Author's Note: I have had this on my hard drive since last February and just found it again a few weeks ago. I only used some very simplistic Japanese and I've included the translations below if anyone gets confused. I hope you like it and please let me know what you think.

Summary: She could feel her face take on heat as it turned its customary shade of Fire Engine Red. But this went beyond embarrassment; this constituted downright utter humiliation. 'God, if you're listening, please tell me that I did not say that to Ryoma!' '…you want me to teach you how to kiss someone?' '…thanks for nothing God!'

Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis is not mine. If it was, Ryoma would be more affectionate towards Sakuno.

Mada Mada Dane – you still have a ways to go
Baka – idiot
Ano – Um
Sensei – teacher

Learning Curve

She could feel her face take on heat as it turned its customary shade of Fire Engine Red™ to reflect her embarrassment. But truly this went beyond embarrassment; this constituted downright utter humiliation and destined doom. The kind that meant she would have to run home tonight and beg her grandmother to let her changes schools, no cities - no, to let her study abroad - in order for Sakuno to bear to live the rest of her life in relative peace. Somehow though, Sakuno doubted her grandmother would see things from her perspective. That only left one other option: divine providence.

Despite the fact that she only made a trip to the temple once a year, prayer was truly the only available answer at the moment. Sakuno bowed her head. 'God, this is Sakuno and if you're listening, please tell me that I did not say that to Ryoma-kun!'

"What did you just ask me, Ryuzaki?"

Sakuno mentally cheered. 'Thanks God! I knew you would understand!'

"…you want me to teach you how to kiss?"

'…or not,' Sakuno thought with a wince. 'Thanks for nothing God! But there's still a chance I can escape. If I can just find a hole large enough for me to dive into…'

Unfortunately with no random holes in sight that she could hide in, Sakuno looked back up to find Ryoma in front of her still waiting for her response with one eyebrow raised in question. Fire Engine Red™ became a Vintage Burgundy™ on her cheeks.

"No, no, no," she said shaking her head and waving her arms in frantic denial. "I-I didn't say that. Of- of c-course n-not, R-ryoma-kun!" she blurted out, desperate to find an escape route. 'Maybe he'll believe me and just drop it.'

"I heard you say it." So much for that idea.

"Ano.. I ano... W-well maybe I s-said it, but I didn't mean it!"

"Then why did you say it?" Suddenly his amber cat-like eyes reminded her more of a mountain lion than a harmless kitten. A mountain lion hungry for prey. Sakuno flushed at the turn her thoughts led her. 'I can't think things like that! That's how I got into this mess in the first place.'

"I-I- I've got to go!" she shouted before racing down the hallway, not even bothering to look back.

The Prince of Tennis remained where he was and watched her frantic departure, her twin braids hitting flopping around wildly as she ran. Slowly his lips curled into a wicked smirk. "Interesting," he said, pulling his cap down to hide the way his amber eyes sparked.



If this morning was any indication, Sakuno had a feeling she would be in misery for the rest of the day. She could barely concentrate in class because every time she closed her eyes her mind would replay the scene that took place earlier. She had approached him during lunch to see if he could help her study for her English exam. Her grade was slipping and her grandmother threatened to not let her attend any of the tennis matches unless she brought it up. Ryoma seemed like the perfect candidate to help since he had lived in America for a number of years and he was one of the few people she could ask for help without turning into too much of a babbling mess or worrying about inconveniencing him. 'Now, I don't think I could ever look him in the face again,' she thought with a sigh. Giving up trying to understand the lesson on square roots, she turned her head to look out the window.

'Why did I say that to him? Now he must think I'm crazy or something.' Sakuno hated the thought but truthfully she realized that her actions this morning made her appear like every other fangirl in the school who idolized the young tennis prodigy.

Sakuno groaned, burying her face in her hands. 'My hasty departure probably didn't help matters any. But what was I suppose to do? When he asked me what I needed his help for I just said the first thing that was on my mind.'

Sakuno sighed morosely. 'Note to self: avoid saying the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about and/or staring at Ryoma's lips, especially after talking to Tomo-chan.'

"Miss Ryuzaki!" a voice bellowed, ripping Sakuno away from her thoughts.

"Y-yes!" She replied, automatically standing to answer the instructor.

"I have been asking you the answer for problem 3 in your book three times in the last few minutes."

Sakuno blushed, a light rosy tint this time. "I'm sorry sensei! I'll do it right now."

"Um, what page are we on again?"

"Miss Ryuzaki!"

Yep, definitely going to be a fun-filled day of misery for Sakuno.



Fortunately, Sakuno managed to pass through the rest of her classes relatively easy… excluding of course the time when she nearly tossed the bat into the catcher when they played baseball in gym. …and of course, ignoring the fact that she drew a person who looked remarkably similar to Ryoma-kun during art class which normally wouldn't be such a problem but the assignment was on unique landscapes.

"Oh, today is not my day," she muttered to herself as she exited the building and started to head home. Tennis practice hadn't been cancelled that day but Sakuno still felt too embarrassed to watch the men's team practice now. So instead, she began the slow trek back home and tried to ignore the feeling of weirdness that the disruption in her routine created. She had just reached the gate, when she was stopped.

"Ryuzaki!" a voice called.

While Sakuno's eyes widened the rest of her body become numb. 'No please, anybody but him.' Sakuno forced a cheerful smile on her face and turned around to meet her doom- er, Ryoma.

"H-hello Ryoma-kun, I wish I could stay and talk but I'm really in a big hurry so I'll just see you around sometime and…"

"Why?" he interjected cutting off the rest of her rushed speech.

For a split second, Sakuno thought he was referring to her latest babbling but then she connected it to The Incident. 'Play dumb and maybe he'll drop the issue.'

"Huh? I-I don't know what you're talking about, Ryoma-kun." 'Please let him drop it.'

"Why did you ask me to teach you how to kiss?" Inward groan. 'Figures he wouldn't listen. Again.'

"I'm sorry, Ryoma-kun," Sakuno said as she looked pitifully as the ground, "I didn't mean to say it and I'll never ask you that again. I'm really sorry."

"I didn't ask you to apologize, I asked you why."

Sakuno's eyes widened. She should tell him? Could she?

Deep breath in. 'I can do this,' Sakuno told herself. She bit her lip and glanced up to see his expression. Just like always, his face appeared impassive. 'I don't think I can do this.'


"I wanted… I-I wanted to…" Her heart pounded as she desperately tried to get out the words.

"You wanted what?" his curt tone made her wince.

She was about to tell him to just forget about it when a sudden, unexpected wave of determination washed over her. "I wanted to see if I was a good kisser or not." She flushed. At least, that was mostly it. Or maybe the fact she had a crush on him the size of the titanic was mostly it.

"And you wanted me to teach you."

A hesitant nod.


Blink, blink, what?

"O-okay?" she repeated

"Yeah, okay," and with that he leaned forward to press his lips to hers. With his golden eyes burning into her chocolate ones, she had only one thought.

It was official. The apocalypse was eminent and everyone was about to die.

Or maybe it was something less dramatic. Maybe she was just daydreaming in class again and any second she would wake up to find an angry sensei standing over her. Yes, that would surely explain how in the world Sakuno could be kissing her crush just outside the gates of the school. 'Wow, if that's the case, this has got to be one of my most realistic daydreams yet…'

Before Sakuno's thoughts could go further off track, a hand gripped the back of her neck and tugged her forward pressing her even closer to his body. Sakuno let out a tiny squeak. 'Yep, definitely wins an award for the most realistic and best daydream ever!'

And as lips moved gently against hers, Sakuno discovered that daydream or not her position wasn't a bad place to be. 'Mmmm, not bad at all.'

And then he pulled away.

Sakuno slowly opened the eyes that she never realized she closed. Her mouth opened slightly as her fingers went up to trace her lips as the realization that Ryoma. Just. Kissed. Her. truly began to sink in. But then another thought hit her. 'Ryoma kissed me and I didn't respond at all.'

Suddenly, she closed her eyes to avoid looking at him. 'What was I thinking? I am such a fool to think I could do this right. …now he probably hates me…' The last thought hurt more than the others and the tears fenced behind her lashes began to fall. But as they did, a strong hand grasped her chin pulling it up.


"Mada Mada Dane," he said slyly. But what Sakuno failed to notice is that his statement lacked most of his usual arrogance that it typically contained; instead, it seemed to have a playful undertone. But Sakuno didn't notice any of these things. Sakuno was too busy wallowing in her misery.

In her mind, his trademark phrase had confirmed it. 'I am the worst kisser in history,' she thought miserably, 'I'm going to grow up to be a spinster that lived with twenty-two cats, five of them named Ryoma. Baka,' she told herself one more time while her eyes looked to the side to avoiding looking directly at him.

But when something brushed her lips once more she couldn't help but look back to see Ryoma's expression and noticed his face hovering just mere centimeters away. 'He's actually smiling.' Sakuno thought surprised. Closely looking like his typical arrogant smirk, a smug smile graced Ryoma's face. The hand that held her chin drifted to her cheek.

"I said mada mada dane," he repeated before touching their lips together once more. Suddenly, Sakuno understood. It seemed that class was in session and Ryoma-sensei still had a few things he wanted to teach her. 'Well, at this is one class, I'm definitely going to give my full attention to,' she thought, eager to learn.

AN: I have two companion pieces in the works one is entitled Teaching Style which is this story from Ryoma's perspective and the other is The Lesson Plan which shows where Sakuno got the idea about kissing Ryoma. Let me know if you want me to just post them here or separately. Please review!