Disclaimer: I don't own Rurouni Kenshin. I know it comes as a shock to some of you but I don't. I'm sorry.
~ I'm pretty much writing this chronicle backwards. The last story in the series should have been "Ticking Time Bomb Baby." So it goes to follow that this story is the second from last. It will eventually end at the beginning with Yahiko and his refusal to ever baby-sit Kenji again. ~

Not For a Million Yen
By: omni82

If anyone had ever asked, Sagara Sanosuke would have answered that he'd do anything for his wife, the kitsune-onna. He would take a bullet for her. He would (and did) take a knife for her. He'd willingly endure Kaoru's cooking for her if it meant that Megumi was happy.

But his devotion began to waver in the face of a different kind of danger, a most unassuming kind of danger.

"Baby-sit? Like take care of a small child for an extended amount of time?" Sano asked in disbelief. Megumi smiled at him and nodded her head like he was very slow.

"Yes. We are going to take care Ken-san's baby." She told him as her attention was returned to the herbs before her. Sanosuke's stomach turned to ice. No…He was too young to die! Everyone knew that Kenshin had somehow spawned a demon child. One by one, strong men had fallen after a weekend of caring for little Kenji. Now it seemed it was Sanosuke's turn. It was too soon. Didn't they just give up their kid to someone last weekend? Why did the end have to come so soon?!

"Megumi," Sanosuke cornered his wife. He was going to talk her out of this idea if it killed him. All he had to do was tell her firmly that he didn't want the brat anywhere near his house and she was sure to change her mind.

"Sano, I'm so glad we're doing this." Megumi told him softly, her delicate fingers tugging on his white gi. She knew what he was going to say and knew that a preemptive strike was necessary to get her way. "I thought by taking care of Kenji this weekend, we'd get a taste of what it would be like to have our own baby." Sanosuke's brain began to shut down as her fingers moved from his shirt to his chest, tracing lazy circles on his bare flesh. As her wandering hands slide down to his navel, so did his brains.

"Our own baby?" He echoed stupidly.

"Yes, I thought we could get started on making one right after this weekend." She whispered. Her lovely face was so near his that he gave into the urge and kissed her deeply. When they came up for air, Sanosuke was smiling vacantly and Megumi looked triumphant.

"Why don't you go get the boy now?" she suggested. "The sooner he gets here, the sooner the weekend is over."

Sanosuke was halfway to the dojo when he realized that he had been duped. "Damn the woman," he growled. "She used her feminine wiles on me!"

"How are you, Sano?" The ex-gangster barely registered the presence of his rurouni friend as the short man strolled up next to him with a tofu bucket in his hand.

"Damn it, if I had feminine wiles not even Shishio would be immune to me! But no, I get born with an extra piece of equipment and suddenly I can't even resist long enough to lodge a protest!" Sanosuke shook a fist at the heavens. "By God," he swore, "I'll find a way to thwart her evil plans if it kills me!"

"Sano? Are you feeling well, de gozaru ka?" Kenshin inquired cautiously. His friend had taken to ranting at heaven again. This couldn't be too good.

"Yeah." Sanosuke admitted with sudden defeat. He couldn't very well lie to the guy who could see through any falsehood with his chi sensing ability. "Let's go get your br-er, kid."

Kenshin raised an eyebrow but said nothing. He knew very well that the word Sanosuke had intended to use wasn't 'kid.' "Why did you agree to watching Kenji for the weekend?" He had a very good idea why, despite asking. Women were devious. Kaoru had gotten nearly everybody they knew to baby-sit their young son in spite of the rumors that were circulating. How on earth she managed to get Megumi-dono to accept Kenji for the weekend was beyond him. Kenshin was definitely not complaining; he craved time alone with his beautiful, young bride.

"Megumi wants to have a baby. She thinks that this will be good practice." Sanosuke muttered. They resumed walking, with the tall fighter for hire kicking any rocks that came in his path. It wasn't that he didn't want a baby; it was that the idea of a baby was slightly daunting. If he had a son, he could teach him how to throw a good punch. If he had a daughter, her mother could teach her how to be a good doctor and he could beat up any punk who broke her heart.

