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Technoromanticism - Complete!

Title: Technoromanticism


Summary: TezRyo Robot AU.

Rating: Definitely Mature.  For the usual culprits.

Author’s Note: So we reach another abrupt ending!  Consider yourselves warned.  Let me say right now - whatever ends remain loose, remain loose on purpose.

I'm not quite sure what I think about this fic now that it's done.  I certainly didn't plan to write it, and once I started, it began writing itself and doing things I didn't want it to do.  Felt like trying to hold onto some sort of wriggly eel, which was maybe why it took so long to finish it. (That, and it kept getting interrupted by other much shinier projects).

Eh, shall spare you my post-mortem ramblings.  Links to all the previous chapters included below:

Chapter 1.0
Chapter 2.0
Chapter 3.0
Chapter 4.0
Chapter 5.0
Chapter 6.0
Chapter 7.0
Chapter 8.0



Chapter 9.0

By Sinnatious

Tezuka rested his fingers on the desk, just barely containing the urge to tap.  That would be rude, and he hardly wanted Ryoma to be picking up any more bad habits.
Atobe hadn't called for a couple of days, and Oshitari hadn't been by either.  They had enough supplies for another day or two, but he was getting anxious. He still needed advice. Possibly psychiatric help.
The day after the incident in the shower, everything had returned to almost exactly as it was. Ryoma hadn’t broached the subject of sex again, though every now and again he gave him a sly look that made the scientist a little paranoid. 
Tezuka thought about it constantly, but remained trapped in indecision. He didn’t even know what he wanted anymore. If Ryoma had been human, there wouldn’t be an ethical dilemma, but then, if Ryoma were human he wouldn’t get to keep him. It didn’t help that the voice of doubt whispered in the back of his mind – that Ryoma was so close to being human, did the distinction even matter? But even that thought made him anxious, as he recalled once again that robotics – the field that he loved, which he’d made his entire universe – was steadily moving forward in a direction that he couldn’t follow.
He stared at the laptop screen, but the words and numbers remained unfocused. After cleaning his glasses on the hem of his shirt, the blur didn’t go away. With a sigh, he set it aside and went to join Ryoma on the couch. Best to try not to think about it for a while.
“Anything on?”
Ryoma yawned, clicked to the next channel, paused for a moment, and then clicked again. “Not really. I think it’s Sunday.”
Tezuka nodded in agreement, though the only reason he knew that was because of the calendar on his laptop. Time lost a lot of meaning in this windowless apartment. 
“Hey, when do we go into your lab?”
“I didn’t think you were that keen on the idea.”
“Not when I thought you’d cut me up.”
Tezuka’s mouth quirked. “Understandable.”
“Besides, then you’ll have to believe me for sure.”
He sighed. “I thought you’d stopped going on about that.”
“Only because you’re so stubborn. After everything I’ve shown you, too.”
“None of those things are what makes a human,” Tezuka replied patiently.
“Then what does?”
Tezuka didn’t reply to that, and Ryoma changed the channel once more. It looked like there was some surfing championship on. The remote clicked again. Golf.
“…Hey, you know. Even after, you can.”
“Keep me. I wouldn’t mind.”
Tezuka felt a bit awkward at that, and didn’t really know how to respond. It was touching, certainly, but he couldn’t figure out the reasoning behind the statement. Eventually he settled on, “Thank you.” It seemed like a woefully insufficient response, but it was all he was capable of. His own feelings on the subject were still far too entangled to make real sense of the pronouncement.
Ryoma didn’t appear to care – he just stretched and flopped against the arm of the couch. “Che. Though I’m getting tired of looking at the same thing all the time. From one prison to the next.”
“I’m sorry,” Tezuka offered quietly.
The bioroid shrugged. “This place is still better.” They settled back into silence, staring blankly at the TV. There was some advertisement for washing powder now. Tezuka was again forcefully reminded of how domestic this sort of existence was. He knew in the future these memories would become a source of jealousy, but for now, he was content to revel in it. 
Perhaps… perhaps for everything, he could just live in the moment. In this small apartment, the rules of the real world ceased to exist. Perhaps here, ethical dilemmas could be put aside and kept separate. It was a closed circuit, a situation free of consequence. Maybe he could give in, and even if it was just for a short time… really let go and be happy.
Tezuka sat there in silence, quietly wallowing in the pleasant idea. After several minutes, Ryoma asked in a bored voice, “I’m going to get a drink, you want anything?”
