Title: Hidden Smiles
Author: Angel (wwwDOTdaunting-silenceDOTnet)
Disclaimer: Obviously, PoT doesn't belong to me.

'Hidden Smiles' is a collection of my short Tezuka x Ryoma drabbles. This is my first time writing drabbles (unless you count a one-shot-2000-word-fanfiction drabble). Please go easy on me, and thank you for reading.

Drabble #1 : Hurt

Tentative hand caressed a slightly bruised yet still smooth cheek. One side of the delicate cheeks was still red from the impact of angered hand. Echizen Ryoma remembered the scene very clearly. When Tezuka Kunimitsu's hand landed on his cheek, his mind went blank. He didn't feel the pain of being slapped. He didn't even feel any pain when he fell hard onto the merciless ground.

He was numb. He barely noticed the Seigaku-Tennis-Club-captain-turned-temporary-coach asking him to follow him home for a little talk. It almost looked like Fate was out to get him since the past few days.

"Does it hurt?"

". . ."

"Does it hurt, Echizen?"

". . . No."

Tezuka sighed at the lie. "Ryoma…"

Ryoma shrugged. "Mada mada dane."

A rare chuckle escaped the usually aloof Tezuka. The younger boy's head was slightly bowed as if he was trying not to look at the other boy at all. In truth, Ryoma really was trying to not look. The older boy tilted Ryoma's face upward and promptly flinched at the emptiness reflected on the younger boy's face. It was so hollow and emotionless that it hurt. The only thing that alerted Tezuka of Ryoma's agony was his eyes. The cat-like eyes looked like they were crying albeit the dryness of the smooth surface.

Closing his own eyes, Tezuka pulled a silent Ryoma into his arms. The latter showed no reaction and it the silence between them felt so daunting. 'Echizen Ryoma is strong. He wouldn't be hurt over such thing. He's more sensible than people give him credits for,' the captain assured himself. When the small body in his arms started to shake, however, Tezuka was not so sure anymore. The way Ryoma buried his face into Tezuka's shirt pained Tezuka in a way. His hold around the younger boy tightened instinctively.

When the future Pillar of Seigaku spoke, Tezuka finally understood. Ryoma was not lying when he said it didn't hurt when Tezuka hurt him. His cheek didn't hurt at all.

It was Ryoma's heart that bled.