RKAIM

You have just entered room “Kaoru’s Chat Room.”

Now see how many conversations you can follow at once.




Sexy Fox Bitch – Instant Message
Kenjutsu Komachi: Megumi-san!!!
Sexy Fox Bitch: What’s up, girl?

Kenjutsu Komachi:
same as always

Sexy Fox Bitch:
You mean Ken-san isn’t paying attention to you?

Kenjutsu Komachi:
:O

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Shut up

Sexy Fox Bitch:
ho ho ho

Kenjutsu Komachi:
you’re in Aizu so you it’s not like he’s paying attention to you either

Sexy Fox Bitch:
*sighs* You’re right :

Sexy Fox Bitch:
But it’s OK, because I may be hooking up with a guy here

Kenjutsu Komachi:
That’s great! *hugs*

Sexy Fox Bitch:
He’s a friend of the family. He IS a little older than me, but I don’t mind…

Kenjutsu Komachi:
awesome!! older guys are the best!!!

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!! – Instant Message
Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
*glomps*

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
Kaoru-san!!!!!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Hold on, let me start a chat

Chat Room – Kaoru’s Chat Room

You have just entered room “Kaoru’s Chat Room”
Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!! has entered the room
Sexy Fox Bitch has entered the room


Kenjutsu Komachi:
Now we’re all together!

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
*waves* HI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
How are you, Misao-chan?

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
Great!! How are you?

Kenjutsu Komachi:
:D I’m eating leftover rice-balls that Kenshin made!!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Fine… Kaoru-san, it’s no surprise that you’d prefer even a leftover rice-ball Kenshin made to one of your own

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
lol, Sexy!!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Well, at least he makes rice-balls for ME

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
Ouch!!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Let’s invite him to chat

Kenjutsu Komachi:
what he’s on? oh he is!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
…inviting…

Kenjutsu Komachi:
No, I will!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Too late

Rurouni has entered the room


Kenjutsu Komachi:
Kenshin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Ken-san!

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
*glomps* Himura!!!!!!

Rurouni:
My… I seem to be very popular here!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-snuggles Rurouni- Of course you are! You’re the only mane we know with red hair!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
*man

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*pulls out shinai* hey, bitch…!

Rurouni:
Umm… I’m inviting Sano in, OK?

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-readies scalpel- What is it, Komachi dear?

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!!!:
Yay, Kenkaya!!!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*laughs at scalpel* I jsut wanted you to come over here

Kenkaya Zanza has entered the room


Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
*glomps Zanza* Hi!!!!!!!!!!

Kenkaya Zanza:
feeling outnumbered by women, rurouni?

Kenkaya Zanza:
hi aoshi’s girl

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-holds onto Rurouni- I’d rather sta yover here, thanks

Sexy Fox Bitch:
*stay over

Rurouni:
Yes, Sano, I was

Rurouni:
Oro?!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Misao-chan, can I borrow your kunai?

Super Samurai 94783 has entered the room


Kenkaya Zanza:
i’m afraid to get online cause some sycopath is stalking me

Super Samurai 94783:
Hi, everyone

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
lol *hands Komachi kunai*

Rurouni:
Who’s stalking you, Sano?

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*holds up kunai* well, Bitch, you can stay there if you want…

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
There’s nothing wrong with stalking people online!!!!!

Kenkaya Zanza:
i dont know if he’s relaly stalking me, but i see him everywher and he’s so rude

Kenkaya Zanza:
yes there is aoshi’s girl what the hell are you talking about?????????

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho, you can’t throw those!

Rurouni:
But who is this stalker, Sano? Maybe I know him.

Amber Wolf has entered the room


Kenkaya Zanza:
WHAT THE FUCK THAT’S HIM WHO THE HELL INVITED HIM??????????

Kenjutsu Komachi:
what do you mean, I can’t throw them? Sano, get over it!

Super Samurai 94783:
This is my friend Amber Wolf, Kaoru you don’mind do you?

Super Samurai 94783:
don’t

Amber Wolf:
I do seem to know how to make an entrance… thank you for the all-caps greeting, Zanza

Rurouni:
Oro? Zanza, this is your stalker?

Sexy Fox Bitch:
You’re such a terrible shot, Komachi, you’ll hit Rurouni if you throw those!

Kenkaya Zanza:
YES

Super Samurai 94783:
Wolf, are you stalking Zanza?

Rurouni:
Please don’t throw kunai at me….

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
I’m an online stalker too!!! Good to meet you, Amber Wolf!!! ^.^

Amber Wolf:
Stalking, is it?

Kenjutsu Komachi:
this is a chat room, so my aim is improved like you won’t believe!

Kenkaya Zanza:
amber wolf, i think u must be gay

Rurouni:
Aoshi’s Girl, I think you are maybe too hyper to be a real stalker.

Super Samurai 94783:
Speaking of gay…

Amber Wolf:
Zanza, I think you must be mentally retarded.

Rainbow Scythe has entered the room


Sexy Fox Bitch:
-laughs- Will you risi it, though?

Sexy Fox Bitch:
*risk

Rainbow Scythe:
Hi, all!! :: glomps Super Samurai ::

Rurouni:
I can see why you don’t like this ‘stalker,’ Zanza!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
hi, Rainbow! you’re Yahiko’s friend, aren’t you?

Kenkaya Zanza:
amber wolf is such a bastard

Rainbow Scythe:
:: smiles seductively at Super Samurai :: Oh, I’m much more than just his friend!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Bitch, I have a new idea. *grabs Zanza’s sword* now I can reach you from here without throwing anything!

Super Samurai 94783:
What?! Rainbow, you’re going to make these poeple think I’m as gay as you are!

Kenkaya Zanza:
what, kenjutsu, you’re grabbing my sword? i thought it was rurouni you liked!

Super Samurai 94783:
people

Amber Wolf:
Super Samurai, do you mean to say that you *aren’t* gay?

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Oh ho ho ho!

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
lol, Amber Wolf!

Rurouni:
Oro??

Super Samurai 94783:
What?!?!?

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
roflol, Zanza!

Rainbow Scythe:
:: pouts :: Well, do you mind if I invite my REAL boyfriend in, then?

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Zanza, you’re an idiot! Rainbow, I don’t mind.

King Of Hell has entered the room


Kenjutsu Komachi:
Bitch, let me rephrase. *grabs Zanza’s ZANBATOU*

Queen Of Hell has entered the room


King Of Hell:
I found you guys again! Did you think you could have a chat without me?

Kenkaya Zanza:
who the HELL r u 2?

Sexy Fox Bitch:
You don’t scary me with that thing… you can barely lift it!

Rainbow Scythe:
:: glomps King of Hell, kisses ::

Sexy Fox Bitch:
*scare

Super Samurai 94783:
LOL, Zanza!

Queen Of Hell:
Don’t talk to him like that! Rainbow Scythe, get off him!!!!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Zanza, have you never meet the King and Queen of Hell before?

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
I wish Aoshi-sama would get online…

Kenkaya Zanza:
what kinds of names is King of Hell and Quen of Hell?

