Disclaimer: The usual. I don't own Prince of tennis.

This is a birthday fic for the very awesome Rikkaidailove (she wrote me a b-day fic so I sortofkindof have to write her one too). So the pairing she requested was an Akaya/Marui/Niou threesome, so… damn it, I wrote Akaya/Marui/Niou. And I may have added Alpha pair because I'm biased. And some Urayama Shiita too. That kid is fucking cute okay.

Warnings: Stuffs like unoriginal content, plot was attempted, probably OOC-ness, my crappy writing, etc.

SHUT UP, IT'S THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS. HAPPY BIRTHDAY RIKKAIDAILOVE.


Akaya glared up ahead, trying very hard to be a Responsible Captain and ignoring the snickers coming from behind him. The new recruits were running their first laps of the year, some sprinting up ahead of others and some slackers logging lazily in the back. Akaya snapped at the lazy ones to pick up the pace, which they did with a roll of their eyes. Akaya glared harder. Those guys will never make the team, he thought. He smiled smugly when he remembered that he made the decisions now and totally got to decide who made the team and who didn't.

Akaya crossed his arms, keeping his chin up and hoping he looked as majestic as his old captain.

Right as he thought that, the jersey on his shoulders fell to the ground. The snickering from behind him turned into full out laughter.

"Will you stop that!" yelled Akaya, turning to look at the source of the laughing. "I can kick you out, you know! This is my court now!"

Niou was clutching his stomach in laughter. Marui was holding the fence in support.

"It's not funny!" said Akaya, his voice taking on a familiar whiny tone. "Come on, senpai, I'm trying to hold my first practice with no interruptions!" Damn them. Even if they had moved on to the high school division, they were still bothering him.

"Yes, Captain," said Niou, his voice teasing and still layered in laughter. "Why don't you just tarundoru us while you're at it?"

That set Marui off again. Akaya grumbled incoherently, setting the yellow jersey on his shoulders again. The stupid thing never stayed on. Akaya didn't know how Yukimura did it.

"I can't believe you're wearing a cap too," snorted Marui, his obnoxious laughter ringing through the courts.

"It keeps the sun out of my eyes," said Akaya, fixing the black cap on his head in desperate hope that it would make him look as menacing as Sanada.

"Yeah, and it makes you look like Yukimura and Sanada's lovechild."

"It does not! I look like a Mature Captain!" screeched Akaya. Niou was just jealous because he never got to be captain. Serves him right, that stupid muffinface. Why couldn't they just leave him alone to do his captain-duties and captain-responsibilities in peace?

"Shouldn't you guys be at your own practice?" asked Akaya.

"Nah, Yukimura's in a bitchrage again and annihilating the captain for like the third time this week," said Marui.

"We came all this way to see our cute little Aka-chan," cooed Niou.

"Ack! Don't say that!" said Akaya, looking around at his team in hopes that no one had heard. If his new team heard someone calling him Aka-chan, he'd never get the new players to respect him. Luckily, no one was around. Some students were still running their laps while others were off at a distance, bragging about their (nonexistant) tennis skills to other players.

"Aw, come on. We've missed you. The team's not the same without you," said Niou, winking at him through the fence.

Akaya's eyes softened for a moment. Sometimes it was still hard to believe that he was the new captain and that all his friends were now in high school. It saddened him at times, especially when he recalled all the happy times they had spent together.

Someone nudged his elbow. Akaya snapped his head around, looking down and seeing the shrimpy kid with the ice cream cone head. Akaya furrowed his eyebrows. What was his name again? Uruya? Uriyima Shi-something?

"What is it, Ice cream?" asked Akaya, giving up on remembering the boy's name.

The kid looked a bit timid but he was probably one of the most enthusiastic of the bunch. "Captain, sir! We've all finished running our laps! I made sure everyone did them all, de yansu!" he said.

"Oh. Yes… good job. Then tell the first years to get ready for swing practice. Second and third years can take the courts," said Akaya. Ice cream kid nodded eagerly and bounced back to the herd of yellow-suited students to tell them the latest orders.

Akaya glanced back at Marui and Niou for a second. "Now shoo. I'm busy here," he said.

"Fine fine," said Niou, grinning mischievously. "But it's gonna cost you one."

Akaya griped under his breath, shuffling his feet in place. Marui joined Niou's smirk. "Make that one each," added Marui. "Come on, hurry up while no one's looking."

Akaya shot them another dirty look, approaching the fence with caution. Niou and Marui were both smothering their faces against the metal wires of the fence. Akaya kissed Marui first, the fence awkwardly digging into his cheek and eye and prohibiting them from deepening it even if they wanted to. He tasted of apple gum, as usual. Akaya then kissed Niou too, after the trickster had stopped sticking his tongue out. Akaya's cap fell back and off his head thanks to the fence.

The two high school students left after that, leaving a red-faced Akaya to deal with the new Rikkaidai tennis team.

.


.

Akaya locked the door to the locker room, sighing with relief that the week was finally over. Practice had been brutal today and he had once more resorted to winning tennis matches in order to gain some control over a few outspoken players. At least those guys would never show their faces around here again after the humilation of losing.

Between the immature players, the pressure of picking out the regulars for the team and chasing Niou and Marui out of the courts for the thousandth time, Akaya barely had any time to rest. He could practically hear his grades slipping already.

"Rough day, Akaya?" came a light voice from the darkness behind him.

Akaya jolted, turning back and seeing the familiar dark blue hair and sweet face of Yukimura.

"Captain! What are you doing here?"

Yukimura chuckled. "Now now, I'm no one's captain anymore, Akaya," said Yukimura. "I'm merely checking up to see how you are doing after your first week of being captain."

Akaya mumbled something that sounded like "It's fine."

"Niou and Marui tell me it's been rough on you a few times," said Yukimura.

"Those two are not helping at all."

"They just want to spend some time with you. Just because you are the captain doesn't mean you have to stop going on arcade dates with your boyfriends," said Yukimura, smiling like he knew everything that was going on in Akaya's life.

