Author's Note: This fic is based off a headcanon I had about Tae and Hiko meeting. Commence food and drink, and plenty of banter between two very unique individuals.

Brown rice. Boiled eggs. Fresh, diced radish and carefully washed greens.

"Easy on the stomach, good for recovery." Tae reminded as Kaoru made a face.

"I know that, and thank you, Tae." Still, her pout and furrowed brow betrayed her singular concern.

"It tastes plain because too much seasoning would ruin your milk."

"Tae-dono means well, Kaoru-dono." Kenshin added, rocking baby Kenji in his arms. The newest resident of Kamiya Dojo was less than a month old: red-faced, copper-haired, and a snuffling small bundle. "And the bento is a nice reminder of Akabeko cooking."

"I know you won't be able to attend re-opening night, so that's why we stopped by." Two years had passed since the Akabeko was destroyed, but after months of rebuilding and refurnishing, the place was ready to be back in business at last. "Although, Yahiko-kun might be there." She glanced outside, a mischievous smile playing at her lips at the sight of two figures in the shade.

Tsubame had brought a bento of her own making, for Yahiko. The girl looked nervous but happy, as he scarfed down the food. He had been training hard, since there were more students to teach and he had to take over lessons for a while.

"It's lunchtime, so you can have the box I brought for you, Kenshin-san." She coaxed. "I can hold Kenji-chan while you eat."

"You just want an excuse." Kaoru laughed, but the baby was passed over to Tae. He was warm and drowsy. Absolute bliss.

Once a month, Hiko would head to the former capital of Kyoto and sell his pottery. These trips were born from necessity, since his supplies and liquor would run out.

He would have been perfectly fine, carrying his wares on his back. But no, he had to lookpresentable or no one would buy from him. So here he was, lugging around a dinky cart with a rusty bell. The rent always had to be negotiated down too, since the owner was a greedy little rat. It was a detestable part of the price he paid for bringing art into the world.

The other part was dealing with customers. There were the browsers, who stared at him and his pathetic cart with big eyes and didn't purchase anything. There were the pompous ones, who compared his works unfavorably with those from Tokyo (well, they weren't in Tokyo, so buy something or leave, damn you). And then there were the wishy-washy ones, who hemmed and hawed and loitered because they just couldn't decide(he'd count off three seconds before he'd pick up and move on for sanity). Those who actually knew what they wanted were few and far between.

Today's sales were poor due to the heat. Hiko grimaced as he surrendered a few coins for a subpar bento. The air was stifling, and he was drowning under his clothes.

"Thanks for the meal." He muttered in the shade of a back alley. When the hell could he go back home?