Prologue

Her hand was slowly loosing the grip on the carillon. She felt weaker and weaker with every second, yet she kept telling herself that there was still hope, that she had to be strong.

If not for herself, then for others.

For those she loved.

The carillon still played, as beautifully as always, warming her from the inside, bringing back the good memories.

She had so many of them.

Even though the sounds were getting slower and quieter, it was still working, still giving her the little light of hope.

The little light of hope… that was all she had left.

Those happy times

"One, and, two, and, three, and four!" Rukia spread her hands widely and made a series of pirouettes in front of the mirror in her private rehearsal dance hall , not losing an eye contact with her reflection while doing it.

It was the fifth hour of practice and she could feel her muscles were tired from the effort; not that she minded anyway; she just kept going, as Tchaikovsky's music resounded in the speakers.

She hated her own limits, but she had a great respect for her body; she knew when it needed a rest; that time has just came.

A few more turns, jumps and basic figures, and she felt she had done enough for today.

For the first time in long hours she actually looked into the mirror and noticed the red blush and sweated white T-shirt as well as black tights and ballerinas.

Time for a little stretching and a quick shower.

She sat comfortably on the wooden parquet, spread her legs to their limits, and simply lied a head and a whole torso on the left leg.

It was so nice and peaceful; the sound of the classical music and her own breath… just her, the music and the rays of the setting sun that warmed gently her back…

Then she heard one disturbing noise.

Somebody was standing in the door, clapping slowly. She didn't have to open her eyes to know who it was.

He just wouldn't leave her alone, would he?

"Were you spying on me again? I'm sick of this, Ichigo. If you don't stop doing that, I will be forced to tell my brother…" She didn't get a chance to finish, because he started to chuckle in his usual, irritating manner.

"Who are you fooling, Rukia? I know that you were showing off, because you realized I was there. Don't be such a hypocrite." He entered the room confidently, as if the whole air around belonged to him. She hated his egocentrism and that evil smirk, he always had on his face while looking at her.

It was disgusting.

And improper.

"I was not." She positioned herself on her right leg and watched her foot in flex, just to avoid that stupid boy. "Didn't I tell you to stay out of this place?"

"Maybe you did… or maybe you didn't…" He sat right in front of her, so that Ichigo Kurosaki's orange head could not be not noticed.

"Look, I don't know what you're thinking, but you definitely should find yourself some occupation. Don't you have anything else to do? Why are you always coming here?" She stood up from her spot and looked at his grinning face from above, hopping that from that position she'll gain some advantage.

"Ho-ho-ho, someone got angry." He stood up as well and made a step forward, so that her nose was at the level of his chest, clothed with white undershirt without the sleeves, held carelessly with two suspenders at his arms, which held his brown trousers. "I have told you before." He made another tiny step in her direction, so that she could feel the heat radiating from his body. "You are inviting me here." He bent down, so that his derisive, amber eyes met her icy ones.

She endured this look.

It was damn hard, because his one look made her insides burning. She stepped back instinctively, hitting the wall in the process.

"Stop… Stop harassing me! You are a sick pervert!" She screamed at him, feeling how the blush crept onto her cheeks. This kid… this kid was a devil.

He came here every time she happened to practice, God knows how many hours had he spent by the door, window or on the dance hall itself, watching her dance. Whenever her teacher was in, he held his mouth shut, occasionally saying if he liked or not the new movements; but after she leaves, that was a whole different story.

He would look at her with that mysterious glint in his eyes, smirk every time her blouse happened to roll a little higher than it should, sometimes she heard the chuckles and it drove her crazy.

For an outsider, he wasn't doing anything wrong, but Rukia couldn't help but feel exposed when he looked at her… she didn't like it. And the thing she didn't like the most of all was when he came so close; trapping her like his prey and playing with her, as if it was the best fun in the world, to make her angry.

She could just strangle him with her bare hands.

"I'm not even touching you, why are you reacting so allergic?" He raised his hands as if he was defending himself, but his face still had that grimace as if he was waiting for opportunity to catch her and…

and what, Rukia?

She heard his amused tone in her head, because he would be damn proud of himself if he found out she was thinking of things like that.

"Be-Because!" She screamed into his face, and withdrew herself from the troublesome place near the wall. "Just leave me alone, you bastard! Don't you dare coming closer than two meters!"

"As you wish." He smiled once again, and she could see how self confident he was, even though he was in a proper distance at the moment.

Rukia approached to the radio. One more glance behind her back to check if he was in the same place as before, and she could get back to work.

She opened the cassette compartment and pulled out the tape, hiding it in the plastic box. Tchaikovsky before sleep was the best reward after tiring day.

Ichigo however, had to use that opportunity when he saw Rukia turning around.

It was so much fun teasing her.

"You were brilliant today." He whispered to her ear, while she was closing the box. Even though he had not touched her with any part of his body, he saw all her muscles tensed and he could almost hear the sound of gritting the teeth together as she felt his breath on her skin.

He could possibly predict her reaction to every his move, he knew her that well.

Her ballet trainings… that was pure magic. The passion in her moves, the desperate striving for perfection… he just couldn't take his eyes off of her. Maybe she was right, that he was too persistent, but he could not deny the pleasure of looking at her. The teasing wasn't a part of his plan at the beginning, but her cold attitude, her sense of superiority, that Kuchiki pride, as she called it- it pissed him off.

As kids, they were playing in the same sandpit, he was only a year younger than her and he came from a good family. His mother died early, but his father was a popular doctor, respected both by rich and poor citizens of Karakura, what was not easy to achieve. There was no reason for her to treat him the way she usually did- as if being a noble made you a way better human than the rest of the world.

Ichigo always thought that the titles were not defying who are you. People did.

That's why he had so much fun from annoying Kuchiki Rukia and make her feel things she didn't want to feel.

Hell, she didn't even want to acknowledge the existence of these things, because it was improper.

Seeing the goose bumps on her neck, he was on the best way to show her how simple and similar to everybody else she is.

"Don't touch me! I told you, I will tell my brother that…"

"I was standing behind you and told you that you danced well today?" He laughed increasing the distance between them, knowing perfectly that she could not stand that he felt so comfortable in this situation.

"You… You…" She spat with hatred, wide eyed. "I'm going home. Don't you dare to follow me!" She pointed at him before she left and swiveled her raven hair in the air.

She was an interesting girl, she only needed to come down to earth and stop being so selfish.

% % %

"Good afternoon to all auditors, it's August 26th, 1939, and this is your favorite speaker Urahara Kisuke. You are listening to the most popular radio station in Japan, Radio Society, it's 5 pm, time for local news, don't turn off your receivers!"

Rukia entered the kitchen where the service was preparing a dinner in some ungodly temperature.

It was sunny and steamy outside; the sun made the sultry kitchen even warmer, making it a hell on earth. Everybody was sitting by the large wooden table, women were preparing dinner, men resting after hard work outside.

"Miss Kuchiki! You are so early today, would you like to have a dinner in your room?" One of the women exclaimed after seeing her in the door.

"No thank you, I won't eat today. Could I ask for a glass of water? I'm thirsty after the training."

"Yes, of course, right away." She handed her a glass, which was emptied within a few seconds.

"Thank you very much. I'm going to take a shower and go to sleep earlier tonight, please tell my brother not to worry and that I will talk to him tomorrow. I'm just really tired."

"Of course, miss. You're always working so hard, exactly as your brother. Be sure to rest well." The elderly woman who served her family since Rukia remembered looked at her with worry.

"Thank you, I will." Rukia left the kitchen, still hearing news that were announced in the radio; she never cared about what happened at the end of the world, what influence it had on her, or what influence she had on anything? None, that's why she didn't care if there were preparations to war somewhere in Germany. If those stupid people wanted to die, their choice. War wasn't something a wise man took part in. She liked her life too much to risk it for something as abstract as love… especially directed to her country.

Ah, it was so much easier to live the fullest every day. She hoped that Kaien will ask her to accompany him for another dance party, She heard that Shihoin family was throwing one, and it would be fantastic to go with Kaien.

But wait a second, what in the world will she wear? She needed to speak to her brother about a new dress.

But that will have to wait until tomorrow.

Rukia got off of her bathtub, dried her hair and gently delved into the clean sheets. It felt so fresh and relaxing.

Today training was a bit too long and too intensive, so it's very likely that her following one will be less demanding.

I hope that stupid boy won't disturb me this time.

With the image of Ichigo Kurosaki's mocking face, who trapped her against the wall, she fell asleep.

~ Hello everybody, another story from me. It's not going to be very long, only about 5 chapters. As you probably might have deduced so far, the fanfic is going to take place during the Second World War, and I want to apologise in the beginning for changing a few historical facts for my own purpose. Also, the characters may seem OOC in the first chapters- I wanted to show how people change during different circumstances, so please a little more patience and both Ichigo and Rukia will be fully themselves ;)

Thank you for taking your time, I hope you enjoyed it so far.

Every opinion is highly appreciated.

M.