It was perhaps the first act of genuine thoughtfulness Tezuka had witnessed from the bioroid, so even though he wasn’t thirsty he answered, “There should be some chilled tea in the fridge, if you don’t mind.”
“Okay.” As Ryoma shuffled to the kitchen, the phone trilled. Tezuka had moved it to the living room after the electro-magnet incident, so didn’t even have to stretch to retrieve it. 
“Tezuka.” It was Atobe, of course – no one else had used the number yet - but something about his voice was strange; he was speaking in hushed, hurried tones, rather than luxuriating self-important drawl he normally favoured. “Listen, don’t panic.
Which were, incidentally, the perfect words to make anyone panic. “What’s wrong?”
“Look, just sit tight and don’t open the door to anyone - Security’s on their way and I am too.”
“They found us?” Tezuka asked, dismayed. The pleasant sensation of security he’d been enjoying not moments before was receding like a rapid tide.
“Not them – Rikkai. Somehow they found out, I don’t know how. Tezuka, you’ve got to-”
The line went dead. Tezuka gave the phone a disbelieving shake. Then he searched frantically through his wallet and extracted the emergency number Oishi had given him, fumbling as he dialled.
It wouldn’t connect. There wasn’t even a dial tone.
They were already here.
“Ryoma!” he called out. He yanked the battery out of his laptop and the screen went dark. Tezuka hurriedly wrenched off the casing, pulled out the hard drive and shoved it into his pocket. He didn’t have the electro-magnet to wipe it anymore, but if things started to look bad he could break it into pieces.
“I’m coming,” Ryoma replied in a suffering tone. “Just give me a minute.”
“Come here now,” Tezuka ordered. “Forget the drinks!” He turned off the television as his mind raced with possible scenarios. If they remained quiet and switched off all the lights and power, it might take them a while to find where there were. It was a whole apartment building after all, and as far as Tezuka knew they were the only tenants there. Atobe didn’t take chances with his safe houses. It should be time enough at least for security to get there.
Except that Atobe said it was Rikkai. They were a small company compared to Atobe’s, but thanks to ruthlessness and a highly talented crop of poached staff were a big competitor. What could they use to find them in an empty apartment building? Something that Atobe might not have thought of?
Tezuka looked down at his hand. Heat signatures. The only two in the whole building.
Ryoma appeared in the doorway, holding the drinks in his hands. Not obeying orders again. “What’s your problem all of a sudden?”
“Quick, we have to-”
It happened so fast. There were running footsteps in the hallway outside. Then several dull blasts that drowned out the rest of Tezuka’s words. A rush of stale air, followed immediately by a stream of black-clad men. The thud of heavy boots and shouted orders rang in his ears.
Not theirs. They were carrying guns – old-fashioned projectile types, instead of the newer stunners the security force used. It made their intentions perfectly clear. Tezuka’s hand closed around the hard drive in his pocket and he snapped it in half.
“Where’s the robot?!” the leader yelled.
A chance. They still had a chance. They might have been briefed, but no one could even imagine a scenario where a robot looked so human that even an expert couldn’t tell immediately. 
“There aren’t any robots here,” Ryoma growled at them. The liquid in the cups he held sloshed dangerously around the rim. In this instance, his desire to be treated as a human was a saving grace.
“Don’t lie to us! Where are you hiding it?” Doubt filtered into his voice.
“We’re not hiding anything,” Tezuka said in as placid a manner as he could manage. He couldn’t risk antagonising them. Every second they could buy was another second for Atobe’s forces to arrive.
Dark brown eyes glared at him, assessing, then swivelled to Ryoma. “One of you is the robot.” Though his tone was neutral, there was a slight hint of shock in his expression.
He was a sharp one. Tezuka could only be grateful that Rikkai’s chief scientist hadn’t tagged along – Yanagi would have recognised him instantly. They could get out of this yet. Tezuka wouldn’t let them steal Ryoma and cut him open and treat him like a thing
“I already told you, there are no robots here. What, are you stupid?” Ryoma asked in a dull deadpan, though by now Tezuka could recognise nervousness hidden in his posture and expression.
“Don’t move!” The stern-faced man barked. His subordinates hurried through the hallway – a second one had them in their sights while the others systematically made their way through the apartment, checking all of the rooms and cupboards for any other hidden occupants. Tezuka calmly held the dark gaze, even as his pulse raced. Atobe would arrive any minute, and his security forces with him. Ryoma scowled, but kept his position as well.

“All clear. It’s just these two,” one of the others reported back. The leader nodded.
In the distance Tezuka heard the distinctive twang of stunners. They were coming closer, and then panicked voices joined them. Hope fluttered briefly in his chest.
“Sir! Outside-”
A walkie-talkie crackled. “Sanada. New orders. Don’t let Atobe get it.”
Panic seized Tezuka in that instant.
They were going to destroy Ryoma, just so that their rivals wouldn’t get the technology?! They were going to throw away the greatest leap robotics had made yet for petty greed and jealousy?
As the safety clicked off and the dark brown eyes flicked between them, he realised that yes, they certainly would.
Glass shattered and cold tea splashed against Tezuka’s shoes. “No!” Ryoma called out, eyes wide and face pale. “You can’t!”
Then he found himself suddenly staring down the barrel of a gun.
The moment seemed to stretch into forever. It should have been terrifying, but Tezuka felt a laugh bubble in his throat when he heard the click of the trigger.
Of course. Who would he think was the robot – the person who got scared and angry and indignant and flustered, or the one who kept cool and reacted calmly?
He closed his eyes. This was fine. He didn’t mind this outcome. Atobe was right. He was more robot than modern robots. He was a relic of the ancient past.
The shot echoed in his ears. 
There was a sharp, ripping pain. The sensation of falling. A flare of agony as he hit the floor. Distant shouting, confused voices. He vaguely picked out Ryoma’s distinctive tone amidst the chatter. After a moment, more voices, the rapid twang of stunners firing. If he concentrated, he thought he could hear what might be Atobe shouting something in the background.
“Don’t- how- what-” Ryoma couldn’t seem to decide what he wanted to say, his voice thick with shock and confusion.
He couldn’t even turn his head and look, but he knew the damage was bad – too bad. It was a shot designed to disable a bioroid, after all – a standard bullet would never be enough. The pain was quickly numbing, nothing felt right – his organs were already failing.
So quickly? But that was reality, creeping its way back into their private paradise at the worst possible moment. It wasn’t fair. Right when he’d decided…
“Tezuka! Why- what-”
He fumbled briefly, and a hand found his. It was hard to focus, and even harder to breathe, but he found a glint of gold through the fog and focused on that.
“It’s death, Ryoma,” he murmured. The words felt wet, and his throat wasn’t quite working properly. “It’s the most important part of being human.”
Ryoma said something else. But by then, it was too late.



( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
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Feb. 4th, 2009 10:40 am (UTC)
Feb. 4th, 2009 10:49 am (UTC)
Possibly psychiatric help. AHAHAH OH TEZUKA. *_*

“None of those things are what makes a human,” Tezuka replied patiently.

“Then what does?”

Tezuka didn’t reply to that, and Ryoma changed the channel once more.


AND GOD I DID NOT NOTICE THIS THE FIRST TIME THROUGH: In this instance, his desire to be treated as a human was a saving grace.


God Sin, there are so many things I want to quote back at you, but like, that's getting ridiculously redundant, and I am actually crying right now oh god.

(no subject) - kaorismash - Feb. 4th, 2009 10:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Feb. 4th, 2009 11:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaorismash - Feb. 4th, 2009 11:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2009 03:59 pm (UTC)
!!!!!!!! You had (most of) us trying to guessing whether or not Ryoma is human that I overlook the big picture!!!!! I was so surprised at the ending. It's hard to believe that Rikkai (damnit, Rikkai!!!) would kill Tezuka at the end :( Part of me was hoping that Ryoma would somehow intercept that bullet and prove that he was really human. Thank you for sating my curiosity as to the ending of this story. I am going to miss your ethical-dilemma worrying robo!Tezuka. Should I be crossing my fingers for some kind of epilogue or something?
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:43 am (UTC)
Re: !!!
Yay for red herrings~ Heh, you weren't the only one hoping for that ending. No epilogue, sorry.
Re: !!! - notinhk - Feb. 6th, 2009 03:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2009 05:18 pm (UTC)
Feb. 4th, 2009 07:06 pm (UTC)
*slaps forehead* That's right. How could I have forgotten. You're queen of the Artistic But Ultimately Unsatisfying ending. And to think, I was expecting something that didn't make me cry this time. Silly me.
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:44 am (UTC)
Oh no, am I developing a reputation? XD

I swear I'll write something a bit more satisfying sometime. Really.
(no subject) - kaorismash - Feb. 6th, 2009 12:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Feb. 6th, 2009 12:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kaorismash - Feb. 6th, 2009 12:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lala_ii - Feb. 6th, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 4th, 2009 08:23 pm (UTC)
Waaaaaah...Tezuka...why...waaaahh...couldn't you at least give Tezuka one extra day to "really let go and be happy" before he has to die *tears*...Rikkai is as aggressive as ever and Sanada shot Tezuka..how could Sanada not know Tezuka?...and Tezuka being mistaken for a robot, priceless...although it wasn't the happy ending that I was hoping...I love this fic to bits...amazing as always. ^__^
Feb. 4th, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)



Oh my God crying so hard now because yes yes yes being human is living but mostly it's about dying and who cares if someone is made up with electrical wiring goddamnit.

This ending was so loose-ended but so final. Just, wow so amazing asdfghjkl; Tezuka and Atobe and Ryoma and asdfghjkl; thank you. <3

Feb. 6th, 2009 12:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you. <3
Feb. 5th, 2009 04:08 am (UTC)
Rikkai always seems to be the bad guys in your fics. D:

...sorry, my reaction is a little subdued right now. alksj;lskdf Totally didn't see this ending coming. ;___; Reminds me of a manga I read, where a scientist made a robot copy of himself to interact with people, only to have the robot take over his life completely. The only way he could prove he was the original was to kill himself in the end. Oh gosh, this HURTS.

I love the 'You can keep me' and 'Thank you' conversation. It's so ridiculously awkward and one wouldn't think you were going to kill someone off right after that. D: I mean, in your ninja fic, you had awkward!Ryoma run off to fight Nanjiroh -- death was a possibility. This fic though? The situation changed so quickly, all the way from the phone call to the bullet.

I half expected Ryoma to jump in the way at the last minute and bleed to death all over the floor. I like this ending better -- it's much more tragic. Tezuka's stoicism results in his being mistaken for the bioroid. Just...the irony is beautiful.

Definitely one of the more powerful endings I've come across in fanfic. I've read some that try to do the same, but end up sounding pretentious. Excellent work with this.
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:50 am (UTC)
It's because Rikkai make such good villains! (And hey, it used to be Nanjiroh.) Who else can you really use? Would anyone take Higa seriously? :P

That manga sounds pretty interesting. Don't suppose you remember the name of it?

sdlfjjlk To be honest I was a bit worried about how quickly things turned around, but at the same time, wanted that really fast degradation because that's how bad things normally go down, right? Was pretty worried about sounding pretentious as you said, too. I'm very relieved you liked it anyway. <3
(no subject) - firedraygon97 - Feb. 6th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 5th, 2009 04:52 am (UTC)
Oh wow.

I was reading and scrolling down the page, wondering how everything would tie up in so little time, considering the length of the scrollbar, and then it just ended. Beautifully.

(haha, hi from the lurker? love your stories.)
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:51 am (UTC)
*laughs and waves* Hello, lurker. Very glad you liked it.

Yes, abrupt endings may become my speciality at this rate. :|
Feb. 5th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
"It's death, Ryoma,"


Rikkai: efficient and hard-hearted as always
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:52 am (UTC)
Just the way we like them, right? ;) (Or is that just me?)
Feb. 5th, 2009 04:38 pm (UTC)

SO I WAS COMPLETELY WRONG. BUT NOW THAT I READ IT THE SECOND TIME ROUND, I NOTICED YOU DID GIVE US HINTS AT LEAST ABOUT WHO'D TAKE THE BULLET. Tezuka has been pretty angsty about the whole he's going to outmodernise me and I want to keep him mine in this shiny lovenest, until Rikkai kick down the door. ;_____;


Who would he think was the robot – the person who got scared and angry and indignant and flustered, or the one who kept cool and reacted calmly? It's so sad but so believable. And guh, my heart aches for Buchou.

...And they didn't even get to have sex! :P
Feb. 6th, 2009 10:53 am (UTC)

I knew someone would say it! :P
(no subject) - agentlerain - Feb. 6th, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - agentlerain - Feb. 6th, 2009 04:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sinnatious - Feb. 7th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - agentlerain - Feb. 8th, 2009 04:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 8th, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
The entire fic was an exercise in bipolarity (bipillarity?), so unsurprising. :P I felt a bit like that even when writing it.

Indeed, I encourage you to make your own inferences. I left that question floating for that very reason. :D

Thank you, glad you liked it! ♥
Feb. 13th, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)


Feb. 13th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Just re-read it. And you know what? You steered us into guessing whether Ryoma is human or not and missing the big picture, and since we love them so much (well, I do) we followed you. That's why such a tragic ending is a shock and HURTS. But that's what makes it perfect...

Please, keep on writing. I love your fics for many reasons,one of them being because you write my OTP so beautifully, and you seem to understand them so well.

So, so beautiful.
Feb. 14th, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)
Hee, thank you for all of your comments. ^__^ I'll definitely keep writing, no worries about that.
Feb. 21st, 2009 08:00 pm (UTC)
alksfjosifjoklwaelkvsndflvlkqsakjwelflknaljhsdkohjablcbalnnlfjoajfwejnkdlvxksdfhliasiowejflkjasklfjkjflksdhjklsdfklvgfvsdlajklsdvblknlvbavbnlsavklavkllafjsdf... *is speechless*

Oh my... Just... *cries*. It is such a beautiful but heartbreaking ending. And the last line, and all those questions about what it means to be human and what makes a person human and death and understanding and what it means to leave... and guh *is rambling nonsense*.

I love your writing so much.

And this actually reminds me of similar questions brought up by a favorite show of mine: Battlestar Galactica. XD
Feb. 22nd, 2009 04:58 am (UTC)
I haven't watched very much Battlestar Galactica, but you're quite right. It's not a new question - Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick were asking it over thirty years ago. But it's a timeless one. ^__^ I'm glad you enjoyed the story!
Mar. 12th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
I went from thinking, 'Heh, Buchou's a pervert,' to, 'OMFG TEZUKA DON'T DIE!' in like two seconds. I swear, I never get sad over the end of stories, but then I started reading yours.

I don't suppose you'll ever answer the question as to whether or not Ryoma was really a robot, would you? *HINTHINT* The whole time I was reading, I kept having theories that maybe Ryoma was just a kidnapped teen who somehow had his who body highjacked with some kind of brain/central nervous system contraption that would just make him act like a robot and his memories of his life before were gone, but he just had that lingering notion that he wasn't a robot at all and was just so frustrated that Tezuka wouldn't believe him. (and that was a very long sentence...)

And then I thought that maybe there was a role reversal and Tezuka was really the robot and just didn't know it. And then he DIED b/c they thought he was the robot and I just about had a friggin heart attack! And Ryoma even said that Tezuka could keep him, so that makes this ending ever more sad.

Geeze...your story just made me so sad, but I love it so much!
Mar. 13th, 2009 10:39 am (UTC)
Definitely never answering that question. :D Not after all that trouble! You are quite at liberty to believe that scenario, however - it fits in very nicely, and there's plenty of evidence in the story to support it. ;)

Thank you! As predictable as a lot of my stories have become, it's nice to know that I can still surprise people sometimes (even if unpleasantly). ^__^
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