CHAPTER 10

Hiyoshi was beding over, breathing hard. He wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand that was gripping his tennis racket. They were in the middle of their private tennis practice. Akaya was on the opposite side of court, not looking even half as exhausted as he felt. Hiyoshi clenched the racket determinedly as he commanded. "Again."

Akaya nodded with a grin and got ready to serve. Last weekend's day as master and servant had been fun. After leaving the café, Hiyoshi had even taken him to the arcade! And although Hiyoshi had made him play weird games, beat him at DDR and the taiko drums… he would still pawn him on the court! Their date had ended earlier than he wanted when Hiyoshi's stupid family had called and made him go home, but he'd walked Hiyoshi to the station and he'd even been given a goodbye kiss.

Now, as Akaya looked over the net to the other side of the court, he saw red for completely different reasons than usual.

The ball was hit back to the other side of the court and Hiyoshi could feel it all the way up his arm. How was it he could spend hours in the dojo and barely break a sweat, yet he was so badly out of shape for tennis? He was angry at himself for letting it go this far.

There was a happy cackle heard on the other end of the courts as Akaya returned the ball happily. "Heh heh."

It was a little unreasonable, but that cackle pissed Hiyoshi off. It fueled his determination as he returned the ball again, allowing him to focused completely once more as he tried to last at least a little while longer.

Akaya knew better than to take it easy on Hiyoshi, using Sanada's "ka" and muga no kyochi to return the ball with the powerful smash. He relished the fact that his grip was finally strong enough to use them.

Tightening his own grip, Hiyoshi readied himself for the return. He managed to catch it and return it just barely, falling over in the process.

"Out."

"Damn." He lay on the ground for a moment, then dragged himself back up. He was trying not to let himself get too frustrated, but let's face it, Akaya was an infuriating practice partner at times.

"You're getting better," Akaya said proudly. It hadn't been in, but he was surprised Hiyoshi could hit the muga no kyochi to the other side of the court now.

Hiyoshi walked over to the side bench to wipe himself off with a towel and get a drink of water. "Doesn't feel like it." Still, he grinned and shook his head at Akaya's praise, then held up Akaya's bottle, asking silently if he wanted it.

"That's because I'm amazing." Akaya grinned and walked over to take his bottle from Hiyoshi. "Thanks."

Downing more of his water, Hiyoshi chuckled after swallowing greedily and rolled his eyes. "Give me a few more weeks and I'll break that ego of yours."

"Yeah, right." Rikkai's junior demon laughed. "You wish." He followed up with a smirk before he took a long sip of his water.

Hiyoshi took a few deep breaths to get his breathing regulated, then pushed himself away from the bench. "Ready for more?" He knew he was pushing himself more than he should, but didn't care.

"Sure." Akaya smirked, and then leaned over to steal a quick kiss before picking up his racket and heading back over to his side of the court

Surprised at the kiss, Hiyoshi blushed. He cleared his throat, going back to his side of the court as well. He looked across the court and watched Kirihara get ready, feeling more energized he got into position as well.

There was a huge grin on Akaya's face as he used his knuckle serve.

Hiyoshi cursed under his breath and readied for the serve he knew was coming. He had returned it many times before and mentally prepared himself, but his body was dragging and it didn't react fast enough. The ball caught him in the face and he fell to the side, hitting the court hard.

"O-Oi-you alright?" Akaya yelled and ran over to him. He knew somewhere there had to be a rule about not killing your new boyfriend.

There was more cursing and Hiyoshi pushed him away. "It's nothing." He could taste blood in his mouth and winced when he touched his split lip.

"Come on... Let's go get you washed up."

"I said it was nothing." The stubborn boy wiped at his mouth, unintentionally smearing the blood. "Go back to your side of the court."

"You're bleeding…"

"And you haven't before on the court?" He knew that not to be true. In fact, he thought it rare for anyone to play Akaya without one or both ending up a bloodied mess.

"Yeah... I have. A lot... but this match is for fun, not something serious enough to draw blood..." Akaya frowned, disliking being the reason for Hiyoshi's injury. It was an odd feeling he wasn't used to feeling for an opponent.

Hiyoshi sighed, grumbling, "I could have returned that shot." He hated showing any kind of weakness.

"I know that. You've returned it a lot."

Seeing that worried face and the admission that Kirihara knew he could return it, Hiyoshi finally was convinced to relent. "Alright, fine. I guess we can stop for now." He stood, brushing himself off and going over to his towel.

Akaya sighed in relief and smiled a little. "You look pretty rugged with a bloody lip," he teased, happy Hiyoshi had agreed to stop.

"You like the rugged look?" Hiyoshi rolled his eyes, and then winced as he applied pressure to his still bleeding lip. He would have pointed out that it was a sign of weakness, but held his tongue since he liked Kirihara's view better.

"Hmm... On you it looks good."

Hearing Kirihara say things like that still caught Hiyoshi off guard. He still wasn't used to it, or their new relationship status. He coughed, embarrassed, and looked around a little aimlessly before leaning the slightest bit forward towards him with rose-tinted cheeks. "And how do you feel about being kissed... by someone looking a bit rugged?"

Akaya blushed a little as well and grinned, pulling on the front of Hiyoshi's shirt to tug him down and meet him half way, kissing him gently because he didn't want to hurt his lip. "Mm... I like it..."

Grin widening, Hiyoshi hovered there for a moment over his lips and tried not to wince every time soft lips met broken skin.

"Puri~"

"Akaya..."

Akaya froze, eyes going wide and terrified. His head slowly turned sideways as if in a horror movie towards the familiar voices.

Niou leaned against the fence smirking, with Yukimura at his side smiling that somewhat evil smile. Sanada was behind them with a raised eyebrow.

"B-buchou...?"

"Shit..." Hiyoshi echoed, slowly moving away from him. He wondered if it was too late to make a break for it.

"Oh~ don't stop on our account. We were enjoying the show." Niou supplied helpfully and batted his eyelashes cutely at them.

"It's good to see you're getting in extra practice," Yukimura smiled ever so sweetly at his youngest regular. "That means the extra laps you have tomorrow should be no problem, correct?"

Akaya made a little whimpering noise. "Yes, sir..."

Sanada looked across to the other side of the courts and acknowledged courteously "It's been a while, Atobe."

Both Hiyoshi's and Kirihara's heads swiveled at the same time in the other direction to see the Hyotei members on the other side of the court. Akaya made another little whimper and clutched tightly to Hiyoshi's shoulder while Hiyoshi felt his insides freezing with the look Atobe was giving him.

"So it has..." Atobe replied in a flawless, casual response to Sanada. "Though I had not expected our reunion of sorts to be under such…" he looked straight at Hiyoshi, as if he was scrutinizing his very soul with his insight "…interesting circumstances. Na, Kabaji?"

"Usu."

Peaking over their heads from behind the small Hyotei group, Choutarou popped out, blushing like crazy. "S-sorry... Hiyoshi... It was completely by coincidence that we're here..." he looked over to Shishido for support.

Shishido snorted and mumbled beside his doubles partner under his breath about this being lame.

Completely sheet faced, Hiyoshi leaned back over to Akaya to ask in a desperate whisper, "Stay, fight... or make a run for it?"

Akaya, for one, looked ready to pass out. "I-I don't know…"

Looking over everyone like this was the most fun he'd had in weeks, Niou smirked sadistically. "It's like a cheesy movie. Isn't this great, buchou?"

"Hn..." Sanada supplied unhelpfully.

"Atobe, it seems I'll have to take my kohai to get some shots now. I wouldn't want him catching any of Hyotei's diseases, such as chronic failure, now would I?" Yukimura supplied with a pleasant smile.

"My dear, Yukimura. Seeing as how your little kohai has already tasted failure through both your own, as well as his actions, I don't see how that could possibly be a new concern." Atobe replied flippantly with an overly polite sneer, and then looked sharply at Hiyoshi. "Though, I might have cause for distress if he's infected mine with your school's level of civility."

Glaring daggers at Rikkai's buchou, Hiyoshi stepped back and away from Kirihara, not wanting to make trouble for him. He didn't even want to think about the earful he was going to be receiving later, despite the fact he was no longer in the tennis club. Kirihara could very well get it worse.

Feeling Hiyoshi starting to back away, Akaya grabbed for his hand, not letting him go. He swallowed hard, trying to put on his bratty face again. He wasn't going to let his boyfriend get away because of this. They weren't doing anything wrong!

Watching them closely, Yukimura turned his overly friendly gaze towards Atobe once more. "Hn... Atobe, it seems we should settle this on the court. Naa, Sanada?"

"Ah."

Niou laughed. "This should be fun."

By that time, Hiyoshi's face had frozen into a neutral position. He'd stopped moving away from Kirihara but wasn't sure what he should do next.

"As much as I'd love to answer to your rather crude though tempting way of challenge, unfortunately, we've other plans that must be attended to." Atobe replied just as congenially. He snapped his fingers. "Ohtori!"

Ohtori immediately came forward as commanded and approached Hiyoshi uncertainly. "Hiyoshi, you're hurt. Let me look at it..."

"It's nothing. Why are you here?" Hiyoshi was glad to have his attention switched to the much less intimidating form of his friend, but was still hesitant to let his guard down.

"Wakashi... I'm sorry, I didn't know you were… Um… I'll help you get your stuff together." Ohtori said in a hushed tone, practically a whisper. He looked at Kirihara holding his friends hand with an embarrassed and confused expression.

Choutarou only called him by his first name when he was serious. Perhaps he should listen to him for now. "Kirihara, I'll message you later."

Akaya clutched at Hiyoshi's hand harder with a betrayed look. "But..."

"Hn... It's a shame to see Hyotei running away, but it's to be expected. Come on then," Yukimura looked to his players, including Akaya. "We should be catching the train soon." That said, he gracefully turned and started toward the direction of the station, with Niou following along after him.

Akaya watched them leave, and then glanced back at Hiyoshi, worried.

"Akaya, let's go." Sanada commanded, waiting for him.

Too proud to grace Rikkai with any form of response, Atobe sneered, then directed his cold stare towards his ex-player. "Hiyoshi. Stop dawdling and let's go."

Hiyoshi growled. He really, really hated being told what to do. Feeling defiant, he took Kirihara's chin and kissed him straight on the lips. The contact hurt his split lip, making him wince, but he refused to let go until he was satisfied. He wanted them all to know exactly where he stood. He didn't pull back until after he felt Kirihara start to respond, and then looked at his demon boyfriend stubbornly before walking away towards his ex-teammates, a red-faced Ohtori trailing behind him.

Akaya froze at the contact at first, but then immediately melted into his arms and smiled into the kiss. He licked at the blood on his lips as Hiyoshi pulled away with slightly unfocused eyes.

"Akaya."

At Sanada's voice and having watched Hiyoshi's exit, Akaya grinned wildly. He grabbed his own bag before running after his fukubuchou who had just turned to take his leave as well.

"Not a word." Hiyoshi warned Ohtori and Shishido as he went to stand next to them, glaring daggers. His only relief was that Oshitari and Gakuto hadn't been there. Shishido just smirked at him while Ohtori couldn't seem to meet his gaze.

"Really, Hiyoshi. If you needed a tennis partner, there are much more suitable choices." Atobe began what promised to be a long winded lecture.

Hiyoshi blocked him out and followed along silently as they made their way away from the tennis park, not looking back.

"You're not one to talk, Atobe. I saw you meet up with Sanada at the street courts the other day." Shishido smirked, piquing Hiyoshi's attention.

"Wasn't Jiroh-senpai with Marui-san again last weekend?" Ohtori added, still blushing.

Hiyoshi's eyes widened at this information and couldn't help it as he tried to hide his snickering behind a hand.

"Enough of this nonsense. If Ore-sama deems it pertinent to spend time at the street courts, Ore-sama will very well do so."

~Meanwhile elsewhere~

"Akaya you know unofficial matches aren't allowed."

"But fukubuchou! I just—"

"He's right, Akaya."

"Buchou!"

"He's not on the tennis team anymore. The Hyotei brat isn't going to steal any tennis secrets or nothing from him to leak back to Mr. high and mighty. Right?"

"Niou-senpai…" Akaya gave his senpai his starry eyed senpai adoration look.

~Later that evening~

Hiyoshi sent Kirihara a text message:

"You okay?"

"Yeah, Niou-senpai saved my ass. You?"

"Good. Found out something I really didn't want to know, but fine."

"You did? What?"

"Did you know that Sanada and Atobe meet up at the street courts?"

"Really? Do you think they meet up like we meet up?"

"Yes."

"Really? Woah… Totally would have never guessed! Heh heh."

"Yes. Now let's never talk of it ever again."

THE END


Authors Note: FINISHED! Thank you everyone who read, reviewed, and stayed with me through this story. ^_^