Title: El Alma del Tango

Author: Kiarene
Pairings: Sanada / Atobe

Rating: G
Summary: No other dance connects two people more closely than the tango.

Published: 7th December 2005
Disclaimer: I would love to own Atobe-sama and gang but I dont.

 

A/N: Game, set, match. Last chapter!

 

 

El Alma del Tango

 

6th Dance

 

By the time Sunday came around, I was a nervous wreak. I didn't think I would be able to play my best, as mentally troubled as I am now, but backing off wasn't an option. Keigo would ask why... and I was not ready to say yet. If ever.

The question "how could this have happened" kept circling in my mind. I had never felt any sort of interest in any girl, or boy, before. Id never thought about anything but tennis... and music No time for messy relationships. I like Japanese classics too.

 

All of which are connected to Keigo. Hes always there, a constant. I feel more comfortable with him than with any of the girls I know, and yet, my relationship with Keigo is not like the friendships I have with my teammates; hes in a different category on his own. Maybe it is but I am not even sure if what I feel for Keigo is, well, something more-than-and-not-quite-friendship or not.


I arrived at the outdoor courts, cap pulled low and face blank, mind whirling round and round like a dog chasing its tail. To my horror, my teammates were there. Bunta caught sight of me first and waved. The whole group turned to grin cheekily at me.

"What the hell are you all doing here?" I barked rudely.

Akaya pointed a thumb behind him. "Oshitari called me."

I looked behind him. The entire Hyotei team beamed back at me.

"Please tell me Seigaku or Fudomine isn't here as well."

"Do you think I should call them?" Yukimura asked with a straight face.

"Hell, no!" I stomped off towards the courts, knowing there really was no way for me to stop the others from watching. Knowing that there really was no *good* reason for me to feel so touchy as well.

Keigo wasn't here yet so I got out my racket and started a few rallies at the practice wall to warm up. I was just working up a light sweat when I heard footsteps around me. Without thinking, I took a step to the side. A thwack behind me, and the ball flew past my shoulder.

Keigo stepped up beside me, racket held low. "How did you know it was me?" He sounded like he already knew the answer.

"I could tell."

The ball now alternated between us. Keigo didn't say anymore, but for some reason, he had a pleased look on his face. I guess he must be happy he was finally going to play a long-time rival.

I faltered mid-step.

Rival. Was that all he saw me as?

The ball sailed past me, crashing into the chain fence behind with a rattle. Before I could turn, Keigo was already there, scooping up the ball with his racket. He gave me a quizzical look. "Enough warm-up?"


"Yeah," I said quickly. "You?"

Keigo nodded. We walked over to the courts in silence. At the furthermost courts, our teams were looking very friendly and chummy. Keigo looked pleased with himself. Overall, the atmosphere was relaxed. Even festive. The boys chattered. Somebody popped a drink can.

If they start breaking out snacks though, I *will* send them a ball or two.

"Would you like to serve first, Gennichirou?" Keigo called out.

I shrugged. Bounced the ball, and served it. For the first few minutes, we rallied back and forth, but my mind wasn't wholly on the game and it showed. First point went to Keigo when I dropped an easy point. After I retrieved the ball, I turned to look at Keigo, who was frowning slightly, mouth twisted, eyes searching worriedly. and disappointed.

Suddenly, I felt angry at myself. I accepted Keigo's inivitation to a match and I should be playing my best. To daydream like this was a show of disrespect to Keigo. And that look of faint disappointment; it speared me. I never want to see him look at me like that. Clenching my racket tightly, I took a deep breath and centered myself.

When I next served, I didn't hold anything back. Keigo looked surprised at the sudden change in game tempo, which quickly changed to a grin. The intensity rose quickly from there. The points climbed evenly between us; it was a very close match.

Facing Keigo across the net brought forth a host of conflicting thoughts. I realized that more than just playing a match wtih Keigo, I wanted to give my very best. To impress him, to show Keigo that I was worthy.

I remembered how obsessed Keigo had been with Tezuka, and I realized I wanted Keigo to look at *me* instead with those eyes. To chase only me. To only look at me.

But Keigo only chased Tezuka because he viewed Tezuka as a rival, because he hadn't been satistified with the previous outcome of their match. I did not want that I want Keigo to see me as a rival...

I want Keigo to see me as his *only* rival.

I want Keigo to see me as *more* than his rival.

The ball crisscrossed the court blisteringly. My cap was sodden and Keigo's face was heavily flushed, his bangs damp and curling. I couldn't keep my eyes off him. I reached for the ball automatically, but my eyes were always drawn back to him. Keigo is beautiful, and when he plays all out like this, his lithe body stretching for the ball, every stroke calculated and elegant, he never looked more perfect. The fierce look in his eyes and the sharp smile on his lips, the intense concentration, yes, I want all that.

I want to give my all. But...

But if I beat Keigo, will he only see me as a rival? As someone to beat in his quest for perfection?

The ball slammed into the chain fence with a loud rattle. "Five-all. Change courts."

Panting heavily, I walked towards the bench in a daze. As this was only a friendly match, we simply left our stuff on the same bench. Someone tossed me a cold drink, and I downed it with relief.

Looking at Keigo, I thought; and if Keigo won, will he move on? I remembered what happened after he defeated Tezuka and a chill ran through me. He never looked at Tezuka with those serious eyes again.

What should I do?

I don't want to beat Keigo... but I don't want to lose either. I...

Dimly, I heard the referee's call to return to play. Without thinking, I reached out and grasped his wrist. "Keigo."

He turned to look at me, puzzled.

I suddenly felt extremely stupid.

"Yes?" He cocked his head, studying me intently.

"I..." I stared at him, not knowing what to say. How to explain myself. Keigo waited patiently, a worried look growing on his face.

"I can't play on."

"Why?" He looked alarmed. "Did you injure yourself?"

"No," I said slowly. "I just think... I can't finish my match with you."

"What?! Why?" Keigo exclaimed in sudden anger. He wrenched his hand out of my grip violently. "Explain yourself! Is it because you think you've won the game already?"

"No!" Panicked, I grabbed his hands again, both hands. "It's because I don't want this to be over!"

"Because you don't want... what to be... over?" Keigo looked shocked.

"I don't want you to look at me only a rival. But I don't want to be discarded like Tezuka as well," I said hurriedly. At the back on my mind, I knew I wasn't making sense at all. But Keigo was always very smart, and I could see comprehension growing in his eyes.

"Did you think that"

"Keigo." My cheeks grew warmer, my voice hoarse and gruff. I had been refusing to admit to the obvious until it was right in front of me.

 

"Shut up."

And I pulled him close, wrapping my arms around him and kissed him. Full on his soft lips, wet and hot and utterly perfect. After a moment, Keigo kissed back enthusiastically. Our rackets clattered to the ground.

Dimly, I heard a roaring noise. Then I registered Keigo's hands pushing me away, gently but insistently. Reluctantly, I broke the kiss.

 

"As much as I would like to explore this further, I do believe it's currently a little too public..."

I finally look up, and oh hell.

I had forgotten all about the spectators.

"You didn't notice more people watching as our match progressed?" Keigo tried to sound casual but it was hard when I was still wrapped around him.

Someone gave a very shrill whistle.

"Uh, maybe you should let me go?" Keigo's cheeks were darkening.

I stepped back but did not release him completely, swearing heavily. "Do you think we can escape them?"

"Not a chance."

Holding his hand firmly, I had but one thought on my mind. I caught his eye and nodded.

And the two of us ran helter-skelter from the courts in the direction away from the crowd, crashing through the bushes. We ran like children, laughing hysterically, through the bushes and across pavements and lawns, until we were out of breath. Slowing down and wheezing, we realized we had run until the canal. We walked in silence for a while, my hand still holding his.

 

I never saw you as Tezuka, Keigo said suddenly.

 

I looked askance at him. What do you mean?

 

He turned his head, staring incredulously. I cant believe you didnt realize! I dont go out for coffee and hang around discussing classic Japanese poetry with rivals. I dont invite them out for a concert, and I sure as hell wouldnt dance with them. He gestured wildly, voice rising. Gennichirou, I dont even call Tezuka by his first name!

 

Oh. I blinked.

 

Oh indeed, Keigo said waspishly. Then he smirked. But your jealousy was cute.

 

I was not!

 

I suppose its good youre possessive, Keigo went on, tone musing.

 

What?

 

Kiss me again, Keigo demanded. Feeling a little aggravated, I leaned across and kissed him hard.

 

Well, maybe, I admitted when we pulled apart again. This time, I slid my arm around his lower back, keeping one hand on his hip.

 

Keigo leaned into me with a satisfied purr. But we really must do something about your cluelessness. And this.

 

Almost idly, he reached up, plucked off my cap and dropped it in a trashbin. I was about to yell at him when he smiled back, catching me off-guard.

 

Keigo. My eyes narrowed. Shut up.

 

And I leaned down to kiss him again.

 

~*~ End ~*~

 

Omake

 

What are you going to tell them? Keigo asked, We were lying down on the grass beside the canal. The sun was setting, painting the sky a hazy orange-blue. The air was very quiet, missing the usual bustle of rush-hour traffic on weekdays.

 

Im trying hard not to think about that. I closed my eyes, enjoying the cooling breeze. What about you?

 

I dont have to explain myself, Keigo said haughtily.

 

Good idea. I grinned.

 

Gennichirou.

 

Hm?

 

Theyre holding your racket hostage.

 

damn, I swore. Hey, what about yours?

 

I could feel his shrug. Ive plenty.

 

 

A bicycle went past on the path above us, bell tinkling.

 

Keigo?

 

Ah?

 

Buy me a racket.

 

~*~

 

End

 

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