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Prince of Tennis - Yanagi Renji - 072. Fixed. [Apr. 12th, 2018|08:12 pm]
The Ultimate FanFic Challenge!

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[willowscry]
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Title: Dissections of a Relationship
Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Characters: Yanagi Renji, Niou Masaharu, Yagyuu Hiroshi, other Rikkai, Niou’s little brother, and a cameo from Inui!
Prompt: 072.  Fixed.
Word Count: 8,464
Rating: R (Sexy talk, hinted at actions)
Summary: Yukimura is upset that Renji broke up one of his best doubles pairs.  Can Renji find a way to fix a broken friendship despite being the cause of the split?
Author's Notes:
Other stories in this little series are:
Twisted (Prompt # 41, the original)
Going to Extremes (Prompt # 46, the sequel)
On a Downward Spiral (Prompt # 64,the prequel)
My LDT found at http://willowscry.livejournal.com/110545.html


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Aren’t you getting tired of hanging around here all the time?”  Yanagi Renji asked his boyfriend, who had spent the night.  “Not that I mind that much, but…”

“I know, I have a home.”  Niou Masaharu grinned at him, and rolled over.  “Your mom’s a good cook.”

Renji rolled his eyes.  “I was always warned about bringing strays home…”  He said, wrapping an arm around the other’s waist and burying his head in his neck.

“I’m not a stray.”  Niou protested.

“Not anymore, I suppose.”  Was the muffled response.

“Admit it, you like having a nice lazy Saturday with me.”

“Most of the time.”  Renji answered, pulling himself to a sitting position.  “Though in case you’ve forgotten, we have tennis practice today.”

Niou frowned.  “No.  Don’t want to.”  He buried himself under Renji’s blankets.

“I know where you live.”  Renji threatened, pulling the blankets back.  “Come on, Masaharu.”

“You know what, I revoke that privilege.”  Niou said.

“You don’t mean that, besides, once I start, I never go back.  Also, I know you have your things since you came here straight from practice yesterday.”  Renji stood up, pulling on his warm ups.

“Who thought Saturday practice was a good idea?”  Niou grumbled under his breath.

“Genichirou and Seiichi.”  Renji answered.

“That was a rhetorical question.”  Niou said, rolling his eyes now, and finally getting dressed.

“That’s more like it.”  Renji said, smiling a little.  He reached his arm out.  “I’ll buy lunch.”

“Fine.”  Niou accepted the offer and got off his butt.



Renji was standing with Sanada and Yukimura at practice.  They were more observing, than actually doing any practice.  Yukimura looked over at him.  “Things still icy between them?”  He asked, frowning.

Renji sighed.  “While yes, this is indirectly my fault, I’m not going to force them to get along, especially if Masaharu doesn’t.”

Yukimura scowled.  “Indirectly?”  Sanada repeated, a skeptical look on his face.

“They had issues other than me.”  Renji said.  “You didn’t know that?”

“Huh?”

“You’re so eloquent today, Genichirou.”  Renji teased him.  “Yagyuu was cheating on him as well.”

“I suspected, but wasn’t certain.”  Yukimura said, nodding.  “So, he’s holding a grudge, basically.”

“I suppose you could call it that.”  Renji sighed, and glanced back over at Sanada.  “When I was apologizing, Yagyuu said he does at least still care about him as a friend.  I’ve not mentioned that to him because I don’t know if that would break him, or help this situation.”

“You might want to hold on to that for a while longer."  Yukimura suggested.  “I would like them back for doubles, but…”  He sighed.

“Masaharu could play with anyone.”  Renji said.  “I understand your frustration though.”

Yukimura stared for a second.  “Akaya or myself.”

“Almost anyone.”  Renji corrected himself.  “I on the other hand could handle both of you.”

“I almost want you to put your money where your mouth is.”  Yukimura grinned, and looked at Sanada.  “You in, Gen?”  He asked.

Sanada sighed.  “I’m probably going to regret this.”

“Fine, Renji and I against you and who ever you’d like drag over to join us.”  Yukimura said.  Sanada thought for a moment.  It would be pretty cruel to drag most of the other team into this shambles of a doubles match.

“Meet us on court three.”  Sanada said, and went off.

“You sure you want to do this, Seiichi?”  Renji asked.

“You’re trying to prove a point.”  Yukimura reminded him as they walked to the open court.

“And if it isn’t proven?”  Renji asked.

“I’ll think of something.”  Yukimura said as Sanada came back with Yagyuu in tow.  Renji silently said a thank you to any deity listening.  He didn’t need to be trying to prove two points at once.

“Nice of you to join us.”  Yukimura said.  “Renji thinks he can manage to play doubles with me.”

“I see.”  The Gentleman answered, giving Renji a look that said “It’s your funeral.”



About an hour and a half later, Yukimura and Sanada called an end to practice for the day.  Yukimura wasn’t entirely certain whether or not Renji had proven his point.  They had won the match.  He just wasn’t certain Renji doing nothing most of the time counted.

“Renji…I don’t know what to say.”  Yukimura said, confused.  “You technically proved your point.”

“It’s knowing how to adjust to your partner.  To adjust to you, I just needed to step back and let you do the work.  I heard Seigaku did a similar thing back in middle school.”

Yukimura rolled his eyes.  “Whatever.”

“I have a date to keep.”  Renji said, patting Yukimura on the shoulder.

“Hey, you guys bailed on us a few weeks ago.”  Yukimura just realized.

“Something happened.”  Renji said, not exactly willing to share that whole sordid tale of strange dares that had happened that week.  “If Masaharu is up to it, and you guys want to join, I don’t mind.”

