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PoTWEWY - The Sixth Day

Title: The World Begins With Tennis

Author: Sinnatious
 
Summary: TezRyo Prince of Tennis/The World Ends With You crossover.
 
Rating: M for violence and yaoi.

Author’s Note:  The sixth day.  More cameos, joy!  Surprisingly few questions get answered.


.....................


The Sixth Day
 
It was the footpath next to the bus stop again. Tezuka was already awake this time, standing next to him like a guard with the Player pin clutched in his hands.
 
He sat up with a yawn, rubbing at his eyes. “You’re awake?”
 
“Not for long.”  
 
“The mission?”
 
On cue, their phones beeped. Ryoma grumbled to himself as he stood, retrieving the phone from his pocket. 
 
Pain lanced like a bolt of electricity through his hand. Cursing, he fumbled to open the phone. ‘Go to the northern riverbank. You have two hours.’
 
The red numbers ticked down on his palm. Strange how he was getting used to that. Tezuka rubbed his own hand briefly, slipping his phone back into his pocket. “The river is right on the edge of the boundary. Two hours isn’t a lot of time.”
 
“Should we run?”
 
“…That could cause accidents. But we should walk briskly.”
 
Tezuka was probably the only person in the world who would actually say the word ‘briskly’ in normal conversation.
 
…Not that Ryoma had anything to compare against. “Which way?”
 
They headed out at a quick pace, Ryoma having to double-step at times to keep up with Tezuka’s long strides. 
 
It was still rather early in the morning, so the streets were filled with salary men on their way to work and students on their way to school. Since the mission time limit was so short it didn’t look like there’d be much time for eating. That was annoying. It was harder fighting on an empty stomach. The effectiveness of psychs appeared to be directly correlated to the strength of focus and concentration, both of which could be compromised by an empty stomach. Oh well. He still had blood on his shirt anyway – he probably wouldn’t be well received at the ramen place.
 
While he was contemplating how much he’d rather eat some burgers instead of ramen for a change, Tezuka’s ‘brisk’ pace suddenly halted. Ryoma very nearly ran into him, stopping and glaring. “Hey, what’s the-” The words died in his mouth when he saw his partner’s expression.
 
Generally, he’d accepted that Tezuka had just a slightly wider emotional range than your average rock. The look in his eyes now, however, was one that Ryoma hadn’t seen before. He was staring intensely, almost like he was trying to scan someone, only he wasn’t clutching his Player pin.
 
His fingers were reaching for it, though.
 
It was strange.  Generally Tezuka didn't like scanning - said it was an ‘invasion of privacy'.  Ryoma didn't particularly like hearing all the random stupid boring things people were thinking about either, but had no such moral dilemma if he wanted to find something out or complete a mission.
 
Golden eyes traced the path of his gaze and eventually found the source of the disturbance. A group of people – some of them looked familiar. Members of the tennis club from the day before, he recalled belatedly. It looked like they were on their way to school. There were a couple he didn’t recognise.
 
It was the slight, light-brown-haired student across the way that Tezuka was staring at with a scarily intense expression.  Ryoma looked closer, trying to see what made him stand out, but a sharp pain suddenly burned through his head.  He stumbled back.  "Ugh."

Tezuka tore his attention away and caught his shoulder.  "Echizen?  Is something the matter?"

"S'nothing," he mumbled.  "Just... my head..." It felt like invisible knives stabbing the back of his eyes.   

The fingers clutching his shoulders tightened.  After a moment the headache started to abate.  Tentatively, Ryoma opened eyes he didn’t remember closing and raised his head, looking around.  "Huh, it went away."  He glanced back over.  "Where did that guy go? The one you were staring at."
 
“You noticed?”
 
“Kind of hard not to.”

"…He left," Tezuka replied dispassionately. 

"Weren't you going to scan him?"
 
A pause.  Tezuka was probably embarrassed at being caught out in his temptation after his moral grandstanding. Ryoma was tempted to call him on it, but it was clear that his partner had been bothered by it, and that in turn bothered him.

Eventually Tezuka answered, "It doesn't matter.  We should continue with the mission. There’s not much time."

Ryoma frowned.  That guy had been with a bunch of people that Tezuka said were his friends before.  Did that mean he was also a friend?  The expression on Tezuka's face - subtle though it might have been - had been sort of cold, though.  Maybe they didn’t get along?
 
They continued the rest of the way to the bridge in silence – Tezuka deep in thought after the encounter and Ryoma quietly wondering what it was that had his partner so unsettled. They encountered one wall, manned by Arai of all people, who sulkily summoned a single Noise for them to defeat before letting them pass. It took a couple of minutes to take care of that, and then they were on their way.
 
Soon enough, the river was in sight. By unspoken agreement, they picked up their pace until they were standing on the grassy riverbank. It was quiet except for the lapping of water at the shore and the distant rumble of traffic.
 
"We're here, but the timer isn't disappearing."  Ryoma frowned, staring at the red numbers ticking down on his palm as though the force of his glare alone would be enough to make them disappear.

"The north bank," Tezuka murmured.  "We're on the south bank."

It figured.  There was a bridge a short distance away, and they still had twenty minutes.  "Let's go then."

As they headed towards the crossing, though, Ryoma found his feet stopping.  He stared at the bridge, an unpleasant sensation crawling across his skin.  Tezuka hesitated, looking back.  "Is something the matter?"

He clutched his Player Pin.  It was weird.  He thought he could sense something... and yet, nothing came up in the scan.  It was like there was something filling space where there ought to be emptiness.

"...I don't think the bridge is a good idea," he muttered eventually.

Tezuka glanced between him and the bridge.  "Why?"

It was hard to explain.  Ryoma trusted his instincts, and there was something off about the scan.  "Just a bad feeling," he mumbled.

Dark brown eyes regarded him for a long moment. Eventually Tezuka turned away.  "We'll have to find another way across then."  He started retracing their steps to the riverbank.

"You believe me?" Ryoma didn't know what he'd been expecting, but not Tezuka's matter-of-fact acceptance based on something as vague as a 'bad feeling'.

"You have more practice at scanning than I do.  If you think there's something wrong, I doubt it's just your imagination," he said seriously.  "...We'll just have to wade across.  It's not that deep – Inui told me that Kaidoh often trains here."  He plucked a stray plastic bag from the ground, placed his wallet and pins safely inside, then extended it to Ryoma who grudgingly added his own.  Tezuka tied the bag closed and looped it around his neck, then held out his hand.

Ryoma looked at it quizzically.  "The current is strong," Tezuka warned. "If we get separated..."

A Noise would find them or they wouldn't be able to complete the mission properly, and they'd both wind up erased.  Ryoma interlaced their fingers together, hand firmly clasped in Tezuka's.  It was answer enough.

They only had seven more minutes now.  There was no putting it off.

They waded into the river.  Belatedly Ryoma realised that they probably should have taken their shoes off and tied them around their necks too, as they dragged heavily in the water.  The water was unexpectedly cold and the undercurrent sucked at his legs with surprising strength.  Ryoma resolutely ignored it, tightening his grip on Tezuka's hand and wading deeper into the river.  It was still safer than facing the bridge.  The river might be mucky and cold and the current strong, but there were no unpleasant surprises.

At least until about a third of the way in, when he quickly realised that there was in fact another problem.  Tezuka could indeed make it across without a problem.  But while Tezuka was only waist-deep in the water, it was already up to Ryoma's chest.  Wading was already becoming difficult.  If it reached Tezuka's armpits it would be over his head.  Not for the first time Ryoma cursed his lack of height.

He could swim - again he didn't remember how, only he knew that he could - but the current was powerful and his clothes weighed him down like lead scarves.  Add that to the fact that his stronger left arm was clinging to Tezuka and he could only propel himself forward with his weaker right arm...

The water grew higher.  It sloshed over his shoulders.  Tezuka continued forging ahead determinedly.  Ryoma kicked erratically, trying to keep afloat and moving forward, even as the current pulled him sideways.  The water continued to rise, and his feet left the riverbed.  Panic started to set in. "Tezuka-"

Tezuka glanced back, and his eyes widened. 
 
"Echizen!"  The words were swallowed as Ryoma’s head slipped underwater.

It was as though direction became meaningless.  Kicking frantically now, Ryoma broke the surface again with a gasp, before the current pulled him back under and a rumble filled his ears.

"Echizen!"  Tezuka's voice was muted but he could feel the water dragging on him as a force pulled him forward, the strain on his left arm still clinging to his partner growing almost painful.

Flailing about wildly, he managed to push his head above the water again, but only long enough to grab a gasp of air, followed by a mouthful of water as the current pulled him down again.  His lungs grew tight.  The water seemed like it was growing more shallow but it felt like forever before Ryoma's feet found the riverbed again, and even then they seemed to just slip out from under him, his footing sucked away by the current.  The only steadfast point of orientation was that death grip on his hand, anchoring him to his partner.

After what felt like an eternity Ryoma was half-dragged, half-crawled on to the riverbank.  He coughed and spluttered, making a face at the taste of the foul drain water.  'River' was probably a generous term for that particular landmark.

"Are you alright?"  Tezuka asked worriedly, still clutching his hand and patting him on the back as he spat out a mouthful of silty water.

"The timer...?" he coughed.

"Gone," he assured him, plucking out a wet leaf that had found its way into Ryoma's hair.

He let out a sigh at that, closing his eyes.  They'd cut it far too close the past two days.  After a moment, he mumbled, "Lost my cap."

"I'll buy you a new one.  We have enough money."

"And a shoe."  He stared at his feet.  The other shoe was covered in mud anyway.  He probably didn't want to know what the lost one looked like.

"My shoes need replacing as well," Tezuka admitted.  They'd been pristine white before but were now a sort of splotchy grey.
 
“Well, look what we have here,” a cultured voice interrupted. They both whirled around, searching for the source. It was a pair of Reapers on the bridge. “An interesting detour. It seems that we were spotted.”

"Fucking annoying," the white-haired one with the rat-tail growled.  "Spent ages on that trap."

"Yes, we fooled plenty of others with the same trick," the one wearing glasses agreed.  Ryoma couldn't stop staring at him.  He reminded him a lot of Tezuka - his hair was just a little flatter, and his features a little rounder.  There was also the small matter of the black skeletal wings sprouting from his back.  They were both wearing yellow shirts like the Game Master.  Did that mean they were special Reapers?

"Heeeh, you're lame enough to use the same trick twice?" Ryoma deadpanned.

That earned him a matching set of twitching eyebrows.  "Certainly, we expected as much from you," the one with glasses stated, straightening up into an almost regal pose. "Honestly, when Kirihara said you two were in the game I did not initially believe him."

"Then we heard about your deaths in the RG," the other one added with a leer.  "Too damn good to be true."

Deaths?  Plural?  Before he could ask, though, Tezuka stated, "Niou and Yagyuu.  Also from Rikkai's tennis club.  Three of your members are Reapers?"

They both smirked at that.  "Yo, should we tell them Yagyuu?" the white-haired one drawled.

"We've got our orders, Niou."

"Fuck orders."  He didn't say anything else, though.

Yagyuu smiled.  It was a cold sort of smile - polite and without any real joy.  "There was quite a bit of tragedy in our club a while ago.  That's all you need to know."
 
“And you became Reapers.”
 
“Harriers. We’re not like those lame Wall Reapers, ya know.” Niou lounged on the bridge railing, dangling his feet over the edge. “It’s our job to take out Players.”
 
“Nothing personal, you understand,” Yagyuu added. “But a Harrier’s lifespan is extended by how many Players they erase.”
 
Tezuka was already untying the bag with the pins in it.
 
“There’s no need for that, I promise,” Yagyuu assured them. “Reapers aren’t allowed to attack the Players directly until tomorrow.”
 
“But you set a trap,” Ryoma pointed out coolly.
 
“We have to be enterprising in our methods of taking out players, particularly ones strong enough to have lasted this long. Just summoning Noise in plain sight isn’t very effective.” Yagyuu adjusted his glasses. They caught the afternoon sunlight, flaring brightly. “It seems you’ve managed to escape any other Harriers so far. You’ve been lucky.”
 
Tezuka was reaching for the pins again.
 
“Heh, I’d really like to sick some Noise on ya to make up for it,” Niou drawled, “But Kirihara wants to deal with you two personally. Ordered hands off. I say fuck him, but Yagyuu here says he’s Game Master.”
 
“Games have to have rules,” was Yagyuu’s eminently reasonable response.
 
“Set by the Composer and Conductor.” Niou snickered at something he seemed to find funny about that, and Ryoma’s interest was piqued. Composer? Conductor?
 
“And if you don’t mind my asking, how long have you been Reapers?” Tezuka was keeping very calm, given the situation. Ryoma blinked, feeling a pin touch his fingers, and had to suppress a smile as he slid it up his sleeve. Tezuka was never careless.
 
“Longer than you’ve been Players.” Niou smirked.
 
Yagyuu’s phone beeped. He frowned and flipped it open. “Yagyuu here.” His frown deepened. “Understood.” He flipped it shut again. “Niou.”
 
He groaned. “Yeah, yeah, I know. Well, it was nice knowing ya. But tomorrow’s the last day. Kirihara’s going to make mincemeat outta ya.” He grinned, running a hand through his hair. “Puri.”
 
Ryoma had several retorts for that, but didn’t get the chance to use any of them as the pair of Reapers left. That had been slightly nerve-racking. At least he hadn't nearly drowned himself for just a bad feeling.  Water was still dripping from his hair, but being cold and wet was better than being erased.
 
“It sounds as though we’re going to have to be careful tomorrow,” Tezuka mused, sorting through the pins properly and handing the rest back over to Ryoma.
 
“Che. They’re probably all talk,” he dismissed. 
 
“Hn.” Tezuka didn’t sound convinced.
 
One thing did sort of unsettle him, though. “Didn’t this mission… you know… seem sort of easy?” Ryoma asked. Sure, it had been tight on time, but the only real obstacle had been getting across the river, and if weren’t for the Harriers setting traps even that would have been simple. 
 
“That’s no excuse for getting careless.”
 
Ryoma sighed to himself, scuffing a sodden shoe on the ground. “Not what I meant.”
 
They stood there in silence for a moment. If anyone were able to see them, they’d look a sorry sight – Ryoma was drenched from head to toe, missing a shoe and hair still dripping cold water onto his already soaked and still blood-stained shirt. Tezuka looked a little better, but his clothes were sodden as well, sagging under the weight of the water they held. He hadn’t let go of his hand yet, Ryoma realised – he’d even sorted through the pins one-handed. Somewhat reluctantly, Ryoma let his fingers relax, and his hand drop. Tezuka blinked. “Oh, my apologies.”
 
Ryoma had to stifle a chuckle. Tezuka was always so polite. It was exasperating at first, but it had become endearing at some point. “S’nothing,” he murmured, cheeks warm at the memory of the worry colouring Tezuka’s voice as he pulled him ashore.
 
He didn’t think it possible, but in this crazy world, he’d grown sort of fond of this stranger he’d partnered up with. Maybe it was just a lack of choice, but Ryoma had trouble believing that. There was something about Tezuka… there was a dependability about him, a sort of aura that drew you in. He didn’t waste words, or offer meaningless platitudes over their predicament… he just took the problem head on, and expected Ryoma to do the same.
 
Was it friendship? He wasn’t sure what to call it. They were just partners, he guessed. That would have to do.
 
Sixth Day, End.
 
 

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
ichinonaru
Aug. 22nd, 2008 12:02 pm (UTC)
Waaaaah! WHY ISN't RYOMA NOTICING THE HINTS! Haha, but I guess if you're amnesiac, you wouldn't know they mattered much to you if you don't really remember! But... waaaah! YESSSS! I see the "feelings" developing in the future....
Er... not much of the "trust your partner" theme being said aloud that was super dominant in the game huh? But I think this story implied it strongly.. just that I don't think people who haven't played WEWY will pick it up! Anyway... keep it up! And I'm sooo looking forward to your next update! YAY! XDXDXD SDPP and MPP are a hassle XD
sinnatious
Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
Not so much, no. For starters, there's no Hanekoma. I didn't bring over EVERYTHING from TWEWY - there would be no way to keep it at a chapter a day if that were the case. XD

Heee, I got heaps of MPP while in Tokyo. It was so cool being able to turn on mingle mode, go catch the train, and have your mingle counter maxed out then next time you checked it. XD But gosh, the logistics of evolving ALL of your pins is mind-boggling.
ichinonaru
Aug. 23rd, 2008 07:10 am (UTC)
Aaah, how does the MPP counter work anyway? Do I have to go to certain places in order to get pts?
argentum_luna
Aug. 22nd, 2008 12:42 pm (UTC)
;J=ASD;KLJADS;FKLJAS;DLFJ;ASJDF;LKNCK.NA;OIJFA;SKDLMAS.DFNA;DJF;LAJDSFK;LJASD

Zetta awesome?

XD
sinnatious
Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
You're outta your vector! XD
su24
Aug. 22nd, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC)
ryoma with memories intact = clueless...ryoma without memories = EVEN MORE CLUELESS....damnit...but finally, he is noticing tezuka is dependable...now if only he manages to remember tezuka.... XD...nice chapter as always...:D
p/s: does that mean the whole rikkai team is dead as well? huh, i can't imagine akaya bossing sanada or yukimura (though it would be fun to see XD)
yusahana6323
Aug. 22nd, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
They were just partners, he guessed. That would have to do.

いやあああああああああああああああああ。 D; リョマくん! 手塚部長を覚えくれなさいよ! とても悲しいです! 困りますね。。。困りすぎます。

次のチャプターおねがいします。 :D (最後のチャプターですね。。。おあぎゑひょいあしゃ;へおい; <- Japanese keyboardpounding XP)
jade_peace
Aug. 22nd, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
ASDFGHJKL;LKJHGFDSA QGHQPRGIUEFKBDV

*so so so very incoherent*

♥♥♥
tezukaryo
Aug. 22nd, 2008 05:56 pm (UTC)
Ah...did Fuji plays a role in Ryoma death cause Tezuka does not seem to be happy seeing him...and Ryoma has headache when he see Fuji...did Fuji put a move on Tezuka and Ryoma saw them, run out, and got hit by a car and die along with Tezuka when he try to save him...it really seem like Rikkai team are sore loser *grin*...looking forward to the last day where the pillar pair kick Rikkai butt again *grin wickedly* ^__^
superultragddya
Aug. 22nd, 2008 06:31 pm (UTC)
FUJI. DID YOU MURDER THEM. DDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
superultragddya
Aug. 22nd, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
okay, proper comment here. -does not fail, seriously-

eeee, niou and yagyuu, and ouu, are all of rikkai reapers? >w<

and, you two, you two, you two~ 8DDD
superultragddya
Aug. 22nd, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
I AM NOT SPAMMING OH NO NOT AT ALL
...HOW IS KARUPIN TAKING THIS. D
superultragddya
Aug. 22nd, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Re: I AM NOT SPAMMING OH NO NOT AT ALL
ALSO HEY ARE THERE DINOSAURS?
superultragddya
Aug. 22nd, 2008 06:33 pm (UTC)
My <'s seem to disappear when they're at the end of a comment. >w< .

period is so it won't disappear. xD
superultragddya
Aug. 22nd, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
sdfjlsljd;not sure where to put this because i've created so many subthreads already ahaha but JUST A THOUGHT did ryouma give up karupin and tezuka give up his pillar of support? D8 whichiswhyryoumahasnomemories? D8

and which could possibly make tezuka more angsty because it is all HIS FAULT. >D
superultragddya
Aug. 22nd, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
NOT REPLYING PURELY FOR BALANCE PURPOSES.
just so you knew. ;D

HEYYYYYYYYYYYY IF THEY COME BACK DO PEOPLE REMEMBER THEM AS DEAD? BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, THAT'D BE KINDA WEIRD. I WASN'T SURE. I MEAN, DO THEY COME BACK IMMEDIATELY AFTER THEIR "DEATH" AS NOT HAVING DIED AT ALL OR COME BACK IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE GAME dfjlk;sad;jlkdsf

ALSO WHAT HOW LONG HAS THIS GAME THING BEEN GOING ON ANYWAY? |D WERE THERE CEllPHONES IN THE TIME OF THE DINOSAURS? |D

MY PINKY HURTS. D|
sinnatious
Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:29 am (UTC)
Re: NOT REPLYING PURELY FOR BALANCE PURPOSES.
LOL at super-size thread. MOST OF YOUR QUERIES WILL BE ANSWERED! As for the history of the game, TWEWY doesn't explain that, but one would guess that the game would adapt to whatever is natural for the time. Also, humans didn't exist in the time of the dinosaurs. :P

Missions probably used to get delivered by pigeons or something. XD
superultragddya
Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:45 am (UTC)
Re: NOT REPLYING PURELY FOR BALANCE PURPOSES.
llldfsyou disappeared on me. ;_________; haven't seen you in two weeks, by the way~ D;

...oh. >o> I see~ x3

I hope the pigeon messages didn't take up any of the time limit of the mission. ;__________;

...and, yay super-size thread? >>
sinnatious
Aug. 23rd, 2008 12:05 pm (UTC)
Yes, I HAVE been scarce during the afternoon hours lately, even if I've been around a bit in the evenings. People in RL keep demanding my attention. I spurn them by updating LJ daily. XD
superultragddya
Aug. 23rd, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
INTERNET FAILS LIKE WOAH.
Yay updating LJ daily~ x3

And awww, people in RL are much more important than thy, so you do have a good excuse. xD
firedraygon97
Aug. 22nd, 2008 08:25 pm (UTC)
:O!!!!!!!!! FUJI!

a;ldskjl So many hints at everything! Ryoma's just too slow, I suppose. Haha, I like how they kept holding hands even after the danger. So cute~ Makes me want to find Pillar Pair fluff to read now...

Looking forward to Day 7's update!!
sinnatious
Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
God yes, if you find some good fluff please link me. I keep writing tragic things. x___x
superultragddya
Aug. 23rd, 2008 05:47 am (UTC)
GOOD. TRAGIC IS GOOD.

LOTS OF TEZUKA!ANGST AND DORKY!BUCHOU = GOOD.

KEEP IT UP.
aventria
Aug. 25th, 2008 10:37 am (UTC)
FUJI! D=D=D= FUJI'S INVOLVED!!! Interesting...


NIOU!!! OMG NIOU!!! YAGYUU TOO!!! *FLAIL* XDXDXD NIOU!!!!


“S’nothing,” he murmured, cheeks warm at the memory of the worry colouring Tezuka’s voice as he pulled him ashore.

Aaahh~ Even if he doesn't' remember the consumation of their love memories involving Tezuka and their love, he's falling in love again so that almost makes it not matter~
sinnatious
Aug. 25th, 2008 11:14 am (UTC)
Oh, you didn't know? I'M TOTALLY A D1 SHIPPER NOW. I'm not exactly sure when this happened.

They'll fall again, even if they're reborn. Even when they lose their memories. Even when their memories return. And asdljfsalkfjaskldfj now all I can think about is Shirley and I want to cry and the TRAGEDY.... ;______; (Totally hated Shirley for ages, but it seemed like the minute she got a gun her in her hand she became AWESOME.)

(Also, your icons are so consistently made of win. I've said this before, but it needs repeating.)
sleepingfingers
Sep. 24th, 2008 05:53 am (UTC)
Hmm, an accident with Rikkai team. That sounds so very ominous.

Was it friendship? He wasn’t sure what to call it. They were just partners, he guessed. That would have to do.

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )