura showing that she was very disappointed with the results. Toshiro's entire body felt tense and once Momo was gone, he spoke up, speaking his mind. "Did the two of you have to be that hard on her?"
At that, the old man turned to the small taicho, his eyes dark. "What did you wish to do, coddle and baby her like she was before?"
At that, two teal eyes glanced at the ground, his Adam's apple bobbing down. He opened his mouth to speak one thing, snapped it shut and then opened it again, only to close it again. Unohana watched him carefully, then spoke up. "If you don't mind head taicho, I will be staying behind to speak with the young taicho here about certain things."
At that, Yamamoto gave them a quick glare, and then stood up and left without saying a word. The small taicho glanced at the floor. "I was out of place with what I said, wasn't I? This is the first time I sat in on a test and I ended up messing up."
"I wouldn't say what you said was out of place. You had an honest question, something that you were confused about. I doubt Yamamoto Taicho was insulted by you asking that question. We figured that you would pose us such a question." Unohana stated, turning to face the small taicho, her hands folded in her lap.
At that, Toshiro's head darted up. "Wait a second. Did you and the head captain plan on saying no to Hinamori before the test even began?"
"You know as well as anyone that she has only been awake for a couple of weeks. There were some problems with her personality that cropped up due to the Aizen incident that honestly need to be addressed before she could even be considered for the position of captain. There is no way they had been dealt with in that short of time. Some of these issues lie with you."
"I'll try making amends with her as soon as I leave." The small taicho glanced again at the floor.
"Hitsugaya Taicho, you honestly take too much onto your own shoulders. You try to protect those you care about with your own strength alone. You also place guilt on yourself even though something wasn't your fault." The woman remained still, watching the small taicho carefully. "If you go and apologize to her for something like this, I think it will only make things worse."
At that, Toshiro clutched the legging part of his uniform. He pushed his lips together tightly, then he spoke up about the issue that bothered him. "Didn't having me here at this captain's test make things worse? I don't see why I was needed here, when you and the head captain had planned on not letting her pass in the first place. Wouldn't any other taicho have done just as well, if not better in this situation?"
"We actually had a reason for having you be one of the taicho that partook." Unohana's face simply looked at the small taicho, not giving away what she really felt.
At that, Hitsugaya found himself feeling deflated much like Hinamori had. "This wasn't some test was it?"
"Yes. I will be upfront about the fact that we were testing to see how you would react. When we had to deal with the creator of the Mod Sols, you let the copies of Hinamori almost kill you. You do understand that this behavior was concerning." The female stated, and then continued. "You understand that I wish for you to come in for some counseling on this issue?"
"I don't like talking about my personal problems." Toshiro stated, his tone rather dark.
"The inability to share certain things when you need to is one of your weak points." Unohana continued. "There was another reason that we wished for you to be here. The head captain and I have the feeling that Hinamori Momo would not have told you about this new ability of hers. You would have found out from some one else, or even worse, she likely would have held off until she became a taicho."
"I wasn't wrong in saying no because I felt that... power... felt wrong?" Toshiro asked, not looking up from the ground.
"Speculation speaking, I think that a certain taicho did something to her while she was in his care for having her organs regenerated. He may have given her this power." The female taicho stated. "That said, you are under direct orders not to attack the taicho of the twelfth division, no matter what happens."
"You don't trust me?" The small taicho's body tensed up.
"Normally we do trust you, Hitsugaya Taicho. However, this situation honestly has hit to close to home for you. There are adults who would have problems dealing with everything that is going on." The woman suddenly patted the ground in front of her. "One of the good things about this place is that no one comes here unless there is a candidate for captaincy."
At that, the small taicho got up, not wishing to disobey the order of one of the oldest captains of the gotei thirteen. He knelt down in front of her, then felt his tense body pulled into her arms, up into her lap. She gently pushed the small white head of hair towards her chest then began to rub his back muscles to get the small taicho to relax his boy.
"I refuse to let you deal with this on your own. I've seen what this has done to others and I know that keeping emotions in isn't healthy. " Unohana held the child close to her, letting him relax. "Hitsugaya Taicho, when you go back to your division, take any comfort that your fukutaicho is willing to give you. I am giving you an order as the person who is charge of the health of all the gotei thirteen not to be alone on this."
Despite Unohana's best intentions, Toshiro found himself unable to relax. So, after a bit of time, she let him leave and head back to his division. His steps felt as heavy as his heart did. He opened up the door to his division and glanced over to where Matsumoto was sitting. The female glanced up, a smile on her face. "So, was it Hisagi who was taking the test?"
"Hisagi-san?" The small taicho found himself blinking a couple of times. "I didn't know he was learning Bankai."
