Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Disclaimer: They belong to Konomi. The one who has Shinji playing with a preschool toy. Yup.
Time: 42 minutes
Characters: Echizen, Kawamura
Ryoma eased into the chair by the window, pulling the well-worn book from the table into his lap. Sakuno had given it to them as an anniversary gift. That was… a long time ago. Leaning back, Ryoma opened the book and turned to the first page.
There they were, at the sushi shop. They had won, and were at the Kawamura’s to celebrate. Ryoma had been watching Takashi most of the night. The older boy had finally caught him at it, and both Takashi’s wink and Ryoma’s light blush had been caught on film. He’d not been expecting the flash, and been annoyed the rest of the night.
Turning the page, there was a group photo of the entire team. They’d been gathered after practice, and cajoled into posing – even Fuji, who was usually the one behind the lens. The picture held an easy attitude, and though they were sweaty and wanting showers before heading home they still smiled happily for the girl with the camera.
Sakuno’s friend had gotten loud, yelling at Ryoma that he wasn’t in the frame. Deciding to just comply before she really got loud, he had taken a couple steps back and started to stumble over a missed tennis ball. Someone had caught him just as the flash had gone off, strong arms wrapping around him and a soft, “I’ve got you.”
Ryoma smiled to himself as he felt those same warm arms wrap around his shoulders. “You’ve still got me, you know.” He whispered, a finger tracing the edge of the photo.
“And you’ve always had me,” a soft voice whispered back to him.
They stayed like that, Ryoma relaxing into the easy embrace as they sifted through the memories together. Tezuka picking up Inui’s water bottle by mistake. The intense look on Momoshiro’s face before a match. Kaidoh caught playing with Karupin.
Ryoma’s warm chuckles filled the room at some of the memories. It had been fun later at one of the reunions when Inui had decided to replace the punch with his new juice. Fuji had been the first to try it, and had thought it good, so of course no one suspected anything. Then Kikumaru had given it an odd look after trying it. Then sipped it again. It seemed Inui had finally developed a sports drink that didn’t make the drinker pass out. It had been the shock on the others’ faces when they found out what they had been drinking all night that was the most amusing.
Turning to the last page, the smile faded a bit. His finger traced over the newspaper clipping, the scent of the dried flower drifted into the air. A teardrop had faded into the yellowing paper, near the man’s face. The arms around him tightened. “I never really left you, you know.”
Closing his eyes, Ryoma whispered back into the empty room.