I'm such a loser for never getting to this, so if anyone is still reading, do enjoy this final chapter- but its very shitty.
*I DO NOT own Prince of Tennis in any way, shape, or form.
*I DO own any, and all, OC's in this story.
Finale; Chapter Seven:
Shinji noted an hour after learning about Torii's past that the girl sleeping next to him was not likely to wake up even with her phone ringing that loudly. Deciding that it was probably best to answer it, the tennis player grabbed the cellular device, saw it was Kame, and then answered it.
"Torii?" The other side of the phone sounded worried.
"No…it's Shinji Ibu." Shinji replied, feeling awkward answering another person's phone.
"Shinji-san? Is Torii there?" Kame asked.
"She fell asleep after eating dinner at my house," He said, deciding to leave out the part about her past.
"I'm going to pick her up. Can you give me directions to your house?" Kame asked.
When Torii woke up that morning, she immediately recognized the soft bedding as the one in her room. She was no longer in Shinji's house. She sat up, and swung her legs over the bed. She then exited her room, smelling something along the lines of eggs, and then entered the kitchen.
"Morning." Torii yawned. Kame looked behind her in a slight surprise, not even hearing her half-sibling come in the room.
"Morning," Kame greeted, continuing to make fried eggs. "It's cloudy out today." She had already set the breakfast on the table, where Torii then sat.
"Okay." Torii gave a small nod as she picked up her chopsticks. "How did I get home?"
"Hm? Oh, I got directions from Shinji-san to his house and picked you up. I washed his clothes so you can return them tomorrow at school."
"…Alright." Somehow, she had a bad feeling about tomorrow. It was Halloween, no big deal, but something in her gut caused her to feel off.
It was pouring again. For some reason, the rain really liked to fall lately. Torii almost saw it as a blessing. Almost.
"What do you want?" Torii frowned, her brows furrowed and a nasty look sent towards the visitor.
"Can't I visit my darling little sister?" The visitor, Anya, scoffed.
"No." Kame murmured, just loud enough for the blind girl to hear,
"Sorry…she was here when I opened the door to get the paper." Torii just shook her head.
"Don't you have children to frighten today? I'd advise you to wear a mask, but I think your face will suffice." The black-haired teen crossed her arms.
"How do you know if my face is ugly if you can't see it?"
"From what I remember from my younger days, I certainly recall an ugly cheeky punk." Even if she could no longer recall colors, she could definitely remember her sister's face…even if it was a black and white memory.
"What?" Anya growled. Before anything could be said further, the doorbell rang. Kame uneasily moved towards the door, peering through the peephole. She smiled then, and opened the door.
"Good morning, Shinji-san," She greeted softly. Even though he looked confused, Ibu greeted in a murmur. "Sorry, just wait here for a second." With that, Kame turned around. "Torii, come here."
"Okay?" Torii took a few steps towards the door, cautious of where she believed her curly-haired menace of a sister stood, and made her way to the brunette. Kame casually shoved her out the door and handed her an umbrella and a school bag.
"Be careful on your way to school!" With a nod, Kame closed the door; effectively leaving a stunned sister and a confused boy staring at the object. From the other side, they could hear Anya shriek,
"You let her go to school on her own? How nuts are you? Do you want to hurt her? That's bad for business!"
"It'll be okay. And don't talk about her like she's an object to be used." Hearing enough, Torii turned, sensing the other's presence.
"Good morning," She whispered with a small smile.
"Morning…though I can't say it's good. It is raining after all…though I suppose that's good for you, so you can see…but its bad in case we get soaked; then we'll catch a cold…" Shinji flushed when she giggled quietly, "yes…I guess it a 'good morning'…so Good Morning."
"Right then," Torii smiled and shook her head lightly. "Shall we get going?"
"Okay," He nodded and began to lead her off, careful of directing her around objects along the walls. Quietly, he thought back to the night the girl stayed at his home…
"Ah, Shinji-san," Kame addressed the boy, turning back to him, with Torii resting comfortably on her back.
"Yes?" Ibu said, standing at the threshold of his front door.
"Would you mind…taking Torii to and from school from now on…for a few days maybe?"
"It's short notice, I' m sorry. I need someone to…well take care of her; protect her while I take care of the family matters. Do you mind? I can always find another way to do this."
"No, I don't mind." Shinji shook his head, "It's not out of my way."
"Thank you," The brunette looked relieved. "Good night."
"Shinji-kun?" Torii called him back from his thoughts.
"Ah, sorry. I was thinking. I didn't mean to space out…I mean, it'd be okay elsewhere, but I don't want to wander anywhere else and…" He continued to softly rant on until her smile of amusement made him quiet down.
"I'm glad you can speak out all your thoughts, Shinji-kun, but can we focus?" She said.
"Ah, yeah," Shinji nodded, forgetting she couldn't see for a split second, and then continued to lead her without any distractions under the protection of the umbrella. Once they arrived at school, the bluenette escorted her to her classroom. "We're here."
"Ah, thank you." Torii smiled.
"No problem. I'll see you after school…"
"Ah, okay then!" She beamed and it made his face burn red.
"So, what are you really here for?" Kame leaned against the kitchen counter, a mug of coffee in her hands.
"What do you think?"
"You don't look happy. The comment about Torii made me worried too. The way you said it made it seem like something was already wrong."
"Mother…" Anya sighed with tiredness and exasperation that startled the older sibling, "Mother doesn't have much time left."
"Yes. Her lung cancer has already caught up with her. She is currently in the hospital. She realizes her mistake."
"…now why don't I believe that?" Kame frowned at the last sentence; even if she knew about her mother's disease, she thought she was getting treatment. "If she did, she wouldn't want Torii back in the business."
"Idiot!" Anya shouted suddenly, tears forming at her eyes, "Don't you see she wants what is best for our little sister! Do you know how many times I've had to lie and pretend Mother wants this to make her seem like she is still healthy? Do you know how hard it is for me to deal with this by myself?"
"Anya," Kame took two steps forward once the tears began to fall from her half-sibling's eyes and placed her coffee mug on the table, "then why didn't you say any of this earlier?"
"Weren't you listening?" Anya snapped, "I've had to cover for our dying mother! She didn't want anyone to know, and she wanted to make sure Torii could be set for life before she died! Deep down, she cares! Don't you recall Kio and Hiroki-san's funeral? She may have looked indifferent, like she didn't care, but she did! I've had this burden of covering her tears and protecting the business all because Torii can't take care of herself with her eyesight gone!"
"Why couldn't Mother just say something? She didn't have to act so stubbornly." Kame watched as Anya huffed, trying to catch her breath. "You've carried this burden for so long…haven't you?"
"I can't take it…Kame-nee-san…please. Go see our mother. Facing death changes the minds of horrible people. She regrets hating you; she regrets having an affair and ruining so many things in our lives. She regrets everything. All she wants now…is for you and Torii to go see her."
"…Alright…I understand." Kame wrapped her arms around the other, letting her sob silently. "I will see her first, alone. Then I will decide if its okay for Torii to go. If I find out this a trick, so help me, I will take it out on you."
"Remember, Torii. Stay with Shinji-san after school at his tennis practice. I'll be by to pick you guys up later. Alright?"
"Alright, alright. Stay safe, Kame-san," Torii smiled at the brunette. She had no idea where her sister was going, because she didn't think she worked today, but whatever.
"I will. Goodbye you two," Kame ruffled Torii's hair and gave a small nod to Shinji. Shinji nodded in return and led off the blind girl. She watched the two off silently, before grabbing a few things. She grabbed her purse, wallet, keys, phone, and a small envelope.
She stared at the envelope for a few minutes. She had pulled it out of a box last night, and it was addressed to Kyoko. She knew it was from her father, his name was signed on the back in small script. She had no idea what it read, but after all the events learned, maybe her mother deserved to have it. After all, Kame had only found it when going through her father's things with her deceased husband, boyfriend at the time, after the funeral and held onto it. She shook her head, placing the envelope in her purse, and set off.
The bus ride to the hospital was only fifteen, maybe twenty, minutes long. She stepped off the bus, and headed into the reception area. Once she received the room number to a private room, she thanked the nurse and walked down the hallway at an unhurried pace. Thoughts swam in her head. What if it was a lie? What if her mother was already close to death and now she couldn't get her wish of seeing Torii one last time? What if Kame had made the wrong decision to leave her those years ago? Without even realizing it, Kame was in front of Kyoko's room. She sighed, knocked once, and entered.
What she saw made her gasp.
Her mother was hooked up to several machines, an IV drip was in the crook of her elbow, and a small oxygen mask laid over her barely wrinkled face. Purple eyes met dull purple eyes, and there was sudden recognition in them.
"Kame," Kyoko stated, pulling the mask off her mouth. "…you actually came."
"Yeah…I guess I did." Kame closed the door behind her, and sat at the chair next to the bed. "How are you holding up?"
"Barely," Kyoko sighed; she looked regretful. "Kame…I need to apologize to you." The brunette blinked,
"Everything. I pushed things onto you. I argued with you when you wanted to move onto your own life, and I wanted to hate you for it. I knew that what I was doing wasn't best for neither you, nor Hiroki, nor Kio. And unfortunately for Hiroki and Kio, I can't even fix that anymore," the black-haired woman coughed and continued, "I want to make right with you and Torii at least. Anya can't get a hold of Sora or Haru. Things need to be right with them too."
"…Mother…I…can't blame you for any of this. My decisions were my own. Maybe if I didn't marry my husband, he wouldn't have died. Maybe if you came straight with everyone earlier, you wouldn't be regretful. Who knows anymore. Its all in the past. So I am a little glad you came to your senses now. Better late than never, right?" Kame forced a small laugh and smiled when her mother smiled slightly. She loved her mother's smile.
"Don't thank me. I am only forgiving you because I want you to see Torii soon. That's all," Kame reached into her purse, "I don't know what this says, but this was addressed from my father to you. I've held onto this for years and I think I can give it to you now." She handed over the envelope, and Kyoko gingerly opened it. She unfolded the lined paper, and began to read. Kame stared in awe when her mother began to tear up. "May I ask what it says?"
"He…apologized to me. That damn, goofy, Hiroki…apologized to me…" Kyokyo's tears rolled down her cheeks, "I can't believe him…all this time he thought it was his fault things happened to you and Kio. He thought I was forcing work on you and ignoring you because of him. I can't believe his sappy romantic self thought this all this time…and now I can't even tell him wrong." Kame closed her eyes, willing her tears away. Her mother was too pitiful…
Fudomine Middle, After School
"Hey, Torii-san," Kamio greeted the girl as she sat on the bench at the tennis courts.
"Yes, Kamio-kun?" She replied with a small smile.
"Shinji's birthday is on the third."
"Eh?" She furrowed her eyebrows on such a sudden statement.
"I wanted to tell you because I thought it would be nice if you got him something, you know?" The redhead explained, watching his friend rally with Tachibana.
"Hm, okay," She nodded, pulling the Shinji's borrowed cap down further to shield her eyes better from the sun, even if it was partially cloudy out. "I'll think of what to get him."
"Awesome," Kamio grinned, "Oh, one other thing."
"Yes?" She tilted her head in confusion.
"Shinji asked Tachibana-san if you could rally a little for practice on an unused court for half an hour and he said okay. So I'm here to inform you and then take Shinji's place."
"Really?" Torii beamed and stood up just as Shinji came over. "Thank you, Tachibana-kun!"
"You're welcome," Tachibana replied.
"Ready? I'll let you borrow one of my racquets," Ibu murmured, "but if you don't want it, I can ask another person for theirs. But I'm not sure anyone else has extras today, so you might have to make do with mine. But then again, I can't be too sure until I ask…"
"It's okay, I'll use yours," Torii giggled and the bluenette lightly flushed.
Practice with his blind companion made his day better.
"Torii, can I talk to you about something?" Kame sat at the kitchen table of the apartment, and Torii sat there confused. They had just finished dinner.
"What's wrong?" The younger sibling asked, immediately noticing the anxious tone.
"Tomorrow, we are going to the hospital."
"Eh, what for?" As far as she knew, both her and the brunette were healthy.
"To see our mother."
"Mother is dying. She has lung cancer and she doesn't have much time left. I went to see her yesterday and she truly regrets everything she has done to us. I watched her break down and cry. I can't think this is some sick joke or a lie." Kame spoke in one breath; she figured it was best to get everything out at once.
"You…you saw her? Even though she said she hated you the most?"
"Yes. And she told me she wished to see you one last time to make amends; if she can." Torii frowned; tomorrow was Shinji's birthday and wanted to see him for that. But the thought of forgiving her mother was important. So, so important.
"…alright. I'll see her."
