From the author: Hey guys! This is the final installment for 'My Christmas Love'… Yes… The end. Wah! I do not want it to end! But alas… the flow of events indicate that it is indeed time for it to end :p I will save the thank yous for later!
Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis and its characters.
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My Christmas Love
Chapter 8: My Christmas Love
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"Obaa-chan…" Sakuno's eyes widened as she looked at the things her grandmother had sprawled upon her bed. It was the tennis shoes and the cap she had intended to give to Ryoma. After which she shifted her gaze to the since-looking elder in front of her.
"I'm so sorry Sakuno… I shouldn't have reprimanded you this morning when I was the reason for everything." Ryuzaki Sumire apologized to her granddaughter with a guilty-look on, which immediately turned into a smile when the twelve-year old hugged her lovingly.
"Ah… it's okay obaa-chan" Sakuno said as her arms still surrounded her beloved grandmother. After a few moments, she released her hold then chuckled lightly. "Though it's pretty silly that buying all these presents seem so useless…" She said softly, almost in a whisper.
Sumire raised an eyebrow in curiosity. "Did something happen Sa-chan?" Sumire asked her granddaughter concerned.
Sakuno's eyes started to well up with tears… but despite that, she still showed a smile. "Ah, R-Ryoma-kun… R-Ryoma-kun doesn't have feelings for me obaa-chan"
Sumire approached her granddaughter to comfort her. "Sakuno it's-"
"I perfectly understand why obaa-chan…" Sakuno wiped the tears falling from her rosy cheeks. "Even if he couldn't return my feelings, he still cares for me obaa-chan. He said it himself" Sakuno gave her grandmother a watery smile.
The Seigaku coached smiled fondly at her granddaughter for having her eyes opened, and take everything strongly. "My granddaughter sure is strong, ne?" Sumire chuckled and hugged Sakuno tightly.
It took a while before the two realized that time was ticking fast. "Ah obaa-chan… it's only an hour before the Christmas party…" Sakuno reminded her grandmother.
"Oh yes of course…" Sumire stood up from Sakuno's bed and headed out the door when she suddenly remembered something and turned back to her grandmother. "Oh Sakuno… Before I forget... I have something to give to you…"
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Fuji had returned home several hours ago. The tennis tensai was now lying silently and absently beneath his bed, thinking about everything that had recently happened. The first girl he had loved confessed to someone else… not him. Fuji heaved a heavy sigh. He knew it… He knew he was going to get hurt in the end. But why did he still pursue on his affections for the girl? "Because I love her… so much…" Fuji told himself as he closed his eyes.
For a moment, tranquility and warmth had overflowed inside the boy as he remembered the time Sakuno and he were in the elevator. It was then, even in that short span of time, that he had fallen for her. A wide smile flickered across as he placed his arm over his eyes.
Sakuno was someone special that everyone, well maybe the other regulars and he, failed to notice before. Yes, she may be klutzy, and a person that doesn't stand out… but the girl was a real something once you get to know her. Sakuno was a kind-hearted, caring and very loveable girl… But the gesture that truly captivated his heart was Sakuno's sacrificing for him. Fuji chuckled to himself lightly.
He loved Sakuno. He truly did… But the girl… the girl obviously didn't return his feelings. Why else would Sakuno allow Ryoma to kiss her like that right? "Baka no Fuji…" The boy muttered. He was so stupid to fall for a girl who loved someone else. Why did he allow himself to be hurt? He didn't deserve this… right?
At the moment, there was only one thing that has repeatedly played in his mind… 'Will I still confess to her?'
"Syusuke-kun… Aren't you going to go to your Christmas party?" A soft and soothing voice emerged from the other side of the door. It was his sister, Yumiko.
"No… I don't feel like going…" Fuji stated, still unmoving from his present position.
"Are you alright? Are you still sick?" Worry suddenly appeared in the young woman's voice. "Open up the door Syusuke-kun…"
"…" Truth to be told, Fuji wanted to be alone at the moment. He did not show any intention of actually opening up the door for his sister… He needed peace. Tranquility. He needed to compose his thoughts. "Sakuno…" Fuji whispered.
