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New Years Wishs
Part 2




It was almost midnight when the group found themselves ambling back down the road towards the Kamiya Dojo. Misao still clung to Aoshi's arm, but his eyes remained expressionless and he didn't show any signs of response towards her affection. Kaoru walked silently beside Kenshin, blushing and trying to decide what to do next. Nothing had happened at the riverbank, except that he had tightened his arm around her while they finished watching the fireworks and the parades. Tokio and Megumi, being the two eldest woman in the party, were walking side by side, ignoring two men in particular. Saitoh and Sanosuke were not on speaking terms due to the circumstances - not to each other or anyone else in the group. Yahiko and Tsubame tagged along behind everyone. And Hiko found himself in the middle of the entire group, much to his normal displeasure of crowds.

However, he decided that tonight was not a normal night. And he was actually enjoying the tension and emotion floating around him.

They all stopped in front of the Dojo gate, and Kenshin fumbled with the key. He glanced behind him at everyone. "Um, who all's staying here tonight?"

"I am." Hiko announced.

"We know THAT." Kenshin muttered. "I meant, who ELSE?"

"I guess I will." Sano groaned. "I don't want to battle the parties to get back to the Rough'n Row. Although getting drunk sounds like a good idea when people are IGNORING YOU!" he yelled the last two words in Megumi's direction. She merely flipped her hair over her shoulder and continued ingoring him.

"I'd like to stay here tonight, Sir Ken." she added, just to irritate Sanosuke more.

"Aoshi and I were invited to stay..." Misao beamed.

"Anyone else?" Kenshin held his breath as he looked towards Saitoh and Tokio.

"May I?" Tokio ventured. "I'm sure I don't want to stay in my own house on such a special evening, since my husband's being so rude to me. If, of course, you have an extra room..."

"We do." Kaoru smiled.

"Alright, alright... Um... Saitoh?" Kenshin glanced towards his former enemy, his eyes narrowed and aggravated.

"WHAT?" Saitoh snapped.

Kenshin held the gate open as Kaoru, Megumi, Misao, Aoshi, Tokio, Sano, and Hiko entered. "Have a nice night." he replied bluntly, slamming the gate shut in the former Shinsengumi Leader's face. There was a silence for a few minutes, before Kenshin's voice called out - "And Yahiko, have a nice time walking Miss Tsubame home! You have an extra key, right?"

"Sure thing!" Yahiko grinned. "I can let myself back in."

Saitoh's eyes were narrowed rather dangerously and flickered bright gold as he debated what to do. Yahiko and Tsubame walked off, leaving him alone in front of the gate. He muttered and sat down outside it, deciding to get inside after Yahiko returned.

"No sense doing extra work when that brat has a key." he mused, lighting up another cigarette and taking a rather long draw.

~*~

"Well, I don't have but one guest room... so..." Kaoru fidgeted, "I'll have to get some of you boys to sleep in the training hall."

Aoshi and Sanosuke nodded in agreement. Kaoru smiled. "Great! Then Misao, you can stay in my room with me. I'll put up an extra futon. And Miss Megumi and Miss Tokio can take the guest room. "If someone wants Yahiko's room, I can kick him out to the training hall... Seijuro Hiko? Or Aoshi?"

"You can take the kid's room." Aoshi replied dully. "I don't mind the training hall. I can get some practice in."

"Well, since you offer so nicely..." Hiko's grin broadened. "I'll take you up on that."

Kenshin stumbled into the main room at this point carrying a load of extra blankets. "The training hall Miss Kaoru?"

"Yes, can you take Aoshi and Sanosuke out there?" Kaoru asked sweetly.

Kenshin nodded from behind the stack of blankets and stumbled out the door. Sano and Aoshi followed him, leaving the girls alone with Hiko once more.

Hiko waited until his student and the other two men were in the training hall before turning to the girls. He grinned at them. "Well done, I must say. So far, at any rate."

The girls burst into a mass of giggling laughter, and Hiko joined in. After a moment, they managed to calm down a bit.

