Lost Child: Tobiume
~Goodbye Sojiro~

Momo's heart hurt and it didn't feel like anything could take away the pain. She was surprised when the other academy student approached her and spoke with her with an interest in Toshiro. In reality this was a relief as she had come to realize that no one in the village had ever taken an interest in her little brother before.

On top of the fact Sojiro asked how Toshiro was doing he asked things like what he was like and the things the two of them choose to do with each other. As she remained with Sojiro she found herself wondering why her heart would beat in a funny manner in her chest or why her cheeks would burn. He didn't have to be around, someone just needed to bring up the young man in a conversation.

He didn't spend any time with her besides speaking to her about her brother. When she went to see Miyako and Toshiro she would tell them about Sojiro. Miyako would listen intently while Toshiro would simply lay on his back staring at the ceiling, his limbs flopped in random directions. "What I wouldn't give for him to say anything to let me know he was still there."

"I think you are in love with him."

"Ehhh..."

Momo blinked a couple of times. The comment from Miyako came out of the blue and Toshiro seemed to be reacting to something for once. She shook her head wondering if this could possibly be true, that he was reacting to what they said. Looking at the boy she could see him upside down looking at her, his normally bright teal eyes glazed over.

"Well... at least you're developing a crush on him. That's how I felt when it came to Kaien."

"Mmm... really?"

"Mmm..." Momo looked down at the boy wondering if Toshiro was simply copying the sounds she had made. "Well... at least it was a response."

Finally though she came to realize that Miyako was right and tried avoiding the young man. He approached her, a frown on his face. "Something bad didn't happen to your brother did it?"

"N...n... no." Momo found her cheeks burning. Glancing to the side she saw a couple of other females glare at her. "I just realized... they seem to be glaring at me a lot."

"Hinamori?"

"I'm sorry." The small female made a quick bow towards the older boy. "I've come to realize I have feelings for you."

There came then a silence. Sojiro let out a sigh. Glancing up from her bowed position she noticed him looking to the side. "You of all people know that I'm focused on my studies."

"I know that. I really had to get that out there. Can we still be friends."

The boy blinked a couple of times. "Yes..." He stared at her as she stood up with a smile on her face. "Can I ask? Why do you like me?"

"Because you care about Shiro-chan."

A chuckle came from the young man. "Well... that's different.'

"What do you mean?" Momo blinked a couple of times.

"I've actually been confessed to a lot of girls and I've had to turn them down. They always told me that they liked me because of my looks, or because I have good grades. That was different." The young man then said something that surprised her. "When I said that you knew of all people that I wished to focus on studies I didn't meet we couldn't date you know."

"But what about your studies?"

"The thing is you do understand that. That's why you didn't tell me." This question caused her to look at the ground. "I thought so. I actually have come to like you as well."

Momo felt her cheeks burn. After that she began to spend more time with Sojiro rather then Izuru and Renji. Izuru of course didn't like this and would bring it up at times only to stop short, almost as if he was holding something back. She would watch him study and in fact it gave her an incentive to improve her own study habits.

"Would you go to the festival with my Hinamori Momo?"

The girl blinked a couple of times before nodding her head. "Only as long as it doesn't interfere with studies." She followed beside him with a smile on her face and Miyako found her a kimono that Sojiro complimented her on. She showed it off to Toshiro but found that he didn't say anything and instead stared at her with a blank look as he sat in Miyako's lap as Miyako clapped his hands for him.

Everything was perfect and Sojiro leaned in for her first kiss when it happened. The voice came into her head in that secluded spot they had chosen to watch the fire works. In front of her appeared a beautiful princess, the thing she honestly aspired to be. This princess bowed to her out of respect"Are you my master?"

"I... I don't know... I mean... I guess you're my zampaktuo"

"My name... my name is Tobiume." The female continued to bow in respect despite the fact Momo didn't feel she deserved it.

"Snap, Tobiume." Her vision cleared and she saw that Sojiro had in his hand the same blade. It was then that they were summoned to the forty-six.

"There can not exist more then one zampaktuo... you have to fight to the death."

"To the death?" Sojiro blinked a couple of times.

"Please..." Momo blinked a couple of times, then shook her head. "How can you ask for us to kill each other! Do you understand what we mean to each other?"

"What do we mean to each other?" The small female turned to look at the young man's eyes and saw that they had for some strange reason changed color. The corner of his mouth twitched. She watched as he drew the blade and at first she thought he was going to swing it at her and she thought the wet substance hitting her face was her own blood, but she felt no pain.

Opening her eyes she saw that Sojiro had stabbed himself. "Gomenasai."

"Sojiro-kun..."

"Tobiume... she's yours. I think the only reason I am able to keep my sanity is because you are my lover and I could never, ever lay a hand on you Momo."

She watched as he collapsed to the ground. A soft rain began to pour down staining the beautiful kimono even more. She found someone sitting next to her. "Momo-chan?"

She looked up and saw Kaien. "Kaien-dono!"

"What happened..." The man frowned at her.

"My zampaktuo..."

"I felt it... but I also felt..."

"Sojiro... he had the same zampaktuo."

A hand reached out and rubbed her head gently, a frown on his face. "The blood on your clothing, you didn't have to take his life so what happened?"

"He took his own." The girl rubbed her eyes as she sobbed. "I'm so glad that you aren't your perverted brother. That would have been embaressing."

"Umm..." The man let out a sigh. "Momo-chan, I never said I was Kaien. I mean, I never said I was him because I was worried about you." The female stopped crying and she blinked a couple of times. A smile spread across his face. "So... did I manage to stop you from crying?"

Instead she began to sob again. "My kimono's soaked."

"So?"

"It's sticking!"

"So... oh." Silence came then and Momo opened her eyes to see that he was looking away as if he was uncomfortable with the situation.

Letting out a deep breath he scooped her up into his arms. "As if I would hit on my cute little niece." There came a laugh. "Gosh! I never thought I'd ever be saying what I've heard uncle say about Kyo-chan!"

"Shiba Taicho?"

"Nah... it's Uncle Isshin." The man continued forward. "Kaien and Miyako are attached to you and Shiro-chan. Did you know that they can't have children of their own? While what happened to you and Shiro-chan is painful to the both of you, it really is a blessing to us."

"But... I have to get back before curfew."

"Don't worry. I'll send a letter. Not to mention I'm thinking the forty-nine are already aware of the situation." Isshin took her back to the Shiba compound where his sister took care of her and got her into bed.

Momo slept for a few days and returned to the academy. Sojiro's death was covered up, something Isshin had forewarned her about. She found herself getting glared from the other girls who seemed upset. Finally one of the girls approached her, telling her flat to her face that she blamed Momo for Sojiro's death and called her a few other names.

Thankfully the adoption Kaien and Miyako were arranging went through and she was able to graduate early. They told her that she could go into any division she wanted with their blessing but she in fact found herself wishing to be left alone. She didn't even want to see Toshiro as she worried how she would effect the small child.

Kaien and Miyako made the decision to bring Toshiro home to the Shiba clan residence and she heard his soft footsteps. He simply looked at her with a glazed look in his eyes as she sat there, shocked that they had brought him. His body was weak and he stumbled a bit. Unohana and Miyako let go of the child's hand and he crawled over to her.

She watched as he crawled into her lap and simply sat there, facing her. She blinked a couple of times, not at all sure what to make of this action. The first thing he did was play with her mouth while staring at her with that glazed over look on his face. She then realized he was trying to make her face smile. She wrapped her arms around him and buried her head into his small shoulder and sobbed. "I love you Shiro-chan. I love you so, so much."