Disclaimer: I don't own Prince of Tennis.

Warning: Character death, shonen-ai, BL, angst

An idea that turned into a drabbleish one shot that I really liked.


Niou was cold. He was ice, freezing pain, his mind with all the clarity of a view through glass like newly polished diamond, as hard, and as clear.

Niou had chosen to be this way; he hadn't always been so cold, so hard, so…uncaring.

Once, he had been all heart, a sincere innocence, with a belief that everything would be alright in the end. Even when his drunken father began beating him, when his mother left, when he ran away to live with his best friend… Even when he began dyeing his hair, when he began cutting himself, when he became known as wild, as dangerous, even then, even then, he had unconsciously retained a childish belief in the world.

But that was forever and a long time ago, a memory he had, a memory of passion and determination, memories of laughter, of winning, and losing, of laughter and tears.

But that was forever and a long time ago, and he no longer knew how to cry or laugh.

Except in his nightmares, where a frightened, quiet little voice would ask fearfully, "Will I be alright, Niou-sempai?"

And every time, every single damn time that question was asked, he would hear his own voice, cracked and hoarse, say, "I don't know. But I know you. You will be alright. Don't worry, bratling."

And he would see a small smile appear on a face too thin and too pale, and he would watch helplessly, as though a spectator, watch his arm reach out and ruffle the young man, no, the boy's, hair affectionately, and he would feel the soft curls tickle his palm.

Then, he would see that little, trusting smile appear on a face strained, too thin, too pale, and he would smirk back, confident and arrogant as always.

Then, as Akaya's eyes closed wearily, long eyelashes casting shadows on deep shadows that were constantly beneath his eyes, he would wake up, a sob caught in his throat, and unshed tears in his eyes.

And always, always, he would remember that little, shaky smile, so trusting, so…so innocent, and he would choke back a sob, and then he would let himself remember the boy who struggled to grow up, to live, and how he had died.

But then, he would force it all out of his mind, and forget all about it until his next nightmare.

Because he was Niou Masaharu.

And he was cold. Nothing more, and nothing less.


Review, please, so that I'll know if people liked this.