Not my first fan-fic, but truly my first endeavor into Tumbling territory. I will indeed try my best to keep the personalities of the characters as close to the originals as possible and appreciate feedback if you think there are things I could improve on (if readers of this fandom still even exist). See bottom note for Akabane explanation.
Oh, right…and for some reason Yanagishita Tomo just gets the brunt of the angst and violence in all my stories. Sorry about that…but not really. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE REVIEW! Wow, that wasn't desperate at all.
Part 1 of 3
Mizusawa Taku was no stranger to bad ideas and unfortunate situations. Letting Azuma Wataru and his gang onto the team was both of those things. And yet, for some reason that defied logic, everything just…worked out. They survived the fights, the injuries, the arguments, the…his…problem. And Taku couldn't help but think of his sexuality as just that.
It had been drilled into him over and over again that it was wrong for boys to like other boys, and every day he hated himself a little more than the previous ones. Only when his body fell into those natural rhythms of movement was his mind clear, free of the guilt and the anxiety that haunted him along with the stigma of "homosexual." Luckily, his teammates had accepted him more quickly than he thought they would, especially with how disgusted Kiyama must have felt after…he found out. And Mizusawa sincerely wished that Kiyama would have never, ever found out, only because he didn't want to sicken him with the knowledge of being liked by a boy.
The only one who Mizusawa could visibly tell was uncomfortable by his proximity was Ryosuke, and even though it hurt, Taku understood. He hated himself, of course others would feel the same way. Even his own parents…he slumped a little as yet more feelings of hopelessness creeped their way into his midsection. He knew…maybe…he should talk to someone about it. But…that's not how things in his family worked. If you had a problem, you dealt with it, and any external interference was shameful. If his parents knew he'd already been outed at school…it was a fear too great to be contemplated.
"I'm…I'm home…" Taku announced softly as he slipped off his shoes and replaced them with house slippers. He settled, ears straining for any sign of occupation, and heaved a sigh of relief when he heard none, trudging up the extended staircase to his room, a space so devoid of his own personality that he considered it a place to sleep in, but not…home. Deviation from perfection was looked down upon, as was individuality and expression. Mizusawa was to always…do what was good for the honor of the family. Tumbling was their only allowance, as Taku had attempted suicide when he was not allowed to practice. They'd rather he'd tumble than cause an even bigger scandal by daring to take his own life and smearing the family name.
Tumbling, and perhaps his small circle of friends, was all he had.
He carefully placed his school bag next to the pristinely organized desk, and then collapsed into the king-sized bed with impeccably tucked hospital corners. They'd attempted a new move that day in practice involving a spinning back tuck and multiple mat tricks, and Taku could feel several small, dull aches where bruises would no doubt be the next day. He, of course, had done every move perfectly, but Wataru, Kiyama, and Nippori had a wider learning curve. Which wasn't to say that Taku minded the pain. No, pain was fine, because it happened while he was doing what he loved, surrounded by people who loved it too.
Mizusawa smiled. Ryosuke was getting especially good. He'd have to watch out, or there may soon be some real competition on the team. His frown soon returned, however, as he thought of how Ryosuke looked at him with narrowed eyes. I'm sorry, Tsukimori…I…I wouldn't be this way if I had a choice.
A soft knock startled Taku upward. "Mizusawa-sama? Your father has asked for your presence in his study," the maid said kindly, looking at him with sympathy.
"Al…alright, Sakimito-san. I'll be right down."
Taku combed desperately through his recent memory, looking for whatever could have possibly made his father angry, but came up with nothing except, once again, his tumbling and his sexuality. Then again, he supposed his father didn't even really need a reason. Taku was just inferior as a son.
Mentally preparing himself, he climbed out of bed, then rearranged his slightly-askew school uniform, smoothing wrinkles, checking buttons, and then glancing at himself as he passed by a hallway mirror for reassurance. Physically…this is as close to perfect as I can be. And yet, I know…he will always find something.
Unconsciously clearing his throat, Taku used two knuckles to rap lightly on the mahogany door, getting a gruff sound as a response that he took to mean "Come in, and hurry it up, you useless thing."
His father stood behind an impressively large desk, in front of an even more impressively large collection of rare volumes on a dozen completely filled shelves, each of which his father had read and no-doubt memorized, down to the publication date. Hands clasped behind his broad back, Mizusawa Moritaru stood an imposing, regal figure at a hundred and eighty three centimeters tall, night-black hair still full on his head, muscles from constant training straining against the fabric of his suit jacket. His service revolver and handcuffs he had placed conspicuously near the desk's corner, for some reason continuing to arm himself even though, as commissioner, he never had to leave his office at the station.
"Close the door, Taku," his father said quietly, but Mizusawa couldn't help but flinch even though the words themselves were soft-spoken. He often wondered if there wasn't some switched-at-birth accident that led him to live this life, but he knew he looked too much like his petite mother for that to be the case. Mizusawa, albeit reluctantly, shut the door, effectively cutting himself off from the rest of the world. With its thick walls and layered insulation, the study was soundproof. So as not to disturb his father when he should feel the need to work.
