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A Traditional Ninja Romance - Chapter 5

Title: A Traditional Ninja Romance

Author: Sinnatious
 
Summary: TezRyo Ninja AU.  Ryoma's mission:  To infiltrate the Seigaku clan and seduce their leader.
 
Rating: M for violence and yaoi.

Author’s Note: Fight scenes are certainly challenging.  Hope it comes out okay.
 
Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

____________________________ 

A Traditional Ninja Romance
 
By Sinnatious
 
Chapter 5

____________________________ 
 
 
The ring of metal striking metal echoed through the darkness. Barely discernible to the average eye, two silhouettes danced in the shadows, advancing and retreating in a deadly choreography. 
 
“You’re better than I expected, but it’s not going to be enough. Fudomine has fought hard to be taken seriously,” Ibu muttered.
 
Ryoma resisted the urge to tell his enemy to shut up and concentrate on fighting. For all he knew the running commentary was a perfectly valid distraction tactic. It wouldn’t work on him, however. Ibu stepped forward, foot resting on one of the discarded pieces of wire. Ryoma snatched it from the ground and jerked it, temporarily throwing his opponent’s balance out. He attacked, but Ibu recovered in time to parry. The dance resumed again. The target continued to make frantic sounds of fear and worry at their every movement.
 
Two steps forward, slash, a step back, parry, throw a shuriken, dodge a foot. They were practically running on automatic now, exchanging blows while both combatants searched for a weakness. Ryoma faltered briefly under the force of a strike. Forget waiting for an opening – he’d create one.
 
Ryoma spun on one foot and slashed downwards heavily, knocking Ibu’s kodachi to the side and leaving him open. Before he could take advantage of his opponent’s precarious position, Ibu flung a hail of needles towards him. Eyes widening, Ryoma aborted his attack and threw himself to the side, avoiding all but four of the dangerous projectiles.
 
“Geh.” The breathy grunt was the first sound he’d allowed himself all battle. The needles pierced the flesh of his right arm and shoulder. They’d been thrown at quite a close range, and were buried in deep. He grit his teeth and tugged them out with a wince, promptly flinging them back at their owner. Ibu dodged them easily. Blood dripped to the floor. How annoying. At least they hadn’t hit anything vital. 
 
Darting forward, he swung the kodachi horizontally, and frowned when his timing was a bit late, forcing him back on to the defensive. The blade wobbled slightly in his grasp. 
 
“You don’t have a chance. You’re finished,” Ibu mumbled, pressing his attack. Ryoma barely parried in time, throwing a dagger – he’d finally run out of shuriken – to buy time to get back his balance. He’d barely caught his breath before Ibu was attacking again. Did the other ninja become faster all of a sudden? His movements didn’t look any different to before, but his arm was having trouble keeping up.
 
Metal clashed once more, and Ryoma’s kodachi dropped to the floor with a clatter. 
 
Move, he willed his hand, but all he could manage was to twitch his fingers. His mind flashed back to the needles. Were they poisoned tipped, or did Ibu just hit a pressure point?
 
Ibu’s sword was swinging around again as though in slow motion. Golden eyes tracked its path, adrenaline surging through his system. His right arm hung uselessly by his side. Respond. The sword descended. RESPOND!
 
His arm refused. Panicking, Ryoma threw himself backwards; eyes squeezed shut in anticipation of the blow. The tip of the blade grazed his eye, leaving a stinging sensation blossoming in its wake. Cool air brushed across his face. His mask had been ripped too.
 
Time started running at normal speed again. Rolling out of range, Ryoma tried to force his eyes open. Only the right would work – the left was blurred with blood and even the act of trying to open it left him gasping for breath at the stab of pain and closing it involuntarily. Blearily, he tried to focus on the opponent with only his right eye. He was standing on the other side of the room, blood dripping from the point of his sword.

"Surrender," Ibu ordered in a dull voice.  "Your right arm is useless and you're limited to one eye.  You cannot fight any longer."

Ryoma just smirked, and picked up his kodachi with his left hand.  "Che, you've overlooked something rather important."

Ibu paused, and eyeballed him warily.  "Overlooked something?  I haven't overlooked anything."
 
Ryoma dashed forward suddenly.  Ibu was barely able to parry in time, and was quickly driven back under a flurry of blows.  "....What?!"

Ryoma grinned.  "I'm actually left-handed."  With a deft flick of his wrist, Ibu's sword went flying.  Ryoma took the opportunity while the other ninja was left off-balance, kicking him into the wall.  Another quick flick of the wrist sent his last kunai speeding through the air.  It struck the target between the eyes.  The whimpering ceased, and a body slumped to the floor. 
 
Mission accomplished.

He didn't waste time waiting for Ibu to regain his wits.  Ryoma ran out of the room and back down the hallway, Kaidoh meeting him halfway.  "Fssshuuuu, what-"

"I've completed the mission.  Let's get out of here," he reported.  Kaidoh abruptly turned on his heel and followed after him.  Once in the yard, they signalled to Oishi and Eiji, who similarly retreated.

Fudomine didn't follow; instead running into the house, no doubt to check on their comrades and client.  Just to be safe, they didn't halt their retreat until they were halfway back to base.

"Report!" Oishi snapped out.  "Is everyone accounted for?"

"Everyone's here.  The mission was a success," Kaidoh reported, slanting him a brief glance.  "Though there were some injuries."

"Ochibi!" Eiji gasped.

"Echizen!" Oishi echoed, looking like he was on the verge of a heart attack.  "You're bleeding!  Your eye-!"

"It doesn't hurt."  A lie.  It stung like hell.  And his right arm was still dragging uselessly.  Best to direct their attention to someone else. "Kawamura?"  He was cradling his wrist.

"Took a blow for me." Fuji reported in a cold voice, though his expression was full of warmth and affection for his comrade.

"It's not serious," he protested.

"I'm okay!" Eiji cheerily announced without being asked.  "Little tired, though."
 
“Fsshhhhuuuu.” The others seemed to take that as Kaidoh’s admission of being fine, even though Ryoma could spy grazes and bruises through several tears on the sleeves and knees of his clothing.
 
Oishi turned his attention back to him. “Echizen… Are you sure you can manage until we get back to base?”
 
Ryoma straightened, hoping his paralysed arm wasn’t too obvious. Momoshiro had told him plenty of stories about the vice-captain’s mothering, but it was his first time experiencing the full brunt of it. He made to tug his mask up, before remembering that it was ripped, and so pulled it off instead – it wasn’t any use flapping in the wind like that.    “I’ll manage. Let’s just get going.”
 
Oishi looked like he wanted to argue, but there was still a risk of Fudomine tracking them. It would be best to make it home as quickly as possible. “Okay. Let’s get going.” They started running again. Kaidoh and Oishi ran rather closely alongside him, and Ryoma did his best to hide his irritation at the action. He knew his pace was lagging, but they slowed their own steps to stay with him.
 
It was annoying taking such injuries from a relatively unknown ninja. There hadn’t been any danger of losing the battle, but those needles… Ryoma was still worried that they might have been poison-tipped, but given that the numbness of his arm hadn’t extended past his shoulder, he didn’t see the point of drawing anyone’s attention to it. It would just make the vice-captain fret. If it was poison, there wasn’t anything that could be done until they made it back to base. He grit his teeth, and kept running. It wasn’t a pleasant thought to entertain.
 
The sun was rising by the time they made it back to the compound. Ryoma was feeling rather dizzy at that point, and extremely keen on getting some sleep. The mission had been a lot harder than anticipated. There was some merit to the rumours about the Fudomine clan’s strength after all.
 
“I’ll go make the report to Tezuka-” Oishi started saying.
 
“No need.” The captain approached them at the gate, Inui walking alongside him. Dispassionate brown eyes swept over the group, lingering briefly on Kawamura and halting on him. “There were problems.”
 
“We ran into Fudomine. But we managed to complete the mission,” Oishi reported.
 
Tezuka nodded. “You can tell me the details in the infirmary.”
 
Ryoma was already starting to drift towards the trainees’ quarters, but soon found himself being prodded in the direction of the central building by Oishi and Eiji. “Eh, but I’m not-”
 
“You’re coming to infirmary with us,” Oishi said firmly.
 
“Don’t worry! Oishi’s uncle was a doctor! He’ll fix you up straight away,” Eiji reassured him.
 
“Is there something wrong with your arm?” Oishi asked as they corralled him into the building. “There’s blood on your sleeve.”
 
“He’s been dragging it the entire way home,” Kaidoh growled.
 
Ryoma glared at the Viper. At Oishi’s stern glance, he muttered, “I can’t move it.”
 
