Synopsis: (Sequel to Amethyst Serendipity)(AU)(MA) Introduced to Aoshi by her friends, Misao is entranced by the silent man. Deciding her life needs a change in the way it's going, she decides that Aoshi is the answer. The answer to love, that is.
Warning: This is a sequel. If you have not read 'Amethyst Serendipity,' I highly suggest you do before settling down and reading this. Although you could understand this story perfectly well, since there really isn't much reference to the afor mentioned story, I honestly find the more known about the particular characters and the previous storyline, the more this can be enjoyed. It's not long, 3 short chapters, and its centered around Kenshin and Kaoru. Just click into my profile to find it.
Author's Note: After the wonderful response I received for Amethyst Serendipity, and after reading the few reviews that asked for a sequel, my mind started to wander. I didn't want to continue the story of Kenshin and Kaoru, because I felt that they didn't need anymore centered on just them. They do appear in this story and are in fact prominent in the plot, but they are not the center, major characters. That role belongs to Misao and Aoshi. I haven't written a story just on this couple, and this first chapter on them has been really fun to write. This, like Amethyst Serendipity, will be 3-parts in length. I hope everyone that reads this finds some enjoyment, after all that's what fanficiton is for. Thanks for clicking in and I hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin.
Moonlight slanted on the black asphalt, lightly illuminating the narrow road curving precariously up the steep slope of the mountainside. Wind whistled solemnly over the converse slope of the compact car as a sheen of condensation beaded the windshield. Flicking on the windshield wipers to hastily remove the thin haze of moisture, Misao slanted her companion a wary look and sighed shallowly.
"It's going to rain, soon," she observed, lifting her gaze to the languorous slips of gray clouds blocking the moon's lucent glow.
Kaoru followed her friend's gaze and nodded her head slowly. "I know. But only passing showers, though. Nothing torrential."
"Any rain while driving on this type of road, especially while dark, is precarious," Misao replied as they rounded a tight curve.
Kaoru watched as Misao's grip on the black steering wheel tightened, her eyes bright with concentration as she negotiated the shadowed road. She caught her lower lip between her teeth and furrowed her brow with consternation as she started to decelerate a little.
"Thanks for taking me. I really appreciate it. It's rotten luck my car had to be in the shop for repairs tonight," Kaoru commented. "I just hope the weather holds somewhat steadily for another hour or so. Kenshin will be so disappointed if he doesn't get a chance to see his comet."
"Is that what all this fuss is about? A comet?" Misao questioned in a slightly disbelieving tone, her eyes momentarily leaving the road as she sent Kaoru a doubtful look.
"It only comes around every 40 years, so it's a real treat for him to see it. A friend of his is with him, too, to observe it. He spends so much time in the lab these days, he doesn't get as much time to spend doing astronomy. Thankfully, the work load this week was light, so he was able to come to the observatory."
"Do you come up often with him?"
"I try to."
"This observatory is so far away from the city, though. Kind of inconvenient if you ask me."
Kaoru peeked out of her window to look at the deep, vast blackness of the night sky. "The farther we get away from the city the better. The glare of the city lights make it harder to see the stars." Kaoru shifted uncomfortably in the seat and sighed as she tried to arrange the seat belt in a more comfortable position.
"Is it bothering you again?"
Kaoru placed a hand on the small curve of her stomach and smiled as she felt the subtle, but wonderful butterfly movements of her unborn child. "No, not really. I guess I'm just a little impatient to get to the observatory."
Watching Kaoru from the corner of her eye, Misao felt her lips curve into a small half smile as she said wryly, "I can't imagine what it's like to be pregnant. At least you're married. I can just picture you trying to raise a baby by yourself: lost and confused, desperate for assistance of any kind. Even my own."
Kaoru choked on a sudden burst of surprised, but horrified laughter, her shoulders shaking with amusement. "That's awful, Misao!"
Kaoru brushed her black bangs from her eyes, and turned to face her best friend. "I could raise this baby by myself."
"You couldn't even take care of that sack of sugar we carried around in high school for home ec. Dropped the silly thing the second day and spilled its innards all over the hall. It took the janitor a hour to clean up all the sugar."
"That was years ago."
"Let's hope you've learned something."
Kaoru raised an eyebrow, slumping back in her seat and crossing her arms over her chest. "You shouldn't be chucking stones at me. If I remember right, you lost your baby sugar sac and had to buy another before the teacher found out."
Misao chuckled, tapping her fingers against the wheel merrily. "Absolutely genius. You were such a great distraction with your murdered baby, I escaped unscathed; the perfect mother without anyone knowing otherwise."
"I'm a better teacher than you!"
"So we're going to play dirty now, are we?"
Kaoru laughed. "Nah. As long as we agree I'm the better teacher."
Pursing her lips as she vigilantly navigated the car with practiced ease, Misao responded, "That may be so, but you know your class has always preferred me, the substitute teacher, better than you. It's like the concept of an aunt or grandmother. You do the discipline, while I represent fun, games, and playtime," she finished with singular pizzazz, wiggling her eyebrows up and down.
Kaoru made a sound of exasperation as she watched Misao chuckle. "Just remember, they won't think of you the same way next school term when you're the main disciplinary figure, and I'm away on maternity leave."
"We'll see, Kaoru. We'll see," she responded lightheartedly, pushing her long braid over her shoulder, away from the side of her neck.
The blithe insults trickled to a sedate halt when Kaoru directed her friend to the entrance of the observatory. The small one-lane drive to the parking lot was lit by a sporadic sprinkle of hastily built street lamps, dim in light power, but just bright enough to aid with night vision. The small parking lot was mainly empty except for a few cars parked near the entrance of the large building. Misao parked next to a white SUV, flipping off the headlights and turning off the engine.
They exited the vehicle quickly, and together walked to the front. Pulling her jacket more firmly around herself, Misao hunched her shoulders against the November wind's brisk bite. Pulling open the door, they stepped into the warm, inviting interior.
"Do you know where we're going?" Misao asked, turning her attention to her friend as she stood a bit uncertainly.
Kaoru nodded slowly, "The observation deck is down this small hallway. Kenshin and his friend should be down there."
The observation deck wasn't brightly lit, and Misao almost had to squint to see the two figures on the other side of the room. If she had invested in the pair of glasses she was in denial of needing, she might have been able to see more easily. But, no. As usually, every object in the distance held a distinct fuzzy feature that was constantly causing Misao to squint a little. She automatically knew one of them was Kenshin by the softening of Kaoru's shoulders and the slow smile which spread over her friend's features. But, the other taller, larger, broader figure had her stumped. She had been sure she'd met all of Kenshin's friends. She knew it wasn't the loudmouthed Sanosuke, his former roommate, and it wasn't the kid Yahiko, so…this would be interesting. Plastering a friendly smile on her face, she followed her friend, ready to meet someone new.
Up close, he wasn't at all what she had expected. His black hair was short with only the front falling over his forehead in an askew manner as if he'd brushed it aside out of annoyance. His eyes were ice cold blue, almost frigid and expressionless, reflecting the blank look he schooled on his face. His features were darkly handsome, exemplified by his solid stature and calm behavior. The only problem was that the poor thing didn't speak – not even when introduced. She wouldn't have even known his name, if Kenshin hadn't introduced him properly.
This Aoshi Shinomori was a slight anomaly, and had inadvertently intrigued the small, black-haired woman.
She didn't think he was mute. He seemed to be perfectly capable of normal speech; he just didn't appear to want to talk. Though, slightly taken aback by the thought of someone hardly ever talking, she shrugged it off. Maybe he just used body language to get his message across.
Right now, his shoulders screamed: 'Leave me alone!'
Ha! As if. Not when she'd just found him.
She kept half an ear open to the conversation between Kaoru and Kenshin, uttering small inconsequential replies when they directed a question in her direction. Aoshi didn't join in; he seemed content to read the spreadsheet chart in front of him, documenting a garble of numbers that meant nothing to her. Coordinates, maybe?
Kenshin informed them that apparently it was too cloudy to see anything of particular interest. Misao almost felt bummed. Here she'd have to leave when she'd had only just met an intriguing person. She was mildly surprised, and pleased to say the least when Kenshin enlisted the help of his wife to find some astronomy equipment Misao had no idea how to pronounce. Misao smiled inwardly and rubbed her hands together in a small move of internal triumph.
Misao stepped closer to the small square table Aoshi sat at, scribbling silently on the number chart. Pulling out a chair to sit across from him, she laid her elbows on the end of the table and leaned forward, furrowing her brow and watching his movements with great curiosity.
"So have you been interested in astronomy long?"
He didn't reply. A lock of black bangs slipped, falling inconveniently into his eyes.
"I've never been particularly interested in it, except, of course, when I watched a tape showing the first steps on the moon by Neil Armstrong. Now that is important history. I just love what he said, too. Great words from a great man."
No reply. Aoshi brushed the bangs back with a calculated move of his hand, not even lifting his eyes from the paper.
"I did get a telescope set when I was five. It was really neat. I didn't actually use it to look at the stars, though. I utilized it as a spying tool. Great for watching the next door neighbors."
Still no reply.
Misao leaned closer to him, crossing her arms over her chest and watching as he jotted down some incoherent notes on a pad of graphing paper. "If I had used it to look at the sky, though, I would have tried to find Saturn or that other plant with the rings around it. Like bracelets, you know. I always liked the fact they have something that the earth doesn't.
"I was watching the news this morning and they mentioned something about a great new discovery for the field of astronomy. Let's see if I remember correctly," she said as she pursed her lips, turning her gaze to the ceiling as she racked her brain for something useful to bring to this one-sided conversation. "Apparently, it's just been discovered that the Milky Way Galaxy is a barred spiral, instead of the before believed spherical core spiral."(1)
Like in the instances before, she honestly didn't think he would respond, but after a few long seconds ticked by, his head rose slowly, and his piercing sapphire gaze locked with hers. Misao felt a delicious shudder slide down her spine as Goosebumps rose on the tops of her forearms.
"Yes, I know," he responded in a richly deep voice that made her cheeks grow slightly warmer as her eyes widened the smallest fraction.
"Ah, well, that's great," she stammered, her brain taking a while to assimilate his curt answer.
He held her gaze for a few more moments, then silently went back to his work, dragging the blue felt tip of his pen over the graphing paper as he wrote. She held her tongue, watching him work in silence. For once, she decided that in some situations, there was no need to talk. And this was one of them.
The silence that fell between wasn't awkward or stretched with tension. He seemed perfectly content to work, and she found she was perfectly content to observe. Not just him, though, which might have made him uncomfortable. She let her eyes assimilate her surroundings, the comfortable, relaxed aura of the building, and the busy, jumbled organization of the telescopic equipment. Folding her arms and laying them on the table, she sighed.
Behind her, the soft sound of laughter filtered through the air as Kenshin and Kaoru turned the corner and reappeared. Kenshin had slung a small black duffel bag on his shoulder. Misao assumed it held the mysterious equipment that they had left to find. Watching the easy smile on Kenshin's face, Misao felt her lips curve, as she reflected on the fact that the genuine amiability and munificence which made up the root of his personality was bared to even the naked eye.
It seemed as if Kenshin had always been apart of their lives. She couldn't quite remember a time when Kaoru wasn't talking about him, thinking about him, or spending time with him. She watched as the redhead and her best friend interacted with each other. A year and half of marriage hadn't changed the two. They were as close with each other as any two humans could be. Sometimes, on rare occasions, Misao became ridiculously jealous of the tight bond that seemed to glue to two together.
As she sat at the table, a deep ache built heavily in her chest, pulling on her emotions and opening her eyes to the possibilities of a serious, committed relationship. Though neither Kenshin nor Kaoru were a perfect couple, they held a prime example of what a marriage should be composed of: compromise, equality, and love.
And, damnit, Misao wanted that so bad, she could just scream. Frustration, desperation, and determination shimmied their way up her spine and took root in her shrewd mind. Slanting a devious look in Aoshi's direction, she smiled slowly, her eyes sparking and narrowing as she sat there, thinking of the possibilities. Oh, the possibilities.
What more could a woman ask for?
It appeared as if Aoshi was the perfect man. Maybe not for a beginner in the art of love, but Misao considered herself an expert. Clasping her hands in her lap underneath the table as her smile grew into a scheming, nefarious grin, Misao sighed. She had always worked hard to get what she wanted.
And Aoshi was what she wanted.
As she stood to leave, she hesitated, contemplating on whether to say anything, but instead decided against it. Grabbing her purse, she turned and followed her friends, a small extra bounce in her step, her shoulders pulled back in a proud manner.
She didn't see when Aoshi lifted his head from his work.
And she didn't see the smallest hint of a smile pulling at the edge of his lips.
Author's Note: The end of the first part, now the second must follow! Hopefully a handful of you guys will review and tell me what you thought. Thanks for taking the time to read and I hope you enjoyed!
(1) It is actually true about the barred spiral structure of the Milky Way. It is a new discovery that has many, many scientists fascinated and talking about it. The difference between the before believed structure and the new barred spiral is that instead of a circular core, there is a long linear line from which the spiral arms radiate from. If you want to see a picture, I'll have a link posted in my profile page as soon as I can.