"Okay. The first thing tomorrow. I'll make sure to get you back to school by the end of the day." Kame said; she knew of the boy's birthday. She overheard it when she went to pick her sister up from his family. Torii merely nodded.
The bus ride to the hospital almost seemed to drag on much longer than the previous time. The sun shined in the clear sky, but that just made the atmosphere slightly worse. Torii pulled her (read: Shinji's) baseball cap down more. By the time they got there, she felt really nervous. Her sister, noting the feelings but saying nothing, led her into the hospital and down to their mother's hospital room. The brunette knocked once and entered, but froze at the other person in the room.
Suzuki Sora. Torii's father.
His young face looked as if it hadn't aged a day. His blue hair reached his ears, and bangs neatly covered his forehead. His blue eyes traveled to them upon their entrance.
"Kame-san, Torii…" He stated in pure shock. Kyoko blinked in surprise too; already in shock enough that he was there.
"This voice…Dad?" Torii tested. She hadn't heard from her father in years. Sora jolted and quickly walked over. Kame moved over to Kyoko so he could hug her.
"I'm sorry, Torii. I couldn't get a hold of your whereabouts. I've been looking for ways to restore your eyesight, but I keep coming up short. I'm sorry for not being here. I'm sorry, my dear daughter."
"Dad…" Torii's eyes filled up with tears and she shed them without a second thought, tightly hugging her father back. "I never heard from you. I didn't know what happened. I spent so long wondering where you were. If you were alive…I've missed you."
"I'm sorry." He apologized again.
"It's okay…" The blind girl sniffled as her father released her. "Mother…you're here, right?"
"Yes," Kyoko murmured, "I'm here. Torii, I need to apologize to you. There is nothing I can do for you to make it up to you. There isn't a thing to make things right. But, I'm sincerely sorry about the things I've pushed you into. I only wanted you to be able to be successful and not worry about being dependent on anyone. I acted too harshly."
"Yeah, you did." Torii stated, and the other occupants widened their eyes, "but, I can't blame you for it. I hated not being able to do things for myself. You forcing me to work around not having someone helped me made me realize I could. No matter how much I cried, I knew it would only help me get stronger. Mother, I'm sorry too. I abandoned you and ran away to Kame-san. It was wrong. After K…Kio-nii and Hiro-tan's passing away, I turned a blind eye on things. Figuratively and literally."
"Torii," Kyoko sounded taken aback.
"I can't run away anymore, Mother," The youngest continued, "I don't want to blame you for anything. The way you went about things is wrong, but they were done with the right intentions." Torii closed her eyes. She felt them tingle suddenly; she thought it was odd. Deciding to keep them closed, she spoke again, "I love you, Mother."
"Torii," Kyoko burst into tears and she walked over and hugged her mother gently. Kame smiled slightly with pity, though she frowned in her head. Her family was pitiful. There were so many deaths, deceits and lies. One thing after another and they all broke apart, but the near death state of the woman who started it all was what was bringing everyone back together. Torii pulled back, and opened her eyes when the tingling stopped. She blinked just as Kyoko smiled. She just blinked again.
"What's wrong, Torii?" Kame asked, confused. Torii blinked two more times and shook lightly. "Torii?"
Fudomine Middle School, End of the School Day
Shinji sighed as he headed towards the school gates. There was no tennis practice that day, and he was to meet everyone to celebrate his birthday in an hour. He was disappointed that Torii hadn't shown up, and for some reason, Kamio looked strangely shocked about it. He shook his head, removing the thoughts. It was no big deal, any way. As he stepped closer to the gates, a black car pulled up and parked. There was a small hesitation when the door opened, and he saw the passenger look back to the driver as if to look for confirmation. He barely could see the driver nod from there and then the passenger darted out the door. He realized quickly the driver was Kame. The passenger barreled into him, and he stumbled back, catching the shoulders of the other. He blinked twice. It was Torii. She looked up to him with a large smile. He caught her icy irises. Were they reflecting light…or was that a trick of the eyes?
"Shinji-kun, happy birthday!"
"Thank you, Torii-chan." He said, still confused. She ran over to him, like she knew he was there and that is was him. But that was impossible…because she…
"Shinji-kun," She interrupted, and he tilted his head as she raised a hand to his hair.
"Yes?" He smiled and almost cried when she stated,
"Your hair…is blue."