~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Chapter 3 ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"You ever eaten smoked cat on a cold day, sempai?"

Kenshin rubbed his temples. He believed, yes, he definitely -knew- it was better when the psychotic cop's innermost thoughts were hidden behind a callous sneer. "No, Saitou, have you?"

"Can't say I recall." Saitou shrugged and continued his bizarre interrogation. "You ever turned a turtle over on its back, just to watch the damn thing wiggle?"

"Uhhh..."

"Or dunked your head into a bucket of brine and ran around claming to be Queen of the Pickles?"

"Ano, I..."

"Sempai, have you ever stabbed a man, just to watch him bleed?"

Kenshin fell into the dirt, dead. Seriously. His heart stopped beating, and angels started to cluster around him, all craning to get a good look at the only assassin to ever have a chance at getting into heaven.

"That's no hitokiri," the Archangel Gabriel whined, "That's just a bloody rurouni."

"How can you tell, Gabe?"

"He smells of laundry soap." The angel stomped his foot in despair. "Throw him back, boys. I don't have any rurounis on the list today. Say, lets pop over to Kyoto and watch Shinomori's struggle for inner peace. That's always a riotous good time, eh?"

"I'll bet my best harp that I can make him go insane and try to kill Okina again," one of the Seraphim declared.

"Oooh, I want to bet that Aoshi is -gay-," the Archangel Michael said excitedly, jumping up and down, his oversized glittery wings knocking smaller angels into the air left and right.

"He's not gay, you're gay," the Archangel Uriel stated grumpily, crossing his arms at his chest. "Besides, he likes the little ninja girl."

"Nuh-uh, he likes that Seta kid," The Fabulous Archangel Michael opined, examining his nails, "Say, do you think he got it on with Hannya?"

"Ew!"

"Or Beshimi?"

"EW!"

"He -likes- the little ninja girl," Uriel stated again. "It has to be true, because I read it on the internet."

"You're an idiot, Uriel. The internet is in the FUTURE!"

"Time has no meaning to me, baka! Besides, I'm not the one who stands around watching Kamatari in the bath, Michael," Uriel replied, leaning his head to one side and drooling in an impression of the most -sparkly- of all the archangels.

"Maa, maa," Gabriel replied, grabbing his two co-workers by their wings, "No more fighting, or I'll shove you both into one body and reincarnate you as the child of a tanuki who can't cook."

Back on the road, oblivious to the heavenly throwdown taking place all around, Saitou bent over the dead rurouni. "Sempai? Sempai?"

Kenshin swam back to consciousness across the sea of 'This Just Ain't Right', hiked back to Tokyo through the mountains of 'Why Me?', and finally found his body on "Of All The Things That Could Have Happened Today" Street.

"Oroooooo," Kenshin groaned, sitting up. Saitou extended a hand to pull the rurouni to a standing position and looked on, ever so concerned, while Kenshin dusted himself off.

"You keep saying that, sempai. Oro. -Oro-. Is that your war cry, or something? I don't think you'll frighten too many people with that."

"Sessha does not wish to frighten others. Sessha merely wishes to get you to the doctor." Yes. As quickly as possible. Quicker than the battoujutsu, quicker than Misao on an unconscious Aoshi, quicker than Seta Soujirou on a three-day methamphetamine bender. In essence, very, very, very unslowly.

This appeared to shut Saitou up for a while. Kenshin imagined he had a lot to think about. What did the Wolf of Mibu generally think about, anyway? Kenshin had never really thought about it. Did the man have any hobbies besides smoking and looking cross? Surely he must have -some- endearing qualities.

But, what was -really- bothering Kenshin was how, exactly, to tell Saitou about -Saitou-. How do you tell a man that he is an irascible pill, prone to killing anyone who doesn't follow his personal ideology? Kenshin was composing thoughts along these lines:

"Saitou, sessha regrets to tell you that you aren't a very nice person. You live by the antiquated code of a group of defeated warriors, that you do. Last year you stabbed one of my best friends through the shoulder, and never apologized. Then, you tried to kill me, and never apologized, And then, you pretended to be dead, and never apologized. Basically, you're just waiting for the moment Sessha screws up so you can try to kill me again, that you are. No one sessha knows is very fond of you. I'm very sorry, Saitou, but maybe this memory loss thing is the best thing that ever happened to you."

Kenshin, a man who generally felt more guilty than...well...uh...er... No, I can't really say that anyone generally feels more guilty than Kenshin. If he had a game show, it would be called The Wheel of Guilt. If he were on a soap opera, it would be called The Bold and The Guilty. If, say, someone dressed him in a bikini, set him on the sun-drenched shores of an American beach, and made him run with a life preserver in his hand...well, he'd just be on Baywatch, guilt or no guilt.

Thankfully, Himura Kenshin was NOT the star of some silly T.V. show.

Nor did he own a bikini.

But, if he did, it would be likely that he'd feel guilty about it.

Aside from the guilt, the whole situation was overwhelmingly perplexing. How was he going to explain this to Megumi-dono, not to mention everyone at the dojo? It was getting dark now, and Saitou would definitely have to stay the night with them.

Saitou scratched his head. Then he scratched his shoulder. Then his cheeks. In fact, he looked...well...somewhat twitchy altogether.

"Ano, Saitou, are you...alright?"

Saitou stopped itching the end of his nose just long enough to say, "Sempai, I'm...itchy."

Oh no. Maybe the knock to Saitou's usually impervious and ever-so-creepy noggin had done more than just make him lose his memory. Maybe, just maybe, something else had happened, as well.

Kenshin felt an overwhelming amount of guilt due to the fact that, just for an instant, he hoped it was something fatal. So much guilt that...

Well, lets not get into that again.

Thankfully, just at that moment, the pair arrived at Dr. Gensai's clinic. Kenshin grabbed Saitou's wrist and dragged him inside using super-Kenshin-speed. (And by this I mean that Kenshin ran quite fast. He wasn't giving Saitou methamphetamines. That, my friends, is a different story altogether.)

(Somewhere, across Japan, a rather sleazy figure scuttled up to Seta Soujiro. "Hey kid," he said, holding out a bottle of pills, "I got something to increase your....pep."

"Really?" Soujiro replied. Well, all this rurouni-ing had made him quite worn out. A little "pep" might be just what he needed.)

"Megumi-dono!" Kenshin came to a stop inside the mostly deserted clinic, dropping Saitou on the floor with a -thud-. "Megumi-dono! Come quick!"

Megumi appeared from one of the back rooms, holding a mortar and pestle. "Ken-san? And...uh..." Megumi looked from Kenshin to Saitou and back again. "If you two got into a fight and you expect me to patch you up for free..."

"Megumi-dono..." Kenshin lifted up Saitou, who was scratching ferociously at his own neck, by the collar. "Saitou had a tofu hut fall on his head, that he did. And now he can't remember anything. And...he won't stop scratching himself."

The fox-doctor bent down to take a good look at Saitou, and Saitou leered openly at the fox-doctor's chest. Upon seeing this, Megumi slapped the Wolf of Mibu as hard as possible.

"Oh no!" Megumi's eyes went wide as she realized what she had done. "Oh...you're going to put me in jail now, aren't you? Please tell me that assaulting a police officer isn't an automatic death sentence. I'm too young and -far- too pretty to die!"

Instead of dragging Megumi to prison, Saitou merely shrugged and scratched at the back of his head. "Ano...sorry," Saitou said sheepishly, looking down at the floor, "I didn't mean to..."

"He really -has- lost his memory, hasn't he, Ken-san?"

Kenshin nodded.

"Well, let me take a look."

(Across Japan, in Kyoto, Hiko Seijuro was pounding on the Aoiya door. He was pounding, and pounding, and pounding. Then he remembered that he was the master of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu, and he proceeded to kick the door down.

"Shinomori! SHINOMORI, GET OUT HERE NOW! I have a bone to pick with you about those damn onmitsu women of yours!"

On another plane of existence, the Archangel Michael swooned. "Oh, look at him, Uriel. Hiko is so -dreeeamy-. I'm going to get Cupid-sama to shoot an arrow and have Shinomori and Hiko fall in looooovvvveee."

Uriel made no reply, as he was busy going through the Nine Thousand Six Hundred and Twenty Two Volumes of Heavenly Law looking for any mention of gay angels being prohibited.

But back on Earth, Shinomori Aoshi appeared from the shadows, a particularly cold look on his face. And, for once, that look had less to do with his state of constant mental anguish, and more to do with the fact that he'd just taken a cold bath because he'd accidentally seen Misao getting dressed.

"Speak," Aoshi intoned.

"Those women won't stop following me and trying to take my sake. You're their Okashira. I demand that you do something about it." Hiko crossed his arms underneath his giant mantle and sneered obnoxiously.

Aoshi's left eyebrow flinched. "So...ka?"

Suddenly, Hiko Seijuro noticed that Shinomori Aoshi was a rather fine looking man. Very fine looking. He had very lovely skin. And those eyes...those eyes of Shinomori's were so exquisite. Hiko had never seen such eyes on a man before. He had to have a closer look. Yes, much, much closer.

"Yatta!" Michael exclaimed, holding Cupid by one of his stubby legs and bouncing happily. "I did it! I did it! The old hermit will never know what hit him!"

"Shinomori." Hiko's massive frame inched closer and closer to Aoshi. "Shi...no...mori..."

Aoshi's right eyebrow flinched.

"I've never heard a word so...fascinating. Shino...mori. It rolls off your tongue, doesn't it?" Hiko leaned forward on one arm, pinning Aoshi against a bookcase. "Yes. A beautiful word. Just like the man it describes." Hiko raised his free hand and traced one single finger over Aoshi's cheek. "I want you Shinomori...Kami-sama help me, but I do."

Aoshi's expression didn't change. But he did say, "You should look out."

"Hmm?"

"She's fairly adept at hitting a non-moving target."

"Nani?"

Thankfully, Hiko had enough sense to jump out of the way before being hit with a handful of tobi kunai.)

"Well," Megumi said, standing and handing Saitou back his shirt, "I can fix the itching, but the memory loss presents much more of a problem."

"Really?" Saitou said, trying not to itch at his naked torso, "You can fix the itching part?"

Megumi nodded as Saitou buttoned his shirt. She slinked up to him, putting her hand on his collar in her ever-so-foxlike manner. "It's a craving, one you can't deny." Megumi's deft fingers slid down over Saitou's chest, causing the Feared and Deadly Wolf of Mibu to blush.

That's right. Saitou Hajime blushed.

(Across the World, the nose fell off of the Sphinx, the Pope cursed, the Amazon River suddenly turned into Fruit Punch, and a giant robot in the shape of a penguin appeared in the Sahara Desert and started shooting roses from its metallic nipples. Subsequently, Yukishiro Tomoe rose from her grave and moved to Las Vegas to become a stripper.)

"Ano...sensei...about earlier, I didn't mean to lead you on, but..."

"Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho," Megumi laughed, her little fox ears appearing. She reached into Saitou's shirt pocket and retrieved his cigarettes. "You're just in need of a cigarette. Itching is one of the signs of withdrawal. Now, be a good boy and go outside and smoke this while I speak to Ken-san."

"Thank you so much, sensei!" Saitou raced out the door with a look on his face which rather reminded Kenshin of what Yahiko looked like when someone said the word "Akabeko".

"What about his memory, Megumi-dono?" Kenshin asked, twiddling his thumbs and wishing quite desperately that he had not seen Saitou blush.

Megumi sighed. "Well, his memory can't be fixed with medicine. The bump didn't look too bad, so I am guessing that his memory will return in time. Your best bet is to introduce him to people, places, and things which are familiar. Getting him home would be a good start."

Kenshin nodded. Home. But, where on earth did Saitou live? "Sessha will try to find out where he lives tomorrow."

"And Ken-san..."

"Yes?"

"Be very careful. He may not remember who he is, but he is still very dangerous. People can sometimes do things on instinct, even without their full memories. If I were you, I'd consider taking his sword away."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kami-sama. She had "that feeling". When his mother got "that feeling", things just tended to go awry.

You see, for all of her neuroses and psychoses, Saitou Tokio had one special talent. It was a talent which possibly made her the only person on Earth who would have chosen to marry Saitou Hajime. She was the only one who could see through his cruelty, his murderous sneer, his bloodthirsty demeanor, and find something inside to cherish and adore.

Because Saitou Tokio was empathic.

She could sense the feelings of others like no person Tsutomu had ever -even- heard of. She knew when you were sad, knew when you were guilty, knew when you'd kissed Fujiko-chan on the cheek. Tsutomu blushed at remembering that last one. Sometimes having an empathic mother was a -real- bother.

There were many problems with this particular power, though. First of all, Saitou Tokio couldn't relate to the emotions of animals, which made her absolutely terrified of anything which wasn't human. And secondly...well...

She was insane. And an insane woman who knows exactly what everyone else is feeling, is a real danger to herself, and sometimes, to others.

Imagine this woman walking into the market and realizing that the innkeeper's wife is in love with the shoemaker, but not possessing enough sense to keep that secret to herself.

If you are able to imagine that, and you can begin to deduce the -terror- unleashed when Saitou Tokio left her home.

Tsutomu pressed his fingers to his temple and read The Instructions. His father's blessed organizational skills would have to save them all. Tsutomu only hoped he had the strength to carry them out.

Rule #1: Do not let your mother out of the house.

Rule #2: DO NOT LET YOUR MOTHER OUT OF THE HOUSE, even if she begs, cries, or pouts.

Rule #3: If you -must-, for some reason, let your mother out of the house, DO NOT LET HER OUT OF YOUR SIGHT.

Rule #4: MAKE SURE SHE IS WEARING CLOTHES THIS TIME.

Rule #5: Your mother is not to have any candy.

Rule #6: OR ANY ALCOHOL.

Rule #7: Try to avoid populated areas.

Rule #8: On second thought, just don't EVER let your mother out of the house!

Tsutomu sighed. The Instructions were less helpful than he had thought. He put them back into the filing cabinet and walked back into the room where his mother was attempting to clean the same tea set she'd already cleaned nine times that day.

"You're worried about something, ne, Tsu-chan?" Tokio set one of the cups down and picked up another. "I'm worried, too. Your father always sends word if he's going to be this late. I have -that- feeling, you know. Something horrible...something terrible..."

"Mother," Tsutomu said quietly, kneeling down in front of Tokio, "You mustn't get worked up. Remember that sometimes, just sometimes, the world seems a little different to you. And, when you act on impulse...well..."

Tokio's lips fell into a little frown as confusion flooded her eyes. "What do you mean, Tsu-chan?"

"Well, mother, remember the time you found that dead cat in our yard, and you decided to smoke it, and feed it to us for dinner, just because you thought it was a sign from Kami-sama?"

Tokio tilted her head, "But, it -was- a sign."

"And remember the time you found a turtle in your garden and you were so scared that you poked it with a stick and flipped it over, and then spent the whole day hiding in the bushes as it wiggled, because you were terrified it would exact revenge?"

Tokio bit her lip. "The turtle would have attacked me, Tsutomu. It was very angry. I'm sure of it!"

"Remember the time that you dunked your head in a vat of brine because you thought your cucumbers had declared you Queen of the Pickles?"

"But Tsu-chan," Tokio whispered with humble sincerity, "Cucumbers are quite wise..."

"And mother, don't you recall the time you stabbed father in his sleep with your paring knife, just to watch him bleed?"

"Oh, Tsu-chan, that's not fair at -all-. I was trying to get the evil spirits to come out. They were making him -snore-!"

Tsutomu put one hand on his mother's shoulder. "We don't blame you, Mother. We all love you just the way you are. But, you have to trust me, okay? Let's stay here and wait, for now. If Father hasn't returned or sent word by morning, I promise, we'll go look for him. Alright?"

Tokio nodded, her lips breaking into a wide smile. "Alright, Tsu-chan. I trust you! You're my cleverest son. So clever, just like your father..."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Saitou tripped and fell, face first, into the dirt road. "Ooo, Sempai," he said, quickly standing back up, "These cigarettes sure can make you dizzy."

Kenshin didn't respond. He was still thinking about what Megumi-dono had said. Take Saitou's sword away? On one hand, Megumi-dono was right. They couldn't have Saitou accidentally hurt someone with his katana while he was like this. He might not even do it on purpose, just reflexively. On the other hand, without his katana, Saitou was even -more- helpless against random attacks like the one in the market.

Not that his katana did him much good -then-.

But, if he wasn't wearing his katana, enemies would be more likely to attack, rather than err on the side of caution.

A complete dilemma.

"Where are we going, sempai?"

"We're going to the dojo, that we are."

"A dojo? How interesting! Have I ever been there before?"

Kenshin tried not make a horrible face as he recalled the day that Saitou had first come to visit the dojo. "Yes, Saitou. You have."

(Somewhere, on another plane of existence, the Archangel Uriel leaned over and whispered something in the Archangel Gabriel's ear.

And then Gabriel said, "HE DID WHAT?")

Kenshin slid the door of the dojo open as quietly as possible.

Quietly, but not quiet enough to mask the sound from a rabid tanuki, a hungry Yahiko, and a rooster-headed streetfighter looking to borrow money.

"Kenshin! Kenshin!" Kaoru called, bounding out of the kitchen, followed by Yahiko and Sano. She waved happily at the rurouni standing in the doorway, "I'm so glad you're home, we were beginning to get wor..."

Just then, one of the figures most dreaded by the dojo residents stepped into view behind Kenshin. Saitou moved forward and stood beside the rurouni.

Then he grinned.

And Kaoru screamed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

In Our Next Chapter: What will the dojo residents think? Will Kenshin take away Saitou's sword, or tell him more about himself? Will Soujiro become a drug addict? Will Tsutomu let Tokio out of the house? And what about the conundrum in Kyoto? What happens when the master of the Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu becomes infatuated with the Okashira of the Oniwabanshuu?

Stay tuned for the next exciting installment of 'A Sakabatou for Baka Saitou' to find out!

Author's Note: Sorry this chapter had less -funnies- in it than the last one, but the "plot" has to unfold, you know?

Thank you so much to all the reviewers! I'm so glad you are enjoying this bizarre little fic. I hope it continues to live up to your standards! So, thanks again to: kagome-chan1234567890 (ACK! NO KILLING! NO KILLING ANGRYBEE!), Wistful-Eyes, haku baikou (I'd read a book on anime physics by Hawking!), chibi-tenken, kenshingentatsu, Karta (Sorry it took so long to update!), Sesshie-sama, ChibiMethos, Kuchiro, Espi, Malou, Cherry Delight (Ah, but now H&T is finished!), Tenniyo (This Tokio would be -so- afaid of Snowflake, unfortunately.), dreammaster2411 (Cheese? Fish?), Mainstream Soveriegn, vegetachanlover, April-san, I'mapersonwhoreadthestory, caitlin (This story takes place approximately one year after the Jinchuu arc, but Kenshin and Kaoru aren't -together- yet.), MissBehavin, Cala Lily, PraiseDivineMercy (The dojo residents should be...interesting, eh?), MoMo-ChAn1, EEevee, anj, IceRain, Trupana (OK! I will change that in the edits, and have switched to English, since I'm no Japanese expert, and shouldn't try to be, eh? My goodness, your review is about as long as the chapter! I LOVE the Song of Soujiro!!!!), The Writer Guy, Sakura Butterfly (Sakura Butterfly seems to have the same Third-Person-Reference Disease that Angrybee has!), BarbaraSheridan, Tessira Aleyn, fujifunmum, Gemini1, and Rainchaser!!!!

THANKS TO YOU ALL!!!!!!