One Touch @syrinxsilenus
Chapter 5: Confusing Feelings

A/N: I'm so sorry for the long wait. My phone was broken and it took a month to fix. Anyways, thank you so much for all the follows, favorites, and reviews!

Thank you to all my beta readers!

to2llyuntraceable, o0CrimsonsDragon0o, Black angel in love

Enjoy this chapter!


One Touch

~Five~

Confusing Feelings

Ryoma cautiously entered his home, keeping a keen eye for any sign of his perverted father.

'That old man will definitely tease me to death if he sees me. Che. Stupid old man.'

He started tiptoeing towards the stairs – only for a muscular arm to wrap around his neck and a hand to roughly ruffle his hair.

A familiar irritating voice sang into Ryoma's ear, scratching Ryoma's cheek with his stubble. "Seishounen, you're back early. After spending a whole night with a girl, I've never been a prouder dad–"

Ryoma grimaced. "What are you saying? Let go!"

"–Gonna have to tell your mother how you've grown up. Unfortunately, you didn't get another round this morning, did'ja, you must have sucked!" Nanjiroh laughed hysterically.

"What the hell are you talking about!? I said, let go!" Ryoma shouted while wiggling in his father's hold.

"Ahh, after all these years. My dear Ryoma finally discovered the wonders of the opposite sex — AAAH!"

That did it. Nanjiroh clutched the foot that Ryoma stomped on and hopped in place like a rabbit while cursing. Ryoma dusted off his shirt and glared at his father just to childishly stick out his tongue and–

"Bleh! You suck, old man!" he said before he ran up the stairs.

"Oi! Ryoma! Ryoma! Come back here you brat!"

"NO!" Ryoma yelled without looking back and locked the door to his room once he was inside. Dropping his tennis bag on the floor, he plopped face first on his bed, startling the sleeping Karupin.

"Meowr," Karupin nudged him with his nose and Ryoma wrapped an arm around him.

"I'm confused, Karupin. Let me...sleep for a bit." He yawned before the long-awaited drowsiness clouded his senses.

'I can finally sleep.'

Comforted by Karupin's familiar warmth, Ryoma closed his eyes and tried his best to forget about a much more comforting warmth he was subjected to for the first time last night.

Before he knew it, he had buried his nose on Karupin's fur, unconsciously seeking the familiar smell of strawberry and vanilla.


Sakuno woke up feeling like she was born anew. She yawned and stretched her body, a smile of contentment gracing her lips.

"Hm, I feel good today… I wonder why," she muttered.

She started her Sunday routine: house chores.

As she vacuumed the floor, her grandmother came down the stairs, yawning.

"Good morning, Grandma! Did you have a nice sleep?" Sakuno chirped, beaming from ear to ear.

Sumire blinked at her, curious. "Good morning, Sakuno. You look really energetic today," she said, chuckling.

Sakuno scratched her head sheepishly. "I don't know, I just feel refreshed this morning."

Sumire hummed and looked at Sakuno with a teasing glint in her eyes. "Looks like Ryoma did a great job taking care of you last night."

Confused, Sakuno tilted her head to the side. "Eh? What do you mean Grandma?"

To Sakuno's bafflement, her grandmother started laughing. "Oh Sakuno, so you haven't fully awakened yet? Did you forget that Ryoma spent the night here taking care of you because of the storm?"

Sakuno took a moment to process that information. Then, as if a cord had been snapped, memories of last night rushed back to her in full force.

Ryoma embracing her, Ryoma comforting her, Ryoma sharing his inner fears with her…

She gasped, covering her mouth with her hands and promptly dropping the vacuum cleaner on the floor.

"I want to express myself more…I want to do better, but I still fail, and sometimes, I wonder...when will Grandma get sick of me, when will Tomo-chan find a b-better, more confident friend than me, when will the senpais stop talking to me, and w-when will...Ryoma-kun stops acknowledging my exis–tence."

"I...would never do that."

The oxygen in the house seemed to dissipate. Suddenly, her world began to spin, and then everything went black.


Sakuno came to an hour later. She tried her best to focus on all of her chores but she was extremely distracted. Especially since her grandmother hadn't stopped teasing her! She managed to burn their breakfast, break a plate, and slip in the bathroom.

"Mou…" she pouted as she sat on a chain at the dining table.

Her grandmother snickered at her as she settled herself across Sakuno.

"So Ryoma also did a number on you," Sumire laced her fingers in front of her and leaned forward, "tell me, what exactly happened?" Her grandmother grinned at her.

If possible, Sakuno felt as if her whole face blazed in flame. "G-Grandma! Ryoma-kun j-just comforted me, nothing more. H-He was just being kind...as usual," she said the last part in a small voice.

Sumire shook her head while smiling at her. "Sakuno dear, sometimes I wonder how you became this dense."

Sakuno looked down. "I...don't think there's more to Ryoma's action. H-He's always been kind, saving me all the time. I actually feel like a burden to him."

"Hmm...I understand, but make sure you aren't too blinded by Echizen Ryoma's 'purity'. After all, he's still a boy, and he's Nanjiroh's son," Sumire said as she sipped on her tea.

"R-Ryoma-kun will never see me as more than a friend. I-I'm too plain for him while Ryoma-kun is just...perfect in every way," Sakuno muttered. "I don't want to assume things and end up being hurt in the end."

Her grandmother patted her head. "Of course, but you know Sakuno, you're still hurting now while you're denying things right?"

Sakuno's head shot up. "G-Grandma..."

Sumire gave her a gentle smile. "You're my only granddaughter, I know you Sakuno. Don't worry, if that brat ever hurts you, I'll force-feed him a basket of tennis balls."

Sakuno snickered a little before she looked down her lap. "I just...how can I ever control my feelings for him, Grandma? It's been years…" she whispered as tears gathered at the corner of her eyes.

"You can never dictate your feelings; Ryoma's too, for the matter. However, as I said before, being patient can bear fruit. And you know, Sakuno. I can't help but think that if it was another girl in your place, Ryoma wouldn't comfort her the way he comforted you. I know that boy too." Sumire tapped Sakuno's cheek once before she went to the sofa to watch something on tv.