“I’ll go ask him.”  Yukimura said, skipping off, leaving Renji not exactly certain which him he was talking about.  Renji just sighed and went to change.  It also left him wondering how he could be that happy at the moment, considering the conversation they had earlier.

Renji was pulling his shoes back on when he felt someone sit down next to him.  He heard that one smacking on some gum, so it was either Marui, or Niou had stolen some gum from the other and was trying to annoy him.  He suspected it was the latter.

“So…I guess we’re not getting out of it this time?”  Pop! That answered the question.

“Sorry.  Seiichi remembered before I could walk off.”

“Nah, I think we owe them.  It’s kind of weird though.”

“Please don’t remind me.”  Renji said, tying the laces in a careful knot.  He sat up and looked his boyfriend in the eye. “Or them.”

“I won’t say a word.”  Niou said.  “I’m not that machoistic.”

“Glad to hear that.”  Renji said, standing up.  “Shall we?”



Lunch with the captain and vice-captain wasn’t nearly as exciting as Niou had hoped it would be.  Then again, he wasn’t really certain what he was expecting.  Renji had gone back to looking stressed.  That in itself had Niou somewhat worried.  He slid his arm around Renji’s waist as they walked towards the place where their day had begun.

Renji looked over at him, and gave him a halfhearted smile.

“What’s wrong?”  Niou finally asked.

Renji tensed up at the question, but forced himself to breathe out before trying to find a way to bring up this subject without being too secretive.  “Something Seiichi and I were discussing earlier.”  He tried to say, without being overly specific.

Niou raised an eyebrow.  “Really?”

“It was about you.”  Niou frowned at that revelation.

“What about me?”

“A few things.  But one thing in particular that I know you’ll be angry about.”

Him?” Niou asked, spitting the word out like venom.

“That would be the correct assumption.”  Renji sighed.  “Seiichi just wants you two to play doubles again.  He doesn’t care about anything else.”

Niou’s own muscles had stiffened.  “There’s no way.”  He said quietly.

“I’ve been sitting on this for a while, not quite sure whether to mention it to you or not…”  Renji started.  “When I was apologizing to them for…the whole mess.  He did say he does still care about you as a friend.”  Renji chuckled a bit bitterly.  “Actually kind of threatened me about not taking care of you.”

“He’s got some nerve.”  Niou said, trying not to snarl.  Renji stopped walking.  They were pretty close to his house by now.  He frowned as he wrapped his arms around Niou.

“Perhaps you should take a step back and look at this from more than just your own point of view.”  Renji suggested softly.

“What’s to get?  I was sticking it to you, he was sticking it to some girl.  Pretty obvious it wasn’t working.”

“Something between you two worked for the last four years.  You’re willing to give that up over who was sticking it to whom?”  Renji asked.

“Yes.”  Niou said stubbornly.

Renji shook his head.  “You’re not getting it, are you?  Maybe we rushed into this too quickly.”  He took a step back.  “Go home, Masaharu.  Take a fresh view of the situation.”

“Wait, what?”  Niou looked a bit confused.  “Are you breaking up with me?”

“No.  I just think you need to think on this situation.  Look at it from Seiichi’s perspective.  Or even his.  I know that is something that you can do.”  Renji said, turning away.

Niou was left standing on the sidewalk wondering just what exactly had happened.  He felt extremely lonely at that moment, not to mention confused.



Renji laid down on his bed, letting out a small sigh.  Maybe it was slightly cruel what he had just done.  Maybe it wasn’t any of his business.  He dangled his phone in front of his face.  Thank goodness for text messaging.

What are you doing today?

I thought you had a boyfriend…?

It doesn’t mean I can’t spend time with other friends, Sadaharu.

Oh, well….um…

You’re stalking someone, aren’t you?

Maybe….

Alright, I’m not interested

Did you want something?

It’s nothing. Renji really did not want to know what his old friend was up to.  It certainly couldn’t be anything good at this point.  And that brought him back to the here and now, which he was trying to forget.  He wasn’t really close to the other members of their own team, excluding Akaya, and that was mostly just being a good sempai.  Maybe he shouldn’t have told Niou to go home.  He really thought the other needed to take a step back and see that he’s being selfish.

Renji frowned.  He really couldn’t comment on the situation, as he was the other person in the relationships that either were, or almost were, destroyed in this process.  He never had a significant other until Niou and Yagyuu had officially broken off whatever romantic interest they had in each other.  He didn’t have the same experience to work from.  He just wished he knew how to fix that broken friendship.

Alright, I lied.  I don’t suppose you could come down this way for the evening?  I feel I need to fix something, and I could use some help with it.

I’m not busy.  Though what do you need me for?

Renji chuckled to himself.  He was really striking out on these things today.  I need your help to prove a point, Sadaharu.  Oddly enough, my second one of the day.

Alright, I’m not asking about that, but I’ll be there later.

Thank you.



Niou threw a dart through the air in his own room.  It made a thunk as it buried in the dart board.  Stupid Renji.  Stupid…other jerk.  He was thinking as he threw another, when his door opened.

“You still live here?”  His little brother asked, ducking a dart.

“Can it, Shiro.”

“I thought you moved in with your boyfriend.”  Niou glared at his younger sibling.

“I thought you’d been eaten by carnivorous cattle.”

Shiro gave his older brother a look.  “Okay, yeah, you’re off your rocker more than usual today.”

“Sorry.”  The elder said.  “You need something?”

“Not really, just confused seeing you here, since, you know, you only sleep here like four days a week.”  Shiro teased him.

“Yeah, yeah.  Whatever.”  Niou leaned back on his bed, and rolled on his side.  “Not really in the mood for you today.”

