Title: Too Late to Turn Around
Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Summary: Akutsu suddenly realises that whether he likes it or not, Dan's influence is turning him into a somewhat decent member of the society. And it may not be an entirely bad thing. Future fic.
It was the third question that did it.
Well, to be honest, it wasn't the question itself. There was nothing wrong with the question; it was a fine question, exactly what you would expect in this kind of an exam. It wasn't too difficult, either; he had already written the answer and re-read it just to be sure.
Perhaps that was the actual reason, the answer. Not only had he known it, he had also answered it. If he continued like this, he would not only pass the exam, he would also get a good grade. And if he passed this exam, he would be qualified for the Yamabuki University.
This realisation more than anything was what made Akutsu Jin pause and glare at the exam paper.
He hadn't really thought of it before. Despite all the time he had spent playing hooky at middle school, he had somehow managed to pass – most probably because his teachers rather let him pass than risked having to deal with him for another year. Now, exams had never been a problem to him; despite doing stupid things he was not stupid himself, and when he actually bothered to show up in class things tended to stick to his head. This, however, did not explain the fact that not only had he continued on to high school, but he had gone through it with fairly decent grades, too. And now, he was taking his last exam.
This was not how he had envisioned his life a few years ago. He'd never really given it serious thought, but thinking back, he'd always kind of supposed he'd end up as a criminal. Others had certainly expected it, too. Now he found himself facing the possibility of having an honest job. He wouldn't become just an ordinary salaryman, no; that'd be just boring and end up killing either him or somebody else. However, Yamabuki University had a fairly good Medicine department, and he had always appreciated challenge wherever he could find it...
Your doctor is Akutsu Jin. Run for your lives.
It was all the kid's fault, he decided. He could very well remember how the brat had run to him, grinning from ear to ear and asking if he would go to Yamabuki High. He'd grunted something that could be interpreted as a 'yes', and the next thing he knew everybody – including his mother, Sengoku, and Kawamura – had been informed of his so-called plans. He'd had little choice, then, because while he could bear their nagging just fine one on one, it just became too much of a bother when they combined their efforts. Besides, the kid would have probably cried if he had refused. And from there, everything had snowballed until it finally came to this.
While thinking about this, Akutsu realised, he had answered a few more questions. Apparently the exam was even less of a bother than he had thought beforehand, considering the answers were correct as far as he could see. The only way he could fail it was doing so on purpose.
Failing on purpose would be extremely stupid. Then again, everybody knew he specialized in doing stupid things.
Dan was waiting for him just like he had expected. The kid looked at least two years younger than he really was, short and slim and bright-eyed as always. The little hands immediately grasped on his arm, a squeal asking him how it had gone.
”I tanked,” Akutsu replied briefly.
Now, what he had expected was a pout and an angry, ”Akutsu-senpai!” Instead, the stupid smile brightened even more. ”I don't believe you desu!” Dan announced.
”...Che. Do whatever you want, Taichi.” A couple of other students they passed looked curiously at them, but Akutsu ignored them. The worst conclusion they could possibly come to was that they were together, and that would be nothing new. Akutsu had already publicly declared the kid as his after some idiot tried to molest the brat. Nobody touched what was Akutsu's, not if they valued their life.
Dan Taichi was his, this was a fact Akutsu had been forced to accept. He also supposed that, on some level, deep down, he was Dan Taichi's, even if he'd never say it aloud. It probably was evident enough in the way the kid had indeed managed to force him through high school with considerably little effort, but anybody mentioning it had better prepare themselves for a painful beating.
Dan never said anything about it, although Akutsu had to admit he probably wouldn't have beat the brat anyway. Dan just smiled.
The cheerful chatter didn't stop for a single moment, but Akutsu didn't really mind. It was sort of soothing, assuring him that the kid was somewhere nearby and not getting himself gang raped at some dark alley. As long as there was an occasional ”Akutsu-senpai!”, everything was somewhat all right in the world.
Dan had stopped right in front of him and was leaning back against him now, looking up with the big brown eyes that resembled those of the puppy Akutsu had definitely not left on Dan's doorstep on his birthday. Even if the attached message ”Don't kick me out, please” had been in his handwriting. Akutsu supposed this meant he was supposed to actually listen instead of just being around, so he did his best to look like he didn't hear a word.
Somewhat good at reading him by now, Dan nodded in satisfaction, knowing he was listening. ”Hey, Akutsu-senpai,” he said with a bright smile, ”why don't we celebrate you passing all your tests tonight desu? I baked cookies yesterday desu!”
Akutsu didn't doubt he had. He could just imagine the kid, all covered in flour and whistling happily to himself while he mixed chocolate chips in the cookie batter.
”Whatever,” Akutsu grumbled. ”I already told you I failed, though.” He knew that regardless of what he said, he'd still end up at Dan's house. Dan would physically drag him there if nothing else helped, not that he actually could do it except that Akutsu usually let him, as it was a lot less trouble.
”Great desu.” Dan's grin grew a little wider and he leant closer to Akutsu, his arse pressed against the older boy's thighs. Ignoring all the on-lookers in favour of reaching his hand up to hook it behind Akutsu's neck, Dan continued in a whisper nobody else could hear, ”My parents aren't home tonight desu.”
...Well, fortunately Dan was actually not as much of a kid as he still looked like.
Of course, Akutsu didn't fail any his tests. In fact, he graduated as the third best in his class just because he could, take that from the good-for-nothing delinquent you idiotic bastards also known as teachers. This made his mother weep with joy for a change and Dan gave him that stupid little grin of his that meant he was proud and ridiculously happy for Akutsu. At least the kid never even thought of uttering the words ”Told you so.”
Instead, he told Akutsu he had baked some more cookies.