Ryuuzaki Sakuno watched the Seigaku Regulars practice through the chain-linked fence with her best friend Osakada Tomoka.
"Ryoma-sama! Ryoma-sama! Fight-O!" yelled Tomoka.
"Tomo-chan, it's only practice. Do we really need to cheer that loud?" Sakuno asked while blushing because of all the stares the students were giving them.
"Of course we do Sakuno! We still want Ryoma-sama to be motivated during his practice matches too! After all, they do say practice makes perfect!" Tomoka cheerily explained.
"Mou," Sakuno quietly muttered so that Tomoka wouldn't hear her. Sakuno never liked getting attention that much, and Tomoka always brought it to her. Maybe I shouldn't hang around her as much so that people won't be staring at me. I hate all this attention! Mou, I can't do that. Tomo-chan is my best friend, and it would be rude if I just left her, Sakuno thought.
"Alright, Regulars, listen up!" Coach Ryuuzaki yelled out. "Nice job at practice today. Very well-done. Since you guys have been practicing so hard these past few weeks, I'll let you leave practice 30 minutes earlier. It is Friday, after all. Have a good weekend!"
"Yay!!!! Practice ended early!!!" Eiji exclaimed. "Hey, Momo, wanna go buy some burgers?"
"Yes!!" Momo excitedly responded.
"Hoi hoi! Hey, everyone! Free burgers tonight! Momo's treat!"
"What?! Since when did I say that I was gonna pay for all you guys?"
"Fsssh….since you agreed to buy burgers when Eiji just asked you, Stupid," Kaidoh hissed.
"What was that, Mamushi? Wanna fight?"
"Bring it!!" Kaidoh remarked. Everybody sweat dropped because, once again, Momo and Kaidoh were at it.
"AAAAHHH!!! Where's Tezuka-boucho?!" screamed Eiji. "Tezuka! Tezuka! Make them stop! Make them run 50 laps around the court!!!"
"Eiji," Oishi said, "Tezuka already left."
"But I'm still here," Inui budged in with a flash in his glasses, holding up one of his famous juices. "Now, who wants to try it?" Once Kaidoh and Momo heard this, they immediately stopped arguing.
"Saa, Inui, it's a shame you didn't bring that to the courts today for practice. I would've loved to try it," Fuji told Inui.
The group of regulars (minus Tezuka) continued walking past the courts towards the school's exit. When they got there, they saw Coach Ryuuzaki, Sakuno, and Tomoka.
"Hey, Momo, Eiji, do you guys want to have an interesting Friday night?" Fuji whispered to them. Both Momo and Eiji looked at each other, wondering if Fuji was planning something to trick them, but once they saw Fuji's eyes travel from Sakuno and then to Ryoma, they caught on to his plan.
"Hehe, Ochibi's gonna have a fun night!" Eiji squealed.
"Shh, keep it down, Eiji-senpai," Momo scolded.
"Saa, now watch closely," Fuji told them. Momo and Eiji watched Fuji as he approached the three girls.
"Hello, Sakuno-chan, Tomoka-chan." Fuji greeted.
"Hello, Fuji-senpai!" The two girls replied.
"We're on our way to eat some burgers. Would you two girls like to join us and Echizen? After all, I'm sure you two must be hungry after all your hard work from cheering for him." Upon hearing this, Ryoma's eyes widened. Why is Fuji-senpai asking them to go? I didn't want to go eat burgers with them. I was going to go home and have a match with my Oyaji, but now he just told them I'm coming! he thought.
Sakuno looked at her grandmother to see if it was okay. Her grandmother nodded her head once. "Alright, I'll go." Sakuno shyly said while taking a quick glance at Ryoma. This glance, however, was not quick enough to go unnoticed by Fuji.
"Just make sure you take good care of her," Coach Ryuuzaki told the regulars. "And walk her back home when you're done. I don't want her getting lost in the dark by herself; you know how she is."
"Obaa-chan!" squeaked an embarrassed and red-faced Sakuno.
Taka, who was slipped a racket in his hand by Fuji, responded, "BURNING! DON'T WORRY COACH RYUUZAKI! SAKUNO WILL BE SAFELY ESCORTED HOME BY ONE OF US HERE!" Fuji then took the racket out of his hand.
Coach Ryuuzaki laughed, "All right then. Have fun, Sakuno."
Sakuno then looked at Tomoka and asked, "Tomo-chan, are you coming?"
"I can't go. I have to go home and babysit my brothers tonight," Tomoka told her.
"But, Tomo-chan, I don't want to be the only girl that's going!" Sakuno whispered in her best friend's ear.
"Sorry, Sakuno. I can't come tonight. But you'll be fine. And besides, Ryoma-sama is going to be there too," Tomoka whispered back with an evil grin on her face.
Mou, I don't want to be the only girl there, especially since Ryoma-kun is going, Sakuno thought.
"That's too bad, Osakada. Maybe next time you can join us?" Fuji started. After hearing that Tomoka couldn't go, Fuji grinned widely. This is even better, he thought, with just Sakuno-chan there, plans may run even more smoothly, "Well, we should get going now. Coming, Sakuno-chan?"
Fuji took Sakuno's hand and led her to the burger joint with the rest of the regulars. Sakuno blushed at his action, but just figured that he wanted to show her obaa-chan that the regulars would be keeping an eye on her.
Eh? Why is Fuji-senpai holding her hand? And since when does he even want to hang out with Ryuuzaki? Does he even know that Ryuuzaki doesn't cheer for him, but for me? So technically, Ryuuzaki is MY cheerleader and that should be MY hand? Ryoma jealously thought while glaring at Fuji from behind.
Momo and Eiji started snickering and laughing when they saw that Ryoma was glaring at Fuji during the whole walk to the burger joint.
When they got to the burger joint, they decided to sit down at the largest table they could find. Fuji sat on the right side of Sakuno, much to Ryoma's dismay. Ryoma quickly took the seat to the left of Sakuno before anybody else could. Sitting directly across from Sakuno was Eiji, and Momo sat across from Ryoma. Therefore, Momo and Eiji were sitting right next to each other. They hoped that that would happen so they could plan together to make Ryoma even more jealous of Fuji-senpai. Kaidoh sat across from Fuji. Inui and Taka sat at the ends of the table, Inui on the right, and Taka on the left.
"Alright, I'm gonna go order the burgers," Momo said as he stood up from the table.
"So, what are you guys all doing this weekend?!" Eiji aksed excitedly.
"Well, I'm working on a new deluxe juice with an onion and garlic powder combo," stated Inui with yet another glint in his glasses. Eiji gulped and then laughed nervously, "Hahaha, hmmm, nya, Taka, what are you doing?"
"I'm working all weekend actually. You know, helping my dad with the sushi shop," Taka gleefully said, for he can not wait to become a chef for his dad's sushi restaurant.
"How 'bout you, Ochibi?" Eiji asked.
"I'm playing a tennis match with my Oyaji," Ryoma shortly stated.
"Is tennis all you ever think about, Ochibi?" Eiji asked with a frown on his face.
"100% probability that he thinks about tennis or things related to tennis all the time," Inui calculated.
"Hn," Ryoma responded.
"Well, Echizen, that probability may change soon," Fuji told him while putting his arm over Sakuno's chair. Sakuno didn't seem to notice, though.
Eh? What is he trying to get at? And why is he getting closer to Ryuuzaki?! Ryoma angrily thought.
"Hey, guys! Burgers here!" Momo joined in again.
"Hoi! Hoi! Finally!" Eiji responded. Everybody grabbed a burger off Momo's tray, except for Fuji--he grabbed two burgers off the tray.
"Here you go, Sakuno-chan," Fuji gave her a burger and unfolded the wrapper for her.
"A-arigatou, Fuji-senpai," Sakuno thanked him.
Che, Ryuzaki can unwrap her own burger, thought Ryoma.
"Your welcome, Sakuno-chan," Fuji replied. Then he looked at Momo and Eiji and winked, as if to say, you two can join in any time, you know.
Eiji took this chance right away. "Hey, Sakuno-chan, can you please pass me a napkin?"
"Sure, Eiji-senpai," Sakuno handed over the napkin to him. When Eiji went to take it from her hand, he touched her hand from the wrist, and slid his hand all the way down her hand before grabbing the napkin from her. Sakuno blushed.
Ryoma asked himself, Why is Ryuuzaki blushing? Then he saw Eiji holding her hand. Grr….Eiji-senpai! What are you doing?!
After watching Eiji "join in" on the fun with Fuji, Momo started to think of what he was going to do to make Ryoma jealous. Hehehe, Momo thought, I've got the perfect idea, but I think I'll save it for later.
