Sorry for the year-long hiatus I took. But like I said, I'm determined to finish this story. Although in the next week I'm concentrating on my exams, this will not be abandoned. Thank you very much for staying with me all this time! If you are still reading this story, please do leave me a message so I will know ^^ -Kaoru-chan
Title: Tales of the Magical Buchou [Arc I: The intrusion of the Rudolphians]
Summary: Once more, Echizen asks Karupin to perform the Recollection Ritual, in hope of smacking some sense into his father, whose feelings towards Fuji were developing too rapidly for the freshman's liking… and just what in the world does Fuji-senpai have up his sleeve?
Disclaimer: The plot is inspired by Sailor Moon. The characters are from Prince of Tennis. Tezuka and Fuji belong to each other. I wish I could own them to marry them off, but unfortunately I'm a simple fanfiction writer (and a debutant at that…)
~ Tales of the Magical Buchou ~
Chapter Nine: Wavering Souls
Tezuka voiced an inaudible sigh as the door to his and Fuji's room clicked shut. For a brief moment, he wondered how it was possible that his orderly life seemed so far away. He closed his eyes, trying to recall the repetitive routines he had before his future son's sudden appearance turned everything upside down. One moment, he was running afternoon tennis practice, just like he always did, and the next he had become a father, a husband and a king. Of the moon, no less. Tezuka choked back another sigh and closed his eyes heavily, no longer sure if he preferred his previous life or this new one, which was imposed on him without his consent. As his mind wandered further on the subject, a sudden realization hit him.
He had given his heart to his childhood friend, but his future self had already married a woman and borne a child.
That could only mean one thing. And the mere thought of having to choose between Fuji and the responsibilities his future son imposed on him was giving him a migraine. After having spent so many years in the company of the prodigy, he suddenly realized he couldn't even fathom the rest of his life without feeling the occasional brush of their hands together when they were walking, or hear the teasing laughter his friend often directed at him. Never had the thought of not having Fuji stand next to him crossed his mind until now, and Tezuka realized with a start that he had taken the other's presence at his side for granted.
Clearing his head, the stoic youth decided to put the matter at rest. He could mull over the subject later; it wasn't as if Echizen required him to choose right away. His priority at the moment was to focus on afternoon classes to keep up with his good grades. After all, no matter how much his life was thrown in disarray, he still had the title of top student to maintain.
Forcing his overloaded mind to keep up with the lecture proved to be easier said then done. No matter how hard Tezuka tried to focus on the lesson, his brain seemed to have a mind of its own. Nothing the teacher said during the afternoon had registered. Even his notes were incomplete and flawed. As Tezuka made his way to the clubroom to prepare for afternoon tennis practice, he wondered when the last time was that he had felt so powerless over the control of his own thoughts. No, he decided as he unlocked the clubroom, this had to stop. If the mere thought of not having Fuji with him brought such turmoil within him, he could not imagine how miserable he would be with an unknown wife on the moon.
He was brought back from his musings when his son entered the clubroom, already clad in his regular's jersey. "Buchou," the freshman greeted, lowering his white cap.
Knowing that the issue of having to choose between his future life on the moon and Fuji would continue to taunt him until he took care of it, Tezuka decided that this would be the perfect time to have a discussion with his son. "Echizen," he began, his serious tone demanding the other's undivided attention. "I believe that after everything is over, you will require I return to the moon with you in order to gain my original life back."
The freshman frowned, not entirely sure why his father suddenly asked him that. Despite his reluctance to answer so soon, as he feared a negative response from the other, he knew he could never disobey his father's commanding voice. "Yes, you will have to return to the moon. King Millennium needs you; you are the other half of his soul after all, which means that half of his powers lie within you," Echizen answered truthfully.
"However," Tezuka quickly followed, "I am not ready to leave everything I have behind."
Echizen's eyes narrowed as realization hit him. "You cannot put your… affections,"he spat out the word with uncovered contempt, "for your so called 'wife' over your responsibilities as a king and your love for mother!"
"This isn't simply about Fuji," Tezuka argued. "I am expected, as an only son, to carry out my family's name. I also have dreams and plans for the future I desire to fulfill."
