title: Beach Combing
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Saeki/Ryou
rating: G
warnings: kissing
summary: Saeki and Ryou on the beach.
notes: for hikaaki on fic_on_demand. also for Noel, because she rocks. ^_^

Of course he loved the beach. That wasn't even a question. He grew up here, spent his youth splitting his time between the park by the tennis courts, and the beach. All of his friends were here. Some of his best memories were here.

But, despite all of that, there were days when Kisarazu Ryou hated the beach.

The sand was just murder on his hair. He took great pride in his hair. He used to take great pride in his twin brother's hair, as well, until that bastard Mizuki made him cut it, but that was something else entirely. He loved combing out his hair after washing it thoroughly, and conditioning it for the full ten minutes. He always used camellia oil, to keep his hair smooth, soft, static-free, and to protect it from the sun. He only towel-dried his hair, using special, highly absorbent towels, tucking in the ends to keep the moisture in, and wrapping his head up precisely. He combed his hair with hand-made boxwood combs only, and carried several with him at all times, just to be sure.

He used to take care of Atsushi's hair in the same way.

His hair was glorious, and he knew it, and he would fiercely protect it.

Which is why he hated to get sand in his hair.

He disliked tying his hair back into a ponytail, simply because it felt very feminine to him. He preferred to wear it down, which also served to highlight the magnificent silkiness and straightness of his hair. He also loved the perfectly straight line that it formed at the ends. But, for the beach, he would tie his hair back loosely at the base of his neck, for simplicity. Rarely, very rarely, he would tie it off in a braid, but this was taxing, and far easier to do if he had his twin's hands to help him.

None of this would help if he tripped and fell into the wet sand.

Bane and David were still laughing about it, so he'd be damned if he let them know how annoyed he was, and anyway, if he tried to leave to wash his hair (as he so desperately wanted to), Kentarou would chase after him like a puppy and beg him to reconsider. No, he would bear it up, and wait until he could get home, and then he would shampoo it twice, and use extra oil, just to be sure.

Today, he hated the beach.

Not that he was set up to have a good time, anyway. It was supposed to be all of Rokkaku here, celebrating the end of their season in the traditional way of all people of Chiba - scooping up clams for a feast. That's what it was supposed to be, but it could hardly be called the whole team when their vice captain was off entertaining a friend from Tokyo.

That friend.

Ryou sighed, and untied his hair, combing it out carefully. It wasn't fair, really. David spent even more time on his hair than Ryou did. How would he like to end up face first in the sand? If only Atsushi were there... no one would have minded if their expatriate team member joined them. But St. Rudolph's schedule was a week or two later than Rokkaku's, so Atsushi wouldn't be home until next weekend.

He ran his comb through his hair, sulking.

Warm, slim arms slipped around his waist. "Let me do that."

He turned abruptly to find smiling smoky blue eyes looking straight at him. "Sae!"

Strong, long hands took the comb out of his. "Turn around."

Ryou did as he was told, letting Saeki brush out his hair. Saeki took his time, moving the comb methodically, holding the hair as he got to the end, just like Ryou liked, and he cleaned out the comb every few minutes.

"It's not like you to be clumsy. What happened? David?"

Ryou loved the sound of Sae's voice, so confident and mature. He was glad he had his back to Sae, so he could hide his foolish grin. "Who else? I thought you had company."

Saeki chuckled, slipping a bit closer to Ryou, sliding his leg against Ryou's side as he positioned himself. "Fuji can take care of himself. He's been here enough. And anyway, he has Tezuka to entertain him." Saeki leaned down, and kissed the place where Ryou's neck and shoulder met with reverent sloppiness. "I want to entertain you."

Ryou blushed slightly, something that was hardly noticeable in the sun. "Yeah? Sure you wouldn't rather be with him?"

"Are you crazy?" Saeki pushed closed to him, fitting his slim, hard body against Ryou's. He brushed his fingers over the back of Ryou's neck, sweeping his hair to the side. "Why would I want to be anywhere else?" He gently guided Ryou to look at him, using just two fingers on Ryou's chin. "Miss the chance to put my hands in this fabulous hair? Never."

Saeki didn't care if all the gods came down to watch them, so he sure wasn't about to care if his teammates could watch, and that made Ryou bold enough to put his hands on Saeki's knee, gently massaging his fingers over Saeki's skin. Ryou smiled against Saeki's kiss, and let himself relax into Saeki's embrace.

He loved the beach, and he loved making good memories on the beach best of all.