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Bleach Fanfic: Photos of You

Title: Photos of You
Pairing:Shunsui/Nanao
Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: T
Status: One-shot
Contains: Spoilers for the Lost Substitute Shinigami Arc.  Adult themes.
Summary: Nanao misses the victory party, so Captain Kyōraku visits her at her quarters.

There would be no rest for her tonight. Nanao stared at the ceiling of her quarters.  The sounds of the party leaked into the room, although she was distant from the celebration.  She felt a twinge of annoyance at the noise, but tried to push it down; this was a happy noise, made by happy people, on a happy occasion.

Nanao was not happy.  In the privacy of her quarters she allowed the truth to slip out with a sigh.  She rose from her futon and opened the sliding door to her porch and the tiny garden beyond.  The moon hung, round and bright, in the inky sky.  The air was crisp, more suited for autumn than winter, though autumn was long past.  She took several deep breaths.

Movement in the distance drew her attention a moment before a blur of pink landed in front of her.  “Captain Kyōraku.”

“Nanao-chan,” he said, tipping his hat back.

“Why aren’t you at the party?” she asked, frowning.

“Why isn’t my Nanao-chan at the party?  Rangiku-san told me that you left before I’d even arrived.”  He hadn’t added deliberately to his statement, but Nanao’s brows drew together as though he had.

“I’ve been told that I’m not much fun at parties.”  He was studying her with interest, and she realized she was dressed for bed in a thin robe, with her hair hanging down.  At least she had her glasses on; she’d put them on out of habit when she’d gotten out of bed.

“But this is a party to mark a significant event, the return of our friends to Soul Society.  Didn’t you want to see everyone?”  He smiled.

“I said hello.  And I will see them again when they’re sober.”  Her toes fidgeted against the floor.  She couldn’t stand there while he stared at her; he always saw too much.  “Would you like some tea?”  She tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear.

“That would be lovely, Nanao-chan.”

She stepped back into her quarters, picking up a blue haori off of her futon and settling it on her shoulders.  “Please come in, Captain.”  She didn’t particularly relish the thought of him in her home, looking through all of her things, but it would be rude to leave him lounging in her doorway.

He bent to remove his sandals, and she began to prepare tea, listening to the sounds of him exploring her space.  “Your quarters are charming, Nanao-chan.   The spot you chose for my gift is perfect.”

The painting of cherry blossoms falling in a grove that he’d given her several birthdays ago hung in a prominent place in her quarters; it could be seen from nearly every part of the space.  It had served as his last excuse to visit her here.  He’d insisted on helping her find the best spot to hang it, and spent most of an afternoon flirting shamelessly and invading her privacy in myriad ways, until she’d finally grown exasperated and thrown him out.  She’d hung the painting on her own that evening.  “Thank you.”

“You’ve gotten more books since I was last here.”

“Yes, quite a few more.”  She arranged tea cups on a tray.

He moved into her bedroom space, and she wished that she’d known that he was coming, so she could have put the futon away.  “Your bed is so small, Nanao-chan.”

“It’s entirely adequate for me.”  She helped the water heat faster with an inconspicuous kidō spell.

“I like this perfume.”  He sniffed a glass bottle that seemed tiny in his large hand.

“Don’t just touch anything you want!  That perfume was a gift from Rangiku-san.”

“Is it new?  I’ve never smelled it on you.”

“I’ve never worn it.  It’s—”  She stopped abruptly.  She’d nearly mentioned Rangiku’s card, and that would have been disastrous.  This is a perfume for catching a particular kind of man.  Your Captain will love it!  The sentiment had made Nanao scoff at her friend at the time, but apparently Rangiku was right.

“It’s what?  It’s a beautiful fragrance, perfectly suited to my beautiful Nanao-chan.”

“Put it back where you found it, please.  And you should refrain from—sniffing me.  That’s inappropriate.”  She was glad she was facing away from him; her cheeks had pinked at his words.  Sometimes she felt like half of the words she said to him on any given day were variations of that’s inappropriate.

“I hope you’ll consider wearing it someday, Nanao-chan.  And I can’t deny myself the pleasure of delightful Nanao-chan’s scent.”

