Hi all! Thanks for stumbling across my little fic... intended to be chronologically linked ficlets. Or something? Anyhow, there's not much else to say. You know the usual disclaimers: I don't own the original scenario and this is not for profit. I hope you like~


( yakusoku )

The Promise They Made

"Let's keep tumbling together!"

That's what they had said. That's what they agreed to do. And they did.

At least, they tried.

The strange ensemble that called themselves the Karasumori Boys Tumbling Team had resolved to keep practicing like nothing happened. They'd work like they had a goal, though with the loss at the Kantou Regional Championships came the end of their competitive season. And for a while, that worked out fine.

It after a practice not long after the return from the summer holidays when Kaneko that stopped everyone and announced that he could no longer practice with the team. Slowly, quietly, the bespectacled boy confessed that been trying his hardest to keep up with his studies and the club, and how it had been decision that had been torturing him for a while. Then the boy removed his glasses and buried his face in his hands, unable to continue.

Within seconds, Mizusawa and Yuuta rushed to his side, taking their friend in their arms, as apology after apology spilled out of his mouth between chokes and sobs. Mizusawa was rubbing the shorter boy's back in circles when, in a voice barely a whisper, Yuuta admitted to having the same troubles and considering the same thing. Mizusawa's hand stopped and he looked to the boy over Kaneko's bowed head, no doubt looking as blindsided as he felt.

Sure, they'd talked about college, he probably knew it was coming in the back of his mind, but Yuuta had never talked to him about it.

He suddenly felt very alone.

Mizusawa's eyes darted about the room until the rested on Hino, then Tsuchiya, and finally the group of Wataru, Ryousuke, Nippori, and Kiyama. All seemed frozen, eyes wide open and looking at... no, past the scene in front of them. For some reason, the yankees in particular seemed stunned by the news, the look in their eyes looking a bit... lost?

He averted his eyes to his friend's buzzcut. Something he couldn't read was written on all of their faces, and though everyone in the room was upset by the news, the look on their faces stood out the most. He figured that if he got another chance to see it, he'd be able to tell what it was. But by the time he looked up again, the rest of the team had gathered around, offering encouragement in gruff voices and pleasant words.

Rhythmic gymnastics had proven very important for all the boys in that room, but it meant a bit more to the former delinquents. It had allowed them a passion, healed wounds, joined them together, and given them a home.

A home they'd only been allowed to stay in for a matter of weeks.

That was the last time they were all gathered in the clubhouse like that.

...

Mizusawa realized it one morning before homeroom. Since morning practices were no more, and both Yuuta and Kaneko seemed intent on milking the minutes before homeroom for all the study time they could. He found himself stuck reviewing the Tokugawa shogunate.

Turning to his left, he saw Ryousuke, learning against the window and tapping away at his cell phone's keypad. He gave that grin he always gave, then nudged a snoozing Wataru awake. The redhead looked up, waved and turned his head toward the window to get back to his nap.

Mizusawa straightened himself in his seat, and after a brief pause, turned to the other side to see Kiyama in his little corner, legs crossed, browsing that week's manga digest. As if taller boy could feel his classmate's gaze, he looked up and locked eyes with the boy across the room. Kiyama nodded and gave a smile that was far more brief and lopsided than his blonde counterpart.

It took a moment for Mizusawa to compose himself and return it with a hand raised in greeting - that look still managed to throw him, but he was getting better. Kiyama's eyes then fell back to his comic, and Mizusawa turned around in his seat again. He caught a glimpse of Yuuta leaning over to Kaneko comparing answers to some kind of math problem. There were so many times, on the mat, goofing around at the Tsuchiya bathhouse, talking over Natsuko-san's special omelette rice... so many times that he forgot how different the yankees were from him, so reminders like this hit him hard.

He looked down at his history notes again, biting his lip.

What does a yankee do when he graduates?

Mizusawa knew his place in life. He'd heard lecture after lecture from his parents about his ending youth and his new life as a contributing member of society; college was a necessary and unavoidable part of that. He knew his place, and so did Yuuta Takenaka and Atsushi Kaneko.

But how about his newer friends, the one he known only for months, though it felt like years? There was a part of his brain that told him that it was silly to worry like that; that it wasn't his place. Yet a something in a corner of his mind desperately wanted his friends to, at the very least, progress in life the way he was. Even if they couldn't stay together, they'd at least go in the same direction.

Mizusawa sighed and resumed looking at notes.

He didn't get much studying done that morning.