Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis.
Title: A tale of two brothers
Summary: If Ryoma and Kunimitsu were brothers, would their relationship be shadowed by jealousy as Yuuta and Syusuke's was? How will Ryoma's first few days in Seigaku be?
The Seigaku captain looked up at his mother and raised a brow in silent question. She walked into the room and sat down beside him on his bed, "About Ryo-chan…"
Kunimitsu concealed a smile at the nickname. Since Ryoma was the youngest in the family, he was the most coddled, even their stern grandfather dotted on him. It was little wonder why his otouto grew to be so arrogant. "What of him?"
"Tomorrow will be his first day at Seigaku and you know he will join the Tennis club."
He frowned, "Of course." Ryoma's talent was not something to be wasted. He was not going to let his brother slip away.
"Take care of him." She whispered as she stood, "And please remember that he is your brother first and foremost." She leaned forward a pressed a loving kiss against his forehead, "Don't be too hard on him. He is not used to his nii-san being stern with him."
Kunimitsu simply nodded, bidding her goodnight as she left his room. When he was alone, he lay back on his bed and looked up at the ceiling. Just the other day, he had had a discussion with Fuji about Ryoma's entry into Seigaku. The genius had given him a discrete warning.
Fuji thought that history would repeat itself.
He would have been worried. He would have been concerned that his shadow would alienate Ryoma. He would have thought that a wall would be formed between them similar to the wall of jealousy between Fuji and his younger brother.
He was not though. He knew Ryoma and his otouto was not someone who would be fazed by such things.
Besides, the difference between the two of them was too easy to spot. Ryoma's playing style was different though it was impossible for them not to be influenced by each other. Kunimitsu did not doubt that soon his little brother would start giving him a run for his money.
With a soft snort, he closed his eyes. He should be more worried about the havoc his mischievous little brother would cause than how his popularity would affect him.
"Ryoma." The Seigaku captain called in exasperation, "Wake up. We will be late if you don't wake up now."
There was a faint, sleepy grumble but Kunimitsu knew that Ryoma was not awake. With a sigh, he opened the door and walked into Ryoma's room. "Every morning. You really need to learn to wake up on time, otouto." He spoke softly, he removed the sheets off the boy and gently pulled his half-asleep brother to a sitting position, "Come on, Ryoma, this is getting very frustrating."
Large, golden-brown eyes opened to peer at him sleepily. Kunimitsu ruffled Ryoma's hair, garnering an irritated scoff from the boy, "Ohayou nii-san."
The captain smirked faintly, "Ohayou, finally. Will you ever be able to awake up without my assistance, otouto?"
Ryoma grumbled before walking off to the bathroom to finish his morning rituals. Kunimitsu shook his head before walking out of the room and downstairs towards the kitchen.
"Again?" the amused question came from his father. Kunimitsu simply nodded in response.
His mother laughed softly, "Ryo-chan is so active when he is playing tennis, or any sport for that matter. However, the rest of the time, he simply seems to love sleeping and drinking that grape Fanta of his."
His grandfather simply scoffed but did not comment.
Ryoma walked into the kitchen, dressed immaculately in his crisp, new Seigaku uniform with his book-bag on his shoulder and tennis bag in his hand. He looked at the breakfast on the table and gave a pleased smirk when he saw Japanese cuisine. "We aren't really late, are we, nii-san?" he asked as he sat down for breakfast.
"You would have been if Kunimitsu had not woken you up." Ayana said as she placed a bowl of miso soup in front of her youngest son. "It is your first day. I thought you were looking forward to joining Seishun Gakuen."
Ryoma nodded, "I am."
"Well, you need to wake up on time." She reprimanded gently, "And don't give your brother trouble. He is the Seigaku tennis team captain as well as the student council president this year so he has quite a bit to do."
"I don't think you have to worry about that, dear." Their father said with a small smile, "If anything, I have a feeling that Kunimitsu will be more relaxed with Ryoma on his team than he has ever been before." He turned towards his eldest son, "Isn't that right?"