"I contacted the school for a briefing on your scholastic progress," he continued, turning around, and Taku couldn't help but be struck by the insanity of this situation. Normal people would run as far away as they could without stopping, and yet here he was walking into the lion's mouth of his own volition. "I was informed that your grade in English has dropped by a point."
Of course. Of course it has. But why can you never mention how my Japanese has risen by two? "Forgive me, father," Taku ducked his head hurridly. "But…but it's still…ninety-eight percent…" he tried futilely.
"Mizusawas do not strive for…ninety-eight percent," his father spat out, as though the words left a disgusting taste in his mouth. "We aim for perfection, and each step should bring us closer, not further away." He shifted from behind the desk, maneuvering around to sit on top of the front surface. "Tell me how you plan on correcting this."
"Father, I…I swear it will never happen again!"
"Of course it won't. But that wasn't what I told you to do."
"I…I'll work harder! I'll…I'll move it to one hundred…I…" Taku's throat closed up as his father moved from the desk to stand in front of him, offering him a murderous glare before his large hand lashed out, catching Mizusawa's cheek with enough force to knock him to the ground, though it was only open-handed. Taku didn't dare move as his father looked him over with disdain, though the urge to touch his burning cheek was strong.
"And why weren't you doing that before?" his father hissed, giving what, for a man of his size, could be considered a half-hearted kick to Taku's midsection, but the teenager's air was still knocked right out of him. "I still don't understand how I could have a son like you," he sighed, before stepping over Taku and exiting the room.
"I'm sorry…" Taku whispered miserably to the air. "I'm so sorry…"
Pulling himself up from his prone position, Taku fought to keep the tears in. He didn't need yet another thing for his father to berate him about. He shuffled to the open door, peering around it, and making a break for the stairs when he found the hallway devoid of any house staff. It was a spontaneous decision, but he decided that he needed out. Just for tonight, just to get away for a few hours. Slinging a jacket over his arm, he left the house as quietly as he had entered it. And just as then, no one noticed, except for the ever-vigilant Sakimoto-san, who held a place in her heart for the boy she had practically raised.
Akabane Reiji was rarely alone. Alone, he didn't have power, wasn't able to command the attention that he deserved, wasn't able to show everyone his strategic brilliance. He hated being alone. It didn't suit him. He expressed it by madly scattering the loose gravel in his path, kicking it as though it had done him some wrong by being underfoot. Looking down and not paying attention, he crashed directly into a smaller form that also had its head down, growling like an injured animal, though he was sure whoever he hit got the worst of it.
"Oi! Watch where the hell you're going!" he yelled, smirking when the other form gave a slight jerk of its body. "Wait a minute," he began, as recognition took hold.
The other person tried to move aside and continue on his way, but Akabane gripped his shoulder in a crushing hold. "If it isn't gay boy from the gymnastics club!" Akabane smirked gleefully, slightly upset that the smaller boy wasn't showing fear anymore. If he now recognized Akabane, shouldn't he be more scared? Definitely not less, like he seemed to be.
"Let go, idiot," the boy said quietly, and Akabane practically seethed with rage, slinging an arm around slim shoulders and catching the boy off-guard in a choke hold.
"What the hell did you just say to me, gay?" Akabane yelled, cutting off the air supply just enough to make the kid's vision go blurry around the edges. As he admired his work, he noticed a stark handprint that now showed white on the teen's blood-flushed face. "You and your boyfriend get in a fight?" Akabane snickered, nevertheless loosening his hold just slightly.
"Shut up," Mizusawa choked out. "Idiot," he added.
Akabane's face screwed into a comical display of anger, pushing Mizusawa to the ground, where the gymnast proceeded into a perfect roll, afterwards righting himself into a standing position. Akabane ignored the flashy display. "I was right, huh?" Akabane pressed. "Or maybe you like being slapped around, is that it? You like those kinds of things?"
"You must be projecting, Akabane," Taku said flatly, turning to leave, when he pushed to the ground once more, this time unexpectedly, so he wasn't able to catch himself. A hand automatically curled around his middle when he hit the gravel, the other around his head, as he prepared for an assault.
"How many times you get the shit kicked out of you that you know how to react like that?" Akabane scoffed, withdrawing the leg that was, indeed, prepared to start kicking.
Taku said nothing, making to sit up and carefully brush the dirt off of his now-bleeding elbows and forearms. Then he froze, thinking. Why should he even bother? He deserved it, right? For being gay, for being a failure, for being stupid, for breathing. "Would you mind getting it over with?" Taku asked quietly. "Here, I won't even fight back. Will that make you feel better, make it easier for you? Just do it. I don't care anymore."
Akabane was taken aback. "Why the hell do all you fucking tumbling idiots want to get fucked up all the time? Ruins my fucking mood every FUCKING time, dammit!"
END PART 1
So I always thought Akabane was kind of closeted, given the way he was so obsessed with Wataru. Go ahead. Go check it out. It's totally true. Though he's so far down in Narnia, I don't think he's ever comin' out of that particular closet.