Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis or any of its characters.
A/N: I personally think that this chapter has more of an impact if you have read the side-story Lost and Found beforehand, but it is not necessary to have read it to understand this chapter.
Atobe sighed as he oversaw his practice. While the fact that the members of his tennfis club were not participation in idle chatter would normally please him, the absolute silence occurring now due to pure shock was unwelcome. Not only were nearly all of the members silent, most were motionless as well. The reason?
"Gakuto~! You're not even trying! Come on! Play for real!"
One awake and hype Akutagawa Jirou who was currently crushing Hyotei's acrobatic player five games to love. This was not a normal occurrence. While Gakuto was a strong doubles player and played singles well enough, Jirou was not Hyotei's singles two player for no reason. The fact that Gakuto was losing was no surprise. Everyone could have predicted that. The shocking thing was that Jirou was actually away to do it. Jirou never truly woke up during practice unless he was playing Atobe. The other Regulars were able to prod him awake for a short while, but he mainly slept through his games. Against Gakuto, Jirou would usually win by about three games because the redhead could never wake him enough to play at his best.
"Gakuto~!" Jirou whined as he swept the last game to win the match. "You didn't even try to win! Get up and play for real this time!"
Gakuto glared from where he sat panting on the ground. "What the hell did you do? Eat five pounds of sugar?!"
"Nope! You're just really low on stamina today. Seriously, why are you so tired already?"
"Why the hell are you so hyper?! Shouldn't you be sleeping on the bench right now?"
Jirou blinked and tilted his head to the side in confusion. "Why would I be doing that?"
Every single member of the tennis club gaped at the volley specialist.
"Yuushi!" Gakuto screamed across the court to his doubles partner. "Someone brainwashed Jirou!"
Oshitari stared at the unusually awake boy with interest. "Apparently they did a pretty good job of it too. I wonder what method was used."
"You would." Shishido muttered from where he stood next to Hyotei's tensai. "I don't even want to know what you would use it for."
"There are endless possibilities."
"Why is everyone acting so weird?" Jirou pouted.
"We're acting weird?" Gakuto asked in disbelief. "You're the one being weird!"
"How am I weird?"
"You're actually awake!"
"You're never awake!"
"How can I not be awake?"
"Why are you awake now?"
"Because today is special!"
"What's so special about today?"
"I get to go on a d-"
"Jirou!" Atobe cut the strawberry-blonde off before he could finish that particular word. "Take a break for now."
"But I'm not tired! Gakuto didn't even wear me out. Oshitari, I'm surprised that you haven't tried to improve his stamina since you're his boyfriend and everyt-" Jirou yelped in surprise as he dodged a tennis ball heading straight for his head. "What was that for?!"
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Gakuto yelled, getting up from the ground and stalking towards the singles player.
Shishido laughed from the sidelines. "Weird or not, that alone made it worth having Jirou brainwashed."
"Shishido-senpai, it's not good at all if Jirou-senpai was brainwashed." Ohtori fretted. "We don't know what kind of side-effects it might have."
"What are you getting so upset about?" Jirou asked as the redhead continued to stalk towards him. "I mean, you should be able to last longer than twenty minutes."
Oshitari, who had been steadily approaching the two on the court, quickly grabbed his boyfriend around the waist as the acrobat dived at Hyotei's usually Sleeping Beauty's throat.
"Let go of me, Yuushi!"
"Now, now, Gakuto." The tensai tried to soothe the suddenly energized bundle of fury. "I don't think that Jirou understands why you are upset and ready to kill him. It does make me wonder what the hell Atobe is doing with him since they're sleeping together, and he still doesn't understand though. Besides, Atobe will probably get you kicked off of the Regulars for attacking his boyfriend."
"But he said-"
"I know what he said, but he doesn't know what he said. You can't kill him for something that he said when he doesn't know what he said even if you know what he said and I know what he said can mean something different than what he thinks he said. He doesn't know that we know that everyone else will know that he said what he doesn't know he said. Because he doesn't know what we know and what everyone else knows, it would be wrong to kill him. Do you know what I mean?"
