The Finale~ XDD Hope you like it, and please leave a comment or review!!!

Title: Reflections of a Regret 4
Author: ice
Genre: General, Family
Rating: PG-13
Pairings: AtoJi
Summary: An introspective view of Jirou's life from a childhood to adulthood from the views of his family.

Disclaimer: I can only wish I owned PoT...Atobe and Jirou would be official.

The first thing I remember from my childhood was my mother scolding me for trying to play with my brother. The third memory was of said older brother pushing me away, telling me that I was being a nuisance, that I should leave and stop bugging him. I hadn't realized that I was annoying him until then.

What happened to the second one, you ask?

Well, that was when I met Atobe Keigo.

I had been a wide-eyed child, wandering lost in the huge school grounds as soon as the butler dropped me off and pointed me towards the school entrance. Eventually, I got lost and ended up just sitting down on a swing. The other children would run past me playing tag, but I didn't know what they were doing at the time. A few mothers sat around watching the children play, and I often wondered what that would have felt like, to have someone watch over me as if I was important. At that time, I could already tell that I wasn't really wanted at home. My brother played with me sometimes when he's almost done with or almost done with his work, but I knew that if I had bothered him while he was doing his work, he'd stop playing with me. Although...that was pointless considering he drove me away anyways.

In any case, it was when the bell rang for class to start and the playground cleared that he came up to me. There were only a few stragglers behind heading to class, so I suppose I must have stuck out since I hadn't moved since the bell rang. In any case, he came up to me as a shadow as I stared at the stragglers running to class.

He appeared as his usual glorified self, with pristine clothing, neatly styled hair, and a raised eyebrow at me, asking me why I wasn't going to class.

"I don't know where it is."

"Aan? Ore-sama will show you then."

I thought he had a funny way of addressing himself, but I didn't really say anything about it. Then he decided that I should stay with him when he found that we were in the same class. And so, I followed him.

He sat alone, away from the other children. I had wondered at this, but the other children seemed to ignore him anyways, so I gave it no further thought. I sat down next to him and stared at the front. Nothing was really interesting about school, I had thought before yawning. Even when the teacher started teaching, it wasn't interesting. It was all a little too simple, concepts and ideas and rules that I'd learned from watching my brother do his work. Apparently, Keigo also thought it was too easy, seeing as he had a slight glazed look in his eyes as he stared forward. Eventually, thinking he looked quite comfortable, I fell asleep on him.

Considering that I woke up when he shook me awake at the end of class, I don't think he minded too much. By that time, it was lunch time. Still following Keigo, I eventually reached the front entrance, where the butler eventually picked me up after most of the other children went home. I had to wait alone during this time, since Keigo's limo was waiting for him the moment he stepped out of the school.

And so, school had continued this way for the first week. Then a couple of the older kids thought I was a prime target to pick on. I had no friends and didn't talk to anyone. Unfortunately for them, they hadn't taken into account that Keigo was around. The one day they decided to get physical and picked me up by my shirt collar, about to shove me against the wall, Keigo appeared, tackled them, and fought them off like an avenging angel. It was amazing watching a five year old beat up several eight year olds. And his silver-gray hair and dark-blue eyes didn't retract from his image any. It only added to the supernatural effect.

Then he turned to me. If the avenging angel look worked for him, the concerned look he gave me afterwards took my breath away. I started calling him my guardian angel after that--never to his face though, of course--despite the fact that he was the same age as me.

The term guardian angel was apt for him, however. Even now, I don't know why he ever decided that I was worth helping, but I'm glad he did. (I think the fact that I never mentioned who he was to my family helped. After all, who hadn't heard of the Atobes?) After that scuffle, he was there for every problem I had, from when I tripped over my feet and skinned my knee, to when the only family member in my family who seemed to even slightly like me threw me out of his room and told me to never come back, to when I fell off that three-meter high slide when I was eight. It was nice to have someone who cared for me. Eventually, I actually stayed awake at school, if only to play with Keigo..only to go home and sleep everything off that is.

