A sudden whim of mine to write this, after reading a book about cats. Any resemblence to other fics on this site? I did not copy them, period. Anyone who wants to claim copyright to this storyline can message me POLITELY and I'll tear down this fic happily. Politeness makes the world go round, you know.
I'll take a break from writing Tenipuri Crossover as I'm stumped on that one. Hopefully when I'm juggling this one I'll come up with fresh ideas. Be kind with your critisism as I'm not too good at writing stories that actually mean anything. I'll love you to bits if you leave a review, and it might even make me write faster and update the next chapter quickly. (I know, it's blackmail. Or a bribe. Depends on how you look at it.)
That said, ONWARDS!
Momoshiro stared incredulously at the jar filled to the brim with dark, slimy liquid.
"Buchou, surely it's illegal to brew this kind of juice?" He asked, staring from Tezuka to the juice's creator, the infamous Inui Sadaharu.
"My word is final." Tezuka's voice was flat and unemotional. "The last four people on the practice test warm-ups today will be drinking this as a punishment. Perhaps next time you will reconsider forgoing your practice during the last five days of celebration."
Momoshiro winced. What Tezuka said was true. During the past five days of celebrating New Year, Momoshiro had completely neglected following his training regime as Inui had very strongly suggested that he do, and on a regular basis. He, along with Ryoma, had binged outrageously on the burgers apparently offered at 'half-price' and proved too tempting to pass by. Still, now faced with the almost certain prospect of swallowing some disgusting gunk that Inui had concocted was too much for him to handle.
Ryoma, standing just behind him, had a sort of grimace on his face. The prodigious first year had apparently not done any training as well, having tagged along with his sempai.
"Maa, Tezuka, maybe it's a bit harsh on them." A light, melodious voice said pleasantly. "Inui's juices aren't…gentle on the stomach, either, and besides, it's the festive New Year. One can hardly fault them if they splurge a little."
"A little, Fuji?" Tezuka's voice was calm and dangerously sharp. "I specifically ordered everyone to stick to the training schedule and I also told them that I fully expected them to be in top shape when we reconvege. Now I find that not only they didn't keep to the regime, they ignored it completely."
Tezuka's sentences were beginning to have too many italics in it for Momoshiro's peace of mind. He willed himself to stay as silent and inconspicuous as possible. The next sentence out of Tezuka's mouth, if he knew his buchou well enough, would be to order them to run twenty laps (or possibly more) around the school if someone provoked him more.
Someone in the team sneezed.
"Twenty laps around the school, now!"
After completing the twenty punishment laps, Inui and Tezuka wasted no time in setting the Seigaku tennis regulars to work by making them perform several exercises that were aimed at improving the agility and speed of reactions. One of these included Inui and Tezuka firing off several tennis balls each at individuals, forcing them to dodge the incoming balls. The speed and intensity of the balls increased rapidly until three or more of the balls hit a part of the body. Inui assessed them on how many balls they managed to dodge, and how quickly they did so.
Momoshiro and Ryoma, needless to say, did poorly compared to the rest of the team. Ryoma did slightly better than his sempai, however, due to his smaller frame and lighter body. Momoshiro dodged the first twenty balls or so, then a rapid succession of three whacks threw him out of the game. Inui was giving Momoshiro very gleeful looks when the boy made his way off the court, apparently happy that he was going to have a beta-tester for his juice soon.
"At this rate, we'll end up in the hospital!" Momoshiro hissed to Ryoma while rubbing his elbow where one of the balls had struck.
Ryoma shrugged. "Better the hospital than the morgue, where we'll definitely end up if we taste Inui-sempai's juice!" He hissed back. Momoshiro conceded the logic in this, and tried to pick up his pace.
The final test of the day was, as usual, a two-kilometre run. The last four in the race would almost be certainly the ones to 'sample' the juice sitting so innocently on the bench nearby, and everyone was ready to fight until they weren't the ones. It was a dog eat dog world, after all. Only Fuji seemed unconcerned about all the tense energy in the air, but then again, who knew how a sadistic mind like Fuji's ticked.
Peeeep! There went the shrill whistle of Inui's, and while Tezuka stood by observing their performance critically, seven of them shot off the starting line. Kawamura gained the lead rapidly, due to the fact that he was brandishing a racket in one hand.
"That's not fair!" Momoshiro howled as the English-screaming tennis player dashed past him effortlessly. Despite his best efforts, he found that he was slowly falling behind the others, and that made him panic.
Even Ryoma began to pass him, although they were still among the last. Behind Kawamura (who seemed impossibly far ahead) was Oishi and Kaidoh, both of them taking it in a steady stride. Slightly behind them was Eiji, running for all he was worth, and Fuji followed close behind.
Damnit. He couldn't win at this rate. It was time to try a trick, and fast. Momoshiro could see the finishing line looming before him like a death sign.
"Watch out! Kirihara's coming!!" He screamed as loudly as he could in order to distract them. Later, he wondered to himself why he had chosen to yell Akaya's name. Perhaps it was that slightly demonic nature of his that made others pause. Anyway, it seemed to work - for a while, at least. Kaidoh turned with his eyes uncertain - and while he was looking for a Kirihara that wasn't there, he tripped over a thick stick that was lying in his way. He crashed heavily to the ground. Oishi hesitated, wondering if he should help his friend and risk the horror of Inui Juice, or continue, and that moment's hesitation cost him his second-place lead as Eiji shot past him.
"Nyaa!" Eiji stuck out a tongue as he sped past. It was nothing personal, of course. All they wanted to do was to avoid Inui's specially-formulated poison designed to kill them very slowly from the inside.
Oishi abandoned any thoughts of goodwill and picked up his pace, determinedly dogging Eiji. Momoshiro wanted to grin with delight as he pulled up with Kaidoh…and passed him. Then his smile faded as he found out that he was still in the last four. True, behind him was Kaidoh and surprisingly, Fuji, but that didn't omit the fact that he was still in the last four. And the finishing line was very close up ahead now, less than twenty metres ahead. Kawamura had already crossed the line, and was sitting relieved under a tree. Oishi and Eiji were straight ahead Momoshiro, and he put on a burst of speed, hoping to overtake them in a last minute sprint.
The last few seconds seemed to waltz past in slow motion. Momoshiro desperately trying to pull himself out of the last four. Ryoma following close behind his sempais. Fuji jogging nonchalantly behind everyone, an amused smile on his face. Kaidoh looking stricken as he tried to regain a hopeless lead.
Inui's whistle blew again to signal the end of the race. Momoshiro didn't even know whether he'd finally managed to make it past Oishi and Eiji, or whether he'd failed miserably in his attempt. He fell, panting hard, to the ground, groping until he found a cool towel someone held out to him. He mumbled a muffled thanks as he buried his face in the towel.
"The first person to drink - " Inui intoned eerily, making everyone look up. He carefully poured a whole cupful of the juice into a paper cup. "Fuji. Here you go."
Apparently, the mild brown-haired tensai was the last to cross the line. He smiled cheerfully as he took the cup from Inui. "Ah well." He shrugged. "I hope this tastes as…interesting…as your previous ones, Inui-san."
Momoshiro shuddered as the tensai seemingly drained the cup as easily as he would finish off a bottle of water, without the slightest wince or twitch of the face. Fuji licked his lips lightly after finishing the juice, as if considering its taste, then said nothing.
"Mmn." Inui muttered. He looked highly unsatisfied, then scribbled something in his green notebook which had appeared in his hands. Once or twice, he looked up, but Fuji didn't seemed to have changed at all. Finally, he sighed, and poured out a second cup.
"Next - Kaidoh." Only Inui could have sounded so sinister and ominous while saying a name. With the exception of Tezuka, perhaps. "Second last to cross the line."
Kaidoh made a sort of anxious hissing, gulping sound. Everyone else breathed a sigh of relief knowing that it wasn't them…yet. Only Kawamura and Tezuka felt thoroughly safe, the former being the first to cross the line, the latter having not participated at all.
