Author's notes:

This is my response to the songfic challenge posted by Soldier on Bleach Asylum. The fic is based on Band Marino's Feel it in the Air. You can find the lyrics at the end of the fic.

Disclaimer:

Bleach ain't mine. Nor is the song.

Feel it in the Air

The report from the Twelfth Division was vague; the coordinates they provided covered the entirety of Naha City in Okinawa. Even with Soifon's speed, it had taken her the entire morning to scour the city, block by concrete block. She found nothing that could possibly expel captain-level reiatsu, and certainly nothing that didn't have the taint of Hueco Mundo, like the scientists informed her. Those few low-level hollows that she did encounter… well, she made sure that those would never have the chance to be detected. That should have been the end of the mission, but Soifon was nothing if not thorough and relentless, especially if the mission was even remotely related to her former captain.

"I just know you're here," the captain insisted quietly as she stood on an unlit lamppost. And so she set off, combing the city's outskirts at double the pace, slowing down only when she caught sight of purple, caramel, and gold—the colors she had come to associate with the woman she had devoted her life to as her guard, and now as her hunter. She didn't even pretend to be interested in the blondes and blacks that could possibly be the woman's accomplices, even if they could have been the source of the reiatsu she was investigating. After all, they were irrelevant. Shihouin Yoruichi was not.

Before she knew it, night had fallen and she had reached the end of the island, about a hundred miles away from where she had started. "Manza… Beach?" Soifon read the lit sign as she dropped out of shunpo, panting and fatigued. Sure enough, beyond the welcoming arch, she could see the waves glittering in the light of the full moon.

That only meant one thing: she could go no further. As much as she hated to admit it, the mission was finished, and she had once again failed to find the woman who had abandoned her post to aid her criminal friends. She gritted her teeth in frustration.

She should have left for the Seireitei, but she had a hard time prying her eyes from the hypnotizing movements of the tide and the sparkling of the crystals in the sand that caught the moonlight just so. It was Soifon's first time to see the beach in person.

From books about the living world, she knew that the beach was meant to be a place of fun and laughter, its main features, the sun and the sand. She realized now that there was much more to beaches than she had read. In the darkness of night, when the place was completely deserted, it seemed that it was meant for contemplation. Unbidden, a memory flashed to the forefront of her mind.

"It's a full moon out tonight…"

"I'll stay by your side, protecting you."

"Yeah, it's a promise."

As she came out of it, she realized that her face was set in a mix of anger and despair and that she had sunken to her knees, her body folding upon itself almost like a fetus. Her arms were at her sides, her fists clutched at the sand as if the loose grains wouldn't just slip through her fingers and leave her palms empty—as empty as she felt for not being given the chance to fulfill her promise.

The questions she often asked Yoruichi in her absence hung in the sea mist, 'Why did you leave? Why didn't you take me with you? Was I not strong enough? Did you not trust me? Have you… Have you left me for good?'

"Are you here, Yoruichi-sama?" she slowly asked the salty air before her, unconsciously lapsing into her old address. She thought she had broken herself out of the habit when she declared that she would bring her former mistress to justice.

"Are you somewhere on this beach, watching the moon like you did that night, watching the waves like I am right now?"

Soifon wanted an affirmative answer, not just because she had sworn to find her and capture her with her own two hands or because her heart was weary from her constant failure to fulfill that goal, but because it meant the woman was still alive.

And she was alive, Soifon was sure of it. Wherever Yoruichi was, she was probably smiling her heartwarming smile. Wherever she was, her golden eyes sparkled still. The thought made Soifon stand and straighten herself out.

She kept staring blankly at the surf crawling onto the shore until the beeping of her soul pager caught her attention. She read the message asking her to return to Soul Society, shook her head to clear her thoughts and soon after, she began to follow the hell butterfly through the portal back to her world.

"I know you're alive, Yoruichi, and wherever you are, I will find you," she said, her eyes hard and her voice cold as she briefly glanced back at the full moon and clenched her fist.

