A week had passed since Fuji and Ryoma went on their date. They went back to focusing on getting Ryoma's skill level back up. No one asked how things went or what they did. Even Eiji, the one who wanted them to go out in the first place, didn't even question things. It was as if the event never happened.
"Lets start with 5 laps around the courts today," Tezuka decided. He looked up at the forming clouds. "We'll then do some practice matches."
"Right!" everyone called as they began to run.
The captain turned to the court where Fuji and Ryoma practiced. "You two are going to participate today too. Start running."
Without saying a word, the two boys tried to catch up with the others. Ryoma's pace wasn't as fast as it used to be, but it could be seen that he was trying his hardest.
"These clouds…it's going to start raining soon," Oishi stared up at the sky.
"We should run too," Tezuka ignored what Oishi had said and lightly jogged towards the fence.
"Ah, right," a concern look formed on Oishi's face. He knew that the captain was up to something.
After the five laps, everyone grouped around the captain and vice-captain. Oishi watched Tezuka as he looked at all the regulars.
"The freshman can practice in one court in the back," Tezuka pointed to the right corner. "Anyone who's not a regular can play against who they please. They'll have the empty courts in the front. As for the Regulars, you guys stay here. I will pair everyone up."
Those who weren't Regulars went to practice. They quickly began their matches.
"Inui versus Kikumaru, Oishi versus Kaidoh, Momoshiro versus Kawamura, and Fuji versus Echizen."
"What?" Oishi turned to Tezuka. "Echizen is still recovering. He shouldn't be placed in these matches."
"He hasn't had a match in awhile. It's best to see where his skills are as of right now. Fuji is the one that has been working with him, so he'll be able to play at the level that seems the best," Tezuka looked at Fuji and Echizen. "Do either of you have a problem with that?"
"Not at all," Fuji smiled. "I think he's ready for a match against me."
Ryoma nodded and pulled at his hat. "Just remember our deal, senpai…and you better not go easy on me."
"We'll start with Fuji versus Echizen then. Echizen will have the first serve," Tezuka decided.
Fuji and Echizen walked over to the empty court. Ryoma held his racket in his right hand and began to bounce the tennis ball. Tossing it up in the air, the ball made contact racket. Going across the court, the ball hit the ground. When it bounced up, it twisted towards Fuji's face.
"No way," Fuji quickly jumped back. The ball flew past him. "That was fast."
"I told you, Syusuke-senpai, don't hold back," Ryoma served once again.
This time, Fuji was able to react to the twist serve. He hit the ball back to the other side of the court. Ryoma, not giving into Fuji's shots, ran to get to the ball. The two went back and forth hitting the ball. Neither of them were giving into the other's skill.
"Ochibi! He looks like he's almost better than he was before the accident," Eiji was shocked at the power the younger boy was showing.
"40-30! This is it, Echizen!" Momoshiro cheered for his friend. "Just one more point and you beat Fuji-senpai."
Oishi watched Ryoma hit the ball. He could tell that he was starting to feel the pain of over doing it. "Tezuka, Echizen is―"
"I know," Tezuka was also paying close attention to what was going on. "We have to let him continue. Only Echizen can stop himself."
Ryoma skidded across the ground. As he jumped up, he hit the tennis ball. It bounced on Fuji's side of the court in what looked like a B shape. Fuji couldn't get to the ball in time. Ryoma had just barely won the game with that shot.
"You did it, Ryoma," Fuji softly giggled. "You've done an amazing job at recovering."
"I did…" Ryoma dropped to his knees. His whole body began to twitch as tears fell down his cheeks. "I…thank you…" Ryoma toppled over on his side.
"Ryoma!" Fuji jumped over the net and sat by his side. "Are you ok?"
"Good job, Ochibi!" Eiji, along with the others, gathered by the two.
"You did it, Echizen."
"That was amazing!"
Tezuka stared down at the younger boy. "Welcome back, Echizen."
"Does this mean I can still be a Regular?" Ryoma's breathing was heavy.
"Things wouldn't be the same if you weren't, Echizen," squatting down, Oishi handed Ryoma a water bottle. "You've strained your body a lot with this match, but I know you'll continue to grow as a tennis player."
"Thank you, senpai," Ryoma sipped at the water. He sat up then turned to look at Fuji. "Hey, I beat you and did Drive B. You know what that means, right?"
Fuji pressed his lips against Ryoma's cheek. "Of course, Ryoma."
Echizen stared at the Regulars. A childish smile formed on his face. "I love Syusuke-senpai, so please keep your hands off him."
The group began to laugh. Even Tezuka had to turn away to make sure no one saw the small smile that formed on his face.
"Ryoma, lets keep growing stronger together," Fuji opened his icy blue eyes. "And, as we're growing stronger together…our love will grow as well."
The younger boy nodded. "Only with you."
"I wouldn't want it to be with anyone else," softly, the older boy pulled Ryoma into his arms. "I love you."
"…I love you too…"
When Echizen Ryoma was hit by a car, no one ever thought he would be the same. After coming out of a coma, his speech was poor, his thoughts were tangled, and he couldn't function right. To add to the chaos, he was even having flashbacks. As his speech became better, he was able to go back to school. Though, he was scared that he wouldn't be able to play tennis again. It was something everybody feared. With the help of Fuji Syusuke, Ryoma slowly began to get better and better at tennis again. There was a spark between them that grew bigger and bigger. That spark became a fire that burned brightly. They both shared similar feelings for each other. When Ryoma had realized the truth, their relationship began to grow. In the end, Fuji had made Ryoma stronger. Without Fuji's help, Ryoma would have given up on tennis. The thought of not having tennis was painful, but he kept pushing himself harder and harder. Now, Ryoma had gained his skills back. He felt that it was Fuji's love that helped him cross the limits he had and win. Together, they would grow. Together, they didn't have anything to fear. Together, they would be forever.
NOTE: It's…over. That was the end. That's it. There's no more chapters. This fic is complete. Thank you to everyone who continued to read this fic from the beginning. It makes me sad to see that this is the last chapter, but I knew it would one day have to end. It took almost two months to finish. From the time I began this fic to the very end, I felt a connection to it. Yes, this is a fic that is close to my heart. I hope that I could make someone feel something through this fic. If I can know that I've accomplished that, I won't feel as sad about ending this fic. "The Fallen Prince" was a challenging story to write. I hope that I grew as a writer. I hope that people have liked it. It was painful at points to write. When Fuji was hurting, I was too. When Ryoma wasn't able to form sentences, I was sad for him. Maybe I get too emotionally attached to my stories. I'm not sure.
The ending paragraph was hard for me to write. I was going to end it with Ryoma's "I love you, too", but it felt incomplete leaving it like that. Ryoma now has the ability to play tennis again. I wanted to make this ending perfect, but I don't think I did. Of course, nothing is ever perfect. To be honest, when I wrote this last chapter, it was like when I watched Dream Live 3rd (If you don't know about the musicals, you might not understand what I'm talking about.). As Dream Live 3rd came closer and closer to the end, I just didn't want it to stop. I wanted it to continue to go on forever. I didn't want to see everyone graduate just like I didn't want to see this story "graduate". What I mean is, I didn't want to see this fic end. It's now over, there for I will no longer work on it. It will just sit on my laptop. It's ok though. I will continue to work on my other fics. Though, I don't think I will ever feel a connection with them as I did with this one. Just as Ryoma continues to grow as a tennis player, I hope that I will grow as a writer.
I know that I tend to leave open endings where there's a chance for a sequel. This fic will not have a sequel. This is because I know that if a sequel is made, it would just kill this story. I'm sorry. I hope that this will be enough for everyone. I hope that you'll read my other fics. They might not end up as good as this one, but I will try to bring the best fics I can.
Thank you for reading until the very end. I hope that this story was worth the time it took for you to read it. I would love to know everyone's thoughts about this final chapter and the fic as a whole. Was it good? Was it bad? Please, continue to support me. All the reviews I've gotten have made me so happy. This fic has become my most popular story thus far on here. I thank you for that. It has been a wonderful trip through this fic. Thank you so much for everything~!