Summary: He wasn't kind. He was just respectful. After all, he was Rikkai's famed Gentleman. And even after the realization that we were a lot alike, I wasn't fazed by the fact that he would choose his fans over our friendship. He's just Yagyuu Hiroshi.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Prince of Tennis characters.

This fanfiction is for the following readers who have favorited this particular story: ca99oline, celtic27fionn, Chillybean, GeneXKobato, Just Wait and See, Princess Alice Rose, Raine Amorial, strawbewii.

This chapter is for the following readers who have alerted this particular story: celtic27fionn, Happy-Valley, livingtodream, Pig the Cat, Princess Alice Rose, xXRandomnessPrevailsXx, xXTemariXx.

Kiseki tapped the dark-colored wood that the oblong-shaped table was carved from. Most of the council had yet to arrive, and being the punctual student that she took pride in being - Kiseki had came in thirty minutes early. Sometimes being too punctual set her to a disadvantage.

The door swung open and Kiseki instinctively turned to look. It was the 2nd year representative from Class D. He greeted her with a simple head nod, and she awkwardly returned it. Kiseki never did understand why simply saying, "Genki desuka?(1)" or "Konnichiwa(2)" would cause too much trouble. The room which had firstly been only silent had become teeming with awkwardness.

In so, Kiseki initiated a conversation. "Genki desuka?" She asked the representative with a smile. He had been staring deeply into a month-old pamphlet (Kiseki wondered if that was just a pitiful attempt to escape the awkward silence between them) and turned to look up.

"Fine, thank you." He went back to reading the pamphlet and Kiseki resisted the urge to scowl.

She tapped the table with her hands, not caring for the disrupting and insensible sounds she was making. "I never did catch your name." Kiseki told the other representative, while peeking at the yellow-and-black school clock behind him.

"It's Hamada Kyousuke." He busied himself back to reading the pamphlet which Kiseki pointed out to herself, contained a mere 500 words at the most.

Kiseki made a face. "Aish, how rude." She thought to herself before opening her bag rather loudly and taking out a book of hers, not some silly old outdated pamphlet from the start of the school year. She began to read and the ticking of the clock gradually became louder. Kiseki had lost herself in a couple of chapters when the door clattered open once more.

Holding back a relieved sigh, she turned around and from her peripheral, saw the 2nd year rep glance over at the new person as well. It was Yagyuu Hiroshi from Class A. He pushed his glasses up (A/N: similar to that of Inui Sadaharu when saying, "Ii data.") and gave Kiseki a meek smile.

Seating himself, he greeted her. "Konnichiwa, Shimizu-san."

"Konnichiwa." Kiseki answered, glad for the first time that she was making contact with a tennis regular. They were on friendly terms, something that she secretly was relieved of. Kiseki knew that some of the regular's fangirls could be ruthless to the ones who disliked or hated the regulars, and she tried to keep away from any sort of fighting may it be verbal or physical.

Hamada Kyousuke, the representative who had came in after Kiseki, turned away from the pamphlet and warmly greeted Yagyuu. "Genki desuka, Yagyuu-san?"

"What a kiss-up." Kiseki abstained from rolling her eyes, and continued hiding behind her reading book. Everyone knew that the easiest way up the social pyramid was to be friendly with the tennis regulars. After all, they were the legendary tennis team that had won the Nationals twice in a row and insinuated by the latest results, seems to also be taking it this year as well.

Yagyuu nodded his head as a gesture. "I'm fine, thank you...Hamada-san?" He hesitantly asked, as if unsure of what the 2nd year's name was. Kiseki was beside herself, inwardly laughing at Hamada's pitiful expression almost comparable to that of a puppy who had just gotten kicked by it's master.

She looked up and shared a glance at Yagyuu, who shifted his glasses again and audibly cleared his throat. Kiseki smiled and returned back to her book. She could've sworn a grin made it's way across his face as well.

"So, in three months time - we must start preparing for the festival. But other than that, there are no other major events we must take important note of. Any questions?" The elected school president looked around the small meeting room, and barely any other council members met his gaze.

Yagyuu cleared his throat (the second time Kiseki had heard him do so, since before the meeting) and all eyes turned to him. "This is not relevant to the current topic, but I've observed some prejudice and harassment towards the underclassmen. As class representatives, President, do you agree that we should do something about this?"

Kiseki's eyebrows furrowed. She has never seen such incidents before.

