The first time Karin met him, they didn’t exactly talk, per say.
Exchanging a few sentences could hardly count as a decent conversation. Especially when all of them were spoken by one person.
It all started with – as most of her troubles had – her moronic, orange haired older brother. She was so frustrated and mad with worry about the idiot who had disappeared again with no explanation whatsoever.
So, yeah, she might have kicked the soccer ball a little too hard.
Okay, fine! More than a little.
But she’s glad that she did. Cause if not, she wouldn’t have met him.
He was so cool, was the first thought that she had.
Black shirt and faded blue jeans with dark brown shoes. He looked every bit like those boys in her school who were trying to look “grown up” and looked more like children playing adults. The difference though, the get up actually worked for him.
Maybe it was a little strange that it was not the colour of his hair that caught her attention – which was what normal people would have – but his display of skill in soccer. Instead of picking the soccer ball with his hands, he handled it with his foot and tossed it upwards before catching it with his hand.
What could she say? She’s a tomboy to the core!
And then, she saw his face.
Well, not exactly his face, but it was totally his fault for having such an eye catching hair colour!
Snow was what entered her mind instantly. He has such a white hair that she was reminded of the freshly fallen snow that she and her twin sister loved to chuck on the two idiotic males in their family every winter.
When he turned his face to her, she was ready to say something really, but something else caught her attention. His eyes were blue!
They were not the sky kind of blue though. There was a hint of green too in them and in her opinion it only served to make them even more captivating. She felt like she could just stare at his eyes for hours to admire their colour.
She was startled out of her trance when he spoke to her. And too stunned as she was, she couldn’t even speak one decent word to him.
Then he kicked the soccer ball to her and she marveled at how good his aim was. She only had to raise her hands and the ball just landed there.
He was gone before she could even say thank you.
She was drawn to him, if she was to be honest with herself.
The next meeting they have was when she was walking home with her soccer friends.
He was just standing there, leaning at the low guard rail, idling with his cell phone and looking every bit like a frozen statue.
So, ignoring her friends’ surprised shouts, she ran up to him. He noticed her coming – she wasn’t exactly being discreet – and she stopped a few meters away from him. Finally, she was able to thank him.
She really didn’t know what possessed her to ask him to help them with the soccer match against the middle schoolers when they didn’t even know each others’ names.
It was of no surprise that he refused.
When he started to walk away from them, she – without giving it much thought – kicked her soccer ball at him as he walked away from them. Hard.
To her surprise, he jumped and executed a perfect over head shot.
There was no way her teammates were going to let him go after that little show. The four boys had gone ‘fangirling’ – as she was told by Yuzu the correct term was – on him.
Well, at least they managed to get his name.
Somehow she thought that the name suited him.
It wasn’t until the day of the fated match that she understood why.
They were losing, badly. The score was 4-0 in their disadvantages and her knee was bruised. It hurts so bad that tears came to her eyes the one time she tried to tough it out.
Then he came, as if out of nowhere, and helped them won the match. Even though he gave the winning goal to her, she knew that she owed him for winning the match for them. Seriously, he defeat the middle schoolers single handedly, as if they were nothing more than kids trying to match up against a professional.
The celebration was cut short though, as she felt a dark presence that she had correlated with those monsters. It came as a surprise when she found out that he could see them as well.
He had saved her when she thought it was the end of her as the monster’s hand came rapidly in her direction. When nothing came, she opened her eyes, to see him standing there with a long sword in his hand blocking the monster’s huge hand.
But it was the black kimono that caught her interest. It is almost identical with the one she had seen her brother wearing, except for the white haori he had on.
He was a shinigami, she realized with amazement, just like that moronic brother of hers.
The monster didn’t have a chance at all. With a single swing of his sword, the monster was incased with ice, before disappeared as the ice broke into thousands of tiny pieces.
He was the one who calm her troubled mind too. Even if he couldn’t tell her where her reckless brother was, his words made her more in peace with the situation.
It was then that she had started to call him her close friend.
