Karu-chan's Challenge

By: rennomiya

He was never really fond of the feeling called jealousy.

Yet… by the way he was staring at that thing right now utterly contradicts what was said in the first line.

First off, she was giving one of her sweetest smiles to Fuji. To FUJI of all the other guys out there! To FUJI who gave her that thing in the first place!

A smile that would've made him all warm and fuzzy (Ryoma: can't believe I said that word) inside. A smile that would've relaxed him if not given to the sadist tensai of the team.

A smile worth seeing if it was for him.

He continued on staring… no, glaring, at it which caused her smiles (besides Fuji).

Let it be what Ryuuzaki Sakuno was holding.

And what she was holding is a furry Karupin stuffed toy.

Ryoma's brow twitched.

HOW can a stupid stuffed animal won over HIM!

HOW did a stupid stuffed animal GET her attention!

HOW did Fuji know that her ultimate weakness is cute things!

AND WHY did Fuji have to give Ryuuzaki her advance Christmas present in front of HIM!

Ryuuzaki smiled childishly as she hugged her newly acquired stuffed toy. Ryoma just twitched again.

It was not like he was jealous or something. Why would he be jealous of a nonliving thing anyway? He was way higher than that. Way higher than getting jealous of a fur ball trapped inside Ryuuzaki's slender arms… higher than getting jealous of the hugs and kisses it received from Ryuuzaki…

Okay, that crossed the line, he thought.

NO one or NOTHINGshould EVER receive her warm SMILE and KISSES and live with it. ESPECIALLY if he's on watch.

He cleared his throat, loud enough to get the tensai and the girl's attention. The two turned their heads and looked at him curiously. Though on the tensai's side, Ryoma was sure that he was just pretending to be curious—he may even planned all of this from the start to get a better reaction from him.

But no, Ryoma won't fall for Fuji's trap this time.

"Ryuuzaki, Oishi-senpai was looking for you," he said. He could only hope that the fuku-buchou truly was looking for her.

Ryuuzaki stared at him innocently and nodded after smiling. She muttered a small "thank you" and ran towards where the fuku-buchou was, still having that pathetic excuse of a toy in her arms.

Ryoma narrowed his brows at that.

That toy was really getting on Ryoma's nerves. Heck, it already did as soon as he laid eyes on the thing. Why would Ryuuzaki be attracted to such an outrageous thing anyway? Why didn't she ever get attracted to him? A cool, smart, tennis genius, and a gentleman like him? Is she the type of person who does not get attracted to human beings opposite of her gender? If only he could somehow find a way to transform himself into a cute toy—no, why was he thinking that!

Unbeknownst to the tennis prince, Fuji was grinning sadistically from behind him, as the tensai watched him glaring jealously at the toy she was carrying.

"Why, Echizen!" Fuji's voice brought Ryoma back to reality.

The prince snapped his head up and looked at Fuji, all the while feigning indifference. "What?"

Fuji pretended to sigh ruefully. "I knew it. I should've given Karu-chan to you instead of Sakuno."

Karu-chan? Oh, he meant that toy.

Sakuno? Why was Fuji referring to her by her first name! No honorifics to boot!

Ryoma decided to mask those insignificant feelings aside by questioning why Fuji said what he said.

Fuji only smiled. A smile that definitely hides a mischievous face. "From the looks of it, it seems like you're jealous of Sakuno for receiving that cute toy that looks like your cat, Karupin."

"Oh." Ryoma replied. Of course he knew that Fuji was intentionally saying the opposite thing so that he would deny the accusations. Reverse psychology, as to what one of his cousins studying psychology said.

A tensai vs. a tensai. The battle of the century.

"You're right, senpai. I am jealous." He added.

Fuji smiled. So Ryoma was playing his game… interesting.

"So maybe, you could ask Ryuuzaki to give the toy back since I desperately needed it more than she does." He said with tone full of sarcasm.

Fuji turned his head on the other side. He knew—everyone does—that Ryoma was trying to kill two birds with one stone. One: to get away with the accusation of being jealous over a feeble toy and two: to destroy the feeble toy that caused his jealousy.

