Eiji stepped out of the shower just as he heard the doorbell ring. There was only one person that could be, so he hurried to his room to throw some clothes on. As he pulled a shirt over his head, he heard his sister call up the stairs for him.
"Just send him up!" He called back.
There was a knock on his door about a minute later.
"Come in!" Eiji called, brushing his hair out.
Oishi opened the door, get his bag down, then shut the door again. "You showered?"
"Yeah." Eiji replied. "I was… working out. Trying to regain some of my strength. Felt sort of gross…you know?"
"Really?" Oishi asked, coming up behind him and putting his arms around the red head.
"Yeah." Eiji said. He lifted his arm and flexed a muscle that had not been as defined a few weeks ago. "See? Progress."
Oishi smiled. "You smell nice." He said, breathing in Eiji's scent.
"Well, duh." Eiji grinned. "I just showered."
"So why are you working out all of a sudden?"
"Because," Eiji spoke softly as he leaned into Oishi's arms. "I want to play tennis with you again."
"Do you think you're going to be able to?"
"Yes." Eiji whispered. "Someday."
He just didn't know how soon that 'someday' was going to be.
Eiji continued to train himself with Yukimura and Atobe. It was difficult. At times it felt like it was damn near impossible. Eiji's skill slowly began to pick back up, until finally… he was able to completely an entire tennis match.
Eiji dropped himself down onto the bench and dropped the towel over his head.
"Dang." Jiroh said, dropping himself down next to Eiji. "Good match!"
"But I lost." Eiji sighed.
"But you finished it! The full game!"
"I know." Eiji snatched the towel from his head and grinned at Jiroh. "But I almost won."
"Almost. You probably will next time."
"Heh." Eiji smirked, taking a drink of his water bottle. "I don't know about that."
Atobe sat himself down on Jiroh's other side. "So, Kikumaru, will you be attending the match between Hyoutei and Seigaku tomorrow?"
"Yeah. I'll be there." Eiji said, standing up and putting his racket away. "I want to watch the match."
"If I can manage a way to stop by, I think I will…" Yukimura said. "So, with any luck…see you tomorrow. Good luck to both schools."
"Where is that guy?" Momo growled. The Seigaku tennis team was all ready to check in, and begin the day of matches, but their singles three player was nowhere to be seen.
"We have ten minutes." Inui said.
"What are we going to do, Kunimitsu?" Fuji asked, looking at his taller boyfriend. Tezuka merely pushed his glasses up on his nose, choosing to remain silent.
"We could always ask Taka to step in?" Oishi suggested. "I mean, if he doesn't show."
Eiji, who had been standing beside Oishi, looked up at his boyfriend.
"Taka, is working at the restaurant for another hour. He's going to be late." Eiji mumbled.
"So, what do you propose to do, then?" Sakura asked, placing her hands on her hips.
Everyone looked at her.
"We'll figure something out." Fuji said, glancing at Eiji who was still staring at Sakura.
"To bad I'm not a guy." Sakura shrugged. "I could totally help you. Since all of your other supporters are like...useless."
Eiji flared up. "What is that supposed to mean!?"
"I means that no one here can really help, since Taka isn't here."
Eiji continued to glare at the girl. She smirked at him.
"I don't think you should judge people. Maybe they cant play for a reason!"
Everyone stared at him now.
"That's enough, Sakura!" Fuji glared. "It's none of you're business who can and cannot play."
"Fine." Sakura humphed, turned on her heels and walked away.
"I don't like her." Eiji said flatly. Oishi put his arm around him.
"Five minutes." Inui spoke.
Eiji sighed. He had this feeling in his gut. He didn't want them disqualified, but he didn't want them to lose because he couldn't play.. But then again, he wasn't terrible anymore, he had almost beaten Jiroh last night…
He had nothing to lose, and they had everything. To be out of the game this early on? That wasn't fair. And where the hell was their other player.
"Tezuka, we're going to be disqualified."
"No you won't!" Eiji said suddenly, grabbing Oishi's hand. "I'll play with you guys."
"Eiji?" Both Fuji and Oishi gasped.
"I thought you don't play anymore, Kikumaru." Inui asked. "For personal reasons?"
"Y-yeah… I… I was injured. Badly. But, I'm…better. For the most part! I finished an entire tennis match yesterday, and almost won! A-and, if you let me play doubles with someone…then you might win the match. And even if you don't.. at least you won't be disqualified!"
Everyone was staring at him. He knew that much, and he felt his cheeks burn. Then Oishi squeezed his hand.
"We can do that, right, Kunimitsu?" He heard Fuji say.
"Just rearrange the roster a bit." Oishi said. "I'll play doubles with him."
"Yes!" Momo cried. "The Golden Pair!"
Everything that happened after that was a blur. Oishi had pulled Eiji away to allow the red head to change into his extra uniform, while Tezuka checked them in. Eiji had called Hikari, who showed up with his racket bag and the rest of his family. His mother nearly strangled him in a tight hug.
"Are you sure you're okay with this?" Oishi asked, looking down at Eiji's knee.
The shorts allowed everyone to see his scar. There was no hiding it, and everyone could see it. Momo, being unable to control himself, had asked about it right away.
Eiji had told them everything. He was surprised how at ease they had taken everything. Including his training sessions with Yukimura and Atobe. He had been worried for nothing.
"I'll be fine, Oishi. Just…don't be mad at me if we lose?"
"Eiji," Oishi cupped his face. "I could never be mad at you for that. Especially with how much strength and courage it took for you to decide this."
Eiji pulled away from Oishi blushing. "Nya, Oishi.. Don't say things like that in front of other people."
Oishi laughed. "Sorry."
"It's fine.."Fuji sat down on Eiji's other side. "The pair of you are going first." He said.
Eiji looked at him. "Really?"
"Yes." Tezuka said, sitting on the bench next to Fuji. "So, get ready…"
"I can do this." Eiji muttered to himself, taking deep breaths.
"Yes, you can." Oishi said, opening the fenced door to the courts for the rest of the team as they all made their way onto the courts to greet Hyoutei and start the matches.
The first thing Eiji noticed was Atobe and Jiroh starting directly at him. Jiroh with his mouth slightly open, and Atobe remaining nearly expressionless. The silver haired captain simply raised an eyebrow at him. Eiji shrugged.
In what seemed like no time at all, Eiji found himself on the court, waiting on Oishi to serve the ball. He took one more deep breath, watched the ball fly across the net, Ootori returned it…and he was off.
He knew he wasn't going to make it to the ball in time if he didn't bring out his acrobatic play. With a quick glance at Oishi, their eyes met, and there was a silent agreement. Eiji then sprang forward, pushing off the ground with his hand, and returned the ball in mid air.
The ball was in. As he landed on his feet again, he was met with shocked expressions from Shisido and Ootori. Eiji smirked. He looked over at Atobe, who seemed just as shocked about it. The cheers were loud from Seigaku's side. Yes, acrobatic play was something he had completely avoided using while practicing with the silver haired caption. Atobe had probably filled his team in once he saw Eiji on the other side of the net.
Eiji felt his confidence in his game, and himself, rise. Perhaps he had just been playing with the wrong person.
He looked back at Oishi, and smiled.
As he got into position to resume play, Eiji grinned even larger.