Notes: Fic is inspired by the musical The Imperial Presence Hyoutei Gakuen, which covers the second round of matches against Hyoutei. My first Prince of Tennis story... almost-story? 266 words.


Admit it, Tezuka Kunimitsu – you're afraid of Atobe Keigo. He terrifies you to such a degree, you start coming up with excuses to let Echizen play against him instead of doing it yourself. You try to convince the others as much as yourself that Echizen needs this match in order to make progress, but you know it's not about Echizen at all. It's about you. It's about your fear.

When you think about that match you had against Atobe, you remember what exactly it is that scares you. It's not the pain, of which you only have a vague recollection, even though you're still hurt and you don't think it's ever going to stop. It's not the loss, because in the end, you were still the one admired for giving his best. No.

You're scared of him, because Atobe Keigo makes you lose your composure, makes you want to go all out even if it breaks you in the end. Because he expects you to be the best, he expects you to at least be able to beat him – and you don't want to disappoint him, despite knowing better.

He's the fire that will consume you if you let it. He's the passion that you can't stop feeling. He's everything you want and the realization of that is what really drove you to have Echizen play against him. Echizen will be alright.

As you see Atobe Keigo's face when it's revealed you won't be up against him this time, you can't help a thought you didn't want to consider before:

Echizen will be alright. Will you?