Disclaimer: Hedo. My family name is Romura not Konomi :D
Pairing: SanadaxAtobe, SanadaxYukimura
Hajimete no Rakka
From the first time they met, they instantly disliked each other. There may have been various reasons to explain the way they felt, but neither one seemed to care about the circumstances. Both from different schools and different districts, they rarely saw each other, which worked out for them. They were completely different people with different values and so they assumed they had nothing in common.
Sanada Genichirou and Atobe Keigo were both rivals for Tezuka Kunimitsu. Both wanted to play the glorified Seigaku captain in a match, a fair match in Atobe's case. There was little else to tie them together. In fact, when they met each other again during the Jr. Senbatsu Selection Camp, they had nearly forgotten each other's names.
Sanada had little reaction when he walked into the mostly empty room to find Atobe, the only person present, already inside. He merely paused for a moment before setting his tennis bag on the ground without a word. He vaguely recognized Atobe, and frankly did not even care much to find out who he was. Apparently Atobe had other ideas.
"Who are you to be graced by ore-sama's presence?"
The other boy had to resist rolling his eyes. Sanada silently wondered if that was how he always addressed himself, or if it was just some kind of intimidation trick used by other condescending rich, spoiled pretty boys. Either way, Sanada was not impressed.
"You look kind of familiar," Atobe noted, blue eyes following Sanada as he moved to sit down. "Are you from Kanagawa's Rikkai Dai Fuzoku Chuu?"
"Yes," Sanada replied with absolutely no emotion in his voice, sitting down to stare in the opposite direction of Atobe. It was hardly in his interest to make small talk with such an arrogant person. In fact, it was hardly in his interest to make small talk with anyone if necessary.
"I heard your captain was in the hospital for an operation not too long ago," Atobe went on with little consideration and sincerity. "What a shame. I wonder if he'll make it through the recovery."
Eyes flashing at the wall, Sanada's back stiffened towards Atobe. He was ready to hit anyone, even strangers, who ever dared to say anything negative about Yukimura. This time, however, he found the will to restrain himself. Sanada disliked the other boy more than he did a few minutes ago.
"Don't ever talk about Yukimura," Sanada stated coldly before abruptly standing up again to leave the room and vent out some annoyance.
Atobe was smirking when Sanada left. He had not intended to sound like a complete inconsiderate jerk, but he had always thought it would be useful in the future to provoke the opponent once in a while. Atobe definitely knew he would most likely not have even a relatively decent relationship with Sanada. Then again, he hardly had any decent relationships with anyone else either.
Somehow, they survived being seeing each other on a regular basis. They even managed to get by with as little conversation as possible, which was easy since they were place in different groups. They had nothing to discuss. At least, that was the case until Tezuka returned.
Both Sanada and Atobe both wanted to challenge Tezuka to a match. Naturally, what better way to decide who was worthy than with a match of their own? Even though they snuck out of their groups to meet each other, Sanada still did not like Atobe and the feeling seemed to be mutual.
The match drew a large crowd, pulling each group to the gate to watch. The spectators were barely noticed between the two players. The match did not last long, being interrupted by Sakaki. There was hardly enough of the score to say who had the advantage and so it was left as a draw. Although they would never admit it to anyone or even themselves, Sanada and Atobe were impressed with each other.
After their interrupted match, they rarely spoke to each other again. They still disliked each other of course, and went about their own ways during camp. The next time fate decided to meddle was when they were both chosen for the Jr. Senbatsu team. This would have been reasonable for both of them if they were not assigned to be doubles partners.
Atobe greeted the arrangement wondering what sort of bad luck was plaguing him. First he had to play doubles, and with someone who Atobe was beginning to suspect was mute. His skills were excellent, Atobe had to admit, but the other boy's silence frustrated him. It eventually turned out to be tolerable, as Atobe discovered. Sanada's silent determination was seen clearly through his eyes. Although he had not the slightest idea what could be fueling that determination, Atobe respected it.
