NOTE: Welcome, welcome. Thank you for stopping by. I hope that you'll enjoy reading this fic of mine. Oh, and I don't own these characters or the Prince of Tennis.
You're Not Strong Enough
Run, Ryoma, Run
Through all the twists and turns of life
Don't let this one event bring you down
He'll hit and he'll beat
He'll knock you off your feet
Don't start to cry
Don't think you're going to die
You can survive
Just hold onto your life…
Echizen Ryoma walked into the clubhouse. Looking around, he noticed that no one was there. Quickly, he unbuttoned and pulled off his shirt to reveal bruises and cuts all over. He shivered and changed into his tennis outfit.
The door opened and the rest of the tennis team walked in.
"Oi! Echizen, you sure got here early," Momoshiro Takeshi messed with Ryoma's hair making him flinch. "Eh? You ok?"
"I'm fine," the younger boy made his way to the door.
"It's warm out today. Why don't you leave you jacket here?" Fuji Syusuke questioned.
Without making any contact with his senpai, Ryoma ran out the door. It was obvious that he was hiding something from them.
"Something's wrong with Ochibi," Kikumaru Eiji began to change. "He seems different."
Inui Sadaharu pushed up his glasses and held open his green notebook. "There's a 10 percent chance that something happened to him at school…a 90 percent chance that he's acting oddly because of something that happened at home."
"What could have happened at home?" Kawamura Takashi wondered. "Maybe he got in trouble for not doing his chores."
"It's something else," Kaidoh Kaoru tightened the green bandana around his head. "He wouldn't flinch like he did if it was that simple."
"Yeah, Echizen's never flinched when I've messed his hair up before. He usually just complains about it hurting or something," Momo nodded.
"Do you think that his family could be beating him?" Inui wondered as he wrote in his notebook.
"If that's what's really going on…" Kawamura's words drifted off.
"Ochibi's in trouble!" Eiji yelled. "We have to help him. We have to do something!"
"Lets not jump to conclusions," Fuji opened his eyes. His blue eyes showed how serious he was. "We'll wait and see tomorrow. If he acts the same way, we'll talk to him about it."
"Right," the others agreed as they walked off to the courts.
As practice started, it was noticeable that Ryoma was different. He shook as he served and cringed every time the tennis ball came too close to him. The boy often fumbled and dropped his racket or tripped. He lost his practice match against Kaidoh and the one against Momo, too. His game was off…something was wrong. Though, no matter how much they wanted to know, no one asked what was wrong.
Ryoma walked into his home and threw his bag on the floor.
"I'm home!" he yelled. He would soon regret it.
"Ryoma, welcome home," a taller man walked into the room. He had the awful scent of alcohol on him. "Lets have a match."
"I have homework," the boy avoided his father's gaze.
"I don't care!" Echizen Nanjiro took his son by the collar of his shirt. "Lets have a match."
"O…k…" Ryoma barely uttered.
Out on the tennis court, Nanjiro decided to serve first. Knowing that Ryoma wasn't ready, he hit the tennis ball right towards his head.
"Ouch…" Ryoma closed his eyes as he was hit.
Again, Nanjiro served and hit his son with the ball. Over and over again, Ryoma was hit with the tennis balls until he fell to the ground in pain.
Nanjiro walked over to his son. "Done already?"
"No more…please…" Ryoma begged as he tried to hold back his tears as he stood up.
"Don't say things as if you have control of me," the older man took his racket and swung it across Ryoma's face. The younger boy was knocked over again. Nanjiro dragged him across the ground and into the house by his left arm.
He's going to kill me… was the only thing that went through Ryoma's mind.
The next day soon came. After school, practice had begun. Again, Ryoma quickly changed while no one was there. He was able to hide the bruises on his arms, but he didn't know how to cover the ones on his face. Pulling down his white cap, he decided just to come up with some excuse. He left the clubhouse.
"Ochibi~!" Eiji chirped as he saw the younger boy. He opened his arms and pulled Ryoma into his warm embrace.
"Please, let go," Ryoma begged.
"Hmm?" Fuji saw the two. He noticed the marks on Ryoma's face. "Echizen, what happened to your face?"
"My cat scratched me."
"That doesn't explain the bruises."
"I fell down the stairs."
Kaidoh walked up behind the younger boy and grabbed his left wrist. Ryoma instantly fell to the ground in pain.
"You're hurt," Kaidoh held his racket over his shoulder and looked down at the boy.
"It's nothing," Ryoma insisted.
The others had joined around the younger boy.
"If something's wrong, you can tell us," Kawamura reassured him.
"We're your friends. You can talk to us about these things," Momoshiro reminded him.
"There's an 87 percent chance that if you don't get help, you'll end up getting killed," Inui explained. "At this rate, you won't be able to play tennis."
"Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!" Ryoma's scream filled the air. He held himself close. Even though his teammates were trying to help, it seemed as if their words were only hurting him more.
"What's going on?" Tezuka walked up to the group. He looked at Ryoma on the ground. "What happened?"
"Tell him he has to get help. Tell him that if he doesn't, he'll never get better," Eiji demanded from their captain.
Tezuka reached down and pulled the white cap off of Ryoma. He looked at the bruises and cuts on his face. "Echizen, what's been going on?"
"It's nothing," Ryoma pushed away from the group. "Leave me alone." He ran off in the direction of his house.
"Echizen!" Momoshiro yelled.
Fuji started towards Ryoma's house. "If we don't hurry, he'll just get himself hurt again."
"Lets go," Tezuka agreed as they all sprinted in the same direction. They could only hope that they would make it on time.
Ryoma walked into his house in tears. He never wanted the tennis team to figure out that his father was beating him. He didn't want them to worry. He thought he was strong enough. He thought he could make it on his own.
"Home so soon?" Nanjiro made his way towards his son.
"I…" Ryoma stopped as he saw his father break the bottle in his hand.
"Those who skip practice should be punished," he took his son by the neck and drew the broken bottle closer and closer.
"Don't tell me what to do, you ungrateful son!"
The bottle was swiped across Ryoma's face. As he was released from his father's hand, he fell to the ground in tears. He was kicked in the side over and over again. Then, when he thought everything was over, Nanjiro pulled out a small knife.
"You don't deserve your life," the knife was up against the young boy's neck.
I don't want to die, Ryoma thought as tears painted his cheeks.
"Echizen!" the door swung open.
"You're too late," Nanjiro mumbled as he walked away from his son.
Ryoma laid on the floor in his own blood. He didn't move; he didn't breath. It was obvious that he was no longer living.
"Ochibi…" Eiji began to shake.
Tezuka pulled out his cell phone and called the police. As the police took Nanjiro away, Ryoma was moved from the house. He should have listened to his upperclassmen. He should have known he needed help. Inui was right, Ryoma would never play tennis again…and the team would never be the same.
Run, Ryoma, Run
He'll get you soon
You're not strong enough on your own
You should have known
No matter how many tears you cry
You cannot get back your life…
NOTE: I feel awful for writing this. I have this goal…I want to make at least one person cry after reading one of my fanfics. In order to do that, I would actually need to write a sad enough story. Was this maybe sad enough?
Oh, and I know that Oishi isn't in this fic. I'm sorry. I didn't notice that until I was already finished. I really didn't want to have to write in parts for him because…well…I just didn't feel like it. We can just pretend that he was off…somewhere. Yeah, lets go with that.
Thank you for reading~!