"Oshitari, take over practice." Atobe commanded as he walked onto the court and grabbed Jirou's hand. "Ore-sama has other business to take care of. Make sure everybody runs since no one seems to be interested in actually practicing."
The bespectacled boy chuckled deeply. "Whatever you say. I'm sure whatever business you have with Jirou is much more important, ah?"
The captain ignored Oshitari and led Jirou into the locker room. "Get changed. We're leaving now."
"Eh?!" Jirou's eyes widened in surprise. "You mean we're going on our date now?"
"Yes. Ore-sama can't stand being around these people for any longer today."
"Yay!" The smaller boy quickly gathered his things together and entered the showers.
Atobe sighed and ran a hand through his hair as he sat down on the sofa in the locker room. 'What did Ore-sama get into? It's unbelievable that Ore-sama is going on a date with Jirou of all people. After all, Ore-sama has known Jirou for nearly ten years now, and never once has Jirou ever shown that he liked Ore-sama in that way. Well, unless…" Atobe thought back on how Jirou always seemed to cling to him whenever possible and all of the times they spent time alone. Holding hands was nothing. They had been doing that since Atobe first found Jirou. Sleeping in the same bed had been going on since the first time Jirou slept over at Atobe's mansion. As for the kissing, that only started in their first year of junior high, but it did not count for anything. Jirou was always affectionate, and it was rude not to reciprocate the action. Besides, it always calmed Jirou down and made him smile whenever the boy was scared or upset. 'No. There has been nothing out of the ordinary happening between Ore-sama and Jirou. Ore-sama doesn't understand why people believe that Ore-sama is dating Jirou when we have never done anything out of the ordinary.'
Atobe looked up to find Jirou standing in front of him, wearing only a towel around his waist and looking worried. "Ahn?"
"Are you okay? You were spacing out."
"Ore-sama is fine. Get dressed. Ore-sama will only take a moment to shower and get ready." The captain stood, gathered his things, and quickly entered the showers. He turned the water on full blast to help clear his thoughts. The water soothed and relaxed Atobe's body as his mind wandered. 'Ore-sama is going to kill Fuji. He's the reason for this ridiculous rumor."
Getting out of the shower, Atobe dressed in the outfit he brought along with him for his date with Jirou. It consisted of a dark purple long-sleeved silk shirt that clung to his upper body and a pair of black jeans. Looking into a mirror, Atobe smirked. "Simple yet elegant. Of course, anything having to do with Ore-sama is elegant."
"Wow. You look great, Kei-chan!" Jirou smiled as the taller boy re-entered the locker room.
Atobe glanced over at his singles two player and blinked in surprise.
Jirou was wearing a too big white hoodie and soft black leather pants that clung to his legs. The hoodie hung down about two inches past his waist while the sleeves went past his fingertips. The neck showed off parts of the boy's bare shoulders and chest as he moved, revealing that he was not wearing anything beneath the hoodie, which looked strangely familiar to the captain for some reason. While the pants clung to Jirou's legs enough to accentuate his muscles, they were not tight enough to be considered revealing. The overall effect of the outfit combined with Jirou's wide eyes and soft smile created a look that was both cute and sexy at the same time.
Atobe swallowed as he found his mouth suddenly dry. "Jirou?"
"Where did you get those clothes from?"
"Eh? Oh, I got the pants when I went shopping with Gakuto a little while ago. As for the hoodie…Um…It's yours. I felt like wearing it today."
'Well, that explains why it looked so familiar.'
"Did you want me to take it off?"
"Ye-" Atobe mentally slapped himself as he realized that he was staring at Jirou's exposed skin. 'What the hell is Ore-sama thinking?'
"It's fine, Jirou. It looks good on you."
The strawberry-blonde smiled shyly. "Really?"
"Would Ore-sama lie about that?"
