Fuji visits Rikkai, hoping Yukimura can explicate a few things for him. Drama, I-3

It was one week before Nationals began that Fuji Shuusuke visited Rikkai. It took Seiichi a while to notice that one of the people gathered around the courts was wearing a different school’s uniform; Fuji could be very unobtrusive when he chose. Fortunately, Seiichi spotted him before anyone else caught on. He had no particular desire to have any of his club embroiled in Fuji’s idea of entertainment. He drifted to the side of the court and beckoned Fuji to join him.

His team noted his preoccupation and drifted after him. Seiichi was, in a general way, pleased with their sharp perceptions, and, in a specific way, exasperated with their nosiness, but he didn’t stop them yet.

“Fuji,” he greeted. “This is an unexpected visit.”

“Mm. There was something I wanted to see, and something I hoped to discuss,” Fuji said, elliptically. He smiled at Akaya, who bristled back. “Kirihara-kun; you seem to be doing well.”

Seiichi could feel Akaya hovering on the edge of a challenge, and touched his arm to hold him back. They didn’t need that in the middle of club practice. Fuji met Akaya’s eyes for a long moment, and then shook his head turned back to Seiichi. Seiichi sympathized a bit more with Akaya’s response, then. The impact of that silent look briefly pushed Seiichi himself over the edge, into the flickering fire of competitive awareness. He took a breath and settled back, examining Fuji with a captain’s eyes again, aware of Sanada, tense, beside him. He wondered why Fuji, who normally only provoked those who were threats, was pushing like this.

Fuji, however, was smiling again, a smaller smile, a bit rueful. “Yes,” he said, softly. “That’s it. That’s how he looks at me. Why, Yukimura?”

Seiichi blinked, as he tried to parse the question. ‘He’ who? Who would look at Fuji like… Then it clicked. Tezuka, of course. Who else would look at someone as strong and unpredictable as Fuji Shuusuke with that kind of measurement and anticipation and desire? But… Fuji wanted to know why?

“You don’t know…?” Seiichi trailed off. It was clear in the steady gaze that Fuji, indeed, did not know. “Fuji,” Seiichi sighed, running a hand through his hair. Still, he had been trying to wake Fuji up for years, now. Something he suspected Fuji had recalled, too. “I’ll try. Come.” He waved for Fuji to follow him, nodding for Sanada to take over in his place.

Sanada gave him a look that promised later discussion, and Seiichi stifled a smile. It always made Sanada just a touch edgy when people provoked Seiichi. He led Fuji under the clump of trees south of the courts, where they could watch without being obvious to those playing.

“So,” he summarized, briskly, “you know how to provoke it, but you don’t know what it is. Or how to answer it.”

“I know what it is,” Fuji corrected. “But, no, I don’t know how to answer it; not from him.”

“At this rate, you might just have well have accepted my offer for a transfer, last year. ” Seiichi was finding himself a little annoyed at Fuji’s assumption that he both could and would explain this thing after Fuji had spent years denying it.

Fuji’s eyes slid to his, sharp, and his mouth was tight. Seiichi sighed, leaning back against a tree. That wasn’t going to be productive, he knew.

“You’ll have to excuse my temper, Fuji,” he said, more gently. “It’s just that you’ve suddenly come to me for help after having frustrated me for so long.”

Fuji’s head lowered just a touch.

“Yes,” Seiichi answered the unspoken thought, frankly, “you probably frustrated him just as much, if not more.” He thought about that for a moment, and continued, slowly. “And when he finally had evidence that you do understand what it means to play for real, after all, I imagine he asked you for a serious game.”

“Yes,” Fuji confirmed, softly.

“And he played against you in all seriousness,” Seiichi speculated. A nod. “And it scared you, that he wanted you to do the same,” he suggested, very quietly. Another nod, this one barely perceptible. Seiichi bit back another sigh. He would not, normally, compare Fuji to Akaya. Fuji was far more deliberate and analytical, and while he had some of the same propensity for violence, he had a far greater awareness of it and had channeled it far more tightly. This stubborn innocence, though, reminded him very much of Akaya.

“I don’t understand what it is he wants of me.” The words pulled out of Fuji, unwillingly. “I thought it was just for the team. For the Nationals. But it’s more than that.”

Seiichi waited. If Fuji really wanted his advice, he was going to have to have to come further out of that damn shell.

“He wants us to play full out, not against rivals but against each other,” Fuji continued at last, reflective tone belied by his clenched fists. “I understand that he likes to play strong opponents. Even when he played Atobe or Sanada, though, I’d never seen him quite like that before.”

“He hopes that you are stronger than he is,” Seiichi said, as matter of fact as he could.

Fuji frowned, narrow, blue gaze fixed on his hands as he flexed them. “Ryuuzaki-sensei thinks I am,” he murmured. “Or can be. But why…?”

Seiichi rubbed his fingers over his forehead. Perhaps he was grateful that Tezuka had been the one to win Fuji for his team, after all. He’d have gone mad, faced with such hesitance to understand for three solid years.

“We are the best,” he stated. “What that means in practice is that it’s very hard to find any opponent who can push us hard enough to make us advance, within our own age group. And,” he added, flatly, “even in the next there aren’t many.” He leaned forward to meet Fuji’s eyes. “Tezuka hopes that you will be a true challenge. One he has to reach beyond himself to meet.”

The lingering confusion in Fuji’s face made him want to bang his head against the tree. Try another tack, then.

“What do you want out of life, Fuji?”

Fuji blinked.

“What are your goals?” Seiichi rephrased. Fuji tipped his head to one side, caramel hair brushing across his cheek.

“To find interesting things,” he said, at last.

Seiichi didn’t doubt that for a second. Fuji and Niou would probably have gotten along very well, in a dangerous sort of way.

“Is there anything interesting enough to get you out of bed with an extra bounce, in the morning? Enough to make it worth driving yourself through pain and trouble for it? Enough that sometimes you think you would sell your soul and mortgage your breath for it, because it’s so wonderful?” he prodded.

Fuji’s eyes widened, as he watched Seiichi.

“That’s what it’s like, for us, Fuji,” Seiichi murmured. “That’s why we’re the best. Because the shape of the game is the shape of our spirits, and there aren’t words for the glory of a game that demands everything from us. And the only way to be true to the game is to always strive to be more within it.” He leaned forward on his knees, taking Fuji by the shoulders, caught up by his need to finally make Fuji understand. “That’s what Tezuka wants for you, too. That’s why he’s been trying to coax you or force you or, for all I know, bribe you to be serious these last years.”

The normally bright eyes were blank and shocked, and turned inward.

“Did you feel it,” Seiichi asked, more gently, “when you played Akaya?”

“If that’s what it was,” Fuji murmured. He shivered.

“If you take that path it will probably be even harder for you than it is for most,” Seiichi told him, honestly. “You’ll run into it, too, the craving for someone who can challenge you, who can share that vitality with you. And those will be few and far between.”

Fuji nodded, closing his eyes. “I can see that.” He touched Seiichi’s wrist, lightly, and Seiichi let him go. “Thank you for explaining.”

Seiichi’s mouth quirked. “I can’t say it was entirely altruistic.”

A glint entered Fuji’s eyes, and a razor smile curved his mouth in turn. “Good.” He stood up. “I said it would not be a temporary advance. I meant that. What I found,” he paused, “I’m not sure it’s worth my soul, but it’s certainly worth getting out of bed. And a fair amount of pain and trouble, too, I think.”

“It’s a start,” Seiichi said, rising as well.

“Yukimura,” Fuji was silent for a long moment, “will you play a game against me?”

Seiichi’s focus sharpened with a snap he could nearly hear. “I would be delighted to,” he said, with absolute truth. The club was leaving for the day; that would make things easier. He escorted Fuji back to the courts.

Sanada took a long look at each of them, and dismissed the team brusquely before moving to the side to call the game.

“He knows you very well,” Fuji observed, sounding like he was stifling a laugh.

“This is something we share,” was all Seiichi said, already immersing himself in the cool exhilaration of the moment. He felt Fuji’s eyes on his back.

Seiichi pitched the game high from the very first serve, pushing Fuji, driving him to show his strength or be defeated immediately. He could feel, in the occasional unsteadiness of Fuji’s returns, the other player’s startlement, and his mouth tightened every time it happened. Fuji was too used to toying with his opponents, too used to slack competition who didn’t raise the level until they thought they had to, too used to playing for the enjoyment of seeing his opponents’ realization that it was far too late already. It was precisely the approach to the game that had infuriated Seiichi for years. He had wondered, for a long time, why a player as true as Tezuka allowed it to continue. But if Fuji had really never risen to Tezuka’s challenge, before now, Seiichi reflected, what could his counterpart have done?

Well, Seiichi had an opportunity to do something, now, and he brought everything he had to bear on Fuji. And, finally, Fuji broke, broke open and flashed out at him, and it was Seiichi who was on the defensive. He recognized the still lack of expression on Fuji’s face, the absolute concentration that had no time for such peripherals, and a fierce smile curved his own mouth.

When they hit a six game tie, Fuji faltered.

“Keep going,” Seiichi called.

Still, Fuji hesitated, unnerved, Seiichi thought, by the intensity in both of them and unsure what it would mean to pursue the game to the end. Seiichi let his voice turn harsh; this was not Akaya, who would heed his gentleness.

“Do you want to do this, for yourself? For him? Do you want to be more in this game than a scavenger? A bully? Then keep going.”

Fuji’s head came up, and his serve whipped past Seiichi like a bullet.

“Better,” Seiichi snapped, and sank himself, once more, into the immediacy of play and response.

Fuji won. Seiichi was slightly amused by his opponent’s surprise. Fuji was still unused to playing full out, unused to playing on the edge where chance could decide a game. It would likely take some time for him to accept and own both his abilities and that space no one could control. Altogether, though, Seiichi was pleased, and said so as they shook hands.

“Thank you,” Fuji told him. “I appreciate this, Yukimura. I should be getting back, now, though.”

“And let me regather my team, who are probably peering out one of the second floor classrooms this very moment,” Seiichi agreed, with a wry smile.

Sanada growled, and stalked past them toward the building. Seiichi chuckled as heads abruptly vanished from a window. He kept his grip on Fuji’s hand another moment, though.

“It’s the chance, do you understand?” he asked. “The opportunity to be more. It’s something all of us treasure.”

“I do understand,” Fuji said, quietly.

Seiichi tilted his head. “Do you think this is something you can give Tezuka, even though you’re on the same team?”

Fuji’s smile returned, slight and thoughtful. “I think,” he said, slowly, “it would be wrong if I didn’t.”

Seiichi nodded, satisfied that Fuji did, indeed, understand. “Welcome home, Fuji Shuusuke,” he said, very, very softly.


Last Modified: Feb 10, 12
Posted: Jul 02, 04
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  1. aishuu

    You just set Fuji up as the strongest player in the series… oh shit.

    That’s all I can say. Hell has broken loose.

    Really, I did find that interesting about 220. The idea that Fuji is the strongest player in the series… isn’t it an intriguing thought? What will be different, now, that Tezuka, Yukimura, Sanada, Atobe have someone to chase…. and it’s someone who sometimes just doesn’t give a damn?

    Oh, you have me routing for TezuYuki now, you know. You’re setting it ALL up perfectly. *HUGS* I need to go back to work, but you’re doing splendidly. Thanks so much for the fic… I need it for breaks!

    1. branchandroot Post author

      Yeah, it really caught my attention, too. It made more sense of him, to me, appealing to the idea that his not-caring has been a sort of safety mechanism that keeps him from going around the bend the way a lot of the strongest players seem to when they don’t have any challenges to keep them busy. I’ve always thought that was part of why Tezuka wants Fuji to be serious; so that Tezuka will have another good challenge to keep him from going around the bend. But now Fuji’s opened up, now he knows, what will it do to his game?

      *lists in chair* Must go to bed. Anyway, glad you liked it!

      1. aishuu

        The thing is, you’re assuming Fuji isn’t already around the bend. I think he’s been and gone more than a few times – I bet he could lead a sight-seeing tour!!

        In all seriousness, it would be fascinating, to have Fuji as the top of the TeniPuri world, with everyone after him. He’d hate it. He doesn’t like attention (not really) and the ones who would be coming after him…. well, they DESERVES it more. Fuji is a tensai… the others WORK.

        1. branchandroot Post author

          you’re assuming Fuji isn’t already around the bend

          *coughs* Good point. I do think Fuji manages his own craziness pretty well, though. He limits his damage.

          *thoughtful* The best thing for all of them would be for Fuji to finally come into a place where he does have to work. Where there are a handful of opponents who can actually make him fight for it. I think Tezuka could be one of them, and Yukimura another. (Though I’d feel better about that second if Konomi would just give us an example of Yukimura’s play! *grrrr*) But that’s always been Fuji’s tragedy, to me; he’s never known what it meant to strive for his goals. And he never risked going far enough to see if someone could make him, in tennis. I wonder if he’ll be more dangerous, or less, now?

          1. aishuu

            Definitely more. Nothing makes Fuji LESS dangerous.

            I always thought that Sanada was actually more likely to be a better player than Yukimura – Yukimura was just more of a leader, but your portrayal of Yukimura has me reconsidering. Like Hyotei, the leader of Rikkai would have to be the best. *g* And if they call Sanada the Emperor, what does that make Yukimura? Kami-sama?

            It’s kinda sad when you think of it. The two best players on the circuit out of it… because face it. Tezuka is the best, because he’s Konomi’s favorite. We all know it. The only reason Atobe won was so Konomi could gracefully send him away…. (ever see [ profile] mildlyinsane‘s rant on the Marysueness of Ryoma, Tezuka and Atobe? It’s to DIE for….)

            1. branchandroot Post author

              And if they call Sanada the Emperor, what does that make Yukimura? Kami-sama?

              *falls over laughing* Yes, probably! That was kind of what led me to write Yukimura this way, though. Konomi has established a very consistent precedent, that the captain is the strongest player on the team. In previous years that’s been less true, but, within the same seniority range, the strongest takes the captain’s hat. Ergo, Yukimura must be stronger than Sanada; which, at least, gives us something to look forward to for Nationals, but, yeah, we’re getting into the demi-god range, at least.

              *grins* I missed that one, I think. I’ll go look for it.

              1. aishuu

                You have to see it. It’s to DIE for.

                The captains philosophy does fail in Yamabuki and I think also Rokkaku – but those schools are a bit weird. Then again, all schools are a bit weird. I think the most normal school is Seigaku… it’s the standard which other schools are spun off of.

                Dare you to have someone call Yukimura Kami-sama. It fits so well into your universe. *giggles*

                I’m not sure what to expect of nationals, since we’re obviously going to be getting some new schools from other regions. I have the feeling we’re a few YEARS from seeing the end of the manga. It’s going to be anticlimatic when Seigaku wins, because Rikkai should have won there…

                *shrugs* Well, I’m still not sure who won the Ryoma/Sanada match. The last I knew, it was still going on.

                1. branchandroot Post author

                  *cackles* Oh, that is good! And so very true.

                  You’re right, those two do deviate. Rokkaku gives us a nice crack-explanation for it, though you have to wonder whether or not ojii really did intend to make Saeki captain. But Yamabuki… Sengoku isn’t their captain, is he? By the normal calculation he should be, since only Akutsu is stronger and he’s so totally nuts… well, it would be like making Fuji captain, in a lot of ways. But it’s, um, Minami I think?

                  Dare you to have someone call Yukimura Kami-sama.

                  Oh. Oh, that gives me an idea. *evil grin* I think Ryouma and Niou are just the conversational partners to bring it about. Oh, this will be fun. *laughs madly and runs to start the next story*

                  1. risingtides

                    Yes, it’s one of the Jimmies. I figured it could be explained by him being in doubles, but Sengoku is the team’s ace.

                    Of course, he’s irresponsible as HELL, but…

                    Can’t wait to see what you cook up. Ryoma and NIOU is a frightening pair. Now I’m really intrigued.

                    *hearts hearts*

                    1. naanima

                      he’s never known what it meant to strive for his goals. And he never risked going far enough to see if someone could make him, in tennis.

                      Ditto. I’m sure we’ve had this conversation before, though I might have had imagined the whole thing. Fuji is brilliant, but it is tragic because of the reasons you’ve pointed out. Having painted Fuji as the most powerful player in PoT, the question is whether Konomi will continue to allow Fuji to be the Most Powerful. Because PoT is all about the evolution of character’s tennis, and perhasps Fuji has come to the end of his evolution. (I relaly don’t see anything else beyond blind tennis, but this is shounen sports…so -_-;;;).

                      Anyways, moving onto the fic. The way you made Yukimura the one to act as the catalyst. Perfect. Fuji need someone he can respects to tell him what is going on, and preferbly someone who is not close to him.

                      I love this fic. I really love this fic. I love the premise, I love the discussion (because it’s so true, Tezuka would make Fuji play all out now that he knows Fuji had played seriously), and I love the fact that Fuji beat Yukimura.


                    2. branchandroot Post author

                      (I relaly don’t see anything else beyond blind tennis, but this is shounen sports…so

                      *facepalms* Boy, you can say that again. I do wonder what Konomi will do about Fuji. I think I’m going to make him keep going, but it’ll take Tezuka and Yukimura both, the stubborn creature. Both the one who quietly leads by example and expectation, and the one who’s willing to smack Fuji upside the head.

                      *beams* More coming. Some D2 that I owe Andrea, and then a nice team get-together for Rikkai and Seigaku. *snickers*

  2. soloproject

    Now here is a fic that can make you think.

    Ever since we brought it up in the past posts – about Yukimura and Fuji and how they could get along – it’s something that’s really…well, it’s eaten a significant part of my brain. Fuji is one of my favorite characters in the series because he’s so mysterious but really not, at the same time. He’s painted as an individual who is capable of doing extremely great things but also as someone who enjoys seeing the discomfort of others…he’s lazy but not obviously so and he most certainly cares about others, although he doesn’t show it…Ok, I’ll get to the pont. I’m saying is that Fuji jasn’t really come across a character who could really just bring it out of him in that way. Ryoma has to much attitude – Fuji just probably want to beat the crap out of him and get that done with. Tezuka hardly has any – Fuji probably thinks it isn’t worth the effort and why deflate Tezuka’s passion?

    Yukimura – or Akaya, for that matter – are probably the best bets.

    So much love for this part. ♥

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *snugs* Yeah, Fuji’s always held back with Tezuka, which, I firmly believe, must drive Tezuka absolutely nuts. Yukimura is both willing and able to be harsh enough, psychologically, to push Fuji to the limit, and skilled enough to make it work. *dotes on Sei-chan, extensively*

  3. exwaiz

    I have to say that I’m in love with your Yukimura and his relationships with his teammates. It’s very interesting to have him explain to Fuji what it means to play his best. And I absolutely love that last line.

    On another note, the thought of Niou and Fuji in a room together makes me want to cower in fear. Or run away screaming. ^^;

    1. aishuu

      The thought of Fuji and Niou together THRILLS me. I wanna write it!!! Sadly, no time…. buried under other obligations. *pout*

  4. lady-readwolf

    wait…. shit, shit… did… did Fuji just *beat* Yukimura at a full out match? I mean, really, honestly, Yuki playing his game to the max and pressing for more and more….? and Fuji *won*?

    Oh… mother freaking shit….

    I… {shakes head} Well, I don’t know why I’m surprised, it’s just… well, I’m sure we all suspect he *could* do it, if he was provoked, but… no one’s ever really been able to provoke Fuji to that level, have they?

    And, it’s just… mind boggling, you know? ‘Cause now *YOU’VE* upped the level, pushed him there, and I’m wondering wtf you’re going to do about it now!!!!

    Hn. The name of this series is ‘Challenge’ right? {grins} damn fine name, my dear. You’ve definitely tied the strings all back to the main knot quite nicely.

    However, I must confess… now I wanna see something happen between Niou and Fuji—your fault for putting the image in my head! >.<

    1. branchandroot Post author

      Heee. *huge grin*

      Yepyep. That’s the secret of rivalry, though. At the top bracket who wins can change from one week to the next; it’s what keeps them fascinated with each other. No one is ever The Best for very long, and I think Fuji’s about to find out why.

      Hmmm. There just might be a little Niou-Fuji interaction a fic or two down the road. *innocent smile*

  5. issen4

    For some reason, I’m thinking weirdly of Yukimura as the mother figure who gives the ‘talk’ to Fuji. Sorry. Imagaination going wild.

    Very nice development, especially in Fuji’s case. It’s fun to see him actually facing a mental difficulty his genius can’t think him out of. Or something like that. And that he takes it seriously to ask Yukimura about it.

    I’m intrigued that he beats Yukimura. The part about him being Tezuka’s goal is understood, but what about this somehow enabling Yukimura to become even better? To quote the spectators in PoT: “My god, is this really (junior) high school tennis?!!”

    Love the story. Thanks.

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *happy* Thank you!

      Yes, I want Fuji’s match with Kirihara to have some significant result badly enough to write it myself and never mind what Konomi has planned. ^_^;

      1. mica-chan

        I’m intrigued that he beats Yukimura. The part about him being Tezuka’s goal is understood, but what about this somehow enabling Yukimura to become even better? To quote the spectators in PoT: “My god, is this really (junior) high school tennis?!!”

        That’s exactly what I thought when I was reading. I can take that Fuji is good, no, excelent, but that doesn’t mean he is better than Yukimura. Or, that Yukimura uncontiosly wasn’t doing the same thing that Fuji used to do: restrain himself to give the other the chance to see what he could be. (here I am again, not making any sence)
        And, after that, Yukimura isn’t back for too long…his strengh isn’t the same as before or as someone who is playing all this time he was in the hospital, so…after this game, he can improve much more, even more than Fuji, because used all his strengh as a tensai, and Yukimura can grow up yet. I mean, I believe Fuji using his real power can improve, but not so much, because that’s his power, but the others can improve much more, because they are still growing up.
        (I swear, after this, I’ll stop to try to put my thoughts in words, because it’s never works as it should work).

        1. issen4

          I mean, I believe Fuji using his real power can improve, but not so much, because that’s his power, but the others can improve much more, because they are still growing up.

          I think I get what you mean (unless I misunderstood what you said, in which case, sorry.) It’s because Fuji’s a genius, you mean? So he can be pushed to his limit, to play like the genius everyone said he is, but he can’t break through the limit of being a genius, because (duh) that’s him.

          Was in a book Bujold wrote (I’m a big fan): “Perfection doesn’t take risks with itself.” (Or something like that.) Which may describe Fuji. But the others are not geniuses (prodigies I’ll grant you) so it’s possible for them to get better and better.

  6. mica-chan

    I’m in a problem of real desire here. I don’t know what I really think. I mean, I like Fuji but he has been annoying latelly. I don’t know why, but that’s how I feel about him.

    I know Fuji is a tensai, I know he can be a better player than Tezuka, but I don’t think that he already is. Even if he really gives his best.

    I understood what Yukimura did and why (even though I totally dislike him loosing to Fuji), but in my mind, he isn’t good enough to surpass Tezuka or Yukimura. Maybe, not even Atobe. Ok, maybe now, that Tezuka and Yukimura were off for sometime (and a couple of months have a lot of importance in someone ability…even though they aparently are back to normal), but what I saw was a Yukimura who gave his not-so-best, or should I say his aparently-best. I mean, he wanted some real reaction from Fuji and he played ‘real’ since the beginning, but deep inside him, he could uncontiously helding back.
    It doesn’t make any sense, I know, but that’s because I can’t find English words to explain what’s inside my mind, and what I saw when I was reading. Geeez, sometimes I hate not speak English fluently.

    Well, let’s see what’ll happen next. Maybe the great problem is that I can’t suport the idea of some guy of Seigaku being better and stronger than Tezuka (or Yukimura or Atobe). I have a twisted vison of the reality sometimes, and I need things to ajust into my previous thoughts.

    1. branchandroot Post author

      No, no, that all made sense!

      In some ways I very much agree. I think it all depends on whether Fuji can get motivated or not. Because that’s why the others are so strong, why they can advance in such crazy ways–they’re completely motivated and focused on their goal. Fuji hasn’t had that, to date. He’s been incredibly talented, but lazy. When Yukimura said he was a bully, he wasn’t kidding; that’s what Fuji has been. Basing this off the manga, I like to think that Fuji is having an awakening; I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt for now. As of current manga-time, I think he’s gone as far as he can with pure talent, and that has taken him to just above the current level of Tezuka/Yukimura/Atobe. What will really decide whether he takes his place among the very best or not will be whether he can really take hold of a soul-deep desire to play the game and win, just for the excellence of the game itself. If he can’t… Yukimura and Tezuka and Atobe will pass him, because they will have the motive to advance and Fuji won’t.