From the very beginning of the match, Sanada felt vaguely disgusted with the way Atobe flaunted himself in front of the crowd with his most likely practiced cheer band. Atobe was flashy in an almost annoying super model kind of way, Sanada noticed.
Before the match even started, Atobe reminded Sanada that he would always be a singles player, and Sanada felt the same way. They were both strong players, but an incredibly unlikely pair. Similarly, they felt the same way. They were a completely impossible combination.
Sanada rarely looked to Atobe during their match, the image of Yukimura smiling at him and wishing him luck before the match burned into his mind. He would not lose for the sake of Yukimura's smile. The American players were beginning to show their potential, but Sanada would never give up.
Atobe took his first fall for anyone during that match. While Sanada stood in temporary shock at the net as the ball was hit past him, Atobe narrowed his eyes and dived for it, just barely missing. It was unflattering for him to fall in such a way before a large audience. His view of the other boy shifted again and Sanada was beginning to get on his nerves.
"There is no dignity in your play."
Despite their apparent differences, Sanada noticed something cross Atobe's face when those words were said. His handsome face grew shadowed and dark, cold, trying his best to hide his emotions. Despite how he tried to hide it, Sanada could not help but notice that behind his shadowed anger, Atobe was hurt. His view of the other boy lightened slightly. Perhaps Atobe Keigo was not always as arrogant and emotionless as he appeared to be.
Sanada had to admire the way Atobe's sharp blue eyes when they grew piercingly serious. Those eyes made him forget for a while that he was not supposed to like Atobe. He was impressed though. Not that he would admit so, of course.
Somehow along the way, they began to get along. The match progressed positively in their favor. Of course, they did not like each other any more than before, as they constantly reassured themselves. Their combination was simply for winning the match. After if was over… Well, they could just go back to not speaking. Or so they thought.
Their teammates greeted them with pride when they all returned to the team waiting room. Atobe basked in the glory of victory for a while before sitting down for a rest.
Sanada was setting his bag down in the corner when Oshitari approached him. He barely acknowledged the boy's presence as he leaned against the wall. Sanada ignored him and went on with what he was doing.
"So you've survived being a pair with Atobe," Oshitari commented with a slight smirk as he crossed his arms. "Atobe is usually insufferable, but when you two were out there earlier he seemed almost tolerable."
There was nothing for Sanada to say in reply. He simply paused in what he was doing, but he did not look at Oshitari.
"In the three years I've known him, I've never seen him warm up to someone so quickly," Oshitari went on with a grin as he examined Atobe from across the room. "I suppose it was an unconscious thing for him to be drawn to you. We have to worry about him sometimes with the things that go on at school. I don't think he's realized it yet, but he's lonely. Thanks for taking care of him."
When Oshitari stood up straight again, heading towards the door, Sanada's eyes followed him. Just by their match together, Sanada had already been able to figure a few things out about Atobe. Behind his always elegant, confident exterior, he was a forlorn dove with broken wings.
The others left the room, leaving Atobe alone with Sanada. There was a temporary silence in the room as the two boys dried themselves of sweat and drinking water. While wiping his forehead with a towel, Atobe looked up to silently watch Sanada's back. "That wasn't too bad," he admitted. "Your skills impress me."
"You weren't too bad yourself," Sanada commented, a twinge of sincerity in his usually stony voice. Removing his hat, he turned to face the other boy. "I may have underestimated you."
"Of course," Atobe said with a smirk, looking up at the other boy's face. "You should never underestimate Atobe Keigo. But still, I will always play singles," his blue eyes sparkled with mischievousness, "and I still don't like you any more than before."
Sanada's eyes met Atobe's. "Likewise."
It happened so quickly, neither one was sure of who started it. Their lips were suddenly pressed together with the force of pended up emotions running loose. They didn't like each other, but they didn't hate each other either.
Both were gasping for air when their lips separated. Atobe backed into the wall, his face flushed from the sudden warmth he was exposed to. He panted for air for a few moments before running a slightly shaking hand through his tousled hair. He opened his mouth, but he found nothing to say.
