A/N: So, I'm trying my hand at a multi-chapter fic! So far, this will end up as gen, but who knows? Romance seems to creep into my head a lot, so we'll see how it goes. :'D
I haven't written Akutsu in a while, so please feel free to point out anything you feel is out of place with him, or any part of the story~ Critique, comments, reviews, they're all appreciated!
Disclaimer: All credits go to their respective owners.
"Phone call for you, Jin!"
Akutsu didn't move from his position on the couch, frowning at the television. He was in bad mood already, he didn't need some retard calling him at nine in the evening. It was probably one of three people: the brat, Taka, or that fucking Sengoku.
Considering the options, there was not a chance in hell that he was picking up that phone.
"Jin!" Yuuki pouted, her tiny head poking out from the kitchen. She held the phone in one hand, covering the mouthpiece with her other. "Turn down the television! I said, there's a phone call for you!"
"I heard you as clear as day," drawled Akutsu. "But that doesn't mean I'm gonna pick it up."
"But Jin," his mother whispered, her face lighting up, "It's a girl!"
Ever since he had started cutting back on fighting, troublesome things just seemed to come after the other. Dan was constantly at his side-even more so than before-and by this time, Akutsu had even convinced him that he had nothing to do with the tennis club anymore. But no, that didn't stop the brat from chatting his little head off. Not a single lunch break was spent in peace.
And smoking? He couldn't even enjoy a cig without having to hide. And if Dan didn't find him, then Sengoku would.
Well, Sengoku and his grinning annoyance could go die in a hole.
Taka had been calling him more, too. Talking about his improving Hadoukyuu and the restaurant and who the fuck cares?
Yesterday, to top it all off, his mother had been caught smiling at him. Smiling. At him.
And now, girls were calling him. His carefully constructed world of fear was collapsing.
"Jin?" Yuuki reappeared in from him, holding the phone out. "Come on!" She mouthed, obviously delighted.
Akutsu grabbed the phone away, crawling off the couch and going into his room while making sure to slam the door. He could practically feel her beams of joy behind the wooden plank. Once inside and on his bed, he grunted into the receiver.
"Akutsu Jin?" The voice was undoubtedly feminine, but it wasn't that cutesy girly high pitch that Akutsu hated. It was more... lower. Monotone.
He grunted again.
There was a pause, and then the sound of a paper rustling. Wait, was she serious? She had written this down? Oh fuck, he was on the phone with a nutcase.
"Hello. My name is Nakagawa Misono. I'm a second year at Yamabuki and I-"
He cut her off, rolling his eyes. "Look, Nakagawa. I'm not interested in whatever you have to say. So hurry up and get to the point so I can refuse."
The paper rustled again in the pause before she spoke again.
"I would like you to train me in tennis."
At that point, Akutsu almost hung up. Right there. She had to be kidding. The only thing preventing him from doing so was that he was paralyzed in shock that she would even-
"I have seen you play many times, and although you seem to have stopped, I will do anything in my ability to learn how to play like you do."
Him? Teaching tennis? She seemed dead serious about it too. Akutsu was still frozen at the sheer nerve of the girl. Was this a prank?
Finding his words, Akutsu gripped the phone. "You must be fucking joking. I will never play tennis again in my life, you hear me? And I wouldn't ever, ever teach it to a girl. Maybe if you had a nice body I'd consider it, but I still wouldn't do it, you dipshit. Don't call me for such useless things."
"Please describe your criteria for a 'nice body'."
Akutsu's mouth hung open. "Are you shitting me?"
"No." The voice was almost earnest, if you could be earnest in monotone.
"That wasn't a fucking question!" Akutsu nearly screamed. He was dumbfounded at the goddamn stupidity of the girl. Didn't she know who he was? "I'm Akutsu fucking Jin, you hear? Don't be smart with me, or I'll kill you!"
The silence on the other side made him settle down. This was more like it. Shiver and cower, stupid little girl.
"I will do anything."
It was his turn to grow silent. The anger boiling in his stomach was no joke. It bubbled higher and higher, until Akutsu felt his face reddening with fury. "You. I don't care if you're a girl or not. The next time I see you, I will fucking. Kill. You."
"Would punching me make you want to train me?"
Nothing worked. Intimidation, rudeness, swearing, nothing. She wasn't letting him go. There was nothing left to do. Akutsu breathed in, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Hey. You. Meet me at the train station near the convenience store in ten minutes. Not on the platform, but under it. Be there and I'll consider it."
"Thank you very much, Aku-" Akutsu hung up, throwing the phone at his wall. He grabbed his wallet and jacket and pushed the door open, glaring at his mother who was sitting stupidly in front of the television.
"Where are you going?" She asked, watching him grab his shoes from the rack. Realization dawned as she clapped her hands together. "Oh my, does it have to with the girl? Is it a date? Oh my god, the day has finally come! Say hello to her for me! Don't be home too late now, you hear? Be respon-"
Akutsu slammed the door to the apartment shut.
