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New Years Wishs
Part 4





Kenshin paused outside Kaoru's bedroom door. He tried to take a few deep breaths, but it didn't seem to calm his nerves. Unlike Sano, he had no intent of simply going in and taking Kaoru to the floor to have sex with her. Kaoru probably didn't want that right away, he decided, and besides, it wouldn't be romantic, and Hiko would probably Ryu Tsui Sen him half-way across Japan if he found out Kenshin hadn't considered Kaoru's feelings in the matter at hand.

He quietly knocked on the wooden frame beside the door. "Miss Kaoru?"

Kaoru had been sitting on her futon, waiting for Misao to get back. She jumped at Kenshin's knock, her eyes widening half in anticipation and half in surprise. "Kenshin?" she whispered, turning to look at the door. In the faint candlelight of her room, she could see his outline against the rice paper. Kaoru quickly jumped up and hurried to the door, sliding it open and coming face to face with the Rurouni.

Kenshin forced himself NOT to look at the point where Kaoru's yukata crossed her chest. He hesitantly stepped inside her room, shutting her door behind him, never taking his eyes from hers. "Kaoru, can I talk with you? It's kind of important..."

Kaoru nodded numbly. His violet eyes were darker then usual, she noticed, and he was wearing a light yukata as well - instead of his normal attire.

"I wanted to tell you that..." Kenshin focused on the ground, letting his long bangs cover his eyes, "...I care very deeply for you, Kaoru. I love you." His palms suddenly felt sweaty and hot, and he was sure the pounding in his chest was audiable even to Hiko, three rooms away. He hadn't really rehearsed how to tell Kaoru his feelings, and Hiko hadn't really given him any lead-way as to HOW he should go about expressing himself in the situation. "I'm sorry. If you don't care for me in that way, I'll never bring it up again. I just thought you should know, that I did." Kenshin turned towards the door, unable to even look at her for fear that she would reject him. He knew he wouldn't be able to bear something like that.

"Kenshin......." Kaoru's voice was so soft, it made Kenshin stop before he even touched the door. His eyes wavered as he heard a tear drop hit the floor behind him, breaking the silence between them.

"Kenshin... I... love you too... don't leave..." Kaoru whispered. She suddenly collasped and fell on her knees to the futon, hugging her arms around herself. "My wish for New Years was to be with YOU, for... always..." she murmured.

Kenshin turned and stared at her, his mouth slightly open. "Your wish? But... Kaoru... you don't care about my past at all? It doesn't bother you that my hands are stained with-"

"NO!" Kaoru raised her eyes to met his, half in mock-anger. "I've never cared about your past! I told you that the first time you entered this dojo, and I meant it! I just want you to stay here, with me..."

Kenshin was instantly kneeling before her, hugging her. "Kaoru, if you truly mean that... then my New Years wish... is the same as yours. I only want to be with you...always."

Kaoru smiled and wrapped her arms around his neck, hugging him back. Her tears somehow dried and she nuzzled his neck. "Arigrato, Kenshin."

He slowly leaned down and kissed her lightly for a moment, letting the feel of her lips brand against his own. And without thinking, he suddenly deepened the kiss. Kaoru's arms tightened around his neck and tugged him downward, and her tongue traced his mouth.

Kenshin quickly shifted and gently placed her on the futon, never breaking contact with her lips. His hands stayed at her waist, and he managed to brace himself and not crush her. When he finally parted from her mouth, he noticed her breathing was heavier. "Kaoru? I don't know about this. I don't know if we should go this far..."

"Would you regret it?" she asked cautiously.

*What do YOU think? NO!* Kenshin's mind screamed. He refocused. "Regret...? No... But I don't want to rush you into it, Kaoru. You would have to promise me that you'd be positive this is what you'd want and not something I'd force on you..." *I don't want to force you...*

Kaoru paused. *What do I want? Do I really want Kenshin... all of him, just for myself?* Something told Kaoru inside that Kenshin wouldn't just use her for one night. She knew him better then that. Nervously looking back into his eyes, she managed to whisper, "Yes. I'm positive...I just want to be with you... That's my wish..."

