Disclaimer: I own very little.
A/N: My AkuDan drabbles100 claim. The drabbles are for the most part in no particular order except that of the prompts. Pre-relationship, established relationship, adult life, all mixed together into a big happy mess. The exceptions are drabbles from 77 to 80, which make most sense read together, and the last drabble, which is, in every sense, the last one.
The first thing Dan noticed about Akutsu was that he was large. Tall and wide and muscular, the older boy towered over him like some superhero in a manga book, yet strangely impolite.
Akutsu, who was not a hero by any stretch of imagination, noticed as the very first thing that Dan was small. The boy reminded him of a puppy in a way, all big brown eyes and eager to please and very annoying.
Years later, Akutsu was still big and Dan was still small. The impoliteness and annoyingness, however, had been forgotten – or at least ignored.
As Dan made it into the tennis team, Akutsu made sure to watch all his matches.
Of course, he never simply showed up before the match, oh no. He waited somewhere out of sight until the match had started properly and Dan was too concentrated on the game to notice him before making his way to the stands.
He never stayed until the end of the match, either. As soon as it was clear who would win he left so as not to be seen by the brat after the match.
Akutsu suspected Dan still knew he was there.
"It is over," says Akutsu, and watches Dan crumble.
Honestly. Did the brat expect him to continue playing his childish games forever? Sorry, not going to happen. Akutsu has better things to do with his time than fake interest for the sake of one brat, even if it is Dan Taichi.
Dan looks up at him, big eyes shining with unshed tears. "Please, Akutsu-senpai," he whines, annoying as ever.
"Fine," Akutsu hears himself saying, and decides it is only because it would be annoying if the brat whined any more. "But only one more game, you understand?"
The first time Dan kissed Akutsu came as a surprise. Before he could even react, the brat blushed, turned around and fled. Bloody coward, Akutsu thought and lit a cigarette.
After quite a while of definitely-not-nervous smoking, Akutsu set to finding the brat. He had to make it clear this was impossible. The brat had better understand that.
As he finally found Dan, the brat seemed scared as though thinking Akutsu would hit him. His eyes were big and fearful and he looked very small.
The first time Akutsu kissed Dan came as a surprise. To both.
It can't last, others say, and Akutsu agrees with them. Their relationship or whatever it may be called simply can't last long. They are too different, too mismatched a couple to stay together, and all in all it is better that way. Eventually, Dan will realise his own good, or Akutsu himself will grow bored, and everything will fall apart like a stack of cards in the hands of a kid.
It takes him almost five years to realise they are still together and have apparently no intention of breaking up, he even less than Dan.
Akutsu does not wait for anyone.
Nobody is so interesting it could possibly be worth his time to stick around for them to show up. He never arranges a meeting himself, and if somebody else does and is late, well, to the Hell with them. Akutsu could care less.
Still he finds himself sitting on a bench in the park, very much not looking at the clock. As the brat finally shows up, close to tears as he tries to explain just why he was late, Akutsu does not listen.
He simply felt like hanging around for two hours.
It took Sengoku two days to find out after they got together. One of them was a Sunday.
Akutsu supposed it was obvious enough; while the brat had never been afraid of getting close to him, now Dan seemed to make it a sport to hang off his arm and see when he would be shaken off. For his part, Akutsu found it increasingly difficult to shake him off. There was no harm done, after all, and if the brat clung to him he wasn't getting beaten somewhere.
If only Sengoku would stop that damn grin of his.
Over time, Akutsu realises he's fallen into a routine of sorts.
All of his weeks are somewhat similar. The weekdays are spent at school or skipping, increasingly much the former as Dan won't stop nagging. Every Wednesday he still skips the morning classes because he can't stand the teacher and will pass anyway.
The night between Saturday and Sunday Dan stays over at Akutsu's. More often than not, they have sex, and in the morning Akutsu's mother smiles at them and thanks Dan for "looking after her son."
All in all, Akutsu decides, it could be worse.
They have been dating for six whole months before they first have sex.
Dan is inexperienced and Akutsu's only fooled around with girls before, but somehow they still manage to reach mutual satisfaction through their combined efforts. Afterwards Dan grins and says he wants to do it again, and Akutsu huffs and calls him a pervert and if he holds Dan just a bit closer it's only by chance.
They get better at it over time, try new things and gain experience, but Akutsu still secretly admits that their half-fumbling first time was worth the wait.
Of course, Akutsu was well aware Dan was younger than him.
It would have been impossible to forget that. Even if people had stopped reminding him of the fact, the other boy's simple childishness and obvious naivety would have made it more than clear. Even as he finally entered high school – overjoyed to again be in the same school as his precious Akutsu-senpai, as though it made any difference – he still acted, and looked, like a kid just starting middle school.
Ah, well. In ten years, nobody would care anymore.
And if they did, well, screw them.
Wounded and Weeping
Red was the colour of blood.
Akutsu was very familiar with this particular colour and its connotations. It would have been rather difficult not to, given his tendency to get into – and start – fights where blood was often spilled. This did little to bother him; as long as the majority of the blood was that of his opponent, he could care less.
Yet, when he saw a familiar trickle of red making its way through Dan's fingers as the brat held a hand over a deep gash in his leg, he suddenly found himself hating the colour.
Little Grey Cells
Akutsu's hair was naturally grey.
Dan seemed to find this utterly fascinating. He liked playing with it and Akutsu let him, considering it semi-pleasant and much preferrable to the endless chatter. Of course Dan still kept talking, straddling Akutsu's lap and fiddling with his hair, but somehow it was more tolerable this way.
Dan once joked about how Akutsu at least didn't have to worry about greying hair, to which Akutsu responded by pointing out it could still turn white. The brat just grinned and said he would look great either way.
Akutsu called him crazy.
Dan's school uniform was always flawlessy white. Of course, the others usually had clean uniforms, too, but somehow Dan's always seemed to be an exceptionally pristine shade of snow-white. Akutsu sometimes wondered if it would glow in the dark and tried to resist the temptation to find out.
Akutsu's own uniform was not as fortunate. Although it was not dirty most of the time, next to Dan's it always seemed somehow dusty and worn. And it was often next to Dan's, given how much the brat stuck around.
Given enough time, maybe the purity might rub off, too.
Akutsu often wore black.
This, in itself, was nothing spectacular. Many people wore black; most boys his age even had black school uniforms. There was nothing strange about wearing black.
Once, however, he saw Dan wearing a black t-shirt. It was supposedly in imitation of him, as the shirt was similar to one of his own shirts, though much smaller. It made the brat seem even smaller than he was and almost sickly pale.
Later Akutsu would try and fail to explain to himself why he had immediately told the brat to go and change the shirt.
It was with a slight surprise that Akutsu discovered not even Dan was always happy.
Of course, it only made sense that everybody had their bad days. No matter how happy and cheerful Dan appeared most of the time, not even his life could always be a bed of roses. At the very least, roses had thorns.
All this made sense. What made much less sense was the almost irrational rage that arose within him at this thought, prompting him to find the people responsible for the brat's bad mood and making them pay.
Fortunately, Dan was rarely sad.
Purple was, as Akutsu was well aware, the gayest of colours.
Of course, not the entire scale of purple could be instantly declared as queer. However, some particular shades – most of which seemed much favoured by some of the most annoying people he knew – were simply screaming of closet and not-so-closet gayness. There was no way a man could dress in such a colour and still claim to be straight.
Dan was never guilty of wearing such shades, for which Akutsu was glad.
The brat was obviously gay enough, dating him, even without the unnecessary addition.
Akutsu did not like chocolate.
Now, he had nothing against the taste, except it was too mild and soft for him. However, chocolate was for girls and fags and kids, and he was none of those.Therefore, he did not like chocolate and wouldn't have been caught dead eating it.
Dan, though, liked chocolate very much, which was because he was obviously still a kid. His eyes were the colour of chocolate, too, a warm and inviting shade of brown, bright with an almost hyper glow as he bounced around his precious Akutsu-senpai.
Suddenly, Akutsu had a craving.
Sense and Sentimentality
The headband was far too big for Dan.
This much should have been obvious, Akutsu thought, yet the idiotic brat insisted on wearing it no matter how many times it fell over his eyes. Nothing could change his mind, from Akutsu's continuous taunts to his schoolamates' snickers. If he hadn't been such an idiotically obedient student he probably would have worn it in class, too.
Dan, for his part, said it was because it had been Akutsu's. This made absolutely no sense to Akutsu.
Why cling to a stupid headband when he could have Akutsu in person?
Somehow, Akutsu had always subconsciously expected Dan's room to be pink.
Of course, in retrospect he had to admit this was pretty damn ridiculous. No matter how childish he appeared, Dan was still a boy in the fateful age of middle school, and would have never voluntarily lived in an all-pink room. Still, Akutsu was somewhat surprised as he entered the brat's room for the first time only to find it to be a much more comfortable light green.
Thankfully he avoided having to take a look in the very much pink room of Dan's little sister.
Akutsu was naturally pale, so much so he never managed to tan. Not that he minded, of course – like he gave a fuck about what others thought looked good. If they thought any less of him because of his almost unhealthy paleness, well, screw them.
Dan, though, was never as pale as he was, not even when he really was sick. Thus, as Akutsu now looked at the small figure lying in the hospital bed, almost matching the colour of the sheets, he felt vaguely disturbed.
He squeezed the little hand in his own, for once paler than his.
In a Name
Akutsu Jin had no friends.
He had no need to voluntarily attach himself to other people with some imaginary bonds consisting only of mutual need for familiarity and incapablity to survive alone. True, if pressed, he might have named Kawamura as his friend, but only because other people viewed them as such. He maybe had allies, but no friends.
Dan Taichi, of course, was no friend. He was a fanboy and an annoyance and even a pet of sorts, but never a friend. That word implied mutual need.
Later, Akutsu would accept it with the addition "boy-".
Response and Repayment
Akutsu hit Dan all of once.
It was before they were properly together, one of the times Akutsu decided to watch as the tennis club trained. It was a bad day, and Dan was even more annoying than usual, and at the next cheerful comment Akutsu could not take it any more. The brat was struck to the ground.
Dan was supposed to cry. However, the tears in his eyes were mostly due to anger. Rising back to his feet, the brat walked closer and, to everyone's shock, slapped Akutsu.
Maybe, Akutsu thought, it could actually work.
Of Innocence and Experience
Dan was not as innocent as he looked like.
Sure, on their first time (with Dan safely over thirteen; sex crimes were not in Akutsu's field) he had been inexperienced, literally a blushing virgin, but he proved to be a fast and eager learner. Nevertheless, he still managed to retain that look of big-eyed wonder that made everybody careful not to make any naughty remarks where he could hear them.
Akutsu often wondered just what in his shitty life he had done right that he could claim this not-so-innocent boy as his lover.
Akutsu's mother adored Dan, as so many people did. She thought he was absolutely adorable, cute and polite as he was, and was overjoyed that he spent time with her son. Maybe, she said, his good influence would make some kind of a change in Akutsu, too. Insane woman.
Dan's parents, on the other hand, wisely disapproved of Akutsu. Nice and warm though they otherwise were, they were somewhat wary of him from the beginning, thus proving their sanity and making Akutsu wonder how none had been passed down to their son.
Apparently, no family was entirely sane.
Akutsu Jin was twenty-five when he saw his father for the first time since he was a child.
It was not a planned meeting, naturally, as neither of them had any desire to contact the other. They simply ran into each other on the street. Akutsu immediately recognized the face he had learnt to hate.
After a tense greeting and some exchanged words, Akutsu was suddenly caught by another person.
"Jiii-in!" Dan whined. "Hurry, we're late!"
Akutsu just knew his father was calling him queer as he was dragged off.
Who cared about the bastard.
Support and Lack Thereof
Sengoku is the only one who doesn't seem to think they are fated to fail. Everybody else advises Dan against Akutsu, telling him stories about him, how he beat this guy and stole from this one and is just awful and dangerous in general. Dan doesn't listen to any of them but to Sengoku-senpai instead.
"Do what feels right to you," Sengoku-senpai says and smiles. "It's about the time Akutsu gets somebody he actually gives a damn about."
Of course, part of this support might be because of his numerous bets.
Sons of The Fathers
Akutsu's father had left when he was just a kid, and good riddance. As time passed, Akutsu did everything he could to ignore the fact he was becoming more and more like his father. At least nobody had made the mistake of falling in love with him.
Then along came Dan, pretty little Dan Taichi who was happy and cheerful and everything Akutsu's mother seemed to be in the pictures Akutsu had seen of her when she had been young. It could only end in disaster.
Time to show the world he was not his father.
Dan sometimes got a somewhat dreamy expression while playing with little children Akutsu had learned to look out for. It only meant trouble to him in the form of sighes and day-dreamy spacing out from the younger man. It was damn annoying.
Neither one of them was a woman, he reminded Dan, so better just forget it. Dan sighed but agreed.
When Atobe Keigo, in his need of an heir, managed to pass a new adoption law, Akutsu knew he was out of excuses.
He would be damned if he admitted he did not really mind, though.
Fated from Birth
Only that woman would think of something so idiotic.
Sure, she was not the only person ever to keep a diary. However, nobody else could possibly have thought of digging up her diary entry on a particular date to prove something as "fate".
Still, despite himself, Akutsu found it vaguely disturbing that on a particular January the second many years back the two-year-old Akutsu Jin had apparently suddenly looked up from his games and announced, "Now I won't be alone anymore."
Dan, of course, found this incredibly sweet. The little idiot. Adorable, too, though.
Fear of Death
Nobody could order Akutsu Jin around.
This was a fact he had pounded rather violently into several heads, enough so that most people around him knew better than to try. While he did not hit his mother, he also did not listen to her, thus, a fact.
Dan apparently did not know this fact. Akutsu dealt with this mostly by ignoring him. However, as a pair of brown eyes was directed at him along with a fearful "I don't want you to die Akutsu-senpai desu!" he found himself thinking twice before doing anything especially idiotic.
Dan was, Akutsu was to learn, an early riser of the worst kind. While Akutsu himself rarely slept very late, he was usually even more cranky than usual in the mornings and did not take well to any kind of annoyance then. Dan, though, was one of the morning people who would get up early and be all happy and chipper as though they were actually rested.
The only way to keep the brat from rising with the Sun, Akutsu discovered, was to tire him out very thoroughly the night before.
Fortunately, Akutsu was up to the task.
Akutsu never understood what was supposedly so romantic about sunsets.
This, of course, did not mean he didn't understand the concept of beauty or even occasionally appreciate it. He simply could not see the romantic appeal in such a sight. The sun set every fucking day; what was so special about it that viewing it together with another person was a somehow memorable event?
This was his firm opinion until the day he found himself with his arms around the brat while Dan sat in his lap and asked eagerly, "Isn't it so pretty, Akutsu-senpai?"
033. Too Much
It was no secret Akutsu was easily bored. Few things could hold his interest for more than a moment if even that; more often than not he got up with everything immediately. As a result he rarely found anything worth his time.
He had expected himself to get sick of Dan right away. The boy was simply too much for anybody to handle, full of life and energy and cheer. Nobody could bear him for longer than a moment, Akutsu had been sure.
Strange, was it not, how time passed and despite everything he still did not grow tired.
034. Not Enough
When Akutsu first met Dan, he thought the boy was craving for attention.
Nothing else could explain it. Akutsu knew very well he was somewhat a frightening sight; in fact, he took pride in this fact. Most kids and even his own peers were too scared to even approach him, yet Dan practically attached himself to Akutsu. The brat was obviously desperate for somebody to notice him.
Over time, however, Akutsu found this to be untrue. Dan got plenty of attention from others, and paid no mind if Akutsu ignored him entirely.
Why did he still stick around?
035. 6th Sense
It's ridiculous, of course. No such thing could happen.
Akutsu is often annoyed by Sengoku's little bouts of superstition – mostly connected with his incredible luck – but this one is particularly irritating. After all, it is impossible.
Yet, as he actually thinks about it, it seems to happen disturbingly often. Whenever he thinks nobody can find him wherever he is hiding, be it the roof of the school or some secluded corner, soon he sees the familiar form of the brat approaching, calling for him.
Still, he refuses to believe Dan has some kind of an "Akutsu-radar".
Only Dan, Akutsu sometimes thought, only Dan would still use strawberry-scented shampoo in high school. Out of the male population of the school, anyway. The scent was awfully sweet and fresh and strawberry-y, like the brat had stuck his head in a bowl of berries. It gave Akutsu a headache.
Nevertheless, he found his nose once again burying itself in the blue-black hair as the brat lay on his chest, breathing deep. The scent may have been childish and sweet and occasionally annoying, but Dan was all that, too.
Akutsu decided it was not bad.
It was never quiet when Dan was around.
Akutsu sometimes wondered how the kid could talk so much. Any normal person would eventually run out of things to babble on about, or at the very least tire. Dan, however, seemed to have no such problems; even when it was clear Akutsu was honestly ignoring him he just kept talking.
The only times Dan seemed quiet were when he was playing or sleeping. Akutsu much preferred the latter.
As Dan's head rested on his chest, with only the sound of quiet breathing, it was easy for Akutsu to sleep, too.
Dan's hands were small, just like the rest of him. His touch was light, almost unnoticeable at best, and never hard enough to hurt even if he had tried to, which he never did. As he curiously put his palm against Akutsu's to compare the size of their hands it was almost painfully obvious that he was, indeed, still just a kid.
There was something about that light touch, however, that sometimes seemed to send electric shocks through Akutsu. Dan tugged at his hand, and suddenly everything froze.
Akutsu wanted to know why. Extensive research was in order.
"I still think it's fucking weird."
"Don't say that before you've tried it desu," Dan says happily. "It tastes great desu!"
"Che. I fucking doubt that." Akutsu glares at the offending treat. Who in their right mind would eat blueberry ice cream?
"Come on, Akutsu-senpai," the brat whines. "At least taste it once!" He is pouting, now. There is a bit of ice cream on his lower lip. Akutsu leans forward.
The taste's not that bad, he decides. In fact, it's quite good.
He still doesn't like the ice cream, though.
Worst Case Scenario
Akutsu sometimes thinks about what he would do if he became blind, and comes to the conclusion he would likely kill himself.
To him, the loss of sight means loss of control. If he can't see his surroundings he can't get around on his own, forced to accept the help of others. True, he could learn, but it's just too much of a fuss. Besides, he couldn't fight, which is enough of a reason to rather die.
Weird, though, how the worst possible scenario always seems to be not being able to see Dan again.
Akutsu is big. Dan is small.
This much is obvious if one even glances at them. It's easy for Akutsu to lift Dan in the air to growl at him, and Dan can just as easily hang off Akutsu's arm. Everybody who knows them knows this much.
What others don't know is how well Dan fits into Akutsu's lap, or how effortlessly he's held up by the muscular arms, or how safe he feels when he is close to his precious senpai.
If Akutsu has any say in the matter, they will never find out, either.
Love, Drama and Suspicions
When Akutsu first hears the rumour there is something between Sengoku and him that surpasses even friendship, he finds it simply ridiculous. After all, the redhead is a well-known womanizer and Akutsu is not interested.
Then he hears a suggestion that there is some kind of a love triangle involving Sengoku, himself, and Dan Taichi. This inspires a few swear words and a severe beating for the individual foolish enough to even mention the rumour.
While it is just as ridiculous, he suddenly finds himself keeping a close eye on Sengoku whenever Dan is nearby.
It is nothing special, just a simple square of paper. Akutsu watches as Dan carefully folds it into a bird-like shape. "What are you doing?" he asks.
"I'm making cranes," replies the brat.
"Why?" Akutsu demands to know.
"If you make a thousand cranes," Dan says, smiling, "you get to make a wish."
Akutsu snorts. "Che. And what are you going to wish for?"
Dan beams up at him. "That I get to be with Akutsu-senpai forever!" he declares.
Akutsu decides the brat is truly an idiot. As though he needs stupid cranes for that.
Sometimes, everything seems to simply go around in endless circles. Day after day, everything is similar, people do the same stupid things, say the same stupid words. Nothing ever changes, everything is always the same dull repetition, and it's driving Akutsu crazy.
Dan, however, seems to be a charm against such boredom. No matter how similar every day is otherwise, he always does something differently. It may be simply tripping over something so that Akutsu has to catch him, or he may have baked cookies, but it's never the same.
Dan is, it seems, keeping Akutsu sane.
Dan is like the Sun, Akutsu sometimes thinks, full of life and energy and brightening everything just by being there. The brat doesn't seem aware of this, himself; he just goes on being nice and cute and cheerful, not realising it's his influence that makes the world around him as nice a place as he sees it as.
Akutsu himself is the Moon, reflecting this light and having none himself. Even this is a ridiculous thought, that he would seem to have light – but slowly, he seems to make his way out of the dark side.
Dan is, as Akutsu well knows, neither a princess nor any other kind of a damsel in distress. Akutsu himself is hardly a knight in shining armour, either, a violent delinquent that he is. Nobody in their right mind would try to make a fairy tale out of them.
Sometimes, though, Akutsu dreams of himself as a king, taking orders from nobody and giving them out instead. In such dreams there is another throne next to his, smaller but no less elaborate, but usually it is empty.
Even in his dreams, Dan seems to prefer invading his lap.
Gaining Opposite Evidence
Love, Akutsu used to think, does not exist.
Cynical though it may seem, he has long been convinced this is correct. After all, his life is not exactly abundant when it comes to love; rather, he has found it to be full of deceit and betrayal. Love does not exist, and accepting this has made his life a lot easier.
Then along came Dan, all smiles and warmth and Akutsu-senpai, and little by little he finds himself beginning to doubt his old conclusion.
He is not yet convinced, but Dan doesn't seem to give up.
Another Kind of a Bond
It's not a diamond ring, of course, picked by Akutsu. It's just a plain band of silver, small enough that it fits inside the bigger one. There are no engravings aside from two names, carved with beautiful kanji on the inside of the rings, with no date or any other marking to reveal their significance.
It fits Dan's finger perfectly, and he wonders how Akutsu managed to pick just the right size, but then he realizes it doesn't matter and isn't it just wonderful anyway.
Akutsu actually wears the other one.
His Rightful Place
If Akutsu ever managed to actually conquer the world, he once decided, the first thing he would do was to make his mother the queen of some very distant land where she couldn't nag at him. The second thing would be getting his father executed.
When Dan heard of these plans, he simply asked which one he would get, a country to rule or a death sentence. Akutsu informed him he was too stupid to rule anything alone so he'd just have to be Akutsu's prince consort.
Dan just grinned happily and didn't disagree.
Akusu has known that Sengoku sometimes makes stupid jokes. However, he usually ignores them, knowing that they are rarely funny and often irritating.
Thus, when Sengoku hugs a blushing Dan and declares his undying love for the boy, Akutsu does not interpret it as simply a joke. The next thing he knows, Sengoku is on the ground, a hand over his bleeding nose.
"Damn," Sengoku says snappishly. "If you are going to be that jealous, you should just come out and say the kid is yours!"
"He is mine," Akutsu growls. "Happy now?"
Dan, it seems, is. Idiotic brat.
Dan couldn't swim. Of course, as luck would have it, Akutsu discovered this as the brat fell into the river.
He thought the brat was joking, at first. Just as he finally realised the fear in Dan's voice was genuine the smaller boy sank under the surface and didn't show up again.
Muttering a curse, Akutsu dived into the water, thankful it was clear enough for him to spot the dark form of Dan. He soon caught the boy and got him out of the water.
