So... Lege and I were talking yesterday, and I went to mention Pillar Pair, but typed RoyxTez instead of RyoxTez. She mentioned wanting to read a RoyxTez... and this was born a little later. I'm actually rather pleased with how it turned out. So… yeah. XD


It all started with a text message.

Momo, seeing that it was the perfect day to play at their favorite public court, the one near the Shibuya crossing, decided to text Taka and told him to meet him at the court in an hour. Taka called Inui. Naturally, Inui called Kaidoh (while ignoring the nagging thought in the back of his mind that there was an 80 chance of receiving odd looks from the rest of the Regulars simply because it was Kaidoh who first sprang to his mind). Kaidoh ran into Eiji, who was never without Oishi, and told them the plan. Eiji gave Echizen a call, saying that the youngest of them needed to get out of the house, and Echizen sent an instant message to Tezuka. Nobody was really sure who alerted Fuji; they all had the idea that he was able to find these things out by osmosis of the electromagnetic waves put out by their cell phones.

The Seigaku Nine were used to seeing other players at the courts, and had befriended some of those who went on a regular basis, but they had never seen the two blondes, a braided girl and a boy, currently locked in a fierce match before. They wore their school's uniform, a bright red shirt with a vertical black stripe down the right side with black shorts, but none of the Regulars recognized the school. It was only when the girl, who had a deep voice for a girl her size and age, began to taunt the other that they realized these players were foreigners.

"Ha! You'll have to do better than that, Al," the shorter one yelled as she returned her companion's shot, the tennis ball making a satisfying thwock as her racket smacked against it. Of course, it only sounded like gibberish to all of them but Echizen, Tezuka, and Fuji, the only ones who knew any English.

"They must be here for the international tournament," Kaidoh remarked.

Momo's brows furrowed a little as he watched the pair play back and forth. "Aren't they a little short to play in an international tournament? No offense, Echizen."

"None taken, Momo-sempai," Echizen assured him, setting down his duffel bag and taking out his racket, holding it up. "They don't look so tough."

They watched the blondes battle until the girl extended her arm and smashed her partner's serve into the ground before the boy had a chance to run and return it. Defeated, he put his hands on his knees and panted, "That wasn't fair."

"Things are hardly fair, Al," the girl said, flipping her braid over her shoulder. "You've gotten better, though. Made me work a lot harder than I normally have to." Her partner grinned.

Momo elbowed Echizen. "Can you teach me how to say something in English real quick, Echizen? Please?"

Echizen's eyes narrowed a fraction, but he was not one to turn down a request by an upperclassman. "Sure."

After a few moments of an impromptu English lesson, Momo walked up to the girl, saying in thickly-accented English, "That was very good match, Miss."

Instead of thanking him or blushing and making light of his comment, the girl narrowed her eyes and snaked a forked tongue out of her mouth. "What did you say?" she ground out; Momo imagined that he could see flames leaping behind her. The poor Seigaku Regular had no warning before he found himself staring at the clouds with a tennis racket smashed into his head. Eiji and Oishi quickly ran to their fallen teammate, checking for signs of life.

The braided boy (there was no way any of them would call him a girl, even in their thoughts) looked as though he were about to say something else before a sharp voice barked, "Edward!" Girly Man (now apparently known as Edward) turned to an older man walking towards them and demanded, "What the bloody hell do you want, old man?"

"I leave for five minutes and I find you trying to kill a native," the man said, walking up to them and fuming quietly all the while. "That's not the sportsmanship that looks good on an international player. And is that any way to address your coach?"

Edward snarled at his coach, but calmed down a fraction as the other boy, Al, quickly ran over and placed a hand on Ed's arm. "Take it easy, Brother, he didn't mean anything by it."

"Bloody hell he didn't! He called me a girl!"

Al hesitated before saying, "Well… maybe if you cut your hair instead of letting it grow out and fixing it like a girl…" He grinned as Ed growled.

Tezuka, having grown tired of watching Ed fume, stepped forward. "You should not use tennis racket to hurts people," he chastised in his slightly off English, crossing his arms and looking as looming as possible.

Edward snorted. "Oh yeah? And who d'you think you are?"

Tezuka's eyes narrowed behind his lenses. "I am Seishun Gakuen buchou."

At Ed's baffled-but-trying-to-cover-it-up-by-being-rude look, Echizen translated, "He's our captain. We're the regulars for the Seigaku team."

Ed's coach quirked an interested eyebrow. "So you're the infamous Tezuka Kunimitsu? I'm Roy Mustang, tennis coach for Amestris Academy, just outside London. Nice to meet you." He extended a hand in a friendly manner; Tezuka shook it, but rather coldly, eyes boring into Mustang. "I have an idea," Roy continued. "How about your best against mine? A little preview of the upcoming tournament, shall we say?"

