Disclaimer: I own nothing, nada, diddly, naught, nihility, nix, nobody, not anything, zero, zilch, zip, Zippo, zot…I think you get the point… ;)
Author's Note: This story is in response to the challenge issued by Shenyu on the "Rurouni Kenshin Dream" forum. The challenge was to write a one shot of the RK gang as 4-6 year olds. So I have them as 6 year olds, in first grade. And so, as I decided a break to write something fun and fluffy would be a good idea for me right now, I give you the following:
Cupcakes and Snowballs
It seemed to take forever before the bell finally rang for lunch break. The first-graders of Mr. Hiko's class needed no second bidding and quickly jumped up from their seats to take their lunches outside. After all, it had been the first snow of the season the night before, and no one wanted to miss that.
The kids raced outside past their teacher, and the two assistants who had come out as well to monitor the time on the playground, Mr. Sagara and Miss Tomoe.
Sano ran to catch up to his best friend, Kenshin, who was pulling on his coat. "You need to wear your coat, that you do. It's cold out there." Kenshin told him, but Sano just shrugged. "Nah, I'm not cold." He insisted. "I wanna show you my newest action figure, c'mon!" he grabbed his friend's arm, jerking him outside along with him.
Misao slid down the bench to sit next to her crush, Aoshi, a fact she made no effort to hide. Aoshi on the other hand didn't seem to really mind the girl either, even if he didn't outwardly return her obvious interest in him.
"Hey Aoshi, I brought cupcakes! An' I brought one for you too!" she announced, bouncing in her seat before dangling a very smashed looking plastic wrapped pastry in front of his face.
Aoshi only raised a slight brow as he finished chewing a mouthful of sandwich, looking at the pastry. "Misao…what happened to it? Did it get run over by the bus?"
Misao frowned. "No. That stupid Chou sat on it on the bus." She turned her scowl for a moment to another boy with impossibly wild blonde hair who seemed oblivious to everything around him at that moment. She quickly returned to dangling the thing in front of Aoshi. "But I brought it for you."
Aoshi looked at it again before reaching out a hand to take it, nodding slightly. "Thank you."
Misao's face slip into a huge grin as she let out a delighted squeal and suddenly hugged Aoshi around the middle, almost making him drop his sandwich. Just as quickly she let him go, and bounced off again to another corner of the playground.
Kaoru had just started to open her lunch bag when a snowball suddenly hit her in the back of her head. She spun around to the sound of raucous laughter, to see Yahiko standing behind her with another snowball in hand.
"Haha ugly! Gotcha!" He teased, grinning wildly.
"Why you little…!" she screamed, jumping up from her seat to chase after him, grabbing up a handful of the wet slush as she did, chucking it after the boy as she ran. As they ran past the teachers Mr. Sagara shook his head. "If I didn't know better I'd think those two were siblings, the way they bicker." He laughed.
Both paused, turning indignant looks towards the older man. "We are not siblings!" They shouted in unison, before Yahiko laughed again. "I wouldn't want one as ugly as you!" he teased, starting up the chase again.
Meanwhile, sitting next to Tomoe was her younger brother Enishi, who sat with his arms crossed in a protective manner.
She smiled down at her brother. " 'Nishi, why don't you go play with some of the other children for a while?"
Enishi shook his head. "No. Gonna stay here and protect you sister!" he declared firmly.
Tomoe looked confused. "Protect me? From what?"
"From bad people. From…Kenshin. Cause…he's…an alien or something…" Enishi lowered his voice, narrowing his eyes at his seeming arch-nemesis.
Tomoe wasn't sure what to make of this, but she let it go for the moment. Her brother leaned against her back, eating a few crackers and pushed his glasses back up on his nose before looking around the playground again.
Katsu moved away from the other children, smiling slightly as he pulled out his notebook and pencils, starting to draw on a fresh sheet of paper. He didn't care for playing very much, he'd rather draw his pictures. Something moving in the bushes behind him caught his attention though and he turned to look into the shrubs, looking right into another pair of eyes he couldn't make out.
