Cycling Moments

A/N: Don't know what this is, exactly. There's no plot, no really reason why I wrote it. :/ I just did. I guess it's good to keep those writing muscles moving, ne? But it really is quite…pointless. Just a…moment of TezuRyo, I suppose.

Sometimes, all Ryoma needed was the swift passing motion of a rally with somebody better than him. That's particularly why at the peak of early night, walking down the narrow, moonlit lane of the city streets, the boy decided to rally with his captain. It felt exhilarating every time Tezuka passed the ball back – fast and smooth like a professional tennis player. Someone beyond middle school capabilities.

It wasn't a match – just rallying, and Ryoma liked the night wind on his face when he swung his racket for a return.

"You're getting better." Tezuka noted. He ran over to the side of the court and gracefully let the ball fly past the net.

A lazy smirk adorned the preteen's face. "This is just rallying. I'm not even trying."

Tezuka didn't respond, but he looked light-hearted. He had gotten used to Ryoma's little interjected comments and had even come to like them. He couldn't imagine the boy as Ryoma Echizen without his cocky retorts and sassy comebacks. Whittled in his thoughts, Tezuka nearly missed the next return. He managed to tap the ball, but it was a shot high up in the air, matching in with the bright stars.

Ryoma ran forward, smug. "Getting a little rusty, buchou?"

The smaller boy leaped up in the air with a grunt. The ball would have been a spectacular smash but since they were rallying, he let it smoothly whiz back towards the captain. Tezuka mentally reminded himself not to get distracted by his thoughts and patiently hit the ball with his racket.

They continued to pass easy shots, back and forth.

With the darkness enveloping the city and the old tennis court lampposts flickering uncertainly, the bright yellow ball was starting to get hazy as it speeded across the nets. Tezuka's eyes were starting to hurt from focusing through the blackness.

"It's getting too dark to play."

Ryoma breathed evenly as he sped up his pace. "It's fun though, right? How about we play with our eyes closed?"

His suggestion was all seriousness. Tezuka wondered how a twelve-year old could have so much passion and determination filled in his innocent mind. He was only a kid but his dreams and skill were way beyond his age – beyond what anybody in the world would expect.

"That's a good suggestion but we both have school tomorrow." He said sternly. "It's important you get your sleep."

Ryoma paused, stopping. Sweat covered his face. He collected the ball onto his racket and bounced it in rhythm. "I guess so. It's not a problem for me, though. I sleep through English class."

"Echizen." Tezuka gently reprimanded. "That's not right."

Ryoma focused on the ball bouncing repeatedly on the rim of his racket, his narrowed eyes never breaking concentration. He felt Tezuka's comforting footsteps near him as the captain walked past the net and over to the younger boy to walk him home. Ryoma always said he was old enough to take care of himself but Tezuka insisted.

"Here's some water."

A water bottle tossed into his direction. Ryoma grabbed it with his free hand. "Thanks."

Silently, the captain waited as Ryoma placed his racket into his bag and took a sip of the cool water. It felt nice sliding down his throat after rallying for a good two hours. Absentmindedly, he rocked on the heels of his feet. The moon above them lit up the tennis court just enough that he could see Tezuka's handsome features out of the corner of his eye.

"After a match," Ryoma said once he drank enough. He lidded the water bottle. "I always feel really good. It's like after you go on a run and you feel all refreshed."

Tezuka blinked. His dark brown eyes locked with gold. "I agree."

Ryoma slung his racket bag over his shoulder and passed the water bottle back to Tezuka. The older boy tucked it into his own bag before nodding slightly. "Let's go." He said, turning around and starting to walk away. It always surprised him that even though they barely conversed about anything remotely interesting, and that there was more than enough silences that could have been awkward; the relationship they shared was completely comfortable.

As Tezuka took long strides out of the tennis courts, he felt Ryoma step into place beside him. The boy tilted his chin up to stare at the skyline. It was a really nice night, he thought, brushing his shoulder against Tezuka as they turned a corner. The captain glanced at him with a look that Ryoma decided he liked – a mix of fondness, protectivness, and the slightest hint of friendship. They turned the last corner that approached his house.

"So," Ryoma blew air through his lips. "Again tomorrow?"

There wasn't a moment of hesitation. "Of course."