Disclaimer: TeniPuri boys aren't mine.
Rating: PG-13 for boys in a bed together...?
Warnings: BL, bad words
Author's Note: This is for chiachiaamichan, my darling Atobe-sama~ ♥
There were many things Echizen Ryoma would admit to being.
Arrogant was one of them. Ryoma knew he was the best, yes, and he knew he knew. He would never deny that he was far too talented for his age, that he was far better than most other junior high students, that he could beat most of the other Regulars, even. He liked other people knowing he was good. He liked showing it off. He liked flaunting his skills. It was a fact, and Ryoma knew it. Often, people called him on it, and he never objected (though he did object to the accusation that Atobe was rubbing off on him). Being arrogant was more interesting, anyway, and why lie about his outstanding abilities?
A rude brat was another offense to which Ryoma would readily plead guilty. He had a plethora of reasons to piss people off: it made them play more sloppily, or it provoked them into playing their best, or else it just made them more entertaining to watch. Aside from tennis, Ryoma felt he was best at finding just the right insult to tick anyone off, and even if he wasn't the best, he had a feeling he would be in the near future, since Atobe gave him infinite practice in arguing and banter. But Ryoma never argued when Atobe called him "an insufferable, infuriating, ungrateful brat," because it was the truth, it was what he was trying for, and why turn down a complement?
There were many things Ryoma had been called; "Jerk," "kid," "bastard," "elementary student," "heartless," "impossible," "stubborn," and so many more. Throughout his life, in fact, Ryoma was called a multitude of nasty names, some of them he agreed with and some of them he didn't, really. But in the end, he never let any of them get to him, because why should he? He was used to getting under other people's skin, and he knew better than to let his opponents get under his - who cared if someone thought he was "cruel?" Chances were, they were only saying it because they were weak and he was strong and he could beat their asses at tennis, anyway.
No, Ryoma was very used to ignoring accusations, and he never really let them bother him... until someone called him something which he had never considered, never conceived of before in his life.
It was after a match against Hyoutei - not part of a tournament, but a "friendly" rally; it had been Atobe's idea and somehow, Tezuka had been prodded into agreeing, and to the Seigaku Regulars' utmost dismay, Hyoutei had beaten them (by no fault of Ryoma's, he would later point out to Atobe). It was a close match; they lost two to three in the last set which had been Atobe against Tezuka (Ryoma refused to play Atobe when it came to matches of any significance anymore), but, of course, the Hyoutei Regulars were never polite winners, and there had been cheers and taunts which had forced Tezuka to turn his back and walk away in forced silence and Oishi to turn red in embarrassment and Kikumaru to turn red in rage. And, of course, it didn't help matters any that, as Seigaku lingered, gathering their things and the shattered pieces of their dignity, Atobe sauntered his way over to Ryoma and snaked an arm around his waist and pulled him into a kiss. Ryoma did his best to pull away, because he knew, though Atobe loved him, he also had a stake in humiliating him, and managed to escape relatively unscathed (though not before Atobe managed to grab his ass and give him an insufferable smirk). "Jerk off," Ryoma had muttered in irritation, and Atobe had only grinned back at him and blown him a kiss as he turned to go with an "until later, darling~"
Ryoma had grumbled but thought nothing of it and followed his team back home to lick their wounds and receive their scolding. It wasn't until they were back getting dressed in the changing rooms that Kikumaru brought forth the terrible question.
"Oi, Ochibi-san, do you date him for the money?"
Ryoma looked up sharply to see Kikumaru tying his shoes and not meeting Ryoma's eye, but Ryoma knew exactly what he had meant and he was dumbfounded. At a loss for words, he couldn't even come up with a witty response, and only managed a completely shocked, "...what?"
Kikumaru looked almost embarrassed now, and continued not to meet Ryoma's gaze, but replied, "He's such a jerk, I don't understand it. He's not even nice to you, not to mention anyone else. He's so full of himself and he never respects anyone else... I can't think of any reason why anyone'd wanna date him. But he is really rich... so... is it for the money?"
Ryoma didn't dignify that question with an answer, and left without saying goodbye, cap pulled low on his brow, bag slung heavily over his shoulder. He walked briskly, angrily, mulling over what Kikumaru had said over and over again, still unable to believe his own teammate would insinuate something about him. Really? Date Atobe for the money? It was ludicrous, it was ridiculous to think Ryoma would do such a thing... sure, Atobe was a pain in the ass, but... Ryoma would never--!
Luckily, Ryoma was distracted from his internal rage when he arrived at Hyoutei Gakuen and found a limousine waiting for him, Atobe leaning against it with that stupid smirk still on his face. As Ryoma approached, he opened the door for him, a surprisingly thoughtful gesture on Atobe's part, and Ryoma got in silently, dropping his tennis bag on the seat next to him, just to irritate Atobe. But to his surprise, Atobe simply took the bag without a word of complaint and actually put it in the trunk himself before taking his seat beside Ryoma and closing the door, signaling the driver to go.
They were silent for a moment before Ryoma asked blandly, "So where are you taking me?" Already, he was beginning to feel a lot better, both about Seigaku's loss and about Kikumaru's accusation; Atobe always made him feel better, but this unusual chivalry was especially and surprisingly comforting.
"I thought you might like to try the new Italian restaurant in the city. When you were looking so down after our decisive victory, I called in a favour and got us a table, even though they're booked for the next month and a half." He flashed Ryoma that 'isn't-ore-sama-just-wonderful' smile, but somehow, Ryoma was less irritated than he was confused.
"...is there any particular reason you're actually being considerate...?" he finally asked, and it must have sounded more shocked than he intended it to, because Atobe put on a look of overdramatic hurt and sighed loudly before taking one of Ryoma's hands into his own and placing a kiss on it.
"Because," he explained, that stupid smile somehow seamlessly back in place already, "As much as I enjoy your absolutely adorable pout, I like to make you smile, too, on occasion." And with that, he withdrew, seemingly retrieving something before leaning back over to place a small item wrapped in tissue paper in Ryoma's hands, adding as an explanation, "I saw that you were wearing thin during the match."
Ryoma blinked and pulled back the paper to find a roll of grip tape beneath all the elaborate wrappings. He blinked at it for a second before Atobe explained, "I had it specially ordered from France for you. I hope it will meet par." And though he had that arrogant, smug ring to his voice that always came when he bought Ryoma something ridiculously expensive, his expression was softer, more loving, somehow, and Ryoma couldn't hold back a half grin as he pecked Atobe on the cheek. "It'll do."
Atobe's lips curled up to the side as well, and he pulled back Ryoma's hat with tender roughness. "It better, you ungrateful little brat," he shot back before pressing a kiss to Ryoma's lips and ending the discussion right then and there.
Laying in Atobe's thick, king-sized bed amongst Atobe's layers of silk sheets with Atobe's arm wrapped tightly around his waist much later that evening, Ryoma decided that he didn't care if people thought he was in it for the money, either. He and Atobe both knew the truth, and who else really mattered, anyway? He loved Atobe, insufferable arrogant bastard that he was, and Atobe loved him, and so what if Ryoma got spoiled a little in the process? People could say what they liked. And, besides, Ryoma was always honest with himself, and though he truly did love Atobe with all of his heart, he thought, with a smile to himself as he snuggled a little closer, he certainly didn't mind being spoiled, either.