Disclamer : Tennis No Ohjisama belong to Konomi Takeshi-sensei.

Words in /….: someone's thoughts

Words in Italic : flashback

For Lena, don't worry. Saeki would have his own chapter after this. Actually, it would be chapters since he would have a lot to explain.

A Half-Second Dream

Chapter 8 : His Silence

"I thought Fuji stayed at Chiba because of his health." Atobe's voice broke the silence.

"Well, Shuusuke never said anything about his condition. Even when he was sick, he just kept it for himself. I think he didn't want to be a bother. We only knew he was ill when he was very, very sick that he couldn't hide it anymore. But the reason for him to stay at Katsuura wasn't because he was physically sick."

Yumiko placed her right hand upon her heart and said, "The sickness was in here."

"Why did Fuji stop to talk?" Tezuka asked quietly.

Yumiko looked to Yuuta for a second. Yuuta had a bad feeling about it, he just didn't know what.

"I didn't feel comfortable with the idea that Shuusuke entered Elementary School at such a young age. I remembered all the adults' talk about Shuusuke's ability. The thought that I wouldn't know what he went through really made me worried. So I asked my kohai to take care of Shuusuke. Also to let me know if he went through troubles."

They looked at each other. Nobody said a word but they thought it must run in the family- the overprotective way that the siblings showed for they loved ones.

"I noticed that Shuusuke became much quieter after he went to school. He ate lessen, just wrapped the foods when he thought we wouldn't notice. I found out that he gave the foods to the abandon dogs and cats later. Also the bruises that formed on his body. But every time I asked him about how was school, Shuusuke always said it was great. I asked my kohai about it. After all, my kohai was the student representative."

"He said he was sorry that he didn't tell me sooner. But he just didn't know how to tell me about it. It seems that Shuusuke's brilliant made his school mates unhappy about it. They questioned his reason to go to school since he didn't need it. I mean, he got the first rank effortless while the others must study hard. They even cruelly mocked in front of him that he went to school only because he didn't have anything to do. They ignored him at school and even bullied him."

"How could they?" Eiji asked. He looked at Yumiko with wide eyes that showed his shocked.

Ryoma didn't say anything but he couldn't help to clench his fists. And though he couldn't understand why, he felt a strange pain in his chest. At that very moment, he wanted more than anything to do something… anything to see his senpai's smiling face again… but what? What could he possibly do? And besides, why did he suddenly care? It wasn't like he was Fuji-senpai's close friend and all. So then… He shook his head. This was really starting to get weird.

His gaze then fell on Tezuka. He could see the grim expression in Tezuka's face, as well as Sanada's, while the others showed their anger more freely.

"People say that children are innocent and pure. They didn't know that sometimes children could be crueler than adults. Adults could mask what they feel. They could say something that they didn't mean it only to make them look like a better person. Not something that could be proud at I know. But children…" Yumiko trailed off.

"Shuusuke suffered from all their harsh words and also they're beating. But he never said anything to us. Sadly, he didn't think he could trust anyone about it. Beside, I think he felt ashamed that he was so weak that he couldn't do anything to defend himself. All the bullied that he received really bad for his self esteem. I wanted to help him, to defend him. But I know it would only make everything worse. They would bully him more if they thought he asked his sister to help."

"He used to go home quickly after school to be with you, Yuuta. You were always being something that could cherish him. But you were bored when you were left alone when we went to school. And at that time you were always followed what Shuusuke did. You asked Okaasan to let you go to school. Of course at first she refused. But you kept whining and crying so finally she said yes."

"After you entered playgroup, Shuusuke used to come home to the empty house since Okaasan always went to pick you up. I happened to find out that Shuusuke often put a small wild flower at Okaasan's desk. He never said that it was him who gave the flowers. He just hid and watched when Okaasan picked the flowers. Shuusuke seems so fascinated to see Okaasan's soft smile when she smelled the flowers. I guess it was because Shuusuke rarely saw Okaasan smiled so freely like that."

"He became bolder after he saw how much Okaasan loved his flowers. He made a jewel box at the art lesson for Mother Day. He remembered the antique wodden box that had Okaasan's attention when they went to shop together. He could make the wodden box as similar as the one they saw. The soft but detail crafts around the box… His work could be competing with any professional's work."

"He gave the gift to Okaasan. I still remembered how the spark in his eyes died when he saw Okaasan's reaction. She was upset. She asked Shuusuke about how he got that gift. Okaasan thought Shuusuke used his ability for money so he could buy the gift."

Yumiko seems hesitated to continue. When she finally continued, they didn't expect her to tell them that.

"Okaasan said even if they were only wild flowers, she would be more than happy to accept that. She told him that you often gave her flowers, Yuuta. She said you never admitted that you did it but she knew."

Yuuta was speechless. He couldn't imagine how his aniki felt when he heard it. It must be like a hard slap for him.

"Shuusuke never came straight home again from that time. He always waited till long after you came home. He said that he played with his friends. Okaasan accepted and didn't ask about it anymore. Since Okaasan had a lot of free time after you went to playgroup, she started to work again at home. After she became busier, she even allowed Shuusuke to pick you up.

"Of course all the talk about playing with his friends was a lie. I skipped one day to follow him. My worry was true. He didn't play with anyone. He just wandered alone till it was time to go to your playgroup."

Again, Tezuka couldn't help himself to think about how similar Fuji's over protective attitude with his neesan. Of course in Yumiko's case it was understandable.

"His six birthday came. Deep inside I already guessed that he wouldn't want to celebrate it. The wodden box incident was still fresh in my mind. And I was right, Shuusuke excused himself. He said he had promised his friends to go somewhere. Okaasan… let him. At the next year, Shuusuke already at Katsuura and never went home at his birthday for straight three years. He always spent it with Kojirou and Katsuhiko."

Ryoma stared hard at Yumiko. There was something in the pause when Yumiko said her mother let Fuji-sempai that made him thought Yumiko didn't tell all the truth. She was hiding something.

"At the playgroup that you went, there're children that they siblings were Shuusuke's classmate. They heard what they elders said about Shuusuke and they started to mock you. Well, they mocked Shuusuke. And that made you angry and started a fight with them. You're beat them bad. Shuusuke must apologize and begged your teachers to not tell our parents."

Yuuta frowned. He couldn't remember that incident. He did remember that he had a lot of fights back then. He just couldn't remember the reason.

"We asked you about the reason you fought but you refused to say anything. Those boys' siblings were very unhappy about the fight. They had hurted Shuusuke at school. Shuusuke didn't fight back. He let them beat him to release their anger. So they wouldn't go after you."

"But they weren't satisfied. Shuusuke was late to pick you at that day. He must tend his wounds at the nursery. Of course he didn't say the reason of his wounds. He only said that he was careless and fell from the stairs. When he came to your playgroup, you weren't they. The boys had picked you to the park and started to insult Shuusuke and you as his otouto."

"You were angry and fought back. They were easily knocked you down. That was when Shuusuke arrived. He quickly stood between you and them to shield you. I was there too because I was worried about how you were doing after the fight you had the day before."

"Shuusuke was always holding back when he was bullied. But when it came to you, he fought back. He didn't care that they were older and stronger than him. He practically jumped to the leader and started to hit him. The others tried to help. No matter how many they threw him down, Shuusuke always stood and fought back again."

Yuuta looked with wide eyes. He did remember that fight. He was thinking about it too when he had his first match with Echizen back then. He didn't remember the reason why those boys gave him trouble but he remembered he fought back and his aniki came to his rescue.

"Those boys finally gave up. They cried because their fists were hurt and yet Shuusuke didn't seem to withdraw. They finally ran away. You didn't say anything and just followed Shuusuke home. You did cry when Shuusuke cleaned the dirt on your face."

