This is just a silly little thing i wrote at uni yesterday. i wrote part of it while sitting next to [info]philalethia in class, which was really very surreal. anyway, this is for [info]soundczech because in my head this is her Tezuka and Ryoma, post-Playing Grown Ups, and I really have no idea what they are doing here.

Match, 436 words

Ryoma's muscles are stretched and tired, but not nearly as tired as he would like them to be. He wants to ask Tezuka for a match, because the warm-up courts are still open and Ryoma is restless; but where Ryoma's match in the quarterfinals was light, Tezuka's against Roddick was difficult, and the starry-eyed press conference that followed his win ran long. When he enters their hotel suite later, Ryoma can tell he is tired and decides playing tennis isn't what he wants now anyway.

"Hey." He hands Tezuka a glass of ice water and watches for the flicker in Tezuka's eyes as Tezuka thanks him. Then he watches the slide of muscles in Tezuka's throat as he drinks. The water condenses on the glass and he thinks of sweat on Tezuka's skin, the way his shirt had clung to him after the match. Tezuka has already showered it off. Ryoma wishes he hadn't.

Tezuka sets the glass of water down and sweeps his fingers through Ryoma's hair. The taut untouchable thing in Ryoma's chest loosens; he slips into Tezuka's space, feeling some of his edginess fading before the relaxed expression Tezuka wears. He touches Tezuka's wrist. "They shouldn't let so many unseeded players do Grand Slams. I feel like I'm playing Horio."

Tezuka runs his fingers along the underside of Ryoma's forearm. "You should be grateful for new opponents," he says. "The veterans are all tired of playing you."

Ryoma grins. He leans in and closes his arms around Tezuka's waist. "I heard your opening guy cried when he found out you were his first match. First time in a Grand Slam and he gets you."

"He played a good game," Tezuka responds, but Ryoma can see the lie in the shape of his lips.

"Yeah, well," he says. "Yours was better."

Tezuka smiles at that and loops his arms around Ryoma's back. His chest is warm, and Ryoma can feel his muscles relaxing as Ryoma presses closer.

"Everyone has their Baghdatis," Tezuka says. "That opponent who demands something more from you, who calls you to advance to a level you never expected they would push you."

Ryoma feels suddenly solid in the rush of feeling that washes over him, as if Tezuka is grounding him, teaching him to evolve just standing there. He loves it when Kunimitsu says such things without any sense of irony. He loves it when Kunimitsu is just himself.

He reaches up and removes Tezuka's glasses, satisfied with the way the light softens Tezuka's eyes as he does. "Che, Buchou," he says. "Some of us found ours in junior high."

Marcos Baghdatis's final match against Federer in the 2006 Australian Open began with Baghdatis completely dominating play until Federer snapped and won eleven games straight to win the Slam. Thank you to Orphne for the beta, and for letting me despair over how much I would rather be writing about James Blake.

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