Author's Note: Oh lookedy look. Feb challenge. Getting on the ball. Yes. Sure I am.

Title comes from a song by my Rhode Island darlings, Leah Stargazing, who I managed to convert Sephiress into liking.

Yea. I'm an awesome band promoter it seems.



(You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried)

"Memories are always haunting me to sleep tonight I pray my soul to keep you by my side
So when you open your eyes you'll close in on mine"

He watched her from his seat in the kitchen, sipping his tea pretending he wasn't watching her. She had been stuck in the kitchen since early morning to make confections for some strange Western theme Okina had decided the Aoiya would partake it.

Valentine's Day. Something like Tanabata, a day for lovers.

She was making what looked like oversized tea cakes, colored in red and white and pink. Apparently they were also filled with sweets like red bean paste, coconut, or chocolate. He knew this because earlier Misao, Okon, and Omasu had gone about sampling them when Okina had run out for an errand knowing if he was present he would not let them indulge in the sweets.

As business picked up, Okon and Omasu went to wait tables while Misao continued baking since she surprisingly liked making the little cakes.

It was silly really, him watching her cooking. It was nothing remarkable and yet for some reason it fascinated him. Lately she'd managed to do such, fascinate him. Maybe it was the way she didn't ramble on as much as she used to when she brought him tea, making him realize he missed her chatter. Or how lately she'd wear more kimono to hostess for the Aoiya making him realize how much more natural it seemed for her to be in her Oniwabanshuu uniform and how much he preferred her in that.

Okon and Omasu oft teased her that she would need to change and grow up if he was ever going to notice her.

But that wasn't the problem.

It wasn't her. She didn't need to change.

He did.

He was so set in stone, so unwilling to change when everything around him was.

The country, the people, everyone he knew was moving forward and he was sitting still and wallowing in the past. It didn't hit him until last month, he was twenty-eight. Almost thirty.

Had life really passed by so fast?

It was startling and for once he didn't know what to make of it, he the brilliant strategist.

"Aoshi-sama, are you finished with your tea? If so, could me a bit?"

He looked up and nodded, setting his tea cup aside as he walked over to her and watched as she dipped the cakes into red and pink powder.

"The only thing that really needs to be done is coating them in the colored powder and then baking them. We have plenty of white so I'll dip the red and you do the pink ones." Misao explained, working as she talked.

"Aa." Aoshi murmured, mimicing her actions as he dipped the cakes into the pink bowl of powder and set them on the tray where Misao was placing hers.

They didn't speak for a while, until Misao as per usual, broke the ice.

"Aha, never thought you'd be so good at baking, eh?" she joked.

He paused, looking down at her.

"I used to bake sweets for you when you were a child."

Misao's eyebrows furrowed.

"Wha? I don't remember that!"

"I stopped when you got a bit older because I decided too many sweets were bad for you."

Misao pursed her lips.

"Well that's no fun. If I ever have kids, I'm letting them have sweets every now and then. It's all part of being a child really."

Aoshi blanched and dropped the cake into the bowl, which sent a cloud of powder right into his face.

It wasn't the thought of Misao having children that made him go rigid and frozen, it was that when he pictured her with children...they were his children. Their children.

"Aoshi-sama! Your face!" she giggled, covering her mouth with her hand to stifle her laughter and Aoshi blinked and dragged one finger down his cheek, and examined the pink residue picked up by said digit.

"It suits you really." Misao teased lightly, wiping a smidgen of the powder of his nose then tasting the sweet powder.

Aoshi wanted to groan at that, but chose not to.

"I think in the future I'll leave the baking for our children to you." he murmured, setting the cake onto the tray.

"Because you'd get powder all over...wha? Huh? Our children? Aoshi-sama what.." she turned to look up at him and never got to finish her sentence.


"Okon, we need more of those cakes!" Omasu said passing Okon by as she carried a tray of food.

"I'll get more from Misao." Okon called back, and walked into the kitchen where Misao was humming happily and making more cakes.

"Misao-chan, are there anymore cakes ready?"

"Hmmm... on the counter." Misao murmured.

Okon looked a the counter where a tray was cooling, and then noticed an abandoned teacup.

"Where'd Aoshi-san go?"

"Market." Misao said, almost sighing.

Okon blinked, and walked to Misao's side and looked the girl up and down trying to guage why Misao was acting so spacy and noticed something finally. So it was the cakes...


"Yeah?" Misao asked, turning to face Okon.

"You've got pink powder all around your mouth."

Misao merely smiled more, and went back to work.

"I know."