At that time, all Sanada could see was Yukimura's smiling face being crushed before him. He had done something horrible to Yukimura, and yet his lips still tingled with warmth and his heart pounded loudly in nervousness.
"Doubles will always be a one-time thing for me," Atobe muttered to the wall with sharp blue eyes, his face turned away from Sanada. "I…hate doubles."
Sanada could not completely grasp the hidden meaning of Atobe's words before he realized their lips were crashed together again. Again, he was unsure who had initiated the kiss. His body seemed to move on its own. Before his mind could process for him to stop, his eyes closed and his body unconsciously pushed Atobe back against the wall while their kiss grew dangerous.
The stinging pain from Atobe's manicured nails digging into the flesh of his back made Sanada's eyes snap open in realization. He pulled away from kissing the other boy's neck, turning his face away from Atobe's flushed one.
While Atobe sank onto the chair from his weakened knees, covering his face with his hand to hide his undignified blush, Sanada smoothed out his shirt with shaking hands. Atobe's eyes narrowed in concentration, hoping he was able to draw out his uncaring expression again.
"Excuse me," Sanada muttered hurriedly to Atobe before turning to walk quickly out the door, nearly running into his teammates as they returned.
"Did they have another fight?" Kikumaru whispered loudly into Fuji's ear as his dancing blue eyes watched Sanada quickly escape from the room.
"Atobe, are you feeling alright?" Oshitari asked, his brows furrowing slightly in concern when he noticed his teammate sitting with the back of his hand attempting to hide his face. "Your face looks…kind of red."
"I'm fine," Atobe said, his voice recovering from his previous shakiness. Standing up, he walked past the others to his bag to hide his face for the first time ever. "I just need some water."
The rest of the tournament passed in a blur. Atobe had made sure he kept his distance from Sanada in case anything unusual were to happen again. He hated the feelings on confusion he was feeling. Atobe had always been confident and sure of what he was doing. This was a completely new experience for him.
After the matches with the American teams, things seemed to go back to normal for Sanada and Atobe. It was still summer break, and they were both still busy with their respective tennis clubs. It had to have been a coincidence running into each other again in front of a tennis store.
They stood in silence for a while, both unsure of what to say. They had last parted on rather awkward terms, after all. That day, Sanada was the first to shift his gaze away, giving Atobe a polite nod in acknowledgement before stiffly walking away.
Over the next few days, they began to "accidentally" run into each other more and more often. With each encounter, they spent a little more time together, still slightly awkwardly. Both were too proud to say anything and so their time was spent in silence and ended in sloppy, lust-filled kisses and occasionally roaming hands while hiding in dark corners.
Sanada began to learn things about Atobe that no one else really knew. He began to notice awkward little bruises hiding beneath the corners of Atobe's clothes, on his usually flawless skin. When his back was pressed against the wall, red marks would stay in. Sanada could not help but notice how soft and delicate Atobe's skin was.
With each passing day, Atobe began to find himself waiting impatiently for Sanada to show up. He was unable to understand why he was doing so, but yet still waited everyday. Sanada always showed up, but with slightly troubled eyes. Neither one understood what they were getting themselves into.
On day, they paused by some tennis courts to observe some elementary children playing tennis. That day was the first time Atobe decided to break the silence.
"What are we doing?" he muttered, his blue eyes staring straight ahead.
Sanada could not find an answer.
When he was troubled, he was just as quiet as usual. Nobody could really notice when something was wrong with Sanada Genichirou. Nobody, that is, except for a certain data boy.
Yanagi knew something was wrong. Not only was Sanada strangely distant towards him lately, he had not visited Yukimura for nearly a week. Yanagi knew Sanada cared about Yukimura twice as much as all of the others put together, so why was he avoiding visiting?
"Seiichi says to tell you he misses seeing you, Genichirou," Yanagi said quietly to his best friend during their practice. "He says that he knows you're busy and hopes you're working hard."
The words sank in deeply, stabbing at Sanada's conscience. Outside, he could only close his eyes for a moment before retaining his emotionless stature. Gripping his arms tightly, he responded just as quietly, "Please tell him that I'm sorry for making him wait for me. Only just a little longer, Renji."
Examining Sanada's struggling reflected in his eyes, Yanagi put a hand on his shoulder. "I know you must be going through some kind of difficulty these days, and I respect that you would rather not talk about it," he said seriously. "But, Genichirou, we're your friends and we care for you, especially Seiichi. Don't struggle to the point where you hurt yourself. If you ever need any help, I'll be here."
"Thank you," was all Sanada managed to say at that time.
That day after practice, Sanada went to visit Hyotei Gakuen for the first time. There were various school clubs practicing and running around the campus. It was only too easy to find the famous tennis club.
Shishido was the first to notice their spectator at the top of the stands, scanning the courts. "Hoi!" he yelled at Sanada, making the other Regulars notice the boy. "Are you looking for someone?"
"Is Atobe here?" Sanada asked simply without explanation when he walked to the side of the courts to meet the Regulars.
"Now isn't a good time to see him," Oshitari said pointedly with sharp eyes, his previous friendliness disappearing. "He's…occupied at the moment. I know you two have been rather good friends lately, but now is definitely not a good time to see Atobe."
Sanada frowned vaguely, noticing the way the older Regulars began to shift around uncomfortably. They were obviously trying to hide something. "If you don't mind, this is rather important."
"You heard Yuushi," Mukahi said stiffly, glaring at Sanada as if he were a threat. "Atobe's with—"
"No one," a familiar voice interjected firmly.
Sanada and the other Hyotei Regulars turned to see Atobe walking towards them with Sakaki going in the opposite direction. The Regulars looked uncomfortable, but remained silent.
Face going slightly red, Ohtori spoke up quietly, "A-Atobe-san, your shirt is…"
Atobe looked down to notice that his shirt was buttoned incorrectly. Usually he would have sent the others off in a huff, but today he felt slightly embarrassed under Sanada's intense questioning gaze. "Aa. Go back to practice, everyone."
The Regulars complied, and left in silence, leaving Atobe and Sanada alone. Atobe turned towards the stands to avoid Sanada's eyes. Stiffly, he raised his arms to unbutton his shirt. "What are you doing here? Spying?"
Temporarily ignoring the question, Sanada's eyes narrowed. "What happened to you?"
"What happened to me is none of your business," Atobe stated coldly, eyes focused on his shirt.
Sanada said nothing, but he had to notice that behind the flaps of his white shirt, there were rough nail prints in Atobe's delicate skin that he had always been careful not to mark. His gaze shifted towards Sakaki, who was also eyeing him from across the courts. Their eyes met for a moment with harshness before Sakaki turned away to yell instructions.
"What are you doing here?" Atobe repeated evenly, still not bringing his eyes to look at the other boy.
"Don't you think you should let someone know when your teacher is touching you inappropriately?" Sanada asked sharply, completely ignoring the question again, his eyes glazed with masked anger.
Atobe stiffened for a moment under Sanada's sharp gaze. For that moment, he wondered how Sanada had noticed. After that, he could only feel annoyed. "It's not like I like it," he muttered before stating aloud, "Like I said, it's none of your business. Did you come here just to ask stupid questions?"
Suddenly, Sanada felt almost guilty for what he was about to do. Finally shifting his eyes away from Atobe's face, Sanada spoke in a quieter, less confident voice, "We need to talk, and there's somewhere I need to take you."
"This had better not be date," Atobe stated half-jokingly as he leaned over to pick his jacket up. He ignored the sharp pain in his legs and gripped his jacket tightly. "Let's go."
Just as they turned to leave, Sakaki walked over to firmly grasp Atobe's wrist. "Where are you going?"
Atobe glared at the hand that was gripping his wrist much too tightly before putting his pride aside to squeeze his eyes shut. Pulling his wrist away, he replied stonily, "I'll be back before practice is over. It's not like I can run away from you."
Sakaki exchanged another glare with Sanada before swiftly turning and returning to the bench without a word.
