Author's Note: This is the first of hopefully many Shunsui and Nanao drabbles. I love writing these two, but I can never seem to find the time or the inspiration to make enough of a plot for a full chaptered story. So I decided to just write segments as they come to mind. This one is rather long, but I've got a few shorter ones to upload soon. I'd be interested in suggestions for more short drabbles if you like. Constructive criticism, too.
Also, expect Ukitake to figure into these fairly often. I just love him.
Nanao stalked into the office, striding, however, towards the far wall instead of her own desk.
Shunsui was not far behind, following as she wove her way around the office, trying to avoid getting into a corner where he could trap her.
"No!" she shouted, coming to a stop when she noticed her good fortune in getting the sofa between them.
"But Nanao-chan!" her captain whined in an infuriating tone. He started towards one side of the couch and Nanao leaned the other way, forcing him to move back to their stalemate. "Pretty Nanao-chan, intelligent Nanao-chan! Think of how much sense it makes!"
"Sense?!" exclaimed Nanao, forcefully adjusting her glasses out of sheer frustration. "I've always questioned your common sense, but this is really absurd!"
"Is it so absurd to want to help with the paperwork, lovely Nanao-chan?" He drawled out her name, delighted at how annoying he was being.
"How on earth would that help me with my paperwork?" Nanao nearly shrieked, shocked that Kyouraku-taicho was trying to explain his outrageous plan rationally, instead of just accosting her with teasing attempts at kisses and silly pet names like usual.
A playfully lecherous grin spread across Shunsui's face, his grey eyes glittering deviously under the edge of his broad straw hat. "Ah, so my Nanao-chan admits it would be distracting for her?"
"Yes... No! Ugh!" Nanao stuttered. He always managed to trap her with his stupid ambiguous questions. "Well, how is anyone supposed to get anything done in a situation like that?!"
Shunsui leaned over the back of the sofa, reaching for the sleeve of his vice-captain's uniform. She swatted his hand with her fan, beginning to seem more flustered than annoyed. This was a good sign.
"It's easy, Nanao, my flower. You'll sit at your desk and do your paperwork, like always, and I'll sit there not doing much of anything, like always. We'll just both happen to be sitting together."
Nanao narrowed her brilliant blue eyes at her captain. He shuddered. Her glares were like having someone drop an ice cube down your back - alarming and refreshing at once. He loved it. He loved all the ways she made him shudder.
"Frankly, Taicho, if you're going to sit around not doing anything to help, I'd much rather you do it without me in your lap. At least one of us has to get something done around here!"
"It'll be easier to get stuff done! I'll be right there to sign anything your heart desires. I won't be able to get away. I'll just sit there doing your bidding."
"My bidding," Nanao retorted tersely, "is for you to leave me alone and let me get my work done."
"Fine." Shunsui stood up from where he had been draped over the sofa. "I'll leave you alone and let you get your work done. I'll sign or do whatever you need to get it done. I won't harass you, or take drunken naps in the office, heck, I'll go so far as to not get drunk in the first place..."
He paused to let the full effect of his offer dawn on his little lieutenant.
"For one whole month, if you just sit with me for one whole hour."
Nanao growled, kicking the leg of the sofa. She had been in his squad so long that he knew exactly which buttons to push. For an instant, she enjoyed the idea that he knew her so well, and the thought made her give the sofa another solid kick.
Kyouraku knew, for example, that Nanao was certain that her captain's honor wouldn't allow him to break such a promise. He knew that the enticement of a month of peace for an hour of awkwardness was enough to make her consider his ridiculous bargain. And he knew that there was as much of a downside as an upside for him in the bargain, too.
If she took him up on it, he would finally get to hold his darling, shy, fiercely strong vice-captain in his arms. He would get to hold her close to him, but most of all, he would get the chance to not hold her close enough. He would get a chance to keep his hands politely to himself... okay, if he was being honest with himself, maybe gently on her stern shoulders. He would get to prove that he really wanted to hold her instead of just tease her, and not because he wanted to make her his latest conquest.
It was a desperate effort to make her understand. Made more desperate by the fact that if she indeed conceded, he would have to leave her alone for a whole month before renewing his attentions, and he would have to do it sober.
Shunsui watched his lieutenant's eyebrows furrow just a bit less behind her glasses, and her scowl grow just a bit straighter. She was gathering her resolve. He decided to sweeten the deal in case she wasn't resolved in his favor. He played his last desperate gambit.
"Half an hour." Tipping his hat back a little, he looked straight into Nanao's eyes, staring, waiting.
Nanao glared, though not quite at him. His gaze was unsettling. However, looking over his imposing shoulders, she noticed the clock on the wall. It was getting so late, and the day's exercises had left her exhausted...
She turned to face Shunsui, trying not to let her weary resignment look like defeat, or worse, veiled eagerness. She really just wanted to get her work done by some reasonable hour tonight, and every night for the next month. Really, she told herself, it would be absolute torture, but I could endure it for such a rare and tempting offer. Wait - exactly what is it that's tempting about it? She decided she'd give her answer before she over-thought the matter and lost a very good opportunity.