Kenshin softly kissed her lips again. "It'll hurt for a bit... I won't be able to take the pain away... Are you still sure?"

"Kenshin no baka." Kaoru giggled sofly and lightly swatted his bangs. "I know it'll hurt a little... But... if it means being with you..."

"I'll try to go slowly." Kenshin stroked her side.

She nodded. "I know..."

He kissed her one more time and slowly began to remove the yukata from her body.

~*~

Misao re-entered the training hall nervously. Aoshi was still sitting on the futon, and he watched her walk towards him through his long bangs.

"Misao? Is everything alright?" he asked quietly.

She sat down beside him, her blush creeping around her cheeks. Slowly gathering up her courage, she managed to speak. "Everything's fine, Aoshi-Sama. I just had to...ask Megumi something, but she was busy, so I asked Hiko-San."

"Did he help you?"

"Hai... kind of." Misao bit her lip, hoping her blush would go away and that Aoshi wouldn't notice her cheeks turning red.

"What did you have to ask?"

"Nothing!" Misao wasn't sure how it happened, but her face felt like it was burning even more.

"Nothing?" Aoshi slid towards her, placing his arms on either side of her and locking her into place. "Misao? What's wrong?"

"I..." Misao's heart was pounding heavily against her chest. "I guess I'm just nervous for some reason. Funny, isn't it?" she let out a small, unsure laugh. Aoshi smiled ever so slightly.

"Nervous? About what?" He let his fingers lock with hers. He noticed her eyes widened at his touch. "Misao, are you afraid of me?" he whispered.

"NO!" Misao stared at him. "I've never been afraid of you, Aoshi-Sama! I don't know WHY I suddenly feel so nervous..."

She felt Aoshi rubbing her hand. "Maybe it's because you're dealing with feelings inside of yourself." he said softly. "Like I am. Misao, you should know this; I'm nervous too."

"You?" Misao blinked. "Lord Aoshi, you've never been nervous before! You're always so strong and...you always know exactly what to do..." she looked down at the futon. *Just like Hiko-San said... Aoshi always knows just what to do.*

Aoshi could only stare at her. How could she possibly think that he would never get nervous? Maybe because he was always so cold and calculating during battles or confrontations. Or because he rarely showed outward emotion. He quickly cupped her face and pulled it to his own. "Misao, everyone gets nervous at some point in their life. And I've never been more nervous then... then right now." he pushed the lump in his throat back. "Misao? I care so much for you..."

"Aoshi-Sama?!" Misao stared back into his blue eyes, frozen into place by his hand.

He hurriedly placed a light kiss on her lips before she could object to his confession. Parting away from her, he found he had no words to say to her. He could only stare at her face. *She isn't a child, is she? No, she's a woman now, but she still stares at me with child-like adoration... I will break you of that habit, Misao-Chan... After tonight, you can look on me as a man, someone to love. You do love me, I could feel it.*

Misao suddenly leaned forward again and kissed Aoshi back, surprising even herself by her bold move. But the feel of his lips against hers had been nothing but wonderful, and she just wanted to feel that again. Aoshi readily kissed her back, and after a moment, he broke away once more.

"Aoshi-Sama..." Misao's voice was almost dream-like. "Arigrato... For everything." she quickly wrapped her arms around him. "My wish for New Years was to...be with you."

"And mine..." he smiled into her long hair, "was to be with you."

"REALLY?!" Misao asked - a little eagerly like she normally did.

"Hai." he murmured, chuckling at her. "Really."

~*~

Saitoh and Tokio found themselves walking slowly back to their home together. Tokio figured she'd drop by the dojo in a few days and tell Kaoru what had happened, although Saitoh had reassured her that the others would understand why they'd left so abruptly.

He opened the door for her and escorted her inside, and she cunningly tweaked her obi as she walked in, letting the yards of cloth fall and trail behind her as she swayed towards their bedroom. Saitoh only smirked and followed her, shutting the door to the bedroom after he stepped in behind her. He gently took her shoulders and let the kimono drop, and she fell gracefully onto the futon.

Without words, and only with golden eyes flickering in the darkness, the Wolf of Mibu dropped beside his wife - to prove he was just as romantic and passionate as the Hitokiri Battousai was.

~*~

Hiko frowned as the door to the main room opened once more, but when he realized it was only Yahiko again, he relaxed. The boy flopped down on a mat beside him.

"So where am I supposed to sleep again? Everyone keeps changing things around!" Yahiko whined.

Hiko smiled. "Well, the training hall is currently occupied, and so is Kaoru's room and the guest room. Would you like your room back, and I can sleep in Kenshin's room?" he suggested.

Yahiko thought for a minute. "Sounds good to me." he finally stated. "I'm going to bed then."

Hiko smirked as Yahiko went back to his room. He picked up a jug of sake, only to find it empty. Sighing, he stood up and stretched. "Guess I'll go to bed too. Everyone else is." he snickered inwardly. "Or they damn well better be getting there after all my hard work tonight!"

~*~

~MORNING, NEW YEAR'S DAY~

Kenshin's eyes fluttered open and he shifted slightly underneath the blankets. He could feel a comfortable weight on his chest, and when he glanced down, he saw a spray of long black hair falling over his body and the futon. A small smile played on his lips as he thought about the night before and what had happened. His hand gently stroked Kaoru's long hair.

She stirred after a minute and lazily gazed up at him, a smile on her face as well. "Kenshin... how long have you been awake?"

"Not long." Kenshin answered softly. "It's late though; the sun's already climbing."

"I don't care." Kaoru fell back onto Kenshin's chest and curled into a ball. "Can't we sleep a little longer? I'm tired..." she giggled.

"I'm sure you're tired, koishii." Kenshin smirked. "We had a long night... but I wouldn't trade it for anything..." he wrapped his arm around her waist and rolled over, bringing them both on their sides. Pulling the blanket up over their shoulders, he cradled Kaoru back into his chest. "Go back to sleep, Kaoru... I'll always be right here."

She nodded and yawned, drifting off to sleep for a few more minutes.

Across the hall, Megumi stretched in a cat-like manner and curled back up to the warmth beside her, without really paying attention to what it was - until it wrapped an arm around her. Her eyes flew open and her mouth dropped slightly. *Sanosuke?!*

"Happy New Year, Fox." Sano grinned down at her, his elbow braced on the futon, and his head against his palm.

"Hm. And good morning to you to, Rooster." Megumi replied, a little dryly.

"What's the matter with you?"

"I'm still sleepy." Megumi snuggled back into her warm spot, which was conviently at the side of Sano's chest.

Sano waited a moment before looking down at her, and making sure she'd dozed off again. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. "Thanks Fox...for making my New Years wish come true..."

Megumi smiled inwardly. She was still half-awake, but she'd heard him. "Arigrato...Sano." she murmured softly. "Aishiteru..."

Sano's eyes widened. "M-Megumi?"

"Hmm?"

"Did you...just...?"

She kissed his chest. "Get some more sleep, Sano." she whispered.

He smiled and closed his eyes. "Anything you wish. Aishiteru..."

Aoshi gently stroked Misao's arm. Still asleep, she swatted at his hand and murmured something incoherent. Aoshi smirked and slid a finger across her cheek.

"Misao..."

"Hmm...go away... I wanna sleep in." Misao muttered, rolling over on her side. She curled into the blankets and even in half-sleep, noticed the dull ache in her body. It didn't hurt; in fact, it felt good - but she was still tired from it.

"Misao-Chan, wake up."

"But Aoshi..." Misao whined, curling into a tighter ball. "Why can't I sleep in just a few more-" She suddenly sat straight up, gasping. "AOSHI?!"

Aoshi chuckled. "Misao, you didn't have to sit up so quickly. You'll get a headache that way." He pulled her back down into the folds of the blankets.

She stared at him. "Aoshi, you're laughing..."

"I'm just happy." he answered, leaning his head against her shoulder.

Misao smiled, and felt tears in her eyes as she curled back up into his embrace. "You're finally happy..." she murmured.

"Aishiteru, Misao." Aoshi kissed her shoulder.

"This has been the best New Years I've ever had..." Misao whispered back. "I love you too, Aoshi..."

Saitoh and Tokio were both sprawled over their futon. Tokio smiled as she watched the morning sun drift into the room. Saitoh was laying beside her, one hand under his head and the other one holding a cigarette.

"You could be nice and wait to smoke LATER." she sighed.

"I was nice last night. Don't ask me to be nice two days in a row."

"You were only nice for 8 hours." she teased.

He took a long drag. "Welllll..."

"Please?" she smiled and slowly pulled the cigarette from his fingers.

"You'd better make it up to me."

"I plan to." she smirked, crawling over his chest and flicking the cigarette out the window.

Yahiko grumbled as he tripped into the kitchen and started rummaging for food. Hiko, who had been up for at least two hours, arched an eyebrow at the young boy.

"What's the matter with you? Didn't you sleep well, kid?"

"NO." Yahiko replied flatly.

Hiko opened the doors to the outside, letting sunlight spill into the room. "Why not?"

Yahiko flopped down on a mat and began munching on a left-over rice ball. "There was just a lot of noise last night."

Hiko forced back a snicker. "Oh really?" True, he'd heard the noise himself, but he'd ignored it for the most part.

"Kept me awake all damn night." Yahiko groaned. "I don't think I got but an hour of sleep."

The door from the hall opened, and Kenshin stepped in wearing his usual gi and hakama. "Good morning, Yahiko." He paused. "And Master..."

"Hmph. Morning." Yahiko snapped.

"Morning Kenshin. Sleep well?" Hiko asked as absently as he could.

"Yes, thank you." Kenshin pulled out some rice and set to work at making breakfast for everyone, a smile pastered on his face.

"Good morning!" Kaoru smiled happily as she entered the room.

"Hey Ugly." Yahiko continued picking at his rice ball. "You're awful happy today."

"I feel great." Kaoru answered, her voice cheerful. "I had such a wonderful sleep! Hello, Hiko-San!"

"Good morning." Hiko smiled back politely.

Misao and Aoshi suddenly both appeared on the porch, and Hiko stood back so they could enter the kitchen. After another round of hellos, everyone sat down as Kenshin continued to work. It wasn't long before Megumi and Sanosuke came in.

"Hey." Yahiko frowned. "I thought Sanosuke slept out in the training hall..."

Sano and Megumi both blushed. Sano managed to find his voice first. "Well uh... you see... I was... Uh... I promised Megumi I'd look at her new kimono this morning!"

"Didn't you see it yesterday?" Yahiko narrowed his eyes, noticing Megumi's kimono was the same she had on the day before.

Megumi's face paled. "Sano didn't really see it though. It was dark yesterday evening and..."

"It's always dark in the evening." Yahiko pointed out. "But there were festivity lights everywhere."

Megumi twitched, visibly. "Listen, Yahiko! Sano wanted to see it, so let's just leave it at that!"

"Touchy." Yahiko grumbled.

"Yahiko, why are you in SUCH a bad mood this morning?" Kaoru glared. "It's obvious that everyone else had a great night's sleep, but you're just... spoiling the day!"

"HEY!" Yahiko jumped up, his face burning. "It's not MY fault I'm in a bad mood! If you guys had been a little less noisy last night-"

Everyone blushed at this point-

"-then maybe some of us could have gotten a little more sleep-"

Kaoru's eyes widened-

"-and maybe then I wouldn't be so grouchy! But all night, all I heard were bumps and just...random noises!-"

Megumi bit her lip in an attempt not to laugh-

"-and an occasional scream-"

Misao muttered something about, 'well it hurt for a minute!' under her breath-

"-which I didn't get at ALL, unless you guys were just playing or something-"

Sanosuke really did snicker-

"-but if you had all just gone to bed then I could have gotten some sleep too!" Yahiko finally finished yelling.

There was a long pause.

"Oro?" Kenshin blinked, breaking the silence. "But we DID go to bed, Yahiko... OWWWWWW!"

Kaoru was blushing furiously now, and had knocked Kenshin over the head with a bowl.

"Well SOMETHING made a LOT of noise last night then!" Yahiko shouted. "I'm going to the Akabeko for breakfast!" he turned and stalked out the door.

The gate slammed in the distance, and everyone continued staring after Yahiko.

"Well I hope he and Tsubame don't do what WE all did last night." Sano stated bluntly.

"Sanosuke!" Megumi elbowed him. "He's too young! He didn't even guess what WE were doing, so how do you expect him to do the same?!"

"And how do you know we did whatever it was that you and Megumi did?" Misao asked angrily.

"Misao, really." Aoshi forced himself not to smile.

"What did you and Miss Misao do, Aoshi?" Kenshin asked innocently.

"None of YOUR business." Aoshi snapped, grabbing a rice ball.

"Yea..." Misao blushed.

"What did you do last night, Kenshin?" Sano grinned.

"I told you, I went to bed." Kenshin replied, a not-so-innocent glint in his eyes.

"Are you going to finish breakfast?" Kaoru twitched.

"ORO?! Yes!" Kenshin persisted. "But Sano asked..."

"It doesn't mean you have to TELL him!" Kaoru wailed.

"So, how WAS Jou-Chan?"

The bowl that had conked Kenshin earlier nailed Sanosuke, and Kaoru fumed bright red. Megumi snickered. "Serves you right, rooster."

Misao suddenly spoke up. "Hiko-San? Where are you going?" The group stopped argueing for a moment and watched as Hiko stood up and walked towards the door again.

"Back home, of course." Hiko smiled, his eyes closed. He reached for his cape, which was draped over a rack by the door.

"Home? To your mountain?" Kaoru blinked. "But..."

"Master, please stay until after breakfast..." Kenshin suggested. "We don't get to see much of you... even if you are a little self-confident and all."

"No, I really must be going." Hiko answered, glancing back over his shoulder as he stepped onto the porch. "I'm really not one for social visits, you know."

Everyone stared as Seijuro Hiko walked towards the gate. Just as he started to open it, Kaoru darted out into the yard, her long kimono brushing the ground as she halted to a stop, facing Hiko's back. Graciously, she bowed. "Arigrato, Hiko-San. For everything." A small blush crept over her cheeks.

"Hai!" Misao joined her, a smile on her face. "Arigrato!"

Megumi only smiled as she stepped onto the porch. Sano put his arm around her and waved towards Hiko's back. "Yea, thanks!" he called.

Kenshin appeared at Kaoru's side. "Master..." he whispered.

Aoshi remained silent.

Hiko paused. "You're all welcome." he answered confidently. "Just don't come to me again if you have anymore love problems." The gate slammed shut. Everyone's stares of gratitude turned into surprise.

"Love problems?" Aoshi twitched. "Wait, the girls...?"

"And all of you...?" Megumi's blush grew bright again as she gazed at each man.

"You mean we ALL asked Hiko to help us?" Kaoru turned and stared at the group. Everyone fell silent.

Kenshin suddenly chuckled. Sanosuke joined him. Misao began giggling. Aoshi's smile started forming on his jagged features. Kaoru began giggling as well. And everyone broke out into laughter when Megumi joined in.

Kenshin gently pulled Kaoru to him and kissed her in front of everyone. "Aishiteru, Kaoru." he smiled, hugging her. Kaoru eagerly hugged him back.

"Yea." Sanosuke tightened his arm around Megumi. "What he said..."

Aoshi pulled Misao back onto the porch and ran his fingers through her hair, smiling softly at her. "Why don't we all eat breakfast? I'm quite sure we're all hungry after such a... tiring night...?"

Everyone giggled again and happily returned to the kitchen.

Outside the dojo gate, Seijuro Hiko - Master of the Hiten Mitsurugi - smiled to himself. "It's just because I'm such a great master." he stated proudly - before walking off in the bright sunlight towards Kyoto.




You know, I'm really surprised at the people who love Hiko so much. I gotta admit, I'm a Hiko fan too... *grin*

Anyway, this part is just a tad bit fluffier then the previous chapters but I hope everyone enjoys it just the same. There is some humor at the end to make up for it. Lime scented, but not enough (in my opinion) to warrent a rating change. ^^ I've only implied that sex happened.

This is also the final part... so thank you for reading this fic! Happy New Year, 2002! :)

~Sher~