NOTE: I just wanted to quickly say that this epilogue is written slightly different from the rest of the chapters and fic. You'll see what I mean once you start reading. I hope that you enjoy the way that this epilogue is written. Thank you…

A peaceful ending is what I had hoped for. To be able to rid of my fears and the painful memories that tortured my mind… it was wishful thinking, really. After months have passed by, I still wake up screaming in the night from nightmares that pull at every inch of my body. Then, I turned to the person next to me and realize that things are okay now. There are still times when I can't help but cry, though I realize that there is someone who cares for me; someone who will protect me.

"Fuji-senpai," Ryoma tapped his pencil on his book and let out a sigh. He looked up to see Fuji carefully watering the cacti in his room. "You sure do care a lot about those cacti…"

Fuji snickered before turning towards the younger boy. "I care about all the things I love. My family, my cacti, my photography, my teammates… oh, and of course, my Echizen Ryoma."

Ryoma's cheeks glowed red before he went back to looking at his book. "You always say things like that."

"Would you rather I lie about it?"


Conversations usually went like this… with nothing but silly chatter about nothing. In reality, I knew he wanted to question me about what was going on in my head; ask if I'm alright. I was still hurting on the inside, and the wounds were large on my heart. It would still be awhile until I would fully open myself up to anyone. Even the people I had called my friends had become farther away. Not because they wanted to, but because I kept pushing them further and further away from myself. I was scared… I still am. Months and months will pass right along, but I still can't allow myself to go back. I don't want to make people worry. Though, in the end, I know who's worrying anyways…

"Echizen, you seem a bit down. Is something wrong?" Fuji sat next to Echizen on the bed, forcing the younger of them to scoot over. "Want to talk about it?"

Ryoma shook his head and extended his right hand out in front of him. "Sometimes I wonder if he is sorry for what he has done. Does he too wish that these events had never happened? I should hate him… but in the end… he's still my father and taught me a lot…"

"In the end, you have to realize that what he did was a horrible set of events. He placed all this stress and pain on you, and even if he was sorry, he doesn't deserve your forgiveness. I know it's hard for you, but you really need to stop thinking so much about the past."

"I can't help it…"

My father had been found and locked away for a long while. It made me feel a bit at ease, but I still felt bad. Yes, he hurt me and did unthinkable things to my body, but in the end, he's still my father. He was the one who picked me up as a child and loved me. He was the one who placed a tennis racket in my hand and taught me how to play this game that I would soon love more than anything else. Then again, he taught me how to hate and be fearful… how to not trust a single soul because they might hurt me too. It makes me wonder, which outweighs the other? The good or bad?

"Just know this at least, Echizen, I'll always be here for you. No matter what happens, I'm here to listen," Fuji's hand lightly brushed through Ryoma's soft hair. "And I'm not the only one who wants to see you happy."

Ryoma allowed himself to lean over and rest his head on Fuji's shoulder. "I'll be fine with time… right?"

"As long as you want to be, you will."

"If I could just stay like this…"

"Echizen," Fuji reached down and let their lips just barely meet. "We can stay like this for as long as you want too."

Ryoma closed his eyes, sighed, and pulled himself away. "I have homework to finish."

"Then get it done, or I'll have to ground you to Yuuta's room," Fuji laughed and grabbed Ryoma from behind. His arms lingered around his fragile figure. "You know, I really do love you, Echizen Ryoma."

"I love you too, Fuji Syuusuke, but…" Ryoma pulled up his arms and wrapped them up around Fuji's neck. "Mada mada dane."

Without the negative in the world, can there really be positive events? Through all the pain and suffering, I was brought to this place. I realize that it doesn't matter which outweighed the other… because I'm just happy to be where I am now. In the end, my father could come back and do all of this to me all over again. It wouldn't matter to me because I know where all of it will lead me… into these loving arms that I might have been longing for this whole time. On that rainy day, I walked to this house to find protection. A disaster had happened that was unknown to all but myself. How could I begin telling him all that had happened? It was a question I didn't know the answer to. Though, as words slipped out and these pieces were placed together, my unknown disaster was revealed. It was an unknown disaster that would haunt me for the rest of my life but had brought me to the person who would save me. This was enough to make me know that it doesn't matter what bad had come or will come to my life… as long as I could continue to linger here in his arms…

I was once just like that cactus; broken and needing help. Now that I've grown stronger, I realize I still can use help from time to time. It was just one disaster that I left unknown… now that disaster is over, and I'm finally here where I belong.

I love you…

Don't ever let these words fade because they will heal… though they sometimes do cause pain…

"Don't ever leave me, Fuji-senpai…"

"I promise you, I won't, and that's a promise I plan to keep."


NOTE: Now it is really over. On January 10th, 2010, I first published chapter one of this fic. On December 10th, 2010, this fic has finally come to an end with 20 chapters and an epilogue. I hope that this fic turned out to be something my readers can enjoy. It is sad to see that this fic had to come to an end, but I just couldn't push it any further. Hopefully I tied everything together and explained everything in the end. Thank you all who read this from beginning to end, it really means a lot to me. I really can't think of much else to say, so I will leave at that. Thank you for reading, reviewing, and everything else you all do. Until the next fic, bye bye~!

Oh! Wait! I know that I changed how I wrote the epilogue. I just thought this was a nice way to do everything in the end. I hope that was alright with everyone.

Did I spell Syuusuke right? Syuusuke… Syusuke… how do I usually spell it…? Okay! Bye bye now!