Word Count: 606
Warnings: You might see this as OOC.
A/N: Wrote this at the end of last school year, because it's how I felt when the older orchestra students left. Yes, I get easily attached. But I enjoyed the way it turned out. Because I think what we ALWAYS forget is that these characters are ONLY twelve, thirteen, fourteen, and occasionally fifteen (and they're guys, which brings their maturity level down waaaaay). So yeah.
Dedicated to: last years eighth graders. Though if you ever read this, I'll eat my rough copy.
It was the last day of school at Seigaku junior high, and the Seigaku Regulars had decided to come together for an end of the year party. The party was actually just about to end, seeing as school would be out in about ten minutes.
Of course, Ryoma, Momo, and Kaidoh were all very excited about this. A whole month off of school - what could be better? Plus, they would still have next year to look forward to!
But that next year would be without the other regulars.
Sure, they were all going to Seigaku high which wasn't that far from the junior high, but they wouldn't be there everyday. And as Ryoma began to contemplate this he realized…
No glomp from Eiji to start off each day.
No worried attempt to remove the boy from Oishi.
No Inui to sneak up behind the three of them and scare Eiji enough to make him let go.
No Fuji to smile evilly, drink Inui's horrible concoctions, and plan insane pranks that only he would find funny.
No Tezuka to punish them all for being late to practice because of these things and to make them run laps.
No Taka to hand a racket to so that the path was clear for running the laps.
And suddenly, Ryoma really didn't want the bell to ring.
Sure, they were older than him by a couple of years. And sure, they never really hung out much out side of school. And sure, they were honestly just teammates – people he used to help himself train.
But after thinking about it, he realized that he was really going to miss them.
Looking over at the small clock on the opposite wall, Ryoma realized that there were just six minutes left until he was a second year.
And that's when he realized that they were saying their goodbyes. That the regulars were attempting to casually talk, but the tension in the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. That deep inside of everybody there was a wave of sadness that was just waiting for the right moment to explode.
He blinked, trying hard to hold back the tears. Normally he wasn't an emotional person, but for some reason the overwhelming urge could not be suppressed.
He looked at the clock again. Four minutes.
Silently he gave in and allowed a few tears to escape and trickle down his cheeks just like, he suddenly realized, everybody around him. It was supposed to be a happy end-of-the-year, school's-out, party, but it was too sad to bear.
The next thing they all knew, the entire room was a mass of sobs and smiles and hugs. And even the normally indifferent Ryoma hugged his senpai-taichi. All of them. From Eiji who was hanging over Oishi and crying about how they "wouldn't see O'chibi or Momo-chan any more!" to Inui who actually had to remove his glasses and wipe away the fog that had been created by tears, to Fuji who had smiled sadly, tears streaming down his normally bright cheeks, and said he was going to miss the boy, to Taka who had hugged the boy, an all of them for he wouldn't be on the team next year, and said how he wished them the best in the future, to Tezuka who had even put on a small, sad, smile and shed a few tears, ending with a pat on the back and his famous "Yudan sezu ni ikou".
And as the last bell of the year rang, Echizen Ryoma wondered why it was so hard to say goodbye.