of Tennis Fanfiction
Disclaimer: Not mine
Characters: Hazue, Ryoma, Kaidou,
Setting: Hazue’s first and Ryoma’s
second year at Seigaku
Sections in italics are flashbacks.
Buchou = Captain
Fukubuchou = Vice-Captain
Nii-san = Older brother
Sempai = Upperclassman/senior
Dedicated to Lady Orla, who suggested a way to make this a
much shorter story, thus ensuring that I would actually write it.
never heard his brother’s footsteps coming up behind him, but the
outraged bellow of “Fifty laps around the courts!” echoed in his ears
long after said laps were done. He’d run as fast as he could, all
the while sneaking glares at the person responsible for his predicament.
had been excited about going to Seishun Gakuen, although this
excitement was barely discernable to most. And there was plenty to be
excited about. Junior High was a big step; new people, new uniform, and
his own brother was Captain of the famous tennis team! Hazue knew he
had a lot to live up to. Kaidou Kaoru was an excellent student, and
well-known as one of the top players of the school. He’d even been a
part of the winning team that had returned from the Nationals the
But none of that really mattered to
he knew his brother was great, but he was just pleased to be going to
the same school again. Ever since his brother began attending Seigaku,
he’d seen less and less of him. By the end of the previous year, Kaoru
had been so busy training or playing that he’d only ever come home for
meals, and Hazue had felt the absence of his older brother keenly. On
those rare occasions when his brother had taken him places, or hung out
with him, Hazue had gotten the distinct feeling that he was keeping him
from important practices.
But now they were at the same
school, surely they must see more of each other. And you’d think that
once they were in the same club, they’d be able to at least TALK to
each other once in a while.
But this was not to be. Kaoru was
the Captain, and Hazue was just a freshman. Oh, he didn’t really mind
that his brother mostly ignored him at practice. He wouldn’t have
EXPECTED special treatment, and he certainly didn’t flaunt his
relationship to the Captain, like he could have. But he’d thought they
could at least talk about tennis at home. Only his brother seemed to be
even MORE busy now, and when he was home, he was usually planning
exercises or strategising for upcoming matches with
Momoshirou-fukubuchou and Ryoma.
And that was where the trouble had
Ryoma. Echizen Ryoma. Everywhere Hazue turned it seemed that noone was
talking about anything else. The amazing prodigy who had made the team
in his first year, defeating two incumbent Regulars at the very first
ranking match he took part in. All the other first years were in awe of
their short sempai, and competed with each other to be noticed by him.
Hazue couldn’t understand it. They didn’t follow their beloved
Momo-chan-fukubuchou around that way, and none of them would even
entertain the thought of trying to attract the attention of
Kaidou-Buchou. (They called him scary. SCARY!! As though Nii-san was
ever anything but kind). But for Echizen Ryoma, everything was
different. His courts were always cleaner and clearer of balls than
anyone elses’, and whenever he wanted some water, bottles were thrust
at him from all directions. And he accepted all of this with no
apparent recognition of the efforts put forwards by others, as though
it were natural to be treated this way.
Hazue had even caught
his own brother smiling faintly at Ryoma, as though amused by his
actions. Certainly Momoshirou-fukubuchou seemed to find them hilarious.
But Ryoma seemed oblivious to it all.
At first, Hazue had been
confused, then annoyed, and finally enraged by the way that everyone
fawned over the other boy. Ryoma wasn’t even a THIRD year yet, and he
barely gave respect to his OWN sempai, most of whom seemed to naturally
defer to him. His fan-club was the largest (and noisiest) in the
school. And worse, Kaoru even included him in discussions about the
future of the team with Momoshirou-fukubuchou, and listened to his
opinions. It wasn’t just at tennis either. Whenever Ryoma spoke,
Hazue was infuriated. Just because
moderately good at tennis, everyone treated him like royalty. ‘The
Prince of Tennis’, he’d heard him referred to.
(It was that title, unfortunately,
that had gotten him into trouble earlier that day.)
Hazue decided that enough was enough. If Ryoma refused to properly
his seniors, then perhaps he deserved a taste of his own medicine. It
was easy enough to slip the insult in. They were both library monitors,
and Hazue frequently found himself rostered on at the same time as
Ryoma. One afternoon, handing over a pile of books, he’d made his first
attack. He remembered how it felt.
Biting his lip painfully
in apprehension, all the while wondering if he truly dared do it. His
eyes had narrowed as he resolved himself to this course of action.
Perhaps NOW Echizen-sempai would be more aware of the proper way of
“Here are the books, Echizen...” He’d said, and searched the boy’s face
carefully for a reaction.
“Thanks,” Echizen-sempai had muttered.
that, he’d tried again, at a time when Ryoma was less occupied. Still
no result. And again, and again. Until it had become second nature to
refer to him as Echizen. Seeing no result from his actions had spurred
him to greater heights of contempt. His fellow classmates had been
appalled the first time they’d heard him calling their beloved sempai,
“Hazue-kun, what do you think you are
Fuchigami had hissed. “That’s Echizen-sempai you’re referring to. Show
“I don’t think he’s so great,” Hazue had snapped back. “He’s nothing
like nii... Kaidou-buchou or Momoshirou-fukubuchou.”
he’s BETTER,” Hamasaki had retorted. “Didn’t you know that he defeated
Kaidou-buchou in his first ranking match? The first time he’d really
played against a Regular, and he won! You’d better be more polite to
him from now on.”
Hazue had been appalled.
His brother had been the first one to lose to Ryoma? Surely not. His
brother was a great tennis player, and trained hard. So very, very
hard. How could Ryoma possibly be as good as that?
there’d been the match against Rikkai. And Nii-san had put RYOMA in
Singles One. After that, nothing on this earth could have forced Hazue
to be polite to the other boy. He’d dropped the –san entirely and begun
calling him Ryoma. And STILL he hadn’t reacted.
Nii-san had though.
“What’s gotten into you this year?”
Hazue had turned, a cold feeling creeping over him at the sound of
disappointment in his brother’s voice. “Nothing.”
had regarded him steadily. “Some of the others have been talking about
your disrespect towards Echizen. Arai even told me I should teach you
Hazue had balled his fists, eyes prickling with
tears that he refused to shed. “What about HIS disrespect? He’s always
so arrogant! Why doesn’t you tell HIM to be more polite?”
there’s no point wasting my time,” Kaoru had said, a wry smile twisting
at his lips. “Echizen is Echizen. He’s a brat, and there’s no sense
wasting effort trying to get him to change.”
“That’s no excuse!” Hazue spat out.
His brother’s roar made him flinch.
not your place to judge Echizen,” and now he was no longer nii-san, but
Kaidou-Buchou. “It IS your place to show proper respect towards your
sempai, regardless of who they are. I don’t want to hear any more
complaints about your behaviour, is that understood?”
it was too late. As far as Hazue was concerned, Ryoma was totally
undeserving of respect, and so he gave him none. Not in the library,
and not at the club. And finally, one day, he’d just snapped.
“Hey, can you pass me that ball?”
Ryoma pointed with his racket.
Hazue, the only first year nearby, picked it up and walked over with
“Here you go, Prince,” he’d said, face expressionless.
Fifty laps later, he was still in disgrace.
was not looking forward to going home tonight. Kaoru was really, REALLY
angry with him, and it didn’t look as though the laps had been enough
to assauge his rage. Everyone else was saying horrible things about his
lack of respect, and some of them had even made disparaging comments
about his brother at the same time. He felt like he was going to fly
apart from a mixture of nerves, rage, and a strong feeling of
injustice. It wasn’t his fault! He was polite to everyone! Just not
Ryoma. And noone criticised RYOMA for being rude.
Hazue kicked at a stone, and
watched it bounce down the footpath. He really wasn’t looking forward
to getting home at all.
Hazue looked up and blinked at the older boys who had surrounded him.
“Y-yes?” He vaguely recognised them as some third years from his
school, but none of them were in the tennis club, so he didn’t know
“I hear you think you’re too good
to have to
observe the proper behaviour to your sempai,” one of the boys spoke up,
pushing him back roughly.
“N-no, that’s not right at all,
sempai,” Hazue’s eyes widened. “I mean...”
“Are you calling your sempai
LIARS?!” One of the other boys roared.
“I didn’t mean that...” Hazue
shrank back, wishing heartily that his brother was here. “I just...”
I suppose we couldn’t expect much from that freaky Viper’s little
brother,” one of the others drawled, and Hazue saw red.
“Don’t you DARE say such things
about nii-san, you bastards!” He raged. “He’s a good person!”
The first blow shocked him into
silence, and the second one knocked him to the ground.
“Little brat!” One of the boys
raised his foot to kick him...
The circle opened slightly and
Hazue peered up at his potential rescuer.
Echizen Ryoma scowled at the boys.
“You’re blocking the path.”
the hell? ANOTHER brat?” The first boy had grabbed Ryoma’s shirt and
hauled him up onto his toes. “You want the same treatment that this one
Ryoma stared at him fearlessly,
contempt clear on
his face. “If getting the same treatment means that I agree with him
that you’re all morons, then go for it.”
“You son of a...”
“He’s right, you ARE all morons,” a
voice drawled behind the group. “Want to try to give ME the same
“Who the hell?”
became very quiet, and the boy holding Ryoma released his grip, backing
away slowly. Ryoma straightened his shirt and looked down at Hazue.
“Are you going to lie there all night?”
awkwardly to his feet and moved over to Ryoma, wondering if he dared
take refuge behind the boy he’d insulted earlier. He looked over at the
direction of the third speaker and gulped. A tall, tautly-muscled boy
sneered down at the group of third years. His skin was very pale and
his hair almost white, and his eyes... Hazue felt a cold shudder go
down his spine as they flickered over him, ultimately dismissing him as
“Well?” The new person spoke again.
“Are you going to beat me too, or not?”
The group of boys was slowly
breaking up and moving away, trying to get out of reach.
“Well, come on then,” the boy
snarled. “If you won’t beat me, then I’ll beat you!”
The group broke and ran, chased by
the mocking laughter of the taller boy.
Ryoma shrugged uncaringly, “Come
on. It’s late.” He began to walk and Hazue quickly matched his stride.
As they came even with the other
boy, he looked down at Ryoma and smirked. “You owe me, brat.”
“Nobody asked you to get involved,”
Hazue trembled, but forced his chin
up as the other boy looked over him again. “Who’s this?”
“Kaidou Hazue,” Ryoma replied, and
Hazue blinked in surprise. “He’s in the tennis club.”
“Kaidou?” The other boy considered.
“Any relation to your freaky teammate?”
NOT a freak!” Hazue snarled, fists clenching. He glared at the taller
boy steadily, no longer intimidated. He was sick of hearing people
insult his brother. He didn’t CARE if he got beaten up, noone was
calling his brother a freak in his hearing again!
“Oh ho, so
the smaller snake has fangs too,” their rescuer laughed. He leant down,
and Hazue refused to back away as his face neared. After a tense few
moments of reflection, the older boy pulled back. “Baby teeth only. Too
bad. Come back when you’ve gotten your adult growth.”
Hazue’s eyes narrowed but he made
“Are you playing tennis again yet?”
Ryoma asked casually.
Everyone’s too boring,” the boy replied. His eyes gleamed and he looked
hungry. “I’m waiting for you to get to High School. Hurry up and grow
bigger, I’m looking forward to crushing you completely this time.”
“Never happen,” Ryoma said
dismissively. “But I’ll look forward to your attempts anyway.”
the older boy smacked Ryoma upside the head lazily. “You should get
home. It’s getting late and little boys should be tucked up in bed at
home, safe from people like me.”
Ryoma gave a half-bow and
started walking again. Hazue paused to shoot one more glare at their
rescuer, which seemed to amuse the boy, before running to catch up with
“Who was THAT?” He demanded when
they’d gotten a few streets away.
“Akutsu,” Ryoma replied shortly.
“Isn’t this your street?”
Yes. But who...?” Hazue became aware that Ryoma was now walking away,
once again paying no attention to anyone else but himself. His anger
rose up inside again. “Ryoma!”
“What?” The other boy turned
irritably. “What do you WANT Hazue?”
you remembered my name,” Hazue was shocked. It hadn’t been a fluke
before. Ryoma had remembered his NAME. Ryoma NEVER remembered people’s
names. Momoshirou-fukubuchou often joked that he barely remembered the
names of his own teammates!
“Of course I remembered your name,”
Ryoma said grouchily. “You’re the only one who ever calls me that aside
from the old lady. Now, what did you want?”
“Just... I just...” It was all too
much. “I just wanted to say... THANK YOU VERY MUCH SEMPAI!” Hazue bowed
“Fine, whatever,” came the flat
reply. “See you tomorrow. Good work today.”
Hazue straightened and watched him
leave without turning back, before continuing on his way.
When he got home, Hazue hesitated
for a long moment before sprinting upstairs to his brother’s room.
He panted as he threw the door open, “I have to talk to you, I have to
tell you...” His soul shrivelled as he realised he’d added to his list
of sins by interupting a strategy meeting between his brother and
“Hazue,” Kaoru frowned at him,
flickering across his face. “You can’t just come barging in without
knocking! Your behaviour today has been inexcusable. Go. I don’t want
to talk to you right now.”
Hazue wilted in the face of his
brother’s still-obvious wrath.
“Don’t worry about it,”
Momoshirou-fukubuchou stood up. “It’s obviously important. I’ll wait
I, it’s...” Hazue stopped, gulped once for air, and then just blurted
it all out. It came out as a mixture of apology and explanation. His
anger with and isolated campaign of disrespect towards Ry...
Echizen-sempai. The incident on the way home and his rescue by
Echizen-sempai and the mysterious Akutsu. He confessed it all and then
stood, trembling in the doorway, waiting for his sentence to be
“Akutsu? That jerk?”
Momoshirou-fukubuchou raised an
eyebrow. “Wonders never cease.” He glanced at Kaoru, “Want me to try to
find out who those guys were?”
Kaoru still looked slightly stunned
by it all. “But Hazue, I still don’t understand why you’d act like
this,” he said finally.
don’t KNOW!” Hazue said, staring at the floor. “All I could think about
was how Echizen-sempai is always acting so casually towards you and
Momoshirou-fukubuchou. And you said that it was just him, but if
someone else acted like that you’d be angry.” He clenched his fists.
“Echizen-sempai is always doing that sort of thing and nobody even
blinks but I can’t behave like that and you’re MY brother!”
There was a long silence.
“Hazue, just because Echizen has no
manners, it doesn’t mean I like him more than you,” Kaoru said finally.
“I know,” Hazue said wretchedly.
“But... you’re always so cold to me at school.”
Another long pause, until finally
Kaoru glanced down at the papers he was holding.
“Momoshirou, could we continue this
meeting tomorrow morning?”
I’ll get together some ideas and meet you before club,”
Momoshirou-fukubuchou said, grabbing his gear. “See you tomorrow.”
his way out the door, Momoshirou paused and put a comforting hand on
Hazue’s shoulder. “You know Hazue-kun, Echizen was brought up in
Hazue nodded. He knew that already.
His classmates thought it made Echizen-sempai exotic.
most American schools, it’s the normal practice for students to use
each others first names,” Momoshirou continued. “Regardless of what
year they’re in. So I really don’t think that Echizen would have been
particularly bothered by you calling him ‘Ryoma’.”
widened as Momoshirou continued. “In fact, he’s probably more used to
it that he is being called Echizen. So don’t worry about offending him
by using his first name. If he didn’t like it, he’d have said
something.” He patted the younger boy gently and then left.
Kaoru let him have a few moments to
take that in.
“Shut the door,” he said finally.
stepped into his brother’s room and closed the door behind him, then
leaned against it. He glanced up at his brother’s expression, then back
down at the floor.
“Hazue, you don’t really like
tennis, do you?”
head snapped up. This was not the approach he’d been expecting. He
opened his mouth to deny it but his brother shook his head at him.
“I just haven’t been doing it long
enough, that’s all,” Hazue said, changing his reply. “I’m sure I’ll
start liking it soon.”
Kaoru sighed. “Come here.”
Hazue approached cautiously and was
enfolded into a warm hug.
his brother said quietly. “You don’t have to follow me everywhere,
Hazue. You’re my brother. I’m never going to forget about you.”
Hazue closed his eyes. “But, it’s
really important to you.”
so are you. I’m sorry I made you think that I thought tennis was more
important,” Kaoru released him. “I haven’t been a very good brother
“You’re the best brother,” Hazue
defended. “I’m sorry I was rude.”
not the one you should be apologising to,” Kaoru said, affectionately
running a hand over his hair. “Echizen has a lot of faults, but for
once he’s innocent.”
“I’ll apologise to him tomorrow,”
Hazue promised. “I’ll treat him with proper respect from now on.”
That’s what I wanted to hear,” Kaoru nodded decisively. “And you’re to
spend the rest of this week thinking about what other club you want to
join.” He frowned sternly at Hazue. “Think carefully to make sure that
this is your decision, not mine.”
Hazue nodded and relaxed. “Yes,
face went back to its normal stoic expression. “Excellent. Now, why
don’t you sit down and tell me how things are going in your classes?”
Hazue sat down on the chair Momoshirou-sempai had been using. “And
after that, nii-san, can you tell me about this Akutsu guy?”
next day Hazue went to tennis club with a whole new perspective on the
game, his brother’s dedication to it, and Echizen-sempai. There were a
few whispers amongst his yearmates when he showed up, but they went
away when he ignored them and conducted himself as befitted his status.
There were a few comments from various other people when he apologised
to Echizen-sempai, but when there was no reaction from the older boy
(who seemed a bit confused about what Hazue was apologising for,
finally brushing it off with a “fine, whatever”) they too died down.
was during library duty that Hazue decided he should properly apologise
again. And he hadn’t really thanked Echizen-sempai for putting up with
him all this time. He approached quietly and waited until
Echizen-sempai noticed him.
“So you’re back to that one again,”
Echizen-sempai gazed at him flatly. “Just pick one and stick with it.”
“Uh, yes, sorry sempai,” Hazue
watched in amazement as Echizen turned back to the shelves. He really
was a strange one.
paused in the act of re-sorting some books, and casually tossed a
comment over his shoulder. “Ryoma-sempai is fine.”
“Thank you, Ryoma-sempai!” Hazue
“Whatever. Let’s just finish up.”
two boys continued their work in comfortable silence, and for the first
time Hazue found himself enjoying hanging out with Ryoma-sempai. At
least he didn’t talk on and on in an annoying way like some of the
others. Afterwards they headed for the tennis courts.
“I hear you’re leaving the club,”
Ryoma-sempai said abruptly, as they neared.
“Yes,” Hazue replied calmly. “I’ve
decided to join the karate club instead.”
“Ho?” Ryoma-sempai paused, looking
down at him. “Planning to grow stronger fangs?”
Hazue bared his teeth at him in a
smile, and Ryoma-sempai smiled slightly, turning away.
“You still have a long way to go,”
he said as they arrived.
“But at least you’re on the right