Title: A higher place
Written at: November 24, 2007
Summary: A chance meeting between Yukimura and Shiraishi makes the two boy question why they both want to be the first so much by refusing to accept anything less as being good. Told from Yukimura’s point of view.
Theme: The idea of wanting to do better even when you are already amongst the top.
Word count: 1533
Note: First of all, this particular story is dedicated to my friend penguin-chan, (aka as Nylee15 on life journal), I guess this can be a Christmas present to her. I had the idea for this story and then I wrote it, and then afterward I saw so many people writing fics for their friends. I know this sounds bad but this really is not an after thought, (I don’t just dedicate stories to people on a random whim.)
I realize that giving her this story is quite suitable because if I do not know her then I doubt that this story will be written. She is a Rikkai fan and I initially didn’t like Rikkai that much, but through out conversation she kind of makes me change my view toward them. At the very least she made me see that there is more to Rikkai then just them being the ‘final boss’.
When I begin to write this story, I decided to not tell it from Shiraishi’s point of view, what I was going to do, but from Yukimura’s point of view- a challenge, as this is the first time I told one of my prince of tennis fic from someone other then one of the members in Shitenhouji’s view. But because it is from Yukimura’s point of view, it seemed a suitable gift for my friend, as she lieks Yukimura a lot.

The stadium that had been previously packed was now almost empty saved for a few staff doing the last lot of cleaning and packing up. The few who took notice of the boy who walked in just gave him a brisk nod before reminding him that the stadium would be closed soon.
Yukimura was not sure why he wanted to be here. He wished for a quiet place to think and this was not the most idea location.
Maybe this was his mental preparation as he would be standing here in two day’s time with his team mates as a player for the first time after so long.
He knew that his team mates were all deeply concerned and rather paranoid about him even though none of them said anything at all, but they were all frightened that the miracle had a limit.
“We must win.” He said out aloud.
Everyone said this with the wish of it coming true for them, just as anyone would be worried due to thinking ‘what if’ despite every other circumstance.
Despite how confident the regulars of Rikkai appeared to be, they were boys like everyone else, so they would still be troubled by doubts. They were even more vulnerable now that the what if became the truth when they lost to Seigaku in the Kantou regional.
That was probably why he was here. He needed to be alone and ponder about every thing in order to not be distracted during the national’s final match.
The consequence of the final’s outcome was very great because it might permanently affect both him and his team members drastically. Losing the Kantou regional already made his team mates feel as if they failed him, while he could not help but to wonder whether things would be different if he had managed to be with them.
“We will win.” Yukimura repeated.
With the departure of the workers, everything was suddenly very still. He even felt that he could detect any movement or sound in the now empty stadium. This was not an exaggeration because he did immediately notice the slight shuffle behind him.
“Who is there?” he asked as he turned at the same time.
Shiraishi Kuranosuke was not really a stranger to Yukimura because they had met in the last nationals as the two second year buchou. But the reason he remembered the other quite well was completely different from everyone else- it was not because of the bandages that covered almost all of his left forearm, but because he happened to see the buchou of Shitenhouji staring at the bronze medal around his neck with a strange confusion after the presentation of the award a year ago.
As if he was deciding whether he wanted it or not.
“Yukimura-kun? I didn’t realise that someone else was here as well.”
He naturally waved that aside with some polite words. It was difficult for him to resume his thinking now that he was aware of the other person, but he could not just get up and leave as that was too rue.
“Congratulations for making into the finals once again.” Shiraishi’s words naturally made him return the following due to common curtsey: “Thank you, and congratulations for your schools’ victory today.”
Instead of the expected smile with a ‘thank you’, he was to receive the following bitter reply.
“Yukimura-kun, you saying this is almost like an insult.” Shiraishi informed him dryly. “People who see second best as a failure should not say ‘well done’ to those who are only third best.”
Yanagi had little data on Shiraishi as well, but what he had gathered has been enough to make them wary, especially after this year’s semi-final. Someone who could continue to remain so calm in such a circumstance was naturally dangerous, especially when he was also one who did not let people easily guess what was on his mind.
Because Yukimura was like Shiraishi in this way, he could still detect the other’s slight dislike behind these polite enough words.
“You do not like me or my school.” He stated.
“I can understand the wish of wishing to excel even if you are already at the top.” Shiraishi admitted. “But I do not approve your school openly announcing this and hurting those who did worse.”
“So we should be hypocrites like your school by accepting the award even though we do not want it?” the buchou of Rikkai immediately retorted back.
A slight smile actually formed on Shiraishi’s lip and Yukimura was sure that he was doing a similar thing. An understanding just passed between the two boys- they both still hold onto their own belief, but they no longer condemned the other for their view.
“But I must point out that my team was truly happy with being third in the national.” Shiraishi said. “I should be too…but somehow I wasn’t. I still don’t really know why.”
“Who can truly say that they will be satisfied with not being first?”
“But how many will see being third, or even second, as a complete failure?”
A silence elapsed as Yukimura was forced to consider the meaning of these words by thinking about what he had felt when he learnt about the result of this year’s Kantou regional, as well as what his team will feel if they could not win their next game.
One reason was because they had the potential of being first, although he knew this was not the whole answer: Rikkai would never be acceptant about being second no matter how good Seigaku might become.
“Would you be happy if your school was second last year?” Yukimura suddenly asked.
“I think so.” Shiraishi replied rather hesitantly, “Although I don’t think it is just because I know that Shitenhouji is much better then Majinofuji. But first is what I want, while second is acceptable- I am just not as ambitious as you.”
There were probably few who would argue against what Shiraishi just said, but Yukimura happened to be one of them.
It was also because Rikkai had been first in the last two nationals, and they had held onto the title of the Kantou regional for an even longer time.
Becoming only second best would be seen as a great fall.
“But I am happy with being third once again.” Shiraishi said. “I would love to be in the finals, but I am not unsatisfied with what I got. This is because I realised that there are other things that are equally important.”
Upon saying this, he stood up and began to walk down to the entrance. He did not deliberately stop when he passed the other buchou, but he did say the following in sincerity: “Good luck in the final.”
His sudden departure was explained when Yukimura saw the girl that had entered the stadium, she must be searching for Shiraishi as Yukimura has never seen her before.
“Ashita,” Shiraishi greeted this girl with an embrace. “I thought we aren’t meeting up until about thirty minutes later.”
“I was really worried when I heard that you went to the stadium alone.” She muttered, leaning against him.
Yukimura almost felt that he should duck down due to their display of affection. Despite how skilled he was at tennis, as well as how mature he was, he was still only a fourteen year old boy!
“You didn’t need to worry because…” their words trailed off as the two were walking away.
He stayed a bit longer, continuing to ponder on the question that was raised by Shiraishi, although it was already hidden amongst his other thoughts.
The shout of “Yukimura” accompanied by a much softer “Seiichi” made him smile as he immediately recognized the voice of his two closest friends.
“I just wanted to think for a while.” He explained to the two clearly worried faces, although most others would not have reached this conclusion. “I’m surprised that Yanagi didn’t calculate this out.”
“We better go back as it is getting dark.” Sanada stated, while Yanagi muttered something about how he has worked all this out, only that he was not a hundred percent certain about the exact ration.
One possible answer for the question of why they were all so obsessed with doing much better when they had already done so well suddenly came- it was for friends like Yanagi and Sanada, for team mates like Yagyuu; Niou; Marui; Jackal and Kirihara.
He did not really know or understand Shiraishi any better after their ‘conversation’ but he was sure that the other had been unsatisfied with being third because he wanted to be able to achieve a higher result with the team mates that he cared about greatly. The difference was that Shiraishi saw second, not first, as good enough.
At least this was why he himself wanted to be first so much. He was not able to be happy if he was second because he wanted to be the champions with his team mates, he wished to let them have the best.
Likewise, they wished for him to be the buchou of the team that came first for the sake that they think he deserve no less.

Author’s Note: I am not sure what I feel in regard to how I portray the characters of Rikkai, but I personally think it’s not that bad. (Let’s hope penguin-chan will not mind), but this is not so much examining character. Initially I didn’t really like Rikkai for not accepting the award for second place in the kantou regional but now I see this in a different light. Is it not a bit hypocritical to take it if they don’t want it? Although I can understand why you would still take it even if you are disappointed with the result.

Basically I was thinking why Shiraishi was unsatisfied with being third- because this is a very impressive result (and the truth is that they should have been second, and they probably know it). But I was thinking why he was so unhappy with this result as to be so drastic about it- choosing to play his perfect tennis and all that and I guess this is my answer: because of a loyalty and love for his friends/teammate/school. Then I suddenly thought of Yukimura, because I think Rikkai is quite like this. For the same reason they were not able to be satisfied with being second in the Kantou regional or the national (which might not happen). I then wanted to have Yukimura telling the story, I am not really sure why I choose Yukimura in particular but I think it is probably because I can see the two of them talking to each other quite clearly.

Once again I want to emphasize about the fact that they are all still boys. Even though some of their attitude is really amazing- especially most of the buchou and fuku-buchou, some of the sacrifices and mere action that they performed really make you wonder whether such things would be done by much older boys, or even adults.

Lastly I really believe that Yukimura, Sanada, Yanagi are very good friends, not just team mates. I also think that Yukimura has been the buchou from his second year as well (like Shiraishi).

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