|The Circle Game; A Rurouni Kenshin Fanfic
by Kitty Woolfson
First draft of The Circle Game, 5/2000.
Chapter 6: Don't Be a Stranger!
Enishi sat dejectedly in class. Time had apperently decided to take a vacation. The seconds ticked by slowly on the wall clock and the drone of the teacher's voice began to turn into a background humm. The class was stuffy and a little too hot. There was a jolt from his desk and Enishi blinked and pulled himself out of his stupor. Gisuke was tapping the foot of his desk with his toe. From under his shoe Enishi could see the corner of a folded piece of paper. He pretended to drop his pencil and picked up the paper at the same time.
The note read: 'Chiho says hi and wants me to tell you that she hasn't seen you in way too long. "I'm not that contagious!" she told me. Come by after school!'
In the past three weeks Enishi had grown closer to Misao and her circle of friends. Today he had planned to tell them something to surprise them. Specifically Misao.
The bell rang and the teacher exclaimed about how time flew by and don't forget to do the reading and... But he was speaking to an empty classroom save for one boy.
"Yukishiro," the teacher said pleasently, "how do you like Tokyo?"
Enishi hefted his bag onto his back and smiled politely. "It's great. I like being back home. And the girl's are cuter here." The teacher laughed.
"Mm-hmm. Uh, Obata-sensei? I've got a question for you," Enishi said a little hesitently.
"Sure, what is it?" Obata replied.
Enishi fidgeted with the strap on his backpack as he spoke. "Well, one of the cute Tokyo girls here is, she's real nice. And I was wondering if you could give me, maybe some... uh..." He trailed off and looked at the floor obliquely.
Obata was silent for a moment and Enishi was afraid for a minute he'd not only embarrassed himself but earned himself a bad grade. "Yukishiro, you live with your aunt and uncle, don't you?"
He nodded. "And my grandmother," he added.
"You don't know them very well, do you?" Enishi hesitated, them shook his head. Obata smiled and placed a hand on Enishi's arm.
"Well, I'm very flattered that you'd come to me to for help with a problem like this. Now then, who's this girl?"
"Uh, Makimachi Misao, sensei."
Obata tipped his head to one side and glanced at the ceiling. "Isn't she dating the Shinomori boy?"
Enishi but a look of aback on his face. "I sure hope not!" he said with just the right amount of surprise.
Obata smiled kindly. "Well, I suppose if one of his classmates knows he isn't, then it must be true! Now then..."
"Enishi-kun's late today!" Misao noted with a hint of disappointment in her voice. Aoshi didn't reply. "I wonder what's keeping him."
"I think he stayed behind to talk with Obata-sensei," Gisuke said thoughtfully around a mouthful of food.
"Oh. I hope he makes it before lunch is over!" Misao added with a sideways glance at Aoshi.
Just then Enishi walked into the cafeteria. He waved jovally and seated himself a moment later next to Misao.
"Hi guys!" he said with a smile. "What's for lunch today?" He peered over Misao's shoulder and poked at her neatly packed lunch.
"Hey! Back off!" she said, snatching it away. "Jiya packed it for me today, and he never makes me onigiri."
"Poor baby," Gisuke said sarcastically as he chewed on his school lunch.
Lunch was cheerful and light. Through it all Aoshi never said a word. He didn't even look up. His replies to the questions Misao and Gisuke asked were noncommital grunts and gestures. Misao had apperently forgiven Enishi for whatever had made them both cautious, but Aoshi hadn't. 'I don't trust him,' he thought. 'He wants something, and I haven't been able to figure out what it is yet. I have a feeling it's something I've got, but what could it be?'
Lunched ended. Aoshi and Gisuke cleared the table Enishi approached Misao. He watched her obliviously pack her lunch box back into her bag. He swallowed hard and closed his eyes for a moment.
A voice drifted into his head. 'No fears, Enishi!' A tenderly smiling girl was black hair floated into his mind's eye. The sharp bangs framing a gentle face. 'It's got to be Misao!' he thought with a surge of courage.