I made a poem! lololol. My very first one, too! lol This was originally for this story, but I kinda liked it so I posted it everywhere inc. my profile looooooooool.

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue
Time sure does run fast, and so do you!
And yet here you are, reading my works...,
And for that, I am thoroughly thankful. :D

Special hugs sent, to those wonderful few
Who incessantly let me know their thoughts, say via review
Some may think I'm a review whore, (which I probably am,)
But do understand that, I simply do not wanna guess.

Reviews and critiques, help me improve
Help me make the wrongs right, and maintain what is great
Comments and Randomness, also motivate
Say, they hasten my writing process, and thus quick updates!

Even flames and rants, important to one
For they are full of emotions, most of which my story roused!
There're also the fact, that the senders sacrificed their precious time
To let me know those facts~

And then there are those..., who write in the glorious little box
Just so you know that they are there, supporting you from the back. :)

But nevertheless, time can never be brought back,
So whichever you are, silent or not, from the bottom of my heart,
I thank you for letting my story and I have a slice of your life. ;D

#cheesy. XD

I'm sorry for the epic long update! T_T In any case, I will never ever quit this story (I swear) esp. since I have this inkling feeling it'll reach more than 70 or so chapters. xD Just hope we can get there quick enough. lol

DISCLAIMER: I WISH I own Prince of Tennis


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CHAPTER XXXI: Food For Thought

STUDENT COUNCIL ROOM

Tezuka Kunimitsu went to his office desk after the rain stopped; he decided to polish the paperwork due the next day. He hoped that whatever he would do could take his mind of other things…

But unfortunately, it didn't.

He unconsciously clenched his fist at the recollection of the conversation he had with Fuji no more than an hour prior. Fuji said he already gave her up – but the fact that one of your friends has an everlasting love for your girlfriend wasn't exactly something one would like to maintain.

It was indeed too easy to fall in-love with Reina – and this fact worried him so. He knew Reina would remain loyal to him, as he would to her, but no one really knew for sure what those other men would try to do. A twinge of fear attacked his stomach. And... he ended up not being able to do anything productive the whole time.

He continued to try to calm himself when someone knocked.

"Kunimitsu."

He looked up and stared. It was Reina, smiling worriedly at him."Are you alright?" She asked anxiously while walking closer to him. She stopped right in front of his desk and surveyed all the paperwork."Do you need help?"

"No, it's fine." He looked at her, and there was a glint in her eyes that told him she came to rush him for a reason. "Is there anything you want to say?"

She gulped and scratched her cheek. "Well... Eiji-senpai, Kawamura-senpai, and Momo-senpai asked me to go with them."

"And...?"

"I... told them I'd ask you to come with us. For a breather,"

"And what were their reactions…?" He asked in an almost rhetoric manner.

"Incredulous." She answered bluntly getting him to chuckle lightly.

"See? You can go with them. Just message me when you arrived home."

"But… you should really hang-out with them like this once in a while…"

"I have a lot of work to do." he said dismissively, albeit they both knew he was already faltering.

"That's why I offered to help you." She repeated with stars in her eyes. She was really determined to drag him along. A little push and he would give it up while he still had some composure... so Tezuka sighed.

"Fine."

And with that, Reina beamed. Tezuka felt his chest constrict tightly - as always. He stood up from his chair and bent over to her level with his arms supporting his weight against his desk.

He smiled at the thought of how just the privilege of seeing her smile like this made him feel the most fortunate man alive. He stopped his movement when his face was an inch away from hers, one of his ways of asking her permission. Reina smiled and softly touched his cheeks to gently pull him closer. Their lips touched, and they both smiled.

Yes, he was a very lucky man.

But then, as they parted she looked away-as if recalling something.

"Reina?" he asked and she looked back to him, but a hint of uncharacteristic anxiety that wasn't there before appeared. It made him worry. And what she asked afterwards did not help at all.

"Do you get jealous Tezuka?"

"...that's an odd question." She nodded in agreement, and she unconsciously combed back her hair.

"All my life..., I've encountered people jealous of me. Isn't it because they think I have what they want... or were afraid to lose something to me?"

"Where is this coming from, Reina?"

"I don't get it." she muttered, to no one in particular. "I don't get why I'm jealous of Amou Nami."

"What?"

"See?" She said raising her hand slightly to make her point. "I don't get it either." She continued. "I know I won't lose you, and you know you won't lose me. Yet we still get jealous."

