Being a kid does mean that you can do whatever you want. You can play whenever you want, eat whatever you like without your parents scolding you. In Ryoma's case, (who still considered himself a kid) he drinks whatever he wants. And that is, Ponta, of course. Ever since he was in America, never did he tried any other beverage rather than the grape-flavored soft drink. It was his addiction, his soulmate, his friend. He still remembered the first time they met on a busy New York streets. Ponta was so loyal to him that it never harmed Ryoma in any possible way. Whenever Ryoma was tired from tennis practice, Ponta have always been there for him. Even in Japan, it never failed to follow the young boy. Always waiting until four or five in the afternoon and the boy comes running to its arms. One click at the vending machine and there it goes, smiling back at him.

But of course, if you had too much, ending is, you'll fall ill. Especially if you drink more than ten cans a day, there's no way your system would not react negatively. That is why, today, the prince of tennis blankly stared at the hospital ceiling, with Karupin sitting on his chest, with an old nurse glancing at him every now and then with a scowl on her wrinkly face while writing down information on her notebook. It reminded Ryoma of Inui-senpai. Ah, school, tennis. How he wanted to run away to Seigaku and play some hard tennis. But he is guarded by a viscious nurse who, on Ryoma's point of view, is very displeased by his ocassional smirking and smug expression with the intention to intimidate her. But the old hag is unexpectedly tough despite her aging appearance.

Ryoma rolled his eyes, completely aware of the nurse's displeasure with her job, and shifted his position uncomfortably on the hospital bed only to be stopped by a growing pain beside his stomach.

Ouch!

His left hip hurt so much that he didn't bother trying to move again. He decicded to stay still and watched the television unwillingly. Today's weather report is a sunny day, perfect for playing tennis and a thirst-quenching Ponta. Pontaaaa...

It was ten in the morning. By this time, the tennis regulars must be busy with morning practice, enjoying the sport that Ryoma loved so much, too bad he can't even stand up, let alone move.

"Serves you right! How many Ponta have you been consuming in one day anyway?! Cocky brat!" the old nurse suddenly striked up a conversation. Ryoma did not answer the mean nurse and stroked Karupin's fur mindlessly while the cat sadly thought why her master is happier with Ponta than his own himalayan gorgeous cat.

The nurse, satisfied with annoying Ryoma, snickered and went back to writing who-knows-what on her notebook. Ryoma groaned and wondered if his senpais would visit him today? Well, not that he wanted to, it just feels... lonely.

His doctor restrained him from drinking anymore of the stuff from now on. He leaned against a wall and slowly slid down onto the floor dramatically. Just kidding. He felt like his world crashed right before his eyes as he gaped at the doctor with his parents beside him. Life without Ponta is just... unimaginable.

The morning they found Ryoma curled up on his bedroom floor, that's when Rinko decided to bring him to the hospital and hide all the Ponta stocked in their fridge. She can be bossy to her son sometimes. Ryoma may manage to disagree but a woman's power is much greater when she's worried for her cute son.

"About ten cans, I guess." he finally responded to the nurse's rethorical, mocking question awhile ago and this sudden answer made the nurse widen her brown eyes.

"What?! Unbelievable! Are you stupid, boy? You wanted to end your kiddy life with a softdrink?! If you're the so-called tennis prodigy, I'm sure you would have the knowledge that drinking too much is bad for you. Well, you deserve it. Ponta decided to teach you a lesson not to take your health for granted." then followed by her sadistic laugh. Really, is this how menopaused nurses are supposed to act? Ryoma rolled his eyes some more. He was not in the mood to listen to sermons and scolding. He's had enough of that earlier. Instead, he closed his eyes and mentally prayed that this old hag would just go away and do whatever a nurse is supposed to do.

By then, he didn't realized he had fallen asleep.

He walked along the bright aisle between daffodils and beds of roses until he reached an altar full of more flowers and baskets of fruits.

Ryoma wondered where he is when he saw that he was wearing a white coat with matching white pants. His hair is gorgeously combed up to the top of his head with a gel. He is looking twice as hot than he already is.

"I've waited for you, Ryoma-san!" a soft voice said. He quickly looked up to see who the owner of the sweet voice is.

"Who're you? And why are you purple?" Ryoma asked nonchalantly. He is now standing in front of a girl, a purple one, with a silver, shiny hair.

"Don't you recognize me? I'm Ponta!" she said. Ryoma gasped uncharacteristically. Ponta! He realized this is his chance to meet his favorite drink and he's hoping for chat time with her. So he slowly took steps toward Ponta-san with a wide smile on his smug face.

"You're... a girl?" he asked excitedly. This is probably the first and only time we get to see Ryoma get excited over a girl, eh?

"Yes. As you can see, I have these enormous lumps on my chest. But that aside, Ryoma-san, I have something to tell you..." Ryoma hoped that she wasn't going to break up with him. What can he say? They've been dating for like, as long as he can remember? He would not miss this chance to be reunited with his beloved Ponta. Good thing she's a girl or his senpais will tease him of dating a can of soft drink, so he was glad. But then he realized they'll be teasing him with dating a purple girl, too.

"Will you marry me?"

He blinked many times before his brain processed the whole conversation he had with a drink. And yeah, how could he turn down Ponta? She's been with him through tough times.

He was going to answer when a figure opened the door and yelled "Don't marry her, Ryoma!"

That's when Ryoma's eyes shot open and found Eiji and Momo grinning at him. He looked at them questioningly.

"What?" he asked.

"Have you been having wet dreams, Echizen?" Momo asked with a wide, teasing smile.

"Wha..?" based on the boy's ignorant expression, the two tennis players immediately assumed that he is actually having perverted dreams.

"I knew it, Momo-chin! I win!" Eiji jumped happily while Momo groaned in defeat while handing Eiji money.

As Ryoma thought, these two stupid senpai of his were betting about something. Well, he's definitely not having a wet dream, whatever that is. More like... flowery, and fruity.

"Echizen, what were you dreaming about?" Fuji asked with a light smile.

"Nothing." he scowled.

"Judging from your toss and turns awhile ago," he remarked, "you're having a nightmare." Inui knowingly said.

Ryoma sighed. It's not a nightmare, either.

"Echizen, how's your condition?" Oishi, changing topic because he's uncomfortable talking about such adult subjects, worriedly asked him followed by Kawamura who stood beside Oishi with the same worried look. But he is also interested with the wet dreams.

"Fsshhh. So careless." Kaidoh muttered at the back.

"You let your guard down." Tezuka said with the usual stern look while sipping tea with Fuji at the table.

"I'm fine." Ryoma answered emotionless while straightening up at the bed.

"Why're you all here?" the boy asked. He couldn't help but feel glad that his senpais are here. Well, it's better than that nurse around.

"We're worried, stupid! You didn't showed up at morning practice!" Momo punched him at the back of his head while snickering.

"Ouch!" that sure hurt Ryoma's head. But what's more heartbreaking is seeing a man, probably one of his fellow patients here in the hospital, has been sipping a can of Ponta right outside his room. His throat felt dry, his eyes filled with agitation, it is painful to watch.

He ignored the regulars and closed his eyes tight. He decided to lay in bed again, convincing himself to forget about his sweetheart. But how could he?

Then he remembered his dream. There was someone who objected to his supposed wedding with the purple girl, also known as Ponta-san. Ryoma wondered who that someone is. And before he knew it, he drifted off to a deep slumber yet again.

"Who's there?" Ponta-san asked the figure in a loud voice.

"I am the one Ryoma loves! We've been together since he's still wearing diapies!" the figure slowly walked to them as it continued "I know him better than you do! And I'm sure he loves me more than he loves you!"

The figure is now face to face with Ryoma, whose eyes were wide upon recognizing who was in front of him.

"K-Karupin!" he stared in disbelief as he studied the cat's humanly appearance before his very eyes. She (Karupin) also has those large lumps on her chest, probably larger than Ponta's, he noted.

"What are you saying? He loves me! Argh!" Ponta said as she jumped to Karupin and they fought like cat and dog.

Ryoma was dumbfounded with the turn of events. These two were fighting for his love. He suddenly realized that he forgot about Karupin, the way she soothes Ryoma's sadness everytime he scraped his knee, and yet he was blindfolded by Ponta for how many years. He felt ashamed of himself. He felt cheated by Ponta. He felt betrayed. He was fooled. He felt terrible about forgetting Karupin's existence in his life. Ryoma regret abandoning Karupin, and now she was still fighting for her master. Karupin was his best friend, Ponta was his obsession.

As if realizing that this was all a big misunderstanding, he smiled and right then, he knew what could be done.

Ryoma pulled Karupin's human hand and they ran away together. Karupin smiled, even though she knew Ryoma did not see it. Her master chose her, that alone made her happy. Even though her body hurts from Ponta's punches and kicks but she won anyway. As for Ryoma, he decided to quit drinking Ponta and live life with Karupin.

That's when he woke up in the middle of the night. He waited for his eyes to adjust to the darkness of his room and when he did, he saw the basket of fruits, the get well cards that his senpais left for him.

"Mrew" he heard Karupin, who's sitting on his lap, sort of smiling at him (if that's possible).

Ryoma smiled back at his cat.

"So Ponta did taught me a lesson." he stroked Karupin's fur once more before he found a certain soft drink can on his side table.

Ponta.

He shrugged and opened the can.

"Mreew!"

He shot a menacing glance at the cat before sipping the sugary grape-flavored drink.

"Ahhh, it really taste so good! I can never have enough of you, Pontaaaa..."

Karupin jumped off of his bed and settled grumpily on the couch. The cat can't help but feel cheated and forgotten, yet again.

Ryoma suddenly thought why the hell was Karupin a girl in his dream? He could clearly see the cat's male organs. Well the author must have assumed that Karupin was a girl so the story would have a love triangle, Ryoma thought. He's right, though. Sorry. I'm just a crazy human being.

He let out a sigh of relief, when suddenly..

"ACK!" his left hip hurts again. The old nurse ran into his room when she heard painful cries from Ryoma.

She smirked at the brat and said "How could you be so hard headed?"

END


A/N: Not a great ending but whatever. I've wondered how the hell does Ryoma's body manage to not make him sick with too much Ponta consumption? And who's the stupid one that left Ponta on his table? The very reason he was hospitalized? Maybe Ponta really is human. Power of love?