Disclaimer: I don't own The Prince of Tennis.

A/N Woop! Another chapter, I'm on a roll, aren't I? Okay, so once again I'm experimenting, but I don't really think I caught the mood this short story needed...


My Lover's Gone

By squishy the jellyfish

"I want to go back to the start," Ryoma said softly, cuddling into the comfortable warmth of his lover.

The bespectacled man closed his eyes briefly, and opened them again. With a small tilt of his foot, he rocked the rocking chair backwards slowly and then forwards again, repeating this action over and over. "So do I…"

Ryoma bit his lip. Not enough to break skin, but just enough to stifle a sob.

Tezuka, feeling the smaller form tense in his embrace looked down empathetically, "Ryoma…"

The tips of the boy's lips curved downwards, his teeth responding automatically by clamping down on his lip harder; stifling yet another sob. Ryoma grabbed fistfuls of Tezuka's shirt and released his hold on his lip, "Why…why did this have to happen?"

Tezuka's expression softened somewhat. Holding the boy closer, he opted on rubbing calming circles on Ryoma's back.

Ryoma gasped in his breath, "I'm not ready!"

The former Seigaku captain ceased form rocking to focus his attention on the quivering boy. He buried his face into the silky emerald locks and exhaled. For once, Tezuka didn't know what to say, he wished deeply that he could conjure up something to say that would soothe the boy's obvious distress, but he just couldn't.

"I don't want to die!"

Tezuka clenched his eyes shut and tightened his grip on Ryoma instantaneously. Vaguely, he felt his shirt become damp as the boy hugged the other close, but he couldn't find any reason to care.

Ryoma sniffed. "Not yet, not yet. Ore wa mada mada dane," he cried.

Tezuka bit his lip as he disguised his cry with an agonizingly subdued laugh

Ryoma's breathing came in varied gasps and heaves as he held Tezuka closer.

"Sh…" Tezuka hushed the boy, barely being able to hide the shakiness in his tone.

Ryoma scrunched his eyes closed, "Kunimitsu, I…I'm scared. I'm really scared."

"…I know," Tezuka said, feeling his heart rip in two. He couldn't do anything, he couldn't reassure the boy, he couldn't comfort him, and he couldn't stop his tears from falling. No. Not this time, and that hurt.

"I don't want to die," he repeated, "I don't want to die."

Tezuka's eyes seemed to be boring a hole through the ocean view as he began to rock the chair once again.

"…I want to live past my twenty-first birthday," Ryoma wept.

"I know…" Tezuka managed to say as he closed his eyes.

The two stayed like that for a long time, holding one another until the sun disappeared beyond the horizon. Tezuka's body tensed as he felt Ryoma's hands loosen their hold and his body became still.