Even If I Wanted To


Carefully balancing a small stack of books in her arms, she shuffled her way down the corridor and had to use the curve of her hip to open the door at the end. After working two long shifts back to back, she was ready to settle down for a short break and take some time to catch up on her books; there were a few novels that were due back soon enough, so she would need to finish them first. Unfortunately, at the busiest time of the year like this, they needed just about every Officer on staff working- and knowing how her Division handled itself, she was needed at all times to keep things organized. And make sure someone didn't screw up somewhere.

But she needed her time just the same.

And no one was going to tell her different.

Shuffling her way into the quiet study, she settled the small collection of books down on the nearest table and started to pull out a free chair... before she noticed that she wasn't alone. A light frown caught onto the corners of her lips at the sight of the mess of pink and black that was collapsed on the couch in the far side of the room. Part of her was tempted to take her books and find some place else to read, but then she remembered that there really weren't any other rooms available right now... this room was supposed to be reserved for her. It wasn't necessarily written down anywhere but a lot of the Division members knew that since she frequented this area and they didn't want to cross her, that this study would be hers.

Unfortunately some people must not have gotten that memo.

Then again, she supposed as Division Captain, he had the right to go where he wished... but still, there were hundreds of other rooms to be in.

She knew he chose this place on purpose, he always did and she supposed he always will, just to be a nuisance to her. Well, perhaps nuisance was too tough of a word to use, even if so, it was the more correct ones regardless. Most of the other houses had their hard-working Captains who spent hours around the clock either tending to their Divisions, or keeping out on the training fields. She guessed Division Eight must have gotten the short end of the stack when they were passing out Captains. Now, she had no doubts of his strength and knowledge on the battlefield, she had witnessed him sparring a few times and even out in close-range combat; it was just difficult to keep up with those images when the ones where he was face down in the couch, taking a nap after drinking too much were far more prevalent.

Well, she supposed as long as he was quiet and didn't insist on chasing her about, then it would be alright.

For now.

Finally taking the chance to seat herself, she organized the collection of books with the ones that were closest to their return date pulled next to her, while the others balanced on the far corner of the table. She was just a few hundred pages away from finishing off The Divine Comedy, a couple of chapters off from the ending of As I Lay Dying and still had half the book of The Iliad to finish, but this was her third time reading it so it wouldn't take that long anyways.

And somewhere on the table was a book Matsumoto had lent to her as joke. It was one of those romance 'how-to' books she thought she would need; she didn't really see the humor in it but had taken it after the Tenth Lieutenant practically threw it at her before running off. It's bright pink cover was a bit hard to not notice... it was a bit of an eyesore really, but she thought she could laugh at herself for a bit and picked it up first. Her fingers flipped through the light pages and eyes brief skimmed a few paragraphs here or there.

There was nothing new to read though.

"What's that you're reading, Ise?"

Dark eyes glanced up from behind her frames to see where the man had somehow managed to flip over onto his back, one arm draped over the back of the couch while the other was dangling over the edge. His hat was pulled down to block his face from the faint light in the room and slightly muffled his voice when he talked. She supposed it would've been difficult not to notice how his uniform had been slightly pulled over to reveal a greater portion of his broad chest, but she wasn't going to say it. A brief sigh escaped her at the caught moment before she moved to push up on her glasses. "A book without pictures, Captain Shunsui. You wouldn't be interested."

A light chuckle left him as one hand moved over his hat for a moment, as though he was about to pull it off, before he rested his fingers against his open chest instead. "Where's the fun in that?"

Shaking her head, she went back to looking over the rather useless words that printed themselves out across the page in front of her. Nothing even entertaining to read... this sounded like a book Matsumoto would gossip about... not exactly something she would enjoy though.

"That cover's kinda bright."

"If I could tone it down, I would." she assured.

"Read me something from it."

Was he just trying to get on her nerves today? Still though, she supposed it wouldn't hurt to test out the knowledge this book was trying to pass on to her. Not to mention, he seemed to enjoy when she read out to him. "Alright, let me find a passage I can read out loud." she replied, skipping ahead a few pages to a new chapter. "Here's something for you. 'All men should consider what their first words are going to be in the case of approaching a woman; first impressions mean everything... and she's going to remember what your first words to her are going to be.'"

The man chuckled once more. "I'm going to have to remember that."

"I kind of wish more men knew about this and would stop thinking corny pick up lines are great impressions." Nanao remarked as she eventually closed the cover and tossed the book aside. "I could go a lifetime without hearing that stupid 'if I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put 'U' and 'I' together' line ever again."

"You're far too sophisticated for petty lines like that." he commented.

"The guy didn't seem too thrilled when I said that I didn't need to rearrange the alphabet because 'N' and 'O' are already together."

"That sounds like something you would say." the man laughed, moving one hand underneath his hat to scratch at a brief itch on his jaw. "Do you remember the first thing I said to you?"

She glanced up to him at the remark as she tried to figure out which book to pick up next- she was leaning more so towards The Divine Comedy though. Fingers toyed with the slightly faded cover of the thick novel as she thought his question over for a moment. "The first thing you said to me was 'Excuse me, Miss, I couldn't help but notice that you seem to know your way around here... and I'm lost.' I don't think you really were though, I think it was just an excuse to follow me around for a short while."

"Oh, you found me out."