Disclaimer – I don't own Bleach. This is a side one-shot for Aizen's Kingdom. It contains spoilers for that particular fanfic.
Aizen's Kingdom: Mother Cat
The sunlight showed through the window of the tenth division, as Rangiku dozed off, trying to forget certain memories that played across her mind. She couldn't forget Ichimaru's body lying below her, his chest slashed, his arm ripped off and a hole blasted through him. Everything he had done, he never had forgotten about her, his actions made that clear.
The tears fell down her cheeks, and then finally she collapsed on top of him, her sobs fading as she lost consciousness from her own injuries, unable to keep herself going. She awoke in the forth, unable to feel the man's spiritual pressure. And of course, a major depression had set in. Eventually the depression became something that occurred in spurts, rather then constantly.
Small footsteps could be heard approaching her, and then she glanced up to see the white haired boy looking at her. Sweat covered his body, and his hair was matted up. Rangiku let out a deep sigh. "You've been pushing yourself in your training again, haven't you?"
"Is that any of your business?" The boy asked, simply looking at her, shaking his head as he did so.
"It is my business if you go and make yourself ill from all this training." Rangiku piped up. "You need to at least watch your health. You know I won't forgive you, for making yourself sick."
The boy opened his mouth up to say something, but suddenly his eyes rolled back into his head, and his body tilted forward, causing Matsumoto's eyes to go wide, and her body to move forward to catch the child as he fell. His face landed smack in her bosom and she blinked a couple of times, feeling the horrible warmth emanating from his small body.
Her hand reached up to push his head back, feeling the feverish brow. She also saw that his eyes were half lidded and glazed over. Carefully then, she let her body drop down so that she could take the child into her arms. She then found her feet hurrying her towards the forth division, where she burst into the place, her face filled with panic.
Quickly, the forth division took charge, and the small taicho was placed into bed, so that he could rest up. They applied cold clothes to his brown, and kept him covered, though loosely. Eventually, Unohana came in, a frown on her face. "He's pushed himself I see."
"He'll be better in a few days, correct?" Matsumoto glanced up, worry plastered all over her face.
However, the forth division taicho shook her head. "He pushed himself so much, he's actually caught something, and because he pushed himself the way he did, his body isn't able to fight off the illness like he normally would be able to."
"I should have told him to stop." Rangiku let out a deep sigh.
Unohana placed a hand on the woman's shoulder. "You aren't his mother, and while you are the closest thing to a mother he has, this hasn't been publicly established, so he isn't likely to listen, no matter what either of us say, and no matter how much we care."
The busty female sat down in a chair next to the bed.
The small taicho was asleep for quite some time, his breathing heavy. Finally though, he opened his teal eyes to look up into Rangiku's pale blue ones. The boy opened his mouth to say something. "Ma" He started off, like the sound of mama, but then he caught himself and spoke up differently. "Matsumoto?"
"I told you I wouldn't forgive you if you made yourself sick." Rangiku brushed the boy's hair away from his forehead. "You are in need of a haircut. Between all your training and being our for a couple of weeks, you're hair has grown to be pretty long."
"Do you miss Ichimaru?" The small boy asked, reaching up to touch her face.
A look of sadness appeared on her face and she frowned at the boy. "Taicho... I do miss him, but I am trying to move on with everything. I can't live in the past."
Two teal eyes closed shut. "No, one can't."
"Are you all right taicho?" The woman asked, worry spreading over her face.
The boy let out a deep breath. "I just had a weird dream while I was asleep. I think I should talk to Unohana Taicho. She probably wants to know that I am awake."
"Sure." The woman got up, heading to go get the forth division captain.
Soon, the woman came in and sat down next to the young boy. "How are you feeling?"
"My body hurts. My legs hurt a lot." Toshiro closed his eyes, slowly moving the different parts of his body, while the woman watched in amusement. "I can move though, despite the fact my body feels weak and I still feel a fever."
"I'm glad you are being upfront about how you are feeling." She watched the boy then look straight at her, then watched as he glanced at Matsumoto. Unohana turned to the woman, a smile on her face. "I think there is something he wishes to discuss with me privately."
Rangiku let out a deep sigh, and turned to leave, frustrated that things were going the way that they were. However, she respected the boy's wishes. Toshiro glanced up at Unohana, a frown on his face. "I had a really weird dream while I was asleep."
"How so?" The woman reached out to straighten the sheets that had been moved when the boy decided to test his limbs.
"I dreamed I was in a world that Aizen ruled because of the Hogyuku." Two teal eyes were filled with a strange look. "Things were weird. For example, I found out that my former taicho was actually alive, not to mention Kurosaki Ichigo's father."
Suddenly, Unohana's eyes went wide. "Hitsugaya Taicho..." There was a pause of silence. "That is actually a bit of information Yamamoto and I have kept from everyone except for the forty-six chambers. We didn't even speak of it while you were asleep. You didn't happen to have a run in with Isshin-san while you were in the world of the living."
At that, the boy suddenly tried sitting up, only to find himself pushed back down by gentle hands. "But... no, I didn't."
"Are you upset that he didn't tell you the truth?" The woman's braid reached down and tickled the boy's chest.
"No." Toshiro frowned at the woman. 'Unohana Taicho, if that is true, could some of the other things I saw be true."
"Well, there is a chance that they might be?" The woman smiled with a half heart. "What exactly is bothering you?"
"Ichimaru told me that he was my biological father and Matsumoto was my mother." Two teal eyes glanced away. There was a moment of silence, and then he looked up at Unohana. "You don't exactly seem surprised at me saying this."
"I had my suspicions. I noticed that Ichimaru and you had quite a few similarities to each other." The woman then let out a deep sigh. "You also have some of Rangiku's traits too. Do you wish to tell her?"
"My father is dead, so I might as well be the one to tell her." The boy stated, a frown appearing on his face. "I don't know how to tell her that."
"Ichimaru... isn't dead."Unohana frowned at the boy. "Actually, he has been in a coma ever since the Winter War. That was another thing that only Yamamoto, myself and the forty-six know he is alive. We didn't wish for Rangiku to have to worry about him, particularly since she's already had the chance to say goodbye to him."
Suddenly, the boy's vocals twisted up. "Are you telling me that he's not going to make it?"
A soft hand reached out to brush the long hair away from the boy's face. "Aizen tore him up pretty bad. The forty-six believe that he had planned to turn on Aizen this whole time, and they are likely to pardon him, just like they did Tousen. However, they have limited knowledge that they can only move forward with if he is dead. If he is alive, well... there will be a trial."
Toshiro looked the woman straight in the eye. "I'll testify for him."
"The forty-six won't believe..." The woman paused. "Tell me about this dream you had and give me the information you were given. I'd also like to perform a test that I can present them."
"I don't like tests... the medical time." The boy frowned again.
"It is a test that will prove that Ichimaru is your father." The woman stated, watching the boy suddenly nod his head to her plan.
A little while later, Rangiku found herself being led to a room in the forth division. She was surprised to see that it wasn't the one that her small taicho was staying in. However, when she walked through the door, she saw the boy sitting in a chair next to the bed of another patient. He glanced up at her, a smile on his face. "He's going to get better and be back in your life."
"Hitsugaya Taicho, while it is nice that you are being positive about the situation, there is a great chance that he won't be able to make it. I've already told you this." Unohana said, then she sturend to Rangiku. "We didn't wish to tell you, until his name was cleared by the forty-six. They can't officially announce it though, until he wakes or he dies."
The busty female though shook her head and hurried over, taking the seat that her small taicho vacated. Ichimaru just lay there, his eyes closed and a oxygen mask over his mouth. Matsumoto shook her head, then grabbed the pale hand that was paler then it normally was. "I'll wait, and wait for either outcome."
And wait she did, her small taicho beside her, much to her surprise. She had never seen the boy so enthusiastic about something. She didn't think that Ichimaru would live, but seeing that Toshiro was as enthusiastic as he was about the situation, she didn't wish to bring down the boy's spirits. Hisagi though found out and came to visit, frustrated that she wasn't moving on, for a reason she well knew, but that completely confused Hitsugaya.
"He's not going to wake up anytime soon Rangiku." The male stated, folding his arms across his chest and leaning in the open doorway.
"I don't care if it takes forever, I'll wait for him to wake up." The woman knew fully well that she had made the promise when she first found out that she would wait for either outcome.
Her small taicho though glared at the man, his small cheeks puffing out, causing a smile to spread on her face. "Hisagi Fukutaicho, you really need to back off on this issue. This is really one of your business you know."
"I don't see how it is any of yours Hitsugaya Taicho, yet you are also here. If you can be concerned about Matsumoto, then other people can too. Ichimaru Gin isn't the bet person out there, you know." Hisagi sighed, only to have the temperature in the room drastically drop.
"Please back off." Toshiro took a step forward, anger evident in his eyes for some strange reason.
Rangiku stepped between them, and then spoke up about something that had been bothering her ever since her small taicho woke up. "Hey, taicho... that dream you had..."
"It was just that Matsumoto, a dream." The boy stated, glancing down with his teal eyes, only to blink a couple of times, causing the other two to also look down. "He's actually waking up. Someone go and get Unohana Taicho."
Rangiku found herself a little irritated about the fact her small taicho had sent her to get some rest, but she also appreciated the fact that he wanted her to get some rest before she spoke with Gin, knowing full well that it would be awhile before Gin himself would wake up again. She hadn't been sleeping well ever since she found out he was actually alive.
However, once she was well rested, she headed back. Her mood was light, despite the fact that the look on Hisagi's face was one of utter rejection. She was almost there, when she heard Ichimaru speaking up. "Look's like I am going to have to tell Rangiku the truth, huh?"
"Tell me the truth about what?" The woman walked in, just in time to see both males look at her, almost as if they hadn't been expecting her back. She placed her hands on her hips, glaring at the two, only to have their faces remain the same. "Guys?"
"Uhh..." Toshiro looked at her. Despite having been caught of guard, there was a level of happiness and brightness she rarely saw from him. Ichimaru however had a dark expression. Thus she knew exactly which one to target.
She walked over to her small taicho, and then scooped him into a hug from behind, her voluminous chest closing in behind his head. The boy's cheeks suddenly flushed up, and Rangiku couldn't help but smile. "I don't know why, but for some reason I've actually been getting an interesting reaction from you."
"Not fair." The boy muttered, the smile on his face suddenly disappearing. He glanced at Ichimaru looking for him to rescue you him.
The woman though carefully watched the silver haired man's reaction. It used to be, that he would simply mile, his eyes narrowed so that people couldn't look at him. However, Gin frowned at her. "Ran-chan... stop teasing him."
The woman's mouth twisted up into a pout, and then she wrapped her arms closer, causing the boy's cheeks to flush and even deeper pink. "Why? Are you jealous?"
"Why?" The man stares at the woman.
Rangiku found herself then letting out a deep sigh. "Gin. Are you blind to the fact I've always liked you? Because you seriously brush off talking about our relationship. Isn't this a good time, particularly since you were pardoned?"
"I am not sure why that came up. You asked me if I was jealous and I asked why should I be. Think about your question Ran... it was rather ridiculous." Ichimaru sighed, watching her carefully.
"He's right you know." Toshiro piped up, only to have Rangiku began to tickle his chin.
"You are so cute you know taicho." The woman laughed in his ear, watching again as the boy glanced towards Gin for help. "Why are you looking like that at him. He can't help you, you know. Though..." There was a short pause, and then she spoke up again. "If you guys tell me the truth, I might let him go."
The small taicho then had one of his moments where the words came bubbling out filled with awkwardness and strange logic. "You might as well tell her, because you are going to have to tell her. It isn't as if she is going to get mad at me, and when she gets mad at you, she won't try to hurt you because you are already an injured or ill person."
"Thanks..." Gin said dryly, but a smirk couldn't help but play on his face. He watched as Rangiku raised her eyebrows, knowing she wasn't happy. The man took a deep breath. "As you know, I've been keeping lies from everyone around me, not letting anyone get close. There were certain things that I kept from you too, that I need to tell you about."
"Why did you tell taicho first?" The woman sighed, suddenly rubbing her hand through Toshiro's hair, purposefully messing it up. "That isn't really fare."
"I found out because..." The boy paused. "I found out because..."
The woman paused, glancing down at the boy, who wasn't looking her in the face. "Taicho?"
"I had a really weird dream when I was sick." Two teal eyes glanced at Gin again, looking yet again for help.
The woman blinked a couple of times, then rested her chin on top of the boy's head. "You told me that the dream meant nothing, that it was just a dream."
"That's because..." Toshiro suddenly frowned, looking down at the floor.
"Shiro-chan didn't feel it was his right to tell you, unless I actually died." Ichimaru stated, watching the two, lacking any sort of smile on his face.
"I don't get what is such a big secret that the two of you are acting so melancholy." The woman sighed, finally choosing to let the small taicho go.
"I think I need to start with the fact that I've been after Aizen for a long time." Ichimaru stated.
Rangiku folded her arms across her chest. "Gin, I knew that since the day I saw you in the Winter War."
"I was actually chasing after him even before I entered the academy Ran." Ichimaru let out a deep sigh. "I had planned on going after him because he had torn our lives apart."
Suddenly, the woman put her hands over her small taicho's ears. "Gin... seriously, I don't remember anything of the kind. And what could have been so bad to have gone after him all those years ago."
"The fact that you don't remember is part of the problem. Matsumoto Rangiku, the day you remember meeting me wasn't the first day we met. No... we had known each other a very long time before that. Something was taken away from you, something that I wanted to get back, but was honestly too much of a child to realize that there was a better way to go about it all."
Rangiku continued to cover the boy's ears. "What though, does this have to do with taicho? How can he possibly be involved?"
"I wasn't the only person Aizen stole your memory of." Ichimaru suddenly closed his eyes, the whole thing tiring him out. "You talk about how I never cared about our relationship, but before that incident, we had gotten close enough to have a child."
Suddenly, the woman glanced down at the boy she had covered the ears of, then slowly uncovered them. "Taicho... you know that Ichimaru Gin has told quite a few lies in the past. Do you believe him?"
"Unohana ran a paternity test so that she and Yamamoto could present the information from my dream to the forty-six, so the trial part is gone and done for." The boy didn't look her in the face. "I believed he was my father and you my mother though, even before the test was given, and Unohana told me she actually wasn't surprised at my revelation."
"But..." Rangiku let out a deep sigh, closing her eyes for a few seconds. When she reopened them, she spoke up. "Can you look me in the face taicho?"
Two teal eyes glanced up, filled with a look of happiness, fire and determination that she hadn't seen before. There was also a look of hope, almost as if... "Are you going to reject me?"
Suddenly, the woman scooped him into her arms, hugging him tightly. "Of course not." Placing a hand on the back of his head, she spoke up. "While you are in the hospital right now, Gin, I will be having a word with you later on, because I am displeased with you keeping this from me. Do you even have a good explanation as to why you kept this of all things from me?"
"No." Ichimaru spoke up. "Though at the time it felt like a good explanation. It still does, though I doubt that you would think it a good one."
Matsumoto simply closed her eyes, holding onto her little one, trying to make up for lost time. Said little one spoke up. "Hey... Matsumoto... mama?" This caused him to suddenly have the air squeezed out of him as she buried her head into the nook of his neck. Finally he spoke up, but to no avail. "This is really awkward for me..."
Author's note – I think some of the people who read Aizen's Kingdom are actually waiting for this particular one-shot.