Legend of Sawamura

BY : eternalstarhaven
Category: -Misc Anime > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 127
Disclaimer: For fanfiction. I do not own Ace of Diamond, the characters, and do not write this for money or profit. Ace of Diamond is the work of Yuji Terajima.

~ Tetsuya’s POV ~

 

They were trapped in what a lot of people would call a time loop.  This wasn’t like normal time travel where one person jumps in a time machine and returns to a specific time.  No, this was a bit different than that.  A time loop, temporal loop, or causal loop, whatever you want to call it, is where a person or group of individuals re-experience a span of time.  The second time Tetsuya had to repeat high school, he started to understand that this wasn’t a causal loop.  Things could change in this loop and depending on the changes, the span of time would lengthen or immediately repeat afterwards.  There was something he had to do and he couldn’t quite figure it out right away.  

 

Fact number one, he was the first one to get caught up in the time loop and for a long time that never changed.  

 

Fact number two, he was able to retain all of his memories, strength and skills from each loop.  

 

Fact number three, going to Seidou High was a must.  

 

The moment he chose another school, the loop restarted itself.  

 

Fact number four, he wasn’t allowed to pick any other sport besides baseball.

 

While he loved the sport more than anything else, he wasn’t always good at it.  In fact, some would say he was horrible.  However, the same rule applied to baseball as it did Seidou High.  The moment he chose not to play baseball, he not only restarted the entire high school experience again, but middle school as well.  Tetsuya was so frustrated and spent a good deal of time trying to figure out who put this curse on him.  He was never able to figure out the who or the why of how it started.

 

Fact number five, he had to look for the one change that would keep the time loop going. 

 

This one fact became his life line and he would force himself to get to that point once he figured it out.  It was like he was in some kind of game and he was traveling a maze, or putting together some kind of complex puzzle.  If the wrong piece was put in place, the puzzle was ripped apart and the person forced to mess with it had to start over again.  As soon as the time loop restarted, he would have to think about what triggered it; sometimes it was obvious and other times it resulted in several sleepless nights or repeats.  Tetsuya, by nature, was an introverted type personality.  He had a way of doing things and he didn’t like anyone disrupting that order.  It was kind of hard to remain introverted when his entire life did the same thing and he would have to actually talk and interact with other individuals to get to the bottom of a never ending cycle of violence and hatred.  That was Seidou High in a nutshell.

 

Fact number six, he couldn’t commit suicide.  

 

Tetsuya wasn’t normally the type that wanted the easy way out, but how many times could you repeat middle and high school before you crossed the line between sanity and crazy.  That had become a cycle of his for several attempts to end this nightmare.  There was probably a point where he got checked into a hospital.  The medication, the straight jackets, the secure rooms with lots of security guards roaming the halls… So much for feeling safe at night or when he closed his eyes.  He would pass out and it would start all over again.  Once he got over that phase, he simply accepted the fact that the only way out was to find out what he had to fix and do it.  

 

Seidou was an extremely complex problem, layer after layer filled with so much negative energy, violence, hate, assault, drugs, rape, gambling… He even tried to write a book about what was happening to him and it did quite well.  Made the top sellers list, but it was put under fiction instead of non-fiction or sci-fi.  Who would believe that time travel was anything other than fantasy or the makings of someone on the verge of insanity.  

 

Fact number seven, unless someone was a part of the time loop, they would never remember anything he said, did, or wrote about.  

 

That was probably a good thing.  He still couldn’t believe he decided to go on a random killing spree of all the violent thugs in downtown Tokyo one night.  The cool thing about living life over and over again, he could study all the martial arts techniques he wanted, regardless of style, school, or master and start to pile on top of what he had learned from the previous repeats.  If he were to take a test, he would probably take down some of the masters that were at the top of their food chains, but that required more effort than he wanted to put into this mess.  As long as he could use it at school, he was fine.  

 

Fact number eight, blowing up Seidou High was definitely not the way to get yourself out of a time loop.  

 

Whoever was responsible for this was probably getting a kick out of how unstable he got sometimes, but every now and then he would get a good laugh at how stupid life could get.  

 

Fact number nine, doing something that resembled the stuff he was supposed to be fixing would result in him repeating his entire life instead of just middle or high school.  

 

That ended his criminal activities phase faster than if he had been arrested or put away in jail.  Tetsuya was technically fifteen most of the time, but when all of this started, he was seventeen, starting his third year of high school, and one act of trying to save another human being from being raped in the park, resulted in this mess.  

 

Fact number ten, he hated Seidou High School and everyone that went there.

 

Tetsuya never bothered to make friends.  What was the point if you were going to start over and they forgot who you were.  Seidou High School, from the outside, looked like the perfect place to go.  They had, once upon a time, a good reputation, people went professional if they were on the baseball team, and life was good.  He had no idea when things started to change, but it wasn’t long before Sakaki was forced to retire, reasons unknown and Coach Kataoka was handed a land mine.  There was absolutely no way he was going to make it to Koshien with the kids that had been under Sakaki’s influence, but trying to rid the team and the school of it wasn’t as easy as it sounded.  It was like having a single bad apple in a barrel of good ones.  If you pulled the bad apple right away, the others would find room on a kitchen table somewhere, untainted by the rottenness of the one that was pulled away.  

 

Leave the apple, let it get further and further into the barrel, and the toxic order, smell, and nature of that fruit will spread to the others and eventually nothing good is left.  That’s how Seidou High seemed to Tetsuya.  It was like a rotting barrel of apples and he was somehow the only apple that hadn’t been corrupted yet.  He watched good players quickly transfer out, the ones that had no choice but to stay… Tetsuya felt real pity for these individuals.  They either became rotten themselves, or they seemed to disappear without a trace.  How many times did he have to repeat all of this for him to understand that the only hope he had was to stick his neck on the line and start working on culling out the bad apples?  

 

Tetsuya, every time he repeated high school, would write everything down.  It wasn’t that hard once you did it enough and as he started to piece together what would trigger the events, he quickly figured out that everything started when he was in his third year, but after the time loop started, he never got past the first month of his first year.  Middle school wasn’t the issue… Nor was his life before that.  He usually only went back that far if he did something that was considered violent, criminal or self-harm.  Essentially, there was a line that he was allowed to cross and one that he wasn’t.  

 

He was tragically some type of a hero and that wasn’t what he had told his parents or teachers in elementary school.  Tetsuya had wanted to become a baseball player, but he was starting to hate baseball as much as he hated Seidou.  Due to the fact that he couldn’t get away from Seidou, all he knew was this school's version of it.  

 

Tetsuya gave in.  It was the only choice he had.  So, with the notes and his decision to find the clues scattered from time loop to time loop, he set out to figure out why Seidou High was his mission to fix and/or save.  He began with what got him stuck in this thing in the first place.  Tetsuya started with the bullying or assault problems.  At this point, he wasn’t afraid of getting hurt or caught.  When stuff went wrong at Seidou, it was never where the cameras or teachers were, not unless the teacher was one of the victims.  That just made his job easier.  No cameras, meant no witnesses to the chaos he inflicted upon these people.  

 

Fact number eleven, he could do whatever he wanted to people that were currently under his foot.  

 

And that was all it took for him to start unleashing all of his pent up rage, fear and anguish.  As far as he was concerned, these guys were the reason he couldn’t escape the time loop.

 

Fact number twelve, he was allowed to stop criminal behavior, but he couldn’t kill anyone.  

 

That part sucked, but he was cool with it and just made sure they never saw him coming before he stopped whatever crime they were trying to commit.  It was usually related to rape or assault, and the victim wasn’t always a female.  Males victimized other males far too often, especially if they were gay, bi, or transgender.  Tetsuya didn’t even know what the hell he was, what he liked, if he even had those kinds of emotions.  His entire life was too messed up and getting into a relationship was probably a bad idea if they were going to just forget everything.

 

Fact number thirteen, adults seemed oblivious or incapable of fixing this problem.  

 

Tetsuya shouldn’t have been surprised that the staff was useless against an infestation of crime and violence.  The few teachers that worked in a school of this type, were often desperate themselves.  Perhaps one of the nicer teachers was Rei Takashima, a recently employed assistant coach and vice-president of the baseball club.  She had had no idea what she was getting herself into and no one gave a damn that she was the vice-principal’s daughter.  

 

Fact number fourteen, not saving Takashima would repeat the time loop, but only so far.

 

Fact number fifteen, if he solved part of the problem, he wouldn’t have to repeat everything over again, only a small portion of time and that gave him a new sense of purpose and hope.

 

Fact number sixteen, Kataoka had a soft spot for her.  

 

He would never admit to it, but once he started to pick up on the fact that she was being targeted, he would ensure that Oota or himself were around her at all times, at least while she was on school grounds.  That meant he was aware of what was happening, but Tetsuya knew there was only so much he could do.  As a teacher and a coach, he had his hands full trying to take care of all the problems that were going on with the team.  It was so bad that he had to consider kicking several of the players out of the club.  

 

Fact number seventeen, you can’t avoid the unavoidable.  

 

Tetsuya had no idea how old he was any longer.  He had repeated time so much that if he added it all together, he was certain that he was older than his grandparents.  Being immortal was definitely not fun.  If he could at least get past the age of eighteen, he would feel as if he had accomplished something.  He wasn’t even looking for a friend; he just ended up at his table.  Tetsuya was picking at his bowl of rice, bored out of his mind, having already gotten his daily crime fighting out of the way, debating on whether or not he should go practice batting, or find another form of martial arts to learn.  

 

It was so unexpected that all he could do was hold his chopsticks in mid-air, staring back at the red-headed idiot without changing expressions.  He should have gotten angry, but Tetsuya at this point didn’t care about anything or anyone anymore, not if it was just going to start over.  Still, this was a first.  He glanced at the calendar and realized that he was a bit further along in high school than he should have been.  “How the hell are you so good at batting with the six months that we had between middle and high school?!  You have to tell me your secret!”

 

“Secret?” Tetsuya repeated.  “Are you stupid?  I swing a bat.  It hits a ball.  The ball flies over the fence.  I run around the bases.  I score.”

 

“What the fuck are we in; grade school?  Why are you answering me as if I’m five or something?”

 

“Sounded like you were.”  Tetsuya waited for time to repeat itself like it always did, but when he woke up and had the loud mouth sitting in front of him again, only it wasn’t just dinner, but breakfast, lunch, practice, running, batting… He thought life had a really twisted sense of humor.

 

Fact number eighteen, Jun was apparently part of the puzzle.

 

Fact number nineteen, Jun was perhaps the only person that wasn’t a victim to all the violence around them; that Tetsuya was aware of.

 

Tetsuya started to panic when the idiot kept showing up everywhere he went.  It was kind of hard to stop people from assaulting or killing other students, players, or teachers if Jun was always shadowing him.  He was like a stray puppy, stupid and loyal.  His grades were atrocious and it was amazing he was even able to play baseball.  Maybe that’s why he was so oblivious to what was going on, that and he looked like a thug himself.  Who grew out a beard at fifteen?  He seemed to like it too.  

 

“If you want to get better, swing the bat more!  There is no magic answer!”

 

“Yeah right!  You’re telling me, that in the six months between our game in middle school to now, that you’ve become some kind of power hitter that could give the professional players a run for their money?”

 

He never thought that someone would have noticed that kind of change, but Tetsuya couldn’t really change the fact that he had had almost a hundred years worth of training as a baseball player.  And to think that he had gotten this good from one month of high school.  Tetsuya wanted to get away from him.  He knew he wasn’t acting particularly friendly towards Jun and for the first time, he was out of his element with someone.  

 

“Come on, Yuki!  I’ve been trying to do what you do, but swinging 500 times a day at thin air isn’t doing it for me!  What am I doing wrong?  Please help me!  I don’t want to suck for the rest of my life; I’m already about to lose my position as a pitcher.  If I don’t make it here, my life is essentially over.  I’m too stupid to go to college on my grades alone and no team beyond college will scout me.”

 

Tetsuya stopped, hearing the note of anguish and desperation in his batch mate’s voice.  Once, a long time ago, he had been just like Jun, classified as hopeless, bad at batting, and not fit for baseball.  And yet here he was, probably one of the best on the team and only because he knew everything about it at this point.  He could probably tell Jun about every baseball book guide in the library or a bookstore, who wrote it, which ones were good and which ones were trash.  “Simulation batting…”

 

“What’s that?”

 

“You imagine the pitcher you’re about to face and think about what they’re going to throw, where they’ll throw it, and try to figure out why they’re throwing it.  Most pitchers in high school have one or two basic pitches and some are good at inside pitching, while others are good with the outside.  If you can back them into a corner, they’re going to often try something reckless and throw something wild that shouldn’t have been used in a game.”

 

Jun wasn’t a victim of bullying, Tetsuya realized.  He was one of the ‘hopeless generation’ so eventually he’d either quit on his own, or never make the roster.  There were others like him and Tetsuya was having a hard time ignoring him, especially when he himself had been this desperate for a chance.  Jun was perhaps a decent pitcher if he could get the ball under control, but his height and size gave him a lot of back problems.  

 

“I’ll help you,” Tetsuya relented and Jun almost killed him with a bone crushing hug.  It was embarrassing and he knew this was getting more than a handful of players looking at them.  “Do you mind?  This is not how a high schooler behaves,” Tetsuya hissed.  It wasn’t that he was against personal displays of affection, but he didn’t want anyone targeting Jun either.  He had enough to deal with as it was.  

 

As the days continued moving forward, Tetsuya felt as if some of the fun had come back into his life.  Even if it was temporary, he could find himself looking forward to meeting Jun in the park after hours, helping him learn how to properly hold the bat and swing it more effectively instead of randomly.  Jun was still a hopeless idiot!  He tried teaching him basic math and science, but it was like talking to a rock that could move, walk, and play baseball.  

 

Jun was like superglue from the hardware store.  Once he latched on, he couldn’t get him off.  There were days that he would wake up in the morning, and Jun was lying on the floor, happily reading some kind of shojo manga.  Thankfully he never read that crap in class.  It wouldn’t have been a problem if the characters in the mangas had been traditional couples, but they weren’t and that would put him in a lot of danger in a place like Seidou. 

Having a houseful of girls as sisters would scare any man from the female population and Tetsuya honestly had no issue with Jun being gay or bi.  Almost an entire season passed without the time loop repeating itself that he couldn’t help but wonder if the cycle was broken or not.  He hoped, but he had a bad feeling that Jun wasn’t the only thing that he had to fix or save.  For the first time and it wasn’t as if he hadn’t tried to stop it, Tetsuya considered Jun as his first and only friend.  It was a mystery to him, in a place like Seidou and he wanted to protect him to the best of his ability.  

 

The second and third years caught on fast that Tetsuya was dead serious about Jun being off limits.  If they so much as looked at him wrong, they found themselves behind some building and unconscious, not knowing how they had gotten there or why they might have a broken bone or two.  Somehow Tetsuya knew if they were planning something against Jun or himself and he was the one first year no one messed with.  

 

After the spring season ended, Tetsuya started to slowly drop his guard and he regretted it.  The Seidou problem had never gone away, it just started to hide itself from him.  Almost everyone knew that if he was aware of something bad happening, he was going to stop it.  Tetsuya started to notice one kid in particular; he had pink hair, was quiet, and somehow always seated between a group of kids he had labeled as dangerous to any individual that went to Seidou.  

 

He seemed fine at first, but over time, there were dark circles under his eyes and he looked as if he was losing weight.  When he found out what was going on, it was too late to stop it.  Ryosuke, like Jun, liked individuals of the same gender.  One of the third years had found out and as he got the first year to warm up to him, he convinced Ryo to meet him at an unknown location on Seidou grounds.  What they did to him left Tetsuya with nightmares for a long time.  It destroyed Ryo and Tetsuya in turn lost all sense of reason as he tried to get him back and away from them.  

 

Jun was with him the day that everything in his life changed… Leave it to the idiot to pick up on the rumors of what was happening to Ryo and then watching Tetsuya leave the classroom without warning.  Concerned about him, he followed and watching him unleash all of his fury and hatred on the second and third years that had taken Ryo was something he thought he would see in a movie.  Tetsuya wasn’t nice about what he was doing either.  He crushed people with his feet, his fists, his forehead, objects that were close at hand.  

 

When they finally found Ryo, trapped in a shed, broken, naked and dying, Tetsuya covered him with a blanket and held him, sliding aside his bloody hair.  Jun could see the pain in Tetsuya’s face and for the first time, he regretted that he wasn’t a better friend, or that he couldn’t somehow help him fight off the darkness that was Seidou.  He had been aware of it, but like everyone else, he wanted to ignore it and survive.  

 

He reached for the kid’s cold hand and held it, not saying a word as he drew his last breath.  Tetsuya howled and then everything started over again.

 

Fact number twenty, Jun became a part of the time loop.

 

Fact number twenty-one, Ryosuke was the next person that they had to save.

 

It took a long time for Tetsuya to recover from Ryosuke dying; long enough for him not to realize that he wasn’t as alone as he thought.  How many more times did time repeat itself before he started to figure out that Jun wasn’t the same, but still somehow sitting with him in the cafeteria, and not after a month of coming to Seidou, but from day one.  

 

More repeats and Tetsuya noticed a change in Jun’s grades, his batting was different as well.  He wasn’t missing the ball anymore and perhaps it was when he started to give pitching another try that Tetsuya began to come out of his depression.  Tetsuya wasn’t even aware that Jun was often the one bringing his food tray to the table, waiting, watching him not touching his food, and choosing to eat it for him.  

 

Jun would seek him out every time, take one look at the defeated and broken look in his eyes and choose to become his friend.  It hurt… Everything hurt so much and he felt like he was never going to figure out what was wrong or how to stop the violence around him.  It was more than one person could handle.  

 

Fact number twenty-two, Tetsuya never cried, even when he wanted to.

 

Fact number twenty-three, Jun learned how to fight, taking on Tetsuya’s role, slowly starting to figure out everything that he had repeated hundreds of times already.  

 

Jun eventually became smart enough to pass all of his classes.  That was probably one of the benefits to repeating time over and over again.  Even in his sleep, he could repeat the lectures without opening a book and because he felt that it was necessary, he started reading books in the library and researching the internet about curses and time loops.  In a way, Jun was probably the one that saved Tetsuya.  

 

He had no idea how many times they had to start life over at Seidou, but eventually Tetsuya snapped out of it and frowned at the large physics book in his hands.  “What are you reading?”

 

“I’m trying to figure out why or how time travel is possible.”  Tetsuya glanced around and noticed that they were probably in the middle of their spring season.  

 

“Jun…” he whispered tentatively.  They had started using each other’s first names when they were in their summer season and if he was wrong, Jun would probably say something about being too familiar without knowing him first.  

 

“Are you finally willing to rejoin the real world?  I’m horrible at this science fiction crap, but I’ve tried to figure it out.”

 

“Good luck with that; there isn’t a book in the world that will explain what the hell we’re caught up in.  I even wrote one once; it felt weird to have a monthly paycheck while I was a first year in high school.”  Jun put down the book and sighed in relief when he saw Tetsuya start to eat.  “I guess I need to ask if you’re caught up in this now and for how long?”

 

“I lost track, but everything started over after what happened with Ryo.”

 

“When does everything restart?”

 

“After Ryo disappears a few days from now.”

 

“We can’t do anything about him at the moment.”

 

“So you’re going to let them…”

 

“It’s not like I want to, but the damage is done and he’ll try to commit suicide either way.  That’s one of the ways this will start over, that or he quits.  It’s safe to say that Ryosuke is one of the people I’m supposed to help.  When time restarts, we can focus on him then.”

 

“You’ve been at this for awhile; haven’t you?”

 

“I stopped keeping track after I blew up the high school.”

 

“You what?!”

 

“Keep it down.  It’s not something I was proud of, but I thought if I could kill myself, go to jail, destory this hateful place, that I could break free of the time loop.  Don’t do it; that’s all I’ll tell you.  Every time I did something that was classified as criminal behavior and it wasn’t justified… I repeated a lot more than high school.  That incident sent me back to wearing diapers.”

 

“I’ll keep that in mind.  Do I even want to know what else you did?”

 

“No… again it was a period of madness and insanity that I thought would get me removed from this unwanted hero’s job.”

 

“Seems like you’re not as immune to helping or liking people as you think you are.  If you hated everyone, you wouldn’t have tried to save so many people.”  Tetsuya frowned… He couldn’t recall doing anything in awhile and then he realized that Jun must have been doing it for him.  “I heard a lot of rumors about you before I got caught up in this, but thought they were exaggerated.  I know about Takashima and several other people that you helped.  When I started paying attention, I realized that Sediou isn’t a good place.  So what’s the plan?”

 

“First, from here on out, any time we repeat time, we need to meet up at the park.  We’ll use our first names.  It’s the only way we’ll know that we’re still connected and share the same goal.”

 

“What is our goal?”

 

“I have no idea, but I’m slowly starting to think that it’s to save Seidou and to rid it of whatever is going on here.”

 

“I’m not the brightest person in the world, but have you ever considered that Seidou was cursed and you were the first person chosen to do something about it?  There are conditions to this curse that if you fail to meet them, time repeats itself.  If you become like the bastards that killed Ryo, it also repeats itself.  Time can’t move forward until the curse on Seidou is removed.  Why don’t you tell me what happened, when all this started and we can go from there?”

 

Tetsuya tried to catch him up on everything, leaving out some of his darker moments.  “Okay, so you stopped a girl from being assaulted and then you were repeating all of high school?  Tetsuya under the conditions you’ve mentioned, that would normally mean time should have kept going, but the one thing that these repeats have in common is that someone dies or quits Seidou.  There was someone else and you were chosen because you were different than everyone else on campus.”

 

“What are you talking about?”

 

“Everyone else would have turned a blind eye to what was going on and if you were in your third year, that means that Seidou was probably a lot worse than it is now.  Think about it, most of us were simply trying to survive.  We heard of bad things happening, of kids disappearing and we just continued going to class or playing baseball as if everything was okay on the surface.  The person you need to save; is he even here yet?  And every time you find someone that shares your belief, they get pulled into the time loop.  So, I believe that you met one of the conditions of the curse and it was when you finally stopped avoiding me.”

 

They spent the next few days planning on what they were going to do.  It bothered Jun that they weren’t going to do anything for Ryo, but if they tried to save him physically, his mental state would have been in shambles.  Tetsuya might seem like a cruel and emotionless robot, but in truth, he cared far too much.  As predicted, time repeated itself.  It only meant that Ryo had died.  There was never a body or a report usually.  

 

Now that the two of them were working together, Jun immediately reached out to Ryo and drew him into their group.  At first Ryo seemed hesitant, but Tetsuya and Jun were fundamentally different than everyone else on the team or at Seidou.  They weren’t vicious, cruel, or arrogant, even if they were two of the best players he had ever encountered.  The third years were often talking about them, wondering how a couple of first years were out batting and fielding them.  Jun was also an extremely good pitcher, but because of his back, he was often an opening or closing pitcher.  The head coach often used him for center field when he wasn’t pitching and Ryo decided to warm up to them.  

 

Tetsuya almost frightened Ryo, but it was the intensity of his gaze or the way he watched everything happening around him.  He was more than likely listening to people talking, even in hushed whispers.  Jun seemed to have that same kind of alertness, as if they were more than a couple of fifteen year old teenagers.  

 

Having a second person working with him was a bit of a relief, and it gave him time to search for other clues.  He began investigating the third year that would ultimately assault and kill Ryo.  Tetsuya didn’t ask any questions, he simply moved around the cafeteria every day and listened.  It was probably at school that he heard the whispers, the subtle glances at Ryo.  Now that he was with Tetsuya and Jun, the third years were hesitating to act.  

 

It was kind of amusing.  Tetsuya was high on the list of don’t mess with, but so was Jun.  No one could prove that the two were responsible for multiple injuries or third years suddenly quitting high school.  All anyone could find were white sheets of paper with blood on it, warning them that if they didn’t leave Seidou, that their lives were forfeit.  Considering they never saw their attackers and the victims they were targeting were always unconscious before they were stopped… 

 

Seidou did have a bad reputation, but there were also whispers that someone or something was attempting to save everyone from the hopeless life they were being subjected to.

 

Fact number twenty-four, never get on Ryosuke’s bad side.

 

Jun and Tetsuya thought Ryosuke was gentle and soft on the surface, but it seemed they were dead wrong.  The Ryo they knew was the result of a broken heart, being lied to, and choosing to trust someone when he should have followed his gut instinct instead.  As soon as Tetsuya had all the information he needed, he handed over the taped conversations that he kept in his pockets at all times.  When he turned it up in the privacy of his own room, Jun usually listened in and they learned a lot that they otherwise would have missed.  

 

Tetsuya also had tape recorders in other classrooms, taped in places that no one would think to check or clean.  Needless to say, when the third years finally got brave enough to approach Ryo, he decided to go along with their stupid plan.  Tetsuya had no idea how the kid did it, but he somehow turned what the third year wanted to do around, making it seem as if the third year was the one that liked guys instead of himself.  No one ever heard from the third year again and time continued moving forward.  

 

Fact number twenty-five, Ryo was a lot quieter than Tetsuya.  

 

If he had any idea that someone was up to something, he could get to the heart of it in a matter of hours.  His observation skills were off the charts and keeping secrets from him was next to impossible.  Jun and Tetsuya had to speak about the time loop in places that Ryo was never at, but considering they were in the same class and on the same baseball team, that didn’t happen very often.  He joined their study and practice sessions in the park, fascinated at how advanced their training was.  Ryo loved the idea of being able to hit anything that was thrown at him, especially pitches that were designed to walk him.  

 

Tetsuya would listen to the two talk about their dating preferences and he would have to leave the room.  It wasn’t that he cared if they were gay or not, he just didn’t understand what the fuss was about.  He cared about both of them as friends, but deep down, he knew he couldn’t love them in the way they were often describing or reading about in their stupid mangas or magazines.  Maybe he was broken?  

 

Jun seemed to pick up on Tetsuya’s growing distress and loneliness.  He was so focused on saving everyone, that he couldn’t see that he was probably just as much of a victim in all of this.  Jun would have to say he was the most tragic person in this mess, but he didn’t dare tell him that.  He really didn’t want to repeat time another fifty times before Tetsuya snapped out of it again.  When they finally moved on to their second year, Tetsuya thought they could begin to hope.  That was the second time he found himself disappointed and he almost wanted to kill himself out of pure defiance, but it wouldn’t help Jun.  For his sake, he couldn’t lose himself in the madness of his thoughts and despair.  

 

Tetsuya and Jun both knew that they had to help certain people, but they never knew who they were until after the fact.  It wasn’t like they had a list to go off of.  The Seidou High Baseball Club had a terrible tradition.  When the new first years arrived, their roommates would prank and haze them.  Some rooms were almost harmless, everyone had a good life, and everyone just focused on the following day.  That wasn't the case with room number 205.  Yoichi Kuramochi was hurt so badly that it was a miracle that he managed to survive.  However, it wasn’t enough to stop him from dying in the infirmary; Ryo sitting with him. 

 

Fact number twenty-six, you can’t control who you fall in love with and time doesn’t matter.

 

Ryo, when he heard the screaming coming from room 205, didn’t hesitate to bust the door down.  Somehow his roommates had found out that he was gay, going through his backpack and pulling out the books he had.  None of them could stop the whirlwind of pain connecting to their bones and bodies and when he was done, Ryo gently covered Yoichi and lifted him off the ground, carrying him on his back towards the infirmary.  Yoichi wasn’t awake and Ryo never thought he’d find himself crying for another person.  

 

He stopped caring about people in a romantic way in middle school and after the incident with the third year in high school, he decided to not trust anyone not to use or hurt him.  Yoichi was so small compared to him and the blood trickling down his back made him shake with rage, hate, and anguish.  Ryo wished he could have helped him, that he could stop the cycle of violence and death that was a way of life at Seidou.  Why couldn’t they free themselves of this and did they really have to endure another two years, unable to say or do anything to stop it?

 

Tetsuya and Jun found him, sitting on the bed with Yoichi.  The nurse had called an ambulance, but it wasn’t going to matter.  “I hate this school,” Ryo hissed, tears streaming down his face.  “You two are always trying to save everyone, but it isn’t enough.  Two people can’t stop what happens in our rooms, in the shadows and it can’t stop people from attacking people like Yoichi, Jun, or myself.  How do I make this pain stop?  I don’t even know this kid and yet I just want to wrap him into my arms and make it all better.  It hurts and I regret that I can’t do anything to save him… I want to stop bastards like them as soon as we’re aware of them!  How do I become like the two of you?!”

 

As soon as he said those words, Yoichi died and then everything started over.  Jun and Tetsuya weren’t certain, but it seemed they just figured out another condition of the curse.  As soon as someone that they saved chose to become like Tetsuya or Jun, they became a part of the time loop.  Did that mean the answer was in changing the mindset of Seido?

 

As promised, the two of them met in the park, but instead of discussing what to do about Yoichi right away, they went searching for Ryo.  It was a good thing they did.  He was in the process of slitting his wrists and Jun and Tetsuya both stopped him.  “Let go of me!” He screamed.  Ryo was still a broken mess and it was obvious that he was one of them now, unable to forget about Yoichi.  

 

“He’s alive,” Jun shouted, wrapping his arms around the grief stricken teen.  

 

“What the hell are you talking about?!  He died in my arms, I saw it!  Look at the blood!”  When he held out his arms, there was nothing on them.  He froze, turning over his hands and arms, and then his clothes.  He wasn’t even in his baseball uniform and Tetsuya and Jun were in his room somehow.  When did he get here and how?  Thank god, they hadn’t traveled so far back that they had to repeat all of high school over again.  Finding or stopping Ryo would have been that much harder.  

 

Tetsuya pulled out his cellphone and showed Ryo the date and time.  “I don’t understand… What’s going on?”

 

“It’s kind of a long story, but we have about a month before the first years get here.”

 

Ryo’s eyes started to blaze with hateful rage…  Jun had to hold on to him, half afraid of what the kid had in mind.  “Before you do something stupid, we need to explain what you’re caught up in.  If you kill those bastards, we’re just going to end up in a time and place that isn’t a month before our second year.”

 

“How far back are we talking?”

 

“Try the crawling stage,” Tetsuya warned.  “The problem wouldn’t be a problem if we didn’t get to keep all the memories, skills, and strength you currently have.”

 

“You’re joking… right?  If you are, this isn’t funny.”

 

“He’s not joking.  You were just like Yoichi and trust me, Tetsuya took about fifty repeats before he could snap out of what happened to you.”

 

“Do I want to know?” he asked.

 

“No and even if you did, I’m not going to talk about it; ever.”

 

Jun sighed.  Tetsuya had shadows in his eyes and it really told him how long he had been at this.  How much could the human mind take, especially a bunch of kids?  They had to find a way out of this, but would he break when they finally managed?  Tetsuya’s heart had turned cold and it was moments like this that they would see a more human side of him.  What would it take to get him to unleash all of himself, emotionally and physically?  It wasn’t anyone currently at Seidou or he would have picked up on it.

 

There was someone that wanted Tetsuya to save, but who?  What the hell happened in Tetsuya’s third year?  Now that they had Ryosuke, they might have a chance to figure it out.  

 

Fact number twenty-seven, the cruelest part of being caught in the curse was that the person you love may not meet the conditions of the curse.  

 

Yoichi, after everything he had gone through in middle school, had no regret about choices and decisions he made.  While he wasn’t necessarily cruel, he had no problems with pranking people or the consequences behind it.  It made it hard for Tetsuya to like him, especially when they were trapped in the time loop that they were in.  Ryo agreed to never tell him about what was happening to them and Tetsuya compromised with their relationship.  There wasn’t anything he could really do about it.  They needed Ryo and he wasn’t about to not fall in love with Yoichi, regardless of how many times they had to repeat everything.  It didn’t mean that Yoichi’s actions didn’t bother him, but it was something he was willing to work on and his influence did seem to work.  

 

Ryo was perhaps more fragile than Jun and Tetsuya combined.  It didn’t take him long to try suicide; he hated being ripped away from Yoichi and it was something they had to wait out.  Jun could sense how much this was hurting them, and while it bothered him as well, he couldn’t give into the despair.  Ryo needed Yoichi and until Tetsuya figured out what they had to do, he was there for him.  

 

Jun couldn’t even figure out if he had anyone here at Seidou, or somewhere else in the distant future, needing him to get through this.  Life had trials, that was in any manga he read and the hero had to march on, no matter how hard or painful it got.  They both lost count of how many times Ryo tried to break the cycle and neither one of them blamed him for it.  Thankfully, the rule of killing oneself didn’t seem to work in the same manner with Ryo or Jun as it did with Tetsuya.  They only went back to just before he had to meet Yoichi and one day he simply broke down and started crying.  

 

Ryosuke never cried unless it had something to do with Yoichi and in a way, what was happening to all of them did.  He couldn’t make promises beyond high school; he was afraid of saying that he loved Yoichi, and that feeling only grew with each repeat.  “Why?!  Why can’t we break the time loop?!” he screamed.  “Why were we chosen to do this?!  What happened that Seidou is cursed like this?!  I don’t understand!”

 

Jun had told Tetsuya a while ago and when Ryo started to calm down, they explained the theory about someone having died at the same time as the person he had saved.  It was just a hunch, but based on all the conditions they were constantly forced to acknowledge and respect, it made the most sense.  Tetsuya handed him the notebook of information he had been working on and Ryo quietly went through it.  About a week after he had run into Yoichi again, he vowed that he would find the source of the curse and end it.  

 

“How do you stand it?” Ryo whispered, his eyes locking with Tetsuya.  He was without a doubt their leader.  

 

“It’s not that I can stand it, I just don’t have a choice.  I’ve gone through the suicide thing, bombings, murder… I just wanted the cycle to end and whatever or whoever chose me isn’t going to let me go.  If anything, it’s twisted idea of punishment was to make me start back over as an infant if the crime was serious enough.  It’s not even you that gets the full brunt of it.  I guarantee, if I tried to commit suicide at this point, I have no idea what that will do to both of you, but I will start back over as a child and that’s more than enough reason not to do it.  I’m not alone any longer and I can patiently wait for both of you to work through the same problems and trauma that I did.  Make no mistake, this will never leave us, even if we do manage to break free and probably until we draw a last breath, we’ll always wonder if it’s going to start over at some point.”

 

“Tetsuya, we both know you’ve been at this for almost a century longer than the two of us.  It’s been almost two hundred and fifty years.”  Ryo’s eyes widened.  He had only lasted a decade, and Tetsuya had been trapped in this madness for that long?  “Ryo, just in case we ever go back further than our first or second year; we have a designated meeting spot.  The park and utter our first names.  That is how we will know that it’s us.  But one other thing… If you ever hear the words I regret directed towards Tetsuya, we need to investigate that individual immediately.  We can’t force them to say it either; at least we don’t think so.  When you or I said it, there was never any mention about the time loop.  It just happened.”

 

“So if Yoichi ever says it and it meets the conditions of what we’re doing…”

 

Tetsuya nodded, but he doubted that it would happen any time soon.  Other than Kazuya Miyuki, Yoichi never regretted anything.  He couldn’t even say that he was friends with the cynical and self-isolated catcher. Kazuya had enough to worry about and while they couldn’t do anything about who his roommates were at the moment, they still kept an eye on him.  

 

“It seems that I’ve consistently not had a roommate while in high school, so after we meet up at the park, we can have regular meetings in my room.  Take notes, what you were doing, where you were at, who you were talking to… The answer is here or it will be.  Are you with us or not, Ryo?  I know what you said when you got caught up in this and I don’t know if you can break free of it or not, but...”

 

“I’m in; if I ever want a future with Yoichi, I have no choice.”  Tetsuya nodded and the three of them tried keeping an eye out for the next piece to the puzzle.  It was towards the end of his spring season when they found the next person that was part of the time loop; Chris Takigawa.

 

Fact number twenty-eight, Chris Takigawa trapped them in a time loop for an extremely long time.  

 

Chris was perhaps the most complex problem they had run into and it started with a simple muscle strain.  As a baseball player, it wasn’t uncommon to get them, but what none of them knew was that he was the target of a decision to get rid of him.  It didn’t come from Jun or Kawagami, but the third year pitchers and catchers that resented the fact that he had a famous father and seemed to coast on his name rather than his own talent.  

 

Regardless if they were on the first or second string, they all made the decision to intentionally throw ball after ball, high or low, knowing that he would never let one slip past him.  His pride as a catcher wouldn’t allow it and there was so much pressure for him to live up to his father’s and the media’s expectations.  Long before he made it to the summer tournament, Chris broke and the injuries were so bad that he was unable to return to baseball at any point in his life.  With his chances for a career shattered, Chris left Seidou and that’s what caused the time loop to repeat.  That taught the three of them that someone didn’t have to die to cause the repeat.  

 

It was beyond frustrating because there wasn’t a lot they could do to save Chris.  A simple muscle tear wasn’t enough to convince Coach Kataoka to take him to the hospital, nor would Chris listen to them when they insisted that he get it checked out.  “We start eliminating the pitchers,” Ryo finally said.  He was probably the most vicious of their group at this point.  Any warmth he once had was gone.  Only a sliver of it did he keep and it was only for Yoichi.  He could put on a good act and Yoichi never knew this side of his lover nor did Ryo want him to see it.  

 

“That’s going to cause a problem with getting to Koshien.”

 

“Who the hell cares?  Did you make it to Koshien before all of this started?” Ryo demanded.

 

Tetsuya snorted.  “Coach Kataoka was fired in our third year, right after we lost in the summer tournament.  You don’t want to know who took over after that; he’s just like Coach Sakaki and the morale of the team went from bad to non-existent.  The club went from 70 or so players, to maybe a dozen.”

 

“Then why are you hesitating to do this?  A catcher is at the mercy of a pitcher in a game; if he lets a ball go, the other team scores and we lose.  I don’t really have anything against the teachers or the staff; I’ve seen what the third years do to them.  While most of the more toxic players are gone now because of us, there’s still quite a few of them left.  If they’re not capable of listening to the catchers and getting us to Koshien, we get rid of them.”

 

Tetsuya and Jun quickly agreed, but on one condition.  They had to give a six month grace period to any incoming first year.  Fifteen year olds were young and childish; if they still couldn’t conform to what they were trying to build and protect, Tetsuya would have no problem with Ryo’s or Jun’s decision.  It wasn’t ideal, but both agreed that it was more than fair.  Yoichi was a borderline bully and yet he allowed Ryo to take responsibility for him.  

 

It was the right decision.  While they never completely stopped Chris’s shoulder from collapsing, he managed to make it to the summer tournament, giving a chance for Kazuya to take his place.  That created a new problem, but it was one they figured out how to deal with.  It wasn’t hard for Tetsuya or Ryo to break into the computer rooms after school hours and tamper with the dorm assignments.  They started manipulating who first years would room with and after Kazuya was constantly being bullied by Azuma, they paired him up with Chris.  It had a profound impact on the time loop that they finally made it to the end of their second year.  Chris didn’t quit Seidou and after nearly three hundred years, Tetsuya was almost back where he started.  

 

Fact number twenty-nine, Jun and Ryo finally discovered Tetsuya’s weak point and it had golden eyes, a loud personality and was perhaps the dumbest kid they had ever had the opportunity to come across.

 

Tetsuya wasn’t even aware of him at first; it was just easy to ignore him.  Jun was at the hospital every time he showed up, but Ryo had a front row seat with Yoichi at his side.  They learned that his name was Eijun Sawamura and when Jun said he wasn’t that bright, that was saying something.  He remembered not having a sharp intellect when he first met Tetsuya, but compared to this kid, he had looked like a genius.

 

Eijun, however, immediately sensed the problem with Seidou and when he saw Azuma ripping into one of the first year pitchers, the kid immediately challenged him.  Ryo almost wanted to snatch the kid up and carry him away from Seidou as fast as he could.  Azuma’s eyes were blazing with a desire to hurt or kill; he was one of the main ring leaders for the remaining bullies still at Seidou.  Although, from what he understood of Tetsuya’s story, it seemed there were a few in their class as well, but they didn’t have time to focus on that at the moment.  

 

The two were instantly in each other’s face every time, Eijun not backing down and while it earned a lot of respect from Ryo, it was practically sucidide for the middle schooler.  But what struck them as odd was his unusual pitching.  It was so bad, but at the same time, it had raw power to it.  Kazuya was always the one to bring out his potential, but Eijun never agreed to come to Seidou.  He either chose another school or he stayed back in his hometown.  That was a one way ticket to repeating this day over and over again.  

 

When Ryo pointed out that he thought it was the middle schooler triggering the time loop, Jun made an effort not to go to the hospital on that day anymore and Tetsuya would pause his new responsibilities as the team Captain and observe what was going on.  While the third years didn’t like him, he had enough support from the first and second years that Kataoka instantly agreed to promote Jun and Tetsuya.  

 

He immediately got on to Ryo for not informing him about Kawagami and Azuma sooner, but the moment the golden eyed kid passed him, he sucked in a deep breath and froze.  Tetsusya knew him… He couldn’t understand how or why and perhaps it was just a brief moment before everything went to hell and back.  Their eyes locked and after he was done striking Azuma out, bristling with rage, he would leave Seidou like a violent summer storm.  

 

The kid was probably as bad as you could get as a pitcher, but he had potential.  Tetsuya wondered if anyone had ever worked with him before and Rei confirmed that the answer was no.  His school had only nine members on the team and he was the active coach/ACE/Captain.  He was double jointed and his pitchers were out of control; without someone to help him with it, he would never learn how to properly utilize the gift he had and it was a shame because Tetsuya honestly could see him as the ACE Seidou needed.  

 

As time repeated, he struggled to remember why or how he knew Sawamura.  It was driving him insane and it showed in his batting.  “Tetsuya, what’s going on?  You’ve been different for awhile now.  Eijun Sawamura, is the cause of it, that much we’ve figured out.”

 

“I can’t prove it… I really don’t remember what happened in my third year that well, but he was at Seidou.  Why can’t I remember anything else?!  He’s loud and annoying and I think that’s why I reacted the way I did Jun, but he’s pure and doesn’t hate anyone.  Seidou was not the place for someone like him, not with how bad it was in comparison to now.  We’ve managed to unite all the current first and second years against the third years and once I’m officially the captain at the start of the fall season, we can eliminate the rest of the toxic players for good.”

 

“I remember that Kazuya was still roommates with Azuma and they did challenge him, but other than that, I was too oblivious to everything else.”

 

“I’m going to go out on a limb, but because we changed his roommate; what do you think would have happened if he was still in that room?  Tetsuya, you know how Azuma is.  According to Yoichi, Kazuya was the target of a lot of bullying in middle school, but what Azuma can do will make those kids seem like a bunch of amateurs.  He would have made Kazuya’s life a living nightmare.  What do you think that would have done to him psychologically and while I’m not saying what could have happened was okay, but how easy is it to shift the blame over to the kid?  Let’s not forget that the third years hate Kazuya for becoming the starting catcher instead of Miyauchi or another third year.  They refuse to listen to him and the longer it continues, it’s changing him into something that’s twisted and cruel.  Kazuya won’t break like most; he’ll just become someone that will do anything to get what he wants accomplished.  That kind of mentality is dangerous with what you’re trying to accomplish and we’re down to the last six months where we’ll have any kind of impact on the team.  We have no idea if we’ll break free of the time loop if we retire or graduate, not if the person we have to save is an incoming first year next spring.”

 

Tetsuya paled.  He never thought that graduating would leave who they were supposed to help vulnerable.  They were almost close to solving the riddle and now they were possibly at a point where they couldn’t do anything?  He couldn’t shake the image of that kid out of his head… Eijun was a fighter, but even Seidou was too much for someone like him.  


 

Subtle changes to time could make all the difference when it came to saying yes or no.  Eijun one day agreed to come to Seidou and Tetsuya finally understood all the talks that Ryo and Jun had had in their rooms about falling in love, who their type was and for the life of him, he never imagined that it was a loud, annoying, childish, uncoordinated, but impossible to ignore southpaw. 

 

Fact number thirty, there were no words to describe how the three of them felt about Eijun Sawamura.

 

He was so much like how Jun had been, only he didn’t have a beard or flaming red hair.  They thought his personality would tone down before he got to Seidou in six months, they were dead wrong and it had a negative impact on the remaining players that Tetsuya hadn’t managed to weed out yet.  Eijun Sawamura never made it past day one and that was probably where the time loop came to an impasse.  No one ever said that a time loop couldn’t go past the event that created it, because the condition it seemed was that Eijun had to survive regardless of how long it took.  

 

When he didn’t show up to formation, no one could find him and his roommates acted as if they were ignorant of what had happened to him.  His room seemed untouched, so whatever had happened didn’t occur on campus.  Tetsuya also realized that this was the same day that the assault had happened in his third year, but because he had made so many changes, that was no longer a possibility.  The time loop had changed, but not the conditions that they had to meet.  He would wander around Seidou looking for him and his responsibilities as a captain kept him so busy that he couldn’t follow him like he wanted.  

 

Finally Jun decided to take it all on, Ryo choosing to help him.  They had to figure it out or they were never going to get past this.  Tetsuya had no idea what possessed him to go to the park.  It was the location of where he had saved that girl so very, very long ago.  There was a full moon out, so he could see everything around him, to include a bunch of kids running away from the river bank a short distance away.  He broke out into a fast run and when he got to the river, he froze. 

 

The girl he had saved has been on the other side of the hill; he would have never seen this kid, nor would he have spotted the kids that had beaten him beyond recognition.  His wrists were crushed and both his eyes were swollen shut.  His teeth were on the ground and he slowly knelt, gently cupping the child’s cheek.  He whimpered, unable to see him, and he tried to tell him it was okay, that he was safe and he could go to sleep.  

 

“Don’t…” he stuttered… “let… other kids suffer like me…”  It was a plea.  Eijun’s broken fingers reached for him, and the moon was as cruel as it was revealing.  The curse… it was because of this child and he broke down and started to sob.  He hated the curse, he hated that Eijun had to come here and if he tried to stop it, time would just repeat itself.  Why couldn’t he save one child?  Why was it always when he couldn’t do anything to stop it before it was too late?  “You… seem… different… than everyone… else... I’m sorry.”

 

“Why the fuck are you apologizing?!”

 

“Because someone has… to forgive and stop the violence.  I knew about it before I came here and I knew about it when I challenged that idiot, but I don’t regret saving that timid pitcher… That stupid catcher probably got hurt because of that incident and I probably should have kept my mouth shut.  I can’t see your face, but… please… save Seidou.  Save them all, please!”  And Tetsuya watched him die.  This was so much worse than holding Ryo.  Tetsuya screamed and screamed, unable to hold it back.  

 

Jun and Ryo couldn’t get near him when time repeated itself.  He was so dangerous that they were terrified of him sending them back to their parent’s wombs with the rage and hate they saw swirling in his eyes.  They had no idea what happened the night he went looking for Eijun, Tetsuya wouldn’t talk to anyone.  Instead he went on a rampage; sometimes he didn’t even wait for the challenge to happen.  He simply destroyed Azuma and it took almost the entire team to stop and pin him down.  Thankfully no one ever remembered him like that or they would have had a hard time explaining why he was suddenly so violent.  There were days when he would snarl at Eijun and demand that he choose another school.  The kid was absolutely terrified of Tetsuya and it was almost too painful to watch, even for Ryo who understood what it was like to fall in love over and over again, or to relearn the things about your lover as time changed.  

 

Tetsuya, unlike Ryo, was intentionally driving him away from Seidou, but they knew that wasn’t going to help them, Eijun, or the school.  Ryo finally decided to take a chance, not knowing what would happen if Tetsuya actually attacked Jun or himself.  But unless they got him to focus again, there was no way to end this.  

 

As he woke up, Ryo was in his room and gently cupped his cheeks between his hands.  Tetsuya’s gaze was filled with a deadly hatred and it was directed at all of Seidou.  “Tetsuya, I know we can save him.  I might not have the answer now, but driving him away isn’t going to do it.  Please, tell us what happened.”

 

“I’ll never let him come here.”

 

“So we have to live this life for the rest of eternity?  Is that really what we’re supposed to do?  Tetsuya, we can’t do this without you; please, we need you… that boy needs you or this wouldn’t be hurting you so much!”

 

“He’s the source of the curse,” Tetsuya growled.  Ryo flinched… He had made a promise to find and destroy the curse, unaware that it was Eijun Sawamura.  “Do you still want to hurt him?  Someone already did that… Do you want to drive him away?  I do it every time he shows up here… It’s not working, but I don’t give a damn!  Do you want to know the sick and twisted truth of it all?  He didn’t condemn anyone!  He asked us to save Seidou and other kids like him!  He fucking apologized and what the hell was I supposed to do as he reached for my hand with broken hands, uanble to open his eyes and see who was crying over him?!  Why the fuck is Seidou like this and why are three teenagers the ones being asked to do this?!  What the hell are the coaches or teachers for if they can’t do what they’re supposed to do?!”

 

Ryo couldn’t say anything back; how could he?  Tetsuya was older than all of them, and once again the same kid had reached out to him, pleading for the salvation of Seidou and cursing them again at the same time.  It was unrelenting and Ryo could only slide to the floor in weary exhaustion.  It was Jun that finally snapped, moving forward and striking Tetsuya as hard as he could, driving him back against the wall.  

 

“That brat needs you and breaking down won’t fix the problem.  If he wants to save this stupid school, then that’s what we need to make happen!  We’ve come this far and you’re going to tuck tail and run now?!  You’re the fucking Captain and that’s exactly what Seidou needs; we know who the targets are and we can eliminate them without you having to go on a murdering rampage!  Just like we’ve always done!  You’re not alone; we’ve been with you ever since we got caught up in this and that’s never going to change! I know you’re exhausted and worn down, but that boy isn’t safe, here or outside of Seidou.  Tetsuya, please, you have to find a way to save that kid.”

 

Fact number thirty-one, Tetsuya was in love with Eijun.  

 

Fact number thirty-two, Eijun was something special and it took several repeats before they managed to keep him at Seidou.

 

Eijun when he agreed to come to Seidou the second time, Ryo and Jun finally convinced Tetsuya not to stop him, made it to formation, but somehow got kicked off the team.  When Ryo found out that it was Yoichi’s fault, he almost terminated the relationship, but the prank wasn’t what resulted in him getting banned from the team.  It was Kazuya.  Having become a completely different person after what the third years had put him through the previous year, he was determined to purge Seidou of the kid.  

 

Kazuya truly hated him, his feelings the opposite of how Tetsuya, Ryo, and Jun saw him.  While he never physically hurt Eijun, he found other ways to hurt him.  After god knows how many times they repeated everything, Eijun stubbornly surprised them all when he chose not to quit, but run for over a month, unable to participate or interact with the team.  Their third year finally started, but it was perhaps the cruelest one for all three of the trapped Seidou players.  Just when they thought they would break free, it repeated three more times.  Once when Kataoka was fired, the second time when Eijun developed the ‘yips’ and quit, and the third time… they had no damn idea.  They were in college or on a professional team at this point, thinking that it was finally over and they didn’t just start back a month or two, it was three years before Eijun was supposed to start high school.   

 

If someone had regrets or wanted to save Seidou, they wouldn’t know because they weren’t at Seidou.  It was supposedly the day before the final game at Koshien and Eijun was the one starting with Kazuya serving as his battery partner.  None of them could say that they were happy about them being together, but the head coach had decided that he was better fit for Eijun instead of Okumura. 

 

When the three of them met up a year later, they couldn’t for the life of them figure out what caused the sudden shift in time.  It was more than just that, as they tried to keep everything the way they had fixed things, changes were happening outside of Seidou that were beyond their control.  It wasn’t just Eijun, but Takigawa as well.  They knew that if anyone had a regret that aligned with Tetsuya’s task to save Tetsuya, they would become a part of the time loop, but why Eijun or Takigawa?  Was that even possible for the one to curse them to also become part of the solution?  

 

Was this the answer they were looking for?  Could they finally break free of the curse and the time loop if they figure this last part out?  

 

Fact number thirty-three, the legend of Eijun Sawamura was born when he opened his eyes, a single goal in mind and it wasn’t to run away from Seidou, but to become the true ACE and leader the school needed to reach Koshien, to save Kataoka, and to stop Ochiai from taking it over.  



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