The Circle Game; A Rurouni Kenshin Fanfic
by Kitty Woolfson
First draft of The Circle Game, 5/2000.

Chapter 5: The Crush

Misao hurried from her last class before lunch. Her nerves were possitively shot. Normally an attentive student, even her usually vapid history teacher noticed her innattention. Too worked up to pay proper attention she had spilled ink all over the desk and floor in calligraphy and embarrassed herself beyond repair.

'Thank goodness the year's almost over,' she thought, rushing towards the cafeteria, 'hopefully everybody will have forgotten by the time summer rolls around.'

The doors of the cafeteria loomed ahead of her. Misao felt a sudden surge of apprehension. She stumbled and hesitated on the threshold. Berating herself for cowerdace, she peered around the doorjam.

Through the moving bodies in the blue, white and yellow uniforms Misao could see Chiho's politely smiling face. Over the top of a boy's shoulder she could see the top of Gisuke's head. "Ooh, why can't you move!?" she muttered to herself. As though by magic the crowds parted and afforded Misao a clear view of the table.

A white head of spikey hair, tanned skin, muscular shoulders visble benieth the navy blue jacket of the Yakihata High students, powerful hands. As the boy turned to glace at something, more of his face came into view. His smooth dark cheek, short black lashes, dark glasses...

"Is he there?"

The low anxious voice at her shoulder was so unlike Aoshi's she started with a squeek. She looked over her shoulder and saw Aoshi standing behind her. His eyes were focused on the broad back of the mysterious Yukishiro Enishi. When Misao looked again she only saw the back of his head. She was surprised at the wave of disappointment that washed over her.

"C'mon," Aoshi said gamely giving Misao's lower arm a quick squeeze, "let's go meet him."

So with his hand resting lightly on her waist Aoshi and Misao walked casually across the room towards their friends. Misao heard Chiho say with a touch of annoyance, "I don't know where they could be. Normally they're on time." She glanced at the line for food and at the far door.

"Maybe they got waylaid by the principal," Gisuke suggested. "I heard a rumor that he's been looking into their records."

"Did you-?" Chiho began dangerously. Misao's cheerful wave from a few meters away made her stop, finger still pointed accusingly at her beau. "Ah, Misao-chan! I thought you wouldn't make it!"

"Aoshi-kun," Gisuke said with an amiable nod which Aoshi returned silently.

"Enishi-kun, this is Makimachi Misao and Shinomori Aoshi, the friends we were telling you about."

The two blue-eyed students stopped dead still. Enishi swivled in his seat and looked up at them. Misao stared at him for silent moment, absorbing the details of his face.

His hair was indeed white. So much so that it appeared almost a pale blue. It stuck up off his head roguishly in a halo and covered the back of his neck with a spicky fringe. His eyebrows were dark, which didn't entirely rule out the possiblity of an expert dye job. His face was slim, but not lean. He was, undeniably, handsome. The white hair wasn't nearly as unsettling as Misao had thought it would be.

His eyes, however, were very unsettling. They were blue like Misao's and Aoshi's. While Misao's eyes were a light blue and Aoshi's were a darker shade, Enishi's were almost a transparent, ultramarine color. A blend of blue and green that were near unnatural. And they had no shine to them at all. Not a single glimmer of light was refelcted in his eyes.

'I- it's got to be contacts,' Misao reasoned.

"Nice to meet you, Yukishiro-san," Aoshi said politely without a hint of apprehension in his voice at all.

"Yeah, nice to meet you," Misao echoed.

"Hi there. It's a pleasure," Enishi said with a faint accent.

"I haven't bought my lunch yet," Misao informed Chiho, gesturing behind her toward the lunch line, "but I wanted to say hello." She smiled at Enishi pleasantly and waved as she headed towards the counter to pick up her meal.

"She seems aweful nice," Enishi commented to nobody in particular.

Chiho nodded. "She's a sweetheart. She gets along with everybody. There's a few people that she can't stand, but the only people who can stand them are themselves, anyway," Chiho said with a disparaging shake of her head.

Aoshi silently sat down to Enishi's right, leaving space for Misao next to Chiho. "So how long have you been here, Yukishiro-san?" he asked as he pulled out a lunch he had bought on his way to school.

"A few weeks," Enishi replied. "My aunt and uncle didn't have time to register me before last week, so I got to see Tokyo. I think


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