"Yagyuu-san, you know very well that personal matters between students are things we, as official representatives, are not allowed to delve into." The president answered him, as murmuring ensued throughout the council.

Kiseki narrowed her eyes and her mouth settled into a deep frown but decided not to say anything against it. She merely looked down at her hands and inwardly sighed.

"I understand what you are trying to say, Yagyuu-san. However, the President is right. There might be a legitimate reason towards these incidents." Another representative spoke up. Yagyuu did not answer but merely shifted his glasses.

Others of the council began slightly agreeing.

"Shimizu-san, what is your opinion?" Yagyuu asked her. He was posed in a manner of composure and maturity. The council turned towards her.

Kiseki swiftly looked up and her eyes widened. "Eh?"

"What is your opinion about the matter?" Yagyuu repeated.

Kiseki's eyes moved down towards the table and she took a slightly shaky deep breath. "Even if there might be a legitimate reason behind these incidences, it is not right to settle the issue through harassment. As class representatives, other students look to us as models of what is right and what is just. Imagine if a sibling or close friend of yours was the one being harassed by these upperclassmen - would you move along and ignore it? What is just is just and what is wrong. As people with right judgement, we clearly know what we must do."

She blinked. Pairs of eyes blinked back at her. She swallowed and held back a breath then exhaled back again.

"I" Kiseki started back again, her face beet red and was inwardly dying with embarrassment, as the President held up a hand to stop her.

He stared at her and nodded. "We understand. Therefore," The President looked back at Yagyuu, "We will act against these matters but only in a calm and peaceful manner." Yagyuu answered with a nod and he moved his gaze slightly towards Kiseki who blushed in response.

"Then so, meeting adjourned." The president folded back the planner he used to keep track of the things he mentions in the meetings as the council members exited the room. Another 3rd year representative clapped Kiseki on the back, surprising her and nodded at her as a gesture. Kiseki only responded with a shy smile.

Hamada, the 2nd year representative from before, meekly met her gaze and gave her a small awkward grin before leaving and Kiseki didn't have time to return the smile as he exited rather quickly.

"Shimizu-san, I thank you for your insight." The president told her before she left the room. She could only incline her head before leaving. Closing the door behind her, Kiseki turned only to be met by a smiling Yagyuu. She restrained herself from slamming him with inappropriate words. After all, it was his fault that she had to answer the question in the first place.

Instead, she kept her cool and walked on but immediately, she realized that Yagyuu was keeping in step with her. Kiseki observed that his legs were considerably longer than hers since he stood at 5 feet and 9 inches, whereas she was a mere 5 feet and 3 inches.

"And your reasons behind directing their attention to me was?" Kiseki stopped, and asked him sighing. It was hard for her to stay mad at someone for too long. Besides, being angry was not a pleasant feeling.

Yagyuu smiled. "I realized we shared the same opinion. I just thought that you would be able to express better than I could have, and you obviously did."

"I was really red, wasn't I?" Kiseki asked him, scratching the back of her head.

Yagyuu chuckled. "Surely, Shimizu-san, trivial things such as appearance do not bother you too much."

"It's a girl's instinct, sorry." She sheepishly grinned as they clambered down the first set of stairs. The meeting room was on the 2nd floor, so the school exit wasn't too much of a walk.

"Shimizu-san, you are aware that your first name means - " Yagyuu began as Kiseki chuckled.

She stretched her arms out and stopped him, "Miracle. I'm not a foreigner, Yagyuu-san."

"Why is that?" Yagyuu asked her curiously.

Kiseki looked at him, her head titled towards the side a bit as they neared the exit. "I was a premature child. The doctors said I would not live. They also said that if I did be able to survive, I would be the last my parents would produce. But I did survive, and after me came three younger ones. So my parents named me, Kiseki. A miracle."

"You don't care for the eccentricity of it?" Yagyuu wondered.

Kiseki chuckled again. "I consider it a blessing, actually. Every time someone would say my name, I would constantly be reminded of how much I meant to my parents and my family. Being considered a miracle, is something I take pride in being."

"Then, Shimizu-san, may I call you by your first name?"

Kiseki stopped. "Eh?"

"I'm certain you heard correctly." Yagyuu answered.

Kiseki bit her lip and foolishly grinned. "We've only actually known each other for a few days - isn't that rushing it a bit too much?" She let out a small chuckle.

