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PoTWEWY - Five Days Left

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: Only mildly related, but how awesome has the past month been?  The Olympics, followed IMMEDIATELY by the American Open?  It is a good time to be a tennis fan.

Tezuka and Ryoma start to notice that ticking clock.


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

 
Five Days Left
 
Tezuka was briefly disorientated before finally realizing that they were at the bus stop again. Echizen swore, and Tezuka gave him a disapproving look. “We’re already a day down!”
 
“There’s still five more days. We’ll be fine.” Keeping a level head seemed to be important in this situation. It was up to him – Echizen’s nerves were obviously strained after the stress of the previous week. The freshman wasn’t the sort to lose his cool under pressure, but Tezuka assumed he must have a breaking point.
 
“They could whittle the whole week away in no time at all if they only give us a couple of hours a day!” Echizen seemed almost frantic. 
 
“Are you really so surprised, after everything that has happened so far?” Tezuka pointed out.
 
“No,” he grudgingly admitted. “Seigaku next, right?”
 
Tezuka nodded solemnly, following a couple of steps behind as his partner stormed ahead. Even in this serious situation, a smile wanted to tug at the edges of his mouth. Echizen hadn’t been angry about the entry fee at all. Tezuka was still keenly embarrassed over the whole affair, but his guilt had now eased and his burden lightened.
 
He didn’t regret pulling the trigger. Not even for a moment. Looking back, he didn’t understand where he’d managed to pull the resolve from – he had no guarantee that he would be able to pass into the UG, it was just as likely that he’d turn into Noise or ascend – but things had worked out. 
 
Considering who gave him the gun, he shouldn’t have doubted, but that was a whole barrel of things to think about on its own.
 
Echizen swore again, stumbling backwards and cradling his arm. “A wall?” Tezuka guessed. He looked around. There weren’t any Wall Reapers in sight. “Seigaku is this way.”
 
The freshman glared at the wall, then raised his fist and charged straight at it. Tezuka’s eyes widened. “Wait-”
 
With a grunt and a flash, Ryoma tore straight through it. He looked back with a smirk, even as the air sparked. “What are you waiting for, Buchou?”
 
The senior stared. When did Echizen become that strong? He tore through that wall as though it were tissue paper. Was it just all that time in the Game?
 
Tezuka suddenly felt cold, the good feeling he’d been enjoying mere moments before evaporating with the realisation.
 
The Game existed to purify young souls.  Players who completed the Game either returned to the RG, became Reapers, or ascended.

This was Echizen's third time playing the Game.

How much longer could he play until he just passed into a higher frequency and was lost to them forever?
 
His stomach lurched. If Echizen ascended…
 
They’d reached the school. “Buchou, hurry up,” Echizen said impatiently, standing by the school gates. “I’ve already taken care of the wall.”
 
The fact he could say it so flippantly troubled him – but possibly not quite as much as it annoyed the Wall Reaper standing behind him.
 
“Echizen, watch out!” he called in warning, running to catch up.
 
The freshman carelessly glanced over his shoulder. The Wall Reaper cracked his knuckles. “This is my promotion for sure!”
 
The air warped. Tezuka couldn’t see so much as sense what Echizen was doing, but grasped a pin and focused. Their surroundings seemed to darken slightly as the air was slowly sucked into a growing pinprick of darkness. 
 
To his surprise, though, Tezuka wasn’t even able to fully form the gravity well before the Reaper vanished. It was over that fast.
 
When he returned to UG, Tezuka noticed that many of his psychs were a great deal more powerful than the first time around. But Echizen had become a lot stronger. And Tezuka didn’t think he even realised.
 
Normal space returned. Echizen looked bored. “Che. Mada mada dane.”
 
“Was erasure really necessary?” he asked. 
 
The first-year tugged his cap down over his eyes. “He would have erased you, Buchou.”
 
Tezuka didn’t say anything more. They headed into the school in silence. It was lunchtime, so most of the students were either out on the grounds or mingling about the halls, filling the building with endless chatter that resembled the cacophony of scanning in a large crowd.
 
They walked through each building, invisible to the throngs of students, Echizen scanning as they went. They walked past the freshman trio, then Arai’s friends, and even past a suddenly much-older looking Ryuuzaki-sensei without missing a beat. Life continued around them, with their passing more a matter of gossip for most than mourning. It made it all seem so fleeting and pointless, somehow.
 
Echizen’s steps faltered when they neared the wing the seniors held their classes in. “Something’s weird here.” 
 
Tezuka glanced at the class number. It was his homeroom. His stomach flip-flopped briefly, but he pulled open the door.
 
It was all of the seniors of the tennis club, clustered together in the centre of the room. Ryoma let go of the Player Pin. “Che.”
 
Oishi was at the centre of the circle - he looked a wreck.  "I mean, even if he didn't say anything, I knew how he felt, but to think that he'd go that far..."

Eiji was sitting next to his doubles partner, eyes watery.  "First Ochibi, now..." He hiccuped.

Inui was staring into space, mumbling a jumble of numbers and words to himself. The senior could hear his, Echizen’s and Yanagi’s name all in there. 

Tezuka felt his first twinge of regret for pulling the trigger.
 
Kawamura was slouched in his seat, staring into space. “It didn’t seem like Tezuka – right there in the middle of the footpath.”

Fuji was... Fuji was looking at him.

Tezuka turned around, checking to see if there was anything behind him, but it was just a map of Japan on the wall.  He faced forward again.  Fuji was patting Eiji's back.  "There there.  I'm sure they're together in a better place."

Echizen snorted, then winced.  "He's half right, at least.  Buchou, can we go yet? Yanagi's not here, and it's a bit..." He was massaging his temples as though he had a headache.  He probably did - Tezuka could feel a faint distortion in the frequencies that would probably be a lot worse to Echizen, who was a great deal more sensitive when it came to scanning and irregularities in the UG. It was probably what attracted him to the room in the first place.

"Sure, let's go."  He waited for Echizen to leave first, then glanced back at Fuji.  The prodigy was looking at him again.

"You owe me an explanation later," he said.

Fuji smiled.  "Good luck."

Eiji sniffled.  "What do you mean?"
 
“Nothing. Just a charm for the dead.”
 
That set the redhead off again. Feeling a bit awkward at being faced with the misery his own actions caused, Tezuka retreated to the hallway with his partner, and spent a moment cleaning his glasses while he regained his composure. 
 
“See? Now they have to mourn two deaths,” Echizen mumbled.
 
Tezuka didn’t give that comment the dignity of a response. “One thing I find unusual is that Yanagi appears to still be dead as far as the rest of the world is concerned.”
 
“He probably won’t sort that out until the game is over,” Echizen dismissed.
 
Tezuka thought for a moment. “You don’t think that perhaps he might be hiding in the RG? Beyond the walls?” Rikkai was in a completely different prefecture after all. It would be the one place they couldn’t find him.
 
“He’ll play by the rules,” Echizen stated confidently. “He’ll be tricky, but he won’t leave the boundaries of the Game.”
 
Considering that they’d been partners for a week, Tezuka trusted Echizen’s assessment on that matter. “Besides,” the freshman continued, “No one seems to be saying anything about Arai-senpai either.”
 
That was true. But then, Arai had been absent a lot, so it was quite possible that no one had noticed yet. How did it work for Reapers who were erased?
 
Now it was Tezuka who was starting to get a headache. There were so many issues and rules to keep track of, on top of finding both Yanagi and the Composer. In that respect, Yanagi was an excellent choice of a Game Master. Patience and cunning could be an equal match for power and experience.
 
They left the school empty-handed and a great deal more stressed. “The shopping complex next?” Tezuka suggested.
 
Echizen nodded moodily. Obviously seeing his senpai in such distress over his death bothered him. Tezuka could relate. He certainly hadn’t set out to make his friends sad with his suicide… it was just - at that moment, Echizen had been in trouble, and it didn’t seem like anything else mattered.
 
Tezuka also knew that saying this would make absolutely no difference to the freshman, so kept quiet as they headed towards their next destination.
 
"What did he mean, anyway?" Echizen asked suddenly. 
 
The question caught Tezuka by surprise. “Pardon?”
 
"The bit about disappearing in five days. Three, now." His voice was low, but to Tezuka it felt like he’d shouted. His partner’s alarm at the abrupt passing of the days now made more sense.
 
Tezuka didn’t think Echizen knew it consciously, but it was obvious that he believed Yanagi’s prediction, even he didn’t understand the reasoning behind it. He’d been in a visible rush all day – something that didn’t mesh with the freshman’s usual character at all. 
 
It was a question that he didn’t want to answer, but it was also something that the freshman deserved to know. He’d obviously been mulling it over. "I think," Tezuka said slowly, "That he meant you would ascend.  Your frequency would get too high to remain in the UG any longer."

There was a long silence as Echizen absorbed that.  Tezuka could almost see the gears turning in his head.  He stopped walking. "But... what would happen to you then?"

Tezuka didn't answer; there was no need.
 
Ryoma folded his arms. "I won't.  I won't ascend."

"Are you sure you'll even have a choice?" Tezuka asked.
 
“I’ll just make a choice.”
 
That was perhaps what Tezuka liked best about Echizen. If you told him something was impossible, he would immediately set about tearing it to pieces just to prove you wrong. 
 
“We’ll hurry,” Tezuka declared, “So that you don’t have to.”
 
…Four Days Left
 
 
 

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
argentum_luna
Sep. 2nd, 2008 10:49 am (UTC)
ALKSJD;AKJSD;JAS;DJASKLJDKJAD;JLK;J THIS IS LIKE THE BEST THRILLER EVER OR SOMETHING *_*
sinnatious
Sep. 3rd, 2008 10:12 am (UTC)
YOU ARE TOO KIND AND AWESOME. *__* HAVE YOU FINISHED TWEWY YET? FINISH. FINIIIIISSSSHHH.
argentum_luna
Sep. 3rd, 2008 12:28 pm (UTC)
BUT I HAVEN'T LEVELED UP ALL MY PINS YET D;
ichinonaru
Sep. 2nd, 2008 11:23 am (UTC)
Awww TezuRyoness <3
Yaaaay! Fuji is still being Fuji! sigh, mysterious as ever!
Aeww.... poor Seigaku, such a big blow, losing both their best players in a short amount of time! They lost not only a friend, but a strong player as well! ^___^ Waaaaiiii few mooore days to goooooo! I'm soooo excited! *___*
sinnatious
Sep. 3rd, 2008 10:13 am (UTC)
Good thing they'd already won the Nationals. :|
ankoku_tenshi
Sep. 2nd, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
GAH. Fuji, you are so sneaky. *_*

"I'll just make a choice."

XD Typical Echizen.

“We’ll hurry,” Tezuka declared, “So that you don’t have to.”

AAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Tezuka, you are becoming so manly. XD
jade_peace
Sep. 2nd, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
THIS IS SO LOVELY ASDFGHJKL; OF COURSE HE'D JUST MAKE A CHOICE XD AND TEZU'D BE ALL "OH RYOMA I LOVE YOU"

THEIR LOVE IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND EXCITING.

<3<3<3
sinnatious
Sep. 3rd, 2008 10:17 am (UTC)
<3 YOU CAUGHT UP!

ISN'T IT? <3<3<3
agentlerain
Sep. 2nd, 2008 03:38 pm (UTC)
OH SIN. I HAVE BEEN TERRIBLY BUSY WITH FOUR ASSIGNMENTS DUE IN A ROW BUT STILL YOU'VE MANAGED TO LURE ME OUT.

ASJAJERUEFHAK;K''JDAKJD;D;ALDKAKJ!! ERASURE. OH NOOOO~
sinnatious
Sep. 3rd, 2008 10:16 am (UTC)
ALWAYS TIME FOR FIC DURING ASSIGNMENTS. NO, *ESPECIALLY* DURING ASSIGNMENTS.

Why do Universities always do that, anyway? You'd think they could at least try and coordinate with the other syllabi every now and again in an attempt to not kill their students. It must be revenge for THEIR student days or something.
firedraygon97
Sep. 2nd, 2008 10:51 pm (UTC)
Awww, distressed!Ryoma is so cute. Good thing Tezuka's there to keep things calm. Loverly chapter, as always. Looking forward to the fourth last day!
roseofthine
Sep. 4th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
so adorable. >w
sleepingfingers
Sep. 24th, 2008 07:16 am (UTC)
The fact that it's four days left worries me. Ryoma can't ascend and leave Tezuka alone. And Fuji, what are you doing?...
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )