Thank you for reading this far! I especially want to thank those who gave me a little more of their time and told me what they thought. :D They truly do help me as a writer, whatever kind of comment they are. :D I hope my chapters get many reviews like that of chap 25 so quickly. It would get anyone so motivated. XD
WARNING: A little dramatic. Sorry. =.=
DISCLAIMER: I WISH I own PoT.
CHAPTER XXVI: Turbulence
SCHOOL GATES, AFTER CLASSES
It was another Friday before the tournaments. Which meant… free day!
Two girls seemed particularly excited about it. And Ryoma was not one of them. She looked at her two companions who were definitely in Lala-land.
"What's with them?" Ryoma asked Kumi as they walked towards the gates.
"Dates." She responded immediately, the two blushed as they heard the word that pulled them out of their trances.
"Kumi-chan!" Kuroro exclaimed embarrassedly.
"What about you, Ryoma-chan? No date today?" Sakuno intervened slyly, Kuroro grinned, and Ryoma blushed. The three girls know of their relationship since there was no actual reason in keeping it from them. In fact, she was willing to tell the other regulars now since the people whom they didn't want to know were unfortunately the first to find out (*cough* Fuji *cough* Inui).
"No." She just replied nonchalantly after composing herself from the unexpected question.
"I suppose so. You were just together last night." She teased making the other three blush furiously.
"You were?!" Kuroro vehemently whispered.
"At my house." She stated making Kuroro gape at her. Ludwig just shook his head.
"Aren't you a bit too young?"
"Why?" She questions not knowing what she's talking about. Kuroro turned into a tomato before stuttering.
"I m-mean a... You know—"
"What?" She asked again. Sakuno tilted her head, not knowing why the girl looked so frantic. Kuroro noticed this and thought that she must have misunderstood.
"What'd you do?" She asked making Ryoma blink at the sudden question.
"They played tennis, Kuroro-san." Sakuno, who just what the girl assumed, giggled.
SOMEWHERE IN TOKYO
The three decided to hang out for a bit because Sakuno's date was delayed to about the same time as Kuroro's.
"Where did he say he was?" Ryoma asked, curious about the text.
"He said he had something to take care of first, he said it won't take long." Sakuno replied, trying to hide the slight disappointment she felt of the delay. The other two girls quickly rummaged their heads for something to distract the brunette. It was Kuroro who recalled that her protegé was telling her something about her racket.
"Ah. Can you take us to that tennis store where you can adjust rackets? Kumi's rackets need it."
And with that, the girls went off to the specialized store.
An hour had passed since they left school and they found themselves right in front of the General hospital. There were a lot of people around, but with Ryoma's eyesight and enhanced senses (especially when it came to Tezuka) there was no problem spotting a few familiar figures.
There they were, Tezuka and Oishi, walking towards to door of the hospital. Ryoma blinked, Tezuka must be going there for a check-up... and she was not planning to miss it.
She looked at her companions and then turned her gaze back at her boyfriend and the fukubuchou. She recalled that she wouldn't be able to visit Seichi the next day due to the tournaments, so might as well go there today. And she would bring everyone with her.
She smiled internally. Surprise visit with surprise guests.
'Seichi will be so stunned.' She mused. Other than she, Keigo, and their families she did not know much about Seichi's other visitors.
"Ryoma-chan?" Kuroro called, noticing her daze. She stared at her and smirked.
"Ah. Mind visiting a friend with me?"
She asked them to sit on the hospital chairs while she checked for something. She knew that Tezuka and Oishi should be at the same room, so she went there. She was about to knock, after fully composing herself to be as stoic as possible just in case, when-
"You had a hard fight, didn't you?" The doctor asked, she could swear he had an eyebrow raised.
"It was uncle, but it didn't take too long. It was only a one-set game… But he used his drop shot…" Oishi added.
"You used the Zero-shiki drop shot?!" The doctor asked semi-fretfully.
"Is my arm alright, sensei?"
"Didn't I tell you never to use it until your arm is fully healed?!" The old man replied, instead.
It was all that she heard. Her hearing stopped afterwards. Seemed like her facade dropped immediately after. She froze at her spot, not knowing what to think.
Trust me, Reina.
