"Every Second Counts"

It was a cloudy Wednesday morning.

Ryoma woke up to the feeling of uneasiness and tension.

There was call from the back of his mind that he should spend the whole day with each sempai he had.

Though he was noted to be quiet and shy, he was not the type to show his true feelings all the time.

But he knew that today was different. And he went with his gut feeling.

After a quick shower and getting dressed, he ran down to the kitchen for breakfast.

"Ohayou gozaimas." He softly greeted his father and mother. His cousin was out on an errand early.

He drank a glass of milk and grabbed a waffle.

"Ryoma, have a good day at school." Rinko, his mother called out.

"Osu. Ittekimas." He said as he headed for the door.

Just as he reached the bottom of the temple steps, Momoshiro was already waiting for him.

"Ohayou, Echizen." Greeted the enthusiastic 2nd year.

"Ohayou, Momo-sempai." The freshman greeted back.

Then they headed for school.

Ryoma still couldn't shake the feeling of uneasiness and Momo was starting to notice.

"Eto, Momo-sempai. Let's eat hamburgers later after practice."

Momoshiro smiled and nodded.

When they entered the school gates, Eiji and Oishi waved at them.

"Ohayou, Momoko! O-chibi!" Eiji greeted as he launched himself to embrace Ryoma.

"E-Eiji-sempaiā€¦ C-can't breathe." Ryoma struggled to break loose from the grip of death.

"Oy, Eiji. Let him go. He's turning blue." Oishi joked.

Momo laughed as Ryoma tried to catch his breath.

They headed for the club locker room. They had morning practice and didn't want to be late.

They met Inui and Fuji along the way.

They were just about to enter the locker room as well.

"Ohayou gozaimas, Fuji-sempai, Inui-sempai." Momo and Ryoma greeted at the same time.

"Ohayou, Echizen, Momo." Fuji greeted back. Inui just smiled and nodded.

He went back to analyzing his data for the morning practice.

The door burst open and Kawamura ran in followed by Kaidoh.

From the outside, they could already here Tezuka giving instructions to the non-regulars.

The boys in the locker room made a quick change and ran out to avoid being punished.

"Echizen, come here for a second." Ryuzaki-sensei called as Ryoma came out the locker room.

"Ryoma, I would like you to have a match with Tezuka and show us if you have improved after winning the U.s. Grand Slam." She said and chuckled.

She knew that Samurai Junior had improved immensely without question.

Everyone was excited to watch the match between The Captain and The Pillar of Seigaku.

"Echizen, don't hold back. Come at me with all you've got." Tezuka said as they shook hands.

"I wasn't planning to hold back. I'll let you even serve first." Echizen gave his Captain his famous smirk.

"One set match: Tezuka Kunimitsu vs. Ryoma Echizen. Tezuka to serve." Fuji called out as referee.

Ryoma really didn't plan to hold back.

He didn't know what kind of training his team had when he was abroad but he didn't care.

Tezuka's service game was just a warm up.

"One game to Tezuka: 1 game to love. Echizen to serve."

"Here goes." Ryoma gave his a Cyclone serve, one of his souvenirs for the team.

Tezuka didn't move.

"Seems like he brought back a very neat souvenir for us." Momo said as they all watched excitedly.

After a few more hits, "One game to Echizen, one game all."

They practice match was being played like it was an official match.

Ryoma and Tezuka gave it all, mind, body and soul.

"Game and match, Tie between Tezuka and Echizen. Six games all."

They already agreed that they wouldn't have a tie breaker.

Aside from Cyclone Serve, Ryoma showed them his Cool Drive and Samurai Drive.

"Sugoi, Echizen! You really leveled up!" Oishi praised the freshman Grand Slammer.

"Arigato, Oishi-sempai." Ryoma thanked the compliment.

Tezuka was still trying to catch his breath.

Ryoma recall the time when he came back to Japan just to play against his Captain.

And he remembered that he was the one trying to catch his breath.

Now, his Captain was.

Tezuka smiled at Ryoma.

"Well done, Echizen." Tezuka praised him.

"Arigato gozaimas, Bucho." Ryoma said with a grin.

During lunch, Ryoma was at the rooftop with the regulars.

Eiji sat next to Ryoma and was telling him about the practices they had done when he left.

Ryoma spent the whole day with his sempais, unable to shake the feeling of his near end.

"Ryoma-kun, are you alright?" Fuji asked as he noticed Ryoma spacing out for a bit.

Ryoma snapped back and nodded, "Hai." He answered.

Now, even Fuji could feel the uneasiness he was feeling.

Inui had completed his newest Inui juice and made Ryoma, Momo and Kaidoh drink it.

The three looked at each other and took a gulped.

The juice was color purple with green swirls.

"What type of juice is that? Purple with green swirls?" Eiji asked, hiding behind Oishi.

Fuji had took his share of the juice and smiled.

"Wow, Inui. This one is very sweet." Fuji was immune to Inui's juices, except the one he drank when they played bowling.

Kaidoh's hand was shaking as he stretched out for his glass.

Ryoma and Momo got hold of their glasses and all three of them drank it together.

The three turned pale and quickly ran to the edge to throw up.

"Huh? I wonder why they didn't like it." Fuji thought out loud.

Eiji, Oishi and Kawamura laughed nervously.

They envied Fuji's great ability to withstand the power of Inui's juices.

During the afternoon practice, Ryoma was in the cafeteria.

He was in line to buy ice cream. Kaidoh stood behind him.

"Kaidoh-sempai, are you going to buy ice cream too?"

"Ha? Uh, hai." He softly answered.

When Ryoma was about to pay, Kaidoh stopped him.

"This one's on me." Kaidoh paid for the both of them.

Ryoma bowed as his way of thanking his sempai for the treat.

They walked back to the court, eating their ice cream silently.

Eiji saw them and quickly spoke up.

"Oyo y! that's not fair, o-chibi! You bought Kaidoh ice cream too." Eiji was acting sad with tears n his eyes.

Oishi, Fuji, Inui, Kawamura and Momo chuckling.

"Iie, Eiji-sempai. Kaidoh-sempai treated me." Ryoma said and Kaidoh blushed as Momo and Eiji smirked.

"Oh, Mamushi is getting soft on Echizen eh." Momo teased.

"It's just ice cream." Kaidoh said before stalking off.

The whole day was full of laugher and jokes.

And the original idea of eating hamburgers with Momo became a group activity.

Ryoma wanted to have fun with his teammates for an unknown reason.

It was really as if he knew that he only had that day to be with them.

Kawamura made them sushi and they all ate happily.

Fuji had his usual Wasabi Sushi which for some reason, Eiji wanted to dare everyone.

"I dare Kaidoh, Momo, Oishi, Inui, Tezuka and O-chibi to eat a piece of Wasabi Sushi. In exchange, I will bake each of you a chocolate cake." Eiji announced.

Everyone looked at him.

They had a taste of his cake before and it was very good.

They all took a piece of sushi each.

"The person who would not swallow the sushi will drink a glass of Inui's new juice." He threatened.

In a blink of an eye, everyone who was dare, ate their piece.

Fuji and Eiji were so amused when they saw them scramble for water.

After that, they all laughed, even Tezuka.

When they all bid each other goodbye, Ryoma walked home feeling happy and contented with the day.

The feeling of uneasiness was now gone and he felt he was ready for a very long rest.

He greeted his family when he got in and went straight to his room.

He took a shower and wore his pajamas.

"Good night, Karupin." He patted his cat.

Then, as he laid down on his soft bed, a cool gentle wind came in through his window.

Ryoma felt satisfied and was very happy that he had spent the whole day with his sempais.

As he slowly closed his eyes, he recalled the day's events, smiling to himself.

Then he fell asleep, never to wake up once more.

A/N: And that's it. Sorry to have killed Ryoma. I did promise that I will make a happy story. Which would bring me to my question, What kind of Happy story would you like me to right about Ryoma? Any pairings? If so, Who do I pair Ryoma with? Your answers with be very much appreciated. Thank you.