A/N One thing I forgot to mention when I had sent this to my friend for beta'ing is that even though I've put them as brothers, they're only half-brothers. You'll find out what I mean later on.

When Jūshirō had told his brother that he was moving overseas for a few years in order to study medicine, Tōshirō became hysterical. The reason for this wasn't solely because he loved his brother, but because he was about to lose the only love and support he had in his life.

Jūshirō knew that despite the way the younger was clinging to him, he was unable to stay; this was something he had to do in order to ensure his brother's safety. He had already mapped his entire future out when he was but fourteen years old. He wanted to become a doctor, knowing that if he was able to become one, he would be able to take his brother away from the only thing the younger knew; abuse.

"Don't cry, Tōshirō," Jūshirō mumbled as he ran his hand through the younger's spiky hair. "It'll be alright. You've got to be strong."

"I don't want you to leave...!" Tōshirō hiccupped as he tightened his grip on the elder's sleeve. "Please, don't leave...!"

"Tōshirō..." Jūshirō glanced at his bedroom door, ensuring that it was locked before he continued speaking. "...Tōshirō, you have to understand that as hard as this will be for both of us, it's something I really have to do."

"Why can't you just stay here and study?" Tōshirō sniffed as he lifted his head to face the long-haired male. "There's plenty of places you can go to, and you can still come back..."

"The best option for me is to go overseas, okay?" Jūshirō whispered. "I'll be back before you know it. You should get ready for school." Tōshirō

Tōshirō shook his head. "I... I don't want to go to school...!"

"You have to go." Jūshirō grabbed Tōshirō's cheeks and looked the younger in the eye. "You know the consequences for not going to school."

"I..." A fresh tear slipped down Tōshirō's cheek at these words. "...I want to at least see you off..."

"Tōshirō, it's best for you to go straight to school."

"I know, but –" Tōshirō was cut off by a loud rapping at the door.

"Are you ready, Jūshirō?" Their father called. "Hurry up. I want to go soon."

Jūshirō sighed and sat his brother on the bed. "Just get ready for school, Tōshirō. You know you'll regret it if you don't."

Tōshirō wiped at his eyes as he nodded. "O-okay..."

Jūshirō pulled the younger into a tight hug before he kissed the boy's temple. "I'll be back before you know it... Stay strong."

Twelve-year-old Hitsugaya Tōshirō could only watch as Ukitake Jūshirō walked out of the bedroom. He knew that without his older brother there to protect him from his parents, his life had just become worse than it had ever been.