A beautiful, mournful melody filled the air of the 8th division's special music room. Soft, slow and bitter sweet. If I was to give this song personality, reader, it would be sorrow. Straight sour, baleful sorrow. Ise Nanao sat in front of a grand black piano, long fingers sliding gracefully over the keys. The song she was playing was beautiful, but sounded balefully incomplete. It was the song her taicho, Shunsui Kyoraku, had composed just for her. It was a duet, two different pieces played at the same time to intertwine together beautifully, complementing each other with stark contrasts to each piece. A single tear rolled down her cheek, falling onto the back of the pretty lieutenant's hands. Her raven hair was let loose from her clip for once, hanging about her shoulders and curling around her face like curtains to block out the harsh reality. Her glasses were on the edge of her nose, though as she stared blankly forward she hadn't really any use of them.
"Taicho..." the barely audible word hung in the room like a black shadow, blocking out any and every hope she had for the future. Her captain, her flamboyant, pink loving, long chestnut brown haired, scruffy, flirtatious captain had gone to fight in the winter war a year ago to the day. She had no hope of him ever returning to her. More tears fell silently even as she continued to play. She regretted everything. Not telling him how much he meant to her, how much she loved him. She regretted all the years of shutting away her heart, keeping it out of his reach when it would only be him who she would ever give it to. She regretted not believing him when he told her how much she meant to him and how much he loved her, all because she was scared. And now she would never have the chance to right the wrongs she'd done. Her eyes blinded by tears and her throat burning from the sobs she was choking back her hands stilled suddenly above the keys, ending the melody abruptly as she slammed her fists down on the keys, filling the room with a nasty noise. Nanao hung her head, letting herself break down completely for the first time all year. Sobs escaped her lips as her body shook violently and tears rolled freely. Her small frame hunched over the piano looked small and fragile as it shivered from the cold within the building and her soul. So lost in her own sorrow and misery was Nanao that she didn't even notice when the bench she was sitting on shifted slightly nor when large brown hands took position over the keys. Only when those rugged but still soft hands start playing her melody from where she left it off did she look up, shock written clear on her features.
"K-kyoraku-taicho!?" She said, her voice cracking a bit near the end due to her throat being raw from her sobs. There, sitting next to Nanao was none other than Shunsui Kyoraku. His pink haiori was missing, and he looked a little battle weary but he was well and smiling at her with that annoying but endearing lopsided smile.
"My dear Nanao-chan was playing the song I made just for her. But she didn't finish." Shunsui pouted playfully, holding back a laugh at her shell shocked expression.
"Will you be so kind as to play with me Nanao-chan?" He asked, whining slightly. Still shocked, Nanao merely placed her hands over the keyboard, finding her place and jumping into it with him, unable to stop looking at the miracle that was her captain.
"But, how are you here? I thought you were..." she paused, choking on her words as another sob threatened to break lose, her hands never faltering all the while.
"It was a long and hard battle. I fought as hard as I could but there were still times I didn't think I could go on... We lost a lot of good men and women out there." His eyes narrowed in pain at the unmentionable memories.
"But I would never leave you Nanao-chan." He stopped looking at her, all playfulness gone from his features.
"Do you know why Nanao?" He continued quietly, the song drawing to a soft and sweet end.
"Sir... please, don't say it..." Nanao replied just as quietly, her fingers stilling in the piano as she hits her final keys.
"But I believe you need to hear it." He replied steadily, taking her small hands and trapping them within his larger ones, tugging slightly so she had to look at him.
"I won't ever leave you because I love you Nanao. More than anything else in the world, I love you. And seeing you again is what gave me strength to keep going. You're my reason for fighting and for living." Nanao could tell just by the look in his big brown eyes that he meant every word he said with all his soul.
"I know, Shunsui." She said, a smile slowly forming in her lips as happy tears replace the ones full of sorrow.
"I love you too!" And with that Nanao flung herself into Shunsui's arms and they hugged each other fiercely, Nanao crying happily into his kimono and clutching him close. Shunsui buried his face in her hair and inhaled deeply. She smelled of sakura blossoms, and he found it intoxicating.
"I hope you've had enough time without me, because I'm never leaving you again Nanao-chan." Nanao laughed lightly and pulled back
so she could smile at him.
"I wouldn't have it any other way Shunsui." Shunsui smiled happily at his Nanao. It felt good to finally be home and with the one he loved most. He cupped Nanao's cheek with his hand and gently stroked circles into it, staring deeply into her eyes before pulling her into a soft sweet kiss, with all kinds of molten lava behind it, just waiting to explode.
"I love you Nanao." He breathed out, breaking away
"I know sir. I love you too, with all my heart and soul, now and forever."