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PoTWEWY - Four 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 and Niou's bad language.

Author’s Note: This is actually probably one of my favourite chapters for some reason?  I guess because it has a little bit of everything.


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

 
Four Days Left
 
They looked around. It was the river this time. Ryoma recoiled. “Another day down already?!”
 
Tezuka, as always, looked completely unruffled. Ryoma was starting to suspect that he was just as surprised, but shock just shut down his facial expressions. 
 
“Where’s he hiding, anyway?” There was no time. They hadn’t even found a clue as to where Yanagi was hiding or the Composer was staying – surely the Composer had to at least be in the UG for the duration of the game?
 
“We could check the indoor sports complex next,” Tezuka suggested.
 
The indoor sports complex. It was in an area they hadn’t visited a lot throughout the course of the previous games, so it was possible Yanagi chose there. 
 
“Perhaps we should run,” Tezuka added.
 
Ryoma nodded, and they set out at a quick jog. He scanned as he went so that they could cover more territory. Snatches of thought whisked by him, parts of words and feelings that contradicted what was being said out loud. There were a lot of Noise floating about, but he was content to ignore them. A couple even tried to pick a fight, which was a bit weird, but easy enough to take care of. 
 
He almost wished there were some stronger ones. Ryoma had been feeling the intense desire to blast something for the past couple of days, and Noise were the perfect outlet. He was frustrated – angry with Yanagi for betraying him, angry with Sanada for twisting the rules, and angry with himself for failing Karupin. 
 
Angry that Tezuka put himself in harm’s way for him.
 
Oh good, a wall. That would do. Ryoma tore through it, ignoring the tingle that ran up his arms on the first contact before the barrier crumpled.
 
Ascending… the first time he heard the term, he dismissed it as inconsequential – it was just a convenient explanation as to why there didn’t seem to be any elderly people in the Game. He never thought that it would apply to him. The only choices in his mind were erasure and returning to the RG.
 
As time in the Game wore on, though, he found himself becoming less concerned with the RG. He should be missing his friends and family more, shouldn’t he? He did miss them, and did want to see them again, but they felt very far away. It felt more like homesickness than grief.
 
He wasn’t playing the Game for himself anymore. He was playing it so that Tezuka could return. And somehow, that thought scared him.
 
“We’re here,” Tezuka said.
 
The sports complex. Memories of that tired emptiness while playing a tennis match swam in front of his eyes.
 
Tezuka would be feeling that now. No, it would be worse, because he’d remember what tennis was supposed to feel like. Ryoma hadn’t known it, but he’d been dead in more than one way that week.
 
Tennis might not be the most precious thing to him anymore, but it was still important.
 
He scanned and tugged on Tezuka’s sleeve. 
 
“Where?”
 
He pointed.
 
“Looks like we were found out.” Yagyuu and Niou stepped out from behind the bushes that lined the side of the sports complex. He was a little disappointed it was the Harriers and not Yanagi, but then, Yanagi probably chose a more effective hiding place than a bunch of shrubs.
 
“You suck at hiding,” Ryoma declared. 
 
“Echizen.”
 
“What? It’s true.” Why on earth the captain insisted on being polite to their enemies baffled him.  
 
Niou grinned, licking his lips. “We wanted to be found. We’re pretty annoyed at working three weeks in a row because of you!”
 
Another battle then. Ryoma smirked, pins at the ready – he’d actually been anticipating this, ever since the first Wall Reaper attacked them. Yagyuu snapped his fingers, and in a flash, both Tezuka and Yagyuu had vanished from sight. That was interesting. Apparently Reapers could fight the same way as Players if they wanted.
 
Niou was just standing there with his hands in his pockets. Looked like it was up to him to make the first move. The katana pin slid between his fingers, air shimmering as it activated. Ryoma dashed forward with a decisive swing.
 
He didn’t expect to meet resistance.
 
The white-haired Reaper grinned, pressing against his psych-blade with one of his own. “What, thought you were the only one who could use this?” He reached out with his spare hand. Ryoma ducked the grab, rolling backwards, and immediately followed up with a barrage of force rounds. Bursts of energy exploded around the Rikkai trickster, who dodged them fluidly, seeming unbothered. A mere moment later it was Ryoma who was dodging an identical barrage of force rounds.
 
“Che, how annoying,” he muttered under his breath, dashing in for another go with a blade, but Niou parried his hits easily, and his larger size meant that Ryoma always had to back off. He switched to psychokineses next, throwing a handful of rocks at the Reaper. They were all intercepted by a garbage can, and clattered off the metal noisily. 
 