Kunimitsu nodded, "After he gets through the ranking matches and becomes a regular," He glanced at his brother, "He mustn't let his guard down."
Ryoma smirked, "Have you ever seen me playing tennis with my guard down, nii-san?"
"Take care to keep that up." Kunimitsu said sternly, narrowing his eyes. "Seigaku has a formidable tennis team. Your entry into the regulars will not be easy."
"But he will be in the regulars." Ayana said with a soft smile on her face, "Isn't that what you wish to say, Kunimitsu? You never once mentioned the possibility that Ryoma may not become a regular at his first try."
Both Ryoma and Kunimitsu gave her a dry look and she laughed. Her sons were so full of confidence and skill and they seemed to believe in each other as well.
This year, Kunimitsu may as well have a chance to achieve his dream of winning the nationals. She had full confidence in both their abilities.
Moreover, she trusted in Ryoma's ability to reach every goal his brother set up for him. Her husband was right, if anything, Ryoma would shoulder a part of Kunimitsu's responsibility and become a supporting pillar of Seigaku's tennis team.
She was brought out of her thoughts as Kunimitsu and Ryoma finished their breakfast. Bidding the adults goodbye, the two boys left quickly, the younger brother giving their family cat an affectionate rub before leaving the house.
Ayana sighed and put away the dishes.
"Dear, Ryoma is just going to school and you are acting as though he is going overseas." Her husband's amused voice caused her to pause.
She gave him an irritated look before sitting down. "Well, just last year, Fuji-san was telling me how worried she was about her sons. There was a rift between her sons. She tells me it was because Syusuke-kun is considered a genius tennis player and everyone was comparing Yuuta-kun with him." Her father-in-law looked at her with a frown, "I worry that the same would happen between Kunimitsu and Ryoma… and they are so close…"
Tezuka Kuniharu looked at his wife with a considering look, "Forgive me for saying this, Ayana, but don't you think that you are overreacting a bit." He raised his hand to stall her protest, "I feel bad for saying this, nevertheless, hasn't Yuuta-kun always been a little too temperamental and easily influenced by the opinion of others?" he leaned back in his chair thoughtfully, "I know it must be difficult for the child and Syusuke-kun is definitely an exceptional boy…"
Tezuka Kunikazu scoffed, crossing his arms with an amused look on his face, "You have been blessed with two equally exceptional boys." The grandfather of the two aforementioned boys stated, "If Yuuta-kun and Ryoma were alike, you would have something to worry about. Kunimitsu is an impressive child; there is no doubt about that. However, while, in Tennis Kunimitsu maybe a better player than Ryoma currently is, in everything else, they both are at the same level."
Kuniharu nodded, looking pleased, "Especially academics. I think it surprises many. Everyone seems to assume that Ryoma is not as good as Kunimitsu at academics."
"That may be because Mitsu-kun looks so serious all the time." Ayana giggled, "Oh, the number of times people mistake him for an adult. If our boy wasn't such an honest child, he would have taken advantage of it."
Kuniharu chuckled, "That's true." He shook his head in amused and mild wonder, "There is no doubt in my mind that Ryoma will be the Seigaku tennis captain and the student council president in his senior year, just as Kunimitsu is."
"Hmph." Kunikazu scoffed, "You worry needlessly. Unlike Fuji Yuuta, Ryoma is not easy to overshadow, even by Kunimitsu. Besides, Ryoma's respect for Kunimitsu knows no bounds." He leveled her with a reassuring glance, "Out of all brothers I have seen, their relationship is by far, the strongest. It is not something that can be damaged so easily."
"I heard Tezuka-senpai's younger brother is joining Seigaku today." A girl whispered to her friend, "I wonder what he will be like? Will he be an all rounder like Tezuka-senpai is?"
Her friend frowned, "I don't think so. I think he will just be ordinary… you know, not as impressive as Tezuka-senpai. I wonder if he will transfer schools like Fuji Yuuta-kun did after being subjected to his brother's fame?"