Jirou giggled. "No. You would never lie about that. You usually have no problem telling someone that they don't look good if you really think so."
"True." The taller boy smirked. "After all, no one has a better fashion sense than Ore-sama does. Now let's go before those nosy insects we call friends decide to follow us."
"Yuushi~!" Gakuto whined as he ran laps with the other members. "Why do we have to run?"
The blue-haired boy sighed as he ran next to his boyfriend. "Because Atobe commanded it and going against his orders usually leads to people getting kicked out of the tennis club."
"But he's not even here right now! And why the hell doesn't Jirou have to run?"
"Because Atobe spoils him. Everyone knows that."
Gakuto snorted. "That's for sure. He imported that sofa in the locker room just so Jirou could have some place to sleep."
"He also had Jirou's tennis bag custom made." Shishido stated as he ran up to them.
"Did he?" Oshitari asked. "I wasn't aware of that."
"Yeah. That's why Jirou doesn't carry a Hyotei tennis bag like the rest of us. Atobe ordered it to be made with extra padding so it would support Jirou's neck and back whenever he falls asleep with it on."
"That explains why the bag matches his coloring. Trust Atobe to make sure it wouldn't clash with Jirou's appearance."
Shishido thought for a second. "Damn. I didn't even realize that."
"Fine! Whatever!" Gakuto bounced impatiently. "What I want to know is why the hell Jirou didn't say anything about him dating Atobe. I mean, he always did hang off of Atobe more than anyone else, but you would think he would start screaming out loud the second he became Atobe's boyfriend to the whole world. Ch'. I even took him shopping to get some new clothes so that Atobe would pay more attention to him. That was a complete waste of time. If I had known that he already go together with Atobe, then I wouldn't have bothered."
"By any chance did Jirou wind up buying a pair of pants when the two of you went shopping?" Oshitari asked, glancing to the side.
"And did they happen to be made of black leather and cling to his legs a bit?"
"How the hell do you know that?"
Oshitari chuckled and pointed over Gakuto's shoulder. "I don't think you wasted your time."
The acrobat looked over his shoulder and screeched to a stop, causing Shishido to crash into him.
"Damn it, Mukahi! Why the hell did you stop?"
"Forget that! There's no way that Jirou would be wearing those pants unless he was going on a date with Atobe."
"Ano, senpai…" Ohtori started softly as he fussed over his doubles partner. "Isn't Jirou-senpai wearing the same hoodie that Atobe-buchou wore a few days ago?"
The Regulars all turned to stare at the couple leaving the campus.
"Yuushi, let's follow them!" Gakuto started to chase after the top two singles players before he was lifted off of his feet. "Ack! Kabaji! I'm not Jirou! Put me down!"
Kabaji ignored the screaming, kicking boy thrown over his shoulder and continued running laps.
Hiyoshi's eyes narrowed. "Atobe-buchou is slacking. Heh. It'll make it that much easier to gekokujou him."
Shishido shook his head. "There is something seriously wrong with that guy. Then again, he can actually play doubles with Mukahi. That automatically makes him insane."
"But Shishido-senpai, didn't you play doubles with Mukahi-senpai against Atobe-buchou before?"
"That doesn't count!"
"Ch'. Gekidasa daze." Shishido grabbed Ohtori's arm and dragged him along.
Oshitari chuckled again. "You're lucky you have Kabaji to help out, Atobe. He's the only reason you and Jirou aren't being stalked by the Regulars right now."
"Oi, Yuushi! Move your ass! If we have to run, then so do you!"
"You're not even running! Kabaji's carrying you!"
"Shut up, Shishido!"
"Sugoi! This place is awesome!"
Atobe smiled slightly as he watched Jirou bounce up and down in excitement. He had taken Jirou to a dance club that was pretty popular with the high school and university students. While they were younger than a majority of the crowd, the owners knew better than to say anything to the Atobe heir. Besides, it was not the first time Regulars from the Hyotei junior high tennis club had entered the club. Since none of them ever asked for any alcoholic drinks, the owners let them be. Not to mention that business always picked up when they hit the dance floor. The short redhead that usually came with a blue-haired, bespectacled boy was a popular dancer in the club.
"Ne, Kei-chan? Can we go dance now?" Jirou asked, eyes sparkling with excitement.
"Ah. That is what Ore-sama brought you here for after all."
"Yay!" The strawberry-blonde bounced onto the dance floor and immediately began moving to the beat of the music, quickly gaining the attention of the other dancers. Unbelievably, Jirou was actually one of the best dancers in Hyotei. Whenever he and Gakuto would team up and perform dance routines they created together, no one could beat them. That was why they had won their school's talent competition three years in a row.
Atobe frowned slightly as a crowd began to gather around Jirou. The other boy was un-phased by the spectators, but Atobe began to worry a bit as he realized how close some of the other dancers were getting to the volley specialist. A few actually invaded the space around Jirou to try and get him to dance with them, but, to Atobe's relief, he merely giggled and danced away. The taller boy froze however, as one of the club's security guards approached the strawberry-blonde.
Jirou nodded to whatever the man told him, waved at Atobe, and followed the security guard through the crowd out of his captain's sight.
"Jirou!" Atobe called out, quickly scanning the crowd. He moved through the mass of people to the point where he last saw Jirou without spotting the boy anywhere. Atobe began to panic before he remembered exactly why this club was so popular and looked up.
The roof of this club had several platforms hanging down at different levels. Especially skilled dancers would be pulled from the crowd on the ground and given the chance to dance on one of the platforms. The higher off the ground the platform was, the more skilled the dancer was. It often became a competition to see who could get to the highest platform and stay there the longest.
Atobe knew that Gakuto came to the club often and was good enough to immediately be placed on the highest platform whenever he felt like competing against the other dancers. Knowing that Jirou danced just as well as the redhead even if the singles player was not as acrobatic, he ignored the lower platforms filled with dancers to look up at the highest platform. As he expected, Atobe saw Jirou being helped onto the highest platform to the annoyance of the other platform dancers who had been trying to take that position.
Jirou looked down at the crowd below him and waved once again as he caught Atobe's eye. The strawberry-blonde closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and immersed himself in the music. His hands rose above his head, crossed at the wrists, as he arched his back and let his head fall backwards with his mouth parted slightly. Jirou held this position for a moment before his body came to life in accordance to the music. His hips moved in beat with the steady tempo the bass was playing while his hands roamed over his body. His flexible wrists allowed him to move his hands in patterns that no one else in the club was able to mimic. As his hands slid up and down his body, they would occasionally lift the hem of the white hoodie up, revealing flashes of pale skin.
"Damn. Check out the top dancer."
Atobe took his eyes off of Jirou to turn and see who had just spoken. To his right stood a pair of university aged students, a male redhead with spiked hair and another male with long black hair tied back in a ponytail. The one with red hair was the one who had spoken.
The black-haired student looked up, and his eyes narrowed in interest. "Hm…I haven't seen that one around before. He looks kind of young though. How old do you think he is?"
The redhead smirked. "Old enough if he's in this place, especially if he's good enough to get to the top. I saw him first, so I get him."
Atobe growled lowly. 'Who the hell does this insignificant creature think he is to be speaking of Jirou like that?'
The one with the ponytail glanced to his friend before looking back up at Jirou. "That kid looks like he's still in junior high. He can't be older than fifteen."
"Like I said, if he's in this place and on the top platform, then he's old enough."
"Seriously? He's just a kid. Look, I know you like good dancers, but I think you should leave him alone. He's probably here with someone anyways. You know that whenever a kid from junior high comes here, he's never alone. Like that one red-haired kid that always gets to the top. He always comes with his boyfriend."
"If you couldn't tell that those two are together, then you're an idiot."
