You wanted me to post an omake for this, and so I did.
Well, as you can see, I changed the title, and the summary for this fic. Why? You have to read it to find out. I never expected that I'll get so many reviews for this one, mainly because this is really depressing. But even then, I'm in the right mindset to finish this, so i just went with it.
Warning and Disclaimers are in the First chapter.
Yukimura Seiichi's sudden death shocked the whole middle school tennis circuit, including his own team, the Rikkdaidai tennis club. The thought of their strong, infallible captain leaving this world was just… unthinkable. It left them stunned and distressed, letting them wonder what would happen to the team now that the Child of God has ceased to exist.
The regulars, on the other hand, were beyond shock.
'Seiichi… is gone.'
'Impossible! Seiichi is..!'
'Sanada, don't joke about things like that! Yukimura is…! He is…!'
'NO! Buchou can't be dead! He just can't be!'
It was impossible. It was supposed to be impossible.
And yet… it still happened.
Anguished, full of grief, the regulars struggled with themselves as they started to accept the reality of the situation. Every day they arrived and stayed at the funeral, welcoming and thanking guests and visitors who had come to pay their respects to the departed teen, as well as to help the surviving members of the family to cope, especially Yukimura's younger sister, who was inconsolable.
But there was one person who was beyond grief.
Sanada Genichirou was broken.
"Genichirou, Seigaku has arrived." Yanagi informed him quietly, resting a hand on a broad shoulder. The vice-captain nodded slightly, indicating that he has heard the other teen's words, his eyes never leaving the altar, which had the picture of Yukimura Seiichi on it, surrounded by a profusion of the white flowers he had taken care of and had grown to love so much.
He didn't even cry. He seemed to lack the ability to do so now.
"Genichirou." The hand on his shoulder increased in pressure. With a sigh, Sanada tore his eyes away and let the data master guide him to the door to meet the Seigaku regulars, who had paid their respects to Yukimura's family.
"Sanada." Tezuka looked at him with his golden brown eyes. "Our deepest condolences."
"Thank you." Sanada nodded, gesturing for them to sit. "Make yourselves comfortable. Help yourself to some snacks."
This was his job now, entertaining and greeting visitors, especially if they're from the other tennis teams. As the teens from Seigaku settled down, he looked to the altar again, noticing the way the smoke from the incense wafted up into the air, leaving a wispy trail of white ribbon, only for it to disappear. The candles flickered, the bright glow reminding of that time in the garden… when Seiichi said goodbye to him.
"Sanada." A soft, tentative voice took him out of the memory and he blinked. A petite brunet was standing beside him, looking at the altar, a soft smile flitting around the edges of his lips.
"Fuji." He acknowledged without looking at him. He would recognize the resident tensai of Seigaku anywhere.
"I'm sorry for your loss." Fuji intoned softly, his soft, lingering gaze drinking in the sight of the altar. Sanada stared, and a vision of Yukimura staring at the sunset emerged in his mind. He quickly shook his head, and the memory was gone as quickly as it came. Just looking at the honey haired teenager like that reminded him of Yukimura.
He looked away. He didn't want to feel anything, not now. The pain of losing Yukimura was still raw, and the numbness of his heart was a welcome escape from reality. The Seigaku regular looked so delicate, so fragile, and it invoked some of the most precious memories of the captain that Sanada had kept heavily chained in his heart.
"I think he was happy… Yukimura-kun, that is." Fuji started, knowing that Sanada was listening intently to him. "He was too young to die, but I doubt if he regretted the way he lived his life."
"No… he didn't." Sanada agreed quietly. Sanada had a feeling that it was Fuji who understood Yukimura more than anyone else out of all the people that visited, not including himself. "He fought with his illness until the end. He lived his life the way he wanted to, and he was happy that way."
"Sanada-kun…" Finally the tensai opened his eyes, his soul-searching gaze piercing through the vice-captain, the showing the color of bright blue, though not as deep as Yukimura's was. However, it was enough. His heart cracked, and the emotions he had been keeping at bay burst forth.