Tezuka smiled at her seriously pondering expression. He had to admit that it was nice to see another side of her, albeit he had to admit it was selfish of him to think so. Besides..., Amou Nami? Last time he recalled, he never showed the aspiring journalist any hint of affection. He just thought of her as an acquaintance so he could easily tolerate her.

Then he blinked. Was he that stoic that he didn't appear to tolerate that many people?

He then smiled and held Reina's cheek and let their eyes meet. "Reina." He paused. "I may not tolerate a lot of people, especially females, but it doesn't mean that when I do I deem them as special, okay?"

"Gomen ne. This sounds so childish."

"You're 12, Reina. Sometimes you forget that." He paused. "Perhaps we're only afraid that we would lose that one fact that we're the only one special in that sense.

"Rest assured that I don't think my heart could take any more than what you already give." She chuckled at that and his eyes softened considerably at the sight. "May I kiss you again?"

She smiled and slightly let her lips part.

"Yes, you may."

Doooooooooon

Eiji and Momoshiro were waiting in the school gates... definitely not expecting to see Ryoma actually with the stoic captain! The resident idiots did more than just widen their eyes. They immediately ran towards them, grabbed Ryoma, and took her a few meters away to whisper vehemently at her sensitive ears.

"S-SUGOI! HOW'D YOU DO IT?!"

"UNBELIEVABLE! Nya~"

Ryoma frowned at the noise and pinched both of them at the same time.

"OWWW! ITEEEE – What was that for?"

"You're too noisy. No need to shout."

"So… how'd you do it?"

"Do what?"

"Convince the captain."

Ryoma instantaneously looked away. "I told him Eiji-senpai would treat everyone." She lied.

Although she no longer cared if they found out about her relationship with the captain, as Inui and Fuji already knew it anyway, she still couldn't really answer 'because we're dating.' Now, could she?

The red-head's eyes widened in despair. "Wha-"

Momo grinned and patted his senpai on the back. "Hihihihi – I didn't think the captain would actually be so stingy…"Of course, Eiji wanted his allowance to survive and thus started a little argument/bargains between the two. Ryoma ignored them and, upon noticing someone missing, started looking around. "Where's Kawamura-senpai?"

"He told us he had something to do…"

"I see…"

"Shall we, then?" Momo stated with a huge grin, and looked away at Eiji's pleading please-help-me stare. "Captain's waiting." He said, and looked at the buchou's direction. Eiji followed his line-of-sigh and then went back to looking at his two kouhai's with a black hole in their stomachs.

One if his eyes twitched in terror of the imminent cremation of his wallet.

"IEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

/Several minutes later/

They arrived in front of Jollibee and they were about to go inside, when Momo let out a surprised 'Eh?' that caught all of their attentions. They followed the line of his ogle and they simultaneously caught glimpse of a very familiar looking back crossing an intersection not too far away.

"Ara…Isn't that Kawamura-senpai?" Momo scratched his head and looked at his companions. Eiji – who was depressed at the time – suddenly lightened up and grinned.

"Ne, ne, nenenenene." He grinned trying to get their attentions. The stoic pair only stared at him, while Momo didn't take long to adopt a similarly mischevious grin. And as if on cue, both of the idiot's heads turned to look at the stoic players, causing them to flinch.

"Buchou." Eiji said.

"Echizen." Momoshiro smirked.

"Wanna do something fun?"


ICEBERG'S

Tezuka Kunimitsu massaged his forehead. For a moment he questioned why he was there in the first place. The other three (yes, even Reina) hid themselves behind a sign as they watched one of their teammates enter a restaurant. He stood several meters away from them under a tree for some shade.

Not a moment later, he saw another one of his teammates inconspicuously approach the three from behind- BAM!- causing them all to flinch and lose their balance. The three were flabbergasted when Inui suddenly arrived behind them.

Tezuka smirked internally at the sight of his girlfriend's surprised expression.

'I suppose things like this would be nice once in a while, after all.'

The group followed Kawamura inside and then placed themselves at a good spot where they could watch him intently wherever he sat. A lot of assumptions floated around but they never would have thought that Kawamura Takashi would be dating a beautiful older woman! They wouldn't be surprised if he dated another man – but an older woman?!

"No waaayyy! Nya~" Eiji mumbled in a mix of shock and envy. Momo had his mouth wide open and Inui was writing vehemently on his notebook. Their two stoic teammates, of course, remained 'looking' stoic. As Tezuka mused before, Ryoma was in a thoroughly good mood.

They watched them talking (although Ryoma was the only one who could actually hear, Eiji's eyesight was the only sense that exceeded hers) with bafflement. The older woman cried and they, save for Ryoma, and Tezuka (who just didn't care), assumed that Kawamura dumped her or something.

Momo gulped."Oh my God…" He muttered before he took another spoonful of dessert. They order a whole bunch of them, and they decided to put them Kawamura's bill. Not that Tezuka ever agreed…

"Tell me about it-"

Ryoma watched her teammates reaction in amusement. She knew that the two were speaking of someone who caused some sort of trouble at Kawamura's school-

Ryoma's eyes widened at a thought. 'Wait. Kawamura-senpai's school?'

But before she could put her suspicions to words, the subject of the conversation and Ryoma's thoughts arrived. He had his eyes focused on the two so fortunately he didn't see her.

"What's wrong, Reina?" Tezuka asked for some reason. The other boys looked at her in concern as well.

"N-Nothing…" she answered before realizing why they looked so worried in the first blinked and forced herself to calm. It was no use.

She was still shaking.

She was shaking like hell.

Tezuka knew his girlfriend well… He knew that she was angry – very angry- and he also saw a tiny spark of fear as well. He did not like seeing her like this – it made him want to hug her to oblivion… and they both knew neither of them are fans of public displays of affection.

"I'm fine." She stated and immediately caught her composure. She let out a huge breath. The others calmed down as well, minus Tezuka. "That's Akutsu Jin, isn't it?" He asked out of nowhere getting her to look at him in surprise.

"Ah."

"Nya~ Who's that?"

"He'd the one who caused Ryoma, Kato, and Arai's injuries." Inui answered. The stoic ones blinked while the other two turned red in anger. Ryoma frowned and pulled the two back to their seats as soon as she saw that they were mad enough to actually stand up and cause a commotion at the other table.

"Sit down, you two!" She ordered silently and then glared at Inui both for his greed for data as well as the fact that he probably 'tortured' one of the other two victims into talking.

"Ii. Data."

"I swear I'm going to burn those notebooks of yours someday-" she threatened only to be cut off- by herself -as she recalled that she swore that quite some time ago yet the notebook on Tezuka was still nicely tucked under her bed.

She blushed lightly. Tezuka and Inui saw this and flinched. Tezuka opened his mouth to talk, only to pause at the sight of the bastard pouring juice to his teammate. "Buchou?" She asked in puzzlement and then turned to his line of sight. She reflexively clenched her fist in recurring anger. And her rage just got stronger and stronger as he walked closer to their direction. After he did the deed, h stood up and left Kawamura and the woman there. He had his eyes closed – trying to appear satisfied of what he just did.

There was though, only one thought in Ryoma's head. No one pours juice over her mild-mannered senpai's head!

So when he went pass her, she immediately stepped on his feet hoping like hell that he would fall down. Sadly, he didn't. He had the cursed reflexes that managed to let him avoid kissing the ground for once. Hence, Ryoma quickly composed herself and stood up haughtily. She reintroduced herself, to restart her image with him.

"Echizen Ryoma, Yoroshiku."

Tezuka shook his head at her actions. Her lack of precaution really worried him. He heard a silent growl from beside him making those worries grow even more.

"Seigaku-" Akutsu gritted his teeth as he abruptly stood straight up in anger. He glared at Ryoma and then took a step closer to her. Tezuka stood up immediately and placed himself between them. Akutsu paused at the sight and grinned sadistically in amusement.

"You seem to have a lot of assholes after you eh, girly?" He said in his trademark pompous tone. They all gaped at him with a mixture of emotions.

Ryoma winced at the fact that he knew she was a girl. 'How did you know? she asked mentally, but her face showed it all the same. Akutsu smirked at her effectively getting her to grit her teeth. Tezuka put his hand on her as to stop her from getting any closer to the psychopath.

"It was so obvious. I knew the first time I saw you." He stated smugly looking alternatively at them.

"What do you mean by 'a lot of men'?" Tezuka asked suspiciously, there should be no way this person would know that – and he felt his stomach curl at the ever growing fear for Reina.

"Find that out yourself, Baka" He laughed evilly and the other Seigaku regulars snapped at the statement.

"TEME-" Momo growled striding to Akutsu when-

"Sir! Please leave." The manager of the office, along with a guard and a number of employees that stood beside him, implored.

They all begrudgingly calmed down except for Akutsu – who was just eager for trouble.

