Kenshin stared with utmost hatred at the enemy before him. Never had he met anyone or anything so devious, so dastardly, so patronizing, so daunting, so irritating, so frustrating, so... so...difficult to deal with. If only he had known beforehand, he would have been better equipped to deal with such a situation. He would have brought along a better weapon. If he had only known... Still, he was never one to back down to a challenge, he had to fight on. The battle had lasted for quite some time. Kenshin was beginning to feel a little weary. The fact that he had been hurt only served to complicate matters. All in all, it seemed to be a futile struggle, a losing battle... Flickers of darkness at the edges of his mind threatened to overwhelm him, to drag him into the abyss of unconsciousness. However, our weary hero pressed on, with a slight toss of his fiery mane to show his disgust and contempt for his opponent, he stared on, pinning his opponent with his best hitokiri battousai glare. Kenshin's grip on his trusty weapon tightened as the enemy mocked the young redhead.
"Staring a hole into it won't get you anywhere, Ken-chan..." Shuuichi stated wryly. The pencil Kenshin was gripping snapped.
"That's the third one this week."
"Did you have to sneak up on me like that?! I could have killed you."
"With a broken pencil? I'm scared. Besides, I wasn't sneaking up on you." Shuuichi placed a mug of steaming coffee before Kenshin and winked. "It might help you stay awake for your 'battle'."
Kenshin clasped the mug and took a tiny sip from it. "I hate Maths," he declared. "And Maths hate me."
Shuuichi smiled. "Let me guess, your pride is wounded..."
"I need a calculator!"
"No, you don't." Shuuichi started fingering Kenshin's hair.
"Stop playing with my hair! Have YOU finished YOUR Maths homework?"
"Finished it long before dinner!"
"I hate you!"
"I love you too, kyoudai!"
"Really? That's great! Lend me your homework!"
"It's a matter of my life and death. Sensei will kill me! You heard her today, 'Kenshin, if I don't see your completed Maths homework on my table first thing tomorrow morning, I'll skin you alive!'"
Shuuichi pulled up a chair and settled down next to his twin. "Okay, what is it you don't understand about this sum that you've been staring at for the past few hours?"
"Everything!" Kenshin exclaimed dramatically.
Shuuichi sighed. "If you'd pay more attention during Maths lesson instead of taking a snooze..."
"The nightly battles are sapping away my very life-force!"
Shuuichi rapped Kenshin's head.
"Pay attention." Shuuichi commanded. Kenshin stuck a tongue out at him.
"A rectangular sheep pen has one fixed side which is part of a long straight stone wall. The remainder is to be made by using 80m of fencing. Find the dimensions of the rectangle with the greatest possible area. This is too easy. First, you..."
Shuuichi paused in his explanation and looked up. "'Kaasan." He smiled.
"I'm going to bed now. You should be getting some shut-eye too. It's getting late and you still have school tomorrow."
"I will, 'Kaasan, just after I finished expla..." Shuuichi stared as Shiori moved over to her other son. Kenshin was slumped over his maths homework, his right hand still holding a broken pencil, fast asleep. He looked positively adorable. Shiori removed the pencil from his grasp and gently placed a blanket around his shoulders.
Kenshin murmured something in his sleep, "Katsura-san...Ishin Shishis..." He frowned in his sleep. "Kill Maths... Tomoe..."
"History." Shuuichi explained as Shiori turned to face him.
"Figures. History has always been his favourite subject, hasn't it?" Shuuichi nodded in reply to his mother's question. A sad, pained look crossed Shiori's delicate features.
"What is it, 'Kaasan?"
Shuuichi took her hands. "If it's about Kenshin's illness, you don't have to worry about it, I'll be by his side all the time. He'll come to no harm."
"I just have this feeling that I'm going to lose him soon. That he was never meant to be mine. Oh, don't worry about me, Shuuichi, I'm just getting old and silly." Shiori forced a smile. "I mean, he's your twin, and I've raised the 2 of you for 15 years. We'll always be together, the 3 of us, until the day the woman of your dreams comes along and sweeps you off your feet..."
