Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin and all characters therein belong to Nobuhiro Watsuki.


Kenshin held his breath as he stared down at the girl standing just outside his door. The weak porch light over their heads emphasized the contrast between dark hair and pale skin and cast mysterious shadows around deep blue eyes. He watched her, absolutely transfixed by the sight of his girlfriend so casually wearing the red, uniform jacket from his favorite restaurant. In his startled condition, he'd barely made the connection when she hooked her thumbs in the front pockets of her jeans and rocked back on her heels. His attention immediately dropped as the deliberate motion tugged the worn denim down just enough to bare a hint of the flat skin hidden beneath it.

Time seemed to fade away as he lingered over every minute detail in the smooth, pale skin she bared to his roaming eyes. And almost involuntarily, his attention wandered into a fantasy of the countless ways to approach that offering, ways to savor each new inch he could reveal… At least until she tilted her head and brought him back to present, reluctantly raising his eyes to her face.

Her lips quirked up at whatever she found in his expression and she teased softly, "Well, sweetheart? Are you going to accept your delivery or are you just going to stand there and let it get cold?"

He swallowed hard as those words burned all the way to the pit of his stomach. A bead of sweat crept down between his shoulder blades despite the chill he'd been dreading on his way to answer the bell. His fingers bit into the wood of the door and Kenshin could almost feel his eyes fade paler. But before he could convince his throat to produce an answer she had pushed her way inside, crowding him back until his hip awkwardly stumbling against the foyer table. Keys and junk mail scattered haphazardly across the tile in an odd mix of soft and jarring noises while her strangely warm hands cupped his cheeks.

She pulled his face down to hers, kissing between his brows and down to the tip of his nose affectionately in an odd contradiction to her aggressive approach. Rubbing her cheek against his once, she wrapped her arms around his neck and brought them in full contact from chest to hips. His hands were already mindlessly sliding up under the back of her jacket, the heat from her body nearly scalding against his cooler fingers. Her lips hovered over his own, barely parted until he could feel each shaky breath brush across his mouth.

What's taking so long?

"Oi, Kenshin! What's taking so long?"

Sano's shout jarred Kenshin so badly his entire body gave a jerk and narrowly avoiding knocking his head straight into the corner of the door. Startled and confused, he tried to blink away the haze his thoughts had become and refocused down on the girl standing in front of him.

Kenshin blinked again, mouth opening and closing in concern when he couldn't seem to put anything coherent together. Something wasn't right, but for the life of him, he couldn't figure out why. Frowning and shaking his head, he forced himself to come back to his senses and abruptly felt his world come to a screeching halt. "Kaoru?"

The girl on the porch smiled in sympathetic understanding to his disorientation, extending the paper bag in her arms. "Finals?"

Numbly, Kenshin took the bag. His eyes searched her bundled form with a touch of desperation, and he couldn't stop himself from looking over his shoulder. Searching around the foyer for some evidence of what they'd just been doing.

He'd opened the door, Kaoru had been standing there, and then she- they'd…

Hadn't they?

His stared at the clean floor and up to the neat stack of junk mail resting beside his key-ring on the undisturbed table. His voice sounded strangely lost when he questioned almost to himself, "Did I-?"

Kaoru rotated her shoulders to loosen up some of the effects of carrying the heavy bag before she leaned her hip on the doorframe. She waved one hand and cut him off, "Hey, it's okay. Happens to everyone." Just as quickly, her brow furrowed in concern and she reached up to press the back of her hand to his forehead. "Are you all right, Kenshin? You look flushed."

Kenshin gritted his teeth and struggled to give her his usual welcoming smile without betraying the incomparable embarrassment flooding his system as realization set in.

He'd just had an active, graphic fantasy about the girl he'd been trying to flirt into a going on a date with him for the past six months.

While she was standing right in front of him.

Trying to deliver the food Sano had ordered for their marathon study-session.

Now would be a good time to be struck dead by lightning.

Kaoru's hand fell away, but not without giving his bangs a scolding tug.

Or wolves. Wolves could mysteriously appear and drag me into the woods, never to be seen again.

"Take a break and eat something," Kaoru ordered in a stern tone that had him reflexively standing straighter even as he cursed the training that made his reaction so natural.

As if there wasn't enough about her that made him regress to the idiot he'd been during the awkward, self-conscious years under his uncle's instruction.

"I tell you what," Kaoru's soft, thoughtful tone brought him out of his gloomy thoughts. "So long as you promise to sit down without a book in front of you and eat, it's on me."

Kenshin's brows rose in surprise. "What?"

Kaoru leaned into the foyer and snatched the ticket off the bag, folding it up and slipping it into her pocket with a wink. She dipped in a teasing bow and stuffed her hands into her jacket pockets to keep them warm as she started down the hallway to the stairs. "And don't let Sano eat it all."

"Wait!" Kenshin winced at the frantic sound of his own voice, but quickly cleared his throat when she paused and looked over his shoulder. Biting the side of his tongue, he tried to sound as harmless and unassuming as possible, "Are you busy?"

Kaoru frowned, obviously not understanding his question.

"It's just… it's a lot of food for two people." He held the bag up suggestively and turned to the side to invite her in with his body language. "You're welcome to stay? If you, ah… don't have anything else to do?"

Kenshin swore his heart stopped in the time it took for her lips to part with a soft, wordless sound of comprehension. As it was, when her eyes turned warm, he felt his breath escape in a heavy, audible rush that left him lightheaded. She turned around to face him with a hint of a smile that he desperately wanted to think he'd caused with his invitation. And with that thought, the usual bright smile he reserved for Kaoru came to him effortlessly.

"I just made tea." He pressed hopefully and tried to discreetly shift his weight without making it obvious he was fidgeting nervously the entire time it took for her to walk back to his door. "It's still hot."

Kaoru folded her arms over her chest. "That sounds like a bribe."

"Only if it works?"

Kaoru's eyes narrowed on his face for another tense moment before she stepped up into the foyer. "What kind of tea?"

Kenshin's smile turned nearly blinding as he shouldered the door closed behind her. Locking it securely, he urged her out of her shoes and eagerly ushered her down the hallway to the living room.

It looked like the wolves would just have to wait.