Don't you just hate it when an idea takes a hold of you and you can't do anything but write it out before you lose it, even if it means you'll be running on far less sleep than you actually need? My first writing foray into the realms of Rurouni Kenshin! This is decidedly AU! I obviously own nothing!
It was Valentine's Day, a day for sweethearts to make a special effort to show their affection to one another. But more importantly, it was a day for all of the single friends to seek out their other single friends, band together and try not to moan about their single state while consuming large amounts of foods that would go straight to their hips.
At least, that's the theory thought Kamiya Kaoru, high school English teacher and not so recent immigrant to the city of Boston. She clenched her jaw in an attempt to keep them from chattering and wondered if letting her blue black hair down from its customary ponytail to cover her neck would help her feel any warmer. Perhaps going on a walk during the freezing single's awareness day, having to see all of the lovey dovey couples walking hand in hand, had not been her brightest idea. But, she only had so much patience for pummeling her punching bag or reading her students' poor grammar before it drove her nuts. Her roommate and best friend, Misao, had disappeared with her beloved "Aoshi-sama" the previous Friday for a weekend getaway. Since she wasn't back yet, Kaoru was beginning to believe that she would have to seriously start looking for a new roommate because Misao obviously wasn't going to be splitting the rent with her much longer.
The acknowledgement made Kaoru sigh. She knew that she should feel happy for her petite friend, knew that her increasingly serious relationship with Aoshi didn't mean that they wouldn't be friends. But it was difficult when it seemed that she was going to be stuck alone.
"Maybe I should get a cat?" Kaoru muttered to herself with a sardonic smile as she continued to walk, continued to try to ignore the cold that was piercing through her coat, stabbing her to the very bone. She wrinkled her nose at the idea of taking the first step towards becoming a crazy cat lady.
She began to mentally run through her list of friends that she could visit.
Shura? No, her leave was over yesterday, she's back at sea.
Megumi? No, one of her patients is in critical condition and Sano's pulling double shifts today at the police station. The young teacher mentally sent a prayer for Megumi's patient before she continued with her thoughts.
Akane's got a boyfriend even if neither of them will admit it, so they'll be busy with something. Kaoru allowed herself a chuckle as she thought of her friend's romantic situation. Too bad Rei is back in Tokyo, though I suppose even if she wasn't she'd be too caught up scaring off whoever Minako set her up with this year. Kaoru now giggled as she pictured what her fiery friend was doing to the latest victim that had been sent before her.
So everyone's busy Kaoru mused with a sigh. Being a grown up with responsibilities and friends with even more responsibilities sucked sometimes. But that was the price one had to pay when you were old enough to sign contracts.
She tried to think. What else besides eat food that wasn't good for them did she and her friends used to do on this irritatingly red and pink day?
Gossip, watch sappy movies Kaoru mused but she pushed the though aside almost immediately. She was having a bad enough time watching people in real life coo to one another. She had no interest in watching it on a screen. And it wasn't exactly possible to gossip by one's self.
Though perhaps a movie that isn't sappy Kaoru amended and she openly grinned as she pictured a movie filled with a satisfying number of explosions. That could work, but what else?
The blue eyed woman hummed to herself as she tried to remember what else she and her friends would do to entertain one another.
Games! She remembered and smiled as she recalled her last poker victory but the smile disappeared after a moment. Keiko still owes me a set of cookies!
She pouted for a moment but a small café caught her eye and the scent of fresh baked goods caught her nose. Her stomach growled loudly and she could feel her cheeks getting into the spirit of the holiday. Without another thought, she ducked into the bakery, unconsciously sighing as the warmth of the small café immediately enveloped her. She made her way to the register, half of her mind dedicated to the decision between a chocolate croissant or a muffin while the other half continued to sift through the various games she and her friends had played between binging on junk food, gossiping and watching silly movies.
"A chocolate croissant and peppermint hot chocolate please," she ordered absently and was very pleased when her order was almost immediately filled. Quickly she made her way to an empty seat and began to linger over her impromptu meal.
"What else?" she muttered to herself. Finally inspiration struck and she began to dig through her purse. It did not take long for the English teacher to find a spare bit of paper and a pencil.
MASH, a game she and her friends had played all the time after they first discovered boys. And now, well, it was a silly bit of harmless fun and it wasn't as though she really had anything better to do.
"Lexus, Volvo, bug, Honda civic, and whatever," Kaoru said under her breath as she set up the game, "1, 3, 4, 6, 9 kids."
The Japanese American woman paused as she considered the next category. With a wistful smile she wrote out a few names.
"Enshi, Sojirou, Hojo," a wicked grin appeared on her face, "Benedict Cumberbatch."
She paused as she considered a fifth name. She could just leave it blank, create the option of just being alone for the rest of her life. But that idea was more than a little depressing.
Himura Kenshin, she didn't dare say his name out loud but she did write it down. Memories of the sweet red head came rushing back to her. The boy who had been one of her very best friends, the man she was still half in love with today and the one who had never looked at her as anything more than perhaps a little sister.
Though how could he? She thought, no longer with bitterness, with Tomoe around.
Tomoe Yukishiro, one of the most beautiful, graceful women that Kaoru had ever known. The serene woman had been madly in love with the boy her parents had arranged for her to marry, Kiyosato Akiro, but that had not stopped half of the school population from believing themselves in love with her and Kenshin had been among that number.
Her friends had all tried to rationalize Kenshin's feelings for the older girl as puppy love but somehow that jerk Cho had figured out how she felt and had announced it to the whole school. Kenshin had not acknowledged it, which almost hurt more than him finding out. They'd remained friends after that but things had become strained, or at least they were on her end. After high school, she managed to get into an American university and they didn't keep in touch.
Another reason to not like this day Kaoru thought but she didn't remove Kenshin's name from the list.
Quickly she filled out the rest of the categories, though she'd opted to replace job with pet. She liked being a teacher.
For a choice of number, Kaoru looked around at the small crowd and quickly counted, fifteen, a good number. She began to figure out her fortune, completely missing the jingling of the door as a new patron entered.
Volvo, Kaoru found with a smile, awesome, I'll actually have a car! And let's see, Victorian house, cool, 9 kids? Riiiight! A dog, I can live with that, and the father of these many children will be…
Her pencil paused as she finished marking out all but one of the names under the potential husband category and she stared at the piece of paper.
"Hello Kaoru," a half forgotten voice interrupted her thoughts and she gave a squeak and looked up into amused violet eyes.
"Kenshin!" Kaoru squeaked again and she quickly grabbed the piece of paper and stuffed it into her bag, "I haven't seen you in forever! What are you doing here? I thought you lived in Kyoto?"
"My firm opened a new branch here," Kenshin said with a smile, "and I got transferred over here. What about you? How are you doing? I haven't seen you in forever!"
"I moved to America when I managed to get into a university here," she confessed, "I'm an English teacher now at the high school."
"That's great Kaoru," Kenshin said brightly, "You were always the best in English class and I remember how well written your essays were."
Kaoru felt her cheeks become warm at Kenshin's praise and cleared her throat.
"Well, how long ago did you move here?" Kaoru asked, hoping to change the subject, "are you liking it? What about your family?"
"I moved about a month ago," Kenshin confessed, "It was just me making the move, no family except for Hiko-sensei, remember? And I admit, I'm liking it here a lot more now."
His eyes had taken on a tinge of amber and Kaoru hated the fact that she knew her cheeks were getting more and more pink under that searing gaze of his.
"Well," Kaoru said awkwardly, "I have to get going, lot's of papers to grade and a lesson plan that I need to look over again. Maybe we should meet up again sometime and catch up?"
She tried not to curse herself as she made the offer. So what if he was single? She was a grown woman, she should be over her first crush and good lord how was it that he looked even better than he did in high school? It wasn't fair!
"I'd like that," Kenshin said with a grin that made her knees weak, "Here, give me your number and I'll call you."
Kaoru blinked but rattled off her cell number before she really thought about it. Kenshin brought out his sleek iphone and before Kaoru knew it, she heard the distinct, shrill tones of Britney Spear's Toxic coming from her purse. She wondered why it was that no one had figured out how to disappear yet. She really wanted to at the moment, science should have really caught up. While she frantically searched through her bag for her phone, she failed to notice a piece of paper fall from her bag.
"Misao messed with my phone," she said sheepishly and looked at the screen to see a text from an unfamiliar number.
"That's my number," Kenshin said, almost unnecessarily, "And I know your busy and it's a school night but are you sure you couldn't spare a couple hours for dinner tonight?"
Kaoru wondered what sort of alternate universe she'd fallen into and wondered what it would take to ensure that she stayed in it.
"I'd like that," she said, mentally cursing herself for sounding so shy, "I'll see you later tonight then."
"I'll pick you up at seven," Kenshin replied, "Cross my heart."
"Seven then," Kaoru repeated, "I look forward to it. I'll see you then. Goodbye Kenshin, I'm glad you're here."
With that, Kaoru left the little café, very proud of herself. She did not notice that the red head she'd longed for was now holding a very particular crumpled piece of paper.
Carefully the now amber eyed man uncrumpled the paper and a smile grew on his face as he read Kaoru's fortune.
"Nine kids, huh?" he said to himself, "I could deal with that."
The small red head looked at the door through which Kaoru had already disappeared. Kaoru had been his best friend in high school, despite their age difference, and he'd been more than half in love with her. He'd hidden it by pretending to be in love with the definitely taken, and therefore safe to love, Tomoe, but Kaoru's fire and kindness had thoroughly ensnared him. Still, Hiko-sensei had made his path clear, had made him understand what he was and what the responsibilities he had to adhere to as a lord of his kind were. At the time he did not think that he could live dragging Kaoru into the danger that he would inherit. He still sometimes wondered what it would have been like if the stupid broom headed Cho had not blabbed Kaoru's feelings to the entire high school, putting him on the spot, forcing him to some sort of action. Would they have drifted apart as they had now because of his need to protect her?
He shook his head. There was no use dwelling on the past. Time enough had passed. The danger that he could not expose Kaoru to then had been mitigated and fate had brought him and Kaoru back together. She'd become even more beautiful than he remembered her and there was a sort of edge to her, and edge that had not been there before. Maybe, just maybe, the danger was small enough, Kaoru was strong enough, that he could risk doing what he wished he could have done all those years ago.
He finished his coffee and left the café, visions of little red headed children with their mother's blue eyes running through his imagination and plans forming to catch a certain English instructor.
And there you have it, my silly, sappy Valentine's contribution. This is my first time writing for this fandom, I hope I haven't disappointed! I'm not going to continue it, I have no idea what species Kenshin actually is besides super awesome and him being among the nobility of his kind. Please tell me what you think!
And now I'm going to bed before I get anymore light headed from lack of sleep...