Title: And The World Begins Again: Unlikely Reunion
By: Lucifer Hisaki/
Disclaimer: I don't own Tenipuri or we be seeing orgies upon orgies of yummy yaoi smex
Theme/Challenge (both number and theme title): 12 - Inconceivable
Fandom: Tennis No Oujisama/Prince of Tennis
Pairing: Atobe Keigo/Fuji Syuusuke/Echizen Ryoma/Sanada Genichirou/Tezuka Kunimitsu
Rating: PG so far
Word Count: 3466
Summary: "You're his Buchou." Pre-OT5
Notes: I hate this chapter so much. It's hard getting Tezuka to stay down and dissect his brain. It wasn't until I threatened Marilyn, his bonsai plant, after giving him a full blown brain dissection led by the Data Pair and Mizuki, did he manage to stay. . Again this is a more of a general introspection than anything else. I would probably go as far to say it's a filler filled with back story. -.- Not so much on the angst I think but…oh well. I tried.

And The World Begins Again

Unlikely Reunion
By Lucifer Hisaki

The body in his arms grew colder by the second. Tezuka Kunimitsu unconsciously hugged it closer to him. Fuji Syuusuke, his lover, was in the passenger seat of the car and in his right hand held one of Atobe Keigo's cell phone. Keigo floored the gas to get them to the hospital. A hand on his shoulder made him look toward the fourth member of their search party, Sanada Genichirou. The Emperor was stoic but the occasional glance at the –It's not a corpse, he's not dead yet! – told Tezuka that he was worried as the rest of them.

They all had been worried when Nanako-san called them earlier during the party planning. The party was supposed to be a surprise for Echizen's Birthday, all of the former Seigaku regulars were there and Atobe said they could borrow his home. Sanada was just staying over the night with his own boyfriend. Some of the former Rikkai and Hyoutei regulars came along to help, most probably under the commands of their Buchou and Fukubuchou, respectively.

Nanako-san said that Ryoma had gone been missing for hours and he still hadn't come back. She didn't say why he ran away only that he was not suited for the weather by any means. Now, Tezuka knew what she meant as he held Echizen's cold body to his chest. The boy was only wearing his old Seigaku jersey and a thin polo shirt and sweat pants, not proper attire by any means.

It seemed like eternity when they finally reached the hospital. Tezuka tore open the door of the car and dashed like the wind into the ER, the others at his heels. Once Echizen's body was given to the squad of nurses and doctors, the former Buchou watched, paralyzed as the stretcher disappeared into another set of doors. A hand ghosted over his shoulder shook him out of his reverie. Oishi Shuichirou stared at his best friend with concern.

"Tezuka," Oishi started, "Daijoubu desu ka?"

Tezuka just stared at the doubles player and kept silent. Oishi understood. He always did after all he was given the title Mother of Seigaku during their middle school years.

The rest of the entire search party sat anxiously in the waiting room, at least the former Seigaku were. Most of the others had decided to go back to Atobe's mansion so not to crowd the room that much. They all had become good friends and some were past and current lovers. This is the most unlikely reunion, a reunion I never wanted or want to have again.

Inui Sadaharu, the resident Mr. Data of Seigaku Senior High had decided to create a deeper relationship with his old friend and former childhood doubles partner, Yanagi Renji. Oishi himself had once dated Shishido Ryou after a fallout with Kikumaru Eiji who went to Ohtori Chotarou. The nicknamed Silver Pair had a falling out themselves at the time. Oshitari Yuushi had dated with Fuji for a time before stating that he preferred a much more flexible lover, Mukahi Gakuto. Fuji fooled around a bit with Jiroh before settling with Tezuka for a second time.

Even Tezuka went around the block with Sanada, Atobe and Kirihara Akaya; though now he questioned what drew him to the younger man. Kirihara was somewhat going steady with Kamio Akira from Fudomine. Yukimura had courted with Sanada before both called it off. Marui dated Jiroh a bit before walking away. Yagyuu and Niou were the only doubles pair to actually manage to stay in a relationship without breaking up. Hiyoshi was dating Taki at the moment.

Atobe just played around with mostly everyone save Kaidoh and Momoshiro. Momo had dated Kamio in the past before calling it off to go steady with Tachibana An. Kaidoh didn't date anyone, or at least he didn't look like he was dating anyone. The nicknamed Data Pair had failed to catch him in the act.

Oishi stared a little longer before guiding the taller man into a chair next to Syuusuke. The tennis prodigy grasped his hand in a tight grip as Kikumaru bawled in a corner, Momoshiro was close to tears. Everything had gone not like they hoped. They have never dreamed of this day to come. It was horrible, more so for the men that found him in that drift.

Tezuka never wanted to re-live that again in his life.

The Echizen he remembered was full of life especially on the tennis courts. He wasn't a deathly pale –Not a corpse! – lying on the ground some meters away from the nearest tennis courts. He was a cocky arrogant boy of twelve. Not a grave silent frozen –He's not dead yet!– boy of fifteen. He wanted to hear that egotistic voice just taunting all four of them with the usual "Mada mada dane."

Staring stoically at the hand grasping his own, he briefly wondered why he decided to try again with Syuusuke. They dated sometime during junior high before Syuusuke called it off. He explained that Tezuka wasn't that much into the relationship. He was either too cold or not focused. It was true that he wasn't focused; he was too busy worrying about other things like the Nationals and Echizen's status in the Zenbai Open. He was the Buchou of Seigaku; he couldn't let anything like a relationship interfere with his duties. He had to lead his team through the Nationals and hopefully to the championship. Fuji apparently wanted more than that.

They had won, barely against Rikkai Dai, in a tie breaker match between Tezuka and Sanada. Yukimura deemed himself ready to face Fuji in Singles 2. Doubles were the same as in the Kantou championship and Inui had a rematch against Yanagi. Seigaku won Doubles but Singles 3 and 2 lost by a hair. It was then as they shook hands, Tezuka and Sanada found something that drew them together.

A week later, Inui and Yanagi found them in a café Tezuka liked to grab his tea and coffee on weekends.

They shared the same views on tennis and praise for Echizen Ryoma, who won the Zenbai open officially two days after the Nationals. Sometimes on their dates they would just walk through a park silent and play street tennis. Later it became routine. Tezuka wanted some sort of change and he knew Sanada did too; neither knew how to go about it. The not yet established Data Pair later noted in their secret notebooks, 6 months, 2 weeks, 4 days, 8 hours, 34 minutes and 29 seconds did the Sanada-Tezuka relationship end.

Tezuka did a rebound with a high school fling with a talented female tennis player. It didn't last very long. Not even a week. It was then he resigned himself to the new theory of the "gay gene."

One year later, he found himself in Atobe's arms after getting his drink spiked during one of the Senbatsu's reunions. He blamed Inui and Fuji for that part, not the sex that occurred. It wasn't short or long by any means. It just missed something, just like his relationships with Fuji and Sanada. With Fuji, he needed to be more attentive and loving. Sanada, there was need for change. During his relationship with Atobe, Tezuka found that he needed some stability to Atobe's constant changes.

Tezuka was the one to call it quits.

Alcohol was another cause for his rebound fling with Kirihara Akaya but it lasted much longer than his first rebound. Three months. Kirihara reminded him of Echizen Ryoma bit, with some differences. It was guilt that made him leave.

During that match in the Haruno Courts, Tezuka felt something he knew he shouldn't have, attraction. It was hard not to. Echizen made him feel more alive and his gut instinct knew the boy could do better. His head convinced him that it was just a desire to help the boy become the best. The ultimatum he gave was only the first step. It wasn't until he was in Germany did it become worse.

Echizen Ryoma haunted his dreams, from the simplest to the lustiest. It was torture. Without him knowing, Echizen had sprung a trap on him and left him aching with desire. It was wrong. The boy was only twelve. He was fifteen then. Soon everything Echizen done became an obsession, a secret he held from even Fuji. It was his sin. Echizen consumed his life. He was tempted badly by those cat-like eyes.

Immersed in his thoughts, he only came up for air when a middle aged woman with light reddish brown ran in, wailing. She looked familiar as she dashed by, knocking everyone in her path to the ground without a second thought.

Once she reached the receptionist's window, she breathed in deeply before asking, "Echizen Ryoma was admitted here just recently. Where is he now?" Her words flew so fast that Tezuka had to strain his ears to hear and decipher what she said.

The old gray haired woman glanced up from her work for a moment before continuing her work, "And you are?" asked the receptionist dully without a care in the world.

"He is my SON! I demand to see him right this INSTANT," the hysterical woman screeched as she stabbed a finger into the nurse's forehead.

"All right then, Echizen-san, please take a seat," the elderly woman motioned toward on of the chairs of the waiting room, lazily, "We'll let you in as soon as possible."

Echizen-san puffed up like a peacock and glared at the woman with something not unlike Echizen's own. "I am Echizen Rinko, wife of the Legendary Echizen Nanjiroh and mother of the Tennis Professional Echizen Ryoga and Ryoma. I demand you allow me to enter and see my son! I refuse to leave him alone this time and I refuse to lose not one but two of the men in my life!"

Tezuka watched the once hysteric woman seemed to calm down and order the receptionist. It was odd and he could tell that everyone else in the room was watching her and she did not give a damn. Like Echizen, he thought quietly as he unconsciously grasped Fuji's hand tighter.

With lazy eyes, the old hag stared at the loud woman and snarled a bit, "I'm sorry," the hag stressed, "No one is admitted in the ER, not even family, especially when an operation or procedure is in process."

Echizen-san's glare intensified as two dark haired females burst into the waiting room. One, Tezuka recognized, was Nanako-san and her eyes looked to be very red and puffy. The other was unknown to him. She wore a black knee length jacket, turtleneck, jeans and square glasses. She strolled by as Nanako-san ran to her aunt's side. Tezuka noticed a slight bulge at the bottom of her spine. He quirked an eyebrow for a moment and glanced around.

Inui sat stiffly in the uncomfortable chair, his signature green notebook on his lap open as a hand guided by puppet strings flashed words on it. It seemed to the former Buchou that the Data man was automatic and just wrote whatever he saw. Oishi was slightly better, he just stood still against the wall and a hand on Kikumaru's hunched back, trying to calm the seated Acrobatic player. Taka-san stared at the wall with a tight shaking fist.

Across the room, Momoshiro stared absently before him. Kaidoh was slightly off into the corner, eyes closed, seemingly –Don't think that word!– The only thing that proved he was alive was the soft hiss and rise of his chest. –Don't you dare remember! He's not! He's alive!– Atobe was seated regally in the lone chair in the center. His face was stone but Tezuka could tell what he was thinking, they been together long enough for read each other without a moment's hesitation. Sanada lingered by his boyfriends side like a stiff guard and Tezuka knew both were feeling the same way he did.

Sanada and he had a connection, instant connection. They were almost exactly the same and that was their downfall in the relationship. They could easily predict each other to the extent everything else was routine. With Atobe, it was too spontaneous. And Fuji's lacked communication and there were too many distractions.

A slight sheen of reflected steel caught his eye and he looked back at the trio of women. It felt like an eternity, a void of silence but it was only really a couple minutes. The unknown women had a hand on Echizen-san's back and Nanako-san held the elder woman's wrists. In the corner of his eye, he could tell that Sanada was distracted by the same exact thing.

Maybe it was because they both had police officers as their grandfathers and were used to seeing bits of steel but somehow he knew that the onna had a gun with her. He tried to get a better look at her without being too conspicuous.

He knew that despite he could hear nothing but the beating of his own panic heart that Echizen-san was still ranting. Judging by the grimaces of the other people in the waiting room, she was only getting louder. It was strange. More like he was in front of his own television and watching this drama from some random soap opera occur before him. He felt numb and then the warmth on his hand vanished.

Tezuka turned back to Fuji and stared into his weary eyes. Glancing down a moment, their hands were still intertwined. Tezuka never felt more alone than he was now in this crowded room.

Then all at once, sound flooded his ears with the resounding echo of a slap at its head. He snapped his head back to the group of women.

Echizen-san had a hand to her cheek as she glared into the black clothed woman. Nanako-san was slightly off to the side next to her aunt, Tezuka could see confusion in her eyes. There were murmurs in the background but all he could concentrate on was what the unknown woman was saying, in English.

"Rinko." The onna held her head high as if she was more important than the female before her. "Calm down. We'll see him. You don't want to be a bad mother by showing hysteria and getting arrested? Do you? That receptionist is only one nerve away from doing so. Stop. "

Echizen-san fell to floor with Nanako-san and just kneeled there, her head bowed. "I'm sorry," she whispered in the same language, "I don't know what I will do if…"

That moment a doctor emerged from the flapping doors from the waiting room to the ER. Echizen-san sprung up and grasped the man by the sleeve. It was obvious she knew who he was.

"Misa-sensei, what happened to my son?" Echizen-san tugged his sleeve tighter, "Is he–?"

"He's stable," the bespectacled man said slowly, "for now, at least. He's asleep. We don't think-" The mother hastily let go and ran through the doors.

"Rinko-san," the doctor said during Echizen-san's mid-step, "He might not have much time left but we will do anything we can to save him. You have my word."

She turned and smiled, "I know, you did the same for-" Tears threatened to fall from her moist eyes.

Echizen-san faced the ER corridor again before calling out, "Aren't you coming, Seigaku-tachi? Ryoma would love to see you when," that word was stressed with resolution, "he wakes."

The rude nurse stood behind her counter, "You can't allow that many people into the room! It's against regulations!"

"Bullshit." She replied vehemently, "They knew my son best when he was here in Japan. They're his friends. He'd want to see them. I trust them. Besides, they know not to make a racket," a glimmer of a hidden leer was in her eyes as she turned her head slightly back to the waiting room.

In unison, all of the Seigaku-tachi, Atobe and Sanada rose and followed Nanako-san after the elder woman. Fuji's hand slipped out of Tezuka's grip. Fear quenched his heart and slowed his steps. The mysterious onna waited for him and the door closed.

She paced his long, slow and steady stride equally. Tezuka didn't look at her and she didn't mind. She let him keep his silence until they were past the receptionist's desk. "Tezuka Kunimitsu, desu ka?"

"Hai," he said tersely, "Kimi wa…?"

"Doesn't matter," she answered in accented Japanese, "I heard a lot of you from Ryoma. You must have touch the gaki really good to make him remember you a year after he left Japan. He usually forgets people after a year without contact."

"Aa." He turned a bit and met her bronze eyes, "Isn't it strange to carry pair of guns in a hospital? You can get arrested for that."

She let her lips quirk a bit, "It's precaution."

"Against what?"

She turned against him fully and paused. Tezuka did the same, it was only polite. "Hi-mi-tsu." She poked him in the nose, standing on her tip-toes to stare straight into his eyes.

Tezuka raised an eyebrow as he watched her bobble back down to flat foot. She was only as tall enough that the top of her head reached his nose. "Aren't you a little young to be carrying guns around?" She looks 16.

The female smirked something not unlike Echizen's and responded as she continued walking, "Are you a little old to be in High School?"

"I'm not that old."

"And I'm not that young."

Tezuka felt something that held his heart down lighten and the tight knots started to loosen their holds on him. She was different, a refreshment from all the people he knew. "How old are you?"

"Twenty-three come March." Her smirk soon faded into a grin, "You?"

"Nineteen, last October."

"Time flies."

He grunted and the corridor felt much longer than it seemed when he first entered. He could see the rest of the former Seigaku team a little farther up. He didn't see them all and thought that maybe they were taking turns of entering the room. An invisible hand tightened its hold on his chest and he found he couldn't breathe. Tezuka froze and the onna waited for him.

"You don't talk much don't you," she asked patiently and before he could answer, she continued, "Ryoma was the same once. He talks more now but I knew of a time when he didn't. He was a good kid, that gaki, he's stubborn, cocky but he's loyal and kind."

When Tezuka started to walk forward, she followed, "He's one of a kind. You know that don't you?" Oh he did, intimately. "Did you know his dad, Echizen Nanjiroh, was one of the best Tennis Professionals in his heyday? However, he left only mere moments before becoming the world's number one player. Wanna know why?"

"Why are you telling me this?"

"You're his Buchou," she said simply, "He looks up to you. Anyway, Nanjiroh was the reason why Ryoma went into tennis and he's," she coughed, "was the reason why he wanted to be so good. His goal was to defeat his father. You, on the other hand, told him otherwise. You told him to be the Pillar of Support for Seigaku. You broke his illusions, that the only thing for him was dad."

"Why are you telling me this," Tezuka repeated.

"He's not the same anymore. He needs all the support he can get, especially from people he admires," she didn't look into his eyes, "Nanjiroh died today."

Tezuka inwardly gaped, his childhood idol died just earlier today. "What happens now?"

She didn't answer but instead stopped and so did he, "We're here," she replied.

Looking around, he found, indeed, that they were standing in front of the room where Echizen laid. Taking a deep breath, Tezuka stepped inside. Instantly all he saw was Echizen laid on the bed with Echizen-san at his bedside holding his white right hand, eyes closed and a pale white against the pristine of the sheets. Tezuka wanted to vomit.

Fuji was helping calm down a sobbing Kikumaru with Oishi as they led the redhead out of the room. Momoshiro was no where to be found and neither was Kaidoh. Inui and Taka-san stood like cold sentinels before leaving, silently following the Golden Pair. Nanako-san collapsed in a chair as she stared at the boy before her. Sanada and Atobe stood off in the side; Tezuka could tell they thought they shouldn't be here, in this room, with a sickly Echizen. Fuji reentered and went to Nanako-san's side, placing a hand on her shoulder. Tezuka moved forward toward the bed and touched Echizen's wrist.

Then the body convulsed repeatedly and the heart monitor flat-lined.

Post Notes: Echizen-san refers to Rinko and Echizen to Ryoma. If you noticed, mostly everyone is called by their surnames except for Nanako because I think Tezuka would still use formality even only in his head, including himself. ; I have been officially been working on this since last Friday, after posting the last part. Don't expect the next part to come out in a week, I don't pattern myself. And no, not everything Tezuka touches dies.