"Akaya, what are you doing?"


"You've been sitting there for almost ten minutes now. What's wrong?"


"There must be something wrong if you really intend to miss most of practice."

"It's nothing."

"Akaya, tell me."

Akaya shuddered when he heard his captain's voice become firm. "I was just looking at something," replied Akaya, voice half-whining. He didn't meet his captain's eyes.

"Oh?" Yukimura raised an eyebrow in curiosity. "What have you been looking at? The tennis ball?"

Akaya nodded solemnly.

"You see tennis balls every day, Akaya."

Akaya nodded again. "So?"

Yukimura frowned. "Is there something different about the tennis ball you're looking at?"

Akaya shook his head.

"Then what is wrong about the tennis ball?"

Akaya stared at the tennis ball a little more before replying. "Haven't you ever wondered what life must be like for a tennis ball?"

Yukimura thought about it for a moment. "Go on."

Akaya sighed. "Well, it's just that they always get hit around by racket strings and stuff, and even the frame, sometimes. Then they have to bounce on the ground and maybe even scrape the net a few times. Don't you think their lives must be painful?"

Yukimura's eyebrows furrowed as he was deep in thought. "You do have a point," he said, nodding. "And it must be extremely painful on them when a player uses a smash—they would be hit extremely hard by the strings, and then they would plummet down quickly and hit the ground incredibly hard, as well."

Akaya's eyes widened. "Exactly! And imagine going through that every single day! Having your body get hit hard by racket strings, hitting the ground, bouncing back up which will probably make you wanna throw up, and then having that all repeated over and over and over again!"

"What the hell are you talking about?" said a voice from behind. "You sound like you're talking about what happened to that Tezuka of Seigaku when he got beaten up by one of his senpai in his freshman year."

"Niou-senpai!" exclaimed Akaya. Then he paused. "Tezuka-san can bounce up and down like a tennis ball?"

"Niou, don't talk so lightly about how Tezuka almost had tennis taken away from him," scolded Yukimura. Then he dramatically looked up at the sky through the nearby window as dramatic wind made his hair dramatically blow, and dramatically remembered when tennis had also nearly been taken away from him... dramatically.

"Oh yeah," said Niou, ruining the moment. "I finished my match with Marui. Won 6-3."" He smirked. "That guy can only play doubles, seriously."

"Hey, I'm right here, you know," said Marui, as he walked into the clubroom. "I can be versatile when I want to!"

Niou rolled his eyes. "Yeah, and Yagyuu shoves french fries up his nose," he replied sarcastically. "Anyways, what the hell were you guys talking about?"

"The sad life of a tennis ball," replied Akaya, looking at the tennis ball in his hand in sorrow. "It goes through so much abuse every single day. Even with the fuzz around it, it still gets hit so hard."

Marui went up to the other three and decided to engage in their conversation. "Well, there are other balls for sports too, right? Wouldn't it also be hard on basketballs or golf balls or something?"

"Golf balls?" asked Yagyuu, who appeared instantly the moment he heard the word 'golf'.

Yanagi suddenly walked out of a locker with his data notebook and said, "It would definitely be painful for golf balls—that is, if golf balls could feel. A golf ball hit by a golf club being swung at 140mph actually becomes distorted for a short period of time. The distortion looks similar to when you put a solid object underwater and watch the item as the water moves, thus distorting the image. However, the only difference between the two is that the golf ball being hit is actually physically distorted, whereas the moving water simply creates the illusion that the underwater item is distorted."

"...you said the word 'distorted' like 5 times there," commented Marui.

"Actually, I said the word 'distorted' 3 times," stated Yanagi. "However, I can see where you had made a mistake, since I had also said the words 'distortion' and 'distorting' once each, and those two words are—"

"We get it, Yanagi-senpai," said Akaya, cutting Yanagi off. "By the way, why were you inside my locker?"

"...I believe that it is unnecessary for you to know the details," replied Yanagi, sweating slightly.

"So anyways," said Yukimura, clearing his voice slightly. "Yanagi is right about the golf balls. As for basketballs, I believe that they would be quite achy after all of the dribbling they must go through. There would also be hard impact for when the ball hits the rim of the basket. However, it wouldn't be too bad if the ball went in directly, as it would just skim the string of the net."

"But what about volleyballs?" asked Marui. "They seem to have it easy, don't they?"

Akaya pouted. "Yeah! Because you're not supposed to let the ball touch the ground, right? The bumping and volleying it has to go through doesn't even seem that painful! Stupid spoiled thing."

"That's true," commented Yukimura. "But they also have to go through jump serves, as well as spikes, which are essentially the volleyball version of a smash in tennis."

"Still," said Yagyuu. "Playing volleyball seems to be more painful to the player than to the actual ball."

"It is a painful sport," mumbled Niou sadly. He remembered a childhood incident where his cousin 12 years older than him had let him play volleyball with him. Needless to say, it didn't go very well. He sighed. "It was my first time, too..."

"What was that, Niou-kun?" asked Yagyuu. He leaned in closer to Niou, whispering, "Is it the volleyball incident again?"

Niou nodded, still shivering. He truly hated the sport. "Well," said Marui, trying to end the slight awkwardness. "What about softballs?"

Akaya cringed. "Softballs must have it pretty hard..."

Niou snickered, causing Yagyuu to lightly hit him on the head while whispering something about 'Akaya-kun', 'still innocent', and 'don't taint his mind'.

Yukimura nodded. "Getting hit by a bat multiple times a day doesn't seem very nice, does it?"

"Yeah, but like half the time the batters miss," said Marui. He blew a bubble. "That's why I don't play softball. It's embarrassing."

"That's because it takes skill to hit the ball," stated Niou. He smirked. "Something of which you are in desperate need of."

"Shut up!" yelled Marui. He proceeded to throw the tennis ball Akaya was holding at Niou.

"No! Not the tennis ball!" cried Akaya. "You'll just put it through more pain if you throw it like that!"


Sanada and Jackal sat outside the clubroom in shock. "I can't believe I just overheard that conversation..." mumbled Sanada.

"Sanada, do you think it's safe to enter?" asked Jackal nervously.

Sanada shook his head, his expression grave.

Jackal sighed. "I'll go call the therapist again..."

Don't ask, just don't ask... xD