Echizen is dying?
Oh, this could be his luckiest, happiest, most terrific day in his life. Ever!
Echizen Ryoma grunted begrudgingly, eyes narrowed together, and lips pouted. How could this day be any good? He was lying on a hospital bed, bandages wrapped around his right leg, while HIS FATHER was grinning at him with mockery.
Oh, he really felt like his blood was boiling.
First, he hated it when his father laughs at him. Second, he hated it when he makes a fool out of himself. And third, he hated it when his father laughs at him. Did he already mention he hated it when his father laughs at him? Because if ever he didn't, HE HATED IT WHEN HIS FATHER LAUGHS AT HIM!
"Come on now, Seishounen," Echizen Nanjiroh, proud father of the bratty tennis prince, said as he patted his son's head lovingly, "Accidents happen all the time."
"Shut up," Ryoma gritted his teeth.
Nanjiroh made a mocking snort, which added fuel to the fire. "At least you did it to save a schoolmate!" Then, the oh-so considerate and sensitive 'father' laughed out loud while clutching his stomach, tears threatening to fall from his eyes.
The angry vein on Ryoma's head twitched.
The reason he was at the hospital bed right now had nothing to do with saving a schoolmate. It was not his fault a sophomore student accidentally fell on the stairs and dragged him along with his fall. He was just coincidentally climbing the stairs next to that stranger when the stupid senpai instinctually grabbed Ryoma's hand when he made a wrong step on the staircase.
Thus, resulting to a broken leg on his side.
What was more infuriating than that? The senpai only acquired scratches. Apparently, the tennis prince broke the senpai's fall. He never imagined himself to cushion a stranger's fall in his entire life. The only good news to this was that his broken leg wasn't as bad as it looked and he will be able to get out of that hospital in three days.
"Don't worry, Ryoma," Rinko's voice broke his train of thoughts, "It's Sunday today so your friends from Seigaku are coming to visit you." She flashed a loving smile at her son. She was sitting on a chair next to his bed, peeling apples.
"You invited them?" Ryoma asked with a slight tone of protest. "But mom! I don't want them to see me like this!"
Rinko weakly smiled. "Oh, dear. Your friends are worried sick about you," she reasoned.
"No, they are not! They just want to see me in this pitiful state!"
Nanjiroh laughed again. "Yeah, if I were your teammate too, I would've run straight here just to laugh at you!"
Something silver flashed through Nanjiroh's eyes. He felt his heart stopped when he realized that his wife sliced the apple-peeler on his cheek, forming a long thin line of blood on his face. He fell down out of nervousness. "W-W-Why did you do that Rinko? Are you trying to kill me!?"
Rinko merely smiled. "Yes."
Ryoma smirked at him.
"Stop teasing your son," Rinko reprimanded. Then, they heard a knock coming from the room's door. She said, "Come in," before the door opened and it revealed a tall man with brown eyes and golden-brown hair standing sternly on the doorframe.
"Ah, Tezuka-kun." Rinko stood up and walked towards the tennis team captain. "Thank you for visiting my son."
Tezuka bowed respectfully. "It's nothing. Echizen is a valuable player in our team."
"Oh, don't worry," Rinko raised a hand up and placed it on her cheek, "Ryoma's injury is not that severe. He'll be out in three days."
"Oh, I see." Tezuka's glasses beamed, "That's good to hear."
The captain looked at Echizen who was pouting at his white blanket, and his father, who was sitting on the floor, staring back at him.
"Anyway," Rinko said, "Please take care of Ryoma while we're gone. We're just going back to our home to get Ryoma more clothes," she walked towards Nanjiroh and helped him stand up, "Feel free to eat the apples on the bedside table," she said shortly before going to the door and leaving with her husband. "We'll be back tonight, Ryoma."
"Ah… Mom!" Ryoma whined as Rinko shut the door closed, leaving him alone with his captain.
"Echizen," Tezuka said in a low, scolding tone, "You let your guard down."
"Yeah, tell me something I don't know," Ryoma said sarcastically and sat up.
"How irresponsible," the captain commented sternly.
Now, Ryoma didn't need another father to tell him how badly things happened to him and rub it on his face. He didn't need people who worry over him. Most importantly, he didn't want to see any of his senpai's face at the moment.
Just then, the door swung open, revealing the panic-stricken mother hen of Seigaku, Oishi.
Oh, great. Another mother.
"Echizen!" he ran swiftly towards Ryoma and worriedly leaned closer to him, "I heard from your father that you're dying because of a heart disease? Oh my gosh, I can't believe this is happening! Is it because you play too much tennis? Or is it because Ryuzaki-chan dumped you? Tell me what caused it!"
"Heart… disease?" Tezuka couldn't believe what he heard. He turned his vision to Ryoma's bandaged leg. "Really…?"
A light hue of pink appeared on Ryoma's cheek when he mentioned about the coach's granddaughter, and his accusation of her dumping him. And come on! Heart disease? And his father told his overly-panicking senpai that? 'Damn Oyaji!' Ryoma thought infuriatingly. "Oishi-senpai! I don't have a heart disease and Ryuzaki didn't dum—"
"Oh I know! It's cancer, isn't it? Oh my gosh, my kouhai's going to die!" Oishi dramatically dropped on the ground, feeling miserable at the thought of losing his valued friend, teammate, and kouhai.
Tezuka was still thinking of something deep. So, a broken leg could cause heart disease and cancer. The world must be nearing its end. He cleared his throat and silently sat on the chair next to Ryoma's bed.
Before Ryoma could speak, they heard a familiar voice coming from the other side of the door. "Oh, here it is… Echizen's room." The door opened and revealed a spiky-haired man and a redhead excitingly running towards them.
"Yo, Echi—pfft!" Momo tried to hold back his laugh after seeing Ryoma's state.
"Wow, O'chibi! That was a really bad fall huh?" Eiji curiously ran his eyes over to Ryoma's bandaged leg. The acrobatic redhead poked Ryoma's leg. Ryoma winced in pain and Momo laughed again.
"Momo-senpai…" Ryoma hissed, "Shut up if you don't want me to—"
"Momo, Eiji!" Oishi yelled. "Stop pulling his leg! This is no laughing matter! Echizen is suffering from an incurable disease! This is not the time to laugh at him!"
Eiji's eyes widened. He dropped Ryoma's leg, which definitely pained the young prince even more. Ryoma spoke through his gritted teeth. "Oishi-senpai, I'm not going to—" the prince was cut off again when Momo and Eiji spoke.
The second-year powerhouse gaped in shock. His best friend, kouhai, teammate and burger buddy… was going to die? Meanwhile, Eiji had the same look of worry on his face. His background darkened, his eyes watery, and his brows knitted in worry.
"Incurable disease?" the two asked gloomily.
"D-Don't tell me…" Momo said, "It's Spinocerebellar Degeneration Disease!"
Eiji gasped in exaggeration, "Spino-Cereblah-blah Dejecting Disease?"
Ryoma rolled his eyes. "Listen, senpai, I'm not—"
"Spinocerebellar Degeneration Disease," Inui suddenly appeared, startling all of them, "occurs when parts of the nervous system that control movement are damaged. People diagnosed with SCD experience a failure of muscle control in their arms and legs, resulting in a lack of balance and coordination or a disturbance of gait. While the term ataxia is primarily used to describe this set of symptoms, it is sometimes also used to refer to a family of disorders. It is not, however, a specific diagnosis (1)."
Ryoma sweat dropped. "Senpai, I told you, I'm not—"
"Waah!" Eiji cried and hugged Ryoma tightly, "Our dear O'chibi's going to die! Who am I going to call O'chibi from now on?"
Then, they heard a sound of something falling on the ground coming from the door. They saw Kaidoh standing in front of the room and his bag on the ground. "Echizen… is going to die?"
Oh, great, his senpai-tachi never listened to him. He tried again, between Eiji's arms wrapped around him, "I said I'm not going to—"
"Fshuu…" Kaidoh looked like he had tears coming from his eyes. Sure, he had a strong rivalry relationship with the freshman, but still, he considered the young one, though he won't admit it, his friend. He turned around, trying to hide his look from his teammates. His voice was nearly faltering when he asked, "What sickness?"
Momo sniffed his red nose. "SCD. It's the same disease from 1 liter of tears. I've watched that show… I can see how Echizen will suffer from his disease now!"
Kaidoh's shoulder began trembling. "Yeah," he said in a low tone, "I've also watched that. He's going to die… soon…" he said regrettably.
"Senpai…" Ryoma tried but he knew someone would cut him off anyway.
Kaidoh turned back around again to face Ryoma, his eyes glassy and nose red. He pointed a finger towards his direction. Dramatically. "BUT LISTEN, YAROU!" he said passionately, adding a curse to show that he was being strong about it, "Don't lose hope! They might find a cure for that disease before you die!"
Momo nodded in agreement, for the first time, with Kaidoh. He sniffed his nose again. "And if ever you're going to die, just remember," he said and tears ran down from his eyes as he was trying to look strong for his kouhai, like Kaidoh, "you've inspired a lot of people with your tennis! We'll live up to your inspiration!" He rubbed his eyes with his arm. "Live, man! LIVE!"