She was still going to kick her brother’s ass when he came back though.
They met again a few times after that.
Every time he was in the world of living, he would visit her, though the first few really were coincidental. Most of the time, they talked. Sometimes in the park, more often than not in Haru-baachan’s house.
And each time there were always time when he would just lashed out verbally at her, with the first time they met as the grand exception.
It was just so easy for her to ruffle his feathers, figuratively speaking, of course.
He steadfastly refused to tell her his age, so she continued to call him elementary school kid every now and then, much to his annoyance. Another thing that she so far hasn’t managed to do was to get him to call her anything other than Kurosaki. He insisted on calling everyone by their family name.
It was annoying as hell. Especially when they were talking about that idiotic brother of hers.
“I seriously see how you are related to Kurosaki, Kurosaki. Kurosaki is also annoyingly adamant in calling me by my given name. I have lost count on how many times I have to tell Kurosaki to call me Hitsugaya-taicho, just like I have with you, Kurosaki.”
Or that one time when she asked him about Rukia-neesan.
“Kuchiki? Well, I can’t exactly say much, seeing that I am not close to her. She has an older brother, who is a captain like me. Kuchiki is the captain of the sixth division, while Kuchiki is in the thirteenth squad under Ukitake. I know that Kuchiki is also obsessed with Chappy, seeing as Kuchiki’s office is somewhat decorated with Chappy drawings. It’s not like Kuchiki is better though. If you heard Abarai ranting off about Kuchiki as seaweed ambassador, as Abarai called it, you’ll understand what I meant.”
She has given up trying to make sense of what he was talking about then and proceeded to whack him on the back of his head for confusing her. Haru-baachan only laughed when she saw that.
Mostly, though, they could talk to each other just fine. Once she steered him off the topic that includes two or more people who had the same family name, that is.
It was during one of these talks that she realized he was unafraid to voice his opinions, to the point that she considered him to be a brutally honest person.
She wondered if he ever gotten into trouble because of that.
“Surprisingly rather often,” he admitted.
“Really?” She leaned forward eagerly, wanting to know more. “Even though you are a captain?”
He raised an eyebrow at her, his hand reaching for another amanatto that Haru-baachan had prepared for them, “You do realize that I am not the only captain in Seireitei? There are thirteen of us. Not to mention that they, and unfortunately the rest of the shinigamis, are all older than me but one. And I don’t mean only physically either.”
She smirked at his petulant scowl, “So they do have lesson on manner in the elementary school there.”
“I’ve told you, I am not an elementary school student!” Came the predictable outburst.
Haru-baachan laughed heartily from where she was watering the plants, a plus spirit of a little girl about seven in physical appearance tailing her around.
“Yes, yes. I’ll believe that when you tell me your real age, Toshiro,” she grinned at him cheekily.
“It’s Hitsugaya, Kurosaki,” he grumbles, popping another amanatto into his mouth.
“And I keep telling you, it’s Karin,” she bit back easily.
There was only undecipherable grumble this time. She grinned, knowing that she won this round just like usual.
“Then? You were saying?” She prompted him.
His response was a bewildered, “Saying what?”
She rolled her eyes. For all the genius that he was, he could be such a klutz sometimes, “You getting into trouble for saying things that you really shouldn’t, even if they were the truth.”
“Oh, that. Well, the most recent one was a few days ago, I think.”
“What did you do?”
He scowled at her, “You make it sounds like I purposely got myself into trouble.”
“You were the one who blurted out your thoughts without going through a filter first,” she reminded him.
“Do you want me to continue?”
He sighs exasperatedly, “Anyway, I was in the captain meeting. For some reason, Yamamoto-shotaicho –”
“Captain of the first division,” he replied crisply. “He insisted of having a captain meeting every week when the situation permits it. But it is really more like a weekly afternoon tea party, to be honest. I always thought that Ukitake, Kyouraku and Unohana out him up to it.”
She gave him a confused stare and he sighed.
“Kyouraku is the eight division captain, Unohana is the fourth and I’ve told you about Ukitake. They were kind of the elder of the captains. It was supposed to be the times where the captains discuss inter division matters.”
She hummed, sipping on her tea, “That’s a good idea. Right?”
“It would, if we actually use the time to do just that.”
His eyebrow twitched when he said that and Karin had to grin. It sounded like the beginning of a great story from the look of it.
“So what do the captains actually do?”
“Like I said, afternoon tea party.”
“And what happened that got you into trouble?”
“Toshiro,” she whined at him.
The mumbled, “It’s Hitsugaya,” was not exactly unexpected.
“I commented on Kurotsuchi’s insane rambling, alright?”
“The psychotic scientist you mentioned before?”
“So what did you say?”
“First, it wasn’t my fault that he was annoying. It’s his. I was just saying that all those chemicals he experimented with may have finally gotten into his brain and caused him not to realize that no one really interested in what he was chattering nonstop about.”
She stared at him, blinking her eyes for a couple of times, before bursting into laughter.
He groaned at that, “Stop laughing.”
“You said that aloud?”
“Yes, I did. In my defense, I didn’t think that everyone would actually hear what I said. They suddenly stopped chatting just at the right time for my comment to be heard clearly.”
She grinned at him, “So, how did they react?”
“Well, at first they just froze, staring at me like I’ve grown a second head or something. Then Kyouraku started laughing while patting my back, saying that he’s glad I’ve finally stop being so serious. Most just went back to whatever they were doing, but I swear ever since then they have become more… touchy feely with me.”
“Treating me like I’m a kid,” he reluctantly explained with a scowl on his face.
“You are a kid,” she reminded him.
He just glared at her before continuing.
“Then Kurotsuchi started to scream at me for being an insolent child – his words, not mine. And at the end of the day, I got an annoyingly long and embarrassing lecture from Ukitake about manners and learning to keep my opinion to myself. And gave me loads of sweets afterwards”.
“I gave them to Kusajishi and Matsumoto most of the time. Ukitake liked to give me those, saying that we’re both Shiro-chans. Both of us have white hair and ‘shiro’ in our names.”
“That’s not too bad,” she said with a grin. “I thought when you said trouble, it would be like Ichi-nii’s kind of trouble.”
“Try facing similar things once a week at least and see if you can still say it’s not too bad.”
“Where are we going?”
“Oh, just hush! We’ll be there soon enough.”
“Kurosaki, the sun’s setting soon. Don’t you think Kurosaki will be worried?”
Karin sighed and turned around to face him, pointing a finger to his face, causing him to stop abruptly.
“Firstly,” she shook her finger threateningly. “Which Kurosaki are you talking about? My dad? Ichi-nii? Yuzu? Dad is in one of his business trip again, and Ichi-nii and Yuzu are used to me going home late. As long as I’m home before dinner they’ll be fine with it. Second, how many times do I have to remind you that it’s Karin, Toshiro?”
“The same amount of time I have to tell you that it’s Hitsugaya,” he replied flippantly.
She huffed, feeling rather annoyed with the situation, “Infinite then.” She then turned back and started marching off, “Now come on! Stop your whining and start walking.”
“I do not whine!” Came the protest from behind her, but she could hear him shuffling through the greeneries behind her.
A few minutes of silence and finally she turned around to face him again, this time with a smug smile on her face. She watched as he stopped a meter in front of her and raised an eyebrow questioningly. She just grinned at him, before taking his hand and pulled him along as she walked again, ignoring his protest. Once he caught sight of what she had meant to show him though, he quiet down at once.
“Wow,” he breathed out.
She laughed lightly and plopped down on the small clearing before the ground led to a rather stiff slope, patting the ground beside her. He took the hint and settled down beside her.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
“Thought you’d like it, seeing that you like to watch the sky so much,” she turned to him. “You should see the sunrise too, it’s even more breathtaking than the sunset, in my opinion.”
“I’ll remember that,” he smiled at her.
The two teens sat there in silence, simply enjoying the scenery.
“My mother showed me this place,” she stated suddenly.
