This Girl-Sequel

Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis

Author's Note: Sorry this took so long to update.  I would've finished it two weeks ago if my computer did not assassinate my hard drive and I had to get a new one.  I'm also using another typing program, which is driving me crazy.  I don't even know where the fonts are.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy, and I apologize for any Out of Character. (Probably Kamio and Inui)

Glossary:

Oniisan - Big Brother

Buchou - Captain

Daijobou Ka? - Are you okay?

Daijobou - Okay

Matte - Wait

Onegai - Please

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

            The Fudomine tennis courts were in an uproar.  Club members practiced on remaining courts while the regulars carried on their own, specific practices.  Everyone was ready for the upcoming tournament.

            Tachibana stood outside of one of the Fudomine regular's practice match.  Cross-armed, the young 3rd year captain of Fudomine Tennis Club observed the match between Ishida and Sakurai, eyes calm with the vision of an eagle while he silently noted the flaws and improvements needed for both players.  Suddenly, a movement on the outside of another tennis court caught his eye.  A flash of light purple, he broke his gaze on the tennis court as his eyes turned and softened at the sight of the young girl standing outside another court beside his.  Her fingers linked on the cage earnestly as she observed the two players in the middle of a heated game. 

            The captain smiled to himself before leaving his own court to stride toward the other girl's.  Standing beside her, Ann didn't realize her older brother as her eyes widened at a shot Kamio made, watching it nearly past Ibu before the blue haired boy lobbed it up to the other side.  Tachibana continued to stare at his younger sister, a frown emerging from his thick brows.

            "Observing the game?" Tachibana mildly asked.

            Ann's head jerked a bit, light brown strands lifting up in the air as she shook her head and broke her concentration on the game before her.  Looking up, Ann would've scowled at the person for interrupting her, if it weren't her brother standing beside her with a warm smile on his face.  Her chocolate brown eyes widened with a sweet smile across her face. 

            "Oniisan," her smile glimmered. 

            Tachibana closed his eyes and grinned at his younger sister before turning his head to watch the game in front of them.  Ann soon did the same as well.  The captain's eyes grew dark as thoughts ran through his head.

            He had always noticed the extra care and attention his younger sister had towards the young speed demon of Fudomine, and he had also noticed the over protective traits Kamio would reveal when someone was too close towards his younger sister, aside from himself.  It didn't surprise him that they soon became a couple; he was actually happy for them.  However, he will always be a brother and a captain at heart.  Kamio and Ann's relationship had somewhat become public, causing him to worry for the new couple much more than he had anticipated.

            In the status of a captain, Ann's relationship towards one of the regular players could come as a threat and a weakness to Kamio, especially with his overprotective layers when he sees his girlfriend with another male, aside from himself.  Ann can easily be used as a plan to destroy Kamio, if done properly.  He stole a glance at his younger sister once more; her chocolate brown eyes still pasted onto the match between Kamio and Ibu, and sighed. 

In a brother's view, he was more concerned with Ann's well being.  Ann Tachibana had always been extremely close to the regulars of Fudomine's tennis club.  Everyone had adopted her as their unofficial mascot, but Tachibana couldn't help but feel a bit jealous at the amount of attention his younger sister has given to Kamio, instead of himself. 

They had always been close, and he cared for her deeply.  Knowing that there's another important person in her life now, he couldn't help but feel a little hurt, and sometimes left out.  He managed to hide it well though, and what little boundaries Ann unknowingly sets up, she repays with personal days out, especially for her 'darling Oniisan', as she liked to call him.  But deep inside, far from all his trust and belief in Kamio, there will always be a small part of him which challenges the auburn haired boy's loyalty and affection towards his younger sister.  Could he handle Ann's heart with enough care as he did in the past?

He remembered what he said to Kamio one day while they were outside, observing a tennis match behind the fence.

"So you two are now a couple?" Tachibana's voice carried out in a low whisper that only Kamio could hear.

"Ye-Yes...Buchou," the speed demon muttered sheepishly.  "I guess it just happened."

The captain closed his eyes before staring back at Kamio, eyes a darker shade than usual.  "Congratulations then," he said with a smile.  It was quickly wiped off and his face turned into a serious expression.  "But hear me, Kamio-kun.  I care for you both, but Ann is very dear to me."

"Ye-Yes..." the younger boy stuttered"I will take care of Ann-chan, you have my word."

"I never doubted it before," the captain's lips began to curve upwards once more.  "But in case of a rare occasion, where Ann's heart may be broken," he watched Kamio with a fearful intensity in his eyes.  "I will always be your captain, but I am a brother to Ann, first."

The auburn haired boy swallowed hard as Tachibana's expression changed once more and he began to laugh.  Kamio joined in shyly as well.

"I'm serious," Tachibana rolled out of his tongue, patted the stricken Kamio on the back and walked into the change room after dismissing the club.

The captain sighed again.  Still, there was the problem about using Ann as a weakness to alter Kamio's performance.  He turned towards his younger sister, eyes staring down at her with a captain's glare.  The young girl felt the intense pair of eyes watching her, and turned her chocolate brown ones to meet them.  A confusing frown appeared on her face.

"Ann-chan," her brother began.  She stared at him with a raised eyebrow, giving him her full attention.  "We need to talk," the captain stated.

"Okay." She turned her small body to face the Fudomine captain, hands falling back to the sides of her waist.  Being small didn't interfere with the strong aura she has when facing people that were older, taller, and bigger than her. 

            Tachibana stared back at her with a serious and worried expression on his face.  "You've been hanging out here a lot more, lately."  He made it a statement, and Ann verified it with a nod.  "I'm happy that you and Kamio are so close, but they can use that against him to ruin his performance when he plays against his opponents."

            "What do you mean?" Ann inquired.

            "You two have carried on your relationship in public, and there's nothing wrong with that.  But Kamio will enter many tournaments, and face different opponents.  Opponents who like to pinpoint weaknesses."  His eyes softened.  "Ann, I know you and Kamio don't spend a lot of time with each other.  I've been holding practices three days a week."

            "You can say that again," she muttered.

            "But the Kantou Tournament will be hard to beat.  Maybe you can keep your relationship and visits in low profile?  I'm just worried about the opponents who might use you against Kamio.  Your relationship may be in jeopardy too, Ann, and I don't want that because of some silly game."

            "I understand," she sighed.  Chocolate brown eyes stared up at him.  "I'll try to hold back, Oniisan."

            "Thank you.  But, do you think we can keep this a secret?  Between you and me?"

            "Of course!" his younger sister smiled.

            They turned back to the court as Kamio wiped the sweat off his forehead with a white towel and waved at Ann, smiling happily.  "Sorry," the speed demon cried apologetically.  "Did I keep you waiting?"  He walked towards Ann in a slow jog.

            The young girl only smiled and laughed.  "Not at all.  You both did great," she grinned.

            Talking briefly, the couple separated as Ann sat on the wooden picnic bench while her boyfriend went inside to change out of his uniform.

            Tachibana raised an eyebrow, looked at his watch and dismissed the members.  The captain had lost track of time.

------

            The sun had already begun setting when the young couple walked out of the Fudomine entrance and into the sidewalk.  Hands linked together, Kamio and Ann had purposely lingered around the tennis courts a little longer, waiting for Tachibana to leave so the two could have some privacy.  The plan carried on successfully as they walked down the sidewalk of a busy street; heart and soul fluttering somewhere on cloud number nine. 

            While strolling down the busy road, the auburn hair tennis player couldn't help but steal a glance at his companion with light brown hair; streaked with a lighter tone of highlights.  It brought a smile to his face as he watched his young sweetheart grow before his eyes.  The traces of amber tints slowly forming over her signature brown glare, and the slight growth spurt she had encountered, causing the young freshman to rise a few inches more.  The once cute, slightly rounded face had grown longer, carrying out a more elegant feature when observing her.  The changes were subtle, and almost unnoticeable to a common everyday glance, but through Kamio's attentiveness, they seemed to jump out at him.  It was strange, the feelings he had towards Ann, and it shocked him to realize how much his life revolved around the young girl standing beside him with a hand linked to his.

He was inevitably, falling in love with Ann Tachibana.

            As Kamio helped the smiling girl up the steps, he watched as she took a ring of keys out of her pocket and used one to open the door to her home.  Turning the knob slowly as the door creaked open, her shining brown eyes sparkled at the Fudomine player affectionately.

            "Well, this is my stop," Ann grinned.  "Thank you for taking me home, Kamio-kun."

            "It was nothing." The boy's smile glittered with shining white teeth.  He uses Aquafresh daily.  "I'm still sorry though, for not being able to spend time with you on my birthday next week. It's just that the Kantou tournament is coming up, and the Buchou--I mean...You're Oniisa--I mean," he searched for the right word.

            "Buchou's fine," the girl suggested.  "And don't worry about unnecessary things," Ann smiled, tilting her head slightly to the side.  "I understand how important the match is for everyone in Fudomine, including your teammates.  You can't let them down and miss a good chance to go to the Nationals." 

            She bent forward quickly and gave the boy a small kiss on the cheek before entering the house and closing the door behind her.  "Just try your best," Ann waved before it clicked shut.

            The second year Fudomine stood still on her doorstep as his hand gently caressed the pecked area, beginning to flush.  A wide grin soon followed as he danced down the stone steps and skipped into the sidewalk, face beaming while he pranced home.

--------

            It was long after midnight when the realization came to Ann, and slowly her habitual smile fell to a small pout, and she became upset.  She hadn't understood the situation until now; that Kamio would be spending his birthday in a tennis court, practicing to exhaustion.  The light brown hair fell in strands, covering her face as she turned to her side and tightly embraced the stuffed animal beside her.   She had totally forgotten the conversation her big brother had at the dinner table just a few weeks ago.  According to him, Fudomine was supposed to practice with Seigaku on the day of Kamio's birthday in Ryuzaki-Sensei's school. 

            "Poor Kamio-kun," she sighed and snuggled closer against the large stuffed animal.  Stirring restlessly in her bed, Ann finally came up with a perfect plan and nursed herself to sleep.  Tomorrow will be a big day, she thought.  And it will take a lot of pleading to make this work.  Smiling, the light hair brunette dozed off, filled with happy dreams and endless planning.

-------

            Everything seemed ordinary the next day in the Fudomine Tennis Club, except for one thing: Ann Tachibana was no where in sight.

            Everyone seemed a little disappointed that their team mascot wasn't present that day, but soon shrugged it off and went on with their daily practices.  It was Kamio who took the blow the hardest.  Ann had sat next to him at lunch today, like every other day, eating and laughing with the Fudomine Regulars, but nothing was mentioned about her not appearing in the tennis courts.  Sighing, the auburn hair tennis regular lost his well-known rhythm and watched as the ball bounced off his court.

            His teammate and opponent slowly walked to the front of the net, blank eyes observing the young speed demon as the wind swept through his dyed blue hair.  "Kamio-kun, are you okay?" Ibu asked in his soft-spoken voice.

            "Saa...I'm okay.  Let's go again," Kamio panted.  Bending his knees in a crouching position, the speed demon began building up his rhythm and concentration again.  He frowned when his match partner didn't move.

            Ibu blinked.  "You seem like you're hiding something.  That's not good.  Hiding emotions isn't healthy for your body or your performance.  You should quit hiding things.  Your parents pay good money to keep you healthy.  Psychiatrist, you should see a psychiatrist before you start causing harm to your body.  It can cause emotional wounds; your concentration will drop, thus creating a burden for you and your family..."

            Kamio tsked, annoyed as he threw the ball up to serve.  "Just start the damn game," he growled, and delivered a quick serve to the other court.   

------

            Finally arriving at the Seigaku tennis courts, Ann couldn't help but lounge against a green picnic bench while she tried desperately to catch her breath.  She rested an elbow on each leg while she looked between them and onto the pavement, light brown hair falling as it hid her face.

            A pair of running shoes appeared before her.  "You're late," the familiar voice noted.

            Ann frowned and looked up, eyes meeting dark purple orbs.  "I forgot--"she panted, "to bring my bus tokens with me-- today."  A large hand reached out to help her up, and she gladly accepted it while Momoshiro easily lifted the girl to her feet.

            "Ahh...What an absent-minded girl," the Seigaku powerhouse teased. 

            "You could've just left," she shot back.

            "Yes, but I'm too kind."

            "Lies," she grinned.  Momoshiro couldn't help but laugh as well.  He watched her picked up her backpack before heading off, side by side.

            "So what did you want to ask?" Momo eyed the girl suspiciously.

            "A favour," Ann replied casually.

            "Figures.  Then shouldn't we be heading out of school property to talk?" he asked.

            "No."  Chocolate brown eyes gazed up at him.  "We need Ryuzaki Sensei's permission."

            "The Old Lady?" 

            "That's what you call her?" Ann raised an eyebrow and turned back to the road.  "Yes.  I need to talk about the Fudomine and Seigaku practice match that will be holding here next week."  She noticed the tall boy looking down at her curiously with purple eyes, and met him with a sweet smile. "That's Kamio's birthday," she answered.

            "Maa...The short brat?" He raised his hands up behind his head, the confusion still in his eyes.  "So what's that got to do with our old lady?"

            "I'm planning on asking your coach if we can hold a surprise party for Kamio-kun that day in the locker room."  Her brows knotted with a concerned expression.  "And I need your help in organizing it."

            "Me?!?" The spiky hair powerhouse of Seigaku stood in his tracks, his right index finger pressing against his chest.  "Me?  You want me to beg the old lady and help you plan the party? No way!"  Momoshiro crossed his arms and turned his back on the girl, fuming.

            "Please, Momo-chan!" Ann shook his arm gently.  "I need all the help I can get!"

            "I don't even like him!" he reasoned.  "Go ask Fudomine to help organize the party!  The Old Lady will more than likely agree to your shenanigans." 

            "I can't do that!" She shook him harder.  "They'll tell him, and then it won't be a surprise!  Only Seigaku can help me.  Please, Momo-chan. Please!"

            Rolling his purple eyes and grunting, Momo finally gave in.  While Ann dragged the large tennis player to see his coach, Momoshiro couldn't help but wonder why he was doing this.

            Must be my dripping sincerity, he concluded with a sigh.

-------

            Sitting on one of the side benches in the street tennis court, Kamio kicked the dirt up with his heel and sulked.  It had been four days since Ann-chan had stopped coming to the after-school tennis practices, and five days since he's spent any private time with her.  Today was his first full day off from the tennis club, but Ann wasn't here to celebrate it with him.  The speed demon had called her earlier, but she hadn't picked up her phone.  Kamio had hoped to see her in the street tennis courts, but she wasn't here either.  He continued dwelling in his own frustration before a tennis ball zoomed inches away from his face.  The auburn hair boy looked back at the bleachers.

            Standing in the middle row was Atobe and his oversized henchman, Kabaji.  The tennis captain of Hyotei smiled unpleasantly at the Fudomine speed demon as he swung his racket around aimlessly.  Bored out of his mind, Atobe hoped that the measly 2nd year Fudomine Regular would entertain him if antagonized enough.  Hopefully, the lavender hair boy prays that his attempts didn't work in vain.

            Kamio tightened his fists and growled, snarling at the foes in front of him.  "Hey!  That ball nearly hit me!" he shouted angrily.  "Apologize now!"

            The Hyotei captain slowly sat down on the steal bench and hummed disappointingly.  "Ah, yes.  I do apologize.  What a terrible shot," the lavender hair mused.  "I can't believe I missed your face!  Maybe next time," the 3rd year grinned.

            "What did you say?  Why you--" Quickly climbing up the bleacher, Kamio pulled back his right arm, preparing to smash it in the Hyotei captain's face, but sadly his plan was foiled when the huge man behind Atobe picked the speed demon up and held him there, effortlessly.

            The lavender hair boy watched as his henchman walked down the rows and dropped the Fudomine player back onto the green court, causing the captain to smirk.  This was going to be interesting, the vain male thought.

            "Now now," Atobe cooed.  "Don't vent your anger on the innocent, just because your relationship with your captain's little sister isn't working out," he smiled.  "Though, I can't say I blame her for not liking you, I mean---"

            "Shut up!" the auburn hair Fudomine hissed.  "Don't you dare talk about Ann like that in front of me, or I'll wipe your clock with my fist!" his blood boiling with temper.

            Atobe just looked away and yawned.  This is getting rather lame, he told himself.  Slowly turning back to face the enraging delinquent, the Hyotei captain couldn't help but smile as he watched the two friends climbing up the street tennis steps.  Well what a coincidence, Atobe's smile grew wider.  Gathering himself up, he looked down at Kamio warmly.

            "Now--"the young captain froze as Kabaji whispered Kamio's name into his leader's right ear.  "Kamio," he smiled.  "Let's not over-react, just because Ann is two-timing you with a Seigaku player behind your back...Literally."

 Atobe raised his arm and pointed behind the enraged Fudomine player.  It was a pleasure watching the boy's expression change from anger to shock as his head turned back to see the couple walking up the stairs, smiling and laughing.  The captain would've loved to stay longer and witness Hell rise over the tennis court, but he was hungry and stood up to leave, with Kabaji close behind.

Before exiting the other side of the courts, Atobe raised his eyes at his large companion and smiled.  "Wasn't that fun, Kabaji?" the lavender haired asked.

The expressionless player only nodded as he followed his captain out to the busy sidewalk.

"Ne, Momo-chan, wasn't the shopping fun?" Ann asked, smiling up at Momoshiro.  Both were still oblivious to the still figure in front of them while they watched each other.

"I wouldn't necessarily say 'fun'," the Seigaku powerhouse chuckled.  A sweatdrop formed from his head.  "Spending three hours in a party shop, deciding whether we should use red or blue for the banners really isn't as 'fun' as you said it would be."

"Naa...We've finished shopping for the party supplies at least.  We can take the quick shortcut through the tennis court now and drop the items at your school.  Then, I'll treat you to ramen."

"Soo ka?" Momoshiro grinned.  "Then I guess the tiring hours were worth it."

"Stop exaggerating and start picking up the pace before I change my mind about the ramen," Ann retorted with a laugh.

While walking across the tennis court, both Ann and Momoshiro stopped as they came face to face with a fuming Kamio, his body vibrating with anger.

"Yo-You!!!" the speed demon raised a shaking finger at Momo. 

"Uh-oh" Ann looked up at Momoshiro as her boyfriend strode furiously across and covered the small space between them.  His shaking finger was now pressed against Momoshiro's chest, causing the powerhouse to frown.

"Kamio-kun." Ann shot a sweet and nervous smile as she flung her hands slowly, the shopping bags rattling as she gestured.  "It's not what you think," she managed to giggle.

The redhead stood, gazing blankly at Momoshiro's Seishun Gakuen uniform before his turned dark cold charcoal eyes in Ann's direction.  The young girl felt weak on her knees as she forced herself to stare back at him, but she was afraid.  Those eyes weren't Kamio's eyes.

"What's in the bag?"  Kamio slurred coolly through his lips.  Momoshiro raised an eyebrow at the sudden change of tone, but kept silent as the light brown hair girl shook her head slowly, hiding the cherry red bags behind her back.

"They're nothing," the girl replied simply.  "Momo-chan and I were just getting something at the shop down the street."

"Presents? For each other?"  The auburn hair boy managed to keep his voice cool and neutral, but deep inside, his blood was freezing and his heart was slowly breaking into pieces, falling to the ground. 

Ann look shocked.  Momoshiro interrupted the conversation abruptly, trying to explain to the light brunette's boyfriend.  "That's not it!  We were just---"

"I don't want to hear it from you!" the shorter boy hissed, and the voices fell silent again.  He looked at Ann, eyes glazed and shielded so well, Ann was afraid as she looked at him.  "Ann," he began.

"Its not--"

            But the girl was cut off with a soft pair of lips pressing against hers.  Kamio's soft lips that so frequently sends her to heaven when they touch hers were now doing it again, but this time she froze and couldn't react.  Something was wrong.

            Slowly, the Fudomine speed demon pulled back.  His face only inches away from hers while he let out a hopeless chuckle.  "Forget it Ann, just forget it.  It doesn't matter anymore."

            "Wha-what do you mean?"  Brown eyes shot up at him, coated with a thin layer of amber that was filled with fear and horror.

            He stood up and regained his composure, turning his back to the rest as he faced the opposite exit and once again, silence fell upon the three before the speed demon turned his head back to smile at Ann.  Eyes brimming with tears that will never be allowed to fall in front of Ann and the large teenager who stole her from him. 

            "I'm going to quit the Regulars spot after our practice with Seigaku," he decided.   Watery eyes looking down on the ground as a bitter smile formed on his lips.  "It'll be better for the both of us, Ann."  The soft voice soon turned to a snarl as his glare turned to Momoshiro.  "And I'll see you, Momoshiro.  Look forward to a match."  Those hateful eyes turned as he shot to the opposite direction of the two, his speed and feet carrying quickly across the courts to the other exit.

            He's breaking up with me?  He's breaking up with me.  Ann watched as the crystalline tears managed to slip from her brown eyes and down her cheek.  She could only take a step forward before stumbling and falling to the ground.  The contents in her bags fell out, revealing banners and silly string while her palms pressed painfully on the texture of the tennis court, soaking the ground with her tears. 

            "Wait, Kamio."  Her lips trembled slightly.  A large but soft hand squeezed on her right shoulder lightly as the spiky hair Seigaku Regular knelt beside her, an apologetic expression on his face as he watched Ann cry.

            "He didn't let me explain," the girl whimpered.  Momoshiro wrapped his arms around her, cradling her as he watched her cry.  "He wouldn't listen to me!"

*****

            After hours of long showers and listening to music, Kamio's mind still wasn't at ease.  In fact, he was getting more frustrated and torn up inside.  Skipping his supper, the auburn haired boy decided to take an early nap as he climbed up the wooden flight of stairs and slumped into his room.  He used his right index finger to turn the blinding light off and fell on his stomach against the soft bed. 

            Ann-chan, his thoughts forced to deliver, causing the young speed demon to scream in exasperation and flick the nearby radio on, hoping that it would drown out his thoughts and send him to slumber.

            The song on the radio played as it harmonized with Kamio's feelings while he rested on the feathery pillow.

            "A few questions that I need to know

            How could you ever hurt me so?"

            The auburn hair youngster shook his head while he muffled his face into the soft, white pillow.  It was over.  Ann and he was no longer an item.  Seeing Momoshiro with her and watching her hide the bags was enough proof for him.  The boy sighed. 

            "Was it that I never paid enough attention?

            Or did I not give enough affection?"

            The fact that she broke up with him wasn't the worse part, but having told and seeing her cheat with another boy was just cruel and unnecessary.  Was he really that bad of a boyfriend to have his partner so frustrated and lonely that she had to find someone else to cure herself behind his back?  Was he so bad that she couldn't even wait to break up with him before throwing herself to another boy? 

            Must be, Kamio thought sadly.

            "My head's spinnin'

            Boy I'm in a daze

            I feel isolated

            Don't wanna communicate

            I'll take a shower,

            I will scour, I will run--"

            For the past six hours he had tried to do everything in his power to ease his sorrow and pain, but to no avail.  It hurts to the point where he could feel his body shiver and tremble at a single touch and he had to break off from the world, or he would break himself, and shatter in the abyss of insanity and depression.

            "Never ever have I ever felt so low

            When you gonna take me out of this black hole

            Never ever have I ever felt so sad--"

            The humility of being cheated on scorned his body like burning coal.  It was amazing how Ann could do so much to him, but no matter how badly it hurts, he could never let go of that once, sweet and caring girl that took care of him and watched him while he rallied with his tennis team-mates.

            "I've had to dig away to find my own peace of mind

            I've never ever had my conscious to fight

            The way I'm feelin' yeah, it just don't feel right."

            It had struck him so hard when he realized he was falling in love with Ann.  She mustn't have felt it.  The way the world would transform into a happier place whenever she was near, or when their hands met.  The way his soul floats up into the air when her soft lips press against his, or the times where he would face even the Devil himself to make Ann's tears dry away.  So easy for him to let her in, and so hard to let her go, Kamio felt his heart tear and rip in painful directions.  He couldn't fight not loving Ann; no matter how hard he tried.

            "I love Ann," he murmured into his pillow, his alto voice beginning to crack.  "I love you."

            And with that, the young boy successfully cried himself to sleep.

******

            The chestnut hair prodigy watched with closed eyes as the girl beside him warily finished the last banner, hooked on a nail at the wall.  Her swollen eyes  clearly depicted a night of endless crying, and even her hands trembled as the pale faced complexion of the girl turned to look at Fuji, her brown eyes filled with dark shrouds.

            "...Is there a problem, Fuji-senpai?" Ann asked.  Her eyes glazed over even more as she spoke, and her soft voice cracked quietly.

            "Saa...I was just admiring your nice hairpin," he simply nudged his chin upwards to the butterfly clips held at the side of the young girl's head.  "Very beautiful."

            Ann smiled a lazy smile and finished the banner leisurely, hopping off the small step ladder to begin the other decorations before the Fudomine players arrived here, at Seishun Gakuen.

            Fuji completed his task of decorating the walls with stickers before walking over to the group of Seigaku tennis regulars on the far side of the tennis court.

            "Saa...," Fuji began as he paced casually to the group, soft rosy lips curving to his usual smile as he entered the group, and the members stared at him with nods and greetings.  The brown hair prodigy continued to watch the girl who was busily arranging the snack table at the other side before rolling them into the storage room for hiding.  "If the rumours are true, then why is Ann still holding this party?" the smiling regular asked.

            "She didn't want to let our hard work go to waste," Oishi frowned worriedly.  "She said it would be awful if she wasted our time with a half party," the mushroom cut vice-captain explained.

            "Aaah...Poor Ann-chan," Kikumaru sniffed.

            Ryuzaki pushed her way into the group as she delivered her infamous smirk.  "Hmm...I didn't know Tezuka enjoys gossiping as much as the rest of us," the coach teased.

            Tezuka remained stoic and serious with his arms folded across his chest.  "Practice begins now. 25 Laps for anyone who doddles."

            Before Tezuka could begin running himself, the tennis regulars had already passed the furthest tennis fence at the other side of the school.  Tezuka blazed after them, leaving Ryuzaki laughing as she began walking to her office, Inui still propped on the green bench, taking notes.

            Ryuzaki sighed.  "You're getting 25 laps from Tezuka," she warned the brains of Seigaku.

            "Probability is low.  Twenty-seven percent only."  Inui murmured, face still pasted onto his increasing data.

            Ryuzaki sighed before leaving to her office.

            Soon after, Ann came walking down the pavement towards the scribbling Seigaku player.  Little did she know, the large rock in front of her was ignored until her feet crashed into it, setting the light, brown hair Fudomine mascot a few feet from her previous jog.

            "Itaiiii...." she growled, and rubbed her sore knees.

            Inui stopped scribbling and fixed opaque glasses on the hunched form in front of him.  "Daijobou ka?"

            "Da-Daijobou."  Ann winced as she touched the bruised and reddening spot on her right knee cap.

            "Hmpf," the brains of Seigaku grunted, his moving pencil evidence that he had begun writing on his note-book once again.  "Figures show your balance is only 12% of Seigaku's Kikumaru Eiji."

            "So?" Ann frowned at him.

            "Eiji would be able to evade the fall, but since your flexibility level had not exceeded past 14% of the acrobatic player, thus you were not able to recover yourself.  The rock is exactly 13.54 lbs and the circumference is large enough for you leave it unnoticed until you hit.  The probability of Ann-chan evading is only five percent."

            The huddled form looked up at the sitting man.  "Inui-senpai!!  You knew about the rock?!" the light brown hair girl scowled.  "Why hadn't you warned me?!?"

            "Good data."

            The Fudomine freshman let out a frustrated scream before resting on the pavement with her stomach, brown eyes full of fire.

            "You don't need to go get your bruise treated?"

            "I'm fine." Ann snapped.

            "Probability says you are approximately ninety-nine point five six angry at the incident in which I did not warn you about the rock, Ann-chan."

            "I have a bruise and burn now!"

            "But good data!" Inui's eyebrows lifted up slightly as his voice went higher  to carry on a reasonable tone.

            Ann continued to growl.  In the way Inui-senpai was saying it, she thought he valued data more than her well being.  "Inconsiderate jerk," she mumbled under her breath.

            "What's that?"

            Ann remained silent and continued to sulk as the rd year data collector went back to his notebook.

            Inui glanced up from his note book and stared down at Ann with an analyzing frown.  "You look a little pale," he confirmed and fixed his glasses properly on the bridge of his long nose.

            "Maybe a little," Ann replied, hands supporting her chin as her chocolate brown eyes stared blankly into nothingness.

            An evil grin appeared on Inui's face as he smiled down at Ann.  "Perhaps, you would like to try my Super Deluxe Revival Inui Juice to bring back some colour into your face," he offered.  The Seigaku data player held out a cup of green, bubbling liquid.  The viscosity was amazing.

            Ann snapped back from her distant gaze and looked up at her Seigaku senpai.  "Sure, I'll try it."

            The light brown hair girl reached for the cup and began letting it run down her throat.  Ann was oblivious to the impression the Seigaku tennis club members have on Inui's drinks.

            Never judge a book by its cover, Ann reminded herself.

He waited until she finished the cup and handed it back to Inui.  The Seigaku data player watched as he noted the information in his notebook before lifting Ann up and carrying her into the nurse's office to be treated for food poisoning.

******

            Back in Fudomine Middle School, the school's tennis club was silent.  Every member fixed their gaze at Kamio while he bowed his head down, avoiding their eyes. 

            "Maa...Kamio, leaving the tennis club at a time like this can be really damaging to our performance and dedication in the Kantou tournaments...But if that's your choice," Ibu sighed.  "This could really harm the school's spirit, thus creating a threat to other school teams.  Tachibana has used most of his time training each one of us, and we will be behind even if we have another replacement.  When not reached to the new player's full potential, we may lose the tournament; the player may go into an abyss of shame; his spirit may be broken, making him emotionally weak and not be able to take on the many obstacles life has along the way, thus probably being single because he thinks of himself as a burden, and...."

            "Ibu," Sakurai cooled.

            Tachibana raised a hand up, and all fell silent.  His dark eyes fixated onto Kamio as the words flowed out of his mouth.  "Do you really want to quit, Kamio?"

            "Yes." Kamio managed to stop the choking in his throat.

            Tachibana merely nodded before beckoning all the regulars to head off for Seigaku as they followed in silence.  Kamio at the back of the unorganized line with his head lowered and admiring the beautiful gray pavement underneath him.  Suddenly, a ring came from Kamio's left pocket.  He reached in and clicked his cell phone on, pressing the object against his ear.

            "Moshi Moshi?" Kamio sighed.

            "Kamio! It's Momo!" the other end screamed. 

            "Bastard.  I don't want to talk to you, and how did you get my phone number?!"

            "Ann!  She's in the nurse's office right now!"

            The auburn hair speed demon felt his heart stop for a few seconds before having it replaced by hard pounds against his chest.  He couldn't breathe, and his brown eyes glazed and shook. 

            "Hmm...Kamio?" Ishida looked back and frowned.  "What's wrong?"

            Before anyone could stop him, Kamio was past the first street and racing past the second, his legs bursting with adrenaline from the fear boiling in his heart.  She was hurt, and he wasn't there to stop it, he thought painfully.  His pace quickened, rushing pass cars and dodging bicycles while he made his way to Seigaku.

            Hang on Ann, his heart oozed with pain. 

            I'm coming Ann.  I'm coming.

******

            The acrobatic player of Seigaku frowned as he watched Momoshiro turn off his phone.  "Naa, Momo-chan!  You made it sound like Ann was dying," he snickered.  "Liar! Liar!"

            "I'm only following Inui-senpai's plans!" the powerhouse shot defensively.  He frowned as his purple gaze fixated on the data collector at the other side of the room.  "What did you do to poor Ann-chan, Inui-senpai?"

            "I was trying to help bring back some colour to her complexion," the brains of Seigaku shrugged.

            Ryoma turned amber eyes at his senpai without moving his head.  "She was green."

            "Hmm...It still changed." Inui frowned.

            "For the worse."

            A small groan stopped the rowdy conversation as Ann stirred in her white bed.  Slowly, her chocolate brown eyes were revealed and she looked at Inui, raising a shaking finger at him.

            "You...You tried to kill me." she accused with a weak voice.

            "Just trust me," Inui sighed.

            "You...You were using your data to kill me."

            "No, I have not collected enough data to murder."

            "He tried to kill me!" Ann tried to win the audience in the room.

            "We've been through this." Inui blew out a breath, and looked at his watch before checking the notebook he carried with one hand.  "Data has calculated that he will arrive in five minutes.  Ann, lie back down and pretend to sleep."

            The light brown hair girl was upright with fury in her eyes.  "You tried to kill me!  I'm not going to--"

            "Saa...Ann, onegai." Fuji delivered his famous smile.  "I promise to keep you safe from any harm.  Inui has something amusing in his mind, and I want to find out what it is, don't you?"

            Ann pouted and fell back onto the bed, closing her eyes.

            "Little does she know, Fuji can be ten times more frightening than Inui," Momo whispered chokingly into Ryoma's ear.

            "Sit on the couch," Inui directed his finger to the audience in the room. 

            The door blasted open as Kamio scanned the office, his eyes in a wild dance.  "Where is she?" he half-screamed to the Seigaku members sitting comfortably on the couch.

            "You arrived faster than I expected. This will be good data.  Player increases speed and adrenaline when something happens to his companion, Tachibana An--"    

             "Where is she?!?"

            Eight fingers pointed to the bed where Ann lay.  Kamio stumbled to the side of the bed and fell to his knees, holding onto the patient's hand softly.  "Ann," he choked.  "What happened to Ann?"

            "Food poisoning," Momoshiro couldn't help but send a smirk towards the data collector standing against the wall beside him.

            "You!!" Eyes bloodshot, the speed demon lunged at Momoshiro.  Pulling the powerhouse of Segaiku up, he would've smashed his face in if not for the arms pulling him back.  "You were supposed to protect Ann!  You were supposed to take care of her, you Bastard!"

            "What are you talking about?" Momo raised a confused eyebrow.

            "I loved Ann, and I let her go so you could take better care of her, and look at her now.  You Bastard! I'll kill you!" 

            Before the auburn hair could raise his knee to the powerhouse's crotch, a familiar voice filled the air.  "Matte, Kamio!" Ann screamed.  The group stopped and gazed at the brown hair girl sitting on the bed, aside from Inui, who was jotting data down; his face pasted onto the sheet.

            "Ann-chan!"  The smile fluttered on the speed demon's face.  "You're okay!  I was so worried, I was going to--"

            "Do you really mean it?" The young girl grinned, tears brimming her eyes.  "That you love me?"

            His cheeks burned as he nodded.  "Yes, Ann-chan."

            "I love you too," she grinned, spreading her arms as Kamio picked her up from the bed.  "I have a surprise for you.  Let's go to the change room."

            "Change room?"

            "Just go," she laughed as Kamio carried her down the hallway, followed closely by the Seigaku members behind them.

            "I wonder," Momoshiro frowned as he brushed the wrinkles off of his jersey.  "Why am I always the one who gets physically battered in these situations?" He looked down at the freshman walking beside him.

            "Because you're troublesome when it comes to girls," the boy answered matter-of-factly, pulling his white cap lower.

            "Oii...Maybe I should start liking boys now," he grinned.

            "Who do you have in mind?"

"Ryoma, have I ever told you how attractive you look when you're sweating in the courts?" 

            "Perverted senpai," Ryoma muttered as the powerhouse roared with laughter.

*******

            The surprise party was a big success.  Kamio was accepted back to Fudomine, Momoshiro is now sexually harassing Ryoma, and Kamio and Ann are back together.  The matches were great, and most importantly....

.... "I got good data."

The End

Note: I apologize for any characters that over-react or etc.  My brain has turned to mush.  I was bombarded with over ten new ideas for stories, and that's great and all, except they're all chapter stories.  Blah.  My brain died trying to make myself remember the events in this story.  Alas, I'm most likely taking a small Hiatus after I finish the Sayonara story.