I've never written from quite a Ryoma point of view, and I believe I made him a bit (ahem, a lot) sentimental. Oh well. He should be allowed to have his angst muses once in a while. Especially involving Tezuka.

Keigo whispers names in his sleep.

Ryoma rolls over on his side of the bed, hears the little puffs of breath escaping Keigo's soft lips, and stares hard at the corner of the headstand of the bed. His eyesight slowly adjusts to the darkness, and only then would he shift his vision down, lower—until he sees the wisps of light brown hair matted on the hot pillows. It's summer, and the mosquitoes are buzzing enough outside to kill, but inside the apartment, at the heart of Tokyo, all is still, maybe too still.

Ryoma sighs a little and decides to turn on the air conditioning—because who in their right minds would install a air conditioning in every room and not use it for the hottest time of the year?—and presses the button. The ceiling whirls and hums to life, and a little gap opens above, letting down a blast of cool air smoothly. The air tingles against his skin.

Keigo murmurs a word and shifts, his eyes closed, his face too open for Ryoma's liking. His hand is still entwined with Ryoma's, but he decides to let go—gently, because he wouldn't want the idiot to wake up—and instead uses his hand to sweep off strays of hair from his face.

Keigo's murmur is louder this time, and Ryoma quickly looks straight ahead. The Tokyo nights are blazing with light, if the wide window across from him is any indication.

"Tezuka," Keigo murmurs, and Ryoma really can't hate him for that.

Keigo likes his coffee black, no sugar at all. He flips the newspaper deftly with one hand while he sips, his movements causal, too sure, while his eyes are sharp and skims over information and stores it all in his magnificently-awesome-fucking brain.

Ryoma stirs his own cup of coffee and puts in four cubes of sugar, adds milk into it for good measure, and watches the black water swirl and turn into brown. It's pleasing, in a way. He sips once and throws the rest out into the sink. The silver metal clashes horribly with brown.

Keigo doesn't look up from the newspaper, but Ryoma imagines him making a face. "Why did you even make yourself a cup if you weren't going to drink it?" he drawls, his eyes already calculating and shifting thorough the day's work, his mind too lost in his business to look at him.

Ryoma shrugs, although he knows that Keigo wouldn't see, and pours himself a cup of grape juice. He carries it to their study and shuts himself behind a door. He skips breakfast.

When he was young and at the top of his game, he thought that he was going to win everything, every damn match, and to hell with people with big egos—he would beat all of them and come out on top, which is what he did. He won title after title of Grand Slams at his teenage years, and won ridiculous amounts of money he wouldn't know what to do with for the rest of his life. He won acclaim, became a household name, had things he never needed.

Ryoma stares at the texts he laid out in front of him and his mind wanders, his fingers tapping the crisp pages thoughtfully. He doesn't know shit about Latin, history, German—any of the crap Keigo knew and excelled at while he did tennis as well. So had Tezuka. Hell, Tezuka had been the model of tennis back then, and he still was the model student in everything he did. What he does know is a fair bit of chemistry, and that was something too close to Inui's field of expertise—Ryoma briefly shuddered at the old memories of horrible chemistry abuse with food.

He flips a page.

He knows English—fluently, in fact—but so does Keigo, and Keigo has a way with posh fucking British accents all so mastered perfectly that ladies swoon every time he used English in front of guests. Ryoma's was a strange mix of a Southern Californian—that had been his home, after all—and a tinge of a New York style. A hybrid, of sorts. He doesn't use English if he can help it.

Tezuka's English would be fucking perfect too, and he would be fluent in German now. Ryoma looks at the words listed alphabetically, all so neat and trim and foreign, and bites his lips.

He doesn't get to B.

When Keigo emerges from the study that night, his expression is quizzical. "May I ask why you decided to ransack the German section of my books?" he inquires. Ryoma doesn't look up from his tennis magazine—the pot is simmering and a delicious smell wafts through the kitchen—and decides to look deliberately expressionless. "Hm?"

"My German books. You looked through them," Keigo repeats, his eyebrows raised, as he looks at Ryoma. Ryoma meets that gaze like he does all other times—bored, dismissive, unmoving. The eye contact breaks almost immediately as Keigo turns his back and goes to the kitchen to survey the dinner menu. "You don't even read German," Keigo mutters, as he shakes his head and retreats, leaving Ryoma to stare off at the wall.

It was a fact, but it left him a little hollower than before.

Ryoma creeps out of bed that night, Keigo still sleeping. He treads his feet softly on the wooden floors and enter the kitchen, his hands grasping for the cabinet handle, the one where they kept all the good wine, and rummages around until he finds a strong bottle of brandy, 1905. He stares at it critically and pours himself a glass. The color is murky, but it doesn't faze him as he sips it, then drowns it.

Fucking hell, if he kept this up, he would end up like his old man.

Ryoma tries to look over the stocks of Keigo's businesses in a very secretive manner the next morning, his motions slicing a piece of scrambled eggs in an expertly way while his eyes flashing alert and shifting every few seconds.

"You suck at subtlety," Keigo says to him almost immediately, not even five minutes passing as Ryoma tried to catch a glimpse at one of the numbers.