***

Soifon had stretched the boundaries of logic to justify her belief that the reiatsu spike was Yoruichi's and now, the results of her search proved her wrong. Really, it was funny how being logical and realistic failed at the most inopportune times, for up on a cliff overlooking the beach, sharp golden feline eyes watched as her protégé and, apparently, successor crossed over to Soul Society.

"A captain, huh? You've done well, Soifon," the deep male voice proudly whispered.

The day before, Yoruichi had completed a self-designed training program that will allow her to take on her new stealth form—a black male cat. Trying out the technique for the first time, Yoruichi had not realized that the transformation would release her normally suppressed reiatsu; and although she had reined the energy in immediately, she was sure that a captain would be sent out to investigate the phenomenon.

She had felt the tingling at the back of her mind that told her a senkaimon had been opened nearby and she had noted that the captain had enough finesse to keep their reiatsu masked. But she wasn't the former Commander of Onmitsukidou for nothing, and she could feel the energy even faintly.

"Soifon," she had gasped when she realized who they had sent.

If she had been in her human form, she was sure that the girl would have recognized her dampened reiatsu and found her. As it was, the cat form she had kept since the day before blocked all of her reiatsu from leaking unless she decided to use it. Theoretically, she could go out and observe the girl without being detected if she truly wanted to. Even so, the technique was new, so to avoid any incidents that will lead to her capture, she had resolved to stay away from Soifon.

That resolve had withered away slowly as morning passed and she felt Soifon's frantic aura getting farther and farther away from her. The sensation reminded her of how it felt during her escape from Soul Society, though at the time, it was she who had been frantic. At the time, she had regretted not even seeing her loyal bodyguard before she left that plane of existence. This time, her life and her life alone was on the line and she could be more reckless. This time, she had decided that she would give in to temptation.

By the time Yoruichi had caught up with Soifon, she saw her looking wistfully at the full moon, before clenching her fist and leaving through otherworldly shoji doors, unfamiliar wrapped braids swinging behind her.

Yoruichi sighed. She wasn't sure if it was out of relief that she had evaded Soul Society once again, or disappointment that her internal debate had cost her the opportunity to observe someone she missed dearly.

As she replayed the last moments in her mind, she wondered, not for the first time, what Soifon might have been thinking.

'Are you mad at me, Soifon? Do you think I'm a traitor, too? Do you think that I've abandoned you willingly?'

Looking towards the full moon, Yoruichi found, not answers, but a fog rolling in. Except for that fog, the night reminded her of that time at the sakura grove when she had pointed out the full moon. That was a simpler time—a happier time—the memory of which made her ache for Soifon's companionship.

'Do you ever miss me, Soifon? Do you ever think of your sempai and the times we spent together? Maybe even wonder if we might be looking at the same sky, the same sun, the same moon?' she asked, not knowing that almost everyone thought she was dead.

She felt guilty wishing that Soifon did. She was the one that left, and it was best for Soifon to forget about those times long gone and avoid the pain she knew she felt. Soifon couldn't know that she was not a traitor. For the sake of both, Soul Society and the living world, Soifon could not know that one day, she would come back.

'Someday, I'll explain everything and you'll understand why I had to leave, Soifon. Now is not the time. I'm sure the days will pass quickly for you as you lead my… your men into greatness.' Yoruichi's cat form was the only thing preventing her from smiling her heartwarming smile as she corrected herself.

'Before you know it, I'll be back, and when that happens… I can only hope that you will forgive me and let me back into your life.'

The cat took a final breath of the sea air in which both females' hopes and questions hung thick and leapt into the night. Yoruichi left with the expectation that tomorrow, when the sun comes out, that fog will clear.

End

***

Feel it in the Air

by Band Marino

Lovely, are you watching the tide roll by tonight?
Lovely, do you see it in the night's bright sky?

Do you ever wonder if we're watching the same thing
So far away?
Do you ever wonder if we're watching the same thing
So far away?

Lovely, do you feel it in the air and in my voice?

Questions hang inside the air before us.
Questions hang inside the air before us.

Questions hang inside the air, we'll take a day to understand.
Questions hang inside the air, we watch our days fly through the air
Questions hang inside the air, I wait for you to let me in.

Questions hang inside the air before us