pair largely onesided nijimura/akashi, slight akashi/midorima
summary Regarding the political climate at Teikou Junior High.
notes this is quite literally the worst thing i have ever written but buchou feelings 2 stronk
"To the boy delivering a speech at the end of his captaincy"
Because rumors were never actually limiting reactants, Nijimura dispelled controversy and deceived them all by graduating with honors at the top of his class. In the afternoon of his graduation ceremony he delivered what many teachers could later certify as a Truly Heartfelt Speech, cleared his throat in front of four-hundred students perched on cold metal folding chairs in the middle of March, most of them looking the other way and fixing their hair and talking in whispers and grinding the minutes under their teeth. His sentences were not unhurried. He spoke of the spectacular guidance that he'd received under the teaching staff, of the pride and utmost honor he was expected to have felt as the captain of the Teikou basketball team in his last two terms, of a fierce hope that stood up at a ninety-degree-angle within the walls of a classroom through which he'd entertained seven minutes of misappropriated glory.
"I will graduate from here wearing the highest badge of honor." Nijimura had smiled. His voice was crisp and he held the microphone with one thumb and two tired fingers. "And knowing that, should I attain any amount of success in the future, it will no doubt be heavily indebted to my precious experiences here, in the beginning, at Teikou."
Akashi, a second year, sat in the middle row with the rest of his class. Nearing the end of Nijimura's insufferable monologue, he was probably the only one out of the ten rows of his classmates still sitting with his back straight up against the chair, scraping up Nijimura's words in his hands and leaving traces of it under his fingernails, a miraculous retention of information that he both reveled in and despised himself for. It was only one of several paradoxes that he associated with the passing of Nijimura's reign. When the graduating class stepped up to accept their certificates at the very end, this paradox wrapped itself up and fell onto Akashi's knees, and a small puddle of flammable sentiment formed right then and there, useless sentiment evaporated into longing evaporated into indignation evaporated into hopelessness from having loved so hard that it hurt to only be sitting there.
"...I love this school from the bottom of my heart," said Nijimura.
It was then that his heart began to curl up in the dark.
"But you've got an idea about Nijimura-senpai," Midorima said to him, around the beginning of that year. "You've got an idea about how it's going to work."
"I don't believe in hostile takeovers," Akashi said simply, after a moment. "Or maybe you do, Midorima-kun?"
"I never suggested either of those things," said Midorima, and Akashi thought that he detected a note of relief in Midorima's voice, buried somewhere beneath what was probably a deep-seated belief in trading sunshine for bureaucratic walks in the park. "But I can't be the first person who's tried to convince you otherwise. Not that I'm in any position to do so."
Akashi knew what he was thinking. Midorima was at his most easiest to read when he tried to go for tsundere. Perhaps, given a few more years, he'd develop an improved tactic for disguising his messy admiration, but for now it was still very apparent. "Midorima-kun," he said, stopping in front of the shoe racks at the entrance of the school. "Please stop trying to act as if you are inferior to me. It's quite insulting. Aren't we friends?"
Midorima's fingers tightened their grip on his giant rubber bath toy. "O-Of course we are. Friends. That's just it, you see."
That's just it, you see, because Nijimura did not seem to care for basketball in the same way that Akashi did, and that much became apparent two hours into Akashi's first practice as a new member on the starting team. Their captain performed drills with the rest of the team and assigned supplementary dynamic exercises in moments of snap judgment, called breaks at thirty-minute intervals and allowed his voice to drip over the edge of their peripheral hearing. During passing drills, his eyes followed each of his teammates carefully, trimmed to a specific degree of neutrality that Akashi tried not to overanalyze.
"You do enjoy this sport, don't you?" he asked Nijimura in the changing room after practice. "I'd like to know. I'm having trouble figuring out what your exact intentions are."
Nijimura didn't look him in the eye, and continued rummaging through his locker. "It's fine like this, Akashi-kun. We play to win."
"I am aware of that."
"Then that's really all you have to know, OK? That's all you should know."
"Good." Nijimura gave him a smart pat on the shoulder. "Don't sweat it too much, yeah?"
Underneath the shower taps, Akashi heard Nijimura whistling through his teeth. This orchestration as a team captain, Akashi thought then, was certainly so perfect that it had to have been chemically-balanced. Perhaps that was all it ever could be.
"You're improving, aren't you?"
"I've been doing my best."
