Reassurance (Prince of Tennis)
By Haruka (email@example.com)
Echizen Nanjiroh creaked open the bedroom door and peeked inside. He saw an unmoving form in the shadows of the bed and after watching long enough to make sure that form was asleep, he approached.
At the bedside, he gazed down at the twelve-year-old boy – his son, Ryoma. Karupin, the boy's Himalayan cat, lay curled up on top of him.
Earlier that evening, Ryoma had returned from a tennis tournament with the championship and an injury. True to form, Ryoma had dismissed it, saying that he had gotten hurt, but the doctor said it would heal soon. Nanjiroh had seemed to accept that – he even laughed at the writing Ryoma's teammates had put on his eyepatch – but privately, he was concerned. Enough to make a call to the old hag who had been his coach and was now his son's.
"The broken racquet ricocheted and hit him in the eye," Ryuzaki Sumire told him. "The eyeball was undamaged, but the eyelid muscles were severed and for a while, we couldn't stop the bleeding." She sighed. "Ryoma insisted on finishing the game. I taped up the eye as best I could and Tezuka gave him a ten-minute time limit. He won the match in that time."
"He said the doctor told him it would heal soon."
"Yes, he did," Sumire reassured him, then chuckled. "I've never heard that note of worry in your voice before, Nanjiroh, it's refreshing."
"Shut up, old hag."
"You can be proud of him. He demonstrated a lot of courage and strength today."
"Feh, he was just being stubborn." Nanjiroh hung up on her.
He gazed down at the sleeping child. "You're stubborn, all right," he murmured. "Pigheaded, snarky, and thoroughly uncute." He reached down and brushed a lock of hair from the warm cheek. "But she's right; I'm proud of you." He kissed the top of Ryoma's head, gave the cat a scratch behind the ear, and left the room.
Ryoma opened his good eye and blinked in the darkness for a moment. "Should I tell him tomorrow that I was awake, Karupin?"
"Aw, you're no fun." Ryoma chuckled and went back to sleep, smiling.
(Word challenge – Father)
Prince of Tennis belongs to Konomi Takeshi.
This fic is not to be re-posted.