a.57 - Exactly 500 (Icy Rain)

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"The war is over. I never expected to become as strong as I am now." Rukia repositioned the stack of papers under her arm. "I'm glad our home returned to the way it was." She arrived at the tenth division offices and knocked only to get no answer. She slid the door open as she was supposed to drop off the papers for her captain, only to stop short upon seeing Hitsugyaa Toshiro at his desk.

The child taicho's head lay against the desk as he looked at the wall, his eyes glazed over. One hand was up on the desk and the window was open. The small fukutaicho of the thirteenth division stepped over, frowning as she did so. She carefully placed the stack of papers on the desk and stepped over, carefully shaking his shoulder. The boy's head came up but he didn't say anything. "Are you all right Hitsugaya Taicho?"

The boy didn't respond causing her to sigh. "Where is Matsumoto Fukutaicho?"

"I don't know." The boy looked at the desk. "Likely drinking."

"Do you want me to go and get her?"

"She looks like she's going to burst out crying when she sees me."

Rukia blinked a couple of times at this response. "So she's been avoiding you?"

"I've been avoiding her." There came a pause, a silence. "I couldn't protect her. I'm the taicho and I couldn't..."

Rukia's eyes widened before sighing. "Have you been to forth division to see it's fukutaicho about this?"

"About what?" The boy looked at her then flinched. "You look like you're going to cry as well."

This caused the fukutaicho of the thirteenth to pause. "Why wouldn't I be upset? I'm worried about you because you're not acting like yourself. Ichigo would be upset as well."

"I've been avoiding him as well."

"What am I supposed to do. This honestly can't be a good thing." Rukia looked around and noticed another chair in the room and dragged it over. "I know it isn't my place as I am a lower rank then you, but I can't really leave this alone. What is bothering you Hitsugaya Taicho?"

He stared at her then spoke slowly. "I couldn't protect her. I messed up."

"I got that."

"You don't. I attacked those to from the eleventh as well."

Rukia paused, thinking about what he said carefully. "If I recollect from the reports you were turned into a zombie by one of the Stern Ritter. You do realize you weren't in control of your actions."

Toshiro stared off into space for a bit. "I know."

The female paused. "Is that really what is bothering you."

"What do you mean?"

"If you know, why are you beating yourself up."

"I don't know."

"Could it be possible you're upset because you technically died?"

"Why would I be upset about that?"

"Because it made you think about the things you would miss out on." Rukia watched him turn to look at her wide eyed. "That is it..."

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