"I can't say that I wasn't concerned, or at least a few months ago, you know? There was all that fuss over the whereabouts of your mother, and the thing is I'm actually not surprised by the insufficiency of their radar at all because her case fell through the books. The books are harsh, you know? ...One-hit wonders, judging by the nature of disappearances and how they affect the self-esteem of the whole household. Real shit job, really. Isn't there something your father can do about it, or is his present condition simply too -ah, inefficient- for a full contribution to your cause?"
"I'm awfully sorry, Nijimura-buchou, you don't have to answer that."
"I would prefer not too."
"That's it, then. You may leave. Oh, and Nijimura-"
"Take care of your basketball team, won't you? You know I need you, but those Teikou bastards probably need you more."
"...Don't I know it."
"What was that?"
"Nothing, Hanamiya. It's nothing at all."
In October Akashi was walking back to the gym before practice when he heard a muffled thump from outside in the corridor, as if something had collided into the wall of the classroom from the inside, following a muttered exclamation of surprise.
It wasn't as if he was curious or anything. There just happened to be a gap between the door and its adjoining wall, and there was certainly no civil law barring him from holding his breath and sliding it a little farther. Besides, something was up, he could feel it.
When he nudged his head around the corner, he was met with the startling image of Nijimura with his back against the wall and not five feet away from the door, his arms braced around another third year, whose name Akashi remembered was Ueda. They were kissing each other. Nijimura's fingers were threaded through the other boy's hair, his legs hooked around Ueda's waist, and the first three buttons on his school shirt were undone. Ueda pressed soft kisses against his throat, and Nijimura hummed quietly, his breath coming out in small uneven puffs, fingers moving down to rub small circles into the back of Ueda's school jacket. His eyes were closed and for three seconds the expression on his face was the softest that Akashi had ever seen it.
"You like that?" Akashi heard Ueda whisper into Nijimura's ear, the air completely still around his head and something in the foreground buzzing quietly, tension thick enough to crack apart at the core. One of Ueda's hands reached down to cup Nijimura's crotch, squeezing softly until Nijimura let out a staggered whimper, his fingers digging into Ueda's back.
When he opened his eyes, Akashi was already twenty meters down the hall, his back pressed against the wall, breathing icicles, his heart beating faster than he would likely ever give himself credit for.
"Isn't Ueda-senpai the captain of the rugby team?" Akashi asked Nijimura after practice.
Nijimura stiffened. The difference in his posture was marginal, but Akashi noticed the reproach before it was stashed it away completely. "And how do you know Ueda?"
"I wanted to learn more about the rugby team, that's all."
"Rugby's pretty cool," Nijimura shrugged. "But I can't have you joining Ueda's club, you hear? You're an important member of the basketball team, Akashi. That's my team."
For a moment, it sounded as if he wasn't proud of this achievement, perhaps even disgusted by the idea. It made Akashi wonder.
Possessive adjectives and gentle lyricism inevitably decayed during the winter, when Akashi's father found a stain in his tie and his varlet wasn't there to fix it. A small matter, really, anybody could have strung a few notes along the drawing room piano keys and identified the hitbox of the target to a point so precise that it prickled when you pinched yourself in your dream, but see, in as much time that Akashi had spent learning about the world, his father had spent building it, and here his fingers could brush against the dotted line coexisting alongside the aspirations of both father and son. So it remained that there was a stain in the Thai silk and it remained that Akashi's father had hired a varlet to ensure that something like this should have never occurred in the first place, regardless of nobody being certain how it had gotten there at all. The existence of this stain was a nonverbal guarantee of high blood pressure and imminent failure to meet eye contact during the most world-class of world-class business meetings, and eventually higher taxes and shittier law enforcement, the kind of divine punishment and blue sky the likes which you will never witness in another lifetime.
Evenings at the Akashi household were a quiet affair.
Two weeks later there was a sports festival and during the tug-of-war event an unusual situation had sprung up from inside the school building; some scumbag had gone into one of the first-year classrooms and knocked over all the tables and chairs until there were only legs in the air and no ghosts left in the janitor's closet. The student council made an unanimous decision to send their most valuable resources into the fray and Akashi was pulled into it as a result of this ridiculous voting system, sunshine traded for bureaucratic walks-in-the-park. He was given the unwanted privileges of a primary investigator, but before he could make perfect sense of the situation, he discovered Nijimura exiting the crime scene with his knuckles buried deep into a spectacular brocade of blue Thai silk, his lips wet and his shirt on backwards, accompanied by a boy who looked like his backpack carried an even ratio of notebook paper to hamburgers.
"He's on the tennis team, Momoshiro-senpai, isn't he?"
"What's this, Akashi, you wanna join the tennis team now?"
"I was only just won-"
"But is that any of your business? Fifty laps, and get out of here when you're done."
Akashi's blood was pumping before he even started to run.
"So I was looking through our books," said Midorima. "Some of the numbers weren't adding up the way the ledger reports had described them."
"Were you that bored, Midorima-kun?" said Akashi. "Could've spent more time to complete your shooting practice."
"I need to find out where the missing funds are going. I'm taking this to the student council treasury, Akashi."
"You've such determination."
"I am an interested party," said Midorima, scowling. "And by the end of the week the half-court line will have been rubbed raw with my sweat and tears, thank you very much."
Along with the adjustment of governing politics and ruling kingdoms, there were certain principles to mitigating damage, and most of those were associated with the ability to reflect a calm and purposeful state of mind. He would be breathing calmness, rubbing it between his palms and soaking it in his clothes and molding it between his fingers and clapping it over his shoulders, licking it up until his spoon was soft and the water was dry. The calmness was neither his friend nor his associate, because the goal was that it needed to just be there. In order to remove the stain from his father's Thai silk, it was necessary for him to reflect a calm and purposeful state of mind.
"There's no foreseeable future in this proposition, currently," was what Ohno from the student council told him when he asked. "We don't believe in retracting our funds after we've given them away. Besides, the treasury has deep pockets." And Midorima is an idiot for thinking otherwise, was the unspoken sentiment.
"I'd just like to perform a simple inspection of your books," said Akashi. "With all due respect."
Ohno's shoulders stiffened.
"Beyond that, basketball team doesn't need any of this," Midorima spoke up. "We've always had sufficient funding. There's even been sponsorship contacts at the main office, or have you not heard? Please don't take us so lightly, Ohno-san."
"The basketball team can always need something."
"And why is that?" Akashi said quietly.
"You're aware of the political climate here at Teikou, yes? If I'm be even considered by the third-year teachers, I've gotta be backing the most successful sports team in the school. Rumors say that you guys are going for the consecutive win. So I can't help you there, I've got to preserve my own interests first," said Ohno. "Besides, I already have gentlemen from the rugby club, the tennis club, and even the goddamn swim club coming in here demanding that I recall several of their invoices and balance again, just for your basketball team. Do you even understand how rare that is?"
Midorima frowned. "But why would they go out of their way to do something like th-"
"It's OK, Midorima-kun," Akashi said suddenly. "I think I've gotten a better grasp on the situation, then. Thank you, Ohno-senpai."
"There you go," said Ohno, and he rolled his eyes. "I've got bigger fish to catch, Midorima-kun. And when I say fish, I mean like actual fish."
"You've been misappropriating the team funds for private purposes."
"I won't apologize," said Nijimura.
"Is it because of your father? You realize that, if you were in need of anything, I would be more than willing to len-"
"Oh for god's sake, Akashi, not everything I do is about my father! Try applying that to your own life, too, maybe?"
"I don't understand what you're trying to say."
"And I've understood enough. Go warm up."
Hanamiya's finishing act was a curved pink color, frosty after its distillation and intention utterly opaque under the sun. Hanamiya was never self-reflective, having enjoyed sunshine over bureaucracy to an extent far more extreme than any of his opposing factions could find themselves to believe. It was having a glimmer of hope-or rather, the idea of having it. He played these glimmers with the style and fluorish of a celebrity gastronomer, carefully peeling the concepts apart from the flesh with a fork and knife, swallowed it slow-motion in front of the fuckers whose sole identifying characteristic was obtaining what Hanamiya had already chewed. It wasn't right to call him malicious or anything. It was simply his design.
"You know all of this, but you still want me to find your mother."
"Is my desperation so obvious?" Nijimura laughed.
"I don't think it's not something to admire. She'll be the only close relation you have after the rest of your family leaves you behind. I hope I don't sound too insensitive right now. You see, I'm usually a lot more insensitive."
"I'm not bothered by it, Hanamiya."
"That's good. Continue being unbothered. My services don't come cheap, after all. The Great Nippon Hanamiya Police Force has certain standards to uphold."
"That's damn right to you."
He went up to Nijimura again after practice, steeled his breath and prepared himself to reflect a calm and purposeful state of mind. "It's just that, I don't think you care about basketball the same way that I do."
Nijimura spared him a single glance before turning around to brush the dust off his shoulders. "And how is it that you care about basketball, Akashi? I'd really like to know. Because sometimes I get the feeling that you care even less than me."
"Everybody gets tired of it at some point, it's nothing new." Nijimura shrugged. "In fact, I'll probably quit in the near future."
Akashi felt the calmness slop over the edge of his shoes. It was warm. He had to have expected it. "That's interesting. How unexpected of you, Nijimura-senpai."
Nijimura grinned. "Don't flatter me, Akashi."
"I was only curious," said Akashi, and he repeated the same words that he had once spoken to Nijimura, not too long ago. "I'm having trouble figuring out what your exact intentions are. That's all."
"It's politics, politics," said Nijimura, waving his hand in the air dismissively. "Aside from that, I needed some validation. What do you want me to say? You want me to love basketball? Hate it? I've experienced the extremes already. It's like, you know you're playing for iTeikou/i, you're going to win regardless of your feelings or your physical disposition or the color of your temperament on the day of a game, so what could you have actually accomplished here, anyway? There's nothing you can do for me that I haven't already done. Go and direct your fantasies at Midorima or somebody else more willing to reciprocate."
"I was only trying to be friendly," said Akashi.
"Please," said Nijimura, and even Akashi could tell that he was having trouble trying to keep the sneer off his face. "You are the last person I'd call friendly. No offense or anything. I'm too old for this, really, I am."
"God, look," said Nijimura. "I'm sorry, OK? I really don't know what else to say to you. I don't want to be friends with you. Or anything more. I'm kind of done with this school."
Akashi realized, then, that these were the facts.
"...Yeah." He swallowed. "Thanks for the advice."
"Hey, don't be like that," Nijimura's smile was thin. "You're a good person. I couldn't trust anyone else with this job. If it was Midorima, he'd probably bring this club down to its knees in two months."
He felt the need to defend for Midorima's honor. "Midorima-kun is not so bad."
"Yeah, guess you're right. He's not even the one who's been following his captain around outside of practice just to watch him slut it out with every single attractive guy in the school."
Akashi relaxed his shoulders. "So you noticed it, after all."
"You think I wouldn't? Jeez, Akashi, you made it too obvious. And then you went to put on your little investigative dance and got Ohno to spit out something he wasn't supposed to even understand in the first place, that must've all been really for fun for you, I bet."
"I won't apologize," said Akashi.
"Do you ever?"
"...But really, Nijimura-senpai, even the swim club? Don't they shave before all of their meets or something?"
"Damn," Nijimura scratched his head. "Thought I made sure you didn't get to see me with Tachibana. Guess I gotta give you more credit for being such a big fucking stalker."
He felt like he belonged in a television drama. It would have a handsome boy lead and a quirky girl for a protagonist and all sorts of small things that would add up over the years, like shared dinners on dates and Valentine's chocolates and clouds that could smile, an accumulation of affection that was so perfect it had to have been chemically-balanced, gradual romance that the audience could sink their teeth into without feeling too bothered by the lack of visceral subjectivity. At the very end, there would be a tearjerker scene and perhaps even heartbreak if the writers were the courageous type, none of the adults could hate it and everybody would go home and download the insert song. It would hit no.1 on Oricon.
"Oi, Akashi, you OK?" Aomine tried to ask him on that day, after practice, the three times out of ten that Aomine could become concerned about somebody that wasn't himself. "You look like you've just been rejected by a girl."
"How would you even know what that would look like?" said Midorima, pushing his glasses up his nose. "Go and die, Aomine. I can't think of a single reason why anybody would reject Akashi, for that matter."
Above all, Nijimura himself had been both perpetrator and victim to Teikou politics. Akashi was certain of it.
These were the facts.
"...I love this school from the bottom of my heart," said Nijimura.
But that's a lie, thought Akashi, and you know it better than anybody else.
- i've been writing and rewriting this for months now 8| gentle reminder here to not take anything seriously pls you'll have a bad time otherwise and even i can't help you there
- but yeah tl;dr your neighborhood pretty boy buchou enjoys being self-destructive, only akashi keeps finding him shacking up w/ boyfriends and is way too emotionally unprepared to come to terms with his own feelings
- (on a scale of 1 to furihata how scandalized do you think akashi was)
- do not ask me about momoshiro from the tennis team ii know not a thing about momoshiro from the tennis team/i in fact don't even ask me about tachibana from the swim club really who's that ?!
thanks for reading! i like reading comments