Shiro blinked.  “Masa…”

“Ugh…”

“Nii-san…”  Shiro started again.  He actually was feeling a bit of concern about his brother.  Shiro sat down on the floor and stared straight into his brother’s face.  “Talk to me.”

“Why should I?”  Was the muffled answer.

“Did you get dumped?”  Shiro asked.

“No…at least, I don’t think I did.”  Niou sighed.  “A few on the team want to me forgive and forget what Yagyuu did.”

Shiro shrugged.  “What’s so bad about that?”

“I didn’t tell you the whole story, did I?”

“All I knew was you two were acting like a happy couple, then all of a sudden you’re moody and being an asshole, then a few days later you’re more normal and saying you have a boyfriend again.”  Shiro summed up what he knew.  “Then again, if you came home more often…”  Shiro grinned.

Niou had a sudden burst of energy to punch his little brother in the arm.  He realized then that little brother wasn’t really so little anymore.  There was only a few years between them, and they were almost the same height these days.  Shiro didn’t want to stand out like he did, so his hair wasn’t dyed.  Then again, he was the middle child, and liked being the one causing such mayhem.  “How simplified.”  He muttered.

“So, I take it I’m missing a lot of things.”

“Many.”

There was a silence for a few moments.  “You gonna spill, Masa-nii, or is this another of your huge secrets?”

“I just don’t want to talk about it.”  Shiro tilted his head.  “If I don’t talk about it, I don’t have to remember it, and it doesn’t have to affect me again.” He explained his logic of denial.

Shiro blinked again.  “I hate to break this news to you, nii-san, but…I know I’m younger than you, but, I’m pretty sure  that’s not the way the world works.”  He stood up, and tugged on his brother’s rattail.  “Sounds like you have issues.  If you want to talk though…”  He shrugged as the elder Niou pushed him away.

“Leave the hair alone.”  He protested.  “And…thanks.”

“Also, stop trying to kill me with those darts.”  Shiro complained.  “Or at least move the board so it’s not on the back of the door.”

“It’s the best place for it, especially when uninvited guests try to come in.”  Niou smirked.  “Can I go back to moping now?”

“Whatever you want, Masa-nii.”  Shiro said, rolling his eyes and headed to the kitchen, forgetting that was why he was torturing his sibling in the first place.  Shiro smiled to himself.  “More pizza for me.  Should have stolen his phone….”  He mused,  then shrugged.  “If he wants to be stupid, let him.”



Niou’s stomach finally grumbled sometime after dark had fallen.  He looked at the clock, and blinked, not realizing how much time had passed since the conversation with Shiro.  He cursed to himself, and dragged himself to the kitchen.  He found some random leftovers, frowning that Shiro hadn’t mentioned there had been pizza.  He shrugged.  Not that big a deal.

He sat at the kitchen table by himself, in the dark.  It was somewhat fitting of his mood.

He really didn’t want to think about it.  There wasn’t any reason to think about it anymore.  It was over.  It was done.  What was there to think about.

Maybe the fact that you’re as big of an asshole as he is?  And that Renji is right? He thought to himself, and scowled.  Actually, if you think about it, you’re the bigger jerk.  Niou let his head drop to the table with a dull thud.  That conclusion wasn’t exactly the one he was expecting to arrive at.  He cleaned up his mess, and went back to his room, pausing for a moment outside Shiro’s room.

Unlike the younger one, he actually knocked on the door before walking in.  “You still up?”

“Yeah, whatcha want?”  Shiro asked sleepily.  He had a text book open in front of him, and it was obvious he needed a break from studying.

“Can’t I torture you just because?”

“You do that every day, Masa-nii.”  Shiro rolled his eyes.  “Also, I ate your share of the pizza.”

 “Brat.”  Niou muttered.  “Fine, guess I won’t fill you in on what was going on.”

“You mope, I win.”  Shiro said.  “Alright, fine, I’ll pay you back someday, if you want to fill me on why you’re being such a mopey dick head.”

“If you’re going to be rude, I’m going to bed.”  Niou said, standing up.

“Sorry.”  Shiro said.  “I would like to know what happened.”

“That’s better.”  Niou sat back down.  “Alright, so you knew about Yagyuu and me dating.  Here’s the part you didn’t know.  I was cheating on him.”  Shiro looked shocked.  His brother held up a finger.  “He was also cheating on me.”

“What?  This sounds…complicated.”

Niou snorted.  “It kind of was, and wasn’t at the same time.”  He sighed.  “I should have figured something wasn’t quite right when….you know…he wouldn’t do certain things with me.”

“Okay, please don’t go into the TMI territory.”  Shiro begged.

“Well, it’s kind of the whole reason we broke up.  Let’s put it this way…mopey uke would have been a pretty good description of me.”  The corners of his lips twitched a little in a smile. “He, on the other hand, had a girl he was seeing on the side.  I caught them one day going into a rarely used room, and I kind of tailed them.”  His smiled faded.  “I really wish I could get the image of what they did out of my mind.”

“Brain bleach?”

“Still hasn’t been invented yet, I checked.”

“Hey, you’re at least trying to crack better jokes.”  Shiro said.  “I think that’s a good sign.”

“You want to hear the rest or not?”  Niou sighed.  “Anyway, after I caught him, I didn’t say anything to him.  I just carried on as everything was normal.  And then one day, we were on the third floor, having a quickie…”

“ARGH, I said no details!”  Shiro almost yelled.

“Unfortunately, related detail.  Remember, I’m the one being boned.  He was done, and once again refused to give something back.  He left, and…someone had heard us.  I was complaining loudly, apparently.  And that someone said he’d be happy to oblige…and things happened.”

“Okay, so you both cheated, and your sex life sucked.  I take it that’s not all of it.”

