Author's Note: I've decided I'm going to turn this into more than a one-shot. This means I have split it into its original two chapters, with previously unseen content at the end of Chapter 2. Enjoy.
Sano glanced down the long boulevard again, making sure there weren't any customers. The sky was crawling the streets that night in Japan's own twinkle town, making the world solid black, while covered in starry lights. Shop lights, neon lights, headlights, no street lights, but most importantly, red lights. The only thing that allowed people to see where they were going was the reflections on the slimy ground. This was where fun was sold by mere mortals to the shooting stars, the important people who lived uptown.
Sano kept his hands in the pockets of his skin-tight jeans, his loose shirt lifting in the breeze from a passing car. It wasn't too bad tonight, he'd been colder than that in his life. His colleagues paced their territories on either side of him, for as far as the eye could see. He fidgeted against the smashed lamp-post he was leaning on. It was a good spot.
He looked up at the sound of familiar footsteps.
"Oh, hey, Ken. Turning any tricks tonight?" he said amicably to his friend, who sometimes sold private shows if money was tight.
"No, though that girl was there again. She gave me her number." He rummaged in his black jeans and pulled out a serviette with a phone number on it written in what looked like eyeliner, next to a big red kiss and the words "Call me, - K."
"Hey, that's cool. You gonna call her?"
"I don't think so. She's too fancy for me. I don't think she really knows what she's doing," he said, looking the napkin over again.
"Ah, yeah, I get it, man. But you know she's gonna keep coming to the club. Who's is it for, anyway? Rurouni or Battousai?"
"Rurouni," he answered, indicating his tight violet vest that left nothing concerning his muscle tone to the imagination. Kenshin was short, but he wasn't chunky, and his toned physique and long red hair made him a major hit with the ladies. At the moment he was headlining in a club nearby called 'Cupid's Arrow,' but he could have named his price at any joint in town. His act, alternating between the heroic gentleman figure, whose stage name was 'Rurouni,' and the dangerous bad boy 'Battousai,' meant there was something for everyone.
He could do the work of two strippers, and could pack a club on a good night. He wore coloured contacts to match his act, and even Sano wasn't sure whether it was the purple or the amber that was his real eye colour. Hell, he didn't even know if his hair was really red. He didn't think it could be really, not that true scarlet, but on the other hand, he'd never known Kenshin to really bother with his hair.
Like everyone else, Kenshin had his regulars, one of whom was trying very hard to get his attention. 'K' had attended every single one of the Rurouni's performances for the past few months.
"She doesn't seem to like Battousai very much. But either way, I don't date customers," finished Kenshin, decisively stuffing the napkin back in his pocket.
"You don't date anyone," added Sano.
"True, but if I did, she wouldn't be a customer."
"Why not? When they're slipping hundreds in your underwear, you know for sure they like you."
Kenshin laughed. "Be that as it may, Sano, I'm still not going to call her. It would be... unprofessional. Besides, since when did you become the expert on relationships?"
An arrogant grin spread lazily across Sano's face, and a familiar twinkle came into his eyes. "I am God's gift to women, Kenshin, you know that."
"Oh, of course, how could I forget?" said Kenshin, indulging in the old joke that still made him smile. But it was true, the only thing that kept Sano solvent enough to be able to be selective in his clientele was his apparently innate ability to be, unfailingly, the best sex of a woman's life. His regulars sometimes found they even had to make appointments.
"Speaking of..." Kenshin nodded over his friend's shoulder, or rather around it, as he didn't quite reach that high. Sano glanced behind him to see a shiny silver BMW slide in next to the pavement.
"Hmm, what do you think?" Sano asked his friend, who had an uncanny ability to read people, which came in useful in the prostitution bizz. Kenshin considered the car.
"A woman, in her early to mid-thirties, very much in control of her life, and she bought that car with her own money, somehting she's proud of," was his analysis.
"How the hell can you tell all that just by looking? The windows are even tinted," said Sano, determined to one day discover the trick.
Kenshin just winked and said "Ancient trade secret."
"You creep me out sometimes, man," said Sano earnestly. "Well, wouldn't want to keep the lady waiting. Let's see if you're right. Oh, and, you know the drill."
The 'drill' was memorizing license plates and anything else to tell the police if Sano didn't came back.
Sano approached the BMW and the blackened window rolled smoothly down on the passenger side. Resting one arm on the roof of the car, he leant down and smiled at the driver, who was indeed a woman who looked to be a little over thirty. But more than that, she was beautiful, so Sano was instantly suspicious. She shouldn't be needing to buy it.
"Hey, Kitsune, anything I can help you with?" he said.
"That depends," she replied in a smooth, confident voice. "How tall are you?"
Sano jerked back a little in surprise. He'd been at the game for a few years now, but he'd never been asked that before.
"How tall do you want me to be?" He hadn't meant to give the standard form of reply to a personal question that was ingrained in all pros on the job, but it just slipped out.
"Don't play games. Why don't you get in and we can talk?"
She seemed to be reluctant to look him in the eye. She must be a newbie. Her direct manner unsettled him though, she wasn't trying to flirt with him or anything, she spoke more like a lawyer. He thought she might be a cop, but no pig would drive a car like that Besides, there was only one cop who walked this beat, and the Wolf always walked.
Sano considered her offer, and decided he could handle himself well enough to risk getting in the car. It was a sports vehicle anyway, built for breaking speed limits, with no back seats for anyone to hide in. He closed the door behind him, reassured by the window that was still open.
"So, why d'you wanna know how tall I am, anyhow?" he said. She was able to look at him now that they were enclosed together, and her eyes were just as direct as her voice.
"Just answer the question," she said. Sano couldn't see what the right answer was, so he just shrugged and told the truth.
"I'm six-three," he said. The woman smiled.
"That'll do," she said, and she seemed genuinely pleased.
"Well, alrighty then, said Sano, confused but accepting. "It's two-fifty for the first hour and two hundred for every hour after that," he stated, with the air of someone repeating something that had been said many times before.
"Not so fast. How old are you?" she asked.
"What? Woman, what does it matter?" Her questions were starting to annoy him.
"I'm not interested in jailbait," she answered, her eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"Jesus Christ, do I look that young?" he said indignantly. "I'm twenty-five."
She snorted, "Yeah right, and I'm sixteen," she said. "Now tell me the truth or get out of my car."
"I'm gonna be twenty-three this year," he said, offended and a little sulky.
"So you're twenty-two then. Can you prove it?"
"Oh my God! For a woman buying tail off a street corner, you sure are picky! Well, here, look!" He had dug out his wallet and thrust his driver's license under her nose. She took it and examined it more closely.
"Sanosuke Sagara..." she read.
"Call me Zanza,"
"No. It says here you're six-two, you lied," she said accusingly.
"No, I grew." He folded his arms over his bare chest challengingly. This meeting was not going how his meeting's usually went, and he was out of his comfort zone. She was forcing him to treat her as if she wasn't a customer, and he was kind of afraid his big mouth was going to sour the deal. The woman nodded slowly, finishing her scan of his card and handing it back to him.
"So, what're looking for anyway? I don't believe a woman like you can't get a regular guy for free, you gotta have some kinda kink," asked Sano.
"Kink?" she sounded bitter, and her hands tightened on the steering wheel, as she looked away from him. "I wouldn't call it a kink. I'm six foot and half an inch. I only know two men who are taller than me, one of whom is so obnoxious he makes me fantasise about hurting him, and the other cries when he comes and has hands like rubber gloves. I just want a proper fuck from a man who doesn't have to stand on a chair to do it."
For some reason, Sano was surprised to hear this woman swear so casually in her refined voice. He laughed, "That's it?" he said.
"That's it. So what do you say?"
"Fine by me, I'll be the best lay of your life, and that's a guarantee," he said, recovering some of his hustler charm.
"I don't need a guarantee, I need an orgasm," she said, and she started the car.
They drove in silence for a while, Sano appreciating the muffled hum of the expensive car and the leather upholstery. She was definitely going to be his richest customer. Nevertheless, he made sure to watch where they were going in case he needed to find his way back. He started to notice a better class of neighbourhood, and asked her where they were headed, anyway?
"My apartment," was her curt reply.
"Hmm," Sano nodded. "So, since you know my name, do I get to know yours?" He smiled smoothly at her.
Sano found himself wanting to step up his game with this woman who was acting so coolly towards him, as if she was immune to his charm. It annoyed and intrigued him at the same time. But he didn't say anything, choosing to wait until they were in her bedroom to make her appreciate him fully. He checked the clock on the dashboard to remember later when it came to getting paid.
They pulled up in front of an amazing apartment block that must cost thousands and thousands to live in, and turned down a small alley beside it that led down to an underground parking lot. Sano did not miss the woman checking where the security cameras were pointing as she led him to the service elevator.
Sano was even impressed by the corridor, a mix of gold light, white paint, and fluffy, pinkish carpet. His customer unlocked a door and he followed her into a flat that was bigger than some houses he'd seen. The decoration was mostly in the architecture, and it all looked very clean and comfortable, though it had the air of having just been unwrapped.
"Whoa. Big place," he said, a little in awe.
"Yeah," she said, "Don't steal anything."
He was a little offended but shrugged it off. She was a bitch, but that was okay. He heard the door lock behind him, which he could understand, but for the first time it occurred to him that the woman might be only bait, and that she might have some giant, beefy boyfriend hiding in the bedroom. Well, they'd get a surprise. Sanosuke Sagara knew how to take care of himself.
The woman walked away from him, leaving the door open for him to follow her into the bedroom.
"Go take a shower," she said, indicating the door to the bathroom as she began to take off her jewellery. "And be quick,"
Sano shrugged, "You're paying for it," he said, but he was careful to check the room was empty before shutting the door behind him. He decided maybe the plan was that she would join him, which was fine by him. He peeled off his jeans and kicked off his shoes, and dumped them in a pile along with the white 'bad' shirt he always wore open over a naked torso. He removed his headband last, laying it carefully next to the sink.
Afterwards, once he decided he was clean enough for anybody's tastes and that she really wasn't going to sneak in with him, he dried himself off with one of several fluffy white towels. He'd kept his hair dry, not being bothered to do anything with it. He was going to get dressed, when he realised the pointlessness of it, so he left the bathroom naked. Sano was very confident about his body.
He found the woman dressed in a silk dressing gown that looked imported and expensive, having taken her make up off as well. Her eyes dragged down his body, one eyebrow arching appreciatively, and he saw the first stirrings of heated lust in her eyes. Ah, familiar territory at last.
It seems he had guessed right when he pressed her down when she had attempted to be on top. He'd theorised that if it was so important that the man be taller than her, then some part of her wanted to be dominated. Another satisfied customer, and his perfect record of being a woman's best lover was left unbroken. He had the nail marks to prove it.
He couldn't deny that he'd gotten a kind of smug satisfaction from making the woman scream out the nickname, Zanza, that she'd formerly refused to use. He'd been holding her back from what she wanted until she did. But lying next to her now, there didn't seem to be any hard feelings. She'd enjoyed being forced to do it. Sano had predicted this reaction with the help of Kenshin's analysis. If the woman was so in control of her own life, with her direct, no-nonsense way of talking, it made sense that deep down she wanted someone else to take the lead for once. Sano didn't know Freud, but he knew women.
But he knew better than to push her now. She was back in control, he could tell. The covers had been gradually pushed off the bed, so they both lay quite naked, and the woman stretched out her long body, arms above her head, just as unembarrassed as Sano was.
"You do a good job, I'll give you that," she said, with a little contented moan. Sano chuckled, but his eyes were drifting closed. Nature's sedative was beginning to work on him, and her large bed was so comfortable.
"Hey, I'm not paying you to sleep, Rooster-head," she said indignantly, poking him in the side with her foot.
"The sleeping's free," he replied, his words muffled from his face being pressed in the pillow as he lay on his front.
"Hn. Well," She had a sudden idea as she realized who would be paying her his customary visit in the morning. "I suppose you can spend the night. I leave for work at six thirty, so you have to be out of here by then," she said.
"No problem," he said, ready to agree to almost anything that meant he wouldn't have to move.
"And if it means I get in some ogling, I'm not complaining," she added.
"Ogling costs," said Sano, not failing to take advantage of an opportunity to make more money, especially if he could earn it in his sleep.
"In that case, you can go home," said the customer sharply, forcing Sano to mumble his half-hearted submission. Silence followed, and he felt her lie down next to him, and the light went out.