Disclaimer: I obviously don't own anything.
A small A/N: It's been over a year since I watched the anime so, a lot of things are probably wrong and such but I was trapped by this bunny and this was the result. Hope you like it. ^^
Something About Us
"He has abandoned us once – he'll do it again!" a fist came crashing onto the table, stirring the water in the glasses.
"They said he's back – and we need his help. Did you hear what they said? That he led that team into facing one of the Premier League's top clubs! And a small club, at that."
"That doesn't mean anything!" the slightly chubby man arose and patted his hair distractedly.
"He won't let us down." Goto's voice resonated in the room with a calm certainty. All the eyes in the room turned to him.
"I also believe that he'll help us." Yuri hurried to back up the general manager. She knew that better times were coming, brought by their former star.
A slightly dumbfounded look swept through the standing man's face before it scrunched up again in outrage.
"I don't care! He had his chance before and he didn't give a damn so why should we-?"
"Stop that." President Nagata's voice rang in the suddenly silent room, putting an end to the argument. For the moment, at least. "Things aren't going to be all that simple. We'll have a trial and see how it goes…"
"I don't agree. He shouldn't-"
The argument was reawakened and lasted for some hours.
This wasn't the last time that a meeting went that way either.
It was the third day after Tatsumi's return to the ETU and things weren't going smoothly yet. The players were suspicious and - the older ones especially – did not like the shake that that force of Nature or, more easily put, Tatsumi was bringing. Conflict seemed to be present at the trainings and the hotheaded younger and older players were on the brink of starting a war.
Imminent fights were also happening outside the field – the team's fans weren't taking the news of Tatsumi's return well and so they were threatening the club.
But, at least, that had brought some focus to the club by the media…
Although, things weren't going calmly on the Presidency either. There had been more meetings and the vice-president had continued to argue against. There was only so much that Goto and Yuri could do – now it was Tatsumi's turn to prove them right.
And it was after one of those meetings, one that had extended till well past ten p.m. that had Goto heading to the exit. He happened to pass through Tatsumi's 'room' and noticed the person that was creating such havoc on the club's higher ups. He was sitting on the floor in his customary way, a hand running distractedly through his unruly locks. The GM noticed that he was strange, seemingly he was avoiding entering his room, almost as if he did not want to go back there.
The dark haired man paused for a second, in shock. That was not Tatsumi – right? He struggled with himself to say something but that was when the coach decided to look up, at him.
"Hi. So, how was your day?"
Tatsumi had seized him, in an analytical manner, before sighing and getting up. And while that happened Goto wanted to bash his head on the wall for such an idiotic question having escaped his mouth.
"The usual. The players haven't decided about what they want to do. For now they're just listening to the elder players and sticking together, for the most part," he smirked. "- which isn't strange since this is a cohesive group of sorts. How about you, late meeting?"
"You know how it is," Goto let out a sigh, "we bring a troublemaker into our midst and it's just a matter of time before the big difficulties come…"
"I wonder who that troublemaker might be…" Tatsumi snorted.
"Wonder indeed," Goto rolled his eyes in a long suffering way. "Come, we have a lot to catch up and, knowing you, you haven't dinned yet. Or haven't eaten anything healthy yet."
"Says who? The mister I-pull-long-hours-and-forget-to-eat?"
"Oh, shut up and come."
They wondered into an Italian restaurant nearby and sat at one of the tables. The restaurant was nearly empty – there were only three occupied spaces besides their own. Both ordered their food and drink and it came after a short while. Both men dug in.
At first they were both thoughtful but as the food disappeared, the conversation started flowing, they started reminiscing and teasing each other for things that had happened long ago but were still funny.
"… he was so pissed off! I thought I never would stop laughing…" Tatsumi threw his head back and let out a hearty laugh.
"You were lucky. At that time I wanted to punch the author of that prank – as did Fujioka, you can't forget him," replied the other, good naturedly, before sobering up, "but… did you ever think that we would be here?" he let his chin rest on the palm of his hand.
"Heh," the brown haired one shrugged, "I didn't imagine things going this way, that's for sure however," he help the wine glass by the stem and made the red liquid swirl, "it was for the best. Don't you think?" he lifted his eyes in a challenging way. Goto knew that look – very well, in fact – so he answered in kind.
