It Takes Two

by beaple leone michaelmas

Summary:

An evening patrol, a strange girl, a stern grandfather – the makings of Tezuka Kunimitsu's first love.

Epilogue: 20

A/N:

Hello, 2010! ::D

Disclaimer:

I don't own Prince of Tennis; the whole concept belongs to Konomi Takeshi-sensei.

Epilogue: 20

Lisa Mitchell stared at her slightly trembling hand, a deep flush creeping up her neck. It had been ten years since she had felt that touch – those fingers that made her feel as though everything in the world was all right, that she was safe…

"I can't believe your stepmother!" her best friend Sakurako was saying, wiping her hands with a handkerchief. "What was she thinking trying to organize a rotating tango? Doesn't she know it's reaaally hard to dance that thing, let alone with changing partners? Ahhhh, Aunt Karina is driving me crazy!"

Sakurako sighed, then, frowned as she saw the stunned expression on Lisa's face.

"What's wrong with you?"

"Say, Saku," Lisa said, regaining a portion of her senses and allowing her hand to fall. "You remember that guy with shiny glasses? Really tall, thick light brown hair, calculating gaze, stern aura…"

"Ah, Tezuka Kunimitsu?" Sakurako supplied, slightly surprised. "The tennis player?"

Tennis.

"Tezuka… Kunimitsu?"

"Yeah…" Sakurako answered, frowning slightly. "Where have you been this past month? The guy's on the cover of every sports magazine in the country- Wait don't answer that; you were in Boston-"

"He's famous?"

"He should be famous. He won the US Open, after all. Placed well in Wimbledon, too…"

Lisa scanned the room for the man. Although she didn't know what she would say to him, and she didn't even know if he remembered, she wanted to talk to him again, to properly thank him, and apologize, and-

"You like him, don't you?" Sakurako teased, poking her best friend who was still scanning the crowded ball room desperately. "Well… I have to admit he's hot – most tennis players are; it's probably the running-around-under-the-sun thing – but don't you think he's a bit too… quiet?"

"Surely not…"

"Come on, Lisa! Just with one look, you can tell he's doesn't talk. If you date him, you'd probably run out of things to say-"

Sakurako stopped, noticing that her friend had begun to walk away.

"Lisa Mitchell! Where are you going?"

With a determined expression, Lisa walked across the room, bumping into a few people and muttering a couple of distracted apologies, finally halting before a man in a crisp white tuxedo.

"Dad," she said, tugging at her father's sleeve. "Dad, didn't you say you invited those kids you play tennis with? Could you introduce me to them?"

Ross Mitchell turned away from the buffet table, a plate of sushi on his hand, a frown on his face.

"Lisa, what's wrong? You look flustered-"

"Dad, please?" Lisa begged in a whiny, childish voice she hadn't used in almost a decade. "Please, please, please, Daddy?"

"Well, yes, all right, darling. Come here-"

Putting his plate down and taking his daughter's hand, they walked through the dense crowd, considerably slower this time because Ross paused every few meters to converse with someone. Finally, Lisa saw a likely group up ahead: several tanned, young men, laughing and chatting animatedly. They certainly fit her father's description of the kind teenagers he had made friends with over a couple of chance tennis matches – but she couldn't find him there.

Where was he? Tezuka Kunimitsu?

"Echizen, you have to become taller this year-"

"Yeah, Echizen, you haven't grown an inch since Seigaku-"

"I wouldn't say that. See, he's up to your shoulder now-"

"Mr. Mitchell," an irritated, rather short young man with shrewd eyes and dark hair greeted, seeing Lisa and her father approaching. "Happy New Year."

"Happy New Year, Echizen, everyone," Ross replied warmly. "Are you having fun so far?"

"Very much, Mitchell-san," said a man with spiked black hair. "Thanks for inviting us."

"Yeah, Mitchell-san, you really do throw great parties," a guy with longish red hair piped up. "That rotating tango was out of this world!"

"Yes, yes, trust my wife to come up with something like that," Ross agreed, laughing. "Oh, I'd like you to meet my only daughter, Lisa." She bowed slightly as the men bowed back. "She's home for the holidays. Darling, these are the guys I told you about; they've made my game much better-"

"Mitchell-san, that's too much-"

"Fuji Shusuke!" said Sakurako suddenly, popping up beside Lisa. "You're here, too! I'm a fan of yours – that game against Klein? Mind-blowing, honestly."

"Aaah, thank you, Miss…"

"Sakurako," she answered, holding out her hand. "Beika Sakurako."

As a small-eyed man with hair falling across his face shook hands with her best friend, Lisa heard her father ask the question that had been playing on her lips.

"But where is Tezuka-kun?"

"He said he was going to look for someone. I'm sure he's still somewhere around here though-"

"Lisa, where are you going?" Ross asked as his daughter turned on her heel at Echizen's words. "Lisa?"

"Don't mind her, Mitchell-san," Sakurako said, sneaking a wink at her best friend. "She's probably just seen that suitor she's running away from…"

As Ross and the young men turned their attention to Sakurako, who began narrating an exaggerated version of Lisa's love life, Lisa walked across the room again, searching for him. But there were too many faces, too many gowns and suits, too many sparkling objects and unnecessary adornments in this room that she couldn't find him, wherever she looked.

"Lisa, dear," an eerily familiar, high-pitched voice suddenly said from behind her. "I've been looking everywhere for you all evening."

"Hans, stay away-"

As Lisa turned to berate her admirer – or stalker as Sakurako liked to call him – she caught sight of a tall man standing behind Hans, in the middle of the ball room, looking at her through his glinting glasses.

She should have known… That aura she once thought to be austerity, that aura she now realized was refinement… It made him stand out anywhere.

"Lisa, what are you-"

Without a word, Lisa stepped past Hans, just as he stepped forward, closer to her. Holding her breath, she walked closer, and closer, until finally, they were merely an arm's length from each other.

He was looking straight into her eyes, unblinking.

"My name is Tezuka Kunimitsu," he said, voice much, much deeper than ten years ago.

She could feel her face reddening.

"I'm-"

"Lisa Mitchell."

"How did you-?"

"I watched your concert in Germany," he said. "It was very good."

"You never called," she accused, frowning. "Or wrote, or emailed, or, or-"

"I didn't think you'd remember."

Although she rarely smiled, this time she let herself grin freely, feeling like an idiot but loving it.

"How could I forget?"

The orchestra had started a new song; Elgar's Salut d'Amour. [1] Suddenly conscious of the stares they were receiving, standing in the middle of the now abandoned dance floor, Tezuka and Lisa flustered visibly. From the corner of her eye, Lisa saw her best friend and her father, the latter looking confused but smiling knowingly at his daughter, the former giving her a mischievous 'thumbs up'. Tezuka's tennis friends, too, were looking at the pair of them, most, if not all of them, wearing expressions of utter shock.

As Tezuka turned to look at his peers, Lisa saw Fuji Shusuke's expression change. Suddenly, his eyes fell on Lisa, and widened in realization. Apparently understanding the situation completely, Fuji smiled and gave his friend a small nod. Confused, Lisa turned to Tezuka.

He was looking at her again; his gaze really was too distracting.

"Do you dance?" he asked, stretching out his hand. Gazing down at it, Lisa could feel herself smiling again – grinning like an idiot, more like. Feeling happier than she had in years, she slowly reached out… taking his warm, surprisingly soft hand.

Maybe she'd try tennis someday…

A/N:

Happy New Year! ::D

Written 1 January 2010!

Revenge of the Footnotes:

[1] Salut d'Amour. French, Love Greeting. Listen to my favorite version at: watch?v=_fQzkUnc8rE