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branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
If I had ever questioned whether Yukimura is actually made of crazy, which I hadn’t really because that’s /always/ how he comes out, I would really, really not question it after today’s words.

And incidentally, Tezuka is just as crazy, because this was /exactly/ the outcome he was aiming for by throwing Echizen into a match with Yukimura.

Good grief.

Today’s snippet:

Ryouma frowned, remembering that match, suddenly wondering about that difference. Atobe had… he had… well, enjoyed it, yes, but not like he was enjoying his opponent being in pain or trouble. Ryouma did know what that looked like; that was the kind of opponent he’d always taken the most pleasure in crushing, when he met one. No, Atobe hadn’t been like that. He’d been… excited, that was close, but not just that. Fascinated? Delighted? In love? None of this was sounding any less borderline perverted, but it hadn’t been like that, he’d just looked at Tezuka-buchou like…

He glanced back up at Yukimura and lost his breath all at once. Yukimura was smiling, not broad but still bright and wild, completely intent on Ryouma. A smile that invited, demanded, dared him to step up and meet it. He actually took a reflex step forward in answer, and Yukimura laughed, softly.

Atobe had looked at Tezuka-buchou like that.

“If we don’t play all out, no matter what, then what are we standing on this court for, Echizen?” Yukimura asked, voice low, just between the two of them. “How is there any fun in holding back?”

This was crazy, completely crazy, he could still see the pained shortness of Yukimura’s breathing, from this close, but something in Ryouma still leaped up in answer, bright and wild and wanting what Yukimura was showing him right now. He thought Yukimura saw it, too, because he laughed again as he stepped past, toward his court. “Now. Come and show me what you’ve got, Echizen. All of it.”

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branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Atobe is so much fun to write, seriously. He’s not actually unbalanced, at least not moreso than any of the tenipuri characters, which… okay, that’s not the strongest statement. But he’s just so much more flamboyant in his glee than most of them.

Also, Sanada is going to regret making assumptions, very much and very shortly, and their grudge match will probably be a 24/7/365 thing after this. But that seems to be their idea of fun, by and large, bless their insane little hearts.

Today’s snippet:

Sanada tracked the next serve closely, and straightened with a snort. “Interesting, but certainly not unbreakable,” he called across the net, and Keigo laughed, exhilarated by the solid weight of knowledge in his mind, the knowledge of what Sanada would do with this serve.

“Let’s see, shall we?”

Sure enough, Sanada dashed forward into the next serve to catch it before it bounced. That ball spun wild, nearly hitting the top row of the stands. The fourth ball went wild too, but not nearly as far, and new strokes layered themselves into Keigo’s vision of Sanada’s game. Sanada knew extreme topspin was the way to counter; the next time Keigo’s serve came around, he’d be ready.

Ready to be pulled up to the net, and sacrifice oh so much of his back-court.

Keigo laughed softly, delight singing through him. This… this was the full realization of the World of Ice, to see and to know and to use what he knew to build his whole game, not just individual shots.

This was his game.

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Idiot boys

Sep. 7th, 2018 12:31 am
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
Honestly, Tezuka and Echizen are sadly communication-impaired, most of the time. It’s just that they’re communication-impaired in /really complimentary ways/.

Also, they managed to ambush me with an actual discussion of why Echizen is so messed up, internally, even if it did take Ryuuzaki-sensei intervening. Ryuuzaki-sensei rocks the world, in addition to having been a stone fox when she was younger.

Today’s snippet:

“You already know how to stop losing, Echizen,” Tezuka-san said, quietly. “You train to become stronger. It may take longer some times than others, but as long as you don’t stop it will work in the end.” He didn’t smile, but the steadiness of his eyes, meeting Ryouma’s, felt better than all the encouraging smiles in the world. This wasn’t just encouragement. This was something Tezuka-san really believed.

And something he really believed Ryouma could do.

Ryouma took what felt like the first breath in a while, and nodded. “Okay.”

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branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
This is definitely been a couple games of serious personal growth for Zaizen! Of course, it usually /is/ personal growth on the menu for anyone playing Echizen, but this time it was just the cherry on top of a whole round of having his assumptions adjusted. Zaizen has done quite well, especially for such a snippy, hot-tempered little thing.

Today’s snippet:

Echizen had five games to Hikaru’s two, and he could feel the burn in his muscles that said he’d reached nearly as far as he could and still walk at the end of the match. Hikaru bounced the ball a few times, considering one more time whether he couldn’t take advantage of his service game and push further, but… he’d never been one for flashy, specialized shots. There was no special way he could spin his serve that would save this score. He bounced the ball one more time, hard, and gripped it with all his strength. His game had always been like Echizen’s; a game that relied on breadth of knowledge and evenly balanced strengths.

Echizen was just better at it.

Hikaru shook off the surge of disbelief and anger that came with that thought, fairly practiced by now. Maybe he couldn’t win this match, and maybe he wasn’t as insane as Fudoumine’s brash speed-player, to drive himself to dropping while he tried. But there was such a thing as going down fighting.

He looked over the net at Echizen, and while that smile was still there it was a bit less annoying, somehow. Bright and knowing, yes, but a friendlier knowing. Even welcoming, maybe. Hikaru narrowed his eyes and nodded back, just a little. And then he cast the ball up and served, hard and precise.

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I have to say, I’m really enjoying Shiraishi, since re-tuning him. When the point of Nationals was “only Fun Tennis is good!”, well, Shiraishi was kind of a victim of the moralistic point the author wanted to make. But when you take that away and think about what kind of person would, not just be good at, but also enjoy a style based on perfect form… well, you get someone who’s kind of rolling his eyes at all the muga-types and their histrionics.

Today’s snippet, case in point:

“Fuji,” Shiraishi said, quiet enough that maybe only the two of them heard, under the cheers from Shitenhouji. He held out his hand, and Shuusuke moved forward, automatically, to take it, mind still full of static. Shiraishi caught his hand and shook it firmly. “It was a good game.”

A harsh breath of a laugh yanked itself out of Shuusuke’s chest. “I suppose it was, from your side.”

“So start sooner, next time,” Shiraishi returned, coolly. “Now that you know how.”

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Now here’s something interesting. The more I write inside Fuji’s head, the clearer it is what Echizen is giving the team. Without ever knowing it, of course; at this point in the story Echizen is still honestly a little twitchy about how this /team/ thing is supposed to work, especially thanks to being mega-twitchy about how this losing thing is supposed to work. But, yeah. You can see it form where Fuji’s standing all right.

Today’s snippet:

The score pushed itself to the front of his mind again, and he had to take a moment to wrestle it back. The fact of it remained, though; he was down one game. He frowned down at the court as he bounced the ball, feeling the comforting jolt as it returned smartly to his hand. He needed to get one of Shiraishi’s service games from him. He needed…

The image of Echizen rose in his mind, of those expressive eyes narrowed with ferocious determination, of Echizen throwing himself against someone’s shot over and over and over until he found a way over, under, around, or through. Shuusuke’s mouth curled in a helpless smile. Yes. Maybe he needed some of that.

Needed to attack.

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I swear to god, Fuji Shuusuke is the biggest pain in the ass of all the Tenipuri muses to get POV out of. That said, once you hit his wavelength, he’s very voluble! In a… slightly disturbing way, but that’s Fuji all over.

Today’s words:

He closed his eyes and took a long breath in, letting it out slowly. Took the score and set it aside, in his mind, on a shelf for later. Took the nagging knowledge of Tezuka’s eyes on him, watching and waiting and quite probably hoping, and put that on the shelf too. He would act like that packing away was real, until it became real. He took the slick feel of Shiraishi’s tennis, in his thoughts, and held it on mental palms, let the new openness of his thoughts flow out to his body and re-settle his stance. He didn’t need to encompass Shiraishi’s game. All he had to do was meet it, play against it. What happened then–he shoved the surge of nerves relentlessly back onto its shelf–well, that was what they were playing to find out.

It would be interesting, to see.

When that thought finally came to the fore, Shuusuke smiled and opened his eyes.

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Kairi thinks:

Riku is silver and beautiful, and his eyes watch dreams. She thinks they speak to him, now, too; the distance in the tilt of his head is calmer than it used to be, when he was straining to read their lips.

She does not tell this to Sora. Sora would demand that Riku's dreams give him back to them. Sora's dreams only ever make him more where he is.

Sora's dreams live in his heart. Riku's live in the sky.

February 2019

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