A/N: Since this is the last chapter and the finale of the three stories I'm putting my final notes here. First up, Thank you NDebN once again for the beta. Secondly thank you to everyone who commented on any of the three stories. Some of your reviews gave me ideas that I used in the stories and all were appreciated.
That's it. Now go and find out if the brat and the Monkey King will live happily ever after.
Monday, after practice, Ryoma waited fifteen minutes in front of the school gates, until he remembered Atobe wasn't coming. Even after he remembered he still waited for half on hour, simply because he hoped Atobe would show up.
He tried calling again, but no one answered. He tried again and again and on the fifth time his heart jumped of joy when someone answered.
"Don't call again." It wasn't Atobe, but Jirou. "Keigo-chan doesn't want to talk to you."
"Don't call him that!" Ryoma screamed. "You don't have the fucking right to call him anything else then Atobe-san! Got that?"
"I have a bigger right than you. You hurt Keigo-chan." Jirou sounded like an angry bunny.
"You call him that one more time and I swear I'll hunt you down and make sure there'll be nothing left of you but a sweet memory!" Ryoma screamed with the rage of a wild cat.
"Eep!" The bunny went and hung up.
Pissed, Ryoma called again.
"I really couldn't care less for your drama, but Atobe's paying me to get you to stop calling him. Wanna split the money?" Shishido asked.
"You wanna double it?" Ryoma asked.
"Tempting, but I know the facts. Your family might have money, but Atobe has more." Shishido answered. "You might as well give up. He's not answering his own phone anymore."
"Just tell him he's being a girl."
Ryoma returned home, put his phone on his desk, among the rose petals and stared at it. Finally he grabbed it and dialled Atobe's number again.
"I wanna talk to Keigo. Give him the phone."
"That was surprisingly easy. Wait, usu? Where have I heard that voice before?"
"Kabaji?" Ryoma asked.
"Usu." Kabaji gave a confirmative.
"This is just low, even from Keigo. You know that, right Kabaji?"
"Wow, finally someone who agrees with me. Don't you think Keigo's being a big drama queen?"
"I don't understand why he won't just talk to me. It's stupid, right?"
"He's been completely irrational. Everyone knows already, what else could he want from me? My life blood?"
"Well he can fucking have it!"
"Sorry I yelled at you Kabaji, you don't deserve it. Forgive me?"
Ryoma felt better, after his little talk with Kabaji. It was surprisingly helpful to talk to someone who agreed with everything you said.
Still, it hadn't helped him much, in the way of getting Keigo to talk to him. Really, what else could he do except apologize over and over again and Keigo made that impossible, by refusing to speak with him.
"It's no use," Atobe sighed. "I miss the brat. I don't care if he's an insensitive little shit. I'm going to call him."
"No you can't, Keigo-chan!" Jirou yelled and snagged the phone that had been lying on the living room table with almost all the former Hyotei tennis team regulars around it.
Shishido was playing poker with Hiyoshi, Oshitari and Mukahi, Kabaji stood behind Atobe and Jirou bounced around the room, hugging the phone.
"Just let him call the brat if he wants to," Shishido told Jirou. "Maybe then we can go home."
"But then they wouldn't have solved anything, Shishido-san," Ohtori said when he came back from the kitchen, carrying with him a tray filled with cookies.
"Who cares?" Shishido asked. "I don't see what the problem is, anyway. So what if he didn't tell every single person in the world he was dating Atobe. Maybe he likes his privacy."
"He never told anyone," Atobe said.
"No one?" Shishido asked.
"Not even his best friend."
Shishido was rendered speechless and from the looks on everyone's faces, this was the first time they'd heard of it. Even Kabaji seemed shocked; "Usu?"
"Never thought you were such a push over," Shishido said.
Fortunately for Shishido, there were no plastic apples to throw at his head. But Atobe decided the cookies would do in the absence of plastic decoration.
