Disclaimer: Okay, so I didn't actually ask, but they'd probably never give me the rights to Rurouni Kenshin anyway.

AN: Thanks to those who reviewed the first chapter (all five of you ;) ) I apologize for not replying to reviews like I usually do (it's been hectic lately). But I really, really appreciate the comments. For the rest of you who checked it out, I hope you enjoyed it at least a little.

Anyway, here you go – more really short fluff (I hope no one was expecting anything else). This one's called Hands. I submitted it as a separate story to Tales from the Meiji Era a couple of weeks ago (and forgot to thank the reviewers over there too. Heh. If any of you are reading, this, thank you!) I quite like this one, and hopefully you do too. Don't forget to review, yeah?

And last but not least, thanks to the awesome older woman for beta-reading this piece, and for all the really helpful suggestions. If there are any mistakes, it's only because I kept messing around with this after she read through it.


Kaoru slowly slipped her fingers to that particular spot and stroked. Her face lit up with delight as she was rewarded with a purr of pleasure. Eagerly, she resumed her ministrations, curious as to what other reactions she could draw.

Sitting next to her on the porch, Kenshin frowned. "You probably shouldn't be doing that, that you should not," he admonished gently. "Stray cats aren't clean, you know. And you're getting fur all over your kimono."

Humming softly to herself, Kaoru continued to brush her fingers under the ginger-haired feline's chin, coaxing more noises from it. "But it's just too cute! And I can always get cleaned up later." She lifted the cat off the ground and set it on the porch beside her, then gave a little squeal as it started nuzzling her hand.

Kenshin tried to look exasperated, but he could not help smiling as he observed his wife. Even as she matured before his eyes, she retained a childlike innocence that he found very endearing.

The stray had now boldly settled onto Kaoru's lap, mewling in satisfaction as the young woman ran her hands through the fur on its back. Leaning closer to watch her, Kenshin remarked, "That cat is a lucky one, that it is."

Finally tearing her eyes away from her new playmate, she gave him a sidelong glance, amusement gracing her features. "What makes you say that?"

"Well, for one, it has your hands running all over it." He gave her his best mournful look. "Unlike certain neglected husbands."

This time Kaoru laughed, the sound ringing pleasantly in the summer air. "Don't tell me you're jealous of a little cat, anata?" she teased.

"Aa, my dear, you know how this one hates it when he has to share your attention, that you do."

She turned to regard him fully, and he saw the speculative gleam in her eyes. "I wonder..." she murmured. "Would you purr too if I stroked you?" Her tone was light and playful, but the way she ran her gaze over him quickly banished any childish comparisons in his mind.

Grinning, he moved forward so that their faces were mere inches away, his eyes staring deeply into hers. "Would you like to find out?"

In response, the corners of her lips lifted in a mischievous smile.

In a slow, deliberate motion, she reached her hand towards the bared portion of his chest, left uncovered by his kimono. Both ignored the cat's indignant yowl at the loss of Kaoru's attention, focusing solely on each other.

His body tensed slightly in anticipation as her fingers ghosted his skin. The sound of his own breathing filled his ears, and his eyelids began to drift closed. Just a little closer...



Having been leaning towards Kaoru unconsciously, Kenshin nearly fell forward onto her lap, surprised when she suddenly pulled her hand back. Palms flattened on the porch to brace himself, he blinked and stared at his wife, nonplussed. "Oro…?"

Kaoru seemed to be valiantly trying to keep a straight face, and failing. "On second thought," she said, far too innocently, "since you find that stray cats are dirty, I should probably go wash my hands first, ne?"

She finally burst into giggles when he let out a long-suffering sigh.

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