Sakuno remained there, contemplating her grandmother's words.

'I just can't imagine Ryoma-kun seeing me...that way. Mou...this is so confusing.' She sighed and rested her cheek on the table, staring at nothing in particular.

"This definitely wouldn't do…" she muttered as she abruptly stood up and ran up the stairs.

"Grandma, I'll be at the studio for a bit!" she yelled.

Sumire replied affirmatively and Sakuno immediately entered the last room on the second floor and exhaled as the familiar smell of her mother's dance studio entered her nose.

"She needs to do recreational activity to help with her trauma, does she have any hobby, skill, or specific sport she liked?" she remembered her psychologist stated.

She was only eight when the accident happened, and it cost her more than her parents' life. Whenever she felt anxious, scared, or simply distracted, music never failed to calm her.

Sakuno walked towards the speakers and played a random song. Instantly, Britney Spears "...Baby One More Time" blared through the speakers. For a Japanese person, this Western song was unusual to have in their playlist, but this wasn't exactly Sakuno's playlist, she belatedly realized.

"I forgot to replace mom's favorite cd," she mumbled.

For a moment she just stood there, remembering how her mom played tennis with her father with this song in the background. Before she knew it, her body was already moving through the choreography she remembered since she was five.

If tennis was Ryoma's spouse, then dancing was Sakuno's and tennis was secondary. Her body became alive, her muscles stretching with each flick of her arms, twist of her hips, feet moving in tandem with the beat.

This was her little secret. Not even Tomoka knew this side of her. Only her grandma and, before they died, her parents.

Ryuzaki Sakuno wasn't clumsy when dancing was involved, in fact, she could probably join the gymnastic club if she got over her shyness, but she had long since given up on that. But inside this soundproof studio, she was free from prying eyes. Here she could express herself.

'Just me, the music, and this studio. These are all I need…'

She remembered how her mom would laugh and smile at her as she beckoned Sakuno to dance with her.

The memory made her smile.

She let herself loose to the beat of the music, her worries, and fears, for a passing moment, forgotten.


'Vanilla and strawberry?'

Ryoma's eyes snapped open and Sakuno's face immediately greeted him. They were in the kitchen again, but this time she was too close for comfort. She smiled lazily at him, just the faintest tinge of redness in her cheeks. Her usually braided hair was let loose, cascading freely on her back, and she was wearing his Seigaku tennis uniform.

'What in the world–'

"You're just sitting there, are you nervous, Ryo-ma-kun?" she whispered, letting the syllables of his name hang between them. She nuzzled closer, removing whatever space had been between them.

"Huh?" he unintelligently replied.

Involuntarily, he scooted away, but his back was already trapped against the table's leg. Thunder crashed outside the kitchen window, but she didn't seem to even be aware of it.

"Ryoma-kun…" she murmured. No, there was something wrong with her voice. Since when did she sound like...like that!?

"W-What are you doing?" He tried to act nonchalant, he really did, but his voice shook along with the rapid beating in his chest.

His breath quickened as Sakuno leaned closer to him. Her face a few inches away from his.

"Sa-Ryuzaki!"

She only giggled as an answer. "You look adorable panicking like this, Ryoma-kun," she purred in his ear. Shivers crawled up his spine as her breath fanned his feverish skin.

"W-Wha–" He couldn't get the words out as Sakuno started tracing his cheek with her index finger.

"I've always wanted to be this close to you, Ryoma-kun, and now...you're finally mine." Her lips curled into a weird smile that made his breath hitch as his palms became clammy.

"Ryuzaki!" He yelled, he was unabashedly panicking now. He put his hands on her shoulder to try and push her away; he wasn't able to do so as she wagged a finger in his face.

"Uh-ah, none of that. You should know better what to call me…" She leaned forward, trapping his hands down the floor with her hands in the process as she nosed his neck. His eyes grew wide and his traitorous voice seemed to abandon him.

"Ryoma-kun…say it." She was on his jawline now, her lips ghosting over his skin. He felt like there wasn't enough oxygen anymore as he gasped for breath.

"S-Sakuno!" he called out.

Was that his voice? He honestly didn't care anymore. His whole body was trembling with too much desire. He didn't even realize that his hands were free and he had already grasped her waist with trembling fingers.

She leaned away from his neck to stare directly at his dazed eyes.

She smiled that weird smile again. "Good boy…" she whispered, her breath touching his lips. "Let me reward— BEEP BEEP BEEP,"

His alarm went off, and Ryoma was brutally kicked out of his mind, out of the fantasy, and back to reality. He shot up from his bed, panting hard like he had just run a marathon.

"W-What the hell…was that?" he muttered as he tried to regulate his breathing and calm his rapidly beating heart.

Ryoma was sweating hard, more than he did during tennis practice. He put a hand on his forehead as his breath finally slowed. He sighed and was about to go to the bathroom to wash his face when an uncomfortable feeling came to him, making him wince.

He was aching.

'Down...there.'

Sure enough, a tent had formed in his pajama pants.

Cursing his stupid dreams, he flew out of his bed and into his bathroom to take a very cold shower.

"Damn it, damn it, damn it," he muttered, failing miserably to wipe Sakuno Ryuzaki from his mind.

This was bad. There was just no way he was lusting over his friend and Sakuno of all people!? He felt like he was going to hell at any moment now.

Ryoma slapped his face and cursed under his breath.

'Think of tennis! Think of tennis!'

And then he remembered their rally just a few days ago. How her twin pigtails danced along with her movements. How her slim body fit adorably in her tennis uniform, how long her legs looked when wearing her tennis skirt, and how cute her puffy red cheeks were when he teased her.

"Nononono!"

'I need ten cans of Ponta right about now!'

Wrong thoughts, because he suddenly remembered the times Sakuno gave him Ponta while smiling softly at him after a vigorous tennis practice or an extremely difficult match.

Ryoma frantically scrabbed a soap on his face.

"Gods, what's happening to me? Why do I have t-to dream of that about Sakuno?" He turned the shower handle to the coldest degree and doused himself with freezing water even as he yelped and violently shook from the cold.

"Think of those fishy-smelling panties that fangirl left in your locker!"

