Happy belated birthday, Akaya! I would've done this sooner, but... FFnet was being spazzy.

I finish one story, and I start two. That's not very smart, is it?

But whatever. I've never been known for my intelligence, haha. Without further ado, I present to you: The Talent Tournament!

"You're kidding me," Marui said flatly. "There is no way you're serious. This is a joke. This is a really, really bad joke."

"No, I'm not—" Yukimura began, but Marui cut him off, screaming "la la la" at the top of his lungs.

Kirihara kicked him in the shins with his cleats, and Marui yelped. "Cut it out, senpai," he scowled. "I think it's a great idea."

Yukimura beamed. "I'm so glad you agree, Akaya!"

"Of course he agrees," Marui muttered. "The kid worships the ground you walk on."

"But really," Sanada interrupted, trying to be sensible. "A talent show, Yukimura?"

"Well, why not?" Yukimura defended.

"We have tennis!" Sanada exclaimed. "We are extremely, extremely good at tennis! What else could we possibly need in life?" The non-regulars were watching this conversation with some degree of interest, but Sanada made no attempts to lower his voice. "We have a tournament coming up," Sanada argued. "Shouldn't we be training for that, instead of organizing a talent show?"

"It's not a talent show," Yukimura corrected, mildly offended. "It's a talent competition. And it'll better our skills in—well, other fields! We're wonderfully talented when it comes to tennis, yes, but shouldn't we have other skills, too? This is a good way to showcase it, and prove RikkaiDai the best school. We'll be competing with Shitenhouji, Hyotei, and Seigaku."

Niou smiled a slow smile. "I'm in," he offered. "I already know what I'll be doing for the talent competition."

"And, what's that?" Yagyuu inquired, deciding to indulge him.

The glint in Niou's eyes really was worrisome. "Remember when I told you guys about my dance skills?"

"We will be hosting a talent competition!" Atobe announced one day, randomly in the middle of practice. He was met with silence.

Then Yuushi sighed, half-exasperated. "I definitely saw this coming."

"A talent competition?" Shishido demanded, still in the middle of a match. "Are you out of your mind? Do the rest of us have to participate, too?"

"Naturally," Atobe replied haughtily. "You need not worry yourself; ore-sama shall compensate for your lack of talent."

Shishido eloquently flipped Atobe off and served.

"Are we competing amongst ourselves or what?" Gakuto asked, losing interest in the tennis match. However, Shishido's serve ended up hitting his arm while he wasn't paying attention, and he snarled in vengeance. With a flamboyant one-armed backflip, he sent the ball flying back to Shishido's side of the court—or, at the very least, Shishido's head.

"Not amongst ourselves, but amongst other schools," Atobe said, clearly pleased with the sudden attention he gathered. "Specifically, Seigaku—"

The majority of the regulars scowled.


Deeper scowls.

"—and Shitenhouji."

Blank stares. "Who are they?" Gakuto asked, entirely serious.

"The school my cousin goes to," Yuushi specified.

"Oh, right. Oshitari Kentucky, or something?"

"Oshitari Kenya."

"Yeah, him."

"Do I have to participate?" Chitose asked, a little pleadingly. "I'm not even on the tennis team anymore."

"But we love you so much, Chitose," Shiraishi joked. "Our little family just isn't the same without you."

"It's just not the same," Koharu and Yuuji agreed. Today they were decked out in matching girls' uniforms, complete with a ruffly (and far too short) skirt, hair clips, and heels. Shiraishi was fairly certain that the heels weren't part of the Shitenhouji school uniform, but supposed that the teachers had decided to humor them.

"It'll be fun," Kenya decided. "I'll run circles around everybody. And duplicate myself. And other speed-related circus tricks."

"Well, I don't like it," Zaizen commented sulkily. "Nobody's going to know who I am. I got, like, a cameo, playing tennis with Chitose-senpai, and he essentially stole the spotlight for the entirety of that match, anyway."

"What is there to display?" Gin asked. "We're tennis players."

The regulars contemplated that for a moment.

"We're talented," Kenya persisted. "We're a natural-born set of nutcases. We'll think of something."

"I already know what I'm gonna do for my act!" Kintarou declared.

"And what's that, Kin-chan?" Shiraishi inquired.

"My Super Ultra Great Delicious Giant Swing Mountain Storm!" he cheered, and whipped out a tennis ball and racquet.

"A demonstration isn't necessary," Chitose said quickly, but—

"Take cover!"

"It is my great regret to announce that we will be participating in a talent competition," Tezuka said, with the regulars gathered around him.

"But we have a tennis tournament coming up," Momoshiro protested. Tezuka's scary-glasses-glint interrupted him, and Inui sulked a little at having his trademark scary-glasses-glint taken away from him.

"I am fully aware of that—this will significantly decrease the amount of practice time we'll have. However, I expect you all to make up practice hours on your own time. We will be competing against Shitenhouji, RikkaiDai, and Hyotei, so it is likely that they will also lose practice-time; we will not be at a disadvantage. This, however, is not an excuse to let your guard down."

"But why a talent competition, nya?" Eiji wondered, although admittedly, he was wondering more about which of his amazing acrobatic abilities he ought to show off, more.

"For this, you can blame Fuji," Tezuka said flatly. "He'd made the deal without my knowledge."

All eyes turned to the quaintly smiling brunette, whose smile simply widened when he saw Tezuka's disapproving stare. "Well, why not?" he asked serenely. "It'll be good for inter-school relations. Echizen, you'll be able to face off with Kintarou-kun, won't you? Eiji, you'll be able to settle your rivalry with Mukahi. Taka-san, I'm sure you'll be very happy to see Gin-san. Tezuka, I've been told that Chitose will be present. Momo, I'm sure a rematch with Oshitari is due. Kaidou, won't it be interesting to note whether you or Jackal of RikkaiDai have more stamina? And Inui, won't it be wonderful to compare data with Yanagi? And Oishi—you just know that somebody is going to wind up injured from all of this. Won't you be delighted to be able to help them?"

Fuji, Tezuka thought bitterly, would make a very good lawyer. Judging from the way his teammates' expressions had instantly turned from dubious to earnest, he decided that yes, Fuji would make a good lawyer, indeed.