Disclaimer: Not mine.
Dedication: For me. To remind me.
Echizen Ryoma knew one thing after Tezuka Kunimitsu left: the captain knew nothing about architecture.
"Become the pillar of Seigaku!"
Hadn't he told Ryoma that? Well, Ryoma realized how badly Tezuka had misspoken almost immediately.
Ryoma remembered his mother taking him on a tour through Italy when he was younger. It was something he remembered, though he hadn't been too thrilled about at the time. But his mother had wandering feet, and dragged him all over the world in an attempt to broaden horizon.
Hmmph. As if anything mattered but tennis.
Still, seeing the Pantheon had made him take a step back. It had been... impressive.
Not many things impressed Ryoma.
What struck him most were the massive pillars, stretching up for what seemed to be forever. He had stood next to one, amazed at the height and sense of timelessness. This place would last forever, even if it was destroyed. There would be an echo on the land, a place of permanence...
He wasn't fanciful usually, either. But the Pantheon seemed to remind him that there were greater things, which was probably what it was intended to do.
If you wanted to see pillars, it was the Romans you needed to learn from.
That was what a pillar was supposed to be. Something that supported, he supposed. But the Pantheon had many of them, and he realized that if the team lost a member, it would survived. Numerous members could change, and it would survive.
Momo had been forced off the team by Inui, and the team had survived. Ryoma knew that with Tezuka gone, Momo would likely come back, and he was glad for that. He missed his "do or die" attitude. He hated losing the challenge of the seemingly unbeatable captain, but Momo's return would be a balm.
Kikumaru's laughter, Oishi's caring, Kaidou's intensity, Fuji's unpredictability, Inui's intelligence, Taka's fire.. they all contributed to supporting the team. They were all pillars. Even if one cracked, the others would take on the weight of responsibility.
Tezuka knew nothing about architecture. Oh, no.
"I won't become a pillar," Ryoma murmured to himself, watching the team practice as they prepared for the nationals. "I'll become the keystone."
After all, that was the important part. Tezuka had been the support of the whole team; now it was Ryoma's turn.
There could have many pillars, but only one keystone - if you took it away, the entire structure would come crumbling down.
Yes, I know the Greeks are the major users of columns, but this is Ryoma. Allow me a bit of leeway. The Roman ruins are a bit easier for me to describe, anyway.