ludakreusz (ludakreusz) wrote in remix_redux,

Two seconds without you, an eternity by your side (Brush and Ink Remix) [Bleach; RanGin, MatsuHitsu]

Title: Two seconds without you, an eternity by your side (Brush and Ink Remix)
Author: tenebris
Summary: Twenty six points in time to shape the lifeline of Matsumoto Rangiku, Vice-Captain of the 10th Division.
Fandom: Bleach
Pairing: Matsumoto Rangiku/Ichimaru Gin, Matsumoto Rangiku/Hitsugaya Toushirou
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Belongs to Kubo Tite and TV Tokyo, not me.
Original story: Two minutes without you, an eternity by your side by aviss
Notes: Many thanks to himawari, who said this version was better; to hecatehatesthat for the comments; and to raynos, the cutest little whip wielding beta ever.
Warning: Spoilers for the Soul Society and Arrancar arcs of Bleach

Part 1 Part 2

A change over time
XIX. The Notes of Matsumoto Rangiku

The Captain thinks I always forget the important things. He's always yelling at me about this meeting or that meeting of his that I should tell him of. I remind him that they're his meetings, and shouldn't he remember them? He doesn't care for that.

But I remember the important things.

So when I came into the Division office today, I greeted him with a cheerful, "Good morning, Captain!"

He gave me his usual look. "You're late." A pause. "And seem...very energetic."

"Doesn't the Captain remember what day it is?"

Another look. "It is a normal day."


"What day is it, then?" he said, exasperated. It always gives him a cute little line on his forehead.

"It is the 21st anniversary of you becoming Captain!"

He blinked at me, then looked back at the paperwork. "So?"

"So, we should celebrate!"

"Matsumoto," he groaned, "there is absolutely no reason to celebrate that on some random year of your choosing. You just don't want to work."

"Oh no, Captain," I said as I sat at my desk. "I will work all day. But tonight," I waggled a finger at him, "we're going to celebrate."

"I don't drink."

"You know, you're old enough now."

"I have no desire to drink."

"No problem, Captain. I can drink for you," I said, waving a dismissive hand. "But you are going to come out and eat with me." I grinned. "You can bring Momo-chan, too, and Kira-kun, if he's up for it."

"Captain Ichimaru, too?" he asked, trying to sound completely nonchalant and failing. Or, at least, failing to me.

I laughed, and not a note of it was forced. "It's your celebration, Captain," I said. "No Gin's needed." The moment I said his name, something tickled the back of my brain, but I ignored it.

He growled something at his desk. "What, Captain?"

"I said, are there any meetings scheduled for today?"

"Not a one, sir. Just the usual Division duties."

"Have we gotten Ikeda's report on the latest openings in the outer Rukongai?"

"He's due to turn it in this afternoon." I winked. "I talked with him yesterday about it."

"Hmph," was all he said, and went back to work.

At that point, I knew I'd won.

We went to a little hot pot shop in the 2nd District. Momo-chan--who really is a sweet girl, if a little too familiar with the Captain--and Kira-kun did join us. The Captain was quiet through much of the meal, though between Momo and I, we managed to cajole coherent sentences out of him. He and Kira got into an intense conversation about the outer Rukongai at one point--the Third is responsible for much of the management of the Rukongai--and I have rarely seen him that animated. He even tried a dish of Kira's plum saké; too sweet for me, but the Captain seemed to like it. He didn't drink more than that.

We left Kira and Momo at their respective Division houses and walked back to the Tenth together. The moon, though not full, was very bright, and it tinted everything white and silver. It made the Captain's hair seemed brighter, made his power seem more manageable, and it took me a moment to figure out why.

"Captain," I said, "you've grown!"

He gave me an annoyed look. "What do you mean?"

"Your head is at my shoulders, not at my breasts!"

He gave an exasperated sigh. "Not everything is about your breasts, Matsumoto."

I waved a finger at him. "That, Captain, would depend on who you asked."

He stopped. I stopped with him. "Captain?"

He didn't look at me. "The Gotei 13 can think I'm only short and obnoxious," he said after a moment. "And it can think you're only airheaded and well-endowed. If we spend every day proving them wrong and they don't believe us, do we stop trying?"

