Nanao adjusted her glasses on her nose, frowning over her captain's newest undertaking. She shook her head and handed the papers back to Shunsui behind the Eighth Division office's desk, where he was, yes, actually sitting, something she rarely seen.
"I don't think this is such a good idea, Captain," she offered. "I think our fellow shinigami can find their own matches."
He leaned back in the chair and put his hands behind his head, tilting the straw hat over his eyes just enough he could still see her slender form. He didn't take the papers. "That's just it, sweet Nanao. Have you seen some of the low class material Captain Kuchiki's been hanging around since his wife's death?" He shook his head. "Shameful."
She held the papers closer to him, narrowing her eyes. "I don't think we should interfere."
He shrugged, grinning lazily at her. "We'll offer fifteen bucks for every completed application."
"Fifteen...We don't have that kind of money in the slush fund, Captain." She dropped the papers on the desk.
"I don't see what you're concerned about, Nanao. You said no one needs our help." He sat forward and spread his arms wide. "We won't have to shell out any money at all."
She looked from his smug expression to the application mock-up. "Why are you so willing to throw away money? If you're looking to empty our coffers, the Shinigami Women's Association needs new curtains and --"
"Let Captain Zaraki spring for new curtains. Or Captain Kuchiki. He can afford it," he said, raising an eyebrow at her. "We'll pay for dinner at a restaurant of our choice -- should be easy enough to get the establishments to foot the bill for that, publicity and all -- and a coupon for a second dinner if the couple decide to have a second date. Besides, I found a loophole in the expense forms. I think we can write it off as Division-related. What do you think?"
She watched him closely, knowing him too well to think he wasn't getting something more out of it, even if sheer amusement. "What's in it for you, Captain?"
He smiled, pulling a second chair nearer to his side of the desk. "Why, the sheer pleasure of seeing my comrades happy. It makes for a much more pleasant working environment." He patted the chair. "Shall we alter the application questionnaire?"
Nanao hesitated, looking at the proximity of the chair to his, and then slowly stepped around the desk. "Well, we certainly can't leave it as it is."
He nodded as she sat, fingers pressing on the application draft. "What's wrong with it?"
"For one thing," she said, leaning over the paper before them, "Question Four."
"What's wrong with Question Four? It's pertinent."
Her pencil tapped the question. "'Do you believe all the fan fiction written about you reflects your personal tastes?' We can't ask that."
He frowned at her. "Why not? It's germane."
"Do you know how many pairings that covers? For each person?"
"I know how much there is about us," he said leadingly, his elbow nudging her side.
She gave him a severe look.
He sighed and waved a hand at the paper. "Okay, scratch that one."
Nanao crossed off the question. "I don't read that stuff."
"Oh? I do." His eyes skimmed the questions. "Every bit of them."
She focused on the next part of the query. "You shouldn't."
He smiled. "Your glasses are steaming up, Nanao."
She ducked her head and wiped at the lenses with her sleeve. "That's because you're breathing on me." She looked back to the application. "Number Six has to go, too."
"'Was your last relationship a successful one?' What's wrong with that?"
She rolled her eyes. "If their last relationship was a success they wouldn't be filling out this application, Captain."
She crossed off the question. "If you can't even create an appropriate questionnaire, how do you expect to match anyone up?"
"I have an eye for beauty and an inkling for shinigami nature, my dear," he said generously. "You haven't noticed?"
She looked back at the paper, scooting her chair away a few inches.
Shunsui's hand closed on the leg of the chair and pulled her back. "Don't be like that."
She concentrated on the application. "You don't actually think anyone will respond to these, do you?"
He pushed his hat back so he could see her simmering features better, draping an arm across the back of her chair. "I figure we'd hand deliver them to a few prospects."
"Well, Juushirou, Izuru --"
"Captain Ukitake?" she echoed. "I didn't think he was looking."
"He should be. The man's been alone for centuries. That does something to a person, Nanao. Have you no compassion?" he asked, unable to keep a chuckle from his tone.
"And who do you suppose you're going to match him with?"
He thought for a moment. "We'll just have to see who else fills out a questionnaire."
"It might be kind of hard. I've seen some of the fan fiction about him." She leaned closer only momentarily. "Not much there, Captain. Not if you take yourself out of the equation."
An alarmed look smacked across his face. "What? Oi, I thought you didn't read that stuff."
She blushed, eyes back on the application form. "I don't read our stuff." She pointed to a question. "We can't ask the parameters for what is considered a 'good time'. It's just not done, Captain."
"Sure, it is. All the time. Why, just the other day I was talking with ..." He stopped speaking as a prickly look crossed her face. "Not for such delicate ears, sweet Nanao. But I know for a fact," he continued as she mumbled something under her breath, "that Isane hasn't had a date in a decade. Not a real, tell-your-girlfriends-about-it-the-next-day date."
"Hmph. Who told you that?"
He grinned. "Her girlfriends."
She put a black line through the question. "You know we'll have to get at least two responses before you can work your magic," she said sardonically, looking at the space on the form left under 'Personal Comments'.
He nodded, looking over the form, pleased with the questions remaining. "I think that can be arranged."
"Arranged?" she asked pointedly.
"Did I say arranged? I meant expected." His fingers tapped the side of her chair back. "How many questionnaires can you unload on the Women's Association?"
She shook her head.
He shrugged. "Take a dozen."
"We don't even have a dozen members, Captain."
"Have everyone fill out two."
She sighed as he stood up and put his hands on his hips. She frowned. "How can we treat for dinner without any restaurants in Seireitei?"
He returned her quizzical look, scratching the stubble at his neck. "I guess we'll have to get something catered." He shrugged and sauntered toward the door, pausing to turn and tip his hat to her. "I'll go drum up business. You make copies."
Nanao made a noise deep within her throat as he disappeared out the door. She looked at the form.
Some of the questions weren't too bad, she decided.
- Pairing Suggestions Being Taken -