9 days ’til I turn 36!!
What Saitou sees in Sano is (to me) fairly obvious, his attraction (to me) perfectly natural. But what he does about it… that story can go in a variety of plausible directions — and does! That’s what fanfiction is ^__^
And what if Saitou, while (at least on some level) recognizing his interest in and desire for Sano, is operating under a subconscious assumption that nothing can come of this? Not like, We can’t be together because of [reason] and [reason], but a truly subconscious attitude — he has never even considered that he could do something about this attraction he feels. Because in his head, life just doesn’t work like that; duty eclipses everything. It has literally never even occurred to him that a romantic relationship is a thing he could have. His feelings are just one more thing he has to deal with, and entirely a dead end rather than an avenue.
Of course this would send Sano hella mixed messages. Whenever Saitou was around, he would get the feeling Saitou liked him — gradually, of course, the way it usually happens — but then it would never, ever actually go anywhere… to a point where Sano would begin to doubt his own judgment. And he’d have no idea what to do about it. Though of course Sano is typically so proactive about things (unless some unkind author has put situational obstacles in the way of his activity *cough*guiltyascharged*cough*) that he would probably bring it up after not too long.
Actually I think it would play out a little like my HoH situation between those two… except that, instead of asexual and completely aware of what Sano wants and just reluctant to get into a relationship, Saitou would be totally oblivious — not to the existence of romantic relationships, obviously, but to the idea of himself in one.
And Sano, of course, would be flabbergasted when he found out what Saitou’s deal was. He’d probably be the first to put it into words, too, in a mixture of astonishment and horror. Saitou himself would be far less horrified, but probably somewhat interested to recognize something that’s been going on in the back of his head his whole life.
What I think would astonish Saitou is a somewhat abstract variant on the not unusual I can’t believe this amazing person feels the same way about me and is part of my life attitude — a kind of, I can’t believe there’s room in my life for this, or what a difference it makes. I think he would find himself constantly surprised by the possibilities and expectations of a relationship, and in a way he would feel like a much younger man as he learned to apply this very basic concept to himself for the first time.
Of course some of this would come out in Sano’s presence from time to time, and at first Sano would be flattered… until he realized that it’s the novelty of the relationship that has Saitou in awe, not anything about Sano specifically. But then he would realize (possibly Saitou, depending on the current mood of their interaction, would even point out) that Sano was the one, after twenty-some years of adulthood in Saitou’s life, to finally get him to learn that lesson. So Sano really is pretty special after all.
I also have this idea that Kaoru and Kenshin are involved. Because I think Kenshin could easily have the same thing going on in his head. And I kinda like to think of Kaoru figuring it out first by watching both Saitou and Kenshin while poor confused Sano is trying to decide what the hell to do about Saitou’s mixed messages.
In fact I think she considers Saitou and Sano her test case, once she figures out what the deal is. She sees these two guys (Saitou and Kenshin) that were so steeped in what they were doing as younger men (and, in Kenshin’s case, as a very young man) that they haven’t been able to move on more than nominally — that, though they’ve changed some of the trappings of their lives, underneath are still living as they always did. Neither one has a setting for romance. And Kaoru wonders whether that can be changed, and starts to work on Saitou first.
Obviously this would be slightly different than the usual Kaoru-as-matchmaker behavior, which I think could contribute amusingly to Sano’s confusion, but obviously Kaoru’s determination and heart would win the day in the end: Saitou and Sano would get together (with all the previously mentioned and continuing reactions), and Kaoru would have a template for herself and Kenshin. So everyone could live happily ever after!!
I don’t know why I find it so sadly charming to think of Saitou (and Kenshin) in possession of romantic feelings but not of the awareness that those feelings could be acted upon. Somehow, though, I’m just enthralled by this thought XD