A/N: I just love RuHana pairings in Slam Dunk. I read quite a great deal of Slam Dunk, although I'm not exactly a real fan of it. I do think the do'aho and the kitsune are a match made in heaven.
Disclaimer: I don't own Slam Dunk and its characters, and neither do I own Mulan for that matter. :P
CHAPTER 1 – MATCHMAKER'S TEST
"Diligence, loyalty, trust, respect, understanding, forgiving, hardworking…"
Sakuragi has just gotten out of bed remembering that today was the matchmaker's test day. He took out the scrolls that were meant for him to study and started jotting down the notes onto his arm. He had to—he hadn't studied last night because he was busy doing the chores in the house and playing with other guys just to forget about the nauseating feeling of meeting the matchmaker—again.
Sakuragi Hanamichi was not such a bad-looking character, really. He had the reddest, brightest flaming hair, running down to his shoulders, you have ever seen in the whole world, and his copper-brown eyes are just the most wonderful ones you just can't help loving. He got that hair through a skipped generation of red-heads—his ancestor from his mother's side has red hair. He's tall and built, at about 189cm, and he has incredible stamina and strength. He could take down anyone with just a swipe of his hand or a butt on the head (his head is seriously as hard as steel) and can jump higher than anyone else put together. His arms and feet are tough and strong and unbelievably skillful in holding anything at all with the just the palm of his hand, including his favourite basketball.
But this wasn't much liked by the girls of the Amazons, for he was born and bred in the half-traditional-half-modern Amazon Island where the role of girls and boys are exactly the opposite—girls go around in battle and do all the important stuff and walk around being tough and all while the guys stay at home to do the household chores or minor things like being a hawker or something. In Amazon Island, the women are the bread-winner of the family. Thank goodness that the nature of things hadn't changed the fact that women still play a role in bearing children, but whether in having sex or having kids or a family, women still is the 'man of the house'. Which is why our dear ol' Sakuragi Hanamichi had failed to pass the matchmaker's test over and over again 5 times in a row. His attitude is so much like a girl and not like those typical timid little boys who walk around lowering their heads while girls keep theirs high.
"And the final one…punctuality," Sakuragi muttered to himself again as he wrote down the last piece of the 10 rules of being a husband. The word struck him like a gong. Punctuality…Sakuragi yelped in shock. He was late for the preparation to go for the matchmaking test! And he hadn't even brushed his teeth yet! As he brushed his teeth hastily, he tied the bag of grain to his basketball and rolled it on the ground, spilling the grain around the grass for the chickens to feed on. With the toothbrush still in his mouth, he rushed over to the kitchen to boil his mother's herbal tea. His mother had a bad knee due to her last war and was now retired and resting at home nursing it. After gargling, Sakuragi had just enough time to rush to the ancestral pagoda to bring his mother her tea.
His mother, Mrs. Sakuragi just came out of the ancestral pagoda after asking for the ancestors to help her son succeed in his matchmaking test. She saw her son bounding up to her holding the cup of herbal tea for her. He was trying to shove in a pair of trousers while buttoning his shirt. Mrs. Sakuragi sighed and shook her head as she took the cup of tea.
"Here you go, Mom," Sakuragi Hanamichi said as his mother took the tea. "Remember, Mom, 3 cups in the morning and 3 cups at night. You want your knee to heal, right?"
"I hope you will succeed this time, my son," Mrs. Sakuragi tried to give her son some encouragement but he was too much in a hurry for pep talk.
"Sorry, Mom! I'm running late! I gotta go, Dad's waiting for me! Don't worry, I'm a tensai, I will prevail! Nya ha ha ha ha ha ha ha~!"
So saying, Sakuragi Hanamichi bounded off, leaving his mother standing in front of the pagoda with her steaming cup of tea. She sighed and walked back into the pagoda.
"I think I'll pray some more."
"Where have you been, Hana-chan? You have a test today and you're almost running late!"
"Sorry, Dad. Overslept," Sakuragi Hanamichi replied as he bounded into the shower house. The cleaning man shook his head in disapproval before stripping him naked and pushed him into the bath. Sakuragi yelped as the scalding hot water gave him a sudden burn.
"Well, you were quite late and the water was getting cold, so we had to refill it," Mr. Sakuragi (in Amazon Island, when a couple marries, the man will obtain the wife's surname) told him. He noticed the notes he scribbled on his arm and gave him a disapproving look, but was kind enough not to wash it away—he knew his son very well about his appalling memory. He was then taking to the beauty house and was given a makeover—as in new suit, new hairstyle (Sakuragi insisted on not cutting his long hair), new shoes, new everything. His basketball sifu, Sensei Ansai was also there to wish him luck, giving him a lucky mynah named Noma to make things even better. Sakuragi groaned.
'I need more than just luck,' he thought nervously. 'I need a miracle!'
After all said and done, Sakuragi quickly rushed up to the line of other men his age to take the test. People stopped doing whatever their doing to see the event—it's not always that Amazon Island has anything interesting as this. Among all the people before him, he was the tallest (obviously) and he stood out among the rest. They all stood in a single file in front of the matchmaker's house waiting to be called in. Slowly the door of the matchmaker's home opened. There stood Akagi the matchmaker, standing even taller than Sakuragi with dark skin almost like Michael Jordan's and a face which resembles a gorilla, thus earning the nickname by Sakuragi 'The Gori'. His assistant Kokure was walking beside him, holding a writing board. Timid and silent with his glasses, he was the perfect husband any woman wants to marry, but somehow no one did. Probably because he was hangin around with the tall, giant-like Akagi.
"Sakuragi Hanamichi!" Kokure called out, tapping the writing board with his pen.
"Hait! The tensai is present!" Sakuragi said cheerfully, standing right away and waving his hand valiantly, sending the townspeople into fits of chortling and laughter. Akagi looked at him in disapproval.
"Speaking without permission," Akagi muttered as he scribbled onto his board. Sakuragi slapped his head. That was the golden rule of a husband and yet he forgot all about it. He walked awkwardly behind Akagi and Kokure and was ordered to take a seat while Kokure closed the door. Sakuragi gulped in anxiety. This was it. The big test.
"Recite the 10 rules of being a husband," Akagi said. Sakuragi took off his hat and pretended to look grooming enough as he stole a peek at his arm. He was slightly horrified when he saw that the ink on his arm smudged due to the bath but he recited it anyway.
"Diligence, speak only when spoken to, royalty…sunimase! Loyalty…trust, respect, understatement…no! understanding, forgiving, hardworking…and, err…" Sakuragi squinted to see the terribly smudged word before he finally blurted, "Punch you in the eye…gomenasai! It's punctuality. Sunimase…Itai!!"
Akagi grabbed Sakuragi's arm all of a sudden as soon as he finished reciting the 10 golden rules. Sakuragi thought that he had been found but, to his relief, the Gori was checking his hat to see if he was cheating by reading notes in it. So far, so good. Sakuragi thought he saw Kokure giving him a disapproval look, but remained silent. He guessed that Kokure has seen him cheating but was kind enough not to tell.
Akagi, on the other hand, glared at Sakuragi suspiciously before returning the hat to Sakuragi. Unknowingly, Akagi had smeared his hand on the ink while he grabbed his arm that has the notes on, and as he rubbed his chin while giving a sort of sermon to Sakuragi about the importance of practicing the golden rules, the ink blackened his chin, forming a sort of beard on it. Sakuragi tried very hard not to scoff. Kokure wanted to voice it out but seeing that Akagi didn't wish to be interrupted, he hid a smile and pretended not to see it.
"And now, Sakuragi, the tea pouring ritual," Akagi brought the struggling-not-to-laugh Sakuragi back into reality. Sakuragi collected himself before reaching his hands charmingly towards the teapot, just to impress the Gori. He poured the tea 3-quarterly full, just like his father taught him to and handed it to Akagi. The Gori let out a sideways smile; he was finally and actually impressed at his change of attitude. As Sakuragi sat quietly in front of Akagi while the Gori drank his tea, he noticed something horrifying.
The mynah, Noma, actually got out of the small cage that hung at his belt and it was fluttering above Akagi's head, flying round and round to look for a nice spot to rest. As soon as Noma found one right in the middle of Akagi's squarish hairstyle, he descended on it and sat there, not moving an inch. Sakuragi was horrified. If the Gori were to find out that Noma the lucky mynah actually made a nest out of his hair, he'll be in deep shit! While Akagi wasn't aware of this intrusion on his head, Sakuragi decided to clear things up.
"You are to speak when you are spoken to, young man! Have you forgotten the golden rule?" Akagi's booming voice shot through his ears. Sakuragi winced before climbing up onto the table.
"Hait, I know that…but, uh…I need to get this…off your head…"
"What thing? There's nothing on my head! Hey!!"
Before he knew it, Sakuragi was already pouncing onto Akagi's head as he tried to catch the bird. He wanted to clasp his hands onto Noma but ended up slapping Akagi's head instead. He stood a little higher on the table trying to get Noma who was fluttering up the ceiling out of his reach and as he leaned forward, Akagi was so taken aback that he leaned too far back and ended up sitting on a basket of sharp-tipped combs (it was a sort of 'diploma' when a man passes the test—the matchmaker will slip the comb into the man's hair). They stung his butt like sea-urchins and Akagi yelped in pain. He stood up abruptly and hit his forehead against Sakuragi's forehead in the process. Kokure watched all of this with a face of horror.
Bad move. Sakuragi Hanamichi was very well-known with a forehead of steel and anyone who gets in serious contact with it will blackout for about, say, 15 minutes tops. Lucky for ours truly Sakuragi, his matchmaker the Gori was able to withstand the accidental head butt due to his tall and strong built, but he couldn't help feeling a little woozy because the head butt came to him as a surprise. He swooned and walked in an irregular file and soon found himself bursting out of his own house and falling onto the porch. When he got back to his senses, he found himself lying on his stomach on the porch floor with all the sharp-tipped combs sticking out of his butt (this scene is a little bit familiar, don't you think?).
Judging by the dangerous look on the Gori's face when Sakuragi came over to help him get up, he was sure that he was in for a very, VERY big trouble. Noma has finally being in the mercy of his strong hands and back into his cage, but he knew that the worst is not over. And sure enough, Akagi was starting to yell and pointing an accusing finger at the young redhead after his assistant Kokure came over and helped him up instead.
"You are a walking disaster! You are a bringer of all chaos and calamity! You are nothing but sheer trouble! Mr. Sakuragi," Akagi turned to Sakuragi's father with a pair of fire-breathing eyes, "I suggest you take your son home here and tell him not to waste anymore of my time trying to pass any test for him! He may look like the perfect groom, but he'll never ever be a real groom or a husband!!"
A/N: Ouch, that's gotta hurt, doesn't it? Poor Sakuragi Hanamichi, my bishounen! ~_~ Anyway, reviews plz!