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Title: Heart of Summer
Pairing: Shunsui/Nanao
Genre: Romance
Rating: T
Status: Ongoing, Chapter 1 of 7
Contains: Spoilers for the Lost Substitute Shinigami Arc, minor adult themes and content in later chapters.
Summary: In the heart of summer, Shunsui seeks a kiss.
Notes: This is my first entry for the Week of Love giveaway happening July 6th - July 12th at shunsui_nanao.  My pieces are written as chapters for this story, and I'll be posting one chapter each day this week. The story is about ten thousand words total.
Prompt: Summer Treats.




Nanao Ise was a focused woman. She did not indulge herself or anyone else very often, to Shunsui's dismay. Her work as the Vice Captain of the Eighth Division was her priority, and she dispatched that work with a marvelous efficiency. She managed the members of the Eighth with a precision that left no room for sneaky interpretations of her orders.

She had initially attempted to manage her Captain with the same precision and found, as many other Vice Captains had before her, that managing Shunsui was rather like trying to move water in her hand. It nearly worked, some of the time, but mostly the water escaped through her fingers or slipped out of her grip.

But unlike other Vice Captains before her, Nanao did not despair at her Captain's unmanageability. Instead she attacked the problem with the tenacity of someone retraining a particularly difficult dog. But she was not trying to retrain an animal, but rather an elite Captain who had served thousands of years in his position, someone with a Bankai so dangerous even the name was not said aloud in Soul Society. He'd said that to her once, with his hat pulled low over his eyes, just to see how she would react.

She'd moved closer to see his face under the hat. "If you are volunteering to demonstrate sword techniques at the afternoon sword training session, I am glad to accept your offer. Please be at the practice field in an hour." She smiled slightly.

He'd laughed at that, but he had gone to the training. He was pleased by her boldness, and impressed with her effort to make him work.

Nanao was crisp, professional, and diligent. She did not break the shinigami dress code. She did not lounge when there was work to be done. And she did not stare out of windows, longing to be outside.

There was only one time of year that was an exception to these rules, and Shunsui looked forward to it through all the other seasons.

In the heart of burning summer, Nanao's crisp uniform lines melted and she opened the neckline of her top an extra finger width, two or three if she thought he was sleeping. She sat at her desk and ignored the papers in front of her, even using her fan to circulate air instead of exclusively for stinging his fingers. And she gazed out of the windows of the office, looking at the outdoors with a desire he'd rarely seen on her face.

Too soon she would snap the fan closed, straighten in her chair and tidy her uniform, resuming work with the diligence that had made her legend among Vice Captains.

But he'd seen her—relaxed and heavy-eyed, staring at the escape she would not allow herself. If she would not indulge herself, he would do his best to indulge her. He spent years learning what would lure her away from her desk and out to the park, or at least to the porch, with him.

It only worked in summer, when the air was thick and lazy, but he seized the opportunity of those days with a diligence even Nanao might have admired, should he have ever turned that same focus to his work. He never did. This level of effort was only for his lovely Nanao-chan.

He breezed into the office one day in the heat of July, grinning at Nanao. Her top was three finger widths lower than the usual today, enough to show him tantalizing shadows. She sat up and caught the edges of her top, drawing them back together. "Cute Nanao-chan, I brought you something," he sing-songed, hiding his hands behind his back.

"What's that?"

He brought his hands out, waving the bowls in them enticingly.

"Shaved ice?" she asked, and the longing in her voice was strong enough to make him grin wider.

"Yes. Will you come with me to the park today, lovely Nanao-chan?"

She tilted her head. "What flavor is it?"

"I got you a lemon one."

He lips puckered in a tiny pout. She would have died a dozen times before admitting to pouting, and he didn't mention it. Lemon was not her favorite flavor for the shaved ice—she loved the really sweet ones that came in vivid colors. "I cannot simply go off to the park on a whim. Some of us take our duties seriously." She waved at the mostly empty desk for emphasis. The papers on the surface had the stamp of the Ninth Division on them, and he was sure that they were letters to her advice column.

He smiled. "Even a Vice Captain as diligent as you can take a few minutes to enjoy a shaved ice outside, don't you think?"

She sighed. "Only to the porch."

"The porch is a perfect spot for a treat, Nanao-chan." He'd planned on the porch for this; that was why he'd chosen the lemon instead of one of her favorites, which would have made her more inclined to go to the park with him. He led her out to the porch, sprawling out and offering her the lemon ice.

Nanao sat near him on a cushion, accepting the cup from his hand. She dug the spoon in, eating a few bites of the treat. He took a generous spoonful of his ice and made a sound of pleasure with the spoon in his mouth. "What kind did you get?" she asked.

"Some kind of berry. It's new." The pungent blue was not a color that berries appeared in naturally. "It's very good."

"Is it sweet?"

He took another bite, watching her eyes follow the spoon. "It's very sweet. Do you want to try some?" He held out the spoon, heaped with blue ice.

She sniffed. "That would be inappropriate."

He ate the bite instead, rolling it in his mouth. "It's so good that the vendor thinks he could sell out of it."

"Sell out of it?" Her eyes focused on the cup in his hand, her lemon ice forgotten beside her.

He nodded. "It's been very popular, and he only made a little of it, since it was new." He held out another spoonful. "This might be your only chance."

"Maybe I could just have a taste." She leaned toward him slightly, and he lifted the spoon to her mouth. Her lips parted to accept the ice, and the spoon came back with a small amount of the treat still on it.

He lifted the spoon to his lips and ate the rest, savoring the slight bite of lemon he tasted from Nanao's mouth.

"It's good," she said, her eyes following the path of the spoon.

He offered her another bite, holding the spoon up closer to his body. She shifted over enough to eat from the spoon, licking her lips after she swallowed. He finished the ice on the spoon, and dipped it into the cup to refill it.

This time he held it up for her much closer to his face. She came still closer to him, balancing one hand on his shoulder. Her mouth opened for the spoon, and she made a sound of pleasure when she ate the ice that had him licking his lips.

He took the remaining ice into his mouth quickly, running his tongue over the spoon. The crisp lemon and sweet berry and the taste of Nanao's mouth were rich on his tongue. He dipped the spoon into the ice again, keeping the spoon very close to his mouth.

She leaned in even closer, whispers away from sitting in his lap. Her small tongue darted out to caress the ice on the spoon. If she moved slightly over, she'd be licking his mouth. He stopped breathing, transfixed by her tongue.

"You're so transparent," she murmured, mischief in her eyes.

"And you're playing along." He grinned, delighted.

"I think this is my new favorite flavor," she said, taking the spoon into her lips.

"It's definitely my new favorite." He circled his tongue around the spoon when it slipped out of her mouth.

They stared at each other for a long moment. He dropped the spoon into the cup carelessly. Her lips parted slightly, her hand tightening on his shoulder, and he forced himself to hold still. He wanted her to be the one to make this move.

Her eyes fluttered closed, her mouth a breath away from his lips.

"Hey, Glasses, what are you doing?"

Nanao's eyes snapped open, her body pushing back from his as if he was on fire. "Yachiru-chan!"

"You're late for our meeting. Come on, or Braid Lady is going to be mad at us." Yachiru perched on the wood of the porch, oblivious to the moment she'd interrupted. "Is that shaved ice? Can I eat it?" The cup of lemon ice was already in her hand.

"Go ahead," Nanao said, standing and straightening her uniform. Her cheeks were flushed and she wouldn't look at him. "We should hurry, Yachiru-chan."

Yachiru nodded, her mouth full.

"Have a good meeting, Yachiru-chan, Nanao-chan." His voice dipped low on Nanao's name.

She glanced back at him over her shoulder, amusement mixed with embarrassment and a ribbon of heat. Tomorrow, he thought as she flash-stepped away. Tomorrow he'd get her to kiss him. And if not tomorrow, someday soon. He had an unlimited budget for shaved ice and it was only the first week of July.

He ate the rest of the blue ice, smiling. He loved summer.

On to Chapter 2.