Title: His Rival (One-shot)

Genre: Romance

Rating: K+

Main Character(s): Atobe Keigo [OC] Matsumoto Mayu

Note: This is my first time publishing a story on this site. The dates mentioned are from the '08 calender. And this takes place during the Kantou tournament.

Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis is not mine. Neither is Atobe. OC is mine, though.


His Rival

(June 27)

"I disagree."

Debate class was always the same. The two top students of the class would always end up on the opposite scale. Either on the defense or attack. But when it came to these two, you never know which side was being defended or attacked.

Today, Atobe Keigo was on the defending team. While, Matsumoto Mayu was on the attack team. The topic, cell phone usage on school property.

"It is true that in case of emergencies a cell phone would come to good use." Matsumoto Mayu declared, pausing as her gray eyes looked over at Atobe's blue orbs. "However, texting and emailing during class is not productive. It conduces students to form a bad habit, one potentially addictive. Not only that, it distracts students from their studies, they lose the focus needed to pass tests. In the end it could bring down the school stature."

"Or it could help the school." Atobe fired back. "There are many apps out there than can help students improve in classes and on tests."

Her eyebrow twitched. "That would be considered cheating, if the student were to use it during a test."

Atobe scoffed. "Of course, the teachers could always make sure cell phones are off or taken away."

Matsumoto opened her mouth to respond, when the school bell chimed the end of class. She sighed, it was always the same, they never got to finish a debate. She packed her bags, and got ready to leave when a voice stopped her on her tracks.

"Better luck next time, Matsumoto."

She gritted her teeth. Turning, she said, "I didn't lose, Atobe. We'll—"

Mayu didn't get to finish as Atobe walked out of the classroom. She clutched tightly the straps of her bag. Vowing that come next class, she'll win.

(June 28)

Atobe paused. Waiting for the inevitable disagreement.

None came.

That was odd, usually it was about this time where Matsumoto would interrupt and say that she disagreed. Atobe looked around the classroom, for the first time, noticing that she was no where to be seen.

Won't that mean her perfect attendance would come to naught? He loured. Not sure why he cared whether or not she came to school.

(June 30)

Debate class was getting boring, as did all other classes. It's been two days, and still no word from her.

He's gotten used to her, Atobe realized. Matsumoto was always there to tell him wrong, to always contradict him. And he would always argue back. There dispute was a game he was starting to miss.

Atobe didn't know her that well outside of school, but curiosity as to why she would miss three days of school got the better of him. There was one way to find out. He pinned down her best friend after school.

The girl blushed, her eyes wide, as she stuttered his name. "A-atobe-san."

"Do you know where Matsumoto is?" He went straight to the point, not wanting to dawdle with her.

"H-huh? M-mayu-chan?"

He nodded affirmatively, waiting for an answer.

"W-well, she, she... she's in the hospital."

"Hospital?" He frowned. "Whatever for?"

The girl was still blushing shyly, as she continued to stutter. "I-it was an a-accident... she, Mayu-chan, g-got hit by a-a car."

His gut tightened. Though, he didn't understand the reason. "How is she?"

The girl looked down, her still blushing face becoming sad, she spoke softly. "Mayu-chan... she c-can't walk."

His eyes widened. "Paralyzed?"

"AH! No! I - I'm sorry! P-please don't mis-misunderstand, A-atobe-san." Her face became redder, as she continued to explain. "Her l-leg is broken... Mayu-chan h-has a cast."

That had been a shock. He sighed inwardly. This girl shouldn't have looked so solemn as she said that.

"And, and, she also had a c-concussion... b-but the doctor said that, that she'd be okay... I - I mean, Mayu-chan would be fine in a m-matter of weeks..."

Atobe held up a hand palm facing out. The girl instantly quieted.

He smiled charmingly, "Thank you for telling me this. Now I only have one more question."

She nodded, her blush nonstop.

(July 1)

The moment he saw her on the hospital bed, the reality of the situation seemed to hit him. True enough, her right leg was on a cast, up to her thigh and was hanging at an angle from a ceiling sling. She was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, though he still noticed the blue and purple bruises covering her, her forearms and left wrist were also bandaged up.

"Atobe Keigo."

Hearing his name, brought him out of his thoughts.

Matsumoto glared at him. "I don't want your pity."

"It's not pity, Matsumoto." Atobe tsked, walking further into the room. He smirked, holding up a bag. "It's school work."

Her brows furrowed, quizzically. "Hah?"

Atobe placed the bag on the table. Pointing at the bag, he looked at her and said, "This is all the homework you've missed from today and yesterday. Aren't you a lucky one to share the same classes as me."

"Atobe, you—" She felt her shoulders slump, he hadn't been in here for ten seconds and he was already exasperating her. Instead she asked. "Why did you bring it?"

"Should I have brought you a brush instead?" He asked, pointedly looking at her head.

Her brown hair that was usually in a neat braid was now loose and all over the place. Her hands carefully went to her hair. To no avail, Mayu knew, without proper brushing her hair couldn't be handled.

She dropped her hands and glared at him. "That wasn't what I asked."

He only shrugged.

"There is no reason for you to stay any further, now that you've delivered my schoolwork."

He smirked. "Not entirely."

"What do you mean?"

"I also came to collect the homework from the previous days you missed."

Her eyebrows rose at that. Why would Atobe bother? Wait... how did he even know where she was at? Why hadn't this occur to her sooner? Was the hit to her head making her think slowly? Or were the drugs still in effect? Hadn't she slept of the drugs?

"Just what are you thinking, Matsumoto? I can practically see the wheels turning in that head of yours."

She stared impassively, as she stated. "Nana told you, didn't she." Mayu narrowed her gray eyes at him, as she proceeded. "Atobe, you better not have bullied her. I know you have no qualms in harassing girls."

Atobe glowered, an indignant look crossing his blue eyes. "That girl told me everything willingly, I didn't have to lift a finger."

She huffed tiredly and pointed to the dresser. "Atobe give me my bag."

Atobe arched a perfect eyebrow, as it was his turn to stare at her.

His smirk surfaced again. "Seeing as you can't move an inch, I will deign to assist you."

He moved in a flourish manner, as he retrieved her bag and handed it to her.

At once, Mayu took out some papers and notebooks, and handed them to Atobe. "Here, you can leave now."

He grabbed the stack and said, "Not even a 'thank you'? You're ungrateful, Matsumoto."

"Just go, Atobe." She dropped the bag beside the bed, and then reclined back into the pillows, closing her eyes.

With no other choice, he walked out of the room.

(July 6)

The door to her hospital room opened, upon seeing who it was a frown marred her face. "Atobe, have you nothing else to do?"

He had been coming to the hospital after school for the past week, bringing and taking her assignments to and from their teachers. But... today was a Sunday. So there really was no reason for Atobe Keigo to be in the hospital visiting her.

Probably, he replied mentally to her question, however he spoke differently. "No."

He closed the door behind him. Atobe surveyed her from head to toe. Her color was returning to normal. The bruises weren't as notable, each dissipating with the passage of time, though her arms were still bandaged. Matsumoto was definitely getting better.

"U-um."

Matsumoto and Atobe both turned towards the forgotten third occupant of the room.

Atobe recognized her at once. That blushing face was somehow hard to forget.

The girl bowed shyly, blushingly saying. "G-good morning A-atobe-san."

Mayu sighed. "Its after noon, Nana."

"Eek—" Nana's bowed deepened, flustered she corrected herself. "G-good afternoon, A-atobe-san."

He returned the greeting with a charming smile, which only made the girls face redder.

"I-I-I'll t-take my l-leave. I-I'll see y-you to-tomorrow, M-mayu-chan." The girl stuttered unintelligibly, grabbing her bag from the floor, she quickly made her exit.

Poor Nana, Mayu thought. She turned towards Atobe, who had taken the seat that had been vacated next to her bed.

"Atobe..." Before she could say anything, he asked a question of his own.

"When are you getting out of here?"

Caught off guard, she answered without hesitation. "In a week, when my crutches get here."

"They were ordered?"

She was about to nod, when she then frowned, a spark of anger rising in her. She narrowed her eyes at him. "Atobe, you didn't just come here for pleasantries did you?"

"Of course not."

Atobe had been training and exercising since early that morning on one of his personal gyms. He had then left, after not finding one worthy opponent in tennis (and beating those who were there). The hospital she was at happened to be close. He knew, the decision to come visit was made in the spur of the moment. If he couldn't find an opponent in tennis, he might as well find an opponent some place else.

He looked at her. She was staring at him strangely, when he realized what it was. He sighed under his breath. "Have you retreated back into your head, Matsumoto?"

"Do you like me?" She asked suddenly. Her nose scrunched, as if the words themselves tasted bad.

His lips twitched. "Don't look so disgusted."

"It's the only explanation I've got. Though that in itself isn't really logical at all. But then why would you come here?"

He only looked at her.

"It would reason out as to why you of all people would come to deliver my homework."

"Matsumoto."

Not hearing him, Mayu continued voicing her thoughts. "Does that mean you were worried? Or that you missed me and felt lonely? Is that why you badgered Nana to tell you? You actually care about me, right?"

"Matsumoto." He said a little more forcefully.

She turned to him then. "Well, do you?"

"Not like the way you're obviously thinking." He deadpanned. Proceeding, before she could say anything else. "I like arguing with you."

She looked confused, but then her brows furrowed, as if an important thought had just crossed her mind. But then her face cleared.

For a moment there he thought he lost her in her head again.

"Does that mean... am I your rival, Atobe?"

The question surprised him, however.

"No."

(July 12)

"You'll be released on Monday?"

Another week had quickly passed them by. Atobe had continued to dutifully appear after school hours, bringing with him loads of assignments.

She yawned, her hand going up to cover her mouth, while she nodded at the same time. "Yeah, my crutches arrived this afternoon, but the doctor wants to do a check up tomorrow. Since there is no point in me going and coming, I'll be staying until Monday morning."

"Then you'll be going to school on Monday?"

"No, I'll be going back on Tuesday."

"Planning on lazing at home, Matsumoto." He shook his head mockingly. "Weren't these two weeks enough?"

Mayu threw him the nearest thing she had on hand. Atobe didn't even have to move out of the way, the offending object hit the wall behind him.

He laughed. "You have terrible aim."

She didn't want to be told that. Mayu knew she didn't have any athletic sense... but to have missed a hit in such close proximity. She looked at Atobe, sitting there smirking to himself, just couple of feet away from her. There should have been no way for her to miss his face.

"Atobe..." She gritted her teeth. "Go pick it up!"

"You shouldn't have thrown it in the first place." He said, but still stood up and went to pick it up.

Atobe looked at what he had on his hands questioningly. He went back to his seat and told her. "Never pegged you to read a tennis magazine, Matsumoto."

"Tennis?" Her eyes fell on Atobe's hands. Mayu sighed, she hadn't noticed that magazine had been left behind. "That's not mine. It's Nana's."

Atobe flipped it open.

Mayu watched him flipping pages, pausing to read something and flipping the page over again.

"Atobe, isn't the Kantou tournament tomorrow?" She shifted her position on the bed, making herself more comfortable. "Should you be wasting time here?"

Atobe looked up from the magazine. He smirked. "Ahn? Worried about me, Matsumoto?"

"You guys lost in the Prefecturals." She responded matter-of-factly.

His smirk vanished. "I won't be making excuses for those who lost that day." He continued speaking imperiously, "However, in Kantou things will go differently. Hyoutei will win."

"Atobe, ever heard of the saying 'too much pride will kill a man'."

The smirk returned. "I won't lose, Matsumoto."

A man who has pride in his pride... he actually exists and is sitting next to her. Mayu couldn't help but smile.

(July 13)

Silence filled the empty space of the room.

Matsumoto Mayu didn't know what to do to stop the silent void. She hadn't said anything since the moment Atobe entered. He hadn't said anything, even after taking a seat on the chair next to her bed.

How do you console someone that obviously doesn't want to be?

It wasn't like she understood what went through a male brain. And foremost she doesn't understand sports... but she knew first hand how competitive Atobe Keigo can get... but she's never really seen him lose, either. Mayu couldn't ask him how he feels, neither. Of course he'd be angry and depressed. Hyoutei lost their chance to go to Nationals and win the title of best in Japan.

Silence filled the empty space of the room.

Why was he here?

It has been hours now, since the game over. The last thing Atobe wanted to do was mull over it or wallow in pity. He should be on the courts right now training harder, becoming stronger, perfecting his tennis. He should have taken his team to the courts and trained them harder, made them stronger, made their tennis flawless.

Yet, why did he come here?

He looked at her. Her eyes focused, but not seeing what was in front of her. Her face concentrated on beyond something he couldn't see. Atobe sighed lightly. Just what is this girl thinking about? Always receding in her mind. She should be fawning over him, not disregarding his presence.

"Mayu."

Her head came up instantly. It was the first time she's ever heard Atobe call her by name.

Before she could say anything. Atobe leaned forward and kissed her.

It was only for a few seconds. A meeting of lips. And it was over.

Mayu felt her face get heated, as all her blood rushed to her face.

"You're my rival."

Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. Did she hear right? Was that... some sort of confession?

"Although, the only thing missing are the glasses." Atobe continued, smiling as he watched the small changing facial expressions on Matsumoto.

"Huh? G-glasses?"

She blinked. Atobe had just kissed her and declared her his rival... And now he's talking about glasses?

"I'm not following this..." Conversation? Where they even having a conversation? Mayu didn't think they were.

"Forget it, Matsumoto."

Back to surname? She really had no idea just what goes on in the male brain that's Atobe. She shook her head. "Don't get you at all."

"Of course you wouldn't. It takes a more to see the great-"

"Spare me the dialogue."

He laughed. He was feeling better already.


End. Review, yes?