Ryoma raised a brow, his golden-brown eyes glowing in amusement. That was why his nii-san looked so fiercely protective as soon as they stepped onto the campus. Ryoma knew that the students who had seen them together had already concluded that he was Tezuka Kunimitsu's younger brother.
It was so amusing to see his brother so concerned. Did he really think that such a small thing would bother him?
Shaking his head, he moved towards his class. More than anything, he was looking forward to tennis practice that would happen after school session was over.
He sat down at his desk, feeling the eyes of quite a few girls on him. He knew that in his class, no one knew he was Tezuka's younger brother.
Why were they staring at him?
As the day progressed, more and more students knew who he was. Ryoma wasn't particularly bothered by it. He ignored the whispers with characteristic nonchalance and continued with his day until it was time for tennis practice.
Oh, this was going to be fun.
"Hey, you! You play tennis right?" A loud, rather obnoxious voice asked him and he glanced over his shoulder to look at a boy his age. "Judging by the tennis bag on your shoulder, you are going to join the tennis club right?" Ryoma simply raised a brow at the boy's smile, "I am Horio."
Ryoma shrugged and continued walking down the stairs. "Did you know? This tennis club is really strong. If you talk with me, you will get a lot of experience."
Ryoma simply glanced at him before walking towards a tall senpai, "Which way are the tennis courts?"
"Oh? The tennis courts? They are that way…" he pointed towards a particular direction.
Ryoma thanked him and started walked towards the direction, ignoring the blabbering loud mouth that was following him around. His silence did not seem to discourage the boy; in fact, he seemed to take it as a permission to talk more.
The boy prodigy scowled faintly when they found the wrestling club instead of the Tennis club.
"Why that second year punk gave us the wrong directions!" the loud boy exclaimed while Ryoma simply shrugged and started walking towards the courts. He wondered briefly if his nii-san was there already, practicing. However, he recalled that Kunimitsu always spent the first few moments of practice discussing the schedule with their coach.
He looked at the tennis courts and spotted the only person amongst the Seigaku regulars that he knew.
"Suke-nii!" he called out, walking towards the courts with casual confidence. The light haired genius turned his head to the side, a fond smile already on his lips. The second ace tennis player of Seigaku walked towards him, drawing curious stares from many.
"Why, if it isn't my most favorite person in the world." The genius purred, removing Ryoma's ever-present Fila cap to ruffle his hair. "Welcome to Seigaku at last, Ryo-chan."
The younger boy simply raised a brow before snatching the cap from Fuji's hand and putting it back on his head, "Arigato." He murmured before looking about the courts, finding many people staring at him, "Ne, will you introduce me to the regulars?"
Syusuke smiled deviously, wondering what the little Tezuka was up to.
He had always thought that both Kunimitsu and Ryoma were very much alike but in some aspects, Ryoma was startlingly different from his older brother. In matters of deviousness, the younger Tezuka far surpassed his sibling.
He turned towards the rest of the regulars who were watching their interaction curiously and waved them over.
Predictably, Kikumaru was the first to bounce over, "Hey Fujiko, who is this chibi-chan?"
Fuji smiled innocently, knowing that everyone was waiting for him to introduce the child. "Well, let me introduce you to Tezuka Ryoma." He gestured towards Ryoma, who smirked, "He is our buchou's baby brother."
Several pairs of eyes went wide at the proclamation. Inui quickly removed his book and started writing the new information down. Kaidou and Momoshiro gaped at the boy, Momoshiro looking a bit paler than normal. Kikumaru bounced on his heal in excitement while Kawamura simply stood silently, a little shy.
"Ryo-chan," he gestured towards the regulars, "These are the regulars. The one with the thick glasses is Inui Sadaharu-kun, the one with the bandana is Kaidou Kaoru-kun and the one looking so nervous is Momoshiro Takeshi-kun." Ryoma smirked, "The excitable boy over there is Eiji Kikumaru-kun and the other is Kawamura Takashi-kun. Our vice-captain Oishi Shuichirou-kun is currently with your older brother discussing the order of the ranking tournaments happening soon."
Ryoma nodded and bowed to the senpai, "Please to meet you."
"Wai!" Kikumaru suddenly screamed, starling Ryoma a bit. "He is so cute." He pounced on the younger Tezuka, holding him tightly as little girls would hold a teddy bear.
Fuji chuckled when Ryoma gave him an unimpressed look. "Ne, Ryo-chan, seeing that your over-protective idiot of a brother is not here, how about a match?"
Ryoma narrowed his eyes, "Don't call nii-san an idiot." He scowled, "But I am up for a match. Who am I playing against?"
Fuji tapped his chin. Tezuka would kill him if he played with Ryoma without his permission. Kikumaru would be a good choice but he was a third year, which meant that Ryoma would have to reveal some of his true strength in that match.
Tezuka would strangle him gleefully if Inui got data on Ryoma too early.
His best bet was Momoshiro since he was injured and would push Ryoma far enough to reveal at least a small percentage of his talent without giving too much away.
"How about Momoshiro?"
Ryoma arched a brow and looked at the second year before turning to Fuji, "You are planning something, Suke-nii and nii-san is not going to like it."
Trust the perceptive brat to catch him. "Come now, Ryo-chan. You are too suspicious of me." He smiled innocently, "Are you scared? Momoshiro is a regular after all."
Ryoma gave him a dry look before unzipping his tennis bag and removing a Bridgestone Grandea racket. He straightened and observed his opponent a bit, tilting his head to the side. The first thing he noticed was the injury. He glanced at Fuji with a raised brow, wondering whether the older boy was purposefully placing him against Momoshiro. If so, why?
Shaking his head, he took his place by the net, waiting for a toss to decide who was going to serve first. Momoshiro looked amused and confident that he would win. Ryoma simply raised a brow, unfazed. The second year boy looked at Ryoma with a smirk, "Rough or smooth?"
"Smooth." Ryoma said as Momoshiro twirled the racket. It fell rough and Momoshiro grinned. "Too bad. I will let you serve though."
Ryoma snorted and walked back to the baseline. Fuji perked up a little when he saw that Ryoma was about to serve with his right hand. He leaned forward in anticipation, expecting the child's impressive Twist Serve.
He was disappointed. It was a very good serve but hardly a twist serve. Regardless, Ryoma scored an ace.
"Hoi hoi! Ochibi is good." Kikumaru said with wide eyes as Ryoma aced through the first set. "He is acing Momo!"
"Ii Data." Inui murmured as he opened his ever-present book and started collecting data. "Even though he is Tezuka's younger brother, I did not expect him to be good."
During Momoshiro's service game, they got the opportunity to see a rally but to their surprise, Ryoma was able to keep up with Momoshiro easily.
"He is fast." Kaidou hissed, his eyes observing the match keenly.
Fuji brought his hand to his mouth to conceal a smirk. This was just what he had intended to do. Ryoma was not playing at his best but he was proving to everyone who was watching the match that he was good. Fuji knew that his fellow regulars would soon be able to perceive that Ryoma was holding back a large portion of his abilities.
The rally continued for a while and Momoshiro was smiling, thinking that he had Ryoma beat. However, much to his dismay, Ryoma executed a perfect drop shot, causing Momoshiro to sit down on the court in frustration. "You can do that too?!"
Ryoma simply adjusted his cap and peered at Momoshiro with his piercing golden-brown eyes. Momoshiro gulped, feeling a little intimidated. Who knew that a little freshmen brat like him could be so overpowering on the court?
He watched, cautiously, as Ryoma moved his racket from his right hand to his left. Suddenly, he remembered that their Captain was left-handed as well and he knew that playing against good left-handed players was not easy at all. He panicked. 'Damn it! I took too long.' His leg was now giving him trouble.
"Wait! Time!" he called out. Kikumaru and some other members of the club protested but Momoshiro simply grinned, "I will let you go this time."
Ryoma raised a brow and snorted.
