Note: Standard disclaimer applies. I do not own the songs inputted in this story either as it belongs to its rightful owner.

This takes place two years prior to "A Second Chance", so basically, it is a prequel. I wanted to try my hand at writing an angst, so... here it is.

It was just a couple of months after the nationals, in which Hyoutei had lost to Seigaku. I supposed that was to be expected… Even though there were many strong tennis players on our side, Seigaku had been more prepared than we had expected. I supposed our pride brought us to nationals; yet at the same time, I felt our pride caused us our downfall.

I exhaled deeply as I leaned against the railing, and absentmindedly watched the clouds rolling by. Usually I would be napping somewhere, and trust Kei-chan to always find me. He always does in a record time, which somehow brought a smile on my face, because the first person I would see whenever I wake up would always be him. I never did once doubt that he would not, because he has been doing it since kindergarten when we first met.

Our bond… our connection… it was special, and we both knew it. Kei-chan was, and is, the only one who was lenient on me during practice. He was the only one who lets me sleep, who lets me skip practice most of the time, and he was the only who was not harsh on me as he is to other regulars. However, our bond goes further than just tennis.

Nevertheless… I could not help but feel uneasy about something. I did not know if the reason was because of our lost, or because of something else. Nevertheless, I disregarded that thought when I realized that tomorrow… tomorrow would be our four months anniversary. I could not help but let out a grin like an idiot, and be excited about it.

My heart beats uncontrollably to the point that I could hear the thumps in my ears. I let out a snicker when my thoughts referred back to Keigo, but I immediately stopped when I realized that I might look insane in the eyes of others.

With these thoughts in mind, I headed back to my class when the bell rang. Usually, for lunch, the regulars would be eating together, but since most knew that I would be sleeping somewhere, I decided to come here to mull over some issues… especially, the issue regarding Keigo and I.

Despite the fact that I happened to be zealous most of the times, I could not help but frown when I realized that Keigo and I have been drifting apart lately. Even though I wanted to bring up that issue to him, I could not bring myself to do so. I just let out a sigh, and opted to head back to class. Sometimes, I wish that I could just sleep away, and when I wake up… my problems would disappear. A wishful thinking, I know.

"Ne, Kei-chan," I called out to him as soon as the class ended, and when he turned around, I continued, "Do you have time today to hang out?"

I looked at him hopefully, and inwardly wished that he would agree to my offer this time. I had been asking him to spend time with me lately, but he just kept rejecting. I know that he was busy, considering he is the captain of the tennis club, student body president, and on top of that, he is busy with his preparations to take over the Atobe Group. But sometimes, I wish that he would not ignore me so.

"I'm sorry Jirou," Keigo responded with a small frown, and fully turned around to look at me, "My grandmother is coming over, and I have to be there," As soon as he turned down my offer, I tuned out, and stopped listening to him.

I plastered a fake reassuring smile, and said chirpily, "Don't worry about it. I know you're really busy these days. Well then, maybe I'll see you tomorrow?"

"Thanks for being so understanding," Keigo said with gratitude, and in relieved tone. "I'll make it up to you," he added, but I just gave him a numb nod in response, and walked away. Another day that he had turned down my offer to hang out…. Why doesn't he have time for me anymore?

What happened to you, Kei-chan? Why are you being this way? I want my old Kei-chan back…

Today was our four-month anniversary since we have been together officially. I thought I should surprise Kei-chan with this present that I had made. Although it might seen like a futile attempt to salvage our relationship, but I still wanted to make an effort. Even though I might act overzealous at times, I am not one to prod, or nag at him to tell me whatever was concerning him.

Perhaps, this was the reason why I am in the situation I am in, but I trust him. Kei-chan should know that he could confide in me with whatever problems he has. However, because he is a private person who bottles up everything, it was a hard to make him tell me of his problems.

I shook my head, trying to get rid of these unhappy thoughts, and walked down the street as I readjusted the weight of my guitar. I had practiced many nights for this event, just so I could make this day a special day. Since Kei-chan had practically everything he wants, and more due to his wealth, I wanted to make our anniversary something more special. Aside from my song, I wanted to give him this handmade music box that plays the song I will be playing for him. So if he ever wanted to listen to the song, he could just open it.

It had taken me quite some time to make this, even with my older brother's help; but I was glad that we managed to finish it in time. With a smile plastered on my face, I made my way to Atobe's house, which I always called a mansion.

I finally reached to my destination, and greeted the security guard at the gate. Since I have been coming here a lot, almost all the staff working for Kei-chan, and his family knew me. I made my way through the maze that is Kei-chan's house, and made my way to his room. On the way, I met with an elderly woman, whom I assumed to be Kei-chan's grandmother because he had said that she would be coming yesterday.

I gave a formal bow towards her, and politely greeted her. Somehow, her presence commended authority, and respect, which somehow reminded me of how Kei-chan is.

"And who might you be?" she inquired sharply that somehow made me flinch.

"I'm Akutagawa Jirou, please to meet you madam," I responded politely, and steeled my nerves so that I would not just run away in fear, because her scrutinizing look sent shivers down my spines. "I'm in Atobe-kun's tennis team," I supplied helpfully.

"That sport is just a waste of time," she scoffed scornfully before she walked away. I merely stared at her retreating figure, and inwardly wondered what caused her dislike of tennis. I shook my head when I could not come up with a conclusion, and proceeded to head to Kei-chan's room.

I heard from one of the maids that he would be in his room, so I had thought I should surprise him. Instead of knocking on the door as I usually would whenever I come over, I just opened the door.

Big mistake.

I stared in shock at the scene before me, because this was not what I had been expecting to see at all. I did not know how long I was standing there in shock, until my grip on my present loosen and dropped on the ground. The 'thud' brought me back to reality, and it had also caught the attention of two other people in the room.

"Sorry," I mumbled before I ran out of the hallway, passed Kei-chan's grandmother, the staff-san, and finally out of the house. I had to get out of the premises.

The scene I just saw kept replaying in mind. Even though I knew that our relationship was shaky as of late, I did not think that he would be cheating on me behind my back. He was making out with a girl, and it even looked like he was enjoying it. What angered, and sadden me was that he did not even call out my name or tried to stop me.

"So, this is what you've been hiding from me all these times," I muttered darkly under my breath as I kicked away a harmless stone.

I wanted to scream, and shout out how unfair the situation is; yet… I could not. It was as if my throat lost its will to produce sounds, and my tears could not stop rolling down my cheeks. I wanted to rip out my heart, just because it hurts so much.

'Get a hold of yourself, Jirou,' my rational state of mind chided, and continued, 'You'll be fine. You don't need him. You can survive on your own... you'll be fine,'

I somehow ended up at the park, and sat down on one of the swings. As I slowly rocked back and forth, my mind kept replaying how Atobe was on top of the girl, and how he was caressing her gently. My grip on the swings tighten unconsciously, which I was unaware of until my hands were hurting.

I let out a shaky sigh as I put down my guitar case before I unloaded the instrument. "Maybe music might help me calm down," I muttered as I adjusted the guitar strings, and began strumming a couple of notes. Before I realized my actions, I was already whispering the words even though it sounded so foreign to me.

"Somehow I already know why you're looking down
You're here, but you can't seem to start talking about breaking-up

Even though our fallen shadows on the pavement
Are gathering together and piling up
Right now, our feelings are drifting farther apart

For you, who has met another love,
Can't find any connecting words

Things like 'goodbye' or 'it's the end'
Even if you say it's a lie, our un-joined hands become cold
We'll become strangers
Because I'll end up embracing things like 'I'm sorry' or 'please don't cry anymore'
So before my piled up memories turn into sorrow
At the end, I'll say goodbye with a smile…"

I paused in mid-string when I noticed that someone was watching me. The man walked closer to me, and introduced himself as Miyazawa Takeru, the chairman of Sony Music Entertainment.

"I can see vast amount of talent in you, just from that performance… like a rough diamond," he started as he tried to word his statements carefully, and continued, "If we can help you polish it, you'll be a star. So please consider my offer. Do you want to continue living the life you are now, or change it?"

With a polite bow, he left his business card on my guitar case, and left in the same quiet manner that was as mysterious as his arrival. Somehow, his last phrase kept ringing in my mind…

"Do you want to continue to living the life you are now, or change it?"

I shook my head violently, trying to clear my thoughts, and gathered my guitar before I stood up to leave. I grabbed the business card, and made my way to a trash bin to toss it, but somehow, I could not bring myself to do so.

"Do I want to change it..?" I murmured as I walked back home, just as the rain started pouring out of nowhere. "Great timing," I said sardonically as I readjusted the weight of my instrument. I stared at the business card as I contemplated what I should do. Before I realized it, I was standing in front of my house, completely drenched from the rain.

"This isn't how I planned it," I uttered softly as I tasted something salty on the tips of my tongue. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that I was crying, again. At least this time… no one will know… except the gray heaven above me.