Actions 行动

Work Header 工作标题

Please know that I am genuine

Summary: 总结:

Takeru and Kotoha go on a mission while Ryunosuke and Mako stay behind as backup. While Mako tries to do something to pass the time, she notices that Ryunosuke is acting odd. Like odder than ususal. What's making him so restless?
Takeru 和 Kotoha 去执行任务,而 Ryunosuke 和 Mako 则留下来作为后备。当真子试图做点什么来打发时间时,她注意到龙之介表现得很奇怪。喜欢比ususal更奇怪。是什么让他如此焦躁不安?

Or who? 还是谁?

Notes: 笔记:

I tried to combine both of your ideas into one in a way. I hope you enjoy!

Also thank you L for beta reading at such short notice
也感谢 L 在如此短的时间内进行测试版阅读

(See the end of the work for more notes.)

Work Text: 作品文本:

Mako held up the book she was reading and frowned. This is the third time she had reread the page, but the words didn’t want to make sense in her head. And the creaking of the Dojo’s wooden floor didn’t help either. She put the book down with a sigh:

“Ryunosuke, why are you doing this?”

ShinkenBlue had arrived at the dojo even before her. But after greeting her, he’d just went back to walking up and down the same corridor over and over and over.

“I’m worried, Mako. What if something happens to them? What if we don’t arrive on time and they-“

“Ryunosuke, Takeru is one of the best samurai alive right now, and Kotoha has improved a lot in a very short time. Believe it or not, it has become harder and harder to keep up with her.”

The truth was that Mako was also worried about her girlfriend. But she trusted Kotoha and knew that on the off chance something happened, she’d be able to handle it. And Takeru was with her. He was incredibly skilled, even without being born directly into a samurai family. It was really impressive.

Two days ago, all the Shinkenger got a call from the mentor that there had been a report of Sanzu River water in a nearby province. The report was most likely a false alarm, since they had defeated the Gedoshu over a year ago, but it was safer to check just in case. Like Kaoru said: As long as there is a Sanzu River, there will always be Samurai.

When they got the call, Takeru was already on his way there and Kotoha, who had been visiting her family, had been the closest out of the remaining five, so it was decided that she would join him. Ryunosuke and Mako were called to the Dojo to wait in case they needed backup, which was extremely unlikely.

Nonetheless, it wouldn’t stop them from worrying about the people they cared about.

“You’re right, Mako, walking around won’t help...”

Mako almost breathed a sigh of relief, but she didn’t get the chance, because Ryunosuke had pulled out his sword.

“We should be training instead. What if our skills have gotten rusty and-“

ShinkenPink stood up and easily took the sword out of his hand. He wasn’t focused at all.

“I know for a fact that you never stopped training, even after we defeated Dokoku. So calm down already. What's with you?”

If Mako really thought about it, this is how Ryunosuke has always acted, but she felt that this time was different.

“I’m just so worried, it’s driving me crazy. What if we let our guard down and it’s a trap and I never see Takeru again?!”

“Takeru,” Mako thought to herself. That was new.

“...and Kotoha?”, she added, raising an eyebrow.

“And Kotoha, of course!” Ryunosuke added hastily.

He finally broke out of his fighting stance and started walking towards her.

“Actually, why aren’t you worried about Kotoha more? Isn’t she your girlfriend?”

“Who said I’m not worried? I trust her, that’s all. Do you not trust Takeru?”

Ryunosuke’s facial expression changed. He looked at Mako like she had just accused him of treason.

“OF COURSE I trust our lord.”

“Lord?” That’s not how he had referred to him earlier.

“Our Lord?” Mako asked, grinning slightly.

“Yes, our Lord. That’s what he is, right? What’s so funny?”

“Is that all Takeru is to you? Your Lord?”

Ryunosuke felt his face turn hot. He was probably blushing like an idiot, which was only confirmed by Mako’s grin widening.

“I… I mean… I just...”

Ryunosuke sighed. Let’s try again.

“Maybe on one day a long time ago he was “just” my Lord. But now, I… I don’t know, Mako.”

