Title: Additional duties
Written at: September 12, 2007
Summary: On his way back to Osaka from the Kansai finals, Zaizen ends up having a conversation with Shiraishi that made him understand his buchou so much more, as well as some of the responsibility that comes from being the buchou.
Theme: What it means to be a captain, that it involve more then being one of the best players in the team.
Word count: 2364
Note: Zaizen kind of become the person to tell this story, although this is from his point of view completely. I think I do like Zaizen, even though I might have liked him the least in the very beginning as he was really rude to Kawamura (Kawamura is probably my second favourite character so…) But I think Zaizen is a very interesting character and somehow I believe that he’s actually not that a bad kid, just a bit sharp tongued. And I also believe that he has a big respect for Shiraishi.
Warning: I’ve included my own interpretation about Koharu and Hitouji’s relationship and since I don’t believe that they have that kind of relationship, you might not want to read about that bit if you strongly support these two as a couple/pair.

Zaizen gave another yawn as he stared at the scenery. For a boy his age, this was one long trip.
“How are you going to survive travelling to Tokyo for the national?” his buchou asked as he returned to his seat with two boxes of bento.
“I think I’m actually really enjoying distinguishing how each tree can look so different.” Was Zaizen’s dry reply.
“If you really want entertainment then I will arrange for Kin-chan to go to Tokyo with you.” Shiraishi suggested innocently.
Zaizen had to fight down the urge of openly cringing as Kenya described the time he had to travel with Shiraishi and Kintarou as ‘the greatest ordeal’, since he had to keep his eyes on Kintarou during almost the entire trip.
“And that was with Shiraishi, so I had some sort of a break when it got too much.” His senpai had added in horror. “I seriously don’t want to think about what would have happened if Shiraishi was not there.”
“Come on, it’s not that dreadful. It’s always great to talk to Kin-chan.” But his smile was suddenly replaced by a frown. “I wonder if he really is alright being on a different train.”
Shiraishi always take Kintaoru to whatever match that they needed to go, but the nationals require him to leave earlier then everyone else. He would much prefer to have Kintarou travelling with one of the team, but as Chitose pointed out bluntly and truthfully: “We are all really fond of that kid but only you can spend that long a time supervising him without ending up going mad.”
As a result, they decided to let Kintarou return to Osaka by himself as a trial.
“Despite labelling Osaka beside Mt Fuji I think he’ll manage.” Zaizen reassured Shiraishi, referring to the time they first saw Kintarou’s geography test. “At least he knows that Osaka is in Japan.”
“Are you seriously trying to make me feel better?”
The regulars all realise that Shiraishi treated the youngest member of their team in a different way, none of them minded since it was not really favouritism. The only difference was that Kintarou was more like a little brother instead of a following friend.
A question about Kintarou has been on Zaizen’s mind for sometimes but he never asked it as he believed that most people, even the regulars, would misunderstand. But since he was alone with his buchou- as they both missed the train they were meant to take- this was a good opportunity.
“Are you going to let him participate in the end of the year match?”
“No,” at his kohai’s stunned face Shiraishi quickly explained his reasons, and Zaizen was sure that he did not imagine the sudden sadness in his voice. “Being buchou and even fuku-buchou is not easy. I do not wish to make the same mistakes my own buchou made.”
“A mistake? But he made you buchou and you are a really good one.”
“Coming from our tensai that is a great compliment. Should I record it?” Shiraishi laughed before he turned serious once more. “Zaizen, what do you think being the buchou means? You might as well learn this now because you will probably be the next buchou.”
“Arrange everything and support everyone. Be the best in the club in order to help the coach to train everyone else.”
“I thought that too but that isn’t all. You listed what is expected but to be a good buchou you must perform additional duties. For example, you have to make sure that your team behaves…”
“Alright, alright, I was a bit rude to my last opponent.” The younger boy admitted due to the emphasise at the phrase. “But it was 6-0 in such a short amount of time, and considering that he said he was going to ‘trash this second year’...”
“But regardless of the circumstance, saying such a thing will make Shitenhouji look bad. So please restrain your self in the future. If you really want to trash talk, then do it inside your head.” Shiraishi scolded before he continued. “But as I said, you are obliged to make sure your team is behaving, but a good buchou should not achieve this through force. His team should obey what he asks as they believe that he is doing the best for them.”
Zaizen suddenly recollected the first time he met his buchou. Despite appearing rather cocky, he was quite worried about the person who would determine his experience his time in the tennis club. He actually expected Shiraishi to be extremely strict and even slightly Spartan like due to hearing about the amount of extra practises that he would do.
Instead, the buchou that greeted them seemed very good tempered and spoke to them in a rather gentle and soft voice. He had smiled kindly at the first years as he promised to help them in any way that he could.
It was not hard for them to believe him, especially when he was always so patient with everyone when they approached him, even if he was busily doing something else.
But there was a time when Shiraishi showed everyone that he was capable of being angry too. It happened in Zaizen’s first year, when a second year filled a can with stones and promised to give money to anyone that could hit the can and make it fall.
“You are charging them two hundred yens to do this.” Shiraishi had stated flatly when he found out. He did not raise his voice at all, but it was suddenly very cold, different from the way he usually speaks.
“But we don’t mind, buchou.” Someone had protested. “He says that he will give us eight hundred yens if we succeed.”
“Zaizen, come here.” Shiraishi ordered, indicating that things were a bit serious since he was not as authoritative in his first year of being the buchou. It was rather hard to discover where the line between disrespect to a senpai and the duty of the buchou rested. This then forbid him to order the first years that much in case this was seen in the wrong way.
“Hit that can for me, I think you can do it.” Shiraishi commanded, his voice still rather chilling.
Zaizen was naturally flattered at the faith his buchou put in him, but he was also scared because Shiraishi seemed to be in possession of the deep calmness that people only had when they were extremely angry.
“Use a lot of force.” Shiraishi added, his eyes narrowing slightly as he stared at the can.
Because Zaizen was a skilled player even in his first year, he was able to succeed in the first try.
“Well done.” His buchou told him briskly, before he turned to that second year. Many first years would have protested about the trick that was played on them if it wasn’t for Shiraishi’s expression. Even though he didn’t say anything for a long time, it was clear that he was going to do something.
Nonetheless everyone was still quite surprised when he suddenly raised his hand and slapped the offender on the face, the slap was clearly very hard as the noise immediately silenced the whole club.
“If I catch you doing anything like this again, then I will make sure that you are out of the tennis club.” He promised rather chillingly.

“You also have to help your team but not let them worry about you that much.” Shiraishi continued. “This is why I will not let anyone be the buchou before their third year, as your responsibility is not limited to the court, although that certainly is very important.
“You will still enjoy tennis,” unless it is perfect tennis, Shiraishi thought sadly, “But you have to be occupied by thoughts of the whole team. Even if you think that your team will lose, you still have to tell them the opposite.”
“Why did you agree to be one in your second year then?”
“Because I didn’t know what it means. I though I just have to continue playing tennis really well and tell my team ‘well done’ when they win, and ‘don’t worry’ if they lose.”
“No offence buchou, but I think you make it worse then it needs to be. No one will blame you if you want some sympathy from them, or if you are in a bad mood.” Zaizen stated rather bluntly, realising that this was probably the real reason why Shiraishi always seemed so cheerful and even hopeful. His real nature was probably not so optimistic, but for the sake of the team...
“Hitouji once said a similar thing: ‘You are the one who digs these holes.’” Shiraishi said with a sigh. “The reason why I missed the train is because I went to a shrine and spent too long in deciding which one of my two wishes I should ask for. In the end I just left, although I now realise that I should have asked for both, because it is not as if I could only have one.”
Just as no one forced him to break up with Ashita, he was the one who made himself choose between tennis and her.
As he stood in the shrine with these two plates in his hands, he realised that he could not choose this time. He wanted to win the nationals so much, but at the same time he couldn’t give up the hope of being with Ashita again.
“If I seemed depressed then it is because I am a bit stressed due to the nationals as I really want us to reach the finals this year.” He quickly said, which was true enough.
Like all people who made sacrifices, he was naturally nervous when the day of reckoning was approaching.
“I know what will help, playing a match against Koharu and Yuuji as soon as we get back.” Shiraishi suddenly decided, since these two always cheer him up with their joking tennis, although he was no longer so affected by it.
“Buchou…” Zaizen immediately protested.
“It benefits us and them.” Shiraishi explained. “They get to improve their playing style, while we are actually gaining a better concentration. This is why I always make everyone have a game with them regularly.”
“But they…Buchou, I don’t really have objections to that kind of thing but they can get a bit disgusting.”
Shiraishi probably spent a good five minutes starting at his kohai before he started to laugh very loudly. Zaizen didn’t know whether to be embarrassed at the fact that everyone else was staring at them due to his buchou, or for being the one that caused Shiraishi to be like this.
He was a smart enough kid, so this confirmed what he just discovered: his buchou really did bottle most things up to prevent them from suspecting. He was laughing so much as this was a rare opportunity for him to be able to release his emotions.
“Do you honestly think that Koharu and Hitouji are like that?” Shiraishi asked when he finally stopped laughing. “I thought that you would have worked out that they just like to behave in such an extreme way.”
Upon seeing that Zaizen was clearly unconvinced, he decided to reveal one of the great mysteries in Shitenhouji’s tennis club, another was the real reason of the bandages on his left hand. “These two always liked to joke around and most of the time they were allowed as they never did anything really extreme, but I think they wanted to. Their joking tennis then became a way for them to do so.
“They are also best friends, which is another motivation. Koharu told me this: ‘One day this bond of friendship will have to lessen as we will grow up and face situations that we can not do together. So we might as well spend time joking and mucking around together while we still can.’”
“So they really aren’t…”
“No. Does that make you feel easier around them?”
“I was quite scared when Koharu-senpai first called me ‘cute’.” Zaizen admitted, recollecting the way he had been welcomed into the team.

Zaizen was actually quite disappointed when they arrived in Osaka as it was not easy to get another opportunity to speak to his buchou alone. Even though Shiraishi was always willing to talk to anyone from the tennis team, it was much harder for the first and second years as he was often busy.
Since he was standing right beside Shiraishi, he noticed his buchou suddenly frowning when they got off the train, but the train station was so crowded that he didn’t know what had been responsible.
“I should have asked for my wishes.” Shiraishi finally said softly.
He saw Ashita walking past with a few of her friends. She seemed quite happy as she was laughing. It was not as if he was sadistic by wanting her to suffer, but it hurts to see her smiling so happily, especially when he knew that she would not do that for him anymore.
“Um…buchou…” Zaizen suddenly began. “I am kind of glad that I missed the train as I get to talk to you. You know how you said that a good buchou should be respected by his team member? Well, I do respect you as you are a really good tennis player and you do seem to care about us. I don’t think I would have enjoyed tennis so much if you haven’t been my buchou for the past two years.
“I don’t know whether I want to be try and be buchou but if I do, then I want to be one as good as you.”
Shiraishi let out a happy smile and due to the way Zaizen spoke he almost wanted to pat the boy on the head as he would to Kintarou, although he was barely taller then this kohai. “You will be able to be a good buchou if you can speak like this most of the time.”
“But it’s not easy for me to be so polite,” he admitted with an embarrassed laughter, “I guess that’s my additional duties.”

Final note: Another reason that Shiraishi is having this talk with Zaizen as I really believe that Zaizen will be the buchou next year, and initially the one shot was meant to be like this: Zaizen doesn’t want to be the buchou and upon being asked why by Shiraishi, he explains- after he realizes what Shiraishi did he doesn’t know whether he can do the same. So this led to them talking about what are the duties you should do and what are the additional duties.

As for that bit about Shiraishi slapping someone, I don’t know why but I can just see him doing that. (the whole stone and can thing is what a bunch of second years did to the first years in Seigaku in the very first volume. Since that is in the manga I just gave a dehydrated version here). While I do see Shiraishi as being very patient and good tempered, I believe that when he is angry it will be that kind of cold anger, which I think is much more scary. When I read the front of volume 38, when he told his team they’ll try to win by doubles, I actually felt that he is doing this for the team. I think he was a bit worried but for his team he act as if their doubles one would win with no problems at all in order to raise moral.

Lastly, about the reference to the temple, I am not really sure but I read somewhere that you write your wish on a wooden plate then hang it up at this place and pray for the gods to grant your wish. I couldn’t find that much information so sorry about that.
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