"Go away you shitty ants! Can't you see we're having a conversation?" He told them off haughtily getting the police officer to frown and approach him. Akutsu pushed him away. He was much stronger than the officer. But before it turned into an actual fight the woman Kawamura was with intervened.

"Please forgive my son!" She yelled. "I beg you. He's really troubled, and he has an important match tomorrow – please give him another chance…" She begged getting Akutsu to spit on the floor in annoyance of his mother's demeaning actions. Most of them were still startled at the fact that the sweet young woman was actually the delinquent's mother, but Ryoma's annoyance was so much stronger than shock.

She frowned at the silver-haired prat. "Can't you see you're troubling everyone?! Stop being a such a child and grow up!"

Akutsu's eyes widened for a second but it immediately turned to slits in irritation. "What did you say?"

"JIN!" His mother called but it didn't calm her down. What did stop him is the fact that the regulars made a wall between him and the girl. He smirked in an attempt to remain cool. He was still determined to get back at her, of course.

"Fine. But just so you know, I found out you're from Seigaku because I stole a phone from someone who had hundreds of photos of you."


NEAR THE TEMPLE

TAP

TAP

Tap

Ryoma sighed in an attempt to calm down. Tezuka, Inui, Eiji, Momoshiro, and Kawamura all took her home. She normally wouldn't mind- if only they didn't glare suspiciously everywhere and to anyone as they walked!

"Stop it, senpais. We all know that if I don't sense anything –which I don't – then no one else will."

"But didn't you hear what he just said?! Hundreds of photos of you!" Momoshiro cried. She shook her head in disapproval, convincing herself at the same time as she tried to convince them.

"Senpai, Akutsu Jin's an ass okay? He probably just made it up."

"I see…" Momoshiro muttered in comprehension while Eiji breathed out a sigh of relief completely believing the statement.

Inui and Tezuka, on the other hand, felt otherwise. They walked a few meters behind the younger players to start talking with each other. "She doesn't seem convinced with her own statement." Inui whispered careful enough for her not to hear.

"Neither am I." Tezuka replied and looked around again. Then his glare stopped at the person he was talking to.

"Why are you looking at me like that, Tezuka?" He raised a brow and then added simultaneously at an assumption, "That was not me. I don't have that many pho-"

Tezuka frowned. It seemed that another one of his teammates had developed feelings for his girlfriend. "Inui."

"Gomen." He replied immediately. Tezuka's eyebrows arched. Inui saw this and smirked his trademark smirk. "Don't worry Tezuka. I'm satisfied with just watching her from afar."

"No. I want you to stop looking at her." He stated firmly, but to his surprise Inui chuckled. Inui gaped at him for a second, and then stated:

"You, of all people, should know how difficult that is, yes?"

And Tezuka was speechless; and this gave Inui a lot of things to write about.

ECHIZEN HOUSEHOLD

Echizen Nanjiroh was reading a newspaper that night with his feet above the ground as he waited his precious daughter to arrive. The moment he heard her adorable little voice he jumped out of the couch and gaited towards the door.

"Tadaima" She muttered.

"What took you so long O'chib-" He paused when he saw the plethora of boys behind her. Tezuka was there getting him to grin. They made up. The other boys, though, he disliked (since he didn't know them). He stared at a spiky haired boy with bushy-eyebrows, though. He looks familiar-

"Ah! Momoshiro!" His son grinned from behind him. The other boy beamed. "Ryoga-san!" he yelled and went closer for a high-five.

A nanosecond later though, another spiky haired boy with glasses was right beside them holding a notebook and pen up.

"May I have your autograph?" He asked with his glasses shining crazily. Nanjiroh liked this guy already.

"Nya? Why is Inui asking for their autographs?" Eiji scratched his head in puzzlement. He saw Inui freeze for a second when the odd looking monk appeared and then vanished. Eiji did not know how Inui managed to suddenly appear right beside them. That moment, Eiji doubted that he was the fastest in Seigaku-

"They're famous tennis players, don't you know?" Momo grinned. "This is Echizen Ryoga and his father Samurai Nanjiroh." He introduced proudly but Eiji tilted his head.

'The names sound familiar… but oh well- better get an autograph, anyway!' he mused and then did just that.

"My, MY~ What a lively bunch of boys!" Rinko smiled as she clasped her hands happily. She knew by Reina's expression the previous day that she and Tezuka had already made up, but actually seeing the boy with his daughter again definitely made her day.

