Were there more children in here than usual?

The Akabeko, with its seemingly endless stream of customers was packed near the limit, but even as Megumi sat and picked at her rice, it felt like almost every other person was younger than five.

Tears threatened again and she fought them back.

She and Sanosuke had just returned from the temple and met the Himuras for a late breakfast. It had been raining heavily and Megumi was grateful for the grey weather as tt felt more honest for her to exist in at the moment. Several times while waiting at the temple, clutching the coin in her hand, she had desperately wanted to go home, but Sanosuke's strong presence alone was enough to keep her there. Aoshi and Misao were due to arrive from Kyoto the next morning and the team at the table was enjoying their usual antics in celebration, laughing, joking, and Kaoru and Yahiko taking the occasional biting remark from the other. Megumi smiled a bit as she watched Kenji eat his ohagi, stabbing it with his chopsticks and eating it off of them like a skewer. Kenshin patiently tried to correct Kenji's hold on the utensils, but the toddler was more strong-willed than any of them combined and attempted to either shriek, grab Kenshin's shorter hair, or impolitely stuff the sweet into his mouth before his father could get to him.

"C'mon kid, listen to your old man," Sano said, ruffling Kenji's hair. The toddler scowled at the ex-fighter, but allowed Sano to brush crumbs off of his small kimono.

"Really, Sano? Old? You were only gone for five years." Kenshin said with a laugh, even as he directed a glance in Megumi's direction. If the former rurouni had noticed the sadness in her demeanor earlier, he had been feeling it steadily improve.

"Eh, you've always felt kinda old to me, pal!"

"Oro!"

"That's because Sano's about as mature as a freshly laid chicken egg," hooted Yahiko.

"Nice hit, little Yahiko," Sano said, scowling easily and poking the heir to the Kasshin-ryu with a chopstick, starting a small scuffle at the table. Megumi's appetite was improving steadily as she enjoyed the antics at the table. Finally finishing her rice, she asked Sanosuke for another slice of tonkatsu. Glancing at the platter, Sano saw that it was empty so he snatched the last still-piping hot piece off Yahiko's plate and sent him off to get another order. Megumi braced for another scuffle, but Yahiko gave a glance in her direction and went off without a fuss. Sanosuke winked at her and she rolled her eyes at him in between bites. With each peal of laughter, sip of tea, or smile from her loved ones, the events earlier that morning were starting to bother her less.

"Hey kitsune-chan, time to get up," Sano murmered nuzzling her hair.

Mmph, Megumi muttered, peeling open one eye and settling her hand on her lower abdomen. There was definitely more cramping there today, but perhaps it was only a pregnancy settling in. Her bleeding was late this month by a few days and she had been trying not to raise her hopes too high, but several possible clues were there and it was difficult. She moved slowly, as if afraid to disturb any small life that lay inside of her, and made her way to the outhouse.

When Megumi returned to their bedroom, Sanosuke was dressing and had just knotted his hachimaki. Turning around he saw Megumi crying. Her monthly bleeding had just arrived. Even as he felt a sinking, disappointed feeling in his own chest, Sanosuke wrapped his arms around his wife as she cried.

"Hey, hey," he murmured. "Guess we'll just have to keep trying, huh? Hard for us to be sad about that!" He smiled at her, in hopes that his lame attempt at humor would help, but even as Megumi cracked a small, annoyed smile, tears continued down her face.

"Aw, fox. C'mere..."

"Hey."

Megumi glanced up and saw Sano smiling at her. "Hmm?"

"You doin' better?" Kenji was now in his lap and seemed unable to decide if he wanted to stand on Sano's knees or sit and varied between the two, all while trying to grab the ends of the fighter's headband and talking a mile a minute.

She smiled at the sight of the boy playing in her husband's lap. "Yes."

a sign of things to come

"tonkatsu" are breaded pork cutlets. Megumi needs comfort food :)

I have this newly formed head-canon that Sana uses really sweet and mushy nicknames for Megumi when they are alone, but of course would rather die than admit it to anyone.

"hachimaki"-headband

As much as my writing is about Sano and Megumi's relationship, I feel like I am writing more about Megumi as a woman and all that it can entail-especially with the rooster around! *sweatdrop* I hope I do her justice! Opinions welcome ;)