But I was happy. Even when the butler decided that I wasn't worth taking to school anymore and decided to bring up the idea of me taking the bus to school instead to my parents at the beginning of my second year. Of course, when Keigo discovered that I was about to join the few kids who took the bus home, he immediately demanded why and dragged me to his limo instead. Some people stared at us due to his commanding voice, but most people ignored us. He took me home from then on, after stopping by random little stores or his home first that was. We had time before I had to be home since the bus often took at least two hours before reaching all the homes to drop each child off. In my case, it would take it three.

Keigo had already discovered what my home life was like and confronted me about it early on, somehow managing to send in a spy to bring him back information in just a few days after entering the household. I still haven't managed to figure out who he sent. The person had quit as soon as he had recovered all the information needed, saying that he couldn't handle the annoying brat who kept crying upstairs and the strange attitude of the mistress. I had shrugged at that comment. I was used to it, of course.

But in any case, this discovery had only made Keigo even more determined to make me enjoy and experience life to the fullest. And it was fun. He took me to random amusement parks, zoos, candy stores, cafes, parks, just about anywhere a child would want to go. We didn't get to spend a long time at each place since we only had three hours before I had to be back, but we had fun, nonetheless.

That was, until his own family called him away at the end of second year and placed him into a primary school in Great Britain starting in his third year. It was a shock when Keigo told me the news. He didn't seem too happy with it either, but didn't have as extreme a reaction as I did.

I burst into tears and ran away. Eventually I got lost in his large mansion, hiding in a corner of a deserted hallway. It took all 112 servants in the mansion searching for almost two hours before someone found me. I refused to get up from my corner, thinking that Keigo was probably angry at me for causing so much trouble and wasting all his servants' time, but when Keigo came over, he only knelt down beside me and gave me a firm hug, quietly letting me cry on his shoulder.

When I stopped, he told me that he wasn't going to be gone forever, that he would be back for junior high. He promised that he would make sure that he came back, no matter what happened, and he would see me in Hyoutei's junior division campus come our first year. I remember continuing to cry, not wanting him to go either way, but feeling slightly better that he would definitely be back. I believed him when he said he promised. Atobe Keigo was not a liar.

In any case, he told me that his driver would continue to pick me up from school every day until my family decided they wanted to pick me up themselves, and that the driver would take me anywhere I chose to go and pay for whatever I wanted for the three hours I had to waste before going home, and that I was welcome in this mansion whenever I wanted to come over. I had looked up at him, shocked at what he was offering me, but he only gave me a small smile and told me that it was the least he could do for leaving me alone for three years.

Then, the servants spoke up, telling me that they would be happy to help me around the place or bring me anything I wished for, that I was always welcome at this home because they had come to think of me as a second master. I was shocked at this. Me? The one who my family thought was useless--yes,I do realize what my household say about me--was thought of as a second master by the servants who serve Keigo?

The driver gave me a grandfatherly smile at my disbelief. (Even though I had not said it, what I was thinking had apparently been obvious in my eyes, he had told me when I asked later.) He told me that he would be happy to take me wherever I wished to go and to spend time with me should I so wish.

I had to hug Keigo even tighter and cry again when I heard their support. Keigo had given me everything I had ever wanted that I couldn't find in my own family. I had people who cared about me because I was me. And of course, Keigo was the most important of them all.

Somehow knowing that he would be back made life a little more bearable those several years without him. I never took advantage of the free reign he gave me over his servants, preferring to go to the mansion he stayed in during the time he attended school with me, and playing with the servants, helping them cook or clean and whatnot, or making phone calls to Keigo whenever possible to tell him about my day or to ask him about his day.

Then, finally, junior high came around.

I was even more awake than usual, but no one really noticed, thinking that I was being my usual self, excited at new, interesting things, considering that they were gossiping about the new transfer student. Oh yeah, after Keigo left, I began to fall asleep in class again, much to his outrage...that was, until I told him that I remembered what was taught when I was dozing. Then he just stared at me in shock, or I assumed he did at least, considering the silence that came from the other line didn't sound like he had hung up or anything.

But in any case, I did make a flippant comment to Shishido and Mukahi.

"But don't you think he's interesting?" As I walked with a slight bounce in my step and a happy grin. Funny how most of them don't seem to recognize Keigo. Although, I suppose he didn't really present himself like he did this time, considering how preoccupied with me he was when we were children. I frowned in afterthought. I really had been restricting him, hadn't I? He reassured me that I hadn't, and rather had been keeping him grounded instead later that afternoon when we were alone and riding in his limo.

At any rate, it was amusing how Keigo integrated himself amongst the school on his first day, announcing that he was King and then defeating every one of the juniors and seniors in the tennis club. I hadn't known that he was that good at tennis, but I later found out that he had played in his spare time when he had nothing to do, and had honed his skills while in Britain. He didn't have much to do during those three years, afterall. Funnily enough though, neither of us joined the tennis club until our junior year. (To my family though, I kept up the pretense that I joined as a freshman, just to have an excuse to stay out longer with Keigo.) He, because he had no wish to pick up balls, and I, because I hadn't ever played tennis before and didn't know what I would do at tennis practice.

People like Shishido and Mukahi had areas they specialized in. I, on the other hand, had absolutely no clue what I wanted to do. It wouldn't be until the end of freshman year when we went to watch one of the tournaments that I figured out what I wanted to do. Or at least, it kept my interest for a while until I had mastered it. It didn't help that I naturally had strong wrists that allowed me to do my Magic Volleys as people named it. I became bored with it by the time third year came around and started sleeping through practices. Keigo got a little exasperated at me then, but allowed me to sleep. Good thing he was the captain.

Anyways, back on topic. By this time, I had begun staying out later and later and eventually just sleeping over at Keigo's every other night. My family didn't seem to either notice nor care, but that was fine with me. That place didn't really feel like home anymore anyways.

And then, one day, Keigo kissed me.

We were in the limo, and it was after practice. We were heading out to eat at one of the newer restaurants, and he kissed me. My guardian angel, my best friend, my everything, kissed me. On the lips. I sat there befuddled and stared at him in shock for what seemed like forever until he began to fidget nervously and told me that I could ignore that that ever happened and that I could leave if I felt uncomfortable. He was telling me that he would stay in another one of his mansions in the area when I cut him off by leaping at him and kissing him back. I was NOT going to let him go now that I had him. I had been repressing my feelings for what seemed like forever (By my fourth year in primary school, I had realized why I had begun crying hysterically the day he told me he had to leave all those years ago.); I was NOT about to let him escape when I could finally have him.

I think I shocked him with my actions though, because it was his turn to sit shocked. That had been an amusing reaction. He was so rarely caught off-guard, considering his overwhelming insight and self-confidence, but it was almost cute how I managed to thoroughly shock him, and especially since he was the one who did the same thing to me not even five minutes ago. He managed to shake off the shock before we arrived at the restaurant and gave a sheepish grin at me, reaching over to hold my hand. And thus, started our relationship. (I also vaguely recall the driver grinning at us from the front though. He seemed quite amused.)

School continued like normal, even as we entered high school. Keigo would be surrounded by his numerous fangirls (lucky for him, I wasn't an extremely jealous or possessive boyfriend), I would wander off and find a place to sleep before having to attend class, we would meet up for lunch, continue with our classes, and then either go to practice, return to Keigo's mansion, or sneak out on a date. It's quite interesting how people don't seem to recognize Keigo as much when he's wearing a hat and a scarf, and surprisingly, they never connected me to him even though I never wore anything differently besides changing out of my school uniform or tennis uniform.

Speaking of school, for some reason, while I didn't catch on to the fact in junior high, I actually had fangirls. Keigo only laughed at me when I told him this and told me that of course I would have fangirls. I wasn't exactly bad looking, he had said. Even now, he tells me that, and it still confuses me. I looked the same as ever, didn't I? Plain as usual, blond-hair, brown-eyes that were strangely tinted with red, pale chalk-white skin, thin figure with gangly limbs. I still don't get it.

But somehow, people believed otherwise. I'll never understand them. Anyways, aside form this discovery, there were also rumors going around that I was with Keigo. That did not bode well for Keigo, but he told me not to worry about it. Eventually, I found out that he had somehow redirected the rumor into one that centered on me...and how adorable I was, apparently. I'll never understand him.

It was the end of our senior year in high school, right before we were to enter university. It was then that I offered myself to Keigo as his birthday present. We hadn't really done much until then surprisingly; he let everything go at my pace, never pushing me into anything, although I'm quite sure there were a few times when he had this look in his eyes that said that he wanted to jump me. I'm not THAT blind.

