Dark eyes flitted from one face to another, watching them watching him. Each had a personality of their very own, forming their own opinions about him...about them. It was a bit unnerving, but he was determined to see it through.

These people were Yanagi Renji's teammates and friends, and Tachibana had promised to, and was anxious to get to know them better. He wanted to know those who were important in the other's life, and if that meant having lunch with the Rikkai Dai Fuzoku tennis team, a rival tennis team to Tachibana's own Fudomine, then he would happily spare the Sunday afternoon.

Their captain, Yukimura Seiichi, he actually already knew. They had been in the same hospital at the same time, and had the opportunity to meet and talk during their healing period. They got along well, having much in common as captains and top jr. tennis players.

Sanada Genichirou, the team's co-captain, was a bit harder to know. He was quiet and kept mostly to himself. But Tachibana respected him for his stern dedication and talent, and felt that respect was returned. This was the kind of person who would be worth getting to know if one had the chance.

Yagyuu Hiroshi was the perfect gentleman, if not just a tad creepy, and his partner, Niou Masaharu, was a rather interesting person, so long as you had a sense of humor. Even Jackal Kuwahara, the Brazilian-bred student, was very insightful and pleasant to talk to.

The only one Tachibana wasn't really comfortable around was Kirihara Akaya, and understandably so. Kirihara was the one who'd put him in the hospital, and then almost did the same thing to Seigaku's Fuji Syuusuke. He was a demon who enjoyed hurting others, and Tachibana was weary of him. ...Perhaps because he saw a bit of himself in him.

And then there was Marui Bunta.

The red-head was cute, but Tachibana wasn't entirely sure what to think of him. Mostly because...he kept staring at him. Every time his eyes drifted in the teen's direction it was 'stare stare stare'. Like he was trying to decide if this stranger was good enough for their Renji.

It was beginning to get a bit...weird, and Tachibana was on the verge of saying something when Bunta suddenly asked, out of the blue, "Do you like candy?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Candy," the red-head said, then held out a hand that offered several sugary treats. "Do you like it? I have some extra if you'd like."

"Oh... Thank you." Tachibana took some and ate a small piece. It wasn't poisoned or a prank or anything; it was good in fact. He wondered if this was some sort of sign that meant he was approved of.

"Renji doesn't like candy," Bunta continued, quite talkative now that the ice had been broken. "He doesn't like any sweet things, really."

"So I've learned."

"I bet his kisses aren't sweet either."

From that comment on the table was the proper noisy for a group of teenage boys. From small chuckles to outright laughs, the smacking of a hand to the back of a head, and the continuing flow of conversation between friends.

Tachibana was glad he'd come.