Arc: Third Watch

Ebook cover for the arc

In the wake of his brilliant senpai, Kirihara has to struggle to find his own team and tennis as Rikkai’s new captain. Follows directly after Challenge; manga continuity and divergent future with a bit of Tachibana/Kirihara at the end.

The extras are stories that would have been part of the next arc, if the next arc had ever really come together. I do not expect to fill in the spaces around them, and take no responsibility for the frustration of readers who might want more after reading those.

Third Watch

When the third years retire from the club, Kirihara has to deal with taking over. Drama, I-3

It was an obvious truth that few, if any, of them could become what Yukimura or Sanada or Yanagi was. Akaya nodded, and raised his voice. “It doesn’t matter. What we are is Rikkai. We will win.”


Kirihara meets Yanagi while out studying, and they chat about literature, history, psychology and teammates. Drama, I-2

Of course, in the past few weeks Akaya had also learned that if he didn’t look up when the door opened he was liable to find himself lassoed by Niou-senpai’s scarf or pounced on by Marui-senpai, who turned out to be a lot more solid than he looked.


Yukimura, a bit troubled over Kirihara, talks first with Tezuka and then with Suzuoki. Drama, I-3

“You don’t care, do you?” he asked, reaching up to touch a branch. “Not that you’re growing on volcanic rock, not that it’s winter. You just keep growing.” He sighed and smiled, a little crookedly, at the tree.


The new year starts, unsettling Kirihara a bit until he talks with Jackal. Drama, I-3

The second years he could handle; he had earned what he saw in their faces when they called him Kirihara-buchou. Respect or fear or pride, he had earned it. But the glow in the first years’ eyes, the awe in their voices when they whispered to each other about him, that made him twitchy.

Warming Up

Tournament season starts, and Kirihara gets a present from his coach. Drama, I-2

Akaya turned a glower on Suzuoki, silently demanding to know what he was up to this time. Suzuoki smirked at him. “You got to play exactly once this weekend and last. You should unwind a little. Besides, you could use an actual challenge.”

The Rush

Kirihara’s second spin through Regionals, and Nationals, as a captain this time. Drama, I-3

The pace of what Akaya couldn’t help but think of as the real tournament season had two very different parts. There was the daily practice with his team, which, while demanding and sometimes intense, had a smooth swoop to it. And then there were the actual tournament matches, that sprinted along like a heartbeat after an adrenaline spike.


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

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.

Extra – Rematch

Kirihara finally gets that serious match he wanted out of Tachibana. Drama, I-2

Akaya flipped restlessly through the pages of his book, cursing the English language and the educators who thought it was a good idea to make Japanese schoolchildren learn it. The voice that interrupted him wasn’t one he especially wanted to hear, most times, but at the moment even Seigaku’s terrifying old lady coach would have been welcome.

Extra – The Fairest

The new year begins and Kirihara suffers a bit of culture clash. Drama, I-3

“What are you doing here?” Akaya exclaimed, wide eyed.

Suzuoki blew a stream of smoke at him. “The coaches drew straws to see who would stay with each division this year. I got the short one.”