More To Life

Chapter 1

Summary: Injury, the one thing that can cause any athlete to retire young. Injury is what caused the present captain of Seigaku's tennis club to stop playing his game. Now all he has is his lost dream. Is there anything more to life than tennis? Ryoma Echizen didn't think so, and so he became a wanderer or was planning to when he met someone who showed him that there was more to life...

A/N: Kind of got addicted to Prince of Tennis and the characters were too loveable for me not to write a story about them. It's a good show, so you should all go check it out, and please just read it, and see what you think! I hope I can live up to the show!

-x-

The morning calm of Tokyo was just the kind of peace that Ryoma Echizen yearned for. He sat in the serenity of the early hours of the morning as the sun slowly rose. He thought about many things but one very vivid memory would play over in his mind the day that his life had turned up side down three months ago. The day he was on his way to cheer on his friend and senpai. As he thought back to those moments he clenched his fists, if only he was quicker to react, if only he left his house ten minutes earlier. Ryoma winced as he unclenched his fist, even after three months the pain in his left arm was still there.

He got up from the ground on the mountain top-spot where just two years ago he was there with the Seigaku regulars. He smiled at the memory of the time the team spent together before Tezuka-Buchou told the team that he was leaving. He remembered how heart-breaking it was and how shocked the team was to find out. That was then though, he thought, and this was different. He would never be able to play tennis again, his injury had basically stopped his hopes of becoming a pro, but that never was his goal, his only goal was to beat his father, which he had accomplished, but the whole of his life revolved around tennis what was he going to do now that tennis was no longer something he could do, he thought. The past few months were empty without the thrill and joy of tennis.

As he walked down the trail he wondered what the rest of his life would be like. He knew he could try to play more, but what was the use, the more strain he put on his arm the worse his bones became. Since they were broken in many places any slight stress harmed him causing him more pain. He stopped mid-way and looked down at his arm. He cursed before continuing on down the path. His hands in his pocket and his white hat covering his hair; he walked quietly. This is what had become of him he thought; he would wander, become a nomad and just go from place to place with no actual goal. He wondered would this really be what it comes to.

When he finally came back to the city he got off the train and walked in the direction of his house. At 15 years old he had become the captain of the Seigaku tennis club, and was deemed one of the best. He laughed at that though 'much good it does now when I can't even play.' He just continued deep in thought along the sidewalk.

"Ano..." said a girl as she came up to Ryoma. Ryoma looked up and his golden hazel eyes looked at the girl. She was really pretty, but of course he never had a need to be interested in girls, his one true passion had always been tennis. He knew girls fawned over him, Eiji-senpai and Momo-senpai had made sure that he knew. Sakuno being one of their favourite girl to pair him up with, but he never understood why. She barely talked to him and quite honestly she was not really one of his friends they were just acquaintances in the three years that he knew her. He looked this one over; she had wavy dark brown hair down her back. Her eyes were a deep green with a hue of gold around the pupil. Her face looked angelic and he couldn't help but notice the little beauty spot on her right cheek just under her eye.

"Yeah?" asked Ryoma acting his usual self.

"Uh sorry but could you tell me the way to Seishun Gakuen?" asked the girl. Ryoma's interest piqued. Why would this girl need to go to his school this early in the morning?

"Why are you going there? You a new student?" asked Ryoma as he looked her over.

"Hai, I just moved here from Osaka and so I'm going to Seishun Gakuen," said the girl.

"Seigaku," was Ryoma's reply.

"Excuse me?" she asked.

"The school name we call it Seigaku for short, Seishun Gakuen is too long," said Ryoma with a monotone voice.

"Oh thanks, that's good to know," said the girl.

"Well I can take you there if you'd like, but school doesn't start for another hour or so," said Ryoma.

"Oh I don't mind, but are you a student there too?" asked the girl.

"Yeah, my third year," said Ryoma as he started walking leaving her to stand there. She quickly ran after him and fell into step beside him.

"Oh, mine too! How is the school? I've heard lot's of things about how great their clubs are, though I only listen when they talk about the tennis club," said the girl.

