Disclaimer: Here's a random fact: Nice and good aren't necessarily the same thing. –Points to Akaya-. Here's another random fact: I don't own Prince of Tennis, or any of the characters. :)
Warnings: Shounen-ai/yaoi, silliness, teeny bit of innuendo, Niou-and-all-that-he-entails. I.e. some or all of the following; violence, snark, language, casual derision, death threats, evil plots, temper.
Summary: Yukimura's little sister is joining the Rikkai boys for practice. It'll be a miracle if she isn't scarred for life at the end of it, poor thing... With guest appearances from Niou's grasshopper, Marui's hand, and Akaya as a medicine!
Author's notes: Another Rikkai drabblething. You don't have to have read the ones that come before this, but it might help a bit. The drabblething list goes:
Times of Stress
Passing the Time
How to ask out Marui Bunta
Four Days Later
Because I Love You
Kind of… the same
100 Word Challenges
Driver in a Hurry, Child in a Coma
The Woes of Solomon Grundy
I'm Not Going
The Little Things
I Had To
Operation: Christmas Party
Once Upon a Time
My Brother Bunta
Dear Diary: Living with Niou-senpai
A Morning at the Pool
This is Love
And So It Begins
This Is March 5th
No Small Wonder
The Last Day Of A Stage in Life
Back to Basics
Blame it On the Damn Vodka
The Stuff of Myths
Dear Diary: Beginning the Third Year
The Collective Threads
A Minesweeper Kind of Mind
Sanada Hates Random
Time Will Tell. Probably.
The Way of the Jinx
Alrighty! –Rubs hands together- First off, the 44th Drabblething was supposed to be out last Sunday, but there was a leetle delay. EvennexSoul: If you're reading this and haven't just gone on holiday or to hospital or to heaven, then congratulations, you won! I sent you a coupla PMs, but I guess stole them n.n;; So yes, well done, and please send me your request so that I can write it for the 46th instead.
Massive hugs and such to Shro0mx3, Kawaii-Gaara-Chan, Nyleve, Merissala, Dazed Dreamer, Simmy.xxx, Youngdaughterofdarkness, Batool, ScribbledDreams, Britix, KiriharaAkaya, Ahotep, ShadowinRW, Britix again, Ryuu Amethyst and Desdi for their lubbly reviews of 'Time Will Tell. Probably.' and/or fantasmical suggestions! They made me smile like a smiley. :)
Dedicated to my little cousin Mie, who I miss.
Well, Mine Takashi, the third-year captain of Rikkai High, had finally transferred to his new school. Yukimura entered the promised first-year captaincy, and he worked the tennis club into the ground with a vague smile, pointy efficiency and steely discipline. The transition hadn't been too hard for the members not used to him, thankfully – Mine had been just as determined to win the rapidly-approaching Kantou tournament, and Yukimura wasn't one to play favourites with the Regular team. As a result, he, Sanada and Niou were the only three on the current Regulars. Marui had gotten into the Prefectural team, but due to an unlucky draw in the next ranking tournament the doubles specialist had been knocked out ("See, now, this is why the ranking tournament system here is stupid! We didn't have that in junior high, and we were just fine!").
Once a week, usually on a Sunday, the junior high ex-Regulars (or the Original Regulars, as Akaya liked to call them despite the obvious flaws in the name) met up to have a training session together out of nostalgia. It was good practise, and besides, being the masochist that he was Sanada had almost missed being held responsible for several of the maddest teenagers under the sun. Not nearly enough to admit to it, but Yanagi and Yukimura knew him better.
And so it was that the Sunday skies found themselves blinking bemusedly down again at the (Niou-dubbed) Dysfunctional Family.
"Alright, listen up!" Sanada yelled over the noise of Marui and Jackal loudly debating the pros and cons of using a baseball instead of a tennis ball to practice with. "Yukimura's little sister will be joining us for practice today, so be on your best behaviour! That means you, Niou. Yukimura is relying on us to take care of her while he and his parents are at his grandmother's house. So be good."
"I'm sorry, fukubuchou," Akaya choked out in between sniggers, "but it's really hard to take you seriously when you've got a toddler clinging to you."
Sanada glared at him. "Mie-chan is five, Akaya, not a toddler. Now be nice."
"Can I play?" Mie asked hopefully around her thumb, clinging with her free hand to Sanada's shorts and looking wide-eyed up at him.
"You can come play with me if you like," Yanagi offered kindly. Sanada nodded gratefully at him and Mie went with Yanagi to find a spare racquet for her to use.
"Aren't you gonna sing her to sleep, fukubuchou?" Niou asked snidely, grinning as Sanada glowered furiously at him.
