DISCLAIMER: Konomi Takeshi owns Prince of Tennis and its characters. I don't.

NOTES: This fic contains a lot of Jirou introspection. As such it might come across as totally out-of-character to other Jirou fans. I'm shooting for consistency, but I would also appreciate knowing if I made any glaring flaws in the characterization. C&C please?

I took the title from the lyrics to "Akuro no Oka" by Dir en Grey, the song I was listening to while writing. It's a little too morbid to suit the flavor of the fic, but it still inspired me. I really hope the fic isn't too difficult to read. :)

AFAIK, the title translates to "dream without waking," or an endless dream.

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Samenai Yume
by MorphailEffect


Sometimes I think I dream on and on, without ever waking up.

When you've jumped from weird situation to weird situation since the day you were born, and you've accepted that nobody else around you does the same, you just take things as they come and survive without trying to describe them.

Everything's believable, but nothing makes sense.

For example, I could be just a tennis player in one dream. In another dream I could be just a senior middle school student. In many other dreams, I could be both.

It's hard to explain, but I think at this point, I have to...

Lately I've been having this recurrent dream. Or, rather...not so much a recurrent dream as a recurrent person. The scenery changes. So does the person's attire and attitude, but it's the same person. Always.

I'm here thinking, maybe if I talk about something outloud to someone, it would be easier to understand it.

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I can't remember when it happened the first time.

But in the first time, he was crying.

And I was thinking, it was weird. Those probably weren't tears. That person doesn't have the sort of face that would tolerate that sort of thing.

Smirks, sneers, scowls, yes. But tears?

I called his name and he turned sharply, hissing "Don't look."

When he said that, I knew I had to take a closer look at those things that fell from his eyes, and to ask "Why not?"

He didn't answer. In my dream I tilted his face up.

"Atobe, I'm here. It's okay..."

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And there was this one dream where he was laughing. That was weird, too.

He was standing on a grassy knoll, against the wind. His hands were on his hips. I was sitting beside him on the cool grass.

He was saying something I couldn't hear, because he wasn't saying it to me.

But I was smiling. His laugh was like a lullabye. It made me sleepy.

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Then I dreamed once he was a large colorful butterfly with eyes painted on his wings.

I called him by the name I knew, "Keigo," and he fluttered down to my palms.

Human eyes, trying to tell me something. But they wouldn't stay still. His wings opened and closed with a hypnotic rhythm.

I thought I heard a familiar voice in my head. But his wings made no sound.

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There were even weirder ones, but I guess I'll spare you from that.

There were completely normal dreams, too, but then looking back at them now, I don't think I could ever distinguish them from things that really happened.

Once I saw him punch a wall. I didn't know what it was about.

I remembering walking up to him, intending to ask him what the matter was. Why was he so angry? Did I have anything to do with it?

We were the only two people in the corridor. I could easily corner and interrogate him.

I was about to touch his shoulder. But he disappeared right before my eyes.

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He's not in all of my dreams, of course. Just most of them.

There is this one Atobe-less situation that I keep thinking back to, for some reason. I am waking up in the locker room. All the other Hyoutei regulars are there, going about their usual locker room business.

Gakuto's face, however, is being really close to mine. He is saying "Hey you guys. What do you think Jirou dreams about?" so near my nose I could smell his toothpaste.

"Ah the deathless question," Oshitari is saying in that old bored voice, "that has baffled the sages since the birth of time."

"I bet he dreams up really ecchi stuff," Shishido snickers in his little corner.

"That would explain why he never wants to wake up," Choutarou supplies laughingly. As he would.

I get to say "You guys are so annoying. My dreams are more interesting than anything you've ever done around me while I was awake."

Hoots and jibes unite. I have managed to amuse the whole room. The sleeper speaks! And bitches!

"For instance," I say, gesturing to Kabaji, "I've seen you as a monster a few times now..."

"A monster monster?" Hiyoshi-kun asks, probably not on Kabaji's behalf. "Or a giant robot kinda mechanical monster?"

"A man-eating one. And you were eating everyone on the team. After you were done chomping up Seigaku."

"Hii," Shishido exclaims. "Scarier than usual, naa, Kabaji..."

"..." is the menace's answer.

"YOU," I say to Shishido, pointing to him so there's no misunderstanding, "I've seen wearing a really nice negligee."

"WHAT THE HELL?! WHAT KIND OF DREAM -- !?" Shishido cries out while the rest of the room has fun at his expense.

"What kind of negligee, Jirou-sempai?" In one of my other dreams, Choutarou is more Shishido-powered than this. And "funny" is the last word that occurs to him when presented with this sort of mental image.

"It was sheer and it was pink and it was damn cute while you were wearing it."

Shishido is hysterical. "AAAAAHH! Shut up! Shut him up!" I am not looking at him, but I hear people holding him back. While laughing in his face, of course.

