loved of all ladies, only you excepted

There's a spit-spot-crackle-snap to her walk as she heads for her Captain's office, book tucked neatly under her arm, hair pinned up neatly behind her head, glasses positioned neatly on the bridge of her nose. Ise Nanao's feeling brisk and authoritative today, with plenty to do, and even more to do to other people.

Inside her Captain is snoring gently, draped fluidly over his chair with his feet up on the desk and his head down at the other end, hat tipped to hide his face, The part of his cheek that she can see is unshaven.

He didn't go home last night, then. Spent all the evening drinking with Captain Ukitake (and it's a miracle that he isn't here too, taking up the couch in the corner) and went to sleep here rather than bothering to swagger home. Typical. Absolutely typical.

Carefully quiet so as not to wake him, she slides the window open and lets the fresh air in. From outside come the sounds of birdsong and the rhythmic thuds of combat practice.

She reminds herself to turn up to practice at 10.15 am precisely, and spend the next quarter-hour sitting in a corner and staring meaningfully at certain regular culprits. That should be enough to put the fear of authority into them, whether or not they've actually done anything disciplinable lately.

Ise Nanao is a great believer in terrorising troublemakers pre-emptively. She does it to her Captain all the time.

He's still snoring. She organises papers on the desk around his feet. Documents which he needs to attend to urgently go on the right; documents that are important but can wait till later go on the left; documents which are neither urgent nor important go directly ahead of him, in the sad knowledge that he will find them far more worthy of his time than anything else.

A whistling intake of breath stirs his hat.

He's left a pile of half-finished poems in the corner. She neatens the edges of the sheets of paper, and pauses to check the imagery on the top one. How unimaginative. Nothing but the usual cherry blossoms and spring moons.

She really should arrange matters so that he can go and visit Captain Ukitake more often, rather than having to entertain him in his office. It can't be good for Captain Ukitake's health, having to sit around in a draughty office rather than a properly heated mansion, and Captain Kyouraku should be doing his drinking and evening visiting in a more proper manner in any case.

Ise Nanao has absolutely no problem with her Captain's affairs, be they long-term, short-term, or of any length whatsoever. It would be better if he could conduct himself with propriety, of course, but some things are quite beyond altering by this point, and she is used to living with them.

(Apart from that time he'd pointed out that her name could be written as "Seven Thongs" and made certain suggestions about how his lovely Nanao-chan could dress.)

He is who he is. If she reacts the way she does, she is who she is.

She finishes organising the room, and shuts the door noiselessly behind her. At 10.35 am precisely she will open the door loudly and enquire whether her Captain intends to spend the whole morning asleep.

No. Make it 10.40 am. She's feeling unusually kind this morning.