Rushing to put this up before I leave to go celebrate, XD! It was great trying to include those important Bleach characters here and there; breezed through writing this because of all the ideas stuffing themselves into my mind... Hope you guys enjoy this and again, HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

(constructive criticism as always welcomed; flames will be put to good use in the kitchen stoveXD)


Mushy

Zaraki did not like Valentines Day.

Nope, he did not like it at all.

Why?

Because that's when men usually in possession of straight, clear heads were pretty much sure to lose whatever common sense they had in chasing the opposite gender's skirts. As was the case with his division officers now, sneaking furtive glances as passing female shinigamis even as they trained under his watchful eye.

Even Zaraki's patented Look of Doom failed to have too much of an effect on their addled minds. It took a bit of 'discipline' on his side to discourage such acts in the future.

Surprisingly enough, some were actually dense enough to do it again.

Was it any wonder why Zaraki was in a foul mood?

As he set off to search for Yachiru and possible opponents, he couldn't help grumbling to himself. Whoever Valentine was, he'd bet that wuss wasn't even worth fighting.

"Oi, Yachiru, where are ya?"

Striding down the winding roads, the eleventh division captain could not fail to see the couples under the trees, hand in hand as they whispered in each others ear from time to time. Now and then, a besotted shinigami would rush up the lane with large bundles of roses and sweets in his hands, undoubtedly for his lady love. One such shinigami, whose eyes must be tad off that day, had the misfortune of bumping right into Zaraki. One malevolent glare was all it took to send him offering many, many hasty apologies before scurrying off as fast as his legs could take him. Zaraki watched his retreating back and snorted.

He could have sworn that he had single-handedly wiped out every rose garden in Rukongai. Apparently he wasn't quite as successful as he thought.

He made a mental note to do so as soon as he located his fukutaichou.

"Oof! Watch where you're going, won't you?"

Zaraki glared at the red-headed fukutaichou who had just barreled headlong into him. "What the-"

"Ah, Zaraki-taichou!" Hastily getting up, Renji attempted to nod at him. "Didn't expect to see you out today."

Zaraki looked at Renji appraisingly. He'd make a good sparring partner, maybe even give him a satisfactory fight that he'd been craving since this whole 'Valentine' nonsense started. Yachiru could wait.

"Renji! Fight m-" He stared at Renji's retreating back, noticing, for the first time, the box of sweetmeats tucked under his arm. "Where the hell are you going?"

"Sorry, no time!" Renji yelled back. "I've gotta get to Rukia before some other moron does!"

Before Zaraki could even react, a blur of pink and black flew past him. "Renji! Have you seen my dearest Nanao-chan anywheeeere?"

Renji didn't pause his running. "Sorry, Kyoraku-taichou, if I did, I didn't notice!"

Then Zaraki, how about you? Did you see her?" Shunsui skidded to a halt before the larger captain, a large bunch of flowers wobbling dangerously within his grasp. "I need to give her these and hug her and k-"

"Outta my way!"

Ikkaku dashed past the pair, the former snatching a few stalks of flowers from Shunsui's bunch as he passed by. "Thanks for the loan! Ah, g'morning taichou!"

"Ikkaku! What-?"

"Sorry, no time to talk, taichou! Hafta catch my girl before other idiots gets to her first!"

Zaraki blinked stupidly. "Your…'girl'?"

Beside him, Shunsui looked at his flowers in dismay before turning to chase Ikkaku. "Ikkaku, come back with my flowers! They're for Nanao-chan!"

Cursing under his breath, Zaraki resumed his search. He could hardly wait before all this madness was over.

Making his way by the fourth division office, he paused and poked his head into the doorway. "Oi, Unohana. Seen Yachiru anywhere?"

The fourth division captain smiled and shook her head. "I'm afraid not, Zaraki-taichou. On your part, might you have seen Ikkaku-san anywhere?"

"I might have seen the bugger running about. What's it to you?"

Unohana laughed softly. "Nemu-san has been looking for him, I believe."

'Nemu-san'? Mayuri's daughter Nemu? Ikkaku's girl…?

"If you'll excuse me, Zaraki…" A calm voice came from behind Zaraki. He turned to see Byakuya, flowers and a box of chocolates in hand. At the sight of him, Unohana's smile widened, and a slight flush stained her face.

"Ah, Kuchiki-taichou. What brings you to my division?"

Gracefully sidestepping the stupefied Zaraki, Byakuya made his way up the short staircase. "I thought I'd accompany you today…Unohana-taichou."

Unohana said something completely lost to Zaraki as he made his way out and continued down the street, bafflement adding to his irritation. It seems that even the seemingly most sensible of Gotei 13's captains had succumbed to the insanity going around.

And with Kuchiki, no less.

Zaraki was beginning to feel a bit wary. Perhaps Valentine wasn't quite the wuss he'd thought him to be. Maybe he'd better watch out for himself after all.

A rustling in the greenery nearby caught his attention. Probably more shinigami skipping out of much-needed training, no doubt. Carelessly swinging out his zanpakutou, he met…

…steel.

A head of unruly white hair emerged from between the leaves, jade green eyes glaring at Zaraki in annoyance even as he sheathed Hyourinmaru. "What do you think you're doing, swinging down your zanpakutou like that? Someone might have gotten hurt."

Beside him, Hinamori's head popped up as one hand tugged at Hitsugaya's uniform gently. "Shirou-chan, why…" Her eyes took in Zaraki. "Ah, ohayo Zaraki-taichou!"

Hitsugaya murmured something into Hinamori's ear before kissing it lightly as he pulled her back down into the cover of the bushes. Her soft laughter was the last thing he heard as Zaraki strode away. So even the squirt had fallen prey to this Valentines madness. Huh.

If Zaraki had seen the couple in the corner behind him, he might have been tempted to finally acknowledge Valentine's power.

Soi Fong frowned slightly as she took the flowers handed out to her. "What exactly are these for?"

Cupping her chin to lift her gaze to his, Hisagi grinned. "Happy Valentine's day, Soi Fong."

Allowing a slow smile to steal across her features, Soi Fong inhaled the sweet scent wafting from the bouquet in her hand. "…Thank you."

"Shall we go somewhere to…celebrate?"

Her eyes met his asking ones. "Alright."

-

Thirty minutes and a lot of couples later, Zaraki was beginning to wonder if the day would ever end.

If it wasn't bad enough seeing Yamamoto-taichou receiving gifts from many different young shinigami females, the sight of Isane arm in arm with that softy Ukitake as they strolled along was enough to make his bowels churn.

Even Komamura was accompanied by Matsumoto, who had apparently informed him that she wasn't going to be left out of the festivities, and neither was he. So he'd better put up with her and be glad about it.

Yep, that so explained the rare feral grin on that old fox's face.

Wanting nothing more but to go back to his division's office and wait the day out, Zaraki seized the nearest couple walking past him. "Have you seen Yachiru?"

Kira pushed Zaraki's heavy hand off his shoulder as he replied. "I think Iba-san said he saw her near the gardens when he and his date passed there."

Zaraki growled, shot the both of them a look and took off, leaving Kira to reassure the girl by his side that, no, Zaraki wasn't feeling murderous; he was just a little lonely.

As Zaraki headed out, a black shadow ran lightly over the rooftops and jumped unto his shoulder, laughing. "Ken-chan! Where are you going?"

Zaraki paused mid-run, a grin spreading across his face. "So there you are. Where have you been all day?"

Yachiru giggled. "Spying on Ikkaku-san and Yumichika-san. Ikkaku was doing these really weird things with Nemu-san! And Yumichika-san threw his slipper at me to chase me away from him and some girl." In triumph, she dangled a scented sandal before Zaraki's face.

A laugh rumbled in Zaraki's throat. "Knowing him, he'll be missing it dreadfully." A gleam entered his eyes as he began to figure out ways to get the fifth-seat officer to spar with him to procure his footwear back.

Then as Yachiru giggled joyfully and bounced on his back, he reached down by the side of the road and took something before straightening up. He chuckled ruefully. Ah what the hell.

"Hey, Yachiru."

The pink-hair girl peered down at him. "Ya, Ken-chan?"

He lifted his hand and held out a small, pink flower to her. "For ya."

"Ehh?" Yachiru reached out and took the flower, turning it this way and that in her hand. Then, she beamed and hugged Zaraki from the back. "Arigato, Ken-chan!"

Zaraki only chuckled ruefully as he made his way back to his quarters. There was no way he was going to let anyone know that he had succumbed to the Valentine Day fever that had swept Soul Society by storm. No frickin' way.

But maybe, he reflected, feeling the warm, genuine affection in the arms wrapped around his head, he could afford to be mushy just this once.