Dedicated to coffeelatte, Lahdolphin, and thesadisttensaifuji, for being wonderful people.

A/N: I wrote this on a sleep-deprived flight and posted it because I was tired of all the (badly written) romance canon x OC stories. Can we get a little OC siblingship/friendship out there?

Anyways, this is about Bunta and my OC from TCAFS, Kimiko. Enjoy!

~x~

Bunta always wanted a little sister.

Well, maybe not always. He also went through that elementary school phase where girls had cooties and cried and were lame, because they always tattletaled to the teacher about you putting spiders on their desks. For those pranks, his partner in crime was Shinichi, his five-year-old younger brother. Girls were uncool, and boys had to stick together.

He and Shinichi were an awesome team. Who needed anyone else?

But when Bunta turned eight and Shinichi was six, their mom got pregnant again. She rubbed her growing belly and said, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a little girl in the house?"

Shinichi and Bunta made faces and said "Ew. NO," loyally.

But Bunta secretly agreed, (thought he would never admit it to Shinichi), that it would be nice.

Girls might be lame but they were good at hopscotch and jump rope. And their moms baked tasty desserts that they would sometimes share from their lunchboxes if you were nice to them.

Besides, he had already picked on every girl in school and was growing bored with his victims.

But six months later, little Tetsuya came into the world, and he was – undeniably- a boy. Bunta was very happy with little Tetsuya (especially since he came out with bright blond hair, despite both Bunta and Shinichi sporting vibrant red locks), he couldn't help but feel a little crestfallen.

He had been looking forward to playing hopscotch with his little sister.

~x~

When Bunta turned ten, his aunt moved back to Kanagawa, and into the same neighborhood.

And that's when Bunta met Kimiko.

His cousin Kimiko was only a year younger. She was pint-sized and had big lavender eyes and the same vibrant red hair as him. To him, she looked kind of like a red mushroom. Like the kind in Mario Party that made you grow big if you ate them.

Bunta loved her immediately.

(Of course, he showed her his love by pushing her into the sandbox and pulling her hair.)

Kimiko cried like every other girl and threatened to tell his mom, and Bunta desperately tried to cheer her up. Not because he was actually scared of his mom, (okay, he was a little scared), but more so because Kimiko looked like a really, really sad mushroom when she was crying. And sad mushrooms looked sad.

Really sad.

Being the resourceful little boy he was, he used his jumping skills to fetch a tub of strawberry ice cream from the top shelf of the freezer. That cheered her up. Then they played hopscotch together and tetherball, and Bunta showed her his latest toy – a tennis racket.

She clapped and bounced with an excitement that neither of his brothers had when he showed them the racket, (although it's not Tetsuya's fault – he couldn't even walk yet), and impulsively Bunta gave her Shinichi's racket as a present.

(Shinichi wasn't upset about it. He wanted a new Gameboy for Christmas anyways.)

The two kids hit a ball back and forth, but they didn't know the rules of tennis or anything, so they just played 'Don't let the ball touch the ground'.

'Or the world will explode,'Bunta told Kimiko very seriously, and she believed him.

He had to find her more strawberry ice cream when she finally did drop the ball on the ground and proceeded to burst into tears.

'Just kidding,' he told her, grinning as he wiped her tears away. 'The world won't explode, silly! Let's play again!'

(Little did they know that this game would eventually become the foundation for their volleying style.)

One day, Bunta saw some guy at school pulling Kimiko's hair on the playground. And she was crying.

Oh, he was mad.

No one was allowed to pull Kimi-chan's hair but him.

So Bunta went over there and kicked the guy in the shin as hard as he could, which was pretty hard. That sent the boy crawling away as fast as he could on his hands.

'Hey Kimi-chan, don't cry. Don't cry. He's gone now, see?' Bunta patted the sniffling girl on the head. 'The big meanie is gone now. Oh wait, here.' He fished in his pockets and pulled out a strawberry lollipop that his teacher gave him earlier for getting a math problem right. Without waiting for a response (she was still crying) he unwrapped it and shoved it in her mouth.

(He'd seen his mom do the same to a wailing Tetsuya with a pacifier the night before, and his analytical mind went, "Hey, why not try it?")

Well it worked. She quieted down, and Bunta complimented himself on being a genius.

~x~

From that day on, they were almost inseparable.

Kimiko decided to cut her hair like Bunta's, and everyone thought they were twins. Even their tennis coach called them "the Marui twins." He told them that when they were old enough, he'd enter them in a mixed doubles tournament so they could scare people. Bunta and Kimiko couldn't wait.

Shinichi, on the other hand, ended up joining the math club at school. At this point they all knew that Shinichi was very intelligent, perhaps even extraordinarily so, but when his mom went, "Look at our little tensai Shinichi! Solving algebra already!", Bunta and Kimiko loyally made faces behind her back.

Bleh, math club. Math was lame.

(Bunta didn't even know what 'algebra' was. It sounded like a type of feminine clothing that his mom kept in her underwear drawer.)

When Bunta turned twelve, he started entering tennis tournaments. Kimiko followed suit a year later. It became a routine – they'd practice, go to each other's games, and after that go get strawberry ice cream at a vendor by the pond. Sweets were always good after a game.

Bunta even started to chew gum during his games. He knowledgably tried to explain to the other kids that it was because of his stamina issues, and blabbered on about glucose and cell respiration. (In truth he had absolutely no idea what he was talking about; he memorized it from a high school textbook the day before because it would sound cool.)

Kimiko knew it was because he wanted to blow bubbles in his opponents' faces. 'Silly Bunta.'

He responded by blowing a bubble in her face and popping it obnoxiously.

~x~

'I'm going to Rikkaidai next year!' Bunta announced to her one day. 'They have the best tennis club in Japan! You should come too!' He grinned. 'We can wow them with our genius!'

Kimiko giggled and assured him that she would join him there. After all, she'd followed him thus far.

~x~

The day that Kimiko's mom told her they were moving back to Tokyo was the saddest day in her life. Kimiko was positive, just as she was when she was younger and the tennis ball hit the ground, that the world going explode.

She ran, crying hysterically, to Bunta's house.

After she told him, Bunta wanted to cry too. But boys didn't cry.

So he just offered her a lollipop instead.

'B-but…' she blubbered. 'This means I can't play tennis with you anymore.'

He ruffled her hair. 'You baka, Tokyo's not that far. We'll play all the time! I can take the bus to see you! We'll find a way!'

She smiled a wavering smile. 'Promise?'

He made a signal across his chest. 'Cross my heart.'

Of course, he wasn't sure if that was true, but he wanted to make her happy. (She was starting to look like a sad mushroom again.)

~x~

In the end, they never ended up playing as often as they would've liked. Rikkaidai was intense, and practices were every day, and sometimes even weekends too! But true to his word, Bunta occasionally caught the bus to Tokyo, if only to check up on little Kimi-chan.

'I played this really scary dude today,' Bunta was telling her over while they munched on yogurt parfaits. 'I thought he was a high schooler. His name is Sanada-something.'

'Did you beat him?'

'Nah, not yet. I didn't want him to see the extent of my genius.' He winked. 'We gotta keep some things secret, yeah?'

'Yeah…' Kimiko said softly, and decided not to tell Bunta about her new technique.

~x~

One day, after a game, Bunta went to the ice cream vendor by the pond by himself. As he nibbled on the cold, sweet dessert, he noticed a mother duck leading a bunch of little baby ducklings into the water. It was so cute that he pulled out his cellphone and snapped a picture immediately. He decided to send it to Kimiko – somehow it reminded him of her.

From the look of their chat history, it seemed that their text messages have become less and less frequent.

He sighed a content sigh, one that was both happy and sad.

Even baby birds, which imprint on their mothers from birth and follow them everywhere eventually learn to fly on their own.

~x~

Growing up is never easy; it's easy to cling on to the way things were. It's a journey for only the bravest. It's about letting go and finding new dreams to follow.

~x~

Fin.

A/N: I have this weird headcanon that Bunta's little brother is super smart, and his "I'm such a genius" quote stems from a feeling of inferiority.

This isn't meant to be some crazy emotional piece of writing (like my NiouOC), but rather something short and sweet. Hope you enjoyed it!