List (Mobile Without Motive)

Sano awoke very slowly, mostly because the greater part of his energy was being directed toward combating a looming hangover. There was always a sort of perverse, bitter pleasure about waking up hung over, though, because the more miserable it was, the more fun that meant he’d probably had the night before — so the waking wasn’t as slow as it could have been.

Eventually he opened his eyes and looked sluggishly around for Katsu, but wasn’t surprised not to find him; the artist was willing to hang out with him at the dojo from time to time, but wasn’t comfortable spending the night there. This was always impressive — god knew being picky about where he slept when drunk was more than Sano could usually manage — but often Sano would prefer to have someone nearby to complain to, describe his headache to, when he came around in the morning. That this might be another reason for Katsu’s consistent abandonment of him after he passed out he could not fail to be aware.

Slowly attaining greater mobility, he began eventually to observe the minor disarray of the room; he’d better get this place straightened up before jou-chan wandered in… but there was no way he was going to attempt standing just yet. When his eyes fell on a somewhat crumpled piece of paper lying carelessly on the floor not far off, however, he did make the effort to reach over and grab it. And while he endeavored, squinting, to read it, he had to chuckle (and wince) at the memory of the silly conversation that had occupied a large part of last night’s edge of lucidity.

List, the paper was headed in Sano’s handwriting: a creative title that only a drunk could come up with. Well, at least he hadn’t drawn little hearts around it.

1 – Pretty

After some argument with Katsu over whether he could definitively demand this characteristic when his attention could as easily be drawn to a man as a woman, Sano had struck it out and written Sexy instead. After this he’d apparently decided to make an essay in abstract on the subject, for something nearly illegible went on about turning heads and not looking like everyone else and off the bottom of the page. Sano would probably have to scrub the rest of it off the table or the floor or his leg later.

2 – Has money

Katsu, who for all his politics and getting-things-done was sometimes a good deal more fanciful than Sano, had protested violently against this being on the list. Sano couldn’t remember what argument he’d had for practicality over romance in this instance, but as the point was not crossed out he had to assume he’d thought of something decent. Drunk was pretty much the only time he could out-philosophize Katsu.

3 – Good cook

The list was getting more difficult to read, and next to this entry was some addendum that had been entirely scribbled over; if Sano was remembering correctly, it had been some comment to the purpose of (Not like jou-chan!), and was glad that, even when drunk, he had enough sense of self-preservation to keep that at least from possible public view. The Kenshingumi had been in and out of the room all evening, though, so, assuming thereby that he’d had constant reminders, he didn’t give himself too much credit.

Katsu had objected to requiring culinary skills almost as strenuously as he had to the money thing, and though he’d obviously been argued down again, he’d evidently carried his point enough that the next two items were a little less shallow.

4 – Recspect

Sano thought he got the gist of the scrawl that meandered next to this, but only because the thoughts had been his in the first place: something about recognizing and not failing to acknowledge good traits, having your back in a metaphysical or social sense, and knowing when to stop teasing.

5 – Commartion

He was fairly sure this was supposed to say Communication. Equally mysterious were the accompanying ramblings that again marched right off the edge of the paper, and this was the end of what Sano had written.

But it was not the end of the list. Sano squinted at what succeeded; Katsu must have added on after Sano had stopped paying attention.

6 – Nice, it said in the artist’s considerably neater handwriting, then added (Not abusive)

Sano snorted. “Kinda goes without saying, doesn’t it?” Then he frowned; the next entry was in a completely different hand:

7 – Close to the same age

“Who the hell wrote that?” he wondered. And why? Who cared that much about age? He puzzled over the neat, familiar stroke of the characters for a bit; it had definitely been written by one of his friends, but he couldn’t guess which.

The following item was in yet another hand: 8 – Not obsessive/fixated

“Well, no shit,” he laughed. Obviously the dojo residents had gotten hold of his list while he’d been unconscious and thought it funny to add a bunch of stupid stuff. Not that he cared much; it had all stemmed from intoxication to begin with.

9 – Not lacking in basic social skills

Sano thought that had pretty much been covered by previous points, but maybe he was wrong; perhaps the nuances of Recspect and Commartion didn’t encompass basic social skills.

It was at a loopy, feminine hand’s 10 – Doesn’t smoke that he paused with a disturbed, thoughtful expression. It had all seemed random up until that point, and maybe he was still thinking too hard, but… He looked over the latter half of the list again. He supposed it could be a coincidence, but there really was only one abusive, obsessive, fixated smoker not his age lacking basic social skills that came to mind. And why did it seem like his friends were purposely expressing disapproval of that specific person in this specific area of discussion?