The redhead scoffed. "Stupid. I know those two are having sex with each other, I just want to know why you think they're in a relationship."
"…No wonder you're still single."
Atobe scowled as he listened to the conversation between the two older males. He lifted his hand and snapped his fingers, the sound somehow managing to be heard over the loud music. It caught the attention of most of the people around him, including the two university students, and Jirou on the platform.
Jirou looked down to see his captain staring up at him and tilted his head to the side in a silent question.
The silver-haired boy pointed to the ground in front of him imperiously.
Jirou pouted and crossed his arms.
Atobe just shook his head and pointed to the ground once again, one hand on his hip.
Jirou sighed but moved to the edge of the platform, waving the taller boy to move closer to it.
Atobe raised an eyebrow in disbelief but moved closer towards the platform and nodded once.
Jirou smiled brightly and happily hopped off the platform.
Several people who had been watching the strawberry-blonde screamed as he fell towards the ground.
Atobe ignored the screams of the panicking crowd and carefully adjusted his position. When the timing was right, he quickly lifted his arms and caught the volley specialist, cradling the smaller boy to his chest. "Was that really necessary?"
Jirou giggled and snuggled closer to Atobe. "Well, you wanted me to come down, right?"
The silver-haired boy chuckled and shook his head in amusement. "Ore-sama thinks you just gave most of the people here a heart attack."
"Why? It wasn't like I was in any danger."
"Jirou, you just fell from about two and a half stories from the ground."
"You could have been killed."
"Explain that logic to Ore-sama."
"Kei-chan was here, and Kei-chan would never let me get hurt."
"Jirou, what if Ore-sama was unable to catch you?"
"What if Ore-sama was unable to catch you for some reason?"
Jirou's brow wrinkled in confusion as he looked up at Atobe. "I don't get it."
Atobe sighed. "Never mind. Just never do that when Ore-sama is not with you, okay?"
"I know that, Kei-chan! I'm not stupid. I could get killed if I did that!"
"You could have gotten killed now!"
"Not possible. Kei-chan was here."
Atobe sighed once again and shook his head. He set Jirou down gently before ruffling strawberry-blonde curls. "Come on. Ore-sama wouldn't be a very good date if Ore-sama didn't have a single dance with you.
Jirou squealed in delight and proceeded to drag Atobe to a more private section of the club, missing the glare the taller boy shot over his shoulder.
The black haired university student laughed when he saw the glare directed at his friend. "Told you that kid wouldn't be here alone. Damn, though. I didn't think that he would be here with the Atobe heir. You never stood a chance."
The redhead scowled. "Shut up."
"Try looking for someone your own age next time. Who knows? You might get lucky."
"Oh really? And what makes you think t-" He broke off in shock as another tongue was suddenly invading his mouth. By the time he shook off his daze, all he saw was a length of black hair whipping past the dance floor towards the exit. "Oi! Wait up!"
Jirou sighed happily as he danced with Atobe. While the other boy usually preferred more refined dances, such as the waltz or tango, his captain could still hold his own on the club's dance floor.
After an hour of dancing, Atobe led Jirou off of the dance floor. "Let's go. You must be hungry."
When the two were safely in Atobe's private limo, Jirou climbed onto the other's lap so that they were face-to-face. "Keigo?"
"Ahn?" Atobe's arms automatically wound around Jirou's waist to keep the boy from falling.
The strawberry-blonde hesitated slightly before shaking his head. "Oh, what the hell? He's not going to get it any other way."
Atobe froze as Jirou's lips pressed against his own, and he felt hands moving to grip his hair. When his mouth fell open slightly in surprise, the other boy's tongue slid in, rubbing against his own. His brain finally kicked in when he was in need of air, and he pulled back, separating their lips. "Jirou?"
The volley specialist was panting and refused to meet his eyes.
"Jirou, look at Ore-sama." When he could finally see the other's eyes, Atobe saw fear in them. "Jirou, what's wrong?"
