Sex and Sashimi
Summary: Spying can lead to other things...
"Somehow, I think I'm coming out on top here."
Chapter 24: Long Long Way
As the train pulled into the station, I tightened my extra coat around me to protect me from the bitter wind. It might have been late October, but it felt like December. I let out a deep breath and watched it become fog in the air. It definitely was going to be an early winter.
The train came to a full stop. I took a few steps closer to the train, anxiously awaiting the new arrivals. It was the orange hair that caught my attention. "Himura! Kaoru-san!" I called, jumping up so they could see me in the building crowd.
Kaoru-san smiled at me and waved. Another cold blast rushed through the station. I quickly wrapped both arms around my body in an effort to keep my body heat trapped. It didn't work.
"Hello, Misao-dono!" Himura smiled at me as his group reached where I was standing. "I trust you have been well these past few months?"
I nodded my head as Kaoru-san, carrying Kenji-kun, came through the crowd. "Sao-neechan!" he exclaimed. Wriggling in his mother's grip, Kaoru-san put the boy down. He quickly raced to hug my legs.
His tackle threw my balance off for a second, but I was laughing anyway. "And how have you been, Kenji-kun?"
He raised both his arms up and started waving them in the air. "Up! Up!" he commanded.
My smile faltered. "I'm sorry, Kenji-kun. I can't pick you up."
"Why not?" he demanded.
With a nervous laugh, Kaoru-san bent over and picked the boy up. "Misao-neechan hurt her arm the last time she visited us, remember darling?"
"She did?" the toddler asked. I wasn't very surprised he didn't remember. After we returned from Daidouji's, Kaoru-san had kept Kenji-kun away from Aoshi and myself as much as possible. She said it was because she wanted us to be able to rest peacefully, but I knew it was because she didn't want him to see us looking the way that we were. Kaoru-san wanted to protect Kenji-kun from the reality of what we warriors actually were for as long as possible. I didn't really agree, but then again, I wasn't his mother. Kenji-kun lowered his voice to a whisper and asked, "Was it when you were beating up Yahi-nii?"
I smiled at that. "Yeah, it sure was!" I replied with a triumphant grin. "But then I beat the pants off that brat!"
"You shouldn't tell such obvious lies, Weasel girl," Yahiko replied as he approached the group with several bags in his hands. I bit back a laugh. It looked as if Kaoru-san had dumped the party's luggage for him to carry. "You know very well that I could wipe the floor with you."
My eyebrow twitched. "Oh yeah? I'll beat you with just my left arm!" I said taking a defensive stance.
"Now, now," Himura grabbed us both by the shoulders. "We don't want to make any trouble. After all, Misao-dono, you don't want to have any visible bruises, do you?"
"Can't I hit him just a little bit?" I whined. Yahiko stuck his tongue out at me while Himura laughed. I would give that brat his comeuppance before he went back to Tokyo.
Megumi-san was next to appear, looking as perfect as ever. With an impatient flick of her hair, she said, "Can we get out of this cold before we freeze to death?"
I gritted my teeth, but swallowed whatever angry rant that was threatening to come out. With a fake laugh, I replied, "Of course-- this way everybody!"
And even though I couldn't hold Kenji-kun, he still insisted that I at least held his hand as we walked through the streets of Kyoto, which I happily did. Megumi-san, clever fox that she was, managed to catch up with our lead and very quietly observed, "You still don't have full strength of your right arm, hmm?"
I laughed nervously. "No, but I have been working on it. Jiya and I train everyday with a focus on getting my arm working as it was, while strengthening my left." With a laugh, I added, "Saitoh gave me a few exercises for that too."
Megumi-san stared wide-eyed. "Is that man staying at your house too? Because Ken-san and-"
"No, no." I shook my head. "Mibu's wolf is long gone. He left shortly after we came back to Kyoto. But he did come to the Aoi-ya to fill us in about the final details surrounding what happened in Tokyo. While he was here, he noticed that my arm was still injured."
"Surprising that he would do something like that," Megumi-san replied.
I laughed nervously. Saitoh dispensed his left-arm wisdom in a very painful way. It was several hours of having to listen to him taunt me about Aoshi and how stupid I was for getting hurt again because I didn't do as I was told. "Well, it wasn't easy," I said offhandedly. "And working with Saitoh on anything made it that more difficult."
"Oi, Sao-neechan!" Kenji-kun pulled down on my arm.
