Disclaimer – I don't own Bleach. This works with the theory that Gin+Ran=Toshiro.

Drowning

If I were to describe that child's eyes, I would describe them as mirrors images of mine, doppelgangers that have a completely different personality. Unlike my own eyes that lost their innocence at a young age, they've remained clean and innocent all these years, no matter what bad things were thrown that child's way. To keep those eyes pure, I would do anything.

M

A figure sat up in the tree watching the yard in which a small child played. The child hadn't been in the yard in front of the house when the stranger had arrived. Of course, the man wasn't a stranger but more of a forgotten memory floating on the breeze, something that he would wish that the child would let fly away to never return. Suddenly the sound of small feet running came to his ears.

A few minutes later the child came hurtling down the path, only to trip and fly forward so that the small figure went flying, their pale hair flying even more askew as the child crashed into the ground. The fall was so forceful that the child let out a deep breath of air that could be heard from where the stranger was up in the tree, watching all that went on.

An old lady stepped out of the house, a frown upon her face. The sound of the breath being forced out of the boy's lungs wasn't what had attracted her to the child's plight, but the sudden crying from the pain said child felt. The normally bright teal eyes were clamped shut so no one could see the beautiful, precious color.

"Toshiro?"

The sound of his name being called caused the child to stop crying and the precious eyes to open up, revealing the bright teal in all their glory. The frown that had been on the child's face suddenly left and was replaced quickly with a smile. As the eyes sparkled, the child pushed his dirty self up from the ground and ran yet again.

The child crashed yet again, but this time it was into the soft body of his grandmother, whose arms wrapped around his shoulders as his arms wrapped around her waste, a rather pleased smile on his face. Granny was the place the child felt most safe, and that place didn't include the stranger in his life. All was best for said child.

M

There were times I wished I could brush the tears away from those precious eyes so that it was the eyes that sparkled instead of those watery drips falling down his cheeks. Those eyes are reflective of all the hope I have for said child, since hope for myself has long disappeared. There is no redemption for someone whose eyes have lost their soul.

M

Toshiro took a deep breath, looking at the pair of sandals his granny had bought him. They had shown up one day, so he knew that they had to be from her. Momo had been jealous to find out that he had gotten a brand new pair, but the truth was he had never had a pair of sandals before. He was so used to running bare foot. He heard his granny stepping closer to him as he stared at the shoes. He half expected her to say something like it was part of growing up, something his mind didn't want to contemplate yet. He wanted to always be with granny.

"Those are for when it gets cold, so your feet won't hurt and can stay warm.

The boy startled and looked up, his bright teal eyes staring her right in the eye. "Granny..."

"There are tabi socks to go with it." The woman pointed to the pair of socks. "You put those on first to keep your feet warm, and then the sandals are put on to keep the socks as dry as possible."

"It's never cold enough." The boy frowned, only to feel a hand placed on his shoulder.

"There have been times. You don't have to wear them today. They're there for if you need them."

Two teal eyes looked at her from the corner, before a large smile spread across the boy's face. "I'm going to go and play."

M

I wish to keep those precious eyes safe and pure, but I've found that I can't always give those eyes the protection they need. Many times it has been a case of luck. Am I there at the right time. Do I realize a need and provide what is needed in time for those eyes to continue sparkling. One of these days I fear I may be to late.

M

Toshiro ran along the banks, twisting and turning. Maru-Maru was following close behind him, that ignigma that was there, but almost always never there. It had been something hard for him to explain to Momo, how he had this friend that was always with him. He had given up trying to explain it to her. Maru-maru had to be real, because some of the villigers had caught a glimpse out of the corner of their eyes.

Of course, they also didn't like Maru-Maru anymore then they liked him. Still, living in his own world and keeping to himself wasn't bad, though it did feel like Maru-Maru was becoming more and more distant as he grew older. Something told him that Maru-Maru wasn't even Maru-Maru's real name and said name was now a distant memory, like many other things.

The white haired boy came across a bridge and found himself staring at the expanse before heading out across the wooden structure. One foot stepped out on it, testing whether it would fall or not. "Isn't it amazing how this doesn't fall?"

No voice answered him, though it used to be that Maru-Maru answered him all the time. Maybe Momo was right about him not being real. The boy took another step and then stepped out to the railing and lifted himself up slightly so his small figure could see the water moving under the bridge. The site was a new thing and he found himself drifting off.

Suddenly, a yanking feeling could be felt as he was pulled away from the railing. "What do you think you're doing?"

The man's voice smelled like he was drunk and Toshiro felt himself clapping a hand over his nose, wishing the man would let go of him. When the male villagers drank, he found himself the blunt end of their abuse. Suddenly, the man held Toshiro over the edge of the railing and the boy's eyes caught site of the river below him. "Look... we could use him for fish bait."

At this comment Toshiro began to struggle, his voice unable to say anything around the villagers. Long ago it had become accustomed to being non-existent, a non entity. The man turned to him. "Stop struggling, else I'll..."

The man's words were cut short as Toshiro somehow managed to get himself lose of the man's grip, but then the man in question was drunk as were his friends. Suddenly the boy found himself falling, before hitting the cold water. The cold water was nothing like snow and it quickly covered his entire body as he sunk into the darkness.

"Snow... I remember seeing it once. I died that way before. This way of dying though... I'm going to die."

M

There was one time when those eyes lost all the light in them. That one time I hadn't ever wished to see happen, but it was enough for me to tell myself that I never wanted to see that look in his eyes again. Yes, he could be hurt and harmed, but never that look. Those precious eyes don't need to ever lose their light again.

M

The men watched as the small figure dropped into the water with a splash. The men of course couldn't care what happened to the child and a bit of laughter started, only to stop as a streak flashed past them and another splash was heard. The next thing they knew a silver haired figure appeared, pulling the white haired child from the water.

The men turned to get away, only to find themselves face to face with a man dripping from head to toe, the white haired child in his arms. The man's eyes that were normally narrowed so that people couldn't see what he was thinking suddenly opened. The pale teal eyes suddenly turned red in color and the men found themselves thrown into the river with a few quick movements by the silver haired man.

The man then went own on one knee and lay the boy down. No breath came from the child's mouth, and the eyes were open, glazed over. Two bony hands went to the boy's chest and he began to push hard, before touching his lips to the child's in hopes that he would start breathing. Suddenly there was a coughing sound.

The child began to move a bit, and the eyes started to open, causing the man to freeze. The men in the river were calling out about their plight, but the man's attention was focused on the child.

M

I want those eyes to forget who I a really am. There is plenty I've done to keep that child safe that makes it so that those eyes should never accept me for who I once was. I left that behind, to keep those precious eyes free and pure. The light in those eyes are what makes me keep going, and if it were to go away... if they knew, it would surely disappear.

M

The eyes opened slightly, but then snapped shut. The man carefully lifted the child up and carried him carefully back to the woman's house. The old woman frowned as he entered the room, but she asked no questions. He carefully found a dry set of clothing, watching as the child's body shook from the cold. The winter clothing would have to do.

He carefully wrapped the boy into the futon, letting out a deep sigh before making the move to disappear. Before he left, the woman spoke up, telling him thank you for saving her precious grandchild. He paused at first, the realization that someone else found those eyes to be precious a wonderful thought.

He then began to walk down the path, pausing briefly. He could have sworn someone was watching, and had seen him. Instead he wrung out his clothing and continued on his way. Word came that the man that had dropped the boy into the water had drowned as his friends had abandoned him and he couldn't swim.

Not that it bothered him, as the man couldn't care if a small child died. He also had others to save him, while the boy almost had no one. The fact that the man had a major funeral though bothered him, and he came to the funeral, his figure hooded, watching from a distance. He watched as the child followed close to his granny's side.

The man paused, seeing that the boy's eyes were glazed over. Would those precious eyes ever become clear again.

M

Those eyes aren't just precious to me. They're precious to quite a few others, so protecting them is becoming more and more of an important task, as the eyes become more and more important to other people. That sparkle, it will be there. I just hope that those eyes never remember me, for who I really am. Let them think I'm the shadow, ever creeping, and gone like a nightmare in the night.

M

Gin walked into the tenth division where the third seat was busy working on the paperwork. Rangiku waved a hand across her chest. "Hey... Toshiro, want to go for a swim?"

The boy suddenly balked, looking up. For a few seconds the precious teal eyes glazed over. They then returned to normal. "No thanks. I don't like swimming as it requires you to be out in the heat. I prefer cold weather."

"You always bundle up more then anybody else."

"Granny wanted me to always be warm."