Title: Conversing in Other Languages

Author: Silverookami
Pairing: Kasanoda x Tetsuya
Rating: PG (implied shounen-ai)

Disclaimer: All properties relating to OHSHC belong to Bisco Hatori.

Notes: Kasanoda and Tetsuya need more love. This is my next delivery. I plan on continuing, feel free to discourage me if you want, but I enjoy writing for these two even if most people couldn't care less. Oh well, side characters need attention too.

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He found him working out in the gardens again, which by this point should not really have been a surprise. Kasanoda Ritsu seemed to spend an increasingly larger portion of his free time in the gardens behind his family estate tending to the plants, despite the fact they could easily have hired professional gardeners to do so for him. Occasionally his men would suggest such a thing, make subtle hints that perhaps as the next leader of the Kasanoda-gumi he should find a more manly hobby to pursue, but so far the young redhead hadn't picked up on the real meaning behind their innocent seeming comments. On a personal level Tetsuya felt he could care less what hobby his master preferred, so long as it kept him far out of harm's way. His unfortunate master seemed to invite disaster and calamity upon himself even in the most innocent seeming of situations, so to find him once more puttering around his garden only made the servant boy smile in relief.

That's not to say Ritsu didn't have his share of pitfalls in the garden as well, a fact Tetsuya could attest to since he was often the one patching his master up after he got tangled up in the hose, or the unfortunate time he'd tripped onto the rake. He was clumsy, but Tetsuya found a certain charm in Ritsu's attitude as he would brush himself off and delve back into his work with single minded devotion. If there was one thing the boy understood quite well devotion was it, the central concept of his life at this point. He gave up his family, his money, every advantage he'd been born with in life to wind up as little more than an errand boy for his family's enemies. He was happier for it. He understood now the simple pleasure of a day's work done and just enjoyed relaxing on the long back porch watching his master bustle around the backyard. It was hard to believe that his life had come to this, and even harder to accept that he would have it no other way now.

"Young Master!" he called, leaning over the railing, a glass held out in offering. "It's pretty warm out today, so I thought you could use some water. Wouldn't want you to get dehydrated, right?"

Ritsu looked up from the flower bed and blinked a few times before picking himself up and brushing the caked soil from the knees of his pants. He shuffled over and took the drink without looking at Tetsuya, downing it in one gulp. "Uh, thanks, Tetsuya." He couldn't help the flush rising in his cheeks. It was terribly embarrassing to have someone looking after him like this.

"No problem." the young man sat down, his legs sticking out over the edge, feet swinging casually. "What are you trying to grow now, Young Master?"

"Ah?"

"Over there, that's a new one, right? I don't recall seeing it here before."

Did his servants really pay this much attention to what he did with the garden? They always took interest in his activities and were supportive, but none of them really seemed to be paying attention to the gardens, or so he'd assumed. "It's a special project. It's a rose bush...or I guess it will be someday."

"Hmm. Roses?" Tetsuya leaned back on his arms and looked up into the sky thoughtfully. "I didn't take you for a rose person really, Young Master."

"Ah? Really?" Ritsu thought about it himself a moment. "I suppose," he conceded. "But this isn't like that. It's a favour for some friends."

"Then I suppose that's alright."

"So you think people aren't allowed to raise flowers that don't suit them, unless they're doing it for someone else?"

Tetsuya laughed. "If you want to see it like that. I just think that this is the Young Master's garden, and so it should represent who you are. It should be filled with flowers that suit you."

Ritsu crossed his hands over his chest and sat beside his servant, eyes looking out thoughtfully to his garden. "I'm not sure I'd know what to plant." he confessed softly.

Poking his shoulder until he looked over at him, Tetsuya's face was now inches from his own. "Amaryllis." he replied, his smile widening.

Face turning a bright shade of red, Ritsu turned away quickly. "What the hell? Amaryllis?" It disturbed him to some degree that apparently Tetsuya had already thought this over, but his curiosity was peaked. Why did his servant pick Amaryllis of all things?

"Hmm, how to put it..." Tetsuya was holding one finger up to his mouth as he often did when thinking something over, and frowning ever so slightly. If it weren't odd, Ritsu might have admitted that it looked terribly endearing when Tetsuya did this, but of course that just didn't make sense. Tetsuya was Tetsuya, and there was nothing terribly endearing about that, right? Ritsu wished that he felt a little more certain that the answer was no. "Well, Amaryllis kinda stick straight up out of the ground, and they don't have leaves at the same time as the flower blooms. It's just a red stalk with a flower on top. It looks kinda lonely and clumsy like that."

"Ah?" Ritsu frowned. "Geez, thanks for the compliments, Tetsuya."

The boy shrugged and pulled his ponytail over one shoulder, tugging at the ends self consciously. "It was just a thought, Young Master."

"You think strange things." No one had ever accused Ritsu of being terribly tactful.

"What kind of garden do you think I would grow?"

