rurouni kenshin is by watsuki nobuhirou (c) shueisha jump, sony, fuji tv, anime works
"kaede", performed by 'spitz'; words by kusano masamune; translated by ryuichi-san
notes: had you noticed that all fics in this series go in order of seasons? "no reason" took place in summer; "blue rain" in autumn; "have you forgotten" in winter (1 year later); "yesterday" & "senjou" in spring. omoshiroi ne?? jill 4/13/1

A Summer's Wait
Part 3: "Anything"

Sitting in the empty dojo, Yahiko somehow felt small. The walls seemed higher and covered with new tabs. Reading off the names, he searched for his… the one that used to hang next to Kaoru's. Instead, he saw an empty space, the shadows left as a faint reminder.

'I didn't want it up there… ore…' Clenching his fists, he glared at the floor, 'Yasuko…'

"What's up, Yatsu?" said a familiar voice. Yutaro stood in the doorway. In his hand he held a bouquet of yellow flowers, his sling a bit dusty with dirt. "You look like you were thinking."

"None of your business!" Yahiko snapped, "By the way, what are you doing here?"

"Tsubame-san wanted to see Kaoru-san." Yutaro replied, sitting next to him, "It's been a while… the two of us in this place."

"Sou yo. Last time, I really kicked your ass." Yahiko uttered, cheering up a bit from his memories. Days when he didn't have a care in the world, and kenjutsu was fun. "Then again, you weren't too bad. Ya shouldn't have quit, Yarou."

"Aa," Yutaro said, wrapping his arm around his knees, the flowers dipped over his trousers, "I gave up because I knew I couldn't win…"

Yahiko stared at his melancholy face. "Saa, don't be like that." he said, nudging his shoulder, "That time was hard for you - with Raijuta at all. We did our best, no regrets okay? Shikashi…" The smile brightened a bit, "We weren't alone."

Yutaro nodded, smiling back, "Aa, sou desu. Arigatou, Yatsu."

* * *
In the kitchen, the girls prepared dinner, Tsubame instructing. "Let that boil and add in the ingredients set aside."

"Hai!" Kaoru chimed, going to put a bit of the spices in front of her, "Ato de…?"

"For now, let the broth boil and ready the vegetables." Tsubame's face then blushed. "Demo ne, I-I was wondering why do you insist me teaching lessons all of a sudden."

"Datte, Kenshin's sister is coming to stay with us and she's bringing the whole family from Mitsukou. They all want to celebrate his upcoming birthday."

"Sou ka ...Aa, demo! Wasn't it your birthday just two weeks ago? We all forgot! And Kenshin-san…!"

"His memory isn't too good. He's especially terrible at remembering dates. I don't mind; I never really celebrate it anyways… Still, I want to be able to make good food when Serika-tachi comes. Especially now that I can't do kenjutsu or anything useful…"

"Ano…" Tsubame uttered. After an awkward moment passed, she decided to continue with the lesson. "Daijoubu! This will be the finest dish ever!"

Kaoru nodded, cheering up. She then bowed her head. "Hai! Yoroshiku onegaishimasu!!"

* * *
Meanwhile, Kenshin and Sanosuke sat in Saitou's office, looking at files. "Yakuso! Didn’t the Reisengumi disband?!" Sanosuke muttered, "Still, it's back and stronger!"

Saitou leaned back in his chair. "The job you did two years ago meant nothing after all. I've tracked the group's activities lately and already they assassinated two officials."

"Masaka," Kenshin gasped, papers slipping through his hands, "Takeru-dono gave Sessha his word de gozaru! He and his wife became closer after that! Naze!?"

"Some people never change, Battousai." was the only remark he could get.

Sighing, the samurai dropped his head. Next to him, Sanosuke was rubbing his chin. "Last night, you captured the leader in Shibuya, where we were… er visiting a sick friend. Tonikaku, kono koitsu is in the pen downstairs."

Saitou noted, "Yamagashi's wife demanded to stay with him in jail. He received some injury from the arrest."

