A/N: Hope you like this chap! ^ ^
Warning: 1st person POV for Sakuno.
Disclaimer: I don't own POT
Those three simple words…are embarrassing. It's so hard to say it to the person I want to say it to. People say he is a cold person and Tomo-chan told me I should give up but no matter how hard I try, I always end up falling in love with him all over again when I see him having fun just playing tennis. I even went to the lengths of telling myself that he could get any girl he wants and that there are a million prettier fans then me. Yes, I have little confidence in myself.
I've always been the shyest girl in the class also the clumsiest. When it came to looks, I was only average. But then I started to seek a change in myself. When I met Ryoma-kun, I felt that I could change. I also started to play tennis because of him. He played so well and was excellent in it. He has the looks, the talent, and he's really cool. He's also crowded by fans all the time. We are two different people, almost exact opposites.
Yet, he still taught me how to play tennis, he still protected me from the bullies, and he became my friend. But the more time I spent with him, the harder it was to not fall in love with him. I thought I needed to change and maybe, if I played tennis, I would become closer to him.
That's why everyday I train and do my best. That's why I put up with Sakamoto-sempai's killer training. That's why I joined the girls' tennis team in the first place. I wanted to change and maybe make Ryoma-kun notice me.
But I lost in every important match I went to in our tournaments. I always lost while everyone else won. I may have won matches against the people who weren't that great in tennis but when it was really important, when I really needed to win, I lost. So I trained even harder.
When will I ever get Ryoma-kun's attention and when will I ever win a match in my next tournament?
"Sakuno-chan, let's play tennis together!" I could hear Tomo-chan's loud voice anywhere. I remembered that we agreed to go to the park and play a little tennis. Tomo-chan suddenly asked for it. I nodded and we both began to walk towards the park together. I would be wearing the standard tennis clothes but Tomo-chan wore something a bit sporty yet normal.
"Uh, Tomo-chan, why did you want to suddenly play tennis with me? I thought you were going to take care of your siblings today."
"Well, I had someone take over and besides, I'm not the only one who wants to play tennis with you." She grinned. I didn't understand what she meant until we reached the park. All of my sempais were there, waving at me and Tomo-chan.
"Tomo-chan, what's going on?" I asked.
"I told you, we're playing tennis."
"Yeah, I know but did you invite them?" I pointed at my sempais.
"Actually, they wanted me to ask you to play tennis and Katou-sempai had something to say to you." Tomo-chan replied.
I wonder why captain Katou had something to say to me. She never really had to much to say to me except give me advice and guide me like any other sempai would do. Tomo-chan and I greeted the members but captain Katou asked me to follow her to a nearby tree and watch the others play tennis.
As we were watching the others play, captain Katou remained silent. I couldn't understand her. I know she really likes Tezuka-sempai, you could see it in her eyes whenever she greets him. But she's just like me, unable to confess for real because of the fear of rejection.
"It is fun watching other people play tennis, right?" captain Katou finally spoke up. She surprised me. She usually is always stating orders and putting up a tough leader act even though she's usually nice.
"Um, yeah." I replied, not really knowing the meaning of her question.
"Do you see how much fun everyone's having? It's the pure love of tennis that brings me and everyone else together. When you first came here, did you want to play tennis?"
Captain Katou is always so sharp. There are times when you wonder is she's really sharp or really dense, really smart or really dumb, or really deep or shallow. Maybe she's all of them just at different times and with different people.
"Truthfully, no I didn't play tennis because I thought it was fun. I played tennis to get closer to someone but the more I played tennis the more fun it was then after a while, I began to wonder why tennis didn't seem so fun anymore." I truthfully told her. Sometimes, it's easy talking to captain Katou because she just sits there a listens. I was always the one listening to other people but it feels nice to have it the other way around for once.
"That's because you train, not for the love of tennis, but because you want to get closer to someone. Honestly, that's a waste of time." Katou's voice became a bit cold. But she was right. No matter how hard I trained, I still could not catch up to Ryoma-kun.
"Sakuno, tennis is a game with a racket and a ball; it's as simple as that. There's no need to make it complicated and use tennis as a tool. Tennis is a game and games are meant to be played. Games are for fun. Now tell me, are you having fun?"
Tears started to stream down my face. I never played tennis for fun and I thought I liked it. "No, I just wanted to be closer to Ryoma-kun." I told her, letting myself cry as much as I could.
Captain Katou stayed quiet and didn't talk. I think she was letting me cry my heart out and wait for me to calm down so she could speak. She sure is something different but different in a good way.
After I calmed down, captain Katou handed me some cherry ponta. I took it and drank some. Then she began to talk. "When Kunimitsu played tennis, I liked his style and eventually I tried my hand in tennis as well. I was like you, training everyday but still not good enough to defeat the person I wanted to beat the most. I found no fun in playing tennis so I quit. Kunimitsu shortly after, tried to quit too. He said he didn't want to play tennis if he was going to play against some violent seniors who use rackets as weapons. And you know what, I was mad. I didn't want him to quit tennis."
Captain Katou stopped and looked at the sky. I think she wanted to give me some time to think about it or maybe she was trying to remember about it.
"He injured his left arm, the one he uses for tennis. I quit tennis because I didn't like it but he quit tennis because he didn't like the people who played him. I had to make him go back because that's what he loved to do and my duty as a best friend was to help and support him. I took tennis back up again and challenged him to a match. I didn't know about his injured arm so I won."
Captain Katou's eyes turned sad but I kept listening.
"I didn't like that so I yelled at him and told him that the real Tezuka Kunimitsu would not quit the thing he loves the most for any reason at all. Soon after, he went back into tennis but it was probably because of the current captain of their team. I felt sad that I didn't get to have an impact on him. Then later, when his arm was healed, I played against him in tennis." Katou smiled.
She stayed silent. I wondered if she was waiting foe me to ask her about the results and I think she might've won since his arm might've just been healed and he would put too much strain on it. "Um, so did you win?" I asked.
"I lost. But I felt happy. Isn't that strange? It's because I had fun playing with him just like when we used to when we were kids. And then tennis became a sport I've come to love but it isn't my life. Now Sakuno, tell me, is tennis fun?"
Katou made a point. I looked at my other sempais and noticed that they each had a burning desire to have fun. Each looked so happy to be playing a match against each other. It made me feel like I wanted to join in just for fun.
"No, tennis isn't fun but…I really want to enjoy it so I'll keep playing until I do." I told her. Captain Katou just smiled and we both went down to play with the others, just to enjoy tennis.
After we played tennis for a while, I noticed that I was no longer in the same level as I was before. You see, I played against Tomo-chan. Even without practicing, she was able to play very well. She was higher than a beginner but not really regular material. But when I played her, I won 6 – love easily. But when I played against the others like Amane-sempai and Usio-sempai, I would always lose.
I think it was because I'm higher than most people, thanks to my training, but still lower than the best. I wish I was like Ryoma-kun. No matter how tough the matches and the players got, he always got stronger and won.
But that aside…I think I was lost. Tomo-chan helped me get to the park but I couldn't find my way back home. Wah…am I cursed? My sense of direction will always be hopeless.
"Ryuzaki, you still suck at directions." A voice, a familiar one, said. Then I felt something being placed on my head. It was a white fila cap. I turned around to see Ryoma-kun with his racket and standing there.
"R-Ryoma-kun…" He always surprises me every time.
"Hn, I guess I'll have to take you home again." He sighed.
"Sorry for the trouble." I frowned. I always cause trouble for him.
"Don't worry about it, just follow me." He then walked past me, walking ahead. I silently followed. I feel bad. I'm always causing trouble for him. It a surprise that he still is around me.
I then stopped walking. "Um, Ryoma-kun…" I waited for his response. Ryoma-kun stopped and turned around.
"Thank you, for always being there for me and uh helping me out and getting me out of trouble." I slightly blushed.
"It's not a problem but you cause me too much trouble all of the time. It gets annoying." He replied honestly. Ryoma-kun has always been blunt and quick with words. That habit always gets him in trouble.
"I'm so sor-…" I got cut off.
"Don't worry about it. Have more confidence in yourself, Ryuzaki." Ryoma-kun turned around and began to walk again. Somehow, what he just said made me gain more confidence in myself.
"Um, Ryoma-kun…when I finish the nationals and win 1st place, I'll tell you something I've always wanted to say." I promised him but I don't think Ryoma-kun knew what I meant or what I secretly promised him.
"Why don't you tell me now and save all of that waiting?" He asked. I smiled at him.
"Because I'll have more self confidence and be a better me by then…" I whispered.
"Hn?" Ryoma-kun looked confused but that's what makes him kind of cute. I smiled and walked a few steps in front of him then looked from left to right.
"Um…I think my house is left." I turned to my left but Ryoma-kun stopped me.
"It's actually right." He turned my head to the right path. I pouted and insisted that it was on the left. Ryoma-kun was just stubborn and told me that it was right. But this made me smile. At least we didn't grow farther apart.
We finally settled on the right path because Ryoma-kun spun his racket to decide and he got lucky. When we were walking side by side to my house I heard him mutter something with a small smile on his face.
"Confidence and improvements come from other people's compliments and constructive criticism. When people review on a story, it fuels the author's energy and makes them write a great story until the very last word."
A/N: Yes a "White Clover" in the title is a flower and its meaning is "I promise". This is the last chapter for the "Princess of Tennis" remake. I hoped all of you enjoyed every bit of the gang.
If you still want more, I'm making a sequel called "Princess of Tennis: National Arc" so keep a lookout for it. This time, it will show the whole gang back again, telling you about the tennis matches in the nationals and how the relationships are going.
I thank all of my reviewers.
Please leave a review. ^ ^