ANN: This is an AU fic, based in our time in Tokyo, and it's based on the dub version of the anime. Anything in italics are thoughts. This, for now, is a PG-13, but it will probably move up to an R later on ;) It may get quiet dark at some points later on, but there's a lot of romance and some humour, that's just my style of writing. This should hopefully turn out to be a fairly long fic like my last one, so enjoy!

Heaven In Your Arms

By StarRose

10th January 2005

Chapter One: Fate

"Sanosuke! You know we're short on staff today, hurry up back there we need you out in the bar!" came an irritated southern female voice.

"Yeah alright Tae, hang on."

Sanosuke Sagara, 20 years old, placed the last crate of liquor bottles down on the dusty stone floor and stood up straight, cracking his back in relief as he did. Switching off the light and closing the dull metal door, Sano made his way back out to the front of the bar where he worked, cleaning his hands on a cloth as he went. Down one short corridor and opening a heavy wooden door, the pounding music, voices and smoky air suddenly filled his once silent surroundings. Bright lights twirling in every direction, boys dancing with boys, girls dancing with girls, it was a usual night for the part time job that was a barman in 'Heaven', a gay club in the downtown part of Tokyo.

"Hey Sany." Came a high pitched male voice from a makeup clad cross-dresser sitting on one of the bar stools nurturing a tall blue cocktail of some kind.

"Hey I thought I told you to stop calling me that." Sano said, half listening to him as he listened to an order being shouted over at him from another man across the bar, and beginning to pour the vodka out from the glass bottle behind him.

"Oh come now, you know you like it, you've got a good name to get some good nicknames from." the slender man teased, swirling his drink with a glass stirrer and fluttering his eyelids.

"Not from you Kamatari!" He said back, a serious tone, but the slight smirk giving him away. Sano had no intention of being with this man, or woman as he preferred to be thought as, but he was a laugh so played along with his flirting. Kamatari knew he wasn't serious, and he chuckled back, taking a long sip of his cocktail.

"Say Sany—"

"Hey!"

"Yeah yeah, Saanoooo, how come I've never seen you with any handsome guy around here?"

Sano glanced at him through the corner of his eye as he took money from the man he was making the drink for.

"Cos everyone around here is too hyper and loud and…slightly disturbing." He said, noticing a young man walk past with a bright yellow hair spiked up several feet above his head.

Kamatari giggled, "Oh yes, of course, down to earth Sany wants a quiet little piece of heaven in his arms hmm?"

"Hey! Didn't I tell you to shut up!" he snapped back, a faint blush on his cheeks. He hated it when people saw past his roughen demeanour, and this guy always managed to say something to embarrass him every time he saw him.

Kamatari grinned back and picked up his drink, wandering back into the crowd on the dance floor and wavering to a group of girls the other side, hips automatically swaying to the music.

The rest of the evening continued in the same sort of way. Every now and then Sano would get some guy trying to pick him up, but after working here for nearly nine months now, he'd got to know the regulars and knew how to handle them.

"'kay, shift change! I get the maniacs, you get the perverts!" came a sweet, but cheery female voice, entering through another door behind the bar.

"Huh?" Sano said, taking a few empty glasses off the bar and putting them in one of the racks to be cleaned.

"You promised me you'd cover my shift this evening remember!" the girl said worryingly, "That man's creeping me out again and you said you'd take the bar work in the Red Room tonight for me and I'll work here!"

Sano blinked, remembering an earlier conversation a couple of days ago after some guy was giving her trouble in her part of the bar, before smiling warmly and patting the younger girl on the head, "Yeah I know I did Tsubame, I'll cover don't worry, but make sure you keep an eye on Kamatari would you?" Sano leant down to whisper in her ear as he pointed over to him, "He's getting carried away with the whole cross-dressing thing and has started to pick up girls again."

Tsubame giggled, "He thinks everyone in a dress in a guy."

Patting her on the shoulder and leaving her to the noise and dancing, Sano headed out back to the other side of the club. The Blue Room, where he usually worked, was the loud, dancing and laughing side of 'Heaven', where most of the occupants came for a laugh, to chat people up, have a good time and wake up the next morning with a hangover. The Red Room, where Tsubame usually worked, was a lot quieter. Soft jazzy music floated into the air, black leather armchairs, small deep red mahogany round tables where people would sit and talk secretly, couples in the corner booths cuddling up and making out, and generally a lot more subdued for those who want to have a night out but don't feel like dancing and being insane like the drinkers he got in the Blue Room.

It was a fairly quiet night this evening, the man that had been trying to chat up Tsubame lately, noticing she wasn't behind the bar anymore, slunk out of the club. Sano watched him go and was baffled by him, either the man was a complete idiot or he didn't realise he's in a gay club. Not that Tsubame went for girls, but getting chatted up in a gay bar by someone of the opposite sex must feel weird.

The rest of the occupants were busy doing their own thing, so Sano grabbed a cloth and started polishing up some of the glasses waiting for his next customer. He watched the people around him, keeping an eye on one of the regulars who would come here more often than not posing a rent boy, which was strictly not allowed. His eyes followed the young man closely as he slunk around, but his vision was drawn away from him when he noticed two men sitting in one of the booths a bit further back.

The hand polishing the glass stopped.

Wow…Sano's eye's were fixed on the younger looking of the two men, who didn't look like he was particularly enjoying his company. He was feminine in frame, but he wasn't like Kamatari, cross dresser extraordinaire, this man just looked…pretty, but…hmm…Sano couldn't place his finger on it, but it was a beauty that suited him as a man, that was obviously natural with no help of cosmetics or surgery. He had a fragile looking frame, a cute heart shaped face, and long, flowing red hair that fell loosely around his shoulders. He wasn't sure if it was just the shadows, but was that a scar on his left cheek? Looked nasty but, somehow…it kinda suited him. He didn't look like a man who liked to get angry, but with the frown adorning his eyes, it seemed the advances of his companion weren't going down too well.

Sano watched the two out the corner of his eye as the poured a drink for two girls who had walked up to the bar. The redhead kept on nudging away, face turned to one side as the dark haired man with him, hair slick back save for four stray strands at the front, whispered something in his ear. The frown on the beauties face deepened, and it seemed he made an attempt to get up, but the older looking man grabbed his arm in a strong hand, pulling him back to sit down. The redhead turned to face him, that frown definitely a dangerous one, but the other man didn't seemed to be fazed by this at all, and tilted his chin towards him, speaking so close their lips were almost touching. Whatever he said, the fiery red head looked away, a hint of sadness showing on his face.

Sano frowned, normally this kind of thing never bothered him before, people always got hassled around here, that what happens in clubs, you just deal with it, but something about the saddened look on the redheads face as the other man clasped a strong arm around his shoulders bringing the frigid man closer to him, seemed to make him angry.

"Hey, are you listening! I want another drink here!" said one of the girls he'd been serving. She'd finished her first one already? Just how long had he been staring at him?

"Excuse me." He said without glancing at them, hoping over the bar with one hand and walking over to the two men.

"What do you want?" was the stern question from the older man, as he tousled with a bang of red hair between his fingers.

"I'm sorry for the intrusion," Sano said, just as sternly, "But I couldn't help but notice this man doesn't seem very comfortable with your company and I was wondering if you would be so kind to leave for the evening."

The stern polite voice Sano had mastered for the more difficult customers shone through bright and clear, as the two men locked eyes with each other. After a moment, the other man chuckled, "I really don't see how it is any of your business. You're a barman, you serve drinks, that's your purpose, kindly leave us alone."

Sano noticed that the redhead had not looked at him yet, he stared at the table, his hair shielding his eyes. Sano looked back to the other man, regarding him for a moment. Standing up he'd be a tall man that's for sure, and with some good muscles on him too, but the way he was clinging ownership to this seemingly frail young man, the fact he was just thinking of punching him and that he'd loose his job for it didn't seem to matter.

"Look pal," Sano began again, his voice loosing some of it's calm, "I may just be a barman but you don't wanna see me when I get mad. Now I don't like the way this is going so—"

"—It's alright, that it is."

Sano blinked and looked down. That redheaded beauty had looked up from the table, and was staring up at him with large, innocent like eyes, of the purest violet he'd ever seen. He was smiling softly at him, and any violent thought Sano had had a second ago vanished instantly. He quickly shut his mouth when he realised it was beginning to hang open, and swallowed hard.

"I assure you everything is fine here," he continued softly, "There is no need to worry, but thank you for your concern." His eyes closed in a bright smile.

Sano continued to stare at him. The young man radiated innocence and sweetness, and yet, the way his right hand was grasped to the leather seat beside him, suggested otherwise. Sano grit his teeth and forced back the violent urge that surged up again. As much this hair gelled man was bugging him, he technically hadn't done anything wrong, so couldn't exactly do anything.

"No, I don't see why he should be concerned." That said man spoke lowly, as the redhead turned towards him.

"Saito, I really don't see why this should continue, he has not done anything wrong."

He was smiling again, but it was a nervous smile.

This…Saito…looked down at him, before smirking. Without saying a word, he rose from his seat and turned to face Sanosuke. From the corner of the club one of the door bouncers saw the two stand to face each other, and pulled on the sleeve of his co-bouncer, nodding over to the two.

"Saito—"

"—be quiet." He said to the redhead, not removing his eyes from the so-ready-to-kick-some-ass Sanosuke.

As Sano clenched his fists ready for some action though,

"Excuse me but is there a problem here?"

Damn…Sano turned to regard the two well muscled bouncers that had spotted some brewing trouble, one very large in weight and not too bright looking, the other with plenty of muscles and plenty of scars from previous fights. There was a silent pause for a moment, before the redhead got up off his seat, taking Saito's arm.

"Everything's fine, really. Saito I think we should go now, that I do."

Saito narrowed his eyes once more at Sanosuke, before turning to the bouncers, "I apologise for any seeming trouble that may have been apparent, we'll be leaving now anyway." He turned to look at the red head, "Pay the bill while I get the car."

With that he walked towards the exit, the bouncers giving Sano a warning look before following him, leaving him and the redheaded beauty alone. Sano turned back to him to see him getting a wallet out of a jacket lying on the seat next to him.

"Don't." Sano said simply, as the red head looked up at him curiously. Sano couldn't help but smile at him, he made him feel so calming, "It's on the house," he said, motioning towards the empty glasses on their table.

The smaller man stared up at him, before another dashing smile spread his cheeks, "That's very kind of you."

Nodding politely and taking his jacket, he headed towards the door without another word. Sano watched him for a moment, his long hair down to his waist, flowing like water from side to side as he walked slowly to the door, almost as if he didn't want to return to the man waiting outside. Maybe he didn't, because despite the smile, he doubted everything had really been fine.

"Hey, wait a minute," Sano shouted, as the shorter man stopped, "….can I ask your name?"

The redhead was silent for a moment before he looked back "It's Kenshin." Sano repeated the name in his mind in awe, "Kenshin Himura." he smiled.

He turned back towards the door, leaving a still watching Sanosuke to follow his moves. Kenshin Himura. He liked that name a lot, just like the man that it belonged to. Maybe he'd never get to see him again, but it was worth it to witness a beauty like his just for a short while. Kenshin was disappearing into a crowd the further he got to the door, so Sano turned around, picking up the empty glasses to wash.

As Kenshin got to the exit, he paused. Closing his eyes, he smiled sadly, "Thank you." he breathed quietly, and as Sano turned around sure he had heard something, he caught the last glimpse of the sunset red hair falling behind the beauty as he walked through the door.

Sanosuke stood there with glasses in hand, ignorant of the wailing customers around him wanting drinks, and smiled kindly. He was certainly one of a kind…I hope we get to meet again someday, he thought to himself, unaware of the small blush that crept to his cheeks with that thought.

With a big yawn, Sanosuke walked up to the gates of his new college, after being expelled for bad behaviour from the one before (but let's not get into that), and looked up at the expanse of the red brick building and the lush grounds around it. This would be his second year in college and, unlike the first year, intended to stick with it this time.

He still didn't understand why they had to expel him, I mean really, it was the guys own fault he decided to fall through a window and break his arm, he shouldn't have insulted him in the first place….and then that other guy, well he should just watched where was going…and of course there was that day with those other three guys and a teacher that… Sano face faltered at his own thinking, oookay, so maybe he did cause quite a bit of trouble. Shrugging, he placed a small toothpick between his teeth and continued walking.

"YAHIKO! WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING!"

"Huh?" Sano turned around just in time to be knocked backwards by some scrawny little kid running away from a scruffy looking girl.

"WHO ARE YOU CALLING SCRUFFY!" screamed the girl, and only when he felt a large bump on top of his head where she had hit him did he realise he had said that out load.

Rubbing his head in annoyance, he looked down at the one who had ran into him, "Hey get off me!" he yelled at the kid currently sprawled across him where they'd fallen.

"DON'T CALL ME A KID!" the brat shouted, jumping up back onto the loose stone pathway, "I'm 18 and don't you forget it!" he said, pointing down at him on the ground.

"Yahiko, apologise to him!"

Yahiko turned to the girl who had been chasing him and stared at her, "….YOU'RE THE ONE WHO HIT HIM UGLY!"

"But you're the one who knocked him over! You shouldn't be…DON'T CALL ME UGLY! HOW MANY TIMES! IT'S KAORU KAORU KAORU!" she screamed, pulling him back and forth by his shirt.

Sano stayed on the ground for a moment watching in amusement at the two, but when they showed no signs of stopping, it became boring. "Knock it off would ya?" Sano said, getting up from the ground. But as he turned to look at them again, they were still continuing to strangle each other, "Would you stop it already!" he said again, walking up to them and trying to get in between the pair, to avail. Gritting his teeth at the headache these two were making with their screams at each other, Sano clenched his fists at his side.

"Would you two SHUT UP!"

He didn't realise until it collided with something that he had raised his fist and punched out.

Yahiko was the one to get the full blow.

"You've been here two minutes and you're already reporting to your class teacher for starting a fight."

Sanosuke followed behind one of the male teachers that had caught him punching Yahiko, and mumbled something about not starting the fight but trying to finish it. They had gone to the Staff Room first to find out which teacher he actually had as Sano didn't even know yet, and were now on their way to meet for the first time his new class teacher, and getting told off. It was like his old college all over again. Oh well, he'd been to so many teacher meetings like this before he practically knew off by heart what they would say. They would start with the awkward silence, as you sit there, they'd stare at you, sigh, and shake their head. Start off on a ramble about how much damage he'd caused, pause, as if to let the conversation sink in, ask if he'd understood, and tell him not to do it again.

They reached a door that had "Ancient Japanese History" written in black letters on the front. There was a name written underneath it, but the teacher was in the way and Sano couldn't quite make it out. He looked uninterested around the corridor as the teacher knocked on the door.

"Come in." came a soft male voice from inside.

The teacher opened the door to a small office, walls of bookcases filled with old history books of Japanese culture. By the open window at the back lay a what looked to be a very busily used desk, papers under paper weights, pencils scattered across yet unmarked homework, and strangely enough, a Japanese sword in it's sheath hanging above the window.

"Ah Mr Himura, I'm glad I caught you before you got to class."

"Mr Muraki, it's nice to see you again. Did you have a nice summer holiday?"

Himura…Sano blinked, as he peered round the teacher he followed to try and look inside. As Mr Muraki, as it turned out, continued to talk about why he was here, Sano's heart stopped still.

-"It's Kenshin." Sano repeated the name in his mind in awe, "Kenshin Himura." he smiled.-

The young teacher who had just rose from his desk and was walking towards them; he had that same shaped face, same red hair, same cross shaped scar, same violet eyes, and same humbling smile of the beauty he had only met a few nights before.

"…new in your class, Sanosuke Sagara."

That bright smile turned towards Sano, "Hello, it's very nice to me—" As soon as he opened his eyes from his smile though, he stopped in mid sentence.

"I'll leave you to deal with him if you don't mind Mr Himura, I'm going to go and check with Miss Megumi on how Yahiko's doing."

Whether he was expecting an answer back or not Sano didn't know, but Muraki left and shut the door behind him, leaving the two alone. Sano had got the first part of his teacher meeting assessment correct, what an awkward silence!

"Sanosuke." Kenshin said quietly after a pause, eyes still slightly wide at who he was currently looking at.

Sano stared at him for a moment before putting his hand behind his head and chuckling embarrassingly, "Err yeah…hi again."

Teacher and student huh?

I guess fate does exist…this is going to be interesting.

To Be Continued…