Author's Note: Recently I started playing Tenirabi and it reignited my love for the Prince of Tennis series. Too bad loving my OTP feels like living in the Sahara Desert right now, so I'm writing my own fanfic to curb my addiction a little bit.
I do not own Prince of Tennis.
Edit (3/24/2018): Okay wow, I'm sorry for burning you guys' eyes off with all these grammar errors in the dialogues. My bad. I fixed most, hopefully all, of them now.
Edit (5/2/2018): Beta-ed by my friend LeFluffyPunk. So far only the first chapter is beta-ed, but the rest of the chapters might come later.
Jade-colored hair, amber eyes, and an unbelievably small stature.
Looking back on it, Fuji regretted not trying to get to know him earlier, not having a good impression of him earlier, and not falling in love with him earlier. In only a few years, the young boy had already wormed his way into the deepest parts of Fuji's heart. At any idle moment, the way the young boy called his name would echo within his head.
Ah. There it was again.
Fuji slowly opened his eyes, and his cerulean irises met with amber.
Feeling a strange warmth around him, Fuji realized that a cloak was placed on him sometime during his outdoor nap. Recognizing the cloak's owner, Fuji smiled warmly at the young boy who woke him up.
Ryoma shrugged and looked away as he answered, "I don't know what you are thanking me for, but it's about time to wake up. It's almost dinnertime."
Fuji — shocked — stared at Ryoma, and then up towards the sky. The sky, beautiful and clear, was tinted in slight crimson, indicating the arrival of dusk. Fuji was bemused by how long he had slept, and as he got up, he chuckled slightly with a realization.
Ryoma stared at Fuji with a puzzled look.
"Oh, it's nothing. It's just..." Fuji paused and looked at his kouhai teasingly, "you would only wake me up if you felt hungry, huh?"
The young boy shot Fuji a look of protest. Fuji could swear that he saw a slight blush on Ryoma's face. Somewhat miffed by Fuji's previous statement, Ryoma turned around and attempted to head back inside their house.
The kouhai stopped in his track.
"I had a really good dream," Fuji said.
"...About?" Ryoma asked back after a slight pause.
Seven years ago, the Fuji family became the royal family of the country named Seishun.
The way royalty was decided in this country was special: the previous ruler had to name a successor almost as soon as he or she inherited the throne, and the successor could be either a relative or not related in blood at all. Of course, this could lead to some potential inheritance problems, but none of the past royal family could change the rule, as the selection process was so ingrained within the country. Therefore, usually the upcoming emperor would name a blood relative as a successor in order to prevent potential conflicts, political or otherwise.
For some reason that was not disclosed to the general public, the Fuji family was "randomly" chosen by the previous emperor out of pure whim, and officially became royalty when the previous emperor abdicated the throne. Thus, Fuji Syusuke became the prince of the country and was named by his father to become the king in the future.
The change came with many responsibilities and heavy burdens, but nothing Fuji could not handle. Or at least, that was what Fuji told himself.
As the prince of the country, Fuji had a team of personal bodyguards, which consisted of very skilled samurais from across the nation. Of course, he was close to all of them and entrusted them with his own life. (Although the sentiment might not be mutual, considering how much Fuji loved to prank on them.) He would like to believe that he knew all of them very well — from the ever stoic Tezuka to the super cheerful Eiji —and believed that these bodyguards were almost like a closed off bubble of friends that would stay this way for the rest of his life.
So when Tezuka made the sudden announcement that someone would be joining this team of bodyguards, it surprised Fuji, to say the least.
"...And, what is it that you are asking me, again?" Fuji asked Tezuka, the captain of the squad as well as his childhood friend.
"I need your approval before I can enlist the newest member into your security team, Your Highness," Tezuka replied.
Fuji sighed with his brows slightly furrowed, "I wish you would drop the formalities. It isn't necessary. And to be honest, you don't need my approval for something like this. You can just decide for me."
"...It is the proper procedure."
Fuji briefly wondered whether Tezuka was talking about the formal speech or the approval.
"Anyway," said Fuji while stretching his arms and walking away from his workstation, "I'll approve of the new member. I trust your decisions, after all, although I'm surprised that you're accepting a new member to begin with. When was the last time someone passed your standards of being a good samurai, I wonder?"
When Tezuka did not answer Fuji, the prince simply shrugged and return to his work. Similarly, Tezuka retreated to a corner of Fuji's workroom, and sat in seiza, silently guarding the place. It wasn't long until Fuji got that Tezuka noticed, and stopped working entirely. The captain sighed as he looked out the window — it was nighttime, almost time for dinner.
Tezuka stood up and said, "I shall escort you back to your room."
Even though Fuji's face only showed his usual smile, the mental celebration coming from the prince was so loud that Tezuka could almost hear it across the room.
Tezuka continued, "Kikumaru will be guarding you tonight."
And Fuji's smile only got brighter. Tezuka's eyes narrowed slightly as he watched Fuji leaving his seat excitedly, ready to head back.
The way back to Fuji's residence was long. That was just how the imperial palace was designed. Fuji supposed that it gave him much more time to walk around and ponder many things, but he was fairly certain that the long corridors were just part of a very poor design decision. Tezuka was walking behind the prince, as unwavering as ever, following Fuji's footsteps attentively.
A sudden aroma stopped Fuji's steps, and the prince looked towards the outside of the open corridors.
"...It's the cherry blossom blooming season again. Time flies by so quickly," Fuji whispered softly.
As usual, Tezuka did not provide him with a response when one was not needed.
The two proceeded to continue the journey back to Fuji's room in silence.
The way Tezuka interacted with Fuji, all those unanswered questions, was so commonplace to both of them that neither bat an eye to it anymore. At first, Fuji was bothered by the lack of answers, if only ever so slightly, until he realized that this was how Tezuka interacted with almost everyone he knew. Fuji was sure that Tezuka was most likely bothered by the number of questions Fuji asked on a daily basis too, at some point.
A sudden, loud voice broke through the silence and snapped Fuji out of his thoughts.
"Hoi, hoi, Fujiko-ch-," Kikumaru greeted while approaching the two from across the hallway, but then swallowed the rest of his sentence as he saw Tezuka standing right behind the prince, "I mean, good evening, Your Highness."
Fuji had to stifle a giggle, but Tezuka did not seem nearly as amused.
"Kikumaru," Tezuka said with a tone laced with warning.
Kikumaru grinned sheepishly and took a step backwards, away from Tezuka.
"Well, since we have pretty much arrived at our destination, I'll leave the both of you alone," Fuji said with a smile, ignoring Kikumaru's desperate signals for help to get away from Tezuka, and entered his own room.
Fuji could almost hear Kikumaru's silent screams even with a sliding door between them. Tezuka was always a little too insistent on the formalities, in Fuji's opinion, but Fuji enjoyed watching his other guards squirm under Tezuka's authority over them.
Soon, Fuji's world returned to silence. The prince stared at his room, dark and empty, and proceeded to light a candle. The warm light emitted from the candle only managed to alleviate a small amount of the darkness. He opened the window, and the moonlight spilled into the room along with the familiar aroma of flowers.
Fuji stared intently at the cherry blossom trees outside of his room for a very long time.
Some cherry blossom petals, carried by the wind, landed onto his bed and table.
Then, almost uncontrollably, Fuji lifted his leg and climbed halfway out the window-
"AH! Fuji caught red-handed trying to leave!"
Alarmed, Fuji swiftly turned his head towards the voice and found Kikumaru running towards his window from the entrance of his room. Normally, as Fuji's room was located at a corner of the building, the location of the window cannot be seen from the location of the door because the two were placed on different sides. Fuji originally thought that Kikumaru, who was supposedly guarding the door, would not have noticed any escape attempts from the side window.
Fuji smiled sheepishly, as if asking for forgiveness.
"No! You can't go outside, Fuji! Tezuka is going to skin me alive if he finds out! ...Okay, he won't, but he will definitely make me run 50 laps around all of Seishun and I refuse to die young," Kikumaru exclaimed in a clear panic.
"But Eiji, I really want to go outside and see the cherry blossom trees."
"There's a tree right there in front of your room!"
"But there's a public viewing today."
"You want to go to a public viewing? Do you even know how hard it is to guard you when you go out in public?"
"Please? I'll even talk to Tezuka about it afterwards. I just really want to go outside."
Fuji's dejected look made it very hard for Kikumaru to refuse, but still...
"I'm sorry, Fuji. The last time I let you out, Tezuka practically 'grounded' me for a month afterwards. I really can't let you go."
Fuji had thought that Eiji, of all people, would let him go.
After a deafening silence that followed, Fuji sighed disappointedly, and climbed back inside his room from the window. He looked outside — at the sky, at the moon, at the flying cherry blossom petals — and then decided to go to bed without eating dinner.
Fuji had never felt more like a prisoner.
Mornings can hit like a rampaging school of wild boars when windows are left open.
It was very early in the morning when the sunlight shone directly onto Fuji. Dissatisfied with how early he was woken up and unable to fall back asleep, he dressed up and proceeded to head towards the kitchen for some breakfast.
When he opened the door, Kikumaru was no longer on his shift. Kawamura stood in his place.
"Good morning, Taka-san," Fuji greeted.
"Good morning, Fuji. You sure woke up early," Kawamura replied.
"Yes, I accidentally skipped dinner yesterday, and I woke up hungry," Fuji said with his usual smile. "I'm going to head to the kitchen. You don't have to follow me."
Implying that Fuji would like to be left alone.
"Oh, uh... No problem! Just make sure to be careful."
And then Fuji headed off.
Even though Kawamura appeared to be the most agreeable of all of his guards, Fuji knew that Tezuka had ordered them to keep an eye on Fuji at all times, and Kawamura would most likely follow him from afar. Tezuka had always been a little overprotective — Fuji could not blame him, as multiple assassination attempts had indeed happened in the past — and yet Fuji found this overprotectiveness somewhat suffocating.
Reasoning with Tezuka also got Fuji nowhere.
While walking towards the kitchen, Fuji turned his head slightly and successfully spotted Kawamura following him. The prince sighed and decided to pretend that he never noticed.
At the kitchen, Fuji had obtained a tray with simple breakfast foods such as grilled fish, rice, miso soup, and chawanmushi. His servants wanted to carry the tray of food back to his room, but Fuji insisted on carry his breakfast himself. Then, he decided to take the scenic route on his way back.
The prince admired the newly blossoming cherry blossoms on his walk. The palace servants were already mostly awake and hurriedly prepared for the new day, scrambling towards their workplace. They greeted Fuji as they passed by, and Fuji just realized how busy a servant's day could be, even early in the morning.
Until Fuji saw something completely unexpected.
A man — or was it a boy? — in the blue and white uniform of a bodyguard, sleeping peacefully under the shade of a cherry blossom tree, ignoring all the busy servants that passed by him.
Silently, Fuji approached the boy. The comforting air under the tree's shade suddenly hit the prince with a surge of sleepiness.
Setting the tray of food aside, Fuji yawned before lying down and falling asleep next to the boy.
This might be a monthly update depending on my schedule. Also the next chapters will hopefully be longer.
Reviews are appreciated :)