Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis or any of its characters. I've just kidnapped them temporarily for my fanfiction. I do own the idea of my fics though.
Warning: May contain spoilers for the latest manga chapters. Shonen-ai fic.
Pairings: Tezuka X Echizen, Momoshiro X Ann, Sanada X Yukimura.
A/N: Note that this chapter is a one-shot short sequel to the back-to-back fics, Echizen, Our Buchou and Life After Seigaku. This chapter can stand by its own, and there is no supporting chapter for this in the other fic.
The sequel would follow after I'm done with this fic…and one other one.
A number of readers have been curious as to what would it be like if Echizen were to go to senior high. I hope this one-shot would satisfy your curiosity. (grins)
Sereniti, ehehe. Yes I am evil. They've had plenty of chances to kiss in the previous chapters, and I just can't resist torturing them a little since that was the last chapter.
Quill, I think if the fangirls had been us, then yes, there would definitely be a yaoi club. Ah well. They'd have than enough chances to kiss in the sequel…provided I post it up. XD. Don't you just wish that the Rikkai's uniform was white too? Imagine, both Tezuka and Yukimura all drenched in the rain…I think Sanada and Ryoma would gauge our eyes out first. ::shudders::
forgotten hyoshi, Saa…I'll see about the sequel. Not too confident if I can finish it at the moment. Lol. Good luck with your homework and school.
Kira, glad you liked the last chapter. And thx for the compliment. ::blush::
silentxangel, glad you liked the 'dragonball' tennis. Really was supernatural. XD
HEIDI, ehehe. Yeah. I think a lot of readers were disappointed to not see them kiss. In fact, I think Tez and Ryo themselves were pretty disappointed. ::evil grin::
To the story then…
Life After Seigaku
Two years later
It was early spring, the start of the new school term. Students could be seen chattering happily as they entered the gates to one huge, elegant building, with the words 'Kanto High School' standing out proudly for everyone to see.
It was a time when friends would exchange greetings, catching up with those they haven't met during the holidays. It was also a time for new students to arrive at the high schools they have enrolled themselves in, getting themselves familiar with the place they would be spending three years of their lives in.
A gust of wind blew past, showering the entrance with leaves and blossoms. Two individuals walked through the gates, side by side. One was a bespectacled brunette, and the other wore a white fila cap, which covered black-green hair.
The shorter of the two adjusted his cap, looking up at his new school. "Hmm? This place hasn't changed at all since the last time I came here."
"That's of course." Both of them looked up when they heard the P.A. system switched on.
"My loyal subjects. Welcome to the new term at Kanto High school. Assembly will be in 20 minutes, the school hall. Be awed by ore-sama's magnificent voice."
The P.A. system switched off. Both of the boys remained rooted on the spot.
"So he's the new student council president?" The cap-wearing boy asked.
"Aa." The brunette responded.
The boy pulled his cap down. "Mada mada dane."
With the admission of the black-green haired boy into Kanto High school, Tezuka was looking forward to the rest of the school term…
"Would you want to fight, baka Momoshiro?"
"Bring it on, Mamushi!"
It was a happy reunion for most of the former Seigaku regulars. Momoshiro had, last year, joined this school. To all the seniors' surprise, Kaidou hadn't gone to Rikkai Dai, the high school they speculated he would be enrolling in. Instead, he landed in Kanto High school too. The two rivals were fighting on the day of the entrance exams, when they ended up being in the same exam hall, and found out they were both targeting the same school. They were fighting on the very first day of their freshman year, and now, on the day club activities began, they were fighting, again.
Tezuka sighed, massaging his temples as he mentally calculated how many laps those two would be running. Rivalry died hard between those two. No matter how much older they get, they'd still be squabbling like children.
"Yare yare. Things sure look lively here. Those two still at it, Fuji?" A voice asked.
The regulars turned around. "Ah. It's you, Kantarou." Fuji greeted his former doubles partner Asakawa, who was now the track team's captain.
"Momo and Kaidou would never stop fighting. It's already part of their nature." Kikumaru grinned.
Oishi looked worried. "At this rate, Tezuka's going to pop a vein." He whispered to the others.
Asakawa looked mildly sympathetic. "Poor guy. If it isn't bad enough there are two bitter rivals during his captainship, there are another two here to add to his troubles.
Tezuka sighed again, the pounding in his head increasing. If it wasn't bad enough he had Momoshiro and Kaidou to deal with, his vice-captain and his boyfriend were NOT helping things either.
Even on the first day of club practice, the two were already having a competition of pride, and not surprisingly, it was causing a lot of the other members to stare at the two super arrogant players.
"Look at that first year. He's challenging Atobe-sama."
"Such a cocky brat." It looked like Ryoma was already attracting dislike from some of the members.
Ryoma threw a challenging stare at the grey-haired diva. "We finally meet again, King of the Monkeys."
"Hmph. Ore-sama's peaceful school life will not be the same again with you here. Oh well, at least I get to shave your head this time." Atobe boasted.
Ryoma smirked. "Hmm? Then you'd have to beat me first."
"What are you waiting for then, ahn? Let's have a match."
Both of them resumed their glaring. "I don't care if you're the prince. In this school, and this club, I am king."
"I'll take the throne from you then." Ryoma countered. Both of them whipped out their hands, which were clenched into fists.
Tezuka couldn't bear to watch on anymore. This was getting ridiculous. No matter how many times they played this game, it always ended up in a never-ending tie-break.
"Momoshiro, Kaidou, Atobe! 20 laps!" He barked.
The four who were fighting halted their battles instantly. Not wanting to provoke Tezuka's wrath, they obeyed, going off to do their laps.
"Heh. Echizen is spared. I suppose there are benefits in being in a relationship with the captain." Fuji chuckled.
