Title: West of the Sun, East of the Moon
Author: FarStrider
E-mail: TDH2001@juno.com
Archive: Ask, and we shall see. . .
Rating: R
Warnings: Language, violence and hints of sadism, implied M/M relationships
Disclaimer: I freely admit that I'm a thief. . .all named characters (except for Moriyama – he's mine)  belong to Nobuhiro Watsuki, Shonen Jump, Shueisha, etc., the plot of LadyHawke belongs to Richard Donner and Warner Brothers; hell, even the idea to steal this plot in the first place belonged to Mizel way back near the beginning of this list.  Any poetry found herein can be found in Comrade Loves of the Samurai / Songs of the Geishas by Saikaku Ihara, translated by Edward Powys Mathers.  Obviously, I'm not at all creative. . .

Author's Notes:  I'd like to thank each and every person without whose patience, belief, understanding and a few quick kicks in the butt I wouldn't have finished. . . Delvinress, Black Faery, MsJadey, Queen Yokozuna, Ukio, Halcyon Star, and Alet-san. . .y'all are the best.  And last but not least, Sana, to whom this story is dedicated. . .I started this over a year ago for her first fic contest. . .unfortunately, I didn't finish in time. . . without her inspiration, I would have never even started.  Thanks Sana!

            "Tell me a story, Sagara-taicho," a hoarse, weak voice accompanied the surprisingly strong grip on the hem of his uniform trouser leg.  Saitou looked down into the fever-glazed eyes of his young lover, Sagara Sanosuke, and then raised and eyebrow at the foxy doctor, who seemed to be trying to hold back a laugh.

            "He's hallucinating?"  Saitou asked her, trying not to let concern color his voice.  Unfortunately for him, Takani Megumi was the smartest of the Kenshin-gumi, and she saw right through him.

"Don't worry Officer Saitou," Megumi said pleasantly as she packed her medical bag, preparing to leave.  "It's just a combination of the medication and his fever.  He'll be fine once the fever breaks."  She headed for the door of Sano's tatty apartment. 

"And just where do you think you're going?" Saitou asked in alarm when he noticed that she really intended to leave.  Megumi gave him a look that he assumed she reserved for very slow children.

"The Roosterhead isn't the only person in Tokyo with this flu, Officer Saitou," she said with a slight frown.  "I've got several other patients to see before this day is over." 

"But who's going to take care of him?"  Saitou looked down again into Sano's barely focused eyes. 

"Please, Taicho?" the young man, flushed with fever, begged piteously, and then smiled up at him expectantly.

"I thought you were staying to watch over him," Megumi said in a tone full of insinuations that Saitou didn't want to deal with at the moment.  His relationship with the boy was none of her concern.

"I, too, have a job, Dr. Takani," Saitou said as he sternly stared the young woman down.  She raised an exquisite eyebrow at him.

"It will be a couple of hours before I can send anyone over to check on Sano.  But if you want to have to chase hallucinating Roosterheads through the streets of Tokyo, then feel free to leave," she said with a shrug.  Saitou glowered at her.  He was beginning to understand why Sano called her Fox Woman; she was nearly as tricky as his wife, Tokio.  His eyes returned to Sanosuke's fever bright gaze and he sighed inwardly.

"Hn," he grunted, conceding with ill grace.  "And exactly what am I supposed to do with him for two hours?" he asked.  Megumi Takani gave him a sly, foxy smile as she flipped her long black hair over her shoulder.

"You could tell him a story," she said.  Saitou gave her the narrow eyed glare that had frozen the blood of many an opponent, only to have her laugh her foxy 'Ohohoho' laugh.  She opened the shoji and stepped through, stopping to give him one last look as she put on her shoes.  "And no smoking around my patients," she said watching him take out a cigarette.  Saitou put away his cigarette and gave her a look that promised slow death as she laughed again, closing the screen.  Saitou sat on his lover's futon and the boy snuggled up to his leg.

"I thought she'd never leave," Sano said, coughing. Saitou looked down at him in surprise, but the boy's brown eyes were still much too bright, and his cheeks were still flushed; that cough didn't sound good either.

"If I thought you were faking, Ahou, your Foxy doctor friend wouldn't be able to help you," Saitou said, making himself comfortable.  Sano smiled guilelessly up at him.

"Tell me a story," Sano demanded again, and Saitou chuckled at him.  'A story,' he thought to himself, 'Why not?'  He had nothing better to do for the next couple of hours.  Saitou stroked back the sweat damped brown hair with a tenderness that Tokio and his own children would be surprised at, and began:

"Once upon a time…"