Hi, everyone! This is my new ONE-SHOT fan fict for Pillar Pair. I hope you enjoy this~! ᶺoᶺ
Warning: Yaoi and all the things that come with it.
Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis isn't mine.
Lately, everybody could tell that there was something wrong with the Seigaku Tennis Club Captain Kunimitsu Tezuka.
His expression was still as stern as always. He would still speak with authority and confidence in front of everyone, truly befitting a person of his status. His sharp brown eyes would still glare ever so slightly if someone was playing truant or if one of them would make a mischief. His ever present furrowed eyebrows were still very prominent, especially during practice. He's also still assigning too many laps to those who make a mistake.
However, there's something truly baffling in Tezuka's actions lately. His regular teammates could tell that their captain's usual stern gaze would somehow soften whenever a certain person caught his attention. The act was so slight that nobody else aside from them could have noticed it, except maybe Tezuka's own family.
It perplexed them greatly at first. Momo thought he was just imagining things when he saw Tezuka's eyes soften when his gaze turned to the first years having some basic exercises. But then Eiji said he noticed the same thing while they were having regular practice inside Court C. Momo blinked at that. The only person who was both at the first year exercise and regular practice was Ryoma Echizen. Eiji's eyes widened with that discovery, just as his grin did.
There was also one afternoon when Oishi was about to approach Tezuka and ask something about the next match with another school when he saw the captain having a troubled expression while looking at Echizen. The Vice-Captain found it puzzling since the rookie wasn't even playing tennis at the time. He was simply eating lunch together with the other first years. When he told about it to Eiji, the bubbly male immediately opened up about what he and Momo talked about.
Fuji was also with Tezuka one time when the tennis prodigy first noticed it. He was in the hallway together with the captain talking about their subject when Tezuka ever so slightly looked out at the field below them. He seemed to be searching for something among the throng of students having their PE class. And his expression turned quite soft when he spotted what he was looking for. He then looked at Fuji and answered the question asked to him as if there weren't any interference. Fuji simply looked at Tezuka with unreadable expression then before he too looked at the playing field below.
He smiled when he saw Ryoma together with his first year friends. Horio seemed to be telling them some stories again while the other two already looked fed up with it. Their ochibi had a bored look. He wasn't even pretending he's listening anymore.
"I can see Echizen from here." Fuji voiced as he looked at Tezuka's reaction.
Tezuka, on the other hand, simply looked at the field again. "The first years are having their PE during this hour." And then he started walking off on his own.
Fuji's usually slit eyes opened at that, allowing blue orbs to shine with discovery. "Don't tell me…" When he closed his eyes again, his lips had already formed into a wide grin.
Similar situations arose for several more days before they had decided that they needed to talk about it… and probably do something about it too.
"I saw it again today." Momo whispered to Eiji. They were all in the changing room, readying to go home.
"I did too nya~!" Eiji looked really excited and curious as he looked at everyone. "His scary slanted eyes definitely lingered to ochibi more than usual!" And he did an impersonation of Tezuka's sharp eyes.
"2.5 seconds more than usual, to be exact." Inui voiced as he straightened his glasses. "That's… quite long for someone like Tezuka."
Fuji chuckled at that. "I think we're about to discover something fun."
The only people inside the changing room were the regulars aside from Ryoma, Tezuka, and Kawamura. Even Kaidoh was there, although he was not taking part in the conversation. His eyes were simply wide as he heard the conversation between his senpais and his cheeks were slightly flushed.
"I did some investigation about it these past few days." Inui snickered as he brought out his notebook. "These are really good data~!" He said as he read everything before he recited them to his teammates. "Also basing on everyone's report, it is proven that Tezuka's eyes lingers on Echizen 40% more than usual these past few days. The percentage is still quite low to form any plausible deduction. But that act alone is something he has not done to any of us even in the past few years that we're together."
"Knowing Tezuka, he must be either really fond of Echizen or…" Fuji's closed eyes glinted maliciously at that, making Momo and the others sweatdrop. "…or he's fallen for our rookie."
"I don't think Tezuka is the type to do anything about it… if ever his feelings are the real thing. He's our captain. He won't let his feelings affect the team so it is possible that he will keep his feelings all to himself." Oishi voiced as he looked at everyone. Eiji nodded as he listened attentively. "However, we cannot let the two of them be as they are now. The more he suppresses his feelings, the more Tezuka will suffer because of it. It is time we take the matter into our hands."
"First, Momoshiro and Kikumaru must try to ask Echizen if he has someone he likes." Inui said as he formulated a plan in his notebook. "Fuji and Oishi will try to subtly ask Tezuka about his real feelings. If you confirm it, you will then try to persuade him to confess. I will gather more data about the two of them… if ever they have a chance to fall for each other."
"Wait, what if Echizen likes someone else?" Momo asked Inui then. They all tried to think too hard about it but then Fuji was the one who answered.
"Then Tezuka will just have to pretend he wasn't heartbroken." Fuji voiced with a smile.
"I don't think ochibi is seeing someone right now though." Eiji spoke as he looked at Momo for confirmation. The latter simply shrugged, silently implying he didn't know either.
"But this is kind of exciting nya~!" Eiji almost squealed as he jumped several times in thrill. "I wonder if ochibi knows~?"
"Nah, Ehizen is not really the kind of person to notice those things, right?" Momo voiced. They all knew for sure that their all-too-snobby and arrogant rookie with nothing but tennis inside his head was just too dense to those types of things. For one thing, he didn't even realize that his classmate Sakuno Ryuzaki had been harboring feelings for him all this time even though she was practically screaming it at his face with her actions alone.
Therefore, there's no way he would notice the more subdued and subtle feelings of Tezuka.
They all sighed at the same time. "Yeah, there's no way Echizen would know."
"Know about what?" They all looked at the door when Ryoma entered together with Horio, Kachiro, and Katsuko.
"O-Ochibi!" Eiji screamed, as if he was caught in the act of doing something wrong.
Momo also had the same expression while Oishi could only heave a sigh. Fuji simply smiled at the rookie as if he wasn't talking about anything bad. He's the only one who managed to have a normal expression out of all of them. Kaido was still too shocked to say anything. Inui straightened his glasses once more and pretended he was writing something in his notebook.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ryoma munched to his heart's content as Momo suddenly said he would treat his kouhai to a meal. Eiji came along too when he heard about it and asked Momo to treat him too. The ochibi wasn't stupid. He knew something was up when he saw his senpais having a silent meeting all to themselves earlier. Not to mention Momo never really treated him to a burger before. Well, no matter. It's not like he would die. He'd just go along with it too… since he was bribed with food anyway.
The three of them sat in the table near the glass window. They could see all the people scurrying to and fro while they ate their meal.
Momo was silently nudging Eiji to start the conversation and lead it to their question. However, Eiji seemed to have already forgotten what they came to the place for and was just eating all the food he could get his hands into.
The raven-haired second year sighed. He guessed he would have to do all the work. "Ne, Kikumaru-senpai, I heard you like someone right now?"
Eiji stopped eating at that. His eyes widened as he stared at Momo. He had never told anyone that he liked Oishi. How did his kouhai know? "How did you know that nya!?"
This time it's Momo's turn to look flabbergasted. Argh! Kikumaru was supposed to go along so they could ask Ryoma in return! "I-I heard the senpais talking about it?" He then gave Eiji a nudge from underneath the table.
Eiji blinked at that. Oh. "I-I see!" He then chuckled. "I really thought you found out about my secret feelings for Oishi~!" Both Ryoma and Momo looked at him as if he'd sprouted a second head. Eiji chuckled again as he blushed a little. It seemed he hadn't realized he had said it all yet.
Momo cleared his throat then. "W-Well, how about you, Echizen?" Ryoma looked at him then, those golden eyes staring at him as if already knowing of his plan. It unnerved Momo to no end. Nevertheless, he continued his question. "Do you have someone you like right now? I mean, romantically?"
"Hnn…" Ryoma looked at both his senpai for a while before he asked a question of his own. "Why are you suddenly asking?"
"Well, it's about time for that, right?" Eiji immediately said. "We're teenagers after all."
"Hn..." Ryoma simply shrugged as he bit his burger once more. "I wonder about that."
"What about that Sakuno Ryuzaki girl then?" Momo asked again, as if teasing his kouhai about her. "Don't tell me you don't like her?" Once again, Ryoma merely shrugged, not at all interested in that type of conversation.
"N-Now that I think about it, I wanted to ask buchou about that too!" Eiji forcefully tried to bring Tezuka up in the conversation.
"Yeah, I heard Tezuka-buchou likes someone right now." Momo rode on the conversation, grinning widely when he saw Ryoma's eyes light up in mild interest.
"I heard that too nya!" Eiji then munched up the last of his burger before sipping his juice. "So, ochibi, what do you think of Tezuka-buchou?" Momo literally froze over. He was regretting ever asking Eiji to come with them today. Eiji seemed to have realized his mistake too since he started sweating drastically.
"Why are you asking me?" Ryoma asked as he finished his meal too. He sipped his juice as well. His eyes narrowed as he scrutinized his two senpais who gulped at the same time.
"Just… for reference..?" Momo tried to salvage the situation as he laughed sheepishly.
"…Buchou is cool and handsome. Not to mention he's really good at tennis." Ryoma simply said as he shrugged again. "I'm sure the other person will like him too."
Momo and Eiji brightened as they clapped their hands together. "Yes!" But then they realized Ryoma was still looking at them. "Uh, we're just… really happy..?"
"I'll tell buchou you're talking about him behind his back." Ryoma smirked and the two of them never talked about Tezuka's love interest again. "Mada mada dane."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The day after, Fuji and Oishi nodded to one another as they exited the classroom and followed Tezuka to their next subject.
"Ne, Tezuka," Fuji voiced, making the captain stop and look behind his shoulder. "Someone asked me if you like anyone right now." He ended his statement with a smile.
Tezuka looked a little surprised at that. It was almost unnoticeable and he immediately recovered after a few seconds. "…Why are you asking?"
Oishi furrowed his eyebrows at that. So he would evade the question after all. "That person also asked us about the other regulars."
Fuji immediately caught on it. "But she seems really interested in Echizen."
This time, it was Tezuka whose eyebrows furrowed. "Why are you telling me this?"
He went on the defensive, huh. Fuji smiled. "…because you're our buchou."
Tezuka looked at the two of them then, as if trying to see any sort of mischief from their eyes. "I don't think you two should concern yourselves with our members' private lives." He then started walking off on his own again.
Oishi couldn't help but sigh. Tezuka was as stern as always.
"This is fine too, Oishi." Fuji simply smiled. "It won't be fun if Tezuka admits it so easily after all." Oishi sweatdropped at his friend who seemed to be enjoying the situation a lot.
"Did you get anything?" The two of them looked behind their shoulders to see Inui who asked.
"No, he didn't answer the question." Oishi sighed. "What if we're simply making a mistake? What if there's really nothing out of the ordinary happening here?"
Inui smirked at that as he straightened his glasses. "That would have been the conclusion… if I didn't personally find out about this." And then he showed his notebook to his two friends. Oishi could only see computations and numbers written in the notebook. He could not even see Tezuka's name or Ryoma's anywhere. Fuji simply blinked at it before he asked the raven-haired male to just explain it.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The sounds of the students' voices from below were echoing. It was lunchtime and the tennis regulars – namely, Fuji, Eiji, Oishi, Inui, and Momo – were facing each other in a circle as they ate their bentous. The rooftop didn't have any shade but the breeze made the place feel comfortable.
"So it's true?" Momo asked, wide-eyed as he swallowed a mouthful of rice. They did have their speculation about the idea but to think it was actually proven to be true was still quite shocking.
"Yes, it's true. I investigated it personally." Inui nodded, an evil grin and a grain of rice adorning his face. He then brought out his notebook again before he started his report. "I saw it during practice session yesterday afternoon. Tezuka was talking to Ryuzaki-sensei when Ryoma passed by the two of them. It didn't seem like anything was amiss… but he turned his head for about 10cm towards our rookie. It's not like him at all to do that especially when he's talking to someone else."
"Maybe he just got distracted when someone passed by? It's not like he stopped talking to Ryuzaki-sensei when Echizen passed anyway." Oishi asked, thinking it was a possible conclusion too.
"The most important thing," Inui added, his eyes squinted when Oishi dared question his data. The Vice-captain couldn't help but sigh. "…was what happened afterwards. You were too distracted when Echizen caught us talking about our plan that you all immediately left the changing room. I was left behind."
"So… you're holding a grudge against us?" Momo arched an eyebrow at that. It's how he interpreted Inui's words.
"No, it's not like that." Fuji smiled as he came to the rescue. "He meant that he stayed in the changing room so he saw what happened next."
"Oh, so it's like that nya~" Eiji grinned. He too thought the same thing as Momo did.
Oishi's eyes widened at that. "I remember! Tezuka entered the changing room after we left." Momo and Eiji both made some sounds of amazement. They were too busy trying to come up with a plan for Echizen yesterday that they didn't notice it at all.
Inui straightened his glasses as he grinned. "You should have seen it. Echizen changed his clothes. He was topless and–"
"You pervert! How could you do that to ochibi nya!?" Eiji looked at Inui in utter disbelief, as if he couldn't believe his teammate was like that and he never noticed until now. Momo whose mouth was full had gulped everything down in surprise.
"I do not mean anything by that!" Inui immediately blurted out, cheeks flushing a bit. "At least listen until I finish!" Momo and Eiji both looked at him as if they didn't believe a single word he said and Oishi had to sigh at that. Fuji simply let out a chuckle at his friends' antics.
"That's the part when Tezuka entered, right?" Fuji's smile broadened just as he opened his sharp blue eyes.
Inui nodded as he grinned. "That's right. And I don't even need to be good at reading data to see it. Tezuka totally lost his poker face for a moment and I saw it all." Eiji's eyes widened in excitement. "He stood there at the entrance, frozen stiff from head to toe. His hand was still gripping the door quite tighter than necessary. His ever present sharp eyes widened as he stared at Echizen's bare back which was facing him."
"I saw that too." Fuji added, his sadistic expression showing ever so subtly. "…although only from the outside. It's too bad I didn't see his expression. He must have been stunned at the sight before him."
"…Sadistic senpai." Momo mumbled under his breath.
"I didn't even realize he stopped." Oishi commented, looking thoughtful as he poked his food. "It looked to me as if he simply paused for a moment as he entered the room. I didn't see his expression either."
"I wonder what we should do…" Momo said as he sighed. "Echizen is not really the type to notice those subtle things. And I doubt buchou will just tell him about it anyway."
"Maybe we should set things up nya?" Eiji suggested as he finished the rest of his meal.
"How? We don't even know for sure if Tezuka really likes Echizen." Oishi commented again. "Not to mention… if Echizen feels something for him too…"
"Hmmm…" Momo thought about it really hard. "Maybe we should lock them both up in the changing room? Or maybe we should put a letter in Echizen's locker? Or invite them to hang out but we will not show up so they would have no choice but to spend the rest of the day together?"
"Those ideas are really cool nya." Eiji voiced as he grinned.
"…Except," Oishi closed his eyes. "We're dead afterwards."
"Let's just play safe for now." Inui agreed. "Let's begin the plan tomorrow."
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
They all saw Ryoma walking towards the tennis court for early morning practice and they pretended they just happened to see him.
"Echizen, good morning." Fuji smiled.
Ryoma, in return, simply vowed a little as he covered his eyes with his favorite cap. "…Morning."
Momo waved a hand at him. "Sorry I couldn't go to school with you today."
"It's fine." The rookie answered immediately as he headed towards the changing room.
Eiji jogged beside him. "Ne, ochibi, I saw a girl earlier in front of your locker. She seemed to be trying to put something in."
"I was with Eiji then." Oishi felt guilty for lying so blatantly but he kept his cool smile in place. "Did she perhaps leave a letter or something inside?"
Ryoma looked at them all in mild curiosity before he shrugged and walked away. "…Maybe."
"Hey, what do you mean 'maybe'?" Momo asked as he started calling Ryoma some names inside his head. His kouhai really was so not cute.
"I receive mountains of letters inside my locker everyday." Ryoma simply said. "I don't have the time to read them all so I simply put them away."
"P-Put them away?" Eiji tried to pry more information about that. "Where exactly nya?"
"The trashcan." Ryoma answered monotonously as he quickly changed into his tennis uniform.
This arrogant ochibi brat… They all thought as they changed into their uniforms too. He's so… so not cute.
They all stood in front of a park, breathing in the early morning air. Momo called Ryoma's phone while Fuji called Tezuka's.
Momo waited for a little while before his kouhai answered it. "Echizen, it's me. Want to hang out with everyone? It's Saturday today so I'm sure you're free." He grinned because he knew Ryoma would have no alibi. He would just have to bribe him with food.
"Echizen?" Momo tried to look at his phone, confused. And then he heard it on the other side – soft snores of both Karupin and his master.
Fuji didn't have to wait long until Tezuka picked up. "Hello, Tezuka?"
"Fuji." The other side voiced.
"Want to hang out with everyone?" Fuji furrowed his eyebrows as he looked at his phone.
"Any luck?" Oishi asked. He was starting to shiver from the early morning coldness.
"No." Both Momo and Fuji answered.
"He answered the phone while sleeping." Momo voiced with a what-do-you-expect look. He was so used to Ryoma oversleeping almost every morning.
"He hang up on me." Fuji added, earning him a what-do-you-expect look from everyone.
"So…" Inui started, trying to break the sudden silence that filled them all. "Shall we go to the park?"
"I'm too scared to even initialize it." Eiji commented as he and Momo both gulped.
Locking both Tezuka and Ryoma up in the changing room would definitely incur their buchou's wrath. Just imagining Tezuka angry was enough to send shivers down their spines.
"Really? I think it would be fun." Fuji voiced as he let out a soft chuckle.
"And locking them in there doesn't mean there will be positive result anyway." Oishi said as he sighed. "Momo and Kaidoh in that situation will have more chance of talking to one another than they do."
"Now that you mention it…" Eiji also realized that. "I remember it during one of our official matches… when Ryuzaki-sensei took Kawamura to the hospital and ochibi sat at the bench."
"I also remember." Momo said as he grimaced. "He and buchou sat at the bench the whole timeout without talking. I was the one who felt awkward for the two of them."
Inui sighed. "This situation is 30% harder than I initially calculated."
"Maybe we're doing it wrong." Momo voiced after a while. "Maybe… we shouldn't go about it in a roundabout way anymore."
"You mean…" Eiji's eyes widened at that. "Ask buchou directly about it?" Momo gulped at that but he nodded. "And… ask him to just confess to ochibi and end it all nya?" Momo gulped once more. He hesitated this time, but in the end he still nodded.
"Maybe that's for the best." Inui said as he calculated data in his notebook again. "Echizen is not so good at sensing feelings of this type while Tezuka is not so good at expressing himself well. There will be no happy ending for them if it keeps going on like this."
"So? What's the plan?" Oishi dreaded what he was about to hear.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tezuka closed his eyes as he felt his temple throb at the situation. Never in his life did he think he would be trapped inside the changing room and cornered by his own teammates. He remembered changing clothes alone when they all suddenly entered the room and surrounded him. He didn't even have the time to process what was going on when they started closing in on him.
"What is the meaning of this?" He asked as he was surrounded by their determined gaze. He could already feel a headache coming.
"Buchou, we already know all about it… your feelings." Momo started, eyes almost blazing in passion of what he was talking about. "You may think that we're slow and dense to those things but even we can notice the subtleties you portray in your actions."
Tezuka was about to ask what that supposed statement was all about when Inui seconded Momo's words. Then Eiji butted in, almost accusing him of some indecent things. Oishi did his best to suppress the chaos but instead only fueling it more. Everyone was talking all at once that the captain's usual stern face finally had a hint of irritation. Fuji started laughing at the situation and Tezuka already felt like making them all run 100 laps. Not to mention he still had no idea what they were all talking about.
"Please don't deny it anymore, Tezuka! We all know about everything so there's no use denying it!" Inui added with quite a strong voice as he showed his notebook to his captain. "My calculations are never wrong!"
"Be quiet." He voiced with his usual strict tone and everybody immediately fell silent. Tezuka then straightened his glasses as his mouth tugged downward into an almost visible scowl. "I have no idea what you're talking about and I can't understand it if you all talk at once."
For a moment, none of them talked. Since their buchou had already shown that kind of face, they all knew it would only be a matter of time before they were punished. No one wanted to be the sacrifice. After a while, however, Oishi cleared his throat and spoke.
"…You're in love with Echizen, aren't you, Tezuka?" He asked in a clear tone.
Tezuka looked taken aback for a moment but he recovered immediately. "You should all not be privy of other people's private lives. Didn't I already tell you that?" He looked at Fuji and Oishi in particular. "And besides, why do you keep asking me such questions?"
"What about you?" Inui clenched his fists tightly. It's all or nothing now. It's either he would get punished or he would get their captain to admit everything. "Why do you keep denying it, Tezuka?"
To their surprise and amazement, however, Tezuka's answer was not something they all expected. Their captain looked at them all with a barely audible glint in his eyes. "I don't remember denying anything."
And all their eyes widened.
At that moment, Ryoma entered the changing room too. He blinked and stopped in the doorway when he saw the situation. They all looked at him with different levels of surprise and the rookie could only sigh inwardly. What do those idiot senpais think they're doing, cornering their own buchou like that..? He then closed the door behind him and started walking towards the rest of them.
"O-Ochibi… t-this is… um…" Eiji tried to explain the situation in futility. Momo simply gulped while Oishi looked nervous. It's not yet time for their ochibi to know anything. They wanted to confront Tezuka about it more and have the male confess everything himself when he's ready.
Tezuka sighed. "…They were asking me if I was in love with you, Echizen." He then focused his clear and unwavering gaze towards his kouhai.
And they're eyes widened when they heard the question. It was all they could do to not gape at their buchou's audacity. They could all feel the fast beating of their own hearts – both from anticipation and nervousness – as well as the high tension in the air. They gulped as they waited for Ryoma's answer.
The ochibi looked surprised for a while as he looked at each and every one of them. He then adjusted his cap to hide his cat-like eyes before he smirked, much to their surprise. "Why? Is it wrong for my own lover to fall in love with me?"
1… 2… 3… 4… 5…
"EHHHHH!?" The loud yell of surprise and disbelief echoed all throughout the changing room and tennis courts. Momo's eyes were almost bulging as he gaped at his friend. Eiji's eyes were twinkling with excitement while Oishi looked like a mother who found out his daughter was pregnant. Inui had dropped his notebook in shock while Fuji's sharp blue eyes were opened… though he closed them again afterwards and grinned.
"Mada mada dane." Ryoma voiced before he grinned at their shocked expressions.
Tezuka could only let out a soft exhale at his teammates' antics. "…20 laps for each of you."
And so, they were right… and yet they were wrong at the same time.
Haha. No lemony goodness here! And this is a one-shot so there will be no next chapter. Sorry about that~! I just wanted to write about how the Seigaku Tennis Regulars will try to take matters into their own hands. And somehow… in a way, it paid off, right?
Anyway, please review~! ᶺoᶺ