"Onii-chan! The hell you doing locked up there?!" There was pounding on the door. "Open up onii-chan!!! Don't leave us worrying like this!" It was Fuji Yuuta's voice that emerged this time.
Fuji had tears flowing down his face through-out the entire shouting and banging of the door. He just needed time. Why couldn't they understand that? Deciding that sulking like that wouldn't do anything, and further provoking his siblings to break down the door wasn't good, he wiped off his tears, sat up and headed towards the door… though this gesture did not indicate that the boy was actually going to attend the awaited Christmas Party.
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"Oba-chan, where's Sakuno?" Tomoka asked the Seigaku coach as soon as she entered the Seigaku household. Music, talking and laughter had already sounded all through-out the house as Ryuzaki Sumire entered. Osakada Tomoka was the first to greet her.
Sumire smiled. "She insisted that she'll follow as soon as possible… She said that she still had things to do at home"
"That Sa-chan…" Tomoka crossed her arms across her chest and puffed out her cheeks.
It didn't take long when the other regulars noticed their beloved coach's presence. "Ryuzakii-sensei!!!"
Ryoma had the sudden notion to look for a certain auburn-haired girl. But she wasn't there. 'Where is she?'
"Is everyone here?" Sumire asked curiously as she scanned everyone's faces.
"Well… Fuji isn't!" Kikumaru said enthusiastically. "But I'll bet he wouldn't be skipping something as fun and well-prepared as this!"
"Haven't you thought that probably, he still wasn't feeling well from his sickness?" Momoshiro suddenly stated.
"Yeah… maybe…" Kikumaru scratched an invisible itch on his head.
"I see…" Sumire's curious face formed into an excited one after which. It was several hours before Christmas. Worried wouldn't be well-suited for a happy season like this. "Well then! While waiting for the rest to come, why don't we sing Echizen a happy birthday!"
Ryoma had to immediately retreat from the scene, fearing that he was going be bombarded by several shouts and hugs. 'Where in the world is Sakuno AND Fuji?' He thought, as he continued to run away from his senpais, who were already rampaging around the spacious house, trying to get their hands on him for a 'Sing-Echizen-A-Happy-Birthday'.
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There! All done!" Sakuno said happily as she finished the thing she had been working on since that afternoon, by tying a red ribbon around a beautiful box decorated with intricate designs. She had made a bunch of delicious home-made chocolates and placed them inside this lavishly decorated box. For the past hours, she had put her sweat and hard work in making these sweets for a certain someone.
"I hope Fuji-senpai would like these chocolates I made…" Sakuno giggled to herself as she carefully placed the delicacies on a mantelpiece as she headed off to her room and prepare for the Christmas Party.
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"Syusuke-kun… are you sure you're alright?" Yumiko asked his younger sibling concerned as she, Yuuta and Fuji sat on the sala idly.
"Yah aniki… you don't look so good…" Yuuta commented. Fuji didn't answer as he continued to be engulfed by his thoughts. "Yoh aniki!" Yuuta exclaimed as he started waving his hand in front of Fuji.
The tennis tensai immediately snapped back to reality with his brother's antics. "I need some time for myself…" Fuji replied, standing up and heading somewhere else.
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"Sakuno…" Sumire smiled as soon as she heard her granddaughter's voice. Laughter and loud music were heard by Sakuno, even from the other line.
"It sure is loud there…" Sakuno giggled.
"Where are you? Are you on your way?" Sumire asked curiously, and then a sudden thought came across her mind. "Are you lost again?"
Sakuno chuckled heartily. "No obaa-chan, I'm not lost… And yes, I am on my way"
The elder woman emitted a sigh of relief. "Well then. Make it faster! Your the only one were waiting for besides from Fuji!"
"Yes… He's not here. It may be that he was still too sick to get out of bed" Sumire explained to her granddaughter patiently.
Sakuno gasped. Then, she decided on something. "Ano… Obaa-chan… where does Fuji-senpai live?"
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"Coming…" Yumiko said as she headed towards the front door. As soon as she opened the door, she plastered on a warm smile. "Why, Ryuzaki-chan, you look absolutely fantastic tonight" She remarked as she continued to hold her gaze towards the petite and shy girl standing by their house door.
Sakuno was wearing a pretty baby-pink colored flair dress, with her long hair cascading behind her. Also, Sakuno had a beautiful necklace dangling on her chest. The girl blushed at Yumiko's statement. "Arigatou…" Sakuno started fidgeting with her dress. "Ano… is Fuji-senpai in here?"
Yumiko's smile started to fade, replaced by a sorrowful twist of the mouth. "Syusuke-kun seems to be very problematic right now" Sakuno let out a soft gasp. Yumiko smiled at the girl's reaction. "But don't worry, he said he only needed some time for himself…"
"Oh… I see…" Sakuno's hopeful passion to see her senpai seemed to have left the girl. But what truly dominated her emotions was the worry and concern she was feeling for Fuji.
"But…" Yumiko started talking again, thus, capturing Sakuno's attention. "I think it would be best if you go talk to him"
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"Echizen…" Sumire called for the team's young tennis prodigy secretly. Despite the discreteness of the elder woman's voice, the boy heard Sumire and immediately approached her. "Sakuno would like to give this to you…"
Ryoma instantaneously showed some hints of embarrassment as soon as several things were presented to him. It was the cap with 'Ryoma' stitched on it, and the pair of tennis shoes which was supposedly to be Sakuno's original gift for the boy. Ryoma had a dilemma of actually accepting them, feeling a tad bit guilty for the 'elevator incident'.
Sumire scrutinized the young boy's expression as he decided to receive the gift. "I know you may be feeling guilty…" The old woman started causing Ryoma to shift her gaze on her. "But everything was truly my fault…"
Ryoma had no idea what the Seigaku coach was talking about, be he nodded his head in thanks for what he received. "Arigatou…" He started to walk away when he added a few words before joining the others. "I care for Sakuno… And I thank her a lot for everything she has done"
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Fuji lay unmoving on his house's roof, trying to clear his mind from everything. 'Sakuno doesn't love me… but does that mean I couldn't love her back?' As soon as he thought that, he heard scuttling noises not so far away from him. He did not emit any movement and ignored the sound, thinking that it was probably just the stray cat that usually lingered on their rooftop.
Suddenly, a sweet voice that he had considered as soothing chimes, emerged out of the blue. "Fuji-senpai…" That was an all too-familiar voice.
Fuji immediately snapped his eyes open as soon as he heard the wonderful voice. He sat up. Then, it was there that Fuji awed at the sight in front of him. He suddenly felt warm all over, feeling very comfortable and happy at the moment. "Sakuno" He said.
Sakuno smiled shyly as their eye gazes were still on each other. "Daijobu, Fuji-senpai?" The girl asked worriedly.
Fuji broke the eye contact and turned it to the stars enveloping that night's sky. The snowstorm that had it the area a while back, suddenly shifted into just a breezy weather that allowed the stars to shine brightly that night. Was he really alright? Now that Sakuno was with him, he felt a lot better… But that didn't conclude that being with the girl wouldn't bring him solace. He was still bothered by the fact that Ryoma and Sakuno had kissed… perfectly misunderstanding that that was a mere kiss of farewell and nothing else. "I'm fine…" He lied.
Sakuno instantaneously smiled and scooted neared to her senpai. Fuji felt a tingling sensation when the girl did that. "Ano… I have something for you…" Sakuno said shyly, as she brought the heavily decorated box before her senpai's gaze. "It's not much… but I hope you will like it"
Fuji smiled fondly at the girl. "Arigatou…" He said sincerely and gratefully accepted Sakuno's present. Upon receiving the present, the boy had noticed something he had failed to see a while ago. His smiled widened as he realized that Sakuno was wearing his present.
"You are wearing the necklace I gave you…" Fuji stated softly. He had dropped off the gift in the Ryuzaki residence as he made his way back to his house, right after the 'kissing' incident. He figured that it would be less a burden if he kept his sight away from anything that would remind him of Sakuno at that time.
"Hai… and it is very lovely…"
Fuji's grin widened even more at this. Sakuno had liked his present! He felt very warm inside. It was then, at the sudden question of the girl that had brought him back to his previous predicament.
"Ano… Fuji-senpai. Your onee-chan mentioned that you seemed to be problematic before I came. Is it with regards to confessing to the girl you like?" Sakuno asked, almost casually.
Fuji sighed and broke their eye contact again. Why? Why did it lead this again? Oh yeah… it was because of the 'dare' the two had promised to do. "You're right…" He replied.
Sakuno looked at her senpai tenderly. "Ano… I could help if you want" Sakuno suggested kindly.
Fuji shook his head in refusal. "No… it's fine…"
There was silence between the two.
Then Sakuno broke it. "I confessed to Ryoma-kun…"
Fuji could feel the sadness flow inside him once more as the memories from that afternoon repeatedly played in his head. "That's great…" He replied impassively, trying to suppress the emotions he was feeling at the moment. But the scowl he was wearing didn't go unnoticed by the girl.
"Ano… Fuji-senpai… is there something the matter?" Sakuno asked, once again, trying her best to make sure that Fuji was indeed alright.
"I'm fine" Fuji said, faking a smile on his face. Sakuno smiled back, a bit relieved that the boy had showed her a smile.
Silence enveloped the two once more.
"But…" Sakuno had started on again, thus breaking the silence. Fuji still kept his gaze away from the girl, afraid that she would find out about his recent dilemma. Also… afraid that he would get hurt more when he sees the joy in Sakuno's face when she tells him about Ryoma kissing her.
"Ryoma-kun…" Sakuno's voice was unwavering, making Fuji infer that something good did happen between Ryoma and her. "doesn't return my feelings…"
With Sakuno's last words, Fuji immediately turned towards the girl, expecting that she would be teary-eyed at the moment. But what he saw in front of him was the complete opposite. Sakuno was smiling. Smiling! "Sakuno…" He said her name, quite bewildered with the girl's reaction.
"Even if that was the case… Ryoma-kun said he cared for me… and that was completely enough for me, knowing that tennis would be his top priority." Sakuno continued to talk with a firm voice. "A-And… he kissed me…" Sakuno's voice suddenly turned soft at this part, causing Fuji to stiffen a bit with what she just said. But that didn't hinder the boy from being curious with what's up with Sakuno's expression.
"He kissed me farewell" She said, her firmer voice coming back to her.
As soon as she said that, Fuji felt so free and good at the moment. He misunderstood everything! It was then, that the tennis tensai decided that that was the perfect time to confess his feelings.
"Sakuno…" Fuji called for the girl's attention. Sakuno immediately turned to him, expecting for her senpai to talk more. "You see… I have to admit. I am having a hard time confessing to the girl I like…"
Sakuno suddenly felt uncomfortable with Fuji's statement. Was she… jealous? She disregarded the feeling and settled on offering help to her senpai. "You can do it senpai…" Sakuno encouraged half-heartedly. "Here… to help. I will help you practice how to confess to her"
A tiny smile flickered on the boy's face, but it faded not long after to add to his act. "Okay…" Sakuno's attention was fully on Fuji. "At first, I thought that I didn't have a chance with you, knowing that you have set your heart on someone else." Fuji started, a sincere look on his face. "Despite that, I have convinced myself that I would have feelings for you no matter what… I love you so much"
Sakuno could feel a slight pang in her heart as Fuji had said all those words. What a lucky girl to be loved so much by someone like Fuji. Sakuno faked on a smile. But… there was this certain curiosity that continuously bothered her at that moment which made her ask the tennis tensai. "Ano… d-do I know her?"
Sakuno suddenly felt sad, fearing that she may feel uncomfortable with the person Fuji was indicating… for there was this new feeling that vexed the girl. Jealousy perhaps?
"W-Who is she…?"
Fuji looked away as soon as Sakuno asked this, causing more anxiety to surge inside her. "You…" Then he gazed at the girl he loved, with his cerulean eyes open. He looked tenderly at Sakuno.
Sakuno, on the other hand, took a while before she got to process what Fuji had just said. "E-Eh?!" She exclaimed surprised. Fuji chuckled at this and approached Sakuno. It took only several moments before Fuji's arms were wrapped around Sakuno lovingly.
"I love you…"
Sakuno was still surprised with the sudden things happening. Fuji actually loves her. Sakuno felt warm and comfy in Fuji's embrace. It was not long after when she returned the boy's hug.