She raised an eyebrow again.

“To me, it seems like you know really well, actually.”

They both went to the bench and sat down.

“I mean… I know I like him. I like him a lot, actually. But I don’t think it will go anywhere, and it’s killing me a bit. I mean, it makes sense. fire and water don’t go well together.”

“Why do you say that?”

“Every time I try and approach him, or get him a small gift, or invite him to one of my Theater performances, he does accept them, but…”

Ryunosuke was staring holes into the wooden floor of Dojo at this point.

“But?” “可是?”

“But he always seems distant the entire time, and I don’t know why! Am I doing something wrong?”

"Uhm, no?" “嗯,不是吗?”

“Exactly. So the only logical answer is that he doesn’t like me.”

“If he didn’t like you, why would he show up, then?”

“I don't know, politeness?”

“How many times did you invite him, then?”

“Eh… well, I kind of invited him to every performance I’ve had in the last year.”

There it was again. His head felt like it was about to melt.

“And he came every time?”

“Yes, he did. Why?” “是的,他做到了。为什么?

Mako chuckled. “Politeness would only get you so far. One performance, maybe a second, but every time? Yeah, I really don’t think he feels any resentment towards you, Ryunosuke.”

“Then why is he so distant all the time?”

This came out louder than Ryunosuke expected. Even the birds on the tree outside now knew how frustrated he was.

It was silent now. Mako had to think. She really was genuine when she said that she believed Takeru has no resentment towards Ryunosuke, but she wasn’t sure why he was giving him the cold shoulder.
现在一片寂静。真子不得不思考。当她说她相信 Takeru 对龙之介没有怨恨时,她真的很真诚,但她不确定他为什么要冷眼相待。

And then she thought back on how the conversation started.

“Our Lord.” “我们的主。”
“Takeru.” “武。”
And she understood. 她明白了。

“You know, Ryunosuke, before Kotoha and I started dating, she needed to change how she saw me.”

Ryunosuke finally looked at her.

“What do you mean by that? I thought she always liked you. Even when we had just started being a team properly, I remember Kotoha was infatuated with you. You were perfect in her eyes.”

“I know… and that was exactly the problem.”

“I don’t understand you at all. How is that a problem?”

Ryunosuke remembered when his father had shown him the Mojikara for the first time. He was 3 years old, and it had seemed like so much to learn. He couldn’t imagine ever being able to master it. And yet, this statement seemed more complicated now than learning the symbols felt back then.

“Kotoha used to see me as an idol. In her eyes, I could do no wrong, and what I said was always the right thing. I guess that just happens when you fall in love, but...”

She took a deep breath and then continued.

”But it’s no basis for a relationship that’s meant to work.”

“Why not? On paper, it seems ideal, right?”

“For someone who is egoistic, maybe. But for someone who actually loves their partner and wants the best for them? Absolutely not. Someone who sees their partner as an idol, as someone above them, will never notice any of their flaws. They’ll never realize if they’re being mistreated or neglected. They’re blinded by this perfect image that, more often than not, is very far from reality. That’s not something you wish upon someone you love. When you love someone, you want them to be your equal.You need to let them support you as much as you support them. Do you know what I’m saying?”

“I mean, I guess?” “我是说,我猜?”

Ryunosuke understood some of it, but he wasn’t entirely sure where Mako was going with this.

“And besides, how can you be vulnerable around someone who doesn’t see you as a real person, but as a symbol instead? You would never be able to be honest without shattering the shaky fundament the relationship is already built on.”

“I see.” “我明白了。”


It was silent again. Ryunosuke looked out the window. The sun was setting, but Kotoha and Takeru weren’t back yet.

Takeru… 武...

Ryunosuke did understand what Mako was trying to tell him, but he didn’t think it applied here. At least not anymore.

Then again, he couldn’t fault her for thinking that way. As soon as they had arrived at the Shiba house, he had made his admiration and dedication for their lord pretty clear.

Devotion. That’s what he always has been known for. Even before coming here, even back when he joined the Kabuki Theater, he would spend day and night switching between his samurai training and learning his lines and perfecting the routines.

