Rating: PG to PG-13.
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, AU (or rather, Alternate History/Timeline)
Characters: Echizen, Fuji, Tezuka (primary); Tachibana An, Tachibana Kippei, Momoshiro (secondary); and the rest of Seigaku.
Timeline: this story starts sometime around what would have been the first fifty episodes of the anime. It takes place after the beginning of the school year (April), but before summer vacation (mid-July).
Warnings: General strangeness. Self-beta'd.
Summary: "Why couldn't you have been magical girls?"
Status: Complete. Started on May 13 and finished on August 24, 2006.
Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis, and am writing this only for entertainment.
Feedback: is most appreciated. Constructive criticism is also appreciated, preferably via PM or email but in a review is okay too. :) No flames please!
Author's Notes: This story is AU (or Alternate History/Timeline, to be specific) in that something about one character's background has been altered. The basic setting of this story is otherwise pretty much the same as in PoT canon, though some other details may vary, in part due to the "ripple effect". As you may have guessed, the change I made to canon brings this story into the realm of fantasy. So though the boys are still their tennis-playing selves like they would be in canon, the plot of this story does not revolve around tennis.
----- indicates a scene change and/or POV change, and is also at the end of each chapter.
Northern Iraq: June 16, 1939
The air was still and stifling, laden down with the oppressive heat that summers in the region inevitably brought. But while all of Iraq may have sweltered, the tunnels of the monstrous temple that they were excavating were unnaturally cool. Even though it was mostly underground, that alone could not account for the chill that permeated the ancient structure's walls.
"Just look at these texts – they're nearly five hundred years old, yet they look as though they were written just yesterday!" One of the archaeologists from the Japanese team exclaimed, a dumbfounded expression on his dust-covered face. "And these pictures on the covers, they're almost just like what we found in the wall paintings up top. Don't you think so, Nanjou-san?"
Responding to his current name, the man tossed his red locks to the side and obligingly peered over his colleague's shoulder to look. "I do believe you're right, Sawaragi-san," he said with a benign smile. "And such lovely art it is." He ran his fingers lightly over the book, his lips curling slightly at the image of a five-pointed star with a pair of feathered wings in the background. Murmuring an excuse, he rose, and continued farther down into the bowels of the temple, expertly brushing off or diverting any further interruptions until he found himself alone.
This had to be the place.
Stopping as he reached what appeared to be a dead end to the passageway, he raised a hand to the dirt wall in front of him and carefully moved it across the surface, holding up a flashlight with his other hand. After a few moments, an unreadable symbol flared bright white under his hand, and he flinched as red-hot pain coursed through his entire arm. But rather than withdrawing his hand, he pressed it closer to the symbol, gritting his teeth as he felt his flesh sear. His palm pressed the symbol into the wall, and the pain ceased as the light of the symbol dimmed.
A moment passed in silence, and then dust and dirt rained down on him as the whole tunnel shook. Slowly, the dead-end of the tunnel swung open, revealing a cavernous stone chamber that was, against all logic, lit. Without hesitating, he stepped inside, not taking the time to give the shelves of artifacts or the piles of scrolls more than a cursory glance. Rather than taking the stairs that circled the carved-out center of the chamber, he simply leaped down and landed gracefully at the bottom.
His breath caught in anticipation as black eyes came to rest on his quarry. There she was, suspended in a perfectly clear encasement of crystal that gave off a faint luminescence. Fair skinned and sylph-like in figure, the slumbering girl hardly looked dangerous. And how he longed to run his fingers through the lovely creature's emerald tresses and discover the many ways he could make her cry.
But the rumbling of the chamber as it opened had probably alerted the others, and they would surely be arriving soon with their tools and their notebooks and their bothersome clatter. So, regrettably, she would have to be destroyed quickly. He smiled regretfully as a small ball of red light began to form in his hands, and he murmured a quiet chant as he sent it flying into the crystal.
The girl remained still upon its impact, though he was gratified to see a glimpse of gold as her eyes flashed open for the briefest of moments before they closed for the last time. The small light from the crystal dimmed and then vanished, and the entire chamber was plunged into darkness.
With a sigh, he pulled out his flashlight and headed back to the chamber's entrance, just in time to see several breathless archaeologists rushing towards him. He put on an excited expression that mirrored theirs. "It's the find of the century!" he told them as he pointed them into the chamber. He then slipped out of the tunnels with ease, disregarded by the archaeologists in the flurry of activity surrounding their newest discovery.
But whatever else may have been in the chamber, it was nothing important; not anymore. He had made sure of that.
-san – added to the end of a name. Used when talking to someone that is your senior or better, or to address someone respectfully. Similar to Mr./Ms.
This short piece may seem unrelated to PoT, but it is important to the plot later on so please bear with me. The chapters are all much longer than this, and are set in normal present time with the familiar PoT characters. Any OC's you see in this story are there for the plot, not as main characters! And Iraq was chosen for the setting here because of the region's ancient history, rather than any goings-on in the modern day country. And speaking of ancient history, I'm rather sketchy on mine. :P Heck, so are the historians!
Watch this space! At the end of most chapters I will include additional notes, but you don't need to read them unless there's something in the chapter that you're wondering about or that you think is non-canon and/or would like explained. ;) In these notes I'll address characterization and various small details as well.