Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis.
A/N: Why, why on earth am I writing a RyoSaku? The pair honestly isn't my cup of tea – scratch that, unless you're an extremely talented writer, I probably won't even bother to read your RyoSaku story. So, why am I writing this? Ah, probably a burst of inspiration. It's not like I totally hate the pair. I might have even supported it if Sakuno had some sort of a backbone and development in her character. There's not much you can do with a girl who ceases to say anything but, "R-ryoma-kun?" for a whole 200 episodes. :/ Anyway, enough of my ranting, and on with the story!
The Ponta felt cold in her hands. Sakuno let the frigidness roll off her palms and fingers as she skillfully balanced the can of juice from sliding off her open hands. Her nerves were on fire and she knew if she even attempted to open the drink and take a sip, she would probably end up spilling it all over her new skirt. Or, even worse, on the adorable boy beside her.
She knew she should consider herself lucky. On the train to Seishoun Gakuen, a male around her age had bravely rescued her from a set of high schoolers. Then, he had bore his brilliant gold eyes into her own and questioned her about directions. If that wasn't enough, they met again after she stupidly made him late for a match and sat together drinking Ponta which he paid for because she once again, made the dumb mistake of not bringing any extra change
Really, she was pretty lucky. After all, the boy – Ryoma Echizen – was still sitting next to her after his extraordinary game with Sasabe.
Sakuno fiddled with her unopened Ponta can. "Ano…you're really good at tennis."
"Compared to him, obviously." Ryoma pulled on his red sweater, zipping it up halfway. He tilted his head back and wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead, sunlight streaming like a halo on his face.
Sakuno had to admire his confidence.
"…are- are you going to join the tennis team here?"
Ryoma closed his eyes. "Saa…"
Sakuno bit her lip. The boy wasn't very easy to converse with. She wished Ryoma would ask something to her, or start a topic first, but he seemed perfectly content just sitting there. From the corner of her eyes, she could see her grandmother smiling at her knowingly as the older women scribbled something on a clipboard.
"Are you going to drink your Ponta?"
The slender girl jerked her head up in surprise. That was probably the first time the boy had spoken to her before she spoke to him first. He was staring at the can in her hand curiously, with a bit of longing in his eyes. Sakuno wanted to giggle. It seemed Ryoma Echizen really enjoyed this drink. After all, she had watched him down the entire first can in less than five seconds.
"Do you want it?" she asked shyly.
Ryoma nodded. "If you don't mind."
When Sakuno smiled in response, Ryoma reached his hand out and carefully wrapped it around the purple fizzy drink. The girl's heart froze as she slowly let go, fingers brushing as he removed the juice from her grasp. Heat rose to her cheeks and she placed her hands in her lap, biting her lip, doing everything she could from looking undoubtly awkward.
Ryoma didn't seem to care. He didn't seem to even have noticed their touching. They're first touch – Sakuno thought excitedly. Well, actually, that was a lie. He had sort of shoved her away when she came running onto the court because of his injur-
Sakuno gasped. How could she have forgotten?
Her eyes darted towards Ryoma face where a faint amount of blood still trickled from his forehead. She clapped a hand to her mouth – oh, how could she be such a horrible person and ignore his pain like that? She saw him look towards the distance, wince, before opening her- well, no his – can of Ponta.
"Does your…" Sakuno swallowed thickly. "Does it hurt?"
Ryoma shrugged. "Not at all."
She saw him wince again, and came to the deduction that he was lying. It had to have hurt. There was blood. He had already winced twice. She even saw his hand clench tighter around his drink. Sakuno smiled softly to herself and bent over to rummage through her small knapsack. As she shuffled through, she found a small cloth.
Her eyes flashed to Ryoma's relaxed figure. "Ano…Ryoma-kun…" she gulped. "Face me for a second."
Ryoma raised an eyebrow in surprise, but nonetheless, turned around to look at her.
A delicate blush stained Sakuno's cheeks. "Stay still."
The girl felt Ryoma tense as she brought the cloth to the injury between his forehead and nose, gently dabbing away the blood. She saw his gold eyes widen slightly, and his body stiffen. Ah, so Ryoma-kun can feel uncomfortable after all… She wasn't exactly proud of being the one to make him uncomfortable, but she didn't want his injury to suffer.
She pressed the cloth against the blood and held it there for a moment.
"Um…" her free hand grasped the bottom of the bench tightly, almost to the point of her knuckles turning white. "Do you want ice?"
Ryoma stared at her. "Uh…sure…"
Sakuno carefully removed the cloth and sighed in relief when she noted most of the blood had disappeared. She jumped to her feet and quickly shuffled over to her grandmother. Being a safe distance from the boy, she felt herself let go of a breath she hadn't realize she'd been holding. It really was nerve-wracking being around Ryoma Echizen – but pleasant at the same time.
"Obaa-san… do you have some ice?"
Her grandmother smirked slightly. "For what, may I ask? Or shall I say, who?"
Sakuno's face burned. "Ryoma-kun's i-injury."
"I'm sure he can handle himself just fine, no?"
"But…but…I asked him if he wanted ice and he said yes." Sakuno's lower lip protruded in stubbornness. Without waiting for her grandmother's response, she rummaged through her the older woman's large duffle bag and pulled out a bag of ice from the cooler crammed inside. Mumbling an 'Arigatou', she quickly walked back to where Ryoma was waiting.
"Ano…here's the ice." She timidly held the bag out.
Ryoma took it from her in one swift motion and pressed it against his forehead. His shoulders relaxed from the cold feeling on his skin. "Thank you," he said in English, his Japanese accent thick. Sakuno felt shivers run up her body at the way he spoke American – only one word flitted through her mind. Sexy.
Sakuno buried her face in her palms. Oh, she was becoming corrupted. Since when did she look at boys and think sexy?
She realized he was still waiting for a response. Sakuno blushed, hiding behind her bangs. "You're welcome."
Ryoma smiled slightly and turned back to facing away from her, his head leaned up against the sunlight. The ice glistened and dripped over his face, enough to make him look like he was perspiring. For a moment, Sakuno was at a loss of words – and a loss of breathing, for that matter. She didn't know how such a brilliant boy existed. So perfect, so angelic, so beautiful; there really was no other like him.
But then she remembered the way he had tensed at her touch. And the way he had winced when his injury pained him. The way he had eyed her can of Ponta with craving and longing, an obsession with the drink, most likely - and Sakuno felt herself smile. Maybe he was a human, with dislikes and likes, with imperfections and flaws.
Ryoma tilted his head to look at her, gold eyes peering at her brown ones in awe, the cutest smirk on his lips.
Sakuno shuddered in delight.
Scratch that. Definitely not human.