Thank you for waiting everyone~! I hope you enjoy this pillar pair-filled chapter, and please do not hesitate to leave some feedback! I appreciate every one and see them all as huge motivators. :)

DISCLAIMER: I WISH I own Prince of Tennis


...


CHAPTER XLI: Sun

SEIGAKU TENNIS CLUB

It was early Monday morning and everyone could not wait to train. Especially Reina, since she knew Tezuka would finally join them that day. And yet she can feel a bad omen, which she could easily shoo away.

She stole glances of him as he gave advice to regulars and non-regulars alike, causing her a few points from Momo. Ungrateful bastard, she mused grimly. After all that she had been through because of that little favour of his!

Grrrr….

No. She had to calm down. Calm down. She told herself she would forget what happened so Kunimitsu would have no idea someone—GAHHHHHHH!

"O-OI, WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT!?" Momo yelled at the extremely strong shot she had placed on his court. Eiji clapped.

"Yeiy~ O'chibi's all hyped up! My turn—Kikumaru BEAAAMM~!"

She ignored them, and just (calmly) continued her game.

Tezuka Kunimitsu was called to the faculty room right after morning practice. He didn't know what it was, but it certainly sounded urgent.

"Hai, Sensei?" He asked after sliding the door, and immediately felt a little worried at her expression. She handed over to him an envelope with German writing in it. He saw the picture and knew what it meant immediately. The coach started talking but with the state of mind he was suddenly in… he could only hear the last words.

"…are you going to take the offer?"

"Hai." He answered immediately obviously catching the coach in shock. He did, too, for he wasn't thinking. But Tezuka being Tezuka, he did not flinch a millimetre. He let his mind run several kilometres per hour and concluded that what he said was, in fact, the most reasonable answer.

At the state that he was, he might not only burden his team in the long run but worsen his arm condition as well. He would not want to see Reina making so much worried expressions again. She should be smiling at him, not thinking about his welfare. His parents too, were worried if his injury would lead to even more serious damage… that it would really start to affect his other activities.

"It's going to be long…" The coach uttered sounding incredulous at his quick decision.

"I know, sensei." He said stoically, but internally he was having some sort of war. There wasn't supposed to be any problems. He should be 100% voting for this idea. So why was he so reluctant about this…?

It could only be one thing: Reina.

Reina was his sun. He didn't know how he'd be able to deal with an environment without her. How was he going to tell her this?

And just how is he going to be able to leave her with so many men after her?

Tezuka felt a strong headache coming. But he did not massage his head…

He clenched his chest.

It was after school when Oishi suddenly invited them all out. Fortunately, Tezuka didn't have a lot of work in the council so he finished his workload quickly. Oishi said they would meet at the central park's hob late at night, which rose innocent suspicions but they all knew everyone's going to come so none cared.

Earlier that day, they were allowed to go whenever they want to and that they did. Kawamura asked Inui, Tezuka, and Oishi to taste his sushi but Momoshiro butted in. Reina, on the other hand, said she was going to take the kids somewhere and they would just go back to the sushi house after an hour or two and Tezuka just reluctantly agreed.

Tezuka knew Reina could sense his troubles and she wanted to help him, but she also knew he did not want his teammates to see him at his weak state… and so there they were pushing themselves back. They nodded at each other slightly.

They were going to talk later.

Reina stood at the side and showed the kids where the tennis section was. Reina wanted to buy the kids their own rackets. It was about time, after all, and she bought them wholes sets. Of course, the others paid but Hona had an important exam the next day so she could not come with her. At least she knew where Kaidoh probably was…

As she waited for them to choose, her mind wandered on its own. What was that extremely dejected look on Kunimitsu's face, anyway? She frowned, she really wanted to know as soon as possible.

"Done!" Kumi exclaimed, grinning. Reina was caught by surprise, but she didn't show it. It seemed that she was in a daze the whole time they were shopping. Soon enough, the two boys followed. A minute later she realized that she still wasn't in a proper state of mind…

"Are you alright, Reina-neesama?" Kumi asked adorably as she gently pulled down her shirt to catch her and the other two's attention. Reina patted her head and smiled at them reassuringly.

"Of course I am."

Oishi could definitely sense something's bothering the captain but he couldn't quite voice it out. Him being paranoid was always a possibility… Maybe he'd leave this with Reina—

"Oishi." He finally called as soon as they were alone.

