Standard Disclaimer: Rurouni Kenshin and Rurouni Kenshin characters are owned by someone other than me. This is fiction and for entertainment purposes only. This story was not written for sale or profit but pure enjoyment. So with that out of the way please read and enjoy.

On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William H. Seward signed an agreement with Baron Edouard Stoeckl, the Russian Minister to the United States. The agreement was to sell Alaska to the United States for the sum of $7.2 million dollars. Alaska became know as "Seward's Folly" and Mr. Seward became the brunt of many jokes. But on the western coast of Alaska many Natives such as the Eskimo and Inuit lived their lives without even knowing anything about the sale of the land they lived on. This story is dedicated to these people, one being my father-in-law who passed away in a hospital many miles from home.



The Wandering Years: Alaska

Chapter: 1

The freighter heavily laden with cargo gracefully glided into the Seattle harbor. A sharp whistle announced the arrival to the port master.

Two of the crew were laughing and joking as they finished securing the freighter to the mooring.

"I am going to drink sake until I feel good, then gamble the night away," said the tall young man smiling as he leaned against the wall, waiting for the smaller man to finish. He ran his hand through his spiky hair stopping to scratch the back of his head. Then he rested both hands behind his head slowly chewing on a fish bone making it bob up and down.

"Not me, warm bed and sleep like baby," the older man said his smiled showing two front teeth missing. He turned back to secure the last tether when a sudden pain shot through his chest.

The tall man noticed as the older man slumped forward then caught himself. He walked over to the older man, put his hand on his friends shoulder, and said, "Let me help you with that, old man." He picked up the heavy rope and with a flip of his wrist the rope slipped into place. Another flip and he tied it off.

"Quyana," the older man said softly.

"Daniel, come have a drink with me? That will make you sleep like a baby, after all this is my last time out. What do ya say?"

"Need sleep first Sano, then can drink," he said laughing to hide the pain.

One of the crewmen yelled from the deck above, "Hey Sano, captain wants to see you before you leave the ship."

"Did he say what he wanted?" Sano yelled back irritated that he hadn't been able to leave the ship before Captain Bauke managed to get one last thing from him. He always felt strange around the man.

The man just shrugged and disappeared from sight.

"Are you going to see the captain?" Daniel asked his perpetual smile on his face.

"Sure I'm not scared of Captain Bauke, he doesn't bite," Sano told the older man turning to walk away. He stopped looked back, opened his mouth to say something then just smiled, and resumed walking giving Daniel a wave of his hand.

Daniel smiled as the younger man sauntered away in search of the Captain.

Why did he have to be in his room instead of on the bridge, Sano was thinking as he knocked on the captain's door. When he heard the muffled, "Enter," he started to open the door but stopped when he noticed the captain buttoning his shirt.

Captain Bauke was a very mild mannered man until he donned his captain's uniform. Then he transformed into a stern taskmaster. He ran his ship with an iron hand, knowing everything that happened aboard his ship.

"You wanted to see me captain? Now if it's about last night…" he trailed off when the captain motioned for Sano to wait.

"Let me tidy up here a bit. We can talk on the way," Captain Bauke said abruptly tucking the tails of his shirt into his pants.

Sano stepped back into the hall pulling the door shut but his foot didn't make it out completely before the door hit it, leaving the door slightly ajar.

As Sano waited in the hall he could hear shuffling noises coming from inside the room. He was about to leave when the Captain appeared wearing a gray tweed suit setting off his blond hair and light blue eyes. He quietly closed his door not bothering to lock it.

Captain Bauke smoothed the front of his jacket then looped his arm through Sano's. They had only gone a short distance when Captain Bauke said, "I want to ask you to hire on for a ship that I am taking north. It will be a longer trip but I can promise a bonus at the end. I would like it if you were to come. I usually don't ask but you are an exception. I need good strong men on this trip. Are you interested, you big strong man?"

