That was the only thing Ryoma could think about when he finally got to hop off his bike. The very second his foot reached solid ground, he dropped near a tree, groaning in relief. He hated bikes. He absolutely despised those torture objects that forced you to sit uncomfortably just for the sake of going a bit faster than running would get you.
God knows Ryoma craved for at least fifteen minutes of deep slumber at that moment.
Heavy eyelids dropped nonchalantly on the blazing golden orbs and it took only a few seconds before Ryoma was totally unconscious.
He didn't hear the nearing footsteps, nor did he make out the shocked voice calling his name. But it was real. A tall figure shadowed Ryoma. The intruder gaped.
Something Like Royalty
by Dudly who doesn't want to mess up her nice format but would love reviews and honestly, you have to beg for that these days, don't you? So yeah. POT isn't mine, feed me reviews?
"Geez, I never thought I'd run into you! I mean, what are the odds? From afar, I saw someone fall off a bike and I came to help, but really! To meet Echizen Ryoma coincidentally on the street, a few streets away from college! Can't be happening, can it?"
Babble, babble, and more babble. Ryoma stifled a yawn, unhappy that the stranger had shaken him out of sleep so rudely. But apparently, the stranger knew him, and Ryoma had no idea how. His unfocused eyes noted the spiky hair and it somehow stirred up some foggy memories, still he didn't know.
The stranger kept detailing his rambling vis-à-vis, but the only thing he could truly see is a big open mouth that he'd just love to shut up.
"I've been looking for you the next year but you had gone poof! Nah, you never bothered to keep in touch either, no can do, right, Echizen?"
Finally, the boy ceased talking, only to stare expectantly at the shorter one. This seemed to be Ryoma's cue, but Ryoma didn't realize he had some question to be answering, simply staring blankly ahead of him. "Sorry, but have we met?"
"So rude!" Deeply offended, he jumped off to his feet. "I'm Momoshiro Takeshi, we shared a room for a whole summer! Tennis camp in middle school!"
Ryoma blinked, the information slowly processing through his mind. Then a lightbulb brightened above his head while his eyes widened a bit. "Right," he said, slightly tilting his head to the side. "I remember now. You bought me burgers."
Momoshiro nodded happily, a pleased grin forming on his face. "Yep, yep! That's me!"
"Right," Ryoma repeated, coming awake by the second. "You said your college is a few streets away from here?"
"Yes! I'm studying at Tokyo College, are you impressed?"
Ignoring the question, Ryoma stood up and stretched before picking up his bike.
"So am I. Give me a ride." Confronted by Momoshiro's shocked look, Ryoma rolled his eyes. "You did wake me up. Make it up to me."
Unfortunately, the "few streets" seemed unbearably long with one endlessly talking Momoshiro-senpai. It wasn't that what he was saying was boring- it was actually useful information about the school and on the students, but it was too much all at once.
Only a few choice words caught Ryoma's fading attention: arrogant, king, fan club and other rubbish that associated with the specific subject.
"Say that again."
"Huh? About Shishido Ryou?"
"No," Ryoma corrected. "The other one before that. The overly popular student that thinks he owns the school."
"Oh, Atobe. Well, he's the heir of a really big company and he comes at school in a limo. Way more flashy than an old bike, if you ask me."
Momoshiro instantly regretted saying such a thing, for Ryoma's grip on his shoulder tightened painfully, making him yelp in outrage. "OUCH! I'm just saying!"
"Che. I have a car. My idiotic dad stole it early in the morning and left me a note asking me to use the bike instead. Stupid old man."
Momoshiro chuckled. "Ah, that's how it is then."
The arrogant rich heir vanished from their minds as the topic drifted to family and then tennis and then food, and with that they reached the school's entrance where they parted ways. Ryoma waved goodbye without looking back, uttering a simple 'yes' when Momoshiro suggested he eat lunch with him and his friends.
'Twas a beginning. He'd mingle easily and not only fit in, but stand out too.
At least, that's what he thought before attending the welcoming ceremony. Those were the worst, in Ryoma's mind. Purposefully passing by the giggling girls and the insignificant guys, Ryoma went straight to the first row, where he had spotted some interesting people.
He carefully made his way to an unoccupied sit next to a smiling boy with closed eyes.
"Echizen Ryoma," the boy said as an introduction, earning himself an amused laugh.
"Nice to meet you, Echizen-kun, but this is Kei-chan's place. I've been saving it for him, you see."
Ryoma quickly looked away in shame, but realized that it wasn't a wise thing to do. He had to keep his composure. "Ah, right, sorry. I didn't realize you were waiting for your girlfriend."
For some reason, it made the brunet laugh quietly. "No, Kei-chan isn't. I'd like to talk to you more, Echizen, but if you stay, Kei-chan will be unhappy and Eijiko might pop in to glomp you, none of which you might like."
A bit confused, Ryoma nodded and stood up- there was no use in staying and making a scene, after all. Adjusting his stance to look proud and manly, Ryoma started to walk away.
"Wait," a voice called from behind. Ryoma stopped and looked over his shoulder to see the honey haired boy smiling at him. "You're new, aren't you? I'm Fuji Syusuke, third year."
"Fuji-senpai," Ryoma voiced, the name rolling strangely on his tongue. He inspected his interlocutor's looks. "I'll remember."
Whilst he went, he realized how badly his ego was hurt at being chased away. He hoped this Kei-chan person was really important. Fuji's sister or childhood friend, for instance.
"Ah, Kei-chan!" Fuji waved enthusiastically to a thin silhouette making its way near him. "I saved you a seat!"
Atobe Keigo smiled at his friend's childish display and directed his steps toward him. When he arrived at the right row, every sitting student stood up to let him through. It was a given, so Atobe didn't think of thanking them.
"Heh, Fujiko. Ore-sama appreciates."
With that said, the young adult gracefully sat down and crossed his legs while Fuji remained smiling naturally, as if hundreds of girls were not watching their every move. To add to the fun, Fuji innocently slipped his hand into Keigo's, who smirked understandingly. Immediately, many squeals were heard; fangirls. Fuji liked fangirls. They amused him greatly. Atobe liked them too, but mostly for his ego's sake.
"Nothing interesting happened?" Atobe inquired mildly and Fuji shook his head.
"No, not really. You're the main attraction here, Kei-chan."
That was also a given, in Atobe's mind. With another smirk, he straightened his shirt- not that he needed to. The gorgeous silk of it was as straight as ever.
"Although there was this boy," Fuji added. "His name is Echizen Ryoma. He looked like a little prince."
The reference to Fuji's favourite book attracted Atobe's attention. "Echizen, you said? Was he anything special?"
Fuji thought it over a few seconds and pictured the petite frame plopping right next to him with a confident air surrounding him. Echizen had seemed so puzzled when Fuji asked him to leave. Fuji smiled, his thumb tracing small circles on Atobe's hand.
"Saa… I don't think so. But I do think we'll hear much about him."
"Ah. Ore-sama will be attentive then."
And with that, they both stopped talking and shifted their focus on the scene on which the principal stood all ready for the year's first conference.
Welcome to a new year at Tokyo University.
Out of the blue, a pair of unknown arms encircled Ryoma's waist forcefully in a tackle-glomp. The blow had Ryoma falling on the ground with whomever in top of him.
"He! What the…!" Thanks to the grass, he was safe, no scratches, but still crushed between the ground and some stranger. His arms were stuck underneath him and, to be honest, it hurt. "Get off of me!"
"So cute! Ochibi's so cute!"
There was the sound of a laugh that Ryoma associated with Momoshiro. "Eiji-senpai, Echizen will die if you keep like that."
How he could laugh about it was beyond Ryoma's understanding. But his reproach did make Eiji-senpai cooperate. And if Ryoma was smart enough to link this Eiji-senpai with the Eijiko mentioned earlier by Fuji Syusuke, his anger blurred the outline of his logic.
Ryoma could eye properly his attacker when the two of them were back to vertical. Being a head taller than Ryoma was didn't make the guy seem more adult. Red hair and freckles gave a gentle look to the grinning face.
"Hoi hoi, I'm Kikumaru Eiji! Nice to meet you, Ochibi!"
Ryoma glared. "I'm not an 'ochibi'," he muttered darkly, smoothing his crumpled shirt and hoping the grass stain would disappear after a good wash. He'd ask his mom. "I'm Echizen Ryoma."
Sadly, the name stirred no memories in the red haired boy who only huggled him in response. "Well, I'm glad Momo-chan brought you, Ochibi! You're so much cuter than he is!"
A protest was heard, but Kikumaru gave it no care. "You do look a bit arrogant though. Is it because you think you're higher than me, nya?"
"What?" There was a blink, then a blank stare, and then a frown. Okay, so he really didn't get a word out of it. He would just… guess the meaning. And it must have something to do with his protest of the nickname ochib. "I'm not an Ochibi, but you are taller than me. Can't deny that."
"Ah… that's not what I meant," said Eiji with a dismissing laugh. "I meant, do you think you're better than I am?"
Why the hell would the guy ask him that suddenly? Ryoma glanced at Momoshiro with a question mark above his head, but his friend only shrug. Geez, what help. Cautiously, Ryoma shook his head. "Che, senpai is sure silly to think that way."
Silence ensued, but it only lasted until Eiji burst out laughing. "Sorry, sorry. It's just that the way you stared down at me was so Atobe!"
"Atobe? The rich heir?" Despite himself, Ryoma felt very curious and the look he shot at Momoshiro couldn't be more telling. Momoshiro nodded with an uneasy smile.
"Ochibi knows Atobe," said Eiji, a bit startled. He scratched the back of his head. "Well, figures. He's that popular. Did you hear gossip or did the king ambush you, nya?"
"Oi, you're one to talk about ambushing newcomers, Eiji-senpai," taunted Momoshiro, his eyes twinkling with laughter and a low chuckle coming from his throat. Eiji pretended to be offended but started laughing too.
Only Ryoma didn't join in. His handsome face remained stoic, if not from the creased brow.
"Eiji-senpai, Kikumaru-senpai. Introduce me to this Atobe guy. Please."
Introduce him to Atobe Keigo- not buy him lunch or show him around. Simply introduce him to Atobe Keigo.
Momoshiro cursed. As if they could pop into Atobe's circle of friends for the sake of introducing him to a freshman. A bloody freshman! But Eiji had agreed on it, even though the red haired boy found it quite strange from Ryoma.
"Whatcha worrying about, Momo-chan?"
Inhale deeply, Takeshi. You don't want to be rude to your senpai. Inhale. In and out. "Why did you ever say we would help him befriend Atobe?!"
"Because we will," smiled Eiji as if not doubtful in the least bit. And, to justify his claim, "We have Fuji, don't we?"
Momoshiro's mouth opened in a little 'o'. "Right. Fuji-senpai will introduce us to Atobe."
"Absolutely," grinned Eiji. "He might ask for something weird in exchange. Because he's Fuji."
Eiji smiled at him mischievously. "Like, your virginity. Or Echizen's."
WHAT!, Momoshiro wanted to scream, but his voice caught in his throat. WHAT?
"Joke, joke! Momo-chan shouldn't be so gullible, nya!"
He's taking too much pleasure out of it, thought Momoshiro. Perhaps Fuji's famous sadist tendencies rubbed off on him. He repeated to himself that was the cause of his awkwardness.
He was definitely not intimidated by Atobe Keigo. At all.
One New Message:
HOI HOI FUJI! I met the new kid you told me about! He's so cute, nya! He wants to meet Atobe. I don't know why exactly, but can you think of something? Thnx!
The quick SMS brought a faint smile on Fuji's lips. He really liked Eiji's behaviour. To him, Eiji was the pinnacle of pureness- which Atobe said was a paradox, since he was Fuji's best friend. Whenever he made comments like this, Fuji laughed and slyly reminded him about trivial things that somehow happened to embarrass Atobe. Small secrets he had learnt after three years of sharing the same dormitory. He'd never reveal any of them, of course, but he had to bring it up a couple of times, just so Atobe wouldn't start feeling secure. Not that Atobe would. That was what shaped their relationship in such a complex way. 'Twas also the reason why Fuji liked Atobe.
So Echizen-kun wanted to meet his favourite diva.
"Kei-chan, really, you don't have the time to take a shower."
Atobe made no show of surprise, only quirking an elegant brow. "Fuji, mind telling me what you are doing in the bathroom? Did no one teach you how to knock on a door?"
"Saa, I guess my mom did at some point. Yuuta-chan also complained about it, but I can't really find anything wrong with it."
A loud sigh escaped from Atobe's lips, although one couldn't hear it due to the running water. "Do you have your camera?"
"Great. Now, what do you want with Ore-sama?"
For a moment, Fuji's face was unreadable as he eyed Atobe. His eyes were opened. They always were in the security of their apartment. Partly since Atobe wasn't scared of opened-eye Fuji, contrary to many others, but mostly because Fuji liked to get a full view of things when it came to Atobe.
"I've been charged with telling Keigo-sama that he has a meeting scheduled with a little prince later today."
The water stopped running and there was an incoherent question coming from the shower but Fuji didn't stay to respond. With a cheery "BAIBAI" Eiji-fashion, he vanished from the washroom so Atobe could get dressed. Quickly, he typed a message for Eiji, saying it was all set- even if it wasn't really. He'd just make sure it would work out at the last minute.
He closed his eyes innocently. "King meets Prince. Finally."
Finally indeed. Ryoma felt like he had been sitting on the park bench for hours, waiting for someone without knowing what to look for. It could be that anorexic punk with the tattoos and green hair, for all he knew. Or that fat boy with long greasy hair.
It annoyed him to no end.
And then he spotted someone. He stared hard for a moment. Yes, it had to be. Tall, determined gait and many girls following. Atobe Keigo for sure.
He heard a laugh behind him.
"Ore-sama is the other way around, brat."