"'Kaasan!" Shuuichi flamed a deep red. Shiori laughed and hugged Shuuichi. Planting a gentle kiss on his forehead, she left the room with a vague threat of what she would do to him the next time she came in and found him still awake.
Shuuichi turned to the sleeping Kenshin, "You are going to be soooo dead!"
Shiori peeped in. "He won't wake up?"
"Don't worry, 'Kaasan, after I'm done with him, he'll be very wide-awake."
"Try not to bruise him. I'll get your breakfast ready."
"I'll try," Shuuichi grinned impishly. "Time for the third degree..."
Shuuichi prodded his sleeping twin. "Hey! Wake up!"
"Go 'way!" Kenshin muttered, shooing Shuuichi away as he would an irritating housefly.
"Ok, you asked for it!" Shuuichi yanked the chair out from under Kenshin.
In the kitchen, Shiori could hear a loud thump and an agonized cry of 'My butt hurts!'. Sounds of a heated argument soon ensued. She sighed. Another typical morning at the Minamino residence.
Kenshin glowered at Shuuichi from the ground where he sat rubbing his aching behind.
"I did warn you. You wouldn't wake up."
"I'll tell 'Kaasan! You're always bullying me!"
"Make my day!"
Kenshin spotted the uncompleted Maths homework scattered on his desk. "Oh no! I'm going to be skinned!"
"Serves you right. There I was painstakingly explaining to you about the sheep pen and there you were counting the sheep in the pen..."
"I was tired! Your coffee was lousy!"
"Thank you, remind me never to make coffee for you again."
"Please niisan! You've got to help me! I don't want to die! I'm still so young!" Kenshin tugged at Shuuichi's sleeve, his large violet eyes imploring. "Please!!! Lend me your homework..."
"You're going to be late if you don't hurry. Look at the time."
"ARRRGH!!!" Kenshin made a mad rush for the toilet, was out in record time, stuffed everything on his desk into his satchel, sat on it in order to get it to close and darted out of his room to join his mother and twin for breakfast.
"Ohayo, 'Kaasan!" He called out before he started gobbling down his food. He choked before his was halfway through his breakfast. Shuuichi, of course, happily helped him to thump his back.
"Shuuichi? You're going to break his back..." Shiori remarked. She picked up Kenshin's satchel, sighing when she saw the bits and pieces of paper sticking out of it. A light touch caused the bag to burst open and spill its contents all over the floor. Shiori then helped him to tidy his satchel. "Why can't you be a little more like your brother?"
"I'm unique." Kenshin quipped and promptly got a kick under the table. He glared daggers at Shuuichi, promising him a slow and painful death.
"I'm inviting someone over for dinner tonight, think you'll be able to behave for a few hours?"
"Hai 'Kaasan!" Shuuichi and Kenshin chorused.
"Should we make ourselves scarce?" Shuuichi asked.
"No. He wants to meet the two of you."
"He?" Kenshin asked.
Shiori reddened slightly. "Yes. He."
The twins smiled covertly and exchanged knowing glances.
End of Part 5
Pan was disturbing me on ICQ even though I was in invisible mode, so there will be no further boring author's notes for this chapter.
Tracy kindly solved that sheep-pen sum for me... no... for Kenshin,
so if you're wondering about it, here's the answer:
The sheep-pen is a rectangle with the wall as one of its sides (doesn't matter if it's the width or length). So the other three sides of the rectangle will have a total length of 80m.
length = x; width = y where y is the
length of side parallel to the wall.
total length of fence = 2x + y = 80; y = 80 - 2x;
Area enclosed, A = xy = x(80 - 2x);
differentiate A wrt x = 80 - 4x = 0 (for max area)
=> x = 20m; y = 80 - 2(20) = 40m.
So dimension of the pen is 20m by 40m for
max enclosed area.
(Tracy: Now whatever got into me to solve the thing...)