In Tezuka's eyes, she will always be a little girl.
It has been six years since he left Japan. Now, at 21, Tezuka Kunimitsu is back from his studies in Germany and wishes to pursue the rest of his education back in his homeland. He stepped onto Japanese soil the moment he left Narita International Airport and makes his way back to Tokyo to visit his family. His visit to Tokyo does not take a lot time. One day with his family, one day to visit old friends and teammates, and another to visit his alma mater, Seishun Gakuen where his once first-year juniors were now on their last year of high school. Tezuka decided on a university in Osaka and he will move there immediately to a student dorm. It has been decided that he will pursue a professional career in the tennis world after he graduates.
Moving to Osaka does not take much effort. Once he exited the train station on a sunny Saturday, his old friend and future schoolmate, Chitose Senri, picked him up.
"Hey, Tezuka," Chitose said with a grin and a wave. Tezuka returned the gesture politely and walked beside Chitose.
"How have you been, Chitose?"
"Same as always, you?" Chitose asked back.
"Same as always," Tezuka replied. He badly wanted to ask Chitose how his sister was doing. He had not seen Miyuki since his last visit to Osaka six years ago when he was only 15.
Chitose opened the boot to his car and placed Tezuka's luggage inside before moving to the driver's side. Tezuka sat on the passenger seat. The car ride went by with the two catching up on old times. It went faster than Tezuka would have liked. He still hasn't found the perfect opportunity to ask about Miyuki.
"Well, I'll see you tomorrow," Chitose told Tezuka when he helped carried Tezuka's luggage to his room. Tezuka nodded gratefully. "Miyuki will be coming around tomorrow too, I think. She cancelled her outing with her friends for tomorrow the moment she heard dorobo-niichan will be moving to Osaka. She wanted to pick you up, but she has school."
Tezuka's ears perked up at her name. At least she's doing fine, he thought to himself.
"See you then," Chitose said.
"Later," Tezuka replied and Chitose left. Tezuka spent the day unpacking. After he finished putting the last of his shirts up on the wardrobe, he lay down on the bed and thought back to that moment six years ago.
"This will be my last visit here before I move to Germany," A 15-year-old Tezuka said to the then 10-year-old Chitose Miyuki. Miyuki responded with a frown. She was happy when Tezuka came to Osaka to visit her, only to tell her he will move farther away.
"Dorobo-niichan, you will come back to Japan sometimes, right?"
"I can't promise you that."
Miyuki frowned again. "When you come back, promise you'll look for me?"
"I promise," Tezuka replied automatically. Miyuki smiled.
"Tezuka-niichan," she said softly, surprising him that she uses his name. "In case you don't come back, there's something I need to tell you."
"What is it?"
She broke into a mischievous grin. "I think I will tell you next time. That way, you'll have no choice but to come back and look for me."
"Just tell me."
"No," she said, with a grin.
"Miyuki!" Chitose called her from a distance. He had finished shopping and was eager to get home. Miyuki glanced at her brother for awhile before turning back to face Tezuka.
Miyuki leaned up and kissed Tezuka on the cheek. Tezuka's eyes went wide. Miyuki pulled back, blushing.
"Maybe when I am older I can kiss you somewhere else," she said, looking away from Tezuka. Tezuka gave a small smile.
"You will always be a little girl in my eyes," he responded and Miyuki pouted.
"I'll show you the woman I'll be," she retorted and ran towards her brother. Halfway through, she turned back and waved, "Bye-bye, Dorobo-niichan!" she shouted and face her brother again.
Tezuka stared at the ceiling and wondered how Miyuki will look like after six years.
Tezuka closed the book he was reading and stared at the door. He thought that Chitose must have already arrived. After placing the book back on its shelf, he went and opened the door. Miyuki stood in front of him.
She could not look any more different that she is now compared to her childhood. At 16, her black hair has grown past over her waist and she now had the curves of a young woman. She was wearing a dress and all her boyish habits had gone.
"Dorobo-niichan!" She greeted, smiling wide.
"Miyuki," Tezuka breathed out. He was captivated by her beauty, but in his eyes, she is still the little tomboy girl she used to be.
"Nii-chan could not make it today; he has extra project or something, so I am here alone. Where shall we go first?" She asked, ecstatic.
"Anywhere is fine," he said and took his jacket and keys before locking the door behind him.
"How about the theme park?" she suggested.
"Let's go," she said and pulled him by the hand without waiting for his reply. He paid for their tickets and they entered the biggest theme park in all of Osaka.
Tezuka was forced on rides until he felt way beyond sick then they enjoyed a good takoyaki lunch and crepes. He won her a doll in a tennis game and they entered the haunted house. She clung onto his arm so hard, he could feel the blood stop flowing. At the end of the day, they rode on the Ferris wheel and watch the sunset before going home.
"Dorobo-niichan, that was just like a real date, don't you think?" she asked on their way back to the dorm. They stopped at a park for a rest and she sat there close to him, shivering a bit in the cold. Tezuka draped his jacket over her shoulders to her protest.
"Just wear it. Little girls are more susceptible to the cold," he explained.
"I am not a little girl," she pouted.
"To me, you will always be."
"Dorobo-niichan, do you remember where we are?"
"No you baka. This is where we last meet six years ago."
Tezuka looked around and sure enough, the landscape around him seems familiar.
Tezuka looked back at Miyuki. "Remember how I wanted to tell you something six years ago?"
Tezuka nodded and she went on.
"Well, what I want to say back then was…" she stopped and blushed.
"Yes?" Tezuka prompted. Miyuki bit her bottom lip nervously.
Tezuka waited, trying to be patient.
"Just say it," he said politely. Miyuki squeezed her eyes shut, took a deep breath, and say the next sentence in one breath.
"Tezuka-niichan, I like you."
Tezuka's eyes went wide.
"Tezuka-niichan," she said softly and Tezuka forces his eyes to land on her. "I told you before, that I will show you the woman I'll be and when I am older, I can do this."
She placed a hand on Tezuka's cheek and closed her eyes. Slowly, she moved closer and places her lips on his. Tezuka was still in a shocked state and her kiss gets more desperate. The cold from her hand burned his into his cheek. Tezuka relaxed after awhile and closed his own eyes, kissing her back.
Maybe she is not such a little girl after all.
"What did you and Tezuka talked about?" Chitose asked his ten-year-old sister.
"Nothing that concerns you, nii-chan. Just a little chit chat," she said and smiled.
"What is that suppose to mean?"
"Nothing," she said and ran ahead of her brother. When she meets Tezuka next time, she will definitely tell him about her feelings.