By: Bunny

Rated: T

Genre: Romance/Friendship

Summary: Sakuno had been ready to give it all away to make her aging grandmother happy until she found out who else was involved. Ryoma simply didn't take rejection well. Or maybe there was more to it than that. RyoSaku.

Disclaimer: The Prince of Tennis / Tenisu no Ōjisama is copyright Takeshi Konomi/Shueisha.

Oh and I MUST give a big shout out to Cookie, my beta reader, who began beta reading for me with this fanfic! I hope you all enjoy the improvements to having her help!

Chapter Nine

After breakfast at the Ryuzaki household, Sakuno declared her head was still bothering her and that she was going to rest up until she felt better. She made her way to the linen closet and yanked some of the spare blankets and pillows out before she headed into the family room, and proceeded to snuggle up under the kotatsu with her back against the sofa.

Ryoma followed after her, carried the blankets for her, and finally settled in next to her. As Sakuno turned on the television and began to flip through the channels looking for something to watch to pass the time, Ryoma drifted the back of his hand against her bare arm, "I like kotatsu."

Sakuno glanced at him from the side of her eyes distractedly as she continued to flip through the channels, "Me too." After all, the warmth radiating on her legs from the heater under the table did feel like a slice of heaven to her on the cold winter day.

As his hand reached the end of her short sleeve shirt he turned his hand over and grazed his fingers slowly back down the way his hand had first traveled up her arm. Sakuno paused on the movie channel and watched his fingers trace over her arm silently.

His touch felt like more than a slice of heaven. It felt way too good.

It should be illegal for something to feel that good.

She put the remote down and turned slightly to look at him, grateful that her head didn't pound in protest at her movement. She still didn't feel good, but at least her head had stopped punishing her constantly. Or maybe it was just that the pain was quite a bit duller, or she was getting used to it. She wasn't sure, and Ryoma had her too distracted with his touching for her to give her head injury much analytical attention.

Ryoma's eyes had been watching the movements of his hand, but as he felt her look at him, he shifted his eyes up to meet hers, "You feel nice."

Sakuno's eyes widened slightly, and she swallowed, but didn't comment.

"Soft," He added.

She unconsciously licked her lips as she remembered once again the slight brush his lips had placed against her own earlier that morning. His lips were soft...

Part of her wanted to climb onto his lap and drop her mouth onto his in a heated kiss until she felt the world melt away. The other part of her was screaming that he needed to stop touching her before she went insane with want. This was crazy! What was he doing to her? She'd always assumed that getting closer to Ryoma-kun would be amazing, but she'd had no idea.

She would never be the same after this, of that much, she was certain. Her body felt like it had come to life this past week, and she didn't know what to think of it, other than that it was the scariest and yet most wonderful thing and that it absolutely needed to wasn't real, it wasn't wasn't...

"Ryoma-kun," She whispered slightly breathlessly.

He moved a bit closer to her as he grunted in response.

She didn't know what to say so she sat there watching him as he watched himself touch her arm. The both of them seemingly equally mesmerized by his gentle motions. Finally his eyes met hers again and he said, "I like touching you."

She caught her breath at his words, unable to think let alone speak to his declaration.

He moved his face closer to hers again, and as she sat there frozen thinking he would kiss her and wanting to let him, he dodged below her chin at the last second and grazed his lips against her neck.

She let out a shaky breath at the contact. He was driving her insane!

As he muttered something into her neck that she missed, his cell phone started playing a familiar tune. With a curse, he pulled away from her and fished his phone out of his pocket.

"What do you want?" He answered into the phone.

His rude greeting was the figurative shock of cold water Sakuno needed to snap herself out of her wanton daze. She blinked, and then gaped at Ryoma wondering how under any circumstances it would be acceptable to answer a phone like that.

"Where are you?" Echizen Nanjiro asked his son through the phone.

"Ryuzaki's," Ryoma replied back, instantly bored.


"Sakuno hit her head last night, so I stayed to keep an eye on her. Didn't you get my message?"

"Oh. I see. Taking care of the wife, huh?"

"Something like that."

Nanjiro laughed, "She won't have you though. Sucks to be you, kid!"

Ryoma grimaced for a moment feeling as if his old man was rubbing salt on open wounds. With more confidence than he really had he said, "We're getting married."

"Ryoma-kun!" Sakuno scolded. She didn't know who he was talking to for sure, but she was guessing that it was his father. It was bad enough with Ryoma trying to get the miai to work without getting his family involved all over again.

Ryoma shot Sakuno a warning glare as Nanjiro said, "Wellllllll...that's good news."


"Ryoma-kun! Stop telling people that!" Sakuno insisted, ignoring his warning glare. At his lack of response, she reached over to take the phone from his hand, and Ryoma raised it out of her reach just in time.

As the two struggled over the phone Ryoma said loud enough for the speaker to pick up, "Gotta go Old Man," before he hit the power button, thus ending the call. Defeated, Sakuno stopped trying to grab for the phone. Ryoma pushed her back to where she'd been sitting, and slammed his phone down on the top surface of the kotatsu.

Sakuno leaned her elbow on the table and rested her whole face in the palm of her hand. In a frustrated tone she asked, "What are you doing, telling Uncle that?"

He gave her a satisfied grin that she didn't see since her face was buried in the palm of her hand, "After my birthday when we send in the registry for the family record, we should take a trip to the US. I want to buy a house in New York or Los Angeles."

Sakuno groaned as she dropped her head from her hand onto the top of the kotatsu. He was as stubborn as a mule.

Ryoma reached over and rubbed the back of her head, "Is your head still hurting?"


"Do you want some ice?"

She shook her head into the table.


She shook her head again.

"Do you want to lay down? Take a nap? Take a bath?"

Sakuno groaned again before she muttered something unintelligible into the tabletop. A second later she lifted her head up. With a huge sigh, she grabbed the remote control and began flipping through the channels again.

Ryoma wrapped his arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer to him, so that she was leaning against him. Sakuno didn't bother to try to stop him.

Honestly, as much as she didn't want to get hurt, she enjoyed touching him too much to resist the contact.

Finally, she stopped on a romantic comedy movie that was playing on one of the movie channels. Setting the remote back on top of the kotatsu, she indulged in cuddling into Ryoma's shoulder. Quickly enough, she was snoozing away against his side.

Ryoma watched the movie Sakuno had stopped on with rapt attention. It was as if the secrets of the universe were being revealed to him.

So this was how you get a girl to fall in love with you.

Got it.

As the movie credits rolled away on the television, Sakuno shifted in her sleep, leaning more of her weight into Ryoma. He moved slightly to accommodate her, his body facing hers slightly so she could rest against him more comfortably. He stared down at the top of her head, enjoying the moment for what it was.

He'd always been taking care of this girl, from the day they first met on the train when he was on his way to the Kakinokizaka Tennis Garden. The actions he'd done to protect her and care for her had always made him feel good, and he was a little surprised that he'd never realized before how much he liked her. After all, it wasn't like he did nice things for other girls.

Weren't girls supposed to be better at these things? How was it that Sakuno had missed the signs that he'd been giving her all these years that he liked her? Why didn't she ever say anything to him? Why didn't she believe him when he said he wanted to marry her?

Maybe she just really didn't like him? He felt his stomach drop at that thought, his chest constricting with pains he didn't even know existed. He took a deep breath, trying to get the pain in his chest to go away.

Ryuzaki Sumire entered the family room to see Ryoma staring hard down at the top of Sakuno's head as she leaned on the tennis prince, sleeping away. Were these two always this close?

"Hey," She greeted Ryoma softly.

Startled from his thoughts, Ryoma looked up to see Sakuno's grandmother looking down at him. She took a seat on the couch to the side of Sakuno, looking down on them.

"Hey Granny."

"How's Sakuno doing?"

"Getting better," Ryoma replied.

"That's good. How are you doing?"

Ryoma's eyes widened slightly in surprise. Did she mean...? There's no way...he turned his face away and looked back down at Sakuno, "Fine."

"Is something bothering you?" Sumire pushed anyway.

He looked up again, and Sumire instantly recognized the familiar look in his eyes that she'd seen in Sakuno's the past week. What was wrong with these dense children?

"You really like her, don't you?" She asked gently.

A nod.

"Is she still being stubborn about it?"

Ryoma looked up again, the surprise evident in his eyes, "What do you mean?"

"I mean, Ryoma...are the two of you together yet?"

He grimaced and shrugged.

"You don't know?" Sumire asked incredulously.

"All she does is say no to me, but..."

"She still walks with you?"


"She still holds your hand?"


"She still goes out with you?"


" what do you think that means?"

Another shrug, "I just want her to love me already so we can get married."

Sumire burst out laughing.

Ryoma's eyes widened with surprise as he placed his hands around Sakuno's ears so she wouldn't be woken up by the noise.

Calming somewhat, Sumire wiped a stray laugh tear from the corner of her eye as she asked, "You really don't think she loves you?"

Ryoma's heart started beating furiously with renewed hope. Just what exactly did Granny know? He must have been giving her quite the look because the next thing he knew, she'd outstretched her hand and flicked his forehead, "Hey-!"

"Her feelings for you run deeper than you think."

His heart leapt from his chest as he quickly looked away from Sakuno's grandmother, suddenly feeling overly embarrassed. He wished he had his hat with him, so he could pull the brim lower and hide his face from the older woman's all knowing eyes.

Her feelings for him ran...deep? What did that mean? Could it be as good as he was thinking it might be? Did this mean...?

"So you had better convince her to marry you soon. We already have another miai set up, you know."

Ryoma sent Sakuno's grandmother a scowl, "So tell them she's already engaged."

"Is she?" Sumire asked, her eyebrows raised with interest.

Ryoma gave a huff of irritation, "Kind-of."

"I thought she only said no?"

He looked away and glared at the wall before he gave a nod. He'd never been so tempted to lie before, but he knew well enough that as soon as Sakuno awoke she would deny it.

Sumire slapped her hands against her knees as she stood up from the couch, "Keep me updated, okay Ryoma? I'm cheering for you because I think you two are well suited and you'll be happy together."

His head whipped back in her direction. With an overly confident smirk he said, "I know."

Sumire shook her head at his sudden confidence before leaving the room. As she grabbed her keys to head out to run her shopping errands for the week, she hummed a little tune to herself and wondered what exactly Echizen Ryoma would do with the information she'd just shared with him.

Hopefully Sakuno would forgive her slight interference when she was happily married to the tennis prince. had always been glaringly obvious to everybody except for Ryoma that she'd been in love with him since they were first years in middle school.

Thank you to everybody that left a review on chapter 8: Spirals of Happiness, LollipopLawliet, nekonomiko, Cookie, ryosakuaddictioneternal, a, MoguriLea, Ryosaku90, Miyu Takada, ILuvAGdFanfic, Deathly Jester, SinfulEmerald, J Luc Pitard, Manga Bear, Saphire122, LeyCoo, ILoveSxS, RikuDai, asuna11 and prilly55.

Spirals of Happiness - Thank you. Yes, I will continue, please keep reading. :D

LollipopLawliet - Yeah...Sakuno is clueless and a half and that's why I love her. :D

nekonomiko - I're right and I do have a sadistic side. o.o

Cookie - :3 oh good cookie-chan.

ryosakuaddictioneternal - Yay for mentioning the married with 3 kids and a cat line! :D Ryoma's perfect little family vision was funny to me. XD And the almost kiss kiss! :D YES! :D YAY KILIG :D

a - My fantastic works of literature. hehe. Flatterer. Wow sounds like you've been a busy college bee and that it's paying off. Keep up the hard work! It's great to hear that you're doing so well. Thank you for all the high and undeserved praises of my humble little writings. Take Care.

MoguriLea - I want them to kiss too!

Ryosaku90 - Telling him so plainly that she doesn't want to marry him because she loves him. Yeah, not really something I would see Sakuno doing. :/ Don't worry though, there's a happy ending.

Miyu Takada - Thank you so much. Yep, I'll keep on writing. RyoSaku forever...

ILuvAGdFanfic - I love how you said they are just so good at pulling heart strings. :D Love to hear that you're checking for updates so much. Sorry I'm so slow right now. I developed some really bad health problems so doing things like this are more taxing on me now than in the past.

Deathly Jester - Well, yep, she's trying to marry Sakuno off after all. Yes, I live in Cali. When will you be out here?

SinfulEmerald - I'm so happy you thought Sakuno's dreams were cute. :3 And yay for the almost kiss! Everything is a sign for him! lololol you're so right!

J Luc Pitard - Yes frustrated Ryoma is quite endearing isn't he. hehe

Manga Bear - You saw my post on tumblr? YAY! I didn't go anywhere. D: And no I won't ever leave a fic abandoned. They're all finished already by the time I start posting them. I just to finished edits and things before I post them up which can take more time than the first draft writing process. I ROFL when I read this "Now, if only Ryome would stop being so cryptic (aka speaking a plainly as possible)" :D

Saphire122 - It's so great to see how enthusiastic you are to see what's going to happen next. It gets me all fired up to write more. :D

LeyCoo - I'm so happy you're enjoying Ryoma. hehhe

ILoveSxS - I hope it's a good kind of frustration. XD

RikuDai - Hmmm I wonder when they'll start kissing. o.o

asuna11 - Yep Fuji is gonna have some interesting parts in this fic.

prilly55 - Just that she kind of told Ryoma that Sakuno likes him.

Just in case any of you missed it...the RyoSaku official canon manga date is now in English so make sure you check it out for all the squeals. Shin POT Manga chapter 128. A MUST read for all RyoSaku fans. Yes, they're canon and we all love it.

~ Bunny

P.S. I love you honey. hearts kisses xoxoxo