Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin. I don't own Saitoh. I'm not Tokio. Too bad, too bad, too bad.

Author's notes : As far as Saitoh is concerned, people react a lot so I'd like to send some warnings before my first fanfic.

I'm not a native English speaker, so please forgive my poor vocabulary and grammar. I did my best but I'm afraid it's far from enough.

This story is the first of a series I wrote 2 years ago, including several short stories, a longer one about the way Saitoh and Tokio met, and plans for two others: one taking place after the end of the manga (half-written) and the other about their life during the Bakumatsu. I have my personal overall vision, so in each story there are facts that are explained only in the others.

This story is not really historically correct: I'm trying to use the more historical facts I can, but when they are not convenient I twist them. For example in my fanfics, Saitoh and Tokio met in 1865 and not in 1873.

I have, as everyone, my own vision of Saitoh. I tried not to write him too OOC and I hope the story is not too mushy. It's quite difficult because it's all about his family life and his relation with Tokio. For me Saitoh HAS feelings, he is just in control of them, except with Tokio, which in my mind makes things interesting. As nothing described Tokio in the manga, I imagined her totally. Last year I began to read fanfics, and my Tokio has common points with some of other authors but I don't think she is exactly the same as any. My Tokio is not a fighter in the beginning, she has no special powers, she is not scaring him but she is not totally innocent either. I tried to make her cool in a feminine way as Saitoh is cool in a manly way ( mission impossible, I know, I just tried). In fact in this story she is a bit weaker than in the others. I enjoyed reading the S/T fanfics so I hope you will enjoy this one.


Saitoh's secret gardens

Story one: Surprise

July 1875-Tokyo

Saitoh felt his body relax suddenly as he entered the perfectly kept garden. He had accepted to complete a little mission for his old friend, the Daimyo of Aizu, and had been away for 2 months. He was not in the order- keeping business anymore, and was officially teaching kendo in several schools of Tokyo. Nevertheless he was giving a hand from time to time. Nothing exciting this time.In fact, traveling itself had been more eventful than the routine job (Find culprit. Apply Aku.Soku.Zan. Period) Maybe one day he would get how this Ishinshishi morons had managed to win the civil war, as for now it was a complete enigma. They were absolutely unable to protect the people they had supposedly fought for. He had been attacked 19 times -19!!- on his way to Aizu and back. A dangerous smile twitched his lips as he remembered the dumbstruck expression of the various groups of attackers after he practiced his gatotsu on one or two. It was almost a waste he had to use it on theses pieces of garbage. Though he never needed many efforts to win, this easy was nearly indecent.

He took a deep breath. It was the outside world. He stopped, giving an appreciative look at the garden. Perfect taste, all harmony. Very proper at first glance, yet so personal and original indeed. So like her. He fastened his pace, reached the door and said casually, opening the panel: "I'm home."

He smirked as he heard someone run, then stop and walk again at a slow pace. She finally appeared, her everlasting bemused smile on her tempting red lips, and answered with her quiet, musical voice: "Welcome back".

The heat was overwhelming, so she was wearing the very light cotton yukata he had bought her when they settled in this house, 2 years ago. It was the same as her favorite one at the time they met, which had been lost with most of their belongings when they escaped Kyoto. The rich, deep carmin red was definitely her color -even if she'd probably manage to look like a princess in old rags. It outlined the incredible shade of her ebony hair, tumbling now freely around her at knee-length, and the pearl-white complexion of her skin. God she was gorgeous. Not the young girl he had met so long ago, but a fully-grown woman. His woman. Each time they had been apart, he found her even more beautiful than before when coming home. Still, today...there was something more. He raised a brow: "What happened?"

Her silver-gray eyes shone a second with irony: "That's my line. Do you ever plan to greet me properly?"

He complied very willingly, pulling her into his arms and kissing her "properly". Very "properly". She responded eagerly as usual, her body pliant and soft.yet.Something was different. He pulled back, staring intensely at her face. She was smiling tenderly, stroking his hair, and there was a sheer joy he had never seen before. Curtly, he repeated: "What happened?".