Ryoma meets those eyes, his face innocent. "Hm?"

"You're looking at stocks now. Did other companies offer you a spying job?" Keigo rolls his eyes, his fingers tapping on his laptop, not even pausing during their conversation. "You never took an interest in them before."

Ryoma shrugs, setting his knife down. He wasn't very hungry anyway. He stands up from his seat, planning to drink another cup of juice.

Keigo's eyes are suddenly more sharp, his eyes scanning Ryoma, his fingers tapping a steady rhythm of numbers for the today's market, taptaptaptaptap. It's too fucking irritating.

"Have you eaten lately?" Keigo asks, his eyes landing on Ryoma's plate of abused eggs and toast. "You didn't join me for dinner last night."

Ryoma shrugs again. He doesn't really want to talk so early in the morning. He never was a morning person. "I'm going to go back to sleep," Ryoma mutters, and walks past Keigo.

Economics. He knew the basics well enough, and he took some advance micronomics and macronomics in his universities, but he never majored in them like Keigo so diligently did. He figured that wouldn't matter much anyway—he sucked at meeting people and arranging compromises, he only knew how to goad them up and make them so angry that they lose their cool. He would earn a shitful amount of little money if he ever became a businessman. What he did take had been some psychology courses, and he was quite good at them—or at least, his professor had liked his academic research in his first year.

"That's because you're a warped little boy," his dad had cackled evilly, and he had whacked him with the new Playboy edition his dad carried in his dirty robes.

But he didn't make it through all the four years of university. He had gotten his graduate diploma and everything, but he did extra credits and what-nots and managed to finish his coursework required in two and a half years. He wouldn't have even finished it if his mom hadn't nagged him about a good education and all the obligations. He was too busy winning tournaments.

He accepts the large bundle of fanmail from their personal mailman, his thoughts shifting too much into too many directions, and sorts out the mail almost mechanically, already knowing which ones to throw out by now by seeing the envelope. He stops in mid-thought.

He was twenty-two. And he was having one of those middle-aged crisis. Fuck.

He groans aloud and grabs a fistful of his hair.

He starts dinner at five, cracking eggs and whipping them up while the roast simmered. They didn't use the maids on Fridays, and he had too much cooking experience from Nanako when he reached high school. That, and the tournament foods all sucked.

This, he was better than Keigo. Keigo only knew how to make burnt toast. Ryoma used to make fun of him for that before he was hand-forced a mouthful of said toast.

The front door opens two hours later, and by then the roast was well cooked, with a few side dishes in between, and dessert. Ryoma sets down a fork, a knife, a spoon. A setting for one.

"Something smells nice—" Keigo stops in his tracks, but Ryoma doesn't let that bother him as he heads off the opposite direction. "You're not eating?" Keigo asks, almost conversationally, but Ryoma knows him well by now to notice a hint of exasperation lying underneath.

"Mmm," Ryoma agrees, not even stopping to look back.

He staggers out of the study at two in the morning, his eyes all blurry and his minding whirling with all the basics of fucking German—fucking hell, at the very least Keigo could have liked a decent language as Spanish, he could speak a bit of that, but no, his fucking highness had to choose a hateful choice among the history of languages—and enters their bedroom, Keigo still clicking away into his fucking laptop. At two in the morning.

Keigo looks up from the blue screen and meets his eyes. "You're alive," he says, his eyes faking surprise, his mouth curiously flat, "I thought you drowned with the pile of books you've been reading lately." His tone was strangely pleasant, which would be normally a bad sign, because Keigo never did pleasant, but Ryoma was too tired to care about fucking subtle meanings. He failed deep shit on them, Keigo was the witness. "Catching up on the reading we didn't do during our school years?"

It had been a probe, a scorn of sorts, and it held no real meaning over them, Ryoma knew that. It was Keigo's way of asking what was wrong, why the hell are you reading books in a language you used to constantly mock, you are choosing books over sleep; you should go see a doctor but it had hit home in a very strange way that Ryoma swears he feels the blood drain out of him. The light was dim, but he knows Keigo could see the moment of changed expression, the flash of something crossing on Ryoma's face, because hell, Keigo was a master at subtle and secret meanings, wasn't he?

Keigo's expression is stranger than his tone. "Ryoma—"

He turns away and quickly makes his exit out of the bedroom. "I'm sleeping in the guest room," he says, glad to note that his tone was still monotone, but he had years of practice now, didn't he? "Your typing's going to keep me up all night."

He doesn't wait for a response as he closes the bedroom door on his way out.

He doesn't wake up when Keigo does, deliberately curled up in his covers, the air conditioning still in full blast, his face nuzzled in the soft pillows. He was acting like a fucking girl, but he had also been acting a lot like a fucking idiot for the past few days, so it was okay.

He hears the door slam, and only then does he rise up from the bed and make his way towards the door. He opens it and walks down the hallway.

Keigo is still there, his hands holding the morning newspaper. He looks up when Ryoma enters.

"You are avoiding me," Keigo accuses, his hands not flipping page after page for once, his eyes focusing on him. He doesn't like it.

"Am not," Ryoma says tiredly, which isn't true, and tries to move past Keigo, only that Keigo now grabs his wrist and he can't move but a few steps. "What?"

"You only came out when the door slammed," Keigo says, in that still-a-bit accusing tone, lifting up Ryoma wrist and feeling the flesh underneath; Ryoma tries to squirm out of it but the grip if firm, "And it's eleven in the morning. You never would sleep in this late." And he would know too, wouldn't he, because Keigo would know everything, from fucking statistics to Ryoma's little sleeping habits. Joy.

"Yeah, well, I needed some sleep," he muttered, with a bit of sharpness into the bite, and this time he yanks; Keigo hadn't been expecting that, and his wrist is abruptly released free. "Shouldn't you be at work?"

"I gave myself the day off," Keigo says offhandedly, his hands still holding the gap where Ryoma's wrist had been. "The office wouldn't need me today, and my master's thesis is coming up nicely."

"Good for you," Ryoma says, and walks down to the study again. "I'll be in the study."

"You won't," Keigo cuts in smoothly, once again catching Ryoma's wrists—both of them this time, and steers him towards the direction of the bedroom. "We are going out, you are going to get some sunshine so you won't look like a corpse anymore, and lunch, so you won't look like the skeleton you are now—"

"That's an awful lot of things," Ryoma mutters, but Keigo wasn't finished.

"—you will stay out of the study and take your hands off my German books. And my business books," Keigo adds, shooting a look of weird amusement at Ryoma; Ryoma chooses to ignore it. "Honestly, what the hell are you doing reading those for? All you ever did was throw them at me when I was reading them."

"When I was seventeen," Ryoma says before he can stop himself; he scowls as he is unwillingly dragged into their walk-in closet.

"And trying to burn them up when you were eighteen?" Keigo asks wryly.

Ryoma refuses to answer that one.

Keigo is the one driving, which was strange, but Ryoma slides into the passenger's seat without comment, and eyes two suitcases in the backseat. He is about to ask what they were doing there, but the engine is already starting and the car rolls smoothly out of the apartment garage and down the streets.

"Suitcases?" Ryoma asks, glancing at Keigo.

Keigo's eyes are on the road, but his tone is the pleasant tone he used last night. "Have I told you what we were going to do after lunch?"

Ryoma frowns for a minute, then understanding dawns on him. He whirls around fully this time to face Keigo. "You wouldn't dare," he says.

Keigo looks at him for a second, and his lips twist a little, as if he was trying to hide his smirk.

"Have I also told you that I've given myself a three days leave?" he ventures out casually. "The staff and board all agreed that I should take it easy, after all the work I've been doing the past month."

Ryoma now glares at him, full force, but of course Keigo would be immune to it. Ryoma's been giving it to him since the day they dated. "I could jump out of this car," Ryoma says heatedly.

"You can't," Keigo says smoothly, his hand already reaching out to press a button from the driver's side, "I just locked all the doors." The bastard was enjoying this a bit too much, his lips still curving wider and wider.

"I hate you," Ryoma snaps, and Keigo smirks.

"I know."

Ryoma doesn't talk for three hours, his eyes fixed on the window, his hands clasped in front of him, his shoulders stiffened. Next to him, Keigo doesn't try to start a conversation either, but he finally sighs. "I'm not taking you to your execution, you know," he says, "You could at least loosen your guard down a little."

Har bloody har. Says the man who tricked him into a trip he didn't even want. Ryoma doesn't answer to that, but his hands roll up into fists and his shoulders stiffen a little more.

Keigo doesn't try after that, but Ryoma heard a mutter that sounded like, "Brat."

He vision blurs a little. It had to do with the countryside and their stupid pollen, he just knows it.

The car rolls up at a restaurant that looks too expensive to be popped up in the middle of nowhere. Keigo steers to the side and gets out as the valet driver takes his place. Ryoma opens the door (which was now lock-free) and falls into step with Keigo, looking straight down his line of vision. Keigo is looking at him; Ryoma could feel those eyes scanning him, but he can't really put it up to meet that gaze with a glare. He's too tired to do that.

Keigo brushes his long fingers with Ryoma's nimble ones. He doesn't flinch away. The brushes seem almost like an accident, but he know better—Keigo did business for a living, studied business for a major, hell, was born into the world of business—those touches are too calculating to be brought up every few seconds. Then the grip is faint but still there, a small grasp around his four fingers, and Ryoma doesn't yank away. The grip becomes a little firmer, but he still doesn't resist (should he?). Then he finds himself being steered gently to the side of the building, Keigo's hand now resting on his bony shoulders, and soon he finds himself against the wall. He blinks.

Keigo's lips are soft. Those hands are gentle, almost touching him as if he would break, then finally threading his hair and securing his head as those lips touch him, fleetingly, once, twice, and finally probing entrance. Ryoma opens his mouth, and the heat is hot and too intense, fucking summer, and Keigo's face is too near so he closes his eyes. He tilts his head to adjust the angle and Keigo obliges by pushing his tongue deeper into Ryoma's mouth, those hands now firmer in their hold. He flicks his tongue at Keigo to convey his annoyance and Keigo flicks back. They stay like that for a few minutes and then Keigo ends it with another brush of the lips.

