Title: The irony of it

Pairing: Oshitari Kenya/Zaizen Hikaru

Rating: PG

Summary: Dealing with people whose sense of humour doesn't appeal to him is how Zaizen Hikaru lives his life every day. That's just the way he is: different, and maybe, probably, a bit in love.

Zaizen Hikaru is famous at school for lacking a funny bone in his body, although in reality, he does have a highly exceptional sense of humour that few are able to understand and appreciate, which he is aware of, sometimes painfully. People who surround him on daily basis are all in for crude, over-the-top jokes or gags which involve far too much gesticulation and weird movements; Zaizen supposes that this general dislike of subtlety and wit when it comes to laughing matters must be a part of being an Osaka person, because otherwise, he cannot explain why everybody around him acts like a rather badly-behaved pre-school kid (much like his own nephew) and why, for the love of tennis balls, would anybody find any of this behaviour funny – unless they were the aforementioned pre-school kid.

Sometimes, Zaizen wonders why he hasn't transferred to another school yet. Somewhere far across the country, away from the crazy antics of his fellow Shitenhouji students and, most of all, the tennis team that he has the misfortune of being a part of. He is honestly amazed at his endurance when he thinks about it. Almost two years of daily encounters with those people, two long years filled with drama and insanity, with maybe two instances of any of his team-mates doing something to make his mouth twitch into an involuntary half-, no, quarter-smile. It's a serious accomplishment that he hasn't killed them – or himself – just yet.

One could say that a different sense of humour is not such a big deal and that Zaizen is blowing things out of proportion, but then, smaller things have been reasons for murder in the history of mankind, and Zaizen can't help but regard himself as something of a saint. A saint, surrounded by people stricken with an incurable madness that turned them into all but loud, idiotic monkeys let out of their cages by some cruel prankster.

To Zaizen, it is all about seeing the inconsistency of the crooked reality he lives in and pointing it out, exposing the irony and dealing with it by laughing it off, because it would be depressing instead. Zaizen's sense of humour is all about cynical comments in all the right moments, snide remarks that aim to criticise as much as they are supposed to make somebody laugh, and sarcastic observations of the society's antics that are simply too ridiculous to leave alone.

Of course, Zaizen has had enough time to realise that his most awesome sense of humour actually makes him pretty alternative in comparison to his fellow students in Shitenhouji. He thinks he is actually quite different from most people close to him in age, anyway, because of his superior intellect and music tastes, as well as his excellent fashion sense.

He does question himself on his choice of friends, however, and he does it quite often, since, by some bizarre turn of fate, his most valuable relationships are with the same people whose sense of humour regularly makes him want to rip his ears out so that he wouldn't have to hear their jokes ever again as much as to claw his eyes out in order not to see them enact any more nonsense gags – with his team-mates, the Shitenhouji tennis club members.

It's almost ironic in itself that he has found such good companions in those people who have a talent for irritating him with their loud laughter and moronic antics in the least appropriate moments; Zaizen appreciates the irony like nobody else could and doesn't question his emotions and feelings associated with those people. He rarely admits to them what he really thinks about them, but he is aware they know he somewhat cares about them.

'Look, he's daydreaming again,' he hears Shiraishi say; he looks at the captain, who's looking at him in turn, and he realises that he must have looked fairly entertaining, lost in thought while changing back into his school uniform in the club dressing room, because everybody is staring at him as if he were a particularly interesting stage play by a very popular troupe.

'Maybe he's in love,' Kenya, the speed-loving idiot, says with a wide grin. 'Are you in love with somebody, Zaizen-kun? Are you?'

Zaizen regards him with cool eyes for a few seconds before forming the perfect reply. 'Yes, Oshitari-senpai, as a matter of fact, I am in love. You should be aware of that, since you were the one announced it to the whole school, running and yelling, when I made the mistake of recklessly confessing my feelings to you. Which, mind you, I can still reconsider,' he says in a monotone, calm tone, as if he were explaining something to a child; he has developed this way of speaking specially for his nephew and has found, to little surprise, that this is the best way of dealing with almost everybody in Shitenhouji, and it is most effective for instances when Kenya wants to make fun of him, or irritate him, or be friendly with him when he's not in the mood for friendly. Most peculiar, that.

Their team-mates snicker all around them and Zaizen wonders if perhaps their sense of humour has rubbed off on him somewhat; if he can amuse them (even though he sees nothing amusing in what he says), surely he is as bad as they are. He knows it's not a good sign, but for now, he doesn't mind, because he notices Kenya going pale, then blushing, then going pale once again, and watching him panic is probably the most hilarious thing he had ever had the chance of encountering. This is one of the things he likes about Kenya, actually – the other boy's reactions to everything are exaggerated and over-the-top, but fun to observe none the less; that, and his pet iguana, which has actually been the love of Zaizen's life since the day he saw it for the first time.

He smirks, finishes getting dressed and grabs his bag. Putting his earphones over his ears, he pushes the play button on his iPod and leaves the club room to the sounds of electric guitar and drums filling his entire world. He's in a great mood; he might even sing along to the vocals later, and he's going to ignore any strange looks he'll get for that, as there is no reason he should give a damn. That's just who he is: different, amused and maybe, probably, a bit in love.

He never spares a moment on wondering why Kenya, of all people, because it would change nothing. He appreciates the irony of the situation, as he always does, and goes on with his life, surrounded by crude, over-the-top jokes or gags which involve far too much gesticulation and weird movements.