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Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin.

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Chapter 14: Up and About - Tsubame's Decision

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From last time:

Over the next few days, Yahiko seemed to be getting better. But now he was always tense, thinking Anohorea was going to come and try to kill him again. But he stopped worrying when Sano told him he was locked in behind bars in jail, and wouldn't be coming out anytime soon.

But what bothered Yahiko the most, was that now everyone knew about his scars. And he had never wanted to let them know.

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"Bring that plate over to table three Tsubame!"

"Alright Tae-San." The young girl picked up the tray and left the kitchen. She smiled cheerfully at the customers who thanked her. Tsubame then went back to standing next to the entrance of Akabeko to welcome the people who came in.

Her gaze wandered around the resturant at the other waitresses. They were all dressed in their orange uniforms, some wearing white bandanas on their heads. They all carried trays and jumped to attention when they were needed.

Everything was so simple at akabeko, so routine. Nothing ever drastically changed and it was easy to feel comfortable. She wished that life could go back to that normal, safe routine. But everything was changing and becoming so confusing.

Ever since Yahiko had been attacked she'd been a bit jumpy and a bit more timid then usual. She constantly worried about him and her friends more often. The only things that made her feel better was that the horrible man who'd attacked Yahiko was in jail and would be there for quite a while.

Megumi was also taking extremely good care of her spiky haired friend and giving him the best treatment that any patient could ask for. Tsubame was certain that he would heal and soon be back to his normal, over confident self. Well, she hoped that.

Ever since his scar had been discovered he had been quieter and didn't even insult Kaoru. Kaoru had told her that Yahiko did seem to perk up a little bit whenever the youg waitress was mentioned.

Another problem she had was Yutaro. Since he came back to Japan she'd felt as though she was stretched between the two. Anyone could see that both of them cared very deeply for her.

The main problem Tsubame had was she didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings. She thought she knew who she should pick.... but she still wasn't sure. She didn't want the other boy to hate her but she couldn't keep up with both of them.

The short brown haired girl left the group of giggling waitresses who were currently greeting a small family at the door, and headed towards Tae's office.

She paused outside the shoji door with Tae's name written on it. Timidly, she knocked on the wooden frame next to the door. "Um... Tae- San..."

The door slid open to reveal the owner of the Akabeko. "Yes Tsubame?"

"Well... um... I don't feel so well.... Would it be alright if I went home early?"

Tsubame bit the inside of her lip. Now she didn't feel well. She'd never lied to anyone before but she really needed some time to think things over.

Tae gave the girl a once over. She did look a little flushed. "Sure Tsubame. I hope you feel better. Now go home and get some rest, okay?"

"Gomen Tae-San. I will."

Tsubame stopped off at the kitchen and hung her white apron on a peg. Then qucickly changing into a more comfortable kimono, she put her uniform in a bag and left through the back door.

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*Tsubame POV*

When I got home she went straight to my room and collapsed on my futon. I scooped up Kia and held her to me. A big tear fell on top of the silky brown hair of the doll followed by others.

I was so tired of not knowing what to do. I know crying didn't help anything, but that's all I wanted to do at this moment. I knew who I wanted to date, if that was even the correct word. I was only ten, almost eleven.

But both of their friendships meant so much to me. Yahiko helped me and I've always held on to my courage, until now. I couldn't find that courage anymore to tell either of them how much I cared about them. Yutaro was there to comfort me when Yahiko was hurt and to give me a feeling of being safe.

I don't know how long I sat there. I only know that I knew I had to tell him. I had to tell him how he wasn't right for me; that my heart belonged to someone else. In fact, I didn't even stir from that now idented spot on my futon until I heard knocking at the front door.

I knew it couldn't be my mother. She wouldn't knock. (A/N- I'm a bit confused about who Tsubame lives with. So in this story she lives with her mother and her father left the family when she was really little.)

And I knew Tae had a key to the house; my mother wanted a spare with a friend just in case. I rose from my futon and splashed some cold water on my face. My eyes were puffy and red rimmed and anyone with a brain could see that'd I'd been crying. Unfortunately, the water did not help much.

I went to the front door and slid it open to reveal the young female kendo instructor. "Oh Tsubame! Are you alright?"

Kaoru looked at me with concern.

"Hai.... I'm alright." A few tears that leaked out of my eye however didn't really confirm that statement.

Kaoru shook her head and stepped into my house, closing the door behind her. "Tae sent me over here to check up on you. She said you weren't feeling well."

"I'm not," I whispered.

"You go get into your yukata right now Tsubame. I'll go heat up this soup Kenshin made."

I nodded and trudged back to my room. In truth I really did feel sick now. My throat felt hoarse from crying and my nose was all stuffed up.

A few minutes later Kaoru entered my bedroom and handed me a bowl of miso soup. I took it from her with a soft thanks. The room was silent except for the sound of me sipping the hot liquid.

"You're not really sick, are you?" asked Kaoru suddenly.

"N-nani?"

"This isn't a cold, is it?"

"Iie."

Kaoru looked at me with sympathy in her eyes. "What's wrong Tsubame?" she asked gently.

I felt more tears well up in my eyes and tried desperately to blink them back to no avail. "I don't know what to do!" I wailed between large sobs.

Kaoru reached over and pulled me into a hug. I continued to cry against her shoulder, my tears wetting her kimono. "It's alright Honey, it's okay," said Kaoru soothingly. "Just let it all out."

After a few minutes my sobs had quieted and Kaoru handed me a handkercheif. I blew my nose loudly and then started to bunch it in my hands. "Now what's wrong Tsubame?" asked Kaoru again. "What do you not know what to do?"

I sniffled. "I know Yahiko and Yutaro both like me, and I think I know who I like, but I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings," I said, my voice trembling.

"And who do you like Tsubame?"

I quickly mumbled my answer and Kaoru nodded. "I have a question for you Tsubame?"

"Yes, what is it?"

"Aren't you supposed to have held on to your courage?"

"Yes, but-"

"No excuses. You just need to go up to him and tell him flat out. I'm sure he'll understand. If he doesn't, it means he was never a good friend in the first place."

"Okay."

"Now you go to sleep and try not to think about tomorrow when you tell him."

"You mean I'm telling him tomorrow!" I shrieked. "Why tomorrow?"

"The sooner the better. Now sleep."

I obediently lay my head on my pillow and closed my eyes. I heard Kaoru leave through the front door and lock it behind her; Tae must have given her the key. With a sigh, I once again grabbed Kia and fell asleep, my doll clutched to me.

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I woke up the next morning to my mother coming into my room. "Good Morning Tsubame. Do you feel better?" she asked.

"Yes, Mom, I do."

She held out a letter for me to take. "I stopped at Akabeko this morning and Tae asked me to give this to you."

I took the letter and my mom left the room, probably to cook breakfast. I broke the seal and unfolded it. It read:

Tsubame,

Kaoru told me about what's going on. You have today off work to go talk to him. I hope everything works out. And still get plently of rest; it looks like you could use some sleep.

Tae-San

I gave a small smile. I'm so glad Tae-San understood. But now I had no choice but to go. With a reluctant sigh I rose from my futon and got dressed in a fresh kimono, the pink one that I'd worn when I first met Yahiko.

After a quick breakfast of riceballs and steamed vegetables with my mom, I slipped on my sandals and headed towards the Kamiya Dojo, a deep sad feeling in my heart.

My feet trudged up the dirt path and each step I took it seemed was harder then the last. I heard laughter coming from inside the gates and poked my head around the corner. A large grin came to my face as I saw Sanosuke pinned down by Kenshin and two little girls tickling the laughing man.

"Ayame and Suzume! Stop..... it! PLEASE!" The sisters just laughed and didn't stop. Who ever knew that Sanosuke's weakness was food and being tickled? "Ke-Kenshin..GET OFF!"

"Sessha is sorry Sanosuke, that he is, but Ayame-Chan and Suzume-Chan asked him to hold you down, that they did."

I walked up to the laughing group. "Could one of you tell me where Yutaro-Kun is?"

Ayame looked up from her spot on Sano's stomach. "He's the training hall with Auntie Kaoru."

"Yeah," said Suzume," training hall!"

"Thanks guys!" I waved and started towards the training hall, my smile fading from my face. I hesitantly opened the wooden door and looked inside. Yutaro was in there by himself.

Sweat ran down his forehead and his hair clung to him. He was breathing heavily, his shinai aimed at an invisible opponent. With a yell, he charged forward and struck down on the air. Then he jumped back and swung his shinai in a wide arc over his head and hit another 'opponent.'

I clapped when he stopped jumping through the air. He had gotten so much better and it really showed.

"Hey," he said coming over to me, a towel now over his shoulders, a smile on his face. "How are you doing?"

Did I really want to do this? He was so kind and I didn't want to hurt him. No... I had to tell him. It was now or never.

"Yutaro-Kun, I need to talk to you about something."

"Alright. But let's go outside; it's too warm in here."

I followed him into the sunlight and he sat underneath a cherry blossom tree in the back of the dojo. I sat down next to him, feeling Kia in my pocket. I knew it was silly, but I wanted some comfort when I told him and Kia was one of my favorite possessions.

"So what did you wan tto talk about?" he asked casually, folding his arms behind his head and resting them on the bark of the tree.

"Do you promise you won't hate me?" I asked quietly.

He looked right at me, his eyes seeming to pierce into me. "I could never hate you Tsubame."

Oh Kami, this was going to be harder than I thought.

"It's.... it's about us...."

"What about us?"

"I like you a lot Yutaro-Kun, I really do... It's just that... I... uh..."

"You like Yahiko better, don't you?"

"...yes," I whispered, bracing myself for the yelling and the end of our friendship.

"I thought so..."

"N-nani! How did you know?"

"I could see it in your eyes. Whenever you looked at him and you talked, your eyes would always twinkle. They would never do that for me." He gave a regretful sigh.

"Yutaro-Kun..." I placed my hand on his arm. "I'm sorry."

He gave me a sad smile. "It's alright Tsubame... really. I do hope you know that I never will stop loving you though."

I nodded. "Can we still be friends?"

"Of course. You're too important to just be thrown out of my life."

I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him tightly. "Thank you so much... thank you..."

*End Tsubame POV*

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"I'm not going! You can't make me!" yelled Yahiko.

It had been two weeks since Anohorea's second attack on Yahiko. The young boy had been recovering nicely; especially when Tsubame told him that she'd chosen him over Yutaro. Except on Megumi's orders he was not to be moving around much, which basically meant no walking.

And it seemed that everyone, except Yahiko, thought he needed to go outside for some fresh air. After all, he hadn't been outside since the first attack. It wouldn't have been a problem, except for the fact of his shoulder stitches.

In the last attempt on his life, they were pulled very badly, and would take some time to heal. So, to make sure they didn't catch on anything, Kaoru wasn't letting him wear a shirt. Which meant that his back and his scars were there for everyone to see. He was still extremely self- concious about it...

"Please Kaoru?" he pleaded. "Can I at least throw a blanket on my back? I can use one of those little flimsy ones."

"Sorry Yahiko. I don't want your stitched to catch on anything. They need to heal."

In a way, Kaoru felt bad for him. Here she was, making him show something, that he wasn't ready to share. But she needed his shoulder to heal. If it didn't heal properly, he might have trouble using a sword again, much like Yutaro had before his arm was healed.

Sanosuke entered Yahiko's room and headed over to it's occupant.

"Let's go, Yahiko-Chan," said Sano, leaning over to pick the boy up from his futon.

"Don't call me Chan! And put me down!"

"Sorry kid. Kaoru's orders."

Kaoru nodded. "You need to go outside Yahiko. You can't stay cooped up in here forever."

"Yes I can," said Yahiko stubbornly.

"And you expect Tsubame to still want to go out with you when you're acting like a hermit?"

"Yes."

Kaoru shook her head; he could be so uncooperative. "Bring him out Sanosuke," she said tiredly. She and Yahiko had this argument everyday and it exhausted her, but at least this time she won.

Sano nodded and started carrying Yahiko towards the yard. Mustering all his strength, Yahiko punched Sano in the face with his left fist.

"Hey! You little-"

"Sano! Be nice to Yahiko," called Kaoru. "He's still injured."

Yutaro was leaning againest a tree watching Sano attempting to get Yahiko outside. 'He sure does put up a good fight,'Yutaro thought as he watched Yahiko grab on to the doorframe.

A game of tug of war insued, but from Sano's 150 lb frame, to Yahiko's meager 30 lbs, Sano won.

He dumped Yahiko on the porch, and left him there, forcing Yahiko to use his arms to hoist himself so he was leaning againest the wall.

Yutaro walked over to him. "Are you alright Yahiko?"

Yahiko looked up at him to see if he was waiting for an excuse to make fun of him. He wasn't.

"I'm fine," he sighed. "But I'm still kind of embarassed." He glanced to see if Yutaro was laughing at him.

"Yahiko, if I was in your place, I wouldn't be feeling to good either. But you have people like Tsubame, and Kaoru-Sensei to help you out. And.... me."

He smiled at Yahiko and held out his hand. "Friends?"

"Friends." Yahiko clasped his ex-enemy's hand and smiled.

Things were looking better already.

~Owari

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Author's Notes:

And The Star Shaped Scar has come to a close.

I'm so sorry for lying to you all! This was not a short chapter... it's the longest chapter I wrote for this story. *bows head* Please forgive me.

It wasn't supposed to be this long... I just had a lot of fun doing Tsubame's decision. It was really fun to write. She's the only character in this story who got a POV....

I also used a lot of Japanese words in this chapter! Kewl!^^ And I used spell check too! yeah! Hopefully not so many grammar errors.

I have a very serious question for you all.

***Should I make a sequel to this???***

Someone told me it would be a good idea. I could go more in depth in Yahiko and Tsubame's relationship... plus don't we all want to see with how Yutaro deals with Tsubame's decision and how Yahiko feels about his secret being known? Plus, maybe a certain bad guy will come back... with help this time.

PLEASE tell me yes or no in your reviews.... it's all up to you guys.

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Reviewer's Comments:

~*~LishaChan~*~ Hehe... you really like Yahiko! If I could be a real anime character do you know who I'd want to be paired up with?? Soujiro! Or if it was a YYH story.... Hiei! They're both soo cute! ^^ Yes, the link to my webbie is on my bio. It doesn't come up on stories... I guess they don't approve of URLS in fics....

~*~tocole~*~ I can't wait for Sou's fight. Well, actually I can... but just barely. I hope you update *really* soon....

~*~Rainbow Chaser~*~ She did! ^^ I'm glad she picked him too...I think. I think Yutaor and Tsubame would've been cute but....

~*~D-Caf(aka Sandr~*~ I updated Draco's Spirit! *Smiles* Thank you so much. I sure hope I can keep writing like this.... As long as I have my pixy stix the world will keep spinning and the stories will keep coming! lol! ^^

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