Summary: Who ever knew that one moment, everything could be so right, and then in a matter of seconds, your world could turn upside down. Deathfic.

SkyGem: Okay, so I was writing the next chapter of While I Slept, when I suddenly had this idea. So, I've abandoned that (for the moment, don't freak out, the next chapter will be out tomorrow) and written this really depressing one-shot. Tell me what you thought, ne?

Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis.

It all happened in a matter of seconds. Time seemed to stop for me, and all I could remember were unmoving scenes.

First was me, laughing and having fun with my friends and family.

Next was a little boy, about to be crushed by a truck.

After that, was an explosion of red, searing pain as I pushed the child out of the way.

Then, was my mother, her face contorted so it was barely recognizable.

Finally, there was sweet, sweet nothingness.

I look at the picture of the young man who had saved my son and the tears spilled onto my cheeks. He had sparkling amber eyes, and messy emerald hair. He had a confident smirk on his face and I could tell he was kind and caring, why else would my little Shouta and I be here today, while he lay in that cold, cold box?

What kills me the most is that he was only 12. Only 6 years older than my own son. He was too young to die. He had his whole life ahead of him; the same life that had been snatched away by one drunk driver. I feel such heartrending grief for this boy I had never before met.

Putting my hands together, I pray for his soul, thanking him for giving up his life so that my son could keep his.

"Mommy?" I hear a voice say, and look down at Shouta.

"Yes, honey?" I ask.

"Why is onii-san in that box? Is he sleeping?"

I feel the tears come to my eyes again, and try my best to keep them at bay. "Yes," I say quietly. "Onii-san is asleep now."

Smiling, he says in a bright voice, "Then we'll come back later when he wakes up, to thank him properly!"

This time, I'm unable to keep the tears away. Hugging my son, I say to him, "That's not possibly, Shouta, honey. Onii-san is never going to wake up again."

At that moment, the door is opened as more mourners come in and I get up to make way for them.

Taking a look at the newcomers, I'm shocked to see that they're the same boys in so many of the pictures posted around the living room that we are currently in. Only they look completely different. All eight of them have tear-stained faces that are so at contrast to the happiness shown in the pictures, that they seem like completely different people.

One of them, a brunette, notices us and comes up to us.

Bending down, he looks at Shouta and asks, "You're the one that Ryoma-kun saved, aren't you?" As Shouta nods, the young man ruffles his hair in a friendly way and says to him, "Well then, you better live your life well, or our chibi will be sad."

When he finishes speaking, he gets up, bows once in my direction, and rushes over to join his friends, a pain filled smile spread across his cheeks.

On my way out, I go to the parents of the deceased and convey my condolences. His mother, her state is terrible. Even though she's dressed immaculately and every hair is in place, her eyes are so empty, as if she's lost the will to live. The father is no better. His eyes are red from crying, and he looks a much older man than he is.

The thought that I'm the person that did this to them is unbearable. If only I'd been paying closer attention to my son.

I don't know how long I stare at the picture of my ochibi-chan. It's probably only a few minutes, but for me, those minutes stretch into hours.

My mouth stretches into an empty smile, and I say in a hysteric voice, "Ochibi-chan, it's time to get up. You can't stay asleep forever."

"Eiji," says Oishi from behind me, but I ignore him.

"Come on, ochibi-chan! You're going to be late for tennis practise! You don't want to run laps, do you?"

"Eiji!" shouts Oishi, grabbing my arm and pulling me into an embrace. "Ryoma-kun is gone."

I try not to listen to him, but I can't fool myself any longer. My ochibi-chan is never coming back.

Collapsing into my partner's arms, I cry hysterically, not able to control myself any longer.

"Why?" I sob into Oishi's chest. "Why did you have to leave us, ochibi-chan?"

As I hold the crying Eiji in my arms, I can't help but add my tears to his.

Ryoma, he was the baby of our team, and yet, he was also our inspiration. He was what everyone strived to be, and now he is gone.

He was the pillar that kept us standing, and now that that pillar is gone, the team has started to crumble. Already, we are all feeling the hole created by our missing chibi, and what a big hole that is.

That day, Ryoma wasn't the only one that died, the rest of us all died with him.

My mind is in turmoil, I can't think straight.

Ever since I was little, I've been a shy kid, not having many friends. These past few years have been some of the best of my life, and I owe it all to the regulars at Seigaku.

Once upon a time, I thought of April as the month when my life truly began. From this year on, it will become the month that everything came to an end. Because now and until the end of time, our family of nine will forever be incomplete, unless we are reunited with our pillar again.

While my team mates cry, my eyes are dry.

I'm supposed to be the rational one. I'm supposed to be the analyzer, who observes emotionlessly, never letting his own feelings interfere. I'm supposed to have all the answers.

So why is it, that with the death of one of my "subjects," I throw all my information away? Why is it that I feel like all the intelligence in the world is useless, if I can't stop just one person from dying? Why am I so reluctant to turn the page on this particular piece of data?

All these questions are running amok in my mind; so many questions without answers. But there's one question, above all, which particularly confounds me.

Why can't I stop crying?

I let out a small hiss of frustration.

They call me the viper. Isn't that supposed to mean that I'm vicious, and attack without feeling? That I slowly poison my prey so they die slow, painful death?

So why? Why does the death of one of my victims leave me so helplessly lost?

Why does it feel as if my fangs have been broken and my poison is rendered harmless?

The smile I always wear is still on my face, but now it's empty.

It once was a symbol of happiness; to show that I was content with my life. Now it is merely a painful reminder of what once was.

But why won't it disappear? Even as I feel my eyes well up with hot tears, burning beneath my eyelids, still, my mouth won't turn down.

Is it because I want to seem strong? Is it because I want to convince Ryoma, wherever he is, that everything is all right?

Then I must be failing pretty badly, if the tears streaming down my cheeks are any indication. I want to be the support for everyone in our time of need, and yet it turns out, I am the one who needs most to be supported.

As the tears fall down my face like rain, I don't think the sun will ever shine again.

I, who supposedly never shows any emotion, feel like breaking down and crying like a baby. And yet, I know I can't do that.

Now that Ryoma is gone, I'm the only pillar supporting our team. If I break down too, what will happen to everyone else?

I know that Syuusuke is trying to be strong, but he's the one that needs support the most.

I feel like I want to be disappointed in Ryoma, for leaving so long before his role was done.

But I'm more disappointed in myself, for not being able to do anything without him here.

Since when have I been so weak, that tears could overpower me so?

You were my best friend, did you know that? So why did you have to betray me in the most painful way possible?

You promised we'd go out for burgers tomorrow. But silly you, didn't you know the dead can't eat?

You promised we'd go to the movies after we won the nationals. Did you forget that the dead can't see?

You promised we'd go to Seishun high together. Didn't anybody tell you the dead don't grow?

You never struck me as the type of person to break a promise, but I'm not one to talk.

I promised myself I'd never let you see me cry, but what am I doing right now? Looks like we're both guilty now.

After all, best friends do everything together, right?

But I guess that's not possible anymore.

Because hasn't anyone ever told you the dead don't live?

SkyGem: So, what did you think? Sad? Depressing? Please leave a review and tell me what you thought! Ahaha, this is actually a kind of replacement for Gone, which was supposed to be a one-shot. I didn't like the thought of everyone being so sad, but sometimes, you just need a good cry, so I decided to do a proper deathfic. Please leave a review and tell me what you thought, hm?