"You loved him, didn't you." It wasn't a question. It was a statement.
"No… you're wrong, Fuji." Sanada slowly corrected the tensai. "I never loved him."
Fuji's face immediately became puzzled and he had to chuckle, not realizing the thin stream of tears on his face. He smiled slightly, looking thoughtful as he clarified his earlier statement.
"I never loved him, because I can never love, and will never love another… the way I love him."
We knew we would end up apart but… I loved Seiichi, as he loved me. He left me first, but we had no regrets. We were happy, and he was happy with the short time we spent together.
A bouquet of fresh flowers and a pot of burning incense were in front of a grave.
A raven haired teen stood in front of it, palms pressed together, eyes closed as he silently said his prayers. The smoke curled upwards, the white wisps seemingly disintegrating into the air as the light breeze touched them, making the white flowers sway slowly with the wind.
Finishing his prayers, the capped teen opened his eyes, lowering his hands to touch the gravestone in front of him, the black rock cool beneath his fingers as he traced the name that was carved in it.
Then he spoke out.
"I'm back, Seiichi."
The wind started to dance again, as if answering him. He could almost hear the melodious voice greeting him back, and see the gentle smile on the other person's face.
"I've ended tennis practice early today. I'm sorry. I haven't been following your orders lately."
No answer. Not that he was expecting one. He settled himself, sitting cross legged in front of the grave, starting his one-sided conversation. Was he losing his mind, talking to someone who was already dead? He didn't know. But it comforted him greatly to do so, and so he never stopped doing it, thinking that it was only a matter of time before he would finally stop.
"The team is all right. The tournament is in a week, and everyone is training as hard as ever. Akaya is starting to improve. I think you would be proud of him if you could see him now. I'm planning to put him in Singles-1." He gave a small sigh. "The rest are recovering, so don't worry about them, Seiichi. They would get over it soon. I know they will."
He finally paused, thinking of the next words he would say. Then he smiled.
"Wait for me a little more, Seiichi. The doctors gave me a month. You won't wait long. The preparations are all complete. The team still needs me now, but when the tournament is done and we finally brought back the trophy… I could finally leave the rest in Renji's hands."
He stood up and gave one last look at the tombstone. Bringing his hand to his lips, he pressed a kiss to the tip of his fingers and lightly touched the memorial stone.
"Sleep well. I'll be with you soon."
It was his last visit to the former captain's grave.
Our hearts will always be entwined, so we'll always be together. Even if I die now, we would always be one.
Akaya was pacing left and right in the hospital hallway, anxiety clearly shown on his young features. Around him, the rest of the Rikkaidai regulars were in various states of melancholy and depression, with Yanagi watching him with a carefully guarded expression, Marui deciding to eat his misery out by shoveling piece after piece of any sweet treat or candy that he can lay his hands on. Jackal was almost dazed, lost in his own thoughts. Niou was also, surprisingly, silent, grabbing Yagyuu by the shoulders and burying his face in the Gentleman's neck, his shoulders heaving. Yagyuu wrapped his arms around his doubles partner, rubbing his back soothingly, also at a loss for words.
And then Akaya couldn't stand it anymore.
"Why does this always happen to us? First it was buchou, then its fukubuchou! And after we won the tournament too! Why? Are we going to lose Sanada-fukubuchou too?" His voice was anguished, and he rounded on his teammates, clearly in despair. "How can you just sit there, senpai? Don't you care what happens to fukubuchou?"
"Akaya, calm down." Yanagi answered in a cool voice that was devoid of any emotion. "You'll tire yourself that way."
"How can I calm down, Yanagi-senpai?" Akaya yelled back, finally losing all composure. "You're just sitting there and I'm the one who's worrying for all of you! Don't you understand? Sanada-fukubuchou can die!"
"Sanada's strong, Akaya." Marui finally spoke up; staring at the pastry he had just bitten into. "He's not gonna kick the bucket that easily. If there's one thing that Sanada is, he's a fighter. He's going to pull through from this." But he sounded as if he was convincing himself, not their kouhai.
"But it's been ages since we knew that he's sick! And it was after Yukimura-buchou died!"
Everyone winced at the name of the tennis captain that passed away a few months before Sanada was hospitalized. Nowadays, the name of Yukimura Seiichi was taboo around the tennis courts, especially when Sanada or any other regular was around. It hurt too much to remember the former captain, more so because the tennis courts was his domain, and half of the happy memories the team made together was in Rikkaidai Fuzoku. No one dared to sit on the empty chair and desk that the other teen left, as well as the various school things that stayed were untouched. Yukimura Seiichi was a memory engraved deep into the hearts of the students, and life at Rikkaidai now seemed so empty without the kind look and the sweet smile that permeated its corridors.
"Akaya." Yanagi stood up and strode towards the second year, holding both of Akaya's wrists, who was trying to blink back the tears that threatened to fall from his face. "Genichirou won't give us up that easily. I know him well. He won't run away from his responsibilities, and I doubt if he will start now." He smiled kindly. "Dry your tears, Akaya. Seiichi would be upset if he would see his beloved kouhai crying." And at the mention of the former captain, Akaya freely let his tears trickle down, and Yanagi finally let go, immediately having an armful of a crying second year. He wrapped his arms around the younger teen, rubbing small circles on his back as he felt something wet touch his skin. He took in deep, steadying breaths, inhaling Akaya's unique scent, trying to calm down his own anxiety.
He didn't understand why all of this was happening. It was beyond his calculations, just as one of his best friends dying was. Yanagi couldn't help but feel furious at himself. Why didn't he see this happening? If he had just looked well enough, none of this would have happened! Seiichi wouldn't be dead, and Genichirou wouldn't be fighting for his life! He should have known that there was something wrong when he saw the other teen heaving in the clubroom! Yanagi gritted his teeth as he remembered that time when he saw Sanada weakly sitting against a pool of his own blood. He had helped immediately, but the vice-captain said that it was simple exhaustion. Exhaustion doesn't make you cough up blood! Just what had possessed him to believe his best friend's words that easily? He had found, during his research, that the symptoms that Sanada were displaying were the same with the blue-haired captain, but how did Genichirou get the disease in the first place? He was upset, feeling completely helpless, when he suddenly realized, with startling clarity, the relationship his best friends shared.
But it was far too late.
Seconds, minutes, and hours ticked by slowly. There was no change in Sanada's condition, still breathing with the help of a respirator in the ICU. All of them waited in silence, with the occasional sob from Akaya. Yanagi continued to comfort his kouhai; it was the only thing he could do at that moment. Standing there and letting the younger teen cry his heart out; it was breaking his heart to hear it, and yet, he could do nothing. Running his hands through the soft, curly hair, his sharp eyes caught a shade of midnight blue. Startled, he looked up.
He dismissed the thought quickly. He must be seeing things. After all, the only person who had that shade of hair was…
But, somewhere in the back of his mind, he wasn't able to get rid of the thought as easily as he liked.
And if Seiichi was happy, then I'm happy as well, because his happiness was also my own.
That… was what I've always felt.
Today all of them were in Sanada's room on the ground floor, watching as the vice-captain slept soundly, the futon's thick blankets rising and falling regularly as he breathed, his still sickly looking skin looking even paler in contrast to the white sheets. They immediately went to the Sanada household when they heard that their vice-captain was already released from the hospital, even if it meant cutting their practices short. Right now all of them were in various states of restlessness, with Niou and Yagyuu opting to stay outside, near the garden, their silhouettes seen against the paper screen door. Akaya was sitting beside Sanada's futon, talking animatedly about their practices while Marui listened in, munching on a piece of pastry.
"Why was Sanada released early?" Jackal asked in a quiet tone to Yanagi as they lingered against the paper doors, apart from the others. "He still looks…" as pale as death, he wanted to say, but the words simply didn't come, and he didn't dare voice it aloud.
Yanagi stayed silent, already having a good guess why, dread and hopelessness threatening to drown him into despair. He watched his teammates move around the room, trying to cope with the inevitable loss in their own ways. "It just means that… Genichirou is on his way to recovery." That didn't come out as convincingly as it should. And who was he kidding; he himself wasn't convinced of it. And, judging from Jackal's look of disbelief, it was clear that the half-Brazilian player didn't buy it as well.
"But–" Jackal was cut off as the paper doors opened and Niou and Yagyuu slid inside, the former shivering slightly while Yagyuu looked on, clearly concerned. Akaya and Marui looked up with questioning eyes.
"Niou-senpai? What's wrong with him, Yagyuu-senpai?"
"I don't know." Yagyuu looked deeply troubled. "Niou-kun and I were talking outside, and he said that it's becoming colder. I don't feel it, but Niou-kun started shivering. I think Niou-kun's coming down with a cold, so we went inside."
"Stop fussing around Yagyuu, I'm fine." Niou grumbled, swatting his concerned doubles partner's hands away. "I'm okay. But," He looked outside, frowning slightly. "It's getting colder. And I'm not talking about the weather. It's something… different." He shivered again, causing Yagyuu to push him more inside, where it was considerably warmer.
"Cold? But I calculate a 96% chance of today having a temperate weather…" Yanagi frowned, making his way to the paper door that separated Sanada's room from the garden. As he did so, however, an unnatural cold started seeping into him, like ice trying to settle under his skin. He rubbed his arms briskly, trying to stop the goosebumps from forming. And he wasn't the only one.
"W-What is this?" Marui stood up, feeling the cold enter his limbs. "S-so cold!"
"I told you, didn't I." Niou grumbled, scooting closer to Yagyuu left side. Akaya's teeth were starting to chatter and he also stood up, going beside Yanagi, who wrapped his arms around him, keeping them both warm. "Yanagi-senpai, what's happening?"
"I don't know, Akaya." Yanagi looked out into the garden, and then the corridor, trying to figure out the source of the sudden drop in temperature. "Genichirou… is he all right?"
"He's fine, Yanagi." Jackal assured him, tucking the blankets around the vice captain more securely. "But… what's happening…"
"This is definitely weird." Marui declared, hugging himself tightly. "What's going on? And it's not like Sanada has an air-conditioned house…"
Niou snorted. "The next thing you know, we're going to see a ghost..." Yagyuu stayed silent, though his complexion turned several shades whiter. "D-Don't joke about things like that, Niou!" Marui rounded on the platinum blond. "What if it came true?" He looked around nervously.
"Relax Marui. Puri. But I have to say," The trickster's voice turned serious. "Something's not right."
"I agree." Yanagi nodded without looking back, aware of the tighter grip Akaya had on his shirt. "This is very unusual. This is–" He abruptly stopped, his gaze centering on the garden, eyes wide open, mouth agape.
"… Yanagi? What's wrong? What are you looking…" Marui's eyes also trailed to outside, and his jaws slacked open in shock; face paling as he scrambled back as fast as he could on the matted floor. The rest followed his actions, and instantly felt paralyzed, rooted in place as an unknown fear held a tight grip on his hearts, unnverved with the scene that was slowly happening in front of them.
A person stood in the gardens, looking out into the distance, wearing nothing but white. His back was on them so they couldn't see his face, but the way he stood, the slope of his shoulders, the way he held himself and the unique shade of his hair was so achingly familiar that their fear was quickly overridden with bittersweet emotion.
Slowly he turned around, and the rest of the team gasped silently, as they finally saw the wavy, midnight-blue hair that fell down to frame the familiar, beautiful, well-loved face that was alighted in a soft, kind, smile. Slowly he opened his eyes, showing the warm, gentle-looking blue orbs as he stood in the middle of the greens lawn, surrounded by the flowers that he loved to take care of, blooming brightly, their cheerful colors seen through his translucent body.
"W-What…!" Akaya was the one who managed to choke out a sound, emerald eyes wide in shock and fright as he took in the sight.
"No way…" Niou was in the state of disbelief, fists clenching tightly. "I can't be seeing this…!"
They must be dreaming. Or hallucinating. Because there was no way that they should be seeing this in reality.
Yukimura Seiichi had come back to them.
I've been waiting for you.
Yukimura didn't speak, and his mouth didn't open to form the words, but they, for some reason, understood him. Yanagi gave a start, an overwhelming sense of loss and devastation filling him when it occurred to him the reason why his best friend was here.
"S-Seiichi… you don't mean…!" He asked in a pain-filled voice. Yukimura could only smile sadly at his direction, before looking back to where he was staring at before. A startled scream jolted Yanagi back into reality and he twirled around, seeing Yagyuu and Jackal holding a trembling Marui who spluttered and pointed a finger in the direction where the futon was laying.
"Marui-kun! Calm down!"
"W-What's wrong, Bunta!"
"T-There…! S-Sanada is…!" Marui was close to tears, gripping Yagyuu's shirt tightly and forcing him to look there.
Sanada was still lying there, unmoving, but there was another person sitting in front where the vice-captain was supposed to be resting. His head was bowed; his clothes pure white, a knee propped up and his arm resting lightly on top of it, fingers curled slightly as that person finally looked up.
Yanagi's breath was caught in his throat when he saw who he had been looking at all along.
The vice-captain stood up, dusted himself. He looked the same as he did, before he had his disease, and Yanagi could see, with growing horror and sadness, the pale, unmoving body behind him as his other best friend straightened himself out.
Have you waited long?
Yukimura smiled and shook his head, holding his hand out for Sanada to take. The other teen nodded, taking a step forward, taking a step towards the path where he hovered between life and death.
Yanagi knew he had to stop Sanada from leaving at all costs. But his feet felt like lead, and the words stuck in his throat, standing immobile as Sanada glided past him, brown eyes wide and vision blurring as they stung.
"Genichirou… No…" He whispered, voice cracking. Sanada couldn't leave them. Not yet, not when losing Yukimura still felt raw. His chest tore more at the edges, and yet he was unable to stop his best friend who crossed the garden and finally gathered the blue-haired male into his arms again.
It was a bittersweet reunion, one that the Rikkaidai regulars watched with breaking hearts and teary faces. Sanada and Yukimura looked happy, content now that they were together, and as much as it hurt to see them go, they knew that stopping Sanada was futile. Marui and Akaya were already crying, tears streaming down their faces, Jackal and Niou close to, Yagyuu sad and Yanagi upset.
The two looked back at their team, with Sanada's arm around Yukimura's waist, his hand grasping Yukimura's. The captain leaned his head on the taller teen's shoulder, pressing a hand against his chest. And in that moment, they made a picture that couldn't be torn apart, not even by fate itself.
"Seiichi, Genichirou… wait…!"
I'm sorry, Renji. Sanada said quietly. We'll leave the rest to you.
Take care of yourselves. Yukimura added serenely. We'll always be watching over you.
We'll all meet again, so we won't say goodbye.
So let's see each other again. We'll be waiting.
Slowly but surely they started to fade, until finally disappearing, leaving nothing but a vivid memory imprinted deep into their minds and hearts.
"You two… are so selfish…" Yanagi choked out a sob, wrapping his arms around the second-year who was close to wailing, burying his face in the older teen's shirt and crying his heart out. But he was also smiling, grateful for that short moment, because now he didn't have to worry. His best friends loved each other, loved so much that even death and destiny itself wasn't able to keep them apart for long. He knew now, with certainty, that they would be happy and content, wherever they might be.
"But… let's see each other again. For sure."
So Genichirou, no matter what, I will wait for you, even if it takes an eternity.
*The title means 'Forever Yours' in Latin.
Anyway, I just got back from a 3-day camping trip, and seriously, I was tired as hell. In those three days I only got about 5-6 hours of sleep, and we had to trek, swim and do navigation in those three days, not to mention cook out for every meal and prepare group presentations for the nighttime activities. But still it was fun, even though I had to sleep 18 hours straight afterwards.
And because of that trip, I got inspired to do another M-rated oneshot again. This time, it's due to... *blush* a bit of real life experience, so look out for it.
Read and review, everyone.