I wanted to give him something special after all the things he had done for me, so the night of his eighteenth birthday, I undressed myself, laid down on his bed (or rather, our bed, considering that I didn't sleep anywhere else anyways) while feeling a little embarrassed that I was doing this, and covered myself with the blankets a little. He was surprised when he walked in after his shower, but it was worth the embarrassment.

I told him that he could do whatever he wanted, but he was extremely gentle and careful that first time, saying that he didn't want to hurt me. It was sweet. I wasn't exactly made for that kind of girth, and was a little nervous about it, but he took his time and made sure that I enjoyed the entire experience.

Of course, it wasn't that slow all the time; Keigo would probably go nuts if he had to do that. Especially when he was mad. He's sexy when he's mad, but don't tell him I said that. It was quick and fast then, but neither of us were complaining.

In any case, we made it out of high school with no problems and graduated. Of course, now we had university to deal with, but Keigo's grandfather had officially signed over all the forms and contracts of all the businesses they owned. Keigo would officially inherit everything, and nothing short of death would take it away from him. On the condition that he finished university. But he was planning to do that anyways, so that was okay. The surprising thing was that I would be joining him. Or well, not so surprising I suppose. My parents had paid for tuition already, despite that when I announced I was going to move out, they seemed to be quite happy to get rid of me. And even if they hadn't paid for me, I suspect that Keigo would have paid for me and forced me to attend anyways, claiming that it would be boring without me around...although how unboring I could make his life when I dozed through most of my classes, I'll never know. He's weird like that.

I liked university though. Contrary to everyone's beliefs, I wasn't exactly stupid. I manage to graduate with Keigo with a degree in Biological Research and Design. What? I was bored. Keigo had a triple degree in Business (and had also taken almost all of any kind of business related course offered), Economics, and Classical Greek. Obviously, we weren't in many of the same courses, so I either slept or did my work while he was in class. Sometimes I would attend his lectures with him. Otherwise, we were together.

The good thing about university was that we didn't really have to hide our relationship anymore. We weren't exactly open with our affection, but sometimes we could cuddle under the shade of a tree as he read a book. I think most people dismissed us as being the way we always were though, and the ones who were new to Hyoutei were quickly told how I apparently didn't have any concept of personal space.

Which I did, thank you very much. I just didn't have any around my closest friends. Wonder if they ever noticed that little fact.

But no one really noticed anything different between the relationship between Keigo and I until after we graduated and I listened in on Keigo's meetings.

Early on when Keigo first took over, people attempted to have me removed from the meetings, but they soon learned not to when Keigo called me over and asked me in front of everyone who I thought would be good to invest in--I didn't sit in on some of his lectures for nothing, you know. Their reactions were quite funny when I pointed out the flaws of each and every one of them every time they questioned me. They thought I was only sleeping, unaware of everything that happened around me, not expecting that Keigo would actually ask me for an opinion before making his final decision. Eh, their loss.

Though, sometimes, this method of allowing me a choice in Keigo's decisions did cause some problems. Several times, the idiots would try to bribe me with money or favors, thinking that I didn't really know what I was doing, that Atobe-sama was just letting his lover or pet feel like he was involved. I just turned over and dozed off again, completely ignoring them.

Then, there was that one time when someone thought I was too pretty. He cornered me after the meeting in a deserted hallway and shoved me against the wall. However, he had barely pressed his body against mine before he was thrown off and a sickening crack was heard as his head whipped to the side. Keigo stood in front of me enraged. I had suspected that Keigo had me tailed everytime one of these meetings occurred, which made sense as to how he got there so quickly. Whoever was tailing me most likely told him the moment the man had unknowingly followed me. Too bad this wasn't the mansion we lived in. The servants would have been loitering around all over the place and that pervert wouldn't have had a chance to get me alone. Then again, I don't think I would've liked all those strange people wandering in and out of our private property.

In any case, things settled down a little after that. That man was thrown in jail for attempted rape, Keigo bought out his company and made sure the man's finances were decimated (good thing he didn't have a family to support, that would have complicated things), and made sure that even if the man was released, he would not be able to go anywhere without someone knowing that he had attempted rape.