"What a pity!" Kikumaru protested, "If Momoshiro's ankle wasn't injured…"
"No." Inui said as he adjusted his glasses, "Ryoma-kun already knew about it." He said the first name awkwardly, knowing that they would have to get used to it because having two Tezukas in the club would lead to confusion. "He was going easy on the injured senpai."
Kikumaru's eyes widened, "Oh. How considerate of him."
Fuji simply chuckled, pleased that everything went according to plan. Although Ryoma had not proved himself to be a regular, he definitely had shown that he was a good player. Moreover, Inui did not manage to collect any real data from the match. Ryoma did not play his Twist serve. He did not use the Split step or any of his other, impressive techniques.
He knew that Tezuka had already decided that Ryoma would be on the ranking matches and he had the feeling that the boy would be a regular by the end of the week.
"Ne, Ochibi, can I ask you something?" Kikumaru's voice brought Fuji out of his thoughts and he looked at the group that had assembled around the freshman. Momoshiro was there as well, grinning good-naturedly. Fuji knew that it was the right decision to let Ryoma play Momoshiro first.
The second-year power player was just the kind of person who would accept friendly competition. He would not be offended if someone younger to him defeated him.
"Hn." Ryoma said, packing his racket in his bag. "What is our Tezuka-buchou like?" Kikumaru asked excitedly, "You know, at home? What does he usually do?"
'Uh oh…' Fuji thought as he spotted the look in Ryoma's eyes.
The boy leaned against the chain-fence surrounding the courts, looking thoughtful. "Well, nii-san likes to drink green tea and relax on the engawa." He murmured, crossing his arms. The others nodded, not surprised. "He likes to tend to the garden as well. He says that it is a peaceful experience to water plants."
Fuji frowned; it was true so Ryoma was not up to mischief.
"What else?" Momoshiro asked eagerly as Inui noted the data down in his little book.
"He likes to sing." Fuji's lips twitched, "Though he is not very good at it." Ryoma said with a serious looking grimace, as everyone looked at him wide-eyed. "He sings when he in the bathroom, so that's good."
"Ii data." Inui murmured, looking a little surprised.
"He likes to dance as well, especially with Shiki even though nii-san does not know that I know this." Ryoma stated, nodding to himself.
Fuji bit his lip harshly to keep himself from laughing and closed his eyes. He did not want to ruin everything by letting everyone see the amusement in his eyes.
"Eh? Who is Shiki?" Kikumaru asked while Momoshiro grinned, "Did buchou get a girl-friend?"
Ryoma frowned in puzzlement; "You don't know Shiki?" he looked so genuinely confused that Fuji had to marvel his acting skills. "He named his famous Zero-Shiki drop shot after him."
"Him?" Kikumaru's eyes went wide, "Buchou is gay?!"
'I am going to explode.' Fuji thought as he desperately tried to control his laughter. Really, Ryoma was just so sly.
"Gay?" Ryoma tilted his head to the side, innocently confused, "What does nii-san being happy have to do with anything?"
Their eyes went wide. Tezuka would kill them if they corrupted his baby brother. "Nothing." Momoshiro dismissed, looking a little pale.
"Ne, Ryoma-kun, you did not tell us who this Shiki is?" Kawamura asked tentatively, wondering who the person was. He had to be someone special if their buchou actually named his best technique after him.
"Well," Ryoma began, tentatively, looking as though he was hesitant to share the information that his brother obviously did not share with anyone.
"Well, what? Go on…" Kikumaru encouraged, wanting to know more.
"He is a white teddy-bear that kaa-san gave nii-san on his seventh birthday."
Stunned silence descended upon them.
'I think I am turning purple.' Fuji concentrated on his breathing, praying to every God that he knew to stop the laughter that was bubbling within him.
"Wai!" Kikumaru suddenly exclaimed, "I like Teddy-bears too!"
Momoshiro snickered, "Well…" he gasped, "There is nothing wrong in treasuring a childhood toy."
Inui nodded as he wrote in his book, "Tezuka likes to dance with his childhood toy." He mentally calculated something, "The likelihood of him turning out to be a good dancing partner for girls drops by fifteen percent."
Oh, Tezuka's reputation was ruined.
"Anything else?" Inui asked his eyes keen to collect any data possible on their captain.
Ryoma frowned thoughtfully, nothing on his features betraying his amusement. Fuji actually started to wonder if what Ryoma was saying was the truth.
"Well," the boy started, "Nii-san likes to read manga."
"Really?" Momoshiro asked. Well, many people liked reading manga but he did not think that Tezuka liked it too.
Ryoma nodded, his eyes bright, "He especially likes that manga Naruto. He has all the chapters."
"Wow." Kikumaru said, "But I guess Naruto is a cool manga. I really like all that ninja action."
The youngest Tezuka nodded, "I like it too but not as much as nii-san does." He leaned forward, "Nii-san's favorite character is Uchiha Itachi." Ryoma shook his head in bafflement, "I did not understand why nii-san liked him so much. I guess I understand now."
"Uchiha Itachi, huh?" Momoshiro asked thoughtfully.
"Uh huh," Ryoma nodded in confirmation, "He likes him so much that he actually modeled his own character after him. You know… all that silent, mysterious, strong, never-smiling and stoic attitude?"
Everyone's eyes widened, including Fuji's. 'My, Ryo-chan is a genius!' The blue-eyed prodigy was actually impressed.
"What is going on here? Why isn't everyone practicing?" Tezuka's stern voice caught their attention. The captain observed their wide-eyed expressions of disbelief, a feeling of wariness rising within him. 'What did Fuji do now?' His gaze moved towards the tensei.
Fuji caught the accusatory look in his eyes and raised his arms in innocence, his gaze moving towards Ryoma.
Tezuka followed Fuji's gaze and paled, the wariness replaced by dread. "Otouto, what did you do?"
Ryoma tilted his head to the side in innocence, looking at him impassively and Tezuka was forced to contain a flinch. He was not sure he wanted to know. "They asked me how you behaved at home." Ryoma said and Tezuka frowned, "I told them."
Tezuka did not like the sound of that. "What did you say?"
Ryoma shrugged, "You know… that you like drinking tea while sitting on the engawa, watering the plants in the garden and reading books, etc…"
'So cunning.' Fuji thought in wonder as he watched Tezuka's suspicious frown melt away and he nodded.
"So, what he says is true?" Inui asked and Tezuka nodded before commanding them to return to practice.
Hidden from everyone's eyes, except Fuji's, Ryoma's lips curled into a sly smirk.
"Ne Tezuka," Kikumaru said as he walked up to Tezuka. The captain raised a brow in question, "Ryoma and Momoshiro had a match just before they came… your brother is good. Though, I think that if Momoshiro wasn't injured, he would have won."
Tezuka raised a brow before narrowing his eyes at Fuji. "Oh?"
Kikumaru nodded, "His serve is fast but not up to our standards and his drop shot is good as well."
'So, Ryoma did not use the Twist Serve or the Slice serve. Nor did he use the Split step. That's good.' Tezuka thought, nodding.
"Tezuka?" Kikumaru asked again and Tezuka hummed, his eyes focused on the practice session. "Maybe your Shiki and my Big Bear should meet one day…"
Tezuka frowned, puzzled. Looking at Kikumaru, he raised a brow, "What are you talking about?"
"Come now, buchou." Momoshiro said teasingly, suddenly interjecting in the conversation, "Your brother told us everything. We know about your beloved teddy bear called Shiki and after whom you named your Zero Shiki drop shot."
"Yeah, and about the bathroom singing and dancing as well." Inui commented, looking intrigued, "I had no idea that you had such varied interests, Tezuka."
Tezuka's grip on his racket tightened.