They walked in silence away from the courts. Atobe was walking slower than usual, lacking his usual long, prideful strides. Sanada glanced at him out of the corner of his eye before slowly extending an arm to help steady him. His expression was as stony as usual, however.
His hips hurt too much to be ignored. Reluctantly, Atobe accepted Sanada's help. Together they walked very slowly to the front of school in completely silence. By the time the bus arrived again, Atobe was able to stand by himself, much to his own relief.
They sat in the back of the bus together, still not exchanging any words. Sanada was staring out the window when Atobe's head came to rest on his shoulder. Stiffening with surprise, Sanada turned his head slightly to demand what Atobe was doing. His expression grew soft when he realized the other boy was fast asleep in exhaustion. Face turning towards the window again, Sanada closed his eyes.
Although it should not have, some unknown emotions were bothering him. There were still many things he did not know about Atobe; things that made him worry about the other boy. Despite how he did not want Atobe to be alone again, as the buildings zipped by before his eyes, Sanada could only guiltily think of Yukimura.
The time he slept was the only time Atobe could be at peace. He never dreamed of anything, only magnifying his inner darkness. He usually woke up cold and alone, but this time when his eyes opened, he was warm and Sanada was sitting next to him. The feeling was nice, but he would never be able to get used to it.
The bus left them at the hospital. Atobe's blue eyes grew stony when he realized the reason for being there. Sanada was slightly perturbed under Atobe's intense blue stare, but hardly showed it. Together, they walked into the hospital in silence.
When they reached Yukimura's door, several elementary school boys darted out the door, laughing loudly. The nurse giggled before letting Sanada and Atobe in. Yukimura was always too kind to deny children of anything.
The first time Atobe saw Yukimura, he was surprised. He had heard of Yukimura, the famous captain of Rikkai Dai Fuzoku Chuu, of course, but he had not exactly expected such an image. Inside was a frail-looking beauty, too elegant to be a boy, whose shining eyes lit up even more at the sight of Sanada.
"It's been a while, Sanada," Yukimura said pleasantly, his happiness sparkling in his eyes. Atobe got the feeling Yukimura was probably restraining himself from embracing Sanada because he was standing there. "I saw you on TV wanted to congratulate you on your performance against the American team, but you haven't come to see me since then."
Atobe silently wondered if he was the cause of that. Although it was his first time meeting Yukimura, it bothered him to hear the sad note in the boy's voice. Out of the corner of his eye, he looked up at Sanada.
Sanada was smiling, though he tried to hide it. His eyes were focused directly on Yukimura, and Atobe could care less. Even though he reminded himself he didn't care, his stomach still felt tied in knots.
"You're Atobe, aren't you?" Yukimura asked suddenly, his soft blue eyes resting on Atobe's. His smile was just as gentle as his eyes as he spoke. "Thank you for taking care of Sanada. He can really be a child at times."
"Yu-Yukimura!" Sanada exclaimed, still rather quietly. His cheeks faintly reddened as Yukimura chuckled. Sanada lifted his hand to lower the brim of his hat, but his attempt to hide his face proved useless since both Yukimura and Atobe were shorter than he was.
A smile suddenly appeared on Atobe's face. He bowed his head slightly, a gesture he rarely used, before holding his hand out. "I'm Atobe from Hyotei. You must be Rikkai's captain that Sanada is always worried about."
"Yukimura," the other boy supplied with a gentle smile, his own face reddening faintly after Atobe spoke of Sanada. They shook hands quietly. "You seem like a kind person," Yukimura said with his gentle smile. "I'm glad Sanada has been in good hands."
"I had better get back to practice now," Atobe stated with an unreadable expression, his smile still plastered on his face and his hair shading his eyes from view. "It was nice meeting you, Yukimura."
"It was nice meeting you too," Yukimura said sweetly, oblivious to the tension between Sanada and Atobe. "I hope we can play tennis together sometime when I'm out of the hospital."
