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Chapter 4: Bonds that Hold

~~~Kenshin picked up the girls from school. All the way back to the clinic he half-heartedly listened to their chatter telling him all about their first day at school. His thoughts kept returning to the promise he so readily gave to Dr. Gensai.

~~~Kaoru pulled into the company parking lot easing the truck into its designated space. She took off her sunglasses hooking them onto the sun visor above her. Gathering her invoices off the dash of the truck she added them to the ones on the seat before stuffing them into her folder. Picking up the folder she grabbed her duffle bag and headed for the warehouse.

Walking to the warehouse Kaoru couldn't help feeling lonely but once inside the building her thoughts centered on Cho. He was starring intently at his computer screen and didn't notice when she walked behind him dropping her duffle bag on the floor and the folder on his desk.

She wrapped her arms around his neck going for a chokehold. But before she could complete her hold on him, he spun his wheelchair back and sideways. She giggled falling into his lap still holding onto his neck.

She reached up running her fingers through his short hair only to pull them back. Looking at her hand she asked, "Yeeeck. What is wrong with your hair? Its kind of flaky."

"Well it's been really hot in here today," he said handing her a tissue to wipe her hand.

"Not that hot. Did you get your bath this morning?" she asked. Before he could reply she continued, "He didn't show up to help you did he? I'm going to call him and..."

She started to reach for the phone but he held her shoulders looking into her face and said, "You have to stop worrying about me so much. I'll take a bath tonight. Ok?"

"Ok but it's hard…" she started to say before he pulled her toward him giving her a brief hug then pushed her to stand.

"Promise that you won't do it alone," she said leaning towards him so that he had to look into her eyes.

"I promise. Now get going, I have work to do," he said picking up a rubber band from his desk shooting it at her as she grabbed her duffle bag and hurried into her office.

Once inside her office she turned and looked at Cho thinking that it had been three years this weekend since the accident that had killed her father and left Cho permanently in a wheel chair. She couldn't help feeling proud that he had managed to pull his life back from the brink of destruction.

She knew how hard it had been on him because she had been right there with him through the whole ordeal. She marveled at his uncanny ability with electronic devices and how he had changed everything from his hair style to his shoes. He had always worn his hair straight up with a red band, a red overcoat with a jagged edge on one sleeve and black combat boots. Now he sported a short crew cut, polo shirt, jogging pants, and tennis shoes. She smiled thinking about the ridicules outfit he had worn before.

Snapping out of her musing she smiled then retreated into her office before he had a chance to notice the disarray of her invoices.

"Kaoru how many times do I have to tell you to straighten these invoices? It's going to take me all night just to put these in order. Are you still just flipping them on the dash of the truck?" he yelled pretending to be angry.

"It will give you something to do tonight. And no, I lay them on the seat too," she flipped her answer back at him smiling.

She reached over closing her door muffling his reply, then set the duffle bag on the floor. Digging through the duffle bag she pulled out a light blue knit pullover shirt that complimented her blue jeans. Taking the company shirt off she threw it across the room onto a chair that already had several shirts adorning it. Pulling on her shirt, the tie fell out of her hair, letting it cascade around her shoulders. Pulling a light blue ribbon out of her duffle bag, she ran her fingers through her hair before putting it under her hair then tying it at the top of her head.

Glancing at her watch, she had a couple hours before she had to be anywhere so she sat at her desk and reached for her mouse. She opened her online screen then opened her email.

When the screen opened she looked at a whole screen of junk emails some even pertaining to the company business. Scrolling down, she looked for an email from Misao, not finding one; she decided to write her an email later when she had the time to sit and think about what she would tell her.

"Is that all you do just sit in front of that silly computer?" she asked Cho coming out of her office with her duffle bag slung over her shoulder.

Cho reached down pulled one wheel back turning him self so that he could get a better look at her. "Where ya going looking so pretty Lil'Lady?" Cho inquired squinting his eye as he used a southern drawl just for her.

"I have a couple of things to take care of on the way home. I don't really want to go out tonight but I promised Sano that I would go," she hesitated, "I can wait for you if you need a ride home," she said straightening the invoices that she had put on his desk earlier.

"No you go do your errands. Sano's going to pick me up, that's why he took the van with the lift," he smiled at her motioning with his hand for her to go.

She was going to protest when the radio buzzed and he turned back to the desk.

Cho are you still at base? Sano's voice came through the radio.

He grabbed the desk pulling his wheel chair back into place before he picked up the receiver and said, "Where else would I be, you're my ride home, moron. What's taking you so long?"

Just did my last delivery and I'm on my way back to the warehouse. Did Kaoru make it back yet? Sano asked.

Cho offered her the receiver. She grinned before taking it pressing the button and said, "I beat you like always."

I was hoping to make it back before you, Sano replied.

"As if. You know I'm faster and better than you," she snickered at him.

I'll beat you one of these days, Missy. You just wait and see, Sano laughed.

"Well I'll see you at home," She said then set the receiver back on the desk. "See that you guys get home soon," she told Cho. Reaching out she patted his shoulder then adjusted her duffle bag while heading for the door.

Cho smiled and softly whispered to her retreating back, "Don't worry, Lil'Lady."

~~~Cho finished straightening Kaoru's invoices then put them in his briefcase along with some other things he would need for the weekend. He wanted to spend a quiet weekend getting caught up on the paperwork for the business. But for now he only had one thing on his mind, Kaoru. She had been there when he needed her and he wanted to repay her for her kindness and generosity.

Are you ready? I'm pulling into the parking lot, Sano's voice came over the radio prompting him to finish gathering his things.

"I'm ready, what took you so long, moron? Did you get lost again?" Cho asked while straightening his desk for the night laughing at Sano's lack of directional sense.

Before he could wheel himself from behind the desk, Sano entered the warehouse. He took the plastic straw out of his mouth and flipped it in the air, a ritual he performed every day when he arrived at the warehouse. Both men watched as the plastic straw went sailing through the air landing directly in the middle of his desk.

"Yeeessss," Sano said raising both arms into the air for victory. He forgot about the invoices until they fell around him landing at his feet.

Pushing the invoices into a haphazard pile he picked them up before walking over to Cho's desk. "Were do you want these," he asked holding them out to Cho, a cocky grin still on his face.

Cho glared at him then opened his briefcase waiting while Sano stuffed them in. He tossed the briefcase towards a cardboard box. The briefcase sailed over the box landing on the floor spilling the contents of the box.

"It's a wonder that this company is still in business the way you two treat the paperwork," Cho grumbled watching the papers from the box spread all over the floor.

They both looked at each other before bursting into laughter.

Sano recovered first walking over to pick up the papers and put them back inside the box. "Oh you're just mad because you can't hit nothing," Sano said still laughing.

"Well at least I can find my way home," Cho said laughing even harder.

"Well let's get you home so I can get cleaned up. I want to make it to the club before Megumi gets there. Sure you don't want to come out with us?" Sano asked propping the door open then returning for the box and briefcase.

"No thanks I have other things to do," Cho said wheeling himself out the door. His chair started down the ramp not waiting for Sano. Picking up speed as he rolled down the ramp, he unsuccessfully tried to make the corner at the bottom causing his chair to tip over.

"Be careful going down that ramp," Sano said with his attention focused on locking the door. He didn't see Cho's chair tip over but he did hear the pained groan that escaped from Cho.

Dropping the box of paperwork that he had just picked up he ran down the ramp.

"Cho?" Sano asked as he gently righted the chair with Cho still strapped in. Holding his shoulders he panicked when he saw the blood on his face. Not wanting to leave him he had to get something to compress the wound. He ran to the van grabbed for a box of tissue and brought it back to Cho. Pulling a hand full of tissue out of the box he pressed it to Cho's forehead.

"Sorry," Cho whispered.

"What happened idiot?" Sano asked taking Cho's hand making him hold the tissue in place.

"I lost control of the chair, forgot to put on my gloves, and wasn't thinking straight. All the above and not necessarily in that order," Cho said grinning.

"You know that Kaoru is going to kill us both when she finds out," Sano said pushing the wheel chair over to the van.

"Well you were the one wanting more adventure in your life," Cho said quietly waiting for Sano to open the van door.

"Adventure, yes. But to die at such a young age, no." Sano replied sarcastically looking at Cho then grabbed for the door, "Come on lets get you to the doctor."

~~~Getting back to the house, Kenshin felt uneasy as he walked through the front door. Instructing the girls to change their cloths and start their homework, he went in search of Dr. Gensai.

He found Dr. Gensai laying face down on the kitchen floor.


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