Distraction Sufficient

It was with a peculiar sort of indifferent abandon that Sano allowed his thoughts for the first time ever down a path wherefrom they had previously been emphatically banned, and it was a surprise how short that path was before the destination I love him was reached.

He was astounded. I love him? he wondered. That’s a pretty hefty thing to have been denying all this time!

He couldn’t help but think it had been ‘all this time,’ or at least something close to it, as he certainly couldn’t have fallen in love recently. One didn’t fall in love with absent men. And though he couldn’t trace it quite as far back as the shoulder-stabbing, he felt it must have been present for some time without his noticing or at least admitting it.

The fight in the street had procured his attention and his desire to impress, the endless reflections on the way to Kyoto had solidified that… the jail, perhaps, had been the beginning, the Rengoku the confirmation, and after that it had just become steadily stronger and stronger and, as a consequence, more deeply repressed. It had almost surfaced in the smoke and dust of that protracted battle of many enemies when he’d first laid eyes on him again after believing him dead for so long, but Sano had been too steadfast in his denial to allow that.

It was liberating, really, to make a clean breast, even if only with himself. It was a relief to allow that the reason he’d been so inexplicably, so drastically horrified in that burning fortress had not been merely the unnecessary loss of a strong ally. He felt a strange and unexpected clear-headedness, as if in being honest with himself he had suddenly simplified the whole world. He loved Saitou, and he didn’t even mind thinking about it.

Too bad he wouldn’t be seeing him again. Hokkaido, was that it? He thought that was what he remembered Kenshin saying. Well, it didn’t matter… Hokkaido or America or the moon; it made no difference now.

He wondered what Saitou would say about his current situation. Surely the wolf would have nothing but contempt for Tani, but Sano doubted his concern would extend as far as a stupid rooster that had made the pig mad. But Saitou, having been transferred, wouldn’t even know, so wondering if he would care was rather extravagant.

Still, Sano didn’t bother to stop himself imagining nice things that might have been. It wasn’t likely they would have been, but he’d met stranger couples. And in all honesty, he didn’t really think Saitou had hated him as much as he’d pretended. Maybe they could have been happy…

It was interesting he’d chosen to delve into this issue when he had nowhere near enough time to do so thoroughly. Perhaps it was because Saitou, and the fact that Sano loved Saitou, and the idea that if he’d realized it sooner things might have been different, was pleasantly, absorbingly distracting.

That was what Saitou would say, he realized belatedly — “You should have learned to defend yourself.” And surely he should have, or should, at the very least, have been quicker in his attempt to flee the country. He laughed weakly.

He wondered if, were it possible for Saitou to know of this anomaly of being simultaneously first and last in Sano’s thoughts, he would appreciate it.

First because Sano loved him more than he might have been able to express even had he had the chance.

Last because they were fitting the noose around his neck even now.

He closed his eyes, and burning gold was all he could see.



The idea for this story evolved at work (McDonald’s), and I got so agitated about it that they actually let me go home early so I could write it XD I’ve rated it . What do you think of it?

This story is included in the Saitou/Sano Collection 1 ebook. An outdated audio recording is included in the Saitou/Sano Audio Collection.

8 thoughts on “Distraction Sufficient

  1. Wah!sobby angstfests far aside, *this* is the kind of dark story that etches itself into your skin — a nice, slow burn, much like Sano’s much-too-late realization. Shiver. And although my inner SxS bunny wibbles that Saitou would’ve swooped in and saved Sano at the last moment… the last line is so beautiful, it must be final.

    1. Yeah, every once in a while you need something horrible… but I agree, I totally picture Saitou just randomly showing up at that point and being like, “Oh, I actually love you and you just never noticed and now I will save you from death!!!!!!!!!!” and then they could live happily ever after the way they’re supposed do XD Anyway, thanks so much for the comment! Glad you liked it ^__^

  2. AW CHRIST!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE HELL!!!!!!! SAISA-SENPAI, YOU JUST BROKE MY HEART. The whole time, I’m nodding and like, “yep…yep…exactly. this is exactly what he’d be thinking and Sano is realizing he was being dumb and now he’s going to go to Hokkaido and–” then the last line hit and nothing is right anymore. AAAAAAAAAA

    Backtracking for a second here though…this is absolutely how I saw Sano’s affection blossoming for Saito, with those chain of events. Like I think it all started as being inspired because Saito is clearly in a class above as a fighter, and for someone like Sano, that’s not so much a threat as it is a challenge. And I think as he trained, that inspiration and respect morphed into admiration. And admiration turned into affection. And it all kinda happened in this perfectly smooth motion that Sano could definitely just have this realization strike him like this. Having your headcanons play out so flawlessly in another author’s story is immensely satisfying.

    And while this ending made my eyes go wide and had me gasping, I love you for it, because it evoked hella emotion in me. AND THAT’S WHAT GREAT WRITING DOES. SO THANK YOU!!

    1. Yeah… sorry about that… I don’t write a lot of tragic deathy stuff like this, but it was just such a compelling idea when it struck me…

      I agree that what I described here as far as Sano’s sequence of emotions is kinda the most… canon-agreeable? …way it could have happened. Like, if I were determined to make it fit with the events of the manga as closely as possible, this is how I would have it happen. I’ll add, though, that Sano probably wouldn’t have recognized it yet — would have repressed it far longer — if he weren’t in this exact situation right now. Because I am cruel.

      I do envision a sequel to this, however, where Saitou shows up to stop the execution just in time (probably in some dramatic fashion, because Saitou) and catches Sano just as he’s come to this shocking realization and is even opener than usual, and then that’s a really emotional and awkward scene. I like the idea of a separate story sequel particularly because not only does it allow Sano to not die, it still leaves the emotional impact of this story intact.

      So, yeah, sorry if I blindsided you with this XD Thanks for reading anyway!

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