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homsan toft ([personal profile] tofsla_fic) wrote2014-02-21 11:08 am

Shade (Niou, Yukimura)

Prince of Tennis, Niou - Yukimura, G
750 words

Niou is asleep when Yukimura arrives, sprawled out on a bench in the only scrap of shade up on the roof, behind the ugly brick tower that is the top of the stairwell. Yukimura thinks about sitting on him or doing something just as annoying to wake him up, but if Niou's sleeping through classes then he probably has a damn good reason. Dragging it out of him by whatever force is needed can wait for ten more minutes.

He sets about deadheading flowers in the nearest bed, and then the next, a stack of stems growing beside him.

Half an hour later Niou yawns, suspiciously theatrical, and stretches.

"You'll damage your back sleeping like that," Yukimura tells him, glances back over his shoulder at him, smiles slightly. "I won't cut you any slack at practice because of it."

Niou laughs, yawns again, makes a move to get up and flops back onto the bench. Yukimura can hear his head thud against the wood.

"This is new," Yukimura says, shuffling around to sit cross-legged, facing Niou. "What's going on?"

The garden is silent.

Niou rubs at his eyes with the heels of his palms.

"You're imagining things, Captain."

"Mm. I'm imagining all sorts of things, including increasingly wild theories as to why you might be missing classes and sleeping all the time. Would you like to tell me, or shall I share my ideas with Renji and see what he thinks?"

Niou sits up, pulling his knees up towards him and leaning his forehead against them. "I think I'm gonna go get lunch somewhere else," he says. "You gonna come with?"

There are a lot of reasons not to. Sanada could probably provide him with a catalogue of all of them, in a carefully numbered list. Renji would be more understanding, but just because he might understand does not mean he'd necessarily encourage.


Niou hums thoughtfully. "Anywhere. Let's go."

So they do.

'Anywhere' turns out to be a cornershop for cheap food and then the nearest park, where Niou gravitates to shade again. They sit together and eat; Niou keeps hiding yawns, badly.

"Maybe it's just the heat," he says, though Yukimura hasn't commented any more on the whole thing.

"Which is why you've been fine every summer before."

Half a mile away classes will be about to begin again. There will be trouble; Yukimura could smile and beg his way out of it, but he probably won't. That's for people who can't deal consequences. He knows there will be consequences; he just minds less than he perhaps should.

Niou obviously doesn't give a shit right now either. He's leaning against a tree, looking as though he could sleep again.

"Make up whatever theories you like," he mumbles.

Yukimura leans over, taps his knuckles against the side of Niou's head. "I don't really want to. I want the truth. It's somewhere in there."

A lopsided smile from Niou. "You're asking the wrong guy, then. Anyway, I'm the delinquent, yanno. Beats people up. Godawful reputation. The whole nine yards. I bet I do drugs and everything, right?"

Yukimura snorts. "And you expect me to believe these things because other people do? Is that it?"

"Lemme think about that... how about yeah? Yeah."

"Tough luck."

Niou laughs. "So? If it's not just 'cause I'm a loser then what d'you think's going on?"

"You never make anything easy, do you?"

"Anyone who actually gives a damn'd get bored if I did. Yagyuu. Yanagi. You."

"I think you're not giving us enough credit. Aren't we allowed to care? Aren't I allowed to?"


"Tough luck again."

Niou hunches in on himself. "Assholes, all of you. And you're worst. They can leave well enough alone from time to time."

"You're not the first person to call me that," Yukimura admits. "You'll just have to deal with it."

"Oh, great," Niou says. "Just what I wanted. Yanno, if I tell you I'm fine, why not believe me for once?"

Yukimura smiles. "Because you lie, Niou."

Niou smiles right back, or at least goes through the appropriate muscle-movements. "Only when it counts. What should I say? Oh hey, my parents are having screaming matches in the middle of the night a lot lately and I think the whole damn street can hear only they pretend not to? Or some other bullshit? I can make something better up if ya like."

Yukimura shakes his head, eats his lunch, taking his time to pick through his food.

When Niou falls asleep again, still leaning against the tree, Yukimura just stays sat there and tries to work out where Niou's reality begins and ends until it makes his head hurt. Then he sighs, gets out his books, and reads all the bits they probably would have covered in class that day.

He might as well stay outside for now anyway. The classrooms get sort of stuffy, and it is a beautiful day.

He'll wake Niou up when it's time for club sessions.