Author's Note: After years of absence, here I am with a SanoMeg one-shot. I don't know if my writing style has changed, but I think I improved somehow. ^~^
The story takes place on the night Kenshin leaves to fight Shishio. If you remember, Sanosuke walked Megumi home… along with Doctor Gensai's granddaughters, of course. We were never shown what happened during their trip home; that is what this story aims to narrate.
I'd like to thank Kalayaan for her help. Go look her up and read her fics! :3
Here it goes!
Disclaimer: Why no, Rurouni Kenshin does not belong to me. Credit Watsuki Nobuhiro for that.
When The Rooster Walked The Fox Home
The afternoon sun had set and the sky had melted into a dark shade of indigo. The crickets had started chirping their sorrowful song. But still Kenshin had not come home.
Everyone was anxiously waiting at the gate of the Kamiya dojo. Kaoru was frantic, and Yahiko was equally worried. Sanosuke, leaning against the wall surrounding the dojo, glanced at Megumi and Doctor Gensai's granddaughters. He scratched his head impatiently.
"It's getting quite late," Megumi murmured. "I think I should take the girls home."
Kaoru nodded. "Yes, I think you better do." She ruffled Suzume's hair. "We'll just inform you about Kenshin tomorrow." Her dark blue eyes were filled with worry.
Sanosuke shoved his hands in his pockets. "Well, now," he said, taking a few steps away from the wooden wall, "it wouldn't be right to let you guys walk by yourselves in the middle of the night." He turned to Kaoru. "I better get Doctor Fox and the girls home." He turned around and started on his way.
"Bye, Kaoru! Bye, Yahiko! Tell us when Kenshin comes home." The two little girls waved goodbye, then Megumi gestured to them to catch up with Sanosuke.
The grownups were awfully quiet on the road to the clinic. Sanosuke was staring into space. Megumi was walking with her head hung low, her eyes downcast. Ayame and Suzume were looking up, admiring the few jewel-like stars scattered across the dark night sky. There was no other sound but their footsteps and the girls' chatter.
"My, that one's really bright," Ayame pointed to a star shining vividly to their east.
Suzume pointed to another star. "I like that one. It's so big… and sparkly!"
Suddenly, something fiery blazed across the starless part of the sky. The two girls saw it immediately.
"A shooting star!" they cried at the same time.
Sanosuke and Megumi looked up just in time. The glowing star pierced the emptiness of that dark part of the horizon, lighting up the night like a flare.
"Let's make a wish!" Ayame said excitedly. She and her sister closed their eyes and murmured their wishes under their breath.
Sanosuke stole a glance at Megumi. She was looking up at the sky with sorrowful, blurry eyes. Her lips did not utter a wish, but Sanosuke already knew what she wanted.
Soon the shooting star faded into the darkness. Megumi lowered her gaze again and Sanosuke tore his eyes away from her.
"What did you wish for, onee-chan?" Suzume asked.
"I wished that Kenshin would come home, safe and sound," Ayame declared in a sing-song voice. "What did you wish for?"
Suzume beamed. "I wished that we would all stay together and be one big happy family!" She stretched her little arms wide to emphasize her point.
Ayame giggled. "Well, we do look like a family already, don't you think?" She turned to look at Megumi. "Megumi can be our mother." Then she turned to Sanosuke. "And Sano can be our father!"
Both Sanosuke and Megumi were surprised at the remark. They had not expected something like that from the girls. But yes, they truly didlook like a family, with the two grownups at each end and the children walking in the middle. Ayame and Suzume looked like they were pleased with the idea, judging by the smiles on their faces.
They don't have the faintest idea of how much that would mean to me, Sanosuke thought suddenly. Then he shook his head slightly. What am I thinking? That would never happen.
"It can happen, right, Megumi?" Ayame asked, snapping both grownups out of their thoughts.
Sanosuke thought that he saw Megumi blush. "Are you kidding? Maybe if he gets a job first. Nobody likes a freeloader," the fox doctor remarked in mock condemnation. "Besides," she added, looking at Sanosuke with teasing eyes, "I didn't dream of having a rooster-head for a husband."
"Who are you calling a rooster-head, kitsune-onna?"
"The same free-loading sloth whose hair sticks up like porcupine needles."
Sanosuke's heart began to feel lighter. It was fun to get into a wrangle with Megumi. It reminded him of the old days… the happy, peaceful, old days. He sneaked another look at the doctor. He noticed that her eyes held a lively sparkle, so changed from the dull, blank expression she wore moments ago in her eyes. Sanosuke grinned to himself. Their endless squabbles seemed to make sense at last.
Finally, they reached the clinic. Ayame and Suzume yawned sleepily and staggered through the doorway, going ahead of Megumi.
"I'll get you a lantern," Megumi said softly as soon as the girls were out of earshot. "You don't want to stumble in the dark, do you?"
Sanosuke watched her as she walked quietly into the house. His face heated up just at the thought of being with her, and now his heart was pounding loudly. He leaned comfortably against a tree and started to think.
Gah, where has that Kenshin gone? he wondered, sighing heavily.Who does he think he is, going out alone like that? You'd think that baka would at least give us an idea where he's going, what he's going to do. Doesn't he know that he's making us all sick looking for him?
A few moments passed, and Megumi came out with a lantern. She walked back to Sanosuke and handed him the stick.
"Return this to me the next time you come to the clinic after a brawl. Knowing you, that shouldn't take too long." Megumi was trying hard to keep the wily fox façade up. She was breaking inside, but there was no way she was going to cry- not in front of the rooster head. And that was precisely what Sanosuke couldn't stand. He felt he had to say something… but what?
"What? Oh, I forgot to thank you, didn't I? You want me to-"
Sanosuke reached out and grabbed the lady doctor by the chin before she could finish her sentence.
Stunned, Megumi couldn't speak. This time, there was no more playing games with Sanosuke. She finally understood that she wasn't convincing him anymore.
Sanosuke lifted up her face to his, and as she looked up at him, her eyes welled with tears. The two stood there for a moment, their eyes searching each other's. A calm wind blew and rippled Megumi's hair. Sanosuke dropped his hand, and Megumi hung her head low.
"Listen, fox, can't you just… just quit pretending that… you're okay?" Sanosuke was stumbling over his words. He wasn't used to talking this way. "I know you're not alright. You don't have to hide it from me."
Megumi remained silent. Sanosuke dropped the lantern on the grass. The wind blew again- stronger this time- and the candle went out.
Without saying a word, he wrapped his arms around Megumi, embracing her in his warmth. "Don't worry, Megumi. Everything will be fine." He paused, looking for the right words. "I'm going to go after Kenshin and make sure he gets back."
Sanosuke felt Megumi stiffen in his arms. Kuso! What did I do?he thought, realizing at that moment what was happening. He let go of Megumi and started to pull away, but Megumi took hold of his gi.
"I…" She glanced up at Sanosuke, then quickly buried her face in his chest.
"Stay here for a while, won't you, tori-atama?"
And there you have it, folks. I do hope you review! Constructive criticism will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks for reading!