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PoTWEWY - Six Days Left

Title: The World Begins With Tennis


Summary: TezRyo Prince of Tennis/The World Ends With You crossover.

Rating: M for violence and yaoi.

Author’s Note: Can I just say:  GEASS OMFG.

Also, yay, LJ IS FIXED AT LAST.  Hope you enjoy this chapter.


Six Days Left 
Ryoma blinked. They were standing by the bus stop again.
It was the next day? He hadn’t fallen asleep, though – or, at least, he didn’t remember waking up.
He turned back to Tezuka, question on the tip of his tongue, but was interrupted when his phone beeped. Irritated at being forced to wait for an answer yet again, he made to flip it open, but Tezuka caught his hand.

"Echizen, I’ve been thinking... let's ignore the missions."
“You said it yourself, didn’t you? That there was no way to pass the Game. But there is one way.”
Ryoma was confused. “What do you mean?”
“We take Seishun back. End the coup.”


"Thinking about it logically, the current Composer and Conductor must have belonged to Rikkai’s Game, and they've taken over Seishun's for whatever reason."

Ryoma's eyes narrowed.  "You’re suggesting…?"

"We stage a coup of our own. Ignore the missions and go after the Composer. If we defeat the Composer, we can fix everything.”
Ryoma frowned. “I thought the Composer was super-strong.”
Tezuka quirked an eyebrow. “And that has stopped you before?”
…The senior had an irritating habit of always being right. “But if we don’t complete the missions, won’t we be erased?”
“I would like to see them try,” Tezuka said grimly.
Ryoma lips started to curl into a smirk. “Heh.” This was probably what he liked best about Tezuka. Here was an impossible wall to overcome, and the captain was just going to stare it down and make it run laps. “Where should we start?”
Tezuka didn’t answer, staring over Ryoma’s shoulder with a stony expression.
“I have to say, this scenario wasn’t anywhere within my predictions.”
He knew that voice. Ryoma slowly turned around and glared. “You.”
Yanagi Renji stood before them, looking much the same as he did the week before, with one very important addition – a pair of black skeletal wings sprouting from his back.
“Hello again, Echizen. And you’ve defied everyone’s predictions Tezuka. Entering the Game illegally.”
Tezuka didn’t miss a beat. “I have a Player Pin.”
“And that in itself is a mystery I would like to unravel,” Yanagi agreed. “Regardless, that isn’t why I’m here right now.”
“So why are you here, then?” Ryoma all but growled.
“I came to deliver the mission, of course.”
He choked. "You're the Game Master?  But you just became a Reaper!"

"I learn quickly," Yanagi assured him.
“Game Masters deliver the mission in person now?’ Tezuka asked.
“They do when Players don’t look at their phones.”
This was just grand. "So, what's the mission?" Ryoma asked.  Knowing Yanagi, it was going to be something ridiculously convoluted and complex with an impossibly short time limit. It didn’t hurt to ask, since they were just going to ignore it anyway.

"It's quite simple," Yanagi stated.  "I'm going to hide in a certain place, and you have to find me.  The time limit... six days."

Six days?!
"You're not going to change location for the whole six days?" Tezuka asked carefully.
“As I said.”
Ryoma was suspicious. It was too easy. Granted Yanagi was a brand new Reaper, but he was also an incredibly slippery character. But on the other hand, this sort of mission was perfect for giving them the chance to find the Composer. No one would notice that they were essentially ignoring the mission until it was too late.
As though sensing what he was thinking, Yanagi calmly added, "You'd better not waste any time.  By my estimates, Echizen doesn't even have that long."

Suddenly nervous, Ryoma asked, "What do you mean?"

"Oh, I think you have maybe four... five days at the most until you disappear from the UG."

”…Disappear?” Ryoma wanted to laugh and wave the empty threat off for what it was, but something about it rang true with him. What was it? Had he forgotten something? Another rule that Sanada neglected to tell him?
“There’s one other small piece of business to take care of before the mission starts,” Yanagi continued. “Tezuka, if you intend to play the Game, there’s the matter of your entry fee to consider.”
Still reeling from Yanagi’s previous announcement, Ryoma almost missed seeing the blood drain from his partner’s face.
“You can’t,” Tezuka said, voice low. “It would defeat the whole point.”
He already knew what his entry fee would be? 
“It is supposed to be the thing that is most precious to you,” Yanagi insisted.
“It’s not fair. You’ve taken too much from him already.”
That sentence set off even more alarm bells. “What are you talking about?” Ryoma demanded, thoroughly confused by this point and intensely annoyed by the sensation.
Yanagi turned to him, the picture of calm and serenity. “Tezuka never told you?”
“Told me what?”
“Don’t!” Tezuka ordered, sounding a little desperate now.
“His entry fee for the first game - it was your memories.”
Ryoma sucked in a breath. His memories… they were Tezuka’s entry fee?
That meant… He turned his gaze to the captain who was looking away, cheeks faintly pink. “Buchou?” he whispered.
“I’m sorry.” The words were so quiet that Ryoma had to strain his ears to make them out.
His mouth was dry. Turning back to Yanagi, he said, “Then the first time…”
“Your entry fee. You can’t guess what it was?”
“Tennis,” Ryoma whispered. He’d lost tennis. It made sense – even without his memories, he shouldn’t have been that bad at the sport. He always picked up things quickly, but spent an entire game without winning a single point. Not to mention that hollow emptiness he’d felt when he played. All week something had been missing, something significant. 
It was a good thing he didn’t have his memories then. If he’d known what he’d lost, it might have been enough to make him give up altogether.
“You were a tricky one, apparently,” Yanagi informed him. “A week without tennis, and you didn’t value it so much anymore. It was your oldest companion next, wasn’t it? The Himalayan cat. And with that entry fee gone, what was left?” Yanagi tapped the side of his head. “It was your promise, to meet with a certain someone back in the RG. Hence, your entry fee was your ticket out of the Game – all of the other players.”
“That’s unfair,” Tezuka protested with a frown. “For the entry fee itself to guarantee failure.”
“But it didn’t, did it? An illegal player entered.”
“If I hadn’t-”
“I find that there is little point in dwelling on the probabilities that did not occur,” Yanagi dismissed. “In any case, the removal of Echizen’s memories now would invalidate his own entry fee. I have consulted with the Conductor on this matter, and he agreed to an alternative with sufficient weight.”
Ryoma tensed – on one hand nervous, and on the other deeply curious.
“It seems only fair that this time, Tezuka… your entry fee will be tennis.”
A strange sort of expression came over Tezuka’s face as Yanagi snapped his fingers. Horror coursed through Ryoma. He knew exactly what it felt like, understood that desolate emptiness that came with losing something that was almost on the equivalent of breathing.
“You can’t!” Ryoma blurted. “Tennis is-”
Tezuka shook his head, hand hovering over his shoulder, but never quite touching. “It’s fine.”
“In that case, I’ll be going then. Use your remaining days wisely,” Yanagi advised. “Oh, and one more thing Tezuka… I’d be careful. You may have been admitted to the Game, but you still entered illegally. A notice has been put out to all of the Reapers to erase you on sight.” He clicked his fingers, and vanished in a flash of light. Ryoma was left blinking the spots from his eyes. No Reaper had used that trick before.
Tezuka let out a deep breath. Ryoma glared at the spot where Yanagi had been standing mere moments before. “What’s the point of even taking an entry fee if they’re still going to treat you as an illegal player?!”
“Don’t worry about it. I said it’s fine.”
It wasn’t fine. “But what’s it all for if you don’t get tennis back? Do you want to go back to RG without it?” Ryoma demanded.
Tezuka wouldn’t meet his eyes. “You went through it too, didn’t you? Tennis isn’t the most important thing to you anymore. So long as you’re alive, that’s what counts, doesn’t it?”
He didn’t have anything to say to that, even though he still wanted to argue. It was true. Tennis wasn’t the most important thing anymore. But it was worse than that. Ryoma had lost Karupin – even now, he understood how horrible it would be to return to the RG and face that. To return to the RG and face a huge component of your life missing, something which you based your entire vision of the future on…
Tezuka was stronger than he was. So much stronger to be able to look that possibility in the face and still take the risk. “We’ll complete the mission as well,” he muttered.
“We should be looking for the Composer-”
“We’ll do them both at the same time,” Ryoma interrupted with a glare. “Or find Yanagi, and make him bring us to the Composer.”
Tezuka apparently couldn’t argue with that logic. “Then we’ll scan the entire zone.”
“You don’t think he’d have a way of hiding from that?”
"You did raise a good point earlier - he is just a beginner," Tezuka observed. “And you’re good at scanning.”

Ryoma stuck his hands in his pockets and mumbled, "But he learnt about being a Player really fast.  It won’t be that easy.  And he probably has his memories back now, too."

"We'll simply have to rise above his data."  Tezuka was always pragmatic about such things.  When Ryoma didn't respond, he asked quietly, "Are you sure you're okay with it?  You were partners for a week, after all."

It had left him a little shaken, admittedly.  For most of the week he'd been suspicious of Yanagi based on the sole fact that he was from Rikkai, but they were in the same boat, and gradually, he'd come to trust him.  That betrayal of trust at the end of the game stung, and the fact that he was now their opponent stung even more. Ryoma didn’t trust easily to begin with, and having that thrown in his face after having a pact all week… “Where should we go first?” he said, ignoring the question.
Tezuka thought on it. “We should start with all of the major landmarks, and work our way down to the more obscure ones. Seigaku first, then the street courts, then the river, and so on.”
Ryoma nodded. “We’ll do the river first then.” With Yanagi it would make more sense to take the route he expected them to take then mix it up. He started walking.
There was at least one source of relief - now that Arai was gone, most of the Taboo Noise seemed to have vanished as well.  There was the odd straggler here and there that would attack them, but they made good time. Considering that the river was right on the edge of the Game’s boundaries, perhaps even excellent time.
It was peaceful and tranquil at the River – or, as Ryoma had started to think of it after it very nearly drowned him, Seishun’s glorified drainage pipe. Nobody was around. Nobody visible, at least.
Ryoma carefully scanned the area surrounding the river, but nothing stood out. “Next place.”
Tezuka nodded, and started leading the way. He stopped and looked back when Ryoma didn’t follow. “Echizen, is there a problem?”
Maybe it was just the river, and things that had happened there, but Ryoma had to say something. “Buchou… about the memories thing,” he started haltingly.
“I’m sorry,” Tezuka repeated, looking genuinely contrite.
“No… it’s just… don’t be,” he mumbled, embarrassed. “It… I’m sort of happy.” He glanced up, meeting a pair of thoughtful brown eyes. 
After a moment Tezuka smiled, really smiled, and it stole Ryoma’s breath away. “Thank you. And don’t worry. We’re definitely going to take Seishun back.”
For just that moment, Ryoma could honestly believe it was all going to be okay.
…Five Days Left


Sep. 2nd, 2008 10:27 am (UTC)
I try to answer most questions. Eventually. Thanks for your patience? :D

You're also awesome. <3 HIGH-FIVES ALL AROUND!