There was no one else in the dark expanse under the platform except for her. Even in the dim light from the above streetlights, he could see her clearly. She stood rigidly, in perfect fucking posture. Her hair was long, ending just below her shoulder. Too long. It was also too dark. She was heavily bundled up, meaning she didn't like the cold.
He couldn't see her face, but he would bet that it held an emotionless expression, matching with her boring voice. To anyone else, she might've looked like a prestigious daughter of a well-off family.
However, Akutsu knew better.
Her boots were dirty, scuffed from being worn too much. She probably only had one other pair of shoes, and they were most likely runners. Her jacket looked expensive and warm, but it was only a thin layer of plastic over what was probably two sweaters underneath.
She was a poor girl. Almost everyone at Yamabuki was. Not exactly poor per se, but not well off either. It was a well-known fact.
Smirking, Akutsu checked his watch. Twenty minutes late, just on time. He held his purchases from the convenience store in a plastic bag in one hand. Breathing in his soon moment of victory, he walked out from his hiding place. The plastic bag rustled and she turned around quickly, confirming Akutsu's suspicions.
Her bangs were neatly trimmed, straight. They ended above her eyes, black and serious. Her skin was probably her most redeeming feature. It was a delicate white, but not from excessive product use.
She bowed first, and he didn't return the favour. Walking towards her, he grunted as a way of saying hello. She was a whole head shorter than him.
With a straight face, she stared up at him. "I thank you very much for coming to meet me, Akutsu-san."
Akutsu smirked down at her, knowing well how scary he looked. "Am I late?"
Her lips pursed. "Not at all."
"Great. Bought you a present." Akutsu said, noticing the wary look in her eyes. So she did know how to be afraid. He took out a bottle of orange juice he had bought straight from the refrigerator of the convenience store. Unscrewing the cap, he held it out to her.
And then he threw all the contents of it in her face.
Nakagawa Misono wasn't a fool. She knew that Akutsu Jin was a delinquent, and that she was very likely giving up a good chunk of her life by asking him for a favour. But in the same way, she was ready to be a fool if it meant that she would get her goal.
Her hands were practically ice chunks. She had arrived three minutes early, having sprinted from her house the moment he hung up on her. And from then on, she had stayed in the eerily quiet place, waiting for the giant monster.
When he arrived-almost half an hour late, no less-, she had almost run away. His white hair stood out in the dark of the night, and the breath he was breathing seemed to be like the smoke emitting from a devil's wings. His teeth were especially scary, particularly when he smirked at her.
However, of all things she expected, she had not even thought of him throwing juice in her face.
Of course, Misono had been aware of the dangers of the orange juice he had held out. She thought it might've been poisoned at first, but that idea had been swept away the minute all of it splashed onto her face. As she wiped the ice-cold juice out of her eyes, she couldn't help but have to force down some tears that threatened to come out along with it.
No, she had to be strong. It had to be a trick. He was testing her, pushing her. "Thank you for the present, Akutsu-san." She could feel the sticky substance sliding down her chin. Wiping herself with as much dignity as she could muster, she managed to get most of the juice off her face. She would have to wash her hair and put her clothes in the sink when she got home.
That set him back. His lip curled, obviously disappointed at her lack of frenzy.
So that was it. He had called her out here to bully her out of her decision. The thought made Misono want to run away before she got hit with more things, but she stood still. She had to go through with this.
"Have you considered it yet?" She asked, her voice steady. Good. She wouldn't waver, not yet.
"Considered what?" He snarled, still annoyed at her reaction to the juice.
Misono couldn't bring herself to look him straight in the eye. It was too frightening. She settled on his left cheek instead. "Will you help me with tennis?"
The next thing that happened could only be counted in seconds.
One. Akutsu's free hand drifted back above his shoulder as Misono's eyes widened, her serious expression dropping into one of shock.
Two. His fist pushed off quickly, as Misono retreated and leaned her chest and head as far she could back.
Three. Akutsu stopped himself just inches away from the hands she had brought up in front of her closed eyes. She shivered, the cold of the juice on her clothes and in the air blending with her terror.
"You've got good reflexes," he growled as he took his fist away.
Misono was speechless as she lowered her hands, her heart still thumping loudly in her ears. She hadn't felt it this much when they were on the phone, but standing in front of him right now, she understood it.
Akutsu Jin was terrifying.
Her knees collapsed under her, and she cursed herself for being a girl, for being so scared, for being so weak. There was a rustle of plastic, and then a click of something opening. The next thing she felt was something drip onto her head.
"It's shampoo," Akutsu explained with a leer in his voice. "Thought you could use some after all the orange juice in your hair."
This wasn't just making fun of her, was it? Wasn't this... wasn't this full-on bullying? Misono's hands shook as she clenched them, trying to keep her head still. She didn't want any of it to fall down her shirt and squelch on her skin. Orange juice stains was one thing, shampoo in her bra was another. Still, she pushed herself to keep talking, unable to stop her teeth from chattering.
"Y-you have seen me now," she said, her voice faltering. "Do I have a... nice body?"
Silence. And then, the plastic bag full of pranks was thrown on the ground, making her flinch. Akutsu's foot stomped loudly, and she jumped. The shampoo started sliding down her scalp and onto the back of her neck. "What the fuck is wrong with you?" He demanded, sounding furious. "I'm fucking harassing you here, you stupid bitch! Just go home!"
The shampoo trailed down her neck and tears sprang into Misono's eyes. "Nothing," she yelled out, "Is wrong with me!" She forced herself to stand back up, taking a step forward to Akutsu. "I have a goal, and you're the only one who can get me to it! If I have to deal with this..." Shit, now a tear was falling down her cheek, "T-then I'll deal with it! But nothing, nothing is ever going to stop me, not even you, Akutsu Jin!"
She forced herself to glare into his eyes, and inside, she saw it. She saw shock. There she was, a pathetic girl drenched in orange juice and crying with shampoo down her back, yelling at him. He had to think she had gone inside. She wiped her tears away quickly, keeping her gaze in those narrowed yellow eyes.
"I'll never train you," Akutsu said quietly, menacingly. "Never."
"Yes you will," she breathed. "I will do anything to make you."
His fists clenched, and he pulled back again, fully intending to hit her this time. It wouldn't be that hard. Just enough to make her terrified of him forever. Then, she'd never bother him again.
What he didn't expect was the fist that came flying at his own eye, strikingly fast and vicious. The fist was small, pale, inexperienced, but full of anger. Akutsu felt himself falter for a millisecond at the surprise that a girl was actually trying to hit him, and that was his downfall.
He staggered backwards, cupping his hand over his right eye. It had been a long time since he had let himself to be hit this hard. That girl didn't have overpowering strength, but it was the sheer fact that he hadn't ducked, hadn't blocked that made it hurt so much.
The adrenaline in his veins died down as he lowered his hand, an ugly bruise already forming. He stared at her, the stupid girl that had dared to hit him. She looked as shocked as he felt, her skin totally pale from fear. Her hand was still outstretched, and she stared at it in horror before glancing into his eyes with fear. There was something in them... regret?
Before he could do anything, she had dropped onto her knees again and was kneeling before him, her forehead pressed to the ground. Her hair was a mess, and Akutsu almost felt sorry for a moment before remembering that wait, the bitch had hit him.
"I apologize greatly!" She said, her voice muffled by the floor. She had gone back into her serious default mode, her anger from before gone. "Please let me do something to repay you."
Akutsu stayed silent, watching the shaking girl in front of him. It was like déjà vu. How many times had someone bowed down like this in front of him, totally frozen with fear?
He always knew it deep down inside, but there was something about this kneeling... he didn't like it. He didn't like the strange feeling in his chest, the feeling of guilt and sorriness and something he couldn't understand.
So usually, he just kicked the figure on the ground and kept on beating them up until the adrenaline blocked the feelings in his mind. As Misono repeated her statement, Akutsu felt his energy leave him.
He was tired of this.
"Stand up," he grunted. "I don't like beating up girls."
At first, nothing happened. He was about to repeat himself when she moved out of her position shakily. She must've been shocked, he thought to himself with almost a laugh. The girl stood warily, keeping a nervous eye on his fists. At least she wasn't staring him right in the eye anymore. That just felt uncomfortable.
She jumped as he said it, before her face straightened into its normal expressionless mode.
Akutsu studied her. He felt himself regretting his decision already, but he couldn't stop the words from coming up. "I spend most of my time on the rooftop. For one fucking week, you better be my personal slave. After that, I'll think about helping you with your fucking goal. But," he narrowed his eyes while hers widened, "If you tell anyone, anyone, that you gave me this black eye, it ends."
Misono couldn't think anymore. It was like her brain had split in half. "I-I. Yes. Yes, Akutsu-san. I will come to visit you in your first class tomorrow."
Akutsu turned on his heel, picking up his plastic bag on the way. "It's Science." It was actually Math, but that didn't bother him. He would see if she would break during the next week. No, it wasn't 'if' she would break. She definitely would.
There couldn't possibly be two people in the world made out of the same dumbass will of Dan.
"Thank you very much, Akutsu-san!"
He didn't look back.
When Akutsu got home, he went straight into his room after shoving the plastic bag in his mom's arms. She sighed, deciding to ask him about it the next day. As her son angrily threw things around in his room, she wondered how he had gotten another black eye. Perhaps she would invite Taka over to ask about it over some of the nice biscuits Akutsu had bought from the convenience store.
When Misono got home, she marched past her worrying parents and shocked older sister without a single word. Her sister eventually came into the bathroom to help get all the orange juice out of her hair as her parents scrubbed her stained clothes. She didn't get any sleep that night, lying on the upper bunk over her snoring sister.
It was the beginning of a legend.