|Hope's a Joke
Author: CrookedSpoon PM
One-shot. One-sided Yuuji/Koharu. Yuuji was not one to give up hope easily, but apparently hope had chosen to abandon him.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Angst - Words: 1,729 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 3 - Published: 08-10-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4463874
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Hope's a Joke
Characters/Pairings: one-sided Yuuji/Koharu
Word Count: 1,630
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply.
Notes: Written for the LJ comm prompt-in-a-box round 5, #50 (quote below). Post-Nationals.
"The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves. Until one day there are none." Sayuri (Memoirs of a Geisha, 2005)
Yuuji had once heard that the most terrible sound was that of a dream shattering to pieces. Then what, he wondered, was the sound of a heart breaking?
He had turned his ears deaf to the tiny cracks for the longest time, refusing to acknowledge their existance. It was easier that way, painting his paper-thin walls of denial, right? They needed coating, otherwise Yuuji could see through them. And what he perceived on the other side was not compatible with the reality he chose to write for himself.
In this reality there was no need to question the motives of his boyfriend. In this reality, his boyfriend had no motives.
"The match is over so stop touching me." Koharu had said after their defeat at the Nationals. A rare show of irritation that had been, so Yuuji blamed the outburst on their unexpected loss (and ignored the twinge in his chest). Nothing to think twice about. After all, when you were angry you said things you do not mean, right?
"Leave me alone, I'm not gay." Koharu had said another day, back at school. Yuuji laughed it off as the joke of the century. Everyone knew Koharu chose to flirt with the boys on and off schoolgrounds; Yuuji had grudgingly gotten used to the fact, (although it stung like a giant splinter wedged beneath his breastbone). Who was Koharu trying to kid? He didn't really believe Yuuji would buy that nonsense, did he?
The first time he caught Koharu flirting with a girl came like a surprise to him. (A shock, rather.) Yuuji did not want to believe his eyes at first and thought he might need another appointment with his oculist, since he had guaranteed him his eye sight was just fine.
Though worse than seeing him fooling around with the other gender - or either actually, it didn't matter - was Koharu ignoring him when Yuuji told him off, not even sparing him a glance when he called him names, "cheater" mostly, because over time it had taken on the quality of endearment between them.
(And yet, Yuuji continued to color his paper walls, clinging to the image of fun times spent together. Telling jokes and playing pranks during tennis practice and in class, holding hands when going to the movies or sharing strawberry sundaes in cozy cafés.)
Koharu used to keep the photos Yuuji had taken during their dates in a secret photo album he always carried around with him. A small colorful thing with the word 'love' written on the cover that was supposed to be secret, but it had fallen out of Koharu's bag once during the inopportune moment of tugging out a cosplay outfit. Suspicious as Yuuji was he had flipped through almost half of it, before Koharu snatched it from his clutches again.
Back then, most of the pictures were of him and the other tennis club members. Now, Yuuji found it filled with snapshots of Fudoumine's rhythm-kun and Seigaku's bandana-kun, both rival players Koharu had set his eyes on during Nationals.
Disbelief grew with every page he turned, the creases between his brows deepening as his hands trailed over the photographs of the second years. Was this some kind of joke?
"What are you doing? This is mine."
Before Yuuji had the chance to react to Koharu's voice, the album had been fished from his lap. That he would want it back without sharing even a tiny look was nothing new, Koharu lived by the principle of 'What's yours is mine and what's mine is none of your business.'
No, that was not what shocked him,
Pieces of his own photos rained down from the very back of the album.
Almost as an afterthought.
Yuuji could practically hear the paper rip through time, as he tried to imagine Koharu's expression while tearing his face in half. Was it evil, full of maliscious joy? Regretful? Or blank, as if he didn't care at all?
Like it was now, minus the faint aura of irritation overshadowing it.
"What is all this? My pictures... the pictures of us, why are the--"
"There is no 'us' anymore. There has never been any 'us' apart from our Doubles partnership," Koharu stated, voice dry as the desert winds. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, the glint they produced almost mocking, before turning and walking away, muttering under his breath and not sparing Yuuji another second worth attention.
Or Yuuji's pictures littering the ground.
(The wind in his ears sounded like a rip in his protective walls, straight through the most beautiful part of his paintings.)
Hearing the words he never wanted to hear, made him slip like wheels on icy roadways. Koharu deemed their relationship outside of tennis nonexistant, not meaning anything?
Everyone had seen them hanging out together, their friends, classmates, even their disapproving families. It had been real.
Yuuji's cheeks burned with indignation, (battling the cold claws of uncertainty creeping over his back).
It had felt real. Now everyone saw Yuuji running after Koharu's image of the past, because he did not want to lose this, did not want to let go. Was unable to.
So he had been toyed with, been led astray for weeks upon weeks; his imagination had been fed impression of a loving relationship, but - had that not been exactly what he wanted?
What did he care if all of it had been fake, as long as he got what he wanted?
Yuuji gave his head a violent shake to clear all the rubble inside of it. No, he wouldn't start letting gloomy thoughts take over his brain. What if this really was all a joke at his expense or a test to see if he was worthy of the genius Koharu?
His shoulders shook in a mad giggle. He doubted any of his possible answers came close to the motive behind Koharu's actions, but then again, Koharu was all calculations and calculations were math. Yuuji hated math, he never got the gist of it.
Whatever it was, Yuuji was not going to let Koharu off the hook that easily. If their relationship had been a lie, Koharu owed him a real one; if he was not in love, Yuuji would make him fall for him; and if his current behaviour was all just a tasteless gag, he would first slap and then kiss him silly.
(The paper walls were only frayed at the edges, still in useable condition.)
"Koharuuuu" He called as he caught up with the figure in the distance. Today was a beautiful spring day, the rippling water in the river reflecting the sun's rays like a generous sprinkle of diamond dust beneath a clear blue sky that was dotted with the occasional feathery cloud here and there.
The sweet scent of cherry blossoms filled the air, originating from the trees that lined the roadside in a majestic display of pink. It was a favorite dating spot for couples and Koharu liked to take this path on his way home.
Yuuji threw his arms around Koharu as soon as he was reachable. "Gotcha!"
"Oh, it's you." Came the unenthusiastic reply.
Yuuji puffed up his cheeks in a mock pout. "Oh, it's you," he mimicked, his voice a perfect imitation of Koharu's. "How about sounding a little more cheerful?"
"I don't see anything to be cheerful about, when I'm nearly crushed to death." Koharu said with a strained voice, pushing at Yuuji's shoulders to extricate himself from his hug. Even after weeks of enduring the same procedure, Yuuji felt a tad hurt at being rejected. He still hoped that one day Koharu would recipocrate his advances.
"Whatever," Yuuji rolled his eyes and patted Koharu's shoulder. "Anyway, to make a long story short, do you have anything planned during the hanami festival? I thought we could go together, just the two of us. Although we're almost certain to run into the other regulars on our way, but then we could have fun together."
"I don't have time for this, Hitouji." There it was again, that distant behavior. Calling him by his last name instead of the affectionate 'Yuu-kun' he had used during their tennis matches.
"Aw, come on. Hanging out one last time with the shorties. We won't have time for this once we're caught up in high school."
"I told you no. And if you'll excuse me, I have preparations to make. For university," Koharu pushed up has glasses, intending to turn around and be on his way.
"You can do that in three years," Yuuji kept insisting.
"Not if I'll be attending this semester."
Yuuji took his time processing that thought. So the rumors were true after all. His classmates had been gossiping about Koharu not going to high school for some time now, but Yuuji had been too busy trying to attract Koharu's attention that he himself had no attention to spare. "You're going to university already? But... why didn't you tell me?"
"Your knowing doesn't hold any benefits for me. And it wouldn't change anything either way."
"But..." What about me? How can you just leave me? Thoughts, accusations, all of it drowned in a whirpool of emotions, before he had the chance to utter them. (A sickening rip resonating from his chest area stunned him into silence.)
Koharu excused himself and turned his back on Yuuji.
Sakura petals fluttering by looked like tiny strips of paper, (the shredded remains of the thin barrier between him and reality,) and through them he saw the world beyond with more clarity.
He had never optimistic and hopeful. He had been naive and stupid.
Koharu had never cared about him.
Feelings were of little importance to a genius.
Feelings like a heart breaking.