Instead, he vomits, and he collapses face down onto the floor. When he wakes up, the stench of booze reaches his nostrils, and he wants to vomit again. He wants to vomit out his guts, his life, his heart, but with each retch, it’s dry and punishing. So, Tōshirō gives in, stumbles to his feet and tumbles into the wall.
For the past fortnight, she has been doing that thing again. That thing where she doesn’t arrive to the office on time, or at all even, and she prefers the isolation and the drink and the company of ghosts. Tōshirō wanted to find out why. He isn’t much of a drinker, but after work, he drank, and he drank, and he drank, and he drank some more, then a little afterwards, and then he went home, stumbled, thought about her, and drank again.
Maybe it’s a depression. God, he doesn’t know, and he wishes he didn’t care. Because now the personal has invaded the professional,
Tōshirō goes to work, severely hungover, and looking like a wreck. He snaps when somebody asks if he’s all right. And after that, nobody dares go near him. The office is cold, like everything else crawling into his life. Her desk is vacant, and he glances at his own tediously. Some Captain he’s turned out to be. Not only is he incapable of caring about those around him, he can’t even manage his own adjutant.
Dead bodies pile around him, surround him, close in on him, and he’s swarmed in a sea of loss. They lost Gin Ichimaru, and they lost Momo Hinamori, and they lost Sōsuke Aizen, and then the world just collapsed beneath their feet, and Tōshirō was so busy screaming out his heart, he didn’t her wail out back to him. Now his lungs burn, and his mouth tastes of ash and fluid, and his eyes are bloodshot, and he wants her to return.
Tōshirō is losing her –– and the devil grins, whispering she’s next, little boy, and you know it.
So he could just stand there, helpless, pathetic, the very same, and let this happen. At any given second, she might hand in her resignation, or ask to be transferred, or just never get back up again and wither away. Because this whole thing isn’t just about Gin Ichimaru, and the fact he was her everything, and he saved her life and what the fuck is the point if the love of her life is dead? This whole thing goes deeper, it goes to before Gin, when she was a stranded little orphan, freezing in the chill, abandoned, unloved, forgotten, scorned.
He approaches his desk. Rests his hands onto the surface, and scrunches his eyes shut. He feels terrible. And he’s losing his mind without her. The days are slipping, time is vanishing, they’re going to run out of the minutes, and he’s just standing here. Tōshirō winces, furious, upset, devastated, and throws everything off the desk. The pens, papers, folders, paperweight, mug, his entire life, and throws it all, allowing it to smash and break, and crash.
An old head, held up by small shoulders. Startling white hair, already beginning to grey, twisted at the nape of his neck. Blue eyes, screaming innocence, which do not belong to a veteran. That is the first memory she has of him: great and powerless.
The boy had observed her with a funny curiosity. This bizarre, gorgeous creature: his own adjutant. From appearance, she was clearly a couple of decades older than him. Enough time missed between them in order for their behaviour to be different; she the mature one, he the foolish child. And yet, they saw the other as equals.
Initially, she considered him tiny and fragile. Something desperate. Frantically pursuing a trap to control his wild abilities. The child froze everything that he touched, and it was tragic. His own grandmother’s heart had nearly turned to ice. That is, if she didn’t step into his life before fatality took its toll.
The next time they met, he was gowned as a recruit. Ready to be judged and criticised and harshly disciplined. He was still small, and he was still old, and he was still curious about her. The boy held out his hand–– already soiled in dry blood––and she noticed how smooth his fingers are, the roughness of his palm; he held her gaze.
And then she realised
it was his eyes. They possessed no naivety whatsoever. There was nothing reflected in this boy’s face which showed the mind of a youth. This boy was ageing, this boy had lived many lives, and he was tired. An exhausted soldier who held far more knowledge than beyond her years
She was shocked by the depth of his voice. Already the Gotei 13 had shook something wild in him.
Snapping out of her reverie, she decided to tease him: ‘Ah, you remember! Turns out there is a brain in that thick skull of yours.’ She knocked his head lightly with her knuckles.
He scowled. She laughed.
Her laughter was like rain, and he was immediately caught in the storm.
But his feet were stubborn. Legs strong, and his whole body resisted the urge to run. For some reason, he was attached to her. He had to hear her laugh again, had to be near to her. It was a connection that he could not describe, but all he knew was that she was important.
Their fates were sealed in that one handshake. If he had known––if they had known––how absolutely vital he would be to her, then perhaps he would have been more terrified than he is now.
‘Imagine this: you, and one minute before you die. How do you spend that final minute?’
‘Easy. I would tell her the truth.’
Hyōrinamu won’t forgive him; not for a while, at least.
The battle ceased several hours ago. Corpses litter the field, and it’s a picture. Snowflakes scatter across the bloodied earth, freezing the deceased, washing away the stench of death. It would be something beautiful if Tōshirō weren’t standing amidst the dead. From the corner of his eye, he watches a fellow comrade accidentally step on a body.
Destruction is a familiar friend. Tōshirō is destruction. He has been destruction since he was a young boy. Everybody who so much as touches him seems to wilt. It seems, nowadays, those he loves are the ones who wither, and just die. But the sight before him, he has never seen anything like it before. The war was fast. It was dirty and hurried and hate. A war which was over in less than a year, resulting in the Spirit World being flooded with fatality.
‘Captain? It’s over.’
Tōshirō glances at Ukitake, and tries to smile.
