Bad Timing

Rurouni Kenshin does not belong to me, in either idea or legal ownership. However, if someone would give it to me, I wouldn't be so rude as to turn down such a gracious . . . .

Kenshin lay with his arms around the sleeping form of his wife. He had a family; it was real. Even now he still woke up in the middle of the night, convinced that it was only a lovely dream. She was actually his. After all the struggles and doubts they were finally truly together, and now Megumi had informed them that Kaoru was expecting their first child. His arms tightened around her as though his embrace alone could protect her from harm. He frowned slightly as he thought about the possibility of someone hurting her. She was so vulnerable right now. What if someone took advantage of her condition and attacked, attempting to kill her. Over my dead body, he thought, his mind-set unusually grim. *Or better yet * a voice whispered in the back of his mind at the possibility of anyone threatening his wife and child *theirs. * With that thought he gradually drifted off to sleep.


Yahiko was dragged from sleep by a shaft of sunlight that seemed to have fixed exactly where his face was. Groaning, he turned over, trying to catch just a few more minutes of rest. His ears registered no other sound other than the crows on the roof of the Dojo and his own breathing. Nothing. Ugly hadn't kicked him out of bed yet, so she must still be in dreamland.

He came fully awake, thoughts of revenge banishing the last of his lethargy. Now to wake up Kaoru. He grinned as a plan formed in his mind. He got up and headed towards the well.


Kenshin was dreaming. He and Kaoru were sitting quietly in the Dojo enjoying some tea. A shadow fell over Kaoru as she sat in front of him. He tried to look up to see who it was but found that he couldn't lift his head. He struggled and began to panic. His instincts screamed that Kaoru was in danger. He continued to struggle, his desperation giving way to frustration as he tried with all his strength to look up. He felt that somehow if he could name the menace it would disappear [dream logic is weird that way]. Angry now, his usual firm control of his darker emotions wavered as he struggled toward the waking world.


Yahiko crept slowly across the floor. His grin widened as he edged toward the sleeping couple. Tilted in his hands was a bucket that sloshed with water with every step. Kenshin would get wet too, but that was a small loss compared to the anticipation of the scream Kaoru would give when she was awakened by a cascade of freezing well water. Moving carefully to Kaoru's side of the futon, he lifted the bucket, ready to throw.

Suddenly, Kenshin's eyes snapped open, immediately focusing on the threat. The eyes that fixed on Yahiko narrowed to slits of bright amber as they bore into the startled face of the boy before them. Yahiko froze in mid tilt as he met a gaze that promised a quick yet very painful death is he so much as twitched the wrong way. The newly awakened hitokiri was curled protectively and possessively around the still sleeping woman in his arms. There wasn't even a flicker of recognition in his eyes as he continued to glare at the now sweating boy.

Yahiko hadn't survived this long without knowing how to keep his body intact. He looked on breathing as a hobby he very much wanted to continue. Slowly he set the bucket down at his feet, bowed low, and inched slowly backwards out of the room, his eyes never leaving the still reclining peril. He gently slid the door closed and slowly walked out to the yard, heading toward the gates.

Yahiko slowly eased the gates closed behind him and took a deep breath. He was running before he exhaled. He ran, head low into the wind, whipping past a tall man clad in white that was trudging to the waiting Dojo. The man stopped, startled, and swiveled around to look after the fleeing youth. Looking back at the Dojo he shrugged and took off after him.

Yahiko's breath was coming in gasps when he caught up to him. "Hey Yahiko!" Shouted Sanosuke between breaths, "Where's the fire?" Yahiko glanced over at the man keeping pace with him and slid to a stop, nearly colliding with an oncoming wall. He stood there panting for a moment. Then, turning, he leapt onto Sano's chest, his legs braced on his stomach and his hands gripping the other's hanten tightly. Still gasping he began to shout out words like "Kenshin!" and "Sleeping" and most bewildering of all "Bucket!"

Sano reached down to peel the youth off his front and shook him hard enough to rattle his teeth. He then set him down and Yahiko's legs promptly collapsed under him as the world spun. "What happened, kid?" He asked. "Did Kenshin fall asleep in a bucket?" Sano chuckled at the image.

Yahiko shook his head, finally clearing it. He quickly told Sano what had happened. Sano looked surprised for a second, then threw back his head and laughed. He only stopped when Yahiko, tired of being made fun of, pounced on his head and began to gnaw on it. Still chuckling, Sano once again peeled Yahiko off of him and held him by the collar of his gi, swinging in the air at arms length.

"Baka-chan!" he said, shaking the outraged kid once more for good measure. "You should know as well as anyone how protective Kenshin is of Kaoru, especially now! You're lucky all he gave you was a mean look! We could be scraping you off the walls right now instead." He carefully lowered the boy to his unsteady feet.

Sano sighed, actually feeling kinda sorry for the poor kid. "Buck up!" He said, slapping Yahiko on the back hard enough to pitch him face forward into the dirt. Still chuckling he walked away, hands in his pockets. "You'll be ok kid. Kenshin doesn't hold grudges. You just have lousy timing with your practical jokes!"