That was then this is now. [Shunsui, Nanao, the colour red. Vaguely nonspecific future or AU.]
Disclaimer: /Bleach is not mine. No copyright infringement is intended./
Written in a handful of minutes. don't know what brought this about. Hell, I don't even know which way I want the ending to be taken! I hate it when that happens. Must come back and revisit this pairing when I have more coherence and my brain hasn't been eaten by exams.
I did scrawl something of a follow-up, but it's not at all coherent and plays fast and loose with the idea of reincarnation, and makes my head spin, so you'll have to settle for this.
"I don't want to see my Nanao-chan's pretty hands stained with blood," he told her on more than one occasion. She knows he meant in battle; knows he meant that he did not want to see her kill. It is odd to hear, when she has killed Hollows (and what shinigami hasn't?), but perhaps that's different, when what they are doing there is righting a cycle rather than ending a life. Perhaps he simply thinks her more pristine than she is.
"A kiss, Nanao-chan!" he had carolled innumerable times, pursing his lips and leaning towards her. She had always fended him off with a solid thump from her book or a fan or even sometimes just a sharp word. He hadn't been serious, after all; how could he be, when he chased after at least half the women in Soul Society, and his blandishments had been legend for generations?
"I'm not your Nanao-chan!" she had countered, time and again. It was demeaning for the man to use the diminutive. She had worked hard for her position, driven herself relentlessly, in the Academy and after, to reach the rank of fukutaichou. Every time he called her that, it felt as though he was saying he had no respect for her - even if she knew better, and she wasn't always so sure she did.
Now her hands are red, her eyes are red, and when he says, "Nanao-chan," soft and breathless and wondering, it is both the sweetest and the saddest thing she has ever heard.
- finis -