It was just almost 6pm in Tokyo, Japan. The sun was slowly sinking in the sky, casting a gentle red glow over the horizon. Kaoru Kamiya was walking through the market, looking for tofu to take back to the dojo. Normally, it was Kenshin who did this chore. However, last night she had ripped the sleeve of her training outfit while working with Yahiko, and Kenshin was now busy mending it for her. Since it was her mostly her fault, she had volunteered to go get the tofu for him.

There was only one problem with her plan… It'd been nearly a year since she'd last had to go out to get the tofu herself… she'd completely forgotten where the shop was! As she made her way through the crowds, searching for it, she came to realize how much she'd come to rely on Kenshin in the past year. They all had. He didn't just get the tofu for them… he cooked for, cleaned up after, and did laundry for everyone in the dojo.

Kaoru was still lost in her thoughts when she felt someone lightly tap her arm. She turned to see who it was. It was just a short an old man. He had silvery white hair, baggy beige skin, and bright green eyes.

"Excuse me, Miss…" The man's voice could almost be described as a wheeze. "Is there something I can help you with?" He motioned back towards his small stall. It had many different fruits, and buckets of rice and tofu on display.

"Yes!" Kaoru said, happy that she'd finally found some tofu. "I'd like a bucket of tofu, please. How much is it?"

The old man smiled a nearly toothless smile. His bright eyes seemed to twinkle. "For you, it's free. Please enjoy." He hands her a bucket nearly filled to the brim with tofu.

Kaoru took the bucket. She grinned and bowed deeply. "Arigatou! You are very kind… what's your name?"

No answer.

She rose from her bow to look at the old man. But… he was gone! She looked around frantically, but he was nowhere to be found. His stall had disappeared as well.

"Well, that's really weird…" Kaoru muttered. She shook her head sharply, decided to forget it. She tightened her grip on the bucket and started walking back home.


Sano walked through the dojo and into Kenshin's room. He walked in to find Kenshin working over one of Kaoru's training outfits, sewing up a torn sleeve.

"Hey, Kenshin, where'd Jou-Chan go?"

"She went to the market to get us some tofu. Shessha would have gone himself, but Kaoru-dono insisted he finish this…"

"Oh…" Sano walked back out of the room, and out to the dojo gates. He decided to wait for Kaoru there.


An hour later, Kaoru was shoveling out helpings of the meal she'd made.

When she'd come home earlier, Kenshin was still hard at work mending her torn sleeve. So, she'd decided to take over the cooking for him too.

As a result, the 'food' Kaoru was serving Sano, Yahiko and Kenshin resembled nothing so much as burnt oatmeal.

"Stupid busu…" Yahiko muttered under his breath. "Can't cook to save your life…"

Kaoru glared at him. "What was that, Yahiko?"

Yahiko shook his head and glanced back down at his plate.

"I'm not hungry." He announced as he pushed his plate away from him. He stood up and walked away, muttering something about practice.

Kenshin smiled warmly at Kaoru before turning to his meal and digging into it. (A/N- Yes, I know that's not exactly the perfect word choice, but I seriously thought about how to word that for half an hour. If you have any better wording to offer, please let me know)

Kaoru smiled too. Kenshin was the only one who'd ever enjoyed her cooking. Or pretended to, anyway. Still, she always appreciated the kindness.

Her smile vanished as she heard Sano finally speak up.

"How on earth can you eat that trash, Kenshin? It looks and smells like dead rodents…"

"WHAT?!" Kaoru jumped up and made to strangle him.

Sano took his cue and ran out of the dojo. Kaoru ran out after him, still strangling the air with her hands.

Kenshin chuckled softly as he continued eating his dinner. It seemed he'd be eating alone tonight.


It was getting late now. Kenshin had already finished his meal, cleaned up after them all and finished fixing Kaoru's torn sleeve. Yahiko had done 50 strokes then gone to bed. And Kaoru had successfully chased Sano more then a mile away from the dojo.

After 20 minutes or so of walking, she finally got back. She slid open the door and walked inside. The dojo was surprisingly quiet. Kaoru made her way through the rooms to find Yahiko sound asleep on his futon. She stopped outside Kenshin's room and knocked lightly on the door.

"Is that you, Kaoru-dono? Please come in."

Kaoru quietly slid the door open. She looked inside the room to find Kenshin kneeling by his window, staring out at the stars. The moon's light was reflected in his gentle violet eyes, and the star's rays bounced off his long red locks of hair.

"Kenshin…" She whispered softly.

He turned his soft gaze towards her, smiling.

"Would you like to stay and watch the stars with me, Kaoru-dono?"

She was about to nod and accept his offer, when she noticed that her eyelids were drooping and she was swaying on her feet. She sighed and shook her head.

"Gomen, Kenshin. I'm too tired. I just came by to say good night."

Kenshin looked slightly putout. Still, he gave her a sweet smile.

"Alright. Good Night, Kaoru-dono."

"'Night, Kenshin"

Kaoru softly shut the door to his room and walked into her own. She climbed into her futon and relaxed herself. When she fell asleep a few minutes later, she was dreaming of Kenshin.


Many hours later…

Kaoru woke up as the bright rays of sunshine poured in through her window. She yawned and hungrily sniffed the air, wondering what Kenshin would be making for breakfast that morning.

But she didn't smell a thing.

'That's weird…' She thought to herself. 'Kenshin usually gets up early to make breakfast… maybe he's feeling sick… I'd better go check on him.' Kaoru quickly got herself up and dressed. She walked out of her room and over to his, now a little worried about him. She knocked lightly on his door.

"Kenshin… are you up?"

She heard a soft groan from inside the room. She sighed to herself. 'He's just being lazy…'

Kaoru slid the door open and stepped inside. "Kenshin, get up! You slept in…" She looked over at his futon, but didn't see him on it. At first she thought it was empty. Then she noticed a small form huddled under the blankets. "Ayame… Suzume… Is that one of you two? Why are you in Kenshin's room… I thought you were out of town with your grandfather…"

She slowly made her way over to the futon and uncovered the sleeping child. Who she saw wasn't Ayame or Suzume. It was a little boy with long, flaming red hair. He rubbed his sleepy eyes with the backs of his hands before opening them. When he did, he turned his curious violet gaze on Kaoru.

"Ayame? Suzume? Who's that? I'm Shinta."