Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis.
A/N: What is it with me and writing pairings I don't support lately? I just wrote a RyoSaku, and now I'm writing a MomoRyo. I think my inspiration's gone awry or something. It's probably because I'm on a major blockage for Crumbling. I've wrote a little of the next chapter, but I'm sort of in a muddle. Anyhow, hope you enjoy!
Warnings: I know, Arai is not this cruel. Oh, well. xD And I stole some lines from the anime. And pretend Horio and his friends ran away or something. I couldn't be bothered to put them in.
"Just because you were born a year earlier doesn't justify you doing something like this."
Arai had a rather horrible temper – the slightest nuisance, a trickle of humiliation, just a simple statement from a freshman could set him off. The boy in front of him held his racket over his shoulder with a confident aura around him. Arai seethed; his plan had been foiled by this cocky little twelve-year old. The boy had ruined the entire ploy by proving that there were rocks in the can.
And now, the preteen dared to use that tone with his senpai. Arai wouldn't stand for it.
"Why you little brat-"
"Arai-" His friend cautioned.
In less than a split second, the junior grabbed Ryoma by the collar and lifted it him up a good few centimeters above the ground. His tanned hands clenched tightly around the boy's shirt.
"I told you to watch your attitude." Arai spat.
If Ryoma was fazed, he hid it well. His gold eyes bore into the junior's without a hint of fear or trepidation. There was a scowl on his face, an intimidating look that surpassed even some of the teachers threatening expressions. Arai tightened his grip, and watched as Ryoma winced slightly at the pressure around his neck.
"You know, kid, you woulda been better off if you just hit the can once and left."
Ryoma tilted his chin bravely. "There are some you play tricks because they are weak."
That was the last straw. Arai hated being called weak.
"I'm not weak, you stupid freshman."
Without a warning, his fist connected with Ryoma's face. The boy's head snapped back, then fell forward.
"Arai." His friend tugged at Arai's arm. "We shouldn't-"
"Shut up." Arai snarled. He shoved him off and turned back to Ryoma. His lips curled upwards as he watched Ryoma cough and look up with blood oozing around his eye, already starting to swell up. However, Ryoma was undeterred. He simply continued to glare at Arai with such ferocity that the older boy decided one hit wasn't enough. Arching back, he landed another punch right in the stomach.
Ryoma bit his lip hard as pain seared through his gut. He took an uneven breath.
"You are a sore loser."
Arai was in a state of ire – everything the boy said was so provoking, almost like he was begging to be hit. Sore loser? How dare he! The junior couldn't stand the conviction in those slanted eyes, or the audacious expression on his face. Ryoma was definitely strong willed, but Arai was sure he would break him one way or another.
"Really, we should stop this-" his friend babbled pointlessly.
It didn't matter. Arai's full attention was on Ryoma.
Ryoma spoke weakly, "Bastard."
A solid uppercut forced Ryoma to bend his neck back with a crack, then drop forward. When his eyes met Arai's, the spark had vanished slightly and a tremor ran through his body. He wanted to stay strong and continue to fight off Arai's painful attacks, but it hurt too much. Ryoma let himself groan, much to Arai's pleasure, but then he narrowed his eyes in spite.
"Get a life, senpai."
And Arai's anger was lit up all over again.
Momoshiro Takeshi had noticed a commotion in the tennis courts. He had come to play a little tennis to try to ease his way into recovering his sprained ankle, but it seemed his favourite court was occupied. He immediately recognized two juniors from the club, and a boy, probably a freshman, with them.
His violet eyes glanced at the can on the ground. He rolled his eyes. They're playing that cheap game again, huh?
Momoshiro smirked. Maybe he would do a cool entrance and gain their attention by hitting the can from this distance. Bending his knees, the sophomore threw the ball up in the air for a serve.
"Arai, stop! I think he's taken enough!"
The ball bounced carelessly to the ground and Momoshiro blinked. He took a few steps closer to the court, and from the view, suddenly everything was a little clearer. Arai was holding a freshman by the collar and repeatedly throwing punches. His friend was hopelessly telling him to stop.
Now that's just not right, Momoshiro thought, not right at all.
"Hey," Momoshiro's loud voice bellowed over the courts as he marched up to the pair of juniors.
He watched with a pleased smirk as Arai froze in his tracks. His friend gasped, widening his eyes. Momoshiro's gaze flickered to the freshman, and an eyebrow quirked. This was the freshman he'd run into a little while ago; the one with the piercing scowl and sharp eyes. Ryoma dangled by Arai's neck, blood streaming down his face. One hand clutched his stomach in pain.
Momoshiro's lips thinned. A cute freshman like this, getting beat up?
Not right at all.
"What do you think you're doing?" Momoshiro's voice was low and steady, unlike his normally friendly tone.
Arai's mouth parted in surprise. His grasp went limp and Ryoma dropped to the ground with a thud. It was as if all the junior's anger had drained in one go, and now he stared fearfully at Momoshiro. The sophomore was strong – Arai knew he couldn't take him even if he wanted to. Maybe he could somehow lie his way out of this.
"He was being a nuisance." Arai finally managed.
"A nuisance?" Momoshiro growled. "He's just twelve."
Arai hadn't seen Momoshiro look so angry in a long time. Gritting his teeth, the junior quickly glanced at his friend. "We ought to be going."