"Let's have dinner, then?" She offered effectively getting the boys to liven even more.

"Yatta~!" Momoshiro shamelessly yelled. Eiji was about to join him when he heard a 'Meow.' A cat walked gracefully to the corridor, mewing from time to time. Eiji, mentally, squeaked in delight. 'A Himalayan cat!' The red head ran towards it and the two cats stared at each other for a second- trying to 'analyze' the other. Cats didn't always get along, after all.

But luckily, these two did. Karupin jumped to his arms and Eiji willingly hugged him. "I love you~!" And they swirled around in utter glee.

The others ignored the love-struck kittens and proceeded to the dining room. Kawamura went closer to Rinko and bowed apologetically. "I'm so sorry for imposing on you."

"Mou, no need to be so formal! Any of Reina's friends are welcome here!"

Eiji blinked while he held Karupin. "Nya~ Reina?"

Reina sighed and pointed at herself. "That's my real name."

"OH!" Eiji exclaimed while Momo batted an eyelid. "I didn't know that-"

"Ii. Data." Inui pretended writing since he knows that already... not that anyone was aware, of course. Reina sighed at the excessive reaction and just decided to change the topic. She looked at her mother, "Is it Japanese food?"

Rinko grinned proudly and went to the kitchen, showing up again a minute later with dishes of Japanese cuisine. Everyone's mouths watered.

"Itadakimaaaasu~!"

And boy, were they hungry kids, and Tezuka and Kawamura almost felt embarrassed for their intrusion. But they didn't say anything of course. They would need all the energy they could get for upcoming battles, after all.

.
.

END OF CHAPTER XXXI:

Coming Soon:

CHAPTER XXXII: Battles


REPLIES TO ANGELS

Kiba515-Thank you for the review~! And yes-Fuji is the masochist. xD I had to put it for now, but perhaps he'd get his happy ending?:)

think-pink-jess - Thank you for the review~! And I'm sosososo sorry for the epic long update~! Hope you're still with me. T_T

mysweetcat-Indeed! But I wanted Fuji to have his own happy ending. *wink* that's all I can say as an answer for your questions. :) And lol-Young love, indeed! haha. Thanks for the review~

animelover4ever69- Noted~ (about the chapter title) xD And glad you thought it was amusing and thank you for the review~! :D

Blueberryxn- I'm only fluent in 2 languages. I learned and still learning Otakunese since I was 5. lol. And who knows? Pfft- I'll just be basing her character on the original one from La Corda D' oro. That's all I could say for now. ;) Thx for the comment~

Frostfire613- Yes, yes I did update! AND I'm so sorry I took so long. T_T I just hope this and the future installments would be worth the wait... :(

Shadowhawk- Actually on the contrary, Amou Nami wouldn't be putting too much drama. At least not yet. ;D And gehehehe. Poor Tezuka. Hope I could make it easy on him some how... pftt- And super belated merry xmas and a Happy new year to you too! Thank you for the review. ;D

FranscoiseLaraLapis- First of all, thank you for the review~! And I agree with Fuji. But let's just say him being a masochist would be a prelude to his very own happy ending. *wink*

maichan265- (ch25) lol yeah, I wanted her to suffer from time to time... via cooking? xD And yes! She does watch animes~ I'll show that in the childhoodfriends arc that was supposed to be in chapter 18... I dunno how far forward it'll be put in yet tho. It's out of place atm. xD (ch26) Yes, that chapter marks the start of the angst. It should end with the previous chapter tho. The next chapters should be relatively light. ;) Oh, and thank you for the reviews~!

Natasya Ivashkov- Yes, yes you did review! xD Thank you very much for letting me know you're still reading this. :)

The weasel is MINE XP- Thank you for the review~! And so happy to read I made you flip out. I apologize for the yet another late update, and I'll try to make the waits worth it! :)

Sakuraslayer- Thank you for the review~! And yay! You love Ryoma's *high fives*

AnonIsAwesome- Ludwig's past is, for now, left to your imaginations. xD My fic'll be rated M if I showed it. hahahah. *wink wink* And here's the update! I'll try to do better, btw, and make the waits worth it! Thanks for the review. ;D

Offtotralaland- Lol. Thank you for letting me know you're still reading this! xD *hugs*


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Thank you for reading this far!
Just want to warn you that I highly doubt we're halfway there. xD
But... I would need your help for us to get that far as quickly as possible though!
So, please, please, leave some feedback, ne? :)