"Tezuka?"

"Can you please take Kumi and Micheal home?" He said in his characteristically monotonous voice. Oishi heard this of course, but odd enough he could also hear something else. Him saying: 'I need Reina as soon as possible.'

He smiled in understanding. "Of course."

Tezuka nodded in apology, and bid his farewell. "Thank you."

ECHIZEN RESIDENCE

Tezuka and Reina sat at the bell hut where he and her father drank tea peacefully all that time before… She let her legs swing passively as she waited for Tezuka to speak. "Reina." He called and she nodded, waiting. But like her, Tezuka had no idea how to sugar-coat. And so, he went straight to the point.

"I was offered to go to a rehabilitation center in Germany. I will leave this weekend." He said as stared at her, alert at whatever reaction she may give. Reina did not look back. She just stared passively at the starts instead.

"That's good…" She finally said after a few moments of silence. "What did you say?"

"I agreed."

"Ehh… How long?" She said nonchalantly, still looking at the sky.

"The coach said… we will know once I get there."

"I see… then you better explore the tennis there, too." She muttered and, as if her legs had been tired of swinging, she bent her knees and let her arms rest on it.

"I plan to." He responded as coherently as he could.

"Enjoy your stay there…"

"…I will…"

"Good."

He sighed. "But you don't seem like you agree."

"Neither do you…" She spat back and looked back at the ground. "Nobody wants you gone, Mitsu."

"Not even opponent teams?"

"I can't imagine how they would."

He chuckled and placed his hand at the back of her head. She rested her chin on her legs. Tezuka sighed.

"You still have no idea how people really think do you? How odd you are Reina." He said, and she tilted her head downward… as if to hide her face—for no reason, duh.

"How rude."

He just smiled and let out a deep breath before standing up. Reina, at the time, had no strength or will power to react, so she was surprised when she found out that Tezuka had already sat behind her.

"Eh?" She voiced out, reflexively stretching her legs out slightly and turned around. But she reacted at tad too late, Tezuka had his arms wrapped tightly around her stomach and his head resting on her head. Her wide eyes immediately softened as soon as she felt his breath.

"Mitsu…" was all she could utter and she just smiled when he lifted his head and kissed the side of her face gently. She rested the back of her neck on his shoulders and touched his arms as if she hadn't touched them in years. He slightly tightened his embrace in response. Both of them had a lack of words to say, and yet both of them knew exactly what they were and what they really mean.

Eventually, Tezuka found the strength to speak, after a long time of being still. "Don't let your guard down."

"Yeah." She laughed. "I'll miss you, too."

Later that night, the team congregated at the specified place, and they (eventually) realized that none of them knew where they were going.

Well, maybe the kids do… but Oishi and Eiji was still away in an attempt to drag the boys out. Hona was there with them sitting shyly beside Kaidoh, while Kumi was talking with Kawamura and Inui. So that means the doubles pair, the boys, Echizen, and Tezuka were the latecomers.

Not too soon though, their captain and a familiar looking petite girl were holding his hand. They looked conservative and sweet at the same time. Most of them had to take several moments to actually absorb whatever blasphemy they were seeing. Only Fuji and Inui was calm—well, you know, somewhat.

Okay. Only Hona was genuinely calm.

Everyone else paled.

...

Reina was actually wearing her wig off and wearing relatively neutral clothing so at the moment she was just extremely annoyed with their reaction. She didn't even notice that they had arrived until they shouted, and a huge part of her wished that they didn't pull her out…

Darn it—

Wait a minute. So they saw her looking all mushy with Tezuka?

How embarrass—No It wasn't. She didn't really care. They did this so that they can maximize the time they have left so to hell with foresight. She'll just have to be better at ignoring freakishly prying questions.

Thankfully, everyone was too shocked to react…

For now, anyway.

.

((10 minutes later))

Oishi, Micheal, Eiji, and a very pissed off Ludwig arrived. Eiji of course, was as energetic as always.

"We're complete now, Yatt—Ara?" Eiji yelled before teleporting next to Reina. "Who are you?

"Why do you look like O'chibi?

"You're small, too…"

Twitch

"Uwaa~ You look very pretty in girls cloth—"

"A-Ara? Why are you holding Buchou's ha—"

And eventually, after a moment of silence and everyone pretty much staring at him like he just agitated a lion (which he did), Eiji finally absorbed the situation and his eyes widened immediately.

"EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHH?!"

….

After a very tedious walk – because of all the bloody questions – they had finally arrived at the top.

Well, no, apparently not... they only arrived at a misleadingly flat area. They still had a few kilometers left. And so, unfortunately, the questions continued.

"How long?!" Momo asked in skepticism making Reina want to punch him.

"I thought you were with Fuji…" Kawamura whispered noticing a little too late that he asked that out loud. He blushed. Fuji took it like a man though. Sort of. The resident sadist smiled. "Yeah, I thought so too…"

"FUJI!"

"Fuji-senpai!"

"Ii. Data."

Reina just held Tezuka's hand tighter and he smiled encouragingly at her. This was going to be a long trip… But at least they were together.

"Saa… They're probably thinking of something cheesy like 'at least we're together' or something…"

Silence

"Che." Reina muttered, breaking the awkward silence. For an instant there, everyone feared for Fuji's life.

"You'll find a girl for you someday, Fuji." Tezuka replied, wearing an unfathomable expression. But coming from him, it should really sound encouraging… And for a moment it did. If only Fuji didn't know better….

An instantaneous dark aura surrounded Fuji, but it immediately disappeared. He just smiled at Tezuka, creeping everybody out.

"I sure do hope so, Buchou."

And not too long after that uncomfortable scene, they finally reached the top. The clouds initially looked like they had no plans on leaving, but then they eventually did… revealing an incredibly beautiful view of their city.

They all admired it and, for some reason, or perhaps by some superstition, some even made wishes. Oishi, with eyes gleaming with fire, smiled brightly at the new-born sun. "Aim for the nationals!" He yelled from the top of his lungs, and everyone grinned in response.

"YEAH!"

The sun: the symbol for rebirth, power, and destruction—and Life itself.

The team let themselves indulge in its warm light for a while, and the couple soon found themselves at the back of the group. Reina strengthened her hold to catch his attention. He looked at him and tilted her head towards the team as if to say, 'Don't you think it's about to tell them?'

However, he shook his head in response. He was not ready yet – for the next time he was going to state his leave, he was doing so as their captain… definitely not as her lover. The way he was now, he feared he would not be as coherent as he could. He could not leave his team like that…

Fuji on the other hand, had been staring at them the whole time. They were too busy in their own world to notice his eyes. Don't get him wrong – he could see that they were happy, and he was happy for them… but looking at Tezuka and how he reacted to him earlier…

He was certain he was planning something selfish. But he could only sigh at the mystery of it all..., and he could only hope he wouldn't be too... hurt (perhaps?) with whatever the Captain's request would be.

SEIGAKU MIDDLE SCHOOL

The next day, she felt groggy. What would you expect? They didn't sleep… It seemed that Oishi asked the Coach to cancel practice that morning so she guessed it was fine. It was an impractical idea, especially for Oishi, but in the end it was definitely worth it. So Reina slept rather peacefully on the tutor room's couch… using Kuroro's lap as pillow. And the said girl only looked down at her with a mix of worry. Should she be sleeping anywhere?

"Ano…"

Oishi, who was also in the room, smiled apologetically at Hona, before looking at the slumbering Ryoma. "I'm sorry about this."

She shook her head immediately and smiled. "It's fine Oishi-senpai. I know all of us had fun."

He nodded and looked at the glass of the door separating them from their students. "I guess I was too eager to see everyone having fun together again…"He said before letting out a deep breath. Hona tilted her head at the sudden change in expression in the fukubuchou's face.

"I just can't shake the feeling off that I had to."

Later that day lunch time, after some torturous hours of looking at the clock, finally arrived. However the bell had just rang, so it was still too early for everyone to be in their respective lunch time positions. Most of them were still in the line for their food. There were only two people in the rooftop at that time of day, and the atmosphere was certainly not light as that of the cafeteria's.

Fuji Syusuke was literally staring at Tezuka befuddled by what he had just said. He thought he was hearing things and he was surprised—No, scratch that. He had been expecting something like this. "Pardon?" was all he could utter to their captain. They were alone in the rooftop at the moment, but not for long… so Tezuka was even more to-the-point than usual. Heh, he mused, who would have thought that it was possible...?

The captain just basically said to him—a friend, a teammate, and a rival—that he was going to Germany to get his arms healed. And as if that wasn't shocking enough, he had just asked him to take care of Reina.

