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A Traditional Ninja Romance - Chapter 6

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: Things get more fun here on in.
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5


A Traditional Ninja Romance
By Sinnatious
Chapter 6


Ryoma contemplated his situation very seriously. He could drop his arm to open the sleeve, or try to push his hand back through the hole and hope the fingers caught the fabric. But the act of moving his arm into that position would result in the elbow shoving the fabric off his shoulder altogether. Maybe if he laid it out on the floor, he could put it on that way? 

It was halfway through the second day since the clash with Fudomine, and his right arm still wasn't responding. It was making the task of getting dressed inordinately difficult.  With a bit of trickery, he'd managed to get his left arm through the sleeve of his haori – having given up on trying to wear his usual garb - but it was damn near impossible to manoeuvre his unresponsive right arm through.
The shouji slid open. Tezuka stepped into the room, bringing an almost visible aura of respect and authority with him. “Echizen, there’s a meeting in ten minutes. Your attendance is required.” He paused. “Are you having trouble?”
An opportunity.  "Buchou... could you...?"
He glanced up through his eyelashes in a vain attempt to mimic the sultry look favoured by the geisha and prostitutes he'd spied on.  He had no idea if he succeeded or not – it probably wasn’t as effective with one eye patched - but either way Tezuka cleared his throat and nodded slowly.  "Of course." He stepped over and held open the hanging right sleeve. Ryoma manoeuvred the right arm through it using his left hand, and allowed it to drop. He figured he could handle the obi himself, but who knew when such an opportunity would arise again. His fingers fumbled with the strip of fabric, and it floated to the floor. He bent to pick it up, timing it so that his hand would reach it at the same moment Tezuka’s did.
Theirs fingers brushed as they reached the fabric. Tezuka paused, and then said, “I’ll do it. It will be difficult with one hand.”
Ryoma withdrew. “You don’t need to go to any trouble on account of me.” He probably shouldn’t be pushing his luck. Tezuka seemed like the shy type.
“It’s no trouble. You were injured on a mission I sent you on, after all.”
A strong sense of duty. Ryoma made a mental note of it. When Tezuka’s arms looped the obi around his waist, though, all thoughts scattered from his mind. They stood there quietly, almost toe-to-toe, as Tezuka’s deft fingers swiftly tied the fabric in place. Ryoma found himself oddly conscious of the captain’s breathing in the close proximity. He wondered idly if he was supposed to be doing something. All the seductive acts he’d witnessed in his three days of research consisted of come-hither looks, innuendo-laden conversations, lingering touches and the divestment of clothing. None of those seemed particularly appropriate in this context, and even if they were he found himself suddenly incapable of movement and coherent thought.
A moment later, he was finally dressed. “The meeting will be starting shortly. Don’t be late.”
“Un.” That was about all the articulacy Ryoma could summon at that moment. With that acknowledgement, Tezuka silently stepped back out of the room. 
Unbelievably, his injury - which he originally cursed himself for - had proven to be the necessary catalyst to firmly entrench himself in Seigaku's main squad.  He'd been assigned proper quarters in the central building, instead of having to room with the trainees, and there was talk of sending him on many more missions.  It would give him much more face time with Tezuka, which was a plus, but Ryoma still hadn't quite figured out what he was going to do with it now that he had it. 
Sighing, he rubbed a hand through his hair. He really wasn’t cut out for this seduction stuff. This was a job for kunoichi. Granted, it was possible Tezuka didn’t have inclinations in that direction - which would explain why he had this stupid mission – but Ryoma wasn’t convinced he’d be able to do it.
Not that he would ever admit that to the old man.
The meeting revolved around mostly routine clan matters such as training the younger clan members and patrol assignments. Ryoma was slightly miffed when the rest of the main squad – sans Momoshiro, Tezuka and Kawamura – were assigned missions the next day, but had to admit that a one-eyed, one-armed ninja was more likely to be a hindrance than an asset. Even if he felt rather confident that he could still take most of them in a fair fight in his current state. At least they were all boring errands. They probably could have sent out the trainees on them, but Tezuka was being cautious in the wake of their encounters with Gyokurin and Fudomine.
Ryoma lingered again after the meeting ended. Fuji was talking to Tezuka in a hushed voice, just a little too quiet for him to hear. It looked like they were arguing about something, but evidently Fuji thought the matter not worth it, and gave the captain a little push in his direction. Ryoma didn’t question it – if Fuji wanted to avoid a lengthy discussion by using him as a distraction, it suited him just fine. It was a good opportunity to talk to Tezuka alone for once. 
“Echizen. Is there something I can help you with?”
“Was just wondering if there’s anything I can do.”

“You should take this opportunity to rest up, and allow your eye and arm to heal,” Tezuka counselled.
Ryoma shrugged – or tried to. The effect was sort of lost when only one shoulder would respond. “I don’t really want to keep sitting around idle.” Not quite true. Normally he’d be quite happy to sit around being idle, but Tezuka wasn’t likely to look on that favourably.
Silence. Then… “Can you write?”
“Of course.” Some samurai and ninjas got by despite illiteracy, but to Ryoma it was an unacceptable weakness. 

Tezuka hesitated, but it was so brief that he thought he might have imagined it. “Then I have some paperwork you could assist me with.”
Perfect. “Sure.” Paperwork might be boring, but it was time alone with Tezuka. That was surely useful. 
Two hours later, he wasn’t so sure. 
Ryoma’s left wrist was starting to ache as he copied out yet another supply request. How many more were there? It was his first taste of the scope of work involved in running just the day-to-day affairs of a clan. Then again, he doubted that any of the smaller family-based clans would bother with this sort of paperwork. No wonder Tezuka was so rarely seen outside of the central building. 
He snuck a glance at the room’s other occupant. Aside from answering a few questions and explaining what needed to be done, Tezuka remained silent the entire time. If it weren’t for the steady sound of breathing and the scrape of brush against paper, Ryoma might as well have been alone. Normally, this was preferable – he wasn’t really one for idle chitchat and gossip – but it wasn’t exactly helping his plans any.
He returned his attention to the paperwork in front of him with a frown. If he’d known it was going to be like this, he probably wouldn’t have volunteered. Doing so much reading with one eye covered made his head hurt. 
“Is your eye bothering you?” The smooth baritone cut through the stillness like a knife. Ryoma started, very nearly messing up the character he’d been writing. 
“It’s nothing I can’t handle,” he replied. How did Tezuka notice? He wasn’t even looking in his direction. 
“Don’t strain yourself. Inui has some painkillers if you need them.”
Ryoma shuddered. The others had told him about Inui’s special alternative medicines. Oishi admitted that they worked, but that they were so horrible that most of them just preferred to deal with the discomfort. “It’s fine. I’m almost finished with these, anyway.”
They lapsed back into silence. Once again Ryoma couldn’t help but compare Tezuka to his father. He really was an excellent captain, looking after his subordinates like that. It was easy to see why the other members of the clan respected him so much. He was stern, but surprisingly gentle. Everyone spoke highly of his skill, and it was obvious he was hard-working. The only criticism anyone could really level against him was that he wasn’t the most personable of individuals. Did it really matter when his clan possessed such loyalty towards him, though? If Tezuka really wanted to, he could probably break from Ryuuzaki-daimyo and have Seigaku serve a more powerful lord. 
With a flourish, Ryoma finished the last stroke on the page. At last! “I’m done here.”
Tezuka nodded to the pile of paperwork on his right. “Please leave them there so that I can review them later.”
Easier said that done. Trying to pick up the stack of papers – some already curling from the ink – was something of a challenge with only one hand. Eventually he managed to shuffle them all into a relatively organised stack, and picked that up with his left hand. Halfway over to Tezuka’s desk, however, the centre of the stack slid out, scattering across the ground like great big paper leaves.
Ryoma swore under his breath, dropping to his knees to reclaim the dropped documents. “I’ll help,” Tezuka offered, joining him. 
“Sorry,” Ryoma mumbled. His face was flush from embarrassment. If only his arm would hurry up and move already! “Just… with this hand…”
“You still can’t feel it?” The captain gathered up the papers closest to him.
“It’s like it’s not there,” he admitted, poking at his shoulder. “Inui-senpai said that I ought to be getting feeling back by now, but…”
Tezuka hesitated again, and then picked up his limp hand, running his thumb across the back of it. “Can you feel that?” 
Ryoma shook his head. Tezuka’s fingers worked their way to his wrist. “Anything yet?”
Tezuka continued kneading the flesh up until his elbow. Ryoma paused. “I felt something then.” It wasn’t much - just a sensation of pressure - but it was the first time his nerves acknowledged that his right arm even existed for the past two days.
“At least it’s on the mend, then.” Tezuka lowered his arm back to his side. “Inui is working hard to create an antidote for it. In the meantime, we should just be glad that it wasn’t poison and that it will wear off on its own.” The captain retrieved the last of the scattered documents, eyebrows rising slightly as he scanned it. “Your penmanship is quite exemplary.”
It was a weird thing to comment on. “Is it? You can ask if you ever need any more help with any of this. I didn’t know that there was so much paperwork involved in running a clan.” It made him cringe to offer – paperwork was so boring - but Ryoma wasn’t so stupid as not to take advantage of any opportunity to get more time with the target.
“I would appreciate it. Oishi and Inui are the only others I can rely on to assist with it, and they have many other duties to attend to.” Tezuka tidied the stack and placed it with the others on his desk. “That’s all for today. You should go rest.”
Ryoma knew a dismissal when he heard one. Bowing abruptly, he left the room, feet not making even a whisper of noise.
The next day, Ryoma finally started to get some proper feeling back in the rest of his arm, though there was no strength in his fingers until the evening. A couple of days later he was able to remove the eye patch as well. Over the next couple of weeks, he settled into something of a routine. In the mornings he’d train, and in the afternoons would sit in Tezuka’s office with him and help with paperwork. Sometimes there were missions in the evenings, other times not, but none of them were at all noteworthy. Ryoma reported to his father every two weeks, who was impatient with the slow progress, but pleased when his son assured him that he was spending several hours a day with the target. Ryoma just neglected to mention that those hours were spent doing paperwork in silence.
…It was better than nothing. He didn’t really know what to do next. Tezuka seemed wholly unaffected by his come-hither looks and double-entendres, leading Ryoma to wonder if maybe he was doing them wrong. It itched at the back of his mind that he might have to be more direct if he wanted to get anywhere, but he was a little reluctant to mess up the status quo when things were going so well. Seigaku had accepted him as one of their own, and he spent almost every afternoon of the week helping Tezuka with paperwork. What more did the old man want? Surely that was good enough?
Of course it wasn’t. Stupid old pervert.
Ryoma needed to give the captain a push. It was clear that Tezuka was far too in control of his libido to react to his – admittedly clumsy – advances. 
This called for drastic measures.
Normally Ryoma would just try to get the captain drunk, but it didn’t look like Tezuka ever partook of sake at meal times like the others did, so spiking his food was the next best bet. He made a special trip to the city to purchase some powdered herbs that some withered old lady swore was an effective aphrodisiac, and then paid three times the price of it to ensure her silence.
Of course, trying to ‘poison’ a ninja wasn’t exactly easy. Even though most of the clan ate together in the same hall, and it wouldn’t be that hard to procure a seat next to Tezuka, it was still stupid to try and add anything to his food. Ryoma had poisoned quite a few targets in the past without being seen, but his hand wouldn’t be fast enough to beat Tezuka’s eyes. 
It would have to be done in the kitchens. Unfortunately, meals were usually doled out en masse, being self-served instead of artfully arranged on plates. The only way was to spike one of the dishes that Tezuka was sure to partake of.
Eventually, Ryoma settled on the pickles. Their taste was strong enough that it would hide the flavour of the herbs, and only a handful of clan members ate them. Tezuka was among the small number that placed them on his plate at every meal. It meant that a couple of others would probably be feeling the effects later, but after the aphrodisiac was diluted it wouldn’t be powerful enough to make anyone suspicious. Ryoma just wanted to give Tezuka a nudge, not make him lose his mind.
Lunchtime would be the best opportunity to act, as they usually did paperwork afterwards. Ryoma had to bide his time for several days until he was sure that Tezuka was actually going to attend lunch rather than disappear to Ryuuzaki’s estate to make reports. Then a short while before lunchtime he slipped unnoticed into the kitchens. The girls in charge of the cooking were so busy that they didn’t notice him as he approached the dish of pickles and emptied the valuable contents of the satchel into it. The ground herbs dissolved into the liquid, and were then soaked up by the pickles. Ryoma slipped back out of the kitchen before anyone could notice him.
He sat several seats down from Tezuka at lunch, and after one quick glance to ensure that the captain had several pickles on top of his rice, very carefully avoided looking at him. Watching Tezuka eat would be suspicious. Ryoma tried to focus on his own lunch instead.
“And then when I said I was a ninja, she didn’t believe me!” Momoshiro complained, talking between mouthfuls of rice. 
“Are you so sure you should be telling strangers that you’re a ninja, Momo-senpai?”
“It’s fine!” he insisted. “It wasn’t like I told her where our base is, or even what clan I belonged to!”
“Fssssshuuuu, moron,” Kaidoh hissed. The Viper only ever seemed to speak up when it was to insult Momoshiro’s intelligence. He had a surprising number of opportunities to talk per day. 
“Are you picking a fight, Viper?!”
“Hey, don’t fight. You’re being a bad example for the trainees!” Kawamura whispered, trying to soothe the flaring tempers. 
Oblivious to the chaos about to break out around them, Fuji asked, “I’m still sort of hungry. Tezuka, could I have your pickles?” 
Ryoma froze.
Wordlessly, the captain held out his bowl, sending a warning glance at his subordinates. Fuji delicately plucked his prizes from atop the rice and popped them into his mouth.
“Nyaaaaaa, Fuji, stop being greedy! You ate my pickles as well!” Eiji complained.
“I can’t help it. They’re so tasty today.”
“Fuji-senpai has the weirdest taste,” Momoshiro whispered to him, the brewing fight temporarily diffused by Tezuka’s attention. “How many pickles has he eaten today? And then he slathers them with wasabi! Not even Inui-senpai will eat that stuff!”
“I find them quite tasty. And they’re good for you too, aren’t they Taka?”
It took Ryoma a minute to realise that Fuji was addressing Kawamura. “Heh, yes, I guess…”
Shuffling along the floor, Fuji pressed up against the martial artist’s side. “You know what else is good for you?” He ran a finger lightly up and down a muscled arm. Ryoma noticed that the others were all suddenly quite absorbed in their own meals.
“But Fuji… it’s the middle of the day!” Kawamura whispered.
“The best time, right?!” Fuji replied cheerfully, jumping to his feet and dragging the larger ninja after him.
Ryoma didn’t want to know.


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2008 10:19 am (UTC)

May. 7th, 2008 01:25 pm (UTC)
Dressing and kneading Ryoma...! :D Oblivious-Tezuka is such a turn on... XD

And then FUJI. *dies*
May. 7th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
LOL...“But Fuji… it’s the middle of the day!” Kawamura whispered. *squeals & flails*

Ryoma, you're sultry enough just being yourself, trying any harder and Tezuka burst into flame. *grin*

Well Tezuka, you got Ryoma all to yourself in the afternoon, when are you going to make your move and ask him to be YOUR pillar of strength. *grin*
May. 8th, 2008 12:04 pm (UTC)
Ba ha ha!

Unrelated, but it makes me think of Yamato as a Ninja... and you know who he reminds me of? Ebisu from Naruto.

...why is it so easy to make tenipuri fit into any universe? I used to HATE AUs. T___T

For some reason, Fuji/Taka side dish always gets lots of points. *makes notes.*
May. 7th, 2008 05:32 pm (UTC)
Poor Ryoma!!! Oho, Fuji getting all horny because of pickles!!!!! *laughing to death* I'd kill to see that!!

May. 7th, 2008 06:06 pm (UTC)
*laughs* Oh Fuji. As if he isn't horny enough without all the pickles! :D

Poor Ryoma. Tezuka's so certainly affected by his come-hither looks, but the guy's too stoic to show anything.
May. 7th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)


And Ryoma's seduction attempts to an oblivious!Tezuka.
May. 8th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
Lol, Fuji <3

Very nice so far~!
May. 8th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)

AHAHAHAHAHA!!! He had no idea if he succeeded or not – it probably wasn’t as effective with one eye patched - but either way Tezuka cleared his throat and nodded slowly. OH TEZUKA!!!! I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKIIIIIIIIIIIIIING~~~~

Oh ye gads. Pickles alone is bad enough--but pickles with wasabi??!?!?!


The Fuji Factor. An addage to the famous Murphy's Law. Quote: "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong at the worst possible time because Fuji will make it so." Yeah, I learned that recently. XDDDD

Edited at 2008-05-08 03:38 am (UTC)
May. 8th, 2008 11:59 am (UTC)
This should be entered into the next Tenipuri fanbook as FACT.

There are several other tenipuri laws that should also be introduced. "In the end, the most attractive person will win the match" and "Hitting someone bad with a tennis ball will turn them good".
May. 8th, 2008 12:03 pm (UTC)

"...the most attractive person will win the match" tte, you're practically saying that Tezuka and Ryoma are both more attractive than Keigo? And that Ryoma's more attractive than Yukimura? And that Ryoma's more attractive than Tezuka? ZOMGYOUDARE!

May. 8th, 2008 12:08 pm (UTC)
*Throws down the gauntlet* I DARE.

Ryoma made things even by shaving Keigo's hair at the end of the match, thereby greatly nullifying his attractiveness! I would continue to address the others in turn, but honestly, the level of difference between attractiveness is too close to accurately measure. :|

May. 8th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
sometimes i love you and sometimes i hate you.

for example, i especially love the word manoeuvre. <333
May. 8th, 2008 11:50 am (UTC)
It is a lovely word, isn't it? I think it is because it contains the letter 'v'. 'V' is just MADE of win.

I will diplomatically not ask what prompted the hate. :P
May. 14th, 2008 03:34 am (UTC)
Maybe because v stands for victory. -SHOT-

But nooo, I love it for the amount of vowels all stuck together pretty-like. <3

...is it not obvious? D8 YOU TOY WITH MY MIND SO MUCH, KUN-KUN. D;

May. 8th, 2008 07:05 am (UTC)
*snickers* "They're so tasty today." Ahhh, Fuji. Good effort, Ryoma! Better luck next time. XD This is so fun. Looking forward to the next update!
May. 8th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
Heee, thank you. Should be out on the weekend.
May. 8th, 2008 11:39 am (UTC)

May. 9th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
Hmm...the first part of the chapter reminded me a little of that delicious clubroom scene in the manga, with Ryoma half dressed, one arm in the sleeve and one arm out. ^^

Pfft!!! Fuji ate the pickles! Bwahahaha! Poor Fuji, or poor Kawamura? I wonder how much are the chances of Fuji topping. He was the one who took the aphrodisiacs after all. (I'm such a perv~)

So Tezuka didn't manage to eat any of the pickles? Shame. I would have loved to see some TezuRyo too. XD

May. 10th, 2008 10:15 am (UTC)
There will be plenty of TezRyo later to make up for it, I promise. ;)

And OMG, YOU BROUGHT UP THE LOCKER ROOM SCENE. Just mentioning that will melt my brain, EVERY TIME.
May. 26th, 2008 07:31 pm (UTC)
Ok the continuous reviews must probably be bothering you but.. waaah pickles.. oooh Ryoma... hehe.. the attempts... Tezuka's thoughts... (I want to know them)... am too incoherent right now... GAH!!!! I SHOULD BE SLEEPING BUT I CAN'T COZ I HAVE TO FINISH READING THIS!!!

~~~ Hikari Manganji ~~~
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

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