Rikkai first-year fic. Some more Sanada-Yukimura rivalry (and lack there of) exploration. The moment things fall into place. 545 words.
"It's about being the best," Muraoka says. "The best team who get the best results. I don't care who is better than who when it comes to this team winning. When we play a match against another school we're all on the same side. We're one entity. Play order is of no concern, so forget any arguments. All I care about is that you are better than your opponent. I care that you're the best you can be, and that this team as a whole is the best it can be... So that we always win."
The crowd disperses, and Yukimura has to wonder just how many of them really took the words in. But therein lies the challenge - he knows it is up to him to make sure that in his time at Rikkai he makes it so that every member of the tennis team - from the Regulars down to freshman collecting up the balls - come to live by those words. And to make sure that those who can't or won't are not associated with his club.
His club. Although he only thinks it to himself, Yukimura knows that even that is dangerous. Which is the entire reason he feeds Muraoka the words to say willingly. His time will come.
Sanada takes the words in. But he realises afterwards that he has been watching Yukimura the entire time, seeing the words coming out of Yukimura's mouth even though he hasn't spoken. Those aren't Muraoka-buchou's words, he can say that with confidence, and yet he doesn't quite know how he knows that.
The only thing that really matters in the end is the way Yanagi looks at him with a sideways glance. He opens his mouth to speak, and Sanada cuts him off.
"I know," he says, and as everyone else heads back to the courts Sanada makes a beeline for Yukimura.
Yukimura frowns a little as Sanada approaches, no doubt assuming that he will make a demand for a match because that's what he always does. Yukimura doesn't usually show so much expression on his face unless he wants people to see it. He's irritated because he thinks Sanada has missed the point completely and is about to punctuate it.
For once it actually matters to Sanada that someone has the wrong idea about him. He prides himself on his discipline and restraint - especially considering he knows best the kind of temper he generally manages to hide - and yet here is someone who would rightfully assume he has none at all based on all their interactions. He has to correct this.
Sanada stops in front of Yukimura and waits. Rather than blurt out his words he gives it a moment for the silence to register, just looking at Yukimura, who looks back at him blankly. Sanada takes a breath.
"I understand," Sanada says, and before he realises what he is doing he bows. Yukimura's eyes widen, but Sanada spins around and marches away before Yukimura can recover enough to say anything to that. To hell with the lack of explanation, Yukimura isn't stupid. He'll figure it out.
Sanada can feel his cheeks burning. All that matters right now is that he get as far away from everyone as possible.