Yahiko's Folly, Chapter 1

Yahiko's Folly : Chapter 1 by Janelle

Kaoru stirred in her sleep… tossing her head slightly, burying her face into the pillows trying to fight off awakening, as her dream was alluring back to slumber. Her piercing blue eyes slowly peered through narrowed eyelids as the morning light began to peek through a tiny crack in her door. Slowly she sat up stretching upwards, curious for a moment why her door would be open… her eyes snapped open glancing around a bit. 'Well there's no one here… I wonder, I probably just left it open when I came in…' Kaoru nodded to herself before getting up and preparing for her morning routine. She grinned slightly as she heard Yahiko's snores from down the hall. She had a feeling waking him up this morning would be more satisfying than usual.

***

Kenshin looked down at his soapy laundry hands. Reaching for a towel to wipe them, his gaze passed over the long line of clothes and a bed sheet or two that were hanging to dry. It was an awfully quiet morning… although the morning hadn't yet had a chance to start. His lips twitched as he heard the opening and closing of Kaoru's bedroom door, a soft smile coming to his lips. The image of a sleeping Kaoru fluttered into his mind… some way or another he got into the habit of checking in on her when she slept… 'Kaoru-dono…' He rung out the towel in his hands and put that to dry too. When he turned around, low and behold Kaoru was there. Even in this early in the morning, she was radiant. Her ribbon had slackened as she slept and her ponytail was kind of sagging, but her smile still was as bright as when he had first seen it. They exchanged courteous "good mornings" and Kenshin went to start breakfast as Kaoru went to take her bath. Kenshin couldn't help but notice the mischievous glint in Kaoru's gaze. 'I hope she takes it easy on Yahiko… between her, Sano, and Megumi I don't know who'll give him the most teasing…' Kenshin smirked on his way to the kitchen as he began cooking.

***

The morning wasn't quite so perfect when Yahiko woke up. His eyes snapped open with a start, beads of sweat on his forehead, hearing the repetitive thuds of Kaoru's footsteps approaching his room. 'I'm awake already. She can't – won't do anything, that old hag.' Yahiko snuck out of his futon, his back towards the door as it opened… he froze.

"Yahiko, you're awake!" Kaoru said with half disappointment and some surprise as well. "I suppose you remembered what today is then… couldn't wait, huh?" She leaned against the doorframe, her body shaking slightly while she held in her giggles. Yahiko winced.

"Get off it ya ol' hag!" He hurriedly got himself together and marched passed her. She lifted her hands on either side of her as if to ward his evil glare off, with a wide grin on her face. As he made his way to the bath, she followed in step.

"It's a special day for you, eh Yahiko-chan?" Her voice suddenly became poetic and excruciatingly mocking, "Chibi Yahiko-chan is growing up! It's his girlfriend's birthday! Oooo!!!" The tail end of her commentary became a chorus of her voice as well as Sanosuke's, which announced his arrival as well. In the near distance was a couple of loud-mouthed protests including the words "don't" and "chan"…

***

"So it's Tsubame's birthday, Jo-chan?" Sano quirked an eyebrow as they stood in Yahiko's wake in front of his room. "Think he bought her anything?" Sano's eyes had a glint of mischief as he started to sneak into the young boy's room before Kaoru stopped him.

"Now now Sano…" her tone was reprimanding, and Sano pouted his lower lip as if to get sympathy for his striking good looks. "We have the entire day to find out." She grinned evilly and so did Sano and they laughed and carried on as they went to check on how Kenshin was doing with breakfast.

***

Yahiko scrubbed roughly at himself in frustration. 'Why I outta…I'll get that stupid cluck and that old bag one of these days…' He growled as he poured cold water over himself and then moved to dip into the hot water. He sat there for a while, looking up at the ceiling. 'What the heck am I gonna do? It's her birthday… what do girls like to do anyway?' He shifted in his place… 'If they're anything like Kaoru they like to hit me.' His gaze flattened, as he ducked his head under water. 'Or if they're anything like Megumi they're sneaky and fox-like… or if they're like Misao they're weasels and even MORE sneaky…' A couple bubbles rose to the top of the water before he popped up to the surface, his nose just above water. His experience with the opposite sex up to now wasn't exactly the greatest. He paused a minute as his mind back tracked to the word "sex." His features flushed bright red. 'I'm a man. It's not big deal right? It's just a word right? Right.' He nodded to himself before he stood up out of the bath determined to face the day head on as the man he was. 'I'll show her. No 'chan's here. NO SIR!' He marched out of the bathroom towards the dining room, "LOOK MINNA! I'M NOT GOING TO TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS TEASING FROM ANYONE…of…you—" His voice cracked.