"Sou ka." Kenshin uttered, staring at the floor, "A devoted wife de gozaru yo."

"Tonight we'll question Yamagashi Takeru and find out who is the next target. Surely, the Reisengumi will finally be put to an end." Saitou said sharply, "Once and for all…"

* * *
At the dojo, Kaoru nervously watched as the boys tasted the outcome. The two paused to check if the other was going to die, but slowly grins slipped onto their faces. "Not bad." Yahiko said, "Can I have seconds?"

"Jotto, Yatsu!" Yutaro snapped, swatting him with his free hand, "Let's wait for Kenshin-san to get back." His eye caught a glimpse of sadness pass through Kaoru's face. "Hah?"

"I-Iie, go ahead! Kenshin won't be back till late, so there isn't any reason for all of you to go hungry."

Suddenly, Genzai and his grandchildren arrived. "Wai wai! Dinner!" the girls chimed, rushing to the table, "Nee, we're hungry too!"

Genzai turned to Kaoru. "Sorry to intrude. We were in the neighborhood and smelled something wonderful. You don't mind if we all snag a meal, na?"

"Help yourselves…" She stopped to see Yahiko pile a lot on the plates. "Waah! Leave some for Kenshin!"

But no one was listening to her. "Mm mm!" The old man munched away. "This is so good that I can have seconds! Iya, thirds! Hohoho!"

"OISHII!" Ayame and Suzume chimed, "MORE! MORE!"

Kaoru dropped her head, the majority of the stew already gone. Yutaro got up, smiling cheerfully, "I still have a red snapper you can use to make more for Kenshin-san."

"Arigatou, Yutaro-kun! Soushite, for the flowers!" Kaoru chimed. Yutaro blushed and rubbed his head, Tsubame looking away in disgust.

By now, everyone finished. Yahiko let out a belch then picked at his teeth. "I'll walk with ya, Genzai! That is, if I don't die of poison. After all, kono busu made this."

"Kaoru-chan?" Genzai turned to her in surprise, "HOW!?"

Kaoru smiled. "Cooking lessons from Tsubame-chan! Come back next time when I learn a new recipe, ne?"

"YATTA!" Suzume and Ayame cheered, happy they had more options to go for free food. They were even happier Yutaro was coming along to walk them home. "YUTARO-CHAN!"

"Kora, kora!" he said, backing away, "I have a ‘boo-boo’ so I can't play with you two. Gomen."

"Daijoubu yo!" Ayame said, "Dakara… Yutaro-chan DAISUKI!!"

A sweat bead rolled down his face. "Eto… you're much too young for me…"

At this, everyone laughed. Tsubame then got up. "Ne, let's all go before it becomes dark. Kaoru-san, arigatou for inviting us. Good luck on cooking Kenshin-san's dinner. Just remember what I taught you!"

"J-Jotto!” Kaoru cried, "Aren't you going to stay to help?!" But they all continued to laugh, walking down the road. "MOU!"

* * *
The sun set as the group walked together. Yahiko lazily steered in the back. Somehow, Tsubame ended up at his side, so close that their arms were brushing together as they moved ahead. He watched her from the corner of his eye, wondering why she was smiling so.

"Eto," he finally spoke, “Could you talk to Kaoru about letting me back into her school." She blinked at him, startled. "Datte, I feel my training isn't complete if I don't go back. There still is something she got to teach me, only I don't know what."

"Yahiko-kun," she uttered, brown eyes shining, "If you admit to wanting to learn more, I'm sure Kaoru-san will take you back." She then leaned in a bit more, "Demo, doushite? Why the sudden change of heart? You were so determined to be on your own."

"Ore wa…" he started to say, but saw that Tsubame had suddenly left. "EH?! Where'd she go?!"