Her smiled turned to an enigma, as she announced: "We have been married for ten years since last month."

"I know. You wanted to go to our place in Kyoto. Sorry I couldn't make it." "It's not important. You need a little excitement from time to time. Ordinary life can be so boring" she teased, then casually "I made you some kakesoba."

She always knew when he was coming back home. He had stopped wondering about that years ago.

".I know they can't cook it properly in Kansai so."

He tightened his hold, groaning in a warning voice "Tokio."

Their eyes met, their wills confronting, and as his won against hers, she sighed:"10 years.and so many things happened."

Memories flew to his mind. She had revealed a more precious ally than he had thought. Not only she never complained, and never held him back, as he had expected, but she even helped, carrying messages, spying, and fighting with him by the end of the war. One day was particularly vivid in his mind. In spite he expressly forbade it, they went to watch Kondo's execution. She witnessed it with her usual courage, not saying a word, not shedding a tear. He knew how much Kondo meant to her, so when they came back to the nasty place they were living in at that time, he had sat on the futon next to her, pulled her gently in his arm and cradled her while she was crying her heart out on his chest. He could count the times when she had been vulnerable, and it was the only one he saw her cry. Coming back slowly to reality, he nodded to her.

She smiled again, oh-so sweetly: "You know, foreigners are giving each other presents for wedding anniversaries. And some Japanese do the same."

Now her tone was bemused. Sweet voice/smile/attitude = danger. After 10 years she still could fool him with that, when would he learn? Each June since they got married, he had given her a present. The yukata she was wearing now was a June gift too. They both pretended to ignore the fact, because Saitoh refused to admit he was behaving like a romantic moron and she didn't care to get the words out of him. Now was she aiming at that, as a twisted revenge because he hadn't been there? He narrowed his eyes, cautious.

She went on: "Ten years.it has to be special"

He let her break free, and she took a step back, her expression now frankly mischievous. She beckoned him to follow her, leading him to the terrace, which was their favorite place in the house. Standing in front of him, she spoke again: "Thank you for the present. I hope you like it too."

He blinked, looking around, then at her lovely face. She had lifted an eyebrow, obviously waiting for him to ask, so he did - like he had another choice. "And where is it?"

Her smile softened, and she took his hands, putting them on her belly. "It's here, for yet a few months."

She laughed as his composure broke into pieces for at least one minute, his mouth opening, his eyes widening. But then he cupped her face, eyes glittering, asked in a deep, husky voice "Are you sure? ", and she was overwhelmed, unable to say a word. She could barely nod in response. It was one thing to know, it was another to say it loud, to make it real. He smiled, really smiled, at her; she could feel his pride, his male arrogance as he stated "Our child"

"So do you like our present?" she murmured.

He grinned." Oh, yes. Definitely."

She threw herself in his arms, laughing and crying at the same time.

"Why are you crying, you little moron?" he whispered in her hair. She sobbed louder. He knew she had wanted it for a long time. She had never asked for it because she was conscious their lifestyle wouldn't have allowed it. She raised her eyes to his.

"It's not my fault. The doctor said that until the birth, I might be too emotional." She suddenly burst into laughter. "He wants to see you absolutely. He wants to explain you that I'm very, very, vulnerable now so you have to be very, very, nice to me and do everything I want."

He objected slyly: "Well, he has to see your father first, because he told me before the wedding to never, ever do such a stupid thing."

They shared a look and, he knew, the same thought, picturing Tokio's helpless father and the old, clueless doctor beating each other with their walking sticks, in order to decide the proper way Saitoh should behave with his wife. His wife and her infectious laughter, his wife carrying their child.He bent and sealed his lips to her for a long, deep kiss. After they parted, he wondered aloud:

"Do you think I need their advice?"

She pretended to think about it for a few seconds, before answering, deadpan:

"Personally, I think you are doing perfectly well by yourself. Besides, my father doesn't need to now how well, and all the doctor can do is to confirm the result of that behaviour of yours, so."

Her gaze was playful. If she wanted to play.He swept her in his arms and announced :"I think I'll eat my soba afterwards." as he carried a still laughing Tokio to their bedroom.

End of the story