Author's Notes: Feh..too tired.

Falling into Place

by Silver Miko

Chapter 1:

Standing before the familiar shoji, Shinomori Aoshi knocked softly to make his presence known the room's occupant. He was dressed in his purple gi and pants, having been doing his morning training. He heard the soft reply of 'come in' and slid open the shoji, walking into the small study that was once his when he had been Oniwabanshuu Okashira. Seated behind the dark wooden desk was the current Okashira, Makimachi Misao, a petite woman of eighteen. She looked up at him, setting the paper in her hand down and smiled.

"Would you like a cup of tea?" she offered, and when he nodded prepared him a cup and handed it to him.

Aoshi took a sip and set the cup down, meeting her sea blue gaze. She had not called him here for personal reasons it had seemed, she had asked him as an Okashira. He had grown accustomed to answering to her and when she asked, he advised her when she asked. Despite becoming Okashira through self-proclamation, Misao had proven to have the skills to be a leader and had matured since she was sixteen, although it appeared most of the Oniwabanshuu at the Aoiya hadn't noticed. When it came to ninja business, the other consulted Okina before Misao, and though she didn't let it show it did upset her. Since returning and meditating, he hadn't actively been taking part of Oniwabanshuu business and instead observed. When he did return to business, he reported directly to Misao. He would not disrespect her as the others un-intentionally did. He could see the shadows that passed over her face when she wasn't taken seriously, and Aoshi had to acknowledge then that he had once like the others caused such a thing.

It wasn't until she had gone to Europe, gone so long, that he realized there was a large void when she was gone. He had gone to Tokyo to get her, feeling uneasy without her near. It had been then he had finally acknowledged what she had wanted him to see: she was not a child anymore.

"Aoshi-sama, I've been thinking about this for some time now. As you know, the Makimachi family started the Oniwabanshuu, and the Okashira title has been in my family's line since the beginning. Then you were elected Okashira. I suppose it was either because I was too young, or that I wasn't a boy that I couldn't qualify to be Okashira. left, I took up the role of Okashira and it once returned to the Makimachi family. I am the last of the Makimachi family line, and with me truly ends the Makimachi line's leadership of the Oniwabanshuu."

"That's correct." Aoshi murmured.

"As the last Makimachi Okashira, I want to see to it that the new line of blood to lead the Oniwabanshuu is one I want for us in this new era we're reaching. It my last wish as Okashira."

Aoshi wasn't sure what she was talking about, and wondered if she was going to ask him to take back the title of Okashira. She hadn't pressed the matter on him before.

"Aoshi-sama...I...Jiya has expressed his wish to see my future secure and that I should marry soon. I've been reluctant at first, because a husband might try to claim the role of Okashira as a husband's right and when I do relinquish the title, I want it by my terms."

Aoshi felt his fists clench at the his pants. He recalled Okina saying Misao should be marrying, but the thought....of her married to a made him feel angry and unnerved. Was she seeking his advice on suitors? If so, it would have to be the first time he declined a request from his Okashira.

"Misao, what is it you wish to ask of me?" he asked, keeping his voice even.

"I've been thinking Jiya is right, that I should marry, but there is only one man I will ever consider marrying. You."

Aoshi's eyes widened slightly at Misao's directness. He knew she had feelings for him, but this was the first time she had blatantly stated such.


"Please, let me finish. Aoshi-sama, my grandfather trained you and saw your potential as did Jiya. They knew you'd make a good Okashira, and I've always agreed with that. You deserve to be Okashira again, and I wish for the next bloodline to be that of Shinomori, but I also wish to have some of my bloodline into the next era. It's logical, Aoshi-sama. I cannot think of anyone else I trust more with the future of the Oniwabanshuu than you, and that is why I think we should marry. If you...agree to marry me I shall restore you as Okashira and if we have a child, they will be the next Okashira. I don't want an answer right now, please...think about it at least until tomorrow." she said, and Aoshi could tell that behind the desk her hands were nervously fidgeting.

"Aa. I will give it consideration." he murmured, and stood up and left the room, feeling a strange daze. He went to his room and sat at the window, watching as the sunset against the Kyoto horizon and let her words sink in.

In her small study, Misao stood and walked over to the window, looking at the sky.

"Oji-san, are you watching your little Misao-chan now? I know you wished me to be happy, and perhaps you too didn't want this ninja life for me...but it is where my happiness lies. You understand my reasons, right? It makes sense to marry Aoshi-sama...but still, half of my reasons are selfish because I love him but in my heart I know this is right, for me and for all of us. And besides, I really would never marry anyone else. I'm stubborn like that, you know."

She caught a stray leaf that had blow into the window and sighed, closed the shutter, and left the room.

Aoshi walked softly along the stony path to the garden, moonlight illuminating the way for him. It was quiet, and the stillness embraced him like a blanket. As he made his way to the small gazebo, he saw a shadow standing there waiting.

"Aoshi, I wish to speak to you."

Okina. He wondered when the old man would talk with him.

"What is it, Okina?" he asked.

"Aoshi, please do not humor her. Don't let Misao get her hopes up and please just let her down gently now." Okina murmured, his eyes serious.

"So you believe I shall decline her proposal?" Aoshi murmured, glancing over at a small sakura tree.

'Aoshi-sama! Aoshi-sama! Look! The flowers have bloomed!'

A small memory lingering like a familiar perfume permeated his senses momentarily.

"Misao may not say it outright, but she loves you and despite the hopelessness of it all she is too stubborn to let go."

"Actually I am giving her proposal serious thought. She made good, valid points and was forthcoming of her feelings."

Okina blinked.

"Did she now..."

"Okina, I must ask you...if I say no will Misao truly never marry another?" he asked, for some reason hoping the answer was no.

"She is stubborn in this matter. She will only ever want you, Aoshi." Okina sighed, almost sure that Misao was going to meet with heartbreak.

"That's all I wanted to ask. Good night." Aoshi murmured, walking away from Okina.

And his mind began to make a decision.

The next morning at breakfast, Misao yawned sleepily having tossed and turned all night. Her anxiety over Aoshi's answer had gnawed at her. It was difficult to keep up a cheery facade, especially when Aoshi walked in looking his usual impassive self.

"Ohayo, Aoshi-sama." she murmured sweetly, and he inclined his head to her to indicate a repsonse.

He sat down and began to drink his tea, then set his cup down and glanced over the table at the other Oniwabanshuu who were chattering as usual about trivial things. He noticed Misao was doing her best to send discreet glances his way, and from the slight dark circles under his eyes he could tell she had been up all night.

"Misao." he murmured, and Misao turned to face him.

Okina set his cup down and also glanced at Aoshi, knowing an answer was about to be given.

"Yes, Aoshi-sama?" Misao asked, her hands fisting the material of her shorts as her nerves began getting the best of her.

"I will." he replied simply, and picked his cup back up to take a sip. As he placed it back down and opened his eyes he was surprised.

Misao's eyes had gone wide, shimmering as tears threatened to fall down her pale face. A trembling hand came up to cover her mouth as a quiet sob escaped her lips.

Okina expression was a surprised one. He hadn't expected Aoshi to say yes, but as he sipped his tea a small smile graced his features.

'May you finally get your happiness. Both of you.' he thought.

"Misao-chan, what's wrong?" Okon asked, noticing Misao's face.

"Misao and I have decided to marry." Aoshi announced, and heard four collective gasped followed by Okon and Omasu's delighted squeals.

"PAY UP!!!!" they yelled to Shiro and Kuro, who sweatdropped and looked defeated.

"Hey!" Misao said, blinking and wiping her eyes.

"Congratulations you two." Shiro murmured to Aoshi, as he and Kuro sent apologetic looks to Misao.

Aoshi merely inclined his head again as Okon and Omasu congratulated Misao with cries of 'happy day the ice has broken'.

Aoshi decided to not take offense to it.

As the other cheered and began preparations to celebrate, Aoshi stood up and walked over to Misao. She looked up at him, her large eyes still shimmering from her tears as he held a hand out to her. She nodded and accepted it as he led her out of the room and outside.

"Aoshi-sama...I...thank you for agreeing to my proposal." she said softly as they stopped under the sakura tree.

A slight breeze blew causing several petals to scatter into the air, and as a petal rested on the top of Misao's forehead Aoshi brushed his fingers against her skin and removed the petal. His fingers traced across her face to her cheek, pressing his palm against her warm skin. She stilled, her eyes widenly slightly as he simply stared at her with a warm sort of intensity.

"It is logical that we marry..." he began, shifting his face closer to hers and lightly brushed his lips against hers in a soft, gentle kiss. "and I want to see you happy."

"Aoshi...sama..." she whispered, then smiled softly.

And for the first time in ages, Aoshi felt almost compelled to smile. For all the pain he had caused her, he had finally done something to give her some measure of happiness.

And it wouldn't be the last.


You know, I was going to make it a one-shot..but im lazy and shit.