Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or the Gokusen dramas.
word count: 1816
Author's Notes: I fail at writing an Irish accent. T_T
He had just reached for the door when there was a knock on the other side. Shin paused...shared a look with Fuji, who just wagged his tail, and opened it. Giles was standing there, looking a little haggard...maybe even hung over.
Shin smirked. “So, what happened to you?”
Giles, for all his years looked like a sheepish teenager. “I believe I partied too hard, as you young people say.”
“Faith told me about Oshima-san, and Spike can't wait to meet him...found a kindred spirit?”
Giles grinned. “Of a sort. I don't suppose I could make use of your futon while you're out?”
Shin stepped aside in silent invitation and Giles stepped across the threshold. “Make yourself at home Giles. I have somewhere to be...is that lipstick on your collar?”
Giles smirked and gave his shoulder a pat. “Probably. Good luck...oh...here.” He reached into his jacket and pulled out an envelope. “Fuji will need these.”
“Ah, you had his tags made. Thank you.”
“You're welcome. Now, get going.”
Shin nodded. “I'm off.”
The way to Yankumi's hadn't changed much. Everyone in the market near her home had a smile on their face, much to the contrast of store owners of other neighborhoods. Not for the first time he wondered if it was because this part of the city was crime free. No delinquent in their right mind would cause trouble inside Oedo's territory.
Swift movement caught his eye, and a girl stopped beside him. She looked up at him in shock and recognition. “Shin!”
He nodded at her. “Orla-chan.”
The young slayer continued to stare. Her natural auburn hair shone in the afternoon sun, setting her apart from the people around them. She spoke in English, her Irish accent thicker than usual, such was her surprise. “Yeh came back fer her then?”
“I'll go ahead and announce yer presence to the boss.” She grinned at him. “Kumiko will be glad te see yeh.”
He nodded at her. “Remember to speak in Japanese.”
Her eyes widened, and she nodded back. “Right...er...hai.” And she was off, running towards the Oedo home.
“Come on Fuji.”
Fuji wagged his tail and walked beside him, the leash stayed slack, he had no idea where they were going and was content to let Shin dictate their path. In no time at all they were at the front gate.
Orla ran past her sister slayers training with Tetsu and Wakamatsu, she nearly ran past Sugawara in the entryway. However he caught her around the waist and lifted her up. “You're shoes, Orla-chan.”
“Oops.” She gave him a guilty smile. “Forgot.”
“What's your hurry?”
“Shin is back.”
His eyes widened. “Put on your slippers and tell everyone inside. I'll tell Wakamatsu.”
“Hai!” They smiled at one another and she slipped off her shoes, stepped up into the house and slipped on the first pair of slippers she saw...which were too big for her feet, and went scurrying into the house. “Boss! Boss!”
Sugawara laughed and turned to put his own shoes on, but stopped when Wakamatsu, Tetsu, and the other young ladies peeked inside. “Sugawara? What’s gotten Orla-chan so stirred up?”
He grinned. “Sawada Shin is back.”
Wakamatsu laughed and pumped his fist in the air. “Ojou will be glad to see him.”
Tetsu looked less pleased, but he smiled anyway. “She will won't she.”
A haggard looking Kyo stumbled into view from inside the house. “Why is Orla-chan so excited at this ungodly hour?”
Tetsu smirked a bit. “Aniki...it's the afternoon.”
“You're not as young as you used to be Kyotaro. You shouldn't stay out so late with the women or Giles-san.”
There was a commotion outside, a series of high pitched squeals from the young slayers, and the barking of what sounded like a puppy. A moment later Shin appeared in the entry way, a very large puppy in his arms.
The men of the Oedo group looked at him. The boy they knew had grown. He was a little taller than they remembered, his lean frame had filled out a bit, and though his clothes hid the muscles they knew were there, he stood proud, unshakeable.
The girls were still cooing over the puppy...wait...puppy?
Shin looked at them and smiled. “I'm back.”
There was another commotion, this time from inside the house, the pounding of footsteps growing ever closer. Kumiko appeared, flanked by Ryuichiro and Minoru; they stopped, and stared at Shin.
Shin smiled at her, and put the puppy down. “I'm home.”
“Shin.” Kumiko smiled at him, her face unchanged by the four years they'd been apart. “Welcome home.” And she launched herself into his arms; he opened them just in time to catch her.
“Gomen.” He whispered into her ear as he held her. “It shouldn't have taken me this long.”
“It’s okay. You came back, after all.” She pulled back and smiled at him. “And you sent a group of cute students to keep me company.”
