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Title: Heart of Summer
Pairing: Shunsui/Nanao
Genre: Romance
Rating: T
Status: Ongoing, Chapter 2 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 second 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.
Prompt: Festivals

Back to Chapter 1.

"We're going to be late," Nanao said. Her fingers tapped on her knee.

"It's a festival, not an appointment." Rangiku slid another hairpin into Nanao's hair. "That's good, I think." She held out a mirror for Nanao.

"It's very pretty. Thank you, Rangiku-san." Nanao set the mirror down carefully and rose, heading for the door. "We should go now. Are you coming?"

Rangiku applied lipstick neatly to her full mouth. "You worry too much. Besides, it's your birthday. You're supposed to make a grand entrance."

"It would be difficult to do that, since we're just walking over."

Rangiku sighed, looping her arm through Nanao's as they left Nanao's home and walked toward the festival. "There is not enough romance in your soul, Nanao. I'd say there isn't any, but you must have at least a little, given how much you indulge your Captain."

Nanao looked away, saying nothing.

"Are you still upset about the SWA thing tomorrow?" Rangiku asked.

"I am not upset," Nanao said, her face stiff.

"You are upset! Listen, it's just something fun. If you really don't want to do it, no one will actually force you."

"It's an important fundraiser. The potential to sell out of the photo book is very high." Nanao nodded for emphasis.

"Oh? So you're upset, but you're still going to do it?" Rangiku raised an eyebrow.

"It's my duty to the SWA."

Rangiku laughed.

"What?" Nanao frowned at her.

"You say that it's you're duty, so rigid and serious, but you're blushing. You want to do it."

"That's not true," Nanao said as they approached the festival grounds.

Rangiku laughed again. "Nanao wants to help with the SWA fundraiser. She wants to put her hands on her Captain's big—"

"Would you stop?" Nanao hissed.

Captain Kyōraku was waiting for them a short distance away, watching their approach with interest.

"—hands," Rangiku finished, grinning.

"Good afternoon. You both look very lovely." Captain Kyōraku's eyes swept over Nanao's yukata in a way that made the blush in her cheeks hotter.

"She's upset about the SWA thing tomorrow," Rangiku said, unlooping her arm from Nanao's arm.

"I am not." Nanao crossed her arms.

"She is. Anyway, I see my Captain, so please excuse me. I need to make sure he enjoys the festival, he looks much too serious. You'll take care of Nanao, won't you?" Rangiku gave Kyōraku an exaggerated wink.

"Oh, go away," Nanao grumbled.

"I'll catch up with you later." Rangiku waved as she ran off, calling her Captain.

Captain Kyōraku watched her with an amused wariness. She could almost hear him thinking that Rangiku had wound Nanao up and left her to him. "Are you upset about the SWA photo shoot tomorrow?" Captain Kyōraku asked.

"No." Nanao frowned at him.

He raised an eyebrow. "All right. Let's talk about something else then. You look so beautiful in your yukata. Is it new?" He held an arm out for her, but she didn't take it, falling into step beside him.

The yukata was soft lavender with dainty fireworks in many colors. "Rangiku-san's gift."

"It's so festive." He touched her sleeve.

"Don't do that." She glanced at the people around them, but no one was looking.

"Your hair looks very pretty—are those the combs that I got you last year?"

"Yes. Rangiku-san did it." Her fingertips came up to touch the edges of the combs, which made a delicate jangling when the strands of beads decorating them touched.

"Do you want to get octopus fritters, Nanao-chan?" He gestured at the vendor.


"Do you want to get something to drink?"


He gave her a wry smile. "Then what do you want?"

She looked down at the ground. He reached for her hand and she smacked it away. "Stop that," she snapped, looking at the people milling around.

He sighed. "Come over here," he said, leading her away from the crowd. He leaned against a tree. "You are upset about the SWA event."

"I am not." She wouldn't look at his face.

"You're sulking, Nanao-chan." He pressed his finger to her pouting lips.

She bit his finger lightly, taking it into her mouth up to the first knuckle and then pushing it out. "I am not sulking."

His breath had caught audibly when she'd bit him, and she felt a flush creeping up her neck, because biting was well out of bounds, even with a Captain like hers. She should probably apologize.

She met his eyes, and the flush raced up her cheeks—his gaze was intense and lit with sensual heat. Her tongue darted out to lick her lips. Apologizing was out of the question; the conversation about biting him would go in directions that were not appropriate for a festival full of people. She was just going to have to pretend that she'd never done it.

She sighed. "I am sulking. But it's unfair, what the SWA wants, and then what you asked for in exchange—" she stopped, and felt her lips puckering into a pout, so she pressed them together instead.

"Nanao-chan, if you really don't want to do the SWA photo shoot tomorrow, tell me, and I'll turn them down."

He meant it; she could see that, and it made her feel better for some reason, although it didn't really change anything for her. "Thank you, but I'm going to go through with it, because the fundraising potential is really tremendous, and we'll be able to arrange at least two trips this year with the projected proceeds."

"Nanao-chan is so enterprising." He smiled. "But the SWA thing isn't until tomorrow, is it? And today is an important day. It's sweet Nanao-chan's birthday. Why don't we set aside the SWA situation, and enjoy ourselves today?"

She nodded. "There's nothing to be done about the SWA shoot. And I do want some octopus fritters."

His grin widened. "It'll be my treat." He pushed off of the tree, moving back toward the crowd, but stopped to murmur in her ear. "And Nanao-chan, if you're still upset about the SWA event after it's over, I'll let you bite me as much as you like."

She swallowed. "That would be incredibly inappropriate."

"Incredibly. That's why it would be so much fun." He walked with her back into the festival crowd. "Octopus fritters?"

"Yes. Several octopus fritters." She nodded for emphasis.

He laughed. "As my Nanao-chan wishes." He held out his arm again, and this time she wrapped her fingers around the crook of his elbow.

They ate festival food, and sweets, and played the games—he was too good at all of them, so she wouldn't take any of his wagers—and she made her wish with a smile. He hung it on a high branch of the tree with his wish, and the collective wishes of Soul Society waved in the wind.

She smiled. They joined their friends as the evening went on, and Nanao accepted their birthday congratulations and gifts with warmth and pleasure. A small part of the warmth came from the amount of alcoholic juice she'd had, but most of it was just her enjoyment at being remembered by her friends.

Captain Kyōraku drank in her smiles and laughter—she could feel his eyes on her as they sat side by side on the picnic blanket—and it pleased her. "Are you happy?" he asked, while the others were absorbed in a story Rangiku was telling with grand gestures of her arms and the grand jiggling of her breasts that followed.

"Yes," she said. He held up a bite of something sweet, and she ate it from his fingers. Only Rangiku and Ukitake noticed, as they were sitting opposite from them on the blanket, but Rangiku only continued her story with an even grander gesture, and Ukitake wouldn't embarrass Nanao by drawing attention to it.

Nanao knew that Rangiku would bring it up later, but Captain Kyōraku leaned in and whispered, "You delight me, Nanao-chan," and she thought it was worth Rangiku's questions tomorrow.

"The fireworks are going to start," Hitsugaya said, consulting the schedule.

"Put that away, Captain! A festival is not about clocks, it's about spontaneous fun," Rangiku said, waving her finger in the air.

"Then the fireworks are going to spontaneously start in two minutes." Hitsugaya folded the schedule and put it away.

Hinamori giggled, turning her body toward the river. "I hope they're colorful this year," she said.

Everyone facing Nanao turned around to look over the river. The fireworks began in a burst of yellow, brilliant against the dark sky. As Hinamori had hoped, there were a lot of colorful ones this year. Nanao leaned her head against her Captain's arm, her hand brushing his. He entwined his fingers with hers, holding her hand in the way she'd denied him earlier.

"Happy birthday, Nanao-chan," he whispered in her ear, and she thought she felt the brush of his lips against her hair.

She smiled. Sometimes she disliked having her birthday shared with a festival, but there were other moments when she wouldn't trade it for any other day. Watching the fireworks, surrounded by her friends, Captain Kyōraku's fingers laced with hers, she was happy, all the way through.

"Thank you," she murmured, and his hand squeezed hers.

On to Chapter 3.