Reviews for The Courtship of Lady Tokio
ImperialGuard202 chapter 35 . 8/31/2013
FINALLY! I finished this story! Oh and before I forget. (bows deeply) you my dear are a gifted and dedicated writer. It was on a whim that I decided to look up some Saitou and Tokio fan fiction and i can't express how fortunate I feel to find this story. I can't help but admire you and the effort you put into intertwining the real life history of the Bakumatsu, RK fiction, and you own. I thought how you handled Saitou's first wedding masterly. I also loved how you portrayed everyone's character, Harada, Okita, and Sagawa were hilarious Follies to Saitou. to answer a question you posted in one of your AN (i think maybe six?) about Saitou's character and his treatment of sagara sanosuke; Saitou Strikes me as some one who is both pragmatic about his job and how he carries out his missions, thus iswhy he tell our street fighter to stay in Tokyo because he really thinks Sanosuke really will only be a nuisance. But Saitou has his on unique form of caring, something like tough love, which is why when he acknowledges that Sanosuke is going to Kyoto no matter what he gave him advise so he could survive the coming fight (I hoped I made sense). and I think you captured that perfectly.
I also appreciate all the Authors notes on Japanese customs and the actual events and can safely tell you that because of this story I have a interest in this brief period of Japanese history (i'm currently looking up books in English about the Bakumatsu; it harder than i thought 0.o...). It's also because of this story i have a new appreciation of this couple and I wish we saw stuff like this in the anime or manga. So now I'm off to find more work of yours.

Sincerely from the U.S. thanks for the story (gives a final bow)
WynnCharmer chapter 35 . 8/10/2013
enjoyed this journey very much. tears and all.
Guest chapter 19 . 5/23/2013
The slipper is a kaze hikaru reference?
I remember that chapter
time2read chapter 35 . 5/13/2013
OMG this story is amaazzzziing not joking! so I was searching fanfic for a good saito story and found yours. You will not believe how awesome it isand it makes so much sense! You perfectly captured saito and tokio! Only a tokio of your description could love the awesome wolf saito is!
time2read chapter 5 . 5/10/2013
Great Ch!
katsuki chapter 35 . 5/1/2013
Oh good lord! I have finish reading your fanfic, this fanfic!
I have been re-read for few times already and i also read your doujin related to this fanfic. I must say that this is the closest and the real story of hajime-tokio life which it always bring me joys to read it again and again even though about the part that telling about yaso-chan, it always gives me the pang in my heart. I really know how tokio feel at that time and thank god for your remarkable talent on writting that you cease my hatred towards cheaters, you made saito is a forgivable men even i tried to reason myself that it still called as a cheat. Out of missunderstanding or not
Oh and i will next move to this fanfic's sequel! ( kanpaaai!)
I hope you do telling the readers about tokio's pregnant wirh their first child ( i search in google about the life of real life saito-tokio that they do have 3 sons and i hope you can potray them) what will it be when their house filled with boys footsteps running around, play with the a pack of family wolf, and the son will be their puppy how cute...too cute...
AMFW chapter 35 . 4/24/2013
I've been struggling to put into words my feelings about this story. It is by far the best story I have ever read. Between all the different anime pairings I've read over the years, a few romance novels that were actually printed book, etc– this one here is the best I have ever indeed read. Saito Hajime had started to be an intriguing character for me when I found out he was an actual historical figure. I couldn't get enough after that. While this is the only Tokio/Saito fiction I have ever read, I don't want to look any further because I know this is the best one. And it's the best one because it matches up with actual historical events and the way you interpreted their story is utterly amazing. Things were quite dramatic in some scenes, and others very sad. But through it all, Saito remained true to his convictions like always. His blunder of epic proportions was most unfortunate, and me finding out he had another wife before Tokio, historically, it was unsettling! I usually listen to music while I read and while I read this, the two songs that fit most to the mood (especially the bath scene and all other impending doom scenes in later chapters) was "Diamond Heart (Man Without Country Remix)" and "Sunrise (Man Without Country Remix)". Sometimes "Outro" by M83 also fit some scenes. And sometimes even "DNA Bank" by Freelance Whales fit other scenes. It was such a beautiful, exciting story that I have already read twice and I plan on reading again and again. Thank you so much for writing this, I hope it becomes a movie one day.
misaki-toyodome chapter 15 . 3/26/2013
Dear BlueSkyFlakes: Thank you very much for your kind words and for taking the time to leave a review. I'm leaving you a message here since you're not signed on. I'm quite embarrassed because there are quite a few things I need to go back and correct, including a historical fact about Satsuma which I've been meaning to do for the longest time. And you're absolutely right, the lines are from 'The Sandman' by Neil Gaiman. I wasn't aware of it at the time (I don't read American comics) but I got them from my then-boyfriend, who neglected to tell me that it was the case. My apologies for not clarifying earlier and I hope you will forgive me that mistake - I wrote the chapter about 7 or 8 years ago. And my sincere respect to Mr. Gaiman - I have enjoyed a few of his novels.

