Pairing/Characters: Shunsui/Ukitake, Nanao
Title: "Locked Doors"
Comments: This is my Nanao muse's mulling over her and Shunsui's relationship. Something introspective and suiting of her. I really do love Shunsui and Nanao's dynamics, however both of them being cancers, it is hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept of their relationship, or of Shunsui having feelings for her that is anything but fatherly/brotherly/familal. Forgive any errors, unfortunately I never beta my stuff and it most certainly shows (at least to me) but sometimes I just need to write out the ideas and sometimes the most powerful writing is that which comes to you before the editing comes into play.
There were many people in the higher echeleons of Soul Society that thought that she and her Captain had a 'thing going on. This was mainly thought because of the way that they prodded each other back and forth like two kindergarten children who were so into each other that they couldn't help but pick here and there. Whenever the rumors reached her ears, she had a good laugh over them privately, she also wrote the best ones down so that she could share them with Rangiku, over a good bowl of Ramen and glasses of sake. Logically she could see where the rumors came from as they made a habit of enacting an elaborate patomine. He chases her, she smacks him with something heavy, preferrably her book. He artfully flirts and she grouses at him and tells him to desist. When he declares to people that he has the cutest vice captain, all she can do is roll her eyes. People wonder when he'll claim her, bets are made and no payoff is gained. She feels amusement and she knows that her captain feels exactly the same way.
The fact of the matter was that they were alike. Too much alike. Such a union could of never worked as they both hid behind something; him with his flirting and whimsy, her with her books and duty. In fact she had remembered quite fondly the first morning that they had both come into the office grumpy, both unquestionably moody and liable to snap even just a little bit at anything. She had to all but force him out of the office so that he could go and improve his mood in any manner, and when it came down to it they both were not morning people whatsoever. But despite their moods, they did get along famously on a professional level, since both had the desire to know everything that was going on in their division, much less everyone else's division. As much as she admired her captain, she knew that two locked doors could never hold against each other, one had to be open to create an infinite balance. So she suffers through his teasings and tries to keep her austere behavior up, knowing that they were a pair of masks to which no one could quite figure out and really she preferred it that way.
There is one person that she knows has the key to her captain's door. She saw it in effect perhaps a month after she had ascended to the position of vice-captaincy. One late night in which a 4th division attendant came knocking on his office, she had watched them skitter in silently to the privacy of his office. His office was a sacred place, when he actually decided to stay -in- it. So she had wondered exactly what the attendant had wanted with her captain. She soon after saw him steal out of the office quickly, sakkat shadowed over his eyes as he made not a sound and moving in a manner that was unlike what she was accustomed to. When she checked his office, she saw a note addressed to her on his desk and upon opening it, it merely said in his looping scrawl, ~Take care of matters while I am gone~. Other captains she knew would not trust their subordinates that quickly with the running of the division, but looking back on it, Nanao knew that he had no other choice.
It was only with subtle inquiries that she found out that the Captain of the 13th Division had taken deathly ill during the afternoon. She had seen them in each other's company quite often and knew that they were good friends but the extent she didn't realize until three days went by and no sign of her captain around the 8th division headquarters. After three days she had decided to go over to see exactly what was keeping her captain from his duty, poking secretly into Unohana's private gardens and seeing a sight that touched something deep, romantic and abiding in her soul.
There lingering underneath a sakura tree was her captain, back supported by the trunk and she saw with his head in his lap was the 13th division captain. His long white locks spread all over her captain's lap and lightly peppered with the falling lips of the eternal blossoms, looking peaceful in his sleep while her captain's fingers combed through the hair gently, lovingly even. Right then and there she knew instinctively that this was a side of her captain that not many saw. After so many times of him annoying her with his whimsical ways, it made her heart burst with a renewed respect for him as well as the acknowledgement that he was a far deeper creature then she had originally given him credit for.
It was one of those moments when she realized that she -could- of fallen in love with him. However upon thinking retrospectively about it, she had a feeling that the creature that her captain, Shunsui was.. merely a product of the love that he and the other captain shared. It left a deep imprint on her soul, and she knew that she would not of traded in her captain for the same man shaped underneath different circumstances.
So whenever he escaped from his paperwork, declaring that it was too nice to be holed up inside.. certainly she groused about it, and threatened to tie him to the chair, but in the end she conveniently 'let' him escape, knowing that wherever he would be going would serve to regenerate him and settle him more able to deal with matters of the division. She would listen calmly to the rumors that floated on as to their 'relationship' and she would smile to herself, knowing that she was privy to something special that the rest of them were not. Really it was there loss, not hers. But one thing she would and could do, was guard her captain's private life even if it meant that she was the object of teasing and senseless flirting.