Game and Match: Sakuno?

A/N: Hi, there. I've been writing RyoSaku fanfics for a while now but I've never got the chance to publish them cuz I've been quite busy with my finals and assignments from my lecturers to even sign up as an author for . Now that I'm (quite) free, I'll hope you guys will enjoy my debut.

Rating: T+ (is there even this rating?) Due to foul words and some sexual scenes. Not quite M-rated.



Ryuzaki Sakuno needs a break. After evolving from a shy, clumsy, timid and stuttering girl to a witty young woman who has the balls – no, ovaries- to tell a jerk to go bitch himself rather than picking on her, she felt good. Well, that was before her grandmother died when she turned 17. Now at 30, she's out of money,out of love and the closest she's come near to her dream of being a serious reporter is by writing the scandalous column for her voluptuous alter ego, "Sweet Sakura". So when Sakuno lands a job reporting on tennis team the Tokyo Dragons – in particular their star player and captain, gorgeous Echizen Ryoma – she thinks this is her big chance. Hot-shot Ryoma has no intention of letting an uptight reporter like Sakuno dig into his past. But he's about to discover a whole lot more to Sakuno than meets the eye…


The Life of Sweet Sakura

Of all the smoky bars in Tokyo, he had to walk into the Loose Frog, the dive where I worked five nights a week pulling beer and choking on secondhand smoke. A careless lock of black hair fell across his forehead as he pulled a bar stool and sat on it.

"Give me a Guinness'," he said, his voice as rough as velveteen, "and put a hustle on it, babe. I don't have all day."

I've always been a sucker for men with dark hair and bad attitudes. One look and I knew this man was as dark and as bad as a stallion. "Bottle or draft?" I asked.

He lit a cigarette and looked at me through a cloud of smoke. His heavenly green eyes were packed with sin as his gaze lowered to the front of my tank top. One corner of his mouth kicked up in appreciation of my thirty-four D's. "Bottle," he answered.

I grabbed a Guinness' from the cooler, popped the cap, and slid it across the bar. "Three fifty."

"What's your name?" he asked and reached into the back pocket of his worn Levi's to pull out his wallet.

"Sakura," I answered. "Sweet Sakura."

The other corner of his full mouth lifted as he handed me a five. "Are you a stripper?" I get that a lot. "That depends."

"On what?"

"On what you have in mind," I answered, then folded my arms on the bar and leaned forward, giving him a nice view of my cleavage, his eyes hot and…

The telephone next to Ryuzaki Sakuno's computer rang, pulling her attention away from the screen and out of the latest installment of The Life Of Sweet Sakura. "Damn," she swore. She pushed her fingers beneath her glasses and scrubbed her tired eyes. From between her fingers she glanced at the caller ID and picked up.

"Ryuzaki," the managing editor at the Tokyo's, Takeyama Hiroshi, began without bothering to say hello, "Kevin Schneider is talking to the coaches and general manager tonight. The job is officially yours."

Kevin Schneider's corporation was a member of the Legendary 500 and he was the owner of the Tokyo Dragons tennis team. "When do I start?" Sakuno asked and rose to her feet. She reached for her coffee and spilled a drop on her old flannel pajamas as she brought the cup to her lips.

"January first."

January first gave her only two weeks to prepare. Two days ago, Sakuno had been approached by Takeyama and asked if she was interested in covering for sports-beat reporter Dan Taichi while he underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The prognosis for Dan was good, but his leave of absence left the paper in need of someone to cover the Tokyo Dragons tennis team. Sakuno never dreamed that someone would be her. Among other things, she was a feature writer for the Tokyo's and was known for her monthly Single Soul in Tokyo columns. She didn't know a thing about tennis.

"You'll hit the road with them on the second," Takeyama continued. "Schneider wants to smooth over the details with the coaches, then he'll introduce you to the team the Monday before you leave."

When she'd first been offered the job last week, she'd been shocked and more than a little puzzled. Surely Mr. Schneider would want another sports reporter to cover the games. But as it turned out, the offer had been the team owner's idea.

"What will the coaches think?" She set the mug on her desk, next to an open day planner with various colors of sticky notes stuck all over it.

"Doesn't really matter. Ever since Echizen Nanjiroh and Sanada Genichirou retired, that arena hasn't seen a capacity crowd. Schneider needs to pay for that hotshot captain he bought last year. Schneider loves tennis, but he's a businessman first and foremost. He'll do what it takes to get the fans in those seats. Which is why he thought of you in the first place. He wants to attract more female fans to the game."

What Takeyama Hiroshi didn't say was that Schneider had thought of her because he thought she wrote fluff for women. Which was okay with Sakuno; fluff helped pay her bills and was wildly popular with women who read the Tokyo's. But fluff didn't pay all the bills. Not even close. Hentai magazines paid most of them. And the hentai serials, The Life Of Sweet Sakura, she wrote for Him magazine were wildly popular with males.

As Takeyama talked about Schneider and his tennis team, Sakuno picked up a pen and wrote on a pink sticky note: Buy books on tennis. She tore the note from the top of the block, flipped a page, and stuck it in her day planner beneath several other strips of paper. "…. and you have to remember you're dealing with tennis players. You know they can be real superstitious. If the Dragons start losing matches, you'll get blamed and sent packing."

Great. Her job was in the hands of superstitious jocks. She tore an old note marked Sweet Sakura deadline from the planner and tossed it in the trash. After a few more minutes of conversation, she hung up the telephone and picked up her coffee. Like most Tokyo bumpkins, she couldn't help but know the names and some of the faces of the tennis players. The season was long and tennis was mentioned on Nippon-5 News most nights, but she'd actually only met one of the Dragons, the captain Takeyama had mentioned, Echizen Ryoma.

She'd been introduced to the man with the thirty-three-million-dollar contract at a Press Club party just after his recruitment into the Dragons last summer. He'd stood in the middle of the room looking healthy and fit, like a king holding court. He was quite the average height of Japanese men, about six-five, but he was pure muscle. His raven hair covered his ears and the collar of his shirt, slightly windblown and finger-combed.

She and the tennis player had exchanged hellos and a handshake. His amber eyes had hardly fallen on her before he'd moved on with the blonde sticking by his side like a suction cup. In less than a second, she'd been found lacking and dismissed. But she was used to it. Men like Ryoma usually didn't pay much attention to women like Sakuno. At five-eleven with dark brown orbs, shoulder length dark brown hair and an a size thirty four A-cup. They didn't stick around to hear if she had anything interesting to say.

If other Dragons dismissed her as quickly as Echizen Ryoma had, she was in for an aggravating few months, but travelling with the team was too good an opportunity to pass up. She would write her articles about the sports from a woman's point of view. She would report on the highlights of the game as expected. She also wanted to know if women still encountered discrimination in the twenty-first century.



A/N: Okay, I know for some of you this plot seems familiar 'cuz I adapted this story based on Rachel Gibson's 'See Jane Score'. But this story won't be 100 percent xeroxed from the book, 'cuz there will be alterations. Maybe not now, but there will be. :)