Just how many times did he say that? How many times did he lie? She didn't want to know.
But this was the Tezuka Kunimitsu. He would never l-lie to her just for the sake of lying. There was a good reason behind his actions- there always were.
She knew this. No- She understood this.
But that wave of anxiety, disappointment, sadness, and who-knew-what-else came nevertheless. Why couldn't she just calm down and approach him directly, like she normally would?
She was scared.
And with that, she did something she would never have done: She stepped back... and ran away.
"Reina? What's wrong?" Sakuno asked anxiously, while the other two girls stared. Ludwig looked at where she came from and formulated his assumptions. And yes, his six-year-old mind could be quite accurate.
Reina stared at Sakuno. "I have to go... somewhere… Gomen."She managed to utter, masking her shaken state well. "Can you take Ludwig home?"
"Nothing. I just have to go." She stated as she closed her eyes and walked swiftly outside after opening them.
"Reina!" Sakuno called again, only to be ignored. She unconsciously put her hand on her chest.
'What is this bad feeling?'
Tezuka Kunimitsu noticed her presence at the door but decided to shake it off. He thought it was just his imagination, since he always saw her image everywhere he went, hoping that she was actually there. And yet, he did not get why he would hope she was there when all that would be happening was her hearing how many times he lied to her.
So maybe he wasn't imaging things.
And with that thought- his eyes widened.
"Tezuka-kun?" the doctor asked, perplexed at his sudden show of emotions.
"Excuse me for a second." He stated and ran to open the door. No one was there. He sighed. It was supposed to be relief...
But why won't all these anxiety go away?
Echizen Reina walked aimlessly around trying to look for somewhere to be alone.
She was hurt, and not in the same degree as before. She was no longer just disappointed that Tezuka hid important things from her. She was angry at him. He lied to her so straight-forwardly so many times. The type of connection she thought they had was boundless… to the point that they no longer needed to lie anymore.
Was it all in her head?
Was Tezuka telling the truth all those times she thought he had?
She shook her head. She didn't want to think about all of this anymore. But they just kept coming. The more she tried to deny them, the stronger they came.
Damned emotions. And she was sure that emotionally sensitive tendency kids her age naturally got had little to do with it. She was Echizen Ryoma, after all.
It all came down to her feelings for Tezuka. 'Darn it-' she gritted her teeth, effectively making a couple beside her cringe and swiftly walked away. 'If falling in love was this troublesome...'
'She better fall in love once and only once.'
It wasn't much of a problem, though. She couldn't imagine herself liking any other guy that wasn't Tezuka in that way...
Which inevitably went back to the topic of him lying to her dozens of time that day!
She wanted to shout out loud. She seriously did- badly. She didn't care if all these people could see her.
And in fact, she really was about to when–
"Echizen-chan?" A familiar voice called anxiously. It was Fuji. His eyes immediately widened at the sight of her expression.
"W-What happened?" He asked. She didn't answer and just tilted her head and hat downwards in an attempt to hide her face. Fuji did not know what happened, but he could certainly induce who caused it. He tried to contain his anger and decided to try to make her feel better.
A moment of silence passed and Echizen, for the first time, truly felt awkward inside it. It was broken when Fuji held her head.
"Saa…Echizen," He smiled. "Shall I treat you to an all-you-can-eat dessert shop?"
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Tezuka could no longer hide all the nervousness he was feeling when he saw Ludwig right outside of the hospital.
"Ara? What are you guys doing here?" Oishi asked his girlfriend who was looking alternatively at Ludwig and the captain.
"Ryoma took us here… but when she went to check somewhere she suddenly said she had something else to do and walked away." Sakuno stated worriedly. Tezuka went stiff and Ludwig's eyes twitched.
"She hates you now, you know." Ludwig said out-of-nowhere. Tezuka was now stiffer than the electric phone beside them.
"Where did she go?" He asked the boy agitatedly surprising everyone around. The boy's façade did not change.
"Knowing her? I have no idea."
Fuji and Ryoma were walking casually to the temple after eating those huge servings of ice cream and fruits. They were having a relatively relaxing chat when she suddenly froze when she was looking at him. She looked shocked and scared, for reasons he was eager to know.
