A/N: Big apologies for the worst written fight scene ever.
Disclaimer: All credits go to their respective owners.
Lately, Yuki noticed, the Akutsu household was getting a little crowded. She didn't know why she hadn't seen it before; there were piles and piles of unwashed and washed laundry around the small apartment, messy dishes were strewn everywhere and things were generally not where they were supposed to be. She sighed as she dug out the remote control from under the bathroom sink. There was no excuse for it, really. She was always too tired to clean after work, and slowly but surely her dear son started to stink up the whole place with his adolescence and rebellion.
"I'm sorry for this, Misono-chan," she tried to apologize as she checked the bathroom cupboards. "It's a mess in here right now, I haven't had time to clean in a while."
Miffed at how there was yet another stranger who was using her name so casually, Misono bit her lip. "It's no problem, my own room is quite messy too."
Yuki looked at the young girl's pristine school uniform and smiled. "Somehow, I have a hard time believing that." She shut the cupboards, sighing again. "Now where could that hacky sack have gone? Jin hasn't played with it in years… I wonder what he wants with it now."
"I don't know either," Misono shrugged, trying not to ask why the older woman had chosen to search in the bathroom, of all places. "He's probably going to throw it at me." She muttered offhandedly.
Yuki laughed; Misono didn't tell her that she wasn't joking.
"You know, you've been coming over a lot in the past few days, Misono-chan." Yuki frowned, looking up at the middle schooler. "My son isn't bullying you into doing chores for him, is he?"
Misono paused, trying to find the right words. "I'm just doing him a couple of favours so that he'll do me one in return." Satisfied with her explanation, she nodded. "I'm sorry to always trouble you, Akutsu-san."
"Oh, don't call me that. It makes me feel old," Yuki wrinkled her nose, "Call me Yuki-chan, everyone else does. Let's take a look in the kitchen, shall we?" She marched past a sink full of dirty dishes and started opening every shelf. "You know, I don't think Jin's ever sent a girl over to fetch something for him. It's always either poor Dan-kun or Sengoku-kun. Come to think of it, I haven't seen Taka-kun in a while. Have you met him? He's a sweet boy. He always used to bring us sushi, but then Jin got mad at him and now I haven't seen him in months. If you see him, tell him I said hello."
As someone who didn't talk much, Misono felt kind of lost at the end of Yuki's chatter. "I… if I see him, I will tell him your greetings." She finally said weakly, not mentioning that she had no idea who 'Taka-kun' was.
"Oh, what's this doing here?" Yuki pulled out an old album from a stack of cookbooks, eyes shining. "Why, I've been looking for this forever! So this is where he did it." She brushed off the dust from the sides and grinned. "It's Jin's baby photos. Oh, come here and look with me!"
Misono tried to stop her and say that no, if she didn't return with the hacky sack in eleven minutes then Akutsu would make her pay for his dinner, but the words got trapped in her throat as Yuki opened the album and Misono stared at the angriest looking baby she had ever seen. "Oh." She said, blinking. Baby Akutsu was holding a small toy that looked rather like a baseball bat, glaring beneath his baby bib full of food stains. Her lips twitched. "How… cute."
"Isn't he?" Yuki gushed, and the two found themselves slowly sitting down at the dinner table, flipping through the album and giggling over Akutsu's first day of kindergarten. Before Misono realized what was happening, she was drinking tea from a cracked cup and they were halfway through a second album that Yuki had dug up somewhere.
She looked at her watch. Well, chances were that she would have paid for his dinner anyway.
She was fucking late.
Akutsu stomped up the stairs to his apartment, muttering curse words the whole way. How dare she make him wait like an idiot outside McDonald's for forty-five minutes. He had felt like a complete loser.
Jamming his key into the door, he was about to slam the door open when he stopped. From inside the apartment, he could hear… laughing?
"Oh fuck no," he muttered, throwing the door open with all his strength. He crossed his arms and bellowed, "Nakagawa, get the fuck out here right now!"
"Jin, is that any way to speak to a guest?" His mom appeared, hands on her hips with a small pout. "Close the door and come join us."
He rolled his eyes and walked past her. "Don't tell me what to do." Making his way past the dishes on the floor in the kitchen, he stopped in front of the kitchen table and stared. She was fucking smiling again.
"I like this one." Misono held up a picture of him in the middle of a huge bubble bath. His eyes widened as he took in all the photos that were littered across the table, and without a second thought he grabbed onto the tablecloth and yanked with all his might, the pictures falling every which way onto the floor. His face flushed crimson red as he tried to find the right way to express his fury. He couldn't believe that of all people, that stiff ass girl had seen his baby photos. He was shaking so hard with anger he could barely contain himself.
"You, get out of my house right now!" He roared, feeling much better as she flinched.
"She can stay," her mother's voice came from behind, and all his satisfaction retreated back into frustration. "Misono-chan has been nothing but lovely to me and we were having a very nice talk, Jin."
Akutsu glared at his mom, then at Misono, then at his mom again. Yuki raised an eyebrow.
"Do what you fucking like," he growled before he looked back at Misono. "But don't think I'll forget this." His hands itching to punch something, he slammed the door on his way out, still fuming.
He was just about to wander off to the arcade when he heard the sound of hurried footsteps in his direction. He turned, expecting another lecture from his mom, only to be met face to face with an out of breath Misono right in front of their apartment building.
"I'm sorry Akutsu-san, I lost track of time." She bowed, still panting from her run. "Are you still hungry?"
Akutsu spat at the ground, looking around. After confirming that his mom wasn't in the near vicinity, he grabbed a fistful of Misono's blazer and shoved her towards the building wall. She let out a yelp as her back hit the concrete, her hands flying up to cup his fist.
"You," he said quietly as he tightened his hold, "You are never going to talk about those baby pictures to anyone. Got it?"
Misono tried to speak but nothing came out of her mouth but another small yelp. She nodded vigorously instead, but Akutsu wasn't satisfied. He brought his other hand up to grab her shirt collar and Misono made a choking noise as she felt herself being lifted. Panicking, her feet squirmed as they left the ground and her hands grasped at his wrists.
"Say it!" Akutsu growled, enjoying the look in her eyes. There was something about seeing Misono all wide-eyed and scared that made him laugh. Maybe he was getting a little weird.
She closed her eyes, willing her tongue to untangle itself but when she still couldn't say anything, Misono opened her eyes. Letting a shaky breath out, her toes barely touching the ground, she locked eyes with him. She could see the embarrassment and anger in his expression, and knew that he was about to hit her. This was it. Something in her snapped, and she closed her mouth. The frustration that had built up in the last few days rushed through her veins and in a sudden moment of clarity, she realized something.
This was the exact same situation as the one in which they had first met. If she didn't strike first, he would.
So she gritted her teeth, clenched her hands tighter around the wrists that were so much larger than hers, and thought about everything he had made her go through. Her mind slowly clouded over with anger as she remembered their first meeting.
And with a burst of courage, she brought her knee swiftly up and between his two legs.
Akutsu let out a bellowing scream as he let go of her, dropping to his knees immediately in pain. Misono landed harshly on her butt, seemingly unfazed as she stood up again quickly and walked to where he was. His anger now tripled as he doubled over, he began, "Now you look here you bit-"
"No, you look here!" Misono screamed, shocking Akutsu into silence. Her eyes burning with fury, she kneeled down beside him. "Shut the fuck up and listen to me, you lazy ass piece of shit!" She stopped, taking a deep breath. Akutsu watched her as she fixed her bangs in silence. "Pardon my language."
Before he could say anything in return, she leaned over and pushed him down onto the ground. It would have been an impossible feat had Akutsu not been temporarily immobilized by the previous attack.
Pinning his arms to the ground, Misono narrowed her eyes. "Akutsu-san, I'm tired of these games. I know it has not been a week, but I have one month until the competition and I will not let you ruin this for me. I have put too much on the line." Akutsu glared at her, but she only leaned in closer. "Now, you can teach me tennis, or you can be known as the delinquent that got pushed down by a girl." Misono tilted her head, eyes stony. "So what's it going to be?"
"No one'd believe you." Akutsu sneered, finally starting to recover from the numbness in his lower body. He managed to find the strength to sit up, slapping her hands away. "Now get out of my-"
"I will not!" She interrupted, voice unusually shrill. Their heads still a short distance apart, Misono bared her teeth. She couldn't think properly. She had never experienced a rage that took over her whole body like this. Bringing her head back as he started threatening her again, she closed her eyes. He was saying something about how she had a lot of nerve. Misono couldn't stand the sound of his voice anymore. "I don't care if I have to kill you, Akutsu Jin, you will teach me tennis!" She shouted, smashing their foreheads together.
Taking advantage of him as he pulled back, she slammed her elbow into his chest, making him fall onto the ground again. Her own head panged with pain, but she could no longer control her actions. She drew an arm back to punch him when she felt someone grab her waist from behind, pulling her up.
"That's enough, Misono-chan," Sengoku cooed as he forced her to stand up, dragging her away from Akutsu. Still shaking, Misono tried to elbow him away but the pain in her head stopped her. She groaned, closing her eyes. She touched her face, it was wet. Did she cry? Her brain tried to catch up with her. Her heart was beating unnaturally fast, oh god what had she done?
Akutsu sprang up from where he had fallen from her blow to his chest, leaping towards Sengoku and Misono when another pair of hands shot out to grab onto his jacket. Akutsu reeled around to see Dan, who was using all his strength just to stop him from moving.
"I'm bleeding," Misono muttered. The strange liquid on her face was sticky. And red. "It hurts."
Sengoku chuckled, "Well, that generally happens when you headbutt someone with a forehead of steel." He let go of her, looking at her worriedly. "Are you okay now? Thank god we were close by when Yuki-chan called."
Misono felt dizzy as she looked at the ground. Suddenly, all her adrenaline disappeared and her shoulders slumped. "I just got angry," she said quietly. "I didn't really want to hurt him, I was just scared and then I didn't know what was happening and-" she shook her head, closing her eyes. "I don't know. My head hurts."
"Want me to piggyback you to the hospital?" Sengoku laughed at her glare. "Alright alright, I'll walk you there." Taking her by the arm, he ignored her protests as they started walking. He looked back to Dan and Akutsu, a little surprised to see them standing still. Akutsu hadn't moved from his position after standing, and he was just… staring. At Misono. Sengoku couldn't read the other boy's expression, but he knew it wasn't one of murderous intent. It was... curiosity?
He really didn't know if that was a good thing or not.
She woke up to the smell of burnt tablecloth.
Misono sat up quickly, cringing as her head screamed at her. She put one hand up to touch it, surprised to feel the roughness of a bandage. She looked to her right to see an IV drip, and she sighed. Oh right, Sengoku had brought her to the hospital.
Jumping at the voice, Misono turned to the right to let out a little shriek. Shrinking under her covers, she bit her lip at Akutsu in fear. In his hand was a lighter. She quickly deduced in his boredom, he had started to burn various things around him. She couldn't help but wonder if she was next.
"Don't act so innocent when you're the scary one," Akutsu rolled his eyes. He pointed at a nasty bruise on his forehead, scowling. "Do you know how long it's been since I got a bruise from a headbutt?"
She shook her head slowly.
"Too fucking long." Akutsu grinned, letting out a harsh laugh. "Although since you had to get stitches, I think I won." He stood up from his seat next to her bed, "Well. Glad to know you aren't dead. See you tomorrow at 7."
Misono watched, dumbstruck, as Akutsu made his way to the door. "Wait! Where? Why? Are you…" she lowered her voice, "Going to kill me?"
Cackling, Akutsu just grinned wolfishly again. "Tennis courts, of course. And yes, maybe." He opened the door to the sound of her stuttering shock, looking back one last time before he left.
"It's funny, because now I really fucking wanna see what you're gonna do to that tennis bitch."