title: No Home
fandom: Prince of Tennis
characters/pairings: Atsushi/Ryou, Mizuki, Saeki, Rokkachu
rating: Teen
warnings: twincest
summary: Atsushi reflects on Christmases past.
notes: for hikaaki, on fic on demand. she is so inspiring, isn't she? ^_^ also, it's a holiday blues fic... no, really, it is... i think...

He watched them all leave, one by one, from the dorm's rec room. He held the book in his lap, a prop, really, or maybe a crutch, but he didn't like to think of it like that. St. Rudolph's was a Catholic school, so they had two weeks at the end of the year free, and most everyone was taking advantage of the chance to get far away from there.

Yuuta waited with him in the rec room until the last possible moment. His brother, the prodigy, came in to collect him, looking as excited as Yuuta looked doomed. Without all the people around, the dorm seemed huge, and cold.

Atsushi had never been alone in his life. Not even in his mother's womb. He clung to his book, staring at the pages dumbly.

This may not have been his best idea, but if he had gone home...

If he had gone home...

"Are you sure you want to stay here, Atsushi-kun?" Mizuki was leaning over the couch, speaking into his ear. Atsushi hadn't even been aware of him entering the room. He resisted the urge to shrink away, because he knew his team manager, but he really didn't want to be close to anyone right now. "It's going to be pretty boring here."

"It's all right, Mizuki-san. I don't mind. As long as it is all right with the school...?"

Mizuki shrugged, and walked around the couch to plop down next to Atsushi. "They don't care. As long as I'm here, it doesn't really matter, but there won't be any housekeeping."

"Do you mind if I ask why you aren't going home for break, Mizuki-san?" Atsushi watched Mizuki, more than a little surprised to see Mizuki acting so... down.

Mizuki grinned with only half of his usual wickedness. "Mm, you can ask, Atsushi-kun, but then I might ask why you aren't going back to Chiba for the holiday."

Atsushi turned bright pink, and stuck his nose in his book.

Mizuki laughed, and curled up on the sofa. "'M gonna take a nap, Atsushi. You'd better be reading porn."

Atsushi stared harder at the pages, even though the words were nothing but pretty scribbles to him, and he practically held his breath until he could hear Mizuki's soft snores.

"Psst! 'Tsushi! Are you awake?"

Atsushi stared at the bottom of Ryou's bed above him. Ryou was hanging off his bed, his long hair trailing down like a small curtain of silk. "No."

"...Yes, you are. Are you nervous about tomorrow?"

They were starting school tomorrow, at Rokkaku. They were going to join the tennis club, which was famous and successful. Most of their classmates would know each other and would know the coach of the tennis team, because Rokkaku's playground was famous. They didn't play there much because there were two of them, and they only ever needed each other to play. "No."

There was a pause. "Yes, you are." Ryou slipped down from his bed, and crawled into bed with Atsushi.

"Ryou..." Atsushi backed up to the wall, making room for his twin. "We shouldn't do this."

"Why not?" Ryou ran his fingers through Atsushi's hair, and cuddled up to him. "We always sleep better when we're together."

Atsushi couldn't argue with that, although, of late, his dreams had started to change, and he was afraid of sleeping so close to his brother.

Still, it was less than a five minutes before they were both sound asleep.

Ryou was fussing with his hair. There were about three or four girls crowding around him, whispering furiously. It was in a ponytail, but he wasn't happy with it.

In reality, he wasn't happy with Saeki, who was laughing to himself over by David and Bane. They'd been teasing each other, back and forth so rapidly they stopped making sense a long time ago. Then Saeki threw his arm around Ryou's neck, and dragged him down to push his head into the sand. Atsushi had panicked, but there was nothing he could do.

His brother hated getting sand in his hair. He hated being teased. He hated playing rough.

Atsushi wanted to run his hands through Ryou's hair, wanted to hold his brother, make it better. But Ryou wasn't looking at him. He was glaring at Saeki.

They were twins, so, in some way, his feelings echoed Ryou's. So, he couldn't quite hate Saeki, but he could be jealous.

Ryou wandered aimlessly, completely bored. He was half a step ahead of Atsushi, always, even though Atsushi was trying to keep up. They were cutting tennis practice. It was a 'bad' thing to do, Atsushi supposed, but he never thought about it.

Their mother had taken them to get their hair cut two days ago. She didn't give them a choice; her sister was going to be visiting that weekend, and their aunt always derided their long hair. Ryou's hair swung back and forth as he looked from side to side, not brushing his shoulders.

Atsushi didn't care so much one way or the other. He liked his hair long, because Ryou liked to brush it and wash it and take care of it, but he liked it short, too, because it didn't get in his way.

Ryou hated for his hair to be short. He loved his hair, and told his mother over and over again the only way he could get it to behave was to have it long, so the weight of it would keep it out of his face. Right now, for example, Ryou had tied the top portion of hair back on both of them, but he kept putting his hands up in his hair, so it was falling out of the tie and into his face.

Saeki had probably said something, because Saeki was always saying something. He just... liked to challenge people. Oji had given them their racquets yesterday. Ryou had expected them to get racquets that were basically the same, but they weren't. Atsushi actually liked his racquet; he liked the lightness of the wood, and how it turned so easily in his hands. He liked that they got racquets, because not all freshman did.

Ryou had expected them to be the same.

They had to get their hair cut, they got different racquets, and Saeki said something. At the end of classes, Ryou had tugged on Atsushi's arm and asked him if they could just go someplace to be alone.

Atsushi always followed Ryou, so naturally he said yes.

Eventually, Ryou led them to the park where they used to the play the most. It was in between their house and their old school, and they used to come here every day and play for as long as they could without appear to have dawdled. On days when no one would be home until later, they stayed for as long as they could.

It wasn't much of a park. Just some swings, a slide, and a small pond where the swans lived. Ryou plopped down on the bench near the pond, and pulled a box of pocky out. He put one stick in his mouth, and then asked Atsushi if he wanted any.

Ryou wasn't watching. He was looking around, still annoyed with the universe. Atsushi did what he used to do when they were young, and Ryou offered him pocky while he had a stick hanging out of his mouth. He leaned forward, his mouth open, and he chomped off a big bite from the stick Ryou was eating.

Back when he used to do that, though, Ryou didn't blush like that afterward.

Atsushi lazily drew his hand around the water. The bath was too hot. Ryou always drew the bath too hot. Ryou liked really hot water. Atsushi liked really hot water, too, but for some reason, he got dizzy sooner than Ryou.

Ryou bumped their knees together.

They weren't supposed to share a bath anymore. Their parents hadn't specifically said, 'You two can't share a bath anymore,' but they both knew.

Still, they took baths together without saying a word about it to each other whenever their parents weren't around. It was just a given with them that if they had a chance to, they would.

"Hey, 'Tsushi."

Atsushi didn't look. Ryou wasn't expecting him to do so, and he was comfortable where he was.

"Do you like Rokkaku?"

Atsushi didn't know what to say. He liked being anywhere Ryou was. "Sure."

"Mm. It's kinda... nice, isn't it, I mean... being someplace..."

Atsushi rubbed his leg against Ryou's. "Yeah."

"It's different, though."

Atsushi didn't say anything because there wasn't anything to say.

There was a knocking. Atsushi sat up straight, looking around dazedly. Mizuki was laughing at him from behind his hand.

"Atsushi-kun, you look so cute when you are asleep." Mizuki winked at him, and got up to answer the door. "Sorry for keeping you waiting, but I did expect you a few hours ago."

Ryou pushed past Mizuki, trying not to touch him. His mouth was twisted in the most adorable expression of disgust. "Sorry, but the train was delayed. 'Tsushi!" Ryou threw him at his brother over the couch.

"R-Ryou!" Atsushi felt his blood boil and freeze at the same time. Why was...?

"You two look... well, anyway. Here." Mizuki tossed the keys to the dorm on the table in front of the couch. "I'll check on you two in a few days, so don't cause a ruckus. Have fun. Oh, and Ryou-kun, remember, you owe me." Mizuki winked at them, waving goodbye.

Atsushi was speechless. Ryou laughed at him, poking him in the cheek. "C'mon, 'Tsushi, aren't you happy to see me?"

"B-but..." The door to the dorm shut soundly. He was completely alone with his twin. "What are you... How... I don't understand..."

Ryou scooted over the couch so he was sitting properly next to Atsushi. He picked up Atsushi's hands and held them in his own. "I didn't want to spend Christmas and New Year's away from home, 'Tsushi. I think you were being really selfish. But I forgive you." He leaned forward and kissed Atsushi's cheek.

Atsushi knew his cheeks were bright red, but he couldn't help that. "Ryou... we... it's different now."

"Different?" Ryou asked, his voice brittle with pain. He held Atsushi's hands up. "This is home, Atsushi. This will always be home."

"But..." Atsushi drifted between misery and bliss. "We..."

"I know why you felt like you had to leave, Atsushi," Ryou sighed softly. "But I don't care. I don't. You are a part of me. I won't give you up, not ever."

Ryou was kissing him. Ryou's hands were on him. Ryou was pushing him down onto the couch.

Atsushi couldn't help but lift his hands and bury his fingers in Ryou's long, perfect hair.

He could never fight this. He didn't want to; if it was wrong, then they could both be wrong together, damn it.

It was so damned good to be home again, finally home again.