Spoilers/Warnings: AU. In honor of Shunsui's birthday. Sequel to Rainy Night.
Disclaimer: I do not own Bleach or its characters.
Summery: Shunsui's a little nervous about tonight.
Shunsui was unaccountably nervous. Jyuushiro would tease him to no end if he knew about this. Which he didn't. In fact, Shunsui hadn't mentioned either tonight's date or his chance meeting with one of his favorite authors a few days ago. Nanao Ise wasn't at all what he'd been expecting. Of course, he hadn't expected the young woman he'd spotted in the bus shelter to be one of his favorite authors either. He'd just meant to be a good Samaritan and make sure the woman actually got home, but once they started talking, Shunsui found himself very reluctant to part company with the lady.
Evidentially, Nanao had felt the same way. She'd left him with her card and her personal phone number. It had taken Shunsui a couple of days to work up the courage to call her. Nanao wasn't like the other women who have slipped him their number over the years. They had spent several hours debating stories and storytelling. Shunsui had vary rarely met anyone who shared the depth of his passion for books and stories, even among other librarians. Oddly enough, who Nanao reminded him of the most was a little girl he'd once spent an afternoon with as a teenager. The two of them had spent that afternoon talking about books, and it probably had influenced his decision to become a librarian once he'd started university later that year.
To be completely honest, Shunsui wasn't entirely sure just what it was about Nanao that fascinated him so much. But whatever it was, he was looking forward to spending the evening with her. He hadn't told her that it was his birthday, but her agreeing to the date was present enough. And at least tonight it wasn't pouring rain. In fact, the skies were clear, and it was no longer unbearably hot. And if he didn't get a move on he was going to be late.
He managed to make it to the café on time, though it was a near thing. Nanao was already there, seated at one of the outdoor tables with her nose buried in a book. Shunsui took a moment to just study her. Raven hair pulled back into a bun, linen sundress embroidered with little purple flowers, glasses perched on her nose, a little smile curling at her lips.
Nanao looked up and smiled at him. "Dreadfully bad actually. You know, the kind that so bad, it's funny?"
"Quite well. So what's this one about?" Shunsui took the seat across from her.
Nanao rolled her eyes. "Badly written vampire teen romance schlock. It seems to be a trend right now."
"Oh I know. I can't tell you how many teenager girls have asked me for something similar to Twilight in the past year. I've been trying to direct them over to the side of zombies."
"Not steam punk?" Nanao tucked the book into her purse.
They debated various genres that were currently trending in young adult literature while perusing the menu. By the time they ordered, the conversation had turned to debating top ten lists in various genres. While they had a number of titles in common typically, they ranked them in different places, and there were some books that were hotly contested. Somehow they got on to the topic of school. Shunsui had Nanao giggling at stories of some of his and Jyuu's antics when their food arrived.
There was a comfortable lull in the conversation as they both applied themselves to the food. The little riverside café was one of Shunsui's favorites both for its location and its food. It was a well kept secret amongst locals. Nanao smiled at him.
"So, do you normally go around rescuing stranded authors?"
"Only the pretty ones," Shunsui teased. "Do authors normally get stranded by the rain?"
Nanao laughed. "I don't know about other authors, but I typically don't. But I've only just moved back here, and I haven't bought a car yet. It always seems like so much hassle when I think about it, and for the most part I can get around just fine on the public transit."
"Ah yes, the dreaded car versus transit debate. I typically just borrow my friend's, but he's off on a road trip with his new wife."
They lingered over the meal, and Shunsui found out Nanao hated green tea and often had the urge to take an editor's pen to badly written novels. She shared a fondness of BBC shows with Shunsui, and her two closest friends were a chef in Kyoto and teacher who lived in Tokyo. She managed to pull the information from him that he had a weakness for sentai shows and that he liked to convince most people he was a lazy bum who barely worked so he could mess with them.
"How do you feel about ice cream?" he asked.
Nanao smiled. "That sounds good to me."
"It's a bit of a walk, but I know a great place a little ways from here."
She shrugged. "It's a nice night. I don't mind walking."
The pair of them meandered down the river walk towards the ice cream shop. Nanao had been right about it being a nice night. Despite the city lights, some of the stars were still visible, and it was just warm enough out to be comfortable. There were a few fireflies flitting around as well. Nanao let him wrap an arm around her shoulders and leaned into him a little.
"Having a good time, sweetheart?" The endearment slipped out without thought.
Nanao blushed, but let him get away with it. "Yes."
"Good." Shunsui could get used to this. "Me too."
Nanao smiled at him. "Would you be interested in going to a book launch next week?"
"I didn't know you had a new book coming out." And he wasn't sure how he'd missed that.
Her smile turned almost mischievous. "I don't. But I have to be at one next week anyway for an author who has more connections than talent. My agent got me stuck with attending. It would be nice to have someone to make sarcastic comments with instead of doing it all in my head."
Shunsui grinned. "I'd love to."
Underneath the stars, they continued on to the ice cream shop, and Shunsui had the feeling that this was definitely not going to be the last time they did this.