"You know," Fuji said seriously, "Although I understand the appeal, it is not exactly healthy to model oneself on a character like Uchiha Itachi." Fuji looked at Tezuka, watching those twitching features in amusement, "I mean, a person who kills his entire family at the age of thirteen and leaves his little brother traumatized… he is not exactly a good role model, is he? I can imagine the insecurity poor Ryo-chan must be feeling… seeing his brother idolize such a person. Even though it was revealed that that guy loved his brother more than anything…"
'Poor Ryo-chan, my foot.' Tezuka fumed before narrowing his eyes, "Otouto! Fifty laps around the courts!"
The only response he got was an unrepentant smirk.
The rest of the regulars dispersed, gossiping amongst themselves and Tezuka closed his eyes in dismay. 'Why was I so worried about Ryoma? I should have worried about my own sanity instead.'
"Not now, Fuji."
The genius grinned, "Let me just say this one little thing." He said slyly, ignoring Tezuka's glare, "Before you go crazy and decide to kill off your entire family and leave poor Ryo-chan alive, traumatized. Please tell me. You know I can help."
Tezuka scowled fiercely, "Right now, I am more inclined to kill Ryoma and leave the entire family traumatized." He grumbled.
Fuji finally gave into the need, his laughter resounding throughout the courts.
Ryoma smirked, 'Poor nii-san.'
Ayana giggled, her hand on her mouth and her face flushed. Her husband was laughing, merriment sparkling in his eyes.
Even her father-in-law seemed amused.
"Did you have to do that, Ryo-chan?" She tried, she really tried to sound reprimanding but Kunimitsu's red face and twitching brows were not helping. "I thought I told you not to make mischief, Ryoma, look at Kunimitsu."
Wrong thing to say. As soon as they looked at the stoic eldest child, they burst into laughter.
Kunimitsu groaned, letting his head fall onto the table.
"Don't worry, son." Kuniharu said, his lips twitching suspiciously, "Sooner or later, they will understand that Ryoma was just joking."
"They are never going to take me seriously now." Kunimitsu groaned.
"Come now, boy." His grandfather said, "Don't sound so pessimistic. If such little things make them lose their respect in you then you have not earned their respect properly." He said, a smirk audible in his voice.
Ryoma laced his fingers under his chin and smirked, "Besides, Suke-nii knew all along that I was playing with them."
Kunimitsu glared, "That does not make me feel better."
Ryoma shrugged, "Well, it was worth a try."
The older son looked at his parents with an accusatory look in his eyes, "Why aren't you scolding him?"
Kuniharu tried to pull a serious face as he looked at Ryoma but he knew he was failing. "Ryoma, what you did…" he coughed to conceal a laugh, "Wasn't n… nice. I want you to be..behave…"
Kunimitsu groaned once against as his father snorted in laughter once again. He stood with a sigh, "I have homework to do." And walked out of the room.
Ayana looked at Ryoma with a slight frown, "Ryo-chan, was there really a need to upset Mitsu-kun? He seemed really bothered."
Ryoma snorted, "Don't worry, kaa-san. I told Fuji-senpai to tell everyone that I was pulling their leg. Tomorrow, they are going to be embarrassed, not nii-san." He narrowed his eyes, "No one gets to tease nii-san but me."
Kuniharu chuckled, "Why didn't you tell Kunimitsu that?"
Ryoma raised a brow, "I wanted to let him stew." He smirked, "Besides, he is no longer worried, is he? About that whole Fuji Yuuta incident repeating itself?"
Ayana's eyes widened, "You knew about it?"
"Of course." Ryoma snorted, "He was glaring at anyone who so much as looked at me wrong this morning. Suke-nii must have said something to get nii-san all bothered." He looked serious for a moment, "If I hadn't done anything, he would have kept on worrying as days passed. Students at Seigaku really are gossipmongers and they really do compare me to Mitsu-nii-san a lot. It does not bother me but it bothered him."
Ayana smiled fondly at her son, "You are such a good boy, Ryo-chan. Looking after your nii-san like that."
Kuniharu smirked and ruffled his blushing son's hair, "I told you, you had nothing to worry about Ayana. Ryoma takes care of his brother just like his brother takes care of him."
Standing outside the door, Kunimitsu shook his head, a fond look in his eyes before walking to his room.
'I guess he does.'