      Of course, that’s one of the reasons I’m letting Yukimura deliver the wake-up call. I don’t think Tezuka could; Fuji wouldn’t hear it from him. Yukimura has a better chance, I think.

  7. written-in-blue

    The mere idea of Fuji teaming up with Niou scares the piss out of me… the thought that they could–well, Niou probably could, anyway–talk Yagyuu into joining them makes me want to hide under my bed with the killer dust bunnies.

    My terror aside, though, I’ve got to say that it’s about darn time that *some*one talked some sense into Fuji’s head. What’s the point of playing if you aren’t going to give it everything you have? That’s the entire point of PoT, or one of them at least–if you do something, you do it with everything you have, and if you win, that’s no excuse not to keep working, and if you lose, it’s not dishonorable if you gave it your all, and you need to work harder. Fuji, until this point, *has* been a bully–how many times in the series have we seen him deliberately drop games against Tezuka and toy with his opponents? The only person I can really think of whom he has played seriously has been Ryouma…

    Meh, I’m rambling.

    LoveloveLOVE this, darling. [snoodles]

    1. issen4

      My terror aside, though, I’ve got to say that it’s about darn time that *some*one talked some sense into Fuji’s head. What’s the point of playing if you aren’t going to give it everything you have? That’s the entire point of PoT, or one of them at least

      I’d just like to add that *this* is what makes shonen sports manga so popular. On paper, it sounds so cliched, but that’s exactly what the Japanese (and most of us) think the spirit of true sportsmanship should be, and they (sort of) frown on geniuses that don’t want to give their all. Which is why we adore the players even when they lose, because you can see that they go all out and give it everything they’ve got.

      1. branchandroot Post author

        Ex-actly! Which is why I really think Konomi must be planning to rehabilitate Fuji, too. I mean, he’s done it for everyone else.

        That’s one of the things that fascinates me about PoT–the prevalence of geniuses and prodigies, and all the many and varied ways they find to cope with their talent inside their culture.

        1. branchandroot Post author

          *perplexed* Well, I was going to let Fuji and Niou actually play each other, but Yagyuu came all over protective. *shrugs* Oh, well, we still get a nice little clash.

          *nods* I’ll give this to Fuji: he only gets vicious when he’s protecting or avenging someone. Still, he does need a good thwap, and Yukimura has enough of a cold streak to deliver it. *pets Sei-chan*

          *wallows in the love*

  8. solaas

    Holy [CENSORED]! O_O

    *wibble* Fuji beat Yukimura.

    No, wait. He didn’t. Not if I squint just so. Yukimura won like WOAH, even if it cost him a game of tennis! Clever, obsessive buchou that he is. 😀

    I agree with others here; Fuji couldn’t have found his answer within his own team. He had to step outside the box and get help, and I’ll give him a cookie for being bright enough and (for once) uncontraty enough to actually do it.

    Of course, running off to play with other buchous than Tezuka’s GOT to be worth at least fifty laps. Maybe even a hundred. ;P

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *laughing* I didn’t even plan it, really, it just happened. Part of the general Fuji-torture of this arc, I think. Now he’s got to be serious. But, yeah, I think they both won this one, with an edge to Yukimura for out-plotting a Fuji.

      Of course, running off to play with other buchous than Tezuka’s GOT to be worth at least fifty laps. Maybe even a hundred. ;P

      *snickers* Oh, it’s worth more than that, when Fuji finally plays a serious game against Tezuka and shows what he’s learned. But that didn’t get written until much later.

  9. Kata

    A treasure, I found another treasure. Thank you. A serious Tezuka/Fuji -story appeal just went up a notch.

    Fuji’s so infuriating and the best part is that it’s difficult to tell whether it’s deliberate or not. Even your Yukimura has hard time deciphering him. Can’t do but love the guy.

    1. Icon for BranchBranch Post author

      Thank you! I am very fond of the way Fuji’s character tends to change a story, when I can fit him into one. He makes everyone wonder–even himself.