Ace, King

Yuuta tries to decide how it’s going to be between he and Mizuki from now on. Drama with Pre-Romance, I-3

Character(s): Fuji Yuuta, Mizuki Hajime

Yuuta worked through his last set of repetitions and let the bar clank back down to rest, sprawling over the bench as he caught his breath. He grinned up at the ceiling, satisfied with the feeling of burning muscles and heaving lungs. This was the feeling he remembered, the feeling of driving right up to the edge of his strength and endurance and staring the limit down. The feeling of advancing.

The feeling Mizuki-san gave him.

He sighed a little and reached for his towel, levering himself up. He wished Mizuki-san had had a better match with Aniki. Not that it hadn’t been an amazing match, of course, but… neither of them seemed nearly as happy with it as he and Echizen had been with their match. He didn’t like thinking that maybe Mizuki-san didn’t know what it was like to just play. Play all out, play your best, and feel satisfied that you had. It had been so fantastic! Did Mizuki-san never feel like that? If he didn’t, it made the way he played seem really cold. Cold and distant.

And, yeah, losing sucked, but that was what training was for, right? So you could win next time. Only it seemed like Mizuki-san didn’t think so.

Or hadn’t thought so. Mizuki-san said things had changed.

Yuuta really hated not knowing whether he could trust that.

He leaned over the sink in the changing room, splashing water on his face more vigorously than necessary. Mizuki-san was the one who showed him a way to stand on his own—a way to respect himself. And, yeah, he’d order people to run until they dropped, and practice moves until you did them in your sleep, and dissect mistakes in chilly and excruciating detail. Mizuki-san had always been three times as demanding as the coaches, and pretty damn merciless. But Yuuta liked that. He didn’t want mercy; he wanted to be the best.

Of course, he also wanted to keep being the best for more than one season. Hard to do that with a busted shoulder.

Mizuki-san said it wasn’t like that anymore. He had told Yuuta to stop with that shot.

Yuuta leaned his elbows on the counter, staring down at the trails of water running down white porcelain. He’d trusted Mizuki-san. Was it stupid that he still really wanted to?

“Ah, there you are. What was your lap time this afternoon?”

Yuuta started at the sound of Mizuki-san’s voice behind him, and turned to find Mizuki-san standing in the door, brows lifted, foot tapping as Yuuta tried to remember the question. “Oh. Yeah, um, fifty-eight seconds.”

“Hm.” Mizuki-san folded his arms, dark eyes turning distant. “That should do. Increase the speed two notches, next time you practice with the ball machines.” He paused in the act of turning away and looked more sharply at Yuuta. “How is the team doing?”

Yuuta blinked. “It’s doing fine. We have a handful of good players already sorted out to work on.”

“Hmm.” Mizuki-san frowned. “Are your classes going well?”

“Yeah,” Yuuta said, slowly, starting to wonder what the inquisition was for.

“Well then try eating better,” Mizuki-san ordered. “You don’t look well. It won’t do either of us any good if you fall ill enough to affect your training.”

Either of us.

Yuuta relaxed all at once. Mizuki-san was looking annoyed, not considering or sleek; he hadn’t thought before saying that. He really did see Yuuta and Yuuta’s plans, and not just himself and his own. “Yes, Mizuki-san.”

Mizuki-san looked at him, unreadable, for a long moment before nodding. “Very well. Protein and then bed, Yuuta-kun.” As he slid the door closed behind him he murmured, “Sleep well.”

Yuuta smiled down at his hand-towel for no reason at all. “You too, Mizuki-san,” he said, quietly.