Standard Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin and Rurouni Kenshin characters are owned by someone other than me. This is fiction and for entertainment purposes only. This story was not written for sale or profit but pure enjoyment. So with that out of the way please read and enjoy.

The Challenge

"Kaoru lunch is ready," I told her from the doorway of the training hall.

"Ok Kenshin just get it ready and I'll be in soon," she tossed her answer over her shoulder continuing with the cleanup of the hall.

I trudge back into the kitchen to get the trays ready. Kenji is sitting patiently waiting for me but that thought doesn't make me hurry any faster.

My day started out bad then went to worse. If it could go wrong it did putting me in a very foul mood. If only I had an opponent to battle... But when things just go wrong for no reason then I am on the battlefield alone.

So for lunch I made a simple sauce and some rice balls. I set Kenji's tray down in front of him. Returning for the other two trays and set them down, one for me and one for Kaoru.

I sat contemplating about the events of the morning slowly sinking into a darker mood.

I hear Kenji stand, pick up his tray, and walk over to stand directly in front of me. With a solemn expression on his face, he stood waiting until I looked at him making eye contact then he set his tray down in front of mine. Without breaking eye contact he sat down.

I start to get nervous, knowing my son the way I do I can't help but wonder just what he is doing. I feel my eyes get wide as I look at him.

Then slowly his eyes drop to the tray in front of him, my eyes follow his.

I sigh when I realize that I gave him the wrong tray. In front of him was Kaoru's tray. The amount of food was the same as mine, when he usually received half the amount.

Before I could do anything he picked up a rice ball, dunked it in the sauce and took a bite.

Slowly chewing his food I watched in amazement as his eyes captured mine again. This time when he looked down, he looked at my tray.

Without thinking I reached down and copied his movements. Chewing my bite I see his eyes sparkle while the rest of his face remains expressionless.

He took another bite then waited for me. I matched him bite for bite still he continued to eat, dipping the rice ball in the sauce and slowly chewing then waiting for me. I noticed the corners of his mouth start to twitch and my worst fear that he would be sick popped into my mind.

I watched as his eyes surveyed his tray stopping at the sauce and then wandering to my tray. Following his line of sight I notice that his sauce was a little over half gone and I still had over half of my sauce. With that recognition I could not hold back a smile.

He had been carefully dipping his rice ball into the sauce trying to use it before mine was empty. I had been so busy watching him that I failed to see what he was doing.

With two-rice balls left I was trying to calculate just how much sauce I needed to soak into each rice ball to finish before him. A challenge, that it was.

His next bite I watch as he slowly dipped his rice ball letting it soak the sauce into the rice and how carefully he managed to get it to his mouth without dropping one grain of rice.

I tried the same maneuver but the rice seemed to resist staying together and I spilled a few grains of rice onto the tray.

His face lit up a bit but he held his course and again managed to get his next bite down with no problem.

The pressure was on and for the next few bites I was able to soak up a considerable amount of sauce. But would it be enough?

The last bite he dipped the rice into the sauce bowl. He put the bite of rice in his mouth and sat waiting for me.

I stared down into my sauce bowl. To much I though but after all this effort I had to finish even if I lost. So with that thought I dipped my last bite into the sauce and popped it into my mouth.

He picked up his bowl turning it upside down nothing came out.

I slowly pick my bowl up and turn it upside down. I watch as several drops fell onto the tray.

He sat there just waiting for my reaction and it suddenly made me realize how my mood had affected him. By challenging me, he had managed to give me an opponent to battle against. This was a battle that we both won.

I suddenly felt myself laughing so hard that I fell over backwards. I could hear him laughing just as hard.

I hear the door opening and look over to see Kaoru walking into the room shaking her head.

"I don't know what to do with you two sometimes," I hear her say.

A/N--This story is based on my experience with my six-year-old granddaughter. We were at the fast food chain one day, we each started taking bites after dipping our French fries, and of course she finished her catsup before I did. So I worked it into a story for Kenshin and Kenji. I hope that everyone enjoys reading it.