Hitsugaya and matsumoto first meet arguing definition

Tōshirō Hitsugaya | Bleach Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

hitsugaya and matsumoto first meet arguing definition

Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama - T. Hitsugaya, R. Matsumoto - Chapters: Life in Jyunrinan, first district of west Rukongai, was not hard, and it was easy to . able to look the old man in the eye, and meet banked fire with passionless ice. .. Some argued the reverse, that the Shinigami's personality was. copy right, Man it is hard to breathe with these heavy melons. i can't be a failure at sexiness this year. In episode is the flashback in wich they met each other for the first time. In this flashback Hitsugaya is being discriminated by an shopkeeper and Rangiku yells at him for doing that after knocking Hitsugaya on to the Recent Wiki Activity.

Rangiku's spiritual pressure had receded again but he could still feel it thrumming softly; she was obviously still excited about something, and that was a major concern for the youngest captain who knew that it usually never meant anything good for him. The Squad Four insignia came in to view and Toshiro burst through the double doors, ignoring the startled gasps of the healers, and set on down the hall way to the room he could sense Rangiku and her friends in.

He let his spiritual pressure grow then, allowing the ice of his soul to spread out while freezing everything in his path. Finally he saw the door, and froze that with in an instant too. Rangiku would not get away from him this time. He hoped she was a little bit scared right now. He stepped forward and used a small burst of his power to shatter and crumble away the frozen wooden door in front of him.

Toshiro wasn't always a fan of the dramatic entrance but he wanted to deter his lieutenant from this behaviour; it had to stop, she was paid good money to do her job and Toshiro was not paid nearly enough to continually cover both her duties and his own. Inside the well-lit room stood a small group of women, who were all staring at him with surprised and somewhat what terrified expressions.

He stepped under the door frame, allowing his icy power to linger menacingly. He hoped his big teal eyes were piercing Rangiku's very soul at that moment. He could see her cowering behind one of the other girls.

Rangiku seemed to be more afraid of his quiet anger than when he yelled, which seemed to only make her laugh. He felt something cool brush pass his arm, and out of the corner of his eye, the young Kuchiki girl was slipping out of the room, her strikingly similar cold spiritual pressure almost soothing as she ducked by. She was gone quickly, and Toshiro's full attention returned to his troublesome lieutenant who was now trying to unlock and open one of the windows but unfortunately for her, he'd frozen them shut.

He strode to her side, grabbed her forearm tightly in his grip and turned to the other petrified ladies in the room, before snapping again, "Don't you all have work to be doing?!

hitsugaya and matsumoto first meet arguing definition

With his vice-like grip on his second seat, Toshiro flash stepped from the room, dragging the busty blonde with him effortlessly, like he'd done it a million times; He probably had done it a million times by now — It seemed Rangiku never learned her lesson.

The woman hadn't tried to struggle during their journey, seemingly admitting defeat, and wisely knowing she could not fight him nor escape him. Safely locked inside his office with his devil woman of a lieutenant, Toshiro released her arm, and walked over his desk without saying a word. He pulled the first sheet of paper off the stack and began to read through. It was an invitation from the Spiritual Arts Academy, asking him to come and perform a bankai demonstration for the students to show how — in some cases — a bankai can dramatically alter the wielder's appearance.

It made sense that they'd want him since the news of his matured bankai had spread across the Seireitei, but only Captains Kuchiki and Zaraki had seen it.

With a half-shrug he signed his agreement, and placed it in the completed pile for sorting, filing and sending off. He took the next bit of paperwork off the pile and began reading through it, and by now Rangiku had worked out he wasn't going to speak first. She then immediately erupted in one of her melodramatic tirades. Captain, you're becoming very misogynistic! Please tell me how I am in any way prejudice against women? He smirked a little before taking another form from the stack and filling out the necessary blanks.