The Seigaku buchou nodded. "Fine. Echizen?"

"Hai, Buchou," Echizen murmured, pulling the rim of his hat down slightly.

Roy turned to Ed. "Are you up for another match?"

The blonde snorted again. "Always, old man." He retrieved his racket from beside Momo's barely-conscious form and took up the left side of the court.

"Go for it, Ochibi!" Eiji shouted as Echizen calmly walked to the opposite side of the court, raising a hand in acknowledgement. Al tossed him a ball, which he bounced a couple of times.

"Echizen!" Tezuka called, and Echizen looked up. "Yudan sezu ni ikou." Ryoma nodded, tossing the ball high and smacked it over the net, aiming for the corner farthest from Ed. Edward, not missing a beat, sprinted over to where he knew the ball would land and backhanded it, returning the serve, and the match was begun.

Tezuka, impressed that the blonde hadn't managed to let Echizen get an advantage from the start, ambled to the sidelines where Roy stood, watching the match closely. He cleared his throat. "Edward is good player. Not many get Echizen's serve."

Roy nodded. "Edward's the best we have. Prodigy, but he works bloody hard at it, too." Tezuka didn't miss the proud tone in his voice.

"Echizen is best player. Never lost yet."

The British coach smirked a little, a corner of his mouth twitching up. "There's a first time for everything, y'know," he said, casting a sideways glance at the teen.

"We will see," Tezuka returned, wondering why that look made him uneasy.

They stood in silence for a few moments, watching the intense tennis battle between their best and brightest. Edward gained the first match, easily returning a lob shot and volleying it close to the net when Echizen was at the far edge of the court. "Not bad, Echi," Ed said, smoothly catching the ball when it was tossed to him. "But you'll have to do better than that if you think you're gonna beat me."

Echizen only smirked and hit the ball when it was served.

"Looks like your boy's down a game," Roy pointed out.

"You no know Echizen," Tezuka replied, a little irked that Ryoma wasn't being taken as seriously as he should.

"My, my. Awfully protective of Echizen, aren't we? Are you perhaps more than his captain?"

It wasn't really the question that bothered him. Of course he was more than Echizen's buchou; he was a mentor and a friend. It was more the way it was said, the tone he used. The one that suggested he knew you better than you wanted him to. Then again, it didn't really bother him as in annoy him. It just made Tezuka feel… odd. He wasn't exactly sure how he felt about that. Tezuka's face heated a little and he turned back to the game, trying his best to ignore the man beside him as Roy called out encouragements to Edward.

The next few games were a blur to Tezuka, and he suddenly found himself watching the final game between Edward and Echizen, both with six games under their belts. Both were tired, but Ed looked to be in worse shape than Echizen, if only by a little.

Tezuka looked over at Ryoma and, in his native tongue, said simply, "Do it, Echizen." The freshman nodded, then hit the ball in the first serve for the final game.

Roy nodded in approval as Ed moved in an attempt to return the serve, but just missed the shot and sent the ball careening off to the side. "Zero-love. I'm impressed. I have to admit that I didn't think Echizen would last as long as he has."

Tezuka tilted his chin up, puffed out his chest a little, then wondered why showing off in front of this coach seemed so important. "I tell you, you no know Echizen."

"That may be, but I can see that it's thanks to his brilliant buchou," Roy said, surprising Tezuka by using the Japanese word. He flushed a fraction and turned his head away.

"Edward coach also good," Tezuka admitted. He heard a chuckle from his side, and turned to see Roy smiling a little at him. The Seigaku buchou was suddenly very aware of how close they were standing and how good the man looked when he smiled a bit. Tezuka wasn't exactly sure how long they stood there, but suddenly Fuji was announcing to all that was gathered, "Game, set! Won by Seigaku, Echizen Ryoma," and there was much cheering from the Seigaku Nine.

Ed and Echizen approached the net and shook hands. "That was a good game, Echi," the blonde said.

"Che. Mada mada dane, Edward," Echizen said, smirking lightly.

The British boy turned to his coach, wiping sweat off his forehead using his forearm. "C'mon, old man, we've been here all morning. Let's get out of here."

"All right, all right. You and Alphonse go on ahead; I'll be along in a minute." At Edward's nod and call for his brother, Roy turned back to Tezuka. "Your boy plays a hell of a game."

Tezuka nodded. "You too."

"I have to say, I'm looking forward to the tournament. It'd be interesting to see you play against Edward," Roy said.

The teen nodded again. "I am very much so looking forward to playing with your member."

Roy only raised an eyebrow. "I'm sure. I'll see you at the tournament, then."

As the man walked away, Tezuka wondered briefly why Echizen was choking on his water.