Author's note:

This fanfiction was first begun by my cousin, who goes by Teigh Raisa on the site. She had small amounts of help from me at the beginning, mostly medical advice and a little help understanding things that might be going on inside Sanosuke's head, but she was the one with the idea and the one bringing it to life. But she doesn't find the act of writing as pleasurable as the act of reading, or so it would seem, from the frustrated way she would be pulling out her hair while she was working on her next chapter.

So last night she asked me to finish the story for her. I made a few attempts to get her to continue on her own (she was doing just fine), she doesn't want to push it anymore, but she does want to see it finished. So, the kid proves once again that she has me wrapped around her finger a couple of times by wearing me down enough to agree.

I've edited it only a little, using my preferred arrangement instead of hers, but it's mostly unchanged. This story will be different from the others really in only that the chapters won't be titled since she wasn't titling them in the original. These first three chapters are all hers, but it will be up to me at chapter four.

So story is by Teigh Raisa and Khrysalis. Not as crazy as some of our brainchildren, but it may still entertain you.


Disclaimer: Creator of Rurouni Kenshin, Nobuhiro Watsuki. No profit is made by this fanfiction. Disclaimer applies to all chapters.


Two Hawks Flying

1

It had snowed for days. Then it had rained. Then the rain had frozen over the snow.

Sanosuke's chest heaved, eyes closing against the darkness he couldn't see through anyway. The rain beat down. Sheets of ice broke under his feet, cutting his ankles with sharp edges. There was no way to be silent, and no way to hear or see anything going on more than a few feet away from him.

The only thing the bitter cold did for him was dull the hurt, if not the throb, of the sword wounds. His luck lately had been like that of a scorned lover--not just simply content to desert him, but vindictively aiding the other side to make his life a living hell.

It wasn't exactly the way he wanted to come back to Tokyo.

He hesitated a moment, crouched in the darkest part of the streets, which were as empty for the late hour as they were for the hideous weather. His body was getting to the point that it was past shivering with the cold, but he was still cold. So cold. He clutched at a vigorously bleeding wound on his shoulder, knowing the morbid sensation of being warmed by one's own blood.

The pause could cost him, but he didn't know what to do next. His thoughts sped in two desperate directions, the lesser of which came with the fleeting idea of seeing Megumi at the Oguni Clinic.

He dismissed that thought almost before it had been completely formed. Megumi would have long ago skipped back to Aizu, and whether she would have been there or not, he wouldn't want to lead his…problem…right to her or the old man.

He wanted to get to Kenshin. There was the admission. It wasn't so much that his pride was wounded by the confession itself, exactly. He'd been in plenty of positions when it was clear that all rode on his friend, and it was a simple enough thing to admit that Kenshin was a much greater fighter--no shame at all in that. But it was a far different thing back when he was just trying to help Kenshin, fighting at his side, not bringing fights to him! Not running to him, weak and injured, looking for protection.

But he did need help. He was battered and weary, in no condition to fight against the unknown number of very competent swordsmen after him. He was fairly certain he'd brought this on himself, but his thoughts swam--blood loss? Infection? Fever? Any of it? All of it? Couldn't remember much of the last two days. A lot of fighting, running. He'd improved over the years--had not long ago been almost eager to show Kenshin, should there ever have been an opportunity. And who knew? Trouble appeared to follow the both of them rather faithfully.

He grinned ruefully. Trouble was faithful and luck was the spurned lover. Sano got himself moving again, reflecting that there was, perhaps, a third option for help. Yahiko might still be living in the place in the long house Sano had left to him before setting out years ago, but it was further than the dojo. He was being stupid enough as it was on several accounts. Kenshin wouldn't thank him for letting himself get cut down just a stone's throw away from home just because Sano was too embarrassed to wake him up in the middle of the night.

Again, he considered that this wasn't the return he'd imagined. He'd imagined locking his friends into huge hugs, seeing if Kenshin and Kaoru had kids by now, seeing if Yahiko had at least grown taller than Kenshin, maybe exploit the Akabeko for a few parties--or avoid it like hell if the unpaid tab was still at large. Probably so. If Tae had anything to fault, it wouldn't be her memory.

Or maybe she'd actually be so glad to see him, she'd--

He fell. Picked himself up quickly, stiffly. Vaguely realizing the touch of hard streets, seeing the profiles of structures…had he passed by this way a moment ago? Was he going in circles? His sense of direction had always been lousy, and he searched desperately for familiar landmarks. His years away were all but devastating to him now. Ice and snow crunched, broke, splintered with his steps. He fell again, felt an ice shard gouge his knee. There were shadows at the corner of his eye. He wasn't going to make it, not to anywhere.

A glint in the darkness, a flash he knew well. A sword coming, amazingly slow, seeming detached from the world but for a weak lamplight's glimmer giving it form from a few sparse houses where someone, somewhere was still awake.

And then, there was another shadow. An angry one, imposing itself between Sanosuke and the other faceless ones.

Sano blinked, wondering why they seemed so much taller. No, they weren't taller, he had fallen back. There was clashing of steel around him, but Sano had to close his eyes against the dizziness and the rainwater. It wasn't so cold anymore.

Hissing, howling, drumming on his head, steady roar in his ears. There was the clash of steel on steel, cold and hard and fierce. Who was that? Who had come? He squinted into the darkness, daring to hope. Kenshin…?

Someone approached him cautiously, in a new kind of silence that was loud over the rain. Where had the others gone?

A surprised intake of breath from above him. "Sanosuke?"

He didn't recognize the voice at first. A young voice, only recently having smoothed out the cracks of adolescence. But, he placed it with the next word it formed.

"Roosterhead?" A tentative question of disbelieved eyes and great concern.

Grinning in spite of it all, Sanosuke groped for a hand and found one of solid fingers with the inevitable sword calluses. Gripped his hand hard, muscles tight with uncertainty and worry.

Sano tried to listen to more questions that came, but it was all vague and unimportant right now. What the hell was he doing out here in the rain in the middle of the night?

Not that Sano was complaining or anything.

Heh…seemed like the kid did grow taller than Kenshin after all.