The Heart of a Snake
(a Prince of Tennis future fic)
Disclaimer: Not mine – damn!
Apologies for a couple of name misspellings in the first part. That’s
what happens when I write at 2am! Hopefully there aren’t any in this
part. Although I’m not using any Japanese in this fic, I am keeping the
honorifics such as ‘-san’ and ‘-sempai’ since it gets a bit tricky
using the English equivalents!
In regards to characterization: Obviously this is seven years after the
series, so everyone has grown and matured. Therefore Kaidoh is not
exactly the same as the 13-year-old Kaidoh in the anime and Nanako is
also a little different (not that the anime gives me much to work with
in regards to her!). However, I’m doing my very best to stay true to
For those wondering about the other Seigaku regulars, don’t worry. They
will be in the fic at some point! But this is a Kaidoh centric fic, so
naturally he’s getting the lion’s share.
Seated on the bench, a very pleased Kaidoh watched the doubles one
match wrap up with a rousing victory for Seigaku. Of course anyone
looking at Kaidoh would never have guessed he was pleased since his
expression was his usual grim one. However, a close observer would see
the slight upturn to his lips and the gleam of satisfaction in his dark
eyes. The current Seigaku doubles pairings might not be in the same
league as Oishi and Kikumaru, the legendary ‘Golden Pair’, but they
were miles better than their opposition. Kaidoh had seen some
weaknesses though and made a mental note to go over their training
later, but for now he just issued gruff compliments as the sweat-soaked
“Go and get a drink,” he advised them. “And put a compress on your
“Yes, coach!” the boys bowed quickly and rushed off, grinning and
slapping each other on the back.
Kaidoh slid his gaze to the coach of the opposing team, a man in his
fifties with grey hair. The man had also finished talking to his
doubles and sent them off, so now he turned and looked at Kaidoh. “A
good pair you have there.”
Kaidoh jerked his head in agreement. “Thanks,” he paused and then
added. “Yours had a few good moves.”
The older man chuckled. “Fine praise from Kaoru Kaidoh!” his eyes
twinkled with amusement and Kaidoh stiffened, wondering if he was being
laughed at. He was still not one hundred percent with his position,
especially when many of the other coaches were considerably older than
“Uh,” he answered eventually, not really sure what else to say. Luckily
it was time for singles three and the Seigaku player, a bright-eyed
second year named Hayao Yamada, approached the bench. Hayao was a
recent regular and clearly felt nervous.
“Someone told me Akira Mitsuichi is really good,” he said, darting
glances towards his opponent, a tall second year with longish hair.
Akira. The name twanged in
Kaidoh’s memory as he glanced over at the boy being prepped on the
other side. Nanako Echizen!
He looked around and saw her standing behind the fence directly
opposite him. She spotted him looking at her and waved with a cute
smile on her face. Kaidoh choked and Hayao looked at him in alarm.
Kaidoh pulled himself together and scowled in Nanako’s direction before
turning his attention back to Hayao. “Just do your best,” he said.
“Remember you’re a Seigaku regular,” he added, to bolster the boy’s
confidence a bit more.
“Yes, sir!” Hayao drew in a deep breath and smiled. He certainly looked
a bit more confident as he walked out onto the court. Kaidoh was
reminded a little of Kawamura and the way he used to act until a racket
was thrust into his hand. I should
stop by and have some sushi there sometime…
The game started with Hayao serving. The boy had a good strong serve
and managed to get three by Akira at the very start. Behind Kaidoh the
rest of the team cheered loudly. Kaidoh glanced at Akira. The tall boy
didn’t seem at all upset and instead had a rather thoughtful look on
his face. For some reason Kaidoh felt an uneasy feeling stir in the pit
of his stomach.
However, he was able to thrust it aside as Hayao went on to win the
first game and continue to show strength in the second. In fact Kaidoh
was starting to wonder what drink he should ask Nanako to get him when
Akira started his serve.
“Yay! Akira’s twist serve!” a girl squealed from the other side and
Pow! The ball slammed into the ground in front of Hayao and spun madly,
shooting past his face. Kaidoh gaped and stared at Akira who was
preparing to serve again. He’d seen this before, MANY times before and
been on the receiving end more than once. Akira Mitsuichi was doing
Ryoma Echizen’s twist serve! He glanced in Nanako’s direction and once
again she waved cheerfully. Kaidoh’s scowl deepened. He was beginning
to have the distinct feeling that he’d been had.
Indeed as the match went on, it was clear that Akira knew most (if not
all) of Echizen’s special moves and proceeded to wallop poor Hayao
soundly. The game ended with Seigaku losing, six games to two.
“Sorry, coach,” Hayao panted miserably.
Kaidoh was rather distracted by Nanako who was making a drinking
gesture with one hand. “Huh… uh… no, you played well, Yamada,” he said
in a slightly abstracted tone. “We’ll work on your defense later…”
“Yes, coach,” noting that his coach was looking at something beyond
him, Hayao glanced over his shoulder and saw Nanako. “Who’s the lady?”
he whispered to his teammates later.
“Don’t know, but she seemed really friendly with coach this morning,”
one of the others held up his pinky finger. “He denies it but
“Shush! If he hears we’ll be running fifty laps or more!”
Apart from singles three, the rest of the match went in Seigaku’s
favour and therefore Kaidoh’s mood had improved considerably by the
time he’d sent the boys home and was on his way.
“Kaidoh-san!” a breathless voice halted him and he turned to see Nanako
running up to him.
“You’re not running away from our bet are you?” she asked once she had
her breath back and Kaidoh felt his face heat up.
“N-no, of course not!” he looked around for a vending machine. “Uh…
what do you want?”
“Nothing from a vending machine!” she said and then blinked. “Is that
what you thought I meant?”
Kaidoh’s mind did a rapid backpedal although his expression remained
impassive. “Of course not,” he kept his tone even, but inside he was
beginning to panic. Where was he supposed to take her for a drink? He’d
never taken a girl out for a drink!
“So where shall we go?”
“You… you want to go now?”
“Ooh… perhaps we should get something to eat as well, I’m awfully
“Eat…” Kawamura! Sushi! Food! Drink!
“Do you like sushi?”
“I love it!”
“Come with me then,” Kaidoh turned abruptly and walked off, slightly
startling Nanako who had to run a little to catch up with him.
“That was a good set of matches,” she said cheerfully. “I’m so pleased
Akira did well… although… your player wasn’t upset?”
“Yamada will be fine,” Kaidoh glanced at her and saw genuine concern
for the loser in her eyes. “He needs to work on his defense so this was
a good lesson for him.”
Kaidoh couldn’t contain himself any longer. “How did he know Echizen’s
attacks?” he burst out. “The twist serve… the split step…”
“Oh, Akira lives close by our house and he came by a few times and did
a bit of practice with Ryoma,” Nanako said off-handedly. “Ryoma says
Akira will probably do well since he picks up things quickly, even by
He stared at her in flabbergasted rage. She knew! When she made the bet
she knew that this kid would be using Echizen’s lethal attacks. He’d
definitely been had. Kaidoh hissed softly and thrust his hands into his
“Kaidoh-san? Are you all right?”
“Fine,” he said shortly. Damn woman…
“So are you studying at a college?” Nanako asked as the silence
stretched between them.
Kaidoh stared steadily at the ground before him. “Veterinary science,”
he mumbled, feeling his face heat up again and bracing himself for her
giggles. “I’m in my second year.”
“Oh that’s lovely,” Nanako said softly and he stared at her.
“You… you think so?”
“Yes,” she said firmly, meeting his gaze with no hint of derision.
“There aren’t many people, men or women, who care enough about animals.
I think it’s great that you’re studying to be a vet.”
Well, he could hardly be angry with her NOW. “Thanks,” Kaidoh said. He
still wished the ground would open up and swallow him, but he didn’t
feel so bad all in all. Ask her what
she does, a little voice nagged in his mind, strike up a proper conversation, you idiot!
Kaidoh swallowed, opened his mouth and then ended up hissing again,
unable to break through his natural reticence.
How the hell was he going to make it through a meal with her?
“Thank you very much for taking me to the restaurant and escorting me
home,” Nanako bowed.
“It was nothing,” Kaidoh bowed in return. “Er… Good night,” he took a
few steps back.
“It was lovely meeting you, and Kawamura-san,” Nanako said smiling, one
hand on the front gate. “I really enjoyed our conversation.”
But you did most of the talking…
along with Kawamura… “Yes,” Kaidoh stepped back even more. “Good
night,” he said again and his face burned.
Nanako laughed. “Good night, Kaidoh-san,” she waved and went inside the
gate, her quick footsteps soon fading away.
Kaidoh stood there for a while and then blinked. What an odd encounter.
Echizen’s cousin, of all people… He shook himself and turned his face
towards his own home. Well, it wasn’t likely that he’d be meeting her
Strange that the thought would make him feel so… down.
End note: Originally I had a scene where they’re in the sushi
restaurant with Kawamura, but it got chopped because it really just
started to waffle and there wasn’t much point to it in the end. Sorry
to all those who wanted to see Kaidoh suffer through his dinner!
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