To all their surprise, Tezuka next turned to his boyfriend. "Echizen. 40 laps." He ordered, doubling the amount.
"Eh?!" Everyone gaped. Ryoma said nothing, throwing Tezuka a smirk before jogging off to do his rounds.
Oishi sighed. "Not this captain. Tezuka's probably one of the few odd ones who would be extra strict on his own boyfriend. I think this is his way of disciplining Echizen."
It was relatively peaceful for a while. That was, until the four returned from their laps. It didn't take very long for them to start fighting again.
Oishi threw another worried glance at his best friend. "I don't think it's healthy for Tezuka to eat that many aspirins at once."
"He'd need it though." Asakawa stated, and all of them nodded in agreement.
"Ochibi! Let's have a round of practice." Kikumaru cheered, glomping the freshman. His antics drew curious stares from the other club members, who were all wondering who this first year was, that all the regulars seemed to be quite familiar with him.
Ryoma sighed. That nickname was going to stick to him permanently at this rate. His growth spurt ended when he was a third year in junior high, making him once more, the shortest amongst the regulars. Not that he was a regular just yet, but it was only a matter of time before he would be one. He blamed his baka oyaji for being so short, and passing all those bad genes to him.
All his seniors had grown taller, again. Tezuka was the tallest amongst the regulars, followed on by Kaidou, Momoshiro, Oishi, Kikumaru, Atobe and lastly, Fuji. Ryoma hoped to at least catch up to Fuji's height, since the tensai was only a few inches taller than he was.
"Not now, Eiji. The first years will have to assemble, and since Echizen is not a regular yet, he can't be excluded." Oishi told his doubles partner.
Ryoma adjusted his cap. "Ceh. It's only a matter of time anyway." He obeyed though, falling in line with those in his year.
The club had two vice-captains this year. The official one was Atobe, who refused to relinquish his position, and Tezuka couldn't win him in a Peasant's Game to persuade him otherwise. However, Tezuka had appointed Oishi as the unofficial vice-captain, to lessen the burden for Atobe, since the diva had to juggle between his position as K-High vice-captain and the student council president.
Oishi welcomed the new members to the club, giving them a brief talk on the rules and regulations, and allowed them to have a round of practice. Ryoma couldn't help wishing his former vice-captain was with him. At least amongst the first years, that guy would have been a challenge to him, but no, Takahiro Haruka just had to go enroll himself in Rikkai Dai.
He sighed in boredom, not even needing to move an inch from the spot as he defeated his year mates, one after another. Some of the club members recognized his achievement in junior high, and they whispered to one another excitedly. Others who didn't recognize him, however, saw him as a threat to their position as regulars.
"Hey there, freshman. You missed a ball here." One of the third years sneered at him as Ryoma and a few other first years were picking up tennis balls. Ryoma easily scooped the ball up with his red racket and bounced it lightly. The tennis ball flew right into the cart.
"There. Finished. Can I leave yet, senpai?" Ryoma asked boredly.
There was a loud clatter as the ball cart was knocked over, and tennis balls were strewn all over the courts, rolling in all directions.
"Oh. So sorry. Looks like you have to start over." All of them guffawed loudly.
Someone came to stand behind Ryoma. "I will not permit anyone bullying the freshmen." A deep voice said.
Ryoma had to hide a smirk as the third years cowered before their imposing captain. Tezuka glared down at them, making them feel extremely small. "Ground, 20 laps. After that, pick up the balls."
"Hai. Right away, Tezuka-buchou." They left.
Ryoma said nothing as he walked past Tezuka, though he touched the senior's arm lightly in a gesture of thanks before walking off.
Tezuka walked in the opposite direction, going off to supervise the sophomores. His and Ryoma's relationship on the courts was formal. He was the captain, Ryoma was a club member. He wouldn't practice favouritism, and Ryoma had known him long enough to not expect him to. By the way they were behaving; no one would even guess that they were boyfriends.
For half an hour, practice was relatively peaceful, that was, until Kikumaru gave a groan. "Ah. Ochibi's getting himself disliked by seniors again." Tezuka looked up from the batch he was observing. Surely enough, a bunch of sophomores and third years looked severely offended by Ryoma's arrogant, apathetic attitude, and a few had surrounded him, trying to either give him a lecture or challenge him to a match.
"We can't really protect him unless he's joined the regulars, cause only then he'd be with our group. For now he's stuck with the non-regulars, and naturally, they wouldn't like him behaving like this. Well, Echizen's to be blamed for being so difficult to socialize with." Fuji said, throwing Tezuka a knowing smile.
Tezuka sighed. "Atobe. Oishi. We'll be holding the selections in a week's time." He began walking in the direction of the chaos.
"Oh? And how are you going to save your dear now?" Atobe smirked.
Tezuka threw him a glare. "I'm not saving him. All of them are disrupting practice. They're running laps."
"Even ochibi?" Kikumaru asked disbelievingly. Wasn't Ryoma the 'victim'?
"All of them." Tezuka said firmly.
Once Tezuka was out of earshot, Oishi gave a sympathetic sigh. "Poor guy. It's not easy being captain."
Atobe smirked. "No. It's more accurate to say that it's not easy being that brat's boyfriend."
No one else bullied Echizen after he joined the regulars, considering that brat had beaten all the existing regulars flat…well…Atobe and Tezuka had put up a good fight, but they were no match for the 15 year old prodigy. Atobe lost to Echizen, 6-4 (and everyone had to stop Ryoma, who was chasing Atobe with a manic gleam in his eyes and a razor in his hand), while Tezuka engaged him in a long tie-break before losing at 67-69. It was enough to prove that his arrogance was backed by skill.
If that wasn't enough proof, Ryoma had played evenly against their perverted coach. It had been a draw when Tezuka called it to an end (for it was nearly night by then), but it was enough to pass the message across to anyone else who wanted to challenge the golden-eyed prodigy. It helped that all the other regulars were on very familiar terms with Ryoma, the result of them being teammates (or for Atobe's case, rivals) since all the way back in junior high. Ryoma was quite safely protected by his seniors (especially one stoic captain in particular), and while he maintained a Momo-Kaidou relationship with Atobe, the diva too would go in defence of his rival if he needed to (though he'd never admit it).
The addition of Ryoma to the regulars also brought one more change to the K-High team.
"We will now have the match of Doubles 1. K-High, Tezuka-Echizen pair, Roshan High, Shishido-Ootori pair." Everyone gaped as the unexpected combination stepped onto the courts. Well…everyone who was not from K-High anyway.
The Kanto High members had done the same slack-jawed expression when the captain first made the announcement that he would be playing in doubles once the selections were done, and Echizen, the freshman was to be his doubles partner. After a disastrous demonstration of Echizen's doubles ability, where he had been paired with Momoshiro, against the Golden Pair, needless to say everyone had been less than optimistic about the news. They looked helplessly at the regulars, hoping that at least one of them would persuade the captain and bring him back to his senses, but to the non-regulars' surprise, each of the K-High regulars seemed to be smiling at the news, as if they had expected that already. The regulars knew that Tezuka and Echizen probably wanted to spend time on the courts, since that would be the last year they'd be able to do so. Tezuka and the third years were graduating by the end of the year anyway.
Currently, the two stood before the Silver Pair. Tezuka gave them his usual calm stare, while Ryoma merely smirked. Roshan High's supporters were delighted at their stroke of fortune. It was true that if this were Singles, Tezuka or Echizen would have been very lethal, pulverizing their opponents without showing any mercy. However, this was Doubles, something extremely foreign to the both of them as smiling was to Tezuka, or humility was to Echizen. For the two notoriously bad doubles player to be placed as doubles partners, surely the match belonged to Roshan High.
They couldn't have been more wrong…
"Game and match, won by, Tezuka-Echizen pair, 6 games to 3."
The two walked off the courts. Ryoma was tapping his racket against one shoulder and was yawning exaggeratedly. "Mada mada dane." He muttered.
Considering this was their first official doubles match, everyone began whispering amongst themselves. Weren't these two supposed to be impossible at doubles?
"They really are different from what we've heard so far. It is said that both of them are limited to only Singles, but they sure have good chemistry on the courts." Ootori commented as he handed a water bottle over to Shishido.
Oshitari gave a suspicious cough at that. "You have no idea." He said quietly. Gakuto threw him a confused look, but Oshitari merely smiled, giving no explanations to his statement.
"Takku. It really was overkill, putting those two monsters on the courts. I was hoping they'd collide." Shishido grumbled.
Ootori chuckled. "That wasn't a very nice thing to say, Shishido-san. Still, we were lucky that we had way more experience in doubles. Otherwise, we wouldn't have won those 3 games."
Meanwhile, the two K-High players returned to their seats. "Interesting lineup, buchou." Ryoma smirked slightly, handing the captain a towel.
Tezuka opened a can of Ponta and handed it to his younger boyfriend. "Back when we were in Seigaku, our greatest weakness had been doubles. If the Golden Pair was defeated, we would only have random combinations left. We had too many Singles players, but too few doubles players. I'm not too worried about Singles. We have Momo, Kaidou or Fuji for Singles 3 or 2, and we have Atobe for Singles 1."
"Ceh. The Monkey King gets the limelight." Ryoma sounded mildly unsatisfied at that thought.
Tezuka stared down at his young pillar. "He is the best for that position, with the both of us in Doubles. Whatever it is, we'd still be returning to Singles if it were the stronger opponents like Sanada or Yukimura. When we do, Momoshiro and Kaidou, or Atobe and Fuji can take over the position as doubles. I think those two combinations should do fine."
"I would love to see Momo-senpai and Kaidou-senpai placed in doubles again." Ryoma gave a slightly evil smile, watching as the two mentioned sneezed simultaneously. Even that had triggered a fight between the two rivals, and Ryoma watched as vice-captain Oishi tried to break them apart.
"Provided they don't kill each other first." Tezuka stated calmly before taking a sip from his bottle.
For most of the matches, they didn't have much problems with the opponents, since both of their skills were of a different level from most opponents. However, they were not an undefeatable pair. They did have some difficulties when it came to the District Games. Apparently, both their opponents were of a godlike level too.
"It's good to see you again, Tezuka. Echizen-kun." Yukimura, captain of Rikkai Dai, smiled warmly.
Tezuka said nothing, his stoic face identical to vice-captain Sanada's serious expression. He had long learnt that Yukimura's smile was very much like Fuji's, seemingly gentle, but was actually hiding a very cunning nature. For Rikkai to send this unexpected doubles combination to handle the K-High pair, Tezuka suspected that it was part of Yukimura's plan as well.
Not surprisingly, that game had turned into a never-ending tie-break. The K-High pair knew each other so well that they covered for each other without colliding. Then again, the Rikkai pair was the same. In fact, the Rikkai pair had the upper hand, for both Sanada and Yukimura were fairly experienced in doubles, while Tezuka and Echizen were novices at this.
"Man…is this never going to end?" Kikumaru groaned. While the match was very elegant, with the four best players battling on the courts, their feet were starting to hurt from standing so long. If they sat, they wouldn't be able to get such a nice view.
They noticed that Tezuka had not moved from the spot, pivoting on one foot. "So he's decided to use his trump card now?" Atobe smirked.
Yukimura instantly undid the spin, and the ball shot over to Ryoma's side. Ryoma gave Yukimura a bratty smirk before hitting it back. When Yukimura returned it, it went once more into the Tezuka Zone.
"How interesting. Ryoma is directing it back to the Tezuka Zone?" Fuji asked.
Atobe, on the other hand, was staring down at Ryoma's feet. "No. He hasn't moved either. He's using the Echizen Zone too."
This caught the Rikkai pair by surprise. Double Zone, Tezuka and Echizen's trump card in doubles. Both of them were such masters at controlling the amount of spins on the ball that they could easily guide the shots either to themselves or to each other. Unlike the Tezuka or Echizen Zone in Singles, this one was much harder to predict, since the amount of spins, and even the direction of the spins were always changing.
"You've got to be joking! There's no way we're going to be caught by that skill. Strike Like Lightning!" Sanada used one of his ultimate elements, Rai. Lightning allowed him to attack anywhere with the speed of light, and it bended at a very rough angle, like a thunderbolt.
Ryoma's racket was knocked out of his hand by the fury of Sanada's attack. He clutched his wrist, which had gone temporarily numb from the power of the Rikkai vice-captain's shot.
"Ryoma!" Tezuka was next to him in a flash.
Ryoma shook his head. "I'm alright. That skill just caught me by surprise." He picked up his racket and moved back to his position.
Tezuka took it rather personally. Eyes narrowed, the K-High's captain's serve was a tad more lethal than before. It wasn't just that serve. Each stroke of his racket was more forceful, and had more power than before.
Sanada understood that it was Tezuka's challenge, and somehow, the match became rather like Singles. Sanada was zipping around the courts, using his 'Rai' skill, while Tezuka was making his shots go out with his Tezuka Phantom.
"Don't, Genichirou. The burden would be too much on your legs!" Yukimura warned.
"Kunimitsu! Your arm!" Ryoma too sounded mildly worried.
When the two got determined, however, they had a tendency to ignore any danger to their physical health. They battled it out, and both Yukimura and Ryoma had little success in trying to persuade them out of it.
Both of them gritted their teeth, feeling the pain that was seeping into their gradually injured limbs. Determined to win the match no matter what, Tezuka ignored the burden on his arm as he used Tezuka Phantom repeatedly. Sanada too was using Rai like there was no tomorrow.
"Enough!" Two voices rang out at the same time, stopping the captain of K-High and the vice-captain of Rikkai in their tracks.
A hand held onto Tezuka's arm firmly, and the K-High captain looked down to see Ryoma's blazing golden gaze. The first year gave a shake of his head, then turned to the referee. "We will concede this match." Ryoma told the man.
"I can still continue on." Tezuka said, not wishing to hand the match over to Sanada's side so easily.
"We will concede the match too." Yukimura's voice was clear and filled with strength. The Rikkai captain gave Ryoma a nod. "It's a pity, but our partners' are injured. We will resume this match some other time."
"Usu." Ryoma promptly marched his boyfriend out of the courts, just as the referee declared the match to be a 'no-game'.
"Really, Ryoma. I could still continue on." Tezuka said quietly. Ryoma, who was in the process of getting an ice pack for the captain's arm, frowned. The prodigy took the ice pack and, with a bratty glint in his eyes, dumped it down Tezuka's shirt instead. The K-High captain gave a soft hiss, flinching from the cold.
"Like hell you can still continue on. As much as I want to win the match, I don't want you to re-injure your arm." Ryoma scowled. He took another ice pack, and this round he tended to Tezuka's arm for real, his eyebrows knitted as he studied the damage. It seemed that both he and Yukimura had stopped the match before the injuries had become really serious, but it still gave him a twinge seeing the faint redness on Tezuka's overburdened arm.
Nanjirou, having more experience with examining tennis-related injuries, came to check Tezuka's arm. The former pro returned to the bench once he had finished his examination of the limb. "You should consider yourself lucky the injuries aren't that serious. Ah, the brashness of youth."
Ryoma dropped himself onto the bench, just next to Tezuka. "It doesn't matter even if we get a draw here. It's only the District games, and they won't be so lucky the next time. However, I won't forgive you if you got your old injury aggravated and got yourself landed in Kyuushu again. I won't forgive you if you leave me alone here."
Tezuka glanced at his boyfriend. Ryoma was vaguely hinting that he was dead worried for him. It was touching, for his boyfriend to be so vocal about his wellbeing. "I understand, Ryoma." He touched Ryoma's hand lightly, trying to convey his apologies.
Ryoma pulled down his cap, trying to hide the small smile on his face indicating that he got the message, and he wasn't so angry anymore. "Mada mada dane, Kunimitsu."
Kanto High had, thankfully, won the District Games anyway, for Atobe had bagged Singles 1, beating Inui. While most of the K-High regulars spent the day celebrating their victory, the regulars had to spend their time preventing Atobe and Ryoma from going into another competition of pride.
Tezuka sighed, rummaging through his bag for his aspirins. At this rate, he was going to consume those pills as Momoshiro did burgers…
The next big event for the tennis club was Co-curricular Day. Ever since Kanto High's headmaster had started the tradition of holding the school anniversary and Co-curricular Day back to back two years ago, most people would look forward to seeing the tennis club's contribution, on the second day of the three-day-event, especially.
For on that day, all the regulars of the tennis club would be doing a costume parade.
It was all Atobe's doing/fault, actually. The ore-sama had suggested for a costume parade (and a medieval theme at that) during his first year in high school. Somehow, that idea had been, while unwelcome to Tezuka, severely welcome to the rest of the school. In fact, the rest of the school had liked it so much, they had expected the tennis club to do the same theme every year after that.
Atobe, of course, would not let his loyal subjects' hopes down. He had implemented it as part of the K-High tennis club's tradition, and Tezuka had long learnt that attempts to stop him were futile. He was already used to it…as long as Atobe was the one to sponsor the costumes.
Currently, the Kanto High captain was walking towards the clubroom, ignoring the whispers and giggles around him. It wasn't something he was unused to. Somehow, the girls (and some guys) just loved to ogle at him when he was wearing his costume. Right now, he was dressed in a red and gold outfit, made of the finest materials (as Atobe had boasted to him), a fake scabbard and sword attached to his belt, and a crown on his head. He was playing the role of a king, as usual. His mature facial features didn't allow him any other position.
He heard a hoot of laughter from somewhere on his left. Recognizing the voice as Kikumaru's, he frowned and turned towards that direction, walking towards a classroom, wondering what his fellow regular was doing.
"Yadda!" He heard Ryoma's yell come from that direction too, and he quickened his steps.
More laughter. One in particular sounded quite evil. Fuji's. "Come now, Echizen. Don't be shy. It's not like we've never done this before."
"That's right, that's right, ochibi. It's not like we're going to hurt you."
Ryoma gave another loud protest. "Yadda. Keep that thing away from me! I'm not putting that anywhere near my mouth."
"It's not like you're going to swallow it. We're only going to put this to your lips. Look at it, such a lovely red colour." Fuji sounded very persuasive.
Kikumaru had given a grunt of effort. "Stop struggling, ochibi. I'm having difficulties trying to put this on you. I wonder if you'd be more cooperative if I tied you up."
Tezuka barged into the classroom at that moment. "Fuji, Kikumaru! What are you-" his words died off.
The two third years, who were already in full princess gear, were trying to dress Ryoma up too. Fuji held a lipstick in his hand, while Kikumaru was trying to put the gown on Ryoma, and was only halfway done with it. Tezuka found himself staring at more skin than his self-control could handle.
"Oh, Tezuka. How nice of you to join us. Want to help us dress Echizen-chan up?" the tensai asked evilly.
Tezuka remained poker-faced. "No thank you. I'll meet all of you at the clubroom. Don't be late." He said tersely before fleeing in the direction of the nearest bathroom. His high school life was looking bleak. If he didn't die from drug overdose, he'd die of massive blood loss at this rate.
Ryoma looked concerned. "Is buchou alright?" He asked the two seniors, who have resumed their task of getting his costume ready.
"Saa…" Fuji said calmly, while Kikumaru merely sniggered.
Ryoma vaguely wished his tennis racket was part of his princess prop. He was pretty sure his seniors, especially Momo, Atobe and Kikumaru, could use a clobber to the head.
The minute he had stepped into the clubroom, escorted by the other two 'princesses', those three had been the ones to snicker the loudest. Momoshiro and Kaidou were dressed as Knights, Oishi and Atobe were dressed as Princes. Momoshiro even had the nerve to give a low whistle, as he first studied Ryoma's outfit, then turned his gaze over to Tezuka, watching the captain's reaction. The sophomore looked rather disappointed to see Tezuka so unmoved by Ryoma's costume.
"You should dress like a Princess more, Echizen." His best friend bullied him, and got a glare in reply.
Ryoma gave an irritable sigh. If it wasn't bad enough he had inherited his father's height, he just had to inherit his mother's features as well.
"Maa…Echizen. You should be thankful that your facial features allow you to wear this costume. If only we had you last year. Back then, Momo and Kaidou had been the ones to dress as princesses. Somehow, it didn't quite have the effect we wanted, as it sent all the new members screaming from the club's booth instead. I still have those pictures…"
"Fuji-senpai!" The two sophomores silenced him, both looking equally mortified. Ryoma began snickering; suddenly feeling that he wasn't that bad off dressed as a princess after all.
Kikumaru glanced at Ryoma's gown. "Mou. Not fair. Ochibi's gown is prettier than ours. Atobe, are you being biased? Shouldn't we all have the same type of gown because we're all princesses?"
Atobe gave a regal sweep of his arm. "Kikumaru. Whoever said that he's dressed as a Princess? He's dressed as a Queen."
There was a short moment of silence as all studied Ryoma's gown once again. The patterns were far more intricate, and even the crown resting on the black-green hair looked more elegant than the tiaras Fuji and Kikumaru were wearing.
"That made sense…" Momoshiro muttered, casting a glance in Tezuka's direction, then back at Ryoma. "Though he does look like one awfully young Queen." Ryoma's features were very youthful, not mature like Tezuka's.
"Better a young queen than an overgrown prince." Kikumaru whispered, and both Momo and the acrobatic player began snickering. It was a good thing Tezuka didn't hear what they had said.
Atobe held his head up high. "Now then. Let's make a move on, my loyal subjects. The commoners are waiting for us to grace them with our presence."
"Hoi hoi. Let's go, ochibi okaa-sama." The acrobatic player teased.
Ryoma halted in his steps. He turned around, eyes blazing. "What?!"
"Well, Echizen. We're playing the part of the royal family, and since you're the queen, doesn't that make you the 'mother' of the family?" Fuji asked evilly.
The next moment, the two seniors found themselves chased by a very embarrassed, very red Echizen. "Déjà vu…" Fuji chuckled.
"How could we have forgotten that ochibi actually can run in a gown? Don't let him catch us. You go that way, Fuji. I'll go this way."
A few moments later, there was a terrified yell from Kikumaru. "Fuji! He's chasing me! Help!"
Fuji merely gave a smile. "Rest in peace, Eiji." He said innocently, whipping out his camera. Ryoma was now chasing after Kikumaru, armed with a razor. Kikumaru was sending distress signals to Oishi, who sent an S.O.S. message to Tezuka. In the end, it was Tezuka who had managed to calm the livid boy down.
Tezuka sighed. He knew that it was a bad idea to have let Atobe plan this event in the first place. "Yudan sezu ni ikkou." He told his teammates, while keeping a firm grip on Ryoma's hand to make sure the younger boy didn't lunge after Kikumaru and Fuji again.
As usual, there were a number of those who came to the booth not to register for the club, but to catch a glimpse of the 'princesses'.
Fuji and Kikumaru had already gathered quite a number of admirers throughout the years, and now those people were back, lingering around in the hopes of catching either of them without their fellow 'princes'. No such luck though, since Oishi, being the motherhen, wouldn't let Kikumaru anywhere out of his sight. Kikumaru only had to step a couple of feet away from him and Oishi would look fit to have a panic attack.
As for Atobe, he had kept people far, far away with his ore-sama speeches, which put them to sleep faster than their history text books did. Fuji wisely kept near the vice-captain, and was therefore safe from any potentially wandering hands.
One of the admirers sighed. "We will never be able to get Kikumaru-sama or Fuji-sama's autographs at this rate. Oh, my Fuji, you're so cruel to me!"
A fellow fanclub member nudged him in the side. "It looks like they have a new member in the team this year. She's quite cute."
"…you do realize that's a boy you're staring at right…?" the first guy asked.
"…she's a boy?" A few whispers of disbelief could be heard.
Ryoma noticed them staring hungrily and inched closer to Tezuka, who glared at them and sent them skittering away.
Unlike Atobe and Oishi, who could dedicate their whole day to the costume parade, Tezuka, being captain, had to supervise the club's activities. He had to go from the booth to check on how the registrations were going, to answering questions for those who wished to inquire about the club or those who have just signed up and wished for more details, to the tennis courts where there was a demonstration going on by some of the non-regulars, and finally to check on his regulars, who were parading around in costumes.
It was exhausting, really, having to run from one end of the school to the other, and Tezuka found himself wondering why this school had to be so huge.
Even as he went on his rounds, however, there was a constant worry nagging at the back of his head. Ryoma remained around the booth, and every time Tezuka went off to check on the club, he worried for his boyfriend. A thousand and one scenarios were popping into his mind as to what could happen if he left his boyfriend alone. He had asked for Momo and Kaidou to never leave the booth, feeling at least a wee bit better if those two could watch over his 'queen'. Not that those two were very efficient, though, Tezuka returned to the booth and, more than once, found them engaged in a duel with their fake 'swords' than actually doing their duty of guarding the queen.
He knew that many, guys and girls alike, were itching to get to Ryoma, whose fresh, new face was a welcome sight to those who have already seen the other members of the club. He could not let his guard down for even one second. He tried, and the next moment found Ryoma nearly whisked off by a hulking third year. A lot tried to lure Tezuka away from the freshman, but found themselves facing a glare which would surely give them a hundred night's worth of nightmares instead.
Ryoma sighed, brushing his black-green locks out of his face. It was hot, and the gown felt stuffy and heavy. Baka monkey king. Couldn't they have done a costume parade in their regulars' outfit instead? His only consolation was that at least he hadn't needed a wig like Kikumaru-senpai did. His hair had grown longer after the holidays, with the tips of his hair reaching past his collar. Both his make-up artists/senpais/fellow damsels-in-distress -- Fuji and Kikumaru decided that his hair suited his outfit fine, and decided that a wig wasn't necessary.
He threw a sideway glance at his boyfriend, watching as Tezuka repeated, perhaps for the hundredth time that day, the same explanation to a group of people who have stopped by the tennis club booth. He had to admire his boyfriend for his patience. Had it been him, he might have snapped at them and scared them away instead.
Tezuka, while not exuding a rich boy's aura like Atobe did, had an air of authority and charisma around him. He held himself in every way as a captain would, or, considering the current situation, as a king would. Ryoma found himself admiring his boyfriend's back. The outfit, while not overly tight, was rather body-fitting, and Tezuka's finely muscled form was outlined. Ryoma found himself wondering how he'd look like had it been him wearing the same outfit instead.
He stopped himself at that thought. No. His own body was too slender to wear that king's outfit. He had a sinking feeling that he'd be doomed to wear this outfit for the other two years too. In fact, next year onwards, he'd look like a pretty forlorn queen, sitting at this booth without a king. He found himself not looking forward to next year at all.
He averted his gaze before anyone caught him staring. His attention was now caught by Momo and Kaidou, who had, once again, drawn out the fake swords from their respective scabbards, and now both knights were fighting, again.
"Baka Mamushi! Admit it! You look completely awful in that outfit!"
"Do you want to fight, baka Momoshiro?!"
"What do you think we're doing now? Dancing?"
Ryoma smirked as Tezuka gave an irritable sigh, excused himself from the group he had been talking to, and assigned the two knights laps before they made a fool of the tennis club.
The K-High captain then finished his explanation to the group and joined Ryoma at the booth, dropping into the chair next to him.
"You look tired, my lord." Ryoma teased, taking up a false, aristocratic accent.
Tezuka threw him a glance, smiling slightly. While the captain had nothing but irritation written all over his face, Ryoma's playful words had lightened his mood considerably.
"Aa. There are times when I wish I could just play a recording for the newcomers instead, but I would be shirking my responsibilities as captain if I do that." Tezuka sighed, fighting the urge to put his arm around Ryoma's shoulders.
Ryoma smiled at him. "Ganbatte, buchou."
They sat in relative silence. A few times, the other regulars dropped by the booth for a quick break before going off on their parade again, and a few times, one or two of the non-regulars who had been doing a tennis demonstration dropped by the booth with an interested new member, before returning to the tennis courts once the new members had registered.
Momo and Kaidou had returned from their laps. Ryoma couldn't help feeling sorry for them, having to run in that heavy knight's costume. His feeling of pity, however, dissipated when the two began arguing again, their hands resting on the hilt of the swords in a rather threatening manner. Tezuka's lips tightened as he made to get up from his seat and assign them more laps again.
Apparently, someone was faster than him in dousing the flames. A brunette was seen charging in Momoshiro's direction.
"Takeshi!" A cheerful voice greeted, and the 'knight' addressed turned in time to find someone throwing herself at him.
"Ann. You've finally come to the booth." Momoshiro caught his girlfriend in a hug, nuzzling her hair in a very public display of affection. Next to Ryoma, Tezuka had twitched, biting the urge to ask Momo to behave himself.
Tachibana Ann had, last year, enrolled herself in Kanto High, much to Momoshiro's delight (and Kamio's horror). With a handful of other girls, she had started K-High's girls' tennis team, and while the response was nowhere near as good as the boys' tennis team, they had managed to get quite a number of their own gender interested in the sport.
Today, she had been one of those doing a tennis demonstration, and had been unable to meet Momoshiro until now. Needless to say, with his girlfriend beside him, Momoshiro was suddenly standing up every bit straighter, any hunch or slouch missing instantly from his back. He was also acting every bit the gallant character he was dressed up to be, as he suavely took Ann's hand. "Tezuka-buchou, Echizen. We'll be off for a while."
"Aa." Tezuka gave his permission. It was almost the end of day two anyway, and Momo did need a break.
Tezuka decided to go on his rounds again. The apprehension was stronger this round, with only one 'knight' left. Kaidou was currently preoccupied, for a few of the ladies had requested to take a picture with him, and the blushing viper found himself sandwiched between a number of females older than himself.
Coming to a decision, Tezuka walked over to the back of the booth and took Ryoma's hand, pulling him gently to his feet. His boyfriend gave him a questioning gaze, but he didn't answer. Instead, Tezuka wrapped one arm around Ryoma's waist to make sure the boy remained beside him at all times. He had finally decided that if he wasn't happy about leaving Ryoma alone at the booth, he'd take Ryoma with him on his rounds. He was quite confident in his abilities to protect his boyfriend.
Ryoma playfully snuggled against him. "Are you sure you don't mind this, Kunimitsu?" He asked.
Tezuka gazed down at him. "We're doing the royal family theme anyway. Everyone would think that it's part of the parade, so I'll allow this. Only this time though."
Ryoma smiled. "Usu."
A few days after the school anniversary, a certain smiling tensai arrived at the tennis courts to find dark clouds in the sky, and a whole flock of crows flying overhead.
The smile remained on his face though, as he calmly walked over to the tennis courts, completely unaffected by the suffocating atmosphere. He walked past a few of the club members (who were frozen in their steps, paralyzed from fear) and calmly opened his tennis bag, retrieving his racket.
The next moment, Kikumaru had thrown his arms around his best friend. "Fuji, it's scary! Make them stop! Make them stop!"
"Hmm? What's scary, Kikumaru?" Fuji asked, feigning ignorance.
Kikumaru gestured with his arms wildly. "Can't you feel it? This air? It feels like we're going to be killed anytime soon!"
Fuji chuckled. "Saa…I wonder why."
Fuji actually wasn't oblivious to what was happening. The non-regulars were perfectly unaware of what was going on, but the regulars, having been around when it happened, knew what they were seeing.
It was a cold war, between no other than the two pillars.
Fuji stepped into the courts, and saw that the war was just as bad as it had been yesterday. Ryoma was sipping on Ponta, sitting far, far away from one bespectacled captain, and having his back turned to him. Tezuka was sitting on one other bench, also far, far away from Ryoma's, tending to the strings of his racket with intense concentration…as well as a little more force than usual. Every sound made from the strings of the racket was like the sharpening of a blade, cutting through the eerily quiet courts. He too had his back turned to Ryoma.
"Those two are still at it again? Honestly, Tezuka gets corrupted pretty easily by his boyfriend. The silent treatment is so childish." Atobe snorted.
Oishi wasn't too sure on how he should deal with the two of them, afraid that he might aggravate the situation instead. The motherhen vice-captain settled on comforting the traumatized members instead.
Yesterday had been when this war started. It was a normal day of practice, with the new members joining the non-regulars for practice, and Tezuka was watching over his fellow regulars. Echizen had been a little crankier than usual, but other than that, all was fine.
That was until one of Tezuka's fangirls had barged into the courts and given her idol a swift peck on the cheek. The captain remained poker-faced, though his eyes widened slightly behind his glasses. The captain was so stunned that he remained rooted to the spot. Oishi, being the most sensitive and the first to detect any signs of danger, began to panic. Atobe took charge immediately and barked for members of his cheering squad to escort (throw?) the girl out immediately.
The damage was done though, as after practice, when everyone had been dismissed and only the regulars were left, Fuji was making his way to the clubroom when he noticed Oishi, Kikumaru, Momo and Kaidou pressing their ear to the door.
"Eiji?" Fuji was about to ask about what was going on, but the acrobatic player pressed a finger to his lips. Fuji decided to join in the group of busybodies, eavesdropping on whatever was going on inside.
The sounds of Echizen and Tezuka arguing broadcasted very clearly even through the door. Not surprisingly, it was about the kiss incident earlier. Fuji had noticed that Echizen was in a bad mood (possibly pissed off by Nanjirou earlier that day), and while usually he wouldn't have bothered about such a scene, today Echizen was downright jealous over it, since his tolerance level was extremely low that day.
Tezuka, irritated by Echizen making a fuss out of it, started defending himself, though in his exasperation, the captain's voice might have been a little too loud to Echizen's liking, and before long it was war between them. It had gone to the point that the two social retards, not knowing how to diffuse the tension between them, gave each other the silent treatment instead.
"I'm not talking to you anymore!" The brat had yelled at the captain.
"Fine!" Tezuka had snapped back.
The eavesdroppers took cover as the door to the clubroom burst open, and the two stormed out, heading in two different directions. It was only after the two had left their sights did they come out from their hiding places.
"Whoa! That sounded bad." Kikumaru stated the obvious.
Oishi patted his doubles partner on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Eiji. I'm sure they'll be fine. By tomorrow, they'd have forgotten all about this."
Apparently not, if this killer aura was saying anything.
Ryoma finished his can of Ponta and stood up, heading towards one of the courts. It was only halfway there when he noticed that Tezuka had been heading towards the same court. He hadn't noticed him earlier for he hadn't been looking at Tezuka.
They engaged in a glaring competition for a short while. Ryoma suddenly pinned a stare at his fellow regulars, who had been watching the silent exchange between them.
"Eiji-senpai. Be my doubles partner." He suddenly spoke up. It wasn't a request. More of a command, one which promised Kikumaru the wrath of a brat if he had turned it down.
Tezuka too had turned to the regulars. "Oishi." The message was clear.
The Golden Pair stared at each other in forlorn, the same thought running through their minds. 'Why us?'
The two pillars were literally killing each other on the courts, playing as if they were in the Nationals instead of a normal practice. Ryoma had gone brat mode and was taunting Tezuka, who had remained silent, save for the vein throbbing on his head. The Golden Pair, knowing their disastrous 'talent' in doubles, wisely kept out of the way, pretending they were decors at the sides of the courts instead.
The match dragged on for more than 15 minutes, and neither side was winning. The regulars were incredibly tense as they watched the match. They weren't the only ones, for a number of the non-regulars were spectators as well.
"Takku…if it isn't because Echizen's a male, I'd say he's pms-ing. Ann does that to me sometimes." Momoshiro sighed.
"Maa…Echizen's just in a bad mood now." Fuji smiled.
The match ended at 6 all. Strangely, the two didn't prolong it into a tie-break, seemingly satisfied to have vented their frustrations in the game. When the two shook hands at the net, it was obvious that they were back on speaking terms, as if the little spat had never happened. They walked off the courts together, completely forgetting their respective doubles' partners, who were looking scandalized.
"Mou! I hope this won't happen again." Kikumaru complained, feeling completely drained from being so tensed during the match.
Oishi nodded, looking equally tired. "I hope so too. I don't think my heart will be able to take it again."
The regulars watched as the two interacted. With Tezuka in a good mood again, the atmosphere of the tennis club relaxed visibly.
"Well, by the way they're acting, I think this is one incident which wouldn't repeat itself." Oishi said confidently.
The others merely echoed their agreement.
Two Months Later
"Not again…" Kikumaru groaned. The dark clouds and crows were back, and this round in far larger numbers.
Again, the two troublesome boyfriends had their back towards each other. Both of them pinned the regulars with a stare.
"Fuji-senpai, be my doubles partner." -Echizen
'Why me?'- Atobe and Fuji.
Once the other regulars have rescued the K-High tensai and vice-captain from the extremely traumatizing match, all of them stood as spectators.
Tezuka and Echizen had, again, vented all their frustrations on the match, and, again, were back to speaking terms. The K-High team have a feeling this wouldn't be the last of it.
"What do you think of their relationship so far?" Momoshiro started the conversation.
Oishi watched the two, who sat next to each other, Tezuka drinking from his water bottle, and Echizen sipping his Ponta.
"Their relationship? Maa…I'd say that it's very much like the pillars they are…strong, steady…very unmoving." Oishi said thoughtfully.
Everyone nodded to that. "Yup. Very little progress in their relationship. Good thing it's quite stable too. Not even those spats could break them apart for long." Momoshiro stated. Their relationship was pretty much the same as it was two years ago. Not much changes. Something to be expected from two people who were so uptight.
The regulars went back to practice. Kikumaru was the first to start the next question. "Hoi hoi, how long do you think Tezuka and Ochibi would remain together?"
"One year." Atobe declared.
Fuji chuckled. "That's what you said last year."
"Three years. Fsshhhuu." Kaidou gave his reply.
"Ten!" Momoshiro chirped.
"20?" Oishi guessed.
Fuji gave another chuckle. "My guess is they'd be together for the rest of their lives."
All eyes turned to the tensai. "I severely doubt that. Those two's relationship is so unmoving!" Momoshiro exclaimed.
Fuji merely gave a smile at that. "Who knows. They might get married, have lots of kids and kittens running around the house, and Echizen'll be the housewife." He said all these with a straight face, ignoring the looks of disbelief on his teammates' faces.
"You can't be serious, Fuji." Atobe snorted.
Fuji chuckled. "Saa…"
::End of Extra Chapter::
A/N: This is officially the end for the EOB, LAS back to back fics. Thank you all for reading the two fics.
Note that since this is the last chapter, I will not be able to reply to anonymous reviews. I'd only be able to reply to signed reviews. All reviews are still welcome though. (grins)
Was there any original character which you liked? Both from EOB or LAS?
Fellow regulars- Tsun, Itsuki, Takahiro
Walking subwoofer- Tina
Fellow Regulars- Kira, Asakawa
Atobe's parents-Kirie and Catherine
Atobe's relatives- Paternal (the Kitsune family-Miyabi and Mafuyu), Maternal (Phillip)
Headmaster Toruwa and teacher advisor Ayaka
The doctors and nurses in Kyuushu
I think that should be about all for the original characters, not including those from the rival schools. Well, have you liked any of them (including the ones I might have forgotten to mention)? Would be making a personal reference from your reviews.
Please note that the sequel would be taking a very different theme from the current two fics. There will be a rather big jump in the timeline too. Also, there will be two elements included which a lot of people may be uncomfortable about (and nope, it's not overly mature content, if that's what you're wondering). Please refer to the A/N and the summary of the sequel for more details, and DO NOT flame me for it.
Last but not least, Please Read and Review. No Flames Please.