Title: Contrasting Parallels
Summary: /RyoSaku/ AU/Sakuno was up for a new job that could support her college plans, babysitting a nine-year-old brat who happened to have the same name of her crush. "I was really beginning to think that you're his baby junior." "What if I say I am?" was his reply.
Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis
A/N: Hiya minna-san! This is my new story. I really am sorry. I know I shouldn't be making new chaptered fictions since there is a very high percentage that this will end up badly but this just came out of nowhere and I am so tempted to put it on paper since I've got nothing else to do. I have no classes so I'm easing off XD. As I said, I don't have any idea where I got the story's plot so I guess I don't really have a picture on what will be on the next chapter. That only means the story's progress will be relatively slow. Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading and comments are really appreciated and welcomed.
Thanks To: Orangeace for editing
Chapter 1: The Mansion
There was no other way.
She sighed as she stared at the humongous house. After her grandmother's death, she was left to live a life of her own. And of course, that included raising money for her college plans which gave her no other choice but work during summers. And there she was, gawking in awe at the mansion which she was intended for…babysitting.
It was rather a very dangerous job to handle, for her at least. At first it seemed easy knowing that she would only deal with babies. But in fact, it was her chief dilemma- she didn't know how to deal with them. She had no idea how to prepare milk or to get them from the crib whenever circumstances call for it. What if she choked him out of her own clumsiness? Or what if the baby slipped out from her arms? She was afraid since she wasn't trained for such kind of work and she was surer that she would get in trouble more often than not.
"You're being silly," Sakuno whispered to herself. She was right. She was being so paranoid for her own good.
Standing there still more than necessary, she finally decided to ring the doorbell. But even before her finger could have touched it, the gate opened and an old-looking, stoic-faced woman greeted her at once.
"You've been standing there for quite a while young lady, maybe I should call the police?" she inquired.
Sakuno was surprised at how harsh the old lady sounded. "How did you–-?"
She said but was cut off short by the old lady's response, "Up there," she pointed at the small thing settled at the top of the gate's post.
When she lifted her head up to look, she saw two cameras, both of them watching her closely. She wouldn't wonder. It was indeed a mansion after all.
"I am the one applying for babysitting," she muttered almost incomprehensibly out of nervousness.
The old woman creased her forehead as if considering, "You're ten minutes late," she replied.
"I am?" she asked unsure of what to say.
"Yes, indeed you are. I'm very particular when it comes to time. Come inside, I'll show you what to do and… I don't like repeating myself so listen very carefully to my instructions," she said sternly and faced her back from the bewildered and stiffened Sakuno.
"Hai!" she said and followed in haste.
The front gate was just a starter, the insides were even bigger than she would have imagined. Along the sides were green grasses that were carefully mowed and different colors of growing flowers that blossomed amongst them. She had to be very, very good in her job, she noted to herself. Things here were obviously done thoroughly. The owner, she concluded, must be someone very strict and organized.
"Are you listening?" the voice of the woman brought back her thoughts from her musings.
"Ye-Yes," she managed to answer, but faltered at her lie nonetheless.
Unfortunately, the old woman noticed, "What was the last thing that I said?"
"Ugh…" Sakuno fidgeted.
"Do you want to get fired even before you could enter the house?"
"No," she whispered, totally embarrassed, practically all the other maids were looking at her pathetically.
She looked stupid.
The old woman shrugged and continued smugly, "By the way, call me Kyoko-sensei, I'm the head here so better pay enough attention and respect. Am I making myself very clear?"
Sakuno nodded once and took a small notebook to take her notes on whatever important detail she should follow.
"First, the young master doesn't want any toys in his room aside from his red racket and a yellow ball," Kyoko-sensei told her slowly, trying to make it to a point that this one was an important matter.
So Sakuno nodded yet again and mumbled to herself while scribbling through her pad, "Hai, no toys, just a red racket and a yellow ball."
A racket? She suspiciously thought, but before she could have mulled over it, she was interrupted by Kyoko-sensei's austere instructions.
"Second, the young master doesn't want a talkative person."
"Hai," she replied at once.
"The young master doesn't like western foods so don't even dare to give him," the old woman warned.
"Okay, I got that," Sakuno continued to respond, giving cues that she was in fact listening. "No western foods," she repeated.
"Fourth, he loves his cat, so don't ever lay a finger on him," she paused as they continued through the hallway. "You will be dismissed if you call his cat some random names, alright? Remember, the young master, the racket, and the cat. That's the order."
"Hai! The master, the racket and then the cat," she nodded enthusiastically for the nth time of the day.
"Now, I want you to know that he isn't a book aficionado," Kyoko-sensei halted to face Sakuno, who was totally bewildered than ever.
"May you please repeat that?"
"He is a smart kid so if you already read a passage for example, you don't need to review it all over again," she continued.
"Okay, so this baby you're talking about can actually…read?"
Kyoko-sensei shrugged as if everything was obvious in the first place, "Of course he can dear. Now, I forgot to tell you that he's in nine years of age."
"Okay," so much for worrying about the baby. "So…why did you, uh, I mean, I will not be a babysitter?"
"Exactly, I mean, technically, but since you have to take care of him that's all the same. Anyway, I hope you got all my instructions, here's his room and just be sure to give him a nice impression," Kyoko-sensei was about to turn her leave when Sakuno's voice prevented her.
"What's the young master's name?" she asked
"His name? His name is Ryoma-sama."
Sakuno gaped; it must've been a mistake. It was nearly impossible that this young boy precisely had the same name and fondness just like… Echizen Ryoma.
Sakuno sat down on one of the couches inside Ryoma's room. She couldn't help but feel her heart pounding faster than ever. What if the young master was really the tennis prodigy himself? She shook her head; it wasn't possible since the young master was only a nine-year-old kid. She sighed; maybe she was way too much exaggerated. Or maybe not. Maybe, he was a Ryoma junior then. Now that was possible. He was twenty-four after all. But that point was even more frightening.
Her thoughts were brought to a halt when she heard the big oak doors of the room opened. That was probably the young master, her Ryoma-sama. She braced herself and practiced her most heart-warming smile, making sure to heed the advice of Kyoko-sensei. Give him a nice impression. Doubtlessly.
She stood up and was about to welcome him when she bumped on something and heard a groan towards the floor.
Her eyes widened at the sight of the boy at the ground, "I'm sorry!" she said apologetically and scampered to get him up.
"Don't touch me, I'm alright," he replied, the timbre of his voice so familiar that Sakuno froze, rooted to the spot.
"What?" he said as he rubbed the back of his head, noticing that the woman could only stare at him while her mouth gaped.
Sakuno realized it then; "I really am sorry!" she spoke frantically. "I didn't mean it—"
"Alright," he got up and moved for the lounger.
"Sorry," Sakuno muttered again for the third time.
"Stop saying sorry, it's irritating," the boy leaned back to relax when Sakuno hesitantly sat beside him. "Who are you anyway?" he asked, his eyes closed.
"Well…I am, uh, Ryuzaki, Ryuzaki Sakuno," she uttered apprehensively. "I'm pleased to meet you sir," she said and lent her hand, trying to make up for the mistake that she had done.
He opened his appraising eyes and gazed at her hand, "Ryuzaki huh?"
"Uhm…yea, I'm your new babysitter," she smiled affably.
But his response was an insulting huff, "A babysitter?"
"Actually, more of an assistant," she said patiently.
His apathetic eyes regarded her as if she was something very laughable, "Do you have a problem with your hand?" he inquired.
Sakuno grimaced, he was pushing her, "A hand shake for formalities' sake?" she offered.
"Hn…" was his brief answer as his small hand took hers.
Just like him. Too much conceited and…a total jerk.
"What's your name?" Sakuno queried regardless of the fact that she knew the answer.
"Haven't Kyoko already told you?"
"For formalities' sake?"
The boy shrugged, "Call me Ryoma," he said and jumped down from the couch. "I'll be having my rest, do everything you want, just don't disturb me."
Sakuno nodded, "Hai, Ryoma-sama."
She watched the sleeping figure of the child closely. This boy did act similarly like Echizen Ryoma, Sakuno thought to herself. But what bothered her most were his eyes. It wasn't the same golden orbs like Ryoma had; his were black and much easier to read. Maybe he got it from his mother? She cringed at the notion.
"But you do remind me of him," she whispered brushing off the hair that was on the small boy's forehead.
"Remind you of whom?" he whispered back smiling.
She jerked her hand at once, "Nothing! I'm sorry to disturb."
His eyes opened, "Don't lie, I know it when girls do that," he said, referring to her fidgety hands.
Sakuno laughed, "Right," she answered evasively and was about to go when suddenly…
"Ryuzaki," his voice again, she couldn't help but notice the resemblance between them, particularly when she wasn't facing him, it's just as if he was there.
"Yes?" she tried to face him but couldn't find her feet to move.
"Who's 'him'?" he inquired yet again.
"Ju-Just a friend of mine when I was young. He… has the same name like yours and even your attitudes are almost identical," she faltered.
"Hn…you're not talking about Echizen Ryoma ne?"
Sakuno's eyes widened and she found the courage to look at him at once, "How'd you know?"
He raised a perfect brow and said, "Unrequited love?"
She frowned, "You're not answering any of my questions."
"I play tennis," his eyes pointed towards the red tennis racket…that seemed very familiar. "People say that I do act like him."
"Well...I was really beginning to think that you're his baby junior," she joked and felt herself starting to relax.
The boy gave him an indecipherable look and replied, "What if I say I am?"
For some odd reasons, she could feel tears slipping from her eyes.
To be continued…
Date Published: March 17, 2009