Saito Hajime shrugged out of his coat. Kyoto was still in an uproar over the Shi Shi-O incident, and it was already nearing dawn before he was able to return home. The moon shining through the open window was low on the horizon, but full, bathing the bedroom in silver light. His wife was asleep, the gentle scent of satsuma drifting in the air.
Suddenly, he froze. Someone else was in the room. Before he could finish the thought his katana was out and held ready.
"Where is he?"
The soft voice drifted from the shadows of a corner. He knew its owner, but his katana didn't lower.
"You've returned," he said to the shadows. "How was Britain?"
"Where is he?"
The voice hadn't changed. "Who?"
"Himura."
Saito paused. In ten years he hadn't heard the hitokiri speak so many words at once unless they concerned an assignment. "Why do you want to know?"
There was no answer. He hadn't expected one. Sata didn't answer questions. Silence was the weapon of choice, silence that would unnerve another and force them to show their hand. The questions interested him though. He had several of his own concerning the assassin under his care, most of which were based on half-uttered rumors from a decade ago, and questions his superiors were either unable or unwilling to answer, and all of them dealt with the connection between this assassin and the legendary Battousai. "He returned home."
The shadows parted, the voice slowly taking shape. Moonlight glinted off silver hair and the pale skin of face and neck, ran down the long length of a saya. But shadows still clung, as if attempting to draw the figure back into itself. "Where?"
The man weighed his options. He could refuse to give the information, but it would be found out anyway and make an enemy of someone who was barely an ally. But, if he told, the Battousai might be killed, and Saito refused to allow that to happen unless it was his sword that struck home.
Then again, this might be interesting.
"Tokyo," he said, watching the assassin. The cold face hadn't changed, a slight shimmer in the dark eyes the only evidence that he'd been heard.
"Where?"
Saito smiled to himself. The voice was harder now, a slight difference that only someone who truly paid attention would notice. So, after ten years, he'd finally managed to drag a response from that cold surface.
He turned around and began removing his shirt. "Kamiya Kashiin dojo, he stays with friends there," he didn't bother to turn around, knowing his audience had probably disappeared into the night before the last syllables left his lips. He would have to inform his superiors that Sata would be unavailable for a while. For a moment he thought about sending the rurouni a warning, but decided
After all, variety was the spice of life.



"No!"
Himura Kenshin sat up in the darkness of his room, hand settled on his sword. The room was deathly quiet compared to the roar of his dreams. He sighed and stood, his hand lingering on the sakabato for the briefest of moments before heading outside. Autumn was coming, but the heat of late summer still lingered, mixing with the chill of fall. During the day it was hard to believe that in a few months they would have snow, not with the heat hovering as it did.
"You're up late."
Kenshin didn't turn his head as Sanouske walked up. "Can't sleep?" the taller man asked.
"Hm," Kenshin answered, not really listening because he wasn't really there. His mind was drifting through the past, to times he'd thought long forgotten…
"It'll be full again soon," Sano said, coming to stand next to his friend. "Fox lady has all these weird ideas about harvesting her herbs under the full moon. Something about tides and forces."
Kenshin smiled at the thought of Megumi rustling through the trees at night, probably dragging Dr. Genzai along as well. She'd told him once that harvesting made her happy, gave her time to think, and he was glad she could find peace in something so simple.
"Hey, Kenshin, you all right?"
The red-head forced a smile. "Fine, Sanouske, just thinking," with that he turned and walked back to his room. He could feel Sano watching him, but he knew his friend wouldn't question him. They both had secrets that were better left unknown.




Thanks for reading this!!!!!!! This is a teaser for a longer story i'm still working on, so let me know if I should post the rest! Please feed the author and leave a review on your way out!!! I accept all suggestions and reviews are placed on a shrine near my computer for moral support! Flames will be eaten with soy sauce and rum :)