I'm sorry I haven't updated in forever and a day! But hopefully with recent chapters I'll have more to go off of ^^

I stole this theme!! (gasp)! Yes, from the Royai 100 ^^; because it fit and I didn't like the other ones I had XD

Warning: Spoilers for 378 on.

Surprise Attack

Rukia Kuchiki couldn't help but notice that something about Ichigo seemed very off. The way he moved was rushed and restless; regretful, almost, as he dropped back into the dome and caught her before she collided with the dusty floor of Las Noches.

"Sorry it took me so long," he said, gently setting her on the ground before turning to face the monstrous Espada towering above him.

Rukia took a deep breath, the tension edging away as Ichigo stood his ground. But the thin barrier of comfort he provided didn't last long; his eyes were startlingly harsh as he ran to meet his opponent, completely devoid of the fiery excitement they usually held.

And he isn't smiling, Rukia thought, her nerves beginning to get the better of her as she watched Ichigo bring out his hollow mask with its ominously different markings. He'd always entered into battle with a warm, fierce confidence, but now all she could sense was darkness.

Just win this, she pleaded, her eyes darting back and forth to keep track of his movements. Just win this, and I'll get you back to normal. Rukia gritted her teeth, pushing all doubt from her mind. Ichigo would defeat Yammi, and they would go from there. There wasn't any other option.

Ichigo brought his hand to his face and began to pull his mask out a second time. But he stopped, wide eyed and dumbfounded as his one chance at victory melted away through his fingers.

Why isn't it working? Rukia wondered, her thoughts become less coherent and more frantic as the gravity of the situation hit her.

And then she saw it, a blinding flash of light engulfing Yammi's massive form and nearly bringing him to his knees.

"Wha-" Rukia stood, hoping her legs wouldn't give out under her as she tried to find the source of what sounded like two people arguing.

"…What nonsense…I was merely the first to arrive."

The voice was unmistakable; calm and arrogant, with a slight hint of amusement only Rukia had learned to detect.

Thank god…

Thanks for reading! And thank you to all who have reviewed and everything...you are all awesome :D