When The Fate Belongs to The Sins

BY : Ryuunosuke
Category: Rurouni Kenshin > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 208
Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin, nor any of the characters from it. I don't make any money from the writing of this story.

The dark-haired man finally reached Tokyo. It's been a long time since he was here. He left a lot of memories and felt very lonely now. Those days spent in Tokyo reminded him that he was not alone in this world. The man left many friends behind him, lost his family and beloved captain... Souzou Sagara. But he needed to do it, because time doesn't stand in place, time goes by, and people are aging and dying...

The same happened to his best friend, Kenshin Himura. Sanosuke Sagara never saw him so weak and broken. No matter how strong tree is, sooner or later it will fall down, it's a natural law, but still... The moment he found Kenshin just sitting near the dock... was very painful. Sanosuke realized it was no longer the friend he had seen before. It was a completely different person, suffering from his sins, unable to forget the past and not finding a way back to his meaningful life. Sanosuke was curious. What happened to his Kenshin? What happened to Kenshin, who wanted to protect more people than he killed? Did he still not redeem his sins?

"I was so stupid, I let him fight, though, I knew that Kenshin was ill," thought Sanosuke. "Is it really so bad Megumi wrote to me? There had to be a way to heal him, isn't it? Nah, if not those damn cops, I would be in Japan all the time."

The strong and devastating wind destroyed his thoughts. It was a deep cold winter when he finally got back from his wanders. He wanted to see a wide world and have a lot of adventures, but now it seemed very childish. At this moment, Sanosuke thought he just wanted to be stronger and grow up with experience. He wanted to follow Kenshin's path and be a rurouni* who has no place to stay for long. He wanted to understand what means to be in Kenshin's place. But deep down inside Sanosuke knew that his family was waiting for him. No matter where he was, no matter he was doing, he always remembered the days when everything was different. Now, he didn't want anything else, but stay in Tokyo forever, with the people he cares about. Maybe they really missed him and waited for his return. And he, baka tori-atama*, barely died of cold until he returned. What a shame!

Sanosuke tightened himself with his dirty cape more and went further. He lost his horse and was injured now. He tried to defend himself, but... How stupid, he lost for some idiots. Well known in the world by a fighter-for-hire, the same Sanosuke Sagara, was lost. But why? Maybe because he missed his friend. The person who showed him what really life is, when he was half rotten. When he lost his hope of living and for ten years roamed without soul, not knowing where to go and what to do for himself. He still didn't know if rurouni is dead, but he felt it, Kenshin couldn't survive in that state. Sanosuke might be able to do it longer, but not he...

The wind was getting stronger and more agile, but Sanosuke couldn't stop. He had to go to Kamiya Dojo* and stay there. He didn't want to remain a lonely wolf anymore. He had to admit that he was wrong. He had to come back here earlier. Now the city looked changed a lot, but Sanosuke could smell all the old scents. In his memory, all the ways was still the same that he walked on young days, with no money in his pockets. The first time he saw Kenshin, Kaoru, Yahiko... and Megumi. But who is here? Sanosuke stopped at the fence for a moment. Through the window he could see a young couple and a little boy running to the kitchen. When the man finally looked at Sanosuke, he saw only an obscure shadow, slowly fading away...

Sanosuke had to hurry up until night comes, because the snowstorm slowly began to fall. His long hair was covered by tiny snowflakes, the red bandana* and the cape fluttered from the wind. The man was very hungry. He traveled many miles for days just on his feet. He had a lot of money with himself, but didn't want to return just with dust in his pockets. He wanted to reward anyone who owed it, everyone in Akabeko*, because he ate food for free after all. Yeah... food and a warm bed would be useful now.

Sanosuke felt a pain in his abdominal side. But not just because he was hungry. The wound started to bleed again. He tripped on the snow and for some time layed motionless. No one saw him, the sky was already very dark. Sanosuke hadn't lost consciousness, his eyes were closed only for a moment, and then he slowly stood up and started to go again.