“Paralysis?! You should have said something! Inui, I’ll need your help.”
 
They shuffled as a unit into the central building. There was a shriek and a crash of ceramic. Ryoma glanced up, catching sight of Ryuuzaki’s granddaughter. She’d dropped the bowls she was carrying. Helping the girl in the kitchens again? "R-Ryoma!"

Since when had he given her permission to call him by his first name?  And what was she so freaked out about?

"You're bleeding all over the place," Eiji whispered in his ear.

Oh.  He hadn't had the chance to try and staunch the bleeding - half of his face was almost entirely covered in crimson.  It probably wouldn't look so bad once it was cleaned up.
 
“Infirmary!” Oishi repeated firmly.
 
They swept past the shocked girl. Ryoma soon found himself sitting on an upraised table with Oishi dabbing blood away from his eye and Inui poking at his right arm. Seigaku didn’t have a proper infirmary, really – it was just a regular room in the central building that had been outfitted as one. A little further away, Fuji was carefully wrapping a bandage around Kawamura’s wrist.
 
“When we arrived, Eiji spotted Fudomine ninja patrolling,” Oishi reported while cleaning the wound. “He and Fuji went on reconnaissance. We counted five of them, Ibu and Tachibana not among them, and so proceeded with the mission. We split into three groups. Eiji and I were intercepted by two of them. We fought with them until Kaidoh signalled us.”
 
“It was the same for Taka and I,” Fuji added.
 
Tezuka turned his attention to Kaidoh next. Gruffly, the Viper started his own report. “We went unopposed until we reached the building entrance. One of them intercepted us. I took care of him, but it took a while. By the time I entered the house, Echizen was leaving, and said that the mission was accomplished.”
 
Dark brown eyes focused on him next. “Just a minute,” Oishi interrupted, inspecting his eye. “It looks like it just cut the lid. You’re quite lucky – you could have lost an eye. You’ll still have to wear a patch for a few days as it is.”
 
“Hn, fine,” he responded.
 
“Your report,” Tezuka prompted.
 
Sighing, Ryoma started his own account. “I entered the house alone while Kaidoh-senpai handled the last guy. When I found the target, he was being guarded by someone named Ibu Shinji.”
 
“Ibu was there after all?” Fuji asked, arching an eyebrow.
 
Ryoma didn’t elaborate. “We fought until I got an opening to kill the target. I took it, retreated and rejoined Kaidoh and the others.”

"Your arm?" Tezuka asked.

"Got hit by needles in the fight."

"Pressure point paralysis?" Inui asked.

Ryoma scowled.  "It should have worn off by now."

Inui hummed at that. "I'm rather impressed you managed to complete the mission in such a state."

It wasn't such a big deal.  His father had sent him on missions in far worse condition. 
 
“Kawamura?” Tezuka questioned next.
 
“I’m okay over here,” Kawamura replied meekly. “It’s just a sprain.”
 
Oishi was frowning. "I'm so sorry everyone, we were too slow..."

"Saaa, don't apologise Oishi," Fuji consoled him.  "Everyone made it back in one piece.  And the mission turned out to be a success, thanks to Echizen."
 
The captain nodded in agreement. Oishi started putting the finishing touches on his eye patch. “I’m done here. Any luck with the arm Inui?”

"I believe it’s a new local paralysing agent.  I don't have an antidote for it, but it's benign.  You should start to get the feeling back in it sometime tomorrow, and regain full movement in about three days."
 
Three days without use of his right arm? How annoying. Training would be a pain.
 
“Right. Everybody should get some rest,” Tezuka ordered. “Momoshiro, Inui, remain on standby in case Fudomine sends follow up. Oishi, Fuji, we’re having a meeting first thing tomorrow morning. Echizen, good work.”
 
It was the second time the captain had uttered those words to him. Ryoma felt strangely warm. His father never complimented him on a mission well done. To receive any words about his work from a ninja as skilled as Tezuka… it really meant a lot. 
 
It almost made three whole days without use of his right arm worthwhile.
 
 

Comments

( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
roseofthine
May. 4th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
...8D
roseofthine
May. 4th, 2008 04:32 am (UTC)
Eeeee. Spot! And Nitoryuu! and SPOT asdfjlk

(spot's always been one of my favorite moves. >>)

Shinji Ibu? Is that the order he introduced himself in?

-goes to check-
sinnatious
May. 4th, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC)
Perhaps the most fun part of writing AUs is finding ways to translate their special moves into different universes. *____*
sleepingfingers
May. 4th, 2008 04:41 am (UTC)
I love how you stick to canon events in this; and I almost squee-ed when Ryoma says that he's left-handed, the same way I did when watching the series. And Ryoma getting all warm because of Tezuka's compliments. Aww. I'm not sure who's the one being seduced here. ;)
sinnatious
May. 4th, 2008 12:16 pm (UTC)
I ADORE RYOMA'S AMBIDEXTERITY, and am pleased you feel the same way. It is completely Princess Bride. "I'm actually left-handed." "Oh, good, so am I." XP
gwynhafra
May. 4th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
"Good work, Echizen"

Oh? Only Echizen? Why not give a compliment to each and everyone of them individually? My my Tez. You're being bias. XD

Incredible, you've transformed the tennis moves into ninja moves. I wonder which was worse though, Echizen's eyelid cut by his broken racket or a blade.

Loved the mild KawamuraFuji hints.

-Gwyn
sinnatious
May. 5th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
Biased indeed. ;)

I have to say, though, trying to find a ninja technique to equate with the Tezuka zone and the zero-shiki drop shot hurt my brain.

Heee, can't resist a bit of side pairing every now and again, glad you liked it.
yusahana6323
May. 4th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
The Forbidden Kingdom + this = *flailing wildly*

Shinji is awesome. :D But so is Tezuka rewarding
Ryoma. The rewards will just get better and better ne... *shot* XD
sinnatious
May. 5th, 2008 11:16 am (UTC)
WHAT? WHAT? THE FORBIDDEN KINGDOM IS OUT ALREADY?!
yusahana6323
May. 5th, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
It is... IN AMERICA! 8D And it is an amazing film, if I do say so myself. Go see it!!
realdream1112
May. 4th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
I'm addicted... yup. I'm sorry, you'll have to update soon, or I might hire the Seigaku ninjas to... pressure you. Buhahaha!
sinnatious
May. 5th, 2008 11:22 am (UTC)
THEY HAVE TO FIND ME FIRST. *runs and hides*

Seriously, though, next chapter will probably be posted on Wednesday.

Nice avatar! I must respond with its Ryoma twin.
jade_peace
May. 5th, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
*_____*

♥♥♥ I LOVE CANON INTO AU.

And Tezuka - is that favouritism I see? xD

Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant.
firedraygon97
May. 5th, 2008 12:55 am (UTC)
*cackles* Not just the Ibu vs. Echizen match, but Kawamura's wrist getting injured is nicely paralleled here, too. Sakuno's reaction to Ryoma's bloody face is amusing. Luckily she wasn't AT the scene of the fight...

Wonderful work! Looking forward to when they meet Hyoutei!
sinnatious
May. 5th, 2008 11:17 am (UTC)
Sakuno is surprisingly fun to write in this.

Sorry to say, they won't be meeting Hyotei. Only 14 chapters planned - I don't have time to include Hyotei as well! XP
tezukaryo
May. 5th, 2008 04:17 am (UTC)
Aaaaw, poor Ryoma!!! Tezuka, you should kiss Ryoma's booboo to make it better *grin* Aw, Fuji and Kawamura is so sweet. ^___^
sinnatious
May. 5th, 2008 11:18 am (UTC)
EYE-KISSING! Has someone written this? And if not, WHY?
su24
May. 5th, 2008 10:53 am (UTC)
ok, if i haven't say it before, i will do so now...I'm always in love with your fics.....hahahaha, same goes for this :)...you know, the fic you wrote before this one, dispossession of echizen ryoma kinda of made me wary of nanjiroh's motive....haahha, whether he is "evil" or not...
sinnatious
May. 5th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)
Heee, thank you! It makes me very happy to hear that.

I assure you that Nanjiroh is less evil. Slightly. Oh god, one day I will write a 'Nanjiroh is a good father' fic to make up for everything I've done with his character so far.
ichinonaru
May. 26th, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
Awww I really love it.. how Tezuka's small compliments seem to brighten up Ryoma's day heehee.. only he could have such a powerful influence! Its sooo nice! Awww... and I totally love seeing parallelisms that you've put in here like the Spot and some other stuff stuff you cross-referenced, even the injuries! heehee, figures Oishi would be the "nurse" LOL

On to the next chapter~!
~~~ Hikari Manganji ~~~
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )