Disclaimer:All characters and concepts belong to iNiS and Nintendo.

Start a Fire

"T-Tanaka Hajime!" The boy announced, as loudly as he dared before ducking into a quick, neat, formal bow.

"Louder," Ryuuta barked, more out of reflex than any real expectation of a response. "You're like a mosquito buzzing in my ear."

The new recruit blinked, taken aback by the blunt criticism and shifted uncomfortably, clearly trying to figure out whether another attempt at introduction would serve to further irritate his new acquaintance.

To Ryuuta, the boy looked like an absolute nerd - one of the quiet ones at the back of the class that spent any time in school with his nose in a book and any time out of school at... cram school, or something equally dull. For the most part, Ryuuta could claim that he more often than not understood what his captain was thinking when Kai made a major decision like this, but... squad leader? This... guy? The captain's cat probably had a better chance of donning a red armband.

He was skinny, too. The sleeves of his gakuran hung loosely from his shoulders and amongst the folds of heavy black fabric, the boy seemed very young, small and somewhat lost. Ryuuta was never in the habit of bullying people, but he had the feeling he would be pushing this kid to scream until his lungs gave; train until he threw them up. If he wanted the position of Squad Leader, he'd have to bloody well work for it.

At last, he - Tanaka, was it? - cleared his throat, and in an attempt to dispel the awkward mood, began babbling about something utterly irrelevant. Ryuuta, mentally absent and deciding on the best way to break the new kid into one of the Ouendan's gruelling drills, only chose to tune back in to Station Tanaka just as the boy was saying, "I've seen you around, and you're very, very good. It's an honour to be working with you..." he trailed off and frowned, slightly embarrassed. "I-I don't think Doumeki-san ever mentioned your name, senpai."

Ryuuta squinted. Well, if this was what the captain wanted, he may as well start by setting a good example. With a sharp intake of air, the hot-blooded Squad Leader dropped his stance, threw up his arms, and in the customary Ouendan fashion of greeting, roared,

"IPPONGI RYUUTA!"