Akutsu found a heartbeat. Suddenly, it was easier to breathe.
Dan liked candles.
Akutsu couldn't understand this. If you wanted light, electric lamps worked so much better, and if it was warmth you were after, candles were hardly useful. Nevertheless, Dan enjoyed them, so Akutsu didn't question him about this affection as long as he didn't leave any aflame unattended.
One dark winter night he found himself looking at Dan who was looking at a candle. The little spot of light reflected in Dan's eyes, flickering as it cast soft shadows around it.
Akutsu may not have particularly liked candles, but he liked Dan liking candles.
The fact that his potted plants died one after one never seemed to discourage Dan, who kept trying, much to the amusement of Akutsu who observed his efforts and failings. Finally, though, even Dan himself had to admit he was apparently not meant for gardening.
"Only you, Taichi, only you," Akutsu sighed, shaking his head. He simply couldn't believe it.
"I know desu," Dan said miserably, looking at his latest victim. "You know, Jin, I'm about to give up."
"Sounds like a good idea," Akutsu said. "I've never heard of a plastic plant dying before..."
Akutsu had no idea what had possessed him to agree.
Sure, the brat had pleaded him, but that was no excuse. Akutsu Jin did not play doubles, period.
So what was he doing here on the court?
There was a lob, far too high for even him to smash. It was almost impossible to reach – unless one could fly.
Akutsu didn't even bother to think. He simply grasped on the brat and flung him to the air.
A perfect return, a point, and Dan landed on his feet. Akutsu smirked. No way in Hell would they lose.
"Well?" asked Akutsu, as though he hadn't been in the stands himself. He didn't look at Dan, concentrating on his cigarette.
Dan looked down to the ground, looking absolutely miserable. "I lost desu," he muttered barely audibly.
"And now what?" Akutsu asked, disinterested. "You going to quit?"
"No desu!" Dan said, lifting a determined gaze up to him. "I'll just have to work harder desu!"
"That's the spirit," said Akutsu, who really wasn't one to speak. He walked passed Dan, lightly brushing the brat's hair as he did so. "Come on, now."
Akutsu was not on his best in the morning. In fact, anyone annoying him before 10 AM was going to die.
"Good morning, Jin!" ...Well, aside from one exception.
"Shut up," Akutsu growled, glaring at the younger boy. How Dan could look so bright so early was beyond him.
A huge cup of coffee was handed to him. Akutsu accepted it without a word.
Dan chattered even as he ate. Akutsu wondered how he could have so much energy after they had spent half the night awake.
Clearly, Akutsu hadn't kept him up long enough. Time to improve.
Dan perhaps wasn't an excellent cook, but better than most boys in his age. He was certainly better than anybody else Akutsu knew, with the obvious exception of Kawamura. Thus, while his constant offerings of bento were somewhat annoying – as though Akutsu couldn't feed himself well enough! – they weren't exactly unwelcome.
Of course, the price he paid for them was listening to the brat's chatter for most of the lunch break. Didn't he have any classmates or something to spend time with?
However, when Dan fell sick, Akutsu found himself missing his usual homemade lunch.
Together with You
Sure, the sushi place where his something like a friend worked was hardly the ideal place for a date. However, Akutsu knew that Kawamura would not give them strange glances just because Dan kept clinging onto his arm but instead smile and give them a discount. And besides, Dan liked the sushi.
The whole idea of a date was ridiculous, of course. They saw each other all the time anyway; what was the point of "going out" together? It made Dan happy, though, and thus Akutsu was compelled to give occasionally.
Besides, it was kind of nice.
Akutsu rarely paid any attention to food. Food was, after all, only fuel; as long as it filled his stomach and didn't taste horribly disgusting he didn't care what he ate. This caused endlessly grief to his mother and Kawamura who had apparently made it their mission to feed him.
Then Dan noticed he wasn't eating properly. Homemade bento and stern lectures suddenly filled his life.
For the first time in as long as he could remember Akutsu found himself actually noticing what he put in his mouth. Not that he would ever admit it.
Of course, Akutsu was not a nice boy, but rather a bad one. And bad boys tended to drink. Akutsu did, too.
Once, only once, Dan saw him drunk. The brat immediately started a lecture, telling him how bad it was and what kind of damage excessive drinking could do to him and how he really should stop it desu. It was annoying, Akutsu felt, even more so than usually because he was drunk. He should teach the brat.
He raised his hand to strike before he realised what he was about to do.
Akutsu never drank again.
It was becoming colder.
This was impossible to ignore, Akutsu thought as he walked towards school. Why did he even bother, he had no idea. It wasn't like he would learn anything anyway.
"Akutsu-senpai! Wait, Akutsu-senpai!" ...Oh, yeah, that's why.
"Taichi," he said, not looking at the brat. "You'll freeze your hands."
"Huh?" Dan looked down at his bare hands. "It's not that cold..."
"Yes, it is." Akutsu took one of the small hands into his own. It felt cold.
For some reason, he still held on even when the hand was warm.
Winter eventually turned into spring, as it had a habit of doing. And, along with spring, there was graduation.
Dan seemed both happy and sad as he congratulated his senpai-tachi. Sengoku tried to comfort him, reminding that Yamabuki high school wasn't that far, but it was of no use.
"Taichi," said Akutsu, and Dan turned to look at him. "You are an idiot," Akutsu added, then kissed the brat.
The expressions surrounding him were well worth any embarrassment there may have been in public kissing. Most importantly, Dan didn't seem to be about to cry anymore.
Side by Side
It was simply too hot to think, Akutsu decided, lying in the grass, motionless. Even in the shadow it was unbearably hot. Nothing was going to make him move.
"Akutsu-senpai?" asked a small voice. Akutsu grunted, not about to speak properly at the moment. "Akutsu-senpai, isn't it a nice day today?"
Akutsu thought about the heat, and about how exhausted he was just lying there, and about the smaller boy lying right next to him and asking such stupid questions.
"I guess," he replied and reached out to brush his hand against Dan's, hot and sweaty.
"Fall in love" was, in Akutsu's opinion, one of the most idiotic phrases ever. It implied accidentality and was clearly just a way of putting blame for one's own stupidity onto the shoulders of some unknown entity or even chance.
Well, not him. He was going to watch his feet and not fall.
Then came along Dan, with endless adoration and admiration for him, some skills of his own he didn't even seem to realise and enough determination to bring those skills out. Dan, with big brown eyes and a smile.
Suddenly Akutsu realised he had been tripped.
The brat was just too weak, Akutsu concluded, trying his very best not to worry as he glanced down at the fragile form in his arms. The brat was too weak, and Sengoku was an idiot for letting him play for too long, and the brat's opponent was an idiot for dragging out the match for so long. It was only a practice game. There was no need to continue until the brat passed out.
There was only one solution, Akutsu decided. He would have to train the brat to gain better stamina.
And beat the two other idiots.
"We got inside just in time," Dan said, looking out of the window as he tried to dry his hair. "A moment more and we would have had to swim here!"
"Don't exaggerate, Taichi," Akutsu snorted. He looked around. Apparently his mother wasn't home. Good. He didn't need her messing around. "It's not raining that hard."
"Don't be so mean, Akutsu-senpai!" Dan pouted. His hair was a semi-dry mess, his clothes soaked and clinging to his skin. All in all, he looked delicious.
Akutsu crouched down to taste the rain on Dan's lips.
My Little Angel
Dan was making snow angels.
Of course, this was a very Dan thing to do, and as such nothing special. How he had managed to get Akutsu to join him was a mystery Akutsu was still trying to figure out.
"No, Akutsu-senpai, please don't add horns to them!"
Akutsu snorted. "This is stupid anyway," he said. "Aren't angels Christian or something? You aren't Christian."
"No, I'm not," Dan replied cheerfully. "But they are pretty, aren't they, Akutsu-senpai?"
Dan was the one who was pretty, Akutsu thought, but didn't say it aloud.
Of course, it hadn't happened fast. A gradual process was the only way to win over somebody like Akutsu. This was exactly what Dan did, working slowly as though taming a wild animal. Fortunately his efforts were not in vain, as Akutsu actually developed feelings for him beyond just being used to him until Akutsu wouldn't let go.
However slow it may have been, later Akutsu likened Dan's appearance in his life to a lightning bolt – quick to appear and made irreparable damage.
Dan just smiled and pointed out he at least didn't leave quickly.
The Strongest Shield
A booming sound marked something warm snuggling up to him. Akutsu was hardly surprised; he had been waiting for this since the first signs of the thunder storm. Thus, rather than asking what the idiot was doing, he simply moved aside to make room.
Dan shivered against him at the next sound. Honestly, one would think nobody would be afraid of thunder at his age.
There was a frightened whimper beneath the covers. Despite himself Akutsu found his arm wrapping itself around the smaller form. Dan calmed down.
Strong, wasn't he, to even shield from thunder.
In the Storm's Eye
Akutsu was often angry.
He was by nature irritable and sometimes violent (a fact he blamed on the genes of his father). This along with a carefully developed bad attitude and tough exterior made for a very dangerous combination for anyone who happened to anger him. One moment, he was simply insulting you, the next, there was a full-blown storm about.
Dan never seemed to care about these outbursts of his. Rather, the smaller boy pretty much ignored Akutsu's rage as though it did not concern him.
Akutsu never managed to be angry at Dan.
Akutsu had broken his promise.
Staring at his hand in disbelief, he slowly came to comprehend just how many promises he had broken. To Kawamura, to Sengoku, to his mother and Dan's parents and Dan himself. And, most importantly, to himself.
He'd become his father at last.
Dan looked up at him, tears and fear filling the big brown eyes. Akutsu tried to reach out to him, to explain, but Dan turned away and fled from him.
Akutsu woke with a silent scream.
Odd, wasn't it, how he could hurt the brat only in his dreams.
It was simply too much to ask, Akutsu thought. Such a punishment for so mild an insult was surely exaggerated. The brat couldn't really demand it of him.
Apparently Dan thought otherwise, though. The brat was glaring up at him, brown eyes full of tears yet not giving in one bit. He appeared paler than usual, which would have worried Akutsu had he ever admitted even to himself he worried.
Ah, well. Apparently nothing else could fix the situation at this point. He had to give in.
"Sorry," he managed to get out.
Suddenly, Dan beamed at him.
About to Grow Up
The brat should eat more, Akutsu thought, weighing Dan's little body in his arms. That and he was severely lacking in muscle mass. Hopefully he would gain some once he properly hit puberty, more muscle mass and height, too. He was so obviously a kid it was almost painful to look at.
Dan wrapped his arms around Akutsu's neck, grinning up at him. "I love you Akutsu-senpai desu!" the brat announced happily, absolutely loyal and trustful. His Akutsu-senpai couldn't ever hurt him, could he?
Oh, yes, definitely a kid. But thankfully he would grow soon.
Of course, Dan wasn't afraid of dark anymore. Thankfully, Akutsu thought, as he switched off the lights. When the lights were off, his mother thought they were asleep and wouldn't come knocking at the door.
Dropping down next to Dan, Akutsu fumbled in the dark to relieve the brat of his clothes. Small fingers were already working on his own shirt.
"I wish I could see you properly, Jin," Dan muttered.
"My mother is out of the house next Saturday." Akutsu pushed the jeans past slim hips. "Come over then."
He heard the smile. "Yes desu."
Akutsu had never liked his father. In fact, had he received word the man was dead, he probably would have rejoiced. Therefore, he wasn't sure what was the appropriate response as Dan appeared to him with teary eyes and announced, "Jin, my father is dead!"
Thus, lost for words, he simply hugged Dan, hoping it did some good.
The poor thing appeared completely broken, Akutsu thought. Normally, he would have vowed revenge on anybody who caused such a thing, but that was impossible if the guilty one was already dead.
He could do nothing but hold Dan, now.
"Hey, Jin? Do you believe in reincarnation?"
Akutsu shrugged. "Haven't thought about it. Why do you ask?"
"No reason... I was just wondering." Dan smiled to himself, leaning back to look at the sky. "Like, if I were to die now, could I meet you again in another life?"
"Doubtlessly," snorted Akutsu, who found it somewhat uncomfortable to think of Dan dying and wanted to get rid of the topic. "You wouldn't let me off the hook so easily."
Dan laughed and snuggled against him. "I love you, Jin," he said.
"Hn," Akutsu replied. "I know."
Concerns of One's Ability
Never in his life had Akutsu been too stunned to move. He was always mobile, always full of energy, always ready to spring into action at a moment's notice. Nothing could shock him enough to rob him of all this energy.
However, as he saw Dan suddenly collapsing with no apparent reason, he found himself unable to move for a moment.
It was over fast, and he was by Dan's side before anybody else anyway. However, it bothered him.
Had Dan been falling from somewhere, for example, would he have got there in time for rescue?
The odds were favourable, Akutsu was told. All the signs were good. They'd win this battle, and then the whole war, yes they would.
However, as he now sat beside the hospital bed, the only things that came into his mind were all the times of "We almost lost him."
Dan looked so fragile and very weak, and Akutsu found himself hoping it was him instead. He was strong, he would surely survive even such an ordeal. Dan... he wasn't sure.
Then again, he would have never wished the pain he felt to be put upon Dan.
By Your Side
Dan was in pain, that much was clear. And, although he didn't want to admit it, this pained Akutsu as well.
He simply couldn't even look at the brat without feeling sick. Nevertheless, he stayed there as much as he could, given that he had a job, too. Fortunately, the way from his job to the idiot's bedside was measured in corridors, not kilometres. He wouldn't have had patience for more.
The hand held in his was so thin and pale and unresponsive.
If Dan didn't survive, neither would he, Akutsu was sure.
The day Dan got out of the hospital, Akutsu was happier than ever.
Sure, the brat – who wasn't really a brat anymore – was still very weak, but that was okay. There was nobody better capable of keeping him in wheelchair than Akutsu. The idiot wouldn't take even a step on his own before it was allowed.
He scolded the idiot for getting so badly sick and all, and if he had to have something wrong couldn't it have been in his head so Akutsu could have just cut him up himself instead of worrying.
His True Image
Love was blind, Akutsu had often heard, and couldn't help but agree. Nothing but absolute blindness and perhaps a bit of idiocy could explain the fact somebody like Dan had fallen for him. Dan was small and cute and innocent, Akutsu was big and scary and violent. They had absolutely nothing in common.
For some reason, he noticed some changes in himself as Dan was around. He didn't beat anyone as openly. Once, he even said "thank you."
Dan smiled and Akutsu found himself wondering if Dan wasn't the one with the sharpest sight.
There must be something wrong with Dan's hearing.
It is the only explanation Akutsu can think of. Well, that and the kid is obviously an idiot, but one might assume that even the worst idiot would get it around the fiftieth time Akutsu tells him to fuck off. Dan, however, just smiles and stays. The idiot.
In time, Akutsu grows weary of always saying the same thing, and finally, he gives up. Dan is going to end up hurt but it is not Akutsu's fault, not anymore.
Odd, though, how Dan hears very well every "Stay right here."
A Battle of Wills
"Please?" asked Dan with a hopeful tone.
"No." Akutsu's response was determined.
"I already said no."
"Pretty please with sugar on top?"
With the sweeties now, eh? "It's still a fucking no, Taichi."
Dan pouted in the way only he could, looking hurt and pleading at the same time, his eyes resembling disturbingly much those of a puppy that wanted in from the rain. "But Akutsu-senpai, please be so kind," he whined.
Akutsu sighed, already knowing it was a lost cause. This was the one game he would never win against Dan.
Dan's eyes widened as he saw the book Akutsu was offering him. "But – that's –"
"Yeah, yeah, the volume missing from your collection," came the curt response. "Happy birthday or something like that."
"It's even a special edition!" Dan exclaimed, snatching the book from the other's hands and holding it tightly against his chest. "Thank you so very much desu!"
"I just happened to see it somewhere," Akutsu grumbled. "Don't get so overjoyed."
There was no force on Earth that could make him admit exactly how many hours he had spent looking for this particular copy.
This was ridiculous, Akutsu told himself. It was only a couple of days, only a stupid class trip to some stupid place that was absolutely boring. He had often spent much longer times without even seeing the brat.
Then why was he now waiting for the day the little idiot came back?
If Dan found out, he would have a field day. He might even think Akutsu cared. He didn't, really. And he most definitely didn't miss the brat. At most he was wondering how much longer his peace would last.
Yeah, that was it. Honest.
Many wouldn't accept them, Akutsu knew. Even in the modern world there would always be idiots who considered everything different a threat.
It was a choice, like Dan always made him choose. Choose between school and skipping, a proper job and criminality, acceptance of the society and Dan Taichi.
Like Akutsu gave a fuck about what others thought.
It wasn't easy to Dan, either, and that almost made Akutsu regret sometimes, but he was too selfish to leave. He would rather protect Dan.
Whenever he felt a smaller hand in his, he knew he had chosen right.
Akutsu had never expected it to last long. After all, hearts were fickle and love always ended in somebody getting hurt, as he had learnt early on. He was entirely wrong for Dan and eventually the brat would notice that, too. In the meantime, though, he allowed himself to enjoy it.
As time passed and they were still together, he occasionally found himself wondering. At one time, he had wanted to depend on nobody. But now... what would his life be like without Dan?
Looking at the smiling man next to him, Akutsu resolved never to find out.
Akutsu Jin was no fucking queer.
He could care less if other boys were that; it was their own damn business if they liked guys better than chicks. However, he had no interest in them. Akutsu preferred girls with big boobs and long, shiny hair.
This, of course, did not explain Dan.
Dan Taichi was, while somewhat feminine when it came to facial features, most definitely male. He was small and scrawny and his hair was a mess, but his eyes were big and brown and he smiled. And, well, he was Dan.
There were exceptions to every rule.
The puppy is young, just barely old enough to be away from her mother, and she is the colour of melted sugar. Her eyes are big and shiny as she looks up from her box, expecting to be picked up and pampered.
Dan rubs his eyes and looks again. She is still there.
"Don't kick me out, please," is all the attached note says. There is no signature, but Dan is no fool. He knows exactly who she is from.
Akutsu scowls as he sees the puppy, but doesn't say anything.
Dan secretly calls her Jin-chan.
That Feeling You Give Me
Lately, Akutsu had sometimes encountered a strange emotion. It wasn't anything he had felt before, and he thus had no idea what it might be. It was vague and hard to put into words, warmth mixed with a little bit of insecurity, topped off with the inexplicable urge to smile instead of scowling. It made sleeping hard and his appetite miserable.
Also, it mostly occurred around Dan Taichi.
As he finally asked Kawamura, the other boy smiled. "Why, you are in love, Akutsu-kun," he said.
Akutsu cursed. Just like he had thought. Something horrible.
Dan never truly expected Akutsu to say yes, of course. He had mostly asked just to see Akutsu's stunned expression before the very clear and loud "No". Still, he couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed as Akutsu didn't come to his birthday party.
The older boy didn't seem to notice his birthday in any other way, either, although he certainly knew of it. Dan just shrugged and soldiered on, knowing this was Akutsu-senpai.
Three days later, apparently unrelated, he found a tiny present in his locker. There was no name, no card.
After all, this was Akutsu-senpai.
Akutsu saw no point in celebrating Christmas.
It was a conspiracy, he decided. Taking a Christian holiday and twisting it around until it met the needs of Japanese people. He had very little idea what it had originally been about, but he very much doubted it had first been established as an excuse to go on a date and give presents.
Dan, however, insisted that they do so. And, until Akutsu found a way to resist the Puppy Dog Eyes of Doom (which wasn't likely to be soon) what Dan really wanted him to do, he did.
Happiness Not Earned
Thanking, Akutsu felt, was usually a waste of time. He could understand it when it was done to other people, even though he wasn't in the habit of saying it himself; after all, thanking people made for a better chance that they might be of use to you again. However, thanking abstract deities was absolutely pointless. Everything good you got, you had to earn. Thanking gods meant you declared your own efforts useless.
However, as he lay quietly with Dan by his side, the other boy's light breathing caressing his skin, he found himself secretly thankful.
"Imagine, Jin," Dan said enthusiastically, "today is the shortest day of the year!" He looked out to the darkening night.
"You can't tell the difference anyway," Akutsu snorted. "We're not that far in the North that it would actually matter."
"It does too matter desu," Dan said, pouting. "Don't you think it's interesting?"
Akutsu sighed. "You are too old for the desu," he said dryly. "Now, come on, Taichi."
"Huh?" Dan blinked. "Come where?"
"To the bed, of course." Akutsu smirked. "It's the longest night of the year. Let's use it well."
095. New Year
Akutsu was anything but satisfied with his life. For as long as he could remember, he had been unhappy for one reason or another. For each year of his life he could recall at least one major disappointment – the latest one being his defeat to that brat Echizen.
Sixteen years, today. Sixteen years, none of which had been primarily happy, even though lately he had been... less dissatisfied than usually.
Sinking his hand into the blue-black hair spread over his chest, Akutsu wondered whether the seventeenth one would bring a change. He looked forward to finding out.
Carving into Skulls
Nobody messed with Akutsu Jin and walked away on their own.
This was a well-known fact among teenagers not only in Yamabuki but in other schools in the area as well. Anybody foolish enough to cross him had better be prepared to face the consequences, for Akutsu knew no forgiveness.
Of course, there were also the bastards who didn't know. And those who didn't know that messing with Dan Taichi was the same as messing with Akutsu.
Akutsu cracked his knuckles, smirking evilly. Some idiots were about to learn their lesson the painful way.
Coming Home to You All
It was, Akutsu decided, somewhat different to come home to a lively house. Of course, Dan had never been quiet, but earlier their schedules had often been such that the house was empty when Akutsu came home. Now, it was never empty.
He had once asked whether Dan regretted staying home just for the kids. Dan's answer had been a very firm no.
Two enthusiastic hugs greeted him at the door. "Daddy!" chorused the children, their eyes shining.
Different was, Akutsu decided as he heard Dan's voice happily welcoming him, not necessarily a bad thing.
"A brain surgeon," Akutsu repeated, smirking at his former captain. "What about it? Didn't think I could do it?"
"N-no, that's not it at all," Minami hastied to say. "So – you and Dan-kun –" He glanced at the small man nearby.
"We're still together," Akutsu said calmly. "Surprised?"
"Oi, Akutsu! Dan-kun!" Sengoku's cheerful voice called out. "Nice seeing you! Who's looking after the kids?"
Minami's eyes widened. "Kids?" he repeated.
Akutsu smirked again. Oh, it had been a good idea to come to the team reunion after all.
Never Have I Ever
There were lots of things Akutsu never did. He never drank anymore, for one thing, not wanting to become his father in any way. He also never allowed himself to even think of hitting any of his family members.
He never made a mistake in his work, which was a good feature in somebody who cut people's brains for a living. He never forgot the children's birthdays, even if his and Dan's anniversary sometimes caused him trouble. Never did he even think of cheating on his lover.
He also never particularly missed his life before Dan.
Till the End
"Are you sure you'll both be all right, great-grandpa?"
Akutsu glared at the young girl in front of him. "I didn't outlive your grandparents by being an idiot, Meiko-chan," he said sharply. "We'll be just fine. Now go."
Meiko smiled, telling she'd come back the next day. Shaking his head, Akutsu walked to the living room.
Taichi had fallen asleep on the couch, again. Silly thing. Sitting next to him, Akutsu drew a blanket over them both.
A frail hand held onto his own as he fell asleep.
Neither of them woke up.