Chapter 1: The Regulars
Seishun Gakuen's Tennis Club was having an overhaul of players as well. Much like Rikkai's new team, Seigaku's regular line-up comprised of mostly freshmen, offspring of the legendary Seigaku tennis club team who first won the National Tournament.
The newly appointed freshman captain was one of Tezuka and Fuji's twin sons, Tezuka Kunisuke. For the most part, Kunisuke took after his father but didn't fail to inherit a few things from his mother as well. One striking fact was that he did not have impaired vision needing to wear glasses. So his rather sharp vision with blue eyes struck quite an impression on the rest of his team members. Kunisuke approached his twin brother Kuniyusuke during practice when he spotted a group of upperclassmen huddled around each other. "What are the senpais talking about?"
Kuniyusuke, better known as Yusu by the rest, tilted his head to the side and looked at the upperclassmen. "I don't know but I think it's best to ask Inui," he told his twin with a smile on his face. "So what do you think, Inui?" he asked randomly before turning around to look at Inui Saki, the son of Inui Sadaharu and Kaidoh Kaoru, blinking stupidly at him.
"You two...always defy my data," he muttered before hissing.
Yusu chuckled. "Tell us something we don't know," he said smugly. "So what's the fuss all about?" he asked.
"According to my data, news about Rikkaidai has reached our area.”
"What news about Rikkaidai?"
"Their vice-captain is bowing out of tennis due to an encounter with some Jyosei Shounan regulars."
"I see..." Yusu said thoughtfully before looking around. "Hey...where's Ryoushi?"
"By vice-captain you mean... Yanagi Keiji, right?" Oishi Eishiro, son of Oishi Shuuichiro and Kikumaru Eiji, asked as he approached the group before looking around as well. "And Ryoushi's always late coming to practice. I'm surprised buchou hasn't taken note of his number of tardiness these past few days."
"I never said I wasn't," Kunisuke remarked, folding his arms over his chest.
Kabaji Takuji, son of Kabaji Munehiro and Kawamura Takashi, came into the courts with the said boy over his shoulder. "He crashed into a tree on his bike but he seems to be unharmed," he explained.
"But Taku-san....he's unconscious," Yusu pointed out.
Saki frowned. "As expected of that imbecile..." he muttered before taking note of it in his notebook where he keeps all the data of his teammates. "Yamato-senpai said he's going to be late today, by the way. It seems he has an exam scheduled during the second period."
Kunisuke nodded. "Alright, that means we can start practice already," he announced.
"By the way Inui..." Eishirou interrupted, turning to the data master, gesturing to the other senpais. "Isn't Yanagi Keiji a friend of yours from elementary?"
Inui merely adjusted his glasses before walking to the club room.
Yusu blinked. "Must have been a bad acquaintance," he assumed. "Ne, Suke-chan?" he asked his twin before walking over to Kabaji to help him with Momoshiro. After promptly dumping the unconscious player by the bleachers they started practice. "Taku-san! Help me with stretching?" he asked.
"Maybe Inui's too worried to talk about it," Eishiro supplied.
"Aa, tabun," Kunisuke responded before he and Eishiro teamed up to stretch.
Takuji, glancing over to Kuniyusuke and nodded. "Usu...I mean... okay..." he corrected himself, trying not to get too much in the habit of his father's monotone replies.
Yusu chuckled. " 'Usu' is just fine, you know," he assured him before patting the taller player on the shoulder and went to find a space to stretch.
"You should really just tell him, you know," Ryoushi said as he gingerly stood up. "That hurt...." he muttered before his hand automatically went up to his head. "!!!" he exclaimed before standing up. "MY HAT'S GONE!!!" Momoshiro Ryoushi, son of Momoshiro Takeshi and Echizen Ryouma had always worn his cap when he was on the way to school. It was a gift from his mother when he was younger...a gift that costs his life if ever he loses it.
"What are you screaming about now Momoshiro?" Kunisuke demanded, both he and Eishiro stretching their arms while approaching the court near where he was.
"I think he's just missing his hat Tezuka," Eishiro observed, looking at Ryoushiro from head to toe.
"Hn. Just get to practice as soon as you find it or else I'm making you run laps," the captain warned before moving to the courts with Eishiro for some rallying.
"H-Hai, buchou!!" Ryoushi said before running out of the court, nearly running into the other first years that were picking up some balls.
Saki resisted the urge to roll his eyes and opted to just scribble down information in his notebook while watching the other regulars. 'I should remember to give them their training menus later.....before I visit Yanagi,' he thought to himself.
Yusu, in the meantime, was doing some preliminary stretches, reaching for his toes while Takuji pushed him down a bit. "Put your hands lower, Taku-san, near the waist," he requested, "It puts less strain."
Takuji pursed his lips, a light blush on his cheeks appearing as he moved his hands accordingly. "...Is here fine, Yusu?" he asked him sheepishly.
"Yes, Taku-san....just fine," Yusu answered with a smile as he continued stretching.
Saki, having done with his stretching, glanced at the two before he walked over to the leader of the team. "Tezuka, it would be in your best interest to know that Kabaji likes your brother," he informed the captain. "And your brother seems to be entertaining the idea. It might cause a distraction for both of them this early on."
"If it's Yusu then things won't get complicated if things do develop," Kunisuke replied. "Our concern then would be with Kabaji."
Saki paused and looked at Kunisuke, "So are you confirming that for me?" he asked icily. "That Kuniyusuke can and will develop feelings for Kabaji?"
Ryoushi, who had come back after successfully retrieving his hat, blinked at the vice-captain. "Fukubuchou.....you sound bitter," he pointed out.
"I'm confirming that he can, but not necessarily will Inui," Kunisuke corrected. "And if I were you I wouldn't bring my bitterness over my childhood friend's condition to practice."
"It's nothing about Keiji," Saki corrected before frowning. Saying nothing more he walked away and looked for a random upperclassman to have a rally with.
Ryoushi blinked. "If it wasn't about Yanagi-san then...." he trailed off as he turned his gaze towards Yusu and Takuji who was almost done with stretching.
Kunisuke glanced after Saki before shaking his head. "He should just be direct if he has something on his mind," he complained.
"Maybe it's because you're close to what he doesn't want to divulge?" Eishiro considered as he walked up to them.
"That's a probable situation," the captain agreed with a stiff nod.
"Well, maybe we can find something out with this~" Ryoushi said with a grin as he showed them a piece of paper. "It fell from fukubuchou's notebook," he told them before looking at the details inside. "Hey....isn't this...fanfiction?" he asked as he read it. "....Buchou...you're brother's in this fanfiction…"
Both Eishiro and Kunisuke leaned over and read along with Ryoushi before the captain frowned. "That explains a number of odd behaviors from Inui as of late," he figured as Eishiro nodded.
"Any plan of action then, Tezuka?" the acrobat inquired.
To this Kunisuke shook his head, glancing over to his twin brother. "Better not to get in the way of things that Yusu's more than capable of handling."
"Got it," Ryoushi answered before jogging off to look for Saki to hopefully challenge him to a rally.
While he went away, Yusu took the time to approach Kunisuke. "Looks like you had nice quality time with Momo-chan~" he teased before nudging him on the ribs. "You better start instructing the upperclassmen, Suke-chan...fangirls are starting to flirt with them."
"It's not about the quality time I'm after Yusu," Kunisuke countered, averting his gaze as Eishiro jogged off to rally with Takuji. "It's just some internal... conflicts within the group that I'm concerned about." Glancing over to the upperclassmen, the captain nodded before excusing himself and calling everyone to Court B for some announcement of the day's training schedule.
"What kind of internal conflicts?" Yusu asked as he walked with his brother. "You know all you have to do is ask and I'd gladly help you with it~" he told him with a smile. "Plus...we can always ask our parents for advice," he added before the captain made his announcements.
After the rest of the club members dispersed, Kunisuke turned back to his twin. "It's not exactly something you can help with I'm afraid..." he admitted. ‘Partially because it's you that might be causing the problems in the near future...’
"You're thinking that I'll be the cause of the problems, aren't you?" Yusu pointed out before smirking. "You forgot that I'm starting to pick up a few things from Kaa-san...now spill," he told his twin.
"I was afraid you'd pick up that from Kaa-san," Kunisuke admitted. Making sure that they wouldn't be overheard, he pulled Yusu over to one of the deserted areas of the court before leaning back on the wire fence. "As far as I can see there're two people who're craving for your attention. One is too shy to admit it and the other is bitter about competition."
"Well don't worry about any of that since I'm not interested in either of them," Yusu told him with a chuckle. "It will cool down eventually, Suke-chan," he assured the captain before patting his head.
"I'd appreciate it if you didn't treat me like a kid, Yusu," Kunisuke complained with an accompanying pout, shoving his twin's hand away from his head.
"Um....Suke-chan... we are kids," Yusu reminded his brother. "Don't make me bring out the jump rope," he warned as he crossed his arms and pouted. "Remember what Kaa-san said he would do if he finds out that you're taking the captain thing too seriously like what Tou-san did during their time."
Cringing at the thought, Kunisuke frowned. "Alright alright, I get it. Jeez, coming from you it makes it sound like trying to be Tou-san is a bad thing," he pointed out.
"Of course it isn't. It's just that...well...." Yusu trailed off. "Things aren't as harsh as they were back in our parents' time so we should learn to loosen up a bit," he reasoned out. "And have fun~"
Chapter 2: Friends and Rivals
Friends through their parents, Inui Saki and Yanagi Keiji meet sometime after Keiji's incident that left him disabled.
The Seigaku captain and vice-captain meet their counterparts in Rikkai, and declarations of love are made known.
'As if it'll be that easy,' Kunisuke thought to himself as they all resumed with practice. A few hours afterward, everyone was changing back into their school uniforms and getting set to head home.
Just outside the Seigaku school gates where the small group of freshmen regulars was leaving together, they were greeted by the captain and vice-captain of the Rikkai tennis club.
"Hoi hoi isn't that... Sanada and Yanagi?" Eishiro pointed out suddenly.
"Yes...Keiji and I are scheduled for a chat," Saki said as he raised a hand and waved. When he realized that Keiji looked away instead of waving back, the information about his friend's arms came crashing down on him. Frowning he picked up his bag. "Excuse me..." he muttered before walking over to Keiji.
Yusu tilted his head to the side. "So that's Sanada and Yanagi."
"If they're as good as their parents are then we'll probably be seeing them in the Kanto Regional Tournament and the Nationals," Kunisuke pointed out.
Eishiro stroked his chin, reviewing his history of the past tournaments. "Up until recently, Rikkai hasn't been faring all too well in the tournaments, so we should probably--"
"Not let your guard down," Akihiro finished for the acrobat with a calm smile.
"Don't take us too lightly, Seigaku...we're on our way towards forming an invincible team," Keiji boasted as he glared at Kunisuke.
"Keiji..." Saki said as he reached beside him.
"Hello, Saki…" Keiji greeted his friend, immediately switching his attention from the brewing argument. "You remember, Akihiro, of course?" he asked.
Saki nodded. "Yes, but I don't remember the part of him being your personal servant..," he said with a smirk.
"It's best if you didn't underestimate your opponents or you just might regret it," Akihiro added with a solemn smirk towards the twins before turning to Saki. "I'm simply here accompanying my boyfriend and disabled vice-captain, Inui-kun," the Rikkai captain continued.
"He's pretty direct, isn't he?" Takuji noted.
Yusu smiled. "I'd tell you likewise, Sanada-san," he suddenly called out as he walked forward to greet the two trespassers.
Keiji looked at him for a while. He would have adjusted his glasses if he could but settled on glaring. 'For some reason I don't like this guy,' Akuma told him.
Saki tactfully stepped in between the two and looked over to the younger twin. "Yusu....no violence please...these two are my guests," he told him.
"I never intended to mean we underestimated you. After all, Seigaku's the defending champion and the first seed for the tournaments this year," Akihiro explained.
Kunisuke took this opportunity to approach the group, pulling his twin back. "I apologize for my brother's rudeness," he stated on Kuniyusuke's behalf.
Keiji and Yusu continued to glare at one another before Saki and Kunisuke proceeded to pull them apart.
"Come on, Keiji," Saki urged before nodding towards the older twin. "I'll be going ahead, buchou!" he called out before dragging Keiji away from Seigaku.
As soon as they were out of earshot, Kuniyusuke considerably calmed down. "I don't like that guy," he told Kunisuke.
"I'd be surprised if you didn't," Kunisuke admitted, watching them head off before ultimately shaking his head. "Come on, we should head home Yusu."
As soon as they were a reasonable distance from Seigaku, Akihiro swatted Saki's grip on Keiji. "I wouldn't touch him again like that if I were you," he warned.
Saki rubbed his hand and hissed before looking at Akihiro, "I don't remember you being so much of a Diva, Sanada..." he pointed out before looking at Keiji. "What exactly happened to you?" he asked.
"I'm surprised that you even have to ask," Keiji answered calmly.
"Consider it my manner of being protective, Inui," Akihiro pointed out with a smile etched across his face.
"Well, then I can use the exact same excuse now can I?" Saki challenged as he stepped up to Sanada.
"Mattaku...please don't tell me you're still going on about this after already clearing this up before school started," Keiji said tiredly.
"It was never really settled, Keiji," Saki pointed out.
"And how exactly do you plan on doing that when your time spent with Kei is rather limited?" Aki rebutted, surprisingly calm about the whole situation. "You don't exactly attend the same school."
"That's your advantage..." Saki admitted. "But that doesn't mean that I don't have any edge," he told him. "Takuji is living proof of the fact that the distance doesn't really matter."
"...that and the intellect," Keiji muttered under his breath. "Just leave it Saki...I'm with Aki and I doubt that there's anything that can change--"
"Data says that the two of you aren't even pairable!!" Saki exclaimed.
Keiji blinked before chuckling. "You forget one thing, Saki.... I always defy data."
"And because Keiji will be defying all data... When we reach 3rd year we'll come at you at full force Inui," Akihiro vowed. "We should be heading home Kei," he announced.
Saki looked at them and frowned, "Perhaps then we could settle things...Sanada Akihiro," he told himself as he watched the two walk away.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Ryoushi was walking with his bike in tow. "I should really have watched where I was going..." he muttered to himself as he looked at the busted tire.
Yusu chuckled as he spotted the boy. "Look Suke-chan... It's your chance," he told his brother.
"You deliberately had us take the long way home so we'd run into Ryoushi!" Kunisuke accused in an angry hiss.
"Aren't I such a great brother?" Yusu said in amusement before grabbing Kunisuke's bag and pushed him forward. "I'll tell Kaa-san that you'll be a bit late in coming home~" he told him before running back the rest of the way home.
"What? Oi! Yusu!!!" Kunisuke promptly frowned when he was left on his own before inwardly sighing. 'Mattaku...' Having been left with hardly any option and not wanting to let the opportunity go to waste, he approached him. "Momoshiro."
Jumping when he heard the voice, Ryoushi immediately turned around. "Buchou you scared me!!!" he told him as he placed a hand on his chest. "You can't just sneak up on me like that! You just can't!!"
"That... wasn't my intention... Suman..." Kunisuke apologized with a rough bow of his head. 'And even while you have him here already you suddenly can't strike a conversation...' he scolded himself.
"A-Ah! Don't apologize buchou!! It's my fault for letting my guard down!" Ryoushi quickly said before looking around and noticing that they were alone. "Um...buchou?" he said suddenly. "I'd like to apologize for my tardiness lately..." he told him before chuckling nervously.
Raising his head, Kunisuke shook it. "I personally don't mind your tardiness Momoshiro," he informed him quite stiffly still. "Although I would advise you to do watch where you're going if you travel using your bike."
"Don't worry, buchou! I crash into things a lot!!" Ryoushi assured him before looking at the time. "It's getting really late..." he told him before an idea came to mind. "Let me walk you home, buchou!" he offered with a wide grin.
"Your house is much closer to here than mine," Kunisuke corrected. "I should be the one offering to walk you home."
"Nah, I wasn't planning on going home right away. I still want to check out that new burger joint that's near your place," Ryoushi reasoned out. "Dakara, buchou...I'm walking you home," he said with a grin.
Kunisuke frowned. "Isn't it a bit lonely to be going there on your own?" he asked. "I'll join you," he offered with a small smile.
Ryoushi grinned widely. "That sounds great!! My treat then!!" he exclaimed as he pumped a fist into the air.
"How about me?" a voice said from behind them.
Ryoushi blinked and looked around. "AAHH! Tachibana!!!" he shouted, "I thought you went to Rikkai!!"
Tachibana grinned and nodded. "Yeah but I'll be transferring to Fudomine next semester," he told them. "Rikkai is too far...plus their tennis team hates me soooo..." he trailed off. "How are you?"
"I'm heading to that new burger joint with buchou!" Ryoushi answered.
"Sounds interesting! How about I join you?" he asked.
"Heck, why not?"
'So much for quality time together....' Kunisuke thought in distaste as he glared over to Tachibana. "Actually I'd rather if you didn't, Tachibana," he commented dryly.
Shuddering at the intensity of those blue eyes, Tachibana backed away. "Er right...I'll just leave you and your boyfriend alone, Momo~ See you around!!!" he said before promptly running away.
"B-B-B-B-Boyfriend?!" Ryoushi stuttered out, turning beet red before hesitantly looking at Kunisuke.
Chapter 3: Complicated Feelings
A short chapter of Kunisuke and Ryoushi going out on a dinner date, and the supportive family that are the Tezukas.
Almost wishing he had glasses on to adjust them, Kunisuke distractedly averted his gaze. "....He ruined the mood," he said as an excuse. 'And there was no way I'd let him stay around and ruin everything.'
Feeling a bit awkward, Ryoushi hesitantly scratched the back of his head. "I don't really get what mood you're talking about buchou...but..." he said before smiling. "My offer of treating you to the burger joint is still up," he told him.
For once, Kunisuke managed a full smile that could rival his mother's as he nodded. "Then we'd better not waste much time standing around here anymore," he told him.
Completely caught off guard by the smile, Ryoushi froze for a good five seconds before nodding stiffly and walking the rest of the way with his captain. 'This is bad....my heart is beating so fast...' he thought to himself before tugging his cap down in embarrassment. "Y-You should smile more, buchou..." he told his companion. "It really suits you."
"Sou?" Kunisuke asked, more to himself as his muscles contracted another small one. 'I'll keep that in mind then...' he added as an afterthought.
Once they reached the new restaurant, Kunisuke held the door open for Ryoushi before they went inside and got a table by the window together.
'T-This isn't a burger joint!!! This is a romantic restaurant!!' Ryoushi screamed in his mind. Hearing a faint 'Mada mada dane' at the back of his mind, the teen finally understood why his father insisted on giving him extra cash that morning. Once they got the menus Ryoushi immediately used his to hide his increasingly blushing face. "Order whatever you want, buchou. It's all on me," he told the captain.
"Are you sure Momoshiro?" Kunisuke asked as he promptly scanned the prices of the dishes on the menu. "The prices here aren't exactly cheap," he pointed out with a frown.
"I've got money, buchou. Don't worry too much," he assured the captain. Feeling his phone vibrate, Ryoushi quickly pulled it out and read the message from his mother that arrived.
How's the first date coming along, son? *snerk*
Frowning upon reading it, he inwardly groaned and shoved the phone back in his pocket . 'I knew it!! I just knew it!!' he screamed mentally.
"Doesn't look like it..." Kunisuke pointed out, somehow managing to locate the boy's wallet and flip through the money inside, making calculations in his head. "Although knowing your parents you'd have a decent allowance for tonight's dinner..."
"I have it all covered though," Ryoushi said as he pulled out a wad of bills from his pocket. "I do save up even if it doesn't look like it," he said proudly before placing it back in his pocket. "Now buchou...your order if you please."
"However.... you're going to need that savings of yours to fix your bike," Kunisuke protested, handing Ryoushi's wallet back to him. "I can cover for dinner tonight since I ended up taking you to this restaurant instead of the burger place you originally wanted to visit," he offered.
"But buchou!! It's supposed to be my treat!!" Ryoushi insisted. "I mean that's how first dates go right?" he asked before quickly realizing what he said. "N-Not that this is a date or anything!!!" he added hastily.
"I insisted on joining so I should be the one treating you tonight," Kunisuke argued, averting his gaze.
Thinking for a minute, Ryoushi had an idea. "Tell you what buchou...let's half the bill," he bargained. "That way we would be evenly giving out an amount regardless of what we order since we both don't want to concede on cashing out," he reasoned.
"That sounds agreeable," Kunisuke said with an affirmative nod before taking another look at the menu. "Then let's order something good to eat then."
It took a while until they ordered what they wanted, and even a bit longer for the food to get there. Halfway through dinner, Ryoushi took hesitant and quick glances towards the captain. 'Come on Ryoushi...you've been friends since you were sniveling kids,' he urged himself before slowly clearing his throat. "Say buchou....we've known each other for a long time, right?" he asked nervously.
Lowering his fork in the midst of eating, Kunisuke stiffly nodded, managing to hide the blush on his cheeks."Aa... Thanks to our parents, yes."
Ryoushi smiled shyly at him. "Truth is buchou...I…I've really liked you for a while now," he admitted as he poked his pasta. "And when I say like....it's.....well...bordering on love, maybe?"
Choking on his water this time, Kunisuke cleared his throat. "Pardon...?" he asked with a feint blush growing on his cheeks. 'Tell me I wasn't dreaming and heard correctly that he.... might actually love me...' he thought hopefully to himself.
"I...I said I..." Ryoushi stuttered out, "I...I love you, Tezuka Kunisuke!" he managed to say as he shut his eyes and looked down. 'Oh crap...I did it now...I can only imagine the laps I'm running…'
Blinking for a few moments, Kunisuke's lips curled into a smile as he lowered his fork. "Ore mo..." he muttered out. "I wouldn't be lenient on your frequent tardiness otherwise," he added with the faintest of chuckles.
"Then I'll do my best to wake up earlier so I won't disappoint you, buchou," Ryoushi said with a wink and a happy smile before getting back on his dinner. "I do hope Yusu won't tease me about this..." he said with a sigh.
"Knowing how he is he will," Kunisuke admitted with a shrug of his shoulders, returning to finish what was left of his own dinner.
Soon dinner came to an end and the bill was paid. Ryoushi and Kunisuke leisurely walked back to the latter's home. "Well, tonight was very eventful..." he said sheepishly.
Kunisuke nodded in agreement. "Isn't it getting rather late now though?" he asked, checking the time on his watch before turning to Ryoushi. "Perhaps you should stay the night with m-- I mean with us," he offered.
"Nah. I have to go home or else Kaa-san will have my hide," Ryoushi answered.
"Actually he just called to tell us to tell you to sleep over," Tezuka Syuusuke said as he opened the door. "Welcome home, Kunisuke," he said with a smile as he patted his son on the head. "Come inside, Ryoushi...you're sharing beds with Kunisuke tonight," he told the boy.
"What?!" Kunisuke suddenly exclaimed.
"No complaints young man," Tezuka Kunimitsu pointed out as he passed them. "You were right in suggesting that he stay over, so might as well entertain your guest," he explained to the older twin before smirking.
"It's not like your bed is small, Suke-chan," Yusu teased as he peeked from behind his parents. "I'm going upstairs now, oyasumi~" he told his family before heading to his room.
"Alright, Kunisuke, show Ryoushi to your room so you can both settle down for the night," Syuusuke instructed.
"Hai, oyasumi nasai," Kunisuke greeted his parents with a slight bow before grabbing Ryoushi's hand without thinking and pulled him away upstairs to his room.
Crossing his arms, Kunimitsu watched them head upstairs. "It seems like it's starting," he told his husband.
"They're starting ahead of us when it was our time," Syuusuke said in amusement. "Times sure have changed," he added with a happy sigh as he watched the two go upstairs and get ready for bed. "Speaking of time...I have a surprise for you," he told his husband. "We're getting an addition to our family after the longest time."
Chapter 4: Admiration
Kunisuke and Ryoushi's date-turned-sleepover escalates into something foreseen by the original tensai. Meanwhile, Kuniyusuke contemplates when he'll find his special someone.
Kunimitsu raised his eyebrows. "An addition?" he repeated curiously. "What kind of addition are we talking about here Syuusuke?"
"Your little swimmers hit the mark this time, dear," Syuusuke said with an amused chuckle before taking Kunimitsu's hand and placing it near his stomach. "That kind of addition," he told him softly. "The twins have been asking ever since 4th grade, haven't they?"
Kunimitsu's eyes widened at this news, slowly glancing down at his husband's stomach. "That's.... That's excellent news Syuusuke..." he said quietly, smiling before kissing him on the lips. "Should I start carrying you off bridal style again?" he teased after a few moments of silence passed.
"It's not as if I could stop you even if you wanted to anyway," Syusuke said with a chuckle before placing his arms around his husband and sighed in contentment.
Smirking, Kunimitsu bent down slightly and swept Syuusuke off his feet, carrying him to their room in the exact manner he wanted - bridal style.
Meanwhile, upstairs, Ryoushi had entered Kunisuke's room...dressed lightly in sweatpants and a tank top that Syuusuke had placed in the latter's room earlier that day. "Your mom's ESP is to be admired, buchou," he said as he toweled his hair.
Swallowing the lump in his throat at the sight of Ryoushi, Kunisuke mentally shook his head. 'That kind of admiration has its limitations...' he thought fretfully to himself. "Only to an extent I'd say..."
"I think it's really cool....knowing important things ahead of time," Ryoushi said with a grin. "Too bad that only a few people have that ability." Sitting down on the side of the bed, Ryoushi looked around. "So....I'm going to go set up that spare futon you guys have. It's in the hallway closet, right?" he asked.
"What 'spare futon' are you talking about?" Kunisuke remarked with a frown. "The bed's big enough isn't it?" he gestured. "....Unless you're uncomfortable sharing a bed... with me..."
"That's not it!!! That's not it at all!!" Ryoushi exclaimed as he waved his hands in front of him. "I just thought that you might like your personal space, that's all..." he reasoned out. "I'm a sleep hugger...." he admitted.
"What personal space? Yusu and I just got separate rooms recently," Kunisuke explained flatly. "...So you could say I'm... used to the company."
Immediately, an image of the Tezuka twins cuddling invaded his mind and spread like wildfire. As soon as the image became clear - and when the cuddling became something else - another part of him 'woke up' and he immediately turned around. "Erm...excuse me for a bit buchou!!" he exclaimed before dashing out but found himself unable too when he realized that he was locked in from the other side. 'Not good!! Not good!!' he yelled in his mind.
"Suke-chan!!" Yusu's voice came from the other side. "I was going in your room but the handle jammed again!!" he called out. "Mom and Dad are already in 'do not disturb mode'. Will you and Ryoushi be okay in there until morning?" he asked.
'I should have known he'd scheme up something like this...' Kunisuke thought darkly as he blushed and looked away upon hearing Kuniyusuke on the other side. "We'll be fine Yusu!" he responded, turning to Ryoushi. "Won't we?" he asked with a calm smile.
"S-Sure we will!!" Ryoushi answered, still with his back turned on Kunisuke. Closing his eyes he tried his best to make the nether parts go back to sleep. 'Dammit! Of all the times!!'
"Then what in the world was that stutter for?" Kunisuke protested, getting up from the bed and approached the prodigy and promptly pulled him by the wrist to face him, effectively pinning him back on the door. His sharp vision scanned Ryoushi for a few moments before a feral smirk appeared on his face. "Oh... I see."
"B-buchou why are you smirking like that? It's scary!!" Ryoushi complained as he unconsciously let out a whimper as he backed further onto the door.
Hearing the faint thump from the other side of the room, Yusu nodded to himself and smiled before looking at the chair he used to jam the door.
"Making you uncomfortable makes things a bit easier wouldn't you agree?" Kunisuke continued in an almost husky voice. If he was going to make a move it would have to be tonight; when the opportunity was perfect.
Swallowing a lump that formed in his throat, Ryoushi looked at his captain nervously. 'He's so hot when aggressive--- gaaah stop thinking that way Ryoushi!! Now is not the time!! You're cornered like a lamb that's going to get slaughtered by a wolf!!....a very...very....attractive wolf,' he thought. "B-Buchou..." he managed to say before losing his words again.
Gently pressing his finger to Ryoushi's lips to silence him, Kunisuke smirked and pulled him over to the bed and promptly straddled him. "You... have absolutely no idea how long I've wanted to do this..." he whispered into Ryoushi's ear. Suddenly, not really understanding how he came to know what to do in this situation, Kunisuke proceeded to gently nibble and lick on the boy's ear.
Absolutely stunned and embarrassed by what was happening, Ryoushi's face burned a bright red. "W-What the hell!" he said in surprise before suppressing a moan. "B-Buchou...."
Kunimitsu excused himself and made his way to the bathroom, passing by Kunisuke's door where Kuniyusuke still was. Frowning, he stopped and noticed the chair barricading the door. "What's going on Yusu?" he asked the younger twin with a raise of his eyebrow.
"By now I think it's safe to say that Suke is topping Ryoushi~" Yusu said with a bright smile, "Oyasumi Papa~" he said before walking back to his room.
Kunimitsu was left stunned as he was left alone in the hallway, glancing over to Kunisuke's bedroom door and seemed to stare it down but decided that it was best not to convene. After all, Syuusuke had warned him that it would happen tonight.
Inside, Kunisuke leaned forward and pressed his lips to Ryoushi's in a light kiss to silence him.
Ryoushi threw away all his doubt and promptly placed his arms around Kunisuke and pulled him close. Returning the kiss eagerly, his hands did a little exploring and soon was tugging away the captain's clothes.
Kunisuke managed to maintain command over things, reprimanding Ryoushi's eagerness with a rightful bite to the shoulder before administering the disposal of clothes as time went by.
"Now now, Mitsu...let our son come of age..." Syuusuke said with a chuckle as he gently pulled Kunimitsu back to their own room. "My poor stunned husband," he chided as he sat the former captain down and massaged his shoulders.
"....It's not Kunisuke I'm worried about Syuusuke," Kunimitsu prompted with a deep frown.
"Ryoushi's a Momoshiro. He'll be up and running by afternoon tomorrow at the latest," Syusuke consoled. "And don't worry about your brain...I'm sure it will be fine after a round of hot sex," he added happily. "After all, I restocked the chocolate syrup," he said as he draped himself on his husband's shoulders and lazily pointed to the mini refrigerator that they had in their room.
Kunimitsu took Syuusuke's hands and gently squeezed them as he glanced over to the refrigerator. "I'm worried about Kuniyusuke but I suppose that can wait until the right time," he consoled before turning around and kissing his husband on the lips. "For tonight... allow me to have a proper and thorough feast before your belly starts expanding."
Meanwhile, in Kuniyusuke's room the younger twin had finally dropped the smile he had been wearing the whole day. Sadly, he sighed and looked out the window as he placed his pencil down. "They're all starting to find their special someones...." he said sadly before closing his notebook and walked over to his bed where he sat down. "I wonder when I'll meet mine...." he thought out loud before pulling a necklace from under his pillow. Plopping down, he held it up and looked at the pendant. "When will this pendant find its other half?"
Just when Kuniyusuke's thoughts were swaying, a head peeked in through the window. "Hoi hoi~ Yusu, you seem down tonight," Eishiro called out with a worried look as he climbed into the room. "Judging from that you still haven't had any luck finding that special someone, huh?" he asked his best friend.
Yusu nodded before sitting back up. "I keep trying to remember what he looks like Shiro....but I just can't!" he said in frustration. "I'm starting to think that I'll never find him, Shiro...." he said sadly before looking at his friend who sat beside him. Sniffling slightly he hugged him. "Everyone's starting to find their pair....I...I don't want to get left behind."
Holding Yusu in his arms, Eishiro managed a smile and rubbed the boy's back. "There there Yusu!" he tried cheering up. "No matter what happens I'll always be here to support you, nya~ That's a promise!" he vowed.
"I know Shiro..." Yusu said quietly as he placed the necklace on his lap and used both his arms to hug his friend. "You've always been there..." he said softly.
Chapter 5: Suitors
Kuniyusuke's looks resemble his mother to the point of getting a lot of suitors. This chapter focuses on getting to the bottom of who has the other half of that necklace.
The following day, after Eishiro had calmed Kuniyusuke and brought him into a better mood to survive the night, Tezuka Kunimitsu's fear for his youngest twin was about to begin.
Kuniyusuke taking more after his mother and still without a partner like his older twin brother, would be exposed to quite a few suitors vying for his attention; two of which involved Atobe Keigo and Shiraishi Kuranosuke's sons Gorou and Ichigo respectively.
Coming all the way from Osaka, Shiraishi Ichigo smirked as he reached the gates of Seishun Gakuen. "Looks like I came here too early," he said in amusement as he saw the bare courts. "Or...have I?" he asked before pulling out a racket from his bag and a ball from his pocket. Immediately he served it, aiming behind him. As he expected, the ball went straight back at him. Catching it easily he turned around and grinned. "Yo...Seigaku Regulars," he greeted.
"That uniform... Aren't you from...Shitenhouji?" Kunisuke identified, furrowing his brows as Eishiro lowered his racket upon returning the serve.
"What brought you all the way from Osaka?" Eishiro asked curiously.
Pulling a rose out from his shirt, Ichigo walked past the two and went straight to Yusu and offered him the rose. "Only the finest rose can attract the hungriest bee," he said with a smile.
Yusu returned this smile before looking over to his twin. "Look Suke~ We found who stole from Kaa-san's rose bush~" he chided.
"Nya, he's courting Yusu!!" Eishiro called out, jumping in surprise.
Kunisuke kept a straight face as he took a moment to pay Ichigo a closer look. "Even someone who was raised by someone like Shiraishi Kuranosuke wouldn't take the effort plucking roses from some stranger's garden."
"This isn't right! Not at all!!" Ryoushi suddenly exclaimed, "No one stole from your mother's rose bush since I asked permission!!" he said before taking out a rose that was -unlike Ichigo's- in full bloom and handed it to Kunisuke with a huge blush on his cheeks.
Yusu chuckled. "I knew that~" he said teasingly before walking past Shiraishi. "Come on guys~ we have to start practice!" he called out to the team.
Saki regarded Shiraishi for a while before smirking. "You have no chance with Yusu...that's 100%," he told him.
"I have better chance than you do then...since you're a negative in having a chance with him," Ichigo told him with a huff before walking over to his bag and chasing after the younger twin, leaving Saki frozen in place upon hearing he was a negative.
"If that just came from Kaa-san's garden couldn't you have given this to me before we left the house Momoshiro?" Kunisuke complained, glancing at the flower.
"Heeeeh, so Momo slept over last night?" Eishiro asked cheekily. "Yusu, you never mentioned that! But then again...that explained all the noise next door while I was there..." he reasoned out with himself.
"I can't just give it when there are people that I didn't know was around! I just can't!!!" Ryoushi said as he handed the flower to Kunisuke, "Plus I had to take off the thorns," he reasoned.
Yusu grinned. "Shiro...you should have known based on the thudding sounds we heard by the wall," he told his best friend. "Anyway, Shiraishi-kun, I'm not interested."
Ichigo frowned. "Why not?"
"You don't have something that I'm looking for."
As he took the rose from Ryoushi, Kunisuke turned to his twin. 'Something he's looking for?' he thought ruefully.
"It wouldn't be a part of a necklace would it?" Atobe Gorou considered, bringing a hand to his face matching his father's 'Insight' pose. "Ahn~"
"Atobe...." Kunisuke acknowledged begrudgingly.
"Douda, Tezuka Kuniyusuke?" he challenged.
Yusu, who was pulling his racket out of his bag, froze when he heard this. Feeling numb all of a sudden, he lost his grip on his racket which clattered to the ground.
"Yusu?" Saki asked hesitantly.
"H-How could you possibly..." Yusu asked.
Ryoushi blinked at the younger twin and frowned before stepping up. "Look monkey prince, I have no idea what you're talking about but you better go away since you're causing trouble here in our turf," he said before glaring at him threateningly.
"What's this? Did I hit a nerve?" Gorou scoffed, ignoring Ryoushi's threat.
Kunisuke stepped forward this time. "I suggest you leave, Atobe," he warned, glaring daggers at him.
With a prideful smirk, Gorou adjusted the hold on his bag. "Fine, I'll leave. But I'll be back, Kuniyusuke," he vowed before taking his leave.
Watching Gorou leave, Yusu promptly knelt down on the ground as his legs gave in.
"Yusu!!" Saki and Ryoushi exclaimed as they rushed towards him.
"Atobe...it was...Atobe...? But how could..." he muttered, seemingly caught in a world of his own.
Ryoushi looked up at Kunisuke,."Will...Will he be alright, buchou?" he asked.
Kunisuke observed his brother in silence for a while, wondering the answer to Ryoushi's question himself but decided not to say anything.
Takuji frowned. "Yusu!!"
"Yusu, don't believe a word he said!!" Eishiro exclaimed as he knelt down beside his best friend, trying to snap him out of it. "He's probably just bluffing!"
"But...he couldn't possibly know..." Yusu reasoned. "There was no way he could know since you were the only one I told about it!"
"Told about what?" Ichigo asked, curious. Seigaku glared at him and he smiled nervously before backing off. "I'll...be back another day," he said before running away followed by a barrage of tennis balls.
Once Ichigo was chased off, the team turned from Kuniyusuke to Inui. "Any insights on that, Inui?" Takuji asked shyly.
Saki adjusted his glasses and nodded. "The Atobe family has the most impressive and capable intelligence squad on the team...so if that information wasn't first hand as Yusu suggests, I'm inclined to believe that he had this squad look for an opening for him to use to get to him," he explained.
"Going that far just to court someone is just ridiculous though," Ryoushi pointed out.
Saki nodded. "I agree with that...which is why I think that there is a 50% chance that this...information that he knows is first hand."
"Not only that, but I'm inclined to assume that with Atobe's connections he knows something more in relation to that..." Kunisuke added, crossing his arms and turning to his twin. "Something that only Yusu and someone else should know."
"What was that about anyway?" Ryoushi asked Yusu.
Yusu hung his head low, keeping silent for a few seconds. "It's about a certain promise I made with someone long ago.....and something that will remind me and that person of that promise." he told them. "I'm sorry but I can't tell you anything more than that."
"So that necklace Atobe mentioned must mean the 'something'," Kunisuke figured.
"But Yusu doesn't remember who he made a promise with so he wants to look for that person again," Eishiro supplied with a warm smile.
"...There's only one way to know if Atobe really is that person then, right?" Ryoushi said suddenly, causing Yusu to look up at him. "Ask him about the promise. If he knows it...then it must really be him, right?" he asked.
Yusu considered this for a moment before nodding. "You're right..." he said before getting to his feet. "Gomen, Suke...but I'm skipping practice!" he told his twin before running off towards the nearest bus stop.
"But Yusu...!!!" Eishiro called out before halting, frowning.
"Something the matter, Oishi?" Kunisuke asked curiously.
"Well... you see buchou...." he responded sheepishly, averting his gaze as he wondered whether he should tell him or not.
"I just really need to go and tell Yusu something important!!" Eishiro explained.
"If it's something to do with that pendant he was talking about then we have no time to lose," Kunisuke remarked immediately, turning to Saki. "Inui, I'm leaving you in charge of practice today," the captain instructed.
Knowing full well that Gorou would have a car of some sort pick him up, Yusu waited for a bus to Hyoutei come by. Once he got on he immediately paid the fare and took out his phone and called the other. "What do you know about that necklace?" he asked immediately upon hearing Gorou pick it up.
"I had a feeling you'd be calling, Tezuka Kuniyusuke," Gorou said haughtily, leaning back on the car seat. "Naturally... I know everything about it."
Fisting his palms, Yusu scowled at his reflection that was by the bus window. "...Was it you? Was it you that I made that promise to that sunny day near the swings?" he asked. "If you were that person then tell me...what was that promise and what was the design of that pendant?" he demanded, feeling cold and nervous all of a sudden.
Gorou took a thoughtful glance out the window. "We promised that when we were in first year middle school and haven't found that special someone, we'd get together," he worded out carefully. "With that promise was a two-piece cat pendant."
Upon hearing this, all warmth from Yusu's body vanished. "....It's really you...." he said in disbelief.
"Hyoutei Gakuen!!" the driver called out.
Stiffly, Yusu got off and semi-collapsed on the seats at the waiting shed. Still in shock, he ended the call and just sat there, not really knowing what to feel.
Hearing the line cut off, Gorou stared at his phone for a while and smirked in triumph. A few moments later, he arrived at his school and spotted Kuniyusuke by the bus stop and told his driver to drop him off there. "So you finally recognize that it was me, Kuniyusuke?" Gorou scoffed as he approached him.
Yusu looked up at him for a while before looking away. "I never expected it to be you...." he admitted. "But.....at the very least...we managed to find each other again," he said quietly.
Meanwhile, while driving back home from a nice little lunch with Seiichi, Syusuke spotted two Seigaku boys running. "Need a lift?" he asked the two.
"To Hyoutei, Kaa-san!" Kunisuke said exasperatedly, climbing into the backseat with Eishiro as Syuusuke drove off in a hurry.
Over at Hyoutei, Gorou sat himself down beside Kuniyusuke. "Yes, that's the important thing, isn't it?" he said with a happy sigh. "After I left with my parents halfway through elementary it was a real shame. I apologize if I didn't have time to send you even a snippet of a mail to ask how you were," he admitted. "What's important is we remember that promise. That when we're in first year middle school, and we haven't found that special someone yet, we'd get--"
"YOU WEREN'T THE ONE YUSU MADE THAT PROMISE WITH!!!!" Eishiro cried out as he came jogging out from the back of the car that quickly arrived.
Startled by the sudden arrival, Yusu glanced at his mother’s black sports car before looking at Eishiro. "S-Shiro, what are you talking about?" he asked with a frown. "He knows everything! And no one knows about that promise besides me, you and whoever knows the rest of the promise," he told him.
"That day in the playground by the swings... when we were in 2nd grade... I was the one who gave you that cat pendant Yusu!!" Eishiro insisted. "I was the one who asked you to make me that promise!"
"That's impossible!" Gorou complained.
With a fiery passion, Eishiro moved up to Kuniyusuke and took hold of his hands. "When we're in first year middle school, and we haven't found that special someone yet...... let's get together. I'll be leaving with my parents to go to Kyoto for a while you see... so promise me that when I come back I can be that someone who you can consider to be the one who you eventually love." Slowly, he pulled out his half of the cat pendant hanging around his neck and showed it to Kuniyusuke.
Yusu suddenly became dizzy after all the surprises that happened. "Shiro...you..." he said before slowly standing up and walking towards his best friend. "This is..." he pouted and paused before reaching in his bag and taking the case of his glasses. Opening it, he gingerly pulled out his other half of the necklace and looked at it and realized that it was indeed a perfect match for the one Eishiro was wearing. Hesitantly, he looked in between the two boys, not knowing what to do.
Chapter 6: Parental Bonds
Meanwhile, Echizen Ryouma gets a wake up call after realizing that he hasn't been around as often for his sons, and gets a late night pep talk with some other parents who went into professional tennis.
Meanwhile, Momoshiro Ryouma, although he was still known to the world as pro-tennis player Echizen Ryouma, was home that afternoon preparing for his next tournament and was preparing his bag for an overnight stay in Nagoya.
Takeshi, who was just finishing lecturing Ponta about not doing his homework walked in the master bed room and saw the prince of tennis packing his bags. "You're going again?" he asked. "You just came home a few hours ago!"
Before Ryouma could reply, however, the slamming of the front door could be heard followed by quick and heavy footsteps.
"Tou-san!! I'm ho--- Kaa-san!!" Ryoushi said eagerly as he bolted in the room and gave Ryouma a hug. "You're home! You're really home!!" he cheered. "This means you remember that we have a tournament tomorrow against Ginka!!" he said eagerly. "It's my first match as a regular in Seigaku so you're going to come right? Right?"
'A tournament? Oh.... right.....' he thought to himself as he looked down at Ryoushi. "Tomorrow afternoon, right...?" he confirmed, side-glancing to his baggage. "....I'll see if I can catch up. I have another tournament lined up tomorrow morning in Nagoya," he explained.
Takuma, nicknamed Ponta, peeked into the bedroom when he heard his brother dash in and listened in.
Ryoushi froze. "But Kaa-san....the tournament is in the morning....." he said slowly. "The afternoon is when you said we'd all eat together after at Kabaji-jii's sushi restaurant!!" he told him.
Momoshiro inwardly winced, realized that his husband was going to again miss an important event and that their eldest was on the verge of tears.
"You're not....going to be there, are you?!" Ryoushi immediately shouted in anger, averting his gaze.
Surprised at this outburst, Ryouma blinked down at his son. Suddenly, he didn't quite know how to respond. Pursing his lips, he tugged the bill of his cap down and turned away. "I'm sorry..." he apologized.
At this Ryoushi immediately teared up. "Sorry?!" he yelled. "YOU'RE sorry?!" he repeated. "Well I'm sorry too!! Because I have a mother that's never there when I need him!! Sorry that I'm always the only one with the incomplete set of parents in every school function!!!" he shouted.
"O-Oi, Ryou..." Takeshi said as he stepped forward and placed a hand on his son's shoulders. Ryoushi merely shrugged it off.
"When will you ever be there for us?!" Ryoushi demanded. "All you care about are those stupid tournaments of yours!! It's like Ponta and I never had a mother at all!!! I hate it!! I just hate it!!" he continued. "BUT I HATE YOU THE MOST!!!" he cried out before opening his bag and took out a piece of paper and threw it on the floor before running out of his parents room and into his own.
Stunned by the uncharacteristic outburst, Takeshi turned his attention to the paper that Ryoushi threw down. It was an essay from one of their classes about their families. Something Ryoushi was going to show them since he had somehow managed to get the highest grade in class. Frowning, he handed it to Ryouma who stood there stunned before spotting Ponta at the door. "Ponta..." he said quietly before walking over to him and picked him up.
Unsure of what to do, Ryouma stared down at the paper and read it. His grip tightened as he gritted his teeth, wondering how in the world things turned out the way they did.
"When will you ever be there for us?!"
When Ryouma thought about it, he never had any recollection of memories to look back on with his kids growing up.
"All you care about are those stupid tournaments of yours!!"
Granted, when he decided to continue playing tennis professionally after Ponta was born, all his time was devoted to attending tournaments and nothing else.
"It's like Ponta and I never had a mother at all!! I hate it!! I just hate it!!"
Ryouma began to double-take on his chosen career path, realizing how much he had missed out spending time with his family.
"BUT I HATE YOU THE MOST!!!"
This left him at a loss for words, his legs unable to run after his eldest son for reasons he didn't understand.
Ponta's eyes were quickly stained with tears as his father picked him up. "Mama doesn't love us!!" he exclaimed scornfully.
Ryouma's heart skipped at beat at this, stumbling back onto the bed, suddenly feeling dizzy.
Takeshi sighed as he walked over to his husband. "It's up to you..." he said before glancing at Ryouma's luggage and focused his attention on Ponta and walked outside to calm him down. "That's not true, Ponta....if your mama didn't love you he wouldn't come home at all, right?" he cooed, trying to smile for their youngest.
Ryouma watched Takeshi and Ponta head out before he took off his cap, setting it down and slowly found feeling in his legs to walk. Standing up, he made his way to Ryoushi's room while trying to find a way to convey his feelings to him.
In his room, Ryoushi quickly rummaged around and pulled out a scrap book that he was making for school. Opening it, he glared at the family pictures that it had and started ripping out the pages one by one. "You were never there......never there.....you were never there!!!" he said over and over as he continued crying, ripping out the pages in blind anger. "NEVER THERE!! NEVER THERE!!!" he shouted as he ripped the pages much faster. When none was left, he tore the cover in half. Sobbing to himself, he spotted a lone picture on the floor where he along with his father and Ponta were on with him while he held a trophy. "All I ever wanted....." he said more quietly. "Was for you.....to be there...." he whimpered before hugging the picture as he continued crying.
Peeking into Ryoushi's room to console him, Ryouma paused when he watched his eldest son ripping out pages of a scrapbook. Grip tightening around the doorknob, he glanced downwards in guilt that he allowed this drift among his family that he somehow wanted to understand.
He was sure his heart broke when he heard his son's plea, but he didn't deserve to barge in and comfort him. Not with the way he was at the time. And so he decided that he needed time to think things through. And if there was anyone he could talk to about exactly this kind of situation, it would have been his former captain: Tezuka Kunimitsu.
Moving further down the hall, mustering the strength to deny comfort to his son, Ryouma pulled out his phone and dialed a particular number.
On the other end of the line, Kunimitsu picked it up. "Hello?"
"Buchou.... I know this is sudden, but can you come meet me tonight at the coffee shop in the corner?" Ryouma asked quietly.
Furrowing his brows at this request but somehow figured it out, Kunimitsu glanced at the time. "Alright. I'll meet you there in 5 minutes," he said before hanging up and prepared to leave, but not before he made a few other calls.
Ending the call, Ryouma nodded to himself and moved up to Takeshi. "I'll be heading out for a while," he announced, reaching a hand out to pat Ponta but hesitated. Pursing his lips, he carried out with the gesture and gently ruffled his youngest's hair before heading out.
When he reached the coffee shop Ryouma ordered himself some coffee while he waited for Kunimitsu to arrive. At exactly 5 minutes, several people filed into the coffee shop.
"Echizen," Kunimitsu acknowledged as he and a few others walked up to him.
"Buch----" Ryouma stopped short as he looked up and spotted that his former captain was not alone. Along with him were Sanada Genichiro, Hiyoshi Wakashi and Zaizen Hikaru.
"Been a while," Hikaru greeted with a smirk as he took a seat beside Ryouma.
Wakashi merely nodded as he took the one opposite Hikaru. "I've been watching your games," the former Hyoutei regular said. "You've dominated Japan...congratulations."
"Buchou, why are these guys...?" Ryouma asked Kunimitsu as the bespectacled man and Genichirou took the last remaining seats across him.
"I figured you finally realized the burden of pursing a professional tennis career and juggling it with family so I asked them to join us," Kunimitsu explained simply. "I wasn't the only one who initially pursued that career, after all," he added, adjusting his glasses.
"Sou...." Glancing down at his cup of coffee, Ryouma formulated his question for a while before raising his head. "What got you all to quit going pro then?" he asked.
The four looked at one another in silence for a moment before returning their gaze to Ryouma. "Our kids," they responded simultaneously.
Kunimitsu pulled out his wallet and flipped it open. A folded mass of plastic came flipping down, revealing a mixture of pictures depicting his twins growing up and family pictures.
"As expected from having a husband whose forte is photography," Genichirou praised with a calm smirk, fishing into his pocket for his own wallet. Upon pulling it out he flipped it open and pulled out a bundle of pictures he kept hidden in a secret compartment and showed some of little Akihiro; one picture in particular had him wearing a hat too big for him.
"Ch, no wonder you guys had me bring my album," Wakashi said as he fished out his own and placed it on the table. His collection wasn't as vast as the two captains but they were meaningful. One bunch was just him teaching his son the family tennis style while Taki managed to slip in one picture where they were complete by holding the camera above him. "Gekokujou," he told Echizen proudly.
"What's that baby stocking for?" Hikaru asked as he spotted one that fell on top of the pictures.
Hastily, Wakashi snatched it. "My treasure," he muttered.
Hikaru smirked before pulling out his own collection that nearly rivaled Kunimitsu’s if not for a three picture advantage that the captain had. "Dammit...needed three more," he muttered before looking at Ryouma. "And you?"
Looking at each of the father's pictures on albums or wallet space, Ryouma felt the guilt increasing as he feebly pulled out his wallet and opened it to reveal two pictures: one when Ryoushi was a baby, and the other when Ponta was a baby.
The four looked at this before shaking their heads.
"Nurui!" Genichirou reprimanded.
Kunimitsu, on the other hand, leaned back and crossed his arms. "Echizen... didn't you ever stop and think why your own father stopped playing tennis?"
Pausing, Ryouma turned his attention to Kunimitsu who again adjusted his glasses. "My dad?" he asked.
"He mysteriously left the tennis world when he was at the peak of his career. The reason why he left..."
Kunimitsu’s voice drowned out from Ryouma’s mind as his father's words when they met last week rose to the surface.
"Oi Ryouma. D'you wanna know why I quit playing tennis? It's 'cause you were born. My glory days came and went but that doesn't mean I gave up on my dream. After all, I had you to continue it for me didn't I? I hope you understand at least THAT concept of family and keeping dreams alive, chibi!"
Wakashi was about to say something when he felt his phone vibrate. "Er....excuse me a bit...I need to loudspeaker this," he said in apology to the other fathers. "Hello?"
"PAPAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! I HAD A BAD DREAAAAAAAAAM!!!! COME HOMEEEEE!!" a voice called out.
Wakashi sweatdropped, "Mama's not up?" he asked.
"I DON'T WANT MAMA!!! PAPA COME HOOOOOOOOOOOOME!!!" the voice cried.
"Hai, I'm on my way. Hang on for five minutes okay?" he said. "Papa loves you now calm down," he told his son.
"H-Hai..." came a whimper from the other end.
"Ending the call now," Hiyoshi said before pressing the end button. "Well...sorry guys. I have to go or Wakato won't be able to go to sleep. See ya around!" he told the other four before hurriedly leaving the cafe.
Just as Hiyoshi left, it was Genichirou’s phone that rang out. "Suman," he apologized before taking the call.
"Tou-saaan," Akihiro whined sleepily from the other end.
"Something wrong Aki-chan?" he asked.
"I'm still at Kei's place and Kaa-san isn't home," he remarked with a yawn.
Eyes widening in realization, Genichirou got to his feet. "Kaa-san didn't pick you up?" he asked worriedly.
"Nooo, but it's okay. Tou-san can pick me up right?"
"Alright I'll head there right now to pick you up. Give me 3 minutes okay?" Genichirou informed his son who agreed before ending the call. "I shall be taking my leave as well," he announced with a stiff nod of his head before zooming out of the coffee shop.
Kunimitsu pulled out his own phone and furrowed his brows as he answered it. "Something wrong Yusuke?" he asked his youngest son.
"Papa...." Yusu whimpered from the other end. "Papa I really need to talk to you......" he said quietly. "I know that you're out and busy but...do you have the time tonight?" he asked hopefully. "Please...?"
With a soft smile, Tezuka rose to his feet as he nodded to Ryouma and Hikaru as a gesture of excusing himself as he walked over to the door. "Of course, Yusuke. I'm coming home right now. Do you want to wait for when I get home or do you want to talk to me through here?" he asked before leaving the establishment.
Coming back from a moment of self-enlightenment, Ryouma realized that these people who once sacrificed everything for tennis now considered their family above anything else. And he was nothing but astonished and stupid for not realizing any of this sooner.
"Well, at least I'm not expecting a call from a crying ki--" The former Shitenhouji regular froze when he heard something squeak just when he was putting the pictures back in his small bag. "Uh-oh...." he said slowly before pulling out a small toy. Staring at it for a while, he frowned before feeling dread. "Yabbe....Satoshi won't be able to sleep without this!!" he exclaimed before immediately standing up and bowing to Ryouma. "Sorry for leaving so abruptly....maa shanaisuwa..." he said before running out to pacify the little boy he knew would either be hyper or crying by that time.
With him leaving, the prince of tennis was left alone with his thoughts. Feeling just as alone as he was waiting for Kunimitsu, Ryouma stirred his coffee in long contemplation of his next plan of action.
'Well... one thing's for certain,' he convinced himself as he finally got to his feet, any thoughts of the tournaments or anything related to his professional career now at the very back of his mind. 'I need to make amends with my kids...' he vowed.
"A-re? You....You're Echizen Ryouma the tennis superstar!" One of the waiters said in surprise. "Echizen-san! I'm a big fan!" he said proudly. "I've been taping all of your tournaments. You may not recognize me but I was your batch mate back in senior high," he introduced. "You've really dominated Japan and America with your tennis and inspired a lot of people!" he said. "A lot of tennis rookies look up to you as an idol, especially now that you're at the peak of your career. Your tournament tomorrow....if you win that - which I'm sure you will - you'll be the best player in the whole world!!" he said enthusiastically before pulling out a small photo card from his pocket. "Ne... could you sign this, please? I sort of promised my son I'd get your autograph if I ever saw you."
Echizen glanced at the photo card for a long moment before looking up at his fan. 'This guy actually made the decision for me,' he thought to himself as he took the card and the pen offered to him to sign with. "Thanks for the support, but you better hold on to this autograph and those tapings," he advised as he returned the signed card and pen. "Because I'll be bowing out of the professional tennis scene for good," he finished with a smile before bolting out and heading home.
As soon as he arrived he headed to Ryoushi's room, who was still crying and managed to haul him over his shoulder and brought him off to his and Takeshi's room. Once there, he spotted his husband cradling Ponta who was asleep as he gingerly took his other son and pulled them both into a much needed motherly embrace.
Stirring, Ponta blinked before recognizing the embrace. "MAMA!!" he cried happily, sniffing.
Ryoushi, who was still shocked beyond words at being hauled by his mother, looked at Ryouma hesitantly. "M-Mama?" he asked carefully.
Takeshi smiled before looking at the clock. "Say your goodbyes kids... Mama's plane does leave in 4 hours," he said sadly as he sat down on the edge of the bed.
Ryoushi immediately teared up again and shoved himself out of Ryouma's hug. "'M not going to bother...." he muttered.
"Baka," Ryouma reprimanded over to his husband, pulling Ryoushi back into the hug. "I never said I'd still be going to that stupid tournament," he explained cheekily. "I want to watch our son's tournament tomorrow."
"Your fans at the world championship won't be very happy but I'm not complaining," Takeshi said with a grin before joining the three on the bed for a hug.
At this Ryoushi immediately felt guilt. "W-World championship?" he asked. "But Kaa-san....isn't that your dream?"
"It was.... before I married your father," Ryouma replied. "After talking with a few people earlier tonight, I realized something important... That I had a bigger dream than what I set for myself... And that's you two," he finished, smiling gently down at his two boys.
"Mama..." Ponta muttered out before nuzzling up to him.
Frowning at this, Ryoushi settled down and moved closer to his mother. "Kaa-san...I....I'm sorry about what I said earlier," he said. "I don't hate you...."
Inwardly smiling, Ryouma pulled his eldest closer to him, kissing him on the head and rubbed his back consolingly. "........I know Ryoushi...." he reassured him. 'I know...' he added in affirmation to himself.
Ryoushi smiled and nodded to himself. "We're going to beat the crap out of Ginka tomorrow then...." he said proudly before yawning. "Oyasumi Papa...." he paused and held on to Ryouma. "...Mama."
Chapter 7: Regionals
The former Seigaku regulars reunite as they cheer on their kids in the regional tournament.
That morning the following day, the former Seigaku regulars, including Kabaji, were in perfect attendance to watch their sons play the first round of the Kanto regional tournament against Ginka.
"Echizen! This is a surprise seeing you here~" Oishi Shuuichiro pointed out as he and his husband Eiji took a seat beside the Momoshiro’s.
Pulling the bill of his cap down slightly, Ryouma nodded his head.
Yamato, the captain before Tezuka, was in attendance as well to watch his own son. "Fancy meeting you all here," he said with a smile as he sat in the bleachers just behind the Tezuka's. "My son's graduating this year...it's ironic, isn't it?" he said in amusement as all the regulars lined up by the net.
Ryoushi looked over and smirked at his mother before moving back with the rest of the regulars.
The only person who was out of it that morning was Yusu.
Syuusuke frowned when he saw this and leaned over to his husband. "Mitsu....what's wrong with Yusu?" he asked.
Recalling last night's chain of events, including Kuniyusuke's plead to talk with him, Kunimitsu found himself unable to provide any definitive advice to give his youngest concerning the complications of his feelings towards Eishiro. "Matters of the heart," he replied to his husband as Doubles 2 was about to begin with the pair of Inui Saki and Kabaji Takuji.
"Come on Takuji, BURNING!!!" came Kawamura Takeshi's loud cheer, waving a familiar Seigaku flag.
Inui Sadaharu nodded to himself. "Probability that they will win...98%," he said.
Yusu, in the meantime, wasn't watching at all as he sighed and looked at the ground. Fiddling his racket he looked up at the match.
"Yusu! You can't lose your focus today!!" Ryoushi reminded him.
"Daijobu Yusu~" Eishiro told him, trying to cheer him up with a pat on the shoulder. "You don't have to swallow everything in right away. Take things one step at a time nya~"
Side-glancing over to his twin brother, Kunisuke wondered if this would greatly affect their game.
Yusu frowned. "But Shiro...I...." he said before biting his lower lip. "Excuse me," he said quickly before leaving for a while. Stopping by the water faucets, he sighed deeply. "What am I going to do....I can't even focus..."
Following Kuniyusuke off to the faucets, Eishiro approached him. "You can use what I feel for you as your energy~" he suggested warmly. "It won't be very often that we get to play doubles together Yusu," he continued with a slight frown. "But I think that the best way to express yourself would be through how you play tennis! If we can support each other well during this upcoming doubles match, then we'd be a great combi wouldn't we?" he asked brightly.
At this point, Yusu half threw himself on his friend and hugged him tightly. "...I'm sorry....." he told him. "For forgetting...." he started. "We've been together for the longest time and I didn't remember that it was you even once!!" he said mournfully. "I'm really...really sorry!!"
"Yosh yosh," Eishiro consoled, rubbing Kuniyusuke's back. "I perfectly understand, Yusu~ I'm sure you never forgot but our time apart caused your mind to become a little hazy with the details... So cheer up! I want to see a smiling, focused Yusu with me while we play okay?"
"Aa..." Yusu answered as he pulled away with a smile. "After all, it's still too early for Ginka to defeat Seigaku," he said with a chuckle before they headed back to the court just in time for their game. "That....was rather quick," Yusu observed.
Ryoushi nodded. "Inui and Kabaji didn't even let them score," he said in amusement.
"Did we ever try that combination?" Inui Kaoru considered to his husband after watching the first match.
"It's the Data Master and the Strong Man combi so it's expected," Kunisuke informed the pair. "You're up."
"Yosha!! Ikuyo Yusu!! Papa!! Mama!! Over here!!" Eishiro called out as he bounced and waved at his parents energetically.
Eiji waved back eagerly. "There he is, Shuuichiro!!!" he said happily. "Wave back, nyaaaa!!" he ordered.
Shuuichiro smiled and waved back at their son as the match begun.
Syuusuke chuckled as he noticed the mood change that Yusu had. "Looks like this match will be as one-sided as the least," he observed. "With this going on, Seigaku pretty much has this in the bag," he told them.
"That's to be expected," Kunimitsu voiced out to his husband. With their talent I'd be surprised if they don't go all the way to win the Nationals this year," he remarked.
"At least Buchou still has that passion of reaching the Nationals..." Ryouma teased.
"That's one thing that never really leaves us," Syuusuke said in amusement. "But you know Ryouma... Seigaku is the only team this year without a manager or a coach," he hinted before turning his attention back to the game where Yusu had successfully executed a Tsubame Gaeshi. "That's my boy," he praised with a smile.
As the other regulars predicted, the match became pretty much as one sided as the first doubles game.
"Yosh!! Gambatte Ryoushi!!" Takeshi cheered on for his son.
"Don't think I'll go easy on you just because of the fame getting to your head because you're the son of a tennis legend!!" Ryoushi's opponent said with a frown.
"If you think you can beat me then there's one thing I want to tell you," Ryoushi said with a smirk as he pointed his racket at his opponent. "Mada mada dane!"
Upon hearing this, some of the former regulars - Shuuichiro, Eiji, Takeshi and Kaoru - burst out laughing. Smirking, Ryouma pulled his cap down. "That's my Ryoushi..." he muttered in praise.
"Gambatte oniichan!!!" Ponta cheered from beside his father.
By the middle of the match, Takeshi couldn’t help but be impressed by his son who by that time had managed to execute Drive A, B and Cool Drive. "And to think he only watched you do those on TV," he said with an amused shake of his head.
"He's really your son, if that's the case, Ryouma…" Sadaharu praised.
"Of course he is," Ryouma said stubbornly, crossing his arms with a huff. "I wasn't in labor for 6 hours for nothing."
"Try having twins," Syusuke told him as Ryoushi took the last point that he needed to win the match.
"Game set! Won by Momoshiro Ryoushi!" the referee announced.
Smirking at his opponent that was obviously fuming, Ryoushi hastily walked back to the benches where the rest of his team was waiting
"Nice work, Ryoushi!!" Yusu told him before looking at Kunisuke.
"Yosh!! It's time!!" Ryoushi exclaimed as all signs of tiredness -if there were any- gone from his features- before taking a rather large flag from behind the bench and a towel before running up to the bleachers. "GAMBATTEEEEEE BUCHOUUUUUUUUU!!" he cheered as he unraveled the flag that revealed a chibified face of Kunisuke.
Eiji and Syuusuke looked at one another and grinned. "Momo's genes," they said together.
Sweeping his hair back, Kunisuke got to his feet to much fervent cheering as he approached the courts and hid the blush growing on his cheeks at Ryoushi's even more fervent cheering.
"Kunisuke should smile more," Ryouma remarked.
"That would just make him devious-looking like Fuji-senpai," Kaoru argued.
"I don't want competition! Not at all!!" Ryoushi called out as he went closer to the adults, now holding a banner.
Takeshi looked at him. "Just how many did you make?" he asked.
"Just two..." Ryoushi answered.
"I still have a lot more that are just stocked at the clubroom for the next matches against the other schools!"
".....That isn't healthy...it just isn't!!" Takeshi argued.
Ryouma chuckled. "Just leave it Takeshi," he urged his husband. "Indulge him a little bit," he suggested.
Meanwhile, as Kunisuke's match progressed, the crowd was stunned into silence at the service aces or return aces he exhibited, and any rallies that came about brought out the Tezuka Zone.
"Now you can clearly tell which twin takes after who much more than the other," Syuusuke said happily as he happily took pictures. "That's our Kunisuke~" he said happily.
Soon the match ended with Kunisuke's win. Seigaku won their first official game into the regionals.
With much celebrating from the second generation of Seigaku regulars, the large group headed to Kawamura's sushi which retained its name even if Takashi did marry Kabaji.
"Ne, Shiro...would you mind if we walk there instead of riding with our parents?" Yusu asked.
"Sure, I don't mind~" Eishiro responded. With a casual wave to his parents who understood, the big group filed out until he and Kuniyusuke were the only ones left. When they started walking, Eishiro brought his hands behind his head. "That was a great match today Yusu nya~" he praised with a grin.
"Yes it was...but it could have been a disaster if you didn't follow me back there," Yusu told Shiro as they started walking uphill. A few moments of silence passed between them after this. Yusu, adjusting his bag over his shoulder, glanced at Eishiro who was humming to himself. Noting that at one point, he had lowered his hands from the back of his head, Yusu hesitantly reached out and took Eishiro's hand.
Glancing down and seeing what Kuniyusuke wanted to do, Eishiro closed the gap and gripped onto the other's hand, smiling gently over to him. "Have I told you that I love you yet nya?" he asked him almost casually, but a fairly obvious blush appearing on his cheeks.
Yusu looked at him, almost shyly, and smiled back. "No you haven't," he answered. Stopping for a while, he leaned forward to whisper in Eishiro's ear. "....but I'm glad you did." Pulling away he planted a quick kiss on Eishiro's cheek before tugging him along so that they could walk on.
"Nyaaa Yusu it's embarrassing!" Eishiro complained, closing his eyes as he allowed Kuniyusuke to pull him along.
Yusu chuckled. "Is it?" he asked as he walked along.
Eventually, they reached the sushi restaurant only to see Ryoushi arguing with Saki about the last piece of sushi on the plate.
"I guess the rivalry is genetic too," Syuusuke observed as he took a picture of the two.
"Even I'm surprised that that's possible," Ryouma pointed out lazily, drinking some Ponta.
Eishiro frowned and moved up to the two and forced them apart. "Hey, stop fighting!" he reprimanded them.
Syuusuke smiled as he waved at Yusu as he entered. "Looks like we won't have to worry about Seigaku this year, na minna?" he asked the former regulars while surveying the scene before him.
In truth, nothing much had changed aside from the fact that they were less in number. But it didn't matter. By next year, their set of regulars would be complete with the addition of Momoshiro and Echizen's youngest, Ponta. Truly, this would be a very interesting next few years.
Chapter 8: Zero Shiki Serve: Tezuka and Fuji's Story
A flashback of Tezuka and Fuji's love story.
Several years ago, during the U-17 camp.
Court 5 had just finished their shuffle match with Court 3. Tezuka had successfully won against his predecessor Yamato, and had been opened up to the opportunity of fulfilling his own tennis dream; of going professional. Just before his departure from camp, he had one last match with Fuji, trouncing him and with a heavy sigh, pulled up his bag and went on his way; leaving Fuji behind.
Weeks easily passed and they all went on their ways after the camp was over. For most of them, they were stepping out as high school students. It was a new beginning in more ways than one....for one though...it may be really more than the others.
Fuji walked out with his bag in hand. He was going to go to the Seigaku bus but paused when he saw someone; someone that he needed to talk to. Breathing in to calm himself, he jogged up to the teen in question. "Hey Atobe!" he called out. "Do you have a minute?" he asked with his usual smile.
Atobe was on his cellphone and hung up just as Fuji approached him. Pocketing the device, he crossed his arms. "Now I do. What did you need, Fuji?" he asked, particularly accommodating that day.
"I...I hate to say this but I need your help," Fuji told him. "I need to find a doctor...a doctor that can be discreet and someone that doesn't know anyone else in the middle school and high school tennis circuit," he said critically before revealing his eyes and glancing at Seigaku's bus. "It's a...sensitive matter."
Realizing quickly that it was a serious issue that couldn't be taken lightly, Atobe couldn't be more confirmed by the sight of the tensai's eyes staring back at him; and those normally didn't show up. The Hyoutei captain took a moment to consult his Insight - complete with the hand gesture - before nodding. "Alright," he said, handing Fuji a card with his phone number. "Call me tonight at 9pm. I'll make some calls on the way home and I'll get you a doctor for your..." he paused and lowered his gaze slightly. "...problem," he finished.
Feeling Atobe's eyes make a quick analysis of him, Fuji merely smiled and placed a hand on his stomach that was covered by his varsity jacket. "I'll...tell you the details when we're in a more private setting," he told Atobe. "Thank you," he said before heading back to the bus.
"What was that about, nya~?" Kikumaru asked as soon as Fuji sat behind him.
"I was just asking Atobe for information about where Tezuka will be staying," Fuji lied.
"Did you get anything?" Kikumaru asked excitedly.
"He said to give him a call in a few days so he can check."
"It's really amazing, with all the connections Atobe has," Oishi considered before turning to Kikumaru. "Na?"
Inui adjusted his glasses. "It looked like Atobe formed a partnership with Tezuka... or so I've been told," he supposed.
"Indeed..," Fuji said in agreement. 'But he also knows when to keep his mouth shut, and that's what I like about him,' he thought in amusement.
At 9-o'clock on the dot, after dinner and washing up, Fuji lay down on his bed and stared at his phone for a while. "Now or never..." he said to himself before pulling out the card Atobe gave him and dialed the diva's number. "....Atobe? It's me..."
"Ah, Fuji," came Atobe's languid voice through the other end of the phone. "Just in time. I just got off the phone with one of my personal doctors. He's agreed to keep quiet about your condition and keep it strictly between you and me. I've arranged a meet-up Saturday morning at our family clinic. I'll send a limo to pick you up then," he explained.
"Actually...a limo would be too flashy for my taste," Fuji said before chuckling. "Would it be a stretch to ask if I could sleep over on Friday instead? Less questions to be raised," he explained. "Plus, Yuuta would be home on Saturday..." he added before pausing. "....and...I could tell you the whole thing."
A chuckle. "As long as you don't mention it to Tezuka then that can be arranged," Atobe bargained. "The last thing I need is giving him leverage to use against me, ahn?"
"I think you already know that Tezuka is the last person I want to discover this....development," Fuji said pointedly before pausing. He then sighed. "Thank you for this, Atobe...really…"
"Not a problem," Atobe said sincerely before adding, "You're going to have to tell him at some point though.”
"When he stops being busy taking over the world with tennis, perhaps," Fuji responded before chuckling at his own answer. He fell quiet and he knew Atobe knew the translation of that line. Maybe... never.....
Silence filled the phone for a while before an audible sigh was heard. "Tell me more on Friday then," Atobe chided. "I for one am interested in your predicament."
"Alright," Fuji said before they bid each other goodbye and ended the calls.
The days rolled by and soon Fuji found himself in one of the guest rooms of the rather spacious and large Atobe mansion. He had just finished getting used to the room when he decided to go to Atobe's room where they were supposed to meet. Once he entered, he grinned. "You really know how to treat a guest," he complimented before taking a seat on the couch that was there.
"When you're living in luxury, it's common sense to make your guest feel the same way," Atobe explained, settled on an arm chair with his legs propped up, sipping on a glass of wine. "Now then... Tell me everything," he invited, spreading his arms in gesture.
"It started two and a half months ago," Fuji said with a sigh. "I've been getting all sorts of cramps and have been greatly lethargic," he started. "At that time, I really didn't know what was going on. I went to multiple clinics and found nothing wrong...then during one time I asked my sister, she read her cards and all it advised me was to do something unconventional."
He then reached into his pocket and pulled out something long. "I decided to try a pregnancy test...and it came out positive," he said before handing the strip to Atobe.
"Tezuka and I....we only really did it twice. Both within the window of three months ago." he continued. "The first time was out of the adrenalin rush when he won against me and the second one was just before he took our diplomas...I never expected this..." he paused before looking down at his hands. "But you have to understand...Tezuka has his future ahead of him...all he ever wanted...that's why..." he took a deep shaky breath. "That's why I didn't have the heart to tell him…"
Atobe stirred his drink thoughtfully as he listened, taking the test strip and examined it for a while. Finally, he pulled his feet off the table, setting the glass down in its place. Sweeping a hand through his hair, he leaned back on his chair. "Tezuka is a lucky man," he began. "But... I agree that his mind is set on conquering the world, and so I understand where you're coming from. I'll do whatever I can to help you through this in light of Tezuka's absence," he promised. "It's the least I could do."
"Thank you, again, Atobe," Fuji said in relief. "You're the only one I could turn to without it all exploding out of proportion," he added. "The rest are good, really...but they don't know how to hold secrets as big as this."
"Oh trust me, secrets like this are more than safe with me," Atobe boasted.
The following day, Atobe led Fuji to their family clinic where he introduced his doctor to Fuji, and the tests went under way. A series of tests were done and the two were left waiting in the lounge room. The doctor came out after a few minutes and explained the situation to them.
"Twins?!" Fuji exclaimed in disbelief. "I-I can't have twins!" he said in near panic. "I don't even know how I'm supporting one and..." he trailed off before leaning forward and placed his head on his hands. "What am I going to do?"
"Accept them~" a cheery voice said from behind them.
Akutagawa Jirou walked in with some body guards and smiled before sitting down beside Atobe. "Here he is, Keigo. Freshly discharged. He was such a diva in the nursery that he knocked over his milk case...so he smells like milk…" he said before showing Atobe the bundle in his arms.
Atobe gingerly took the bundle and flashed a smiled down at the baby wrapped amidst it. "Why does that not surprise me?" he said teasingly. "Gorou~" he cooed before looking up at Fuji. "You know, I could help you with your twins," he offered.
Fuji watched them in slight disbelief and it was only when Jirou walked up to the same doctor he had to sign some papers did he snap out of his little trance. "You two..." he said.
Jirou nodded. "Why do you think I got away with always sleeping?" he teased. "Though Gorou was a bit premature so we had to leave him here for two weeks," he explained before smiling over to the father-son pair and chuckled when Gorou reached up to touch his father's mole. "Knows a beauty mark when he sees it. Definitely an Atobe gene," he said happily. "So what do you say, Fuji-kun?" he asked. "If anyone is fit to help you it'd be us."
"I...I'm not really sure."
"Fuji-kun....twins might seem intimidating at first but think about it this way. It's just another one to love," Jirou said with a smile.
Fuji's eyes lit up and looked at Jirou. Then a smile appeared on his face. "...you're right..." he said.
"Plus, Keigo can be a godfather~ I'd love to tag along too~"
"You can both be godfathers," Fuji answered.
"Hear that, Keikei?" Jirou asked happily.
"It's decided then," Atobe said triumphantly, smirking and peeling his eyes from his son and over to Fuji. "We can give you lodgings when you're a few more months in and showing to keep suspicion clear," he offered. "You can look over Gorou with Jirou and I and see what it's like," he added.
"That would be...much appreciated," Fuji said with a smile before taking the folder with the ultrasound.
"You'll be great, Fuji-kun~" Jirou cheered before taking Gorou from Keigo. "Now now, no poking Papa's mole," he reprimanded before nuzzling his son.
Fuji chuckled as he watched this and eventually followed them back to go to the Atobe mansion.
A few weeks had passed. Every month, Fuji would make a trip to the clinic to check with the doctor about the progress of his twins; and he was visibly showing. One day, however, Fuji was on his way back to the Atobe Mansion when an old man bumped into him.
"I'm sorry, my apologies---Fuji-kun?" Tezuka Kunikazu, Kunimitsu's grandfather, identified.
Fuji froze, knowing the voice too well. Slowly, he looked up at the man and managed a smile. Bowing slightly he greeted him. "It's been a while, Tezuka Kunikazu-san.." he said nervously before straightening up and holding his bag in front of him, attempting to hide the baby bump and banking on the man's hopefully poor eyesight.
"Yes, it has," Kunikazu said with an air of mild happiness in the tone of his voice. "Tell me, how have you been? Kunimitsu has been writing to me about his successes abroad," he explained. "What about you? What have you been up to?"
"I've been....coping...I mean, doing really, really well," Fuji said with a smile. "I'll be starting high school next school year. I took a break you see," he said before laughing nervously, putting the bag aside with one hand while sheepishly scratching the back of his head with the other; a rather large mistake.
The baby bump did not go unnoticed from Kunikazu's vision. "...Fuji-kun!" he said in slight surprise when he saw it. "Is this why you held back from high school?" he asked, concern seeping through his voice. "...Whose is it?" Kunikazu asked after a while.
Mentally panicking, Fuji placed the bag in front of him again and flushed in embarrassment. "I-I can't tell you," he said hurriedly as he looked down. "The father of these kids...he doesn't even know yet and only a select few know about it."
Kunikazu watched Fuji for a long while before smiling softly, reaching out to place a frail hand over one of Fuji's own. "..It's Kunimitsu's, isn't it?" he asked.
Fuji looked at him in surprise, stunned that the older was still so sharp. Then again he was a Tezuka and almost little to none can get past them. "Yes...it's Kunimitsu's…" he answered quietly.
Kunikazu seemed to brood on this revelation for a while. "So... since Kunimitsu doesn't mention this, I assume you didn't tell him," he began. "But you had your reasons, I suppose?" After a while, the old man smiled. "Your secret will be safe with me Syuusuke-kun," he said, moving to a first name basis, considering his great grandchildren were developing. "Just one favor?" he requested, pointing at the baby bump. "Could I ask you to add 'Kuni' to their names too?"
Fuji smiled instantly. "Aa," he said in agreement before fishing something out of his bag. Looking at it for a while, he handed a copy of the ultrasound to the man. "They're both boys," he informed him gently. "I'm staying at Atobe's while I finish my pregnancy...you can visit me anytime or I could come and visit your home," he offered. "I guess...you all have the right to be involved too but I will have to also request that you not tell Kunimitsu."
"My influence in the family can silence them," Kunikazu reassured the boy as he looked at the ultrasound in quiet content. "Perhaps you would like to stay with us instead," he offered. "Ayana would love the company," he added with a playful wink.
"I would have to talk to Atobe but that would be wonderful, thank you," Fuji admitted with a warm smile, really liking the idea.
Sure enough, he soon moved to the Tezuka's home. Ayana fussed over him but indeed enjoyed the company. Kuniharu, Tezuka's father, took a few minutes to adjust but failed in hiding his own excitement over the twin's birth.
By the time the 9th month rolled in, only Fuji's family, Tezuka's family, Atobe and Jirou, Kikumaru (and Oishi…that's a given), and Saeki knew about the pregnancy. Saeki, Kikumaru and Oishi were camped out at Fuji's ready to jump out at the slightest hint that Fuji would be taken to the hospital. One fine day, they were called about Fuji having contractions and immediately dashed to the hospital.
"...you don't understand, nya!" Kikumaru exclaimed as he shook Saeki by the shoulders. "Someone has to be in there with Fujikooooo!!" he wailed. "I'd be there but blood makes me faaaaaaint!!"
"I can go," Oishi volunteered.
"No, he needs moral support, I'll go," Saeki insisted.
"This is ridiculous. Ore-sama will go!" Atobe said indignantly, ending the conversation and moved to get into a scrub suit to join Fuji at the delivery room.
"Have fuuuuun~" Jirou said as he waved at him before turning his attention back to Gorou who was curiously looking around. Kikumaru and Ayana fawned over Gorou as they waited and a few hours later, they saw a doctor come out and mentally count them.
"At least this is a private delivery room," the doctor said before smiling. "You can all go in."
Kikumaru zoomed inside and found a place beside Fuji. "Fujiko~~" he cheered as he saw the nurses take the bloodied sheets away. "Congratulations~~" he cheered again.
"Domo," Fuji said, still tired.
"Uwaaa...they're so cute," Jirou said as he approached the twins, all bundled up in separate holders. "What are you naming them?" he asked.
Fuji then smiled and looked over at Kunikazu. "Kunisuke and Kuniyusuke," he answered. Ayana did a little squeal.
"They both look like Kunimitsu when he was born," she commented.
"Like Syuusuke too~" Yoshiko and Yumiko said together.
Kunikazu beamed upon hearing the names, thanking Fuji for the thoughtful act.
"Omedetou," Atobe said, pulling the gloves off.
Yuuta peeked. "I didn't think Aniki would give birth to such cute kids..." he commented.
"If only Tezuka could be here to see them..." Oishi pondered with a sad smile.
"When he's ready...maybe," Fuji said with a smile before yawning.
"Don't worry about the twins, dear. We'll keep an eye on them," Ayana assured him. Fuji smiled at her and nodded in thanks before drifting off.
"...oi...oi..." Eiji suddenly called over, waving at them all.
"What is it?" Jirou asked before looking over and pausing in surprise. The twins’ eyes were opened and they were both a stunning blue.
It was a good two years that passed since then. Fuji was a solo parent, with occasional help from his sister and Tezuka's mother. One spring day, Atobe had invited Fuji and the twins to go with his little family to France to watch the Championship match of the French Open.
"A grand way to introduce the kids to the sport," Atobe claimed.
"Just be thankful that it's during summer break," Fuji teased as he sat Kunisuke and Kuniyusuke in between him and Atobe to keep an eye on them. "Luckily, I made the mark to be a senior with you all next year so I'm pretty much free~"
"Ah to be a tensai~" Jirou said before trying to keep Gorou from swinging his little balloon racket around too much.
Yusu blinked and looked around. "Mommy what does sign say?" he asked as he pointed at the sign by the court.
"Ah, those are the names of the ones playing later," Fuji explained "Let's see..... Federer and...." he trailed off as his blood ran cold.
Kunisuke looked from the sign to their mother and back. "Mom?" he urged.
Gorou pointed at the entrance. "I see the players coming!"
"Yes dear, now keep your voice down," Jirou said with a smile as he patted Gorou. "It's like when Papa plays, remember?" he reminded the boy.
"Right," Gorou said, quieting down.
Yusu looked at their mother in concern before deciding to just leave the question unanswered for later. He watched as the players came out and blinked. He then leaned over his twin to whisper. "That other one looks like me. Our glasses are even simi...sim...alike."
Kunisuke nodded in agreement. "From what they say, his name was... Tezuka," he said, trying to recall what he had heard.
Atobe glanced over at the twins for a while, and later over to Fuji. "Are you alright?" he asked.
"Game! Tezuka!" the umpire called.
Fuji wanted to run, really. Take his boys and go. But the twins were so engrossed by the game that he didn't have the heart to pull them away. Maybe Tezuka won't notice them anyway. "Y-Yes, I'm okay," he answered before looking at the twins.
"Wow...the balls go back to him and he doesn't have to move!!" Yusu said in awe.
"Are they spinning the same way?" Kunisuke wondered, tilting his head in curiosity.
Gorou was equally impressed. "I think he'll win. That Tezuka guy," he commended.
Atobe patted his son at stating this. "I think so too. Na Fuji?" he asked.
"Aa...of course.." Fuji said with a nod.
After a while, Tezuka was leading and needed only one more game to win. The crowd cheered and the twins took the opportunity to cheer in their local language. Something that Fuji was too late to stop. Fuji inwardly groaned. 'Don't look here...don't look here...oh please...just don't look here...'
Wiping the sweat off his brow, Tezuka heard the distinct Japanese cheer from the crowd and took a while to catch his breath and scope the audience. And that's when he saw them: two boys that reminded him so much of himself and Fuji... And a few inches away, Fuji himself.
Safe to say, Tezuka was surprised; more so when he saw Atobe showing him a pumped fist as a sign of friendship. Nodding, Tezuka held up the ball towards their direction.
"Is he looking our way?" Kunisuke wondered.
'...I have kids...?' he thought, revelation sinking in. After that, Tezuka returned his attention to the game, more focused than before to end it with a bang. And in 3 Zero Shiki Serves and a short rally that ended in a Zero Shiki Drop Shot, Tezuka had won the championship.
After the match ended, Fuji hurriedly stood.
"We're going?" Yusu asked in surprise. "B-But Uncle Keigo said we could get autographs if we waited!" he told his mother in dismay.
Jirou chuckled. "Come on, Fuji-kun~ Let the kids get an autograph," he encouraged.
Fuji sent a glare towards Atobe but remained quiet, sitting back down.
Much of the cheers were brief before the crowd filtered out. The players shook hands with the umpire before returning to wipe off the accumulated sweat from the course of the match. Tezuka's bench was surprisingly near where Atobe had gotten seats - coincidence? - for the group.
Kunisuke wasted no time and moved up to the divider with his twin. "Can we get your autograph?" they asked together with matching hopeful smiles.
Tezuka lowered his towel and glanced at the two boys and actually smiled before walking up to them. "Sure... Who do I make them out to?" he asked.
Yusu fumbled around for a while before bringing out a notebook and a pen that he handed to Tezuka. "Kunisuke and Kuniyusuke~" he said happily.
Fuji merely watched from the bench and waited.
Jirou, on the other hand, went with Gorou to get an autograph from Federer who obliged.
Atobe thought it best to join his family with Federer, leaving them to fix the situation.
Tezuka swiftly made out autographs for the twins and flipped to a clean sheet and wrote another one addressed to Syuusuke.
Kunisuke read it and looked up at the tennis player. "How do you know Mom?" he asked.
Tezuka reached out and ruffled both of their hairs for a while. "...Why don't you ask him?" he said quietly, looking over to Fuji with a hopeful gaze.
"Mommy why does Tezuka-san know you?" Yusu asked loudly.
Fuji sighed and managed a smile at this. Slowly, he got up and walked towards the two and pulled them back a bit. "Because...he's your father," he answered.
Yusu's face lit up immediately. "Really?!" he asked excitedly.
"Yappari..." Kunisuke intoned, looking back at Tezuka in a new light.
Tezuka glanced at them. "Twins..." he identified. "...2 years old?" he ventured to guess.
Kunisuke nodded in affirmation.
"....Why didn't you tell me?" the tennis player asked with a frown as he adjusted his glasses habitually.
"I guess I...." Fuji paused as he looked at the twins staring adoringly at their father. "...didn't want to get in the way," he said quietly.
Tezuka nodded in understanding. "I see," he said before he took a step back. "I need to shower. Would it be okay if you all waited for me?" he requested, glancing over to the Atobes in turn. "I'd love to treat you to dinner."
"Mom, please say yes," Kunisuke asked hopefully, immediately rounding on Fuji.
Yusu turned around as well with the same pleading expression in his eyes.
Sighing, Fuji smiled and nodded. "Alright. We'll wait," he told Tezuka. The twins cheered.
Nodding gratefully, Tezuka headed back to his things, packed them up and jogged off to the showers to clean up and get changed. Some minutes later, he re-emerged leaving his things with his manager, instructing him to bring them to the hotel. He walked up to the stands to rejoin the group. "I'm back," he announced.
"About time," Atobe said coyly. "Ore-Papa-sama was getting impatient," he added.
Tezuka raised a brow at his former rival before spotting Gorou and understood the reason for the name. Turning to his own family, he walked up to Fuji. "Hi..." he greeted with a gentle smile.
Fuji couldn't help but smile back at this. "Hey," he greeted. Yusu, who was now being carried by Fuji, made a little hand gesture to Kunisuke to go towards Tezuka. "You waaaaaaant to," he teased.
Kunisuke looked feebly at Tezuka for a while, still a little apprehensive before he spread his arms out in invitation. Encouraged, Tezuka moved up to Kunisuke and bent down to hug him and carry him up into his arms mimicking Fuji with Kuniyusuke.
"Dinner...?" Tezuka offered after a while.
"Dinner sounds good," Fuji said before the two families headed off.
A few days later, while the twins were sleeping in Tezuka's hotel room and the Atobe's attended some kind of Function, Fuji had the chance to finally talk to Tezuka. "...so what do you plan now?" he asked carefully.
Tezuka looked thoughtful about it before he answered. "Retire. Finally spend time with my family." Turning to Fuji and deciding he needed to further elaborate, he did. "This was meant to be my last tournament. I wrote Kunikazu-jii about it. My success story is done; I've climbed to the top and I don't mind leaving with my track record."
Letting out a breath he was holding, Fuji felt relief rush inside him. "Then I did the right thing to wait," he said with a nod of his head. He then looked at Tezuka and smiled softly. "I've never seen the twins this hyper...then again, it's to be expected since it's their first time meeting their father," he supposed.
Tezuka reached out and took Fuji's hand, squeezing it. "I already missed the first two years. I'm not missing the rest," he said firmly before a knock came to the door. Furrowing his brows, Tezuka kissed Fuji on the cheek before going to answer it. At the door were Sanada and Yukimura, the latter of whom was holding hands with a little boy with an oversized black cap that reminded Tezuka of the other man standing in front of him. "Sanada. Yukimura," he identified.
"Tezuka," Sanada greeted with a stiff nod. "May we...?" he asked, gesturing inside.
Tezuka took a step back and let the little family in. Little Akihiro looked around and stifled a yawn.
"Oh he's sleepy," Fuji said before chuckling. "Why don't you let him sleep with the twins?" he suggested.
"Twins? You never told us you have twins, Tezuka," Yukimura said pleasantly as he smiled with a smile that was hauntingly similar to Fuji's. Not waiting for an answer, he picked Akihiro up. "Let's have you take a nap then."
Fuji led the way to the bedroom of Tezuka's suite.
"Kay..." Aki said with another yawn, nuzzling Yukimura's neck as the hat fell to the floor.
Sanada walked over and picked the hat up. Just as Fuji and Yukimura disappeared, Rikkai's Emperor turned to Tezuka. "So I see you met your little family," he began.
"As far as I can tell you never mentioned starting one yourself," Tezuka retaliated.
"Seiichi came with Akihiro to my match in the Davies Cup," Sanada explained, rubbing the back of his neck.
Tezuka nodded. "French Open," he simply said. "Atobe was there as well with Jirou and their son Gorou," he shared.
"Is that so?" Sanada paused for a while. "It's a surprising development... All this."
Again, Tezuka nodded. "Sanada."
"We missed our kids' early years. I don't think either of us would want to miss out on it any longer," Tezuka began. "That being said, perhaps you could be the twins' godfather?"
Sanada turned to Tezuka for a long moment before smirking, affixing the cap on his head. "Only if you be Aki's," he bargained.
Tezuka outstretched a hand. "Aa."
And the two pros - retired pros, rather - shook on it.
Not long after that, everyone went back home to Japan.
Fuji and Tezuka decided to stay at Tezuka's family while the two finished up studying. Ayana was delighted by this decision and wasted no time to dote on the twins.
One fine sunny day when there was nothing to do, the twins decided to walk up to their dad.
"Papa~" Yusu said with a smile. "Teach us how to play tennis?" he requested happily.
Fuji, who was arranging some flowers on the table, chuckled at this and raised his eyebrow. "As long as you don't use real balls yet," he commented.
"Haru-jii gave us our own rackets," Kunisuke added, holding up his.
Tezuka furrowed his brows and glanced over to his father, who immediately disappeared behind a newspaper to avoid detection. "We'll start with swings then," he conceded before he got to his feet.
"Yosh," Kunisuke said triumphantly, leading the way out.
"I knew you couldn't resist~" Ayana said playfully as she kissed her husband on the cheek.
Fuji smiled at the sight and waved as the twins went out to get their first ever tennis lesson. After that, many more followed and the rest...as they say...is history.