Akaya just looked down at his worn-out shoes. It wasn't like he had any spare time anymore. Going out with Marui and Niou was going to have to wait.

"It's always hard at first, Akaya. Sometimes you have to tough it out and show them who's boss," said Yukimura. "I had a hard time adjusting as well, when I first became captain. Now I'm having a hard time re-adjusting to being a simple player." He laughed.

"Y-You had a hard time too?" asked Akaya.

"Of course. I'm no exception Akaya," said Yukimura. "It will get better, I promise." He pressed a soothing hand to Akaya's shoulder.

His other hand wandered up, plucking the black cap right off of Akaya's head, casting a bemused look in the younger's direction. "I'll be keeping this," said Yukimura. "Do things your own way, Captain."

Yukimura walked away, whistling and twirling the cap around his index finger.

.


.

Marui, 5:34pm: Yo, Im at Niou's place for the sleepover. U coming?

Akaya, 5:36pm: Can't. Need to decide on the lineups for the prefecturals. go go rikkaidai.

Marui, 5:40pm: Lame. Get someone else to do it. We never see you anymore! Think of all the awesome stuff you're missing!

Akaya, 5:42pm: I have to do it. I'm captain. sorry. next time, maybe.

Marui scowled at his phone. This was so not cool. He walked back into Niou's room, his bare feet padding against the wooden flooring. Niou was playing with his Nintendo DS on his bed.

"Akaya's not coming," said Marui.

"Figured as much," said Niou. His fingers mashed buttons, his eyes glued to the game screen. He had a frown on his face. "What's his excuse this time?"

"He's stupid is the reason. And the Prefectuals." Marui slid up on the bed next to Niou, wrapping an arm around him and leaning in for a kiss. Niou thrashed, shaking Marui off.

"Hey, you nearly made me die!" shouted Niou, moving his arms up and not moving his gaze away from the handheld game system. Marui kissed Niou's neck and pressed Niou's knee between his legs.

"Come on, Niou. I'm angry and horny and Akaya's not available," said Marui in a low voice.

"Then go hump a pillow, I'm busy."

Pouting, Marui pulled back, punching Niou's arm. Damn him and damn Akaya. They just didn't appreciate his genius. Marui sat on the edge of the bed and purposely jostled Niou's arm whenever he could, much to the trickster's annoyance.

Marui grew bored of it quickly, taking a quick look around the messy room for a lack of something better to do. The room was quiet save for the sounds of punches and kicks and button mashing emitting from Niou's game. Marui shifted off the mattress and paced to the foot of the bed, poking Niou's foot.

Marui sneakily brought his hand up, delicately touching the front of Niou's shorts, soft at first and then proceeding to full-on stroking. Niou squirmed.

"Stop that," Niou hissed.

"Just stay there and let me do the work," said Marui. He pulled Niou's shorts down, finding little resistance despite the vocal protests. Niou might be in a grouchy mood thanks to Akaya abandoning them again, but that didn't mean he had to ignore Marui as well.

Marui pumped him a few times before taking him into his mouth. Niou jerked, dropping his video game on the bed and fisting the sheets. Marui felt Niou lengthening along his tongue.

"Fuck, Marui, you can't just- Ngh!" Niou moaned, arching his back and spreading his legs. God, the things Marui could do with his tongue were just stupefying at times. Marui responded by taking him in deeper, humming around the length's sleek weight.

The rest didn't take long. Niou's hips began moving frantically, rocking into the unbearably heat. Niou came with a shout, his toes curling on the bed covers. Niou lay there, limp and panting from the exertion, looking at his video game and seeing a GAME OVER on the screen. Marui lay down next to Niou, cuddling up to his side in a rather cute manner.

"I hate you..." said Niou, grumbling again.

"Yeah yeah. I'd believe that if you hadn't just orgasmed in my mouth." Marui rolled his eyes. "Look, I know you're upset over Akaya never spending time with us anymore, but he is busy."

"Yukimura always found time for team activities afterwards back when he was captain. I don't see why Akaya can't."

Marui shrugged. "Akaya's not used to it. But I think he's trying hard so we should be supportive."

"I guess…"

"And," Marui smirked suggestively. "Our poor baby must be feeling so sexually frustrated after not seeing us for so long. What kind of boyfriends would we be if we couldn't satisfy him at a time like this?"

Niou smiled right back, getting the hint. "Right. Obviously, if Akaya is too busy to leave the tennis courts, perhaps it is about time to take our escapades out of the bedroom."

"Then we could just meet him over at the Rikkai courts." finished Marui. He was such a genius to have thought of this. Akaya will be so surprised to see them there.

.


.

The day Akaya put up the list of the official team's regulars was the day most of the team turned against him. Akaya sat on the bench with his arms crossed, the unhappy team surrounding him. He took the complaints like a man.

"Why him?" demanded one arrogant third year. "I beat him like five times! Why is he in the regulars and not me?"

"Do you want us to lose, captain?"

"Are you just blind to our abilities or what? I have much more talent then half the guys you put on the regulars!"

Finally, Akaya snapped after a few minutes of it. He pointed to each complainer in turn.

"You didn't make the regulars because you constantly skip practice!" shouted Akaya. "Urayama may not be the best player but he certainly is more hardworking than all of you combined." His jacket fell to the ground again but he didn't care. He was angry at his stupid incompetent team. "If you are questioning my authority, then come beat me in a game. If you want to be on the regulars this badly, then train hard and attend practice."

The complainers gave him a look of disgust before turning away.

"Forget it, I quit this team," said the arrogant third year.

"Seriously. With a captain like him, we'll lose every match anyways," said a tall second year who Akaya swore had never attended practice before today.

Akaya turned to the rest of his team, his arms crossed.

"If anyone else has a problem with my methods, you may leave," said Akaya. No one else moved. The first-years looked completely uncertain, standing at a distance. There were some second and third years who looked doubtful. The six regulars he had chosen were in front, their facial expressions showing mixed reactions.

