Disclaimer: Not mine. Don't sue.
Continuity: After the manga, Kurei and Kaoru returned to the present without changing the past with the realization that everything happened for a reason. Kurei returned to the Uruhas. Kaoru split his time between Kurei and the Hanabishis.
Summary: Lone Wolf Mikagami bit off more than he can chew when he agreed to drive Ganko, Kaoru, and Fuuko to the wacky Kirisawa Family Reunion.
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K I N D R E D
Chapter 1: We're Out to See the Wizard
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A solitary tear fell from one expressive blue eye, traveling down a creamy cheek.
Tokiya Mikagami looked away. He hated it when she cries, hated it that she was crying because of him.
"Please?" She begged as she valiantly fought to keep the tears at bay.
Tokiya Mikagami found himself fighting the full assault of her pleading eyes. With her tear-streaked doll-like face framed by golden tresses, Mikagami's resolve crumbled, unable to deny her anything that she desired. Upon accepting his own capitulation, he realized that the outcome of the battle was already decided the moment she had stepped in his door, looking at him with such love and hero-worship. He was just fighting the inevitable.
"What do I have to do to make you change your mind?" She hastily wiped the tears that were now freely falling.
"Don't cry," the statement that was meant to comfort came out as a cold command typical of the Hokage Iceman.
She sniffled as she tried to contain her tears. "Sorry. I said I won't be a crybaby anymore, but I really—" She choked to a stop when tears once again threatened to fall.
"Don't cry," he repeated, his words as cold as before. "I'll do it. I'll go with you,"
The girl gasped. "Really?" Without inhibitions, she threw herself at Mikagami, hugging him as tight as she could. "Thank you," she cried out. "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
Mikagami resisted the urge to disentangle himself from the girl. It had been so long since he was held like that … He shook his head. "Alright." He said. "You can let go now," he looked down at the pretty little angel who was hugging his legs.
"Oh. Right. Sorry, Tokiya-niisan," she smiled at him. Then, she unwrapped herself from him. "You won't be sorry, I promise."
Right. Mikagami bit back a grimace. He had just been roped into playing chauffeur so that Ganko and adopted sister Fuuko Kirisawa can go to the Kirisawa Family Reunion.
"The trip is on the day after tomorrow," Ganko explained, excitement dawning in her pretty eyes. "There's going to be a beach where we can swim and stuff, so don't forget to bring sunscreen."
Mikagami glared at her. Ganko's swift change of moods made him suspect that the little innocent girl had just pulled a fast one on him, tricking him into doing what she wanted.
The glare, however, was wasted on Ganko who paid him no heed. She was already used to his death-glare, and Fuuko-neechan had once said that his bark is worse that his bite, whatever that means.
Ganko continued her litany regarding what to expect and what to bring, but Mikagami tuned her out.
What on earth did he get himself into?
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Fuuko pored over her notes filled with her furious scribbles. She, Ganko and Kaoru are going into the reunion even if it kills her. The younger girl had been through enough disappointments to last her a lifetime. And Kaoru had never been to the beach before and was looking forward to going.
That Fuuko was harassed was an understatement. The five-day Kirisawa family reunion starts on the day after tomorrow, but still she and Ganko had no way of getting there. Her mom had said in no uncertain terms that the almost one-day travel with only Fuuko chaperoning Ganko and Kaoru was not an option. Hence, she was trying to find someresponsible adult to go with them.
Fuuko's mom cannot because she has a scheduled trial in a couple of days. Her brother still had one more exam to take and planned on going straight to the reunion from his college dorm. The other members of the Kirisawa clan either lived too far away or too out of the way from the venue, so picking them up would be out of the question.
Oh, mom, if you only saw me last year taking on men bigger than I am, you wouldn't be worrying about me and the kids riding the express alone. Of course, if her mom had saw her fights, she had no doubt that Mori Kouran would not have a prayer of surviving the wrath of an indignant mother. Fuuko could swear that that woman, seemingly frail, was more dangerous than Recca and all of his flame dragons combined.
And Mrs. Kirisawa said that Kaoru, for all his maturity, is still too young to be their sole male companion. Recca and Domon would do just fine. Unfortunately, Recca doesn't want to leave Yanagi, who couldn't afford to leave her kindergarten charges for a week. Domon promised his own mother that he would help her this summer vacation in their flower business. Fuuko knew better than to ask Mikagami. The two of them would only be at each other's throats, and that he would inevitable offend her relatives. Not that Mikagami would give her the time of day.
If you only knew how good Kaoru is. With his quick wit and reflexes, you wouldn't have to send Recca and Domon with us. Of course, her mom would never know.
"I'm home!" A high-pitched soprano announced. The announcement was followed by muffled sounds of Ganko removing her shoes and throwing her stuff on the sofa on her way to find her neechan.
"Fuuko-nee, I have solved all of our problems!" She announced exuberantly. "Tokiya-niichan agreed to take us to the beach!"
"What?" Fuuko groaned. "Ganko, no—" she stopped mid-tirade when she saw none other than theformerensui wielder standing just behind Ganko. "Oh. Hi, Mi-chan. Whatcha doing here?"
Mikagami almost winced at the nickname the monkey insisted on giving him.
"He's here to make arrangements," Ganko told Fuuko delightedly. "He's volunteered to drive us to the beach in his red car."
Mikagami frowned. He did not, by any stretch of the imagination, volunteer. Ganko tricked him into it. Come to think of it, neither did he offer to bring his car, rather, Ganko assumed that the car and him came as a package deal.
Fuuko's protest died in her throat when she saw how happy Ganko was. "Thanks, Mi-chan." She gave him a weak grin.
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"You want me to do what?" Mikagami stared at the phone as if it was going to bite him. It was the night before they were to leave for the beach and he was about to have his dinner when the phone call interrupted him. And it was none other than that annoying monkey.
"Come on, Mi-chan, just humor my mom. She wants to meet the person who's going to drive us all the way to the beach. She doesn't know you like she knows Recca and Domon," Fuuko's voice pleaded.
"No, Kirisawa," Mikagami told her, annoyed that not only does he have to spend and entire day in a car with her tomorrow, he was now being pressured to have dinner with her family.
"Please, Mi-chan," she implored. "If my mom doesn't meet you, there's no way she's going to let us go,"
"No, you monkey. Get that through your thick skull."
Fuuko ignored the monkey comment. She cannot afford to tick him off, especially when he was their ticket to the beach. But it was now time to take out the big guns. "Come on, say yes, or do I have to sic Ganko on you?" She threatened.
She knows. Mikagami would've groaned if it was in his nature.
"Mi-chan, you still there?"
"Alright," came his forced reply. "But I'm only staying for dinner and that's it. No more favors."
"Great! Don't forget to bring my mother flowers. She's a sucker for those things,"
But Fuuko hung up before he could threaten her with disembowelment.
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"And thank you for Tokiya-niisan who had saved our vacation for us," Ganko prayed.
"Amen," the women in the table said in unison.
"Alright, let's eat!" Ganko announced as she took the bowl of food and started placing heaps of food on Mikagami's plate.
Mikagami was contemplating how to politely tell Ganko that the food was too much when the elder Kirisawa cleared her throat.
"Ganko, sweetie," Mrs. Kirisawa called out. "I don't think Mikagami-san can eat that much,"
Ganko stared at the plate. It was filled with food from the center to its edges.
"But, he's a boy," she argued. "And Recca-nissan said that a growing boy needs lots and lots of nourishment." She glanced at Kaoru's plate. It, too, was laden with food. So was Fuuko's plate. And he's bigger than Kaoru-niisan and Fuuko-neechan,"
Fuuko snorted and concealed a grin. She wasn't about to comment for fear of setting off Mikagami and having him take back his offer of a free ride.
Fortunately, Ganko evidently decided that her hero had enough to eat and turned to her own plate instead.
"Auntie Raye, thanks for the expansion pack you gave me," Kaoru said as he chewed his food. "It's so cool. I think I was the first kid in our class who had it. Recca-niisan and Domon-niisan were pretty envious, too."
"Eew, gross," Ganko wrinkled her nose in disgust. "Kaoru-niisan, don't talk when your mouth is full."
That made Kaoru grin and open his mouth wider to show Ganko the contents of his mouth.
"Mom, make him stop!"
Fuuko laughed as Ganko, who was sitting beside her, started throwing bits of rice at Kaoru.
"Kids, enough," Mrs. Kirisawa said. She then turned to Mikagami. "Mikagami-san, how long had you been driving?"
"For a year and a half, ma'am." He replied coolly. "I had my student permit when I turned seventeen, held on to it for a year, and got my license when I turned eighteen."
Mrs. Kirsisawa nodded in satisfaction. "So, you're graduating this next school year,"
"What course are you planning to take?" Mrs. Kirisawa asked.
"Well, I'm thinking of taking up law, but I'm still unsure on what the best pre-law course is."
"You plan to go to Tokyo University?"
"Yes, ma'am." Mikagami nodded.
Mrs. Kirisawa clapped her hands in delight. "I'm an alumnus there. I used to teach in the faculty of law before I became a partner in my firm,"
Mikagami was very much surprised. Fuuko's mom, a lawyer? However, he maintained his cool facade, at least physically.
"Well, political science is the usual pre-law course, but I took philosophy." Mrs. Kirisawa was saying.
Fuuko groaned. "Mom! Don't bore Mi-chan to death,"
"Hush, Fuuko. It's nice to see some of your friends already have ideas of what to make of their life after high school." She told her daughter. Then, she turned back to Mikagami. "Fuuko, Recca and Domon are like a boat, cast adrift aimlessly in the merciless sea." she told him dramatically.
"Mom! Stop embarrassing me," Fuuko protested.
"Honey, that's what moms do," Mrs. Kirisawa said in delight.
Mikagami observed mother and daughter. They were polar opposites physically. Unlike Fuuko, Mrs. Kirisawa had long, dark hair, a hair worthy of shampoo commercials, which were tamed and did exactly what it was told to do. She had warm brown eyes and a small mouth. A slender woman, she was an inch or two smaller than her daughter.
However, Mikagami soon learned that mother and daughter shared the same personality. Both were sunny and outgoing, they both chatter a mile a minute, and they both love to be with people.
"I remember when you were younger and you ate a live lizard because you saw the neighbor's cat do it,"
Mikagami concealed a grin. He expected this dinner to be quite a painful affair, with Kirisawa's mom asking him a lot of questions about his past and his family. However, after Fuuko's quick introduction, Mrs. Kirisawa was interested more in what he was planning to do with his life rather than what he has done with it so far.
"Mother!" Fuuko groaned, her face tinged red with embarrassment.
"Yuck, neechan!" Ganko shivered. "A living lizard?"
"How does it taste like?" Kaoru asked in fascination.
Mikagami almost laughed out loud at the expression on Fuuko's face. He was surprised to learn that he was actually enjoying himself.
"I told you to make my mother like you, Mi-chan," Fuuko told him later as she walked him to the door. Fuuko was surprised that Mikagami didn't leave immediately after dinner. And had it not been for the early trip the following morning, Mrs. Kirisawa would have insisted on Mikagami staying for a few more minutes while she regaled him with baby Fuuko stories. "Not make her fall in love with you."
"I like your mother, Kirisawa." Mikagami admitted. "She's alright."
"I know." She grinned at him. "I think she's your first fan girl who's over forty."
Mikagami glared at her.
"So, I'll see you tomorrow?"
Mikagami nodded as he stepped outside. Kaoru was spending the night because of his tendency to oversleep.
"Thanks for coming," with that, she closed the door.
From the window, Mikagami could see the elder Kirisawa kissing her children, Kaoru included, good night.
Almost immediately, Mikagami missed the warmth of the Kirisawa home.
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to be continued
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