"He is. He feels it is his duty too... replace his captain." Rangiku's tone slowed down. "Taicho... do we have a new captain?"
"No... we don't." The small taicho walked over to her desk and noted that for once she was hard at work.
"I see. Who was it?" The female stated, continuing to work away.
"Matsumoto." Hitsugaya's voice was strained. "Are you training to learn Bankai?"
"Well, yes." The female continued working, but then paused for a few minutes. She glanced up, her face going from serious to a smile. "Taicho, even if I learn Bankai I'll always be your fukutaicho. I wouldn't make a good captain and I think everyone knows that."
"What exactly are you doing tonight?" Toshiro glanced at the ground.
Rangiku went back to her work, not paying things much mind. "I thought I would go out and drink with Nanao. Why do you ask?"
"I was wondering if we could spend tonight together." His hands suddenly gripped the front of her desk and his knuckles turned white. "Please?"
At that, Matsumoto's head darted up. She then set down her brush and stood up, going to where her small taicho was. She then felt is forehead. "You aren't running a fever. What's gotten into you taicho?"
"I really need to talk to someone I trust. Unohana says I'm not to keep things bottled in anymore. Please?" There was a short pause. "I'll go and get ingredients for dinner and cook something. I'd treat you to dinner out, but I really need to talk to you privately."
"This has to do with the captain's test you went to?" Rangiku piped up, watching as her small taicho flinched. "I'll call Ise and tell her that I can't make it tonight. I'll head to kitchen area when I'm finished with this to wait for you."
"Arrigotto." Toshiro slipped out of the room He headed to the local market, not sure what he would be cooking. His body was tense and he found himself having problems to think straight. He found himself glaring at the rice, knowing full well it was the easiest thing to cook.
Suddenly though, someone came up behind him. "Hitsugaya Taicho?"
At that, the small taicho turned his head to see the fukutaicho of the ninth division. "Hisagi-ssan?"
"You seem to be staring at the rice for some time." The man moved over to the small taicho's side.
"I'm trying to think of something to cook, but my cooking experience is rather limited." The small taicho stated. "I typically just cook for myself."
"Is Hinamori taking time to talk to you?" The man stated, taking out a piece of paper and scribbling something down.
At that, Toshiro's mouth twitched suddenly. "I don't think Hinamori wants anything to do with my anymore."
"Then you don't know about the change since she got out?" Shuhei spoke up, his face twisting up in frustration. "She was rather exuberant about showing it to her friends from the academy days."
"Can I ask you something, Hisagi-san? Have you ever heard of someone learning Bankai without having learned to release their zampaktuo with out the command?"
"You know then?" The ninth division taicho glared at the food. "That fake Bankai of hers is an insult to Renji's hard work."
"Not to mention your own. She just got this ability handed to her." Toshiro stated. "Matsumoto thought that the captain's test would be yours. All I can say is, good luck on learning Bankai. I think you'll make a good captain. That said, not one of the captains passed her."
"You didn't pass her?" Hisagi suddenly handed the small taicho a piece of paper.
At that, two teal eyes glanced up. "I'm not blind to the fact that wasn't Bankai. It felt wrong. Not to mention, if she's a captain, she'll be in even more danger." He narrowed his eyes at the paper. "What is this?"
"An easy recipe." Hisagi stated firmly, then walked away.
Matsumoto waited in the kitchen, watching as other division members came in and out with the food they were preparing for themselves. Eventually, her small taicho came into the kitchen with a bag of food and began to spread the ingredients out onto the counter. She watched as he glanced at a piece of paper, studying the instructions on the paper.
"Did you make a grocery list taicho? If you missed something, I can go and get it." Rangiku stated, moving over to stand by her small taicho.
"No. Hisagi-san gave me a recipe to try. He said it should be easy to make."
At that, the female looked at the piece of paper closely. "Omelet rice. That's a nice dish and a slight step up from what you're used to cooking." She watched carefully as her small taicho worked at making first the rice and then the egg to top the food. When he repeated the process, she started up a thing of green tea and pulled out a few sweets.
Finally, when he placed the food and tea onto the carrying tray, she went ahead of him to open doors. They headed back to their quarters. When they arrived, Matsumoto glanced down at her small taicho. "If you don't mind, I think I'll change for bed. You might want to do so too, as you'll feel more comfortable if you aren't in your uniform."
At that, Toshiro handed her the tray and went into his own room. Rangiku set the tray down on her nightstand and changed into one of her pajama sets, one that didn't drop down low in the front. She then sat down on her bed cross legged, waiting for he small taicho to come, despite the fact the food was likely getting cold.
A tapping sound came on the screen that separated their two rooms and she piped up for him to come in. Hitsugaya sat down on the bed, his night clothing consisting of a simple kimono. Matsumoto handed him one of the plates. She picked up her own and began to dig in. "This is very good taicho." A frown appeared on her face while she watched the young boy pick at his food. "Taicho... you need to eat."