My breath caught a little; from the Captain, that was practically a poem. "Of course not, sir," I said quietly.

He didn't look at me, only at the moon, and it was only because I was watching him closely that I saw him give a short nod.

Then he started to walk again. It took me a moment to catch up with him, and for a few minutes, we walked in silence. Then I said, "Captain, how much saké did you have?"

Now he glared at me. I smiled back. "If it helps,'re only short."

"And you're only well endowed," he grumbled. "As I hear every single day."

"It's not my fault that I have the best breasts in the Gotei 13, Captain," I sighed. "And this is me!"

He started to walk off, then stopped. "There's something on your door," he said.

I looked more closely--so there was. I pulled it off and felt the blood drain from my face.


"It's nothing, Captain," I said, tucking it into my sash. "Sleep well!"

He looked at me a moment longer, then nodded.

I slipped inside my apartment and sagged against the door. I pulled the paper from my sash. It was a small sheet of plain rice paper, nothing fancy at all. On it was a small, almost unnoticeable drawing of a fox.

When Gin and I lived in the Rukongai, he used to leave these on safehouses, so I would always have a place to stay.

I'd missed a meeting with him. I'd missed drinking with him. I'd missed it, and I hadn't even thought of it once.

I'd known, for some times, that my feelings for him were changing. Had changed, even.

But had they really changed that much?

Was I really starting to fall out of love with him?

And had those feelings...gone somewhere else?

Tomorrow, I'll find out. I have a plan.

Tomorrow, I'll see how much has truly changed.

XX. Two Exchanges Between Kira Izuru and Hinamori Momo

From: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Izuru
To: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori

The strangest thing just happened. Matsumoto walked by the office very slowly, looking in the windows. When I called out to her, she got a confused look on her face and went away.

From: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori
To: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira

Perhaps she was looking for your Captain?

From: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira
To: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori

But she always just comes right in and asks if he's here! She's never had a problem with that. And it's the middle of the work day; surely her Captain has things for her to do?

From: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori
To: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira

Surely your Captain has better things for you to do than pass notes, ne Kira-kun?

I'm sure Matsumoto-san has her reasons. Maybe she has something important to ask him, and thought it was a bad time because you were in? ^_-

From: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira
To: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori

She just went by again!

And I am perfectly capable of doing my work and talking to you, Hinamori.

From: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori
To: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira

I'm glad to know I don't totally disrupt your work day, Kira-kun.

Don't worry about it. It's probably just something on her mind.

From: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira
To: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori

You are never a disruption, Hinamori.

Matsumoto peeking into the office IS, though. Especially when she gives me this blank look when I say her name, then leaves.

From: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori
To: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira

Thank you, Kira-kun. And same to you.

Maybe you should go run an errand.

From: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira
To: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori

Go run an errand? I didn't have any planned, though I do need to go inspect...

Wait. Do you mean I should leave the office so she can come in and talk to the Captain? What's so important that she needs to do that now? And does she think I'd eavesdrop on her? She should know better than that!

From: 5th Division Vice-Captain Hinamori
To: 3rd Division Vice-Captain Kira

I'm sure she doesn't mean anything disrespectful, Kira-kun. She may just be nervous.

Besides, if you run an errand and she does her business, then you don't have to worry about her walking past the office all day, do you?

I have to put on tea for Captain Aizen, so the next message may not have an immediate response.

"How's the tea?"

"Kira-kun!" Hinamori gave a little jump and glared at him. "You nearly made me spill it!"

"Sorry," he said.

"You're getting to be just as bad as the Captains," she said, then frowned. "What are you doing here?"

"I, uh...took your advice."

"My...ohh. Do you think it worked?"

"I hope so," he said. "How much time do you think I should give them?"

"Oh, a half-hour should be all right," she said breezily as she swung the pot out from over the flame.

He shifted nervously, then asked in a low voice, "You think that's long enough?"

"I'm sure it should be."

"They are...old friends. And she seemed...really nervous."

