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homsan toft ([personal profile] tofsla_fic) wrote2014-02-21 09:28 am

Action/Reaction (Niou/Yagyuu)

Prince of Tennis, Niou/Yagyuu, M
2,000 words
Jealousy and general uncertainty.

This is how it comes together. They can't become each other that perfectly, because abilities which have taken years of work are not so easily replicated and habit takes too much effort to break. Though Niou changes like the wind, can be whatever it suits him to be, Yagyuu's habits and quirks are a part of him, stacked layers deep in defensive walls around him. It only works at all because of the fact that those defences hide a core which is the same as Niou's, contrary and determined and unimpressed with the world. But the important thing is that it does work, well enough.

Yagyuu always thought it would be a trick they pulled once, there and gone like most of the schemes Niou dreams up, but the reality is more complicated. Mostly because neither of them are simple people. It's just a game, though; one which entertains them both a great deal.

Niou says the things which Yagyuu thinks, knowing that Yagyuu thinks them. These days Yagyuu sometimes finds himself saying the things that Niou thinks, too, drawing a sharp look and then a quick dismissal from his teacher or his parents; a quick flash of delight from Niou, hastily hidden away. He enjoys those little glimpses into Niou's mind, and enjoys everything else he can get from Niou too.

"That Niou boy is a bad influence," he overhears his mother saying to his father one evening when he arrives home later than usual, Niou himself in tow. "Hiroshi seems to be taking on too many of his ideas."

It amazes Yagyuu how his parents can have created him and raised him and have so little idea of who he really is at all. Niou hasn't put anything in his mind which wasn't already there; he isn't so weak and easily swayed as that. He has been the good one for years because it draws less attention. In his own way, he might just have more freedom than Niou, who does what he pleases but is always being watched by people who are just waiting for him to slip, give them an excuse. All that Niou has shown him is that there can be considerable satisfaction in edged comments, ambiguous words which people will wonder about.

"I'm tarnishing your perfect reputation, Yagyuu," Niou whispers close to his ear, and it's only considerable practice and the fact that it's Niou which allows Yagyuu to keep from flinching at Niou's breath, warm and damp on his neck.

"I could say the same to you," he responds, almost under his breath. He's heard the way some of Niou's... friends (acquaintances?) talk about him, wondering what someone like Niou is playing at hanging around with someone like Yagyuu, showing a complete lack of understanding. It amuses him a great deal.

They make their way upstairs quietly. Niou knows to avoid the third step, which creaks, and not to put weight on the elderly handrail. There isn't a break in the back-and-forth murmur of his parents' voices in the kitchen. Only his sister notices them, right before the door of his bedroom snicks shut. He shakes his head at her through the narrow gap, and she nods. His good little accomplice. They have a standing arrangement of sorts, helped by the fact that she really seems to like Niou. He tries not to think about exactly why she likes him most of the time. She'll grow out of it; nothing serious. Niou at least doesn't lead her on, treats her more like any of his own siblings than anything.

He must be well aware that Yagyuu would have no hesitation about hurting him if he stepped out of line on that particular point. Especially when...

Niou's hands on his sides, slipping under his shirt, are enough to stall his train of thought and underline the general direction it was taking at the same time.

"Yagyuu..." Niou starts, sharp and hungry.

"Mm," Yagyuu says, agreement to a question which was never asked, answering hunger coming to life in him, a slow build as Niou's hands move upward, splay across his chest, nails catching lightly at his nipples on the downward slide that follows, drawing heat through Yagyuu's body, focusing it. His back is pressed against Niou's chest, and Niou's hands are firm on his stomach, insistent. Trapped between heat and heat, and he takes a moment to just enjoy it, dropping his head back against Niou's shoulder and breathing quietly, letting go of the day's tension. A little moment taken to be calm before reality kicks back in and things stop seeming so simple.

Sex is good, easy, not quite simple but enjoyable. Kissing Niou, touching him, rough and hurried and hot, teeth and nails on skin. He doesn't let himself be tender, doesn't want to scare Niou, isn't sure where the boundary of what is and isn't allowed lies. Plays it safe, stroking roughly at Niou's cock, biting the base of his throat when he throws his head back, low enough that it'll be covered by his tie in the morning. Hissing sharply when Niou returns the favour, teeth raking the skin of his shoulder. It's just sex, except there's no just for Yagyuu when it comes to Niou.

He's almost asleep when Niou, shifting restlessly, mutters, "what the hell are we doing, anyway?"

He doesn't know if he's meant to answer, and he doesn't know exactly what answer Niou is looking for anyway, so he says nothing at all, keeps his breathing even and his eyes closed.

Sometimes he wonders about them, about what they do, whether they really think of it in the same terms or whether this is wishful thinking, a product of his desire to believe that they really, truly are the same - at least in the ways which count. They've never discussed terms and conditions. It isn't really like that.

