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Series are multiple stories that go together; the order they are listed in on the tables of contents and directory pages are their chronological orders within the universe, not the order they were written or posted in. A tilde (~) denotes an original fiction series, while an abbreviation such as HP denotes a fanfiction series.

Rurouni Kenshin Fanfiction: Denial

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series RK Saitou x Aoshi

TITLE: Denial
CHAPTER: oneshot
AUTHOR: Ankh Ascendant ( setosgirl0 / neferseti0 )
DATE: 8-18-13
FANDOM: Rurouni Kenshin
DISCLAIMER: I don’t own Ruroken, or make any money from it.
PAIRINGS: Saitou x Aoshi
TYPE: Drama
RATING: PG-13
WARNINGS: violence
WORDS: 3085
SUMMARY: Saitou gets too into one of their duels, and Aoshi holds it against him.
NOTES: Written from a list of writing prompts. This prompt was “forbidden desire”. This would come after my story Proving Ground and before Insomnia. Aoshi was injured in the end of another story I haven’t finished writing yet, if you’re wondering where the sling comes from ^^; I really need to finish that, it would make these oneshots make more sense…

* * *

Denial

Sparks jumped up from the cobbled street when the steel sword scraped across it. He’d missed; Aoshi was already landing lightly several paces away. He took a step back and lifted his sword ready again. A grin pulled at his lips and bared his teeth.

This was a good fight.

Aoshi suddenly pressed his range in close like he usually did, kodachi crowding his katana out of room to maneuver. He was getting predictable now. He blocked the sword twice and moved forward instead of back into his third blow, his right hand darting out and slamming into Aoshi’s right shoulder, unerringly seeking the combined sword and bullet wounds, digging at stitches and partially healed flesh. He felt blood spurt onto his glove and soak the fingers.

Aoshi actually took a small breath of surprised pain and kicked him in the stomach to give himself room to fall back, kodachi coming up in its native defensive position. His bright eyes and impassive face searched him across the space between them, right arm curled protectively away in its sling; he only grinned and licked some blood off his fingers, then raised his sword in a gatotsu stance.

“Can you get to me before I get to you?”

Aoshi rarely spoke when he was fighting, but he did now. “Stop it.”

Instead he attacked. His prey got away, pulling himself onto the nearest roof and letting his sword cut only air, but Saitou wasn’t angry. Hunting shinobi was always an interesting challenge, if nothing else. He looked up at the moonlit silhouette and held his sword casually ready. “Are you running away?”

“No.”

“Good.” Silver glinted as he raised the sword and ran his tongue over the blade, tasting steel and oils and maybe just a hint of old blood… Not Aoshi’s, not yet, but soon. On his glove wasn’t quite good enough, he needed it on his sword. That would be beautiful…

In an explosion of motion Aoshi pushed himself off the edge of the roof, flipping to land behind him. A clatter rang out to his side, the kodachi hitting the ground; he spun around, sword already lashing out. The heel of a hand slammed into his wrist, and he realized Aoshi was making himself use his right hand, despite the pain – good. It robbed his sword of most of its momentum, but he kept hold of it and it still bit up the length up his arm, sending more blood into the air for him to drink in.

Aoshi moved with him to stay as much behind him as possible, keep that wound as superficial as possible – something silken and damp flashed through his vision and wrapped around his throat not once but twice, yanking his head back and cutting off his air.

“Drop it.” Aoshi’s voice was hard and cold behind him, and he pulled implacably at the sling he was now using to strangle him. “Drop. It.”

His fingers dug under the material, fighting with Aoshi for control of his air, and he let out a choked laugh. Drop his sword, now, just when it was getting so good? No… That wasn’t even an option. The only real question was whether Aoshi actually thought that he could choke him out before he could kill him. If so, that was very foolish…

He pulled his sword out of Aoshi’s arm and swiped it sharply down at his leg, but he could tell Aoshi managed to avoid it and only jerked the material tighter. Instead of giving him space his knuckles were beginning to stab into his throat, but the weapon was too tight now for him to pull them free. Instead of cloth it felt almost like a wire trying to decapitate him in Aoshi’s inexorable grip. Delightfully vicious… He flipped his sword over in his hand and stabbed at him. Aoshi freed one hand and stopped him, closing it around his and the hilt of the sword, forcing it away from his body and tightening like a vise, like he wanted to break his fingers.

“Drop it.” His voice was merciless.

Not a chance.

He threw himself back against Aoshi’s chest, forcing him to give the sling some slack for only a split second and take a large steadying step backward before it tightened sharply again and dragged him back against him. His elbow rammed into Aoshi’s side to try to force him to let go; he still refused and stubbornly endured the abuse to maintain his hold, jerking his head back with it. The night was getting darker. Not good – he needed air.

In a last-ditch effort to breathe he threw his weight forward, dropping onto his knees and dragging Aoshi down with him. Aoshi tried to maintain control but it was no use this time; he finally lost his grasp and Saitou took a deep but ragged breath, keeping his sword out from under him as he threw Aoshi onto his right side and dropped inelegantly on top of him, trying vaguely to grind his hurt shoulder into the ground.

He was still dragging the material off of his neck and the distraction was a disadvantage, but Aoshi didn’t try to throw him off or escape. Instead he grabbed his hair painfully and forced his head down, into a kiss.

It was just as hard and inelegant as the fight, but it threw him off his guard. Reality began to realign itself with the scent and feel of Aoshi against him. Finally his own sword rang out against the street stones as he dropped it.

That was the cue for Aoshi to let him go, evidently; he pushed him away and Saitou fell back onto his hands, giving Aoshi space, and panted as he watched him sit up on his left side. His throat was raw and his chest hurt, and most of his joints were already getting sore from hitting them on things, but it could have been much worse. One of them could have truly ended up dead.

“Are you okay?” he finally asked, and then coughed, trying to get his breathing back under control.

Aoshi nodded wordlessly and pushed himself back to his feet, after only giving himself a second to rest. His right arm was held gingerly immobile against his stomach, and Saitou winced with a pang of guilt.

“I’m sorry.”

“You lost yourself.” He scooped up the sling from the ground and used it for a bandage this time, trying to stop the blood that ran down his arm. Saitou regretted seeing that; he could almost taste the blood… Then he realized he had his fingers in his mouth and pulled them out, yanking his gloves off in irritation with himself to ball them up and shove them in a pocket. He would like to think he was above wounding someone he liked to turn them into a sex object…

Not that Aoshi wasn’t already a sex object, for him. He just didn’t want him to be the kind that he wanted to hurt.

When he looked up he found that Aoshi was holding both swords and looking down at him; his face was as unreadable as he had ever seen it. He considered briefly that he was going to pass some kind of judgment on him.

“The blood turns you on?” he asked instead.

“Mm,” he answered noncommitally, and pushed himself slowly to his feet, pausing to take a deep breath once there. Gods breathing hurt – how close had Aoshi been to winning permanently? “The fighting,” he went on. “The really good fights, anyway. The blood’s just a sort of symbol.” He coughed again and dug for his cigarettes. “Only other one to get me back to that in years was Himura.”

“You got turned on by Kenshin?”

“Jealous?” He smirked to try to lighten the mood, which was basically pointless, given his present company. Did Aoshi even have a sense of humor? “He was a good fight, once upon a time. Intensity like that’s hard to find anymore…” But intensity was definitely one area where Aoshi was not lacking.

He didn’t look at Aoshi, since he didn’t particularly like having to feel remorse, and inspected his cigarettes instead. Most of them ranged between ‘broken’ and ‘pulverized’, but he found one that was salvageable and lit it finally. The first drag made him cough and hate himself for a painful thirty seconds, and lean heavily against the wall, letting the bricks support him while his throat revolted against the daggers smoke had apparently turned into, and his lungs absolutely refused to move air in any direction but out. Oh, gods, strangling and smoking did not go together…

Eventually he was able to breathe in shallow gasps again; his coughing trailing off, and he regretfully stabbed the cigarette out against the bricks. Not going to commit suicide tonight, thanks… When he was certain he wasn’t going to pass out and die he got his legs back under him and made them support him again, pushing himself off the wall.

When he turned around he saw that he must have truly pissed Aoshi off, because he was only standing and watching him suffer. He probably thought he deserved it. Objectively, he wouldn’t argue, since he had brought it upon himself. Subjectively, that was a fucking heartless reaction.

“Next time you need to kill me, try to find a more humane method.”

Aoshi didn’t answer him, and that stung. He wasn’t going to let him take this any less than seriously, was he?

“I didn’t mean to actually injure you.”

“Yes, you did.”

Ouch… Cold. How many years of trust had he lost with him with this? He cursed himself and flipped the cigarette over his fingers in agitation, wishing he could smoke. “It wasn’t intentional.”

“If I thought it was, you wouldn’t have gotten back up.” Aoshi turned the katana over and offered it to him finally, and it felt like forgiveness. He shoved the cigrette away and took it back with a relaxation that nearly translated into a sigh. Odd, since he hadn’t even realized he’d been tense. Actually caring about someone’s opinion of you made things like this decidedly awkward.

He wiped the blade down with his bloody gloves before he sheathed it. He had missed the weight of it, he acknowledged. Probably natural, since he’d been carrying a sword for going on thirty years now…

“This is an irresponsible game.”

He looked up and shook his head slightly as he left the shadow of the wall. “This wasn’t exactly a foreseen consequence; even so, you’re too responsible to let me hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it.”

Aoshi stopped him cold by taking hold of his jaw; Saitou froze and blinked at him, frankly taken aback by the unwonted contact. Aoshi intentionally touching people happened approximately never.

“And what if I reacted in kind?”

Aoshi out of control? For a second a certain aroused anticipation rose within him, but he quashed it immediately and had the decency to feel faintly guilty for feeling it. It wasn’t too strong to say that Aoshi hated himself for losing control; he shouldn’t wish that on him. Regardless of how sexy it would be.

“Since I haven’t murdered or brutalized anyone you love, I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Aoshi watched him a moment, then his light fingers transformed in an instant into a fist that took him in the temple, and he found himself staring up at the stars with a throbbing head before he even realized how he’d gotten there. The world swam alarmingly when he forced himself to sit up, leaving him holding his head and the street to steady himself.

“I won’t fight you again,” Aoshi said. He was already walking away.

“So are you going to give me a new way of winning you then?”

Aoshi turned back to look at him sharply. “What makes you think I want you to win me?” His voice was as harsh as his words, and the way he had turned made his wounded arm subtly obvious.

For a second Saitou felt another pang of guilt, and that he owed it to Aoshi to let him go – until he realized Aoshi was manipulating him. He wasn’t really angry about the injuries, he’d never held any of his injuries against anyone, but he’d turned to show off the bloody arm because he recognized that Saitou felt guilty for it. Devious…

He pushed himself to his feet again, pleased that the world stayed on a level instead of swimming around, and followed him, dabbing at blood leaking down his cheek. “It’s a mistake to think you’re predictable,” he acknowledged, “but if you didn’t, you never would have proposed the contest in the first place. You as much as told me so yourself. And I know it wasn’t just pragmatism that made you kiss me.”

Aoshi remained silent, which frankly could have meant anything. Even he didn’t understand Aoshi’s language of silence yet. He didn’t start walking away again, though, which was an encouraging sign. They were standing side by side and Aoshi wasn’t looking at him, but still… he wasn’t leaving.

“You’re only angry I lost control. You’re pissed at me for not living up to your standards, never mind that your standards are impossible and designed only to make you loathe yourself for missing them. I’m no more perfect than you are.” Actually probably considerably less, if their number of vices and sheer amount of effort into enlightenment were compared side by side, but he saw no reason to make Aoshi come to his senses and realize he deserved better just yet.

“You shouldn’t have lost yourself.”

“You’re afraid of losing control and you’re projecting it onto me.” He decided that smoothing out his mood was more important than breathing and lit his cigarette again, and found with relief it didn’t try to kill him this time, although it did still hurt like hell. “But you need to get over yourself. You try to control it, very rarely you fail, and then you live with it.”

Aoshi gave him a piercing glare that stated thoroughly just how much bullshit he thought that was. He didn’t waver at all before it, since he in turn thought that Aoshi’s obsessing was just as much bullshit.

He touched Aoshi’s back lightly as he started walking again; Aoshi jerked his hand up to push him away and didn’t seem to feel it.

“Stop moving that arm, before it’s ruined.”

“It’s not ruined.” Aoshi was walking with him, but his voice was still cold.

“Not yet, but it’s never going to heal if you keep jerking it around.”

“Or people keep sticking fingers in it.”

Saitou scowled and stuck his cigarette in his mouth so as to not reply, or apologize again. Aoshi didn’t care about apologies. “I’m going to pay the doctor for you.”

“That’s not necessary.”

“You’re going to have your underlings put you back together?”

Aoshi didn’t answer, even so much as to say that they weren’t ‘underlings’. Moody… Saitou glanced at him as they walked, watching how he was holding his arm. Against his stomach, perfectly still. He was glad to see that he was taking care of it, whatever he said.

“You’re not going to stitch yourself, are you?”

“No. Omasu will do it.”

“How are you going to explain it?”

“The truth.”

“As little of it as you can get away with, I’m sure.” Not because he thought Aoshi was going to hide this relationship, in particular, just because he seemed to dole out every bit of personal information on a need-to-know basis, and no one ever needed to know. He regretfully threw away the finished cigarette and massaged his chest absently. “If any of them come for my head I can’t promise they won’t end up cooling their tempers in jail.”

“They won’t.”

Right, because they were likely to just let an assault on their dear Aoshi go unanswered. Then again, he probably had that much control over them – if he said no, they wouldn’t, just like that. That sort of loyalty wasn’t healthy, in his opinion; he was glad he didn’t have to carry anyone like that.

He glanced at Aoshi again, rubbing his throat. “You didn’t answer me,” he finally said. When he realized he wasn’t going to get a reply he went on, though he probably didn’t need an explanation. “If you’re going to listen to your irrational gut reaction – irrational because you know damn well we’re only a danger to each other even if we do lose control – and not fight me again, what’s your new test?”

Aoshi stopped walking. After a step he stopped and looked back at him, noting absently that he had moved his kodachi into his hurt hand. His eyes were shadowed by his hair, and he was absolutely still. His own hand drifted semiconsciously toward his sword.

Aoshi grabbed the front of his coat and dragged him forward – not an attack but a kiss. It was probably the second most passionate expression he had ever seen from him, full of so much more emotion than his words ever were – and so angry. For the first time he felt that Aoshi actually wanted him as much as he wanted him, and it was wrapped up in the knowledge that at this instant Aoshi very nearly hated him.

That much rage directed at him shouldn’t have been a turn on, but hell, he wasn’t going to argue with what he felt. He found himself hooking his fingers inside Aoshi’s outer shirt and returning it until Aoshi separated them, holding him back at the throat. They were only inches apart, and he could read the anger in his blue eyes very clearly.

“I want to respect you,” Aoshi said. That had a hint of the same passion in it, despite his absolutely controlled voice. It seemed to be a very deep truth. “Sometimes you make that very difficult.”

“I’m not going to change. Neither of us is.”

“I know.” Aoshi let him go, not quite pushing him away in the process, and stepped around him. “You know what I’m capable of. Go away before I hurt you.”

Saitou turned to watch him go, rubbing the back of his neck thoughtfully.

“I’ll find you next time,” Aoshi said without turning around.

He smirked a little bit and dug his cigarettes out again. “Next time,” he agreed.

~end~

Series NavigationRurouni Kenshin Fanfiction: Proving GroundRurouni Kenshin Fanfiction: Insomnia

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