happy tanabata 2001! jill (7/7/1)

"Together on Tanabata" ~ Finale

Late as it was, the group tiredly headed towards home. A soft drizzle of rain had begun and the sky turned into a pale gray color. Megumi sighed at the sky. “What a certainly change of events for Tanabata to end with rain. But the festival was really fun, ne?”

”It’s funny, demo…” Tsubame uttered, still holding onto Yahiko’s hand, “I don’t remember when we left the festival, nor how we ended up by the river.”

”Hen da na!” Tae cried, “Maybe someone spiked the tea or something… have you been food poisoned?! It was that damned Chimabeko, my rival restaurant, wasn’t it?! I’ll have a talk with the sniveling bastard owner…!”

Everyone hushed her and brought to her attention just how late it was. Already, the grounds of the festival were deserted and left to be cleaned up in the morning. The fond memories made here would last them until the next Tanabata.

They all stopped walking as Sanosuke had stopped. Turning around, he saw Shena standing in the empty street, her hands folded behind her back, “Sagara-san, could I have a word with you?”

He nodded and approached her. Meanwhile, Tae, Megumi, and Tsubame (by force) had gathered together, “(Aren’t you going to do something about this, Takani-han?! )”

”(Of course I will! But not in the open! As far as I’m concerned, that girl is mincemeat when I get through with her! Ohohoho!)”

“(Mou, please don’t make a scene!)”

Sanosuke stopped in front of her. There were tears in her eyes. “Shena, daijoube?” he uttered, putting his hand on her shoulder.

“Daijoubu desu.” she said, “I just wanted say thanks again. And also ‘good night’, or should I say ‘good morning’, Sagara-san.”

He smiled down at her. “Would ya stop being formal with me. It’s not like we’re strangers now. You know, I’m glad I ran into you in the forest back then.”

”You are?” she gasped. She lowered her eyes and trembled a bit, “I’m happy to here that, demo…” She moved closer, hugging him, but at the same time, placing an ofuda on his back. Sanosuke’s eyes widened then fell shut, leaning his chin down onto her shoulder, “Sano-san… Sayonara…”

She then handed him over to Tsunan and bowed her head. “He’s okay isn’t he?” he asked her as she turned to leave.

“Hai, he’ll be fine.” she replied, starting to walk away “But I have to get going. Us Celestial Dragons have finished our mission will be moving onto another one. I won’t be seeing any of you again.”

”J-Jotto!” Megumi cried, making her stop, “What about Sanosuke? You’re just going to leave him behind?”

”C.D.s have more important things to worry about. Sumimasen…”

Sanosuke slowly woke and eased himself out of Tsunan’s hold, “Katsu, what’s going on?” he mumbled drowsily. He turned his head and looked at what they had been looking at, “Heh? Who’s that?”

“You don’t know, Sano?”

“Last I remember I got lost in the forest looking for that damn gambling hall you told me about.” he yawned, “Did you guys find me or something?” They couldn’t say a word, but already Shena was gone.

* * *
Panting, Kenshin pulled open the gate. “KAORU!!!” he exclaimed, running with every bit of his strength into the house. He opened the door to her room only to see it empty, ‘Where is she?!?!’

He stopped and looked towards the dojo. He had a feeling that she was there. Walking into the doorway, he stopped and sighed in relief. There she was, lying in the corner. "K-Kaoru... dono...?"

"Hmmm?" she uttered sleepily. Her blue eyes flickered open and she happily gazed at him. "Aa! Kenshin! You're home!" But her smile faded. "Do you know what time it is?! M-Masaka... you and Megumi-san...?!"

"Oro, nothing of that sort happened de gozaru!" Kenshin exclaimed, red-faced. He then went to pick her up, holding her with little effort in his arms. "You shouldn't have waited up for me. It's late de gozaru."

"Mou, don't talk to me like I'm a child. I know what goes on between men and women..." she muttered as he carried her out the door, "And if you want to date Megumi-san, I won't get in your way. Just promise me one thing..."

He stopped walking and looked down at her. "Nan de gozaru ka, Kaoru-dono?"

She hid her face in his shoulder and uttered, "Please promise me, Kenshin... that'll whatever you're doing that you'll come home to me."

"Kaoru-dono..." he stammered. Slowly he nodded. "Aa, I promise. No matter what happens, I'll always..."

Kenshin brought Kaoru into her room and tucked her into bed. Slowly she started to fall back asleep. He took a loving look at her, glad that nothing had happened while he had gone. Kneeling at her side, he brushed some hair from her face

Kaoru lifted her hand to his. "Kenshin, I have a confession to make..." she said sleepily, "The truth is... I love you..."

'Kaoru...!' Kenshin went red. But the hand was slipping away, and her eyes had fallen shut. Smiling, Kenshin leaned down and kissed her good night. "Happy Tanabata, my love..."

* * *
Minako wandered until morning. She stopped on the road just outside the dojo, gazing up at the sky. ‘Another year… once again…’

She remembered Yuri smiling at her brightly. “I will spend Tanabata with you… I promise.” And then, he was gone.

‘But that Tanabata, he didn’t show up… and then the next… and the next. Even this year…’ she thought, “Tanabata didn’t meet her love.”

“Maybe next year she will!” said a voice behind her. She opened her eyes, startled. Turning around, she saw that familiar smile, those blue eyes, “Of course why should she wait another year? Why should she wait at all when…” Yuri stopped in front of her, “I’m right here as I should be…”

”Yuri!!” she cried, running into his arm. “I’m so glad you came back!”

”Me too…” he uttered, hugging her.

The other C.D.s had been watching. Mikawa was passing out handkerchiefs as Stacey and the Mukashi twins were engulfed with tears. “I shoulda charged tickets!” Lili wailed, “The money I could have made!!”

Mimi sighed, “I love all this mushy stuff! Nee-chan, give me a hug! I love you!”

Mikawa then turned to Kimi, “Nee, should we get going, Kimi? We’re due in Osaka by this evening. Better book it if we don’t want to be late.”

“Just a moment,” Kimi replied, looking over her shoulder. She could see Shena and Keiko staring out towards the forest, which led to the river. “Let’s regroup first…”

Keiko put her hand on her friend’s shoulder, “You going to be okay? I mean, are you up for the next mission?”

”Of course I am.” Shena uttered, “I just… I don’t know. I’ll be fine while I get started working. So please don’t worry about me.”

”Heh, can’t help it. You’re my best friend.” Keiko replied, “Demo, I’ve got something for you…” She then took out the nishiki e which was hidden behind her back, “Look what I found!”

”Aa!” Shena stared at it and smiled. “Kei, where did you…?”

”Just cherish your Tanabata memory, but don’t dwell on it. There’s work to be done.” she simply replied, walking over to the rest of the group, “You coming or what?”

”Hai!” she said, joining the rest, “Let’s go…!”

”M-Matte!” Yuri blurted out. They all stared at him, his face blushing, “I just got home and you’re making me leave again? Can’t we ask Libra for a vacation or maybe an extension for the next mission…!!”

They simply all started dragging and pushing him along the road towards Osaka, a teruterubozu falling out of his pocket onto the ground.

* * *
"Mou!! Wait for me!!" Kaoru called, chasing after Sanosuke, Yahiko, and Kenshin as they were leaving the house. "I'm the one who's paying for lunch!!"

"She's right. Better wait up for the purse." Sanosuke sighed, chewing on a blade of grass. Putting his hands in his pockets, he didn't know why he had such a forlorn feeling. 'Why do I feel like my heart has been broken...?'

"Sano, you okay?" Kenshin asked, looking over at his friend. According to Yahiko, Sanosuke had no memory of the events last night. The night all together was strange. He didn't know what to make of it either. "Saa, should we get going to the Akebeko?"

"Yaah! Tsubame's going to be there and...!" Yahiko stopped speaking, blushing. "Aa, I-I mean... we don't have to go there... eheheh!"

"Looks like Yahiko no yarou has a big crush!" Sanosuke chuckled, swatting him on the back, "Go for it, Kid!! We back you up!"

"Shaddap, you bastard!!!" Yahiko snapped, going to chomp his head.

Kaoru and Kenshin stood off to the side laughed at them. "Oro?" Kenshin spotted the teruterubozu lying on the ground. "Sore wa..." Smiling, he handed it to Kaoru, "For you."

"Aa, arigatou, Kenshin... demo... Tanabata is over." she replied, as he placed it on her hand.

"The lovers might not meet on Tanabata, but someday they will." he replied. She nodded, returning the smile. With that, they continued on their way into town.


domo arigatou for reading! \(^o^)/
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