Amazingly, Keigo somehow managed to do all this without leaking anything to the press. Which I was definitely grateful for. The fact that I was almost raped didn't hit me until much later though. I had walked around in a daze for almost a week before I developed an obsessive-compulsive disorder with scrubbing myself clean. I also spent longer times lying around in bed covered with our release--not that I didn't already do this sometimes--in an attempt to wash away the feeling of that foreign body against mine.

Keigo helped me through it though. He was patient with me, with stopping me everytime he found me scrubbing my skin off (I think he set surveillance cameras on me at those times to make sure he could stop me whenever I started), with the times I clung to him whenever we went out and a stranger walked a little too close to us. I'm just glad that I was familiar enough with all of the staff members in our mansion that I didn't jump at their presence. They most likely would have felt hurt, and I would have felt bad.

And...I'm going off topic. Well, while making sure nothing got to the press, Keigo also somehow managed to make sure that all prospective contractors knew that I was off limits, and that any unwelcome attempts to approach me would end with their failure. I skipped out on a few of these meetings after that particular incident, but eventually came back. Except now, I would stay close to Keigo, be it being close enough to be able to use his lap as a pillow, napping at the foot of his chair, or even sitting in his lap--although, I think I gave him a problems a few times with the last one. Oh well.

It just meant we had more fun later.

Well, life continued on in this peaceful manner for the next few years, until Keigo told me that one of his secretaries found that someone was trying to track me down via the various databases. He said that they had found the person who was doing so and why, and reluctantly told me that my father was in the hospital with less than six months left.

I had frozen in shock, horrified. My father? He didn't really do much for me in my life, but he was still my father. I didn't want him to die. I couldn't figure out what to do nor how to react. Then Keigo told me that my father was sick with that disease that started the previous year, that there was still no vaccination nor cure found for it yet.

Despite the fact that my father nor family probably wouldn't even care about who helped them if it wasn't beneficial in some way, and definitely not if it was me, I knew what I had to do.

I asked Keigo for help and called up Oshitari, knowing that despite being a romance novelist nowadays, he had gotten a degree in Toxicological Chemistry back in university. Keigo also called in a few researchers that he knew were either already working on the cure or good at research experiments like this.

I barely slept in the two months it took us to figure out the cure. It took another month to make sure that it would help. We couldn't test it to see if there would be any side effects or not, but Seigaku's Inui, Rikkaidai's Yanagi, and Oshitari all said that there was a very low chance that there would be any side effects. And so, we released it, making sure that one made it into the hands of my father.

The month after that, I laid around in bed, catching up on my sleep, and spending my time relaxing with Keigo. That was, until Keigo's secretary called and said that my brother was looking to make an appointment with Keigo, apparently to thank him for helping his father. She said that she had hung up on him and told him to call back next year, and asked us what we would like her to do about it.

I suppose I should have thanked her for her loyalty. She was a nice lady. She had worked for Keigo's family for the past twenty years already, and spoiled me rotten with treats at times, saying that I was "an adorable little creature" and that Keigo "had better take care" of me or she'll go after him with a bat. Keigo had glared at her, flushed. Apparently, she had also doubled as his nanny when he was little, before she was transfered away when he entered primary school.

Anyways, Keigo had her call my brother back and schedule him for the the day after, saying that it was time that I needed to settle things with my family, that in the past year, I had been progressively getting worse each time I saw a happy family with both parents and their children together. I suppose I had. As much as I love the family I had now, however unconventional it was, I still wanted to know what it was like to have parents and siblings that cared for me.

However, the thing that made me cave into Keigo's request was the fact that Keigo was also in a similar situation. While he did not have any siblings to compete with, his parents did not care for him, preferring him to be a tool. However, his grandfather did see that his grandson was being thoroughly ignored and did occasionally call to see how he was doing, which made a difference. (It was also why his grandfather had passed over his son and daughter-in-law when writing the documents for who would inherit all the Atobe properties.) Added to the fact that I was in the same boat, Keigo understood very well how I was feeling. However, while he knew that he did not have a chance to ever make it up with his parents, he knew that I had a possible chance. He knew that while I was neglected, my parents had still paid for my education when they could have just disowned me, and that if my brother was looking for me all those months ago because my father was sick, that I may have a chance with my family again.

