Prince Involved: Ohtori Choutarou
Series: Prince of Tennis
"Choutarou-kun!" She called out, pulling back his gaze behind him. He could feel his heart smash against his left ribcage...hearing her cheerful voice. Thank Him for not allowing his sempai-tachi anywhere near him.
"Early as always? Bet Atobe-sama works every one of you on your feets again." Mayu blurted with a smile, finally catching up on him. "Though even with his prowess, he still fails to make my brother lapse from his sleeping habits." She added with a blush, knowing how the emperor makes some very special excemptions when it comes on Jirou.
Ohtori nods boyishly, throwing a sideglance to her. Akutagawa Mayu is the girl he had a long crush ever since he entered Hyotei Gakuen. A classmate and a close friend, Shishido would always make fun of him everytime his sempai caught him staring at the girl on the girls' tennis court. He would just feel embarrased about it especially when Gakuto and Oshitari finally and would always team up on teasing him. But on the other side, he is happy that there are people that acknowledge his affection for her. Even if it is for the sake of teasing and eventually to satisfy their entertainment...
"Not really Akutagawa-san. Atobe-san is only dedicated about our tennis."
"Maa! I told you many times to call me Mayu!" She frowned, her lips turning into a pout. He blushed beet red seeing her face leaning up to him, her eternal blue eyes looking up, sparkling like the ocean. And at her height of 160 centimeters, he finds it cute whenever she tries her best to look up to him even though he is 25 centimeters taller than her.
"B-but it would be a disrespect since you are Jirou-senpai's only sister." He stuttered while trying to reason out. "See? You call my brother on his first name, why can't I be called like that? So drop the formalities. You are making me feel older Ohtori-san." She countered in an annoyed tone, brashingly flipping her hair away from her face.
He knew that tone. And whenever she starts to call him Ohtori-san, it means she is extremely displeased. Displeased because he can call other girls on their given names when they request him to do so, but why when it comes to her, he finds it so difficult to do that. Its like Ma-yu is so hard to pronounce since it only comes on two syllables.
"Ow come on Akutagawa-imouto, don't you think you're being too harsh on my partner?" Shishido's voice rang from behind them, startling both of them on their spot. The senior placed a hand on her head and ruffled her hair gently. "Be gentle on him."
She let out a deep breath and gave Shishido a sad look. She didn't mean to do that but it frustrates her everytime her friend wouldn't want to call her in her first name, just like she does to him. Unknown to her, everyone in the team along with her sleepy brother, already knew about Ohtori's stammered situation whenever she makes a stop to the boys' tennis court just to say hi before running to her own club.
"Strangling him won't do you any good, so stop harrassing him." Shishido broke the deafening silence and slapped his partner's back.
After Shishido left, Ohtori felt awkward all throughout their classes with Mayu's sudden silence. She's not typically like this. Maybe by not calling her in her first name just like she always insists him to do, makes her to finally get angry at him.
"Are you angry?" Ohtori asked nervously while following her from the rooftop. No answer. She just keeps on walking ahead, with him trailing behind. Deep inside her, It makes her feels so sad everytime he calls her Akutagawa-san. Most especially when she could hear him call the others by just their first names without falter. They are no longer strangers to each other...why the too much respect? Is her name too hard to say?
"I'm sorry," he said hoping to get an answer from her. Mayu stopped on her track and faced him with the unfamiliar sad expression on her face. He blinked, seeing her again looking at him straight in to his eyes. His heart pounded hard, but this time, it is anxiety that makes him want to run away.
"Then prove to me you're truly sorry."
"Call me by my first name...not Akutagawa-san. No -san either on the end as if I am not that familiar to you Choutarou-kun." She challenged apathetically, her once sparkling eternal blue eyes shadowed.
Ohtori has no clue of what to do. He is tempted to do that, if only she knew. Even Jirou himself told him to drop the formalities, to stop Mayu from pouncing him instead of Ohtori. Shishido once asked why when he himself saw how the female Akutagawa resists to pounce his partner on one ocassion. And no matter how hard his sempai tried, he kept his own reason to his self.
"Then don't say sorry when you cannot prove it then," she spat in a cold voice, walking inside their classroom and takes her seat beside the window. He took his own seat infront of her and frowned. This time, he knew he really blew it. And throughout their afternoon class, she didn't bother to poke his back with her stencil just like what she always does when she's bored with their subject professor.
It has been a week since Mayu talked to him. It is affecting him, from academics down to his tennis practices. And with this rather unexpected circumastances, Atobe uses his sharp insight and is obviously not pleased with what he just discovered and what he is seeing. Ohtori's scud serves has been missing an enormous 10 centimeters from its usual angle of target. It is affecting him and his performance and so thus is everyone.
"Arn~ Ohtori! 20 laps for you," Atobe ordered across the court haughtily. He stood from his stance and didn't argue with Atobe. He placed his racket down and run out of the court. After witnessing the haughtiness from the emperor, Oshitari smirks seeing the amusing displeasure on Atobe's face.
"You're not helping," the blue-haired tensai remarked, secretly twitching Atobe and him very amused.
"He is spoiling everyone's mood. And who said I am helping?" Atobe replied sarcastically, flipping his hair with his free hand.
"I know you know his problem. Do you think by exhausting him will help him wander his mind off from that very cute girl?"
Atobe twitched even more obviously to Oshitari's expense but decided to return his focus on both Jirou and Gakuto on the court. Of course he does, everything that matters with the team affects him double.
And while Ohtori is busy running his laps, he caught a glimpse of Mayu taking a rest from a rally with her racket swinging idly on her side. He shook his head and continue running. There are so many things that holds him back.
Their friendship, his respect for her brother and her possible feelings for him...and her rejection.
He hates rejection.
Especially if it comes from a certain Akutagawa Mayu. The fierce but sought-after younger sister of their own sleepy Akutagawa Jirou.
He saw how she mercilessly reject others. You love me? Sorry, but you don't know who I am. Think twice before telling me such things. With that, she'll just simply bow and walk away. And everytime he meekly asks her why, she would just mutter "No reason" or whenever he asks her if she is inlove with someone she will simply say "Can't say". And it worries him that if ever he confessed, he might end up like those ahead of him. He finally let out a sigh and finishes his last round.
"Have a pity on the boy Mayu-chan. Won't you put his restless mind at peace?" Mayu glared restlessly at her grinning fukubuchou while swinging her racket lazily. Most of the girls make it a habit to tease her about Ohtori and his unexpected blushings whenever they are together. They also find it very amusing everytime she glares at them. As if she is giving them the pleasure of entertainment.
"I am not the criminal here, right?" She shot back with a huff, trying to ignore her senior.
Their fukubuchou leaned down on her and smiles. "That boy is obviously besotted to you Mayu-chan. Aren't you aware of it?"
That kind of smile reminds her of the beautiful Fuji Syusuke of Seigaku she once ended up as an accidental date. She shivers at the sight, knowing that when the fukubuchou smiles like that, it means "I-am-going-to-set-you-up-so-be-ready". She sighs and keeps on swinging. Yes, they're right. She is not aware of everything around her. So what? Ohtori is not even aware that he's hurting her everytime he refuse to call her on her first name and without any formality. Its not a big issue, really, but it hurts her still. The surprising anger within her bubbles everytime she hears him calling other girl's in their first name. She like to pounce him but...
"So? Are you or are you not?"
"Please, would you mind Sakuraze-fukubuchou? Its his own problem and not mine."
"Aw! Mayu-chan cold all of the sudden!" The senior singsongs in a very melodramatic tone. Mayu scowl and stole a gaze at the boys' court. Why am I like this? Why does it bother me greatly when he refuse to call me in my damn name?! Why am I getting jealous when he does that to others and not to me?! And why am I sad about it?! She asks herself with a the jealousy she always ignore. They had been friends eversince their first year in Hyotei Gakuen. Isn't that enough to consider her only one wish to him?
"Game and match, Akutagawa of Hyotei. Six games to love." The referee announced after Mayu aced her last service point. Her eyes wander around, obviously searching for something. Or someone to be specific.
So after exchanging bows with her defeated opponent, she returned herself on the bench and received a nod of approval from their buchou. She saw the boys after the game and yet she didn't bother to smile to anyone of them after taking a seat on the bench. Shishido noticed the sudden icy treatment and nudged an arm to his taller partner. Ohtori just stood silently, glancing sadly back at his sempai.
"You really rubbed it too much this time Choutarou." Shishido said, the impact slamming Ohtori real hard. The rest gave him a hard glare, especially Jirou.
"Oh, the boys are here. Its really surprising to see all of you here this early...so, had you lost the match already?" The female buchou, Seiyume interjected coldly on the scene, with Atobe staring at her sharing the same annoyance in his eyes. Everyone knew how sharp their quarrels are, whether it is in public or in private. And the consequences thereafter always has to be paid by the poor members everytime they ended in another unsettled argument.
"Arn, is that the ethical way to talk to your fellow schoolmates? Don't worry, we won the game 3-0...it haven't even reached singles two." Atobe replied with the air of confidence.
Sensing that another fight will occur, Mayu stood in the middle interrupting their impending childish bickerings to develop into something more. "Will you two act like fourteen years old Atobe-sama...Li-buchou? We are in the middle of a very buffled crowd and you two are acting like five years old kids. You are attracting attention you know that?"
The rest gazed at her direction with such surprise on their faces with both Seiyume and Atobe stunned. Seeing the possibilty that they'll berate her, which she is sure they will, she let out a sigh and walks ahead of them.
"Make me run a 100 laps tomorrow if you wish. Let's just go home, I am beat." Mayu replied after getting no answer after she let out those blunt words from here lips. Ohtori grimaced. Knowing her, she is not capable of humiliating other people in public. Especially not the king and queen of Hyotei of all people. But today, its like she's been too reckless on every words she would say. Jirou followed her ahead and placed a soothing arm around her shoulders.
"Why much tension sis?" Jirou said.
"Don't start Aniki. I am not in the mood." She warned tiredly, wanting to fly away. Away from the noisy world. Away from Ohtori...
"Do you think I don't know that? You had been spoiling our moods this whole week!"
"Geez, why is everyone's so involved in this?" She murmured haplessly, wishing silently that they'll stop butting in her life. Just for once.
Jirou smiles, tightening his arms around her slender shoulders. "Its because you are one of our princesses. Then you are my sister. We all love you, well even Atobe-san even though he doesn't admit it..."
"..I think I'm going to throw up Aniki..." She cut in with disgust.
He smiles and dismissed what she just said, "...whoever I love, the team loves in return. And most of all, Ohtori-kun loves you too. Very much imouto."
Twitch. She slaps his arm away and faced him with a snarl. Instead of annoying Jirou, it only made his grin wider. "Stop it Aniki. I am not in the mood for any joke. Its not funny."
Walking from behind, Ohtori hears every words Jirou said. Gakuto pokes him on the side, startling him greatly. He blushed once more, allowing an amused grin on the red head acrobat's face.
As everyone expressed their goodbyes to one another, Atobe ordered Ohtori to walk Mayu home. In her chagrin, Seiyume gave her full consent as well their fukubuchou...even her brother. She wish to object but Atobe gave her a reprimanding glare. Knowing that it is very unwise to argue with him, she forced herself to agree. As everybody disappear before her very eyes (which she suspects is all their fukubuchou's scheme), she turned around and didn't bother to raise her eyes up to look at Ohtori.
"Let's go, I had a long day...Ohtori-san." She said, her voice has a nary trace of weariness and iciness.
Before she could walk away from him, he gently grabbed her arm and closing the small distance between them. "I am sorry, Akutagawa-san."
"I told you already...don't say sorry if you don't have intentions of proving that you are indeed sorry."
Mayu shove his hand off from her and gazed up to meet his soft eyes. "Is my name so hard to say, ne Choutarou-kun?"
"Then why is it so hard for you to even say my damn name without those stupid formalities?!" Her soft voice rosed, quivering from strained sadness. He blinked. Then squinted at her, reeling away from shock.
"...I have my own reasons, Akutagawa-san..."
"Choutarou-kun, we are friends! Don't address me like I am a stranger to you!"
He tried reaching her but she pushed his arm away. Friends? Is all that I am to you?! A friend?! Didn't you know how much you mean to me...Mayu?! He closed his eyes for a moment and paced around. He smoothes a hand on the back of his head, fighting the frustration building up.
"That's why I am not calling you in your first name! Because I am nothing but a friend to you!"
Prettily stunned, Mayu blinked to fight the swelling tears on her eyes. Ohtori turned his back to her.
"I like you Akutagawa-san...the reason why I refuse to call you by your first name...because I am afraid that you'll reject me if you find out that you are more than a friend to me...that I want us to be more than friends...I am afraid to let myself be familiar with your name then will have to change it back if ever you don't feel the same." He explained in a sad tone and faced her with a bittersmile on his face.
"I like you since the day I met you in Hyotei. But knowing you, you will not let yourself love someone who doesn't even know you, to say they love you...so even though I was tempted to call you in your name, I can't."
Since she doesn't have a proper clue of what to say, Mayu nervously and slowly walks ahead making Ohtori follow her with the same silence. And when they finally reached her home, she faced him...still unable to look into his eyes.
"Thank you for the walk Ohtori-san." She bowed quickly, hiding her tear stained eyes. "Sorry for making you feel that way..." Is all she could add, her voice small and almost a whisper. She opened the door of their house and didn't bothered to invite him inside. She then closed the door behind her and wept silently.
Ohtori felt so heavy inside. What did I do? Does being true to myself hurts you? Is my feeling a burden for you...Mayu?
"Mou, will you stop stealing my share Marui-senpai?" Mayu complains, trying to grab the plate of sweet she got from Yukimura. "Yukimura-senpai gave that to me!"
"Maa, then try getting it from me!" Marui exclaimed jauntily, running away from Mayu. She stood up on her seat and runs after the red headed tensai. Yukimura smiles, placing another extra piece on her plate. The rest broke into laughters, watching the pair chasing each other.
"Mayu-chan, that would be enough. Here, I saved another share for you." Yukimura called, stopping Mayu and Marui. Kirihara eyed the said slice but Nioh slaps the curly's hand away from it. "That's our little Mayu's share." Kirihara wishes to bite Nioh's hand off. Mayu placed a hand on his shoulder and smiles.
"You shouldn't had Yukimura-senpai, I could take that back."
"No its okay. Renji made nine slices on the cake...in case Bunta asks for another piece from anyone. Besides, Genichirou is not a fan of sweets."
Mayu giggles, taking the plate from Yukimura's extended hand. Her eyes suddenly saddens remembering a certain someone with the simple gesture from her senior. It has been two years since she decided to leave Hyotei. At first, Jirou was solidly against her decision. But being the stubborn Akutagawa she is and after pouncing him endlessly, he relented not too long and instead made her promise to let him pick her up every after school.
"Eat it up Mayu-chan. You're brother will be here in any moment now." Jackal reminds her, taking the tablet away from her hand. "Or else, Bunta will steal that and will leave you none."
"Hey! That's no way to talk about your partner Jackal," Marui intercepts, his mouth full from the cake. He turned to Mayu. "So, will you walk with Mifuyu-san?"
Mayu nods while scooping a piece on her mouth, sharing the piece with Kirihara. Yukimura Mifuyu is her doubles partner ever since she transferred to Rikkai. She never played singles ever since. Mifuyu is also the reason why she is in good terms with the boys' team...just like way back when she was still in Hyotei. She let out a sad smile and push the fork into the spongy texture of the cake. Nioh softly tagged her hair and quickly sat beside her.
"Is that mind of yours currently processing data of the the owner of the other half of that pendant?" His eyes rests on the silver cross that adorned her small neck. "That's a pretty thing. But it would be beautiful if it is with the other half." He finished, taking the suspended fork on her hand and snuffed the sliced portion into his mouth.
Mayu composed herself and snatched the fork back, "Your insights scares me Nioh-senpai. I don't know whether to be amused or to run away far from you." She replied in a jest, turning her face away from the trickster. Nioh let out a lopsided grin and propped his face on his folded arms.
Before Nioh could answer, the running figure of her brother interrupts them with his vigorous waving at their direction. "Puri. You're male version is here little Mayu. As much as I wish to walk you home myself, I can't. Buchou will kill me and besides..." He stood up and shuffled her hair, "...I have to visit Hyotei for a very interesting prospect."
"And knowing your prospect, she is one stubborn lady Nioh-senpai. Believe me, she is not that easy to persuade." She announced with a smirk, returning the gesture back to him. "Seiyume-buchou is as hard as a tortoise shell. Based from experience, even Atobe-sama twitches whenever they see each other around." She said with a smile, making Nioh even more determined to sought his prospect out.
Mayu ran away from him and welcomed her brother with a hug. Jirou embraced her back and didn't put her down. "You're early Aniki. Is Atobe-sama lenient today?"
"Well, yes. To the point he left first. So, ready to go?" Jirou put her down and tucked a hair away from her face. But her blue eyes widens in surprise to see something familiar behind her brother. She couldn't put what is familiar about what she's seeing. A tall boy is staring back at her...his eyes shadowed from the shade of the long strands of silver fanning loosely on his face...his framed eyeglass reflects a light that hides the only window to his soul. Jirou saw the expression on her face, realizing the source of her confusion. He smiles, almost forgetting that he tagged along someone.
"What's with the face?"
"He looks familiar, I just can't put what certain familiarity." Mayu points at the guy behind him, confused and trying to figure out who he is. Jirou sighed and turned his head back to the others, "We'll be heading now. Thanks for taking care of her."
The rest gave him a nod. He picked her bag from the table then pulled his sister away with his entourage walking not far behind. "You'll soon find out." He whispered on her ear, making her confusion double.
"Had we met somewhere?" Mayu asked instantly after Jirou left them to buy something to eat. Her eyes solidly fixed on his face, a very clear evidence of question painted on her face. He just smiled back at her and met her eyes. "Sorry, I think I'm scaring you." She smiled sheepishly, the very same gesture she always see on Ohtori before that she is doing unintentionally right now.
"No, its okay." He answered back, pulling his gaze away from her. "Say, why are you enrolled in Rikkai when your brother is in Hyotei?"
"Uhm, well a whim..." She replied quietly.
Mayu nods and moved the swing into motion. He just watched her from his spot, unabling to hide the smile and the blush on his face. "How about you? Are you also from Hyotei?"
"Yes and no," Mayu stopped the swing and faced him with a question obviously hanging at the edge of her lips. "A yes and a no?"
"Yes. A yes because I was a student of Hyotei before. A no because I left to pursue my violin career and studies in Germany." He let out a chuckle, remembering how his sempai-tachi always puts that it is not really his reasons why.
"Violin...you remind me of someone. He also plays the violin whenever he has no tennis practice." Mayu clutched the cross dangling on her neck, her lips smoothing a sad line on its corner. She would always watch Ohtori play his prized violin while practicing the new piece Sankaki-kantoku will give him. "He also knows how to play the piano but he would always give the consideration on the violin."
"So where he is now?"
"He left after he confessed...that idiot didn't even gave me the chance to defend myself." She said bitterly, brushing away the tears trickling down on her cheeks. "Sorry, I am not really this melodramatic. Its just I can't help myself everytime I remember him."
He took something off under his collar and unfastened the chain from his neck. He crouched on his knee and faced her with the most amused smile. He took the glass away from his eyes and brushed the long silver strands away from his face. "Shishido-san told me that absence makes the heart grow fonder."
Mayu raised her tear stained eyes, slowly gaping at the recognized figure before her. "So did you miss me?" His voice full of hope, his eyes on the cross pendant on her neck, clasping the other half on his possession with the half it is meant to be reunited.
"Choutarou? Is it really you?" Her voice squeaked, making her blush and lower her head to hide her embarrassment. But when she felt the warmth of his arms sorrounding her, she took the freedom of resting herself to him and pounce his chest with her closed fists. "You idiot! Why didn't you told me that you are going to leave for Germany the next day?! Why didn't you?!"
Ohtori embraced her much more tightly and bury his face on the base of her neck, "I am sorry...Mayu."
"You called me Mayu?" She suddenly stop from pouncing, hearing his strong heartbeat against her.
He pulled her away from him in an arm length and nods, "After what I found out from Jirou-senpai...do you think I would not call you on your first name?"
Jirou appeared in time with a couple of paperbags on his arms. He smiles seeing that his sister and his kohai are now starting in a more better terms. After being separated for two years. But seeing the deadly glare flashing out from Mayu's eyes, Jirou could tell that he has a lot of explaining to do.
The next day, Jirou woke up with a sore chest and a pair of soar arms. He quickly check his self on the mirror to see whether there are still some hair left on his head. He was already aware of what might happened but still, he didn't stop his self from telling Ohtori of what Mayu has been for all the years he has been away. But he feels good inside since he could see his sister happy once again. "What I couldn't understand is why she is so stucked with the first name basis?"
It has been raining so Ohtori and Mayu decided to spend the whole Saturday afternoon on his house. They took a seat on the wooden panel outside his Japanese crafted house and watched the raindrops falling on the ground. Mayu snuffed her face deeper into the layers of his shirt and curled herself more closer to him. In response, Ohtori pulled her more closer, ducking her head under his chin. She closed her eyes and enjoys the sound of the rain outside.
"You know I won't recognize you with that disguise right?" Mayu suddenly asked, not bothering to open her eyes. "But I admit, I didn't recognize you. I was so used looking at you with your hair short and without glasses."
Ohtori chuckled and kissed her hair. "I'm sorry, its just when I was in Germany, I didn't have the time to cut my hair short." He explained softly, brushing her hair. "As for the glasses, I have to wear them. I think I had abused my eyesight for staying up late and for studying too much."
Mayu looked up to him, taking the glass off and pulled his face down to her, kissing each eyes gently. "I hope this helps. I am sorry Choutarou..." He kissed her forehead and smiles. The rain suddenly fell so hard, making Mayu groan and snuff her face back on his shirt. "At least the rain is cooperating." He muttered above her, making her giggle. He leaned down on her left ear and whispered "I love you Mayu".
"Me too Choutarou...me too. And I miss you so much."
---I will be hosting Choutarou's image after he came back from Germany on myotaku.com after a week of posting this.
---and as for the certain "forum" here on the PoT section, bleeh--- please----i don't have to write to improve for you. whatever i write, if you don't like it then don't read it. i don't have to please you. if you don't have something, then get a life.