Title: No Such Thing
Characters: Hitsugaya, Matsumoto, Ukitake, random not very important OCs
Genre: Deathfic ( or since this is Bleach, How I Got To Soul Society!fic? )
Rating: PG-13, to be on the safe side
Warnings: Character death ( duh ), uh... very underage drinking?, general depressingness
Summary: Matsumoto pretends not to know that her taichou wasn't always quite so high and mighty.
A/N: Anyone who has ever had to write an outline for a paper will recognize the format here. I really hope that it doesn't annoy anyone; to me it seemed to fit well with Hitsugaya's personality. ( And I'm sorry in advance if the formatting goes all wonky. I tried, really! )
Thesis: Sometimes, a story can only be told once it has been broken down into its component pieces. Just ask Matsumoto Rangiku and Hitsugaya Toushirou. They tell themselves this particular story in this particular way: looking at the facts, one by one, is so much simpler than having to fill in any emotion. 1: Every story needs a setting. A: This is a run-down street in a run-down section of Tokyo. I: It is the sort of place that most people would avoid for their own safety, especially at night. II: A burst of raucous laughter erupts from an alleyway. III: A few seconds later, the laughter turns into a man’s harsh scream. IV: Exactly what happened to precipitate that scream remains unknown to this day. V: Shards of broken glass glitter beneath a streetlight. VI: They almost look like stars. B: The time is approximately two minutes past midnight. I: The sky is clouded over heavily. II: Still, the waning moon shows up through a gap in the clouds. III: It looks like a maniacal and strangely white smile. IV: An old man, struck by poverty after all of his children died, lives near here. V: He has become so obsessed with his own smile being perfect that he gargles bleach. VI: He really just wants to see his children again. C: It is snowing heavily. I: Truth be told, it will get much colder than this in this winter. II: Still, it is cold enough. III: People are told to make sure they bundle up in the winter, but sometimes, there is nothing to be done. 2: A woman’s sandal-clad feet crunch through the fresh snow. A: She is a shinigami; a death god. I: Her name is Matsumoto Rangiku. II: Her superiors were startled by how talented she was. III: They were bewildered, however, by her overwhelming laziness. IV: Perplexed, they eventually decided to forget about the matter entirely, and put her on regular shinigami duty. V: They are not aware that the area which they sent her to patrol is considered a bad part of town. VI: Today, she has dealt with five konpaku and three Hollows. B: Earlier, she had gotten quite drunk, out of sheer frustration. I: She knows a nice bar in the area. II: Actually, it is anything but nice. III: She likes it anyway, because what they serve is both strong and cheap. IV: She keeps a spare gigai around just so that she can go and get drunk there. V: No one has ever drunk her under the table yet. VI: She has just removed herself from the gigai, causing most of the effects of the alcohol to fall away. VII: This is not necessarily a good thing. C: She spots yet another konpaku. I: She swears under her breath. II: It is the soul of a young child. III: She wonders at the strange paleness of his hair. IV: He has not wandered far from his body. V: Rangiku assumes that he must have died recently. VI: Not much snow has fallen on his body, but what snow there is has made his clothes stiff with frost. VII: Both soul and body are curled into a fetal position. 3: Next morning, the boy’s body is found. A: A prostitute trips over it. I: She is quite annoyed that she has tripped, and kicks the offending lump in the snow. II: When she realizes that the boy is the same age as her own son, she screams loudly enough to wake the dead, if only in a metaphorical manner. B: The police conduct an investigation. I: It is concluded that this whole affair was quite tragic. II: It is also concluded that it was quite accidental. C: Detectives establish that the deceased’s name was Toushirou. I: They eventually get an admission out of a man with abnormally wide eyes that his surname might possibly have been Hitsugaya. II: They search for a Hitsugaya family. III: They never locate one, at least not one that they can tie to him. IV: The same man from before confesses that Toushirou may have seemed to not have any sort of home, but how could he be expected to know for sure? V: A detective is angered by the man’s reluctance. VI: The missing chip from his tooth is also never found. D: Annoyed by the feeble beginnings of the investigation, the detectives turn to forensics. I: The local medical examiner is a fat man with an unctuous voice and perfectly round glasses with gray plastic frames. II: He makes them uncomfortable. III: They listen to him anyway. E: The boy died of exposure. I: It is hardly surprising. II: The ME says that he had been in pretty bad health, anyway. III: He wants to know when the last time was that he ate any solid food other than hard candy. IV: Nobody knows. V: He says that he does not like the boy’s liver. VI: He wonders whose bright idea it was to give such a young boy so much sake. VII: Matsumoto never finds out about the sake, fortunately for the reputations of everybody involved. F: The detectives return to interviewing everybody they can find, just to make sure. I: The man with the now-chipped tooth confides that he might possibly have seen Toushirou a few hours before the ME’s estimated time of death. II: This is confirmed by a skinny woman with the most frightening hair that either of the detectives has ever seen. III: When asked why she and her friends chose to waste sake on him, she replies that it amused them to do so. IV: Both detectives were brought up not to hit women. G: They fill out an official report closing the case. I: It does not please them to do so. II: Nevertheless, the speed and exactitude with which they do it would impress a certain young taichou. III: He would probably even offer them a job, although of course they would have to be dead in order to accept. 4: Even in a less-than-salubrious place such as this, the death of a child causes emotional upset. A: The woman with the bizarre hair has begun rambling on about how much Toushirou liked the watermelon candy she sometimes gave him when she was in the ‘generous drunk’ phase. I: The next day, a basket of candy appears on the sidewalk next to where the boy died. II: Nobody touches it. III: Soon after, a whole pile of real watermelons appears. IV: In the deep snow, they keep for quite a while. V: When spring comes, the snow melt is full of mashed melon flesh and sprinklings of dark seeds. VI: A few pieces of candy float in the gutter. 5: On that cold night, Matsumoto knows none of this. A: It is hard to say what Hitsugaya knows. I: Like many who will later become shinigami, he has had a high reiatsu for all his life. II: Still, he has never seen a shinigami before. B: He has never known a grown-up who acts like this woman. I: Everybody he knows is similar to each other, but not to her. II: None of them ever cared, he knows that much. III: She does not seem to care either. IV: And yet, she is different. V: Under the crooked crescent moon, she seems cold and still and oddly frightening. C: In one sudden, swift movement, she draws a sword and plunges the hilt into his forehead. I: He looks up at it with vague shock. II: “Wha?” III: Struggling, he reaches out with both hands to grab at her. IV: She makes no response. V: Her pale blue eyes seem colder than any snow. D: His last thought before he is pulled into the Soul Society is that he wishes that he could be like her. I: Never before has Matsumoto represented such purity. II: When they next meet, Hitsugaya will be rather surprised. III: He tries to pretend that he never had that thought. 6: Times change. A: A dull roar of conversation flows from the Tenth Division headquarters. I: People are busy inside. II: They yell orders to each other, push carts full of paperwork, search frantically for lost zanpakuto. III: The noise irritates Hitsugaya, who wishes that everybody would shut up and finish their filing. B: Matsumoto saunters in. I: She is drunk. II: Again. III: “Shiiiiro-chaaaan!” IV: Hitsugaya is now even more irritated. V: “Taichou! Look at who I found!” C: Ukitake Juushirou, of Thirteenth Division. I: His white hair is flipped back over one shoulder. II: “I was out with Kyoraku-taichou, and he just showed up!” III: Ukitake smiles wanly. IV: Matsumoto is swaying slightly. V: “Ukitake-taichou, I apologize for the state of my fukutai–” VI: He laughs. “It’s okay, Shiro-chan.” VII: “Really, though!” The boy leans back in his chair, eyes closed. “There’s just no excuse for allowing yourself to become so thoroughly wretched.” VIII: Matsumoto decides to keep her mouth shut. D: From some secret pocket, Ukitake happily withdraws a piece of candy. I: He hands it merrily to the unhappy little taichou. II: It is watermelon. III: He eats it without noticing. IV: It came wrapped in a clear plastic wrapper. V: A breeze blows it out a window just opened by Matsumoto. VI: Maybe the wind will carry it through one of the secret routes used by the ryoka. VII: Maybe it will even fall to Tokyo. 7: The snow will always come again. A: Hitsugaya holds the snow as sacred. I: The snow-covered world is a different place. II: The cold cuts through all of the hot, stupid human mess. III: The frozen world is two-sided, both false and true. B: On the day she meets her new taichou, Matsumoto decides that she has never seen him before, because even shinigami have an upper limit to how much weirdness they can stand in their lives. I: There is a moment where they just stare at each other. II: It only lasts for a second. III: The first time that she gets drunk in front of him, she collapses in a heap in front of his desk, giggling inanely. IV: There is not a trace of coldness in her eyes. V: Perhaps there never was. VI: This time, the stare lasts quite a bit longer. VII: Then, Hitsugaya goes back to the world of paperwork, where everything is as clean and simple as unbroken snow, and there is no such thing as weakness.