Hey! It's another HitsuKarin fic ( I like them a lot—they are so different, yet the same.)! Hope you guys enjoy! and to those awesome people who favorited/ liked/followed 'Marry Me?' are so freaking awesome (like said before) that I am speechless! I mean, your reviews were like… like… beautiful snakes to my eyes(yeah, I love snakes)!
The first time they met was when Toshiro was with Hinamori.
He didn't know who she was and didn't particularly care. She was a newcomer, he could tell; he had never seen her before. Not that he remembered each and every person he came in contact with, but, being an overprotective surrogate brother ("Li'l Shiro!" Hinamori would call him lovingly in which case he would retort back by screaming at her) he was aware of all his sister's friends. That, and Hinamori had introduced her to him with that usual happiness present in her voice, stressing that she—Karin—was in the Eleventh Division.
He was mildly surprised when Hinamori had declared such, the reasons for his surprise being overly obvious.
She was too skinny, for one, and definitely not the sort who seemed very fit to be in the Eleventh Division of all places. Second, she was a girl, the members of the Eleventh division were guys; the fact that that Zaraki-taicho had actually accepted her and taken her under the Eleventh Division's wing left him bewildered.
He let the thought slide, momentarily disturbed when the girl started speaking.
"Momo!" her voice rang out in exasperation, and he couldn't help but wonder how husky and honey like her voice was, "Can you stop telling that to every single person you meet?"
Momo pouted cutely and said, her friend, Megumi, joining the brunette, "But, Karin-chan," Karin's eyebrow had twitched, he had noted, when Hinamori and Megumi had pouted, "you are the first girl to defeat almost everybody in the Eleventh division, single handedly, I might add, without using your Zanpakto, save Yumichika-san, Ikkaku-san and Zaraki-taicho!"
Karin crossed her hand over her chest, defending herself, a scowl on her face, "Of course I did. They started it! And it wasn't the whole division, Momo! Those bastards were trying to grope me!" she shook her head and glared at Hinamori, "Besides, that was two months ago! Stop it now!"
Hitsugaya stared at the trio, not really sure what to do. Hinamori was still pouting and arguing back, with Megumi following Hinamori in her high pitched voice while the raven haired girl retorted and told them to stop.
Toshiro cleared his throat with a slight cough, and Hinamori and Megumi turned around while Karin gave an exasperated sigh for reasons was not particularly aware of. Maybe it was because she was sure that her explanations and arguments were pretty useless, seeing as to how Hinamori instantly started telling him about Karin and her victories.
"Ah, Shiro-chan!" Hinamori squealed in happiness, and clutched his wrist, "I was just telling you about Karin-chan! You know, she defeated the forth seat—"
Karin came in between Hinamori and Toshiro, pushed Hinamori aside and glared harshly at the brunette. She hissed, "I told you not to!"
Hinamori simply giggled, fueling Karin's anger. She hissed again, shook her head, finally realizing that her efforts were futile and turned to Toshiro. She offered him her hand, adding, "Karin Kurosaki."
The fact that she had introduced herself as a Kurosaki did not process in his mind at that moment because he really didn't care, sure that they wouldn't meet again.
Maybe we will, he thought, Momo seems attached to her.
He looked at her hand, raising his eyebrow mutely. He had expected her to bow the way the others did; he was a Captain, after all. And then he recalled that he wasn't wearing his haori, which was probably why she had offered him her hand. He grasped her hand and shook it firmly, minutely, and murmured, "Hitsugaya Toshiro."
"Hitsugaya." She said, and nodded imperceptibly, as if acknowledging him.
She paused and when his peripheral vision met her face, he saw that she was confused. Her brow was wrinkled slightly, as if thinking, trying to recall where she had heard the name before, but later shrugged in indifference and let go of his grasp. She stepped back and Hinamori and Megumi came in between them. Hinamori gave Toshiro an odd look, a hint of a smile present in her delicate features, to which Toshiro simply shrugged, while Megumi busied herself by rapidly talking to Karin.
The second time they met was in a forest.
The term 'met', however, isn't really correct.
He had gone there in search of Matsumoto, who was, again, skipping out on work. Drunk, he figured, and her reiatsu's trail led him here.
