"Hey," Hamano asked. "Is it me or has Tenma been avoiding Tsurugi lately?"
A week had blown by since that visit and a curious thing happened. From ignoring, Tenma began avoiding Tsurugi whenever humanely possible. Even during games he would only make quick, long passes to Tsurugi as he never ran with two meters of him. Everyone was worried on how it would affect their play but they were more worried on the fact that Tenma was avoiding Tsurugi, whom he had idolized so greatly.
"What did you do Tsurugi?" Shinsuke asked. "Did you hurt Tenma again?"
"Wha-" Before Tsurugi could defend himself, the other members began stating their own opinions.
"It's probably because he asked him to play soccer again." Kurama guessed.
"Geez, I know he can be annoying sometimes but have to be so harsh!" Kariya scolded.
"Did you kick another soccerball at him?" Sangoku asked. Tsurugi was shocked to hear these things from his own teammates.
"What are you all blabbering about?" Tsurugi yelled. "Do I look like I would hurt him?"
Everyone answered a "Yes!" in unison Tsurugi let out a "Tsk!"
Then by chance, Tenma popped inside, curious on what all the commotion was about until he saw Tsurugi. Without a word, he quickly left. Everyone was surprised though Tsurugi sighed as got up and left. Shindou eyed him worriedly and decided to follow him.
"Don't worry!" Taiyou reassured on the other end. "Grumpy people like Tsurugi just need their own space."
"Are you sure?" Tenma asked.
"Positive!" Taiyou confidently said. "Just give him some space and he'll cool off!"
All Taiyou could hear in response was his friend's sighs. "Are you alright?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah." Tenma answered sadly. "It's just that, why is Tsurugi so angry at me?"
Taiyou sighed at the other end. "I wish I knew. All I heard him say was that he couldn't even stand seeing your face and…err-…sorry."
"I-it's alright." Tenma cried a bit. "I just hope Tsurugi will stop being mad a me soon."
"Yeah," Taiyou agreed before hanging up. Tenma wiped a tear away. Taiyou was more abservant and was better in dealing with situations like this more than him and so there wasn't a lot of reason not to take his advice but then it had already been a week and Tsurugi still seemed to be in a bad mood. Perhaps he just needed more time but what stung more was that he was to blame. Tenma got a soccerball to play with again. He didn't want to think about this anymore.
"Are you sure about this?" Taiyou asked. "He sounds so sad."
"Don't worry." Yuuichi said. "Kyousuke is just shy. If this gets any worse, we will just have to give him another push."
"You sure had this well-planned out." Taiyou said. "Then again, you wouldn't have seen through my ruse if you weren't so smart."
Yuuichi chuckled. "Oh, I forgot to thank you for trying to help my brother out."
"Ah," Taiyou laughed nervously. "Actually, I did this for Tenma's sake. He always becomes sad whenever he talked about Tsurugi. No matter what he does, he always brushes him off like he's not there."
"Yuuichi nodded with a sigh. "Kyousuke has always been bad people. He just can't interact well and worse yet, he can be so cold."
"Yeah," Taiyou sighed. "Even when I tried to push his buttons by making him jealous, he still ended up making Tenma cry."
Yuuichi sighed. He never told Tenma why his brother was so angry because he wanted Kyousuke to learn how to be more sociable and friendly on his own but with the way things were…
"I jus hope Kyousuke doesn't make things worse." Yuuichi hoped.
-Raimon School Roof-
Tsurugi sneezed. Was someone talking about? Probably one of his teammates again. But he sulked because they were right. He had been avoiding him since he snapped at him during their visit so there wasn't any doubt that he was still hurt by that.
Shindou had followed Tsurugi all the way to the roof and was shocked to see him sulking with his head against the wall. He didn't get this at all! All he advised him was to go and talk to him. How hard was it to do that?
"I can't believe you are letting yourself be walk all over by some kid!"
Tsurugi shot a glare at him but didn't say anything. He couldn't deny it as the truth. "So you are just going to let him take Tenma then?"
Tsurugi didn't say anything. Instead, he got up and left.
Despite the rift, Tenma still remained as predictable as ever. He was wiping the soccerball he had just played with on some grass. He was so engrossed with it, he hadn't even notice that Tsurugi was standing not too far away.
Tsurugi walk closer as quietly as he could. He was within three feet of him when he accidentally stepped on a twig. The child turned at the sound of the twig's loud snap when his eyes went big. He got up to run but three feet was a short distance. Tsurugi quickly grabbed the child and forced him back down on the grass. "We need to talk."
Tenma, being smaller and weaker, complied with a whimper. Tsurugi sat down next to him but kept a firm grip on his arm to keep him from running. "You have been avoiding me lately. I want to know why."
Tsurugi already had a good guess, but he wanted to hear it from the child first.
"Well…" Tenma wasn't sure on whether he should answer or not. "Aren't you angry at me?"
That, Tsurugi did not expect. "Angry? I'm not angry at you?"
"Eh?" Now Tenma was surprised. "But when I left to buy the snacks, didn't you say that you hated me?"
"What are you talking about?" Tsurugi asked. "I never said anything like that!"
"But Taiyou told me he heard you mumble it." Tenma said in confusion.
Tsurugi's hands tightened angrily. He couldn't believe this! That sneaky little…!
"O-oow! Tsurugi, you're hurting me!" Tenma yelped.
"Oh, sorry…!" Tsurugi let go of his arm, deciding to focus on clearing up the misunderstanding first. "Listen, I never said I hated you and I'm not angry with you either."
"Really?" Tenma asked. "Then have you been snapping at me lately and why did you kick the soccerball at me?"
That was one question Tsurugi did not want to answer. Tenma looked down. "So you do hate me then?"
"I don't hate you." Tsurugi sighed. "I've just been in a bad mood."
"So why are you taking it out on me?" Tenma whimpered. Tsurugi could see how anxious he was.
"I didn't-ugh…" Tsurugi tried to explain. That didn't make things better. If anything, they made the situation worse.
"So…" Tenma sighed. "We aren't friends? Is that why?"
Tsurugi was surprised at that. "No, that's not it you idiot."
Tenma was surprised to feel a hand ruffle his hair for moment though it felt more like a console pat. "I'm sorry. It's just…"
Then much to Tenma's surprise, Tsurugi buried his head in his knees. "First, promise me you won't laugh."
Tenma had no idea what was going on but he nodded his head. Tsurugi sighed while still bracing himself to be laughed at despite Tenma giving his word.
"I got jealous of Taiyou."
"Wait…huh?" Tenma now was even more confused. "You were jealous of Taiyou?"
Tsurugi nodded, expecting him to laugh.
"Why would you be jealous of Taiyou?" Tenma asked. "You just had to practice if you wanted to best him in soccer."
"Uuh…" Tsurugi said. "That's not-"
"Practice makes perfect Tsurugi!" Tenma said. He wasn't even listening to him anymore which made the older boy groan.
"C'mon! Let's start practicing now Tsurugi!" Tenma urged, even pulling his arm to get him to go. Tsurugi sighed and got up.
"Fine…but don't think I'm going to hold back runt!"
-Elsewhere near the field behind a tree-
"How did I get myself into this?" Shindou groaned as he spied the two playing together. He took out his phone to dial some numbers.
"Hello?" Yuuichi answered. "Did anything happen?"
"Well, they're playing together." Shindou answered with a shrug.
"Did you hear that?" Shindou could hear Yuuichi squeal happily at the other end.
"Finally! He's opening up!"
"Wait, who is that?" Shindou asked but the two at the other end continued to talk with each other, ignoring him completely. He sighed before hanging up. He really wished he hadn't gone to the hospital that day. He wouldn't have bumped into him and he wouldn't have been forced to act as some sort of spy for him…Why was he even doing this anyway?
Yuuichi and Taiyou: 03