A/N: Hey~ This is a fic written for the Secret Santa Fic Exchange, and I am EXTREMELY late. Anyways, this is for Meadow Wood~ I had a hard time thinking of a plot based on the prompt you gave me T^T Probably because I've never really wrote about Ryoga much *sigh* I apologize in advance if the characters are (slightly) OOC, or if there are so much grammar mistakes and weird phrasings, the cheesy ending or if this fic is just plain bad. I tried my best~ . So yeah, hope you would still enjoy this~ :) This is the first time after so long that I've written a none pairing fic for Ryoma haha
Disclaimer: I do NOT own Prince of Tennis.
24th December 2012
Ryoma's eyes widened when he saw the person standing at the front door of his house. It was a person who disappeared from his life years ago, an older version of himself in terms of looks. Ryoma cursed himself for forgetting about that person's arrival and not leaving the house fast enough.
"Yo, chibisuke," Ryoga, his adopted older brother greeted him with a smirk.
Suddenly, Ryoma felt his throat dried up. For the first time, he didn't have anything witty to say.
"Seishounen, why don't you help your father out here?" Nanjiroh shouted from the boot of the car. Some of Ryoga's things were still in the car.
Ryoma immediately snapped out of his thought and looked at his dad. "I've got to go," he muttered, and before Ryoga could say anything, the younger Echizen stride out of the house. The only thing Ryoga could do was stepped out of Ryoma's way.
"Oi, seishounen, where do you think you're going?" Nanjiroh shouted, when it was clear that Ryoma has no intention of helping him with the luggage. "What's up with that brat?" he muttered, and Ryoga just shrug as a reply.
Street Tennis Court
24th December 2012
"Where are you going? We're not done yet," Ryoma panted, the tennis ball in his hand. The usual crowd Ryoma plays with at street tennis was nowhere to be seen, so he ended up challenging two high school strangers, who were playing at the singles street tennis court.
"There's no point in continuing this match," retorted the older brunette haired teen. They were in the middle of their second one-set match, and it was Ryoma's turn to serve, but he kept hitting the ball to the net.
"Challenge us again when you have nothing but tennis in your head, kid," said the other high school student. He went to his partner, and went to get their bags. "Come again when you are more focused," they said before leaving.
"Che," Ryoma muttered, pulling down his cap. "Mada mada dane." Not wanting to return home immediately, Ryoma decided to practice hitting against the wall.
Thirty minutes passed since then, and Ryoma decided it was enough. Ryoma sat on a bench beneath the shelter with a hot drink in his hand instead of his regular grape ponta. His sweat and the light rain, that poured that a few moments earlier, have soaked his jersey, and the cold December air made it worse. Ryoma shuddered. His head was throbbing, and his hands began to feel numb. Ryoma knew he should return home soon, before the rain started to pour down heavily. After he finished his drink, Ryoma took his tennis bag and made a run for it.
Bus stop near Ryoma's house
24th December 2012
Ryoma never made it far though. A downpour forced him to take shelter under the bus stop. By now, his jersey and shorts was already thoroughly soaked by the rain. He has begun to feel uncomfortable with his light headache, and occasional sneezing. 'What happened to my immune system?' he thought when he sneezed for the nth time. Ryoma hugged himself to keep his body warm.
When Ryoma's teeth began to chatter, he made a decision to run home regardless of the heavy rain. Thankfully, he made it home in one piece. Tired after his ordeal, Ryoma went straight to his room. He discarded his wet clothes and changed into a pair of warm clothes. Ryoma pressed his forehead with his thumb and forefinger. "Why won't it stop?" he winced slightly when his headache got worse. He can't stop shivering as well, even though he had turned on the heater in his room.
Deciding to have a hot bath, Ryoma went to the bathroom with his towel, and ran the water to fill the bathtub. When it was ¾ filled with semi-hot water, he discarded his clothes on the door hooks, and entered the tub. It was instant bliss. The water had immediately warmed his body, and lessens his head pains. His eyelids became heavy all of a sudden, so he decided to close them for just a second.
24th December 2012
"Chibisuke, are you home yet?" Ryoga called out as he switched on the lights in the hallway that separates the living room from the house entrance. When there were no answer, he thought, 'Maybe he's not home yet,' and shrugged, 'Oh well.'
Ryoga walked to the kitchen, carrying the plastic bag filled with oranges. Their parents were out on a date, as Nanjiroh called it, and Nanako had some reunion with her friends. So, that was why Ryoga decided to go to the nearest market and buy a stock of oranges to fill the pantry. "Doesn't anyone eat oranges in this house?" he said with a frown, when he saw the pantry earlier.
After placing the oranges on the counter table, Ryoga took one orange and walked upstairs. He was on his way to his room when he heard a crash coming from the bathroom. "What was that?" he muttered to himself.
Ryoga turned and walked to the bathroom. However, when he turned the doorknob, it was locked. He knocked on the door, "Chibisuke, are you in there?" he called out. When no one answered, he tried again. A few knocks later, Ryoga became worried.
"God, I hope oyaji and okaa-san won't be mad about the door," he mumbled before attempting to break the door open. After a few kicks, he succeeded. He dropped his orange onto the floor; his eyes widened when he saw Ryoma drowning, and a broken jar of bath salts on the floor.
"Shit," he cursed, as he hurried to Ryoma's side and scooped the younger boy out of the tub. He placed Ryoma on the wooden floor, and called out the latter's name. When Ryoma didn't respond, Ryoga checked his pulse. "Damn, why do I always skipped Health Education in school?" Ryoga snapped at himself. Unable to recall the procedures to perform CPR, he did the only thing he remembered; performing chest compressions.
Ryoga placed his hands on Ryoma's chest, and with all his weight, began pumping hard and fast. He was beginning to panic when Ryoma didn't respond. He sighed in relief when Ryoma started to cough out the water he swallowed around the 30th chest compression.
Ryoga helped Ryoma sat up as the latter groaned, rubbing his head. Then, Ryoga stood up and took Ryoma's towel from behind the door, before wrapping it around the younger boy. "Damn it, you scared me, Ryoma," he said, as he sat crossed leg next to his brother.
"A-Aniki," Ryoma stammered.
Ryoga turned to his brother with a questioning look. Ryoma's face was flushed, and he was breathing heavily. The older sibling's expression immediately changed into a worried one. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine," Ryoma huffed, breaking eye contact with Ryoga.
Ryoga frowned, "No, you're not." Ryoma yelped in surprise when Ryoga pressed his palm against Ryoma's forehead. Ryoga frowned deeper. "Damn it, Ryoma, you're burning up."
Ryoma didn't say anything in reply. He didn't know what to say. Ryoga called his name twice, instead of using the nickname 'Chibisuke'. That meant the older one was serious.
Ryoga stood up and tried to scoop Ryoma in his arms once again. "What are you doing?" Ryoma protested.
"I'm taking you to your room."
Ryoma glared at his brother. "I can walk on my own." And to prove his point, he stood up and tried to walk a few steps…and failed. In one long step, Ryoga was by Ryoma's side, catching him when the latter lost his balance.
"It's final, I'm carrying you whether you like it or not," Ryoga said sternly before taking the boy in his arms. Ryoma was screaming "Yadda" for a while, but stopped by the time they reached the door because the screaming made his headache worse.
Ryoma looked like a little child when Ryoga placed him on the bed. 'Just like the kid that used to follow me around years ago,' he thought. Ryoga strode to Ryoma's closet and pulled out a pair of flannel pajamas.
Ryoga turned around to give Ryoma his privacy, and turned to face Ryoma again after the latter put on his pants. When Ryoga saw his brother having troubles buttoning his shirt, Ryoga went to seat next to him and helped him with it. He noticed the younger boy blushing, although it could probably be due to his fever.
"What are you doing?" Ryoma asked when Ryoga tucked him into bed.
"Don't go anywhere. Sleep," Ryoga instructed. "I'll be right back," he added, before leaving Ryoma's room.
Ryoga returned a few minutes later, with a basin of water and a small towel. Ryoma just stared at his brother as the older teen placed the basin on his bedside table. He then soaked the towel into the water, and wringed it before placing it onto Ryoma's forehead. A scowl appeared on Ryoma's face after Ryoga placed a thermometer in his mouth.
"It's just a fever, you don't have to treat me like a child."
"Are you kidding me? You're practically on fire," Ryoga said in disbelief, after he saw Ryoma's temperature. He had never met a boy as stubborn as his brother. Only Ryoma could continue arguing with someone while having a fever.
"Che," Ryoma's scowl deepened. He buried himself underneath his comforter.
Ryoga sat on the floor, and leaned against Ryoma's bed. He ran a hand through his hair. "Did you know how much you scared me? I thought I couldn't save you. It was raining heavily earlier, maybe that's how you caught a fever. Maybe that's why you fell asleep in the bath. You should have returned home earlier." After a moment, Ryoga chuckled in realization. 'Of course, why didn't he think about that? Did he really thought Ryoma would welcome him back with open arms?' He shifted to the side, placing his right arm on Ryoma's bed, and his head on his arm. "Chibisuke, do you hate me?"
Under the comforter, Ryoma went through a lot of emotions — annoyance, then guilt, and then confusion. At Ryoga's last question, Ryoma's eyes widened. That was a question he often asked himself after his mother told him that Ryoga's returning to the family. "Yes — No… I don't know," came Ryoma's muffled answer. There was a moment of silence before Ryoma lowered the comforter until his head poked out. Looking straight into Ryoga's eyes, he said in soft voice, "You just left."
Ryoga's breath hitched and his throat suddenly dried up. God, Ryoma looked so fragile. He wished he could turn the time and stopped himself from leaving. He never realized how much it might hurt Ryoma when he disappeared. "I'm sorry," Ryoga choked out.
Without acknowledging Ryoga's apology, Ryoma covered his head with the comforter once more. However when he heard the sound of Ryoga standing up, his hand immediately shot out and grabbed the sleeve of Ryoga's sweater. His head poked out from under the comforter again, and said, "Don't leave."
Ryoga tried to give Ryoma a big grin, although he failed miserably. Clearly, he was still upset over the fact that he just realized. "I'm going to fix you something to eat so that you could take your meds," Ryoga told him. "I'll be back shortly," he reassured the preteen.
"Please stay," Ryoma repeated, his eyes begging for Ryoga to stay.
Ryoga sighed. He couldn't say no. Not this time. "Alright, I'll stay with you, chibisuke," Ryoga sighed, as he took his previous seat on the floor. He leaned against Ryoma's bed, his left hand on Ryoma's bed as the latter was still holding on to his sleeve.
Ryoma closed his eyes, and soon enough, Ryoga could hear Ryoma's soft snores and faint breathing. Ryoga closed his eyes too, and whispered, "I promise I won't leave anymore, chibisuke. I promise."
A/N: Again, I apologize if this fic is bad. Please leave a review to let me know what you think. Thanks for reading~ :)