I absolutely adore this couple.

I don't own them, though. Damn.

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"If you want more love, why don't you say so?" ~ "Heartbreak Warfare", John Mayer

Shuuhei Hisagi was, in general, a very busy man. He had his duties as fukutaichou and temporary leader of the Ninth division, guitar practice, and at the very bottom of his to-do list was self-maintenance.

This particular Tuesday afternoon hadn't promised anything out of the ordinary. In fact, the days hugging it on either side of the calendar weren't special, either. This was good. Keeping this flow, this unbroken rhythm, meant Shuuhei could be much more efficient with his work. By nightfall, the paperwork for last week might be completed, and ready to move to make room for this week's. In no time, he would be caught up again.

If he timed it right, tonight he would actually sleep. Slumber… something that he had daydreamed about for a long time, and always tried to work into his hectic schedule. But most of the time, it mismatched with everything else going on, and was discarded as useless.

Tonight… tonight he had to rest. In the back of his mind, he knew that his skill would start to deteriorate without the correct amount of self-care. This meant taking a break every few days to eat a bit and catch a minute or two of sleep. But the fatigue was starting to pile up. He knew, just knew, that he had to put forth the extra effort to get sleep tonight.

…That idea had been echoing around Shuuhei's tired mind all day, and yet, he found himself swamped with emergencies and more paperwork. Minute after minute introduced a new situation for him to handle, a new disaster to avert, and more time spent in stark reality.

It was late at night, and the faint light of the candle illuminating his paperwork was the only source of energy in the room. His hand gripped the brush with steely determination, eager to finish the 40 remaining pages. Only two more folders… He could hear the pillow from the sofa, which he had long since hidden in the closet to avoid temptation, start to call his name seductively.

"Please," he muttered to himself quickly, eyeing the clock on the wall by his desk that told him it was too late at night. "Just… hang in there."

But his hand was starting to drag on the last stroke of each kanji, and his eyelids were starting to feel heavy. The pillow cried louder and louder at him from the other side of the closet door. Soon enough, his fingers started to feel limp, and he kicked back his chair to stand. This helped him for a few minutes, managing to finish another 15 pages of signatures and numbers.

That was when he heard a small sneeze from his balcony. Shuuhei froze, suddenly aware of the stiff amount of reiatsu from outside. His hand slowly moved to put the brush back onto its holder, letting the ink drip into the small bowl.

His heart had sped up, and now able to keep his eyes open, he stepped around his desk to the wooden floor leading to the landing outside. He made the slightest noise, tapping his foot on the wood, to give the figure the right amount of warning. It shifted to the side, but didn't flee.

He peeked around the door, looking outside into the winter night. Standing in front of him, with hands clasped and forearms resting on the banister, was Kotetsu Isane. Shuuhei blinked, before slinking around the door to stand next to her. She was completely zoned out, looking toward the bright, full moon with a glazed expression.

"Kotetsu-fukutaichou."

"HUH!" With a startled grunt, the silver-haired woman spun around and aimed a theatrical karate chop straight for where his neck and shoulder met. He held up a shielding hand in enough time to block the ridiculous attack, instead giving her a worried look. She was out of breath, and her heart was racing, threatening to beat its way out of her chest.

"Oh," she panted out, pulling her hand away and looking down in shame. "I'm so sorry, Hisagi-fukutaichou. You startled me."

"No kidding," he offered a soft smile, which she returned shyly before assuming her previous reclined position. "I hope you'll excuse my abruptness."

"N-no need to apologize," her soft voice replied, and her grey eyes looked back at his in a friendly way. He sauntered up to stand next to her, leaning against the banister. He was a bit more awake now, at least, than he had been in the monotonous office.

"What has you up so late, Kotetsu-fukutaichou?" The sag in her shoulders told him she had probably been up as late as he had. This upset his stomach a tad, making it flip and turn uncomfortably. No one should be up at this hour, they should be resting.

"Just… getting some fresh air," Isane said, but the way her hand came up to finger part of her wild hair told him that wasn't the whole truth. Shuuhei brought out a tad of his male charm, eager to know what was making her restless.

"Oh? I would think a beautiful girl would need her beauty sleep once in a while." She turned a shocking pink before resting her head on her hand and biting her lower lip. She blinked slowly, the moonlight shining in her tired eyes.

"Just a weird dream, that's all," Isane gave him a stern look, and he knew all the charm in the world couldn't crack her when she was done talking. That didn't mean he wouldn't try.

Honestly, why was he spending so much time with this? The answer was simple: it was something to do. Relaxing with this woman was helping break the bland schedule he stuck to so strictly, even if for a few minutes.

"If you say so," he let her know he understood, sticking a hand out towards the open door. "Would you like some tea, Isane-chan?" His sudden drop of her formal title didn't surprise her, only made her shake her head softly.

"No, thanks."

He couldn't get through to her at all, could he? Was she used to this kind of prying?

"I insist," Shuuhei put a hand on her shoulder, and his boyish expression finally broke her silly façade when she sighed happily.

"One cup couldn't hurt," her quiet voice was peaceful, and he felt his insides unclench in the slightest. Talking with this shy woman was surprisingly simple, and easy to manage. He suddenly wished the rest of his day was as nice as now as he welcomed her into the Ninth's office.

His trained eyes noticed how she ducked to the left to avoid hitting her head on the doorframe, and the way her hands smoothed out her hakama before she sat on the couch. He noted how her eyes looked directly into his right before speaking, and how they swerved downward as she finished the sentence.

