Welcome to the Family
Standard Disclaimers Apply.
Sanosuke was hungry, and that usually meant one thing.
It was time to take a trip to the dojo.
But when he entered the house, he was wholly unprepared for the sight that greeted him.
Sitting at the table was Kaoru, sipping tea with none other than Tenken no Soujirou.
Kaoru turned to greet him. "Hello Sano, here to eat all my food?"
Sano ignored Kaoru's insult and stared directly at Soujirou. He seemed to be sizing him up, checking for any potential danger. "What the hell are you doing here." He said gruffly, casting Soujirou a wary glare. Soujirou's eyes widened in recognition.
A dark look covered Kaoru‘s face. "Sano! Don't be rude!"
Sano sat down next to her, shoving a riceball in his mouth before continuing. "You know who this is right? That's Tenken no Soujirou, the boy Kenshin fought in Kyoto."
"Oh, well I kind of figured that." She replied casually. Soujirou turned to her in surprise. She knew who he was? And did he just hear right? Himura Kenshin? "You know Himura-san?"
"Oh yes! He lives here." Soujirou mentally smacked himself. Of course he lived there! Shishio-san had told him where the Battousai had been staying when he had become a target. He completely forgot and didn't make the connection.
"Soujirou, this is Sagara Sanosuke." Kaoru said, gesturing towards the tall man.
"Oh, he knows who I am." Sano said, leaning across the table until he was only a foot from Soujirou's face. Soujirou kept his expression blank.
"I don't know why you're here," Sano growled, "and I don't trust you any farther than I can throw you. But I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt, because that's what Kenshin would do." Soujirou nodded in understanding, but said nothing.
Kaoru's jaw hung open in shock. Normally Sano would attack first, ask questions later. For once, he was actually using his brains instead of his fists. This was going far better than she expected.
“Kenshin!” Kaoru jumped up from the table.
“Here are the vegetables for dinner, Miss Kaoru.” Kenshin replied, walking through the doorway. He turned to greet Sano but halted abruptly when he caught sight of their guest. "Soujirou!"
"Hello Himura-san." Soujirou said, a bit nervously. "It's been awhile."
"Yes, it has." He replied, "What brings you here?"
Kaoru giggled excitedly. “Kenshin, you will not believe it.”
He turned to her, smiling at her enthusiasm. “Believe what?”
“Soujirou? Yes, I know.” Kenshin replied, a bit confused as to why she would be so excited about their guest when she had never seen him before.
Kaoru groaned in frustration. “No Kenshin, it’s HIM. Remember what I showed you in father's journal?” She nodded suggestively. Kenshin stared at her for a minute before it occurred to him what she was implying. His surprised gaze turned to Soujirou.
Soujirou looked helplessly from Kenshin's look of utter surprise to Kaoru's excited smile, and became a bit uncomfortable at being the center of attention. Sano, on the other hand, was feeling very put out at not being in on the secret.
“What the hell are you people going on about!”
"So let me get this straight." Sano sighed, pressing his palm against his forehead as if warding off an oncoming headache. "The Tenken is your brother?"
"Yes. And will you please stop calling him that!"
"Fine! So could you please explain to me how the hell that's possible?"
"Well," Kaoru began, "he would actually only be my half-brother. My father was in a relationship with his mother, before he married my mother."
"Ohh, your father was quite the ladies' man." Sano laughed, and was promptly beat on the head with Kaoru's fist.
Kenshin moved to divert attention from the two. "How long have you known, Soujirou?" he asked.
"Only just recently." He replied quietly. "I found out in a letter that my mother wrote before she died."
"If you don't mind me asking, when did your mother die?" Kaoru asked hesitantly.
"She died when I was two years old."
"Oh. I'm sorry." A pained look had crossed her face. She knew what it was like to lose one's parents.
"It's alright." He replied. Nobody said anything else for awhile afterward. They all were taking time to absorb everything that had gone on.
"It's getting pretty late." Kenshin observed, breaking the silence.
Soujirou looked up, surprised. He hadn't even noticed the room getting darker.
"Do you have a place to stay?" Kaoru asked eagerly.
"There are some woods not far from here. I was going to camp out there." He replied.
"Are you kidding! Absolutely not! You're going to stay here." She stated with a bright smile.
"I can't poss...."
"Nope." She interrupted him. "I won't take no for an answer!"
"It's best to just do as she says." Kenshin grinned at him. "She won't back down."
"See! Come on, I'll show you where you can stay." And with that she walked out the door, leaving no room for argument. Soujirou stood up and followed her. She stopped at a cupboard to grab an extra futon and a blanket.
"Here, I'll carry that." Soujirou said as he took the load from her.
"Thanks. It's a good thing that we have an extra room here. God forbid you'd have to room with Yahiko!"
Soujirou glanced at her in confusion. "Yahiko?"
"You know the brat the ran out earlier? That's Yahiko. He lives here too." Kaoru said, clearly exasperated at the mention of him. "You'll get to meet him tomorrow. He's probably hiding out at the Akebeko, so he won't be back until late." Kaoru stopped to slide open the door of one of the rooms. "Sorry it's so messy in here, it hasn't been used for awhile."
"It's no problem at all. Thank you very much for letting me stay. I feel like I'm intruding." He said apologetically.
"Of course not!" She scoffed. "You're family. You have every right to stay here!"
Family. That sounded so odd to him. He had never been considered part of anybody's family.
"Well, I'm going to go talk to Kenshin about making a quick dinner, seeing as none of us have eaten yet. When you're done here, then come back to the dining room."
"Kaoru-san?" She stopped and turned to face him. "Thank you once again." Soujirou said sincerely.
"You're more than welcome." She smiled kindly. "And it's just Kaoru. There's no need to use formalities."
As Soujirou lie down to sleep that night, he couldn't help the small smile the spread across his lips or the warmth that settled in the pit of his stomach.
It felt nice to be welcomed.
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