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A Traditional Ninja Romance - Chapter 12

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: I'm in a fantastic mood.  Here's the next chapter.
 
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 12

____________________________

 
Sakuno grew increasingly happy, and Ryoma grew increasingly depressed. It was impossible to tell what Tezuka was thinking, as he continued to wear that same neutral expression that he always wore. At least Fuji didn’t try to talk to him again, though he often wore a disappointed expression whenever they passed ways. 
 
That was fine. Fuji could think whatever he liked at this point, so long as Ryoma could complete the mission. Sakuno was becoming less shy with him, and he’d grown numb to their terribly chaste kisses, so it was probably time to move things to the next level. The thought privately filled him with dread. 
 
It took him a couple of days to work up the nerve. And then, just when he thought the time was right to make the next move, the choice was plucked from his hands.
 
At the end of another routine general clan meeting, Tezuka stopped him from leaving the room. “Echizen. A word, please.”
 
Ryoma felt a sudden chill down his spine. He hadn’t spoken alone with the captain since that time in his room, and felt somewhat nervous about doing so now. Had Tezuka’s professionalism reached its limit?
 
“I have a mission for you,” he stated. Relief flooded through his veins. Just another mission. 
 
“Sure. What is it?”
 
Tezuka shuffled through the papers in his arms. “Inui has discovered an inactive ninja in the area without a clan affiliation.”
 
Ryoma blinked. “And that’s a problem?”
 
“He reports that while the man himself is retired, there is evidence to suggest that he might be attempting to seed a clan of his own. Inui estimates that he may already have two ninja in his employ. Naturally, Seigaku cannot allow the creation of a rival clan in the area. The mission is a simple assassination. He is alone and retired; one person should be enough to handle it. We can’t risk sending too many people, or we’ll alert the daimyo.”
 
Ryoma would probably feel honoured at being chosen if he weren’t so numb. 
 
“Alright. The target?”
 
Tezuka handed over the envelope. “We’ve located his base. He appears to rarely leave it. This is everything we have.”
 
Ryoma opened the envelope, and leafed through contents curiously. He froze when he realised that the location was very familiar indeed.
 
“Inui was not able to discover a name, but found that in his contracts, he’s referred to as ‘the Samurai Ninja’. Will you be able to handle it?”
 
Tezuka’s voice sounded far away, as though he were underwater. It was only years of training that kept Ryoma’s expression in check.
 
The Samurai Ninja. Known to him as Echizen Nanjiroh.
 
They wanted him to kill his father.
 
Distantly, he was aware of giving the affirmative to the captain, and leaving the room with orders to complete the mission that night. It was early afternoon. He only had a few hours to prepare.
 
Did Tezuka know? But then, if they did, why would they give him this mission? Without the name to link them, they had no reason to suspect a connection.
 
Seigaku continued to surprise him with their ability to gather intelligence. His father had been very careful to avoid attracting attention for a long time – at least until this latest stunt. Perhaps someone had noticed him going to his father’s residence to make his reports? Given that he was always careful to cover his hair and wear his mask when making the trip, it was possible that they didn’t realise it was him.
 
What was he supposed to do? Wasn’t his father old friends with Ryuuzaki-daimyo’s wife? Why would she consent to this? Wait, no, this was an independent mission from within the clan – they weren’t acting on any orders from above. In fact, Tezuka had already suggested that he was quite deliberately keeping this mission secret – it wasn’t that uncommon for daimyo to try and control multiple ninja clans, even though such an action directly contravened the clan’s own interests. If Ryoma told Ryuuzaki, she’d definitely stop it, but then they’d want to know she came to be aware of the mission particulars, and then want to know why he’d told her. He’d be revealed as an infiltrator and killed. There would be no hope of escape.
 
Ryoma was trapped. His only option was to complete the mission. But that in itself…
 
He was shocked out of his daze when Sakuno tentatively knocked on the shoji. “Um, Ryoma? Are we training today?” she asked, poking her head in timidly.
 
“No,” he replied flatly. “I have a mission.”
 
“Oh. Okay then. See you another time.” Meekly, she retreated. Ryoma didn’t care about his bluntness. She was the least of his concerns at the moment. 
 
Right. His mission was to kill his father. He needed to prepare. This shouldn’t upset him – he’d been trying to kill the old bastard for years.
 
That was the problem. It was impossible. Ryoma’s hands shook as he carefully selected his weapons. After all the battles they’d fought against each other over the years, Ryoma had scored a blow on his father exactly once. Killing him was a whole other matter altogether. 
 
His options were limited.  The old man was better at him in both close-range and long-range combat, and despite his carefree attitude had a good eye for traps.  Ryoma would have tried to encircle the house with fire and burn it to the ground if he didn't already know that Nanjiroh had taken plenty of precautions against such a measure; not the least including at least two separate underground tunnels that led some distance away.

The safest bet was to stage a regular ambush - the old man would probably just assume it was no different from his usual attacks, and in such a case he'd likely only be humiliated. If he failed to win, he could at least try again a couple of days later.  But being honest with himself… that tactic hadn't ever worked before, and even if he put all of his spirit into it, Ryoma doubted it would work now. The most he could hope for was a single hit.
 
Therefore the only option was to gamble on that lucky hit.

Ryoma grit his teeth as he made his way to main squad's storeroom.

It would mean his death.  The instant his father realised, his life would be forfeit. But he found himself uncaring. If he killed his father, he was at least free of that stupid mission. And if he didn’t… perhaps he was better off dead anyway.
 
Most of the afternoon was spent lovingly preparing all of his weapons. He took his time with them: sharpening the edges to perfection, testing the balance, and carefully holstering them. 
 
Once that was finished, he cast his eyes about his room. There wasn’t much else that needed to be done, but he needed another distraction to keep himself busy until dinnertime. 
 
Perhaps a letter. There was a good chance he wouldn’t be coming back. He wanted to thank Momoshiro for showing him around and making him feel at home in Seigaku. And maybe Kaidoh, Kawamura and Oishi for worrying about him all the time. Some words for Eiji too, because the hyperactive redhead was always so happy to see him for some weird reason. He wanted to compliment Inui’s information gathering ability, even if his stalking was annoying. He didn’t know what exactly to say to Fuji, so settled on a cryptic ‘you were right’. Ryoma could admit that much. 
 
He briefly considered leaving some words for Sakuno – none of this was really her fault – but wound up setting the matter aside. That only left the captain. 
 
There was a lot he wanted to say. He wanted to explain how much he admired Tezuka, and how terrible he felt about how he’d treated him, and how everything was so unfair. But in end, all he wrote was: ‘I’m sorry.’ The characters came out crooked; he was clutching the brush that hard.
 
‘It wasn’t a lie.’
 
An eerie sense of finality washed over him. Putting it all down on paper like that helped organise his thoughts.
 
No way could he ever let anyone read this, dead or not.
 
As soon as the ink dried Ryoma tore the letter into pieces, and hid the scraps in his futon.
 
He went to eat dinner with the others. It felt like he was watching everything from far away, though. He shovelled rice into his mouth mechanically, idly thinking that this could very well be his last meal.
 
Ryoma shook his head irritably, as though to chase away the morbid thoughts. He just had to complete the mission. Focus on one blow at a time. Just draw blood. He could do that much. Thinking about what happened after was a waste of time.
 
“Hey, Echizen, you going to eat that?” Momoshiro asked, eying his plate.
 
He shoved it away. “You can have it. I should probably get going.”
 
“Oh yeah, you’ve got a mission, right? Hey, good luck. Come back safe.”
 
“Thanks,” he replied tonelessly, and left the building. The chatter of dinner conversation faded into the background, replaced by the tranquil rustling of leaves in the wind. 
 
Ryoma sighed. No point in putting it off. He headed for the gates, and set off into the forest surrounding the compound.
 
The path to his father’s hideout from Seigaku was worn into his memory by now. Normally the journey was long and boring, but that night it went far too quickly. He arrived there far too soon. 
 
Would his father be suspicious? He was a couple of days early for his scheduled visit. Should he lie in wait, or try and attack mid-report? He might stand a better chance if his father wasn’t expecting him.
 
Ryoma stepped past the standard array of booby-traps surrounding the property with the practiced ease of someone familiar with them. He soundlessly made his way through the house, stringing wire and traps of his own, ears pricked for the rustle of cloth that normally gave his father away.
 
The light from the lantern in the next room shifted, then disappeared. Ryoma tensed and crouched low in wait. His father had finally noticed a foreign presence.
 
Keen eyes picked out the silhouette that moved soundlessly into the room. Ryoma held his breath lest it give him away. He had to wait until the old man was closer before moving. There would be an opening, even if it were a tiny one. 
 
There. Ryoma snapped out his wrists, sending six shuriken flying towards the target. As soon as they left his hand, he was already moving, throwing more as he did so. Half of them ricocheted off each other, hiding their trajectory. 
 
Nanjiroh casually deflected them. Why wasn’t he catching any as he normally did? Did he suspect? Ryoma leaned his head to the side to avoid a kunai thrown in retaliation. Given that the old man didn’t follow it up, he was right in that it was merely a test to determine his location – moving too much to avoid it would just reveal his position.
 
“Heh, you’re not bad. Come out, come out, wherever you are!” Nanjiroh sang, eyes sweeping the room. Ryoma grit his teeth. Even under attack from an unknown enemy his father remained cocky and confident. His only advantage was that his father couldn’t see as far in the dark as he could.
 
“Oh, ho, what’s this?” One of the wires hooked into the ceiling fell limply to the floor. One trap disarmed already. If he waited too much longer before launching another offensive, Nanjiroh might find them all. 
 
The target was too close to the side of the room for it to work, but it would at least force him to move. Ryoma threw another hail of shuriken, making no effort to hide his position this time. His father easily deflected the projectiles, and started towards him.
 
“Got you now,” Ryoma whispered under his breath. He cut the wire next to him.
 
A heavy axe swung from the ceiling, suspended on a thick rope. Nanjiroh’s eyes widened, and he leapt to the side – attempting to block something that heavy would leave him open and damage his sword. As he dodged, he triggered another trip wire, dropping kunai from the ceiling. He hit the ground with a thud and rolled, barely outpacing the rain of steel. 
 
Ryoma smirked as the axe-pendulum swung back, bearing directly down upon his prey.
 
The sound of Nanjiroh swearing under his breath was sweet to his ears. The victory was premature, though; his father threw a kunai with inhuman speed, and the blade snapped neatly through the rope. Carried by its momentum, the axe flew free and tore through the shoji with a crash. Pale moonlight filtered into the dark room from outside. 
 
“Oh ho, I thought it might be you,” Nanjiroh commented with a grin, turning in his direction. “Thought you’d catch me off guard by coming early? You have to be smarter than that to get one over the great Echizen Nanjiroh!”
 
Ryoma wrapped his fingers around the hilt of his kodachi. The world seemed to sharpen and focus. He could hear the faint chirp of crickets outside and sense the tiny shifts of current in the air caused by his father’s voice. The steel positively hummed under his fingers, seeming to throb in time with the beat of his heart.
 
This was living. He captured the sensation and relished it for a moment, savouring the taste in his memory. He couldn’t fail.
 
His father obviously thought the exchange was over. He folded his arms with a smug grin. “So, brat? How’s the mission going?”
 
Ryoma unsheathed his sword. Underneath his mask, his lips twisted into a smile.
 

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
gwynhafra
May. 28th, 2008 11:55 am (UTC)
Oh my. Now this is messy. XDXD

I like the contrast at the start of the chapter, Sakuno getting increasingly alive while Ryoma becoming increasingly dead. XD.

Very emotional chapter. I like how you described Ryoma's feelings. Poor guy, wanting to give his last words but is unable to.

Can't wait to see the next chapter. I severely doubt Ryoma would be able to pawn Nanjirou. He's going to get his butt kicked. XD
sinnatious
May. 29th, 2008 12:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks! *___*

I feel like I should be running a betting pool - everyone has such great predictions! Clearly I have been underestimating everyone. It is time to up the subtlety of the foreshadowing.
superultragddya
May. 29th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
-hums-
superultragddya
May. 29th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
-sits-

Did you make that icon? ;D
gwynhafra
May. 30th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC)
Nope. Got them all either from my cousie or the internet. I take credit to none of them. :p

It's amazing that the live action could have so many naughty scenes eh? XD
roseofthine
May. 30th, 2008 03:58 am (UTC)
HA. 8D I LIKE THE BLOWJOB ONE. 8DDD

(same person as superultragddya, by the way. >>)

and, eee. 8DDD i love your iconses. <3
gwynhafra
May. 30th, 2008 04:12 am (UTC)
lol. That one was crack. Forgot where I found it. I must have typed tenimyu in google or something. ^^
roseofthine
May. 31st, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
...wait. you have a blowjob icon? *_________*

the one with hongo bobbing up and down in front of shirotan's crotch? *_________*

I just remember that from typing tezuryo into blogger search. 8DD
gwynhafra
Jun. 1st, 2008 06:58 am (UTC)
O.o No. I don't have that one is there even one like that?. Mine is this one. *points to pic*
ankoku_tenshi
May. 28th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
Ha, ats so awesome how everything comes together like that. XDD
argetangel
May. 28th, 2008 02:33 pm (UTC)
HEEE. I like how Ryoma has no qualms about killing his father :D

But I don't want Nanjiroh to die! I want him severely injured, is all. Then the old bastard can feel remorseful when Ryoma finally reveals that he has feelings for Tezuka :D

ANDANDAND. Tezuka would find the torn letter stashed in Ryoma's futon, and he would finally know the extent of Ryoma's feelings for him. *blatantly ignores the fact that Ryoma didn't mention who the letter was addressed to*
sleepingfingers
May. 28th, 2008 03:36 pm (UTC)
Haha, oh wow. I didn't see this coming, but I love how you've written this chapter. It was very emotional and highly charged. And Ryoma's letter. :((
realdream1112
May. 28th, 2008 05:17 pm (UTC)
GUAAAAA!!! You can't leave us like that! Suspens, suspens!
tezukaryo
May. 28th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
Aaaw...this may not be like my ending, but I'm all for beating Nanjiroh to a bloody pulp, *grin manically, yup kick his butt* but not dead...I want him to suffer that his son is not a pervert like him and is in love with Tezuka *hehehe*...

I'm totally surprise with this mission...does Tezuka know how strong Samurai Ninja is...he's sending Ryoma on a suicide mission or is this to test Ryoma's loyalty?...I can't wait for the next chapter.
sinnatious
May. 29th, 2008 12:01 pm (UTC)
I had to change it ALL because you already wrote it! XD (I kid, I kid).

I... I want to answer your questions but that would spoilering. ;___;
pharrezychica
May. 28th, 2008 07:49 pm (UTC)
*_________*

I know, this reaction is VERY inappropriate after this chapter but...but! I started reading this story this afternoon and I just couldn't stop!
You outdid yourself once again! *__*
It's so freaking well constructed, how you managed to insert canon episodes in this completely AU contest... girl, you ROCK!

I'm often wrong in my predictions, but I do think Fuji knows this is Ryoma's father and suggested this mission to Tezuka as a test of Ryoma's loyalty.
I hope he'll make it back alive ;___;
I want the guys to come in and help him so badly!

Can't wait for more! ^o^
And sorrysorrysorry, please forgive me for takign this long to start reading this!
sinnatious
May. 29th, 2008 12:00 pm (UTC)
*glomps* It's Pharre! ♥ Hee, thank you for your kind words. I'm currently thinking I have made some things way too obvious as everyone is guessing them, and other things way too obscure as nobody has even displayed an inkling of suspicion.

You shouldn't apologise for being slow to start reading! Yanagi has been providing all sorts of fanservice lately. It would certainly keep you busy, I think. ;P And this way, you get a nice big lump of fic.
pharrezychica
May. 29th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC)
Eeh! ♥
*glomps back!*
Nah, I think you're doing an excellent job leaving some things guessable but others completely obscure.
Not being able to see where the story goes at all could be discouraging, while being able to guess everything isn't fun :P
You have the perfect balance! ♥

Aww, no! Lol!
It's not all Yanagi's fault, university is also a major pain in the ass XD
And I do prefer to let some time go by so I can have more chapters to read.... even with 12 now I'm itching for more! XD
jade_peace
May. 28th, 2008 09:22 pm (UTC)
Oh. My. God.

*Speechless* Wow.

So much emotion and asdfghjkl; the letter! Trying to kill Nanjiroh. THE SUSPENSE.

♥♥♥
firedraygon97
May. 29th, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
Go go Ryoma!! I want Tezuka to jump in at some point to throw both Echizens off their game, haha. Too great.

Oh wow, I can totally see Inui sneaking into Ryoma's room to put the letter together. "Ii data." Hahaha. And I like how Ryoma couldn't be bothered to leave Sakuno a message. XD; Hurrah for acknowledging his feelings for Tezuka~~

Please write more soon!!
ichinonaru
May. 29th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! WAHHHHHHH A CLIFFY! PLEASE UPDATE SOON! OMGAWD! i am preventing myself from squealing here in the oice but I can't help it! NOoooooo! OMG! THIS chapter was so awesome! The start of the chapter where you've pointed out teh contrast between Sakuno and Ryoma was so vivid.. well, I pictured it as such~!Gawd, its just sooo Echizen to do that...(choosing to attack Nanjiroh instead because he can't live this kind of life anymore)... oh gawd I wanna sob and clutch Ryoooo-pin! /Ryo-pin is my Ryoma stuff toy that I bought that wears a Karupin-looking costume whose tail is sooo fluffy... Waiii!/ How many chapters more?
~~~ Hikari Manganji ~~~
sinnatious
May. 29th, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)
Two more. Next chapter out on Sunday. :)
superultragddya
May. 29th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC)
They know. They knowwwwwwww. 8DDD
argentum_luna
May. 30th, 2008 06:09 am (UTC)
Poor boy! He keeps getting into worse situations, doesn't he?
sinnatious
May. 30th, 2008 11:52 am (UTC)
Things must always get worse before they get better. :|
agentlerain
May. 30th, 2008 08:19 am (UTC)
Ah! So cruel!

But I loved the letter. And how he still actually felt he belonged at Seigaku enough that he wanted to say goodbye. I bet Kikumaru or someone is going to find those pieces, and everything will come out. =D

You know, much as I would love to see how Ryoma finally manages to kill off his father,(you made me hate Nanjiroh so bad in DOER) I know that the guilt of family blood on his hands would be quite hard on Ryoma. So I can't wait til you put up the next chapter!
sinnatious
May. 30th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
Hee, thanks. Yeah. Oh Nanjiroh. I keep trying to redeem him, but only seem to make it worse with every fic. T___T
nerfracket
Jun. 1st, 2008 12:48 pm (UTC)
Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Ryoma, you owe Tezuka something for saving you from vomiting over Sakuno when you try to shag her. I suggest your arse. ^_^

Sinn, I'm joining the betting pool! I reckon Tezuka knows who Nanjiroh is and is going to come and pull his arse out of the fire and remind him just who is Buchou around Seigaku. And that Ryoma owes Tezuka his arse.

Nanjiroh has the worst parenting skills in the world and needs killing. If Ryoma does manage to pull it off, I'll be cheering. I still haven't forgiven him for Dispossession and possibly never will.

I absolutely love the letter. Hiding it in the futon, Ryoma, so not bright. Two words: Fuji, Inui. They'll delight in putting your little puzzle together. And no, darling boy, it wasn't a lie. Your heart belongs to Tezuka. ♥♥&hearts
sinnatious
Jun. 1st, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, good. You'll like my next fic then. I HAVE COME TO TERMS WITH THE FACT THAT I SUBCONSCIOUSLY HATE NANJIROH FOR SOME REASON AND HAVE DECIDED TO EMBRACE IT.

It's a good thing I didn't actually run a betting pool, or I'd be out of pocket about now. Though hopefully the last chapter has at least one small surprise for you all.

Heee, that image of Ryoma vomiting on Sakuno when trying to shag her IS GOLD. *dies laughing*
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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