Summary: A wish of Misao's turns Aoshi's world topsy-turvy. Pure silliness.
Part I: When I Became Like The Rurouni
When I first laid eyes on the wretched object, I knew it was going to be trouble. The aura that came off the ominous jade jewels chilled me to the bone. Why she didn't sense it, I'll never know. I just know that I was the one that had to pay for her lack of observation.
"Oh Kaoru-san!" Misao exclaimed, with her adorable smile forming on her face. Despite my sense of foreboding, I couldn't help but smile at Misao's reaction to the Himuras' late-wedding gift.
It had been only two weeks since Misao and I had wed. Yes, I had finally taken her as my bride, after much threatening and coercion from everyone in the Aoi-ya household, especially Okina. Personally, at that time, I was very unsure about marrying her. After all, she was... well, Misao. The little girl that I helped raise. I never really saw her as being my wife. How stupid I was before then. I would not admit to myself how much I loved her, how much I needed her to be by my side. Of course, that was about to change, thanks to the necklace that Kaoru was now clasping around my new wife's neck. The necklace was a stiff, circular collar necklace made entirely out of silver. In the middle of the piece, there were three round cut pieces of jade, bringing out the color in Misao's eyes.
The Battousai's usual smile came to his lips. "I'm glad you like it so much, Misao-dono. Kaoru-dono and I came across that on our way here."
"Yes, the shop owner said that this was an enchanted necklace that granted wishes!" Kaoru exclaimed happily, inviting the toddler Kenji to her lap. "I don't personally believe that its really enchanted, but it is very pretty. Kenji-kun had spotted it and said that it would be perfect for his 'Ne-san'."
"Hontou yo!" Kenji confirmed, smiling much like his father did. Their similarities sometimes frighten me. I can't help but imagine what this poor child would grow up to be like with the Battousai as his father and... Kaoru... as his mother.
Misao's smile grew warmer at Kenji's response. I could see the longing in her eyes as she looked at Kenji. I could tell she wanted children, which scared me at the time. Dear Misao, she never would understand how frightened I was that I would permanently scar any child we brought into this world. "Thanks, Kenji-kun." She turned to me, her eyes glistening brightly from her surge of happiness. "What do you think, Aoshi-sama?" she asked, her lips curving as she anticipated my opinion.
"It is nice." Bland, but to the point. Nothing less was expected from me anyhow. If I had just suddenly started to scream and rant on how I thought the stupid necklace was cursed, they would all just stare at me and then ask Misao if she had put anything in my tea. Yes, only a drugged Aoshi would say such a thing. If they only knew what thoughts were running through my head at that moment. If I could have, I would have smashed that precious little necklace into a thousand pieces. I just didn't like the vibes it was giving off. Its teal stones were warning me of danger.
As the night grew later, Kenji began to get very cranky, as children often do when they are tired and no attention is given to them. However, it seemed as if he was not the only one who was being ignored. Both the Battousai and I had not been directly spoken to for at least an hour previous. All we did was exchange glances, silently pleading the other to get the two women to stop talking. The Aoi-ya had since been closed for the evening, and all the members of the Oniwabanshuu had walked by and wished us a good night. I had tried relentlessly to somehow escape with one of the passers-by, but none of them would allow it. I "needed to spend time with Misao," they said. They knew I was suffering, they had to; and it amused them! I'm quite sure I heard Okon and Omasu giggling at me after they had exited the restaurant area. Everyone was against me. Why I took this sort treatment, I would never understand.
But Kenji, who appeared to be smarter than the Battousai and I, began to cry. Now why didn't I think of that? I asked myself, as Kenji got instant attention from both Kaoru and Misao; as they paused their conversation about choice desert shops in Tokyo. "Awww, Kenji-kun..." Kaoru cooed, trying to calm him down as she bounced him up and down in her lap.
"He must be getting tired, Koishii," the Battousai said, smiling despite himself. I eyed him suspiciously. He was up to something. "I can put him to bed if you would like; that way you and Misao-dono can continue your conversation, de gozaru."
Damn him, I thought to myself as I clenched my teeth together in pure anger. I damned him a thousand times over again. It was just not fair. He was going to be able to get away, and I would be there until the two girls talked themselves to sleep-- which I assumed would take many hours longer, as it was already midnight, and neither were showing any indication of being the slightest bit tired. I glared at the Battousai as he began to stand up, Kenji wrapped in his hands. Normally, the child would protest such actions coming from his father; but he appeared to be just as wary of inane gossip as we were, so he allowed his father to pick him up. "Would you like to join me de gozaru ka?" the Battousai asked, smiling at me.
Honestly, I was shocked at him trying to save me from this damn place, but I wasn't about to deny him. "Yes," I said as I stood up. I thanked Kami-sama a million times over for allowing me to escape from this. My tired body was stiff from all the sitting and wanted to rest. I decided to accompany the Battousai as far as the door and to make leave for my room. Misao would be angry, but that could be dealt with the next morning. I felt a rush of happiness as the Battousai and I headed to the door.
Why is it that females always know what you're planning?
Before we got to the door, Misao called to me, "While you're out, Aoshi-sama, can you please bring some tea for Kaoru-san and I?"
My heart sank. Never, ever, was I going to escape. But I nodded, despite my feelings. "Yes, I'll be only a few minutes." A few hours, if I could help it. But alas, I may have a cold exterior, but my upbringing at the Aoi-ya impaired me from not following simple requests-- especially those from the breathtaking Misao. I was her slave, and I hope to be for the rest of my life, as it is one of the few joys that I have in my life. She smiled at me, and that was reassurance enough that I would be back with their tea in the shortest amount of time that the boiling water would allow.
The Battousai and I accompanied each other to the main hall. Before he left for the upstairs, he began to chuckle and shake his head at me. I blinked, wondering what this meant. "You and Misao-dono are just funny to watch, Aoshi," he said, as if he read my mind on what I had been thinking.
"How so?" I asked, raising an eyebrow suspiciously at the small man.
Apparently, to the Battousai, my persona was an open book, as he always knew what I was thinking by just looking at me. I guess it was from all those years of fighting and mind raping his opponents. The Hiten-Mitsurugi-Ryu Mind Rape was something to be very fearful of. I had been its victim twice. The Battousai has no qualms whatsoever to lash out things to you that you were trying to forget during battle. But I digress... He knew that if he said anything concerning Misao and I, I would flat out deny it- no matter what he said. My eyes fixed on his, daring him to say something about our new way of life.
"It's just that..." he said in a half laugh, "Nevermind. Goodnight, Aoshi."
"Goodnight, Battousai." I replied, heading off into the kitchen. I was not happy that I had so easily given into Misao's bidding --seeing as I wanted to go to sleep, not stay up with her and Kaoru-- and to then have the Battousai just laugh at me was not what I needed at that moment. Furious, I slammed things around in the kitchen as I prepared the tea for the two ladies in the restaurant.
I soon returned to the back entrance of the restaurant, tea tray in hand, and a scowl on my face, I would simply tell Misao, when I walked in, that was going to bed and I would see her in the morning. She would not like that, but she would just have to understand. Gossip was not the highest thing on my list for entertainment. There were so many better things to do; like jump off a bridge.
"So how do you like married life, Misao-chan?" Kaoru's voice. I froze with my hand on the door handle. Their conversation had just taken a turn towards the interesting. I decided to ease-drop onto the conversation, if just for a few minutes. The fact that I could find out what Misao thought of me, without directly asking her was quite appealing. Silencing my breathing, I leaned in closer to the door.
"It's okay, I guess--" Misao said, letting out a sigh. My eyes flashed when I heard this... lack of satisfaction from my wife.
There was a pause between the two. Through the shogi screen, I could see that Kaoru was trying to comfort Misao by placing her hand on top of my wife's. "In your letter, you said that you were uncomfortable at the ceremony." She was? This was news to me. Misao was all smiles the day of the wedding- it was I who was the one that acted like something terrible was about to happen. Gods, if that was Misao uncomfortable, then it seemed as if I had to take some pointers from Misao on hiding your true feelings. "What's the problem?" Kaoru continued, trying to get Misao to share. It seemed as if Kaoru had taken some lessons of interrogation from her husband.
Another sigh from Misao. "Nothing... that's the problem. He's not really doing or saying much to me. He never tells me how he feels, and I feel like I'm being shut out from him-- even more than before." A heavy amount of guilt began to weigh down on my shoulders. Of course, it was I who made her so unhappy. Me and my frozen shell of emotions. I cursed my adapted way of living at that moment, as I had done a thousand times before. Ever since I had returned to the Aoi-ya, cursing my persona seemed to become a everyday activity.
"Kenshin was the same way, Misao-chan, remember? Whenever we would have an intimate moment together, he would suddenly remember something he had to do, some clothes that he accidentally left out hanging, or some stupid thing like that," she chortled. "That's just the way guys are. Aoshi-san is just worried or nervous... or perhaps both, in his case. You can never really tell what he's thinking." Misao snorted, as if she was proving her point. Kaoru laughed nervously as I shifted my weight on my feet. The room had suddenly grown very uncomfortable, as it always does when you are the topic of discussion. "But I'm sure he'll grow out of it, just like Kenshin has. Every evening now, before we go to bed, he tells me how much he loves me."
"It must be nice..." Misao mused, sighing dreamily. So that's what she wanted? For me to tell her how I felt? That was harder than it sounded. Sure, Misao blurted it out to me at least three times a day, but for me it was very hard to tell her how I really, truly, felt.
Kaoru giggled slightly, and then asked, "How are... the other things about married life, Misao-chan?"
I swallowed hard. No, she was not talking about what I thought she was talking about, was she?
"You mean, how he is in bed?" Misao blatantly asked.
I paled. She was.
And it was at that moment that I became extremely grateful for Misao's abundance of shy-ness when beds and I are the subjects at hand. She giggled shyly and muttered that she "didn't want to talk about that." Before Kaoru could convince her to spill her guts, Misao tried to change the subject, "But still... I just was hoping that after the wedding, Aoshi-sama would have become a little more romantic towards me. I guess it was my silly teenage fantasies telling me that. I should be happy about this, I mean, he's finally... mine."
I looked down to my feet guiltily. This whole ease-dropping thing had gone from bad to worse. Now, not only was I aware that I seemed like a complete bastard to Misao, I was a non-romantic bastard, who apparently was too blind to see that she needed some reassurance that I did love her. I had to end this, I didn't want to hear anymore. Tightening my grip on the door handle, I was about to open the door when Misao casually commented, "I wish Aoshi-sama acted more like Himura."
As soon as those words left Misao's mouth, a shot of pain crashed through my body like a lightning bolt. "I mean, Himura actually does things, Kaoru-san... like tell you that he loves you and he takes care of the house and..."
By this time, my heartbeat became so loud in my ears that I did not hear anymore of the conversation. My eyes grew wide as my entire body doubled over from the intense pain. My body fell to the floor, shaking in convulsions. I heard the tea cups crash on the floor, but the sound was so distant. A hot flash came over my body. It felt as if my body were being taken over by some foreign being. I no longer had control over my body... it had a will of its own.
The last thing I saw, just before I passed out, was Misao's face close to mine. In the distance, I could hear her panicked voice calling to me, "Aoshi-sama! Are you all right?"
When I came to, my eyes were incredibly heavy. Light was shining down on my face, and I could hear birds singing in the distance. I slowly gathered my strength, and forced my eyes to open. It was daylight... early afternoon, from what I could tell. I concluded that I must have fell unconscious the night before while eavesdropping on Misao and Kaoru. Groaning from the pain that was now registering on the back of my head, I traced my hand against my scalp to find a large lump. I must have bumped my head when I fell. My eyes aching, I gave up the fight to keep them open, and let them close as I turned to my side.
The door to my room opened and shut. "Oh, you're awake!" That cheerful voice could belong to no one other than Misao. I could hear her coming towards me, flopping down next to my futon. My body was filled with a sudden chill, as she placed an icy cloth on my forehead. "You scared the heck out of Kaoru-san and I last night, Aoshi-sama. You should be more careful when you walk down the hallway," she said, her voice flowing like pure honey. Why hadn't I noticed how sweet her voice sounded before this? Gently, she traced her soft fingertip against my jaw bone. It felt so good. Her skin was so soft. Grateful, I forced my eyes open again and called out her name.
Or, so I thought.
From the look on Misao's face, what I had intended to say was not what I actually said-- if that makes any sense whatsoever. She blinked at me a few times, and then said, "What?"
The look of her face was very curious. Her eyes were wide with complete confusion, as she stared at me like some three year-old who had just seen magic trick for the first time. However, her expression was lacking the sense of wonder, and instead had a look of pure dread. Following her request, I said her name again. She blinked again. "What is it?" I asked.
"You..." by this time, Misao's face had become completely pale. "You... called me.... Misao....dono..."
It was my turn to blink. "What? What are you talking about Misao-do..." I cut myself off, now realizing that she was telling the truth. I had called her that without thinking, as if it were a natural habit to me. I was very, very confused. What the hell had happened to me?
Misao just simply smiled. She patted me gently on the top of my head and said, "You must have hit your head really hard last night, Aoshi-sama." She let out a small laugh, "You just get some rest, okay? I'll bring you lunch once Himura is finished with it."
Himura. Something concerning Himura had happened the night before. I brought my hand up to my head, cursing under my breath. I couldn't remember.
I heard Misao's padded feet skip out of the room. I didn't say goodbye, but I really wasn't in the mood to say much, anyway. I had called her 'Misao-dono'. Why had I called her that, I couldn't understand! It was as if I was.... the Battousai. But that was ridiculous. I was Shinomori Aoshi. I said it aloud, just to confirm that I was indeed... me. "I am Shinomori Aoshi," my deep voice boomed. No, it wasn't the girlie voice that the Battousai donned, it was my voice. I sat up slightly, the damp cloth falling to my side, and I examined my figure. The large muscles, broad shoulders, dressed in a light summer sleeping yukata. This was my body. Reassured, a laid back down on the futon and pulled the blanket in close. Before I realized it, I had fallen back asleep....
When I awoke again, it was late in the afternoon. The sky had already become a pink-ish hue with purple clouds scattered along the horizon. Next to me was a platter with miso soup and rice. Famished, I inhaled the food, stopping once in a while to chew. After my feast was finished, I laid back down on my futon. Something still did not feel right. It was like I had this urge to do something... I had just eaten, so it couldn't have been that. Bathroom? No, didn't have to do that either. I got up from my bed, adjusting my yukata's belt. Then, my bare feet walking against the cold wood floor, I paced the halls of the Aoi-ya, trying to figure out what my mind was telling me to do. Suddenly... the word came to me out of nowhere.
I wanted to do laundry.
Now, my old self would have never, ever, thought about the idea of doing laundry. Doing laundry had been a chore when I was training to become the Okashira, or so they told me when teen-aged Omasu and Okon handed me their loads of laundry-- full of underwear that always made me blush at the sight of them. Laundry was a horrible thing, something not for the Oniwabanshuu Okashira to be doing, most certainly. Once I had become of an age where I could defend myself, I refused to do laundry-- as that was a 'woman's chore'.
Of course, my 'new' self, did not share my opinion. It wanted to clean some laundry... because that was.... I paused in my pacing, and swallowed hard... fun? At that moment, I knew something was seriously wrong with me.
I tried to restrain myself, but I found it was impossible, as my body somehow meditated over to the backyard where our laundry was set up. A pile of clothes had already been set out to wash. How convenient. Instinct took over as my knees fell to the ground and I began to wash. And wash. And wash. Shinomori Aoshi was no longer in control. I took this time to try to understand what was going on. My original hypothesis of the Battousai taking over my body may have not been as far fetched as I recalled. First calling Misao 'Misao-dono' and then the need to do laundry. This certainly was not my own will acting. Again, my mind went to the night before when Misao and Kaoru were talking. Misao had said something about me and the Battousai.... yet there was a haze there. Why couldn't I remember?
I most likely would have been sitting there the entire night washing and hanging up the clothes to dry, until there were no more clothes in the Aoi-ya to wash. However, a passing-by Misao, snapped me out of my daze.
She was skipping along, in her usual cute way of walking when she thought no one was looking. She often wandered the hallways like that, just as she had done when she was younger. Old habits never die, I guess. It wasn't until I sneezed that she noticed me. She looked up at me, her eyes wide. She stared for a few minutes, as she tried to absorb what her eyes were seeing. Aoshi... doing laundry. I don't think she had ever seen me do that her entire life. Washing my swords, yes- but never laundry.
I acknowledged her presence by nodding and then saying, "Good evening, Misao-dono." Damn, I cursed under my breath, again with the 'Misao-dono'. I grimaced at my own words, and then tried to recover by adding, "Isn't it lovely out, de gozaru?" I froze. Now 'de gozaru' was added to my vocabulary? I WAS turning into the Battousai.
My feelings at that moment were reflected by the look on Misao's face, as she stared at me with pure horror. From the look in her eyes, I guessed that she understood what was going on with me... or perhaps was beginning to understand, I couldn't tell.
Lifelessly, she fumbled a few steps towards me, and then screamed on the top of her lungs, "KAORU-SAN!!!"
To Be Continued in "My Misplaced Persona"
Note: Kenshin, or in some cases Aoshi, would not be literally saying "de gozaru" if this were a translation from Japanese to English, as "de gozaru" is used for, basically, polite speaking. However, because I wanted to stress the fact that Aoshi had taken on all of Kenshin's attributes, I had no choice to put in "de gozaru".
This fiction was written for entertainment purposes only. The characters of Rurouni Kenshin belong to Watsuki-san. Standard disclaimers apply.