Kenshin wasn't worried about the fact that Sano was grinning like a madman and cracking his knuckles. No, his eagerness was a positive sign. You had to be lively to keep up with his son. The rurouni had considered telling his friend that Kenji had taken up jumping off of roofs after his trip to Kyoto to stay with Hiko but it didn't seem relevant just now. Maybe he'd mention it when he and Kaoru got back from Yokohama.

"I'm home," Kenshin called as they passed through the gates of the slightly dilapidated dojo. Kaoru came rushing out of the house, her pretty face etched with concern.

"Kenshin, he's up on the bathhouse roof again and Yahiko isn't home. Oh, hello Sanosuke." She added as an afterthought. Sanosuke watched as Kenshin's eyes narrowed and his jaw set, a clear sign that he was going into battle.

"Who's on the roof, jou-chan? An assassin? A burglar?" Sanosuke inquired anxiously as he trotted into the back. He loved watching Kenshin work. Maybe he'd get in a few punches to relieve his stress.

"No, it's…" Kaoru trailed after her tall friend, wringing her hands. The fine lines around her eyes didn't escape Sanosuke's notice nor did the dark circles under her eyes.

"Kenji! Come over here to papa!" Kenshin cooed loudly. His precocious, red-haired son was walking the ridge of the roof. One tiny foot after the other scampered along the sun-baked tiles. Kenshin was on his hands and knees, crawling after his son. It seemed that the rurouni was powerless before the child.

"Oh for Pete's sake," Sanosuke muttered. He walked over to the building and looked up, his two powerful fists planted firmly on each hip. "Oi! Kid! Get down here and quit worrying yer mom!"

That caught Kenji's attention and the little boy leaned deeply over the edge of the building to see who it was. "Sano-niisan!" He crowed before launching himself off the top of the building. Kaoru gave a wordless shriek and buried her face in her hands.

Sanosuke easily caught the squirming bundle and held it up high for inspection. Where did this kid get so much devilment? He had the same blue eyes that his mother did and the face of his father. To be fair, the kid should have gotten Kenshin's easy nature instead of the high-energy one of his mother. Such is the plight of the Hitokiri Battousai, he supposed.

"Sano, Sano thank you," Kaoru sobbed, grabbing her child from him and planting kisses on the boy. "Bad Kenji," she scolded. "You don't jump off roofs anymore. That's bad."

"Good catch," Kenshin told him, panting slightly. His face was composed calmly as usual. The only way you could have told that his son's near death experience affected him was by the fact that he was extremely pale.

"Does he do that often?" Sanosuke inquired, jerking a thumb at the small child.

"No, no" Kenshin lied smoothly. "It must have just been a temporary whim. You know how children are."

No, Sanosuke didn't know how children were. He had very little experience with them so he was forced to take Kenshin at his word. But jumping off roofs was a funny kind of whim for a kid to have. "Are there other 'whims' I should be aware of?" he questioned dubiously. Kenshin clapped him on the back.

"Well, he has pretty much outgrown the screaming fits he learned at the Aoiya. Just make sure that all your breakable things are up high and locked away." Kaoru hurried over to them, Kenji under one arm and a small bag under the other.

"Here, Sanosuke." She handed him the overnight bag. The ex-gangster accepted it then immediately staggered under the weight. What on earth had she put in it?!

"I can't thank you enough," Himura Kaoru told him again as she passed her small son to him. Kenji waved at his mother chipperly from his perch on Sanosuke's broad shoulder.

"Thank the kitsune-onna. It was her idea." Sanosuke told her. "Have a good time." He offered with a lecherous grin as he headed back to the clinic.

"Yeah, bye!" Kenji echoed. "Have a very good time." He called with the same leer. Kaoru turned bright red and Kenshin sighed as their only child disappeared from sight.


"Yes, koishii?"

"Let's not have any more children."


Sanosuke was beginning to breathe easy. They were halfway home and the kid hadn't done any more than kicking his heels against Sanosuke's chest and talk gibberish. Maybe this wouldn't be totally bad.

"I go to jail?" Kenji inquired hopefully as the pair passed by the police station. Sanosuke shook his head. Trust Saitou to lock up the kid on his babysitting turn. Luckily for the Wolf of Mibu, Kenji had loved it. Kenshin was bound to go Battousai over something like that.

"I eat now?" Kenji inquired as soon as they entered the clinic. Megumi stopped rolling bandages and hurried over to pull the boy off Sanosuke's shoulder.