That situation still amuses me now. But it's boring, overall. So it must have been real.

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You know, these dreams, they don't really make sense most of the time. I don't think they're supposed to.

I've heard it said once: dreams are there to show you your innermost worries and desires.

So whenever I notice that I dream about this one person the most, I ask myself: what does he matter to me?

Is he what I want the most? Or is he what I fear the most?

I have a lot of other questions...mostly "why" questions that I've never asked myself before.

Why do I see him crying a lot?

When did that start to bother me?

Why would I have dreams in which he would disappear if I came too close?

And why would those dreams end up depressing me more than if I didn't dream about him at all?

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And of course, I have sex dreams.

I'm comforted with the knowledge that so do you.

So does the one person who comes up whenever I have these sex dreams.

Aren't sex dreams are supposed to have a special significance?

Or am I just a horny little bastard with a ridiculous fixation on the most unapproachable guy in campus?

In my dreams, I like seeing his flushed face. I especially like watching it relax. He climbs to the top and he lets himself down, slowly...reluctantly...

You can't possibly see Atobe Keigo this vulnerable unless you can get into my head. And in my body too, while you're at it.

Even if you've seen him naked, you have never seen him this naked. This perfect. This helpless to someone else's touch.

It would be nice to think a person could actually control dreams. Because then it would mean that I exercise some conscious thought in never, never letting a dream like that end before he comes.

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Right now, you're probably thinking about how weird I am.

I have dreams where I can read minds, you know.

Going back to Atobe and my screwed up subconscious. In my hazier dreams, several things happen in a single scenario. For example...

I often have dreams where he says "Sayonara, Jirou," then he turns around and walks away.

Then I run after him and then he disappears just before my fingers make contact with his skin.

At the same time, I catch up to him and make him turn around. I wipe his tears, telling him I'm not going anywhere and everything's going to be okay.

At the same time, I stab him in the heart, and catch him as he falls.

All the while, he's saying something I can't hear.

Telling me not to look, maybe...

All the while, his eyes are closing softly, like butterfly wings.

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So...am I in love with him?

Do I hate his guts?

I won't know until I stop dreaming, will I.

...But when will that be?

I'm either asleep or I'm not, but either way things happen one after the other at breakneck speed.

I get confused, though it never hurts me. It just always means I have to keep up.

Maybe I should just stop asking any more questions. Even if I've sorted myself out, I don't think anything will ever change.

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This is one of my favorite dreams about him.

It starts with darkness. Then I hear him speak from somewhere nearby.

"Jirou. Wake up."

He kicks my chair. It skids an inch off to one side. Jolted awake, the first thing I do is wipe the drool from my chin.

I look up at him and smile sleepily from a dream within a dream of him twining his fingers in my hair.

"Hey. Huh?"

"I said class is over. It's time for tennis practice. Get off your ass and let's go."

I sigh and pick up my things. "Right, right. I'm off my ass. Sorry."

He looks down his nose at me until I finish gathering my stuff. Then he tosses his head back, turns around and makes for the door without checking to see if I'd follow.

I follow, of course. I've had this dream before.

I walk slightly behind him. He walks faster to stay ahead. I notice the very, very subtle sway of his hips.

I smile and wonder if he ever dreams about me. If he's dreaming about me now.

"Naa, Atobe."

"What." Without turning around.

"You're staying over at my place again, aren't you?"

Whatever that "again" means, Atobe seems to know. "Of course, moron," he sniffs. "Would you mind not asking me that over and over in public? It's embarrassing."

I smile. I can't help myself. I suddenly veer off to the side and jump up to the flower boxes bordering the first-floor corridor.

Dreams aren't supposed to make sense.

I call out to the first person I see. "Oi, Oshitari!"

The dark-haired boy hears me and turns. So does his red-haired companion. The one he's joined at the hip to.

"I'm dreaming about Atobe tonight!"

They both blink.

I am light-headed suddenly. I lose my balance. But Atobe is there to break my fall.

He makes a pained sound when he hits the floor. I don't think I'm as light as I feel.

As he struggles to sit up under my weight, cursing through his teeth, I strain my ears to hear the conversation on the other side of the plant box.

"Did I just hear that right?" Oshitari sounding puzzled, which is rare. "Maybe he meant with and not about."

Gakuto sighing, "Maa, it's not like the whole school doesn't know..."

Atobe whispering expertly into my ear, right where I feel it most, "There you go again. You never learn, do you."

He gives up trying to sit and lets me lie on top of him. I roll over so we're belly to belly.

"So?" I challenge. "Doesn't bother me, you know, when some things happen over and over..."

I see a real smirk showing on that really smug face.

I touch it with my fingertips and it doesn't vanish.



(THE END)