Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis.

All chapters re-posted on 14.03.2008 for typos and other mistakes. Hopefully there will be none now.

After the Climax

They crashed against the lockers, lips sealed to each other, hands caressing, legs stumbling, bodies trembling.

The shorter of the two boys pulled his mouth away just long enough to utter, "What the hell is this."

He received a rowdy laughter as an answer, along with amused words. "I would think you would be old enough to know what this is. But perhaps ore-sama is mistaken, and ore-sama should leave, if you are still as young as your height seems to suggest."

"Shuddup, monkey king," Ryoma answered and pulled Atobe back to another kiss. Any answer Atobe might have given the boy disappeared from his mind as Ryoma trailed kisses along his jaw.

Ryoma sat on a bench in the locker room of one of the public courts of the city, staring at his shirt. He didn't look at the other boy who was also getting dressed, not too far from him.

Yesterday had been the last day of his first year in high school. Buchou, Fuji, Kikumaru, Oishi and Inui were gone; they had graduated from high school, leaving Ryoma, Momo and Kaidoh behind them, most going to finish their education in college, others to pursue other interests in life. Like a professional tennis career.

Like Buchou.

That's what irked Ryoma the worst. Tezuka was leaving him in Japan, and going pro. He couldn't play him anymore, not like when Tezuka was still in high school, and in the same club. Tezuka was leaving him behind, taking with him the only chance he had to play a decent opponent anytime he wanted. Well, almost anytime, anyway.

In a way, Buchou leaving had caused the situation he was in now.

Pissed, Ryoma had been scowling the public tennis courts hoping for a decent opponent. He had smirked after seeing Atobe Keigo in a secluded court, practising, by hitting a wall. After a few snark comments from both, they ended up having a match. A long match. A good match. A thrilling match that made Ryoma's heart race and his breath hitch.

They ended at 6-7, Atobe's favour, and Ryoma wasn't really all that sorry.

He was just happy that he got to play on opponent that could actually beat him. Maybe he wouldn't die of boredom after all. Maybe he could convince the Monkey King to play him again.

He opened his mouth to ask just that, but when their hands touched, all thoughts besides the feel of Atobe's skin on his skin, the other boy's smirk, the vein pulsing on his neck, the slightly tanned skin and muscled body, disappeared from his mind.

He wasn't sure witch one leaned in first. He knew he was the one who pulled Atobe to the locker room.

He hadn't expected this. And he had absolutely no idea what to think about it.

All he knew that he had probably ruined his chances of having a decent opponent by screwing with him.

Damned teenage hormones. Damn them to hell!

He scowled, and finally pulled the shirt over his head. It stunk of sweat.

Not surprisingly after their game. He really should have brought a change of clothes with him, even if there weren't any showers in the changing rooms, despite the lockers.

Which was stupid, really. Who builds locker rooms with out showers?

He threw a glance around the locker room, looking for his cap, then remembered that Atobe had knocked it of his head at the courts, at some point when they were stumbling to the direction of the locker room.

Really, the shack shouldn't even be called a locker room. It had no showers! A proper locker room had showers!

Frustration over not having his cap finally caused him to mutter, "Stupid monkey king, for losing my cap." He was shocked, when the desired article was placed on his head, by the just insulted Atobe Keigo.

Bewildered he lifted his gaze to dark blue eyes, and to a face, that was curiously blank. It occurred to him that perhaps even Atobe was just as bewildered as he was. Maybe he could still have a chance at having a game with him every now and then.

Before he could ask, though, Atobe had turned on his heels, and left.

Ryoma decided it would be a nice change in routine to see how many dents he could make on the lockers. A scientific experiment, of sorts. Just to see how long it would take until his hands went numb.

Tezuka was leaving tomorrow.

So of course everyone decided they should send him off by having a last meeting with the whole gang at Kawamura's sushi store. They had frequented the sushi store more often after Kawamura and the other third years had started high school. No one was sure how it ended up as a tradition to meet there every two weeks, but everyone was glad it had happened. It gave the former third years and juniors, plus Ryoma, a chance to meet every once and a while, even if they were in different schools.