"Chikushou*... I don't want to die alone... not now... It's just a scratch... I thought many times I see my end, but still... I stayed alive for some reason. Why?" Sanosuke suddenly shook his head. "Wait, what? It's not like me! It's like a weakling!"

But whatever he was thinking, his eyes still looked very sad. Sanosuke walked with a lowered head, without looking at the road, because the wind blew snow in his face. Until he reached Kamiya Dojo, he was even more tired and hardly able to move his muscles. Dojo looked just like before, like nobody lived here after he left. However, Sanosuke didn't think much about it and crossed the gate. He saw a flaming light through the window, that proved that still there are people inside.

Sanosuke breathed deeply and knocked. He heard the whistling wind for a while, but later he caught a silent voice behind the door. Someone was approaching, and suddenly the door opened. Sanosuke barely holded the scream when the blade of a sword fell straight before him. Just a few millimeters missing and he would have lost his head, the sword left just a small cut in his cheek.

"Oh, it's just a homeless," said the boy and put down the sword. "I'm sorry, it's my habit. Have you come here for food?"

Sanosuke looked at the child for a while. He's just like Kenshin, a small copy of him, just with darker hair. There was no doubt he was Kenshin and Kaoru's child. Sanosuke smiled a bit. He knew from Megumi's letters that Kenshin has a son, but never saw him before.

"You're Kenji, aren't you?"

The boy was surprised. For some time he stared at the visitor, but later he heard the steps and turned his eyes away.

"Who's here, Kenji?" A familiar voice came out.

Sanosuke quickly realized it was Yahiko. When the young man saw him, he froze and looked at him with big eyes, like he couldn't believe that he finally saw his friend. After a long wanderings Sanosuke finally returned home. Yahiko couldn't go wrong, it really was Sanosuke Sagara, the person who was like his brother. The young man couldn't be amazed how he changed after living in forests and hiding from the police. Now he had long hair and a small beard, wore an old gray cape, but still had the same red bandana on his head. And his eyes were exactly the same, but more sad and deeper, like he would have suffered from life's difficulties. Of course, Yahiko didn't expect anything else, probably Sanosuke has suffered a lot of painful things.

"Sanosuke!" Screamed Yahiko and fell into his arms. He never felt so happy, so much things happened recently. Kenshin died, and then the same happened to Kaoru. Everything changed so much that he couldn't get used to it. No matter how he tried to be a real man, his eyes filled up with tears of joy. Sanosuke smiled a little and hugged him even more tighter. Confused Kenji stood beside them without understanding.

"Sano, how could you dare to leave us for so long? Why you didn't send any letters to us? Where have you been?" Yahiko spoke again and looked him to the eyes. No, he looked him to the soul... deep deep into his soul...

"I'm sorry, kid," said Sanosuke and stroked his hair. A grin was in his face. "It happened, okay? But, anyway, I'm back, ne*? Don't cry, okay?"

"Hai*." Yahiko wiped off his tears, but suddenly he became very surprised. "Wait, you're bleeding!"

"It's nothing." The man put his hand on the wound. "I got a few kicks in my ass, that's all. Don't worry about me". And he looked at calmly standing Kenji. "Oh, I haven't presented myself yet. My name is Sagara Sanosuke. I think your father told you about me, didn't he?"

"You're right, Sagara-san*." Kenji bowed down. "Nice to meet you. Himura Kenji, as you already know."

"Be strong, boy." He smiled. "Just like your father. I can say so many good things about him, you know."

"I couldn't say more about you." Yahiko laughed, but his face has changed quickly. "Seriously, you need a doctor, but Gensai-sensei* has past away long ago. I haven't seen such a good and reliable doctors for some time here."

"I don't need anything, it's nothing serious. By the way, where is kitsune*?"

"Megumi is still in Aizu. Sometimes she is coming to visit us, but has a lot of work and can't stay here for a long time. She opened her clinic, so she feels very responsible for it." Yahiko was silent for a moment. "Megumi was there for a while and cared for Kaoru before she died."

"Sou ka*... Jou-chan* also died..." Murmured Sanosuke. "I have to visit her grave some day."

"I think Megumi have missed you, you need to visit her first. You didn't say a word to her before leaving Japan."

"Yeah, you're right." Sanosuke rubbed his neck. "She should be very angry at me..."

Yahiko yawned.

"Okay, it's very late, we have to rest. But before that we have to make dinner. Sorry, we didn't have anything special after Kenshin and Kaoru died."

"Here." Sanosuke pulled out a wallet from his cape pocket and dropped it to his friend. "Go to Akabeko and buy something tasty."

"What the..?"

"On the occasion that I came back."

"All right. And while I will be in Akabeko, take a bath here, you stinky. Kenji will help you keep warm water."

"Don't worry, I can do it by myself, I'm still single, you know." Smirked Sanosuke. "And don't say Tae I'm back. Today, I'm very tired, I have to rest a bit."

"Yeah, I know..."

"Does it looks like that so much?"

Finally Yahiko went to Akabeko. Kenji helped to prepare the bath and healed the water. Sanosuke could relax, so he slipped out of the clothes and dipped into the water. It was so good that he started to groan. When he was fully dipped, he closed his eyes and started to think, but his thoughts were stopped by Kenji.

"Excuse me, Sagara-san, is the water not too hot?" He asked on the other side of the door.

"No, it's perfect. And don't call me Sagara-san, I'm just Sano."

"I'll try. I need to go now, I will not disturb you. Have a good bath."

Sanosuke heard the boy walking away, his steps quickly disappeared. The man raised his long hair high on his head and wrapped it with a towel. He wanted to enjoy the pleasure as long as possible. Kenji brought him yukata* and quietly put on the bench. Sanosuke heard the door closing, but didn't pay attention to it. Hot water warmed his frozen body. He could admit that during those years, while he was not in Japan, he was very matured and no longer was that lean, non-muscular boy. A person who didn't know he was Zanza*, seeing such a slender weirdo, never believed it was really Zanza, so he had to prove it with his fists. Now you really could believe that Sanosuke is the same Zanza, but he didn't intend or even thought of being it again. It remained in his shadow and he had different plans for his future.

"Yeah, my life as Zanza was really flighty," laughed from himself Sanosuke. "Now I will not be such an idiot, and as soon as we meet, I will make her all mine."

Having thoughts of it, pleasant tingles came in his body. Seemed like he didn't see his beloved woman for the whole eternity. Before leaving, they always annoyed eatch other, but Sanosuke felt that she can respond him the same way if he admitted love for her. It looked odd to him that he wanted to have a wife and children, after all, he was a tattered traveler with lots of adventures. The ex-gangster never thought before that he would grow up so well, he was proud of himself that he was thinking about happy family.

Lying in the bathtub, Sanosuke's thoughts fell off to his dead friend again. He smiled when he remembered how they met. Before that, the day was not special. Sanosuke just stayed in a new city and enjoyed a meal in the most popular restaurant, Akabeko. A few drunkens talked about the government loudly around him, which, as always, very annoyed him. These guys started throwing and breaking out the dishes later, and Kenshin, who enjoyed lunch with his friends nearby, got a hit from sakazuki* into his head. Sanosuke didn't know him yet, but the stranger immediately drew attention with his sword.

Sanosuke felt excited when he realized that Kenshin was not a simple samurai. He easily defeated one of the drunk men and offered to fight, but Kenshin politely refused. No one could believe that Zanza was actually a nice person, although a little weird and having a very deep and sad past, which made him Zanza, a famous fighter. Except Kenshin... From the beginning he saw something good in Sanosuke's face and kept smiling while they spoke. Sanosuke always admired Kenshin's modesty. From the very first moment. What's why he will never forget the day they got to know each other.

But that day didn't end there. Sanosuke had unexpected guest. It was a bearded man who introduced himself Hiruma Gohei. He wanted to take revenge on Kenshin for damaging his thumb, because he couldn't control the sword anymore. Gohei said his name would be more famous if he kills Kenshin, but Sanosuke didn't care about the glory, he just wanted to have a good fight. Taking his impressive Zanbatou*, he joined the fight with Kenshin. He thought he was cool and powerful then, but still lost the fight. And he felt no humiliation. Kenshin helped him understand that revenge is not an option. After the Meiji Revolution Sanosuke lived for ten years with anger in his heart. He hated Ishin-Sishi of the Meiji Gonvernment*, which announced the Sekihoutai* as a false imperial army and killed all his comrades. He knew that Kenshin was one of those who could kill his honorable captain, but he couldn't be angry about it anymore. Kenshin regretted his past, so he began to defend people instead of killing them. Sanosuke realized he was wrong, he wanted nothing but revenge, so he decided to change, join Kenshin and help him fight.

Since then, he felt much better because he finally had a new family. Kenshin became his partner and best friend, and Yahiko his younger brother, with whom he fought for each bite of food. And Kaoru... Sanosuke never said her real name. He called her jou-chan, but she had nothing against it. He liked to tease Kaoru for her cooking skills, and she always tried to please him... or maybe just surprise Kenshin. She even asked Megumi to teach, because her cooking skills were unsurpassed. Yeah, Megumi... Sanosuke wanted to hear her voice again. Hear how she call him baka tori-atama and call her kitsune-onna*. She will always fill an important place in his heart.

Sanosuke shook his head, trying to throw his thoughts away, he's in the bathtub now! He quickly bathed, washed his tousled hair and grabbed his cape, but at that time he saw yukata on the bench, left by Kenji.

"I hope it's not Kenshin's, it will be too small for me, and I can't wear the clothes of the dead."

The man sniffed his cape and realized it was better to throw it out and dressed on yukata. After cleaning the bathroom he went out. Yahiko wasn't back yet, and Kenji was waiting quietly in the room. After he heard the steps, he lifted his head.

"Was it good for you?"

"Unh*, I can't remember the last time I bathed." Laughed Sanosuke.

"How is your wound?"

"It's not bleeding anymore, I have some bandages with me, I just had to change it. Everything's fine, it's just a scratch."

"Are you sure?"

"Of course. Someone said I'm like a cockroach. Do you know what it means?"

The young man was silent for a while and looked at the floor. Sanosuke couldn't see his face, but felt Kenji was very sad. He wasn't sure it was because of the dead parents. Something was bothered him.

"Father told me about you," finally said Kenji. "A lot."

"How much?" Sanosuke was interested.

"Enough." Finally, the boy cheered up. "He always smiled when talked about you, Sanosuke-san. He told me everything you had to do together, how many struggles you had to bear together, but no one was able to separate you. Although I never saw you, I felt my father was very respectful of you and wanted you to come back as soon as possible. I could never understand why, but I think it will succeed."

"Yeah... I don't intend to leave again, the police are no longer against me."

"But why? My father never said why you left."

"Actually... he didn't know everything. Before leaving... I said a few words to my friends... and just... went away. I didn't want them to get into my business... I didn't want anyone to know my sad past. I have never been a criminal in their eyes, you know? Maybe they would have looked at me differently."

"Iie*, why are you saying that?" Kenji was surprised. "They were your friends. They are still your friends. They would never leave you in trouble."

"I know, but still..." Sighed deeply Sanosuke. "Kenshin has always suffered for his past. He wanted to live in peace, but the enemies of his past always came from somewhere, and that's why we had a lot of problems. I didn't want to repeat his mistakes, so I had to flee. I know he wasn't angry at me, but a little disappointed. However, it's difficult to leave your family or lose a part of it, but when we have no choice..."

"I don't blame my father for what he did. We are all making mistakes. For some time I hated him for made my mother to suffer. He wanted to be a rurouni again and left his family. I was very small, but I realized that my mother wasn't happy. She always looked forward to him coming back and never noticed me. Even when I got out and trained with Hiko Seijurou, my mother was waiting for him to return, but not for me."