It was all true; he'd done a lot for female soul reapers in his squad. Many of the male captains still allowed the inequalities between genders to survive in their divisions; namely Yamamoto before his death, Captain Kurotsuchi and Captain Zaraki. Head Captain Kyoraku had brought in equal pay just after Toshiro did, although his lieutenant had been campaigning for years prior to the event, and Captain Ukitake had followed immediately. Captain Kuchiki had taken much longer to bring around and it wasn't until after the Winter War and when his younger sister was promoted to lieutenant that he'd made the change; many suspected that it was the newly strengthened bond between him and Rukia that had forced the noble man to comply.

The problem was that the Seireitei was ancient, especially in its values, and nobles in particular were sticklers for tradition, most believing a woman's place was still in the kitchen. Toshiro scowled at that; his female soldiers worked just as hard as their male counterparts, and if they'd be resigned to being mere housewives, so much potential would have been lost.

Oh, and that ridiculous beach trip. Toshiro smirked once again; he was right, she was wrong, and finally she knew it. Toshiro continued with his paperwork, watching her out of the corner of his eye as she picked her first document up and looked at it with severe distaste. Her disgusted expression turned to confusion and Toshiro sighed internally, knowing that she had no idea what half of these reports and forms were about, since she rarely ever did paperwork.

Still, he let her sit in silent despair, concentrating on his own work load before he'd go help her with hers. Toshiro managed to get on a real streak with his paperwork as the office had remained blissfully silent, the only sounds in the room were the subtle ticking of the wall clock, the shuffle of papers and the clinking of his ink brush against the ink pot; the sounds were both familiar and comforting to the prodigy, assuring him that work was finally getting done.

Unfortunately, Rangiku had never been one for prolonged silence and it didn't take long for her to ruin the peacefully quiet atmosphere. You know, I was never a huge fan of her short hair. It wasn't even close to the case. In fact, he'd made a stammering, stuttering, tongue-tied mess of a reply, surprising himself as he actually thought back and considered the young Kuchiki girl's maturing appearance.

He'd barely seen Rukia as she slid by him during his rather dramatic entrance into the SWA meeting, but now as he recalled the event; he noticed that Rangiku was right about the Squad Thirteen lieutenant growing her hair out again. It was now similar length to when she'd accompanied them to the World of the Living to fight the first of Aizen's arrancars, sitting neatly at her shoulders.

He could see it clearly in his mind now, the image of the younger Kuchiki slipping passed him and back down the hallway, her hair swishing gently behind her in the breeze and leaving behind a vague aroma of snowdrop flowers, like that of her own division symbol.

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Was 'sexy' the right term though? Toshiro wasn't sure; he didn't often consider a girl's hair — in particular, the length — being of importance to her sex appeal, but he supposed that if he thought about it, he probably would prefer longer hair on a woman, if only for him to brush out of her face and play with idly while lying side by side.

Toshiro gritted his teeth; the damn magazine. He was never going to live that down, Rangiku made it her life mission to bring it up at least once a week, despite all the threats he'd made about suspending her lunch hours and putting her on the weekend shift.

It really wasn't as big a deal as she made it out to be; in short, Rangiku had been wrongfully snooping through his private quarters when she happened to find a discarded magazine — a magazine made for straight, adult men — that had been a very unwelcomed birthday gift from a certain flirty captain in a large straw hat and pink kimono.

The lieutenant had come flouncing into the office waving it around the place, singing "I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! I didn't want it so I threw it out, and what were you doing in my bedroom in the first place, Matsumoto?! Toshiro blushed harder — if that was at all possible — and found that no answer could come from his mouth. Hell, no answer had even formed in his brain yet. His mind was literally blank, the shock and embarrassment killing his mental hard drive and he watched dumbly as Rangiku returned to flicking through the magazine.

Her grin only grew bigger in the absence of his response, and at one point, a woman's picture in the magazine caused her to release a low and impressed whistle. I said 'a man can't have me as a lieutenant and be gay'. The memory was still so fresh to him; embarrassment seemed to stick in his mind like glue, always able to recall moments of his greatest mortification at the drop of a hat.

A special talent of sorts, not that it did his esteem any good. Rangiku was grinning at him from her desk, obviously recalling the memory as well. Toshiro caught a quick glimpse of a smile on her face before he sighed in frustration, turning back to his stacks of paperwork which appeared to have somehow grown since the last time he looked. The next time he glanced up, he noticed that she'd actually completed a rather large chunk of the work, and was pleasantly surprised for a whole three seconds before he realised that she was just picking up the papers, looking for the line that said 'lieutenant signature' and signing it without even bothering to find out what the document was actually about.

He groaned softly and resisted the urge to hit his head against the desk; now he was going to have to read over her work to ensure she had not signed off on something crazy, given that there were a lot of request forms in that pile; holiday leave, pay rises, promotions, division barracks renovations, division transfers, and she was just signing them off willy nilly. Maybe Yamamoto was right about her.

No, Toshiro would always stand up for his lieutenant's contribution to the Soul Society. She might be a terrible administration worker, and the most infuriating partner, but her battlefield abilities were top notch, and her trust had been well earnt over the years. He just needed to start limiting her to practical work only.

With that thought in mind, Toshiro flipped through some of his completed paperwork, looking for a certain report he'd already signed off.

hitsugaya and matsumoto first meet arguing definition

Finding it, he pulled the document from the stack and skimmed through it to make sure it was the right one. It was a report regarding a joint investigation the Squad Ten had completed with Squad Two in the World of the Living several weeks ago, and the reports had finally been processed on his end, which meant that once he'd sighed them, Soi Fon had to read and sign them too, and luckily he knew just the soul reaper to send on a walk to the Second.

You will be back in this office in exactly sixty minutes, or I will deduct one day of paid leave from your contract for every minute you are late. Rangiku seemed oblivious as she turned back to the door and practically bounced on the balls of her feet in eagerness to get out. As it hit the ground, the entire false Karakura Town broke down, each spirit particle excluding those composing Hitsugaya's body separating from the other, the entire array of enemies literally vanishing away to dust.

The pillars also fell, the true Karakura Town returning to the Living World. The 4th Division captain and her vice-captain were quietly standing in place. The hulking 7th Division captain with his vice-captain were the first to appear, followed by the 6th Division captain and his bandaged-up vice-captain, just retrieved the other day from Hueco Mundo.

The 2nd Division captain and vice-captain followed, Soifon with a scowl on her face and Omaeda with a dazed look plastered across his face. The vice-captains of the 3rd, 5th, and 9th Divisions appeared, each a bit shell-shocked from yesterday's events.

Following them came the captains and vice-captains from the 10th, 11th, and 12th Divisions. The last group to enter the hall was the largest and loudest, heard even over the scolding Shunsui was getting from his lovely, lovely Nanao-chan. The former ryoka with the vizards and four exiles appeared now, quieting the assembled officers of the Gotei I must ask that you keep it in the strictest confidence.

The recipient is expected to be a captain, and if this person is also near death, it will rejuvenate them to beyond their full capacity. It can, as we saw yesterday, even enable a shinigami to force their zanpakuto beyond what should be otherwise possible. He hadn't had much rest since being fetched from Hueco Mundo by Urahara the other day, and was still catching up on what had gone down in the Living World.

Hitsugaya winced at the use of his first name. His time alone at the academy was changing him in ways more profound than the honing of his power. He had been distantly aware of the changes working on him, but had not truly given them much thought until a conversation one afternoon found him lying on his back in the sun, sword beside him, visiting with Jidanbou.

hitsugaya and matsumoto first meet arguing definition

The smooth paving stones at the Seireitei's edge were cool beneath him, and the dirt of Rukongai an arm's length away. Jidanbou, at least, had stopped calling him Shiro-chan as soon as his friend had returned for his first visit wearing the blue hakama and striped kimono of a Shinigami student proper.

Your reiatsu makes you tall. Soon you'll be as tall as me maybe. Hitsugaya opened his eyes, safe from the sun in Jidanbou's shadow, and made a dismissive noise. He had too few friends these days to indulge in casual rudeness anymore. Your reiatsu makes you tall, but it is your mind that will make you a great Shinigami! Hitsugaya pushed off Jidanbou's shoulder with one foot, sending his leap higher, and flipped down to the ground behind the giant's back.

But as he walked slowly back to the academy that afternoon, his brow furrowed in a thoughtful frown, Hitsugaya wondered how much his inner self might have begun to reflect the outer self he had been forced to wear since entering his training. In the past, with Momo or anyone else, he had never felt the need to ponder what he would say or do next, and so never stopped to truly weigh the merits of his own choices.

He just did what he did, what seemed right, what felt good. But now that every action and word had to be carefully scrutinized and measured before he put it out for others' criticism, it was becoming increasingly obvious that not everyone saw the world the way he did. What was painfully simple to him was often insurmountably difficult for others to comprehend. Problems broke themselves down around him like pieces of ice shattering, chipping away and melting beneath his gaze to reveal the simple truths once hidden by their frozen facets.

Everything could be seen and understood clearly, if only enough thought and effort was bent to it, yet sometimes it seemed he was the only one putting forth the effort required. Could it really be just a matter of genius? Could one word explain the difference? He often thought, especially after that afternoon with Jidanbou, that it would have been nice to sit down and have a conversation with Shiba Kaien.

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How often, he wanted to ask, did you find yourself becoming what they expected you to be? How often did you change to make them more comfortable? Did you ever find the patience to endure it all? But by the time he was in a position to truly inquire after Shiba Kaien's possible opinion on such matters, he had long since given up on asking the questions.

Change, after all, came quickly to one with the willingness to embrace it. The dreams started again a few weeks after he first touched Hyourinmaru's blade. After half a year of intensive and advanced training and lectures, he knew enough to realize that the presence he had always felt surrounding him in those dreams was most likely his zanpakutou trying to make itself known to him.

He told no one about the dreams, though it was clear that most of the instructors at the academy already believed him to have begun some sort of communication with his zanpakutou — that much was obvious from the way their eyes strayed to him whenever they lectured about the importance of forming a bond with your sword.

Only Oounabara-sensei spoke to him openly about it, but Hitsugaya knew instinctively that it was not advice he wished to follow. Sometimes the deepest understanding can only be forged through patience.

Toshiro and rangiku funny moment

But aging was slow in Soul Society, especially for those strong in spiritual power, and if he waited until he seemed old enough to others that they deemed it the proper time, it could be years. He couldn't wait that long. The dragon wouldn't wait that long. Yet despite all need, the dragon's name itself remained frustratingly elusive for many months.

In his dreams, he would walk through fields of grass turned cold and sharp by midnight chill, the stars flashing above him — far, and yet somehow close enough that he knew he could reach out and close his fingers around them if only he could summon the wings to fly — and all the while an icy wind whipped around him, pulling the sleeves of his kimono back, lashing the ends of his hair into his face.

And in the wind there was a voice, a howling, a roar that would build in intensity until it seemed to move inside his body and through his veins. It wanted him to listen, to understand, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not make out a voice or words in that roar. There was something missing. Something inside of himself. He couldn't help but view it as a failing in his training, in his ability - a weakness.

And he hated weakness. Hated showing it, hated feeling it. If his zanpakutou couldn't speak to him, what good was genius? When Oounabara-sensei approached him, ten months into his training, and requested his presence for a special field exercise, Hitsugaya was certain there was more to the event than the instructors were admitting. All of the other students recruited for the exercise were in their final year of training, and for most that meant completing the curriculum at three or four years rather than the usual six.

He was the only one among them to be in his final stages at less than a year, and Hitsugaya suspected that he had already earned graduation marks, and only the instructors' insecurities about his age stood in the way of his elevation to full Shinigami. Better even than Shiba Kaien's record, and he was proud of it, though it wasn't a pride he would ever admit to feeling.

So when the "special field exercise" was mentioned, he seized the chance eagerly. It would not be his first time engaging in combat, but until now he had only fought against dummy Hollows in controlled exercises.

He had secretly hoped for a surprise attack on some soul burial training excursion, like the one Hinamori had once told him about, but all had gone smoothly; past lessons had been taken to heart, and now full ranked Shinigami served as guard and escort for every student exercise. But this time, a group of ten would be sent into the wildest regions outside Rukongai's borders in pursuit of real Hollows, with only two Shinigami as guides.

hitsugaya and matsumoto first meet arguing definition

This would not be just an exercise, Hitsugaya was sure. This was a test, though the rules and the reward were uncertain. Fortunately, he had never been one to worry about rules. Rules would have stopped him entering the Seireitei, stopped him entering the academy, stopped him reaching his full potential. The most important thing about rules, he felt, was to know when it was necessary to break them, though this was not something he had decided to tell Jidanbou where the importance of leaving food on the floor once it had been stepped on was concerned.

And this test, he swore to himself, was a test he would not fail, no matter what the rules might prove to be. The night before the exercise he sat awake, kneeling in a beam of moonlight under his window, his sword at his side waiting to be touched. While its wielder waited for a visit that would not come.

Haineko (Zanpakutō spirit)

He hadn't sent word to Hinamori. He knew it was irrational, and probably childish indeed, but part of him wanted to think that she paid enough attention to word of his training that she would already know how important the next day might prove for him.

That she would know, would tear herself away from her duties to division and Captain, and that she would come to see him of her own free will.

He didn't want to have to send her a message, to seek her out. Maybe it was selfish. Maybe he shouldn't expect her to come visit him anymore, ignoring all of his haughty protests as she once had. Maybe it was too late. Maybe he'd squandered all the visits he was to be allowed.

He knew he ought to be sleeping in preparation for the trial to come, but he doubted the dreams would give him much rest. And as long as he was awake, then there was still a hope that Momo might come, and that he'd be able to tell her, "After tomorrow, you won't be able to call me Shiro-chan anymore. He knew it was irrational. He knew it was selfish. And yet, there it was. The sense of abandonment. After that night, his knees cold against the floor mats, he never spent a night waiting for Hinamori to visit again.

Try doing it with these shorter legs. Though of course they were certain he had. He felt more inclined to forgive it, however, tonight of all nights, when there were more important things to be thinking about. And it helped that those with him tonight had at least some skill of their own on which to base boasting or jibes.

Hitsugaya couldn't say that he actually liked her, but he appreciated that she made no effort to hide her thoughts or feelings at any given moment; she was easy to read, and therefore easier to deal with.

hitsugaya and matsumoto first meet arguing definition

As far as she was concerned, so long as he was able to use a sword well enough to watch her back it didn't matter how young — or how short — he was. When the ten selected students had been called together in preparation for the exercise, she had been the only one to merely nod as though satisfied on noting his presence. The others had looked at him with varying expressions of uneasiness or judgment, but at least no one had spoken against his being there. They were the ten best students currently at the academy, and had seen enough of his training to know better.

But several hours trekking through the night-dark forests, waiting for a Hollow to emerge from behind every tree, had unfortunately loosened most tongues. It had not, however, loosened the tongue of their Shinigami escort. Hitsugaya had spent the last hour watching Ise Nanao's back more closely than the forests around him. He was confident that he would sense a Hollow long before being able to see it, and since discovering that their guide on this exercise was not just a seated Shinigami but a Vice Captain, he had decided that the opportunity to watch and analyze her actions was not one to be missed.

Perhaps because of the uniqueness of his situation and the accelerated progress of his training, he had not had any opportunity to witness visits to the academy. Ever since Momo had babbled to him about seeing a Captain at the school and how amazing the man had been, Hitsugaya had half-expected to find Captains ghosting down the corridors on a regular basis.

He knew better now of course, knew that Captains rarely visited the academy, and Vice Captains almost as infrequently. He had to admit he had been slightly disappointed at first. Now he thought he understood better. There came a point in the accumulation of skill when you saw the world through a different lens, and certain things became invisible. Shifting your focus back to something already left behind was pointless. Surely it was pointless.

A Captain, Hitsugaya had decided, was someone you climbed to meet. You didn't expect them to come down to meet you. Ise Nanao must have climbed. He of all people knew better than to judge by appearances. Slender, glasses carefully perched, hair carefully pulled back and folded upward, she seemed at first glance as unintimidating as she was clearly well-collected.

He was certain the first glance was misleading. No one could have reached a Vice Captain's rank without the skills to merit it. He was watching her gait, trying to see the first hints of shunpo technique in it, or the subconscious twisting of a wrist that might betray a favored hakuda style, but either she had learned to school her movements too well to let such hints slip, or her strength was not in the physical arts.

He couldn't even see where she was carrying her zanpakutou. Perhaps her expertise was in kidou, for there was at least no denying her reiatsu, carefully controlled though it was. They had been split into groups of five, each in pursuit of a different Hollow sighting rumor. The others had gone with the fourth seat of 2nd Division, and Hitsugaya doubted the split had been coincidental after noting that all five in the other group had strengths he considered much better suited to the Onmitsukidou than the Gotei That fourth seat would undoubtedly be reporting directly to Captain Soi Fong.

Which begged the question, of course, of who Ise Nanao would be reporting to. What little he'd heard of Captain Kyouraku's reputation didn't paint the picture of a man who would be particularly interested in the accomplishments of the academy's newest students.

It had been a very long time since Kyouraku Shunsui had been a student in those halls. Tanizaki patted Akagi consolingly, his hand looking even larger than usual on her small shoulder.

Don't worry, my little flower. For some reason, however, Tanizaki's comment seemed the last straw for their guide, and Vice Captain Ise turned an irritated look back on her charges. Kohana blushed so deeply it was clear even in the shadows.

Omura Yukio, trailing last in their small group, snickered quietly while smirking at Tanizaki's broad back, but when Vice Captain Ise's gaze fell on him, her glasses glinting faintly in the leaf-filtered moonlight, he too fell silent. Hitsugaya fought the urge to sigh. This was not how he had hoped the night would go. He glanced up at the stars, hoping to gauge how much of the night had now crept by them; long nights of star-gazing in the gardens of the orphanage where so many of the children in Jyunrinan eventually gathered had taught him a familiarity with the night sky that would serve him all of his life.

At best he now guessed that they had no more than three or four hours before dawn. The thought of passing the whole night without encountering a single Hollow was beginning to give him a headache. She had spoken quietly, and behind them Kohana was whispering something unintelligible to Tanizaki, so that he hoped no one else had heard the Vice Captain. Her face was angled back toward him just slightly, so that he could see her regarding him out of the corner of her eye.

Please try to rein it in. And of course the others had quieted enough by now to overhear every word, and he half-expected another weak joke at his expense as he frowned, trying to sense the unintended expansion in his reiatsu and to bring it under control. But to his surprise, no joke or comment came. An unusual, almost uncomfortable silence followed behind him, and he stubbornly refused even to glance back for a peek at their expressions. At least another hour passed, during which the trees began to thin and his headache to grow worse.

Omura Yukio trotted forward to the front of the group, his hand eagerly on his sword as always, to ask Vice Captain Ise how far out they would go before turning back, and if it was likely that a Hollow would emerge to attack them after the sun had risen. She rewarded him with a curt warning to fall back into rear-guard where he had been assigned, and then proceeded to deliver a low-voiced, clipped lecture on the basics of Hollow behavior which, she reminded them, they ought to have learned in their first year.

Hitsugaya barely listened, though normally he would carefully absorb every word of a lecture given in his presence. The pain in his temples was increasing, building to a throb that seemed to pulse with his heartbeat. The skin of his face itched.

It grew worse until he was convinced that this was more than just his own anxiety, that something must be wrong in the air around them, and he was about to say something to the Vice Captain when she stopped abruptly in her tracks and raised a hand in silent warning. After standing in perfect stillness for several moments, she lowered her hand and turned to them. It is still nearby. We will find positions in this area and prepare an ambush.

His headache seemed to ease at the very thought, and he nodded his understanding with grim eagerness. Vice Captain Ise led them off the meager path they had been following and into the trees. Within a few minutes they came upon a small clearing. Ise crouched to one knee at the clearing's center, the fingertips of her pale hand pressed against the earth, and bowed her head, eyes closed in obvious concentration. Hitsugaya assumed she was stretching her spirit sense to be sure of the Hollow's taint, but now that he realized that what he had been sensing was a Hollow's nearness he wondered why she should need to concentrate at all.

Wasn't it painfully obvious? The vague itching sensation which had prickled across his skin seemed to have crept into his throat, leaving behind a foul taste.

He tried to breathe more shallowly, hoping that would lessen the impact of the spiritual scent. When the Vice Captain stood again, apparently satisfied, she motioned them to retreat into the trees once more. Omura's grin was like a flash in the darkness, and with a tiny skip and then a blur of shunpo, he was up in the middle branches of a tree at the clearing's edge.

The Vice Captain frowned up at him for a moment, then shook her head as though to let it pass, and gestured for the others to spread out. Tanizaki and Akagi moved off eastward, to take up positions in the lee of two of the larger tree trunks. The technique worked well for Akagi, who was small and slender enough to vanish into the tree's darker shadow, but Tanizaki would need a whole building to use that sort of camouflage effectively, even at night.

There were disadvantages to greater size, Hitsugaya had always felt. Jidanbou was considered a giant among Shinigami for more than just his size, but there was no denying that in matters of stealth or speed he was sorely lacking. Even so, he would have given a great deal to have Jidanbou at his side tonight instead of these relative strangers.

But now was not the time for sentimentality. He gave his head a small, quick shake to clear both inappropriate thoughts and the lingering tightness of his headache. He picked a tree whose bark was smooth enough not to catch on his clothes, but with branches spaced adequately to allow easy climbing, and set his back against it. He faced westward, with the clearing in the periphery of his vision rather than directly before him. Spiritual sense was more effective than sight in hunting Hollows, or so they had been taught, but he didn't want to take the chance that this might be a Hollow with better control over its reiatsu than most, and if it sensed them before they sensed it then the creature might try to approach them by stealth.

Which meant it would likely approach the clearing by keeping to the cover of the surrounding trees, as they had. Vice Captain Ise moved in perfect silence through the tree boles, inspecting their positions and the area. She passed by Kentaro Yumiko — who had folded her tall and narrow frame into a crouch between two lichen-covered boulders — without a word but also without a frown.

When she came to Hitsugaya, she paused briefly, turned to look in the direction he had positioned himself to face, and nodded. He knew he ought to feel pleased by her silent approval, but it seemed such an obvious choice to have made that he could hardly be proud of having made it. His headache was also growing worse again.

He folded his arms, and his elbow and forearm bumped against the tsuka rising from his obi. That happened all the time. It was no good. He would have to do something about it sooner or later. For now, he merely shifted position just enough for the end of his saya to extend around the side of the trunk behind him, allowing him to keep his back in contact with the tree, and adjusted the fold of his arms to rest more comfortably over his sword.

What am I doing wrong? What words should I use to speak to you so that you'll answer?