Akaya swallowed, relieved. "Tournament season is coming up and I expect you all to work hard. Today, the regulars will be playing games in courts A and B. The order for the Prefecturals will be up tomorrow. Start running your laps."

"Yes, captain!" said the team in unison, sprinting into action.

As the team ran, Akaya slumped back on the bench, sighing. That had been rough. He had expected disapproval from some players, but seeing that many leave the team still felt like a stab in the chest.

"Captain?" said a small voice. Akaya looked up to see Urayama standing there, holding out Akaya's jersey. "You dropped this earlier."

"Ah. Thank you." Akaya took the jersey, putting it back around his shoulders. Urayama shuffled in place, not leaving to run laps like everyone else. "What's wrong?" asked Akaya.

Urayama paused. "It's just… why did you put me on the regulars? There are many others who are stronger than me."

Akaya clasped a hand on Urayama's shoulder. "Listen, Ice cream. I know you are not the best in terms of skill. But I do see a lot of promise in you," said Akaya. "I would not have put you on the regulars if I didn't believe in your abilities."

"Yes but… I don't know if I'm good… enough…" Urayama looked down. "I don't want to disappoint you, captain."

"You won't. Believe in yourself a bit," said Akaya, smiling encouragingly. "I know how hard-working you are. If you set your mind to it, you can go far."

Urayama blushed at the compliments. "T-Thank you, captain!" he said. "I'll try not to let you down."

"Ah… if you ever need to practice some more, I'm always around to help, okay?" said Akaya. "Maybe we can play a game later."

Urayama's eyes widened at the mention of a game. "Really? A game with the captain would be sooo cool, de yansu!"

"Then finish your laps early and we can have that match sooner." Akaya smile grew wider when the younger boy scampered off to run laps, looking beyond excited. Akaya felt his chest swell a bit at being able to help at least one person on the team.

He just hoped he was making the right decision.

.


.

The Prefecturals were tomorrow. The Prefecturals were tomorrow and one guy from the regulars had quit today.

Of course, Akaya had quickly replaced him, but the substitute was nowhere near as good and had absolutely zero coordination when it came to doubles.

This was bad.

The whole week had been that way. There were some more players who had quit the team, some leaving in the middle of practice and not coming back. It hadn't been a big deal until today since the person who quit was one of the best on the team. The regular had left, saying that he had no faith in the team anymore.

Akaya swore under his breath. Fine, let them leave. He didn't need losers and quitters on his team. When they win, he'll show them all how wrong they were to have left.

Akaya was the last one there that evening, alone with the darkening sky. Everyone else had already gone home but Akaya felt restless about the tournament tomorrow. He stayed on the court, getting the ball machine to shoot tennis balls at him and then striking them back with his racket. They would win tomorrow… they must win tomorrow. Akaya hit the next ball so hard it passed right through the fence.

No matter how much he repeated it to himself, there was always that voice of doubt ringing in his mind.

He called it a day and picked up the net and tennis balls, returning them to the supplies room.

He entered the locker room only to discover that he wasn't the last one there after all.

"What are you guys doing here?" Akaya asked, looking back and forth between Niou and Marui. It seems like they had been there for a while, waiting for him to show up.

The two older teens smiled and approached him.

"We came to see you, silly," said Marui. "We missed you."

"Yeah, we haven't seen you in ages," said Niou.

Akaya put his racket in his locker. "Yeah, sorry. I've been so busy with the team," he said, sounding exasperated and not at all excited about the appearance of his two boyfriends.

He heard them approaching, arms going around Akaya's waist and pressing him back again a solid chest. Hands worked on his shirt, pushing it up. "Don't worry, Akaya. We'll make you feel better," whispered Marui into his ear. Akaya shivered at the tone.

"H-Hey, don't do this here," said Akaya, grabbing Marui's hands and holding them still. Really, in the locker rooms? This was not the proper place nor time. Anyone could just walk in. "I'm already late for supper. Can't we do this some other time?"

"With the way you keep on rejecting our invitations, I'd say now is the perfect time," said Niou, running his own hands up and down Akaya's sides and kissing his neck.

Akaya frowned. "I already said I was sorry- Stop it, Marui-senpai!" he said when he felt Marui's hand palm his crotch. His jerked violently, pushing them both away and stepping out of their embrace, his clothes looking dishevelled.

"Akaya, come on, we came all this way to see you," said Marui, his eyes almost pleading.

"No. I'm not in the mood," said Akaya.

"Look, Akaya, we've been really patient with you," said Niou, starting to sound irked. "At least show us that you still care about-"

"I SAID NO!" Akaya found himself screaming, all of the week's frustrations coming out of him. Marui and Niou froze.

"I can't do this right now," said Akaya, his eyes bright. "Everything is a mess. The team stinks. Everyday someone quits. The Prefecturals are tomorrow and we're not at all ready. I… I'm a terrible captain." Akaya shook his head, evidently close to tears. "No one even believes in the team… making me captain was a huge mistake. I…I just don't have the time for this."

"Akaya…" Marui sounded heartbroken, taking a step towards Akaya. "We're just trying to help-"

"Well you're not!" Akaya panted, his throat feeling clogged up. He gritted his teeth. Everything was a mess. Keeping up the strong captain façade in front of his team was taking its toll. He couldn't do it anymore. "Just leave me alone."

The room went quiet, Akaya's last words ringing in the air. Marui appeared saddened at the outburst, wanting to console the younger boy but knowing Akaya wanted nothing to do with them right now. Niou gazed at Akaya with cold eyes, as if disappointed.

"Fine," said Niou, his voice an icy steel. "I guess that settles it. I can see just how much you really care about us, Akaya." He shoved his hands in his pockets and walked towards the exit. "Let's go Marui."

Marui looked back and forth between Akaya and Niou. Finally, he took steps back towards the trickster. "I'll… see you later Akaya," said Marui in a small voice. "Good luck in the Prefectuals."

Then they were gone. Akaya was alone in the room, feeling like he had made the worst decision of his life. He punched the nearest locker and sunk to the ground right as the first tears dripped down his cheeks.

.


.

Once the tournament was over, Akaya made room in his schedule to make-up with Marui and Niou. He unfortunately found that neither of them responded to his mails or answered his calls, thus making Akaya wonder if they really were that angry at him.

Two days after the tournament, Akaya found himself at the house of his former captain. Yukimura was welcoming even though Akaya had shown up unexpectedly. They ended up gardening, with Yukimura looking like an angelic saint as he groomed flowers. Akaya on the other hand was elbow-deep in dirt and had brown patches covering his entire body from his new shoes to his face.

"Congratulations on your victory, Akaya," said Yukimura.

"Thank you, senpai," said Akaya. He held out the trowel to Yukimura and the blue-haired teen took it, digging into a dirt patch. Akaya wiped his sweaty brow, spreading more dirt on his face.

The Prefectural tournament hadn't gone too bad. They had won first place and the team was now experiencing a spurt of excitement and energy. The problem had been their two losses in the finals before Akaya had moved in Singles 1 to dominate the field and give them their final win.

"The Kanto tournament will be harder," said Akaya. Having had troubles in the Prefecturals meant they needed much more training. "Hyotei and Seigaku will be there."

"Ah, that's right," hummed Yukimura. Akaya often asked Yukimura for advice, usually on training techniques or on how to get his jacket to stay on his shoulders. Today, Akaya just felt like he needed someone to talk to now that Marui and Niou were ignoring him.

"Are Niou-senpai and Marui-senpai still angry at me?" asked Akaya, his tone layered with guilt.

"Hm, yes, I heard you three had gotten into a bit of an argument," said Yukimura. "It's affecting their game in practice quite a bit." Akaya looked down, feeling even worse now. "What is the problem?"

"I… It's my fault," said Akaya. "I hadn't been with them in a while and the other day… I was so stressed that I just snapped at them. They kept on insisting on doing it… but I mean, we were in the locker rooms and I was panicking about the tournament… I know I shouldn't have snapped but still… it was the locker rooms! That's just not proper, right senpai?"

Yukimura looked at Akaya apologetically. "Ah… well…" Yukimura was high-pitched as if he were hiding something.

Akaya was immediately grossed out. "Ugh! Senpai, please don't tell me you've done it in the locker rooms."

Yukimura chuckled at Akaya's disgusted face. "Akaya, there's nothing wrong with a little diversity outside the bedroom. I'm sure Niou and Marui just wanted a bit of fun to cheer you up."

"Oh god, you actually did it in the locker room?" said Akaya, grimacing. "Gross. You and Sanada-senpai just lost 5 respect points from me, senpai."

Yukimura grinned widely, amused by Akaya's reactions. "Yes, I'm guilty as charged," he said, snickering. "Although it has been quite a while since Genichirou has fucked me against those lockers."

Akaya covered his ears with his hands, shaking his head. "Too much information!"

"Says the one with two boyfriends," replied Yukimura. He laughed lightly, ruffling Akaya's hair. "Don't worry, Akaya. I'm sure they'll forgive you if you explain things to them and give it a bit of time. I know how hard it is when you first become captain, but sometimes it's good to take a break from all the work."

"But… I never have time," said Akaya. "How did you do it, senpai?"

"I was lucky, Akaya," said Yukimura. "I had Genichirou and Renji by my side. Without them, it would not have been easy at all. They took on a lot of my responsibilities and for that I am very grateful."

"But you guys were the Three Demons… I'm alone here."

"You aren't alone," said Yukimura. "You have teammates. They may look up to you for support but you can also rely on them. Don't ever feel like you have to get through anything by yourself, Akaya."

The next thing Akaya knew, Yukimura's arms were wrapped around him, pulling him into a warm embrace. For a second, Akaya was transported back to a time where he was the naive new boy of the team, able to joke around with his friends without a care in the world. With Yukimura here and holding him, it once again made Akaya feel small, like he wasn't a captain with countless duties waiting for him.

"It'll be okay, Akaya," said Yukimura, patting his back soothingly. Akaya sniffled, nodding his head against Yukimura's chest. "And if all else fails, you can just do what I did: train the team so hard they all faint in the showers."

Akaya laughed, the sound coming out a bit choked. "Yeah, assigning laps always makes things better."

"Doesn't it?" said Yukimura, beaming. "Now go. I'm sure you have a lot of things to do and wasting time gardening with me won't help anything."

"Yes, captain!" said Akaya, sprinting up and back towards the house. Yukimura smiled. Ah, there was that old enthusiasm Akaya always used to have. Yukimura watched the younger boy scamper back inside, grabbing his tennis back on the way. He hoped everything will work out for Akaya.

And now it was time to take care of the spy. "Genichirou, how long were you planning on hiding back there?" Yukimura called out. He was not at all surprised when Sanada unlocked the fence and entered the garden. "You finished your kendo practice early today."

Sanada grunted. "Hn." He looked back at the house's door, where Akaya had disappeared through. "Akaya seems to be going through a rough patch."

"He'll be okay. I have confidence in him. After all, I was the one who picked him as the future captain," said Yukimura.

"Ah." Sanada approached the former captain, handing him a water bottle. Yukimura drank deeply, the sun's heat making him feel parched. "So what was the purpose of that hug?" asked Sanada.

Yukimura smiled as if he had been waiting for Sanada to ask. His leaned against Sanada, wrapping his arms around the taller teen's neck.

"Last year, when I was in the hospital having just heard that I may never play tennis again… do you remember how overwhelmed I was?" asked Yukimura.

Sanada nodded. The memory was very livid in his mind. Strong Yukimura, reduced to a hurricane of angry outbursts and weeping on his hospital bed. Sanada had been at a loss at the time, seeing his leader broken and ill. It was not something neither of them liked to remember.

"That time, you hugged me just like that and you told me I wasn't alone… that everything would be okay," said Yukimura. His hold tightened. "And I believed every word. I was relieved. You made me feel at ease once more. I was hoping it would have the same effect on Akaya."

"Seiichi…" Sanada pushed Yukimura's hair out of his eyes. Yukimura had never told him that before. "I don't know what to say. I'm glad I was able to help you that time."

"It's thanks to you that I've made it this far, Genichirou," Yukimura said and then kissed him, slowly savouring the moment. Sanada kissed him back with vigour, pushing all of his feelings and passion into the kiss.

They pulled their mouths apart after a moment. They lay their heads together, foreheads touching.

"I'm glad," said Sanada. "But Seiichi…" He cast a sceptical look in Yukimura's direction. "Were the comments about our adventures in the locker room truly necessary?"

Yukimura laughed, patting Sanada's cheek. "It's been a while since we've done that," he noted. "Let's defeat the upperclassmen and demand alone time in the locker room."

Sanada sighed in exasperation. "You are much too uninhibited for your own good, Seiichi," he said then kissed him again, knowing he really didn't have a choice on the matter if Yukimura had already decided upon it.

.


.

Yukimura is so wise, thought Akaya, looking at the ceiling of his room. He wondered if he would ever grow up to be as cool and mature as Yukimura. Even if Akaya was a third year, he still felt so small compared to Yukimura and the others.

He yawned and rolled over on his bed, exhausted after another long day of practice. He pulled out his phone and looked at the screen. Once again, the No New Messages screen taunted him. Marui and Niou were still ignoring his calls.

He regretted his attitude from their last encounter. He thought back to how they had touched him, recalling the promise each caress held… God, why had he said no? Akaya didn't know if it was because he finally had free time or if his stupid teenage hormones were reminding him that he hadn't done anything in weeks, but suddenly his nether regions were feeling hot and definitely hard.

Akaya lowered his hand, cupping the front of his shorts. He hissed, thinking of Niou's husky tone when he whispered in his ear and teased him. He stroked under his boxer's damp material, imagining it was Marui's far too talented mouth on him. His other hand went up, caressing stiff nipples. Akaya arched, moaning out loud and grateful that he was alone in the house today. His whole body shook and trembled on the bed covers. He was drenched with sweat and shaking with pleasure. He came with a bitten-off noise and wetness soaking his hand.

He lay there, wiping his hand on his sheets and trying to regain his breath. Nope, he still didn't feel satisfied. His hand just couldn't replace the warmth of his two best friends and lovers. It made Akaya feel like he had an empty spot inside him, waiting to be filled.

Akaya grabbed his phone, dialling Marui's number in a hurry.

"Come on… pick up…" breathed Akaya, biting his lip and begging Marui to just answer his damn phone and stop ignoring him. When his call once again went straight to voicemail, Akaya made a frustrated sound and nearly threw his phone against the nearest wall.

"Damn it." Akaya punched his pillow, clenching his fingers tightly over his phone. Damn them. Akaya knew he had done wrong, but how was to supposed to apologize if they weren't returning any of his calls?

Suddenly, his phone began ringing.

Akaya jumped in surprise, flipping his phone open faster than lightning.

"Marui-senpai?" said Akaya, hopeful.

"Hi captain, it's me," came the voice of Urayama Shiita. "Am I calling at a bad time? I can call back, de yansu."

Akaya exhaled, disappointed. He leaned back on his bed. "It's fine. What is it?" he asked.

"I just wanted to call and say thank you for playing a game against me again today! I feel like I'm improving a lot. I'm glad you don't go easy on me either… I mean, your Devil mode is a bit scary but I'm happy that you are playing so seriously against me," said Urayama.

"It's fine," said Akaya again. Well at least he was doing one thing right. Even if he could control his Devil mode at this point, it apparently still freaked out his team when his skin and eyes turned bright red. It was cool though. Captain Yukimura and vice-captain Sanada had intimidating auras, but at least Akaya could find his own way of intimidating his team into doing more laps. His method just involved a bit more red skin, bloodshot eyes and maniacal laughter than most other methods.

"I think you're improving too," said Akaya. It was true. Urayama didn't fumble around at much and was actually hitting some pretty strong moves. Not to mention how enthusiastic and obedient he always was.

Then a light went off in Akaya's head.

"Actually… you defeated quite a lot of people lately haven't you, Ice Cream?" said Akaya, sitting up and smiling in an unnerving way.

Urayama seemed to sense Akaya's unnerving smile through the phone. "Y-Yes? I guess I did beat some people… but I still have a long way to go, de yansu."

"Of course. But you are always on time, you always listen to me and don't complain about warm-ups. You even keep an eye on the team and tell me if someone is cutting their laps," said Akaya.

"…Okay?" said Urayama, still sounding as if he didn't now where this was going.

Akaya grin grew wider. "Ice Cream, you're going to be my vice-captain."

"Ehh?" came Urayama's startled response. "M-Me? But I can't."

"You can. Congratulations on your promotion."

"Don't I get a say in this?"

"Nope. I decided. You are perfect for the job," said Akaya. He thought back to what Yukimura had said about being able to rely on a vice-captain. Akaya knew he could at least rely on Urayama. "It's fine. Just make sure the team does what they are supposed to do and listen to my orders."

Maybe Akaya could have more free time if he gave some of the responsibility to Urayama. Akaya wouldn't have to stay behind in the locker rooms and pick up after his messy team and then lock the door everyday. He wouldn't have to be the first one to arrive every morning to set the nets and open the supplies room. Now he could get Urayama to do half the work.

"But I don't think I can! The team won't listen to me, senpai!" said Urayama.

"I'll make them listen to you," said Akaya. "Trust me on this. Have a bit of confidence in yourself. You'll be just fine."

There was a pause. "Okay… if you say so," said Urayama, admitting defeat. "I'll… give it a try. I still don't know if it will work but I'll do my best, de yansu!"

"That's the spirit," said Akaya, clenching his fist. "I'll be counting on you to help me sometime. You'll even get a key to the locker rooms and everything." This was the best idea he had ever had. He knew convincing the team to obey a puny guy like Urayama wouldn't be easy, but Akaya was the captain and was set on making his authority be known.

"We'll talk later about the details," said Akaya and ended the phone call.

There. That was one good step taken. If he was going to make amends with Niou and Marui, then he should start now. There was still the obvious problem of them ignoring his calls, but he could figure out a solution to that later.

Okay. Planning was good. He was going to take this one step at a time like a patient and responsible captain.

And if anyone objected, then he was just going to kick their asses in tennis.

.


.

Over the course of the week, Akaya had no success in getting a hold of Marui and Niou. Akaya was not going to stay still and wait any longer. He was going to go right to Niou's house to kiss and make up.

Akaya bit his nails on the walk to Niou's house. It was Saturday afternoon, a few hours before the high schooler's tennis practice. He wasn't too nervous about his two boyfriends; surely they wouldn't stay mad long... they never did. He was more concerned about the fact that he had left Urayama alone with the team for the first time today. He just hoped Urayama didn't have too much trouble. Akaya had been too impatient to wait any longer to go patch things up with Niou and Marui.

Well… if something went wrong, then Urayama would probably call him.

Saturday was usually their day to hang out. They used to go to arcades, get fast food and then have a sleepover at Niou's house in which they would read manga and eat more junk food until they fell asleep. Akaya missed those days of freedom without any responsibilities. Perhaps they could resume their Saturday traditions once Akaya apologized and this whole mess was delt with.

Feeling optimistic, Akaya rang the doorbell to Niou's house. He tapped his foot impatiently until Niou's mother answered.

"Oh, Akaya-chan, it's been a while," she said, sounding very surprised to see him here.

"Ah, good afternoon Niou-san," said Akaya.

"Marui-chan tells me you are the captain now. Congratulations."

"Thank you. Yes, I've been quite, um, busy lately," he said, craning his head to look inside the house but seeing no one else. "Is Niou-senpai here?"

Niou's mother seemed to catch Akaya's uneasiness. She smiled warmly at him. "Yes, he is. Marui-chan is here too. They are both in his room," she said. "Did you have a spat with my son by any chance?"

"Oh, well," Akaya scratched his head. "Not really."

She shot a doubtful look at Akaya's obvious lie but said no more. She went back to the living room, telling Akaya to make himself at home and to not cause a big ruckus if they did even up fighting inside the house.

The young captain made his way to Niou's room on the second floor. The stairs creaked under his every step until he reached the door to Niou's room. He knocked and walked in.

Marui was on the squeaky mattress, picking pocky out of a box. Akaya jumped when he spotted Niou. The trickster was directly in front of him, pointing a dart at Akaya's face.

Akaya made a wimpy noise that sounded very un-captain-like.

Niou frowned. "Move. You're blocking my target."

Akaya quickly shot out of the way. The target was on the back of Niou's door. Niou closed one eye, focussing solely on the target while pinching the small dart between his thumb and forefinger. He jabbed the dart forward. It hit a dark section worth three points.

Niou retrieved his darts from the board, taking his time to clean them and put them back in their box. Akaya stood there during that time, wondering how to start the conversation.

In the end, it was Niou who spoke up first, hating the unbearable silence.

"Why are you here?" asked Niou. He definitely sounded angry.

"I want to apologize," said Akaya, crossing his arms. "And I can't do that with you two ignoring me."

"Sorry Akaya," said Marui. "I wanted to answer your calls but Niou was against it so…" Marui looked between the two of them. He didn't want to take sides on this. He just wanted them to get along again and for things to return to the way they were before. "Look, Niou, Akaya obviously feels bad and wants to apologize. Let's all forgive each other and move on."

"What, so he can just repeat his mistakes again come another tournament?" said Niou to Marui. "I don't think so. Tennis may be important but it's not the only thing in the world. If we mean so little to him that-"

"I won't repeat what I did, trust me on that," interrupted Akaya. "Last year, we all promised we wouldn't let this change come between us, remember?"

"That was before tennis consumed your life. That was before we became second place to your precious team." said Niou.

"That's not true," said Akaya.

"Isn't it?"

"Listen, I know I acted badly. That part is over. I have a vice captain now."

"Yeah, like that's going to make a difference."

"Enough!" shouted Marui, finally getting up from the bed and stomping over to the two of them. He punched them both on the arm, hard enough to throb. "Shut up, both of you. Now, I don't care if you guys need to talk it out or have make-up sex but just get over it." He turned to Niou, his tone scolding. "Akaya is sorry and promises not to do it again. You may be upset, but its time you accepted his apology. You know best out of anyone that Akaya doesn't break his promises." He then turned to Akaya. "And you have to make sure to keep that promise. I'm not too happy with you either, but I can forgive you for your shitty attitude if you are committed to apologizing properly."

Akaya looked at the ground, feeling hints of shame at his behaviour. Niou crossed his arms and stared determinedly at the wall.

Marui sighed in exasperation. He shook Niou's shoulder. "Come on, Niou," he whined. "You know you miss him."

Niou let out a growl, grabbing Marui's waist and pushing him back towards the bed. He shot yet another dirty glare at Akaya before turning his attention to Marui. Niou roughly angled Marui's chin upward and kissed him.

It was no ordinary kiss either. Marui struggled for a few seconds before giving in. Niou seemed to be sucking the protests right out of Marui. Akaya stood on the sidelines, clearly able to see Niou's tongue plunging in, able to hear the wet slurping sounds and the little moans Marui was making. Then Niou's striking eyes shifted to meet Akaya's, mocking his lack of involvement.

Akaya swallowed thickly. He knew what Niou was doing. Niou was provoking him like this, showing Akaya the intimacy he hadn't had for weeks. Akaya's clenched his fists together. He willed himself not to look or listen but he couldn't stop staring. Marui's noises were making him feel hot, having a stronger effect on him now than they ever had in the past.