"Why tennis?" asked Ryoma, trying to keep the conversation going. He knew not to stay quiet with a girl, because if Momo or Eiji found out he did it they would lecture him all over again and he didn't need to deal with them about stuff like that again.

"Well my Dad used to play when he was younger, he wasn't a pro or anything but he was still really good, he taught me how to play," said the girl.

"So you know any moves?" asked Ryoma.

"Well I'm not the greatest, still learning some of the basics but he taught me how to do an awesome quick serve that has beaten him now and then," said the girl with a smile.

"That's something to be proud of," said Ryoma.

"Yeah I guess, so are you apart of the tennis club?" asked the girl.

"Yeah..." he said as he thought about his injury.

"Oh really!? I heard that the captain was amazing; that he's been a regular since he was a freshman is it true? I know how hard it is to become a regular, heard that you guys have a tournament within your club to determine the regulars. It's so amazing," said the girl.

"Yeah, it is I guess," said Ryoma with a smirk as he thought back to his first day in the tennis club, the first time he beat Inui-senpai.

"What was the captain's name again? I know this, Ryo-something oh it's on the tip of my tongue," she said.

"Ryoma, Ryoma Echizen," said Ryoma.

"Oh yeah! Ryoma Echizen! I heard he's totally amazing, he is right?" asked the girl.

"Yeah he's pretty awesome," said Ryoma with a smirk.

"Oh I'm so excited to see the tennis club now! Do you have practice in the mornings?" asked the girl.

"Yeah actually we do, how about you come and watch?" asked Ryoma.

"Oh I'd love to! Oh and by the way my name's Tia, Tia Fujimaru," she said with a smile.

"Nice to meet you Tia, but isn't that an American name?" asked Ryoma.

"Hai, I was born in America, my parents are both Japanese but they named me with an American name," said Tia with a smile.

"Well that's pretty cool, so is tennis what you want to continue with?" asked Ryoma.

"Oh no I like to play tennis as a past time, but my real passion is for art. I like to draw and paint and I'd like to think that I'm pretty good at it. One of the best painters at my old school," said Tai with a smug smile.

"Oh well that's interesting, I've never met a painter before," said Ryoma.

"Oh well then now you have--oh wow is that the school?" asked Tia when they reached the school.

"Yup this is Seigaku, and the tennis court is this way," said Ryoma.

"Okay," she said as she followed. Ryoma took her to the tennis courts and her eyes lit up. He just smiled at her response. He checked his watch and seen that it was 6:45, the members of the team should be arriving shortly. "Uh should you go get ready? I don't want to keep you here," said Tia.

"No it's fine, I wasn't really gonna play today," said Ryoma as he walked towards a tree near by and sat down under the shade. Tia followed him, she was after all curious.

"Why aren't you playing? I'd love to see you play," she said.

"Well it's complicated, but I guess I'm injured at the moment," said Ryoma.

"Oh no what happened?" asked Tia.

"It's a long story, maybe I'll tell you about it some other time," he said as he lay down on the grass, and pulled his hat over his face. Tia just nodded as she leaned on the tree and looked around. They sat in complete silence for about fifteen minutes, before people started to show up.

"Echizen!"

Tia got startled and looked around. She saw a boy with short brown hair and a uni-brow walk up to the tree where she was sitting. She tried to see who the guy was looking for since he called out the captain's name but it was just the three of them.

Ryoma just let out a sigh, and lifted his hat so that he could see. "What do you want Horio?" asked Ryoma.

"I'm shocked you actually came to practice! I was telling Kachirou that you gave up on the club, oh he's gonna be happy to see you," said Horio.

"Well you can tell Kachirou that I'm here to watch today," said Ryoma.

"Ano...you're the captain?" asked Tia with wide eyes. Ryoma smirked as that and looked at the girl beside him.

"Yup, the one and only."

"But you didn't tell me! Oh my god here I was bragging about you and you just let me do it!" she said with an embarrassed sneer.

"Well its nice getting complimented." said Ryoma.

"Hey Echizen who is this? She's really cute," said Horio in his loud way.

"Oh Horio meet Tia, Tia meet Horio," said Ryoma.

"Hi nice to meet you, are you in the club too?" asked Tia.

"Yup!" said Horio with a smirk.

"Oh are you a regular too?" she asked. Ryoma just started laughing at the thought and Horio went pale. "What's so funny?"

"He's not a regular, he thinks he's one and acts like one but when it comes time to prove it he sucks," said Ryoma.

"That's not a very nice thing to say Ryoma," said Tia. When she said his name the way she did, something inside of him shifted. He felt lighter than usually and that was something he hadn't felt for months, it was like he was playing a really good match.

"Trust me when you see him play you'll see that I was being nice," said Ryoma as he covered his face again. "Horio you should go get changed practice starts in a few minutes, and I don't know how Ryusuke has been doing things while I was...away but who ever is late will have to run laps," said Ryoma.

"Hai Buchou!" said Horio with a groan. Tia admired the way he spoke with firm authority. She just watched him as he lay there. She had to admit that he was quite the looker. His greenish hair framed his face cutely and his golden hazel eyes were just gorgeous. And then there was his smirk it was so intriguing that you just couldn't help but stare. So far she could tell he must be one of the more sought after guys in the school.

"You can stop looking now," said Ryoma as he lifted his hat and looked at her, a smirk fighting to show on his face. Tia blushed as she looked away.

"Sorry I was just thinking."

"About me I hope? Its okay I told you it's nice to be complimented, and you're not to bad on the eyes yourself," said Ryoma. He was shocked at himself; he never flirted or gave a girl the okay to look at him.

"Thanks I guess," she said.

"Do you want me to show you around the school? I'll only be a minute or two, gotta get the team pumped up and then I can show you around," said Ryoma.

"Oh no I don't want to make you leave the practice, especially since you're the captain," said Tia.

"Don't worry about it, Ryusuke can handle it," said Ryoma.

"Are you sure?"

"Yup," he said as he got up and brushed the grass off his clothes. He held out a hand for Tia and she took it. The sparks flew when their hands touched and both of them pulled apart, feeling just a little awkward.

Once the team assembled Ryoma walked into the courts and everyone quickly quietened down. They were surprised to see the captain; it had been about a month since he stopped showing up. Ryusuke smirked, happy to see his captain back and stepped to the side to let Ryoma talk.

"Okay guys I've been away for a while, but I thought I'd drop by today see how the teams holding up. Ryusuke you better have been keeping them in check," said Ryoma with a smirk as he looked over at the Vice-captain.

"Of course I have Buchou, but now that you're back you can keep them in check your way," said Ryusuke.

"Well then I guess for starters you should all do your ten laps and then start to rally, Ryuzaki-sensei should be here by then and she can continue on with you Ryusuke, Play with no regrets!" said Ryoma as a smile crossed his face.

"Hai."

"Now get to work!"

"Hai!" said the team as they went to do their run. Tia stood outside of the tennis courts and watched in amazement. The team seemed to look at Ryoma with so much pride and affection that it made her feel like that too.

"You're amazing," she said as he walked over to her.

"I try," he said as he started walking. Tia just shook her head and ran after him again and fell into step beside him. He took her around the school, after about half an hour he brought her back around to the tennis courts.

"Wow this school is pretty big, thanks for the tour, but I'm sure I'm gonna get lost either way," she said.

"No problem, you can always ask me if you need to go somewhere, I know it was hard to get around when I got here too," said Ryoma.

"Thanks, so do you have to go back to the practice?" asked Tia.

"Uh no, Ryusuke can handle it," said Ryoma. So they went and sat down again, talking about meaningless things. It was such a change for Ryoma to be talking about everyday things. He knew if Momo was there he would have said something like "Ah young love" with a nod. Thank god he went off to high school, Ryoma thought.

"Ryoma-kun!"

"Ryoma-sama!"

The two looked up to see two girls standing in front of them. One of them had long brown hair tied in two braids and the other girl had shorter brown hair tied in two pig tails. Ryoma sighed inwardly.

"Hey Sakuno-chan, Tomo-chan," he said.

"You finally came to one of the practices? Took you long enough!" said Tomo basically screaming in his face.

"Tomo-chan don't say that," said Sakuno as she tugged on Tomo's sleeve.

"No Ryoma-sama you are the heart of our tennis team, you have to be here!" she yelled at him.

"Tomo-chan could you be a little quieter? We were in the middle of a conversation here," said Ryoma.

"Huh?" was Tomo's response as she looked at the girl that was sitting rather closely to Ryoma.

"Hel--"

"--you are not allowed to sit that close to my Ryoma-sama without permission from me; the president of Ryoma-sama's fan club!" said Tomo pointing an accusing finger and Tia.

"Tomo, stop saying that, it's embarrassing," said Sakuno with a blush on her face.

"Don't even worry about them Tia, how about we go find you your class?" asked Ryoma as he got up and held out his hand again. This time when she took it, Ryoma made sure not to let go as they walked way leaving the two very annoying girls to their own devices. They just stood there in awe at the fact that Ryoma had actually said that and walked away with the girl, holding her hand.

-x-

"Who were those girls?" asked Tia.

"Just some girls, the loud one made a fan club when I first became a regular and the other girl, the quiet one is her best friend. Everyone seems to think there's something going on between us, but seriously though I can't stand them. For three years I had to deal with them, a few more months and I'm out of here, hopefully at a different high school than them," said Ryoma.

"That's kinda mean, don't you think," said Tia.

"Yeah I guess it is, but they can be so annoying. Tomo-chan always yells and screams while I'm playing, and Sakuno-chan is such a ditz she's been playing tennis for three years now and she still can't serve that well," said Ryoma.

"Even if they are like that I still think it's mean," said Tia.

"You can think what you want, I still don't like them, and if it weren't for Momo-senpai and Eiji-senpai always breathing down my neck I would have told them to leave me alone a long time ago," he said with a defeated sigh.

"Okay what ever you can act like a jerk if you want, but could you tell me where I have to go to find out what class I'm in?" asked Tia.

"You don't know yet? Okay then I guess it's off to the office," said Ryoma as he tugged her along. They went to the office and got her class number and uniform before leaving. Once she got her uniform, Ryoma took her to the nearest washroom so that she could get changed. Once she came back out Ryoma nodded his approval.

"Hey I don't need you to approve if the uniform looks good okay!" she said.

"Well even though I still think it looks good on you," he said as he took her paper with her class number on it and tried to remember where it was. He was in class 1 and hers was class 3. He knew where that was. So he took her there and then was about to leave.

"Thank you Ryoma," she said as she leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. A blush crept up on his face as he stuttered.

"Y-your w-welcome," said Ryoma. Tia smiled happy that she made him blush then went into her class room. What scared her was that all the girls in the class were staring at her wide-eyed. She wanted to run away back in the secure arms of Ryoma. Wait where did that thought come from 'into the secure arms of Ryoma'? Ha! As if, but they look so scary, thought Tia as she looked at the girls. They pounced and their questions consumed her completely.

-x-

Ryoma smirked when he heard the high pitched squeals of girls in the class room that he left Tia in. Serves her right for kissing me like that in front of everyone, he thought; Then again I didn't really warn her, maybe I should go back and check on her, no if I do they'll just bug her more when I'm gone, he mused in his head. He just tucked his hands into his pocket and walked to his class, with his tennis bag over his left shoulder.

-x-

A/N: well there you go what do you think? Is it good enough to continue, again this'll be a short story just like In the End. And if anyone likes Sakuno and Tomo, I'm sorry that I didn't pair Ryoma with Sakuno but I honestly don't think she's good enough for Ryoma. And on top of that I honestly think they are too annoying. No offence to them though, just wanted to pair him up with someone else! Well thanks for reading and if it's like I'll continue! So review if you like it!