Rainbow Scythe:
:: laughs at Queen of Hell :: Your dress is falling off, hon.

Kenjutsu Komachi:
well, it IS a stupid kind of sword, but it’s the only heavy weapon in the room!

King Of Hell:
What kind of a name is “Zanza?”

Kenkaya Zanza:
a fucking cool one!!! kenjutsu, are you inslting my zanbatou???

Rainbow Scythe:
:: laughs again and tosses Kenjutsu his scythe :: Look out for the ball-and-chain!

King Of Hell:
And if I’m really the king of hell?

Kenkaya Zanza:
why would u call yourself what u really r? kinda goes against the point of being online

Amber Wolf:
Yes, we couldn’t do that…. then Zanza would be “Complete Idiot.”

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*catches the scythe* wait, are you Kamatari?

Queen Of Hell:
Amber Wolf, LMAO!

Kenkaya Zanza:
shut the fuck up, wolf

Amber Wolf:
Or perhaps “Constantly Intoxicated.” And Kenjutsu seems remarkably quick at picking up on things.

Rainbow Scythe:
:: blows kiss, winks :: Of course I am!

King Of Hell:
Wolf, good call.

Kenjutsu Komachi:
hey! how was I supposed to know?

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-snuggles Rurouni-

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
*whines* I wonder where he is….!

Kenkaya Zanza:
then wolf would be ‘ugly bastard.

Amber Wolf:
“Unable to Type” …Kenjutsu, I think “Rainbow Scythe” was somewhat of a giveaway.

Rurouni:
Oro?

King Of Hell:
roflol

Rainbow Scythe:
Good idea, Sexy…. :: snuggles King of Hell ::

Super Samurai 94783:
LOL! Stop picjing on Zanza!

Super Samurai 94783:
pickin

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Samurai, he deserves it. Who do you think is paying for his internet connection? Besides, Amber’s picking on me too. Bitch, don’t make me come over there!

Super Samurai 94783:
picking

Queen Of Hell:
*glowers at Rainbow Scythe* You’ve got three seconds to get off my man, you queer pervert!

Amber Wolf:
“Cognitively Defunct”

Kenkaya Zanza:
for your information, i’m at katsu’s place

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-beckons, hugs Rurouni tighter- Come right over, tanuki-girl!

King Of Hell:
Amber Wolf, I like the way you think.

Rainbow Scythe:
:: grins, feels up King of Hell ::

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Zanza, mooching off of HIS connection? *runs, attacks Bitch with scythe*

Queen Of Hell:
*counts:* THREE Hey, Constantly Intoxicated…

Kenkaya Zanza:
DON’T CALL ME ANY OF THAT CRAP

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-ducks behind Rurouni, starts mixing chemicals-

Rurouni:
Oro??? Don’t attack me, Kenjutsu Komachi!

Super Samurai 94783:
Aoshi’s Girl Forever, do you have Aoshi’s other address?

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*ducks around Rurouni to find Sexy Fox Bitch* don’t try to hide!

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
OTHER ADDRESS??!?!?!?!?!??!?!??!?!??!?!??!?!?!??!?!

Kenkaya Zanza:
heh, I can balance the mouse on one finger

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-throws acid in Kejutsu’s face-

Amber Wolf:
Thank you, your majesty. *bows* And Zanza, you never cease to fail to amaze me.

Rainbow Scythe:
:: kisses King of Hell repeatedly ::

King Of Hell:
Amber Wolf, you don’t have to mock me like that… I really AM the king of hell… *is losing patience with Rainbow Scythe*

Queen Of Hell:
*counts:* TWO

Kenkaya Zanza:
wolf, can U balance the mouse on one finger, huh? huh?

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*dodges the acid, strikes with scythe* (and you spelled my name wrong)

Super Samurai 94783:
Yeah, it’s Midnight_Okashira@angelfire.com

Amber Wolf:
Is there nothing better to do in Hell than this? Zanza, if I were so pathetic as to attempt to best you in such matters, I certainly wouldn’t admit it in a public chat.

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-dodges the strike, prepares a syringe- (oh, I did… ‘Komachi’ is much easier to type)

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
OMG, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!

Rainbow Scythe:
:: starts to disrobe King of Hell ::

Rurouni:
Ladies…. um….

Queen Of Hell:
ALL RIGHT, YOU FAGGOT! I’VE HAD ABOUT ENOUGH OF THIS!!!

King Of Hell:
Kamatari, I think that’s enough.

Kenkaya Zanza:
fuck u, wolf

Super Samurai 94783:
Yeah, he’s got an Angelfire website too, didn’t you know?

Rainbow Scythe:
I guess it’s time to kill Yumi at last! :: looks around for scythe :: (lol, Zanza, yes! you should! yummy!)

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*attacks Bitch again* wait, Rainbow, do you need this back?

Amber Wolf:
Rainbow Scythe, was that an invitation?

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! WHERE IS IT?????

King Of Hell:
*sighs* She’s already dead, you idiot. She can’t fight anyway. *draws sword*

Super Samurai 94783:
www.angelfire.com/shinomori/okashira/.

Rainbow Scythe:
:: kisses Amber Wolf :: I was just thinking it would be fun to watch. Kenjutsu, yes, please. King Of Hell… if I can beat you, will you go out with me?

Super Samurai 94783:
Minus the .

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
looking… Thank you so much!!! *glomps Yahiko*

Kenkaya Zanza:
rainbow i can’t believe u just did that!!!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*returns the scythe to Rainbow*

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-jumps on Komachi while she’s not looking, injects her-

Rurouni:
Oro?

Amber Wolf:
Rainbow Scythe, I did NOT ask you to kiss me.

King Of Hell:
And if I can beat YOU, will you leave me alone?

Super Samurai 94783:
No prob.

Amber Wolf:
King Of Hell, I suggest that if you can defeat him he should transfer his affections to Cognitively Defunct.

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*rips needle out of arm* what the hell was that?

Kenkaya Zanza:
WHAT THE FUCK?!?

Rainbow Scythe:
:: winks at Zanza :: Hey, that’s a good idea! I get a boyfriend either way!

Sexy Fox Bitch:
You just look so tense, Komachi… I thought you could use a sedactive.

King of Hell:
Once again, Amber Wolf, I like the way you think.

Sexy Fox Bitch:
*sedative

Kenjutsu Komachi:
I need a weapon! Somebody give me a weapon!

Kenkaya Zanza:
NO

Rainbow Scythe:
Yay! :: dances ::

Amber Wolf:
I would, Kenjutsu, but I’m afraid you’d accidentally hurt someone important.

Queen of Hell:
For god’s sake, Rainbow, stop dancing.

Super Samurai 94783:
LOL, Wolf

King of Hell:
Amber Wolf, the only important people in here are well-capable of defending themselves.

Rurouni:
Kenjutsu, Fox, why are you two fighting anyway?

