Summary: Konomi Ritsu was one of the luckiest girls in Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku; she felt no infatuation towards the tennis regulars. However, many of her close friends, ever since meeting the regulars, had instantly been "in love". Unfortunately, they were always rejected of their confessions and who else can Konomi be, than that of a heart-fixer?
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Prince of Tennis characters.
Konomi sighed as she saw yet another heartbroken girl be rejected by Class B's third year Marui Bunta. To her right side was one of her friends, Rika Kimura who was also rejected by the particular regular just two days ago. Rika had claimed to be fine, but her red eyes and constantly messy hair showed that she was exactly the opposite.
Most of Class B's female population had always tried to win the hearts of Niou Masaharu and Marui Bunta; they were one of the most popular guys of Rikkai Daigaku Fuzoku. Rika sniffed and commented, "That's what she gets for confessing to Marui. He's nothing but - !" Just as Konomi was about to comfort Rika, the "heartbroken" girl began weeping loudly once more.
Konomi cringed but she felt exceedingly sorry for all her friends who have been denied. Rika wasn't the only one who been rejected. Chikako had confessed to Yaguu Hiroshi and Tsukiko had confessed to Niou Masaharu; both had met the same fate as Rika. Konomi had always been the ones to fix their hearts; she had to cancel her ballet practice just so that she could spend time with her friends.
Most of the times they spent together weren't at all that much fun. Her friends would always cry, or vent. Konomi, of course, did not have the heart to tell them to stop. It was just one of the reasons some of her friends took advantage of Konomi. The girl put her friends' life before hers, therefore sometimes not making any decisions for herself sometimes. She was innocent and can be considered equal to naive.
Konomi patted Rika on the back, knowing that it did not make that much of a difference. She looked over to the uninterested girls who were chatting as if half of the girls in their class did not exist. Konomi knew those girls; they had always appeared cool and uncaring of the others. Tanaka Yoshida, Ranawa Ikeda, and Kiseki Shimizu.
Tanaka was a dignified girl with an ice-cold stare. The class nicknamed her Ice Princess. She had dark brown hair, and cool blue eyes; her mouth was set in a thin curving line as she spared not a single glance to the sniffing girls crowding the regular's table.
Ranawa Ikeda was a tall and mature girl who is always seen with her journal. Nobody dared touch it, nor contemplate to read it. She barely spoke during classes, but was considered as a highly intelligent student as she had gotten 2nd only to Yanagi Renji last year. She had curly black hair and uninterested dark eyes.
Kiseki Shimizu was the friendliest out of the three; she laughed and got along with the rest of the class. She had mellow brown hair, the color of autumn leaves, and cheerful green eyes. She always carried a book with her, and seemed to be quite oblivious to most of the school drama.
One of them, Tanaka, shot a curious stare at Konomi and much to the girl's surprise, smiled apologetically.
The bell rang for the start of class, and all the students promptly took their seats. First period is Music (1), and Konomi sat down flinching, getting ready for Rika's wailing attempt to sing.
The lunch bell had just rung and most of the students excitedly stood up and began to stretch their legs by walking to their friend's desk. Rika, Chikako, and Tsukiko barely made a single move so Konomi did not either. They sat solemnly, not even gazing at each other. Konomi wanted to sigh, she wanted to tell them to move on, she wanted to tell them that this kind of stupidity irritated her, but she did not dare.
She merely sat in silence as she heard Marui Bunta's chair scrape through the floor, accompanied by that of Niou Masaharu's as both headed out the door, not sparing a single look at the solemn girls behind them.
Konomi took a look over Tanaka, Ranawa, and Kiseki. They were chatting silently, as Ranawa began to stand and swung her bag around her shoulders. Kiseki immediately stood up as well, as Tanaka looked up at them and gave them a hand motion. Konomi did not mean to eavesdrop, but she heard, "I'll be there in a second."
Tanaka's desk was extremely messy, Konomi observed. It was full of crumpled paper, uncountable pencils, and general junk. As Kiseki and Ranawa headed out, Tanaka began looking through her desk, probably trying to find something. As Tanaka found a piece of paper that she was obviously looking for, she stuffed it inside her bag and swung it heavily around her shoulders.
Although she clearly wasn't aware of it, a book fell out of Tanaka's bag as she started heading out the door and into the school hallways. Konomi took a fleeting glance at Tanaka's back as her eyes fell towards the book that had dropped. Konomi stood up, her long chocolate brown hair clutching at her shaking elbows and began to take the book off the floor.
Konomi examined it closely. It was called Enna Burning by an American author Shannon Hale (2). Unaware that her friends were looking at her curiously, Konomi began to run out the door, holding her own bento tightly and into the hallways - looking for Tanaka Yoshida. Konomi saw Tanaka rounding the corner, and down the school stairs.
Konomi did not want to run through the hallways, as it was forbidden to do so (yet of course, many students still did) so she just brisk-walked towards Tanaka's retreating back.
Tanaka had went down the stairs, out the school's front doors and was heading into the school gardens. No longer at school hallways, Konomi sprinted towards the long-legged girl, her footsteps heavy on the concrete. Tanaka turned, finally aware that Konomi was following her.
They faced each other; Konomi panting heavily, the book tightly clutched in one hand, the other busy making sure that her bento was covered and Tanaka, her usual calm face interrupted with a questioning expression.
"Yoshida-san," Konomi formally said, "You dropped your book in class." She handed Tanaka the red-colored book as the owner looked at it then back at Konomi.
"Thank you, Ritsu-san," Tanaka took the book from Konomi and buried it deep inside her school-bag. The sound of laughter carried from the school gardens to the two's position. "Would you like to join us for lunch?"
Konomi must have given Tanaka a very questioning glance for the taller girl jerked her thumb to the direction of the noise. "Since you haven't eaten lunch yet, you should come join us."
Konomi's eyes widened at the thought. She stared at Tanaka for a couple seconds before composing herself and refusing politely, "I'm sorry. I can't, but it's very nice of you to invite me. I think my friends are waiting for me. Thank you very much." Konomi bowed her head, before heading quickly towards the school doors.
It seemed unreal that Tanaka would easily invite her to eat lunch with her group of friends. It could have been a practical joke if anyone other than Tanaka Yoshida said so. But even still, Konomi refused. She knew what kind of rumors would abound if her friends were to know who she had eaten lunch with.
Tanaka, Ranawa, and Kiseki had their own personal group. Their group wasn't as famed nor as liked as the Rikkaidai Tennis Club; quite frankly, their group wasn't an official club at all. They just seemed to be as close as family, even though it was obvious that they weren't. They ate lunch together, hanged out with only each other, and seemed to only get along with each other.
Their particular group consisted of five ninth graders and a lone eighth grader. Most were known for academic, athletic, or extracurricular excellence. Much of the female population in Rikkai thought them as snobs, while the other clubs (such as the tennis club) did not pay attention to them at all.
Konomi's friends, being the typical schoolgirls that they were, also thought of that group as stuck-up and snobby. Obviously Rika, Tsukiko, and Chikako have not actually spoken to any of them before lest they would acknowledge the fact that Tanaka Yoshida or any of her friends were not at all like the rumors say.
As Konomi walked through the silent first floor of Rikkaidai, looking downwards at her feet, she bumped into a light figure that seemed to be startled as well. A simple glance at the pinkish red hair and the trademark green apple bubblegum took Konomi into a fright. She had just bumped into Marui Bunta a.k.a. Rika's crush, self-proclaimed tennis genius, sweetheart of Rikkai.
He had looked just as dazed as she, but had shook out of his own trance at the sight of her. His eyes widened, the reason unknown to Konomi.
"Oh...I'm sorry," Bunta inclined his head politely before looking up, "Ritsu-san, right?"
Konomi turned, just to see if he was talking to another Ritsu-san, before realizing just how stupid she must have looked right there. As she turned and answered him, her face reddened with embarrassment. "That's me." Her voice squeaked like a mouse.
His forehead creased slightly in confusion before his mouth curved into a smile. "You're a friend of um...Kimomi-san?"
For a second the name did not register in her mind, but Konomi remembered that Kimomi was Rika's surname. "Yes. Kimomi Rika is my friend." She nodded in reply as well.
"I see. If you could, please uh... please tell her that I didn't reject her because I didn't like her. I just.. um... I'm not very interested in having a serious relationship... um.. yet." Marui's face reddened so badly, it matched the color of his own hair. It seems that not even he, famed for his easy-going carefree attitude, was comfortable about such topics.
Konomi blinked, confused for a second. Then, she answered, "Marui-san, I understand that you want me to tell Rika because this might not be a comfortable topic. But...this is between you and her."
"I know." Marui looked down, refusing to meet Konomi's eyes.
Konomi looked at him in pity; at first she had assumed that he, being the tennis superstar that he was, did not care about these matters. Maybe she shouldn't be so judgmental. "So...I'm sorry, but I can't tell Rika. If you want her to really understand, you should talk to her yourself, Marui-san." She smiled, trying to look supportive.
"I understand. Thanks anyways, Ritsu-san. Oh - and... If your friends bother you sometimes, you shouldn't be scared to speak up." Marui smiled back at her, before heading towards the front door, his hands casually placed inside his pockets.
Konomi nodded, barely hearing the last part. It wasn't until it fully registered in her brain that she raced to the walking Marui in protest. "Matte! Chotto matte kudasai! (3) What do you mean bother? What do you mean scared?"
He raised an eyebrow at the frantic girl, his face defined the complete example of feigned innocence. Marui Bunta just shrugged his only irritated Konomi even more. Every bit of annoyance and irritation that she had kept inside that morning began to burst out.
"You can't just shrug your shoulders at me. What do you mean?" She stood in front of the self-proclaimed genius, poking a finger at his chest. Her forehead was creased in irritation.
For a second, Marui Bunta seemed startled. Konomi predicted this, as she usually never let her personal emotions get the best of her, especially when speaking with strangers. Strangely, Marui's own personality seemed to have baited her into bursting out shamelessly. He smiled an awkward smile, his bottom lip being covered by his upper own, "If I told you straight on, then you'll never learn."
"What do you mean?" Konomi said through gritted teeth, not caring if she sounded like an angry demon in front of one of the most popular guys at school.
Marui Bunta took a long pause. Finally he said, "Maybe if you acted more like yourself in front of everybody, you don't have to suffer being friends with Rika and her crowd."
"But I - " Konomi started to protest, but was interrupted. Marui Bunta patted the top of her head, as if she was some sort of pet that was inferior to him, and left with a hand lazily waving in the air.
"Thought so~" In an off-key, childish sing-song way, he chided.
Konomi could do nothing but contemplate the convoluted complication that was none but Marui Bunta.
(1) In PairPuri Volume 4, it was said that Niou's first period was Music. Since Marui and Niou are classmates, and share the same classes - Music becomes their first period.
(2) Enna Burning, written by Shannon Hale is one of my favorite books. Tanaka likes to read foreign books, and to set her standards beyond that of a normal Rikkai schoolgirl. This book was the first one that I saw on my bookcase, so it got here.
(3) "Matte! Chotto matte kudasai!" translated to English is, "Wait! Please wait a second!"
This is the revised edition of the first chapter. Please tell me if you'd rather want this version or the older one and if I should revise the whole fanfiction. It will still have the elements that I want it to have; just more detailed and less hurried.