On The Rocks
By Hikaru

Summary: Shinobi Love Mailing List March challenge 2005. Sano and Yahiko decide to play a prank on Misao and Aoshi.

"Sano," Yahiko said, his hand firmly around the bottle in question. "I don't think we should be doing this. After all, if we're found out, they'll kill us. And what about Tae? If she found out, we would be banned from helping out in the restaurant, and then how would we eat outside of the Kamiya dojo?"

Rolling his eyes, the gangster shifted the fishbone in his mouth to the left side. "It'll be alright, Yahiko. You worry too much. They won't find us out." He took the bottle from Yahiko and began to pour it into the teapot. "Besides, the look on the weasel-girl's face will be worth it."

"But Sano-"

"Shhhh..." Sano warned as Tae approached the two.

She gave the two a suspicious look. When they came together, there was no good result. Putting her hands on her hips, she asked, "And just what are the two of you doing?" Her lips were pursed in that 'I know you are up to something' look that only Tae could pull off.

Sano gave a nervous laugh. "Ahhh nothing, Tae. We were just preparing table eleven's tea."

Raising an eyebrow, she looked suspiciously at the teapot. It looked well enough. It wasn't cracked or anything like that. She knew, as well as the two did (that much, she was sure), that seated at table eleven were the two Oniwabannshu from Kyoto. The tall male was named Shinomori Aoshi. Her sister had told her much about him. Tae was hard pressed to believe how handsome her sister described him as, but then there you had it. Every single description her sister gave of him was solid truth. His companion, Makimachi Misao, Tae had met more than once. She had made it a habit of visiting Tokyo since Enishi had been defeated. It looked as though she had forced a certain someone to come along with her this visit.

Just looking at the two of them, you could tell there was a bond between them. What sort of bond, it was hard to place a finger on. Look too much at Misao, and one began to think they were a newly married couple. Look too hard at Aoshi, and the impression was given of a father-daughter outing. But despite what social situation they were in, it didn't change the fact that they were, in fact, Tae's customers. And as such, she was going to make they had the best experience possible. So the wry grin on Sanosuke's face caused a sense of unease within her. And the nervous look on Yahiko's face just about gave them away. "What did you do to it?" she asked, simply.

"We boiled the water, and then stirred in the tea leaves," Sano answered. Albeit he sounded like a wise ass, but at least he was telling the truth. He was just leaving out the final step. The secret ingredient: sake.

"Uh-huh."

"Honestly, Tae!" Sano crossed his heart, and placed on his best playboy-smile, which wasn't very effective due to the fishbone still sticking out the side of his mouth.

They were going to burn in hell. Yahiko knew it. Burn. Burn. Why did he follow this idea again? Oh yeah, because Sano had suggested it, and far be it for him to decline an invite for mischief from Sagara Sanosuke.

And what was worse, Tae turned to Yahiko, for he was the one with the guilty look on his face, and asked, "Is he telling the truth, Yahiko-kun?"

Nodding, Yahiko put on his best smile and said, "Yes. It's just stupid chicken-head here put in the wrong sort of tea leaves, so we had to dump the tea and make it again." And if he was lucky, she would buy thatand not ask why Sano had a sake bottle behind his back.

Eyeing the two of them with the trademark stern eye of Tae, that she only saved for drunkards and people who didn't pay their check, she decided to trust the two in what they said. Besides, if anything horrible was done to the tea in question, not only would they have a beating from her to look forward to, but she also knew that Misao and Kaoru (and probably even Aoshi), would have a go at them with their personal weapons. If that was a risk they were willing to take, then so be it.

At the table in question, number eleven, things were not so lively. In fact, if you asked one Makimachi Misao, they were downright boring. There she sat, with her elbows planted against the table, hands firmly holding up her head, staring off into space. What had possessed her to actually try and go out to a restaurant with Aoshi, much less in public with the man, she had no idea. Looking up at her companion, she noted that he still had not moved from the very spot he sat in, looking down at the table, in silence. Sighing loudly, she shifted the weight of her head to her right hand. "If this gets any more exciting, I might actually have to take a nap."

Aoshi raised an eyebrow at Misao, "I had told you I was not very good company."

"Company, Aoshi-sama? Company is when a conversation is held between two people to keep some sort of flow goingor to at least keep the two from falling asleep." She pointed to the taller man, a scowl on her face, and said, "What you are, currently, is something sitting in front of me, blocking the light from hitting me in the eyes."

