Yeah, it's late. XD But it's still… cute? Maybe? I hope so. My oneshot for Chimamire Ichigo! You rock, chica, thanks for being so patient with this creation. Honestly, the FF server wouldn't let me log in for some reason…! And it totally screwed me over. ;_;

Warning: This is a little corny.

Disclaimer: Guh. This would be canon if I owned Bleach… But I'm still expecting to wake up tomorrow and have Kubo Tite begging on his hands and knees to give the series to me in order to profess his undying adoration.


My eyelids started to droop as I signed another sheet of paper. Sure, it was a holiday, but I would never admit that I was working too hard, even as my hand cramped. The rims of my glasses invaded my line of sight, and I pushed them back up quickly, and in the rhythm of my work so as to continue fluidly. The small clock on my desk ticked cheerily as it counted to the next minute: 23:22. It was indeed getting late, and I sighed, unimpressed yet again.

Today was Valentine's Day, after all, and my taichou had been out since yesterday evening for preparation and execution of his annual party. Said celebration I had always been invited to… but managed to survive by claiming my stake of both of our paperwork duties. Even the thought of excessive alcohol and sweaty stupidity made my stomach churn heavily. I could, of course, imagine the bright lights and loud music, as well as the chattering and yelling over the crowd. All of it meant one thing in my book. Too. Much. Noise.

Since I was younger, I was never the party-animal type.

In the Academy, I learned to admonish any procrastination, choosing instead to work as soon as possible to achieve my goal. Any festivities were completely out of my range of interest, and therefore I labeled them useless. Anyone who chose them over work and improvement also fell into this category. Even back then, I was carefully composed, and entirely self-sufficient in every way. The process was simple: the few acquaintances I did have knew they shouldn't invite me because of my cold, quick denials.

It was only as a fukutaichou that I started having serious problems with them. Parties began to spring up anywhere, even at the most inopportune of times. They started to lurk in every corner, covered by a flowery pink kimono and straw hat, and staring at me with those brown eyes I had come to know so well. They would call out to me in the sweetest of ways, some of which nearly swayed my opinion, and come rushing in to display their chivalry.

To me, they had literally become my captain. Or rather, vice versa. My captain had become every chance to attend such a gathering, and I had rejected him every time. If I didn't have time for them as a youth, I certainly didn't have time for them as a liable fukutaichou.

Sometimes, I briefly fantasized about the day I would get to tug the brown hair out of that man. To wipe the lovey-dovey expression he so often showed me right off that face. Maybe even help him use some of that sexy chest hair to learn to man up and take responsibility for his duty as a taichou.

But apparently Kyoraku was above that. Somehow, someway, he managed to wriggle out of my chilly grasp and flutter off on his extravagant excursions of passion. I also wondered sometimes if he thought of the office, and his waiting fukutaichou, while he was with women. Did he think about me at all? Was it too selfish of me to expect him to understand how I felt? I needed him here, not in an emotional way, but as another person to finish his work.

I thought back to my previous rant as I adjusted my specs and patted my bangs, making sure they were still pristine.

Like every year, Kyoraku asked me to his Valentine's parties with a casual sway of his hips or the occasional arm around my shoulders. He pressed his warmth against my side as he whispered vividly into my ear, and I pressed my lips into a hard line before shaking my head and wielding my fan as a useful weapon to beat back the pervert. The lips that had previously pressed against my earlobe swooped down to form a pout, and one of his warm, big hands would cradle the place I had smacked.

But it had been a long day, and a long night. Try as I might, it was late, and I was fatigued. It showed in my sloppy handwriting that I was sure to re-do tomorrow.

The brush I dipped into the pot of ink slipped, soaked with the hours of sweat and work. It clattered to the desk, smacking into it somehow to not splatter ink on any paper, but effectively creating a dark puddle on the wood. Crap, and I reached for the towels I kept under the desk. I wrapped a hand around the fabric of one, pulling it up before looking on the floor. The ink had dribbled down onto the bamboo, nearly missing the tatami. Drip… drip… The dark spot was getting larger, and before I could swipe the towel over it, I stopped to look closer.

Two of the drops had splattered randomly, but the rest of the others pooled in an odd shape. It looked vaguely familiar… and I recognized it as soon as it shimmered in the light of my desk lamp.

It was shaped like a heart.