“Kumiko. There's a lot I need to tell you...but I need to speak to Oshima-san and your grandfather first.”
She rolled her eyes, though a bit of a blush touched her cheeks. “Men can be so sensitive about these subjects.”
He grinned at her. “You've been spending time with Willow.”
She nodded. “Come on then. Minoru's made a wonderful meal.” Before she could drag him inside though, there was a whining by her feet. “Oh...who's this?” She knelt down to pet the puppy. “Kawaii!”
Shin knelt down beside her. “His name is Fuji, and he's yours.”
Kumiko's eyes widened. “Mine?”
“Thank you.” She scooped up Fuji, despite his already impressive size and stepped up into the house. “Ne, what breed is he?”
“Oh...” She looked at the puppy in her arms. “He's going to get a lot bigger isn't he?”
Ryuichiro laughed and motioned them all to come inside. “Don't just stand there young ones. The meal will get cold. Minoru, we'll need more places set.”
Dinner was lively if uneventful, and Fuji behaved himself remarkably well, though several of the children slipped him treats from their plates, he didn't beg for the handouts. His training was coming along well. Shin sat at the head of the table, as he always had when he'd eaten there before, Kumiko was at his right, Ryuichiro at his left. The rest of the group sat along the low table, a mixture of ages, genders, and nationalities.
It was home, he felt as comfortable here as he did among the Scoobies...in fact he couldn't wait until the day came when the Scoobies would be sitting with the core of the Oedo group, sharing sake and a meal.
After dinner the children scattered, some had assignments from Kumiko, some went on patrol with Sugawara, and the remaining rugrats took Fuji for an evening walk.
Oshima Kyotaro caught Shin's gaze and motioned for him to follow, Kumiko gave him an encouraging smile, and made herself scarce, practically shoving Minoru into the kitchen to help him with the clean up.
“So, the young Lion has come to claim what he left behind.” Kyotaro smirked as he slid the door closed behind them.
“Why not? You've been to Africa...exactly how serious are you about our precious Ojou?”
Shin leveled his gaze on the man who was like a father to Yamaguchi Kumiko. “She's the only woman I have ever thought about. No other woman fills my head or my heart the way she does.”
“Oh, sounds serious.”
“Oshima-san, do I have your permission to court Kumiko?”
Shin nodded in understanding. “Kyo-san, do I have your permission?”
“It would seem she's already made her choice. All we want is Ojou's happiness.” They stared at one another for a moment longer. “You have it, but know this Young Master Lion, if you break her heart, I will break you.”
Shin smiled. “Understood.”
“What's that smile for?” Kyo asked.
“I recently had a similar talk with a friend of mine, regarding my little sister.”
“Ah, you understand both sides then. Good.” He smirked. “Go talk to the Boss now.”
Shin bowed. “Thank you Kyo-san.” He left the room in search of Ryuichiro.
Kumiko appeared behind Kyotaro. “Thank you.”
Kyo shrugged. “You smile more when his name comes up. More than any of your crushes ever did. Real smiles, not that goofy look you sometimes get.” She smacked his shoulder.
“You're off to a good start, Shin-san.” Ryuichiro told him, taking a drag from his pipe. “Kyo gave his blessing then.”
Ryuichiro smiled kindly at him, but behind the smile, his eyes were solid steel. “I always liked you best. Even back then you were a better match for her than that detective, and Tetsu never could confess his feelings for her. You were the only man she ever brought here simply because she wanted your company.”
He felt a light blush coming on. “I was always happiest eating dinner with her and all of you.”
“Do right by her Shin.”
Shin bowed low. “Thank you.”
“Is the clean up done?” Shin asked her as he entered her room.
Kumiko was sitting on the floor, leaning against the column. She looked over her shoulder at him, a vague pout on her face. “Minoru kicked me out of the kitchen.”
“Too busy trying to eavesdrop?”
“I had to make sure no one maimed you in defense of the honor of the precious Ojou.” Her smile was just a bit bitter.
Shin shook his head and sat beside her. “Titles don't mean much to me, they never have. To me...you have only been Yankumi...and Kumiko. You don't need to be anyone else.”
“I'm going to kiss you now.”
She blinked. “Why are you telling me?”
“So you won't hit me out of surprise.”
He smirked and leaned toward her, she met him halfway. Their first kiss wasn't what you'd see in any romance film, or novel. There were no fireworks, no band playing. It was simply Sawada Shin, and Yamaguchi Kumiko, starting on a path that was new to them both. It was warmth, and life, heart and soul. This was the real homecoming.
They pulled away from one another, and smiled. The giggles coming from downstairs however made them roll their eyes.