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For vom_marlowe: Five books Tenpou keeps next to his bed

No spoilers

1. Even though he must carefully move several stacks off his bed before he can actually sleep there, Tenpou doesn't often read the books next to (or formerly on) his bed. Instead, he abandons them after only reading a page or two; he eyes the teetering towers on his bed and on the floor before carefully balancing the latest discards on top of them.

He does occasionally make exceptions though.

He's been collecting Li Touten's reports for what feels like ages, and probably is, given the rate time passes up here. The earliest reports were remarkably boring, and Tenpou used them in lieu of his usual hot herb tea when he had difficulty falling asleep. Kenren mocked his predilection for tea and instead offered warm sake, but Tenpou found that bureaucratic double-speak was the best remedy of all.

Later on, the morass of words cleared enough for Tenpou to actually make sense of the documents, and he ended up losing sleep instead. He stole Konzen's beloved red marker to circle spelling mistakes, correct the stunning misuse of adjectives, and occasionally just scrawl bemused comments to himself in the margins. He feels he is not a snob, but surely it is an insult that someone with such a tenuous grasp of basic grammar can run Heaven.

Nowadays, Tenpou loses sleep for other reasons. The grammar still frightens him, but the content inside the reports causes the true nightmares.

2. Back before Kenren and Goku had arrived and made his world more interesting, Tenpou would bother Konzen for fun. Konzen had remarked, rather snippishly, that perhaps Tenpou was the true relative of Kanzeon Bosatsu, not Konzen, given Tenpou and Kanzeon's predilection for sly remarks and completely nonsensical statements.

Tenpou is still rather proud of soliciting that comment, although he would like to think that he makes much more sense than Kanzeon. Then again, that's probably because he's not a bosatsu.

But because he is a kind man (or so he tells himself), he eventually stopped poking at Konzen. Naturally, he stopped when Kenren became his to command, as Kenren seemed to have a natural talent for annoying Konzen. Not that he would ever order Kenren to do anything of the sort...

Instead, he simply collects the fruits of Kenren's labor, sheets and sheets of papers and forms with smudged seals just slightly off kilter, and binds them as a present for Konzen.

3. Out of pity, Tenpou is keeping Goku occupied while Konzen goes off to change into even whiter linens, smooth out his three feet of ponytail, obsessively scrub his hands, or whatever Konzen does with his free time. Goku has found the bed and shoved all the books aside. Tenpou's meticulously arranged stacks have collapsed, and while most would say there is no real difference, there was a method to his mess.

"Ten-chan, sorry!" says Goku.

Tenpou stifles his urge to scream, pet his books, and check each page for creases. Instead, he grits his teeth and smiles at Goku, who is now bouncing up and down and up and down on the mattress.

"Whee!" Goku yells. Tenpou's head is beginning to throb a little, and he begins to understand the now-permanent tic by Konzen's eye.

"Goku, wouldn't you like to show me your reading?" Tenpou asks, still smiling.


Goku is nothing if not enthusiastic. He drags Tenpou back to the bed, his sticky fingers getting Tenpou's already dirty lab coat even dirtier. After Goku has mangled the pronunciation of twenty-one different words and asked the meaning of eighty-two (Tenpou keeps track of important things like this), Konzen comes back to collect the monkey.

The silence is a blessing. But when he picks up Goku's already-forgotten book and absent-mindedly puts it under a pillow, he is unexpectedly, inexplicably jealous of Konzen.

4. Kenren knows he likes books. Of course, Tenpou muses, his habit may be a difficult one to hide.

Kenren also knows he likes the lower world. Kenren is fond of gift-giving, although Kenren's gifts tend to be more random than meaningful. Then again, random may be too kind a word to assign to choices like Kaze to Ki no Uta ("I liked the pictures," said Kenren), a hastily-made rubbing of a stone tablet ("I liked the calligraphy"), or Saikaku's The Great Mirror of Male Love (Kenren shrugged, possibly feeling that no explanation was necessary).

But just when Tenpou begins to think that Kenren is merely bombarding him with gifts for no good reason, the man will casually toss a copy of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms or a book on ramen or a shockingly pornographic collection of shunga on Tenpou's chair (his desk and bed are already overflowing). Kenren won't say anything and often doesn't even leave a note, but three weeks later, Kenren will drag him off to a ramen place mentioned in the guidebook, or Tenpou will find a remarkably skilled haiku in Kenren's handwriting bookmarking the most shocking shunga print. And then, months after Tenpou has forgotten about the latest gift, Kenren will casually mention that Tenpou reminds him of Zhuge Liang in The Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

This pleases him even more than the comparison to Kanzeon did.

Tenpou also never says anything, but he keeps the gifts (even the pornography) in a neatly arranged stack underneath his bed, away from the normal bibliographic chaos he lives in.

5. Even though he risks death via collapsing stacks of books every night, Tenpou doesn't often read the books next to his bed. Instead, they pile up, each book tempting in its own way, luring him with story, history, lore. But somehow, he never quite gets around to them and ends up bringing more books in from his shelves or his desk or, most often, one of the many to-be-organized-and-shelved stacks on the floor.

And so, even though Kanzeon gave it to him with a wicked smile on hir face (does sie have any other smile? he wonders), Journey to the West sits unread, slowly migrating to the bottom of a stack as Goku's picture books and Konzen's papers and Kenren's random gifts pile up around him.


( 28 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 6th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
I love all the little details in this fic: bad grammar and red marker, smudged seals, sticky fingers, Saikaku, Zhuge Liang. And, of course, the punch line. It's so easy to believe.
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I was sort of worried most people wouldn't get the Zhuge Liang thing, but I wanted to stick it in anyway.
Nov. 6th, 2006 05:09 am (UTC)
Eeeee! You are made of Gaiden win!! And your Kenren is a seriously sexy bastard. This was great, every page! ;) Perfect Tenpou ecclecticism and his unspoken logic. Just so good.
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Nov. 6th, 2006 05:58 am (UTC)
This is just wonderful, from the obligatory Saikaku reference to Tenpou's desire to pet his books to the unexpected yet, in retrospect, inevitable punchline.

So who is Zhuge Liang and why is he like Tenpou?
Nov. 6th, 2006 03:06 pm (UTC)
Zhuge Liang is the master strategist in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. There's a sketch of Tenpou from somewhere where he's dressed up as Zhuge Liang; you can tell by the feather fan, which is always associated with him.
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
Like rilina says, he's the master strategist of the book. He's also a bit of a trickster character and pretty famous in Chinese literature/culture for being smart and crafty, sort of like Ulysses. The one story I remember the most about him from school is one in which his side ran out of arrows and he constructed these straw men in armor. The enemy shot at them, and they took down all the straw men and collected the arrows in the end.
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
Also, thank you!! I had to stick Saikaku in, lalala.

And rather embarrassingly, a lot of Tenpou's book peccadillos come right out of my life, albeit exaggerated a little.
Nov. 6th, 2006 06:29 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. This is awesome and excellent. So very good.
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Nov. 6th, 2006 11:38 am (UTC)
Wheeee! Loved this and all the details and also the little kick at the end.
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! Also, frog icon!
Nov. 6th, 2006 04:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so, so much! This is a delightful fic. I love it--all the bookish details, Tenpou is so very Tenpou, and I love the way you portray Kenren here. The kick at the end is great. And I love the red marker borrowed from Konzen. Hee.
Nov. 7th, 2006 04:10 am (UTC)
Oh, thank you! I'm really, really glad you like it!
Nov. 6th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
Eee! I really liked this. Good bibliomania fic is a special treat, among all its other loveliness. *^^*
Nov. 7th, 2006 04:10 am (UTC)
Thank you! Hee hee, I kept taking things that I do and just exaggerating for the bibliophilia details ;).
Nov. 11th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
That is awesome. Especially the ending. :)
Nov. 11th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you!
Nov. 15th, 2006 12:20 am (UTC)
*sparkly eyes*

There is everything to love about this. I will be hard put to choose between the two!

= One. VERY. Happy. Gaidenfangirl.
Nov. 15th, 2006 01:27 am (UTC)
Re: *sighs*
Thank you!
Nov. 15th, 2006 06:30 am (UTC)
Oh, how very Tenpou. And how very lovely.
Nov. 15th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Nov. 18th, 2006 09:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, the closing line kills. I love the images in this.
Nov. 19th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Mar. 18th, 2007 03:59 am (UTC)
I love the line about what Konzen does in his free time; because what there to do in Heaven? Plus it must take work to keep his clothes and hair perfect.

Also, I love the bit about Kanzeon giving him 'Journy to the West'- she has such an evil sense of humor.
Mar. 18th, 2007 09:30 am (UTC)
Hee hee hee. I love Konzen, but really, it is so fun to poke fun at him.

Thank you!
Mar. 19th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
He is so mockable. One of my favorite shots of Gaiden is that scene where you see him look at where Goku should be but isn't.
( 28 comments — Leave a comment )


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