Important-ish Note: This story is the sequel to "The Uses of Enemies". You can still read this one without reading the previous story... but you won't have a clue about what's going on. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: Konomi-sensei owns all prince of tennis related stuffs.
Sanada panted, his hands slick as they clutched his racket in a tight, numbing grip.
He had to win this. He was in the finals. Just one more win and he would be champion of the elementary school U-13 division. He couldn't afford to lose now. Especially not to that guy.
The figure behind the net on the opposite side of the court was tiny and slight, much smaller than most of the participants in the tournament. Yet the power that small body held was undefeated. The boy had wavy dark blue hair that extended to the edge of his rounded chin, giving him a feminine appearance that matched his body proportions. By all means, the boy didn't look strong at all. Sanada's opponent looked like he could be blown away by the wind.
But that was not the case, Sanada reminded himself just as the umpire shouted the score of 0-40 with Sanada on the losing side, behind by five whole games and now one point away from losing.
Sanada was gulping air in short quick rasps, sweating heavily. His hair was damp, sticking to his forehead and smoldering under his cap.
Damn it! He hadn't gone this far just to lose to Yukimura again! He was stronger now. He had trained for this, telling himself that this time, Yukimura would not surpass him. This time for sure. Sanada perfected his posture, anticipating the next serve. Yukimura shot him a predatory smirk from the other side of the field, eyes glinting with superiority under the white headband he wore. Sanada clenched his teeth, grinding them in anger.
Yukimura threw the ball up and then served it. It bounced once on Sanada's side of the court before the capped boy's racket caught up to it. The serve had appeared almost weak, but Sanada could feel the exact opposite when his racket came in contact with the ball. Yukimura's shots were everything except weak.
Sanada returned it with a powerful forehand. It was time to attack. If he didn't get aggressive now and change his play, then he really would lose. He wouldn't give Yukimura the satisfaction of beating him again. Sanada ran forward, approaching the net and preparing himself to smash the ball when Yukimura returned it.
What he didn't expect was the sound of a giggle as Yukimura swung his racket, almost lazy as he hit a lob, sending the ball over Sanada's head, ready to land close to the baseline.
No no no NO! Sanada's mind shouted. His legs pushed him into action, running with all his strength back to the baseline, watching the ball falling as if in slow motion. His nerves shot electricity through his body, igniting his system with bursts of adrenaline, thinking that he had to get that ball. No matter what, he had to reach it. He couldn't let it end like this!
Every second felt like an eternity. His lungs burned, pushing his legs faster and faster. He stretched out his racket and dived right as the ball dropped before him.
Sanada felt the ball graze the strings of his racket. He didn't think; he merely lifted his racket up, shooting it back to Yukimura's side of the court. He twisted his body, landing roughly on his knees, scratching his legs on the ground hard. But he didn't care; Sanada pushed himself back up immediately, looking at the ball he had hit back towards Yukimura.
The bluenette didn't move from his spot in the center of the court. Sanada swallowed, seeing what was happening, but still praying that his intuition was wrong. The ball flew through the air. But it was too high. It was much too high.
Sanada sank to his knees when the ball landed, only a few centimeters outside the baseline.
"Out!" the umpire called. "Game and match, Yukimura Seiichi. 0-6."
Sanada stayed there, immobile, his teeth still clenched as disappointment rolled through him. His scrapped knees oozed blood down on the field. He had lost to Yukimura. Again. He had been hoping to defeat Yukimura before entering middle school... but to no avail. His blood boiled in anger, looking up at the person he hated with every particle of his being.
Yukimura smiled down at him before turning away to accept his gold medal.
Sanada was jolted out of his daydream when he felt his cap being plucked off his head. He blinked, gazing up at an irritated-looking Yukimura.
"What?" asked Sanada.
Yukimura snorted. "You know exactly what. You were daydreaming again so your head was drooping. You are the worst model ever." said the effeminate captain.
Sanada exhaled loudly, rolling his eyes. They were both in Yukimura's bedroom. They had come here after morning tennis practice. The room was quite simple and had a bed, desk and wardrobe just like any other bedroom. What was different about it this time was that Yukimura had Sanada reclining on the bed in a very unnatural position that required the vice-captain to keep his head up and legs twisted. In front of the the bed was an easel used for painting with a large canvas sitting on it.
For a few days now, Yukimura had been going on about wanting to paint but not having the proper inspiration. It was only now that Sanada was seeing just how bad of an idea it had been to volunteer himself as a model.
"Modeling is dull. You cannot expect me to remain so still for so long in his position. Of course I have to move sometimes." said Sanada. "I have the right to daydream."
Yukimura pursed his lips, thoughtful for a second as he twirled Sanada's cap around his finger. Yukimura really looked like an artist with his paint-stained apron and paintbrush in his other hand. The room's walls were also decorated in paintings the bluenette had made himself.
Finally, Yukimura smiled. "You are only allowed to daydream if you are daydreaming about me." he declared.
Sanada didn't know how Yukimura was even going to manage to know what Sanada was thinking of. Sanada just shrugged. "Yeah, sure. Give me my cap."
"Actually, I can't see your eyes properly with the cap. I want to paint you without it." said Yukimura. He returned to his position behind the easel, propping the cap on the corner and sticking his head to the side to observe the vice-captain as his paintbrush went back to work on the canvas.
Sanada thought it was a good thing that he had been daydreaming because every time he focused on Yukimura's stare, he could feel his whole body heating up. Yukimura's eyes were so intent, looking at Sanada was if he was the only thing in the world. Those blue orbs roamed every inch of his body, observing every detail and every slightest movement Sanada made. Sanada gulped, feeling Yukimura's stare having an effect on him again. He squirmed.
"Be a good boy and hold still, Sanada." warned Yukimura. "You're making this hard for me."
'You're making it hard for me too!' thought Sanada, determinedly lookng at a small potted cactus that sat on the nearby windowsill. He wished he had his cap to hide his eyes and to help him look away from Yukimura's face. He felt too open and exposed without his headgear.
Sanada took a deep breath and willed his body to stay still despite Yukimura's probing gaze. He let himself think of something else… tennis, the team, kendo, grip tape, anything other than what was presently happening.
Lately, Yukimura had been a lot more tolerable during practice. The captain was even encouraging the underclassmen to have fun and he let them play matches with their friends as long as they practiced seriously. It wasn't all sunshine and happiness, but Sanada could tell that Yukimura was thinking deeply about that Seigaku freshman's words, ones that asked Yukimura if he thought tennis was fun.
Although… sometimes Yukimura would still rather bossy and obnoxious. Like that time he had ordered the team to laugh as they played tennis. The forced laughs emitting from each player had been a frightening sight to see and a worse thing to hear. Luckily, Yukimura had put a stop to it immediately after once he realized that forcing a laugh didn't mean people were really having fun.
But despite all that, Sanada still often wondered how he could have spent his whole life until a few months ago hating Yukimura with a deep passion. Sure, there was still the occasional bickering between them, but it accumulated to anything. Thinking back to the long days of training, constantly getting angry at Yukimura over every little thing, and them shouting insults at each other, Sanada couldn't help but think that they both used to be so immature. Perhaps Sanada had been a little jealous of Yukimura being a better tennis player, but that didn't excuse all the fighting and hate he used to feel for the bluenette.
Now, he could hardly even imagine disliking Yukimura. The captain had become a huge part of his life, a rival, a friend and a trusty captain. They had gone through hell and back, losses and victories, good and bad experiences together. What was left now was a solid bond of trust and understanding.
Yes, he did feel strongly connected to Yukimura… even if the captain was forcing him to be a model right now, which Sanada disliked from the very first second of trying it.
A knock sounded on the bedroom door, breaking both Sanada and Yukimura out of their focus. Yukimura's mom entered the bedroom, holding a tray with cheese, crackers and juice on it. Sanada sighed with relief. This meant it was time to take a break.
"I thought you might both be getting hungry." said Yukimura's mother, smiling the very same angel-like smile that Yukimura had. Except, Yukimura's mother had dimples on her cheeks when she smiled. Their hair was also the exact same wavy and dark blue texture, except her hair was much longer. She looked like an older girl version of Yukimura and could have easily passed as his sister.
Sanada stretched out his arms and legs, relieved to stand up and loosen up his stiff joints. "Thank you, Yukimura-san." he said, taking the tray from Yukimura's mom and laying it on the desk.
"Thanks mom." mumbled Yukimura.
Yukimura was still looking at his painting, observing it from different angles as if trying to see how he could make it better. Sanada could see the canvas clearly now. There wasn't much done since Yukimura was taking his sweet time to make it perfect. Sanada could make out his figure with a soft creamy color for skin and a dark grey for his clothes and hair. Sanada sighed, seeing that not much had been done after all this time. Looks like he still had long hours left of being a model.
Yukimura's mother approached her son, looking at the painting with a critical eye.
"You should use bolder colors." she advised. "With Sanada, soft and gentle colors wouldn't suit him. You should show his intimidating power through this art piece."
Yukimura nodded. "Right. Also here, I thought of making the chin sharper and the jaw more pronounced. I'm going to need to find the perfect brown for his eyes too."
Sanada stuffed a cracker with cheese in his mouth, chewing quietly as Yukimura and the Yukimura matriarch looked back and forth between the painting and the actual figure of the vice-captain.
"It's good." said Yukimura's mother, finally talking. "I look forward to seeing it completed. But there is one thing I would have changed…"
"What?" asked Yukimura, concerned.
Yukimura's mother giggled lightly. "I would have painted him undraped."
It took a moment for Sanada's brain to understand what she had just said. But when he got it, he proceeded to flush at the comment. Yukimura stared intensely at Sanada, as if now regretting the fact that he hadn't asked to paint Sanada in the nude.
"Well, it's too late now." said Yukimura, huffing in disappointment.
Yukimura's mother giggled again and Sanada felt very uncomfortable to now have two Yukimuras observing him.
"Oh! That reminds me. You just got a letter in the mail, Seiichi. I'll leave it on your desk." she said, taking en envelope out of her pocket and placing it on the desk, next to the tray of crackers and juice.
"'Kay, thanks." said Yukimura, still staring at Sanada.
"I'll leave you two alone now." said Yukimura's mother, looking very amused as she walked out and shut the door behind her. Sanada wondered vaguely if all Yukimuras got a kick out of teasing him.
"Sanada…" Yukimura whispered his name, almost suggestively.
Sanada shook his head immediately. "No, I am not taking off my clothes. Don't even ask." he said. It was hard enough dealing with Yukimura's exploring stare when he was fully clothed. "And give me back my cap."
Yukimura twirled the cap up, catching it before tossing it up again playfully.
"Let's make an exchange then." said Yukimura, grinning mischievously.
Sanada growled. "There is no way I am modeling naked in exchange for my cap. Give it."
"You're no fun." said Yukimura. He gave in this time, knowing when he was asking for a too-high price. But that didn't mean he couldn't lower the cost. Better to get something than nothing. "Then, give me one kiss in exchange for your cap." Yukimura bargained, looking at Sanada expectantly.
Sanada made a show of rolling his eyes before slowly approaching the shorter blue-haired teen. Yukimura's head tilted upwards, smiling coyly and invitingly. Sanada made sure he could no longer hear Yukimura's mother walking in the hallway outside before he leaned down.
He kissed Yukimura's lips lightly, a quick peck that left as quickly as it had come. Yukimura smelled like paint today and his wavy bangs were clipped to the side so that Sanada didn't feel the hair's soft texture against his cheeks.
When he pulled back, Yukimura looked somewhat impatient and annoyed about something.
"What?" asked Sanada.
"Do you hate kissing me or something? You always give me such quick kisses." said Yukimura.
Great. And now Yukimura was criticizing his kissing methods. Sanada sighed yet again. He didn't really want to admit that he did enjoy kissing Yukimura and that the problem was he was too embarrassed to make the kiss last longer. Yukimura would laugh at him.
