A/N: Happy New Year, everyone! I swear Yukimura's growing on me. Anyway, this is my advanced birthday fic to xxTemarixx, and I had to post it now because I can't move on to my studies due to the excitement of publishing another story. I hope you enjoy this, dear, even though it isn't a Jackal fic as you requested. I can't think of anything concerning him as of the moment, but when I finally do, I would gladly dedicate it to you.
Disclaimer: Konomi Takeshi owns Prince of Tennis.
Yukimura has always been the achiever. Several times a year, he is out competing in tennis tournaments, winning match after match, taking championship after championship. He misses classes and falls behind in the lessons, and yet, he still manages to score in exams better than you do. Better than most of your classmates do.
His seat is empty for days. Nobody dares to sit there in his absence. In his presence, nobody wants to sit beside him, either. Perhaps if given the chance, you probably wouldn't want to, too. You are afraid you are not good enough to hold a conversation with someone that brilliant to be known as the Child of God.
You remember the first time he comes to Rikkai. He enters your class and walks into the door casually, but his feather-light footsteps seem to have silenced the noisy chatter and constant shuffling. Everyone knows him – not as Yukimura Seiichi himself, but as the winner of every junior tennis tournament in Kanagawa.
It is Sanada who greets him, and almost like a switch, the world starts moving again.
In just a few minutes, your class has caught on to Sanada Genichirou's "no playing around, all-serious business" aura. You can almost see a sword hanging on his left waist, ready to be unsheathed and slash throats. You would have understood if, instead of Yukimura, it was him who has frozen the hands of time.
But Yukimura... he puzzles you. He does not look intimidating in his well-ironed school uniform, without his jersey habitually resting on his shoulders and his green sweatband on his forehead. If anything, he seems gentle and naive and almost fragile. You can almost imagine a pair of shining white wings on his back, and a halo above his sea blue hair.
You later learn that on court, his racket is deadlier than a thousand swords.
The way he stands, crosses his arms, and lifts his chin before his team makes you compelled to call him buchou as well, because in those moments, he is captain.
But you don't.
To you, he is just the boy who owns the empty seat by the window, bathing in the morning sun.
You see him one afternoon in the hallway, when you are on cleaning duty. You hear him politely rejecting a confession as you dust the board eraser by the window, the acoustics of the empty room echoing his voice in your ears.
You silently wonder what draws people into him.
His smile isn't as charming as Marui's, eyes isn't as alluring as Niou's. He isn't as polite as Yagyuu, isn't as cheerful as Kirihara. He isn't as smart as Yanagi, isn't as bizarre as Brazilian transfer student Jackal.
But still, you find yourself drawing fragments of him – his eyes, his smile, his shoulders – as if trying to deconstruct him in your hurried sketches.
You are on your way to art class when he bumps into you, knocks down the canvass, brushes and paint sets you hold in your arms.
He mutters an apology, crouches down and helps you out. He picks up the canvass slowly, pauses to look at your art.
It is a painting of a sunflower, whose golden petals has not blossomed yet, seemingly shy of showing its beauty to the world. The petals a bright yellow green, like mangoes ripening to sweetness; the stem and leaves wintry green under the overcast sky.
"I didn't know you're an artist, Tsuda-san," he says, and you are surprised to learn that he knows your name. "I'm jealous."
I'm the one who should be jealous of you, Yukimura-kun, you wanted to say. But you remember your manners, bow and thank him anyway.
He hasn't actually complimented you, but coming from him, an acknowledgment is more than enough.
You belong to his group for the report on the weekend visit to the gallery.
You bow and apologize first thing when you arrive in the coffee shop for your meeting – you are late by ten minutes or so.
"Don't worry about it, Tsuda-san. I just got here myself," he says with his pleasant smile.
You are suddenly thankful that you didn't get stuck in Sanada's group.
And then one day, he collapses. That is the first time you see Sanada almost breaking into the pressure of the unexpected emergency, of the slippery slopes of worry over possibilities and repercussions.
You see his team rushing one after another in the hallway, and for the second time, Yukimura has silenced your rowdy classmates.
Only, instead of freezing in cold, the hands of time break into a thousand shards.
You see his wings limping, his halo dissipating in thin air. And then, he falls off.
You do not see him. Only a feather smeared with blood descending slowly, until it touches the ground.
Your eyes linger on his once again empty seat, gathering a thin layer of dust.
Unconsciously, you grab your pencil and start to draw the whole of him for the first time.
His sister drops by in your classroom every week, collecting every get-well-soon card, flowers, and presents your classmates want to give him.
You and your group mates in art class have bought him a sunflower, along with a hand-made card where you all have written a personal message.
The sunflower already bloomed, Yukimura-kun, you write.
Cheers erupt when your homeroom teacher has announced that he is coming back soon.
You can almost see him kneeling, thrusting his sword in the ground, struggling to stand up.
But he does, and you see a sword and a feather replacing the lost hands of time.
You pass by his locker on your way to your own.
You are just about to change your shoes and head home, but you stop. You fumble inside your bag for the sketch of him you have drawn.
You pause to look at your own work, thinking if you should have put on some colors.
You decide to give it to him anyway. You fold it into two, open his locker – you are surprised to find it empty – and carefully place it in.
You arrive in school early. Walking by the tennis courts, you spot him, without the green sweatband and arms wrapped in the sleeves of his jersey, which are properly worn for the first time.
You smile, happy to see him back.
You find a painting of a sunflower inside your locker, petals golden and leaves bright green in the sunlight. You see his name signed in the lower right corner, and a note written at the back.
This is my thank you-gift. Please excuse my meager artistic skills.
PS: The sunflower bloomed, indeed.