Thank you again and I hope to hear from you again.
BlueSkyFlakes chapter 15 . 3/26/2013
Hi! I'm immensely enjoying this fanfiction, however, would you by any chance be quoting Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman"? I've already encountered two lines from the graphic novel, verbatim inserted within the fic (as dialogue). The first would be Saitou saying "...we are given a lifetime," and if memory serves correctly, this is Death's line in Sandman. The second would be in this chapter, when Tokio says "What power would Hell have if we could not dream of Heaven?" which is what Dream says when he confronts Lucifer in Hell during an early volume of Sandman. I'd really appreciate it if you mentioned that you borrowed those lines from Mr Gaiman, as I admire the way this fic is written. It would be a shame to have to read plagiarized lines :( if however, you just happened to forget to mention thatbit came from Sandman, then this is merely a gentle reminder. (Also, I haven't read future chapters yet, so I wouldn't know if someone already noticed this and brought it to your attention. In that case, please ignore this message, hihi.) I'm also considering that you might have never heard of Sandman and this is just coincidence, but I'm not assuming it on the first go since they're very memorable lines from Sandman. If that was the case, though, then again, ignore this message.

Kudos again, love the fic and can't wait for the ending :)
anreg chapter 35 . 3/24/2013
Thanks for writing the Epilogue. It is satisfying to finally see them together as a married couple. This chapter is warm and filled with gentle humor. I laughed when she woke up startled and stared down at him wide-eyed (obviously not used to waking up in bed with a man) and he says:

["Good morning to you too," he drawled with languid amusement.]

I enjoyed the delightful banter between the two of them.

["Ten years…." She murmured. "Over ten years I have waited for this…." "Was it worth it?" He breathed softly into the shell of her ear. "Hmmm, I'll decide later," she teased…"How strange life can be," she said with a wistful smile as she broke away. "How can it be that we have lost so much, and yet right now, I feel I have everything." "Really? Because I still kind of want more…." His words trailed off … "How about Hajigorou-sama?" She looked at him innocently. "Oi!" He snorted at her ridiculous suggestion.]

I also enjoyed the serious moments.

[…they knew that they both were thinking back on all the circumstances that had led to this point. They had endured much hardship and sorrow and loss, some of it their own making and some of it out of their control. The world had changed around them, and the people they had loved were no more. And yet, they had survived, and they could not regret for an instant the lives they had led until now. To regret would be to deny who they were today, and how they were together, and there would be no room for regret in their future. Their souls had been forged together at the height of unrest and in the heat of battle, and their lives were never to be separated again.]

I thought that the set of kanzashi was a wonderful symbol of their enduring love. They were a precious reminder throughout the years of separation of the love they shared, and a symbol of hope that they (like the set of kanzashi) would one day be reunited. Neither of them sold what they had, even though the extra money would have made life after the war a little more bearable.

[He watched as she pulled out a carefully wrapped bundle, and opened it up. She placed the kanzashi with the others of its set, the collection now finally complete. "You kept them." It was not quite a statement, not quite a question. There was a glimmer of satisfaction in his eyes. "But of course. They are practically the only things I have left from before the war." Though she might have been able to sell them to stave off poverty, such treasures were priceless precisely because of what they symbolized. He knew this too; it was for this reason why he had never let go of the last one.]

I totally agree with Leana Linu’s review of this chapter when she said that, “The story feels complete, just the way Tokio feels with Saitoh.”

