Loyalty.

Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis. It's not a yaoi anime, therefore I don't own it. Or there would have at least been some strong female tennis players!

Summary: Teamfic. On the world's stage, Ryoma shows his loyalty. Where it is and where it will always be. But there are a few surprises waiting for him...


Where's the start or where's the end?
I was running before I knew it.
Even in heavy rain or strong wind I was going with a speed no one can beat.

Ryoma sat in the waiting room. It was the finals. The US Open finals. Ryoma closed his eyes and tilted his head back. He listened to the calming sounds of the relaxation CD, which he loaded onto his iPod, Fuji-sempai had given him had given all those years ago when he first played the Open. It was soothing and blocked out the noise of the crowd outside. It would be a full stadium and it would be broadcasts around the world. It now four years later and he was a changed tennis player. A better one. At sixteen he would take the world. He was already an novelty. Son of a former pro that many claimed would have been the best player of his age had he not retired for unknown reasons. Reasons that had come to light and shocked the world. A father that reached his dream and then threw the Grand Slam Tittle away as his next dream would be training his son. Some people admired him, some said he was crazy and there were a fair share that hated Ryoma for their icon leaving the world stage.

Wake up! Trambling fingertips.
get up! Tightly grasp.
Stand up! Take some deep breaths.
The world will pick up its speed.

Ryoma frowned as he pushed it all out of his mind. He would not think about now, he had to focus on the present. He would not worry about all the other people. There were a few people he actually wanted to impress. His parents, teammates and coach. The rest could go to Hell. This was the last one. If he won this US Open, he would go down as the only person, at the age of 16, to ever win a Grand Slam. Something not even his father managed.

It's gonna be O.K!
Comets flying across the sky.
Go after their track that's painted in the sky.
(Gonna) be O.K!
Inside the light, I'm running through,
Believe the dream that is right by your side.

Somehow, waiting was not as bad as he thought it would be. He felt the slight pressure and there was sweat on his brow. His hands twitched and there were butterflies in his stomach. But, in comparison to the finals of the Nationals, this was nothing. Ryoma smiled as he remembered that he returned to Japan that year, just in time to recreate their Nationals Dream Team. Tezuka was captain with Oishi as his vice. Fuji was still a tensai and Inui was still a Data freak. Momo and Kaidoh still fought like cat and dog. Kaidoh being the cat in this instance. The Golden pair was as strong as ever and Taka still played, stronger than ever. Then he returned and everything clicked like it once did. They had fought long and hard and finally found themselves at the finals of the Nationals.

There had been a strong sense of deja vu. Ryoma was playing Singles 1 against Yukimura. His heart had pounded and it felt like it was in his mouth. His hands trembled so much that he felt that he might drop his racket. But there was this ball of excitement and anticipation that coiled in his stomach. Ryoma felt terrified, nervous and never more alive in his life. The world was suddenly in technicolour and every moment was burnt into his memory.

Now, sitting there to go out and face Federrer, it all paled in comparison to that match. To these feelings of fighting for a win for his team. Maybe it was all because he had his friends depending on him to win. To bring the victory home for their school. To give his sempais the ultimate gift: a National win. Tezuka was going to become a lawyer, Oishi a docter. Eiji was going into HR, Inui into computer analysis and Fuji was studying advertising.

Ryoma was pulled out of his thoughts was the runner. The guy looked at him nervously as he told him it was time to go out onto the court. Ryoma sighed and took a deep breathe as he stood up. He put away his iPod and grabbed his tennis bag. Nodding to the escort, Ryoma began walking down the corridor towards the cheering.

Stepping into the light, he frowned and pulled his customary cap lower to block out the light. There was nothing he could do about the noise though as he winced slightly. He never liked loud noises. Sighing, Ryoma looked over to the other side of the courts were Federrer was setting his things up. Ryoma shrugged and walked to his bench, dropping his bag on it as he thought, 'And let the fanfare begin.'

It happened before every match. The opponents were out on the courts early, to warm up and send the fans into a frenzy. It happened every match but finals were the worst, or so Ryoma thought. Ryoma turned his attention to the crowd, eyes searching out the seats near the trophy. The seats his parents had. And there they were. Ryoma froze. He blinked. And blinked again.

"Buchou? Sempai?" Ryoma said, still in shock as he gazed at familiar faces sitting near his parents. his gaze snapped to his oyaji who was smirking. Ryoma frowned but he couldn't stop the smile that was playing on his features. And then, Ryoma Echizen did something he never, ever done before. He walked towards the spectators and up the stairs into the stands. Security scrambled to ward off any persons that though they could get close to him.

Ryoma ignored the murmurs around him as well as the cameras. He forgot about the eyes as he ascended the stairs to the row his teammates were seated. No matter what, they were his teammates. Ryoma stopped in front of them and smiled slightly, pulling his cap down.

"Buchou, sempai," he said with a small bow, "What are you doing here?"

Fuji smiled but before he could say a thing, Eiji practically shouted out while jumping over Oishi to tackle..er hug Ryoma, "Of course we came to see you play, Ochibi!"

Ryoma grunted as he was squeezed to death by the hyperactive acrobatics player.

"Eiji!" Oishi exclaimed as he pulled the redhead off their youngest teammate. Tezuka stood, commanding everyones attention as he towered, much to their chagrin, over Ryoma. Ryoma pouted but said nothing to his captain.

"You parents offered us tickets and we wouldn't miss this match for the world," Tezuka said with the ghost of a smile playing in his lips. The team had a softspot for the youngest boy.

"Saa, we missed the first time you played in the US Open. We can now make it up as we watch you win your first Grand Slam," Fuji said with a smile.

"Echizen was always the one with the potential, training and drive to become a pro first," Inui added, his glasses flashing in the sunlight.

"Ne, Echizen," Momo said as he too stood, "You carry our dreams when you play as a pro. SO don't you dare lose!" Kaidoh added a hiss of agreement, nodding to their 'freshman' as he too stood.

"Ganbatte," Taka added shyly, as he had no racket in his hand. Ryoma nodded and pulled his cap down.

"Arigrato sempai," Ryoma said as his chest filled with a warm feeling. Everone who was important to him was at the match, well, except for Karupin. So all humans that were important to him.

"Echizen," Tezuka said before Ryoma could turn away, "don't get careless."

Ryoma nodded as he turned around and started walking back down the stairs. "Ryoma-kun," a voice called to him. Ryoma turned around to see Ryuzaki-sensei, "Fly!"

Ryoma merely turned around again and continued walking, but the words were not lost to him. She had said it to his father and then to him when he played in the US Open for the first time. And now, she said it one last time.

As Ryoma reentered the court, he felt his blood pumping. His heart was pounding as eh felt excited. The thrill was back as he though of his team that was watching. A holy fire alight his golden eyes.

Ryoma played the best match of his life, to date, that day. His style had changed so drastically that Federrer couldn't read him. Ryoma threw everything at his opponent.

Recieving the ball, Ryoma calmly returned the ball. Federrer read the ball as drop shot and sprinted to the front. He though he was going to make it, until the ball hit the ground and rolled towards the net. It didn't bounce. The crowd stared at the ball, before the silence was broken by Eiji shouting, "Zero Shiki dropshot!"

The game continued like that as Ryoma confused everyone by using his teammates moves. The Boomarang Snake got a few jaws dropping and Oishi's Moon Volley frustrated his opponent. Momo's power smashes had knocked the racket from Federrer's hands on more than one occasion. While Fuji's quadtriple counters wowed everyone. It was like Ryoma activated the Pinnacle of Perfection because he was playing as if he was in trance. he was setting a faster pace than ever before while his teammates smiled. They had watched him grow and surpass them. They watched as he passed all expectations and yet, he always came back to them. He was their regular. Their freshman.

That game was recorded as the greatest game of the decade for tennis. It was sold on DVD and Ryoma's debut as the youngest Grand Slam Champion was cermented with his skill. But the mystery of Ryoma's choice of clothing was finally answered.

For months, reporters asked why Ryoma turned down contracts by sports brands and always wore a blue, white and red jacket to all his matches. It was this finals that eight other young men wore the same jacket. It was later discovered that it was his team uniform from Seigaku. His team that had won nationals since Ryoma joined. The Dream team. Ryoma Echizen's team.


What do you think? Review please! I'm taking requests for a oneshot of your pairing.

BHz