No, I haven't died or contracted illness that prevented me from typing. Unfortunately, I went into a Bleh period, so I am really sorry for the wait.
Thank you for all your reviews and support!
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DISCLAIMER: Nope, I do not own Prince of Tennis or their characters. All belongs to Takeshi Konomi. I'm just taking liberties.
This is for the Warnings: As usual. Characters and Events will be twisted to this author's liking. Characters will be OOC. Seigaku lovers BEWARE, they will not be very nice in this fic. (Please read Mending Hearts or Fall into Love for fluffy, supportive Seigaku characters). In this fic, they will not be fluffy or suppostive. Seigaku used Ryoma to win the Nationals, then spread lies about him after Ryoma left. He came back after five years and found out that Seigaku told all their acquaintances that he was the one to used them, not the other way around, and most (not everyone, but most) believed Seigaku and hates Ryoma. Will Ryoma find a way to clear his name, will he even want to? This is my version of Looking Away challenge by EmInArEvOl.
And here is the next chapter!
Keigo watched, jaws slack as Ryoma played against Akutsu on the newly repaired court in the backyard. Where was the Ryoma he remembered? The one that played with fire and the determination to not lose to his opponent? Oh, Ryoma was still quite skilled. His eyes can see that, but gone was the boy who had played against him and other skilled opponents and won. The Ryoma before him was not like that. He played, as if just going through the motions. Each hit, step, moves –all of it- were jerky and stiff. Unlike the graceful way he had moved before.
"Kuso! Play me, Echizen," Akutsu yelled, angry.
"Hn, I am playing with you," Ryoma coolly replied back.
"Like hell you are! Where's the Echizen from before?"
Ryoma didn't answer and just served the ball. Keigo's gut twisted and clenched within him. They were wrong. Tezuka was the one that had lie. He could see the truth now in Ryoma's eyes; desolate cold eyes. He thought he knew Tezuka well enough, but apparently he did not. Why would Tezuka and the others lie about Ryoma using them? Keigo felt his heart thud against his chest when he recalled the way he acted with Ryoma these past week; with barely concealed contempt; all because he thought Ryoma had used him; because he believed in Tezuka's lies.
He watched Akutsu threw down his racquet in disgust and angrily stomped past him, into the house and Taichi following like the puppy he is. He watched as Ryoma stared at the spot Akutsu just left with blank eyes. Keigo gritted his teeth. Angry at Ryoma. Angry at himself. Just plain angry.
Keigo clenched his fists and walked over, picking up the racquet that Akutsu threw down. "Play me, Echizen."
Ryoma looked at him. "Can't you see that I don't want to play?"
"Ahn? Don't want to play?" Keigo sneered, his lips curling up. He walked to the right corner, behind the serving line. "Don't mess with Ore-Sama, brat!" He tossed the ball and swung his racquet. With a loud THWACK! and barely in the blink of an eye, the ball bounced near Ryoma's feet and whizzed pass.
Ryoma stood frozen as air whooshed, sending tendrils of his hair flying. He couldn't have returned that serve, even if he wanted to. Fast. So fast. He gripped his racquet.
"Oi, blondie. Get Ore-Sama another ball," Keigo ordered and Kevin hesitated, looking at Ryoma briefly, then tossed a ball to Keigo. Seeing that Akutsu and Taichi had come back out, Keigo inclined his head to Akutsu. "You, keep score. Ore-Sama just scored a point."
Akutsu snorted at being ordered to do something, but nonetheless nodded his head. Keigo served again, and again the ball went past Ryoma.
"30-love." Akutsu grunted, and then muttered to himself. "So Atobe hasn't lost his game, eh? Should be interesting."Keigo served again and Ryoma still stood where he was, not moving at all. "40-Love," he called out the score, then another "One game to Love."
Keigo smiled at Ryoma. Not a nice happy smile. It was a smile baring his gleaming white teeth, like a shark before he swooped in and bite you.
