Language Lessons

A Prince of Tennis Fanfic

By Jaelle

Disclaimer: Not mine.

Rating: G. Humour.

Spoilers: None.

Note: Words in italics are spoken in Japanese.

Towards the end of this first year at Seishun Gakuen, Ryoma notices that Eiji and Momo are becoming increasingly panicked about their end of year English examinations. It is of particular concern for Eiji, who has to pass his entrance exams so as to move on to the same high school as all the others (thereby keeping the team together).

After some deliberation, he decides that he should help his sempais in their time of need. Having grown up in America he’s perfectly fluent in English, and therefore the best person to help. Having made up his mind he immediately starts his language tutoring programme. He goes about this by the simple method of refusing to answer any of their questions or requests unless they ask him in English. Then, and only then, will he respond.

In the same language.

The first day both boys are confused about his lack of reaction to anything they say (why should he clue them in? Surely it should be obvious what he’s doing) and are befuddled by his abruptness. It is only after he’s asked Momo three times to pass him the ball that his tall sempai works it out, and the shouting fit that follows results in all three of them running laps.

The second day he is treated to a frosty, indignant silence.

The third day follows much the same.

On the fourth day, Momo cracks and asks him in halting English if he wants to go get burgers after school.

“I’d like that very much, Momo-sempai.”

“Echizen! You’re mean to keep this up!”

“I’m sorry, what was that, sempai?”

“Waaugh!! This is unfair!!”

“I’m sorry, what was that, sempai?”

“You... mean!”

Ryoma smirks.

On the fifth day, Fuji joins the English-only brigade, probably for the amusement afforded as Momo and Eiji’s faces fall. By the end of the day Oishi declares it an excellent method of revision and also begins speaking English, although only during school hours.

By the end of the week both boys are resigned to the situation, which is just as well, since Inui and Kawamura (who speaks English whenever he has a racket in his hands anyway) also decide to take advantage of the chance to practice their language skills. Kaidou holds out a little longer, but by the beginning of the following week his rare sentences are all in quite good, albeit hissed, English.

Tezuka refrains from making any comments about the sudden switch in native tongues within the team, but everyone quickly gets very, very good at English numbers. In particular the difference between ten, twenty and thirty.

The day after both sempais sit their English exams, Ryoma goes back to Japanese as abruptly as he gave it up. It takes Momo nearly half the day to catch on, and it’s only after he says something rude about kouhais who think they’re so clever, and Ryoma replies with his trademark comment, that they realise they’re free.

“Waiii!!! We’re saved! Thank goodness!”

“You were SO MEAN to do that to us, Echizen!”

“I don’t understand what you’re talking about, sempai,” Ryoma replies, straight-faced.


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