Next Time, Get The Fish!
A forum-inspired fanfic by
Kenshin barely managed a gulp as the loud summoning echoed through the Kamiya household. 'Kaoru sounds excited again,' he thought with a twinge of dread, 'I hope it doesn't mean she's found another fish to cook...' His horror was accompanied by the usual guilt that was always brought about when he doubted her skills. Never mind that they were constantly proven to be quite founded. And expected, by now.
To his relief, as she entered the room where he was dutifully sweeping, he caught no aroma of fish from the parcel she had tucked under one arm. In fact, he noticed as an afterthought, he couldn't smell anything at all. "What is it, Kaoru-dono?"
She held forward the package cheerfully, beaming and grinning from ear to ear. "This," she answered seriously, "Is the most amazing thing I have ever seen out of all the Western technology that has been brought to Japan!"
Kenshin sweatdropped, taking the invited package from her. 'OH. Western technology, is it? I hope it didn't cost her too much... why is she giving it to me...?' "What is it?"
"Open it!" she shrugged, leaning forward like a hungry puppy. He sent her a nervous glance and pulled apart the wrapped paper, staring into the box with a puzzled look in his eyes.
"Umm... what is it?" he asked again, holding up the pear-shaped, clear glass object between two fingers. Glancing down again, he caught sight of a long, coloured rope curled up in the box as well.
She shook her head impatiently, as if teaching a student who chose that particular day to be stupid. "Kenshin!" she scolded, "You really need to pay attention. It's a lightbulb!"
He blinked, then weighed the object in his palm, nodding as if he understood. "Ah, I see... yes, it is very light, isn't it..."
"Kenshin!" she took the bulb from his hand and slammed her fist into the crown of his head, ruffling his hair and making him wince in pain and confusion, both. "Don't act like Sanosuke! I meant light as in the sun, a lantern, a candle, you get the idea!"
"Oh..." he nodded again, voice deadpan. "So it's a Western lamp, is it?"
"Yes!" she hugged it close, yet carefully, eyes closed in delight. "I saw how it worked in the store, and it's so beautiful! They have them in all sorts of colours and sizes, but this was much more plain. It was the only one we could afford," she added sadly.
Kenshin's eyebrow rose skeptically. 'And I was worried she had bought FOOD...?' "Kaoru-dono... how exactly do we make this work?"
She blinked, opening her eyes to look at him, baffled. "What?"
He picked up the strange rope from the box and cocked his head to the side, his expression curious. "Well, I've never seen anything like this before. Did the storekeeper tell you how to make it work?"
Kaoru stared at him for a moment, thinking intently... then she smiled deviously.
"No no no, Kenshin! You do it like THIS!"
"Kaoru-dono, you didn't mention that before... I thought you said you didn't know how to do this...?"
"Well I don't exactly, but the one in the store worked like this..."
Sanosuke entered the dojo, led almost against his will by curiousity. Chewing on a fishbone, he watched the two work diligently among a sea of wires and torn paper. "Yo," he greeted, one eyebrow raised, "What are you doing?"
Kenshin looked back at his friend, his face resigned and hardly enthusiastic. "Kaoru-dono bought something at the market today, and we're, um... trying to make it work."
Sano took one look at the contraption Kaoru was trying to put together and jumped back instantly, eyes wide. "Kuso, Jou-chan! You bought one of THOSE?!"
Kaoru stared at him, puzzled. "Yes, what's wrong with that?"
"But- but- no matches, or nothin'! And it just makes light! It's crazy! All Western technology - it's evil!"
Kaoru watched his panicked ramble for a moment in skepticism, then looked thoughtfully at him. "You know... you're just tall enough. Kenshin, if you sit on Sanosuke's shoulders, you can put up the fixture."
Kenshin and Sano looked at each other morbidly, knowing that Kaoru would certainly not be deterred, especially by the rooster-head's paranoia.
"I'm glad we could walk together, Yahiko-kun," Tsubame said a soft farewell that made Yahiko blush pink to his toes, and he stumbled with a reply before turning into the Kamiya property.
"I'm home from work!" He was surprised to see no one outside to greet him, and he listened carefully, hearing nothing that would betray the whereabouts of the inhabitants. 'The dojo, maybe? That seems to be where the most stuff happens, anyway...'
The moment he slid open the shoji, he knew he had made a mistake. "What the HELL-?"
Kenshin, balanced unsteadily on a shivering and babbling Sanosuke's shoulders, was attempting to attach - *something* - to the dojo ceiling, with Kaoru standing beneath them, hands on her hips, shouting out directions. A vast mess of paper and wiring lay scattered about, and he winced, thinking of one person who would be cleaning all that.