He approached them and pushed them apart, seeing a string of saliva connecting their mouths. Marui appeared dazed.

"I said I was sorry," Akaya told Niou, approaching closer and closer.

"I heard you," said Niou. Akaya was standing so close that Niou could count his eyelashes. Niou hated how much he still felt weak in the knees from Akaya's close proximity. He hated how he just wanted to forgive Akaya and forget about everything simply because he had missed having that dumb brat around.

Those green eyes looked hurt, filling with water. "I missed you, senpai. Both of you," Akaya said, his throat constricting and taking on a familiar pitiable tone. "I'm really sorry for not taking your feelings into consideration."

Niou growled and roughly kissed Akaya, mashing their lips together in a way that was far from gentle. "You suck… using the tears method against me," said Niou. Damn it, Akaya knew no one could say no to that heartbroken face. "You're doing it on purpose, aren't you?"

Akaya stuck out his tongue. "Mm… maybe," he said. "Is it working?"

Niou snorted. "Idiot. You better not act like a jerk again or I'll kick your ass in front of your whole team," said the trickster and proceeded to kiss Akaya senseless, showing him that he was more or less forgiven for now.

Marui sat back, rolling his eyes as if saying "About time.". Akaya and Niou parted soon after and then it was Marui's turned to receive a rather passionate kiss from Akaya. The young captain had missed them just as much and had been equally as eager to kiss them.

And then Marui's lips sunk lower, sucking at Akaya's neck. "So have you missed my genius skills?" asked the redhead, tone husky. Niou joined in, grinning as he took his spot behind Akaya, massaging the younger boy's lower back and pulling at his shirt.

Akaya's cheeks flushed, sandwiched between Marui and Niou and knowing he wouldn't be able to get out of this situation until they were both satisfied with him. Akaya owed them at least that much. "Don't tire me out too much," said Akaya. "I still have practice tomorrow morning and I need to be able to walk."

Marui chuckled in a way that meant Akaya's request would definitely go ignored. He ran his hands inside Akaya's pants, causing the young captain to shiver.

"As you said before, it's a good thing you have a vice-captain now," whispered Niou into his ear and then pushed Akaya on the bed.

It was only later, when he was naked, lying in a sticky mess between Marui and Niou and feeling utterly sore, that Akaya agreed that getting a vice-captain had been the smartest decision he had ever made in his entire life.

.


.

The members of Rikkaidai's former middle school tennis team sat in the stands of the Kantou tournament's medal ceremony during a cloudy afternoon.

Marui was impressed that everyone had made it. Then again, Yukimura had forced the high school captain to cancel practice that afternoon solely so they could so see Akaya play. And Yukimura had definitely threatened them all about attending or else they would face laps. Even if Yukimura wasn't captain, everyone apparently took his threats seriously enough to attend Akaya's tournament.

At the moment, Yukimura was sitting between Sanada and Yanagi, excitedly craning his head so he could see the teams. The bronze and silver had already been awarded and only the gold was left. When Rikkaidai was called up, Akaya walked up to the podium and accepted his trophy.

Marui and Niou stood up, cheering and wolf-whistling loudly. The others merely clapped politely. Sanada glared and told them to sit down and behave because this was an awards ceremony and they were being a disgrace to the team.

"He's come so far, hasn't he, Genichirou?" said Yukimura.

"Ah," grunted Sanada, his arms crossed.

"He looks so grown up and mature up there. I feel so proud." said Yukimura.

Up on the podium, Akaya waved his trophy in the air and jumped down the stage. He ran to the Hyoutei line-up, right in front of Hiyoshi and screamed "In your face, mushroom-head!" in a perfect display of complete maturity.

Yukimura chuckled lightly. Sanada muttered a "Tarundoru" under his breath.

Once the ceremony had reached a close, they all joined Akaya and his team. The younger members of Akaya's team looked at Yukimura, Sanada and Yanagi in awe, muttering among themselves about the legendary Three Demons.

"You were great, Akaya," said Yanagi, smiling down at his former doubles partner.

"You played splendidly," said Yagyuu.

"Guys, you all came!" said Akaya, bouncing around excitedly. "Did you see my last match too? It was so cool and I totally pummelled that mushroom-head to the ground. He didn't know what hit him." He said it as if he were describing a fight and not a tennis match.

Yukimura nodded. "Of course, we wouldn't miss it for anything."

Niou reached forward and grabbed Akaya in a headlock, ruffling his hair. "Hey seaweed head, you didn't do too bad today!" he said.

"It hurts, senpai!" squealed Akaya, struggling out of Niou's death grip only to be caught in Marui's embrace. Luckily Marui was shorter and was no challenge to get out of. "Come on, I'm not a baby. And I'm not a seaweed head either," he said, pouting.

"Oh, but you'll always be our cute little kouhai," said Yukimura.

"Hey, you're all embarrassing me in front of my team," said Akaya. He rolled his shoulder back, looked over it and then began turning around in a panic. "Hey, where's my jersey? I had it on my shoulders when I went up on the podium."

"Here it is, de yansu!" Urayama ran forward and gave Akaya his jersey. "I dusted off the dirt. It fell off when you jumped off the stage."

"Oh. Yes," Akaya cleared his throat and put the jersey back in place. "Thank you."

"Is that your vice-captain?" asked Marui, curiously looking at the ice cream cone twirl on Urayama's head. "I thought your vice-captain would be… taller… and more menacing. No offense, kid."

"I'm sorry," said Urayama.

"Nah, we're just used to Sanada," said Niou. But he did have to admit that this Urayama kid looked like a total wimp. If Niou hadn't seen their matches and saw Urayama win his match in Singles 3, then he probably would not have taken Urayama seriously either.

"Hey, don't insult my vice-captain. I've been training him very hard to get him ready for this tournament," said Akaya. He turned to Urayama and said, "You did good, kid." Urayama beamed.

