♥Rikkai, Rikkaidai, Rikkai Dai, Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku, 私立立海大附属中学校! Call them what ever you want, but this is a story about them and for them.
Hi, sorry to break it to you, but GSandM is not the only one writing this fic. We are two different people, joining together to make this one fic. I'm Sakura, or GSandM. And I'm Hanabi (Sakura's cousin), and I won't bother making an account. This story will be in three different perspectives. Sanada's, Yukimura's and Sakuno's. And it will pretty much go in that order. First view, Sanada, second Yukimura, third Sakuno, etc. etc. GSandM will write Sanada's view, Hanabi will write Yukimura's and we will both be writing Sakuno's. Please review and constructive criticism is welcomed. Thank you.
Gene: Romance, Drama
Starring: The Rikkaidai Regulars, and Ryuuzaki Sakuno
Pairings: Kirihara x Yukimura x Sanada x Sakuno, with Platinum Pair on the side
Summary: Sakuno's grandma has died and she is living with the Sanada's. Coming to Rikkai was her first mistake, getting involved with the regulars was her second. SakuxSanaxYukixKiri, PlantiumPair.
Warning (s): No spoilers. Be happy.
Life Beneath the Sakura Tree
Yukimura Seiichi was out of the hospital. Actually, he was allowed freedom last week after the doctor's ran the lasts of the tests. I unquestionably was the first one to visit and hear the news, of course. I had always enjoyed Yukimura's company. That was something I could never deny. The rest of team noticed this, but said nothing.
After all, they always thought that we would get together someday anyway.
Niou and Yagyuu had started going out, too, so no one seemed to care about any homosexual relationships on the team. There was no uncomfortable ness either. Provided that the doubles pair played only tennis on the court.
All that was about to change though. Not that I knew of it.
It was a week after Yukimura had been let out of the hospital and was allowed back on to the courts. All of us regulars threw a 'Welcome Back Party', with my approval. The seemingly frail buchou was happy, not shocked exactly, because of the over-the-top-hints Kirihara kept slipping accidentally when they visited him in the hospital. We tried to cover it up, but it didn't work so well. I'm pretty sure Yukimura acted shocked anyway, on our behalf.
The party, held at the my house, ended just a little past evening hours as the other regulars started to head home. That was when I offered to walk Yukimura home. At first, he politely denied.
"It's alright, Genichirou. My house isn't too far." He chuckled as he waved off the offer.
"It's dark out." I was actually really stubborn when it came to our buchou.
"If it's not too much trouble, then." Yukimura responded all but unkindly.
We walked in silence most of the trip. It wasn't an awkward silence, more of a comfortable one, in which none of us talked, just sort of stared ahead. I wasn't a conversationalist, if such a thing existed. I didn't really talk unless spoken to first. Yukimura knew this, so usually he provided most of the conversation with me answering shortly every now and then.
But now he was quiet. It kind of scared me, really. About 10 minutes later we reached his house and he offered me to come in and have something to drink. It was my turn to turn down his offer.
"Ah, well, I'll see you in school tomorrow, Genichirou."
"Yes. I'll be there." I tugged at my cap, to hide my face incase it was showing any feelings, somewhat self-conscious. That was one of the many ways being around Yukimura Seiichi made me feel.
That was the last thing I said before I walked off into the night, only to be engulfed by the growing darkness, on my way home.
The rays of the sun seeped through the window of my room. It was still winter, but a nearly ending winter. Snow was melting and fresh dew covered the dark jade grass, giving it an almost glowing appearance.
Slowly I smiled to myself, but only inwardly, so on the outside I looked like couldn't care less for the surprisingly nice weather. Getting ready and heading downstairs, I heard the voice of my mother on the phone. Now, this wasn't irregular. Actually, it was very common. My mother was always on the phone, talking to relatives, a friend, you name it.
Whatever happed in my life would imminently be broadcasted across the neighborhood.
I remember this one time when I was nearly six, I had a serious case of the measles. A relative called later on, and my mother had told her, who had told others until the news was spread, as I thought, across the entire country.
"Yes... oh that is so sad." I heard mother saying.
Curious, I stood in the hallway where my mother was talking the living room. Now, usually I wasn't one to eavesdrop on another one's conversation... but sometimes temptation gets the best of you.
"No! No! It's no trouble at all!" She continued. "Yes. Yes. Today? Of course, that will be fine. I hope she gets better soon. Bye." She hung up with a sad look on her face, which made my stomach knot up.
I wondered what had happened.
Instead I just sort of slowly started walking into the kitchen. My mother had greeted me and I had greeted her back in return. Now, I admit that I was curious as to what had happened, but I wasn't like my prying teammates, save Yukimura, always trying to find out exactly what happened.
If my mother wanted to tell me what was going on, she would on her own account. At least that's how I felt.
"Oh Genichirou..." She looked at me with serious eyes.
In turn, I just looked at her, waiting patiently for her to continue.
"An accident has happened. A young girl, 12 I believe she is... her grandmother just died recently." She looked like she was tearing up on the inside. But someone had died and of course, even if you hadn't known them, you still feel remorse.
I solemnly nodded, telling her verbally I was listening.
"And she has no other family or relatives to go to..." She didn't have to finish. I knew where this was heading. "I'm sure you've met her and her grandmother on occasion before, that school you faced in the finals... Seigaku was it? Yes, she was their coach."
Seigaku? Yes. Of course I knew that school. The school that had stolen the championship from us. The one with an exceptionally good freshman ace. Echizen or something, I think... But the coach?
I ran through my memory, remembering an older woman. Ah, yes. Ryuuzaki Sumire. And her granddaughter? "Yes, mother I remember. Ryuuzaki Sumire and her granddaughter." I said, not exactly admitting I had forgotten the girl's name.
"Yes and seeing as she has nowhere to go, Genichirou, I thought that..." She looked at me, seeking out some sort of approval. I loved my mother. She always knew everything about me. How I had hated changes, but it wasn't my fault exactly, it was how I was brought up.
"I don't mind her living here."
Relief swept through my mother and it made me happy. I didn't show it, obviously.
"Good. Well, she's waiting at the station for me to pick her up, but I though it would be better if you went. You know, seeing as you'll be living together now, to get to know each other first. Your brother has moved out so now you're the only two kids who'll be living here."
I hated when she called me a kid. It made me feel like a toddler.
"School?" She smiled as I nodded. She always knew what I was going to say before I actually said it. "Don't worry about that, I've already called."
With a slight nod, I exited the house and headed to the train station. I racked my mind, desperately trying to conjure up a mental image of the girl.
Tugging down on my baseball cap, I ignored my curiosity and headed out into the blinding heat of the winter sunlight.
I walked into the Rikkaidai school grounds for what seemed to be the first time in ages. I inhaled the familiar fragrance and smiled. It was good to be back in school. My smile didn't alter as I walked into the familiar tennis courts that seemed to not change in the slightest.
I whirled myself around in a 360 degree angle, hoping that it was Genichirou that was calling me. I hoped that I didn't look too disappointed as I turned to face Renji, our data-man. I laughed at the thought of me being so gullible. Of course Genichirou would never call you by your first name. I thought to myself, sadly.
"Hmm? And where's Genichirou?" Renji asked, somewhat surprised that the fukubuchou was not by my side.
"Ah, that I'm not so sure of." I answered honestly. In all truth I didn't know where Genichirou was. Secretly, although it was probably not a secret to Renji, I was hoping that Genichirou would be the first one to greet me on my first day back.
"Well, I'm sure he just got held up in some sort family business." Renji told me. "There's only a 1.6 percent he slept in and 0.004 percent he forgot."
That wasn't a comforting thought. For Genichirou to forget me completely. But still, I knew it was less than a percent; scratch that, less than 0.5 of a percent. But there was still a chance. Renji must of noticed the wince I miserably tried to hide and told me that he was actually sure that there was no way Genichirou had forgotten, and that he had just said it.
Sometimes, Renji was too kind for his own good.
The morning didn't progress much better, as there was only 7 minutes until the bell was going to ring and still no sign of the stern fukubuchou. The other regulars had come to say 'welcome back' as well as many other people, girls mainly, to the point where I was sure I wouldn't be able to remember all their names or faces.
It seemed that no one wanted to talk about Genichirou's whereabouts, and I thought that it was because my disappointment was radiating off of me and that anyone within 20 meters would realize.
"But really, where is Sanada-fukubuchou?" Akaya piped up slowly, as if even he was regarding my feelings. "He's not going to miss practice too is he?" Even though I had just returned didn't mean to delay our tennis practices.
"Nah, fukubuchou is made of brick. There's no way something will hold him up from practice, or school." Haru had added into the conversation, and it seemed that Hiroshi had agreed also, but silently.
Bunta nodded eagerly, "Yeah, there's absolutely no way fukubuchou would miss Mura-buchou's first day back!"
They were all proven wrong when the first bell had rung.
As the teacher even welcomed me back, I took my seat near the back window. The teacher started talking about God knows what as I zoned out and stared absentmindedly outside the window. The sakura trees weren't in bloom yet because it wasn't spring, but the hypnotic-like braches still made me stare.
How much of my life had I been in the hospital? How many things have I missed? Endlessly, questions had been zooming through my head all morning. I looked back at the empty seat beside me. Genichirou's seat.
Those three words he had told me yesterday had not left my head. I'll be there. Sighing, I tried my best to focus on the teacher's lesson, but that didn't get very far. Renji kept throwing concerned glances in my direction, but I did my best to not notice. Being Renji, I'm sure he knew that already.
When the teacher called on me to read the next part, I was taken aback. Given usual circumstances, the class would snicker, but they didn't. Instead the teacher just looked worried and asked if I needed to go to the nurse's office. I shook my head no, apologized, and asked for the page number. Instead, the teacher said that it was all right and called on another boy to read out the passage.
I was glad the other regular's weren't in this class. If they were, I was sure I wouldn't be able to stand their concerned glances.
Class ended faster than I hoped it would, and even though by this point I was sure Genichirou was not going to show up, a part of me held on to a small shard of hope. Hoping, praying, wishing, even, that he would come and apologize for being late.
Sadly, that was only my pathetic fantasy.
Lunch in the cafeteria was as normal as any other lunch minus the fact of the missing fukubuchou. We sat at the same table, in the same seats and I was relieved to find that everything remained unchanged. Although, there was still an empty void screaming to be filled. Filled with the presence of one, Sanada Genichirou.
I mentally slapped myself for thinking so much of the strict third year that it was at the point someone would consider 'unhealthy'. Okay, I thought. I'll think of tennis. Yes. A nice calm game of tennis... And I did, only to have it turn out to be a game with Genichirou. Again, I mentally slapped myself.
"Mura-buchou, are you all right?" Bunta questioned me, as he blew another bubble.
I laughed, somewhat nervously. "I'm fine." I just hoped my voice sounded convincing.
"Seiichi, you've been spacing out 53 percent more than you usual would." Renji offered up.
"Wow, that's more than half!" Akaya added.
Haru smirked. "Probably 'cus Mura-buchou was thinkin' of fukubuchou."
I twitched. If only Masuharu knew how close to the truth he was. But instead, I kindly excused myself with the excuse that I was not hungry anymore and headed outside on to the school grounds. It was days like these I wished I hadn't left the hospital. At least then I would know Genichirou would come to visit me.
Walking around, I sat under an unblossemed sakura tree and sighed. "Genichirou where are you?" I looked up into the sky, as if it could give me an answer. Unfortunately it didn't and I turned my gaze down to my shoes. I hadn't even noticed that I had forgotten my jacket.
Hah. Forgotten. I laughed bitterly.
Slowly I closed my eyes. I'll be there.
Everything happened so fast it was like a spinning blur. I had come home from school yesterday, Ryoma-kun had been patiently teaching Tomo-chan and me tennis, to knock on the door and receive no answer.
I was very sure that Obaa-chan was home, unless I had forgotten that she had a meeting with the Seigaku regulars. But since Ryoma-kun had been practicing with Tomo-chan and me, I was certain that the regulars did not have a meeting. Asides that, it was getting rather dark outside.
I nervously shifted from one foot to another, waiting for a few minutes to pass so I could knock again. And I did so, only to have my racket clumsily slip out of my hand, hitting the ground. I tried to pick it up, only to trip over my own two feet. That was one thing I hated about myself. My lack of coordination and balance.
"Mou... Obaa-chan, open up." I quietly whined as I brushed off the dirt from my skirt and knees, standing up meekly. My nearly silent plea was not heard, and I went to the nearest window to peek through, only to be greeted by a single light illuminating from the kitchen.
"Obaa-chan!" I said, a little louder.
By this time, I was knocking really loud. I was sure the neighbors where going to be complaining to Obaa-chan tomorrow. If only I had known that there couldn't be a tomorrow. My heart suddenly sank. What if Obaa-chan had another stroke like she did at the training camp? The thought cut through me like stained glass. I could feel the tears running down my cheeks slowly, leaving visible tracks.
"Obaa-chan! Obaa-chan! Open the door, pl-please... Ob-Obaa-chan..." My words came out as put-together blurbs, as if I was a baby crying for candy. Or a cat crying over spilt milk. I fumbled through my bag quickly, to see if I had taken a key.
Dumb, dumb Sakuno! I noiselessly scolded myself for forgetting my spare key Obaa-chan made me keep incase of emergencies. I opened the door in a rush, not closing it behind me, not even taking off my shoes, as I ran into the kitchen, hoping to be greeted by the scolding voice of my Obaa-chan, asking why I was out so late, or saying that she would punish Ryoma-kun tomorrow for keeping me out so late.
If only I had known that there couldn't be a tomorrow.
There I saw my dear, precious grandmother. On the floor, lying motionlessly. The tears came quicker as I ran to the phone and dialed the 3 numbers I thought I would never need to dial.
An ambulance came quickly, taking my Obaa-chan away in a stretcher, and myself in the back of the car. The paramedics worked on her, inserting several needles. I wanted to dearly look away, but my eyes wouldn't tear off the sight of my Obaa-chan.
I brought my knees to my chest, hugging them tightly until my knuckles paled. Burying my head into my knees was the only way I could tear my eyes away from the frightening sight. I cried and cried, like I never did before. The paramedics tried to calm me down, telling me all sorts of reassuring lies. So many thoughts ran through my head. Will Obaa-chan be all right? Will I be forced to leave Seigaku? What about Ryoma-kun? The other sempai-tachi?
Reaching the hospital seemed like an impossible task. And when we did, a couple doctors hurried off with Obaa-chan, to God knows where. I was instructed to go to the waiting room. Digging my semi-opened school bag, I fished around for a quarter. Why I decided to call Ryoma-kun first, I didn't know.
"Hello?" A man's voice answered. What I thought to be Ryoma-kun's dad.
"E-eto..." I sniffled. "Is.. Ry-Ryoma-kun h-home?" I tried to hold back any tears that threaded to leak out without permission.
"Ehhh?! And what's this?! Ryoma has a girlfriend!? Ryooomaaa your girlfriend is call—" He was cut off by Ryoma-kun, I think.
"Shut up, baka Oyaji. I'm not like you." Ryoma-kun's voice was reassuring. It was comforting how I could feel like this just by hearing him. For a fraction of a second, I had forgotten my situation. But that was only for a fraction of a second.
"Ryuuzaki? What do you want?" He sounded annoyed.
"O-Obaa-chan... sh-she... collapsed again." I cried for a couple seconds. The other end of the receiver was dead silent, but I'm sure I was just being a bother to burden this all on Ryoma-kun. He let me cry for the couple seconds I needed before continuing. "We're both in the hospital now." I said after regaining my composure. "I-I don't think... she'll make it. Ry-Ryoma-kun?"
"Yeah..." He seemed to be thinking.
"Am... Am I being a bother?" I wiped off a stray tear with my sleeve. "I'm so sorry, Ryoma-kun."
"No. I'll call the others and tell them." He replied coldly.
I hung up the pay phone and forced myself to check the waiting room. It was pretty much empty. I sat patiently, my crying was subsiding, as a doctor came out and kneeled next to me, now we were of the same height.
He gently asked, "Ryuuzaki-chan. Do you have any relatives? Parents, or friends you can live with?" Hesitantly, I shook my head no. He put his hand on his chin, creasing it like he was deeply in thought. "No relatives at all, Ryuuzaki-chan?"
I stiffened. "Y-yes..." Is Obaa-chan...!? "None in the country. Or close. My parents died such a long time ago... Obaa-chan took me in." I told him. For the first time in the 12 years of my life, I found courage deep within myself and asked, 'Is Obaa-chan..."
After searching my files, the doctor found someone by the same of Sanada-san, a woman I faintly remembered from my childhood. I was really young back then, but I was sure she had two sons, if not three. The doctor had phoned her up, with me protesting in the background that I would be too much of a burden.
I had cried the last of my tears and was relieved to hear that Obaa-chan's funeral would not be held right away, but in a week from now. The regulars, all of them, had hurried to the hospital only to see me already sitting in a chair in the waiting room. I must have looked like an absolute mess.
"Sakuno! Are you alright?!" Tomo-chan asked me, grabbing me by the shoulders.
"Y-yes... I'm fine, really Tomo-chan.'
"We're all sorry about the news." Was all the stone-like Tezuka-buchou said.
I nodded meekly. I wasn't about to cry in front of Ryoma-kun. I knew for fact that it would be impossible for me to return to school in Seigaku. Both mentally and physically. I didn't want Ryoma-kun to remember the weak, shy, clumsy Sakuno. I wanted him to remember... to remember... just... me. Ryuuzaki Sakuno. Not as the 'Clumsy-Girl-Who-Got-me-Lost-on-the-First-Day-Back-to-Japan', but as Ryuuzaki Sakuno.
That night, I spent in the hospital before the doctor informed me that I was to meet Sanada-san in front of the train station, a few blocks from here. I didn't tell him I was directionally challenged. That was the old Sakuno. The old Dependant-on-her-Obaa-chan Sakuno.
I tugged on my shirtsleeves nervously.
I was lost.
Some habits were hard to rid of.
To be continued.
(1) Sanada's View: He refers to his teammates by last name.
(2) Yukimura's View: He speaks politely, a little deeper than Sanada we think. He refers to his teammates by first names, showing his closeness with the team.
(3) Sakuno's View: She's polite and refers to everyone with honorifics. She stutters a lot, sorry for that. Both her and Yukimura talk more about their feelings than Sanada.
Well, there's chapter one. We hope you like it. Please review, we know that Sakuno's viewpoint was a little on the angst, tragedy side but please bear with us for now. Thank you and reviewers will be showered with sakura petals!
Prince of Tennis © Takeshi Konomi