A/N: Hey~ I'm back~! With a fanfic for New Year's~ XD I wanted to post it later tonight, but i won't be home tonight so I should just post this now. This is kind of a sequel to my other P.o.T one-shot called I'm Sorry. If you haven't read it, then go check it out. Anyways, enjoy~ And happy new year to everyone~ :D
Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis.
31st December 2012
"You didn't have to do this, Ryoga-san," Nanako exclaimed, when Ryoga insisted on helping out with the dishes. Earlier, the small Echizen family had gathered together on 11:00 p.m. to eat a bowl of toshikoshi soba, a tradition for the Japanese on New Year's Eve.
"I don't mind," replied the high school teen. "I did this all the time when I worked at the Chinese restaurant."
"I guess there is something good that came out from you running away from us," Rinko, who had just entered the kitchen, said. She was holding a dirty rag, which she used to clean up the dining table earlier.
"Well, if I could do it all over again, I would never run," Ryoga said, as stacked up the plates he just cleansed so that Nanako could wipe it.
Rinko gave him a knowing smile. "Whether you run away or not, Ryoma will always love his aniki."
"O-Okaa-san!" Ryoga blushed.
Nanako smiled at the interactions between mother and son. "I'm glad that you've made up with Ryoma-san," she told her cousin. "We wouldn't want him to pull a stunt like before."
"Yeah," Ryoga agreed. When his parents and Nanako returned at midnight on the 25th, they were horrified to learn about what had happened to the youngest Echizen.
"It's kind of cute to see Ryoma-san following you around the past few days," Nanako giggled. Rinko joined in as well when she recalled the event that lasted for almost five days.
After Ryoma recovered from his fever three days later, he would always be seen with Ryoga, even though he denied it. If Ryoga were eating his oranges in the kitchen, Ryoma would go to the kitchen too, in guise of eating snacks or drinking. If Ryoga was sitting in the living room to read or watch the television, Ryoma would sit in the living room too, or play with Karupin at the verandah, leaving the door that connects the verandah to the living room opened.
"He needed reassurance that his aniki wouldn't disappear on him again," Rinko stated.
"Who needed reassurance?" a familiar voice asked from the doorway.
"Chibisuke," Ryoga greeted with a big smile on his face. Ryoma acknowledged his brother by nodding his head.
"Are you going out?" asked Rinko, when she saw his son has changed out of his pajamas.
"Aa," Ryoma answered. "Fuji-senpai called earlier. All of the Seigaku regulars are going to meet up at the shrine."
"Don't stay out too late," his mother instructed.
"Hai," Ryoma agreed. "I'll be going now."
"Itterashai," Rinko and Nanako said when Ryoma started walking towards the front door.
"Wait," Ryoga called out, and went after his brother. Ryoma turned facing the older teen with a questioning gaze. "Let me walk you to the shrine. It's dangerous for kids to walk alone at night."
Ryoma looked annoyed at being called a kid. "I'm not a kid anymore. And…"
"Yo, Echizen! Are you ready yet?" they heard a yell from outside the house.
Ryoma continued looking at his older brother with an annoyed glint in his eyes. "My senpai is here to pick me up."
31st December 2012
"Nyaaa~ Momo, Ochibi, you made it," exclaimed the acrobatic tennis player when he saw his two kouhai walking towards the group at the shrine entrance. He immediately went to glomp Ryoma, and Oishi quickly when to their side to pry his doubles partner off their freshman.
"Echizen, I'm sorry you didn't make it to our Christmas gathering before," Kawamura said, referring to the celebration the Seigaku regulars, the freshmen trio, Sakuno and Ryuuzaki-sensei had at Kawamura Sushi Shop on the 24th December. When Ryoma didn't show up, Tezuka, as the captain of the tennis team, called Ryoma's house to check on their youngest member. "I hope you're all better now."
"Yes, I am. Thanks for your concern, Kawamura-senpai," Ryoma said, bowing slightly at one of Seigaku's power player.
"Saa, Echizen, I'm glad you made it," a familiar voice that belonged to Fuji Shuusuke said. He had just walked towards the group with Yuuta.
"Fuji-senpai," Ryoma greeted. Then, he turned to the other brunette, "Fuji-senpai's younger brother.
Yuuta's vein popped comically, "Why you- Echizen! I have a name too, y'know!" Ryoma just looked blankly at him.
Fuji chuckled. "Saa, Echizen. Stop teasing my younger brother," he said with his trademark smile.
"Is everyone accounted for?" Oishi asked.
"Everyone's here, Oishi-senpai," Momo told the Seigaku tennis team's vice president after he counted the number of people in their group.
"Fsshhh," Kaidou hissed.
"Well, well, well, if it isn't Seigaku," a voice that made almost all of the Seigaku members groan inwardly. Mizuki and the other St. Rudolph tennis team members appeared in front of them. "It's been awhile."
"Yes, it has, Mizuki," Fuji replied, with a smile that could send chill down a person's spine.
Realizing the change of air (and obvious temperature dropping), Yuuta intervened, "Well, be better be off now," he said, dragging their team's manager by the collar into the shrine before his brother could harm Mizuki. The other St. Rudolph tennis team members followed behind them after saying their greetings to their rival school.
"100% chance that Fuji Yuuta noticed the killer air surrounding Fuji so he immediately drag their manager away."
Fuji chuckled. "Saa…I don't know what you're talking about," he said, looking at Inui with opened eyes. Inui immediately looked away, and started scribbling in his notebook.
"Well, maybe we should get inside now," Oishi said. "It's almost midnight." The others agreed, and they walked into the shrine. Kikumaru was walking with Momo and Ryoma, Kawamura with Kaidou and Inui, followed by Oishi. Fuji and Tezuka was the two last to enter the shrine.
"Saa…you're awfully quiet tonight, Tezuka," Fuji mused. He saw how Tezuka had stare at a certain freshman that night when he thought no one was looking.
"Aa," Tezuka said. "Let's go," and without waiting for Fuji's reply, he walked into the shrine. He cursed himself for letting his guard down, and thought of the possibility of Fuji knowing. 'No, he couldn't have known,' he thought to himself. 'Although I wouldn't put that put it past him,' he added in grimly.
The group from Seigaku were having fun together, chatting and laughing, although Tezuka's face remained stoic as ever. Ryoma had a frown on his face whenever the other members teased him. They also drank amakaze, which was distributed to them at the shrine. When it was precisely midnight, the bell at the shrine was rung 108 times.
Hill overlooking the town
1st January 2013
The group of Seigaku regulars was on the hilltop, looking at the bright city below, while playing with the fireworks that Kikumaru and Fuji had prepared for them. They were playing happily while Tezuka supervised. After awhile, Tezuka saw Ryoma sitting on the bench at the corner instead of playing with Momoshiro or the others, he walked towards their youngest member.
'Don't let your guard down,' he chanted to himself like a mantra.
"Buchou," Ryoma said in surprise when the older teen took a seat next to him.
"Echizen," he replied. There was an awkward silence between them, and he heard Ryoma shifted stiffly. "It's a beautiful night," Tezuka said, trying to start a conversation.
"Un," Ryoma replied. Then, there was silence once more.
Tezuka felt like kicking himself inwardly. How hard was it to keep a conversation? 'Apparently it's harder than winning a tennis match,' he thought. "Why aren't you playing with the others?" Tezuka asked, in another attempt to start a conversation.
"I didn't feel like it," came Ryoma's bold answer. Then, for the third time, there was silence. Tezuka was about to groan and kick himself inwardly, again, when Ryoma added in, "Besides, I've already had my share of playing with the fireworks." They were watching Momo, Kikumaru and Fuji playing with the fireworks, while Oishi and Kawamura looked at them worriedly, Kaidou standing next to them, and Inui scribbling in his data book (probably).
"I see," Tezuka replied briefly. After a second, he said in a serious voice that made Ryoma turned to look at him. "Echizen, there's something important I need to ask you." He turned to see Ryoma's questioning gaze staring at him. "Will you go out with me?"
Ryoma blinked. Once. Twice. "Hai?" he said, confused.
Tezuka let out a breath. "I meant would you date me? As a boyfriend." Tezuka practically held his breath as the last word escaped his mouth. Ryoma was still staring at him, not responding, that he thought he was going to be rejected. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have—"
If he wasn't trained to be expressionless, his eyes would have widened so big, and his jaw would drop. "Excuse me."
"I said I wouldn't mind going out with you," Ryoma repeated.
Tezuka's heart practically leapt with joy as angels sang a melodious hymn. "I see," he said in his usual stoic way, although Ryoma could hear a hint of happiness in his voice.
"What did you say, Mamushi? Are you picking a fight?!" Momo yelled at his rival.
"What if I am, fshhh?!" Kaidou replied. They were now head-to-head with one another.
That brought Tezuka and Ryoma's attention back to the other members. "Buchou?" Ryoma said, his eyes saying 'how are you going to handle this?'
Tezuka stood up, and Ryoma followed behind him. When they were closer to the group, Tezuka said sternly, "Kaidou and Momoshiro, 100 laps around the court when school reopens."
The path towards the Echizen Residence
1st January 2013
After almost an hour playing, Tezuka announced that it was late enough for the night. So, they decided to return home. They walked together, till they reached the path to their house. Momo was supposed to send Ryoma home, but Tezuka insisted to do it instead. Although Momo didn't think much of it, Fuji has a knowing look in his eyes, although no one could see it.
"Thank you for sending me home, Buchou," Ryoma said, as they walked side by side.
"Call me Kunimitsu," Tezuka said, "Or Mitsu is fine too."
"What?" Ryoma looked at Tezuka stupidly.
"I want you call me by my name," Tezuka said. After awhile, he added in, "I hope it's not too fast."
"Uh, I guess it's not?" Ryoma said. Then, he sneezed. Alarmed, Tezuka immediately took off his coat and wrapped it around the smaller boy. "It's just a sneeze. You really didn't have to lend me your coat, Kunimitsu." Then, Ryoma made a face. "God, that was weird."
"I didn't want to risk a chance of you getting sick," said Tezuka. "You just recovered, didn't you?"
"Yeah," Ryoma replied grudgingly.
"And…if calling my by name is really that weird, you can continue calling me 'buchou' instead," Tezuka added, although in his heart, Tezuka wished that Ryoma would continue calling him by his real name.
"No," the younger teen replied. "Kunimitsu is fine."
"Aa." There was silence again. When they reached Ryoma's house, Tezuka said, "You should get inside. It's getting cold."
"Uisu," Ryoma said. He was about to walk in, before turning back. "I almost forgot," he said. He took off Tezuka's coat that he was wearing, and returned it to the brunette. "Thanks for the coat."
"Aa," Tezuka replied, feeling a little bit disappointed.
"Well, see you," Ryoma said, and after giving Tezuka's hand a light squeeze, the younger boy went into his house.
Tezuka turned and started walking back to his own house. 'Well, I guess it's still too early to expect anything,' the brunette thought. But he hoped that as time passed, his relationship with their rookie would grow.
Aniki - older brother
Okaa-san - Mother
senpai - Senior
Ochibi - A nickname Eiji gave Ryoma, which kind of meant "shorty"(?)
Amakaze - a traditional sweet, low- or non-alcohol (depending on recipes) Japanese drink made from fermented rice
Buchou - captain
A/N: So how was it? I hope it's enjoyable. Please read and review~ Happy New Year everyone~ :D