"Are you hungry, Kenji-chan?" Megumi cooed, holding his little hand. The pretty doctor could feel her biological clock tick as the baby smiled up at her.

"Yes, Megumi-dono." He replied in a dead on imitation of his father. Sanosuke could only roll his eyes as the doctor caught the boy up in a hug and carted him off to the kitchen. If he had known that was all he had to do to get a free lunch from her, he'd have called her Megumi-dono a long time ago.

Sanosuke took the seat across from Kenji as Megumi puttered away in the kitchen. He propped up one leg in his usual position and began to play with his chopsticks. Kenji stared at him for a long moment before moving his chubby leg into a stance like Sanosuke's. He picked up his pair of chopsticks and began to walk them across the table. Rubbing his chin, the ex-gangster couldn't help but grin as the rurouni's son did the same thing.

"I need a shave," Kenji informed him confidentially as he enthusiastically rubbed his chin.

"Me too." Sanosuke agreed. Megumi walked in then, bearing their lunch on a tray. She set small bowls of rice before each of the boys before settling down herself. Kenji began to feed himself awkwardly albeit politely. Sanosuke began to shovel the food in his mouth like he was accustomed. Megumi glanced over to her young charge and smothered a laugh as the boy watched Sanosuke with unabashed admiration.

"Sano-niisan is an empty bucket," he told the kitsune-onna solemnly. "Mama says his stomach is always empty no matter how much you feed him." Sanosuke uttered a protest around a huge mouthful of rice. Megumi leaned forward.

"What else did your mama say?" Kenji was pleased to be at the center of attention and his little features screwed up as he tried to remember anything his mama had told him about his Sano-niisan.

"Mama said that a rooster had more sense than Sano-niisan did-" Megumi tittered as the rooster is question fumed.

"-but that Megumi must not mind putting up with it if the length of his fingers was any indication." Kenji restated proudly. He had been hiding under his mother's dresser as she got dressed that morning. He loved hiding from his mama because she always talked to herself about people he knew.

Sanosuke choked on his mouthful of rice and Megumi turned red. Kenji continued with his meal, happily unaware of the chaos he had caused.

"Well, well. Our little tanuki is not so innocent." Sanosuke preened. He flexed his hands, his fingers in particular, in front of Megumi. She retaliated with a southerly stare and a disappointed sigh.

"What? What did that mean?" Sanosuke demanded. The kitsune-onna got up from the table and Sanosuke followed her, repeating himself anxiously over and over. Kenji waved at them as they disappeared into the other room to argue.

"I done eating," he whispered softly. Setting his chopsticks across his empty bowl of rice, the little boy left the table.

He wandered around the clinic, fingering things as he went. Megumi-dono had such neat things! Reaching a blind hand over his head to a tabletop, Kenji grabbed whatever he could.

Sanosuke found him minutes later, playing swordsman with a scalpel. He gave wordless shout and dove at the boy. The cry startled Kenji and he whipped around, the scalpel held defensively before him as Sanosuke closed in.

Sanosuke shout and Kenji's howl sent Megumi hurrying into her clinic with a speed Kenshin would have admired. How could she face Ken-san if Sanosuke had killed his child already?! They had barely finished lunch!

The scene that faced the kitsune-onna was so different than what she expected that she let out a slightly hysterical laugh.

"Yes, very funny." Sanosuke growled between tightly clamped lips. "The kid f#$%in' stabs me and you laugh."

Megumi comforted the wailing Kenji as Sanosuke pulled the scalpel from his shoulder with a long string of creative curses. The expletives seemed to calm the boy down somewhat so Sanosuke uttered every foul word he could think of to silence the boy's unearthly howls. Sanosuke swore on the grave of his beloved taichou that Misao would pay for teaching Kenji how to scream like that.

"Sanosuke, watch your mouth!" Megumi ordered as she bound his shoulder for him. "What will dear Ken-san think if his son comes back cursing like a sailor?"

"@#!%." Kenji replied solemnly.

"That's pretty much my sentiment," Sanosuke confirmed. "Let Kenshin think what he wants. It's obvious that Fate is punishing him and us."

"Don't be stupid," Megumi argued a bit too forcefully. "Kenji is a perfect little angel. Aren't you, sweetie?"

But Kenji was gone.

