Author's Note:As mentioned before, this is kind of a prequel to my other prince of tennis fan fiction: in order to win. Quite funny, as the one shot is extended to…maybe quite a few chapters. Well, this story is quite difficult to write because I want to write about a character who we know very very little- but I just want to do it, as I think Shiraishi does not get the credit that he deserve. He is actually pretty mature, and he doesn't really trash talk- unlike many of the others, and he even scolds his team mates for going too far, and his whole reason of playing perfect tennis seem to be due to the sake of his own team, not so much himself. So this is my attempt of exploring his character, and I will do this by talking about he and Ashita- oc from 'In order to win'- my attempt of explaining why he ends up the way he did. Once more, please give it a try by reading it and if you like it then please review!!!


Smiling widely due to the results of his practice, Shiraishi Kuranosuke began to tidy up the empty tennis club, it was natural that he should do this if he was allowed to use the tennis court when everyone else was gone.

He was also very happy at being in such a great school- most of the seniors in the tennis club were so miraculously nice that he sometime wonder whether that was just part of some long farce.

Not only was the sole first year in the regular tennis team spared from any humiliating entrance ritual, the other members were all very understanding about his wish of doing extra practices in order to be as good as them.

He'll be having his first proper competition soon and he just hoped that he would perform well enough to not make the captain regret doing the extreme act of putting a first year in the team.

The sky was darker then it should be, as he always timed himself really well- the sky should only be dark when he reached the main street.

The answer was soon apparent, his watch had stopped.

He could only hope that the time was not that late, since the latest rumour was that some delinquents had begun to hang around their school during the late night.

Perhaps he did take too long, as there was a shadow hovering near the tennis court.

Clutching to his precious tennis racquet with one hand and holding his wallet in the other, he decided to run for it. If things get bad then he would throw the wallet- which only contained money now- as a means of distraction. If that fails then he would try and defend himself with the racquet.

Luckily, the person happened to move a bit forward, which allowed him to see them.

It was a girl who was probably the same age as him. The way that her hair was carefully tied back by a ribbon with her uniform worn in the proper way made her rather pretty in a dainty way, and she certainly appeared harmless. She did not look like the images he associated with delinquents: girls with very long skirts or boys in torn and ripped uniforms.

"Hey…" he called out, relieved that she seemed to be as startled of him as he was of her.

"Are you a member of the tennis club?" his nod made her even more nervous as she clutched her hands together. "I wasn't doing anything bad! I just wanted to look at the tennis court."

He was now convinced that she wasn't one of the delinquents he had been warned about so he walked up to her, no longer preparing to break into a run any second.

"Are you a member of the female tennis club?"

"Me? Oh no, I don't even play tennis." She answered quickly. "I'm in another club, but I suddenly wanted to take a look at the tennis court because my neechan and niichan used to play tennis here. But how come you are still here when everyone else is gone?"

"I was doing some extra practices."

"Are the seniors in the club slaving you away?" she asked in horror. "One of the seniors told me that many of the seniors in the tennis club make their new comers pick up all the balls and tidy the room when everyone else is gone."

"No! The seniors in the tennis club are all really nice!" he corrected her hastily, "I really did want to do some extra practices."

"Oh, I guess you are like me then. That is why I am still in the school. By the way, which way are you heading to now?"

"The train station."

"I'm going there too, so let's walk together! That'll be safer."

He naturally nodded, and he suddenly remembered what they had been taught to do at school- which was something that they have both ignored.

"My name is Shiraishi Kuranosuke, I'm a first year in class B."

"I am Tanako Ashita, a first year as well. I'm in class C."

And that was how it started.

Even though they had both walked alone in the dark a few times before, the two of them were still rather nervous in the empty school. In order to convince themself that they really were making some progress in walking, they began to ask each other questions in order to show that time was passing.

"I live with my neechan and niichan," she began. "Neechan works in a department store while niichan is training to be a teacher."

"I don't have any siblings but I often have to look after my younger cousins."

"My worst subject is history."

"But that's my favourite and best subject. My worst is…"

They were beginning to lose their initial fears when they spot the three teenagers that leant against the school gate. Judging by the way they were dressed, as well as the numerous swear words that were escaping from them, the two junior high school students gave each other a nervous glance.

They wanted to sneak out, but the three delinquents purposely blocked their way. Shiraishi began to try and unzip his bag as inconspicuous as he could in order to be able to use his racquet as a weapon.

Maybe he could help Ashita to escape by distracting them.

"Well, what have we here?" the leader said casually as he bent down to examine their latest victims. The smoke of the cigarette made the two of them cough and upon seeing this, the three delinquents all laughed maliciously.

"Seems that we captured some snotty kids." One of them announced. "And this little punk here even have some sort of racquet- must be some rich kid."

"I am more interested in the girl." Another began.

Shiraishi never worked out just what exactly happened next. He only knew that he was trying to get his racquet out in order to hit them when he noticed Ashita raising her hand from the edge of his vision.

The next thing he saw was the leader of the gang falling backward, crashing into the school gate.

"Are you…" the other two delinquents began, only to be interrupted by their companion's angry cursing.

"Just go and get that little bitch!"

They probably did try, but somehow they ended up being punched severely before they too were tossed away, almost knocked unconscious due to the force of the crash.

Taking Shiraishi's hand into her's, Ashita began to run in order to leave the three delinquents as fast as they could. Even though she showed herself to be rather capable at protecting them, she was still a little girl.

"I am in the karate club." Ashita explained, as the two of them waited for his father and her sister to come to the police station. "I've been doing karate since I was four."

"Like me and tennis! I was four when I started too!" this coincidence made them both laugh, but Shiraishi quickly stopped as he recollected that he haven't thanked her yet.

"Thank you for…" he began sincerely.

"You would have done the same thing." She interrupted him. "So neither of us should be thanking the other."

That was when Shiraishi decided that he wants to be good friends with her.

Shiraishi was naturally given a most severe lecture by his parents; his teacher; his coach; both the captain and vice-captain of the team of the tennis club, as well as most of the seniors in the school tennis team for being so careless.

But many of his peers regarded him as a hero due to the spread of rumour.

"Is it true that you beat them all up just by using your tennis racquet?" one of his following first year in the club asked eagerly as they prepared to leave the club.

"No, no, that wasn't me." He hastily explained. "It was Tanako Ashita. She wasn't using a tennis racquet either, but…"

"So a girl had to rescue you? What a sissy." Someone said.

The tennis club was not perfect, because even though most of the seniors acknowledged Shiraishi's presence graciously, since he did beat them without displaying any arrogance, many of the first years resented him.

Especially those who were from Class A- they often consider themselves to be superior then him due to achieving a higher grade.

"She…" he began indignantly, angry on her behalf.

"Tanako Ashita is the rising star of the karate club. She has beaten many of the seniors in the club." The recitation of Konjiki Koharu interrupted all of them. Right now he was the only first year from Class A in the tennis club that Shiraishi did not dislike, since he happened to be the only friendly one. "I doubt that any of us in the tennis club can win against her in such a fight."

As no one was able to deny this logic, the troublemakers left, taking some satisfaction in shooting them a nasty glare each.

"Do you actually know her?" Shiraishi asked. "Tanako Ashita?"

"No, I just remember a lot of things. I also know where the karate club is," Koharu said rather slyly. "You want to go there right? It should be interesting since they are having a semi-competition today."

Like many inhabitants of Japan, Shiraishi has watched martial arts on TV now and then, but he did not really understand it, especially if there was no commentary. However, he recognized Ashita, and judging from the surprised mummers, she seemed to be doing quite well.

"Her opponent is one of the third years who has competed in the regional last year." Koharu explained for both Shiraishi and Yuuji, who decided to come along as well.

As she prepared to leave after having bowed to her opponent, she suddenly noticed the three out of place boys there, they were all carrying tennis racquets but they were obviously cheering for her. Upon seeing Shiraishi, she smiled and waved rather shyly at him.

"Are they your friends, Tanako?" the captain asked curiously as he handed a towel to the younger girl.

"I guess so." She muttered. "Well…I know the one in the middle."

"I suppose I can be generous and let you talk to him for about five minutes before you begin to study for the history test. I know, I know," the captain continued, hushing her protests, "You are thinking that I have no right to make you study. But Tanako, your history mark is simply too drastic, so my duty as a captain includes increasing it."

"And also because our coach happens to be a history teacher." The vice-captain added in dryly. "And threatens to not let you compete if you don't improve."

Ashita reluctantly grabbed the history text book that the captain held out before she made her way to Shiraishi.

She suddenly felt very nervous, and so was he. This was not unnatural as they were only twelve years old, having only recently left the world where the opposite sex was your greatest enemy.

"Hello Shiraishi, were you watching?"

"I was told that the karate club is having a competition today and remembering what you said, I though it might be interesting…Eh, are you going to the library like this?" he suddenly asked as he noticed the book in her hand.

"Ah…Tanako Ashita's worst subject is history. In fact, she didn't even pass the test last month. Her mark was…"

"Who asked you?!" Ashita snapped furiously, while Shiraishi shot him an angry glare.

"For someone with such a remarkable IQ you can be quite dense." Yuuji commented dryly. "But Shiraishi, isn't history your best subject?"

"Oh, you did say that!" Ashita recollected. "Do you think that you can help me then? I really have to do better in history."

He was more then happy to be able to help her in anyway. Even though she did not even want him to thank her about what had happened, he still greatly desired to do something for her.