Spoilers/Warnings: AU. In honor of Nanao's birthday.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or its characters.
Summery: Nanao did not expect to spend her birthday stuck at a bus stop by the rain.
Nanao typically did not mind rainy days, even when it was her birthday. In fact, she had always been rather fond of the rain. However, tonight the rain was a problem. This had to do with the fact that she was pretty much trapped in a bus shelter by the pouring rain, having just missed her bus and being without an umbrella. There would not be another one for at least an hour, and while the bus shelter was covered, there was no place to sit. Nanao sighed, shifting the large canvas bag slung over her shoulder.
This was not what she had planned for her evening. She was supposed to be having a nice dinner to celebrate her birthday and then go home to curl up with the advance copy of the newest novel by her favorite author. There were some perks to being an award winning author. If the weather had been good, Nanao would have spent her birthday enjoying the Tanabata festival going on. Unfortunately for her, the weather had been awful all day and quite frankly, her day hadn't been much better. Somehow, Nanao did not think that it was going to get any better before its end.
It had been raining like this on one of her favorite birthdays, the one when her babysitter had forgotten her at a bookstore. Nanao doesn't remember who had been babysitting her. It couldn't have been her sister though; Lisa would have never forgotten her. Nanao had been ten at the time. She hadn't really felt that she needed a babysitter, but she hadn't had a choice in the decision. Still, whatever the reason for her being left there, Nanao had spent a very pleasant afternoon chatting with the high school student who was working there for the summer. She doesn't remember his name, just that he took her seriously and that they has similar tastes in books. Lisa had been the one to finally collect her (just before dinnertime), and Nanao had left the store with a copy of The Hobbit and a small leather bound journal presented to her by the young man upon learning it was her birthday.
She still had that particular book. These days it was well used, with little notes written in the margins. Nanao isn't sure if that it was that particular book that made her want to write, but she knew that it wasn't long after getting it that she'd made her career choice of being a writer. That little journal had been filled up with her earliest stories. She still had it tucked in her writing desk as a reminder. Now thirteen years later she was a published author.
Peering through the rain, Nanao sighed. It did not look like the rain was letting up any time soon, and unfortunately, she was in a residential part of town. There was not a single shop or restaurant in sight. No place to run to grab a bite to eat or have a place to sit down. She shifted uncomfortably. The strap of her bag was digging into her shoulder painfully, and she'd been on her feet for hours already. Nanao had spent her day running around taking care of last minute things for her publisher. Her newest book would be coming out in just another few weeks, but unfortunately, there had been a whole string of little setbacks and issues to deal with.
Closing her eyes, Nanao rubbed her temples. She could feel a headache coming on.
"Miss? Are you all right?"
She opened her eyes to find a tall man with a very large pink umbrella standing in front of the bus shelter. He grinned at her.
"I'm fine. Just tired."
"You haven't heard then that they canceled the rest of the buses for the evening."
Nanao blinked at him and he continued.
"Something about flooding along the route."
She had to bite back the urge to swear.
"Not the news you wanted I take it." He shook his head. "Come on then."
At her startled look, he gestured with his umbrella. "I can hardly leave you here all night. My place is just around the corner, and we can see about getting you a taxi or something."
Normally, Nanao probably would not have taken him up on the offer, but she couldn't see how it could hurt. Besides, if worse came to worse, there was a reason that she studied Aikido. So she stepped under the umbrella and gestured the man to lead the way.
"I'm Shunsui Kyoraku by the way."
His smile grew. "Really? The teens at my library adore your books."
Shunsui took a moment to unlock the door in front of them and waved her inside. Within just a few minutes, Nanao found herself ensconced in a comfortable chair deep in discussion about one of her books while Shunsui made them tea. As it turned out, he was the teen and children's librarian locally as well as a fan of her books. Before long she had been coaxed into staying for dinner. Nanao finds to rare to talk to someone who cares more the pleasure of the story than for how it can be marketed or prying into the details of the young but oh so successful author's life. The topic of their conversation wandered from her books to books in general.
By the time Shunsui produced a pair of wagashi for dessert, Nanao felt like she'd known him for years. They finally got around to calling a taxi, and Nanao found herself at a loss on how to say goodbye. It had been a perfectly lovely evening after all, and Nanao didn't want this to be the last time she saw Shunsui Kyoraku.
"It wasn't a problem. I had a lovely time."
He hesitated a moment before asking. "Would you like to have dinner again? Perhaps sometime when time when you haven't been stranded by the rain.'
"I'd like that." Nanao fished a business card and a pen out of her bag, quickly scrawling a familiar number across the back. "My personal number. Call me?"
Shunsui handed her into the cab and kissed her cheek. Nanao headed home with a smile. Not a bad birthday evening after all.