Disclaimer: I do not own Prince of Tennis, only the efforts of this little penning.
Author's Note: I've had this on my computer for some time, but since I am such a perfectionist when it comes to my writing, I keep going back to it over and over again. A little penning for dear little Gakuto, whom I adore so much (and seeing him play strangely makes me happy).
Anyway, just in case any of you are wondering, histrionic means melodramatic, and that is what I am playing with here. :) Hope you find it a nice read!
B. F. F; or the Chronicles of Histrionica
Oshitari Yuushi was more cut out to be a Singles player anyway. It was his opportunity to shine on the court and a shot at unleashing his full potential for all to see. He should be glad for it really and Gakuto, his former doubles partner, was really supportive. Yuushi was glad for it, infinitely happy for the chance. Really, he was.
It was no problem too that Gakuto teamed up with the quietly freaky Hiyoshi for doubles. It was understandable seeing that Gakuto did not have the stamina for prolonged matches and sometimes, singles were unduly prolonged, making it devastating for the redhead without the presence of an enduring support. Hiyoshi was a good partner for Gakuto in the way that he too was fast, and perhaps that would go well with Gakuto's play style.
It was absolutely understandable that Gakuto should spend more time now with Hiyoshi because doubles required teamwork and synchrony was important even outside of the courts. Yuushi understood all that. Oshitari Yuushi was a level-headed guy and immensely matured for his age. After all, he was a prodigy and he would not deign to be bothered by silly little things. Only silly girls, in his opinion, were bothered by silly things. He appreciated romances, he liked shoujo manga, but he was no silly girl surely.
He was tall, he was handsome and he did well in all his subjects, extremely so. He had plenty of admirers. His life was good and he really should not be bothered by utterly inane things. He was far too matured and too great (in all modesty, he might add) to succumb to bouts of jealousy that only the most childish and uncouth of people find themselves succumbing to. No, Yuushi was always level-headed; had that been mentioned before? He would never, ever find any need to be jealous…
Gakuto bounded up to Hiyoshi who was already on the court when Atobe called for a doubles mock match. Unused to each other, Gakuto and Hiyoshi could not perform and ended up losing miserably to the Shishido-Ohtori pair. Gakuto thrust his face up into Hiyoshi's and shouted things. Hiyoshi returned those shouts with quiet gratings of his own.
On the sidelines, Yuushi smiled.
Oh no, no. He wasn't feeling any sort of secret relish at the fact that Gakuto could only perform at doubles when it was Yuushi watching his ass…er…back. He smiled because he found it all quietly funny—Gakuto getting all huffed up and the Shishido-Ohtori pair gawking on from the other side of the court. And that Yuushi had come by the opinion that Hiyoshi had such bad hair.
Yuushi was always calm and level-headed, and he was the only one who could listen to Gakuto's rants and console the fiery redhead into a semblance of serenity. He listened then, with a slight smile (of fond amusement, nothing else), as Gakuto raved and ranted about what an ass Hiyoshi was. He had to agree, of course, when Gakuto declared that Yuushi was a much better doubles partner than Hiyoshi was.
Yuushi took the liberty, the liberty he was allowed as Gakuto's best friend, to reach over and pat Gakuto's hand. There, there. It would all work out. Gakuto doubted it and Yuushi inwardly hoped it really wouldn't.
"So, Yuushi, how did the singles training go? I hope it was okay."
"Oh?" Yuushi uttered. "Great! I've always wanted to play in singles."
He thought he saw Gakuto's face fall slightly, but attributed it to his own impetuous imagination.
Everyone was wary when it was time for the regular's doubles training again. The previous outburst had been terribly…loud, on the account of Gakuto, and creepy, on the account of Hiyoshi.
3-1. Shishido-Ohtori pair was leading.
Gakuto was frowning. Hiyoshi was staring across the court from under his mope of hair.
Gakuto turned to Hiyoshi and bounded over.
Shishido removed his cap and started scratching at his (distastefully cut) hair, while Ohtori watched, not knowing whether to serve or not.
Yuushi ran a hand through his (sexy) hair.
Gakuto leaned up to Hiyoshi and cupped a hand to Hiyoshi's ear. It appeared like he was whispering something. Yuushi's hand stopped midway through his hair. Atobe ran a hand through his, flicked the fringe and smiled at something to himself.
This pair just might work after all.