"Maybe she knew that you would come back soon."

"But why did my father do it, Sanosuke-san? Why did he let my mother to suffer? Why did he wanted to help other people, but didn't understand he hurted her? He had nothing to run away from, ne?"

However, Sanosuke couldn't answer his questions and for some time he was silent. Kenji didn't want to disturb his thoughts, so he was sitting quietly. After a few minutes, Yahiko returned home and they finally prepared for dinner. While sitting together they remembered the good old days, Sanosuke told about his adventures in other countries. Kenji was most interested in this. He tried to understand why his father respected Sanosuke. He was a person who never gives up, which can be unconditionally relied on and by which you would have no doubt. He was a man who could do anything to protect others, even if he was at risk of death himself. The young samurai was most fascinated with it. Besides, Sanosuke was always energetic and cheerful, like trying to forget his sad past. Kenji couldn't understand why he avoided to talk about it.

After dinner, friends decided that it's time for rest. Sanosuke was so tired that he couldn't understand what was going on around him. He didn't want anything but sleep, so he fell into his pillows. The city streets, the reflections of the lights in a narrow frozen river flowed in his memory. And finally, a cute, such a sweet face, illuminated by a dull lamp that shakes at the entrance, left in his mind.

"I love you, Megumi..." Mumbled Sanosuke.

And then everything messed up in his tired head, the consciousness sank in the dark, like a stone thrown away in the river.

* * *

Rurouni – wanderer or drifter (Kenshin was called by this name, although there is no such word in Japanese, it's created by Nobuhiro Watsuki, the author or Rurouni Kenshin).

Baka tori-atama – idiot rooster-head (Sano called by tori-atama because of his spiky hair).

Dojo – a training place for martial arts or swordsmanship (Kaoru trained Yahiko and other students there).

Bandana – a head accessory, worn as a thin strip with the knot on top of the head or with the knot behind the hair (Sano never takes it off!)

Akabeko – a popular restaurant in Tokyo specializing in Sukiyaki beef and other "Western-style" dishes. It's owned by Sekihara family and managed by the owner's daughter, Sekihara Tae.

Chikushou – Damn. Sano's swear word.

Ne – Eh? Right? A very common supporting word.

Hai – yes.

-san – a polite suffix meaning Mr. Miss or Mrs.

-sensei – master, teacher, doctor.

Kitsune – fox (Megumi's name by Sano).

Sou ka – Is that so? I see.

Jou-chan – little missie or missy (Sano always called Kaoru jou-chan, not Kaoru).

Yukata – a robe-like garment worn to bed and at home. Also simpler cotton kimono worn at summertime.

Zanza – Sanosuke's former nickname while he was a fighter-for-hire.

Sakazuki – a wide-mouthed, flat sake cup (I'm not sure it's sakazuki, Kenshin got a hit from other type of cup in manga).

Zanbatou (horse-slaying-sward) – an ancient Japanese longsword devised even before the Sengoku Jidai. With its long, spear-like handle and even longer double-edged blade, a zanbatou was designed to take down a samurai on horseback – along with his horse – in a single swing, but due to its unwieldy size and a weight decidedly greater than any other katana, it is said that no one has even been able to brandish this unusual blade to its full capacity. However, this unique weapon is the trademark armament of Sagara Sanosuke. However, Zanbatou was broken by Kenshin in the begining of the series.

Ishin-Shishi of the Meiji gonverment – the Ishin Shishi, who led the movement to restore the Meiji emperor to real power and thus end the Tokugawa regime.

The Sekihoutai (Red Vanguard) – a group of Japanese political extremists in the Bakumatsu, the Japanese civil war in the 1860s. The term also refers to a right-wing extremist group that operated in the 1980s. Sano was a member or Sekihoutai when he was 9 years old.

Kitsune-onna – fox-lady/fox-woman (name for Megumi; look Kitsune).

Unh – yes, yeah.

Iie – no.

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