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Title: Heart of Summer
Pairing: Shunsui/Nanao
Genre: Romance
Rating: T
Status: Ongoing, Chapter 4 of 7
Contains: Spoilers for the Lost Substitute Shinigami Arc, minor adult themes and content.
Summary: In the heart of summer, Shunsui seeks a kiss.
Notes: This is my fourth 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: Fireflies

Back to Chapter 1.

"Are you sure that this fulfills your socializing request?" Nanao asked. She glanced at the picnic of SWA members set up on the other side of the park's path. Captain Kyōraku had selected this spot for their picnic, only to have her friends lay their picnic blanket across the way.

Rangiku had shrugged at Nanao, full of innocence, but Nanao didn't believe it was a coincidental choice. Her friends had followed them from the beach to the park deliberately, like particularly poor spies. Soi Fon would have coordinated much better sneaking, but she'd gone to visit Yoruichi at the Urahara Shōten. Only Rangiku, Isane, and Kiyone remained of the large beach group; Captain Unohana and Hinamori had taken Ukitake and Yachiru back to Soul Society hours ago, and Nemu said she was needed at the Twelfth, and left with them.

"This is a lovely spot for our date, Nanao-chan."

"But we aren't alone, and this is just a picnic at a park, which is nothing we haven't done before," Nanao said.

"Picnics are very pleasant at this time of year, and we are in the Living World, with sweet Nanao-chan wearing the most delightful summer garment—"

"It's a sundress." She adjusted her glasses. Privately she did agree that the summer clothes of the Living World were most intriguing. The shirt and trousers Captain Kyōraku wore were fitted to his body in ways that drew her eyes to him. Staring again, she thought, and turned her head to the flowers lining the path.

"—In the most delightful sundress, then. Yes, this is a date, Nanao-chan." His lips curved up. He'd gotten some sun today at the beach, and he looked sun-kissed in a way Nanao never had in her life.

She'd applied sunscreen often at the beach, which had allowed him the opportunity to repeatedly offer to assist her. She'd acquiesced to having him help with only her back.

Five times today.

"I thought you'd want something more elaborate. Something more—difficult." She glanced at him.


"Something with a lot of bizarre flowers and bad poetry and possibly being followed around by a band." She sipped from her glass.

"You wound me. The flowers would be beautiful and the poetry excellent, Nanao-chan." He grinned at her.

Her lips turned up. "You must admit, your taste runs to the excessive side."

"I prefer to think of it as the romantic side. But I'm saving that for later." He chuckled.

"I see. So you'll make me comfortable first, and then bring in the awkward elements later."

"The romantic elements, Nanao-chan. Eventually you won't remember a time when you weren't followed daily by a band backing up my subtle yet touching poetry."

She laughed. "And what will this poetry be about?"

"Oh, everything. I remember you had a particularly strong reaction to the one about your thighs—"

"A strong negative reaction to that one. I'm surprised you can't still see the imprint of my kidō book on your face." She leaned over as if searching for the mark on his skin.

"You see, Nanao-chan?"

"The imprint? Unfortunately, it seems to be gone. I had intended to make a lasting impression on you." She raised an eyebrow.

"If you want to leave a mark on me, you're welcome to come over here and do it. Perhaps you'd like to give me a little bite mark? You seemed to enjoy that at the festival." He parted the collar of his shirt to expose his neck more. "Here, maybe? Then everyone could see it."

"I'm not going to bite you. That would be inappropriate." She sniffed, but could feel the blush on her cheeks.

"Wildly. And we'd both enjoy it, so why not?"

Nanao glanced back at the SWA picnic. "We're not alone."

"And if we were?" His voice was low and full of a sensual persuasion.

"We're not," she said, but her voice dipped lower.

"You see, Nanao-chan? It doesn't have to be difficult with us. It could be very, very easy."

"Easy?" Her tongue wet her lips, and his eyes followed its path closely.

"Yes. We could just slide into being more to each other." He smiled, slow and easy, matching the tone of his voice.

"We could just—" She broke off, considering. Her friends from the SWA were out of hearing range, but still observing their date. "I don't know."

"Think about it, Nanao-chan. We have lots of time, don't we?"

She said nothing. They ate picnic foods and drank a nice wine, making light conversation. Despite their audience and the hint he'd dropped earlier about becoming lovers, she relaxed, enjoying the meal.

They finished their picnic as twilight descended around them. "Would you like to walk along the river?" Captain Kyōraku asked.

Nanao nodded.

"Wait a minute, cute Nanao-chan." He strolled over to the SWA picnic and handed off the picnic basket and blanket with some words Nanao couldn't hear, but that sent the women into ripples of laughter.

Captain Kyōraku returned to Nanao minus the basket. "They'll take our things back for us."

"What did you say to them?" She fell into step beside him as they crossed the grass to a path beside the river.

"I just asked them to take the basket. They've been drinking a bit," he said, grinning.

She looked back and saw a number of open bottles at the SWA picnic. "More than a bit." She'd been too absorbed in their dinner to notice.

They walked along the river path, taking in the scenery of the Living World. "This is lovely, isn't it?" he asked, breathing in the warm night air.

"Yes but—are you sure that this is a date? We've done this before, too." Lights over the water caught her eye and she stopped for another look. Fireflies danced in bright circles near the bank of the river.

"This is a date. Nanao-chan, anything is a date if we both agree that it is. There are no rules about something like this." He'd turned back to face her when she stopped walking. "Fireflies? How beautiful."

"Yes." She felt his hand on her cheek and raised her eyes to his face.

"It could be easy between us, Nanao-chan." His eyes were dark and heavy-lidded, and his thumb stroked her cheek.

"It could be easy?" she asked and it was less than a whisper. Her hand rose to his shoulder, and then behind his neck. She pressed so softly that she thought he might have mistaken it for a breeze if he hadn't known that she was touching him.

Still he bent towards her, as if her faint touch was a compelling force. Her eyes started to slip closed, but opened again when he sighed, a wry smile on his mouth. "In the bushes, and behind the tree," he murmured, and she turned to see a very fat bush with feet sticking out of on either side and the hem of Rangiku's red halter dress blaring against the wood of a tree.

The SWA members were several meters distant, but Nanao heard them laughing and shushing each other when they saw her looking. "They're drunk," she said, and pulled her hand off of his neck, spinning to face the river. Her cheeks burned. "I'm sorry. They're my friends, and I should have done something earlier."

The fireflies flitted above the water. His hands landed on her shoulders from behind. "Don't worry about it. We all came to the Living World to have some fun. There will be time for you and me on another day." His lips brushed one of her pink cheeks. "For now, let's make sure they get home safely."

She nodded, relieved that he'd offered to help with her friends from the SWA, and that he wasn't upset by the truncated date. "Thank you." She hesitated, but added, "I enjoyed it. Our—our date."

His hands squeezed her shoulders. "I did too, Nanao-chan."

She moved away from him briskly, calling out to the poorly hidden SWA members. He strolled after her, his hands in his pockets and a smile on his face.

On to Chapter 5.