The boy beside her simply turned to look at her, though she kept her eyes on the horizon.
“When I was little, she would sometimes bring all of us here and we’ll have a picnic. Usually at dawn, so we could watch the sunrise together. I think that’s the reason I like the sunrise more than sunset.”
She smiled lightly at him, to which he smiled softly back. He kept quiet, watching her silently and listening patiently, somehow knew that she had to get this off her chest, and so offering his support without words. For that, she was grateful.
“When she died, we were all devastated. Ichi-nii took it the hardest, I think. He just shut us out and went on a guilt trip, until Dad talked to him that Mom wouldn’t want him to be alone.”
Letting out a shaky breath, she drew her knees up, hugging them to her chest.
“Even after Mom’s death, we still went for a picnic here, just to remember her and have a family time. We don’t go as much now, but when I have the time, I would go here and just watch the sky. Sometimes I fell asleep here and didn’t wake up until it’s pretty late. Every time it happens though, Ichi-nii would always be here. Just sitting there, waiting for me to wake up.”
A fond smile graced her features.
“You know, even for all the idiotic things Ichi-nii has done, he really is the best big brother in the whole universe. It’s those small things that he’d do, seemingly insignificant but priceless. An off comment here and there, but still the best advice ever.”
“You’re scared for him,” he murmured softly and she tightened her hold around her knees, closing her eyes.
“Very much so,” she whispered back at him. “He’s always gone off somewhere, saving Rukia-neesan, then Orihime-neesan, then went off to go training… I keep fearing that the next time he goes off, I won’t be seeing him again.”
She bit her bottom lip as the silence stretched. A sound of someone shifting and her entire right side was pressed into something warm. Her eyes opened in surprise and she turned around sharply to see Toshiro had moved to sit directly beside her. She felt her cheek heated up slightly and was grateful she could blame it on the twilight sky.
“I can’t promise you that he’ll be fine,” his voice was soft and gentle and reassuring. “But he’s strong. And he’s Ichigo, your older brother. Believe in him and that he would always return to you and your family.”
He smiled gently at her and she felt her heart skipped a beat. Swallowing down her nervousness she sighed heavily before resting her head onto his shoulder.
“I do,” she didn’t know why they whispered to each other, but it seemed appropriate for the situation. “Thank you, Toshiro.”
This time, he didn’t correct her.
“You two are together again?”
She glared at her orange haired brother for wording the question like that. She was tired from the soccer match and was not in the mood to deal with her idiotic brother right now.
“Don’t start, Ichi-nii,” she grunted at him.
The teenager turned to the white haired boy standing beside her with a bored expression, “Why is it that most of Karin’s soccer matches are the same day as your visits, Toshiro?”
The younger boy just huffed, not saying anything other than, “It’s Hitsugaya-taicho to you, Kurosaki.”
Her brother sighed in defeat, “Whatever. Just be back home for dinner, Karin. Bye, Toshiro!”
“It’s Hitsugaya-taichou!” was what he got as parting words, to which the teenager only chuckled.
Toshiro turned to Karin, a scowl on his lips, “You two are definitely related.”
“Oh, lighten up, Toshiro. I’m tired, let’s just go sit down somewhere first,” she grabbed his hand and started to drag him along with her.
He complained the whole way there, but she kept a firm grip on his hand. It was only after they reached their usual sitting place in the park that she let go of him.
“I hate the heat,” was what he said the moment they sat down.
She grinned at him, “A minus side of having an ice type zanpakuto?”
“Partially,” he flicked back the white locks of hair that had stuck onto his forehead. “I’ve never done well in hot weather. Why are you looking at me like that?”
Her response was to lean closer to him, her grey eyes scrutinizing his face.
“How did you get that?”
He blinked at her, “Get what?”
She raised her hand and used her point finger to trace a light, thin scar just above his left eyebrow, the part which was usually covered by a lock of white hair.
“Oh,” he reached up touch the scar. “This? It’s nothing.”
She frowned, “Don’t nothing me. Come on, tell me. Was it one of your battle?”