"Weeks passed. You still refused to tell us the reason for your fight. We didn't push you since those boys didn't after you anymore. They didn't hurt Shuusuke too. They just simply ignored him. The others followed them since they were some kind of leader at their school. Well, I guess it was too much to hope that everything would turn out better after that. It was the best that could happen at that time."

"Shuusuke didn't mind. I think he was relief that they would let him alone. He spent his time to play with you at home. But you always refused to go and played outside. You always had some excuses so you both just stayed at home. But one day Okaasan asked Shuusuke to take you to play at the park since she wanted to clean the house. You refused and said you want to stay at home."

"When you saw Okaasan wouldn't let you stayed, you said that you would go with your friends. Shuusuke wanted to go with you to make sure you would be out from trouble. You tried to stop him but Okaasan was agreed with him because she didn't want you to go alone. That was when you exploded. You yelled that you didn't want him to accompany you so your friends wouldn't think you were a geek like him."

Yuuta was so shocked. He could feel others' stare at him unbelievingly. He shook his head in denial.

"No, you lied. I wouldn't say anything like that." Yuuta said with shaky voice. "How couldn't I remember anything if I really did that?"

Yumiko looked at him with sad eyes.

"I'm sorry, Yuuta, but it was the truth."

"No." Yuuta whispered, still shook his head.

"How did Fuji-senpai take it?" Ryoma asked quietly.

Yumiko was silenced. They could see the pain in her eyes as she thought back at that time.

"Shuusuke's expression went blank. Okaasan couldn't say anything. She couldn't even look at him. I wanted to comfort him but he just ran outside without saying a word. I took Yuuta out and left Okaasan alone. We didn't say anything until Yuuta suddenly cried."

She looked at Yuuta softly.

"I think you couldn't remember that incident because of what I told you. You see, you told me when you cried that you were sorry. That you didn't mean to say all that. You just couldn't bare that Shuusuke was insulted by your friends and they siblings. You wanted to stand for him like he did for you. But you just didn't know how to do it."

"You were desparated to do something yet you didn't know what to do. So you tried to protect Shuusuke from the world by made him stayed in the house, away from all the meany people. You were so sad because you thought Shuusuke would hate you then."

"I told you that everything would be alright. I asked you to forget about it and be nice when we found Shuusuke. We found him alone at the park. I told him that you were sorry and you didn't mean it. He just kept silence. You hugged him while crying that you were sorry over and over. Shuusuke stayed silence, but he returned your embrace."

"We went home in silence. I thought he just needed some time to think. But he still didn't say anything when we arrived home. Nor that he replied to Okaasan's welcome. Dinner passed and yet he still silenced. Okaasan even shook him hard because she was depressed and worried to see Shuusuke's behavior. All came to no avail."

"Our parents decided to let Shuusuke stayed at home. They thought it was the stress that made Shuusuke that way. Three days passed with him in silence. Finally our parents couldn't take it anymore. They took him to the doctor. The doctor said that wasn't anything wrong with his vocal chord. The problem was in Shuusuke's heart. So they took him to psychiatrist."

"She couldn't help much since Shuusuke refused to talk. So she couldn't know the problem. The psychiatrist only asked our parents to be patient. She also asked them to give Shuusuke time and love so he would open up."

No body knew what to say. How could anyone know that behind Fuji's always smiling face hidden a lot of sorrow? The Seigaku regulars felt like someone had slapped them. They had spent so much time with Fuji, the third grade already knew him for more than two and a half years. Even Ryoma knew him for almost a year now. And yet they didn't know anything about his past.

"It led more problems for our parent. Because of they work, they didn't think they couldn't spend much time with him or shower him with love and care twenty four hours and seven days nonstop. That was when Obaasan came. Okaasan already informed her about Shuusuke's condition. "

"Obaasan decided to take Shuusuke to stay with him at Katsuura. Of course you objected. You were crying while holding Shuusuke tightly, refused to let him go. Shuusuke just hugged you in silence. Obaasan tried to persuade you. She said that Shuusuke was sick. And Katsuura's environment would be good for his health. So Shuusuke would be able to talk again. The last one was the reason why you finally let him go."

Yuuta was angry. How could they parents put their work first than their own child? How could they have a heart to stay apart with their own child? Especially when the child was in so much pain like that?

"At Katsuura, Shuusuke attended new school. He was joining the first grade with children that were his age. Obaasan didn't want Shuusuke's ability became a burden for him. So she treated him like any normal child, not as a special one. She told him that he didn't need to worry to be the first at classes. Shuusuke just had to be happy."

"He met Kojirou and Katsuhiko there. I must say that Obaasan's decision was right. Three months after he stayed there, Shuusuke looked happier. He even played and joked with other children. Shuusuke was especially closed with Kojirou and Katsuhiko. Another three months passed before Shuusuke finally talked again."

They thought about everything that they heard. Fuji must be really trusted them that it only took him six months to be able to talk again. Saeki and Tsukino definetely had something inside them that deserved to have their respect.

"Fuji-san, do you by any chance have Tsukino's picture?" Atobe asked politely.

Atobe was dying to know how Katsuhiko's look was. For almost nine years he thought it was Tezuka who with Fuji at the match. He wanted to know how could he was wrong.

"Why, I do have their picture together." Yumiko smiled knowingly.

Yumiko went to her room. No body said anything. They still thought about what they had learnt about Fuji's past.

"Here you go."

Atobe took the frame from Yumiko. There was an old picture that shown a younger version of Fuji. With him, they could recognized little Saeki and a boy with dark brown hair. Atobe recognized him at the first glance. There wasn't anything that looked like Tezuka except for the color of his hair and eyes. He couldn't understand why he made the mistake.

"I don't see anything that resemblance Buchou from Tsukino. Well, except for the hair and eyes' color." Eiji said after pearing behind Atobe.

Tezuka didn't say anything. He just looked at the picture thoughtfully.

"I don't think the resemblances are in the look, Eiji-kun."

"Huh, I don't understand! Nyaa!"

"Katsuhiko was born to be a leader. It wasn't that he asked to be a leader. But the boys looked at him as their leader. I see that quality in Tezuka-kun too. Or am I wrong?"

The Seigaku regulars looked at the picture again and then to Tezuka. Of course no one would deny that Tezuka was born as a leader. The third grades remembered how they looked at him as their anchor at their first grade even though Tezuka always stayed quiet and never showed off his ability.

"Katsuhiko was a very active boy too that sometimes made people misunderstood him. And he was too stone head to say he was sorry. He fought a lot back then. He also had a lot of ideas that sometimes had put them in danger. But still those children had followed him, especially Shuusuke and Kojirou."

"The three of them were really closed. Katsuhiko and Kojirou looked at Shuusuke as their otouto. They even had made a vow with blood to tie them as brother."

They looked bewildered at her. Yumiko smiled softly.

"Like I said, Katsuhiko had a lot of ideas that he never considered about the dangerous side. He read about some gypsy's ceremony and wanted to practice it. The three of them had cut their wrists as they stood in a circle then put their arm so the wounds would met. It was a ceremony to make them be brothers in blood even though they weren't brothers at birth."

"The problem was Shuusuke had accidentally cut too deeply. The blood didn't stop even after they tended their wounds. So finally they dragged Shuusuke to the hospital. I still remember all the chaos there. The doctors thought Shuusuke was committed suicide and pressed him about the matter. Our parents took us to Katsuura because of it. Okaasan was crying hard."

"Then Katsuhiko admitted loudly about why Shuusuke got hurt. He also showed his wounds. And Kojirou showed his wounds to prove Katsuhiko's words. It seems that Shuusuke didn't say anything to protect them so their parents wouldn't know. But they couldn't let him took all the blame. Of course the three of them got yelled at by their parents. They even got grounded."

"Our parents were mad. They didn't want Shuusuke to play with the boys. They said they put a bad example for Shuusuke. But for the first time in his life, Shuusuke refused to follow them. He stood for them. And Obaasan said she guaranteed that they would not be a bad influence for Shuusuke. Finally our parents gave up and let him be."

"Against what our parents feared of, I could see the good influence that they gave Shuusuke. After years of abused, Shuusuke had withdrawn. He became lifeless, there wasn't any desire or spirit in him. It was like he lived his life just for live, as some routinely. That there wasn't anything that made him wanted to live.

"Katsuhiko and Kojirou gave him the reason for live. He became more live. His curiousity and his thirst for knowledge were back. He spent hours at the library, read any materials that got his interest. Katsuhiko's access to internet also spoiled Shuusuke's desire for knowledge. The two let him did that but made sure that he had equal times for fun at outdoor, not just for soccer practice."

"They also took it as their task to make sure Shuusuke ate properly. I was glad that they found out about Shuusuke's eating disorder. Even happier that they didn't react like they felt disgusted to him. Their acceptance was really important to help Shuusuke. Before, it was really hard for Shuusuke to gain more weight even for just 1 kilogram. We were already happy if his weight could stay the same. Those boys helped Shuusuke to have a stable weight then they started to work to add more weight on him. Of course Shuusuke didn't feel too happy about it but the important thing was he cooperated."

The boys stayed quiet. They could see how important Saeki and Tsukino were for Fuji that he was willing to do something that he didn't like.

"Why didn't I meet them at the tournament? From what Atobe and Sanada-san told us, they both accompanied Aniki at that tournament."

Atobe glared at Yuuta. How dare he spoke about him without addressing the honorable way he spoke about Sanada?

"Like I said before, Shuusuke entered the tournament to accompany Kojirou. Something happened that made him didn't feel the same passion to tennis as Kojirou. I knew about the tournament from Obaasan so I wanted to go to cheer him. You wanted to come to so predictably our parents came too. Katsuhiko and Kojirou didn't too fond to our parents so they didn't approach us. I could see them cheered Shuusuke at the opposite fence. You didn't really know them at that time so it was understandable that you didn't notice their presence."

"The funny thing is you were too fascinated with Shuusuke's play that you started to play tennis after it. While on the other hand Shuusuke never touched the racquet again after the tournament. He was started to play tennis again only after he joined Seigaku's tennis club."

They were taken aback, especially Seigaku regulars. The third grades remembered Fuji's play. He surely didn't show as someone who never touched racquet for about three years! Fuji's play was so brilliant that earned him the title as a 'tensai'.

"Then something happened. Shuusuke had tried to solve some math problem that he found out from the Internet. Some problem for students that looked for scholarship. He had posted the answered out of his curiousity, to find out if he was right. Shuusuke never thought that he would win a full scholarship at MIT, US, majoring Mathematic."

"MIT? As Massachuset Institute of Technology?" Ryoma asked bewildedly.

"Yes, Massachuset Institute of Technology."

Everyone had the same expression as Ryoma, except for Eiji and Momoshiro.

"What is that Masasomething nyaa?"

"Eiji, it was Massachuset." Oishi corrected him.

"MIT is one of famous universities at US, Kikumaru-sempai." Ryoma stateted quickly before Eiji humiliated himself more. He could see the way Atobe had looked to the acrobatic boy.

"Unyaa, Fuji won a scholarship for colleage? Sugoi!"

"So Aniki took it." Yuuta said thoughfully.

"Oh no, he refused."

"He did what?" Everyone was surprised.

"Shuusuke e-mailed back to say that he couldn't accept it. He admitted that he had lied about his age when he posted his answer. Shuusuke told them that he was only ninth years going on ten. He apologized for all the trouble that he caused. Of course the jurors of the scholarship didn't buy it but they didn't press him. There were a lot of people that wanted the scholarship."

"But one of the jurors was curious that he flied to Katsuura to meet Shuusuke. He was surprised to find out that Shuusuke indeed just a child. He tested Shuusuke with some math problems that Shuusuke solved them brilliantly. The man was so fascinated with Shuusuke's ability that he wanted to support Shuusuke if he accepted the scholarship. Shuusuke wouldn't have to worry about the cost for his living fee there and also for where he would stay."

They looked at her expectantly.

"Shuusuke refused."

"How could he refuse such an offer?" Ryoma couldn't hide his surprise.

"I think it was the same as why someone I know refused to play at US Open at first." Momoshiro stated calmly.

Ryoma stopped. He glared at his sempai but deep inside he admitted it. Ryoma realized that Fuji-sempai must be feeling the same as his at that time. He must be feeling hard to leave his friends behind. From what Fuji-san told them, he knew how closed Fuji-sempai was with Saeki and Tsukino.

"What made him accept the scholarship in the end?" Tezuka asked.

"Well, the man asked Shuusuke to think about it. He told him to take his time. He said if Shuusuke agreed, he could enter MIT anytime. The man would make sure about it. Shuusuke didn't say anything. At that time he was busied with soccer practice since the three of them had been choose as All Japan Under Twelfth. You all already knew about what happen then."

They nodded silently. They remembered what Yumiko had told them. About Fuji got hurt at the world championship under twelfth till Tsukino's death.

"Shuusuke was too shaken with Katsuhiko's death. He rejected Okaasan that wanted to comfort him. He shut himself from the world. It was like that Katsuhiko was his world. When he gone, there was nothing left for him. And Katsuhiko's parents… They didn't take it too well. After all, Katsuhiko was their only child. After some breakdown, his mother then went into denial. She shut down all the memory about her son. She didn't even remember that she had a child."

Everyone was shocked. When they thought things couldn't get more worse…

"Katsuhiko's father was torment. He didn't want his wife to live in denial yet he was afraid to lose her too if he forced her to accept reality. So in the end he let her. He took her abroad, away from all the memory of their child. Shuusuke… Shuusuke didn't take it well. He blamed himself. Not only he made Katsuhiko lost his life for him, he also had erased Katsuhiko's existence."

"But… But it wasn't Aniki's fault!" Yuuta protested.

"I know. And deep inside Shuusuke knew it too. But sometimes what brain knew heart couldn't accept. There must be someone to blame for that tragedy. And Shuusuke chose to blame himself. Shuusuke was drowning in guilty feeling. He started to withdrawn again until Kojirou snapped him. Kojirou asked him if Shuusuke wanted to waste Katsuhiko's sacrifice for him, to let people said that Katsuhiko died in vain. Then Katsuhiko's existence would really be nothing."

"That what snapped Shuusuke back. He even made a training menu to rehabilitee his injured leg. He really tried to make Katsuhiko's sacrifice mean something. Shuusuke had beat the odds by be able to walk again without a crutch. The doctors could only shook their heads when they saw he was able to walk again even limply. They didn't too surprise though, I guess they were already used to the facts that their analysts never correct when it was about him."

"Even though he didn't need to use crutch anymore, Shuusuke must used some metal that was structured to support the leg. So he didn't work his leg too hard. I thought Shuusuke would be too traumatized with that thing. Shuusuke was used the same metal after he didn't need the crutches. When the accident happened, the metal was crushed that it had pierced his leg and hurted him badly. But Shuusuke didn't say any objection and agreed to use it again."

"Our parents had learnt something from that accident. That nobody could predict their time. They decided to take Shuusuke back to Tokyo and started all over again. So they were shocked when the man from MIT came. We didn't know that Shuusuke had contacted him to say he was accepted the scholarship. So the man came to take him. He wanted Shuusuke had some time to prepare and adjust before he joined MIT at spring."

"Our parents didn't know what to do. They didn't want Shuusuke to go. They knew it was a good opportunity for him but it was too sudden. Only a month had passed after the accident. But Shuusuke insisted that he wanted to go. He also said he wanted to rehabilitee his leg at US. So finally they let him go. Though I think the real reason was to get away from all the memorable places here."

"As you see know, Shuusuke has healed perfectly. No one could know that his leg had been hurted before."

Everyone nodded in agreement. Fuji was in his best condition. His leg had healed. There wasn't any weakness that could be seen in Fuji, except for his false weakness that he had tend to show to mislead his opponents. And Atobe with his insight definitely sure about it.

"Before he went to US, he asked me to tell our parents to never talk about his birthday. He even said he would return all the gifts that we'll give him. Shuusuke asked us to understand and to honor his decision. I couldn't object him. So I promised him."

"Shuusuke graduated as the younger person that ever graduated in Mathematic Faculty, and even the younger at MIT's history. I thought he would never come back to Japan. So I was surprised but relieved that he decided to come back. But Shuusuke had changed. After years aboard, he became very good to hide his feeling. He was always put that smiling mask on his face. He was good too to act like there wasn't anything wrong. Okaasan was felt relief, they could show mother and son's harmony relationship in front of the watchers. But I don't think it was good for him to shield his own feeling like that."

"At that time Obaasan's health was not so good. Shuusuke had accompanied her till she passed away. Before she died, she asked me to take care of Shuusuke. To do what I think best for him. So I asked our parents to let Shuusuke entered Junior High. I remembered the result when Obaasan made him be with children that the same age with him. Our parents were hesitated at first but finally they agreed. I asked Shuusuke if he wanted to go to the same school as Kojirou. I knew that his family wouldn't mind if he stays with them."

"Shuusuke was silenced for a moment. Then he politely refused. He said he didn't want to be a burden for Saeki's family. Also he wanted to be with his family after lived separately for years. I knew it was only excuses. The truth is he couldn't be with Kojirou. It would be too awkward for them to be just them when there used to be the three of them before."

"He looked at some Junior High catalogues then decided that he wanted to enter Seishun Gakuen."

The Seigaku regulars were relief. They didn't know the reason why Fuji chosed Seigaku but they were grateful to Kamisama because of it.

"He chosed Seigaku because he liked it's name. I agree with him. Seishun really is a good name. So our parents had registered him to Seishun Gakuen. I personally asked the head master to keep it low about Shuusuke's academic report. I told him about the abused that he had when he was young because of his genious. Also about the accident that lead Shuusuke to dislike the talk about his birthday."

"The head master is really a very nice man. He understood my worries. He asked me to not worry. After the registration completed, he would put Shuusuke's file inside the safety box at his office so no one would ever read it. He would only tell his trustworthy teachers about Shuusuke had graduated from colleage."

The Seigaku regulars looked at each others. So that was why Inui couldn't find Fuji's file anywhere. Also why Ryuzaki-sensei didn't say anything about Fuji's incomplete data.

"Shuusuke's decision to enter Seigaku was corrected. He was happy there. Of course there were times when he was down, like when Yuuta decided to join St. Rudolph, but he was definitely happy when he was with you all."

Yuuta looked guilty when he heard what Yumiko said.

"But I noticed that he would withdraw when he felt happy. It sems like he felt guilty for being happy. He was punishing himself for Katsuhiko's death. So he couldn't accept that he could be happy after Katsuhiko's death. The stress became heavier, especially around Katsuhiko's birthday and his death. He would skip from school when he couldn't be able put his smiling mask."

No body could say anything. They thought it was wrong for Fuji to keep blame himself while he didn't do anything wrong. That he kept pushing happiness away from him yet they didn't know what to say.

"Even though they were apart, Kojirou always care for Shuusuke. He kept calling him for time to time. He listened to Shuusuke whenever he needed to talk. And Kojirou helped me too. He knew that I was sad that Shuusuke refused to talk about his birthday and to receive birthday gifts. So Kojirou teached me a trick. He told me to give Shuusuke's birthday gift long before or after his birthday. And I shouldn't wrap it as a gift. I should just give the gift and said I saw it in the store and I thought he would like it. Cause it was what he did too."

Yumiko sighed.

"I guess his birth date and his zodiac had a strong influence to his characters."

Yuuta winced. He knew how much his neesan love fortune telling. But Yuuta couldn't deny that she was really good in it. She could know others' characters from their birth date and knew their future with tarots. It was too scary since what she said always right.

"People who born at February 29th is brilliant, ambitious, innovative, not conversional but easy to worry. That was mixed with his zodiac. Uoza people were known as the most sensitive people. They are generous, easy going, lazy, and emotional. All could be seen in Shuusuke. You must be agree with me that Shuusuke could success in everything he does. Yet he would never do it unless he really feel to do it. When he does, he wouldn't stop unless he is at the top. I don't think I have to explain about his emotional state."

They nodded. The regulars also remembered about Fuji's generously to tutor anyone of them that asked for his help. He would put aside his sadistic joke and concentrated on teaching them. Ryoma could even connect the lazy part with the ambitious side. He remembered Fuji's seriousness in the match with Kirihara while he never showed the same effort before.

"But Shuusuke was a premature child. If Okaasan gave birth normally, Shuusuke would be Ohitsujiza or Oushiza. So there were behaviors from both zodiacs in Shuusuke. Ohitsujiza's people is smart, that is matched with Shuusuke birth date. They are also an enthusiasm person, impulsive, brave, and always to the point."

They looked at each other. They still remembered how Fuji didn't hesitate to teach Mizuki a lesson or to beat Jiroh in thirteenth minutes to avenge and save Yuuta's face. Kirihara winced when he remembered the look Fuji gave him after knowing it was him who had hurt Echicen.

"Oushiza's people are known as warm, gentle, stern, and someone who could be depends on. Those characters mixed and make him someone that unique. Shuusuke is sensitive, emotional and unstable in a way, yet he is strong and brave enough to choose to live. But it was torment him, tear him apart with the will to live and another is to give up. I pray and would always pray that he wouldn't fall to the last one. That no matter what life through, he would go on."

There was sadness in her voice. No body knew what to say to comfort her so they stayed silence.

"Saa, that's all I could tell you, boys. Now if you could excuse me…"

They said their thanks to her and let her went to her room. They could see that it was hurting her to tell them that. She even revealed some family secret because of that. So they didn't want to push her anymore.

They stayed silence before one by one they say their goodbye. Before he went, Eiji asked Yuuta to call him if Fuji finally came home. Yuuta nodded quietly.



Kohai : junior

Obaasan : grandmother

Tensai : progigy

Sugoi : great, wonderful

Kamisama : God

Seishun : youth

Uoza : Pisces

Ohitsujiza : Aries

Oushiza : Taurus

Abuse has been a sensitive subject at Japan. There has been so many cases of abuse that lead students to commit suicide. A lot of them that chose to live had a closed personality (introvert), had low self-esteem, etc... A lot of mangaka had used this issue as their concern. They hoped that their readers would realize about the horrible things that caused of abused, about how the victims felt and much more. They hoped people could learn from their mangas.

Little wild flowers idea I got from Beyond The Blindfold by Tsukuba Sakura-sensei. The different is that Namiki Masahiro in that story was blessed with the gift to see future that made his parents felt afraid to him. He gave his mother an expensive jewelry that he got by using his power to gain money with cooperate with someone older.

Fuji's study at MIT was inspirited by Toma at QED (by Katou Motohiro). Only Toma was graduated from MIT at 15 years while Fuji joined MIT at 10 years old and graduated at 13 years old. I really made a super Fuji ne? Also, in my country there's a girl who already graduated from colleague in US majoring physics at 16 years old and she could speak 3 languages. So I think, hey maybe it wasn't too shocking if Fuji could do it better than her.

I hope the talk about astrology didn't bore you. I just thought that seem Yumiko knew about fortune telling, tarot and all, maybe she knew about astrology too.