"God, we should tie that kid up!" The ex-gangster exclaimed as he sprang to his feet. "If he's jumping off another roof top…"

The pair dashed outside just in time to see the toddler jump into the doctor's very elegant koi pond. With lightning quick reflexes inherited from his father, the small boy grabbed the largest fish out of the water and threw it on to the dirt.

"I fishin'!" He declared triumphantly. Megumi pinched the bridge of her nose and pressed her eyes close. Sanosuke quickly whisked the boy out of his beloved's pond which moments before had held a prize-winning koi.

"You're in so much trouble," Sanosuke said gleefully as he toweled Kenji off inside. Megumi worked very hard to make her garden a place of serenity and the koi pond had been at the heart of it. She would be in no mood to deal with the pint-sized felon. Sano needed to think of something so fun that it would keep a child entertained for hours. What did he like to do that was suitable for a kid and highly addictive?

Inspiration struck moments later and the fighter-for-hire jotted a quick note to wife as he tucked the squirming bundle of evil under his arm. Time to go to the place where everyone knew his name…


Megumi fumed as she stalked into the seedy, red light district of Tokyo. Burying her prized fish was bad enough but having to chase after her wayward husband to this den of iniquity really grated on her last nerve. What was Sanosuke thinking, taking a three-year-old into a gambling hell?!

"Cho!" A familiar voice crowed.

As Megumi watched in stunned disbelief, Kenji raked in a huge handful of cash. Several men buried their faces in their hands and groaned with Sanosuke among them.

"You lost to a child? Ohoho!!" Megumi tittered. Sanosuke leapt to his feet and hid Kenji behind him.

"No, I didn't! I didn't bring the kid with me! Aren't you supposed to be home with him?" Sanosuke demanded with false ire. The doctor wasn't fazed by his abrupt accusations but walked up to the towering fighter and grabbed his ear firmly with one hand. With the other, she took hold of Kenji and marched out to the street and home.

As a punishment, Megumi sent Sanosuke to take a bath by himself where he could think on his irresponsible actions. Time-outs worked well with child and child-like men. Her husband might sulk a little bit but would have definitely learned his lesson. She had to get him trained for when her own baby came!

But for now, she enjoyed the sweet smell of Kenji's hair as she kissed him goodnight and tucked him into bed. After all the trouble the little boy had caused, it was pleasant just to watch him snore peacefully and seek out her own bed.

Sanosuke didn't pout for very long in the bathhouse because when Megumi finally strode into their room, he was sitting on the futon, his hair still damp.

"I'm sorry," he muttered petulantly before lying down. Megumi laughed, undressed quickly, and proceeded to comfort him in his favorite fashion.

Sanosuke fell asleep with a smile on his face.

That might have been enough to give the horrid day a positive spin come daylight if not for the dastardly machinations of his young charge. Apparently another one of Kenji's 'whims' that Kenshin neglected to inform them of was the boy's utter inability to sleep the night. Also, the kid was utterly demented.

Though he may not have the chi sensing abilities of his rurouni friend, Sano knew when someone was near. Hot breath bathed his face and Sanosuke cracked one eye open to see the devil baby glaring down at him, an evil expression on his face.

"Aku, Soku, Zan," Kenji growled in a dead on imitation of the Wolf of Mibu.

To his credit, Sanosuke didn't scream, jump out of bed, or pummel the child. Very calmly, he got out of bed and gently tucked the toddler back into the spare futon. But that didn't stop his heart from racing or from securing every single scalpel that was in the clinic. Kenshin had a messed up kid and Sagara Sanosuke wasn't going to make the same mistake twice. First thing tomorrow morning, the kid was going back.


If Kenshin wondered why he laughed maniacally as he sent Kenji bouncing across the courtyard, Sano didn't care. Babysitting taught him many things about himself. He would never have kids, never play with kids, or ever even look at another kid for so long as he lived.

Clutching his sore shoulder, Sano stumbled home to his lovely wife and his inviting futon. Sleep was good… But Megumi was waiting for him as he arrived. She wore a bright smile that the ex-fighter for hire immediately distrusted.

"Congratulations, rooster-head, I'm pregnant," she announced with a wide grin. Sanosuke didn't sayu a word but crossed the room to their bedroom where the bed was still laid out. Collapsing on to it, he wept into the pillow.

"No more…"

Fin…or is it?