Heat Imaging

Yuuta plays some with Fuji and they wind up discussing Mizuki. Drama and Romance, I-3

Character(s): Fuji Shuusuke, Fuji Yuuta

Yuuta swung and missed again. “Damn!”

“As your opponent, I appreciate that, but you’d better not let Kaa-san hear you saying it,” Aniki called across the net.

“I don’t see Kaa-san here right now,” Yuuta pointed out, swinging his racquet onto his shoulder. In fact, no one at all was here right now; they had found the most out of the way court at the least lively tennis school they could. Aniki obviously didn’t want his new move scooped, and Yuuta really, really didn’t want anyone to see them playing.

If anyone said anything about the genius, and, oh, his little brother too, he didn’t think he’d be able to do anything but blow up at Aniki. Again.

Aniki chuckled and fished their water bottles off the bench, tossing Yuuta his. “You’ve improved since Prefecturals.”

Yuuta grinned, pleased. “Yeah? Good.” He took a long drink. “Mizuki-san’s been helping me with my training schedule, but it’s hard to be sure sometimes.”

Aniki coughed and sputtered. “Mizuki? Yuuta you can’t tell me you’re still training with him!”

“Why not?” Yuuta blinked at his brother.

Yuuta! He nearly crippled you!”

Yuuta snorted. “Oh, he did not. One hard match with that shot wouldn’t have hurt me.” He examined at his water bottle while Aniki stared at him. “A whole season might have. But it didn’t happen.”

“But it could have!” Aniki caught his shoulder, frowning. “Yuuta, please.”

Yuuta squirmed. He’d kind of hoped not to have to discuss this with Aniki. “Mizuki-san is good at what he does, Aniki. And it’s different now.”

“Different how?”

Yuuta lifted his chin. “Different because I know what I’m doing, and he knows I do. And he has plans that need all his players in good shape.” And Mizuki-san looked at him differently, too, which Yuuta wasn’t going to say because he didn’t know how to describe the difference. At least not so that Aniki wouldn’t have a heart attack.

Aniki was quiet for a moment. “Do you really think he can teach you what you need, to play at the level you want to?”

Yuuta was quiet for even longer, struggling to find the right words. Finally he said, “I think determination and working hard enough can take us to the top. And you must think so too, Aniki, or you wouldn’t be out here, coming up with new moves and trying them out on me. Mizuki-san makes everyone work harder than they ever thought they could. Including himself, now.”

“There’s working hard, and then there’s destroying yourself.” Aniki’s eyes flickered, at that, though, and he looked away. “If you’re sure,” he said, finally.

Yuuta smiled a little, finger tracing around the cap of his water bottle. He’d admit, to himself, that sometimes he’d like it if Mizuki-san let go a little more, ran a little hotter. He couldn’t help thinking that getting to the top needed some of that, too. But he was very sure that Mizuki-san wanted to win and was looking everywhere for ways. Maybe… maybe he could get Mizuki-san to see this one. And that way they could help each other. “Yeah. I’m sure.”

Aniki sighed. “All right. I guess we already know you’re more stubborn than I am.” He lifted his racquet. “Once more?”

Yuuta grinned. “You bet! I’ll catch that ball before we leave.” Yuuta set himself, ready to throw everything into the game, the way he always did. It was just about his specialty—kind of the way calculation was Mizuki-san’s.

Mizuki-san had showed him the way to grow and stand on his own; maybe now it was his turn.