Disclaimer: If I owned Prince of Tennis, Sakuno would be an actual main character unlike the misleading beginning of the actual Prince of Tennis, where we are tricked into thinking she is the main character, then realize that no, that cocky, middle school kid is. (read: I don't own PoT)
Sakuno Goes to Camp
Kobayashi Training Camp is located in the small town of Tanimori, near Matsumoto in the Nagano prefecture. Built by the influential and generous Kobayashi family 20 years ago, the tennis training camp boasts five outdoor tennis courts, one indoor court, and two small workout rooms.
The property is situated near popular hot springs and historical temples. Linked to several hiking trails and only steps away from Tanimori's central shopping area, Kobayashi is equipped with any tennis player's needs, while providing the peaceful and quite small town life.
The main building holds a number of bedrooms, rooms for meetings, and an indoor tennis court. Branching off from the main structure are two wings, each containing two clusters of rooms. Each cluster was designed with five bedrooms and a shared bathroom centered around a great room.
It was hoped, Sakuno read, that such an environment would stimulate a player's natural talent, and at the same time improve their ability to nurture interpersonal relationships.
The building on the front of the brochure even looked relaxing; a pretty fountain in front of a large western-styled brick building, with wide windows and trees peaking over the second story. The small tennis fan only hoped, fervently, that Kobayashi could work its magic on the Kanto region tennis teams. After all, no matter how peaceful a scene, the rowdy middle school tennis players she knew seemed to always cause some form of trouble for themselves.
"This is going to be so much fun! I can't believe sensei is letting us help out again!" Tomoka squealed, unable to contain her excitement. "We are so lucky! Three weeks of actual vacation! Three weeks of watching Ryoma-sama play in the wilderness! Three weeks of hot springs, baby!"
Ann turned to face them from the front seat, looking a little irritated at having her seat kicked, but also wanting to share the excitement.
"I wonder who will be in groups with each other. Remember some people didn't get along during the invitational camp. I hope I'm not stuck with a dysfunctional group," she said, then turned to the hyper Seigaku cheerleader. "Calm down, already. You're going to break something."
Complying, but only after making a face, Tomoka turned to her best friend expectantly.
"Aren't you excited, Sakuno?"
"You haven't been saying much," Ann asked the younger girl. "Are you not feeling well?"
"Oh, I'm just nervous," Sakuno said, tucking the brochure away in her duffle bag. She was excited, but had some doubts as to how the camp would turn out. "I don't know if I will be of much help. I don't want to let anyone down."
Ann smiled at the uneasy underclassman, while Tomo looked at her incredulously.
"What's there to be scared about?" the pigtailed girl asked. "I mean, we get to live with ten boys!"
"Is that a good thing?" Ann scrunched up her nose. "I think one is bad enough."
"We get to watch the best players in all of Japan - or at least of the middle school level – do what they do best!" Tomo continued enthusiastically, gesturing wildly. "We get the opportunity – nay – the privilege, of eating and living with hot upperclassmen!"
Sakuno saw her grandma arch her eyebrow in the rearview mirror.
"You'll be living next to them," the elder Ryuuzaki corrected. "And you will all lock your doors at night. Understand, Tomoka?"
"Hai, sensei," the slightly deflated girl answered.
"And if anyone bothers you - any of you - tell me"
"Hai," they coursed.
"And don't worry so much, Sakuno. I'm sure you will do an excellent job taking care of your 'house'."
"Yea," Tomoka brightened. "If the people in your house act up, just stuff their faces with some of your homemade cake, and before you know it, you'll have ten marriage proposals - Oof!"
Ann turned back around in her seat, placed her pillow back behind her head, and looked out the car window at the surrounding forest.
"If you need any help," she said, watching the landscape become progressively hillier, "you'll have Tomoka-chan, Dan-kun, and I there to help you. We're all in this together."
"Besides," Tomo added, settling down for the long ride as well, "nothing bad is going to happen out in the middle of nowhere."
Looking out the window, Sakuno hoped her friends were right.
First on the itinerary when they arrived was drawing for their groups and informative meeting.
Kobayashi Training Camp was exactly like the picture on the brochure, and had a nice view of the peaceful mountains where the hot springs were located. They had yet to see Tanimori, the nearby town, but Sakuno already had the feeling that it was most likely touristy and small.
The four made their way inside the main building, across the foyer, and into a large room set up like a dining hall, with a stage at one end. It reminded Sakuno of the invitational camp's mess hall, but smaller, and less used. The room seemed to be overall insufficient in serving such a large number of campers; an observation the young girl voiced worriedly.
"There are kitchens in each of the four houses, desu," a voice behind the group explained.
The blue haired boy smiled innocently at the three girls he had come to know during the invitationals. Behind him entered Hanamura-sensei, the strict Sakaki-sensei, and Oji with a large cage with balls in it, like at the lottery. The freshman trio was going to come later (along with the Seigaku team) and act as assistants for the coaches. Inui also volunteered to be an assistant, being as only regulars could participate in the camp and Seigaku had more players than spots. For the meanwhile only the camp volunteers had arrived for the staff-only meeting. Once the tennis teams arrived on their busses the seemingly empty halls would be filled with the plentiful noise of teenaged boys.
After some polite greetings, Sakai-sensei got down to business.
"Your job as a dorm leader is very important," he explained to the four youngest people. "You will be living with your 'house' and will be acting as a dorm head. What that entails is such:
"You will be given a set amount of money to spend on food. Only the dorm leaders have access to this allowance. There are then two options. One is to buy the premade meals we offer. These meals will use up the entirety of your allowance, but will provide all three meals. The second option is to use your money in town to make your own food. It is not necessary to provide meals on the days detailed in the packet you will soon receive."
The strict coach looked at the four helpers seriously.
"Use your money wisely," he cautioned, then after a short pause, began again. "You will also be in charge of cleaning your 'house', informing them of any changes to schedule, enforcing the rules outlined in your packet, and keeping a general peace in your household."
"If you need any assistance," Hanamura-sensei offered, "Each household will be assigned a coach and coach helper. We will do our best to help you dorm parents by getting the group information and helping with training."
Then she added with a wink, "Whatever it is, don't be afraid to ask! And take good care of your kiddies, ok?"
"Let's choose our groups, then," Ryuuzaki-sensei spoke, after no questions were asked. "We will go one at a time and choose by lottery. Tachibana Ann, you're up first!"
Sakuno watched in anticipation as Ann drew her names. Of the people the braided haired girl recognized were Kaido Karou, Fuji Yuta, Tezuka Kinimitsu, and, to her and Tomoka's (and maybe Dan's) great disappointment, Echizen Ryoma.
The more she thought of it, the happier she became that she couldn't pull Ryoma's name now. She really wouldn't be able to breath, knowing he was sleeping in the room next to her and eating her food. It was a very good thing, she convinced herself. Very good.
Ann pulled the rest of the names, two being from Fudomine, two from Rakkai Dai, one from Rokkaku, and another one from St. Rudolph. Over all, her team seemed like it might be powerful, if anything because it had Tezuka and Ryoma in it.
Tomoka was next, and although she was disappointed at not pulling her Ryoma-sama's name, she was genuinely pleased to see her sempai Momoshiro Takeshi and Fuji Shusuke. The hyper girl also pulled two captains: Tachibana Kippei and Aoi Kentarou, the first year captain. Among the rest was Yanagi Renji, who Sakuno remembered as being a powerful player from Rekkai Dai. All too soon, it was Sakuno's turn to go on the stage and pick her team.
Giving the handle a timid spin, Sakuno took a deep breath and waited nervously for the basket to stop its rotation.
A ball rolled out smoothly, she hastily grabbed it, and read the name of her first house member out loud.
He was from Josei Shonan, if she remembered correctly. Although that team was not Seigaku's toughest opponent, she still remembered some of their members. He was the captain – the tall one – with the soft, honey colored hair. He might have been nice. It was hard to recall - did he play Ryoma-kun at any point? She didn't remember if he did.
In any case, he seemed amiable, and that was encouraging.
The next ball bounced out of cage, and Sakuno embarrassedly had to chase after it, having spun the rotator too hard.
Blushing, she brushed her hair out of her face, avoiding looking at the impassive coaches. Although her face was still red, the name on the ball made her smile.
There! Having a familiar sempai around may make things a little easier. And Kikumaru-sempai was secretly one of her favorites. His energy and cheer was encouraging, and she was sure he could make up for any ill-spirit on the team.
However, she contemplated after reading the third ball, she wasn't sure her cheerful sempai could turn this character's countenance pleasant.
Sakuno remembered Kirihara-san well, from the Kanto Tournament, the invitationals, and the nationals. He was the violent second year ace of Rikkai Dai that injured Tachibana-san to the point of hospitalization. He was everything Sakuno tried to stay away from – troublesome, cocky, and mercilessly cruel. She had heard that he decided to start playing clean, but in the nationals reverted back to brutality even worse than before.
However, during the invitational camp he had tried to cover for Ann-chan, so she knew he wasn't, perhaps, as bad as he appeared. He was intimidating, though, and scary.
Sakuno bit her lip.
Two people from Rikkai Dai? Maybe Kirihara-san's sempai could help him keep his temper. She knew less about Marui-san than his kouhai, though. He was the one who played doubles with the tall boy with the shaved head, right? From her experience, all of those from Rikkai Dai were terrifying. Out of all her sempai's rivals, they seemed to be the least ethical and the most dangerous.
The next player, to her immense relief, was not from the terrifying Demon School of Rikkai Dai.
The boxing-tennis expert, she remembered. He was hard to miss with his orange hair, green clothes, and tendency to flirt with older girls. She wasn't so sure she could deal with flirting, but he seemed like a good-natured person.
The next ball that fell from the machine was actually two balls. Somehow someone had managed to glue or nail them together.
Sakuno looked toward her grandmother, clearly wondering what she should do with them.
"They're stuck together," she explained after a pause, in which everyone in the room stared at her as if wondering how one could mess up taking balls out of a machine.
"Are they? Well, it doesn't matter. Just read them both. We'll count them for two."
The young girl nodded and turned back to the pair, her eyes widening as she read off the names.
Oh, she was so dead! So completely, completely done for! If she couldn't handle Kirihara-san's attitude, she could surely never handle this man's ego!
She read them in the order in which they were nailed.
" Atobe Keigo. Kabaji Munehiro."
The latter was the Hyotei body guard who was born with the features and stature of a very intimidating and passive full-grown, bodybuilding man.
Yet she found the diva king even more intimidating. Atobe Keigo was at the very top of Saukno's "People to Stay Away From" list. Not that Atobe-san was particularly scary to look at – in fact he was very beautiful for a boy – but his sheer self-importance and arrogance made him virtually unapproachable in petite, self-conscious Sakuno's eyes.
And his money! How could she possibly keep happy a boy used to having legions of servants waiting on him, professional cooks making him rooms full of European delicacies, and maids starching his tailored uniform? She didn't even know how to cook a hamburger, let alone fillet mignon! Did having Atobe-san in her house come with a bonus on the house allowance?
"Sakuno-chan!" Tomoka whined, fanning herself with her hand. "Hurry it up, girl! I wanna get out of this place! It's ho~t!"
The last three members Sakuno pulled out and read in quick succession.
Rotate. Roll. Grab.
Rotate. Roll. Grab.
Sanada Genichirou?! Sakuno froze. Did all the intimidating members the tennis circuit suddenly decided it would be fun to team up on Sakuno? Well, at least Niou-san and Kaidoh-sempai decided to not join in on the fun, although that was no consolation.
Taka-sempai would be pleasant to have around, though. Perhaps he could help her cook…?
She didn't know much about Akutagawa-san, but he couldn't be much trouble if all he did was sleep, right? But then again, having both he and Taka-sempai with their split personalities in her house was like having 12 people instead of 10. 13, including Atobe-san's ego.
Thirteen was a bad number.
"Sakuno!" Tomo called. "Give Dan-kun a turn, ok?"
Sakuno stumbled off the stage and grabbed a folder from her grandma containing house rules, allowance money, a map, and a newly written list of all her housemates.
"I think I'll need it obba-san."
Her grandma just laughed.
In this chapter…
Questions from the audience:
None yet! This is the first chapter of my first PoT fan fiction. I hope you enjoyed it, and weren't completely bored out of your mind!
If you review with any questions, I will be putting my answers here, so I can make clear any confusion. Feel free to ask whatever you want! I only hope I will get enough reviews that I won't have to change this to "Question from one member of the audience".
So ask questions!
Questions from the author:
This is where I will put questions either just for fun, or to get some feedback from whomever is actually reading this. My first question will be….
How do you like the story so far?
I recommend that everyone try watching some J-dramas! I am in love with them right now! My top five: Nobuta wo Produce, Nodome Cantabile, Zettai Kareshi, Hana Yori Dango, and Gokusen (Shin Sawa is so hot!).