Ochibi Love

Because they're too cute for words**

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Another AU fic~
slashedbeat_exe wrote in ryotai
Title: Left Alone
Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Pairing: Echizen Ryoma/Dan Taichi
Rating: PG-13
Prompt#1: Beginnings
Word Count: 1656
Warnings: None
Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis. v__v;;
Summary: On a hunt, Ryoma stumbles across a fallen angel. However, some encounters just weren't meant to be.

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The day was hot and the wind was dead, the absolute worst possible conditions to go hunting. At least for Echizen Ryoma, a young boy striving to make it on his own in the seemingly peaceful mountain side. Although his father had died little over two years ago, he still stubbornly made it on his own, still living in the same house, still trying to be content being on his own...

At the rustling of a nearby bush, he adjusting his bow and arrow and took aim, his body still as stone waiting for whatever it was to come out of hiding. There was a slight chance, however small it may be, that the "animal" was actually a human, and he didn't want any troublesome weights on his back. Slowly the creature crawled agonizingly out from under the shrubs, and Ryoma was quite disappointed to see that it was indeed, a human. Well, at least he hadn't loosed the arrow beforehand.... That would have been messy. Without breathing a word, he put away his weapon and kneeled next to the figure.

"Don't touch....." The wounded lad breathed shakily. He was in terrible condition, and his shirt... was just soaked in blood. To say the least, he reeked of it.

"Hm." Ryoma mused, staring down at the body. Would it be alright if he just left him there? It would be nice if he could... But the longer he sat there, the more his conscience ate him away. Finally, though reluctantly, he carefully lifted the body. It would be a long walk back to the cabin, and the fact that he was starving to death didn't help things much. Looks like it's gonna be bread for dinner again... Was his only thought the entire walk, until he finally reached his small home.

Of course... Since there was no bathroom, he have to drag the body to the stream, to wash the kid off. How annoying.... "....don't... touch..."

Ryoma barely caught the words. He rested the limp boy down on the floor and kneeled down next to him, trying to coax him into speaking more clearly. He wanted to understand more what this guy was saying, partly because he was slightly curious, and partly because he wanted to put off the walk to the stream for as long as possible. "What was that?"

The bloody boy's head hung low, almost to his chest. But Ryoma guessed that he was awake, or at least semi-sleeping. It took some time, but the little boy finally found the energy to lift his head. Large brown eyes bore into Ryoma's, but he didn't speak.

"Hm." Ryoma hummed to himself, though more curious than annoyed. "Anyway, stay here." He ordered before leaving the cabin, later coming back with a pale of fresh water. The mysterious boy was still sitting upright on the floor, although he was looking slightly more lively. "Are you awake?"

There was a slight pause, and then a nod, "Yes. Um, are you the one who saved me!? Um... Uh, thank you very much! I thought I was a gonner for sure! I don't even remember what happened, well, not really, but I'm really glad I'm still alive! It's all thanks to you, right? I--" And the chatter continued.

Echizen blinked, he'd only caught the first sentence or two until he was lost in a pool of words. He liked the kids better when he was half-dead. How does someone that scrawny recover so quickly anyway? "Right." He said, cutting the boy off. "Come outside with me, you want to wash off, don't you?"

"Huh? Oh! Yes, thank you!" The boy smiled brightly. It kind of put Echizen off, he really wasn't used to such... cheerfullness. At least not the taunting kind like his father had. "Um... And my name is Taichi, by the way."

Simply nodding, Ryoma quickly stepped outside, not wanting the boy to start jabbering away again. When he realized he wasn't being followed, he looked back and saw the boy was still sitting on the floor inside the cabin, and looking rather sheepish. Feeling annoyed, he went back in and helped the kid outside, behind the cabin and sat him down on a stool. "Take your shirt off."

At first, Taichi looked bewildered, but then remembered why they were outside in the first place. Doing as he was told, he took his shirt off, although it was pretty painful. The fabric stuck to his back like a second skin, so it was a nice feeling to finally have it off. Ryoma's eyes widened slightly at the sight of the injuries. Two deep gashed in the boy's back, one on the left and one on the right. Almost as if he'd been stabbed. "This happen often?" He asked, feeling very disturbed.

"Oh no, not really. Just once." Taichi answered, not catching the sarcasm. "You see, I'm not an angel anymore..."

Ryoma paused, staring the boy down. Now he was certain this Taichi kid was a lunatic. How lucky. Dipping a clean cloth into the bucket of water, he then began wiping the blood around the wound. "Sure you were."

"......Um... I never got your name, sir."

Sir? Now that was new. "Echizen Ryoma."

"Ryoma-kun, huh? That's nice." Taichi swooned, holding back a yelp when the cloth came a bit too close to a cut. "Are you here by yourself?"

"Yeah."

"What? Really? Wow! It must be rough! So you have to do all the chores and stuff?"

Ryoma nodded once, more concerned with treating the wounds than with chitchat. Silence ensued from there on until he'd finished patching up the injuries. "You'll need something clean to wear." He thought outloud to himself.

Taichi stood wobbily from the stool, "Oh, you don't have to trouble yourself! I never get cold anyway." Ryoma just stared, more or less at a loss. How do you deal with insanity?

Even though at that time he'd felt like kicking the kid out, they'd ended up sharing the cabin together. Whenever Ryoma would go hunting, Taichi would stay at home and look after things. And when he brought something home, Taichi would cook it up, his cooking tasted almost as bad as Ryoma's, though... And whenever something broke, Taichi always insisted he be the one to fix it. He claimed he was in Ryoma's debt, so he took no buts.

After a while, Ryoma also grew to ignore the boy's constant enthusiasm about everything, and even came to respond with more than just one syllable. Though one particular evening...

"Ah.. Ryoma-kun... I'm not feeling too well..." Taichi complained, his eyes watery and face slightly pink. He lay still in his bed with one frail hand resting on his forehead, looking up at a surprised Ryoma.

Ryoma smirked, "You're an angel, aren't you? How can you get sick?" There came no reply. The smaller boy's frown deepened, showing that he didn't intend to carry on the conversation. Ryoma shrugged and left the boy's bedside. "Well, you can just stay there and rest, I guess." He grumbled. Something about this just didn't smell right. Later that evening, the sick boy wasn't fairing much better. In fact, he looked even worse now. "Are you that sick?" Ryoma asked blatantly, now sitting at the boy's bedside.

Taichi snivelled, and attempted to roll over but failed. "....I'm not..." He began, but fell silent soon after. Although the silence soon got to him, and he hated when Ryoma looked at him expectantly like he was now, "I'm not.... supposed to be in contact with any humans."

The taller boy rolled his eyes. Again with this angel nonsense. To be honest, he felt happier ever since this kid came to live with him, but sometimes it could be overbearing. He liked the company, and didn't want to get on bad terms with this boy, but he wanted to set things straight. "Look. You're not an angel, ok? There's no such thing."

"There is!" Taichi piped up defensively, immediately regretting it when a bolt of pain struck his head. He lay silent for a few moments to calm down before trying again, "You have to believe me, Ryoma-kun. I'm going to be leaving you soon."

It was so sudden, he wasn't quite sure how to respond. What did he mean by leaving? Dieing? Like dad? Then he'd be... alone again... No matter how crazy this kid might be, he really didn't want to be alone again, so he leaned over and asked, "Why can't you have contact with a human?"

"....I'm not sure. It's always been that way." Taichi sighed, surpressing a cough. "That's what... got me in trouble in the first place."

"I see." Ryoma responded, although he honestly didn't understand what was going on. "So does that mean you have to leave?"

"Do you want me to...?"

The question was direct, and it struck Ryoma hard. He hated to sound like he wanted the company, but the fact of the matter was, he did. "...No."

Taichi smiled weakly, "Then I won't."

"What about your sickness?"

"...I don't know."

It wasn't much reinsurance, but it was better than nothing. Ryoma decided then... That he would live to take care of this boy, for as long as time allowed. He didn't believe in angels. And he really didn't believe this whole mess, but... He would deal with it until the end. Afterall, he didn't want to be left alone again.
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