Kenkaya Zanza:
I M NOT A PRIZE FOR U RAINBOY SCYTHE

Rainbow Scythe:
All right, here we go! :: attacks King of Hell :: (Rainboy, Zanza? that’s a pretty good name for me!)

Amber Wolf:
You do have a point, your majesty, but she might also accidentally destroy the weapon while she was at it.

King of Hell:
*easily evades Rainbow Scythe’s clumsy attack*

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Rurouni, if you don’t know, I don’t think either of uss will explain it to you. And you know you can call me Sexy, right?

Sexy Fox Bitch:
*us

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Amber, just give me your sword before I kick you out of my chat!!

Queen of Hell:
Kenjutsu, I have a tantou you could use…

Rainbow Scythe:
Ah, but don’t forget that the ball will swing and strike you even if you evade the attack!

Kenkaya Zanza:
she just calle du Amber

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-snuggles Rurouni-

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Thanks, Queen, but not enough range. I want Amber’s sword.

Kenkaya Zanza:
Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber

Amber Wolf:
Zanza, what is so interesting about that word?

King of Hell:
*cuts the ball off Rainbow Scythe’s chain*

Kenjutsu Komachi:
BITCH!

Rurouni:
Oro

Kenkaya Zanza:
cause it’s a girl’s name

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Yes?

Super Samurai 94783:
LOL, Zanza

Rainbow Scythe:
No! Not my ball and chain!! :: attacks King of Hell again ::

Amber Wolf:
Hmm, you’re right.

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
YAHIKO >.<

Kenkaya Zanza:
Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber

Kenjutsu Komachi:
GET

Kenjutsu Komachi:
OFF

King of Hell:
*dodges again, makes sword flame*

Super Samurai 94783:
What, Aoshi’s girl?

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!! Do you really mean that, Komachi??

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
WEASELS AND THEIR NATURAL PREDATORS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

Kenkaya Zanza:
Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber

Kenjutsu Komachi:
NOT LIKE HTAT

Kenjutsu Komachi:
THAT

Rainbow Scythe:
I knew you were as flaming as I am! Hee! :: attacks ::

Amber Wolf:
That’s getting annoying, Zanza.

Sexy Fox Bitch:
Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
Zanza stop that

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
IS THIS A JOKE DO YOU THINK IT’S SO FUNNY TO SEND ME TO A WEBSITE ABOUT THAT WHAT THE HELL IS YOUR PROBLEM YOU LITTLE BRAT *THROWS 999999 KUNAI AT YAHIKO AND BEATS HIM UP*

Queen of Hell:
Not funny, Rainbow.

Kenkaya Zanza:
Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber Amber

Sexy Fox Bitch:
-kisses Rurouni-

King of Hell:
*slices Rainbow Scythe to pieces*

Super Samurai 94783:
Hey, Aoshi’s girl, I never looked at the site just sent you to it! It’s Aoshi’s damn website, not mine!! *beats Aoshi’s girl with shinai*

Amber Wolf:
*stabs Zanza*

Kenjutsu Komachi:
BITCH I will fight you with my bare hands!!

Kenkaya Zanza:
WHAT u can’t stab me!! i’ll kick your ass with my ZANBATOU

Aoshi’s Girl Forever!!!:
DIE, YAHIKO!!!!!

Kenjutsu Komachi:
*attacks Bitch*

Rainbow Scythe:
Hey!

Amber Wolf:
*kills Zanza*

King of Hell:
*sets fire to Rainbow Scythe’s corpse*

Kenkaya Zanza:
WHAT

Rurouni:
ORO?!

This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down


Originally this was going to be a graphic fic, but it was too much of a pain in the ass to make, so it ended up just prose. The one thing I regret about that is that in the graphic version, you got to see Aoshi’s screen name — “Not Misao’s Man” — on the list of Kaoru’s contacts that weren’t signed on.

Over the years since this was first posted, many people have been under the mistaken impression that this is an actual transcript from a chat where various people were casually role-playing RK characters. While this is flattering to me (sort of), it’s not the case. I wrote this. The typos, stylistic differences, and idiocy are all intentional. If it feels like a real chat, I win.

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

This story is included in the Rurouni Kenshin Collection ebook.



Sano’s Secret Fear


“It’s really dark. I can’t see a damn thing.”

“Well, what did you expect?”

“I dunno. Fire or something.”

“The fires died down hours ago.”

“Oh. I think I might have been out…”

“Yes.”

“I can’t believe I made that jump!”

“It was quite a surprise.”

“But why did I jump at all if everything was gonna get so dark?”

“I don’t know why you jumped, but that isn’t the reason it’s dark.”

“Fuck, I- I can’t stop coughing, there’s so much… something… in the air in here. What did you say?”

“It’s smoke. And dust. And I said your jump wasn’t what made it dark.”

“What was it, then?!”

“It wasn’t my doing either, so there’s no need for that tone.”

“Well, then, stop fucking laughing at me and tell me why it’s so dark!!”

“It’s dark because we’re trapped in a place with no light.”

“You don’t have to act so patronizing.”

“And you don’t have to act so petulant. A head injury doesn’t give you the right to be even more immature than usual.”

“Are we gonna die in here?”

“No.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

“How?”

“I have men on the way; they’ll be doing a thorough search of the entire premises, and they’ll find us eventually.”

“Men… um, all right… and then it won’t be so dark?”

“That’s right.”

“I’m not scared of the dark, you know.”

“You sound scared.”

“I’m not scared to die, either!”

“I just told you we’re not going to.”

“Oh, yeah, you did. I forgot.”

“You should try to sleep. You did hit your head rather hard.”

“I can’t sleep. I’m scared.”

“You just said you weren’t.”

“I’m afraid of…”

“Afraid of what?”

“…”

“Did you fall asleep, I hope?”

“No… no… just…”

“Lie down. You’re too weak to be talking.”

“No, no, I’m fine. It’s just… I can’t remember…”

“Can’t remember what?”

“Where are we? What are we doing here? Oh, shit, I can’t remember…”

“Ahou, this is very bad timing for amnesia.”

“Ah– Oh, wait… yeah, I think I remember you.”

“Good.”

“And we’re still in that fortress?”

“Yes.”

“And you were being stupid, and I was gonna try and help…”

“Yes.”

“And now we’re stuck.”

“Yes.”

“Right, I think I’ve got it.”

“Good.”

“Are we gonna die in here?”

“Once again, no.”

“Good, because…”

“Because?”

“Because I’m scared…”

“Scared of…?”

“I bet your worst fear about death is to die in the middle of something, like when you haven’t won yet.”

“That’s fairly accurate, yes.”

“Well, I just don’t wanna…”

“Don’t want to what?”

“I’m nineteen, man!”

“I know; no need to sound so desperate about it.”

“But how pathetic would it be for me to die a virgin?”

“Why are you telling me this?”

“I dunno… who are you again?”

“Try to sleep.”

“No! I’m scared I won’t wake up.”

“You are not going to die, and I am not going to tell you again.”

“How can you be sure of that? And what’s the sigh for?!”

“Of all the idiotic things to be afraid of…”

“Shut up! I’m stuck in some cave-in in a stupid fortress we can’t escape from because I was the only one smart enough to try and jump for some guy I can barely remember ’cause I hit my fucking head, and now I’m gonna fucking die here a gorgeous nineteen-year-old who’s never even kissed a man in his entire fucking life, let alone had sex with one!”

“If you can barely remember me, how can you be sure you’re correctly remembering those nineteen years?”

“I don’t know! It doesn’t matter! I’m scared, and you’re fucking laughing at me!”

“Calm down. You’re going to hurt yourself again.”

“No, I’m–owww! Fucker! Fucking shit!”

“Ahou.”

“I’m bleeding again, dammit! There’s fucking blood on my–”

“I’m coming over there. Just sit still.”

“Shit, I’m gonna die, I’m really gonna die, I’m gonna die in this fucking burning airless hole–”

“Hold still and let me– ”

“–where I can’t see a fucking thing or breathe or even move without cracking my head open on something or–”

“–it’s just a scratch; head wounds bleed a lot–”

“–and never fucking see anyone again, but I can’t even fucking remember half of ’em anyway and I don’t even fucking know if I’ve ever had a–”

“–if you say ‘fuck’ one more time, I will kill you myself–”

“–die never even kissed anyone, dammit, and fucmmmphhh!!”

“… Now will you shut up?”

“You just…”

“Kissed you, yes. So you can die happy.”

“You said I wasn’t gonna die!!!”

“You only will if you keep blabbering. And stop being hysterical; you’re so shrill it hurts my ears.”

“But…”

What?!

“It’s not just…”

“What? Let go.”

“I mean…”

“I am not going to fuck you here.”

“But what if I…”

“You are not going to die. Don’t cling.”

“You keep saying that, but how the hell do I know you’re not just trying to–”

“All right, listen to me. Will this make you happy — I won’t let you die a virgin.”

“You swear?”

“Yes. Now stop hugging my arm.”

“Don’t think I’m gonna let you forget that…”

“Ahou, I’m not the one who is going to be utterly mortified to recall all of this tomorrow.”

“Why would I be–”

“When you remember who I am and realize what you just made me promise you. Now try to sleep.”

“Mmm, sleep.”

“No, not on me. I’m going over there.”

“My head hurts.”

“I’m sure.”

“Will it hurt less when I wake up?”

“Probably.”

“All right. Good night.”

“… Good night, ahou.”



An interesting thing to note here is that even I don’t know whether Sano’s faking or not — is he really having memory problems because of a blow to the head, or is he just playing it up to get what he wants from Saitou? An entirely different but possibly even more important question is: wouldn’t Saitou know better than to tell someone with a head injury to go to sleep?

I’ve rated this story .

This story is included in the Saitou & Sano Collection ebook (.zip file contains .pdf, .mobi, and .epub formats).


Birthday Present


Saitou paused outside his apartment, absolutely silent and still, dropping the hand that had initially risen to open the door. He couldn’t go in yet. He had things to think about. It wasn’t that he was afraid, of course… it was just so inconvenient, all of it. It wasn’t that he thought he might have hurt his lover, either… it was just that the latter was so difficult to deal with when miffed. Saitou probably wouldn’t be getting any tonight, and that was remarkably bad timing.

He couldn’t shift the blame, though, or deny that it had been a lapse into unprecedented stupidity. He’d thought he had more self-control than that; maybe it had just been one fuck too many?

But really… they’d never made each other any promises, never suggested there was any emotion involved in their convenient situation. There was no reason to think the idiot would be angry, because what could he expect? Faithfulness? He should understand the nature of their relationship better than that by now. No, there was no good reason for anger.

But still… even for someone as callous as Saitou admitted himself to be, and even in as cold an arrangement as this, calling out the wrong name in bed seemed a little unkind.

This to himself he could freely admit, but it wasn’t likely he could say it out loud. It was likely he would have to make something that at least sounded like an admission of guilt if we wanted to get laid tonight. And he needed to get laid tonight. He spent one last moment coming up with a few things he could say without actually apologizing, and opened the door.

He hadn’t expected this.

Oh, this was bad timing.

He stood in the entryway and couldn’t stop staring at the wall immediately opposite: at the great empty spot where not even the heavy mounting hooks that had lately been sagging remained. His eyes traced the slightly brighter pattern that marked where the sword had rested. If the zanbatou was gone, it could mean only one thing.

He moved swiftly through the other rooms of the apartment, confirming his first suspicion: nothing was left; he was entirely alone, and obviously with little hope of a reunion. That must have been why his lover hadn’t been around all day: he’d been busy moving out.

Well, Saitou certainly wasn’t getting laid tonight. Bad, bad timing.

With a sigh he sank into the chair beside his desk and closed his eyes. That was no good, however, as the backs of his eyelids seemed to be burned with the image of a spiky-haired, golden-skinned young man in white who beckoned sexily to him but was not physically present to follow up on the tease.

What was he supposed to do now?

There was something foreign on his desk that he hadn’t noticed before. He reached for the folded paper, unsure as he opened it what to expect — some kind of accusation, probably, an unnecessary explanation as to why Saitou found himself suddenly without a roommate. It appeared to have been written calmly, however, which was a good sign. That handwriting was always neater than he expected, no matter how often he saw it, and the words always looked quite different on paper from how he knew they would have sounded aloud.

Hey,

You’re probably worried, but don’t be. I’m not mad or hurt or anything. I knew all along you were only with me because I reminded you of him. The sex was always good, but we each like someone else, right? You probably think this is really bad timing too, what with him being in town for that girl’s birthday — you’re probably horny as hell — but I’ll tell you something I found out. The little thing he’s got going with Shinomori is exactly the same as our little thing. Shinomori didn’t want the girl until she was legally an adult, and was just with your boy because he reminded him of her. They ended it a while back since she was going to turn eighteen soon. I don’t think she knows about them, and I don’t think he knows about us. So go get him!

–Chou

P.S. I can’t remember if this wakizashi is mine or yours. I’ll bring it to work on Monday so you can tell me.

At first Saitou was slightly stunned, staring at the words as if they were some sort of magic spell that held him entranced. But after a moment, as that image he’d watched for an instant on the back of his eyelids only seconds before seemed to become more material and a good deal more plausible, he smiled. Folding the paper again neatly, he stood and looked around the room that now bore no traces of Chou’s ever having been there. The broomhead had more sense than he’d thought; certainly he had good timing. Perhaps Saitou would get laid tonight after all.

He thought it might be nice to visit the Aoiya with a birthday greeting for that weasel-girl.



I’ve rated this story .

This story is included in the Saitou & Sano Collection ebook (.zip file contains .pdf, .mobi, and .epub formats).


Saitou’s Secret Fetish


Two men in a slightly darkened room.

An air between them of surprise, tension, secrecy.

A worried tone.

“You swear you won’t tell anyone?”

A look.

“I swear.”

The shaking-out of folded garments; the rustle of fine cloth.

A floral pattern, sparkling gold stitching. Crimson and gilt.

Eyes widen. Disbelief that he’s actually going to put that thing on.

“It’s pretty, isn’t it?”

A dumbfounded nod.

The black yukata goes before, the sable obi and golden sash after.

A box is opened by precise gloved hands; one of the men gapes. “You’re not seriously…”

A silencing look.

Cool white cream smooths over warm skin, hiding all natural coloring.

A whisper. “‘Jime, I can’t believe you’re actually doing this.”

Rouge.

A young man by now very much discomfited. “I had no idea you were into this kind of stuff.”

A black pencil around already-dark eyes.

“I mean, you of all people…”

A harsh look, a remembered agreement.

A sweep of gemlike scarlet across puckered lips.

Finished.

A mirror held up in satisfied gloved hands.

A tori-atama actually trembling. “I don’t believe what I’m seeing.”

An amused reply. “You look lovely; besides, you agreed to it, in exchange for–”

“Yeah, yeah, I know… but when do I get to wash this crap off?”

“After we’re done.”

A licentious look. “Fine. But is this what I gotta let you do to me every time I wanna top you?”


This was written for Queen Yokozuna’s Sizzle and Burn s a i s a Fanfiction Challenge, for the cross-dressing bonus category. These days it teeters on the edge of being downright hateful, so I’ve rated it .

This story is included in the Saitou & Sano Collection ebook (.zip file contains .pdf, .mobi, and .epub formats).


Rurouni’s Kiss


Sano tugged with nervous but absentminded adjustment at his gi. He had no real reason to believe it was sitting wrong — it wasn’t a tight or fitted garment; it didn’t matter how much of his chest showed; the thing just hung off his shoulders in any case — and when he realized what he was doing, he yanked his hands away and stowed them in his lap. No reason to think I look any different than I ever do, he reminded himself somewhat fiercely.

“Sano, are you all right?”

Dammit, why can he always tell when something’s wrong? Well, maybe because I can’t stop playing with my stupid clothes… He caught himself smoothing out his pants even as he made this reflection, wishing almost subconsciously and for the first time in his life that he could steam the creases, and again jerked his arms away. With a self-conscious laugh he replied, “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine,” and avoided meeting Kenshin’s gaze. But he found as he raised a hand behind his head in one of his typical casual gestures that he immediately started fingering his hair as if to make sure it all stood out from his head correctly.

I should just go out there and wait, he reflected, irritated. Being in here’s gonna give them clues. A glance at the clock, however — perhaps his hundredth since he’d entered — nixed this idea. If I go out there now I won’t even know when it’s seven. He could never show up at all and I wouldn’t realize until midnight or something. So instead he concentrated on eating, glad Kaoru was at an evening teaching session at the Maekawa dojo and had left Kenshin to cook supper: it wouldn’t do to head out on an empty stomach (or, worse, an upset one).

Some symptoms must have continued to exhibit, though, for he suddenly felt Kenshin’s hand covering his own. Startled, he looked up into the big purple eyes he’d so successfully evaded just moments before, and blushed. It scared him when Kenshin touched him that gently. “Sano,” Kenshin said in a low, worried tone. “Are you really all right?”

This more intense repetition of the question caught Yahiko’s attention, and the boy looked up from where he was avidly wolfing down his food.

‘Wolfing’ — why that term? Didn’t he want to calm himself?

He breathed deeply, trying not to acknowledge the earnestness of Kenshin’s expression, trying to appear casual, trying to give no indication of the reason he was so desperately nervous and becoming more so with every movement of the hands on the clock’s face. What to say, what to say… Obviously he needed to reassure his companions he was all right, and in some manner decisive enough to prevent their asking him again or following him out the door when he left… or Kenshin’s continuing to give him that I-think-I-might-like-you-as-more-than-a-friend look.

“I’m trying to decide whether to go gambling tonight,” he said after the barest moment’s reflection. “It’s so cold I may just go to bed, but all the guys’re gonna be there.” It might make sense to them, he hoped, that he was agitated with indecision.

Kenshin relaxed visibly. “Oh, I see,” he remarked, seeming appeased. Sano still didn’t like the look in his eyes, though — the one that said, “I’m glad you’re all right, but if you weren’t, I could have helped.”

And all of a sudden he found himself checking his hair again. Stop doing that! he chided. Kenshin’s not gonna buy your excuses if you keep primping like jou-chan!!

It didn’t appear Kenshin had specifically noted Sano’s behavior or guessed its significance, but Kenshin had a terrible habit of noticing exactly what you didn’t want him to. A speedy exit from the dojo, Sano thought, was in order. He shoveled down a last mouthful of food and stood with a forced stretch. “Well, I’m gonna head downtown and win some money, so I gotta get outta here before jou-chan shows up and tries to kill me for even thinking about it.” He flashed them a grin and headed for the door.

Swiftly Kenshin stood as well. Oh, no, Kenshin, don’t do this to me, Sano begged his friend mentally. But Kenshin only moved aside as he passed. Once more Sano avoided his eyes.

“Don’t forget your coat, Sano,” the rurouni said, apparently as a means of making Sano look over at him.

Sano didn’t take the bait. In fact, he almost laughed — and a moment later paled because of it: Kenshin was dull sometimes, but frighteningly quick-witted at others… and Sano had the feeling a jealous Kenshin would be the sharpest of all. Not a good idea, then, to laugh at the ridiculous idea of forgetting his coat. That coat.

As he slipped it on, the same wash of warmth he’d felt every time he did so came over him, and he took a deep breath to aid in his effort to keep a silly smile off his face. Finally turning to the others for the last time — in truth he was just looking at the clock across the room — he waved goodbye. Then he practically bolted out the door.

His nervousness hadn’t abated, obviously, as he was still checking his attire when he climbed the hill at last and looked around. He wasn’t sure why he’d chosen a location so close to the Kamiya dojo — stupid coincidence, really — but he hoped he wouldn’t have to be there long. Certainly not long enough for Kenshin to decide he was cold or lonely or whatever and come after him.

Stop playing with your damn bandanna! he told himself as he again succumbed to subconscious worries about his appearance and started fiddling. Ignoring the frigidity of the ground, he sat down against a tree and put both hands firmly behind his head, fingers interlaced so he couldn’t annoy himself any more. And he started to wait.

Under normal circumstances he would have fallen asleep like this, relaxing out in the open in a soft coat, the chill of the air notwithstanding, but these were far from normal circumstances. His agitation, already great, continued to grow and grow until his stomach actually hurt. He’d never once thought things would go well tonight — only pure desperation had driven him to this extreme at all — but now the worst-case scenarios started running through his head, and he almost couldn’t stand it.

It had to be seven by now… the wall clock in the dojo had said six thirty, and he’d been freezing his ass off out here forever!

But what if he waited alone all night? As he’d remarked to himself earlier, he might never know what time it was until seven had long gone… In his current nervous state he could well be misjudging the passage of time. And was there any real reason to believe he wouldn’t wait out here alone all night? A remembered look, a forlorn hope… He must be a fool.

But really, it had to be at least seven by now.

He shifted against the tree, and that was when he noticed it: the thin scent of tobacco drifting faintly to his nostrils from somewhere above and behind. He jumped to his feet and whirled. “How long have you been there?” he demanded.

Saitou shrugged, taking another drag on his cigarette and blowing the smoke into Sano’s face. “Since seven,” he said at last. “I assumed you’d say what you were going to say when you were ready.” But the quirk of his lips spoke otherwise: Saitou, reveling as usual in his superior skills, had just been waiting to see how long it would take Sano to notice him.

Despite this aggravating behavior, Sano no longer tried to keep the silly smile off his face. The inevitable result of looking into the gold fire of Saitou’s eyes was that abruptly he wasn’t cold anymore. He could have remarked on this; he could have called Saitou a bastard for standing there without saying anything for however long; he could have teasingly implied that Saitou had done so merely out of desire to admire Sano longer; he could have just gotten down to what he really wanted to talk about. But he managed none of this. Instead, brilliantly, “You got my note,” was what he came up with.

“No, ahou, I’m just standing here in the freezing cold talking to a complete idiot on a ridiculous whim.”

The consternation that had previously manifest as a pain in Sano’s stomach grew. The officer’s presence had driven away his exterior nervousness, but the fear remained to gnaw at his insides. That Saitou was here in response to his request at all was a hopeful sign, but might not really mean anything; things could still go entirely wrong. Sano almost couldn’t believe he was actually doing this, had actually gotten this far.

“Has your mouth frozen shut?” Saitou inquired. “Generally you would have made an amusingly futile attempt at a witty response by now.”

Once again, any number of potential replies careened through Sano’s head, and for a second time what he eventually did say was completely inane: “Yeah, it really is cold out here.” Great, ahou, way to make an impression. Talk about the weather.

Saitou seemed to have the same idea. “Is that what you called me out here to talk about?”

“No…” Contrary to his last statement, Sano began to feel uncomfortably hot as he contemplated broaching the subject he’d intended all along. You suck, he told himself. You’ve been worrying about this for weeks; why didn’t you use that time thinking up what words you were gonna use instead of playing with your clothes? As if spawned of this reflection, his next action was to tug at the collar of his coat.

“If you came to thank me again for buying you that coat, you’re welcome.”

“Um, that’s not… I mean, yeah, thanks, but that’s… I mean…” He usually didn’t have trouble talking to Saitou; what the hell was his problem? You know what your problem is. Just tell him already!

Saitou was gazing into the sky, apparently studying the stars as he calmly smoked his cigarette. He looked amazingly elegant thus, with a long black trench-coat over his shoulders, glowing hand raised casually to his lips as his face turned toward the sparkling heavens that framed his figure. Dammit, Sano, admiring him isn’t gonna make you any less nervous! Just say what you fucking came to say!

He gathered up every last bit of his courage and strength, building a wall against fear, nervousness, and any feeling of awkwardness he might be entertaining. “Saitou…” he began.

Saitou glanced over his shoulder at him, and it all shattered.

“Damm,” Sano muttered, turning away. When he wasn’t facing him, he realized, it might be easier. “Saitou,” he said again, less hesitantly this time.

“That is my name,” Saitou replied. “I’m glad you’ve learned it. Next we’ll see if you can spell it.”

He wasn’t sure how he finally managed to get it right, but by some trick of fate he was able out of this third roulette of response choices to pull the correct reply. “Saitou, I love you.”

As he blurted the words out, a fierce blush overtook his face and spread in a hot wave through his entire body — which had already been a bit overheated from what had gone before. This was probably the most embarrassing thing he’d ever done, admitting he was in love with someone he’d once considered his arch-nemesis, and he frantically tried to put off Saitou’s inevitable mockery by further speech. He found, though, that once he got started it was difficult to stop — difficult to allow a silence to fall in which he knew would also fall the other man’s taunting rejection.

“I know it sounds crazy — I mean, it’s definitely crazy, and I think I’m probably crazy for falling for someone like you, but I did fall for you, and it’s not my fault, so it’s too late now. It started back when I was just hanging around with Chou and I kept running into you and I started thinking you might not be so bad even though you’re still a bastard, but that’s why I like you, I think — I mean, part of it, anyway; it’s not like there’s nothing else about you I like; it’s not completely crazy, I promise — but then when I went with you guys to Yokohama trying to find that one yakuza boss and it snowed and shit, that was really intense; and you bought me this coat without even me saying anything, and I was thinking you weren’t as much of a bastard as I thought, and I just kept liking you more and more, even though you’re still a bastard, just less of one, but that’s why I like you, I think–”

There was a hand on his shoulder. He shut up with a gasp. None of it had been entirely coherent, and he’d been starting to repeat himself anyway; it was probably better that he stop. And now Saitou’s gloved hand was on his shoulder. For whatever mock sympathy the man would have to offer as he broke Sano’s heart, Sano braced himself as if he were readying for a physical blow. God knew he’d had enough blows from Saitou that he should be able to withstand this one.

“Sanosuke,” Saitou said quietly.

Sano couldn’t breathe. Saitou had never called him that before — it was always ‘ahou’ or occasionally ‘roosterhead,’ and every once in a while some other choice term of insult fitted to their specific situation. But now suddenly, “Sanosuke,” Saitou said, and withdrew his hand. Not allowing himself to dare to hope, Sano turned slowly, his heart not beating, to face the man he loved.

The latter had turned away from him again, and for a second time looked wordlessly into the sky. Finally, in a tone far gentler than any Sano had ever heard from him, “It wouldn’t work,” he said.

Among all the responses Sano had imagined, from the cruelest derision to the warmest acceptance, this had no place. “What… what do you mean?”

“It wouldn’t work,” Saitou repeated. “You and I are too different.”

Sano was baffled. Was that regret he heard in Saitou’s voice? Did that mean what he thought it meant? “Too different?” he echoed. “I thought that’s why people fall in love — ’cause they’re different, and they admire stuff in each other they don’t have themselves.”

“Hn.” Saitou’s amusement so expressed seemed unbelievably bitter. “I suppose it does work that way for some people.”

“Why not for us?” Sano took a step closer, drawn by the inexplicably forlorn aspect of the dark man staring up into the cold stars.

“We have different ideals, different ways of life. We’d only end up annoying and hurting each other.”

“But Kenshin and Kaoru are like that!” Sano protested. The fear was returning, but now, blended with anger and sadness, it was a hundred times worse.

Saitou gave a short laugh, but said nothing. Sano couldn’t hold back any longer; he pressed himself close against the other man, wrapping his arms around Saitou’s chest and hugging him tightly. Cheek laid against Saitou’s shoulder, he murmured again, “I love you.” Saying it the second time was easier.

For a moment it seemed Saitou would relax into his embrace, but the next instant he was pulling away, moving Sano’s hands off and turning to look him in the eyes for the first time during the interview. “You are so naïve,” he said, but, though his tone carried his typical scorn, there was little energy behind it. Indeed, as their gazes met, Sano was taken aback by the regret he saw plainly there. “It wouldn’t work. But you’re young; you’ll find someone else as pretty as you are.”

Not for the first time that evening, Sano said entirely the wrong thing. “You… think I’m… ‘pretty?'”

Saitou snorted. “And stupid.” Abruptly he turned, his coat flying out like a cape as he spun, and began to walk away. “Just forget all of this, ahou.”

“Saitou!” Sano protested, desperate and furious. “I can’t love anyone else! Don’t fucking throw me off like this! I’ll never find anyone else I want like I want you!”

Saitou paused in his long stride, and, turning again, retraced his steps up the hill. There was a glitter in his eyes that frightened and bewildered Sano: a feral, irate, erotic look that heated him even further despite the winter night. He took a step back as Saitou advanced all the way to him and seized his wrist. “Ahou,” Saitou growled, and unexpectedly punched him in the gut. As Sano crumpled, the officer caught him, lifting him by one side of the coat he’d bought for him last month. “Is this what you want?” he demanded angrily, and proceeded to crush Sano’s mouth with his own.

It was like nothing he’d ever felt before, not even in his most fiery dreams. Saitou tasted like pure strength, and his bruising kiss sent shockwaves of desire through Sano’s body in a burst of chaos. As Saitou threw him roughly to the ground, standing over him like an avenging angel, Sano’s mind cried out the answer to his last question, Dammit, yes, that’s what I fucking want! However, as usual, his mouth wasn’t listening to his brain and immediately shouted what would be his typical response to such actions: “You bastard!”

“I see you can be brought to reason.” Saitou smirked, but the expression was devoid of any enjoyment. “There’s nothing gentle about me,” he said. Preparing to depart once again, he added, “I’d probably just end up killing you.”

Sano jumped to his feet, angrier than before. “You think I care?!” he shouted. “You think it fucking makes a difference to me if you wanna beat me up? Well, if that’s what gets you off it’s fine with me, but you don’t think I can handle it, do you? It’s always the same thing with you: I’m not strong enough. Well, dammit, Saitou, I’m strong enough to handle whatever you dish out as long as…” Saitou showed no signs of responding or returning. “…as long as you love me,” Sano finished dully.

“Don’t come bothering me again, ahou,” Saitou’s voice floated back as he disappeared completely into the darkness.

***

Well, that was done. A fair night’s work, in all, he thought: he’d compromised his dignity, he’d broken the poor idiot’s heart, he’d practically claimed he had abusive tendencies, and he’d walked away from yet another challenge. Yes, indeed, an excellent list of accomplishments for one evening. He’d probably set a new record, as this had to top his previous feat of having Sano convinced for two months that he was dead.

Firmly restraining any physical signs of his utter despair at what had just transpired, he still found himself stopping just around the bend in the path and listening. He told himself he needed to make sure Sano wasn’t following him, and this had nothing to do with his overwhelming desire to run back and kiss him again. He’d done the right thing; it was a matter on which he couldn’t possibly have been mistaken. There was just no way they could be happy together. He would not allow himself to take another lover he would only end up hurting over and over again as he had the last. Strong enough to handle it, Sano claimed? He didn’t think so. He turned to stalk off again, and froze.

Well, it was freezing outside anyway, but he did stop abruptly. He heard voices behind him: Sano’s and… Battousai’s. Damn. If Himura had seen their exchange, he would, most likely, come after Saitou with drawn sword for trying to molest his poor, pretty, oblivious friend, and then Saitou would be forced to kill him.

“Have you been here since you left?” Himura was asking in a surprised tone, and Saitou drew a breath of relief; obviously Battousai hadn’t witnessed the tragic interview.

“Uh, yeah. Just looking at the stars,” he heard Sano reply. Of course the proud young man wouldn’t admit what he’d really been doing, Saitou reflected fondly, even to his supposed best friend.

“You have been acting strangely all day. I had to come find you.”

“That’s real nice of you, Kenshin, but I’m fine. Really.” Saitou thought Sano overdid the last word a bit, and knew Battousai wouldn’t fail to notice. He began to creep back toward the meeting-place, slipping into the trees that flanked the path.

“Are you sure?” Himura’s voice sounded concerned; how touching.

Sano sighed and apparently gave up trying. Even as Saitou found a good spot where he could watch the entire scene, his heart twisted at the miserable look on Sano’s face. “Yeah, so maybe I’m not fine.”

Moving closer to the kenkaya and putting a hand on his high shoulder, Kenshin said, “Sano, you know I would be glad to listen to anything you want to say.”

“It’s not something I really wanna talk about,” Sano admitted, “but thanks.”

The suspicion that had been forming in the corner of a mind always on the alert for the approach of enemies heightened intensely as Himura moved even closer to Sano and spoke again more softly. “I hate to see you hurting. Are you sure there is nothing I can do?”

Sano seemed to have caught wind of the worrisome tendency of his friend’s demeanor as well, for he took a hasty step backward. “Thanks, Kenshin, but really, I need to–”

At this moment Battousai interrupted with a desperate cry of, “Oh, Sano, why can’t you see how I feel?”

“Kensh–” was all Sano had time to say before Himura had thrown himself at him and seized his face in a passionate kiss.

This was too much. Saitou’s hand gripped the hilt of his sword so tightly his knuckles must have been pure white beneath his gloves. Himura was kissing his ahou. It took only a moment for fury to fill his vision and turn everything blood-red; but of course he managed to restrain himself. It wouldn’t do to slaughter the unsuspecting rurouni in the very arms of his friend. But something had to be done.

The look on Himura’s face as Saitou emerged from behind the tree, seized Sano, and dragged him off around the bend in the path almost quicker than thought — the stunned orororo look beneath the red hair was really quite priceless, and, though Saitou had not spent long observing it, he would always treasure the memory. He generally didn’t allow himself to indulge in such sensations, but it felt undeniably good to deny Himura something he wanted like this.

Sano managed to escape from Saitou’s grasp not long after, and fell into a combative position with an expression of intense pain mingled with anger. He was breathtaking, as always, but that display of mixed emotions added a poignancy that pierced Saitou’s heart.

“What the hell is your problem?” Sano demanded.

“He was kissing you,” Saitou replied, managing to remain calm despite the pounding in his chest. He feared that all his careful efforts earlier at smashing their potential relationship would now fall to nothing.

“And why do you fucking care who kisses me?” Sano shouted. “You just got finished telling me you didn’t want me! What am I, some ‘pretty’ statue for you to look at but nobody’s allowed to touch?!”

Saitou’s eyes narrowed and he took a step closer. “First,” he said, “I never told you I didn’t want you; I only said I was likely to hurt you. Second, I should think you would thank me for saving you from a situation you obviously weren’t doing a very good job getting out of.”

Sano gaped. “And who ever said I wanted to get out of it?”

Saitou laughed bitterly. “As if I couldn’t tell.”

“So you do want me, and you sneak around spying on me, and you don’t like Kenshin kissing me, but you won’t fucking get with me! What the hell do you want?” It was exactly what it sounded like: a question voiced honestly from the last desperate confusion of Sano’s heart.

It wasn’t fair to say Saitou melted, or snapped, or any other term so extreme. Even to say he gave in would be a bit of a misnomer. Certainly, though, some change in resolve must have become evident in his eyes, for as Sano said his name uncertainly, it was nearly a whisper, and he seemed to be trembling.

And Saitou moved forward to take Sano in his arms. “Sanosuke,” he said softly, “do you understand what I was saying earlier?”

“Better than you think,” Sano replied in a surly tone, although he wasted no time in returning the embrace. “You wanted it to sound like you’re cruel so it’d scare me off, but I think you’re actually just really intense when it comes to shit you care about, and not very good at lightening up even when you know you need to. But so what? I knew that already. I mean, you shoved a fucking nihontou through my shoulder when we first met!”

“But who says I cared about you then?” Though this reply was somewhat amused, Saitou also couldn’t help a feeling of startlement at Sano’s incisive assessment. No matter how he tried to ignore it, Sano was always more observant, and had sharper powers of interpretation, than Saitou wanted to believe. It was harassingly attractive.

“I do,” Sano said matter-of-factly. “You couldn’t resist me then, and you can’t resist me now.”

Saitou drew back, staring the young man earnestly in the face. Despite his serious desire to convey this alert — serious enough to have exaggerated or cast it in the worst possible light, just as Sano had accused him of doing — all he could feel as he looked into those hopeful eyes was joy that he’d finally decided to allow himself this luxury. “You don’t seem to be getting it, ahou.”

“I’m getting it just fine!” Sano protested, moving closer in clear indication that he wanted another kiss. “You’re not easy-going or even very nice most of the time, and people close to you get hurt by that. It’s not hard to understand. And I wouldn’t blame you for your stupid warnings if you were getting with someone like, say, jou-chan… but it’s me. I’ve been through all sorts of shit; I’m strong; I can handle it. And maybe I can even help you soften up sometimes.”

Trying not to think about that hypothetical match between himself and the tanuki, Saitou reflected instead on Sano’s other words. Finally he smirked. “Is that a promise?”

“Is what a promise? That I can help you change?”

“That isn’t very likely, is it? People have been trying that for years. No, I want you to promise you are strong enough.”

Sano frowned. “I swear on my fucking life. Whatever you want this to be, I can take it.”

Saitou wasn’t entirely satisfied, but he wasn’t going to fight it anymore. Maybe Sano was right, and he could find some softer side within himself that might have saved some of his previous relationships if he’d been able to access it. He doubted it, but perhaps Sano would prove strong enough to handle him after all and he wouldn’t have to. At any rate, Saitou couldn’t stand the thought of letting him go now, running the risk of Himura’s picking him up. Admiring a single Sano from afar he could handle; watching Sano happily coupled with someone else — especially his longtime rival — he could not. Even if it meant risking both their happiness, he would not give him to Battousai.

Evidently Sano was about to kiss him. “Whatever I want,” Saitou echoed suddenly. He let his hands move down Sano’s back to delve under the significant coat, into the high waistband of those white pants, and back down to squeeze smooth, tight buttocks. “Whatever I want,” he said again, his expression turning feral as he grinned into the widening eyes opposite him. Sano was blushing wildly. Saitou had never supposed him a virgin until now, and laughed as he touched his lips briefly to the younger man’s, speaking into them. “And you can take it.”

“Of-of course I can!” Sano stammered into his mouth, moaning slightly as Saitou’s hands moved to grasp his hips and draw him closer. They pressed into each other for a lustful kiss from which Sano only withdrew gasping. “I told you… I can handle… anything you can dish out.”

Saitou pulled his hands free and found a cigarette to smoke that didn’t taste nearly as good as this young man here that he’d wanted for so long. He was surprised at how steady his grip on the matches were, as he thought he must be shaking with pent-up desire about to be fulfilled. “Shall we go find out?”

Sano clamped onto his arm, leaning his spiky head on Saitou’s shoulder. “Mm, yeah,” he breathed into the older man’s ear.

“All right. Your place or mine?”

“Yours… you might change your mind about all this if you see my sorry excuse for an apartment.”

“Ahou. You’re just hoping I’ll feed you.”

“Damn straight. But only after sex.”

And the two walked off into the night to enjoy the spoils of victory.

***

Atop a nearby hill, a red-haired man stood thoughtfully in the same spot he’d occupied for the last several minutes, running an absent finger across his bottom lip. He was staring out into space with an expression similar to the one he’d worn when, only a short while ago, a blue flash had appeared from behind a nearby tree and pulled Sano out of his embrace and away.

A voice floated toward him from the direction of the dojo. “Kenshin?”

“Coming, Kaoru-dono!” Shaking himself at last free of the stupor that had gripped him, he hastened back the way he’d originally come.

She was waiting for him nearby. “Well, how did it go?” she asked as he joined her.

He finally smiled. “Just as we expected.”

She clapped her hands together gleefully, clasping them briefly and emphatically before letting go in order to take his arm. “So it worked?”

“Saitou grabbed Sano away from me so fast I almost could not see him.”

She laughed at his exaggeration. “And do you think they worked things out?”

“I don’t know. What they were saying before I came up… Saitou has some valid worries about the whole thing.”

Kaoru waved a hand in dismissal as she searched her bag for the key to the outer dojo door. “Oh, that’s ridiculous. Anyone can see they’re meant to be together: the jerk and the idiot! It’s perfect!”

“Yes…” Kenshin replied faintly.

Kaoru looked up at him, curious at his tone, and found him with his hand touching his mouth and a strange expression on his face. “Kenshin, are you all right?”

“Yes…” he said again, shaking his head.

“What is it?”

“I had never… kissed a man before…”

She was silent for a moment, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. “You- you kissed him?!”

“I wanted to be convincing.” He was almost afraid of the horrified tone in her voice.

“Kenshin… you don’t really like Sano, do you?”

“No, not at all!” he hastened to assure her. “I just…”

“What did he taste like?”

“Kaoru-dono!”

“I’m sorry… it’s just that… I’ve never kissed a man before either.”

She was gazing downward with a slight blush at the audacity of her words, playing unconsciously with a lock of her hair, and looking so innocently sweet that Kenshin simply couldn’t resist drawing her into his arms, tilting her face up, and kissing her gently on the mouth.

And thus two matches were made by Kaoru’s efforts that evening, although she’d only ever intended one. She wasn’t complaining, though.



I’ve rated this story .

Once I decided to do a five-page mini-comic of one scene, taking it as far as where Saitou says, “Don’t come bothering me again,” and walks dramatically away. Of course, I being I, only one page got finished… but at least you can look at that one:

I had all five pages mapped out, and had even made a fairly good start on the second one, but something distracted me and the project just died. I kinda like that first page, though.

This story is included in the Saitou & Sano Collection ebook (.zip file contains .pdf, .mobi, and .epub formats).