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The New Kid

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The New Kid - Oshitari Kenya & Zaizen Hikaru, G
Title: The New Kid
Author: Muzy [[info]muzivitch ]
Characters: Oshitari Kenya, Zaizen Hikaru
Rating: G
Length: 1279 words
Note: Gen, Pre-UST at best.  Happy Birthday Kenya!

"How come you're still here?"

Kenya glanced over at the sound of the new kid's voice, but he didn't really need to; it might have been the first day of practice, and the courts might have been crowded with old club members and new recruits, but one voice had stuck out.  Zaizen Hikaru, Kenya remembered as he dashed forward to slam a ball back across the empty court.  First year, and a cocky brat if his first impression was anything to go by.

His first impressions were usually pretty good, Kenya mused. 

"I'm practicing," he finally said.  One of the ball machines across the court shot another ball at him, and he slid to the left to intercept it.

"Practice was over an hour and a half ago," Zaizen said.  He braced one foot on the base of the chainlink fence and folded his arms on the top.  "Even Shiraishi's been gone for a while now."

"You're still here," Kenya pointed out.  A ball exploded out of the second ball machine, aimed far from where he was standing, and he moved, fast and graceful.

"I'm just looking around," Zaizen said laconically.  "Deciding whether I want to join the club or not."

Shiraishi wouldn't be happy to hear that, Kenya thought as he balanced on the balls of his feet.  Zaizen here was easily the most promising player among the first years who'd shown up that day, and Kenya had seen the calculating look that had lit their buchou's eyes when he watched the kid play.  "Thinking about another club?" he asked mildly.

"Yeah," Zaizen said.  "I'm into music, maybe more than tennis."

"Yeah?" Kenya said.  "Like hip-hop?"  He almost snorted with laughter at the sneer that automatically curled Zaizen's lip.

"I said music," the other boy said.  "Real music, like Editors.  Or Interpol, but I'm more into the British bands."

"Ah," Kenya looked amused as he flicked a look over at Zaizen.  "So you're a snob."

"So I like good music.  I bet you like hip-hop crap, huh?"  His tone was snotty, Kenya thought, but he was bristling like a cat.

"Yup," Kenya replied.  "We'll have to exchange cds or something, so I can show you the error of your ways."

"I don't think so," Zaizen said, and pushed away from the fence.  "I've got to go.  They'll probably freak at home before much longer."

"See you around," Kenya said absently, like he didn't really care one way or the other.  He didn't, really; Shitenhouji was the best in Kansai, and they'd make it even if genius boy here decided to join the music club instead.  Still, he thought, it'd be more fun if Zaizen stuck with tennis.  None of the other club members were as fun to poke at as Zaizen looked like he might be.

*

"So how long do you usually stay?" asked Zaizen the next afternoon.  Practice was over, and Kenya had set up the machines again and had been doing his own private practice for a few minutes when the kid showed up.

"Until I'm tired, or it gets too dark to keep going," he said easily.  He pivoted to chase after a ball flying to his right. 

"Huh," Zaizen said.  He leaned his elbows on the fence and rested his chin on his folded arms.  His eyes followed Kenya intently as the other boy ran, turned, ran again, only rarely missing a ball.  The Oshitari that was at regular team practice and the Oshitari that practiced alone didn't really seem to be the same guy, he thought.  At regular practice, he was...not lazy, but kind of casual.  Quick to tease, looking to have fun.  Here, he was intense.  Still quick to tease, Zaizen thought, remembering their music thing from the day before, but there wasn't anything casual about him, and tennis wasn't just about fun.

He was...interesting.

"So you've decided to stick with tennis?" Kenya asked, glancing over at Zaizen as he walked across the court to reload the machines.  Zaizen shrugged.

"Haven't really decided yet," he said.  "Most of the upperclassmen are good, but none of the kids my age are anywhere near as good as me."  His tone was matter-of-fact; he wasn't boasting, Kenya thought, just stating an irrefutable fact.  "I want a challenge, you know?" Zaizen asked.

Kenya smiled as he took position across from the machines again.  "Yeah," he said.  "I know."

*

On the third day, Zaizen was there before Kenya was, and Kenya grinned as he saw the younger boy leaning against the fence, his foot tapping with what Kenya figured was probably impatience.

"You're late," Zaizen complained, and Kenya's eyebrow lifted.

"I didn't know I had a schedule," he said as he dropped his bag onto the bench and pulled his racket back out.  "But Shiraishi wanted to talk to me about something."

"Oh."  Zaizen glanced over at him.  "What about?"

The kid standing in front of him, Kenya thought.  Shiraishi didn't miss much, never had.  "Stuff," he said out loud with a shrug.  "He's the captain, he's always got to bitch about something, you know."

Zaizen snorted and eyed Kenya as he strolled over to dig out the ball machines.  "Hey," he said. 

"Yeah?"

"Are you just going to hit balls back at the machines again today?"

"That was the plan," Kenya called back.  "Have you got a better idea?"

"Maybe," Zaizen said.  "You could play me instead."

Kenya's lips curved.  "I could," he said, and he pushed the machines back into place.  He tossed a ball over at Zaizen.  "Here," he said.  "You can serve first."

*

The match was fast, furious and long, longer than anything either one of them had played in a while.  It didn't end until the sun had almost disappeared from the sky and both of them had flopped onto the cool concrete of the tennis court exhausted and sweat-drenched.

"Who's winning? Or won?" Zaizen managed to ask between panting breaths.  He swiped his hand across his brow, pushing limp, wet hair from his eyes.

"Hell if I know," Kenya replied.  "I lost score a while ago."

"Me too," Zaizen said.  He flopped onto his back.  Technically, he thought, he was the better player, but Oshitari was so damn fast it was hard to keep the advantage.

"We'll have to rematch," Kenya said.  "But not now.  I don't think I can move."

"Me either," Zaizen said.  "Hey, Oshitari-senpai."

"Yeah?"

"I gave Shiraishi my club application today.  I'm going to stick with tennis."

Kenya grinned and sat up, circling the net.  "I know," he said as he leaned over to pull Zaizen to his feet.

Zaizen's eyes narrowed and his eyebrows snapped together.  "How the hell do you know?" he asked.

Kenya laughed.  "What do you think Shiraishi was talking to me about before?" he asked.

"Oh."  Zaizen shrugged, his expression slightly annoyed as he dropped his racket into his bag.  "I wanted to tell you myself. Like a surprise," he said.

That was cute, Kenya thought.  He looped his arm around Zaizen's shoulder.  "You can surprise me some other time," he said.  "Come on."

"Come on where?"

That grumpy tone was hilarious, Kenya thought.  He'd have to bring it out as often as humanly possible. "There's a food stand around the corner," he said.  "I'll buy you a hamburger."

Zaizen grunted.  "I want a milkshake."

"And a milkshake too."  He glanced down at Zaizen.  "But when we rematch and I win," he said.  "You're buying."

"Whatever," Zaizen said.  "When we rematch, you'll lose, and I'll make you buy out the entire restaurant."

Kenya's laugh echoed across the courts.  It was a nice sound, Zaizen thought.  You could get used to hearing it.