Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply.
A/N:Mild AU-ness. Alarm clocks weren't invented until 1946. Yes, I actually research these things for disclaimer purposes. Call me crazy. Hm. Aoshi and Misao have already become a couple, so expect some character differences. That's about it, really. Enjoy, minna, and review!
The doors leading to an "all-important Oniwabanshu meeting" (according to Okon, that was) banged open with a loud clatter as one Misao Makimachi burst into the Shirobeko dining room, flushed and panting.
No less than five pairs of eyes slid over to her and narrowed in similar death glares. The sixth glanced over briefly before sliding shut.
Misao was late.
Misao's eyes slid over to the murderous-looking Okon, and she blurted out, "Okon, I swear, I can expla-"
"Where the hell were you when the noon bell rang?"
Misao gulped. "Please, I-"
"Didn't I make it perfectly clear that all of the Oniwabanshu had to be here?"
"Yes, I know, but-"
"Misao, I was running around Kyoto all morning getting ready for this thing, and you manage to show up four hours late?"
"Wait, has it really been four hours?"
"Look at the damned clock! Misao Makimachi, you are lucky that you've got Omasu here to cover for you, or I would have done something drastic!"
At this point, Okon's face had managed to sport a lovely magenta hue, and Misao couldn't help but let out a small "eep". Luckily, Omasu pushed Okon out of the way before things got too out of hand, though she hadn't been able to spare Misao most of the horror.
"Mou! Really, Misao. I expected better of you! We thought that you kept the Oniwabanshu in the highest regard, but four hours late to a meeting? Boy, Misao-chan. That's kind of pushing it, isn't it?"
Misao helplessly replied, "I know, I know, but there's a perfectly good explana-"
"My pretty Misao!"
Okina whacked Misao, hard, on the head with his ever-present cane.
"Such occurrences should not happen to the okashira, Misao! Perhaps you should relinquish your position to Aoshi here?"
Misao shot a glare at Aoshi with as much fury as she could muster up at the moment, and Aoshi felt a slight shudder ripple through him. Though he averted his gaze, he could just as easily feel Misao's eyes boring holes into his chest.
Shiro declared, "Maa, I think we should let Misao explain why she was late. Who knows, maybe something happened, ne, Misao?"
Misao grumbled, "You got that right. All of you jumping down my throats for something that wasn't even my fault…"
Okon's voice went dangerously low. "And what, pray tell, kept you at bay, Misao? Do enlighten us."
Misao declared loftily, pointing a finger towards Aoshi with vigor, "It was all Aoshi-sama's fault!"
There was a stunned silence, for all of two seconds.
Okon all but screamed, "WHAT?"
Okina, Kuro, and Shiro whipped their gazes to a very stoic Aoshi, who stared them right back with an icy expression.
Omasu was currently restraining a flailing Okon (and very nearly failing, I may add), while yelling at Okina for assistance.
Between the two of them, they got Okon calmed down enough to sit normally, albeit an unusually flushed face.
Misao raised an eyebrow. "What's got Okon so, well, cranky?"
"Cranky shouldn't be the word," said Omasu wryly. "She was up till three last night, finalizing plans for this meeting with Sae. She woke again at six to rush around Kyoto, gathering ingredients and other food-making materials to pay Sae back for letting us use the Shirobeko. It's really a wonder that Okon hadn't cracked sooner under Sae's supervision, Misao-chan. You know what a sadist she can be."
Okina raised his voice and said, "I'm sure we're all very interested in how this is all Aoshi's fault, Misao-chan. Please elaborate."
Aoshi aimed an amused glance at Misao that didn't go unnoticed. Misao bristled promptly before puffing out her chest.
She cleared her throat and stated brazenly, "I slept right through noon until now because Aoshi-sama shut off my alarm clock."
The room erupted in laughter that rumbled through the halls of the Shirobeko, and even Okon stopped in her ranting to join in.
Misao's face contorted into a scowl, and she declared, "It's true! Hey! Hey, stop laughing!"
The others eventually stopped laughing when they noticed Misao's all-too-real frown.
Misao was seething at this point. Truly, she was.
She glared at Aoshi and demanded, "Aoshi-sama, tell them!"
"Tell them… what?"
Aoshi looked innocent enough. There were no telltale signs that he was speaking a lie. Of course, his many expressions were very similar to that of his stoic face, so no one could ever really be sure.
"No one" did not refer to Misao Makimachi.
"Aoshi-sama," Misao hissed through grit teeth. "You know perfectly well what I'm talking about!"
Aoshi looked blankly at Misao, quickly smothering the hint of a smile that had begun to spread over his face.
Omasu asked warily, "Aoshi-sama, do you know what Misao is talking about?"
Aoshi replied smoothly, frankly, altogether honestly, "Why, yes."
Misao's jaw dropped open. Oh. Oh, this is just fabulous. Now he speaks?
"What? You mean, you really shut off her alarm clock?"
Six pairs of eyes were trained onto the ex-okashira of the Oniwabanshu. One particular set of ocean-blue orbs burned fiercely into his own, and he hid the smirk that threatened to surface.
Omasu sputtered, "B-But… but why?"
Aoshi stared. "To silence it."
Okina rolled his eyes. "Why did you feel the need to silence it, Aoshi?"
"Misao dislikes being woken up by the alarm clock."
Omasu cut in incredulously, "What in the world were you doing in her room?"
Aoshi smirked softly. "Napping."
Okina's eyes widened considerably. "Napping? You're joking."
Aoshi asked flatly, "Why would I joke?"
Okon burst out, "Why were you napping there?"
Aoshi replied innocently, "I was sleepy."
Okon and Okina groaned simultaneously. Omasu sighed and reprimanded lightly, "Aoshi-sama, come on now, don't be difficult."
Shiro and Kuro had fallen silent sometime during this argument, and now, they cowered against the wall like little scared mice.
Okina demanded, frowning, "Okay, Aoshi. One more. What were you doing sleeping in Misao's room?"
Misao blanched when Aoshi opened his mouth to answer.
"Minna! I confess, all right? It was all just a prank. I was late because I went to the market, okay? Let's just forget the whole thing. Okay? Okay?"
Aoshi murmured, a light smile playing on his features, "She's lying. I'm to blame. Punish me, if at all."
Misao howled, "Aoshi-sama! This is really not a good time to start confessing!"
Okina gleefully egged on, "So, Aoshi, why were you sleeping in Misao's room?"
Aoshi fixed Okina, Omasu, and Okon with a long, disbelieving stare.
He replied slowly, "Why else would any respectable man and woman sleep together?"
Misao groaned and slid down onto the floor, clapping a hand to her forehead.
Eventually, the others had scattered, postponing the meeting for a future date, amidst Okon's many screeches of fury.
Misao and Aoshi had taken refuge underneath a shady tree, and were relaxing in the dusky Kyoto sunset.
Misao grumbled, "Damn you and your honesty, Aoshi-sama."
Aoshi smirked. "I don't lie."
"Yes, but couldn't you have… fudged it a little? Even a bit would have helped."
"I don't lie. But..."
Aoshi pressed a soft kiss to Misao's temple and whispered, "Next time, maybe I'll 'fudge' it a bit."
Misao nodded grudgingly before leaning into Aoshi's embrace.
"Yes," Aoshi murmured to no one in particular. "Next time, I'll tell them flat-out that we were having se-"
A resounding SMACK! interrupted Aoshi's reasoning.
That handprint was going to stick around for a long time.
A/N: Like I said, some OOC-ness. Review, please. Feedback is welcomed with open arms (and a cookie.).