"Shh!" the other voice hissed, a face partway appearing. Katsu recognized it as another of his classmates, Shishio. The reason as to why he was hiding in the bushes though was lost on Katsu, who asked that question next.
"Uh…why are you hiding in the bushes?"
"I don't want them to find me!" Shishio shot back, jerking his head towards where Yumi and Kamatari stood facing away from each other, the pair obviously 'not speaking' with each other again. The two had never gotten along; the one thing Shishio couldn't get though is why he always seemed to have to be in the center of their fights. "You did not see me!" Shishio said urgently, before ducking back into the bushes.
Katsu only shrugged, before going back to his drawing. Shishio could be a pretty strange kid sometimes.
Saitou stood balanced on one of the wooden beams half buried in the ground that surrounded the playground area, shifting into one of the moves he'd learned in martial arts class earlier that week, and looking around him through slightly narrowed amber eyes. He needed to think of what to do for his daily 'bother Chou and Sano' routine. Maybe something that involved snowballs would be good…
Scooping up a handful of the snow he slung it at Sano, where it splattered against his shoulder. Sano instantly left off showing off his 'Zanza the fighter' action figure to Kenshin spinning around to glare at the person behind him. Who unfortunately turned out to be Chou.
"What'd you do that for, you broomhead?" Sano demanded.
Chou looked up at him, blinking slightly. "Ah didn't do nothin' to ya!"
Sano huffed, then turned back to Kenshin. This time, smirking slightly Saitou shot another snowball at Chou this time.
"Now yer doin' it to me roosterhead!" Chou shouted.
"Who you calling roosterhead, you broomhead?"
"You! And you threw that at me!" Chou picked up another handful of snow.
"I did not broomhead!"
"Did so roosterhead!"
"Don't call me roosterhead!"
Kenshin looked at them uneasily, he didn't like to see people fight. "Lets not fight about this guys…"
Both Chou and Sano stopped, looked at Kenshin. "Stay out of it!" they said as one, before looking back at each other.
Kenshin sighed as he rested his chin in his palm, waiting until Sano grew tired of this game. None of the three noticed the slight smirk on Saitou's face as he continued forward, seemingly innocent and unaware of the bickering going on because of his snowballs.
Misao started to dart back across the playground, bouncing with excess energy, but was stopped when someone shouted out to her. "Hey Misao!"
She turned around to see Soujiro smiling brightly at her. "Hey, wanna play tag?" He asked innocently.
Misao grinned back. "You bet! And today I'm gonna actually catch you!"
Soujiro was the fastest runner on the playground, and most had kind of accepted they couldn't catch him, but Misao was determined one day to do it. "Ok, you're it!" Soujiro grinned again before darting away again, with Misao in hot pursuit.
Meanwhile Sano was still bickering with Chou, but stopped suddenly, spinning around on the bench as Megumi walked past him, sitting down a way down the bench from him, opening one of her school books as she opened her lunch box.
Sano watched her intently, before he started to grin. "Hey Megumi! Whatcha doing with the schoolbook? Trying to be teacher's pet?"
Megumi stuck her tongue out at him. "No! But my mom says I'll never get into medical school unless I study and do good with all my school and stuff!"
Sano made a strange face at this before moving back to his seat. Chou was about to make some comment back to him, but he was stopped as Kaoru, who'd finished chasing Yahiko after throwing several more snowballs at him, walked over, holding out a paper lunch bag.
"Trade?" she asked him. Kaoru was known for bringing strange lunches, and Chou would probably be the only one crazy enough to go for it. He peered into his bag, shrugged, then pushed it into her hands. "Sure. Ah don't care. Gotta be better then mine."
Kaoru grinned, moving off with her new prize. As Chou opened his new lunch his eyes both opened as he looked at the contents. Leftover something, looked like eggplant. A sandwich that looked like peanut butter with something green. He didn't even want to know what else was in that bag.
Yahiko had gotten bored teasing Kaoru, especially as his attention had been caught by the newest kid to their class, a shy little girl with short, brown hair. Yahiko walked over to her, trying to look as casual as he could manage. "Hi."
The girl looked at him shyly. "Hi."
"What's your name?" Yahiko asked. "I'm Yahiko."
The girl just giggled slightly, looking away shyly.
Yahiko frowned slightly. He needed something that would get her attention. What would get his, he mused for a moment. "Um…if I give you one of my cookies will you tell me?"
She looked up at him shyly, but didn't answer.
"Cause…I…wanna be your…friend. I mean…you're kinda…cute…" he barely mumbled the last word.
"What? I couldn't hear you…" the girl said softly.
"I said I think…you're….kinda cute." He barely mumbled again.
"I said I think you're kinda cute!" Yahiko just about shouted, earning looks from Saitou, Kaoru and Aoshi. Yahiko wished the ground would just swallow him up then and there.
But then the girl tapped his arm slightly, smiling shyly. "I'm Tsubame. And…I think you're kinda cute too…" she giggled, earning a grin from Yahiko, who didn't seem quite so mortified after that.
Misao still chased after Soujiro, but still with little success. However when he tried to skid to a stop to avoid Kamatari who'd suddenly dashed in front of him, Misao came up from behind, tackling Soujiro and sending them both to the ground. "Finally got you! You're it!" she screamed out in delight. Soujiro sat up, rubbing his head, but still smiling. "So you did…" he answered.
Meanwhile Sano had found a new pastime. Flicking peanut shells from his lunch at Megumi. She flicked each one away in an irritated manner, seeming to grow more annoyed with each one.
"Maybe…you should stop that, that you should…" Kenshin leaned forward.
Sano frowned, maybe Kenshin was right. But there had to be some way to get Megumi's attention. He flicked another shell at her. Megumi turned to glare at him. "Stoppit! Or I'll tell Mr. Hiko!"
Sano mimicked her silently, crossing his arms. At that moment though Katsu came over, holding his ever-present notebook, which he pushed into Sano's hands. Sano looked at the drawing inside, turning it sideways, and even upside down, looking increasingly confused. "What…is it? A purple dinosaur?"
"No!" Katsu said as if he couldn't believe how dense his friend was being. "It's supposed to be abstract. And it's supposed to be you!"
"What! I do not have purple hair!" Sano retorted before Katsu grabbed his notebook back.
Misao had grown tired of tag, and had found something else fun to do. Which was namely hanging upside down by her knees from the jungle gym. Aoshi raised a brow as he looked at her, moving to stand underneath where she was. "You're going to fall you know." He stated.
"Nah! I won't fall!"
Aoshi shrugged, looking back up at her. Misao continued to swing back and forth, when she suddenly did slip. With a little shriek she fell, landing on Aoshi, who had still been standing under her. After a moment she sat up, looking startled.
"Aoshi! You saved me!" she grinned, grabbing the barely sitting up Aoshi in an exuberant hug. "You're my hero!"
Misao couldn't see it, but a very faint smile crossed Aoshi's face at her words.
Sano had given up flicking shells at Megumi, because she was no longer paying any attention to it. Man, getting a girl's attention was harder then he thought. He picked up his juice box, looking at it critically.
Megumi, who'd been watching him out of the corner of her eye the whole time turned fully to look at him. "Sanosuke Sagara, do not even think about it!" she commanded, earning a sheepish look from Sano who quickly hid the box behind his back.
He glared at Kenshin who'd suddenly burst out laughing. Sano lightly punched his friend in the arm. "Knock it off! It's not funny!" Sooner or later, he'd get her attention, he knew it.
Back at the teacher's table Hiko stood up. "Alright, time to get them back inside."
Moments later the bell rang across the playground. With a collective groan the kids started to head back inside in ones and twos.
Kenshin slipped away from Sano and next to Kaoru, who was shivering slightly. "Here." He said simply, as he moved to drape his coat over her shoulders. "I'm not cold anyway." He smiled brightly at her before hurrying back inside. Kaoru looked after him though wide eyes, before moving to follow the others inside as well.
Soon everyone was back inside, and quiet once again descended on the playground, where the snow was starting to fall again.