Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis.
Notes: Let's all pretend Ryoga never left. xD
Ryoma took a long gulp of his fizzy drink, his fingers tapping irritably against the windowsill.
It was a pitiful thing for a tennis prodigy to be scared of. He was Ryoma Echizen; master of the twist serve, son of Samurai Nanjiroh, the youngest participant in the US Open. He couldn't let something as petty as thunder and lightning make him look vulnerable.
Ryoma twitched as a clap of thunder shook the house. The kitchen was dark and gray, the only light coming from the vanilla-scented candle on the dining table.
The power had gone off exactly ten minutes ago, while Ryoma had been trying to finish his retarded English essay.
God, how he hated storms.
Ryoma's hand tightened around his bubbly grape juice as the familiar, annoying voice of his older brother floated to his ears. The smell of oranges accompanied Ryoga, the clear sound of malicious chewing closely following.
"Of course not."
Ryoga's mouth twisted into a smirk. He sauntered over to Ryoma's tense back and put a hand on his shoulder. "Now, now, Chibisuke. There's nothing to worry about while your big brother is here."
"Who says I'm worried?"
"You've been drinking your Ponta far too quickly."
Damn you, Aniki. Damn you.
Ryoma pressed his face up against the cold glass window, watching as rain puttered against the ground, wind whooshing over the trees and murderous thunder flashing in the skies. A shiver ran up his spine.
Ugh, he was such a sissy.
Ryoma kind of wished he was five again. If he was, he could still be cuddled up on the couch, whimpering, holding his Aniki's hand with no manly pride to protect. He supposed he could still resort to that – he was only twelve, after all – but Ryoga would laugh at him until the end of the everlasting time.
"I saw you shiver." Ryoga mocked. He leaned in and breathed down his brother's neck. "Never knew Chibisuke was still such a baby."
Ryoma clenched his teeth, flinching as lighting crackled above the trees. "I'm not scared."
His voice betrayed him with a slight tremor, and Ryoma's damp hand felt slippery against his drink. He quickly took a long swig.
Another howl of wind broke out.
Ryoma's muscles tensed once again and his large golden eyes retreated to fear. He could hear Ryoga peeling his second orange behind him, and Ryoma's roaring heart calmed slightly.
Despite his relentless teasing, his brother's presence was extremely comforting.
"I know you're scared." Ryoga sang out.
"I know you are, though."
"Chibisuke's scared of st-o-o-orms!"
Ryoga grinned in triumph as he watched his little brother's fingers tighten around his soda, eyes flashing darkly. Ryoma had a tendency of being very cool-headed, adamantly able to ignore provocations by others.
However, with the storm scaring the shit out of him, it was getting easier and easier to get on the cat-eyed boy's nerves.
Ryoga observed as his Chibisuke's eyes wandered over the stormy city, his small hands trembling from the effort of trying to act normal when he was obviously terrified. Ever since Ryoga could remember, Ryoma had always been scared of storms. Even when he was little, he would curl up and cry in his brother's arms while Ryoga tried to lull him to sleep. Now that he was older and much more dignified, Ryoma was clearly trying to hide his phobia.
Ryoga saw right through it.
"Hey, Chibisuke, wanna watch a movie?"
"There's no power, baka."
"Then wanna help me peel another orange?"
Ryoma averted his gaze from the window and glared menacingly at his brother. "Mada."
"You suck a glaring, you know that?" Ryoga said crisply. "I know you think you're good at it, but when you're in your baby blue pajamas with no stupid Fila cap on, you look more like a five-year old pouting."
Ryoma felt his pale cheeks flush and he shot an annoyed look at Ryoga. "Shut up." He muttered.
"So adorable." Ryoga crooned, before snickering. He tugged at Ryoma's shirt. "C'mon, sit down. Watching the storm isn't going to make it go away."
Ryoma bit his lip. His brother actually sounded sincere for once.
"Okay." He finally sighed, dragging himself over to the dinner table and plopping down on an empty chair. Ryoga sat down beside him and began peeling his orange.
"So, we all know that you're afraid of storms." Ryoga prompted.
"So what if I am?"
"Ah, so you're finally admitting it!"
"I was being hypothetical."
"But you are scared, aren't you?"
Ryoma fidgeted uncomfortably, taking another sip of his Ponta. "Maybe…kinda." He finally said softly, hoping his brother wasn't taping this on a voice recorder or something.
Another crack of thunder erupted.
Ryoma found himself shivering again.
"Aw, Chibisuke." Ryoga's chair squeaked as he pulled it closer to his brother's. Casually, he draped his arm around Ryoma, pulling him in and closing the space between them. He could feel Ryoma's smaller frame shaking ever so slightly and tightened his grip around him.
"There, now there's no need to be scared."
"I'm not." Ryoma mumbled, yet he could feel his shoulders relaxing as he leaned against his older brother.
Ryoga smiled, pleased. It was at times like this, ever so rare, that Ryoma actually seemed like a kid; an innocent, fragile kid in a stressful world. Although Ryoga admired Ryoma's overconfident, cocky attitude most of the time, it was nice to see him acting like a twelve-year old for once.
"You know, you're still such a kid."
Ryoma yawned, warm in Ryoga's arms. Sleep started to weigh on his eyelids. "Whatever." His head lolled slightly. "You're still Mada Mada Dane, Aniki."
Ryoga snorted, steadying Ryoma into a comfortable position. The older boy took a slurpy bite out of his orange. "I hope I'm not disturbing you with my loud eating." He teased.
There was no reply.
Ryoga looked down and his breath hitched at the sight in his arms.
His brother was already asleep.
He looked so small and delicate, with dark emerald strands peeking into his closed eyes. The moonlight and candle glow made his cheeks glint and brought out the softness in his porcelain skin.
He was so a girl in his previous life, Ryoga thought as the sky rumbled outside. He stroked his Chibisuke's hair, before planting a soft kiss on his forehead. Then, he returned his eyes back to the grumbling gray weather.
God, how he loved them.