Something… something about this woman made everything click into place. She was so balanced, so collected with everything. He sat next to her on the small sofa, taking in every aspect. Even the way she held herself, slightly bent over but still towering over even him, made him want to achieve balance.

"Hello? Shuuhei-kun?"

She wasn't using his title either, which made him all the more interested. He cocked an eyebrow, and with a clumsy smile stood to retrieve tea-making supplies.

"Yes?"

"Why are you up this late? Were you…" Isane glanced over where his work was scattered across the fukutaichou's desk, and the lamp was still on. "Oh, you weren't working this late, were you?"

Her scowl wasn't pleasant to look at, and as he stirred the tea into the hot water, he felt his own brow furrow at the non-pretty expression she had.

"I was," Shuuhei admitted, stirring with a bit more vigor. "It's important to finish those papers in time."

Slinging an arm over the back of the couch to give him a hard stare, Isane had a slightly hurt look flash across her pretty features.

"It's more important to get enough sleep." She noted, looking him up and down, "And that's only one thing you aren't getting enough of."

Shuuhei shook his groggy head as the steam billowed up to cushion his face with a warm familiarity. Was his malnourishment that obvious? Had he started to appear emaciated? He was letting himself slip up too often.

Which is why tonight was going to be the night he slept. He was going to try his hardest to finish that paperwork, which now sat cold and abandoned on the desk, and get some shuteye before the butt-crack of dawn welcomed him yet again into a stressful day.

But Shuuhei was so distracted with this apparently fellow nocturnal woman… what was he doing again? Right, getting tea.

The way her lips moved when she pouted at his silence made him hold back a smile. He was too distracted by this girl… maybe it was best just to pat her on the head and send her away with a cup of tea for the night.

"It'll be fine," he said, seating himself unnaturally close to her. "I'll get it done as soon as I can."

"But that isn't the point!"

Her shouting surprised both of them, and Shuuhei rose both eyebrows before sipping his tea. She covered her gaping mouth, eyes wide.

"I… I'm sorry," she bowed her head, letting her messy bangs cover her eyes. "I shouldn't have yelled. I'm sorry."

"No," he cut off her embarrassed prattling by placing his hand over hers. "You're right." Two pairs of grey eyes met, and a lightning bold of energy shot through his weary body.

The shocked silence between them stood for a few moments, and he pulled away quickly. The wide-eyed stare he had received at that touch… there was something strange happening in his chest that was killing him.

"I think we just need to sleep," she had a half-joking tone, but her eyes weren't holding a playful light like they should have. Instead she nibbled on her lower lip nervously and avoided his gaze. He laughed lightly anyways, showing her he was willing to go along with whatever she said.

The soft skin under his calloused fingertips, the feeling had burst open like a blossoming flower and spread over his body. He felt the tips of his ears turn pink as he set down his cup and rest his elbows on his knees. Isane sat very still, staring into the space where his face was before, and he glared at a spot on the table. Her horrified expression melted, and she bent over to draw her knees up to cover her face.

Shuuhei turned his head to look at the broken woman. She peered over her knees to meet his gaze, and then looked back down into her lap.

"Isane-chan," his voice was terribly quiet, and he couldn't help but move closer to the girl. His hand came up to finger the tips of her slate hair, daring to make contact with the unstable female.

Maybe he shouldn't do that. The thing he least wanted to do right now was rearrange his face. Shuuhei pulled the hand away, and a tiny mewl came from the quivering girl.

"N-no, please," she whispered, looking up at him with a frightened expression. "Keep touching my hair."

Taking this as a green light, Shuuhei pulled his legs up underneath him and continued to play with the shiny tendrils. They felt so soft against his knuckles, he resisted the urge to bury his face in the nest. A content sigh fell from her lips, and she dropped her legs to dangle off the end of the couch, placing her head on the cushion. Her eyes were closed, and the man wrapped his forefinger around a certain cowlick.

Silently, she looked up at him before closing her eyes again apologetically. He shook his head, snaking his other hand behind her back to hold her. His strong arm pulled her body to bend into his, holding them very close to each other. Shuuhei was beginning to lose feeling in his ankles and feet, so he stretched his legs out under hers and continued to stroke her hair.

Even the way her body melded to his, her long legs stretching beyond his by mere inches and slender hands poised on his chest tenderly, made him feel complete. That thing that had been lacking before, that had been stretching his insides for months, had decided to take a small vacation ever since he saw her on the balcony.

His tattooed cheek rested on her head, feeling her soft hair tickle his ear, and he closed his eyes. Her breathing was even and deep, and he knew she was asleep by the shallow beating of her heart over his. Shuuhei had, of course, noticed her large breasts pressed against him, but simply enjoyed it as another soft part of this woman on top of him.

His hand traveled south to stroke her earlobe, delicate folds of cartilage underneath creamy skin. Her cheek followed, the smooth skin daring his racing heart to wake her.

Whatever this feeling of completion was, he knew it was there to stay. He didn't mind, he lightly noted as his own eyes fluttered shut. The last thing he saw was the beautiful, calm face of Isane Kotetsu. The last thing he heard was the soft breathing of her lungs and the fragile beating of her heart. He inhaled her sweet scent, lavender and milk, and exhaled into the night.

And sleep claimed them both.

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Aww, this was so calming to write. Did you guys like it? I think this couple deserves more attention. They're so sweet…

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