Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
Author's Notes:
This couple is so pathetic, it's cute. Hope you like it.

Third Time's The Charm


The first time it happened, he was surprised.

It was hard to believe that Sakuno, with her ugly long braids and wobbly hips (though he did like to put his hands on them and watch her struggle against his fingertips) had an admirer.

He, at that time, was at the soda machine buying two cans of Ponta with his money. When he returned, he found her clueless with another boy.

"W-would you like to go o-o-out with me?"

She fumbled with her hands, face red and slightly flattered. With her face down, she tilted it up and opened her luscious mouth to respond.

At that moment, Ryoma had finished his Ponta and dropped the second one into her hands. He stepped forward between them and crushed his empty can against the stupid boy's head.


He watched him fall to the ground, in satisfaction.

Ryoma turned around and walked away.

Sakuno, with her face apologetic to the boy, mumbled sorry and followed the tennis prodigy. She walked behind, not gutsy enough to walk beside him, but enough to make sure her steps followed his rhythm.


The second time it happened, he was amused.

It was going to rain and he was forced (by a lot of people, but mainly his former coach) to walk Sakuno home with an umbrella.

He was standing, waiting when she suddenly emerged out of the library with another boy holding her books. She smiled at him appreciating the gesture, but not noticing the way he blushed at her being so close before she grabbed her books and walked away.

The boy stood there, alternating between looking at her and the ground, before he made up his mind and ran after her.

Ryoma came to the conclusion that all the boys who like the direction-challenged girl, were pathetic.


He stuck out the umbrella, watching the pathetic boy trip over it and fall to the ground.

It started to pour.

He stood over him, feeling the rain fall.


Opening the umbrella, he walked over the boy to Sakuno, and put it over her head.

His eyes fell on her blouse, the rain had drenched her shirt molding it around her body. Her bra becoming visible to all who looked close enough. Feeling his blood pound against his ears, he walked ahead.

Leaving her with the umbrella.

She smiled at him grateful as the rain splashed softly around them.


The third time it happened, he was livid.

(It wasn't until he saw the guy that he exploded.)

He was exhausted from completing a tournament, but he still had enough energy to walk her at the racquet store. She had overworked her self, and broke her old racquet, though he still hadn't seen much improvement despite that.

She had stopped behind him, her footsteps no longer audible.

"Somebody kissed me today."

He took a drink of his Ponta.

"It was an accident, I-I slapped him and told him never to do it again."

Like that would stop him from trying again, Ryoma thought to himself. How many times did he put his hand underneath her shirt, pressing her taunt body against his, before she'd slapped him and say the same thing?

He said nothing, an awkward silence followed them as he continued walking.

She followed, disappointed. She had hoped to get an insight on his feelings, on what he felt about her. But even if this is all he offered her, Sakuno would greedily take it. She knew full well she was the closest person to Ryoma.

Taking the last drink of his Ponta, he turned around and brought her mouth to his. Pushing the cold liquid from his mouth to hers, before he let go.

She stepped back, choking as she drank it in surprise. Small droplets trailed down her chin and neck.

Ryoma leaned forward, putting a finger underneath her chin, lifting it up and licking away the remaining liquid. He then turned around and entered the store.

She blushed, looking around, glad that there was no one in sight. She entered, pondering on his sudden quirky behavior.

But she didn't understand.

It was principle.


Sakuno was smiling, laughing with her friends when his hand touched his shoulder. She tensed and moved it off, walking away. Soft mummers could be heard around the school yard. A student from a different high school was here.

She saw Ryoma.

And became worried, knowing that he never looked for her. (When they were together, it was because she searched for him.)

Ryoma knew immediately who it was, when he walked through the gate. It was always the guy that was too close. Arrogantly, he walked up to him. Pulling his cap down, he looked at the boy.

The boy faltered under his intense stare.

"So you play tennis?"


Three games.

Two out of three, wins.

Everyone gathered, whispering to each other. Why would Echizen Ryoma challenge someone from their school?

The boy served first.

But Ryoma hit the ball easily, winning his first game in less then a minute.

"Mada mada dane."

The boy collapsed on the ground in exhaustion, panting with sweat dripping down his face. He got up shakily, ready to start the next game. Sakuno wondered why Ryoma was wasting his time, playing with an opponent he could defeat so easily.

Ryoma couldn't help but smirk.

A fleeting thought suddenly appeared, causing his fingers to dig in the wooden handle. His face was obscured by the shadow of his hat.

When Ryoma had kissed her, did she react the same way to the boy's kiss?

Did her eyes become half closed, lips parted and swollen?

Did she lean forward for his touch?

He gave his twisted serve with all his strength (his specialty), a loud thwack could be heard in the air. A river of blood flowed down from the boy's nose, he could hear everyone gasp.

He grabbed the blood-drenched ball that had rolled over to his side, threw it in the air and served again. This time it hit his ribs, and Ryoma wouldn't be surprised if a couple of them came out cracked.

Lifting up the ball, he threw it in the air again, but this time if bounced off on the floor.

"Ryoma-kun! Stop."

Sakuno ran to him, clenching her fists on his uniform behind him. She wouldn't dare put her arms around him.


He pushed her off, not caring that she fell to the ground. He had warned her once not to disrupt a game, he wasn't going to tell her twice.

He turned to face his opponent.

And then the boy knew. He dropped his tennis racquet to the ground, and forfeited the game.

Slowly the crowd dispersed.

But Sakuno stayed there, her body shaking on the ground. She could feel Ryoma advancing toward her.

"Get up."

She did as she was told, trembling. She reminded Ryoma of a rabbit, a small trembling rabbit about to be devoured by the hungry wolf.

And he was the wolf.

He grabbed her hand, and she winced at the sudden pressure. He wondered how she was able to have this much control over him. If she wanted, she could make him give up tennis. It was on the tip of her tongue.

Just like the women his father married.

"Let's go."


The audiences' cheers boomed around the stadium. He was annoyed at all the paparazzi, reporters and cameras. All he ever wanted was to play tennis, not prance around like a fool to entertain his fans.

A microphone was thrust upon his face, a question was asked and for some reason made his fans wild. (The 90 percent that was female.)

"So Ryoma, do you have a girlfriend?"

He walked away.

Sakuno knew that all his previous answers to this question had been no.

But without noticing, he grabbed one of her hastily made braids (she was in a hurry, missing half of his match) and pulled her toward him.


He kissed her, with half of Japan watching.