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Bleach Fanfic: Midnight Garden, Chapter 7

Title: Midnight Garden
Pairing: Shunsui/Nanao
Genre: Romance/Drama
Rating: T
Status: Complete, Chapter 7 of 7
Contains: Spoilers through Bleach manga chapter 520, canon-typical violence.
Summary: When a relaxing vacation goes wrong, Nanao must confront the danger within.
Notes: This is my seventh entry for the Week of Love giveaway happening July 6th - July 12th at the shunsui_nanao community at Livejournal. My pieces are written as chapters for this story. These last two chapters are a little bit late, because the last chapter got pretty long, but I needed to keep the last two chapters together.
Prompts for the whole story: Romantic getaway, vacation, travel, and resorts

Back to Chapter 1.

The sun was warm on Nanao's face. Her back felt warm too, and it was wonderful after being cold for so long. The cold had seemed endless. It wasn't the painful cold that risked life and limb or the pleasant cold that made her finger and toes tingle when she returned indoors; this cold was a deep, numbing ice that gave neither pain nor pleasure. It was nothingness.

She'd feared death was an endless night frozen under the ice of a deep ocean.

But now she was warming, her fingers and toes tingling in that pleasant way. She breathed in, and could smell the scent of trees, of the outdoors and soap and sake. Had she fallen asleep outside with her Captain? How embarrassing that would be.

But she'd been dead at the bottom of an ocean.

She pushed her eyes to open, blinded by the brightness after an eternity in the dark.

"Slowly, Nanao-chan," she heard, and it was his voice, Captain Kyōraku's voice. No, it couldn't be him. She'd left him alive in his Inner World. Or had she been delirious before dying?

She blinked rapidly, trying to focus her eyes. It was his voice, his scent, his face above hers and his arms cradling her. "Did I fail? Did you die, too?" It was painful to speak, her throat raw and dry.

An answering pain lit in his eye. "You didn't fail. We're both alive, Nanao-chan."

"I was dead," she said, because it was the one thing that was certain.

"I was hoping you wouldn't remember that." He winced and she wondered if he was injured.

"I have an excellent memory, Captain." Tingling life returned to her biceps, her calves and thighs. It stung, but it was a pleasant pain.

He smiled, a bit rueful. "You always have. But if any of the investigators or anyone from the Central 46 asks, it would be best if you didn't remember dying."

"What did you do?" she asked, narrowing her eyes at him. He'd done something he shouldn't have, that was clear.

"Yare, yare. There's no need to concern lovely Nanao-chan with the details," he said airily.

"It was something forbidden, wasn't it?"

"Some of it was forbidden. Some of it has just been forgotten through time." He shook his head when she opened her mouth. "I'm not going to tell you about it. Let's just say that it's a combination of forbidden and dangerous kidō that I don't really want you to know."

"Why? If it's powerful enough to push back death, then it's something that I want to know." Her brow furrowed.

"It has a very limited set of applications, but if a situation ever arose where you could use it on me, I think that you would use it to save my life, no matter the cost." His gaze was steady on hers, but she looked away. Leaves and sky were all around them.

Her lap tingled, the base of her spine flickering to life. "I'm your Vice Captain. Shouldn't I do anything to save your life? It's my duty." Could she still hide behind that now? Would he let her?

"I'm sure there are people who would say yes to your question, Nanao-chan. But I'm not one of them, and you know that. I don't want you to die for me." There was no softness in his voice, which was rare. He always had softness for her.

She felt movement in her lap and glanced down. Sūkikyō was there, sleeping against one of her thighs. Why were they in her Inner World? But there was a more important question to ask. "Are you angry with me?"

"I gave you a direct order and you didn't take it. That's not acceptable for a Vice Captain, is it?" he asked evenly.

Her eyes stung. She tipped her head down. "That's true. I was insubordinate. I willfully, deliberately disobeyed your orders. But I can't say that I'm sorry, because I'm not. If I could trade my life for yours in a deadly situation, I would always make that choice." He didn't say anything for a long moment, and she opened her eyes to judge his mood. His jaw was set in a way that she recognized, his lips pressed together tightly. "You're really angry with me," she said, looking down at Sūkikyō.

He sighed, and she felt his chest move against her back. They sat on a thick branch of a tree in her Inner World, her Captain's back against the truck of the tree. She was sitting on one of his thighs, she realized, resting against his chest. His arms held her, one wrapped around her back, a large hand resting on her waist, his other arm across her legs, his hand on the side of her thigh to keep her from falling away from him and out of the tree.

