Starting Over

by Talya Firedancer

The courts were perspiration-warm even when the sun first touched them at the height of summer, but Tachibana hit them that early, working himself into a sweat to play the long shadows against the wall.

A week after the suspensions, Shinji ambled past one day, come early for his own reasons. Tachibana never paused, but he saw black eyes widen as the young man passed the courts, stride unbroken.

The next day first morning's light broke over a game of singles, Tachibana and Shinji, with his little sister keeping the game's count.

By the week's end each dawn was greeted by the full roster of new regulars, the only team that Fudoumine now possessed. They would build themselves anew from the ground up, and every day devoted themselves to discipline.

Only Tachibana and Shinji stayed each day until sunset as well.