A/N: Written forever ago for the ShunsuixNanao community in celebration of Nanao's birthday. Dedicated to all my fellow Shunsui/Nanao lovers
Summary: Its Nanao's birthday and her captain gives her a rather unusual present...
Nanao looked, confused, at the small box in her hands. It was a hastily folded origami box with the words "Happy Birthday Nanao-Chan" written carelessly on one side and… it was empty. She looked from the box to her captain and back again.
"Ano… Taichou, its empty."
A deep voice floated across the room from underneath a large straw hat. "Of course it is, Nanao-Chan. Every year you complain about the fuss I make over your birthday, so this year I decided to honour your wishes and as such I will pretend that today is exactly the same as any other day. That box signifies that I am giving you nothing for your birthday, which for the past decade is exactly what you have asked for."
Nanao rolled her eyes. He sounded so pleased with himself. She wondered how long it had come him to come up with something so witty as an empty box.
"You know, Taichou, I didn't actually ask for nothing, what I said was that I didn't want the extravagant bouquets of flowers, or the midday skive-off-work picnics, or the large jugs of sake that materialised on my desk. All I asked was that you not make such a big deal of my birthday every year. A quick "happy birthday" and a good book or a new pen would suffice."
"But my dear Nanao-Chan, if one is asking for such boring things then one may as well be asking for nothing at all."
"Perhaps you see books and pens as boring, Taichou, but I happen to like reading. Its-"
But what reading was, she never got to express as her captain cut her off with yet more reasons why she ought to let him buy her flowers, and more excuses as to why he never seemed to do his share of the paperwork. As they argued back and forth Nanao smiled to herself. The empty box really was a sweet gesture, because it showed that her captain really did listen to her, and that he had made an effort to do something that he thought would please her. It may not have been expensive or extravagant, but it was worth more to her than a generic bunch of flowers purchased from Rukongai's first district florist. Besides, she knew her captain too well to believe that he hadn't actually planned something for later, and he knew her well enough to know that she secretly enjoyed the fuss he made when her birthday rolled around each year. After all, they had done the same thing for centuries; he would plan or give her something extravagant, and she would complain loudly about him making such a fuss.
Why break with tradition, when it had served them so well for so many centuries?
It was with that thought that Nanao settled herself back down at her desk to continue her paperwork, humming quietly to herself, wondering what he had planned for the afternoon. Whatever it was, she would grouse about it, naturally, but her eyes would be thanking him for caring, for looking out for her and for being there for her throughout the year. Because when it came down to it, that's what birthdays were all about.