'Maybe if I sneak out before anyone notices...'
At that moment, Kaoru glanced over and caught sight of him. "Yahiko, good thing you're home. Run to Megumi-san's and get her taller footstool. Sanosuke is being a rooster-head as usual and thinks we're concocting some evil Western sorcery. It's ridiculous..."
Yahiko chuckled softly, amused by the scene and secretly pleased at being ordered AWAY from the dojo. "Sure thing-"
"And hurry back - I'll need you to organize all this extra stuff it came with."
He groaned. 'I knew it was too good to be true...'
"Sano, you need to stop moving, oro- oroooo!"
Both Kaoru and Yahiko flinched sympathetically, as Sano finally broke out of his frozen stupour and clamoured away, pulling Kenshin and the lightbulb with him until both of them toppled to the floor. Kenshin barely managed to twist his body to protect the glass from being smashed, thus wasting more money that would be better spent on food.
'And knowing Kaoru-dono, we're not going to end this until she gets it working... or rather, until WE make it work...' Nevertheless, he had to try. "Kaoru-dono, don't you think we should-"
"If you're going to mention dinner, then don't even think about it," she said sternly. "We're going to work until it's lighting up the whole dojo, and then we're going to eat under it to admire our handiwork!"
The men sighed in resignation, three equally hungry stomachs growling to echo their pains.
The small group stepped back and stared in awe at the completed project. A small white fixture was finally attached to the dojo ceiling, slightly off-center and leaning to one side, but secured nonetheless. a thin wire ran along the side and fell just short of the door, a dark, golden-coloured switch on the end. Kaoru gazed at her new addition to the dojo with starry eyes; the other tenants simply glanced at each other in mild interest and relief that the ordeal was finally over, and they could now move on to more important things - such as, their stomachs.
Kenshin cocked his head to one side, observing the pale, translucent bulb above him, then looked through the shoji towards the fading sun. "Kaoru-dono, as it's getting rather dark outside, we should probably turn it on de gozaru..."
Kaoru nodded energetically. "Right, of course! No point in staring at nothing, ne?" The others nodded, failing to share in her enthusiasm, and watched as she jogged over to the switch, knelt down to flip it up...
... and deflated when nothing happened.
She tried it again a few times, eyes narrowed in determination, even as her jaw set in growing anger. Kenshin winced, hearing the quiet grind of her teeth.
After a while she jumped to her feet, tossed the fixture to the floor and wailed, "Why won't it WORK?!"
Kenshin hastily held her back from crunching the disfunctional little switch with the heel of her foot (despite how he would have liked to do very much the same), then stammered, "Perhaps it needs to have power from outside, Kaoru-dono..."
He regretted the words immediately.
Kaoru stopped struggling, gazing forward with eyes the size of teacups. Slowly, almost unwilling, she looked down at the switch, then followed the wire until her eyes met the discoloured bulb that had so excited her. She started to tremble.
Carefully, so as not to startle her into acting too quickly, Kenshin released her and stepped away, remaining on his toes as he approached the shoji. He motioned frantically to Sano and Yahiko, who managed to take the hint and follow swiftly.
Almost immediately after the shoji had slipped closed at their backs, they heard a loud wail (although in their ears it sounded more like a howl of pure hell breaking loose), quickly succeeded by a loud crash, a high pitched shriek of something being torn from the wall, and then, finally, the soft percussion of shattering glass. The three men gazed mournfully at the dojo, where their day's work was likely being ripped to shreds (as well as the product of yen that ought to have fed them) and let loose a collective sigh.
"Well," Kenshin murmured, "She could have done the same to us..."
Sano and Yahiko winced, and nodded reluctantly.
Trying to be more positive, Kenshin moved towards the kitchen, anxious to escape the perils of such close combat. "I think that Kaoru-dono will like some dinner when she has calmed down..."
The other two perked up instantly, and they ran after him, always ready to choose wisely between witnessing the tanuki-girl's violent rants and eating Kenshin's prepared meals. At least she hadn't bought another fish that she would have insisted on cooking and - heaven help them - feeding to them. That, at least, was some consolation to them all.
Behind them, the purity of hell happily did its work, with quite a bit of added vehemency.
Well, nobody said it couldn't be a fic, right? ^_^
As said above, this fic was inspired by the forum topic "How Many RK Characters Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?"
A million kudos to Mir for giving the initial idea to the population of the TFME forum. This was way too much fun.
You can find the original topic here:
http: // tfme.net / tfme / messageboard / viewforum.php?f=1
(again, I had trouble posting the link, so just remove the spaces...)
- A.K., January 2003