Title: The singing gathering
Written at: September 8, 2007
Summary: Inspired by the kantou buchou’s meeting in the end of 20.5. Basically a humorous story, the crazy idea of various buchou and fuku-buchou (including Shiraishi) gathering for a meeting due to Atobe’s sudden whim of wanting to record the song ‘valentine kiss’.
Word count: 6528
Note: I got this idea when I was reading Prince of tennis 20.5, which includes this end bit of almost all the buchou of the Kantou schools having a meeting and some how I just had the idea of ‘What if Shiraishi was there as well?” And somehow I just ended up writing conversations of what I think will be happening in this meeting. Then I realized that I want to transfer it into a story, so here it is. This is totally random, and some character are portrayed a bit over the top and the others will probably be a bit out of character since I don’t really have that a very good understanding of their character. Also, I am not really sure how everyone addresses everyone so I might have made some mistakes, then please forgive me. I tried…
Both the coach and fuku-buchou of Shitenhouji were waving at theiri buchou, who was glaring at them from the moving train that was heading to Tokyo. But Watanabe’s smile was genuine, unlike the strained smile of Kenya.
About a week ago, Shitenhouji’s tennis club received a very formal and elaborate letter from Atobe Keigo, announcing that he was going to host a gathering to help the reporters of Monthly tennis to compete their special edition that will cover the whole national. Somehow this involved making the buchou and fuku-buchou of all the participating school to record the song ‘Valentine kiss’, which would be released along with the magazine.
“…and as letting the entire population of Japan be awed by our voices is such a noble goal, ore-same expects all of you who receive this to attend…” Kenya finally gave up in frustration and disgust, “Gosh, he is the number one narcissist. Can I please put this in the shredder?”
“We have to go to another meeting any way.” Shiraishi said with a careless shrug, although the ticket to Tokyo by the Shinkasen was pretty tempting, since he went on ordinary trains before.
Every year, the largest sport equipment manufacturer in Osaka would gather all the sport teams of the city in order to make their annual speech and distribute prices to those who performed exceptionally well.
“But we have a fuku-buchou and a buchou!” Watanabe announced as he charged in the office, brandishing his copy of the letter. “One of you can go to this meeting in Tokyo, while the other can attend the Osaka meeting with me.”
“Kenya should go to the Tokyo one.” Shiraishi put in quickly. “We will probably be given some prices as we came third in the nationals. Since I am the buchou I should be there to accept it. Kenya can also visit his cousin at the same time.”
“So I have to go to that…that ridiculous recording of that stupid song just because I have relatives in Tokyo?” Kenya protested.
Watanabe spent some time pondering, which involved him scratching his chin before he suddenly pressed his hat down even more, the indication of him having made up his mind. “Well, Shiraishi, you are the buchou, so you know best. Kenya, this will be a good opportunity for you to learn how to please girls.”
“What has that got to do with anything…” Kenya’s protest trailed off as Shiraishi immediately began to arrange for the Tokyo trip, deeply relieved that he was not the one who had to go.
But when the train to Tokyo finally arrived, Watanabe suddenly said: “Shiraishi, I think it is much better to send you instead.” As he said this, he actually pushed Shiraishi onto the train, then quickly closed the door.
“Don’t forget that you are representing Shitenhouji!” Watanabe shouted out, waving very cheerfully until the train was well out of their sight. Then he turned to Kenya and picked up the boy’s luggage. “Well, it’s time for us to go back, we have to attend the Osaka meeting tonight.”
“Is this really alright?”
“Shiraishi will be fine, I know that he have his wallet and cell phone in his school bag.” Watanabe said easily. “I also put some extra money in his bag- just in case.”
“So you intended for him to go all along? Not that I am complaining at all.” Kenya quickly added.
Watanabe admits this with his typical grin, “Of course. Shiraishi will probably give more complaints then you if I told him that he is going no matter what, so I let him think that you are going in order to spare myself a worse headache.”
“But why do you want him to go? It is not as if that meeting really requires the buchou to go.”
“Because Shiraishi needs to have some happy memories that happened due to him being the buchou. I know that this singing gathering is a bit idiotic, but I am sure that it will be enjoyable once you get there.”
The answered shocked Kenya because he never expected their coach to be so perceptive, although it could also be interpreted the opposite way: none of the regulars ever noticed how difficult being the buchou was.
“Beside,” Watanabe added, “It can’t be worse then the meeting tonight. Shiraishi’s main job at the meeting last year was to keep me awake. With the exception of dinner and the time when we were presented with free stuff, the meeting was one of the most boring things I have ever participated in.”
At this Kenya suddenly wonder whether he should have insisted on going to Tokyo.
However, they both failed to remember that Shiraishi might face problems from another source.
“WHAT!” Ashita’s loud scream immediately forced him to quickly hold his cell phone some distance away from him.
He couldn’t exactly blame his girl friend for yelling at him as he was meant to be eating dinner with her before he goes to the Osaka meeting, and she told him that she would cook all the dinner since he was the guest.
“I am so sorry!” he whispered very softly as many of the passengers were now looking at him. “But Watanabe-sensei just shoved me on the train. I didn’t even have time to protest!”
“I can’t believe this.” He could hear her mutter something and it probably was not what he might wish to hear, as she seemed to have deliberately pressed her hand over the speaker.
“I know it is not your fault, Kuranosuke, but I am just still mad.” She finally said . “I was cooking as soon as I got home and I was really hoping…”
The two of them has reconciled, but what he had done was still a slight barrier- she was afraid that the same thing might happen again.
“Young love.” The matronly woman in front of him declared out dreamily to her husband when he finally hung up the phone after much assurance. “We were like that once.”
This was enough to make him consider whether he should go to one of the quiet carriages. But he should really be figuring out a way to make this up to Ashita, maybe a gift from Tokyo could pacify her?
If it was the train arriving in Tokyo fifteen minutes after schedule was not bad enough, he had great difficulty in navigating his way first out of the train station, then through the city. Unfortunately, Atobe presumed that they would easily find their way to the studio where the meeting was held, so he did not have much time.
Bad luck seemed to favour him- he decided, rather logically, that it would be quicker to ask someone instead of trying to work out the map himself. This made him end up going to the opposite direction.
In the end, he still had to decipher the map himself. Due to all this delay, he was forced to arrive ten minutes late. It was really bad for the representation of a school to be late, but surely the others might forgive him since he was a stranger to Tokyo.
Shiraishi was immediately greeted by Tachibana. The two boys from Kyushu have resumed correspondence after the national as they finally worked out every thing. It was natural that they would talk about their new team mates. From what he heard, Tachibana could respect Shiraishi without much difficulty- he regards the buchou of Shitenhouji’s decision of doing something he did not like in order for his team to benefit as very noble.
“Tachibana-kun.” Shiraishi said with a smile, he truly admires the buchou of Fudomine due to his sense of honour in the singles 2 match with Chitose. “I am sorry for being late but I was lost.”
“Well, you are not from Tokyo so I think that is pardonable.” Tachibana said understandingly. “I’ve been here for about a year now and I still have difficulty in finding my way sometimes.”
The other person, unfortunately, was not to be pacified so easily. Upon seeing the fuku-buchou of Rikkai, Shiraishi’s first reaction was wondering whether he should run for it, as Sanada was glaring at him.
“Well, Shiraishi-kun is here.” Tachibana began in what he hoped to be a rather tactful manner. “I am sure that he is eager to meet the others who are inside so…”
“Ten…minutes…late.” Sanada spelt out slowly, before he suddenly started to yell very loudly. “You should not be so slack, especially when you are the captain of Shitenhouji, who actually came third in the nationals for the past two years!”
“How has that got to do with anything?” Shiraishi immediately retorted back. He knew that he was in the wrong for being late, but this was surely way too extreme. Judging from Sanada’s tone, it sounded as if he turned up to the meeting a whole day late. Beside, it was not really as if being a good tennis player meant that he was good at directions too.
“That’s true.” Tachibana affirmed him when he pointed this out. “Sanada-kun, Shiraishi-kun lives in Osaka so we should pardon him for being a bit late.”
“As a buchou it is his duty to find out all the information about the city he needs to go a few days ahead and read the map over on the train in order to commit it to memory…” Sanada began.
“Well, I would have done that but my fuku-buchou was the one who was going, not me, I was meant to be attending another meeting.” Shiraishi quickly defended himself. “Kenya…Oshitari Kenya hase the map that I brought…”
“As the buchou you should have read the map with him and keep a copy with you in case he gets lost and requires your help.” Sanada interrupted him very sternly. “It is your duty…”
“I am sure that everyone is waiting for us.” Tachibana said as he quickly ushered Shiraishi inside.
“What is it with that guy? I mean, I’ve only seen him at the national and…” Shiraishi began, breathing a sigh of relief. “Actually, he wouldn’t be the guy who was talking about the drinking machine would he? Because there was this guy who was ranting about how slack the organizer was by not having enough water supplies.”
“Rikkai’s Sanada is always like that. Now that you mention it, I think I remember that incident too.” Tachibana agreed, “But Shiraishi-kun, their buchou is much worse then their fuku-buchou.”
“I can’t really imagine that.” Shiraishi said truthfully.
“It’s a different type of scariness, Shiraishi-kun. Yukimura wouldn’t give you a lecture about being late or anything but…” Tachibana didn’t need to finish his sentence as by this time they had walked into the meeting room, where they were immediately greeted by Yukimura, who was smiling at them with what could only be described as a dazzling smile.
The smile put Shiraishi on guard because Watanabe tended to smile like that whenever he had one of his strange plans.
“You must be Shiraishi Kuranosuke,” Yukimura said, offering his hand, “I remember you from the nationals last year, as well as this year.”
“Rikkai’s buchou, I’ve already met your fuku-buchou.” Shiraishi replied as he accepted the hand.
“Oh Genichirou can be so serious about the littlest thing, I should really stop him but he looks so funny whenever he gets so angry!” Rikkai’s buchou replied with an angelic smile, then asked “Did I say something strange?” in a tone of pure innocence when everyone began to edge away, particularly Shiraishi and Tachibana, who was standing the closest to him.
“Saeki-kun! This is Shiraishi Kuranosuke from Shitenhouji!” Tachibana quickly declared out at the sight of a person with a less deceptive expression.
The three boys began to chat rather amiably about who was participating.
“No one is coming from Higa Chuu, a very good thing.” Saeki stated.
“I’ve heard about their behaviour during their match and it is sickening.” Shiraishi said with a nod. “But it seems that I am the only one who is representing a school outside of Kantou.”
“Many others refuse to come, and I suppose I can’t exactly blame them.” Tachibana said understandingly, “This whole idea is quite bizarre.”
“But I think this is really good!” Sengoku announced loudly as he joined them, “It’s a great chance for us to be noticed by all the cute girls in the world!”
“Sengoku-kun.” Tachibana acknowledged with a nod.
“Sengoku Kyysumi, the buchou of Yamabuki?” Shiraishi asked.
“I am Sengoku but I am not the buchou.” Sengoku replied easily. “Wow, one of Kansai’s most famous player actually recognise me, lucky!“
“Wait a second, I always thought that you are the buchou of Yamabuki.” Saeki butted in. “If you are not… then who is it?”
“Who is Minami then?” Tachibana asked rather softly, just in case.
“Tacbibana-kun, you are the one who lives in Tokyo. How would we know if you don’t?” Saeki pointed out.
“Yamabuki’s uniform is quite distinguished so it shouldn’t be that hard…” Shiraishi began logically.
“I am Minami Kentarou!” the boy beside them protested. At his appearance the three other boys could only laugh rather embarrassedly, as he was basically standing right next to them.
“I am so sorry for not seeing you there.” Shiraishi began, extending his hand. “Anyway, I am Shiraishi Kuranosuke, the buchou of Osaka’s Shitenhouji.”
“I know who you are, I’ve heard of you.” Minami muttered rather bitterly as he accepted the offered hand, it was bad enough to not be recognised, but it was much worse when you actually knew the identity of that person.
Beside Minami, Sengoku gave a slight shake of his head, “I told you, Minami, you need to be more distinguished. See, not only does Kansai’s Shiraishi not recognise you, even people from Tokyo like Tachibana have no idea who you are. Of course, there’s the more important fact that girls will never notice you.”
“Well, people playing doubles tend to be less noticed then people who play singles, even though they are equally important.” Tachibana said, wanting to make up for his early words.
“But my own buchou played doubles with me when he was the buchou and everyone in Kansai knew who he was and there are people outside Kansai who recognised him too!” Shiraishi immediately protested, but he quickly stopped when he noticed that Minami seemed to be on the verge of slouching down in despair.
“Why don’t we go and stand beside the window?” Saeki suggested tactfully. “I want to see if Kentarou is coming. I hope that he will be here soon.”
“Sanada really scared that poor boy at the last meeting.” Tachibana said in sympathy.
“What did actually happen, Tachibana-kun? The only thing Kentarou seemed to remember about the meeting was how frightening Sanada was.”
As Tachibana explained what had happened, the two other boys nodded in empathy. Shiraishi could understand that perfectly as his first meeting with Sanada was rather similar. It was at the national before this year, and as the two teams faced each other, he kept on feeling that the guy with the cap was staring at him.
As he told this story to his companions, they both began to laugh softly, not out aloud due to the fear of being noticed by everyone else, especially Rikkai’s buchou.
“But I think he probably just look like that in general,” Saeki whispered, “I don’t think he was deliberately staring at you.
“He reminds me of that guy in Seigaku, the one that always wear a bandana.” Tachibana added.
Unlike Shiraishi, Rokkaku’s buchou was unable to dispel Sanada’s yelling as mere annoyance. Most of the buchou and fuku-buchou were very sympathetic towards him, especially when he starts to repetitively bow in apology with the promise of never being late in his entire life.
Although some were watching this with a bit of amusement.
“Are you alright, Kentarou?” Saeki immediately asked in great concern as his kohai entered, clearly very shaken.
“I…I am still alive.” Was Kentarou’s answer as he slouched down on one of the chairs. “I really didn’t mean to be so late…”
“Hey, the same thing happened to me!” Shiraishi said kindly. “So you are Aoi Kentarou. I am Shiraishi Kuranosuke from…”
“You are the one with the really pretty girl friend!” Aoi suddenly yelled out. “I heard from Saeki-senpai, who heard from Fuji-senpai, who heard from Momoshiro-senpai , who…”
“What is this? What is this? You have a girl friend?” Sengoku immediately butted in. “Is she really pretty?”
Shiraishi didn’t know whether he should be relieved that he was being remembered due to this instead of his perfect tennis. Maybe he should tell this to Ashita, as it might cheer her up. His father once told him that a female was vain no matter what she might say.
With the arrival of Aoi, almost everyone- with the exception of one has come. So Tezuka, who has been standing beside the window and observe all this finally spoke.
“Maybe we should start.”
“Yes, it is fifteen minutes pass the starting time.” The ever nervous mother of Seigaku began worriedly. ”Perhaps one of us should ask Sanada-san to enter.”
This would be a good idea if it wasn’t greeted with a long silence.
“Oh don’t bother about Genichirou,” Yukimura said easily, “He’ll enter whenever he wants to.”
“But we should really be starting the meeting!” Ooishi said, his voice even more worried. “According to the agenda we are meant to have some discussions before we…”
“Just how old is Sanada-kun anyway?” Sengoku’s louder voice drowned over Ooishi, “The way he stand outside like that make him look like one of those guards at department stores.”
“He looked like that at last year’s nationals too.” Shiraishi pointed out. “In fact, when I first saw him with my coach he was examining the vending machine, and we thought that he was…actually, never mind.” He managed to stop himself on time as Yukimura’s smile was a bit too dangerous.
“I wonder how old he is,” Watanabe had whispered to him. “Shiraishi, do you think it is possible that he might be younger then me?”
“I doubt it.” Shiraishi had murmured back in equal softness. “Sensei is only twenty six, right? He looks as if he is at least ten years older then you.”
“Shiraishi-kun, are you sure you don’t want to finish what you are saying?” Yukimura asked, his smile making Shiraishi glance behind him to see if there was room for him to back away, “Don’t worry, I wouldn’t tell anyone, especially Genichirou.”
Yeah right was Shiraishi’s initial reaction, somehow he could easily visualise the picture of Sanada chasing him with a katana due to Yukimura retelling him this most ‘accidentally and innocently’ .
“We should really start the meeting!” Ooishi began again, his voice almost on the edge of panicking.
“Ooishi-kun, don’t worry, Atobe is still not here, and since he is the one who arranged this we need to wait for him.” Tachibana said kindly.
Due to Kenya’s cousin, the whole Shitenhouji team has heard a lot of bizarre stories, although none of it has been confirmed as being true yet. This was surely the perfect time to find out.
“Are all these rumours about Hyotei true? About their hundreds of cheerleader and some one who always start the game by throwing his jacket into the air. And I also heard that if you lose a game you have to shave or cut your hair.”
Tachibana and Saeki were going to explain some of these stories when they were suddenly interrupted by the sound of Yukimura tapping on the window.
“Genichirou can be so stubborn.” He said with a slight smile. “I apologise for causing you guys any inconvenience.”
“Thank you, Yukimura-kun but I don’t think that would work.” Ooishi said gratefully, “I don’t think he can…”
With the exception of Yukimura, everyone was stunned when Sanada walked into the room. Even Tezuka was shocked, but being Tezuka, he easily masked his expression and only let out an “Ah” at this.
“Yukimura, I am sorry for troubling you.” Sanada said with a formal bow, but as he saw the rest of the buchou and fuku-buchou, he began another one of his infamous screams.
Yukimura was naturally doing the right thing, sitting by the table; Tezuka and Ooishi were still standing beside the window; Saeki, Kentarou, Tachibana and Shiraishi had formed their own circle in one of the corners, although they were at least sitting on chairs, not on the table as Sengoku was. Sengoku has remembered what Shiraishi said about his girl friend and was pestering Shiraishi to show him some sort of a photo by repeatedly knocking on the back of Shiraishi’s chair.
Of course, there was also poor Minami, who was practically ignored by everyone else even though he was actually standing right next to Sengoku.
“Why haven’t you guys started the meeting?” Sanada bellowed out, “That is too slack.”
Looking at the glass in Kentarou’s hand, Shiraishi could almost swear that the water in it was vibrating. This was absolutely amazing, not even Kintarou’s loudest “Poisoned hands” could achieve this.
“But Sanada-kun, you were standing outside.” Saeki pointed out calmly.
“I was making sure that those who are late will know! The meeting would have begun on time if Shiraishi-kun didn’t arrive ten minutes late.”
“For goodness sake, it was only ten minutes!” Shiraishi protested again, he was more then a bit annoyed at the fact that Sanada was referring to this as if everyone else has been waiting for him for a whole day. “And as I said before, I haven’t been to Tokyo many times and…oh, forget it!” he said in utter defeat when Sanada began another lecture on the importance of arriving on time.
“And Aoi-kun is even worse!” upon finally finishing with the first victim, he quickly moved on to the second one.
“I am so sorry, Sanada-san! I’ll never be late again in my entire life! I swear it!” the first year buchou of Rokkaku said as he stood up and began to bow repetitively at Sanada.
“Kentarou, don’t let this get to you this much.” Saeki whispered, pulling him to sit down again.
Despite being capable of having a deafening scream, Sanada was also in possession of a very good hearing.
“What do you mean by that? You shouldn’t encourage him to be late! He is the buchou and he…”
“Sanada-kun, we are not from Tokyo. I am not even from Kantou. The ticket Atobe–kun gave us did not give us much time to find our way.” Shiraishi said steadily, receiving a grateful look from Kentarou.
“I am not from Tokyo either! That is no excuse for being so slack.”
“Yes, that is true, but Kanagawa is quite close to Tokyo.” Shiraishi reminded him, “While both Chiba and Osaka are some distances away. Most of all, you are over reacting.”
“Genichiro, Shiraishi-kun is right. Why don’t we just all sit back and let the meeting start?” Yukimura said. Although his voice still seemed a bit soft, Shiraishi could tell that the tone was much firm. After all, this was how he spoke with Kintarou whenever he needed to get the younger boy to do, or not do, something.
But the difference between these two was a bit too vast…