She sighed.  At least the tea was ready.  Perhaps he’d want to sit on the porch; it was chilly, but her quarters seemed so small with him here.   “Captain, would you like to sit outside?  I have cushions that we can use.”  She stood with the tea tray in her hands.

“Do you always read before bed, Nanao-chan?  What book are you reading now?”  He’d picked a book up from beside her futon.

“Stop, don’t look at that!”  She was too late; he was already staring at the book in his hands with a bemused expression, and she cursed herself for not remembering that she’d left it out.

“Nanao-chan, this is—”

She hurried across the room, hampered by the tea tray in her hands, and he danced away and out onto the porch.  “Don’t!”  When she stepped outside, he was flipping through the book with absorbed interest.  “It’s unacceptable for you to look through my personal things, in my private quarters,” she hissed, the dishes rattling as she set the tray on the porch.

“Nanao-chan, this is a photo book of me.”

She felt his eyes on her, but didn’t look at him.  Her face was burning and her forehead was creased with worry.  “It’s not what you think,” she blurted out, searching her mind for a suitable excuse.  “The Shinigami Women’s Association publishes these photo books of many officers, Captain, and we’re considering reprinting some of them, so I was reviewing the material in advance of our meeting.”  She kept her eyes focused on the tea tray.

“Certainly I would be flattered to have my photo book republished and admired by all the girls in Seireitei.  That’s very quick thinking, Nanao-chan, but there’s a problem with your explanation.”

“A problem?”  She swallowed, bringing her eyes up to the book in his hand.

“If you were reviewing photo books for republishing, you’d have several different ones, and you’d sit at a desk, so that you could take notes.  That’s the way you work.”  She risked a glance at his face.  His eyes were amused and affectionate.

“It’s still not what you think.”  She busied herself selecting a cushion and positioning it on one side of the tea set.  Her hands shook slightly when she poured two cups of tea, but she did not acknowledge it.  She wanted to run away, but being chased across Seireitei in her nightclothes by her Captain would hardly improve her situation.

“There are so many fascinating things to think about this, Nanao-chan.  I hardly know where to begin.”  He settled on his cushion with a flourish, sprawling out beside the tea tray.  She eyed him warily.  He flipped to a picture of him in a field of flowers.  “Perhaps romantic Nanao-chan looks at my photos before bed, memorizing my rugged good looks in the hope of dreaming of me?”

“You’re the one who’s dreaming here,” she snapped.  The heat of embarrassment burned through her whole body.  She couldn’t imagine what she looked like right now.

“No?  That’s too bad.  A secretly romantic Nanao-chan is one of my favorite fantasies.  Hmm.  If Nanao-chan doesn’t look at my photos for dreaming, perhaps I’m an inspiration for another type of activity?”  He turned pages, finding a photo of himself with his arms shrugged out of his clothes and his bare chest shining with sweat.  “Perhaps I’m Nanao-chan’s fantasy?  Do you look at pictures of me while you satisfy your desire?  Has this book seen Nanao-chan touching those sweet breasts, hands slipping down bare skin to that luscious garden—”

Her hand clamped across his mouth so hard his teeth came together with a clack.  “Absolutely not!”  Her embarrassment was swiftly transforming into mortification.  “This is the most inappropriate conversation I’ve ever had.”  She took a shaky breath.

One of his arms snaked around her waist, and the other tugged her hand away from his mouth.  “Deep breaths, Nanao-chan.”

She could feel him speaking, and she realized in her rush to get him to stop talking she’d all but thrown herself across his lounging body.  Her haori had been lost, the fabric limp over the tea tray.  Her side was pressed against his chest, and one of her knees was between his legs.  “Oh, you are so—”

“Is this really the most inappropriate conversation you’ve had?  I can do so much better for you, naughty Nanao-chan.”

She made a sound of disdain.  “You’d wrap everything in so much metaphor it’d be impossible to follow what you were actually saying.  I mean, ‘luscious garden’?  Are you serious?”

He leaned in to whisper a sentence in her ear.  Her eyes went wide and the hand she’d placed on his shoulder for balance gripped him tighter.

“You’re exaggerating,” she said.  Her face would have shaded scarlet if she wasn’t already flushed.