Sano stopped abruptly forcing Captain Bauke to twirl around coming face to face with him. Before Sano realized what was happening Captain Bauke grabbed Sano's shoulders pinning him to the wall. He could feel Captain Bauke's hot breath on his neck, his hands clenched tightly. He was getting ready to do bodily harm to the Captain when the door to the captain's room opened and the ships steward came walking out.

Captain Bauke quickly backed away but his eyes never left Sano's face.

Sano almost lost his temper but managed to control himself. "Arigato Captain, I am honored but going south where it's warmer," Sano said his face contorting into a scowl.

"We will be leaving in a week. If you do change your mind be sure and come see me," he said winking at Sano. "You're so cute when you're mad Sano," Captain Bauke whispered, a smile spreading across his face.

"I'm going south," Sano said forcefully. He watched as Captain Bauke walked back to his room and started talking to the Seward who was giving Sano an evil look.

That was close; I guess that's why he didn't give me a lecture about fighting on his ship. Cheez, he thought as a shudder ran through his body.

He turned the latch on his cabin door with one though on his mind, to leave the ship.

"Hey, Sano."

"Did you get the information for me?" Sano asked as he pushed in the door to his room.

"I did one better, he drew you a map so even you can find the place. Now don't get lost Sano, like you did last time," he said then started laughing hysterically as he walked down the hall.

"Arigato, John," Sano said flipping him a hand gesture before walking into his room. He could still hear the laughter after he had gathered his meager belongings and slung the sack over his shoulder.

He took a quick look around making sure that he left nothing then headed for shore. As he walked off the ship it surprised him to see Daniel leaning against a barrel waiting for him.

"Did he bite you?" Daniel asked, as he walked towards Sano, laughing.

"I am not going to miss your continual laughter, old man. No, he wanted me to be on the crew for the next trip. I told him I'm going south. Now about that drink you were going to have with me," Sano said as he put his arm over the shorter mans shoulders and guided him down the street.

" Iii, one drink," Daniel said, "Then bed."

The two men walked but a few blocks when a light rain started. They found a shelter from the rain to get their bearings. Sano took out the map, gave it one quick glance, and said, "This way," pointing with his finger in the direction he was planning on taking.

Daniel just shook his head and followed Sano down the street.

Sano guided them, only occasionally did he take the paper out of his pocket to decide which way to turn. The map his friend had drawn was very easy for him to read but even so they got lost. In a last effort to find the place that served the food he liked, Sano gave the map to Daniel.

Daniel took one look at the map and with a hearty laugh said, "Sano we pass five times," holding up his hand to show all five fingers.

Sano turned all shades of red and grumbled, "Well where is it then?"

Still laughing Daniel led the way and within minutes they were seated in a booth taking off their wet coats.

The place that Sano had chosen served food that was close to his native foods but most important of all, they served sake.

After the dishes had been cleared, the two men sat slouched in the booth. Sano was just starting to feel good but he could tell that his friend was no longer his usual happy self. Sano had enjoyed quite a few drinks but Daniel had nursed the first drink until it was only one sip.

"Did ever tell you where I from?" he asked Sano his voice low almost a whisper.

"No you never talked about yourself," Sano said concerned about the older mans darker mood.

"I born in village up north. Life good until elders say take wife. That when trouble start for me," Daniel said swirling his drink and then finishing it. He sat up, pushed the glass away from him, and looked over at Sano.

"Yea women sure are trouble," Sano said thinking about a certain foxy woman doctor.

"No, not woman. She prettier that lights in sky on dark cold night. No, no, me problem," he stressed thumping his chest then slumped forward and continued, "I nervous when hunt for seal, get lost and not see village for long time. That problem. By time I come back. She marry and I alone, so leave village, learn white man ways, and travel. But now must go home." He sadly shook his head then let it hit the table, landing with a thud.

Sano sat up finishing his drink. With a slightly slurred voice he asked, "Do you want to go gambling with me?" He set the glass on the table and glanced at Daniel as he stood up to leave.

"No I find warm bed and have good sleep now. Thanks for drink, friend," Daniel said putting the smile back on his face.

