Title: Love of the Game [Asakawa]
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for violence, and Natsumi's muffins.
Summary: The one where Asakawa gets beat up and cries.
AN: Aw, poor like blond uke. I feel like this is background to something that hasn't happened yet, but I don't know what. (probably the Sato/Asakawa epic or some crap like that).
Love of the Game
It had been a good morning practice, especially for them. Gathering just before dawn in the February wind, it seemed like spring, and real matches, might never come, that they'd be running suicides with their sticks over dead, crunching grass for the rest of their lacrosse careers.
But this morning had been different. Misaki had been just as cranky, and Sato just as comically bed-headed, but Asakawa had felt light as they sprinted, teasing Tachiki into a race, and even the wind stinging his cheeks felt sort of good, like he was being slapped a high five ("In the face?" Misaki had demanded when Asakawa said it out loud, but he's laughed it off and turned to find Sato watching him in a way that made him glad his cheeks were already dark pink).
And when they had left the field to go shower themselves off and warm up before class, Tsukada had clapped Asakawa on the shoulder and said "good job," like he really meant it and meant it directly for Asakawa. The compliment shot heat into his numb fingers much faster than the thermos of hot chocolate Natsumi had in the clubroom for them, although at least today she'd made it from a mix and nobody had to go to the infirmary.
Asakawa was still grinning as he turned chairs over on desks and whisked the broom under them. He didn't mind that Misaki had run off somewhere with a mumbled excuse instead of helping him with classroom duty; he felt like he was full of energy anyway, and couldn't wait to get to afternoon practice.
He was hunting around for the dustpan when he heard the door open behind him, and he turned, expecting to find Misaki coming back to hurry him up or something.
Instead, he found three glowering third years sliding the door shut again.
"What are you grinning for?" one demanded, and Asakawa had just enough time as another third year drew his fist back to recognize them and for his heart to thud painfully against his ribs once.
Asakawa had just managed to get himself pulled up to a sitting position, leaning against the leg of a desk, when the door banged open again, and Asakawa's stomach twisted until Misaki's face solidified in front of him.
Misaki looked flushed and angry, and Sato was leaning over his shoulder, dark eyes wide, and things weren't making a ton of sense. Asakawa nodded when Misaki asked if he was okay, and the room spun crazily. Grabbing Misaki's arm and taking a few deep breaths to prevent his bento from making an unscheduled re-appearance, Asakawa vaguely remembered cracking his head on the floor when they tripped him.
"I'll get him." Sato shouldered Misaki out of the way to crouch in front of Asakawa, but Asakawa didn't miss the glare they exchanged. Were they fighting? Misaki was helping him get arms around Sato's neck and leaning him forward to curl against Sato's back, and another wave of nausea drove the thought from his head.
Asakawa drifted in and out on the way to the infirmary, closing his eyes when the weak winter sunlight flashing over his face from the windows they were passing made his eyes ache. He squeezed his hands more tightly against Sato's neck when he started feeling dizzy again, the steady thumb of Sato's heartbeat reassuring under his fingers.
"I'm okay, I'm okay," he kept protesting while the nurse poked at him and examined his wrist, blinking back tears at the sting of iodine on the cut on his cheek. He was late for practice! And if he kept Sato and Misaki too, they'd have to run a million laps, again.
"Will you just shut up!" Misaki finally said, sounding strained, and Asakawa blinked at him. Sato wasn't in the room even more, he realized as well, when had he left? But he didn't get a chance to ask before the nurse was pressing a cup of water into his hand and dropping a pill on his tongue and telling him to just lay down for a minute.
His head spun as he let them push him back against the pillows of the infirmary bed, and he had a glimpse of Tsukada and Tachiki coming in the door before he dropped off.
When he pried his eyes open again, his head was pounding and the light was almost gone from the windows, and Asakawa blinked quite a few times before accepting that Tsukada was standing at the foot of his bed, talking in a hushed voice with Tezuka-buchou.
Tezuka's lips were set in a thin line, and Tsukada looked furious.
"Oh!" he exclaimed, sitting up too fast, and he'd meant to say oh my god, don't kick me off the lacrosse team, I'll never be late again, but his stomach lurched at the motion and Asakawa had to clap a hand over his mouth.
"Whoa." A warm arm settled around his shoulders to steady him, and Asakawa turned his head, which also hurt, to find Sato peering at him. "You want some water or something?"
Asakawa was about to say yes when he stole another glance at the captains and his stomach clenched again, and he shook his head. Sato nodded, but his arm stayed where it was, then tightened a bit, and Asakawa realized he was shaking.
"...unacceptable!" Tsukada's voice rose, and Asakawa couldn't take it anymore.
"Please forgive me!" he exclaimed, pulling out of Sato's grip to bow his head, despite how that made it spin, and clenching his hands in his lap.
"Asakawa!" Sato exclaimed, just as Tezuka and Tsukada said, "What?"
"I know was late, and made the others late," Asakawa squeezed his eyes shut against the throbbing of his head and just kept on forcing words out of his mouth, "and I caused trouble for everyone! I'm so sorry! It won't happen again, just please let me keep playing lacrosse!"
"What?" Tsukada said stupidly again after a moment of silence. "Asakawa, you're the one who got beat up!"
"I won't be so careless again!" Asakawa felt something tap his hand and opened his eyes a little to find a drop of water on his fingers. Two more joined it as he added, "Just please let me stay? I really want...I really like lacrosse. Please?"
"Asakawa, they aren't kicking you off the team," Sato said, putting a hand under Asakawa's chin to force him to look up. "They just want to know who hurt you. It was members of the tennis club, wasn't it?"
"I..." Asakawa looked from Sato to Tezuka to Tsukada too fast, and he could still play, and his head throbbed, "...I'm going to be sick."
"I didn't like those shoes anyway, really," Sato assured Asakawa, whose face was buried in his hands, in the locker room the next morning.
"You're lucky you don't have a concussion!" Natsumi pulled Asakawa's hand down to drop another one of her special get-well muffins in his hand, and Asakawa kind of wished that he'd had one after all.
"...ex-members of the tennis club," Misaki was explaining to Tachiki, who grunted. Misaki had been strange that morning, showing up at Asakawa's house early to carry his bag on the way to school, but he hadn't pulled his eyes off the pavement once during the trip. "They had to drop out of the club to study for high school exams because they weren't strong enough to make the regulars. They were angry we weren't paying out dues by sticking with the club, like they had."
"That's really fucked up," Tachiki said tersely, flicking a page over in his magazine.
"Will you get in there!" Tsukada snapped, shoving Harada in the door in front of him. "And no, you can't swear out a blood vendetta!"