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A Traditional Ninja Romance - Chapter 11

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: Impromptu drabbling aside, here’s something a bit more serious.
 
Prologue
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
____________________________ 
 
A Traditional Ninja Romance
 
By Sinnatious
 
Chapter 11
____________________________ 
 
 
The next day, instead of going to help Tezuka with the paperwork as he normally did, Ryoma sought out Sakuno. She was in the kitchens with her friend as usual, who enthusiastically pushed her towards him when he appeared.
 
“Um, Ryoma,” she muttered shyly. “Is there anything-?”

“I thought you might need some help training,” he stated abruptly. 
 
Her eyes widened, and her face coloured slightly. “Really? That is… you’re offering to…”
 
He turned on his heel and started leading the way to the training grounds. She followed with a tentative smile. She was so meek. It was supposedly a desirable trait in noblewomen, but Ryoma found it irritating.
 
The afternoon was spent coaching Sakuno on the very basics of shuriken throwing. It gave him plenty of opportunities to take her hand, or embrace her from behind as he corrected her stance. She always blushed beet red whenever he did this, which Ryoma assumed was a good thing. If he had to seduce her, he might as well try to make her a better ninja while he was at it.    
 
She was so uncoordinated that it was frustrating, though. Ryoma was glad he was wearing his facemask at that time, as it hid his grimace when she managed to miss the target yet again. It wasn’t even moving, or all that far away! Ryoma had been well above this level by his fifth birthday.
 
“That’s enough for today,” he eventually stated. “You’ve improved some. I’ll come by again tomorrow if you’re free.”
 
She was practically glowing. “Thank you so much!”
 
It was no challenge at all. He waved lazily. “See you then.”
 
His afternoon had been wasted, and Sakuno barely improved at all. Maybe there was something wrong with her depth perception. 
 
That night, Tezuka appeared at the door to his room. “Ryoma.”
 
“Buchou,” he replied in what he hoped was a steady voice. He adjusted his facemask nervously.
 
The captain carefully slid the shoji shut behind him. “I didn’t see you this afternoon, and wanted to check to make sure that nothing was wrong.” 
 
He didn’t want to have this conversation. His stomach was churning, but Ryoma took a deep breath and forced himself to speak. “Buchou… I don’t think it’s going to work out.”
 
Tezuka stilled. “Pardon?” Obviously the pronouncement caught him by surprise.
 
Ryoma turned his face away. “I’ve been thinking about it and… I think we should end it.”
 
Silence. Then… “I see.”
 
With no further ado, Tezuka silently slipped from the room again. 
 
That was it? Just ‘I see’? Ryoma wasn’t certain what he’d been expecting; Tezuka was hardly the type to get emotional and scream or cry, but to not even ask for a reason? To just accept it and leave things like that? Granted, they’d only been sleeping together for a short time, but the captain didn’t strike him as the sort to treat such an intimate relationship so casually. 
 
Ryoma didn’t sleep very well that night.
 
His routine stayed largely the same. In the mornings he’d train, either by himself or with one of the others, and in the afternoons he’d help Sakuno on the basics. She started making him lunch and asking him for picnics under the trees in one of the secluded courtyards, which Ryoma went along with unblinkingly. Every few days there was a mission that would be completed mechanically. He reported to his father after two weeks, who was pleased by his progress. He snuck back into the compound unseen, and repeated the process again.
 
It was strange. Things were going far too smoothly. Ryoma’s paranoia had returned tenfold since his ‘break up’ – if you could call such an exchange that – with Tezuka. It was just too eerie, too calm. It would be easier if Tezuka would react, get angry, demote him or assign him petty missions in revenge… anything. Ryoma would have welcomed even death threats. But the most he’d done was exclude him from one or two squad meetings. The rest of the time the captain just stared at him with fathomless brown eyes and a perfectly neutral expression, and went about business as usual.
 
He should have been grateful that Tezuka was that professional. It would have made remaining in the clan difficult if he wasn’t. But instead it left him feeling sort of numb. 
 
His numbness must have been showing, as Momoshiro pulled him aside after training one morning. “Hey, Echizen, are you okay?”
 
“Huh?”
 
The lanky ninja scratched the back of his head nervously. “How do I put this… you know, is anything bothering you? Having any problems?”
 
“No,” he replied dully. “Why do you ask?”
 
“Eh, it’s just… you don’t look like you’ve been sleeping or eating real well lately, I guess. And it’s kind of been feeling like you’re not really into it whenever we spar.” He let out an awkward laugh. “Maybe I was just imagining it? But hey, you know, if anything comes up you can talk to me, okay? We can’t leave our star rookie feeling down!” Momoshiro ruffled his hair playfully. Ryoma didn’t react.
 
“Okay, Momo-senpai. I’d better get going.”
 
He considered that the end of the matter, but Kaidoh intercepted him as he left the training grounds. “Oi.”
 
“Kaidoh-senpai,” he greeted. It was unusual for the snake-user to talk to him outside of missions. “What is it?”
 
He was looking at the sky, then the ground, then into the distance – anywhere but him. Eventually, he gruffly asked, “You okay?”
 
Ryoma blinked. This again? “I’m fine. Why?”
 
Kaidoh let out a small hiss between his teeth. “You’ve been wearing your mask a lot more lately.” It sounded uncaring – as though the Viper was just remarking on some technique, rather than making a personal observation. 
 
Thinking about it, Ryoma supposed it was true. “Yeah.”
 
“Any reason?” 
 
“No reason,” he replied steadily.
 
They stood there in an awkward silence for a long moment. Kaidoh seemed about to say something else, stopped, then narrowed his eyes and walked away, hissing about troublesome rookies under his breath. Ryoma watched him go, then turned and ambled towards the kitchens. Sakuno was expecting him. He tried not to sigh at the thought. 
 
He was getting tired. Both Momoshiro and Kaidoh were right in their observations. Sleep had become a fickle thing, and his appetite had diminished. He didn’t feel comfortable taking off his mask outside of meal times – he felt as though anyone would be able to see through him at any moment. He was jumpier than even when he first arrived – though that might have been related to the lack of sleep. It was tiresome.
 
Tiresome, but ultimately unimportant. He only needed to hold himself together long enough to finish the mission, and then it wouldn’t matter anymore. He was going to be the best ninja. He was going to surpass his father. He was going to surpass Tezuka. And doing that meant completing his missions without fail.
 
Sakuno fortunately didn’t say a lot while they ate lunch or trained, though she made a couple of false starts towards asking some questions a few times. She was getting more comfortable with him. It was probably time to move things to the next phase.
 
Ryoma let training run late that afternoon; until the sun set and twilight faded in. “Where do you normally stay?” he asked. Sakuno was technically supposed to live in the daimyo’s estate, but given the amount of time she spent with the clan, he assumed she had quarters located somewhere within the compound.
 
“Oh, um, normally I stay in a room with the help,” she explained demurely. “I share with Tomoka.”
 
The lively girl in the kitchen, he recalled. It made sense – Tezuka wasn’t likely to give even Ryuuzaki’s granddaughter too much in the way of special treatment. “I’ll walk you there.”
 
“Oh, um, thank you!” she blurted, then covered her mouth with a hand, blushing at how her voice slipped an octave at the end. Ryoma didn’t pay her any mind.
 
They quietly walked side-by-side in the twilight. It only took a couple of minutes to reach their destination from the training grounds. Once there, Sakuno turned and faced him, cheeks bright red. It seemed she sported a permanent blush sometimes. It was a wonder she didn’t faint.
 
“Ryoma… you’re really amazing you know. We’re the same age, and you’re already such a good ninja…” She glanced off to the side, eyes darting between his face and the ground. “Just, um… I wanted to thank you for helping me so much.”
 
Belatedly, Ryoma realised this was supposed to be a romantic moment. “It’s no trouble.” 
 
They stood there staring at each other for a long minute. Sakuno’s eyes fluttered closed, and she tilted her head towards him. That was his cue, he guessed.
 
Ryoma tugged down his facemask, hesitated, then leaned forward, brushing their lips together. “’Night.”
 
She had a faintly glazed expression when she opened her eyes again. “Um, right, good night.” She was still standing there, looking as though she was about to say something else, but Ryoma had to get out of there. He turned on his heel and walked away. It was a challenge to keep his pace normal. Once he was out of sight, he broke into a run.
 
He collapsed to his knees at the edge of courtyard on the fringes of the compound, and then proceeded to heave the contents of what lunch he’d managed to swallow that day into the bushes. The vomit left an acrid aftertaste in his mouth. Grimacing, he wiped his mouth on his sleeve.
 
“Did you also throw up after kissing Tezuka?”
 
Ryoma started at the soft voice, fingers reaching for a weapon. “Fuji-senpai?”
 
Fuji stepped into view behind him. His eyes were open. Ryoma was mildly disconcerted to discover that they were blue and that the ninja was not, in fact, blind.
 
“You alright there, Echizen? Not sick, are you?”
 
“M’fine,” he muttered.
 
“Saa, is that normal, then?”
 
Ryoma didn’t care what Fuji thought anymore. “Lunch just disagreed with me.”
 
“I can see how it would take the entire afternoon to do that.”
 
“It’s not any of your business.”
 
“I didn’t want to get involved,” Fuji admitted. “Things were going rather well without my help, after all. But it appears that a stick is caught in the wheel. Maybe it was too much for Tezuka after all. I understand that he was reluctant…”
 
They were having different conversations, obviously. Ryoma was forced to face the first question, rather than try and decode Fuji’s cryptic comments. “Does everyone know about what happened with the captain?” he asked tiredly.
 
“Tezuka’s been a bit out of sorts recently, but he hasn’t said anything if that’s what you’re worried about.” Fuji had no right to sound cheerful over his dilemma. 
 
“That’s a lie. Buchou hasn’t acted different at all,” he retorted stubbornly. “It didn’t mean anything. It was a lapse of judgement.”
 
“And then what do you call this new development?”
 
Dangerous, dangerous territory. Ryoma started mentally calculating the quickest escape route, just in case Fuji was leading to something. “Reasonable.” It was blatantly obvious that Fuji had been keeping tabs on him. Trying to hide his relationship with Sakuno wouldn’t do any good if the comparably more clandestine one with Tezuka was known.
 
“So what do you like about her?”
 
Asked the question, he couldn’t come up with an answer. Eventually, he settled lamely on, “She’s pretty. And she’s quiet.”
 
“Hm.” It appeared that he’d mollified Fuji at least temporarily. The other ninja started walking away. “I won’t keep you then. You look like you could use an early night.”
 
Ryoma let out a sigh of relief. It ate at him to know that Fuji knew what was going on, but so long as he didn’t question the why, things should be okay. He could live with the other ninja thinking him fickle.
 
Then Fuji stopped, and delivered one last comment to keep him awake at night.
 
“Saa… I wonder…”
 
“What?” he asked, a little crankily. Why wouldn’t the other man just leave already?
 
Fuji smiled sunnily, eyes closed once again. “Oh, I was just wondering who is hurting the most in this. Is it Sakuno, is it Tezuka… or is it you?”
 
Humming, the other ninja strolled away. Ryoma stared after him, and pulled his mask back up irritably. 
 
Once again, most of the night was spent staring at the ceiling, ears pricked to pick up any movements in the darkness. His fingers regularly sought out the reassurance of the dagger hidden underneath his pillow.
 
It shouldn’t have been so difficult to kiss Sakuno. It wasn’t like she was ugly, or had a nasty personality or anything. No, it wasn’t that it was that disgusting… it was that his gut was churning with guilt. 
 
Ryoma threw an arm over his eyes. This was just grand. He was supposed to be the one to be doing the seducing, but it appeared that he had been the one who had been seduced.
 

Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
gwynhafra
May. 25th, 2008 06:14 am (UTC)
*cries* Poor buchou-chan. Poor Ryo-chan. Ah well. If he has to perform his second mission of course he'd have to break up with Tez, but it's sad all the same.

I wonder how is Tez doing. Bet he's sleepless too. ::cough::thefutonistoocold::cough::. XD

Looking forward to seeing just what is Nanjirou hoping for by making Ryoma suffer like this.
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 11:01 am (UTC)
Heee. Two sleepless ninja would make for some interesting workplace accidents.

Oh. Cold futons. Now I'm all sad and melancholic. .___.
argentum_luna
May. 25th, 2008 06:37 am (UTC)
T.T Nuuuuuuu poor Tezzie. D: Stupid Nanjiroh. D:



argetangel
May. 25th, 2008 08:12 am (UTC)
I have math revision to do, but I promise I'll read this later! OH GOSH PLEASE LET EVERYTHING BE ALRIGHT WITH TEZUKA AND RYOMA!

stupid Nanjiroh
argetangel
May. 25th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
asdfghjkl;

TEZUKA IS BEING PLAYED BY RYOMA ;_; And Ryoma is only conditioned to Tezuka's taste, which is why he vomited after kissing Sakuno.

Gawd I hate Sakuno D: And stupid, stupid Nanjiroh.

Oh. Look. I already said that in my previous comment XD
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 10:10 am (UTC)
Well, it's not really Sakuno's fault... wait, why am I defending her? Clearly it has been too long since I heard her sigh 'Ryoma-kun' something like ten times in a row in the anime.
argetangel
May. 26th, 2008 10:29 am (UTC)
YES OMG HOW CAN YOU SPEAK UP FOR SAKUNO? Haha Sakuno's 'Ryoma-kun' is clearly no match for Ryoma's breathy 'Buchou' :D I swear Ryoma is trying to sex Tezuka just by using his voice
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 10:57 am (UTC)
sadfljslkfjslakdfj. It gives 'oral sex' a whole new meaning. *dies laughing*.
argetangel
May. 26th, 2008 03:12 pm (UTC)
OOOH YEAH *_*

ROFLMAO.
superultragddya
May. 25th, 2008 02:16 pm (UTC)
HA. I AM HERE.
superultragddya
May. 25th, 2008 02:23 pm (UTC)
Oh fujiii. <33

and eeeee buchou. 8DDD You're so cute~! <3

and asdfjkl; sakunooooooooo. ;~~~~~~~~~~~~~~;

and ryouma!

TWOO MORE CHAPTERS, THY. TWOOOOOOOOOOOO MOREEEEEE.
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 10:58 am (UTC)
*coughs politely* Um, actually, three more.
superultragddya
May. 26th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
ksafd;lk;aslk I THOUGHT IT WAS THIRTEEN. I HAD THREE AT FIRST. assfd;s;lk jI SUCK. ;~~~~~~~;
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 11:05 am (UTC)
ARE YOU THERE?

(Sorry, couldn't resist creepy Fafner reference.)
superultragddya
May. 26th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? 8D

(-doesn't get it but okay-)
tezukaryo
May. 25th, 2008 03:50 pm (UTC)
*tears* Poor Tezuka *goes and beat Nanjiroh to a bloody pulp again*...Poor Royma, but surf him right...jeez finally, figure out that you love Tezuka...Tezuka must be worrying about Ryoma too...can't wait to see if Ryoma comes to Tezuka, or Tezuka comes to Ryoma, or better yet, during the mission, Ryoma life was in danger and Tezuka step in and receive the blow. Ryoma shocked "Why" Tezuka "I love you" Ryoma eyes filled up with tears and Tezuka wipe them away tenderly...then Ryoma fixed his glare on the enemy (Atobe) *evil laugh* ...they fought; Atobe got some of his precious hair clipped off and was defeated...Ryoma come back to Tezuka, bind up the wound and kiss it tenderly, then gaze up at Tezuka with tears in his eyes and quivering lip "I..I..I'm so sorry and I..I love you too." They would embrace. *hehehe* ...can't wait for the next chapter. ^____^
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 10:59 am (UTC)
Awwww, crap. Your ending is better. IT HAS ATOBE LOSING HAIR IN IT.
jade_peace
May. 25th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
Tezu and Ryo ;___;

Perceptive Fuji *____*

Stupid Nanjiroh D=
agentlerain
May. 25th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Hi,
I've been lurking your journal for a while, reading all the lovely pillar!fic. I just wanted to say your work is some of the best I've read. You make it flow so well!
I loved this chapter. It made me want to cry for Buchou, he'd been dumped. And I felt so sorry for Echizen. I can't wait until Tezuka goes to find out where Echizen's been going to, thus meeting Nanjiroh. The poor kid threw up because he kissed Sakuno. =P
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 10:56 am (UTC)
Greetings! Such high praise, I'm very flattered you delurked to share such kind words. Thank you!

CUE SUSPENSE.
agentlerain
May. 26th, 2008 03:24 pm (UTC)
^^ They're worthy, definitely. Kaori-chan first told me about your work and then I was hooked by The Power of Gossip.
m3owchan
May. 25th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
Aww, Ryoma.:(

and trust Fuji to figure out something first..
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 11:02 am (UTC)
I've really got to turn that on its head one day. :| Thank you for reminding me.
sleepingfingers
May. 26th, 2008 12:11 am (UTC)
Oh Ryoma and Tezuka. :'( I feel sorry for them, but at least now, Ryoma's realised his feelings. It's the first step.

And I love Fuji in every single one of your fic so far. :)
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
Hee, glad to hear it. Fuji's one of those characters that has been so warped by fanon that I'm never sure if I've got him right or not.
iluxia
May. 26th, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)
Grrr..... Nanjiroh.... you freakin' idiot.....
firedraygon97
May. 26th, 2008 05:40 am (UTC)
Poor, stubborn Ryoma. Vomitting after a kiss is surely a sign. And stubborn Tezuka, too! He should fight back for his man! Awww, I really, REALLY wish you'd write Tezuka's POV...

Hahahaha, Ryoma's 'reasons' of why he likes Sakuno are hilarious. Reminds me of The Swan Princess. I'm glad Tezuka got a more...poetic...list of reasons. XD
sinnatious
May. 26th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC)
*stubbornly sticks to Ryoma POV. I write in Tezuka POV ALL THE TIME. Need to diversify.*

Indeed. Ryoma was grasping at straws there. :P Glad you noticed the differences between the two lists. ;)
ichinonaru
May. 26th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
Waaaah Oh no! I knew it! A cliffhanger.. OMG.. waaah I soo wanna know what happens neeeext!!! Gawd no I can finally go to sleep although I'll probably spend most of it thinking of what could happen and all the other possibilities! WAh, I should've slept and read this some other time but I can't help but get hooked! Waaah! Oh well... at least the temporary separation indicates some hot make-up sex afterwards no?
Gawd, I hope Ryoma can make up to Tezuka and do something very special as an apology... something kinky perhaps??? Tezuka DID had Ryoma tied up during their 1st "spar" OHOHOHO! Gawd I needed to comfort myself that everything is gonna be alright... but.. aww.. I feel for both Tezuka and Ryoma and I can't hate Ryoma for doing that because he is obviously not used to these type of things.. but.. aaaah... I do hope Fuji's insight would help him see the CORRECT PATH that he needs to take!!!
~~~ Hikari Manganji ~~~
sinnatious
May. 27th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
*waves* I see you have discovered the time lag that LJ enjoys in posting. LJ is my preferred place to hang out, but I usually eventually put the multi-parters on FF.net as well because it organises the chapters so nicely. :)

Although now I'm feeling sort of guilty about keeping you up so late at night! Sleep is important! The posts will still be there in the morning! XP Thanks for all the comments all the same.
nerfracket
Jun. 1st, 2008 12:32 pm (UTC)
Damn, I hate going away for work while you're posting fic. It's not so bad when I'm by myself but this time I had the whole team with me and grrrrrr!!!!!

First of all, I love you, Sinn. There are so many reasons to love you, but I believe the crowning one is that Ryoma threw up after kissing Sakuno. That was a moment of sheer perfection. ♥♥

This:
Ryoma was mildly disconcerted to discover that they were blue and that the ninja was not, in fact, blind.
So many reasons to love you!!!

I understand why Ryoma has to break it off with Tezuka the Toast Stoic (srsly, Buchou, at least look mournful for a minute, you're scaring the children!) and has to go chasing after het, but it still gave me heartpangs. Oh, Ryoma, you blind little possum, you. Of course you love Buchou and of course he loves you and the way you pull each other in, it will work out. I have faith!

Sinn, it's a magnificent ride!!
sinnatious
Jun. 1st, 2008 12:48 pm (UTC)
Is it a bad sign that when I read 'the whole team with me' I immediately though 'tennis team'? :3 Either way, welcome back. We always miss you. *hugs*

Thanks! You are too kind. :P It is a fun journey for me too, I'm glad you're enjoying the ride.
besendorfer
Dec. 7th, 2009 09:45 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday!
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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