Based off Brad Paisley's It Never Woulda Worked Out Anyway song.
Aoshi propped his feet up on the coffee table as he watched his roommate dress for her date. He had only been in town for a few days and his best friend from high school agreed to let him crash at her apartment.
They hadn't really spoken since their nasty break-up junior year, but he knew that with her forgiving nature she would have gotten over it by now. Unfortunately for him, he in recent months was just discovering just how not-over her he was.
He was the one that broke up with her seven years before. He didn't think they were heading in the same direction and needed his independence. Also, he had quite the fan club and thought it only his god-given duty to allow them the pleasure of dating the one and only Aoshi Shinomori.
Now after breaking dozens of hearts, traveling the country in his search for fame and fortune, he was a successful musician. Naturally Kaoru hadn't heard any of his songs. That was probably his fault too though. His genre was country western and he had broken up with her at a country western dance hall.
He knew that something was calling for him to come home to No-Wheres-ville, Tennessee. It was true that he hadn't seen his old high school sweetheart in years, but she was the subject of half his songs whether she knew it or not and he had kept up with her life. She was also the one whom all the women he had dated had been pale imitations.
The doorbell rang, signifying the cursed cowboy she was seeing that night had arrived. "Aoshi, could you let Sano in?" Kaoru called from the bathroom as she was finishing with her hair. "I should be done in about two minutes," she explained.
"Certainly," Aoshi agreed with a quick glance behind him to make sure Kaoru was indeed occupied. It was now his god-given duty to protect her from needless heartache. He opened the door to reveal a rather tall, muscular man with unruly dark hair, holding a Stetson.
Sano held out his hand. "Sagara, Sanosuke Sagara," he greeted. Reluctantly Aoshi took his hand and shook hard, feeling a bit of male satisfaction at seeing the cowboy's jaw clench. "You must be Shinomori."
"I am," Aoshi agreed as he allowed the dark haired man to follow him. It became apparent to Aoshi, as a concerned friend, that Sano was all wrong for Kaoru. He was too tall and immature. One of Aoshi's eyes narrowed as he noticed the other man chewing on a fish bone that seemed to materialize out of no where.
"I take it Jou-chan is finishing up making herself look beautiful for me, no?" Sano grinned at the other man, his dark eyes flashing mischievously. "It shouldn't take her long, she's a real stunner."
Aoshi cleared his throat as he sat on the arm of the couch. "Yes, she is quite beautiful. The surgeons did a magnificent job on her."
"Surgeons?" Sano asked with confusion evident on his features as he sat on the recliner across from Aoshi. "Was Jou-chan in some sort of an accident?"
"An accident? No, not unless you consider the circumstances of life an accident. Some people are born as male but know they are meant to be female. Kaoru simply corrected that minor mistake." Aoshi answered; secretly he enjoyed watching the blood drain out of the cowboy's face.
"Kaoru used to be a man?" Sanosuke demanded in a whisper leaning forward and casting a nervous glance towards the bathroom where Kaoru could be heard humming.
Aoshi patted the cowboy on the shoulder. "Like I said, the surgeons did a magnificent job." He watched with satisfaction as the other man rushed out of the living room and out the front door. The sound of the massive tires on his four-wheel drive truck hauling away brought a full grown smile to cross Aoshi's lips.
Kaoru came running out of the bathroom. Her long dark hair in a mass of ringlets down her back, her form fitting black cocktail dress, and elegantly made-up face caused Aoshi's heart to thud painfully in his chest. The smile vanished from his face before she could see it and become suspicious.
Kaoru looked at Aoshi, her brush still in her hand. "What happened to Sano?"
Aoshi shrugged. "He said to tell you something came up." He looked her up and down in an appreciative manner and let out a wolf-whistle. "You look magnificent babe."
The brush in her hand went flying towards Aoshi's skull but he managed to knock it aside with his hand. "Did you say something to him?" Kaoru demanded, resting her hands upon her hips and glaring at him.
"Now why would I do that?" Aoshi asked honestly as he approached her. He touched her soft curls with gentle finger tips. "It would be a sin to let this look go to waste."
Sapphire colored eyes narrowed at him. "You better not have said anything to scare him off," Kaoru warned.
Casually, Aoshi slipped his arm around her shoulder and led her to the couch he recently vacated. "Why don't you sit here for a little while? I'll go change clothes and then take you out to eat somewhere nice."
After crossing her arms over her chest Kaoru agreed. "Fine, but I'm only doing it because I don't want to waste a good Saturday night."
One week had passed and there had been no word from the cowboy. Aoshi should have been content with the development. He would have been if it wasn't for the doctor sitting across from him.
He still wasn't sure why he had agreed to attend a double date with Kaoru. Of course, he had sent his own date home already, Kaoru just wasn't aware of this little detail. He didn't feel guilty; he had given her cab-fare. He had also given her instructions to wait until the doctor joined her before taking off.
The red haired man sitting across from him was starting to tick him off. He was exceedingly polite and catered to Kaoru's every need and whim. It was a good thing he told Tomoe to wait around for the good doctor because it looked like it would take a little more than a simple fabrication to make him leave.
Kenshin looked down at his watch, smile never leaving his face, and caused Aoshi's temper to rise with his seemingly good-nature. "She might be calling her husband to check in," Aoshi offered.
"Excuse me?" Kenshin asked confused as to what Aoshi was referring.
"You were looking at your watch and wondering what was taking Kaoru so long." Aoshi explained. "She's probably calling her husband to check in." He leaned across the table and looked around to make sure no one was listening before meeting Kenshin's amethyst eyes with his icy blue ones. "He's a very jealous man."
Kenshin smiled at Aoshi and laughed. "Miss Kaoru is not married. I believe I would have noticed that I would."
Aoshi shrugged. "Believe what you like. She hides her wedding band. Look at the necklace she wears around her neck. You will see a ring." There was no need to mention that it was her mother's ring and that she had worn it since the day her mother had died.
Kenshin looked towards the back of the restaurant where Kaoru had disappeared towards a few minutes before. He remembered vividly the ring in question. He rose from his seat. "You'll have to excuse me. I can not participate in an affair with a married woman!" He whispered heatedly. "Make my excuses for Kaoru," Kenshin paused as he gathered his things. "Oh and I am sorry that your date had to leave you as well."
Aoshi watched with a satisfied feeling as the red-haired doctor vanished from the exclusive restaurant. He was rather grateful to Kaoru's jealous husband. He was doing wonders towards getting rid of unwanted suitors that would eventually break Kaoru's heart in the long run.
He was doing her a favor.
Kaoru returned to the table soon afterwards, her face flushed with embarrassment. She didn't seem to notice the absence of two of her dinner companions. "You will not believe who I ran into in the restroom."
"Who?" Aoshi asked calmly.
"Misao, Sano's little sister. She said that he told her that I used to be a man and that's why he bailed last weekend." Kaoru leaned across the table and appraised Aoshi up and down closely. "Did you have something to do with that misunderstanding?"
Aoshi's palm flattened against his chest and his eyes grew wide in shock. "Kaoru! How could you think I would purposely sabotage your date?" He lifted his hand to cup her cheek. "I do apologize though; it seems that our dates seemed to hit it off with each other more than with us."
Kaoru pushed aside Aoshi's hand and turned her attention to their empty table. "Our dates left with one another?" She looked back towards Aoshi with tears in her eyes. "Kenshin left with your date?"
"I'm so sorry babe, but I think you look beautiful tonight. Why don't you and I find something to do?" Aoshi suggested with a kind look in his eyes. Kaoru sniffled before nodding in acceptance. Aoshi tossed some greenbacks upon the table to pay the bill and then took his companion's arm.
Aoshi grinned as he hung up the telephone. At least this time he was able to put an end to Kaoru's relationship before the night of the big date. He wasn't too fond of that lawyer anyway. He was nearly twenty years Kaoru's senior, way too old for her.
Besides, any man who was shallow enough not to give her a chance after spending a year in jail wasn't worth her time. Not that she spent a year in jail and not that he told Saitou that she had or anything, but it was the principal of the matter!
Aoshi strung his acoustic guitar and began working on the newest song that was in his heart. Kaoru would be at work for at least another hour so he had time to work out the first couple of verses at least.
"Oh lighten up, where's your sense of humor. They're just tiny little rumors that I started 'cause I'm looking out for you." He paused as he choked down some laughter at how Kaoru would react if she knew exactly why all her dates had not been turning out satisfactorily since he moved in.
"Oh settle down, I'm just a little jealous," he set aside the guitar and reached for his bottle of water to wet his throat. He wasn't really jealous. The idea was absurd but for the sake of the song he could say that he was.
"And I'm sure those other fellas never once believed the lies I told were true. Like the time I told that cowboy that you used to be a man and the doctor you were dating that you hid your wedding band."
A satisfactory smile crossed Aoshi's lips as he remembered Sano high-tailing it out of sight and Kenshin leaving after manipulating the facts a little. "Even if I am responsible for scaring them away you really out to thank me, I was doing you a favor 'cause it never would have worked out anyway."
He was fixing to sort out the next stanza when the key in the front door's lock began to turn. Aoshi glanced at the wall clocked and noted Kaoru has half an hour early. He wasn't expecting that Kaoru would bring home company.
"Aoshi, I'm home!" Kaoru cried enthusiastically as she led a white haired gentleman into the living room where Aoshi was sitting. "This is Enishi," Kaoru introduced.
Enishi looked down upon Aoshi after titling his glasses down his nose slightly. "Ah, the roommate I presume."
Aoshi nodded his head but didn't reply. "Enishi is a representative of a major corporation. We've been doing business with one another for a few months."
"And I finally took Miss Kamiya up on her offer for coffee at her place," Enishi grinned flirtingly at Kaoru as he trailed his fingers down her bare arm.
Kaoru brushed Enishi's hands off her arm and then looked towards the kitchen. "Why don't you wait here, I'll go ahead and get things started. Do you care for any Aoshi?"
"Just hot tea for me," Aoshi answered as he idly strummed along his guitar some careless chords.
Enishi walked towards the fireplace and examined the framed pictures upon the mantle. "Have you lived here long?" Enishi asked casually.
"Long enough," Aoshi answered, observing the other man closely. He certainly didn't like him one bit. "It's not really my business, but you do realize that she gains supplemental income by hanging out at cheap motels. You wouldn't happen to have followed her home hoping for some free action, would you?"
Enishi turned around to look at Aoshi. He slipped off his glasses, turquoise eyes wide in surprise. "Excuse me?"
Aoshi crossed his legs and steeped his fingers in a business-like pose. "As her pimp, I really can't allow anything for free."
"You're saying that Kaoru engages in activities at cheap motels as a form of supplemental income," Enishi asked, clearly in disbelief.
The door to the kitchen swung open, Kaoru looked in with a sweet smile at the two attractive men. "Aoshi could you explain the rules of the house to Enishi for me?" She asked before going back to the kitchen to work on drinks.
The little devil on Aoshi's left shoulder was doing a little dance. "As you can tell she expected me to inform you of our little business." Aoshi gave Enishi a hard look. "You look like you can afford top dollar."
Uncomfortable with the situation Enishi put his glasses back on and headed towards the door. "You'll have to excuse me; I just remembered I had to do….something. Give Kaoru my best."
Kaoru returned to the living room with a tray full of beverages. She looked at Aoshi for answers. "What happened to Enishi?"
Aoshi took his cup of hot tea from the tray and inhaled deeply the refreshing aroma. "He had to be off somewhere, he sends his apologies."
"I see," Kaoru walked towards the phone and checked the caller identification. She noticed that the lawyer she had a date with for that weekend had called. "Did you talk to Saitou?" She asked Aoshi.
"Yes, he regrets that he had an engagement he couldn't get out of for this weekend."
"Interesting that all my dates seem to run away after they talk to you," Kaoru commented.
He blamed it upon his manager that he wasn't able to prevent the date with the dentist. At that moment Kaoru was probably having the time of her life with the smiling lunatic with the perfect pearly white teeth.
Aoshi's calloused fingers began to play the tune that now represented his life and that of his roommate's. "Like the time I told that lawyer that you spent a year in jail and the salesman you were seeing you hang out at cheap motels." He grinned as he recalled killing off the possibility of two heartbreaks on the same afternoon.
He already knew what he would say to the dentist. "Like the time I told that dentist you had seven little kids and you doubled as a dancer at the strip join on the ridge."
"Even if I am responsible for scaring him away you really out to thank me, I was doing you a favor 'cause it never would have worked out anyway." Aoshi set aside his guitar and tried to get his bearings straight.
In the pocket of his jacket, for the past month he carried a heavy burden. It was the real reason he had come back to his hometown. It had taken him seven years to realize that his dreams would never be complete without the other half of his heart.
Coming home and living in the same apartment with her only reaffirmed what he already suspected. He picked back up his guitar. The slamming open of the front door jarred him from his thoughts and he juggled his beloved guitar for a moment before centering himself.
"Back so soon?" Aoshi called as the dark haired woman that possessed his heart stood before him looking like the embodiment of hell's fury.
"You have been spreading lies! Every one of my dates has been poisoned by your wicked tongue!" Kaoru shouted, fists shaking angrily at her side.
Aoshi rose cautiously and gently placed his hands upon her shoulders, only to have her shrug them off. "Can't you see, the reason that I'm doing all the crazy things I'm doing is because I really care about you girl."
"You told Sano I was a man! And Kenshin thinks I'm some sort of adulterer. Saitou believes I'm a convict while Enishi thinks I'm …..I'm ….well you know what he thinks I am!" She shouted pushing hard against Aoshi's solidly built chest with a jabbing finger.
Aoshi ran his fingers through his slightly too long dark hair and grinned sheepishly down at her.
Kaoru looked up at him with a gleam in her eye. "Exactly where were you going to tell Soujiro?"
"You really don't want to know," Aoshi answered as he stepped away from the smoldering volcano of Kaoru towards his jacket. He pulled out the ring box and shoved it into his pants pocket.
He kneeled down onto one knee and took Kaoru's hands in his. "I'll admit I go a little farther than I know I probably ought to but it's all because I need you in my world." He gathered both of her hands in his left while he reached into his pocket with his right hand.
He pulled out the little blue velvet box and opened it, revealed a large sapphire engagement ring. "It's all because I love you and I can't stop thinking of you. And it never would have worked out anyway."
Tears were falling from Kaoru's eyes as she knelt on the floor in front of the man that had forever reserved a place in her heart. She allowed him to slip the engagement ring onto her finger before hitting him in the chest, forcefully enough to knock him over.
Unfortunately for her, he pulled her down with him. With the woman he came back home for sprawled across his chest, Aoshi kissed her lightly on the nose as he ran his fingers through her silky hair. "I have this really great song I think you'll enjoy."
"Yeah," Aoshi closed his eyes and put his arms around Kaoru to hug her to his body closely. "It's called It Never Woulda Worked Out Anyway."
He braced himself for the slap in the chest. "Just how many songs do you intend to write about me?" Kaoru asked, her voice muffled by his throat.
Aoshi kissed the top of her head. "If you ever bothered to listen to my music you would already realize that most of them are dedicated to you already."
"You know I hate country music," Kaoru complained as she propped herself up to look him in the eyes.
Aoshi lifted his lips to meet hers in a fiery embrace. "I'll just have to work on changing your mind."