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Title: sweeter than honey, stronger than steam
Author: scathachdhu
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: ~1300
A/N: Thanks to jaina for the quick beta; any remaining mistakes are my own.
Prompt: Bleach, Shunsui/Nanao: alcohol/drunkenness - "wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging"

Shunsui woke abruptly, opening heavy lids to a slit as he tried to determine what had disturbed his nap. He was still on his office floor, having fallen asleep after an afternoon of poetry and wine. The room was dark, but there was enough moonlight coming in from the window for him to able to make out the slight form of his vice-captain as she knelt at his side.

She wrapped a small hand around the back of his neck, then tugged at his shoulder with the other in an attempt to straighten his body from its awkward position slumped against the wall. He could have helped, but he was rather intrigued and decided to let her continue.

Feigning sleep while Nanao cursed beneath her breath and manhandled him was one thing, but when he felt her warm thighs suddenly pressed against the outsides of his legs, his eyes popped open. She hovered over him, frowning as she attempted to wrestle him upright.

After a few moments, Nanao noticed he was awake and sat back, her bottom resting just above his knees. "Sir," she nodded.

She called me sir, he thought--as if it were any other day, as if he weren't staring at her in bewilderment, as if she weren't currently straddling him on the floor of their office.

"Ah..." Shunsui blinked once more to be certain his eyes were not deceiving him. "Nanao-chan?"

"You looked uncomfortable."

"I...yes. Thank you, Nanao-chan." Shunsui pushed himself upright, careful not to dislodge her from his lap. The pleasant haze produced by sleep and wine was disappearing quickly, and he decided he needed to take a closer look at her.

She was...not disheveled, but just a little less tidy than normal; a lock of hair was dangerously close to slipping from its clip, and the opening of her robe gaped slightly, exposing more skin than usual. He supposed that could be the result of her efforts to move him just now. And yet--her movements held their usual grace, but lacked the crispness that he so associated with her. She seemed...languid and deliberate, as if...

He smiled. "Did you enjoy yourself at Rangiku-chan's?"

"For the most part, sir."

"I thought you weren't going to drink tonight."

"I hadn't planned on it," she replied, adjusting her glasses. "But I was caught in someone's practical joke."

Shunsui raised an eyebrow. "Oh?"

"I've taken care of it," she said, a hard, satisfied look on her face. "It won't happen again."

He relaxed, chuckling. "Ah, my Nanao-chan," he murmured. "I expect no less from you."

She frowned, laying her hands on her thighs. "Are you planning to stay here all night, Captain?"

"Only if you stay with me."

Her only reply was a delicate snort.

He sighed. "Then I have no choice but to escort you back to your quarters."

Shunsui couldn't help himself; she was hard enough to resist when they were both sober, but this...this unusual behavior of hers required more self-restraint than he was willing to exercise at the moment. He carefully laid a palm on the small of her back; inwardly jubilant when she did not smack it away.

"It's not necessary, sir," she replied.

"But what if some ruffian tries to take advantage of you? I would never forgive myself." He let his fingers idly trace her back through the fabric of her uniform.

"Then I would handle it." Her palm pressed against his chest as if to push him away.

Shunsui pouted. "You would deny me all my fun."

She sniffed. "By the looks of it, you've had more than enough fun this evening." Her short nails dragged almost absently across the skin exposed by his robe.

"But not with you, Nanao-chan." His fingers dipped, ever so slightly, brushing against the curve of her bottom. He wondered if she could feel the way his pulse picked up beneath her hand.

Nanao lowered her head for a moment, and he could hear her short, quick intake of breath just before she met his gaze once more. "I'm afraid you'll have to endure, sir," she said, her voice soft, but firm. "As you've more than likely noticed, I'm not quite myself...I think it's best I turn in."

She rose and pushed her glasses into place, then began to straighten her clothing. Shunsui sighed at the loss of her warmth. "Nanao-chan--"

Her face was in shadow where she stood, but he could hear the strain in her voice. "Good night, Captain." Without another word, she turned and left the office, sliding the door shut behind her.

Shunsui sighed and pushed himself to his feet. She wouldn't at all appreciate him coming after her now, so he might as well start for his own quarters.

He bent over to pick up his hat, settling it on his head with a smile. But he was very much looking forward to seeing her in the morning. They had a lot to discuss.


Shunsui swept into the office a little after ten. "Good morning, lovely! How are you feeling?"

She looked up as he crossed the office. It might have been his imagination, but he thought her customary look of slight irritation was a bit less pronounced today.

"I'm a little tired, Captain, but I'm well." She adjusted her glasses. "Thank you for asking."

It was as though the events of the previous night had never taken place. "Nanao-chan is so cold," he whined, settling on the floor near the desk.

"There's work to be done, Captain. And if I'm to finish both mine and yours, I don't have the time to chatter."

He stretched out his legs and sighed. "Ah," he said mournfully. "Used and tossed aside like so much garbage."

Nanao lay down the report she was reading. "Sir..."

"So unfeeling," he murmured. "To toy with a man's emotions like that."

She stood, her eyes narrowed. "I've done no such thing," she snapped.

"The dewy flower of our love was trampled underfoot before it could even--" he broke off, grunting as Nanao's foot lodged itself between two of his ribs.

"Be quiet!" she hissed. "You make it sound so obscene."

"I apologize, Nanao-chan," he said, rubbing his side. "A man will--" he took a deep breath; that kick had hurt. "A man will say any number of things to soothe the anguish of a broken heart."

"That's ridiculous," she huffed. "Nothing of any consequence happened." Her fists clenched at her sides. "I--I had hoped that we could put last night behind us."

"I've never forgotten anything about my Nanao-chan," he declared. "I'm not certain I could start now."

Her lips parted in surprise; she was so adorable when caught off-guard.

"But," he continued, holding her gaze, "I will if you want me to."

His vice-captain's lovely face flooded with color, and she immediately spun around and returned to her seat, where she began to violently shuffle papers. After a few moments, she responded, her voice gruff. "You'll do as you like, regardless of what I say."

"Nanao-chan!" he chided.

"Leave it, sir," she said, stamping a form before setting it to one side. Her face was still faintly pink, and she refused to look at him. "You should quit while you're ahead."

Shunsui felt a slow smile curve his lips, and he tipped his hat low in order to conceal his satisfaction. Given how he'd pushed his luck recently, he decided to do as she'd suggested.

He yawned and crossed his arms over his chest; he'd gotten out of bed relatively early in order to confront his beloved, and rather thought he'd earned a nap. Before long, he drifted off, the regular sound of rustling papers lulling him to sleep.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 6th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
That was really sweet, very much *them*, and I enjoyed it a great deal. Thank you!
Feb. 7th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
Thanks so much! I was nervous about this one, so I'm so glad you liked it.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )



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