"Where the hell is she?" there was annoyance in his voice—the usual, undisturbed annoyance that never left him. Briefly he wondered why the hell was he looking for her in the first place, especially since he was damn sure that he wouldn't be able to find her anyway. He sighed when he remembered the reason. Leaving Matsumoto was a simple excuse, he knew, the main reason for actually going out was something different entirely.
His heart constricted in pain, a dull throb, not too uncomfortable, but an uncomfortable feeling nonetheless.
Maybe he wasn't supposed to react the way he was reacting—not when there was Hinamori and her love life involved in it. Kira and she had been dating for the past few years, away from everyone else's prying eyes. He just got to know, half an hour back. He never wanted to experience the shock and the aberrant pain which came with it.
Hinamori had excitedly announced that they were going to get married: when, however, he did not know and neither did they. Sometime soon, they had promised, but what exactly did 'soon' stand for, neither were aware. One month, a year? They did not know and Toshiro preferred Hinamori being as unmarried as possible.
He breathed out distractedly and closed his eyes in half suppressed pain.
Hitsugaya never believed in crushes (which was kind of ironic, considering his current situation)—they were, he felt, silly little infatuations which lasted for a couple of months: nothing too deep, really. He believed in love, though; because love was something strong and needed. He wouldn't lie by saying that love was stupid—maybe it was, he wasn't really sure, because what he meant by the term 'love' was the feeling one has for family.
Perhaps what he felt for Shinji's lieutenant was the love of a brother to a surrogate sister, he didn't know, or, maybe it was a crush. Probably the latter, he figured; he wasn't really that stupid. He clenched his jaw in frustration, anger. Since when had he become so low? What Hinamori felt for him was what he had felt for her when he lived in Rukongai. What had changed between them—in him?
Hitsugaya was a man—a man, mind; he didn't look like a thirteen year old kid anymore; more like a twenty three year old man—who kept his emotions in check. If something didn't bode well with him, he was the sort who crushed the said something into smithereens and allowed the wind to carry it away, far into an unknown and unseen place. He tried to do just that.
It worked to some extent, making him clench his jaws again to let go. He breathed in quickly, opened his eyes to momentarily look at his surroundings (dark, definitely; it was the night, and trees. Hoards of them.), closed his eyes once more and let his instincts overtake him. Before he knew it, his legs were carrying him somewhere. Where, he did not care, but it was as if his legs were thinking in that odd manner they thought stuff.
Ugh. He was spewing up nonsense about legs thinking.
What the hell was wrong with him?
Suddenly, like an abrupt fall, wind brushed past him, murmuring softly and quietly. It was a pleasant feeling; the mental distress he was going through made him welcome it earnestly. He stood at what he knew was a clearing for some time, and he could sense water nearby. A pond, maybe; he did not want to open his eyes to see; he liked the momentary tranquility which came with closing his eyes.
And, then, he felt a presence. It was a strong, abominable reiatsu. The owner did not even bother masking it.
He opened his eyes and his vision met raven.
Instinctively, he stepped back to hide himself behind a few bushes—he didn't know why he did that; he just did. His teal eyes stared impassively at the figure standing near a river.
Surprisingly, all he could think was, Ah. That was a river.
The figure was sort of familiar, not too familiar, but he remembered seeing her. He could say that the Shinigami was a 'she' by simply staring at her figure and her neck length hair, tied up in a loose ponytail. She was very scrawny; the fact that she was athletic was pretty obvious—most of the Shinigamis were athletic. Apart from Soi Fon's Fukutaicho. He never really understood how a stupid man like him could even become a Fukutaicho.
The figure crouched down near the riverbank and, from his angle, seemed to stare at the river. He wasn't really sure what she was doing. She remained in that crouched position for about a minute or so, before getting up suddenly. She unsheathed her sword, which was securely tied around her waist and murmured something—she was too far away from him to hear her clearly.
It took him less than a second to observe the blade.
There was only one word which came to his mind: beauty.
The Zanpakto was beautiful, the blade smooth and glossy, reflecting the moonlight. Beautiful, black, swirls and curves adorned the blade, creating a water-like effect. The hilt, he couldn't see; her fingers were curled securely around it. The blade was long, and, as she raised it, the moonlight bounced off it, as if flinging the speck of light away.
She turned around, fluidly, and his teal eyes met deep obsidian ones. She did not see him, he could tell: she couldn't sense him, either, his reiatsu masked with complete ease and efficiency.
And, then, like a flash, he recalled her.
He was aware that he had a sharp memory and, personally, he was proud that he remembered her name. Even though he did not know what her last name was. Not that it really mattered.
He stared for a few seconds, as she jabbed her Zanpakto away into thin air, her body moving fluidly, practicing her katas, as if dancing to music. It wasn't exactly a sight to be behold or anything, so, the next moment, quite bored, he got up and stalked off.
Two days had passed since he saw her in the little clearing; and he wanted to go back to the forest, his 'meeting' with Karin momentarily forgotten. He didn't know why he wanted to go; he just did. The urge to go to the forest overtook his senses, even when he tried to suppress it. It was weird to actually want to go out somewhere when piles of paperwork were surrounding him.
His eyes scanned the paper before him, on his desk, and simply stared.
The candies in the Eleventh Division are not there anymore, Snowball-chan! Give them to me! Oh, and Ukitake-taicho gifted me with a lot of candies, and told me to share it with you! But I did not listen to him and ate everything… Gimme some more candy!
'What the fuck—'
He sighed in defeat and didn't bother looking at the name signed below in fucking crayons. Crayons, for heaven's sake!
His eyebrows wrinkled again in distaste, as he crumpled the paper and threw it at a random direction. Later he realized that he'd have to throw it in the dustbin to keep his office clean and not turn it into a garbage-dump-lookalike. Groaning, he stood up, the chair screeching in protest at the sudden movement. He walked a few paces towards the window, looked distastefully at the crumpled sheet, bent down and picked it up. He looked at it, the disdain he felt toward an innocent piece of paper still present.
He turned to his right, walked a few paces forward, and casually chucked the piece of paper in the green plastic dustbin. He stared at the paper for some time, not really sure what to do.
Should he go back and do his work? Or should he go out, preferably towards the direction of the forest, amidst nature? He was standing already…
He thought otherwise, shook his head, and wished that Matsumoto were there to help him with his work.
Correction: Their work.
He pried the haori off of him, and hung it lazily in the hook hanger. He craned his neck to get rid of the stiffness. Ruffling his hair, he scowled at the pile of papers, staring mockingly back at him, contemplated whether or not to use Hyorinmaru to make the pile soggy, again thought otherwise, and sat back on the chair.
He let his back hit the backrest of the chair and tipped his head upwards. His view met the lazily whirling fan and the ceiling. The light hurt his eye, but he did not let it bother him.
His thoughts went back to Hinamori.
He did not know what he felt for her. He really didn't and it was confusing as hell. Hinamori was his sister, elder to him, too. Two days back, the news of his sister's relationship with the blonde Fukutaicho had disturbed him immensely, but, now….it was disconcerting. That was it. He did not feel the pain anymore. Everything felt natural, as if nothing had changed, and that was that.
A momentary flash caught his eye.
It was a dim flash, almost invisible to anyone else's eyes. But he saw it.
He got up his chair almost immediately, walked up to the window and peered curiously outside. At first, he couldn't see anything out of the ordinary—the trees, the path, the usual darkness—but, after sometime, he saw it again. It was yellow, almost orange.
He did not know what happened to him the next moment. It was as if he was looking for a simple excuse to go out, and this mysterious flash gave him one.
I went out to see yellow lights. Believable enough. In his mind's voice there was deep sarcasm, but he tried to ignore it. He pushed open the window, and placed his foot unconsciously on the windowsill. Squeezing out of the open window (he had grown quite a lot in the past nine years)he dropped to the ground, and, without a second thought, ran forward.
His eyes remained unusually glued upwards, towards the top of the thick trees, waiting excitedly for the light to appear again.
It appeared again, this time brighter.
He shunpoed away.
Ten minutes later Toshiro found himself in front the bushes and thick trees, staring with a little difficulty, his view mostly disturbed by the trees. If he remembered correctly, wasn't this the place he had been observing the raven haired girl? Maybe it was true, maybe not, but, as he peeked out from the bushes and trees, he definitely knew that the answer wasn't the latter.
This was exactly where he had seen her, and he was exactly standing where he had stood before.
He did not let the thought bother him. He let his whole body emerge out of the thick bushes, till he stood on the clearing, his form partially hidden by the trees. He masked his reiatsu for some unknown reason. His sea green eyes observed the place, once again.
The place wasn't particularly good or anything out of the ordinary; just pretty. The moon was high up in the sky, and the clearing was lustily bathed in the moon's light, its silvery glow weaving through the surrounding. The moonlight reflected in the water, and, from where he stood, the river looked almost silver. The river reflected the stars, creating tiny, millions of unhidden dots. He couldn't see the star's reflections, however, his angle deeming it almost impossible.
Until and unless he had antennae like eyes: which he was sure he didn't have.
Block Mountains flanked the river, almost half a mile due south, and the river flowed lazily in the valley, flowing continuously till it reached an unknown land.
That was it. There wasn't anything special about the place.
Oh, and in the other side of the river, were trees. Hoards of them.
A bright flash, not too bright to hurt his eyes, blinded him momentarily. He suppressed a gasp of surprise, but shut his eyes, and stepped back, almost reflexively. He opened his eyes again, slowly, and this time and did not bother suppressing a gasp.
There was fire. And water. Combined.
This did not make any sense, from his point of view. Toshiro was a man of science; he knew the laws of Physics, despite the fact that Shinigamis broke a few with sufficient ease. Okay, maybe he did not believe in it that much, but, if he were a human, he definitely would have. Shinigamis, as mentioned above, broke laws of Physics. Being a Shinigami himself, he knew that some laws of Physics applied even to them.
He knew that water and fire could never combine.
But, what he was seeing currently, stated otherwise.
Her slender arms shot out, and fire emerged from the palm of her hand. She murmured a name under her breath, and eased, like a cat would before resting in the invisible arms of slumber. Her back arched and her hair flowed down, like the calm waves of the sea. There was no smile on her face, just drilled determination. The fire touched the water with ease, and, like a gentle mother, scooped it out of the water.
Her head jerked forward, and a smile replaced her feature, a smile of happiness and childish pride, as she observed her work with a curious eye.
Toshiro was, on the other hand, more than curious. He was intrigued.
And then, slowly, as if one were dragging something heavy, minus the floundering about, she cut off the rope of fire connected to her left palm, and stuck out her right hand's first two fingers. The fire flickered, and she gritted her teeth, as if scolding the flame carrying the water. Her eyes again screwed in determination and slowly, but not too slowly, her two fingers, joined, formed a circle in air.
He watched in awe when the fire too moved, forming a circle, the water spreading as the fire formed a fiery ring of sorts. The water precariously covered the inner surface of the ring, hung there for a few precious second, before falling down with a splash, the fire sizzling out of existence.
The girl stood there for a few seconds, observing the view, before her face split into a huge grin.
"Yosh!" she cheered herself, pumping her fist upwards. At this point, Toshiro felt a needle of respect for her.
What she did was amazing. And that was a huge thing when it came from him.
He watched her attentively, as she jumped and ran about in joy, broke a nearby boulder with a single, unconscious punch, jumped again and cheered herself.
"That was the first time I tried creating a shape, and it worked!" At this point, she was cheering and raving, not in a narcissistic manner, but mainly with pure joy.
After a few minutes, she stopped, her figure slouched in exhaustion. She breathed in deeply, calmly, and murmured, "Wow…"
Her eyes were glued to the sky, for a second or two, before bringing them back down to reality. She shook her head in determination and smirked wildly. Her arm shot out again.
Toshiro gazed at her for a long time, as she performed the seemingly impossible task again. He silently stepped back, and twisted his neck to look behind him. He stared seemingly into nothing for the longest time, before sighing to himself and flopping himself on the ground. He kept Hyorinmaru beside him, and observed her lithe form, practicing.
Maybe he would come to see her again tomorrow.
Lately, Toshiro had been finding his thoughts being occupied by the Kurosaki girl for the longest of times. He never understood why, though. As oblivious as he was to tender feelings, this particular feeling annoyed and bothered him to no end. In a way it wasn't exactly 'feelings' or 'feeling' because he never really felt anything for her as such. He just thought of her.
It bewildered him.
Hinamori looked up; tearing her eyes away from the book she was reading and turned on her back, her brown hair splayed out messily. She stretched her arms forward, holding the book away from her face, and turned her eyes to stare at her surrogate brother, "Ne, Shiro-chan? Is everything alright?"
Startled out his reverie, his face slipped from his palm almost comically, before he composed himself and replied, "Hai, hai, I'm alright."
Hinamori nodded, and smiled a little smile, before going back to reading the book, turning back on her stomach, the bed soft against her.
"When are you and Kira-fukutaicho getting married?" it was a pure legitimate question, yet it surprised Hinamori. Despite being in a relationship with the Third Squad's fukutaicho for over five years now, she still couldn't help but let a blush creep up her face. What startled her more was the fact that the person to ask her a question about her marriage was Toshiro Hitsugaya of all people.
She smiled, and craned her neck to look at the seated Captain, "We don't know yet."
"Ah," was his impassive reply.
"Why'd you ask?" Hinamori asked curiously— her brown eyes indicated that.
"Never mind." He drawled distractedly, and looked out the window then back at the clock. 10:30 PM. She'd be there. In fact, she was already there. He could sense her fiery and warm reiatsu, despite being miles away from her.
"Ja, I'm leaving." He got up abruptly, pointed at the clock to indicate the time and how late it was to Hinamori, and waved at the brunette. She pouted and disagreed, as if he leaving impinged her a lot. Which, without a doubt, did.
"Mou, Shiro-chan!" she said unhappily, "Already?"
Toshiro did not smile, but even she could see his lips twitching up silently, "Gomen, Hinamori. I have to go somewhere."
He went back to the forest, this being the ninth time he did so in the past nine days since then.
Two months had passed since he decided to see her.
For two months, every day, every single day, he would come to see her, at her agile and nimble form, as she would play with fire and water; the latter being forced to be her element. She would play with them with mirth and determination and will power, the stubbornness drilled permanently into her system refusing her to give up, even when her muscles, her mind, her heart, everything told her to stop.
She would never stop, however, and he admired that.
He admired the way she walked—with natural confidence and beguile—the way her eyes would light up whenever she did something which he would term as 'impossible', the way she never gave up.
She would dance about to a hidden music, ringing unknowingly in his ears, her nimble feet tapping with rhythm and ease, fire and water swirling around her to form beautiful patterns.
She danced confidently, but even he knew that she didn't mean to dance. She just did. In an unruly manner—she wasn't particularly graceful.
And then, one day, combining water and fire, she had created a dragon. The dragon had swirled and twirled around her and she had laughed with happiness and mirth, weaving her arms to control the beautiful creature, and she had murmured one name, "Jigoku no ryū."
He could describe her with only one word.
"Momo, what does it mean when you think of one person for a long time?"
The Fifth Squad's fukutaicho gasped in withheld surprise, and furiously wheeled around, her brown eyes staring earnestly at her younger brother. Toshiro felt awkward, as Momo's big brown eyes stared at him, confusion and incredulity present.
"What?" she gasped again.
Toshiro repeated his question.
"Who?!" she probably squealed with joy, or maybe she laughed with ecstasy, he wasn't really sure, because the next moment she nearly hugged him. Toshiro did not inch away, but he felt Hinamor's hands circle around his waist.
He blushed awkwardly.
Hinamori let go of him and did not say anything, the usual, teasing smile playing on her lips. Toshiro did not understand the reason for it.
On the fifteenth of June she didn't come.
He sat there, waiting for her, twiddling idly with the grass, waiting, waiting, waiting. Yet, she didn't appear.
She didn't come the next day, either.
And the next.
When he would wake up, he would find himself staring at the morning sky, his view partially hidden by green leaves.
He sat himself on the chair, feeling empty. He didn't quite understand why, but things felt very awkward and surreal, as if he were merely floating, the people, the world, everything, being nothing but a disturbing sea of colors and work. It didn't make any sense.
He knew who was responsible for his state.
Granted, they never really talked. In fact, she didn't even know that he watched her every day, as she performed the beautiful ritual with mirth. They did not even make eye contacts; she didn't even know that he existed. As an 'admirer', that is. Maybe not an admirer—the word sounded to strong and romantic—but he still respected her.
In a weird sort of way.
It was different, he felt, how, despite never talking to her, he knew so much about her. He knew her personality, her likes, her dislikes, how much she hated it when people thought lowly of her, that it was almost disconcerting.
He really did not know how he even got to know about her; maybe it was because she had the tendency to curse and talk to herself, a tick appearing comically, and how she hit a random piece of boulder without meaning to, as she would scream, I'm soooo pissed!
She wasn't girly- just rash, brutal and violent.
He scribbled away on the sheet of paper, signing and signing again, to requests and developments—the usual. It was 12'O clock in the morning, he noted, the grandfather clock's tuneless and orchestra-like tune thrumming loudly, reverberating with its useless and annoying noise.
His eyes shifted to look at his Fukutaicho, sleeping in an unruly manner on the couch, a drool slipping out of her open mouth, the Sake bottle lying aimlessly on the coffee table. Briefly, he thanked Kami that Matsumoto was not snoring—the sight on the sofa was disturbing enough.
The grandfather clock's ricocheting noise died down, much to his pleasure, and Toshiro heaved a sigh, and put the brush down. He looked at the blue brush, and then at the black ink matted perfectly on the hair. He stared at it for a few more minutes, yet staring at nothing in particular.
He gave a deep, heavy sigh, closed his eyes, opened them again and twisted his neck to look at the window. Darkness met his vision.
Usually, at 12'O clock, he would find himself staring at a raven haired girl, at fire, at water, at the moonlight, at something unusual. At something which made him content, something which made him happy. But now? He was staring at invidious papers which seemed to have taken a liking to him. Sometimes, the thin sheets felt like fangirls. He shuddered anxiously at the thought.
He wanted to see her again. He wanted to see her dance, at the ritual, at nature, at something which wasn't as inartificial as this.
She was like nature.
Maybe his thoughts inclined towards something which people would call 'romantic', but he knew better.
His eyes widened when he saw a flash, his heart started beating faster, and a smile of relief almost broke his lips.
Orange. Dim— bright orange and yellow.
In a flash, the room was devoid of the teal eyed Captain.
He ran as if his life depended on it. He ran faster than he had ever done so before. He brushed past the trees hurriedly and he couldn't help but wonder why he cared. He couldn't help but wonder why the dark haired Shinigami was capable of making him so excited, why he yearned to see her again.
Two minutes later, he found himself staring at the clearing, his breathing short, as he gasped for air. His teal eyes surveyed the surrounding, before widening in surprise. He would have gasped, but he forced himself not to, because he knew if he did such a silly action as that, the consequences wouldn't exactly be pretty.
She had her body immersed in the silvery water, and her hand moved about as a tiny speck of fire played on each of her fingers, creating tiny centaurs shooting arrows of water. There was a smile on her lips, a sad smile, as if staring at the fire gifted her with salvation. Her hair was open, cascading down, drowning in the water, smoothly, attractively.
His heart skipped a beat, and he couldn't help but wonder why. He didn't let this thought bother him much, but he could sure as hell feel heat crawling up his neck. He tried to ignore that too. In fact, he tried to ignore whatever symptoms he was being happily gifted with when he saw her.
His stared at her for a few seconds, before turning around almost immediately, hiding behind a tree. He leaned his back against the tree and scowled, for reasons he wasn't really sure.
This wasn't what he came for. He came to see her practice, to see her play and dance. He didn't come to see her taking a bath of all things. But…
But, even he had to admit, just seeing her, albeit not her face but only her back, he felt happy. He felt euphoria built up inside him. He felt relieved, because he knew that she was there. He knew that even if she didn't know him, even when she never really saw him, she would still be there. Whether for him, particularly, or not, he wasn't really sure.
It just made him happy.
He felt his lips curving upwards.
He didn't really know what happened next. Seconds later, he found himself harshly pinned against a tree, something sharp, something scalding pressed against his throat, a warm breath blowing near his lips. A body was pressed against his, harshly, roughly, and he could feel the figure's reiatsu fluctuating in anger. He closed his eyes reflexively when he found himself rudely shoved to a tree. He wasn't expecting the assault.
The reiatsu was warm. Familiar. He liked it.
"Who the fuck are you and what do you want?" the voice was unusually calm and cold, but not too cold, just wary.
He opened his eyes.
Calm teal met furious dark obsidian.
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