Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis cause if I did, the ending to it would NOT have happened. I don't own the lyrics at the bottom, either, which are Rescued by Jack's Mannequin, and that song owns my world.

Dedication: To Annie, for her birthday. I hope you enjoy my (obviously) failed attempt at getting inside Ryoma's head. (I'll compensate you by not complaining of your usage of meh and that horrible p-word for a week. I can't promise much longer than that.)


Ryoma likes his sleep; everyone knows it, since the Prince of Tennis is always falling asleep somewhere. So he could not explain why he was foregoing his sleep just to watch her enjoy her own.

He thinks it's because she is far too distracting for her own good. (Which doesn't really make sense, he knows, because she is quiet and reserved and her voice is soft and gentle, soothing, quite unlike Tomo's voice--whom he acknowledges only because she is his wife's best friend; he doesn't like her very much, but the days of hurting Sakuno are over, and besides, if he simply ignores Tomo her presence becomes more bearable.) Her long hair--which is normally pulled back into a braid-- is spread across her pillow, fanning out and shining from the light of the moon seeping through their blinds. Her skin is highlighted in the light, and he has the oddest urge to touch her.

Echizen Sakuno is certainly an annoyance when she sleeps.

Her breathing is even and deep, and she rolls over, towards him, sighing his name. He smirks and brushes the hair away from her face and simply observes.

Sakuno is not beautiful; this, he knows, and for it he is glad. He does not want a trophy wife and never has; however, he is glad, because Sakuno is pretty, and it is this he acknowledges. (She is only beautiful when she smiles, especially when it is directed at him.)

His thoughts drift back to when they were younger, when tennis had been the center of his life (and don't get him wrong, he is still obsessed with the sport, but back then obsession had a new meaning) and anything else not pertaining to it was an unnecessary annoyance, one that he would not tolerate.

But…no matter how much he pushed her away, she always came back. Every pillar of power needs a pillar of strength, and she was his, though it had taken him so long to (inwardly) admit this that he almost wondered at his density. (No one could accuse him of being stupid, and those that did did not make the same mistake twice, this he made sure of.) He wonders why he ignored her for so long. (He wonders why she stuck by him for so long.)

Sakuno sighs again in her sleep, restless, and he continues to stare at her until she settles down, but he knows she is awake. "Ryoma-kun," her voice is scratchy from sleep but still soft, and chocolate brown eyes open to stare at his ocher ones. "Why are you still awake? It's--" she glances over, "two-thirty in the morning."

Because you are entirely too distracting for your own good, woman. He bites back the insult and merely shrugs. "No reason. Go back to bed, Sakuno."

"Mou, too cold." She whines, but it is not annoying, and he sighs, knowing what she wants. He moves his one arm so it is underneath his pillow and uses the other to gather her to him, wrapping the arm around her and let his fingers touch the base of her spine.

She smiles in contentment (he still has not stopped watching her and damn it why is he still not asleep? Why is he giving in to her demands?)

(Because around her, he can allow himself to relax and not have so many walls, that cool indifference and just be.)

Sakuno's breathing slows again and her breath ghosts against his bare chest and he pulls her closer to him.

He watches her through half-lidded eyes glazed with tiredness, and when she smiles in her sleep (because she is dreaming of him, of hidden smiles and strong, warm arms wrapped around her and the idea that heaven might exist) his lips quirk upward in return. (Because when he dreams, he dreams of her.)

Within moments, Ryoma is asleep.

--When it's quiet, does she hear me?--


A/N- My thoughts on what happens when Ryoma lets down his walls. Er, hooray for OOC!Ryoma? I never got farther than episode twelve on PoT and only know the ending thanks to spoilers, so be kind when you leave a review.