The Sharpest Lives

BY : Jezz-Ra
Category: Rurouni Kenshin > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 4008
Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin, nor do I make money off it, more's the pity.

The Sharpest Lives 10 / ??
Written by Jezz-Ra
Warnings - Not all warnings apply to all chapters. Yaoi, Lemon, Violence, Language, Angst
Disclaimer - I don't own Rurouni Kenshin, don't make money off it. Wish I did.

Archived at - anime.adult-fanfiction.org, fanfiction.net, and mediaminer.org ::: Anywhere else, ask!
Questions or Comments? - Email me at megami_no_remon@hotmail.com

// blah // indicates thoughts.

A/N - I don't know why, but this chapter gave me fits. Ah, well. Bull through it and hopefully the next comes a little easier. This one...not sure how much I like it. Oh well. Better than nothing?
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Kenshin was, of course, entirely unable to get anything remotely resembling rest after what had just happened. He still had trouble really believing it...but Sano had been entirely serious, especially if that kiss had been anything to judge by.

Kenshin felt his cheeks flaring up at the memory that stuttered through his mind in bursts and flashes. Never had he experienced something quite like THAT before. In a split second, everything he had thought he had known about lust and passion had been shattered and rewritten...and even if nothing at all ever came of it, he would never forget it. The sensation was burned indelibly into his soul.

How very strange, to be so...dominated. That in and of itself had brought a curious myriad of feelings. Had Kenshin ever paused to think about it, he would have automatically assumed he would definitely not like it. Despite the teasing he had often received, he was not a girl and would not appreciate being treated like one. But Sano had assuredly recognized, by his own admission, that Kenshin was no girl.

Sano.

Good gods, it was almost too far fetched to believe. If he had been a third party and been told of the situation, he probably would have laughed. The thought of Sagara Sanosuke wanting to be intimately involved with another male was...was ridiculous! He had always had a very healthy interest in women, even if he tended to be a little rough around the edges and generally would say something to screw up a prospective relationship in fairly short order. Sano was a striking example of masculinity. He was admittedly handsome, tall, well muscled...although Kenshin had yet to see him since their reunion.

// Still, ultimately, it will be the same Sano...acting tough but with a heart of gold. That sheepish smile or cocky grin... and I can practically imagine that self-assured swagger, the way he puffs up all indignantly when someone challenges his precious pride. // A smile flickered across Kenshin's face, even as some part of his mind whispered in silky, sibilant tones. // The way those arms wrapped around me, held me... //

Kenshin sat up with a start, surprised at himself and the traitorous little voice. // Oro...maybe I need some air. Sitting in this cabin all the time cannot possibly be good for me. I spend too much time thinking as it is. // Mind made up, the samurai swung himself out of the bunk, securing his sakabatou at his waist and picking up his walking stick He made his way unerringly out of the cabin, making a mental note to thank Sano sometime for the fighter's caution in making sure that everything remained exactly where it was. Sano wasn't usually the best housekeeper, so Kenshin appreciated the extra effort.

Soon the samurai found himself on the deck and leaning against the rail, finding the sea breeze and the sun-warmed spray of water on his skin as the ship moved along under full sail. The wind was good, the canvas was full, and they were making good time.

Kenshin greeted the few sailors who greeted him as he made his way back off the deck. Most were friendly, and he had come to recognize them by voice. There were a few that weren't quite so nice, however...but that was humanity, wasn't it?

Something pricked at Kenshin's senses as he made his way back into the hallway where Sano's cabin was. He stopped in his tracks, senses straining to catch whatever had alerted him. A low voice chuckled in front of him, and it was not a pretty sound. Kenshin let out a small sigh. He recognized that voice.

"Well, well, if it isn't the little samurai," the voice sneered. Kenshin had never seen the man, but he had painted a mental picture. Tall, gap-toothed and burly, scar-covered and bald. Likely missing an eye or ear or some other such feature. Kenshin's imagination actually proved fairly accurate.

"Good afternoon, Jino, sir." The redhead knew it wasn't going to work, but he made an effort to walk past anyway. Jino and his friends - three others, by the sound of it, one in front and two behind him - shifted to block his path.