CLT is a brilliant piece of writing and storytelling. I consider it a masterpiece of historical fiction.
It’s the best S/T fiction I’ve ever read. You finished it in a masterful, believable way. I read the last three chapters carefully, savoring them, knowing that they are the last of this epic tale. Again, thanks so much for the hours of reading entertainment that you have provided us with over the years. This is a story that I will read again, and again.
Anreg chapter 34 . 3/23/2013
Part 2

The exchange between Teru and Saitou was absolutely wonderful. His reasons for wanting Tokio for his wife hit their mark with the princess. (I have to say that I enjoyed *every single word* in that *entire* section of the chapter!)

["I'm here about Tokio." He curled his lip in reply. "She doesn't want to see you." She snapped open her fan. "But I would like to see her." Saitou snapped back at her. "You can't imagine how much you've hurt her." "On the contrary, Hime, I'm the only one who can understand." He did not lie, for even if it had been his own misunderstanding, he knew better than anyone else what it was like to feel so betrayed. "Hmmmm." In spite of herself, Teru was moderately impressed by the man who was unabashedly staking his claim. "Tell me then, do you honestly believe you deserve her?"]

I got a laugh out of Yamakawa and Saitou’s exchange after the audience with Katamori and Teru

[Are you kidding!?" Yamakawa exclaimed incredulously. "I knew her better than that, and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life completely whipped." He smirked at Saitou. "Ahou," Saitou muttered under his breath.]

What a wonderful, creative way for Matsudaira to get around his promise to Teru that Tokio wouldn’t have to marry Yamaguchi, Saitou, Ichinose, etc. Just give the man a different name…brilliant. It was a great way to weave history into the story, since Matsudaira was the one who gave him the name Fujita Goro.

Here in lies the life-lesson for Tokio. Don’t be too stubborn, or you may lose what you want the most in life. I have to say that I can’t praise you enough about how you handled the marriage arrangements in this chapter from the initial meeting between Saitou, Yamakawa, Teru, and Matsudaira right through the ceremony itself.

["Oh, in that case, I have the perfect solution!" Katamori clapped his hands with a theatrical flourish. "I know a good man, and I have been looking for a suitable woman for him to marry. Tokio, you would make an excellent match." Tokio's was rendered speechless for a moment as her mind was thrown into panic."Oh Katamori-sama! What a fortunate coincidence!" Morinosuke was looking very satisfied with himself."Katamori-sama!" Tokio started to protest. "I am too old to be considered a bride!""Nonsense!" Katamori smiled broadly at her, and Tokio flushed. It went against all her upbringing to argue with her lord. "You are just the right person. Yes, I think it would please me greatly to arrange this union."Tokio looked beseechingly at her protector and mentor, but Teru was also smiling knowingly."Katamori, is this the man I met the other day?" Teru chimed in on the act."Yes, you approved of him." Katamori and Teru were grinning at each other now, and Tokio turned to Morinosuke, who simply shook his head."I do not know who this is," Tokio murmured anxiously, frantically trying to figure out how this could be happening. Had she turned down Saitou Hajime, only to be trapped into marrying some strange man? She had been protected for so long, by her father's indulgence and her princess' kindness, that she had almost forgotten that it was not a woman's place to refuse her lord's right to arrange marriages. It had been that way too when she was previously engaged. She looked aghast at Katamori, who was still smiling benignly at her, unruffled by her obvious distress."Fujita Gorou is a good man, and he is an excellent match for you. I am certain that you will be very happy with him.""My lord, I do not know who this Fujita Gorou is." She repeated her objection, her voice weak and wavering."Come now, that is usually the way of things." Katamori nodded his head at her, and Tokio knew that he was right. Most women of her class often met their husbands for the first time at the betrothal ceremony."Hime-sama…." She implored Teru to intervene, but Teru snapped open her fan and hid the lower half of her face."Tokio, I also wish for this. I have coddled you for too long now, and it would please me to see you married to this man." No matter that she hid most of her face, the twinkle in Teru's eyes made it obvious that she thought this terribly amusing."Tokio, do this for me," Katamori said to her firmly, but not unkindly. "He will be good for you. And who knows, in time you may even come to love him."Stricken, all Tokio could think to do was to bow her head low. She would find some way out of it later, but for now, she could not directly refuse his request. As though guessing what she thought, Morinosuke hastily spoke up."Well, now that it's settled, should we go ahead with the betrothal ceremony?""Betrothal?!" Tokio gasped, her mind a whirl as she wondered how long Morinosuke had been in on this plan.]

The betrothal ceremony brought tears to my eyes. What generous friends Tokio has to help her overcome her stubbornness and pride. It is truly a priceless moment when Tokio realizes just who this Fujita Gorou is. She is one very fortunate woman to have such thoughtful and creative friends, who made sure she got her heart’s desire, regardless of her stubborn actions, and to have someone like Saitou/Fujita who loves her so much that he would stop at nothing to gain her acceptance. Teru even made sure that everything they needed for the betrothal ceremony was there, letting Tokio know that her friends had been planning this for some time.

[After the initial commotion had settled down, Tokio was exceedingly grateful that Teru ushered everyone else out of the room, so that she could talk to Fujita Gorou alone. He was enjoying this immensely, she could tell – and she had to agree, as far as ambushes went, this was not so disagreeable. It was all about context. When she thought for that moment that she was to be married to a stranger, she had clearly seen her own heart: that pride be damned, she still wanted to be with the man she loved, more than anything in the world.]

The discussion S/T had in private before the betrothal ceremony was touching.

["What if I haven't quite forgiven you yet?" She asked willfully. Yet, even as the words were out of her mouth, she knew that in fact, she had finally forgiven, and that now, she could allow herself to be happy with him. "Then I will gladly spend the rest of my life atoning for my mistake, so long as you are by my side." Saitou was determined that she would never have reason to doubt him, ever again. Her heart stopped beating wildly – rather it seemed to stop beating altogether. Her blush deepened, and she looked down, trying to hide the extent of her joy.]

[Her breath caught in her throat, and she bowed her head again. Although their love had been kept discreet, they had always had such warm support and encouragement from their friends. Their marriage would not only be a testament of their commitment to each other, but of their bonds with all those who had loved them too – as family, as friends, as brothers-in-arms. "Believe in me again, Tokio." His voice was firm, yet so full of need. Tokio shut her eyes, wondering how many tears she had already shed for this man. She would cry no more, she vowed, and instead she would smile. "I believe in you, Hajime-sama," she stated quietly. She opened her eyes, and Saitou found in them all the answers that he had searched for, for so very long.]

Then..I just melted when Hajime gave Tokio the kanzashi that he kept all this time, asking her to wear it at their wedding.

[“He had kept it all this time, never letting go of the memory of their promise.”]

The description of the wedding was wonderful. Tokio and Hajime finally got the wedding they deserved, surrounded by their surviving family and friends and the memory of those that were no longer with them. I thought it was very appropriate that they retired to their own home for their first night together.

This was a masterful, wonderful, satisfying chapter...I have to say that I enjoyed every bit of it very much!
anreg chapter 34 . 3/23/2013
I like how Kurasawa made arrangements for Yaso to have a pension and to take care of his elderly parents. It was a good way to give her support and security. (I thought the way you interpreted the record of Saitou living with the Kurasawas and of Yaso going to live with the Kurasawa’s parents a little before Saitou went to Tokyo was logical and reasonable. It wouldn’t surprise me if that is what happened in real-life.)

I think that the extreme grief that Saitou felt, when he thought he’d lost Tokio to another man, was a mirror of the deep love he felt for her. Even a man like Saitou, when blinded by the loss of what had to be his whole reason for surviving (Tokio), can make serious, unfortunate mistakes in judgment, like leaving the scene when he saw her with Kurasawa and not getting direct confirmation that the records were correct from someone who knew Tokio personally, such as her brother. It is also an example of how appearances are not always reality.

In Saitou’s state of mind it was perfectly logical that he would not argue when he found out that Yaso had married them without his knowledge or consent, especially when Yaso had saved his life. That drunken stupor of his was his way of coping with losing the love of his life.

Regardless of how Saitou had come to be married, Tokio’s feeling were totally bruised, and rightly so. Imagine promising someone you would wait for them and then having to wait for 10 years only to learn that he hadn’t believed you and had married another woman, even if that woman was the one who registered the marriage without the man’s knowledge or consent.