If only the last sentence sounded a little differently maybe he wouldn't be so irritated.

"Like I said, I want you to take care of Reina."

"In the sense that I can ha—"

"No. In a sense that you will guard her from other perspective men."

"You talk as if I'm not one of them." Fuji added, but he ended up frowning further. "Are you that certain she won't fall for me?"

"I trust her. And I trust you. But there are a lot of men that are interested about her, that I definitely feel otherwise."

Fuji scoffed. "Saa… you are much more selfish than I could've imagined, Tezuka."

"…I am. And I apologize."

Fuji didn't say anything and just turned around. But then he started wondering, just what did he mean that he felt 'otherwise'? Did he mean in the sense that he did not trust them but he trusted him, or did he mean that Reina may fall for... some other man?

He gestured to ask when they were interrupted. "Tezu—"

"Hoi! Hoi! Buchou and Fujiko are already here~"

"What about Oishi and the others?"

And not a moment too soon, Oishi, Kumi, and the two other boys had arrived. "Nya? Where's Echizen and Kuroro?"

"She asked us to go ahead, since Reina is a heavy sleeper." He smiled. "They'll come by soon...

"Probably."

((10 minutes later))

"Mouuu! Why are they taking so long?!"

"I'll go to them." Tezuka said, not surprising anyone. "I'll go with you." Fuji offered, and Tezuka could only nod. How could he refuse when just he asked him such a big favour? But when they arrived, they were in for a surprise.

Reina was evidently having a nightmare. Kuroro could not move, and neither could Tezuka. Reina looked terrified, and she was stirring vehemently. Fuji immediately ran to her to lift her up, and she unconsciously hugged him tightly making his heart skip a beat. As usual.

Her embrace got tighter and tighter, and he could barely breathe. He held her closer as well by instinct. But—

"Mitsu…"

Fuji's eyes widened, and it revealed pain-stricken eyes. Tezuka looked at him emphatically, and all he could do was gently tap her back in an attempt to wake her up. "Reina…" the buchou called gently, and her hold of Fuji tightened even more. Fuji laughed sardonically at who knew who.

"Well… this is very painful, on so many levels."

"I'm sorry…" Tezuka said, and Kuroro could only assume what was happening to the three of them. Fuji, on the other hand, closed his eyes and smiled calmly, returning to his usual façade. He lifted one of his hands and placed it on the back of her head… and tightened his hold of Reina.

Tezuka flinched.

"Saaa…. You said I can take care of her, Tezuka. What do you really mean?"

"…" Tezuki remained unflinching while Kuroro paled.

"I'll…I'll excuse myself senpais." Kuroro said, for the sake of her life, and left. Tezuka, on the other hand, let out a deep breath after hearing the door close behind him. "You're making this harder for me, Fuji."

Fuji sighed. "I know. I guess I'm still a little shocked of what you asked of me. It's not like you don't deserve it, anyway."

"Fuji…"

"You didn't have to ask that of me, Tezuka, I would have done so anyway."

Tezuka nodded slowly and gave out a small smile. "Thank you."

There was silence for a second afterwards, before Fuji let out a deep breath. "Just don't blame me if she falls for somebody else…"

"She won't." Tezuka answered immediately, to the point that Fuji could sense… doubt?

"You sure are confident, Tezuka." He just said. It must have been his imagination or something… right?

"I am." He said firmly. "But for now, Fuji...

"Please let go of my girlfriend."


TOKYO SUPERMART

Meanwhile, oblivious to the tension in her daughter's school, Echizen Rinko hummed as she pushed her cart across the Supermarket. She was going to buy ingredients for one of her daughter's favourite dishes—Takoyaki. She knew that she was especially depressed given Tezuka's news and she was determined to make her little girl feel better. And what better way than her favourite Japanese dish?

She nonchalantly bought all the ingredients, but when she had finally got the last and most important ingredient – that was to say, the octopus – she encountered a problem.

She already had a hold of it, and she was absolutely certain that she had gotten a hold of it first

If only there wasn't another hand pulling it in the other direction.

She glared at the other woman, but she maintained her cool façade despite all the veins that had been popping on her head. "Hi, miss, I'm sorry to be rude… but I got here first."

"No. I distinctly remember my hands getting a hold of it prior to yours."

"Do you have any proof of that statement?"

"Do you have any proof of that statement?"

'Grrrrrrr' they muttered mentally at the same time. 'I NEED TO MAKE MY CHILD FEEL BETTER!'

Silence

And they looked at each other, as if sensing each other's maternal thoughts. "My daughter's boyfriend is leaving, and she feels bumped." Rinko explained as calmly as she could. "I need to make her her favourite food."

"Well, my son is leaving… and he's disheartened that he was going to leave his beautiful girlfriend here in Japan… with wolves after her…"

"…"

"…"

They smirked simultaneously. "Small world." Ayana said and extended her hand, while Rinko laughed, taking it.

"Indeed."

.
.

END OF CHAPTER XLI

Coming Soon:
CHAPTER XLII: Because People Pry


REPLIES TO REVIEWS

Hprareslashfan- I have returned~! Hehe. And yeah! Let us pray together for the Prince of Tennis's livening once more~! xD And thanks for commenting. ;)

MaiAkikoChan- (Ch19) OMG YES. Tsundere ATobe was soo fun to write. xD And ehehehe~ The sadistic mothers! Lol. I remember writing them. Such sadistic fun. Lolol. (ch20) lol. I remember when OishixSakuno pair was just a random thought. Glad you likedit! And yes! Poor dense 12-year old Reina. (why do they have to be in Junior high darnit lol)

(ch27) Yep~ hahah. And lol at those 21-26 chapter reviews~! Most of the scenes here are based on the canon events. And how can I not include Horio-as-Ryoma scenes?! *cackles like a retard* And lol that Yuuta chap! Gosh I feel guilty and happy making him go through all those stuff. Fun time writing those tho. And yes! I did get Kuroro from HxH, because I was thinking of the guy when I was writing the chap she appeared in. xD And yeah! Inui *wink* but I won't push his feelings tho. I just had a knack for harems those times. Hhahaha. And awww~ Those Atobe scenes! I'll give him a little bit of happiness soon.

(ch28) lololol. Fuji'sasadist! Even with his own poor bro. Poor bro. lol. Even Ayana's being blunt. Hahaha. And yes! Monkey King will be very humiliated. Hahaha. (ch29) Actually he does~! When I first saw Aomine, I remembered Gin! Haha. And the pictures are from Ryoga~ I gave out very subtle hints then and again... some I think only I see. xD Thanks for the reviews, btw~

Frostfire613- AHAHAH! Yes, yes he will~!XDD (Still thinking if Tezuka will ever find out tho… and how. Loool) And thank you for commenting~! :D

Kuniko no Yume- YES~! YES I DO know you love Hyotei. xD And I'm so glad you liked their feature chappy~ And lol yeah! I love those two senseis. They soo need more screen time. Ahhaha. And thank you for the review~!

Vangran- Yes indeed~! It's like asking a woman if she's pregnant; only worse. Lol. And thanks for commenting~

BurnedSpy- Ah~! A friend wrote one! You should search 'Sakuno's collection of fem!Stories' xD She's paired with Atobe. ;D

PurpleScorpion- Yay~! Hahah. Glad you still liked it, esp. with the screentime for the other teams. And loool. Jirou… may you rest in peace. xD Oh, oh! This chappy will be full of pillar pair! Hope you like it and thank you for the review~! :D

Kazumi Rin- Thank you for the review! And yep she is~! But I guess I changed her if she's friends with someone like Ryoma. She had potential to be feisty, as I saw after all. ;)

Guest [12/20/13] – Rikkai eh? I'm following the canon so they won't be appearing in this chapter or the next at least. Hope it's fine, and thanks for the review~ :D

Shadowhawk- lololol. Yes Kuni's so sly. Hhihihi. And I am so glad you liked this chapter~! Here's the next one, with lotsa pillar pair, and belated Happy Holidays to you and your family as well. xD And thank you for reviewing~

Nogizaka Ayumi- Hahahah. Glad you liked it~! And lool. Ryoma's sadistic tendencies emerges! Belated happy holidays and thanks for the review~

Randomness Is Awesome- Thank you for the review~! I'm happy you still like the story, and I'll do my best to keep it up~

Dreamer852- Hahah. Glad I made you laugh somehow and thank you for the review~! Best of luck to you, as well. ;)

Guest [1/14/14] - Thank you for reviewing~! haha. I'm so happy to know you like my stories, even my initial D fic! xD And what can I call you, btw, or do you prefer 'Guest'?



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