Just got back from Canada a few hours ago; I loved Quebec.
Sequel to Oh, Canada. You don't really have to read it, but this story might make more sense if you do, haha.
Akaya, while on his trip to Canada, had failed to contact any of the regulars during his one week stay. No pictures, no texts, no emails—no sign that he was even alive. The sensible people in the tennis club worried a little, and the not-always-so-sensible people (which essentially included all the regulars) were assured that Akaya would be fine.
So when Akaya finally showed up to school, back from his vacation, in a ridiculous looking fur hat with a tail sticking out of the side, the regulars weren't too surprised. Just a little amused.
They were surprised that Akaya had worn the hat (in the middle of summer, mind you) to tennis practice.
Marui openly stared in disbelief as he watched Akaya trounce a non-regular with his Knuckle Serve. "How does he move in that thing?" he muttered to Niou. "That hat looks like it weighs twenty pounds."
Niou snorted. "More like it's two hundred degrees Celsius."
"Did you notice that he hasn't said a word all day?" Marui whispered. "Seriously! Nothing! He hasn't said anything, I swear. When he saw me and Mura this morning—"
"Mura and I," Yagyuu corrected as he passed them by.
"Grammar freak," Marui replied. "When he saw Mura and I this morning, he just waved. Didn't say hi or whatever. Just kind of gave this nod and left. Can you believe that?"
"It's unlike him," Niou agreed.
"Maybe he lost his voice in Canada."
"Maybe you lost your sanity in your mother's womb."
Marui gasped like Niou had just insulted his family heritage. "How dare you?"
"Quel est le problème?"
The two of them turned around. Akaya stared at them with curious, unblinking green eyes. Normally, the two of them would've taken the time to laugh at how ridiculous he looked with that fur hat on, but at the moment, they were trying to process Akaya's French.
And how good it was.
"What," Marui began, "did you just say?"
"Quel est le problème?" Akaya repeated, more slowly.
"What is the problem?" Yukimura translated, looking torn between being amused and being annoyed. The regulars were supposed to be practicing for the junior tournaments—and while watching Akaya prance around in a fur hat was thoroughly entertaining, it wasn't going to get them in shape for the next match.
Marui looked vaguely annoyed, too. He folded his arms. "The problem is that you haven't said a single word to us all day. No greetings, no "how are you"s, nothing! Where's the respect?"
He thought Akaya might have rolled his eyes, but with the way the fur hat was covering his eyes, Marui couldn't really tell. "Bonjour; comment êtes-vous? Le Canada a été grande, j'aimais beaucoup le Québec. J'ai manqué à jouer au tennis. Mais j'ai besoin de s'habituer à la différence de temps ... Je suis fatigué."
". . . what?"
Jackal half-snorted, half-chuckled. "He spends less than a week in Canada," he murmured to nobody in particular, "and learns enough French to be mistaken for a native."
"Hello. How are you? Canada was great; I liked Quebec very much. I missed playing tennis. But I need to get used to the time difference... I'm tired," Yanagi translated. "It's unrealistic that he learned so much French in such a short period of time. He's really quite good at French—staying in Quebec for four and a half days was probably what set off this French-streak."
"Akaya, aren't you hot, wearing that?" Jackal inquired, looking genuinely concerned. "It's very humid today."
"Non," Akaya replied, shaking his head 'no.' "I'm good."
"So you do still remember Japanese," Niou mused. "Good for you. How was Canada, kid?"
Akaya beamed. "It was magnifique! I had sucre à la crème à l'érable, and it was really sweet but it was still really good because you just don't have stuff like that in Kanagawa and I might go back to Canada just for the maple fudge! And the Evian eau de source naturelle des Alpes Françaises actually has a French label! It's so cool! I've never seen a water bottle with French on it before, so I saved a bag full of water bottle labels." He dashed off the courts and toward the club room, presumably to find his bag of water bottle labels.
"Evian eau de source naturelle des Alpes Françaises means Evian natural spring water from the French Alps," Yukimura provided, amused. "And sucre à la crème à l'érable means maple fudge. I can't imagine how that'd taste . . . must be awfully sweet."
"Akaya does like sweet things," Yanagi agreed. "Not as much of an addict as Marui, but passable."
"Hey!" Marui protested. "I'm not addicted to anything!"
"You're forgetting all your withdrawal symptoms when you're sugar deprived," Niou mocked. "We mistook it for PMS at first, but we've got it figured out now."
Yagyuu pulled Niou aside before Marui could jump on him. "Were you disappointed when you didn't see any giant mammoths or gingerbread houses?" he inquired gently. "Mammoths are extinct, you know."
Akaya looked confused. "Je ne crois pas."
"I don't think so," Yukimura translated.
"I saw lots of giant mammoths," he continued happily. "Lots and lots! And gingerbread houses, too! They were really nice, with candy windows and all. Looked tasty, but I couldn't eat them, so that was kind of disappointing."
Jackal looked doubtful. "Are you sure? Canada isn't too different from any other country. Toronto is quite similar to America in some aspects, and I can testify that Ottawa looks a bit like central Japan."
Akaya shook his head. "I know. It's really similar. But I still saw tons of giant mammoths and gingerbread houses."
"The heat must be getting to him," Marui decided.
"It's lucky that Sanada wasn't here to witness this," Yukimura commented idly. "He'd have fainted."
"Or slapped the hell out of the brat," Niou snorted.
Akaya ignored them all and concentrated on his next match. Canada had been great fun.
But really, Akaya did see gingerbread houses and giant mammoths in Canada. Honest, he did!
The Canadian movie theatres were wonderful, indeed.