Seeing Niou kissing a girl behind the science block doesn't help matters in the slightest. His first instinct is to haul the two apart, punch Niou, but in a way that would be too obvious, he doesn't want to draw attention to the fact that he's-- that he and Niou are--

Anyway, the rational part of his mind interjects before he can get too tangled over what exactly they are, Yagyuu the gentleman wouldn't do that.

Just before he turns away to leave, Niou pulls away, glances up, sees him. The expression on his face isn't quite what Yagyuu expects. He looks more curious than anything. Maybe disappointed.

They don't speak for a week except to discuss tennis at practice. Yagyuu is almost annoyed that their game doesn't suffer as much as he expects it to; they can still work perfectly well together, but their games regain the violent edge they haven't had since Yukimura's surgery succeeded. It's a substitute for lashing out at Niou for him, he knows, but he can't quite get at Niou's rationalisation of the whole thing. People who saw the switch revealed, that one time, have told him in the past that he must be able to work out what Niou thinks about thinks to be able to become him. He wishes it was true; but their game of changing identities is really about understanding the outward reactions, not the exact thoughts which give rise to them.

That weekend he meets Kaidou at the ABC open. He'd vaguely planned to go and watch with Niou, but given that they still can't exchange a proper sentence by then he finds himself alone.

When he and Kaidou end up playing doubles together, it feels like a kind of revenge to suggest that they switch.

It works better than he expects. That in itself makes him feel rather uncomfortable. It isn't really what he expected, and it makes him wonder if even more if he's been wrong all along about him and Niou.

He tells Niou about it on Monday, before practice even starts, because there's no point in simply having done it if he can't get a reaction from Niou because of it.

He gets his reaction, sure enough. It shouldn’t surprise him that the reaction is violent - doesn't surprise him really, even if he only broke the rules because Niou broke them first. It almost relieves him. It means that there was some meaning to the whole damn thing in Niou’s mind too, enough to make him angry about it. And sure enough, Niou's hands clenched tightly on his shoulders, fingers digging roughly into muscle, pressing against bone until Yagyuu is sure there will be bruises - more than he expected, but maybe what he hoped for. Roughly holding him close, not pushing him away for his misdeeds.

"Don't do it again," Niou growls. "Not with anyone else. It's just us, damn you."

Yagyuu feels a moment of sharp, angry satisfaction. Yes. It’s what he hoped for. "Really? Then it's just us for everything else, too. Remember that, Niou-kun."

Eye to eye, a fierce challenge in Niou's expression which Yagyuu knows is there in his own, too, if you know how to read it. Niou knows.

"It's not the same," Niou snaps eventually. A flicker of uncertainty there, all the same, which keeps Yagyuu from giving up and punching the bastard. "That wasn't--"

Yagyuu silences him with a biting kiss, shifting his weight to topple Niou back against the wall of the clubhouse, pressing his advantage. Niou's fingers tighten even harder on his skin and then loosen, just resting there. That means something, he's sure, but exactly what is less than clear to him right now.

"It's the same to me," he says, as harshly as he can with his voice muffled against Niou's lips, breathless from kissing. It's true, in his mind. Switching with someone else, kissing someone else... not exactly the same thing, but both things which should've been just for the two of them.

"She didn't mean a damn thing," Niou says, or starts to say, because Yagyuu bites his lip sharply before he can finish the sentence, making the words trail off, making Niou gasp, arch against Yagyuu until their bodies are pressed together. Yagyuu’s hands close around Niou’s hips, hard, holding him there. "Nn. I just wanted to see if you--"

I just wanted to see if you’d actually give a damn. He can understand it too easily because he's thought it himself. But now they both know.

"Don't do it again," Yagyuu says, an echo of Niou's demand.

Niou kisses him. Different, almost soft, shocking in the open emotion it contains. It's as good as an agreement. Just us. Yagyuu finds himself answering it instinctively, content to lose himself in this. The usual rush of it isn’t there, the need to just get each other off, and it’s... strangely pleasant, doing nothing but kissing. Satisfying in a way he didn’t really expect.

But they are, he realises dimly a while later, going to be late for practice. Yukimura is actually going to skin them. He's still even more energetic than he ever was before he got ill, even more determined to work his team into the ground to prepare them for the nationals. Niou seems to have the same realisation, because he swears indistinctly, panting against Yagyuu's shoulder. At least they had the sense to get themselves into this state around the back of the clubhouse, well out of sight of everyone else.

"Playing like this is gonna be hell," he points out, and Yagyuu actually laughs for the first time since their... whatever it was. Argument. Miscommunication. Niou's right, though.

"You'll live," he says.

"Sure," Niou agrees, glances up and him and flashes him a brilliant grin. "But will you?"

Yagyuu taps him lightly across the shoulder, kisses him more gently than he's ever dared before today, a soft press of lips, warm and comfortable. "I will." Somehow. "Come on, before we earn ourselves any more punishment than we're already due."