Born a Genius
A Prince of Tennis Fanfiction
Ryoma Echizen is an orphaned boy who had lived almost all his life trying to beat people in tennis in return for living with his uncle. After his guardian's demise, he was finally free to do as he pleases and that involves everything… except tennis….
"Satori-sama, you are his only living relative. We have no other choice but to leave the young boy with you," the lawyer said to the short, bald man.
Kudo Echizen Satori gave a hateful glare at the young boy, around 3 years of age, holding onto the lawyer's hand. "And what am I going to do with him? All I have is this small tennis court as my source of income. How do you expect me to just open my arms to another mouth to feed?" he sneered.
If the lawyer felt disgust at the man she was facing, she did a good job at hiding it. "Money is not a problem, Satori-sama. I think you had forgotten that Nanjiroh Echizen was a rich man due to the many tournaments that he had won during his professional days. He left the money to his son, Ryoma. Although he would only receive it after he reached the age of 15. But there is also a sizable amount that will be given to you every month as payment for taking care of him and for all his needs."
Kudo gaped at the amount that he was expected to receive every month if he would accept the care of the child. Even though he hated kids, this boy would ensure him a much easier life.
"All right, I'll accept," he declared, trying to keep the enthusiasm from his voice. 'Money! Money!'
The lawyer sighed in relief. She knelt in front of Ryoma and tousled his dark raven hair. "Ryoma-kun, this is your uncle Kudo. You will be living with him from now on. So, you must behave yourself. Ne, Ryoma-kun?"
The small boy lifted his sharp green eyes towards the short bald man. Even at a young age, he could already feel that things would not turn the best for him…
He could hear the loud laughter coming from the living room as he entered the door. He sighed as he ignored it and hoped that his uncle's drunken stupor would prevent him from noticing that he had arrived. Damn but there was no way for him to get into his room without passing by the living room.
Trying to be as quiet as possible, he proceeded to walk towards the stairs when one of his uncle's friends saw him.
"Ah Kudo, your money machine already arrived!" he said in a loud voice, followed by shrieks of laughter.
"You're really lucky. That boy is a gem. Who would have thought that a useless kid have some purpose after all," followed by another of his friends.
Ryoma continued to ignore them as stepped into the stairs.
Ryoma stopped and slowly turned his head towards his uncle. 'That bastard! What does he want now?' "Yes, uncle?"
"You have a game this Saturday. And don't you dare lose. A lot of money is involved here and I'll have your head if you try to sabotage this one," his uncle threatened.
Ryoma just narrowed his eyes, then gave him a nod and continued walking up the stairs. He could still hear his uncle's disgusted comment of "Insolent and ungrateful brat."
He slammed the door to his room and leaned against it. He looked around him and stared at the pathetic excuse of a room that was given to him by his uncle. All second hand and cheap stuffs, broken items, and worn out beddings. He could he expect? He was just another mouth to feed, a freeloader. Without his uncle, there was no one else who would take care of him. Take care of him? He scoffed at the very sense of the word. His uncle didn't even know what 'care' means. He leaned against the door and closed his eyes, reflecting on the events that had passed in his life. His uncle denied him everything, even knowledge of his parents. All he knew was that they're dead. At least he was thankful that he had sent him to school, although he could feel his reluctance.
'So, there's another game this Saturday…' he thought as he looked at the tennis racket hanging just beside his cabinet. He clenched his hand thinking how he hated doing it… playing Tennis.
He was only 5 years old when his uncle told him that he should pay for his lodging by being a ball boy in the tennis court that he was managing. Although blurry, he remembered playing with rackets when he was still small, before he was given to his uncle's care. That had sparked his interest, and when he had time, he would practice in the courts or assist with the customers as a sparring partner. A few years passed and his talent and passion for tennis grew, but it also became his hell. A lot of his uncle's customers began to praise and acknowledge his talent, and when his uncle learned of this, an idea to make extra income came to him. He charged the customers money for playing against him. Although reluctant at first, some serious customers accepted this practice since it was hard to find a challenging opponent like him. But that was the start that he no longer played tennis for fun, but as a job. The more he started to hate tennis, the challenging his opponents became, and the more his talent grew. Three years ago, when he was 12 years old, he could beat almost anyone. And that was the time, that a man had approached his uncle and told him about an underground betting for tennis games. But he had no choice. Loss would mean no food, no allowance, no freedom. He had grown to hate tennis, but it was his only means to live. He had no choice but to fight back as seriously as possible. He just had to win every game in order he'll be able to live to way he wanted to. Just a few more years and he'll be able to support himself, then he'll be able to step out of this hell hole… to live his life doing all the things that he wanted… except Tennis.
The bell rang which marked the end of the class and his final year in junior high. He glanced around and saw his classmates happily hugging each other, hoping best wishes for the summer, planning where they would spend their vacation. He packed up his things, ignoring the feeling of sadness that no one came to greet him. What can he expect? He was known to be cold and he had no other friends in school. His grades were excellent and he was known to be a genius but it only made him more unreachable for his classmates. He never stayed late in school since he had to help out in his uncle's business and betting. He let out a deep breathe and wished that somehow, someway he could get out of his uncle's clutches. No… just be patient… a few more years….
"Paging Ryoma Echizen. Paging Ryoma Echizen. Please go to the principal's office right now."
Ryoma's head snapped up as he heard the announcement. He hurriedly finished packing his things, ignoring the curious glances being cast in his way. 'Why would they page for me?' he wondered as he made his way towards the principal's office. He knocked on the door; then opened it to see the solemn face of the blond-haired principal of Roselle Park Junior High.
"That's me," he answered. Then walked towards her when the principal motioned him to come closer.
The principal took off her glasses and stared at him, seemingly uncomfortable at whatever she was about to tell him.
"Ryoma Echizen… I… I just received some news…" she said in an almost controlled voice. "It's about your uncle…"
Ryoma stiffened. What did that bastard do this time?
"Ryoma… your uncle is dead. He was drunk while driving and caught head-on against a truck. He died on the spot."
Ryoma continued to stare at the grave of his uncle as people began to disperse. The funeral was over, yet he chose to remain there. It should have been a sad moment, but that was not what he felt at the moment. In fact he felt relieved. He was finally free of his uncle's clutches but he was also worried about what would happen to him, now that he no longer have anyone. Based on what he had heard, his uncle was bankrupt so he cannot expect that he'll be able to receive anything from him. The worse thing is for him to be left in an orphanage or to be put up for adoption. Crazy! But who will adopt a 15-year old boy?
Ryoma glanced back and saw a woman in her late forties. "Yes?'
"I am Akiyama Suzuki, your father's lawyer," she introduced.
"My father?" Ryoma repeated in confusion. "Don't you mean my uncle?"
The woman shook her head. "I was the one who handed you to your uncle since he's your only living relative," she said. "You just turned 15 last month, right?"
Ryoma nodded. 'So?' he wondered.
"Your uncle's responsibility over you should have ended last month. I was waiting for him to contact our office but he never did. I was planning to contact him last week when I heard the news. I'm sorry," she said.
"I don't get it. What do you mean my uncle's responsibility should have ended already?" Ryoma asked.
"Your father's will stipulated that you will have full access to your inheritance after you reached 15. That means that you could live independently if you wanted to since he left you a huge amount of money."
"Are you sure, Ryoma? This is what you wanted?
Ryoma nodded. "I don't have good memories of this place. I want to start over.'
"But going back to Japan…"
"It is my parent's homeland after all. I told you, I want to start anew. I want to be able to choose my life. I want to meet new people. I want to experience new things. I want to have friends… My uncle denied that freedom therefore I want to reclaim it. I want to discover myself. Maybe if I go to Japan, I can forget all the bad memories I have here."
Suzuki gave a sad sigh. "I guess there's nothing I can do to stop you. Besides, I feel responsible for what had happened. I regularly check on Satori-san on your condition. And the reports he gave like your school reports was enough for me to believe that he was treating you fairly. He sent you to a good private school so I never realized that he was abusing you."
"I told you it's okay already."
"As it is, let me process your transfer documents to your new school. Class had already started in Japan so you had to enter in the middle of the semester."
Ryoma glanced up the sky, a small smile softened his usual cold face… 'Seishun Gakuen…'
Hello! I just thought of this story and posted it though it's been a while since I last watched this series, and truthfully… I couldn't remember much of the details. Hehehe. I think I have to scan my POT files again. Well, I hope you like this fic… :-D Read and review please…