Title: Passing Grade

Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)

Rating: PG-13 (language)

Word count for chapter 1(fic portion):

Pairings: Yanagi/Kirihara

Notes: For trinityblack. I hope you like this. I'm sorry I can't do hardcore smut for you (I lack the talent needed to pull off a decent PWP) but I tried to stay true to the characters as I know them.

Addtional: All English is 'spoken' in italics. All 'Engrish' is stuff I have actually heard in my classroom (and as an ESL teacher, I hear it a LOT). Round one submission for the rikkaishorts ficswap.

----

"If your mark does not show significant improvement after your next test, I'm afraid you'll be removed from the tennis club."

Kirihara replayed his English teacher's words over and over in his mind, particularly the word 'remove'. It wasn't the first time he'd been warned about his English marks, but it was the first time a definitive time limit had put over his head.

What were they expecting from him, anyway? He was a tennis player, not an English major hopeful. His life plans included winning several major tournaments and titles, getting several, multi-million dollar product endorsement contracts, and finding a good-looking young man to represent him in the TV special that would be made of his life. The English language did not play a major part in those plans, even if his sponsors ended up speaking it – that was why Kami had invented translators!

Unfortunately, his English teacher hadn't been impressed when he'd outlined his career plans, and had gone so far as to inform his parents about the decision that would be made after his next test.

That...had not been good.

Still..."Fukou-buchou didn't have to stick his nose in," he pouted, kicking a rock ahead of him down the street. He was capable of handling things himself – stupid Fukou-buchou didn't have to tell absolutely everything to Buchou. But tell he did, which was why Kirihara was currently heading towards Yanagi-sempai's home, under orders to report there for immediate tutoring that night, and every evening after that until the day of the test. Kirihara sullenly made his way up the front stairs and knocked on the door.

It immediately opened. "You're exactly three minutes and twenty-seven seconds late," Yanagi-sempai informed him.

Kirihara reacted in what he considered to be his usual and straightforward manner. "Shut up," he said, scowling, and pushed his way inside. "Where are your parents?"

"They're gone out for the evening." Yanagi closed the door and adjusted his glasses. "Rest assured, there will be no one around to hear you butcher the English language."

"I'll show you butchering," Kirihara muttered. "You know, this is all because my English teacher hates me."

Yanagi raised an eyebrow. "And it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that on your last test, you wrote the definition of 'tourist' as being 'cooked bread'?"

Kirihara glared at him. "How did you find out?" Test results were private things only teachers and parents and the one who wrote it were supposed to see.

"I spoke to your teacher to learn what I should concentrate on in your tutoring sessions."

"Yeah? What else did you 'learn'?"

Yanagi pinched the bridge of his nose. "That we have a great deal of work to do."

----

"'Do you want go to the museum is after school today?'" Kirihara recited in a droning voice.

Yanagi shook his head. " 'To' go," he corrected patiently.

"Huh?"

"There's another 'to' in that sentence. 'Do you want to go to the museum' is the correct way to say it."

"Whatever."

"And you don't need the 'is' before the word 'after'."

"Fine. 'Do you want TO go to the museum...'"

----

"'I like to collection fossils. I think it is very interesting.'"

"'Collect.'"

"That's what I said."

"No, you said 'collection' which is a group of objects that has been accumulated in one location. It's a noun. 'Collect' is the act of gathering, which you are indicating you like to do in this sentence, and is a verb. Do you understand the difference?"

"...actually, yeah, I do."

"Good. Let us proceed."

"..."

"Akaya?"

"Aren't you sick of this yet? I mean, you know all this stuff. And it's been two whole hours."

"Do you require a break?"

"Well, yeah, but that's not what I meant."

"Akaya, as your sempai, it is my duty to help you. And no, I am not 'sick' of this, as you so eloquently put it. You have been working hard and not wasting my time. As long as you continue to do so, I will always be glad to help a fellow teammate."

"...oh."

"I believe we were right here."

"'Kay. 'Why do you think fossils are interesting? They're only old rocks...'"

----

"Dinosaurs lived millions of years ago. There are many different ... uh, help?"

"Theories."

"...theories, as to why they died." Kirihara looked up. "Yanagi-sempai? 'Theories' – that means kinda like an...explanation, right?"

"More like a proposed guess or speculation, but very good, Akaya. You seem to be understanding more and more as we go along. You don't need every word translated anymore."

"...you'reagoodteacher..."

"What was that?"

"Nothing."

"...very well. Continue please."

"Yeah, yeah. 'One theory is that a giant meteor...'"

----

Yukimura stood outside the classroom, tapping his foot. It was the day of Akaya's English test, the one that would decide his fate on the tennis team. Normally, the results wouldn't be known for at least a week, until the teacher finished marking them and handed them back. However, the decision on his future participation in the tennis club needed to be made, and so the teacher was marking it that very moment.

He turned his head to see Yanagi striding up the corridor, and he smiled. "Come to see the fruits of your labor?"

"I believe he has done well," Yanagi said after a minute. "He has worked extremely hard, and while English will probably never be one of his favorite subjects, he did express an interest in the topic being covered."

"Which was?"

"Ancient history. Dinosaurs, to be precise." Yanagi smiled wryly. "He showed a great deal of enjoyment in looking up words like 'teeth', 'claws', 'sharp', 'attack', 'kill' and others along that nature."

"...it should make for an interesting essay."

Yanagi snorted. "To say the least."

The door slid open and Kirihara flew out of the classroom, stopping short in front of his captain. "I passed!"

"I never doubted you, Akaya," Yukimura praised him, putting a gentle hand on his shoulder and squeezing lightly.

Akaya preened and then looked at Yanagi, waving his paper with the huge B- written in red ink at the top. "I lost marks for a few spelling and grammar mistakes but he said I did a great job with the details!"

"All you needed was a little help and encouragement," Yanagai told him. "You earned that mark by yourself."

Kirihara shook his head. "I couldn't have done it without you, Yanagi-sempai." Darting forward, he quickly pressed a light kiss to Yanagi's cheek, whispering a quick, "Thank you," in his ear. Then he was dancing away, still waving the paper in the air. "I passed! I really passed! I have to show Niou this – he's never gonna believe it's real! He told me I'd be lucky to sneak by with a D – I'll show him! He's never gotten a B in English in his life!"

Yanagi stood frozen in the hallway as Kirihara raced off to find the Trickster, a faint hint of red dusting his cheeks, one hand gently touching where Kirihara had kissed him. Yukimura giggled lightly and patted his friend on the shoulder. "Are you okay, Renji-kun?"

"... do you happen to know if Akaya requires tutoring in any other subjects?" Yanagi asked finally, dazedly. "It's imperative he retain top marks in all his subjects you know..."

End

End Notes: Lousy ending, I know. I never know the perfect place to stop. But I hope you enjoyed this Trinityblack!

PS – the definition of 'tourist' as 'cooked bread' was a real definition given to me by one of my students who confused 'tourist' with 'toast'. She laughed herself silly when I pointed it out. :) Feedback is always appreciated.