Ryoma sighs, hardly acknowledging the raucous din coming from the other side of doors behind him. The shouts of New Years' well-wishes, the sounds of lips smacking and champagne glasses clanking fall on deaf ears as Ryoma immerses himself once again in his thoughts.

Every year, he, like everyone else, hope for the New Year to bring something the old one didn't. That once the clock strikes twelve, some shift in the universe will spell everything out for him: what he's supposed to do, where he's supposed to go and the path his life will follow. Every year he is disappointed.

Every New Years, people expect the New Year to be different. They'll stick to their diet. She'll get a promotion, he'll get married, and they'll have a kid. Every year, he just hopes a sign will pop up, showing him what to do next. Most people don't keep their New Years resolution, though, do they?

To Ryoma, it feels like every year is building and building to something more, pushing him closer to something. But, no matter how close Ryoma gets, he can never quite see what it that something is.

The door opens behind Ryoma.

"Saa, Ryoma, I wondered where you'd gone off to," Fuji says gently.

Ryoma tenses when someone steps directly behind him, but he relaxes as Sanada's arms draw him against his broad chest.

Kunimitsu moves next to Ryoma, too close for just friends, but not close enough for Ryoma.

"You missed the countdown, Echizen," Tezuka tells him.

Ryoma nods, "I know. I don't like New Years that much. It's not even a real holiday, just another reason for people not to go to work."

"Brat, even if you don't like the occasion, Ore-sama expects you to show up to his marvelous soiree." Atobe says, leaning against Tezuka.

"Monkey Kind, I wouldn't go in there right now if you paid me," Ryoma says, smirking but still not looking at any of his boyfriends.

"Would you, in exchange for sexual favors?" Syuusuke asks.

Ryoma scoffs," I get those anyway, Fuji-senpai."

The corners of Fuji's mouth tilt up even higher at the addition of the honorific to his name, one he hasn't heard since middle school.

"Well, how about if…" Atobe trails off as Sanada finds Ryoma's hand, his left hand and second to last finger, actually. He slides a plain, but attractive silver band over the digit. Ryoma sees a matching one on Genichirou's own finger.

"If that's the case," Ryoma begins, his right hand coming up to twist the addition to his left," I guess we can go inside for now. But only is Syuusuke plans on following through with the sexual favors."

"Always, Ryo-chan," Fuji promises.

And Ryoma faces his lovers for the first time in the New Year, and this year, he isn't so disappointed.