Invocation to the Lawyers: I don't own any of the characters from "Rurouni Kenshin" or any of the songs written by Stephen Sondheim.

And Instructions to the Audience: This is a set of one-shot songfics, pretty much in chronological order, using various songs by Stephen Sondheim. Chronologically, this is somewhere between the fight with Raijuta and the appearance of Katsu.

He was not at all nervous, he thought to himself. Not even a little bit.

After all, he was the descendent of a long line of samurai. He had survived years on the streets on his own; he had survived fights with bodyguards and gangsters and that crazy idiot Gohei; he regularly survived busu's cooking, so this shouldn't be any more difficult, right? Right. Absolutely. No doubt whatsoever.

So why was he pacing the ground behind the dojo, shinai loosely held in one hand, glaring at the grass as if it was responsible for he what was absolutely certain could not possibly be nervousness?

Yakiko sighed. It was a good thing Kaoru was busy fixing lunch. Well... it was a good thing that she couldn't see that her student was pacing rather than practicing. And, since Kenshin had been summarily dispatched to the market to get some tofu to replace the first tofu that Kaoru had tried to cook, that left Yahiko by himself. With his shinai. And his thoughts. And several vague plans for trying to sneak off to the Akabeko that had surprisingly little to do with getting an edible afternoon meal.

Now that we're alone

May I tell you

I've been feeling rather strange

Shaking his head, he closed his eyes, took several of the deep breaths he had learned as the first step of the Kamiya Kasshin style, and tried to resume his practice.

'Concentration, Myojin!' he thought fiercely, 'If this were a real fight, like the ones that Kenshin's been in, then you'd be in real trouble right now!'

His mental reprimand kept him on track for another hundred and fifty-seven strokes, before he found his mind wandering again...

Either something's in the air

Or else a change is happening in me

'Man, this is getting boring... one thousand strokes this morning, just on account of pointing out to Sano that busu's miso soup tasted like something died in it... at this rate, I'll be too tired to spar properly this afternoon... especially since she's gonna be cooking lunch as well... although once Kenshin gets back with the tofu, I bet he'll manage to keep things reasonably edible... unless he's in one of those weird moods again where he gets all jumpy being in the same room with her and says "Oro" whenever anybody tries to talk with him... '

It wasn't that Yahiko minded the drills, exactly... he knew for a fact that they were making him stronger, and increasing his skill level. He'd seen the difference when he'd gotten a chance to smack that rich brat Yutaro around. He snorted to himself. Being on the receiving end of Yahiko's ...well, not blade, exactly, but the match had sure proven that he could hold his own against some idiot kid who thought he was better than the rest of them.

But there had to be more he could do than just a hundred strokes, or five hundred, or a thousand... like that time he'd set up that tree down by the river, with those boards. Ok, fine, he hadn't been thinking of the Kamiya Kasshin style when he'd done it; he'd been trying to duplicate the way he'd seen Kenshin move. Not very successfully, he thought, remembering the board swinging to knock him over, tumbling gracelessly to the ground, his broken sandal flying through the air...

... a pair of soft brown eyes, and a shy voice asking him if he was alright...

The shinai stopped in mid-stroke, halted by the memory of those brown eyes. Dark and fringed by long lashes, filled with an expression of concern..

I think I know the cause

I hope I know the cause

From everything I've heard,

There's only one cause it can be...

'Tsubame's so shy; pretty amazing that she said anything at all,' Yahiko thought as he stood, his exercises forgotten. 'I mean, she could've just walked away when I ... lost a fight to a board... Or she could've laughed at me about it, instead of helping me with my sandal the way that she did...I wonder if I still have that sandal, the one she fixed for me...'

The memory of the way she had looked so serious, so intent, as she fixed his sandal for him, made Yahiko's mouth curve up in a grin. Tsubame hadn't even known him them, and yet she'd been so kind to him. And he'd been so startled that he hadn't even been able to cover his deep embarassment that somebody had seen him make an utter idiot of himself with his usual cocky attitude and insults. In fact, he hadn't even been able to move, had felt frozen in place, unable to do anything more than watch the way her hair fell forward and her hands moved as she worked.

Love, I hear, makes you smile a lot

Also love, I hear, leaves you weak

The faint sounds of Kenshin's arrival at the gate snapped Yahiko out of his musings, and lent renewed determination to his practice. No way he was letting Kenshin see him slacking off! How was he supposed to persuade the red-haired samurai to spar with him someday if he didn't seem to be taking his training seriously? And he was almost positive that he was blushing, like some kind of idiot...

Yahiko's expression was fierce as he swung the shinai, almost missing Kenshin's gentle smile of greeting as he brought the tofu towards the kitchen. Slightly embarassed, Yahiko paused to grin back and ask"Hey, Kenshin, do you know when lunch is gonna be ready"

"It shouldn't be too much longer, Yahiko, that it shouldn't. Kaoru-dono has been chopping the vegetables and preparing the rice, that she has, so all sessha has to do is is chop the tofu and cook everything." Kenshin paused, clearly thinking. Yahiko wasn't sure if he was trying to figure out exactly how long cooking the tofu and vegetables would take, or calculating the odds that Kaoru's determined attempt to cook the rice would have resulted in a mess that managed to be both mushy and burned, and whether it would be worth Kenshin cooking more.

Yahiko was willing to bet that they would be stuck with whatever she had managed to do to the rice. Kenshin honestly never seemed to mind Kaoru's cooking, and, even if he had, he'd never mentioned it.

'I guess if I had spent ten years wandering around Japan and having to take whatever I could get, busu's cooking wouldn't seem so bad either...' He could still remember long nights when hunger had prevented sleep beyond a kind of restless, aching doze, in the days when he had been working for the yakuza. But the odds of him ever telling Kaoru that he was grateful for regular hot meals even when she cooked them were only a little higher than those of Sano ever paying off his tab at the Akabeko.

Speak of the rooster... Yahiko rolled his eyes and adjusted his grip as the lanky ex-fighter-for-hire strolled through the dojo gate. Sano's sixth sense about when they were going to eat was almost as impressive as Kenshin's ability to predict his opponent's moves in battle.

"Yo, Kenshin! Hey, Yahiko! Jou-chan out teaching at another dojo again"

"Kaoru-dono is fixing lunch, that she is" Kenshin replied, and Yahiko was almost certain that there was a slightly mischevious twinkle in his violet eyes, in spite of his placid tone.

" Jou-chan is the one cooking today" The wheels in Sano's head were almost visibly turning. On the one hand, staying and eating lunch at the dojo meant getting his food for free. On the other, Kaoru's cooking wasn't always worth even that much.

Hoisting the tofu bucket again, Kenshin smiled and turned towards the kitchen, leaving Sano clearly torn between gambling on whatever Kaoru was likely to produce or spending money he probably intended to use for gambling on dice that afternoon.

Yahiko rolled his eyes and said"Jeez, Sano, if you dislike eating here so much, why do you keep showing up"

"What, a guy can't stop by to see how his friends are doing"

"Yeah, right. Look, if it's that bad, I'm heading over to the Akabeko this afternoon, and you could always grab something there."

Sano raised one eyebrow. "The Akabeko? Oh, really" Sitting down casually on the porch, he adjusted the fishbone he was chewing on and said"Sooooo, Yahiko-chan, what're you going all the way to the Akabeko after lunch for"

Yahiko automatically bristled at the diminutive and opened his mouth to reply angrily before he registered Sano's tone and expression. "I.. I'm not... I mean...It's for... for helping out Tae. If she needs it. 'Cause I said, you know, that I would. Do that. The helping."

"Ah, so it's all about helping out Tae..."

Confidant that he had come up with an excuse that was not only plausible but that made him look good, Yahiko plunged ahead"Well, sure, I mean, poor Tae, so much work to do, running a busy and popular restaurant, and that's without counting that certain people don't ever bother to pay for their meals..."

"So it's got nothing to do with a certain cute little waitress who's always sneaking glances at you whenever we eat there"

"Of course it's got nothing to do with... Ts-Tsubame looks at me? Really" Yahiko's voice on the last syllable was more like a squeak, and he could feel that his cheeks had gone bright red.

What the hell was wrong with him today?

Love, I hear, makes you blush and turns you ashen

You try to speak with passion, and squeak . . I hear

Sano somehow managed to smirk around the fishbone in his mouth, and drawl out, "Ahh.. looks like our little Yahiko is finally growing up. Want me to give you some pointers about women, kid? Bet you could use all the help you can get..."

Feeling himself on safer ground now that he could use anger to cover his confusion, Yahiko snorted, "You? Give me pointers about women? Yeah, right. I'd be better off asking busu's advice."

Actually...Yahiko paused. That wasn't an entirely bad idea. 'Kaoru's a girl... well, technically, anyway.. bet she knows all about this sort of stuff, like what to say and everything... if I can just find a way to ask her without letting her know that I'm asking her...'

Right now, though, he had more immediate problems, in the form of a certain rooster-head who clearly needed to have some sense knocked into his thick skull...

Setting his shinai carefully down next to the front steps of the house, Yahiko charged.

Lunch was perfectly normal.. which in this case meant that Kenshin had to use his godlike speed twice to prevent the main dish from getting knocked over, Sano got hit upside the head with a flying rice bowl flung by a furious Kaoru, and Yahiko and Sano both almost sustained serious chopstick injuries while fighting over the last pieces of tofu.

Afterwards, waiting until Sanosuke had strolled out the gate and Kenshin had started on the laundry, Yahiko went to help Kaoru wash the last of the dishes, trying to think of a way to say what he wanted.

"So.. um.. Kaoru.. if you were a girl.. I mean, if you were... I mean, um.. girls like, um.. flowers and..and... stuff, right?"

Well, that hadn't gone the way he planned...

Kaoru, whose face had gone from startled to ominous to grinning over the course of his sentence, schooled her expression into careful neutrality and said, "Well, Yahiko... yes, girls do indeed like flowers."

She handed Yahiko a cloth for drying the newly washed dishes and turned back to the sink, before saying, "I remember when I was a little girl, my father used to take me walking down by the riverbank, or in the meadows outside of town... I would always come home with armfuls of flowers and try to fill every container in the dojo with them..." Her eyes turned wistful for a moment before she resumed attacking the pots and bowls with surprising fervor.

Yahiko wasn't quite sure what to say next. He knew that Kaoru missed her father very much; not that she ever said anything, to any of them, but she would sometimes get this look on her face, especially when they were in the Dojo, and he knew that she was wondering what her father would think of her efforts to keep the Kamiya Kasshin school alive on her own, what he would think of the "family" she'd gathered around her.

Sometimes, he wanted to tell her that he was sure her father would be proud of her, her strength and her spirit and her heart, the way that she was so determined to make her school thrive so that the ideals of Kamiya Kasshin could become a part of the new era. Sometimes he wanted to tell her that he knew exactly what it meant to be the last of your family, to have a name and a heritage and a responsibility to it. That was something the two of them had in common, a burden of remembrance that even Kenshin didn't have to deal with.

But Yahiko could never find the words for it, and every time he tried, he ended up getting embarassed, and every time he got embarassed he tried to cover it up, and every time he tried to cover it up... well, he supposed that having to practice that much was also a way of helping maintain Kaoru's family style.

Once the dishes were done, Yahiko tried to come up with a way to casually saunter out of the dojo and towards the center of town. Since this was one of the days where she didn't have to go anyplace to give lessons, Kaoru was going to spend the afternoon at home, probably cleaning the house and continuing her ongoing battle against the clutter in the storage shed. He knew that he had to clean the Dojo floor and sweep the porch, but he had a sneaking suspicion that if he started that now, he would inevitably get dragged into her grand organizational schemes and end up too sweaty and exhausted afterwards to go anywhere.

Although maybe if they all worked hard cleaning all day, he could drop subtle hints about going out to dinner afterwards?

Yahiko dismissed that plan almost as soon as it had occured to him. First, having Kenshin and Kaoru.. and Sano, who would doubtless magically appear the minute anybody in the Dojo used the words "beef pot," "Akabeko," and "tonight," there would mean that.. well, it would mean that Kenshin and Kaoru and Sano were there with him. And even if they didn't say anything, they would get these looks—even Kenshin, who was unusually good at keeping his expressions under perfect control, would have that amused, encouraging twinkle in his violet eyes.

That ruled out dinner. Or, maybe..

'If we're not having dinner out, that means we're eating here... and Kenshin only brought home tofu for lunch today... so, somebody should really go and get food for tonight, right?' Yahiko grinned to himself. This was a perfect plan! Kaoru was already in the clothes she only wore when she engaged in intensive and therapeutic housecleaning, and Kenshin was up to his elbows in laundry, so that clearly meant that he, Yahiko Myojin, was the only one who could carry out the vital task of making sure that they would all be able to have a good, nutritious, hopefully-not-cooked-by-Kaoru dinner after a long afternoon's work.

Straightening his shoulders, Yahiko walked towards the laundry bucket. Without even turning around, Kenshin said, "Hello, Yahiko; is there anything else that needs to be washed? It's a perfect day for hanging things out to dry, that it is."

"Umm.. no, I don't think so. Although I'm not really the one to ask. Kaoru's gonna be cleaning the house and stuff this afternoon; you could see if she turns up anything else that needs to be washed." he replied as he reached where the rurouni was kneeling and rinsing out the first batch of clothes before getting ready to hang them up.

Kenshin smiled as he stood up and stretched slightly. "That's a good idea, Yahiko, that it is. Sessha will definitely see if there's anything else Kaoru-dono wants washed, as long as she's engaged in Spring cleaning."

"Good.. good.. So, um.. Kenshin.. have you thought about what we're having for dinner, I mean, do we need anything else, I mean, um, if you're doing laundry and she's cleaning, I could, um, run to the market. For food. If we needed anything else." Yahiko blurted out in the nervous rush that seemed to be replacing his regular way of talking today.

To his vast relief, Kenshin managed to keep even that twinkle in his eyes under control this time, and to act as if Yahiko's request had been delivered in a perfectly calm and even tone. In fact, Kenshin even cocked his head to one side and gave every appearance of considering Yahiko's suggestion carefully, weighing the options, before he said, "Thank you, Yahiko; sessha thinks that that is an excellent idea. You can try to find some fresh fish, that you can, or more tofu if there's nothing else that looks good. Sessha thinks that we have enough vegetables, but feel free to see if there's anything exceptionally fresh."

"Thanks, Kenshin! I mean... Right! Fish, or tofu, and maybe vegetables.. got it!" Yahiko spun and dashed back to the kitchen to get money from the household funds, did a quick self-inspection to make sure he hadn't spilled soup down the front of his gi during lunch, yelled to Kaoru that he was going to market, and sprinted out the front gate before she could pause long enough to give him a list of other things to pick up.

Remembering Kaoru's suggestions after lunch, Yahiko's first stop was down by the riverbank. He had thought about going to the meadow outside of town, but had decided it would take too long to get there and back again.

'I just hope that there's something here that looks like a flower and doesn't smell awful or something,' he thought to himself as he scanned the riverbank for signs of a color other than green or brown. Seeing a cluster of small, white flowers, he grinned, and then set about retrieving a small bouquet of them without getting his feet all muddy in the process.

Yahiko approached the Akabeko with a noticeable spring in his step, before it occurred to him that he still hadn't figured out how exactly he was going to get a chance to talk with Tsubame.

He could ask Tae, of course, but that meant.. well, asking Tae, and he didn't want to do that. Recently, Tae had been getting a very determined look on her face every time she looked at Kaoru and Kenshin, and Yahiko really didn't want that look directed at him and Tsubame.

Because then he could never, ever, ever eat at the Akabeko again, and he really did like their beef pots.

Walking through the front door of the restaurant with what he hoped was a casually stealthy attitude, Yahiko looked around for signs of the restaurant's owner. Tae was chatting with a group of customers in one of the side booths, a cheerful smile on her face as she collected their dishes and made pleasant small talk.

Yahiko let out a deep breath. 'Good, Tae's busy... now I just have to figure out a way to..'

"Yahiko!" a soft voice piped up behind him "What are you doing here?"

'... find Tsubame..' he finished mentally as he turned around to look into a pair of soft brown eyes that were smiling up at him in a way that made all the speeches he'd constructed for himself on the way into town vanish without a trace.

"I.. um... we needed... um... shopping, and... I'm supposed to be looking for fish, and so I thought of you.. I mean, I thought of stopping by to see you, and, um, seeing if you had.. if you were... um.. here!"

The one useful piece of advice Yahiko had picked up from Sano was that when words weren't working out, it was time to resort to action. Pulling the small cluster of flowers from where he'd been keeping them inside of his gi, Yahiko held them out to the slightly startled girl in front of him.

Tsubame looked slowly at the flowers, then blinked, then looked back up at Yahiko, and blinked again.

'Argh! They're squished! The flowers are all squished; what an idiot, should have figured out a better way to carry them, although then people would have seen them, and then they would have known I was carrying flowers around, and then they would have known that...'

The spiral of Yahiko's thoughts sputtered to an abrupt halt as Tsubame smiled at him, and reached out a hand to take the small bouquet. He was so startled that he almost forgot to let go of the flowers, until her small fingers brushed lightly against his hand, and then he dropped them as if he'd been burned.

'Really smooth, Myojin...' Yahiko thought with annoyance.

But Tsubame's eyes were lighting up as she looked at the flowers and held them up to her nose to smell their faint perfume, and she didn't seem to have noticed his nervous start.

"Um.. I just wanted.. I never really got to thank you, for the sandals, I mean, and so I wanted to. Say thank you. Because you didn't even know me, and you were really helpful and you didn't laugh or anything and... and.. so.. thank you."

Honestly, that had gone better than he'd thought it would.

"Oh, that's alright," Tsubame replied shyly, as she smelled the flowers once more before tucking them into the inside of her sleeve. "Really, I didn't mind helping. And you've done so much since then, you saved me from those thugs, and you beat off that robber..."

"Well, you know, a samurai has responsibilities," Yahiko said confidently, trying not to sound like he was bragging. "I mean, I couldn't just let you.. and.. and everybody be in trouble and not help out. The Kamiya Kasshin style is all about protecting people, you know!"

This was definitely much safer ground than anything having to do with flowers, or feelings. On the other hand, Yahiko was fairly certain Tae was about to finish up and start walking back in their direction, and he did have to actually go to the market, so...

"Well, I should get going. With the shopping. Kaoru and Kenshin are back cleaning the house and doing laundry.. well, Kaoru is cleaning and Kenshin is doing laundry... anyway, I need to go take care of that fish..."

"And I need to get back to work too," Tsubame answered. "It was very nice to see you, Yahiko-ch.. Yahiko. If you have to do the shopping again, you could come by and say hello. I mean, if you ever wanted any tips about good places to get fish. Or, um, other things. We have to deal with a lot of the merchants here..." she trailed off, the faintest of blushes evident across her cheeks.

"Thanks, Tsubame!" Yahiko said enthusiastically "That would be.. um.. helpful!"

Tsubame's shy smile before she left to take orders from a table in the back of the restaurant made Yahiko's heart do a strange flip-flop and he walked out to the marketplace smiling broadly, before he remembered that he was out in public, where people could see him.

Love, they say, makes you pine away

But you pine away, with an idiotic grin

Samurai weren't supposed to walk around with goofy grins plastered on their faces!

...Well, unless they were Kenshin.

The market was always crowded in the afternoon, which, while it had always made it one of the best times of day when he was a pickpocket, was something that Yahiko now just found annoying. He'd taken care of what he wanted to take care of, and now he just wanted to finish up and head back home so that he could get some more practicing done before he had to clean. Or he could clean and then practice.

Although, considering how enthusiastic Kaoru got when she was caught up in one of her massive organizational projects, planning on doing anything else once he'd gotten started with the cleaning was probably overly optimistic.

As Yahiko headed determinedly towards the corner of the market where the fish merchants were loudly proclaiming the freshness of their wares, he caught sight of a familiar slim, graceful profile, heading in the same direction.

"Hey, Megumi!" he called cheerfully to the young doctor. She turned and smiled at the sound of his voice.

"Hello, Yahiko!" she returned "What are you doing out in the market? I thought that Ken-san took care of the shopping."

"Oh, Kenshin's doing the laundry... I thought I should go out and pick up stuff for dinner."

Megumi's expression suddenly turned slightly speculative as she looked at the direction Yahiko had been coming from. She raised one perfect eyebrow and said, "Isn't the dojo in the other direction?"

Yahiko, who had been congratulating himself on accomplishing his mission without comments or interference from anybody at the dojo or at the Akabeko, suddenly realized that he had been overly optomistic.

"I.. I.. it's.. um... well, you know, I wanted to ask Tae if she needed extra workers over the weekend," Yahiko stammered. It had worked on Sano, after all, so there was no reason it wouldn't...

"Oh, that's sweet, Yahiko-chan," Megumi said, and Yahiko could practically see the fox ears popping up behind her head, "And?"

"A—and?" Yahiko said, his voice sounding half-strangled.

"Did Tae need help?"

The one problem with his story, Yahiko realized... well, other than the fact that nobody seemed to believe him... was that he had the feeling it was going to result in him having to work the entire weekend, just to keep it from coming out that he had been lying.

'If they don't believe me anyway, why do they keep pretending they do? Just to see me squirm?' he grumbled to himself.

Then he realized that Megumi was still staring at him, an amused expression in her eyes as she watched his face redden.

I pine, I blush, I squeak, I squawk

Today I woke too weak to walk

What's love I hear, I feel. I fear, I'm in.

"She.. she was busy! With a customer, and so I couldn't talk with her. I'll check tomorrow," Yahiko declared with a sudden burst of inspiration.

He sighed in relief as Megumi said, "Well, it's terribly sweet of you to be so conscientious, Yahiko. I wish that idiot Rooster was half as good at volunteering; at the very least, it would help balance out his tab there! You be sure to say hello to dear Ken-san and everybody at the dojo for me; I have to go and tend to a patient. She's trying to get over a fever, and her poor husband is frantic about her. I keep telling him that his wife is going to be fine, but you know what it's like when the one you love is sick; you just want them to get better."

See what I mean...

I hum a lot too

Yahiko sighed again as the doctor turned and headed away. He really needed to get that fish, and head back home. As he looked over the merchants' selections, he suddenly realized that he had no idea how to pick a good fish out from a bad one. They all looked and smelled... fish-like, as far as he could tell. Were they supposed to look different if they were older? Or newer?

'I wish Tsubame could have come with me,' he thought. 'She said she could help me, because they have to deal with the fish merchants. Maybe I should go back and...? No, no; they're busy, and I don't have time... but next time, maybe. Definitely next time. Tsubame and I could go to the market together, and maybe I could bring her more flowers, and we could walk along the riverbank...She would like that, right? Maybe I should ask Kaoru again...'

Yahiko suddenly caught up with his own runaway thoughts, and felt slightly dizzy. Ask... busu? For advice about how to... well, he wasn't courting Tsubame, he was just.. he just liked spending time with her, that was all. She was sweet, and pretty, and she was nice to him, and spending time with her made him feel...

I'm dazed, I'm pale,

I'm sick, I'm sore

I've never felt so well before

... it made him feel warm inside, he decided, like something he could remember from when he was little, and the whole family had still been together. Like the way he had felt when he'd seen how his mother and father had looked at each other.

Did that mean.. that he felt the same way about Tsubame? That he.. loved her? Thinking back to what Megumi had said, about being worried about someone if they were sick or in trouble, he tried to imagine what he would feel like if Tsubame was sick.

'I'd be worried... of course I'd be worried! It would be like that time with the gangsters, but.. but... I wouldn't be able to do anything like I could then... That would be... not being able to do anything to help would be... Well, I would just have to help take care of her, and maybe she could stay at the dojo, so that I could spend time with her when I wasn't practicing; I bet that would help her get better long as Kaoru wasn't cooking...'

Yahiko was so caught up in his plans for taking care of Tsubame that it was a bit of a shock when he remembered that she wasn't actually sick.

'Oops... I guess I don't need to ask if Tsubame could stay at the dojo... In fact, I really better not; I can just imagine the looks everybody would give me...

But if she was sick, I wouldn't care about the looks they'd give me...' he thought, 'I'd just want to do everything I could to make sure she got better... I guess I.. I mean, I really do care about her. A lot. And I want to make sure that she's happy, and protected, and taken care of. So I guess that means that I do.. I really do...'

What's love I hear

I feel, I fear

I know I am

I'm sure, I mean

I hope, I trust,

I pray, I must be in.

"Well, sonny, do you want that one?" the merchant whose stall Yahiko was standing in front of asked gruffly, his tone clearly indicating that he didn't appreciate people just lounging and thinking and not buying.

Yahiko blinked, then gave a broad grin, this time not caring if anybody saw him, if the whole world saw him. "Sure!" he said, "That looks like an excellent fish; can you wrap it up for me?"

And even after the fish was paid for and wrapped up and safely in the basket, Yahiko kept grinning to himself, lost in thought, all the way out of the market, and down the road, to the gate of the Kamiya Dojo.

Forgive me if I shout

Forgive me if I crow

I've only just found out, and

Well, I thought you ought to know

Author's Note: Ack! Sorry about the delay; I was.. um.. well, there were holidays, and moving, and.. well, the being mugged by random plot bunnies didn't help. Annoying little fuzzballs. Plus these chapters seem to keep getting longer, although I think that's because more characters are getting involved and the timespan covered is increasing. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, apologies, and I hope that you like this chapter! This is a song sung by Hero, who is the dashing young man in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," as he's trying to figure out his own feelings (in the movie version, he's played by a disturbingly young Michael Crawford). It seemed like a good song for Yahiko, because Tsubame is the first girl in his life, and he probably hasn't ever really thought about the issue before.