Disclaimer : No matter how much I wish it, I don't own Prince of Tennis.

Do read, and enjoy. (At least, I hope it won't be a torturing process... will it?)

Review!

Chapter 1

Tensai, tensai, tell me why

Blue orbs lurk behind closed eyes

Fuji Syuusuke beheld the wonder with disbelieving eyes.

"It's beautiful," he breathed. His hand caressed the delicate petals tenderly. The exquisite little flower that was sitting in the middle of the room soaked up all the admiration with no apparent modesty.

Click. Click. Click. The camera's shutter was going at a furious speed.

"Nee-san! Yuuta!"

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"It's beautiful, isn't it, Yuuta?"

"Marvelous," He replied grumpily. To be woken up at such an unearthly hour just for a stupid cactus flower...! His aniki was plainly crazy. "Can I go back to sleep now?"

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"Mom, can't I just stay at home and study on my own?"

"No dear, you can't. Stop fidgeting. We're almost there."

The car pulled into the car park. The school was absolutely teeming with students.

"I knew I shouldn't have chosen this school..."

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"Your class is 3rd grade class 6. Just turn left down this corridor. It's the second class on the right."

"T-thank you."

"Thanks, Mr. Gateshi." Her mom turned to her. "Just try your best to get over your first-day-of-school nerves and you'll be fine."

She snorted. What first-day-of-school nerves? Palpitations, more like. "Bye, mom."

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She stood outside the classroom, her heart going as if she had just set a world record in the 100m race. Her knees were shaking. Take a deep breath... count to three... And the teacher saw her. Uh-oh. Judgement day is here.

She walked in as confidently as she could and handed the teacher the note the principal gave her.

"Class, we have a new girl here. Her name is..." The whole class fell silent as the teacher waited for her to complete the sentence.

She observed the foreign noises coming out of the teacher's mouth with a bemused detachment. The headmaster had obviously forgotten to write that she didn't know Japanese.

She was startled out of her reverie by the sudden silence. "Huh? Pardon?"

"What is your name?"

She heard the word na-ma-e and hoped for the best. "Oh! Uh... Darika Shyoko."

"Class, let's welcome Darika-san!"

As one, the class rose to their feet. "Hajimemashite, Darika-san!"

"Uh... yes! Thank you!" She turned to the teacher. "Sir, I can't speak Japanese!" She whispered furiously to the teacher.

"Nani? Nihongo ga wakarimasen?"

The whole class goggled at her. She didn't know Japanese?

Meanwhile, the teacher was trying to figure out a solution to this problem. He turned to the class. "Does anyone here know English?"

He was met with blank stares. Eiji hesitantly volunteered, "Ochibi knows English."

There was an instant uproar.

"But she's in our class!"

"No one knows how to speak English, so – "

"Why'd she come to Seigaku, anyway, if she doesn't know Japanese?"

"...I'll look after her." A soft untroubled voice cut through the general noise. Everyone stopped talking at once and turned to the brunette who had spoken.

"You know English?" There was a faint glimmer of hope in the teacher's voice.

"Yes." The blue-orbed tensai said serenely, seemingly unaware of the fact that most people were staring at him as if he had just sprouted another head.

The expression on the teacher's face clearly said that salvation had come early. He turned to Shyoko. "You is Fuji-kun sit next by. He English spik good."

She slowly deciphered the teacher's message. "Okay. Thanks!" She flashed the teacher a grin. "Which one is he?"

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She walked to her seat, giving the honey-haired boy next to her a quick glance.

"May I sit here?"

"Sure!" he smiled disarmingly. "It's Maths now."

Her face lighted up. She loved Maths. Anticipating the familiar thrill of solving equations, she opened her bag eagerly – and stared at her books in dismay. The titles were all in Japanese! How was she ever going to find anything?

She peeked at the cover of the book on the desk behind her. Okay. Red background with yellow...abstract art? She found it and took out the rather garishly coloured book. Well, the questions should still be in numbers, so I shouldn't have any problems. She flipped open the book. And there, where page number 1 should have been, was 221 in huge numbers staring right back at her! What the –

"It's page 96," The brunette (she couldn't for the life of her remember his name) said helpfully. Except of course that it wasn't at all helpful since she had absolutely no idea where page 96 was. She flipped the pages randomly, trying not to look so lost.

Hey, the page numbers are decreasing! So that means... She smacked herself on the head and turned straight to page 96.

Just her luck. They were solving word problems today. In Japanese.

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The moment the teacher went out of the class, the noise level increased markedly. People chattered animatedly around her in Japanese. Even the boy next to her was speaking gobbledygook to another boy.

"Ohayo gozaimasu! Watashi wa Kadoku Norae!" A hand was extended to her.

She shook the girl's hand and smiled politely. Whatever she said..

"Hi! I'm Fuji Syuusuke." The brunette next to her extended his hand.

The class was now crowding around her, clamouring to be introduced. She shook their hands one by one, a polite smile pasted on her face.

"Nice to meet you, Darika-san." He grinned.

"Darika-san? Why'd you tack a -san onto my name?"

"It's common practice here in Japan."

"At home, people always called me Shyoko, though." She frowned. "I think you'd better call me that if you want me to respond. By the way, what's your name again?"

"Fuji Syuusuke."

"And I call you...?"

"Most people here call me Fuji-kun, but as you seem to think it's unnatural," he said with an amused smile, "you can call me Fuji."

"Okay, Fuji."

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The next subject was Japanese. Shyoko opened the book and stared at the pages blankly. Other than the page numbers, nothing made sense to her.

"You really don't know Japanese, huh?" Fuji, who had been observing her, remarked.

"That's what I've been trying to tell you!" She kept her voice down to a minimal level so as not to attract the teacher's attention.

"Not a single word?"

"Well, I do know 'baka', but that's about all."

Whereupon Fuji immediately burst into stifled laughter.

"Shhhh!!!" She frantically shushed him.

The teacher, much to her relief, only gave him an odd look.

"You nearly got us caught!"

"Baka!" He choked out, still trying to recover from his fit of the giggles.

"Shhhh!"

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The rest of the day went somewhat better. English was the last period. She had thought that it would be her favourite subject, but she was wrong. It was boring. Very boring. How exciting is it to read "The Green-Spotted Pig" over and over again? She had finished the book in five minutes.

She glanced over at the next table, and noted with some surprise that Fuji was reading the book with great interest. I thought he would have been ahead of this already. He flipped the page, affording her a better view of what he was doing.

"You're reading Charles Dickens?!"

He looked up and swiftly brought the book to the edge of the table, letting the thick volume fall onto his lap. Underneath it was Enid Blyton, and he looked for all the world like he had been reading it a few moments ago.

"Clever." She commented. He turned around.

"Oh, it's you! I thought it was teacher." He smiled. "Yeah, I guess I found a way to spice up my English lessons. You bored?"

"Bored out of my wits." Came the deadpan answer. "Fuji, could you do me a favour?"

"Depends. What is it?"

"Just tell me how to get from the classroom to the main gate."

He arched an eyebrow. "That's a funny request."

"I need to get home, remember?"

"Oh, right." He smiled. "Just get caught in the stream of students rushing home and they'll carry you straight to the gate."

"..."

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"Nee-san, I'm home!" Fuji came into the house.

"Syuusuke! How was school?" Yumiko greeted him.

"I met a new girl today."

"Is she pretty?" Yumiko had always been obsessed with beauty.

Fuji mentally reconstructed an image of Shyoko. Dark brown curls messily gathered into a ponytail, oval face, sea-green eyes... "Quite. She can't speak Japanese."

"Can't speak Japanese?!" Her incredulous tone said it all. "Then why'd she enroll in Seigaku?"

The tensai shrugged. He looked at the food on the table.

"Ne, nee-san, is there any wasabi to go with this?"

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Hope you liked it! ;P