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PoTWEWY - Day Two

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:  Proof that I just can't stay away from Tezuka POV.


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

Day Two

Tezuka didn't understand exactly how it worked - he'd been dead.  He'd seen his former classmates grieving.  Yet now here he was back at school, and they acted as though he’d simply been away.  His parents, too.

Was that part of the Composer’s powers?  To just make everything as it was again?
 
Except that one very important thing was different. Echizen was still dead.
 
It left him uneasy.  They completed the game, and Tezuka woke up in his bed on Sunday morning to the trilling of his alarm. In a somewhat dreamlike state, he’d greeted his parents, eaten breakfast and headed to the Tournament. It was only when Oishi waved to him that he believed it was real. 
 
No one reacted at all to his return. There were no questions. Tezuka waited, heart light with the expectation of seeing his partner alive: On the court if his memory had returned, and in the stands if it hadn’t.
 
Nothing. The others arrived, and he started to suspect that Echizen wouldn’tbe coming. Momoshiro angrily insisted that he was going to play and win in Ryoma’s memory. The stands remained empty. The opposing team awkwardly offered their condolences at the start of the game. The pair of girls who normally cheered for Echizen were absent. Yet still, a part of him held hope and kept searching for a white cap, cocky smirk and golden eyes. 
 
It was always possible that Ryoma didn’t know where the Tournament was being held, he reasoned – it was outside of the boundaries of the game, and if his memories were still missing he wouldn’t know where to go or how to get there. Tezuka played his game half-heartedly, winning easily, and checked the stands after match point.
 
Empty.
 
“Expecting someone, Tezuka?” Fuji asked.
 
Tezuka could feel a headache coming on. “Yes,” he answered succinctly, not wanting to discuss anything with the prodigy right then. 
 
Fuji apparently picked up on his mood, and backed off with a smile. “Maybe they just got the time wrong,” he offered.
 
Tezuka wished it were as simple as that. He wanted to believe that was all it was.
 
He didn’t remember talking to the rest of his team, but had some vague notion that he must have, because half an hour later he was standing alone in a park with his mobile in his hand. His fingers tapped out Echizen’s number.
 
It was disconnected.
 
The buoyant feeling he’d experienced that morning at being alive again slowly started to dissolve into a sick sense of dread and worry.
 
That was why he was standing on an unfamiliar doorstep Monday morning instead of heading to morning practice.
 
Tezuka had a rather strong inkling as to who the Composer was, but in this instance was certain that the Conductor would be much more accommodating.
 
The door opened. "Good morning, Sanada," Tezuka greeted politely.

There were advantages to having Inui Sadaharu on your team. If Rikkai's vice-captain was surprised to see him on his doorstep, he didn't show it. "Tezuka Kunimitsu.  What does Seigaku's tennis captain want with me so early in the morning?"

"The Game," Tezuka said.  "Explain it to me."

For one brief moment, he thought he saw shock and suspicion flit across Sanada's face.  "You remember, then."

"Am I not supposed to?"  For a moment, he was concerned that he might have put those memories at risk by admitting to them.

Sanada was frowning.  "It's unusual, but you did perform well in the Game.  Although it might be because..." he trailed off there, and Tezuka had the strong impression that he'd been about to say something he wasn't supposed to.  After a moment he continued, "I have ten minutes.  You'd better come in."
 
Tezuka followed him inside, slipping off his shoes. It was a very traditional sort of house, and he recalled Inui mentioning that Sanada practiced martial arts. 
 
It appeared he’d interrupted Rikkai’s vice-captain in the middle of breakfast before school. Fortunately there were no parents in the vicinity – Tezuka wondered if Sanada lived alone or if they simply were at work. Did they know that their son was dead, but living on as a Reaper?
 
“What do you want to know?” Sanada asked brusquely.
 
“Everything.” Tezuka knew he should be more specific than that, but wasn’t sure he would be able to find the right questions. “Start on what the point is. Why the Game even exists.”
 
Sanada thought on that for a moment, then began, "The Game is a purification process for the soul.  Think of it like a Tournament. The worthiest are given the chance to return to life, and the runners-up will either ascend to the higher plane or become Reapers.  Those whose souls are weak and impure will fail and get erased in the early rounds.  The fragments of their souls become Noise.  The Game exists both to judge the Players, and to clean the area of excess Noise," Sanada explained.

"Ascending... you mean heaven," Tezuka surmised.

"Similar, yes.  Those Players become Angels. Some are reborn."

"But most Players were erased."

"The Game exists for those who die young and unexpectedly, primarily.  Their souls are still in a state of indecision.  Most people either become Noise or ascend directly."  Sanada sounded bored of the whole affair.

It made sense to Tezuka - he hadn't seen a single Player over thirty, which struck him as odd at the time.  But the thought that all those Players who didn’t make it were now just mindless, angry fragments of soul…

"It's a necessary thing to ensure the stability of the RG.  That's the Composer's job," Sanada stated, as though sensing his concerns.  "To ensure the UG does not swing out of control and corrupt the RG.  There is a limit to how many people may be returned to life, and very few Players even finish the Game.  Most become Reapers or are erased and become Noise." 

It still struck Tezuka as terribly unbalanced, but then, he supposed the bad odds were compensated for by the possibility of a second chance at life.  The Noise needed to be cleared regularly, and Reapers were required to run the game - if everybody could ascend the UG couldn't be sustained. “Surely the Composer could figure out a better system."
 
Sanada frowned. “It’s the way things are. It goes higher than even the Composer.”
 
Tezuka wanted to press the issue, but he had other questions. “The entry fee. Why is it that Echizen had to give up his memories, but I didn’t have to give up anything at all?”
 
"I think there's some confusion," Sanada stated levelly.  "Your entry fee was Echizen's memories.  Echizen's entry fee was something else altogether."
 
Tezuka felt as though time stopped. 
 
The thing he held most precious…
 
Sanada asked, “Does Echizen know he means that much to you?”
 
Tezuka didn’t answer. His throat felt dry suddenly, and he swallowed. Every time Echizen hadn’t recognised his classmates, or called him ‘Tezuka’ instead of ‘Buchou’, or didn’t know where he was… it was like a knife through the heart. He’d just assumed that when Echizen didn’t recognise him that the first-year’s entry fee had been his memories, but the unexpected grief that came with being a stranger to the freshman left him unbalanced. Initially he’d been confused and hadn’t known how to deal with it, so merely continued as though they hadn’t met before. Once he’d started that, it was easier to keep pretending. But whose benefit had that been for? His, or Echizen’s?
 
His only solace was that Echizen hadn’t known any different. But the guilt that he’d been the one to inflict that on his kouhai…
 
“What was Echizen’s entry fee?” he asked eventually.
 
“It’s a confidential matter.”
 
Tezuka shook his head. “Never mind.” He already knew. Echizen’s entry fee had been tennis. 

Tezuka sat back, absorbing all that he learned.  He didn't like a lot of it, but accepted why things had to be that way.  There were rules and duties.  Tezuka understood rules and duties.

"I have just one more question," Tezuka said.

"And that is?"

"What happened to Echizen? He hasn’t returned to the RG. I can’t find him anywhere."

Sanada hesitated for the briefest of moments.  "He ascended.  The Composer decreed that only you earned the right to return to life.  Echizen turned down the offer to become a Reaper and moved on to a higher plane instead."

Tezuka studied Rikkai's vice-captain at length, then quietly stated, "You're lying."

Sanada stood abruptly.  He'd been polite and forthcoming before, but his expression was closed now.  "I don't have any more information to give you.  I've told you too much already."
 
"Sanada."
 
“Please leave.”
 
That was everything, then. He wasn’t going to learn anything more from the Conductor. Tezuka stood and headed to the door, slipping on his shoes in the foyer. “Thank you for your time.”
 
