Sano had been even lazier today than usual, ever since he’d come staggering through the doors, practically dragged himself onto the porch, and flopped down into an abjectly idle position that he’d then retained for the next several hours. It was getting on Kaoru’s nerves.
“Sanosuke!” she chided as she passed him for perhaps the sixth time and found the sight of his utter stillness just too irritating to be further put up with. “If you’re going to hang around here all day, come help me with the chores!”
Sano groaned. “No way… I’m too fucking sore to move.”
A glance at his body showed her that he was, indeed, covered in bruises and scratches and she did not know what else. “Well,” she sniffed, “if you didn’t spend all night getting thrashed, you might not have that problem. And don’t even try that old ‘You should have seen the other guy’ line!”
Sano’s face went unexpectedly red. Kaoru couldn’t help being inwardly very pleased at the sight: was her good sense somehow finally getting through to him? She took a step closer, meaning to reiterate the scold just for good measure, but as she drew within smelling distance she found another subject to complain on instead. “Did you get into those awful tobacco things, or have you just been hanging out with people who smoke them?” Bending toward him she added with a grimace, “Ugh! You’d practically have to be kissing them to smell this bad! Sano, please tell me you haven’t taken up smoking yourself?”
Sano was blushing even more than before, and consequently Kaoru was even more pleased than before: for him to realize that he was in the wrong, that his indolent lifestyle was a burden to those around him, was a step in the right direction — and she had been the one to convince him of it at last!
“No,” he mumbled, “I don’t smoke.”
“Good,” she replied with a decisive nod, though she wasn’t entirely sure she believed it. “Now come help me with the chores.”
Despite his apparently increasing awareness of her wisdom, it took some bullying to get him up and moving, and then she noticed that he really did seem to be in pain: he was walking very stiffly and slowly. Her attitude a little softened, she gave him a relatively easy inside task that even a stupid drunkard of a brawler that might have taken up smoking couldn’t mess up. She hoped.
Just to be sure, she went in to check on him after a few minutes — only to find him nowhere near where he was supposed to be. Instead, he was in the kitchen. Assuming he was looking for a covert snack while her back was turned, she prepared to sneak up on him and give him a good whack on the head to pay him for his bad habits. But she stopped short in confusion when she observed that he had opened the cupboard where she kept spices and seasonings and seemed to be putting something into it rather than taking something out.
“What in the world are you doing?” she asked, perplexed, before she remembered she was trying to be sneaky.
He jumped, and whirled to face her with a visage even redder than before. “I… last night I noticed that you’re out… so I thought I’d… get you some more…” he stammered.
“Out of what?” she inquired, coming closer and looking past him at the bottle he’d placed in the cupboard. “Is that cooking oil? Wait — are you the one who’s been using it? I ran out yesterday making lunch and wondered how in the world I was going through it so fast! What can you have been doing with it? You don’t cook, do you?” She stared at him skeptically.
He cleared his throat and scratched his head. “Yeah, actually, I’ve been trying a little of that lately.”
Kaoru had to laugh. “Well, I don’t see what’s so embarrassing about that. Next time just tell me, and I’ll let you use whatever you need.” She beamed at him. “I think it’s great that you’re trying to take responsibility for feeding yourself!”
“So eventually I hadda promise that sometime I’d come over and make dinner for everyone,” Sano finished with a grimace as he sank into the steaming water and sighed.
Saitou chuckled. “Time to learn to cook, then.”
“Time to sneak some bento into the dojo’s more like it,” Sano grumbled. “And you getta pay for it.”
“It’s your own fault for not thinking about being prepared for things until five minutes beforehand.”
“And since when is it my responsibility to provide lube anyway?”
“It’s your ass.”
“But you’re the one stretching it out of shape, bastard!”
Saitou, who was always in a good mood in the bath, just smirked somewhat lazily.
Sano laid his head back with a slight moan. “Just for future reference, spit is not enough. It might be days.”
Despite the dire quality of this pronouncement, Saitou was still smirking.
“You think it’s funny,” Sano growled, “but it’s your fucking fault!” Standing up abruptly and turning, he bent over and demanded, “Does this look comfortable to you?”
Saitou’s eyes glinted, though he was simultaneously amused at the unceremonious display. “Comfortable for you or for me?” he wondered, moving across the bathtub to where Sano’s posterior was making such an undignified exhibition. Sano was about to reply angrily to this flippancy, but Saitou silenced him by adding, “It does look unusually red, though,” and running his tongue over the sensitive spot.
Well, to say that silenced Sano is not quite right, for he made some interesting noises, but it did keep him from protesting.
“Don’t think this means you get to fuck me later,” he gasped.
“I wouldn’t dream of it.” Saitou managed somehow to sound chaste and terribly sarcastic in the same breath before going back to his task.
“Yes, you would,” Sano contradicted, “you dirty old — god!”
“Certainly the first time anyone’s ever called me that,” Saitou remarked thoughtfully, and reached a hand up and around to see if his actions had had the anticipated result.
Sano leaned both elbows against the tile floor around the bath and moaned loudly.
Being irresponsible had very mixed consequences.
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