My exams may have ended nearly a month ago, but it still took me this long to come up with a shorter than the norm chapter. I'm a pathetic excuse of an author T.T

On a side note, I think Niou's pranks are getting way out of hand, but its too fun for me to stop now *is shot*

Disclaimer: …can we get back to this after my earlobes stop hurting?

Warning(s): Boys love, Niou's pranks, fluff, slight OOCness if you see it that way, and add more if you deem fit.


That had to be one of the most excruciating and hurtful things she had ever done. It hurt her just as much as it hurt him.

Yagyuu was standing at the entrance when Niou returned home.

The two held gazes for a long moment, until the woman broke it as she smirked. The silverette walked until she was right in front of him, before giving him a hard flick on the forehead.

"Baka."

It was not until the other closed and locked her bedroom door that the Gentleman snapped out of his daze. A hand went to that still-sore spot on his forehead as he smiled. That flick earlier may have hurt, but at least it assured him of something.

Niou Masaharu was willing to wait for him, for as long as needed.

-/hanako/-

"Well well, seems like I did underestimate you."

Niou flicked yet another pebble, watching as it sailed even further than Hanako's had.

"Of course."

His companion pulled her knees up to her chest.

"…that being said, I'm happy for you. You've finally closed a chapter of your very vibrant life."

"It was the least I could do. At least now he has someone to care for him too."

Hanako's hand paused in mid-throw.

"Really? Why 'care' and not 'love'?"

"It's just a speculation. How their relationship develops is not within my control, but at least I helped kick-start it."

The silverette man suddenly sputtered, trying to wipe off the pondwater that had suddenly found its way onto his face. The culprit only laughed.

"Quite a lot of confidence you have there. How can you be sure this is not going to hurt him more?"

Niou's face was expressionless as he stared at her.

"No, I'm not sure. But it's worth a try."

xXEternallyXx

It was awkward having to walk together after what happened. Marui could not bring himself to look into Jackal's eyes and vice-versa. All it took was one moment, one small flash of the nakedness of their feelings. Someone must be enjoying all this, and the redhead could bet that it was not Hanako or Niou.

The photoshoot had gone relatively smoothly. There was no need for repeats and the clothes were simple enough to wear. The make-up was a bit of a hassle (look, it was not his fault the make-up artist forgot to take into account his utterly fair skintone), but it was bearable. After all, Marui Bunta was a tensai, and there was nothing he could not do.

Well, while that may have been an overstatement, there was no doubt about this redhead's skill in modeling. He was a natural at drawing the spotlight onto himself. Yukimura may have been the most popular boy of their year, but no one could deny that Marui won the "most attention gained" trophy hands down. Even if they wanted to, no one could shy away from that bright pinkish-red hair and charismatic gentlemanly personality.

It was purely Yagyuu's idea for the entire regular team to attend those etiquette classes, Jackal swore. Apparently, something about the way Sanada (TARUNDORU! We are way too young to date!) and Akaya (Why would I date an ugly girl like you?!) rejected confessions seemed to get his goat. Yukimura was all for signing up for these lessons (and no, he was not mad when the teacher thought he was a girl, REALLY), though by the end of each it seemed tennis practice got thrice as brutal. It was to match up to their 'three consecutive championships', the captain said. But in all honesty, Jackal thought he was just pissed about getting mistaken for a girl while IN his TENNIS uniform.

…the Brazilian would go into details, but this story is one for another day.

Bottom line was, one could not help but love Marui Bunta. He was proud, but he had the skills to back it up. He flirted, but only for the fun of it and never to break up couples. Come to think of it, never once had he flirted with a 'taken' girl before.

Unfortunately, being tennis partners with the self-proclaimed tensai had pulled Kuwahara Jackal into the attraction loop too- and it felt wrong.

For one thing, he was the same gender as Marui. Boys (or men) just did not look at or feel for each other that way. For another, the ex-volleyist was way out of his league. How could someone who had to endure racist comments every other day hope to compare to someone adored by practically the entire school? That was the reason the half-Brazilian blended into the background. It was fine that he was always the forgotten member. It was fine that no one ever noticed.

Therefore, he should not be surprised when Marui shoved him against the wall when they were the only ones left in the studio, showing a glare that intimidated anyone far more than his shorter stature would.

"Dammit, Jackal! You think this is fun?"

"I think what is fun?"

Somehow, the taller one had a sinking feeling the other was not going to buy that. They were thinking on the same wavelength after all. Beating around the bush was not going to help things.

Sanada Genichirou's infamous (at least, during their school days) slap hurt A LOT. None in the Rikkai tennis club did not feel that slight shudder down their spine when threatened with it. Ok, so no one knew of Yukimura and Yanagi, but they were on another plane of existence anyway. However, only the regulars knew who caused the harshest and most painful slaps and backhands of all.

It felt as if a few dozen bees had tried competing to sting a single target on his now bruising face.

Marui sighed as he put down his left (what the heck?! – Jackal) hand and ran his right one through his messy curls. The situation was completely pathetic. He was pathetic. So this was what they called karma. Most people would ask the high heavens or whichever god they worshipped what they did to deserve this…but the model could only think of too many things he had done to warrant such a turn of events.

"I guess…I know how Niou felt."

"…I'm sorry."

"Don't apologize."

Slim but still muscular arms snaked their way around one tanned manager's waist as Marui buried his face into the other's chest. It felt nice, having someone to hug.

"I should be the one saying sorry instead…"

xXEternallyXx

"…Principal Yanagi. I apologize for disturbing you, but…"

'Must. Not. Laugh.' Yanagi told himself. 'Must. Resist. The. Temptation.'

Well there was actually no need for him to worry. After all, there was nothing funny about the sight in front of him. It was simply Riko Kiyami standing at the door with grotesque mix of make-up all over her face and a mixture of cereal and yellow nacho cheese dribbling all over her equally yellow dress with…a toy rattle super-glued to her left hand. At the least, what had been super-glued to her right hand was the red pen, and it was probably so that the teacher would have no excuse to ditch work.

Truth to be told, he must have broken a few ribs trying to resist hurting the other's feelings.

"I see you have gotten yourself into some…*cough*trouble, Riko-sensei. Would said trouble happen to be caused by one of our students?"

Both her hands clenched. One around the rattle, one around the pen. And did anyone mention that the rattle made weird animal sounds when clenched tightly?

"That…is what I came to talk about actually. The perpetrator is neither of our lovely students but instead a Hanako Masahira-sensei from the Mathematics Department."

Yanagi could sense the venom laced into every syllable of Niou's pseudo name, oh yes he could.

"So what you're trying to tell me, Riko-sensei, is that the one who did…this (MustNotLaughMustNotLaugh) is none other than Hanako-sensei?"

"Yes."

Thus, the brunette man sighed with exaggerated exasperation, almost drowning in the nostalgia of how it was when Niou's pranks went overboard. Too many times had he walked by the staff room only to see a teacher or teachers who had caused any tennis regular trouble looking like they dumped everything from their kid's last birthday party into a tub and then swam around in it. Now that he was in the shoes of the Principal, he felt a little (ok, maybe a lot) guilty at how much the previous guy must have suffered having to handle complaints like this all day.

And Yanagi sighed again.

"I believe this is something you should settle in a heart to heart talk with Hanako-sensei herself. From what I know, she is a very understanding person."

For the sake of Niou and Yagyuu's relationship, he must not let Riko know he is lying about the last part.

"B-But-"

"Now now, Riko-sensei. We are all responsible and mature adults. I doubt this incident is something you can't solve with some understanding on both party's sides."

There was nothing wrong with the advice, really. But the way the principal looked as if he was reprimanding an errant elementary student instead of giving advice to a subordinate of nearly the same age…it was downright humiliating. There was also something off about the way he said the word "mature".

"I-I understand. I will try to sort this out to the best of my ability for the sake of my own sanity as well as that of the reputation of our Department."

He nodded.

"I hope that can be done as soon as possible. If the problem gets worse, do not hesitate to let me know."

It was exactly twenty seconds (the amount of time needed for a teacher to round the corner on his/her way to the staffroom - Yanagi) after Riko-sensei left the room that Yanagi Renji could not take it anymore and started chuckling as discretely as possible (not that any chuckling could be called discrete). Niou had really outdone herself this time, and knowing the Trickster, there were only more ridiculous pranks up her sleeve. It was also mysterious how the number of student pranksters in Rikkai had significantly lowered (aka the number of those sent to his office on a weekly basis) in lieu of all this tricks on the new trainee. A certain silverette had apparently been thanking him by relieving him of extra workload by outclassing any budding prankster with her experienced plans and putting them into their place.

He was going to have to thank her for that later, and maybe try not to find out how she managed it. He wants to keep what is left of his logic and common sense, thank you very much.

"Oh Riko Kiyami-san…there is more than your sanity at stake here," the brunet principal mused.

"…the very fact that you still have your sanity intact is proof that the greatest prankster in Rikkai Dai history is preparing you for something much worse."

One Hanako Masahira sneezed while coming up with questions for the advanced class. It caused the papers in front of her to fly all over her table.

"Hanako-sensei? Are you alright?"

The teacher blinked as she started gathering her papers.

"I'm fine, Shiharu. Probably just someone talking about me again."


OMAKE:

Yukimura watched as the other regulars lined up in front of him at the private tennis court he had just booked.

"So, how has all of your training been coming along?"

"Very well." - Sanada

"…well…you see…" - Akaya

"Um, work has been getting busier lately…" – Marui and Jackal

"There were preparations for the Ocean Festival I could not ignore…" – Yanagi

"…Riko Kiyami." – Niou

"…Riko Kiyami." - Yagyuu

The bluenet felt a tick mark festering at the back of his head in response to the sheepish looks nearly all of them (sans Sanada of course) had on. Could they not see the importance of following the training menu that Yanagi had circulated since nearly a month ago? And why was Yanagi himself looking so sheepish too?!

"You all…"

The wind conveniently blew at that moment, making Yukimura's jacket sway in that awesome 'Kami no Ko' manner.

"…shall DIE."

-/hanako/-

"…"

Hanako watched the heap on the floor.

"…"

The heap stirred.

"…Masaharu?"

Was he still alive?

"...yeah?"

"Remind me never to cross your ex-captain."

Niou finally found the strength to lie down like a proper person.

"...of course."


So, I was thinking of writing a oneshot featuring them during their etiquette lessons. I can already see their instructor questioning his sanity. Should I write it?

And if I do write it, should I feature the GoM from Kuroko no Basuke in it too?

Please Review! Reviews are the air we authors breathe, the food we authors eat, the water we authors drink! Don't let us die just like that!

Comments and Constructive Criticism please? We all love the 3 Cs!

Posted: 13/12/2012 (dd/mm/yyyy)

Darn, I missed the last consecutive date of the century…