Mitsukai here for a 1,570 word drabble. For the first time, it's not Alpha Pair, but more on Yukimura and his inner thoughts and feelings. Might be a bit OOC, but this is an in-depth perception on what I think Yukimura is really like. It's just speculation, of course, but I can't help but think.
Warnings and Disclaimers: Not mine, some typos, OOCness. Yukimura-centric.
As the captain of the Rikkaidai Fuzoku tennis club, Yukimura Seiichi was expected to be confident, cold, almost cruel even, to his team. With the title of the Kings, for them, losing wasn't an option. Winning must be absolute. Victory must always be in reach. It was an unbreakable law that only they enforced on themselves, to retain the honor and pride as the best of the best, sitting on the topmost tier of the fallen teams that dared to steal their crown, using their fallen grace as their stepping stone for greater glory, piling them on top of the other where they sat atop their lifeless bodies, useless pawns at their disposal to further the distance between them and the others who would try and challenge them.
It might be ruthless to think about it that way, but that's simply the way their world worked.
The weak will die. The strong will survive. This was Rikkaidai's creed, the road they follow, relentless to those who wouldn't be strong enough to face the challenges of being Rikkai's top players. It was all or nothing. For them, there was no halfway. To give everything… or to gain nothing.
It was this commandment, the very essence of their core, that scared him. Deeply.
No, Yukimura Seiichi wasn't afraid of failure. Failure simply meant that he hadn't done enough, and that it could be righted again. With enough hard work and dedication, failure could become success, with a lesson learned along the way. No, what he feared was different.
What he feared… was his own feelings.
In their world, feelings were a distraction, a hindrance in their quest for victory. To be a King was to remove your emotions, to be unfeeling, to take away every single drop of humanity he felt. There should be no hesitation, no consideration of his opponent's condition, no regard even to his own teammates, even if they were injured or half-dead, if it meant that they were going to win. What would be left behind was a shell of their own selves, feeling nothing but the drive and the determination of their own wills.
Strike quickly, fight ruthlessly, end coldly. It was an unending cycle of freezing your heart and keeping it chained, keeping all signs of weakness at bay, not until your triumph was announced.
The first time he had seen this first hand, it sickened and horrified him. He had a soft heart and a gentle, kind demeanor, one that cried out for this senpai's opponent, who was brutally and thoroughly beaten to the ground with his pride broken and his will shattered. It was more than a loss.
It was complete defeat.
"Look, Yukimura." His normally good-natured and easy going captain looked so different then, a mask of frigid coldness he had never seen before. It terrified him, and he wanted to look away, to erase the truth that he saw with his own two eyes. He wasn't looking at a human being anymore.
"This is what it means to be the captain of this club."
He was looking at a monster.
"It's not enough to just beat him. Shatter him; break him, so he wouldn't think of repeating what he has done today. Control your emotions. Be merciless. Only then would you be able to stand at the top."
He had always known that he was too soft. Just seeing his friends sad or worried affected him completely, and often sent him to the brink of tears. His heart always went out for his opponents, always trying to beat them in the gentlest way he could, even though it was obvious that he was more skilled and talented than them. But seeing someone completely pulverized, their dreams and hopes about their sport ruined and grounded into dust, was simply too much for him. Yukimura felt upset, asking why they had to go that far when they could've simply beaten their opponents and left it at that. The prone teen lying on the tennis grounds broke his heart, tears of anguish and helplessness stinging his eyes.
His captain didn't say it back then, but as they locked gazes, Yukimura saw the regret, the guilt, the suffering that flickered in the usually bright, cheerful eyes There was no way for them to atone for what they would do, for the sin they've always done. It was simply the way they did things, nothing more, and nothing less.
Hurt your opponents… while inflicting more pain to yourself.
It was a small price compared to what they did.
He understood, though his heart was still in turmoil. He knew that the captain was trying to see if he could handle something like this, if he could do something as damaging as this. Without another word he accepted his captain's burden, slowly but surely learning how to close off his emotions, no matter how difficult it was for him.
The next time he opened his eyes, what met their eyes was ice cold, blue steel, and the Child of God was born.
Even though he now knew how to perfectly close himself off, his personality just can't stand it. He didn't know now many times he bit the inside of his cheek every time he forced his friends to push through their laps, or to glare darkly at them every time they lost a match, though he only wanted to offer them a smile and tell them that it's okay. Countless moments of crying because of his weakness, to tell himself to be stronger for his team, for himself, to push them past their limits and to create the strongest team that ever walked the middle school tennis circuit, even though it's hurting him so much to see their pain-filled faces when all of them would come through their strict training regimen.
Not even his best friends know about his fear. It was something he kept to himself, hidden so deeply in his heart that they never noticed it. He forced himself to act aloof, purposefully distancing himself from the rest, when all he wanted was their companionship and trust. Even when his illness struck he didn't cave in to that urge, remaining firm even though every part of his himself screamed at him to just accept their concern and worries and be thankful for it. He can't.
Because he was their captain. If he falls, the rest would follow, and that was something Yukimura cannot allow.
But there were few chinks in his emotional barriers, one that flared out during the most stressful moments in his life, especially during his days in the hospital. He cared for his team, trying to nurture and protect them, wanting each of them to bloom to their maximum potential. He worried constantly for them, something he can't let them see, even though it might be the only, the last, time he could.
And now, though he recovered completely and more than ready to take their rivals on, he still couldn't show them what he felt.
Because it was a weakness. Because he was breaking Rikkaidai's law.
And just as the sky was lit brightly and sun shone on them all on that day of the National's Finals, he sat on the bench, posture relaxed but anxiety and worry clouding his senses. He wanted them to win, but not at the expense of his teammate's safety and health, just as he ordered at that time with Akaya during the Nagoya Seitoku semi-finals match. He very nearly called off the match when he saw their youngest splattered with blood, and it took all of his willpower not to do so, willing himself not to flinch or cry out every time Akaya was hurt, forcing himself to watch as a consequence of his choices.
It was time for Singles-3. Tezuka would be their opponent, and Sanada would be the one to challenge him. And just as Sanada stepped out into the courts, something in Yukumura broke away, his emotions flaring out in one single moment.
There were so many things he wanted to say. His arm was almost half-raised, as if trying to grasp the hem of Sanada's shirt, to make him stay for a short moment, his face briefly showing the deepest of worries.
Don't push yourself too hard.
Come back safely.
He squeezed his eyes shut, not wanting Sanada to see the inner turmoil that hid in its depths, clenching his hand shut and keeping it by his side.
Close your heart. Chain your feelings inside. Don't let him see what you're feeling. Don't be a hindrance to him.
He opened his eyes once more, face blank, smooth, emotionless.
Be cold. Heartless.
It's… better this way.
Just my musings.