Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis. And the part where I tried to explain about Ryoma being a hermaphrodite...Some of it I just made up, and it's not accurate so don't kill me. I'm not a medic student, and I always hated Biology so yeah...don't kill me for the not accurate explanation.
Notes: Hi there~ I know it's been almost two months since I last updated. I have a very good reason for that...or not. I was in a slump after my finals ended, and it was really hard for me to complete this chapter. But alas, I finally finished it, and extra long too...haha So yeah, enjoy~ :D
The start of the story (prologue): 5 years after the anime/ 2010 (1st quarter of the chapter), 3 years after the 1st quarter/ 2013 (2nd quarter of the chapter), 2 years after the 2nd quarter/ 2015 (final quarter of the chapter)
Present time (chapter 1-?): 13 years after the final quarter/ 2028
Time difference: US - England: 5 hours/ England - Japan: 8 hours/ US - Japan: 13 hours
Summer vacation: US - June - September/ Japan: late July - late August
One week has passed since the start of the camp, and it was now Monday all over again. The middle school participants were given a free period after lunch, and the coaches has designed a few activities for them. Of course, participation for those activities wasn't compulsory. And that was how Chiyo found herself alone with a bunch of crowd and two coaches, waiting to go for their mountain hike. Despite loving tennis, and running, Caitlyn didn't have much passion for hiking, and flatly refused Chiyo's invitation to participate in the hiking activity. All the other members of her school tennis team also refused, preferring to do some other activities.
She grinned when she saw three familiar boys from Seigaku. The coach had asked them to be in a group of four, and even though she didn't mind being with people she's not familiar with but she'd rather spend the evening with someone she knows. "Imai-kun," she called out.
The dark-haired boy, Imai Arata looked up and smiled. "Ah, Chiyo-chan. Are you here for the hike as well?" Him and Chiyo were in the same Group B, and they often talked to each other if they were both in the common room, since Arata wasn't fluent in English, and Chiyo missed talking to someone in Japanese.
"Yeah," she replied. "Can I join your group?" She grinned at the other two boys and greeted, "It's been awhile, Tezuka-kun, Miyazaki-kun."
"Yeah, it has. Not that we didn't bump into one another during dinner, but that's different from a real conversation and…" Realizing he was babbling, Yuuma decided to keep his mouth shut. He glared at his best friend. "You were supposed to stop me when I babble," Yuuma hissed at Takuya.
She giggled, "That's cute." If Arata and Takuya weren't looking at Chiyo with raised eyebrows, they would notice the faint blush on Yuuma's face.
"Anyways, I didn't know you and Echizen-san are on first name basis," Takuya told Arata.
"Well, Chiyo hated being called by her surname and insisted we call her by her given name."
"And so, that goes for both of you too," she added in. "Besides I was born and raised in America. No one calls me by my surname, at least no one my age." Takuya and Yuuma both nodded, accepting her answer. "So, can I or can I not join the three of you?"
"We wouldn't mind," Yuuma replied, "But won't you prefer to be in the same group as your friends instead?"
"Caitlyn hates hiking, and the other Bezarius girls decided to do something else," she answered. "Besides, this gives an opportunity to speak in Japanese with someone else other than Caitlyn and Imai-kun."
Arata made a mock-hurt expression. "Are you saying I'm boring?"
"Yes, I believe I did," she snickered.
Before anyone else could retort, one of the coaches whistled, signaling that they were about to start the hike.
Takuya took long steps to match Chiyo's, while Yuuma and Arata were a few feet behind them. It would be better that way, Takuya thought because he decided to ask Chiyo a personal question.
"Hey, Chiyo," he said.
"Hmm?" the dark-haired girl replied, her eyes never leaving the trails in front of her.
"If I ask you this personal question, would you promise not to snap at me?"
"Depends," Chiyo said, turning to Takuya for a while as she answered before returning her gaze to what's in front of her.
"Why is there no mentions about you in articles about Echizen Ryoma?" He noticed Chiyo stiffened a bit before answering.
"Because my dad thought that is none of the world's business," the dark-haired girl giggled. "Besides, there's some…circumstances of my birth, he didn't want the media to know." Like how both my parents are men, and my dad gave birth to me.
He nodded. He knew it was probably to keep the press from finding out that Echizen Ryoma was married to a man, and he was the one who gave birth to Chiyo. And myself, he added as an afterthought.
"Why the sudden interest in my personal life anyways?" Chiyo asked curiously.
"It just surprised me, that's all. I admired Echizen Ryoma for a long time now, and then, I never knew he has a daughter. And the same age as me too." It wasn't a lie, he was genuinely surprised, but it wasn't the truth either.
Chiyo laughed. "Next you'll tell me we have the same birth date," she said jokingly, before reaching for her bottle.
"I was born on 20th August," he told her, causing the poor girl to choke on her drink. Alarmed, Takuya started rubbing her back.
When her coughing fit stopped, Chiyo turned to Takuya, "You're joking, right?" He gave her a look, which made her mutter, "Right, you're not joking." She smacked her cheeks lightly with her hands. "Wow, that is freaky. We look the same, and we have the same golden amber eyes, the same height, and the same birthday." She chuckled. "This reminds me of an old American movie where a pair of separated twins met one another at camp."
That is most probably what we're going through too, he wanted to say, but instead, he told her with a smile, "What's the possibility of that happening?"
"Yeah, you're right."
Not long after, Yuuma and Arata came to tell them that the coaches asked everyone to gather. It was time to return to the castle for dinner. Takuya helped Chiyo up on her feet. Then, once they were back at the castle, she invited Takuya, Yuuma and Arata to eat dinner together, as a thank you for letting her tag along with the group.
"Caitlyn, do you want me to open it?" Connor asked. After his match with a representative from Germany, he returned to the castle with Caitlyn. While they were walking, he had given her an official envelope. It was the test result.
"It's okay," the redhead said as she carefully opened the sealed document. She stopped in her tracks after she finished reading the document. Her boyfriend looked at her curiously.
"How was it?"
She turned her attention from the piece of paper to the boy next to her. Eyes wide, she told him, "It appears that Chiyo is not an only child."
Caitlyn snapped out of her thoughts when voices two familiar voices filled Group A's common room. From the couch, she could see Takuya and Yuuma coming down from the boys' dormitory. When they saw her, they immediately went to her.
"We heard you were looking for me," Takuya said.
The redhead nodded her head. "I received the test result."
Takuya's breath hitched when he heard Caitlyn's announcement. He was very sure that him and Chiyo were siblings, but it didn't mean he couldn't be worried at the same time. "What did it say?" he asked.
After leaving the two boys in a few minutes of suspense, she broke into a smile and gave Takuya a hug, "Welcome to the family, cousin."
Takuya let out a relieved breath. "Oh, thank god. I was afraid that all these years, I might have my facts wrong, that all these were just coincidences."
After she pulled away, she asked, "What do you mean?"
"Fuji Syuusuke, my neighbor and Yuuma's uncle, would sometimes tell us stories about the Seigaku tennis team during his time, and indirectly telling us about Ryoma and my dad," Takuya explained. "Fuji-san never told me Echizen Ryoma is my dad, of course. Apparently, all of the people who knew about Chiyo and I were sworn to secrecy. But it wasn't hard to put two and two together when Fuji-san showed us the pictures of the old team."
Caitlyn nodded. "Grandpa did the same thing too. Well, actually he outright pointed out who Chiyo's other parent was, but he never told us his name." She smiled remembering all the moments she joined her grandfather and cousin for the storytelling sessions. Remembering the task at hand, she asked, "Now, how are we going to break the news to Chiyo?"
Chiyo gave her cousin an amused smile when she saw Caitlyn, along with Takuya and Yuuma, walking to the table Arata and her vacated. "I thought you're going to have dinner with your boyfriend and his friends."
"You made me sound like I abandon you for Connor every dinnertime," Caitlyn made a face.
The dark-haired girl giggled. "Come on, place your things on the seat next to mine and you can go and get your dinner," she instructed, while motioning at the buffet tables' direction.
Caitlyn did as instructed, but before she went to take some food for dinner, she whispered to Chiyo, "I need to talk to you in private after you're done with dinner." Before Chiyo could ask about what, Caitlyn stood up and joined Takuya and Yuuma at one of the buffet tables.
Despite her curiosity, dinner went on merrily. She didn't ask Caitlyn anything more about what she wanted to talk about. She figured that Caitlyn wouldn't answer anything in front of everyone else since the redhead requested a private talk. In the middle of dinner, Hayato, Masami, and some of the girls from Bezarius joined them. Issa and Gabby knew enough Japanese that they didn't need the two Echizen girls to translate for them.
After Chiyo and Caitlyn were done with dinner, Caitlyn excused them from the table, leaving Issa and Gabby in the company of Takuya, Yuuma, Hayato, Arata and Masami. Caitlyn dragged her to the sitting parlor not far from the dining hall. As soon as they were both seated, she gave her cousin an amused smile.
"So, what's the what, cuz?" she asked.
"Well, it is something that would change your life forever."
She raised her eyebrow at Caitlyn. "What's with the dramatic suspense?"
"What if I tell you that you have an older twin brother?" the redhead asked.
She laughed. "I would say you're joking. If I have a brother, I would've known. Dad would've told me."
"But he didn't."
"Dad wouldn't. He wouldn't…" When she saw the look Caitlyn was giving her, she knew her cousin was telling the truth. In a soft voice, she asked, "Why would he hide it from me?"
"I don't know. Maybe he didn't want you to get hurt," Caitlyn answered, while reaching out for Chiyo's hand, taking her cousin's hand in her own.
After a moment of silence, she sniffed and rubbed her eyes with her free hand. She chuckled, without the humor in it, and said, "Oh god, I can't believe daddy kept such a big secret from me." Then, that small chuckle turned into a big laugh. She didn't know why, but this situation just tickled her. Caitlyn, on the other hand, was beginning to feel worried. When her laughter died down, she asked, "It's Takuya, isn't it?" She may not be a genius, but their similarities are too much to be a coincidence.
Caitlyn firmly nodded her head. The redhead was about to say something, when Chiyo cut in.
"Gosh," she shook her head. "This is too much for one night. I'm going to take a walk. See you tomorrow." Caitlyn could only watch as her cousin left the library for the castle grounds.
Chiyo went to the one place she loved the most in the castle, the gazebo in the flower garden. She loved sitting there sometimes. The cool air and flowers scent calms her down. After choosing a comfortable spot, where she could lean against the pillar, she took out her cell phone. She contemplating on calling someone, hesitating a few times because of the time difference but in the end, her need to talk prompted her to call him nonetheless.
She held her breath when the no one answered after a while but sighed in relief when a familiar voice answered just as she was about to hang up. "Ren, I'm so glad you answered," she exclaimed.
"Do you know how early it is right now?" Ren asked her from the other side of the line, but she could detect the amusement in his voice.
"I knew you were already up, early bird," she teased. She knew of Ren's habit, or 'evil' habit as she used to call them. She heard Ren chuckled and the sound of bed creaking and something being moved. Ren probably went to sit on a chair or something, she deduced.
"Is something wrong?" Ren asked. Chiyo always wondered how he could see right through her.
"Why does something has to be wrong for me to call you?" she asked, faking a giggle but she knew she couldn't fool him. Finally, she gave up and asked, "How did you do that?"
"You're my best friend, I know you. You wouldn't call me in the middle of the night or early in the morning if it's nothing important."
She couldn't help but smile. That was true. Other than her family, Ren knows her best. Suddenly, she felt a lump in her throat. "I missed you so much." She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes. Ren didn't reply, instead he waited for her to continue. "If you were here, you'd know what to do."
"Mind telling me what it is that's troubling you?" There was the sound of bed creaking, and the chair being pulled.
There was a pang of loneliness when she heard Ren's familiar sweet and concerned voice. Until today, she didn't realize just how much she missed her best friend. "There's nothing troubling me." She heard him sigh, and she bet he had run his hand through his hair too, something Ren always did whenever she wouldn't tell him something.
"Chiyo…" Ren only said her name, but his tone spoke volumes.
"You could always make me tell you even when I didn't want to."
"You're my best friend after all." If she were in the same room as Ren, she would be able to see the lopsided grin that appeared on the older teen's face.
"Yeah," she smiled. After a pause, she asked, "What would you do if you found out someone you trust hid something important from you? Something that involves your life too."
"I would be angry and hurt at first, but after, I would want to know why. There might be a reason why the person did what he or she did. He or she might think that keeping it from you would prevent you from getting hurt…or something."
"How could you be so rational all the time?" she chuckled.
"Because I'm your voice of reason," he joked. This time Chiyo laughed out loud. It had always been their personal joke; every member of the Echizen family and Momoshiro couples would tease them with that. Ren was relieved that Chiyo was laughing. "Are you okay now, Chiyo?"
"Yeah, I am. I love you for always making me feel better when I'm down. Thank you."
Ren knew that Chiyo meant it as a best friend, but his heart still skipped a beat when she said 'I love you'. Regaining his composure, he replied, "You're welcome."
"I really do miss you, you know? If you're still attending Bezarius, you would be at this camp too right now."
"I know." When he saw the clock on his study table, he teased, "Shouldn't we stop the conversation here, Chiyo? Your dad might get a heart attack when he receives your phone bills."
When Chiyo realized how long they've talked, she gasped. "Oh god, dad would kill me." It had been half an hour or so since Ren picked up, and furthermore, this was an international call. Yup, daddy's gonna kill her. So, they exchanged a quick goodbye, and Chiyo hung up.
After the call ended, Ren returned to his bed. He lay there with one arm under his head. Although Chiyo was feeling better, he still worried. He wondered what it was all about? What had made Chiyo so upset? Who was the one Chiyo was referring to? What was the big secret Chiyo found? He wondered briefly if it has something to do with Chiyo's dad or the suspicions he had about Takuya.
Ren groaned and rolled to his side. All those questions with no answers made his head hurt. And he couldn't do anything about it because snooping around about this matter would make his dad mad. He sat up and sighed. "I'll just go for a run then," he muttered to himself.
Takuya was sitting on the marble floor outside Group B's common room, waiting for Chiyo. After Caitlyn told him what happened, he immediately went in search for his sister. Not knowing where to search, he went to Group B's common room. Chiyo wasn't there but one of her roommate was, so he asked the girl from Rikkaidai to check if Chiyo was in the dorm room. After the girl told him Chiyo wasn't there, he decided to wait outside the common room instead. It would be curfew soon, so Chiyo should turn up sooner or later.
"Aren't you cold, sitting on the stone floor?"
Upon hearing the familiar voice, he turned his gaze towards the voice and there she was, his sister, standing in front of him.
"Were you waiting for me?"
He had so many things to say to her but now that she was finally here, his throat suddenly dried up. Not trusting his voice, he just nodded as a reply.
"I assumed Caitlyn told you what happened during the big revelation?"
He nodded again. This time, Chiyo narrowed her eyes at him, and her lips twitched downwards.
"You know, I feel silly talking to an expressionless statue."
"Sorry," he replied quickly, not wanting to offend his newfound sister.
Chiyo gave him a grin, "Now, that wasn't so bad, was it?"
He offered her a small smile, "No, it wasn't."
Suddenly, there was an awkward silence, and if Takuya didn't have self-control, he would probably be fidgeting right now. Fortunately for him, Chiyo spoke up.
"When I ran out on Caitlyn earlier, it didn't mean I hate you or hate the idea of you being my brother. I was just shocked and surprised. It's not everyday that I found out my dad hid the fact that I have a twin brother," the dark-haired girl explained.
"I understand," he said. "I was surprised too when you told me you were Echizen Ryoma's daughter. I figured out Echizen Ryoma was my dad a few years ago but I didn't know about you. When I found out he has a daughter my age, it was confusing. Thankfully Caitlyn heard the conversation I had with Yuuma. We put two and two together, but Caitlyn was the one who confirmed our suspicions by insisting on doing the DNA test."
Chiyo chuckled. "Yeah, that sure sounds like Caitlyn. Always with the facts before jumping to conclusions." Then, without warning, she smacked Takuya's arm, enough to leave a bruise.
"Hey, what was that for?" he exclaimed, frowning at his sister while rubbing the sore spot on his arm.
"That's for not telling me earlier. You could've have saved time and most probably Connor's money, who might be the person who offered to take care of the DNA test thing for Caitlyn, if you just told me. I took a photo of our dads wedding with me, so we could have verify everything with that."
Takuya's eyes blinked a lot that Chiyo wasn't sure if it was healthy. "I didn't think of that." He mentally kicked himself. "I have a photo of them too, well not really a wedding photo but… A person would have to be blind not to notice something going on between them. They were trying to be discreet but Fuji-san managed to capture the moment."
"Fuji-san, as in the former Seigaku sadist with the triple counter, Fuji Syuusuke?"
"Actually, it was not the triple counter anymore, but yeah, that's him." He looked at her, confused. "How did you know him?"
"Grandpa would often tell us stories of the time dad was a member of the Seigaku regulars."
"I see," he said. When he noticed the time on his wristwatch, he said, "I really wanted to talk to you more, but it would be curfew soon." When, Chiyo saw the time, she inwardly whined. She wanted to talk more to her brother too. "Want to sit together for breakfast tomorrow?"
Chiyo's face brightened at the idea. "That would be nice." Then, she pulled him in a bear hug. "Although I am still mad with our dads at the moment, but I'm glad to found out I have a twin. Welcome to the family," she said before giving Takuya a peck on the cheek. After exchanging goodnights, the siblings went their separate ways.
All Ryoma wanted to do when he returned home was to soak in the bathtub filled with lukewarm water and maybe try out his new bath salt. His body was sore, which was a given because of his crazy training menu. He wanted to defend his title as the Grand Slam champion, so if crazy training menus was what he needed, he would do it without complains.
However, when he went to the kitchen to grab a Ponta, he didn't count on Izumi being there, helping his mother out. They were talking animatedly while chopping some onions and other ingredients to make dinner. His mother saw him first.
"Ryoma," Rinko said, "Welcome home."
"Tadaima," he mumbled as he opened the refrigerator and took his drink. "What are you doing here?" he asked Izumi.
Before Izumi could answer, Rinko answered for her, "Izumi was visiting her parents, and I bumped into her at the grocery store and she helped me out. So, I invited her over for dinner."
"It's not going to be a problem, would it?" Izumi asked, giving Ryoma a smile.
Instead of answering, Ryoma just left and went upstairs. Rinko shook her head and muttered, "I swear I raised him better then that. I wonder what wrong with him today?"
"Yeah," Izumi said. Fortunately, Rinko's back was facing her so the older woman didn't see the look in her eyes. She knew what was bothering Ryoma. It happened a few days after she bumped into Ryoma at the nightclub. She found Ryoma drunk in a bar, and took him to her apartment. She knew she should have stopped Ryoma when they started making out. Ryoma was drunk and she shouldn't have taken advantage of the situation but she was weak. She had always wanted to make love with Ryoma during the time they were going out, but Ryoma had always refused.
After they did the deed, she found out why, or at least part of the reason why Ryoma always refused to have sex. Ryoma was born different, which according to research, was called a true hermaphrodite. It wasn't proven yet, but some research said that it was caused by the mutation of the chromosomes, which led to the abnormalities of the sex chromosomes. In Ryoma's case, he was born with the two genders part. When she confronted Ryoma about it the next morning, Ryoma was furious. She told him that she didn't care, but Ryoma wouldn't listen to any of it. After Ryoma left her apartment, she never bumped into him anymore. According to Kevin, Ryoma has buried himself in training.
Izumi was snapped back to reality when Rinko nudged her softly. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"
"Could you help me prepare the chicken katsu?"
Izumi replied with a nod, and went to grab some bowls, flour, eggs, breadcrumbs and seasoning for the chicken.
Meanwhile, Ryoma was already in his room, preparing the bath. He silently thanked his mom once more for renovating his room too when she did Ryoga's. Right now, he really appreciated having a bathroom to himself. He wanted to take a bath in peace, soaking himself in the calming water. And he didn't want to be disturbed by someone knocking on the door.
After the tub was three quarter filled with water, he entered the tub. He gave a blissful sigh when he lowered himself into the water, up to the upper parts of his face so that he could breathe.
'Why did mom has to invite Izumi over for dinner?' he thought grudgingly. He was doing a pretty good job avoiding his ex-girlfriend by locking himself at home, at the tennis court or at the gym.
When he was still in a relationship with Izumi three years ago, they never went pass second base. It was not because he wasn't ready to tell Izumi about his condition, he didn't want Izumi to see all of him. Kunimitsu was the only who could see everything, and he wanted it to stay that way. Despite always denying it, he still and would always love Kunimitsu. Making love with another person made him feel like he betrayed their memories, betrayed Kunimitsu, although he knew he didn't do anything wrong. Kunimitsu and him are divorced. But it still made him feel dirty.
He didn't remember what prompted him to drink like that, being drunk and losing control. He hated himself that day. It would be better if Izumi freaked out when she found out he was a hermaphrodite, but she didn't. If Izumi freaked out, she would definitely leave him alone.
He sighed, bringing himself back to reality. Why was he thinking about that anyways? The main purpose of the bath was to relax and not think of anything. He took a deep breath and sink completely under the water.
Ryoma groaned as he went out of his bathroom. He knew he had lost track of time. He was half naked, with a towel wrapped around the lower part of his body, and another towel wrapped around his head when someone knocked on his door. His mistake was not checking who was on the other side of the door first. His eyes widened slightly when he saw Izumi.
"Still looks delicious, I see," Izumi said, trying to sound casual.
"Good to know," he replied. Then, he raised an eyebrow, "So what can I do for you?"
"Dinner is ready."
He nodded. "Give me a sec to get dressed." However, before Ryoma could shut the door, Izumi stepped inside the room. A frown appeared on his face. "If you don't mind, of course."
"I didn't regret having sex with you that day," Izumi exclaimed.
"I never said you did."
"Then why are you avoiding me? And don't say you're not, because I know your routine for the last few days. Kevin told me," she added before Ryoma could say anything.
"He did, did he?" In his mind, Ryoma was visualizing how to kill a certain blond pro tennis player, who happened to be one of his best friend.
Izumi ignored the look in Ryoma's eyes and said, "I don't care if you're a hermaphrodite, you know? I don't care if you have extra parts. I really love you and I won't back down." He knew Izumi meant it when he saw the determined look in Izumi's eyes. "Why can't you give me a chance?" Izumi added in a soft voice, "I know you still love Chiyo's mom, but if you give me a chance, I could love you as much as she does, or more."
At the mention of Chiyo's mom, his expression hardened. "I've never taken another woman before you."
The look on Izumi's face was pure confusion. "But I thought Chiyo was your biological daughter." Then, her eyes fell on his abdomen, specifically, the horizontal scar just under his bellybutton. She wondered why she never noticed it before. It was faint, but still noticeable in contrast with Ryoma's light skin. "Y-You were the o-one who g-gave birth to C-Chiyo?" she stammered.
It was rare for him to reveal this secret to anyone, but he thought maybe this information would make Izumi back off. Besides, she wasn't the kind of person who would tell another soul about it. "I did. But I didn't carry her to term, so a C-section was performed on me."
Izumi suddenly felt light headed. She used the nearby chair as support. "I think I need to sit down for a moment," she said, and sat on the chair. "H-How is this possible?" she asked. "I mean, even if you have female reproductive system, but it should be dormant." She turned her gaze towards him. "How?" it was so soft, Ryoma could barely hear it.
He shrugged. "I don't the scientific explanation to it, but the fact was I did give birth to Chiyo." After a short pause, he continued, "I'm not a normal man, Izumi. And after my mistake last week, I realized that I might still be in love with my ex-husband, even if he already moved on with his life."
After Ryoma's revelation, Izumi knew that Ryoma was married to a man, but Ryoma saying it out loud, it was too much for her. It all happened too fast, and before she knew it, she slapped Ryoma across the face. "How could you call what happened between us last week 'a mistake'?" She was outraged. "A-And, how could you tell me that you are still in love with your ex-husband? Does it mean that y-you were still thinking about h-him when we were still together?" Izumi ran out of Ryoma's room before he could say another word.
"You are awfully happy this morning," Caitlyn exclaimed, after placing her breakfast on the table, and took a seat in front on her cousin.
"I know, and it's disgusting. This is far too early to be so excited," Issa grumbled.
Just on cue, Gabriella arrived, and placed a mug of hot, black liquid in front of her twin. "Drink your coffee and cheer up," she instructed. Issa glared at her, but drank it anyways. After slipping on the seat next to Caitlyn, Gabby looked at Chiyo. "So, what got you grinning from ear to ear?" she asked.
"I'll tell you when Takuya and his friends arrive," Chiyo exclaimed.
"Oh, so you're okay with him now?" the redhead asked, raising an eyebrow at Chiyo's direction.
Chiyo, on the other hand, ignored that gesture, and enthusiastically nodded her head, "Yup." Then, she spotted her twin, who had just taken his food, along with Yuuma, Hayato and Arata, and waved at the group.
"Good morning," the boys greeted them once they arrived at the table. "I hope you don't mind us joining your group," Takuya added in, after they have taken their seat.
"Of course not," Gabriella replied. "The more, the merrier. Besides, our other group members are busy socializing."
Caitlyn's attention returned to Chiyo. "So…" she began, "what happened last night? You were all upset when I told you the news about Takuya and now you're so happy to see him." The others who didn't know anything asked what Caitlyn was talking about, while the ones who know looked intrigued. "Well?"
"I had a talk with my voice of reason," Chiyo answered casually, before popping a grape into her mouth.
"Your voice of reason?" Yuuma asked.
It took a moment before the phrase clicked in the minds of the Bezarius girls. Issa and Gabby looked at each other with mischievous glint in their eyes, and said, "Oooh, so you called your knight in shining armor?"
The redhead took pity on their Japanese friends, and decided to end their confusion. "What Chiyo meant was, she called her best friend, Ren, who always made Chiyo think rationally. He was a former member of Bezarius boys tennis team before he moved to Japan."
"Ren… it couldn't be Momoshiro Ren, could it?" Takuya asked, remembering the older teen that he met at Taka-san's sushi shop.
"Yes, that's him. How did you know?" asked Chiyo.
"Ren's dad was otou-san's former teammate in middle school and high school. We met when they came for the monthly gathering at Taka-san's sushi shop."
Chiyo mentally kicked herself for not making the connection. "Wow, this is such a small world."
"Anyways, that aside, what was Caitlyn talking about?" Issa demanded. "It's not fair that we're the only ones who didn't know what you were talking about." Gabby just nodded, and Arata said, "I agree."
"Chiyo, Takuya," the half-Japanese said, "It's your story to tell."
When everyone at the table turned their attention to Chiyo and Takuya, the dark-haired girl mumbled, "Well, you see, Takuya is my long lost twin brother."
"I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I think I heard you wrong," Issa said.
"Chiyo and I are twins," Takuya replied firmly. Gasped could be heard from Issa and Gabby while questions came from Arata.
"But…I thought you have a dad," Arata said to Takuya. Then, he looked at Chiyo, "And you have a different dad. How could you be twins?"
"Well, my dad is Takuya's dad, and Takuya's otou-san in mine too," Chiyo tried to explain.
A chorus of 'What?' came from Arata, Gabriella and Issa. To make matters worse, Hayato helped explaining. "Tezuka Kunimitsu, Takuya's and Echizen Ryoma were high school sweethearts and married each other in October 2013."
Arata started sputtering incoherent nonsense, while the Lantéli twins narrowed their eyes at Hayato. "That's not possible, you know. Unless they are adopted or something."
"And how did you get an accurate date of my dad's wedding anyways?" Takuya frowned.
"I found my dad's data book," Hayato answered with a shrug.
Before things went out of hand, Chiyo whistled so that everyone's attention returned to her. With a more serious tone, she asked, "Would you promise not to tell anyone what I am about to tell you?" She looked at Issa, Gabby and Arata. After they nodded, she continued, "My— Our dad," she corrected, placing a hand on top of Takuya's, "Echizen Ryoma, was born different. He was born with female reproductive system. Everyone thought it was dormant, until he was pregnant with us."
Arata, Issa and Gabby's eyes widened in shock. However, an unexpected person was the one who voiced out the thought that crossed their mind.
"Wow!" Michael said, shocked, as he took an empty seat beside Yuuma. "That was unexpected."
"How much did you hear?" Caitlyn asked.
"The part after Chiyo whistled."
"I don't know what to say," Gabby said, while Issa poked Arata, who was doing a pretty good impression of a goldfish. "I think you broke him," she told Chiyo.
Chiyo giggled. "Sorry about that."
After Arata swatted Issa's finger away, and the girl stuck her tongue out at him, he asked, "So, what are you planning to do now? Tell your dad that you know about each other once you returned from camp?"
"I guess so," Takuya replied. "What else could we do?" When the group from Bezarius groaned, Takuya asked, "What?"
"Princess is planning something mischievous," Michael said, pointing at the grinning Chiyo. Indeed, he was right.
"I have an idea," Chiyo exclaimed, and Takuya was almost afraid to ask what.
Once Caitlyn realized what her cousin might be thinking, she gasped. "You're not planning to switch places, are you?" Chiyo's growing smile answered her question.
"I don't think that's possible," Takuya said.
"And why not?"
"Well, you're a girl," Yuuma answered for Takuya, "with a different hair color."
"Takuya and I have the same face and the same height. Caitlyn can help with the hair, since she's really good at making customized wigs. As for our different gender," Chiyo's eyes sparkled mischievously, "I'm an A-cup so it won't be too obvious for me or Takuya and I own a lot of t-shirts and pants so Takuya doesn't have to worry about clothes."
"What about your voice differences?" Arata asked.
Chiyo mentally hit herself. She didn't think about that before. She was saved when Hayato spoke up.
"I may have a solution for that problem," Hayato said. "Recently, I was working on a project with my dad, a voice alteration device that looked like a behind-the-ear hearing aids, so that it won't be noticeable. I've perfected the device, and could modify it for both of you," he added, referring to Takuya and Chiyo.
Chiyo clasped her hands together. "That's great. Now, I'll just have to teach Takuya how to be me and all about the family, and Takuya could teach me how to be him and the family in Japan."
"Wait, I haven't agreed to this yet," Takuya stated.
Chiyo gave him her puppy dog eyes, "Please… I want to meet otou-san, and find out what happened."
Takuya sighed. He was also curious on what happened to their parents, or at least, Echizen Ryoma's part of the story. "Alright," he said. He knew he might regret it one day.
Issa and Gabriella shook their head. "You watched The Parent Trap one too many times, Chiyo," they said in unison. Chiyo just grinned in reply.
"Well, this sounds like an interesting project, so I'll help if you need me," Michael offered. He turned to the redhead. "What say you, Red Queen?"
"I have nothing better to do anyways," she answered nonchalantly, although she was pretty happy inside.
"Yay," Chiyo squealed. "How 'bout the rest of you?" she looked at the Lantéli twins, Yuuma and Arata.
"Well, since the Queen agreed…" Issa drawled out. "I guess we're in," Gabriella finished.
"I'm in as well," Yuuma said. He knew how badly Takuya wanted to meet his other parent, so if this would help his friend to achieve that, then he'll do whatever needed to help. Besides, if this means he would spend more time with Chiyo, then he didn't mind.
"This is really crazy, but I'll help out too," Arata finally said. Chiyo squealed again, this time at her new friend. She couldn't wait for her plans to be set in motion.
Notes: So what do you think? Is it okay? Or did the quality of my fic dropped? *falls dramatically to the ground* Please review~ :D