"You ask weird things too, you know." the redhead grumbled and pretended to not notice the crestfallen look on the other boy's face.

"Hmm. You're probably right. It was just a thought I had a while back. I was looking through some books and I came across the idea. It's nothing though."

"A book? Something about gardening?" Had his servant actually gone and started reading about one of Ritsu's hobbies just so he'd be able to support him in this too? His men made less sense to him with each growing day. Sure it was nice to have fun with them and get along, but he felt self conscious now knowing just how much attention was being paid to everything he did.

"Not exactly. It was about flowers, that's all. It looked interesting, so I picked it up. It just made me think."

"Think?"

"You know, that Amaryllis should be in your garden. I guess it does sound kind of dumb now, doesn't it?" he laughed self consciously and stood up. "I really should get back inside. Your laundry should be done by now, and if any of the others decided to try ironing, your school shirts would all be ruined."

"Thanks, Tetsuya."

"No problem."

As the boy slid open the door to walk inside and complete his chores Ritsu spoke without thinking, "You would plant plenty of lavender."

He paused and looked back, Ritsu was still facing away from him, the fading sunlight reflecting like fire off his red hair. "Oh, you think so, Young Master?"

"Ah." he nodded.

"I bet that would be a really pretty garden. Amaryllis and lavender."

"Ah."

"I feel kind of bad now." Ritsu turned slightly and looked up at Tetsuya in confusion. "It's just...you picked a much kinder flower for me, than I did for you."

"Amaryllis is okay," he shrugged.

"It means 'shy'." Tetsuya blushed faintly. "Not exactly flattering."

"So what? Lavender means 'faithful'. It's true at least."

Tetsuya laughed with delight. "So you do know something of hanakotoba!"

".....a bit."

"So it was worth reading that book after all." Tetsuya patted his master fondly on the head before heading back inside the house.

Ritsu followed soon after and retired to his room for the evening. He didn't have school the next day, but he wanted to get started early in the morning regardless. The night passed quietly, at least for Ritsu. Most of his men were drinking and gambling at cards in their rooms, but the noise rarely reached him on the other side of the house. Tetsuya had also gone to bed early, partially because he wasn't old enough to have sake with the rest of the men, and also because he won enough at cards that no one liked playing against him. None of the other men realized that if they stayed sober they'd have a much better chance of beating the young man.

Ritsu had woken and washed up soon after the sun had risen, putting on an old pair of exercise pants and a t-shirt. Suitable clothes for messing around some more with his plants. He'd gotten used to cooking himself breakfast when he got up this early, so he was busily frying up an omelette when he became aware of someone talking outside in the backyard.

"Thanks, I appreciate the early delivery."

"C-certainly! Is there anything else I can do for you, Sendo-san?"

"No, no, it's just Tetsuya. I think that's all, thank you for your help."

"It's a pleasure to be of use to the Kasanoda family."

"I'm sure our Young Master will appreciate and remember your service." Tetsuya lied glibly. He was acting on his master's behalf, so it was partially true at least.

Ritsu frowned and stared at the back of the man Tetsuya was escorting out of the yard. Turning the heat down on his eggs, he opened the patio door and walked down into the garden. "What is..." the boy trailed off in confusion, staring at the new flowerbed which had certainly not been there the evening before. "You have to be kidding me." he sighed and shook his head, but as Tetsuya returned he noticed the redhead was smiling.

"Young Master!" he blushed. "I didn't think you'd be up this early...I'm not quite done yet." he confessed in embarrassment.

"You made your own garden?"

"It seemed like a good idea last night." he shrugged. "I've been reading a lot and so I though I should put it to some use...."

"C'mon, let's go inside. I've already got breakfast cooking, we can share it."

"I can cook something for you, Young Master."

"Shut up. I'm doing it. After that we can come back out and I'll help you plant the rest of your garden."

"Really?"

The young man shrugged and ran a tired hand through his hair. "Yeah, might as well."

"You don't have to sound so enthusiastic about it," Tetsuya replied dryly, holding the door open for his master.

Ritsu sighed and smiled, placing his arm across the boy's shoulder. "I want to help. These plants can take a long time to grow, you know that, right?"

"Yes. Some things are worth the time and effort though. The time you spend with something, or someone, is what makes it so valuable."

"Really though, did you have to buy that many camellias?"

The end.

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End Note: Originally I was going to use the european version of the language of flowers, but the book I was reading mentioned the Japanese version, so I thought I'd try and find out more about that. Wiki is a good friend to the hopeless researcher (y'know, so long as accuracy isn't too important), and I wound up writing this using the definitions based on Hanakotoba instead. Amaryllis worked out perfectly, it really is an awkward looking plant, but the blooms are very beautiful.

Translations:

Amaryllis: Shy

Lavender: Faithful, Devoted (although it can mean distrust in the european language of flowers.)

(Red) Camellia: In Love

I think Camellia is a perfect metaphor too, in that it can take a while to mature, and most species need a good deal of attention to flourish well. Sounds a lot like love.