“I didn’t think there could be a ‘too much’ in kabuki Theater, but here we are.”

He remembered his teacher’s words clearly. Ryunosuke had tried very hard to keep it in moderation, but he couldn’t help himself. He always gave his, all even when people thought it was too much. That’s always what had made Ikenami Ryunosuke special.
他清楚地记得老师的话。龙之介非常努力地保持适度,但他无法控制自己。他总是付出他的一切,即使人们认为这太过分了。这一直是 Ikenami Ryunosuke 的特别之处。

He had given that same devotion to his lord, Shiba Takeru. Because that’s what was expected of him — that’s what he had trained for — and he took his duty seriously.
他也对他的主人柴武(Shiba Takeru)给予了同样的奉献。因为这是对他的期望——这就是他训练的目的——他认真对待自己的职责。

Ryunosuke hadn’t noticed it at first but over time it had evolved into something else. Yes, of course, he was still dedicated to serving his lord, but that’s not all this was. As the days went on, as the seasons changed, as the fights got harder, thoughts about giving up tried to sneak up on him and consume him, as he was forced to lay down, wounded and feverish from one of the many battles with the Gedoshu.

But they never could. Those thoughts could never overwhelm him, never make him despair. Even in his weakest moments, these quiet voices never even managed to become a solid idea.

There was a moment when it seemed like they almost would — like the dilemma he was in would be impossible to conquer, like happiness had disappeared completely from the horizon. But even then, there was something stopping them from gaining power. One thought that was louder than any of the tormenting whispers.

“Takeru.” “武。”


Eventually, Mako decided to go to sleep, but Ryunosuke stayed in the dojo. He wouldn’t be able to sleep, he knew that for sure — but what else was left to do? The sky seemed clear today. If he had gone outside, he would have been able to see a carpet of stars for sure, but he didn’t. He chose to stay inside, alone with his thoughts, for what felt like hours. It didn’t even occur to him to do sword fighting exercises again. Just him, the wood floor, the crickets outside, and..

“Ryunosuke?” “龙之介?”

The voice of a woman was saying his name, but it was definitely not Mako.

“Kotoha? Is that you?” “琴叶?是你吗?

“Yes, silly, who else could it be?”

“Yeah, that makes sense,” he replied, barely audibly, before jumping up.

“KOTOHA, YOU’RE BACK?” “琴叶,你回来了?”

“Shh, you’ll wake Mako!” “嘘,你会吵醒真子的!”

“Oh... sorry.” “哦......对不起。

Ryunosuke looked around the room and started panicking.

“Wait, where’s Takeru? Is he hurt?! Did he —”

Kotoha giggled. “No, silly, he’s just sitting outside looking at the night sky. You know he likes doing that.”

Right, right. Takeru did love sitting under the night sky. He’d always sneak out and admire the dark blue night when he thought everyone else was asleep. Ryunosuke, however was a very light sleeper, and would be woken up by his footsteps. He had debated several times if he should join him, but in the end, he had always decided against it. Today, that would change.

“Right... he does that.”

Ryunosuke stood up from the bench he had been sitting on for hours now and walked towards the door.

“Good night, Kotoha.” “晚安,琴叶。”

“Good night.” “晚安。”


The weather outside was something out of a dream. It was warm, but not hot, and every now and then, a cold, gentle breeze would add just the right amount of coldness.

Ryunosuke looked up at the sky, and the universe looked back. This was the clearest he had ever seen the night sky. But even then, it didn’t manage to keep his attention for long.

Takeru was sitting on the floor, looking up at the sky. Ryunosuke couldn’t help himself but smile at Takeru’s dreamy facial expression. He seemed lost in another world.

He took a step forward.

“How did the mission go?”

Takeru’s facial expression changed. There it was again — the coldness he had shown Ryunosuke before. And like clockwork, a pit had formed in Ryunosuke’s stomach, but he had to fight past it, even if it took all his strength.

“It was fairly simple.” “这很简单。”

ShinkenRed stood up and started walking towards the door.

