Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Word count: 925
Summary: To Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is all there is.
To Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is life. His whole world, his actions, emotions, all he does and feels and wants, revolve around the courts he stands on, the racket that seems perfectly fitted to his hand, and the brightly-coloured ball. Thinking of the future, he only imagines himself out there in the world of professional players, not as an observer, but as one of them, one of the best, the one on the top, the world's best, top of the ranks. It's a dream, but he knows if he gives it his best, he can grasp it with his hands. Nothing can stop him. Nothing can shatter the image of the hard-won victory in four Grand Slams in a row that he sees in his dreams every night. Nobody can stop him from reaching out for the glory.
To Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is possibility. To escape from the smothering world he lives in, the world of school and university and work and the rat races, the world of obligations to his family and his friends and his comrades and the society and everyone. To rise higher, above the level of regular human beings, to spread his wings and fly to the top of the new, bigger world. To be remembered as somebody special, somebody amazing, somebody worth remembering. To push forward without looking back, and to do so with the support from people he cherishes.
To Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is passion. The court is where he can throw away all pretences and let go of his inhibitions, where he can engage in an all-out battle of skills, of will and determination; on the courts, the outside world doesn't exist. What exists is the ball he has to return at all cost, what exists is the overwhelming heat that threatens to engulf him, to set him on fire and burn away his last traces of reason, what exists is the intensity, what exists is the opponent, hitting smashes after volleys after lobs at him, what exists is the sound and the sight and the feel and the taste and the possibility of victory and defeat.
To Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is fear. When his elbow is hurt for the first time. When Atobe Keigo finds his weakness and destroys his shoulder, almost taking away his dreams and his life and his passion and his everything during one match. When the pain doesn't go away for so long. When the rehabilitation doesn't work, when it takes too much time, when it's hopeless and he will never be able to play again, will he? When, after he finally wins against the pain, the possibility that he would face Atobe Keigo again comes up. When he avoids it. When he emerges victorious from one match after the other. When he takes the risk and goes all out in the final of the National Tournament. When he loses and the pain comes back. When...
To Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is war. As he pushes forward with his comrades, he spills blood and sweat and tears, and he is defeated, and he gains victories, and he sacrifices himself for the sake of his team, throwing a battle here or there, because he is a commander and a tactician, and he sees the bigger picture. Sacrifice isn't easy and he doesn't want it, and he's afraid, but if it was easy, it would be meaningless, so he sacrifices: his arm, his career, his tennis, his future, his life, his everything. And in the and, he wins, and he is the hero who saves the day, almost, and the sacrifice doesn't matter when what it bought him is so important. Soon, he will do it again.
To Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is joy. Each victory and each defeat, each rally and each simple serve. He enjoys every minute on the court, he enjoys the passion and the fear and the possibility and the dream and the war. He enjoys watching other players and he learns from watching them, and he could do this all the time, play tennis and win or maybe lose, as long as he can stand on the courts forever, controlling the game or maybe trying to gain control from his opponent, starting with an advantage or maybe being at a disadvantage from the start. It doesn't matter which, as long as he can play and forget about less important things.
To Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is Atobe Keigo. Rival. Enemy. Equal. He doesn't know how or why or when exactly he started associating tennis with the captain of Hyoutei's team, but it doesn't matter, because tennis, to him, is all about Atobe Keigo, about the matches they played and didn't play, about the matches they will and won't play, about the victories they will achieve and the defeats they will suffer at each other's hands, about the heat and determination and passion and intensity, about the longing to touch, to reach out, to close the distance of the court's length, about the meaningless conversations and the meaningful ones, about the long-anticipated kisses away from prying eyes of others. Tennis makes no sense when there is no Atobe Keigo, and Atobe Keigo makes no sense without tennis, as if they were one thing, only different, but still one, because aiming for the top is futile without a rival who will spur him on and cheer for him and fight him for every little victory. Without Atobe Keigo, there would be no meaning to tennis.
And to Tezuka Kunimitsu, tennis is everything.