"It was but a mere suggestion." Yagyuu replied, his voice still and passive.

Kiseki looked down and a silence ensued between the two of them as they passed through the gates and began walking their separate ways. "Yagyuu-san?" She called out, as he started turning towards his direction. He turned towards her and raised an eyebrow.

"Thank you." She told him.

Yagyuu's eyebrow went up even higher. "For what?"

"Just...Thank you." Kiseki inclined her head before rushing off towards the direction of her house. She was not able to catch the confused expression on the regular's face as well as the gentle smile slowly making it's way across his face.

She was about a half-a-block away when Kiseki stopped and rested her back on the stone wall that stretched until the end of the block. She smiled and whispered to the wind what she had meant to say to the confused Yagyuu, "For bringing out the best in me."

"Moshi-moshi?" Kiseki had came home a couple of hours ago, and had just finished a loud dinner which included the following: her toddler brother slapping their mother with his newly-bought baby spoon, her older sister spilling red juice over her older brother's new white shorts (of which he had to endure teasing from all the females of the household about his "first monthly gift"), and their father coming home with a two large pineapples in which Kiseki's smart-aleck younger sisters decided they would try to step on - resulting in tears and scolding.

By the time Kiseki had arrived at her room, she threw herself on the bed and let out an uncivilized groan - inwardly cursing her insane family. Maybe it wasn't a miracle to have three younger siblings born after all. Just five minutes later, her phone rang and an unknown caller ID showed on the screen.

"Hey." A slightly-familiar voice answered.

Kiseki's brow furrowed and a pause between the two began to turn into a pregnant silence.

"Wow, Kiseki. Two years of separation, and you can't remember my voice anymore?" A chuckle sounded from the other line as Kiseki was hit with the realization.

She squealed and gasped out, "Fumika?"

"Yes, this is her." The voice responded in a bored tone.

Fumika Hitomi and her twin Sachiko Hitomi(3) currently lived in Osaka, where Kiseki and her obnoxiously loud family had moved from two years ago. The twins were born in the same hospital, as well as on the same day as Kiseki, much to the three's surprise. They jokingly referred to themselves as triplets despite the fact that the Hitomi twins had lighter colored hair, different colored eyes and were considerably taller than Kiseki.

Kiseki, much like Naomi and Aeha from her current "group", was set to attend a different middle school. Shitenhouji Chuu, in fact, which was the school that Fumika was currently attending. Kiseki remembered Fumika as a silly little girl who was curious about everything she saw and Sachiko as the twin who was much more composed and mature, although still cheerful and fun-natured. According to Fumika, however, it seems their attitudes have switched much to Kiseki's surprise.

For two years, none of them found the time to visit each other and had completely lost contact up until this current phone call. Kiseki was obviously, pleasantly surprised. Fumika, on the other hand, called to bear ill news. Literally. Her father and Kiseki's father had been friends since their 2nd year of high school and had closely been acquainted since. Because of that, Kiseki knew her father would not be pleased about this new piece of information.

Fumika's father had been sent to the ICU for what seemed to be chest pains at first, but had turned out to be a gradual heart attack. Kiseki remembered that Fumika's father was a very sickly person, although very healthy-looking. He had diabetes long before she even knew who he was and his side of the family had a history of heart failure. Kiseki's father being a doctor, he had mentioned to her once that his friend would not live as long as a normal human would be capable of.

After a few minutes, Fumika bid Kiseki good-bye after Kiseki promised to keep Fumika's father in her prayers. As far as Kiseki could remember, Fumika's father always had these occasional heart attacks and they've happened so frequently that the family have gotten used to them. But this time, the doctors had said it might be different. Even though Fumika tried to keep Kiseki humored and optimistic, Kiseki could sense that deep inside - her friend was worried, anxious, and frightened.

Kiseki had to admit that she had no experience with the death of loved ones. Even so, Fumika's father had been a second dad to her. Whenever he'd take out his own children to carnivals or amusement parks - he would never forget to include her. When her parents would be at work while she was sick in bed, it was the Hitomi's who would unconditionally take care of her.

He was a bright, cheerful person to be around. Kiseki felt tears prick her eyes as nostalgic memories crept up from the past.

"They told me to turn my phone off, so I have to go. They say t-to get ready, b-because he m-m-might not even last the night." were Fumika's last words to her friend. Kiseki could hear tears amidst her words.

It was so sudden. Kiseki had expected a prank call from Tanaka perhaps, or maybe Ranawa's little sister asking her for help since Ranawa was currently sick with the flu. Kiseki placed her phone down on the table and sighed.

"Life's too fleeting to take for granted." She sighed and looked up. Sighing, she decided that she'll break the news later on to her father who was now enjoying a cup of coffee, watching a movie in the den with his wife. Kiseki always hated saying something that causes people hurt, anxiousness, and worry although sometimes saying so is for the better. Realizing that this news was too important to delay, Kiseki clambered down the stairs and cleared her throat as her parents faced her.

The rest of the family were either in their bedrooms or to the toddler's case, sitting on his mother's lap. Kiseki sat down on an armchair as her parents paused the screen.

"Otou-san...I'm sure you remember Ikutsu Hitomi." Kiseki took a deep breath.

Her father nodded and Kiseki began retelling Fumika's story. She watched her father's face fell as well as her mother's. Their anguished expressions tore Kiseki apart on the inside as she explained to them that the Hitomi's were incapable of calling at the moment since the nurses had told Fumika to turn her phone off.

Kiseki finished her homework an hour later, a bit mindless as her mind kept going back to her conversation with Fumika. For two years, they have not spoken and the one time they did - it was to bring bad news. It wasn't right and Kiseki felt frustrated.

She went to sleep that night, anxious and worried. The next morning, she awoke. Her phone was lit up and Kiseki reluctantly took it and opened a text message from Fumika. For a split second, she felt like her breath was taken away by worry. Two words broke her heart.

He's gone.

"Kiseki." The said girl did not respond.

"Kiseki!" Tanaka cried out more forcefully.

This finally shoved the sullen girl out of her spell and Kiseki looked up, stammering, "W-what?" Her best friend, Tanaka Yoshida sighed and crossed her arms. Her cool blue eyes analyzed Kiseki slowly, then with a hesitant tone, she asked. "What's the matter?"

Kiseki blinked, staring at four worrisome pair of eyes.

"You've been like this all day." Shoko, one of the more reasonable ones of the group, told her sighing. Her expression showed that she was clearly worried. "You're obviously not sick and you said got a perfect score on all your recent test and quizzes." Her dark black eyes stared into Kiseki's green ones.

Kiseki sighed as well. "It's about my childhood friend's father from Osaka."

"Oh, right! You used to live in Osaka!" Naomi brightly said, absent-minded that she was. Even though she was the "leader" of the bunch, as well as the most cheerful - her free-spirited personality came along with carelessness and forgetfulness.

Kiseki nodded. "Her father passed away last night."

There was a pregnant pause afterwards as Kiseki sighed and poked her ramen noodles with her chopstick.

"I'm sorry." Aeha timidly responded. As Naomi's younger sister, Aeha was comparably more organized, more artistic and musically-inclined, and less athletic of the two.

Kiseki responded with a meek smile. "It was so sudden." She proceeded to tell them about the phone call last night and their expressions were a mix of sympathetic and shocked. Kiseki sighed, inwardly thinking that the past events were just plain unfair. Shouldn't it be criminals, mad men, killers who deserve death rather than good men with families to live for?

It just wasn't fair.

"Everything happens for a reason." Naomi told her philosophically, earning the attention of the other three who had fell silent after Kiseki ended explaining.

Kiseki raised an eyebrow.

"Y'know - behind every bad, is a good. After the rain is always a rainbow. Right?" Naomi said, sheepishly grinning as Tanaka and Shoko stared at her blankly. Kiseki's eyebrow rose higher. Aeha smiled just as awkwardly as her sister, opening her drawing pad and sketching something.

Tanaka broke the silence by letting out a small chuckle. "Somebody was gonna say that anyways. Might as well let it be Naomi." She grinned back at their proclaimed "leader" who scratched the back of her head in an embarrassed manner.

"You really think so?" Kiseki curiously asked.

Naomi nodded. "When I first moved to Kanagawa, I seriously thought it was the most horrible thing that has ever happened to me. Then I tripped over Shoko's softball mitt and the rest was history." She was answered by laughter as Kiseki chuckled as well.

"Is that seriously how you guys met?" Tanaka asked with a slight hint of disbelief.

Aeha confirmed by nodding and saying, "It's a true story. Naomi-nee-san came home that day saying she made two new friends by tripping over someone's mitt. Everyone didn't believe at her first, then Ranawa and Shoko visited and confirmed it themselves." Afterwards, Aeha continued to sketch silently on her drawing pad.

"Yeah. I made her buy me a new one even though it wasn't even damaged." Shoko sighed and stretched back, remembering past pleasant memories.

Naomi chuckled, her green eyes twinkling. "I thought I was such a big softball hot-shot back then. Then, Shoko here hit a home-run and shattered my self-esteem to pieces."

"You should've seen your face!" Shoko laughed, pointing at Naomi and made an exaggerated jaw-falling face to portray Naomi's reaction.

And for the rest of lunch, Kiseki forgot her worries and her anxiousness and her sadness. Maybe, Naomi was right. She was convinced for a moment that a rainbow will always come after each rain.

"See you tomorrow!" Tanaka, Shoko, Naomi waved Kiseki good-bye as she waved back and opened the front door of her eerily quiet home.

Suddenly, Aeha cried out, "Waitwaitwait!" She opened her school bag and ripped out a piece of a paper from her drawing pad and handed it to Kiseki. Aeha winked and gave her a mischievousness grin. "I hope each time you see this, it'll remind you. Okay?" Aeha told her sempai with a whisper then ran back.

Kiseki looked back at the waving group and looked at the piece of paper resting on her hands. She heard Naomi ask her younger sister, "What was that?" Kiseki didn't hear the answer as she closed her door behind her and made her way into her room.

Her mother had left a note on the coffee table that she was out buying groceries with their youngest while Kiseki's father still had not come home from work. Her younger twin sisters had dance practice right after school, and they would not be coming home until later on in the afternoon. Kiseki's older siblings who attended Rikkaidai High School had a later ending time and so they weren't home either. In other words, everything was like how it always was.

Except back in Osaka, it wasn't.

Kiseki sighed as she opened the door to her room, and left it ajar. She dropped her school bag on her bed and unfolded Aeha's drawing. A grin slowly spread on Kiseki's face as she stared longer at the drawing. With a sudden rush, she changed out of her uniform and dressed herself with a pair of comfortable jeans, a white printed shirt under a warm blue cardigan and her slightly-dirtied white Converse. She grabbed her keys, her phone, and Aeha's drawing and placed them carefully into a small purse.

She quickly scrawled on a note: "Went to the park. Be home at around 4:30. - Kiseki" The park was a few minutes far. It was a noisy place to be on the weekends, but if you knew exactly where to go - there were a few secret spots nobody else knew about.

Kiseki made her way towards her secret place and sighed. It was a small clearing - the trees were in a complete circle. It was far from the main part of the park and she and her friends were certain that they were the only ones who knew about it.

She opened her purse and stared again at Aeha's drawing. It was a less-detailed pencil sketch of the Osaka skyline (how Aeha knew how it looked like was beyond Kiseki) with a flurry of clouds slowly fading away and several brightly-lit stars above the skyline. In an elegant cursive handwriting, Aeha wrote: Without the dark, we would never see the stars.

Kiseki smiled and sighed. How a second year can contain so much wisdom was something she would never able to understand. She took in a breath of air.

Suddenly, she heard the sounds of footsteps making it's way towards her clearing. Kiseki perked her ears, and wondered if any of her friends decided to come to the park too. But who emerged from the trees was definitely not Tanaka, Shoko, Naomi, Aeha, or Ranawa.

He was dressed in the black-and-yellow jersey that the whole of the Japanese tennis populace knew of.

"Shimizu-san." He nodded his head as if they were simply meeting glances at Rikkaidai.

Kiseki let go of the uneasiness and smiled. "Yagyuu-san."

(1) "How are you?"

(2) "Hello."

(3) These our other OC's that, like noted above, currently reside in Osaka. Since the votes are split on Seigaku and Shitenhouji and since I have already introduced two OC's from Seigaku in The Tricks of Life, I used Kiseki's connections whom I have established had also moved from somewhere else before going to Rikkai. If you had been an early reader, you would remember that I had titles and summaries for Fumika and Sachi's stories on my profile. They however, had been removed due to decision changes and editing.

So...I've decided to be a bit more consistent in my updates. Every week, I promise an update for a story of mine. This is probably the longest 2nd chapter for a story I've written. Hahaha. Well, read and review! They make an author very happy.

I love you guys! Stay safe and healthy! And don't forget your New Year Resolutions!(;

Love always,

Radiance Within