"Alright, so what now?" Kaoru asked quickly. "What should we do next?"

"Seijuro Hiko get them all drunk, and then we can seduce them!" Misao cried excitedly.

"Tell me," Megumi's fox ears and tail sprang out as she turned to Misao, "Do you even know HOW to seduce a man?" She chuckled as the young ninja blushed brightly.

"Uh...I guess...not?" Misao fumbled.

"That's what I thought." Megumi sighed. "But don't worry, we'll teach you. You're 18, and you should learn how."

"Seducing could be a part of this plan." Hiko sat down and pulled out a jug of sake. "But, why don't we take it one step at a time?"

"What do you mean?" Megumi frowned. "I could get that lug out there to sleep with me any day I wanted."

"Let me explain it in terms you can understand." Hiko smirked. "You don't teach a student an advanced sword technique on the first day of training, do you?"

Kaoru tilted her head. "I see what you mean." she nodded.

Hiko glanced at Misao. "I don't think you learned to throw 16 kunais at one time did you? You gradually worked up to that many."

Misao nodded. "Right. I couldn't even HOLD that many when I started training!"

"And you wouldn't teach a new medical student how to stitch up an cut before you teach them what thread to use, right?" Hiko narrowed his eyes at Megumi. She forced herself to agree with him and simply nod.

"Very well then. We're all on the same page. The next stage in our little plan should follow the same pattern I just outlined. Why don't you ladies all go take a bath and get cleaned up? I'm sure the boys will hear you if you all take a bath at once, don't you think?" he arched an eyebrow and raised the sake jug to his lips. "I think they'd be interested in that."

The girls exchanged glances before giggling and rushing for their rooms to grab their night yukatas. Hiko only smiled and downed his sake.

~*~

"What are they all doing?" Sano frowned as he watched the girls cross the yard to the bath house.

"It looks like their taking a bath." Kenshin supplied, his good nature still intact. He folded a blanket across the floor for Sano's futon.

"Yea, but..." Sano glared. "They're plotting something. I know it."

"What do you think they'd be plotting?" Aoshi shrugged.

"Hey." Kenshin stood up straight, his eyes narrowing. "Master was talking to them all earlier this evening, and since then they've been acting a bit strange."

"So you aren't the only one who's noticed their change in attitude?" Aoshi's blue eyes followed Kenshin as the former assassin moved towards the door to watch with Sanosuke.

"If you noticed it too, then I'm not the only one." Kenshin replied.

Aoshi stood behind them and got a glimpse of the bath house door shutting. "How do we find out what they're planning?" he asked quietly.

"Listen to their conversation in there?" Sano grinned.

"They may notice us." Kenshin answered sharply.

"They're having a good time. I doubt they'll notice us." Aoshi argued.

"Only one way to find out." Sanosuke stepped out of the training hall and crept towards the bushes at the side of the yard. Kenshin and Aoshi inhaled sharply, but followed him. They managed to slid all the way up to the back of the bath house, where they ducked down and pressed against the wall in curiousity.

~*~

"Oooh, the water feels so good..." Kaoru murmured, sinking into the tub. "Especially after today."

"Hmm, I agree." Megumi closed her eyes and leaned back against the wall.

"Hey, guys?" Misao sat up a little straighter, a kunai grasped between two knuckles.

The girls glanced over at her. She smiled and tried not to chuckle as she slid through the water - kunai still in hand - to Kaoru, and whispered something in the older girl's ear. Kaoru instantly blushed, and swam towards Megumi, who in turn smirked and told Tokio.

"Soooo..." Tokio grinned. "The boys are listening..." she whispered below hearing level. She had to give Misao credit for even realizing the men were so close by. "You know what I make Saitoh do whenever I want something from him?" She whispered loudly into Megumi's ear, and the lady doctor let out her trademark laugh, splashing water over on Kaoru. Kaoru took the hint and started laughing as well, and Misao blushed but giggled alongside them.

