Ficlet 1: Saitoh Hajime

Fandom:Highlander/ Rurouni Kenshin crossover
Rating: pg-13
Pairings: none.
Disclaimer: not mine. Any person or concept you recognise from Highlander is the propriety of Rysher: Panzer/Davis. Anyone or anything from Rurouni Kenshin belongs to Nobuhiro Watsuki. No harm meant, just playing in the sandbox.

Summary for the ensemble: 3 people, 3 meetings, 3 situations. Saitou Hajime, Shinomori Aoshi and Himura Kenshin may be Immortals but they haven't changed that much.

Summary: Join law enforcement. Meet interesting people.

Washington D.C., 1995

The first time agent Matthew McCormick heard about the man the Japanese had sent to assist the FBI with a Yakuza case, it was through the water cooler gossip.

"Fuck, the man's an asshole."

A short discussion later, the Immortal had learned Hajime Saitou was the Devil Incarnate. He was also treated to a list of the man's most notable features. Arrogance, condescension, viciousness, ruthlessness, sexism and other marks of, quote, utter evilness, unquote. Competence was also mentioned with admiration but grudgingly. Very grudgingly.

McCormick shook his head, reminded his colleagues the man would be off back to Japan before long and put the affair out of mind to work on his own case.

Until he followed the ring of Immortal presence and found the smoking man in an empty conference room. Tall, lean and fit, the Japanese had wolf-like features and his amber eyes only added to the overall predatory expression. The deceptively relaxed lean against the wall did nothing to diminish the impression of danger he gave off. A killer's aura. No wonder McCormick's colleagues were on edge. "Hajime Saitou. I'm Matthew McCormick," he added a curt nod in greetings.

In response, the Japanese blew a trail of smoke and smiled wolfishly. "Going to challenge?" Serious words but mocking tone. Saitou's grasp of English was perfect, no traces of accents in his voice. So, the man wasn't a new Immortal and was at least old enough to have poise and confidence and to have picked up one second language perfectly. Good. But that left other problems.

"As far as I'm aware, being an asshole is not a punishable offence yet," McCormick commented mildly. To the dare, he gave no reaction. Neither to the fact Saitou hadn't straightened from his position, the picture of condescension face to someone who wasn't worth being considered as a threat or an equal. He hadn't made it to his age by being a hot-headed fool and if anything, that response earned him a sharper smile and a glint of appreciation in the unsettling eyes.

"Oh? A law enforcer till the end, then."

"It's a calling like any other," he replied calmly.

Saitou nodded and took another drag out of his cigarette. "What a coincidence."

At those words, McCormick refined his view of the strange Immortal with what he was allowed to see. A dangerous man, yes; one who killed more readily than most, certainly. But also one who lived for the spirit of the law, if not the letter and for whom the Game was merely collateral. In this they were kindred spirits.

But that didn't mean McCormick wouldn't research him. The law could be abused too. He had no doubt Saitou would do the same. And somehow, he had a feeling neither of them was going to find much.

Meanwhile, Saitou finished his cigarette and ground it in a half-full ashtray. "A pleasure talking to you," he added as an idle afterthought as he paused beside the other Immortal before leaving the room. McCormick watched him go. The walk was graceful. Saitou would probably be strong and fast too. Not a man to be crossed idly. But an asshole, certainly. The FBI agent snorted as he looked at the ashtray and the non-smoking sign lying nearby.

That wasn't worth challenging the wolf-man over. But Saitou would bear watching. Later, though. Right now, McCormick had better things to do with his time and criminals to catch.