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Emotion II

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"I have an announcement to make," Kamatari said, straightening. "My wife and I are back together."

A blur of squealing and jumping followed, most of which was Kamatari and Misao, since Aoshi didn't squeal and Kaoru didn't think she could compete when Kamatari and Misao joined forces.

"Are you moving out then?" Misao asked once everything had quieted down. "The house is so much quieter with Elaine gone. It's hard to imagine it without you."

"That's the sad thing," Kamatari said, all too familiar tears beginning to swim in his eyes. "I'm leaving tonight. Kenshin went to pick up Tomoe so we can drive back together in my car."

Kaoru started crying. She'd come to truly care about Kamatari, and she was all too emotional lately, what with Tom dying instead of waking up from his coma, and Elaine deciding to give up her baby for adoption. Her sister's sorrows were all too much her own, and were just starting to diminish now that Elaine had moved back home with their parents. On top of that she felt guilty that things were going so well with Kenshin. So her crying set Kamatari off because he cried easily, and then the both of them set Misao off. Kaoru got the feeling Aoshi was staring at them like they were aliens, but she was too strung out to care.

Aoshi, ever the practical one, cut it all off by going upstairs to bring Kamatari's suitcases down. Then Kamatari went up to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything, while Kaoru and Misao watched them trudge back and forth on the stairs as their tears diminished. Just as everyone was quieting down to wait, the doorbell rang and it was Kenshin and Tomoe.

It was touching to watch Kamatari and his wife hug each other as if they'd been reunited after years of unwanted separation. They both had tears in their eyes.

"Was Tomoe upset on the drive down?" Kaoru asked Kenshin as she watched the couple whisper together.

He shrugged. "She was pissed at me the whole time for not telling her where he was. But she only fussed because she was so relieved to know."

When Tomoe and Kamatari finally separated, she asked to speak with Kaoru outside for a moment.

"Sure," Kaoru agreed. She hadn't seen or talked to Tomoe since their confrontation on the porch, which she hadn't told anyone else about. Truthfully, she was ashamed that someone could disapprove of her so suddenly and so completely. But she went outside anyway, ignoring the curious looks from Kenshin and Kamatari. She even held the door open for Tomoe.

"Ms. Kamiya-"

"Please, call me Kaoru."

"Then call me Tomoe." She smiled slightly. "Kaoru, thank you for housing my husband for the past month. I don't know if he told you, but the anniversary of the death of our twins is tomorrow."

"I'm sorry for your loss," Kaoru said, beginning to see the reason for their marital problems. "No, he didn't tell me."

"The deaths of our children put a strain on our relationship that I see now was best solved by the passage of time." Tomoe said simply. "Now I know how much more I love him since the day they died." She paused. "They were too premature. There was nothing the doctors could do."

"I'm sorry."

"No, I'm sorry," Tomoe said. "Their deaths had a dulling impact on me. The only time I really lived afterwards was at Sano's wedding, and while I was fighting with my husband. When I came to talk to you that day, I took out my pain and frustration on you. I hope you may one day forgive me."

"I already have," Kaoru said.

Tomoe smiled slightly. "I'm not happy that my husband spent a month in a house with three unmarried women, but I am grateful to you for giving him a place to stay."

Kaoru smiled. "I can certainly understand that. But it really wasn't a problem. He paid us a month's rent and stopped Misao and my sister from biting each other's heads off."

Tomoe smiled for real this time, like she had at Sano's wedding, and Kaoru thought again that she was truly a beautiful woman. "As long as he helped you, I suppose."

Kaoru laughed. "Would you and Kamatari like to stay and watch a movie with us before your drive back?"

"I'd like that," the other woman accepted. "And Kaoru, despite what I said before, you are good for my brother."

Kaoru lowered her eyes. The last thing she'd expected from Tomoe was praise. "I'm glad you think so."

"He's too serious, and he drives too fast. He's always driven too fast," Tomoe continued, a faint smile gracing her features, "We almost died three times coming down here and he didn't notice a thing!"

Kaoru laughed and opened the door for Tomoe to go back in the house. It appeared that Kenshin's sister was no worse than her own sister.

"You missed it! Aoshi proposed and Misao said yes!" Kamatari exclaimed as soon as they'd walked in the door. He grabbed his wife's arm and pulled her into the living room. "This calls for a sappy romance movie!"

Kaoru locked the door behind her and sighed. Life was good.

"Kaoru, get in here and see the rock!" Misao screamed from the living room. She sounded deliriously happy.

Kenshin appeared in the doorway. "Come on, Kaoru. Honestly, you have to see this ring. I'm impressed at Aoshi's good taste. He's going to be a hard act to follow."

"I'm coming," she told him.

He met her halfway.