Title: Flirting 101

Summary: With a magazine article on flirting in hand, the Women's Association was on the lookout for potential couples or scandals. For Rukia, though, she never expected to spy Ichigo and her Captain flirting…

Pairings: Subtle Ichigo/Ukitake

Warnings: None, really. A bit of Shounen Ai.

AN: This idea came from a magazine article. I wasn't going to read it at first as I don't really celebrate Valentine's day, but this idea suddenly occurred to me and wouldn't leave me alone. I giggled like a mad woman when I first thought of it, though. Which made those around me quite nervous…:D

Been a while since I wrote a Bleach oneshot. Let's hope I'm not too rusty!

Rukia had never been the one for huge gatherings. She much preferred quiet evenings, sitting with her Nii-san or sharing in some tea with her endearing captain. Yet, here she was, in an overcrowded restaurant, on a day known as Valentine's Day in the World of the Living, with her fellow female Soul Reapers.

Of course, the presence of the Seireitei Women's Association did not go unnoticed by the other patrons. In fact, the men had kept a wide birth of them.

It was actually nice to know that they were so notorious now. But, then again, it wasn't because of the reason's they wanted…

The restaurant was quite full, actually. A few captains were here as well, and Yoruichi had even managed to drag Ichigo along. He was currently sitting with Renji and his drinking buddies, getting in the occasional verbal fight with either Renji himself or Ikkaku. Things would probably have gotten physical long ago if they weren't happened to be situated near Captain Ukitake and Captain Kyouraku.

There was a lot of drinking going on, as usual, and Rukia's beloved Captain was trying his best to keep the situation under some control, while still drinking tea and keeping Captain Kyouraku's hands from wandering too far. Captain Ukitake had years and years of experience dealing with drunken Soul Reapers. He had seen it all. Literally, some times.

Her captain was so amazing!

"I've got it!"

Rukia was pulled from her people watching as Rangiku bounded in with her usual flare and enthusiasm, waving a magazine above her head as she sashayed over to them. She wasted no time in taking a seat, squeezing herself between Rukia and Momo, slapping the magazine down in the middle of the table for all to see.

"Is that it?" Nanao asked, adjusting her glasses in her overly critical manner.

"Yup!" Rangiku beamed, appearing if she had already indulged in a wee bit too much Sake already. "This is it! Ten Signs of Flirting! With this, we'll be sure to suss out any couples in the making."

…Yeah, they were looking for potential couples or scandals in the making for their next article. What? It had been a slow week, ok?

"I'll read it and everyone keep a look out, ok? And call out if you spot something delicious!"

There was a chorus of agreement before they discreetly focused their gazes around them. For Rukia, though, from her view she didn't think she would have a very successful night. Why? Well, the ever rowdy Ichigo and the ever composed Captain Ukitake was in her line of view.

Oh well. The other girls will probably have better luck.

"They make eye contact: It has been said that the eyes are the windows to the soul, and that through the eyes truth can be gleamed. Eye contact is a sign of confidence and trust. They're stating that they're not interested in games and that their intentions are straightforward. The duration of the eye contact is proportional to their level of initial interest."

Resting her chin in the palm of her hand, Rukia's gaze fell on Ichigo once more. He was scowling as usual, looking at his surroundings with slight distain as he tried to ignore a growing ever intoxicated Ikkaku.

However, when he glanced over his shoulder, his scowl softened and his eyebrows rose a bit. It was subtle, but Rukia had known Ichigo long enough to know that something had caught his interest.

Which, in turn, piqued hers.

She followed his line of vision and she sat up a little straighter. Ichigo was looking at her Captain. Captain Ukitake was sitting beside Captain Kyouraku, a steaming cup of tea in his hand. He turned his head to the side and paused for a moment. Something in Rukia's stomach fluttered when she realised that they had caught each other's gazes.

Their gaze lingered for a long moment before they both turn away at the same time, Ichigo immediately back to scowling while Captain Ukitake merely tilted his head in Captain Kyouraku's direction, giving him the indication that he was listening.

Rukia blinked. Was it her imagination, or did she really witness a lingering gaze between Ichigo and her captain?

Next to her, Rangiku continued.

"They smile: When a person has an interest in you, their smile can hold your attention from across a crowded room and it is definitely one of the major signs they're flirting. It takes an effort on the person's part to do so, so if they're exerting this kind of effort, engage in their flirting by returning the smile."

A younger Soul Reaper stumbled past and Captain Ukitake climbed to his feet to offer the drunken reaper some help in walking, aiding him through the tricky obstacle known as the doorway. As he did so, Ichigo managed to catch Captain Ukitake's gaze again, watching him carefully. Studying him, almost. And Captain Ukitake smiled, a soft and genuine one. Almost shy, if Rukia was to be honest.

And Ichigo? He smiled back! Not that arrogant, overly confident smirk, nor that nervous grin when he had no idea what was going on. A smile. A real one.

Rukia didn't know whether to slap herself or pinch herself in order to see if she was dreaming or not.

"They isolate themselves: If, after having made eye contact, they stray from their pack, then they're trying to flirt with you. Most people know that the most difficult defence for a potential suitor is to penetrate is their wall of friends and well-wishers. If they're specifically removing themselves from that fortress then this is one of the sure signs they're flirting and letting you know they're lowering their defensive barriers to let you in."

With Renji and his drinking buddies growing more and more rowdy, Ichigo slipped away from them, putting a large amount of space between them. He then proceeded to look as if he didn't know them and was more than happy to ignore them. He even turned his back to them.

And instead of going back to sit with Captain Kyouraku, whom of which seemed to have fallen asleep at the table, Captain Ukitake lingered on his feet, carefully dodging other reapers and keeping an eye on things, as was his nature.

However, Rukia couldn't help but noticed that Captain Ukitake did, indeed, seemed to be wandering past Ichigo's position quite a bit.

There was probably nothing in it. It just seemed odd.

"They keep walking by: If it seems like they continue to walk by with apparently no sense of why they're there, they're there for you. They're trying to get you to notice them with this obvious sign they're flirting, and you need to say something endearing. By walking past repeatedly, perhaps out of their way, they're giving you a sense that they want your attention, but they're making you work for it."

Ok, so there might be something in it!

Rukia gripped the corner of the table she was sitting at tightly with her hands, unaware that she was blatantly glaring at Ichigo. She was sending him mental and psychic thoughts, telling him to say something to Captain Ukitake to let him know you got his attention!

And to do it now, you stupid fool! For once in your life, read the atmosphere!

"They enter your personal space: Personal space, by definition, is where others are not. When a person enters this space, say, brushing past you with a glance and a smile, they're inviting a response with this sure sign they're flirting. The calibre and character of their invasion will give you cues as to how you should respond."

Just as Captain Ukitake moved passed Ichigo again, an unknown reaper accidentally bumped into him, making him brush shoulders with Ichigo. Immediately, they caught each other's gazes again and Captain Ukitake offered Ichigo an apologetic smile. He looked as if he was about to wander away again (which made Rukia inwardly seethe by Ichigo's denseness) when Ichigo said something.

What he said, Rukia couldn't hear over the bustle of the restaurant, but it definitely caught Captain Ukitake's attention, again gaining a smile from him.

"They approach you to talk: Cutting through any game they may be playing, their approach and specific engagement by speaking is playing their strongest flirting card. It allows them, while speaking to you, to maintain eye contact, play with their hair, lightly touch you, and mimic your mannerisms among other flirting techniques. If they come over to talk to you, they want to know what you're all about. It's the first step in an interview process called dating."

Ichigo offered Captain Ukitake a seat, to which Captain Ukitake tilted his head to the side, still smiling. He then gracefully sunk down into the seat next to Ichigo's, turning to give him his full attention. And Ichigo's body language was open, which was unusual for him.

Rukia inwardly cheered at that. They were making progress!

"They mimic your body movements: For some reason, when human beings are interested or infatuated with each other, they begin to pick up certain traits from the other person. If they're mimicking your mannerisms - the way you hold a drink or the way you're sitting - they may very well be interested in gaining your attention and is giving you solid signs they're flirting. Imitation is a rather high form of flattery, after all."

Rukia continued to half listen to Rangiku as she read aloud from the magazine, her gaze not once leaving the sight of Ichigo speaking comfortably with Captain Ukitake.

Mimicking a person's body movements? Did that really happen?

Captain Ukitake had always had the perfect posture, and it seemed that Ichigo was trying to sit a little taller, straighter, as if to match him. He was almost puffing his chest out. And Captain seemed to notice this as he chuckled into his hand and seemed to relax a little in his seat.

And when Captain Ukitake inclined his head toward Ichigo, Ichigo did the same, tilting his head toward Captain Ukitake as they spoke. They didn't always maintain eye contact, but as Rukia looked closer, she could see that they were a lot of sideway glances happening between them.

They both suddenly sat up straight when someone (another interfering reaper!) asked them something before disappearing. It wasn't until he returned that Rukia realised that he was just asking if they wanted to order something as he placed two cups of tea onto the table before walking off.

Ichigo and Captain Ukitake then reached forward, at the same time, to take their drinks, Ichigo holding the tea cup in the same fashion that Captain Ukitake was.

They were mimicking each other!

"They draw attention to their mouth: A person's mouth can be extremely seductive, and some are fully aware of this fact. Some of the effective signs they're flirting will have a woman applying lip gloss, another is running their finger across their lip or using the straw in their cocktail instead of just sipping from the glass. There is a tremendous amount of flirtatious energy tied up in a person's lips. Lips are flirting tools that are both potent and effective."

Captain Ukitake lifted his tea to take a sip, but he quickly pulled it away a second after his lips touched the cup, his free hand hovering closely to his lips as a slightly pained expression appeared on his face. Immediately, Ichigo leaned forward, seemingly asking him what was wrong. With his fingertips still hovering near his lips, Captain Ukitake gave a small smile as he spoke. It seemed, from Rukia's point of view anyway, that the tea was a little too hot. It must have burnt his lips.

And now Ichigo was blatantly staring, his face slightly flushed as Captain Ukitake ran his tongue over his lip, his fingertips still hovering close.

From where Rukia was sitting, that looked really seductive. She can't imagine how Ichigo was fairing.

Wow…just, wow.

"They play with their hair: While relatively simple and commonplace, in the right hands a person's hair is a versatile weapon. When trying to get your attention, they may twirl their hair in their fingers or let it cascade in front of one eye, adding a sense of come-hither mystery to their persona."

As if on cue, a strand of Captain Ukitake's hair fell over one of his eyes. It moved as if in slow motion. It literally cascaded from behind his ear, having been swept their previously in the evening, and draped across his eye. A warm brown orb peered out through the white tresses before, ever so slowly, Captain Ukitake brushed the hair back with his long, elegant fingers, curling the wayward strand behind his ear once more, exposing his neck in the process.

Again, Ichigo was staring.

And so was Rukia.

"They touch you: The slight touch that sends chills up both your spines and makes your hair stand on end is one of the hallmark signs they're flirting. When they reach out and lightly touch your forearm or shoulder, hand or wrist, you know you have a live one. You need to reciprocate because there are few clearer signs they can provide."

Rukia fidget in her seat, squirming with giddy, girlish glee as Ichigo boldly reached up to touch Captain Ukitake's hair, pulling his hand back a moment later to reveal a piece of fluff or something. He flicked it away, subtly moving closer as he did so, Captain Ukitake smiling and seemingly uttering his thanks.

Too cute for words. They seemed so…comfortable together.

"So, did anyone see anything?" Rangiku asked. "Naughty? Scandalous? Anything?"

This would be the perfect scoop for the Women's Association. There was nothing more scandalous than a Substitute Soul Reaper flirting with a Captain. Especially if that captain was none other than Captain Ukitake!

But…If the Women's Association got involved now, it would only put strain on the blossoming relationship. And they seemed to be doing fine on their own.

"Nope," Rukia said in regards to Rangiku's question. "Didn't see anything that would be considered scandalous."

Not a thing.

It felt like it's been ages since I've written Bleach. It really does D:

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