"We can implant another person's soul into your body when you return to the moon. He will take care of your past self, and after you've dealt with the country's problem as a ruler, you can find the time to switch with him and visit your beloved Fuji-senpai," Echizen retorted. "Your strength is irreplaceable on the moon, while your existence right now, in the past, is flimsy. King Millennium cannot rule over a kingdom if he only has half his soul whereas Tezuka Kunimitsu can be erased from history without a problem," the freshman concluded.
"I do not doubt my responsibilities as the other half of King Millennium, however, I refuse to have someone else take my place here, on earth" the mere thought of having someone else in his body sent a shiver down Tezuka's spine. "And Fuji—"
"Give mother a chance," Echizen cut him, his usual mocking eyes turning sincere, almost pleading. "King Millennium loved her with all his soul. You are half of that, so at least judge after you've met up with her, please."
Tezuka blinked. It suddenly dawned on him that he knew nothing about Serenity except for her youthful outward appearance, which he had seen from afar during the first Recollection Ritual. If he considered it, leaving his affection for Fuji aside, it was true that he was being unfair to her. How could he judge her, compare her to his attachment for the honey-haired prodigy when he knew not a single thing about her? "Meeting her is impossible," Tezuka finally replied. A part of him wanted to do her justice, while another feared the result of him doing just that.
"It is possible," the freshman said, a smirk stretching on his lips. He knew he had won the argument and heightened his chance of getting his father away from the clutches of Fuji-senpai. "I can arrange a meeting with her for you."
"Eeeh! No way, Buchou is cheating on Fujiko with a girl?" Kikumaru's loud voice suddenly popped into their conversation. Father and son turned their heads towards the door, where the energetic redhead and the vice-captain were standing. "You can't do that, Tezuka! Fujiko is still recovering from passing out, you can't just leave him nya!"
"Tezuka…" Oishi began almost hysterically, but was swiftly cut off by Echizen.
"It's mother," the freshman explained.
"Mother what? Whose mother?" Momoshiro's loud voice asked. A hiss was then heard, along with nervous chuckling. Blinking, Kikumaru and Oishi turned around to see the loud second year, Kaidoh and Kawamura at the doorway, all ready to change for afternoon practice. The latter walked up to Tezuka, informing him that Inui was probably not going to attend afternoon practice since he was busy in the lab room. Kawamura admitted with a blush that he had been too scared of what Inui was making to approach him.
Ignoring them, the redhead pounced next to the second year, jumping up and down in frustration. "Nya, Momo, Buchou is cheating on Fuji!"
"Buchou is… WHAT?" Momoshiro exclaimed.
"He is not!" Echizen shouted, glaring at his stupid airheaded senpai. "It is only right that father takes back his place as King Millennium, next to mother, when our dealings with the Rudolphians are over!" the freshman defended. "And it's not like Buchou can cheat on Fuji-senpai if they weren't even properly going out in the first place!"
Silence filled the room. Tension built up as what Echizen had just said dawned on them. They had been used to seeing Tezuka and Fuji as an inseparable item since the beginning of the year, when students began nicknaming them husband and wife for unknown reasons. Now it dawned on them that the captain and prodigy were anything but.
"But," Kikumaru argued, wanting to bring up the issue of Tezuka and Fuji's date he had set up himself with the help of Momo and Oishi, but he found he couldn't think of a way to continue. He had innocently wanted them to kiss and make up just like real newlyweds, so that he didn't have to see Fuji depressed anymore. But it suddenly hit him that Tezuka and Fuji were probably just friends, nothing beyond, and that the title of wife and husband was imposed on them without their consent.
Echizen ignored him, summoning his Himalayan cat instead. "Karupin," he said, petting the feline. "We will need to perform another Recollection Ritual." The cat mewled, understanding his master's order. The freshman then turned his gaze towards the rest of the regulars. "You cannot judge mother's relationship with father if you've never witnessed them together. I've decided that I will make you guys meet with mother, to be fair to her." Finally, his stare landed on Tezuka. "Father," he asked, hoping the captain would consent to his wishes.
After a moment of silence, the bespectacled youth finally spoke up. "I believe it is only fair," he concluded, trusting his affections for Fuji would not diminish even after this episode. The rest of the regulars could only nod after their captain's approval.