When Ryoma opens his eyes he sees Keigo's adam's apple right in front of him, and he thinks it'll be a good idea to lean his head on Keigo's shoulder. So he does that, his black hair getting in the way of his vision. He needs to get a haircut.

"You could be such a fucking delusional asshole sometimes," Ryoma says tiredly. He swears he could hear a smirk in Keigo's voice as one hand rest on top of his head. Keigo's fingers rake through his hair.

"I hear the hot springs in Osaka are nice," Keigo murmurs.

They eat lunch in relative silence, but all Ryoma does is rearrange some of the sushi from his dish and make shapes around his plate.

Keigo looks at the arrangements Ryoma made from across the table. "They're for eating, not decorating," he points out. Ryoma ignores him on that one but still nibbles up a bit of red tuna. The rice is left untouched.

Keigo rolls his eyes. "Or what, did you add food decor to one of your many future achievements you plan to dazzle me with?" he says sarcastically.

Ryoma doesn't glare at him, but he does draw a big fuck you on his plate for that.

"Cute," Keigo says.

Osaka is hotter than Tokyo, and Ryoma really has half a mind to strangle Keigo, who looked expressionless for the duration of the drive, after they had left the restaurant. Ryoma leans back into his seat and looks out the window, almost dreading the wave of heat that would attack him the moment he would open the doors. The air conditioned car would be invaded by heat waves. Ryoma could see those waves from his safe, safe car window.

"We could sleep in the car," he says, the first time to open a thoughtful conversational debate on his part.

"We can't," Keigo knocks it down, like he does with all of Ryoma's sensible ideas, "Or rather, I won't. You can sleep here and let the police question you when they find you at 3 in the morning. And sleep in a prison cell for the night, because I won't come get you."

Ryoma shuts his mouth after that.

The hotel they're staying at is huge and grand, suited to Keigo's style of grand and luxurious. They have a deluxe room, with one king sized bed and boiling hot spring in the huge bathroom. The hot spring takes up half of the bedroom they have in Tokyo. Ryoma never thought he would see the day when he saw a bathroom bigger than their already huge bedroom.

He takes his suitcase without a word from the bellboy and opens it up. Clothes, clothes, monthly tennis magazines, no German books. Ryoma looks up and sees Keigo pull out his laptop from his own suitcase.

"I thought you were off-duty," he says, and he makes it sound more off-handed than usual. Keigo is already opening up the fold and turning on the power, so he misses the brief flashing look on Ryoma's face.

"I might have some important e-mails to take care of," Keigo replies, and when he does look up, Ryoma's face is already normal, fixed to the right amount of nonchalance. "Jealous?" Keigo smirks, but those fingers are already at the keypads.

Ryoma rolls his eyes and head to the bathroom. When he comes out, Keigo is already typing something up, an important e-mail, he calls it, and Ryoma shrugs to himself and lets himself out of the hotel room. Keigo won't notice him gone.

He finds a bookstore where they sell a German dictionary, along with a few German novels. He also buys Iliad in Greek, since he had been studying that shitty language as well, and pays with his own credit card, wincing inwardly at the high price. Oh well. He also stops by a vendor and buys himself a can of Ponta, and drains all in ten seconds. Then he finds his way back to the hotel.

When he enters the suite, Keigo is still at the laptop, his eyes already far gone into the screen, but he still looks up when Ryoma enters the room. "Where have you bee—" His eyes freeze at the bags in Ryoma's hands. "A bookstore?" He asks, and this time, he doesn't care to hide the disbelief in his tone. "A bookstore."

"I thought I'd get a bit reading done," Ryoma says, but Keigo stands up from his chair and walks over to Ryoma his hands quick as he snatches the bags out from Ryoma's grasp. He looks at the contents and grows absolutely still. "Homer," he says quietly, and when he looks at Ryoma, Ryoma expected to find the emotionless gaze in Keigo that he doesn't take a step back. "Homer. Really? And in Greek." His voice is sharp now, as he looks at the rest of the contents. "German. You and this fucking German obsession. What's wrong with you?" Keigo never swears, even when Ryoma himself does it quite often, not even when they had sex, just always his name, along with pants and groans and sometimes screams. When he had sworn, it was this one time, years back, in a bar where Ryoma was too drunk to stand up upright and was getting his jacket taken off by a random stranger and he was too drunk to stop it, when Keigo had come (with a dirty look at Momo, who had overdosed himself) and had grabbed hold of the guy's hand tightly, to the point in which there were sounds of bone cracking (or so Oshitari had said, anyway), hissing, "You take your fucking hands off my boyfriend, or I swear—" and this was where Keigo had interrupted, "Would you please stop making everything sound dramatic, Yuushi."

But now Keigo's eyes were too unreadable, so Ryoma knew that he was angry, and quite angry enough to swear, but for one hell of a fucking moment he couldn't figure out why.

"What the hell's wrong with wanting to learn German?" Ryoma says now, even raising an eyebrow, not fazed for one moment by Keigo's anger. "It's a language rich with culture and diversity. You said it yourself."

"When I was sixteen," Keigo says coolly.

Ryoma smiles a little, but he doubts that he could make it look as pleasant as Keigo could. "And when you were seventeen, you decided to enroll there for a semester. Don't you remember?"

"You told me then," Keigo sneers, "That I was wasting my time in a land full of idiots who wouldn't know what a grip tape was."

He had, but he refuses to acknowledge that now. "Maybe I changed my mind," he says pleasantly enough.

Keigo stares at him then, really stares at him, and Ryoma just stare back at him. Keigo breaks the eye contact first like he usually does, and chooses to pull out another book. "Business," he says quietly, his hands studying the cover and looking at Ryoma again. "Business." He throws the book back in the bag. It makes a horrible crinkling sound. "You are out of your mind."

"For buying books on business?" Ryoma asks, but he feels the anger inside him now, the one that he's been trying to hide the past few weeks.

"For trying to chase something that you have absolutely no interest in!" Keigo snaps, and his blue eyes are ablaze; Ryoma feels his own anger stirring. "Why would you study things that you don't give a shit about, things that you said and stamped you didn't give a care about, which you would fail miserably in, which you wouldn't even excel at even if you tried, when you just—"

Keigo lets his rant stop there; his mouth was open for more, but Ryoma heard what he needs to hear.

"When I could just win another tennis match in some tournament, right?" he says, and he's proud of how calm he sounds. Keigo let out a breath, and runs his fingers over his hair.

"For example, yes, precisely that," Keigo says, tired, but when he looks at Ryoma he freezes for a bit; Ryoma knows it would have been useless to hide out his anger, he always failed at that (like he failed at many things, Keigo was kind to point out) but soon recovers. "Look, I didn't come all the way to Osaka to fight with you," Keigo says, and he already recovered from his anger and was calm once more.

"What did we come here for then?" Ryoma asks, innocently enough, and his tone is still mundane, though he can't see his expression right now.

"Stress relief," Keigo says; an e-mail pops up from his laptop screen—Keigo glances at it but doesn't go to reply it— "You seemed ill, and I was getting worried, and I had been busy for the past few weeks so I thought—"

"So this was just all for me now, wasn't it?" Ryoma drawls; fucking hell with nonchalance, he didn't give a shit now, Keigo could read him anyways, "How thoughtful, Keigo. And what excuse were you planning on when you went out and picked up Tezuka-san from the airport, hm?"

Keigo now freezes visibly at that. His eyes went wide. "How did you—" Keigo starts, but Ryoma cuts him off.

"And what were you going to say when I saw Tezuka-san across our suite? You made this hotel reservation weeks ago, when Tezuka-san signed the sponsorship with you, and suddenly you decide to throw me in for the ride because I was ill and more of a fucking brat than usual and you thought you could make it all fucking better by being the wonderful boyfriend you are." Ryoma forces a smile after that; he hadn't raised his voice like Keigo had, he even made it sound remotely pleasant, even civil, but Keigo looks at him as if he was too shocked to register that in.

Keigo opens his mouth to say something, but closes it. He becomes silent.

"It's just a sponsorship," Keigo says quietly, at last.

Ryoma doesn't smile for that one. "Of course it is."

"I don't see the problem with it, then," Keigo says, still quietly, but Ryoma heard the small shake in the voice, a bare, bare minimum, but it was there, nevertheless, "He's your captain, he's an old friend, and I happen to take an interest in tennis, even if I'm not obsessed about it anymore, and he happens to want to register for this year's French Open but he doesn't have a full sponsorship—"

"But," Ryoma says, and he finds his voice has grown quiet as well, "But, that's not all. You called out Tezuka-san to coax me into playing tennis again. You wanted me to take another inspiration from my old captain and register for the French Open as well, right?"

Keigo grows still at that, but he doesn't waver in his answer. "Yes."

Ryoma doesn't answer to that one. He looks down at the floor.

"If you win this French Open, that would be all four titles," Keigo goes on, stiffly, as if he was quoting a particularly hard speech—Ryoma bets he had rehearsed this every fucking night, "And the media would have a field day over it. It seems a shame, when you actually have a huge chance of winning, when you might win it. It would have been a waste." Keigo heaves a sigh. "I'm sorry I didn't tell you earlier," Keigo says, more quietly now, "But I'm not sorry for what I did."

"So you think I could actually win the Tezuka Kunimistu?" Ryoma asks, his eyes still on the floor, "How flattering."

"Modesty doesn't suit you," Keigo snaps, then he sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose with his fingers, "Look, I could hire a professional trainer and you'd be in shape in less than a week at most. All I'm worried about is your health right now—you've been skipping meals for few weeks now, I've asked the maids—"

"So we're reducing to stalking now?" Ryoma mutters, but Keigo goes on as if he hadn't heard him.

"—And it's a waste on such a talented player, even if it's from a brat as much as yourself, when you don't play. I'm not saying this to let you gloat; I'm saying it as someone who's seen you play. For the love of god, get rid of this German obsession and whatever else you have and go to the French Open."

It seemed like a command, and Ryoma never took commands well. His eyes are still focused to the floor. He's quiet, complementing, judging.

"Have you ever wondered," he finally says, "That maybe I've grown tired of tennis since my last game?"

Keigo doesn't answer that immediately, but he does, eventually. The minutes tick by painfully. "You did mention that last year, yes. I thought that was a phrase on your part."

"So now I have phrases?" Ryoma says lightly, "What am I, a teenager?"

Keigo takes up another few minutes to reply to that. "I thought," he says, with more careful deliberation, "That, maybe, because you father had…passed away, you were showing respect to him by following in his footsteps of retirement."

"I don't give respect to the old man," Ryoma says sharply, "Even if he is dead."

A pause. Ryoma doesn't give Keigo the pleasure in thinking up of his answer.

"But you thought that I'd grow out of this little mood phrase, didn't you?" Ryoma goes on, "Because you thought you could manipulate me into wanting to play tennis again, because Tezuka Kunimistu would be here soon, and he even made you respect him, so why shouldn't I? But you don't respect me enough to give a fuck of what I think, and you think that what I want are little fucking phrases that need to be overcome, because I have such fucking potential." He sneers the word potential like a curse word. "Of course you're not sorry. Because you're doing the right thing here, and I'm stupid right now to not realize it, but I would later and I'd thank you for it, because I'm too dense to think about anything beyond a racket and a ball—" and here Ryoma lets out a breath he didn't know he had been holding; a drop of water drips down on his hands and he feels his eyes; they're wet (oh great, now he's acting like a fucking wuss and a girl) but Ryoma plunders on, "And when I do eventually find out about Tezuka, I'm sure you had perfect plans to make this all seem like a wonderful coincidence, and by then, I'd be demanding you hire me a trainer, and you'd be all smug about it and fucking hell, you—" Ryoma heaves a breath out again, and steps back this time when Keigo reaches out to him, his eyes horrified and desperate, "You fucking delusional bastard, what the fuck do you take me for!"

Keigo grows very still at that, his eyes still not leaving Ryoma's face, but Ryoma doesn't even want to see him now, fuck, he knew he should have said this out loud to Keigo when he saw the e-mail weeks ago, asking Tezuka to come to Japan to sign up a sponsorship deal and also order Ryoma into the French Open, because he's being a stubborn brat about not going near a racket anymore. As if he was some child who needed some discipline, and if his boyfriend couldn't do it, why couldn't his old captain? Keigo hadn't even brought up the subject of tennis after his Wimbledon, and when Keigo had asked him about tennis, he had said that he never wanted to play again, and they were both okay with that. Keigo even had mocked him for weeks after that, but there never were…...

But apparently not.

"You don't want a boyfriend who isn't going to follow your grand master plans like a good boy," Ryoma says more steadily, already turning away and quickly going to his suitcase and grabbing it, "You certainly wouldn't want a boyfriend who's too stupid to follow in your intellectual findings and stock business."

"Wait, Ryoma—"

"I think Tezuka-san would be suited more for that role, don't you?" he throws that over his shoulder, and doesn't wait for Keigo's answer as he exits their hotel suite, and running out of the fucking grand hotel building.

He gets drunk in an awful long time. Keigo hadn't let him touch a bottle of wine after that incident, and Ryoma had never cared, he wasn't a passionate drinker like Momo anyway. But this time, he checks in a hotel room, had them bring up two bottle of sake, and gets himself very drunk to the point of puking.

He never could hold his alcohol. He's thankful for his mother's sensible genes.

There's a knock at the door. "Sir," a voice says timidly, "Sir, there is an important visitor for you—"

Oh right. He forgot to change his name when he checked in the hotel. He was stupid.

He doesn't answer, remains completely silent, until a voice that Ryoma knows too well rings out. "Ryoma—"

The sake in him gave him the power to smash the bottle of sake against the door; the bottle cracked into several large pieces, sake pouring all over the carpet.

No one said anything after that.

The next day, with his pounding headache, he checks into another hotel, this time with an alias, and he collapses into the bed and sleeps for the rest of the day. He feels like shit, but he still orders a bottle of red wine and drinks it straight from the bottle. Then he passes out and doesn't wake up until after two days.

"What a fine drunk you're turning into!" his father's voice echoes inside his throbbing head, and he groans.

He meets Keigo—no, Atobe—three days later, by coincidence, but Ryoma never believed those when it came to Atobe fucking Keigo. He doesn't look up from his glass of whiskey when Atobe slides next to him in his private booth without an invitation.

"Hi," Atobe says quietly. Ryoma ignores him and takes a gulp of whiskey. Fucking hell, it burnt.

Atobe orders a scotch himself, and when he looks as if he had no intention of leaving, Ryoma points out the fucking logic behind those actions. "This is a private booth," he points out without emotion, because he's not very drunk yet.

"Aren't you going to ask me how I found you?" Atobe asks lightly, his hands cradling his cup of scotch. Those hands are shaking. (Ignoring the concept of privacy and the rule of ex-boyfriends).

Ryoma smirks at him. Fuck if he was going to play this game. "With your wonderful abilities of superhuman insight, of course," he drawls, raising his glass in mock salute. "Or maybe you just tracked the bank and found out where I was spending all my credit cards at."

Atobe gives out a wry smile. "You know me well."

He doesn't bother answering to that; of course he knows him well, they've been dating since high school, and even before that they had an on and off relationship with each other. Atobe just didn't know him as well as he thought he had.

Ryoma gulps down the rest of his drink and pours another. At this rate, he would turn out to be fine alcoholic. His old man would be proud.

Atobe doesn't try to start another one of his dumb small talks; he just watches his drink, his own scotch left untouched, and those eyes hidden behind the dim light. Ryoma doesn't care in him to provoke him.

"Ryoma," Atobe finally says, still looking at his glass, "I'm sorry." It sounded calm, practiced, as if Atobe had practiced his apologies beforehand, but Ryoma could still hear hints of tiredness from sleepless nights and desperation from….what? What exactly?

Ryoma shrugs, waves the apology away with a swish of his glass. "It's okay."

At this, Atobe's eyes looks up and meets his eyes. Ryoma cocks his head to one side and shrugs. "Apology accepted," he says easily, because really, forgiveness was so easy to give when you weren't involved with a bastard like Atobe anymore.

"I don't mean—" Atobe starts now; he's calmness is falling apart ( oh good, Ryoma thinks darkly) and his eyes hold that edge of despair his voice does not, "I mean that I was stupid. I'm sorry. I didn't know—" Atobe hesitates; it must kill him, to not know something, especially the little mind workings of one Echizen Ryoma, "I didn't know you really gave up your tennis. I knew that something was wrong last year, but maybe if you just... I should've known you wouldn't…..fuck," Atobe swears, his hands on his head. Ryoma doesn't try to help him out, too absorbed in drinking his shot of whiskey. "What I'm trying to say is that I don't care if you'll never play tennis for the rest of your life. I didn't date you because you had extraordinary tennis skills."

"No?" Ryoma inquires pleasantly (this came out better when he was drunk, noted for later),"Then you dated me because you wanted to put up with my shitty attitude day after day?"

"When did you start having low self-esteem issues?" Atobe says exasperatedly, "I dated you because…." He hesitates, then shakes his head. "Never mind. I must have been out of mind back then," he mutters now. Even at a situation like this, Ryoma had to smile. But then again, he was getting drunker by every second.

"You're still out of your mind," he informs Atobe cheerfully, "I step back and let you grab what you always wanted, and yet you're still here at some booth you'd never go into in normal conditions. You are positively insane." With that last sweet word, he gave another toast, and drank down the last of his whisky.

Atobe looks at him strangely now, a look that says he has no idea what Ryoma is talking about. "Are you drunk?" he finally ventures out, "You're now sprouting nonsense."

Ryoma didn't let that act deceive him. "I said we're over," he points out helpfully, letting Atobe process in the information clearly (at the word 'over' Atobe's hands grip tighter around his cup and his eyes shake), "So you see, you're single now. But I even gave you my blessings for you to date Tezuka-san. He's perfect for you in every way." Ryoma even gave a smile at the last remark. Yes, he was going off his rocker. He already felt the headache coming on.

Atobe stares at him disbelievingly for a few minutes.

"That," Atobe says, "Is the most idiotic thing I have ever heard you say."

And Atobe had heard quite a few, including a suggestion to get Atobe arrested so they could have sex in a prison cell with handcuffs.

Ryoma smirks, orders another bottle of whiskey and doesn't answer.

"I dated you because I liked you," Atobe snaps, (why the hell is he angry now?), "Not because you're Tezuka's—fuck, just fuck." Atobe finally drinks some of his scotch. "You have one twisted mind," he mutters.

Ryoma shrugs. "Thanks," he says.

"You're making me grow old," Keigo mutters, draining down his scotch in one gulp, "You're harder than all of my business deals put together."

Ryoma laughs at that. Atobe shoots him a dark look, then sighs.

"Look," he says tiredly, "I'm sorry. I've been an idiot, I don't want forgiveness on your part, I want you back. You can study all the German you want and whatever else you're interested in and I'll say how wonderfully you're learning it. I'll never mention tennis again."

At that, Ryoma blinks. "That," he says, "Is the most honest answer I have ever heard you say."

Atobe chuckles humorlessly. "We seem to be making a lot of records today, aren't we?"

Ryoma hums in agreement. He drains down another cup of whiskey. But he doesn't give out an affirmation.

"Ryoma," Atobe says quietly now, his eyes carefully steady, "I don't need your tennis. But I do need you."

Yup, Atobe might be a bit drunk too.

Ryoma looks at his bottle of unfinished whisky and still doesn't say anything. His fake smile erases off naturally. On the bottle reflection, his face looks sullen and white. He lost quite a few pounds-he really does look like a ghost.

"Where's Tezuka-san?" he finally says.

Atobe looks at him in almost near despair, but Ryoma is still studying his bottle of whiskey. "He took the plane to Tokyo," he says, and Ryoma marvels at the composure in his voice, the calm, normal range Ryoma is used to hearing. Better, better. "He wanted to go see his parents. He sent you his regards." Atobe stays silent after that, looking at Ryoma for an answer to his unanswered question.

"Mmm." Ryoma finally loses interest in his bottle. It was a stupid bottle of whiskey anyway. He meets Atobe's—oh, hell, Keigo again, fine—eyes and raises an eyebrow. "You wouldn't want to date a tennis idiot again," he says casually, "That'll crush what little reputation you have left."

Keigo smiles a little at that. "You often remind me what an idiot I am constantly," he says wryly, but a small relief seep out of his voice, "I suppose two wrongs would make a right."

Ryoma snorts at that. "No, two idiots are two idiots," he says, and stands up from the booth. His knees give way, and he stumbles out of the booth, holding the table for support. "I'm so fucking drunk," he laughs.

"I've gathered," Keigo says, before standing up himself and holding Ryoma's two arms. Keigo's body feels cool against his. When Ryoma doesn't push him away, his relief is too evident to hide. "Hotel, then?"

Ryoma hmms in agreement. Keigo chuckles a little before leaning down and giving him a small kiss near his ear. He whispers something.

Ryoma scowls at the words. "You are such a fucking sap," he snaps, and kicks Keigo's legs for good measure.

They make it up until the hotel room. Only after the door had been shut does Keigo slam Ryoma up against the wall and begins to kiss him in the desperate manner he showed through his eyes.

"Missed you," he kisses his lips, which were already red and swollen from the kisses from earlier, "so fucking much," he has a go at Ryoma's neck, leaves red marks down his trail, and starts to pull off Ryoma's shirt.

"You've gotten better at swearing," Ryoma observes, the alcohol inside him making him slow to react to the sensations. He gives an experimental tug at his two wrists; Keigo pinned them to the wall and wasn't releasing his hold on them.

Keigo laughs at that, and as he unbuckles his pants he kisses Ryoma on the lips again. "I give you my honest declarations and you point out my choice of language?" he teases, a little breathless, "You're the bastard here."

Ryoma smirks, leaning into the kiss, lifting up his hips to grind up against Keigo's own. Keigo groans a little and pushes Ryoma further up against the wall.

"Fuck," Ryoma hisses, and this time it's Keigo who smirks, and Ryoma glares at him for that, "Keigo," he snarls, trying to yank his wrists free, "Get your hands off my damn wrists."

Keigo doesn't answer that one until he yanks down Ryoma's trousers, and even then he is slow to drawl it out. "No."

Ryoma tries to kick him, which Keigo dodges, but he soon leans in again and grinds, hard, and the both grit their teeth at the friction. Ryoma's hands slacken helplessly between Keigo's hands.

"Bed?" Keigo rasps out.

"Bed," Ryoma agrees weakly.

"Just so you know," Ryoma says in the morning, with his throbbing headache, "I hate fucking German."

Keigo smirks at that and hands him painkillers he had brought at the pharmacy. "I know," he says, in what he wanted to sound like sympathy but was actually just laughter. Ryoma glares at him. "I swear you have fucking weird tastes. Who the fuck learns German, anyway?" he grumbles, deciding he had a right to be an outright bastard for all the woes he had suffered the past few weeks and especially the past week, "And Greek. The fuck, what are we, the fucking Renaissance?"

Keigo hands him a cup of water. He gulps it down. "You could try to set this up in a more logical argument of why you hate it so much," he suggests mildly. Ryoma gives him the finger.

"This," he snarls, "Is all your fault. You could have stepped and pinpointed your arguments down like a man and get your head bashed in the first week, but no, you just had to be the manipulative bastard you always are and set this whole thing up and make me do…" Ryoma glared at the abandoned bags on the floor. They haven't been touched. "Homer. Fucking Homer."

"Funny how all this seemed like a good idea at the time," Keigo offers, sliding under the cover of the bed and pulling Ryoma closer to him. Ryoma scowls, but doesn't protest as Keigo's face nuzzled against his shoulder. "Should I get down on my knees?"

"I hate you," Ryoma snaps, "I'm going to burn all those German books when we get back."

Keigo smirks; he feels the curve of those lips on his shoulder. "Like you tried to do with my business books when you were eighteen?"

Ryoma kicks him from under the covers.

"I thought you had a three day's leave," Ryoma says their car speeding past the highway, the breeze light and fresh on his face.

Keigo looks at him wryly. "I was looking for you," he says, "You really think that I'd go back without you?"

Ryoma shrugs, but the smirk stayed on. "The things you would do for your exs."

"Don't say that word," Keigo says, swatting him with one hand. Ryoma dodges easily.

The car ride is silent after that, but Ryoma soon breaks it. He looks out the window while he tries to think of that word, what was the word—"Keigo."

"Hm?" Keigo glances in his way.

Ryoma smiles a little, but Keigo can't see it here, he's facing the window. "Ich liebe Sie." (I love you.)

Keigo laughs. "Hypocrite," he accuses, but his hand seeks out for Ryoma's, and Ryoma gives it to him.

A/N:I will never write in present tense again. I suck at it big time.

Yes, I've made a huge girl out of Ryoma. But, I justify myself in saying that he might get a bit edgy and scared when tennis comes up? Oh who am I kidding, I just wanted to write a crying Ryoma, the end.