And so, I agreed.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as well as we had wanted it to. While I didn't exactly expect to be welcomed back with open arms even if they had been looking for me, I didn't think that they would have had completely given up on looking for me just because father was well again. I suppose I had been a little naive in hoping that maybe they'd actually found me (I didn't exactly leave hard trails to follow, having never exactly hid from neither public eye nor social life), but I didn't think that I was so unimportant that as soon as father was no longer on his deathbed, they no longer had any wish to look for me, as if I was something dispensable.

I was slumped over in bed on my front when Keigo finally came in, wordlessly comforting me with a hug. He always did know what to do, despite others believing that he was too self-centered to ever care for anyone else.

I eventually got over my little fit of depression at realizing how unimportant I was to my family, even after all these years, and suppressed it. I had our annual family gathering to look forward to afterall. It was funny how that had started actually. I had been bugging Keigo about how we wouldn't be seeing our friends from the team around anymore, saying that I missed everyone and wanted everyone to get together again. Then one thing led to another and the entire team AND their families were invited, instead of just our friends. We had fun every year though.

Ohtori and Shishido's family were amusing. Their older siblings were married, and they had brought along a couple of wandering little kids with them. Little kids that they were apparently supposed to take care of seeing as their aunts and uncles had left for vacation during the time we were holding the gathering. I liked the little brats though. They always brightened up my day. Surprisingly, their grandparents also came along every year, wanting to watch their grandchildren. Their parents were the ones who missed sometimes though. They'd come one year, but miss the next. But that was alright. Everyone was happy either way.

Of course, those two did throw their families into chaos when they were caught together a few years ago. Funnily, it was at one of these gatherings. They had been in one of the more isolated rooms upstairs, but you know kids never stay out of where they're not supposed to be. That was one awkward year though. The shouts from their parents were heard clearly throughout the mansion when they began yelling. Don't think they realized just where they were until they noticed all the other families staring at them in the ballroom. Boy, that must've been embarrassing.

Probably even more so when Oshitari moved over to where Mukahi was standing in the middle of kids, fending off the ones that had pulled his hair, and slung an arm around the red-head's waist. Oshitari had only raised an eyebrow at the stunned parents who had been yelling at Ohtori and Shishido about how inappropriate they were being together. (Apparently, being brothers-in-law made a difference.) But obviously, it was a bigger shock to them to see Oshitari and Mukahi together for some odd reason.

Maybe it was Oshitari's reputation of being a womanizer. Not that he's actually dated any. But that didn't exactly stop the rumors, nor his attitude around women.

But in any case, eventually Ohtori and Shishido managed to convince their families that it didn't matter if they were together anyways because they weren't exactly in need of heirs. Their older siblings were married after all, and they weren't related by blood. That, and the fact that they'd been together for longer than their siblings had known of each other, surprisingly. So with the support of the rest of the room, everything managed to tide over eventually.

Strangely enough though, Oshitari's family didn't even bat an eye at the fact that their son was apparently in love with another man. They were muttering, 'we should've known he'd go for a boy,' or 'I knew it was just an act all those times.' It was amusing to say the least.

Mukahi's family didn't take it as well, but they weren't as supportive as Oshitari's family anyways. They were a little like mine, but his mother still cared for him. It was just his father and his younger brother. Mukahi wasn't accomplished enough for them, and there were rumors floating around that he wasn't the designated heir, and hadn't been since junior high. He blew off whoever asked him about it though.

Kabaji's family was just as quiet as he was though, but they were a loving family. It was the only one where everyone was close to each other. Like in a fairy tale dream.

Hiyoshi was another matter altogether. He was no longer trying to take Keigo's place in everything, but pursuing other places. He had inherited the dojo from his father and had been keeping it up as well as working in the businessworld. His family was a little old-fashioned, but they had a great sense of humor. Makes me wonder how he turned out the way he did. Maybe the humor was too much for him.

But I'm completely off topic. Anyways, these gatherings were something that I always looked forward to. Despite the fact that my family never showed up and Keigo's family were never present, it was nice to have a house full of people and close friends. They all already knew about Keigo and his family; they could guess from the fact that his grandfather had skipped over his own children in favor of his grandson. Me, though, they eventually figured out why my family never showed up from their own socials and research. They drew their own conclusions, and I let them. It wasn't like I could stop them in any way. I had nothing to use to defend my parents nor siblings. And my grandparents? I don't even know if they were still alive, much less where they are.

But it was because everyone knew most of everyone else's business at these gatherings that made it so comfortable. That was, until Keigo led me over to my family who were somehow at the one held this year.

That, I had not expected.

I didn't want to see my family. I knew what they thought of me, and I didn't want to deal with it. I was perfectly fine with ignoring that there was ever a problem for the rest of my life. Why did he have to invite them?!

But Keigo wanted me to settle things with my family. And so, I didn't have a choice but to listen to them as one by one, they said they were sorry. I was in disbelief. They had treated me like I was lower than the mice who lived in the kitchen and they were sorry?! I wanted a family, but I wasn't that superficial. I didn't want to forgive them, no matter what they said. But then I thought of Keigo. He didn't have a chance like this, and never would. And they all sounded sincere.

So, I gave them another chance.

Until my mother told me that they had done nothing wrong and continued to defend her opinion. I suppose I was useless, especially since I didn't exactly have any defining features about me that made me stand out from the family. I was the one who would fade into the background everytime a portrait was taken, no matter how many times the photographer attempted to put me in the middle in front.

But in any case, there was absolutely no way I would have told them about Keigo. If they were going to like me just because Keigo was my friend, then they were not worth it. I was not going to let Keigo be used just because he was wealthy and famous. I gave my mother a tight smile before saying in a strained voice, "Yes, Mother. I apologize."

I stiffened in anger when she told me that I did right in apologizing.

But then Keigo called for Kabaji. And I panicked.

While Kabaji wasn't the most violent person, he was dearly loyal. If Keigo told him that he could do anything he wanted as long as my mother was off the property, who knew what would have happened. Kabaji had a strange sense of justice sometimes, and some of the worst, although very rare, pranks the team suffered in high school were construed by him. Keigo and I usually avoided the consequences of those pranks, but we were caught in one once. That was NOT fun.

That, and although I didn't like the fact that she had insulted me and accused me of not using Keigo (as if that was a bad thing), she was my mother. I didn't want her reputation to be ruined that badly by being thrown off the Atobe premises. That would have been all over the press by morning.

There was also this little part of me that hoped that she would finally change the way she thought of my relationship with Keigo if she talked to the other families present. Maybe being friends with one of them would be able to convince her that using other people for their connections was not right.

Apparently not.

She had fumed for the rest of the party before heading to bed that night.


That night, Keigo and I laid in bed comfortably, talking about the day's events. It was peaceful...until he told me that my mother had been listening when I had teased him about wanting him to fuck me into the mattress. Now THAT was horrifying.

As much as I didn't like her at times, THAT was NOT something that I wanted her to ever hear or know. Keigo only laughed at my expense. I pouted. Stupid Keigo. He could've told me she was there.


And so, life went on. Everyone left the next day, I had made up with my family (mostly), and Keigo and I were together and happy. We weren't exactly in want for anything either, and sometimes in our free time, we'd go to the tennis courts and play. When we were bored of that, we'd invite the old school teams over and host a semi-tournament. Of course, sometimes the press found out about these tournaments and tried to sneak past security, but that Seigaku's Inui's juice was really traumatizing. It's gotten to the point where some of them were iridescent.

Anyways, I guess I can understand why the press would make a big deal about it. Seigaku's Tezuka and Echizen were world class players. Even Rikkaidai's Yukimura and Sanada were still well-known, despite the fact that the former had gone into the modeling industry and the latter was now also a businessman. Of course, the most interesting fact for the press was the fact that most of the players invited weren't even in the tennis world. (Well, of course they were. They just weren't anymore.) I mean, who would guess that a model, or businessman, or photographer, or scientist, or doctor, or even a world-class musician could play professional tennis and be at par with world class players?

Keigo would let some of his contractors watch the matches from afar sometimes, which was actually quite funny. He let them hold bets on who would win against who, and of course, they were shocked speechless when I beat most of the people they had bet on. I don't think any of them had expected Keigo's 'pet' to be able to play tennis. I think I still looked sleepy while playing sometimes, too--that Mizuki guy looked pretty mad when I played him.

But in any case, life was good.

A/N: The last chapter has been FINISHED!!! XD Only...this has been one loooooong-ass chapter...=.=....

Thanks to those who have kept up with reading this so far!!! XD

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