Pairing: Yagyuu/Niou in some form
Rating: Complete and utter G
Word Count: 943
Notes: Er, I wrote it in the school library yesterday in some attempt at entertaining myself for the 5 hours not in class. More of a sort-of character study than anything, and even then characterisation is quite questionable. XD Only posting because Liz told me to. ;o; If you are looking for dialogue or interaction, you will not find it here.
Summary: Niou does not love.
Fic can also be found translated into Spanish here, care of kaori_koneko.
'Love' was not a word in Niou Masaharu's vocabulary. There were things he liked, enjoyed, or had interest in; there were things he adored and things he was both infatuated with and intrigued by. But to look at something - another object or person and think "I love it," was simply not possible. He did not love his family, he adored them. He did not love his friends, he admired them - each so different yet somehow similar; from their shared interest in sports to their witty tongues, to their determination to be the best they could possibly be - in tennis, in school, in life.
Common interests did not necessarily bring people together, there were many on Rikkai's enormous tennis team that Niou did not like; did not speak to or about, or ever even paid an ounce of attention to if he didn't absolutely have to. It was the people who reached out to him - the people he reached out to that garnered most of his affection. Yukimura was the fun sort; strict, but fair, and always ready for a good laugh. Sanada, for all he tried to look tough and and imposing was really a nice and kind-of funny guy when his stress levels weren't skyrocketing. Yanagi, while an excellent student, occasionally requested Niou's help on the rare math questions he found difficult, and in return he helped Niou keep his grades in history and literature up. Jackal and Marui - rarely seen apart - were the outgoing types; ready for spur of the moment excursions and rounds of late-night karaoke.
Kirihara probably would not have made Niou's list of friends had he not almost constantly badgered to play his left-handed upperclassman, and rewarded generously with both food and the loaning of all the latest videogames.
Then there was Yagyuu - quiet, the model student; reserved and athletic... at least to those who did not know him as anything other than a pretty face in the crowd or the guy everyone wanted as a lab partner.
Niou, suffice to say, was intrigued by Yagyuu. He did not understand how people could consider the young man who regularly cursed or called people obscenities; who was so infuriatingly condescending, to be a "gentleman". He did not understand why Yagyuu had befriended him, nor why he continued to stay by his side.
Perhaps it was because Yagyuu, much like Niou, had been allowed to see his partner's true self - the young man behind the wild hair and pasted-on grin, the young man beneath the sharp tongue and deceitful air. Niou, to put it simply, was a complicated creature. While true he enjoyed a good joke or prank, and seemed to like to keep people guessing, he was more insecure than most people realized. He did not like arguing or yelling; he did not like being in large crowds of people or going to unfamiliar places by himself; parents praising his elder sister or fawning over his younger brother for the most minute of things; while he himself rarely even got a fatherly pat on the back for a job well done, or a protective, motherly embrace when he was sad or otherwise suffering.
Perhaps it was this that drew Yagyuu to Niou: He, the eldest child and oft center of familial attention, reaching out to the other teen as something of a younger brother; to show him that he was appreciated just as he was and to give Niou some of the loving attention he so deserved.
But they were not brothers or family - at least, not in the conventional sense - nor were they more than simply friends, partners, or even mere acquaintances. Yagyuu did not mind, so long as he could continue to be by Niou's side, to provide the support he needed both on and off the court, to help ebb off the insecurities of a young man who thought himself alone in the world. Even after Niou had told Yagyuu that he had surpassed him, that Yagyuu no longer needed him, Yagyuu had chosen to stay - "I prefer doubles."
No matter how hard he tried to understand, Niou just didn't get it. He didn't get how anyone could be so unconditionally devoted to someone like himself: basically useless and lacking in most skills and traits people tended to go for when they aimed to exploit.
It was no longer a matter of "I say, you say.", Niou had accepted the fact that Yagyuu was not leaving, and that he would rarely take "No." for an answer. Part of his bastard charm, Niou supposed and at some point during the passing months he found that he simply did not care if Yagyuu was an insufferable prick, he still liked the guy and if anything, he had grown even more intrigued about the inner mind's working of this complementary being, this creature the world called "Yagyuu Hiroshi".
Niou did not love. He did not love his friends or family, he did not love the feel of wind in his hair or the taste of still-sizzling barbequed beef on his tongue. Though it was possible that, on some level, Niou simply did not know the meaning of love. It was the only explanation he could think of; the feelings he had were far more than like or enjoy, they were stronger than mere infatuation, more than adoration and still so full of curiosity, the need to know more - everything he could - about the young man who'd caused him endless headaches.
It was possible, perhaps, that Niou Masaharu was in love, and he just didn't know it.