Characters: Kikumaru Eiji
Word Count: 1,115
Disclaimer: If I owned Prince of Tennis, I wouldn’t be writing fan fiction.
Notes: First of thirty general ficlets dedicated to my stupid redhead. <3 Crossposted to 30_gens and my writing community, goldenink.
Eiji was the baby of the family.
In being the youngest out of four siblings and four other adults in the household, Eiji was often spoiled. His grandmother made delicious goodies specifically for him, which included cookies, cupcakes, cakes and pies – anything that would satisfy the redhead’s ever demanding sweet tooth. His grandfather, on the other hand, would often come home with a new toy after his afternoon walk, claiming that he had saw it and instantly thought of his youngest grandchild. Both grandparents were immensely proud of Eiji and always did as much as they could to show him that.
Even Eiji’s parents were guilty of babying their son – anything from showering him with hugs and kisses, to giving him money when there was a new item that he just had to buy. It wasn’t often that his parents would lay down the law and say “no” to him. With all of the love and attention that his elders piled on him, it wasn’t surprising that Eiji could often be one of the most difficult people to work with, especially when he had on the face which was quickly known as the “brat” face; an observation courtesy of his siblings. Of course, his parents didn’t mean to spoil Eiji – it was the same problem that Oishi often struck paths with. The redhead could be one of the most naïve and – to put it bluntly – stupid people around. It was often because of his childlike innocence that made everyone feel as if they had to protect him from the cruelness that is known as the world.
In receiving all the attention that Eiji did, it was also no surprise that his older siblings were often jealous and bitter when it came to their youngest brother. When Eiji was being particularly difficult to deal with, his older brothers often couldn’t handle it and would blow up, ranging anywhere from name calling to endless teasing about how he “can be one of the most childish kids ever.” They loved and adored him – and weren’t afraid to admit that on most good days – but sometimes the need to just lash out and attempt to knock some maturity into the boy was great.
On the other hand, his older sisters were a completely different story; they were just as guilty as their parents and grandparents. They were always paying him as much attention that he could ever crave, ranging from taking him to places that he thought he would enjoy, to taking him shopping to buy the new tennis shoes that he had been admiring in the store for three weeks prior.
When a new friend came to meet his family and spend the night, they slipped in a comment saying that he was too spoiled (even if that trait was particularly dominant when being the baby of the family), or that he didn’t take enough time to simply appreciate everything he already has. When they said this, it confused Eiji and even made him feel a little hurt – he could admit to himself that he was indeed very lucky to have a family that loved him as much as they did, but was it really a bad thing? He loved his family to pieces – quirks and all – and didn’t go by a day without thinking only about them or what he could do to make them happy.
What people didn’t see – excluding of Oishi, Fuji, or any of his other closest friends – outside of Eiji’s childlike and bratty behavior, though, was the fact that Eiji paid just as much attention to his family as they did to him. There were many afternoons when Eiji did nothing but slave away in the kitchen, baking many delicious treats for the whole family; when he went to downtown Tokyo with Fuji, he was often looking out in different stores for random presents for his mother or siblings. Even when Oishi came over to practice on some tennis formations, Eiji sometimes invited his father and older brother – both of which were also enthusiastic about the sport – to come along and play doubles against the famed Golden Pair.
Every morning and afternoon, after leaving for and coming home from school respectively, Eiji greeted his mother with an affectionate kiss to the cheek and a tight hug, diving into cheerful chatter while standing side by side washing dishes. Even when Eiji had a huge test to study for the next day or a huge mound of homework that seemed to grow day after day, he always tried his best to help with meals; cooking for that many people, three times a day, would be nearly impossible for a single person. It was habitual and even Oishi sometimes joined in with the two Kikumarus, fixing a dinner for everyone once they came home from their own daily activities.
Every night, after brushing his teeth, tugging on his pajamas and making sure that his school work was tucked back into his bag, Eiji would pad into the living room with his slipper-clad feet to say goodnight to his mother and father, bidding them both with a “love you, see you in the morning.”
Perhaps Eiji really was too spoiled for his own good, or maybe there really were times that he didn’t appreciate his family for what they gave him; but after laying down in bed and pulling the covers snugly up to his chin, reflecting on the day past, he knew that the people who assumed those things about him were wrong: no matter what shape, size or form, he most definitely adored his family. Of course, he was the baby of the family and was spoiled no matter what direction you looked at it from. Sure, he would argue with his siblings, but it was only natural – sometimes, even his father would give him a stern look and tell him that what he was doing was wrong or his mother would stamp her foot down on any occasion that it was needed.
Eiji was the baby of the family – but being the youngest didn’t mean that he was too spoiled and didn’t appreciate anything that was given to him; sometimes, it was difficult to see past the childlike and bratty behavior and that was also easily admitted. But, regardless of what others thought, he knew; Oishi knew, Fuji knew, his other closest friends knew and most importantly, his family knew that the youngest redhead loved them all (sometimes even a little too much if they thought about the constant hugs they all received on a daily basis), and gave them back everything that they all gave him.
And that was good enough for Eiji.