A few days after the Nationals ended, Seigaku had resumed the club's tennis practice. They were already preparing for the ranking match in the beginning of the next school year for they were going to lose a number of the regulars.
Though they didn't have to as their graduation was quickly approaching, the former regulars still came by to participate in the club and to help the other members. The most frequent visitor amongst these regulars was Inui Sadaharu. He came, stirring fear in the hearts of the members by bringing a gallon of his newest concoction – the Inui Marvelous Delicious Juice Deluxe- whenever he visited. It emitted dark smoke and made a low hissing noise. Coach Ryuzaki would always look at it with disgust.
"You don't have to bring that here you know."
"I have to. It's for the data," Inui said, an evil smile plastered on his face. The Coach scowled.
The rest of the former regulars stood behind them, watching as the Coach scolded Inui but to no avail, clearly amused.
"Heard anything from Tezuka?" Coach Ryuzaki asked, looking over her shoulder to look at the others.
"Oh. He called earlier. He's doing fine there in Germany. He also said to give you his regards," Oishi smiled.
"I see. So, what do you think?" Coach Ryuzaki answered. "Of the team, I mean."
"They're improving but it seems they're lacking something," Oishi looked at the club members once again and shook his head. "Tezuka will be disappointed though if they keep this up."
"Hey!" an all too familiar voice called. Turning to their right, they saw the spiky haired teen running towards them with bandanna wearing teen in tow.
"Momo! Kaidoh! It's nice to see you again," Oishi happily greeted his underclassmen.
"You were here yesterday too, sempai…" Momo raised an eyebrow at him. The others, excluding Kaidoh and Inui, laughed at the mistake, causing a tint of red to creep on Oishi's face.
Eiji looked around for his favorite freshman, pouting when the other didn't enter his line of sight. "Where's Ochibi? Is he late again?" The other regulars followed his gaze.
"Who knows… He's been coming to the last thirty minutes of practice most of the time," Momo replied, scratching the back of his head.
"He's been skipping a few of the practices too," Kaidoh added.
"Actually, his father had called a few days ago," a few of them flinched when they heard the coach's voice, forgetting that she was there. "It seems that he sprained his ankle pretty bad the other day. He won't be playing for a while."
"He let his guard down," Eiji said, mimicking Tezuka's low voice and laughed, causing the other members to laugh as well. He turned to OIshi, eyes brimming with excitement. "I know! I know!"
"Yes, Eiji?" Oishi asked, and Eiji beamed.
"Can we go visit Ochibi? After their practice of course," he tilted his head towards the direction of Momo and Kaidoh and looked at Oishi expectantly. The latter turned to look at the others, his gaze asking them for their approval.
"Can we? Can we?" Eiji was practically jumping in excitement.
Oishi sighed at Eiji's behavior, a wide smile on his lips. "Okay. We'll go." He turned to the others, once again asking if they are coming. "Are you guys coming?"
Everyone agreed, saying that there was nothing else to do after the practice. Taka stepped forward, suggesting that they pass by his family's sushi shop before going to Echizen's house to get the injured boy a treat.
Inui laughed that menacing laugh of his, an evil glint on his glasses. "Maybe I can get him to try my latest creation…" he said, more to himself than to the others, and ignoring the stares he received from the others.
Brushing off Inui's antics, they turned to plan on what to do and what to bring to Echizen's house or they would have, if they didn't hear a low chuckle coming from the brown-haired prodigy. They froze, slowly turning to face the source of the chuckle.
"This is going to be interesting…" Fuji mumbled to himself, wearing the widest smile the others have ever seen. He was oblivious to the stares he got from everyone else, stares that were a mixture of fear and worry. They stepped away from him, scared of what he may do, and watched as the prodigy only raised an eyebrow, feigning innocence, his smile still in place.
The club practice that day ended fairly quickly. Everyone, except for Fuji, Inui and Taka, met up in the clubroom.
Taka had gone ahead to his family's shop to personally prepare the sushi that they were going to give Echizen.
Inui was spotted with Coach Ryuuzaki either talking about the new training menu or arguing, yet again, about Inui's weird creations.
Fuji, on the other hand, had simply disappeared.
"Where did Fujiko go?" Eiji asked, tilting his head.
Oishi was walking back and forth in the clubroom, staring directly at the floor while he was nibbling on his fingernail. Something was just not right and he could feel it.
"What if Fuji-senpai is already at Echizen's house? Maybe that's why he's not here." Momoshiro said, scratching the back of his head. Upon hearing this statement, Oishi stopped. His face was suddenly drained of all the color that was once there.
Eiji jumped at him, almost immediately, when he saw the distressed look on Oishi's face, thinking that talking about his favorite toothpaste would calm the other down.
And though Oishi was thankful for his friend's efforts in distracting him, all he could really think of was 'Uh-oh'.
A/N: This is set after the first Prince of Tennis series. When i started scribbling this facfic down on some random notebook i found at home, the Nationals hadn't even ended yet! That's how long it took me to finish this... I'll upload the next one soon... I hope... Anyways~~Thanks so much for reading! Hope you guys liked it!~~ Please do review~~~