Author: Tanya Lilac PM
Being complimented for making instant coffee isn’t that satisfying, so I brought you some real coffee this time.' Ryomou decides to visit Teifu, minus one Genpo Saji, plus one bag of fresh coffee beans. Teifu/Ryomou. A Fair Weather Friend: Part FourRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Words: 1,939 - Reviews: 3 - Published: 08-17-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3730261
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: unfortunately, I do not own Ikki Tousen. If I did, there would be a whole lot less of... everything.
Written without much knowledge of Dragon Destiny or Ikki Tousen, for that matter, a love for Teifu and a hatred of Saji. A shamelessly out of character RyoTei.
By the way, I've actually forgotten most of what happened in the scene in which Ryomou goes to visit Teifu. I only watched it once and I don't have a hard copy.
"What would you want to see if you opened your eyes?"
The sky outside was dark and stormy, and the wind was blowing raindrops against steaming windowpanes and tearing leaves from branches. From behind the velvet drapes of Teifu's study, Ryomou Shimei watched the world without interest.
In one gloved hand, she carried a small paper bag filled with warm coffee beans. One foot was tucked behind her other ankle as she leaned on the frame of the bay window, staring at a sliver of the shifting clouds between dusty, burgundy velvet curtains.
"What's wrong this time?" He asked, like he always did.
"Teifu," Ryomou looked over at him. He had had his hair trimmed, and he no longer wore his neck brace. "I made you a promise, didn't I?"
Teifu turned to the sound of her voice. She'd changed her shampoo since the last time she'd been here- the coconut scent had been replaced with something a little more sharp but subtle. He could smell the rain on her skin and knew that she'd forgotten to take an umbrella with her again; she hardly ever deemed them necessary. He heard her walk over to him, those navy boots making no noise on the rug, her steps sure and confident Then, the smell of coffee washed over him.
"Like I said, being complimented for making instant coffee isn't that satisfying." Ryomou said, placing a hand on his wheelchair. "So I brought you some real coffee this time."
Teifu smiled. "I appreciate it."
Like last time, all of the implements had been laid out.
"How is Saji-san?"
The young woman with electric blue hair stiffened. Her fingers stilled and her jaw clenched.
"Ouin Shishi," Ryomou corrected. "His name is Ouin Shishi."
Teifu heard her voice strain as she measured out the beans to pour into the grinder. The rich aroma of the coffee spilled out of the paper bag, covering the smell of dust, rain and fruit. He remained unfazed.
"Saji-san," he repeated resolutely, with a small smile.
Ryomou paused momentarily, before continuing.
"He's up to his usual tricks. Women, mainly."
"Still so bitter?" Teifu asked mildly.
Ryomou didn't take the bait. She remained silent, and Teifu took a moment to listen to her breathe from the other side of the room. She had turned to look at him- he could feel her jade green eye on him. The other, as always, remained covered with her white eye patch.
"What's that look for?" The Toushi asked with a scowl, before continuing.
"It's just a nice day, is all." He wasn't talking about the weather.
Ryomou blushed lightly as she fought the smile that was threatening to give her away.
The coffee machine began its steady rumbling and growling as it spat out steaming hot coffee into the glass pot.
"How is she?" Teifu asked suddenly, "The Shou Haou?"
Ryomou sat quietly on the lounge opposite Teifu, crossing her legs. Teifu remained motionless, but Ryomou could detect that keenness to him. He sensed something, as always.
"Sonsaku Hakufu," Ryomou paused as she thought. "Well, to say the least, she's improving. Her skills are growing and Koukin's having a harder time keeping an eye on her and her mother."
The coffee machine fell silent for a few moments, and Ryomou shifted uncomfortably. She wasn't normally this tense. Slightly cautious, perhaps, but never jumpy. Not around Teifu.
She felt him smile before she looked up with her uncovered eye.
"You're nervous," he commented. "Why today, of all days?"
Ryomou stood and walked back over to the other side of the room.
"We're not as close as we once were, Ryomou. But I do hope that your feelings towards Saji-san and myself have changed, at least in some respects." He smiled again. "And I still know you well enough to know that you only come to see me when you're troubled about something."
He was being smug. He was trying to bait her into telling the real reason why she came here. Well, she wasn't going to make it easy for him.
"Well, you're right. We aren't as close as we used to be."
Teifu heard the metal spoon clink against the glass of the sugar jar, and then a heavier chime as the spoon came to rest in the ceramic mug. There was that light hitch, as the full coffee pot left the machine and then the aroma of the steam wafted over to him again.
Making coffee. It was a mundane task that was a part of everyday life- a task Teifu had taken for granted while he'd been able to see, and walk on his own- a time long gone. A time when he'd been able to see Ryomou's electric blue hair, cropped short at the back with bangs hanging down to frame those jade green eyes of hers. He had memorised the exact position of the distinctive mole on her left cheek… and the curve of her lips when she smiled those rare, genuine smiles.