Ryoma glared right back and went behind the serving line. It was his turn to serve and he was not going to give the Monkey King the satisfaction. He started off with his twist serve, which, unfortunate to Ryoma, Keigo returned.
"Hmph, by the way you're playing Echizen.. Ore-Sama has only say three words to say – Mada. Mada. Dane," Keigo said each word slowly, deliberately, mockingly.
Kevin's and Taichi's jaws dropped.
Ryoma saw red.
How dare that arrogant stupid narcissist use my catchphrase? I'll show him Mada Mada Dane!
The game continued between the two, this time Ryoma playing with all he got. With the fire that the others had seen in him.
"Winner, Atobe. Five games to three."
Even so, he lost. He worked out to keep shape by running and going to the gym, but he hadn't played that seriously in such a long time. Ryoma looked at Keigo walking toward him, expecting anger, condescension, and was surprised when Keigo held his hand out instead.
"Good game, Echizen," Keigo said with a slight smile. Ryoma slowly lifted his hand and placed it into Keigo's hand, bigger hand, Ryoma could feel. "Yeah, good game."
Because they had spent most of the day playing instead of working, they didn't get much done. Akutsu had challenged him to a game, then Keigo did. Right after, it was Kevin vs Taichi. Keigo vs Akutsu. Now, it was late in the evening as he and Akutsu discussed what needed done.
"Okay, then tomorrow, bring a few of those people here. I want this done as soon as possible. Roof fixed and house painted.," Ryoma told Akutsu, who nodded, then left with Taichi. After dinner, Kevin immediately turned in and Keigo left. He and Akutsu discussed what needed to be done about the roof. All the minor things with the house had been fixed; like the plumbing, cracks in the pavement in the back and out front. The only big things left is to fix the roof and paint the house, inside and out, then furnish it.
So far, they only have the two beds (for Ryoma and Kevin) and the kitchen tables and chairs. No stove or fridge. The living room and the other three rooms in the house was void of any furnitures, appliances and accessories. Ryoma released a long tired sigh. So much work to do and in a few weeks, school starts up again and he knew that Taichi will be in his last year of high school and must devote most his time to studies; Akutsu said he would enroll himself in vocational school; and Keigo – well, Keigo hasn't said much, but he would think that Keigo would at least be enrolled in a prestigious university.
Ryoma rubbed his hand, the one that held Keigo's in a handshake. He hadn't played like that in so long, had forgotten what it was like to feel the hard ground as he ran as hard as he could to return the ball; the pull and bunch of his biceps as he swung the racquet will all he had; everything had been exhilarating and he loved it.
Getting into the shower, Ryoma let the hot water washed away that day's soreness. When will all this work end? Let's see, he has been back for almost three weeks. Akutsu had been working for him for over two weeks long and Keigo had been living there for the almost five days. Oh he counted. Five days. The only time he really saw Keigo was when they were working on the house and during dinner and they make some small talk. Once that was over, Keigo would go out or just stay in his room. Just like now, after he ate, Keigo showered and left the house almost right away. He didn't expect much from Keigo. Why would he want to be nice to the guy reported to be a move stealer glory hog?
It hurt though. He had respected Keigo and for him to know that even Keigo had fallen for those lies, he was disappointed and it really just hurts. Akutsu and Taichi had filled him in on what happened after that game years ago and the lies that was spewed out of his ex-teammates mouth had left him floored, stunned, disbelieving. But it was to be expected from a team that had used him. But for all those players, except Akutsu and Taichi, to believe those lies so easily was sad to him. He knew that he didn't socialize much outside of his ex-teammates, but at least they could have not believed so fast what Tezuka told them.
Flinching as the water turned cold, Ryoma stepped out of the shower and looked at the pile of dirty clothes on the floor. Then looked atop the toilet seat, then back a the shower. Well, damn. He was so tired he forgot to bring a towel and clean clothes. His amber eyes slid back to the dirty clothes and grimaced. He did not relish the thought putting on dirty clothes. He didn't even want to touch them. Ryoma's eyes went to the door. His room was just down the hallway, pass Kevin's and Keigo's room. Kevin was asleep and he was a deep sleeper, Ryoma knew. A stampede of horses wouldn't even wake him up. And Keigo was out.