“It’s true, I promise.  If you want me to prove it, I will.”  He nipped at her ear.

“This is completely inappropriate.”  The word was inadequate for the current situation, but to say anything else would be admitting that they were far beyond the boundaries of their usual relationship.  Inappropriate allowed her to maintain the pretense that things were normal.

He pressed a line of kisses down her neck.  “I know.  Isn’t it wonderful?  Nanao-chan’s skin is so delicious.”  His tongue flicked playfully at her pulse.

“Stop that.  We can’t do this.  It’s—”  She pulled on his hair.

“Inappropriate.  Nanao-chan, all of my favorite things are inappropriate.”  He made a sound of pleasure against her collarbone.

She pulled on his hair again.  “Stop.  We really can’t do this.”

“Why not?”  He ignored her tugs and continued to nuzzle at her neck.

“Because Vice Captain Yadōmaru is waiting for you at the party.”

He stilled and then drew back with a sigh.  “Lisa is at the party.  But she’s not waiting for me.”

Nanao extracted herself from her position on his lap.  “She was waiting for you when I saw her earlier.”  She moved back to her cushion, retrieving the neglected haori and draping it over her shoulders.

“She wanted to talk to me, and she did.  She’s not waiting for me now.  What do you want to ask me, Nanao-chan?”

She lifted the tea cup to her lips.  “I don’t have anything to ask you.”

“No?  I’ll ask something, then.  What does Lisa have to do with you and me?”  The playful mood between them had evaporated, and his face was serious and shadowed in the moonlight.

Nanao turned her head to the tiny garden, staring at it without seeing it.  “I wish you hadn’t come tonight.”

“Nanao-chan, about Lisa—”

“No.  Just wait, please.”  She rose from her seat and entered her quarters, returning a few moments later with her Vice Captain’s badge in her hands.

“What is this, Nanao-chan?”  His eyes were dark and she couldn’t hold his gaze.  She focused on folding the fabric band neatly under the badge before placing it on the porch in front of him.

“The Kidō Corps has made me a job offer.”  She sat on her heels with her hands clasped in her lap.

“Why would the Kidō Corps offer you a position, when you already have one?”

She felt his eyes on her, but didn’t look away from the badge, as if memorizing the insignia.  “The Commander of the Kidō Corps made the offer personally.  He hinted very strongly that the Vizards would be offered their former positions, as one of the compensations for their exile.”

“I can’t believe another Captain would try to poach you from the Eighth with rumors and gossip.  You didn’t believe him, did you, Nanao-chan?”  His voice was soft, but she had to suppress a shiver; she believed Captain Kyōraku’s next encounter with the Kidō Corps Commander would be extremely unpleasant.

“He is not the only one who has suggested a career change to me lately.  Many of my friends—and others—have given me their deepest sympathies and suggested there may be openings for me in their divisions.  Even the Eleventh has indicated an interest.”  She poured more tea into her cup.

“You have a coveted skillset.  My Nanao-chan is a very desirable woman.”  He lifted his tea cup to his lips for the first time.

She swallowed.  “I was going to do this tomorrow, so that everyone could enjoy the party tonight.”

“Don’t you mean that everyone but you could enjoy it, Nanao-chan?”

“You’re making this difficult.”  She set the cup down before it could showcase the faint trembling of her hands.

“Yes,” he said.

Her eyes came up to meet his, her brow creased.  She pushed the badge across the wood planks.  “I’m offering you my resignation, Captain.”

“I don’t accept it.”  He tossed the Vice Captain badge back toward her.

“I am trying to make things easier for you.  The least you could do is cooperate,” she snapped.

“Easier for me?”  His eyes narrowed.

“Yes, easier for you!  I wasn’t going to make you force me out of my position.  I was going to voluntarily leave the Eighth and my home and you—you could at least have the grace to accept my resignation.”  She shoved the badge back at him.

“You would just give up everything to step aside for Lisa?”

She sighed.  Her head felt heavy, and she let it tip forward a bit.  “What happened to her wasn’t fair.  And I would never have received my position if Aizen hadn’t caused the Vizards to be exiled unjustly.  The Central 46 and the Captain Commander offering the Vizards their old positions is righting an old wrong.  I have no standing to object, and it would be selfish for me to try to keep what was never really mine.”  She looked away from him, out at the garden, blinking rapidly.