“You figured it out yet?” Niou called, sidestepping another barrage of projectiles and returning them in kind. “You can’t win!”
 
He was copying his psychs! Hesitantly, Ryoma slid the meteor pin back into his pocket. If Niou avoided it and returned that psych in kind, it would be bad for him. He wavered indecisively for a moment.
 
“That’s right. I’m like a mirror. Anything you send my way, I’ll send it straight back at you. You’d better choose your attacks wisely. Puri.” 
 
Talking so big when he was just a copycat?! Ryoma narrowed his eyes, switching to his lightning pin. Lightning streamed from his palm. Niou hopped to the side, and an identical stream of lighting shot back at him.
 
Ryoma winced, caught off balance, and threw up an arm to shield his face. The lightning struck his forearm. To his surprise though, while the psych burnt, it wasn’t that bad. He lowered his arm tentatively. 
 
His psych was much more powerful that that. He didn’t have to get hit by it to know that – what it was now made the first week look like he was shooting off static sparks. It should have flayed the skin off, not just left a tingling red burn.
 
It wasn’t a straight-out copy, just the illusion of one. The psychs weren’t as powerful, nor was Niou as familiar with them. They were form, not function.
 
In that case…
 
Ryoma slid his whirlwind pin into his palm. Niou lazily glanced down at the tornado forming beneath his feet, and hopped away. “You can’t out-sneak me!” he taunted.
 
Wind started to pick up in the nearby vicinity, but Ryoma didn’t bother moving. “Not good enough.”
 
“Fuck!” The Reaper swore as his jump nearly brought him straight into a twisting pillar of fire. He stumbled backwards, struggling to regain his footing, eyes widening as the flames curled towards him, dragged by the tornado behind him. “Fuckfuckfuck!”
 
His opponent disappeared into the flames. Ryoma held the psych up for as long as he could, but it was hard keeping two psychs going at once. Exhaling, he released the pins, switching back to lightning. 
 
He blinked. It wasn’t Niou who emerged from the smoke – it was Yagyuu. Or at least, he thought it was. You could never be too sure with this pair.
 
Yagyuu adjusted his glasses. “It looks like a week spent with Yanagi left its mark.”
 
Ryoma adjusted his cap – it had been knocked slightly askew in the fray. “Mada mada dane.”
 
This time, his opponent didn’t wait for him to attack first. Ryoma was immediately dodging beams of psychic energy fired in quick succession. He stopped, lightning pin at the ready again, but was forced to hop to the side and resume running again as Yagyuu launched another volley. He was fast
 
He was quick on the draw with psychs now – a lot faster than what he used to be. But Yagyuu was snapping off the beams ever faster. He was accurate, too – Ryoma had to run and dodge at full speed to avoid getting hit, and even then the tips of his shoes were getting singed. 
 
Maybe close-range… Ryoma pulled out his katana pin and activated it, trying to run closer, but was forced to retreat under Yagyuu’s ceaseless assault. It didn’t look like that would work either. What was he supposed to do? Just run around? 
 
He grit his teeth, skidding to a stop, and gripped his fire pin. FocusDon’t dodge. Just focus.
 
A beam struck him in the leg, and then the arm. It stung like hell, but it was a small price to pay. Another one struck him in the stomach, and Ryoma doubled over, but didn’t loosen his grip. Concentrate! 
 
An enormous pillar of fire sprung up in front of Yagyuu. His eyes widened, then an instant later, he was engulfed in flame.
 
Ryoma dropped to a knee, cradling his now-twice burnt arm. Tezuka was suddenly by his side again, and both Niou and Yagyuu standing across from them, sooty and clothes slightly ragged.
 
“What the fuck, Yagyuu?!”
 
“We’re retreating,” Yagyuu answered calmly.
 
“Retreating?! I had him! I was going to-”
 
“Get blown to bits,” Yagyuu stated matter-of-factly. 
 
Niou scowled, hands hooked behind his head as he looked up into the sky. “Fine.” He turned his back on them and skulked away, kicking at the ground angrily.
 
Yagyuu watched him go. “My apologies. It’s nothing personal. At least, not for us. We’re just making the best of a bad situation.”
 
“How did you die?” Tezuka asked. They never got an answer before.
 
Yagyuu adjusted his collar, tidying his sooty clothes as best he could. “I’m sure you’ll understand that dying is an unpleasant business. It’s difficult to recall the details, and I don’t have much of a desire to do so.” He turned to follow after Niou, but paused.
 
“You’ve noticed it, haven’t you? There’s something wrong with this UG.”
 
Ryoma didn’t answer, but he had noticed. Even Arai had pointed it out, way back in the second week. It was hard to pinpoint it, but things were off. The Noise were too populous after three weeks of Games, and pockets of them were almost as aggressive as the Taboo Noise had been. The negativity in the RG was growing more prevalent in the scans.
 
“It’s only going to get worse unless things are sorted out.” At that, Yagyuu shrugged as though he didn’t much care for his own statement, adjusted his glasses, then walked away quickly to catch up with his fellow Reaper.
 
“We’re just going to let them go?” Ryoma demanded, even as Tezuka turned his attention to healing their injuries.
 
“They lost. They were just doing their job. There’s no need to pursue the matter.”
 
It was awfully forgiving of the captain, but then, Tezuka was always a bit of a martyr. He was probably even thinking it was his fault for entering the game illegally, never mind all of the rule breaking that was probably happening on the Conductor’s end. And Yagyuu had dodged the question of their deaths again, too.
 
It did, however, remind him of something he’d briefly forgotten about amidst everything else that had happened over the course of the past few days.
 
“Next place,” he said, standing and striding off without waiting for an answer. Tezuka followed quietly.
 
No more Reapers stopped them in their path, and Ryoma took great delight in ripping down another wall, wishing he’d know that he could do it earlier. Although it was possible that the pact with Tezuka had something to do with it – it was hard to imagine being able to summon the necessary energy with Yanagi.
 
The streets were a lot emptier in this area, with most people either at work and school. It made scanning easy, since there were fewer thoughts floating around to distract him. 
 
Finally, they arrived at their destination. Abruptly, Ryoma stopped walking and turned to face his partner.
 
Tezuka’s face was pale. “Echizen…”
 
“I haven’t forgotten, Buchou,” he said. 
 
They were standing in front of the convenience store.
 
“You can’t hide it from me. You were there. You saw,” he said levelly.
 
“I…”
 
“They killed you too, didn’t they?” he demanded, voice cracking.
 
Tezuka stared at him for a long moment. It felt like he was being weighed. “Are you sure you want to know?”
 
What kind of question was that? Of course he wanted to know! He’d wanted to know ever since the second week! Who wouldn’t want to know the identity of their killer?
 
His expression was obviously answer enough. Tezuka glanced off to the right, eyes glazed as though looking at a memory. “You have to promise you don’t do anything reckless when you hear.”
 
“Fine,” he agreed, impatient.
 
“…It was Fuji.”
 
A gunshot echoed in his ears. With the knowledge, it was as though the last of the fog had lifted.
 
Ponta splashed on the ground. Pain. The world was tilting, falling. The edges of the sky grew dark. Sound grew muffled. 
 
“Echizen!” Tezuka’s scream was strangled. Then… “Why?!”
 
“Sorry, Tezuka. I really hadn’t planned it like this.” He couldn’t turn his head to see who was speaking, but the shoes looking oddly familiar.
 
He was vaguely aware of arms around him, but even that sensation was fading. Tezuka’s voice sounded a lot closer though. “Echizen. I’ll call an ambulance - just hold on. Hold on, Echizen.” He’d never heard the senior sound so panicked before.
 
The gun clicked. “I really am sorry. I didn’t think you’d be here too. But I guess this doubles the odds.”
 
“Fuji-”
 
Another gunshot echoed through the streets. Then, silence.
 
“Fuji? It was Fuji?” Ryoma couldn’t believe it. He’d known the voice, knew that he recognised it, but never suspected…
 
Tezuka didn’t say anything else.
 
Ryoma narrowed his eyes. “I’m going to kill him.”
 
Tezuka shifted uncomfortably. “Actually… I think he may already be dead.”
 
Perhaps it was just the endless stream of shocks being delivered to his system that made this one not quite so earth shattering. “I didn’t see any of the wings that the other Reapers have, though.”
 
“I think he might be a different case,” Tezuka said. “It’s just a hunch.”
 
Figured. “Why did he do it, though?” Everyone in the club privately feared the possibility of Fuji murdering someone one day, but Ryoma was pretty sure he hadn’t done anything recently to spur the action. Did he accidentally knock over his racquet or insult his brother or something? He racked his brain, but his conscience came up clear. No, it was clearly just that Fuji was a bastard.
 
“I’m not sure either. But… he gave me the gun.”
 
“Ha?”
 
“It was Fuji who gave me the gun. That I killed myself with.” Tezuka looked faintly embarrassed. 
 
If possible, Ryoma’s irritation with the blue-eyed prodigy increased. Considering he was his murderer, that was a pretty impressive feat. “Che. Intruding on other people’s business again.” He stuck his hands in his pockets.
 
He wanted to go track Fuji down and make him talk, and possibly unleash a few psychs on him if they’d work, but he’d promised Tezuka that he wouldn’t do anything rash. And knowing didn’t really change their current situation any. They still didn’t know where Yanagi or the Composer was, and they were quickly running out of time. 
 
The air was cleared, at least. Ryoma could understand why Tezuka had been reluctant to speak on the subject now. He knelt down near where he remembered falling, fingers tracing over the concrete. Tezuka crouched next to him, resting a hand on his shoulder. Unconsciously, Ryoma closed his eyes and leaned against the senior, taking comfort in his presence. 
 
Half of Rikkai were Reapers, his former partner was now the Game Master, he’d lost Karupin, and now it turned out that his murderer was one his senpai. But Tezuka was still there. Tezuka hadn’t let him down yet. Ryoma was still mad at him for killing himself… but selfishly, he was a little happy that he had.
 
If they hadn’t died, then maybe in time they would have…
 
…Three Days Left
 

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
argentum_luna
Sep. 3rd, 2008 11:38 am (UTC)
I kind of suspected Fuji from the start....


BUT

THE PLOT THICKENS, LIKE GOOD GRAVY.

I AM PLEASED!!
sinnatious
Sep. 4th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
Everybody always suspects Fuji. Sort of makes me tempted to make him utterly inconsequential. He'd be the best red herring ever.

Thickens?! MORE LIKE CONGEALS OUT OF NOTHING?

I am pleased that you are pleased. <3
jade_peace
Sep. 3rd, 2008 12:44 pm (UTC)
It they hadn't died, then maybe in time they would have gotten married and lived together and then later died lovingly in each others' arms.

*Ahem*

FUJI. YOU ARE TOO SNEAKY. Although I suspected he was the one who killed them anyway.

Oh this is such an awesome chapter. While I want to finish this really quickly (so much excitement!), I don't want it to end~ D=
sinnatious
Sep. 4th, 2008 11:22 am (UTC)
Once again, I LIKE YOUR SCENARIOS. <3 XD

Yes, it seems that everyone suspected that. Admittedly, it was pretty obvious, and I'd actually be more worried about the one who DIDN'T see it coming. :)

Not too long to wait, at least - only two more days now!
yusahana6323
Sep. 3rd, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
;___;

But...

No, it was clearly just that Fuji was a bastard.

XDDD
sinnatious
Sep. 4th, 2008 11:23 am (UTC)
Well, he is. XD
yusahana6323
Sep. 4th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
Very true! XDD And that's why I can laugh about it.
ankoku_tenshi
Sep. 3rd, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
Fuji...there he goes again. XD

Aww, Ryoma is too cute. He won't admit it to himself.
ichinonaru
Sep. 3rd, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC)
HAHA! So it was Fuji afterall! Hm... its cute! XD I love the actioon! I'm always amused when Ryoma uses the cyclone, lightning and katana pins... makes me imagine his tennis playing style! Kyaaaaah! Tezukaaaaaaa is soooo cool, its like you know he'd be there for Echizen! AWwwww! <3
sinnatious
Sep. 4th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
I tried to match psychs from the game to tennis styles wherever possible. :) I'm pleased that it seems to be working!

That's probably the best of the action scenes, admittedly. They're so hard to write. >.< Glad you liked it.
kanaga
Sep. 4th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)
Kinda suspected Fuji...is he the composer as well?
firedraygon97
Sep. 4th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Ryoma was starting to suspect that he was just as surprised, but shock just shut down his facial expressions.

*snickers* I love that line.

ALSO! FUJI! :D I hope there's more interaction on that end later on. Great work with this, hee. Ryoma's little ponderous thought at the end is so cute.
sinnatious
Sep. 4th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC)
Oh, there will be. Leaving everything to the last minute again. Should really stop making fics so bottom-heavy. :/

Hee, thanks. <3
sleepingfingers
Sep. 24th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
Even though I sort of knew it was him, but still. Fuji!

If possible, Ryoma’s irritation with the blue-eyed prodigy increased. Considering he was his murderer, that was a pretty impressive feat.

Oh, Ryoma.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )