The Enishi & Kaoru Project
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Affiliates: The Sheath :: The Crouching Tiger's Realm

Healthy Alternatives
Chapter 2

by: Mikami

            **Two weeks………..two WEEKS already and he just HAD to borrow my friggin' notes because why ? Because he was too DAMN lazy to take any himself !**

            Kaoru was walking back from her lunch break. Earlier she had told Megumi she was borrowing her car for the day in order to get some takeout. Kaoru had foolishly forgotten her car keys at the dorm and was apparently too lazy to go back. Megumi didn't have a chance to object because Kaoru had already fished for the keys in Megumi's pocket and was out the door. She was sure Megumi didn't mind... much.

            The notes. The notes of absolute organization that she thoroughly promised herself for this year looked like they were about to deteriorate because of Sano's consistent laziness.

            On the first week of lectures, Sano approached her while she was in a good mood. The reason for her good mood was that Kenshin had been spending a lot of time with her since the start of the first week.

            Anyway, Sano had come by and asked to borrow her notes for "just a little while". It ended up extending to about two weeks, and now bordering on three.

            **Why was I so generous ?** Kaoru thought in disdain as visions of Sano saying that her notes were probably torn, thrown out, used as a napkin, used as a mop for beer spills or just plain lost, floated through her mind's eye. She cringed at the ways of the horrible situations that her notes were probably going through.

            " Kaoru !"

            **Okay…….relax. You're going to see him in a few minutes and then you can pound him all you want.** Kaoru continued to think. She disregarded the calling voice and rushed footsteps behind her.

            " Hey Kaoru !" Makimachi Misao had pulled her bag up around her shoulders twice to prevent it from falling off. Kaoru had been walking in a hurried pace and seemingly didn't notice.

            Misao hollered her friend's name once again before she stopped in the middle of the hall. She was greeted by a happy smile. Stressed but happy.

            " Took you long enough." The braided Misao huffed and puffed after running almost the whole hallway to get to Kaoru. She bent over momentarily to compose herself." I haven't seen you in such a long time ! Where have you been ?"

           " Actually, I haven't been doing much." Kaoru replied. They both resumed walking again when Misao had slung her bag over her shoulder." My professor for Human Resources has quite a thing for assignments. I don't even know why he should be teaching that subject, he's as stoic as ever."

           Misao laughed." Who is he ?"

           " Professor Saitoh Hajime. Urgh ! I just wanna--" Kaoru's mouth automatically shut at the sight of Professor Hajime turning a corner, walking towards them. His expression wasn't entirely blank, it held rather a grim tinge to it. The effect was increased by thin strands of jet-black hair that fell over his face, looking almost like antennae.

           Kaoru turned slightly red at her outburst. The corner that her Professor turned was quite close to where they were and it was a possibility he had caught some of their conversation. Kaoru recalled Professor Hajime to have very distinct hearing when he addressed the whisperings in his class.

           The girls avoided eye contact with the college superior as they passed by. It was like they could feel the burn of his sight. Kaoru always thought Hajime-sensei was kind of…..well……creepy.

           When both were of safe walking distance, they let out a small breath they didn't even know they held. Nonetheless, the companions ended up laughing it off with more recollection of the moment.

           " Why in such a hurry ?" Misao asked.

           " Oh that. Sano just thought it would be alright if he could borrow my notes and lose them."

           " Well, what can you do with Roosterhead ? Sometimes I think the only thing he's good for is insulting the pants off." Misao replied fondly and jokingly at the mention of Sano.

           " Yeah well, insulting him won't do a thing to get back what I need for the upcoming assignment."

           Kaoru watched Misao nod from the corner of her eye." We're going to see him anyway though. Yell at him then." Her friend concluded.

           " Exactly my point."

           They made their way down a flight of stairs, turned to the right and into another classroom. Sano was easy to spot from the door due to the large brown spikes atop his head. The girls chose seats directly behind him.

           " Hey Jerkoff." Misao crowed, putting both hands into Sano's mass of thick brown locks and messing them up.

           Sano whirled his head around at the contact of his hair." You little--"

           But Misao shook a finger in front of his nose." Nah ah, temper, temper. Remember the 'strike one Mr. Sagara' for class disruption ?" She pointed smugly at the approaching female professor.

           Sano mumbled something incoherent, but not doubt it had a string of curse words. He turned around until he felt another tap on his head. Kaoru, who was also sitting behind him, had rested her chin on his large shoulder.

           " What ?"

           " Sano, do you know how long you've had my notes for this class ?" The light sound of her voice faintly masked the annoyance.

           He shifted slightly under the small weight of her chin." No. I guess not. Never stopped to think."

           Kaoru rolled her eyes." I wonder why I even bothered to ask you that question." She mentally smacked herself." But you DO know that they're WAY overdue and I apparently need them back to pass this course !"

           " Oh yeah, THOSE notes." Sano's mocking tone was pulling Kaoru's hand back. If he uttered anymore smart-ass remarks, she'd let it go and the consequences would be severe on his part." I don't have them."

           The aggravated female behind him threw her hands up in the air with an unladylike growl. She was THIS close to ringing his neck but quickly decided against it when the professor had called their attention to the front.

           The lights were dimmed and the overhead of various notes and diagrams were displayed as large on the white screen behind the professor. The golden brown of her hair seemed lighter when the light hit her curly strands. Her voice carried loudly to each of her students, trying to take out last supplies from their bags.

           " Jo-chan. Relax." Sano said. He craned his head to look at her from the corner of his eye." Just 'cause I don't got them on me doesn't mean they've been mistaken for toilet paper okay ?"

           Misao supplied, discrediting him playfully." Sure, sure."

           " Shut up Misao--Kaoru, don't worry about a thing. It's about a month into the semester, you're not gonna fall behind."

           **YOU telling me not to worry is what WORRIES me.** Kaoru thought disturbed.

           " Okay, fine but I'll be needing them back REAL soon. VERY soon as in maybe NOW."

           Sano abruptly chewed on the back of his pencil while jotting down bits and pieces of the flow of information." Alright princess." His speech came out muffled by the pencil." Come around later to the room and you can pick them up."

           " And please make sure you have them." Said Kaoru dryly." I don't want to have to go scavenger hunting in your dorm."

           He brushed her off, silently motioning with his hand that everything was under control, much to Kaoru and Misao's skepticism.

           When the professor had promptly switched the overheads for a new subtopic, all three of them sat back and tried to listen to the best of their ability.

           It wasn't long until Sano's notes went from serious point taking to trees, ducks and squirrels. The pen in Misao's hand had stopped moving and was replaced by the occasional nodding of her head to sleep.

           Kaoru on the other hand was steadily trying to keep focusing on the lecture rather than a certain gorgeous red-haired individual with soft violet eyes. As far as she knew, Himura Kenshin and herself had a great friendship. Kaoru would even go as far as to say they were almost a couple. They would be if it weren't for Kenshin's disability to notice the signals Kaoru was giving him.

           She sighed heavily. Did she even HAVE a love life ? Was it even possible to have HALF a love life ? That's what Kaoru thought. It was an on and off enigma with Kenshin. What made it more confusing was that Kenshin stood as one of the major "grabs" on campus. How he prevented his ego from running wild was definitely beyond Kaoru because girls would come out of nowhere just to flirt.

           Kenshin was a nice guy. One of those really nice guys that you wanted to hug and never let go of because he was so sweet. The kind of guy that would never lead you on in the wrong way. So why was Kaoru confused ? She was sure they were almost together.

           Much later in the afternoon, Kaoru had picked up an additional assignment from her last class. It wasn't that big so it didn't bother her much. She left the class she shared with Sano, telling him once again that she'd be by later on. He nodded first to her but then proceeded to give Misao a headlock.

           Amidst all the screaming and protesting, the smaller girl managed to get out. They said their good-byes and went their separate ways.

           Kaoru was now walking towards Morellson Hall. The sprinklers left the grass wet and the dew was slowly dampening the sides of her shoes. She would've come by to see Sano and hour earlier but when Megumi and Kenshin came around, Kaoru was all for staying.

           The periwinkle blue of the sky was slowly darkening. She could already see a few people fooling around Morellson. Kaoru passed by and entered the doors. Since it was Friday, there were some people sitting in the common room but there were more noises coming from the first floor. Kaoru quickly waved a 'hi' to Nina, another friend of hers that she met here. Nina's boyfriend was currently in Morellson and she had wasted no time in spending Friday with him.

           The raven-haired girl passed another small clique of people standing around at the top of the stairs. Sano dormed on the 3rd floor. He once said that he felt "balanced out" if he was in the middle of the building………whatever THAT meant.

           In no time Kaoru was at C7. She knocked loudly on the door, knowing Sano probably wouldn't hear if she knocked politely. The silken black strand of hair that bordered the side of her face was heedlessly twirled around her finger as she knocked loudly again. Kaoru had a vision of Sano sleeping like a rock, totally oblivious to the sounds. The guy could sleep through a tornado and not wake up.

           She sighed impatiently and turned around, trying to give herself something to do instead of just standing around like an idiot. Her eyes followed the newly painted walls and staircase that covered the abuse it had taken from past years. More noise and music from downstairs flowed up, indicating a get-together.

           At the sound of the opening door, Kaoru spun around and automatically launched herself into venting mode.

           " SANO," She crossed her arms, not bothering to look up." What the hell-- !"

           All of a sudden, Kaoru abruptly stopped. Apparently the person she was about to swear at wasn't the Roosterhead. Kaoru had unknowingly left her mouth open as her hazy brain focused on the black buttoned shirt in front of her. Her eyes followed the buttons up to the owner. They widely observed the sun-warmed angles of his face. Above his stern chin were the most full and sensuous lips that Kaoru had ever seen. His hair was a spiky shock of white while numerous strands fell stubbornly over firm white eyebrows. High cheekbones were on either side of a straight but strict-looking nose; on which sat atop a small pair of expensive looking wire-rimmed glasses. The dark shade of the glasses concealed his eyes but Kaoru didn't need to see them to know that he was silently annoyed. But disregarding his grim expression, this guy was obviously very good-looking.

           It seemed like several minutes before Kaoru contained herself from the obvious state of gaping." Uh, hi !" She fumbled." I'm so sorry for bothering you, I expected the Roosterhead to answer the door !"

           " Roosterhead ?" The only amount of expression that came was from the small rise of a white eyebrow.

           " I mean Sano." Kaoru recovered, trying to replace her aftermath expression with a smile." Is he here ? I've come to pick something up."

           The stranger replied," Sanosuke's not in."

           " Oh. Um, well, did he mention that I was coming ? I know I was supposed to come by earlier but I kind of got held back." She said with a twiddle of her fingers when she noticed his unreadable expression. The glasses that covered his eyes made it impossible to see his facial cast.

           Kaoru uttered lamely." I'm one of his friends." **Oh WAY to go… you think he even cares ?** she thought.

           " I see."

           The young woman attempted to make the situation light with another smile." If it's all right with you, I'll just see if I can find my notes. Don't worry, I'll leave you alone after that."

           Kaoru got a blink as a response. She watched as he stepped aside and opened the door wider for her to come in. The blinds for the window were closed, making the room dim. The only source of light was the lamp from a desk, sitting beside a small stack of books, opened texts and paper.

           It was like there was almost an invisible line down the center of the room. The side with the unmade bed, crumpled clothing and other unmentionables struck her as Sano's side. The other side had the stranger's desk and also was a little more orderly.

           Kaoru was careful not to trip over anything as she ventured to the dangerous terrain that was Sano's side of the room. She kicked aside a pair of dirty socks, leaking out of a duffel bag and stepped around a basketball. The desk next to Sano's bed was piled with unopened textbooks and more laundry.

           As her hands searched for her missing notes, Kaoru was vastly aware of the pair of eyes on her. The only sounds were from the muffled party noises from downstairs. She sensed his silent impatience and moved to search a bit faster.

           She turned around once more and approached the untidy bed. The red binder looked worthy of exploring. Kaoru's fingers fumbled to turn the pages and she wished that they weren't sticking together.

           In the moments of note hunting, Kaoru's vision strayed away from the binder to sneak another peek at the young man near the door. He let his watching slip from her and had picked up a book. She eyed his physique: broad shoulders, sculpted arms, clean cut pectorals and all. So this was Sano's infamous new roommate.

           Kaoru mentally slapped herself for staring before quickly retrieving her notes from Sano's red binder. The binder rings closed with a click; the young man looked up with a full expectation of her leaving.

           " Are you done ?" He asked in a stiff manner.

           " Yup, all done !" Kaoru offered cheerily." Oh, since I'm guessing you're Sano's new roommate, I'm Kaoru." She stuck out her hand.

           He hesitantly took her dainty fingers between his larger ones." I have to get back to work." Was what he said after quickly releasing her hand. No smile, his mouth was nothing but a grim line.

           Kaoru saw his gaze faintly flicker behind the glasses." You didn't tell me your name." She said, still trying to be buoyant in her introduction even though this young man remained as unyielding as ever.

           Before closing the door on Kaoru, he paused for a moment. At that point Kaoru swore she saw his features soften just a little.

           " Enishi."

           He gave her an offhanded nod and with that, the door was shut, no questions asked. Kaoru was left standing in the hallway, still staring after Sano's new roommate. Needless to say, Enishi had stirred up quite a bit and Sano was definitely not lying about the yardstick attitude.

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Disclaimer: Site created by the ExK no Tenshi-tachi. Enishi, Kaoru & other Rurouni Kenshin characters belong to Watsuki Nobuhiro-sensei, Sony, and Shonen Jump. The rest are products of the webdominatrices' imagination. Please don't sue us. We're very poor.