"Hey, I gave you a kiss so stop complaining." said Sanada. He stuck his hand out to grab at his headwear. "Now give me back my cap."
Yukimura pushed the cap further behind him. "No, I want a real kiss. With tongue."
Sanada choked, flushing furiously at Yukimura's words. Yukimura looked far too amused for his own good. Sanada shook his head, quickly reaching behind Yukimura and snatching his cap back.
"You are gross." Sanada announced, putting his black cap back on his head.
Yukimura laughed, sticking his tongue out teasingly. "Oh come on, I won't bite." he said.
The bluenette's hands slid up Sanada's arm. The vice-captain didn't move away, letting Yukimura stand on his tiptoes and wrap his arms around Sanada's neck.
Yukimura kissed him, long and slow and the total opposite of Sanada's kiss. Their lips molded together, instantly stealing Sanada's breath away. Then barely a minute into it, just as he had expected, Sanada felt the hot and wet texture of Yukimura's tongue pressing forward against his tight lips.
Yukimura really didn't know when to give up, thought Sanada as he felt the pink muscle probbing at his lips insistently as if demanding to be let in.
Sanada let Yukimura indulge in false hope for the moment. The vice-captain carefully parted his lips, letting Yukimura tongue slid in just barely before Sanada's teeth trapped it. He didn't bite too hard, just enough to jolt Yukimura and make the bluenette pull back with a surprised expression.
It was Sanada's turn to look smug. "You may not bite, but I do." said the vice-captain.
Yukimura chuckled, shaking his head. "Stubborn vice-captain." he whispered. "Now get back on the bed. You're in for several more hours of posing."
Sanada groaned, loudly. He didn't complain, no the might Emperor of Rikkai would never complain. He merely showed his dissatisfaction with incoherent sounds.
As Sanada sat back down on the bed, Yukimura lightly grabbed a cracker from the tray, plopping it in his mouth. He didn't want to let hunger distract him from his work. As he took a few more in a hurry, his eyes glanced to the side and spotted the letter his mother had left there for him. Looking at it closely, Yukimura could see that it really was addressed to him.
That was weird. Yukimura never got letters. Middle-schoolers never got good mail.
With his curiosity piqued, Yukimura carefully tore the envelope open. There was a single paper inside, neatly printed with an official looking stamp and someone's signature at the bottom. Yukimura read it from the top.
Sanada sat on the bed in the uncomfortable pose, wondering what was taking Yukimura so long. He looked around the easel and found Yukimura standing next to his desk and reading the letter his mom had brought up. As the bluenette continued reading, his eyebrows furrowed together in confusion.
"Yukimura?" asked Sanada.
The blue-haired captain looked back at Sanada, holding out the letter to him. "Sanada. Read this." he said, almost commanding and all traces of teasing gone.
Sanada stood back up and took it, looking down at the neat and professional looking document.
To Yukimura Seiichi, Rikkaidai Fuzoku Third year, Captain of the Boys Middle School Tennis Team. Congratulations, you have been selected among numerous contestants within Japan's Middle School Tennis League to attend the Representative Selection U-17 Training Camp.
The letter extended longer, with details, background facts and other bits of information about this so-called U-17 camp. But… U-17? That had to be a mistake. They were still middle schoolers, not in the high school league.
Sanada met Yukimura eyes, as confused as he felt. No. This couldn't be a mistake. It had Yukimura's name and school status clearly indicated on the letter as well as the stamp of Japan's official tennis league. Somehow, Yukimura had been selected, despite his young age, to attend this prestigious camp.
Yukimura's mouth was dry, not sure what to think. "I think… we should call Yanagi." he said. "He'll know a bit more about this."
So I'm back. Miss me? Yeah, me neither. -_-
So here's the long-anticipated(?) sequel. It will more or less follow the New Prince of Tennis manga storyline. Not the anime. The anime can go to hell for skipping over the Alpha Pair match. As usual, feel free to tell me what you think.