He touched his face to see if there was anything in it, but to his surprise, Ryoma mechanically turned to where they came from and walked back. He was about to follow her when he felt a quick figure go past him.
It was their Captain. He ran to her and hugged Reina from the back as soon as he could reach her.
Fuji felt anger surge through him. Reina could feel that Tezuka was there even without looking. They were linked so deeply already… so how dare he hurt her?
His mind went blank.
And he pushed Tezuka away.
She didn't know how to react. Tezuka had lost his balance when Fuji pushed him and was now on the floor, while Fuji looked so angry and in a position to fight.
"W-What are you doing, Fuji-senpai!?" She yelled as soon as she caught herself, only to be ignored. The tensai looked seriously at Tezuka and muttered,
"Remember what I told you right here, on the same place, all those weeks ago?" He asked just before turning to her direction, making Tezuka's eye widen in fear. Reina flinched at the sight of Tezuka's panicking state. She saw that he immediately stood up, but he was too late.
The next thing they knew, Fuji already locked lips with her.
Everything happened too quickly.
Reina was shocked, and that was a huge understatement. She could not move for an instant but immediately pushed him away as soon as she could. Fuji showed his cerulean eyes and looked straight at her golden ones.
"I said I'm your friend, Reina. But I never denied I had feelings for you." He stated making her freeze all over again.
She had been hurting Fuji all this time? A huge lump on her chest appeared, and then she involuntarily looked at her boyfriend pain-stricken face.
That sight pushed her beyond her borders.
She felt confusion, sadness, self-hate, and pain -to herself- all at the same time. The cool façade she developed all but disappeared. She could no longer control herself.
First she ran away, and now... what?
Just how weak was she becoming?
And yet, despite knowing this... her body had a will of its own.
Tezuka and Fuji never saw this coming. Not only could they not imagine that she could cry, but the effect of its sight to their sanity was so much more than they could have imagined. Neither of them could move. Incessant tears, that she was so desperately trying to stop, kept coming out from her beautiful eyes.
"Reina…" Fuji managed to utter. Reina couldn't stop. She did not want anyone to see her like this. She exhaled deeply in an attempt to calm herself down.
"I want to be alone. Please leave." She squeaked at the two of them as she tried to wipe her eyes which were still flooding. Tezuka gestured to touch her but she slapped his hand away. That gesture made him want to cry with her. Reina saw his expression and was going to apologize when she felt a new wave of tears lining up.
She instinctively sprinted back home, leaving two utterly desolated boys behind.
Reina stood in front of their house for a while as she tried to erase any traces of her crying.
She breathed deeply and opened the door only to find the she was not going to be left alone, after all.
"Oi, Commoner! What's took you so long!? Ore-sama got tired of waiting!" A familiar voice shouted as it heard hers. She frowned; she was not in the mood to speak with anyone. The boy stared at her the moment he saw her and she reflexively gave him her strongest glare.
And thus, Atobe Keigo became a statue more beautiful than David himself.
"What happened to him?" Ryoga asked his mother who seemed to have witnessed the whole thing. He was eyeing Keigo's frozen figure.
"First time Reina glared at him like that." She responded as-a-matter-of-factly. Ryoga sighed in sympathy and patted him in the back, getting him to flinch.
"I-I think she was c-crying…" he muttered, partly thankful that he wasn't there when she was sobbing.
"I know. She hid it well, though…" Rinko whispered. Ryoga's eye widened.
"W-WHAT?! WH-" Ryoga's yelling spree was stopped by her mother silencing him. She sighed, but at least her husband wasn't here.
"I don't think she'd want to talk to anyone right now. It's best to leave her alone. So be quiet." Rinko stated authoritavely at the two boys who reluctantly agreed. Rinko looked at Keigo to see if he was going home since he wouldn't be able to speak with her now, anyway.
"Can I stay…? I can't go home without knowing what's troubling her." He asked her anxiously. He was too worried to be his usual haughty self. Rinko nodded.
A few hours passed and still no sign of Reina wanting to get out of her room. Rinko stared at the stairs worriedly.
"She needs to eat."
Keigo followed her line of sight. "Can I bring her dinner to her room?"
Rinko raised a brow. "You want to talk to her?" She asked sceptically, she could never imagine the two arrogant children having a heart-to-heart. Keigo knew this, of course, but he did not falter.
