Note: This is the first fic I've written in several years. I don't know why I decided to make it multiple chapters when I already feel anxious about posting this much. It's been a very long time since I've read The Prince of Tennis, so I'll do my best with these characters. Ultimately, this story will decide if I continue to write fics in the future or stick with just my original fiction. Thank you.
All Things Shatter
What is the point in trusting someone when they'll just break you down and take everything that you ever loved away?
It was warm. The afternoon's sun seeped into the shirt of the young boy sitting on a bench. In the distance there was the sound of the tennis team practicing. He could hear the balls hitting the court and shoes slipping as they ran to hit for the ball with their rackets. It was a sound he once enjoyed participating in. Running his fingers through his dark hair, he let out a sigh; turning to the footsteps he heard approaching.
"Like clockwork," another boy slipped into the empty seat beside him. Strands of hair fell in his face as he peered over his glasses with icy blue eyes. "Haven't you gotten tired of this yet, Echizen?"
He shrugged and stared down towards his arms. Two long scars stretched across both of them; reminding Ryoma of past mistakes and lost dreams. "Probably."
"Want to go get something to eat?"
"Fuji-senpai," Ryoma turned back to his upperclassmen. "I... I'm going to head home..."
As the young boy was swift to rise to his feet, Fuji was just as quick to grab for his wrist. Ryoma winced; trying to get away from the clutch. It was no use. Accepting defeat, he slumped back onto the bench with another sigh slipping from his lips.
"You can't just expect everything to be okay," Fuji's words were firm. "Why do you keep doing this to yourself?"
"I guess... maybe for the same reason... I stayed with him for so long..."
Looking towards his upperclassmen, he let out a sigh. "You should be out on that court, not sitting here with me."
"There are some things that are more important to me."
"I... I was stupid... Fuji-senpai..."
"You didn't know this would happen."
"Yeah... but I trusted him..."
Ryoma couldn't exactly recall the last time he played tennis. It was like he was attempting to wipe away those past memories in order to remove the hurt of no longer people able to enjoy the sport. His arms twitched and stung with scars he couldn't hide. There were times that he felt so weak that his pencil was even hard to hold. To put so much love and trust into a toxic relationship, Ryoma was paying the price. Even when told it wasn't his fault, he could only curse himself for being stupid enough to stay. Thinking about it, it seemed like it should have been so easy to walk away. Yet, here was Ryoma, a broken child thanks to a misguided relationship. What did he even have left? He wasn't sure. However, he clung to the sounds of tennis and the false hope of returning to the court one day. That was just enough to keep him going.
The sky was clear on that particular day. The current tennis team from Ryoma's high school decided to meet with another team. Some of the students were familiar to Ryoma, but he just considered this more practice for any upcoming big matches. Placing his bag on one of the free benches, he chatted with a few of the new faces in the tennis club.
"Ochibi~" Eiji chirped; grabbing the younger boy from behind. "Look who it is."
Arriving onto the court was someone Ryoma remembered winning matched against plenty times before. He noted that his muscles were more well defined than during their junior high years. It was almost disturbing, how mesmerized Ryoma was by such a handsome face.
"Might be a different location, but you'll face the same defeat, Atobe," Ryoma smiled before turning to his upperclassmen. "Kikumaru-senpai, you think I could beat Atobe even playing doubles?"
Eiji cocked his head to the side; his usual smile fading. "There's a difference between being confident and being naive."
"Tennis isn't exactly what I want to talk to you about," Atobe firmly pressed his hand against Ryoma's shoulder. "Come with me. No need play when you already know you'll win."
Shrugging, Ryoma waved himself away from Eiji; telling him to let Fuji know he wouldn't be long. Uncertain about what was going on, Eiji found it odd seeing the two of them walking away together. With their backs turned towards him, he watched as they headed into the school building. Eiji wiped his uncertainties away and called for Fuji who had soon arrived.
"Let's play doubles, Fuji," Eiji pulled at the boy's arm.
"Where did Echizen run off to?"
Eiji stuck out his lower lip; pouting. "Went with Atobe somewhere."
"Hmm?" Fuji's blue eyes turned towards the school building. "What would those two be doing together?"
"Talking about tennis?"
"I'll play doubles with you this time around."
"Fuji's the best! Nya!" without thought, Eiji clung to his friend's waist.
It wasn't that Fuji did or didn't want to play doubles, it was moreso his desire to know what Atobe and Ryoma were chatting about. Even though Eiji mentioned tennis, Ryoma was the type to let his skills do the talking rather than actual speech. Fuji could only shake his head at whatever thoughts crossed his mind. In the past year, Ryoma had become more independent and understood himself more than when they first met in junior high. Though tennis was important to him, he knew that there was more than just the sport to live for. However, that never stopped Ryoma from mainly thinking about the game. Fuji didn't want anything to take away from that.
Ryoma stared into Atobe's dark eyes. "Couldn't we have just talked outside?"
"Where's the fun in that?" his voice ran a chill up the young boy's spine. "It's better to talk about these things in private."
"The thrill of playing against you just isn't fulfilling anymore. We should move our relationship in a different direction."
"Ah, Echizen, don't try to use your cute, naive charm on me," taking Ryoma's chin in his hand, Atobe yanked his face closer. "What do you say? You're not dating anyone, right?"
"Then give me a chance. A prince like you deserves a king."
With his cheeks turning red, Ryoma couldn't deny the fact that Atobe had turned into rather attractive man. There hadn't been much he thought about besides tennis until recently, but he was sure he was at the point in life where relationships began to sound nice. He noticed things about his other teammates too. Fuji had a nice complexion and was always looking out for him. Eiji, though annoying at points, had a personality anyone could fall for. Honestly, Ryoma knew he was surrounded by attractive males to the point that he had to question his own sexuality. Unlike his other male classmates, he couldn't think of the names of any of the females in the classes he took. Even the love confessions from girls confused him and they were left rejected.
Slightly surprised by Ryoma's response, Atobe placed a sly grin on his face. "Good. You won't regret your choice..."
There was only so much truth to the words Atobe spoke that day...