Fem Ryo. After her best friend died in an accident, Echizen Rika quit tennis for good before she is then pushed into playing tennis with the boys' team...in Rikkaidai.
I have this idea from reading a Prince of Tennis fanfic written by Golden Typhoon, though the events in this story will be different. Rika (or Ryoma) will be a tad bit OOC in this story, along with a few characters. This is also a reposted version of the story on my old account.
Chapter One: Echizen Rika
In America, there is one school which was constantly talked about in newspapers, the Internet, tennis magazines and on the radio as well as the television. That school was St Andrews, located in California. And all because of one reason: two of the team captains for their tennis club were tennis prodigies who had been winning tennis championships...for the high schoolers section.
One of their team captains was Echizen Rika, the daughter of the legendary Samurai Nanjirou and winner of four consecutive championships in high school tennis tournaments. The other captain was the best friend and childhood friend of Rika, Kevin Smith, who like her, had also been winning championships in tennis matches way above his age level. And the vice-captain for the tennis team was a girl by the name of Yakiwa Yuki – a childhood friend of both Rika and Kevin.
And it is because of those three that their school was able to participate in tennis championships for the high school section and became the champions for three years in a row ever since the three became the co-captains and vice-captain of St Andrews' tennis club.
However, a tragedy struck one day when the three best friends were on their way home. Kevin had been staying with the Echizen family for about a year at this point as he had sued his father for child abuse and Rika's mother – Echizen Rinko was handling his case as she's an attorney.
There was a car accident and Yakiwa Yuki was the victim.
It was a horrific accident as Yuki was dragged for about three meters before stopping and the car had sped off. Her skull was cracked opened and there were extremely serious injuries on her head. Yuki had died on the spot and both Kevin and Rika were devastated.
The entire tennis club were devastated as well as their vice-captain was so cheery and always cheered them up whenever they lost a match which was rare. She was always doing little things to boost their mood and cheered them up and was also the one to draw up their training menu as St Andrews do not have a coach and was trained by the co-captains and the one vice-captain instead.
That accident made the headlines for over a week and because it was widely known that Yakiwa Yuki was best friends with Echizen Rika, the Samurai's daughter, reporters were always badgering the girl at school, which only worsened her depression over losing her best friend, and for an entire week, Kevin was acting as her chaperone by snarling at anyone who even gets close to her. Finally, Echizen Nanjirou and his wife, as well as his older son, Rika's half-brother pulled Rika out of school and had her home-schooled instead so that she can take her final examinations at home in peace.
Everyone in the Echizen family, even Kevin, and Rika's beloved Himalayan cat were worried about the girl and Karupin could be seen tailing Rika everywhere she went in the Echizen mansion, even staying outside the bathroom when she was taking a bath.
Ryoga who was older than Rika by several years looked like his father and sister with black-green hair and hazel eyes with a tint of gold in it. For all the teasing that he did, the boy truly cares about his sister and wondered if there is anything that he could do to get his baby sister back.
Because when Yuki died, so did Rika's love for tennis, much to her family's dismay and her tennis team's horror. When Yuki was still alive, they often participated into tennis matches as a doubles pair, even though Rika's speciality is singles. And then again, Yuki and Kevin are the only ones who can play doubles with Rika, along with another guy whom they met a few years ago when his family was in America on vacation – Marui Bunta.
Finally, Nanjirou gathered his son, wife as well as Kevin for a family meeting. "It's already been three months now since the accident," said Rinko, worried. "And she hasn't so much as touched a tennis racquet. All she does is stay in her room or listening to that I-Pod of hers."
"Yuki's her best friend, it's expected that she will act that way," said Kevin with a sigh. "I wasn't that close to her, as I'm closer to Rika, but even I'm affected, not to mention Rika. Those two did everything together, seeing as how they're both girls and had more in common."
Rinko sighed and turned to Nanjirou. "Nanjirou, shall we go home? Back to Japan, I mean. Rika needs a change of environment in order to heal and being in America reminds her of the car accident. And not to mention that reporters are still badgering her as the accident made the headlines of the newspapers for over a week."
"Japan may be a good idea," said her husband thoughtfully. "She may be able to put the past behind her over there. But Kevin can't come yet, right?"
"Yeah, his case is still pending," said Rinko with a sigh. "Thus, he has to stay here for at least another six months as that's the amount of time that the court had given before the final verdict will be given – when we can officially adopt him."
"I'll stay here then," said Kevin thoughtfully. "It's my final year in St Andrews anyway. The only thing that I'm worried about is Rika, but I'll drop Bunta a mail and get him to check in on her every now and then."
"I'll fly back to America every now and then," said Rinko. "Nanjirou, you'll handle finding a place in Japan whilst I handle our passports. Kevin and Ryoga, go and get our plane tickets."
Two months later, everything was ready for their departure to Japan...only one problem...
"There isn't a SINGLE available house near my old school!" Nanjirou nearly wailed to Rinko one day as the Echizen matriarch was double and triple checking their passports to make sure that they bore the citizenships to ensure that they're able to settle permanently in Japan as well as the plane tickets. "I'll feel safer if chibi-chan's in Seigaku since I'll be able to get my old hag of a coach to watch over her and with Kevin stuck in America and Ryoga attending college in Japan, I can't trust anyone else to watch over her!"
"Isn't there an available house for sale in Kanagawa?" asked Rinko, done with her final checks and turning to her panicking husband as two amused boys watched this scene in the sitting room of the Echizen mansion, sitting on the bottom step of the stairs which leads to the bedrooms upstairs. "It's a pretty nice house from what I saw in the pictures as well – nearly an exact duplicate of our house here."
"Yes, but it's too far from Seigaku!" Nanjirou nearly wailed.
"Have her go to a school in Kanagawa then," said Rinko impatiently. "What's the nearest school to our new house?"
Kevin was the one who answered. "Rikkaidai," he said, and the Echizen couple turned their attention to the blonde who was playing with a tennis ball with one hand by tossing it up and down. He blinked. "What? I was emailing Bunta last week and he goes to that school. Apparently, he lives in Kanagawa as well."
"Well, that settles it then," said Rinko. "Marui-kun will be able to keep an eye on Rika that way, even if Kevin is in America. And he's the one person other than Kevin to be able to make Rika return to tennis...if she ever does." She said the last bit doubtfully.
"By the way..." said Ryoga, turning to Kevin. "How's the team?"
Kevin groaned. "Not good," he said in despair. "Without Rika and...her, our strength has dropped by half since Rika always take singles one whilst I take singles two and...Yuki takes singles three. And the motivation of the team has severely dropped without Rika and Yuki. We lost badly at the last tournament. For the first time in St Andrews' history ever since we became captains, we lost both doubles matches and I managed to win in singles three, but lost the final match in singles two. We're out of the tournament now."
Ryoga sighed. "For the first time in history, huh?" he mused.
"Well, we'll be leaving for Japan tomorrow," said Rinko. "Kevin, will you be okay on your own or do you need me to arrange for someone to check in on you every now and then?"
Kevin's face was one of horror. "I'll be JUST fine on my own, Rinko-san, thanks!" he said quickly. "I don't need a babysitter." At Rinko's worried and doubtful look, he hastily replied, "If you're worried, I'll call every night or something so that you know that I'm fine, okay?"
"Alright," said Rinko with a smile.
Their flight was at six in the morning and it was mid-afternoon by the time they arrived at their new house in Kanagawa which was nearly a duplicate of their house in America, only more Japanese traditional-looking, complete with ponds, sakura trees as well as tennis courts and a swimming pool in the backyard.
For the Echizen siblings who had never been in Japan before, this was a change for them and out of the corner of his eye, Ryoga saw a small smile light up his sister's face before it was gone again. Before that accident, she used to smile whenever she was with her friends, despite the name 'Ice Queen' in St Andrews, but now, she doesn't even smile for Kevin or any of her friends now.
Ryoga had already signed up for college and he was also taking a part-time job as the assistant coach of Seigaku's tennis team as Nanjirou had felt that this can improve Ryoga's skills in tennis as well.
"Rika, why don't you go and take a look around Japan to familiarise yourself with this country?" asked Rinko. "We'll do the unpacking."
Rika nodded before heading out of the house.
For some reason, Rika had ended up alighting at Tokyo train station and her feet had somehow taken her to a place called the Kakinokizaka Tennis Garden where there was a tennis tournament. Rika had watched from the fence as the group registered under the sixteen-year-old category played against each other and Rika nearly snorted as she watched the standard of their play.
None of them will last for more than a minute against herself, Kevin as well as her brother, except for perhaps the winner of the sixteen-year-old category – a blue-haired effeminate boy who looked to be a few years older than her.
Rika then moved to the fourteen-year-old category side and nearly groaned at the terrible play on display there. She can just imagine Yuki's reactions to this play. Fun and cheerful to be with, the girl was a damn perfectionist which explains St Andrews' consecutive wins at tournaments. Her lips twitched as she remembered the first time Yuki was training their tennis team only to have a new member choose to practice his racquet swinging right behind her. Normally, this wouldn't be so bad, but his grip was all wrong.
"Aaaarrrgghh! You're doing it wrong! Either do it right or go away and leave me alone!"
"What? This is how my brother taught me to use the Northern grip."
"He's been teaching you the wrong thing! Give me that racquet! This is the Northern grip!"
Then, they had been winning competitions ever since they became the captains of the tennis team and became the talk of newspapers and magazines island-wide until that fateful day...
A shove sent her flying to the ground alongside Kevin.
A screech of brakes and smashing glass.
Rika was snapped out of her memories as she felt a hand drop down on her shoulder and she turned to see concerned eyes belonging to the champion of the sixteen-year-old category. "Are you okay, Miss?" he asked in a concerned voice.
"Y-Yeah," muttered Rika. "I'm just leaving."
It was late evening by the time Rika decided to board the train for home.
The train was extremely crowded and Rika had to remain standing all the way as she read a tennis magazine that she had brought at the news stand earlier at the train station. A teen brushed past her just then, bumping into her shoulder and nearly causing her to fall, only for someone to grab hold of her arm, steadying her.
"T-Thank you," muttered Rika, staring into concerned turquoise eyes as the owner released her arm, allowing her to steadying herself.
The boy smiled gently. "We meet again," he said. "It must be Fate."
Rika couldn't help smiling back at him. "Maybe," she said, closing the tennis magazine that she was reading earlier. "I'm Echizen Rika. You are?"
"Yukimura," said the boy. "Yukimura Seiichi." He then noticed the magazine that Rika was holding and smiled. "You play tennis?"
"Y-Yeah," said Rika, managing a weak smile. "I was captain of my team when I was in America."
Yukimura's eyes widened a slight fraction before smiling slightly. "What a coincidence," he said. "I'm the captain of my team too."
Yukimura laughed. "I know. Everyone tells me that I look too fragile and gentle to be the captain of a tennis team," he said. "I didn't play for about a year as I had to undergo an operation for Guillain-Barre Syndrome at the end of last year, but my teammates still insisted on keeping me as captain."
"That's a nice team that you got there," said Rika with a wistful smile.
"I guess," said Yukimura with a smile.
"What team are you captain of?" asked Rika.
"Kanagawa station." A voice said over the intercom just then. "Kanagawa station."
"Oops," said Yukimura. "This is my stop."
And he blinked as Rika followed him out of the train as well as the train doors shut behind them before leaving the station. Rika smiled as she looked at him. "This is my stop as well," she said. "I've just moved here." She then looked at Yukimura. "What team are you captain of again?"
"Oi!" came a shout which was extremely familiar to Rika. "'Mura! You're late!"
"Sorry, sorry!" said Yukimura sheepishly as he turned towards the owner of the voice as a group of teenage boys in casual clothing walked up to him, a certain redhead chewing on a bubblegum among them.
The redhead blinked as he noticed Rika. "EH?! RIKA?!"
Rika blinked rapidly. "B-Bunta?! What are you doing here?!"
The rest of the boys blinked and Yukimura blinked rapidly in confusion, looking from one to the other. "You two..." He began. "...know each other?"
Marui blinked before nodding. "Of course we knew each other," he said. "We're childhood friends. I met her in America several years back when my family was there on vacation and we've been keeping in contact ever since."
"Marui. Mind introducing?" asked a purple-haired teen with glasses on.
"Oh. This is Echizen Rika," said Marui, indicating towards Rika.
"Echizen?" muttered a boy wearing a cap with a serious face on. "Where have I heard that name before?"
"Ah!" A curly-haired boy suddenly cried out. "Sanada-fukubuchou, don't you remember? That legendary tennis player featured in Monthly Pro Tennis several times in the past! What's his name again? Samurai...Samurai...Samurai Nanjirou! That's it!" He looked towards Rika. "How are you related to him?"
"He's my father," said Rika in a deadpanned voice. "And unlike contrary belief, he is a perverted old man to which his perverted magazines are more important to him than his life."
"Eh?!" whimpered that same boy, all impressions of his idol shattering like china. "Marui-sempai..."
Marui nodded sadly. "Unfortunately, Rika is right," he said. "I've met Nanjirou-san once when I met Rika and her friends in America. He's a terrific tennis player, I give you that, but it's his fetish for his reading material that lowers my opinion of him."
"You two seemed to be awfully close," said a silver haired teen with spiky silver hair with a short ponytail. "Are you...Marui's girlfriend?"
Rika nearly choked on empty air and Marui's expression was nearly amusing to watch as his eyes looked as if it would pop out of it's sockets anytime soon.
"NO!" They both cried as one. "She's just a good friend!" cried Marui, pointing at Rika.
"I wouldn't go out with him even if you paid me!" growled Rika, glaring at Marui.
"What's that supposed to mean?" demanded Marui and the tennis boys fought hard to restrain their laughter and even Sanada had a slight smirk on his face.
"And you are?" asked Rika, regaining her composure, turning towards the tennis boys. "I only know Bunta and Yukimura-san here."
"Oh, sorry," said the purple-haired teen apologetically. "I'm Yagyuu Hiroshi. This guy over here is Niou Masaharu." The silver haired guy nodded with a grin. "This here is Kuwahara Jackal." A dark-skinned, skinned-headed male nodded to her politely. "This guy here is Yanagi Renji." A guy with his eyes closed nodded politely to her. "This is Sanada Genichirou and the guy next to him is Kirihara Akaya." The guy with the cap nodded to her politely whilst the curly-haired male grinned and waved to her slightly.
"By the way," said Marui, his expression turning serious. "Rika. I received a mail from Kevin about two months back. He told me what happened."
Rika's expression turned serious. "And?"
"You're going to Rikkaidai as well, right? Kevin told me about it and that your house is quite near mine."
The Rikkaidai boys blinked before looking from one to the other, looking quite confused.
"It's none of your concern, Bunta," said Rika stubbornly.
Marui sighed with exasperation, popping his bubblegum. "It becomes my concern if it concerns my friends," he said patiently. "Kevin can't come to Japan yet because his case is still pending and he specifically left instructions that he wanted me to keep an eye on you! And he was saying something about you quitting tennis." He deadpanned and at the mention of the word 'tennis', it quirked the entire tennis club's interest, even the stoic Sanada, and the remaining seven teens tried to make themselves as invisible as possible as this conversation was getting interesting. "Mind explaining?"
"You know why," said Rika.
Marui nearly groaned. "Damn it, Rika! What do you think that she will say if she knew how you're acting now?! She will be disappointed! Why do you think that she even takes up tennis in the first place?! It's because of you!" He sighed. "Besides, I remember reading somewhere about a rule that allows girls to play with boys in tournaments in Japan. Right, Sanada?"
Sanada nodded, looking quite curious.
"I...have no wish to return to tennis," said Rika, looking away from Marui. "I have to go."
"Rika! Wait!" Marui called out, but the girl merely increased her speed and the redhead sighed. "That girl... She's still as stubborn as before."
"Marui," said Yukimura. "Do you mind explaining what that's all about?"
The eyes of every tennis player were on Marui and he sighed, popping his bubblegum. "This isn't my place to tell," he said. "This is Rika's to tell. I just can say one thing though. That girl's an excellent player and she's got talent. If we can manage to get her to join the tennis club, she will be an excellent addition to our club."
Sanada frowned. "How good is she exactly?"
"Well..." Marui frowned. "I don't know really, but she's the captain of her tennis team when she's in America and she brought her school to participate in matches against high schoolers when she's in elementary school and she won four consecutive championships in tournaments repeatedly."
"EH?!" The rest of the club nearly cried and Sanada blinked whilst Yukimura looked surprised.
"She's that good, Marui?" asked his doubles partner, Jackal, in interest. "That's a first. Most girls don't take tennis seriously nowadays."
Marui nodded. "I'm not sure if she's up to Rikkaidai's level though, seriously..." he muttered. "What with her not playing for nearly six months..." He groaned. "But I promised Kevin to get her back into tennis and to keep an eye on her... How troublesome."
Yanagi frowned. "Get her back to tennis, you say," he said. "She quit the sport?"
"Technically, yes," said Marui with a nod. "But tennis is still in her heart. She loves that sport better than anything else out there. But she's stubborn. I'm only one of the few that can make her change her mind, if she don't even listen to her own family."
"You say that she's a new student?" said Yukimura slowly and Marui nodded. "She's a freshman?"
"Yeah," said Marui with a nod. "Why are you asking?"
Yukimura had a faint hint of a smirk on his face. "I have a plan to get her to play tennis again," he said. "I know that freshmen are not allowed on the regulars' team, but if she's as good as you say she is, I'll welcome her as she'll be a welcome addition. All freshmen are supposed to choose clubs to participate in during their time in Rikkaidai anyway."
"That's rare," said Yagyuu with a blink. "You hardly do things like that for new students."
Yukimura chuckled. "She's interesting," he said. "But we have to get the Principal's permission."