Opening the door just big enough for him to poke his head out, Ryoma looked down the hall. Good. It's all quiet. Ryoma stepped out of the bathroom quickly making his way to his room.
Just perfect. I was almost there! Just a few more steps and he would have been to his room.
There standing at the top of the steps, was Keigo, staring at him with wide eyes. Ryoma fought the urge to cup himself with his hands, since that would just bring more attention to his lower self, not that he it wasn't already exposed to Keigo's view, but he was not going to show Keigo any weaknesses. Instead he lifted his chin.
"Atobe. Thought you were out."
"Is that why you're walking around naked? This may be a perverse thing you have going on, but keep in mind there are others in the house now, ahn? But Ore-Sama likes the view just fine," Keigo leered, his gaze lowering and walking forward.
"Who's the pervert now?" Ryoma was not going to let it show how exposed and intimidated he just felt as Keigo moved. He took a step forward, intending to rush to his room. Too bad for Ryoma, all the while he was standing there, water that been dripping from the ends of his long locks to the floor. He took a step and slipped.
God, why? Why? How many times must he be in this situation, Ryoma lamented, as he flailed his arms and squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for impact with the hard floor. But none came. His body did meet something hard, but he wasn't hurting. There was also the feeling of warmth around his body. Ryoma opened his eyes and instead of seeing brown hardwood floor, he saw buttons. He looked up at Keigo, who's eyes had darkened to polished ebony with blue tones.
Keigo swallowed as he held a wet naked Ryoma in his arms. The house had been dark when he stepped in, so Keigo assumed that both Kevin and Ryoma had gone to bed. It was another tiring day, so it was not unusual for them to turn in early. He had not expected to see a very naked, a very wet naked Ryoma.
Droplets of water clung to tan and toned chest, long wet hair falling down, some hanging over Ryoma's shoulder to cover a small part of his chest as he walked. Keigo's mouth went dry and he swallowed. Ryoma had to go and lift his chin defiantly, standing tall and proud and Keigo's chest tightened. So gorgeous. So proud.
They exchanged verbal spars and Ryoma took a step and then he was falling. Keigo's heart skipped a beat and he rushed forward to catch a falling Ryoma in his arms. A wet naked Ryoma in his arms. He smelled clean and fresh, of soap and shampoo. His gaze went to Ryoma's startled – flushed – face.
"We seem be doing this a lot, neh, Echizen?" Keigo could hear his voice deepening, his desire seeping through and Ryoma probably felt it too, for he was suddenly pushed away and all he saw was dark hair and firmly shaped buttocks as Ryoma rushed into his room, slamming the door shut. He released a breath he didn't even realized he was holding. However, he did realize that he would need a cold shower by the hardness pressing against his pants.
Contrary to what Ryoma believed, Keigo no longer thought Ryoma had used them years ago. That tennis game they played against each earlier that afternoon had shown Keigo how wrong he was and now Keigo knew he was being too aware of Ryoma; could barely keep his eyes off him. Ryoma had been a cute 12 years old, but he has grown in to a handsome young man. And he will admit, if only to himself, that he was attracted. He's never been attracted to people of the same gender before, but Ryoma... he was different. There was a lonely vulnerable air that he would sometime exude, when he thought no one was looking. A despair he recognized all too well now that he was not ignoring it. And the more he spent in Ryoma's company, the more he wanted to be near Ryoma.
Behind closed doors, Ryoma place a shaky hand against his rapid thudding heart. He could feel the chill that the cool night air was playing against his skin, raising goose bumps and the fine hairs all over his body. He wasn't even sure if it was the cool air against his skin that was causing that or...
What was wrong with him and what is this sudden awareness and attraction to Keigo?
"Achoo! Better get dressed," Ryoma muttered and rummaged through the closet for his pajamas. He guessed he should try to get some sleep.
"Hmm, Echizen Ryoma was Seigaku's Ace five years ago. He won the Nationals game against Rikkai Dai's Yukimura Seiichi, touted as the Child of God." Ren read the reports that Hayate handed her. " Wow, he's pretty good. Let's see. It says here that he left right after the National game and rumors has it that he used the middle school tennis tournaments to steal the players move to make his own."
The papers in her hand rustled as she shuffled them. "There's nothing on here about him playing tennis in America. Are you slipping Hayate?"
"I've done some research, Ren-Sama, but there was nothing on Echizen Ryoma playing tennis back in America or joining any tournaments in the past five years."
"Interesting," Kyoichi muttered. "If he was to use all these players moves, he would have won quite easily."
"He would have won quite easily even without those moves. From this report, he beat the #1 Nationally ranked player from then. Something doesn't add up."
"Okay, beside this, anything new with Keigo, Hayate?"
"Yes, Atobe-Sama, Keigo-Bocchan has moved in with Echizen-san as of this morning."
Clink. Kyoichi's cup clinked down against the saucer and tea spilled over. The butler instantly removed the plate and brought a new cup of tea for Kyoichi.
"Ren, I know we agreed that this would be best for Keigo, but he is now living in a home without any furnitures, eating food some kid is cooking up and he has no money-"
"Keigo will survive. He is an Atobe and besides that, he is our son," Ren firmly assured her husband. Really, one would think that Kyoichi was the mother with the way he worries over Keigo. Besides, this was so much fun, she thought, looking at the pictures of Keigo in working -weeding, raking, up on the roof.
Banging and clanging noises filled the neighborhood. There were laughters and loud call outs to each other. Ryoma willed his headache to go away. His front yard was filled with more people than he would like, but if this means that the work gets done faster, then that was fine with Ryoma, even enduring this headache. It has been two days since he slipped and fell into Keigo's arms – Naked! - and he was doing his best to avoid the diva. He could still feel strong arms and the warm feeling of that chest against his cheek.
He looked up at where Keigo was helping out on the roof, with a yellow hard hat sitting on top of his head, jeans and a very tight white t-shirt that showed off lean sinewy muscles.
"Oi ya damn brat! Quit daydreaming!" Ryoma looked up at Akutsu standing on the roof with his hands on his hips, glaring down at him. Ryoma flushed, but glared right back and returned to his yard work. Kevin let out a snicker as Ryoma walked past him, earning Ryoma's glare as well.
"I know who you were staring at ~," he sang out, teasing his friend. It's a wonder what one can see in the evening when one needed to use the restroom.
"Just making sure the Monkey King was working."
Kevin's smile became wider. "Didn't say anything about Atobe." Ryoma stiffened. He had given himself away. "Get back to work," he growled. Kevin only laughed some more.
Later in the evening, after the other workers had left, Taichi burst into the kitchen where they were resting, smiling like a fool.
"Jin-san! Look, I won this in a lottery today when I was out buying groceries," he told them happily, holding out three tickets.
"What the hell is it?" Akutsu as usual growled out, pretending to be annoyed, but he really wasn't. He loved seeing Taichi excited and happy. Knowing Akutsu's just a big softie, Taichi just placed the tickets on the table for all to see. Tickets for a weekend trip to a hot springs.
"Woah really. A real hot springs trip. Never been to one," Kevin exclaimed, looking at them.
Taichi lost some of his smile. "Ano, there's only three of them though."
"Ore-Sama will pass as Ore-Sama has been to many hot springs already."
"Yeah, I'll pass too," Ryoma told Taichi.
"Tch, then it's decided. The three of us will go this weekend.," Akutsu meaning him, Kevin and Taichi. He smirked at Ryoma as he did so.
Ryoma pretended not to see that smirk.
please read and review and Enjoy
So Ryoma and Keigo has the house for just the two of them this weekend. Just what can happen? :)