oh and i should warn for spoilers for Genius 350.
Aja: ONCE UPON A TIME
Aja: THERE WAS A BOY NAMED RYOMA
Aja: WHO HAD A BEAUTIFUL, BRAVE TENNIS CAPTAIN NAMED TEZUKA
Aja: DURING THE NATIONALS, RYOMA PLACED COMPLETE FAITH IN TEZUKA
Aja: BECAUSE TEZUKA HAD ALWAYS PLACED COMPLETE FAITH IN RYOMA
Aja: WHICH IS WHY DURING TEZUKA'S FINAL MATCH AGAINST SANADA, POWERFUL WARRIOR FROM RIKKAI, RYOMA SHOWED TEZUKA HE HAD COMPLETE FAITH IN HIM BY LEAVING THE MATCH IN ORDER TO WARM UP
Aja: TEZUKA, RYOMA KNEW, WOULD KNOW WHAT RYOMA MEANT BY LEAVING THE MATCH TO GO WARM UP WITH HIS RIDICULOUS DAD
Aja: BECAUSE TEZUKA AND RYOMA WERE ALWAYS ON THE SAME PAGE
Aja: NEEDLESS TO SAY, RYOMA WAS MORE THAN STARTLED WHEN HIS MATCH WAS INTERRUPTED BY A VERY OBNOXIOUS HELICOPTER
Aja: BUT HE PUT HIS ANNOYANCE ASIDE WHEN HE REALIZED THAT ONLY ONE PERSON WOULD BE COCKY ENOUGH TO LAND HIS COPTER RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE TENNIS COURT
Aja: AND IT MUST HAVE BEEN SOMETHING IMPORTANT
Aja: "OI, ECHIZEN!" MOMO SCREECHED FROM THE BACK SEAT.
Aja: RYOMA SQUINTED AND SAW THE HELICOPTER FULL OF PEOPLE. HE WONDERED WHAT WAS SO SERIOUS THAT MOMOSHIRO, ATOBE, KABAJI AND OSHITARI, PLUS WHOEVER ELSE WAS IN THE PIT PLUS WHOEVER WAS ACTUALLY FLYING THE PLANE, WOULD COME TO GET HIM
Aja: BUT WHEN HE SAW THE GRIMACE ON THE MONKEY KING'S FACE, HE SOMEHOW KNEW.
Kish T: OH GOD AJA
Aja: "IS HE OKAY?" HE SAID, HOPPING INTO THE FRONT SEAT AND FORCING ATOBE TO SLIDE OVER WITHOUT A WORD. HE IGNORED HIS DAD'S SCREECHING AND SHOVED HIS TENNIS BAG UNDER HIS FEET BEFORE HE SLID THE DOOR SHUT
Aja: "ORE-SAMA NEVER KNEW TEZUKA COULD BE SO FOOLISH," ATOBE SAID AS INDIFFERENTLY AS HE COULD, AT THE SAME TIME MOMO SAID, "IT'S BAD."
Aja: RYOMA FELT HIS STOMACH LURCH IN A WAY THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE HELICOPTER ROCKING AGAINST THE WIND. HE DIDN'T BOTHER TRYING TO MATCH ATOBE'S BORED CARELESSNESS WHEN HE ANSWERED. "SO? WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO WITH IT?" HE SAID, LOOKING DOWN AND GRIPPING HIS SHORTS AGAINST THE TURBULENCE.
Aja: BESIDE HIM, ATOBE SNORTED. "HMPH," HE SAID. "WHAT DO YOU EVER?"
Kish T: A;KLSDJF
Aja: RYOMA DIDN'T THINK HE SHOULD ANSWER THAT, AND WASN'T SURE HE COULD. HE PULLED HIS HAT DOWN AND STARED AT THE SWIFTLY TILTING COURTS AND LAWNS BELOW THEM UNTIL THE NATIONALS STADIUM CAME INTO VIEW.