“Well, I thought I was being discrete…or at least, more than he was.  I figured he wanted pussy, he could have it, as long I got to give it to someone.  Problem was, apparently we weren’t quite as discrete as I thought.  That, and there was the fact that he was slutting around with someone else as well.”  Niou laughed.

“What’s so funny about that?”  Shiro asked, wondering if Masaharu had finally lost what was left of his marbles.

“Nothing, now that I think about it.  Anyway, it was kind of common knowledge that he was giving it to someone else too.  I didn’t really care.  Unfortunately, Yagyuu and I were still dumb enough to use that restroom for quickies.  Apparently he caught us, and did the same as I did, and carried on as if it never happened.”

“So, you were both stupid.  Got it.”  Shiro rolled his eyes.

“There’s more.”

“Oh for the love of….”

“Apparently, it got to be too much, and he actually finally asked me point blank about it.  I asked him if he even liked guys.  We both had this look on our faces…not to mention this happened in the club room at tennis practice.”

“Oh, yay, public break up.”  Shiro said sarcastically.  “I’m sure that had to be fun for everyone to watch.”

“Yeah, yeah.  Everyone was staring.”  Niou shook his head.  “I can get the idea from those on the outside, really.  Well, anyway, one of those days I didn’t come home.  I went and talked to the guy I’d been screwing behind Yagyuu’s back.”

“OH my god, Masa…”  Shiro grabbed one of his pillows and repeatedly slammed his head into it. “Idiot, idiot, you idiot.”  He repeated.

“Hold on, you’re missing another piece.  Remember I mentioned he was also doing sexual favors for someone else?  Well, I kind of figured he needed some sense knocked into him somehow.  It kind of ended with me showing him what he looked like to the rest of us….And then with us getting together.”

“…..I hereby disown you.”  Shiro said.  “You are such an idiot.”

“Yeah, I just realized before I came in here that this makes me the bigger jerk, doesn’t it?”

“Kind of.”  Shiro agreed.

“On the other hand, after we broke up, Yagyuu went and actually asked his girl out on a real date.  Kind of like he knew it was coming, and didn’t feel guilty at all.”

“Or maybe he thought you no longer really had any feelings for him.”  Shiro suggested.  “Though it sounds like it might have been better if you guys hadn’t gone that far in the first place.”

Niou thought on this for a moment.  “Yeah, but it was interesting.”

Shiro raised an eyebrow.  His brother stared at him.  “You look like you’re channeling my boyfriend.”

“Masa-nii….”  Shiro shook his head.  “Anyway, so you got together with the guy you were cheating on Yagyuu with?  That’s fucked up, man.”

“Yeah, I kind of realize that now.  I’m still bitter though.  I keep wondering what the girl has that I don’t.”

“A vagina and tits.”  Shiro answered.

“And that’s the only answer I can come up with.”  Niou sighed.  “And they want us to still play doubles.  I’m not feeling so trusting of him these days.”

“Well, really, I hate to say this, but you both kind of betrayed each other’s trust there.”  Shiro said, sighing.  “I hate to say this, and it’s nothing against you, nii-san, but…”

“Say it.”

“You’re the bigger asshole for hooking up with the guy you were cheating with.”

“Thanks.”

“Just being honest.”  Shiro thought for a moment.  “Did you ever take the time to…I don’t know, get over the relationship?  I know you’ve been avoiding him lately, but that really seems excessive.”

“I feel like he started it.”

Shiro stared for a minute.  “What are you, six?  Or sixteen?”  He resumed beating his head into his pillow.  “Be an adult.  Admit you were stupid, apologize for being an ass, and go about your lives however you want, either as friends or not.  It’s kind of cruel to abandon someone just because of dumb shit like that.”

“You know, you’re too smart for your age.”  Niou said, stretching.  “Go to bed.  That’s where I’m going.”

“I’m already in bed.”  Shiro grinned.

“Shut up.”  Niou said as he slipped out and actually went to his own room.

Sitting on his bed, he pulled his phone off the charger.

Re. n. ji..~~ He sent to his boyfriend.

I would ask if you knew what time it was, but as your phone has a clock function, I will assume you do.  What do you want, Masaharu?

I’m the biggest jerk in this entire mess, aren’t I?

That wasn’t quite the conclusion I thought you’d make, but I will agree that you have been a jerk to certain people.

…You weren’t supposed to agree with that. Niou probably did deserve that, but he didn’t need it reinforced.  So I guess this means no sexy time for now?

I have a guest tonight.  We can talk tomorrow, and maybe see about ‘sexy time’

Niou chuckled at the answer.  It was better than he expected.

Can I come over for breakfast?  Your mom makes good omelets.  Also, Shiro ate my pizza.

Whenever you would like, just don’t scare Mother, please.

Right. Niou cheered up a bit inside.  Breakfast with his boyfriend might make him feel better.



Well, that was what Niou was hoping for, but he was a bit down again as he had forgotten Renji had mentioned something about a guest.  It down right annoyed Niou more than he had been earlier.  At least Renji’s mother had been fairly tolerant of the extra people for breakfast, and Niou was at least happy she made him that omelet he wanted.

The teenagers sat around the table, mostly in a weird, uncomfortable silence.  Renji was about ready to hit his head against the table.  This was just a bit too much for him.  Then again, he was still tired, as him and Inui had sat up late the previous evening, just talking.  Inui could hide it well behind his glasses.

“So…”  Niou started, wondering what to say.

Renji looked over at him, eyebrow raised.  “Do you want to talk about it?”  He asked.

“No.”  Niou said stubbornly.

Renji sighed.

Inui coughed slightly.  “While I don’t know everything that’s gone on, talking things out can be beneficial.”

“Has your boyfriend ever cheated on you with a chick and didn’t give a fuck that he was fucking you too?”  Niou asked point blank.  Inui sat back, looking a bit taken aback.

“So, this is what it boils down to – jealousy that doesn’t matter any longer?”  Renji pointed out.

“It still doesn’t change the fact.”  Niou said, his eyes blazing angrily. Renji sighed.

“I’m calling Genichirou.”  He said, getting up.

“Huh?  Why?”  Niou asked.

“Because obviously you need some sense beaten into you.”  Renji replied.

Inui grabbed Renji’s arm before he could do something completely stupid.  “Violence isn’t the answer.”

“It is an answer.”  Renji pointed out.  Both the other two sighed.

Niou snorted at that.  “Only at Rikkai.”  He said, grinning at Renji’s friend.  Inui nodded knowingly.

“Alright, fine, you don’t want to talk about it, and you’re determined to hold a grudge.”  Renji said.  “And I’m going to keep hearing from Seiichi how it’s my fault I broke up his best doubles pairing.”

“It’s not really your fault.”  Niou pointed out.  “It’s our own faults.”

“Then would you like to tell Seiichi that?”  Renji asked bitterly.

“Only if Sanada isn’t there.”  Niou said.

“He still would have a hard time believing you, and he would assume that I put you up to this.”  Renji argued.

Inui watched this back and forth with interest.  He wondered in the back of his mind which of them this would be the most useful blackmail material on.  He finally cleared his throat as the two kept arguing between themselves.  They both turned to look at him.

“As a total third wheel here, and being removed from the situation entirely…”  Inui began.  Renji gave him a look that said ‘I’m not sure where you’re going with this, but I’m not sure I like it.’

Niou just crossed his arms, and sat up.

“My suggestion is that if you don’t want to deal with it, don’t.”  Inui held up his hand to forestall any comments, because he had a pretty good idea of what Renji would want to say.  “If things are meant to work out, they will.”  He chewed on his lip.  “Even if it takes years.”  He added pointedly.

“That wasn’t necessary, Sadaharu.”  Renji frowned.

“You were the one that asked for my advice.”  Inui reminded him.

Niou sat there thinking.  All he really wanted to do was cuddle up next to his boyfriend and forget the rest of the world existed for the moment.  Other people didn’t need to exist as far as he was concerned.  His head finally sunk to the table.  “If either of you comes up with a sane idea, I’ll be right here.”  He said, closing his eyes.

“Masaharu, get your head off the table.”  Renji said, sighing.  “I don’t suppose it occurred to either of you that you each owe the other an apology, at the very least?”

Niou glared.  “Why would I want to do that?”

“Maybe to show that you’re taking responsibility for your actions and that you aren’t just holding a grudge because you can?”  Renji suggested.

“That’s probably close to the first sane thing I’ve heard this morning.”  Inui put in, drinking from a glass that held an oddly colored concoction.  “Sorry to be in a rush, but I’ve got to get home.  Let me know what happens, will you?”  He asked Renji, who nodded in answer.

Niou was still sitting and moping where he sat.  Renji stared at him.  “This isn’t like you.”

“I want to know why you, of all people, care?”  Niou said.  “You’re not supposed to.”

“I’m not supposed to care about people I’ve considered friends for a long time?”  Renji asked, eyebrow raised.  “Even if I have seemed aloof to many of our teammates, I do consider them friends.  And yes, that includes him.”  He stood up, offering his hand to Niou.  “Come on, let’s get more comfortable.  I think we need a reset.”

Niou laughed at that, taking the offered hand and was led to Renji’s room.  He sat down on the bed, and curled up on his side.  “I take it there’s not any room left for me.”

“Nope.”  Niou said, smirking, and wrapping the blanket around himself comfortably.

“Remind me why I like you.”  Renji said, his lips upturned as he sat down next to Niou on his own bed.

“Because I’m awesome.”  Niou said, and pulled Renji in for a kiss, which led to a full on make out session.  At least Renji got under the blanket eventually.





Renji woke during the middle of the night.  He found Niou still curled up next to him.  He smiled a little as he brushed some stray hair back from the Trickster’s face.  There was a contented sigh that escaped his lips, but nothing more to indicate that the other was awake.  Renji smiled a little as he slid out of bed.  With a quick stop at the bathroom, he headed downstairs to the door, where Niou’s bag sat, leaning against his own.  Neither of them had cared to talk to anyone else that day, so their phones were still sitting quietly in their places in the bags.

Renji’s phone looked as brand new as the day it came out of the box.  The only hint of use was the occasional fingerprint on the case, and the touch screen, which he usually cleaned off once a day.  Niou’s phone was all smudged, and covered in bird stickers, except on the screen of course.  He pulled them out, and smiled to himself.  They both needed charging, so that was a legitimate excuse for handling them.  He checked the number against what he had in his phone and wrote a message from Niou to a certain someone.

Hey…I know I’ve been a jerk lately…Can we talk after practice? Renji hoped that didn’t sound too unlike Niou.  He wasn’t the one that liked to imitate other people for no reason.  Renji waited a few.  He’s gotten weirder messages from Niou at this time of night, so that’s not too likely to arouse suspicions.  He went and plugged the phones in.  He glanced at Niou’s  to see if there was any answer.  Renji could hope Yagyuu was holding a bit of a grudge himself, as he erased the message off of Niou’s phone.

He crawled back into bed and curled up beside Niou, who stirred a little this time.  “Whatcha doin’?”  Niou slurred sleepily.

“Remembered to charge our phones.”  Renji said quietly.  “Thought you might appreciate that.”  He said, nuzzling the other’s neck.

“Thanks.”  Niou said, rolling over. “Are you trying to distract me?”

“Why would I do that?”  Renji asked.  “Besides, I have more effective distractions.”

