“You need to learn the difference between persistence and stubbornness,” Saitou half-sighed, dropping the butt of his cigarette and grinding it underfoot before turning to face the young man approaching him through the dusk.
“Is there a difference?” Sanosuke wondered, his tone an interesting mix of dark determination and joviality.
Saitou couldn’t believe the idiot had managed to keep this up for so long. “One evidently too subtle for you to grasp,” he replied at a murmur, undoing the top two buttons on his jacket.
“Fuck subtlety,” was Sano’s growled retort as he hurled himself forward to attack for… yes, Saitou believed, this really had to be the thirtieth time.
“Your personality in two words,” the officer marveled as he jerked aside, dodging the kick Sano aimed at his shoulder, and, turning, slammed a solid blow into the young man’s face.
Sano had no reply for the quip other than to wipe vaguely at the trickle of blood now issuing from his nose, clench his fists, and come back for more.
“Eventually you’re going to have to realize,” Saitou was admonishing patiently as he blocked a few punches and returned a few, rather idly, of his own, “that it can take just as much strength to admit defeat as to keep fighting a losing battle forever.”
Sano staggered back and slowly regained his balance. “You’re so sure I’m never gonna get anywhere with you.”
“You’ll never defeat me,” agreed Saitou, waiting for the next charge.
“Ch…” Sano rubbed absently at a growing bruise on his right forearm before making it. “Even I know that by now.”
“You’ve attacked me every evening for a month, and barely hit me a handful of times.” Saitou caught the fist that was flying toward him, twisted to dodge the other, slammed his own hard in Sano’s ribs, and threw him back again. “If you know you can’t beat me, what can you possibly hope to gain from this?”
Coughing and stumbling, his face a grimace of pain, it was several moments before Sano could answer. “Proof… that you’re not… invincible.”
A black eyebrow rose. “If you haven’t figured that out by now, I don’t see how my beating you up every day will help.”
“I already know it.” Sano’s breathing was labored from the last blow, and his growl was considerably subdued. “I wanna prove it to you.”
“If I were under that impression,” Saitou wondered as he sidestepped entirely the roosterhead’s next attack, “and you did somehow manage to disillusion me” — spinning and elbowing Sano in the back of the head — “what makes you think I’d admit it to you?”
But there was no answer, as with the crack of contact between arm and skull Sano fell limply to the ground.
Saitou stepped back, brushed off his jacket and refastened the top two buttons, and stared at the unconscious figure as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it. “Ahou,” he muttered, though not to any particular purpose. After a few moments, he crouched at Sano’s side, flipped him easily over, and examined briefly the wounds inflicted by today’s bout. These were difficult to distinguish from yesterday’s wounds, but it seemed he’d actually broken a rib with that punch. He sighed; to the doctor, then.
He’d altered his route home to take him past a clinic when it had become obvious that this new hobby or fixation of Sanosuke’s was not going to relent for a while, and the boy had timed things well enough this evening that it was only a short walk there with the extra weight.
“Again, Fujita-san?” asked the doctor in a despairing tone as the officer entered.
Saitou, laying Sano’s slack form down on the table as usual, shrugged. “It makes just as much sense to me,” he replied, drawing from his pocket, as usual, enough money to cover today’s treatment. “I believe he has a broken rib this time.”
The doctor sighed, taking the money and stepping into the next room to retrieve what supplies would be necessary to patch Sano up yet again.
Saitou looked down. “Ahou,” he said softly once more, shaking his head. “How many days will it take you to find something better to do with that energy of yours?” He snorted and added in a very dry and quiet tone, “As if I’d admit it to you.” Then quickly, briefly, he bent and brushed his lips against Sano’s. “I was invincible.” He went to the door, turning to glance back once before he exited. “See you tomorrow.”
This story is for 30_kisses theme #16, “Invincible, unrivaled.” I’ve rated it . What do you think of it?
Even when Sano’s one-up on Saitou, he’s still the one unconscious with a broken rib. I love it when he manages to win something, though. All it took to show Saitou was a month of getting his ass kicked XD
This story is included in the Saitou/Sano Collection 1 ebook.