"I think you could do it yourself. Oh, and we better go back to practice. Tezuka might be releasing flames of anger right about now," Fuji said one last time and walked off.

Ryoma followed Fuji's movements with his eyes. Good that the tensai spared him the questions and mocks he most likely prepared a long time for him. With that, he could destroy the feeble toy—as to what Fuji likes to call Karu-chan.

Yes, he'll destroy the toy.

He'll destroy it, and crush it, and murder it, and obliterate it, and annihilate it, and slaughter it, and simply blast it off to the other side of the universe.


First attempt:

Ryoma did not really expect Ryuuzaki to bring Karu-chan everyday to school after she received it from Fuji. Girls from their class kept on surrounding themselves around her to give the toy their own way of affections towards it. Girls really love stuffed toys, he assumed—referring to how his eighteen-year-old cousin, Nanako, still kept her stuffed toys in her possession.

Meanwhile, as the girls kept on fawning themselves over Karu-chan, boys would stare at the person carrying it. And not only stare but drool. The boys actually found the way Ryuuzaki carries the toy around adorable.

That's a minus sign for Ryoma.

But he didn't really see those boys as a threat. He knew that he could handle those lame boys even if they just started looking at what was his and only his. Rather, though he hated to admit it, he found Karu-chan as the most dangerous threat of all.

He swore that he saw, amongst the commotion of those cute-obsessed girls of his class, that Karu-chan stared mockingly at him with its big blue orbs. He swore that the thing is mocking him. Mocking him of his inability to win over a nonliving love rival!

After all, Karu-chan not only lived with her now, but also gets the privilege of hanging around her—due to Ryuuzaki's own choice—literally.

Ryoma snapped his head up in shock.

Is he actually considering Karu-chan, a stuffed toy, as his rival…?

What the hell! Is he insane? Did his seniors finally rub their insanity on him!

Ryoma groaned. Before he loses the rest of his sanity, he decided to destroy that thing if it kills him.

He stood up from his chair. Some of his classmates that were near him were actually surprised that the tennis prince was not asleep during their break time. After all, to him, break time equals nap time.

Ryoma walked towards the group of girls that were encircling Ryuuzaki's desk, and unfortunately, Ryuuzaki too. Upon seeing their fellow classmate looking at them with amber eyes evidently saying to get out of his way, they obliged. The tennis prince was not someone to be messed with.

As the group of girls made a way for Ryoma to see the cause of the commotion, he saw Ryuuzaki's brown orbs looking innocently at him. She blushed and smiled nervously upon seeing him.

Ryoma made a gesture for Ryuuzaki to follow him, which she understood immediately. Of course, she kept Karu-chan wrapped around her arms. The two left the room and Ryoma led the way towards the school pond.

Ryoma and Sakuno stared at the pond for a while before Ryoma decided to break the silence. "I like that toy." He said, and managed to actually make himself sound sincere.

Sakuno immediately turned her head towards Ryoma, who was still busy looking at the pond. She felt happiness upon hearing the declaration of the prince about his interest with her Karu-chan. She smiled sweetly and hugged Karu-chan tighter. "Me too," she said warmly. "I love Karu-chan."

BOOM! Goes Ryoma's pride.

Did she really like that toy that much to even sound so IN LOVE with it! Not only sound, but she said she loves it straight to his face! And since Fuji was the one who gave her that, it's as if she's telling him that she loves FUJI!

(Okay, that was extremely illogical of Ryoma)

That's it! The toy's going down!

"Ryoma-kun," her angelic voice brought back Ryoma to reality. The billions of devious and brutal plans he thought on how to destroy the toy all disappeared as soon as Ryuuzaki gave him the sweetest smile he had ever seen in her face. Heck, she was literally glowing in Ryoma's perspective! It made Ryoma feel some kind of warm feeling inside him. He was not sure about it… but he was sure that his dark thoughts immediately disappeared as soon as he saw her like that.

"Thank you so much!" She said as she continued sparkling and smiling sweetly. "For liking Karu-chan, too! I actually thought that you think that it's childish of me. And so, thank you so much!"

She was really sparkling…

And Ryoma could feel something swelling in his chest.

-Insert romantic and/or dramatic background music here-

Then, Ryuuzaki began hugging and burying half of her face on Karu-chan's body again.

-Halt of romantic and/or dramatic background music-

Commence fire emitting from Ryoma's body—black fire to be exact.

That. Stupid. Toy!

It was unacceptable! He needed to DESTROY that toy! It's driving him crazy!

Sakuno did not notice the black fire that was emitting from Ryoma's body and continued smiling.

"Ryuu. Za. Ki." Ryoma called in another masked indifference. "Let me borrow that thing."

Sakuno blinked twice and without second thoughts, handed Karu-chan to Ryoma.

Ryoma graciously took Karu-chan from Sakuno's hands. He inwardly laughed evilly. He believed that once he touches Karu-chan with his hands, the toy's going to die.

Karu-chan is finally going to die.

"Sakuno!" Sakuno heard someone call her name. It's her best friend, Tomoka. She waved at her and watched as the pigtailed girl drew near them.

"Sensei's looking for you! You better hurry!" Tomo warned carefully.

Sakuno's eyes widened and started to panic. What could her sensei be looking for her about? She bid a hurried farewell to Ryoma, who was still emitting black fires from his body, and ran towards their building.

Tomo watched as Sakuno clumsily ran towards the entrance of their building.

She was about to follow after her friend when she noticed Ryoma-sama holding Karu-chan.

Meanwhile, Ryoma was still too happy to finally have his hands on Karu-chan to notice that Osakada still hasn't left yet. He held the fur ball with his left hand (with a vein twitching) and tightened his grip on it. He watched as the soft thing decreased its size as Ryoma tightened his grip on it more. He could see the agonizing pain that the toy felt through its blue eyes. Yes… feel the pain. That's what you get for getting too close with my Ryuuzaki.

"Ryoma-sama, what are you doing?"

Ryoma snapped his head up in shock. What the hell! Osakada was still there.

He quickly hid Karu-chan on his back. He immediately put his bored look on. "What is it?"

Tomo eyed him suspiciously. "What are you doing with Karu-chan?"

Killing it, obviously.

"Nothing," he replied. "Here," he handed her Karu-chan back, even though he fully regretted while doing so. But he can't kill the thing now that Ryuuzaki's best friend was watching. "Ryuuzaki forgot him." He purposely added emphasis as if he was intentionally letting Karu-chan hear him. As if he was proud that Ryuuzaki forgot about Karu-chan and wanted to rub it on the toy's face.

Tomo took the toy with suspicions. She wasn't sure if she just saw her idol trying to kill her best friend's favorite toy or not. In the end, she shrugged it off and walked towards the building where Sakuno disappeared to, intending on giving back the toy to her.

Ryoma watched as Osakada left the area and into one of the many buildings of Seigaku. There goes his torture time for Karu-chan.

But he'll still destroy it, and crush it, and murder it, and obliterate it, and annihilate it, and slaughter it, and simply blast it off to the other side of the universe.

Even if Ryuuzaki would hate him forever.


Second attempt:

It was the yearly celebrated Club Christmas Party. And his birthday, too. This year though, the girls' and the boys' tennis club get to celebrate one party together.

Unfortunately, Ryuuzaki brought Karu-chan with her again.


Ryoma decided to let her be for a while. He scanned the whole tennis courts which were now filled with Christmas decorations of some sort. Everyone in the club helped in preparing for the party and among all of them, Oishi-senpai was the one at wreck. The mother hen was too concerned for his own good. But all in all, the party seemed successful to him. He also got to watch Ryuuzaki helping their club members decorate the whole area. He was not sure about it, but it seems like Ryuuzaki was more cheerful if she was unaware of his presence.

She's too timid when around him.

Then he remembered about her sweet smile.

It was the first time she smiled like that.

Ryoma felt his body relaxing on its own. For some reason, he couldn't take that smiling face of hers from his head. And as he remembered every features she had as she smiled at him in his head, he saw Karu-chan again.

His relaxed body stiffened.

He turned his head around to see Ryuuzaki happily chatting with her tennis club captain. She still had Karu-chan wrapped around her arms.

Black fire violently released off Ryoma's body again. (Still maintaining nonchalance, though)

That toy really bothered him.

He walked slowly towards Ryuuzaki. In the process of approaching her, several ideas of how to kill the toy popped on his head. One idea was that he could tell her that a terrorist planted a timed bomb inside the toy and will explode in less than ten minutes if she doesn't let him kill it.

Oh how he really wanted to kill that toy!

Without even realizing it, he was already two feet away from her.

Ryuuzaki noticed him and smiled at him shyly. Her captain nodded at him, sensing that he needed privacy from the pigtailed girl, and bid farewell to her club co-member, leaving them alone.

"Ryuuzaki," he called monotonously.

"Y-Yes, Ryoma-kun?"

He raised his right hand up and held it, palm faced up, a few inches in front of her. She stared at his calloused hand in confusion. What would the prince want with her?

Ryoma narrowed his brows. "You do know that today's my birthday, right? Where's my present?"

Sakuno took one step back. She blushed furiously, remembering her gift to him. She took out something from her pocket and gave Ryoma a neatly wrapped present with a tag tied to it. "H-Happy birthday, Ryoma-kun."

Ryoma rolled his eyes. He should've known that she bought him a present. He was actually expecting her to forget about it and apologize for not having any present for him. And then he'll pretend to be offended and say that he'll take Karu-chan instead. And from then on, he could do whatever he wants with the thing that stole Ryuuzaki away from him.

But no… she just had to remember his birthday.

Wait… there's always a plan B in Ryoma's mind, right?

"What about my Christmas present? My birthday and Christmas are both different days."

Sakuno blushed again. She took out something from her other pocket and handed him another neatly wrapped present. "M-Merry Christmas, Ryoma-kun…"

Plan C!

"New Year gift?" Okay, Ryoma was visibly desperate. New Year is still a week away from Christmas Eve.

Sakuno nodded as she blushed. She took out something from her sweater's pocket and showed Ryoma another neatly wrapped present. "H-Happy New Year, R-Ryoma-kun. I hope this year will be better than the last."

A comical vein appeared on top of Ryoma's head.

That. Crappy. Toy!

But he'll still destroy it, and crush it, and murder it, and obliterate it, and annihilate it, and slaughter it, and simply blast it off to the other side of the universe.

Even if Ryuuzaki would hate him forever.

Even if he has to destroy the whole world in the process.


Final attempt:

"This is their first date right? It's fate, I tell you! Fate!" Eiji whispered to his fellow spy as they hid behind the bushes.

Momo scratched his head. "Well, I'm not sure, senpai… but I think they already went on a date before…"

Eiji's eyes widened. "Really! W-When!"

"No," Inui disagreed. "It wasn't a date. Rather, it was to replace Ryuuzaki-sensei as Ryuuzaki-chan's company for that day."

Momo scrunched his nose as he remembered the day that Echizen accompanied Ryuuzaki-chan to the racket stringer. "Oh, I remember now! That's right! That date before wasn't a date after all!"

Ryoma and Sakuno passed by the bushes where Inui, Momo and Kikumaru were hiding. They were currently in an amusement park, thanks to the extra two tickets that Fuji-senpai gave them.

It was part of Fuji-senpai's sadistic plan, Ryoma was sure.

But then again, he decided to go with the flow. After all, who would reject a ride-all-you-can ticket to one of the famous amusement parks in Tokyo? Although, he thought it would be better if there were only two of them that day.

That's right. Ryuuzaki brought company. A friend in the form a stuffed toy.

Ryoma rolled his eyes. Ryuuzaki brought Karu-chan with her again.

In fact, he could just simply deduce that after she received Karu-chan that day, the thing never left her arms since then.

Black fire emitted violently off the prince's body.

Inui, Momo and Kikumaru paled behind the bushes as they saw how terribly irritated Ryoma looked that time. Momo and Kikumaru felt terrified of the little boy and they could swear that a tear was already forming on their eyes.

"Ryuuzaki, why'd you bring Karu-chan with you?" Ryoma asked irritatingly as the black fire gradually subsided.

Sakuno looked at him with her innocent brown eyes. She blushed as she replied, "R-Ryoma-kun said t-that he l-likes Karu-chan too s-so I t-thought I s-should bring h-him t-today."

"Ah," he replied, with a vein visibly twitching on his forehead. Like hell he'll like that thing in his lifetime.

Sakuno childishly hugged Karu-chan tighter. Then, she noticed an ice cream stand near them which made her beam with happiness.

Ryoma noticed how happy she looked as she stared at the ice cream stand. He sighed. "How 'bout I buy you one before we ride something?"

Sakuno's eyes widened. She blushed and shook her head continuously. She couldn't let Ryoma treat her now, could she? "I-It's okay, Ryoma-kun! I-I'll j-just buy i-ice cream f-for both of us… M-M-M-My treat!"

Before Ryoma could answer, Sakuno already pushed Karu-chan on his chest and muttered a small, "Hold him for me", and ran off towards the stand.

Ryoma stared at Sakuno confusedly. Isn't it the boy's job to treat the girl? And why did she suddenly run off like that? "Ryuuzaki…"

And before he noticed it, Karu-chan was on his hands… again.

And so, the black fire lives… again.

The three spies felt shivers down their spines again. Not only did their kouhai was flaming (literally) with anger, but also his eyes were glowing red as he stared at the stuffed toy evilly.

"Why is O'chibi-chan so mad at that cute toy?" Eiji asked.

Momo gulped. "W-Who knows?"

"I do." Inui interrupted. "From my observations of Echizen, it seems like he's getting jealous of that little toy."

. . .

"Eh! Echizen is jealous of a mere toy!"

"That's so childish, nya!"

Ryoma inwardly laughed. At last, that toy's within his torture range again. He should immediately get rid of that thing before Ryuuzaki gets back.

That's right… he should get rid of it…

Ryoma stared at Karu-chan's (cute) blue orbs…

It's now or never…

He felt its fur's softness as it brushed against his hands…

Kill it…

Karu-chan really resembles Karupin a lot…


His cute little Karupin…


"I can't do it!" He yelled, almost too loud for his seniors to hear behind the bushes.

"Ahhhhhh!" Yelled the people in the roller coaster as the ride looped three times.

"I can't kill this thing if it looks like Karupin!" He yelled again.

He closed his eyes. Maybe if he can't see Karu-chan, then he could do it.

He threw Karu-chan on the ground. He could step on it—

"Onii-chan?" A little girl's voice said.

Ryoma opened his eyes and saw a four-year-old kid looking at him with her ridiculously big blue eyes. "W-What?"

"Are you going to throw away that toy?" she asked in her squeaky childish voice.

Ryoma stared at Karu-chan on the ground. "Uh… yeah… D-Do you want it?"

The kid grinned childishly. "No. But before throwing it away, you should put it inside a disposable bag, so that it won't harm the ecosystem!"

Sweat dropped…

Does this kid even know what she was saying? Ryoma just sighed and decided to pick Karu-chan up. "Fine."

"Ryoma-kun?" Ryoma heard Sakuno said. He looked at her and saw her carrying two cones of ice cream with either of her hands. "Who's that kid?"

Ryoma looked at the kid and sweat dropped again. "I don't know…"

"Onee-chan," the kid turned to Sakuno. "Can I have that toy? Pretty please?" Now, didn't she just say that she doesn't want that toy earlier?

Sakuno stared at the kid's pleading puppy dog eyes. She suddenly felt touched with the child's actions. Soon, Sakuno's eyes were shining with tears, too.

Ryoma could only gape at what was happening before him. Ryuuzaki is easily touched…

Sakuno sniffed and took Karu-chan from Ryoma's hands. She gave his ice cream cone in the process.

Unbeknownst to them, the kid grinned evilly.

Sakuno knelt down in front of the child and gave Karu-chan to her with her teary-eyes. "Sure, you can have Karu-chan, but make sure you'll take care of her, okay?"

The child smiled and hugged Karu-chan. After muttering her thanks, she ran off into another direction.

"Looks like O'chibi is too chicken to destroy that toy in the end." Eiji said.


"It's because the toy looks like his pet cat…" Inui added.

Ryoma smirked as Sakuno stood up. "You did the right thing," he said. But deep inside, he was relieved that the toy was now gone forever. Since he figured out he can't destroy it in the end.

Sakuno nodded and smiled. "She deserves Karu-chan more than I do."

"Hn," Ryoma stared ahead. "But you know, when I asked that kid if she wanted that toy, she said no."

Sakuno smiled at him. "Maybe she was just shy around you."

Ryoma stared at her. She was smiling sweetly again… She looked so… good…

He felt his whole body relaxing on its own, again.

He smirked. "Come on. Why don't we ride the roller coaster first?"

Sakuno nodded as she followed Ryoma.

"Ara? Ryoma-san? You're here…" The two heard a feminine voice said.

Ryoma turned around and saw a smiling Nanako. He looked at her surprisingly. He didn't expect to see her here, of course. "What… eh? What are you doing here?"

Nanako smiled gently. She raised her hands up, revealing Karupin, who meowed upon seeing Ryoma. "Karupin ran away again while I'm giving him a bath. I followed him until we got here. Good thing that the guards at the entrance let me in—" Nanako stopped when she saw Sakuno.

Nanako and Sakuno blinked.

Sakuno smiled and bowed respectfully at her. "Nice to meet you. My name is Ryuuzaki Sakuno."

Nanako turned her look from Sakuno to Ryoma. She smiled sheepishly at her cousin. "My, oh my! I never knew you already had a girlfriend! Obaa-san will surely love to meet her," she whispered to Ryoma, who just glared irritatingly at her.

"She's not my girlfriend," he whispered back.

"Oh! And we must make sure not to let her meet ojii-san!" Nanako said as she remembered the perverted Nanjiroh.

"Meow!" Karupin jumped off from Nanako's hold. The Himalayan cat walked towards Sakuno and rubbed himself on her ankle.

Nanako gasped. "Oh no, Karupin! Don't be rude to Ryuuzaki-san!"

Sakuno shook her head, "No need to scold him," Sakuno carried Karupin in her arms. She smiled sweetly at Ryoma. "So this is why you like Karu-chan, too. It's because Karu-chan looks exactly like Karupin-chan!"

Ryoma nodded at her unsurely. "Yeah…"

Sakuno chuckled when Karupin began licking her cheeks.

Nanako smiled. "And it looks like Karupin likes you too, Ryuuzaki-san."

And, the black fire lives, again and again, as it emits out of Ryoma's body. First Karu-chan, and now Karupin too! Is every cat in the world challenging him into a fight!

Karupin nuzzled himself comfortably on Sakuno's neck.

Ka-ru-pin! You cheater!

Karupin is a harder opponent, since he's a real cat.

Oh well, good luck, Ryoma.


The little kid from before looked at Karu-chan one last time before dropping it on the ground. She skipped happily as she left the amusement park. A third year with short chestnut hair stared at poor Karu-chan on the ground. He picked it up and observed it with his cerulean eyes.

Fuji chuckled sadistically. His plan worked. His payment on the little kid was worth it after all. Karu-chan destroyed Ryoma. And Ryoma did not even notice it. He did not notice how ridiculous he looked with all those photos he had taken as Ryoma changed different expressions around their coach's granddaughter, be it being jealous of Karu-chan or simply admiring the brunette.

He stared proudly at his three new albums that only contained Ryoma's reactions towards Karu-chan and Ryuuzaki Sakuno.

"Now, let's see how effective Karu-chan will work on Momo."

He dialed some numbers on his flip phone and held it near his ear. "Ah, Tachibana Ann? This is Fuji Syuusuke of Seigaku… Can we meet later? I've got a cute present for you…"


A/N: Just wanted to write something about Ryoma getting jealous over something irrelevant and to practice my writing skills XD And ignore the OOCness XD Don't forget to leave a review!

PS: Sorry for not updating ADAR yet ^^;

Disclaimer applies.