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Title: The Trials of Nanao Ise
Genre: Romance/Drama
Pairing: Shunsui/Nanao
Spoilers: Through manga chapter 423
Status: Ongoing
Rating: R
Contains: Consensual adult activity. 
Summary: Nanao will face the consequences of her decisions during and after the Arrancar War. Can she overcome these trials, or will they divide her from Captain Kyōraku forever? Canon compliant through manga chapter 423.
I've been on holiday, so I'm putting this up a bit sooner than usual.



Back to Chapter 24.
Chapter 1.

Nanao stood inside the bathroom, her hand raised to open the door.  Several seconds passed.  She shivered despite the warmth of the room.  I can do this.  I want to do this.  I need to do this.  But she did not move.
 
She’d already decided this was the best course of action, the quickest way to grasp some of the control of this aspect of their relationship away from Shunsui.  And after the way he’d made her beg him last night, how he’d dragged his name out of her lips, he really deserved this.
 
Nanao opened the door with a sharp flick of her wrist.  She stepped into the bedroom and then onto the porch.  Shunsui lounged against the floor, just upright enough to drink from his cup and eat snacks from his tray.  He was looking at the stars.
 
“Nanao-chan?  Did you need something for your bath?  The stars are very bright tonight, we should—” He turned his head enough to see her and his words trailed off.  She stood naked in the moonlight, her back straight and her face cool.  In her hand she clutched a folded towel.  “Nanao-chan?” he asked, and she was pleased by the roughness of his voice.
 
She raised one arched brow at him and he dropped his cup onto the tray, shifting to rise.  The towel smacked him squarely in the face.  Nanao pivoted on her heel and walked back into the house at the same easy pace she’d come out at, but her heart beat quickly and erratically.
 
In the bathroom she closed the door and leaned against it for a long moment.  She could hear movement in the outer room and her nerves sparked under her skin.  Footsteps approached the bathroom and her breathing stopped.
 
But she was standing next to his bath stool arranging her soaps when the door opened.
He’d put the towel on, and she felt a flash of relief at that.  His hair hung loose down his back, a few curling strands resting against the heavy muscle of his chest.  He stalked towards her, stopping a step away from Nanao.  The bathroom was comfortably large but he made the space seem small.  She swallowed.
 
“Where do you want me, Nanao-chan?”  His hand reached for her face, but she batted it away.
 
“Sit,” she said crisply.  He might dominate the room, but he would not dominate her, not tonight.  As he turned to the stool she tugged the towel off his hips.  He stopped moving and she could feel his eyes on her, but she focused her attention on folding the towel into a neat rectangle.  After a few moments he sat on the stool.  Even seated he was huge, and his skin looked darker against the white tile walls.
 
She stepped around him for the shower wand.
 
“Nanao-chan?”
 
“Yes?”  She adjusted the temperature of the water and wet his hair thoroughly with the spray.
 
“What are you going to do with me?”  His tone was that idle curiosity he favored, but underneath it was dark and burning.
 
She set aside the shower wand and turned off the water.  Her hands stroked through his heavy hair.  “Yesterday, you induced me to say your name through certain specific means.”  She sent a small ribbon of reiatsu into him.  He leaned his head back into her hands and she filled his body with her reiatsu.
 
“And today, Nanao-chan?”  He looked up at her with heavy-lidded eyes.
 
Her right hand stroked down his neck and his shoulder.  She bent until her lips skimmed along the same route, but she stopped in the middle, remembering what she’d wanted to do the first time she’d washed him like this.  Her tongue darted out to taste his skin and her small teeth bit his golden flesh, not hard enough to draw blood but firmly enough to leave perfect red imprints.
 
Shunsui groaned and reached for her waist, trying to draw her in front of him.  She pushed his hand away.  “No touching.”
 
“So it’s retaliation?”
 
Her tongue swept a circle around the mark she’d made on him.  He watched her intently from the corner of his eye.  “Hmm.  Think of it as an assertion of my equal participation in our relationship.”
 
“If it’s equal, I should be able to touch you,” he said, reaching for her again.
 