"Really, I'll have to use that one on some of my more handsome gentleman callers." Megumi said loudly.

"What's she make Saitoh do?" Kenshin hissed, lifting himself a little higher. "Damn it, I want to blackmail him!!"

"Sit down." Sano glared quietly. "I'd like to know just HOW many callers Fox has!"

"Both of you, shut up." Aoshi ordered, pressing his ear to the wall.

"Lord Aoshi never notices me anymore." Misao decided to speak up, making sure her voice cracked with a bit of emotion. The other girls looked at her curiously. She continued, waving the kunai around for good measure. "I mean, he never says anything to me, and he's always so COLD. I'm just sick of trying to make him see me! It's like I'm invisible. Next time a guy calls on me at the Aoiya, I think I'll go out with him."

"I'm surprised you turned down that one caller." Megumi smirked, her fox ears springing up. She decided to lie a bit. "He was handsome, rich, and he payed attention to you."

"I know." Misao followed the cue - amazingly enough. "I hope he comes back. I should have taken his offer. I'd at least be married by now."

Aoshi's jaw practially hit the ground. "She has to be lying." his voice was icy cold, and his eyes burned angrily.

"Think, Shinomori. Have there been any callers at the Aoiya for her?" Sano whispered.

"I don't know. I don't stay in the kitchen much... he must have been eating lunch..." Aoshi's hand made itself into a fist and he slowly forced himself not to hit the wall. "I DO notice her..."

"She doesn't know that." Kenshin sighed. "But... they're talking again."

The boys pressed back to the wall to hear more.

"I don't know what to do about Kenshin." Kaoru ventured, blushing as she played with the water a bit. "He's always so NICE. It's not that I don't LIKE him being nice, but he never shows me any sort of... affection..."

Kenshin's face paled. "But...that's not true..." he whispered. "Kaoru..."

"She can't HEAR you, Kenshin." Sano pointed out.

Kaoru tried not to laugh. They'd all heard Sanosuke right outside the bath house. "I mean... He... doesn't..." Kaoru knew she was going to burst into laughter, so she ducked underneath the water. Megumi pressed her lips together in effort not to burst out laughing herself, and Tokio inhaled a few times. Misao bit down on the kunai, careful not to cut herself.

The boys slumped down on the ground behind the bath house at this point. Sano was the first to speak. "We still have a chance, right?"

"I hope so, that I do..." Kenshin mumbled, slightly dazed.

Sano pulled a few blades of grass up. "Just think, they're all in there right now... bathing..." a smile spread over his face.

Aoshi's eyes widened. "Misao's just a child... Don't expect me to get hentai thoughts."

"Yes, but Megumi and Kaoru aren't." Kenshin answered before he even thought about his statement.

Megumi and Kaoru blushed. Kaoru muttered under her breath about smacking Kenshin into next year, and Megumi only crossed her arms in defiance. Misao nearly went through the roof - and probably would have if Tokio hadn't shoved her under the water.

After popping back up from her trip to the bottom of the tub, Misao instantly began ranting. "A child?" she hissed quietly. "I'm not a child! I'm 18!!"

"Calm down..." Kaoru whispered. "Really..." she glanced at Megumi. "Maybe we should get out... I think we've gotten their attention..."

"You're right." Megumi nodded silently. "A little *too* well."

Tokio took the hint, stood up, and grabbed a towel, drying off. "Come on. We should get out of here, after all... THE BOYS MAY WANT TO TAKE A BATH." her voice rose ever so slightly.

Kenshin, Sanosuke, and Aoshi's eyes all widened instantly, and they jumped up from the ground in an attempt to bolt back to the training hall. In their scramble, they all ended up getting tangled together and tripping over each other, thus landing back on the ground in a heap of trenchcoat, red bandana, and reverse katana.

Kaoru stepped out of the bath house first, wearing a light yukata. She pulled the ribbon out from her hair, letting it cascade down her back. Turning towards the back of the bath house, she smiled and did her best not to chuckle at the sight there. "It looks as though Tokio-San was right! You boys must want a bath..."

