The Warmest Hug


"For a hot chocolate in winter is as good as a warm hug..."

He felt a little thump on his back before a chill started to spread on the exact spot where he was hit by a ball of snow. He hugged himself, shivering, and turned around when another ball hit his face. He scowled.

"Syuusuke. Stop it."

Fuji grinned sweetly.

Then promptly threw the other snowball he held on his other hand.

"That's it." Ryoma grabbed a handful of snow and an imaginary bell rang as round one began.


"That was fun." Fuji sighed, grinning blissfully as they lay side by side on a bed of snow, his breath creating fog as he spoke.

Ryoma didn't say anything, his golden eyes just gazed up at the darkened sky.

"The chocolates..." Fuji shifted and looked at the younger boy beside him, then started to twirl soft dark locks between his fingers. "You gave it away to the kids at the park across our school. Why?"

"You're asking me... You take it all home, but you don't actually eat it, do you?"

Though Ryoma was still looking up at the sky, Fuji felt as though his eyes bore right through his soul. How Ryoma knew that he had never eaten any of the chocolates he received from unknown admirers every Valentine's day, and always ended up giving them to his sister, will always be a mystery to him. Much like how his sister seemed to have always known that he had originally intended to throw away the chocolates, so she'd always asked for them to save him from the guilt he'd feel later on.

As he continued to twirl the olive strands, Fuji remembered what his sister said the night before. It wasn't the one where she asked for the chocolates he'd get the next day. And not even the one about their deadly plots to those who'd dare give their precious Yuuta any chocolates.

No... It was about getting one from the person his red string was attached to.

As certain as he was about his feelings towards the other person, he also couldn't help but believe in his sister's foresight as it had many times proven to be a little too accurate. The day was almost over. All the craze about hearts and chocolates and confessions at school had already passed.

And so was the giving and receiving of chocolates.

Fuji chuckled. He was stronger than this. They were stronger than this. Looking at the younger boy's snow dusted hair, then to his eyes and that steady, golden gaze that never once wavered, Fuji's face broke into a smile. He knew, and understood, it was already too late.

Regardless of who his red string was attached to, his heart had already chosen.

Snow started to fall, so he got up and held his hand out to Ryoma.

"It's getting late. We should get going."

Fuji's hand was grabbed by Ryoma's smaller one as the latter stood up. A hand that, to Fuji's surprise, didn't let go as they walked the long, snow-covered pathway across the park surrounded by its leafless trees.

'If neither of us let go... then someday, surely, we will reach it. Little by little, as each day passes, we'll get to our 'forever' too...'


When they reached Ryoma's house, a mouth-watering smell wafted their way as they opened the wooden sliding door, greeting and warming their frozen nose. Ryoma's mother came out of the kitchen, wearing a simple white apron with dainty heart shaped patterns embroidered to go with the occasion. She smiled sweetly as she told them both "Welcome home."

"You're just in time. I baked chocolate chip and walnut cookies, and they're almost done. Fuji-kun, I made a lot of them so bring some home, okay? Oh, and since Yuuta-kun doesn't like sweet stuff too much, i made some with only walnuts in it just for him too."

Fuji chuckled. "Thank you so much, Rinko-san. He's always asking me when we'll get to eat your homemade cookies again."

"You're so sweet. Now you two just rest a bit for now. I'll call you when it's ready."

They took off their coats and hung them in the cupboard by the door. As soon as they got to the living room, Ryoma's cat jumped right into his arms. Though subtle, Fuji didn't miss how the younger boy affectionately smiled at his beloved cat.

"I'm home, Karupin."

After turning on the TV, Ryoma gently released Karupin. He uttered "I'll be right back" in his usual soft tone before heading for the kitchen. When Fuji sat down, the cat didn't waste a second and jumped right into his lap and purred delightfully before making himself comfortable.

Three commercials later, Ryoma came back with a can of grape Fanta on one hand and a steaming mug on the other. He handed the latter to Fuji, muttering reflexively "Careful, it's hot", then sat beside him and opened his usual pop. He waited for a bit, knowing all too well that Karupin will get off his lap and move to his favourite one. Fuji smiled, watching the same old scene unfold and as repetitive as it was, never seemed to lose it's cuteness.

As Fuji blew and slowly took a sip and realized what it was the Ryoma had made for him, he suddenly remembered what his sister had told him the night before.

//'Syuusuke... This year, you will definitely get a chocolate from the person to whom your red string is attached to. Unlike those you've brought home from the past years, this chocolate won't be cold.'//

//'It will be the warmest chocolate you'll ever have.'//



Disclaimers: Tennis no Oujisama belongs to Konomi-sensei.

A/N: I hope everyone is enjoying the warmth of being loved. Happy Valentines Day! Belated, as usual XD