After the tennis season ends, and the third years retire, Kirihara finds himself at irritatingly loose ends. Drama, I-1

When Akaya found himself wandering down the hall where Suzuoki’s office was, he knew it was going to be bad. He stood and stared at the door he really hadn’t intentionally moved toward at any time that afternoon, finally giving in and thumping his head against it a few times.

“Come in,” Suzuoki called in dry invitation.

Akaya toed the door open and leaned in the frame. “Have I forgotten anything?” he asked, unable to keep the plaintive note out of his voice.

Suzuoki eyed him with sardonic amusement. “Hard time letting go, hm?”

“It’s not that!” Akaya protested. “It just feels like there must be something I forgot, or something I have to do.” He trailed off and crossed his arms, frowning at the tile floor.

“There isn’t and you don’t,” Suzuoki told him bluntly. The twist of his mouth spoke of sympathy as well as amusement, though. “It’s going to be uncomfortable for a while, Kirihara-kun. But this is a good time to start learning from Yukimura-kun’s example again, and trust that Niiyama-kun will do well by the team.”

Akaya grumbled under his breath as he stalked out of the building and across the school grounds. He knew all that, it just felt all wrong, and… His thoughts slid into silence as he noticed who was leaning against the gates.


Yukimura-san looked up and smiled. “Akaya.” He pushed off from the wall and fell into step beside Akaya, who stole tiny glances from the corner of his eye, wondering.

“I thought you might be feeling a little dazed today,” Yukimura-san said, at last.

“It’s just weird not to be so busy anymore,” Akaya muttered.

“That, too,” Yukimura-san agreed, quietly.

After a few more minutes of walking in silence, Akaya sighed. “It’s hard. To just stop.”

A rueful chuckle answered him. “It nearly drove me crazy, last year,” Yukimura-san agreed. “Do you trust the one you’ve left behind?”

Akaya stuffed his hands into his pockets, slightly grumpy again. “Of course I do.” He’d made as sure as he could that Niiyama was ready, after all.

“Well, it won’t stop you worrying,” Yukimura-san told him in a factual tone, “but it will stop you from going completely insane. As long as you remember it.” He gave Akaya a fond smile. “I speak from experience.”

Akaya almost missed his next step and felt his face heat.

“I’ll be glad when you’re back with us, next year,” Yukimura-san finished, tactfully looking straight ahead, though the corners of his mouth tweaked up.

Akaya didn’t answer but he did feel, as they walked along, a little less as though he had run into a brick wall this week. He tucked his hands into his pockets.

“So how are the classes in the High School, Yukimura-san?”