Chapter 3- Fuji Enters The Scene
Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis or any of its characters.
Watching Akira run excitedly to his mother made Tezuka wonder about said woman. She must have raised her child well considering the amount of enthusiasm his nearly apathetic student showed at her arrival. He had never seen any of his students act this way before and the bespectacled man was quite interested to find out more about this Mrs. Echizen.
He didn't know why but none of the teachers present tried to scold or reprimand the students for grouping at the front gates. All of them ogling at the black sports car lined up by the driveway and the people beside it. Tezuka recognized one of them, the smaller figure, to be Akira Echizen. His student was talking to an older person, a woman.
Something about her made Tezuka's eyes narrow slightly in suspicion as if knowing her from somewhere. That black-greenish hair made his heart ache uncomfortably and he swore he remembered seeing a smile as sweet as that from sometime in his life. Then his heart gave a painful clench as the woman raised her head up from listening to her child and revealed two familiar blazing orbs of gold. Those eyes focused on him and time seemed to stop between them. A fleeting moment, a sudden realization.
But it all happened so fast because the woman immediately whipped her head away, as if not wanting to see him. What was that about? Tezuka was about to go there and ask the mother what was wrong when he saw Fuji walk past him and head towards mother and son.
Akira had just ended his little daily report and Ryoma tried to give him his usual smile, hoping that his baby wouldn't notice his inner conflict with himself because he swore that he just didn't see who he taught he just did. But then again, Akira was always so observant. Just like his mother.
"Mama? What's wrong?" identical golden robs looked up at him with concern.
He plastered a fake smile and said to his son, "Nothing's wrong, dear. You shouldn't worry yourself. I'm fine."
Akira said nothing about it but he knew that his mother was lying. His mama was definitely not okay, he must be affected by something or someone that his mother would go through the trouble of masking his pain from him. He would always do this whenever he remembers something painful from his past. Maybe she saw someone familiar?
"Good morning madam." A soft, gentle voice greeted beside them, startling both Akira and Ryoma. They did not notice the man get close.
After a moment of surprise, Akira recognized the smiling man as his school principal,
"Fuji-san, it's been a long time since our last meeting." Ryoma greeted with a small smile of his own, extending an arm out to shake hands with the man. The Echizen kid only looked at both of them, surprised once again. His mother knew their principal personally?
"Well, it sure has for us to not know you had a very adorable son." Fuji's smile widened while Ryoma rolled his eyes. Akira, on the other hand, seemed affronted with the description on him.
Sending a glare at the brunette man, one that Fuji was so familiar with, he retorted with a pout. "I am not adorable!"
Giving a chuckle, Fuji only ruffled the small boy's golden-brown hair. "Of course you're not, Akira-chan. You're just cute." At this, Akira blushed a beet red and almost became livid with anger if his mother had not held on to his shoulders and held him back.
"Please don't refer to him like that or I might just file sexual harassment and pedophilia against you, Fuji-san." Ryoma said with a bone-chilling smile. One smile that made Fuji remember his sadistic days back in Seigaku High School.
"Ah… I'm sorry. I forgot you became an elite lawyer now. I'll try to refrain myself from nicknaming your son."
"You really should Fuji-san."
"Please, just call me Syuusuke. We're friends after all. Aren't we, Ryoma-chan?" the school principal titled his head slightly, looking innocent like a child. He laughed in glee inside his head at the vein that popped on his former kouhai's temple.
"Ryoma-san would be enough, Fuji-san." Ryoma emphasized on his name, making sure the man would get the hint.
Raising his hands up in defense, "Of course. As you wish."
"So why have you come to me? There must be something you wanted to speak about, right?"
"Actually… no, there isn't anything I want to speak to you about. I just wanted to piss somebody off, that's all." Fuji explained with his irritating smile in place.
Narrowing his eyes at Fuji's reply, Ryoma kind of guessed who the tensai wanted to irate. "Please leave me out of this Fuji-san. Especially that man. I do not want him to get mixed up in this and I don't want him knowing the truth. Do I make myself clear?"
Opening his blue eyes, all traces of a smile were gone from his face and Fuji replied with his bone-chilling voice. "Saa…"
Narrowing his eyes some more at Fuji, it was only after a while did Ryoma snap out of his glare and bid goodbye to his former senpai. "Goodbye Fuji-san." Both he and his son said at the same time before going into the sports car and sped off to their new home.
Akira noticed how his mother had his hands clenched tightly around the steering wheel. This made him feel unnerved and suspected that whoever that man that his mother was talking about, he was sure that it was the same man that caused his mother to cry so many times in the past.
Shifting his eyes from the road for a brief second, he glanced at his son with a small fake smile on his face. "Yes, what is it Akira?"
With somewhat sad-looking golden eyes, he looked at his mother and noticed the worried and reassuring tone in her voice. He knew he would never bear to see his mother sad so instead he brushed away the topic and said in a happy voice, hoping to cheer his mother up. "Are we there yet?"
"Soon, Akira. We're almost there."
Seeing the black sports car speed out of school grounds, many of the spectators went back inside the school, grumbling to themselves. Fuji had stayed where he was even when the car was already out of view. Tezuka weaved through the leaving crowd and went to Fuji and started demanding answers.
"Just who is Echizen Akira, anyway? Answer me Fuji. I know you know the answer." He used his scary captain voice at him, trying to milk Fuji of the answers he wanted.
But when he thought that the tensai would just cave in like that, he was wrong. "He said he didn't want you to know the truth." Fuji said in a solemn voice with his eyes open and looking straight at Tezuka. If the brunette teacher had any been a lesser man, he would have squirmed on the spot. "… and frankly Tezuka, with what you did to him before, I have to say you're very unworthy to know the truth."
Tezuka felt like he had just been shot with an arrow through the heart. 'What? What was Fuji talking about? He couldn't possibly know of… wait, then that meant that the woman with Echizen Akira could have been…' guilt coursed through his veins in heavy amounts but at the same time long buried hope started resurfacing at this new discovery. Echizen Ryoma was back, just not the same as before.
When Fuji started to leave, Tezuka grabbed his wrist and forced him to stay back. "Wait!" he had to confirm it first whether that woman really was his Ryoma or his hoping might just be in vain. "That woman… Akira's mother… is she, I mean… is he, you know, Ryoma?"
The other brunette had his back at Tezuka, refusing to meet with his eyes. When the bespectacled other thought that Fuji was not going to reply, he was shocked when he heard, "Yes… Akira's mother… his mother is Ryoma." Tezuka's hope came back at full force but when he was about to ask Fuji more questions, the blue-eyed principal said in a cold voice that could rival Atobe's. "That is all I can say Tezuka. Like I said before, you have no right to know what happened to Ryoma in the years he had been away."
At his words, the grip he had on Fuji wrist went lax and he let it go with a defeated expression on his face. 'Why can't I know what happened to Ryoma?' He heard Fuji leaving the field and entering the school building. He felt the drops of rain that fell on his back as he continued to stay there like an immobile statue. Those drops mingled with his tears as he watched them fall to the ground. His head was bowed down low and hid his shameful face.
But thinking back to when he left Ryoma, he supposed that indeed, he really deserved the grief he felt right now at being thrown out of the loop, at being denied the truth of Ryoma's disappearance.
He supposed he didn't deserve his love anymore.
A/N: Aww… I feel sorry for Tezuka. Don't you?
I would like to thank all those who favorite-d this and alerted this story. You don't know what I felt when I found out that there were 70 people who put this on their story alert.
*Oh, I also have a new tezuryo story in my PC just waiting to be posted. Hope you catch it and hope that those reading 'Distant' will not be disappointed with the up and coming chapter 3.
Reviews are always appreciated.