His attention from the table did not waver. "If that is what you say."

Before Misao could reach over the table and strangle her companion, Tae arrived at the table, carrying the tray of questionable tea. "Okay, here's your green tea," she said, placing large cups in front of Misao and Aoshi. She placed the teapot in the middle of the table. "I'll bring your orders in just a second," Tae said as she smiled to her two patrons.

Misao returned the smile, "Thanks, Tae-san." Bowing quickly, Tae returned to waiting on the other tables.

Looking to her Aoshi once more, Misao sighed and poured the tea. She really was beginning to regret inviting Aoshi out. This was supposed to be a romantic endeavor. As she watched Aoshi take his tea in hand, she decided that it most definitely was not romantic in any sense of the word. She had tabi more romantic than this. Taking her own cup of tea in hand, Misao tested the temperature of the tea. "Ouch," she muttered, putting her cup back on the table.

"What is it?" Aoshi asked, looking idly down to her.

"The tea is too hot," Misao explained, once again planting her head on her right hand.

At least they were having a conversation.

Not heeding Misao's forewarning, Aoshi drank deeply from the cup of tea. He always could take his tea hotter than most. Pulling the cup away from his face, he blinked at the green liquid.

It was Misao's turned to ask, "What is it?"

"This tea..." Aoshi's voice broke off as he immersed himself in deep thought. The tea had a very strange after taste. A burning in the back of his throat.

Misao peered over into Aoshi's tea. "What about it?" she asked. She had only tested the temperature with her tongue, but hadn't really noticed anything out of the ordinary. The tea tasted a little dry, but that was all.

"It must be a strong blend," Aoshi explained, taking another deep drink from the cup. "But it does have an unusual taste to it."

"Yet you still drink it like it was your life's blood," Misao muttered under her breath.

From the opposite side of the restaurant, Yahiko tapped Sano on the shoulder. "Okay, so nothing is happening with the two of them. Can we go now?"

"Shhh!" Sano hushed his young companion. "The fun is only beginning," he explained, with a large fox grin on his face, the fishbone sticking out.

"What do you mean?" Yahiko blinked.

Looking over at the young boy, Sano let out a deep sigh. "Okay, you remember back in Kyoto when Kenshin invited Aoshi to drink sake with him?"

"Yeah," Yahiko nodded. "He said he had no tolerance, and instead would join Kenshin for tea."

The chicken-head nodded, the wide grin still on his face. "Well the last time Omasu and Okon were up here, Okon let me in on a little secret..." he leaned in close, whispering the rest in Yahiko's ear, just in case Tae was still lurking about. He knew that woman had a mother's hearing ability. It was a requirement in the restaurant business.

"What!" Yahiko exclaimed, pulling away from the chicken-head.

"Shhh!" Sano hissed at his companion once more. He pushed Yahiko's head down to hide under the table they were standing nearby. "You don't want to ruin the fun with all of your shouting, do you?" Sano whispered harshly. "If Weasel-girl sees the both of us here, she'll know something is up."

"But if she tastes the tea, she's going to figure it out," Yahiko reasoned, throwing a concerned glance in the direction of table eleven.

From where they were hiding, he could very clearly see Aoshi pouring himself another cup of tea. Sano chuckled, shaking his head in amusement. "I think the damage will be done before Weasel-girl realizes it," Sano remarked, pointing Yahiko in table eleven's direction. "He's already downed an entire cup of tea and is working on a second. That was the strongest (and cheapest) sake I could find." He chewed on the fishbone in his mouth. "If I had been drinking that much, even I'd start to feel slightly tipsy."

"That's because you're a lightweight, Sa- ouch."

"Don't insult my drinking capacity again, or you're going to end up with more than just a bump on your head. Anyway, as I was saying, I can't imagine what someone with Aoshi's lack of tolerance would be going through after drinking that much." He chuckled then, slapping Yahiko on the back. "Just watch-"

And the younger boy complied, with a sense of doom hanging over his head. If Misao ever found out about this, he would never hear, or feel, the end of it. Never.

Back at table eleven, Misao had begun to eat the food that they had been served whilst Yahiko and Sano were plotting away. She looked wearingly at Aoshi, who had also begun to eat. Something was definitely wrong with him. The manners that Misao was so used to seeing her Okashira practice at the dinner table had disappeared. Aoshi was stuffing food into his mouth at a fevered, and clumsy, pace. Although taken aback by this, Misao simply brushed it off, as they had not eaten all day. He must have been hungry.

Aoshi stuffed a large chunk of rice into his face, leaving rice pieces on the side of his mouth.

Very hungry, indeed.

Misao, lowering her chopsticks from her mouth, looked to her Okashira, a little worried. "Are you all right, Aoshi-sama?"

"Why would not I be all right?" he asked, evenly, looking Misao directly into her eyes. "I am having a wonderful meal with the woman that I love."

Misao's chopsticks clattered against the table as she stared at Aoshi, eyes wide and mouth agape. "E-excuse me?" Misao swallowed hard, knowing she must have misheard him. He probably had said the brand of tea that I love, or wearing the uniform I love. Something. Something that was not 'the woman that I love.'

"I said I am having a wonderful meal," Aoshi replied, taking another drink from his cup of tea.

"- but you said more after that." Misao leaned over the table. "You said-" Aoshi propped his head against his right hand and looked deep into Misao's eyes, a wild look in his. Misao also noted that his cheeks were slightly flushed. From drinking all of that hot tea, she supposed. But the look he was giving her made Misao uneasy. She had never seen that expression on Aoshi's face before. "What?" she asked, blinking. "Is there something wrong?"

"Nothing," Aoshi replied, never breaking eye contact with her. "I was just thinking how beautiful your eyes were. Have I ever told you that?"

"Wha-" So shocked was Misao from his response, her arm slipped from the table, and her face collided with her unagi bento.

Aoshi leaned over the table, trying his best to help Misao escape the wrath of her meal. "Are you all right?" Aoshi asked as Misao finally found the ability to sit back up.

"All right? All right?" Misao steamed. Something was up, and she fully intended to find out what. Aoshi suddenly being socaring and (well at least attempting to be) romantic was enough to make her skin crawl. "Aoshi-sama, what is-"

"Oh, you got a piece of eel next to your mouth," he said, gliding his fingers across her face. Peeling off the small piece of fish, Aoshi slowly brought the eel to his own mouth. Savoring every moment, Aoshi drew out the act of eating the piece of eel, vocalizing how much he enjoyed eating the teriyaki-covered morsel.

"A-A-A-" was all Misao could manage to get out.

Leaning in close to Misao's face again, he whispered, "There is still more-" he brought his lips in close to hers, leaving only a breath's distance between the two of them. "Right here," he whispered, tracing his fingers against Misao's lips.

She couldn't take it any longer. Closing the distance between the two of them, she conquered his lips. She felt him jolt in shock, and rightfully so. It was his fault for acting so peculiar. Not that Misao could complain, as his lips were very sweet. And God knows how long she's wanted to kiss him. This was a dream come true for her, indeed.

Pulling away from her lips, Aoshi maneuvered his mouth to be near her right ear. "Why don't you and I get out of here and you can show me how weasels make love?"

Now she knew something was wrong. Kiss, okay; sex, Aoshi must have been going insane. But that didn't stop her face from turning a bright red. "Okay-" she said, trying to sound in control, and failing miserably. "There is something going on here-"

"What do you mean?" Aoshi asked, trying to suppress a few giggles, yes giggles, from coming out. "I am as fine as a daisy" were his final words before collapsing, face first, on the table.

In an instant, Misao was trying to help him sit back up. If she didn't know better, she would have said that her Aoshi-sama was drunk. But that wasn't possible-

"Here, Aoshi-sama," she said soothingly, finally getting him to sit up properly. "Why don't you have some-" When she reached for his tea, her nose (finally) caught the scent of sake. She brought Aoshi's cup to her nose and inhaled deeply. There was no mistaking itshe took a small sip and was positive. The tea had been spiked with sake. Very strong sake, she added, coughing as the liquid slid down her throat. "Aoshi-sama- you're drunk!" It wasn't a question, but an accusation.

With a light giggle, he looked to the young girl with an amused smile on his face. "Now why would you think that, my love?"

Misao's eyes bulged. "Well, that for one." She stood up, putting plenty of money on the table to cover their order. "Come on, Aoshi-sama. We're leaving," she said, extending her hand to him.

Getting Aoshi standing, however, was more a challenge than Misao had figured. He grabbed her hand, and squeezed it tightly. "Does this mean sex is on now?" he asked, pulling himself to his feet. The room shifted suddenly. Aoshi found himself on uneven ground as his surroundings swirled around him. He tried to straighten out his senses, and setting, but to no avail.

"Aoshi-sama!" Misao exclaimed as Aoshi fell face first onto the floor. Kneeling down, Misao tried to get her companion to stand, but it was useless. He remained lying on the ground, muttering nonsense about weasels, glowing eyes, and darkness.

Yahiko found himself rushing over to Aoshi's collapsed form before he (or Sano) realized what he was doing.

"Oi, Yahiko-!" Sano called, chasing after his young decibel.

"Hey, is he okay?" the young boy asked as he knelt over the fallen form of one Shinomori Aoshi. Yahiko was never a big fan of Aoshi, or his ideals, but he just couldn't watch as one of Kenshin's most trusted friends collapsed to the floor. Especially since the collapsing was, in part, his fault.

"No, he's not okay!" Misao exclaimed. "The stupid lush is drunk!" She froze for a second as she computed that Yahiko was present. And behind him was none other than Sano trying, and failing, to casually approach the scene. "Wait a minute- Why are you two here?"

Yahiko spoke first, "Well Sano-"

Quickly covering Yahiko's mouth, Sano grinned. "We're only helping Tae out with the rush," the chicken-head explained, laughing nervously. "You know, extra cash, and stuff."

"Uh-huh..." Misao was unconvinced.

From behind them, a female voice shouted, "Sagara Sanosuke!" Sano blanched. "Myojin Yahiko!" Yahiko gulped. Both troublemakers slowly turned to face the woman behind them, where the very angry voice had come from. It was Tae. Her left hand was on her left hip, while in her right hand she held the sake bottle that Sano had discarded- or at least was supposed to have discarded. "What have you two boys been up to?" she screeched, fire burning in her eyes. "So help me if you have been drinking on the job-"

Misao didn't have to be a genius to put two and two together. Instantly, Misao gave both Sano and Yahiko hard socks in the stomach. "I can't believe you two!" Both doubled over in pain. "Putting sake in the tea! What were you trying to do, kill him?"

"Misao-chan, what-" Tae was at a loss for words. But then she also quickly grasped what Misao was saying. "You put sake into their tea?" Tae gave both Sano and Yahiko hard fast whacks on the head.

More grumbling came out of the mouths of Yahiko and Sano.

"Tae-san," Misao turned to the older woman. "Can you help me get him up standing?" she asked, motioning to Aoshi, who was still very much drunk on the floor.

"Sure Misao-chan," Tae shot another dirty look towards Yahiko and Sanosuke. "You just wait until I tell Kaoru-chan about this..." Both troublemakers groaned again, holding their stomachs and heads in pain. Wasn't the wrath of two over-active females enough?

After some maneuvering, Tae and Misao finally got Aoshi to his feet, even though he was leaning most of his weight on Misao's shoulders. "You're lucky that I like you so much, Aoshi-sama," Misao muttered as they left the Akebeko, one extremely slow step after another.

Tae turned her attention back to the two troublemakers. "Kitchen. Dishes. Now." Both Sano and Yahiko sulked over to the back of the restaurant, the world's burden on their shoulders.

"So much for having 'fun,'" Yahiko remarked bitterly.

When Aoshi came to, hours later, the world was still spinning. But at least he now knew it shouldn't have been. Pain surged through his head in what could have only been the worst headache known to man. He moaned quietly as he closed his eyes. The darkness felt a whole lot better to him.

"Shhhh..." he heard a voice coo.

Suddenly there was a cold, wet, cloth placed on his forehead. Oh, yes, that felt much better. Opening his eyes once more, he found Misao hovering over him. If he wasn't in so much pain, he might have smiled then. However, all he could manage was a nod of acknowledgement. "How do you feel?" Misao asked, beginning to rub his temples.

"Better if I knew what happened and how I ended back at the Kamiya residence," he replied, quietly.

Misao shook her head. "Sa-I mean someone-decided to play a prank on you, and spiked our green tea with sake."

"What?" Aoshi was wide-awake now. He sat up suddenly, trying to ignore the black spots in his vision. "Sake?"

Misao nodded. "Yep, sake. A really strong brewing too. If we had both drank the tea, we would probably both still be at the Akebeko singing sailors' songs really loudly." Misao couldn't help but let a giggle slip then. Picturing Aoshi drunkenly singing was a hilarious thought.

However, Aoshi didn't find the situation at all amusing. Shoulders still tense, he whispered, "Was I drunk?"

"Are you okay, Aoshi-sama?" Misao asked again, looking at her Okashira in worry.

"Misao," Aoshi paused, trying to find the correct words to say to her. "While I was... intoxicated... did I say anything... to you?"

"What do you mean?" Misao asked, trying to understand why he looked so worried. Sure, he propositioned her, a number of times on the way back to Kaoru's house in fact, but she figured that it was the sake talking. Her Aoshi-sama would never, ever-

"Well you see-" he paused again, clearing his throat. "As you know, I have to tolerance for alcohol." Misao nodded. "Well," Aoshi continued, taking in a deep breath, "In the past when I have drank sake, it seemed that I lose the ability to keep... things... to myself." Such as his true feelings, Aoshi continued silently in his thoughts. "What I mean to say is that I have a tendency to say things that I normally would not say."

"Oh," Misao nodded in understanding. "No, you really didn't say anything out of the realm of normal."

Aoshi felt a wave of relief wash over him. He must have not been terribly drunk, then. The last time he had been drunk it had been shortly after his return to the Aoi-ya. As Okina told it, Aoshi had shared, in very minute detail, of what he really wanted to do with Misao. Omasu, Okon, and the old man had all been present for his vivid description of wanting to 'lick her body from head to toe'. This was how his "little secret" about his true feelings towards Misao had become public in the household. Except to Misao. Oh and how they loved to tease him, daily if possible, about it when Misao wasn't around. And people wondered why he had become a murderer. With friends like them, who wouldn't?

"Why don't you lay back down?" Misao suggested, helping him back down on the futon.

"Yes," Aoshi agreed, closing his eyes as his head made contact with the buckwheat filled pillow. Thankful wasn't the word to describe how relieved he was that he had let nothing spill. If Misao was with him, who knows what he could have said to her while inebriated.

Misao replaced the wet cloth on his forehead. "Oh, and by the way-" Aoshi felt Misao's fingers trace his face lightly, stopping at the bottom of his lips. "I love you too."

Before Aoshi could reply, or even move, Misao placed a firm hand on his chest; disallowing him to move unless he decided to use force against her. Which he wouldn't. She leaned down, her mouth ticking the outside of his ear. "And I do want to show you how weasels make love," she whispered. "I just don't think you'd be up for it today."

Aoshi's eyes snapped open. Looking at the wry grin on Misao's lips as she sat up, Aoshi couldn't help but mutter, "Oh no."

It appeared the jig was up.

Fin

Notes:
I've had the introduction to this fic on my hard drive for a very long time. I wrote it while I was stuck in writer's block for Sex and Sashimi over half a year ago, because I try to write MORE when I can't write anything. I know, it makes no sense. Anyway, the intro sat and sat and sat and sat there. I never really gave it any mind, because I wasn't sure where to take the plot. But then when the drunken challenge was raised on the Shinobi Love ML, I decided it was high time for me to finish it.

Originally, I was planning for Misao and Aoshi to both get drunk and have a sexual encounter occur, but as I was writing this, I thought it would be much funnier for Misao to remain sober, so she could react to Aoshi's actions.

And yes, I know people usually don't get drunk that easily/fast, but when a warrior of the Meiji era flat out denies another man to share in sake, because he has "no tolerance" there is a reason WHY he won't drink. For those of you who have never drunk sake, it does leave a burning in the back of your throat, and can be very bitter. Normally, a person would probably be able to SPOT that there was something NOT RIGHT with the tea that they were drinking, had it been spiked with sake, but let's just mark that up to the disbelief of fantasy, okay? Good.

The weasels making love bit, was all Kettering's idea. When I was pitching the idea to her, and was trying to come up with stupid things for drunk!Aoshi to say, she suggested that line. I loved it so much I had to put it in there. Yay! ahem Yes. 20.

This fiction was written for entertainment purposes only. The characters of Rurouni Kenshin belong to Watsuki-san. Standard disclaimers apply.