“It wasn’t bad.”
Tezuka turned his key in the lock of their apartment door and pushed the door open before glancing at Ryoma. “It wasn’t bad?”
“No,” said Ryoma, shrugging. “It was all right.”
Tezuka had watched the match between Ryoma and the American player. He had seen Ryoma lose the first set and fight for the second, and then he’d seen Ryoma look up and flash that cocky grin, and everyone had heard Ryoma’s pronouncement of “Not good enough.” The Japanese fans had screamed when he’d said it, and then screamed again all the way to the climax of the raging duel on the tennis court. The American played fast and fierce, and Ryoma had matched him stroke for stroke. The last point, a service ace, had driven the crowd wild, American and Japanese alike.
“It was better than all right,” said Tezuka. He reached for the light switch and then paused. It wasn’t quite sunset, and although the room was already shadowy, it was by no means intolerable as it was. He walked inside without turning on the light, holding the door so that Ryoma could carry his equipment inside.
“It might have been,” Ryoma said, as close to relenting as he’d ever get. He dropped his bags carelessly on the floor as soon as the door was closed, pushing them aside with a foot.
“Echizen-” Tezuka began, meaning to reproach him and tell him that tennis things had to go in their proper places, or else the whole apartment would be littered with equipment and they’d be tripping over racquets and wristbands and grip tape all the time.
But he was cut off by the sudden assault; he was shoved against the wall and then Ryoma was kissing him as though the world was about to end and this was the last chance he’d ever have. “Leave… the bags,” Ryoma said in the brief pauses snatched for breath.
“Later,” was all Tezuka could say, meaning that yes, they were going to put them away eventually no matter what, and then Ryoma kissed him again, grip tight on Tezuka’s shoulders, the fingers of his other hand tangling in Tezuka’s hair. Ryoma was hungry, demanding, irresistible, writhing in Tezuka’s arms, not trying to get away but trying to get closer. Tezuka could feel Ryoma’s heartbeat thrumming in uneven time with his. Ryoma was still damp from the showers, his hair wet and glossy, his shorts sticking loosely to his skin when Tezuka slid a hand down the back of them, holding Ryoma’s ass in his palm and pulling him nearer, their hips grinding together in unsteady rhythm.
“I wanted it to be you today,” Ryoma gasped, rolling his hips again as he broke the kiss to press his forehead against Tezuka’s. “You would’ve seen… you would’ve known.” Known the strategy, seen its flaws, countered it as the American had not, as so few people could. Tezuka knew what Ryoma meant without being given more of an explanation. He almost always did.
“I know,” said Tezuka, and again, “I know,” because it was true.
He’d wanted so much to be the one across the court from Ryoma, so much and so selfishly, because he had this every day, they played all the time, but even one time less meant not enough. Tezuka had wanted to be the one playing Ryoma instead of that man who hadn’t even been able to see what was coming. That man hadn’t deserved to play Ryoma, and here was the worst part, Tezuka knew who was and was not worthy and he judged them even when he didn’t mean to. Ryoma lit up the courts he played on and so many people had to flinch away from that light.
Tezuka didn’t. Tezuka never would, even if it burnt his retinas so that he would never be able to see again.
“I wanted you,” Ryoma was saying, one hand fumbling with the zipper on Tezuka’s jeans. “I wanted you out there with me so badly.”
“You did,” Tezuka whispered hoarsely, not a question, just a statement of the absolute and utter truth. “And I wanted you.” Ryoma’s shorts were easier than his own jeans, he could work them down with one hand and there, they were pooled around Ryoma’s ankles and Ryoma wasn’t wearing any underwear beneath them and god.
“Why jeans, anyway?” Ryoma groaned, finally, finally thumbing the button through its hole and yanking the pants impatiently over Tezuka’s hips, something for which Tezuka couldn’t reproach him, not now.
Ryoma kissed him again, harder and fiercer than before, the way he’d played the match only better. “They’re not,” he hissed against Tezuka’s mouth, “You can’t get them off,” and Tezuka could hardly contradict that either, but they’d finally come off and Tezuka wasn’t wearing anything beneath them even though he usually did. “No underwear at least,” said Ryoma in a half-moan, half-smirk into the kiss.
No underwear, no, because Tezuka had been expecting this in some back portion of his mind, expecting that they’d be jerking each other off in the hall inside the door like a pair of teenagers too uncontrolled to wait for the bedroom or at least the couch. They’ve never stopped being this way, not since Tezuka’s first year of high school when they’d met for matches and had so many times like this one, pressed against the chain link fence and shuddering against each other in silence so that no one would hear and wonder what they were doing. After a match it had always been unbearable, both of them wound so tightly with tension that something had to snap, and when it finally had, it had snapped so hard that the backlash still hadn’t left them.
Not that either one of them minded.
Ryoma pressed Tezuka back, all the way against the wall and leaned on him, foreheads still resting together. Tezuka’s heel hit one of Ryoma’s bags and he shoved it aside with his foot, less carelessly than Ryoma had done. Their breath came in short, gasping pants as Ryoma’s hand curled around both of their cocks and Tezuka’s hand curled around his so that they were stroking together, short sharp movements because neither one of them was in the mood to stretch things out for long.
A brief, desperate kiss, another one, and Tezuka couldn’t remember later who had instigated those. “I… played it for you,” said Ryoma, forcing the words out between breaths. Tezuka’s hips jerked abruptly forward at that, but he wasn’t going to be outplayed. Leaning forward to press his lips against Ryoma’s ear, he whispered, “Echizen.”
A drawn-out moan was his only reply.
Tezuka said, then, “Mine,” leaving no room for argument, no room for denial and no wish for it either. He was still whispering Ryoma’s name, biting and licking at Ryoma’s ear when Ryoma came suddenly, saying “Buchou” as though it was a prayer and tightening his grip until he brought Tezuka to orgasm as well.
They were still in their clothes, at least for the most part, and they’d taken no precautions against making a mess all over themselves. Anyone on the outside would have guessed Tezuka more careful than that, but the truth was, when it came to Ryoma, when it came to this, he very rarely made an effort to keep things neat. They stood together for another minute or two or ten, eyes closed, sticky and breathing evenly for the first time since the match had begun that morning.
“I have towels,” said Ryoma eventually, gesturing vaguely to the bags. Tezuka nodded and had to release Ryoma in order to lean down awkwardly, his jeans around his knees. Ryoma laughed, just a short sound of amusement, before Tezuka raised an eyebrow at him and he bent down to help. The towels were either dry or covered in dirt and sweat, but the dry ones were better for cleaning than their shirts would have been.
Everything was quiet and good as they wiped themselves and each other off relatively well, Ryoma leaning over to get a spot on Tezuka’s belly that he’d missed and stealing a kiss in the process, Tezuka stealing a kiss for no reason whatsoever except that it was Ryoma.
Ryoma, of course, stood and pulled his shorts up in one deft motion before Tezuka was satisfied with the job they’d done. Tezuka gave him a look. “They’ll wash,” Ryoma told him, and then, “They will,” when Tezuka went on eying him.
“They would wash more easily if you were more careful with them.”
Ryoma gave him a lazy, cheeky smirk. “What, you want me to walk around without them on?”
Tezuka started to say something, and then stopped, because nothing he could say would prove his point. Ryoma’s grin widened and he took Tezuka’s hand, pulling him to his feet and helping him with the button on his jeans, saying that he’d been the one to unbutton them in the first place, so it was his responsibility for putting them back. Then Tezuka carried the tennis equipment to the closet in their bedroom while Ryoma tossed the used towels into the laundry hamper and fed the cat, who’d been meowing insistently at them for some time without being heeded. Tezuka had fed him before they’d gone, though, so neither of them were very worried that the cat was starving, even though the cat seemed sure that he was.
Ryoma met Tezuka in the hall outside of the bedroom. “Couch?” he suggested, and yawned, covering his mouth with a hand.
“Mm-hm.” Tezuka linked his little finger with Ryoma’s, and Ryoma curled his finger in for just a second, squeezing Tezuka’s lightly.
“We’ll play later.” Ryoma was already half-asleep by the time he curled against Tezuka’s side on the couch, the cat lying on both of their feet.
Tezuka smiled ever-so-slightly against Ryoma’s hair. “Yes. We will,” he said quietly, even though Ryoma was asleep and couldn't hear him.