Kenshin managed to look up from underneath Aoshi's coat. "M-M-Miss Kaoru!! I, uh... we were just..."

"Waiting..." Sano called out loudly, before yelping. "SHINOMORI! PUT THAT DAMN KODOCHI UP!! Fucking thing just poked my back! That hurt!"

Megumi was snickering as she watched Sano scramble off the ground and rub his back. "Men." she finally replied.

Aoshi slid the kodochi into its sheath. "You wouldn't move. I had to do something." he replied simply.

"Lord Aoshi!" Misao slung the kunai at him. He dodged it easily, but it still pinned part of his coat to the ground. "Don't hurt Sano!"

"Misao-Chan, listen to me. I did NOT hurt him." Aoshi snapped.

"And don't call me Misao-CHAN!" she yelled. "I'm EIGHTEEN YEARS OLD!" She turned and stalked back towards the dojo, and Aoshi noticed she was wearing a short (very short) light blue yukata, that crossed low on her chest. He inhaled sharply and looked away, reminding himself not to think hentai.

"Well, I think I'll join Misao." Tokio smiled. "You boys can have the bath house now. You might want to reheat the water."

Megumi followed Tokio back, and Kaoru hurriedly followed as well. The boys stared after them until the dojo doors slid shut.

"We'd best take a bath, that we had." Kenshin muttered.

"Did you see what they were wearing?" Sano blinked.

"Everyone wears yukatas." Aoshi rolled his eyes.

"Misao's was a little low cut." Sano smirked.

The kunai found its way out of Aoshi's coat and on a path towards Sanosuke's head. Sanosuke dodged it, before glaring back at Aoshi.

Aoshi narrowed his blue eyes. "I'd appriecate it if you didn't look at her like THAT."

"I just NOTICED, that's all!" Sano whined. "And it's not like YOU weren't looking at her like...THAT!"

"Get in the bath house!" Kenshin snapped, throwing his katana on the ground. "Really, there's no sense arguing about it right now... I'm tired."

~*~

"Well done again." Hiko grinned as the girls filed back into the room. "You all look nice..." he added.

A round of giggling followed. Misao was the first to speak. "You don't think I was too mean to Lord Aoshi, do you?" she asked, glancing at her friends. "I mean, I just get so short-tempered sometimes..."

"You didn't hurt him. Well, not phsyically anyways." Megumi shrugged. "And it probably broke his pride a bit."

"What next?" Kaoru asked.

"It's up to them." Hiko jerked a thumb towards the general direction of the bath house. "They aren't entirely stupid..." he snickered. "Why don't you girls go get ready for bed. They'll come around, I'm sure of it."

The girls nodded and left the room. Kaoru popped her head back inside. "Oh, Seijuro Hiko? Yahiko's room is the third down on the left. I'm sure you can find it... I had Kenshin put your things there earlier."

"Thank you." Hiko answered, swirling some sake around in a small dish. "I'll get to sleep eventually. Right now, I'm enjoying my own New Year's celebration."

Kaoru nodded and quickly hurried back down the hall.

~*~

Kenshin's arms were crossed and he glowered past Aoshi and Sanosuke. The warm water lapped at his chest, but he payed no attention to that either. Finally he spoke, breaking the silence in the bath house. "Something has to be done, that it has."

Aoshi ran a washcloth over his chest before slamming it back down in the water. "Don't look at me. I'm out of ideas."

"Let's just go in and fuck them." Sano decided.

"Sano..." Kenshin groaned. "That's not exactly romantic NOR is it what THEY want."

"Who cares what they want?!" Sano nearly yelled. "And who cares about being romantic?!"

"There has to be SOME way..." Aoshi frowned.

~*~

Hiko glanced back up as the dojo door slid back open. He relaxed a bit when he realized it was only Yahiko, and not one of the other boys. He smiled. "You're back."

"Yea....." Yahiko mumbled, his eyes slightly dazed over.

"I'm sleeping in your room tonight."

"That's okay........" Yahiko stumbled towards the hall.

"Hey, kid..." Hiko blinked. "You alright? Don't tell me you drank some sake."

"Nope." Yahiko turned and grinned. "I can't hold it very well yet."

"You don't mind sleeping in the training hall, do you?"

"You could put me on the roof and I could care less tonight!" Yahiko's grin widened and he darted into the hall laughing. Hiko arched an eyebrow.

"Kids..." he muttered, gulping down more sake.

Yahiko reappeared after a moment, carrying his things. "I'll be taking a bath now. Tell Kaoru not to wake me up early tomorrow."

"The guys are in the tub." Hiko replied.

"I don't care!" Yahiko sang out, shutting the door behind him.

A moment later, Kaoru poked her head into the room. "Hiko-San? Is Yahiko alright? He was acting a little strange..."

"I noticed too." Hiko shrugged.

"Didn't he take that little waitress home?" Misao called from down the hall.

"Yea, but..." Kaoru turned, and suddenly her face grew red. "YAHIKO!"

"Kaoru!" Megumi glanced out from the guest room. "I doubt he and Tsubame did THAT!"

"I HOPE not!" Kaoru remarked, stalking back into her own room. "I'll ring his little neck if he did! He's only twelve years old!"

~*~

Meanwhile, out at the bath house......

The door slid open and the three boys already soaking in the warm water glanced up. Sanosuke instantly looked mad. Aoshi remained impassive. Kenshin wished he hadn't left his sword outside - and he managed to speak first.

"I should have known you'd find a way inside the gate."

"Shut up." Saitoh flicked his cigarette out the door and ripped his pants and jacket off. He slid into the water between Kenshin and Sano. "I just waited for that brat to get back and came in after him. Funny though, he didn't seem to argue with me... he looked a little dazed."

"Don't touch me." Kenshin muttered.

"I wouldn't DREAM of it. I have a wife."

"And she's not talking to you at the moment." Sano pointed out.

"Shut up moron."

Sano slid towards Aoshi in an attempt to get away from Saitoh. Aoshi jumped and moved away from Sano, but not before muttering, "I don't swing THAT way!"

Sano got mad and slung a wet washcloth at Aoshi, hitting the ninja on the face. Aoshi peeled it off and splashed it back in the water.

"I don't either!" Sano snapped. "I was trying to get away from HIM!"

The bath house door opened up again and Yahiko stepped inside. "Hey guys!" he grinned. "Can I come in?"

"Sure." Kenshin muttered.

Yahiko splashed in between Kenshin and Aoshi.

Silence hovered.

"Why are you so happy, punk?" Sano finally asked. Everyone turned and looked towards Yahiko, who looked up in surprise.

"Me?"

"No, the wall." Sano glared. "Yes, you!"

"You are a little out of it, Yahiko." Kenshin forced a rurouni smile.

"Oh..." Yahiko grinned. "Well, I walked Tsubame home..."

"SHIT!" Sano yelled. "EVEN HE'S GETTING MORE THEN WE ARE!" He slammed his fist into the water, splashing it up.

"Sano!" Kenshin yelled back. "I don't think he..." Kenshin stopped short.

"Fucked her?" Aoshi supplied.

Yahiko turned bright red. "NO!"

"Then what DID you do?" Saitoh smirked.

"Don't tell me you're interested in this." Kenshin scowled towards the Wolf of Mibu, who ignored him.

"I just..." Yahiko was blushing harder. "She said her New Year's wish was... to get her first... kiss..." Yahiko whirled around and faced the wall. "I should've known you guys would laugh at me..."

"I'm not laughing." Saitoh pointed out. "I think it's sweet."

Kenshin stared at the police officer and while mouthing the word 'sweet', then kicked Sano from under the water. "But Sano can stop. And since when do YOU think something is... sweet?" he glared at Saitoh.

"Every man needs to be sweet towards his woman now and then. Tokio really would leave me if I didn't be nice occasionally..."

Aoshi glared towards the street thug, who was howling in laughter at this point. "Oh, shut up." he stated, shoving Sano's head under water.

"The point still remains," Kenshin began - then waited for Sano to come back up, sputtering water - "that Yahiko's gotten more then we have."

"Huh?" Yahiko glanced towards Kenshin, confused. "What does that mean?"

"Simple." Sano stated flatly. "We've been shunned."

"By who?"

"Women." Aoshi crossed his arms angrily.

"It's not too bad." Saitoh said nonchalantly. "Tokio will come around eventually... as for the rest of you, I don't know what to say. Nor do I care."

"That's normal." Kenshin snorted.

The door opened again, and the boys jumped. Hiko stuck his head in the bath house.

"There isn't room for YOU." Kenshin pointed out, eyeing his Master's rather large build.

"I don't want to join this little pity party." Hiko glared. "And there you go being greedy again, Kenshin."

"Then what DO you want?" Kenshin ignored his master's statement.

"I came out to see how you boys were doing." Hiko explained.

"We aren't doing anything." Kenshin sighed. "The girls shunned us."

"Did they now?" Hiko's mouth twitched into a smirk.

"I have a feeling YOU had something to do with this." Kenshin glowered.

Hiko rolled his eyes. "Where would you get an idiotic idea like that?"

Kenshin sighed loudly, knowing he couldn't win against his Master. Hiko simply ingored him and continued talking - it was after all, what he did best in life, aside from his swordskill, of course.

"So, you've all be shunned by the ladies. And four lovely ladies they are too. Really, I expected a better plan from you boys."

"Plan?" Sano frowned. "What sort of plan?"

Hiko only smirked. There was a silence throughout the bath house.

"So, what should we do?" Aoshi mused. "Be nice to them?"

"It's not THAT simple." Hiko replied. "Think about it, Shinomori. You only view Misao as a child."

"I... she isn't a child though." Aoshi's head dropped a little, and his eyes focused on the ripples in the water. "I guess I've been wrong to overlook her like that."

"Then tell her that. It won't do you any good to tell a 45 year old man like me, would it?"

Kenshin let out a LOUD groan at this point. "I can't believe we're taking advice from YOU!"

"Fine then. Don't take my advice. But, you know my advice is never wrong, is it Kenshin?"

Kenshin didn't answer.

"Think about it. Who told you NOT to fight in the Revolution? Who told you you were too greedy when you returned to learn the final technique? Who-"

"I GET THE IDEA!" Kenshin shouted.

"Alright then. Do you want to listen to know me?"

Silence again.

Hiko smirked. "Shinomori, your tast is fairly easy. Apologize to Miss Misao for overlooking her, be extremely nice, and I'm sure you won't have any problems getting her to fall into your arms."

"She said she had another caller." Aoshi said flatly.

"Do you believe that?" Hiko frowned.

"Well, I don't know... I mean..."

"Who said? Did SHE say she had another caller?"

"Megumi did." Aoshi sighed.

"And you believe MEGUMI?" Hiko burst out laughing. He waved is hand in the air. "Really, Aoshi. NEXT! Sanosuke... since we're on the subject of Megumi..."

"I have a plan." Sano said defiantly.

"Oh?" Hiko looked interested.

"I'm just going to stalk in there and fuck her."

"BRILLIANT." Saitoh remarked sarcastically.

"SHUT UP!" Sano yelled at him. "I could go in there right now and she'd fuck me any time I asked!"

"Funny..." Hiko muttered under his breath, "that's exactly what SHE said..."

"What'd you say, Master?" Kenshin glanced back at Hiko.

"Nothing." Hiko answered. "Uh, Sagara, maybe you should try being a little nicer. That's the key to all of you... well, Kenshin should be overly nice."

"Thanks." Kenshin glared.

"What about me?" Yahiko piped up.

The washcloth nailed him in the face, as four men grumbled about how unfair it was that a 12-year-old had even gotten a kiss.