"I want to try."
Rinko blinked at his seriousness and sighed. "Very well. Just don't confuse her by confessing you feelings or something."
His face turned crimson. Rinko gasped.
"OI! You can't do that, Keigo."
"Why not?! I can wait for her to develop feelings for me. Or is it that you don't want Ore-sama for your daughter?'
"It's not that- It's because… she's already in love with someone else." She muttered and peeked at his reaction. His eyes widened. He assumed as much, but actually hearing its truth head-on gave him much more pain than he imagined. He breathed deeply, there was a limit on how much he could show.
"…It's Tezuka, isn't it?" He mumbled without moving. Rinko winced.
"You sound as if you know him."
"I do. He's my greatest rival in tennis." He smiled satirically at himself. "Guess not only there, then."
"Keigo-" She called, not wanting him to tell her his feelings.
"Don't worry, Rinko-san. I won't burden her with my feelings, not when she's like this." He huffed and Rinko gratifyingly patted his head.
Keigo put her tray on her table as he watched her blanketed figure lie unmoving on her bed. Karupin lay with her unmoving himself. The cat turned at the sound of his entering. He expected the cat to hiss at him, but to his surprise it just stared.
Karupin and he never got along. Sure, he was the one who started their little feud but like hell he'd admit that.
He shifted his gaze back to the girl.
"Reina? Dinner's ready." He said serenely without looking away. She stirred by a bit but didn't move any further. He sighed and sat on her bedside. He felt her under the blanket and found out that she was unmoving.
"Are you still alive?" he asked, masking his worry quite well. Again, she did not say anything. "Oi. Commoner. I'll take those mangas out of this room if you don't answer me."
"Leave me alone, Monkey King." She said coldly, still under the protection of her blanket. There was a shakiness in her voice that disconcerted him so much that he wanted to just pull that blasted blanket out of the way.
"OI. Are you crying?" He asked trying to sound sarcastic and Reina flinched, quickly turning to him.
"As if." She said. And his eyes widened at the sigh. It was true that there were no tears- but she was definitely crying.
She frowned at him. "What's with that idiotic look full of pity? It's annoying."
"Oh, you're crying alright."
"I am not!"
"Must be because of a guy. Pfft- who would've thought you could be so sappy." He was planning on annoying her, really. Making her forget her problems by bantering with him. So he was surprised when had ran out of insults so quickly.
She was just staring at him- looking quite... pained.
'Kami. What had I done for you take present me such temptations?' He wasn't even allowed to confess to her, now he was trying his best not to embrace her right then and there.
He needed to be as haughty as possible. Otherwise he would get all sappy.
"Ora? You're offended by Ore-sama's words? You must like me a lot." Ouch.
"Urusai. I-" She paused. She really had no insults lined-up anymore, huh? His eyes narrowed when she looked away.
"Why do people like each other in a romantic way, anyway?"
"Well, duh, otherwise our specie would cease to exist."
She glared at him for looking at her like she was stupid. Well, her question wasn't exactly the smart now was it? "I mean with me."
"Why would anyone fall in love with me?" She was saying these things as if she was throwing them now. Like everything was directed at her and all those invisible forces in the universe who seemed to have a knack on making her life complicated.
And yes, she was ranting. Stimulated by no other than his provocations.
"D-Did I do anything to make them like me like that?" She finally paused, not looking at Atobe. "I'm not even supposed to be likable- damn it."
Atobe did not move nor utter a word.
It was then that she suddenly slowed down, slowly showing that she knew he was there after all.
"I just wanted to be friends… I just needed one person to think of me that way… but I didn't want to impose on him either… A-Am I doing anyth-ing wrong?"
'No, Reina. You're just being yourself.' He replied with his mind, but he couldn't tell that to her knowing how she'd react. She'd wear her stoic façade tighter than ever.
"It's not your fault, Reina. It's theirs for being so weak-hearted." He just replied. Reina looked at him incredulously, not knowing what to feel about his statement. Keigo suddenly felt his heart ache like hell at what he was about to say.
"Ore-sama would never fall for you. So you better eat." He stated, as if the two statements followed each other. But she nodded in agreement, stared at the food, and went to eat it anyway.
He took her tray after eating. He told her to get ready for bed while he took the apparatus downstairs. She followed lazily and said her thanks. Keigo smiled as haughtily as he could.
"Of course! Ore-sama is such a great person, no?"
Reina chuckled making his chest explode.
"That was a pretty martyr move of yours, Keigo." Rinko commented, she was outside her daughter's room the whole time. The boy just smiled sorrowfully at his godmother.
"Anything for her."
After a few minutes he went back to the outside of her room and knocked.
"Come in." She said and he did so. She was already lying on her bed, ready to sleep. She smiled at him.
"Going to see me to sleep, Monkey King?" She muttered lazily. He smirked.
"Ore-sama is curious how commoners sleep."
"This is the first time, huh?" She asked him, and he nodded. When they were children someone always watched her sleep. Seichi, Ryoga, or one of her parents… but never Keigo.
He pulled a chair near her bed and sat there. She turned to face him and grinned.
"Oyasumi, Monkey King."
"Oyasumi, annoying commoner."
END OF CHAPTER XXVI
CHAPTER XXVII: Reconciliations
REPLIES TO ANGELS
hprareslashfan- lol. Well, some of your guesses with the title is correct. XD Good work! haha. And thanks for the review~
Lady Syndra- Hehe. Although it was on Oishi's eyes. i kinda imagined him still being preserved when saying those words. haha. Thx for the comment!
think-pink-jess - Banzaii! Hehehee. I'm glad and thanks for the comment~! XDD
Blueberryxn- Thanks for the review~! And I do hope this chapter wasn't too.. dramatic. Do warn me, though! haha
Frostfire613- lol. And we go back to why the PILLAR PAIR RULES. XDD And thanks. Tezuka wasn't really 'showing' that he was flirting. Oishi was being the sensitive mother hen. Ahaha. Thanks for the review~
animelover4ever69- Mah, don't be too harsh on the monkey king. XD And yes, he probably will. Hehe. Thx for the comment!
MintLeafeon- Madness, indeed! Hahaha. And who knows how they'll react. XD I can tell you it wouldn't be that much of an issue though. lol. Thanks for the review~
mysweetcat- It...is? *Blushes* And I'm glad that you thought so, too! hehehe. And here's the next chap barely a week after the last one. Haha. And thank you for the review~! ^^
DawnStarLight- Ha. Ha. HA! He did, didn't he? XDDDD Thanks for the comment~
Kaluin- Yay for Sakuno! haha. And naaw, those two finding out about the pillar pair wouldn't be much of an issue. And Atobe was more sensitive since Yukimura's still busy recovering. And you're right! the personality thing is one of my biggest problems. XD I usually use Reina when she's dressed like Reina or when she was cross-dressing but went all fluttery like a girl. The latter's pretty rare though. I hope. haha. And finally- Thank you for the review~! I'm happy that you thought so. :D
FrancoiseLaraLapis- Yep. I needed a little conflict and drama for a change and it was the best I could come up with. Haha. Thanks for the comment~!
rfijblue- hehehe. Atobe's so cute, ne? And I will not say anything about Food and Tezuka. Fufufu~ XDD Thank you for the review! C:)
Shadowhawk- Oh yeah! I saw the screenshot of that. (haven't watched the new series yet) I was blushing the whole time. XD And no, don't worry. Atobe will be a nice guy. Relatively. Hahahaa. Thanks for the review~
Clarice- lol. I agree! haha. But I actually imagine her more her age when she does that. XD Thanks for the comment. (:D
Natasya Ivashkov- Aw. Why am I feeling you said that by experience? ;D Thanks for the comment! I'll try and send it to Atobe. Hehe
Big Sis of 8- Here it is~! hehe. A week since the last one, ne? *so proud* Hope it still made your day despite the drama. XD Ah. Thax for the comment, btw. ^^
hinataechizen18- Hehe. Voila! The next chap is here. ^^ Hope it wasn't disappointing and Thanks for the review~! XD
Thank you for your time. :D
Ano... I have to say that the nicest thing you can do for me is tell me what you thought! haha. So feedback will be deeply appreciated. Checking those nice little check boxes would be awesome, too! Thanks in advanced~ XD