That, suffice to say, was enough to douse his flaming hormones. Ryoma sighed in relief.

That memory might haunt him for the rest of his life but that was better than that...that– he shook his head, pushing the images away.

Ryoma came out of the shower shivering and miserable. He managed to put on his school uniform despite his trembling hands and trudged into the kitchen.

Upon entering, his mood fell even lower.

"Yo! Seishounen, you look…" Nanjiroh paused from his greetings to gaze at Ryoma's extremely sour expression.

"Awful," he finished. "What happened? Didja have a nightmare?" Nanjiroh asked with a raised brow.

"Nightmare," Ryoma muttered, "It's worse than that." He sighed, sitting heavily on a chair and resting his chin on the dining table.

"Hmm…" Nanjiroh stroked his bearded chin while holding one of his dirty magazines in his other hand. Ryoma did his best to ignore his stupid old man.

'Let mom catch him red-handed this time,' Ryoma thought as he glared at the front cover of the magazine.

"Oi, I'll lend you the magazine but at least wait till you're alone!" Nanjiroh said with a raised eyebrow.

"As if I'll read that junk," Ryoma said, scoffing.

"Aren't you long overdue to be interested in this?" Nanjiroh said, beaming at him.

"That's not–"

"Nyenyenye, you're too noisy this morning, seishounen," Nanjiroh said, smirking as he got back to reading his stupid magazine.

Ryoma glared at him. "I'll tell mom where you keep your secret stash."

Nanjiroh gasped dramatically, hugging his magazine protectively. "You wouldn't! Just because you don't know the wonders of sexy girls and the hidden art of seduction you threaten my precious magazines!"

The art of seduction...

The way Sakuno sensually said his name in his dream and how daring she was as she nuzzled his neck and jaw. Ryoma's whole face burned and Nanjiroh blinked in surprise at his reaction.

"Oho! What's this? A blushing Ryoma!?" Nanjiroh dramatically exclaimed, pointing a finger at Ryoma's face.

"W-Who the hell is blushing! Stop spouting nonsense, you stupid old man!" Ryoma defensively yelled.

"Unbelievable. Did my son finally discover the opposite sex? Who is it, hmm?" Nanjiroh prodded, grinning widely.

"Shut up! I didn't!" However, Ryoma's face seemed to increase in temperature.

"Your face tells me otherwise!" Nanjiroh laughed. "Could it be, the old hag's granddaughter? Ooh, I know you like that girl, doncha? I knew it!"

Violently twitching, Ryoma couldn't seem to form any scathing remark.

"Sooo...how is she, too cutesy? Or...a hidden tiger?" Nanjiroh waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"I've always wanted to be this close to you, Ryoma-kun, and now...you're finally mine." Her suggestive voice echoed in his mind over and over again. Something seemed to snap in Ryoma's head right then and there and he lunged for his father.

"You perverted old man!" he roared as he started kicking, biting, and pulling his father's hair without mercy. All the while ignoring Nanjiroh's painful screeches, and futile attempt to remove Ryoma from his person.

That was how Rinko found them when she returned back to the kitchen.

"Ryoma, dear, what are you two doing so early in the morning?"

Ryoma and Nanjiroh paused in their childish squabbles as if muted by a remote.

Slowly, they simultaneously turned towards the terrifying sight of Echizen Rinko with a threatening wooden spoon in hand, and suddenly father and son had an unspoken truce.

Ryoma heard his mother sigh and he discreetly sat down on the chair again, acting nonchalant as his mother eyed him and his father while placing the breakfast on the table. When Ryoma's eyes landed on the food, he stifled a groan.

"Western food again?" he mumbled, feeling awfully dejected.

"If I hear any complaints, you will be eating Western food for the rest of your life, Ryoma," Rinko threatened.

Gulping nervously, Ryoma started eating his food fast without complaint, not wanting to be scolded so early in the morning.

"Hear this Rinko," Nanjiroh suddenly called out while sending Ryoma a teasing look. "Our little Ryoma is all grown up."

Ryoma's eye twitched.

"Oh?" Rinko raised an eyebrow.

"He's starting to notice girls now!" Nanjiroh snickered.

"Oh really?" Rinko answered his father skeptically.

"As if," Ryoma muttered.

"For real! And guess what, you know the girl," Nanjiroh singsong.

Ryoma clenched his jaw and stepped on his father's foot, hard.

"GAH!" Nanjiroh suddenly jumped, nursing his aching foot. He glared at Ryoma.

"Ohh, is that Sakuno-chan then?" Rinko suddenly interjected.

Ryoma choked on his food and started coughing violently.

Nanjiroh threw back his head and laughed. "Even your mom noticed it!"

"Mom! You too!" Ryoma shouted indignantly after he recovered, gripping the glass of water that he chugged to help swallow the contents stuck in his throat.

"Well, it's obvious. She's the only girl you interact with, Ryoma," Rinko offhandedly said, sipping on her cup of coffee.

"I don't like Sa–Ryuzaki!" Ryoma cursed himself internally at his slip.

"Oho, what's this, already calling her by her first name?" Nanjiroh said, clearly astonished.

"Ara…" Rinko muttered, looking astonished.

Ryoma felt his ears burn as he clenched his fist. "She's just a friend."

"Whatever you say, dear," his mother replied with a knowing smile while his father snickered in the background. "But you know, feelings can start in between friends too. That's actually one of the basic stages towards romance."

Ryoma gaped at his mom. 'Did mom just imply that I...with Ryuzaki?'

"Mm...your mom and I started with just simple teasings y'know," Nanjiroh retorted.

Rinko scoffed. "You groping me was simple teasing, really?"

Ryoma blanched. He didn't need that much information. 'Gee, thanks, mom.'

Nanjiroh chortled. "Ah, the good old days. But hey, I had your back when you needed it didn't I?"

Rinko chuckled. "Unfortunately you did," her eyes went back to Ryoma, "if you want to protect and do something for someone so strongly, isn't that a sign of your true feelings? The line between friendship and love is thin, Ryoma. You won't normally realize it until you're in too deep already," Rinko said. Her smile was gentle but her eyes told Ryoma that she knew something he didn't.

"Mom...I don't get why you're telling me this. Half the time we hang out, we just study together. If anything, I'm just returning a favor," Ryoma said, frowning.

"Is that really what you think? Do you feel obligated to be nice to her?" His mom prodded.

His frown immediately disappeared. "Well, no–"

"Then you genuinely want her company, right?"

Ryoma didn't speak, he only opened and closed his mouth like a fish.

"And Sakuno has banging tits, right?" said Nanjiroh, unhelpfully.

Instinctually, Ryoma's foot flew up to kick his father off his chair and his mom stood up and hit him with a rolled-up newspaper on the head.

Nanjiroh yelped. "What the hell! Why'd you joined in Rinko? Ryoma is so wound up over his girlfriend, I was just trying to loosen him up."

Rinko only stared back at him disapprovingly. "Your perverted 'joke' didn't help a thing. Dating is difficult, especially when you don't know if there are mutual feelings. Ryoma doesn't need to rush things."

Nanjiroh sighed. "Please, our boy could puke on her and she'd date him. If he'd stop taking himself so seriously, they'd be together already."

"This is stupid! I'm going now." Ryoma immediately hightailed out of the house, ignoring his mom's calls.

"Che. Stupid old man, stupid mom. I don't like her at all," Ryoma grumbled.

'Then why did you dream about her like that?' A voice seemed to murmur in his ear.

He violently shook his head. He didn't want to think about that!

As Ryoma was nearing the intersection, he saw a very peculiar sight.

Coming to a standstill, he stared in a daze at Ryuzaki Sakuno leaning on the wall with her eyes cast aimlessly toward the sky. The dark bags under her eyes were preeminent as well as her messy-looking braids. For the first time since meeting the girl, Ryuzaki's appearance looked disorganized.

Frowning, Ryoma planted himself in front of her, but it seemed she hadn't even realized that he was already there.

Forgetting all the trouble the girl had caused him for two nights straight and his earlier frustration with his parents, Ryoma was engulfed by an uncharacteristic feeling of worry as he gazed at the girl.

"What happened to you?" he finally blurted out.

Looking utterly surprised, Sakuno jolted out of her daze and blinked at Ryoma as if seeing him for the first time.

"R-Ryoma-kun!" she exclaimed, "when did you get here?"

"Just now," Ryoma answered with a raised brow as he watched the girl fidgeted while frantically avoiding eye contact. For some reason, he did not like that.

"Oi, what's gotten into? Didn't you sleep at all last night?" he asked, clutching the strap of his tennis bag tighter.

Sakuno chuckled nervously, still not looking at him. "I-I studied all night long…" she muttered and Ryoma frowned. "And...I was d-distracted since yesterday so I'm...I encountered a series of...accidents at home," she finished.

"Series of accidents at home?" Ryoma repeated with his eyebrow high up his hairline.

Somehow, he knew that it was very plausible to happen if Ryuzaki Sakuno was the person involved.

'She's too clumsy that sometimes I wonder how she even managed to grow up without losing a limb.'

Ryoma observed her more for a few seconds while she looked down on her feet before he finally sighed and grabbed the bento she was clutching for dear life. She yelped and Ryoma looked at her weirdly.

"This is mine, right?" he clarified.

Sakuno nodded frantically.

"Hn." With one final once over, Ryoma started walking towards the school while listening to whether Sakuno followed him or not.

After a period of hesitation, Ryoma finally heard the girl's timid footsteps behind him and his tense shoulder finally relaxed. He slowed down his steps until he was finally beside her.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

Her surprised jerk didn't escape his notice as she blinked at him.

"N-Nothing Ryoma-kun, I'm fine," she answered, forcing a smile.

Ryoma did not appreciate it.

"Why are you faking a smile?" he asked, gazing at her directly. His curious look turned into a scowl as she avoided his eyes once again.

"I-I'm not, Ryoma-kun," she replied, trying to discreetly put more distance between them.

That did it.

Ryoma grabbed her arm and forced her to face him, making her gasp. "R-Ryoma-kun! W-Wha-"

"You're avoiding me." It was not a question, it was a firm statement. "Why?" he demanded.

Sakuno bit her lower lip, still avoiding his eyes. Ryoma was tempted to grab her chin to jerk her face up and force her to directly look at him.

"Sakuno," Ryoma firmly called out.

She shot up her head in shock at hearing him call her first name and finally met his gaze. Her lips trembled as she whispered his name and Ryoma did his best to push away the images of his earlier dream to focus on the girl's irritating attitude.

"I-I'm…"

Ryoma never wavered from her gaze, his hand was still firm on her arm as he waited patiently for what she was going to say.

"I-I'm s-sorry, Ryoma-kun," she whispered. "I'm just...embarrassed," she said, her voice floating in the wind.

The crease on Ryoma's forehead increased tenfold. 'What?'

"What do you mean? Why are you embarrassed at me?" he patiently asked.

"I caused you a lot of trouble last Saturday night…" she barely said that if Ryoma's hearing wasn't sharp, he wouldn't have been able to catch it.

He sighed and flicked her forehead, finally releasing his hold on her arm.

"Ouch!" Sakuno yelped.

"Don't be stupid, you're overthinking," Ryoma grumbled.

"B-But I-I felt like a burden to you and...and-"

Rolling his eyes, Ryoma grabbed the girl's shoulders from the back and pushed her forward towards the school.

"Che, whatever. Just makeup to me and cook more of my favorite food for the rest of our high school life," he deadpanned.

"I-I will!" So abruptly, that Ryoma barely managed to halt in his steps, Sakuno turned around to beam at him.

"Thank you, Ryoma-kun!" She quickly bowed. "I'll definitely make it up to you," she said with a determined glint in her eyes that made Ryoma take a step back.

"R-Right," he cleared his throat. "Let's go." He adjusted the strap of his tennis bag again and hurriedly walked towards the direction of their school.

'Why did the school suddenly feel so far away?'

He was too busy worrying about Sakuno that he had forgotten all the trouble she caused him for two nights straight that when he finally remembered, he was in the middle of a rally with Kaido Kaoru during their early morning practice.

Least to say, Kaido only managed to win a single point from Ryoma and that was the exact moment the images returned to him with vengeance, yet the game was 6-0, with Kaido sprawled on the ground face down, panting more pathetically than Momoshiro the other day. Small craters littered around him with smokes coming out of them.

Ryoma watched with a bored expression as Momo and Kikumaru-senpai toed the twitching body of Kaido-senpai while Inui-senpai rapidly took notes, mumbling to himself.

Fuji-senpai and Tezuka-buchou were still busy in their own rally while the rest of the team chuttered among themselves and did their own things.

'Hm. Those methods are really effective. It immediately brought me back to my senses,' Ryoma thought as he sipped on his Ponta.

"Hn. Mada mada dane, senpai," he said, smirking as he walked out of the court and into the vending machine to buy another can of grape Ponta.


Ryoma yawned as he wrote his answer to the final question of their English test. He lazily glanced at Sakuno who was sitting three desks away from him since their teacher rearranged their seats for the exam. She was still answering her test but she seemed to be fine.

He looked back down to recheck his answers before he stood up and passed his test paper. He was the first one to finish the exam. Their teacher stared at Ryoma in surprise before he proceeded to check his test with bored eyes that turned wider and wider by the second. Ryoma smirked as he walked back to his desk to sleep.

'Looks like I'll be having another perfect score in English,' he thought before he dozed off to sleep.

Someone shook him awake, pulling him out from his wonderful dream of Tennis, Ponta, and Karupin.

"Ryoma-kun, Mr. Tokigawa is here. It's science time," a soft voice said to him.

Groggily, he opened an eye to glance up at the person's face only to be greeted by Sakuno's gentle amber eyes. Abruptly, the contents of his dream this morning bombarded him and he jerked away in surprise at the same time as Sakuno.

She blinked at him in bewilderment. "R-Ryoma-kun? What's wrong?"

He shook his head to get rid of the unwanted images.

"N-Nothing," he finally replied as he cleared his throat.

Sakuno stared at him for a few seconds before she turned back around to face the blackboard. Ryoma let out the breath that he hadn't realized he was holding.

"I'll assign a written report by pair, listen attentively as I call out you and your partner's name, one of you has to pick a slip of paper to know the topic of your report," Mr. Tokigawa said as soon as everyone settled.

Ryoma yawned, not bothering to cover his mouth as he blinked a few times to remove the sleep out of his system. He propped his elbow on his desk and rested his cheek on his hand as their science teacher called out his classmates' names. He almost flinched when he felt a sudden spike of pain in his wrist so he shifted with his other hand.

'Che, I should really pay attention to the rally earlier. Kaido-senpai got me good,' he thought as he flicked his wrist a bit.

"Echizen-kun and Ryuzaki-chan."

Ryoma lazily opened an eye as he looked at a red-faced Sakuno who craned her neck to look back at him since he was just sitting behind her. He couldn't help but wonder why she always looked so red around him.

'I'm too lazy to stand up,' he thought, wondering when she would get the message across.

"One of you has to come here to pick your topic," their teacher instructed as neither of them went in front.

Sakuno fumbled on her seat before she stood up. She glanced at him briefly and sighed exasperatedly when she realized that he didn't have any intention of standing up, then she proceeded forwards to pick their topic. Ryoma smirked and waited for her to return.

"Mou, Ryoma-kun. You're so lazy sometimes," she muttered as she sat down, handing him the piece of paper she picked.

Ryoma only raised an eyebrow at her before he read their topic. "Ecosystem Dynamics."

"Let's borrow a science book in the library later," Sakuno said.

"Alriiight," he answered while yawning.

"You don't get enough sleep?" Sakuno asked, brows creasing in concern.

Ryoma felt the tips of his ears burn and he immediately avoided her eyes. He didn't want to be reminded of why he hadn't gotten enough sleep.

He cleared his throat. "Ah, yeah. Look, Mr. Tokigawa is saying something," Ryoma pointed out to divert Sakuno's attention which thankfully worked.

"I'll give you a few minutes to talk about your topic with your partners before we start our lesson today," Mr. Tokigawa said before he sat down on his chair.

Ryoma and Sakuno blinked at each other for a few seconds before her cheeks reddened once again.

"Umm, maybe we should do it at your house this time, Ryoma-kun," she muttered, uncertain while looking expectantly at him. "I kind of...want to visit Karupin too, if that's alright with you?"

Ryoma scratched his cheek, trying his best to suppress the heat on his face. "I guess it's fine."

'Why am I suddenly feeling so awkward around Sa-Ryuzaki, damn it! Since when did she become Sakuno in my mind too?' He had a sudden urge to massage his forehead, but since the subject of his thoughts was right in front of him…

She nodded as she muttered something under her breath before she shifted her attention back to him. "Then when should we start?"

Ryoma opened his mouth to answer but he was interrupted.

"Oi, Echizen."

Both he and Sakuno turned their heads to look at Horio as he approached them.

"Hn?" Ryoma raised an eyebrow at his teammate.

"I ran into Momo-senpai earlier, and he told me that practice is canceled later because there's a meeting for all teachers and staff of Seigaku," Horio said, scratching his head.

Ryoma, to say the least, was utterly disappointed. He didn't like missing tennis practice and he hated it when practice was canceled because of these stupid meetings.

"What about Tezuka-buchou?" he asked.

"Tezuka-buchou has an important family matter to take care of. Momo-senpai didn't say anything specific though," Horio answered.

Ryoma crossed his arms, frowning a little. "Alright."

Horio shrugged before he returned back to his seat.

"Ryoma-kun?"

Ryoma glanced back at Sakuno. "We can start today then."

She blinked a couple of times before nodding. "O-Okay."

He shifted his eyes on the window outside, resting his chin on his hand.

"Umm, Ryoma-kun."

He looked back at her. "Hn?"

Ryoma watched as Sakuno fidgeted on her seat, a bad habit that the girl does every time she wanted to ask something from him.

"Umm, I just want to know if Karupin's doing fine," she said, looking down at her lap.

"Mm, he can walk properly now," he answered, eyes dropping as the wind blew softly from the window.

He winced when he felt another spike of pain in his wrist. It was not that bad, he could just ice it back at home and it would be better the next day, but still, it was a bit of a bother. He rubbed his wrist to alleviate the ache.

"Ryoma-kun, did you hurt your wrist?"

Momentarily stunned at the unexpected question, he looked back at Sakuno to see her frowning at his wrist. He immediately tried to hide it under his desk but she was unexpectedly fast enough to take a hold of his hand before he could hide it, surprising him yet again by her sudden act of boldness.

Her warm, gentle hand engulfed his.

"Its swelling," she murmured, looking at him with visible worried eyes. "You should get this treated now."

Ryoma immediately looked away. "It's nothing serious. I was just...a bit distracted during my rally with Kaido-senpai."

Sakuno didn't say anything more to him, instead, she stood up on her desk and–

"Sensei, may I please accompany Ryoma-kun to the clinic?"

He snapped his head back at her. "Oi, you don't–"

"He injured his wrist and is enduring the pain now." She didn't even let him finish his protest.

He was actually astounded by her sudden braveness. Their classmates were even staring at them in disbelief, probably wondering why Sakuno was acting as if they were closely acquainted.

'Che, I thought you said you don't want to attract attention?' The girl seemed to forget all the things she said before in lieu of treating his wrist injury. Ryoma could only gaze at her, speechless.

"Oh, is that it? Then please make sure his injury is taken care of, Ryuzaki-chan. The Tennis District tournament is near, we can't have our tennis prince injured," Mr. Tokigawa acquiesced.

Sakuno nodded. "Thank you, sensei." She bowed and proceeded to drag him out of the classroom with his good hand and into the clinic.

"You're such an idiot at times Ryoma-kun. You shouldn't neglect this even if it's just a mild injury," she gently scolded as they sat down on the clinic's sofa.

"Che." Ryoma looked away, scoffing.

"Here you go, Ryuzaki-chan. Just apply pressure on the swelling, and carefully wrap it later," the nurse instructed as she handed Sakuno the ice pack.

"Thank you, Yuri-san," Sakuno said, bowing a little.

"I'm sorry I have to leave you now, there's an urgent call from the principal's office now and I have to go," the nurse muttered.

"It's alright, Yuri-san. We'll be fine." He and Sakuno bowed once again as the nurse left the clinic.

"I'll do it," Ryoma said as he tried to grab the ice pack from her but she moved it away.

Sakuno sighed as she gently held his injured hand. "Don't be stubborn now, Ryoma-kun."

'Who's being stubborn here!?'

Before he could protest once again, the cold ice was already placed on his slightly swollen wrist and he yelped in surprise.

"Sakuno!" he exclaimed with his eyes gazing widely at her.

"You should take care of yourself, Ryoma-kun. This can get worse if you waited until later," she muttered, gently pressing the cold compress on his wrist.

Ryoma could only stare at her as she focused on his wrist. He could see the genuine worry in her eyes and...the care as she did her best to be gentle with her actions even though she was scolding him earlier. He could feel the burning sensation in his ears starting to occur again and he tried his best to suppress it.

"You know our classmates were all there looking at you earlier right? I thought you don't want to be seen near me to avoid rumors," Ryoma said, trying his best to be casual.

"Hmm...I guess. I'll deal with it then, it's my fault anyway," she replied. She didn't sound worried at all and she didn't even look up from what she was doing.

"Is it still hurting?" she asked, voice laced with concern as she finally looked up at him.

Their eyes met, and for a second, his breath caught in his throat as he saw the genuine emotion reflected in her amber eyes. This girl...she was being too careless, openly showing such emotion in her eyes. It made him feel...

"Ryoma-kun?"

"Aa?" he absentmindedly answered.

"Why are you looking at me like that? Is something on my face?" she asked, looking curiously at him.

Immediately, Ryoma snapped out of his trance and he looked away. "Nothing, it's nothing."

"You're being weird," she said, raising an eyebrow.

Ryoma was close to pouting as he narrowed his eyes back at her. "Che, you're the weird one here."

Sakuno only tilted her head cutely to the side, looking clueless. He wanted to slap a hand on his face.

"Nevermind," he grumbled.

Sakuno shrugged and returned her attention back to his wrist and Ryoma sighed exasperatedly at her innocence.

'Whatever should I do with...this?'


Ryoma couldn't comprehend how they ended up in this compromising position. He couldn't seem to remember how it started. Everything became so hazy in his mind that he couldn't even justify the actions he made.

One moment they were silently doing their report and the next thing he knew, Sakuno's weight was on him and they were lying on his bed, with her on top of him and her lips brushing against his.

Ryoma's mind became blank, only the frenzied meeting and touching of their lips and fingers grasping each other for dear life seemed to matter.

How the hell did they end up in this situation again?

To be Continued...


Omake:

"We have a month of preparation for the district tournament. Next week, the ranking match will start," Tezuka-buchou said, standing in front of them with his arms crossed.

It was supposed to be their lunchtime, but their captain called for an abrupt meeting before he went to their family reunion. All the regulars were crowded inside the locker room, listening for Tezuka's instruction.

Ryoma sat beside Momo-senpai, tossing a ball up and down with his unbandaged hand.

"Inui."

Inui-senpai immediately stepped forward as Tezuka-buchou addressed him, pushing his glasses up his nose.

"I already prepared a proper training regime for everyone according to their latest data," Inui-senpai said.

Tezuka-buchou nodded. "Then we'll see each other tomorrow. Be prepared, don't let your guard down everyone."

With that, the meeting was concluded. Ryoma sat on the bench, contemplating whether he should eat with his senpais or go to the rooftop to meet Sakuno.

His senpais were busy chatting with each other as they put their stuff inside their locker while he absentmindedly watched them. He was being silly, he knew. Earlier this morning, he felt uncomfortable when Sakuno was clearly avoiding him but now…

Ryoma sighed before he stood up, deciding to eat a quiet lunch on the rooftop. It was not entirely Sakuno's fault so he shouldn't avoid her. She was his friend after all.

He eyed Momo and Kaido-senpai who were once again in the middle of another nonsense argument. He winced. Ryoma would definitely choose Sakuno's quiet company over that any day.

"Echizen?"

Ryoma glanced at Fuji-senpai, catching the ball that he was tossing mid-air.

"Fuji-senpai?" Ryoma acknowledged.

"You're not coming with us?" Fuji-senpai asked.

The rest of the regulars aside from Oishi and Tezuka-buchou who were busy discussing something, stopped what they were doing to look curiously at Ryoma, obviously overhearing Fuji's question.

Thinking quickly, Ryoma faked a yawn. "I'm gonna sleep," he answered smoothly before he walked out of the locker room.

He checked his back a couple of times as he walked inside their school building, making sure that his senpais didn't follow him.

With his hands shoved inside his pocket, Ryoma pushed open the door to the rooftop and a gust of wind greeted him. He closed an eye as he put a hand on his forehead to remove his bangs out of his eyes while walking further inside.

Ryoma glanced around and stopped at the rare sight of Ryuzaki Sakuno leaning on the wall near the entrance, asleep.

He crouched in front of her, staring unabashedly as her bangs danced in tandem with the wind. She scrunched her nose in irritation as a hair tickled her. The corner of Ryoma's lips quirked as he stretched out a hand to swipe the bangs out of her face, pinning them behind her ears. Her face immediately relaxed, exhaling a soft breath.

'I guess she really studied all night long for her to sleep here,' he thought, as a proud feeling engulfed his chest. At least she really worked hard.

"Job well done…" he muttered, staring for a few more seconds before he sat beside her to eat the bento that she cooked for him. It was a bit hard since he was only using a single hand, but he could manage.

Ryoma was in the middle of chewing his second rice ball when a weight landed on his shoulder, making him pause. His body turned as still as stone, slowly turning his head to look down at the sleeping girl now leaning on him.

For a second, Ryoma was struck dumb as he realized how near their faces were. He could clearly see the natural blush adorning her cheeks and the slight opening of her pink lips as she breathed.

Ryoma gulped down what he was eating, not knowing what to do. He contemplated waking her, hovering a hand on her face to push her head away from his shoulder. However, seeing the relaxed expression on her face…

'Che, just this once…'

He sighed in resignation as he ended up arranging her head more comfortably on his shoulder instead, making her nuzzle him a bit as she released a sigh of contentment.

Ryoma stared at his unfinished bento for a few seconds before he continued eating, trying not to move much to avoid disturbing Sakuno.

As the time ticked by and Ryoma finished eating his bento. He leaned his head on the wall, staring at the clear blue sky while the soft caress of the wind continued to dance around them, surrounding his sense of smell with Sakuno's fragrance.

'Strawberry and vanilla suit her…' he dazedly thought as sleep slowly entered his system.

Ryoma rested his head on top of Sakuno as he inhaled more of her scent, and before long, he also fell asleep.


She was surrounded by cherry blossom trees. A gust of wind swept by, raining pink petals down on her like a bride. Sakuno sat down under the tree, enjoying the dancing petals when someone suddenly sat beside her.

Surprised, she jerked her head to the side just as a weight fell down her shoulder.

Blue-green hair greeted her sight as the soft strands of hair tickled her neck and jaw.

"R-Ryoma-kun?" she murmured in bewilderment.

Ryoma didn't stir, he just continued to lean on her as his breathing became even. The Sakura flowers morphed around them and oddly enough, she was enveloped with a warm sensation along with Ryoma's familiar scent of grapefruit and floral ozone. A rare fragrance when it comes to male scents but Ryoma's obvious addiction to grape Ponta probably contributed to that a lot.

For Sakuno, it was her most favorite smell. Unlike other men who tend to spray a lot of powerful perfume that could make people dizzy, Ryoma opted to use mildly scented perfume that smells fresh and relaxing to the nose.

She knew that she was dreaming because there was just no way that Ryoma would do something like this to her, however still, she couldn't help but wonder how his smell came to her even through her dreams.

"Sakuno…"

She looked at Ryoma but he was still asleep.

'Who called me?'

"Sakuno!"

Just then, the whole scenery changed and she was now standing inside their classroom with Ryoma holding out a paper towards her.

"Ryoma-kun? What's this?" she asked.

Ryoma just stared impassively at her as she took the paper from his hand.

"Che. If I knew that you'd just waste my time and effort, I would've just trained myself more instead of tutoring you," he coldly said before he left her standing alone in the classroom.

Her hands shook as she slowly looked down at the paper in her hand with a massive red-colored 'F' at the top. Lightning struck her and her whole body turned numb. Her surroundings turned dark as an ominous sound played in the background.

Sakuno felt her legs lose their strength and she knelt on the floor as tears gathered in her eyes.

'All my hard work, Ryoma's efforts had gone to waste...I-I'm nothing...but a failure.'

"No…" she murmured as tears cascaded down her cheeks.

"NOOO!"

Sakuno shot up from her sleep and unexpectedly knocked on something hard in the process.

"Argh!"

"Ah!" she yelped along with the person she accidentally bumped heads with.

Being abruptly kicked out from a very horrifying dream only to be greeted by tremendous pain was not something Sakuno was accustomed to upon waking up.

She held on to her aching head with an eye close as she looked at the person who was curled beside her, nursing his own aching head.

"R-Ryoma-kun!" she exclaimed in surprise as soon as she recognized him.

"T-That hurts!" He groaned. "What's gotten into you?" he hissed through gritted teeth, grimacing.

"I-I…" she couldn't form any coherent words as she realized why their heads hit each other.

'I was sleeping on Ryoma-kun's shoulder all this time!? And he was resting his head on top of mine! That's why his scent smelled so real!'

Her mind spun and she forgot about the pain in her head.

"Che. I was made a pillow and this is what I get as thanks? You just added a new injury to an already injured person, Sakuno," he muttered while still rubbing his head.

"I'm so sorry, R-Ryoma-kun!" she exclaimed in mortification as she bowed her head to him.

'So I'm the one who leaned on him! Hoeee, how embarrassing!'

"Geez...what's wrong with you?"

She looked up at him, feeling her whole face explode in red.

"I-I had...a-an awful d-dream." She clenched her eyes shut as she bunched her skirt in her hands. "I'm so sorry!"

Before Ryoma could reply back to her, the school bell rang. It was then that Sakuno noticed the sun near the West. Eyes widening in realization, she immediately checked her wristwatch as she realized that they missed the rest of their class.

"I-It's dismissal time! We missed the rest of the class!" she couldn't help but burst out as she abruptly stood up.

Ryoma groaned. "Why didn't the bell wake us up after lunch break?"

She fidgeted with her fingers. Somehow, she had an idea why they didn't wake up.

'We were probably too comfortable and deep in sleep to hear the bell.' She felt her whole face burn. She was probably resembling a tomato now.

"W-We should...go now," she muttered as she knelt down and grabbed her bento box along with Ryoma's.

Ryoma yawned and stretched his arms. "You got a really thick skull, Sakuno," he said, smirking at her before he stood up and walked out of the rooftop door.

"Mou...I said I'm sorry," she muttered as she followed behind him while her mind was in chaos.

'What are we doing? First that hug, then this!?'

Sakuno was seriously getting more and more confused by Ryoma's actions. She didn't understand him anymore.

'I thought he didn't like it when girls touched him? Then why me Ryoma-kun? I'm getting mixed signals, and yet, I don't want to get my hopes up...'

She stared at Ryoma's back, wanting to know the answer to her question, but at the same time...she was scared. Scared that Ryoma sees her as a burden or an obligation. Sakuno gazed down at her feet, tracing the distance between them as they walked.

'Ryoma-kun is...really far from my reach. I really should stop reading too much about his actions because they're nothing. He will never see me as more than a friend. I'm lucky enough to be in his company. I should be content.' She quietly sighed, smiling bitterly to herself.

When they arrived at their classroom, Tomo-chan greeted them with her arms crossed, standing beside the classroom's entrance and ready to scold her for skipping classes. When she saw Ryoma beside Sakuno, however, Tomoka's jaw dropped.

"R-Ryoma-sama!? Sakuno?" Tomo-chan exclaimed. Her eyes darted from Sakuno to Ryoma, mouth opening and shut like a fish out of the water.

"T-Tomo-chan! It's not what you think! I-I–"

"Ryuzaki was at the clinic and I fell asleep on the rooftop. We just happened to run on each other on the way here," Ryoma swiftly interrupted before she could further embarrass herself.

Sakuno mentally cheered in thanks for Ryoma's quick thinking.

"Ahh…" Tomo-chan said, nodding her head in understanding.

Ryoma went to grab his tennis bag as Tomoka gave Sakuno's and the three of them walked quietly out of the school building.

Before Tomoka parted from them though, she said something that almost made Sakuno's heart jump up to her throat.

"But you know, Ryoma-sama. The path towards the rooftop and the clinic are in the total opposite direction. It's strange, right? Since you guys came from the same location." Tomoka giggled.

Both Sakuno and Ryoma froze in their tracks and robotically looked at Tomoka who winked before waving them goodbye.

There was a pregnant pause as Sakuno and Ryoma stared at the place where Tomo-chan stood just a minute ago. A croaking bird flew past them along with a gust of wind and Sakuno felt all her blood rush to her face. For some reason, they couldn't look at each other's faces.

Then Ryoma cleared his throat. "Let's go."

She nodded and walked silently beside him until they arrived at Ryoma's house.

END OF OMAKE


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Summary: It was so ironic how the one person she never wanted to see again more than anyone in the world would end up being the only person she was stuck with for…oh, let's say 365 days.

TEASER:

"We're stuck," he said, voice gruff and sounding like he was stating some mathematical theory.

She didn't respond.

"In an island," he added a second later. Like that needed clarification.

She kept on staring at the ocean and the private plane that had landed…not-so-gracefully in it.

Why did she have to take that private plane, knowing he was the one flying it?

Oh, right. She was late for an appointment. There was no other choice.

"This is all your fault, Ryuzaki."

"Bite me," she snapped. Then she strode off with dignity. A few seconds later, she tripped on a seashell and fell face down on the sand.

It wasn't far off to say that she could feel his smirk from behind.

That ass.

*Teaser End*


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REVIEW TIME:

neko-alme: I also love reading Ryoma's POV. At first, I was only planning to showcase Sakuno's POV because I thought I wouldn't be able to do justice on Ryoma's character, but as I write, I ended up being much more comfortable writing his POV than Sakuno's. I'm glad you like chapter 4.

crimsonwolf94: Thank you for reviewing and I'm happy you're liking this so far. I hope to read more of your thoughts in the future!

Guest (1): Thank you! Unfortunately, I won't be publishing that anytime soon yet. It will probably come out after I finished One Touch though. (Since there are two 'Guest' who reviewed, I'm putting a number on the first Guest who reviewed first.)

aru29: I'm happy you did! I hope to see you in the future chapters too.

xorku. bork: Thank you for reviewing! I'm glad you like the story and also, I'm a die-hard RyoSaku fan, although I just discovered them recently. It's unfortunate that there are not many RyoSaku fics in the POT fandom, so I'm happy that I decided to write one. I hope to hear from you in the future too, there are more Ryosaku fics to come from me.

Thime22: Thank you! I hope to see you in the future chaps too.

barelyhanging22: Hi, I'm glad you like it. I will definitely continue it, but not until I finished One Touch. I hope you continue to support my story.

animeflunky: Hello, thank you for your review. I'm happy you like my characterization of them. I'm honestly nervous at the start but now I think I got the hang of it. I hope this chapter is to your liking too, although they didn't avoid each other much. They're friends and Ryoma felt paranoid when Sakuno ignores him lmao, but that avoidance will happen in due time. Stay tuned!

katkatmarasigan01: Yes, here's the update. Hehe

Guest (2): Thanks for the support! I hope you like this chapter and let me hear your thoughts in the future too! (Since there are two 'Guest' who reviewed, I'm putting a number on the first Guest who reviewed first.)

Jeycee12: Thank you! I'm so glad you love them! Hope to see more of your thoughts in the future too!


Again, thank you for all your reviews and support guys!

SyrinxSilenus

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