"Niou Masaharu, I mean it," he growled. "Be good, or else."
Niou saluted mockingly and strolled off to start a practise match with Yagyuu.
Mie beamed happily as Yanagi missed another of her shots, pulling up and looking at her with astonishment.
"You're very good," he said. "Absolutely excellent, in fact."
Giggling, Mie threw him another ball. She was having the time of her young life. She loved being around the Rikkai Regulars, especially Yanagi-san and Sanada-san. Kirihara-san called them the Originals now, for some reason, but Mie had decided that it didn't sound as good.
"Well, she is Mura's little sister," Jackal pointed out.
"That's true," Yanagi mused.
Akaya huffed dismissively. "She's not that good. You're not really trying, Yanagi-senpai."
"Well, no," Yanagi said patiently. "She is five years old, Akaya. Of course it wouldn't be fair to play properly. But for her age, she's very, very good."
Akaya still looked dubious, but didn't argue.
"Ne, ne, Kirihara-san?" Mie piped up. Akaya blinked and looked down. "Ne, will you play trains with me when we have a break?"
A considerably more enthusiastic look sprang onto Akaya's face. "Ok! Except, we don't have any trains… Do you like grasshoppers?"
"You can go do that now, if you like," Yanagi offered. "I'll have a quick match with Genichiroh." He nodded to Yukimura's second-in-command who was standing by the court and watching.
"Yay!" Mie cheered, putting her racquet down by the sidelines and skipping happily off the courts with Akaya.
"Oh boy," Marui said with a little grin. "Jeez, like Aka-chan needs any more excuse to exercise his inner child."
"What the hell do you mean, inner?" Niou snorted. "He has an outer child and a tiny, tiny, microscopically insignificant inner teenager."
"That's not an exaggeration at all," retorted Marui, aiming a swipe at Niou's head and barely missing.
Sanada glared at the two and pointed sternly to the empty court next to the one he and Yanagi were standing on. "You two, go play a three-set match. Far more productive than killing each other."
"It's only a practice, fukubuchou!"
"The high school matches for Kantou and National last three sets, and you'd better get used to it if you want to stay on the Regulars and/or get on again," said Sanada firmly. "So go get started."
Reluctantly, Niou and Marui trooped off to the free court and started spinning for serve.
"Ha ha ha!" Mie laughed and clapped her hands together gleefully. She and Akaya were sitting by the metal link fence that ringed the three courts. They'd made a little mini-barricade out of everyone's bags and jackets, and they'd been playing perfectly happily for the last twenty minutes or so.
Pausing to catch his breath a moment, Sanada glanced to them again and shook his head. Turning to Yanagi, he said, "This is too easy. I'm expecting a sudden thunderstorm or a troop of mimes to show up and ruin the practice any second now."
"Not all of our Sunday sessions end in chaos," Yanagi said reasonably.
"Just most of them," Sanada muttered.
"True. But you might get lucky today, hmm?"
"That would be wonderful." They resumed play, and Sanada could feel his worries fade with every hit of the ball. Yanagi was right – surely today, of all days, Kami-sama would grant him a stress-free morning.
The Way of the Jinx is a mysterious force that should never be messed with.
Niou and Marui were halfway through the first set of their match (it always took a long time for them to finish each game thanks to Niou using every match of theirs as an opportunity to see just how long he could drag it out before he either got bored or Marui collapsed from lack of sugar) when the Way struck.
Marui inched tentatively but determinedly towards his boyfriend and his boyfriend's playmate as Death started to radiate dangerously from Niou's eyes.
"Bratling," Niou said slowly. Akaya eeped as Niou started to stalk towards them. "Why is my grasshopper a) here, b) on a lead, c) being used as a toy?"
Marui gestured frantically for Mie to run to Sanada for safety, but she only clung tighter to Akaya's arm.
"See, it was like this," Akaya gabbled hastily as Niou's Imminent Pain and Death glare intensified. "We were running late for the practice, remember? And you were by the front door telling me to hurry the hell up and I was just about to exit your room when I spotted Trousers by your bed and I remembered that I maybemighthavelefthishouseunlockedlastnight and so he must've escaped and come up here but there wasn't time to go put him back and I didn't want to tell you in case you got mad at me for maybepossiblyleavinghishouseunlockedlastnight so I put him in my bag and brought him here and I thought Mie-chan would like to play with him so I put a lead on him to make sure he doesn't escape because then you'd be really mad at me but he's not hurt or anything so please don't kill us!"
"You should forgive him purely for the amount of not-breathing that took," Marui said, awed.
"Trousers is not a toy," Niou growled, ignoring Marui completely, "and unless you go home and put him back Right Now, then I'll think of some painful revenge to inflict on you when you least expect it."
"Nooo," Akaya whimpered. "I'm sorry, Niou-senpai, I'll go put him back!"
Scooping up the grumpy-looking giant grasshopper, Akaya scampered at top speed out of the courts, down the stairs and up the road heading for Niou's house.
Satisfied, Niou turned back towards the court.
"You're such a bully," Marui said. "Poor Akaya. And poor Mie-chan, too!" He petted the frightened girl's head and gave Niou a reproachful look.
"The bratling needs to know his place," Niou said lightly. "And Mie-chan isn't really scared of me, are you?"
Mie nodded fervently.
"See?" said Marui.
"What's going on?" Sanada called. "Where did Akaya go? Was he carrying a grasshopper?"
Tearfully, Mie bolted towards him and flung herself at Sanada's legs. "We didn't mean to make him cross!" she wailed. "It was an accident!"
"I wasn't cross at you," Niou protested. "Just at the bratling. He's such a fu-MMPH!"
"Eh heh heh," Marui said, sweatdropping. "I think you should assign him some laps, fukubuchou, then we can forget this whole thing, yes? Yes?"
'You have three seconds,' Niou's furious glare said, 'to take your stubby hand off my face before you die.'
"Forty laps, then," Sanada snapped, one hand patting Mie's shoulder consolingly. "And apologise to Mie-chan."
"I'm sorry," Niou said, and if Sanada hadn't known better he might've thought that the Trickster actually meant it. "I didn't mean to scare you, kid."
"Now run your laps. Jackal, take over the match from Niou." Niou gave a smart mock-salute and started jogging.
"Yagyuu, would you take care of Mie-chan for a while please?" Sanada asked. "She's probably safe with you."
"Of course." Yagyuu held out a hand to Mie and she took it, though she was obviously reluctant to let go of Sanada's shorts. "Come on, Mie-chan. Niou won't hurt you, don't worry."
"So what have you been talking about?" said Sanada, sitting down tiredly on the bench next to Mie and Yagyuu.
"The politics behind raising a child in a stable domestic setting under strong pagan influences," said Yagyuu.
"Our Hamster in Heaven, hallowed be thy name," Mie added proudly. She received a praising pat on the head from Yagyuu.
Sanada's mind went blank in self-defence.
"I'm not entirely sure that a topic like that is suitable to teach to a five year old," Yanagi said tactfully, seeing that Sanada was too busy trying to kick-start his brain back into gear.
"Oh, Mie-chan is most suitably attentive, I assure you."
"That's the problem exactly," Yanagi said.
"Hey, anything Hiroshi teaches the kid is probably a good thing," Niou said, inviting himself into the conversation. "Right, Gentleman?"
"Your definition of a 'good thing' is a bit screwed up though," Marui pointed out, strolling over with Jackal with his racquet resting on his shoulder.
"Says the sugar-freak who calls the bratling a good thing," Niou sniped.
"Akaya can be a good thing in certain circumstances and in the right dosage," said Jackal.
"The right dosage? He's not a freaking medicine," Niou snorted.
"You could probably make him into one."
"Do you have a blender?"
"Woah, woah, woah," Marui said. "That's enough talk of Akaya-blending, thank you! I don't want to be dating a puree."
"Not a puree, a medicine," Jackal corrected. "To be taken three times daily, morning noon and night."
"Someone give Jackal his hair back before he has another randomness fit," said Niou, rolling his eyes.
"Too late," Marui said with a grin.
"Of course, being made from pure, free-range Akaya, the medicine would never run out. It would keep on replacing itself, because I think Akaya's essence would be of a springy nature."
"As seen in his hair," Yagyuu said, nodding.
"But if we made him into a medicine, three times a day can not be the correct dosage," Niou said firmly. "Take it from someone who lives with the boy. One a day would be about right. One every other day would be better, actually…"
"He probably wouldn't taste too nice though," said Jackal thoughtfully.
"Actually, he tastes reeeeaaally good," Marui snickered, waggling his eyebrows.
"Alright, that's ENOUGH!" Sanada roared, clapping his hands over Mie's ears. "All of you, go run a hundred laps! Go! Good lord, I can literally feel my sanity leaking out of me!"
"Whuh oh," Marui muttered to Jackal and Niou, nodding towards the stone steps outside the courts. "Looks like Mura's back, guys. Let's go do those laps somewhere else, eh?"
Yagyuu stood up and joined them. "Under the circumstances, I think that that would be a very wise-"
"Shut up and run, Hiroshi."
"Oniisan!" Mie cheered. She launched herself off Sanada's lap into Yukimura's arms. He hoisted her up on his hip, pecking her affectionately on the forehead.
"Thank you for taking care of her," he said, smiling at Sanada and Yanagi. "I hope she wasn't any trouble."
"None at all," Sanada said faintly.
"Where did you send Yagyuu, Jackal, 'Haru and Bunta? They all came running past me. Bunta said something about laps."
"Genichiroh sent them on laps to wrap up the practice," Yanagi said smoothly.
"Oh, good. Where's Akaya? He wasn't with them, and I would've thought he'd come glomptackling me right after Mie if he was here."
"Oh, he had to…" Yanagi scanned his brain.
"He brought Niou's grasshopper to practice and Niou forced him to take it home," Sanada said. It didn't directly involve the scarring of Yukimura's little sister, after all.
"Poor thing. I hope he's alright."
"He's probably used to getting threatened by Niou," Sanada said, feeling a complete lack of sympathy.
"Hmm? Oh, no, I meant Trousers."
"Yukimura, it's a grasshopper."
"A giant grasshopper," Yanagi corrected pedantically.
"A giant grasshopper, then! It's still an insect. I'm sure it'll be fine."
"Grasshoppers have feelings too, you know," Yukimura said. "I'm sure Trousers was praying to the Almighty Green Stick in the sky all through his ordeal."
"Our Hamster in Heaven," Mie nodded.
Sanada's head hit the bench with a dull thud, his mind battered and beaten and finally ordering a strategic retreat.
Yanagi carefully propped him up on the bench. "You know, you shouldn't tease him like that," he said, although he was clearly amused. "He's been suffering a lot this morning."
"It sounded to me like the others had fun," Yukimura shrugged. "I felt excluded. But I feel better now. I'm guessing the others had fun, anyway, and that's why Sanada ordered them off on laps?"
"Yes," Yanagi admitted. "They probably traumatised Mie-chan."
"Oh?" Yukimura looked consideringly at his little sister. "Are you feeling traumatised, Mie?"
Mie shook her head. "What's traumatised?"
"Well, look at Sanada-san. That's a pretty good example."
"So are you traumatised?"
Mie shook her head again.
"Do you want to come back someday?"
Mie nodded eagerly.
Her big brother smiled sunnily. "Then all's well that ends well. And I think I probably owe Genichiroh a coffee."
Sandy: Yeah, probably. xDD
You should know these, but just in case!
Oniisan: Big brother
Fukubuchou: Vice-captain, and Marui/Niou/Jackal/Akaya's nickname for Sanada. Well, I say nickname; it started off as his title, but since he isn't fukubuchou any more, it's a nickname. :)
Hope you liked! Please leave a review telling me your thoughts and such – they make me super-duper happy. If you could quote your favourite bit from this or any other Drabblething in your review, I would be even happier. It helps me improve, donchaknow.
And I forgot to attach this to my last Drabblething n.n;; It's my mini-essay reply to Ketchup for Blood. ;)
The 'Flame': And if I flame, I get a longer comment?! Really?! -tries to think of a
Umm... you suck. O.o
Is that a flame? Do I get a big essay now?! –excited- Anyways, I'll be reading the rest of your Rikkai ficlets, then. –waves- Bye byes
The reply: Oh noes! ;-; I suck? Why, how dare you, madam! I would slap you with a fish if I had a fish and/or knew where you live…
The definition of 'suck' is rather a broad spectrum that I feel I should address first. As ever, I consult Wikipedia, which tells me the following:
'Suck' can refer to, 1) The art of sucking, the creation of a partial vacuum or region of low pressure; 2) "Suck", a song by Nine Inch Nails from the 1992 EP "Broken"; 3) a satire and editorial web site; 4) "The Suck" is a slang term for the United States Marine Corps; 5) Oral sex, particularly fellatio; 6) River Suck, a river in Ireland; 7) A slang term that refers to something unpleasant or deficient, as in the expression "That sucks."; 8) peterhu.
From this, I can conclude that your flame is libel, because: 1) Sucking was never mentioned in my art class; 2) I have never sung that song by Nine Inch Nails; 3) Never visited that website; 4) I know nothing about the US Marine Corps; 5) How would you know…?; 6) I am neither Irish nor filled with fish; 7) I am not deficient. Now, for 8), you could actually make a good case against me. You really could. But since peterhu can't seem to be found either in the dictionary or anywhere else in Wikipedia, and had actually disappeared from the entry when I checked today, I challenge you to make said good case. –Throws down gauntlet-
Until next time!