Title: Better That We Break
Fandom: Dear Boys
Pairing: Takashina Touya/Fuse Ayumi
Disclaimer: Not mine. Also, the title is totally ripped off of a Maroon 5's song :D
Warning: References to the events in Act II vol. 19-22. Unbeta-ed.
Summary: Because he can break and because he can't stop.
His hands are shaking.
His hands are shaking, and he can't, for the life of him, make it stop; can't force himself to be calm enough to make it stop. He can only thank God that they're on the offensive right now, because at least all the running and rebounding and passing and ball-stealing-attempts keep his hands occupied, so that the tremble goes unnoticed by the other players.
But it must have been worse than he thought, since he keeps losing the ball or fouling off or missing his timing and nothing seems right.
What are you doing? Fujiwara-aniki's eyes seem to say.
Wiping the sweat off of the side of his face with the back of his hand, he can't stop a small ironic smile from making its appearance on his lips.
I wish I knew, he says in way too many words.
He doesn't think Fujiwara-aniki believes him.
It's not the first time he holds out a hand to Fuse, and it's certainly not the last—he would make sure of that. And once again, predictably, Fuse rejects him— just like any other time before this. But still Touya offers his hand out, palm up, his eyes trained on Fuse's face.
"Huh?" Fuse says, his customary frown firmly in place.
Touya keeps his silence. He thrusts out his hand still, asking Fuse silently to take it. But without even sparing him a second glance, Fuse turns away from him completely, basketball firmly in hand.
He sits back on his own basketball and waits, a hand still stretched out to Fuse.
Fuse looks at him a second later, gritting his teeth in annoyance. "What, dammit, what?" his tone gets higher in the end, a clear sign of his agitation.
"Come on, the truth is you're dying to talk to me, aren't you?"
Because you would have to be stupid not to notice it. And Touya is many things, but stupid is not one of them.
Touya has thanked his luck.
Fuse has cursed his luck.
Really, Touya thinks, that boy has to stop drowning in denial. It can't be all that healthy.
You don't shoot three points, I don't dunk.
That has become their silent agreement—the kind that never gets talked about, yet still being acknowledged all the same. After all, that's one of the reason he strengthens his inside play skills more than his outside play. He knows though, that Fuse is perfectly capable of doing showy moves like dunking—just like Fuse knows Touya is a capable three-point shooter.
And yet his heart unrests still.
What am I doing?
A series of blurry movements and a passed ball later, Fuse is blocking his way, an unforgiving look in his eyes. For once, he's the center of Fuse's attention, and Touya is—he is-
He stops thinking altogether and just shoots.
"Tomorrow. After the game. I'm gonna quit. Basketball, I mean."
It sounds like an ultimatum. Maybe it is an ultimatum. He just hasn't realized it until he said it out loud.
Fuse is looking at him in surprise, some emotions Touya never sees before flitting across his eyes, fighting for dominance. The initial look stays, though.
"Don't fuck with me," is clearly what Fuse intends to mean, even if the words that come out are variations between "stop kidding, this isn't funny" and "are you fucking nuts?"
Touya looks on and watches him rave his frustration out, the flush across his cheeks as he works himself up, the tense set of his shoulders as he gestures his arms, the earnestness of his feelings that bleeds through as he tries (and fails) to stay calm.
This is why, Touya suddenly realizes with a start. This is why he fascinates me. That's why I watch him. That's why Aikawa-san might be the greatest basketballer ever and the nicest person Touya would ever know, but Fuse would always, always interests him more.
A smile makes itself visible on Touya's lips.
"Give me a good game, then." Touya says, soft. "Give me a good game tomorrow, so I won't regret it."
Fuse's lips part, but nothing comes out.
It's enough, though. Because he understands, Touya thinks.
"Good night, Fuse-sensei."
Even as he walks away from Fuse, the smile refuses to erase itself, and Touya lets it.
It is already more than he hoped for.
Looking back, maybe he shouldn't have done that after all.
But the expression on Fuse's face when Touya finally made that three-point shoot… all intense and disbelief and surprise and betrayal and everything Touya has never received from Fuse before.
"Aren't you surprised? Fuse-sensei?" he puckers his mouth, and makes his voice annoyingly high – something that always, always gets to Fuse.
Fuse doesn't disappoint. He unclenches his slacked jaw with a snap, and the glare he sends Touya's way would be enough to frighten a lesser man.
Before Touya could retaliate further though, Ishii drags him away by the back of his collar, ignoring his valiant (and loud) protests.
Fuse's eyes follow him as he gets further away, and his gaze is nothing but murderous.
He knows he shouldn't have done it. After all, they have their own, private rules. But then he remembers the look on Fuse's face, and he just—
It has been worth it.
If enigma has a name, it would be Aikawa Kazuhiko.
Impossible to defeat, impossible to surpass, impossible to win, impossible to follow, impossible to not be fascinated by, impossible to not be attracted to, impossible to—
The list goes on.
You don't need to be a basketballer to admire him; even his smile and excited grin alone would be enough to attract bystanders.
…or maybe that is Touya's hero-worship at work.
Whatever. It's totally true, anyway.
The point being that Aikawa Kazuhiko is the kind of guy that's likeable enough that you won't even mind it if he steals pieces of your lunch. Or even, you know, your girlfriend. And then instead of being angry, you'd feel dejected –because he's just that awesome and it makes feel less like human being and just plain worthless and inadequate and you want to hate him for it. Except you can't because then he would look at you in his oblivious (and cute) way and say something that would make you feel worthy even if you're totally not, and then you would like him again and start the whole process all over again.
Which is really confusing.
Not that Touya has any experience about it or anything.
And since Fuse Ayumi is obviously a normal male human being, and a basketballer to boot, of course it's rather expected that he would be blindsided by Aikawa's awesomeness.
It's just that, Touya was there first, you know? He and Fuse Ayumi had already known each other since middle school, and they also already had that budding rivalry going on since they were the aces of their respective schools. Then high school rolled around, and suddenly Touya was – is – no longer in Fuse Ayumi's radar. Nowadays it's Aikawa Kazuhiko this and Aikawa Kazuhiko that that it makes Touya, who only hears about it, feel like a fanboy.
Which he totally is, but that's so not the point.
The thing is, Touya feels abandoned because you can't form a rivalry with only one party; you need at least two. Besides, Aikawa Kazuhiko's rivalry is already in ridiculously full demand he doesn't need another one. Especially not from Fuse Ayumi.
Touya bets Fuse would actually let Aikawa to call him by his first name – something that even Touya doesn't get to do.
Not that Touya is jealous or anything, of course not. Because if he's jealous of Aikawa Kazuhiko, then he would start to hate him a little bit. And then he would remember what a great guy Aikawa Kazuhiko is, which then would make him feel guilty and hate himself a little for even thinking of hating the guy. Then in the end, he would only hate himself and willow in self-pity about what an awful excuse for human being he really is.
It's kinda depressing, so Touya stops thinking about it.
In the end, Mizuho beat Shounan by a significant margin – for their standard so far, anyway.
In the end, he can't bring himself to quit basketball. Not after he felt how devastated it was to get kicked off of the court by five fouls. Not after the way his teammates – and especially Aikawa-san – encouraged him all the way until he had to go after that fifth foul.
Not after he knew what it was like to have Fuse's all attention on him.
There's just one thing he's not sure of: whether it was basketball that he can't afford to leave behind, or Fuse.
"You're late, you know." Touya says, not bothering to hide his smile at seeing Fuse jump.
Fuse, as expected, flushes hotly. "What do you even mean, 'you're late'? It's not like we make any prior arrangement!"
"Exactly." Touya studies the other boy's expression carefully, and says in lowered voice, "Would you like to make one, then?"
Fuse blinks. And blinks some more. "What?"
"We can always make it a regular thing." Touya pronounces carefully, just so there wouldn't be mistaking the double questions he slides in. "Just the two of us."
Fuse, as if it's actually virtually possible, flushes even more. "What are you talking about?"
"Whatever you want it to mean is fine by me." He stands up and dusts himself off, looking away to give Fuse some privacy to gather his thoughts. Having an expressive face and an inability to hide your feelings is fun to look at and fine and dandy to tease, but not when you're baring your heart out and asking them to consider taking it.
It would be so easy to just look at Fuse's face and find the answer (and more) there, without even waiting for his verbal reply. Only, you know, it would be – it would be. Like, unfair. To whom, even Touya's not sure.
"Sure." Fuse says an eternity later.
Touya sighs. "I… see. I'm sorry for trou—"
And slowly – very slowly – looks at Fuse. "What did you say?"
But Fuse isn't looking at him. His head is tilted down, and his long, long bangs hide his eyes from Touya's view – even if Touya could still see the red hue decorating his cheeks and the tips of his ears.
"I said, fine."
The wind blows.
Touya is… trying not to have a heart attack. From a massive burst of feelings inside his chest. Happy feelings.
Then he throws himself at Fuse, screaming "Fuse-senseeeeiiiii!" at the top of his lungs and earning himself a (manly) squeak from the other boy, the basketball he's holding bounces quietly away.
"L-let go, you freak!" Fuse shouts, which, of course, Touya ignores.
After all, he's had much practice when it comes to things Fuse does not say.
"Just—please just let me," he asks in a whisper, "please. Just for a moment." He needs this, he thinks. Needs reassurances that he's alright; needs Fuse telling him he's alright in his not-saying language.
For a while, Fuse doesn't react. Then slowly, Touya feels him begin to relax, tension seeping out bit by bit, before he also feels a hesitant touch of a hand against his back.
Touya smiles against the skin of Fuse's shoulder, his hold tightening slightly.
"I'm sorry," he whispers, closing his eyes, trying to lose himself in this small moment. "And thank you."
Fuse doesn't push him away.
And for now, that's more than enough.