Kenshin, they’ll only have wilted vegetables left if we don’t hurry!”
And off she went, her dark hair trailing the smell of flowers. He
kept an eye on her, smiling as she wove ahead of him, her elaborately
tied yellow obi making her easy to track down the street. There was
no danger here today, just a bright, warm morning, just another
wonderfully routine trip. The usual sounds and smells of the market
were a pleasant backdrop for admiring his companion, and Kenshin was
full of contentment as he followed her at a more sedate pace. A
She was standing with her back to him, and it took a moment for him to realize that the man in the booth was not their greengrocer. Kenshin stopped his customary three-quarters of a step away from Kaoru and formed his expression into one of gentle inquiry.
“Oh!” Kaoru turned partway towards him, angling the the three of them into a triangle. “Kenshin, Tamura Hiroto-san isn’t feeling well. This is his grandson, Tamura Tarou-san. This is Himura Kenshin.” She was gripping that radish to her chest quite tightly. Kenshin raised his eyebrows, turning back to the man behind the counter.
“It’s nice to meet you, Tamura-dono.” He was young, perhaps only two or three years older than Kaoru.
“You too, of course, Himura-san.” The other man bowed politely. The man was blushing a little, and Kenshin felt something tense and uncomfortable crawl through his stomach. He watched while Kaoru bargained for what they needed. He watched while the man smiled easily at her, he watched him brush Kaoru’s hand as he passed her items and change. He watched the other man compliment her, respectfully, but boldy, as if Kenshin were not even there. He watched Kaoru as she avoided the man’s eyes. He watched as she began to blush, and his tension grew into a sort of breathless pain.