Especially since the annual budget request hearings were in two weeks.
Damn, that man knew which buttons to push. He had probably put it on his calendar.
Nanao squared her shoulders and leveled her own intense gaze at her pink-mantled captain.
"Kyouraku-taicho," she warned venomously, "If you break your promise, or if you take undue advantage of this accord, I will dye every floral article of clothing you own pitch black. I will chop down every sakura tree in Seireitei. And I will dilute every single bottle of sake you have stashed in these barracks and in Squad 13's with the most questionable substance Kurotsuchi-taicho will give me."
Nanao also knew just which buttons to push.
Shunsui smiled. It wasn't lecherous or devious this time. It was a little smug, but mostly just joyful. He sauntered over to Nanao's desk, which was still covered in papers at that late hour due to their squad having training exercises in the real world all day.
Sitting down, he spread his arms wide. "C'mon, Nanao-chan, let's do paperwork!"
If only I could get him to say those words without trading in my dignity.
Nanao grimaced at his enthusiasm and started to approach her desk, cautiously, like a mouse being welcomed into a fox's den. She suddenly regretted the deal, realizing a month of peace and sobriety would mean very little to her, since she planned to commit seppuku exactly thirty minutes from now. The humiliation of giving in to his ridiculous scheme would come back to haunt her when the month was up and he knew he could get to her. And the humiliation of perching on her captain's lap would haunt her a lot sooner.
As soon as she was in range of her desk chair and its occupant, he scooped her up and pulled her close, her shoulder brushing the bare part of his chest exposed by a kimono top that was as lazy as he was. Nanao scooted forward until she was balancing on the edge of his knees and picked up her pen, trying to be dignified in her absurd position.
Despite Kyouraku keeping an arm draped around her shoulder, once Ise-fukutaicho began reading over her paperwork, she shut everything else out and focused. She relaxed her stiffened shoulders as she leaned back and forth to grab new files, sign them, and stamp them. It took her several minutes to notice that her captain had begun rubbing small circles around her shoulder blade with the heel of his hand.
"Taicho..." she said, warningly, while silently cursing herself for letting her guard down and not noticing immediately.
"My Nanao-chan is so tense," he replied, still rubbing her back. "My Nanao-chan works so hard. It's my duty as captain to keep her from being so stressed out."
Nanao could practically hear the man grinning behind her. "Well, if that was your intent, I have to say, I question your methods."
She didn't tell him that this was because as soon as she had realized what he was doing, every muscle in her body had steadily been growing more tense. Of course, this only made her more aware of the aching tightness in her shoulders from bending over stacks of paper, day after day. The gentle firmness of Kyouraku's broad hand felt amazing, and Ise wondered if this is what he had been planning all along. She stoically resisted the urge to arch into the pressure of his hand, but she didn't make him stop, either. She was just glad he was behind her and couldn't see the blush creeping across her cheeks.
The closer the clock approached the thirty minute mark, the less Nanao wanted it to come. However, as soon as it did, she set down her pen and pushed the few remaining papers into her inbox to finish the next morning. Normally, she wouldn't have left them unfinished, but she felt sleep weighing on her eyelids, and she didn't intend to loiter in her captain's lap any longer than necessary.
Kyouraku stood with her, giving her shoulder one last squeeze as she started for the office door.
"Goodnight, lovely Nanao-chan."
"Don't call me that," she called over her shoulder, "for a whole month!"
Shunsui grinned contentedly as his lieutenant hurried from the room. He had wanted to do that ever since the ryoka invaded Seireitei, and Juushirou had come up with that crazy scheme to help them free Rukia. Specifically, he had wanted to do that since Nanao faithfully followed him and his friend, only to be suffocated by the reiatsu of Yama-jii. Since he had scooped her up to take her to safety, and realized that it would be quite a shame if the only time he had ever had her graceful frame in his arms was when she was quaking with fear.
He had been trying to find a way to get her into his arms ever since, if only to prove to himself why he suddenly felt that way about holding her. The teasing had been enough for many years, her protests adding a safe little spark to their professional relationship. But now, he found himself struggling to keep a silly smile on his face when he called her his lovely Nanao-chan, and struggling not to sweep her into his arms whenever she was within reach.
All of his attempts until now had been thwarted by familiar smacks with her fan or her ever-present book. He had finally resorted to this dangerous gamble.
It had been entirely worth it.
Ukitake leaned back in his chair, happy to be back in his office after spending over a week at his family's estate, recovering from a bout of illness.
Being back was routine, it was purposeful, it was peaceful.
Wait, he thought, dropping his feet back to the floor. Why is it peaceful?
Usually when he returned from spending time at home, his two Third Seats were eager to greet him, to ask about his health, and to compete over coddling him with tea and handkerchiefs and blankets. His office was quiet this morning, and it caused a sense of dread to creep over him.
I never thought I'd miss the sound of their yammering, he mused, smiling ruefully. Almost as if summoned by his thoughts, a small blonde head peeked around the door frame.
"Ukitake-taicho?" Kiyone asked hesitantly.
Ukitake hadn't seen Kiyone ever act so timid. He nodded for her to come in.
"Taicho, is it true about Kyouraku-taicho and Ise-fukutaicho?" The girl folded her gloved hands in front of her, obviously embarrassed about asking such a question, but of course, obviously curious as well.
Ukitake raised an eyebrow. "Is what true, Kiyone?"
"That they... well, um, they..." the normally candid girl looked uncomfortable. "That they are... in love?"
Ukitake rolled his eyes, sure from the violent flush of his subordinate's face that she had not meant the question exactly as she had finally asked it. What kind of trouble had his best friend gotten himself into this time?
"You knew!" Nanao hollered the accusation at her captain, who looked rather self-satisfied, reclining lazily on their office sofa with his legs draped over the edge.
"You're adorable when you're angry, Nanao," was all he said in reply.
His lieutenant fumed. "You sneaky...! You knew how it would be! A month of peace indeed! For all the harassment I'm not getting from you, I'm sure getting a lot from just about everyone else!"
Her cheeks flamed red, part embarrassment, but by now, mostly anger. Swinging her hefty book, she knocked Shunsui's feet to the floor with a thud. Tangled in his pink haori, he followed after.
"Ow, Nanao-chan, nothing!" she mocked, watching him struggle to untangle himself from the pile he had fallen in, rubbing his jaw where it had struck the floor. She felt a little bad for him, since it was the first time he had slipped and called her Nanao-chan since making their deal nearly two weeks ago. But she knew he could take the abuse, and frankly, at this point she thought he well deserved it. "Serves you right for sneaking in here anyway! I thought you promised..."
"I promised no more drunken naps in the office, Nanao," he interrupted. "And it's raining outside!"
Nanao clenched her free hand into a fist.
"You weren't even here," he added, from where he was now kneeling by the sofa. He cast big, sad, grey eyes at Ise. His trademark puppy face.
"Get. Out." Nanao ordered, her patience evaporating in the heat of his infuriating glance. She pointed towards the door behind her.
"Who, me?" Ise spun around to the new voice at the door as Shunsui pulled himself up on the sofa to smile at his friend.
"Juushirou's back!" he crowed happily, his argument with Nanao temporarily forgotten. She had let it slide as well, bowing apologetically to the white-haired captain standing in the open door way.
"Not you, Ukitake-taicho, my taicho."
"My taicho, Nanao?" Shunsui grinned. "I like the sound of that."
Her renewed glare sent him scuttling towards the door. "Okay, okay. Come on, Shirou-kun."
As soon as they closed the door behind them, Nanao flopped onto the sofa. She was going to need a moment before she could look at a sheet of paper without igniting it, either with a frustrated kidou, or simply her lightning glare.
What had made her think this bargain would be a good idea?
"I leave you alone for a few days, Shunsui, and look what happens." Ukitake smothered the little grin caused by the scene he had just witnessed.
Usually he was amused by Kyouraku's antics, but the rumors he had heard from his Third Seat, and on the way over to the Eighth Squad, had bothered him. He didn't put much stock in rumors - there had even been some similar ones about himself and Shunsui at one point - but he had noticed his friend acting a little strangely towards his lieutenant since the Aizen incident, and he knew what he stood to lose if he let the faithful bookworm become the next victim of his arbitrary affections.
He adopted a more serious look and turned to Shunsui. "So, what did happen?"
"She knocked me off the couch with that deadly book," Shunsui whined in reply, "It's no wonder she never uses her zanpakutou when she's got a weapon like that."
Ukitake sighed, amused and troubled at his friend's interpretation of the question. He never ceased to be amazed by how Shunsui could inspire both those feelings at once.
"I meant, what happened to make her angry enough that she knocked you off the couch with her meeting minutes?"
Kyouraku grinned, a little sheepishly. "I lost a bet."
Juushirou raised an eyebrow. "Just what kind of bet do you get hit for her winning?"
"Well, I also won the bet, so..."
"You're going to have to explain that one to me."
"Well, it was more of a deal than a bet," Shunsui began. He hesitated, suddenly and surprisingly feeling a little silly about the whole thing.
Hesitating was something Juushirou could only remember the rather forthright man doing very rarely in their long acquiantance, and certainly not in a number of years. He waited for Shunsui to continue his explanation.
"Well, I told her if she'd sit with me for an hour, a half hour really, then I'd leave her alone for a month."
"That sounds simple enough," Ukitate replied cautiously. It sounds deceptively simple, he thought.
"Of course, by sit with me, I meant she sat in my lap, and by leave her alone, I mean I help her with paperwork and I can't drink sake. For two more weeks."
"Wait - she actually agreed to sit in your lap?!" Ukitake exclaimed. He couldn't imagine the straight-laced professional who often helped him in the library ever willingly giving in to her superior officer's incessant teasing; going from slapping him with her fan whenever he so much as talked about touching her, to sitting in such an intimate fashion with him.
"I made her an offer she couldn't refuse," Shunsui reasoned.
"Well, Shun," Juushirou retorted, "I just hope you're prepared to make her an offer you can't refuse."