Instead of complying, the white haired youth spoke up. "The person who was taking the test was Hinamori."
At that, Rangiku set down her spoon, suddenly pausing from shock. "You're kidding me, right?"
"I wish I was joking." Toshiro glanced at the plate in front of him. "They think that a certain taicho couldn't resist experimenting while Hinamori was in the twelfth division. She's got this thing she things is Bankai."
"How can she have possibly have learned Bankai? It requires you to bring your zampaktuo spirit into the living world. You simply can't dream it up while you're in a coma. She hasn't exactly been anywhere but dream land of late, so when would she have time to do this. Not to mention, time is needed to do so."
"Matsumoto..." The small taicho let out a deep breath.
"Shuhei and Renji are putting in so much work with their learning of Bankai, yet Momo doesn't realize that something is wrong." Rangiku then took a deep breath. "I think the reason she never told me about this was because she knew I would burst that little bubble and force her to see reason. As for why she didn't tell you..."
"I know. She hates me now." The small taicho began to eat his food.
"I don't think she hates you taicho. She's just blinded herself to her anger and jealousy, that she isn't able to see the truth. I mean, you did graduate the same year as her and you're known as a child genius with the stuff you do."
"Unohana and Yamamoto were very hard on her. They flat out told her that they aren't happy about... certain things." Toshiro glanced at the ground.
"I think it is about time that someone told her what for." Rangiku stated. However, she saw the face her small taicho made. "Do you feel guilty for her feelings getting hurt?"
"I know I shouldn't, but..." The small taicho let out a small sigh. "I felt like things between us got a whole lot worse, rather then better. I'm stuck with that vision of my blade going through her chest..."
"Would you like to stay the night with me Taicho? I mean, some nights you haven't been sleeping well, since the Winter War. I can hear you, you know." Rangiku gave him a weak smile.
At that, two teal eyes glanced up at her, a grateful smile spreading across his face. "Unohana Taicho did say, take whatever comfort I could from you." He paused, glancing at the door. "I guess the situation is bad when she took time out of her busy schedule to do what she could to make me feel better earlier."
A few days passed, yet Toshiro found that he couldn't make the stress of the situation go away. It was always on his mind, despite the fact it hurt to think about the issues at hand. He worked on his paperwork, when he heard footsteps from the doorway. Glancing up, he saw Hinamori looking at him. She spoke up, her tone dark. "We need to talk."
"Then come in." The small taicho continued working on the paperwork in front of him.
The small female stepped over to his desk, glaring at him. "Why is it that you don't want me to be a captain? Do you think that you are better then me, Shiro-chan?"
"You... you like finding ways to show me up and make me feel bad." Momo stated firmly, her eyes filled with a great deal of anger.
"Unohana and Yamamoto Taicho made their decisions on their own, Hinamori." Hitsugaya let out a deep sigh.
"You said no to spite me." The small female's voice began to rise.
"Spite you?" Toshiro suddenly shook his head. "You aren't ready. I mean... Hinamori, doesn't the fact that no one has ever learned Bankai without learning to release to Shikai without release command mean anything to you?"
"Your just mad that for once that I am the first and it isn't something that you achieved." Momo's words tumbled out of her mouth, aqward and full of a high level of animosity.
"Achievement? Hinamori, tell me how that is supposed to be an achievement when learning to release to Shikai without saying he release phrase."
"I have learned Bankai. Don't you dare belittle that, Shiro-chan." The female pressed her lips together, becoming frustrated with the conversation.
"Stupid Bed Wetter Momo... don't you get that what you've learned isn't Bankai?" Toshiro's own tone became dark.
"Prove it! I be you can't prove it!" Hinamori spat her words out.
At that, two teal eyes stared at her, a rather bewildered look on their face. However, Hitsugaya suddenly got up from where he was seated and walked over to her. He placed a hand on her chest. "When I go to Bankai, I can feel Hyorinmaru surrounding me. I can feel the other captain's zampaktuo when they go Bankai too. However, when that power appeared, I couldn't feel Tobiume. I couldn't feel her at all."
"How would you know what she feels like?" Momo started to become flustered, frustrated with the whole situation. She shoved his hand away.
"A zampaktuo shares the same reiatsu as their user. The release allows the reiatsu to grow in size, something that didn't happen with yours. Instead, it felt like it was deadened by this other feeling, a bad feeling." Toshiro's eyes narrowed with worry. "You haven't brought your zampaktuo into this world and had it submit to you."
"So?"Hinamori folded her arms. "Did you?"
"Did I what?" Hitsugaya found himself blinking a couple of times.