Once out on the street again, he placed his hand in his pocket, fingers closing around a cold, smooth circle.
 
He withdrew it and glanced down at his hand. 
 
He still had his Player pin. 
 
 
………………………….
 
 
Ryoma tried not to roll his eyes as the Wall Reaper detailed the terms of passing. It was always some dumb errand – a pin, this time. Pins were useful in the UG, sure, but Ryoma hadn’t actually seen a Reaper use one yet, so he could only conclude that they were fashion accessories or trophies to show off how much they’d annoyed the Players. He and Yanagi retreated out of earshot.
 
“Do we have that one already?” Ryoma asked.
 
“No, but we had it this morning. We sold it to the Wall Reaper at the intersection next to the ramen shop.”
 
Ryoma frowned. Just their luck – they’d have to kill Noise until they found another one. “What did we get it from?”
 
“The blue-coloured Frog Noise, I believe.” Yanagi was useful in this regard – if it were up to him, Ryoma would have just had to erase every Noise he saw until he stumbled across the right one by chance.
 
“Let’s go find some, then. Che, for such a lame mission, too.”
 
“We could simply leave it to the other Players,” Yanagi suggested. “If it weren’t for the walls, we’d be finished already.”
 
“I can’t take that chance,” Ryoma muttered, rubbing his Player pin. He quickly scanned, and spied some Noise. “Over there.”
 
They made short work of the unsuspecting Frog Noise. Ryoma picked through the pins leftover, and held up the one requested. That was lucky. “Come on.”
 
“There’s no rush. We have plenty of time.”
 
Sure, but that was no reason to loiter. Even though Ryoma had filled him in on most of the pertinent information about the game, Yanagi seemed wholly unconcerned about being dead. “Let’s just go already.” 
 
“If you say so.” Yanagi started retracing their steps.
 
Ryoma paused briefly before following, though. They were in front of Seigaku. It was still quite early in the day – apparently their current Game Master preferred to get the missions over with as soon as possible – so those students without club activities were just arriving, ambling through the gates and chatting without a care in the world. Momoshiro would already be at morning practice.
 
Then a familiar profile caught the corner of his eye, walking towards the school entrance with the other students. 
 
Tezuka.
 
His breath caught in his throat. It hadn’t even been a full two days, but it felt like he was seeing Tezuka for the first time since forever. He looked different alive. More vibrant and colourful, somehow.
 
His brow was creased in an even deeper frown than usual – he was troubled about something. Ryoma reached for his Player Pin, but his fingers stopped as they scraped the edge of the cold metal. Tezuka never approved of scanning, and only tolerated it because it was necessary.
 
“What’s the hold up?” Yanagi asked, appearing by his side. “Oh? A friend of yours?”
 
Ryoma didn’t answer. Tezuka was right there, but he couldn’t see him, couldn’t talk to him… they might as well have been on different continents. 
 
Somehow, he felt even lonelier than when he didn’t remember anyone at all.
 
Tezuka walked past. For a second, his gait slowed and his eyes scanned the crowd of students, sliding right over Ryoma. Not seeing anything, he continued on his way, disappearing into the building in a sea of black uniforms. Ryoma remained still, watching until he couldn’t see him anymore.
 
“Do you want to follow?” Yanagi asked.
 
“No, it’s okay. Let’s finish the mission,” Ryoma replied tonelessly, and turned away.
 
There were only two more walls between them and the far end of the mall, and they finished the mission with two hours to spare.
 
“That’s the second day down. It was certainly easy,” Yanagi remarked as the red numbers vanished.
 
Only because they hadn’t been dogged by any Harriers. He’d seen Niou and Yagyuu earlier, but they’d blatantly ignored them. Ryoma wasn’t sure whether to be relieved or suspicious.
 
At least he knew for sure that Tezuka made it back to the RG safely. For now, that was enough.
 
“…Wait for me, Buchou,” he whispered.
 
Day Two, End.
 
 

Comments

( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
argentum_luna
Aug. 25th, 2008 11:19 am (UTC)
a;dsklfj;askldjf;akldsjf;lakjs;fkj T.T OH NOES IT'S GETTING SADDER T.T

AND TEZUKAAAAAA. T.T a;dslkf'adskf'akdf;aldk THE ENTRY FEES ADSKFJA;SDFJ;ALDSKJF;AKJDSF;J

IN SUMMARY: A;LDKJF;ADSKJF;AKJDS;FKJADSKJF
sinnatious
Aug. 26th, 2008 11:01 am (UTC)
I really don't know what to say to that. Thanks?
su24
Aug. 25th, 2008 11:36 am (UTC)
oh, poor tezuka....why is sanada deliberately lying?!?!?!?!?! and wut has fuji got to do with all this?!? i have a feeling that he is connected to all this mess somehow urghhhhhhhhhhh, the suspense...
great chapter as always XD
firedraygon97
Aug. 25th, 2008 03:05 pm (UTC)
TEZUKA POV! FTW!

Awwww, Tezuka's only just realized that he may ♥ Ryoma. It's so cute. I love how he's all disappointed and down when Ryoma doesn't show at the match.

Implant thoughts, Ryoma! Implant thoughts! Tezuka's sure to figure things out that way, haha.

On to day 3!!
sinnatious
Aug. 26th, 2008 11:02 am (UTC)
THE POSSIBILITIES OF TEZUKA IMPRINTING! I should have brought you into planning. :| A great opportunity has been missed.
yusahana6323
Aug. 25th, 2008 04:07 pm (UTC)
Usually I really love Sanada but... -stabs him in the face with a pencil- YOU MORON!!!!

-huggles Tezuka blanket- Buchooouuuuuu... ;~;
roseofthine
Aug. 25th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
IT'S OKAY, BUCHOU. |D I LOOOOOOOOOVE YOU. D;

...hey. ryouma's on the pillow, right? >8D
sinnatious
Aug. 26th, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)
ISN'T HE A BASTARD?

(I needed to make someone other than Nanjiroh the villain for once?)
yusahana6323
Aug. 26th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
ASOEIHGOAEIGJASDLF; SANADAAAAAAA.

(Oh, well... that seems like a reasonable excuse. XP)
tezukaryo
Aug. 25th, 2008 04:16 pm (UTC)
Ah...all the twist and turn leave my mind whirling...Tezuka still got the player pin...will he be able to sense Ryoma and Ryoma so cute, didn't want to scan Tezuka *grin*...OMG, so Ryoma's memories lost was Tezuka's fee.
ankoku_tenshi
Aug. 25th, 2008 04:54 pm (UTC)
AAAAAAAHHHHH.

Ryoma's memories are Tezuka's entry free. *_* YUS. adfglajkfgladjkgafkghadlk

TEZUKA, UNDERSTAND. :D

I wonder why he still has his Player pin. He's also not supposed to remember the Game. Does that mean he is still somehow part of the Game? Hm. You raise lots of interestign questions. XD
sinnatious
Aug. 26th, 2008 11:06 am (UTC)
And give zero answers, apparently. Seriously, I'm starting to feel some sympathy for the writers of Lost. XD Keep thinking! Wait, no, don't, whenever people do that they come up with waaaay more interesting scenarios than mine. :|
roseofthine
Aug. 25th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
I KNEW IT. THAT ENTRY FEE. I WAS RIGHT~ 8DDDD

but, heeeee, it was tennis and not karupin last week, ahaha~

AND DON'T WORRY. |D TEZUKA PoV IS GOOD. ESPECIALLY THE LOVELY LOVELY LOVELY ANGST~~~~ ♥♥♥ I CAN FEEL THAT BEAUTIFUL HEART SHATTERING EVERYTIME HE THINKS OF RYOUMA. =DDD OH, TEZUKA~ =D (see, i'm giving my pinky a rest every time I use the =D. >> )

AND AWWWW, RYOUMA DOESN'T SCAN HIM BECAUSE TEZUKA WOULDN'T APPROVE! THAT'S SO. dsjl;sd ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ times a goooooogleplex.
roseofthine
Aug. 25th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
ALSO, YES FOR BUCHOU LOOKING AROUND FOR RYOUMAAA. 8D
sinnatious
Aug. 26th, 2008 11:08 am (UTC)
YOU WERE RIGHT. CONGRATULATIONS. (Well, except for Karupin, but you became right later?)

Don't be throwing those googleplexes around! That's dangerous, you know. :| Someone might try to divide it by zero, and then we're DOOMED.
roseofthine
Aug. 27th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
YAAAAY. 8D (yes, yes, I WAS RIGHT LATERRRR. 8D)

...but dividing by zero doesn't exist! O=
agentlerain
Aug. 27th, 2008 05:44 am (UTC)
Grr. I posted a comment yesterday just before I left but it seems like the uni computers hate me. ANGST.

But SIN! You lovely creature! The love in this chapter is too much. *grins*

AND I WAS RIGHT IN THAT ECHIZEN'S RELATIONSHIP TURNED OUT TO BE TEZUKA'S PRICE AND TENNIS WAS RYOMA'S. OH SIN. asdaslkdjakajfkaflkajask! You added that in because of what I said right? *nudges* AND I CAN SO SEE THE RESEMBLENCE TO TRC AND XXXHOLIC. THE PRICE OF WISHES~

And Tezuka stalling for Ryoma. *tear* Oh Buchou~ he can't live without Echizen. =D
sinnatious
Aug. 27th, 2008 10:40 am (UTC)
NO, YOU JUST HAVE MAD PREDICTION SKILLS! *____* Secretly, this chapter was already written when I started posting. Everything except the last chapter is, actually - I'm still slogging through that one. Thus I inwardly curse whenever someone guesses right (or as is more often the case, comes up with a more awesome idea). :P

<3 xXxholic.

Oh, I hope your computer situation resolves itself soon! ;____; That really sucks.
aventria
Aug. 27th, 2008 08:16 am (UTC)
I see... I was wondering about the correlation between Ryoma's memories and his lost of tennis. I mean, even if he ~did~ lose his memories of tennis, his body would've have remembered. Right? Or would it not have? That is a nice twist. Well done.

Tezuka's going back for him~ And he semi-felt Ryoma~ THEIR LOVE TRANSCENDS DIMENSIONS~

*clears throat* That aside...

YOU SHOULD'VE SCANNED HIM BOKE! THAT WAY YOU'LL FIND OUT THAT HE'S WORRYING! IMPRINTING WOULD'VE TOLD HIM YOU'RE OKAY!!! AAAHHHHHHHH!!!

.___________________________.

aventria
Aug. 27th, 2008 08:17 am (UTC)
< / rant >
sinnatious
Aug. 27th, 2008 10:45 am (UTC)
I really don't know how to respond to such an awesome rant.

Just think - right now, it's like Tanabata. ;____;

It IS interesting to consider how Tezuka would react to being imprinted. Especially if he realised. *____*
ichinonaru
Aug. 27th, 2008 10:15 am (UTC)
awww I wasn't able to visit yesterday! but yay, 2 chapters!!! im gonna read the next one...
jade_peace
Sep. 2nd, 2008 12:31 am (UTC)
ARGH SO BEHIND.

;_________;

Somehow, the fact that their love exists no matter what is kind of tragic.
sleepingfingers
Sep. 24th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
This chapter broke my heart. Tezuka's entry fee was Echizen's memories of him. ♥ I had suspected something of the sort, but to have it written out was a stab to the heart.

And now Echizen's experiencing what Tezuka went through the first game, only on a different level.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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