Dan Taichi (spunkifiedchibi) wrote in downto2,
Dan Taichi
spunkifiedchibi
downto2

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Future!log; RyoDan - part 1

....we finally wrapped it up. XD;;

This takes place shortly [if not the day] after THIS log.


Rating: Somewhere between PG and PG-13, I guess? Nothing too heavy/beyond kissing and all.
Summary: This is a 3-part-log, in a way. It starts off with Dan's return from the vacation he went on with his family, then moves on to a date, where the boys go rollerblading and such, and then back to Ryoma's house for take-in dinner, etc. ...Ok, a 2-part log. See it as you will.
Warnings: It's long. Just shy of 15,500 words, long. So, yeah. :x



Two weeks had flown by in a heartbeat. Two weeks of soaking up the warm, soothing rays of sunshine, refreshing escapes to both the ocean and the hotel pool, and two full weeks of relaxation and exploration. The trip was a bit pricier than Dan expected, but then again, his parents didn't inform he and his sister of all the things they had planned. After only the first two days, the family of four had eaten out four times, explored two volcano grounds, swam in three separate areas - including two beaches - and stopped by one outdoor mall. By the end of the third day, Dan was convinced that his father was more of a shopping fiend than both his sister and mother combined.

At the same time, the time Dan spent in Hawaii were the longest two weeks of his life. On several occasion, Dan wondered if it'd been the right thing to do - confessing to Ryoma, and vice versa, only a few days before his vacation. It wasn't that Dan felt that Ryoma's mind would change over such a short period of time, of course, but maybe the simple fact that being away from him would distract Dan too much. And it did, if only for half of the time. For the most part, he was too busy to stop and think about Ryoma, even though the other teen was constantly on his mind. Dan never quite understood his subconscious.

The flight back to Tokyo was long and tiring, but that was only to be expected. Dan was thankful that he managed to sleep for a majority of the time. He was awake upon the plane's arrival, and by the time the passengers were let off, Dan was far too excited to sit still; any and all traces of developing jet-lag had vanished. He made his way down the long ramp ahead of his family, fingers clutched around the strap of the messenger-bag he'd used as a carry-on.

Ryoma was waiting for him, and once Dan stepped foot onto the tiles of gate K-5, he immediately began to seek the other teen out.

Ryoma stood, stretching his legs as the attendant at the counter announced that Dan’s flight had finally arrived – it hadn’t been delayed, it was right on time, but he’d gotten here far too early, maybe with the subconscious hope that the earlier he got to the airport, the earlier Dan would return. He’d been sitting at the gate for at least forty minutes, fidgeting with his racket bag (he’d been practicing at the street courts this morning before heading for the airport) and watching travelers go back and forth through the terminals. It was a long forty minutes, but nothing compared to the past two weeks – which had been the longest two weeks ever.

Ryoma had been doing everything he could to keep his mind off what had happened the last few days before Dan had left. He’d packed his days full of tennis practice and work, and he’d even cleaned his room three times just to give himself something to do. But even with all the activity, he hadn’t really been able to fully ignore the strange feeling in his stomach every time he sat on his bed and realized that Dan had said he felt the same way about Ryoma that Ryoma felt about him. He’d tried to convince himself he was just being stupid, overreacting, but now that he was finally about to see Dan again, after those two weeks, Ryoma was more excited than he could remember being about anything other than tennis in a long, long time.

But none of that mattered right now, as a few moments later passengers began to file off the plane, and Ryoma stood on tiptoe looking for Dan’s familiar haircut. Or even that of any of his family. Finally, finally, he saw Dan’s sister – Ryoma sidestepped the line, hoping she might not see him, and made a grab for the next arm that passed by – Dan’s – pulling the other boy off to the side as his parents followed him off the plane, wanting to pull Dan into a hug but suddenly not entirely sure if that was all right. He searched the gaze of the other as it registered just who had grabbed him out of line, and flashed a grin that hid all of the residual nervousness that Dan might have realized over the past two weeks that somehow they’d made a mistake. “Hey. Welcome back.”

The tell-tale shriek of Kairi was all Dan needed to hear; he knew Ryoma was nearby before ever needing to see him. However, actually seeing Ryoma was quite welcome. The two spoke a couple times over the phone while Dan was gone, but nothing compared to being face to face. Dan idly wondered, for a brief, passing moment, what Ryoma would think of the tan Dan acquired. It wasn't much, but his skin tone definitely wasn't as pale as usual.

Dan caught the glimpse of Ryoma's grin, and in return, he practically mirrored it. He threw his arms around Ryoma then, without a second thought. Whether his parents suspected them of dating or not, it didn't matter; the two had been friends for six or so years at this point, not to mention (clearly) they knew exactly how Dan was when it came to showing affection. For all they knew, Dan was simply jubilant to see that his good friend came to meet him at the airport.

Dan's mother and father smiled to the two boys before commenting to Dan that they were headed to the baggage-claim area. Kairi grinned to Ryoma, gave Dan a wink (which inevitably made Dan want to blush), and took off to follow her parents.

"Thank you~" Dan finally responded. He lightly nuzzled his face into Ryoma's neck before pulling out of the embrace. One of his hands had taken a hold of Ryoma's, and for a moment, they lingered before letting go. Dan searched Ryoma's eyes with his own, briefly, before he smiled again, a slight flush tingeing his cheeks. Though, the airport was rather warm...

"Saaa... I missed you. I really, really did." The smile that came over Dan was a bit more bashful this time, and he watched Ryoma as they shifted out of the way of the other travelers. As much as Dan couldn't wait to sit back and hang out with Ryoma again, it was best they leave the airport first; the place was mobbed.

Dan practically leapt into his arms – and the worry Ryoma had been pushing to the back of his mind dissolved away as he clasped hands behind the other’s back, figuring if Dan didn’t care that his parents saw, then neither did he. Not that this was all that different from what might have happened regardless, but the nuzzle Dan gave him as his parents’ backs retreated proved that it was at least somewhat special. And that, coupled with the hand that held his for longer than just a few seconds, told him that Dan didn’t regret his decision any more than he did.

“Yeah; missed you too,” Ryoma said quietly, taking a few more steps away from the line and pulling Dan with him, out of the way of the people still disembarking, because it had been a full plane, and the airport was already busy this time of day. Finally, when he wasn’t afraid they’d be run over, he could take a good look at Dan. The other’s cheeks were slightly flushed – Goddamn cute - but underneath that, there was a bronze that definitely hadn’t been there before. Well, that’s what Dan got for spending two weeks in Hawaii, under the sun. Ryoma grinned a little more comfortably now, poking the other’s arm. “Got a tan, I see.” It looked good on him – Dan always managed to remain pale, even with daily practices in the afternoon sun, but it looked like the vacation had done what tennis practice could not.

After a moment, he took Dan’s right hand in his left, giving a light tug and setting off – slowly – in the direction of the baggage claim. Dan’s parents would probably miss them if they didn’t show up soon, but there also wasn’t any reason to hurry. None at all. “Have fun?”

"More than I anticipated, actually!" Dan cheerfully replied. "It was really crowded, practically everywhere we went, though. ...But that's only a given, since most everyone is on summer break right now." Dan spoke his thoughts aloud; Ryoma probably knew just as much, but Dan wasn't exactly thinking about that.

"Mom had mentioned to Kairi and I before we left that she and Dad had a complete itinerary written up for the four of us, and he really did. We went around to quite a few of the tourist locations, as well as a variety of restaurants, beaches, and everything in between. I'm surprised we actually fit in all that we did, into two weeks! It was really tiring at times, but lots and lots of fun~"

A pleased grin spread across Dan's face once he finally stopped talking. They reached the rest of Dan's family a few moments later, and he gave Ryoma's hand a squeeze, glancing to him. "It feels really good to be back, though."

Dan was more than grateful for the fact that his father called for a taxi. Taking the train home would've taken too long, and especially with all of their luggage. The ride was far more enjoyable given Ryoma was with them, despite how Kairi seemed to glue herself to him.