Beside Atobe, Taki shook his hair a little and waited.
On the court, Hiyoshi nodded and they played.
They still lost, but at least it was at the tie-breaker. The two teams shook hands over the net even as Gakuto and Shishido tried to hit each other's buttons. It did not escape Yuushi that Gakuto was grinning.
Yuushi glanced over and saw Gakuto standing with some of the others watching his game against Atobe. It was a practice match. Nothing more. Gakuto was soon crouched frog-like on one of the seats and shouting at him through cupped hands.
"Kick his ass, Yuushi!"
"I do not appreciate you rooting only for Oshitari," Atobe said from where he stood.
"You know it, Atobe!" Gakuto sent a grin over. For all of Gakuto's brattiness at times, he really was not a bad guy.
Yuushi was leading and finally Ohtori in the umpire seat called match point and a change of court. Yuushi looked up and saw Hiyoshi say something to Gakuto. The two of them moved away, out of sight. Yuushi's next return went into the net.
Oh no, of course not. Yuushi was only momentarily distracted, that was all. It was not as if Gakuto going off with Hiyoshi to heavens knows where would disturb Yuushi in any profound way. Yuushi was too matured and level-headed for those sorts of things.
The next return went into the net again.
Yuushi said he wanted to practice on his swing a little more. It was not difficult for Gakuto to see that he was sore from his very embarrassing defeat by Atobe. Gakuto felt a little bad at not being there all the way to cheer Yuushi on, but Hiyoshi wanted a match and Gakuto thought that it would be good for them to get to know each other's play style.
Gakuto said he'd see Yuushi back at the latter's dorm then to do their homework together. Yuushi said he had too much to do and Gakuto would just rant anyway. Gakuto could not argue because Yuushi looked genuinely annoyed and as much as Gakuto was Gakuto, he knew when others wanted to be alone too.
Besides, Yuushi was painfully right, so with a strangely quiet, "See you then, Yuushi," Gakuto slung his bag over a shoulder and left the courts.
Yuushi swung till his arm was sore, returned to his dorm and fell onto the bed. He'd finished all his homework during the lunch break anyway, so that he could have a whole evening free after practice…for other things which namely involved bending over a silky mop of red hair as the person the hair belonged to struggled to prove an algebraic equation. Right then, it did not look like that was ever going to happen.
Yuushi stood just outside the baseline, getting ready to serve. He noticed how the back he was used to wasn't at the net anymore and began to feel profoundly alone, not to mention exposed. He still had not gotten used to playing without a Gakuto jumping somewhere on the court. Across from him beyond the net, Jiroh waited, grinning excitedly.
"You gotta do all those moves that the prodigyfrom Seigaku can do, Oshitari! And that disappearing serve too! Just like he can, Oshitari! You gotta! Okay? Okay? Okay?"
Yuushi wished Jiroh would shut up and just fall asleep. He considered aiming the ball at Jiroh's face (subtly of course), but he didn't want to risk it with Atobe's impossibly perceptive eyes, and Atobe did not take kindly to machinations which got Jiroh hurt.
He saw Gakuto sitting on the wall separating the grand stand from the courts, his feet not reaching the ground and swinging freely where they hung. To Gakuto's right was Kabaji and no one was on Gakuto's immediate left. Yuushi scanned the crowd and saw that Hiyoshi was standing beside Ohtori at the far end of the line of regulars. It didn't matter who HIyoshi stood next to, as long as it was not Gakuto.
Yuushi won 6-3.
Jiroh excitedly bounded up to Atobe and started chattering. Atobe patted his head. Yes, yes, Jiroh.
Doubles practice started and Hiyoshi ambled onto the court, a hand in his pocket. Gakuto nimbly jumped down from the wall and bounced over to Hiyoshi's side.
Yuushi bristled under the towel which lay draped over his head, falling down the sides of his face, obscuring it. And bristled some more when Gakuto whispered something into Hiyoshi's ear their proximity was far too close for Yuushi's comfort.
It must have been a very cheeky comment, one only Gakuto could crack, that he'd whispered into Hiyoshi's ear right then because the two of them started snickering, Gakuto doing so behind his hand and Hiyoshi…well, Hiyoshi's stance did not change, but his shoulders were shaking just a slight bit. Shishido shouted something over to them, something about stopping the gossipy girl act and just serving already. Gakuto shouted something back. Then both he and Hiyoshi started snickering again.
Atobe snickered too, finding something funny in the whole exchange. Jiroh was soundly asleep. Yuushi heard nothing, only saw.
Mukahi-Hiyoshi pair won 6 games to 4.
Gakuto was so happy he whooped and exchanged high fives with Hiyoshi. Hiyoshi took the palm and gripped it.
Yuushi turned down yet another proposal of Gakuto's to do homework together. He said Gakuto would only copy his work. That was not true because Gakuto had Physics homework and Gakuto was insanely good with Physics. Of course, Gakuto got pissed. When Gakuto got pissed he shouted and when Gakuto shouted, he would say very hurtful things. Gakuto called Yuushi an arrogant sonofabitch and Yuushi coldly said Gakuto's level of intelligence were too low to render him capable of coming up with any better words of insult.
"Get the fuck out of here!" Gakuto cried. "You think you're so smart? This world is not all about you, Oshitari!"
Yuushi wanted to punch Gakuto but he foresaw a bruise blooming vivid like a hideous flower on the redhead's cutely impish face and thought better of it.
The next day, Yuushi was on his way to the bookstore. It had been a while since he'd done that but what was really missing was the presence of a lithe body walking, every step like it'd been on a compressed spring, beside him, bitching, ranting and even getting into serious introspections that Yuushi alone had been witness to. That was how it was. Yuushi liked being the only person who knew Gakuto the way no one else knew him.
He glanced at a fast food restaurant across the road. It was meant to be a passing glance, (Yuushi didn't like fast food) but he stopped and stared. Through the glass he saw Gakuto and Hiyoshi sitting side by side at a long table, trays of their meals, nearly finished, in front of them and Gakuto was sitting with knees spread wide open, his hands between them pressed flat on the seat. Gakuto's body was turned a little towards Hiyoshi, who was sucking…his drink through a straw, his body quivering with suppressed laughter as Gakuto animatedly went on talking.
Usually, it was Yuushi whom Gakuto told jokes to and Yuushi who most appreciated Gakuto's animated anecdotes. Gakuto was funny. Most people didn't know that, because all they saw was a brat of boy toy capacity, but Gakuto had the wickedest sense of humour and could always made Yuushi laugh. Hiyoshi getting a share of that humour was just…wrong.
Hiyoshi looked up and saw Yuushi. Yuushi wanted to pretend that he didn't recognize them from that far away (only a two-lane road's width), that he had not been standing there staring at them all the time boiling over with potent rage and jealousy, that he had not already been caught doing that. He was a guy. Guys don't get into hissy fits of jealousy just because his best friend found someone else to hang out with.
Still, his hands clenched into fists and he shoved them into the pockets of his jeans when Hiyoshi touched, touched! Oh! The impertinence. Touched Gakuto's shoulder and leaned in, closer than Yuushi ever wanted to lean in to his mother, to say something, gesturing over to Yuushi. Gakuto looked and Yuushi wanted to duck his head and scuttle away into a mountaintop den to freeze and die…wither away perhaps. Maybe then Gakuto would be guilt-ridden and kill himself.
Gakuto lifted a hand and waved at him, vigorously, face all alight with some story he was burning to share. Oh, Yuushi had seen that face many times and how well he knew it. Yearned for it sometimes.
From where he stood, he thought Hiyoshi looked like a snake, all out to get Gakuto, and from where he stood (again, figuratively this time), he'd pretty much succeeded.
Gakuto gestured for him to come inside. Yuuuu-shiiiii! his mouth motioned. Yuuuuuu-shiiiiiii!
He turned and walked away. Back to his dorm. Fuck the bookstore. Fuck everything. Fuck Gakuto! He'd love to do that some time, but Gakuto had Hiyoshi now.
"Yuushi!" this time it wasn't just a motion of the mouth but Gakuto's actual voice. "Yuushi, hey! Where are you going?"
The voice faded fast as Yuushi broke into a run.
Goodbye, Gakuto! Goodbye! May you be happy with Hiyoshi now. Tears sparkled, each large droplet shattering in the air like a firework and the world became opalescent, pastel flowers ablooming. Yuushi clearly had a histrionic streak, but don't ever tell him that.
Yuushi did not go back immediately.
He took a detour to the park and indulged himself in a painfully solitary walk.
His life had degenerated into a tragic romance and he had not even realized it.
How had he not seen what it all was? How it had all been between himself and his former doubles partner. Yuushi knew he screwed up badly with Gakuto. Now, the redhead wasn't even his best friend anymore. He knew he had to apologise, but didn't know how exactly to do so. Sure, he had his cell phone and Gakuto's number was the first number on the speed dial, (even his family members did not have the honour of such a privilege).
A long letter, Yuushi decided. A long letter sounded good. It would be like Mr. Darcy and being like Mr. Darcy didn't sound like such a bad thing to Yuushi at all. Plus, he had just recently purchased that new stationery set with parchment-like paper, crisp envelopes and even a wax seal with his initial 'O' on it.
He started for home, drafting the long letter as he went.
Gakuto was lying supine on his bed when Yuushi got to his dorm room. His eyes darted open when he heard the door being pushed in. Yuushi stepped in and his mentally drafted letter flew out the window, along with his composure.
"H-how…" he started to stammer.
"Picked the locked," Gakuto said. "Nah, joking. You gave me a key remember."
"Oh." Yuushi could not find anything else to say.
Gakuto sat up.
"You okay, Yuushi?" he asked.
Yuushi turned away from the redhead's face. "Does Hiyoshi make you happy, Gakuto?"
"Make me happy?" Gakuto asked, looking direly perplexed.
Yuushi smiled slowly and sadly.
"It's okay, Gakuto. You can tell me anything. I will be anything to you except a stranger or an enemy."
Yuushi felt gallant after saying that. Yes, that was what they always say: If you love someone, you must let them go. And he loved Gakuto.
Gakuto cocked his head to one side.
"What the hell are you talking about, Yuushi?" he asked.
"Y…you…l…like him don't you?" Yuushi was so afraid to ask.
Gakuto shrugged. "He's really bitchy sometimes."
"B…bitchy?" Hell, Yuushi couldn't believe he was stuttering.
"Anyway, Yuushi, what's wrong with you? You've been acting weird lately. Ever since you've started playing singles," Gakuto persisted with his interrogation.
Yuushi turned away again.
"Not since I started playing singles, Gakuto," he said.
"Since you started playing doubles." Yuushi's voice was quiet.
"Don't tell me you are jealous about me spending time with Hiyoshi?" asked Gakuto, so goddamned innocently.
Yuushi balled his hands into fists.
"Oh God, Gakuto! You don't know what you're doing to me when you are with that guy!" he cried.
Such anger was clearly undignified but Yuushi secretly thought he was putting up a splendid performance. He should win an Oscar for this.
Gakuto stared at him for a long, long while. Then he said almost unbelievingly, "Yuushi, you're not thinking that I'm…that Hiyoshi and I are…"
Yuushi spun around fast. (Applause!) "Aren't you?"
He was caught completely by surprised when Gakuto cackled and fell back onto the bed, still cackling.
"No! Hiyoshi and I are just friends. In fact, I think he's my B.F.F of sorts. No, better still, he's my girlfriend, get what I mean? You wouldn't believe this until you get to know him, but he's great to bitch with," he replied when he gained enough seriousness to do so.
Yuushi could not decide between feeling relieved or feeling a little insulted at what Gakuto just said. What? Was he not bitchy enough?
The prodigy focused on Gakuto again, who'd sat up again by then. Gakuto swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up sprightly, his acute bob bouncing about his face as he did so.
"If you're so frightened of losing something, then shouldn't you make sure you don't lose it ever?"
With that, Gakuto winked up at Yuushi, tilting his head a little to the side as he did so, body turning. The next thing Yuushi knew were Gakuto bouncing out of the door almost too cheerfully and the door closing behind the redhead's back.
Yuushi found Gakuto alone in the clubroom before practice. The redhead was already in his tennis attire and putting his bag into his cubby hole. He turned when Yuushi came in, and watched with not a little puzzlement as Yuushi wordlessly and, with the gravity of a judge in court, dropped his bag on the floor before calmly closing the door behind him, locking it for good measure.
"Hey, Yuushi," Gakuto greeted him eventually, turning back to his cubby hole and trying to think nothing of the solemnity in Yuushi's demeanour. He was pretty sure that Yuushi had something to say to him after the little episode in Yuushi's dorm room last Friday night. It was a little odd, and unnerving, that whatever Yuushi had to say not only took the prodigy the entire weekend to construct but called for the door to be locked.
He almost squawked when he felt big, strong hands clamp down on his shoulder and bodily spin him around.
"Hey, Gakuto." Yuushi's voice was such a (freaky) drawl, low and almost menacing. Gakuto thought he was in trouble. "I thought about what you said. I think it's time we write an ending to this love story."
"I think I am going to kiss you," Yuushi continued drawling, leaning down a little closer towards the redhead.
Gakuto ducked his head and tried to wriggle out of Yuushi's grasp.
"Can't!" he protested. "I polished off a whole packet of dried cuttlefish before I came!"
"Gakuto!" Yuushi said, dropping the drawl and trying to keep the squirming Gakuto still.
"I am trying to be romantic here! And you are not acting accordingly! You're supposed to hold your breath, whilst looking at me and say that you'll be bad at it! You know, like in that movie we saw?"
"Which one?" Gakuto demanded, speaking through hands clamped over his mouth. "You made me watch so many! All of them were cheesy!"
Yuushi let go.
"Fine," he said, defeated and shoulders sagging. He turned and started slowly for his discarded bag.
Gakuto's voice did not sound like he was speaking with hands over his mouth anymore. Ah-hah! Yuushi whirled around at a speed that would have been an excellent attack on the courts. Taking advantage of the redhead's surprise, he clamped his mouth over those parted ones of the other. The mouth tasted spicy, just a little, and Yuushi delved deeper into it, a hand keeping Gakuto's head steady and the other on the small of the redhead's back, pulling him closer until they fitted perfectly into the planes of each other's body. Gakuto jumped and snaked his arms and legs around Yuushi's form. Yuushi could take that. Gakuto was impossibly light after all.
Yuushi turned and had Gakuto pressed into the clubroom wall where they kept at it for a while. Then came a knocking at the door.
"Oi! Why is the door locked from the inside? Who's in there?"
That had to be Shishido, sounding irritated as always. Gakuto whipped his head to the side, like an alerted animal, breaking the kiss.
"Hey, hey," Yuushi reprimanded gently, nuzzling Gakuto's milky neck. "Am I that uninteresting already?"
Gakuto turned back to Yuushi, worry in his usually lively eyes. "But Yuushi, they're trying to get in."
"And I plan on keeping them waiting a little longer. Is that so wrong?"
Before Gakuto could reply, Yuushi tilted his head down and caught his lips again.
"Heeeeeelllllloooooooo!" hollered Shishido from outside.
A shadow fell over the light from the window. It was immediately pulled back.
"Shishido-san…um" Ohtori's voice sounded nervous and undoubtedly embarrassed. "I don't think…"
"What? Who's inside? What the—"
It must have been quite a sight. Yuushi's shirt was partly unbuttoned, tie loosened and collars pushed back so that Gakuto could slip his hands over bare shoulders and down a taut back. A few knobs of spine, lean back muscles, he traced it all, whatever he could. Yuushi smirked against Gakuto's mouth. So Gakuto had an unexpectedly wild, hungry side.
But not yet, not yet dear Gakuto, Yuushi thought. When we're both ready and legal, or nearly legal (say a few months); when it was less unethical.
"Yuushi…" Oh, how he loved the breathlessness in which his name was spoken. Better still, how Gakuto had to force out the words with his mouth still on Yuushi's, making the name sound so wet, so very, very— "Practice."
Here was Yuushi, starting to think such naughty thoughts and Gakuto had to come up with something so mundane to say: Practice. Yuushi sighed. Practice indeed. Atobe would be furious if he—
"Oi! You two lovebirds! Get out or I'm posting these on the internet!" Atobe cried from outside.
Yuushi looked over his shoulder and saw Atobe waving a phone over his head with some picture on the screen. A picture of the heated snog-fest no doubt. Shishido, sweet, innocent Ohtori, Taki, Hiyoshi (the bloody B.F.F), Jiroh and even Kabaji for goodness sake, were squeezed into the small window space, all them holding a cell phone. Jiroh was laughing and Shishido was grinning almost maniacally.
Yuushi turned back to Gakuto. The redhead was blushing amidst that look of utter horror, which Yuushi had not, until then, thought Mukahi Gakuto capable of.
"Yuushi, you should put me down now, we're—"
Yuushi smiled lazily, like a cat out to seduce something from its owner.
"Spicy squid? I quite like that taste on you."
"Yuushi!" cried Gakuto, properly mortified, and slapped him.