Almost Over
Sequel to :: Shattering World, by AnuneFan412

Summary: Gakuto's world has ultimately come to an end when Oshitari leaves him for tennis. It's three months until the end of the school year, three months before Gakuto graduates, and goes onto High School. Gakuto resolves to make a last-ditch effort, and tries to make Oshitari return to Hyoutei, even if only for a little while. (Sequel to: Shattering World, by AnuneFan412)

Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis is not owned by me. Neither is the original plot for this story. I'm simply continuing it, with my own ideas.

"Team Takes Australian Open by Storm"

Those six words replayed themselves like a broken record in Mukahi Gakuto's mind a thousand times over as he stared - in some form of horror - at the large, bold title that was practically laughing at him from the shelves of the newspaper stand. Gakuto didn't need to read the article to know what team had won. He knew, in his heart, that it was the team with Hyoutei's former tensai. The tensai that had ultimately crused the acrobatic player's heart, and spirit: Oshitari Yuushi

Gakuto had neither forgiven, nor not forgiven Oshitari. He didn't know what to do. His final moments with Oshitari constantly occupied his mind both while he was awake, and in his sleep. The red-head didn't know what he felt for Oshitari anymore. Did he still love Oshitari? He couldn't tell. Did he hate the boy? He couldn't tell. Did he care about his former doubles parter at all? He couldn't tell. All he knew was that he missed his friend/partner/lover. What were they, to each other, anyway? Gakuto was sure he had loved Oshitari. But, what was he to Oshitari? Was he always just some thing that could be disposed of?

Tennis was the one thing Gakuto bothered to cling to, even if his skill was slipping, and he was getting gradually worse every week. Since he'd returned from Australia, Mukahi had slowly let go of everything. He'd gone into a state where nothing mattered. Tennis was the one thing he knew he still had in common with Oshitari, which was why it was one of the only things he stuck to. It was the one thing that let him think he was still, somehow, close to Oshitari, despite what they'd been through.

The whole team noticed his lack of ability, or, growing lack of ability. But, not even Atobe had the heart to kick Gakuto from the team. The poor boy had already lost the one person he loved, and the only thing that kept him from being suicidal was tennis. Even if it was the very sport he'd lost Oshitari to.

"Gakuto, I only care for tennis now, you know."

"But we can still play doubles!" Mukahi was being stubborn, he knew. But he couldn't help it.

"Gakuto, no." Oshitari was shaking his head. "It wouldn't work, and you know it."

Mukahi was silent.

"I only care about tennis. That's it."

"No... No... Yuushi... It's not true... Please... Don't say that..."

"I only care about tennis. That's it."

"But, doubles is tennis, Yuushi. We could play doubles together."

"It wouldn't work out, and you know it. I don't love you anymore."

"You don't have to love me like before. Just, don't go... We don't have to be the best, don't go... Please, Yuushi... Don't leave me like this... Yuushi... Yuushi!" White sheets were thrown onto the floor as a very frightened looking boy sat up in his bed. His face was pale, and beads of sweat rand down his cheeks. Wide-eyed, he looked around. He was in his room. He wasn't in Australia. He wasn't in Australia. He wasn't in Australia.

Gakuto turned his head to his nightstand. On top of it was a clock, a lamp, a phone, and a picture frame turned face-down, so the photo wasn't visible. The clock read, '5:00am'. Although Mukahi hardly registered that in his head as he absentmindedly called one of his teammates.

"Ungh... Hello?"

"Yuushi's gone. He's never coming back."


"He doesn't love me anymore."


"Do you think he's happy in Australia? Do you think he misses me, at all?"

"Gakuto, do you know what time it is?" The calm voice of Ootori Choutarou wafted through the phone. By now, most of the team was used to Mukahi's spontaneous calls early in the morning when he had nightmares about 'the incident.' Gakuto always said the same thing. He always muttered about Oshitari being gone, and asked about whether or not the person on the other line thought that Oshitari was happy or not. And they almost always replied in the exact same way.

"No." Was Gakuto's response, even though the boy was sitting in front of his clock.

"I think you should get more sleep, senpai, or you won't have enough energy for practice today."

"Alright." Gakuto hung up, grabbed one of the pillows on his bed, hugged it tightly, shoved his face into it, and cried. He cried himself back to sleep, only to wake up an hour later in order to get ready.

"Oi, Gakuto, come here." The commanding tone of Atobe Keigo's voice could be clearly heard throughout the tennis courts. Gakuto, who had just run ten laps without complaint, obliged.

"What, buchou?"

"Do you want Oshitari to come back?" Gakuto, who normally showed no emotion these days, looked in wide-eyed shock at his captain. What was Atobe saying?

"Ah... Sumimasen, buchou, but, what do you mean? Yuushi's gone. Gone forever." Mukahi said the last two sentances softly, trying to make himself believe that it wasn't true.

"Oshitari isn't dead, Gakuto. He can come back. You just have to make him. Give him reason to come back." Atobe looked sternly down at Gakuto. He was sick and tired of how Gakuto was acting since he came back from Australia. Atobe knew he couldn't kick Gakuto off the team, without the acrobatic player considering suicide, but he could motivate the red-head to get Oshitari back.

"Will he come back, buchou? Do you really think so?"

"Yes, I really think so." Atobe replied lamely.

Gakuto remembered that the Australian Open was over. It couldn't be all that hard to get him to come back, could it? For the first time in months Mukahi smiled. Maybe, maybe there was a small ray of hope in all of this darkness. Maybe Oshitari wanted to come back, even if it were only for a week or two.

"Arigatou, buchou." And with that, Mukahi ran home to start packing. As painful as it would feel, Mukahi was ready to go and get back his doubles partner. Whatever it took.

Author's Note: This could actually hardly be considered a chapter. More like the intro the story, since I'm basically setting up his personality, relationships, and how emotionally scarred Gakuto is. Next chapter might have some similar stuff, too... Oh, just so you know, Gakuto can't control his emotions. If he thinks about Yuushi too much, he'll cry, just like he did after he hung up the phone.

All the lines in Mukahi's dream are little snippets from chapters 1 & 4 of Shattering World. Also, I don't know why Atobe is so out of character during a couple parts. Apologies. Added, I also apologize for the lame title. It's the first thing that came to mind when I thought of what this story would be about.

Also, I please forgive me for any mistakes. Since I wrote this while waiting for the lunar eclipse on 8/27, I was very sleepy while writing. Please point out any, and all mistakes.

&& I know that I'm a really slow updater, but I've set a deadline for myself. All stories will be updated at the least once every 2 weeks. Probably more depending on how much time I have. Maybe less if I have writers block. Who knows? Though I think I'll actually be able to stick to 1 every week, I can't make any promises, so I've settled on minimum once every 2 weeks.

Oh, I bet you all know what the face-down picture was, right? Try guess, just for the heck of it.