“I wouldn’t call it a battle, a fight is more like it. This scar is the first one that I ever got,” he smiled lightly at her.
“You won’t let me get away from this, will you?”
Her response was to shake her head.
“I thought as much,” he sighed, crossing his arms. “It was when Hinamori and I were still at the academy. One of the older students was making a really unsavory comment about her, so I punched him,” he shrugged uncaringly.
She had to stare at him, “You punched him?”
He scowled, “If someone said what he said about your sister, I’m sure you’d have reacted the same way. In any case, I was just admitted in there, so punching was the only thing I could do.”
“And, of course, you two ended up brawling on the ground like any other boys would do,” she raised an eyebrow at him.
“Well, not exactly,” he looked so embarrassed that her curiosity shot up.
She leaned forward, trying to catch his eyes, “Then? Come on, Toshiro. You can’t leave it hanging like that.”
He let out an irritated breath, “You know that I entered the academy far younger than anyone else, right?”
“Yes,” she gave him a wide grin. “You told me that the academy’s tailors needed to custom make your uniform because even their smallest seemed to swallow you in.”
“Exactly,” he huffed irritably, “Can you just imagine the difference in our size? He just had to swing his fist really hard and I went flying. This,” he traced the small scar again, “was from where his knuckle hit me.”
She hummed lightly, “So it ended right away? Were you alright?”
To her surprise, a smirk blossomed on his face.
“Oh, it ended up right away, but not from that. I haven’t learnt to control my reiatsu yet, so when I got angry, it reacted to my anger. I think I caused a lot of those watching to have frostbite that day.”
She shook her head, though her lips were pulled into a grin as well, “Really now, only days in academy and already made a name for yourself?”
He shrugged uncaringly, “They didn’t bother me anymore after that, so it was worth it. I managed to avoid punishment as well, seeing that I can’t control my reiatsu yet, though they did assign us both detentions for fighting. And Hinamori gave me an earful for getting into trouble,” he ended with a scowl.
She frowned and poked his head lightly at the side.
“I know that your grandma taught you to be polite and call others by their family name. But surely you can call your older sister by her given name?”
He bristled at that, “Hinamori is not my older sister.”
“Not by blood, maybe,” she shrugged. “But you do see her as one?”
She smiled in amusement when he just looked away, light blush on his cheeks.
“We’re not that close anymore,” he finally said. “When I was really little I used to call her Momo-neesan. But then she left me and Granny by ourselves to go to the academy and we grew apart.”
“Maybe you can start again now? She’s already awake, right?”
He sighed tiredly resting his chin on his palm, “I’m not sure if we can be as close as we used to. There are just so many hurtful feelings between us now.”
His face was so troubled that she felt her heart went out to him. She bumped her shoulder lightly with his and gave him a small smile when he turned to look at her.
“Well, why don’t you start small. Like, calling her something else other than her family name. Something that you feel comfortable calling her, but less formal too.”
He seemed to give her suggestion a thought, before a mischievous glint entered his eyes and he grinned at her.
“Well,” his grin seemed to widen. “I did use to call her bed wetter Momo.”
Karin swore profusely as the hollow – as Toshiro kept reminding her – didn’t seem to have even a scratch from where her soccer ball had hit it. Hurriedly dodging the huge hand that came to her direction, she resorted to the one thing that she could do in this kind of situation.
And, of course, the hollow followed her right away.
“This will be a good time for you to show up, Toshiro,” she grunted as the huge hand came to her again, sending her off her feet and onto the grassy ground of the riverbank. When she looked up, the hollow was already looming over her.
“This doesn’t look good,” she commented off handedly despite the situation and started to scramble to stand up.
Before she could though, the hollow was suddenly incased in ice. It then shattered into thousands tiny pieces, a reminiscent of the day she found out Toshiro was a shinigami.
A white haired boy in a black kimono walked towards her, sheathing the long sword onto his back.
“Show off,” she smirked at him.