I felt my lower lip pull down, forming a slight scowl. My hand darted forward to clean up the ink, and after I confirmed it was entirely clean, I rubbed it over the spot on the desk.

The heart… it felt slightly ominous at the least. The last time I had thought about hearts was last night when Kyoraku had again begged me to be his date. The memory was still fresh in my tired mind.


His voice drawled my name deeply, and two warm arms wrapped around me from behind. Thick fingers danced across my ribcage, and nearly tickled the underside of my small breasts. His stubble was pressed into my hair, and I cringed, thinking of this disgusting contact he was forcing on me. The smell of sake was strong, and I closed my eyes to hold in my anger. He was drunk again, but if I yelled at him, he would only become mopey and even more uninspired to do his paperwork.

The most I could do at the moment was wrap my hands around his much bigger wrists and pry myself away from his drunken form, which had started to nuzzle and mess up my neat hair. He let out the nasal whine he usually did, almost calling my name again before I stopped him with a thin finger to the lips. Usually I didn't like to touch him at all, much less make contact with his face, but if I didn't… there was no way he would do any work before he left for the day, which was apparently very soon. The place where our skin met echoed repugnance from inside me.

It was only five in the afternoon, and he was already drinking. This was a sign he was either very prepared to take a long nap, or was planning on leaving to join his drinking friends within a few minutes.

"Taichou," I said in a calm voice, eager to persuade him after the chastising. "You shouldn't be drinking this early in the day."

"Tooooo late, Nanao-chan," he retorted softly, kissing the pad of the finger I used to shush him before snatching my hand up. The shudder that shot through the free arm carried over my shoulders and down to the white fingertips of the other arm that was wrapped around my large book.

"I need your signature for some things."

His nose pressed lightly on the back of my hand before he laid the smallest kiss on two of my knuckles. Kyoraku's skin was very soft, almost creating no friction as it passed over mine. I felt a muscle in my stomach twitch.

"Signature? I'll sign whatever you want me to, my love," he said, looking up at me from under the rim of that damned straw hat. "If you come to my party and dance with me."

Before I could shoot the same reply I had reiterated for years, he cut me off by raising a hand slowly, holding my left hand between his.

"Think about it, Nanao-chan," his eyes started to sparkle the way he did when he was drunk and creative. "We can drink… we can dance… we can do even more, if you 'd like-"

When his eyebrows began to waggle wildly and he swooped in towards my face, I chose the moment as an opening to hit him across the head with the heavy book I had been saving for emergencies. The blow was a small thump before he stumbled to the side, obviously more drunk than he should be at this time of the day. A few clumsy steps landed him on the couch, where he buried his face into a cushion. Kyoraku looked up at me, eyes shining with unshed dramatic tears, and his lips formed the pout I had also become sadly used to.

"Nanaoooo-chan! That huuuurt!"

"You were getting a little distracted, Taichou," I snorted, and a vein pulsed on my forehead angrily. "Those signatures…?" I led on, fervent for him to finish the thought process and his work at the same time. He sighed, swiveling his watery eyes to look at the table with much melodrama.

"I don't want to," he pouted, giving me a kicked-puppy look before folding his hands under his head and closing his eyes.

"Oh no no no," I said, and leaned forward to tug his hands away. "This is not the time for a nap, taichou. You have important work to do and…" it killed me to say it but, "A party to prepare for." The smirk that graced his elegant features also turned the light in his eyes green-for-go. He held out his hand, sitting up energetically. I met his halfway with a brush and a stack of papers.

"This means," Kyoraku stated hopefully. "You'll be my date?" He had finished the last page, which I tucked into the folder before adjusting my glasses and touching at the back of my hair, straightening the bits that had fallen from the bun.


Maybe I had been a bit cold, but at least I had that packet complete and turned in an entire day early. If I hadn't done that, we would have never finished it on time, due to my taichou's "necessary hangover days off".

My eyes peeked over the edge of the desk, and when I looked at the clock it told me sadly that only a few minutes had passed: 23:29.

The smiling face jumped into my thoughts again, white teeth glowing happily between soft lips and the rest of his handsome face following the cheery aura. It wasn't normal for these frequent thoughts of him to commandeer my mind.

But it was late, I noted as I took off my glasses to clean with my obi. My thumb massaged the glass in rings through the fabric, and I closed my eyes and hummed to the rhythm of the circles. Around and around my digit went, cleansing the lenses of any dirt or scratches they may have accumulated through the long day.

