Tickets to Zimbabwe

Eriol visits Seigaku, much to Tezuka’s dismay. Humor, I-1

Tezuka could have predicted that Eriol would walk right up to Fuji. He also
could have predicted the sweet smile that would grace Eriol’s face
when said meeting occurred. He had not, however, predicted that Fuji would
smile and greet Eriol as if the man were an old friend. Eriol didn’t
turn around to look at Tezuka as he explained, “One recognizes one’s
own nature in others. It’s what allows one to survive in the world,

As the rest of the boys had already drifted over to see who the interloper was,
Tezuka was quite aware that they were all giving him nervous or questioning looks
at the nickname. Tezuka crossed his arms. “This is my uncle, Hiiragizawa
Eriol. He insisted that he meet all of you.”

Echizen walked right up to Eriol and eyed him openly. Eriol returned the look
with a sweet smile so reminiscent of Fuji’s that Momo and Kaidou both backed
up hurriedly. Echizen, seemingly undisturbed by this, nodded decisively and said,
“Echizen Ryoma. It’s nice to meet you.” With that, he headed
off towards the courts, leaving most of the group staring after him.

Eriol frowned slightly as he watched Echizen’s back, then began snickering
quietly. By the time Fuji managed to give him a questioning look, he schooled
his expression back to a polite smile. “Oh,” responded to Fuji’s
look, “Someone in his family knew an angel, that’s all.” Eriol
refused to say more on the subject, even when Tezuka asked, later.

Tezuka didn’t actively begin to worry until Eriol pulled Oishi away from
the group and sat him down on a bench. Everyone else had returned to normal practice,
on threat of laps, so Tezuka couldn’t watch what was going on between his
relative and his friend. It was only when he noticed the odd looks Oishi was giving
him upon his return to the courts that Tezuka decided that he never wanted to

After practice, Eriol appeared to have magically vanished, because Tezuka refused
to believe that Eriol was hiding up in the tree that Echizen habitually napped
underneath. When Echizen walked up to pat Tezuka comfortingly on the back, Tezuka
was unnerved enough to mutter something under his breath.

“What did he say?” he heard Fuji ask Echizen as they went to change.

“I’m not sure. Something about plane tickets to Zimbabwe.”