"Why you in such a hurry, boy?" Jino growled.

"I am tired and wish to rest. I am still injured and do not wish to strain myself unnecessarily." This was only partially true. Although he still felt a little weak from the aftereffects of the fever he'd suffered and other injuries, he had mostly healed. Still... it wouldn't be prudent to overexert himself.

Jino chuckled and jabbed at Kenshin's chest with one thick finger. "You scared, boy? Hah...a pretty little thing like you I could break in half with one hand."

"I have no desire to fight you or be broken in half, that I do not. Please step aside."

"Who'd you steal that sword from? No one wears steel openly these days and yer too young. Was it your father's? Or are you just some petty thief?"

Kenshin sighed wearily. "I am not so young as you might think, sir. Please step aside."

"Or what?"

"Why do you feel the need to instigate a fight with me, Jino? As far as I am aware, I have never done anything to cross you or yours."

"Not so brave without your big bad Sagara here to protect you, is that it, pretty boy?"

// This is getting absolutely absurd. // Kenshin refrained from rolling his eyes. They were still sore and the motion was unpleasant.

The big brute took a step forward so he was closer to Kenshin. Kenshin could practically hear the sneer on his face and the man's foul breath almost knocked him senseless. "You see, boy...your man Sagara took a lot of money from us, and we're not too fond of it."

"Sanosuke stole from you?"

The man growled, his tone reluctant. "We were playin' dice."

"So you lost fairly."

"Shut yer trap or I'll rip you in half. In fact, I might anyways. Send a message to Sagara by smashing his little bitch's pretty little face in. How does that sound, boy?"

// I must send out some sort of signal that draws these sorts of people to me. I can't go anywhere, seriously. They find me on a ship in the middle of the bloody sea. I can understand those that seek revenge after the revolution, but how do I end up in so many conflicts with random ruffians? Well, I suppose this is something of fallout from Sano's bad habits.. .but still. // "I really wish you would just leave, and take your friends with you. I have no desire to fight you."

"What sort of fight can a blind whore put up anyway? No, this is just a beating."

The fight was over almost as soon as it began. Kenshin ducked Jino's first swing, his staff coming forward to slam into the man's gut. Almost immediately, he shot the staff backwards, the other end clipping one of Jino's friends in the face. One of the other two got a solid punch in on the side of Kenshin's face and received a rapid strike upside the head with the wooden pole. A quick spin and a sharp whack dropped the last man moaning to the ground.

Kenshin winced and rubbed at his jaw ruefully, sure that he would have a nasty bruise there in fairly short order. His fingers came back slightly damp with blood - perfect, he was cut as well. The sailor must have been wearing a ring. // Ah, well. For not being able to see them it sounds like I did fairly well. //

Kenshin's spine stiffened as he heard the slither of steel being drawn near him, and he responded with a rapid strike of his staff. Jino howled as his hand was smashed. The next blow shut him up and rendered him unconscious again. The samurai shook his head and stepped over the sailors, heading into Sano's cabin further down the hall and laying down to wait for his friend's return.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

The door flew open as Sano hurried into the cabin. "Kenshin?!"

Kenshin sat up, his tone calm. "Yes, Sano?"

"You didn't happen to have anything to do with Jino and his boys laying out in the hallway, did y-- Shit, your face..."

"I'm fine, Sano. They seemed to have an issue with losing some money to you over dice and decided to use me as a way to get at you. Ironic, I'm usually on the other end of that situation. Minus the money part."

Sano chuckled darkly. "Well, they picked the wrong damn person to target...I'm going to--"

"Sanosuke, leave it be. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself, and there is no need to borrow any more trouble than you already have." Kenshin heard the sound of water, and then Sano was sitting beside him.

Sano carefully removed the wrap from Kenshin's eyes before gently working at cleaning the cut on Kenshin's cheek. "Eh, it doesn't look too pretty but its not serious."

"You worry entirely too much sometimes, Sanosuke." Kenshin's eyes locked on the fighter. He could vaguely make out Sano's shape...a dark blur of slight motion against the painfully white void filling the rest of his vision.