“What about the injustice that would be done to you and the others who would be displaced to make room for the Vizards?”  His voice was very gentle.

“It’s minor, comparatively.”  She breathed in even, precise patterns, trying to keep her composure.  “So, will you accept my resignation now?  I’ve made my position entirely clear.”

“No, you haven’t made everything entirely clear.  Do you really believe that nothing was ever yours?”

“Please, this is already so hard.  The Eighth is my home.”  She couldn’t turn to him; she’d break down.

“So you were looking at that book of photos because of how much you’ll miss the Eighth?”

“The badge is right there, Captain.  Please take it and leave.”  Her hands gripped her arms.

He was behind her suddenly, covering her with his warm haori.  His hands caressed her shoulders.  “No.  Tell me, Nanao-chan.”

She dropped her head, the wood of the porch blurring before her eyes.  He wouldn’t leave until she was exposed, then; so be it, she could give him this piece of her pride, too.  It was doubtful she’d see him more than a few times a year after she joined the Kidō Corps.  The misery of this confession would be worth it if he let her go after this conversation was finished, and if he would promise not to fight the decision of Captain Commander and the Central 46.  Even a Captain of his power and rank could be punished for insubordination.

“I didn’t want to see you at the party because I needed to resign myself to this, to being without you.  I’ll miss you the most, even though you were never mine.  Now leave, please.”  He didn’t move.  “Leave,” she hissed, and then slapped a hand over her mouth to stop a sob from escaping.

His hands tightened on her shoulders.  “Nanao-chan, precious Nanao-chan.”  His lips grazed her ear.  “Did you want me to be yours?”

She couldn’t speak.

“I’m not accepting your resignation, because I’m not taking your position from you, and neither is anyone else.  It might cost me a bit with Yama-jii, but in the end, this is my decision.  Although if any of these people tripping over themselves to offer compensation to the Vizards had bothered to ask them what they want, they would have discovered that some of our friends don’t want their old jobs back.  Lisa told me that I was a huge hassle and she wishes you good luck with me.”

Nanao’s heart tripped.  Her breath escaped in a gasp.  “She doesn’t want—”

“No.”

Why?

“I can’t tell you how much it thrills me that you’d ask that.”  He pressed kisses into her hair.

Her blood pounded loudly in her ears when she realized what she’d confessed.  But she couldn’t spare too much concern for her embarrassment, not when her life in the Eighth was still at stake.  “She really doesn’t—either professionally or personally?”

“No, although that’s not only her decision.  I am not a part of some Vizard compensation package, Nanao-chan.”  He bit at her earlobe gently.

“Stop that.  And I didn’t mean to suggest that you’re an object to be traded.”  Relief flowed through her in a cooling wave.

Suddenly she was very aware of him behind her, of his hands massaging her shoulders and his lips brushing her skin.  She pulled away from him, making a few ignoble shifts on her knees before she stood.   Desire and anxiety dueled in her belly.  If he stayed any longer, she’d probably humiliate herself by blurting out something ridiculous about her love for him.   The veil hiding her feelings from her Captain was likely damaged beyond repair, but at least she could still maintain the illusion that things were normal, if he left now.

Her cheeks felt hot, and she coughed, trying to clear her throat enough to speak.  “Thank you for clearing up my misunderstanding, Captain.  I’ll see you at work on Monday.  If you’ll excuse me, I really need to go to bed.  Goodnight, sir.”  She strode toward her door.

“You forgot something, Nanao-chan,” he sing-songed.

She paused with her hand on the door.  “What’s that?”

She turned to see him wiggling the photo book in his hand.

“Give me that!”  She leaped forward and snatched it out of his hands.

“Nanao-chan is so eager to go to bed with me.  It’s very sexy.”  He grinned, leaning back on his hands.

She felt the blush deepening in her cheeks and frowned severely at him.  “Goodnight, Captain.”

“But Nanao-chan, you haven’t answered my question.”

“What question?”  She tucked the photo book under her arm.

