So I’ve often written (or at least often daydreamed and occasionally written) about both Saitou and Kenshin being in love with Sano and rivals for his affections. To me this seems like a super obvious setup (almost a lazily obvious one, really), because it makes total sense that they’d both want Sano and they’ve already got a rivalry going on.

But it occurred to me today that I’ve never seen (or even really considered) the idea of Kenshin and Sano butting heads over Saitou. This is a way less obvious scenario — obviously, or I’d have thought of it much sooner. But seriously!

I like the Kenshin/Saitou pairing pretty well, and I can see a couple of different ways for Kenshin to approach this situation. First off, I’m not sure what he would do if he realized someone he was close to was romantically interested in the same person he was. Would he back off? Because he might just back off. Kenshin’s sometimes stupidly selfless like that. But what if he either didn’t recognize Sano’s feelings for Saitou, or his own?

In the first case, oh, crap! Kenshin might quietly pursue Saitou until he was in too deep for even his stupid selflessness to allow him to back out when he finally did realize that his best friend liked the same guy. In the second, I could see him totally trying to keep Sano away from Saitou ostensibly for the usual reasons — Saitou’s not good for Sano, he’s dangerous, he’s likely to be abusive, yadda yadda — but in reality, subconsciously, because Kenshin wants Saitou for himself.

Or, if it were written right, I could possibly see Kenshin actually acting as a rival — a polite and perhaps even somewhat apologetic rival with a legitimate, good-faith May the best man win attitude — to Sano. And would he have moments of Battousai in there that would freak Sano the hell out? I don’t know! It would be extremely interesting!

And Sano! Oh, the conflicts within him!! If Kenshin didn’t recognize Sano’s feelings, Sano might see Kenshin’s efforts and feel really bad about being in secret contest with him, because Kenshin’s a hero and a good, important friend to him. Would he try to force himself to give up out of love for Kenshin? He’d probably fail, heh.

If Kenshin did recognize Sano’s feelings and not his own, Sano would be sure to resent the hell out of Kenshin’s attempts to thwart him, as he often already does in fics where Kenshin disapproves of Sano’s feelings for and/or relationship with Saitou. And when Kenshin’s feelings eventually came to the surface, oh, shit, son! Sano would probably be even more bitter, but then he’d undoubtedly feel sorry for Kenshin too! What then??

And as a rival, Sano would probably be a total dumbass, and I would laugh so hard at him. Man, if those two were rivals, any subtlety or secrecy in their attempts at getting Saitou’s attention would be out the window the first day. Not that that doesn’t tend to happen pretty quickly anyway when Sano’s involved.

I can imagine Saitou reacting in a variety of ways as well. I can totally see him kinda playing them off each other, making them super jealous and shit. Typically I don’t imagine Saitou as romantically oblivious (as I often envision Kenshin), but I think you could spin it that way if you worked at it… like where he wasn’t even aware that they were both vying for his attention, and he wondered why the hell they each came bugging him all the time XD But my favorite is him sitting back and watching them in disdainful amusement. And who would eventually succeed in engaging his affections? Well, that’s obvious.

Actually, if I have an OT3 in the world, it’s Saitou and Sano and Kenshin. I would more or less adore to see Kenshin and Sano as rivals over Saitou and then have them all three get together by the end. Admittedly, no matter how interesting all the above ideas would be along the way, I don’t really want to see Kenshin hurt, so a three-way relationship would be my personal favorite outcome.

Why has my very first Saitou & Sano Thoughts post been so much about Kenshin as well? XP