Before Momoshiro could say another word, the two juniors dashed out of the courts, pumping their legs as hard as they could to disappear out of sight. Momoshiro stared at the exit darkly. Cowards, he thought to himself. Then, with a chuckle, he turned to Ryoma.
Ryoma struggled to breathe. "I'm – fine."
"Well, isn't that a lie?" Momoshiro said playfully. He crouched down and gently placed his hand on Ryoma's back to help him sit up. The boy took a deep, shaky breath and supported himself on Momoshiro's strong arms. His gold eyes flicked over to Momoshiro's violet ones. The older boy looked concerned, yet at ease.
"Here, can you stand up?"
Ryoma groaned at the thought of standing up. He clutched onto the fabric of Momoshiro's jersey as he wobbled to his feet. Momoshiro placed an arm around his slender body to steady him, and smirked when Ryoma leaned his full body weight against his side. Definitely a cute freshman. Can't believe they could hurt such an innocent face.
They managed to make it to a bench, where Ryoma gratefully sat down on.
"Geez," Momoshiro inspected his face. He had gotten the first aid kit from the changeroom, and held a cloth in his hands as he tried to dab away some of the blood. "What did you do to get them so angry?"
Ryoma winced. "I spoiled their fun by figuring out there were rocks in the can."
"You figured it out, huh? Must have half a brain, then." Momoshiro smiled. "Still, can't believe Arai-senpai would beat you up that bad just because you outsmarted them."
"Well," Ryoma gripped the bench tightly as Momoshiro carefully placed ice on his eye. "I guess you could say I showed attitude too."
Momoshiro laughed heartedly, placing the cloth down. He grinned and reached into the kit to pull out a few bandages. "So, you're a freshman, right?"
"What's your name?"
Ryoma shifted as Momoshiro applied a gentle cream to his bruises. "What's yours?"
A soft chuckle. "Momoshiro. You can call me Momo-chan, if you want."
"Isn't that a peach?"
A scowl. "Don't push it."
Ryoma didn't appear the slightest bit frightened. "I think I'll stick with Momo-senpai."
"Sounds good. So, what's your name, then?"
The preteen grimaced as Momoshiro bandaged his cuts, and impatiently wriggled on the bench. "It hurts." He muttered, his hand on his stomach which still felt like it'd been punctured by a drill. No, more like two drills.
Momoshiro tried to distract him from the pain. "Fine. How's it going, 'it hurts'? Unique name you've got there."
Ryoma silently glared. "That's not my name. It's Echizen Ryoma."
Echizen Ryoma. Momoshiro's lips quirked. Not bad.
Once Momoshiro finished cleaning up Ryoma's face, he decided next would have to be Ryoma's stomach. The boy was gripping it like he'd been hammered with a mallet or something. The sophomore wasn't sure exactly how he was supposed to soothe Ryoma's stomach – he did know one way, but he wasn't sure if the freshman was willing to comply.
"Here…lie down for a sec."
Ryoma blinked. "Huh?"
The boy narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "Why?"
"Just lie down." Momoshiro said irritably.
Disgruntled, Ryoma slowly lay down on his back. Pain shot through his aching muscles and he sucked in his breath. Goddamit, that stupid junior. He needs to learn how to control his anger. All I did was prove him that he was playing his cheap game unfairly. He didn't need to beat the hell out of me. I should report this, I really should. Gah, and how come this Momo is being so nice to me? And do people have purple eyes? Or, actually, Momo's are more like a deep viole-
Ryoma stared at up at Momoshiro's looming face. "What?"
"Were you daydreamin' or something?" Momoshiro shook his head. "I called your name like fifty times and you didn't respond."
"Oh. Uh, why am I lying down again?"
"You're going to get a stomach massage."
The response was immediate. "No."
"Aw, why not?" Momoshiro grinned from ear to ear. "It'll help you feel better."
A wicked grin. "Senpai's orders."
Ryoma mustered his strongest, most vicious glare towards Momoshiro. The older boy in turn just guffawed at the way Ryoma was trying to look scary when in reality, he just looked even cuter than before. With a smug grin, Momoshiro gently lifted Ryoma's white dress shirt to reveal a slim, golden stomach. It was a little red from being punched so many times.
He laughed at the uncomfortable expression on Ryoma's face. "Don't worry. I'll be gentle."
Ryoma was about to argue, but suddenly he felt two cool hands skillfully manoeuver over his stomach. He shivered at the touch – and he knew he should be disturbed by the fact that this student he barely knew was giving him a massage – but the feeling was so soothing on his aching stomach that he closed his eyes and relaxed his shoulders.
Besides, he could trust Momo. Somebody named after a peach really couldn't do much harm.
"You know, this isn't right…" Ryoma said. "I don't see why you have to do this…"
Momoshiro smirked. "Don't act like you're not enjoying the free massage. And also, it's senpai's orders."
"Just because you were born a year earlier doesn't justify you doing something like this."
Momoshiro only laughed and continued to work his magic.
Pathetic ending? Oh well. xD I don't usually write MomoRyo because they aren't really a pair, more best friends, but inspiration struck…and you can't deny your muse, you just can't. Also, I just noticed I update almost every day. Geez, I need to get a life. xD Did you notice how the first and second to last sentence are the same? Hehe.