Three Plus One

A scene that might come just after issue 339. Kirihara angsts a bit until his team makes him see reason. Drama, I-3, manga continuity

Akaya looked down at his knuckles turning white where he held the rail behind the coach’s bench. Out on the court, Sanada-fukubuchou was cutting down his opponent, but Akaya knew how that looked, he didn’t really need to watch.

And he wasn’t sure he wanted to meet anyone’s eyes right now.

He wanted to ask “why”, except that that was obvious. He had been really struggling with his opponent. His teammates hadn’t. He knew why, it was just…

Wasn’t it ever going to change? No matter how much his game evolved, no matter what tactics he found to make himself stronger? Where they always going to be ahead of him like this?

“Yukimura-buchou.” He’d spoken before he realized he was going to, and bit his lip. What did he think he was going to say, anyway?

Yukimura-buchou didn’t look away from the game. “Did you hear what they were calling you?”

Akaya blinked. “What?”

“While you were defeating the other player. Did you hear what the crowd was calling?”

Akaya thought, but he couldn’t really recall much besides the beat of his pulse in his ears. “No.”

Now Yukimura-buchou looked over his shoulder, smiling though his eyes were chill with the edge of being on the court. “Demon.”

The thought fluttered around Akaya’s mind, that that was kind of neat, after all it was what they called Yukimura and Sanada and Yanagi, wasn’t it? The three demons.

His eyes widened.

“I won’t be waiting,” Yukimura-buchou said, voice soft. “But I will be ready.” He turned back to watch the game and added, more briskly, “You know you can do it, now, so stop lazing around.”

“Yes, Yukimura-buchou,” Akaya managed. He stepped back and sat down on a bench with a thump, where Niou-senpai promptly messed up his hair and asked, “Dense much?”

“Ah, don’t mind,” Marui-senpai put in with a lazy bubble. “It was kind of fun. Good practice for precision and all that.”

“And you justified our trust admirably,” Yagyuu-senpai added with a faint smile.

Akaya scrunched down a little and said “Okay” in a small voice. His senpai took care of him; he was used to that.

“And you’re still conscious and standing,” Yanagi-senpai noted a bit wryly, from where he, too, was watching Sanada-fukubuchou. “So obviously you were also well up to the endurance training menu Seiichi had Genichirou construct for you.”

“I was?” Akaya thought about that. “Oh. Good.”

Marui-senpai groaned. “He didn’t even notice! Is he really human?”

Niou-senpai smirked, thin and sharp. “Definitely a demon.”

Akaya straightened at that, determination gripping him, fierce and familiar. “Yes.” He would be. He would find his way and catch them all and be number one. He grinned up at his senpai. “Thanks.”

They smiled back at him, bright and sharp, as the match was called. Rikkai’s victory.

Just the way it should be.


Last Modified: Feb 09, 12
Posted: Mar 30, 07
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  1. solanum-d

    I loved the characterizations here, especially Yukimura. And I like that you’ve shown the humanity of Kirihara. I think that’s forgotten in the crack of PoT sometimes. I enjoyed this.

    1. branchandroot Post author

      *pleased* Thank you!

      PoT crack is fun, to be sure, but Akaya is one of my favorite characters, and I think you’re right; the whole Oni thing got rather skewed by the anime into demonic possession and that was just weird. I’m really kind of glad that his red-eye mode was revived as a viable technique.

    1. branchandroot Post author

      Thank you! *grins* I’ve thought for a while now that Akaya may be pretty insecure about his own strength (who wouldn’t be, facing those three!), and that was what drove his old play style. I like where the manga is taking him.

  2. epigrammist

    Oh, I’m dying from the flood of Rikkai goodness this week. *is a very, very happy fangirl indeed*

    Love the characterization in this piece. Every last one of them is so perfectly himself. ♥

    Go, go, Rikkaidai!