They walked out of the eatery into the night. The gentle rain from earlier had turned angry and pelted the city below with its heavy load of water making the two men walk faster to avoid getting drenched.

In his haste to make it to the next awning, Sano failed to notice the group of men coming their way. He bumped into the leader who pushed him backwards. Daniel caught him being just a few steps behind him.

"Gomen," Sano said looking at the group of men.

"Get off our sidewalk, ya morons," one of the men yelled.

Daniel grabbed Sano and tried to pull him out of the way. But Sano just stood there daring the men to do something.

"Last I heard this is a public sidewalk and anyone can use it," Sano angrily replied.

"Well not anymore. We own this part of town and you are trespassing," the leader said.

Sano stood there and grinned, as Daniel backed out of the way. He knew that Sano was ready for a fight. He had seen Sano fight enough times that he knew who would win this fight.

The leader pulled back his fist and hit Sano with everything he had.

Sano was still standing there with the same smile on his face, cracking his knuckles anticipating the coming fight. "Come," he gestured with his hand.

"Get him," the leader yelled just before Sano knocked him out with one punch.

The men rushed Sano but he sidestepped the first few putting him inside the group. As his punches connected, adrenaline flowed through out his body making his speed and the force of the punch increase. Within minutes he was standing in the middle of motionless body's laying all around him. His fist slowly descended after the last blow, he started to turn to find Daniel when he felt a sudden force push him into the street.

Daniel had noticed a slight movement on the other side of the fight. He saw a young boy standing behind the men holding a gun pointed at Sano, he knew he had to do something.

"BANG."

The young boy's face turned white. He dropped the gun and ran back down the street and out of sight.

Sano picked himself up and looked around for the person who had pushed him to the ground when he noticed Daniel lying on the sidewalk where he had been standing just a few moments ago.

Daniel propped himself up into a sitting position. "For old man I move good," he said with his silly grin on his face.

"Why did you do that old man? You could have been killed," Sano said trying to hide the worry that was tugging at the edge of his emotions. He remembered another person who had saved him not once but twice by pushing him out of the way and taking the hit that was meant for him.

"No worry, ok," Daniel said smiling while holding his left arm, "You let me work good with you."

"Sure now lets go get your arm fixed old man," Sano said trying unsuccessfully to keep a smile from creeping to his face.

The nurse at the front desk had instructed Sano to wait in a small room with hard chairs lining the walls. He went from sitting to pacing with equal vigor.

After what seemed like an eternity a man walked into the small room wearing a white shirt that went past his knees. He was writing on a clipboard as he walked, stopping just inside the room he asked, "Are you Saraga Sanosuke?"

"Hai, Is he all right? What took so long? I have been waiting here forever," Sano asked rather abruptly.

"We were able to extract the bullet out of his arm but…" the doctor said continuing to look at the clipboard.

"But what?" Sano asked impatiently.

"Well…" the doctor started then he began writing on the clipboard.

"Hanasu (speak)," Sano said angrily taking his shirt in his hands and lifting him up into the air. The clipboard and pen clattered to the floor, his feet dangling in midair. The doctor's face showed his fear as he grabbed Sano's arms.

"Your dad's dying," the doctor said, as his body started to tremble.

Sano felt a hand pinch his ear and give it a twist. A stern female voice said, "Put… Him... DOWN."

"Ow," he cried unable to pull his ear free from the strong fingers. With no other option he set the doctor on his feet and let his arms hang at his side.

"He's all yours," the doctor said picking up the pen and clipboard then making a hasty retreat out of the waiting room.

"Now are you going to behave yourself?" she said releasing her hold on his ear.

"Hai," Sano said before he turned to see who was trying to tear off his ear. What he saw was the most beautiful woman he had seen in several months. She was tall and slender with long black hair. As he looked into her big brown eyes, his body refused to move but his mind was working enough to realize that she reminded him of a certain foxy doctor from Tokyo.

