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New Years Wishs
Part 3

Misao and Kaoru were each sitting on their futons, whispering back and forth as not to disturb Hiko or the others in the dojo. They just never realized Hiko had even left, or that he'd returned and was currently sitting in the kitchen enjoying his sake once more.

"So, do you think the boys will take the hints and come to us?" Misao was sitting cross-legged and fidgeting with the blankets. "I mean, Aoshi-Sama just NEVER takes hints. I don't think this is going to work at all."

"We just have to be patient, Misao!" Kaoru sighed. "I don't know if it's going to work either, but maybe... just maybe it will! We have to have SOME faith in Hiko-San. He's not a master for nothing, you know!"

"Yea, but he's a master with his sword, not with our love lives!" Misao objected.

"Seijuro Hiko would never lie to us. I know that for sure." Kaoru smiled. "I'm positive that he has a good plan."

"I hope so." Misao let her shoulders drop. "I don't care what happens, I just want to be with Lord Aoshi... I can't help it. Aoshi-Sama is everything to me..."

"I know what you mean." Kaoru answered soothingly. "Kenshin means everything to me as well. And he's a lot more thick-headed about love then Aoshi is!"

"I don't know." Misao grinned. "Aoshi-Sama is pretty thick-headed too!"

Suddenly, both girls heard heavy footsteps approaching their room, and hushed. A shadowy figure stopped outside the door, and waited for a moment. Then the door slid open, and Misao's breath caught. Aoshi stood before them, wearing his ninja pants, but no shirt or shoes. Every scar on his chest was visible in the moonlight, and his eyes stared at the girls with icy depths.

"Lord Aoshi?"

"Misao, can I talk to you?"

"Uh..." Misao's face was paling and at the same time, Kaoru noticed the heavy blush across her cheeks as well.

"Go on Misao. I'll keep the light on for you. We still have to finish our chat after all!"

"Alright." Misao nervously stood up and walked to the door, stepping out into the cool night air. Aoshi slid Kaoru's door shut again.

"Come with me." he replied coolly, stepping to the ground. Misao jumped down and followed him, curiousity building inside her. He went inside the training hall and she shut the door behind them.

"Um, what is it, Aoshi-Sama?"

Aoshi stood in the center of the hall, faint moonlight falling over him. *This is a hell of a lot harder then I thought...*

"Aoshi-Sama?" Misao's voice snapped him back to reality. He turned and looked at her. Her eyes were shimmering a deep aquamarine color in the pale light, and her yukata showed off every curve on her body. He felt his throat drying. She looked nervous and scared, and he noticed her shivering a little.

"Misao, I wanted to tell you..." He paused, trying to think of the right words. "That... I... I'm sorry." He quickly looked away.

"Sorry?" Misao whispered. "For what, Aoshi-Sama?"

"For...not noticing you." he took a deep breath, realizing his own nerves were shaking. "I always thought you were just a child who needed protecting but... I was wrong. I do notice you... I guess I don't show it well."

Misao's voice lost her. She could only stare at him, her mouth slightly open, and tears running down her cheeks. Aoshi turned and glanced at her, then did a second take as he noticed the tears.

*You are the only one she trusts to dry her tears!* Kenshin's words from Kyoto rang in his mind. *You are the only one she trusts...*

Aoshi stepped forward. His feet felt like lead as he tried to walk to her, slowly and hesitantly, unsure of what he was doing. He finally stopped in front of her and dropped to his knees, coming eye level to her. "Misao... Why...are you crying?" he whispered. His fingers gently touched her cheek, brushing the wet tears away. She seemed to flinch under his touch, unsure of what it meant.

"I... don't know why. Do you really mean what you said? Do you not see me as a child?" She looked hopeful as she met his gaze.

"No..." Aoshi wrapped his arms around her waist and drew her into his chest. "I don't. Not anymore."

Misao suddenly burst into tears and sank down to her knees as well, burying her face into his chest. Aoshi silently stroked her hair. He smiled to himself. Hiko had been right... Somehow, the Master of the Hiten Mitsurugi had been write about this.

He pulled Misao towards the futon and sat down, cradling her in his lap as if she were still a child. Her head found a comfortable spot on his shoulder, and they sat together for a few minutes. He touched the end of the braid and slowly pulled the tie from her hair, untangling it and letting the long silken strands slid over his fingers. He smiled softly as his hand touched her back through her hair.

Misao's eyes widened as she felt Aoshi touch her shoulders through her long hair. Just his fingers felt wonderful. But... Her eyes widened even more. *Megumi-San never taught me how to seduce a man... Oooh... What am I going to DO?! I'll get this all wrong if I don't know how!*

"Misao?" Aoshi twisted and looked down at her. "Is something wrong?"

"I...uh..." Misao blushed. "It's just... I forgot to ask Megumi-San something!" She jumped up, nearly knocking Aoshi over. "I'll be right back, Aoshi-Sama!"

Aoshi stared, utterly confused, as Misao ran out of the training hall.


Megumi and Tokio were both sitting on their futons in the guest room, drinking sake - which they'd conviently gotten from Seijuro Hiko. Both were giggling softly as they mused over their respective male counter- parts.

"Saitoh's probably found a way into the dojo." Tokio smiled. "I mean, it wouldn't surprise me."

"At least he found his way into the dojo." Megumi snickered, pouring some more sake for herself. "Sanosuke couldn't find the door. He's probably drunk right now."

"Like you're going to be if you have anymore sake, right?" Tokio took the bottle from Megumi and smirked.

"Aw, give it back!" Megumi giggled, reaching for it.

"Hey." The door slid open, and both ladies stopped and turned, blushing slightly.

"Yes?" Tokio managed to ask, without bursting into mass giggling.

Sanosuke rolled his eyes and glared at the two girls. "Saitoh wants to speak with you out here, Tokio-San."

"Oh?" Tokio stood up and walked towards the door, perfectly balanced despite the sake.

"He's around the side there." Sano jerked a thumb in the directon for Tokio to head. She nodded and disappeared around the corner.

Megumi frowned and slowly put the sake on the floor. She delibertly turned away from Sano.

"Oy, Fox. What'd I do?"

Megumi twitched. She WANTED to tell him to leave, and yet part of her wanted him to stay. *What would Hiko-San tell me to do?* she mused inwardly. Gathering her courage, she finally managed to speak. "Well, you could have been nicer to me this evening. Kenshin put his arm around Kaoru, and Aoshi was holding Misao..."

"You wouldn't let me." Sano reminded her, his voice slightly irritated. "If I'd so much as touched you, you would have hit me or something."

Megumi snarled under her breath. *Damn it.* "You should have tried to at least apologize. After all, you were crude and mean."

"No, you were just being rude to ME." Sano stalked into the room, slamming the door behind him. "You were the one who just stamped off away from me and started whispering to Tokio!" He stood over her and glared down.

Megumi glanced at him from the corner of her eye. He was practically towering over her. She instantly stood up. "It's a two way street! You should have walked with me downtown to see the fireworks! It was the LEAST you could have done to be nice!"

"You were walking with the girls! And if I'd tried you would have just cut me down or something! Hell, I can't HELP it if I'm not good enough for you!" Sano nearly yelled.

Megumi felt her face burning. *How dare he... Accuse me!* "Cut you down?! You're always teasing me! What the hell am I supposed to think whenever you do stuff like that?!"

"Tease you? I never MEAN any of it!" Sano snapped.

"Well it doesn't ever SOUND that way! You never say what you really mean and I don't know WHAT to think!" She paused to catch her breathe, not noticing the shock that was setting into Sanosuke's eyes at her last statement. "I just don't understand WHY you-"

Her sentence was cut off short as Sano reached out and grabbed her arms, pulling her into his chest. He stared down into her eyes. "Megumi... how can you NOT understand...?" he whispered.

"Sano..." Megumi diverted her eyes. "How can YOU not understand?"

"It's just hard for me to figure out a woman like you." Sano sighed. He brushed a stray lock of Megumi's hair from her face, and she shivered under his fingertips. Their eyes slowly met, and Sanosuke gently leaned down, bringing his lips against hers. He hardly even realized he was being romantic.


Tokio glanced around the sideyard. She rolled her eyes, finding it empty. "Hiding, are you?" she murmured under her breath. Sitting down on a small bench underneath a Sakura tree, she gently pulled her long black hair over her shoulder and started combing it with her fingers, a sly smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. *This'll bring you out, Wolf.*

Saitoh watched from the shadows. The moonlight glistened against his wife's hair, shone brightly against her porclain skin - or what was visible through her dark blue kimono, at any rate. He paused. Kimono? Why wasn't she wearing a sleeping yukata? He slowly began to smile as he figured out the reason. She wasn't intent on staying at the Kamiya dojo for the night after all.

He stepped from his position next to the wall and crept behind Tokio, reaching out with his hand and slowly bringing two fingers down her back. She never flinched. His smile turned to a frown. He had been hoping to at least scare her a little.

"Hiding? That's not a good way to impress me, Hajime." Tokio's voice was soft and almost cunning. She decided NOT to mention how two of his fingers on her back instantly turned her on to him.

Saitoh relaxed and began to massage her shoulders. "I should have known you'd realize I was hiding. Sleeping in a kimono tonight? Don't you think that'll wrinkle the silk?" He smirked.

"Probably." she stated. He noticed she'd leaned back into his hands. His wolfish smile spread over his features even more.

"What's wrong, Tokio?"

"Nothing." she shrugged. He stopped his task and sat down beside her. His hand slipped under her chin and turned her face towards his.

"Oh?" He rested his forehead against hers, making her looking into his golden eyes.

She smiled back, innocent and yet not. "Don't you have more to say then just 'Oh'? After all... you weren't exactly NICE this evening."

"It's just how I act around these morons."

"Morons?" Tokio arched an eyebrow. "I liked them. Kaoru was nice, and Megumi was nice... Misao is a little bouncy, but she's not rude or anything. And as for the other men... Sanosuke seemed okay-"

"Moron." Saitoh muttered.

"Aoshi was a little cold, but-"

"Hmmph. He's always like that."

"And Kenshin-"

"Don't even start on Himura. He's nothing but a weak-"

"He's a strong man who cares deeply for Kaoru." Tokio's eyes flashed. "I could care less what happened between the two of you during the Revolution. At least Kenshin shows his affection to the one he loves."

Saitoh's eyes flickered, but he remained calm. *Seijuro told you not to get angry. Just remember that. No matter what she says, don't lose your temper. You can be just as nice as that damn Battousai can be. Don't dare let him beat you in this.* "Then how should I make things up to you?" he forced himself to ask.

Tokio's eyes sparkled, and Saitoh couldn't help but think she somehow had a plan of her own. *Of course*, he cursed himself, *she's not planning on staying here tonight, is she? And Seijuro WAS talking to THEM earlier, too...*

"Why don't you decide that, dear?" she purred, meeting his gaze without fear.

Saitoh only grinned. He didn't need Hiko's plan anymore. He knew *exactly* what to do now.


Kenshin stepped into the main room of the dojo, and stopped when he saw Hiko sitting cross-legged on the floor, musing over a cup of sake. "Master? How long have you been drinking that stuff?"

"Sake simply gets better the more you drink. Don't tell me you didn't even know THAT, Kenshin."

"I figured as much." Kenshin answered acidly.

"I thought I told you to go make things up with Miss Kaoru."

"You did. I'm still trying to decide how. Really, Master. I'm not good enough for her. My hands are too stained with blood and-"

"And who's fault is that?" Hiko asked, eyeing his former pupil. "And furthermore, didn't we already discuss this?"

Kenshin's eye ticked.

Hiko continued. "For the last time, if you don't get out of that mindset, you won't ever get Miss Kaoru. Why don't you just forget about your past for two seconds? Obviously, SHE doesn't mind, or she would have ordered you to leave long ago. Now, get back there and talk with her."

Kenshin sighed and turned away from Hiko, sliding the door to the hall open. "Yes, Master." The door clicked shut again, and Hiko sighed loudly.

*This is more work then I thought. But, if I weren't here, none of them would be getting anything from each other* He took a long sip of sake, half-glad he didn't have these problems.

The door from the outside suddenly burst open, bringing Misao into the room. "Hiko-San!" she skidded to a stop, and Hiko glanced back at her.

"What?" he asked, a little irritated. Hadn't he just sent Aoshi to get her? Why weren't they together?

"Oh, nothing!" she blushed. "I just need to talk to Miss Megumi!" Misao reached for the door to the hall, but Hiko jumped from the floor and grabbed her arm.

"Megumi-San's a bit busy right now." he waved nonchalantly. "I doubt she wants to be disturbed."

"But!" Misao's eyes widened. "It's VERY important! I just have to talk with her! Right now!"


"Then... I'll talk with Tokio-San!"

"She's busy too."

Misao was starting to get a bit flustrated. "I guess Miss Kaoru will do then... but I don't know if she knows as much about this as Megumi or Tokio would!"

"Kaoru is *definitely* busy as well." Hiko replied, secretly hoping Kenshin wasn't messing up any more.

"Damn it!!" Misao whined. "There's got to be SOME girl here older then I am that I could ask!"

"Why don't you ask me whatever it is?" Hiko shrugged.

Misao's blush only grew brighter. "Oh no... I couldn't do that..."

"Why not? I did point out your love life problems, and didn't Aoshi ever come to talk to you?"

"That's...what..." Misao sighed and sat down on a floor mat, staring at her hands. "That's what I need some advice on. Aoshi did talk to me, but..."

"But WHAT?" Hiko sat back down, picking up some more sake. He offered Misao some, and she quietly took a cup.

"Well, Aoshi apologized to me, but now I don't know what to do. And Megumi-San said she'd have to tell me how to... seduce..." Misao's blush was burning bright red at this point, "" She quickly looked away from Hiko, who was starting to blush himself.

"Oh..." He fought to think of a decent, appropriate answer for the young ninja. "Well...uh... Why don't you leave that up to Aoshi?"

"But!" Misao stared, bringing her eyes to Hiko.

"He'll know what to do." Hiko said quickly. "You shouldn't worry about that."

Misao sighed and gulped the cup of sake down in one swallow. "Alright. If you say so, Hiko-San..." she stood up, stumbled backwards a bit, and recaught her balance.

"You shouldn't drink that so fast, either." he added.

She nodded and managed to walk back outside, heading for the training hall.

Hiko smirked over the sake cup. If Aoshi didn't know what to do, the sake certainly would. And he hoped everyone else would figure out what to do as well.