Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Challenge: Claustrophobia [it's just brushed across, heh]
Rating: something really mild
Characters: Taka-san, mentions of other people
Summary: Have you ever felt trapped?
Disclaimer: Tenipuri belongs to Konomi-semsei. Wish it were mine, but no, the stars aren't in my favour.
Time taken: 45/60 mins
Notes: My tenses are all over the place. T_T I don't like the way this turned out at ALL. Had the plot duckies nibbling on my ears, but they didn't tell me how to WRITE it. Oh, well. Hope you enjoy.
Kawamura Takashi was a third year student in Seishun Gakuen, and he was a regular on the boys' tennis team. He did well in his studies, so the teachers left him alone, and his classmates liked him. Kawamura-san, the well-built guy with the sweet smile; he's on the tennis team, isn't he?
Things were good on the team as well. Fuji and Momo were probably his best friends on the team, followed closely by Eiji. Their friendship was belied in the way they all call him Taka-san, even Momo, who was younger than him and should technically be calling him 'sempai'. But Takashi didn't mind. The others on the team were nice, though Takashi didn't really talk to them much; Kaidoh was just not approachable, and neither was Tezuka, but Oishi always had a smile for him, Echizen had at least some respect for him [quite a lot coming from that boy] and Inui... well, Inui was Inui.
There were two things Takashi was known for, tennis-wise. The sheer power used in his shots, and, of course, his infamous Burning Mode. People often wondered why he suddenly turned into a loud, cocky person the moment he picked up a racket. Inui's theory was long and scientific, and only Kaidoh had the patience to actually listen to it. Fuji didn't seem to care about the reason. He just found it amusing. And to everyone else? They had more or less taken it in stride. Kawamura, the guy from Seigaku with the personality split.
Akutsu had casually asked about it once, when they were younger and Takashi had just started playing tennis. "Kawamura," he had muttered. "Why the hell do you go crazy everytime you touch a racket?"
Takashi had lowered his can of soda and thought about it as they leaned on the concrete wall that was supposed to be a barrier from the beach.
That hadn't stopped Akutsu from climbing over, and Takashi from following in slight worry.
"I don't know, actually."
Akutsu had peered at him with large grey eyes. "Do you remember what you say?"
Takashi thought some more. He remembered someone first pressing a racket into his hand, and the rush of heat that had followed, and the string of broken English that had poured from his mouth. "Yeah, I remember."
Akutsu had laughed and turned away to watch the sunset once more.
Takashi had thought about it for quite a while, but hadn't really come up with an answer to the question. Not till eight months later, two months after the day Echizen Ryoma had first breezed his way into Seigaku along with the pink of spring.
"There they are! It's Seigaku!" Takashi had been walking back to the courts after a washroom break before a competition match and had heard someone whisper excitedly to his friend, and then begin to introduce the Seigaku regulars. He would have found it boring, had the person not added a word or two to describe the player.
"There's Tezuka Kunimitsu, the captain. You know."
Takashi knew. Everyone in the junior high tennis circuit knew of Tezuka.
"Sitting next to him in a cap, with a can in his hand? He's the first-year that everyone's been talking about, Echizen Ryoma. The guy talking to him isn't a regular, but he used to be one. Momoshiro something. I've played them at the street courts before."
Takashi smiled. Echizen wasn't easy to forget; a little scrawny boy kicking the ass of everyone in his way.
"The one with the smile is Fuji Syuusuke. He's like this tennis genius or something. Scary as hell when he opens his eyes."
Another nod from the tall boy. Fujiko-chan was scary, but Takashi never had reason to fear his friend.
"The two over there are the famed Golden Pair, Oishi Shuichiroh and Kikumaru Eiji. They're at National level. Then there's Kaidoh Kaoru and Inui Sadaharu, they're doubles partners as well. Kaidoh-san is scary, too, with the shot they call the Snake, and Inui-san... well, you've heard of his juices."
The second boy had nodded. "Isn't there one more?"
"Oh, yeah! Kawamura Takashi. That's odd, he's not with his team." Takashi was standing behind them. "He's... really powerful. I heard he managed to tie with the freak from Hyotei."
Takashi had pretended not to have heard anything as he walked out from behind the two whispering boys, who didn't seem to have seen him, anyway. The introductions were made by someone who didn't even know the Regulars personally, but had heard enough of them to make accurate statements of their personalities and even moves.
"Taka-san? Are you all right?"
Takashi looked up. Fuji was smiling at him, slightly worriedly. "I'm fine," he assured the smaller boy, mind still working. Suddenly, he knew the reason behind his so-called Burning Mode. It wasn't really a split personality thing, nor was it a mental problem, as Akutsu had probably thought.
It was release.
Takashi loved his team, and he liked the people in it very much. But next to the pillars and tensais and mamushis and scary juice-making guys... he just wasn't very special.
Fuji was looking at him with those blue, blue eyes. Takashi smiled slightly. "I'm fine, Fuji."
A skeptical look, but the power of those eyes shifted away again.
Takashi looked at the red and green of the courts and smiled more. It didn't really matter. Everything boiled down to tennis, and as long as he still liked tennis, and played it well, and did his team proud... well, then let them talk.
Takashi picked up his racket. "HORA HORA! COME ON! SEIGAKU! FIGHT-O! I'M BURNING!!!!!"