Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis (sigh) but I do at least get to lay claim to the plot and the rest of the world.
Summary: The pirate crew of Seigaku pirate ship is a famed hunter of the seven seas of Kateri. Locked in a constant battle with other crews and the royal navy, news has reached all the ports of a crystal that grants the holder power over wind and sea. Setting sail from all the kingdoms, sailors and pirates alike embark upon a dangerous quest through storm, sorcery, and sea monsters to claim this treasure as their own.
Warnings: Alternate Universe (AU), maybe later shonen ai (slash), violence
---------------------------------------Walk Upon the Waves
By Shakira GlassChapter 1 Who Are You?
Howling like a wounded beast, the wind tore at his ragged garments like a rabid wolf, lashing the rain into his face and blinding him with its icy spray. It was late afternoon, but not so much as a single ray of sunshine could be seen through the heavy, black clouds that obscured the horizon, streaked by occasional flashes of golden lightning.
Stumbling as a carriage dashed past him, soaking him through from the water churned up by the whirling wheels, the boy bit back the shivers that wracked his slender body, walking onward with stubborn determination. Yet despite his obstinate strength, his every muscle ached and each step grew harder than the last as though a great, leaden weight had settled upon his slim shoulders and refused to be dislodged. The weariness beset his mind like a warm cloud, lulling and soothing despite the cold eating into the marrow of his bones.
Staggering against the building, the boy stared blearily ahead at the bright streetlamps wavering in his vision as though seen through a wall of water. He made an effort to place one foot in front of the other, but his knees buckled and his legs gave.
As he collapsed and the darkness rose up to engulf his him, his last conscious thought was an exhausted, almost desperate question.
Is this the end then . . . Am I going to die here?
"Beat that!" A red-haired young man slapped his hand down on the table, a gleam of triumph in his large, catlike eyes.
His companion smiled calmly, laying down his cards apologetically. "Sorry, Eiji. I think I've won again."
The acrobat otherwise known as Kikumaru Eiji gaped open-mouthed at the cards. "Again? Not fair! You must have cheated, Fuji. No one wins that many times in a row!"
Fuji chuckled lightly. "I'm just lucky, I guess."
"Hey!" The black-haired youth that had been standing beside their table scowled. "You guys aren't listening!"
"All right, all right!" Eiji covered his ears. "What were you saying, Momo? Something about drunkards?"
"Dragons," he repeated, emphasizing the word meaningfully. "They say that one of the navy ships arrived back this morning captured a dragon."
"What!?" The redhead all but leapt out of his chair as though the seat cushion had electrocuted him. "Nya! Are you serious? But that's impossible! I thought they'd all died out centuries ago!"
A menacing hiss cut through the tirade and three pairs of eyes turned towards the teen seated beside the crackling fireplace, his green bandana a streak of cool color against the red brick of the mantelpiece. "Would the two of you buffoons keep it down?"
Momoshiro growled, fisting his hands before him. "What did you call me?"
Sitting back in his chair, Fuji watched as the argument escalated.
A dragon . . . That could spell trouble—if it were true of course. Still, the ship's master magician was not one to let such details pass unexamined. After all, nothing was impossible. He had his crew to consider, especially after their captain had retired to his homeland on account of injury. Until Tezuke recovered, it was his responsibility to help the temporary captain keep their ship intact.
If the navy had found a dragon after all this time, they could end up finally locating the Sierra Jewel, granting them ultimate mastery over the seas. Guarded by the ancient race of sea dragons, people had given up the search since the last one was rumored to have been killed off the eastern shores of Ranth.
His head jerking up like a startled deer, Eiji turned to squint at the door of the small common room. "Did you hear that?"
Ceasing in their struggle to strangle one another, Momo and Kaidoh turned simultaneously in the direction of the door, falling silent as they listened. Fuji had heard it too.
"Do you think Oishi's back?" the acrobat asked in a loud whisper.
Kaidoh hissed, shaking his head. "He has a key."
Gulping, Momo stood and walked towards the door, his fingers trembling with nerves as he reached to unlock it. Though not perhaps the brightest bulb in their collection, no one could blame him for cowardice. In one swift motion, he yanked the door apart, simultaneously drawing his sword from its heavy sheath at his waist.
He gasped, freezing in mid motion.
"What is it?" Eiji asked, bouncing up and down with impatience. If it was the city police, they would have to make a run for it. Pirates weren't exactly welcomed with open arms. "Who is it? Is it the patrol? Nya! Come on, I can't wait!"
Unable to find the words, Momo stepped aside and the redhead halted, staring in astonishment.
Sprawled upon the doorstep, his face turned half into the light spilling out into the rain-slick street, was a pale boy. Emerald black bangs fell across his closed eyes, and everything from his hair to his plain, tattered garments was soaked through.
Crouching down beside the prone figure, Eiji examined him carefully. "I think he's still alive. Nya, we'd better get him inside. He'll catch his death in this storm!"
Momoshiro started to help the older youth pick the boy up, but stopped, shocked. Slits of blue flashed as Fuji opened his eyes in surprise.
The boy's arms, from the elbow to the wrist, were covered with lacerations. The skin of his neck and ankles were chaffed raw. And a thin trickle of blood ran from the corner of his moth, a thin stream of brilliant crimson like liquid rubies.
Placing his hand on Momo's shoulder, Fuji stated quietly, "Let's get him into that spare room."
Oishi, being the kind soul that he was, had been aghast at the boy's condition when he returned. He had washed and bandaged the wounds with the help of his crew and they had left the boy asleep in the back room.
Finishing his supper quickly, Fuji excused himself and slipped away from the kitchen table. Heading back past the common room, he pushed the door ajar and slipped inside, padding silently over to the bed.
"There's something strange about you," he murmured under his breath, gazing down at their slumbering guest.
Catching sight of a glimpse of gold, Fuji's hand snaked out to tug on the thin, golden chain peeping out from beneath the collar of the boy's coat. A pendant slipped free of the cloth, set with a large emerald, iridescent in the lamplight.
The boy shifted and golden eyes opened a slit. The moment the gaze focused on Fuji, he jerked up and scrambled back, clutching the pendant to his chest and glaring.
"Those are some strange wounds you have," Fuji continued, pulling up a stool and all the while watching the boy's reactions carefully.
When no reply or explanation was forthcoming, the magician continued. "We found you on our doorstep. Not the best place to be in a rainstorm, wouldn't you agree?"
Still nothing. Every muscle in the boy's body was tense as though he were poised to strike or flee.
"You could at least favor us with a name," he commented finally. "Something to call you by."
The boy looked suspiciously at him for several more moments before replying, fierce, golden eyes never wavering. "Ryoma. Just Ryoma."
"Sir, we've found them."
Ex-pirate Mizuki Hajime peered up from the maps spread across the table and smiled. "Good."
AN: Thanks for reading and please review.