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Hen in the Wolf Den

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‘It’ll be just my luck if he’s straight…’ Sano sighed to himself. What were the odds that Saitou was still a lone wolf? And interested in men…

It was a warm spring day, but he knew the flush to his cheeks and the hotness creeping down his neck had nothing to do with the weather. His mind was always so treacherous, wandering to the most sordid of places at the most inconvenient of times…

A dark, winter-weight kimono was wrapped around Saitou, his nihonto at his hip and Sanosuke felt this might have been a window into how Saitou looked in his youth. An age past that had slipped through their fingers…

Sanosuke knew he was a fool, to be following around a man that was nearly twice his age, but he could still hope, couldn’t he?

Petals danced in the street and Sano sighed, scratching the back of his head as he yawned and continued on, ignoring the awkwardness in his nobakama. He wasn’t making much of an effort to hide himself, like there was any point when dealing with this man.

But the wolf had to be humouring him, going on about his business, never casting a glance in his direction, even as Sano huffed and sighed and groaned. Not a single stray glance… Just that grin Saitou kept on his face, with upturned eyes.

Sano never did much like that grin of his, it was so… Unsettling. Probably why the bastard used it.

Hands in pockets, Sano huffed again as he dragged himself along; it’s not like Sano was short or dressed to blend in with a crowd… Maybe the wolf was just trying to be polite, by ignoring him?

Maybe, he really should just take the hint and buzz off, hit up Kenshin and Kaoru for something to eat…

People muttered irritations at him as he stopped in the middle of the busy street, jostled as the townsfolk pushed by him, but Sano didn’t much care, watching as the wind rustled the noren of a noodle shop. Oh… Oh that broth smelled good.

If nothing else, he could harass himself into a free bowl of noodles…

Saitou was passing in front of the noodle shop, considering going in, and at least, in there, Sano could sit with him and talk, but there was a niggling in the back of his mind he couldn’t quite shrug off, like there was something he wasn’t remembering but… Ah well!

Warmth beat down on him from the bright spring sun and Sano didn’t realize he was holding his breath, or just how hungry he was, as he watched Saitou hesitate outside the noodle shop, and…

And the bastard turned away, greeting someone with that false smile of his, bowing down low before he talked with them. At least it afford Sanosuke a nice view, the way his kimono tightened across his arse, the obi tight at his hips… Sanosuke licked his lips, very aware that his fundoshi was uncomfortable. Saitou finished his chat with a few more quick bows and moved on.

Sanosuke’s stomach, and his heart, were dragging through the dirt as he followed after with a whimper. Maybe he shouldn’t push his luck so hard with scraping meals together, swinging from one tab to the next… And Saitou was an interesting man and Sanosuke definitely wanted more from him, but…

He was going to need something to eat, soon, if the bastard didn’t shuffle back toward that noodle shop…

Just one more shop, one more shop he would follow Saitou to, and then if noodles weren’t gonna happen, Sano decided he would have to turn heel and head toward Kenshin and Kaoru. When was the last time he had eaten, anyway?

A breeze blew through, and Sano actually felt a touch cold, pulling his gi over his chest some as he watched Saitou working his way around the crowd, most avoiding him. Probably because of the sword, a lot of people avoided Kenshin too, for the same reason.

He huffed, he sighed, he folded his arms over his chest and contemplated just walking up to Saitou and making him buy a bowl of noodles and…

Oh. Saitou was talking to someone now, a woman…

Dark, long hair, worn up in some traditional style Sano couldn’t identify the significance of. Her kimono was dark and heavy, just like Saitou’s and she looked every bit like a woman that would fit in perfectly along Saitou as his wife. Saitou leaned down, whispering something in her ear and she laughed, a light, delicate sound. They seemed rather familiar with one another, her cheeks pink, Saitou looking slightly flush and…

Oh… Oh that’s right.

Kenshin had mentioned Saitou was married, hadn’t he? Tokio was her name, wasn’t it…?

Sanosuke was starving and cold, and yet felt hot as he lost his appetite.

The wind whispered in his ear, as if to call him a fool, for forgetting something so obvious. Of course Saitou was straight. Once, he might have been a samurai, but that was a long time ago, wasn’t it…?

A bottled up sigh left his chest, heavy, defeated, his ears burning and his cheeks flushed red as he turned on his heel, ready to find which ever tavern would allow him to tack more debt onto his tab.

“Ne… Sanosuke, you needn’t be off so soon…” Saitou’s voice, deep and rumbling, called to him.

He froze, another person bumping into him, and then two more, hissing and muttering under their breath, but he didn’t care. Couldn’t hardly move, his eyes about to pop out of his head and…

And he managed to turn his head, neck stiff, just enough to see Saitou and his wife walking toward him, both wearing that smile that Sano didn’t like; he felt like he had just stumbled into a wolf den.

“S-Saitou!” Sano tried, but it felt almost pointless to try to reason with a man such as Saitou Hajime. Really, he ought to have known better than to follow him around and spy on him all day. And covet a man he barely knew. A married man… He tried not to let his disappointment of losing out on Saitou foul the air.

“Sanosuke-san, ne? I’m Fujita Tokio.” She got to him first, smiling up at him as she introduced herself and Sano was barely able to follow along, his eyes darting toward Saitou, trying to keep the wolf within his sights, lest he be devoured. “Hajime has talked—”

“I-I think it best if I got goin’ now…” He tried to excuse himself, tried not to look like he was running, but oh, he was.

“Oh?” It wasn’t Saitou that blocked his path, but Tokio, with her sharp eyes and clever smile. “But don’t you wish to join us for some warm noodles? It’s gotten awfully cold out here…”

A traitor, his body was, Sanosuke cursed himself, grabbing his stomach as it let out a very audible gurgle. Saitou had to stifle a laugh behind his hand, the sleeve of his kimono falling back enough to reveal his wrist and Sanosuke also hated how his body reacted to such a simple gesture.

“Come, let us take ourselves from the chill spring air, and enjoy some hot noodles,” Saitou said, a wickedness hidden behind his smile.

Before Sano could say one word, Saitou was stepping out of the way, smiling, but it was softer now, as Tokio pulled Sanosuke along by the hand, saying something about how young men need to eat properly, to stay strong. Who was he to argue with a free meal?

At least, that’s what Sanosuke was telling himself as he was pulled along, Tokio making a fuss while they got sat down. She ran off, for some reason that Sanosuke didn’t catch, and then it was just he and Saitou left there.

Saitou didn’t say much, which was good, perhaps, if it meant he wouldn’t be seeking compensation for the meal… A match lit up and Saitou was puffing on his cigarette to light it, staring off across the room as he blew out his smoke.

“I prefer my pipe, but ah… Cigarettes are so convenient when out on the town, ne?” Saitou said and Sanosuke could only nod along, hoping he could calm the rushing of his loins.

‘Look forward, look forward, look forward,’ Sanosuke told himself over and over, knowing that if he made eye contact, it would be his undoing. What was he even thinking, that he could somehow corner and talk to Saitou without… without his cock trying to make a greeting.

“I’ve missed the warmth of spring, haven’t you, Sanosuke-san?” Saitou asked him and Sano had to look over, taken aback.

Saitou never used his name.

“Y-yeah… Sure is nice to shake the chill of winter.” But it would be nicer if his face wasn’t an inferno.

“Mmm… Indeed. Though, there are still some cold nights to look forward to, ne?” Saitou smiled, knocking his ashes into the ash box. “But spring, it is a time of new things, wouldn’t you say, Sanosuke-san?”

He narrowed his eyes, feeling hotter and hotter, gripping his knees with white knuckles. “What are you…” he cut off into a gasp, feeling Saitou’s warm fingers drifting down the top of his thigh, prying his tense fingers from the worn fabric of his nobakama.

“Relax…” But there was no relaxing, not with Saitou Hajime’s hand dancing over his knee, sliding up his thigh and back down.

“You-you’re married,” Sanosuke could have choked on the words, and he could see Tokio coming back now, unsure of what to do.

“Indeed, I am. I am also a man of a certain era and… And, well, it was Tokio, not I, that was the most insistent that you come share a bowl of noodles with us, ne? Perhaps even share something else…” Saitou’s fingers wandered toward the inside of Sanosuke’s thigh, dangerously close to his hardness.

“W-what…?” Sanosuke felt his pulse quickening. This couldn’t have been happening…

“Ne, husband! Not until you’ve let the poor thing eat! So skinny!” Tokio came over, fussing at him, caressing a hand down Sano’s cheek and muttering something about being too thin, before turning her attention back to Saitou. “So greedy and impatient you are, husband!” she huffed, sitting down on her cushion in seiza just as Saitou, but she did not sit next to her husband…

Sanosuke swallowed hard; he was surrounded by wolves. Everything was spinning and all he could do was take the hot tea that Tokio pushed at him and sip at it to have a moment to quiet his mind. Saitou’s hand never left his thigh, and Tokio was sitting much closer to him than she ought to have.

“So, Tokio…” Saitou whispered, blowing out his smoke, leaning his elbow onto the table.

“Ne, husband… Let him eat, so that he is strong! Should he accept our invitation, of course.” She smiled, teeth showing like a wolf.

“In-invitation?” Sanosuke sputtered out, choking on hot tea. Saitou sighed and Tokio patted him on the back gently.

“Oh husband! You were supposed to ask him!” Tokio reached behind Sano to swat at Saitou and he only made a noise that indicated he was used to this.

Sanosuke looked from Saitou back to Tokio, back to Saitou again. “Ask… ask me?”

Yare yare, Tokio… Now who is the impatient one, ne?” Saitou blew out his smoke again, slowly, the tendrils curling around his sharp features, his golden eyes nearly glowing in the dim light.

Impatient, invitation… Sanosuke’s head was starting to spin as it throbbed from his beating heart. “You’re… you’re married, ain’t ya?”

“Indeed, we are,” Saitou whispered, pulling his hand back and Sanosuke wasn’t sure to be thankful or weep at the loss.

“Then… what…” Could Sanosuke really let himself believe that…

“Tokio and I are married, however, we also enjoy a second man to help warm us on cold nights…”

“But not just any man!” Tokio added, pushing closer to Sanosuke again, running her hand down his thigh. “Husband has taken a special liking to you…”

“And we would certainly keep you fed and comfortable and warm, no matter the time of year,” Saitou said, blowing out his smoke and grinning like a wolf as he put his hand back on Sanosuke’s thigh, mimicking Tokio’s movements.

“Oh… Oh…” Sanosuke gasped out, realizing what their invitation was for.

He coughed as he picked up his tea, smiling into his cup. Perhaps following the old wolf around all day hadn’t been such a terrible idea, after all.