[Actually, it took a supreme effort of obstinacy on her part to maintain her resolve – and truth be told, she reluctantly acknowledged that even now, what she wanted more than anything else in the world was to be in his arms and to be with him. But every time she was about to give in, she would remember with a chilling fury that he had doubted her, and she tormented herself with images of him with Yaso, holding her…. of them spending their days and nights together.]

It was very appropriate for their reconciliation to take time. There is no way that Tokio’s emotional wounds, which were inflicted by his marriage to another, could heal ‘overnight’.

The way Saitou kept chipping away at her resolve while they both lived with the Kurasawas is a testament to the man’s ability to focus on a goal, and to complete what he starts.

[He knew it would take time to win back Tokio's trust, to prove to her that he was worthy again. Although she refused to talk with Saitou, Saitou talked to her at every chance he got... Tokio, however, hated to lose at anything, especially a battle of wills. In mid-March, she coolly announced that Matsudaira Teru had summoned her to Tokyo, and that she had decided that she should also look after Morinosuke as he prepared for his final exams. She did not know how long she would be away, but she would be away for the rest of the season at least. .. "Let her go, if that's what she wants. I won't mind going to Tokyo myself." Saitou was never one to back down from the hunt, and at this stage, Saitou had no reason to hold back. He had the blessings of her father, of her brother, of her adoptive parents… and half of Gonohe was rooting for him, thanks to Sagawa spreading the gossip (much to his annoyance).”]

Tokio had to react to Saitou the way she did to let him know that he should never take her lightly and that he should never, ever doubt her again. This was an important lesson for him to learn, if the two of them were to be partners for the rest of their lives. However, Tokio also had a lesson to learn in all of this. That lesson was that being stubborn is useful up until a point. But, if you over do your stubbornness, you risk losing what you want the most.

I like how Saitou’s possessiveness shows through.

[Saitou nodded, although frankly he disliked the idea of turning to Yamakawa for guidance. He disliked the idea that anybody might understand Tokio better than he did.]

The conversation between Yaso and Tokio was great. Yaso’s kindness and generosity come through as she visits Tokio right before she leaves to stay with Teru, trying to reassure the younger woman that Saitou’s debt had been paid, her future was provided for, and that the man was trying to make things right with both women. Yaso made a good point to Tokio…if Tokio kept rejecting him, why should Yaso have given him up.

["True, but I don't think I'm mistaken when I say that he has fought so hard to stay alive all this time, in all those battles, because of you." Saitou could fight with unwavering conviction, because Tokio believed in him – Yaso had grasped this much. "I know what you are feeling: that he has reneged on his debt to me. But he knows, and I know, that he has already made good on his dues. He protected me from a life of dishonor and disgrace, and for that much alone, we are even. And now, he has made sure that I am safe and provided for. He is trying his best to do right by us both, and I have accepted that. You should too." She looked at Tokio wonderingly, and then asked, "If I may inquire, why have you not agreed to marry him yet?" Tokio turned scarlet, and tried to defend her intransigence. "He hurt us both, Yaso-san, and that is not so easy to forgive." "But he chose you." Yaso looked at her sadly. "…. He doubted me, when he should have known better. He knew me better than that – than to think that I would betray him so…." "So you would punish yourself too?" Yaso felt a pang of resentment, knowing that Saitou was working every day to regain Tokio's good graces. "If you're not going to marry him, then why should I have had to step aside?"]

Leave it to a man to be heavy handed about things, needing to be in control. Saitou should have left Tokio alone after her visit with Yaso, rather than barging in and taking a demanding attitude. No wonder Tokio still refused him. (Saitou should have learned another lesson about getting along with her from this little blunder.)

["I know she's a good woman, but she's not my wife." Saitou said simply after a pause, relieved that Yaso had not said anything inflammatory but annoyed at himself now for having stoked Tokio's ire. "And neither am I." Tokio declared irately. Yaso had come to wish her well, and it was Saitou who was upsetting her. "But you will be," Saitou held her gaze steadily, sure that Tokio was beginning to come round. His confidence grated on Tokio's nerves, and she did not feel like surrendering at all now. "I have already said that I will not marry you, Saitou Hajime." But even as the words left her mouth, she felt her heart shrink with regret.]

You expressed Tokio’s feelings so well both in her discussion with Yaso and in the following scene with Saitou.
It is a reflection of Saitou’s character and his understanding of Tokio when he recognized that the depth of her anger was merely a reflection of her love, a love which he was not going to let go of.

[Barely a fortnight had passed since Tokio had left. Despite her icy attitude towards him, Saitou had grown accustomed to seeing her in the morning as she brought him his breakfast, accompanying her to work in the fields or at the school (much to her aggravation), and saying goodnight to her in the evenings. These might seem to be the least of things, but those moments had given him great comfort compared to the bleakness of the past years. He relished the moments when her affection for him peeked through, and he recognized that the depth of her anger was merely a reflection of the love that still abided within. Now that he had a taste of what life with her would be like, he wanted more – much more – and he had no intention of letting her go.]

I got a real kick out the scene where Sagawa, Yamakawa, and Kurosawa discuss Saitou’s future with Tokio and his need for suitable employment.

["That won't do, Saitou. If you're serious about marrying Sada-chan, you've got to find some real employment." Yamakawa shook his head. "I intend to do so," Saitou glowered in annoyance at Yamakawa's lecturing tone… Saitou had to admit that the proposition made sense. The Meiji administration was still in its early days, and there were still an untold number of problems in the country. Crime and corruption were two big issues, but more than that, there were those who sought to cause further unrest and disrupt the peace that people had just begun to regain. He had run into these malefactors often enough on his travels, and he had dealt with them as he saw fit. However, this would be a chance for him to pursue his vision of justice under the aegis of law. Even as he thought about it, the concept grew more appealing to him.]
What Saitou saw on his travels helps him realize that there is a place for him as a civil servant working to keep the peace.

There is a great camaraderie between all of the men, even though the others are slightly annoying to the wolf, and some of their humor is at his expense. It is wonderful to see the bonds that are forming between them men and how they plot to get around Teru.

["But what are we going to do about Sada-chan though?" Yamakawa went back to the beginning of the discussion; it would be pathetically ironic if Saitou moved to Tokyo, and found a job and a home, and Tokio still refused to marry him. "How long did she say she was going to stay with Teru Hime?" "It's going to be difficult to get to her if she's hiding behind the princess." Sagawa frowned too; Matsudaira Teru was a most formidable woman, and no self-respecting man of Aizu dared to cross her. "Ah, then I say we fight fire with fire!" Yamakawa slapped his knee. "We'll go straight to Katamori-sama!"]

The exchange between Teru and Saitou was absolutely wonderful. His reasons for wanting Tokio for his wife hit their mark with the princess. (I have to say that I enjoyed *every single word* in that *entire* section of the chapter!)

["I'm her
glitterandfade chapter 1 . 1/9/2013
I can honestly say this is one of the best fanfic I've read! I love all the background history you've included, it really made the story all the more engrossing. And the characters, gosh! I kinda wish this was a canon story in the RK universe, because it brought another side of the characters I never thought of and made me love them even more.

I can tell a lot of love went into this, so well done! You had me up all night trying to finish it in one reading!
Niente de Nada chapter 10 . 12/25/2012
It's awkward and I feel more than a little ungracious to make my first review, after nine wonderful chapters, to correct a small error, but the ruling family of Satsuma were the Shimazu, and Saigou Takamori was a military commander of Satsuma, not the lord of the domain.

But other than that small detail, I am really enjoying this pleasant outing through Rurouni Kenshin backstory/Bakumatsu history. For me, the Shinsengumi and the Ishin Shishi are starting to feel like old friends and it's always fascinating to see how they're reimagined in various stories. (I'm afraid I can't stop thinking of Gintama Hijikata when he makes his appearance here.) I'm particularly interested in the close focus on Aizu here. I know how painful that will get, and I know it'll be heart-wrenching, but your Saitou and Tokio are fascinating characters to follow through the impending storm.
Scarred Sword Heart chapter 35 . 12/24/2012
Yata! That was a great Saitou/Tokio story! Tomorrow, I'll read your new one.
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