“A false alarm, like we expected, but it was still better to check, just in case.”

“That’s great. I’m glad you’re back safe and sound.”

Takeru had reached the door. If Ryunosuke was going to do what he planned when he had walked towards that door, it would have to be now.

“Wait.. can we talk?…Takeru.”

The red samurai stopped in his tracks when he heard his name.

“Uhm... sure... what do you want to talk about?”

Takeru spoke very hesitantly. Rynosuke felt like he couldn’t breathe from the tension.

“Well.” “嗯。”

He started taking a step outside, making the other guy turn in his direction.

“Why have you been so distant with me lately?”

It was silent again. But it wasn’t like the comfortable silence with Mako earlier. Suddenly, it seemed much colder outside. Ryunosuke almost started shivering. Every second seemed like it lasted a lifetime. And it stayed that way for what felt like years but was probably just half a minute. Ryunosuke started wondering if Takeru didn’t just walk back inside to avoid having this conversation. He had almost convinced himself of this reality before he heard the other guy's voice.

“Wh... what exactly do you mean by that? I come to all your performances, don’t I?”

Ryunosuke had to think carefully before replying.

“Yes, and I’m very grateful for that, but... every time I try talking to you otherwise, you give me the shortest answers possible. Or when I tried asking you if you wanted to eat something after my performance. You just gave me the cold shoulder. Why?”

“Your performances end very late. It was better for both of us to go home, and —”

Ryunosuke turned around, and for the first time, both men were facing each other.

“My latest performance ends at 11 pm. It’s 2 am right now, and we are both still awake. Actually, I know for a matter of fact that you sneak out at night to watch the stars, so I don’t think time is the issue here.”

He didn’t intend to shout. He didn’t intend to sound so frustrated.

“I —” “我——”


Tears had started to gather in Ryunosuke’s eyes, but in this moment, he didn’t care.

“What? NO YOU — why would I hate you?”

At least it wasn’t just Ryunosuke who seemed to be frustrated at their predicament.

“Then what’s the matter with you?”

“I just... I just don’t want to give you the wrong idea.”

“The wrong idea about what? That you might like me? That you enjoy being around me?”

“No I — I don’t — You know what? You want me to be honest, right?”

Takeru took a deep breath and tried to control his shaking voice.

“I… I... It’s not that I don’t like you Ryunosuke. In fact, I like you a lot. But you will never see me the same.”

And now Ryunosuke, was confused again.

“What? I thought I was pretty obvious with the fact that I like you as… as more than a friend.”

“Oh no! You are very obvious in that matter. You’ve never been able to be discreet. At this point, even Kotoha’s sister knows your full dedication to your lord.”

“Your lord.” The word seemed to echo forever inside Ryunosuke’s head.

“My lord?” “大人?”

“That’s what I am to you, right? That’s why you’re so upset, right? Because you feel like your lord isn’t satisfied with you.”

Silence again. But this time, it didn’t last long.

“You’re an idiot, Takeru.”

A chuckle escaped Ryunosuke’s mouth.

“What?” “什么?”

Takeru was shocked more than anything.
Takeru 比什么都震惊。

“And I thought I was the oblivious one.”

“I don’t get it.” “我不明白。”

“So Mako was right after all.”

“What does she have to do with this?”

The shock was slowly turning into confusion.

“Sit down, Takeru.” “坐下,Takeru。”

Ryunosuke sat down on the floor of the outdoor training area and gestured for Takeru to follow him, which he did hesitantly.

“Just to make sure I understand you correctly — You think all I have done for you in the last year or so was because you are my lord, and no other reason.”

“Yes, Ryunosuke. And that’s why I tried to keep my distance. I… All my life... all I have trained for was to be Lord Shiba. Or at least play the role. Now... now that everything is over, I don’t know..”