"Sorry about that. ...Again." Dan apologized for a third time, regarding Kairi, once he and Ryoma finally escaped into Dan's room. He couldn't help the snicker that fell past his lips, though. Watching Kairi and her way about acting when she was around Ryoma, well... It reminded Dan of himself, back when they were in junior high (as embarrassed as he was to admit it, of course). At least Kairi wasn't as clumsy.

Dan put away only half of one suitcase before flopping down onto the bed. He'd take care of the rest later on. Folding his arms beneath his head, Dan looked up to Ryoma, a bit of his bangs falling over his eyes. "It's okay if you stay for a bit, right?"

Ryoma just grinned and nodded as Dan described their trip, glad that he’d had fun, even if it did sound jam-packed. Though they were walking slow, they caught up with the rest of Dan’s family pretty quickly; Ryoma stood by as they picked up the rest of their luggage and hailed a cab, glad to sit so close to Dan, though it did mean that Kairi was at his other side – and boy, was she excited to be there. For once, though, Ryoma was more bemused than anything by Dan’s younger sister, and actually held a somewhat coherent conversation with her on the ride back. It was a little hard, though, what with the star struck expression that kept crossing her face…

But soon enough they arrived at Dan’s house; Ryoma helped Dan lug his suitcases to his room, shaking his head in negation as Dan apologized over his sister for at least the third time. “S’fine,” he said, shutting the door and watching as Dan started pulling a few things out of his first suitcase. He nodded, then, as Dan flopped onto his bed, asking if he could stay. “Sure. Told ‘em I wouldn’t be back until after dinner, anyway.” He’d planned on staying a while, in the first place.

Sitting on Dan’s bed next to the other’s prone form, Ryoma chuckled a little bit. “So how was the flight, then?” After a moment, he reached one hand over, tentatively, brushing the back of Dan’s neck with light fingertips before massaging the nape of his neck, gently. He’d been on enough long flights to America and back to know that sitting on a plane for that long wasn’t exactly the most comfortable pastime in the world. “Bet you’re sore.” Dan was warm, and Ryoma shifted a little closer, very, very glad to have him back.

Dan made a soft sound of contentment before he could properly respond. Ryoma's touch was gentle, light, his hands cooler than Dan's entire body. The initial contact actually surprised Dan, slightly; he sighed, the exhale almost sounding like a purr. Dan nuzzled into his arms, and then murmured. "It was tolerable, I guess..." Tolerable; that was a good word for the flight. "The flight home was easier. I slept most of the way."

Drifting off... Dan felt as though he could do so again, at this very moment. A cool, almost icy sensation spread out upon the base of Dan's neck, weaving downward along his spine, sending a light shiver along his skin. A wave of chilled, comforting air wove its way throughout their residence soon after they returned home. It seeped its way into Dan's room via the metal vent on his ceiling, and the slit of open space between the floor and his closed door. However, the air-conditioning wasn't quite as nice as the tingling Dan felt due to his muscles gradually easing.

"That feels really good..." Another soft murmur drifted up towards Ryoma. After several more minutes of the massage, Dan managed to shift onto his side. He used one arm to prop his head up, fingers slipping up through his hair. He smiled then; a half-grin, although a bit tired, that was lazy and whole-heartedly content. Silently he reached out with his other hand to take one of Ryoma's, their fingers mingling before loosely twining. "..."

Ryoma smiled softly as he felt Dan’s muscles relax, coaxing the tension out of him as the room slowly cooled – Dan’s parents must’ve turned the air back on, finally. He wasn’t sure if Dan was going to fall asleep or not – he didn’t mind, either way, as Dan probably needed the rest – but eventually Dan moved and turned over, onto his side.

“Well I c’n give you a proper massage if you want, but I need both hands to do it,” he said lightly, though he didn’t mind staying here like this, either, brushing his thumb across Dan’s knuckles. “Believe me; I know planes aren’t the best places to sleep.” He shifted a bit closer still; wrapping his other arm around Dan’s back closing his eyes a moment. “Glad you’re back, really. Those were the longest two weeks of my life, I swear.”

And now it was almost like they were starting over, again, because although they’d actually confessed, they’d had to break apart so soon that it almost felt like nothing had ever happened. So Ryoma guessed now was the time to start figuring things out, for real this time. “But… now that that’s over, d’you wanna go on a real date, or something?” He wasn’t sure if this kind of relationship was going to require dates, as it were, but hey, he didn’t mind hanging out with Dan, so why not? It wouldn’t be much different from normal, probably. Except in the few small ways that mattered the most.

Dan only smiled in response; he closed his eyes and wriggled his body a bit, closer to Ryoma’s. He met Ryoma’s lips to his own, then. It was a soft, simple kiss on the surface, though the undertones spoke of nothing but happiness, a content feeling, and the whisper of need. Dan’s smile lingered within the kiss for a few moments before he drew back, far enough to look at Ryoma again.

“The massage can be a bit later, maybe? I’ll take a rain-check.” Dan said with a nod of confirmation, as well as a bit of a giggle. “I’d rather stay like this for a bit longer, anyways,” his smile softened. Ryoma certainly wasn’t the only one who’d just been through a long two weeks.

“Date?” Dan gave Ryoma’s hand a squeeze, thinking on the question for a few moments. He couldn’t exactly remember when he last went on an actual date. Not even when he was with Akutsu. The two never did much, aside from hanging out at each other’s houses, and sometimes getting a bite to eat together. Dan didn’t really press anything upon Akutsu to do so, either. He knew what Akutsu was like.

Just that question alone gave Dan a sort of insight to his and Ryoma’s growing relationship. He loved the idea of going on actual dates… although, of course, that may depend on what Ryoma sees as a date. Either way, Dan mused, it will most likely be far different than Akutsu.

“…Okay,” Dan finally replied, his smile laced with a timid feel to it. He wondered briefly if that typical blush continued to stain his cheeks. The room wasn’t as humid as it’d been several minutes ago, after all, so he couldn’t blame the weather.

Well, after a sweet kiss like that, Ryoma wasn’t against staying right here like this, either. Dan was smiling so cutely, and he was blushing still, even in the cooling room. Ryoma couldn’t resist leaning in and returning Dan’s kiss, gently, fingers tightening in Dan’s shirt, remembering and reveling in the way Dan tasted, very different from Akaya, though each was good in separate ways.

“Whenever you want,” he said finally, in regards to the massage, and pulled Dan a little closer still with the arm around his waist. He nodded then, relieved, as Dan agreed to try going out on a date. He wasn’t sure what it’d be like, but it couldn’t possibly be bad. He was pretty damn sure of that.

“We gotta think of something to do, then,” he said, grinning a bit, watching Dan’s face just inches from his own. “I promise it won’t be tennis.” He’d heard way too many cracks about himself, that he was so single-minded that his perfect date would only involve playing tennis. Sure, tennis was practically his whole life – and it was always going to be, there was no doubt – but there were some things that he didn’t have to mix. “But it doesn’t hafta be anything fancy, either.”

"There's always dinner and a movie," Dan mused aloud. "...Even if that is rather cliché." He chewed on his lower lip in thought. When Dan thought about it, coming up with an idea for their date proved to be far more difficult than what he assumed. The two already spent plenty of time together as-is; who's to say that whatever they decide upon, will actually feel like a date at all?

It doesn't have to be fancy... Ryoma's comment lingered within Dan's mind. Of course it didn't have to be anything special. As long as it felt special. But what could that be? Dan already made dinner for Ryoma before (although, that included Kairi, given Dan had to baby-sit her one night, and he and Ryoma needed to finish working on a project...) They saw movies together every now and then, and once took a spontaneous road-trip to nowhere in particular.

"...Do you have any ideas?" A trace of a frown touched Dan's features. He couldn't quite think of anything. "I'd say we could go rollerblading, though," he laughed. "But...Well, it'd be nice for it to feel like a date date, y'know?" Dan's smile returned; a bit of a grin.

Dan's nose touched to Ryoma's lightly as he spoke. Simply holding each other close was enough for Dan, it seemed. He snuggled a little closer, and the temptation to kiss Ryoma again - as they were so very close to doing so already - increased. "And, good. ...Wasn't planning on asking for a match." Dan spoke lightly, almost a soft breath. "Not for a date, that is..." Cue another grin from the teen, though it was a rather poor attempt.

“Oh, so you want a match not for a date?” Ryoma asked, a little dizzily. His head was spinning – Goddamn, was he that much of a pervert? Dan shifting closer set all of Ryoma’s nerves on fire; their mouths were practically touching, Dan’s breath mixed with his own, and all he had to do for a proper kiss was lean forward just the smallest bit.

Which he did – but aimed for the corner of Dan’s mouth, instead, placing a soft kiss there before speaking quietly. “Guess f’it didn’t feel like a date, not much reason to call it one,” he agreed, shifting to kiss Dan’s cheek lightly. Then his temple. “Rollerblading’s fine. Or a movie. Or… dancing or something,” he suggested – plenty of his classmates went to the local clubs on a practically nightly basis. Ryoma’d never been – mostly because he didn’t dance – but maybe if Dan wanted to go… He honestly didn’t care what they did, because his dates with Akaya had always been pretty generic: picnics, the amusement park, the café. They’d always been nice, so the same principle should hold. He hoped.

Ryoma pulled back just a little and grinned, returning to their default position with noses brushing, breath mingling. He realized that right now, his idea of a perfect date involved lying here with Dan, just like this. “Or we could just stay here. Light some candles. Never move again.” Dan was warm, and just the right size, and Ryoma was just the tiniest bit amused that it seemed to be the perfect combination to make him a drowsy sort of content. Though it seemed to have the same effect on the other. “Your parents’ll think we’re dead.”

"It's been a while since we've had a serious match, has it not?" Dan replied with a lazy smile, though the look in his eyes expressed otherwise. He knew just how to taunt Ryoma, it seemed (ok, maybe it was more so a lucky chance than anything, but that was beside the point). Nevertheless, it was true. The last time Dan remembered playing against Ryoma was a few weeks before finals, and even then, it was more of a friendly game than a full-out duel. Dan certainly wasn't up to par with Ryoma's skill, but it didn't mean he lagged behind.

The gently placed kisses drew Dan's attention away from tennis with little to no effort whatsoever. He liked it. He liked the affection, the soft and sweet feel, the barely-there undertones of what could happen. Dan nearly purred out a sigh of contentment. Using the hand behind Ryoma's head, Dan gently brushed his fingertips over the warm skin in lazy circles and curly-cues, idly toying with his hair.

Dan knew that his parents were more than likely taking a nap, actually, and if not them, then at least Kairi. Her bubbly attitude towards Ryoma, on the car ride back, had been her second wind- albeit brief. Even so, Dan knew that his parents wouldn't suspect anything out of the ordinary, had they stopped by his room. So, he let Ryoma know. In all honesty, Dan had more than a simple hunch that his mother and father wouldn't be surprised, if one of them happened to walk in and see he and Ryoma as they currently were. He was open enough with them, and though he never told Ryoma this, they'd suspected Dan of liking his now-boyfriend before Dan even realized it for himself. No, they wouldn't've been surprised. Not in the slightest.

A pair of dark eyes met Ryoma's from their short distance apart. Dan used them to smile, the rich chocolate color shining a faint bit. "Maybe we could order dinner in, and watch a few movies," Dan suggested, almost at random. He spoke lightly. These moments were too peaceful, wonderful, and soothing to really speak. Dan nearly felt as though his words were mere thoughts. Even so, the idea could be nice. Maybe they'd go to Ryoma's, since it was rare for Dan to have the house to himself. They could watch the movies on his laptop, but that just wouldn't be as good.

Dan’s fingers at the back of his head felt good. Ryoma grinned at the other, realizing he was teasing about the tennis, but not minding in the least. The way he played tennis with Dan was the way he played tennis with only a very few other people – not to win, but for the joy of playing against someone whose company you enjoyed. He liked playing against Dan, and if he had any say in it, they’d be playing again in the near future, and often.

“Ordering dinner in’s pretty tempting,” he admitted – because then they wouldn’t have to move, or go anywhere. “We could even do it right now, f’you wanted,” he said, pulling his cellphone out of his pocket with a chuckle. “No time like the present.” Dan’s parents probably wouldn’t mind – and they probably wouldn’t bother them, either. Even if they didn’t know a thing, they were polite - unlike Ryoma’s father. Though going back to his house, as long as they were sure to lock the door, wasn’t a bad idea either.

“Or whenever you want,” Ryoma added quietly, “Perfectly happy to stay here right now.” He pulled Dan closer, so their chests were flush, and rested his head against the hollow of the other’s neck. When it was Dan, he didn’t care what they did – just lying here would be fine, though if they didn’t do anything he was likely to fall asleep. Though Dan might need the rest – he’d just gotten back from a long vacation and an entire day of traveling. Ryoma wouldn’t blame him if he wanted to nap.

One of Dan's hands came around to close over Ryoma's and the cell phone, and eased it back down, all while smiling. "Later is good. Yeah." Dan murmured in response. Later would definitely be better, he thought. For starters, Dan wasn't all that hungry, but he also didn't have the energy at the moment to do anything but lay here with Ryoma.

"Gives us more time to plan things out, anyways. To...think about what we'll ....want to order..." That same hand found itself upon Ryoma's cheek several moments later. Dan brought his lips to meet Ryoma's yet again; however this time, the kiss was a proper one. The desire to do so had been stirring within him since Ryoma said he was to be at the airport to meet him. Certainly Dan knew well enough not to kiss his boyfriend like that in public, or in front of his family.

The kiss drew forth a purr from the younger teen, almost a moan if it hadn't been for the sigh that built up within his lungs. Was this the type of kiss that came after being apart for two whole weeks? Dan wasn't quite sure of that answer. The only thing he could decipher was how enthralled he was to be holding Ryoma again, to be held. He was tired and worn to the bones, but not even that could interfere with this moment.

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Only a few threads of jet-lag seemed to remain, come the next day. Dan fell asleep curled up in Ryoma's arms the night before, barely remembering when Ryoma kissed his forehead, and whispered that was going to head on home.

Dan called Ryoma up the moment he no longer felt the heavy lumber of fatigue, and it was around 4:30 in the afternoon when the Dan arrived at the Echizen residence with his beloved pair of in-line skates slung over his shoulder. The idea of roller-blading together just wouldn't leave Dan's mind; then again, neither did the thought of spending an evening in, complete with movies and take-out. So, the two decided to do both.

Ryoma was waiting on the front stoop for Dan; it made things easier, after all, without his father asking where he was going or who he was going with. Especially not with a pair of rollerblades – yes, he had a pair, though they hadn’t been used more than once or twice. They’d been a Christmas gift from some relative or another, a few years ago, and it wasn’t like he’d outgrown them. They were still in new condition, so he figured they’d been good enough to spend the afternoon skating with Dan. Even if Ryoma himself wasn’t as great at skating as he was at, well, other things.

“Hey,” he grinned as the other walked up, standing and glancing back at the house to make sure his dad wasn’t spying before taking one of Dan’s hands and lacing their fingers. “Where’re we goin’?” He wasn’t sure where the best place to skate was, though they had plans to spend the evening here later – he’d found out this morning that his parents were going out for some function or another, and then only because his mother had threatened to get rid of all his father’s beer if he didn’t comply. “An’ we’ve got the house to ourselves tonight, too. So we don’t hafta worry about my dad. Mom said she’d leave money for food.” It wasn’t as though he couldn’t pay, but he never minded when his mother did little things for him like that. Even if she’d given him the oddest look when she’d said it this morning – it had reminded him a little too much of Fuji-sempai, and the way he’d always… known things. Maybe she knew – but if she did, she hadn’t said anything, and Ryoma was secure in the fact that she wasn’t going to tell his father.

"It's nowhere special, really." Dan replied as they headed down the driveway and onto the sidewalk, headed in the direction of Seigaku. There was a park not too far from the senior-high campus where Dan went to skate and shoot hoops from time to time. It was a bit further along than one of the parks near Dan's house, but an extra few minutes of walking, or blading, at times, was no big deal.

Dan couldn't keep himself from smiling. His hand gave Ryoma's a gentle squeeze, and he practically felt like skipping along the sidewalk, dragging Ryoma along (of course). A wave of nostalgia had come over Dan. He wasn't quite sure why, but it was definitely there. Back when he and Ryoma were near the end of their freshman year in senior-high, Dan remembered saying something to Ryoma about roller blading. They made plans to go, yet after only one outing, they didn't frequent the park much. Dan knew it was, more than likely, due to their schedules. Especially given how they both worked, both were regulars on the team, and when they weren't busy with school work or at the cafe, Dan and Ryoma often slept. Of course, that wasn't all the time, but it was often enough that they couldn't always find the time to really kick back.

"Saaaa~ It's been too looonnngg since we did this!!" Dan finally gleed and made a dash towards the park entrance, once they arrived. Turning to Ryoma, he grinned and winked. "Race you to the benches!" Before Ryoma could reply, Dan made a run for a set of benches set up near the edge of the playground's swing-set.

Ryoma couldn’t help but chuckle as Dan veritably dragged him down the sidewalk towards the park. He remembered being all-but-dragged to rollerblade with Dan at least once before, but they hadn’t done it often because of their demanding schedules. This was the first summer for three years during which he wasn’t practicing with a regular tennis team, and Yuuki-san had been giving both of them fewer hours at the café lately, possibly because she was trying to tell them to take a break as well. She always had her own opinions about things like that.

But now they were at the park, and Dan wanted to race to the benches – Ryoma barely had time to snicker before the other took off – and what? He wasn’t going to allow that – Ryoma took off after him, sprinting towards the goal – and ended up reaching said benches at just about the same time as Dan, in the end. “Gah – think that’s a tie,” he panted, sitting down on the bench to catch his breath before untying his shoes. “You’re almost faster’n me,” he said with a grin, pulling on his skates and tightening them – still a good fit, he thought, standing up and testing them, arms wind-milling only a little bit.

“Course, you’re prolly much faster’n me on skates,” he said warily, remembering that he hadn’t done this in a good long while. “I think I better go slow for a little bit.” He’d probably get the hang of them again, with time, but he wasn’t keen on breaking something. Though he had a feeling that more than one spot would end up bruised before the day was over. He held out hands to Dan, once the other had finished with his own skates, to help him up. “Ready to skate circles around me?” It wasn’t often Ryoma was so bad at something, but if he couldn’t poke fun at himself for it (especially around Dan – who was probably the only person in the world whom he would poke fun at himself in front of), then what could he do?

Much like a tennis racket, or mixer & bowl, the pair of roller blades were like an addition to Dan's body. They fit comfortably like an old, but perfectly usable pair of gloves or sneakers. Had there been no rules for school attire, Dan likely would've word the skates to class, even.

"More than ready," Dan snickered in response, teasing. He never tired of how close he and Ryoma became over their years of knowing one another. They clearly came a long way, in Dan's opinion, but even Ryoma as his own person. As the time passed, and their friendship grew, Dan noticed subtle differences in Ryoma's demeanor. Not that any of them were extreme, but just enough for Dan to notice. Then again, they may've been for Dan alone to see, but either way, he appreciated them: a genuine smile, an arbitrary invite to just hang out, a compliment.

Dan would go easy on Ryoma- at first, that is. He led the way, a hand still laced with Ryoma's. The park had several segments to it: a playground for younger kids, a hybrid basketball/tennis court, and a field where people often gathered for a game of frisbee, or a picnic situated around the cluster of tables. Each area connected to a concrete center, similar to a miniature courtyard; it branched out into paths, and eventually merged with the sidewalk. While the area wasn't the most spacious for skating around, it was just fine for Dan and Ryoma.

After letting go of Ryoma's hand, Dan simply rolled backwards before going into a casual glide. His hands made their way into his pockets for the time being. He smiled to Ryoma before saying, "This...really is making me nostalgic."

Dan was definitely much, much more comfortable on blades than Ryoma was; watching Dan glide past him smoothly for a moment, he followed as best he could – not shaky (Echizen Ryoma had a fine sense of balance, thank you), but definitely slower. Not quite as smoothly. But he didn't care much – he knew that practice had gotten Dan where he was today, and Ryoma just hadn't practiced as much. It was the same as with any sport. No time put in equaled less ability.

"Nostalgic?" Ryoma asked, as Dan smiled softly at him. He grinned. "We're not that old, y'know." Though he did know what Dan meant - he couldn't quite describe what he was feeling right now, but it probably wasn't that far from nostalgia. "We're gonna hafta use this summer to make up for all the time we meant to do this," he said, spinning in a wide (slow!) circle. "We're just gonna get busy all over again, huh."

Though he didn't want to think about that right now - right now was for watching Dan skate, and enjoying the summer afternoon. Two things which Ryoma was perfectly happy to ignore just about anything else to do. He'd worry about things like practicing and classes later (though, of course, he'd already been up this morning for a few hours of tennis with his father). “Guess we just gotta make the most of this now,” he said, finally, putting on a little more speed to catch up with Dan and skate beside him, instead of behind him.

"Of course we aren't old! But a lot~ can happen in two short years~" He playfully stuck his tongue out before grinning in response. The two of them should know how true that statement was; more than anything, too. Dan's mind drifted back to their second year - which, really, wasn't long ago, by any means - and he idly wondered for (yet again, another time) a moment how they came to be the way they are, and what their relationship stood for. One particular memory that stood out to Dan was when Ryoma arrived to school one morning, he was...completely different. Okay, more so his appearance, but... well, that was something Dan knew he'd never forget. While frustrating at the time - given how Dan continuously told himself (and knew) that he wasn't ready, nor did he need to like someone as much as he did Ryoma, still so soon after Akutsu - Dan couldn't deny how seeing Ryoma with his new look felt like someone yanked on his heartstrings. It'd been difficult trying to speak with Ryoma that day.

Dan glanced to his side when Ryoma skated alongside him, and smiled. That same smile, however, turned more playful than anything when Dan took a hold of Ryoma's - and promptly sped up. Even though they would definitely go skating more often now, making up for lost time is a must! Dan was sure to go at an easy enough pace, but he still pushed the limits, winding around the concrete path.

"Just hold on~!" Dan kept his focus on the path in front of them, but a smile echoed within his voice, a laugh bubbling forth.

Well, Dan had a point there, Ryoma supposed – the past few years had seemed full enough to be five or ten years, at least – he wasn’t sure if they’d passed too slowly or too quickly. He supposed it didn’t matter much, in the end; for the most part, he’d liked having friends who shared his interests, even if it had always been hard for him to actually spend time with other people. It had been a very slow process for him – meeting people, actually accepting when they invited him places, and actually enjoying himself when he went. By the end of high school, he’d ended up with at least a few friends that meant a lot to him, and that he wouldn’tve traded for anything in the world. He didn’t have to tell them that, either, because they all seemed to know him well enough to realize that if Echizen Ryoma considered you a friend, he’d do just about anything it took to be there. Actions spoke louder than words, after all, and he’d never been particularly eloquent (or desired to be) with words.

Dan broke his thoughts by taking his hands and speeding up, winding around the path in the center of the park. The wind in his face felt so good; Ryoma grinned and gave up on musing over the past, determined to enjoy the present. And not fall over, either – Dan was being very careful, even while skating faster, and it wouldn’t do to have Ryoma fall flat on his face. He’d never live it down.

“F’I die, it’ll be you that killed me,” he laughed, but he really wasn’t worried in the least, and followed Dan’s lead, quickly getting used to the faster pace and glad he was agile enough to catch on to skating again quickly.

------------

They’d stayed at the park until the sun had fallen to the horizon; Dan and Ryoma ended up back at Ryoma’s doorstep just as dusk was falling, and Ryoma fished out his key and pushed open the door to the empty house. “They must’ve left already,” Ryoma commented, leaving his skates and shoes beside the door and waiting for Dan, eyeing the small envelope on the hall table with his mother’s handwriting on it. She’d left them a good amount of money for food, instructed them to use the larger television in the living room if they were watching movies, and to do whatever they liked, as long as they didn’t make a mess and didn’t sleep past three the next day. “Mom’n Dad’ll be back late,” Ryoma said, as he finished reading the note, and then held up the envelope. “You hungry yet?”
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