Yet his expression is solid and completely frozen. He realises he’s still holding his zanpakutō, he’s still shaking, he’s still thirsty for more, and that startles him. This silly boy. He wants more. Because there was something so satisfying, so thrilling, winning the battle. Alone on the battlefield, abandoned and unwanted––it was easy to just let go.
‘I can’t feel her anymore,’ Tōshirō whispers. ‘Her Spiritual Pressure is gone.’
And it is over.
When Rangiku left him, deserted him, Tōshirō felt himself fading away alongside her. The battle against Aizen forced her to drop her weapons, to turn away, to leave. And Tōshirō can never forget. She didn’t look back. She didn’t hesitate. She said she was sorry, I’m sorry, and he just––let her walk. Everything that happened, everything they had been through together, it suddenly didn’t matter. Because Gin’s death was killing her and she couldn’t focus––
‘You’ll fall ill if you stay out here any longer,’ Toshiro says.
Ukitake appreciates that sentiment. He places a hand on his shoulder. ‘Like I said: the battle is over. You fought the hardest––’ his eyes promise he won’t ask why, ‘––so, come.’ Not to celebrate, not to rest even; but to, at least, move on. Ukitake’s hand slips from his shoulder, and he walks ahead of Tōshirō. The snow surrounds his ankles as Tōshirō takes each step, and it’s just not the same. Nothing ever has been the same, and it’s been two years.
When he is in the privacy of his own room, Tōshirō strips down. His robes spill to the floor, and he winces, his skin broken and bloody. Slowly, he stretches, his exhausted muscles straining from the pull. Fresh blood oozes from open wounds, and he makes no effort to tend to them. Tōshirō exhales, closes his eyes, and presses his palm to the wall.
Now, now, it hits. Like an axe, impatient to fall; cut through his skull.
For the past two years, he’s kept an eye on her, felt her spirit, had to ensure she was safe. Now, she’s disappeared from him. Rangiku has vanished from his life, and there’s nothing he can do to bring her back. Hot tears sting his eyes, and he’ll blame the exhausting, the fact he’s had to murder so many, but he knows who’s really at fault for his heartache.
It isn’t rage which forces him to shatter the wall. Brick crumbles from the impact, and he inhales sharply, his knuckles throbbing. What he wants to say, what he wants to call her, what he would do if he ever saw her face again.
Then, he scrunches his eyes shut, and cries, quiet; so quiet.
First things first: No, I don’t think they are together, now. Obviously. And no, I don’t claim to know that they will definitely end up with each other. One thing is clear though - they already share a deep friendship full of trust and loyalty. As single characters they are already awesome, but together they make a hell of a team. That’s what I love about my OTP. It doesn’t matter that Matsumoto is older or that Hitsugaya is her boss. They are equal. They respect and understand each other. They are not fooled by looks or prejudices.
Trust, understanding and equality - that’s what their relationship is based on. And that’s “just” the non-romantic part!
I cannot imagine these two would ever break out into sappy love confessions or anything like that. If they would fall in love with each other, it would be slow and gradually. In any case it would not be something they would have to discuss or clarify. It would be there and that’s that. Hitsugaya isn’t exactly a chatterbox - but the good thing is, Matsumoto doesn’t need him to be one. (She actually prefers men not talking too much, now doesn’t she?)
I don’t get why people tend to put off “HitsuMatsu” as an utter impossibility. Because of the age difference? Given how aging in SoulSociety works, Hitsugaya is going to “catch up” in no time. Compared to “HitsuHina” and “GinRan” I think Matsumoto and Hitsugaya have a closer and stronger bond. Most importantly because they understand each other. I don’t think Hinamori really understands Hitsugaya. And I don’t think Ichimaru understood Matsumoto’s true feelings too well or took them into account. Don’t get me wrong, they care for them, of course! And maybe Hinamori is going to change and maybe Ichimaru realised what he did before he died. I don’t mean to bad-talk their relationships. I wouldn’t be surprised if Kubo-sensei decided to declare HitsuHina or GinRan canon. (If he ever cared for stuff like that, that is) I’m just convinced that Hitsugaya’s and Matsumoto’s relationship is stronger and healthier.
I just really want to say that - I don’t care if they fall in love with each other or not. Their relationship is awesome as it is. But I can clearly see the possibility of them ending up together. They’ve known each other for quite a bit now - Matsumoto was the one who convinced Hitsugaya to become a shinigami after all. We don’t know what happened to these two after that, but I can guess and hope they had the chance to get to know each other better, even before Hitsugaya became her Taichô. They work closely together, day after day. They are a team, even when he’s chasing her around the division, yelling her name XD to get her to work. Deep down inside I bet he loves it XP (We all know she likes to tease him, but it’s also clear she respects him as a Taichô and would do anything, if he would just be serious enough about it, but well. Taichôs who bark “MATSUMOTOOO!” don’t bite :P)
This is getting too long and I’m losing the golden thread.
Trust, understanding and equality! It’s not a pairing that’s full of drama and tears. They are both strong, in every sense of the word. Neither of them is dependent on the other. At least that’s how I see them.
I finally finished posting all the Hitsugaya doujinshi I currently own on my side blog, “frozenheartsdoujinshi”. Of course I’m not done with my collection yet, there’s still a lot more I’m on the look out for. So I will be buying more in the (hopefully near) future. But for now I have posted all I have. I will continue to update the side blog as I get new books.