A moment in time between Gin and Matsumoto inspired by the current "Turn Back the Pendulum" arc in the manga. Contains possible spoilers.
“Please tell me it’s not true, Gin.”
The young boy in question looked up into the face of a sweaty and panting Rangiku Matsumoto. She must have run all the way from the academy grounds as she was still dressed in her red and white practice gi and hakama. It was quite a hike to the small grove of plum trees Gin had recently discovered and made his new favorite spot to get away from it all.
“Oy, Rangiku-chan,” he chimed. The grin on his face spread a little wider when she sputtered at the honorific. She absolutely hated it when he called her that.
“Don’t Rangiku-chan me! It’s all over the academy. They’re saying that you beat out the third seat.”
The Cheshire Cat grin went wider still.
Matsumoto’s expression slowly contorted into a muted sort of horror. She fell to her knees directly beside him. “It is true. Oh, Gin why?”
Cocking his head to the side to regard the other girl, he asked, “This is somethin’ upsetting to ya?”
“You’ve only been with the squad for a few days. You didn’t have to kill him.”
Gin shrugged noncommittally. “It was a fair fight. If he wanted to live so badly, he shoulda fought harder.”
Matsumoto swiped a hand through her hair in frustration and smoothed back sweaty bangs. Her hair was getting longer. Gin liked this new look. She was also filling out a bit more these days. He couldn’t help but appreciate the way her gi hung open just enough for him to catch a glimpse of cleavage.
“Look, Gin,” she began slowly as if she was choosing her words very carefully, “This isn’t like you. I know you thi—don’t give me that phony grin of yours! I don’t know where you picked that up, but this isn’t you.”
The silver-haired boy let his smile become more natural. “Don’t worry, Rangiku. I’m the new kid in town, gotta shake things up if I want to make a name for myself.”
That seemed to placate her a bit. “I’ve got to get back,” she said suddenly, rising to her feet. “Just promise me you’ll be more careful, Gin.”
“When did I inherit a mother?”
“Yes, yes, mother, I’ll be more careful,” he responded playfully. Seemingly satisfied for now, she took off running back to the academy grounds.
“The two of you are close friends?” a voice inquired behind him as soon as Matsumoto was out of earshot. It took Gin completely by surprise. That was unusual since he was very talented at tracing reiatsu.
“Aizen-fukitaicho,” he said with a bow he hoped covered his shock.
Stepping out from behind a tree, the older man walked over to him with all the confidence of a taicho. “Take my advice, Ichimaru Gin, friends like that are a liability. You don’t need them.”
“Yes, Aizen-fukitaicho.” While he couldn’t necessarily argue with that statement, Gin still managed to work in a little of his own brand of sarcasm into his reply. He wasn’t sure what to make of the other man. He had definitely taken some sort of interest in him and the hell if Gin knew exactly what it was. But that still didn’t keep his eyes from following the girl with the strawberry-blonde hair as she ran all the way home.