"Sorry, Keigo." Jirou panted, still breathless. "It's just…Well, you weren't figuring it out on your own, and you don't like to use your insight on me. I mean…I love you. I think that I fell in love with you back when we first met. Well, maybe not love, but I really, really, really, really liked you. I know that I've loved you since the first year of junior high for sure though. I thought that you would have figured it out by now. After all, Gakuto figured out that I liked you, and you're way smarter than he is. But I don't just like you of course. I love you. And I know that you probably don't feel the same since you're Atobe Keigo and could have anyone that you want. But I just really wanted you to know. Fuji-san was actually the one who said that I should just kiss you. I wasn't going to actually do it though! But you still weren't figuring it out, and I just had to let you know before someone else did. Well, someone who's not one of your fangirls that it. You get like a hundred love confessions a day from them. It's just that I…" Jirou gulped and took several deep breaths to calm himself down. He had averted his eyes from Atobe's during his rambling confession but now raised them to stare straight into his oldest friend's eyes. When he spoke, his voice was strong and full of conviction. "I'm in love with you Atobe Keigo, and I always will be. Even if you never love me the same way that I love you, I will still be in love with you."
Atobe stared into Jirou's eyes, deep in thought. He had gotten love confessions before, hundreds in fact, but never had he gotten one like this. Never had he gotten one so heartfelt. His fangirls said that they loved him, but they only loved what he appeared to be. They loved his appearance, his fortune, his social position, everything that made him Atobe and nothing that made him Keigo. Jirou…Jirou loved Keigo. There was no doubt in his mind about that. This was the only time he could even think of that Jirou had ever used his family name when addressing him. He had always been Keigo or Kei-chan to the smaller boy, never Atobe. He searched for any sign of uncertainty in the other's eyes, any indication that Jirou did not know exactly what his words meant. He found none.
'He really means it.' Atobe thought in silent shock. 'He knows exactly what he's saying, and he still means it.'
Jirou had chosen his words carefully. Instead of merely stating 'I love you' as he looked into Atobe's eyes, he had made sure to say 'I'm in love with you.' As he continued to stare into Atobe's eyes, refusing to look away, he could see the silver-haired boy working that out in his mind. He knew that even though he had kissed the other boy if he had only said 'I love you,' then Atobe would have rationalized it as Jirou being affectionate. After all, Jirou would have no problem telling any of his friends that he loved them.
Atobe took a deep breath and let his eyes slide closed. After thinking over everything the past years with Jirou have meant to him and finally taking a closer look at his own emotions, he realized that while Jirou spend most of the time asleep, he himself was the one who truly needed to wake up. However, there was one more thing he needed to know before he finally opened his eyes. He knew what anyone else, even himself, would answer, but he needed to know what Jirou would say. "Jirou, who am I?"
Atobe Keigo. Hyotei's Ice Emperor.
"Because Keigo is Keigo, but Kei-chan is mine."
Hearing the exact same words in his mind as an echo of the past, Atobe smiled and opened his eyes. "Ah. As long as Jirou is mine."
Jirou's eyes brightened as he saw the change in Atobe's eyes. "Always. I'm glad that you're finally awake, Kei-chan."
"Mm. Sorry for keeping you waiting for so long, but I'll say it now. I'm in love with you, Akutagawa Jirou."
"What?!" Atobe asked worriedly, looking around for what may have caused the strawberry-blonde in his lap to scream.
"You didn't use 'Ore-sama!'"
"That's what you took notice of?"
Jirou giggled. "No. I love you, Kei-chan."
"Ore-sama loves you too."
Atobe chuckled and took Jirou's pouting lips in a deep kiss.
A/N: Once again, I apologize for how long it took me to update this story. Real life once again refused to allow me the time necessary to write this chapter, and I also had a case of writer's block. I hope that this chapter didn't disappoint. I had the toughest time trying to figure out where Atobe and Jirou should go for their date. This is what I finally came up with once I got over my writer's block. I hope that you all enjoyed it.