To clear up the previous confusion over my genderbend fic, it was only an exercise in characterization; in the original draft, Fuji called Tezuka 'Tezuka-kun' and such, and after some revision, I took another look at it and though it somehow clashed with our favorite tensai's character even as a female, so I removed the -kun honorific that fem!Fuji previously attached to Tezuka. Does it match, or just sound strange?
Now, a new production from me! Yamato Yuudai always interested me, so I decided to write a nice little fic on him, but I ended up on torturing him...in a fashion. Forgive me, any Yamato fans out there, and as for whatever readers my previous fic garnered, I will continue to write on it.
One Fine Day
Because, one fine day, my efforts might be appreciated.
It is unfair to say that Yuudai's life rose and set on tennis. At the age of five, he is quite intent on learning embroidering from his Obaa-san in hopes of making his mother, a perpetually somber woman, smile.
"No, Yuu-kun, it goes like this – be careful with the needle!" His Obaa-san is a kind parental figure, almost a surrogate mother, and later in life Yuudai will think of her as the mother he never had, but at the present five-year-old Yuu-kun is intent on learning how to embroider decent azaleas on a pattern selected by his aunt because she smiled and lingered on it when they went shopping together.
It is only a small sampler, but everything is important. One slip of the needle held in his hands, clumsy with childhood, will ruin anything. He would rather get stung a thousand times than commit a single error, a grave betrayal to his mother and a smile he will only ever see in his dreams. He would rather have his head explode than mess up the embroidering (although to do so would mean to get his brains splattered over his Obaa-san's nice carpet, and Yuudai is quite horrified by the prospect. He prefers not to linger on the gory details.)
His mother does not smile at the shaky rendering of the flowers, choosing instead to look over Yuudai's hurting fingertips and comments, "I can't believe Yuuko let you do that."
Yuudai gives up embroidering not long after, although he soon finds a suitable hobby to replace the old one (he has never even dreamed of having his brains splattered over Seishun Gakuen's nice tennis courts, because he has learned not to take anything to his heart.)
Yamato-buchou understands that in society, there are two groups of people capable of providing for themselves.
The first group, the ninety-nine percent and-then-some (Inui must know the exact figures), is the group he and most people belong in: the Everypeople. Someone who is endowed with mundane gifts, average intelligence, and, as the optimists say (funny that a lot of them are Everypeople, but the other group has an appalling sight Yamato would not wish on his worst enemy), an actual work ethic. They must work hard for what they want to have, and act hard to keep their façades. Yamato-buchou can empathize.
Then there is the other group, consisting of the prodigies, the geniuses, the wizards; one among every few hundred like a gift from heaven to the people. They are the effortless legends that seem to move mountains without noticing, and life on default because they is what they are meant to do. Tezuka Kunimitsu, Fuji Syuusuke, and Echizen Ryoma belong to this category.
Yamato-buchou understands that most of the Everyperson population prefer to watch the prodigies and geniuses and wizards, delighting in every achievement and relishing far more in every failing because they get to say "nyah nyah, you're human, too," like a child playing peekaboo. Yamato-buchou understands that many of his teammates would turn their backs on him and look at Tezuka Kunimitsu and Fuji Syuusuke if he so allows them.
Tezuka Kunimitsu, who has already martyred himself (stupid boy, Ryuuzaki-sensei shakes her head deploringly, and Yamato-buchou agrees for a different reason) in his quest for tennis perfection, was inevitable.
Fuji Syuusuke, the smiling boy-he-had-mistaken-for-a-girl, was not. Yamato-buchou intended ti keep it that way, because if the tennis club had been more open and himself less selfish, Fuji Syuusuke would climb to the top to make a game of it and knock more than one Regular off the proverbial totem pole in the process just for fun.
For now, Fuji Syuusuke is just another nondescript first-year doing what first-years do, safely ensconced in a mountain of overflowing talent, so Yamato-buchou ignores the shaggy honey-auburn locks despite the gleam in Tezuka-kun's eyes (the boy-Regular seeks out potential better than a motion sensor seeks out the smallest twitch), willingly pulling the wool over his eyes.
Everypeople and prodigies; fair enough.
Yamato-senpai likes high school in general. He likes high school tennis even more.
The relationship he has with tennis is something else: slow and steady, like milk that will sour one day or maybe turn into yogurt. Yamato-senpai cultivates it carefully (lest it grow something unsavory like his fifth-grade Science project.)
He still has his commentary to lean back on, of course, but Yamato-senpai is aware of the consequences to his actions (his Obaa-san still threatens her old bones to take out a childhood sampler or two, the ones with roses and robins, should he misbehave.)
Oh, and he likes the tennis coach who doubles as his Chemistry teacher, Ekita-sensei, too. Despite the rumored grudge he has against her for not making him captain of the tennis club instantly, they get on well. Yamato-senpai manages to be a very discreet teacher's pet partly because he knows Ekita-sensei would have done just that – instantly made him captain – if not for the politics. High school is very intolerant of violations of the status quo as well, so Yamato-senpai intends to stick to it and make his way to the top without an awful fuss like the one Tezuka-kun made after the nasty little incident with the third-year and the tennis racket.
It makes a small difference that his kouhai-tachi in middle school still call him Yamato-buchou. For their sakes, he'll persevere.
It is no surprise that Tezuka-kun and some of his team go pro after high school while the others quit. Yamato-fukubuchou silently seconds the latter because they (mostly Fuji Syuusuke, in this case) are too good to just go on plsying like that. However, he does not understand where one could get the guts to refuse the lucrative offer of playing in the Roland Garros to join the school photography club, of all things. Fuji Syuusuke is surely a refreshing breeze to offset Tezuka-kun's determination.
He does receive a highly valuable piece from his smiling kouhai when he decides to follow the already-blazed trail to glory and fame, and he does hang it on his wall as a silent tribute in hopes that, on one fine day, he would be able to honor it.
A mistake, Yamato-fukubuchou finds out. Perhaps Fate would have been kinder had he not acted so brazenly.
Felled at the age of twenty-one, shameful. He knows it the moment Tezuka-kun visits his hospital room and attempts to commiserate (it makes him laugh, because Tezuka Kunimitsu commiserating in a faux fur coat, of all things, is a bizarre thought he would have had back in middle school before sentencing some random Regular to laps.)
"My respects. You were number thirteenth." An unlucky number.
Knows he will never walk again unassisted, let alone play tennis.
Knows he will be receiving packets on nursing homes by next week.
Knows he will be entertaining the idea of embroidering someday even though his nerves are melting like so much candle wax from one little push, and weep about it because Yamato Yuudai has never really been strong and is only a piece of glow-in-the-dark putty, but certainly not when Tezuka-kun is visiting (emotions give the young man a panic attack), so he changes the subject. How is Tezuka-kun, how is Fuji Syuusuke doing? Why are you wearing that atrocious coat?
Tezuka-kun is greatly happy about his situation although he, too, will have to give up the status of disposable godhood and join the ranks of mortals one day, because his arm is crippled and he is playing a game against a wily enemy that, no, is not Fuji Syuusuke-kun. Yes, the boy who had refused to play in the Open has sent photographs to all of his acquaintances gone pro (Yamato-fukubuchou is rather chagrined because he cannot request another picture to get himself killed and relieved because he does not, since the photographs are apparently not cursed.) At least Fuji Syuusuke is famous on the pharmaceutical scene ("There's a scene?") now, and is very much content with having photography as a hobby.
Tezuka-kun will not answer about the coat, so Yamato-fukubuchou smiles and bids the youthful god goodbye with an enigmatic smile and a farewell message that leaves his kouhai blinking as he leaves. Just as well, really, since Tezuka-kun must have little interest in talking about embroidering halfway decent azaleas on patterns that are probably outdated (odd as it sounds) and would have Yamato-fukubuchou bleed out from pinpricks even though he doesn't suffer from hemophilia at all.
He just sits very, very still a long while after Tezuka-kun has escaped.
When he wakes early enough to catch the first birds in the morning (far before the sunrise), Yamato still likes to fool himself into believing he has options: perhaps Fuji Syuusuke will teach him how to take artistic photographs because his photography skills are horrid; or perhaps there will be a new treatment that will restore vigor to his withered limbs and give him back his life on the tennis court.
But he knows such hope is futile, so he lives in his quiet house with a fishpond and a garden attached to the back, and on a good day he fingerpaints.
So, what do you think? Drop me a line!