"It was… but I do wonder if things would have gone different had we – you know what? Never mind…" he did a vague hand gesture as he leaned back on his chair.
"It's always better that what the old man predicted. Do you remember his rants? The soap one?"
Goto snorted and nearly choked on his wine. He started coughing and threw a dirty look at his interlocutor. "How could I forget? But he had to see it coming-"
Time flew by, unnoticed as they kept speaking, a deep companionship between them. It didn't even feel as if they had been apart for god knew how long; to Goto it felt like one of their usual get-togethers from before.
That was when the dark haired one sat back on his chair and held his wine glass. Seeing this side of his friend reminded him of the last time he had seen him happy – jubilant, even. It had been when he went looking for him in that little village in England. The image of Tatsumi cheering their victory, surrounded by the townspeople, had gotten imprinted on his retinas… Getting himself together (at the other's slightly curious look), Goto straightened on the chair, ordered some coffee and asked for the bill.
It was quite late when they left the restaurant but the taller one insisted in taking the other back to the club.
Goto got home at two a.m. Tired but feeling strangely satisfied.
The following day he spent the morning yawning – the coffee didn't work on him anyway – so, at midday Yuri appeared on his office with two bento boxes. She made him put his work aside and make room for them as she brought the steaming tea mugs. They sat down, with Yuri setting things here and there and being overly enthusiast about the napkins ("They're new, from this store I just discovered. Aren't they the cutest thing?") and on the first moments silence ruled in the room, with both of them finally eating.
"So, are you going to tell me why you've been looking at your desk as if it were a pillow the whole morning?"
"I have not-" he paused to stifle the impending yawn.
"Oh, don't be mean, Goto-san. I want to know," she threw him a glance that made him burst out laughing.
"No – that's totally unfair Yuri-chan.(1) You know that I can never resist that look," he let out, trying to control himself.
"Glad to see that I could make you smile. You've been completely gloom-n-doom the whole morning."
"Ah-ha, I was?" he tried to lighten the mood – in an awkward manner – but she didn't buy it in the least.
"Come on Goto, you know you can tell me. What's worrying you so much?" she pleaded.
He looked at her and then down at the bento-box, lips pressed thinly together.
"It's Tatsumi… You know how things are going down on the team, right? It doesn't look good," he shook his head. "He's being too stubborn in the way he wants to be taken and the players… well, I've been on their shoes so I imagine that the same things that we thought are running through their heads – and it doesn't look good. This is a ticking bomb and I fear… I fear that he may not be successful. And if he fails, it's going to be my fault – I brought him back, after all." He ran his left hand through his hair and descended his tightly closed fist to lay on the desk, still not looking at his friend. "I put a strong front, heh, a sure front to the others but these doubts are plaguing me." With that he finally looked at her.
Yuri looked at him for long moments, apprehending what had just been said, then she rolled her eyes and got up, hands resting on her hips. She arched an eyebrow and finally spoke.
"There are times when you can be so dumb, Goto!" He opened his mouth to reply but she pressed a finger to his lips. "No, wait. This is my turn to talk. We've been friends for long enough so I know that you won't take this too personally." She let out a small huff and sat back on the chair. "Look. The person you're describing is not Tatsumi. The Tatsumi I know has a plan – no, he has a lot of plans – and he will always think of something and sort things out. He's going to be like himself – stubborn and unpredictable until the end. I'm sure that he'll bring ETU back to its former glory. And, if you want my opinion, he'll take us beyond that. It's just the way he is…" she smiled confidently at him and grabbed his right hand between both of hers. "Now, this isn't the you I know. Go back and bring back my friend. We need to be optimistic to face what's coming."
The dark haired man closed his hands around hers. "You're right. I'm blowing this all out of proportion and behaving as if I didn't know him. He always finds a way, isn't that it?"
"It is… You don't believe how stressful it was when you two played. Those last crazy-scary minutes and when he had an idea…"
"Ah, and how do you think that it was in the field? He could be such a wild card, at times…"
The rest of the lunch hour was spent in a lighter mood. After they cleaned up the desk and Yuri had left to take care of her own work, Goto decided to lean back on his chair to think, before plunging into the boring bureaucracy.
'Great one, huh? Sometimes I can be so stupid. How could I think like that? I should know better. After all, I'm one of the people that know him better, I remained in contact – no matter how feeble it was at times. Unless… unless I don't know Tatsumi anymore…' he stopped gazing off into the far wall and stared blankly at the papers that were in front of him. 'There was a time when we were in the same wavelength, sharing everything; the trainings, the games, the victories, the losses, those secret moments-' Goto blinked outwardly and shook his head slightly. 'I better stop thinking of the past….' So he threw himself at his work but not before feeling a small ache in reaction to his thoughts. He didn't know why though.
On the following night, the clock showed that it was one a.m. and Goto was leaving the club quite late but, on his way out he passed through Tatsumi's bedroom door. It was possible to hear the noises that came from the TV – noises of one game or the other.
Goto paused in front of the hard wood before shrugging and heading to his car.
Two weeks had passed since their dinner and things were still pretty much the same at the club; Tatsumi was still arm wrestling the players which added some stress to the club's higher up's.
A tired Goto walked through the club's corridors, a bit aimlessly. Without his notice he got to the corridor where the Coach's room was. What wasn't a shock was when he saw said person lying on the floor, a couple of steps away from his bedroom. The General Manager rushed towards his friend, a hand coming to the shoulder and shaking it lightly.
"Tatsumi. Hey! Tatsumi, wake up," he said, worry edging at the corners of his voice.
"Hm…? Ah, Goto. Just who I wanted to see…"
"Don't say that. It's not-" he helped the other to sit up, slowly. "Come, let's get you to your room."
He hoisted the other up and threw one of his arms around his shoulders, Goto's free hand coming to rest on the thin man's waist. Slowly they headed to the room and the taller of the two opened the door. He had to stifle a gasp at the mess the room was in. Dirty food vessels littered the table, bed and every corner. In front of the TV more things sat there, waiting to be analyzed.
Goto had to push a lot of things to the floor before laying the other on the bed, carefully. When the other was comfortably settled, he began to clean the room. He couldn't, of course, help himself from commenting.
"For heaven's sake, how is it possible that this room is such a mess?" he asked, slightly disgusted by some of the things he was throwing away.
There was no reply so he was about to turn around and repeat his question when arms curled around his waist and a weight settled on his back.
The dark haired man let the plastic bag fall to the ground and stood ramrod straight for those long – that seemed like hours! – minutes. He didn't dare utter a word.
The arms retreated and came to rest on his back, hands gripping the fabric of his jacket.
"It's been a while…" Tatsumi muttered, voice muffled by the fabric.
"…A long while…" Goto replied.
"Too long…" The hands tightened on his jacket. "I missed you." Tatsumi sighed.
The dark man's mouth fell open. He blinked and, slowly, turned around.
"You never said anything. After…" he closed his mouth in a thin line, some uneasiness creeping in. "You never gave any sign, any importance. You just kept on!" he took a step back, putting some distance between them.
"You're blaming me for continuing with my life? For advancing and evolving?" The words came coldly.
"No. If any I'm blaming you for advancing without a second glance to what was behind. Do you know how I felt when you disappeared? Without nearly a word." The words weren't said loudly but they rang in the room.
"That's what you think I did?" a steely gleam entered Tatsumi's eyes and he straightened up. "You think that I was just ambitious and didn't have trouble with what I was leaving behind? I'll remind you that I was carrying the weight of a lot of hopes-"
"You abandoned the club. I understood that you had to leave ETU…"
"You also blame me for the club's downfall…" Understanding was blossoming on the smaller one's features.
"No. I understood that you had to pursue your dreams and-"
"Then why did you bring me back? You thought that you could use me to return to the way things were before? I expected more from you, from the- You know what? Forget it. You're like the others…" he shook his head, face regaining that neutral look.
Goto stared at him, suspicious. "Like the others…"
The brown haired man rolled his eyes and replied. "Yes, like the others-"
At that precise instant the General Manager's cellphone started ringing. He picked it up and was going to answer when it was taken from his hand. Tatsumi turned it off.
"That could be important – and work related, you know?" he asked sternly.
"You are the one that wanted and started this conversation so deal with it."
"How…" the taller man took a deep breath. "You can be really infuriating sometimes…" he glared at him but let it soften to an exasperated look. "You were always like this – always had to have the last word…" he shook his head fondly and headed to the littered table to where the cellphone had been thrown. "You haven't changed that either…" As he extended his hand to grab it, his hand was stopped by a sudden pull on his jacket.
"Don't worry about that for now…"
There it was, that weird, softer side of Tatsumi that he hadn't seen a lot of.
"The worst part of you leaving wasn't you leaving ETU, you know? The worse was feeling how little I mattered to you, that you didn't bother to look up or call me to your side…" Goto's hand had slid up the smaller man's arm, caressed his cheek and ended up cupping his jaw.
Eyes slightly widened, closed and opened again, Tatsumi licked his lips. "It's not that I didn't want to… I just couldn't look back and see what I was losing. Had I looked back, my plans would've been for nothing."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Why do you think that I stayed in touch with you? I could have sent my letters to anyone but chose you. Can't you see why?"
"I-I don't understand…"
"I didn't want to cut that tie – still don't want to. It is too hard and… I didn't want to lose what we had."
"And you don't think that you've lost it already?" he stepped back and leaned his hip against the table, arms folding in front of his chest.
"I haven't gotten over you, you know?" his black eyes shone strangely.
"Like I believe you. But, it doesn't matter. We're done. What we had happened a long time ago when I could trust you. Those days are long gone…"
"Why do you think that I plunged into the work? I was not about to come back here empty handed."
"No, you were having way too much fun out there. I remember how you were when we found you and-"
He was shut as lips crashed against his, swiftly. As a knee-jerk reaction he tried to put some distance between them but hands holding firmly, first at his jacket and then curling around his neck, kept him from doing so.
"I missed this, so much…" Tatsumi panted, hands cupping the other's face and looking calmly into black eyes.
"All right – I also missed you…" Goto's forehead fell into the smaller man's shoulder, hands resting on the other's slim hips.
"I'm glad to hear that, at least." Tatsumi sighed before hugging him tightly.
They stood that way, hugging, for long moments before the shrill sound came form the outside, as did footsteps and voices.
They separated slowly and after exchanging a quick look, Goto grabbed the phone and left, quickly, while Tatsumi sat in front of the TV, analysing the next pile of games.
A step had been taken in the right direction but it was only a beginning.
(1) About the use of –san and –chan; I considered that Yuri and Goto are friends and close enough not to use the suffixes. In this case they use them just to tease each other.
A/N: I honestly don't know what came over me to write this story, and right now when I'm short on time and battling both writer's block and a ton of crazy bunnies, no less (I know, it sounds as if these were opposite events but they're not – I have plots pilling up yet on the few times I sit down to write I'm nearly incapable of stringing a coherent sentence together…). That's why the pace of the story is so odd. It's longer than expected yet smaller than what I had predicted. And in this one the lemon didn't fit… which mean that I might try something more for this pairing. ^^'
The title comes from Daft Punk's song (by the same name). At first I was going on a different way but this is what came in the end… maybe in the continuation might I develop things back to the previous direction…
So, yeah, these two together… It's probably just in my headcannon that they were together (well, and in some doujinshis ^^) but I think that they do make a cute couple and look great together. Besides, from everybody that Tatsumi can be paired with, Goto's the best option (totally biased here xD). Hey, they were teammates, friends and Tatsumi did stay in touch with him – a girl can dream, right?
Anyway, it's been quite a long time since I watched the anime, as I mentioned before, so there are off things in the story (I wasn't too certain about some of the chronology so don't be mad at me) and some terms that I wasn't too certain about (I know them in my language but the translation to English proved more difficult than expected).
Well, hopefully the readers will like this story and not be bothered by the overly large author's note… :P
A big thanks to Nightslayr for taking a look at this (sorry… I think I still didn't do it right TT^TT so that's why I took the easy way T^T ).
Any feedback is greatly appreciated. ^^