Disclaimer: Bleach is Kubo Tite, Viz, Studio Pierrot, Shueisha, etc. This is a nonprofit fanwork.

A screaming comes across the sky
by Fushigi Kismet

The bombs are falling outside.

There is the high-pitched whining of the plane engines, the sound of their deadly payloads crashing down, the subsequent, instantaneous explosions.

She crouches in a corner, her hands over her ears to protect her from the sound. Plaster crumbles from the ceiling, the floor by the window is littered with glass; something screams across the sky outside and the walls and windows shake. It's not quite the sound of a bomb. She thinks, My building is the next to go.

And as the bomb crashes through the ceiling she screams bloody murder, thinking, Shit shit shit why'd I have to be right?!

But it doesn't explode. It stays, half in and half out, completely inert.


Three seconds later the door swings open and she fumbles at her side for the pistol that is no longer there. Right. Come to kill me now, why don't you, you bastards?!

But again, it seems her life has been extended just a little bit longer.

She'd know him by that bright orange shock of hair if nothing else.

"Yo, Rukia," he says. "I came to rescue you."

She stares for a moment, her eyes grown enormous, her expression full of incredulity as she takes in his uniform, his shiny shoes, his American-issued gun, his . . . his stupid buzzcut. Then, abruptly, she is furious.

"YOU IDIOT!" she shrieks.

"WHAT THE HELL!" he says back. Obviously her reaction is not been what he'd been expecting.

The house shakes, a chunk of ceiling goes flying, and both their eyes turn to the bomb lodged above their heads.

"Maybe we'd better go," he says quickly and grabs her hand.

"I," she says, full of quivering, self-righteous rage, "am staying RIGHT HERE. YOU IMBECILE!"

"SHUT UP!" he yells right back, tugging harder on her hand until she is snapped painfully along after him. "You got me into this goddamn war, now I'm getting us both out!"

She tries to fight him but he's gotten stronger these past few months and his grip on her hand is just as strong as the handcuffs she'd finally managed to saw through the other day, too late to do any good. She thinks he's not the same at all as that helpless student she'd taken a bullet for that night.

"I came in my plane," he's saying as they go down the stairs and she's trying to decide whether to hit him or kiss him or kick him down those same stairs.

They stumble to a halt in the doorway where the front step is now missing. And the door. And his plane is a flaming ball of . . . well, flame.

"Shit," he says.

"Great, Ichigo," she says, sarcasm is not even CLOSE to what her voice is loaded with, "that's JUST great."

"Well, so things aren't exactly going according to plan. That's . . . okay. We're flexible. We can adjust."

"Did you even HAVE a plan?! Oh yeah, flying into enemy territory during a BOMBING RAID and getting your plane blown up by your compatriots sounds like a GREAT plan to me! What were you expecting?! That you were going to save the damsel in distress and I would fall into your arms and everything would be hunky-dory-okey-dokey or whatever it is you Americans say?"

"Well," he replies, "yeah." And then: "Hunky-dory-okey-dokey? Your English friggin' sucks! What kind of a spy for the American government ARE YOU?"

She sniffs. "Expatriates have no right to talk."

Before he can more than open his mouth to argue, another bomb crashes through a nearby building, and he dives, taking her with him, behind the wall of the building as the explosion sends schrapnel flying all over the place.

"Damn." She peers out from behind the blackened wall of the house. Someone in a nearby building fires at them and she ducks back around. "They're shooting at us, Mr. Big Shot uniformed American G.I.! You'd flunk out first day as a spy."

"It's okay," he snaps. "We'll make it out somehow. Here." He tosses her his handgun, then grabs his machine gun.

"Somehow, huh?" she mutters, flipping off the safety. It's not as cute as the one she leant him, oh, aeons ago now. "Oh, well, I guess anything beats staying in this hellhole one more day."

He glances at her. "Ready?"

She grins back despite herself. Somehow, with him, she always finds herself in these situations. "Of course!"

They leap out, firing.

And somehow . . . they make it out.

AN: WW-something. Rukia is the German-girl-posing-as-a-French-girl-who's-really-a-spy-for-the-US-government that Ichigo the expatriate-student-who-gets-involved-in-the-war-and-enlists-to-save-Rukia-from-the-Germans met once upon a time. Zangetsu is the machine gun.