***

Kaoru's jaw was plastered to the floor, her eyes were bugging out...caught between laughter and pure shock. Kenshin was in straight "oro" phase. Sano was sputtering sake as his laughter bellowed and echoed around the entire dojo. Even if they were the Kenshingumi – there was little if any doubt that any of them were THIS close yet. Dr. Genkai was covering his granddaughters' eyes, and Megumi… was surprisingly the only one of a normal stature. "Yahiko-chan. Go put on some clothes," she stated bluntly, sipping her tea. She was a doctor after all, anatomy was nothing new to her. She'd wait till he left the room to laugh. He left very promptly after covering himself with his hands and tippie-toeing out of the room - Sano's laughter haunting him through the hallways. 'I'll never live this down.' thought the young samurai bitterly as he padded back to the bath.

Later, after things had simmered down a bit… it was about midday. Yahiko was doing chores – one of which was cleaning up the trail of droplets from his little strip tease – Kenshin turned to Kaoru, "When are you going to let him go see Tsubame de gozaru?" He tilted his head inclining. She shrugged.

"He could've gone a while ago. That's the third time he's scrubbed the floor."

"Oro," Kenshin fell over making a loud smack onto the floor. As for Yahiko, he was swishing his way down the floor, when a foot rudely stopped him. He halted with a deep growl, his eyes glancing up at the foot that was firmly planted at the top of his head.

"HEY WHAT'S THE BIG IDEA!!" He hollered standing up to face a grinning Sano.

"So. Hard at work, Yahiko-chan… when ya gonna go see that girlfriend of yours? Hmmmmmm?!"

"DON'T CALL ME---"

"…a real man would've gone to see her by now." Yahiko fell silent. There was a bit of grumbling, but after a while it subsided, and Yahiko went back to his chores going around Sano. "Whatcha so afraid of anyway? Didn't get her a present did ya? Hah!" Yahiko just got up and frowned. He picked up the cloth of the floor and tossed it at Sano, who simply caught it.

"Don't talk to me like your some authority of women, rooster head!!" he spat back at him, and after climbing onto Sano's head and munching on his hair for a while, he marched off. Sano was about to follow before a familiar hand rested on his shoulder… the hand was attached to a familiar lovable redhead rurouni.

"Leave him for a while." His tone was soft and yet very plain in the statement. Kenshin had his way with words… it was soft, but Sano knew better. Sano shrugged his shoulders and turned to the opposite direction.

***

Yahiko trudged through the market place, hands deep in his pockets and his mind deep in thought. He was idly kicking a pebble down the street, when he was abruptly halted when his head smacked head first… well into someone else. His eyes slowly moved upward from the ground… 'Small feet.' …Higher still. 'Pretty kimono. Cherry blossoms.' …Up a lil' more. 'She, yes she. Definitely she.' His eyes settled on her face -- It was milky porcelain except for the touch of red decorating her cheeks and the bridge of her nose. The same red started to rise to Yahiko's face.

"Ohayo, Yahiko-kun," came a soft sheepish voice.

He stood there for a couple seconds let it sink in. He'd tried… he opened his mouth several times, with no sound coming out. It was like his voice was caught in the string that had just wrapped around his heart to make it skip a beat. After blinking several times, and snapping back to reality, he straightened up. Patting his chest with a fist, as if to build himself up he spoke, "Ohayou, Tsuba*me*--!" …he froze. His voice cracked. His voice never cracked. He thought back to this morning ' – okay it has cracked but that was once, and I was naked.' This didn't make him feel any better. 'This is bad. Very bad. Why the heck did that have to happen RIGHT then RIGHT there?!…at least Sano and Ugly aren't here.' He grimaced at what they would do if they heard that. Tsubame had just blushed and looked at the floor. He cleared his throat and tried again… but in a softer tiny voice, "…ohayou Tsubame-chan." He wanted to crawl in a hole and die. Very slowly. A slow and painful death would be much preferred to what just happened. In the back of his head, he watched his dignity crumble like something Kaoru would cook – 'No wait, then it would be hard like a rock…'

***

Her face had flushed from when she saw him across the market place. She'd expected him to notice that she was coming his way rather than just smack into her the way he did. 'What's he thinking? Did he forget? Oh he's so KAWAII!!' She wouldn't be mad at him if he forgot… well at least she'd get over it. 'He probably was training with his shinai today… he works so hard!' She noted the sweat that grew on his forehead as he finally acknowledged it was her. 'Aww… he probably wants me to get out of the way or something oh he's so cute he's so cute so so cute!! Does he like me? Would he like me? Cute cute--!'

Her thoughts were interrupted by a high-pitched squeak… it resembled her name. Undeveloped estrogen surged with only the power of teenie-bopper-mania and she wanted to jump up and down... instead, she held it in and settled for her cheeks to grow redder. He had said hello. When this all clicked in her head after several seconds of pushing away her thoughts… she gained some composure. Well, enough to smile without looking like a grinning idiot.

***

It was that smile. That smile that he'd seen so many times before. It was different now though… when he'd first seen it, she was fixing his slipper. He grinned sheepishly at the thought. She was still just silently smiling at him. His palms were sweating. His hands were shoved deep into his pockets once again and shifting in miserable pubescent agony. 'I'm the man. Take some initiative! That's what a real man would do!' …he thought of Sano at that moment. 'Not THAT much initiative… that's gung-ho macho thing… Tsubame-chan wouldn't go for that…' His mind raced. His thoughts fell upon his only other male role model. 'Kenshin, yes. Okay so I'll play it cooooool…' Tossing his head to the side, as if something was in his face… "Daijobu desu ka?" 'Should I wish her happy birthday? Of course I should! It's her birthday! But if I do she'll think I have something for her! Do I have something for her?! What do you get girls anyway?!' …thinking to his female role models – Kaoru and Megumi. 'Ugly would need something to keep her from smelling bad after training…' B.O. products would NOT be for Tsubame. He thought that with earnest, his nose caught by the tantalizing fusion of the aromas of food from the Akabeko and a soft floral scent – cherry blossoms? Peach blossoms? It was something. He forced the blood down from his face… 'Megumi would want… Ken-san.' He froze internally. He couldn't give her THAT could he? He thought for a second. What was THAT? 'Well I ain't givin' her Ken-san that's for sure!!!' Images of Kenshin and Tsubame together floated into his mind… it made his blood boil and his toes curl in his tabi. Jealousy? 'HAH! He'd never have a chance against me…' He took back those thoughts as fast as he'd thunk 'em. '…well okay he could kick my butt but he'd have to go through Ugly AND me to get Tsubame-chan… and I haven't seen him say "no" to Ugly yet…!' …his thoughts were out of control. He almost totally missed when Tsubame answered.

"…hai, daijobu… and you?" He could hear her swallow a lump in her throat. Was she feeling just as weird? He wandered what he was thinking. He was hoping she wasn't thinking of him as a "chan"… and more like a man. Or at least a nice guy. 'Like Kenshin.' …he paused. He thought of Sano again. 'Well okay Sano too… he ain't that bad but if he could stop clucking for like two seconds maybe one of these days he'd be someone to look up to…' Then there was a mental picture of himself standing next to Sano. His thoughts were dueling one another. 'Look! Just because he's taller doesn't mean – be quiet, he's like your big brother – big brother?! He's a rooster, I'm a samurai! Since when are those related?! – apparently since now. – why you! --' …oh yeah, Tsubame.

"…hai, I'm good," he smiled sheepishly. Why was his head spinning like this? And why did his stomach suddenly feel like it was a fish out of water? Was he hungry? He absent-mindedly rubbed his stomach.

***

"Are you…hungry? We can go to the Akabeko…" she blushed before adding quickly, "If you want…" She held in a silent giggle. Her thoughts had been paused when he asked how she was… but now they were back on the off-sides all over again. 'That wasn't a bad thing to say… He needs food, he's still growing, ne?' She blushed even deeper for some reason. Some part of her mind was thinking something else. What was she thinking?? Her stomach was bouncing under her kimono like tempura on a hot plate. She felt light headed for some reason when Yahiko just nodded. Turning around and soon walking side by side with him… she felt safe. She thought it was because he was a samurai. Could also be because he's cute too. She sighed contentedly.

***

End of Chapter 1.

Hey Janelle here!

Okay I started out this fanfic to be a Kaoru/Kenshin thing… but that didn't work out and probably wouldn't have turned out ½ as funny. I've never done a Kenshin fanfic so please be nice when commenting. ;_; I'm still trying to get the hang of Japanese phrases and stuff… all the Japanese I know are bits and pieces from other fanfics. Plus Yahiko had to get to puberty some time, right?

What to look for in the next chapters :

*Yahiko gets teased some more and learns some more about being a man

*Some male bonding 'For the most part, non-alcoholic.'

*Something having to do with Sano and Jo-chan 'I'll try to keep it less than romantic for the avid Kenshin + Kaoru fans…'

*Tsubame and Yahiko spend more time together

*Megumi… I dun like, so don't expect to see much of her

*…sumimasen, but I have no idea where this fanfic is going and I think Tsubame and Yahiko are still to young to play in a lemon just yet…