Hi everyone! This is my first PoT fanfic so I hope you like it! It's actually an old Creative Writing project that I expanded on. I think it came out pretty good. Enjoy! ^^
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Yukimura leaned back on the bench he was sitting on, watching his team run laps. As usual, Sanada headed the pack, the freshmen bringing up the rear. It was just after Nationals, just after his defeat at the hands of a certain Echizen Ryoma. The loss was still an open wound for him; he had let his team down, everything had depended on him. And he failed.
A sad smile made its way to his lips when he remembered the deciding match. Even though he lost, he had to admit, the match itself was actually…enjoyable. He stood as his team lined up in front of him, giving them their drills for the day and leaving the training of the regulars to Yanagi. That done, he sat down again, crossing his legs and folding his arms over his chest. His lavender eyes stared at the courts in front of him, unseeing, as his mind wondered.
"Ne, Mura-chan, one of the nurses told me you play tennis. And that you're really good!"
Yukimura looked up as a girl about a year younger than him poked her head into his hospital room. She had shoulder-length, midnight blue hair and bright, sea green eyes. She was about a half-head shorter than him, her body small and thin, but well proportioned. She was dressed in her light blue pajamas and was bare foot, probably without the nurses' knowledge he noted. For someone who had lived in a hospital the past five years of her life, she was happy and energetic, her eyes brimming with life.
He smiled and gestured for her to sit next him on his bed. She plopped down on the bed and pouted up at him. "Maa, why didn't you tell me, Mura-chan?"
He chuckled and ruffled her hair affectionately. "Gomen. I guess I just assumed that you already knew."
The girl sighed and leaned back on her arms. "I wish I could play a sport. I never learned how though. I wonder if I'll ever be able to play something…" she trailed off, staring up at the ceiling. Yukimura sat silently, his eyes sad. "Ne, Mura-chan? Is tennis fun?"
The regulars watched their captain as he stared into space; looking, but not really seeing. Akaya narrowed his green eyes in concentration, his expression, for once, calculating.
"Bucchou seems out of it recently." He commented, causing his senpais to look at him, then at their captain. "Did something happen?"
Niou shouldered his racket. "Besides the fact that we lost Nationals and he's probably beating himself up for it?" the trickster asked, rolling his eyes. Akaya pouted, but said nothing in retort.
Yukimura woke from his slumber when he felt someone comb their fingers through his hair. His mother? Had she come to visit him? But it was the middle of the night, she would have come earlier. He slowly opened his eyes.
A girl he had never met before was sitting on the edge of his bed, running her thin, delicate fingers through his hair. She started to hum softly under her breath, not noticing that he was awake. When her hand moved to caress his face, he gently took hold of her wrist, not wanting to startle her. Her bright, sea-green eyes turned to him and a small, sheepish smile made its way to her lips.
"Gomen." She spoke softly, her voice a gentle breeze. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"What are you doing in here?" he asked, just as softly.
She took her hand from his face and put it in her lap. "I couldn't sleep."
"So you were wandering around the hospital?"
"Hai!" she confirmed, a bright smile lighting her face. She giggled, seeing his confused expression. "I've lived in this hospital for the past five years of my life, I'm pretty familiar with it. And most of the staff knows me, so…" She trailed off, merely giving him and innocent smile.
Yukimura raised his eyebrows. She had been living here for five years? What exactly was wrong with her? He turned his attention back to the girl in front of him. "But why did you come in my room?"
"Well…you looked upset…not really like you were having a nightmare, but like something was bothering you."Yukimura stared at her. "Plus, you've been here for a whole week and I haven't met you." She said, crossing her arms stubbornly. Yukimura blinked before chuckling.
"My name's Yukimura Seiichi." He said, holding out his hand. She took it with a smile, her hand surprisingly much smaller than his.
"Nice to meet you, Mura-chan."
"I don't think that's what is troubling him." Yagyuu said, pushing his glasses up his nose.
Jackal nodded in agreement. "Bucchou isn't the type to wallow in self-pity. And if he was upset about Nationals, he would make sure we didn't see it."
"Mmmm, but if it's not Nationals, what's making Bucchou so spacey?" Marui asked, tilting his head to the side.
"Enough." The regulars turned to Sanada. "Practice or run fifty laps. Now."
"H-hai, fukubucchou." The regulars stuttered, quickly resuming their drills.
Sanada watched them, making sure they were doing what they were supposed to, before sneaking a glance at Yukimura. He shook his head and started his own drills. Out of everyone here, probably out of everyone period, he was the only one that knew exactly what was on Yukimura's mind.
Yukimura felt a weight collide with his back and looked over his shoulder to see a head covered in glossy, midnight blue hair. He chuckled. "Hai?"
"What are you doing on the roof?"
Yukimura shrugged. "I guess I just like the view."
His companion nodded, moving to sit on the bench next to him. She tilted her eyes to the sky, watching the white clouds drift through the vast, bright blue space. A gentle breeze blew through her hair, caressing her face. Yukimura watched her, a smile on his face.
"The sky is beautiful." She said, her voice as soft and gentle as the breeze that brushed across her cheeks.
The two sat together in a comfortable silence. The door leading to the roof opened behind them. She turned to see who had joined them. A boy around Yukimura's age dressed in a school uniform, a tennis bag over his shoulder, a black cap covering his hair. She had seen this boy visiting Yukimura numerous times, along with several others, but this time, he appeared to be alone.
"Yukimura." His voice held a level of maturity that should have been beyond him.
She turned back to Yukimura, he hadn't turned to face his friend, but she saw a genuinely happy gleam in his eyes. She smiled and brushed her fingers across his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. He turned to her as she stood. "I'll leave the two of you alone." She said turning to leave. Yukimura's hand on her wrist stopped her.
"Stay." He said, looking up at her with a slight pout. She chuckled, but obeyed. Sanada walked over to them. "This is Sanada Genichiro." Yukimura said. Sanada nodded in her direction. She smiled.
"It's nice to meet you, Sanada-san." Her eyes fell on his bag. "Do you play tennis too?"
Yukimura heard his teammates' remarks, but didn't acknowledge them. He wasn't so sure he was upset about Nationals. Of course he was disappointed; after all, they had lost their chance at their third consecutive win at Nationals. But if he was really upset about that, why wasn't he practicing, improving so that, next time, he would be ready? His mind just didn't seem to care that much that he had lost.
He frowned knowing that he was worrying his teammates. But he couldn't find it in himself to reassure them. He supposed that if they really wanted to know or they became truly concerned, Sanada could always tell them what was on his mind. Yukimura was fairly sure Sanada knew exactly what was going on; he usually did when it came to his best friend.
Yukimura suppressed a chuckle as Yanagi had Sanada play a match against Akaya. The second year was on the defensive as soon as the match started. Sanada wasn't messing around. That could be for two reasons, Yukimura mused. One, Sanada was worried about him and taking his frustration out on their youngest member, or two, Sanada was trying to distract Akaya from his concern for his beloved captain. Yukimura suspected it was the latter; though he wouldn't admit it, Yukimura knew Sanada had a soft spot for their ace.
He shook his head, a smile on his lips, as Sanada took another game.
Yukimura stared, eyes wide in shock, at the sight before him.
She hadn't come to his room that day. He asked the nurse where she was, for some reason though, she had been reluctant to give him a response. He didn't understand why until he entered her room. She lay on her bed, eyes closed, an IV stuck in her arm. An oxygen mask covered her face and the steady beeping of a heart monitor filled the room.
He was horrified.
She had always been so lively, so energetic. She brought joy to everyone she met, including him. She was never sad, at least to his knowledge, and made sure that she, and everyone around her, enjoyed the day to the fullest. She was light. She was hope. And now she was here. Trapped in bed, unable to move.
He knew that her ailment had to be serious; she had lived in a hospital for five years after all. But she had never shown any signs of weakness. She acted like a regular girl, like nothing was wrong. She always wore a smile, was always so genuinely happy.
He walked up to her bed, bringing up a hand to cup her cheek. She didn't disserve this. He let his hand fall away from her face. Just how sick was she? Was she worse than him? Would she recover?
…Was she dying?
He was snapped from his thoughts when her small hand brushed his. He looked down at her, her sea green eyes staring up at him, a smile on her lips. Her eyes weren't as bright as they usually were, the lively gleam in them missing.
He forced a smile to his lips and tightly gripped her hand.
Akaya collapsed on the ground breathing heavily. Sanada had won the match, but Akaya had managed to take two games from him. He looked up warily at the Emperor. "Come on, fukubucchou, can't you go easy on me for once?"
Sanada crossed his arms. "No."
Niou snickered as Akaya hulled himself up and grabbed his water bottle. "Awww, looks like another loss for our Second Year Ace." The trickster taunted.
"Shut up, Noiu-senpai."
"Make me, brat."
"Niou. Akaya. Twenty laps."
"Hai, fukubuucho." Akaya hung his head, while Niou smirked. Both left to complete their punishment before Sanada decided they needed to work on their stamina. Marui put a hand over his mouth in an attempt to stifle his laughter; Jackal sighed and shook his head.
"Honestly, those two. Can't they get along?"
Marui put his arm around Jackal's shoulders. "Don't count on it!"
"The chance of those two getting along is less than ten percent." Yanagi said, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Agreed." Yagyuu said.
"Ne, Mura-chan? Why do you play tennis?"
Yukimura looked at the girl lying on his bed, folding colorful pieces of paper into cranes. The pair was in his room, talking idly about little things. He knew she was trying to distract him; his operation was in two days. And she knew it was a high-risk one. "Why do you ask?"
She rolled over on her side, propping her head up on her hand, and shrugged. "Just curious. Now answer the question." She said, poking his knee.
He laughed. "Tennis is…well it's all I have really. It's everything."
"Mura-chan, what do you mean? You have your family, Sanada-san, your team, and me!"
He ruffled her hair. "Never mind." She pouted, but let it go.
"…Is tennis fun?"
Yukimura sighed mentally. She asked this question a lot. He always managed to avoid answering. For some reason he couldn't find an answer even though it was a simple yes or no question. A sharp pain in his cheek pulled him from his thoughts. She was pinching his cheek.
"Don't think keeping silent will make me forget I asked a question." She said, mock anger in her voice.
"Hai, hai." He said rubbing his cheek.
"Well…I like winning."
She sighed. That didn't answer her question. He turned to look out the window, his eyes glazing over as he became lost in thought. She noticed and wrapped her arms around him from behind, resting her head on his shoulder.
"You will play tennis again." She whispered into his ear, her voice sincere and sure. Startled by her sudden statement, he looked down at her, eyes wide. She tightened her hold on him. "I know you will make it through the surgery."
"How could you know something like that?"
"Because," She replied, holding up a bright blue and purple paper crane. ""We've folded one thousand paper cranes."
Yukimura looked around his room. Paper cranes were taped to the walls, hanging from the ceiling, sitting on his nightstand and window sill; everywhere you looked, there was a paper crane. He remembered catching her teaching the small children that would visit him how to fold the delicate birds, laughing at their excitement. Between her and the children, and the few he'd done himself, they had reached one thousand.
He felt a warmth blossom in his chest as he watched her smiling face.
"Plus," she continued, "I have something important to tell you after your surgery."
"Why not tell me now?" he asked, curiosity getting the better of him.
"Because this way, you have something to look forward to."
Yukimura sighed at that memory. He never got to find out what she wanted to say. She left. She was transferred to a hospital in America, where she would receive better treatment. On the day of his surgery. The last time he had seen her was when she visited him that morning. He remembered the way she smiled at him, hugged him, kissed his cheek when the nurse came to get him.
He saw the look Sanada was sending his way and smiled at him. Sanada frowned. He could see right through it. He knew immediately that Yukimura was thinking of her. He shook his head and struggled to suppress the pity he felt welling up for his friend. He had no way of knowing if she was well. And Sanada could see it eating away at him. Many times he had been tempted to tell Yanagi, but he decided against it. He still remembered the way she looked when she handed him that note; and the look on Yukimura's face when he found out she was gone.
Sanada rushed through the hospital doors, heading straight for Yukimura's operation room and the rest of his team. He ignored the calls or nurses as he jogged through the halls, determined to reach his destination. He refused to halt for anyone.
Except her. At the sound of her voice, Sanada came to a complete stop. Only her voice, especially on this day, could hold such power over him. She stood in a doorway to the left of him. She looked tired, like she hadn't slept the night before. She walked up to him and gave him a small smile. "I knew you would make it."
He nodded and turned to leave when he felt her hand on his arm. He watched as she pulled out a small envelop, her eyes screaming guilt as she handed it to him. "Can you give this to Yukimura-san?" Sanada raised an eyebrow at the sudden formal address. "And can you tell him…I'm sorry?"
Before he could answer, she backed away. A nurse came around the corner. "There you are, dear. I've been looking everywhere for you." The nurse wrapped and arm around the girl, steering her away. "It's time. Your parents are waiting for you."
She turned to look at Sanada over her shoulder. "Goodbye, Sanada-san."
He stood there, shocked, trying to figure out what just happened. Her goodbye sounded so…final. Shaking himself, he tucked the letter into his bag. Within minutes, he joined his teammates, they shared an understanding, but surprised, look as they waited for the operation to end.
When the time came, Sanada did as she asked. He handed Yukimura the letter, receiving a confused glance from the boy. He watched as he opened the envelop, not really knowing what to expect, but having a feeling it wouldn't be something good. He watched as Yukimura's eyes widened and the smile on his face faded. He quickly handed the letter back to Sanada and turned his attention to the arguing junior ace and trickster, a forced smile making its way to his lips. Sanada unfolded the letter and read its contents:
I'm sorry. I will not be able to tell you my secret. I've been moved to a hospital in America. Actually, I was supposed to leave two weeks ago. But I couldn't leave you. I convinced my parents to let me stay, but they decided this morning we couldn't wait any longer.
I know you will play tennis again. I have no doubt.
I don't know when I will see you again, but the next time I do, I will tell you everything.
I promise you, Seiichi. I will see you again.
~ Your Angel
Yukimura turned his eyes onto the near-empty courts. Most of the players had left already, regulars staying behind to finish their own practice. Just as he was about to get up and play a match with Sanada, his vision went black as a pair of hands placed themselves over his eyes.
"Guess who." A familiar voice whispered in his ear.
Yukimura froze, his hands slowly moving to the wrists of the hands that covered his eyes. He pulled them away from his face, staring at the small hands in his grasp. Hesitating, he turned around, releasing the hands he held.
Standing behind him, wearing a white, three-quarter length sleeve shirt and a pale pink skirt, was the very person he had been thinking about. Her sea green eyes sparkled as she smiled at him. "I told you you would play tennis again."
"Lia." Yukimura said breathlessly. Her smile widened as she leaned back, putting her weight on one leg. "You…when did you…" he trailed off, his mind unable to form any complete sentences.
Lia giggled at his inability to speak. "Saa, you look pretty good in your uniform, Mura-chan." Yukimura kept staring sat her. She laughed and reached over to finger a lock of his hair. "It's okay to blink, Mura-chan. I won't disappear."
"Who's that girl talking to Bucchou?" Akaya asked, returning from his laps, Niou walking up behind him.
"He looks surprised to see her." Yagyuu said, a curious look on his face.
"They appear to know each other. Perhaps she is an old friend." Yanagi started flipping through his notebook.
Lia turned toward them and the boys eyed her suspiciously. She walked over and did the last thing anyone expected: she hugged Sanada. Niou, Marui, and Akaya gapped at the sight. Yukimura seemed to have recovered somewhat from his shock and walked over to them. Lia pulled away and smiled up at the stoic tennis player.
"Thank you, Sanada-san. For giving my note to Mura-chan." Her smile faltered a little as she continued. "I'm sorry that I put you in that position."
Sanada reached over and ruffled the girl's hair. "Just don't do it again."
Lia's green eyes sparkled. "I promise." Sanada nodded his approval as Lia turned to Yukimura. "Ne, Mura-chan, play a match with me!"
Yukimura blinked. "A match? Against me?"
"Hai! Sanada-san, may I borrow your racket?" Sanada silently held his racket out, his lips twitching upward as Lia took it and dragged Yukimura to one of the courts. "Come on, Mura-chan! Play with me!"
Yukimura shook himself and chuckled. "Hai, hai, Lia-chan." He served the ball underhanded, with very little power behind it, and watched in amusement as Lia swung and missed. The regulars, minus Sanada and Yanagi, blinked, trying to figure out what just happened.
"Has…this girl ever played tennis before?" Jackal asked, a confused look on his face.
"No." was Sanada's simple reply.
"She asked Bucchou to play a match…when she doesn't even know how to play?" Marui asked in disbelief.
"Interesting." Yanagi said as Yagyuu pushed up his glasses.
"Fukubucchou, do you know that girl?" Akaya asked as Yukimura served another ball. Lia managed to return this one and it soon turned into a light rally. The regulars stared, surprised at how fast she caught on, even if she wasn't playing at a high level.
Sanada nodded at the junior's question. "She stayed at the same hospital as Yukimura when he was…" he trailed off and the regulars quickly understood. Sanada told him everything he knew of the girl as they watched her play a match with their captain.
The ball flew passed Yukimura, getting Lia a point, but instead of being happy, she stomped her foot like a stubborn child. "Maaa, Mura-chan! You let me get that point on purpose!" she whined, waving Sanada's racket at him.
Yukimura smiled innocently. "Whatever do you mean, Lia-chan?"
Lia pouted. "Don't play innocent with me, mister! Play like you mean it! And no pity points!"
"If you insist." Yukimura said a genuine smile on his lips.
Lia served the ball and he easily returned it, getting a return ace. Lia pouted, but the playful gleam in her eyes ruined the effect. She served again and the game soon developed into a clearly one-sided match. The game was over quickly, Lia not getting a single break from Yukimura, as she had asked. She turned to him a smile on her lips.
"I lost." It was said in such a happy tone, the Yukimura paused, blinking in confusion, before chuckling. Suddenly, Lia's knees buckled and she collapsed on the court.
"Lia!" Yukimura ran forward, jumping the net, reaching Lia the same time as his teammates. "Lia! Are you okay? Hey, Lia!" He rolled Lia over, surprised to find her giggling. She started laughing so full-heartedly, the regulars could do nothing but stare at her. When she calmed down, she looked up at Yukimura, a smile on her lips, her eyes still laughing.
"I think I understand why you like tennis so much, Mura-chan." She said in a sing-song voice. She pushed herself into a sitting position and handed the racket to Sanada. "Arigatou, Sanada-san."
He took the racket and nodded. Jackal knelt by her, a worried expression on his face. "Are you okay?"
"Hai! It's nothing to worry about, Jackal-san." She said cheerfully.
"Saa, how do you know Jackal's name?" Marui asked, cocking his head to the side.
"Mura-chan and Sanada-san told me about you, Marui-kun." She replied. "It's nice to meet you, Jackal-san, Marui-kun, Yanagi-san, Yagyuu-san, Niou-kun, Akaya-kun." She pointed to each of them as she said their names. "My name is Kisaragi Liana, but you can call me Lia."
"Lia." Yukimura's voice had a dangerous tone in it, even though he was smiling. The regulars shuddered at his smile, but Lia simply turned her bright, innocent smile to him. "Why did your legs give out?"
"Saaa, that's an interesting story." Lia said, putting a finger to her chin as if she was thinking. "Let's see…how should I put this? Well, you see, Mura-chan, this is the first time in…five, six, seven…twenty-eight days that I've stood on my own without anyone's help." The regulars stared at her. She played a game of tennis…after not walking for a month? What in the world was up with this girl? "Ne, Mura-chan?"
"H-hai, Lia-chan?" Yukimura stuttered, still somewhat shocked.
"Is tennis fun?"
Yukimura paused. He looked at Lia's face, taking in her suddenly blank expression, her curious sea-green eyes. It was the question she always asked, the one he couldn't seem to find an answer to. He thought of his match with Echizen Ryoma, how he never gave up, even after he lost his sight and hearing, even after most other people would have given up. He remembered the younger boy's smile as he played, his team's pure joy after his victory. Yukimura let a small smile make its way to his lips; he had his answer.
"Hai, Lia-chan. Tennis is very fun."
Lia's face broke out into a huge grin, a laugh escaping her lips as she threw her head back, falling onto a startled Akaya as she struggled to reign in her joy. "Gomen, Akaya-kun. Arigatou for catching me."
"No problem." Akaya said, a slight blush on his cheeks. Niou saw and smirked.
"Ne, Yagyuu, look. The brat has a crush."
Akaya's blush darkened. "Niou-senpai! I do not!"
Lia laughed. "Don't worry, Akaya-kun." She wrapped her arms around the junior and kissed him on the cheek, making him freeze in shock. "He's just jealous that we're in the same class."
Akaya blinked. "Eh?"
"You're going to have class with Akaya, Lia-chan?" Marui asked.
"Hai! Starting tomorrow, I'll be a second year student at Rikkidai."
"Then let us be the first to welcome you, Lia-san." Yagyuu said.
Lia smiled up at him. "Arigatou, Yagyuu-san."
Yukimura smiled at her, taking her arm and pulling her up. "Let's get you cleaned up."
Lia went to take a step forward, only to have her body pitch forward. Sanada and Yukimura each grabbed one of her arms and she smiled sheepishly at them. "Gomen. I don't think I can walk quite yet."
"Lia-san, are you sure you're okay?" Jackal asked
"Hai, hai." She replied in a sing-song voice. "I just can't walk."
Niou raised an eyebrow skeptically. "That makes you okay?"
"Hai!" Lia turned to Yukimura's frowning face. "Don't frown, Mura-chan! Look! I'm all better, see?" She pulled up her shirt, revealing a thin scar that ran from her belly button straight up the middle of her stomach and disappearing under the shirt that still covered her chest. "My surgery was a success, okay? So there's nothing to worry about! I just need to get used to walking again." Lia let go of her shirt and smiled up at Yukimura. He stared at her for a moment, a blank expression on his face, before he sighed. Suddenly, he bent down and scooped Lia up, holding her bridal style, earning a squeal of surprise from the girl. He gently placed her down on the bench and handed her a water bottle. She blinked, as if she wasn't quite sure what to make of it, before taking it. "Arigatou, Mura-chan."
Yukimura sat down next to her and reached into his pocket, pulling out a slip of paper. "I believe you owe me something." He said, handing her the paper. She unfolded it and read it. It was the note she had written him.
"You still have it?" she asked, surprised. Yukimura nodded. "Then I guess I do owe you something." She said softly, a small smile on her pale, pink lips. "But it's a secret. Can you keep a secret, Mura-chan?" An innocent, but sly, gleam shown in Lia's sea-green eyes.
"Hai. I can keep a secret." He turned toward his watching teammates. "Can't we?"
The regulars shuddered and nodded furiously at their smiling captain. Lia's smile widened. "Then I guess I can tell you." She leaned towards Yukimura, whispering in his ear, "I think I might love you, Seichii." Yukimura blinked as Lia pulled away, waiting for his reaction. When he didn't say anything, she bit her lip nervously. Did she just ruin their friendship? "I'm sorry, Mura-chan, I didn't mean to-"
She blinked. "Huh?"
Yukimura smiled and brushed a strand of midnight blue hair out of her face. His hand lingered on her cheek, his fingers tangled in her hair. "I like Seichii better." He said as he leaned in and pressed a soft, chaste kiss to her lips. He pulled away, a smile still on his face. A blush lit Lia's face as she registered what just happened.
"Holy -! Bucchou just kissed Lia-chan!" Akaya gapped.
Niou and Marui smirked, Yanagi smiled and wrote down some notes, Yagyuu pushed up his glasses, his face expressionless, but with a ghost of a smile on his lips. Jackal smiled as did Sanada, to everyone's surprise. He was genuinely happy for his two friends; after all they had been through, they defiantly deserved this.
Slowly, Lia smiled. "Okay, Seichii."
Yukimura smiled and wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her small body to his, holding her close. She wrapped her arms around him in return, giggling as she planted a kiss on his cheek.
His angel. She came back. Just like she promised. And now she was right where she belonged. In his arms.
So whatcha think? Any good? I would love to know!
PS. Thank you for reading my story!