Disclaimer: Do I have to write this for every single chapter? Hum. Don't own 'em. I own a little Kenshin figure that looks too serious for his own good. Scowl at the world, why don't you Kenshin? Really, the whole world isn't against you… only a great portion of it.
Notes: Well, here we are. The last chapter. And it's pretty danged short. No, Kenshin, sit down. I'm not talking about you. Anyway, thank you for the great reviews. I had so much fun writing this. I usually don't do 'sappy.' But this one… well, it worked. And as they say in the biz: Who da heck took my coffee?!
Yahiko is very grateful for the end of this fic.
6. Lessons learned
Kenshin woke feeling very uncomfortable--and smothered. Something very big and very heavy was on top of him. It almost reminded him of that night he spent trying to keep Yahiko on his own futon as opposed to using him as a bed. But this was much larger than Yahiko. Much larger, and much heavier. And there was hair in his face. He usually kept his hair pulled back at night, so he wondered how so much of it had gotten in his face. Crinkling his nose in displeasure, he blew on it to no avail.
"Oro," he grumbled, unable to move at all.
He opened his eyes... and froze. Black hair in his face. Of course, only one person in the Kamiya household had hair of that particular color. It certainly was not his. Yet, even if Kaoru's hair was in his face, that did not explain the dead weight on his back. She was in front of him, thank the gods, not on him. Besides, whatever was on his back was much heavier than Kaoru was. Craning his neck, he tried to see what was keeping him pressed face down onto the futon.
Sano?! He nearly shouted aloud in his shock. Somehow, he managed to keep his mouth shut. However, he did notice that Sanosuke and Kaoru were both back to their normal sizes. That was good, but it still did not explain how they had all gotten into one bed.
"Hn, don't call me chan."
That mumbled comment came from near his side, between him and Kaoru. Glancing down, Kenshin saw Yahiko squished between them. Well, that made him feel somewhat better. But not much.
"Ano..." he gasped, deciding he could not tolerate Sanosuke's weight any longer. "Sano...Wake up."
His voice was a bit strangled from being crushed beneath the very person he was trying to wake. Sanosuke did not hear him.
"Sano!" Kenshin protested, as Sanosuke shifted to put even more weight on his back. "Sano, wake up!"
"Mmm," Kaoru shifted beside him. Kenshin groaned. He had hoped to avoid waking the girl before he could sneak out. Blue eyes slid open, slowly focusing on Kenshin's wide, violet ones. "Kenshin?"
"Um... Ohayo, Kaoru-dono," he said nervously.
"What are you doing in my bed?" she seemed very calm. It just made Kenshin all the more nervous.
"Actually," he choked, grunting softly when Sanosuke moved again. "I don't think this is your bed."
"Is that Sanosuke on your back?"
"Apparently so," he moaned. "Can you wake him up? He's heavy."
Sitting up slowly, modestly clasping her yukata at her neck, Kaoru glared down at the snoring man. Sanosuke was more off the futon than on, a good portion of his upper body resting on Kenshin's back. Even worse, he was barely decent, the yukata he had been wearing torn and in several pieces. Kaoru blushed to the very roots of her hair. Kenshin frowned, twisting his neck to see her better and wondering why she was blushing so furiously.
"Uhhh... Kenshin, get Yahiko to wake him," Kaoru said uneasily, climbing cautiously to her feet, automatically checking herself to make sure she was more covered than Sanosuke was. She was. "And get him something to wear before he comes running out into the rest of the house."
That said, she darted out of the room, snapping the door shut behind her with a loud 'clack.' Kenshin winced, the flushed, realizing what she was saying.
"Yahiko!" he nudged the boy. "Yahiko, get up!"
"Mmf-huh?" Yahiko startled away. "Ack!"
Yahiko shot out of his bed, staring at Kenshin and Sanosuke with wide eyes. Kenshin buried his face in his arms, which were starting to go numb from being stretched out in front of him for so long. Then, Yahiko started laughing. Kenshin wanted to hide. Sanosuke shifted again, jabbing an elbow into his side--there would be plenty of bruising from that--and waking up.
"Oi!" Sanosuke jumped off the bed, sputtering and blushing. "Kenshin! You're- I'm- and in bed...!"
Yahiko doubled over, laughing too hard to be of any help whatsoever. Kenshin, just relieved to have Sanosuke off his back, cautiously rose to his feet. He brought a sheet with him and, keeping his eyes averted nervously, held it out to Sanosuke. Confused at first, Sanosuke glanced at the sheet, the raucously laughing Yahiko, then down at himself. Unlike Kenshin and Kaoru, he had not had his own yukata to sleep in. He had thus borrowed one from Kaoru--when he was the size of an eight-year-old. Now that he was larger again, there was no way her yukata would ever fit him.
Blushes all around. Mortified at his apparel--or lack thereof--Sanosuke snatched the blanket away from Kenshin and quickly wrapped it around his waist. Yahiko fell over, still laughing. Kenshin, utterly calm, even if he was blushing uncontrollably, walked to the door.
"I will find something for you to wear, Sano," he murmured self-consciously.
"Uh... thanks, Kenshin," Sanosuke stammered.
The door closed, leaving Sanosuke alone with the still-snickering Yahiko.
"Chikuso! Shut up, brat!" he snapped, smacking the boy as he walked by.
Yahiko sat eating the breakfast Kenshin had made. Everything seemed to be back to normal. Kenshin was a bit more quiet than usual, overly polite to Kaoru, Sanosuke, and yes, even Yahiko himself. Kaoru was loud and quick to yell at Sanosuke, scolding him for almost ruining her innocence. And Sanosuke quickly retreated from the dojo, still embarrassed about that morning.
"Well, I'm glad you're all back to normal," Yahiko declared, trying to break the tension in the room.
Kenshin and Kaoru glanced at him, curiosity in their eyes. Neither one of them remembered anything from the day before, and they were both too uncomfortable with asking to be the one to actually do it.
"If you guys were actually like that when you were that age, I pity your parents!" Yahiko smirked.
Neither Kaoru nor Kenshin chose to burst Yahiko's bubble by reminding him that Kaoru's mother had been dead by that point, both of Kenshin's parents passed on as well. They just glanced at each other, then at Yahiko again.
"I can't imagine we were that horrible," Kaoru said finally.
"You were impossible!" Yahiko burst out, finally able to vent back on the sources of his vexation. "A brat even! And Kenshin!"
"Kenshin?" Kaoru smiled a bit, glancing at the man. Kenshin blushed and looked down at his hands.
"You and Sanosuke kept picking on him to no end!" Yahiko complained. "I had to keep him with me all day, or you guys would drive him into hiding!"
Kenshin's blush deepened, and Kaoru laughed.
"Oh, poor widdle Kenshin!" she teased.
Kenshin smiled sheepishly and rubbed the back of his head. He reached for his empty dishes abruptly.
"I'll go do the dishes now," he stated, standing up.
"I'm going to bathe," Kaoru announced, retreating from the room.
"So, Kenshin," he followed the man into the yard. "Do you miss being a little kid?"
"A little," Kenshin smiled, stacking the dirty dishes beside the wash pail. "But I'm glad to be myself again. How about you? Did you enjoy being the adult for the day?"
"Not with you three!" Yahiko declared. "Do you remember anything from yesterday?"
"Not even-" Yahiko leaned forward suddenly, whispering the rest into Kenshin's ear.
Kenshin's eyes went wide, his cheeks flaming red. He jerked back, glaring at Yahiko.
"I did not!" he blurted.
"I'm the one who did the laundry, Kenshin," Yahiko smirked. "Trust me. You did."
Muttering curses under his breath, Kenshin turned his attention to the dishes. He could not contain the flush that reddened his cheeks. Yahiko grinned.
"Don't worry, Kenshin," he snickered. "I won't tell anyone."
"That's blackmail, Yahiko!" Kenshin smiled knowingly, back on safe grounds. "And should I tell Tsubame-chan about your little friendship with Marimo-chan?"
Yahiko's cheeks went red, and he sputtered.
"Or maybe I could tell Kaoru-dono about all those times you said you were practicing but were really out fishing with Sano?" Kenshin's eyes glittered with amusement at Yahiko's indignation. "Or I could tell Tae-dono about how you and Tsubame-"
Kenshin laughed, tensing slightly as Yahiko grabbed a fistful of hair and shirt.
"You can't outmaneuver me, Yahiko-kun," Kenshin poked the boy's sides, tickling him until Yahiko released his hair and gi. "I'll keep your secrets if you keep mine."
"Grrrrr, fine!" Yahiko crossed his arms irately.
"Don't you have to work at the Akabeko today?"
"Ack!" Yahiko became a flurry of movement, scooping up his shinai and bolting for the door. "'Later, Kenshin!"
"Ne, Yahiko!" Kenshin called out, halting him momentarily.
"Huh?" Yahiko looked back. Kenshin's eyes and smile softened.
"You make a very good big brother," he said warmly.
Blushing in embarrassment, Yahiko waved him off, bolting away.
"I never want to be the oldest again!" he shouted.
Kenshin laughed and turned back to the dishes.
Yahiko: WAHOOOOOO! I'm freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Mean old author.
Fitz: Who you calling old?
Kenshin: *muttermutter* Wet the bed. *muttermutter*
Kaoru: I'm a brat!
Sano: Darn right.
Kaoru: *Hits Sano*