He only raised an eyebrow. “Who has just saved your ass,” he bit back as he offered her his hand – which she took – and pulled her to her feet.
She scowled at him, “Well, it may not need saving if you just teach me how to use my reiryoku.”
He crossed his arms as he adopted a stern expression, “And I keep telling you that I can’t, Kurosaki. It’s against orders. Humans are not even supposed to know about shinigami.”
“Ichi-nii is a shinigami. And he’s a living human being,” she argued.
“He’s an exception.”
“Well, can’t you make an exception for me as well?”
She let out a growl and threw her hands up in exasperation, “I give up.”
“That would be a good decision,” Ne nodded, looking rather pleased with this outcome.
She sent him a glare, before a rather mischievous glint entered her eyes.
“Say, Toshiro,” she started with a grin, not paying his muttered ‘Hitsugaya’ any mind. “Are you on patrol right now? Or are you off duty?”
He narrowed his eyes at her, but answered anyway, “They don’t usually send a captain on patrolling duty, except when the situation required it that there is a captain present. So, no, I’m not on duty.”
Her grin widened, “You’re on vacation then?”
“On leave, not vacation.”
“So, you’re not here as a captain, right? But as Hitsugaya Toshiro?”
“Whatever you are trying to do, stop it, I said no. I thought you said you gave up?”
“But you’re not even on duty! You’re not acting as a captain right now, so by default, you aren’t breaking any orders if you teach me some self defense.”
“That’s not how it works and you know it.”
“I’m sorry, Hitsugaya-taicho?”
The two preteens turned to where the voice came from and she had to stare at the sight of a rather big group of nine shinigamis that have gathered. The one who had spoken, a man who looked like I his mid twenty and obviously the group’s leader, stood nearer to them.
She blinked when the man seemed to hesitate, glancing at her unsurely.
“It’s alright,” Toshiro quickly said, noticing what the man was worrying about. “She’s the substitute shinigami’s little sister.”
The man’s eyes widened considerably, “Kurosaki-san’s?”
“Well, I can definitely see the resemblance,” the woman with her hair in a high ponytail stated.
“Yeah, I get that a lot,” Karin shrugged. “We both take after that idiot father of ours. Ichi-nii is unlucky enough to get orange hair though.”
“You don’t say,” the man wearing a headband laughed boisterously.
Toshiro’s eyebrow twitched at the scene, “Why are you all here instead of patrolling?”
Karin had to stifle a laugh when the nine immediately donned serious expression. The sight of nine grownups saluting a kid was just hilarious, even though she knew Toshiro had earned it.
“Sir, we were patrolling when we sensed the hollow and then you fighting it. We all thought you came here with an order for us,” the man who first spoke reported.
The white haired boy sighed, “No, I am on leave right now. I just happened to be in the neighborhood when the hollow attacked. You can all go back to your posts. Dismissed.”
All nine saluted him before disappearing in shunpos.
“Are all of them from your division?” she asked him once they were gone.
“They are,” Toshiro said as they started walking. “They are members of squad 6 which is assigned for patrol duty in Karakura town.”
She hummed in reply, “They look like an interesting bunch.”
“Believe it or not, the higher the rank, the more insane they seem to be,” he scowled.
“You do realize that you yourself are a captain?” Amusement was clear in her voice as she stifled her chuckle.
He huffed rather childishly, “I happened to be the only exception.”
“Keep telling yourself that and maybe you’ll convince yourself that it’s true.” She snickered at him, ignoring his glare. “Do you know them well?”
“As a captain it is my duty to know all my subordinates well, no exception. So I took it upon myself to know them well enough to recall the information within moment notice. It is rather important to determine which sub-squad they go to and which job suits their ability the best,” he explained it as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
She could feel her eyes widening in disbelief, “You mean you memorized their names and abilities? You told me there are a little more than 200 in your division.”
He just shrugged indifferently, “It’s not that hard. Once I know someone’s name, I usually won’t ever forget it. And it’s rather easy to match people’s abilities to their faces once you do.”
She blinked repeatedly, “So you don’t forget people’s names?”
“The boy in my soccer team with the blonde hair?”
“The one with the glasses?”
“With afro hair?”
“The one I hit with the soccer ball? Uehara Kei.”
“How about the one with small eyes and black hair?”
“Strawberry blonde, wavy, long hair and pale blue eyes.”
“You would think that I would remember my own lieutenant’s name, but sure. Matsumoto Rangiku.”
“The female shinigami earlier? The one with high ponytail?”
“Yoshihara Airi, the fastest among the group and good in Kido. Could improve more in kenjutsu though.”
“The one with the headband?”
“Kimoto Takumi, prefer brute strength and more than decent shunpo, but not so in Kido. You do know that you have no way to make sure that I didn’t make it up for the last two?” He raised an eyebrow at her.
“You’re too noble for that,” she answered with a rather dazed expression. “You know, Toshiro,” she continued to stare at him, too occupied with this newest revelation about her shinigami friend to react to his usual annoyed correction of ‘Hitsugaya’.
“You sure take the term genius to a whole new level.”
Karin sighed in annoyance as her twin sister started one of her boy talk again with her female friends. This was exactly why he she preferred having boys as friends.
Though she supposed it would back fire on her later on when they are on middle or high school.
“…, right Karin-chan?”
She jolted out of her thought when he heard her sister called her name.
The auburn haired twin pouted before proceeded to whine, “Really, Karin-chan. I was talking to you and you’re not listening to me.”
Surprisingly, the other two girls who were with them started giggling.
“Maybe she’s thinking about her boyfriend, Yuzu-chan,” the one with twintails, Koike Tomomi, gushed.
Karin’s eyes widened in shock, “What?!”
“My, my, Karin-chan, don’t be embarassed. Yuzu-chan was just telling us about your boyfriend whom you brought home a few weeks ago,” Takeuchi Saki, a petite girl with shoulder length wavy hair, giggled.
“Yuzu!” Karin turned to her smiling sister. “I told you Toshiro is not my boyfriend!”
“But the two of you are so cute together,” Yuzu gushed back at her, her chocolate brown eyes sparkling.
“But I’m sure jealous,” Tomomi sighed dreamily. “I also want a boyfriend who’s not childish.”
Saki swooned together with her, “I know. None of the boys in our school is cool. They’re so immature.”
Karin could feel her vein pulsing when the two girls sighed dejectedly together. “Now listen to me here,” she tried to reign in her infamous temper. “Toshiro is –”
All four girls turned to the source of the voice.
Karin’s eyebrow twitched when she saw Toshiro standing there with a confused expression on his face.
He was wearing a black long sleeved T-shirt with white pattern on the bottom left side and black jeans. A pair of white shoes adorned his feet and the pale blue scarf around his neck was the only splash of colour in his otherwise monochrome clothing.
His clothes were a tad too light for the still freezing January’s winds in her opinion.
And his timing couldn’t be any worse!
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt, but you were talking in the middle of the street,” the boy, misunderstanding her current dilemma, explained himself.
“Toshiro-kun!” Yuzu smiled widely at him, before glancing to her twin’s direction. Her eyes seemed to sparkle more and Karin felt dread filled her. “Oh! Just ignore me and my friends here, we’re just about to go anyway. Right, Saki-chan, Tomo-chan?”
The other two girls giggled their yes and the three hastily said their goodbye, leaving the two alone. Karin massaged her temple when she heard her sister and friends started gushing on how cute they were together.
“What was that about?” Came the clueless inquiry from her source of today’s headache.
“Yuzu got it in her head that we are dating each other. I’m guessing that the gossip will spread to the whole school by tomorrow.”
He only sweat-dropped at her monotone explanation, “I guess stubbornness runs in your family, huh?”
“Not that I’m not happy to see you, but why are you here? Taking a leave again?”
He scowled, “Escaping is more like it.”
She hummed as they fell into step beside each other, just like the other times they have met. They just instinctively move together, falling easily into conversation.