"Had your zampaktuo submit to you?" Momo had a look of triumph on her face.
At that, Toshiro found his teal eyes blinking a couple of times. "I never had him submit to me. It is honestly hard to explain."
"Well, if you get to be special, then why can't I?" The female folded her arms across her chest.
At that, the small taicho's mouth twisted up. "My point was, you have yet to bring Tobiume into this world, have you?"
"So?" Momo glared at him.
"Hinamori, that is what everyone does to learn Bankai." Toshiro narrowed his eyes. "That includes myself."
"Well... you don't have to know Bankai to be a captain. Who cares if it really isn't Bankai? It's powerful, isn't it?"
"Maybe..." The small taicho narrowed his eyes. "As if you are mature enough to be a taicho of the Gotei Thirteen. Don't kid me about that."
"So says the person who is still a child, Shiro-chan." Momo's words suddenly bit into his ego.
Two teal eyes glared at her, irritation becoming evident. "Do you really think that maturity has to do with physical age Hinamori? The fukutaicho of the eleventh division has more maturity they you've had of late."
"As if you are mature though. You spat watermelon seeds at me when you were little." The female grumbled.
"When I was little Hinamori. You don't get the fact that I'm older now, do you?"
"Well, how should I know, when you haven't acted like we are family in a long time!" Momo's words spluttered out. She then paused. "Are we even family anymore? Because after you stabbed me through the chest, I don't think so."
At that, Toshiro's mood rankled. "I don't think you have the right to bring up family here, Hinamori. Not when you've been ignoring me ever since you entered the academy. How can you talk about being a family when..."
At that, the small taicho paused, a look of shock spreading on his face. Momo though continued speaking up. "So that was the reason why you entered the academy."
"No... it wasn't." Toshiro blinked a couple of times, moving to sit down at his desk. "You honestly can't talk about being family, Hinamori."
"What do you mean I can't?" Hinamori slammed her hands on the desk. "Your the one who followed me into the academy like a little lost puppy, leaving grandmother all alone."
"You are the last person to talk about family when the substitute soul reaper has been more of a sibling to me then you ever have been." The small shinigami glanced at the desk, his shock having not worn off. "And I didn't join the academy because of you. Stop being so self-centered."
At that, Momo's face twisted up. "Fine. I'm not the reason, tell me why."
At that, the small taicho glanced up, one shock becoming another. At that, two eyes blinked again. "I promised myself Hinamori... I won't hurt you again. Your going into the wrong territory."
"Aren't you hurting me by not telling me?" The female leaned in close.
At that, Toshiro let out a deep breath. "Are you sure you want to know?"
"Yes." Momo pushed her words out, emphasizing the fact she was irritated with him.
"You've always thought that it would be great to be special like me, haven't you Hinamori? You think that being a child genius is all easy and everything." The boy stared at her, his stress showing fully.
"Now who is being the selfish person. You've always had an ego on you, Shiro-chan."
"Stop it with that cursed nickname!" Toshiro snapped his words out. "You really want to know Hinamori? I had to join the academy because my reiatsu was killing our grandmother."
At that, Hinamori blinked a couple of times. "You would have told me. You would have honestly told me..."
"You don't get it, do you? I don't like hurting the people I care about. If I had known you were there instead of Aizen, I wouldn't have stabbed you. That said, not everything is about you. Abarai and Hisgai are working hard, Momo. And what about Unohana and Yamamoto? They told you those things not because they wanted to hurt your feelings, but because they really are concerned about your behavior."
At that, she paused for a few seconds. She opened her mouth a few times, never really saying anything. "What exactly did you mean about the substitute shinigami being more of a sibling then I ever was."
"I shouldn't have said anything." Toshiro closed his eyes. "However... I feel like I can easily talk to him. He also understand me and doesn't treat me like a child." Opening his eyes. "I might was well be honest with you, all I've ever wanted from you, was for you to realize I'm not a little kid anymore. I've grown up Hinamori. That, and I don't like seeing you hurt yourself."
At that, she paused for a few minutes, glancing at the ground. She then turned and left, but said this before she did. "I think I need to think about some things."
Author's note ~ The idea for this fanfic came from the fact that I've seen a lot of fanfics that simply give Hinamori Momo Bankai and the Captaincy position, with no character development so that she has the kind of personality for either. Maybe Tite Kubo will give her the needed character development, but at this point, it just turns her into what we call a Possession Sue, a canon character turned into a Mary Sue. One fanfic that has her work for Bankai and such is "Hinamori's Apprentice", by Kalow.
Special notes for certain fans.
~ While there was an incident where Momo released her zampaktuo without saying the phrase, it was actually a known error in the Anime.
~ It is a canon fact that Toshiro and Momo grew up together in the Rukongai as brother and sister.