With a cherry on top: For lyuna, thank you for being such a lovely muse. And for murasakinoegao, Happy Belated Birthday! These are also late—very late birthday stories for the twins.
TITLE: Never Forget
FANDOM: Prince of Tennis
CHARACTERS/PAIRINGS: Atsushi/Ryou, undertones of Mizuki/Atsushi and Saeki/Ryou, as well as appearances from the Rokkaku ensemble
GENRE: drama/romance, some mild humor?
SUMMARY: My take on what happens when Atsushi leaves for St. Rudolph. (1400+ words)
NOTES: Inspired by David Cook's Light On. I would suggest that you listen to the song (and if you want, read the lyrics) before heading on to the story. At the moment, to me, this song portrays the way the twins feel perfectly.
“Mizuki-san asked me to join the tennis team of St. Rudolph and I have agreed,” Atsushi announced one night while they were having dinner. And the reactions happened simultaneously: their parents exchanged worried glances before congratulating the younger twin; Saeki, decidedly calm, placed his utensils down and gifted Atsushi with an uneasy smile; while Ryou, eyes wide, spat out the juice he'd been drinking.
Atsushi, noting and paying most attention to the latter's response, took this as a cue to get up and go, politely thanking their mother for the food as he turned the corner in the living room and ran up the stairs.
“You can't be serious! This is stupid, 'Tsushi and you know it!” Ryou gritted out an hour later, his fingers tangled in Atsushi's hair.
Head resting atop his brother's lap, Atsushi winced not because of the slight pull at his scalp, but because Ryou looked like he was just about ready to murder someone. And the person he likely had in mind was the flirtatiously brilliant manager of the team Atsushi would be joining next semester.
“It isn't stupid, Ryou. I really thought about it,” he replied some moments later, his voice softer than he'd intended. He tried to continue with an explanation but his older brother's glare cut him off, and they did nothing to lift the prolonged silence until it was time to say goodnight.
“You should understand, 'Tsushi-kun, he feels terrible about it,” Saeki sighed, his eyes on the boy in question who was currently having a match against Davide. Kurobane entered the court within the same second to unceremoniously punch the side of his partner's head, apologizing to Ryou for something the former must have said.
“But he hasn't spoken to me in nearly two weeks. This just isn't fair!” Atsushi frowned in turn, trying to catch his twin's eye but failing. Ryou was hellbent on ignoring him, at home, in class, at practice. It didn't help that Atsushi had had to travel back and forth from Chiba to Tokyo for the past few days so that he could hand in the necessary documents for his transfer.
“Give him some time. It'll get better.” He barely heard Saeki's advice as he stormed off, Ryou's head turning a fraction to watch him leave but this went unnoticed.
“Kisarazu... Atsushi?” Mizuki's stricken tone should have bothered him, but he was too worn out (physically and mentally) to pay attention. He nodded automatically and went back to staring outside the window, the rain drizzling down.
“Kisarazu... Atsushi? You aren't Ryou?” Hearing his twin's name made him look up finally, and Atsushi's breath caught. The St. Rudolph manager seemed to be fuming; his documents falling to the tiled floor.
“Is there a problem, Mizuki-san?” He managed, immediately regretting the inquiry when the taller boy's hand came down on his shirt collar and gripped it tightly.
“I surely hope that this isn't Rokkaku's idea of a joke, Kisarazu-kun.”
For the second time in less than a month, Ryou spat out the beverage he'd been trying to enjoy as he gazed up at his younger twin, horrified beyond reason.
“You-Your hair!” Scrambling to his side, Ryou reached for Atsushi's head then drew his arm back as if his fingers had been burned. “What happened to you?”
“It's nothing for you to be concerned about.” Shrugging, Atsushi turned away, a bead of sweat trickling down his cheek, a pained look dawning his face.
Balling his hands into tight fists, Ryou took his brother by the shoulders and whirled him around again, catching the hurt in his eyes. “It was that bastard, wasn't it? He did this to you?”
Pulling away, Atsushi shook his head and tried his best to smile.
“I let him.”
“You don't mind wearing this ribbon, do you?” Mizuki purred, his arm outstretched as he handed Atsushi the red headband.
“... Of course not, Mizuki-san.” Carefully taking the thin piece of cloth, Atsushi brought it up to his forehead and was just about to tie it, when Ryou came bounding down the stairs, eyes dark—furious.
“Don't you dare have 'Tsushi do any more of that crap, you monster!” Things happened far too quick: Mizuki had been smirking before Ryou lunged at him and sent them both flying towards the front door. Atsushi could only watch in mute horror.
“Ryou, stop it!” He then followed suit, grabbing his brother by the arm (as Ryou got ready to sucker punch Mizuki right in the face) and pulling him away.
“Luckily, my arm didn't break, Atsushi-kun,” Mizuki grinned, tipping the startled boy up by the chin. “You don't have to worry so much, really.”
(“Too bad.” The St. Rudolph manager was deliberately ignoring the seething brother on Atsushi's right.)
“I'm so sorry, Mizuki-san. Ryou was overreacting because of my haircut.” Atsushi frowned, bowing down, reaching for his brother's head to make him do the same.
“And I feel terrible for it but from now on, it will be easier to tell you two apart. I just felt it practical-”
“You don't have to explain yourself; I understand perfectly.” Ryou seethed seeing the way Atsushi smiled at the bastard.
“You can't leave yet, not now, not with him!” Ryou hissed, shutting the door behind them. He turned around to see his brother still frowning at him, anger evident in his gaze.
“You shouldn't have done that. It was uncalled for.”
“He deserved it! He made you cut your hair and this-,” Ryou threw the offending ribbon at the door, “It's like he's marking you as his own!”
“Mizuki-san's intentions are far from that, I don't even know how you can come up with these notions!” Atsushi thundered, striding towards his bed to reach for his backpack. “I have to go. We're making Mizuki-san wait downstairs and it's very rude.”
“'Mizuki-san, Mizuki-san'! Why the hell do you keep referring to him like he's some god? 'Tsushi, he's taking you away from everything; all the things you believed in, the people you grew up with, the team, me! Why can't you understand that I don't want you to leave me alone?” By then, Ryou's face had gone red and tears were trailing down his cheeks.
Stunned, Atsushi stared at him, dropping his bag to floor. Ryou moved his eyes to the left, right, anywhere as long as he couldn't see his brother. The seconds ticked by, the tension growing, until...
“I'm not leaving you.” Ryou blinked, looking up as Atsushi made his way towards him, arms encircling him, flooding him with warmth. “I'm not leaving you.”
The older twin shut his eyes as the phrase repeated, again and again, gentle but firm.
“I just need... to do this, Ryou. Even if it's far away, even if the people are different and they won't acknowledge me at first, I'll try my utmost best. I'll catch up to you, I swear, and we'll have a serious match sometime soon.”
Ryou eased himself away, his hand on Atsushi's chest, feeling his heartbeat.
“You're doing this... for me?”
“Well, not just for you. But you could say that. I want,” he grinned, “to come home in a year or so and see you waiting for me. And then you'll tell me that I've grown taller and improved and that I've become someone you can depend on.”
For Ryou, evidently, that was what he needed to hear.
“Another letter from 'Tsushi-kun?” Saeki laughed, peering over Ryou's shoulder. The latter whirled around and stuck his tongue out.
“Sorry, but it's only for me today.” He looked back down, ready to read until he realized that the papers were gone.
“Oh? A letter? Is this from Atsushi-san? Didn't he just write to us yesterday? Why is this one so long? Why is the handwriting so pretty? Why? Why?” One could tell just how excited Itsuki was with the way the steam was being blown out of his nose; he was already scanning the first few lines.
“Itsuki, give that back!”
“Oi, Itsuki, what's that you're holding?” Kurobane and Davide came towards them, wondering what the ruckus was about.
“It's a letter from Atsushi-san!”
“No, Itsuki! Davide, quick! Give it here!” Too late. Ryou watched in embarrassment as Davide read aloud.
“'Dear Ryou, I couldn't say this in my other letter but I really miss you. Do you miss me too? Come visit sometime. The dorms here are wonderful, but would be even more so if you slept over.' Is it just me... or is there some underlying meaning in this?”
TITLE: You and Me
FANDOM: Prince of Tennis
CHARACTERS/PAIRINGS: Atsushi/Ryou, undertones of Mizuki/Atsushi
SUMMARY: In the end, all it takes is for them to reach out and claim what is rightfully theirs. (1000+ words)
NOTES: Halfway through this, I had no idea where I was going or how I was going to end it. So I'm sorry if it's hard to understand.
Sometimes, when all his composure fell away to his feet like broken shards of glass, the impact piercing, Atsushi wondered to himself if everything was truly alright. In his heart, of course, he knew this wasn't quite normal. Not at all. Not when he was naked and perfectly sated in bed with someone he'd known all his life, quite literally in fact. It was, for lack of better word, a sin. And all the more cliché.
However, he smiled softly, sliding his hand against the cool arm on his chest, he found that, just as well, he didn't care.
Or so he tried to convince himself.
“And then 'Tsushi fell out of bed. He was screaming that he'd had a nightmare!” As the Rokkaku team bubbled out in unsuccessfully suppressed laughter, Ryou grinned, trying to wind his face up in a way to show them exactly how his twin's had looked that night years ago.
Atsushi stood away from the crowd, his back against a post, expression decidedly blank. He contemplated how so much had changed.
“'Tsushi, come here and show them!” His older brother waved to him, welcoming him, wanting him to join in.
He shook his head, smiling gently.
“I think I'll head on back first.”
“Are you feeling alright?” He looked up as he felt the warm hand atop his shoulder, his eyes widened, his hair dripping from the shower he'd had earlier.
“Of course. Why do you ask?” The reply was supposed to sound casual. Instead, he seemed like he was trying to evade something.
“Everyone was asking me why you had to leave so abruptly.” He turned away, reaching for another towel to dry his hair with, blocking out the worry etched on his brother's face.
“You rarely come to visit, you know. The least you could do is hang out with us.” Ryou was not one to be ignored though, rounding on him, pointing at him accusingly.
To this, he closed his eyes and then stalked out of their room, the water droplets leading a small trail right into the hall.
“Are you missing me already?” Mizuki's soothing tone cooed; it sounded husky through the phone like he'd just gotten out of bed, rumpled, beckoning. Atsushi gripped the chord dangling off of the living room table and tried his best to smile, though the St. Rudolph manager wouldn't be able to see it.
“A little, but it's been a while and-”
“You are missing me, I can tell. Is it because they're excluding you? I'm surprised your brother would allow it.” He laughed, forced it out like a choke.
“No, no. We're all... getting along. Everything's fine.”
“Oh? Then why did you call me, Atsushi-kun?” Mizuki's amusement was blunt with nothing to hide. He'd always appreciated that.
“I suppose, I just wanted to hear your voice.” He replied and awaited the other boy's predictable reaction.
“Nfu~ Of course you did.”
As soon as he'd spotted Ryou striding heatedly into the room, the older twin had him pushed up against the wall; Atsushi hadn't uttered one word in protest.
“You were talking to that guy? That-that bastard who took you away?” His brother's red cap fell to the floor, eyes wild.
Atsushi frowned, “Mizuki-san is my friend. He gave me a world where I could improve my tennis. I owe him for that and more.”
He watched as Ryou's glare morphed into something completely different, smoldering, and then suddenly he leaned in, pressing his lips firm against Atsushi's own. It was a kiss meant to punish, meant to bend his will; and Atsushi fought just as fervently for he simply couldn't back down.
Due to the sheer pressure of Ryou's body, they dropped to the ground, Atsushi clutching on to his twin's shirt, Ryou's hands already underneath his.
His breath was hot, teeth sinking into Ryou's neck, lapping up whatever mark he left behind. While his brother was panting, pleading, calling out to him, against his ear. Atsushi reached in between them, feeling for his brother's length, causing Ryou to buck and writhe.
He pumped, up and down, as he drew his twin forward for another kiss—this one meant to gloat, “You're mine, and you always will be”. Yet in the midst of it, he couldn't help but gently, affectionately nip Ryou's bottom lip.
And then, he guided them towards a pinnacle of completion, Ryou half-purring and half-whining as Atsushi eased himself further into the pillows some minutes later, his brother's hair spilling across his chest, his heartbeat joining Atsushi's own rhythm.
Their arms, outstretched, linked together beside them; fingers entwined and caressing, holding on to each other as if tomorrow would not come.
“Mom is calling for us,” Ryou groaned the next morning, knowing well enough that their mother wouldn't go to the extent of actually coming up to their room; they were old enough to care for themselves.
He drew his arm from Atsushi's, regretting right away as the cool air licked his palm. He preferred his younger brother's warmth there, the security, the comfort.
Atsushi had already been up, had watched how Ryou stirred in his sleep, eyes half-lidded as his brother began to stretch, marveling at how he could be so close yet so far at the same time.
He smiled then, reaching out and twirled a few strands of Ryou's hair around his fingers, bringing them up to his lips and pressing them there ever so softly. His brother gazed back at him, a hot blush creeping across his cheeks, hair tousled. Both of them were bathed in the sunlight streaming through an open window; a picture of being so utterly wrong and so desperately right.
Anyone could call it cliché or a sin, but right at that moment, Atsushi knew they would both manage. They had their own crowds, their own personalities, their own growing up to do. Nevertheless, they would always have each other and sometimes, all they needed was a little reminding.