"I'll look forward to it," Atobe said politely before slipping out the door. After closing the door behind him, he leaned heavily against the wall in the wide hospital hall.
Sanada slid out shortly after him, telling Yukimura he would return in a minute. He closed the door in silence, not bring his eyes to look at Atobe.
"On first impressions, no one has ever thought of me as a 'kind person,'" Atobe stated with a short laugh. "That Yukimura is an amazing person. I never thought I'd see the day where I felt unworthy to be in someone's presence."
Sanada could only remain in silence as Atobe spoke. "Yukimura has always been important to all of us," he stated as coolly as he could manage. "He has always been most important to me."
"That much I can figure out on my own," Atobe stated, mixed emotions flowing through his voice. Silence engulfed them for a few moments before Atobe stood up straight again. "You had better not hurt that Yukimura in the future. Of course, I still don't like you any more than I used to and next time we play tennis, I will definitely beat you."
"Likewise," Sanada replied, his eyes turning to meet Atobe's. "You had better be in a good condition next time. I won't go easy."
"I wouldn't have it any other way," Atobe said with a smirk as he turned away. His emotions folded aside as he walked down the hall. "Ja."
Sanada watched Atobe until he turned the corner before returning to Yukimura's room and closing the door quietly behind him. Yukimura was sitting on his bed, gazing out of the window. Sanada had to admire the way Yukimura's blue eyes looked so strong and the way sunlight danced on his soft, delicate skin. He could no longer lie to those eyes and he would not let another pair of blue eyes stand before him anymore either. "Yukimura…"
Yukimura turned to smile gently at him. "I'm glad you've made a new friend, Sanada," he said in sincerity before responding to his friend's call. "What is it?"
His gaze dropped to the ground and his face was hidden behind the brim of his hat. "This past week, I haven't been completely faithful to you."
"What do you mean?" Yukimura questioned softly, his brows knitting together elegantly. This was the first time Sanada had ever spoke of strange topics before. Usually, he would come and wish him to get better before talking about tennis and the team.
"The one I care for the most is only you and no one else," Sanada said quietly, approaching the bed as Yukimura rose to his feet. "Even though I know this better than anyone else, still…"
As his words faded away, Yukimura understood his words. For a moment, he felt pain in his heart, but only for a moment. In the next, he reached out to lift Sanada's chin up slightly away from the ground. His smile was still as gentle as ever as he spoke, "Sanada, you have always been waiting for me, I know. I can wait for you a while too. Forget you're talking to me for now. What do you really want?"
"The only thing I want is to be with you," Sanada muttered, his usual confident voice fading into a whisper. "I'm not worthy, but will you accept me?"
"Not worthy…?" Yukimura extended both arms to pull Sanada into a tight embrace, his eyes squeezed closed. "Who ever gave you that idea? Nothing would make me happier than to always be in your arms."
As Atobe walked out of the hospital doors, he turned to look up at Yukimura's window. He smirked when he clearly saw Sanada put his arms tightly around Yukimura before kissing his lips with a passion far different from the one Atobe had seen. This time, the impulse was definitely not based on lust.
Laughing faintly, Atobe stepped onto the bus. His pitiful life would return back to normal and he would no longer have to be troubled by his constant irritability with Sanada. As he said, he never really could escape, but it was fine. He had never liked Sanada anyway.
After all, it wouldn't be the first time Atobe took a fall for Sanada Genichirou.
A/N: Wow. I wrote a fic in which I did not make fun of Atobe! XD yes, I'm warming up to him now. He's quite an interesting character, but gets on my nerves occasionally. X.x; but don't kill me for it! Angst rules…although this is supposed to be an extra late birthday present for one of my dear stalk-ees, Posterior Praiser (happy extra-late birthday! xD). Heh, not exactly a very "happy" birthday gift. x) Agh. This would be on livejournal first, but the site hates me at the moment.
Anyway, thanks for reading, everyone!
"hajimete no rakka" basically means "first fall." The "fall" used is the physical act of falling, not like the "falling in love" kind. I guess you can say there's a double meaning x)