"Kira-kun," Hinamori chided, "that's only a rumor." She started mixing the tea. "You and I are old friends too, and I doubt anyone worries about leaving us alone."

"Right," he said after a moment. "Only a rumor."

"Can you get the tray? I want to bring this into Captain Aizen."

"Sure," he said, turning to get it. "I have time to kill, after all."

XXI. Gin's Notething
Tousen's back with another report on Las Noches. Aizen-sama'll be callin' us for a meeting any minute now. I have some news for him he ain't gonna like.

10th Division's been lost to us.

And he'll ask me why, and I'll have to tell him that Ran-chan kissed me. Came into my office, apologized for missin' our usual meetin', and kissed me.

Lasted about five seconds. Weren't too bad. But she's never made a move like that 'fore, and she never would've if it weren't for that kid. If something hadn't changed between her and that damn kid.

But I got a plan to deal with that. We been tossin' ideas back and forth about 5th and 10th Division for 'while now, since it seems like we will hafta use the wall plan. But I think I got somethin' now that'll tie 3rd, 5th and 10th into such knots that they won' be able to see straight.

Descent into Chaos
XXII.The Notes of Matsumoto Rangiku

Entry 1

Intruders in Soul Society. All the Vice-Captains have been called in, and everyone's on special alert. The Captain's been in meetings all morning.

Entry 2
This whole thing is a mess. Seated officers are been taken out, the entire 11th Division seems to be in the 4th Division's care, and no one knows who the hell is behind it.

Vice-Captain meeting in the morning again.

Entry 3
Captain Aizen is dead.

I can't even...when I try to could anyone?!

Hinamori was devastated, and that I understand. But then she tried to attack Gin. In front of four other Vice-Captains, she tried to kill a Captain.

Kira stopped her. Hinamori used her first release, and if it hadn't been for the Captain, they would've beaten each other bloody right there.

Hinamori and Kira! Kira's had a crush on her since their time at the Academy. Just the day before, they were best friends!

Everything's gone crazy. The Captain has taken over the investigation into Aizen's death. I'm to meet him shortly.

Everything's turned upside down, but if there's one person who can make some sense of it, it's the Captain.

Entry 4

I delivered Captain Aizen's last letter to Hinamori.

I told her to be calm. I told her the Fifth Division needed her.

She didn't hear me. She broke out of prison. The Captain just sent me back to the Office while he goes and...

...oh no.

Hyourinmaru. I feel Hyourinmaru!

Entry 5
I can barely write this my hands are shaking so badly.

I just...

The Captain found Gin. Hinamori found all of them. The letter I gave her, Aizen's letter, told her that Captain was responsible for Aizen's death.

She believed it. She attacked him. He defended himself and then...attacked Gin.

They fought. That's why I felt Hyourinmaru; the Captain released against Gin. They were trying to kill each other.

The Captain got Gin to a point of concession. And then Gin released.

The Captain got out of the way. Hinamori, however, couldn't.

And I saved her.

I stepped in front of his blade, took it on my own, and saved her life.

I told Gin if he didn't leave...I'd be his opponent.

He looked at me. For an hour, it seemed, he just looked at me, as my sword slowly broke beneath his.

Then he withdrew. He left. He went off, as he always used to, to some place he'd never tell and I could never follow.

We took Hinamori to the Fourth to have her injuries cared for. The Captain sent me off to get bandaged too; my arms were bruised, bleeding.

I never even noticed.

Then the execution was moved again, to tomorrow.

It's all tied up in this, the execution of Kuchiki Rukia: the invaders, Aizen's death, Gin's weird behavior. Everything comes together in that. Everything is tied to that as it all comes apart at the seams.

I had to get this down before we go. The Captain says we're going to stop this execution.

I had to get this down, because if I don't, my mind won't be clear. It will loop, over and over again, back to Gin's eyes on me and the pressure of his sword straining to break mine.


I had to get this down, because my mind has to be clear.

The Captain needs me.

Entry 5
It's over.

They're gone.

Captain Aizen was a traitor. Is a traitor to everything he ever stood for. He faked his own death as a deception to throw us off.

He nearly killed my Captain.

He nearly killed Abarai, and Kuchiki Rukia, and the strange invader boy with orange hair.

He's gone. And he took Gin and Captain Tousen with him.


"I'm sorry."

How could you say that to me?

"I'm sorry."

You always did that! You would go where I could not, and apologize if I got angry, but...

"I'm sorry." never meant it.

"I'm sorry."

How long have you known?

"I'm sorry."

That I loved you?

"I'm sorry."

That I deluded myself into thinking I didn't?

"I'm sorry."

That this time, you would leave, and I would never find you again?

"I'm sorry."

How long have you known that I could never go with you? How long?!

...I'll never know now, will I.

XXIII. The Notes of Matsumoto Rangiku

Kira came to me today. I got drunk with him. I don't mind if the Captain finds out; this was important, necessary to both of us.

And I'm turning in my transfer letter anyways.

Just need to straighten out some of this paperwork first, that's all. Let things slide a little longer. Then I'll leave.

The Captain doesn't need to serve in the same office as the woman who loves an enemy.

XXIV. The Log of Hitsugaya Toushirou

Barely back to regular duty, and I already have an emergency meeting to attend.

I have another appointment with the Fourth, too. Captain Unohana wants to make sure that my duties have not overly taxed my healing.

I am not sure if I should tell her about the nightmares. I don't think there is a healing spell for those.

I know I cannot tell her about the blackouts. I cannot spend another day away from my desk when there is so much to be done.


Matsumoto's transfer was sitting on my desk today.

We are going to have a talk.

As for the future...
XXV. The Notes of Matsumoto Rangiku

It's dark in the office at night.

I've never been here before, working, when it's this late. But after today...

I left my resignation on his desk last night. He always comes in early, so I knew he wouldn't miss it.

When I arrived that morning, I expected to find him waiting for me. I had steeled myself for the talk to come. Instead, I found Yumichika.

"Rangiku-chan, you look lovely this morning," he said. "Not as lovely as me, but..."

"...when do I ever?" I said. "What are you doing here, Fifth Seat?" I looked around. "And where's Third Seat Madarame?"

"My, my, so formal," he said. He rose gracefully and handed me a scroll. "And here I thought you might like to see this?"

I read it. "A mission to the living world...are you serious?" I asked..

"Of course, Rangiku-chan," he said with a little smile.

"I'll pass it on to the Captain," I said.

"But it's not the Captain we want, Rangiku-chan," he said, still wearing that stupid little smile. "It's you." He shrugged. "Captain Hitsugaya would be a bonus, but..."

"Ah." I thought about it a moment. "When do you need to know?"

"When you have permission from your Captain to go," he said, moving to the door. "We're going to go by the 12th this evening and get kitted out."

I frowned at him. "I haven't even agreed to go," I told him.

He smirked, waved, and stepped out.

"Stupid 11th," I said as I sat down. I deliberately didn't look at the Captain's desk. "Stupid mission."

But the more I thought about it, the better it seemed. To get away from Soul Society for awhile might be exactly what I needed to put it all behind me. I'd put up a good facade over the past few weeks, but I could feel it cracking around the edges every time I put on that cheerful smile. And since the Captain had come back to his duties, I had spent more time in the barracks, in the field. I could stand a few moments around him, but then the pain got too sharp, too hard, and I had to go before he saw it.

The Captains had been holding special meetings and assemblies for much of the week, trying to pin down something with the Commander-General, so it wasn't too surprising that he didn't make his first appearance until later that afternoon. By that time, I had made up my mind to accept the mission. He could use my time away from Soul Society to arrange for my Division transfer and find a replacement. I had several possibilities in mind for the latter, though I was fairly sure he would choose Hinamori when she recovered completely. She would be at ease with him, able to recover under him, and their relationship...

I didn't pursue that thought. I couldn't; it was too mixed up in everything that had just happened, and too painful a feeling to pry from the rest of them.

He came in the office. I stood. He said, "Matsumoto," just as I said, "Captain."

We looked at each other for a moment. His face seemed graver these days, and the barely contained fluidity of his power no longer swept over my senses; it whispered, like a ghost of what it'd been.

"You first, Captain."

"No, Matsumoto. You first." He had a look on his face that said: And it better be good.

I straightened. "I request permission to join Vice-Captain Abarai's expedition to the living world."

It's taken me many years to figure out the signs of the Captain's surprise: slight stiffening of the shoulders, a flex of the eye socket, a tic in the cheek. Everything seemed slightly exaggerated, as if he had not regained total control of his muscles with his healing.

Then his face was back to normal and he said, "Granted. What are the mission directives?"

I relaxed a little. That had been the easy part. "We are to provide a shinigami support team for Kurosaki Ichigo. Arrancar have been..."

"I know, they've been in Karakura," he said, shaking his head a little. "It's what all the special meetings have been about."

"Yes, sir."

He looked thoughtful. "Do your mission objectives state how many shinigami are to form the support force?"

I shook my head. "As of now, it consists of Vice-Captain Abarai, third seat Madarame, fifth seat Ayasegawa, and Kuchiki Rukia, sir."

"And yourself."

"Yes," I said, and before he could say anything, added, "though I waited to get permission from you, Captain, before giving an okay."

"So you have not sent in your name as a final candidate?" Again, that thoughtful look.

"No, sir."

"Good. When you do, make sure to tell them that there will be two of the Tenth Division."

I frowned. "Sir, who else were you thinking of sending?"

He scowled. "Idiot. I meant me."


The little line on his forehead deepened. "You think those four and you can handle a mission like this by yourselves? Only two of you even have the proper clearances, and only you have the experience to coordinate this sort of team without a Captain. Idiot, the mission would be doomed before it even got started."

I tried to keep my flush of pride from showing, the warmth I felt from the implicit complement. "Do you think Soul Society would spare you?"

He moved over to his desk and slid into his chair in a motion that seemed, somehow, very weary. "I don't think they'll have a choice," he said lowly, eyes hooded. For a moment, he sounded tired and sad.

Then he sat up and said, "What are you still doing? Send in our names and get the requisition orders from the 12th. I'll start the required paperwork." He tapped his pen against the desk.

I was almost at the door before I remembered. "Captain?"


"You had something to say?"

He didn't even look at me as he slid a piece of paper across the desk. Even from the door, I could see the definitive mark of red ink on it. "Your transfer request is denied."

I took a breath. "Captain, are you..."

"Do you think I'm going to foist you off on some other Division? Who else would put up with the lack of work you do?" He looked up then. "You're needed here."

We stared at each other for a moment, and I could almost hear an echo of others words: I need you here.

He looked back at his desk. "Why are you still standing there? Go!"

I gave a short nod, and escaped the office before he could see the tears in my eyes.

It took longer than I thought to finish my errands. By the time I did, the moon had risen, a silver sickle cutting the sky. Its edges seemed to gleam, sharp and deadly, and I surpressed a shiver as I entered the office.

All the lights were out. The Captain was still there, his head on his desk.

Immediately I was on the alert. "Captain?" I asked quietly.

He didn't say anything. He didn't stir.

I extended my senses, but his reiatsu was still strong, and the tell-tale scent of blood was missing from the air. Something felt off, though, as if there were an unsteadiness to the air itself.

I approached softly and touched his shoulder; I pulled my hand back with a hiss. Even through his captain's surcoat, he was ice cold.

"Captain!" I said, a little more frantic. I knelt by him and shook his shoulders. "Captain!"

He stirred, just enough to put his head on its side. His eyes were open but dazed, pupils huge, empty, black circles.

"Captain," I said, voice soft. "What's wrong?"

His head jerked a little, skin rasping against the wood of the desk. He said nothing.

I let out a little sigh and touched his shoulder again. Cold stabbed my fingers, but I held on long enough to make sure nothing was wrong.

And physically, nothing was. His vital signs were fine. But something else was there, a wobble, not of body but of...something else.

"Hitsugaya," I breathed. It struck me, then, that I couldn't remember ever addressing him by his name.

It got a reaction: he blinked.

"Hitsugaya," I said again. "Hitsugaya Toushirou!"

He blinked twice.

"So you can hear me," I said. "And you're not hurt. But...Captain, blink once if you can move."


"Hitsugaya, blink once if you can move."

