The sun was shining brightly above. A cool breeze blew, caressing the objects it passed with its delicate fingers. A beautiful day to be outdoors and basking in the bounty of nature.
It was after nationals and the Seigaku regulars were taking one last trip as a team up to a cabin in the lower part of the mountains. It was not to train, or to get stronger, or anything of that sort. They simply wanted to spend time together as the friends and family that they had become.
"Ahhh, this fresh air feels great!" exclaimed Momoshiro, the powerhouse of the team, spreading his arms and fully embracing the breeze.
"Quiet, baka. You're ruining the peaceful atmosphere," said Kaidoh.
"Che, the only thing that's gonna ruin the peaceful atmosphere is your ugly face, Mamushi," Momo retorted, turning to face his rival with an evil glint in his eyes and a triumphant smirk on his face.
"Fssshhh, say that to my face!" Kaidoh hissed angrily, walking over and grabbing Momo by the collar of his shirt.
"I would, but it hurts my eyes to look at you!" said Momo, covering his eyes in an attempt to "protect" them.
"Nani? Why you!" yelled Kaidoh, raising his fist to finally beat some sense into Momo's thick skull and just plain shut him up.
"Kaidoh! Momoshiro! If you two do not wish to be running laps for this entire trip, you will show some self-restraint, now!" came the commanding voice of Tezuka.
Kaidoh immediately released Momo and dropped his fist. A unison of "Hai, buchou" was heard from the two as they faced forward and bowed to their captain. Tezuka was technically no longer the captain of the tennis team, but he always would be in the eyes of the other (former) Seigaku regulars. They would never think to question his authority.
"Che, Mada mada dane senpai-tachi," chided Echizen, as he smirked and tugged his cap down to cover it. Neither Kaidoh nor Momo made a response to this. They didn't want to push the limits of their buchou's patience any more that day.
Taka smiled nervously and rubbed the back of his head. Fuji also smiled serenely at the antics of his kohai. Momo's comeback had been amusing, but he knew it would not be wise to laugh. Tezuka might just snap. Inui was busy taking notes on everyone's behavior. This might be his last chance to gather data on everyone together as a group.
"Nya, Oishi, how much farther to the cabin?" asked Eiji, the read-headed acrobat. The regulars had been walking for awhile, not that Eiji wasn't enjoying the scenery and everything. He was just eager to reach their destination and have fun with everyone.
"Ah, let me see here…" responded Oishi, the "mother" of Seigaku, as he pulled out a map and began skimming over it. "There should be a bridge just up ahead and after we cross it, the cabin will be half of a mile away," he said, putting the map away and looking ahead with everyone else.
Indeed, there was a bridge just ahead of the regulars. It was obviously and older bridge, with ropes tied to posts on both sides and planks of wood used in the middle to complete the bridge. It swayed gently with the breeze. The current of the river could be heard flowing below.
"Anou… Is that bridge really safe to cross?" Taka voiced his worry. The bridge did appear really old and he wasn't so sure that it would be able to support everyone's weight.
"Hoi, Taka-san, you're worrying too much. It's perfectly safe. Watch, I'll show you," Eiji said as he started making his way towards the bridge.
"Eiji, wait a second, it really might not be safe!" Oishi yelled in a slightly panicked voice. Taka's concern had of course made him start worrying about everyone's safety and well-being.
"Silly Oishi," Eiji laughed as he walked a bit out onto the bridge. "See, I told you it was sa-"
But before Eiji could finis his sentence, the wood under his left foot cracked and gave way, allowing his foot to fall through and cutting into his ankle and the lower part of his shin. Eiji let out a hiss of pain and lost his balance, causing the rest of his body to fall hard onto the wooden bridge.
"EIJI!" Oishi nearly screamed, rushing towards his doubles partner, fully panicked and adrenaline coursing rapidly through his veins. "MOVE! HURRY!"
Eiji's initial shock took a second to wear off. He heard Oishi yelling to him and he realized he needed to move, and fast. But it was too late. His foot was stuck and the force of the impact with his full weight on the wood was causing the bridge to break further. Eiji's eyes widened in shock and fear as he heard and felt the wood underneath him crack and break. He knew he couldn't move in time. Panic bubbled in his chest and stomach as Eiji felt himself fall.
"EIJI! NO!" Oishi fully screamed as he watched his doubles partner dropping out of his sight. He inwardly cursed himself for not being quick enough. The other regulars were following behind Oishi, but they could not keep up with him when he was in this state. Before Oishi could have any rational thoughts about the situation, he was already diving in after Eiji, intent on saving him no matter what.
Eiji hit the water and came up coughing and gasping for air. His leg really hurt and the icy water was a shock to his system. He was feeling really disoriented and weak from everything. He wasn't sure that he could muster the energy to swim and try to save himself…
Oishi followed him just three seconds later. The second he came up, he took a deep breath and began swimming vigorously towards the acrobat. Eiji's leg was hurt and Oishi knew that would greatly hinder his mobility.
Oishi caught up to Eiji in no time, grabbing him and pulling him close. "…Oishi…" Eiji managed to choke out, greatly relieved at his presence. He knew Oishi would take care of everything, would protect him. He felt some of his strength returning just by having Oishi there with him.
Suddenly, Oishi heard his and Eiji's names being frantically called by the other regulars. Tezuka had made sure no one else jumped in after the Golden Pair. More people to save wouldn't help the situation any. The others were running along the edge, trying to keep the two in their sights. The current wasn't insanely strong, but it wasn't something the Golden Pair could easily struggle against. Oishi looked up past Eiji to see the reason for his friends' sudden, frantic cries and his eyes widened, reality and fear finally gripping him.
He and Eiji were headed for a waterfall.
A/N: Well, everyone. I hoped you liked the first chapter ^_^ Leave me a review and let me know what you think!