Author's note: I do not own Bleach or its characters.


Four Times That Nanao Took Shunsui to the Fourth Division and One Time She Did Not

1

The first time Nanao Ise took Shunsui Kyoraku to the Fourth Division was two weeks after Lisa had disappeared. It had been shortly after the young shinigami had sought her captain out in his office. To be honest, Nanao did not remember much of the details of that conversation, just that she cried all over her captain which was embarrassing. However, ever since that night, things had been changing at the Eighth and getting closer to being back to normal. That made Nanao much happier. Still, this morning Nanao had stopped by the Eighth Division office to check on Captain Kyoraku and found him moaning in pain. So she had dragged him off to the Fourth.

Captain Unohana had been bemused at the little girl presenting her captain and asking for him to be fixed. There was really nothing wrong with Kyoraku save for his hangover which was his own fault. Still, it was understandable, and Retsu was pleased that Shunsui was finally getting over his depression. So she treated him for the hangover and carefully watched the interactions between Shunsui and his tiny division member. Retsu liked what she was seeing. Nanao Ise was going to be a very good addition to the Eighth, and she was good for Shunsui. It would be interesting to see this relationship as the little girl grew up. She wasn't sure if Shunsui would know what hit him.

2

The second time Nanao took Captain Kyoraku to the Fourth Division, he was trying to keep anyone from noticing he was injured and Nanao was helping him in that endeavor. They had just returned from a joint mission with the Thirteenth that might not have been disastrous but had definitely gone wrong. Captain Ukitake had an attack in the middle of the battle, and everything had fallen apart from there. Quite honestly, if it weren't for her own skill with kidou and Captain Kyoraku's own skills, they could all have died.

They had just gotten back through the gate when Nanao had realized that her captain was injured. She knew why he was hiding it though. Captain Ukitake was conscious again at this point, and he blamed himself for the problems on the mission, though not all of them were his fault. And he certainly couldn't control when his disease acted up. Captain Kyoraku wanted to spare his friend's feelings, and Nanao could understand and respect that. So she helped support him until they made their way into the Fourth via a side entrance and could have Isane discreetly patch up the slash in his side. To this day, Captain Ukitake doesn't know that Captain Kyoraku had been injured during the battle, and Nanao intended to keep it that way.

3

The third time his Nanao-chan took him to the Fourth, she believed it was her fault. Shunsui disagreed but convincing her of that proved impossible. Technically, it was a training accident. The two of them had been distracted by another division member in the midst of sword practice, and Nanao had ended ramming the tint that was her zanpakutou into his side. All things considered, it wasn't a bad wound, but Nanao seemed beside herself. Shunsui wasn't too worried about the injury itself. Retsu would have him patched up in no time, but he was concerned about what this might do to his Nanao-chan's confidence. She was newly promoted to her position as his lieutenant, and Shunsui worried about her a fair amount.

He knew that she was quite capable, both when it came to administrative work and when it came to fighting. Her sword work was sadly neglected, but that was at least understandable. Her zanpakutou was a tanto even in its sealed form, and there were not many people in the Seireitei who knew how to best utilize such a weapon. It had taken Shunsui awhile to figure out a proper training program for Nanao, but she was coming along nicely now, and he didn't know she would be an expert with her little blade before long. That was if she didn't let this incident put her off. So even as Nanao fussed over him and apologized with Isane began dealing with the wound, Shunsui just brushed it off with a kiss to her forehead and complement on utilizing his distraction.

4

The fourth time Nanao took Shunsui to the Fourth Division, it was oddly routine. In fact, it was very reminiscent of her daily routine with the man. Quite frankly the only reason she was doing this at all was because she knew that if she didn't take him, he wouldn't come and get his flu shot. Especially since he's been avoiding it for the past two weeks. So Nanao had cleared her schedule for this afternoon as well as her captain's and was devoting her time to dragging the man to the Fourth and forcing him to get that shot. She was not going to have a repeat of last year when nearly two thirds of the Eighth Division fell ill around the same time. It had been a mess.

So despite Shunsui's fussing, whining, excuses, and pleading with her (not to mention outright bribery; he'd offered to do two weeks worth of paperwork), Nanao had not let him off the hook. She hadn't let him out of her sight for a moment from the time she had ambushed him napping on the roof until they were actually in the room receiving the shot. It had not exactly been the most enjoyable afternoon that Nanao had spent with her captain, but at least she had accomplished her goals. And once Shunsui had gotten the shot, she had produced a flask of sake for if only to shut the man up.

1

It had been a joint mission for Captain Ukitake and Captain Kyoraku, and she had been left behind. Nanao's first inkling that something was wrong had been when Kiyone and Sentaro had stopped by her office to find out how her captain was doing. Nanao hadn't even known that he was back yet. Still she wasn't too alarmed. Kyoraku and Ukitake did have a tendency to get into trouble at times, but their missions hardly ever resulted in anything other than minor injuries. Still, it wouldn't hurt to check in with the Fourth once she had gotten the stack of paperwork completed. So it had been nearly an hour later when Nanao had made her way over to the Fourth Division. And she had known immediately that something was seriously wrong once she had arrived.

Especially when Isane paled at the sigh of her. The other lieutenant quickly grabbed her hand, pulling her off to one of the patient rooms.

"I need you to keep Captain Ukitake calm. His injuries are fairly minor, but he had an attack of his illness, and Captain Unohana is worried." Isane bit his lip. "I was staying with him, but she just sent a messenger to get me. I'll be back as soon as I can with news about Captain Kyoraku."

That was all the information she was given. Nanao found Captain Ukitake propped up in the bed, looking pale and extremely worried.

"Captain Ukitake?" Nanao stood in the doorway. "Isane thought I should wait with you."

"You don't know." If it was possible, he paled further.

Nanao frowned, stepping into the room. "Know what?"

"Come sit down, and I'll tell you."

The news was not good. Apparently, their mission had gone well up until the very end. Then disaster had struck. It had been a perfect storm of things going wrong at the end. Between an abundance of dangerous hollows, several civilians, Ukitake's illness, and a technical glitch getting back to the Seireitei, Shunsui had been in pretty bad shape by the time they had gotten home. Captain Unohana was still working on him.

Nanao was afraid she wasn't that good company after finding out that her captain had massive internal bleeding which had yet to be controlled, but at least neither she nor Captain Ukitake had to wait alone. Still, by the time that Captain Unohana appeared in the doorway, Nanao had nearly worried herself into a panic. She just didn't know what she would do if Shunsui didn't make it.

"Shunsui is stable. He's still unconscious, but you're more than welcome to sit with him, Lieutenant Ise. He's in the room just down the hall."

She gratefully made her escape. Hearing that Shunsui was stable was one thing. But Nanao knew she wouldn't really believe it until she could confirm it with her own senses. There was even a chair waiting for her beside his bedside. Nanao pulled it closer to the bed and slid one of her small hands into his much larger one. The sight of his chest rising and falling as he breathed and the sound of his breath, the fell of his pulse beneath her fingers, and the soft thrum of his reiatsu all reassured her that he was still there with her. Something in her chest finally began to loosen.