Wrote this plotless little drabble because I'm going to Canada for summer vacation and that's just like happiness times ten! All you Canadians out there! Recommend me some tourist spots. ;)

It was the prefectural tournament again, and as always, RikkaiDai was breezing through each and every one of the rounds. The team was, of course, fairly smug—but only one of their members was actually ecstatic. Akaya was literally bouncing on the court, while his opponent tried fruitlessly to catch up to the ball. "Tu es si lent! Vous ne pouvez pas me rattraper, je suis l'homme de pain d'épice!"

"What did he say?" Marui asked slowly.

"'You're so slow,'" Yagyuu translated, and with some degree of amusement, added, "'You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man.' He's speaking French—quite well, too. I'd no idea he knew French."

"He's really quite good at French, German, and Italian," Yanagi offered. "He's just consistently lacking in English."

"Why's he speaking French, anyway?" Niou demanded, leaning against a pole.

"And please tell me he's not changing his tennis style or whatever," Marui added. "I don't think I can handle Akaya as an acrobat." He frowned. "If anyone should be playing acrobatic tennis, it's me! All the redheads play acrobatic tennis! That Kikumaru guy, Mukahi from Hyotei—"

"He's not switching his tennis style," Yukimura assured. "He's simply . . . excited."

Sanada sighed. "Dare I ask?"

"You'd be able to take in about half of it," Yukimura considered. "The second half would send you into a temporary state of shock." To the rest of the team, he announced, "Akaya's going to Canada."


"They speak French in Canada," Yukimura tried.

Most of the team stared blankly. Jackal gave a start and offered, "That's right—he's in the orchestra. I heard a few members of the orchestra were offered a trip to Canada, to watch a performance by the Philharmonic."

Yukimura nodded. "He's terribly excited about it."

"I wonder why," Yagyuu mused.

"The kid did tell me he was really interested in Canadian architecture," Niou said slowly.

"I didn't know he had an eye for those things," Jackal said in surprise. "He's always been more interested in abusing felines."

"True," Yanagi agreed. "This wasn't in my data, either. Did he say anything else to you?"

"Why does he even tell this stuff to you?" Marui asked. "Did you blackmail him or what?"

"Have a little faith in your fellow tennis player," Niou said in a mock-hurt sort of voice. "I would never blackmail and tell. No, I don't think he said anything else. Oh—he did mention something about Canada's biodiversity and environment and whatever. I zoned out after the third really long word he used."

"Huh." All but Yukimura looked confused. "Guess we'll never know," Jackal decided. "Come on; Sanada's match will be starting soon. Another six-love win for Akaya."

"Shocker," Marui mumbled. "Did you happen to notice his opponent's smashed up against the fence?"

Sanada was about to leave and head for his match when he heard Marui say something to Yukimura.

"What was the second part?" Marui asked. "Akaya doesn't seem like the type to care much about culture and snow, and frankly, I don't see what Canada has to do with the gingerbread man. Since when is he interested in biodiversity and architecture?"

"Oh, simple," Yukimura replied. "Akaya thinks that giant mammoths live in Canada. You know how he's always wanted to ride one. And he's always wanted to live in a gingerbread house, too."

". . ."

"No, really."

". . . And he thinks they have those in Canada," Marui concluded, nodding wisely. "I see."

The two of them turned to look at Akaya, who was still bouncing all over the court. "Look, he did a cartwheel," Marui said absentmindedly. "You think we should tell him the truth about Canada?"

Yukimura shook his head. "He looks so happy," Yukimura pointed out fondly.

"…He thinks there are extinct mammoths in Canada. And gingerbread men. Don't you think we should . . . " Marui paused. "Yeah, you're right. Never mind."

Yukimura took that chance to glance at Sanada, who was frozen in his place with a mixture of perplexity and a why-do-I-even-bother-trying-to-understand-these-people expression on his face. "Oh, my," he said. "I think we broke him."