Notes: In case people don't remember, Taki used to be a Regular at Hyotei. In episode 54, he was beaten by Shishido and taken off. That was also the episode when Shishido returned to the Regulars and when he cut his hair. This fic is about what happened, just from Taki's POV. Comments are very much appreciated and raise my rock bottom self-esteem the amount I need to try writing again.

by Kay

You feel such consternation at what happened. You were betrayed and replaced, pure and simple. Tossed aside like garbage and nobody even cared.

At first, you had sat bovine, staring and wondering at the miracle that had occurred. How had Shishido gotten this good in such a short amount of time? But it was their miracle, not yours, and it soon transformed into a nightmare that made you feel squeamish. Quickly, you had gotten up off the ground and dusted yourself off; trying to keep up the dispassionate façade you were wearing. You had then walked away from the rest, and none of them even noticed.

And none of that was even the worst part. That came later, when you overheard some of the other non-Regulars speaking about it (and you keep having to remind yourself that you are merely one of them now, too).

Ootori, kind and caring Ootori, hadn't even stuck up for you, choosing your opponent, choosing Shishido, instead. Such a horrible act of perfidy, when you had thought of him as a friend and partner.

The two of you had been playing doubles together for the better part of that year, after all, and you had always considered him a friend at least a little bit, and thought that the feeling was mutual. But somewhere between the time when Shishido was kicked off the Regulars and when he defeated you, you were replaced. First, you were replaced in Ootori's mind, relegated to its far corners with the rest of the things he never thought about. Despite any feelings of friendship the two of you may have shared while you played together, he was still willing to have both himself and you taken off of the team if it meant that Shishido could return. The most caring person on that team had chosen the other over you without a second thought or a moment's hesitation. Thinking back on it all, you know that this is what hurt you the most.

And in the end, Shishido made his grand return and Ootori even got to stay, and they became doubles partners and the best of friends (and probably more, if the way they were acting around each other was anything to go by) and lived happily ever after. But what about you, what about Taki? Did anyone ask the question even once? Did anyone care at all? No, and the truth of it was that Shishido had taken your place, Shishido had taken your partner, Shishido had taken your friend, and Shishido had taken your dignity.

Ootori never spoke to you about the time he had stuck up for his current partner instead of you. Though, whether it was because the other boy just didn't care or because he was too shy to, you weren't completely sure.

And so you had been left behind and alone. Hyotei was a dog-eat-dog kind of place, and no one spared you any sympathy. And once you were off the Regulars, you wouldn't be returning. Though, of course, Shishido could defy that. But you? No, not a chance, as you were just someone in the background of the rest of the shining stars that made up that team. A minor character, you could and would say. And there's nothing you can do about it anymore.

The End

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