“Guess you have a point.”  Niou said.  “I’m going back to sleep.”

“Even if I do this?”  Renji asked, sliding his arms around his boyfriend and down into his boxers.

Niou opened one eye back open.  “Really?”  He asked, but made no move to stop the other.  He moaned a little as his body responded to the stimulus.

“You like it, and you know it.”  Renji said, kissing him as he jerked Niou off.

“Damn right I do…”  Niou gritted out between pants and moans.  It didn’t take long for him to finish. “Why do you do this to me?”

Renji just smiled, and brushed the messy hair back.  “You know why.”  He said, and went back to sleep.



Renji woke early, despite the activity in the middle of the night.  He went and unplugged the phones, checking to see if there’d been any answer to the message he had sent on Niou’s behalf.  There was a short, terse message.  Renji’s lips upturned, and he quickly deleted the evidence, and placed the phone back in its place in Niou’s bag.  Now all he needed was a believable excuse to let those two talk things out.

He went and grabbed a quick bite before finally going to rouse Niou from his blissful slumber.  “Wake up.”  He said, shaking the other teen.

“No…”  Niou groaned.

“We’re going to be late for practice.”

“Who cares?”  Niou tried to bury himself under the blanket again.

“I do.  So does Seiichi and Genichirou…and perhaps the rest of the team.”  Renji pointed out.  “I suppose if you want to run a thousand laps, you can stay here.  I’m pretty sure at some point one of my parents would kick you out though.”  He smiled.  “Come on, Masaharu.”

“Didn’t I tell you to stop calling me that?”  Niou groused.

“And I told you it’s permanent now.”  Renji replied, rolling his eyes.  “Besides, I would think it’d be refreshing hearing your given name once in a while.”

“Even my family doesn’t use the full thing…unless they’re angry or something.”  Niou muttered.

“I can only imagine.”  Renji said drily, glancing at his watch.  “Well, if you’re going to waste your time in my bed, I’m going on without you.”

“I’ll be along in a few.”  Niou grumbled, rolling out of bed, and grabbing his practice clothes.  He had this whole staying at his boyfriend’s place worked out pretty well.  His school uniform was neatly in his bag, and all he had to do was shower after practice.  It was a pretty sweet plan as far as he was concerned.

Renji was already out the door and halfway down the street when Niou caught up to him.  “See?”  Niou said, slowing his pace to match Renji’s.

“Your ability to catch up when you’re that far behind is almost unbelievable.”  Renji said, shaking his head a little.

“Practice.”  Niou said, grinning.

“If you’d put that much effort into your tennis, you might actually pull off your Illusion of Seiichi one day.”

“Eh, I’ve given up on that.”  Niou said.  Renji raised an eyebrow.  “Bigger fish to fry.”  He explained.  Renji shrugged.  “You don’t want to know?”

“I figure the less I know, the more likely I am not to discourage you.”

Niou had to think about that for a second, then nodded.  “You’re probably right.”  He agreed.  They turned into the school’s gates and headed for the tennis courts.  Renji went to change while Niou didn’t have to bother since he cheated.  That at least gave Renji a chance to talk to his friends to see if they’d be his alibi for later.

He caught sight of Yukimura, and while he didn’t show it outwardly, his mind lit up. He walked up to their captain.  “Seiichi, I need to discuss some things with you after practice is over.”  He said quietly.  Yukimura looked at him, and nodded.  It wasn’t unusual for Renji to bring up problematic members of the team, and ones that could use a bit of extra help.

“Oddly enough, I was going to say the same thing to you.”

“If it’s about that, I think a…partial solution may be presenting itself soon.”  Renji said.  Yukimura raised an eyebrow.

“Actually, that was not what I was thinking about, but I’m interested now.”

“I’ll tell you later.”  Renji said, excusing himself.  “I think I need to see what Masaharu is scheming up now.”  He also needed the excuse to actually work.  He found his boyfriend sitting on a bench.  “Play a match?”  Renji offered.  Niou looked up at him.

“Only if I can play dirty.”

“No.”  Renji flat out refused.

“Then I’ll pass.”  Niou said, standing up.  “I was going to work on my right handed play.”

“You haven’t done that in a while.  Is this something to do with your new secret project?”  Renji asked.

Niou just smirked.  “Puri.”

“I’ll assume that means yes.”  Renji said, walking off.

“Oh, come back here.”  Niou called.  “I think I can take you.”

“Right handed?”  Renji raised an eyebrow.

“I can try damned hard.”  Niou said, grinning.  “After all, you did offer.”

Their game lasted most of the time they had for practice.  Niou was sweating pretty hard, as was Renji.  Niou had kept up very well, beyond what Renji had expected even.  “Don’t wait for me.  I need to talk to Seiichi about some things.”  Niou nodded, not certain he could get his tongue to cooperate with him.  Then again, with his propensity for saying random things no one would probably notice.

They both walked to the locker room, where Niou proceeded on with showering and getting ready for the rest of the school day.  Renji sat down in the little area that is used as an office and awaited Yukimura.  Yukimura was always one of the last ones in since him and Sanada always made sure everyone else was heading to where they should be going.

Renji sat at the desk, making notes, and generally looking like he always did.  This was nothing new to anyone.  Other than a few people wondering how he managed to do that before showering the sweat and everything off before hand, most just shrugged and went about their business.  He only glanced up once in a while to acknowledge the occasional team member.

Yukimura finally came and sat down on the desk.  Renji looked up, and sat back.

“What did you need to talk about?”  Yukimura asked.

Renji glanced to make sure the door was closed, glad to see that it was.  “Honestly, nothing.  I needed an alibi.”  He smiled at Yukimura, who raised an eyebrow.  “And I may not be at practice tomorrow because I will either be deceased, or severely harmed by Masaharu.”

“What?” 

Renji covered his mouth with his hand to hide his smile.  There was a big glass window that others could see into the room, but he didn’t want to give away anything either.  “I…believe I have a bad influence due to my choice of boyfriend.”  Renji said.  “But, I set something up without him knowing about it, and I am very likely to die by his hands in the next twenty-four hours.”

“How about letting me in on this, Renji?”  Yukimura said, thinking he was kind of getting what was going on.

“Basically, I’m forcing him to at least try to talk to Yagyuu.  It’s not much, but like I said, I probably won’t exist tomorrow…if he figures out it was me that set this up.

“Ah.  I won’t tell.  Besides, I see you have notes about some people…We can talk official business now, and keep your alibi good.”  Yukimura grinned.



Niou walked out of the club room, his hair looking a bit messier than usual, but other than that, presentable enough for the day ahead.  He was minding his own business when a hand touched his shoulder.  He stiffened a little and turned to face the person that had touched him.  His whole body went even stiffer.  “You…”  He growled out.

“I thought you wanted to talk.”

“Why would I want to talk to you of all people?”  Niou ground out between his teeth.

“Are you really holding a grudge, Niou-kun?”  Yagyuu asked him, then looked down at the ground.

“Yes, I am.”  Niou said, turning around to leave.

“You know, I broke up with you for your own good.”  Niou’s back was still turned to him, but he turned his head back around.

“You broke up with me ‘cause it turns out you don’t like cock.  Get your story straight.” Niou retorted, taking a step in the opposite direction.

“Well, that is partially true as well…It wasn’t the only reason.”

“I can’t even look at you.”  Niou said.  “All I can see when I look at you is you shoving it to that one girl in a classroom of all places.  So much for being a gentleman.”

Yagyuu raised his eyebrows.  “You… saw that?”

“Yeah, I did.”  Niou said.  “At least I know why I never got to top.”  He said bitterly and managed to take about three steps forward before he felt the air pressure near him change and Yagyuu had caught up with him.

“I’m sorry you saw that.  To be fair, she was in much the same predicament I was at the time.  She wasn’t sure if she preferred men or women, and she said she’d never been with a guy before.”  Yagyuu started explaining.

“Just shut up.”  Niou said.  “It makes me throw up a little every time I think about it.  So I don’t really want to hear any explanations.  Besides, I‘m sure with a bit of imagination you can figure out why Renji and I are working out pretty well.”

“As long as you’re happy.”

“Well, I’m not now.”  Niou said as he managed to storm off in the huff he was feeling.

Yagyuu watched as Niou walked off.  He wasn’t entirely certain if this was a step forward, or a step backward to being friends again.  It was at least a step.



At lunch Niou went up to the roof.  The air was a bit crisp, even with it being early summer.  He stared off into the ether.  That encounter with his ex-boyfriend had riled him more than he wanted to admit.  He sat down cross legged on the roof.  He brought his knees up and buried his head between them.

Seriously, what had that been about?  And why had he thought that Niou was the one that wanted to talk?  That part had started nibbling at Niou’s mind and he started to wonder if he’d been set up.  He pulled his phone out about to message Renji when that thought hit him.  Renji had been messing with his phone earlier.  Niou scowled.  Now his current boyfriend was being a jerk too.  He finally sent Renji an angry sad face emoji.

Masaharu?

Niou’s response was more of the same emoji.

That’s rather childish.

So was what you did.

I did nothing.

Uh-huh.  Who was screwing with my phone this morning?  And then he just happens to talk to me this morning?  Never try to out trick a trickster.

Niou shook his head.  He wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.  He at least smiled, then sighed.  He assumed it was good intentions that just didn’t quite work out.  He wondered if Renji really did have a conference with Yukimura, or whether that was a ruse.  He did start laughing then.  A few of the other random students that were up on the roof as well, looked at him, then just turned and left him to his own devices.

I’m skipping next hour, Renji.

Why?

I can. Niou smirked at his answer.  He heard the bell ring, and the rush of the other students heading for their classrooms.  He stretched out to his full length, lying on his back.  Now he was just pissed off at the world in general.

Niou heard the door click softly.  He groaned internally.  Now he’d have detention for getting caught.  He didn’t stir as another body sat down next to him.  He didn’t want to look.  He figured it was probably Renji, since he was  actually told him he was skipping.

“G’way, Renji.”  He muttered.

“Try again.”  A lighter voice answered.  Niou frowned.

“You again?  Why aren’t you in class?  And can’t you just leave me alone?”

“Yes.  Because I was bored, and no.”  Yagyuu answered the three questions in succession.  “Niou-kun, I think we need to talk, and like civilized human beings.”

“Don’t want to.”  Niou said, crossing his arms over his chest.

“You’re being awfully childish.”  Niou frowned.  He was the second person that had told him that today.

“You sound like Renji.”  Niou said.

“Then perhaps you should listen to him.”

Niou sighed.  “Fine.  I’ll try to be civil.”  He agreed.

“That’s all I ask.”  Yagyuu said.  He paused, not certain where to go from this.

It was quiet for a few moments.

Niou sighed.  “Alright, fine.  I didn’t eat lunch, and you seem to have wanted to explain yourself, so…go ahead.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, might as well hear it.  From what you said earlier, once I’d had time to process it, this sounds really special.” Niou snorted.

Yagyuu coughed.  “I wouldn’t really say that….Like I said, we both weren’t sure how we felt.  I don’t even remember what led to that particular conversation.”

“I assume it’s not all that important then.”