"Good," Echizen smirked, his confidence arising. "Now, you must all transform into your magical selves for us to perform the Recollection Ritual."
"The what?" Momoshiro asked. Kaidoh and Kawamura looked equally puzzled.
"The Recollection Ritual," Echizen repeated. "It's a method which allows one to shut off one's senses and plunge him into the world of Recollection. It can only be performed when you are transformed."
"It's like a sensational 3D movie theater, nya! It's super cool!" the acrobat added.
"But you can't change anything that's happening," Oishi finished. Tezuka simply nodded, giving his approval.
Kawamura, Momoshiro and Kaidoh looked at each other, still confused. They were about to ask further on the subject when a bright flash of red blinded their vision. "Red TennisBall power make up!" Kikumaru chanted before any of them could blink. In a flash, he had changed into his short mini-skirt and red ballerina slippers. The red head winked at them gleefully while arranging the red ribbon he had on his hair. "He he, I'm the first to change!"
"Ah, that's unfair Eiji-senpai! Unfair!" Momoshiro wailed. He too, after a flash of blue changed into his silver armor, one hand gripping his spear and the other his shield. "I'm only second, but I'm still faster than you are, Mamushi!" the second year provoked.
A hiss was the only answer he got, as green smoke filled the room. Too embarrassed to pronounce the magical words that would enable him to morph, Kaidoh whispered them as silently as he could and changed, although his attire remained the same.
Kawamura and Oishi were next, their transformations filling the room with a combination of yellow light and grey smoke. Before long, Kawamura reappeared clad in armor similar to Momo, but his own were gold, while twin axes (still engraved with a smiling face, a heart and an autograph) rested in his hands. Oishi too, was back in his foreseer's costume, completed with a wooden walking cane and a crystal ball.
Tezuka looked proudly at his team, and began transforming himself. A white ball mask covered his rimless glasses while an elegant black tux replaced his uniform. A black magician's hat and a long midnight-black cape completed his attire. When they were all ready, Echizen asked them to join their hands, never to let go until the ritual was complete. On three, they all closed their eyes and Karupin positioned himself in the middle of the circle they formed, beginning the Recollection Ritual.
Magical bodies united,
Hands locked and eyes obstructed,
Together we remain rooted,
Bodies and mind connected.
At the sound of our plea, come in,
Join our thoughts, Karupin,
Release the memories locked within,
And let the Recollection Ritual begin!
A bright light flashed as Karupin released one last mewl. Before long, the magical soldiers' bodies became stone statues.
Before them was the most majestic castle they had ever seen. Its exterior was made of pure crystal, every millimeter of its structure carved out meticulously in the semi-transparent rock. The fortification was grandiose, built in length rather than in height, which distinguished it from the royal castle on earth. Nameless types of flowers and evergreens surrounded its whereabouts, emphasizing its semi-transparent elegance. It was indeed a sight to behold for the magical soldiers, who had never seen anything as beautiful and crystalline.
/"Nya… somehow, this place feels familiar!" Kikumaru exclaimed.
"This is awesome! Too awesome!" cheered Momoshiro.
The rest could only approve with a nod, awed. Only Echizen smirked, already knowing that he was winning this battle./
The scenery changed, and they found themselves inside the Crystal Palace. A long hallway stretched before them, and several prestigious portraits and paintings hung on each side of the cream colored walls. Beneath them, a red carpet with elegant broidery adorned the floor, showing off in itself the prosperous life of those whom were lucky enough to live inside the palace. The hallway opened a path to several doors, all of them with a different structure which represented the different people living within. They could clearly feel the presence of Lunarians behind locked doors, which made the complete silence in which they were plundered in seem out of place.
The hall, at its end, led them to a set of stairs. They climbed up the crystal tower, and were surprised that a new pathway opened before them. This time, it only led to two rooms facing each other. The smaller door had a doorknob in red ruby, of the same color of Kikumaru's TennisBall, while the bigger double-door was made of pure, white crystal. They could hear laughter coming from inside the larger room.
Again, the scenery changed, and they found themselves inside Princess Serenity's bedroom. On the queen-sized bed sat two figures, one with shoulder-length honey-brown hair, and the other with short auburn hair. Both of them were laughing heartily, the first clad in a beautiful white dress while the other had the same red skirt and ballerina slippers as Kikumaru.
/"That's mother and Kikumaru-senpai, at the age of eight," Echizen explained. He stole a glance at his father, and grinned cockily as he saw the other's unwavering gaze on Serenity.
"Nya! Isn't that me, in the future?" the acrobat asked, oblivious to what was happening with Tezuka. Echizen nodded.
"Wow! Eiji-senpai, you look much more… mature at eight years old in the future!" Momo mocked.
"Hey! What is that supposed to mean! I'm mature, nya!" Kikumaru retorted indignantly.
"Now, now, you guys…" Oishi chided out of habit rather than concern, for his attention was clearly directed at the vision of the future Eiji./
The two mischievous children in the room suddenly got up from the bed. Kikumaru went to lock the door on his tiptoes, as if afraid to be caught doing it. Meanwhile, Princess Serenity brought with her a crystal staff twice her height and held it straight with both her hands. Kikumaru quickly joined her and, with a smile, also placed his hands on the staff. As the princess chanted a few magic words, a bright blue light flashed, covering the whole room with its brilliance. Before the scenery could fade completely, there was a small voice outside the door, calling for the princess.
/"Hey, wasn't that Taka-san's voice nya?" Eiji asked.
"Yeah… it really did sound like me!" answered Kawamura. "But this is so weird. I don't remember anything like this at all!"/
The next setting showed the palace on earth, precisely in the garden behind the castle they had previously visited. Serenity and Kikumaru appeared with a flash of blue light amidst a garden of roses and camellias. Already they could hear the heavy galloping of horses, most likely guards alerted from the light, approaching them. Panicking, Kikumaru grabbed the princess and despite her struggles, hid her in a bush. Then, chin held up high despite his trembling legs, Kikumaru was determined to protect his best friend. However, as soon as he could distinguish the two horses coming towards them, Kikumaru saw that the men he was expecting to fight were in fact only two boys. The first, mounted on a regal black stallion, had such an air about him that Kikumaru could almost qualify as haughty. The second who had a much more compassionate countenance was riding a beautiful brown horse. The second boy was the first one to leap off his mount but the other, more regal youth was the first to draw his sword and approach Kikumaru.
"Who are you and how did you manage to enter the palace's garden?" he asked, his strong and threatening voice making Kikumaru tremble even more.
However, remembering his duties as a Sailor Guardian, the smaller Kikumaru squared his shoulders and defied the regal youth with a glare of his own. "I am here to see His Majesty the Prince," he said, loud and clear.
Glare suddenly turning menacing, the boy who had been riding the black stallion suddenly swung his sword towards Kikumaru. Before the sword would come to a rest on the red sailor's neck, there was a rustle between the bushes and Serenity appeared. Immediately, the sword was redirected at her, much to Kikumaru's panic.
"Fujik—I mean, princess! You were supposed to be hiding!"
The princess only smiled reassuringly at her best friend and redirected her gaze at the boy who had drawn his sword. She revealed her icy blue orbs and stared at her peer. "You are Prince Millennium," she stated.
The prince sheathed his sword and nodded. "Princess Serenity," he also declared, not a question, but a fact.
The eight year old Serenity smiled and curtsied, followed be a very confused Kikumaru. In turn, the prince and his second in command bowed. As they introduced themselves, it was revealed that the second in command, a foreseer, was called Oishi. While Serenity explained that she was curious to know about her fiancé she had never met before, Kikumaru and Oishi, feeling slightly left out, decided to become friends.
/"Wow, so the Golden Pair were already an item after so short a meeting!" Momo commented.
"We're not an item! We are just friends!" exclaimed a blushing Kikumaru. "Right, Oishi?"
The foreseer did not answer, but nodded dejectedly anyway.
Satisfied, Kikumaru continued. "Besides, Tezuka… I mean, Prince Millennium was way too creepy to be approached. His glare could turn birds into ashes already at eight years old! Beside him, Oishi seems like the God of compassion!"
Although Tezuka's frown deepened at that, his whole being was focused on watching himself and Serenity, much to his son's secret delight./
The prince, being the polite gentleman he was taught to be, wanted to help the princess mount his horse so he could show her around his garden, where the guards were few. However his gesture was not seen by Serenity, who already, in a smooth leap, mounted the horse perfectly. She smirked at the dumbfounded prince. "On the moon, everyone knows how to mount a horse!" she chuckled.
"Not meee!" cried Kikumaru, just a few steps away. He grabbed the reigns and tried a few times but never managed to mount the very gentle horse. "Mou! Why is it that I've never been able to do this?" he cried.
"Ah, please, let me help you," the young foreseer exclaimed. He put his arms on Kikumaru's waist and with all the strength he could muster, pushed the other youth on board. The red sailor flashed him a bright smile of gratitude, which stunned the foreseer into a smile too.
Princess Serenity and Prince Millennium watched them, one with a knowing smile and the other with an understanding frown, as the scenery started to fade.
/"Ugh… I really hate re-watching this sappy… kind of scene, so I'll fast forward it a little bit," said Echizen.
"Please do!" Momoshiro continued. "Look, it's making Oishi-senpai and Eiji-senpai blush in their corner."
"Shut up Momo," Eiji pouted./
When the next scenery came up, they were back in Serenity's empty room on the moon. A gentle knock could be heard coming from the large double windows in the room. Suddenly there was a rustle, and the sound of a doorknob being turned could be heard. Serenity appeared from her bathroom, clad in a white sleeveless dress. Her hair was still of a silky honey colour, only shoulder-length long. However, she had grown. Her chest was much defined under her dress, her hips became those of a lady and her blue eyes, which used to be deep pools of sea, became the universe - captivating, endless. Her movements were graceful as she moved from the far end of the room to her window, and her moist, pink lips stretched into a genuine smile as the wind caressed her hair, folding her dress. Outside stood two men, the first with disheveled chestnut brown hair and the other clad in a cloak. She quickly ushered them inside the room and closed her window.
"Please wait a moment, I will go call Eiji," she said to the foreseer, the one clad in the black cloak. She discreetly exited her room and went to fetch her best friend in the one opposite to hers. When the doors to her room opened again, a red ball of energy launched itself on the foreseer and clung to him.
"Oishiii! I missed you so much nya!" the red Sailor whined.
Serenity only chuckled as she settled herself next to her fiancé, who now stood a good foot taller than her. She gazed at him with a mischievous smile, which made him frown at her in return. As their small tête-à-têtes were secret and technically illicit, they couldn't ask for tea or cakes from the servants so they were content with only spending some time together chatting. While the two royal youths were much more subtle in their affections, rarely touching, seldom speaking, their guardians were the complete opposite. Kikumaru was generous in his showing his affections and Oishi, although very shy, never pushed the other away. Often times, the foreseer brought flowers for the red guardian when he came to visit while the prince himself was empty-handed. Instead, Prince Millennium offered his presence, occasionally a smile or two, and Serenity was content with those.
As they were chatting, the scenery suddenly began to flash and the loud noise of warning came up.
/Warning, warning. …approaching. Please evacuate immediately. I repeat, evacuate…
"Everyone, join your hands together! Someone's coming!" Echizen yelled.
"What—What's happening?" asked a very frightened Momo. "Echizen!"
"I told you! Someone's approaching us in the real world. We are going to be expelled from this place soon! So grab your neighbor and don't let go!"
Angry to be interrupted in the middle of the story, Tezuka could ask for silence and order amidst his team. "Now, everyone, close your eyes.."/
As they came to in the clubroom, they could hear footsteps approaching them. All of them managed to quickly change back into their human forms just as the doorknob turned. The door opened and they held their breath. Outside stood a figure dyed in red by the sunset. Tezuka frowned as suddenly a flash of the disappearing image of a smiling Serenity came to his mind. He could see her pure white dress dyed in red, her crimson lips stretched into an enigmatic smile and her blue, blue eyes slowly devoured by blood as she approached them. However, when she spoke up, Tezuka was harshly brought back to reality.
"Ne, what are you guys doing?" questioned his nicknamed 'wife's' feminine voice.
~To Be Continued~
Next Chapter Preview: Tezuka is worried about Fuji, who's been acting weird. He takes his childhood friend to places they have been as kids, but Fuji...