Disclaimer: None of the characters in Prince of Tennis belong to me!

Remarks: My first ever fanfic! Please be kind and give me reviews and criticisms!


The room was dark, illuminated only by the flashes of lightning from the raging storm outside the window. A solitary figure sat huddled in the corner, body quivering like a hurt animal. "How odd. I still have tears left." thought Fuji Syusuke as the tears flowed unabated from his burning eyes. He did not know how long he had been crying; he had lost his sense of time completely. But the pain in his heart would not stop. It kept piercing him, tormenting him endlessly, relentlessly. "Yuuta." he murmured softly, then he started to laugh almost hysterically. His parched lips cracked as he repeated his brother's name like a mantra, "Yuuta...Yuuta..." Fuji clenched his fists tightly, the nails cutting into his flesh as his body shook. "It's all my fault. I brought this upon you."


Flashback, two nights ago...

"Damn you! Why did you have to show up here?" Yuuta said angrily as he stared at his elder brother. "Isn't it enough that I am known as Fuji's Syusuke's younger brother? Now you have to show everyone here how much better you are at tennis? Why must you come to St Rudolph? Just get out of my life!"

"Yuuta," Fuji said softly, " you wanted a game. It wouldn't be fair to you if I didn't play seriously." He reached out to touch his younger brother's shoulder, but Yuuta flinched and shoved his hand away roughly. Undeterred, Fuji continued: "You have improved since your game with Echizen. Your strokes are deeper and more powerful, and your stamina has increased as well! You are a very good player, Yuuta..."

"Ah, but not as good as the tennis tensai unfortunately! Which is why Yuuta got trounced by his beloved brother, and after he had practiced so hard too!" remarked a sly voice loudly. Fuji felt his body stiffened with anger. Mizuki, he thought coldly. The bastard was always trying to stir up trouble between him and his younger brother. Not deigning to respond to the provocation, Fuji turned to Yuuta once more. "You haven't gone home for some time now, and everyone misses you. Nee-san prepared your favourite dessert! Why don't you come home tonight?"

But Mizuki's remarks had opened Pandora's box: the crowd at St Rudolph started murmuring. " No wonder his brother is known as tensai! Did you see his 'Swallow Return'? He didn't even use his three counter-strikes, and Yuuta was defeated!" Someone added snidely, " That's why Yuuta's known as the left-hand killer! He will never win against his right-handed brother!"

"Yuuta..." said Fuji imploringly as he stared at his beloved younger brother. But Yuuta neither heard nor saw the worry and pain in his brother. His ears were filled with the incessant murmurings of the crowd, his vision burned red-hot at the pitying glances directed at him. The heat of shame and anger rushed through his veins, and his face darkened with fury.

Grabbing Fuji's collar, Yuuta said through clenched teeth: "DON'T EVER COME AND LOOK FOR ME AGAIN. I want NOTHING to do with you." With a violent jerk of his hand, Yuuta flung Fuji onto the floor. Without a backward glance, he ran out of the tennis court.

Fuji stood up slowly. Brushing the dirt of his back, he calmly picked up Yuuta's abandoned racket and slid it back into the worn cover. As he bent to pick up his own racket from the ground, he backed into someone. "Gomen.."he started, but stopped as he was greeted by the smirking face of Mizuki.

"Eh, Fuji-kun, you always make Yuuta suffer don't you? You really..." Mizuki's taunting words ended abruptly as Fuji's fist smashed into his face. With clinical precision, Fuji pressed his finger onto Mizuki's throat, stopping the passage of air. Watching the struggling boy, he said coldly, "If you ever try to hurt my brother again, I will make you wish that you have never been borne. Do you understand me?" Mizuki jerked frantically in consent. Finally Fuji released the pressure, and Mizuki collapsed onto the ground, gasping frantically for air.

"Yare, yare. Nee-san would be disappointed." murmured Fuji softly, the smile back on his face as he walked slowly through the crowd of St Rudolph students. Suddenly a girl ran into his path, clutching his hands. Fuji lifted his eyes in surprise as he stared at the white-faced girl.

"Fuji-san! There's been an accident! Yuuta was running blindly across the intersection, and a car hit him! We've called the ambulance, and ..." But Fuji had already started running. Yuuta! He screamed silently as he pounded down the stairs and across the road. Shoving aside the onlookers, Fuji sank onto his knees as he cradled his unconscious brother.

"Yuuta, everything's fine now. Aniki's here. I will not let anything hurt you." But even as he repeated the comforting words, Fuji felt the chilling grip of fear around his heart. Yuuta was bleeding too much, too fast. Rivulets of blood flowed from his head, his body, staining Fuji's shirt, soaking him with a thick, sticky warmth. "Yuuta, hang in there. Hang in there!"


Twelve hours later, in the hospital.

"He's alive, and his condition is no longer life-threatening," began the doctor. Fuji's mother gasped in relief, and gave a sob of happiness as her husband's arm tightened around her, and Yumiko grinned as the tension seeped from her body. However Fuji was observing the doctor's face, and he saw the regret in the tired eyes. Choking with panic, he demanded: "What is it? What's wrong with Yuuta?"

"He sustained a serious concussion and the flow of blood to his brain was disrupted. He's in a coma...I'm afraid he will never wake up from it. I'm sorry." Fuji's mother suddenly fainted and his father sobbed in despair; Yumiko turned into Fuji's arms and burst into anguished tears. Fuji stood frozen amid the cacophony of sounds, hearing only the doctor's words over and over again. "He will never wake up..."



Fuji uncurled slowly from his fetal position, his eyes were finally dry. He had no more tears, in fact, he no longer felt anything. He was like a desiccated husk: lifeless. Staggering, he grabbed hold of his tennis racket from the bed and walked to his desk. In a trance, he opened his drawer and took out a penknife. Lightning flashed, and the sharp blade of the knife gleamed. " Yuuta. It's all my fault. I will never play tennis again." Saying this, Fuji plunged his knife and slashed at the racket.

Dropping the mangled racket onto the ground, Fuji turned and stared fixedly at his hands, "I will never play tennis again..."

Yumiko stood uncertainly outside Fuji's room, her face tensed with worry. Since they had come back from the hospital, Fuji had shut himself in his room. The whole family was devastated and had wept openly, but Fuji had remained expressionless. She knew Fuji loved Yuuta the most in the family; she also knew that Fuji would blame himself for Yuuta's condition even though it had been an accident.

"Syusuke keeps too much to himself, he will only break apart if this goes on. I have to help him..." Taking a deep breath, Yumiko knocked on Fuji's door. "Syusuke? I've brought you some soup! You haven't had anything for two days! This can't go on! Syusuke! Syusuke!" Hearing no reply, Yumiko opened the door.

"I'm coming in! Why is your room so dark? Syusuke, really!" Turning on the lights, Yumiko turned to glare at her brother.

Crash! The bowl slid from Yumiko's hands and shattered on the ground. "Syusuke!" She cried, "Oh my God, Syusuke! What did you do to your hand?!!"