Living in a Shadow

Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis

Summary: Ryoma and Yuuta find out that they have more in common than they would ever have imagined. [Ryoma and Yuuta friendship

Chapter one:

Part one. Fuji Yuuta

It was 2:45 am. Fuji Yuuta sat by his window sill, unable to sleep. The soft moonlight illuminated through the dark room, lightly playing on the boy's cheek, only revealing half of his face. The other half was hidden in the shadows.

He hated Shadows. They reminded him of his love, and hatred towards his brother. They reminded him of the endless hours of training, and how those hours seemed to shatter into nothing whenever he saw his brother play tennis.

They reminded him of how he was desperately chasing after Shusuke. It was as if he was running, but he was never moving any closer to him. He was living in his Brother's shadow.

Yuuta looked out his window, catching his reflection. His eyes gazed sadly back at him. He felt alone, even though his sister and brother were sleeping in the same house as him. His feelings were ripping him apart from the inside.

Everyone else thought it was just a case of sibling rivalry, but it was more than that. A constant battle was going on in his mind, between love and hate. He no longer hated his brother as he had before but he knew he could never love him properly.

He was confused. He was broken.

His eyes wondered to a picture frame, laying face down on the desk. He knew every minor detail of that photo, even without looking at it. It was taken when he was much younger, around six. His brother was a year older than him. It was when he had won his first school running race and Shusuke was proudly ruffling his hair.

It was on his desk ever since the photo had been developed, and had been laying face down for many months.

He buried his head in his hands, and shut his eyes. Yuuta felt tears prickling at the back of his eyes.

He stood up quickly, and then got dressed, careful not to make any sound. He slung his tennis bag over his shoulders then made his way down the stairs to the entrance.

As he was tying his shoelaces a quiet voice softly murmured his name. "Yuuta…"

"I'm going out" Yuuta said gruffly, not turning around.

"But it's so late"

He could hear the concern in his brother's voice but he ignored it and stood up.

Shusuke put his hand on Yuuta's shoulder. "You shouldn't be out this late. It's not safe…I'll go with you"

Yuuta hit his hand away. "Leave me alone. I don't need you"

He turned to see Shusuke blink in hurt. He looked as if he had just been slapped across the cheek. "Yuuta…" he choked.

Guilt clawed at his whole body. He tried to shrug it off and stormed out of the house.

Part two. Echizen Ryoma

Ryoma sat upright on his bed in the growing darkness. His fingers gently stroked Karupin, who was purring softly on his lap. His face was as calm as ever, but inside he was aching.

In his other hand he was clutching a newspaper article, 'Samurai Nanjiroh's Son wins junior tournament'.

Nanjiroh's son. The second Samurai. Junior Nanjiroh. That was all he had been hearing all his life. Before he had come to Seigaku, no one would address him as Ryoma.

He remembered walking onto the tennis court in a tournament, and all he could hear was: 'Look! Isnt he the son of Samurai Nanjiroh?'

It hurt. It hurt to be living in his father's shadow.

At least he was good at hiding them. His emotions. He didn't need to for a long time, because when he became a regular at Seigaku, he was known as Ryoma Echizen, the 7th year regular.

He had finally thought that he had been accepted as himself. He was able to enjoy playing in tournaments again. So he had thought that he should attend a junior one in the U.S, but he was mistaken.

He had not been accepted. Just as soon as he had gotten off the airplane, crowds were cheering for him.

But not for him. They were cheering for the 'second' samurai. He had come back to Japan a week ago. But the pain wouldn't stop echoing in his chest, in his head.

Ryoma stared blankly at the article in his hand. It wasn't fair. He loved tennis just as much as his father. His father was an old perverted jerk and he was decent. So why couldn't he surpass him?

Karupin suddenly hissed and Ryoma realized that he was gripping into the cat's fur. He made soothing noises and tried to cuddle with it, but it squirmed out of his arms and pawed out of the room.

He sighed in frustration and climbed out of his bed. He got dressed sullenly and picked up his tennis bag. As he slowly walked into the living room he grabbed his hat off the coat-rack and scowled as he turned to see his dad asleep on the couch with a porno magazine on his chest. To increase his anger Karupin was lying peacefully on his stomach.

How could his father be so good at tennis when he wasn't even a good father?

He was a bad influence, always reading rude magazines and never helping (or caring) with his school work. The only thing he did to help with his tennis practice was to beat him mercilessly in every match.

He looked away, a scowl still plastered onto his face. He slipped into his shoes and closed the door behind him.

Part three. Anger

Yuuta slammed the ball into the wall. As it bounced back, he hit it with so much strength that the ball drilled into the wall and stayed there.

He cursed and began to gently pry it out. He knew it wasn't good to put your anger into tennis, but he could help it.

He couldn't release all of his anger into his brother. He loved him too much for that.

But he could still release a fraction of it. He hated him enough for that.

He had no choice. If he didn't channel his feelings into something, it would have destroyed his mind ages ago.

Ryoma walked into the empty park and placed his tennis bag on a nearby bench. Then he carefully unzipped it, taking out his racquet and a ball. He stared at it.

He remembered his first tennis racquet. His father had gone with him to choose it. He remembered coming out of the shop clutching a large bag with one small arm, gripping his dad's sleeve with his other arm and grinning his face off.

But that was the last time his father had brought him out to buy anything tennis related.

After he turned nine, his father abruptly stopped training him and got him another coach.

He was heavily disappointed at that. Then he was motivated to work hard, so he could surpass his oyaji.

But even after years of heavy training, it didn't look like that day was coming any time soon.

In his frustration Ryoma served the ball as hard as he could. It bounced against the wall and shot back at him. It was so quick that it swerved through his swing and hit his tennis racquet. His racquet flew out of his hand and smashed against the bench, narrowly missing his tennis bag.

He swiftly picked it up and inspected it, it was covered in cracks and didn't look like it was going to last very soon. He swore loudly and threw it down on to the bench.

Yuuta heard someone shout a swearword and a loud clank. "What the heck…" he whispered under his breath.

He cleared his throat. "Who's there?" he asked.

He peered around the wall the same the other person did. He found himself staring into a familiar face.

"You!" they both yelled at the same time.

Chapter one finished. What do you think? Review please. PLEASE