“Do you want me to be yours?”

Her mouth opened and closed.  She took a step back.

“I could be, you know.  And there are so many benefits, too.  For instance, if you wanted to see me naked, you wouldn’t need to rely on a photo and your imagination.”  His hand went to the turquoise sash at his waist.  He pulled at one end of the knot with deliberate slowness.

“You wouldn’t.”

He continued to pull.  “Why not?”

The sash came loose as her hand closed around his fingers.  “We’re outside!”

He chuckled.  “Sweet Nanao-chan.  We’re going to have so much fun.”

She grasped his sash with her free hand, trying to tuck it back into a knot with her fingers.  “You can’t play with me like this.  It isn’t fair, when you know that I—” she stopped, her eyes widening.

“Yes.  I know.  But I want to play with you because my heart has the same longing as yours.  I want you to be mine.  I already told you I’d be yours, if you want me to be.  Isn’t that fair?”  His large hand cupped her cheek.

She licked her lips. The dreams of so many years rose up in her chest, but she hesitated.  “Are you sure that you want—”

“Yes.  So much, Nanao-chan.”

Her eyes searched his, but there was no falseness, no teasing in him.  She leaned forward very slowly, and pressed her lips very softly against his lips.  It was a small kiss, but it said everything.  He deepened the kiss, tried to pull her into his lap, but she resisted.  “Inside,” she whispered.

He stood, towering over her.  She led him into her quarters with her hand fisted in his sash.  He took up a lounging position on her futon, dropping his hat on the floor.  His eyes were intense on her as she tucked the photo book neatly into a bookcase.  She slipped out of the haoris that had shielded her from the chill outside; it was warm in her room, and the moonlight streaming in the window provided delicate light.

“Would it be alright if I took those out?”  She hesitated, gestured at his hair.

“I’m yours, Nanao-chan.”

She sat on her heels on the bed, though there was very little space left for her with him in it.  “The bed is too small,” she said, leaning over him to take the pins and tie out of his hair.  She spread the waves out over her fingers, fascinated by the texture.

He smiled.  She reached for his loose sash and removed it, folding it.  His clothes left him one by one, ordered into a neat pile.  She ran her hands over his bare skin experimentally, savoring the opportunity to touch him.  His nudity made no difference in his demeanor; he was as relaxed lying in her bed now as he’d been sitting outside fully dressed.

He held his breath when she draped herself over him to kiss his neck.  “Do you remember what you whispered in my ear earlier?”

“Vividly.”  His voice made her pulse jump under her skin.

She shifted enough to whisper something in his ear.

“Nanao-chan has such a clever mind.  Do you want to do that?”

“I’m yours,” she said.

There would be no rest for her tonight.  The sounds of the party drifted into the room, although they were distant from the celebration.  The happy noise made Nanao smile.  Her robe floated away from her when he untied the sash at her waist.  The smile was still on her lips when he kissed her, when the air of the room caressed her skin, and when his hands mapped a leisurely path down her body.

She was happy.


Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
afteriwake
Feb. 19th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
Oooh, I liked this a lot. I would have been very happy to lose to this had you actually entered it in the contest. I'm making this my personal canon.
r_dahlia
Feb. 19th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it. I wanted to do something with Shunsui and Nanao since I saw some of the Vizards back in Soul Society, but it took me a while to get their reactions right. ^_^;
kyliwolf
Feb. 19th, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
It was worth the wait for this story. I enjoyed reading think and am glad you finally finished it.
r_dahlia
Feb. 19th, 2012 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed this story.

It's actually the second piece I was working on for the contest, but the first piece has exceeded 10k words and needs serious editing and revision. I'll finish it eventually. Maybe very eventually. XD
kyliwolf
Feb. 20th, 2012 05:23 am (UTC)
It was still good to read. I am still looking forward to the first one.
meroko26
Feb. 21st, 2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
This was great. I love Nanao looking at photos of Shun. And big no to Nanao thinking of leaving squad 8. I couldn't stand it. Hope to see her agin.
r_dahlia
Feb. 22nd, 2012 04:33 am (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked this one! Nanao can't leave the Eighth, and I hope we see her really soon, too.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )