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Echizen Ryoma 5+1

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1: Horio and girls

"Echizen, Echizen!" Horio tried his best to get his friends attention whilst keeping an eye on the most gorgeous girl he'd ever seen. Echizen however was not paying any notice to Horio, instead he was daydreaming about a new tennis move he was trying to come up with, something he could use to finally defeat his dad.

"Echizen!" Horio exclaimed, louder this time, which finally pulled Echizen out of his dazed state. He glanced over to where Horio was pointing and saw a girl with cropped blonde hair, striking silver eyes and a complementary physique to match her bubbly attitude. Looking back over to Horio, Echizen spotted the faraway look he had in his eyes and compared it to the look that people told him he got when he was thinking about all things tennis. He just didn't understand how anything but tennis got that reaction out of somebody.

He sighed and turned to look away, but Horio grabbed his arm and forced his attention on the girl in the courtyard. "Just look at her, she's perfect! Do you think she would like a guy like me with 2 years of tennis experience?"

"Yeah, sure..." Echizen responded noncommittally.

His lack of interest pulled Horio's attention back, away from the girl. "Don't you see it? She's really pretty, I’d love to date her."

"If you say so."

2: Kikumaru and Oishi

It was Valentine's Day, or as Echizen liked to rename it, the official worst day of the year. He just didn't get what all the fuss was about with the chocolates and stuffed animals and hearts. If anything, the only purpose of Valentine's Day is to spite those who didn't have a significant other. Talk about a significant annoyance.

Echizen got to school early, looking for some extra tennis practice to hopefully put him in better spirits after his cousins’ awful heart shaped Valentine's Day themed breakfast. What he wasn't expecting, however, was to accidentally walk in on Seigaku's Golden Pair exchanging gifts in the locker room.

Oishi was blushing a very deep shade of red as he nervously handed over a small box of homemade chocolates, definitely Kikumaru's favourite flavour, and a pink stuffed cat sporting a red collar around its neck with the inscription "forever" engraved on the back of the heart pendant. Kikumaru squealed in delight as he squished the stuffed cat playfully. He beamed at Oishi and gave him a quick peck on the cheek as a thank you.

Kikumaru rifled through his bag and pulled out a set of three decorative tennis balls along with a framed photo of the two of them to go with it. He handed the gifts to Oishi who looked at each ball in turn, the first had the kanji of his name 大石秀一郎 printed in the middle, the second had Kikumaru's name in kanji 菊丸英二, and the third had kanji reading Golden Pair ゴールデンペア and had a love heart surrounding the text. Oishi had a tear in his eyes as he looked at each in turn and then turned his gaze to the photo of the two of them on their first date to an amusement park.

The two embraced after swapping presents and pulled back slightly so they could gaze lovingly at each other before sharing several sweet kisses and whispered I love you's.

Echizen thought it was sweet, but he blanched at the idea of doing things that with anyone at all, even a friend. He shivered in disinterest and walked off, shoving his hands into his pockets as he went.

3: Tezuka and Atobe

In Echizen's opinion, the only benefit of your captain dating the captain of a rival tennis team was that practice games were extremely straightforward to organise. However, in Echizen's opinion, a severe drawback was when one of the aforementioned captains was playing and the other was not, this gave the one not playing ample opportunity to stare with desire filled eyes at the other. For example, today's situation of Tezuka basically undressing Atobe with his eyes as the Ice Emperor went toe to toe against Fuji.

Atobe was currently winning at 4 games to 3 and showed no chance of slowing down. The air was hot, and it reflected on the players. Atobe was sweating more than usual and had taken his shirt of a few points ago. However, Echizen suspected that that was more to do with Atobe knowing Tezuka was watching him than with the actual temperature. Tezuka was practically drooling as his eyes travelled up and down Atobe's semi naked form as he moved from one side of the court to the other.

Echizen nearly spat out his Ponta when he heard a very quiet - almost silent - breathless moan escape Tezuka's lips as Atobe winked straight at him after winning yet another point. Embarrassed both for Tezuka and by Tezuka, Echizen decided enough was enough and he left his current position and went over to watch another match between Inui and Oshitari.

Once practice was over, Echizen made his way over to the showers, intent on cleaning the sweat and the spilt can of Ponta off his body. Much to his dismay, it seemed he walked in on a very heated make out session between Atobe and Tezuka. Atobe was pushed directly against the wall of the shower by Tezuka with steamy water running down both of their bare bodies. The two were moaning heavily and groping each other wherever they could.

Horrified, Echizen turned around in a complete 180 and stormed out of the showers. He seriously desired only to scrub out the insides of his brain and maybe disinfect his eyes whilst he was at it. He absolutely never wanted to do anything like what he'd just seen with anyone, no matter what.

4: Sanada and Yukimura

Everyone knew that Sanada and Yukimura were inseparable, wherever one went, the other was sure to follow. Neither liked being separated and Yukimura's time in the hospital was notoriously difficult for the both of them, constant worry for the one you love will get to you eventually. They were best friends from the moment they met and falling in love was only natural.

Today was their anniversary, they'd officially been dating for an entire year even if it simultaneously felt like forever and yet no time passed at all as well. Both boys were currently attending the U-17 Training Camp and unfortunately weren't roomed together which led to Sanada coercing both Shiraishi and Fuji to vacate their room that they shared with Yukimura for the day. Today was luckily a free day so Yukimura and Sanada planned to spend the entirety of it together.

They were currently curled up together on Yukimura's bed just chatting as Sanada practised his calligraphy by lazily drawing the characters on Yukimura's arms with his fingers. This action brought a smile to Yukimura's face and caused him to bury himself further into Sanada's embrace.

Meanwhile, Echizen was currently looking for Fuji to give back a book he borrowed. He knocked and entered Fuji's room before getting a reply and screeched at the sight before him. Echizen really didn't understand romantic relationships so seeing the captain and vice-captain of Rikkaidai so casually cuddling was a shock.

He went to ran out of the room but Yukimura stopped him before he did. "Did you need something Echizen?" he asked calmly. Echizen mumbled about returning Fuji's book and Yukimura smiled, took it from his grasp and placed it on Fuji's bed. He waved at Echizen as a goodbye before sitting back down in Sanada's lap.

"I don't get it." he whispered.

"Hmm?"

"What's the point of a romantic relationship?"

Sanada pondered the question before answering with "We love each other and wanted to engage in this type of relationship, so we did. Now, go bother someone else."

Echizen was still slightly confused but shrugged and left before things got weirder.

5: Sakuno and Echizen

Today was the day! Ryuzaki Sakuno was going to confess to her crush Echizen Ryoma. The boy in question was well known at Seigaku as the Prince of Tennis but Sakuno like to think that unlike the rest of his fans, she saw him as more than a tennis prodigy. She saw a sarcastic, smart, funny boy who was full of surprises. From the day he inadvertently protected her on that fateful train ride, Sakuno had fallen for him.

Today was a sunny day, not too hot, but warm enough that Sakuno could comfortably walk to school in her school uniform and not overheat or freeze. The birds were chirping, and the wind was lazily blowing Sakuno's hair in every which way. She tried to tame it but alas, nothing was working. Sakuno sped up her pace, wanting to get to school early and confess before lessons began.

At the beginning of the day, Echizen had tennis practice as expected, he also went up to the roof for a nap after practice ended. That was where Sakuno was going to do it.

She patiently waited for Echizen, and when he finally opened the door to the rooftop, she could hardly contain her anticipation.

"Ryuzaki?" he asked, confused by her presence. He shook his head and went to lay down but Sakuno stopped him before he could.

"R-r-ryoma-kun" she shakily mumbled.

"Mmm?"

"I-i like you!" she shouted.

"I like you too?" he replied, perplexed at her sudden announcement. Echizen liked all his friends, he didn't necessarily express it verbally, but he did like them all.

His response, however, only annoyed Sakuno and she huffed "No, I like like you, as more than a friend!" Her signature two plaits doing their thing where they splayed out behind her as she protested.

"Oh..." Echizen responded. "Sorry, I don't like you that way."

Sakuno was half expecting that response but there was a part of her hoping that maybe he did feel something for her. Knowing he might not reciprocate her feelings didn't make the rejection hurt any less. Her eyes began to well up and her cheeks inflamed. She ran off back into the school building towards the bathroom for a good cry as Echizen watched her go.

He turned his head to the side in confusion, he really didn't get this whole like liking people business. He had tennis, his friends, Ponta and Karupin, what more could he want?

+1: Yukimura

Yukimura had been reflecting a lot on Echizen's reaction to his and Sanada's relationship. He'd also spoken to others about how Echizen responds to things like that. He had finally answered his question and set out to inform Echizen in the least obtuse way.

He printed off an information page and handed it to Tezuka to sneak into Echizen's bag at practice. The other captain read the title of the page and nodded at Yukimura before parting ways.

After practice when Echizen was heading out, he noticed the piece of paper in his bag. Intrigued, he pulled it out and read the quick note affixed to the top. "You're not as different as you think" it read, in purple ink and signed by the captain of Rikkaidai.

"Asexual - experiences little to no sexual attraction." and "Aromantic - little or no romantic attraction to others." Echizen smiled, finding comfort in the words and their meaning. He didn't feel the things other people did, but that was okay, there were other things that he did feel and felt strongly.

Echizen mentally thanked Yukimura before folding up the sheet of paper and placing it back in his bag.

More tennis it is then.