* * *
Tsubame caught view of someone sitting by the river. The woman was throwing stones in, skipping them across the surface. She smiled and approached her. "Ano, what are you doing here?" she asked, looking at the woman, who simply handed her some of the stones, "I don't know how…"

"It's all in the wrist." she replied, going to give another demonstration. Tsubame watched as the flat stone made a series of splashes before sinking into the orange sea.

The two then sat down on the grass, gazing at the setting sun. "This is where I almost drowned once, demo someone special saved me."

The woman paused, and then sighed. "Even the brightest misplace their wits every once in a while... Watashi mo. I lost myself to that feeling, many years ago… and became something I detest. Full of hate and jealousy, I hurt the ones who meant most to me…"

Tsubame cut in, "It was in the past. Yesterday is behind us. Soushite, you cannot forget the good memories…”

The woman shook her head, "I already decided not to hurt her again. Datte, I said goodbye and promised to stay out of her life."

"Demo…!" She stopped to hear the sound of a familiar cry. 'Yahiko!' She turned to the woman and bowed. "Sumimasen. I must go now. We'll talk again later, ne?"

"Ee, matte ne, Tsubame-san."

Tsubame smiled and waved, before running back to the road. 'Yahiko…'

* * *
Yahiko was lying in the woods when she found him. She knelt to him and checked him for wounds. "Yahiko-kun! Daijoubu!?" She paused and felt the shadow above her, "D-Dare?!"

A masked swordsman stood on a tree limb, black shinai at hand. "Heh, didn't I say we'd fight again when you're stronger? Don't pick a fight you cannot finish yourself."

"Eh?" Tsubame gasped, looking back and forth, "Yahiko-kun, did you try to fight him?"

"He is my mortal enemy. He's stolen my rightful title and shamed me! I’ll get STRONG enough to beat this fake!"

She frowned a bit, disappointed by his answer. "The reason you want to get back into Kamiya dojo is so you can get stronger to beat this guy? Yahiko-kun, you're so…!"

He managed to get on his feet, barking up the tree. "I'll beat you good, Teme!" But the swordsman turned away, going to leap off to another tree, making an escape. "Matte! Don't you run away! I'm not done, I want to finish this NO MATTER WHAT!"

The eyes within the cloth sharpened. "Why finish something that has no end?"

"N-nan de?! Quit talking in riddles! You ain't making any sense at all! COME BACK HERE!"

Beside him, Tsubame sighed, "Mou… you're so one-track."

* * *
Elsewhere, three fighters were walking down a dark street. Saitou puffed away contently. "You are going help, Battousai - since you weren't able to 'complete' the job last time."

Kenshin grimaced at the ground, fists curling. Next to him, Sanosuke was enthusiastic. "Hell, of course we'll help! Sounds like fun!"

"Ahou." the cop replied, causing a general face-fault. "I didn't ask a useless tori atama like you to get in the way."

"TEME!" Sanosuke growled, turning SD, "I'll F-KING KILL YOU!"

As Saitou singed Sanosuke again with a cigarette, Kenshin was deep in thought, 'If the event that happened two years ago meant nothing at all… if it didn't happen… I would be…'

"Oi, Kenshin! Watch out!" Sanosuke called. But it was too late; Kenshin had already walked into a pole, "Heh, falling asleep already?? Maa, we part here. I go this way…"

"Sano!" Kenshin blurted out before the fighter could leave, "You going out again tonight? Can Sessha come?"

The other men gazed at his desperate face. Sanosuke then patted his head, "Iya, you've got other things to do. You see, there's a lady at home wanting to smother ya with kisses, so you best be going in that direction."

Kenshin was about to protest, but Saitou walloped him with the saya, then went to light a new cigarette. "Just go home, Battousai."

"SAITOU! What about you?! What about your wife?!" Kenshin snapped, turning SD Battousai, "Sou ka! She's locked up in your basement…!"

"Aa, so my enemies don't see her delicate beauty and I have her to myself. When given the chance, I come home to give her a bit of loving, according the Shinsengumi code: SIN SWIFT SLAY." Saitou then stared at their drop-jawed faces. "Nan de??"

Sanosuke chuckled, "Don't ya mean: 'SIN SWIFT LAY'?" Meanwhile, Kenshin tried to make an escape. Sanosuke quickly grabbed him by the ponytail, "Saitou, make sure he goes!"

"Aa," Saitou got Kenshin into a headlock and started to drag him off. "Battousai, you're a disgraced man if you don't want to give your wife a proper **\(^o^)/**…"

Kenshin dropped his head and sighed, "Oro, Sessha was afraid you'd say something like that de gozaru…"

* * *
In the distance, Kaoru saw her husband coming. She eventually lost patience, putting down the lantern and running to him. "Kenshin! Okaeri!" She wanted to kiss him, but caught view of Saitou. "K-Konbawa…"

Saitou took off his cap, bowing his head slightly. Kaoru looked speechless, so Kenshin touched her shoulder, bringing her attention back to him, "Suman… I'm late again. I hope you didn't wait too long."

She shook her head, "Daijoubu. Tsubame-tachi stayed for a bit. And, oh, dinner is ready for you. Ano, Saitou-san." The cop turned to her, startled. "Would you like to join us?"

Saitou slowly nodded. "I'm honored. Sorry to intrude at this hour."

Kenshin followed them, making a face. 'Why is Saitou being so kind?!'

At the table, Kaoru served them bowls and tea. Kenshin watched her, feeling a bit impressed. She was putting a great production that even left Saitou a bit baffled. "Battousai, you never told me your wife was a good cook."

Kaoru blushed, forcing seconds on them. While eating, she and Kenshin stared at each other, unable to speak openly and very conscious of the extra presence. After a while, Saitou took a hint.

"I've had my fill so I ought to go. Tonight we're doing some questioning at the station. I got to be present." he said, standing and picking up his sword, "Arigatou for the meal, Himura-san. Battousai, I'll see you later."

Kenshin went to see him off at the gate. When he came back, Kaoru had gotten up, staring at him earnestly. "Eto…" he stammered, suddenly unable to think straight. They were alone and he was trapped.

"Kenshin," she uttered, putting her arms around his neck. She leaned her head against his shoulder and smiled. "I've missed you…"

"Aa," he replied, distracted as he could feel her against him. "S-Should I get some more tea de gozaru??"

"Iie… don't go anywhere." she simply replied.

* * *
Megumi tightened the sash to her yukata and glanced at the clock. 'Kono tori atama is late again… hmp, I don't care.' she told herself, kneeling down to blow out the light. But before she could, she heard the familiar sound of the door opening. 'Ara, he's home!'

Getting up, she rushed out her room and down the hall. "Okaeri!" she chimed , only to skid to a stop. "A-ano…"

"Yo, Fox! Tadaima!" Sanosuke replied cheerfully, an arm around a woman with young features. She looked like a waitress or something. He released the wench and walked over to her. "Sorry to make so much noise coming in. Were you asleep?"

"Iie," she uttered, still glaring at the girl. ‘Where'd he pick up this slut??'

He leaned in and put his hand on her shoulder, a husky voice whispering into her ear, "(Ya don't mind do you? I mean, if it's a bit awkward for you… I can send her home.)"

Megumi was dumbstruck. He was answering her permission. But to oppose would mean that it was awkward and that she was jealous, which she was not, because she no longer had feelings for him. 'Sou ne??' she asked herself, 'Friends wouldn't deny friends certain happiness… nee??'

"I don't mind at all!" she blurted out, "I mean, I'm welcomed to bring men over when I want to, so you have this privilege too! Besides, she's perfect for you - perky and brainless. I hope you have a lot of fun with her. Well, it's late so I'm going to sleep. Don't be too noisy! Oyasumi nasai!!"

"M-Megumi!?" Sanosuke gasped, completely mortified. She simply turned heel and walked back down the hall, her head up high, "Kuso…"

The perky and brainless waitress pouted. "I do NOT like that woman!"

* * *
After a hot bath, Kaoru headed back to the room. Stopping at the door, she could feel her heart beat faster. 'This is it. You're going to ask him to m-make love… oh I can't!! Sure he's my husband and he does so many times… but I've never had to actually ask or beg!'

Peering inside, she saw him lying down, outside the blankets, his eyes closed. "Kenshin? Are you asleep?"

Violet flickered open and he smiled cutely. "Just resting de gozaru. Koishii, did you enjoy your bath?"

"Eh," she said, kneeling to him, her fingers sliding into his sleeve to rub against his arm, "Arigatou for keeping the water warm. Demo, I wished you'd join me."

"Not enough room de gozaru." he chuckled, before shet clawed his arm. "ORO! A joke de gozaru!" He then went to get up, but she stopped him with a hand to his chest. "Kaoru?"

She blushed a bit, staring into his surprised face, "Ano, c-could you… aa… I mean…"

"Nani, Koishii?" he asked softly, leaning up on his elbows, getting closer.

She opened her mouth, only unable to speak. All she could do was take his face into her hands and kiss him passionately. Kenshin fell onto his back, her coming down with him. For a while, he was lost - not sure what he should do. But then he heard her whispering his ear. "Kenshin, onegai, I need you…"

"Is it okay?" he blurted out.

"Hah?" She didn't understand what he meant. Of course it was 'okay', she belong to him. Kaoru looked him in the eye, her voice intense, "Hai."

He cradled her close, closing his eyes. Words struggled to come out, though with much pain hinted in them, "Kaoru… ore…"

"Nani?" she uttered, in between kisses, "What do you want? I'll do anything… tell me…"

He suddenly sat up, head turning towards the doors. "Are wa… kenki…" He eased his way out of Kaoru's arms and stood, then noticing that she had taken his yukata away in the process. "Oro, Koishii!" he stammered, shivering.

"Mou!" she muttered, tossing it to him. After he slipped back into his clothes he turned to check what it was. "Kenshin, be careful!"

"Aa," he said, going outside. He could see the stream of smoke coming from the figure leaning against a post. "Nan de? What are you doing here?"

Saitou crossed his arms. "The questioning didn't go so well. Could you come and try talking to the bastard?"

"Ima de gozaru?!" Kenshin gasped.

"Sou da. Tomorrow the general is coming and we'd like to get some info. He’s not talking and somehow I think he might open up to you out of obligation."

"Wakkata." he uttered, "Let me get ready then…"

"Battousai," Saitou chuckled, lifting the cigarette close this scarred cheek. "Did I come at an inopportune time? Looks like you and your little wife were exercising your marriage rights?" Kenshin just glared at him. "Hmp, don't take too long ok?"

Kenshin walked back to the room. Kaoru was peering out the door, trying to listen, but couldn't get a word. Kneeling, she clutched at her yukata, waiting for a cue to continue from before. "What does he want?" she asked, when Kenshin didn't come back down to her.

"I've got to make a trip to the station." he said, changing into his outing clothes, "I'll be out late…" She just got up, clinging to his back. He stopped and sighed a bit. "Suman. While I'm gone, don't worry. Please get some rest."

"Doushite?" she sighed, "Without you?"

"Kaoru," he uttered, kissing her briefly, "I'll come back as soon as I can."

"Mou," she pouted, not at all satisfied as he released her to leave. "Kenshin, don't go!"

"I have to." he replied, smiling, "Oyasumi, Koishii!" But as he turned around and went to close the door, one of the headrests came flying at his face, hitting him right in the forehead. "ORO!"

"OYASUMI NASAI!" Kaoru snapped, climbing into the blanket and turning away.

Saitou stopped and stared down at the agonizing look. "Ahou."

Sayonara, kimi no koe wo daite aruite iku
Aa, boku no mama de dokomade todoku darou
Farewell, embracing your voice I'll keep walking
Ah, I wonder how far I'll get as I am

onto part 4
back to part 2