Disclaimers: I think we all know who owns Rurouni Kenshin and company. Just read the darn fanfic. Thank you.

The bantering is from Rush Hour. Thanks for helping me remember that Sleepy-san! ^_^

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Pandora's Box
By: Karina Kineshi

Why did it seem that whenever Aoshi and Misao came to visit, trouble would always soon follow? Kenshin found his left eye twitching in beat to the sound of his harried footsteps, something that rarely happened to him.

Actually, make that never.

Sanosuke puffed for breath as struggled to keep up. They've been going around in circles for about 2 hours now, and it was getting dark. Kenshin sure left that dojo in a hurry when he overheard one of Kaoru's conversations with Megumi and Misao; their so-called "girl talk". Kaoru delightedly exclaimed that a guy had tried to make small talk with her when she went to visit Tae at the Akabeko. According to Kaoru, she heard a door slam, and then running. That was about the part when Sanosuke ran like hell to catch up with the rurouni.

Flash forward to now.

"Kenshin, I think we'd better start heading—" He stopped when he saw the look in the redhead's eyes. Something icy, something...

"Having bad luck in love, battousai?" Sanosuke almost fell over backwards when he heard these exact words come out of the unshakable Shinomori Aoshi's mouth. The fast pace that Kenshin was taking didn't seem to faze the leader of the Oniwa Banshuu one bit. In fact, he seemed to enjoy it.

Checklist: Kenshin pissed. Sanosuke out of breath. Kaoru confused. Aoshi making stupid comments.

Gods, he needed a drink.

Kenshin's stare grew darker as his hand hovered near his sword. Sanosuke decided that now was probably not a good place to be, lest an appendage be suddenly missing. "It's none of your business, Aoshi."

Sanosuke was sure that everyone in Tokyo heard the loud clang when his mouth made contact with the floor. Aoshi only blinked in that non-concerned way of his, but then his eyes grew soft. "That bad..."

"As a matter of fact..." The animosity radiating from Kenshin lessened; now he looked just tired. Bone tired. "I don't know what to do anymore."

Aoshi simply nodded. "I understand."

"Really?"

"Of course."

Sanosuke didn't know whether to feel Aoshi's forehead for his temperature or to run away wondering why these two were talking about love. For God's sake, he's seen these two men have at it in battle! Kenshin with all the light of compassion gone from his eyes, tinged with amber hatred. Aoshi... well, with his eyes in general... is talking about women problems?

Gods, he really needed a drink...

Kenshin closed his eyes. "I'm surprised at you Aoshi, dare I say... you're opening up to people?"

"Damn Kenshin, you make it sound like it's the rarest thing in the world." Sanosuke rolled his eyes, peeved. "But then again, we are talking about icy here..."

Aoshi blinked. "Icy? Why do you say that?"

The gangster brushed a stray hair falling over his face with a little bit of finesse. Almost... cocky. Kenshin fought back a laugh as Sanosuke tried to explain to the unflappable Aoshi why exactly he deserved the nickname. "Well... um... ice is cold, and you are like ice..."

"Why do you say that?"

"Well, ice is cold, and ice can't talk."

"Maybe ice doesn't talk because between choosing to talk to someone like you or keep silent, they choose the latter."

Sanosuke flared. "You're full of shit, you know that? You're full of it!"

Aoshi still had that aloof look on his face, but his eyes were shining. "I like to sit back and let people talk who like to talk. This way, I find out just how full of shit... they are." Kenshin all the while was snickering.

I'm glad this little outing was good for something, Sanosuke thought wryly. Even if the humor's at my expense...

"Well..." he said with a defiant smirk, "... I don't have problems seducing my woman, icy."

"Your woman? You mean..." Aoshi looked at Kenshin for a visual confirmation; Sanosuke's mystery female was indeed...

"Ah, you mean Megumi-dono? I keep forgetting that you haven't been here to... anyways... yes, it is Megumi-dono. " Kenshin sighed. "At least one of us is having luck."

"How long have they been together?"

Kenshin closed his eyes, lost in thought. "About one month now."

"Last time I checked, she seemed to hate you."

Sanosuke's face turned red. "Well, that's changed now..."

"What was the catalyst?"

"The... what?"

Aoshi shook his head. Such an uneducated buffoon... "The catalyst. Ca-ta-lyst."

"You dumb ass, saying it again and again won't help." Sanosuke looked ready to bean Aoshi with his fist, but held back because of the simple fact that he would probably get beaned back even harder.

Fortunately for Sanosuke (and Aoshi), Kenshin explained to Sanosuke just exactly what a catalyst was. "It's been going on for quite some time, so there wasn't really any one point where they fell in love. Just... a bunch of little moments..."

Sanosuke was just standing there, resembling a proud rooster with his chest puffed out and his hands on his hips. Aoshi was about to tell him that he looked absolutely ridiculous until a question popped into his head. "Do you know her?"

"Know her? Like... how?"

Aoshi gave him no answer.

"Well, there was this one time I could read her mind... long story, don't ask... and there was another time that I was handcuffed to her... another long story..." Sanosuke leaned back on his heels with a satisfied grin. "See, when you ask questions that I can understand, it saves us both a lot of trouble."

The exaggeratedly long strands of hair on Aoshi's face swayed when he shook his head. "No, I mean, do you know her?"

"Know her? Accent on the know?" Sanosuke's eyes seemed to be screaming, "Kenshin! Translate for me! Aoshi's a lunatic!"

Kenshin cut in. "Do you mean if he's had sexual relations with her?"

"No."

"Oh."

"But I have!' Sanosuke announced a little too cheerily. "Don't you want to hear about that?"

"No."

"Oh."

This is getting redundant.

Aoshi trudged along. "Maybe she doesn't want you to announce it to the world. Have you ever thought about her feelings in this?"

Sanosuke's eyes narrowed. "Her feelings? Listen, I'm more in touch with her feeling than any of you will ever know. I know Megumi." He paused to let the weight of the words sink in. "Besides, I don't think I should be taking advice from you. At least I can say my feelings out loud."

"Very loud."

"Shut up Kenshin."

Aoshi just shrugged. "I guess it's just a curse of mine." He cast a sidelong glance at Sanosuke. "I like to think before I say things."

Sanosuke muttered something incoherent, but one could make out the words "...pick on me day..."

Kenshin smiled, but only for a brief moment before losing himself in thought. "My curse is that I can't even get close to Kaoru-dono anymore. I mean, I live with her, but every day... she seems to be drifting farther and farther away from me."

"How do you know she was yours to begin with?" Aoshi seemed to be genuinely interested.

Kenshin shrugged. "I... don't. I just wish that she was a little bit less confusing."

"Women are so hard to understand. One minute Misao is making eyes at me, the next..." Aoshi seemed surprised at the blank look on Sanosuke's face. "I wish that I could open up more."

Sanosuke closed his eyes. "You know, if you would talk to Misao the same way you're talking right now, she'd fall for you in two seconds."

"Are you sure?"

"I guarantee it."

"Who made you the women expert?"

Sanosuke smiled. "Megumi."

All six eyes were raised to the sky when a giant streak of orange lit up the heavens. Gunfire? Cannons? Kenshin's hand went immediately to his sword, it seemed like some moron always attacked Tokyo at the most inopportune times and by God, this person would pay.

The three men stared in shock as the gigantic fireball veered and changed direction. It made an impossible 180 degree turn in the sky... "Holy shit! It's coming right at us!" Sanosuke exclaimed. The look on Aoshi's face said exactly what Sanosuke just did. The leader of the Oniwa Banshuu had seen some pretty odd things, but none quite as odd as this.

Kenshin couldn't help but gape. The so-called cannon had slowed down considerably, and instead of feeling slightly scared that it as heading straight for them, he felt comfortable.

Almost... safe.

"It's not possible. It can't..." Not only was it slowing down, but getting smaller and changing colors. Red, then orange, then yellow, then... "Kenshin, what the hell is it?"

"I... I don't know, Sanosuke..."

"Aoshi!"

The glowing ball of light hovered in the air above Aoshi's head, illuminating his face. He was still calm and collected, but no one could miss the alarm in his eyes.

Something like this just didn't happen every day.

The glow subsided, and the object sank and settled into Aoshi's hands. "It's... a box..."

So it was. The small dark mahogany chest was intricately carved with vines of ivy trailing up the sides. It radiated a faint light, making every cranny and shadow dance on the outside of the box. There was even a faint sound coming from it, it seemed to be pleading, "Open me..."

Kenshin narrowed his eyes, but they were shining with curiosity. He couldn't decide whether to tell Aoshi to be careful or to open the box. "Aoshi... don't..."

The last thing Sanosuke remembered seeing was Aoshi lifting his arm and placing it on top of the brilliantly glowing package. Then hearing Aoshi's voice, "I can't! I can't... stop!"

Swirling tentacles of black light. White streaks of hot lightning shot out of the opened chest. And all was dark.

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I wish that I could speak my mind when I'm near Misao...

Aoshi sat up and groggily rubbed his head. He'd never woke up with this bad of a headache before. "What the hell happened to me?"

"Excuse me, did you say something, Aoshi-sama?" A voice drifted over from the closed partition of his room, snapping him out of his thoughts. He said that out loud?

He could hear a small laugh. "Of course you said that out loud Aoshi-sama, either that or my hearing is incredibly good..."

Oh, so he had said that out loud. That was his Misao, she'd always had abnormally good hearing when it came to him, it made her even more endearing to him.

Gods, how could she put up with him?

Misao slid the door open, something unreadable in her eyes and carrying a small tray. "Put up with you? What do you mean?"

Aoshi's heart plunged to the bottom of his body. "But I didn't say anything..."

The braid on the back of Misao's head was getting barraged by her fingers. She was twiddling with it nervously. "But I heard you, I think..." She flashed a dazzling smile. "Are you getting senile?"

"I might be. In fact, I am sure that I didn't say anything. You look beautiful Misao." Gods, he said that out loud too! What was wrong with him? Can't he keep a thought to himself?!?

Misao's eyes grew concerned. "There's nothing wrong with you, and I don't know about that thought to yourself thing, but thanks for noticing me."

Noticing? Yes, Misao was dressed in a marvelous kimono; the yellow complemented her beautiful aquamarine eyes.

Misao blushed. "Thank you... Aoshi-sama... I always hated my eyes..."

The man was getting scared now, it seemed that all of his thoughts were forced to be spoken. How can this be?

I wish I could speak my mind when I'm near Misao...

Oh Gods. Could it be?

The girl shook her head and quirked an eyebrow. "Could it be... you're getting senile?"

Aoshi laughed halfheartedly. "I am, I am..."

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I wish Kaoru-dono would give me a clear answer to my unspoken questions...

"My head hurts..." Himura Kenshin opened his eyes, only to find that he was no where near home. In fact, he couldn't even remember where he was, all he knew was that he woke up under a giant cherry tree, splayed out like some drunkard.

Either that, or a man who just got thrown out by his wife.

The red head got up, staggering slightly and mad at himself for pouring his heart out like that to Sanosuke and Aoshi. God know what they would do with this information! Most everyone in the area who wanted to take on the battousai could just find out that his one weakness was Kaoru; he'd kill himself if anything ever happened to her because of him...

Kenshin broke out of his thoughts when he realized that he had no clue where he was. Had he wandered that far from the dojo? He groggily tried to walk, but his legs felt like lead. He approached a nearby lady carrying fruit. "Excuse me, where am I?"

The woman didn't stop. In fact, she just brushed right past him as if he didn't exist.

Wow, that's rude...

So Kenshin tried again, this time, asking an old man the same question. He got the same reaction; the guy just walked away. The usually serene ex-rurouni was starting to lose his patience. Kaoru gave him the silent treatment, why must everyone else? The past night's events and events leading up to this just added to the stress. Like the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back, this new occurrence was the final straw.

"Excuse me!" In a burst of anger, he cut into the path of a longhaired teenager with a small band of metal pierced through his upper lip, a rebel. Just the kind of person you wouldn't want to get angry. Kenshin stepped right in front of the young man's directory. "Can you tell—"

Kenshin gasped. "My... my..."

He passed right through me.

In shock, he numbly raised his hand to his face.

I wish Kaoru would give me a clear answer...

Kenshin's eyes traveled up his appendages. His hand... body... had turned transparent.

Oh God...

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Idiots, I know my Megumi inside and out. There is nothing more to be known...

Sanosuke smacked his lips together. There was a bitter taste in them, as if he'd been sucking on a lemon all night long.

Speaking of lemons...

He smirked; those two were probably falling all over each other to get their girls' attention, how pathetic. The most feared fighters in all of Japan, stumbling to catch an under-aged woman's interest.

Sad.

Sanosuke scratched his head, taking special care not to move the futon too much. He could feel the tell tale bump on the other side; Megumi had not yet gotten up. It was odd though; she was normally the first one to rise in the morning.

Must have been a long day at the clinic...

The first peculiar occurrence was when Sanosuke laid his arm on his forehead. His bandana was missing. No wonder he felt even more naked.

Damn, Megumi must've taken it off... He wasn't concerned as of yet; he was sure that it was in the room somewhere.

The second sign was the fact that his hands were—

"What the hell?!? My nails!! They're... painted red! I..." Sanosuke clamped his mouth shut. Instead of the gruff and low voice that was his, what came out was...

Megumi's voice.

In a panic, Sanosuke tumbled over the side of the futon, in the process stepping over long black hair atop his own head.

Megumi's hair.

Sanosuke felt his face and head, as if rubbing it long enough would give him an answer. "Holy shit! I'm..." He whirled around, and saw himself lying down on the bed. Where Megumi was supposed to be.

"Fox! Get the hell up!" Sanosuke closed his eyes at the shrillness of his voice, it sounded just like Megumi's when she was pissed off at him. That was him lying there! That was Sagara Sanosuke sleeping there! "Fox!"

A muffled groan came from Megumi, er, Sanosuke's body. "Sano... let me sleep... I'm really tired..."

Sanosuke felt tears coming to his eyes. Tears?!? How the hell did this happen? He repeated over and over again, "It's some kind of joke... some kind of joke... some kind of..."

I know my Megumi inside and out...

Holy shit.

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Author's notes: It's a loony bin! Aoshi is forced to speak his mind on anything and everything, Kenshin is transparent, and Sanosuke and Megumi have switched bodies! I am going to write a separate chapter for each of the men's experiences, so this will be KxK, AxM, and SxM. Anyone you want to see first? ^_^

Yeah, they're kinda OOC, especially Aoshi. But these characters have never been alone with each other before, and if he makes amends with Kenshin and becomes good friends with Sanosuke, I'm guessing this is how one of their conversations might look like ^_^ So don't throw fruit at me!

Comment please, I don't know if I should continue this because I have never written KxK or AxM before. If I should give it a shot, review! If the idea of Aoshi speaking his mind all the time doesn't interest you; I don't know what will. Thanks to all who read!