DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN PRINCE OF TENNIS. NOT NOW, NOT EVER!
A Bit of OOCness doesn't harm.
Chapter 15- This Is For You
The matches were ready to begin. Games 1 and 2 were going to be done at the same time to have the tournament come to its end soon. Ryoma was resting under his tree, sipping a cold can of Ponta. He didn't need to watch both matches since he knew who was going to win them. Tezuka was facing Saeki while Yukimura was battling Sengoku. All four were good but Ryoma knew well that Tezuka and Yukimura weren't the type of players to lose easily. And the fact that both said captains were after him, they might think he was choosing favorites if he went to watch one of the matches.
One thing on Ryoma's mind now was the fact that he would think of Choutaro whenever there was something funny or when he was drinking Ponta. Truth be told, it was not something normal for Ryoma at all. He wasn't sure if he wanted to even watch Choutaro's match. He sighed in frustration as he tried to get rid of Choutaro's face from his mind.
"Echizen?" a voice called out which made Ryoma turn and see who it was. Seigaku's resident tensai was standing a few feet away from him, smiling. "Is there something I can do for you, Fuji-sempai?" he asked as he sat up properly. Fuji shook his head, "I was just wondering if you were going to watch the matches and if you did, which match will it be?" Ryoma should have seen it coming. "Well, I won't be watching any of the two since I know who will win in the end. Tezuka-bucho and Yukimura-bucho are sure to win their matches even without me watching." He explained and stood up.
"Fu- Syuusuke-sempai…" Ryoma called which made Fuji freeze in his spot. It was the first time Ryoma used his first name. And Fuji had never heard his name being spoken the way Ryoma did. "W-what is it, Echizen?" he asked back. It was the first time, Fuji actually stammered. It didn't happen too often and it obviously didn't happen when facing a freshman, no matter how attractive and amazing the said freshman was. Ryoma didn't really notice the stutter, "Why were you following Shinji and me?" he asked directly.
Fuji didn't answer directly. It wasn't something that should be taken and answered lightly because how Fuji answered was going to be the breaking point in which he would know if he had a chance with Echizen or not. "To be honest, it was mostly Atobe's idea. Though I came along and watched, I merely followed to take notes of the things you like and do not like. Yukimura and I suggested even to not follow at all but Atobe was persistent." He explained. Ryoma listened carefully. He knew that his sempai wouldn't lie to him so he nodded and let the whole thing slide.
"I don't like people following me around. I was on a date and I hoped that you, Yukimura-bucho, and Monkey King would have respected that. But maybe I was expecting too much." Ryoma said monotonously. He walked away, leaving his sempai to think of what he did and understand how much Ryoma valued his privacy, even if he had announced the whole date thing.
After nearly an hour, Ryoma heard from Kintaro that Tezuka and Yukimura won their matches. He simply nodded and listened to the things Kintaro was sharing. "Oh by the way, Choutaro and I will be having lunch with Josei Shonan. Do you want to join us?" Ryoma asked which got an excited nod from the red head. "Alright then. We'll head there after my match. Do you want to watch?" he asked again. "Ne Ryoma, you didn't have to ask if I wanted to watch or not. I would have watched even if you told me not to." Kintaro said with a smile.
Ryoma smiled and led the pair to the court where his match was going to be held. Tachibana was already there and turned to him. "Let's have a good match, Echizen." Said the captain. Ryoma smiled and nodded. Almost everyone was torn inside. They didn't know whether to go and watch Atobe's match with Gin of Shitenhoji or Ryoma's match with Tachibana. Choutaro however was there, watching Ryoma entering the court. It was the one memory Choutaro wanted before he had to face Fuji Syuusuke after lunch.
Ryoma could see Choutaro watching him closely. He didn't know why but Ryoma felt comforted that the blond would rather watch him play than prepare himself for his match with Fuji. He and Tachibana shook hands and went to their places. It was Tachibana's serve and Ryoma was ready. There was no way he was going to lose.
Kintaro, the Tanaka twins, Taichi, Choutaro and probably more than half of the whole tournament participants were watching Ryoma's match. There was no way Ryoma was going to lose this match. Tachibana was a noted opponent and that underestimating him would be dangerous. Tachibana kept his service game yet Ryoma managed to score two points. Ryoma's service was next and he wasn't going to go easy. He did a Twist Serve right off but Tachibana returned it. However Ryoma wasn't giving up that easy. He managed to learn Kintaro's Super Ultra Great Delicious Mountain Storm which made the red head proud and excited.
The match was long and reached nearly lunch. And despite the odds, Ryoma managed to win 7-6. Tachibana was panting still when Kamio and Shinji helped their captain off the court. Momo rushed in and gather Ryoma as well. "That match was amazing, Echizen." Momo complimented as he carried his friend to the first aid tent. Taichi and the rest were ready and helped clean Ryoma's scratches and wounds. While being fussed by his peers, Choutaro came with a can of Ponta and a smile. "Great game, Ryoma. Here, I'm sure you would like one. Atobe-san won his match against Gin-san though everyone still wonders how he did." Choutaro said as he took a seat in front of Ryoma.
"Well, Monkey King would never want to lose after losing to me. He would have given everything he got just to win." Ryoma said and opened his drink. "Thanks for this, Choutaro." He added after taking a sip. Just as he was done being bandaged up, Kintaro came with a smile. "Ryoma! You're match was great! You even used my move! I didn't know what I looked like but now I do!" he said excitedly. Taichi smiled as well, seeing the red head so happy. "It's lunch time now. Do we head over to Josei Shonan?" Kintaro asked as he tilted his head.
Ryoma nodded, "Yup, we can go now. The freshmen trio had already left, leaving Taichi to bandage Ryoma. "Taichi, come join us." Ryoma invited as he stood up. Taichi liven up and nodded, "I'd love too. Thank you for inviting me along." He said. Ryoma just smiled and exited the tent with Choutaro and the other two behind them.
When they reached the area Josei Shonan was occupying, "I hope you don't mind me bringing along some people." Ryoma said as he stopped before the members of Josei Shonan. The twins were already wearing the shirt Ryoma gave them. Ryoma turned to Taichi who was also wearing the shirt he had given him. The Yamabuki freshman blushed and Kintaro laughed with glee. "Not at all. The more the merrier." Said Wakato as he waved the guests to find their spots.
Lunch was interesting to say the least. Ryoma was sitting between Renji and Choutaro and across Kajimoto who was sitting next to Wakato. The twins were with Taichi, Dan, Oota, and Daichi. The coach of Josei was having lunch with the other coaches which relieved everyone since she would probably try to convince Ryoma to transfer to Josei Shonan again. "Echizen-kun, the match you had earlier with Tachibana was inspiring. I honestly thought that he was going to win." Kajimoto said with a smiled.
"Well, it even felt that way too. But I knew that if I lost here, it would discourage me. Besides, nearly everyone was watching. I couldn't just let Tachibana-bucho win now could I." Ryoma said with his usual tone. Kajimoto laughed, "You're right. It would have been discouraging to lose to Tachibana after winning against Yukimura. And thank you once again for giving the twins those shirts." Ryoma shook his head, "It was nothing. I bought one for Taichi and Kintaro as well. I wish I remembered Oota-sempai back then." Kajimoto smiled. Truly Ryoma was one of a kind.
"Good luck on you match with Fuji, Otori-kun." Wakato said as he turned to the Hyotei blond. Renji turned to him, "Do you think you'll be able to win?" he asked. Choutaro took a deep breath, "Well, I think I might have a chance. But we can never really tell for sure. All I'm sure off is that I would give everything I have to give him one match he would never forget." Choutaro answered with a smile. "From what I heard, you're a doubles player right? What made you decide to join the singles division?" Wakato asked this time. Choutaro turned to smile at him, "Well, I wanted the experience. And I wanted to prove to someone that I can win on my own." This surprised Wakato and Renji.
"Do you plan to win against Fuji?" Wakato asked again. Choutaro took a very swift glance at Ryoma who was busy talking to Kajimoto. "I have to win. Someone told me that if I didn't win, he was going to be very mad at me." He said with a smile which made Wakato smile. He knew instantly whom Choutaro meant.
Renji saw the glance and knew instantly that Choutaro was doing everything he could for Echizen. And with that, he decided that he wasn't going to pursue the special freshman. He was sure that he and the whole team was considered Ryoma's friends. It was better than nothing.
The whole lunch period was peaceful and relaxing. The coaches decided to have the last two remaining matches half an hour after lunch. And the finals would be held the next day. This time, the coaches were going to be the ones who would pair the final set of players.
Choutaro excused himself and went back to the Hyotei corner to prepare himself for his match. Ryoma watched him leave, not knowing Kintaro, the twins, Kajimoto, and Wakato were looking at him. "You know what Ryoma, you and Choutaro-sempai make a good pair." Kintaro said calmly which stunned Ryoma, not really noticing the comment made. "Kin-chan is right, Echizen." Said Youhei. "You both compliment each other." Added Kouhei which made Ryoma blushed. "We do not." Ryoma bluffed, trying to get rid of his stubborn blush. "Hate to be honest, but their right. You might not see it right now but you will soon." Wakato said and winked. Kajimoto simply nodded in agreement.
Ryoma didn't really listen to them. The extended lunch break ended and Choutaro's match with Fuji was going to be done together with Kirihara's match with Shiraishi. Ryoma went to the vending machine and bought a can of Ponta but instead of drinking it, he just brought it with him and went to the court were Choutaro was going to have a match with Fuji.
Choutaro and Fuji saw Ryoma standing behind the fence, he was going to watch their last match. And knowing this fact, both were more determined than ever to show Ryoma that they would give it everything they have. Choutaro turned to look at Ryoma once last time before Fuji was signaled to do his serve, "This is for you." He mouthed which made Ryoma blush as he gripped the fence tighter.
Fuji didn't waste any moment because he immediately used his disappearing serve and from memory, Choutaro remembered that serve from when the tensai fought against Jirou. Even if Choutaro was fast, he couldn't get near enough to hit the ball before it disappeared. Ryoma was worried for Choutaro. Oishi, Eiji, Momo, and Kaidoh noticed Ryoma's every move and facial expression. They knew from those alone, their rookie had fallen for Otori Choutaro of Hyotei.
The match progressed and Fuji didn't give Choutaro any chance to relax. However, it wasn't a problem because Choutaro was giving it his all. Ryoma gave Choutaro a reassuring smile whenever they went for a break. Even Fuji noticed. Tezuka, Atobe, and Yukimura too. Ryoma left the match before it could even end. He couldn't watch because he was too worried. He just kept hoping that Choutaro was going to be alright.
Half an hour had passed and Ryoma still hadn't heard anything about Choutaro's match. Then Kintaro came running with the Tanaka twins. "Ryoma! Ryoma!" Kintaro yelled which made Ryoma turned and look more worried than ever. "What is it Kintaro? What's wrong?" Ryoma asked quickly. "Echizen-kun! It's about Otori-sempai!" said Youhei. This made Ryoma lose color, "What happened to Choutaro?" he asked facing the twins. "Otori-sempai is in the first aid tent." Informed Kouhei.
Without warning, Ryoma ran off, not seeing the smirks on the face of the three he left behind.
When he got there, the other players gave way and allowed Ryoma to enter the tent. "Where's Choutaro?" he asked as patient and as calmly as he possibly could. The freshmen trio gave way and showed a resting Choutaro. Everyone began to clear out to give them some privacy.
They were finally alone and Ryoma no longer even cared if Choutaro won or not. "Are you alright? Where did you get those wounds? How do you feel?" Ryoma asked as he looked Choutaro over. This made the blond smile, "I'm fine, Ryoma. I really am." He said as he held Ryoma's face softly. Ryoma held Choutaro's hand that was on his cheek. "I'm just glad that your alright, Choutaro." Ryoma said as he smiled at the other boy. "Oh, by the way Ryoma…" Choutaro began. "What is it?" Ryoma asked.
A/N: Read and review, my good people. You reviews matter to me! ^_^