Kabaji had been placed on phone watch and he sat on the sofa while Atobe hovered over him, extending a hand to the phone every now and then, only to stop himself just as his fingers were about to touch the phone.
Jirou stood in the living room doorway, not taking his eyes off Atobe, hardly blinking. It made his heart ache, how Atobe was humiliating himself over someone so unworthy of him, like Echizen. If Atobe would just think of something else than the brat, he'd notice that there were others who would have never felt ashamed at being with Atobe, who would never hurt him.
"Jirou-sempai," Ohtori said, placing a hand on his shoulder.
"What?" Jirou smiled at him and Shishido.
"You really shouldn't," Shishido said. "You know he's eventually just going to get back together with him, right?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, Shishido-kun." Jirou answered with his happy smile back again, like it had never been gone. "Come play poker with me, Keigo-chan!" Jirou shouted, bounced over to Atobe and dragged him to where Oshitari and Mukahi were playing poker. Oshitari had already lost his shirt.
"He's an idiot!" Shishido barked, buried his fingers in his hair and scowled, when he found yet another cookie crumb in his hair. "Fucking Atobe!"
"That's not nice Shishido-san. You know Oshitari-sempai just doesn't have a poker face."
"I wasn't talking about that fake! I mean Jirou!"
"You know Jirou-sempai has always liked Atobe-san."
"No he hasn't." Shishido frowned.
"Oh. I guess I was the only one he told that. Shouldn't have said that." Ohtori wrung his hands together, a worried expression on his face.
Shishido really did try to suppress the amused giggle.
It was already Wednesday and instead of calling Kabaji again, Ryoma decided to go for a walk. It was a complete coincidence that his walk just happened to take him to the area where the Atobes lived. Not his fault Keigo lived near a convenience store. He needed Ponta and it tasted better when bought at that particular store. Strange, but true.
Since he was near Atobe's home and considering the people who'd been answering his phone lately when Ryoma called, it really shouldn't have surprised him that he bumped in to those three. Still, he was surprised.
"Echizen!" Shishido was the first to notice him. Hiyoshi and Jirou looked at him just as surprised.
Ryoma locked eyes with Jirou and snarled, while opening his can of Ponta. "You," he said with a voice that made it clear he had no gentle feelings towards the older boy. Keigo could believe what he wanted, but Ryoma knew Jirou didn't call Atobe 'Keigo-chan' just because they were good friends.
To everyone's surprise Jirou didn't back away. He answered Ryoma's glare with his own, albeit it being a weak glare compared to Ryoma's, it was still a glare. "Leave Keigo-chan alone," he pouted.
Ryoma thought he looked cute. He could have cooed. "I told you not to call him that! You have no right!" It was so unfair that Jirou looked cute when he was fuming. He bet Keigo thought it was adorable.
"I can call Keigo-chan what ever I like and if he doesn't like it, he'll tell me!" Jirou stood firm, while facing Ryoma's glare. "At least he talks to me!"
Ryoma was taken back by the low blow. He couldn't think of anything to say, so he threw what was left of his Ponta, at Jirou.
"Che. Now I'll have to buy some more." He muttered and left a ponta covered Jirou staring after him.
Shishido was laughing his ass off, while Hiyoshi tried to pretend he knew none of them.
Oshitari opened the door for them, but instead of letting them in, he stared at Jirou, smirked and said, "You know, no matter how much Ponta you pour over yourself, he isn't going to mistake you for Echizen."
"Yuushi, that is so mean!" Mukahi grinned at Oshitari's elbow. "But seriously guys, what happened?"
"We ran in to Echizen," Shishido explained.
"Here?" Oshitari asked and peeked behind them, as if expecting them to pull out Echizen from behind their backs.
"A couple of blocks away. He got in to a little shouting match with Akutagawa-sempai and when he was loosing, he soaked Akutagawa-sempai with his drink," Hiyoshi reported.
"You're getting stiffer by the day, you know that Hiyoshi? Hurry up and graduate already so you can join us at university," Mukahi said.
"It was the same when we left for high school. Remember, Gakuto? He was starting to loosen up by the end off the year, but we had to do it all over again when he came to high school."
"Why the hell are you blocking the doorway?" Atobe yelled from inside the house. "And why won't you let the servants answer the door? It's their job, it's what their paid for!"
"Shut up Atobe! Why do you care if were blocking the doorway or not? Go back to staring at your phone!" Shishido yelled back at him.
"Is that grape Ponta I smell? Why the hell would you idiots buy grape ponta?!"
"Then why does the hallway reek of it, ahn?" Atobe asked, coming to the hallway. His eyes landed on Jirou, who looked absolutely pitiful, ginger hair glued to his head and forehead, face and shirt covered in soda. "What happened to you?" he asked.
"Nothing," Jirou sniffled.
Atobe opened his arms. "Come here," he said and gestured invitingly with his fingers. Sniffing, Jirou ran to his arms. Atobe sighed as he patted Jirou's head. He looked at Shishido who mouthed, 'Echizen' to him.
Atobe was about to ask Shishido to explain further, when he heard his phone ring in the other room and heard Kabaji answer it, "Usu?"
A pause and another, "Usu." It seemed like it was an agreeing usu.
This time the pause lasted longer and Atobe attempted to manoeuvre himself towards the living room while still holding Jirou. It was hard, but somehow he managed. He arrived just in time to hear the final, "Usu," and see Kabaji end the call.
Atobe wasn't happy. He missed Ryoma and the smell of grape ponta reminded him of the brat, not to mention Jirou was just the right size, so that if he closed his eyes, he could imagine he was holding Ryoma. But Jirou felt different in his arms and Ryoma had his own scent that Atobe had memorized. Despite how much of the vile drink the brat poured down his throat, he never smelled or tasted of it.
"Is ore-sama being an idiot, Kabaji?"
He wasn't sure if that was a confirming or a denying statement but suspected Kabaji had really meant what he'd said.
After his encounter with Jirou, Ryoma decided he needed someone to talk to, someone understanding and compassionate. He dialled Atobe's number.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but I really needed to talk to someone. You won't believe what just happened to me."
Atobe and Jirou had some free time during the day, so they decided to spend it by sitting on the grass near the library. It was a popular spot for couples and Atobe was starting to regret his suggestion that they come here. All the love in the air was so depressing when he was separated from his little kitten.
Though it was amusing, to see Sanada blush because Yoshida-san insisted on sitting on his lap.
"You could start dating again." Jirou said and Atobe's attention was directed towards him.
"No." Atobe shook his head. "I can't believe I'm admitting this, but I couldn't stand anymore meaningless flings."
"They don't have to be meaningless." Jirou spoke in hushed voice. "I'm sure you wouldn't have trouble finding some one else who could love you even more than… him."
"You can say his name, Jirou," Atobe said. "I'm not going to fall apart just because someone says Echizen Ryoma."
Jirou knew that. He just didn't want to say the name.
"And it wouldn't do any good, to find someone who would love me, because I could never love anyone else. Not the way I love him, anyway." Atobe dug around his bag until he found his schedule. "We only have a few minutes left." He informed Jirou, after glancing at his clock.
"So, you wouldn't even try, if someone would say that they love you?"
Atobe didn't really understand why Jirou was pushing the whole thing, but answered anyway. "No, I don't think I would. It wouldn't be fair to either. I'd just be miserable, comparing him to Ryoma all the time. I doubt anyone would even want to have a relationship with a person who's already in love with someone else."
Jirou sighed, looked down and blinked his tears away. When he looked at Atobe again, he smiled cheerfully. "Come on Keigo-chan! Lets go, or we'll be late!" He grinned, hopping to his feet.
"Wait up Jirou! We don't have to run!" Atobe chased him.
Jirou only ran faster. There was no way he could let Atobe see his face right now.
Atobe cursed when he tripped. Quickly he looked around to make sure no one had seen him fall face down on the ground in the parking lot. It seemed he was lucky. No one was around to witness his humiliation.
His irritation only grew when his phone started ringing. Without even checking who it was, he snapped it open and answered. "Moshi, moshi."
Atobe was affronted that Ryoma would mistake him for Kabaji. He opened his mouth and said, "Usu," not really sure why.
"Great. For a second there I thought you were Keigo. So, had a nice day?"
"Yeah, mine was terrible. I couldn't stop thinking about Keigo and that sneaky little bastard. I swear, if he tries something funny, I'll string him up from his balls and light his hair on fire!"
Atobe was too shocked to actually even think of an answer that contained understandable words. Then he remembered he was pretending to be Kabaji, and grateful that the man only had a one word vocabulary said, "Usu."
"Speaking of Keigo, you think he'd see me if I went to his house?"
"Usuu?" Atobe said, not even sure himself, would he see Ryoma, if the kid would come to see him. There was no denying that what Ryoma had done, or not done, to be more precise, was idiotic and insensitive. Moronic and stupid. Not to mention just simply so Ryoma. He missed Ryoma, with all his brattiness and not so hurtful insults. The simple truth was that Ryoma was an immature brat through and through out, and it was one of the reasons why Atobe enjoyed his company so much.
Did it really matter to him if Ryoma was ashamed of him, as long as he could be with him? The hell with his self respect and everything else! Atobe knew that in the end, despite his parting words to Ryoma, he was willing to take everything thrown his way, if it meant he would still have Ryoma.
"Yeah, me neither. That's why I started following him." Ryoma said.
"Us- You what?!" Atobe yelled.
"Behind you, genius." Slowly, Atobe turned around. Only a few feet away stood Ryoma, still holding the phone to his ear. "You can hang up now, Kabaji." Ryoma smirked.
Atobe narrowed his eyes and snapped his phone close. "I tell you not to call me, not only do you not do that, but you insult my friend and now, you've started to stalk me? Why wont' you just leave me alone?!" What Atobe really wanted to say, was 'I love you, never leave me again!' Still, he couldn't. His pride won out after all. No matter how much he just wanted to grab Ryoma and kiss the living day lights out of him, he couldn't.
"I know I've been an idiot. Sorry, Ill never do it again." Ryoma said, and Atobe had a sudden urge to pinch himself. "No, I might do it again, anyway. I'm still sorry. I never thought it'd be such a big deal to you, telling everyone. It never bothered me, if people knew or not. I don't like it when other people stick their noses in to my, no, our business. But that's the only reason, I swear! I love you, I really do and am not ashamed of you. Or us. Never was."
"Sweet words. Never knew you could be such a smooth talker." Atobe snarled. "I don't believe one word of it." Still, all he wanted was to pretend he believed it.
"Oh, now you're just being a drama queen!" Ryoma yelled.
"Don't even try to turn this around! My apprehensions about our relationship are justified and you can't deny it!!"
"Ah ha! You said our relationship! That means we're still together!" Ryoma grinned.
"The fuck it does!" Atobe screamed, but was prevented from expressing his thoughts further when Ryoma stepped closer, grabbed his collar and yanked him down to a heated kiss. "I'm still not ready to forgive you." Atobe murmured in to his ear.
"Sure, what ever," Ryoma answered and threw his arms around Atobe's neck. And just for emphasis, his legs around Atobe's waist.
Without removing his mouth from Ryoma's, Atobe glanced around, looking for a nice tree to hide under.
"Monkey King, meet my father, Stupid Old Man. Stupid Old Man, this is my boyfriend, the Monkey King." Ryoma introduced his father and his boyfriend to each other.
"Brat!" they both yelled. But Ryoma was unfazed as he was targeted by two furious glares. He simply smirked and petted Karupin. Keigo shouldn't have any qualms anymore. After all, he'd finally introduced him properly as his boyfriend now.