He blinked twice.

"No, then," I said, and stood.

For all his small size, the Captain is not light, and his body radiated bitter cold. But I got him out of his chair. When I tried to sit him on the couch, though, he kept falling forward.

"Guess not." I caught him and pulled him onto the floor, laying him on his side. After a moment, I curled up behind him, hands hesitantly finding places to steady him. The cold growled along my skin, then settled into something like the touch of light frost: hard, but not unbearable.

We lay like that for a long while, pressed loosely together, his hair tickling the spot just below my neck. His breathing started out slow and hard, as if he fought for every breath; slowly, it began to ease, then match mine. Even more slowly, his body warmed against mine.

I think, for awhile, I fell asleep.

I awoke to someone shivering against me. "Captain?" I murmured.

"Matsumoto," came a voice, like the Captain's but not. It was low, pained, and sounded so very young. His body shuddered against mine. "Rangiku..."

My next movements came too naturally: I slipped my arms around him, tucked my chin against his hair, and whispered wordless comfort into the shadows. The room grew cold, and the air seemed to thrum with an unsteady rhythm, one that stole my breath with every beat. But I held on.

It stopped as suddenly as it had began. He relaxed against me; I relaxed my hold on him. Time passed in silence.


His voice was hoarse, but it sounded like a little more like him again.

"I know how you feel about Gin."

A lump lodged itself in my throat. Not how I I feel...

"I know it must be hard, when you know what he's done."

My eyes burned, and I closed them.

His voice came softer, a thread of silver in the dark. "I know how hard it is to not be able to help what you feel. Even if you know..."

My chest tightened, and my hold on him with it, and I bit my lip before I made any sound.

"But I have to fight, Matsumoto. I have to fight, and I...I want to win." He sighed. "And I want you to fight there with me. I..." He bit off the word with a sigh. "Matsumoto..."

And I knew what he was asking.

Could I do it? Could I fight against Gin, who I had loved and did love and would love, somehow, no matter what?

I thought about all those years under Captain Futaba, every second I had spent hating that man. I thought about all the time I had poured into trying to prove myself to the Gotei 13. I thought about Gin: his encouragement, his teasing touches, his half-kept promises. I thought about him disappearing for days. I thought about him disappearing into the sky, "I'm sorry," his look telling me that this had been decided long, long ago.

I thought about a Captain who had trusted me, did trust me, and no matter how I felt, would trust me tomorrow. And just as my answer would always be the same to Gin, so would my answer always be the same to him.

"Yes, Captain."

Something else in him relaxed, drained into the floor beneath us. For a moment more, he was still.

Then he stirred, and I let him go. We sat up away from each other, stood slowly. I brushed invisible dirt from my uniform; he did the same. I moved towards my desk; he moved towards the door.


I didn't look at him.

"Do you think it'll take forever?"

And again, I knew what he was asking.

I sat down at my desk. "No, sir. But it will take awhile."

The floor creaked. "Will you wait?" he asked.

I picked up the paperwork and straightened the edges against the desk. I found my brush, pulled out my inkwell. I laid them out in front of me.

"As long as it takes, Toushirou," I said, eyes on my desk.

A moment. "Good night, Matsumoto."

"Good night, Captain."

He left.

I'm still here, doing paperwork.

I suppose I can do that, every once in awhile.

After all, I have the time.

XXVI. Gin's Notething

When we walked into the main room, the Arrancar were all there, kneeling before us with bowed heads.

"Welcome home," said the leader.

I looked around at the brilliant white walls, high domed ceilings, the giant pillars and blocky throne. I'd seen all of it before in plans, and now it was real before us all.

I smiled.

This has always been home. Just got a permanent room now.

And so I close this notething, where everything was just plans and possibilities. Came in real handy durin' the last few days for keepin' all that straight, but that work is done now.

There's new work to be done.

Part 1 Part 2
Tags: character: hitsugaya toushirou, character: ichimaru gin, character: matsumoto rangiku, fandom: bleach, original author: aviss, pairing: matsumoto rangiku/hitsugaya tou, pairing: matsumoto rangiku/ichimaru gin, rating: pg-13, remix author: tenebris

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