A/N: Hey guys! been a while, huh? I've had a lot of going for me in recent years. I'm a third year in college now, coming up on my 21st birthday. I got a job and a boyfriend. I was just rewatching Prince of Tennis last night and, well, inspiration struck! Hope y'all enjoy!
Oh! And to avoid confusion, Miki saying "this month's issue" refers to the issue she is writing this month. "Next moth's issue" is the issue she is writing next month. Enjoy!
o - o - o - o - o - o
"Echizen Ryoma?" Oishi parroted after Fuji.
He was telling us all about some freshman as we waited outside the school grounds.
"Have you ever heard of him?" Inui asked.
"From what Momo tells me, he's no ordinary freshman," Fuji continued. Oishi was the next to speak.
"Well if he said so then it must be true."
"If that's the case," He went on. "We should be grateful."
The short meeting was adjourned, Fuji heading toward his classroom. The rest of us scattered.
At this point, I already know the Seigaku Tennis Club regulars pretty well. After all, I've been managing their team for the last two years! Unlike the rest of them, I don't really play tennis. I do really enjoy watching, though. I'm the manager, so I do things like set up practice games, plan club events, and take care of supplying the team. Whenever I have extra time, I take pictures of the regulars and write articles about important tennis news. One day, I'll become the best tennis photojournalist the world has ever seen!
I struck a deal with the school newspaper. I write the weekly tennis column, and they allow me to use their equipment to produce my own magazine, Seigaku Tennis Monthly! Some of the tennis regulars aren't as well liked as others. Specifically, my readers are all afraid of Kaidoh. As manager, I must take care of my club members, but as a writer, I must present the facts. I decided next month's issue will be dedicated to Kaidoh! I'm sure he'd say something like "I don't need fans," but the truth is, cheering fans can turn the tide of a match!
"Kaoru-kun!" I rushed after him before he could get away. He turned back. "I'm doing a special issue on you next month. I want to show readers that you're cool, not scary. You know, so they'll like you more!" I grabbed my camera, always around my neck.
"They don't need to like me." Ah, so predictable.
"Hey, don't worry. It's not like I'm gonna publish your diary or anything, just put a few pics of you up and write a few pieces...You know, food, family, hobbies, tennis, stuff like that."
"Do whatever you want." He glanced away, allowing me to snap a photo. "Fshuuuu."
o - o - o - o - o - o
After class, as always, was club. All the freshmen and sophomore members would be there, including my obtuse younger brother. I knew he'd be causing trouble by the time I showed up.
"If you keep this up, Arai-sama will..." I heard him babble.
The regulars and I walked onto the court in a V formation. We do this every year for dramatic tension.
Arai Shoji, my younger brother, stopped antagonizing the freshies to watch us. I gave him a sharp look, a look of warning. Everyone's eyes were on us six.
"Cheers!" rang all the court's inhabitants, greeting their senpai. Oishi gave the freshmen orders to go wild with their racquets. After setting down my bag, I hoisted my camera around my neck, getting a few shots of Kaidoh doing his stretches. I looked through the photos, listening absentmindedly to the nearby chatter.
"Hey, it must be him! The captain, Tezuka, who went undefeated!"
"So that's him!"
"He has such a presence."
Fuji called out to Oishi then, and they realized he wasn't Tezuka.
"Doesn't look like he's the captain, Tezuka."
One of my various duties as manager is to keep an eye on the freshmen. I scoped them out, taking pictures of the ones with some potential. Eventually, my viewfinder came upon the freshmen whose conversation I'd been hearing.
" And the manager is said to be like an idol! So that must be her! The fabled Arai Miki!" said the one with an eye-catching unibrow to go with his colorful polo.
"Wow! I can't believe the manager is famous, too!" another said, this one sporting a bowl cut.
"She must be the prettiest girl in the whole school. Maybe she has a fanclub, too?" The third wondered, his head shaved.
"Sure she's pretty, but doesn't her name sound familiar?" This fourth freshie was slouched on a bench, baseball cap covering his eyes.
"Whatever, Ryoma! Who cares about that? Just look at how big her boob- Arai-senpai!" Unibrow stuttered when he saw me approaching them. I smiled sweetly.
"May I ask your names?"
They answered in order as Horio, Kachiro, and Katsuo. I looked expectantly at the fourth, who refrained from speaking.
"Well, if you don't want to tell me your name, I guess I won't be recommending you for a regular spot. Oh well." I started to walk away.
The super freshman makes his debut, huh?
With that info under my belt, I took some quick notes in my memo pad, then I returned to the court with the regulars. Oishi accidentally served a ball too far, but all of us were surprised when little Ryoma returned the ball to its rightful place... with his racquet. I took a burst shot of his return.
"It's unexpectedly simple."
Arai grabbed him and blew up. What am I to do with you, Shoji? Before I could do a single thing, Tezuka calmly interrupted, pinning them both with 20 laps and called for a warm up. I took a few shots of Ryoma running laps. The super freshman would be a good addition to this month's issue.
When they finished their laps, Arai challenged Ryoma to a game with a shitty old racquet. It seemed hopeless at first, but he quickly turned it around.
Ryoma easily embarrassed my poor, misguided brother. I shouted at him after the game ended.
"Arai-kun! I won't tolerate any more of this. On this court, we are all one team. You had better start acting like it."
"But, Nee-san...!" He started.
"I'm not hearing it, Shoji! I expect you'll be running laps for this."
"I expect we all will," Eiji grumbled.
Looking up to Tezuka's favorite classroom, I saw Oishi in the window. He held up one finger. Damn.
"Everyone listen up!" I got the attention of every person on the court. "You're all running ten laps! And yes, I mean every single one of you!"
I looked around. Not everyone was there, meaning someone wasn't running the laps like they should. Kaidoh was missing. I went to get him, assuming he was in the locker room. I quickly went and opened the door, calling out to him.
I stopped dead in my tracks, finding myself with a shirtless and rather sexy snake. It was no surprise to me that he was nicely toned, but a show of bare skin like that can really make a girl think things.
"Ah-sorry! I just came to say uh, Tezuka signed us a map. I mean he made us do wraps! I mean! Laps!" I skittered out of the room. Am I smooth or what?
I hope he's too oblivious to notice my crush on him...which is hopefully not too glaringly obvious.
Being me does have its perks, though. For example, not having to run taps!
I mean laps.