"Watashi wa Sarah desu. Onamae wa nan desu ka?" she said giving a small bow. When she received no response she smiled.

Sano blinked when she waved her hand in front of his face. Desperately trying to save his dignity, the only thing he could do was mumble, "Sargara Sanosuke."

Her laughter made him temporarily forget why he was here.

"I'm sorry but I only know a little bit of your language," she said trying to sound serious, "I once worked with a brilliant Japanese man and learned that from him."

"I could teach you some more and include dinner?" he asked a grin spreading across his face.

"What would we do with your father?" she slyly asked bringing Sano back to why he was at the hospital.

"Father? Oh… Are you a doctor?" he cautiously asked her.

"Yes I am and I have been taking care of Daniel for some time now but he never mentioned a son," she said in a serious tone.

"Well… What is wrong with him?" Sano asked his impatience getting the better of him.

"His body is slowly eating itself away and there is no cure. I told him not to go on the last trip out to sea but he was determined to go. He said that it was destiny and he needed to take one last voyage."

Sano felt a sudden chill when he remembered something that Daniel had said while they were out drinking "Must go home."

"He wants to go home," Sano said quietly, "can he make it there?"

"I have seen people push their body past the limit of human endurance. In Daniel's case I want to say yes because he is a stubborn man and he has shown me incredible strength," she hesitated her concern for the older man showing in the tone of her voice, "if he didn't have to do anything strenuous then maybe, especially if he had someone willing to help him get there."

Her statement made Sano remember someone else who had pushed his body farther than he should have, farther than Sano thought was humanly possible. Even Kenshin had needed help after defeating Shishio. As good as he was, he still needed Sano when the fight was over. He marveled at the similarities between Kenshin and Daniel then he realized that just like Kenshin needed him, so did Daniel and he couldn't just walk away.

"So what should he do just roll over and die? Don't you have some medicine that can help?" he asked the anger rekindled.

"No, we are not really sure what is causing his sickness. Someday they will figure it out and find a cure but not in time for Daniel," she said her voice becoming softer. She touched his arm causing him to look at her. "We have done everything that can be done, I am sorry, he is a good man."

"How much time does he have?" he quietly asked slowly lowering his eyes.

"If he doesn't overly exert himself, he could live six months, maybe a year," she said sadly, "This last time out has not been easy on him. He is much worse that the last time I saw him."

"Can I see him now?"

"Sure follow me,"

Sano heard the laughter before he entered the room. He pushed the curtain aside to see Daniel flirting with the nurse. "Are you ready to go, old man," Sano asked making the nurse blush.

Sano and the nurse helped Daniel to stand making sure that he was steady enough to walk on his own.

Sano cocked his head as he looked at Sarah and said, "My offer is still good."

"I may take you up on that offer someday," she said smiling back at him.

By the time they reached the street, Daniel was able to walk without any help from Sano.

"How does your arm feel?" Sano asked feeling the guilt return.

"Not my arm that is concern. She let you know didn't she?" he asked his brow's furrowing.

"Don't you die on me old man. I am NOT taking a dead man to Alaska," Sano suddenly announced as they walked away from the hospital. He twisted to point a finger at Daniel, and declared, "And if you die on the way there I am going to just dump you over the side of the boat. Do you understand?" He stuffed his hands deep into his pockets and with shoulders hunched forward resumed walking daring the rain to fall on him.

Daniel just smiled.

* * *

Yupik words:

Quyana (qu yan a)- thank you

ii-i (eee) – yes

* * *

Japanese phrases:

Watashi wa Sarah desu. –My names is Sarah.

Onamae wa nan desu ka? - What is your name?

A/N: I am going to try and include a bit of Alaska History and Native culture into my story. In doing so it will take me longer to get the chapters posted because I want the information to be accurate. I will include where I was able to obtain my information be it from the Internet or the people who live in the Villages on the western coast of Alaska. Thank you for reading my story as this one has a very special place in my heart.

A Brief History of Alaska Statehood (1867-1959)

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~CAP/BARTLETT/49state.html