Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis or Shakespeare. If I did, I would make Atobe less of a jerk and Romeo less of a wuss.
OK OK. So, if you have not read coffeelatte's It's All Greek, go read it NOW. This is a companion fic, which means it will take place in the same universe. It will focus on the Oshitari OC side story in It's All Greek, and also my fic, To Catch A Falling Star.
(All you have to know before starting to read this fic though, is that my OC and Oshitari were previously engaged.)
Also, I know how cliché a plot this is, but I hope you have enough confidence in my writing skill to give it a chance regardless. Or you can burn me in flames. I don't really care.
Second Disclaimer: This fic is rated T and will remain rated T, but if you are scandalized by themes of seduction, do NOT read this fic. There. You have been warned.
Third Disclaimer: When my OC is first introduced in my other fic, she is actually supposed to be a play on a Mary-Sue. So if she seems Sue to you, it's because she's supposed to. Read CH27 of TCAFS if you need proof she's not.
The style of this fic is part historical-romance novel, part Romeo and Juliet.
Also, I know this chapter is hard to get through since there's a lot of information, but bear with me? :D
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide th' encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold.
Oh, she is rich in beauty, only poor
That when she dies, with beauty dies her store.
Shigohara Minako did not believe in love.
Such a belief – or disbelief, for that matter – was not so uncommon in her world, she supposed. Minako attended Hyotei Gakuen, the most elite school in the Tokyo region (and quite possibly, the rest of Japan.) Hyotei's prestigious school programs and wealthy student population were sustained by even wealthier families. In a world run by the crème de la crème of the upper class, people found that one's happiness was closely linked, if not directly equated, to their social rank and financial prosperity. Thus, people interacted with one another not solely for the pleasure of their company, but more so for the sake of furthering their own connections to a higher rung in the socio-economic ladder.
Love was, ironically, a luxury that they could not afford.
Though, Minako thought to herself, maybe such a bleak outlook on romance was rather cynical for a high school student to have. Perhaps she ought to be more like the majority of her female peers – naïve, light-hearted, and wildly smitten with a certain gray-haired member of the tennis team.
('Never,' she thought in horror, trying to imagine herself swooning over his finger-snaps, screeching "ATOBE-SAMA!" at the top of her lungs. 'Never never never.')
At her age, people who claimed to not believe in love often felt that way because they had loved and lost. Or been consumed, chewed up, and spat out by Love's cruel jaws. Minako was not part of either category.
She'd never had her heart broken. Oh no — on the contrary, she'd been accused of leaving a string of broken hearts all across Hyotei's very spacious campus grounds. And while she'd dallied with the affections of many boys, she'd also lost interest quickly, and never entertained their infatuations for long enough so as to be truly involved with them.
Therefore, among the rumor-mill at Hyotei, Shigohara Minako could be considered a flirt. A bitch, maybe, if one was on the receiving end of one of her cool remarks or supercilious stares. But not quite a maneater or a heartbreaker, and certainly not a slut. In that matter, her reputation was as clean as snow.
Which was, in fact, extremely important, seeing as she was eighteen and of age, making her a possible candidate for a spouse. Having a promiscuous background would certainly make her less desirable in the screening process. Although arranged marriages at her age were rare nowadays, they were also not unheard of. Why, just the other day she'd learned of Hanazono-kun's engagement, and he was a year younger than she was!
Minako's parents had actually started the search for a suitable marriage partner long ago. However they appeared to be holding out for one that was advantageous to the family. Her father, CEO and founder of Shigohara Enterprises, was always looking for ways to expand his technological empire. If the businessman on the other side of a transaction had a son, her father would casually mention Minako's existence in hopes of making a deal in more ways than one. Shigohara Enterprises was not a large as, say, the Atobe Corporation – but the name carried enough prestige to garner respect among the upper crust.
So Minako had grown up accustomed to the idea that she was a pawn in her father's corporate chessboard, a bargaining chip to tip the scales in their favor on a business contract. Such a marriage meant that she would want for nothing in the future, and spend her days as a lady of leisure, gracing the social circles of high society with her presence. And that sort of future suited her just fine.
No, Minako thought with a little shake of her head, she did not believe in love.
"Shigohara-senpai!" Choutarou approached her at her locker, dropping a quick bow. (She always rather liked him; he was always so polite and humble, unlike many of his team members.) "Sorry to disturb you, but Ishima-sensei would like to see you in her office."
"To which I would be happy to escort you," a deep voice said from behind her, and Minako turned to find herself looking at the smirking countenance of Oshitari Yuushi.
She tossed back a strand of her brown glossy hair. "Thank you for the offer, but I'm perfectly capable of walking there myself."
"Yes, I see that…" Oshitari barely bothered to hide the appreciative glance he gave her legs. "But Ishima-sensei asked to see me too, so it appears you are stuck with me. Shall we?" He offered her his arm, but she ignored it.
It was a long, long walk to the office.
"Excuse me? Sensei?" Minako pushed open the door slightly. "You wanted to see us?"
"Yes. Come in." Ishima-sensei filed some papers away in a drawer before turning to face them, looking as serious as ever. "You two missed class yesterday."
Yesterday had been the tennis registration for the Kantou Regionals tournament, and all captains and vice-captains had been required to attend. Minako was in the process of serving her second and final year as captain of the girls' tennis team at Hyotei. To her knowledge, the boys' team had no vice-captain. Apparently Atobe preferred a sole dictatorship. Being his best friend (and evil advisor), Oshitari was probably the closest thing to a vice-captain they had.
"I'm sorry," Oshitari said, looking mildly bewildered. "Coach Sakaki should have had our absences excused."
"Oh, there's no problem regarding your attendance," Ishima-sensei assured them, consulting a sheet of paper in front of her. "We just assigned partners for our last project in Literature on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet." She looked up at both of them, adjusting her glasses. "Since you two were both absent, you will be partners."
Oh, HELL no.
"I beg your pardon?" Ishima-sensei said, looking affronted.
Crap. Had she said that out loud?
Minako coughed lightly. "Just clearing my throat, sensei," she said, aware that her smile was becoming strained. Oshitari was hiding a growing smirk, she noticed. That insufferable bastard.
Ishima-sensei looked between them. "There's not a problem, is there?"
"Of course not," Oshitari said pleasantly. "We're looking forward to it. Shigohara-san and I have an illustrious history of working together."
She practically had to choke to cover up her indelicate words. If an "illustrious history" included two feuding companies and a failed marriage engagement, then yes, she supposed that was accurate.
Unfortunately, Ishima-sensei was still a relatively new teacher to Hyotei, or else she would've heard of the Oshitari – Shigohara scandal that occurred a few years ago. Back when Minako was in middle school, Oshitari's father had expressed interest in acquiring some technological advancement companies to manufacture surgical equipment for his hospital. And Shigohara Noboru, being the opportunist he was, immediately offered a subsidiary company of his corporation to be the supplier. Down the line, the pricing didn't quite match up, and Shigohara Noburu decided to add his only daughter to the equation, to help facilitate the business merger. After all, the Oshitaris had a son her age, and who wouldn't want to be engaged to a Shigohara?
Oshitari Yuushi had honored the agreement by courting her in the public eye. He'd brought her flowers and chocolates, held her hand in his, and made sure the paparazzi had seen him gazing adoringly at her face. He'd played the part of her Romeo perfectly.
However, much like Shakespeare's love story, it was not meant to be.
Minako wasn't quite sure on the logistics, but what she did know was that Oshitari Senior ended up acquiring a different company altogether, effectively turning his back on the deal. Somewhere mixed in there was an intellectual property suit, and then a copyright suit, and a bunch of other legalities that she didn't really understand.
All in all, the engagement was called off.
(Which, in her very secret opinion, was a little disappointing. Especially since she'd just started warming up to Oshitari Yuushi. Not that she liked him or anything of the sort, but Minako felt that if she was going to marry for business, it would be nice to marry someone she tolerated well enough.)
"We've already done a lot of analysis in class," Ishima-sensei was saying, and Minako turned her attention back to her. "In addition to a presentation, you will be required to submit a ten page essay on one of the major themes in Shakespeare's work."
"Everlasting love," Oshitari supplied. He even added a little wistful sigh at the end of the word.
Ishima-sensei smiled with approval. "I see you have been paying attention in class."
"Actually, I'd much rather examine the role of gender in the play as a central theme," Minako cut in. "When Romeo falls in love—" She used air quotes. "—he struggles with a departure from masculinity."
Ishima-sensei looked taken aback. "Well, I suppose…"
Oshitari wrinkled his nose in disdain. "Oh, Minako-chan, where is the romantic bone in your body?"
"I had to get it surgically removed when I got engaged to you," she quipped under her breath.
He didn't bother to hide his smirk this time. This was always the very nature of their relationship, even after their engagement fell through. Though their family corporations were now bitter competitors, she and Oshitari had remained friends – with flirtatious remarks and witty banter being at the center of that friendship. It was all in good fun, she thought.
Strangely enough, ever since they started the unit on Romeo and Juliet in class, Oshitari had been increasingly persistent in trying to get her to date him again.
She couldn't quite understand why Oshitari was so fixated on the idea, especially considering that their families would never allow it. She doubted he was seriously interested in her; it was probably his perverse desire to live out a Shakespearean romance in real life.
Minako had no interest in being part of an experimental fantasy, nor interest in getting on her father's bad side. So as much as his advances amused her, she'd proceeded to reject them (though probably less firmly than she should've.) Much better to feign annoyance at his actions than to encourage such flirtatious behavior. However, she'd always wondered with a twisted sort of curiosity, what would happen if she gave in. Best not to spend too much time in his company, she concluded, lest he persuade with saccharine phrases and charming wit.
"Your project is worth ten percent of your overall grade," Ishima-sensei finally told them. "I trust that you understand the importance of it." She gave them both a speculative look. "You two should expect to spend a lot of time together."
Oh, bloody wonderful.
"Excuse me?" Ishima-sensei said, peering at her confusedly.
Minako coughed again, constructing an innocent smile on her face. She really needed to stop these unladylike slips of the tongue. "Beg your pardon, sensei. The air seems to be dry today."
Oshitari, of course, looked rather smug. "Fate works in mysterious ways," he murmured, gazing intently at her face.
Fate, Minako decided, was the worst kind of bitch.
"I had no idea you liked Shakespeare, Oshitari-kun."
Oshitari glanced up from the pages of Romeo and Juliet to see Suzuki Nanao in front of him. "Ah, Suzuki-san," he greeted. "It's actually for Literature class."
"Oh. You're lucky. We've been assigned to read Doll House for our final Lit unit and—" She grimaced. "It's pretty tough to get through."
"Considering you already have your hands full with Iliad?" Oshitari commented lightly. It was a well-known fact that Suzuki Nanao, though stellar in all other subjects, had absolutely no aptitude for Greek. There was a rumor that her butchery of the language had the Greek teacher in tears at one point.
Suzuki had the good grace to blush.
"Moved on from those trashy romance novels of yours, have you?" Atobe swept into the room, giving his friend an imperious glance. "Ore-sama does approve of this new choice. The British are far superior in their stories compared to that Japanese trash you are always reading."
Before Oshitari could respond, Atobe whirled to face the girl. "Nanao. Come. Ore-sama requests your presence in his salon at once."
"What is a salon?"
"Commoner, ore-sama shall not even dignify that with a response—"
"Is that like a barber's shop?"
"…" Atobe looked like he was going to faint. "You are hopeless. Come with me before you embarrass yourself further."
As he dragged the girl off, Oshitari hid his smirk behind the pages of Romeo and Juliet. Suzuki Nanao was currently the fake girlfriend of Atobe Keigo; a ruse to help him delay his own arranged marriage. (A rather clever ruse, if he did say so himself. It had been his idea). Nonetheless, Oshitari could tell the two were growing fond of each other, as he caught the genuineness in Suzuki's smile and how Atobe simply seemed happier whenever she was around. The "fake girlfriend" situation was temporary, at best.
Though, a relationship would be temporary too, Oshitari realized. Atobe Senior would have his son end the relationship when the time came. How positively tragic that the two would be torn apart the instant they realize their love for each other.
Such a complicated plot would make for a good romance novel, Oshitari mused. Of course, it would be better if one of them had a life-threatening illness or had been tragically drafted for a war… Or were the children two families that were feuding terribly in the streets of Verona…
He sighed and turned back to Romeo and Juliet.
It took Minako longer than she expected to copy all the notes from the classes she missed yesterday. By the time she got to tennis practice, she was already a good twenty minutes late. Not that it mattered. Gamaro was already leading the first-years in forehand drills. Omae, the most promising second-year on the team, had started handling all the paperwork. So regarding the tennis team, Minako had pretty much retired as captain in all ways but name.
"Buchou, you're late," Rie, her vice-captain, noted upon her arrival. Rie had platinum blond hair, but her eyebrows were always penciled-in with black. A raised eyebrow was impossible to miss.
Minako met her gaze steadily. She could never back down from a good power struggle. "And? Are you going to give me laps?"
Rie pressed her lips together, but to Minako's satisfaction, didn't dare. "Just hurry and change."
Minako purposefully did so at a languid pace.
Every time she changed out of her Hyotei school's uniform, Minako couldn't help but be irritated at how fussy it was. She unbuttoned her brown blazer, peeled off the sweater vest underneath, then loosened the red tie and unbuttoned the white blouse, and finally, off came the plaid skirt and knee high stockings. It was an exhausting process.
Forget laps, she thought with exasperation. Changing clothes was enough of a warm-up.
She opened her locker to trade her Italian leather Mary-Janes for her tennis shoes… and that's when she saw it. A single red rose, sitting innocently in her locker, with a note in flowing italic script. To my Juliet…
'Are you kidding me?' She didn't even want to know what he had to do to get this in her locker. If he asked someone to do this, or if someone had seen him come in… well, people would talk. She needed to put an end to this behavior.
Seeing that Rie was currently occupied with some of the sub-regulars, Minako headed over to the boys' courts, where she located him at the water fountain. "Oshitari." She held up the rose and resisted the urge to smack him in the face with it. "What is this?"
"That, my dear Minako, is a rose," he crowed. "Species floribunda, commonly used in the courtship of—"
He was cut off when she shoved a hand into his chest, pushing him around the building where they were just out of view. "I mean, what are you doing?"
"Isn't it obvious?" He spread his hands. "I'm wooing you."
She blinked. "Wooing," she repeated neutrally.
"Yes. A rather old pastime of mine—"
"Old as in 1885?" Her brow arched upwards into her side-swept bangs. "Since your vocabulary seems to be stuck in that era."
He only smiled at the bite in her words.
"You can't…" She exhaled reluctantly and pressed the rose into his hands. "You can't keep doing this, Oshitari. What would your family say if they found out?" She gestured at herself. "That you're fooling around with Shigohara Noburu's daughter, even if it's only for your own amusement?"
He twirled the rose in his hand absently. "What's in a name?" he murmured. "That which we call a rose…"
"By any other name would smell as sweet," she finished, more out of habit than anything. She clapped her hands in front of him. "Focus, Oshitari. This is important." Not the time to be reenacting love scenes from Romeo and Juliet.
Apparently he didn't get the memo, as he reached out to touch a lock of her hair, letting it trail lazily through his fingers. "It is a shame to waste such chemistry."
"Chemistry is the kind of thing that makes shit blow up in your face. Haven't you seen Mukahi in chemistry class?"
Oshitari broke off the stem of the rose with a small crack! "You can't deny it, though," he said lowly, reaching to brush her hair behind her ear. "What we have."
Minako almost inhaled sharply as his skin met hers, but managed to quell it. 'Fine, if that's how you want it. Two can play at this game.' She drew her lips into a secret, secret smile, one that spoke of rabbit holes and Pandoras' boxes. Said coyly, "I'm not denying anything."
Oh, she was treading through a minefield, yes she was, but the warmth of his hand was oddly hypnotic.
He gently tucked the rose above her ear, his fingers caressing down her jawline. "We are kindred spirits, you and I."
"We're too similar, you and I," was her retort, her eyes sliding up to meet his in a catlike gaze. "Even Atobe says it."
"And that's such a bad thing?"
"Only a narcissist would fall in love with someone exactly like him or herself."
"Love?" he drawled, a hand on the wall behind her, moving closer. "Minako-chan, now you are speaking too soon."
(Oh, she was traveling down a dark, dark path, and yet she couldn't stop walking forward.)
Her voice dropped seductively. "Who said I was talking about me?"
His face was mere centimeters from hers now. Minako gave him a look that was uncannily similar to the one she gave Rie moments ago. Challenging him. 'Do it, if you dare.'
Oh, he dared.
His lips slid down and captured hers, his body pressing her against the wall. One hand went to the back of her head, fingers entangled in her brown waves, and the other went to the curve of her back, burning through her tennis uniform.
'Well,' she thought to herself, her heart pounding against her will. 'This is… different.'
He'd kissed her a dozen times when they were still in that arranged marriage, but all of those kisses had been chaste pecks or innocent brushes of the lips; never anything improper, just anything that could be photographed and used as publicity.
Nothing like this. This was something wild and untamed, and new. She'd always wondered what it would feel like… and now she knew. (Through the looking glass, down the rabbit hole.) She gave in completely, sinking against his frame.
It felt hot. Fire-hot, in fact, like flames were eating her from the inside out.
Hellfire flames, she thought, as his hand stroked the base of her neck. Funny, if her father found out, he'd rain all of hell's fury down on both of them—
Oh, crap, she suddenly realized –
Someone could see them. Someone could see them – and it didn't matter who she was kissing, this sort of indecency could destroy her reputation regardless. The fact that it was an Oshitari was just the cherry on top of the cake.
"Oshitari…" she breathed, trying to step back. "Oshi—Yuushi," she tried, a hand on his collarbone. "Yuushi, stop."
He reluctantly pulled back. "See?" he said, his breath erratic. "That wasn't so bad now, was it."
"Bad" didn't even begin to cover it.
With a final shove, Minako managed to push him backwards, and ducked under his arm. "I'll see you tomorrow," she tried to say indifferently, with her back to him, so he couldn't see the blush staining her cheeks. She quickly glanced around to make sure that no one had seen, smoothed out her tennis uniform, and ran a hand through her hair. There. She was perfect.
As she walked away without a second glance, her hair swishing back and forth, Oshitari could help but sigh hopelessly. Though he was pleased that he'd mussed her hair enough so that ceased to flow in perfect waves.
And she was still wearing the rose, he noted with contentment.
Ah, well. Good things come to those who wait.
Minako spent the next day avoiding Oshitari Yuushi for very different reasons than before. Actually, many of the reasons were still the same, but the situations had changed dramatically.
That kiss… Fire-hot, it made her feel. Fire-hot. Like lava ran through her veins.
And… it was strange, but she was curious. Wanted to know more. Wanted to know what it would feel like. (Oh, this was a dark, dark path she was following.)
But, she reminded herself, if someone had seen them yesterday and, God forbid, word got back to her father…
The thought made Minako's stomach churn with nausea.
As it turned out, avoiding him for the whole day was easier than she thought. It was a simple task to excuse herself from the classroom whenever he was nearby, and it just so happened that Atobe had been keeping him preoccupied for some sort of scheme. Something that involved Suzuki-san, for she'd seen the three of them together quite a few times in the past couple days. As the hours wore on, and she hadn't so much as glimpsed his shadow, she allowed herself to relax in her success.
At the end of the day, she headed to the school gates, congratulating herself on a job well done—
Only to find him waiting there, leaning against a shiny black limousine and looking extremely self-satisfied.
He gestured gallantly at the limousine. "Your chariot has arrived."
She crossed her arms, but for some reason, she couldn't help the smile on her lips. "You do realize I have my own ride."
Oshitari waved a dismissive hand. "I took the liberty of sending your driver home early so I could escort you home." He smiled charmingly. "A lady should always have a gentleman take her home, lest something terrible happen on the way."
"Like what?" she asked, too amused to be annoyed. "A crazy blue-haired teenager could abduct me in his limo and bury me in the woods?"
He put a hand over his heart in mock concern. "And how lost you would be without my assistance."
She was trying very hard not to laugh now. "You are ridiculous."
"Just get in the limousine, Minako. You're holding up the line."
That was true. Already she could see other limousines and luxury cars piled up behind his. One driver had the audacity to honk at her, and she threw a frigid glare in his direction. Sighing and shaking her head, she climbed in – not that he'd given her much of a choice.
Oshitari, if anything, deserved points for persistency.
"So," she said, having moved to the far end of the plush leather seat. "What do you want?"
He shut the car door and slinked over to her. "I kissed you yesterday."
"And I kissed you back," she replied coolly, inching even farther away. "What's your point?"
"I think…" God, he was close enough that she could feel the heat of his breath. "That you liked it."
She was not going down that road. That road was a dark, dark path that led straight to the hot (fire-hot) pits of hell. "Are we supposed to get married the next day now?" she said instead, diverting the subject. She took out her copy of Romeo and Juliet and prodded him in the chest with it, effectively putting a little more distance between them. "That's what happens in here, right?"
He studied his fingernail. "Well, you know… I'm not entirely opposed to the idea."
She threw her copy at him.
He caught it easily. Damn tennis players and their fast reflexes.
"What do you want," she said again, except now she was asking about something entirely different.
"You know exactly what I want."
"Our families would never—"
"Oh, Minako-chan, if you have to rely on that as your main argument…" His smile was wicked. "We both know that you don't have leg to stand on."
"I don't know about you…" she argued, "But my father would kill me." (He would kill her and then feed her carcass to the dogs, without batting an eyelash.) She studied him for a second, then shook her head. "No. You aren't nearly handsome enough to be worth the danger of his wrath."
"How's this? Date me for a month," he suggested. "I just need one month to change your mind."
"One month to make me fall in love with you? That's ambitious, considering you know I don't believe in love."
"Maybe 'love' is too ambitious," he agreed. "But I just need a month to prove…" He shrugged. "That I'm worth it. That romance exists."
For a moment, she was silent. Dear god, she couldn't actually be considering this, could she? She was playing with fire, fire-hot fire.
"Come on, Minako-chan," he coaxed. "A little Romeo and Juliet never hurt anyone." At this, she leveled a pointed glance at the book, eyebrows raised in amusement. "Except… well... Never mind," Oshitari backtracked, holding up his hands. "Okay, I admit, that wasn't my finest argument. But really, a little danger can be exciting. Or—" He smirked arrogantly. "Are you worried that you might actually fall for me?"
She almost jumped for the bait, but reeled herself in. "What's in it for you?" she asked suspiciously.
"Only the pleasure of your company."
"Fine," she conceded, though she didn't believe him for an instant, "What's in it for me?" Before he opened his mouth to speak, she added, "And just so you know, your company is more pain than pleasure."
"Well… if you like it that way…"
"If I recall, yesterday it was 'Yuushi'."
Now he was being coy. "Those were different circumstances," she ground out.
He slid even closer, his eyes on hers in a smoldering gaze, his fingers linking between hers. "Then perhaps we should recreate those circumstances."
Thankfully at that very moment, the limo pulled up in front of her family estate. "Oshitari," she said firmly, scooting out of the car and out of reach. "Thank you for the ride."
He sighed, planting a feather light kiss on her knuckles, before letting go. "Just think about my proposal, Minako dear."
"You." Atobe strode into his room with all the presence and purpose of a lightning bolt, an accusing finger pointed in his direction.
Oshitari made a show of looking around his empty bedroom. "Ah, I assume you mean me."
Atobe ignored his flippant comment. "Are you dating that wretched Shigohara Minako again?"
Going back to his book, he sighed forlornly. "It is a continuous effort, I suppose."
This information clearly displeased Atobe. "I just have no idea what you see in that… that… woman."
"Hmm…" He flipped a page, having had this conversation many times before. "Yes, Minako is a woman. Your perception abilities are quite impressive, Keigo."
"She's going to string you up and play you like a harpsichord—"
"A harp, dear Keigo. A harpsichord is a type of piano."
"Jesus." Atobe made a noise of frustration in the back of his throat. "You know what kind of girl she is."
Finally, Oshitari lowered the book to glance at him above the rim of the pages. There was a dangerous glimmer in his eyes. "Yes, I know what kind of girl she is." He paused. Said, with aching slowness and deliberateness, "Do you know what kind of guy I am?"
Atobe stilled. To Atobe, he was really saying, 'Oshitari Yuushi. Tensai. Man of a thousand techniques. Now, what makes you think that I can't handle myself?'
And Atobe knew Oshitari was perfectly capable of handling himself. Oshitari was one of his closest friends, and because of that, Atobe knew him well. Knew his strengths and his flaws. Knew that Oshitari was by no means the perfect prince that the Hyotei girls believed he was. Knew exactly the type of guy Oshitari was.
For starters, he was one hell of a manipulative bastard – after all, it was all his fault that Atobe was currently in this façade of a relationship. His tongue was almost as sharp as his piercing gaze. On the tennis court, he toyed with his opponents in a cruel, sadistic manner, before pounding them mercilessly into the court.
While he seemed a calm and collected individual, underneath the surface was a torrent of ambition and an incredible drive to win. Atobe had never seen Oshitari angry – (at most, annoyed) – but there was no doubt in his mind that Oshitari would be downright terrifying when riled.
Bad traits aside, Atobe also knew that Oshitari could be unbelievably patient. And kind, extremely kind. He may have poor taste in literature, and even more hideously questionable taste in women, but when it came down to it…
Oshitari Yuushi was a good guy.
Which was more than he could say for Shigohara Minako. "She is going to eat you alive," he finally grumbled, knowing it was a lost argument.
"Keigo, you know me," Oshitari said, leaning forward with a hand over his heart. "I am but a fool for love."
"You're just a fool," Atobe corrected, but he let the conversation end there.
Those who thought Minako didn't have a good relationship with her father were terribly wrong.
Wrong because of several reasons. The first being that Minako had a relationship with her father to begin with.
Secondly, a "bad relationship" implied that both parties were unhappy with their relationship. Minako was perfectly satisfied with her interactions with her father (and especially with how few there were.) He gave orders, she followed them, and no one got hurt.
For the most part.
On a rare occasion, like today, her father would ask to see her. He would ask some simple questions, and Minako would answer them: yes, her image was perfectly pristine, and yes, her grades were still top notch. Then he would nod approvingly and send her on her way.
So today's meeting was probably like any other day, Minako assured herself. Her father was just seeking reaffirmation that she was still suitable spousal material. Still usable leverage.
But if her father had somehow heard about the kiss…
Well, then she'd lie and say that Oshitari had taken advantage of her, she decided. Whilst crying desperately. Good thing she'd always been a convincing actress. While she found Oshitari entertaining and was rather fond of him at times, she was definitely not above throwing him under the bus to save her own skin.
So Minako stepped into his large home office, having prepared an eloquent speech on the flawless state of her studies and reputation, or a sobbing soliloquy on her tarnished purity, when his first question caught her completely off guard.
"Was that young Oshitari's limo I saw you getting out of earlier?"
She froze for a moment. It hadn't occurred to her that he would be home to see her return. The words lingered on her tongue as she considered what to say, choosing her words carefully. "Yes…" she said slowly, trying to gage her father's reaction. "Oshitari-kun was kind enough to give me a ride home."
"He likes you, you say?"
She hadn't, so she smiled vaguely. Said, "I've been honored by his attention, yes."
"Hmm. I see…" His expression was unreadable, though he was clearly contemplating the situation, twirling a pen between his fingers.
Her fingers were twisted into little knots behind her back.
"This is good…" her father pondered aloud. "We need to keep the Oshitari family distracted while we're getting ammunition for our lawsuit. You dating their son again would be perfect."
Minako paused, not liking where this was going. "Father, I—"
"This is an cunning plot you've thought up here," he continued to say as if she hadn't spoken. He sounded impressed.
Did he think that she came up with this idea?
"How clever. You must've gotten it from me." He looked at her appraisingly, steely eyes sweeping over her. "Certainly not from that silly mother of yours."
At this, Minako felt a twinge of indignation on behalf of her mother. Shigohara Hana, though a former international model, was certainly not some sort of airhead or simpleton like the stereotype suggested. She was supremely skilled at getting what she wanted; an expert at dealing with wealthy men and even more adept at wrapping them around her finger. It was from her mother that Minako learned: Behind the most powerful men in the world, there were often even more powerful women pulling the strings from the shadows.
She refused to become either one of her parents. "Father," Minako said more firmly. "I'm not going to—"
"What's that?" His words were quiet, but venomous, and she could feel herself visibly flinching. "You're too soft, Minako. A conscience will get you no where in this sort of business."
It's been long ingrained in her mind that Shigoharas should follow their brain and not their heart. Conscience was the voice of the soul, and as far as her father was concerned, the Shigoharas had sold that long ago – offered it on a silver platter to the devil on the dollar bill, in exchange for a ticket into this lavish world.
Conscience was weakness. Emotion was weakness. She bristled. "It's not my conscience."
"Oh? What, then?" His eyes were beady and hard. "Do you actually care about him?"
If indulging in Oshitari's affections was like playing with fire, then skirting around her father's disapproval was like toying with a motherfucking inferno. "Of course not," Minako responded automatically, allowing a scathing tone to enter her voice.
"Then, do as I say. Date young Oshitari." He spun the silver fountain pen on his desk lazily. "You know, you could've just said, "Yes, Father", and this conversation would have been over a long time ago."
She looked at him; held his gaze. Swallowed thickly. Weighed her options.
(She was traveling down a dark, dark path, and now her torchlight had just gone out.)
End Chapter One
A/N: Yes, I know this plot is rushing at the speed of light, but y'all know that I have a terrible track record with multi-chap fics, so… yeah. I hope to end this story within ten chapters.
Coffeelatte inspired all the scenes in this fic, so review and then go shower her with love. Also, there will be some inconsistencies between this fic and coffeelatte's, but only if you squint.
(CoffeeLatte is so amazing that I almost didn't want to post this fic because let's face it, she's so much of a better writer. She intimidates me.)
This is my first time writing Hyotei exclusively, which is quite a challenge.
Also, in case you haven't read To Catch A Falling Star (and I don't blame you since it is a monster), here's a list of where the major Oshitari OC scenes are:
CH27: Mini scene near the center of the page.
CH29: Large scene near the end of the page
CH30: Mixed doubles at the top of the page, large scene near the end of the page
Review. Because I have no idea how good or awful this is, and reviews would help me determine if I should bother to continue it.