Toshiro turned, only to see Kusaka waving and jogging toward him. He dodged a couple arguing, and then two boys just starting
a fist fight, and quickly made it to Toshiro's side. The smaller boy blinked up at him. "What?"
"Oh, you're always so cool, Hitsugaya-kun," Kusaka teased. "No wonder you can't get yourself a girlfriend."
A vein above Toshiro's eye pulsed, and he spun away from his new acquaintance. "Forget it, you're not worth the trouble,"
Kusaka stood there for a moment, likely surprised, before running to catch up with Toshiro. "W-wait! Hitsugaya-kun, why
the frosty attitude? I was just joking with you." He grabbed Toshiro's shoulder to stop him. "You know, friends do that with
Toshiro paused, blinked and looked up at the older man. "Friends...?" His brow furrowed. "Why didn't I hear about
Kusaka laughed sheepishly. "Wow... I didn't know... That you were so mean." He grinned. "But aren't we? Friends, I mean."
Toshiro tipped his head to the side, considering. Then he sighed. "Only when you're not annoying me."
Kusaka's eyes widened, and he watched in bemusement as Toshiro walked away.
Hitsugaya covered the start his vice captain had caused by spinning around in his seat and sliding off of it. "What?" he
"Ne, Taicho's so mean!" Matsumoto gushed. "And here I thought I'd just deliver Ukitake taicho's package-"
"It's probably candy, throw it out," Hitsugaya interjected.
Matsumoto nearly gaped at him. "Geez... Taicho, what's with the attitude?"
Hitsugaya studied her, his eyes narrowing. Her past two statements had sounded way too familiar, taking into account the
memory he'd just been thinking about. "Your paperwork's on your desk."
She pouted. "But, Taicho..."
He walked out, shutting the door on the rest of her complaint. "Do it, Matsumoto," he called through the bamboo sliding
door, before shunpo'ing away.
"Am I that annoying?"
"You're following me around like a lost puppy, what do you think?"
"But! Hitsugaya-kun's my friend, right?"
Toshiro turned to glare at Kusaka. "Fine. What do you want?"
Kusaka grinned victoriously and held out a brown cloth bag. "I was asked to deliver this."
Toshiro blinked. "What? Who's it from?" He took the bag and shook it gingerly. There was a soft sound of foil and wrappers.
Candy. Toshiro's eyes narrowed at Kusaka. "Who gave this to you?"
Kusaka pressed his lips together thoughtfully. "You know, I have no idea who the elderly gentleman was... He was pretty
old-ish-young-ish, though. Long white hair, but a young face, I mean." His eyes traveled upwards to the sky, trying to search
his memory. "And I think... Hm... He was wearing a blue yukata, too... It looked pretty expensive, so maybe he's a noble?"
Toshiro held out the bag, not bothering to open it. "Throw it out," he ordered. "Do that, and we'll officially be friends."
Kusaka grinned. "Okay!"
Toshiro did not need some pesky noble chasing after him. Ick.
"Oh, Hitsugaya-kun," a voice called out from behind him.
Hitsugaya, in the middle of bringing some papers to the first division, blinked in surprise and turned, pulled from his
memories for the second time that day. "Kyoraku? What do you want?" he asked, not really caring. He just wanted to get these
papers turned in and return to his division before Matsumoto woke up and sneaked out.
Shunsui grinned lazily at him, tipping his hat in greeting. "Just wanted to inquire about your well-being. Is that so bad,
Hitsugaya bit back the urge to tell him yes, it was, and replied with a bit more consideration. "I'm fine. Is that all?"
"Hitsugaya-kun's in a bad mood today, eh?" Shusui stated, a lackadaisical smile crossing his mouth.
"What?" Hitsugaya asked, for some reason struck dumb with the question.
Shunsui held up a box. "Poor Jyuu-chan went to all the trouble of buying this for you, and you instantly throw it away?
That's rather mean, isn't it?"
Hitsugaya scowled and shifted the papers to his other hand, snatching the box out of Shunsui's grasp. "Mind your own business,
Kyoraku," he snapped, before running- no, walking hurriedly away.
Shunsui chuckled, only to get smacked by a book. "Behave yourself," Nanao ordered.
"Itai... Nanao-chan's so mean..."
"I see you're still getting that candy," Kusaka announced, appearing out of nowhere just as Toshiro was throwing the stuff
into the garbage. "Who's been delivering it?"
Toshiro glanced at him. "I think he just started leaving it on my doorstep, because that's where I find it twice a week."
Kusaka gave him a skeptical look. "Really? That's pretty daring. Maybe he wants to adopt you?"
"I don't know, and I don't care," Toshiro muttered. "It's annoying."
Kusaka grinned and leaned down, catching Toshiro on the mouth, shocking the smaller boy into stillness. "Okay. Shall we
train?" he suggested, as if he hadn't just kissed Toshiro.
Numbly, Toshiro's head made a move that vaguely resembled a nod, and Kusaka grinned, pulling him along. Once he got his
senses back, he growled. "What was that for, you idiot?!"
Kusaka grinned. "I thought it might get you to agree faster!" he replied, refusing to relinquish his grip on Toshiro's
"Why'd you have to kiss me, though?"
"'Cause I could!" Kusaka laughed.
Toshiro couldn't help but smile.
Hitsugaya absently nibbled on a chocolate bar, annoyed when a shadow fell over him. "Matsumoto, before you start carrying
on about how I look 'cute' eating candy, I'm not eating it because I like it," he declared, not bothering to look up at her.
"I'm eating it because money was spent on it and it would be a waste to throw it away, so go bother someone else," he stated,
then frowned when he realized that this reiatsu wasn't his vice captain's. He looked up, blinking at Ukitake taicho.
The older man was giving him a strange look, head tipped slightly to the side. "I must admit, Hitsugaya-kun," he murmured,
even his tone of voice seeming strange, "that, while I'm flattered you'd think I was that young, I by no means have... ahem,
assets like that." He arched an amused brow.
Hitsugaya barely refrained from blushing. "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. I was... thinking."
Ukitake nodded wisely. "So I see." He glanced pointedly at the candy wrappers all over the desk, and the doodle Hitsugaya
had been drawing on a piece of scratch paper.
This time, Hitsugaya did blush. "Oh, sorry." He promptly dumped it - rather well-drawn doodle of Kusaka and all - into
the trash bin by his desk. "Did you want something?"
Ukitake smiled at him. "Well," he began, "I'm glad to know you'd take my feelings into account, though I was beginning
to think you'd always throw them away." He placed another box of candy on the desk. "I thought I'd bring this by, since I
saw it and thought of you." He smiled again.
He'd... He'd thought of him? "I... Um, thank you," he muttered, looking down.
"But if you don't like it, then that's fine. I'm sure Shunsui would like to eat it instead," Ukitake continued, reaching
out for the box again.
Hitsugaya snatched it up before the older man could. "No, I want it," he replied defensively, then frowned. "I mean, I'd
like it very much. Thanks." To prove his point, he pulled out a piece of the chocolate and bit into it, eyes widening in surprise
when he found it was filled with something vaguely kiwi-flavored. "This is... good," he muttered, blinking.
Ukitake laughed. "You say that as if it's a surprise, Hitsugaya-kun."
Hitsugaya popped the rest of it into his mouth, chewed and swallowed. "I... I haven't had one with kiwi filling, that's
all," he admitted. "As you said, I usually just throw them away." Come to think of it, this pattern seemed awefully familiar.
"Um... Uki... Ukitake-san?"
"Jyuushiro, please. And what is it?" he asked, lifting a brow.
"Um..." Hitsugaya closed his mouth, his question suddenly seeming very silly. After all, it couldn't be the same person,
right? The other person had alway hidden, while Ukitake had never bothered to hide his identity. "It's just... When I was
in the academy... I got candy then too," he muttered, looking up at the other captain to see an expectant look on his face.
"Was... Was that you?"
A fond smile crossed Ukitake's face. "Yes, it was," he answered, obviously pleased. "You mean you didn't know? I could
have sworn you'd caught me the day of the acceptance ceremony."
Hitsugaya shook his head. "No, I just remembered coming to my new barracks to find some candy on my desk... Which... I
Ukitake chuckled. "Well, I thought you had, which is why I never bothered to hide myself after that." He shrugged. "Well,
I'd should probably get going."
He turned to leave, but Hitsugaya reached out and caught his sleeve. "Would you stay for tea?" he asked, glancing toward
the small kitchenette Matsumoto had installed herself for him (and warming her sake, though she said it was for tea). "I could
have some made up in a minute."
Ukitake smiled. "Yes, Hitsugaya-kun, I'd like that very much."
"Please," Hitsugaya inserted, standing and heading over to the kitchenette. "It's Toshiro, Jyuushiro."
Ukitake's smile widened. "Of course... Toshiro."