Aja: NOW WHAT
Kish T: GOD I DON'T KNOW
Aja: OKAY OKAY
Aja: BACK TO THE, AHEM, *FAIRY TALE*
Kish T: YES PLEASE
Kish T: MAKE IT HAVE A HAPPY ENDING
Aja: i'm such a mess right now
Kish T: so am i
The blur of woods and asphalt and grey cement buildings reminded Ryoma of cranes and messy hair and eyes like steel, and he found it all too easy to focus on the rush of the landscape and the roar of the helicopter until Momo's squawk of, "Wait, where are we going?" reminded him of where they were headed.Kish T: akjsldf;lajsdlkf
"Relax," said Atobe, steadying a hand on Kabaji's shoulder. "We're dropping Echizen off, right, Kabaji?"
"Usu," said Kabaji, who was apparently flying the helicopter right into the middle of Tezuka's match.
"Landing aircraft on the court in mid-match is against regulations!" spluttered the referee as Oshitari slid open the door and smoothed down his hair.Kish T: kl;jalskdjflajsdfk.;jasdfjl;ajsdflkjasdf
"Hyotei requests a time out," he said.
"I SHOULD SAY YOU DO," said the referee, evidently forgetting that only teams currently playing in the match could do that. Ryoma had just time to grab his tennis bag before Atobe gripped his shoulder with a firm hand and thrust him out of the copter.
Momo followed him and hopped out with a wary, "Sorry, Buchou," as Tezuka strode over. He was out of breath and covered in sweat. He looked exhausted. Ryoma couldn't bring himself to see how much Sanada was sweating. He stared at Tezuka, knowing he should be apologizing for being hijacked, for wandering off to begin with, for thinking that anything was more important than this, than this match, than Tezuka, and for losing a moment when he could have been watching Tezuka play.
Instead he opened his mouth and all that would come out was, "Buchou."
Kish T: you are
Kish T: killing me
Kish T: :((
Aja: IT IS YOUR FAULT
Kish T: IT IS NOT MY FAULT
Kish T: HOW IS THIS MY FAULT
Aja: IT IS IT IS IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT
Aja: YOU WROTE THE FIC
Aja: YOU WERE EMO
Kish T: I KNOW I WAS
Aja: I WAS TRYING TO
Aja: CHEER YOU UP
Kish T: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
Tezuka looked down at him, taller than Ryoma wanted him to be, and let out a breath that took all his irritation with it. "Seigaku requests a time out," he said, and sat down on the bench.
Ryuzaki had been bench coaching, but Tezuka's approach she got up and climbed nimbly over the railing. "You two," she said, throwing Ryoma a look. "You don't know the meaning of playing til your heart is content."
Tezuka reached for his water and leaned back. Ryoma sat down. He probably sat too close, but Buchou had his eyes closed and didn't look like he noticed. He thought about what Atobe had said. He thought about what Tezuka wanted to teach him.
Tezuka's hand was still clutching his racket as hard as if he'd just hit a drop shot, and Ryoma reached over impulsively and pried it gently from his fingertips. He figured he'd learned at least one lesson well enough already. Tezuka sat up and opened his eyes.
"Hey," Ryoma said softly. He took Tezuka's racket and looked down at it. It was the first time he'd held it in his own hand. It was too big for him, too long. He thought he might grow into it in a year or so. Tezuka watched him, silently drinking from his water bottle and running his eyes over Ryoma's hands and forearms. Ryoma had already gotten stronger, and he wondered if that's what Tezuka was noticing now.
"Soon," he said, not looking away from Tezuka's racket, "I'll be strong enough to beat you."
"Yes," said Tezuka.
Ryoma looked over.
"Buchou," he said. "I'm supposed to take the pillar from you, right?"
Tezuka's eyes were soft. "Yes, Echizen."
"But I'm supposed to win it," Ryoma continued. "You're not supposed to throw it away."
Kish T: a;lkjsdfklajsdlfjl;askdjfalk;sjdfsdlfkj
Kish T: OH GOD RYOMA
"A player who plays and doesn't give his best, Echizen," said Tezuka gently, "is a player who will look back and never know how much further he could have gone."
Ryoma sat up straight and gripped Tezuka's racket. "I know how much further you'll go," he said. "I know because I'm going to push you forward."
Tezuka didn't say anything. He looked at Ryoma, and opened his mouth, and Ryoma heard himself take a deep breath.
"Buchou," he said. "I'll be your pillar." He thought, I'll always be your pillar, but he couldn't bring himself to add that, and he thought by the look on Tezuka's face he didn't have to. "But I won't support you if you're just going to let yourself be dead weight."
He bit his lip.
"Echizen," said Tezuka. Now his eyes were even softer.
Ryoma handed him back his racket.
Kish T: lk;ajsdkfjal;sdjflkasdk
Kish T: you should listen to your pillar
Kish T: tezuka
Kish T: listen to him
"Mada mada dane, buchou," he whispered, and he saw the barely perceptible smile mixed with resignation form at the tips of Tezuka's mouth. We still have lots more to work on.
Tezuka stood, and kept his hand on Ryoma's shoulder, the other hand clutching his racket.
Aja: kjk;;adsfjkjfk;lasjk;la GOD
Kish T: kl;asjdlfaj GOD INDEED
"Seigaku will forfeit this match," said Tezuka calmly, and Ryoma felt his lungs contract so sharply as he expelled all his air that he was sure half the stadium must have heard it.
He pulled his cap down desperately and kept it down until he felt Tezuka's hand leave his shoulder, until he felt Tezuka's warmth disappear from beside him.
Kish T: OH GOD YES
When he finally looked up it was to see Sanada shaking Tezuka's hand. There was a chill silence over the stadium, as if no one were quite willing to believe Tezuka would not after all pull out a zero shiki at the net. Ryoma found his bearings enough to look around him. Atobe was watching him shrewdly from the Hyotei sidelines, and it hit him, suddenly, that they had come to get him just for this.
Kish T: GOD AJA
Kish T: al;skdjflkas
Kish T: i wish you were konomi :((
Kish T: i liked when i was pretending you wrote prince of tennis
Kish T: :((
He wondered if being a pillar of support was supposed to feel so solemn, to weigh so heavy on his shoulders. He wondered if Tezuka felt this way all the time. Then Tezuka was reapproaching the bench, his face as composed as ever, and Ryoma realized with a jolt that Tezuka had always felt this way. Must have always felt this way - about the team and about him.Kish T: YES YES YES YES YES
The difference, Ryoma realized, adjusting his cap and trying to match the steadiness of Tezuka's gaze, was that before, Tezuka had been on his own.
Tezuka had Ryoma now. And a reason to hold out for something even better than this.
"Seigaku forfeit - Game-set, won by Sanada - 4 games to 3!"
Tezuka looked over at him as he reached for his water bottle. He didn't look unhappy. In fact -
Tezuka handed Ryoma his racket. Ryoma took it without a second thought. "Do you think you can adjust to it?" said Tezuka too casually.
"Che," said Ryoma with a grin. "I'll do it if you say so, Buchou."
He looked up at Tezuka, feeling taller already than he had felt minutes ago.
Tezuka didn't bother not to smile. "I'm counting on you, then, Echizen."
He found an excuse to keep his hand on Ryoma's shoulder as they left the court, and as they wound their way into the bleachers.
We've still got lots to work on, thought Ryoma.
And they were mada mada dane, together, ever after.
Kish T: ....
Kish T: NOW IF IT DOESN'T HAPPEN LIKE THIS
Kish T: I WILL DIE
Kish T: :((
Aja: OR IT COULD HAPPEN LIKE TEZUKA KICKING SANADA'S ASS AND NOT GETTING INJURED AND BEING JUST FINE
Kish T: TEZUKA IS A MORON
Kish T: HE NEEDS RYOMA TO SMACK HIM INTO SOME SENSE
Kish T: OR EVEN SMACK SOME SENSE INTO HIM
Kish T: WHAT DID I JUST DO THAR
Aja: KDLFASJ;FJS;DKLJAK SOMETHING INVOLVING THE VIOLENT IMPULSE WHICH YOU DOUBTLESS FEEL TOWARDS KONOMI
Kish T: AKJLSDHFJKAHDSFJLASDLJL;KJDFS YES I THINK THAT WAS IT
Kish T: it is like this spot of lunacy in this ocean of emo