Taka had stopped playing tennis after junior high, just like he had said and started to study harder on becoming a sushi chef. Everyone else had stayed with tennis, although Fuji had leaned more and more towards his second love, photographing, during his third year in high school. Ryoma knew he intended to pursue studies of it in college.

The golden pair had decided to stick with tennis, and were contemplating on joining Tezuka at the pro circuits. But they were still considering their options.

Inui, when asked, had stated that he intended to graduate from college, and perhaps continue on with a tennis career after that. What Inui was planning on studying, Ryoma had no idea. Probably something to do with chemistry, if his love for creating juices indicated anything.

As for Momo and Kaidoh, the future was not something they had to contemplate for another year.

Thoughts of his afternoon game with Atobe and what happened after it were still swirling in Ryoma's head when he slid open the door to Kawamura's. He found the place almost empty. He was the first to arrive.

"Echizen!" Taka greeted him from behind the counter. His father smiled at his son's former team member and a regular costumer. Ryoma greeted them both with a smile, and sat on a stool in front of Taka.

"Can I have a ponta, Kawamura-sempai?" Ryoma asked. "It looks like we'll have to wait for a while until the others come."

"Sure, Echizen, just give me a sec." Taka answered.

"You go and join your friend, Takeshi." Kawamura-san told his son. "Remember you're taking today off to say goodbye to your friend and celebrating your own graduation."

"But dad, you might need help!" Taka tried to resist.

"Don't be silly boy, I've been making sushi for years. Besides, the shop's closed today for your celebrations. I think I can handle making sushi for nine boys, even if the bottomless pits that call them self's Momoshiro and Echizen are with them." After saying this, Kawamura-san smiled at Ryoma, showing that he was only joking. The boy smiled back, not taking offence.

Taka took off his apron and joined Ryoma in front off the counter, handing the boy his ponta, just in time for Inui and Tezuka to arrive.

"Ah, it appears we are early." Inui commented, an adjusted his glasses. "Hello Echizen, Taka-san, Kawamura-san." Inui greeted, and Tezuka followed in his suite.

Ryoma glared at Tezuka. For some odd reason, which he could not be sure of, everything that had happened with Atobe, was somehow Tezuka's fault.

Tezuka quirked an eyebrow after facing Ryoma's glare, and Ryoma quickly adjusted his face in to a bored expression. Even if it was all Tezuka's fault, he couldn't tell his former captain that, or he might have to explain what, exactly was, Tezuka's fault.

And that secret would go to the grave with him. And to Atobe's. That's right, he wasn't the only one who knew about it. Atobe had been there too. What if Atobe told someone? He had almost forgotten about the egoistical diva. And that just showed how shocked he really was. I mean, how could you forget someone like Atobe? Not that easily.

"O'chibi!" Ryoma almost fell from the stool as Kikumaru collided with him, knocking him out of breath.

Years of practice had taught him how to handle Kikumaru-sempai's hugs so he didn't get crushed, or be denied of air, but all that was forgotten when he was caught of guard like this.

"Yudan sezu ni ikou." Tezuka informed him. Don't get careless, indeed. Who would have thought that Tezuka would show that he actually does have a sense of humour after entering high school.

"Thanks Buchou." He gave a muffled answer, face buried in Kikumaru's chest.

After Kikumaru released him, he was seized in a headlock by Momo, and the spike haired kid repeated his captain's words. "That's right Echizen, can't get careless, you can't."

"Fshuu!" Kaidoh hissed from behind them.

Momo released him after shuffling his hair. From the corner of his eye, Ryoma could see Oishi's worried gaze, and smiled at him, to show he was alright.

After the others drifted off to sit around the tables they had adopted as their own, Fuji appeared next to him. The tensai set a hand on his shoulder and asked, for once, not smiling, "Are you alright, Echizen. You seem a bit… dazed."

Dazed was one way of putting it, I suppose.

For a moment he considered telling Fuji what had happened earlier. He was one of the trust worthiest of the group, and could probably help him get some clarity on what he'd done, and why. "I'm fine." He finally said. The embarrassment finally won out. He wasn't going to tell anyone that he'd just fucked with the monkey king.

Fuji didn't seem convinced, but smiled anyway, and let the matter drop.

The night went along the normal way. Momo and Kaidoh bickered; there was nothing new about it. They got along a lot better these days, they even formed as decent doubles partners, but some things just never changed.

While Momo and Kaidoh were bickering amongst each other, Eiji and Ryoma continued with their own tradition, and that was to steal the other two's sushi. When they finally stopped bickering, the two sushi thieves had already emptied their plates. The others laughed happily, just like every other time this happened.

Not until Oishi asked when Tezuka's flight was leaving, did they remember that this was not a usual get together, but a farewell party for their captain.

"You're travelling with, Atobe, right?" Fuji asked, and Ryoma's chopsticks stopped midway to his mouth. He turned to stare at Tezuka.

"Yes, he's travelling to France to meet some of his relatives who are living there. Since our departure coincides, we decided to travel together." Tezuka answered, and threw a sideway glance at Ryoma, frowning his forehead, wondering at the boy's strange behaviour today. He now suspected it had something to do with Atobe, and intended to ask Hyotei's graduate about it when they met tomorrow. He knew from experience that he would get nothing out of Echizen.

Finally they started to leave for home, one by one. Ryoma was one of the last to leave, and he stood in front of Tezuka, glaring at the older boy. "Two years, Buchou. I'll be in the circuits when I finish high school. Be prepared to get beaten."

"I'll be looking forward to it." Tezuka promised, with a slight smile.

They shook hands, both resolute to meet again, at other ends of a tennis court.

Finally, Ryoma smiled. He might have to wait a couple of years, but he was sure the wait would be worth it.

Tezuka greeted Atobe at the airport gates. The other boy had arrived with a limo, but proceeded in carrying his own luggage. "You travel lightly, Tezuka, considering you are leaving Japan for a very long time."

"I do not need much." Tezuka answered, shouldering his own bag, and comparing it to Atobe's luggage, witch compiled of two suitcases and a carry on bag.

Tezuka did not remember to bring up the matter involving Echizen until they were in the air. Atobe was sipping his drink, sitting leisurely in the window seat.

"Echizen was acting quite strange yesterday, and I thought you might know something about it."

"Echizen?" Atobe turned to look at him wide eyed. "Why would you think I would have anything to do with that brat?"

"Just a thought." Tezuka said, but continued to stare at Atobe, until the other finally gave in.

"Fine." He snapped finally. "I saw him yesterday. We had a game. That's all." Atobe, thinking the matter closed, returned to his drink and sight seeing.

"Was it good?"

Atobe sprayed the drink from his mouth on himself, and the back of the seat in front of him. "What?!" He yelped.

"The game. Was it good?" Tezuka asked again, frowning.

"Ah, the game." Atobe composed himself, while trying to wipe the drink off with a handkerchief. He smirked without even noticing, and answered stretching his words. "It was… very satisfying… Wouldn't mind, doing it again, sometime."

"That's good." Tezuka said, although a little perplexed at Atobe's behaviour. "I'm a little worried that he might get bored for lack of challenge, and do something foolish."

"And we mustn't let that happen." Atobe was feeling giddy. "I'll make sure the brat doesn't get bored once I get back. Don't you worry, Tezuka. Just leave Echizen to me."

"Thank you Atobe. I know this is the second time I've asked for your help when it comes to Echizen, but- "

"Don't worry about it, Tezuka." Atobe waved a hand at him. "It's no trouble at all. Trust me. It's a pleasure." He smirked, and drained the last of his drink. "Such a nice view, isn't it?"

Tezuka didn't know what the fuck Atobe was talking about. All he could see were clouds.

A/N: I'll be happy with any kind of comments, since it's my first time posting anything on Thanks for reading.