Author’s Note: Sayonara means good bye, a more formal and permanent way of farewell, as opposed to ja ne, which means see you.

Once that she realized what she must do, she began to pack and at the same time she wished that she had more belongings to sort out, as her task was completed too quickly.
The last item to go into her small bag of possession was the elaborate kimono, she simply couldn’t resist the temptation of holding it up to admire it a last time before she put it in her bag. Now that she was in her old and plain kimono again- which she managed to sew back, although the stitches were very obvious- the rich kimono was the only reminder of the many strange weeks she had spent here.
No matter what might happen, Sango knew that she would always treasure this piece of clothing due to the memory that it contains.
Strangely enough, Sesshomaru had been the one that made her recover from her mental wounds as well as the physical ones, as she now realize that she no longer love Miroku, and facing him would not be very difficult. The man she did not want to face had transformed into another.
If all her wounds were healed, then she has no excuse of staying here anymore. And the truth was that regardless of all that could happen, or what she might feel, she would eventually have to say good bye to Sesshomaru.
It was better to do it now, instead of delaying it and making the farewell more difficult by causing her already puzzled heart to be even more confused.
By leaving him now, she would be able to recall what had happened as a strange event, instead of being the beginning of another series of painful memories. It was impossible to forget, so she must do the next best thing by choosing how she would remember.
“I must leave now.” She finally whispered, as she carefully folded the fine kimono and tucked it into her bag, then reached for the furry pelt that she had continued to wear.

Outside the cave, a little girl was playing happily as she had reached the belief that her whole world had become perfect, and would not alter. Like most children, she was unaware that adults tend to choose the most complicated path.
Sesshomaru was naturally not far away from the girl that really ended up as his ward, although he would never admit that he was watching her due to concern. No, he was not sitting there because he was slightly worried about her safety, he just happened to choose that spot as a seat.
The fact that it was also near enough towards the cave to allow him to immediately discover any harm that might befall on the human woman has certainly not crossed his mind at all.
As she walked out from the cave, he quickly turned his gaze away from that direction, least he had to admit to himself that he was actually thinking about her in any way.
She was dressed in that crude kimono again, and it really was quite a pity…not that how she appeared matter to him at all.
Silently, without announcing her arrival to Rin, she walked to stand beside him, then stretched her hands out toward him.
She was holding his pelt, what he had given her when he ripped…when she caused him to rip her kimono. He had allowed her to continue wearing it due to a strange whim that he was still unable to explain.
The pelt was actually a piece of clothing that served as a symbol of both status and identity, and the bearer of such a thing rarely allowed anyone else to touch it, let along wear it.
But in a moment of madness he had not only given it to someone else, he had let her, a human woman, to continue wearing it.
The even strange thing was that instead of snatching the pelt back to pretend that it never happened, he was almost…reluctant.
“I thought that I should return this to you as I am…” here Sango paused slightly, a bit disappointed to confirm that she had been right all along. Sesshomaru’s amber eyes were still showing no emotions- there was not even a brief hint of warmness.
“I am leaving.” She finished, releasing her hold on the pelt to let it drop onto Sesshomaru’s hand since it remained by his side.
“Now?” he finally spoke after a long silence.
“Now.” She repeated softly. “All my wounds are healed.”
A silence surfaced again as he turned away from her to look at the playing Rin once more.
“She will not like it. She is attached to you.”
“Then it is better for me to leave now to prevent her from being too attached to me. As I can not stay here forever, it will be best for me to go now.”
He didn’t say anything, and at this she sighed again before she turned away from him to retreat into the cave for the last time, to grab her belongings and leave.
After all, he made it clear that he did not really care personally whether she was here or not. If that was the case, then what was the point of remaining here?

From the shadows, he watched her picking up her bag and slipped it over her head, before she slung her boomerang over her shoulder. That was really all the possessions that she owned.
Taking a deep breath, she took a step toward the entrance of the cave, something that she had done numerous of time before. But the difference was that by taking her belongings with her, she was preparing to make this the last time.
He thought about letting her go, and make this episode as nothing but a queer incident. But he would always remember her…this human woman who was not only so different from all others that he had met, she was also the only one who made him act in ways that he never expected himself to behave in.
Since the very first day when he used Tenseiga to save her, he had begun to act uncharacteristically.
Sango was halfway out when he suddenly appeared in front of her. As always, he reminded her of a statue. Beautifully carved with only one flow: there was not the lightest hint of a smile.
Yes, she was willing to admit to herself, Sesshomaru was beautiful in a very strange way. But it was not this that affected her so much, in truth, she still did not understand the cause of her feelings.
As he said her name for the very first time, she gasped slightly. She was well aware of the symbolism in his action, he now considered her to be a person, instead of just being a thing that he happened to come across.
“Sango,” he repeated again. “Do not leave yet.”
“But I will have to leave.” She replied calmly, although she was actually very nervous and shocked at this turn of event. She hasn’t even been this nervous when she faced Naraku!
“I know.” He agreed, his voice was still rather flat, but it was softer then usual. “I know this. But now is not the time.”
“Why not?”
“Because I do not wish to say goodbye yet.”
At the repetition he could only shake his head, admitting to another that he did not always have an explanation.
“I do not know.”
Even though he usually gained what he wanted, he was uncertain whether she would actually stay as he was not aware of any reasons that might cause her to. However, she actually smiled as she placed her belongings on the ground once more.
Her expression was very strange too, it almost seemed as if she was…relieved.
“I did not want to leave either.” She said simply.
Like him, she did not really know how to answer the question. Like him, she could only repeat the following words.
“I do not know.”

Author’s Note: I quite like this chapter as they almost got together. Sango is admitting that she have strange feelings for him, while in his denial, Sesshomaru is showing his feelings for her as well. I like the ending- when he realized that he doesn’t want her to leave. So basically I quite like this chapter.

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Today must be international coughing day…this is what happened to me in my Irish history lecture today. (I was sitting in the centre of the room) The lady sitting a few seats to my left begun to cough really loud, a few minutes later the guy sitting directly behind me began to cough… So that was hard enough, having to concentrate when two people were couching really loud right new to you. And then…this guy at the right side of the room began to cough. Considering that I could hear his cough pretty clearly when he was sitting some distance away from me indicates that he was coughing pretty loudly…

And then unbelievable as it was…my history lecturer start to cough, so one way to summarise today’s lecture: coughing at the left and right, coughing at both front and back.

But history lecture was very interesting today. First of all, I finally found out something that I have always been really curious about. Why Northern Ireland is not part of Ireland, but Britain. Well now I sort of know why. Many people in modern Northern Ireland were unionists, who actually didn’t want to be separated from Britain. They want to be part of Britain, or at least they did.

What else…we learnt about the Easter uprising today and it is very interesting. Initially the Irish people actually disapproved of those who participated as they believed that they were foolish and misguided for what they were doing (seizing local buildings and reading out a declaration of independence…well, sort of.) But because the British government executed them in a rather nasty way (some of the leaders were denied of their last right of seeing a priest) the people who initially disapproved ended up seeing these people as martyrs and become quite anti-British.

So, that’s my five minutes brief history lesson, although it is a very general view.

And making sure my blog pet get feed...article from wikipedia

[編輯] 和服的歷史


[編輯] 和服和着物

[編輯] 和服和吳服

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Author’s Note: I suddenly had the idea of putting up chapter titles by using a random Japanese word (although my knowledge of Japanese is pretty bad as I only know some random words). But anyway, that actually help me to get some inspiration.
So this chapter title is Kaze, which means wind.

Even though the new kimono fitted her perfectly, Sango found herself unable to throw her tattered clothing away, because they were a reminder of what was real.
Whenever she walked under the night sky and its watcher the moon, with her hair decorated by Rin’s flowers, she felt as if she had slipped into a fantastical life by having transformed into a princess.
These princesses whom Miroku found so beautiful…she couldn’t help but to wonder at what Miroku would say if he saw her attired like this. In fact, she almost wanted to find him just to parade in front of him in this elaborate kimono. Would he then lavishly devote his attention to her as he always would to these princesses?
She felt beautiful due to this kimono- something she was never certain of before. Like many girls, she would stare hard at her reflection when she bathed, and tried to work out whether it was pleasing or not.
She never reached a conclusion by herself, or from other’s compliments, because it was usually her skills that were praised, as everyone knew that she regarded her skills as the more important thing.
Thoughts of Miroku no longer hurt so much, he seemed too distant from her. Strange as it was, she felt safe here, nothing seemed to be able to invade this place. Rationally she should be sacred or at least be weary of Sesshomaru, but she was certain that he would not harm her in anyway.
It almost seemed that she was living in a fairy world, isolated from the harshness and cruelty of reality.
But the truth was that there was no such a place.

Rin was fond of walking with her, but Sango seemed to be by herself on this night, as the young girl had decided to sleep. She did not mind, as she welcomed a time of being alone with her thoughts.
As she was only a human, despite her great skills as a yokai exterminator, the hidden person was certain that she would not suffer any disillusionment about the true state of her privacy.
Sesshomaru had watched over her ever since she first began these midnight walks. He was reluctant to change the prejudices he had lived with for centuries, but he couldn’t help but to feel admiration whenever he looked at her.
Dressed in a kimono worthy of a princess, she now looked so gentle and soft, but he only needed to shift his gaze to her dark eyes to see the determination and strength that could not be concealed just by being wrapped in the fineries usually used to restrain females.
That was what made her beautiful in his eyes.
It was the gentleness that existed with her strength- two characteristics that were usually separate, instead of being side by side.
Unlike the fragile princess his father ended up loving, or the miko his half brother was involved with, this human woman would not normally need protectors. In fact, he felt that the man whom she would allow to protect her, must be the one she loved the most.
As she would love him enough to exist alongside him, instead of dominating over him completely.
He was so lost in his reveries that he did not notice the stench of Naraku until it was right in front of them.

The user of wind brought her memories of her dead brother, because there were times when Kohaku had been beside Kagura, while the creator of Kagura was also the one who caused so many pains.
She wanted to give up everything to go back to these simple days when she had a home to return too. As she stared into the blades formed from wind, she seemed to see many faces.
Her stern but loving father; the slightly distant image of her mother who died many years ago; her brother whispering his fear of not being able to please their father or be as strong as her; the kind aunt like women who had kept her company when her mother was gone; as well as many of her childhood friends whom she could barely recall.
Each one of these people was dead due to Naraku.
Were Kagura’s blades the path towards them?
If the wind user had intend to fight for the sake of killing, then she would have finally die, even though Sesshomaru was running to her- his hand stretched out to pull her away.
But the blades were slower then usual, allowing Sango to step away when she suddenly realized that she no longer wished to die.
A hand grasped her by the wrist and hurled her away, much to her immediate displeasure, as she had never been fully happy whenever someone fought for her, instead of fighting with her. But her expression quickly changed to one of shock when she saw the one who intended to protect her.
The attacks stopped, as Kagura was able to make her exist with the excuse of having to flee due to Tokijin’s aura. Throwing her feather down, she quickly left the strange couple, although she was rather tempted to find out why the yokai who loathed humans so much would want to protect a human who was also a yokai exterminator.

“You saved me.” Sango said softly, her hands slightly shaking under the kimono’s trailing sleeves due to her nervousness.
He nodded, and even spoke: “I told you I would make sure that you stay alive.” Fearing that this might be mistaken for compassion, he quickly added: “Although I do not see why, as you seem so eager to die.”
At his reference to how she had remained immobile until the last moment, she smiled rather sadly.
“You will call me pathetic if you know my story- what cause me to act the way I do.” She whispered. “Most people would probably call me weak as well. But these sufferings are deep for me for the simple reason that they are my pains.”
She expected no reply from her companion…if he could be called that, so she began to walk back to the cave. A light wind tossed her hair into the wind to reveal her lonely and bitter eyes, showing her sorrowful expression.
Upon arriving in what became her home since the last few days, she gently picked up the fallen blanket and replaced it over Rin’s sleeping form, as well as covering the little girl with her own blanket because this night was extremely cold. Then she sat down, wrapping Sesshomaru’s pelt around her. He never asked her about it, so she continued wearing it.
“Maybe you are weak.” He stated bluntly, standing at the entrance of the cave, but his voice was not harsh as it usually was, although it still lacked emotion. “But you are at least strong, as you understand what few could.”
Watching him leaving once again, she pulled the pelt around her tighter. What was happening to her? Why was it that his opinion suddenly seemed to matter so much? The last time she had been so moved by someone’s words was when Miroku proposed to her.
How could she even explain that it was the thought of him that allowed her to find the strength of stepping away from Kagura’s attack?
By thinking of him, she had wanted to continue living, although she could not understand why. His amber eyes were still hard and distant, but yet she had wanted to be in his company a bit longer.
At least she didn’t want to leave it yet by dying.

Author’s Note: Yeah, another chapter done, although I was expecting that this chapter would be the beginning of them being together, guess not yet. Maybe the next chapter? It’s just that it is quite hard to write this fan fiction as I want to make every one rather in character. So hope that this chapter is alright, and Sango is focused more in this chapter, which is really good, as that is what I intended, although some were shown by Sesshomaru. I hope I did not get out of character. As to what I said about Sango, what I mean is that because she is such a strong woman that she would probably dominate her husband without intending to as she would not need to rely on him, so if she let someone protect him it is a sign of love, as she probably wouldn’t need to. I hope that make sense…

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Any sort of excuses were a sign of weakness, because it meant that you were engaging in some sort of activity that required an explanation. But it became worse when you could not even come up with a reason for the offending action.
That was what he had been doing ever since he saved that woman…he forced herself to call her ‘that woman’ because he simply refused to acknowledge her as someone different from the rest- who were all nothing but passing faces.
Sesshomaru scowled as he looked at the two kimonos that he held. One was ripped and stained due to dirt and even blood at some part, it was simply made with cotton in a very plain pattern- designed for a woman who would be travelling actively. The other kimono was a startling contrast. It was sewn from a very fine silk with rich embroidery over the whole thing. Ironically, it was also in the colour of coral. (I really don’t think that there isn’t anyone who doesn’t know this, but just making sure. Sango literally means coral in Japanese.)
He did not know why he felt the need of finding her a new kimono when it was her own fault that he had ripped her originally crude clothing.
The truth was that he was running out of excuses whenever she was involved.
Why did he even tolerate her folly? Claiming that her wound had healed, she had been prepared to leave, despite how upset Rin was. Rin barely softened his frown, as he could not forgive his own reaction due to what the child had said.
He was near enough to hear any words spoken between the two humans when Rin ran in the cave with the flowers she had picked especially for who she called ‘the pretty lady’, after a quick introduction, which led to him learning of the woman’s name, Rin quickly moved to her main concern.
“Are you going to stay with us? Rin will be very happy if you do!”
Much to his disgust, his instinct was hoping that she would not say no,
He did not know what her reply was, because he walked away, angry with himself.
He should have let her leave since it was what she wanted, but instead, he had refused- telling her that he would not let her leave because her mind was not healed yet.
“And what is that to you?”
All of a sudden he hated her boldness, what he had previously admired, it was the cause of her facing him without any hesitation, and therefore leaving him a question that he could not answer.
Sesshomaru did not want her to die…he did not even want her to be in a position where she suffered so much as to welcome death so passionately.
“Unlike you,” she was screaming, “There are those who would worry if I suddenly disappear! Especially my…”
At this point she halted and began to cry.
He didn’t know how he should react- he had never been in a position where he wanted someone to cease their weeping out of a sentimental reason. Before, it was always due to an annoyance, which he ended by delivering the killing blow.
Tears were a weakness mainly involved with sadness, so he never saw them on the face of his very capable and strong mother, while Rin seemed too happy in her naïve way as to have her defence breached.
But the strangest thing was that he did not regard her as weak in any way, these tears did not change his opinion of her.
He wanted to do something, anything that would cease her tears. Not knowing what to do, he stretched out his hand.
She turned away, running from him. At that time, he was only aware of one thing: she must not leave.
His hand caught the end of her kimono, causing the garment to severally rip. At that she had blushed and immediately tried to gather the tattered fabrics together. He was almost relieved at what happened, because it halted her tears.
“Sango, your kimono is rip!” Rin had suddenly appeared, and attached herself to Sango tightly, “At least stay with us until you get a new one!”
For some reason, she had consented to Rin with a single nod.
But why was he the one finding her a new kimono? He could have easily left the matter with Jaken. He knew that Rin had obtained her new kimono by persuading his servant to find her one somehow. Naturally, Sesshomaru did not really care about what Jaken did.
Knowing his servant, it was probably achieved by some ridiculously complicated plan, instead of the much simpler and faster way of demanding the tailor to find a kimono the same size as the broken one he had held.

Although she loathed agreeing with someone who always considered himself as right, Sango had to admit that Sesshomaru was not wrong in what he said. She may have completely recovered from the physical wound she had inflicted upon herself, but the wound in her heart had not even start to heal.
Miroku…it hurt her to even think of his name, let along his actions. Yet for a whole glorious day she had been so happy due to him.
His confession…her acceptance. She was overjoyed.
But she was to see him the very next morning in the company of a large group of girls, and even hugging and kissing some of them. That was the last attack required for her to break down completely, especially when she has already suffered so much: the slaughter of her whole village; the death of her father due to her own brother; the tortured soul of her dead brother caused by Naraku’s manipulation; and now there was the additional pain of the betrayal of a lover.
Sango forced herself to smile due to the cheerful young girl beside her, who was chatting merrily about something even as she fingered the fur pelt that Sango had somehow managed to wrap around her body. It was not in her power to make anyone happy, but she did not want to make someone unhappy if she could help it.
“What did you just say, Rin?” she asked gently when the child stopped talking and was looking at her in what might be described as a pleading fashion.
“Rin want to know if Sango will stay with us forever now that Sesshomaru-sama wants you to as well.”
“Sesshomaru? He…” Sango began, confused at why Rin would even think of this as until this morning, Sesshomaru had not see her ever since he rescued her. If she was to be truthful, then she would admit that she had been rather angry at being completely neglected, even though she knew that Sesshomaru rescuing her, and then taking her instead of simply leaving, was an act of miracle.
What Sango didn’t know was that he has not neglected her as she believed.
“Because Sesshomaru-sama gave his pelt for Sango to wear! Surely that means he like Sango!”
At this Sango forced down her urge of snorting and only shake her head gently at the naïve child. After she failed to put her torn kimono together, he had thrown the pelt to her without changing his expression at all. All he said was this: “Have the decency to cover your self.”
She could not understand why he would care as humans were so despicable to him, so surely her body was nothing that would interest him. She wonders whether it was because the sight of her body disgusted him, as he hated all aspect of humans so much.
Without any warning, the soft silk of the new kimono Sesshomaru found for her hit her in the face with the much more rough cotton of her familiar kimono that she had failed to find, and believed to have disappeared. Automatically, she fingered the fine silk with a slight wonder, being a yokai exterminator she was always used to wear clothing that were practical.
Sesshomaru forced his face to reveal nothing at all as he stated the explanation he had finally thought of.
“I only went to find you a kimono because the old one reeks of my idiotic half brother’s scent.”
“But nonetheless, I still thank you.” Sango whispered, a very slight smile forming on her lips as she clutched the two kimonos.
He only snorted at this: “I want no thanks.”
Because he did not want to regard what he did as right, nor did he desire to repeat his actions.

Author’s Note: once again, this idea suddenly came. Well, first of all, I’ll just explain what I know of my story. All that I know is the end- so the process is very confusing for me! I really like the new kimono incident and I hope that I didn’t get out of character but I really tried not to. I guess what happened with the kimonos can be seen as a development of their relationship. Another thing I realize is that I have been focusing on Sesshomaru a bit too much so I will try to talk about Sango more in the next chapter, as this is as hard to accept as it is for me. As for Miroku…I haven’t made him into a bastard or anything because I actually quite like Miroku (Although it is partly reflected glory as I really like Sango). When I finished my story I actually felt quite sorry for Miroku, at what will happen to him. (which does not involve in being sucked by his wind tunnel, I have seen too many author do this for my liking, although some of them I consider to be very good stories.) But the important thing is that he is not portrayed in the full wrong, or a completely negative fashion.

One more thing: Jaken is present, although I’m just not sure whether he would come out at this rate!

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Why am I still awake at this hour of the night? Maybe it is because I am trying to enjoy my last Friday before I submit myself to going to university again. Just how did these days past so fast? But anyway…since my blog has been rather prince of tennis occupied lately I decided to put this up, the fan fiction that I wrote for Inuyasha sometime ago, well…at the start of this year.

Title: Tears
Written at: November 29 2006- February 26 2007
Category: romance/tragic
Summary: Sesshomaru rescues Sango after she kills herself, and in the process of making sure that she is recovering, they both slowly begin to care for each other.

Author’s Note: I was watching Inuyasha when I suddenly thought “Sango and Sesshomaru would be such a good couple”. This is really weird as even though Sango is my favourite character I didn’t even like Sesshomaru at that time. But I went to read fan fictions with these two in it and as a result I really think that they are a good couple and should be together. I actually really like Sango and Miroku being together…but I do think she kind of deserves better- someone completely completely faithful. So after reading so much fan fictions I decided to write my own.
Word of warning: not a happy happy story.

Replaced by light along with pain. Once more, Sango felt the pain that had disappeared with the light of her conscious, as well as that familiar face of the one she still loved despite everything.
She knew that her wound was fatal because she had been the one that caused it. After she finally killed her beloved brother by tearing off the shikon shard in his back, she had reversed her grip over her sword in order to stab it into her heart.
No more this, she had whispered as she embraced Kohaku for what she believed to be the last time in this life, I am so tired of all this, let it all end out death- as it should have happened that day when our father was killed.
But this was not so.
Sitting up, she found herself lying on some sort of makeshift blankets of fur and discovered that to an extend she was still in her armour as only the hard and un-private parts were removed. Looking around she saw that her weapons were all beside her with the remaining bit of her armour.
Sango was not sure of what was going on, but she was certain of one thing: she was not with her friends. Nonetheless, she was still completely shocked when the one who saved her made their entrance.
The long flowing unbound silver hair and the markings on his face revealed his identity easily.
Sesshomaru, the half-brother of Inuyasha. Sango would have started to laugh at the absurdity of the situation if it wasn’t due to the pain of her wounds. It was simply too ironic that he should be the one that somehow saved her, although she was not sure how a dead person could be saved.
Sesshomaru loathed the human race and he usually kill any humans for having the misfortune of merely being in his way and not parting for him to move due to simply ignorance.
“I see that you have recovered.” He interrupted her reveries by a voice that was indeed cold and dispassionate. No more or less then what she had expected. “Know that you are live instead of dead due to my actions.”
“You did save me then.” Sango stated softly.
His amber eyes narrowed and turned colder then she believed to be possible. She couldn’t help but to marvel at Inuyasha’s bravery for daring to even fight someone who would look like this.
Without any warning, he was right in front of her, his clawed hand around her throat. She would have trembled if it wasn’t for the fact that she already considered herself as a corpse.
“I did not ask to be saved.” She stated softly in a very flat voice. “I never asked you to interfere either.”
Her answer shocked Sesshomaru because up until now, every human and even yokai that he had killed had died trying to remain in this world for just a bit longer. Some had pleaded and begged, others wept while the last group would explain to themselves why they did not want to die.
But this woman…she was asking for death.
“Kill me.” Sango continued steadily. “After all, I am only a lowly human to you, and if you really are who you say you are then kill me. No doubt you have already killed many of those that you consider pathetic.”
Sango was the one surprised this time, as Sesshomaru actually stood up and left her despite the fat that she engaged in what could be consider as a taunt.
She quickly switched to cursing herself for even wondering about the yokai when she remembered what Inuyasha once said.
“Sesshomaru always think that he is right, so he feels no obligation in justifying himself at all.”
“I do not need to explain anything to you.” He announced to the yokai exterminator coldly. “As I said before, I saved you and so I will make sure that you stay alive.”
“Do not expect any gratitude from me!” she retorted back.
When Sango believed that she was finally alone, she allowed the first drop of tear to fall. Unable to stop the second tear, she yielded and let all the other tears streak across her face. The silent tears then changed to quiet sobbing, which eventually transformed to howling.
She screamed out the name of the one who killed all those dear to her, then the brother she lost due to him, and finally she spat out the name of the one who had betrayed her even as he was starting to make her happy once more.

Sesshomaru was gripping the katana which had had let that human woman to return to the life she had almost escape by killing herself. He had saved her, even though he was fully aware that she would not be grateful at all.
“It is not as if I sought gratitude.” He quickly reminded himself. “I merely saved her because…”
Here he halted. Because? Because? For the first time in his life he needed to justify his actions, but he found no answer that was not idiotic, let along acceptable.
Tenseiga did not persuade him either. He had done what he did out of his free will. The truth was that it he had only been a watcher instead of an actor in this play, he would have said that it was an act done due to an irrational emotion.
The very emotions he loathed as they were weak and weakened the ones who bore them. If he still had any senses left then he should turn back and kill that woman…
But he could not. The truth was that he wanted her to live.
She was a stranger, merely one of his idiotic half brother’s companions…
But he saved her.
She was a human, the same specie as the one who caused his father to die…
But he wanted her to live.
She was similar from all those that he had killed before in his long life…
But he already regarded her as different.
He pulled the katana along with its sheath, thinking about throwing it to release his anger and hopefully gain some sort of satisfaction in the action.
The katana would have been hurled away if he had not suddenly heard the sound of her weeping. For some reason it simply upset him and he wanted it to stop at all cost, even if it meant comforting her somehow.
“It hurts my ears.” He stated flatly to himself. “That is all.”
His walk stopped when the little human girl approached him with that innocent unchanging smile and a bouquet of flowers in her hands. He was able to shift his thoughts by marvelling how the little child could still retain any naivety when she was travelling with him.
“Sesshomaru-sama, Rin want to know if she can visit the pretty lady now!”
Pretty? Now that Rin reminded him, Sesshomaru had to admit that for a mere human, the woman was rather…pleasing to the eyes.
It must be because of the strength in her, even though she herself was oblivious to it. She had different from the two miko his brother fawned upon by being a grown woman who possessed an air of tragedy that was not flaunted.
Yet he felt that there was an open gentleness in her, unlike his own mother. It was a gentleness that existed alongside with both inner and outer strength- as opposed to Inuyasha’s mother.
“Sesshomaru-sama?” Rin repeated again as he tugged at the hem of the pelt that was always on him. “Can Rin go? Maybe Rin can make the pretty lady smile again?”
He nodded a bit too quickly.

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(the purpose of the meeting somehow begins.)

Atobe: “Ore-same will naturally begin. Be prepared to be dazed by ore-sama’s voice!”

Atobe: “Shalala a lovely kiss
Shalala a kiss on my face
Shalala a lovely kiss
Shalala a kiss on my face”

Saeki: “Can he actually get any more into it?”

Mizuki: “Hyotei’s Atobe, likely the type who will hog the microphone when ever he goes Karaoke. In fact, he is all but hogging the microphone now.”

Ooishi: “Atobe is certainly trying very hard, but I wish that he wouldn’t look at us that way, it is a bit creepy.”

Atobe: “Now, Tezuka, try and see if you can even compare to Ore-sama!”

Tezuka: “Tomorrow is very special, special day
A chance which comes around once a year
Oh darling, Oh darling
I love you!”

Sanada: “Tezuka, you are being too slack.”

Aoi: “Even though Tezuka-san is such an impressive figure, I just somehow don’t think girls will be impressed if they heard his version. What to do then, I am not feeling any pressure.”

Tachibana: “Tezuka…you are not convincing us that tomorrow is a special day.”

Ooishi: “Alright, Shuuichirou, deep breath. You will be alright, it’s only a verse. You’ll be fine.”

Tezuka: “Ooishi, yudan sezu ni ikou.”

Ooishi: “Everyone is delighted on this carnival
Take the heart of your boyfriend
Oh baby, oh baby
Love me do!”

Saeki: “Why do I feel as if he’s trying to convince a little kid, not his girl friend?”

Atobe: “Ah, Seigaku is definitely not a threat to Ore-sama’s singing.”

Ooishi: “Tachibana-kun, here you go, and good luck with this.”

Tachibana: “A sweet sweet chocolate
Even if I try and give it to you
Because I just don't stand out
I might just have to use my special method to win your heart.”

Mizuki: “Interesting, Fudomine’s Tachibana- almost undergo a personality change when he begins to sing.”

Shiraishi: “So this is what Tachibana can be like, I was starting to wonder whether he really was capable of playing with the wild style Chitose told me about.”

Tachibana: “Alright, how was that?! Oh, I seem to have got a bit carried away. Sorry about that. Here you go, Minami-kun.”

Minami: “Valentine day kiss
Valentine day kiss
Valentine day kiss
With a ribbon ...”

Sengoku: “Minami, I told you that you should be more distinguished! But wait, since I am directly after him then that means that I might be noticed by girls more. Hmm…that is not a bad thing. Lucky!”

Minami: “Sengoku, stop grinning to yourself! It’s your turn.”

Sengoku: “Alright! This is for all the cute girls in Japan…no, this is for all the cute girls in the world!
The sunset park the colour of wine
I want to experience a lovely romance
Oh darling, oh darling
I love you!”

Aoi: “Yamabuki’s Sengoku-senpai…I want to be just like that!”

Yukimara: “Genichiro, we will show them that Rikkai excels in everything.”

Sanada: “Yes, Yukimura!
The telephone call which calls you out
I want you to know how I feel
Oh baby, oh baby
Love me do!”

Aoi: “This…this seems more scary then Tezuka-san’s version.”

Tachibana: “You can’t say that he is not trying but…”

Shiraishi: “Why do I feel as I am at the morning assembly in school, about to start singing the school song?”

Yukimura: “Sanada, good work.
The chocolate I save to this day
Is my very own lips
In your arms
I'll deliberately close my eyes for you.”

Tezuka: “Yukimura…”

Ooishi: “The song seems to suddenly become a bit slower…is Yukimura really alright? Am I thinking too much because no one else looks worried…”

Saeki: “Somehow the lyrics seems to be about the last meeting.”

Atobe: “Ah, Yukimura is definitely someone to be careful of, in all aspects.”

Yukimura: “Here you go, Mizuki-kun! Do a really good job for your captain!”

Mizuki: “Valentine day kiss
Valentine day kiss
Valentine day kiss
An adult taste ...” (being said, not sung)

Everyone: “…”

Sanada: “That is too slack a performance! Put this microphone down right now!”

Shiraishi: “I don’t think I want to sing anymore. Gosh, what is with that guy? Actually, what is wrong with Rikkai in general? Were they like that last year?”

Shiraishi: “It's been the chocolate of love ever since that day
Open up the silver wrapping
And double check my feelings
Anyone and everyone will experience romance”

Atobe: “Ah, his performance is not unusual at all, but yet it is still good, although it is certainly not a match to ore-sama.”

Tezuka: “Everything was done and done well…so this is Shitenhouji’s bible.”

Saeki: “Alright, my turn. Kentarou, think of it this way- if you do a much better job then me then you will be really popular with the girls! Although the opposite can happen too!
Valentine day kiss
Valentine day kiss
Valentine day kiss
An anniversary of our love ...”

Aoi: “I can feel the pressure now. Alright, if I don’t sing as good as Saeki-senpai then I wouldn’t go on a date for three years!
Shalala a lovely kiss
Shalala a kiss on my face
Shalala a lovely kiss
Shalala a kiss on my face”

(end of the meeting)

Shiraishi: “Kenya says that I can stay with his cousin so I better ask Atobe since Kenya’s cousin is in the tennis team.”

Shiraishi: “Atobe-kun, do you know where Oshitari Yuushi lives?”

Atobe: “Ah, Oshitari Yuushi, why do you want to know?”

Shiraishi: “Well, I’m going to spend the night in his house, since the next train to Osaka only come at next morning.”

Atobe: “Stay in Oshitari Yuushi’s house? Ore-sama does know where he lives but his house is so…”

Shiraishi: “It wouldn’t mater as I’m only staying there for the night, I am going back to Osaka the next morning.”

Atobe: “Ah, Shiraishi-kun, you are deserted in Tokyo with no one to turn to, ah?”

Shiraishi: “Eh…well, it is true that I don’t know anyone in Tokyo but…”

Atobe: “Then ore-sama will generously invite you to stay in his house, since Ore-sama has many guest rooms. Don’t worry, this will not trouble Ore-same at all. No, not at all.”

Shiraishi: “What, do I sound like a beggar begging?”

Atobe: “In fact, you are all invited to Ore-sama’s mansion.”

Ooishi: “Well, we don’t want to impose on you…”

Atobe: “No, this is not a problem! Ore-sama’s house is big enough for you all! Ah, Tezuka?”

Sengoku: “We can go to Atobe’s house? I heard that he is super rich! Lucky!”

Sengoku: “Us too!”

Minami: “Sengoku…I am the captain and I haven’t even said anything.”

Saeki: “Aoi, it probably is a good idea for us to stay there and catch the train next morning.”

Sanada: “Hmmph, Yukimura, we are leaving…”

Yukimura: “But it sounds fun! Don’t you think so, Genichiro?”

Sanada: “…Yukimura.”

Yukimura: “Atobe-kun, we are coming as well.”

Ooishi: “Well, Tezuka, I think we should go too.”

Tezuka: “Ah…” (nods)

Mizuki: “mm-hmm, this is too excellent a chance to miss. I will be able to collect some data, and maybe I will be able to have more data then Seigaku’s Inui.”

Atobe: “Ah, then follow Ore-sama!”

(Later on, in Osaka)

Watanabe: “So, Shiraishi, how was the meeting?”

Shiraishi: “It was interesting.”

Watanabe: “Interesting? In what way?”

Shiraishi: “I learnt a lot of stuff.”

Watanabe: “Oh, like what?”

Shiraishi: “Firstly, this is for you, sensei, it’s a souvenir from Tokyo.”

Watanabe: “Eh? This is pretty expensive, are you sure you want to give it to me?”

Shiraishi: “Yes, in return I am never going to attend another meeting that includes Rikkai’s captain and vice-captain.”

(A few days later, at a meeting for the captains of Kansai schools.)

Captain 1: “Do you know what I just heard? Apparently Shitehouji’s Shiraishi went to this meeting in Kantou and he returns saying that there is no one more scary then Rikkai’s Sanada.”

Captain 2: “but I thought he said that their captain Yukimura is much worse.”

(And so Sanada and Yukimura’s reputation extents to Kansai…)

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Sanada: “Yukimura, I am sorry. Why aren’t the rest of you sitting down to prepare for the meeting?! That is too slack.”

Shiraishi: “I thought Atobe is the one who organized this. I wonder how people in Rikkai’s tennis club can stand him.”

Saeki: “Weren’t you the one standing outside?”

Sanada: “I was making sure that everyone is arriving! The meeting should have begun on time, but due to Shiraishi-kun arriving ten minutes late…”

Shiraishi: “For goodness sake, it was only ten minutes, and this is only the second time I’ve been to Tokyo…oh, forget it!”

Sanada: “And then, Aoi-kun only comes fifteen minutes late…”

Aoi: “I am so sorry, Sanada-san!”

Saeki: “It’s alright, Kentarou, don’t let that get you down.”

Sanada: “What do you mean ‘don’t let that get you down’? You should be ashamed of being late! Especially when you are the captain!”

Shiraishi: “Sanada-kun, we are not from Tokyo while I’m not even from Kantou. I don’t know what happened with Aoi-kun, but I was as good as shoved on the train.”

Sanada: “I am not from Tokyo either! But…”

Shiraishi: “Well, that is true, but the main point is that you are over reacting.”

Sanada: “Over reacting? You guys are being much too slack – ”

Yukimura: “Now, now, Genichiro, why don’t we just all sit back and let the meeting start?”

Sanada: “Of course, Yukimura, and I am sorry.”

Shiraishi: “That is a bit like how I manage Kin-chan, but there is quite a big difference between these two.”

Saeki: “don’t think I can ever see that happening in our school.”

Mizuki: “Mm-hmm, so that is Rikkai’s secret.”

Tezuka: “Ah, as to be expected of Yukimura.”

Sengoku: “wow, that is amazing!”

Tezuka: “So everyone is here?”

Sanada: “Apart from…”

Yukimura: “Now, now, Genichiro.”

Sanada: “Sorry.”

Everyone else: “So this is Yukimura’s true strength.”

Saeki: “Why don’t we introduce our self then? Since some of us might not know everyone. Well, I’ll start, I am Saeki Kojirou! The vice captain of Rokkaku!”

Aoi: (stand up and bow): “Hi everyone, I am Aoi Kentarou, captain of Rokkaku and I am really glad to meet all of you!”

Tachibana: “I am Tachibana Kippei, the captain of Fudomine.”

Tezuka: “Tezuka Kunimitsu. Seigaku’s captain. Third year in Seishun Gakuen.”

Ooishi: “I am Ooishi Shuichiro, the vice captain of Seigaku. I am really glad to see some familiar faces, as well as meeting new people.”

Sengoku: “I am Sengoku Kiyosumi! Lucky Sengoku! The vice-captain from Yamabuki.”

Minami: “I am Minami Kentaro, captain of Yamabuki.”

Shiraishi: “I really must have a talk with Kenya when I get back to Osaka, he told me that Sengoku is the captain. Didn’t Koharu say the same thing too?”

Shiraishi: “Shiraishi Kuranosuke, I am the captain of Osaka’s Shitenhouji.”

Mizuki: “I am Mizuki Hajime, I am here to represent St Rudolph.”

Everyone: “so he’s not even the vice captain, let along the captain. Why on earth is he here then?”

Sengoku: “Oh, that mm-hmm guy.”

Yukimura: “Yukimura Seiichi, the captain of Rikkai dai.” (smiles radiantly)

Sanada: “Sanada Genichirou. Vice-captain of Rikkai dai.”

Shiraishi, Saeki, Sengoku, Minami, Tachibana, Mizuki: “Come on, it’s not as if you haven’t made it clear about who you are within the first five minutes of our arrival.”

Aoi: “I think I am a bit scared…why do I have to do this again?”


Tachibana: “Wait a minute, guys, I can hear this strange sound.”

Shiraishi: “It sounds like people shouting and yelling, is Tokyo usually this loud?”

Tezuka: “Atobe, you always have to do this.”

Hyotei’s tennis club: “Hyotei, Hyotei.”

Saeki: “Hey, Kentarou, take a look at Rikkai’s vice-captain.”

Aoi: “Oh my goodness, I don’t think I have seen anyone looking this mad before.”

Sanada: “HALF – AN – HOUR – LATE!”

Hyotei’s tennis club: “Atobe! Atobe!”

Shiraishi: “I can’t believe this, but this is actually all true. I wonder if the hair cutting story is true as well.”

Atobe (enters): “Ah, be awed by the sight of ore-sama’s dazzling prowess!”


Atobe: “But ore-same is the most important person in this meeting, so it is alright for Ore-sama to be a bit late.”

Aoi: “Forget what I just said, Sanada-san’s face now is truly scary.”

Yukimura: “Now, Sanada, the main thing is that Atobe is here now, right?”

(Sanada sits down without saying anything.)

Atobe: “Ah, Yukimura-kun, ore-sama is glad to hear that you have recovered, but you must know, under the guide of Ore-same Hyotei will be the ultimate winner this year, even if you are back.”

Yukimura: “Is that so, Atobe-kun? But it is such a pity that we didn’t get to see you at the finals of the Kantou regional this year. Actually, I think the last time I saw you was at the nationals last year. Shiraishi-kun, Tachibana-kun, was Hyotei the last school in the top four?”

Shiraishi: “Wasn’t it Majinofuji?”

Atobe: “Yukimura Seiichi, you are deliberately doing this as there is no way that you would actually forget the runner up.”

Tachibana: “I think Hyotei got eliminated at round two.”

Yukimura: “Really? I wasn’t sure! Hahaha! By the way, Tachibana-kun, I’ve heard that Fudomine is actually doing very well this year.”

Tachibana: “We are, we managed to take third place in the Kantou regional after we lost to Rikkai. Rikkai is truly a strong school, Yukimura-kun.”

Yukimura: “But Fudomine has become very strong too.”

Aoi: “Yeah, we played against Fudomine, and Saeki-senpai actually lost to Tachibana-san! Oh, I am so sorry Saeki-senpai.”

Saeiki: “That’s alright, Kentarou, I won’t deny that Tachibana-kun is a very strong player.”

Tachibana: “And Fudomine even played against Hyotei this year and…”

Tachibana: “Maybe I shouldn’t say that, as that might be seen as rubbing it in.”

Tezuka: “Why is everyone talking about the Kantou regional? Should I point out that Seigaku was the winner?”

Sanada: “Tezuka, even though you beat us at the regional this year, don’t think that we will just let you win the national!”

Shiraishi: “Is it me or is the room suddenly very cold? Oh well, this doesn’t concern me at all. Maybe I should buy some souvenirs from Tokyo before I leave. What is Tokyo actually famous for?”

Mizuki: “St Rudolph didn’t make it to the Kantou regional, so we can’t participate in the nationals. St Rudolph didn’t make it to the Kantou regional, so we can’t participate in the nationals.”

Sengoku: “Shiraishi-kun, you can speak Kansai-ben right?”

Shiraishi: “Of course, I’m from Osaka.”

Sengoku: “Can you teach me some phrases then?”

Shiraishi: “Sure, what do you want to learn? Stuff like ‘The weather is fine’, ‘where is the train station?’”

Sengoku: “I was thinking more along the line of ‘You are very pretty’, ‘why don’t we spend sometime together?’”

Minami: “Sengoku, is that all you think about?”

Yukimura: “Yes, it is such a pity that Rikkai lost to Seigaku. If only I was there...”

Sanada: “No, Yukimura, don’t think like that! It wasn’t your fault, it is completely my fault! I am so sorry for losing, I really am!”

Yukimura: “But Genichiro, I’m not blaming you at all! I know that it wasn’t your fault.”

Sanada: “No, it is all my fault! I am so sorry!” (keep on repeating along these lines. Getting more and more worked up.)

Minami: “Wow…I really wish that I can do that with my team mates too.”

Atobe: “Wait, this isn’t right, it should be ore-sama in the spot light!”

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This is a really random scene that I wrote. I was reading volume 20.5 and at the end there was a really humorous scene where the buchou of the Kantou regions were having a meeting, and it was really funny so I just had the idea of ‘What if Shiraishi was there…’ Me and Albatross-sis then had a good laugh about it and then we were talking about the song valentine kiss- which was sung by Atobe, Shishido, Oshitari, Sanada and Ooishi, and we were just saying what would happen if all the buchou and fuku-buchou ended were there. Somehow I then got this crazy idea of writing a conversation of what I think would be happening if there was this really crazy meeting where a lot of the buchou and fuku-buchou was there.

So here it is, totally random, set before the whole national. But anywhere, this is totally random and I just wrote this for a laugh, with help from Albatross-sis and we actually got a really good laugh. Some characters are probably portrayed a bit over the top and some of the characters are probably out of character as I don’t have a good grasp of most other characters. But this is the assumption: Atobe, for reasons, have gathered many of the buchou and fuku-buchou together to sing the song ‘Valentine Kiss’. By the way, this is all sort of from Shiraishi’s point of view. The italic are what the characters are thinking. The bracket parts indicate actions. I am going to be putting up the story version on fan soon although this version is not really fan fiction.

Big thanks to Albatross-sis for helping me with many of this. This turn out longer then I thought so I will have to split it into 2 parts.

Shiraishi: “I can’t believe that this is happening to me. I told coach that it is much better to send Kenya instead of me, since his cousin is in Hyotei, and he even nod and said ‘Well, you are the buchou so you know best.’ So this made me arrange every thing for Kenya since I was so relieved that I don’t have to go to this singing gathering, but instead…I actually got shoved onto the train with him saying: ‘I changed my mind, Shiraishi, I realized that it is much better to send the buchou since that is who they asked for. And don’t forget, you are representing Shitenhouji so you must create a very good impression for the people in Kantou.’ It is not as if this is related to tennis in the first place.”

Tachibana: “Hey, you must be Shiraishi Kuranosuke, I’m Tachibana Kappei, I’ve heard Chitose talk about you. Anyway, you’re a bit late.”

Shiraishi: “Oh, Tachibana-kun! I got a bit lost on the way here.”

Tachibana: “Well, you are not from Tokyo so I think that it is quite pardonable for you to be a bit late.”

Sanada: “What took you so long? You are ten minutes late! And you, you are one of the captains of the school who made it to top four in the nationals last year! I expect a less slack performance!”

Shiraishi: “What the…how has that got to do anything? I can be good at tennis but still get lost, especially in a city I haven’t really been to before.”

Tachibana: “Yeah, Sanada-kun, Shiraishi-kun lives in Osaka so…”

Sanada: “I always make sure that I find out all the information about any city I need to go to a few days ahead, and I read the map over on the train in order to commit it to memory. In fact, this is what I did today… (Tachibana quickly usher Shiraishi in.)

Shiraishi: “What the heck…I’ve only seen him once at last year’s nationals. Did I actually do something to offend him? I know that I am late, and I admit that is wrong, but from his reaction it sounds as if…”

Tachibana: “Shiraishi-kun, you live in Osaka so you have no idea as to what Rikkai’s Sanada is like.”

Shiraishi: “Well, I remember last year at the semi-finals, when we were playing in the stadium, there was someone in Rikkai who was ranting about the drinking machine or something like that. It must be him.”

Tachibana: “Wait a second…I think I remember that incident too.”

Sanada: “Sengoku, where is the captain of your school?!”

Minami: “Um…”

Shiraishi: “Isn’t Sengoku-kun the captain?”

Saeki: “Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”

Tachibana: “I have been wondering about that as well, so you guys don’t know either?”

Shiraishi: “I am from Kansai, so I only have a very brief knowledge about the Kantou schools.”

Saeki: “Tachibana-kun, unlike us, you live in Tokyo, so how would we know about Yamabuki’s captain if you don’t even know?”

Minami: “I am the captain of Yamabuki!”

Shiraishi: “Oh I am sorry! I didn’t see you standing right beside me. Well, I’m Shiraishi Kuranosuke, I am the captain of Shitenhouji.”

Minami: “I know, I’ve heard of you.”

Yukimura: “Why, aren’t you Shiraishi Kuranosuke? I remember seeing you at the nationals last year. Are you still the captain of Shitenhouji?”

Shiraishi: “Yukimura-kun, I am glad that you have recovered and yes, I am still the captain. That’s why I am here.”

Yukimura: “Of course! Hahaha. Thank you for your well wish. Eh? Tachibana Kippei from Fudomine and Saeki Kojirou from Rokkaku. Nice to see you guys. And…and…”

Minami: “Minami Kentarou, the captain of Yamabuki.”

Yukimura: “I am sorry but I somehow just couldn’t recollect who you are. Hahaha.”

Sengoku: “Minami, that is why I always tell you that you have to be more obvious. You see, not only does Kansai’s Shiraishi-kun not recognize you, even people from Kantou doesn’t know that you are the captain. Of course, there’s also the fact that girls will never notice you!”

Yukimura: “Sengoku-kun, isn’t that quite harsh? Even though it is the truth!” (walks away to talk to other people.)

Shiraishi: “And I was thinking that Rikkai’s captain can’t be worse than Sanada-kun.”

Tachibana: “Shiraishi-kun, trust me, Rikkai’s captain is much scarier then their vice-captain. By the way, Saeki-kun, isn’t the captain for your school one of the people who is still not here?”

Saeki: “I just hope that he arrives soon, for his sake.”

Tachibana: “You mean after what happened last time?”

Saeki: “What did happen last time, Tachibana-kun? All Kentarou would say about the meeting was that Sanada-kun is the most scary person he has ever seen in his whole life.”

Shiraishi: “I can understand that. At last year’s national, I was talking to their captain and I kept feeling as if someone was staring at me, but I couldn’t see any one doing that. Then at the end, when we were shaking hands, I suddenly felt my hand gripped really tightly- which made me realize that he’s the one staring at me the whole time.”

Saeki: “I don’t think he was staring at you, I think he just looks like that in general.”

Tachibana: “A bit like that guy from Seigaku, the one who always wear a bandana.”


Ooishi: “…this ‘gathering’ should be quite interesting, as it will be an opportunity to meet many other captains, don’t you think so, Tezuka?”

Tezuka: “I wonder why Sanada has been standing out there for the last fifteen minutes. Unlike Tachibana, he is purposely standing right outside the door. Wait…I think I see someone coming.”

Ooishi: “Isn’t that Shitenhouji’s Shiraishi…oh my goodness, why is Sanada-san screaming at him? Is Shiraishi-kun alright? Do you think we should go and help him out?”

Sengoku: “What’s going on here? Wow…lucky! To be able to see such an interesting scene. Who is that guy anyway? I don’t recognize his uniform.”

Ooishi: “This is starting to look a bit serious, Tezuka, I really think that we should go and help him. Eh, Yukimura-kun, don’t you think you should do something?”

Yukimura: “Huh? Oh, that! But it is starting to get really entertaining!”

Saeki: “Thank goodness I managed to arrive on time.”

Sengoku: “Yeah, me too, lucky!”

Yukimura: “Oh, Shiraishi-kun is coming in the room. What a pity, Genichirou always looks so funny when he gets so work up!”

(Everyone is slowly edging away from Yukimura.)

Yukimura: “Huh? Did I say something strange? Well, I’m going to and talk to Shiraishi-kun, just to see his reaction.”

Mizuki: “Mm-hmm, that is a very interesting piece of information.”

Ooishi: “I think Rokkaku’s captain is coming. Oh my goodness, Sanada-san has start to scream at him, and this is much worse then last time. Tezuka, we really should go and help him, Aoi-kun is only a first year, after all. He looks really scared too.”

Aoi: “I am so sorry! I really am, Sanada-san! I really am so sorry, I wouldn’t be late again! I promise.”

Ooishi: “Tezuka, we really should go and help him!”

Mizuki: “So that is Rokkaku’s first year captain…”

(A very shaken Aoi enters)

Aoi: “Saeki-senpai, I…I am here.”

Saeki: “Are you alright, Kentarou?”

Aoi: “Yes, I think so. Well, I’m still alive…”

Ooishi: “By the way, Mizuki-kun, how come Akazawa-kun isn’t here?”

Mizuki: “Mm-hmm, I am representing him.”

Yukimura: “True, now that I think about it you are not the captain of St Rudolph, are you?”

Mizuki: “…”

Yukimura: “Are you the vice-captain then? But that doesn’t sound right…”

Tezuka: “Sanada is still standing outside the door. Shouldn’t we be preparing to start?”

Yukimura: “Genichirou? He’ll enter whenever he wants to.”

Ooishi: “But it is about fifteen minutes past the starting time, maybe we should start now. Um…perhaps one of us should go and get him.”

Saeki: “I don’t really know him so no.”

Shiraishi: “No way, I am not going to get another lecture by that guy, I know I shouldn’t have been late in the first place but that guy’s reaction is too extreme.”

Sengoku: “Just how old is Sanda-kun anyway? He looks so…old. I wonder what girls will think about him?”

Shiraishi: “I don’t know, he looked like that at last year’s nationals too. When I first saw him I thought that he was…actually, forget about what I just said.”

Yukimura: “Shiraishi-kun, are you sure that you don’t want to finish what you are saying? Don’t worry, I wouldn’t tell Genichirou.”

Shiraishi: “Yeah right…”

Tezuka: “Tachibana just went out to get him.”

Sengoku: “Really, I want to see that! Lucky!”

(Tachibana re-enters)

Tachibana: “He says that he will not move until he sees the last person enter.”

Ooishi: “But we need to start the meeting! What should we do, what should we do? Tezuka, what should we do?”

Tezuka: “Ah…”

Shiraishi: “I don’t think that would work, I really feel sorry for the rest, if Kentarou and I got yelled so much just for being a bit late, then I hate to see what will happen to someone this late. By the way, who is still absent?”

Tezuka: “Who else but Atobe.”

Shiraishi: “Atobe-kun? The captain of Hyotei? One of my team mates has a cousin in that school and we hear a lot of bizarre stories from him. Including the rumour of the club consisting hundreds of cheerleaders, and some one who always start the game by throwing his jacket into the air.”

Ooishi: “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”

Tachibana: “Haven’t you played against Hyotei before, Shiraishi-kun?”

Mizuki: “Mm-hmm, that school…”

Ooishi: “Tezuka, we should really do something!”

Yukimura: “Ah, Genichirou can be so stubborn.” (taps on the window) Genichirou, why don’t you come in?”

Rest: “Like that will work, it’s not as if he can even hear him…oh my goodness, Sanada just came in!!!”

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My mum went back to Taiwan yesterday, so I’m now stuck in the house with my sister and my dad, hopefully every thing would be ok. Laugh…I am making this sound really bad, ain’t I? But well…you’ll understand if I know me. It’s just that tension can easily erupt. But anyway…I couldn’t go to the airport with my mum because Albatross-sis has to drive back and she can’t carry passengers. But apparently the airport security is like super strict nowadays…

First of all you actually can’t bring any stuff like hand cream, tooth paste and lip blam/stick onto the plane unless you tell them and put it in a special bag. I seriously don’t get the last one. I guess I can sort of see this scene in my head: using tooth paste to attack someone by squirting tooth paste into their eyes, but I can’t exactly see how lip stick and lip balm will be really dangerous. But then Albatross-sis reminded me of what happened in the film ‘Bandits’ and I guess that sort of make sense, the beginning, because in the very beginning of the film, Bruce Willis’ character used a highlighter to fool people into thinking that he have a gun. Although it still seem a bit over the top. Apparently almost everyone was like tidying their bag or something. So it seems that you have to put these stuff in this bag and tell them when you want to use it or something like that. Oh, and last of all…the tooth paste can only be half full or so.

So I guess I should no longer be so bitter about the confiscation of my hair pin. Here is the story for those who do not know it. About two and half a year ago- the last time when I went back to Taiwan, I brought a lot of hair pins because I wanted them- this was when I still had my very long hair, and my sister wanted some too. So they were long metal ones, kind of like the thing you see on Chinese ladies hair in the past, but of course, not as elaborate. We had to transfer in Sydney air port and once there…they confiscated these hair pin because they were dangerous. (sniff…cries) Even now I mourn for their loss. I wonder what happens to them, surely they wouldn’t just be chucked into the bin? But compared to the whole lip balm/stick thing I guess I can understand, they can be dangerous as they are rather long and sharp, so they probably would make good weapons.

But anyway, here is the great irony. After you go through the firm security of the air port in NZ, the air port in Taiwan is the opposite. Instead of checking any stuff, they just wave at you to leave. None of my family ever had our luggage checked in Taiwan’s air port and the first time I went back is in 1995, so after about twelve years they still don’t cheek your stuff. A big as contrast to here, almost always we will get our stuff thoroughly examined. And we tend to bring huge as luggage too…

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Here it is, the final chapter of Sacrifice up, I think I will put up my Inuyasha one next, just because I want to.

Third year: the bible vs. the genius

They were here again, the last barrier in front of his goal. The difference was that he would be the first to play, instead of the last. This was quite an unusual position for a captain to be in, but he sometimes thought that a team should let their strong players be in the front as well, to ensure that they would have the opportunity of playing.
So his opponent was Fuji Shuusuke, the genius of Seigaku, instead of Tezuka Kunimitsu, the captain. If Chitose was right, then he was at a very dangerous position.
Taking a deep breath, he took out his racquet, looking at the photo of him and Ashita once more. He would go out and try to win because he has done and gave up so much in order to be here.
He would only leave before a match was finished if he lost all conscious and had to be dragged off. He did not do all that he did just to give up when he was at the deciding point.
Oshitari told him that his cousin in Tokyo could control his emotions by closing his heart completely. He wasn’t gifted like that, so he must concentrate on the match by forbidding any stray thoughts to appear.
Unlike many other players, Shiraishi usually play with all his capabilities as soon as the match begins. Doing otherwise was too dangerous, even if he received pleasure in disillusioning or embarrassing his opponents by suddenly catching up- not that he gained any satisfaction from such things.
Fuji Shuusuke was obviously very different from him, and his attitude was irritating him, almost angering him. Why not just play seriously from the very beginning? Instead of making you defeated opponents more bitter at their loss by a comeback, when the result of winning was the same.
It was this that made him speak to his opponent during the game, something that he rarely did. His words were rather cutting, almost bordering on being a taunt.
“Surely you have more then that.” He said rather coldly. “Don’t hold back, use all your triple counters.”
He was able to defeat Fuji’s triple counters because of his knowledge on the rules of tennis. Despite how flash or elaborate his opponent’s tennis was, they were still guided by these same set of rules.
Although, he admitted to himself, playing tennis that way would be much more fun then his perfect tennis. He really did mean what he said to Fuji.

The game seemed very quick until Fuji’s miraculous recovery. Like all those who saw the game, Shiraishi was completely shocked at the evolved triple counters.
Now he couldn’t even hit the ball over the net…as stupid as that sound, he really couldn’t do it!
His first reaction was actually jealousy, instead of worrying about the result. He instinctively felt that it was not fair- that his opponent was a genius, unlike himself. While he admitted that he had some talent towards tennis, it was never something that he could rely on completely.
No, he had to practice so much in order to be this good, but Fuji was catching up with all these long hours of practice within minutes due to his evolved triple counters.
Fuji’s word also angered him greatly. ‘It is my wish to let my team reach the finals of the nationals, so I cannot lose!’ Shiraishi was not sure whether it was the tone or the suggestion of the words that made him so furious. Did Fuji honestly think that his own goal was any different?
All his sacrifices were done for this! To take his team to the finals.
Strangely, these emotions calmed him down, as he was now even more determined to win this match. This was no longer just about scoring a win for his team, it was becoming very personal.
He was battling for his pride as well- he refused to lose to such a person in such a circumstance! He would not let all his sacrifices be in vain, and he was resolved to win in order to show that hard work was just as important as talent. He would not lose just because his opponent suddenly changed his attitude. He must win and prove that actions like Fuji’s- even if he was a genius- has consequences.
Shiraishi’s inner struggles were barely visible as he actually made all these chain of thoughts very rapidly.
Fuji noticed that the captain of Shitenhouji was different then many of his previous opponents from the very start. His current opponent was not cocky or confident, he was simply calm. With the evolvement of his triple counters, Fuji could tell, with some satisfaction, that Shiraishi began to panic, but if he had been less sure about the success of his final counter, then he would have discovered that Shiraishi was no longer panicking, but was focused on studying the ball once more.
The rules were the same, but they were more hidden now.
Fuji finally realized his mistake of underestimating his opponent when the ball was getting considerably higher. He thought that Shiraishi would not be able to remain calm due to such a turn of the tide. After all, he has never seen anyone else who could.
When the ball almost fell to the other side of the net, Shiraishi finally smiled again, even though it was match point for the second time. He was absolutely certain that the game would continue much longer.
He was right, his next swing did send the ball to his opponent’s side of the net.
“The others do not see this, but Shiraishi is just as determined as Fuji. Their desire to win is actually equally strong.” Watanabe stated to his team.

Shiraishi managed to score until the game reached the final stage, when Fuji served the white dragon again. He cursed inwardly at this, even though he probably could work out a counter, but he wasn’t confident that his judgement and first attempt would be accurate.
Nevertheless, he still prepared himself to hit the ball as it descends.
“Out!” the judge broke into a loud shout. “Game set. Win by Shiraishi 7-6.”
Shiraishi was glad that he won but he knew that he would not remain happy once he stepped off the court, when he would begin to think rationally. He won because Fuji’s serve went too far, which was caused by his opponent being too exhausted, and that only happened because Fuji had not play with his maximum potential from the start of the match.
But he was the winner, and for now he was glad of that.
He did not know how he would feel and react if he lost, and he did not want to be a hypocrite by saying that his actions would not alter. Like most people, he did not like losing- especially in this circumstance.
Of course, he would still admit that his opponent was very skilled and shake his hand, but he might not be the one to initiate the process.
He was glad that the members of the tennis club were not gloating, as he was not sure whether he could even take part in their celebration- he only won by chance.
“Hey, the most important thing is that you won.” Oshitari told him.
He forced himself to smile and nod, as this was what he tells his team. As the captain, he was required to act according to his teachings.
But he was obviously not doing a good enough job, as his coach soon approached him, accompanied by the girl wearing a sakura patterned yukata, with her hair tied by a lace-like ribbon.

Author’s Note: I think most people would have worked out what this chapter is going to be about just by looking at the title- which is directly taken from the author’s chapter title. Well, I found this chapter quite hard to write, because it was set within the actual match, so I didn’t know how I could manage the whole tennis thing. But much to my surprise, I do like the result, although it seems quite short compared to the other chapters. My other story, my first prince of tennis fan fiction, is probably directly after this bit, but there will be one more chapter. I did spend sometime wondering whether I should actually change ‘in order to win’ to make it fit in this story, I decided to not do this because I wrote ‘in order to win’ as a one shot, so it will be different if I altered it to put it in this story. I will put in order to win up later, or you can go read it at

I really do like volume 36 and as I said before, the match between Shiraishi and Fuji is one of the deciding points that make me realize ‘hey I want to read this whole story’. And from that moment Shiraishi becomes my favourite character. So for that alone, I hope I did this chapter alright. But it’s not really about describing the match, but an attempt of Shiraishi’s perspective, how he felt.

As for the people I refer to in regard to not playing their full potential since the very beginning, I’m referring to both Fuji and Ibu- Tachibana mentioned that Ibu tend to like letting the game be 4-0 then suddenly catching up. Perhaps in a way, Aoi Kentarou too, granted that is his strategy but I just feel that it is too risky.

Third year: the last time

The reconciled couple was sitting outside the porch, stealing some time together before Shiraishi heads back to the lodging where the entire tennis club of Shitenhouji was staying in. They were holding hands again, while her head rested on his shoulder.
“I am still a bit worried about Chitose, that will he will change his mind and quit again. The problem is that unlike the rest, he never really seemed to belong. Of course, there are others in the club who are good but…”
“Maybe you will all do such a wonderful job that you would only need to play three games.” Ashita told him optimistically.
“I do hope that and our team is quite strong. I only know that I will definitely be playing tomorrow, as it will be the last time I play my ‘perfect tennis’.”
“Kuranosuke, are you sure?” she tilted her head in order to look at him. “What if…”
“I promise that I won’t have a break down again if Shitenhouji ends up being forth.” He assured her. “Ashita, the reason that I was so stupid last year was because I felt guilty for not using perfect tennis all the time. I still don’t know whether I was right or wrong, but since I did all that I could in order to win this year, I wouldn’t feel as if I let my team down anymore.”
He couldn’t really explain himself but he suddenly kissed her on the lips after he finished speaking- it was the first time he did such a thing.
“We are fifteen now, Ashita. We’ve been going out for a whole year and were friends for a year before that.”
“But still…” she protested, blushing at being kissed for the first time. But she did not draw away, and she even rested her head on his shoulders again.

“So now you know all that Shiraishi did for the sake of Shitenhouji’s tennis team.” Watanabe said softly, as he and Chitose carefully left the couple they were spying on. “So don’t you think that you should play for Shitenhouji one last time?”
“I will.” Chitose promised, still shocked at what was revealed and said to him. He always knew that Shiraishi was very dedicated to the team’s win as the captain, but he never once imagined that Shiraishi would go this far: playing a style of tennis that he did not like at all, devoting numerous extra hours to practising his perfect tennis, and even breaking up with the girl that he seemed to like greatly.
What touched him the most was that Shiraishi did all these for the team, not for himself. Chitose didn’t necessary agree with some of Shiraishi’s actions, to an extent he was placing his team above his love for tennis, but Chitose did feel that he was obliged to play and win for Shitenhouji one last time.
Shiraishi’s goal of taking his team to the finals would not come true, but Chitose was determined to help Shiraishi gain the next best thing: the title of being third.

The order was announced the next morning, just a few hours before the commence of their last match in the nationals.
Kintarou would play singles 3, with Oshitari and Zaizen in doubles 2- a compensation for what happened yesterday.
As for singles 2…it was Shiraishi, and he might very well be playing the deciding match.
Unknown to Shiraishi, his team mates were actually all really determined to win the game against Nagoya Seitoku for his sake. After what Chitose and their coach told them last night, along with additional information from Konjiki and Hitouji, the whole team felt that playing their very best in order to let Shitenhouji be third in this year’s nationals was the only way to repay all Shiraishi did for them.
Even Kintarou was not just playing for himself. Though he really was scared of Shiraishi due to his ‘poisoned hands’, he was fond of his captain as Shiraishi has helped him in numerous ways- from taking him to almost all of their matches, to speaking with his teachers in regard to his homework and test results.
Kintarou easily won his game, and even though Zaizen and Oshitari faced some problems in the first few rounds, they still won in the end.
Shiraishi was very calm as he stepped onto the court, even though this may be the last match of the round. But to him, the match seemed more significant for the reason that it was the last time he plays his perfect tennis, as well as the final match he plays as a member of a team.
He did not like perfect tennis as it was too boring and it robbed him of his enjoyment of tennis. But it would always represent the significant two years of his life when he was the captain of a team.
His future as a solo player was secured as Watanabe told him that he had offers from many tennis clubs in Japan, especially from Osaka, due to his performance in all his three years of junior high school. They would arrange for him to play with other single players on a part time basis, which allows him to continue studying. He would only be belonging in the club, not representing them, so he could play the way that he wanted.
“I have someone from one of the clubs who wants to talk to you after you finish.” His coach informed him.

Shitenhouji did manage to gain third place gloriously with a win of 3-0.
“So this is the end.” Shiraishi said softly as he walked to the cheers of his team mates and the members of the tennis club, to his coach and to Ashita- who was sitting with the team.
“Well done, Shiraishi.” A familiar voice which he has not heard in two years said warmly.
“Captain?!” Shiraishi chocked out- face to face with the one who was his captain, the one who guided him for a whole year by being his doubles partner, as well as the one responsible for him being the captain from his second year.
“It has been a while, Shiraishi.” His captain continued. “I’ve attended every match Shitenhouji was in and I can only say that you are a very good captain, exceeding my original expectations.
“I saw the nationals last year too, and I would have congratulated you then, but the manager of the club I am in had arranged for me to attend a match directly after the end of Shitenhouji’s game.”
“I really wish that you came and talked to me last year.” Shiraishi said with a rather bitter smile. “Perhaps things might end up different.”
“Watanabe-san told me what happened to you and I am truly sorry that you felt I wouldn’t be happy with what you have done. My hope is that you would take Shitenhouji to the nationals and you actually did much better then that.”
“Don’t…don’t apologise. You and sensei might have been the one who set me on this patch but ultimately I was the one who choose to walk that way. The truth is that it is mostly my own fault, because of my pride.” Shiraishi admitted. “As I was the captain in my second year, I felt that I had to do something exceptional. As for my obsession this year…I think it was the fear that others might say I am doing an even worse job.”
“Then know that you have probably succeeded in being one of the best captains in the history of Shitenhouji’s tennis club.” His captain told him sincerely. “But Shiraishi, you have done enough as the captain, it is time for you to do whatever you want.”
“To play tennis the way I like- the way I used to.” He answered very softly. “Sometimes I would play that way again, and it is like a reward, as only then do I enjoy myself. These rare times also remind me why I play tennis in the first place.
He would still be a very good player without his perfect tennis, because he never gave up his old way of playing. His study of the rules in order to develop his perfect tennis would still help him, even if he no longer plays that way.
Shiraishi was not wrong in saying that he had some talent in regard to tennis, and his willingness of working hard to improve made him even better. He also had the advantage of starting at a very young age. The teacher who looked after his class in kindergarten used to play tennis so she taught them the very basic rules, which advantaged him when he began to play tennis properly in elementary school.
He was already a very skilled player by the time he entered junior high school, and his captain’s guidance helped him greatly. The main reason that he turned to perfect pennies was because it would help him to win more, not because it would improve his skills at a drastic level.
“It is best for you to think about all the other offers you will soon hear about, although I do hope that you will join my club.” His captain told him.
“So just enjoy yourself in Tokyo and only worry when you get back to Osaka.” Watanabe said. “Shiraishi…if you would like any advices then I will be very happy to share some.”
Watanabe used to be in one of these clubs until he decided to become a coach. He realized, after numerous victories, that he would receive a greater pleasure in helping young boys to achieve the success he managed.
But he forgot that winning was not always the main thing until it was much too late- when Shiraishi already made up his mind.
“I will like that, Sensei.” Shiraishi said with a smile, understanding that the offer was an act of apology.
Turning to Ashita, he took her hand and he was truly amazed at how everything turned out in the end. Not only could he start playing tennis the way he liked, he finally got the answer he hoped to hear from the captain that he greatly admired and respected. Ashita has also forgiven him completely for what he did to her.
He was happy right now, and he knew that this happiness would stay because his sacrifices taught him much.

Author’s Note: I am kind of sad that this story is finally over. It really was very enjoyable to write, and it was also quite a change from the other stories I was writing about. This story seems, to an extent, deal with the very daily life even though these characters are extraordinary. What I mean is that they are set in our time and perhaps it is not that impossible that there might be people like them (even though some of the tennis is so elaborate that it is just too impossible.) But comparing this to the other fan fiction I have write/wrote: Fushigi Yugi, a story set in an ancient-China world about heroes and everything, Baldur’s Gate, a game that is set in a fantasy world a bit like the middle ages, and in my fan fiction my main character is an assassin, so definitely not really everyday in our world.

A thing that I have really debated on and on is this: should I categorize this story as ‘romance’ as well? Because part of it does have a romantic element- him realizing that he likes Ashita in such a way, their reaction to the break up, and their reconciliation- which suggests that they are progressing in their relationship. (laugh, it seems I have a habit to leave a really long author note as I finishes a story, maybe it is because I know that this is the last time I get to do this.) But ultimately I decided that this story is not focusing about romance, it is about Shiraishi. What happened with him and Ashita is not the focus, but merely one of the things that happened to him. I think I realize this when I wrote the last chapter, he didn’t specifically think of his action of dumping him and Ashita as that is just one of his sacrifice, it is not his only sacrifice. There are other things: playing perfect tennis and spending a lot of hours practicing perfect tennis. But what his captain said to him: “You have done enough as the captain, it is time for you to do whatever you want.” Is something I would really like to say to him.

As I write this story, I almost wonder whether I should change the title to ‘in order to win,’ as I almost feel that I was using that phrase so much more then any other words.

‘Sacrifice’ is finally finished and if you have read it and enjoyed it then please leave me a final comment now that it is finished. This story really is finished as everything has ended, but I have been writing some more one shots focusing on Shiraishi, and some is set after the story line of Sacrifice.

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Isn’t it true that you should do stuff that make you happy when you are in a bad mood? So I will do this, typing up total random stuff because I just want to (in conclusion I’m just justifying the random stuff I will be typing). But on a serious note I am feeling a bit down, it’s one of these days when I kind of feel that I am being chocked, being strangled as I can’t say what I really want to say. The thing is, my mum is going back to Taiwan for about a month so I don’t really want to complain to her, as that will make her really worried. It’s the whole…it’s the least I can do to let her enjoy her trip, by not making her really worried about what will happen if she is not there. But still, that feeling is really uncomfortable.

But anyway, it is announced that prince of tennis is going to release volume 40.5 and unlike 30.5, which just contain drawings, 40.5 is going to have information! Hurray! So we can finally have official information about Shitenhouji (and Higa chuu too but I don’t really care about them). But basically…hurray! Hurray! Hurray! Official information about Shiraishi! I’m so excited! And maybe we can finally know who the heck their mysterious player number nine is! (second greatest mystery to me in the prince of tennis world. First- just what is wrong with Shiraishi’s left hand?) But any way, apparently there’s a list of questions which the reader can answer and the author will probably do the totals or something. Eg. who everyone think is the most scary person. So here is my answer. (I got all this info from a Chinese site)

1- Who you would like to be your boyfriend… (NOTE: The original word used is unisex but it doesn’t translate into English well…)
Definitely Shiraishi Kuranosuke! I always get the impression that he’ll be a great boy friend. He seems very gentle and also sensitive to what other people are feeling in the sense that he will always notice if you feel a bit down. And he just seems really the type of guy who will always be there for you. He is also not someone who is really dull, because the whole poisoned hand thing kinds of prove that he can be humorous. I also think he is very patient (I mean, how can anyone put up with looking after Kintarou is they lack patience?)

But on the other hand, one aspect of his character does bring his mark down. Somehow I think he might actually choose tennis over his girlfriend- as he is the captain and burdened with a very strong sense of responsibility. Although I think he will be really sorry, and that would always be something that make him feel really guilty and painful. I think I really used this idea in my fan fiction “Sacrifice”.

But I think when it come to that situation of, he just really need Watanabe to tell him that he doesn’t need to go that far. That no one is forcing him to make a choice between his girl friend and tennis.

But seriously, if I really am in the prince of tennis world and I can choose, then I would choose Shiraishi without a second thought.

2- Who you would like to be your younger brother…
Kintarou! Although I don’t know how I will be able to control him without any poisoned hands (laughs). But despite him addressing elders without any suffix (which is quite rude) I think he’ll be a really cute little brother (beside, I don’t really like the whole idea of suffixes that are forced). I can also see him immediately standing up for you whenever something happens to you, and yet relies on you to help him out.

Basically, I think Kintarou is one of those extreme people in following the good to my friends and dangerous to my enemies principle.

3- Who you would like to be your elder brother…
Yagyuu, because of the whole gentleman thing, I think that will make him get on really well with you if you are a girl, but not a boy. I am saying that he will make a really good elder brother for a younger sister, but not a younger brother. I think because he is a gentleman he’ll be really courteous to his younger sister, which is good, instead of letting his sister start to feel despair about the opposite sex. And somehow I think he will actually be able to get along with a younger sister due to his characteristic, which would work against a younger brother.

I guess for me, I definitely would rather have this sort of elder brother, who will listen to me and not be really rude in the way boy can be rude to girls. Who would be a very good guidance, very kind and never tease the way some brothers like to do. (This is so hard to express…) But if he is a little brother then you probably wouldn’t like him that much as he’ll seem too aloof.

Also, I can see this what if scene…Person 1 is Yagyuu, and person 2 is his younger sister.
2: “Oniichan! Someone picked on me today…”
1: “Really? Oniichan will handle this.”
Next day…
2: “Oniichan, what did you do to them? Not one of them dared to approach me.”
1: (smiles in a very gentleman manner): “Oh, Oniichan just had a talk with them.)
NOTE: Yagyuu really does have a sister, so I guess I should say I can see the above scene as having happened.

I can also see Shiraishi as being a very good elder brother, and he kind is being one to Kintarou already. He definitely show that he will be a very good one, affectionate to his younger brother, although he would step in to make sure his brother is out of control.

By the way someone the opposite of Yagyuu is Sengoku, although I don’t exactly want him to be my younger brother. But he’ll be pretty cute if he is your younger brother as: “Oneechans’ friends are so pretty!” Friends: “Oh your little brother is such a sweet boy.” As opposed to an elder brother, your friends would be saying this instead: “Her elder brother is such a pervert…”

4- Who you would like to be your tennis coach…
Watanabe Osamu. Because I think he is the type of coach who would cheer for you really enthusiastically if you did something right, and you will feel that he is really sincere (I can see him yelling and screaming in celebration on your behalf), that he really is happy at your success. As well as telling you that “It’s ok if you didn’t succeed, we will keep on trying until you get it right, and you will get it.” I think he will be really encouraging too, he will convince you that you can succeed. In my opinion, this is the best type of coach/teacher.

A really scary thought suddenly enters my mind…Sanada: “(slap) we do not tolerate failures in Rikkai, even if this is the first try!” Seriously, I don’t think he’ll do that but it is just that his whole ‘Rikkai will excel in everything’ can be pretty scary. I was so shocked when I saw him slap Kirihara just because Kirihara lost. (however, on his defence- the other third years certainly all agrees. Heck, Yanagi Renji even literally told Sanada to hit him for losing) so it is not as if he is being a tyrant, quite the opposite really as he make his team mate hit him when he lost.

5- Who you would like to be your tutor in school work…
Niou, I think he will be able to teach you the best way to study, he can probably guess the question of the exam quite well so you will only need to study what is going to come up in the exam, I can also see him helping you to write a good essay with minimum research as he’ll teach you the best way to write it- all the technicality. Basically my believe is this, with Niou as the tutor, you can pass with flying colours without needing to study that much as he will be able to work out the exam so teach you what you need to know the most. Although the disadvantage is that he will probably charge you an unusually high amount of fees and even convince you that this is a low price.

6- Who is the most scary person when they get mad?
I find this question really interesting because I’ve actually got a lot of people…so this is ranked.

Top price goes to Yukimura (not normal for someone to smile that much and if you consider the fact that Sanada is so devoted to him, Yukimura must be pretty scary) Hence I think the real Yukimura is very scary, and what make him even more scary is that we have yet to see this side of him.

Second price goes to Fuji. If you have read prince of tennis then you will know why so I am not going to explain.

Third price- Shiraishi, somehow I always get the impression that he will be another of these people who will be really scary when they finally can’t take it anymore, because they usually are appear so good tempered. I really believe this. Also, I think he has a lot of stuff buried inside him due to this whole responsibility thing and the sacrifice that he made because of this, so this is why I think he will be very scary if he gets really angry. Also, he can put with Kintarou without being angry at all…I mean that is an amazing achievement. So that is why I think he’ll be really scary if he gets mad, as it seems that he wouldn’t get angry unless the situation is really severe, then maybe I should say…all hell break lose? (on the other hand, if he can endure that then I don’t know what would actually make him really angry.) It is really strange but I can see this scene in my head…

A bunch of second/third years in Shitenhouj did that stone in the can trick (you’ll know if you have read volume one.) Then Shiraishi sees this and he’ll walk up to the offender, really calm, then I can see him actually slapping that person, and tell them (in a very chilling tone) “If I catch you doing this again, then I will make sure that you are out of the tennis club”
Don’t ask me why but I can just see that scene in my head…hmm…I almost think that he deserves to move up a level.

7- Who do you think would spoil their kid?
Yuuta- I can see him spoiling his kid due to believing that they are the best in the world.

8- Favourite chapter?
Fuji and Ryoma fans please skip this question.
Genius315-316: I am sorry but I love the whole Shiraishi beating Fuji bit! Because I think Fuji really need someone to teach him a lesson and I think Shiraishi did really well. I also really like Genius 321- when Shiraishi broke the fifth counter as well as when he wins. I am sorry to Fuji fans, (although you shouldn’t be reading this as I made my warning…) I can not forgive Fuji for just turning his back on Shiraishi due to the whole ‘the ball wouldn’t go over the net anymore’. I think that is really rude…I will even say that it is one of the rudest thing I have ever seen throughout the whole manga.

I guess if I have to choose then I will say genius 316 because that includes Shiraishi’s explanation of why he plays perfect tennis. I love that bit…that’s kind of the moment that made me realise this guy will be my favourite character.

9- The line that made you laughed the most?
What Seigaku’s cheer leaders said in response to Shitenhouji’s accusations of Momo and Kaidou being really sneaky by switching masks- “You guys are in no position to say that!” I am sorry, Shitenhouji… I love you guys and I really wish that you guys can be the winner, but Seigaku is right, you guys really are the last people who can say that Momo and Kaidou are being sneaky

10- the technique you most want to play?
Kaidou’s boomerang snake, somehow I just really like the idea of making the ball shoot through the umpire’s chair.

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Crazy as it is I decided to write this story, even when I am sure there is nothing going on between these two. But I have been reading some really interesting BL stories. To my friends from school/university: Yes, I actually do read these kind of stuff and now, to a certain extent, I have finally written one.

Summary: Watanabe Osamu forces himself to make an important decision in regard to Shiraishi, and he realizes that his actions in the past three years have actually been much affected by what he feels in regard to Shiraishi. This is a one sided Watanabe/Shiraishi.

Author’s Note: I normally write OC stories and I’ve actually write Shiraishi/OC stories (Sacrifice- which I am still putting on my blog) but somehow I decided to write this story, and the truth is I am not even sure what this should categorize this under. I think I wrote this story because I’ve been reading some interesting fan fictions on one of the communities in Life journal, so I suddenly had this idea.

This is also based on a conversation with my friend- that Watanabe is actually a pretty responsible coach and if Shiraishi is doing what Tezuka do, then Watanabe will actually go up and drag him off the court. I just feel that he would actually do this- which is what I think Ryusaki should have done more then once. This also kind of shows my believe that many captains in the story, will actually do what Tezuka does if they happens to be in such a situation as well.

I am letting Shiraishi and some others calling Watanabe sensei as I am not really sure whether they’ll be calling him Osamu-chan, I mean we’ve only really heard Kintarou call him that and Kintarou is not a good example.
This is a fan fiction so there are obviously changes from the story.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

Conflicting wishes

Shiraishi Kuranosuke finally collapsed, yet he still managed to keep a tight grip on his tennis racquet. Gritting his teeth, he prepared to stagger up.
The pain was simply too great, as he immediately fell down again, his free hand clutching to his knee.
“I am still alright.” He stated, although even he was not certain who he was saying this to. “I will finish the game.”
Was it to his opponent that intentionally caused him to be at this situation? Or the team mates who were all yelling for him to stop? Or perhaps his words were directed to his coach, who actually appeared very worried.
“The game will be suspended for three minutes in order for Shitenhouji’s coach to go onto court.” The umpire announced.
“No, I don’t need the game to be suspended!” Shiraishi protested.
“The game will be suspended.” The familiar voice of his coach stated, but his tone was rather alien. In all the three years he worked with his coach, Shiraishi has never heard Watanabe’s voice being anything other then merry and loud.
Right now it was unusually soft and gentle.
“Sensei, I am alright!” Shiraishi began. “I can still…”
Watanabe placed his hand around the boy’s wrist very lightly, but this was enough to make him drop his racquet.
“You are in a much worse position then what I originally believed.” Watanabe pointed out gently. “Shiraishi Kuranosuke, you can barely hold your racquet, let along stand. How can you continue to play?”
“I can still play…” Shiraishi protested once more, but the spasm of pain forced him to leave his sentence unfinished.
“Enough…Kuranosuke.” His coach repeated, unconsciously addressing him by his first name.
“I am the buchou so I cannot just leave my game unfinished! Especially when this game is the deciding one.”
“Shiraishi, don’t play anymore!” Kintarou yelled out, running onto the court, completely ignoring the umpire.
“Sensei is right,” Kenya said, deciding to follow Kintarou. “Even Kin-chan is telling you to stop!”
But Shiraishi shook his head stubbornly. “I can go on. I dreamt of Shitenhouji winning the nationals so I cannot…”
“Then we don’t want to win the nationals anymore!” Kenya snapped. “All we want now is for you to stop. If you go on…you will…you will…”
“You will risk having parts of your body permanently damaged. “Watanabe finished softly. “I should have asked for suspension earlier, but I had no idea that you are injured this bad.
“In fact, this is so like you.” A bitter smile formed on the face that always seemed to be smiling, if not laughing. “You bury everything down so no ever knows how bad you are suffering.
“You play perfect tennis even though you almost hate it, but you never tell this to anyone. You look after the team and club by your self so well and never asked me to help you, even though you wanted it.
“You just have to bear everything yourself, don’t you? Like right now. You kept on saying that you were alright even when you were on the verge of collapsing.”
“No, I can still stand!”
If his coach had not been fast enough then Shiraishi would have been knocked unconscious as he immediately fell forward when he tried to stand up once again. But luckily, his coach managed to catch him, resulting in the boy almost being in his arms, although the circumstance forbids this situation to appear as strange in anyway.
“We forfeit the game.” Watanabe called out, ignoring the protests from Shiraishi.
“It’s alright…buchou.” Kintarou began timidly, stretching up to pat him on the head, what Shiraishi was fond to do to him. Even though Shiraishi’s face was no longer visible, they could tell that he was crying due to the shuddering of his body when the umpire decided to agree with Watanabe instead of him.
“Yeah…buchou was amazing!” Zaizen said sincerely as the rest of Shitenhouji’s tennis team walked onto court.
“We probably wouldn’t even be here if you are not our buchou. You are the one who really helped us to reach here.” Koharu said, while his partner added: “Don’t ever think that you did anything wrong at all.”
“The ambulance will be coming soon.” Kenya informed the rest as he hung up his phone. “They say two of us can accompany him.”
“You boys arrange that.” Watanabe said as he gently handed Shiraishi over to Gin. “Shiraishi, it will be better if Gin carries…”
“He’s unconscious, Sensei.” Gin whispered.
“Wouldn’t it be better if you sit on the ambulance too?” Chitose asked.
“I have something I have to do first.” Watanabe said, and the way his voice suddenly hardened made all the members of Shitenhouji’s tennis team, even Kintarou, shudders slightly.

The members of Rikkai’s tennis club were going to start cheering at their triumph over the same school in the semi-finals when their captain suddenly raised his hand.
“Everyone, remain quiet.” He ordered. “If you have to celebrate then do it when you get back to our lodging.”
“That was certainly very impressive…Shitenhouji.” Yanagi commented. “Especially their captain. They might actually be the winner if he had continued.”
“How can he beat me when he was going to faint?” Kirihara scoffed out.
“He only lost all conscious because he stopped struggling after the game was forfeited.” Sanada stated.
“Maybe we should go and…” the gentleman of Rikkai began.
“Yagyuu, right now our names are all ‘You bastards, stay away’ to Shitenhouji.” Niou said to his doubles partner rather dryly.
Nonetheless they still prepared to stand up and walk to the net- what was expected at the end of the game. But they were halted at half way due to Watanabe, who walked toward them.
“Well, what a pity that Kansai’s champion lost to Kantou’s champion once again.” Watanabe began cuttingly with a very unnatural smile on his face. His words certainly achieved the desired effect, as people were muttering about the result of the Kantou regional again, a sore spot for every member of the Rikkai team. “But since you guys are the winner, don’t you think you should show some curtsey to the ones who lost? Especially you, Kirihara-kun.”
“You want me to apologise?” the young boy sneered with brash confidence due to his most recent victory. “Ha, as if I’ll…”
Unlike the rest, the members of Rikkai’s tennis team were close enough to see the slight sneer that suddenly appeared on Watanabe’s face, just before he raised his hand.
The slap was delivered with such force that it actually resulted in Kirihara being knocked onto the floor.
“Sensei, I know that you are really worried, but please control yourself.” The umpire pleaded.” I would hate to disqualify your school after all this.”
“I apologise then.” He did not sound sincere at all, but he knew that this would be good enough for the umpire.
“Just don’t do it again. The first offence will only result in a warning.” The umpire finally breathed out, before he announced the overall result of 3-2.
What shocked Rikkai was the strength in the slap, since it could definitely rival with Sanada’s punishment for anyone that lost. But the members of Shitenhouji were stunned due to the mere action.
“Sensei…Sensei just slapped someone.” Kenya finally said.
“Yeah…he did.” The infamous joking pair repeated.
Every one of them was completely dumbfounded due to this very uncharacteristic action, as they had never even see their coach scolding someone properly.

As to be expected, Shiraishi’s room was immediately crowded with visitors when the hospital declared that they were allowed. His team mates and following members of the tennis club were naturally amongst the very first crowd, and there were also captains and regulars from other schools.
But his coach did not turn up on the first day. This didn’t really surprise most people as they believed that Watanabe was feeling guilty for not realising the full extent of Shiraishi’s injuries earlier.
This was perfectly understandable, although no one was blaming him, since they all made the same mistake.
Kenya didn’t think that anything was wrong until he went to search for him after the nurse shooed all the visitors away. Watanabe was sitting on one of the shabby benches in the most deserted part of the hospital with an unusually large ring of cigarette butts around him.
“You are going to get lung cancer really easily, you know.” Kenya commented bluntly, sitting down beside his coach, carefully covering his nose with the sleeves of his jacket.
“How is Kuranosuke?” was the reply.
“He’s fine now, although the doctors say that he have to remain in the hospital for a few more days.” Kenya automatically quoted out what he had been told, before he suddenly frowned. “Sensei…when did you start calling him by his first name?”
“Oh, I sometimes do.’ Watanabe said in a seemingly careless manner. “So he is perfectly alright? How is he in the emotional sense?”
“I think he has recovered in that aspect too. But as you said, it is really hard to tell with Shiraishi.”
“That boy can be so foolish.” Watanabe said as he clenched the almost finished cigarette into his fist, almost oblivious to the brief pain.
“He can be stubborn.” Kenya agreed before he moved on to the main point. “But why didn’t you go and see him today?”
Instead of answering, Watanabe lit another cigarette, despite the protest that came in the form of coughing.
“I didn’t let him do what he wanted.” He said after a very long pause. “I know that I should stop him but at the same time I was well aware that Shiraishi was determined to finish the game. That was why I didn’t ask for suspension earlier. I was deciding whether I should allow him to do what he wished, or stop him as I didn’t want him to continue.”
It was the way his voice suddenly changed that made Kenya examine the whole thing with a new perspective-somehow his coach did not seem to b speaking as a teacher anymore.
“I should have stopped him earlier, but I didn’t. That is my fault because I was afraid, afraid that he would hate me for not letting him do what he desired, for choosing my wish over his.” Watanabe repeated again. “This is why I didn’t go and see him. I am not ready yet.”
“Sensei…you would have dragged anyone in that situation off quite sometime ago, but because he was Shiraishi you didn’t.” Kenya finally realised. “That is your real dilemma, isn’t it? Because you care for him so much, you are afraid of being too protective, and so you hardly interfere whenever Shiraishi is concerned.”
“Do you want to send me to jail, Kenya?” his coach asked bitterly, his hand slightly shaking.
“Of course not! But that is the truth, isn’t it?”
Watanabe didn’t even know when the whole thing began- was it at his first meeting with the rather grim and shy boy? Or was it when his tennis skills impressed everyone so much that he was allowed to be a regular, even though he was only in his first year?
Or was it much later on? When he first saw the youngest regular practising all alone in the deserted court, pushing himself to exhaustion due to wanting to be on an equal level with the others.
Watanabe had wanted to hug the boy and tell him that he didn’t need to go this far. But he didn’t, knowing that this gesture would probably scare Shiraishi greatly. When the previous buchou of Shitenhouji asked him why he was staring at Shiraishi throughout the next practices, he was well aware of the possible dangers.
That was why he didn’t voice any protest when the team decided to let the first year be buchou from next year, even though he, unlike these boys, could foresee that it might be a bad thing for Shiraishi. Likewise he didn’t really comfort Shiraishi after last year’s national out of the fear that he would overstep him role of the coach.
So he let Shiraishi do almost everything himself, as well as continuing to play his perfect tennis, even after he discovered what Shiraishi really felt about it.
He was fully aware that people often perceived him as being irresponsible, but he could live with that. Beside, he usually stepped in during dire circumstances.
Usually, not always. Yesterday was an example of his failure.
“But you should still go and see him.” Kenya pressed on.
“I will,” he said softly. “But only when I can control myself.
He must conceal his emotions as he certainly didn’t wish to go jail. Even more importantly, he was too afraid at what the young boy would feel- he knew that Shiraishi was still too young.

“Osamu-chan, what took you so long in visiting Shiraishi? The youngest member of the tennis team immediately demanded, slipping to his normal way of addressing his elders.
“Paperwork and all that kind of stuff.” He muttered.
He was trying to make sure that he wasn’t looking at Shiraishi in case he lost control again, but this was pretty difficult, as Kintarou quickly guided him to the seat beside the bed.
“I am sorry for making you do all these extra work, Sensei.” Shiraishi began.
Watanabe quickly waved the protest away. “I should be doing them any way.”
The unusually large pile of food suddenly caught his attention and the captain of Shitenhouji immediately laughed aloud when his gaze followed that of his coach’s.
“Kin-chan insists that I eat these instead, because hospital foods are poison.” He said as he ruffled his kohai’s hair affectionately. “I think he stood outside the door and told every single person that they have to bring some sort of foods or drinks if they want to enter and visit me.”
“Hospital foods are poison.” Kintarou said firmly, before he suddenly screamed. “Was that the poisoned hand?”
“No, it was my right hand.” Watanabe had to smile as he could see that Shiraishi was trying his hardest to not laugh. “But Kin-chan, why don’t you take this cake to the kids at the room beside mine? I have something I need to discuss with sensei.”
“Kin-chan,” Shiraishi began, raising his left hand.
This was actually the first time anyone in the school has seen Shiraishi’s left hand un-bandaged. Even though Watanabe knew that Shiraishi’s hand was obviously not poisoned, he was still clueless about the reason of the bandages.
The skin on the left hand was naturally paler due to being bandaged for so many years, but the surprising bit was the numerous long scars on his left forearm.
“I’ll go! I’ll go!” Kintarou all but ran out with the cake.
“He actually thinks that these scars are the result of my trainings.” Shiraishi explained with a slight smile, although Watanabe felt that he was a bit nervous as well.
“What were they caused by?” Watanabe asked, fighting down the urge of taking the boy’s hand into his.
“When I was in elementary school, my neighbour back then had this really scary cat.” Shiraishi began. “I was playing with sparkers when it came across my way and well…it didn’t like being burnt. Since that day I was told to bandage my left forearm until the scars all fade, or, as my mother said, people will think I am suicidal.”
A long silence elapsed, only to be interrupted by the brief of exchange of ‘How are you now?’ and ‘much better’.
“My parents rang me this morning.” Shiraishi suddenly said. “They asked me whether I want them to take me back to Osaka, although I still have to stay in the hospitals there.”
“What did you tell them?”
“That I will return with the rest of my team.” At this he suddenly laughed in a rather boyish way. “I think you might need to convince them that I really was injured in a game. They seem to have some sort of vision of me being mobbed in a deserted alleyway.”
“Shiraishi…” a long pause appeared, but Shiraishi did not try to break it this time, as he understand that his coach need this silence in order to tell him something important.
“Shiraishi, can you forgive me?” Watanabe finally said, his voice barely audible.
“Forgive you for what?”
“For failing you on both accounts.” He admitted. “I didn’t let you do what you really want- to finish the game as there was a possibility of you winning.
“I also failed in the fact that I should have made you get off court earlier- but I didn’t realise that you were injured that bad…” he had to bent his head slightly in order to hide his face with the brim of his hat, as a frown appeared on the young boy’s face.
“Sensei…it seems that I should be the one apologising, as well as thanking you.” Shiraishi answered simply. He was not smiling, but his expression was very warm.
“The doctor told me about what might happen to me if I kept on playing. If I am really lucky then I can come out of the hospital with no side effect, but it is likely that my joints would suffer some negative injuries that would be permanent. I am really grateful that you prevented this by forfeiting the game for me and sending me to the hospital.
“I admit that initially I was angry at you for not letting me continue the game, but the doctor made me realise how stupid that is. If you didn’t do anything then I would have continued pushing myself as I would not know when I should stop. So I apologise for being so ungrateful.”
“But I should have stopped you earlier.” Watanabe began.
“You didn’t know that I was really injured so you believe that you should honour my wish- I thank you for that too.”
It wasn’t just due to that…Kuranosuke, Watanabe thought to himself.
But they were words that still could not be said so he could only nod and take the cup of tea from Shiraishi, was it an offer of gratitude or pardon?
“The tea is a gift from Seigaku’s tennis team.” Shiraishi explained. “Rokkaku’s coach is in the hospital as well, so when he come over to talk to me this morning, he boiled this tea for me.
“I’m really glad to talk to him as he helped me to understand so much stuff. The thing is, Sensei,” Shiraishi began. “There were times when I was really frustrated with you for dumping almost everything onto me, but Rokkaku’s coach made me see that what you did is actually a great compliment. It means that you trust me that much.”
“Or it can simply imply that I am lazy.” Watanabe pointed out bluntly. He didn’t want an idealised image to be built up, because disillusionment was a great pain for both parties.
“But you are a good coach.” Shiraishi said with a firm shake of head at Watanabe’s words. “I now realise that you actually always help me out when I can’t do something. Most of all, what you did yesterday finally made us all know that you really do care about us- that you would do the best for all of us even if we are too idiotic to understand it.”
“Are you really acceptant about every thing then?”
“I’ve done everything I can to take my team to the nationals this year so I can accept that we lost. As for that singles one game… I now see that I did the right thing for my self and my team. I will cause them to be guilty throughout the rest of their life if I destroyed myself for their sake. They’ve all talked to me about this and it is much easier to think once you are off the field, so I am not that unhappy.”
Watanabe ended up staying until the time when all visitors had to leave, although many other people also came to see Shiraishi during this period. He didn’t really know why but he took off his hat and placed it on Shiraishi’s head, almost covering the young boy’s face, when the nurse announced that visiting time was over.
“Let this be the promise that I will come and see you tomorrow morning with gifts.” He declared out.
“And bring food for Shiraishi!” Kintarou reminded him, while both Koharu and Hitouji began to examine their coach’s infamous hat.
Watanabe was glad that Shiraishi’s face was hidden by the hat as his smile might really tempt him to do something that would either send him to jail or get fired, as well as scaring the young boy away. Although it was not as if the boy would accept him when they stop being coach and student, so right now he was merely glad to be beside Shiraishi.
Yet he still smiled slightly as he took a final look at the young boy who was surrounded by many others. No matter what happens, he was happy that he had these three years of memories.

Author’s Note: Initially they were going to play against Higa, so Shiraishi would probably be playing their captain. To be honest, I think if you have to pick some one to like from Higa then it is most likely to be the captain, or at least for me it is. At least he kind of have this sense of ‘doing it for my team’, although he is still quite evil…in the sense of his whole the end justify the means idea. But I changed my mind and decided to let them face Rikkai again, and have Shiraishi facing Kirihara. Technically, I think Shiraishi is much better then Kirihara as Fuji played against Kirihra and won, while Shiraishi beat Fuji. And I think Fuji’s initial skill is better Kirihara’s and since Shiraishi easily dominated the game…but Kirihara is the only person I can see who is not in Higa, to cause this scene. And well, is it possible for Shitenhouji to score two games? Well, I just want to put that in for my fan fiction.

To Rikkai fans who happen to read this, I’m not saying Kirihara is a complete bastard because I don’t think he is like that. I think he just goes psycho when he goes into his red eye mod. I actually believe that he is not that a bad kid. Well, I like to believe that he would actually feel bad after some time have passed. (I’m sure that the scene when he insulted Tachibana in the hospital did not happen.) Also, I actually quite like the scene when Kirihara prevented Sanada slapping Yanagi. I like to think he would actually feel guilty for what happened in this story later on, when he is no longer in his red eye mod, at any rate I am sure the others would feel quite bad about this- that their opponent might have win if it isn’t for the fact that he was deliberately injured. As well as being so injured that he literally fainted on the court.

This is one of the first times my story involves a pairing of the same sex. So please review or leave a comment!!! I mean, I have written a Sukysio Yoru and Ran one but that’s kind of different. Heck, I don’t even know how to categorise this story, cause Watanabe is twenty seven! So if you sort of enjoyed this story, or just want to be kind to me, then please tell me.

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The semester is finally going to have lived half of its life, so we get a break of two weeks. Not that it is a break…no, as always it is a fake holiday. I have an essay due the week university start again, then another essay due the week after. So everyone, guess what I’ll be doing. Yes, researching and researching, then writing and writing, then editing and editing. But wait! There will be the break of tidying my notes. (cries) Although I am grateful that we get two weeks of no class, as otherwise it will be quite difficult to get everything done. But still (roll on the ground like a little kid) I want a holiday! (cries again).

Alright, rant done, does it help? I don’t know, but does it help? I don’t know, but at any rate it is good to sort of get it out. I finally finished my two tests this week. To an extent my work load this semester could be much worse. I got two tests done so it means I don’t have to worry about them that much in the term break, and I only have two essays to prepare for. (but still, one essay is 2500 words and is with 50%) But anyway, I sort of celebrated this, well not really, as we weren’t going to that restaurant in there because of me, we were just going there anyway. But with my mum and my sister, we went to a yakiniku restaurant – basically grilled meat. And right now yakiniku just remind me of Genius 341-344 in prince of tennis, the whole Yakiniku competition. And the result of dinner…grilling the meat is pretty difficult cause raw meet is sort of stick and you have to like put it at the right angle, and sometimes it end up being covered onto other parts instead. Basically it’s hard to put it in the right place- although this can indicate that I am not very good at using chop sticks. But this then made think of what happened in Prince of Tennis. Shiraishi’s ‘perfect way of grilling meat’, and my conclusion: Pretty amazing! Sinee he easily put the meat in the right place. Alright, what the heck am I saying? I’ve been reading prince of tennis a bit too much lately, I even wrote this really weird what if scene which I will put up on my blog later on, but it was kind of a stress relief. (Muse: What about your other stories? Why didn’t you write them as a stress relief instead?)

But anyone, moving onto the second part of the entry, a very interesting song. Albatross-sis is sort of reading bleach, I don’t know though, and I can’t really bother to find out. But anyway, she was listening to one of the character songs and she told me this: “the song is being sung in a kansai accent and it doesn’t even sound like Japanese.” Me: “Really, that sort of thing can happen? Me want to listen! Me want to listen!” After Prince of Tennis I love Kansai accents now, I think the correct title is Kansai-bin, I am not really sure. But I love Shiraishi’s voice, especially his kansai-bin. It just sound so nice! I’ve turned into one of Albatross-sis’ friend, Bottle-sis (alias also), who always tend to favour characters with Kansai-bin. So I can’t wait to see the rest of the semi-final OVAs, when the rest of Shitenhouji’s tennis team come out. I actually like Oshitari Yuushi much better in the anime (from the little bits I have watch) because of his accent, although his accent is regarded as being super exaggerated.

But anyway, back to main point, to bleach. The song is ‘Hyori’, sung by Yusa Kouji (遊佐 浩二), and it is a really nice song, I highly recommend people to download and listen to it, especially if you are like me- who have a weak spot for Kansai-bin. As I listen to the first verse of the song…I just cracked up, because you can actually tell that he is singing with a kansai accent, although Albatross-sis says it is probably because he is singing in Kansai. But the song is so nice, although I was told that the character is actually a bastard. But the song is really nice. This is the lyrics, which I got with the song. I don’t know whether the lyric is from, so if the person who translated this happens to read it, please don’t be insulted. I am not doing this on purpose and I will immediately acknowledge you as the translator. And I’ll also put the romanji of the lyrics up.

Kokoro ni mo nai koto wa
Setsumei surun ga
nigate na dake ya
Sou yanen
Sou yanen…

Boku wa tayasuu
ken wa nukahen
dakara mettani
egao igai ni wa narehen

Sono ba Sono toki
Itsumo honki ya
Se yakedo sore wa
kokoro no soko to urahara

Face and back
I won’t say
what I don’t mean
I’m not good
at explaining things
That’s right
That’s right…

I don’t easily
draw out my sword
which is why
I can’t put on any expression other than a smile
I can’t…

At that place, at that time
I always pull out
my actual intention
However somewhere in my heart
I’m inconsistent

The seiyuu who sang this song, obviously the seiyuu for the character, is actually in Prince of Tennis as Shiraishi’s coach, well, Shitenhouji’s coach: Watanabe Osamu. And the funny thing is Watanabe is actually based on the character of Urahara Kisuke from Bleach- who basically wears a bucket hat and have a similar attitude. (I kind of wish that he did both role, as that would be kind of funny. But Urahara is voiced by Miki Shinichiro.) But Urahara’s attitude seems to be a “I don’t usually step in until it is really serious” too. But the song is so nice that I am actually in a dilemma, because if Shitenhouji actually get character songs, it is not likely that Watanabe will get one, yet he sings so nicely. (sniff) I almost want him to voice Shiraishi instead, but note, almost. I still like Hosoya Yoshimasa much better.

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The third year of this fan fiction is much longer then the other two years, I spent five chapters in doing the third year, while I only spend a total of five chapters in write about the second and first year, so I decided to split the third year chapters into two, the first part will be when he is still in Osaka, while the second part will be when he is in Tokyo.

Author’s Note: In this chapter the rest of Shitenhouji’s team will finally be coming out but they wouldn’t be playing that a large role, and for the sake of the story I’m going to change Kintarou’s arrival. I’m not sure whether he is a new student or not but it seems that he might be, for this story he isn’t.

Third year: the new tennis team

The tennis club started with the arrival of their two new stars: Chistose Senri and Tooyama Kintarou. Chitose was immediately given the credit he deserved as he had already established a reputation for himself in Shishigaku. Tooyama Kintarou was noticed as well, but for to the wrong reason.
Trouble happened only a few weeks after the start of this school year. Shiraishi was playing against Chitose while Oshitari was taking his turn of looking after the first years when the loud scream broke out.
Nodding apologetically to Chitose, Shiraishi broke away from their match in order to investigate.
“Oshitari, what happened?” Shiraishi asked briskly.
He felt much more confident as the captain this year not because of his previous experiences, but because he was the unchallenged captain. Nor did he feel reluctant to demand something from his vice-captain, as they were in the same year. It was not easy to order someone about when he would acknowledge them as his elders in his mere address.
A very frightened first year immediately ran up to hide behind him for protection, his face very pale; he began to mumble something about not wanting to die, as he was only joking.
Turning to the direction that the scared boy came from, Shiraishi almost chocked. The wires of the fence next to Tooyama Kintarou were actually bent outward, and judging by the position of the young boy’s fist, he must be the one that caused this.
“A strength that might be able to rival with Ishida’s,” Shiraishi said.
“So that’s the situation.” Oshitari quickly explained, having finally recovered from his shock as he actually saw Kintarou damaging the fence.
“Well…” Shiraishi’s attempt of establishing authority was stopped by another shout of horror.
Much to their surprise, it was from the seemingly fearless Kintarou.
“Poisoned claws!!!” Kintarou yelled out, pointing to Shiraishi’s left arm. Since the weather was relatively hot, Shiraishi took off his jacket, which naturally left his bandaged left arm completely exposed.
“Poisoned claws?” Shiraishi repeated in puzzlement before he suddenly smiled, as he was remembering his cousins’ reaction when they first properly meet. His aunt had to spend a long time calming them down. He probably shouldn’t scare his cousins with the threat of untying the bandages if he gets really angry, but his aunt was the one who started this in the first place.
Speaking of his cousins, one of them once made him read out this manga about a martial artist who had some sort of poisoned hand that he hide by bandaging it. They ended up spending quite sometime starting at his hand long after he finished reading to them, debating whether it was black or poisoned.
He used to think that the oldest one would soon outgrow this belief, but he might be wrong, as he was face to face with a first year junior high school student who appeared to truly believe that his left hand was poisoned.
This could be a good way to control Kintarou, especially when he was obviously not someone who was easily restraint, and judging by his unusual strength, it was probably wise to have a way to prevent him from going berserk other then asking Ishida to physically do something.
He decided that he would do what he did with his cousins- he went along with their stories without contradicting or openly agreeing with them, so he was not really lying.
“Tooyama, what was said to you is wrong and I will punish him. But you shouldn’t damage school property or threaten him. Do not make me use this,” he said easily with a wave of his hand when the boy in front of him prepared to protest.
The seemingly fearless Kintarou must genuinely believe that Shiraishi’s bandaged hand was poisoned as he nodded with out any further complain due to the threat. The other first year was clearly so relieved at being saved that he would have agreed to do anything that Shiraishi demanded.
“The punishment will be helping me to clean up the tennis clubroom after practice for an hour.”
“You are going to clean up the club room?” Chitose asked in some surprise.
“I always clean it as I am the one that uses it the most.” The captain of Shitenhouji said in a matter of fact tone.
This was his standardize punishment, although he almost considered ordering them to run around the nearby fields, which he heard was what a certain school in Tokyo do.
But the main reasoning behind his action was that he did not want or like disrupting pre-existing schedules. Making them stay behind to help him clean the court and clubroom was quite successful, as most did not like having to remain in the school for the purpose of cleaning. This also gave him more time as his overall cleaning on Saturday afternoons would not take so long.
Of course, he didn’t need to do almost all the cleanings himself, but he believed that he should do most of the proportion as he was the one who used the tennis court and club room the most. Yet he believed that the overall cleaning should be done by others too, since it involved things like cleaning all the lockers and shelves.
This also help him to know some of his own club members more, and it would certainly be interesting to be acquainted with Tooyama Kintarou.

The other first year was still frightened of Kintarou despite the presence of their captain, so he volunteered for the more difficult task of scrubbing the clubroom’s exterior, leaving Shiraishi with Kintarou to divide the inside chores between them.
Kintarou was obviously the very opposite, as he began to chat very intimately upon seeing the school’s past photos and medals within the very first five minutes, not even bothering to address Shiraishi with any suffixes.
“I want to be in the team too!“ Kintarou said, staring at the trophy that proved Shitenhouji being third in the nationals last year.
“Most schools usually don’t let first years be on the team, although…” Shiraishi began, but was forced to stop as Kintarou interrupted him once more. Most would call him disrespectful, but Shiraishi didn’t really mind as he felt that Kintarou was probably like that with almost everyone- so it was not a direct insult towards him.
“Why not? I’m really good, I really am!” The first year protested. “I’ll show you!”
Before Shiraishi even says anything, Kintarou charged out of the room with his precious racquet. Shiraishi gave a slight shrug before he followed with a smile, taking his own tennis racquet.
Kintarou was certainly very bold but was that really a bad thing? He himself lacked the boldness of standing up to rules and if he did not play against these seniors due to chance, he might never have ended up on the tennis team during his first year. Despite his self-doubts about being the captain, he knew that he was an asset in his first year, even if he and his captain lost the match that would have took them to the semi-finals of the Kansei Regional, which would have let them go to the nationals that year.
He certainly didn’t see why a first year should be forbid to try for the team if he was really good, especially if they already had previous knowledge of tennis. Sometimes a first year could easily have played tennis longer then a third year.
He him self started playing at a very young age, although he technically didn’t get any proper trainings until elementary school.
Was telling the truth an act of arrogance? Shiraishi wondered as he just managed to prevent Kintarou from scoring. The younger boy was certainly very good.
He was also gifted with this incredible strength despite being so petite. Shiraishi was aware that if he had not saw what Kintarou did to the fence and prepared himself, then his racquet would have been knocked out of his grasp more then once.
They stopped after the hour passed, and this was one of the few times when he was not bothered about not having finished something that he set out to do. He was also completely unsure about what the result might end up as, it was certainly the hardest challenge he had since the last nationals.
“You do deserve to try for the team.” He said between struggling for breath, although Kintarou did not appear to be affected “I…I’ll work something out.”

After being the captain for more then a year, he had enough experience with his coach to know that the answer to most questions would be “go and do it if you think it is a good idea.”
Nonetheless he still headed toward the coach’s office.
Although some of the regulars on the team last year and the year before that would call their coach by his given name Osamu with an affectionate chan, Shiraishi still tended to address him as ‘Sensei.’
“Let me guess, you are here to tell me that you want to let Tooyama Kintarou try for the team.” Watanabe said easily, showing that he was fully aware of all that was happening.
“Yes, I played a match with him yesterday, and he is very talented.” The captain said. “But I don’t want to do this in a way that will single him out…”
“As you were? Shiraishi, he’s not like you. He is not going to care.”
“This is not just for him, but for any future first years like him or me. After all…” Shiraishi began the result of a night’s pondering. He was really reassuring and explaining to himself as the reaction after his long speech was what he worked out even before he entered.
“Is that what you told the one who was my captain more then a year ago? When he told you that he wanted me to take part in the end of the year match?” Shiraishi suddenly asked rather bitterly, pausing at the doorway. Perhaps it was due to his nervousness at the changes he would soon impose, or maybe it was anger at the seemingly lack of support, that finally made him realize this. “Did you really not know what I did not understand at thirteen, or what my captain did not foresee at fifteen?”
If he was looking at his coach then he would see the strange expression that appeared. If he would not interpret it as guilt, then he could not deny that it was regret.
“But did you not do a good job as the captain last year?” Watanabe quickly asked.
“So Shitenhouji’s tennis team is the most important thing to you- their coach.” Shiraishi whispered.

Third year: Shiraishi’s final decision

Should Shitenhouji’s tennis be his ultimate first priority, since he was the captain? Shiraishi asked himself as he took out his precious photo. He and Ashita had posed for this photo after she received her birthday present from him. He had shyly put his arm around her waist, while she placed one of her hands over that hand of his, and used her other hand to pull the ribbon he just tied onto her hair forward.
“Should I go this far for tennis?”
No, not for tennis, he corrected himself, this is for my team. For my school, and of course, for my captain.
He thought of Ashita’s words to him that evening- she was probably right as he would be quite happy if he was in his captain’s place. But somehow he just couldn’t convince himself of this.
He wasn’t sure whether he wanted to devote himself to tennis completely, since it meant giving up all the others things that he liked: spending time with his cousins, hanging around with his friends, and most of all: being with Ashita.
She once asked him why a captain’s win or lose was so important, when she found him in a rather low mood after he lost a match. He told her that it was because a captain’s action reflected his whole team.
It was also really difficult to lose as the captain because he felt that he let his team down, and things were often worsened by being in singles 1- where his result would determine their overall win or lose.
Most of all, no one really comforts the captain, or even tell him that he was not to blame. He was the one expected to do these things.
His third year team mates last year were all kind, but since he was their captain they easily forget that though his skills at tennis might be better, he was still less experienced in areas like common sense.
Additionally, he felt so bad and even guilty as he did not always use perfect tennis last year, he might have been able to win more and things might be different. But he didn’t take the opportunity of bringing his team further as he did not like the method.
Was he not obliged to act in the interest of his team when he chose to be their captain?
“I own them this.” He finally decided. “So I must do everything I can in order to win this year.”
His decision was finally made, as the last of his doubts were resolved.
“I am so sorry…Ashita. But I have to devote myself to tennis completely, and it is not just to always play perfect tennis.”

Telling his aunt that he probably couldn’t spend much time looking after his cousins this year was less difficult then his other task. An elder was more likely to understand his wish of focusing on his school work and tennis. Although like many adults, they did not believe that in this situation, he would really do all that he said he would.
He wanted to break the news to Ashita in a very mild way, as he truly cared for her. He still wasn’t sure whether he was in love with her, but he knew that she was not just a friend to him. He was very certain of the fact that he liked her the best- and that such liking was probably the closest he was feeling towards love right now.
But he had to break up with her and to delay it would only hurt her more. He finally decided that he would do it the next time he saw her, so he should have the whole of tomorrow to prepare himself.
Those who were close to him and those who were highly skilled in tennis could realize that he was rather occupied during their practice, He was not playing with his usual skills, and everyone in the tennis club knew that Shiraishi was not someone who would do things by half when tennis was involved.
“Did you fight with Tanako-chan yesterday?” Konjiki asked slyly as their captain walked past with the list of the tennis team for this year.
Later on, Konjiki described the glare Shiraishi gave him to Hitouji as ‘ten thousands times more scary then a Medusa’s petrifying stare.’
“Tanako-chan?” Chitose asked curiously as he lined up with the rest in order to hear the results being announced.
“His girlfriend…” Konjiki started speaking, but wisely stopped when he saw Shiraishi turning to his direction.
“….and finally, Tooyama Kintarou.” Shiraishi ended his reading by announcing that those who were not in the team could all go home now.
He managed to arrange some sort of match for the first years and it was actually not as troublesome as he had anticipated, as only less then half of the first years believed that they had the ability to try for the tennis team. He and his vice-captain just had to witness a few matches, before they decided who should be allowed to do what they want.
As Shiraishi had guessed, Kintarou ended up being the sole first year on the team.
He really should have showed more enthusiasm during the reading as his two closest friends in the tennis club were in the team again, while Ishida Gin did succeed in being on the team this year.
“We truly have a very good team,” Shiraishi continued to his new team mates. “This is why we must all work hard in order to reach…Ashita?”
“In order to reach tomorrow?” Chitose, Zaizen and Kintarou repeated in puzzlement at his strange turn of speech. (For those who doesn’t; know, Ashita is also the word for tomorrow, and in her case, she really was named after the word tomorrow, The kanji of her name is the kanji for tomorrow.)
“Ah…Tanako Ashita is here.” Konjiki and Hitouji announced.
“In order to reach the nationals and eventually…” Shiraishi continued, deliberately focusing on his team mates, instead of the person outside the court. Although he was cursing what ever cause that made her come now, especially after his resolve.
He already felt really bad for what he decided to do, but Ashita worsened it by simply holding his hand without any reproach. He almost wanted to just let everything continue.
No, I can’t do that, he told himself before he turned to Ashita. “We need to talk”
“We do.” She agreed with a nod.
“Let’s talk in the tennis clubroom.” This was a very significant decision as these past glories would not fail to remind him about what he had to do.
His resolution wavered once more when he noticed her clothing: it was that sakura patterned yukata- what she wore when she went to the festival with him: their first date, and her hair was tied with the hair ribbon he gave her.
“I thought the karate club is not having any activities this Saturday.” He began, fiddling with his racquet.
“We don’t. But I come to see you.” She said, smiling slightly. “With the exception of our class, we hardly see each other this year. No…it started every since you returned from the nationals. I know that you want to win, Kuranosuke, but aren’t you being a bit too obsessed? Tennis is important, yes, but it shouldn’t literally be everything. You can not play it every single moment of your life.”
“Ashita, I have to make it everything because my goal is to take the team to the finals of the nationals.” He told her. “It is not an easy goal, so I must do almost anything.”
“Almost anything and everything, Ashita, I truly like you so much but I have to do what I will do because…”
“Because you feel guilty when you didn’t do anything wrong at all.” She snapped, her hands now clenched together, as she guessed what he would soon say. She did consider whether he would go this far, but she never believed that he would.
Especially when she decided to prevent this by being absolutely understanding and forgiving. She could understand his devotion to tennis and even admire him for it, since she did feel the same thing for karate.
“But to dump me because of this?” she whispered, almost crying. “How…why don’t you count how many hours we actually spend together outside school time? It isn’t much, Kuranosuke, and it is getting less. Nor have I ever demand you to be with me”
“But as long as you are there I will be tempted to spend time with you instead of using that time to practice.” He told her. “This is why I have to break up with you.”
“Kuranosuke, you are an idiot!” in the midst of her anger she had to grab something to prevent her hands being used in the wrong way, and the closest thing happened to be his tennis racquet.
He knew that she didn’t take it and swung it with the intention of hurting him, as she could easily send him to the hospital just by her knowledge of karate. Nonetheless, to be hit in the stomach with a tennis racquet does hurt quite a lot, so he still let out a cry.
This must have made Ashita aware of what she just did as she quickly threw the racquet away and turned to him in great concern: “Are you alright?”
“I am.” He assured her. “But Ashita…”
“Goodbye Kuranosuke,” she interrupted him with a rather cold voice, but tears were actually streaking down her face. “Unless…unless you want to tell me that you were lying, that it was just a joke. It would be a really malicious joke but at least it means that you are not breaking up with me.”
“I would never joke about something like this.” He stated steadily, although his voice was very sad.

Unlike the others, Konjiki and Hitouji did not leave, as they were truly concerned for their friend. They first saw Ashita walking out of the clubroom in tears- she raised her hand to wipe her face with the sleeve of her yukata, but as she was now sobbing so violently, she was actually shaking.
Luckily, she did not notice them at all.
They found Shiraishi half slouching on the ground, half leaning against one of the lockers, his tennis racquet at the other end of the room- as if he threw it there. He wasn’t crying, but his expression was so desolate that they both wonder how he managed to control himself.
“We broke up.” He finally said when they hoisted him up and forced him to sit on one of the benches instead. “And no, I don’t want to talk about it.”
The two very close friends gave each other a quick glance before they nodded, deciding to tell their other friend the truth. To let him know that this was all his own fault would make him feel even worse, but he could only gain forgiveness if he knew what he did wrong.
“Well, it can’t really be that a surprise, can it?” Hitouki began, making his tone as kind as he could, “You guys used to go out once every week, but starting from the holidays you probably only see her outside school on an average of once every month.”
“So you can’t really blame her for dumping you.” Konjiki added.
“She didn’t dump me, although I think it would be better for her if she did.” Shiraishi corrected, his voice very low and he seemed even more upset.
“You broke up with her?” the two of them yelled out in sheer disbelieve.
He nodded, as it was too late for him to reverse this now.
“You idiot!” Hitouji said angrily, “Shiraishi, most girls in her situation would probably have dumped you a few weeks ago!”
“How can you break up with her?” Konjiki demanded at the same time. “Don’t you know how lucky you were? She is so understanding.”
“I did it for our tennis team, I have to take us to the nationals no matter what. And one way to do it is to make sure that I will win my matches.”
Shiraishi staggered up in order to pick up his racquet and return it to its rightful home- which was also where he usually put the photo of him and Ashita. He spent some moments debating whether he should throw it away, but decided against it.
If anything, it would serve as a reminder.

Author’s Note: So what happened to Shiraishi is that during his second year he decided that he would play perfect tennis as that would give his team a more likely chance of winning, and therefore reach the nationals. This year he decided to break up with Ashita because, as he said, she would distract him. And I think it was also because he knew that she might talk some sense into him and therefore he might change his mind.
As I said before, some how I want to make Konjiki and Hitouji his closest friend in the tennis club, I think most would assume that he and Oshitari would be closer and I do think that they are pretty close judging from the manga but I don’t know…for some bizarre reason I just think that he is actually really close with Konjiki and Hitouji.
Many sources say that Watanabe is some times referred to as Osamu-chan, but somehow I’m letting Shiraishi calling him sensei, although I’m not sure whether he does call him Osamu-chan, I only know that Kintarou definitely does, but Kintarou is not a really good example. And Oshitari is referred to by his last name, because I think the only reason he is referred to by his first name in the manga, is due to the fact that there’s another Oshitari in Tokyo, so calling him Oshitari will be too confusing. But since Oshitari Yuushi is probably not coming out in my story, I will be referring to Oshitari Kenya as Oshitari. A side note: I really like the bit the two cousins talk in genius 246/wild 2, because (I’ll use their first name to avoid confusion) while we can sort of understand Kenya- since Kintarou is in his school and team, I can not help but to think about the following in regard to Yuushi: ‘what are you boasting for? Ryoma is not even in your school!’ Which is what Atobe said. 
As I said before, my knowledge of tennis is pretty much zero- if not minus something- so I still don’t really understand why Shiraishi’s perfect tennis is boring or whether he can choose to play perfect tennis or not. I like to think that perfect tennis is just one of the ways he play and that if he doesn’t want to, then he can actually not play perfect tennis and still be really good at tennis, just not as good. As for Ashita’s comment about tennis not being everything, what she means is that he is so obsessed that he seems to be ignoring literally everything else.

Third year: departing for Tokyo

Shitenhouji certainly managed to distinguish them self this year, starting from taking first place in the Kansai tournament again with a clean sweep. This then automatically place them into the nationals.
As the captain of his team, Shiraishi was obliged to go to Tokyo before the rest of the team and club in order to attend a meeting with all the other captains of the teams that would be participating in the nationals.
Everything- ranging from their lodging to permission slips- were arranged, but he was still a bit worried due to one a particular person.
“And make sure that Kintarou can get to Tokyo safely.” He instructed Oshitari one last time.
“Shiraishi, he’s in junior high school! I think he does know how to take the train.” His vice-captain said with a roll of his eyes. “I swear…in regard to that kid you are almost like the vice-captain of Seigaku that Yuushi told me about. Why do you have such a concern for him anyway?”
“Because he couldn’t even label Osaka on the map correctly.” Shiraishi pointed out, placing his luggage down. The two of them had run all the way here with his belongings as a way to use this time as ‘training.’
“You even make sure that he does his homework. Seriously, should you be bothering about that?”
“I shouldn’t, but because he is like…”
“Please don’t say ‘your self’, as nothing can be furtherer from the truth.”
“No, he definitely does not remind me of myself,” Shiraishi laughed out at the absurdity of Oshitari’s words. “But he’s like a younger brother to me-I feel obliged to look after him. A bit like my cousins…”
No sooner had he mentioned them, they appeared and all four tried to grab the two empty seats beside him- yelling out that they want to keep Kuronote-niichan company.
“Well…I better go then,” Oshitari decided, “Say hi to Yuushi for me if you somehow see him and actually recognizes him.”
This was similar to what had happened almost a year ago, only that it was his mother who accompanied him to the train station. She insisted on waiting for the train to Tokyo with him, but in order to not embarrass him, she brought her sister’s four children to make it appear as if she was only there due to his cousins.
But she was unable to get out of work today, like his father, so the task either fell to his aunt or uncle.
The main difference was that Ashita was not here. He was truly glad of his cousins’ presence as they forbid him to think about her due to their numerous chatters.
“Why doesn’t Kuronote-niichan come and see us anymore?” the second to youngest protested, crawling over her sibling in order to hug him by the neck, since she was still young enough to do this.
“I have been very busy due to school.” H e told her.
“But Kuronote-niichan always used to see us in the winter holidays.” Another protested.
“I have to practice tennis because I am going to compete with people from other parts of Japan. But tell me,” he quickly changed the subject, referring to their new babysitter, a cousin from their father’s side. “What is your new neechan like?”
“She is mean!” the youngest finally sobbed out. “I want Kuronote-niichan or Ashita-neechan!”
The oldest one quickly tried to hush his siblings upon seeing Shiraishi’s changed expression, as children were actually very perceptive.
“But doesn’t Ashita-neechan like Kuronote-niichan anymore? Or don’t you like her anymore?” one of them still asked. “Otherwise, why can’t we talk about her?”
“I…I still like her, but she is angry with me because I…” Shiraishi began, knowing that he would have to explain to them soon enough as she accompanied him on this job too often.
“Is it because you haven’t been visiting her?” one of them said.
“I guess that is one way of putting it.” He muttered. “Oh, the train will be here in five minutes…”
“Kuronote-niichan, you should make her stop being angry with you by spending a lot of time with her,” the second youngest continued, not releasing her hold on his neck. “That is how we will stop being angry with you for not coming to see us.”
That will only work if she doesn’t hate me now, Shiraishi thought sadly.
They still shared a desk, but what had once been something that they were very glad of, had become something that they both dread. Going to class and sitting together was very awkward as she usually refused to look at him, let along speak to him. Because he was rather young he did not understand that this might be a sign of her still caring for him, his actions still hurt her as she still likes him.
Nor did he know how he should react. He could not pretend that nothing happened, but he didn’t want to hurt her again.

Ashita was about to go home when she suddenly remembered that she hasn’t brought all the things her siblings asked her to buy. Perhaps they purposely gave her this errand of buying a month’s supply in order to keep her occupied, as today was the day Shiraishi was departing for Tokyo. About a year ago, she was waiting for his train with him. She could still remember how nervous he was.
She hoped that his cousins would be with him, to prevent him from brooding too much. She still cared for him greatly as she still liked him.
Her siblings had been paranoid about her ever since Shiraishi broke up with her, and she could not blame them, as her mother had showed them that what you felt at fourteen might never go away.
As for their reaction to him…
“His action is simply something that we cannot understand.” Her sister had whispered to her brother when they thought that she was finally asleep, after having spent the whole night crying. “As he is doing what we failed to do.”
“That is true, the reason we gave up tennis after senior high school was not because of our lack of money, or the death of tosan and kaasan. It is because we were not prepared to go that far, to be that devoted to tennis as to make it everything.”
But they failed to understand that his sacrifice was not for tennis, but for his team, Ashita thought as she took the bag from the cashier. She knew him well enough to be fairly confident that he would not be playing his perfect tennis if he was not such a responsible captain. Nor would he dump her in order to improve his skills almost zealously.
“Well, if it isn’t Tanako-chan. Fancy meeting you here.”
“Sensei.” She said politely as she easily recognized Watanabe Osamu by his rather distinguished hat.
Her tone was rather cold as she wasn’t sure if she liked the coach, because she too realized that he should have foreseen what they did not at thirteen: letting Shiraishi be the captain in his second year would have negative consequence as well.
“I don’t have many regrets but one of them is that I did not forbid Shiraishi to participate in his first end of the year match, or help him when he became the captain.” Watanabe admitted. “But Tanako-chan, could any one have foretell that Shiraishi would go this far?”
This was true, as Shiraishi’s desire to win for his team was so extreme that it was almost an obsession. He wasn’t just making it his priority, he was also eliminating anything that might distract him from it.
“Isn’t he leaving Osaka today?” Ashita said, ending her train of thought. “Well…I’m sure that the tennis team will do really well since their captain is so devoted.”
The young girl was obviously still rather reluctant to talk to him, so Watanabe decided to move to the point. This really was a chance meeting, but he was actually going to look for Tanako Ashita the next day.
“Here, take this.” He said as he pressed an envelope into her hand. “This contains a two-way ticket from Osaka to Tokyo, a pass that will let you attend any games in the nationals, and lastly- the address of my aunt-who you can stay with during you time in Tokyo as you will probably not want to stay in the lodge with all the other boys.”
“Why…why are you giving this to me? Kuranosuke…Shiraishi and I are…”
“I want to mend things. I probably played a huge role in what happened to Shiraishi, so I am responsible for what he did to you.” Watanabe admitted. “I can tell you now that Shiraishi still feels the same way about you, he often looks at the photo of you and him when he thinks that no one will notice.”
“I still like him so much too, but what he did to me…”
“Tanako-chan, let me put it this way. Imagine that you are the eldest child who somehow ends up being the only bread winner. You are at an age when you can leave school and make quite some money- but you refuse this as you want to continue studying. As a result, you only earn some money due to a part time job, which is just enough to prevent great poverty. Then you graduate and is offered two jobs- one pays considerably more but requires you to go to a foreign place, which means that you have to leave your boyfriend.
“Do you understand what I am saying?”
“I would take the job that pays more as I would feel that I am obliged to do this as my own want prevented my family from having a better life at that time.” Ashita admitted reluctantly. “But it is still different. Kuranosuke…Shiraishi took his team to the semi-finals of the nationals, as well as being the winners of the Kansai regional’s.”
“But is it similar enough to make you consider going to the nationals in Tokyo?”
“I will think about it.” Ashita decided. “But it doesn’t mean that I will go.”

Once on the train, Shiraishi took out the book that Konjiki, with some help from Oshitari, made for him. It consist brief data of all the captains and co-captains that will appear in the nationals. He first tried to see if there was anyone who was like him- who was also the captain since last year.
He frowned at the names Sanada and Yukimura. While he hoped that Yukimora would be able to recover from his illness, because you would simply wish that for almost anyone, he was not fond of Rikkai at all. How hypocritical it was for them to criticise his own team last year for the mere fact that he was the captain when their three strongest players were in the same year as him.
Not that he could like them this year, if these data was accurate. It was true that he often lecture his team about the importance of winning, and did almost everything he could in order to win, but there was a fine line between expectation and result. He strongly disagreed with the idea of punishing any loses- because there was no one who could never lose.
The same logic prevented him from liking Hyotei. He thought that their method of removing someone from the school team was even more stupid then Rikkai’s vice-captain slapping anyone who lost. Regulars gained their title due to being the best, and to replace them with some one not as good due to a small mistake was extremely foolish.
The ringing of his phone started him because the ring tone was one that he hasn’t heard for more then half a year now- the one that he used for Ashita’s texts and calls.
All she said was ‘Good luck.’, but that was enough for him, especially when she only talked to him out of necessity in class. The last time that she willingly spoke to him was on the day that they broke up.
He didn’t know why she sent this message to him, it was probably not an sign of forgiveness, or even an acknowledgment of understanding. But nonetheless she wished him good luck, and that was enough to make him even more determined.
He would like to give her a very long reply, as there was so much that he wanted to tell her, but that would be going a bit too far. So he simply sent the following to her.
‘Thank you.’

Author’s Note: Well, as I said before, I really think that Shiraishi sees Kintarou as a younger sibling, and like many others, I think that Kinarou’s academic learning is probably not very good- I thought the end of OVA 14 is really cute. Shiraishi’s reaction when Kintarou asked him what does that word mean. “You haven’t really been studying, have you, Kin-chan?”
Note- the conversation with his cousin, since they are quite little (the oldest one is only eleven) I have been trying to give them words that children their age would use.
I think Kawamura mentioned in the OVA that Shiraishi is pretty fast so somehow I can see him receiving some advice from Oshitari and maybe training with him a bit.
Lastly, Shiraishi’s view on Hyotei and Rikkai, I admit- they are my views too. But I don’t think that him saying this is too out of character. He doesn’t punish his team for losing or anything, and the rest of his team all seem to be able to acknowledge defeat well enough. And as I said before, I really don’t think winning is literally everything to him, as he wasn’t that happy about his win to Fuji. If he really thinks that the most important thing is winning, then he would be celebrating hard out. As for what I said about Rikkai, this is in the manga, not in the anime. In the manga Sanada actually hits anyone that lose, but then- his own team mates accepts this too. They think this is right. And Sanada makes his own team mates hit him when he lost. Nor did he take their award in the regional as they only accept first. Sanada is actually portrays as a very different character in the anime- he doesn’t hit anyone and he seems more polite, more likeable.
This is sort of random but Shiraishi give me an impression of one of those people who would be very scary when he loses his temper- as he usually seems so amiable…Maybe a bit like Fuji…

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Second year: the start of the year

A list of all the classes was posted right on the door of the school hall, and Shiraishi immediately made his way to it although he knew that he still remained in the same class. But it was not his own name that he was looking for.
Tana…no, that was Tanaka, not Takako. He continued to scan the list, hoping that her name would be there.
Tanako! That was the right last name, but it might be someone else, as her last name was pretty common. Instead of checking if it was her name, he quickly scanned his eyes down the list, to see if there was any other Tanako in their class.
There wasn’t, so he’ll have to do it now.
Tanako…Tanako Ashita.
“Shiraishi, why are you checking the list? You know that you are staying in Class B.” one of his classmates and friends asked him curiously.
“I am just making sure.” He said, causing the other to roll his eyes slightly.
“You are always so careful. Well, there it is, Shiraishi Kuranosuke. Come on, let’s go. I don’t want to be late on the first day.”
“You are always late.” Shiraishi replied back easily, now very cheerful. He was glad that Ashita was in his class this year, as well being relieved due to the fact that he spot her name before his friend came, as he wasn’t sure how he would explain.
Most of his class members were outside the class room, as their teacher believed that the best way to arrange her student’s seating was to line them up in height order before they even enter the room.
He actually saw Ashita even before she even noticed him, she was talking to some girls rather animatedly, laughing. One of them seemed to be one of her friends from Class C, who also might have managed to move up.
They have talked to each other in the holidays, and then used cell phones to communicate since they were both lectured for using the family phone a bit too long. But despite this, they haven’t really gone anywhere together.
She spent most of her holiday working- in the store her sister worked, while he was occupied with looking after his younger cousins. He had no siblings, but his mother’s only sister had four children in total. He liked being able to be a big brother, so he never objected to looking after them, and his aunt even pays him.
Under the careful instruction of their teacher, they begin to line up into two lines, arranged by their height. This ended up letting Ashita and him almost standing right next to each other, since they were of the same height.
“Shiraishi!” she greeted him happily. “I got in the class!”
“I know! I saw your name on the list when I walked pass the hall.”
“Class, class, please be silent as I arrange your seating.” Their teacher announced.
The two of them naturally obeyed this but they both gave the other a smile before they turned away, both hoping that they might end up sitting quite close to each other, if not sharing a desk.
Unlike some of the other junior high schools, Shitenjouki still have their students sharing desks. Instead of using single desks, they use the old fashioned large tables that were shared by two people. (Author’s Note: I guess I just want this for some weird reason, although I think most school in Japan use single desks instead of these ones. They are basically like a large table with a large space for drawers and it is divided in the middle, so because it is really large, you can have two people using it, and it is divided in half. I remember using these desks when I went to school in Taiwan quite some times ago. I just remember how it does kind of help you to become friends with the person who shares your desk.)
They begin to grow more positive as they were sure that the number of people in front of them was the same, and since their teacher rarely alters the order, they probably would end up sitting together for the whole year.
“Next table, Shiraishi Kuranosuke and Tanako Ashita.”
They both gave their teacher a brief nod, as if neither of them really cared about the outcome. Their teacher smiled good naturedly, as she could tell that they clearly want to sit together, since they kept on glancing at the other. But they did not show their relief due to worrying about the reaction of their new class mate. She was quite happy at this, as it meant that there would be one less complaint. Most of the students usually accepted her seating arrangement, but there had been extreme headaches that arose from disagreements.
Shiraishi and Ashita already had rumours attached to their names due to the fact that they often spent time with one another, so many in the class were looking at them. But the two of them were not even looking at each other, as they both seemed to be completely occupied with putting their things into their side of the desk.
“Class, please leave Tanako and Shiraishi alone just because they are being mature, as the rest of you should be.” The teacher announced. “Boys and girls are not that different and should start to mingle together.”
“Yes, sensei.” The class echoed as they finally turned away from Ashita and Shiraishi, more due to the fact that nothing was going on, and their need of sorting out their own stuffs.
Shiraishi scribbled something in his homework diary before he quickly shoved it into her side of the desk.
‘I am so glad that you are in my class, and sitting beside me, I would like us to be closer friends this year.’
A few moments later the homework diary was back in Shiraishi’s desk, only that it contained an extra sentence.
‘Me too.’

A year ago, he had entered the tennis club as a hopeful first year, one among numerous others, but now he was the captain of everyone in this room. Most of the third years smiled at him as he took his new place at the very front, one of the only two in the uniform of the tennis team. Because of this the first years were looking at him with something that was between admiration and reverence.
Overall, it was easier then he expected, he just had to give a pre written speech about the tennis team and club, along with a brief summary of what happened last year. Most of the first years were too lost in their own dreams of fame, while the second and third years were all deeply occupied with the ranking matches that would soon occur.
One thing that worried him was the gossips he accidentally heard from a couple of first years as he instructed them about the right way to hold a racquet.
“I heard that the captain is only a second year student, and was in the school team last year, even though first years aren’t usually allowed to be in the team. Apparently he managed to be in the team as he beat everyone else.”
“You three, don’t talk so much.” Shiraishi quickly interrupted them. “You have to concentrate more.”
“You are certainly famous.” Konjiki whispered as his friend walked past him. “But this will probably work against you.”
“I know.” Shiraishi said as he gestured at a group of second years some distance away. “I suppose I can only enjoy being the captain before the result of the ranking match is displayed. I only hope,” he added, “That nothing bad would happen.”
“Shiraishi! Don’t neglect us!” the only one other then him that was in last year’s team yelled out from the other end. “I might be your elder but you are still obliged to point out my mistakes as you are the captain.”
It was a reminder to both Shiraishi and anyone within hearing range: because the end of the year match made Shiraishi the captain of both the tennis team and the club, everyone was obliged to listen to him- despite any resentment or circumstances.

He felt rather disillusioned when he worked out the result of the ranking matches, he had thought that he would be happily preparing himself to welcome his new team mates for the year, and he should be happy- both Konjiki and Hitouki made into the team, while Ishida was so close that Shiraishi was positive that he would be in the team new year.
But he was unhappy as he realized that he had to be the one to handle the disappointment of those that failed to make into the team, and he realized that there were actually people who resented him in the tennis club because he had been allowed to participate in the ranking match despite being a first year, as well as the end of the year match. This was worsened by the first years who innocently repeated these gossips.
“This is not what I expected.” He admitted out aloud to the empty tennis court.
What did he expect? He thought that he would be accepted as the captain for the mere sake that he won the end of the year match, as all the past captains were, but he could not be deaf to some second years’ complaint that they might be in his position if they had been allowed to participate in the end of the year match…if they had the special privileges that he had.
“That’s all just because last year’s captain likes him, as he played double with the captain.” Someone had purposely said out aloud when he walked past, he probably said more, but Shiraishi was not in the mood to continue listening.
He was not sure what he should do. Should he remind them why the captain allowed him to join the ranking match in the first place? Because he saw Shiraishi winning against the first years, then the second years, and even beating many of the third years. This interested the captain enough to play a match against the first year, and although Shiraishi did not win, he convinced the captain of his potential and capability.
Shiraishi hit the ball with full force as he recollected the boy he had beat before he was noticed by the seniors. Would Oshitari be in his place if he had been the winner that day? At least Oshitari definitely thought so.
Oshitari would probably cause him problems when he announces the result of the ranking match, as Oshitari did not make into the team, while he, being the captain, was automatically in the team. The worst thing, he realized, was that he actually quite likes Oshitari, and if he had not end up in the team last year, they might have become quite good friends.
“I’m not even sure if I want this any more.” He realized. There probably were people who protested against his presence in the team last year, but he never really had to worry about that, as someone else- usually the captain, or a senior on the team, would defend him.
But he was the captain now. The one expected to be dealing with these problems.

Second year: exchanging secrets

He was rather quiet at dinner that night, but his parents did not worry that much, since their son was entering his second year in junior high school, and he was also the captain of the tennis team and club. It was quite natural that he was stressing slightly due to the new pressures that he would have to face.
Still, they decided to confirm this.
“Kuranosuke, the nearby temple is holding their annual festival this weekend.” His mother began tactfully as he obediently rose to help her clear the table after their dinner, making sure that every place was wiped. “Are you going to come with us tomorrow?”
“When have I not gone to it?” he asked curiously. They would always go with his mother’s sister and her family, and after he spent a certain time looking after his cousins he would be allowed to have the rest of the night to himself, spending the money that he just earned.
“Well…since you seemed a bit occupied lately…” she commented, but her son quickly assured her that the cause was simply what she and his father had already guessed.
Instead of returning to his home work, he picked up his cell phone instead, dialling Ashita’s number. They were closer now, and often spend lunch time together. He was now sure that she was not just a friend to him, as instead of feeling embarrassed at the teasing of his classmates, he almost wanted them to be true.
But did Ashita like him as he liked her? Or did he just happen to be the strange friend that she made who happened to be a boy? Were they even close friends?
Excluding their walks to the train station at most days, the only place that they went together was their classes. If they went to the festival together, then wouldn’t that be a development in their relationship?
Friends do this too, he assured himself as he pushed the dial button, so she shouldn’t be that shocked.

This was probably the first time that he would be happy to see his cousins go, Shiraishi thought as the four younger children all cluttered around him. It was not because he didn’t want to be with them, but because he really wanted to spend sometime with Ashita in a place that was not their school, or the way towards the train station.
“Kuronote-niichan,” one of his cousins began, obviously speaking on behalf of all of them, “Can you go to that stall and win the lolly jar for us?”
“What?” Shiraishi almost spat out the water he was drinking, as his cousins were never that demanding. Was the whole world really going crazy just because he wanted to be with Ashita?
“The lady at the stall said that to win the gigantic jar that big,” another one gestured, only to be quickly corrected by a younger sibling, who probably just increased the size by at least three times. “You just have to use a racquet to hit this can some distance away.”
“It’s like tennis isn’t? That sport you always talk about.” The youngest whispered, tugging at the end of his jumper, since he could not be bothered to change this time. “Mummy always says that Kuronote-niichan is really good at it.”
“And you don’t have to pay the entrance fee.” The oldest one added, “We’ve saved up all our pocket moneys ever since we saw the price last year.”
“Ok, I’ll do it.” Shiraishi said simply, as there was nothing else that he could do.

It was strange but he actually felt more nervous then what he had felt at both the ranking and end of the year match. Was it because the consequences of the loss would be so severe? To see his cousins disappointed was worse then simply losing, because if he didn’t manage to get in the team last year he still had next year, and likewise, he could still participate in the end of the year match this year. He did wish to succeed, but he would not have been that miserable if he failed, because it was not a chance that would slip away forever.
But how long would it take his little cousins to get that amount of money again, and would this price still be here a year later? He would attempt again by using his own money if he didn’t already know that his cousins would not accept it.
Young as they were, they were taught very well.
He was starting to understand why the captain had want him to pursue his perfect tennis, because some times you should make sacrifices in order to win due to the consequences of winning, or just losing.
“Please let me get this.” He whispered as he threw the ball into the air.
He must have succeeded as his cousins were soon screaming his name, one of them was even hugging his legs.
“Are they your siblings?” the woman in charge of the stall asked as she handed the jar to him. “What a good brother you are.”
“No, they are my cousins.” He quickly explained.
It was Ashita, although she looked rather different as she was wearing a yukata with sakura patterns instead of their school uniform. But he was more occupied with the fact that she was watching him with a very puzzled expression, instead of the way she dressed
“Is that Kuronote-niichan’s girl friend?” one of his cousins whispered out.
“No, no, I mean yes, I mean no.” Shiraishi began, confused at what he should say. Technically she wasn’t his girl friend, but he wanted her to be.
He saw her frowning once more as she heard his cousins addressing him by their special name for him, so that was what she was bewildered about. For a moment he was scared that her agreement of attending the festival was only in his mind.
“I was going to the place we arranged to meet when I suddenly saw you.” Ashita explained before she turned to the two that accompanied her. “Well, niichan, neechan, this is the person I’m meeting.”
They were obviously the beloved elder siblings that she had talked about, and judging from the way her sister was glaring at him, he was sure that he would not be able to make it home if he accidentally said anything that might make Ashita upset.
But Ashita was smiling at him, so he was certain that she was quite glad to be with him as well.
“She is very pretty, Kuronote-niichan.” One of his cousins giggled and upon seeing her mother approaching to collect them from their elder cousin, she yelled out. “Mummy, look at Kuronote-niichan’s girl friend!”

“I am so sorry.” Shiraishi said once more, when he and Ashita finally managed to be left alone, after her elder siblings’ warning to him and his aunt’s examination of the Ashita in a way that almost seemed as if they were marrying!
“But you family is nice, and I guess they all care for you greatly.” Ashita said. “But why do your cousins call you ‘Kuronote’? I thought your name is…”
“My first name is Kuranosuke but because of this,” he gestured to his bandaged left hand as he explained. He usually unwind the bandages when he get home and only put them back on before he goes to school, or outside during day time, but he didn’t want Ashita to see the true nature of his left hand, even though he was wearing a jumper. “They thought that my name is actually ‘Kuronote’, black-hand, as they think that the skin beneath the bandages is black”
“But why is your left hand bandaged? Every one is curious about that.” She asked innocently.
“That…that is a secret, Tanako.” He said softly.
“Can you tell me?” she asked. “I’ll tell you one of my secrets in exchange, so you can be sure that I wouldn’t tell anyone else.”
“What is your secret then?”
He was sure that he could trust her, but he never told the real reason to anyone ever since that incident in pre-elementary school. Upon seeing that part of his left hand due to a play ground accident, none of his former playmates had wanted to play with him again. Even though his class mates were all at least thirteen now, he was still a bit paranoid.
“A lot of my friends ask me why I always wear yukata when I am not in my uniform.” She began, “That is because I don’t have any other clothes. My parents died when I was very young, and at that time niichan just started university, even though neechan was beginning to work. Because of this we had little money, so neechan and I decided to save money by only wearing yukata since neechan can get cheap fabrics from her job, and make the yukata herself. Neechan is really good at this,” she added, “She made this yukata and isn’t it pretty?”
“Very pretty.” He agreed. This was quite a secret, as every one would probably gossip about her lot if they found out that she was so poor that she could barely afford clothes. “I’ll tell you only if you promise that you wouldn’t be scared.”
Seeing her nod he began, sharing something that he has never told anyone willingly before.
“I have a skin disease on this part of my hand,” he began. “It’s not contagious but…”
“But everyone usually think it is?” she said in a very understanding way, “One of niichan’s pupils had some sort of illness too, and no one would go near him, even though it isn’t contagious either.”
“That’s why I’ve never told anyone this,” he continued, “But what happens is that this part of my left hand can’t be exposed to the sun for a long time, if it does then my skin begin to have rashes and even start to peel.”
“So that is why you cover it up with bandage. But why are you doing it now? Its night time and you are wearing long sleeves.”
“Well…I was afraid that you would see it.” He mumbled. “That part is really pale and…”
“That’s silly,” she interrupted him, although her tone wasn’t angry, just a bit exasperated. “I am not just going to stop liking you because your skin is different from every one else’s.” she scolded
What…what did she just say? That she liked him? But maybe that was only the way that a friend might like another friend.
“You like me?” he repeated dumbly. “Really?”
She gave a nod, although she was blushing now. “I like you, I really do.”
“I like you too,” he told her very shyly, “Ashita…daisuke.”
She nodded once more as she accepted his stretched hands.
“I like you the best too.”

Author’s Note: I thought this chapter was quite fun to write, especially the scene at the festival. To be honest, I initially didn’t thought this would end so long, it’s mainly due to the festival scene. Initially it was just going to be the two of them meeting up and confessing to one another. But I like the additional bit of his cousins, as that is kind of a way to show the development of his character.

In regard to his hand, I know that he used it to scare Kentarou but I really don’t think that he would purposely bind up his hand in order to do that, so I really think that there was something wrong with his hand in the first place that requires him to bandage it up. Well, Oshitari is naturally referring to the Oshitari in Osaka, not the one that went to Tokyo. Just in case although I’m sure that everyone knows.

In regard to what they said to each other at the end of the chapter: daisuke, it means ‘like the best’ and it is usually used by younger children more. So that’s how Shiraishi and Ashita got together and once more I have to point this out: they are very young, only thirteen.

Shiraishi’s name is Kuranosuke but his cousins call him Kuronote because as I said, they thought that his hand is black due to the bandages and sort of mishearing his name when he was first introduced him. I just wanted to do this bit, although I’m not even sure whether anyone would be calling him that later on. But basically Kuronote is like a nickname from his cousins. Kuro means black, while te means hand. So combined together it roughly means black hand.

Second year: to be the captain

As Shiraishi expected, Oshitari and many of the second years who failed to make into the team immediately protested as he read out the result.
“What is unfair about it?” Shiraishi asked, forcing his voice to be rather cold. “You all participated in the ranking matches but did not have enough wins to be it the regular team.”
“Shiraishi is right.” The vice-captain added quickly. “And Oshitari, you will not be in Shiraishi’s place even if you had won against him that day a year ago. I’ve played against you both and I can tell you right now that he is better then you.”
“Then let him proof this by beating me right here.”
“You cannot expect someone, even if he is the captain, to win every single match.” Shiraishi said disapprovingly. “It wouldn’t mean anything…”
“It might show that I only lost to you last year due to chance.” Oshitari retorted back sharply.
Shiraishi has semi-assessed both his and Oshitari’s skills by the result of last years’ end of the year match, and this year’s ranking match. He was probably able to beat Oshitari, but he was not absolutely certain.
“Shiraishi, you probably have to do this,” the vice-captain advised him. “I know that it is not a smart thing but…”
“Given our situation right now, I have to beat him in order to maintain peace for the club and team.” The younger captain acknowledged the truth bitterly.
I have to win, he realized.
This was exactly like the incident in the festival during the weekend. He was in a situation where he would do anything in order to win as the consequences of losing was simply too great.
At least he had his perfect tennis- that should help him.
“Alright,” he finally announced. “But I want everyone to know that this is only happening because after I beat Oshitari last year, I was asked to play with the seniors- which eventually led to the Captain breaking rules for me. What we will do is only allowed,” he repeated again, “because he might easily have been the one in my place. It is only due to my breeching of rules in the first place that allows us to ignore the rules of our school.”
Seeing the nods of agreement from everyone, including the trouble makers, he turned to directly address Oshitari. “If I win, then you will accept me as the captain, but if you win, you will only take my place as a member of the tennis team, and you will play against all the regulars in order to decide who the new captain will be. This is fair isn’t it? Since I had to play against everyone to be the captain.”
“He will only be the vice-captain if he is unable to win against me.” The vice-captain butted in heatedly. “If he fails what you succeeded in.”
“Yes and that too. Oshitari, do you agree?”
The two second years immediately moved into position upon Oshitari’s nod in order to begin the match.
Oshitari, as Shiraishi recollected, was unusually fast. But luckily, this would not hinder him as no matter how fast you were, what you could do with the tennis ball was still limited; and because he studied all the rules of tennis in order to develop his perfect tennis, he was relatively familiar with all of them.
Since Shiraishi was not finding the match that difficult, Oshitari was naturally experiencing the very opposite. He could not understand how Shiraishi was managing to counter his every move despite being much slower then him- it almost appeared as if Shiraishi was foretelling what he was doing.
“Right now, Oshitari relies on his speed too much.” The vice-captain commented. “As for ‘our captain’, it seems that he can predict what his opponent will do.”
“This is because he knows all the rules of tennis much better then us,” the only senior who was in the team last year explained. “He can predict what Oshitari will do quite correctly because he knows how each serve is formed, as well as what the ball will do.
“This is perfect tennis.”

The victory of Shiraishi over Oshitari ensured most people’s obedience, if it failed to gain their admiration and respect. This was one of the first occasions that caused him to wonder about the importance of winning. He also began to feel that he must win every single match since he was the captain, least he was doubted once more.
He started to use his perfect tennis more and more as the year went passed, likewise he was spending so much more time on practising.
However, the real cause happened in the semi-final of the nationals, when they played against Rikkai.
Shitenhouji lost all of their first three matches.
Yes, all three matches were very intense and Rikkai only managed to win by a very narrow margin in each match. But did that matter at all? No matter how close or exciting the matches were, the winners were the winners, while his own team would eventually end up being regarded as only the ones who lost- not the team who might have won, or the team who gave Rikkai their greatest challenge in the nationals this year.
For his team mates’ sake, he participated in their wild celebrations upon their return to Osaka. He even cheerfully told every one that they should all be celebration as they won their last competition in the nationals, therefore taking third place.
It was not as if he was lying, yet he felt as if he was. He believed that he failed his captain- who broke all rules by allowing him to participate in the ranking match in his first year, and then letting him be the captain, as well as spending so much of his own time in teaching him personally.
Was that why he found himself wandering in the empty school instead of going home like everyone else? He spent a long time staring at their latest award and kept on asking himself why he wasn’t happy, before he finally gave up and went out to the tennis court instead.
“You wanted me to be the captain so I could take our team far, because you thought that I have the potential do so.” He said out aloud as he began to serve. “But did I really succeed?”
He began to question whether another person in his position would have done a much better job then him, whether things might have been different if someone else had been the captain this year.
He didn’t notice how hard he was swinging his racquet until Ashita forced him to stop by grabbing the racquet away from him. As soon as he stopped, he realized that his hands were so sore that they were almost limp.
“Kuranosuke, what are you doing?” Ashita demanded, almost screaming at him. “What is wrong with you?”
After a long silence, he told her the only thing that he could think of: “I am practising. But how come you are here?”
“Practising at this time?” she snapped back. “On this night too? And you want to know why I am looking for you?” she continued sharply. “I waited at least an hour for you before I decided to leave and find you.”
At her words, he immediately remembered that they had arranged to go on a date today. How could he forget about this out of all things? And she said that she waited for an hour, so he must have been here for at least two hours.
By now she had forced him to sit down on one of the benches. She then sat beside him with his racquet out of his reach by placing it on her other side.
“Ashita… Are you angry with me?”
“I was,” she admitted, using her free hand to touch his forehead. “But I am worried now. Anyone would be after they saw their boy friend practising tennis as if he was possessed. I almost hope that you are sick, because if you are not, then I seriously don’t know what is wrong with you.”
“I…I just feel bad at the result.” He confessed, as she was the only one that he could tell this too.
“Kuranosuke, our school is third out of the whole of Japan,” she began gently, “You told me that the last time our school was in the nationals was about four years ago and did not even reach the quarter finals. So, why are you unhappy about such a good result?”
“I know that but I just feel that I should have done better. The last captain…”
“Would be so happy at what the team achieved with you as their captain.” She interrupted him, in frustration this time. “It is not as if things will be that different if you are a third year now!”
“I have to practise as I want to be the captain again, Ashita.” He suddenly announced, continuing over her loud protest of ‘are you even listening to me?’ “To redeem myself by taking Shitenhouji to the finals next year.”
“What can you do next year that you haven’t already done this year?” she decided to try a different approach since her previous attempts of reasoning were clearly failing.
“To play with winning as the only purpose.” Shiraishi said grimily. “To ensure that I will win by always playing a tennis that is perfect.”
“But you don’t like playing that way…”
“If I am the captain then it is not just about me, because I will be responsible for the whole team. I am obliged to do anything that would help my team to win. I did not do it this year, so…”
Ashita was torn between wanting to scream at him, or retorting to literally beating some sense into him, as she was just so frustrated right now. She couldn’t understand why he was acting like this! Every one else in the tennis team were really happy at their schools’ achievement- as they should be.
Somehow she ended up clinging onto him instead, perhaps it was because she already guessed the full extent he would go to in order to achieve his goals.
“Last year was relatively good, and until now I am very happy this year due to you.” She said wistfully, upon his puzzled look. “But I think next year will be very different.”

He used his perfect tennis at this year’s end of the year match, and it did help him to reach his goal of competing for the position of captain. Ironically enough, his final opponent was Oshitari Kenya.
Oshitari has clearly used the year to strengthen himself, as he was no longer solely focusing on his speed and his other skills were much better. But Shiraishi himself had changed as well, not only has he decided to use perfect tennis from now on, he actually improved his own use of the tactic, not the actual thing because it was not possible to develop perfection.
But that was why perfect tennis was so boring.
The result of the game caused something that has never happen in the school tennis team before, the captain in one year would be the captain next year as well.
Shiraishi did not gloat in anyway, although he was very glad that he maintained his title. He simply walked to the net and offered his hand to the one that he defeated once more.
“You will be the vice-captain and a member of the tennis team next year.” He stated. “So can we finally put aside all our past problems and work together for next year?”
Oshitari grabbed the hand and shook it without any hesitation.
“You had my respect ever since you won against me at the start of the school year.” He replied back earnestly. “And now you increased it, because I finally realize what a skilled tennis player you are.”
“That’s just because I practice more then anyone else.” He said modestly.
At this reply, most members in the tennis club begin to mutter in semi-agreement. They all know that their captain often remain in the tennis court even after the club finished, while some third years could recollect how they used to see him practising in the early morning of last year. Of course, anyone who wished to join him could do so, but most discovered that they were unable to do that much.
“Let us all do whatever we can in order to go further next year.” Shiraishi announced.

Author’s Note: This is my reason of why Shiraishi have the idea of playing perfect tennis, as I said before, I think the sudden pressure and responsibility have a factor in what happens to him, and I hope that this chapter shows this.
I know that in the actual story there isn’t any 3rd or 4th place for the nationals, or at least it was never mentioned, but I decide to change this- in this story, Shiraishi and his team last year was third. I think it’s quite possible since they gave Rikkai the toughest fight, so they must be really good.

As for Oshitari in this chapter, well…I just decided to use him. So he and Shiraishi had some conflict but this is resolved so they end up as good friends. I don’t know but I think that this is not that impossible. It seems that their school doesn’t have a vice-captain, or at least we were never told. But I like to think that Oshitari being the vice-captain is not that impossible.

By the way: A big presumption that I have in my story: I am presuming that their school is co-ed.

Lastly, in regard to his perfect tennis- I don’t understand anything about tennis and my memories of tennis is that I couldn’t even serve a ball properly when I had to do it in school. I’m not reading the magna for tennis, but for the characters. But what I said about his perfect tennis is my theory, and as I saw someone said online- he was countering Fuji’s tennis by the rules, eg. that was what you are meant to do. So I think to an extent he can kind of predicts some stuff, like I think he managed to get the ‘disappearing serve’ because he knows that the ball is more likely to go that way or something. But it’s not the same as data tennis.

I’ll be moving onto their third year in the next chapter.

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