She smacked his hand away.  Her mouth moved up his neck in little licks and bites while one of her hands ran down his chest.  “If you would prefer that I not enjoy myself in this manner, I do have several books in the guest room I could occupy myself with instead,” she whispered in his ear.
 
“My Nanao-chan may do whatever she wants with me.”  He curled a tendril of his reiatsu into her body.  Nanao shivered at the sensation and her hand curved on his chest to press her fingernails lightly into his flesh.  He poured reiatsu into her until she could feel him from her toes to the crown of her head.  “But I want to touch you.”
 
As if she would be able to deny him that when her desire was pulsing through her body with each beat of her heart.  Her cheek rubbed against his in unspoken agreement.  She tugged on his earlobe with her teeth, enjoying the spike in his reiatsu.
 
Nanao washed his hair with long, smooth movements.  She savored the texture of his hair in her hands, the smell of the soap, and the sounds of pleasure Shunsui made.  Her fingers massaged his scalp in wide circles.  She added a touch of healing kidō to her fingertips to enhance the effect of the massage.  Nanao felt herself gradually relaxing as the minutes passed.
 
She turned on the shower wand and rinsed his hair to prevent soap from dripping into his eyes, then used the spray to wet down his skin.  “Do you use the shower wand when you bathe, or do you use only your bucket?”
 
His eyes opened to watch her move to his side and wet down his front.  “I had the shower heads put in when the bathrooms were redone, and I was excited because it was so new and convenient.  But I still find myself using just the bucket and the faucets most times.  The habits of so many years are hard to break.”
 
Nanao felt the weight of his gaze on her face.  She’d noticed last night that even when she was totally naked in front of him, the part of her he most wanted to see was her face.  It had surprised and disconcerted her a little.  “The shower can be more efficient.”  She turned off the spray and rubbed a cloth against his soap.
 
“I’m sure it is.”  He turned his head to follow her movement when she walked back behind him.   “Nanao-chan,” he said, his voice dipping into a lower, darker register.
 
She twisted the soapy cloth in her hands, raising her eyes to meet his.  “I’m going to wash you now.”  She lifted her chin.
 
He smiled.  His hand came up to brush down her cheek and neck.  She shivered slightly and felt his reiatsu swirl inside her body as he responded to her movement.  The intimacy of feeling her lover react to her from inside of her was too much for words, almost too much for her to bear.  She swallowed.
 
“I’m yours, lovely Nanao-chan.  Please be thorough,” he added with a salacious wink.  He lifted his hand from her front and turned to face away from her.
 
She sniffed at his words.  “I am always thorough.”  She held the cloth in her right hand and began to sweep it over the muscles of his back.  The wounds he’d suffered in the war were healed and she was sure Captain Unohana would give him a clean bill of health tomorrow.  Her left hand followed after her right, feeling the texture of his skin and scars, roaming his body slowly.  She took her time washing him, soaping the whole of his back, the heavy muscle of his arms—he obligingly held them in whatever position she placed them—and his sides, where her fingers danced down his ribs with a teasing pattern.  She brought her hand back up to caress the muscle of his arm, letting her nails bite into it a little.  “I have no idea how you maintain this level of fitness when you sleep and drink so much.”
 
“Oh?  Surely my Nanao-chan remembers that she scheduled me to lead two advanced combat classes and two sword training classes.  Then there’s our training together every Friday.”  His eyes followed her hands as they moved down his arm to soap his large hand.
 
“I lead courses as well, but I don’t have muscles like yours.”  She played with the palm of his hand, which was callused and scarred far more than hers.
 
“You have a lovely body, Nanao-chan.”  He reached his free hand over to run his fingertips from her shoulder to her bicep.  “There is muscle here, but the body of a woman is different from the body of a man, happily.  You have muscles, but also these beautiful curves.”  His hand ran over her breast and down to the slender dip of her waist.  “Your shape is so enticing to me.  I’ve spent hours trying to figure out the exact measurements of your curves.”  His hand slid down to her hip and curved around the front of her thigh.
 
Nanao swallowed.  “Why?”
 
He glanced at his hand on her thigh, her hands clasping his palm, and then up to her face.  “I wanted my fantasies to be as accurate as possible.”
 