Ryomou walked back over with the mugs of steaming hot coffee. She paused deliberately beside Teifu's wheelchair. He held out his hand and her fingers brushed against his as she gave the mug to him.
Ignoring the sparks that had ignited in her fingers, Ryomou sat in the armchair again. "How's your rehabilitation going?"
"Better," Teifu smiled. "I can read Braille faster these days."
"Do you read any better books than you did last time?" Ryomou's cheeks tinted slightly as she recalled the last visit she had paid him; he'd been in the middle of an erotic novel at the time.
"You could say so," he replied. "I just got a copy of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms."
It was funny, really, how casually he could say it. So many people believed that their fate revolved around the battles of the people who had lived thousands of years ago. People like Toutaku and Ryofu had tried to escape their fates, but the inevitable always happened. No matter when people lived, death was inevitable.
"I think that it's amazing how much faith people put into this book." Teifu heard her stand as she looked at that photograph once again. "I think that a life ruled by fate is a life rendered obsolete."
Ryomou did not reply. She, Saji and Teifu had been sitting on Teifu's electric scooter in this photograph. She always looked at it when she came here. They'd all been so happy and carefree. There she was, beside Saji. Her hair flowed long and free in the breeze. They were all smiling… and they were all so young.
"Having said that, I do believe that everything happens for a reason."
Again, Ryomou was silent as she sat down in the armchair.
"This really is good coffee." Teifu remarked. "Do I still sound sarcastic about it?"
The rich flavour of the coffee was accented by the cream and sugar. Its warmth spread though his limbs, starting at his fingers… and ended at his hips.
"Now that you mention it, yes."
They fell silent again, and the eerie sound of the wind drifted into the room, past the heavy velvet curtains.
"What would you want to see if you opened your eyes?"
The question took them both by surprise.
"Ryomou…" For the first time, Teifu's voice held surprise. "I've let go of all bitterness and regret."
"That wasn't my question." Her voice seemed closer all of a sudden; Teifu swore he could smell her hair again.
"I know it wasn't. I took my sight for granted when I had it. But I will never forget the last thing I saw."
"And what was that?"
"It was suddenly all so clear, even though a few seconds ago, I'd been seeing double. You had that fierce spark in your eye, with a grim smile of determination on your face. Your hair… was long enough to touch your shoulders. It was soft, and I wanted to just run my fingers through it, just once. I could smell your skin. I could hear you breathing heavily. You were about to cry; I could taste your fear and your eyes seemed to shine as you looked me in the eye."
He heard Ryomou take off her gloves and set them lightly on the table, right beside her eye patch(1).
"Teifu," Ryomou's voice was steady as she knelt on the carpet beside him. She tentatively grasped his hands. His skin was warm and smooth. Teifu responded slowly, interlacing their fingers in one hand. Ryomou placed his other hand in her hair, her eyes sliding shut as his fingers caressed the silken strands. "Teifu," she whispered against his cheek. And suddenly, he was kissing her. They were soft, timid but warm kisses that sent shivers down her spine. It had been far too long. Their kisses became more fervent and passionate and their hands began to stray. Ryomou's fingers were busy tangling within Teifu's lustrous brown curls and Teifu's fingers ran up and down her arms, never tiring of the feel of her soft, smooth skin. His lips became fascinated with memorising the planes of her face within a few short moments, before returning to her mouth, sensuously soft.
They broke away for air a few moments- or was it hours?- later. Ryomou smiled against his lips, her soft breaths spreading warmth across his skin. Teifu traced his fingers over her mouth. Yes, her smile was still the same. He leaned forward and kissed her mole lightly, smirking slightly at the blush upon her cheeks.
"I never said thank you," Ryomou whispered. "You've always been here for me. And I never show my appreciation often enough." He leaned forward and kissed her warmly, before she drew away. Teifu heard her put her gloves back on and arrange her eye patch over her eye once again.
She walked back to the door, and Teifu's keen ears picked up her hesitation before she placed her hand on the doorknob.
"You're welcome, Ryomou." Teifu turned his head towards the scent of her hair. "You always are."
Unseen by the former Toushi, Ryomou smiled, and left the room, the smell of coffee lingering in her hair.
(1) I know that they say in the manga that she can't take it off because the dragon will come out, but in the anime- the first season, at least, she takes it off once at the hot springs, and her other eye looked perfectly normal… It suits my purposes, alright?
My second point: Ryomou's character does not correspond directly to her anime persona, nor is it completely her manga persona, as far as I know, so what I'm trying to get at is that she's incredibly out of character. This scenario would probably never happen, which is probably the sole purpose of fanfiction.