Inui and Taka soon caught on to what Fuji, Eiji, and Momo were doing, so they started thinking of what they were going to do, too. Inui was about to make his move just as Tezuka walked in.
"Long time, no see, Tezuka," Fuji smiled at him. Tezuka nodded his head and acknowledged the group. He also realized that Fuji's smile told him that he was up to something. Tezuka gave him a quizzical look, and Fuji answered him by gliding his eyes over from Ryoma to Sakuno.
"Hn," Tezuka told Fuji, letting him know he now understood what they were up to. Tezuka then went to order a burger, but still kept an eye on the table full of his teammates.
Once the greeting with Tezuka was done, Inui took the opportunity to join in Fuji's little game. "Ryuuzaki-chan, could you please pass my deluxe juice? It seems that Fuji has taken it from me again."
Sakuno looked to her right and found Inui's juice by Fuji. She grabbed it and stood up to pass it over to Inui. "Uh, it's heavy," she said. As she walked over to Inui, she tripped over Fuji's foot, which he planted there suspiciously, and started to fall. Before she fell, Inui quickly ran over to save his juice, which, in order to do so, he had to grab on to Sakuno's arms. Everybody's jaw dropped because it looked like they were in a dancing pose. This thought crossed Inui's mind, as well, and his glasses gleamed.
"Hmm, judging by your figure, there is a 90% chance that Ryuuzaki-chan is a dancer. And speaking of dancing, there is a school dance coming up. By your cute looks, I'm absolutely positive that 95% of the guy student population at Seigaku will be asking you to the dance…including third-years," Inui stated with an extra sparkle in his glasses for that last phrase of "including third-years."
Ryoma just glared at Inui. He better not be implying that he's going to ask Ryuuzaki to the school dance.
Tezuka saw that Ryoma was glaring at Inui and smirked a little. He decided to join in as well, even though it was totally out of his character. Oh well, Tezuka thought, it is entertaining to surprise my teammates when I do something unexpected. Besides, if any of them mention it, I'll just make them run laps at practice on Monday. Tezuka took the flowers out of the center piece on a table, hid them behind his back, and walked up behind Sakuno.
"Ryuuzaki-chan," Tezuka greeted her to get her attention.
Sakuno jumped in surprise because she didn't know that Tezuka was behind her. After she calmed her rushing heartbeat, she turned around and asked, "Y-Yes, Tezuka-senpai?"
"Could you please pass me Momo's last burger over there? That's his fourteenth one today, and it's not doing him any good for his tennis game."
"Aah! But, but, Tezuka-buchou! I paid for that burger!" Momo complained.
Tezuka just stared at him, but then, soon enough, Momo saw a slight smile on Tezuka's face that quickly faded away as soon as it came.
Eiji saw Tezuka's smile too and leaned in to Momo and whispered, "Why is Tezuka-buchou smiling? It's creepy!"
"I don't know, Eiji-senpai."
Sakuno took the burger off Momo's tray and handed it over to Tezuka. As she handed it over to him, Tezuka took the flowers out from behind his back and replaced the burger with the flowers in her hands.
Sakuno gasped, "Ah! Tezuka-senpai! They're so pretty! A-arigatou!" She blushed and bowed to him.
"Hn," Tezuka responded. He patted her head and walked out of the restaurant.
All of the regulars were stunned. Was that really Tezuka-buchou just now? they all thought, except for Ryoma. Ryoma's thought was, with his eye twitching, Tezuka-buchou! I can't believe he betrayed me! I'm definitely going to beat him next time we have a tennis match! And he better watch out too, because he's not getting any mercy from me!
"Sakuno-chan," Taka said, interrupting Ryoma from his thoughts. "Could you please pass me the lemonade?"
"Of course, Kawamura-senpai," Sakuno smiled brightly at him, making Taka blush a little from her beautiful smile. Sakuno stood up and carried the lemonade pitcher over to him. Just then, a cool breeze flew by when a few more customers opened the door to come in. Sakuno shivered as she gave Taka the pitcher.
Taka saw her shiver and asked, "Oh, are you cold, Sakuno-chan?"
"Ah, I'm fine--" Sakuno was cut off when she felt a jacket lightly being laid over her shoulders. She blushed when she realized that Taka put his Seigaku jersey jacket over her. "Ah, a-arigatou, Kawamura-senpai."
"N-no problem, Sakuno-chan," Taka stuttered--he's not used to doing these sorts of things for girls.
Ryoma was starting to get really annoyed now. She's MY cheerleader. That is supposed to be MY jacket over her shoulders.
Just as Sakuno was about to turn from Taka to return to her seat, Kaidoh spoke up. "Ryuuzaki, wait."
Everybody looked at him with wide eyes. Sakuno was even a little afraid--he never talks to her! "Y-yes, K-Kaidoh-senpai?" She approached him carefully.
"Since you're already standing by it, um, could you please pass me the mustard?" He said quietly with a blush on his face, embarrassed that he's actually doing this.
"Here you go, Kaidoh-senapi," Sakuno hands him the mustard bottle, which had mustard dripping all over the container. Not knowing that her hands were full of mustard, she touched the ends of her braids. "Mou, I got my hair all messed up," Sakuno complained.
"Thank you," Kaidoh said to her. Again, right before she turned to sit down, he grabbed Sakuno's wrist and said, "Wait, Ryuuzaki. I've noticed you got some mustard in your hair. Let me help you with that." He took off his bandana and used it to wipe the mustard off the ends of her braids. "There you go, Ryuuzaki."
K-Kaidoh-senapi?! You too?! Apparently you're not only a viper in tennis. You had your slimy, slippery hands all over Ryuuzaki's hair! Ryoma screamed in his head.
"Hehehe," Momo quietly laughed and whispered over to Kaidoh, "That was actually pretty good, Viper!" Kaidoh blushed again and was so embarrassed that he decided to not even answer him.
Momo decided it was time to take his turn. After Sakuno finally sat down in her seat, he asked, "Sakuno-chan, I'm sorry you have to keep passing things over to everybody, but could you please pass me the ketchup? Ahh, never mind, I'll just stand up and reach over to get it." Momo stood up to reach over the table, and as he was doing so, he pretended to lose his balance and fell over towards Sakuno. He almost "fell" onto Sakuno, but "caught" himself just in time before he totally collapsed into her. However, his lips lightly brushed her cheek.
Sakuno turned bright red. She can not believe that Momo-senpai accidentally kissed her! How embarrassing!
"Ah, gomen, gomen, Sakuno-chan," Momo apologized.
"I-It's f-fine, Momo-senpai," Sakuno stuttered.
No, it's not fine! Ryoma raged. Momo-senpai, you are SO DEAD! He was so upset, his face started to turn red. His cap couldn't hide his emotions anymore; he was too outraged to hide them.
Hehe, nice one, Momo, Fuji thought. Well, I can't be outdone by Momo, since I am the one who started this whole thing…and I think this last one may put Echizen over the edge as well.
"Sakuno-chan," Fuji started by putting his left arm around her chair, "I'm sorry, but I need to reach Inui's juice again. I just love that stuff." Fuji smiled and, with his left arm still around her chair, he reached with his right hand around Sakuno to reach Inui's juice. Fuji was practically hugging Sakuno, trying to reach the juice which was just barely out of his reach. Sakuno's face turned red from the close contact. "Sorry, Sakuno-chan, hope you don't mind. I'm so close to reaching it."
He's hugging MY Sakuno! He's been hugging her for the past 3 minutes trying to get that stupid Inui juice! Doesn't he realize that he can't reach it? Ryoma's face was turning so red out of anger that his teammates thought he was going to explode. Finally, Ryoma couldn't take it anymore. He stood up and yelled, "Fuji-senpai!"
The whole table got silent. Even the other customers in the burger joint turned to look at him, but he didn't notice. He was too busy glaring at Fuji.
"Yes, Echizen? Is something wrong?" Fuji asked with a hint of teasing in his voice. He even opened his eyes a bit.
"Would you please pass the Ryuuzaki?" Ryoma said through clenched teeth.
Fuji and the rest of the regulars grinned, but before Fuji could respond, Ryoma took Sakuno by the arms, tore Taka's jacket off her, and dragged her out of the burger joint. "Come, Ryuuzaki. I'm bringing you home now."
Ryoma had already dragged Sakuno five blocks away from the burger joint, but he was still holding onto her arm because he wanted to make it clear to his senpais that Sakuno was HIS cheerleader. Sakuno was blushing madly at the fact that Echizen Ryoma was touching her arm AND walking her home.
The two walked in complete silence with Ryoma still holding onto Sakuno's arm. Sakuno was becoming uncomfortable with the silence, and, once she was sure that Ryoma had cooled down a bit, she asked,
"U-um, R-Ryoma-kun, why did you drag me away to go home already?"
After she asked that question Ryoma realized that he was still holding on to her arm. He blushed a little, but he didn't want to let her go, so he slid his hand down to her hand. Sakuno blushed a deep shade of red.
"Ryuuzaki, I need to make something clear to you," Ryoma started. Sakuno started to think, Make something clear? He's probably going to tell me that I should just stay away from him and stop making him bentos because he is never going to love me.
Nervously, she asked, "D-Did I do something wrong, R-Ryoma-kun?"
Ryoma sighed, "No, you didn't do anything wrong. We just need to clear some things up and come to an understanding."
"O-okay. W-What is it that we n-need to c-clear up?" Ryoma was staring at her, so she gulped.
"First of all, Ryuuzaki is MY cheerleader." Sakuno blushed when she realized that he notices her behind the fence during his tennis matches. "And, therefore," he continued, "as MY cheerleader, only I can hold Ryuuzaki's hand." After saying this he tightened his hold on her hand.
"O-okay, R-Ryoma-kun," Sakuno blushed even harder after hearing what Ryoma just said.
"No, not okay, yet. I'm not done," Ryoma said sternly while crossing his arms making him look like a little kid pouting. But then he realized that after he crossed his arms, he was no longer holding Sakuno's hand. "Like I said, only I can hold Ryuuzaki's hand." He quickly grabbed her soft hands again and began his fuming, "Only I can take Ryuuzaki to the dance." He then put his other hand on her waist and pulled her closer. "Only I can give Ryuuzaki flowers." He pulled a daisy out of the grass beside the sidewalk and gave it to her. "Only I can give Ryuuzaki a jacket." He took off his Seigaku jacket and gently laid it over Sakuno's shoulders. "Only I can touch Ryuuzaki's hair." With that he took the daisy he just gave to Sakuno and put it in her hair. "Only I can kiss Ryuzaki.." He was so wrapped up in his fuming that he totally forgot the kissing part was coming. He couldn't stop at the moment, though, because he was on a roll. So Ryoma gently placed his finger under her chin and pulled Sakuno's pretty blushing face up. He leaned in and kissed her sweetly on the lips. Sakuno was no longer the only one blushing, but Ryoma couldn't pull his cap down. Ryoma was glad that the hugging part was coming soon so he could hide his blushing face from Sakuno. He then separated from Sakuno and continued in a less stern tone, almost gentle, "And only I can hug Ryuuzaki." He quickly hugged Sakuno and held on to her tightly.
After Ryoma's whole speech, Sakuno was completely shocked. Her face was cherry red, and she was completely sure that all the blood that she had in her body was all in her face. Maybe that was the reason why her legs felt like jell-o at the moment, too, because she had no blood left for the rest of her body. And her arms felt limp…wait arms? Speaking of arms, Echizen Ryoma's arms are around HER at this very moment! After she realized that Ryoma was hugging her, she snapped out of her thoughts and wrapped her arms around him. They held onto each other tightly.
After Ryoma felt Sakuno put his arms around him, he whispered quietly in her ear, "Ryuuzaki is MY cheerleader, Sakuno." Then he let go of her and stared into her sparkling eyes. She was still blushing madly and he smirked.
Then Sakuno said, with a smile on her face, "I am only your cheerleader, Ryoma-kun."
Ryoma smiled at what Sakuno said. Then he grabbed her hand and said, "Come, I'll walk you home."
While walking silently to her house, Sakuno felt like she was in heaven. She kept replaying the events of what just happened in her head. He held my hand. He basically asked me to the dance. He gave me a flower. He put his jacket over me. He touched my hair. He kissed me. He hugged me…wait…he KISSED me?! No, he couldn't have! I must be imagining it! I'm sure that's not what happened!
Finally, they reached her house. Before she went in, Sakuno decided that she just had to know exactly what happened. Her hands touched her lips subconsciously before she asked, "R-Ryoma-kun…did you…umm…kiss…me?" She once again felt all the blood rush to her face. She turned around, too embarrassed from her question to face Ryoma.
Ryoma smirked at her, and, once her blush started coming on at full force, he smirked even wider. "Mada mada dane, Sakuno." He pulled her hand hard which ended up twirling her around right into his chest. He then leaned in forward and kissed her softly.