Believing that he should at least bear his punishment as a man, Kaidoh took the cup from Inui without protesting. Still, his baleful eyes searched for and pinpointed Momoshiro. Baka Momo…if that sly boy hadn't tried to trick them, he wouldn't have taken his eyes off the path and tripped over something as trivial as a branch. He'd stuck vigorously to his regime, and here he was getting punished for it? The world was cruel, Kaidoh thought, and it was that thought that helped to brace his stomach for the onslaught of bacteria that Inui's juices most probably had, and none of them benevolent.
The thing that surprised him the most when he drank the juice was that it actually tasted nice. Kaidoh blinked, licked his lips thoroughly to make sure that it wasn't a hoax, then finished the drink down to the last drop. He was aware of the horrified looks Momoshiro, Ryoma, Oishi and Eiji were giving him, and he now knew how Fuji felt when he tossed back one of Inui's creations without a blink of an eye.
It was fun.
To add to the surprise, the juice didn't rumble restlessly in his stomach, or cause him to have such crippling stomach-aches that often he quite believed that he would literally die on the spot. Kaidoh handed the cup back to Inui, rather triumphantly, and Inui began to look slightly alarmed that no one appeared to be dying due to his juice. He scribbled away in his notebook, and sniffed at the remaining juice in the jar as if checking for defects or contamination.
"Well…" Inui straightened from his inspection and pushed his glasses up a little higher on his nose. "The third person to drink is…Ryoma-kun."
Ryoma scowled in defeat. Momoshiro began to breathe a little easier, began to allow a tiny sliver of hope through that he had actually passed from the bottom four destined to drink The Juice. True, Fuji and Kaidoh didn't show any adverse reactions, and that was a good sign. Still, Momoshiro had had too many encounters with Inui's Juices before, and he wasn't eager to make friends with it again anytime soon.
Ryoma, upon sampling the juice, wasn't as restrained in his reaction as Fuji and Kaidoh. He blinked enormous golden eyes, lowered the cup, and remarked critically, "Inui-sempai, I think you've given me the wrong juice. This one tastes good."
Again, Inui began thoroughly checking the juice left in the jar. Momoshiro glanced suspiciously at the juice. Tastes good? That slimy looking piece of gunk? He watched Ryoma finish the drink easily, without winces or anything that might indicate something negative. Even if he was the fourth and had to drink the juice…it couldn't be anything horrible if Ryoma, that little prat, actually liked it, right? And thus Momoshiro's mind worked this way.
Finding nothing wrong with his unique creation, Inui frowned and called out the last 'fated' name to Drink The Juice.
"Momoshiro." Although Inui sounded less than happy about having someone sample the juice.
Momoshiro accepted the cup tentatively, peering into the murky depths before tasting. To his infinite surprise, it tasted as good as Ryoma claimed it to be. He could even make out a hint of fried bacon.
Yesss!! Now, if only Inui made drinks like this more often! He tossed back the drink triumphantly, giving a thoroughly defeated Inui the empty cup. Mmmm! Bacon!
For a minute, there was utter silence among the team members. Kawamura, Eiji and Oishi gaped open-mouthed. History was being written in the Seigaku tennis team. No one, absolutely no one, had ever survived Inui's Juices before, excluding Fuji. And now there were four survivors standing calm-as-you-please before them, even to the point of smiling! It was nothing short of miraculous.
Until the popping noises began.
Sudden tendrils of smoke crept among the team members, enveloping everything within a ten-centimetre radius in clouds of thick, opaque mist. Within seconds, no one could see anyone, and they began calling and blundering through the mist, clueless and baffled as to where the mist had come from.
"Where are you?"
"What - "
"BURNING!!!! GREAT-O MAN!!!" Oh. Someone must've passed Kawamura a racket.
There was a loud pop, louder than any pops they'd heard previously, and the mist cleared as suddenly as it had came. Oishi found himself sitting on the hard ground, blinking in confusion. He had one hand wrapped around Ryoma's hand, he remembered dimly, in order not to get separated. Why was he feeling something…furry?
Oishi looked down, and got the fright of his life.
He was holding on to a richly sleeked cat, with dark green fur and it was glaring at him with enormous, baleful golden eyes.
Any spelling mistakes? Let me know and I'll straighten them out.