Rurouni Kenshin Fan Fiction ❯ Midday Dinner Discord ❯ Bad Day ( Chapter 1 )

[ A - All Readers ]
April, 1882
Kamiya Dojo

Almost from the time he could crawl across the floor, Kenji wanted nothing to do with his father. Day after day, Kaoru would watch sadly as Kenji continued to reject his father's affections. The toddler wouldn't allow Kenshin to pick him up, feed him, or even attempt to play with him. If Kenshin came too near, Kenji would throw his toys at him.

Kaoru could never understand why this was so. Kenshin was a good father. Even at Kenji's naughtiest, Kenshin never raised his voice to the boy and certainly never struck him. Kaoru herself wanted to box Kenji's ears once or twice when he was a bit too mean to Kenshin.

Kenji generally behaved himself somewhat better around his father in Kaoru's presence because he knew Kaoru would punish him if he acted up. However, some days there was just no way to deal with the boy.

From the moment Kenji woke up on a cloudy morning, it was destined to be one of those days. The toddler was fit to be tied as Kaoru practically wrestled him out of his yukata. He jumped away when she approached him with his little loin cloth and sky-blue kimono. What was supposed to be a routine morning ritual turned into a game of tag as Kaoru chased and attempted to corner the naked toddler.

Several times he tried to make a break for it and go streaking through the dojo, but Kaoru was too quick and was finally able to corral Kenji, hold him down and force his arms into his kimono sleeves and his legs into his little loin cloth.

Kenji's bad attitude continued at the breakfast table. He flat-out refused to eat anything. Kaoru finally gave up. There would be no way short of forcing the food down his throat to get her darling son to eat.

Sensing Kenji's dangerous mood, Kenshin tried to give his son a wide berth all that morning, making himself scarce at breakfast. But apparently, that wasn't enough. Kenshin came outside with a basketfull of laundry to do and saw Kenji squatting on the ground tormenting a spider. When Kenji looked up and saw Kenshin standing there, his face contorted and he let out a scream unholy enough to wake all the dead not only in Japan but on the Asian mainland as well.

Kenshin quickly retreated indoors. He couldn't easily do the laundry with Kenji sitting there screaming and in all likelihood, yanking his hair and kicking him.

Midday dinner saw no improvement in the boy's demeanor. Although he usually tolerated his father's presence at the table because Mommy required it, today he was just in no mood to lay eyes on the man.

"No! No Daddy!" cried Kenji as the family sat down to eat.

Kaoru saw the light fade from Kenshin's eyes as he lowered his head to avoid the toddler's glare.

"Kenji-chan, that's not nice. The whole family eats here and that includes Daddy," said Kaoru firmly.

"NO!" shouted the todder, picking up a sushi roll and chucking it at Kenshin's head.

"Oro..." responded Kenshin when it hit him, never looking up.

"Alright, Kenji-chan you're in your room," said Kaoru, picking up the toddler.

"NOOOOOOOOO!" cried Kenji as Kaoru carried him to his room.

Kenshin sat immobile, blinking back the tears in his eyes. He didn't want anyone to know that his son's continued rejection could make him cry. Kaoru knew, though she was good enough not to bring it up. He looked up as she returned and sat down.

"Alright, let's eat," she said softly.

Kenshin nodded as they said the blessing and dug in, though all the spirit was gone from the meal.

Kenshin crouched outside, washing the dishes in the wooden basin. As he absently scrubbed them, his violet eyes kept trailing over to the room where Kenji was "imprisoned" for his outburst. Although Kenji had been naughty today, Kenshin couldn't help but blame himself for the little boy being removed from the table.

'Perhaps I should have just eaten outside,' he thought sadly. 'I knew he was still in a bad mood. I should have just stayed out of his way like I had been doing up till dinner.'

After he had finished scrubbing and drying the last dish, Kenshin stacked them and carried them back into the kitchen to put them away. As Kenshin began putting the dishes in the cupboards, his eyes wandered over to the pantry in whose top shelf a delicious plate of mochi cakes he'd made yesterday reposed, covered by a cloth to keep flies off of it.

'I probably shouldn't. Kaoru would kill me if she found out. But maybe if I just smoothe things over a bit,' Kenshin thought.

Kenshin took a fresh plate and went into the pantry. There on the top shelf, out of the reach of wee hands, was the plate. Kenshin removed the cloth and put six cakes on the plate. After replacing the cloth, Kenshin left the pantry, closing the door behind him.

Kenshin approached the door to Kenji's room with much trepidation in his heart. Would he be greeted by a spin-top or wooden block to the head when he opened the door? Cautiously, he slid the shouji open and peeked inside. Kenshin's heart softened at the sight.

Kenji was curled up on his futon with Sano the rooster tucked in his arms. His little face was flushed from crying. With his old hitokiri stealth, Kenshin stole into the room, set the mochi cakes down by Kenji's futon and made a B-line for the door.

Just as he was about to slid the door shut, Kenshin heard movement behind him. He turned and saw Kenji sitting up in the futon, regarding the mochi cakes. The boy then turned to him and looked at him with questioning blue eyes.

"May I eat with you tonight?" Kenshin asked in his softest voice.

Kenji hesitated for a second, then nodded his consent before tearing into the cakes. Kenshin sighed and left the room. At least he'd been able to call a truce with his son, for now.

Someday, hopefully, the truce could give way to something more.