“I...I don’t know who I am, because I was never meant to be a person. Just a shadow. Just an act, for the rest of my life — that was what was supposed to happen. But against all odds, we defeated them. They’re gone. In a way, all I lived for is gone. All I thought my life would be has already happened. I have served Lord Shiba’s purpose, and now what? What am I? Who am I? I don’t even know where to start looking for answers and... and on top of all else, I can’t be around someone who keeps chained to ‘Lord Shiba’.”

Maybe it was the moonlight reflecting off his eyes, but Ryunosuke could swear there were tears welling up in Takeru’s eyes.

“Do you understand now? Why I can’t be around you, even if I want to? I can never find out who I am or what I want if I stay tied to this act.”

This time, it was very clear. From his shaking voice to the way he spoke the words, Ryunosuke could tell that Takeru was crying. That’s not something any of them had expected, but it was the situation they found themselves in.

It made sense. It made sense why Takeru had tried his best to avoid him. Yes, Mako was right, in a way. It did look like he loved the concept, like he was doing it out of devotion to an idea. To the lord. While that was far from reality, he understood why this assumption —and it was a very fair assumption —hurt him as much as it did.

Ryunosuke moved closer and pulled Takeru into his arms, who surprisingly didn’t resist this gesture of affection.

“Well let’s start with that. You’re an idiot, Takeru.”

He chuckled, still holding the other man in his embrace. Neither of them showing signs of letting go.

“You know... last year, when you ran off to fight Juzo on your own, which, by the way, further confirms that you’re an idiot, I had to make a choice. And you know? I think it was the hardest choice of my life. I had to choose between my duty as a samurai and something else, something unexpected.”
“你知道......去年,当你独自跑去和 Juzo 战斗时,顺便说一句,这进一步证实了你是个白痴,我不得不做出选择。你知道吗?我认为这是我一生中最艰难的选择。我不得不在我作为武士的职责和其他事情之间做出选择,一些意想不到的事情。

Takeru pulled out of his embrace slightly only to look at him. He looked lost.

“As you’ve made clear, you know how much of a dedicated subordinate I am, and you know I am loyal to that lord until the end but… but I realized something. There are exceptions. And this was one of them. You are an exception, Takeru. My love for you was an exception. We fought side by side, back to back, trained together. For the longest time, I didn’t realize that... that my love for you had changed. Trust me, it wasn’t easy. It felt like I was going against everything I dedicated my life to being. But in that moment, I realized just how big that change was and... I made my choice. And that was you.”

Takeru opened his mouth to speak, but the other was still not done.

“Now if you remember, at the time, you weren’t the lord anymore. It was Kaoru. So by your logic, I should have stayed with her, but no. I choose you. Not Lord Shiba, not the red samurai. I choose you, Takeru.”

It was silent again, but this time, it didn’t feel tense. The weather returned to its original warmth. The stars seemed brighter than they were before.

And then Takeru kissed him, just pulled him closer and kissed him, just like that. Ryunosuke was so taken aback he couldn’t think— his mind couldn’t form any coherent thought or course of action, and returning the kiss just felt natural, like a reflex that had its own mind.

All the frustration, all the confusion of the last year, were gone in a heartbeat. Now it was just him, and Takeru, with the stars as their witness.

For all either of them cared, they could stay like this forever, for this lifetime and every lifetime to come, and even after pulling away, they couldn’t help but look at each other lovingly.

“I’m sorry I…” “对不起,我......”

Takeru’s voice was an almost whisper.

Ryunosuke smiled gently. He pulled his arm, which had stayed around Takeru’s neck, back, and caressed his cheek softly. It was still wet with tears, which he tried to wipe away gently with his thumb.

“I… I understand. I mean, I understand why from the outside, it looked like nothing had changed. But please know that I am genuine.”

Takeru returned the gentle smile.

“I know... you always are, in everything you do.”

Takeru rested his head on Ryunosuke’s shoulder, and they both looked up at the sky.

“You know... finding out who you are, that’s not an easy journey, but...”

He nuzzled closer. 他依偎得更近了。

“I’m glad I don’t have to make it alone. I’m glad to have you by my side, Ryunosuke.”

Notes: 笔记:

I hope you enjoyed the read and happy holidays! Be safe!!