"Vice-captain?" said Sanada. He stomped forward, looking all-mighty and menacing with dark eyes gleaming from under his black cap. He went to stand right in front of Urayama, looking down at the shrimpy boy. Urayama looked very intimidated to have the great Emperor stare down at him but he put on a strong face and stared back.

"You are the vice-captain?" demanded Sanada.

"Yes, sir!" said Urayama and puffed out his chest, maybe in a strange attempt to make himself seem bigger.

"In that case, you must know what your duties are. Akaya has chosen you and therefore he expects great things from you," said Sanada.

"Yes, I understand!"

"You must always be there, a shadow behind the captain's back. You must be the reinforcement, the backup that's ready at a moment's notice. You must always be there to catch your captain if he were you fall. You must-"

"Genichirou," Yukimura lay a soft hand on Sanada's shoulder. "I think he gets it. There is no need to frighten him any further. I'm sure Urayama-kun will take your advice to heart."

"Hn." Sanada retreated and returned to his former position behind Yukimura.

"Captain!" Both Yukimura and Akaya's heads turned at the sound. It was one of the regulars, a boy in his third year. He was smiling, looking ecstatic about the gold medal around his neck. "We should have a party to celebrate our victory!"

"Hey, that's a great idea. We had parties too, remember?" said Marui.

"That was when we won the Nationals, not the Kantou," said Sanada. "Instead of parties, time should be spent on training for the Nationals. Many of you were slacking during your matches."

"Now now Genichirou, this is Akaya's team and he makes the decisions," said Yukimura, amiably.

The team was looking at Akaya almost pleadingly. Akaya, being the irresponsible person he always has been, decided right there that yes they should have a party, mostly to spite Sanada, but also because they had just won the gold medal.

"Okay, practice tomorrow is cancelled. We'll celebrate tomorrow in the clubroom instead," said Akaya, grinning widely. The team all cheered and for once, Akaya felt like he finally had proved himself worthy of being captain, seeing all the happy faces on his team. It felt good.

They hung out to talk and laugh for a while afterwards until Akaya noticed his team was looking rather tired. He felt rather worn out himself after such a big day that he dismissed them all, thanking them for their hard work. They would all be training much harder after the party, but they didn't need to feel discouraged about that at the moment. For now, they had all earned a good night's rest.

The senpai also took their leave soon after. Akaya hugged and said good-bye to all of them, accepting Yukimura's invitation to come train with the high school team when he had the time before the bluenette walked off, hauling Sanada behind him. Again, Akaya was touched that they all came. He hated not being close to all his former teammates. Even if Yagyuu was stingy and Yanagi's data was annoying and Jackal was bald, Akaya still missed them all greatly.

"Well don't cry about it," said Marui when Akaya told him how he missed them.

"I'm not crying," said Akaya. He was wedged between Marui and Niou as they made their way towards the bus stop.

"Yeah, we're with the team all the time. You're not missing much except laps," said Niou with a grimace.

"Hey, I've been wondering about that… if Yukimura's no longer captain, how come we still run laps when he orders us to?" asked Marui.

Niou shrugged. "Dunno. But the high schoolers run the laps too. That's just the way it is."

They fell into a comfortable silence with Akaya yawning a bit, feeling the strain on his muscles making itself known. He had been trying hard lately to make enough time for Marui and Niou, despite practicing for the tournament. Akaya found that talking about his troubles with Niou and Marui often made things better too, so he tried to spend some time with them every few days. Usually it involved Akaya vanishing from practice and leaving Urayama in a state of panic, but at least he wasn't neglecting anybody anymore.

Yukimura had said to find his own style of being captain. It just so happened that Akaya's style involved occasionally missing practice. No big deal.

"Should we prepare for the worst now that the Nationals are coming?" asked Marui. His snapped his bubblegum with a loud pop.

"I was thinking maybe of having some joint practices… high schoolers and middle schoolers together. My team would definitely gain experience from having Yukimura-senpai beat them all senseless," said Akaya, nodding like it was the greatest idea ever. "I asked Yukimura-senpai about it and he said he found no problem with it. He just needs to convince you guys' captain."

Convincing means beat mercilessly at tennis, though both Niou and Marui..

"Yeah, I guess it'll be fun. Not the babysitting a bunch of brats part though," said Marui.

Niou grinned like he was thinking of something absolutely filthy. "We can do like the good old times and sneak away from practice. We can go in the locker rooms and-"

"No," interrupted Akaya. "Locker rooms are not for that."

"Seriously. I caught Yukimura and Sanada in there a few weeks back. I don't even like stepping in our locker rooms anymore," said Marui with a disgusted look on his face.

"You guys are boring. I can't believe we're at the stage where Sanada has more sexual diversity than us."

"Shut up, Niou."

Akaya yawned again, his loudest one yet. It was only late afternoon and already he was falling asleep. That would not do. Akaya needed something to wake him up right now.

"Wanna go to the arcade?" asked Akaya. He hadn't been there in months, he realized. The thoughts of junk food, flashing lights and loud sound effects sounded very appealing at the moment. Plus it was guaranteed to wake him up.

"Hell yeah," said Marui, enthusiastic.

"Just don't make me pay for you guys. I wasted like half my allowance on you both the last time you went in and embarrassed yourselves playing DDR," said Niou.

And so it was decided that the perfect conclusion to a long day of playing tennis would be going to the noisy arcade and eating so much chips and chocolate bars that they would feel sick for days afterwards. Akaya didn't regret a single moment.

.


.

Urayama was in his backyard practicing his swings late that night when he got Akaya's text, asking him to look after the team the next day because Akaya was sick on candy bars and puking his guts out in Marui's bathroom.

Urayama sighed, wishing for once that he had a more responsible captain.

If he were captain, Urayama would never skip practices or team activities because of junk food intoxication. He smiled, thinking about how he would look like wearing the captain's jersey on his shoulders. Maybe one day…

With that in his mind, Urayama continued his swing practice.

.