Sano, who was by now sitting up scrutinizing the list carefully, hangover nearly forgotten, gave a skeptical laugh. Did they really think… where would they get… what a stupid… unless they thought they saw something that he hadn’t noticed? It wouldn’t be the first time.

He continued to chuckle as he got up and looked around for his gi. Wouldn’t be the first time they’d been totally unsubtle about something, either.

Well, whatever the case…

He opened the door, stepped off the porch into his shoes, and headed out of the dojo in search of someone.

…they really should know by now what was his usual and immediate reaction to being told not to do something.



The original idea was just the perverseness — Sano’s friends trying to warn him away from Saitou, and Sano immediately deciding to do exactly what he’d been told not to. After that it struck me that a drunken sleepover with giggly list-making would be the perfect setup for this. Though I have to admit that I never made a list of the qualities I wanted in a sweetheart at a slumber party. I do remember one time when we wrote chain-story porn, though. But we were sober. And that’s a tale for another time.

Anyway, I find this story cute and amusing — though, as in several of my less successful vignettes, the overall point gets a little lost. In regard to the title (besides being a reference to the line in the story, a creative title that only a drunk could come up with), Poe said about perverseness (among other brilliant things), In the sense I intend, it is, in fact, a mobile without motive, a motive not motiviert. Through its promptings we act without comprehensible object; or, if this shall be understood as a contradiction in terms, we may so far modify the proposition as to say, that through its promptings we act, for the reason that we should not. In theory, no reason can be more unreasonable, but, in fact, there is none more strong.

I’ve rated this story . What do you think of it?

This story is included in the Saitou/Sano Collection 2 ebook.

19 Replies to “List (Mobile Without Motive)”

    1. Yeah, you know he probably just started out with “Nice,” and added the parenthetical later when whoever came up with the bright idea to trash-talk Saitou made the suggestion XD

  1. Dedra here =)

    Nice story =P Hm, maybe it was Saitou himself, because he knew how Sano would react…? But that’s likely just me overthinking it. I have no real clue -.-

  2. Fun ficlet! ^^ What the hell, I’ll give it a go.

    7. Couldn’t be Kenshin since the strokes are “neat” and Kenshin has messy handwriting, so… I’ll go with Yahiko on that. (Considering the difference between Kenshin & Kaoru’s age, she shouldn’t have a problem with it ^^)

    8. Kenshin

    9. Kaoru

    10. Megumi! The only one I’m confident about – a doctor would care about that sort of thing. ^_^

    Looking forward to more Saitou/Sano stuff from you! :-)

    1. Woo! Somebody tried it! ^__^ I actually had Kaoru in mind for the smoking point, simply because it was the most superficial of the four (even more than the age point, which, as you mentioned, Kaoru wouldn’t dare bring up and Yahiko would probably feel more than the rest of them anyway, considering his age) I had thought of the doctor thing, but I wanted a comment a little more cutting from kitsune-sensei.

      Thanks for commenting! ^___^

  3. I prefer to think that Sano’s friends feel that the two are so perfect for each other that they are employing a bit of reverse psychology.

  4. Hehehe, this was really cute. The thought of Katsu and the others listing Saitou’s negative traits and warning Sano from him is very amusing. And then subsequently Sano doing the exact opposite of what they wanted is like the cherry on top. I like this a lot! xD

    1. :D :D I love the idea that Sano probably wouldn’t even have clued in to the possibility (or at least not nearly so soon) if not for his friends’ meddling. They’ve done us all a favor, really!

      I’m glad you enjoyed this one; thanks for the comments! :D

  5. Ehehehe drunk Sano waking up to this list!!! How adorable~ I love how Sano’s words got all messed up because of being intoxicated, and then others just jumped in…but more than that, it was totally awesome that he starts being like WHAT DOES IT MATTER when these points get Saito-specific. I’m laughing here because like…what even possessed him to start making this list? And I’m wondering if his friends just assumed he’d be listing Saito’s qualities based on his usual/totally obvious pining and then intervened…or if Sano said something about him. I love the possibility of drunk Sano bringing up Saito, or even hinting at him somehow that’s more obvious than he intended. Lol

    Anyway, this was hilarious and it’s great that Sano’s just like “nice try, guysss” at the end, then goes off to find Saito. ehehehe Thank you!!

    1. It’s almost a guarantee that when the Kenshingumi try to interfere with the Saitou/Sano relationship, IT BACKFIRES YOU GUYS JUST STOP. And in this case it’s particularly egregious because the backfiring is based on a conscious decision on Sano’s part.

      My guess is that Sano wasn’t aware he was interested in Saitou until this very list clued him in, but the Kenshingumi saw it clearly (or at least part of it did, and alerted the rest) and was trying with what they thought was subtlety to warn him off.

      I’m glad I could amuse you with this! Thanks very much for your comments!

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