Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin. Wish I did, but I do not, so there you go! Schade!

C.M. Forde-chan: This one is for you, honey-child…

What If?

To say Sano was nervous would be like equating a mote of dust to infinity. All right, perhaps that is a slight exaggeration, but not much. He was currently developing a nail-biting, sweating-bullets, butterflies-in-the-stomach, oh-my-God-I-can-hear-my-ancestors-calling-me nervosa complex. The formal and well-starched black kimono and ridiculous hat strapped to his head were not the reasons, although they certainly contributed. Neither was it the soft, solemn monotone of the dignified Shinto priest or the billows of strongly fragrant incense wafting up into the rafters of the secluded room of the temple. Oh no, it was much much worse than that…

Sano peeked out of the corner of his left eye to gaze at the face of the beautiful young girl who was kneeling serenely beside him, the sleeve of her elegant red kimono just a hairsbreadth away from touching his own. Her midnight hair had been done up in an extravagant hairstyle that would have befitted a princess of the most decadent feudal court. Her warm golden brown eyes were modestly lowered, half-veiled below thick dark lashes. She seemed only to have her attention for the words of the priest, but she must have sensed his gaze, for she ever-so-subtly reached out and touched his arm, her tiny fingers warm even through the thickness of the kimono. Her delicate pink lips quirked in a soft smile as her other hand went briefly to her slightly rounded belly, and she gave his arm light squeeze.

Sano gulped and quickly shifted his gaze to the corner of his right eye. This was the cause of his present anxiety. Well, this and the good three feet of shining lethal (and undoubtedly razor-sharp) metal currently hovering a micrometer from his jugular. Sano let his eyes travel up the gleaming blade until they met the burning golden gaze of the katana's owner.

Saitou narrowed his eyes ever-so-slightly. 'If you even think about backing out now, the last thing you'll see is two feet of this blade going through your throat.' It was amazing how eloquent a simple glare could be.

Sano gulped again and tried to get his focus back on the ceremony, praying to whatever cruel god that had gotten him into this fiasco would be merciful and let him keel over and die from a heart attack or asphyxiation or something before he had to say, "I do!"

"I did not know Saitou had a little sister," Kaoru mused quietly as they witnessed the surreal tableaux.

"He is not supposed to, but this is a "what if" situation after all de gozaru," Kenshin pointed out in the same tone.

"Well, it is Sano's fault for being stupid enough to knock her up, but it really sucks that he had to choose that particular girl," Yahiko chimed in rather more loudly than necessary.

"But still," Kaoru protested, "A "Gatotsu wedding" is pushing it to the extremes!"

Narrator here! Okay, before any of you flame me, hear me out! I warned you in the summary that this was stupid and a waste of time to read, so unless you like playing Russian Roulette to ease your boredom, it is your own darned fault for clicking on it!

By the bye, the origin of this story was a discussion between my friend C.M. Forde and me about "shotgun weddings." Things got kinda out of hand, and since Rurouni Kenshin is my favorite anime…


Author's Note (15 January 2004): In the original posting of this fic, I had the girl as Saitou's daughter.  Thinking back, that idea is far too bizarre to really carry (not that Saitou's having a little sister is any more accurate!).  Besides, everyone knows Saitou had three sons.

*-* Poor Tokio-san!