Author's Notes: This is going to be a small collection of BLEACH one-shots. Better than clogging the site with all these small little drabbles, don't you think? Heheh. Ichigo/Rukia sprinkled throughout. Please enjoy.

(Dedicated to Renfro Calhoun)


There's something trapped in his chest, fluttering to get out, beating with violent wings against his heart. The air comes to quickly, too shallow, it gets lodged in his throat and he gasps, a feeling between panic and fear beating a frantic rhythm with every pulse. He forces his legs to move, to beat against the pavement, the sound of his shoes against the concrete so loud and distant in his ears. He can't feel his arms, they are locked around her, crushing her with mindless protection. He can't think, he can't speak. Not after the blood.

The blood.

It had welled easily, too easily, for an avatar of death. One moment she was standing next to him, speaking, teaching. The next her frail body had been slammed against a brick wall of a terrace, her small form crumbling instantly as blood trickled down the side of her face. Just like that. With a flick of the Hollow's tail she had been caught off guard while directing him, cast into unconsciousness while he stood there, so shocked he hadn't been able to react right away.

The paralysis passed when he realized she wasn't going to stand up.

The Hollow hadn't stood a chance.

And now he was running, running towards his house, his father's clinic. Only now, when she was desperately injured, could he take her there honestly. He would kick open the door with a thundercloud for a face and lift her broken, bloody form like an offering, that wild thing trying to escape from his throat and form itself into words.

He would look his father in the eye and say, "This is Kuchiki Rukia. Save her." Leaving unsaid the inevitable connection, "Save me."

But for now, Rukia is bleeding and Ichigo can't think, can't speak.


The End