It was late… and I rested my head back on the cushion and folded the sides of my glasses in and rested them in my lap. My hands hurt from the hard wooden brush that now rested on its holder next to the finished papers.

He had left me, again. For some reason… it was finally starting to click in my brain. Was my abuse pushing him away? I had no idea, but what I did know was that he was often missing during the day. With my eyebrows shoved together, I contemplated his reasons. It was very possible he in fact didn't think of me as anything more than a pretty fukutaichou. And that was exactly was I wanted.

I had no need for special attention or time dedicated to celebration. I didn't need parties.

But… at the same time, did that mean I didn't need my taichou?

The answer to this halted to a stop in my tired brain, and I felt like curling up in the chair and sleeping away the painful thoughts.

But I snapped my eyes open and pressed a lively hand against the desk, rolling me away. I couldn't fall asleep in the chair, after all. It would be a nightmare to wake up to my taichou doing perverted things to me in my sleep.

Of course, that was an over-exaggeration. I knew he was a gentleman, or at least pretended to be one very accurately. He was a fully capable, functioning adult, though sometimes acting as if that wasn't the case, and he knew I had my limits. Taichou knew me well, and he was completely aware that nothing he did made me really hate him.

Really hate? Of course I despised his strange shows of affection. All the touching and nicknames made me wince mentally, and I used more subtle tactics to get him to stop. That didn't mean I hated the man himself. I just wanted to bend him into submission sometimes.

But Kyoraku was, like with everything else work-related, completely apathetic. Anything that meant paperwork he would barter with to get more free time, as if he needed it.

I put a hand on my forehead and stood up, sliding the chair away and hearing my glasses clatter to the floor. Kneeling down just quickly enough as to fall and pass out on the floor, I scooped up the fallen spectacles and arranged them on my face sluggishly. My feet skated across the smooth surface of the floor, and slowly but surely I made my way to the sliding door.

It was difficult to open it with a tired arm as I used the other hand to cover my yawning mouth. It was even harder to not fall into the hallway. With the door clicked securely behind me, I attempted to stand straight up again and knock away the sleep long enough to make it back to my barrack.

"Nanao," a soft voice called, and I dragged my eyelids open to identify the man behind me. It was Kyoraku, back early from his party. Much, much earlier than I assumed he would. Something was wrong, and the fastest way to solve the problem was to identify it. If only my lips would comply with my sharp thoughts.

"Taichou…" it was hard to get the words out of my mouth, but I put my faith in my dictation. "Why are… you…"

"A lot of people had plans…"

In my head, the two remaining brain cells rubbed together. The possibilities shot by, and my slow brain had difficulty finding the most likely scenario… until it hit me. It wasn't that late for Kyoraku, but he didn't seem lucid. That meant he had been drinking much more than usual. Much more than he would at a party.

Everyone else had a date that night, and no one had shown up to his party. Instead, he had gone binge drinking… alone.

So much preparation, so much excitement, only to be let down. I knew the feeling exactly, and I could imagine how crushed he was. He had done this to me so many times; it was about time the same thing happened to him. But it twisted my heart to see his calm face. He was so relaxed about it… like he was almost expecting it to happen.

That annoyed me greatly, and I jerked away from him. If this idiot could just move on from something like that, why couldn't I? Why was I constantly angry whenever he dashed off to do his own thing? The easy answer: because he dumped all the work on my shoulders. But working was what I wanted; it was what I expected from the job.

What I hadn't expected was a kind, stupid, slacking captain who had then picked me up in his weary arms. The two strong appendages wrapped around me easily, hauling me up into the air bridal-style and he began to walk down the hall.

Our eyes clashed for a moment, but I was too tired to lift a hand to stop him. It was gross, being this close to his slowly beating heart. I felt a shiver of disgust run down my spine when I smelled the sake and the hint of his masculine musk coming from his fuzzy chest. The revolting sensations were causing my throat to clench and my heart to race.

"Nanao-chan," he whispered, and his deep voice vibrated his chest and my side. "Did you work too hard, love?" We made a sharp left, heading toward my barrack slowly. The large windows that spilled moonlight from the outside garden were on either side, and in the pale blue illumination, I looked up at his face. Of course, he was the last person who should be asking that; seeing as he hadn't helped at all. I fisted the hand that was touching his wretched pink kimono, screwing my face up in rage.

"Maybe if you had helped instead of going to your failure of a party, you wouldn't have to do this," I snorted in a gruff undertone. It was a low blow, and I knew it. If I had just let it go… I was being cruel a little too often recently. I expected his face to show sadness, even the smallest hint of contempt, but it remained serene as he looked down at me with his brown eyes. Kyoraku let loose a miniscule smile that jabbed at my innards.

"I'm sorry, Nanao-chan," he said, allowing me to stand outside my door. His hand dangled at my waist, and my choked throat managed to cough and get it away from me. I was appalled at his every movement now, letting the feeling of repulsion grow inside my stomach until I was dizzy. It was late… and I wanted to go to bed. But his sweet apology made me feel the smallest wind of guilt. It was different from his other apologies. Although drunken, this one was sincere, and almost gave me hope that he would change.

"Good night, my lovely," he leaned down to try and kiss me, and I shoved him away roughly. I was mistaken to think he would transform overnight.

He was the same Kyoraku as before. The same one that had elevated this level of revulsion inside me and plagued my thoughts. He was the same man that had made me nearly laugh, and made me nearly cry, and no matter what the situation, tortured me endlessly with his coos of love.

The door that now separated us clicked closed, and I let out the breath I hadn't known I was holding. His drowning reiatsu still pulsed from the other side, and it took every ounce of willpower not to open the door and smack him away. My body was craving sleep so badly, it was starting to ache at every point. The side of me that had been pressed against him felt cold.

With my mouth set in a grim angle, I felt Kyoraku turn and stumble down the hallway. I heard his big hand push against the wall he had to stop and lean against. I could still imagine his heartbeat. My own heart was racing, strangely. I was very tired, and all I wanted to do was escape back into my bedroom and sleep until it all felt better.

But my feet wouldn't lead me there, and my legs were sadly connected to my feet. The rest of my body followed, still standing stiffly right behind my door.

He had been kind. Even after his own shortcomings, he had come back to check on me. But instead of thanking him and giving him the respect he deserved, I had insulted him in his own Division and prohibited him viciously.

My arms, certainly not under my control, moved up to open the door. Three inches was all I needed to peek out at his hunched form, which still stood merely feet away. My brain, barely hanging on by the skin of my teeth, churned and squelched into life again. I needed to thank him. Something quick and simple, but it needed to reflect everything I felt at this moment. It needed to show him all of these strange feelings that I neither liked nor understood.


Peering over his wide shoulder, he straightened his back in an attempt to show his stronger side to me.

Weeks ago, Matsumoto showed us something new at the Shinigami Women's Association meeting. It was a quick way for a girl to get a guy's attention in the human world, apparently very popular with the young folk. I knew he would understand what it meant, and I was counting on the small part of his brain that wasn't entirely plastered to translate and store it effectively.

I leaned out of my room until I had enough free space to bring my fingertips to my lips. I pursed them, puckering loudly against the pads and tipping my hand forward, releasing the kiss into the air. Brown eyes widened as his heavy hand rose up to catch the invisible object, and pulled it in to hold on his heart. He simply nodded and smiled, turning triumphantly away to tip his hat down in the "Mr. Cool Guy" way he had done for so long. And then, Kyoraku disappeared into the night with my first kiss.

The next morning, he was ecstatic. My taichou expected me to forgive him, cuddle him, and do miscellaneous other filthy things and live happy ever after. That big heart of his leapt with joy in his wild fantasies of mutual passionate love. His hopes were crushed under the weight of both my large book and the amount of paperwork I had siphoned off for him. Although he frowned dramatically before skittering away with a lame excuse, I felt the happiness chime harmoniously in both of our cores.

That tiny piece, the single strings that had been plucked at the same time in matching notes, was the first part of our hearts that we shared.


This is unedited, BTW, so PLEASE let me know if there are any typos or confusing points.

Hmm. I'm still trying to decide if I like this or not. Pretending to be Nanao was really fun; I would recommend trying it out! Not any real smooches this time… just hints of a love that could be (and damn straight WILL BE by the time I'm done with Kubo…). Anyone else having trouble with the login server? It delayed this… by so much… Totally sucktastic.

As always, leave your review with a cute smiley face! Thanks for reading!