“Not what. Who,” he corrected. “Matsumoto dragged me to go shopping with her. She insisted that the human world has more variety in clothing.”
She had to grin, “What? Too feminine for you?”
He snorted, “Too noisy more like. She brought the whole SWA with her this time.”
“Shinigami Women Association.”
“You guys have that kind of thing too in Soul Society? Won’t they notice you gone?”
“Not likely. They will be too busy ogling the dresses and accessories and whatever it is they planned on buying. Although, it’s likely that they let me go as well.”
“Why – Ah, Valentine’s Day preparation? The girls in my school are already starting to talk about who to give and all that.”
He nodded with a frown on his face, “I don’t get why they are so excited about it.”
“Toshiro,” she started with a patronizing tone, feeling rather smug of herself as he finally stopped correcting her about his name the last time he visited. Now she just had to work on him calling her with her given name. “It’s the day for girls to give their male friends or boyfriends chocolates to show their affection.”
The white haired boy only huffed, “Which is why it’s stupid. You don’t need a special day to do that. You’re supposed to show it any time you can.”
She shrugged, “Maybe, but it is a special day for girls and boys alike, regardless your opinion on it.”
“Unfortunately,” he mumbled in annoyance.
“Why are you so against it?” A grin spread across her face, “Have any bad experience about it?”
He sighed tiredly, “Not really, no. I am just not seeing the point of getting excited over it.”
Just as she was about to say something, she was interrupted.
“Taaaaiiiichooooo,” the caller dragged all the vocals in the word and she saw the boy flinched. “There you are! When I said we’re going to go shopping, I meant you are supposed to be there as well. Oh, hi, Karin-chan!”
Karin smiled at the lieutenant as she walked up to them, “Good afternoon, Rangiku-san!”
“Taicho,” Rangiku pouted at him as she whined, “You should have just told me that you were visiting Karin-chan. I was looking everywhere for you.”
The white haired boy sighed, “Yes, yes, my bad. Are you guys all done?”
The bubbly woman perked up again, “Oh yes! They were all waiting at Urahara’s already. I’m sorry to cut this short, Karin-chan. But we really have to go.”
“It’s okay. Bye, Rangiku-san, Toshiro.”
Rangiku waved cheerfully and Toshiro smiled slightly at her before they parted ways.
When Karin finally reached home, Yuzu was waiting at the other side of the door, bouncing on her feet and grinning widely. She barely had time to pull off her shoes when her sister started to drag her to their bedroom.
“Slow down, Yuzu. What’s wrong anyway?”
Her sister ignored her protest and continued to drag her, “You have to see this, Karin-chan!”
“What are you talking about?”
She felt Yuzu pushed her into their room and to her desk. Her eyes widened when she saw what was laying on it that she was sure wasn’t there this morning.
In the middle of her desk was a single light yellow flower, lying on top of what seemed to be a white scarf. Next to them was a small card and she reached for it first, Yuzu hovering behind her, peeking over her shoulder.
‘Don’t get sick,’ was the simple message. At the bottom right corner was an initial. ‘H.T.’
She heard Yuzu squealed from behind her.
“Karin-chan is so lucky,” the auburn haired twin gushed, before turning her sparkling eyes at her sister. “What are you going to do, Karin-chan?”
“Well, I’ll tell him thank you the next time I see him.”
Yuzu seemed to deflate, “That’s it?”
Karin looked at her confusedly, “What else am I supposed to do?”
“Karin-chan, don’t you know what flower that is?”
The black haired girl looked towards the flower, having recognizing it the moment she saw it. Toshiro had given her a long lecture about that particular flower, after all. It being his division’s flower.
Yuzu just giggled at her, acting as if she knew something that her sister didn’t.
“Well, I’m going to start making dinner,” she sang as she skipped out of their room, leaving her twin sister to stare at her in confusion.
“Oh, and Karin-chan?” The auburn haired girl peeked her head back into the room, “If you give him a return gift, make sure to send a rainflower as well with it.”
Karin could only blink at her twin’s – from her perspective – confusing behavior.