Hollow Victory

" Monkey King, everybody's watching," Ryoma said half-heartedly, rolling his eyes and trying to squirm away from the older boy. The eyes he was receiving when Atobe nearly toppled him to make him sit on the Hyotei dive's lap was to say, amusing, but he wasn't a fan of receiving attention when it wasn't needed, and right now it was just plain stupid.

The chanting of Hyotei had stopped, along with the cheers of Rikkai, and the court was quiet, except for the referee announcing the winner and the Nationals champion. Ryoma wasn't paying particular attention to it, mainly because he already knew the results , having seen the matches himself. His own team was standing right outside the sidelines, waiting for their captain to give them the signal of dismissal.

"I don't care, " came the muffled reply from his shoulders, warm breath ghosting along his skin. Atobe held him tighter. " You belong to me anyway."

Ryoma just shook his head and gave his team a jerk of his hand. His team nodded, still unsure of what to make of their captain sitting on Atobe Keigo's lap, but they trusted their captain's intentions and quietly disappeared out of sight.

The Hyotei fangirls were whispering among themselves, eyes darting to Ryoma and Atobe, giving Ryoma a fiercer glare by the second. Ryoma sighed, adjusting his glasses upwards as he muttered, "You're creating a scene. "

Ignoring Atobe's muffled laughter, he saw Yukimura leaning to Sanada for support and Sanada shouting at the high school freshmen to put ice on their vice captain. Ryoma smirked and reached up to stroke Atobe's hair― damp and sweaty but it still was the perfect conditioned Atobe hair― and gave the fangirls a cool glare; one that he had been practicing to control Horio better during practice. He could see Oshitari shaking his head and smiling himself as he surveyed the Rikkai stands.

"Hyotei won."

The winner would be Hyotei.

Ryoma laughed a little, not because it was funny but because he felt it was his role to act as if nothing was wrong. " You sound as if you don't believe it."

Oshitari just shook his head, fingers clutching the warm water bottle he had no intention of drinking. " Atobe is going to be captain next year."

A fact that they all knew, yet it somehow had to be said.

Atobe raised his head up to rest his chin on Ryoma's shoulders as he glared at Oshitari. " You're off the team when I'm made captain."

Oshitari chuckled, and Ryoma thought it was justified to elbow Atobe in the ribs as he said, "No you won't. You're going to need all the help you can get next year." Next year, we'll be facing each other again.

"So confident of yourself. " Atobe still didn't let go of him and he was beginning to get comfortable as he leaned back and smirked.

"Won the Nationals didn't I? I made a good captain."

"Yes, Tezuka should be proud. His little pillar, holding the Junior High Nationals title for three years running." Ryoma laughed again, and he was sure Atobe cracked a small smile in return, because they both knew Atobe expected nothing less of Ryoma.

"...It was a good game."

Atobe doesn't reply for a long time, his breathing coming out unevenly, his muscles tense, and Ryoma waited, letting his own hand rest on top of Atobe's, letting Atobe realize he won, he won, he won.


It was a quiet acknowledgement, but it was enough to confirm Atobe was all right.

"Next year won't be as easy. Gloat while you can, monkey king."

Atobe huffed a little but he still held Ryoma's hand tightly, a rare gesture showing his appreciation and the acceptance of his challenge. "Brat."

Ryoma closed his eyes and let the smile linger for a little while longer, his breathing matching Atobe's thinking next year, next year, it would start all over again, him, the arrogant freshman who never lost a match and Atobe the Hyotei captain who had the power to control the two hundred members of his tennis team.

He was looking forward to it.