of Tennis Fanfiction
Disclaimer: So not mine
Ratings: G, Humour
Spoilers: Not really
Setting: Ryoma’s final year at
Summary: Sometimes the rivals you
get are not the rivals you want.
ear-splitting yell was heard across the tennis courts. "WE FOUND YOU
The former Seigaku Regulars
“Guess he wasn’t fast enough this
time,” Momoshirou grinned.
“Their speed has increased by
fourteen per cent,” Inui noted. “An impressive feat.”
“Well, it IS the Nationals,” Fuji
pointed out gently, “You’d expect them to perform at their best.”
“Exactly as expected from two of
the quarter-finalists,” Eiji agreed, eyes dancing merrily.
rest of the team nodded in agreement and stifled snickers as Ryoma
Echizen walked past their seats at a pace that was not QUITE a run, but
was unmistakably an attempt to flee the area.
Behind him trailed
two boys, each of them wearing different school uniforms and both of
them waving their racquets around madly.
“ECHIZEN-KUUUUNNN!!! WAIT FOR US!!!”
Momo and Eiji choked back laughter
as Ryoma threw dignity to the wind and made a run for it, his two
rivals in close pursuit.
third and final year of Ryoma’s junior high school life had dawned
unimpressively, almost an anti-climax to his frantic first and steady
second years. No longer the “genius freshman” of the tennis world (or,
more irritatingly, the “Prince of Tennis”, “amazing second year”,
“miracle prodigy of Seigaku” or any of a dozen other nicknames that had
become attached to him over the years. If Ryoma had one true ambition
in his life it was to find out who it was that kept giving him these
stupid names and MAKE THEM PAY!), Ryoma’s third year had apparently
started off quietly and looked to conclude the same way.
had come as no surprise that he’d been named Captain of the school
team, and he’d shouldered all of the duties that came with the post
with his usual mix of arrogance and insouciance, and a minimum of
complaint. (From this his sempai all reasoned that he was actually
quite pleased to be chosen, even though there really had been no doubt
as to who would take over.)
Nearly all of his rivals had now
moved on to high school, and the new players coming up through the
ranks were not of a calibre high enough to truly challenge him
(although that didn’t stop them from trying. There was a certain
smugness among a number of Ryoma’s former opponents that he was finally
finding out what it was like to be King of the Hill and have all of the
younger, fiercer players gunning for HIM for a change). Still, Ryoma
took his duties seriously and trained a strong team, ready for the
challenges the National competition would bring (after all, he couldn’t
play ALL the matches himself), but it looked as though he would have a
mostly uncontested cruise through the singles one positions.
With the sole exception of two
Dan and Kentarou Aoi were the only tennis players his own age that
Ryoma had ever paid much attention to. Kentarou and Ryoma had both been
first year players on their respective teams (although Kentarou had
been captain as well), while Dan had been inspired by watching Ryoma to
improve his own tennis and achieve a place on his own team. Over the
years, both Kentarou and Dan had matured into extremely good tennis
players and, as the seniors graduated, become the only people who could
consistently make Ryoma work for a win. They’d both declared him their
chief rival, and subsequently regarded him with a certain proprietary
attitude that he considered both presumptuous and irritating. Many of
his former rivals snickered when they heard about this.
the three boys were called "The Three Princelings", and their
occasional matches against each other were always well-attended. They
were the top of their level of tennis; talented, skilled, dedicated.
Dan and Kentarou were also both loud, extremely energetic and somewhat
over-emotional, three things guaranteed to irritate Ryoma, who was torn
between wanting to play them and wanting to strangle them. And that was
when they were apart.
Ryoma considered the day that the
other two had first met on the tennis courts to be one of the blackest
in his life.
Much to his disgust, they'd bonded
instantly. His life had never been the same since.
Ryoma searched for an escape route.
"Play a match with me,
Echizen-kun!" Kentarou yelled.
"Play one with me first!" Dan
shouted. "Or we could play doubles."
pair of them had hounded him all year. He’d played both of them in
various competition rounds, but the one time Seigaku had defeated
Rokkaku before it got to singles one, Kentarou had nagged him for weeks
for a match. Dan had helped.
They were driving him crazy.
His former sempai grinned as they
watched Ryoma get boxed in as he tried to escape. All but one, that is.
is not conduct befitting of the Captain of Seigaku Tennis team," Tezuka
said disapprovingly, watching his former kouhai back himself up against
"Oh Tezuka, that's not fair. You
know Ryoma is even
more anti-social than you are," Oishi said placatingly. "And those two
follow him round like ducklings."
"And here come the rest of
them," Fuji said with a grin. Even at this distance, the hunted
expression on Ryoma's face was clearly visible as Sakuno and Tomoka
arrived, along with Kachiro, Katsuo and Horio, all of whom added their
own voices to the fray.
Kaidou snorted, "More like he's the
duckling and they're the ducks. You'd think with all the milk we fed
him he'd grow, even a little bit."
Everyone turned to Inui, who
shrugged. "I can't explain it," he said helplessly. "I've gone over all
of the data, three times. I even asked Renji to check my calculations.
Echizen swears he's followed my diet plan, and with his fitness regime
and genetics taken into account, he should at least be even with Fuji
by now, but he's barely grown an inch."
Momo grinned, "It ticks
him off too. He was in a pissy mood for weeks when Dan shot up five
centimetres last year. Now they're all taller than him, even the
"Not all of them," Inui refuted,
"Sakuno is the exact same height as Echizen."
seem to have hurt his popularity though," Eiji grinned. "Everyone
thinks he's sooooo cuuuuute... All the old granny's coo over him."
There was another round of snickers
at the thought of their short teammate's likely reaction to that sort
Tezuka's disapproving face did not
relax. "That's still no excuse."
Tezuka," Fuji's smile widened. "Why don't you try to imagine what it
must be like for him to deal with this. You never had this kind of
problem. Can you imagine Atobe and Tachibana following YOU around
demanding extra matches?"
There was a long pause before the
entire group (minus Tezuka) dissolved into hysterical laughter at the
Momo mimicked. "You are to play a game with me! At once! And then after
I defeat you, we shall hang out and you may tell me how wonderful I am."
Eiji joined in. "Let us play a game! And although neither of us will
change our facial expressions, I know we will enjoy it. Somewhere. On
the inside. Deep on the inside."
"You can both run 20 laps when we
get back," Tezuka said, a faint tick crossing his face as he got to his
"Tezuka? Where are you going?"
Tezuka paused, "To rescue Echizen."
He strode off without looking back,
but unfortunately the wind brought Fuji's final parting shot to him...
"Tezuka-kuuuunnn... you're my hero!
Let's play a game and I will be a pillar of Seigaku for you."
"Fuji! You do 50 laps!"