AN: I started this piece sometime before the turn of the year and forgot about it. Here it is in all its lack of glory.

Amber & Jasmine

5. Cold

XX

She had to move. Any slower and she would be mowed down by the array of projectiles right behind her. Her cheeks flushed from the cold and from exertion, she dashed across the recently felled snow doing her best to be a moving target. This was bad. This was very, very bad. She had no idea how the tables had turned like this, but now she was in so much trouble.

She twisted, rounding a corner, but she was not fast enough. The impact made her lurch forward, and she felt sharp cold slide down the back of her jacket. She screamed.

"SANOSUKE!"

She stopped once past the corner and quickly tried to shake the excess snow from her clothes, feeling cold touch her skin, making her jump and squeak. With an indignant huff, she managed to get what had not already melted off of her and readjusted her jacket. With a snarl, she dropped down, scooping up a fair amount of snow and began to pack it into a ridiculously hard snowball. She had had practice in making ones that hurt.

Oh, and was it going to hurt.

Creeping along down the fence line that wove around the apartment complex, Kaoru hovered at the end, her weapon in hand. She could hear the careful crunching of footsteps on the snow, and from the sound she guessed it was the semi-cleared sidewalk and not the grass her enemy was treading. He was getting closer, and Kaoru grinned. Payback was so a bitch.

With a sudden burst she jumped out and twisted around the fence, pitching her snowball with her stronger arm. A grin was pulling across her lips, at least until her target yelped.

"Oro?!"

To her horror, she watched one of the neighbors in the complex fall back into the snowbank, his red hair creating a stark contrast against the fresh white. He sprawled in the snow with a surprised look, his bag of groceries landing beside him. It would not have been so bad if it had been a random neighbor she did not know. However, it was her incredibly cute neighbor.

Violet eyes focused on the woman now staring at him in utter embarrassment, her face a brilliant shade of pink and her expression utterly mortified. "I did not realize it would be so dangerous to walk to the store today..."

"I am so sorry," Kaoru replied, her words nearly babbling. "I thought you were someone else."

He gave a slight smile, watching her curiously. "Glad to know your abuse was not supposed to be directed at me."

If possible, she blushed harder, watching him get up and dust himself off. Belatedly, she thought to help him, but he was already walking back down the sidewalk, groceries in tow.

A snowball to the back of her head snapped her out of her embarrassed stupor, and with an sharp squeak she whirled around to find Sano grinning at her, holding up a handful of snow. "That was about as smooth as Yahiko trying to swoon that chick at the cafe."

"Shut your face," Kaoru snapped, feeling the snow that touched her cheeks melt under the heat her face was radiating. She at least saw his shot this time, ducking under flying snow and moved forward, scooping up snow as she went. Sanosuke cackled and took off running. In the distance she could hear Misao's triumphant screeching, followed by some sharp yell by someone who was in the middle of a growth spurt—Yahiko.

Now no longer in the mood to keep playing, Kaoru moved to watch her friends beat the heck out of each other with snowballs. It was hard to just forget she had done that and move on.

It was even harder when a wallop of snow hit her backside. She yelped and whirled around to snap at whichever idiot friend of hers decided to drop one on her only to find aforementioned neighbor grinning at her, leaning against the lamp post.

She stared at him, lips parted in surprise and a slight blush still staining her features.

If possible, his grin widened and he dropped down, slowly gathering snow into his palms. "Now that we've been properly acquainted by your standards, let's try mine." He lifted his gaze to her from the snowball he was forming, and there was a hint of something sneaky yet sexy on his face. "If you can avoid this one, you don't have to say yes to my asking you out to dinner."

Kaoru could not figure out if she was actually supposed to try and get away.

XX

AN: I'm pretty sure originally I had some ridiculous idea of Kenshin grabbing an icicle and trying to be badass with it and failing, but just didn't feel like dragging this little thing on. Oh, well.

Thoughts are appreciated.

-Rainfelt