It took me a while to write this chapter since I really want to mean the title of this one. I hope you all have enjoyed this series as much as I have enjoyed writing this. I hope you continued to read my works and I hope to hear from all of you what you think.
Thanks to blueflame54 for helping with the ending and sorry that THIS ending is short. I promise to make the ending of Love That Defies longer for everyone. ^_^
DISCLAIMER: *clears throat* Despite wanting to own Prince of Tennis, I can't. I don't own it now and never will I own it.
STILL, a bit of OOCness won't kill. Don't like it? Don't read. That simple.
Chapter 18- Mother of All Endings
Ryoma was sitting patiently under their tree. He was calm and relaxed. No matter what the ending may be, Ryoma was going to be happy with it. When he told Choutaro that he ought to win it, he really didn't mean that he should. He just wanted to other to give it all his got and lose without any regrets. Now he was just waiting for the result. He knew it was going to be a long game so he wasn't in a hurry. Atobe was a mighty piece of work when it came to the court and even Ryoma knew it. The silence gave Ryoma time to reflect on the last few days that had gone by.
He had not been entirely himself. "I had gone on a date with Ibu of Fudomine, went to the amusement park with Kintaro, and I even bought shirts for a few others. I actually smile and talk to people instead of remaining quiet and sleep." He thought to himself. To Ryoma, that was so many changes within three days. No one changes that fast usually, even if they were different or famous. But then again, he was never one to be like anyone else. He was always different but in a good way. He took another sip of his Ponta as a cool breeze blew by.
Atobe and Choutaro's Game…
Atobe and Choutaro had eyed each other seriously as both were on dead heat for the spot next to Ryoma's name. Atobe wanted it to have a match with the brat and a chance to ask him out while Choutaro wanted the spot because he wanted to prove to himself and everyone how far he was willing to go just to have the golden eyed boy. Atobe was not lenient with his team member now his opponent for the moment. Atobe unleashed his World of Ice and Choutaro was doing his best to fight back. He was lucky that he knew every trick his Captain has and knew how to counter a few others.
The others outside the court were watching very carefully. This was the second to the last match they would be witnessing before the Mock Tournament ended. Tezuka, Fuji, Yukimura, Sanada, Kirihara, Kentaro, Shinji, Yuuta, and Reiji were watching more closely for different reasons. This was the last remaining pair that was after Echizen Ryoma's special attention and whoever came out as the winner would not only be playing against the said freshman for the Single's Championship but also be able to pursue the boy.
The score was now four games to five in favor of Atobe. The Seigaku trio, Kintaro, Taichi, and the Tanaka twins watched in amusement as Choutaro fight for his pride and his beloved. Only they knew aside from Ryuzaki-sensei who knew Ryoma's choice before the match even began. Kintaro was smiling as he placed his hands behind his head, "Well, at least we know he'd go this far for Ryoma." The other six boys nodded in agreement.
"I wonder if Echizen would go out with Atobe if he won." Inui asked as Renji stared out on the game. "True. Though he already knows that whoever was going to win this match is going to play against him and ask him out, there was no assurance that your freshman would even agree." The Rikkaidai Data Master pointed out. "Well, we shall have to wait and see. Yet, I have a feeling that he would probably say yes to whoever would win." Inui said with a smirk. "You mean he would go out with Ohtori-kun if he asks." Renji corrected with a smile and Inui didn't bother to answer knowing the other already understood what he meant.
An hour had gone by and before everyone's eyes, Ohtori Choutaro had managed to win against Atobe Keigo. It had shock not only the said Captain but the others as well. No one knew that Choutaro could actually beat Atobe. But a win is a win.
Atobe shook Choutaro's hand. He was tired, his hand was still trembling from all the power it received during the match yet he was satisfied. His own member had managed to beat him but Atobe wasn't as bitter as he ought to. "Maybe… Just maybe… It wasn't meant to be me." He thought to himself as he made his way to his side and nearly collapse in Oshitari's arms. Kabaji took Atobe to the first aid tent with Oshitari leading the way.
"Can someone inform Echizen that the final match will be played after lunch?" the seven freshmen nodded and left together. Then she turned back to the other players. "It shall give Ohtori-kun enough time to rest up and prepare for the final match against Echizen." She said and the boy nodded in gratitude. Sakuno and her friend Tomoka were in charge of the first aid tent that day since everyone needed to watch the last two remaining matches.
When the freshmen found Echizen (which wasn't really hard since they knew where he was to begin with), they told him who won, what Ryuzaki-sensei had instructed and left out the details of the game since they knew Ryoma wasn't going to listen to. He took a deep breath and stood up and nodded. He led them back to where the others were and was in time to run into Choutaro and the other Hyotei members. There were players from other school nearby as well as his own sempais. He looked serious and straight at Choutaro.
He walked pass him as he said, "You better not hold back." And went to where he teammates were. Choutaro was shocked at the cold warning but nodded, knowing well that Ryoma wanted to keep up his nonchalant appearance in front of everyone.
Everyone had their lunch but none were eating much with the last match in their minds. Who would win? Echizen? Or Ohtori? Were some of the questions that were on everyone's mind.
Two hours had gone by lunch was over. Everyone was gathered around Court A, watching with earnest fervor as the final two players entered the court. Echizen was looking serious as he always did however there wasn't a smirk on his face like he usually did when he was going to face someone for the decision match. "Choutaro to serve." Ryuzaki-sensei called out which made everyone more tense.
Choutaro understood what his Ryoma had told him earlier and didn't plan to hold back at all. He set his faster Neo-Scud Serve first which Ryoma even allow Ryoma to move from where he was standing. Ryoma slowly smirk, he was glad that his Choutaro took his words seriously.
(I shall skip the whole match since I know that everyone wants Ryoma to win.)
The match had ended with seven games to five. Choutaro's two hour rest had not been enough to recover and Ryoma had won their match with nearly minimum effort. Not that Choutaro was easy to beat. No. It took Ryoma a substantial amount of energy because Choutaro had not gone down without a fight.
Ryoma was congratulated by everyone and was praised by Tezuka as well. He thanked his Captain and excused himself to take a shower.
"Well, now that the whole thing is done, will Echizen choose who he likes best or will he flat out say that he doesn't out go out losers?" Mizuki asked. Some shook their heads, "If you recall Mizuki-san, Echizen went out with Ibu of Fudomine despite losing. I think Echizen would go out with those who dare ask him." Minami said as Inui kept writing in his notebook. Tezuka, Fuji, Atobe, Yukimura, Sanada, and Kirihara were looking at Yuuta, Kentaro, and Choutaro who were looking at the blushing Ibu.
The six freshmen came back after packing away everything and looked at their sempais. "Why don't you sempais just ask him if he wants to go out with you?" asked Taichi. "Or better yet, ask him who he likes rather than talking behind his back." Added Kintaro. The older players looked at them as if realizing something for the first time. "We highly doubt Echizen would appreciate being talked behind his back." The Tanaka twins said simultaneously which earned an amused whistle from Horio.
No one had noticed that Ryoma was standing behind them all with an amused smirk on his face. "Yeah, Echizen definitely doesn't like to be talked behind his back." He said which made everyone snap their attention to the freshman behind them. Some blushed while the others looked away. He walked closer to them and looked at everyone as if to say, I dare anyone to ask.
"Congratulations once again for the win, Echizen-kun." Yukimura said with a smile on his face. "Thank you, Yukimura-sempai." Ryoma said in return. Before anyone could say anything, Ryoma's cellphone rang and he answer, "Hello?... Oh, it's you, Baka Oyaji… Yeah we just finished… Of course I did… What?... Are you sure?... (blushes) I can ask… Alright. We'll be there." He said as he placed his phone back inside his pocket. "Ne, Ryoma… Why the sudden blush?" asked Kintaro with a huge teasing smile on his face. Ryoma scowled a little then sighed.
"My father called to ask if I had won the tournament and I said yeah. Then he told me that my mom was preparing a special dinner for me and wanted me home." He said. It was Inui and Renji who knew immediately that that wasn't all. "But that doesn't explain the blush, Echizen." Inui pointed out that earned him a glare from the freshman. "It's not really any of your business but he asked me to bring someone along." He said as he shifted his bag on his shoulder.
Choutaro's eyes discreetly widen as he wondered if Ryoma's father was asking for him. Atobe cleared his throat which got everyone's attention. "Well, before you leave, Ore-sama wants to ask in behalf of everyone who you chose and would you tell us who had the nerves of steel to confess to you first?" he said with his usual high and mighty voice. Ryoma smirked and wondered if he ought to tell. "Well, what would any of you gain if you find out?" he asked them which made everyone look at everyone else.
It took a few moments before someone spoke up, Yukimura in fact. "Well, we wanted to know simply to satisfy our curiosity and find out who you had taken a liking to." He said with a smile. "Is this the same person your father is asking you to bring to dinner?" asked Taichi. Ryoma nodded once with a smirk still. "So this person and the person who had confessed first are the same person?" asked Renji which earned them another nod. The others began to think. "Is this someone who had lost at the beginning of the tournament?" asked Mizuki who was thinking of Ibu. Ryoma shook his head. The others were shocked, it wasn't Ibu.
"Any more guesses?" Ryoma asked. "Is this person a senior?" asked Kentaro which Ryoma shook his head in answer. "Is he a freshman?" asked Kamio who was merely joining in the game of "Guess Who". Ryoma shook his head. "So it's junior then." Renji said as a fact. Ryoma nodded. "Won't you just tell us who?" asked Yuuta. Ryoma shook his head, "Where would the fun be if I did so?" he said with an amused tone. "If you have no more guesses, I shall go ahead now." He added as he took a step back from the circle.
"Very well, be careful as you head home." Fuji said with a smile on his face. It didn't matter anymore who it was that Echizen liked. As long as his kohai was alright, then he was glad. They all began to walk to the gates with Ryoma and the six freshmen talking to him. The Hyotei bus was waiting outside and the members began to get on. It was Shiraishi of Shitenhoji who noticed that Choutaro had not entered the bus. He asked why and everyone turned to looked at the smiling junior, "Well, I was invited to dinner so I'll be going somewhere else." He said as he took his bag and went to where Ryoma was waiting for him.
Everyone else's eyes widen in shock. Ryoma actually smiled softly as Choutaro took the freshman's hand and both began to walk away.
Inui and Renji smiled at each other as the six freshmen did. They knew it was going to be Choutaro in the end. Atobe, Kirihara, Yuuta, Ibu, Kamio, Ryu, Gakuto, the Kisarazu twins, and the coaches just stood there staring at the two who were walking away hand in hand with smiles on their faces, contented with everything around them.
A/N: And that ends THIS series! Read and review, my good people. You reviews matter to me! Watch out for a follow up story of the Ryoma Death Series entitled "Told You We'll Meet Again". ^_^