So, anyway. Please enjoy~
Warnings: HEAVY. Angst, BL. Angst.
Author's Note: Well, britkit27 told me to write Golden pair fluff to balance out the Sakaki/Atobe dub-con I wrote yesterday, but... well, this didn't really come out very fluffy. XD;;; I blame the end of Dream Live Third.
"But it's not fair!" Eiji wails, crumpled, sobbing against Oishi's chest, clinging to his shirt like he's the only thing afloat in a sinking ship.
"I know," Oishi replies, as soothingly as he can, as he struggles to fight back his own tears, because he doesn't know what else to say. It kills him to see Eiji this way, but he's helpless, he can't change fate. All he can do is be strong, hold Eiji close, wipe away the tears he knows will always be replaced with fresh. He hates it, but it's all he can do. "It isn't fair, I know."
"It wasn't even my fault," Eiji insists, as if he has to defend himself, "I didn't even do anything wrong!" He pulls himself weakly away from the soaked spot on Oishi's shirt to meet Oishi's eyes, a pitiful expression of utter despair on his face. "It isn't fair!"
Oishi pulls Eiji closer and nods, swallowing, unable to speak. It isn't fair, but he's entirely powerless to change the facts; he cannot make Eiji's fractured foot heal, he cannot undo time such that Eiji was never injured. He hates it just as much Eiji, but he's been to hell and back again in the past week and he just doesn't know what to say, what to do besides to be there.
Eiji whimpers pitifully and collapses forward into Oishi again, and Oishi holds him tighter and is glad that at least now he can hold Eiji, at least now everything is certain--
The call came a six days ago. Oishi was at home when his mother handed him the phone and told him it was "Kikumaru," and Oishi was startled to hear not Eiji on the other end, but Eiji's sister telling him that Eiji would want him to know. She was in tears, and Oishi could feel the panic rising in his throat as she explained: Eiji had been hit by a car, he was in the hospital now, in surgery. She wasn't sure when Oishi could see him, because only family was allowed right now, but they'd let him know and he could come to the hospital if he wanted--
He realized later how rude it must have been, but at those words, Oishi was already gone. He spent the night in the hospital waiting room, unable to see Eiji, unable to sleep. Eiji's sister brought him breakfast somewhere around six-thirty for which Oishi thanked her politely but didn't touch. It was three before he got any news, but when he did, he broke down and cried for the first time in the whole ordeal: Eiji was fine, he would be discharged tomorrow, there had never been any real danger, but his foot had been mangled something awful-- twisted and fractured, they'd had to do surgery on it-- and it would heal-- mostly. Eiji would walk again, run again, jump again, even, if he was careful and stayed in physical therapy. But Eiji would never flip, never leap, never fly again, would never rally for a ball or throw himself with utter abandon across the court again. He would be able to function perfectly normally again, yes, the doctors assured, but one thing was for certain: Eiji would never play tennis again.
But when it came down to it, it wasn't so bad, and in a mix of relief and horror, Oishi cried and cried and got control over himself and then cried again for the next two and a half hours until finally, finally, he was allowed to see Eiji. Eiji's family insisted that Oishi bear the news; it'll be easier from you, they said, placing a hand on his shoulder or his head, and Oishi had never quite realized how much they accept him as a member of the family until now, but that didn't make it any easier. Still, he swallowed and then pressed forth towards the moment he had been anticipating and yet dreading.
Eiji was pale in the hospital bed, looking tiny amongst the clicking and the whirring of the machines. He looked sad and weak, and it broke Oishi's heart when he struggled into a smile, rasping out Oishi's name with a warmth that somehow exceeded the cold sterility of the white hospital lights. Oishi fought back the tears and was at his side in an instant, kissing him briefly, wanting so badly to hold him close and yet unable to; regardless of the fact that he wasn't allowed, he was almost afraid he might break him. He clasped Eiji's hand instead, and it was cold in his, and it was only when he tried to be strong, to be comforting that he realized that he was shaking. Eiji laughed weakly and called him on it, and Oishi laughed, too, but even more weakly, because then it was time to face the truth.
Four days have passed since then, Eiji is home and Oishi has moved in-- unofficially, of course, but Eiji's family is kind about it and Oishi refuses to leave Eiji's side. Eiji is regaining colour, regaining strength, but somehow, it isn't the same; struggling to move around on crutches, trying to pretend he isn't in pain, he isn't filled with life the way he used to be, he doesn't glow. But more than the actual physical crippling, Oishi knows it's emotional, knows it's internal: Eiji no longer sees himself as alive. He sees himself as a cripple, unable to perform acrobatics, unable to play tennis. Useless. Broken. And it breaks Oishi to know it, but he doesn't know what he can do.
And so at night, when Eiji dissolves, crumbles into hysterics, Oishi does whatever he can even though he can't make it better; he holds Eiji tight and tells him it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, but he can't ever change the fact that it does matter to Eiji.
"I've let you down," Eiji insists through his tears, looking up at Oishi pathetically, "After we've gotten to Nationals and everything, I've let you down and-- and--"
"It doesn't matter," Oishi soothes, because, really, compared to Eiji, it doesn't. "We had middle school, and we won. We've had so many good times, this last Nationals... really, it doesn't matter."
Eiji sniffs and swallows, then bites his lip and looks away, his tear stained face contorting, for once, in an expression that is not pure misery, and for a moment, Oishi is confused. But then Eiji mutters, almost to himself, "But now you're going to play doubles with someone else," and Oishi suddenly realizes that it's jealousy.
With a laugh that almost has humour in it, he takes Eiji's chin in his hand and pulls him into a soft kiss. "Never in a thousand years."
Eiji's eyes widen, tears momentarily on hold. "No-- but Oishi--"
Oishi shakes his head, a small almost-smile forming on his lips. "You and I will always be Golden Pair, no matter what, okay?"
Their eyes are locked now and neither wants to look away, and for a moment, Oishi can feel it, a little bit, like a new star beginning to form inside of Eiji, and though nothing physically changes, he's somehow warmer, more alive. They stay a moment, frozen in time, before Eiji descends back into tears, throwing himself on Oishi again, and Oishi strokes his hair and rocks him slightly, but he can feel it, that light, that heat hasn't gone. It's like a piece of the puzzle has clicked into place, and Oishi thinks that maybe, somehow, he can find the rest, he can somehow bring his Eiji back to life.
"It's not fair," Eiji breathes, crumpled, crying softly against Oishi's chest, clinging to his shirt like Oishi is the only warmth in the cold of the night.
"I know," Oishi replies, as soothingly as he can, "But I love you."
He feels Eiji nod into his shirt, and it's not much, but they have made progress. And though Oishi can't change fate, can't make Eiji's injury heal or go back in time to keep this from happening, he holds Eiji tighter, continues to tell him he loves him, and though neither of them know consciously, know for for sure, that, in itself, is more than enough.