"I-I love you too…" Sakuno whispered.
Now it was Fuji's turn to be surprised. He released from the hold almost immediately to look closely at Sakuno. Sincerity was written all over her face, despite the fact that she looked like a tomato with all the redness. "You do?" He asked softly, a bit afraid that Sakuno wouldn't assure.
"Hai" Sakuno replied shyly, this time, hugging the boy first. It seemed like eternity before the two released from each other's hold, blushing furiously with everything that just happened.
There was an uncomfortable silence as the two still took time to intake everything. "Ano… open your gift now Fuji-senpai…" Sakuno suddenly said, breaking the silence.
"Why do you still call me Fuji-senpai?"
Sakuno blushed more with Fuji's question. He was smiling brightly at her. "Shall I call you… Syusuke-kun?"
Fuji nodded then proceeded into opening his gift. His mouth watered as he caught sight of the tantalizing chocolates before him. "It's not much but I hope you-"
Sakuno flushed as she noticed that Fuji looked so handsome under the starlight… But Fuji broke Sakuno from her reverie. "Would you like to take the first one?"
"Sakuno…" Fuji said soothingly, offering the box towards the girl. Sakuno obliged and took one. She placed it inside her mouth. Fuji watched the girl as she savored the taste of her own delicacy. There were several chocolate smudges on her mouth.
"Now it's your turn to taste Syusuke-kun…" Sakuno said sweetly.
"Okay…" Fuji leaned in closer and pressed his lips on Sakuno's, tasting Sakuno's (and the chocolate's) sweet taste. The girl was blushing intensely as Fuji lengthened the contact, still not pulling back.
When Fuji did pull back, the boy lay down on the roof and stared at the stars that dominated the night sky. "It tastes good…" He commented, which caused Sakuno's blush to intensify.
The girl followed suit, lying down beside Fuji and gazed at the stars. She turned to Fuji who was recently putting another chocolate in his mouth. Sakuno smiled. She had found love this time… Love that was also reciprocated by the person she cared for. She realized that it was her love for Fuji that overwhelmed her love for Ryoma. So that was the reason why she didn't take Ryoma's answer so hard. She perfectly understood. And she felt complacent that she there would be solace waiting specially for her, when sorrow and loneliness does affect her.
It was only then she realized that Fuji turned his attention towards her. He was looking at her lovingly. Sakuno gazed back with the same passion. Blue met brown. "Sakuno… I forgot… I still owe you a dare." Fuji said. Sakuno looked at the boy. "I still have to make Tezuka sing karaoke"
Sakuno giggled at this and inched closer to the boy, placing her head on his chest. The two were so comfortable. "Would you like to go to Christmas Party Sakuno…?" Fuji asked seriously, as he stroked the girl's hair fondly.
Sakuno shook her head against Fuji's chest. "Ano… I'd rather stay here with you…" Sakuno said sweetly and met Fuji's gaze. "And besides… I'm only starting to enjoy my Christmas Love…"
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From the author: OMG! I can't believe it!!! –eyes starting to well-up with tears- I-It's over! Wah:runs around in circles, crying hysterically:
: - ; - : After an eternity of crying… : - ; - :
… I hope you guys enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for all the support you guys have given me!
Special Thanks to: Slinkies.are.the.shiznit, Kame-guru, angelz of deathz, midnightblue08, SweetRemembrance, RedKitty909,GinGaara, Melissax3, heatluv, MiMI, FujixSaku0709, MiNKy307, rebeccasanfujieijilvr, anjyaera, Mrs Hatake Itachi, tsuchi-daisho, mangastoptazmo, Kikumaru1128, mama Irene, dfisher25, Lewnuhhkau, Kikumaru'sLove15, Salali, Kikyo10, m o o g l e d a i m e, candychan, itachi-sama a.k.a cathrun, animeandmangaaddict, joy, ukyouchrono, cute0anime0addict, sakuno55, ----, WalkingWithWater, kyatoraina-chan, J&V, feiry, Emicachick54, Kountry101, and mangamani1234 for taking time to drop by a review and in giving me support!
Arigatou Everyone for reading