=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Rurouni Kenshin belongs to Watsuki Nobuhiro, Shueisha, SPE, ADVision, Media Blasters, and other related companies. This fan fiction was created for non-profit entertainment purposes. =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
"Crayon Rainbow" by Doctor Megumi (AKA Noelle De Guzman)
Takani Megumi fumed as the children ran back and forth, into and out of the rooms of the Tokyo clinic, startling old ladies with their antics and bumping into furniture as they played. *Oh, dear Kami-sama, something HAS to be done about Ayame and Suzume,* she thought irritatedly as she attended to a patient with a broken leg. Megumi had sensitive hearing, and even though she loved the two girls, sometimes they could get a little-- She heard them clatter into the next room, and as silence began to reign, she breathed a silent "Arigatou". "There," she said, patting the plaster cast she had deftly molded, then smiling at her patient. She handed over a pair of crutches, and as she ushered the him out of the room, she gave instructions for the care of the leg. "Just make sure to stay off the leg for a while; the bone needs to heal--" she broke off as she heard the racket caused by little feet start over again. "Oh, no..." "WHEEEEEEEEEEE!" squealed a red streak followed by a larger green streak. "NO!" yelled Megumi as Suzume slammed into her patient, broken leg, wooden crutches and doll thrown together in a heap. "I CAN'T STOP!" Ayame screamed as she tried to skid to a halt, bowling over Suzume and giving the last push to topple the patient over. Megumi winced as she heard and saw them crash to the ground. The patient's look of horror was frozen on his face for a moment, then was suddenly reanimated by the pain coming from his leg. "GYAAAAAAAAH!!!!" Ayame started wailing out of pain from a stubbed toe, and Suzume began wailing with her. "THAT'S IT!" Megumi grasped at and threw off her michiyuki, pausing only to put on her wooden geta before stomping out of the clinic. She ran into a confused Genzai-sensei as she did so and gave a small bow before continuing on her way. She breathed in the cool air and relative silence of the walking bustle of the crowd. As she walked away from the clinic, her screaming thoughts began to meld themselves into a semblance of words and phrases. *I shouldn't have yelled like that,* Megumi thought regretfully. *The girls didn't mean any harm.* *But then,* she continued to herself, *I only realize that in retrospect.* She bit her lip in frustration. *How can I keep them quiet so I can work?* Megumi wracked her brain for ways, but none were forthcoming. "What am I going to do?" she said out loud and stopped walking. THUMP! A person bumped into her back. "Hey! Whyd'ya stop walking?" came a masculine voice from behind her. Megumi groaned. Sagara Sanosuke. "If you weren't following so closely behind me, you would have been able to move away to avoid a collision," Megumi replied nonchalantly as she stepped away and turned to face him. "I wasn't following you." "So what WERE you doing so close behind me?" She thought she had him caught. *A-ha!* she thought. A grin played at the corners of Sanosuke's mouth. "I was about to enter the Akabeko," he spoke, gesturing to the building Megumi had stopped in front of. "I'm meeting Kenshin and Jou-chan here. It's nearly lunchtime." Megumi felt herself blushing in embarrassment, dismayed. "Oh," she said, coloring a deep red. "Say," Sano began, seemingly disregarding the flush across Megumi's cheekbones. "You don't look too well. Have you had lunch yet?" Megumi shook her head, too frustrated to care about a sarcastic retort. "I'm supposed to be at the clinic--" she broke off as she heard footsteps behind her and a greeting. "Konnichiwa!" Kaoru and Kenshin chorused. Megumi stifled an urge to laugh in their faces. The two were SO meant for each other. "Sano, I didn't know you'd be bringing a date." Kaoru grinned mischievously. "That's all right, I have enough money here in my purse--" "I'm not here with Chicken-head," Megumi broke in curtly over the sound of Sano's "Hey!". Kenshin looked up at the sun. "That's right. Aren't you usually at the clinic at this time?" "Something happened... and... I had to run out." Megumi looked at Kenshin. Suddenly an idea struck her. *Don't Ayame and Suzume always behave when Kenshin's around? So maybe I could offer him a position at the clinic or something.* She stopped herself. *A position as "Babysitter"? What kind of person am I? I should learn to deal with my own problems and not have someone else handle them.* Kaoru looked expectantly at Megumi. "Well, don't keep us waiting. What happened?" "Why doesn't Megumi tell us over lunch?" Sano broke in. "I'm starved!" "No, really, I have to get back to the clinic. I left Genzai-sensei alone with a dozen patients and two wailing kids. Thanks for the offer, though."
Later, as Megumi groaned at the pounding of Ayame and Suzume's feet, she regretted not taking them up on the offer of a free lunch. A muffled thump sounded outside her door, and she knew the girls had tripped and fallen again. *I've got to think of something that'll keep them from running around so much!* She looked over at the wall, musing over the meditative and calm scenes painted on the scrolls hanging there. She let her mind wander. *These paintings must have taken a long time to make. Maybe the painter didn't even have time for a bathroom break 'cause he had to sit still--* She stopped, and a wily smirk spread on her face. She got up and ran out of the clinic for the second time that day, puzzling Genzai-sensei even more.
"I don't carry any paints or paintbrushes. All I sell here are paintings and blank scrolls for writing," the vendor said, to Megumi's chagrin. As she began to leave, he called after her. "Wait! I DO have these," he told her as she perked up in interest. He ducked down under the counter, then brought out a box with several colored wax sticks in it. "Huh?" Megumi picked up one of the sticks. "What do they do?" "Watch." The vendor picked up a blank scroll and took the stick from Megumi's hand. As she looked at him expectantly, he put the stick down on the paper. And drew. Slowly a tree, a house, and a sun appeared where there had been only blank. As the vendor wrote out his name in kanji to finish off the picture, Megumi rummaged around in her purse. "I'll take it."
"What is it?" squealed Suzume as Megumi hid her loaded hands behind her back. "I wanna see what you bought!" "Is it a new doll?" Ayame asked as she tugged at Megumi's kimono. "Is it a kimono for me?" "Iie, iie." Megumi shook her head and slowly drew her arms away from behind her, displaying her wares. "What is it?" Suzume asked again, this time in a hushed awed tone. "It's a scroll and a box of sticks," Ayame stated disappointedly. Megumi shook her head. "Not just any sticks. Coloring sticks!" She pulled out a green stick from the box and ran it along the scroll. As she did, a green line appeared where the stick touched the scroll. "See? You can make pictures with the colors!" "Ohhh," Ayame said, realization and interest dawning in her mind. "Ohhh," Suzume imitated, not really realizing the potential of the "coloring sticks". "You can draw in the next room," Megumi said, placing the paper and box in Ayame's hands. "Don't forget to share!" she called after them as they ran into the room to begin. Megumi wanted to jump for joy! *I did it, I did it!* she rejoiced as she turned to attend to the next patient. "What's the problem?" she asked, not really looking at the patient. A bloodied hand was thrust in front of her face. She narrowed her eyes, then began to prepare the antiseptic. *Wait a minute. That hand looks familiar...* She groaned. Sagara Sanosuke... again. "Sanosuke no baka!" she exclaimed as she met his eyes. "Where did you injure this hand again? It looks like you put it through a brick wall!" "Whaddya mean, 'stupid'? For your information, if it hadn't been for me, the Akabeko would have been robbed bare of its kitchenware!" "Kitchenware?" Megumi paused for a moment, puzzled, then decided to let it go. "Never mind. Let me have a look at that hand."
"There's no more paper," Ayame said as she surveyed their opus. Suzume lay sprawled on the floor beside the wall, coloring in the last detail of a round red object which she called a strawberry. "So?" "That means we can't draw any more!" Ayame plopped down on her backside, her feet sticking out in front of her. She pointed at a white circle, out of place on the scroll which was otherwise filled with color. "You forgot to fill that in." Suzume rolled over on her back. "I'm bored. I still want to draw!" "Me too, but there's no more paper!" The other girl looked thoughtful. "Maybe she'll buy us some more paper," she suggested, referring to Megumi. "Let's ask her!" Ayame gathered up the sticks on the floor and put them back into the box. She counted them. "The red one is missing." "Here." Suzume thrust her hand out at Ayame, slightly grazing the wall with the stick. Ayame took it and put it in the box beside the others, then squinted at the wall. "Hey, look! You can draw on the wall!" She pointed at the red streak Suzume had inadvertently made. "Really?" Suzume sat up and grabbed the box. "Let's see if the others can draw on the wall, too!"
Sano began to talk. "Well, ya see, Kenshin, Jou-chan, and I had already sat down at one of the Akabeko's tables. Usually, Tae or Tsubame are promptly out there--that slowpoke Yahiko would have been a little less prompt--but they'd be there just the same. Thirty minutes passed, and still no sign of them. "Suddenly someone screamed from the kitchen. Of course, Kenshin was on his feet in a flash. Turns out, some gangsters had gone into the Akabeko just before we'd arrived and stormed the kitchen. They had a knife pointed at Tae and Tsubame and knocked Yahiko out with his own shinai. They demanded money--all Tae had. Of course, Tae had hidden the money all over the kitchen, in pots, pans, you get the point, so it took her a while to collect it all. The sum was less than expected, so they were also going to take Tsubame with them. At that, Yahiko, whom they could've sworn was out cold, suddenly up and knocked down the gang leader. That was when Tsubame'd screamed. Kenshin and I took care of the rest of them. One of them was lucky enough to dodge one of my blows, and, well... this happened." He held up his hand and was surprised to see it bandaged already. "Getting faster at this, eh, Fox?" "I get lots of practice." "Hm." "That's because you injure this hand practically every week!" "Hey!" Sano grinned at her goodnaturedly. She smiled back at him, and for that moment, she felt... "Sanosuke, I..." "Megumi, I..." Both began and stopped at the same time. "You first," they said in unison. "Ladies first," Sano said. Megumi's eyes glinted mischief, and she couldn't resist. "First-time gentlemen first," she said. Sano squirmed. "You had to bring that up, did you? Do you really think I'm that uncouth?" It was Megumi's turn to squirm, but before she could say a word, she heard it. She heard THEM, running around in the hall OUTSIDE the room in which she had left them. "Oh, no..." She moved quickly out of the room and ran smack into a wall covered with SCRIBBLES! Her jaw literally dropped. Ayame and Suzume were running back and forth, running their coloring sticks back and forth on the wall. "I can make a longer line than you!" Ayame announced before running into Anger Personified--formerly known as Megumi. "Anou... we ran out of paper, so..." Megumi put her jaw back into place, aware that there were still patients waiting to be treated and that these same patients were watching her every move. She heard Sano step out of the room and stand beside her. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw him beckon to the two. "Come on," he said gently. "We're going to see Kenshin and Jou-chan." With a girl carried in each arm, he left the clinic. Megumi, stunned at an action she never expected he'd make, watched as he walked away. The "Aku" kanji on the back of his jacket wrinkled as Ayame and Suzume clutched the jacket's fabric in an attempt not to fall off the towering man. Megumi shook her head, snapping out of her trance and walking back into her office. Everyone and their dog noticed that "aku" anyway; but was Sano really so bad?
Megumi segregated her papers into piles. The last patient had been treated, the last file filled out for the day. Genzai-sensei was outside, sweeping up. She lost herself to the rhythmic sound of the broom bristles on wood, nearly falling asleep when the sweeping stopped. She jerked awake to hear two male voices conversing quietly, one which was Genzai-sensei's, and the other indistinct. Then she heard steps in the hallway, and then he was there. "Konbanwa," Sano said as she stood up. "What brought you back here? Did carrying Ayame and Suzume throw out your back?" she teased. "Maybe." Sano watched as Megumi stretched. "Mmm, that was good. I haven't been out of this room since you were here last. I haven't even had time to survey the damage to the walls!" As she stepped out of the room, Sano followed and closed the partition behind him. "Mind if I come with you?" "Not at all. Maybe you can catch me when I faint from shock," Megumi casually quipped. The wall had been crisscrossed with every color in the box now lying in the corner. Genzai-sensei had picked up the stubs of coloring stick and placed them inside. *I didn't realize a MAN could be such a good housekeeper,* Megumi thought to herself, and chuckled as she heard the sound of Genzai-sensei starting to sweep again. Sano had stopped in front of the room where Ayame and Suzume had been happily coloring before they had run out of scroll space. "Megumi, look here," he called. Megumi entered the room and gasped. A vivid rainbow stretched across a wall, and on the other side, animal faces stared out at her. "Kawaii..." she breathed. "I didn't realize they would be THIS good!" "So, you're not mad at them any?" She jumped. She'd forgotten she was with Sano in the room. "Well..." she muttered, then smiled. "They really didn't mean any harm, and I guess I can get the wall fixed." She turned to him. "That was one of the most considerate things you did, taking them to Ken-san and Kaoru when you knew I couldn't handle it." "'One of the'?" Sano arched an eyebrow. "You mean I've done other considerate things? What about my being a first-time gentleman?" Megumi bit her lip. "About that. I didn't mean that. I'm sorry." Sano grinned at her. "Apology accepted." As if that were the only thing he was waiting for, he strode out of the room, then poked his head into the doorframe. "And next time, don't forget to buy more paper."
Author's Notes: 1. Jan Story of KFFDISC@nabiki.com says that crayons already existed in the early 19th century, so this fic is historically feasible (if the Kenshin-gumi had existed, of course).
2. Japanese language notes: All names in this fic are given Japanese style, last name listed first. --Kami-sama: general Japanese term for god/gods --arigatou: thank you --michiyuki: Megumi's purplish blue smock which she wears over her kimono --geta: Japanese slippers --Jou-chan: literally "little girl"; Sanosuke's nickname for Kaoru --konnichiwa: hello --"Sanosuke no baka": stupid Sanosuke --konbanwa: good evening --kawaii: cute --owari: the end
3. There's a reference to Shiroi ICHIGO, Ayame and Suzume's character song in the Rurouni Kenshin Songs album. Can you find it?
4. Special thanks to Katherine Goodman of email@example.com for giving me the idea for "everyone and their dog".
5. Lastly but not least, I'd like to thank God and the makers of a certain Crayola commercial; if not for them, and most certainly if not for Him, I would never have had the impetus to write this fic. Thanks for reading!