"They're right, nya," Eiji added, "We'll always be here for you! I'll make your life story into a drama series one day!"
"And I'll make sure that I would become a doctor, to help study your disease and find a cure for it!" Oishi reassured.
"Senpai… I TOLD YOU I'M NOT GOING TO DI—"
"BURNING!" Taka-san yelled from the entrance of the room. Fuji was with him. The sadist tensai and the burning powerhouse looked devastated from what they heard from their conversation. "ECHIZEN MUST LIVE, BABY!"
Kaidoh was still standing at the entrance of the room, so after his inspiring speech, he turned back around again, took his bag which he dropped on the floor earlier, and ran away. "DON'T LOSE, YAROU! IT'S PART OF YOUR LIFE'S JOURNEY!" And with that, the snake was gone. And for the first time ever, he and Momo didn't fight even if they were just meters away from each other.
"See, Echizen? You've already inspired us!" Oishi said, forcing a reassuring smile while holding Ryoma's hand, comforting him, "You've made Momo and Kaidoh stop fighting… before it even started."
Eiji was still crying like a baby while he hugged his kouhai. And Oishi was holding his hand as if he really were going to die soon. Ryoma gritted his teeth. "Senpai, I told you! I'M NOT GOING TO DIE!"
"That's it, Echizen," Fuji spoke up as he walked closer to him, "Be strong. Believe you're not going to die even though you are."
"BURN… ING…" Taka-san cried on his arms, like Momo. "ECHIZEN MUST BE STRONG!"
"ECHIZEN!" they all cried.
"It was nice knowing that you have fulfilled my expectations for being Seigaku's pillar," Tezuka said, "No… you've done far better. You've become the world's pillar of support."
"WE'RE SO PROUD!" his senpai-tachi, save Tezuka, yelled passionately.
And later that day, all of the Junior High Tennis players from all over Japan learned that the tennis prince was going to die soon. They all paid their respects to the still-alive tennis genius as they wait for him to die. And they were eager for it to happen, too, according to what Ryoma observed.
And since Atobe was involved, he immediately told the media about the soon-loss of a still-growing tennis genius. To the tennis prince's surprise, the WHOLE WORLD started to be dismayed. And as soon as the next day arrived, there was already a 24-hour non-stop dramatization of his WHOLE LIFE on Worldwide Television. The whole world stopped as they discovered how Echizen Ryoma lived his life and how touching and inspiring the way he would die. And now, they can't wait for the tennis prince to die so that they can hold a global memorial for him.
Heck, they can't even wait because on the second day, they already HELD HIS FUNERAL!
"Echizen Ryoma was truly an inspiring person to all of us, be it tennis players or not! The whole world is certainly saddened by the loss of a handsome future tennis genius that might have given more inspiration to us if only he wouldn't die of cancer, heart disease and SCD. And now, we all want to remember him, so all important leaders of every country in the world agreed on building a statue of him in every single country."
Ryoma rolled his eyes as he watched the news on television.
So now… he was considered dead, even if he was still alive.
"So let us all remember the day he died; December 24th, the same day of his birth. Sadly…"
Ryoma's brows twitched.
"Now, would you look at that! Our son's a hero!" Nanjiroh laughed mockingly.
Rinko forced a smile. "I can't believe they wanted you to die so badly, Ryoma."
"So," Nanako sweetly said, "Even if the world sees him in the future playing tennis, they would still consider him dead?"
The married couple nodded.
"Even if he was still healthy and playing, they would think he's going to die someday?" Nanako asked again.
"Annoying, but true," Ryoma said. "They're idiots. All earthlings are idiots!"
Ryoga suddenly appeared, laughing like his old man. "Oh not only Earthlings, Chibisuke! I heard Martians also held a memorial service for you. Mars is currently having a procession, praying for your life and how inspirational it was."
Oh well, on the plus side…
… There is no plus side.
A/N: I was skimming on the channels in our T.V when I passed Disney Channel, showing Mr. Bean animation; the episode when Mr. Bean wanted to go to the hospital so that the nurse and doctors there would treat him nicely. It instantly reminded me of an episode in GetBackers when Ginji got hospitalized and all of his friends visited him. That was how this fic was born :D
Oh, and RyoSaku fans, check out this fic's another story: Ryoma-kun is Dying?; an alternate version of this :) Sorry, I just can't help but putting RyoSaku in it XP Hope you guys had fun reading this :D Hope it made your day ;D
(1) Credits to Yahoo! Answers for the term :)
Reviews are welcomed! Review if you LOL'd at this ;D
Prince of Tennis © Konomi Takeshi.