“I suppose not.  But it happened she said she wanted to try it with a guy, and I happened to over hear that, and I turned and looked at her after she said it.  She turned a nice shade of red, and I said I would be more than happy to be the subject of her experiments.”

“Really?  That sounds stupid.  So, you were curious…Couldn’t…you know…you have told me that in the first place?”  Niou scowled.  “I would have understood.”

“Would you?”

“If you had talked to me about it first, yeah, I might have.  Just going off and doing it….”  Niou trailed off.

“I suppose I do owe you an apology then.”

“Damn right you do.”  Niou said.  “So….when did you learn about me and Renji?”

“A few weeks before we broke up.”  Yagyuu answered.  “In much the same way you learned about my side activity.”  He sighed.  “What I saw hurt me at first, then I saw your face….you looked happy.  And I realized that an ‘us’ wasn’t meant to be.”

“And you still went with it for weeks?”  Niou asked.  “Why?”

“Because the more I thought about going further with you, the more disgusted I got with myself.  And I realized Yanagi-kun was giving you what I couldn’t.”

“Oh.”  Niou sat up finally.  “So, are you least still with her?”

“Sadly, no.”  Yagyuu smiled a little.  “Apparently everyone I date ends up gay.”

“Sorry, man.”

“No need to be.  It’s easier to concentrate on other things without the complications of a relationship to juggle.”

“I suppose it is for you.”

“Was that a joke?”

Niou chuckled.  “Yeah, I suppose it was.”  He nervously ran his hand through his hair.  “Look, I fucked up, you fucked up…I guess I can put it behind us…if you want to, that is.”

“I would like to.  I have to say, I do miss playing doubles with you.”

“Alright, fine.”  Niou said, sticking his hand out.  “Buddies again?”

Yagyuu nodded, taking the outstretched hand.

“”Well, now that that’s out of the way, would you like to help me plot a murder?”

“Niou-kun!”

“What?  Renji needs to die for this.  I figured out what happened this morning.  Renji sent you a message on my behalf.”

“I thought that didn’t quite sound like you.  Not enough emojis.”   Niou laughed at that.

“Yeah, it wasn’t.  So, would you like to help me plan a murder then?”

Yagyuu sighed.  “I’ll think about it.  If you don’t mind me asking a very personal question?”

“Huh?”  Niou asked.

“Well, I’m just curious…how is the physical part of your current relationship?”

Niou blinked, not really expecting that, then grinned.  “Buchou told Renji, quote ‘he needed to find a boyfriend as horny as he is’ un-quote.”  He laughed, remembering that exchange.  “And they both declared that he found it.”  Niou winked to emphasize his point. “And I get to top occasionally.”  He stuck his tongue out.  He sighed.  “Really, if you’d just said you wanted to try pussy for a bit, I wouldn’t have cared.  Yeah, I’d have been hurt, but nearly like it was.”

Yagyuu coughed.  “Well, I wasn’t certain, but…I will admit, I did enjoy it.  And I did enjoy what you did to me as well.  Just…”  He shook his head.  “It’s in the past now.”

“You’ll find someone eventually.”  Niou laughed.  “You’ll probably end up a single father twenty years from now.”

Yagyuu raised an eyebrow.  “That’s not funny.”

“No, not really.  I get to say ‘I told you so’ though if it does happen.”

Yagyuu shook his head as he stood up.  “You know, if we time it right, we might make it to practice.”

“I’m skipping.  Don’t tell on me, I have a plan to work on.”  Niou said, standing up himself, and heading for the door.



“Hey, twice in the same week!  Are you sure you didn’t break up with your boyfriend?”  Shiro asked, poking his head in his older brother’s room.

“I may, but not yet.”  Niou said, scribbling on some random paper.

“Huh?”  Shiro was confused now.

“Yagyuu and I are on speaking terms again.  And it’s Renji’s fault.”

“Masa-nii….”  Shiro trailed off.

“So I’m a bit mad at him.  I’m making a list of the things I’m going to need.  So far, I have duct tape and a shovel.”

“I’m going away now.”  Shiro said.  “By the way, I already ate your dinner.”

“Thanks, brat.  You know, I think that’s the reason I’m not breaking up with him.  His mother is a good cook, and actually lets me eat my food!”  He turned back to his paper, adding a few more things to his list that did not actually include a shovel.

Hey, Renji, I’m coming over.

Tonight?  I thought you were mad at me?

Nah…Not really.  I guess it worked out okay, but still…

Alright, then.

Niou packed up his school bag with everything he need and then some.  He paused at Shiro’s room for a moment.  “Hey, Shiro, you were right, you know.”

“Huh?  About what?”  Shiro asked.

“You get to figure that out on your own.”

With that, Niou was out the door and took the next half hour or so to walk to the Yanagi household.  He was greeted warmly by Renji’s mother, who offered him some left overs.  He declined graciously, and went to see Renji.

“Hey there.”  He said, staring.

“Hello, Masaharu.”  Renji said, not looking up from his text book.  “That took you longer than usual.”

“Had to make a stop first.”  Niou explained, entering the room and closing the door behind him.  He set his shopping down on top of the book, and then sat himself in his boyfriend’s lap.

“What have I done to deserve this?”

Niou grinned wolfishly.  “I thought perhaps I owed you.”  He said, nipping on an ear.  Renji moaned in response.

“Really?”  Renji breathed out.  Niou nodded, sliding his hands anywhere he could.  “You could have just said you were in the mood.”

“Where’s the fun in that?”  Niou said, reaching into the bag, and pulling out the duct tape.

Renji raised an eyebrow.  “You’re not serious.”  Niou grinned in response, and pulled on the tape, and started wrapping it around Renji’s wrists.

“No hands.”  Niou smirked.  “And I’m top tonight.”
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