“You—you fantasized about me?”  The washcloth slipped from her limp fingers.  She startled and bent to retrieve it, slipping away from his hand.
 
“Often.  I have hundreds of fantasies starring you.”  His hand slipped around her waist when she stood, drawing her towards him.
 
“But why?  Why me?”  Nanao frowned, a line cutting between her brows.
 
He drew her closer still, until her thigh was touching his.  “Shouldn’t I fantasize about the woman I want the most?  Are you telling me you never fantasized about me?  Never had a naughty dream, never thought of wicked things we could do in the office on an endless day?”
 
Nanao flushed a bright scarlet.  “That’s not—you can’t—I wouldn’t—”
 
“You wouldn’t what?”  His heavy-lidded eyes were dark and brilliant in the light of the bathroom.
 
She huffed and pulled away from his arm to stand behind him.  He’d flustered her, again, and he was still at ease.  That simply wouldn’t do.  She took one deep breath to gather her courage.  Her eyes narrowed and she dropped the washcloth, bringing her arms around his neck in a loose hug.  She rubbed her breasts against his back once, twice, enjoying the soapy friction.  Her lips came up to his ear.  “I dreamed about you.  Secret dreams.  Should I tell you?”
 
“Yes.  Tell me, Nanao.”  He tried to turn to look at her but she pressed his cheek with a hand, keeping him in place.
 
“I thought about the way your skin feels; how it’s so different from mine.”  Her hand slid further down his chest, her fingers drawing patterns through his chest hair, her nails flicking lightly over his nipple.
 
“Nanao—”
 
“Shh.  You wanted to know, didn’t you?    I dreamed about touching you and about you touching me.  I did have fantasies.”  She arched herself against him like a cat and then lifted herself off of his back.
 
He swallowed.  She studied his reaction with satisfaction.  Now he was flustered, as she’d been.  She smiled but it slipped off in surprise when he spun suddenly on the stool and pulled her into his lap.  His arms came around her, one large hand resting on her back and one on her hip.  “Nanao.”  His mouth slid over hers in a heated kiss.  She opened her mouth for him, her arms coming up around his neck.  Her pleasure at his kiss was reflected and magnified by the sensation of his pleasure flowing through her body in his reiatsu.  A moan escaped from her throat into his mouth.
 
His lips left hers to travel down her neck.  Nanao struggled to gather her thoughts.  “You said I could do anything I wanted to you,” she said, breathless.
 
“I am very much hoping that we want the same things,” he murmured against her skin.
 
“Even if our goals are aligned, I have a specific plan I intend to implement.”  She tugged on his hair to pull him away from her throat.
 
He grinned at her.  “It amazes me that you can still use that tone when you’re naked in my lap.  It’s very sexy, Nanao-chan.”
 
She glared at him.  “Shunsui.”
 
He dipped his head to kiss her again.  This time she fought him for dominance, their tongues wrestling, her fingers curling in his hair.  He won their battle, and plundered her mouth until they had to separate for air.
 
Nanao slipped off his lap, standing between his legs.  He made a sound of protest and tightened his arms around her.  She pulled on his hair until he opened his heavy eyes to meet hers.  “I’m going to continue washing you.”
 
“But I want to hear about your fantasies,” he said, his voice low, his smile enticing.
 
“That’s not going to happen right now,” she snapped.  Then, in a softer tone, the same one she’d used to fluster him about those fantasies in the first place, she added, “You said I could do anything I wanted.”
 
He shaped his lips into a pout, but his arms eased their hold.  Nanao stepped away from him to find the forgotten washcloth and lather it with fresh soap.  She hesitated a moment before returning to stand in front of him.  Her earlier nervousness returned, but he opened his eyes to watch her, and they were full of his desire and that other emotion that made her feel embraced, the one she’d refused to name earlier.
 
Love.
 
She stepped into the space between his legs, running the cloth over the planes of his chest, her eyes following her hands.  Her face was close to his, and she felt his gaze on her face—on her eyes, her cheeks, and then her lips.  The cloth soaped down his ribcage and the top of his abdomen.  She flicked her eyes up to catch his for a moment and then knelt between his legs.  Her hands felt the thick muscles of his stomach and then the bones of his pelvis; she stroked the cloth across them without taking her eyes off his.
 
He tensed when the cloth brushed over his groin, but she arched a brow and drew the cloth down and around his thigh.  His knee, the muscles of his calf, his shin, and then his large foot—one of her hands ran over each with the cloth, followed slowly by her other hand, exploring the texture of his body.  She came back to his front, pausing for a moment.  His reiatsu was sparking with anticipation and she smiled a little.
 
He groaned when she turned to his other thigh and began to wash it.  “You told me to be thorough.”
 
“Nanao-chan.”
 
She took her time with his leg, running her hands over a faint, long scar that wrapped from the outside of his thigh to the inside of his knee.  It looked like a sword wound.  She arched a brow at him.
 
“Duels used to be a lot more common in the Gotei 13.  I was relieved when they were mostly banned.  It took so much energy, answering all those challenges.”
 
 She shook her head at him.  The sparking in his reiatsu was a full burn by the time she soaped his toes.  Her own anticipation rose to meet the level of his, but she pushed it away to focus on the goal at hand.
 
Back at his center, she hesitated a moment and then began to pull the cloth over his groin.  She studied him with interest—books, Rangiku, and the SWA didn’t really prepare her adequately for this situation.  “It’s larger than I expected,” she said, tilting her head up at his face.  The cloth dipped down lower.  She observed further.  “Of course, you are a very tall man, and a certain amount of proportionality is to be expected, however, even taking that into consideration, my observation stands.”
 
“Nanao,” he groaned.  “You’re killing me.”
 
“Do you not like this?”  Her other hand had come up to explore him, her fingers stroking over the tip of his manhood, then down, around, until she circled him in her grip.
 
“I like this.”  His eyes were on her face.  One of his hands threaded through her hair, but she did not rebuke him for touching her this time.
 
“If I do this?”  She slipped her hand, slick with soap, up and down.
 
“Yes.  Yes, like that.  Harder.”
 
She watched his face.  He was tense and a few beads of sweat formed on his brow.  His eyes looked at her as if she were the most important thing in the world.
 
“Nanao.  Stop—” He tugged her up to stand in front of him.
 
“What?”  She frowned at him, but comprehension hit her a moment later.  “Oh.”  She considered for another moment.  “I want to see.”
 
“Nanao, you—”
 
“I want to see.”  She perched on one of his thighs, running her hand back down the ridges of his abdomen.  He shuddered at her touch.  She resumed her strokes, faster than before, but her eyes were focused on his face.  The tension in his body and reiatsu went higher and higher.  His hands reached for her, grasping her waist, her shoulder, and she thought that he wanted to kiss her, but she really did want to see this.
 
“Nanao.  Nanao—” he repeated her name over and over, and his eyes were hot on hers.  Suddenly the tension in him spilled out in a wave, and he said her name again, urgently.  Nanao watched his release, fascinated by the reactions of his body and his face.
 
She understood now why he’d wanted to see her face the most last night.  She could see the pleasure and the relief in his eyes and see his lips voicing her name.  I did this to him.  All of this—his arousal, his pleasure—was for her and from her.  She felt pleased and powerful and even a little sexy.
 
After his shudders eased he shifted until he could pull her against his chest.  He dropped little kisses into her hair, one of his large hands caressing her back.  There was tenderness in his touch that drew a soft sigh from her lips.
 
“Are you satisfied with the outcome of your plans, Nanao-chan?”
 
“It was most interesting.  I look forward to repeating the experience.”  She nipped at his shoulder with her teeth.
 
He chuckled.  “In the meantime, why don’t I wash your beautiful back?”
 
Nanao smiled against his skin.  “Please be thorough.”
 
*****************************************************************
 
In the morning Nanao opened one eye and squinted at the light coming in through the window.  It was brighter than she expected and she rose to her knees for a better look.  Shunsui groaned as she withdrew from his hold.  The sun was higher than usual.  The man was havoc on her sleeping schedule.
 
His arm snaked around her waist.  “If you’re already late, stay in bed with me for a while, Nanao-chan.”
 
She turned around to scowl at him, crossing her arms under her naked breasts.  “This is your fault.  You kept me up,” she snapped.
 
Shunsui grinned.  “I did.  I’m not sorry, either.  But Nanao-chan, I thought of another good reason to wake up early.”
 
“What’s that?” she asked, glaring at him.
 
He grasped her thighs and lifted her over him until she straddled his waist.  His mouth came up to kiss her neck and trail a wet path down to one of her breasts, and his hands—Nanao admitted to herself that he really had marvelous hands.
 
“That’s not fair,” she said, gasping, and then nothing crossed her lips but his name for a long time after.
 
She was late for work again.  Nanao wore a severe expression as she entered the Eighth Division.  She’d been late more in the last week than she’d been in the previous decade; but it wasn’t as if she’d be getting a rebuke from her captain anytime soon, not when it was his fault.
 
While Nanao was walking to her office, one of the Eleventh Seats brought her a cup of tea and a list of messages the division had received over the weekend.  She felt a moment of satisfaction; at least some of the division operated professionally, even if several members were hanging over their desks, trying to recover covertly from a rough weekend.  Her satisfaction turned into emptiness at the thought of losing her position as vice captain and leaving Eighth Division.  She shook it off and decided to assign this specific Eleventh Seat some additional duties in the instruction manual on running the division Nanao would leave behind.
 
There was a box on her desk, and she eyed it warily.  No doubt it was from Shunsui, but unlike the book and the flowers, it was impossible to see what the gift was without opening it.  It was too small to be clothes, unless they were very, very small clothes, which had happened before.  She narrowed her eyes at the box.  The memory of a rhinestone-studded thong came to mind, although she blamed Rangiku for that as much as Shunsui.  Neither one of them could seem to moderate the worst impulses of the other; this had resulted in some terrifying and bizarre gift experiences for Nanao over the years.  She was still not certain what they had expected her to do with a black leather riding crop, but she was certain that their intentions were not good.
 
She took a deep breath and tugged the top of the box off in a smooth motion.  There was a note on top, and when she lifted it away her breath caught.  Inside was a hairclip in black lacquered wood, inlaid with delicate cherry blossoms made of mother of pearl.  She ran her fingers over the smooth surface.
 
It was an exquisite piece, and she hesitated a long minute before unclipping her hair and redoing it with her new gift.  Shunsui really did have good taste sometimes.  She picked up the note.  For Nanao-chan, because everything you wear should be lovely.  Yours, Shunsui
 
Smiling, she reached for the top page of the backlog paperwork.

On to Chapter 26.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
akai_miko
Sep. 8th, 2011 05:59 pm (UTC)
WOW. WOW. WOW. I can't even imagine how you mangaed to write this. But it was WONDERFUL! I certainly loved it :D Now Nanao is an equal :P
r_dahlia
Sep. 9th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
Thanks! It was really hard to write. ^_^;; Writing any sort of sexy action is very challenging to me and takes forever.

The power dynamic of their relationship is something I wanted to explore in this story. Hopefully the development of that is interesting to people.
darkmystcompel
Sep. 11th, 2011 07:31 am (UTC)
First some sexiness, then some sweetness! I love the way you balance chapters :)

And power dynamics are (IMO) very, very interesting :D
r_dahlia
Sep. 12th, 2011 02:49 am (UTC)
I think the majority of the sexiness is now posted; there's a few other bits, but nothing as involved as this chapter. Oddly, I feel embarrassed when I post something like that, it's strange! So I'm relieved it's posted. ^_^

The exploration of their power dynamics continues through the whole story, I think.
darkmystcompel
Sep. 12th, 2011 07:57 am (UTC)
I always admire an author who can write sex in a way that is not only sexy, but actually relevant to the story, which is what you've managed here. Too much sex wouldn't feel balanced in this story, I think - because while sex is an important part of their relationship, it's not the whole part, or even the main part. I think you've done a great job with it ^_^
r_dahlia
Sep. 13th, 2011 12:49 am (UTC)
Thanks! I've tried to write plot-relevant sex, as odd as that sounds, so I do hope it reads like that.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )