Hey all! I'm back. I really need to write my other stories don't I? But I really like this one and I hope you enjoy this chapter. There was so much I wanted to put into it, but couldn't. Then it would drag on and on and nobody wants that. thank you to all of those who reviewed, added to favorites, or story alerted! But I also saw that this story got so many hits and views but not nearly as many reviews! Please review and share the love! Now on the story.
Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis, but I do take credit for Ayame, Kairi, and Mine
Chapter 4: Wednesdays are Good Days
Ayame looked around the room, taking in the lack of furniture. The space felt bigger, like it would swallow her if it could. But then she took in the silence that came with the incomplete room. For once there was no fighting, no yelling, no cursing. She didn't have to listen to her parents tear each other apart with words. If only her brother were here, but in a way this Wednesday was a good day.
He straightened the papers that lay neatly on his desk, tapping an imaginary page back into its place. As he did this his gaze panned across the room, finding pleasure at the sight that one desk was missing its designated student. He quickly turned his gaze to the clock, which he had made sure to set perfectly in time with bells, to see that only thirty one seconds remained until that particular student was late. He laid his papers back on his desk after finding no fault in their order and let a rare, yet small, smile grace his lips.
3, 2, 1… The door slammed open and a black haired girl came skidding in as the bell sounded. She quickly looked up at the clock, double checking to see that she was not late. A grin spread across her face.
"I made it," Ayame's grin grew as she saw the frown on Nakamura- sensei's face.
"You weren't here when the bell rang. You're late," Nakamura argued, sliding a stapler slightly to the left so that it was parallel with the papers. In truth, Ayame had not been in the classroom when the bell had begun to ring.
"What?" she put her hands on her hips, "I was here before it ended! So I'm on time."
His eyes narrowed as he stared down his least favorite student- not that he would ever admit it out loud. He had to get rid of her quick. The bell had already ringed and he had yet to start the lesson. He had a tight schedule that he had planned out the night before. But he couldn't just let her get the best of him. He was the teacher and this was his classroom. He watched as the raven-haired girl made her way to her desk.
"You weren't seated when the bell rang. Therefore you are late," He wanted to see her find the loophole in that.
Ayame's eyes narrowed slightly at this, but the moment of irritation did not last long. Her grin spread across her face- the grin that Nakamura had learned to deeply abhor.
"Well, you can write me down as tardy when you show me somewhere in the handbook where it says anything that has to do with that," She said, taking her seat next to Kairi. They exchanged a little greeting, while she scooted her desk closer to his.
"Kirihara." His voice was sharp like a knife, but unfortunately for him Ayame was no easy thing to cut. "Move your desk back to where it belongs."
He knew he had lost that little tiff, but that was only a tiny battle. There was still the war. He had made sure that all of the desk were in perfect alignment, so that he would have a clear and easy path up and down the rows of his classroom. The man was not about to allow this girl- this child- to ruin his order.
Ayame scooted her chair back into place, only rolling her eyes to show any sign of annoyance. Nakamura stood up from his desk to start the lesson for the day, slightly bothered that he had lost seven minutes and twenty-three seconds because of the child.
"As you know Shakespeare is a classic. His plays are pure genius, showing human nature in each one of his characters. He depicts humans' jealousy, love, greed, hate," he spared a glance at Ayame, who only grinned back, "selfishness. And his words are not always supposed to be interpreted one way…"
He continued his lecture and Ayame tried her best not to yawn. She didn't know if she could stay awake for the man's praise of Shakespeare. She didn't even know if she could stomach it. He was praising a dead man for God's sake and with such intensity. But she knew she couldn't do anything to keep herself entertained or she would get a one-way ticket to detention. Subsequently, it would earn her a talk with her mother and she did not want to talk to her mother.
Her eyes lit up when a paper landed noiselessly on her desk. The female Kirihara looked to her left to see Kairi dutifully taking notes on Nakamura's lecture. He looked up swiftly, making eye contact with his best friend then looking down to the note that lay conspicuously on her desk.
She quickly removed it from the top of her desk before Nakamura had a chance to see it. Ayame checked to see that her sensei was still revering the long dead play writer at the front of the room and for once was not watching her like a hawk.
You OK? How was last night? Still awkward?
She smiled a little at Kairi's note. He was always watching out for her and she would forever be grateful for that. Looking up, she made sure that Nakamura was still paying her no mind. She expeditiously wrote a reply and put her hand under her desk. Kairi reached over slowly to take the note back.
He opened it and suppressed the frown that wanted to form on his lips as he read her response.
Haha. I'm good. Last night was awesome. I made friends with Fuji-senpai!
He was not expecting that. He had heard that Fuji was a very popular guy. He had many followers and a good percent of them were female. What if Ayame fell for him? Kairi shook away those thoughts. He had to give her more credit. He had to give himself more credit…
He wrote his reply, telling her that that was great and that he was happy she made friends with him. He passed the note back to her, being as sneaky as a ninja.
She quickly opened it, looking over its contents.
"Kirihara," Crap, "Would you like to read that out loud?"
She shut her eyes and groaned. She opened them to look at her sensei; a quick movement caught her gaze from the corner of her eye. Only her eyes trailed to Junko, as the brown haired girl turned in her seat. Ayame took note, turning her attention back to the man that stood stiffly at the front of the room.
"Nah. Isn't that kind of old school?" Nakamura suppressed a frown. She had a comment for everything, didn't she?
"What? But you're always so apt to share your thoughts with the class," he almost sneered, "If I remember correctly, you were dancing about your test just two days ago."
Some of the class let out a giggle at the memory.
Ayame bit her lip, as she stood up to read the note. Nakamura walked to stand right behind her for more than one reason. One was to make sure she read the whole note. Another was to make her feel inferior because of their height difference. The latter did not work out too well, for she knew that she was no way inferior to the man in a way that she truly cared about. He might be good at English, but she did not mind that. Who needed the language anyways?
"Ok, so here's what it says. 'You Ok. How was last night? Still awkward?'" She read the first line. "Do I really have to read this? It's not that interesting."
She didn't mind the attention. She received it all the time. When you wore the school uniform like she did you could expect that some would stare.
"Did I ever tell you how neat your papers looked?" She tried to get on his good side. She nearly complimented his hair, but she didn't want that horrible of a lie to leave her lips.
"Kirihara." His voice was a warning. She almost said 'That's my name. Don't wear it out.' But felt that would get her into even deeper cow pie.
"Fine. Then it goes: 'Haha. I'm good. Last night was awesome. I made friends with Fuji-senpai. Smiley face'"
Some of the class chuckled at how she even read the emoticon.
On the other hand, Nakamura's eyes widened. How could they be friends so fast? How could he find pleasure in knowing that the girl before him was not enjoying her study sessions when she now had found a friend in her tutor? How could they dissolve that awkwardness that sat with them like a whole other person so quickly? This didn't make sense. Then again Ayame didn't exactly make sense to him either. A child with such a short attention span and lack of respect for his would never make sense to Nakamura.
Ayame took notice of how her sensei's eyes widened, as she looked at him with her peripheral vision. She grinned, having won another battle that day. Man. Was this Wednesday a good day or what?
"I knew you could find the fun in those tutor sessions," Mine said, shaking a little amount of soy sauce onto her rice.
"Yeah. That was quick though," Kairi interjected. It still bugged him that they were such fast friends, not that he would ever wish awkwardness onto Ayame.
"Well, I saw that we had some things in common," Ayame let a small smile grace her lips. She left out how she had met his brother and Yuuta's aversion to him. She felt it might be personal and even though she was a blabber mouth she did know when to stop. Sometimes…
"Like?" Mine queried before popping a piece of sushi into her mouth. Kairi did the same, but his eyes never left his best friend.
"We're… we're..," she searched for something, anything. In reality, Fuji had only chuckled at her unusual proposal for friendship and shook her hand. Afterwards, they had gone back to studying, with Ayame veering off-topic every other minute. "we're both sportsmen! But I'm a girl, so I guess I'm a sportswoman and he's a sportsman. Hey! That's no fair," she banged her hand on the lunch table, commanding full attention from her two friends, "Girls need their own word. We get woman and half of it is man! Same thing for female. And humans' are called mankind. It's so sexist. Is this the world we live in? A world with sexism? But the world also has rubber duckies… I do like rubber duckies-"
"Aya," Mine cut in, looking up from her food. She knew that if she did not stop the girl, then she would ramble on for eons, only stopping to breath. "Stay on topic. And eat those."
"Eat what?" Ayame tried her best to look innocent.
"I think she might be talking about the things you picked out of your sushi," Kairi gestured with his chopsticks to the cucumbers that lay in solitude in her bento. He smiled down at Ayame out of amusement. She promptly gave him a raspberry, cheeks blown out.
"But they're so nasty," Ayame groaned. She poked the vegetables in a manner that a child would to a dead animal: in disgust and curiosity. How could such a nasty food be an ingredient in one of her favorite foods?
"Eat them," Mine repeated. She pointed towards the uneaten cucumbers with her own chopsticks, "If you don't, you'll be as unhealthy as you are lazy."
"Woah. That's pretty unhealthy," Ayame stated, not even attempting to deny the stipulation that she was, in fact, a lazy individual. She shoved the vegetable into her mouth, grimacing as she chewed.
"Good girl," Kairi ruffled her hair, smiling and earning him a jab from the girl. Mine hid a frown as she continued to eat her own meal, on the verge of finishing it. As she chewed her food a thought hit her.
"Aya," She tapped at the girl's bento to catch her attention. The green-eyed girl looked up from her torture in the form of vegetables hopefully, "I got the staff to allow us the use the weight room for practice today. It's after school ends, so don't be late." Mine almost rolled her eyes at the look of disappointment Ayame gave her when she moved, unstopped, to pick up another thinly sliced piece of cucumber. Only her knowledge that Ayame had a mere several slices left kept her from doing so.
"How many of the girls are coming?" Kairi voiced for her, letting the raven-haired girl finish the last of her cucumbers.
"It's just us." Mine answered him and a small smile tugged at her lips as she directed her attention the boy.
"Aw man! That means that I'll have to work harder!" Ayame piped up.
"Yes, because I will be watching you as the club manager, so no slacking off."
Ayame pouted and stare down at the table. She poked her bottom lip out and furrowed her eyebrows. Practice was fun. That much she would admit. It was that she had to actually work Her mind reeled back to the times before this when she had solo training with Mine. The only way she could describe her friend in this scenario was as a slave driver.
Thinking of slave drivers made Ayame suddenly think of a certain boy.
"Oh hey. I need to go tell Fuji-senpai I won't be at practice," Ayame pushed herself up from the table, surveying the room to find the tensai. When she spotted the top of his head from across the lunchroom, she stood to her full height ready to walk over to him.
"Ayame, how do you plan to get home?" Kairi stopped her.
"Uhh… By walking. Or I could fly if walking bothers you too much," She raised an eyebrow at his question. How else would she get home? It wasn't as if she could drive a car.
"Well, I could walk you home, not that I doubt your ability to fly or anything," Mine raised an eyebrow. Her face was skeptical, but her countenance went unnoticed by her companions. What was he doing?
"Nah, it's ok," She waved off his offer and turned to walk to her tutor across the room, "Fuji-senpai actually doesn't live that far. It's only a couple of blocks."
"What time do you leave?" He pressed on.
"Eight, I think." She brought her finger to her chin in thought, "Yeah. It's eight."
"That's really late. If he lives so close, then I can easily come and get you." Ayame opened her mouth to tell him he really didn't have to go out of his way, but Kairi quickly cut her off, "We haven't walked home together in a while."
Ayame instantly closed her mouth and stare at her best friend for a moment. She really did not want to be a bother to him or anyone for that matter. Thinking about this, she realized that she and Kairi had not been walking home together like they had been years before. When had they stopped? She hid her surprise when the dots had all connected. The fifth grade, that's when everything had seemed to stop.
She gave Kairi a small smile.
"That would be awesome," the girl said, to Mine's quiet disappointment. The thought that the two were childhood friends quelled her light unhappiness. The two brunettes watched as the female Kirihara was finally able to leave the table before engaging in light chatter.
Fuji caught sight of the thin boxer as she came closer and closer to his table. It really was hard to miss her. Her socks today were a loud pink, much like the hue of a highlighter. Really her appearance and choice of sport surprised him. She was thin and her hands looked delicate. The length of her hair also did not help her image as a boxer and neither did the bow that she always wore in her dark locks instead of laced upon her uniform blouse. But her personality…
"Yo, Fuji-senpai!" She called when she was sure she was within his hearing radius. A wave was sent his way as she continued to close the distance between herself and his table. When she arrived at the table, she slammed her hands down all but gently. He noticed her large grin.
"Aya-chan, nyah! You're eating lunch with us?" Eiji beamed from his place next to Fuji. Ayame held the most interesting of conversations in his opinion, but unfortunately he was only able to see her during practice.
"Nope. Sorry, Eiji-senpai. I already finished anyway," She stuck her tongue out childishly, "And Mine-chan forced me to eat cucumbers. Bleh!"
"Ah! That's horrible, nyah~!" He pouted along with the girl.
"You didn't have to eat it," Ayame tried to out-pout the redhead, "Mine-chan is too uptight. It would have been better if they were pickles. Those taste way better."
"They do. They're so much saltier, nyah~. But those are all bumpy and look nasty."
"True, true. But you can always close your eyes. You can't close your tongue though, so I'll take a pickle any day," the girl said, using her logic to make her point.
"Saa, you can always put wasabi on it. That makes everything better," Fuji pitched in.
"NO!" Eiji looked at his friend in horror.
Fuji only chuckled at the acrobat's reaction. It truly was Eiji's fault for stealing his sushi. The tensai turned his gazed back to the sole girl at the table.
"By the way, Ayame-san, what did you need?" He knew full well that if he let a conversation continue she would veer so far from what her initial intent was that she might forget it. Being with her for consecutive hours while trying to teach her and guide her through a book had taught him that much.
"Oh yeah! I'm not going to make your practice today," A whining sound came from Eiji's direction, "I'm gonna be practicing myself actually. But I'll meet you by the school gates at the end." Her face scrunched up slightly at the mention of her own practice. She could only guess that she was out of shape; horribly so. Practiced had not occurred in a while since boxing season was in the fall and she didn't exactly try in gym.
Fuji nodded in acknowledgement.
"Oh, Aya-chan, can I watch you practice?" Eiji asked excitedly. He had never watched a match, let alone see someone box.
"You can't skip practice," Fuji addressed his friend, "Unless you want to run laps."
Fuji seemed to think about the last part of his sentence. Maybe he should encourage Eiji to go and watch Ayame. Practice was becoming boring, but maybe if Eiji were to get in trouble…
"No way, Eiji-senpai!" Ayame told him, "You might die from all the laps you'll have to run." She had not enjoyed running laps when she had interrupted their practice. Just thinking of how many the acrobat would have to run for skipping practice sent a shiver down her spine.
Eiji let out an 'eep' at the thought and told Ayame he didn't think that he would be able to make her practice.
Giving them a parting smile, Ayame pushed herself away from the table and started to take her leave. As an afterthought, she turned her head back to the table.
"Our tutor thing ends at eight right?"
Ayame groaned as she reached for her toes. They seemed so far away all of a sudden. It was hard for her to believe that she could reach her little piggys just a month ago. Giving up on her feet, she looked towards her other foot and the figure with short dark brown hair behind it.
"Mine-chan, I can't do it! I think my legs got longer or something. I just can't reach my stinkin' feet."
Sighing, Mine walked behind her lazy friend and kneeled. She placed her hands on the raven haired girls back and lightly pushed her in the direction of her foot.
"Ow ow ow!" Ayame finally grasped her toe, "That's as far as I go."
"You're as flexible as a ruler. What have you been doing all this time?" Even though she had asked the question she could basically guess. Nothing. Ayame had done nothing and that was exactly why the brunette had planned this practice session.
"Can I be one of those awesome bendy rulers?" Mine rolled her eyes from her position behind Ayame on the mat. "I guess that's a no. Well, I've…I've done…. Some stuff?"
Mine found no joy in being correct. Being correct meant dealing with one rusty Kirihara Ayame.
It had taken them longer to finish the stretching exercises than Mine had calculated. She could only think to blame Ayame's complaints of pulling a muscle or ligament or some other part of her body that Mine did not even believe to be pull-able.
The female Kirihara now stood in front of a punching bag waiting for any orders from her manager. Mine picked up her clipboard and skimmed it over before heading over to the radio that sat on the other end of the table. Finding a quick paced song on her iPod, she hooked the two up and played the song
A grin replaced the pained frown on Ayame's face. She knew this exercise. Her hands came up to her face in they're defensive position. A fist quickly snapped out and collided with the punching bag, sending it away from her. The fist instantly recoiled back into its defensive position.
The feeling of connecting with the bag in front of her was exhilarating. It had been awhile since she had felt this way. She sent a couple more quick jabs at the sack and could feel her stress fading with those rhythmic punches.
Nakamura, the test, her mother… She could list more things as she punched the bag matching the melody of the song.
Mine looked on at her friend and could feel a small smile tug at her lips. She knew Ayame needed something like this, no matter how much she hid her ill-feelings. No matter how hard Ayame tried, Mine would always be able to read her.
She watched the girl punch and jab, looking back and forth between her and the clipboard that she held. Mine noted that Ayame's punches had become considerably weaker over the time that she had not been practicing. They would have to fix that. The pencil flew across the page as the brunette changed the boxer's training regimen. Looking back up she noticed that Ayame's punches were not only weaker, but had become slower. Mine could not help but find this weird. Speed was Ayame's domain.
"What are you doing?" Mine refused to believe that the girl had become this bad.
"Do you hear this song?" Ayame looked incredulous. Mine shook her head and soon noticed the song that was currently playing. It was slow and soothing lullaby. Mine grimaced.
"Oh. Sorry," She flicked to the next song to find that it was another classical song, slow and melodic Aggravated, she pressed the fast forward button more ruthlessly than before. Another classical song. "Darnit."
Ayame stifled a laugh. Unlike her own iPod she knew Mine's to be filled with classical and calming music. Many were on the device so the brunette could practice the songs by ear on her beloved piano. The only fast and "new" music that she had were ones that Ayame had forced her to put on her iPod.
Mine stopped clicking through songs in irritation as a dainty hand came into her peripheral view. She turned to see Ayame standing next to her, unplugging her iPod and replacing it with her own.
"Here," Ayame stifled another giggle, her bell ringing from the vibrations, "We can use mine. We'll use the old playlist." She gave Mine a warm smile that she couldn't help but return. They both loved the nostalgic feeling that the first melody brought.
Silence permeated in the room. In the quiet, the girl stared intensely at the cover of the horrid book in concentration and thought. She had to be getting closer to the answer, Fuji couldn't help but think. Even so, as time began to pass she still had not given him an answer. He watched as the look went from that of concentration to one of… dislike? Her face really looked what he imagined her countenance to be if she were constipated. Fuji chuckled. Catching the sound, Ayame looked up.
"Oh nothing," he chuckled more, "Just thinking."
Ayame shrugged and turned her attention back to the book cover. This was entertaining, but it was getting them nowhere. The front door clicked, telling the room's occupants that it had been opened.
"Hello, Yuuta," A warm smile adorned Fuji's face.
"Hi," the youngest Fuji sibling turned his attention to the girl sitting next to his brother, "Are you constipated or something?"
Snapping out of her trance, she looked up to see Yuuta standing in front of her.
"No! That's my thinking face," she stuck her tongue out at him.
"You make thinking look painful," he answered back.
"Shut up! What are you doing here anyway?"
"Nee-san said she was making raspberry pie," he stated simply, taking a seat next to her on the couch.
Taking his chance to bond with his brother, Fuji tried to start a conversation.
"Yuuta, how was your day at school?" he questioned and oddly Ayame felt awkward sitting in the middle. It was like she was just cut out of the conversation. But oddly enough again she could understand Fuji's actions. He just wanted some time with brother.
"That's good. What happened?" Fuji inquired further.
Silence enveloped the trio. Fuji felt that if he pressed, on his intentions would only annoy Yuuta, causing them to drift farther apart.
Ayame looked from brother to brother. What was this? This feeling? It was not the coziness that she felt with her own brother as they joked and taunted each other. It was so much more… serious. And awkward. She looked towards Yuuta again. What was his problem? She smiled as an idea popped into her head.
"Hey. Did you guys know that carrots use to be purple?"
Both brothers gave her a weird look.
"What? Where did you hear that bologna?" Yuuta shot at her.
"I read it in a book." A proud smile shined on her face.
"You read a book?" Yuuta teased. Maybe he could get her back for the day before, "So how did they suddenly turn orange." Ayame overlooked the sarcasm in his tone. She knew he was only playing.
"Mutations." Ayame discreetly tapped Fuji on the leg. She stayed silent as she waited for his response.
"Saa, I heard about that. Wasn't it because people would much rather eat something orange than purple," Fuji gave her a smile as thanks for this opportunity. She gave him a genuinely warm smile in return. To make their relationship better was a wondrous thing in her eyes. She slid herself back into the conversation. It went on for a good half hour until Yuuta brought them back to reality.
"What's with that book?" Ayame could feel a cloud of depression over her head as everything came back to the book. Soon enough they were back to studying with Yuuta watching. He peered over her shoulder at a passage in the book and scrunched his face up in confusion. "Hey, what's that word mean?"
Ayame followed his finger to the word that lay upon the page. "I don't really know. I think the dude who wrote this book just made up a bunch of words."
Fuji couldn't believe it! That was her problem? She didn't know the definitions of some of the words? This is what hindered her from fully comprehending the book? He felt an urge to slap his face at her stupidity, but also felt an odd urge to chuckle and smile at the girl. Thinking about how she helped with Yuuta he really couldn't help but think that Kirihara Ayame was an interesting girl.
Kairi picked her up at eight on the dot.
"Bye guys!" She waved as she closed the door. "Hey Kairi!"
"Hey," he smiled down at her, "How was it?"
"Way better! We know what my problem is and Fuji even has a Shakespeare to English dictionary!" She chirped and skipped a little bit ahead of Kairi. He caught back up to her easily as she twirled in happiness, "I'm not going to fail!"
"I hope that you don't. Then you would have another year of Nakamura," he replied. His best friend moaned from her spot beside him and he couldn't help but let out a laugh.
Their walk continued on in animated conversation with Ayame changing the topic every minute and Kairi easily following the flow because of years of practice. They stopped on the sidewalk, their comfortable conversation coming to a halt. They were in front of the Kirihara residence.
"Did you want to come to my house?" Kairi hoped that she would say yes.
She stared at the house for a few moment. She noticed that the lights were on, signaling that the only other occupant of the house was inside.
For the second time that day she felt grateful for having a friend like Kairi as she walked away from the house, never taking another look back.
I hope you enjoyed the chapter. I hope it wasn't boring. It was needed to show relationships between my OCs. So please review and tell me if you liked it, want to give me some tips, or even if you hated it so much that it induced projectile vomiting! No really. I'm serious. Also go to my profile to see stories that are 'up and coming' and send me PMs (Or you could send it in a review) and tell me whether you like them or not. Warning: They are not Prince of Tennis. But if you love Naruto or Bleach then I really want to see what you think! Oh and this chapter wasn't really edited so its all lemony fresh. Bye for now!