"No, I just don't like people touching what's mine, whether or not you're invincible."

"I'm not invincible, and..." Kenshin stopped, aware that he must be blushing. "I think its far too early for you to make any such claims, Sano..."

Sano smirked. "The simple fact that you don't deny the eventual possibility means its only a matter of time and you intend to give me a chance."

Violet eyes widened and Kenshin tried to duck his head, wanting the shield of his bangs, but Sano had caught his chin.

"Ah-ah, none of that...how am I supposed to clean this cut if you don't look at me?" Sano finally paused and leaned back to both examine his handiwork and admire Kenshin's features. He really did love those brilliant amethyst eyes...they were so expressive and gave Kenshin such an innocent look. Dear gods, but he wanted to kiss him again, taste him...but he didn't. He had promised to make some effort at courting, and that meant keeping his hormones more or less at bay. "You know, you're cute when you blush."

"S-Sano!" Kenshin squirmed out of Sano's grip.

"What? I'm just being honest."

"Oro..." Kenshin mumbled. "I'm not 'cute'."

Sanosuke laughed. "Oh yes, you are. Especially when you pout like that."

"I most definitely am NOT pouting." Kenshin's spine had stiffened in indignation, and Sano backed off with a grin. There was a line he shouldn't cross between teasing and injuring the samurai's pride, after all.

"Fine, fine. I brought dinner, if you want to come share it with me. I was going to make the effort of getting some fancy candles and stuff but you'd be amazed how hard it is to find things like that on a merchant ship. You'll have to settle for my good intentions."

"You're actually serious about this whole courting thing, aren't you?"

Sano blinked. "Well...yeah, did you think I wasn't? I thought I made myself pretty clear, all things considered."

Kenshin's mind immediately and obediently replayed the kiss. "I...I guess its just hard for me to believe and accept. I never would have expected it. Don't you...even barring the obvious reasons, I'm not good for you."

"Why not?"

"I'm almost ten years older than you."

"So what? Look, here's the way I see it. We just work, alright? We compliment each other. I've got strength and you've got speed and skill. And the brains. In fact, you pretty much outclass me..." Sano paused before shaking it off and continuing. "I damn well wouldn't trust anyone else to have my back, and I respect you. You have no trouble either sittin' and chattin' if I need to talk or have a problem...or kicking my ass when I'm being damned stupid and need it. If it wasn't for you, who knows where I would have ended up? But the point is...everything I need happens to be everything you are. And it doesn't hurt that you're...well... attractive." // Pretty...beautiful...sexy as all hell. Now that I admit it to myself, it just hits home so much harder. I don't know how I could ever have NOT noticed it, I must have been in denial...but probably best not to go too far yet. Don't want to scare him off, and he doesn't appreciate people insinuating he's feminine, even if it is the truth. // "It...doesn't even matter to me at all that you're...well. A guy. It just isn't important compared to how I've come to feel about you...how I've probably felt for years."

Kenshin was silent, a faint smile twitching his lips. He WAS flattered, whether or not he wanted to admit it to Sano or himself.

"And I know you'll want to deny it, but the fact is...you need someone too. You can't just run around by yourself forever. You know I'm no easy target. You wouldn't have to worry much about me."

"I would anyways."

Sano smiled and then grabbed Kenshin's hands, causing the redhead to jump in surprise. "Give me a chance, Kenshin. And if it doesn't work, then fine. If you really want me to drop the whole thing, tell me and I will...but give me a chance first. Please?"

// Here it is. My one good, solid chance to end this before things get too far out of hand. I'll just let him down gently, I don't want to hurt him. // "Alright, Sano. I'll give you your chance. I can't promise you anything, though." // Wait, what?! //

Sano grinned before leaning forward and brushing his lips gently across Kenshin's forehead, his voice a low murmur. "I promise you won't regret this."

Kenshin fumbled through a hundred different things to say, his mouth and his brain obviously not on speaking terms with each other, idly wondering if blushing too much could hurt someone. All his flustered mind could produce, however, was one little word. "Oro..."


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