It was a position that she should object to for the sake of propriety, but she couldn't spare any concern for that now. "Are you going to replace me?" Her voice cracked on the last word; it was so hard to ask.

"No." He shifted her closer, rubbing her back. She pressed her cheek against his chest, too relieved to speak. "I'm not happy about what you did, because your life is precious to me. But the truth is that any good Vice Captain will have the same feeling about saving their Captain. I probably couldn't get a different answer from one unless they had no loyalty or sense of duty, and that's not exactly what anyone wants in their Vice Captain."

"Thank you, Captain." He wasn't going to take her job away. It hurt that he was angry with her, but she could live with that. As long as he was alive she could make it up to him in some way.

"We'll talk about this again, because it's important that we both understand what's acceptable in a situation with our lives at risk. I want us to have clear boundaries, Nanao-chan."

Boundaries? When had he ever wanted any boundaries in their relationship? She swallowed. She'd told him that she wanted more time with him when they were in his Inner World. He must have understood her meaning, since he'd tried to use a declaration of love to manipulate her into leaving him. Were her feelings so unwelcome to him that he needed boundaries between them? "I understand," she said quietly. She eased back from his chest. "You're in my Inner World." She wanted desperately to change the subject before he said anything more specific and humiliating about what she'd admitted in the midnight garden.

"Yes. We needed to be sure you could wake up here first, so that the Fourth could be certain you would be able to wake up in your body in the real world." He glanced down at Sūkikyō. "He was awake when I made the connection between us, keeping watch over you, but he was really exhausted. It took most of his strength to keep even a tenuous connection from your consciousness to your body, given the way you left my Inner World."

Sūkikyō had done his best for her, even though she'd disregarded his advice several times and refused to leave her Captain's Inner World before she died. She stroked Sūkikyō's head gently, if a little clumsily. Her hands were still a bit stiff from the ice. "He's always been strong for me. Even when it seems impossible, he works so hard. I can't repay him for what he's done."

"You can repay him, Nanao-chan. He's your zanpakutō, so he's a part of you. What he wants is for you to live well, to be happy. Repay him in that way." He moved his hand from her thigh to pet the feathers of Sūkikyō's bright chest. "I was impressed by him, too. He's so small. But he's strong and he works hard no matter the circumstances, just as you said. Remember that those are your qualities, too. He reflects you."

Her cheeks warmed, a blush bringing tingling life to her skin. "Is Katen Kyōkotsu here, too?" Nanao had never gotten a clear look at her in his Inner World, if she'd really seen his zanpakutō at all.

"She's here. She likes to keep to the shadows, though. You have a very bright Inner World, Nanao-chan. It's beautiful." He leaned his head back, looking up at the sky. "I would love to have some sunshine in my Inner World."

"There was sunshine there. It was only in one place, but I saw it." It'd been daylight at the Shinigami Academy when she'd gone walking in the courtyard with Kyōraku-kun.

He gave her a quizzical look. "There's no sunshine in my Inner World, Nanao-chan. The forest of bones, the river, the midnight garden—it's always night there."

The Academy had been one of his memories, not one of the regular parts of his Inner World. Did he not remember walking with her there? "Captain, was there anything strange or out of place in your memory when you woke up?"

"No, there was nothing wrong with my memory when I woke up," he said clearly. So he didn't remember her talking about games with Shunsui-kun, or the dango under the moonlight she'd promised Kyōraku-kun, or the kiss on her nape that Captain Kyōraku gave her at the festival. "Why do you ask?"

She shook her head. "It's nothing. Just a concern that Sūkikyō had. But it seems everything is fine." It hurt that he didn't remember those meetings; they'd meant so much to her, but hadn't even happened for him. Maybe it was for the best. He wanted boundaries now. It would only be more humiliating for her if he had to explain that he'd flirted with her, wanted her, only when she was a stranger to him.

Maybe their responsibilities and duty to each other and their history together would always be too much to move past. She would learn to accept that, given enough time. It'd be enough to stay by his side always, and if it wasn't, she'd just have to figure out how to enjoy what she could have with him and stop longing for what would never be.

"If you feel steady enough, the Fourth Division can wake you up, Nanao-chan."

She forced a smile. "I'm fine." But he hadn't explained everything, probably deliberately. "You mentioned investigators and the Central 46. What happened?"

He scratched his chin. "It seems a few members of the Central 46 were more annoyed by my good health than anyone anticipated. They bribed some of the less scrupulous members of the Twelfth Division for an abandoned prototype."

"The octopus Hollow?"

"Yes. There were only a few members of the Central 46 implicated, and the others are all professing shock and vowing investigations and new security measures, of course."

"I'm sure their concern is staggering," she said, annoyed.

"Don't worry about it, Nanao-chan. I should have been more focused on this before, you were right that there was more risk than I assumed. But I think the failure of this plot will put a damper on any similar plans that might have been brewing in the Central 46." He shrugged.

"Two assassination attempts in short order would get the Central 46 some unpleasant scrutiny. The failure of this experiment might be discouraging, it's true." She sighed. Attempts on his life were something she would have rather been wrong about. "What should I tell the investigators?"

"The truth. Just not all of it. Tell them everything about the Hollow, about the ninjas and deciding to go into my Inner World. But I'd like to keep the specifics of my Inner World private, Nanao-chan." His hand left Sūkikyō to return to her thigh.

His hand was warm through her clothes, but she was focused on the Central 46. "Yes, I understand." It was a vulnerability to have anyone learn too much about his zanpakutō or his Inner World. Nanao probably knew more than anyone else, but she would never betray him. The Central 46 was already certain of her loyalties and wouldn't spend much time trying to press information from her when they wouldn't get anywhere.

"Thank you, Nanao-chan. For everything," he murmured in her ear. Even if he was angry about what she'd done, she'd ended up saving his life.

She tipped her head up, her lips near his ear. "You're welcome, Captain."

He made a sound of pleasure in his throat. "Are you ready to wake up?"

"Yes," she said, and she thought she felt his lips press against her hair before he faded away from her Inner World. She closed her eyes, leaning against the tree, the air suddenly colder than before.

She opened her eyes in a dark room in one of the hospital beds of the Fourth. The beds were unmistakable, with their firm mattresses and plastic coating. Captain Kyōraku rose out of the chair beside the bed. "Hello again, Nanao-chan. Don't try to get up. I'll get Hanatarō-kun."

The cheerful and fumbling Hanatarō wanted to keep her overnight for observation, which she agreed to reluctantly. With her Captain hovering she could hardly refuse medical attention, although she felt fine, just tired. "What day is it?" she asked when Hanatarō left.

"Thursday. We left for the Lakes District on Tuesday, so it's only been a couple days." He stretched his arms over his head and she wondered how long he'd been in the little chair. He looked tired and his beard hadn't been trimmed.

"I see." She yawned widely, bringing her hand up to cover her mouth. How could she be so tired when she'd done nothing but sleep for at least a day?

"Get some rest, Nanao-chan. I'll come back tomorrow to help you home." He patted her hand gently, smiling, and left.

She closed her eyes, curling up on her side, and remembered the way the paper lanterns swayed at the empty festival when she'd walked with her hand on the arm of a Captain Kyōraku that wanted her.

"You'll do anything to get out of vacation, won't you?" Rangiku scolded, sweeping into the hospital room.

"I was actually looking forward to it a little," Nanao said. She sat on the edge of the bed in the scratchy hospital robe.

Captain Kyōraku filled the doorway. "Are you ready to go home, Nanao-chan?" She knew he must have heard her, but it didn't show on his face and he didn't tease her about it.

"I brought you some clothes, Nanao." Rangiku shooed Kyōraku out and closed the door. "You'll want your own things on when you go home, I'm sure."

"Thank you, Rangiku-san." She dressed in the yukata Rangiku had brought, setting aside the hospital robe.

Rangiku and Captain Kyōraku kept up a steady and light conversation with minimal input from Nanao on the walk back to Nanao's quarters. Sasakibe had built a small house of a British design on the First Division grounds, and Nanao had taken possession of that, Okikiba preferring to stay in the quarters he'd had for decades as the Third Seat. At her door Captain Kyōraku tipped his hat to her. "I have a meeting with the Central 46 soon. Will you be alright for now, Nanao-chan?"

"Yes, I'll be fine. Please go ahead to your meeting," she said, looking away from him. It was hard to hold his gaze; she was afraid that everything she'd felt in his Inner World would show in her eyes. But he didn't have those memories, and he didn't want her love. The way he'd spoken around her admission made it clear that he thought talking about it would be uncomfortable for both of them. If he really loved her romantically, he would have wanted to have that conversation, difficult though it might be.

"Please call me if you need anything, Nanao-chan," he said, and disappeared into flash step with the wind.

Nanao opened the door to the house, stepping in. There was still too much furniture for her tastes, even after giving some of it to members of the First with a sentimental attachment to Sasakibe. She couldn't get rid of the rest yet—she still felt like a guest in someone else's house.

"Is something wrong, Nanao?" Rangiku asked, following her into the house.

Nanao shook her head. "I'm missing something that I never really had."

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"No, I can't. Not yet. Thank you, though, Rangiku-san." She moved through to her kitchen. "Would you like some tea?"

The moon was rising.

Nanao stood outside on the small porch of the house, looking up at the sky. The moon wouldn't be as full as the one in the midnight garden, but it was close. She closed her eyes, leaning against one of the posts for the roof. She really needed to stop thinking about Captain Kyōraku or she would never get to sleep.

"You're awake. I'm glad, Nanao-chan."

Her eyes snapped open. Captain Kyōraku stood on the path in front of the house, two dango sticks in his hands. "Captain?" she asked, uncertain.

"You promised to eat dango with me under the moon. Do you remember, Nanao-chan?" He smiled, holding out one of the dango sticks for her.

She felt her heart skitter in her chest, her knees suddenly jelly. She leaned more heavily against the post. "You didn't remember. You said so."

He walked up to the house, waiting for her at the bottom of the two shallow steps. "No, I said there was nothing wrong with my memory, and there isn't. I remember everything perfectly. I understand why Sūkikyō thought it might be troubling, but it was easy for me to string the memories together and see what had happened."

"I see." She stepped into her house, emerging with a wrap to wear over her yukata. The chill of the ice had receded more when she woke up, but she could still feel it with the sun gone. "Do you want to go for a walk? That's what you asked for originally, wasn't it?" She didn't know what would happen now, but she wanted to find out. She could do this; hadn't she done something incredibly difficult only a few days ago? Talking a walk with him was easy in comparison.

"I'd like that, if you feel up to it." He handed her one of the dango sticks when she came down the stairs and then offered her his arm. She took it the way she had at the festival, her hand wrapped around his strong biceps.

She ate her dango as they walked, waiting for him to say something more. He'd waited for her to get out of the hospital before having this conversation. Would he bring her out for dango if he didn't want to talk about the connections she'd made with his memories in his Inner World?

They walked out to the park across the street from the First Division, but this time he led her to a bench, sitting down beside her. "I thought a lot about what happened in my Inner World, about what I felt when you died, and when I was able to save you. I thought about my memories of you there, and the moments we'd shared. I wanted to think about all of those things before I talked to you about them."

She set her dango stick aside, her eyelids fluttering down. "What did you want to talk to me about?" It was hard to speak around the nerves tightening her throat.

"The lives we could have led." He leaned back on his hands, looking up at the moon. "If we'd met as children, we would have been fast friends. Nanao-chan would have always been the most important girl to me, and someday you would have been the most important woman to me. As childhood friends, our bond would have grown naturally into love."

"I really enjoyed meeting you as a child. I wish I could have had a friend like you when I was young," she said softly.

He nodded. "Then I thought about the Academy, and what we would have been if we'd met as students. You would have led me on a merry chase, but I would have followed you anywhere, and eventually we would have spent enough time together studying and eating and talking for you to discover all of my charms."

She laughed quietly. "Discover your charms? Is that what you call it?"

He grinned. "But you were a little charmed already, weren't you, Nanao-chan?"

"I'm sure that I was only so slightly charmed that it's hardly worth mentioning." She raised her eyebrow, teasing.

"We would have grown up together, become shinigami together. You would have gone with me to the Eighth Division, and we would have been inseparable and in love."

She tipped her face up to the moon. "Is that how you see it?" she murmured. It was so close to what she'd seen.

"Yes. And then I met you at the festival, when I was already a Captain. You were so lovely, clever and beautiful. I was enchanted by you. If we'd met that way, we would have become lovers soon, and I would have persuaded you to marry me, so that you would always be my love."

She couldn't say anything, drawing a short, tight breath.

"There were so many chances for us to love each other if we'd met in those ways. But we didn't meet in any of those situations. We met when you became the youngest girl in my division and I had already been a Captain for many, many years. There's always been a significant age difference between us. We weren't able to have that pure, instant connection upon meeting as people at the same stage of life. Our relationship has developed along a complicated path, and we have so many memories of each other. We also have important feelings for each other that aren't romantic in nature." He spoke so evenly, so carefully that she could hardly bear it.

Nanao didn't want to force him to reject her explicitly when he'd made himself clear enough already. "I understand. You don't have to say anything else." She stood, taking a step away from him. Her vision was blurring. She wanted to get away from him before she humiliated herself any further. "I'll see you in the office on Monday, Captain."

"Wait, Nanao-chan." His large hand wrapped around her wrist gently. "I haven't finished yet. I need to ask you something before you go."

"What is it, Captain?" she asked, her voice steady by force of will. She didn't turn around.

"How do you feel about dating older men?"

She swallowed. He'd just explained why they couldn't have the kind of romantic relationship that would have arisen naturally out of their meetings in his Inner World. Was he trying to drive home how impossible it was for them? The truth might disappoint him if that was his purpose, so she spoke cautiously. "You said that you wanted boundaries."

"I said that I didn't want you to die for me. I want boundaries that keep you from throwing yourself on a sword for me. I didn't say I wanted boundaries for all of our relationship," he said. "Were you worried about that, sweetheart?"

"Then you don't want us to maintain our current relationship? Or to be more separated from each other?" she asked quietly.

"Separated? Nanao-chan, if I could tear down the boundaries between us with my hands right now, I would do that. Why would you believe that I don't want to be close to you?" He tried to turn her to him.

She resisted. He didn't want the same kind of closeness that she did, not given everything that he'd said and done. She looked out at the street, her eyes unseeing. "When you were in the bramble I told you something." Even though it was selfish of me, when you're important to so many people, I still wanted there to be time for us. "But you used it as leverage to get me to leave."

He stood, coming up behind her. "I would have said anything, used anything I could have as leverage then. I wanted you to leave so much. I desperately wanted you to live, Nanao-chan." He spoke low into her ear, his fingers tracing the lines of her shoulder and neck in a way that made her shiver with longing.

"You would have said anything," she repeated dully. "So you lied about the help I could give the Fourth Division, about—other things." She knew that, had known it then, but it still hurt to hear him say it. He didn't love her in the same way she loved him. "I should go." She pulled away from his touch.

"Don't go yet, Nanao-chan. You haven't answered my question about dating." His tone was serious, but the question wasn't serious, and she couldn't take it, not after her hopes had risen with dango under the moon and been crushed with such gentle care.

She spun around slowly, frowning at him. "I can't play with you right now. I know you want to be normal with me, but I can't right now." She breathed deeply, forcing her voice to be cool. "I'll see you on Monday, and everything will be fine then, Captain." She wouldn't be fine, not inside, but she would make sure everything seemed normal to him then.

"Nanao-chan, you've got it wrong. Dating me isn't intended as a joke." He placed his hands on her shoulders gently, but she couldn't look at him.

"Stop. Please, stop." She felt the mortifying prickle of tears behind her eyes.

He lifted his hands off her shoulders, sitting back on the bench quietly. She turned to the street and took one step away, then another. "When I told you I loved you before, you told me not to be cruel. I didn't say that to you then to be cruel, or to try to get you to leave me there, although I did want you to leave me. I said it because I didn't want to die without saying it to you again."

She stilled, unable to breathe, unable to turn to him. "What kind of love?" He'd said that they had many important feelings for each other. She needed to know exactly what he meant.

"I love you in so many ways. That's why it was difficult to decide to take this step. Nanao-chan is really precious to me. I didn't want to ask you for more than you wanted to give me. I didn't want to damage our existing relationship. Our path together has always been slow and winding, looping back on itself over and over."

"Because of how and when we met," she said. It all circled back to that. Maybe history and duty could never be overcome by emotion.

"Yes." She heard him shift on the bench restlessly. It seemed this was as difficult for him as he'd said. "After what happened in my Inner World, I needed to think about what we are to each other, what we could have been if things were different, and what we could be in the future. It was strange, thinking about all of the lives we hadn't lived. Even though my life has been long and satisfying in many ways, I still felt a longing for the lives we couldn't live with each other."

She closed her eyes tightly, but a pair of tears still escaped. She'd laid awake in the dark and longed for a version of the man she loved that could love and desire her, a man that she could have had in another life. "I felt it, too."

His hand clasped loosely around her wrist. "Our history gives us important feelings for each other, and I do love you in all of the ways it's written for us. But I also I love you romantically, Nanao-chan. I want us to have the life together that we've both longed for so much."

He'd brought her out for dango under the moon to talk about what could have been, and what could yet be. He'd brought her here to give her the time she'd wanted with him. She exhaled a shaky breath. "What was your question about dating?"

"How do you feel about dating older men?" he asked with his voice quiet and serious. She knew now that he was really serious; this was an important question for him.

She turned to face him. He was smiling but there was a little anxiety in his eye; even after everything, he wouldn't take her answer for granted. She tapped her finger against her lips, as if thinking. "Is the question for dating older men in general, or for dating you?"

His smile widened. "There's a different answer for me? I want that one, of course."

She raised her free hand to his face, her fingers stroking along his cheekbone and jaw. "In general I think it would be better to pursue relationships with people that have common interests and experiences, which makes dating someone close in age a sensible choice. But if it's you—those things don't matter."

"They don't matter?" He released her wrist to put his hands on her waist, drawing her in close.

She rested her hands on his shoulders. "What I realized when I met you at all those different times in your life was that it didn't matter when or how we met. There would always be something important between us."

"You're a secret romantic, Nanao-chan." He tipped his face up, pulling her against his body.

"Ridiculous," she murmured, her hands threading through his hair. "Do you really want to date as if we were strangers?"

"No. I want to be lovers who go on dates. We know each other well already, so we could skip a lot of the courtship stages if we wanted. But I want to experience those moments with you, even though we already know what we are to each other."

"Who's the romantic here?" she asked, but he'd made her very happy, her blood effervescent in her veins. They really could be so much to each other, could have so much together. She wanted all of those experiences, too.

"I love you, Nanao-chan." He slipped his hand up to the nape of her neck.

She kissed his cheek, the corner of his mouth, finally pressing her lips fully against his, softly. He teased her, nibbling at her lips until she opened her mouth for him, letting his tongue slip in. He tasted of dango and sake and it was just right, just as it should be. She pressed herself against him, wanting more.

A pair of young female shinigami passed by on the park path, giggling.

He broke the kiss reluctantly. "This isn't the best place for a romantic interlude. You should probably get some rest now, precious Nanao-chan. I don't want you to end up back at the Fourth."

She wasn't concerned about going back to the Fourth; she felt fine. But the park was too public for what she wanted. "Take me home, please."

He obligingly swept her up to flash step her to the door of her little house. She opened the door and stepped over the threshold. "Can I visit you tomorrow, Nanao-chan?" he asked, gazing at her longingly.


"No?" His eye widened in surprise.

She slipped off her sandals and came back to the door, curling her hand the front of his uniform. "I want to be selfish with you for a little while. Will you let me?"

He came in so quickly it made her smile. He clicked the door closed behind him, pulling his sandals off. "I want you to be selfish with me, as much as you want, not just for a little while. We may not always be able to have the time we both want together. There are a lot of responsibilities that we can't just set aside. But when we do have time, be as selfish with me as you want."

"I told you what I want. What do you want?" She reached up and took his hat off his head. She dropped it on her table and it rolled jauntily before settling.

He grinned, and it was wolfish around the edges. But he said: "The Fourth was very clear that you were to rest, Nanao-chan."

"I feel fine. And it's Friday night. We don't have to be at the office until Monday. I plan to spend a lot of time in bed over the weekend." She slipped her fingers under his pink haori. It fell to the floor with a soft rustle.

His eye gleamed with anticipation, but he said, "I don't know that your plans would be very restful, if they include me and your bed."

She led him into her small bedroom with her hand fisted in his uniform. The moonlight streamed in through the light curtains, casting tall shadows. The wide bed was in the Western style, taking up much of the room. "Are you trying to pretend that you won't want to nap at all? I find that hard to believe. Besides, if I feel too tired for work, my Captain will give me a little more time off."

He didn't need any more convincing.

Maybe they hadn't met at the perfect time in their lives, and maybe it'd taken a long time to get here, but they were together now, under the moon.

The End

A/N: This was a bit of a whirlwind process for me, trying to complete this story in the allotted time! I ran over the time and it ended up being longer than I'd intended, but I'm happy that I was able to explore Shunsui and Nanao further and speculate a bit about their zanpakutōs and Inner Worlds. I hope people enjoyed reading this story! Thank you for your reviews and, as always, for reading! ^_^


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 2nd, 2013 04:00 am (UTC)
Great Story
Delving into their inner worlds was very interesting to read. I love these two as a couple and you capture their personalities so well.
Sep. 22nd, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC)
Re: Great Story
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed this story!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )