Kannon was busy reading a rather thick textbook in his study room when someone knocked the door from outside. He ruffled his hair, making it messier than usual and said gruffly, "Come in." He didn't bother looking up and said, "What's the matter Ami?"
Ami, who just entered the room, nodded once as she closed the door behind her. She was still wearing casual clothes and her face was slightly flushed as if she made herself do a marathon. "Kannon-san," she called.
The male heir sighed. "You really don't have to call me like that. Just Kannon." He said.
She ignored what he said to her and told him, "I believe there might be a way to regain Kaori-san's eyesight."
Kannon snapped his head and stared at her. "Are you sure about that?"
She nodded. "A professor gave an announcement earlier that we would be having a seminar and one of the speakers is a well-renowned ophthalmologist whose treatments are mostly successful."
"I see." He put aside the book he was using and massaged his temples. "You don't mind if you---?"
"Of course not! Anything for Kaori-san!" She said quickly and blushed after realizing what she did. "W-well, I'd better get changed." She said randomly. Bowing again, she left the room quietly.
He sighed deeply and stretched his arms, yawning a bit after he was left alone in the room again. He stood up, approached the wide window behind him and stared at the darkening sky. "There's still hope, then."
Marui carried a bouquet of prim roses as he made his way toward Kaori's house. It was a weekend and he called at her place the day before, informing them that he'll be arriving there around midday. He was humming, not feeling tired at the very least considering that he had the weakest stamina in the Rikkai Dai team of regulars. When he arrived in front of their doorstep, he pressed the doorbell and waited.
He heard a couple of noises inside that somewhat piqued his interest but decided to ignored it. When the door was finally opened by Ami, he said cheerfully, "Hey Ami,"
"A-ah Bunta-san, hello to you." She greeted rather oddly.
Marui noticed this and asked, sounding concerned, "Is there something wrong?"
"Of course not! I just sort of ran from the kitchen, that's all. I'm just out of breath." She told him convincingly.
"Are you baking chocolate cookies?" he asked hopefully.
"I was planning to since you called yesterday. I baked blueberry muffins just now if you don't mind." She said.
"Those are still good." He nodded. "So where's Kaori-chan?" he asked.
"She's at the gardens." Ami answered as she let him inside.
"Okay. I'll go to her, then." He said with a smile as he walked his way there.
After a couple of minutes, Ami checked the hallway if he's gone. She went back inside the kitchen where another person stood behind a wall and said in a low tone, "He's at the gardens now, Seiichi-san."
Seiichi let out a small sigh and smiled slightly. "Maybe I shouldn't have visited today." He chuckled.
"I might agree with you on this one." She nodded. She offered him the pastry that she baked and added, "You should leave before he goes here. You know how much he craves for sweets."
"Yes, I should go now." He agreed. He took one piece and checked outside. "You don't mind if you help me check if the coast is really clear, right?" he said.
"Of course not. Come." She walked with him through the hallway until they finally reached the entrance door. "You'd better run now." She said as she closed the door. When she turned around, she saw Marui standing a couple of feet away. "B-bunta-san." She stammered a bit.
"Who's outside just now?" he questioned.
"Just a salesman." Ami answered quickly.
"Oh. He just looked like Mura-buchou because of his hair." He shrugged. "So, can I have the muffins?"
"Sure." That was close.
It's been a week since the Kantou finals and the Rikkai Dai regulars heard that Seigaku won over Hyotei. Seiichi, Sanada and Renji decided to make their training menu harder than before, adding laps, player matches, training time, and more. When Sanada realized that it was 6pm, he shouted, "That's enough for today!"
Akaya and Marui were the first to collapse on the ground, panting deeply. "Uwa…Sanada-sempai's pushing us a bit too far." The junior ace panted.
"Seiichi's even letting him do all of this to us. I can't believe. Are they trying to kill us?" Marui breathed as he slowly reached for his water bottle.
"No." Hiroshi said shortly. He took a small towel from the bench, removed his glasses, and wiped his face that was covering in sweat. "They're determined to win this year. That includes us as well." He added.
"Of course I wanted to win but damnit, Renji's training menus are bound to kill either one of us." The self-proclaimed genius said.
"Just stop your yapping. If you can't even stand this kind of training, how are we supposed to win the nationals, huh?" Niou said suddenly as he carelessly removed his shirt. He took his water bottle and used its remaining contents on his head as though to cool him down. "Rikkai Dai regulars don't need whiners, you know." He said seriously.
Marui glared at him and said through gritted teeth, "I'm not whining."
"Sure you are." He snorted. He picked up his racket and his shirt and went inside the club room to get changed.
Marui began muttering under his breath until he felt a hand rested on his shoulder. He looked up and saw Jackal looking at him. "Come on." The brazilian said. "You shouldn't get angry about what he said. I know you're just as serious as wanting to win the nationals just like the rest of us."
"Yeah." He scratched his head a bit before standing up. "Let's get back inside the room."
After a couple of minutes, all of the members were dressed in their clean clothes. They separated themselves into small groups and part their ways. The sannin bakemono were together as they walked, talking about plays and data until Sanada said something that caught the rikkai buchou off. "You're hiding something from us, Seiichi."
The rikkai buchou replied calmly, "What do you mean by that?"
"Seiichi, we're not that clueless and you know that." Renji said in a matter-of-fact tone. "It'll be easier for you if you'll be honest with Genichirou and I."
He didn't say anything for a moment, so did the other two, and continued to walk until they reached a two way path. "I'll tell you when the time comes." He said finally as he bid them and went to the left direction.
The remaining two watched him until he was out of sight. "We have to take his word on this one." Renji said, sounding a bit amused.
"Hn." He nodded. "He should be."
Seiichi continued to walk, his pace becoming slower until he stopped. He was at the park, the one where he first met Kaori. He watched the remaining people as he contemplated about what happened earlier and before then. Do they know that I've been visiting her? He asked himself mentally.
If they do know, they would've talked about it straight to the point. The same voice at the back of his mind said. You should tell them.
Should I? He decided not to dwell on it and continued to walk back home. After a moment or so, he finally arrived in front of his home's front doorstep and muttered, "When the time comes."
The older brother snapped back to reality and looked confused toward his younger sibling, Kaori. "What is it? Is there something you want to ask me?" he said gently. They were at the living room, him reading a pocketbook while the girl was gently petting Ichirou.
"You've been staying inside the study room for days now, Ami told me." She told him. "You should rest." She added, voicing concern over him.
He shrugged and said casually, "Don't worry about me, I'm doing fine." Especially since there's a way to regain your eyesight.
"Are you sure? You sound a bit stressed." She insisted.
"No, I'm not." He pressed on. "Anyway, how's Yuki-buchou doing? The nationals are starting, I've heard." He said hastily.
"He's doing fine. The whole team's training harder. They really wanted to win this year." She answered him. "And please don't try to change the topic. You're definitely hiding something from me." She frowned slightly. "Why can't you tell me?"
He voiced sounded almost pleading and he wanted to tell her the news but he wouldn't want to bring her hopes up since they haven't contacted the said ophthalmologist. "Not now, Kaori. I'll tell you when everything is clear." He said reassuringly.
She stayed silent until she slowed nodded in response. "I'll wait, then."
After a couple of more weeks had passed, the teams for the semi-finals for the nationals had been decided and as usual Rikkai Dai Fuzoku was one of the eight teams that entered. The students congratulated them; cheering and supported them since they all knew that it was their last chance to win the nationals for the second time (they lost during their first year in high school for the reason that the current regulars were not that talented).
All of the regulars were inside the club room, wherein Seiichi stood in front of them. On his right was Sanada and on the other side was Renji. Niou and Hiroshi sat together as usual and beside the trickster was Akaya who was trying to keep himself awake. Seated near Renji were Jackal and Marui who was eating from sweet and sour strips.
"Okay since everyone's here, let's start." The rikkai buchou began. "As we expected, most of the teams that we encountered from Junior high entered the semi-finals in the nationals."
Renji took his place and continued, "The teams that got in the semi-finals other than us are Fudomine," the corner of his lips twitched upwards because of Kippei who informed him of Sanada's current status, "Josei Shounan," Niou choked a bit when he remembered a certain voluptuous coach, "Shitenhoji, Higa," the members narrowed the eyes when the team was mentioned. It was common knowledge that the Higa team played dirty to win and for them, it was unforgivable. "Rokkaku, Midoriyama, and Seigaku."
Niou grinned. "As expected, Seigaku entered the semi-finals."
"Of course, they're stronger than the last time we played against them." Hiroshi said casually. "Especially that Echizen Ryoma." He added.
Both Sanada and Seiichi reacted somewhat when the Seigaku's ace was mentioned. "Ah that's true. We can't be careless, especially with that team." The rikkai buchou smiled. I have to pay him back, after all.
"So which team are we going up against first?" Akaya asked.
Renji answered, "Midoriyama. They're strong point is on the doubles than singles. They won't be that much of a threat."
Sanada nodded. "Fudomine will be against Higa, Rokkaku against Josei Shounan, and Seigaku will be up against Shitenhoji."
"Now if we look at each team's capabilities and strong points, the possible teams who will enter the finals would be Fudomine, Rokkaku if they played their cards well against Josei Shounan, and as regards with Seigaku and Shitenhoji, it's not much clear. Both of them are strong teams." Renji told them.
"Don't forget us." Niou called, smirking.
The fukubuchou's lip twitched slightly and continued, "That being settled, our next opponent would be Fudomine."
Jackal shot a furtive look on Akaya. I just hope you would play less violently this time.
Akaya caught the brazilian staring at him. He gave him a cheery grin and looked back at Sanada and Seiichi. Oh I'll play nicely. Right.
Seiichi held up a hand and said calmly, "Since that's settled, the meeting's over. There will be no practice for today. We need all the rest we can get for our first opponents."
Akaya and Marui stood up and cheered. "Thanks mura-buchou!" they said together.
Jackal sweat dropped while the rest ignored them completely as they walked out. "Come on Bunta, let's go." He said to him.
"Yeah! Let's go the bakeshop and buy some cakes! I'm starving!" the redhead said happily as he ran out of the room. "Cake! Muffins! Sweets!" he sang.
As Akaya left the room as well, Jackal locked the door and walked out, following Marui who was at the school gates. While walking, he noticed some changes from his doubles partner. He seemed more cheerful than before but he caught (or maybe he imagined) a drop of insecurity. He deduced that it might have been related with his current relationship with Kaori but then again, why would he be insecure?
Then a realization entered his mind. He was being a bit stiff when he was talking with Yukimura-buchou for the past three months. But then again, why?
Putting two on two together, Jackal slowly understood something. Was he insecure because mura-buchou? I did overhear Sanada and Renji talking about Yukimura-buchou something. I believe they said he was visiting someone. Who was that person again? They did say it's connected with Bunta.
He continued to contemplate and let Marui ramble the usual things in life. They entered the bakeshop that his doubles partner prefers best he told him that he'll sit in one corner and wait for him. As the redhead began staring at the sweets and decide what to buy, he resumed thinking.
The only person who's connected with Bunta is…Kaori-san. The brazilian frowned slightly. Why would buchou be acquainted with her? He met her with Niou and Renji on the same day as us supposedly, though they somewhat scared her at first.
He tried to remember one small detail that was on the tip of his tongue but in the end, failed to do so. So Bunta's insecure because of Yukimura-buchou and the connection between them is Kaori-san. He and Kaori-san are dating, that's what Bunta said anyway but I guess it's true. Kaori-san doesn't seem to be the lying type. And about buchou…
He snapped back to reality and saw Marui staring at him worryingly in front of him, carrying a huge bag of sweets in his arms. "Ah Bunta." He said.
"You're in daze for a while." He said quickly. "Is there something bothering you? Problems?" he said inquiringly.
He shook his head once and said convincingly, "No, there's nothing bothering me or any problem you have in mind. I'm just thinking about something quite intruiging." He checked the time on his watch and said to him, "Come on, we'd better keep going."
Marui nodded and the both of them began walking. "So what were you thinking about anyway?"
"Nothing important." He said simply. Sorry I can't tell you.
He stared at him for a while and gave up. "Fine, but tell me if it's okay." He said, pouting a bit.
"Hai hai." He said lightly. As they separate their ways, he gave out a small sigh. Maybe I should ask Sanada and the rest about this. I have a feeling something might happen. Jackal continued his way back to his house, thinking all of the things he thought. When he arrived in front of his doorstep, he thought aloud, "I guess it's for the best. Waiting."
He took out his key from his bag and unlocked the door. He swung the door open, entered inside, and closed the door behind him.
Sorry for the uber long wait. I mean, the last the time I've updated this story was…May? So it's been almost 6 months! So sorry!
Hmm…this chapter is so random in my opinion. I guess the main point of this chapter is that they have to "wait" until the right time comes and everything will be revealed to the. Ehh so much for writer's block , I can't believe myself. Well, like any other human being, the reason why I wasn't able to post was because of schoolwork. Oh yeah, and lots of cleaning because of that stupid typhoon "Ondoy" or "Ketsena."
I may or may not update soon…I have a lot of things in mind and mostly they about financial problems (sucks to be middle class). Hmm please review though. Thanks!