April, 1884
Asakusa

Of course! It just HAD to rain while Kenshin was trudging home with the yoke over his shoulder, each bucket laden to the brim with tofu, plus the heavy sack of salt he carried under his left arm. He was supposed to have bought rice too, but the store had been out. But that was alright because Kaoru would understand! It wasn't his fault the stores didn't always have rice in stock. His back, legs and feet ached. The rain quickly soaked through his clothes, chilling him to the bone and worsening his already foul mood.

As he approached the Sumida River, Kenshin saw a pair of mallards swimming happily with their six ducklings between them in the steadily rising water, the raindrops beading up and running effortlessly off their oily feathers while the rain by contrast soaked into his cotton kimono.

'Figures. Only ducks could like weather such as this,' he thought in irritation.

The rurouni's violet eyes wearily looked in the direction of the bridge to the dojo. Once he crossed the bridge, he would be that much closer to home. Home, where there would be a roof over his head and a warm fire going to dry him off. Most importantly, his wife and son would be there to welcome him with open arms and glowing eyes.

So lost was Kenshin in thoughts of home and hearth that he never noticed the carriage whizzing by until he was splashed from head to toe in icy water from a nearby puddle. The driver didn't even bother to stop and apologize, just whizzed on ahead. Kenshin stood as if rooted to the ground, sputtering in shock and anger. His mood had just worsened from foul to murderous.


Kamiya Dojo

Kenshin gratefully locked the gate behind him and trudged wearily through the rain soaked frontyard into the house. He stepped out of his sandals and slid the shoji shut behind him.

"I'm home," he called out softly.

Kenji came bounding into the room, eyes bright and face lit with a smile. Kenshin smiled at his little boy.

"Didja bring me anything?" asked Kenji hopefully.

Kenshin’s countenance fell. The smile and bright eyes weren't for him, but for what Kenji thought Kenshin had brought him.

"Sorry, son. Nothing this time. I'll get you something next time," said Kenshin, forcing a smile onto his face.

The smile and bright eyes were replaced by a frown and a glare.

"Sure you will," sulked Kenji, slumping down at the low table and refusing to look at bemused sire.

"Oh, Kenshin, you're dripping rain water all over my clean floor. The tofu's all wet. That'll wreck it. Didn't you think to cover it? Where's the rice?!" griped Kaoru, coming into the room.

"I apologize for the mess on the floor and the tofu. I was splashed by a passing carriage. The shops were all out of rice," said Kenshin, trying to keep his voice even.

All he wanted to do was get out of his damp clothes and into a warm, dry futon.

"Dammit! I wanted tofu and rice. Why do these things always happen when I want them the most?" fumed Kaoru, stamping her foot.

That was the straw that broke the camel's back.

"Kaoru, I did not ask to be soaked head-to-toe and for the shops to be out. Kenji, I apologize for forgetting to get you something, even though you already have many toys that you never play with. I am sorry for not indulging your whims tonight. I am tired and soaking wet. So if there was nothing else, I will retire for the evening. Good night, Kenji. Good night, Kaoru-dono," said Kenshin, eyes blazing with anger, but never once raising his voice.

As Kaoru stood there flabbergasted, Kenshin turned and stalked off to the bedroom, slamming the fusuma shut behind him.

Kaoru was taken aback, to say the least. Not since he had started courting her had Kenshin once used the honorific, except when they were in the training hall and she was acting as Sensei. His doing it now jarred her to her senses.

'Well, who can blame him? I made an idiot of myself! There he is, soaking wet and obviously hurting and all I care about is the wet floor and tofu. What the hell is wrong with me?' she berated herself mentally.

"Mommy, is Daddy mad at us?" asked Kenji, who had taken the whole thing in with saucer-wide eyes.

"That's a safe bet. Let's eat dinner now and I'll talk with Daddy after," said Kaoru.

"OK," said Kenji.


Dinner finished and Kenji tucked into bed, Kaoru entered her and Kenshin's room. She found the rurouni lying in the futon, only the top of his ruddy head showing over the blanket. The rise and fall of the blanket showed that he was asleep.

Slowly and carefully, Kaoru climbed in to bed with him and positioned herself so she was spooning him. After pulling the blanket over herself, she wrapped her arms around the sleeping swordsman and hugged him.

"I'm sorry, darling. Kenji and I took you for granted tonight," she whispered.

To her surprise, Kenshin turned around and looked up at her with moist violet eyes. The redhead held his arms open and Kaoru sank gratefully into his embrace. She was fortunate to have such a forgiving husband; as angry as he might get, Kenshin never sulked or held a grudge.

In the quietness of darkness, sore muscles were loosened and soothed by gentle hands, forgiveness was obtained and trust revitalized.

"You didn't get anything to eat. Are you hungry now?" Kaoru whispered in Kenshin's ear as they lay facing each other.

"Yes, dearest. I'm very hungry," said Kenshin truthfully.

"OK, come out with me. There's plenty of food left," said Kaoru.

"Alright," said Kenshin with a small smile.

Tugging Kenshin along by his yukata sleeve, Kaoru led him out to the dining area.

"Sit down," she said.

"Don't you want me to help..."

"Nope. This is my apology to you, so you're not allowed to help," said Kaoru, gesturing to the cushion.

"Oroo," mumbled Kenshin, sitting down.

Not ten minutes later, Kaoru came out with a warmed up plate of shabu shabu and a side dish of miso soup made from the tofu Kenshin had brought home in the rain.

Kaoru sat with the rurouni as he ate slowly, refilling his bowl when it got down to half until the food was used up. After the shabu shabu and miso came a nice cup of ginger tea. When the food was finished and the eating stuff put away to be washed tomorrow, Kenshin felt sleepy and full.

Eyes fighting to stay open, the redhead dragged himself to his feet, grateful when he felt Kaoru help him up after coming back from putting everything away. The rurouni's lips met the sensei's in a soft kiss.

Kenshin and Kaoru returned to their room and snuggled down into the empty futon. Kaoru reveled in the feeling of Kenshin's arms wrapped around her. Kenshin loved the feeling of Kaoru's hot breath on his neck.

"Thanks for not staying mad," Kaoru whispered, running her fingers down Kenshin's hair.

"Thank you for the food, my Kaoru," said Kenshin with a smile.

Kaoru smiled. No more honorific! She had definitely been forgiven!

~Owari~

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