I looked down at him and smiled. "What, Kenji-kun?"
"Where's Shi-nii?" he asked, swinging my left arm back and forth playfully.
"Shi-nii is checking on the decorations for the party tomorrow."
In all honestly, I was glad he was getting out of the house for a little while. Lately, Aoshi rarely left his room, let alone the Aoi-ya. Was he deep in contemplation? I wouldn't know. For the past few weeks it had been impossible to go see him, because of the tourist season and the preparations for the festivities. We would perhaps get a quick glance at each other before bed, and that was all.
Although, the time "apart" gave me the opportunity to think about things at a deeper level. I realized that it wasn't the fact that Aoshi had done what he did that scared me After all, if Aoshi was ever murdered, I know I would probably lash out in the same way. What I was really frightened of was the memories that came to mind as I saw him covered in blood. Jiya's hot sticky blood pooling around my knees as I screamed to the wind about the unfairness of it all, and his harsh words to me: "Get out of my sight." Those memories had been locked in the back of my mind until that day. I was just so happy to have Aoshi back that I thought the rest didn't matter. Obviously it did, and it was something I needed to deal with.
This realization made the subject of Aoshi, and my confusion towards him, a lot easier to handle-- when I actually saw him.
Kenji-kun's face lit up. "A party? Yay!"
I laughed, swinging our arms. "Yeah, it's going to be great, Kenji-kun! There'll be lot of food and music and, well," another laugh, "I think Jiya ended up inviting the entire city of Kyoto, so there'll be plenty of people."
"You actually trust Shinomori Aoshi to help decorate?" Yahiko asked, half laughing.
"If you mean 'help' by hanging up things, then no. But he will stand around and watch everyone else until things are done."
Kaoru-san laughed. "If Aoshi-san needs help with decorating, I'm sure Yahiko would be happy-"
I winked at Kaoru-san, who was mischievously grinning at me. "That's okay, Kaoru-san. It's a man's job after all."
Yahiko steamed. He stopped over, stopping in front of me, which stopped the whole procession. "Hey, I'm grown up just as much as you are, Weasel girl!"
"Yahi-nii! Stop pickin' on Sao-neechan!" Kenji-kun piped up. I chocked back my laugher as the toddler stomped over to Yahiko and put his hands on his hips, just like I had seen Kaoru-san do countless times. Sure, normally I would have a problem with someone sticking up for me like that, but this was too funny.
It must have been just as hilarious to Yahiko, because he looked as if he was going to burst. "Kenji, man. I thought you were on my side!" he managed to say without laughing.
"Sao-neechan doesn't take my cookies!"
"Sao-neechan always plays with me!"
"Hey, brat, I play-"
"An' Sao-neechan doesn't call me brat!"
Yahiko put his hands up defensively. "All right, all right. You got me." Yahiko looked to me with a priceless look on his face. Oh yeah, the next few days were going to be pretty entertaining.
Standing diligently outside of the Aoi-ya, Aoshi was keeping a look out for the group.
"Aoshi!" I waved my hand up in the air and he nodded in recognition. Wasn't expecting any more.
"Hello, Aoshi," Himura said as he took a few steps in front of the group so he could reach the Aoi-ya first. "How have you been?"
Aoshi raised an eyebrow. "Well," he replied. "Although, as you can imagine, it has been quite hectic as of late."
"A wedding tends to mix things up quite a bit," Himura said, laughing.
"Indeed." Aoshi turned his attention to me. "Misao, Okon and Omasu have been looking for you. They are ready to begin the preparations for the ceremony."
"Ah! I must've been at the station longer than I thought! Aoshi, can you show Himura and the others to their rooms?" I turned to the group behind me. "Sorry I have to go!"
Kaoru-san laughed. "That's all right, Misao-chan. We know you have more important things to do. Do you want me to come up and help?"
I shook my head quickly. "No, no, Kaoru-san. You don't know what those two can be like." Aoshi and I exchanged knowing glances. "I wouldn't want to make you suffer through it as well."
"Oh they really can't be-"
"Believe us," Aoshi interrupted. "You do not want to be present." I could help but grimace. Somehow, Aoshi sounded almost delighted by the fact I would be stuck in a room with the two cackling hens for the next few hours.
Kaoru-san looked at me, silently asking if that was all right. I nodded and then turned towards Aoshi. "Don't forget you have to start to get ready too."
"My attire will not require half the time it will take for you to be ready," Aoshi retorted.
I smirked. "Are you saying that I get dressed slowly?"
"Incredibly," he replied with a small smile.
A big smile came to my face. I almost ran up and kissed him for being so adorable to me at that moment, but decided against it. Kaoru-san and the others would be embarrassed, and wouldn't understand why I was so happy. Besides, there would be plenty of time later.
I quickly ran up the stairs to my room, where Okon-san and Omasu-san were waiting for me. It wasn't as if I wanted to sit and listen to them tease me for several hours, but the sooner I went up there, the sooner it would be over.
The both of them were waiting for me with smiling faces. Smiles that would send any sane person running for the hills. This was going to be great fun.
Okon-san sat me down and immediately started to brush my hair. "Hey, Omasu-- what do you think we should do with her hair?" It was still pretty short from the "cut" that Daidouji had given it.
Omasu-san bit her lip in contemplation. "Well, we could just put a wig on her. Or perhaps we could pull her hair up and clip extensions?"
"Can't we just leave my hair as is?" I asked.
I might as well have been speaking another language from the looks I got from the two women.
They chose to ignore my suggestion and continued with their discussion. "Extensions I have-" Okon-san smiled. "Be right back-"
"No really, Okon-san! That's not--"
Omasu-san yanked on what little hair I did have. "Now, now, Misao-chan. You want to look pretty don't you?"
I scoffed. "But everybody already knows my hair is short. They're going to know that whatever you're going to do will be fake hair."
"It's tradition, Misao-chan. Don't argue."
I pouted. "Whatever. Tradition also says your going to put layers of kimono on me too. I'm telling you, it's not that important-"
Omasu-san yanked on my hair again. "It's important to Okina, and all of us, so just grin and bare it. Okay, Misao-chan?"
"All right, all right," I said with a smirk. Complain as I might, I knew I was going to do everything "traditionally," if only as a thank you to Jiya and the others for taking care of me.
There was a knock at the door. "Come in!" I called, and the door slid open.
"Aoshi-sama!" Omasu-san said as she quickly jumped over to the door. "What can I do for you?"
"Aoshi?" I looked over my shoulder to verify it was him. Not that I didn't trust Omasu-san-- but there was no real reason why Aoshi should have been coming to my room. Especially since we had guests and I had left them in his care.
"Could I speak to Misao alone for a moment, Omasu?"
"Uh, sure-" Omasu-san replied, visibly confused. Should it be such a shock that he wanted to talk to me? After all, we were already registered as a married couple. It was just "tradition" to have the ceremony on another day.
Omasu-san quietly excused herself from the room. I turned my whole body to face him. "What's up?" He handed me a fairly large wrapped wooden box. "What's this?" I asked.
"We never had a proper exchange of gifts," he replied.
"Well, you already have given me something, Aoshi. If anything, I should be the one-"
He held up a hand to quiet me. "The gift I gave you, you cannot use now, correct?"
"I'll be able to in a few years," I said slowly, twiddling my thumbs in nervousness. "Once my hair grows back..."
"Then I am giving you a gift you can use now."
"But Aoshi," I reasoned. "I still haven't given you anything."
He knelt down on the floor and cupped his large hand around my cheek. "Yes you have. You are here."
I scoffed, pulling my face away from his hand. "That's hardly an expectable-"
"If you feel that way, then there is something you can do for me."
I raised an eyebrow. "And what's that?"
"Open the present."
"Aoshi-" I whined.
"After you open the present, I will tell you what I desire," he replied.
"You mean, besides me," I said with a sly grin.
He smiled slightly. "Open it."
I did as I was told. The cloth that wrapped the wooden box was a dark blue, patterned with hand-stitched light blue circles that looked like bubbles. My hands were shaking with excitement as I opened the box. I may not have wanted Aoshi to give me another present, but the fact that he was being so evasive about it made me more that just a little curious what the gift was. Inside, wrapped in paper, was an elaborate kimono. It too was a very deep blue, with large carnations stitched in white and gold. Some of the flowers were larger than my hand. I took the kimono out of the box, entranced with how beautiful it was. "Aoshi... I don't know what to say..."
He was staring at me, but it seemed more to be that he was staring through me, like he was remembering things from long ago. Finally, he blinked and brought his attention back to reality. "Your last furisode kimono. I thought I should be the one to buy it," he said.
I laughed. "Because I've had so many." I hugged the kimono to my chest. "Oh Aoshi-- this is so pretty!"
"And now for your gift to me-" he said, standing up. He took the kimono out of my hands and slid it over my shoulders. Whispering in my ear, he said, "I ask that you wear this to the reception this evening."
Tilting my head back, I smiled up at him. "Somehow, I think I'm coming out on top here."
"That is debatable," he replied with a small smirk.
My face blushed. With a loud cough, I quietly looked away from him. Since what happened in Tokyo, Aoshi and I had practiced a very strong resistance to each other. Sure, there would be a touch here, a kiss on the forehead there, but we hadn't been, well, intimate. For a while it was because of our recovery, both mentally and physically. But since we had returned to Kyoto, we had just kept to ourselves. Of course the teasing from Omasu-san and Okon-san, the looks of terror from Shiro-kun and Kuro-kun, and the glares from Jiya, would stop even the horniest people dead in their tracks. But the sexual tension was about to kill me. After today there would be no reason for us not to be together like that. "Th-thank you for the gift," I managed to stutter out.
He cupped his hand under my chin again, and eased my head back so I would look into his eyes. "You are welcome, Misao."
We stayed like that for a few moments, until Okon-san came clamoring into the room with the extensions. "Omasu! Misao-chan! I got-" she instantly froze when she saw Aoshi and I. "Oh... sorry." She smiled knowingly. "I didn't know I was interrupting."
"You weren't," I replied, curtly.
"Uh-huh." Okon-san looked less than convinced.
Aoshi let go of me and took a few steps back. "I need to begin preparations for the ceremony, so if you would excuse me, Okon," Okon-san bowed, but she was still grinning. "Misao."
"See you later," I said with a small wave. What else are you supposed to say in such a situation? 'See you at the altar?'
As the door shut, Okon-san walked over to me, the extensions in hand. "Bad Misao-chan! Trying to get some kicks in before the ceremony?"
"No, Aoshi just wanted to give me a gift!" I defended.
"Is that what they are calling it nowadays?"
If I could've exploded at that moment, I would've, taking Okon-san down with me. "We weren't doing anything!"
"Then why did Omasu leave?"
I flushed. "B-because Aoshi asked her if we could be alone." I swallowed hard, trying to find some pride somewhere. "I don't have to explain myself-- we're already married anyway, so there's nothing wrong if we were doing anything- which we weren't."
Okon-san didn't look convinced in the slightest.
I let out a long sigh. "Whatever, can we just get this over with?"
Omasu-san walked into the room, also smiling. "Are you and Aoshi-sama finished with your business?"
Maybe exploding was the only option...
Three hours of excessive hair pulling later, I finally got to see myself in the mirror. Omasu-san and Okon-san had managed to fashion my hair into something I never would think possible. I paid no attention while they were pulling and yanking and prodding my skull, but the end result was a fairly large bun of hair on the back of my head, with two tortoise shell kanzashi on the sides, and I could feel one in the back as well. It looked like I had two horns. They had also managed to hang another kanzashi which hung down almost in my face with its white beading. The cherry blossom clip that Aoshi had given me in Tokyo was also in the arrangement. I was half afraid to touch my hair. Not that I could, because the elaborate white kimono, which drug on the floor, weighed me down. It was the kimono mother wore when she married father, and it was fairly big on me. My heart was racing from just wearing it.
"And now," Omasu-san said from behind me. "We put the veil on."
She slid a white piece of silk over my hair, covering almost everything that they had done. "After all of that, you're covering up my hair? What was the point?" I exclaimed.
"You'll be glad when it's time for the reception." Okon-san patted me on my shoulders.
I glared at her in the mirror. "I want it taken down now, I don't wanna think about how it's going to feel in a few hours."
"But you look so pretty, Misao-chan!" Omasu-san chimed in, putting a hand on my other shoulder. "Aoshi-sama is going to be so surprised."
"Yep, she almost looks grown up," Okon-san replied.
I twitched. "Thanks for your compliments. Can we go now?"
"My, my, such an impatient bride." Okon-san smiled. "I think she's anxious for this evening, Omasu."
Omasu-san smiled. "Sure looks like it."
Both women pretended to cry and shouted, "Our little Misao-chan is growing up!"
I grumbled about the two women as I headed towards my door. On my first step, I almost tripped, because I wasn't used to walking in such a long kimono. Getting down the stairs was going to be interesting.
Okon-san stepped in front of me and folded the kimono in some way to make it shorter. It was like a magic trick. "We'll let that down when we get to the shrine. Wouldn't want you to get the white dirty, hm?"
It was still difficult to walk down the steps. Okon-san ended up walking in front of me, with Omasu-san behind me, just in case I fell. Downstairs, Himura and the others were waiting, dressed in formal clothing, and ready to go. Even little Kenji-kun was wearing a fancy kimono and hakama, which was dark gray with black stripes. Himura wore a similar outfit. Not surprisingly, Yahiko looked about as thrilled as I was being dressed in his plain gray kimono and hakama. Megumi-san and Kaoru-san were dressed in kimono that were dark blue, with red and gold obi respectively. The kimono were similar to what Omasu-san and Okon-san were already wearing.
"Oh Misao!" Jiya said to the left of me. I turned to see him coming at me with arms extended, ready to squish-er-hug me. "You look so pretty!" Jiya really didn't change his dress, seeing as he was always wearing nice clothing. He wore an olive green haori with matching hakama over a salmon pink kimono.
Kuro-san and Shiro-san entered the room next, both wearing dark blue hakama and kimono. Apparently, it was a theme. "Misao-chan! You look so sophisticated!" Shiro-kun said with a big smile. "I'd hardly know it was you."
"Thanks... I think." I laughed nervously. Was it really such an event that I was dressed up? "Where's Aoshi?"
"Oh he's waiting for you." Jiya winked. "Oi, Aoshi! Misao's ready to leave!"
Aoshi walked out from the kitchen, and my heart almost stopped in my chest. He was dressed in a dark violet, white-stripped haori and hakama. Underneath was a matching violet kimono. His family crest was blazon on his sash, jacket, and the back of his coat. Compared to the gaijin suits I had seen him in, this outfit looked so much better. It was practically awe-inspiring. But he wasn't speaking. He was just staring. But then again, so was I.
"You look very beautiful, Misao," he finally spoke, breaking the heavy silence.
"Th-thank you. You're--you--it's good."
Okon-san laughed. "I think she's trying to say that you look handsome, Aoshi-sama."
Both Omasu-san and Okon-san broke into uncontrollable giggles. I saw smiles appear on both Kaoru-san and Megumi-san's faces, as if they were trying not to break into giggles as well.
I looked away from Aoshi, blushing. This only made the two women laugh harder. It was Aoshi who saved me. "I believe that it is time for us to make our way to the temple," he said, walking towards the door.
I nodded in agreement and followed after him with a silly smile on my face.
Aoshi slid open the entrance door to the Aoi-ya and I felt the chilling breeze sweep across my face. But despite the cold, the sun was shining brightly. He turned to me and asked, "Are you ready?"
I nodded. Letting a deep breath out, I followed my husband into the sunlight; off to go share three cups of sake, and later some sashimi.
Yeah, we were ready.
What can I say? I think I'm going to have a party now it's done. Or at least break out the sake. In fact- hang on a minute... Okay, with sake in hand, I'll finish my notes. I'd be eating sashimi too (as I planned), but it's past ten in the evening, so no sashimi for me.
Perhaps I should say something about the story...
Wow. This story turned into a freaking monster. And did way more than I ever planned. Something that went from being something funny that I wrote in my spare time transformed into a huge project that took much of my attention and deviated a lot from the original concept. If I could start the story all over again (which I won't), I would do so many things differently. Like stick to my original plot...
As for the ending, some people might have some choice words for me because I left it kind of open. Like, "Why didn't you show them getting married?" or "What happened to your hints of Misao being pregnant?" or some other things I just won't say. Well, one, too many fan fictions take the cliché route of having the main pairing getting married and living happily ever after. I know I have before (and technically even do it in this story). So I thought it would be good to just lead the audience in the right direction and let them imagine what happens next. If you want Aoshi and Misao to get eaten by a space monster when they walk outside, well then, they do.
As for the second thing: wait for the two "sequels" that will be coming out shortly, from Aoshi's POV. Funny stuff.
And if your reaction was the third... um... I'm sorry? I thought it tied everything together well.
Anyway, thank you for reading Rurouni Kenshin's Sex and Sashimi. It, definitely, has been quite a ride.
This fiction was written for entertainment purposes only. The characters of Rurouni Kenshin belong to Watsuki-san. Standard disclaimers apply.